“I dunno why you all look so glum!” Seimeni beamed as she bounced through the main hallway into the games room. “It’s like someone died in here or something!”
Thaed crossed his scythe-like arms, fooling around with an oversized hunk of meat wrapped up in yeast-free bread. The rest of Thaed’s body was coiled around a specially-made soft, cushiony chair that struggled under the serpent’s weight. “I do not understand either. This one is content with the newling. Yes, it is a strange one. Yes, it is an Antifthor. But it is small and acceptable. No harm done.”
Adis and Ostos both seemed less sure. The pair of them were busy playing a word game, placing letter tiles on a large, square board.
“He’s a mess. I hope he ups and leaves like the last one did. She was a bitch. Self-hating and hated us all as well!” Adis grunted. “Hang on! That’s not how you spell Inquiry!”
“It’s ENQUIRY!” Ostos grunted back. “A different word! Slightly different!”
“Don’t make me get the dictionary!”
Adis tutted, then phased through both his chair and the wall, disappearing into another room. Ostos patiently waited for Adis to return, realised he wasn’t coming back, then clapped his hands together with glee.
“That’s 3-2 to me! I win!”
Thaed and Seimeni both glanced at Ostos, whose bones rattled a little bit. Being a skeletal centaur being, it was difficult to work out what Ostos’s emotions were at first glance.
Seimeni nodded over at the door, her pitch black eyes focused on something moving past it. Everyone fell silent as they watched the new guy wander into the kitchen, make himself a cheese sandwich, grill it until the cheese melted and wandered back to his bedroom.
“Wow. That is… That Decayling isn’t right…” Ostos muttered. “That seems to be all he does.”
“It seems as though that is his seventh cheese sandwich…” Thaed hissed. “But this one keeps out of our way. I cannot complain.”
“Yeah but… like, he’s an Antifthor, right? Are we, like, gonna take him back to Deathven with us or what? Because I dunno if they’d approve of him.”
“Is this vessel returning to the realm of Deathven?” Thaed queried. “I was of the impression that Lord Vikalos does not wish to return yet?”
Seimeni laughed, her voice being rather shrill. “Only because one of the other Vessel-Admirals has a thing with him! Nah, it’s better being out here anyway. Freedom to go where we want, see what we ant, feel what we want and do whatever the fuck we please!”
“We can do that in Deathven too though!” Ostos countered, his bones clicking together. “There’s like, way more resources there. Sure we have a fuckton of resources here but there are multiple fucktons of resources in Deathven.”
“I am of the thought that we would have to discuss this with Vikalos…” Thaed slithered across the room towards the door, checking to see if the little Decayling was still there. “But there are things one must worry about. We do not know how those back in Deathven will react to this one.”
As if on cue, Vikalos appeared in the doorway, catching Thaed by surprise.
“It seems as though some of you are having doubts about our new Decay-Lord?” Vikaloas asked as he moved past Thaed and sat down opposite Ostos.
“This one is not a Decay-Lord yet, Vikalos!” Thaed protested. “But this one does… bring up questions.”
“I understand…” Vikalos sighed. “And I understand that you are not all supportive of my thoughts. Which is why I wish to invite you all to a meeting to discuss these matters.”
“All of us?” Ostos asked. “Including the new guy?”
“No. Not including Arkay. He has to rest. And he does not have to hear your complaints.”
Ostos glanced at the others. Not that they noticed, considering that Ostos had empty eye sockets filled with nothing but black vapour. “That is very… charitable of you, boss.”
Vikalos got up from his chair, realising he needed to be elsewhere. “Well, you all deserve to have your opinions heard. After all, accepting a new Decay-Lord here, an Antifthor at that, is something we should all discuss together…”