Captain Relkai didn’t expect to suddenly find himself in a hospital in the Rethan capital. Seven 100th Legion soldiers had intersected him on his way home after he finished his work shift, picked him up, bundled him into the back of a transport vehicle and zipped him away without any much warning. They then dumped him in a waiting room and… just… left him there, telling him to stay put.
It had been about fifteen minutes now, and Relkai was still sitting there, waiting. Nothing had really happened, aside from a couple of medics wheeling in several IV hydration drips just as Relkai had arrived. No one had spoken to Relkai and whenever he had asked what was going on, they had told him to remain where he was.
Finally, a group of Rethans left the room to Relkai’s side, all led by a very thin but well-armoured fellow. Relkai recognised him. General Vaksavar, the leader of the 100th Legion. Relkai felt somewhat worried, only vaguely realising what was going on.
“He wishes to speak to you. Go in. Be quiet. Do as you are told.”
Relkai nodded and did as he was told. He stood up, bowed slightly to the general, then entered the room. The door slammed shut behind him, leaving Relkai in an otherwise rather dim room. There was a small beeping sound coming from a chest monitor which first caught Relkai’s attention, but the more important thing was the bed in the middle of the room. Sitting on it was Relkai’s boss, General Retvik.
“I thought you were dead, ser.”
“I thought they were going to bring you in tomorrow…” Retvik muttered. Hanging out of his arm was a thin tube. He was on a saline drip. Everything inside the room seemed rather warm. “And please, do not call me ser. As of now, we are equals.”
Relkai wandered closer. Retvik patted the bed next to him, offering Relkai a place to sit down.
“How long have we known each other, Relkai?”
The young captain pondered the question. “Hm. About… most of my life, I assume. You saved me as a kid, I wanted to thank you for that, I wanted to work for you and show you how strong I could be, so I worked hard and I became your captain.”
“In record time, yes?”
“Yes, ser…” Relkai hesitated. “Is something going on? Something I should know about?”
“Indeed…” Retvik’s words sounded… weak. Relkai always remembered his general’s voice to be loud and booming but today… it all sounded so dry and broken. “Relkai, I will not be able to lead the 270th Legion any more.”
“Why?” Relkai almost jumped in shock. “What is wrong?”
“To put it into… simple terms, I am not well. I am… a bit ill. So I am… retiring. So I have requested that you be made General of the 270th Legion, as my replacement.”
Relkai couldn’t believe what he was hearing. The immortal General Retvik Rethianos, Leader of the 270th Legion, his boss, mentor, hero, saying that little Relkai was to… take his place?
“Uh… I… I do not… know what to say…” Relkai stuttered.
“Please, just say yes, then go on with your life.”
Relkai pulled himself together. He needed to stand strong. But something felt wrong. “I am honoured that you have chosen me. I assume… you are being forced to retire…”
Retvik didn’t answer at first. He sat in silence, staring at the wall directly in front of him.
“Yes, General?” Retvik sighed.
“You are…” Relkai stuttered again, slightly taken aback by being called ‘General’. “You are being forced to give up your job. You are not retiring, you are being transferred, which is why you are passing your duties on to me.”
“You are correct.”
“I cannot say.”
Retvik tutted, remaining where he was, perfectly still. “Do not make your first action as the 270th General something that angers other Generals. Go out there, do as General Vaksavar asks you to, gather your troops and introduce yourself to them, then start planning for the 270th Legion’s district protection, starting next year. You know what to do, and if you need assistance, General Vaksavar will assist you, as will General Gath of the 271st Legion and General Destir of the 269th Legion.”
“Very well…” Relkai picked himself up. He was both astounded and a little upset. Although he never believed it would happen, it was one of Relkai’s dreams to become a general, but he didn’t really want it to be like this. “Thank you for the honour, Retvik.”
Retvik bowed his head. “Do not thank me. You earned this, even if it happened sooner than I would have liked. Congratulations, General Relkai Skiaovoros.”
As Retvik spoke, he placed something in Relkai’s hand. Three golden studs, a symbol of the rank of General. Before either of them could say anything else, a group of 100th Legion soldiers entered the room and led the new general towards the exit, off to finalize his new title. General Vaksavar peered through the doorway and gave Retvik one final nod, thanking him for being brief and civil, before closing the door behind him.
Silence lingered for a moment, before the door opened up then closed again. The hulking form of General Litvir loomed into view, a rather eager smile on his heavily armoured face.
“Ah, Retvik, you have no idea how long I have waited to have one of you Rethianoi join the 11th Legion…”