“Thank you for stopping by here before heading back home to Portalia…” the High General whispered as he ushered Retvik into a private room. Outside, a small celebration had been set up for the returning Dessaron, cheering for both the newest members of the Reth-Vrekan Union and their newly gained resources. The addition of two Vohra nests was big news, almost overshadowed by the Skyavok renewing their ties with the Union.
“You are… welcome?” Retvik was confused. “General Elkay, is there an issue?”
Elkay closed the door but didn’t lock it. His Arbiters hated it when he locked things. There were no obvious windows so the room was annoyingly warm. “You could say that. Please, take a seat.”
Two armchairs and a low table had been laid out, alongside a multitude of snacks and drinks. Retvik did as he was asked.
“There is definitely an issue. How can I help you, General?”
The High General sat down and took a sip of his drink, a fizzy soda. His wings were tucked back incredibly tightly. He was obviously worried.
“First off, this is currently top secret. What I am about to tell you… well, if you reveal it before its time, I will be very angry with you. I would like a guarantee that you will not leak this information.”
Retvik nodded. “Of course, High General.”
“Secondly, I would prefer it if you called me Elkay for the duration of this meeting. Ignore protocol. We are equals here.”
Again, Retvik nodded. Elkay took another sip of his drink, then took a deep breath.”
“Retvik Rethianos…” Elkay sighed. “I must inform you that we are… related.”
Retvik shrugged. “Is that all?”
“We are half-brothers.”
The two Rethavok fell silent.
“How?” Retvik eventually asked. “Our mother was very, very strict when it came to the Family Laws. He had two kids with a high ranking general and raised them to Rethianos standards… well, aside from the love interests, but still, there were only two times that we are all aware of…”
“He was your mother but my father…” Elkay explained. “I do not know what happened. All I know is that he is my father. Rethais and I did genetic tests and this was confirmed.”
“I assume he knows?”
Retvik adjusted himself in his seat, then reached for a glass and a bottle of mead. “Now that I think about it, it does somewhat make sense. You have a lot of our pure-bred characteristics. The strength and agility. The intelligence. The strong, empowering voice… Every Rethianos has the same shoulder bone structure too. Just normally does not develop into actual wings…”
Elkay tutted. “That brings us onto the second issue. The only reason I have wings rather than the little shoulder nubs is because it turns out there IS Threavok blood inside me. It turns out that Threavok DNA can lay dormant for generations and then suddenly explode into life. Hence how I have light telekinetic powers…”
With a shrug and a sip of his drink, Retvik decided to try and cheer things up a little. “You should go public with this information. You are a Rethianos. Sure, you were born out of a brief affair, but you have earned the right to call yourself a member of the Rethianos family. It is not like we are all perfect, after all. To hide away in fear because of your heritage is… honestly disrespectful to all you have accomplished, considering what you have done for the Rethavok and for billions of other beings. If anything, you going quiet and dodging questions makes you seem less trustworthy.”
The High General remained silent, considering Retvik’s words and helping himself to a handful of salted snacks.
“You are right, Retvik.”
“I know I am!” Retvik smiled. “After all, I am one of the Dessaron. We outsmarted a god and won the friendship of another.”
“Speaking of gods…” Elkay hesitated again. “This will sound strange, but what do you know of Lord Arkadin? Is he the sort to be playful, to tease others? Is he as lustful as his siblings?”
Retvik blinked. “I do not follow. Is this to do with the rumours that the Thantophor moonlights as a relationship creator or the rumours that the Allbirther has been… birthing with Temthan royalty? Because I know for a fact that both are true. After all, Arkay got me and Gath together.”
“Yeah… That is not quite what I meant…” Elkay trailed off. “Never mind. You are correct on the former issue, Retvik. I will go public. But after these celebrations have died down.” The High General grabbed some more snacks. “Thank you for your efforts, General Retvik. Go and enjoy the party.”
“Thank you, High General…” Retvik smiled as he got up to leave, taking his bottle of mead with him. “Look after yourself, ser…”