Honesty Between Leaders

Rethais had been unsure how to react all day, as he had been shown around what used to be the old Rethan governmental headquarters and was now a glimmering, golden palace. The High General had taken him to every refurbished room, shown him every renovation he had done and smiled proudly with every change. And now, after having introduced Rethais back to everyone as his new Vice General and led him up to a gilded, shimmering balcony at the top of the building, the High General was waiting for a response.

“So. What do you think?”

Rethais took a moment to answer. “About what subject, exactly? The new building? The new job? How everyvok reacted?”

“Let us start with that first one. What do you think of my palace? Please do be honest.”

Kenon was staring rather intently at Rethais. Not quite stabbing him with his eyes, but there was a hint of… uncertainty, maybe frustration there. Again, Rethais took a moment to answer. While Kenon had not shown off his own godly prowess, the former enemy was still rather aggressive and potentially dangerous.

“It is all very nice, but it is very… golden.”

“Well of course. Why would it not all be golden?”

Rethais sighed. “While I was not too good at… showing this while I was in power, the whole point of a governmental headquarters was to not be too lavish or fancy. We are supposed to all be equal, no matter what…”

“And we are.”

“It does not look like that from where I stand. Too fancy. A pillar of pride that not any Rethan can climb.”

The High General tutted in disagreement. “But not every Rethan CAN climb the pillar. Both yourself and I have noted that there is a barrier between a common Rethan and an enlightened one. We saw that in action when I first took power.”

“That raises a good question, Kenon. Why would you have me back? We were enemies. You saw me as a threat two and a half months ago. You wanted me dead and buried. And here you are, offering me a job as your left hand in leadership. I will be blunt with you, I am expecting you to attempt to kill me any second now.”

Kenon closed his eyes, stepping out onto the balcony. “Your fears and thoughts are correct. But right now, I would rather focus on the unity and protection of all Rethavok, rather than have to deal with enemies due to difference in opinions.”

“But why? Why the sudden change of mind?” Rethais asked, steadying himself. “You are a deity, you can manipulate us at will, you clearly have that power. Yet you are here, talking to me like… like a normal being.”

“I told you. I want-”

“There has to be more to it than that. How do I know this is not a trap?”

“You came here willingly…” Kenon sighed.

“I came here because you are a deity and I, like all reasonable mortals, fear your power.”

“You do not need to any more.”


“Because I am mortal now…”

Rethais recoiled in disbelief. “Lies! Surely… surely this is some sort of trick? To see how I would react?”

Kenon shook his head. “No. Not at all. I am being truly honest with you. This body that you see in front of you is mortal.”

“Huh…” Rethais blinked, trying to contain his surprise. “Um… that is… I do not know how to react.”

“You do not need to react. I just need your loyalty and honesty. I have been honest with you. I would like you to be honest with me.”

“Very well…” Rethais sighed. He was still unsure whether this was real or just some elaborate trap, but he didn’t want to test that theory. Not here, at least. “Alright, fine. I will be loyal and honest. But first, I wish to see my brother.”

Kenon nodded. “Of course. Come with me…”