Litvir, Retvik and Arkay all sat patiently, sipping chocolate milk from plastic glasses, as they watched Galyn pace up and down. The Decaylings had been very much aware that something was going on with their bosses, but none of them were sure exactly what. The way Galyn was pacing though didn’t inspire them with much confidence. What made matters worse was that the Decay Lords had clearly been putting off talking to their students over the last hundred or so hours.
“So, uh, why do you not want to go to Deathven?” Arkay finally asked, breaking the silence.
“Because they are all assholes!” Galyn immediately snapped, turning his attention to the Decaylings, before sighing and turning away again. After some more pacing, Galyn grabbed a chair and sat down opposite the Decaylings, nearly ready to talk.
The Decaylings glanced at each other, waiting for Galyn to speak. They could all tell that he was in a slurry of emotions, but Litvir in particular seemed quite concerned.
“Someone hurt you.”
“No, really?” Galyn growled with an overly sarcastic tone. “Bastards took away what was mine and want me to just ignore the past and go back to them. Now I finally have a little group of Decaylings I can nurture and watch grow up, they ask me to abandon you all…”
“Ah…” Litvir paused. “You want kids. You had your kids taken away from you, so you rebelled and ran away. Now you have what you consider new kids, you do not want to lose them again. Even though we do not quite fill the gaping hole in your psyche.”
The Decay Lord opened his mouth, but stopped. Instead, Galyn turned to Retvik and Arkay, silently demanding that they explain what their companion had just said.
“He is a psychiatrist, specializing in traumatic instances and PTSD,” Retvik dutifully explained. “While Litvir may have been an unfeeling monster in his mortal life, it is undeniable that he is very good at his job.”
“Well…” Galyn sighed. “Litvir is… annoyingly, somewhat correct. I used to help raise Decaylings and turn them into Decay Lords. I was very good at my job. Then Deathven implemented level laws and, without fail, every single Decayling I tried to raise was taken away and disposed of. So I gave up doing that, was recruited by Itaviir and went exploring, using it to finance my research on why level laws are, to put it politely, very stupid.”
“But you got back into the Decayling business and it dug up all those unhealed wounds, yes?” Litvir asked.
“Basically… yes…” Galyn grunted. “You seem to know way too much.”
“Oh, no, I just listen to basic expressions and compare them to existing stereotypes I am already aware of, which most beings neatly fit in to.”
Galyn eyed Litvir, then sighed some more. “Simply put, me returning to Deathven is the last thing I want to do. Itaviir on the other hand has wanted to return and take a temporary retirement for a while. Neither of us are willing to budge on our positions. This would not be an issue if you three had been invited as well, which you have not been.”
All three Decaylings rolled their eyes.
“Of course we haven’t been invited…” Arkay tutted. “Jeez, you Decay Lords have almost as shitty a political circle as my old family.”
“And worse than Rethan politics…” Retvik added. “Can you not stay out here with us and let Itaviir return to Deathven on his own?”
Galyn closed his eyes, taking a deep breath. “He… does not want to split us up. As far as Itaviir is concerned, we are too close to split up. Doing so would be… unnatural…”
“Itaviir loves you and doesn’t want to let you go?” Arkay suggested, glancing at Litvir.
Litvir nodded. “Most likely, yes. Although I have never been able to tell whether their relationship is familial, sexual or purely work-based or not…”
Again, Galyn eyed Litvir. “That is none of your business.”
“Yet it is a major part of why you are not just leaving Itaviir and taking the kids,” Litvir smiled. “He has Vikalos to keep him happy. You have us to keep you happy. When you get bored of us, you can go back to Itaviir. None of this is permanent after all.”
“That… is true…” Galyn hesitated, before trailing off, clearly lost in thought. “In my anger… I admittedly forgot that there is no permanence out here…” After a moment, Galyn picked himself up. “I need to… have a bit of a think about things. I apologise for the lack of information I have been giving you…”
“Well, you know where to find us!” Arkay waved as the Decay Lord left the room. “We’re always happy to help, right?”
“I guess…” Litvir shrugged. “I thought we were supposed to be the students around here though…”