The two Skyavok perched on the edge of the little cliff, watching the water crash along the river below them. One Skyavok was pale skinned with yellow armour, the other also in yellow armour but with far darker skin, almost pitch black.
“Thanks for meeting with me, Psiksi…” Arkay whispered. They were alone, but the darker Skyavok was still skittish and nervous. He didn’t want anyone to know he was there.
“That’s fine. Was gonna come the other day with Retvik but…”
“You were busy.”
“Yeah…” Psiksi frowned. “Security stuff. Had to have a telecall with Teekay of the K-Class, make sure I wasn’t a security threat to the All-Ksa now that I’m working with the Dessaron. He means well but everyone seems to hate him.”
Using his telekinetic powers, Psiksi picked up a small stone and chucked it into the river. He turned to Arkay, who was intently staring at a particular spot in the river.
“So yeah. I couldn’t make it. I assume that’s why you wanted to chat now?”
Arkay stopped staring at the river. “Sorry. Was distracted by a school of fish being eaten.” Where he had been looking, a slender tuna fish leaped out of the water then disappeared back into the current. “That sort of thing always gets me. I just wanted to have a little talk. And to apologise from dragging you from a cushy life to a more… haphazard one.”
“It’s not been that bad. Everyvok already knew I was a badass fighter, and I proved myself to them all in both the Arena and by helping the Dessaron in reality and all that. Honestly I think I kinda brought them all together again because Retvik’s way less grumpy than he used to be.”
Arkay shrugged. “He always secretly enjoyed the life of a Dessaron. Regretted settling down into desk jobs. I think I made the right choice when I picked you.”
Psiksi smiled. “Heh. And there I was thinking you picked at random.”
“Not completely. I went through Skyavok who lived on the same planet, ran them down by skill and abilities and then when I reached my final tally, I picked you based on both your charm and your colour.”
“Hah!” Psiksi laughed warmly. “Well, you seem happier too.”
Arkay didn’t seem to agree. “Sometimes I am. Sometimes there are clouds hanging around me. Storms that won’t pass, that I don’t want to pass. And that’s on top of the flurry of new emotions and desires I am trying so hard to keep down.”
“Like what?” Psiksi asked. “Because that’s not good for you. Alright maybe bottling up the desire to murder people is kinda understandable but what emotions are so dangerous that you can’t have them? I mean, you came here as Arkay, not Arkadin. So clearly these emotions can’t be THAT bad, right?”
“Honestly I’ve been too… normal lately anyway. Too many friends, too many favours, too many biases and alliances. The feelings were bearable back when it was just Tenuk, Elksia and Retvik. Now I’ve got a whole spectrum of emotions, and I have to do all my duties subconsciously while I go around chatting with mortals because they are so damn distracting. The chatter helps settle my mind temporarily…”
Arkay sighed then went back to staring at the river. Psiksi didn’t know what to say. When he agreed to be one of the Dessaron, he didn’t expect to find himself spending so much time talking to a Death God.
“So basically…” Psiksi hesitated. “You’re basically a horny teen, aren’t you?”
Arkay turned his attention to Psiksi. “I’m over thirteen billion years old, you really think what I am going through is comparable to the time mortals spend between childhood and adulthood, filled with confusing hormones and periods of change?”
“Maybe not a teen, but you totally are a horny being.”
“I am NOT…” Arkay paused. Psiksi noticed that he was looking less like a Skyavok and more like a Death God now. “I am not horny.”
“You totally are.”
“I am not…”
“You just can’t admit it because you had it drilled into your head that relationships are bad and evil, and you think that loving yourself isn’t right either. You’re terrified of showing attraction to others because you get mocked for everyone and everything you care about and you always take that personally. You’re also terrified of being caught, terrified of being yourself. You’ve been doing this for so long that you can’t reprogram yourself.”
“You do try to love yourself though. Only in the dead of night when you’re certain no one is around. I bet you hate yourself afterwards, thinking you’re lame and pathetic. Then you try to sleep, tears in your eyes, thinking you don’t deserve love or affection from anyone, including yourself. Most of the time, you hope you won’t wake up in the morning. So you don’t have to feel or do anything any more.”
Psiksi stopped, then shook his head. Arkay sat down on the ground, rubbing his eyes.
“Yeah, I bet it did.”
“I’ve been hurt by a lot of things. But that hurt a lot.”
Psiksi sat down next to Arkay. “Because it’s all true, right?”
With a sigh, Psiksi put an arm around the Death God, hugging him tight. “It gets better.”
“Yeah. Because I was once like that. Honestly I think most Skyavok are like that at some point in their lives.”
Arkay smiled weakly, then wriggled free from Psiksi’s hug.
“Well… that was… the opposite of illuminating, but I have to go.”
“Aw, why?” Psiksi tried to cling on but gave up. “Did I hurt you too much with my truthiness? Am I too much for you?”
Arkay sighed as he reverted to his normal Thantophor self. “I wish that was the reason… No, I have a nuclear explosion I need to deal with.”
Psiksi’s communicator beeped. He looked down to see what it was beeping for. Some sort of news bulletin. He glanced back at Arkay, only to find the Thantophor had already disappeared.