Elkay had asked to be left alone, but clearly whoever was at the door was ignoring that order. Ever since the… event… Elkay had been keeping to himself, letting his Vice General do anything that required face to face activities. The calls from the media and from… angrier Rethavok to reveal everything about himself were simply too much for Elkay right now.
The door creaked open and whoever it was let themselves in despite his guards’ protests. It was a familiar face. Not an assassin, at least.
“How you doing, General Elkay?” Arkadin asked as he closed the door behind him then inspected the room. The Lord of Death had always considered himself a somewhat humble being, but the High General of the Retha, a pretty powerful being by mortal standards, seemed to live as humble a life as possible. This was Elkay’s main home area and it was just a basic studio apartment.
“Not great…” Elkay finally replied. He clearly did not want Arkadin around, but they both knew he couldn’t just tell him to leave.
“They’re suddenly really angry at you, aren’t they?”
Elkay sat down on his bed in the corner. “Yes. They are. I do not understand why. I did the right thing, I protected Ver and everyone else in the room, yet I am an evil monster no longer fit to serve. But what if I had let Ver die? I probably would have had vok begging me to resign anyway because I didn’t do enough to protect him! I cannot win!”
Arkadin simply shrugged. “Do you mind if I sit down next to you?”
The High General didn’t answer. Arkadin shrugged again, then sat on the bed but as far away from Elkay as possible.
“I do not understand. Do I not do enough?”
“It’s not that. It’s not that at all…” The Lord of Death shifted his weight awkwardly. “I get how you feel, I really do. You just want to do your best but not everyone else sees things the way you do.”
“But they do not.”
“No, they don’t…”
Elkay tutted, then laid back on his bed. Arkadin tried not to look at him. Something was off about this particular Rethan.
“So… where did you learn your powers?” Arkadin finally asked. “I know that Rethavok do have a telepathic sense that can cross over into…”
“I apologise, Lord of Death, but I do not want to talk about it…”
“Fair enough…” Arkadin fell silent, then asked another question. “Are you lonely?”
“Why do you ask?” Elkay looked up at the Thantophor.
“Ver says you have no real friends, only allies.”
“Ver should keep his beak out of my business…” Elkay growled. “The reason I keep so much about my life secret is because most of it is boring and tedious but the interesting parts are rather dangerous, and I do not want to endanger others any more than I already have…”
“Is learning magic from Threans really that-”
Elkay rolled over and off the bed. “Please, Lord Arkadin, do not do this to me! I was dying! I had no choice! They brought me back to health then told me what I really was!”
“And what were you?” Arkadin was smiling slightly. “What is so dangerous about you that you alienate yourself from everyone else?”
“They… they called me a Child of Yisini. A perfect specimen. And that if I ever got close to anyone, if anyone found out the truth, I would be preyed on by everyone… They told me stories of other Children of Yisini, being turned into Temthan baby factories or being trapped in cages and studied by curious Kronospasts…”
The Thantophor frowned as he got up and sat Elkay back on the bed. “I’m sorry…”
“Why are you sorry?”
“Because that is a load of utter bollocks. Everyone’s a child of Yisini. I mean, yeah, Temthans might do that to other Temthans and Kronospasts can be bastards like that, but you know who your mother was and you would have known if it was Yisini in disguise…”
“Well…” Arkadin shrugged. “She would have told literally everyone… Have you really been keeping to yourself for all these years, shunning all friendship out of fear, when you have so much power to protect both yourself and others?”
Elkay took a deep breath, not sure what to say. He felt dumb. As if he had been tricked. “I was scared. I was vulnerable. I… I have been an idiot for so long…”
“You’re not the only one,” Arkadin smiled. “I only recently found out I followed a set of rules separate from those of my siblings. Way stricter rules.”
“Huh… I guess I have a lot more in common with a god than I thought…”
Arkadin sat up and got off the bed, the tone of his voice changing abruptly. “Hm. Seems as much. But I have to go now. If you want though, we can always talk some more, if I come back…”
“Sure, I would like that…” Elkay paused staring at the ceiling. “Wait, what do you mean by ‘if’ you come back?”
After a moment of silence, Elkay sat up. But the Thantophor was nowhere to be seen.