Tale – A Boxed Cabbage

Retvik tutted as he flicked through paperwork then switched back to his computer, closing a tab he had open in his browser. He only had a few bits to finish, but there were things on his mind. Since he’d taken this job, he’d noticed more beings coming to Palaestra. He expected Thanatians, mostly Kshan and Thraki, to be fleeing to the city. The Thanatians were in the middle of a religious and governmental crisis so things were tense right now. But there was also a small but trickle of Bayvak slowly trying to get into the now neutral territories. His trail of thought however was interrupted by Gath bashing his head on the door frame as he entered the room.

“By the Light, dear, are you alright?” Retvik worried as he rushed over to his partner.

“I am fine, just dandy,” Gath growled, rubbing his head then reaching for a chair to sit down. In his hurry, he’d dropped some sort of package on the floor. Retvik noticed it and picked it up for him.

“What is this?”

“A gift of some sort…” the heavy Rethan sighed. “I do not know what the laws here are on receiving gifts but the Bayvak in question insisted that I accept it.”

Retvik peered inside the box, curious. There was an odd, natural smell about it. Finally, he opened it up.

“It is a cabbage…” Retvik muttered. “It is literally just a cabbage…”

Gath blinked, then snatched the box from Retvik. “Really? Let me see… Hm. You are right, my dear…”

Retvik prodded the cabbage. “You know, we should have checked this out before opening it. It could have been a bomb.”

“A bomb?” Gath exclaimed. “From a Bayvak? They are a peaceful lot! Kind and caring unless someone threatens their nests, then they poison you to death. And for good reason, I would threaten someone who threatened my home.”

Retvik sighed then made his way back to his seat. “Things have not been right with the Bayvak recently. There is something going on under the surface.”

“What, like their new ‘external leader’ thing?”

Retvik nodded. “I think they call it a Tharebay. Their leader who deals with everything. Like the job of High General except ours are all elected. They have a new one coming in and…”

Gath smiled a bit. “Let me guess, this new Tharebay is an idiot?”

“Worse than that. He is a lying idiot who possibly did not even ascend their mountain properly.”

Gath shrugged, then leaned back in his chair. “Wait, I thought that young Bayvak were dropped off at the bottom of a mountain and had to climb up said mountain to prove that they were strong enough to lead all Bayvak? With most younglings dying?”

Retvik tutted. “The last Tharebay, some young one called Krystal, I think, I believe she tried to change things so, I am not sure, so adults could climb the mountain in groups or something? I am pretty sure it was not a democratic election, but all those who wanted to try for leadership had to be picked out and… it was all a mess.”

“So who won?” Gath asked, feeling confused.

“Someone no one liked. Apparently there was a loophole and he won despite only having about thirty percent of the vote, less than one of the other, uh, candidates, I guess they are called?”

“I am still confused. If this being did not win properly, why is he allowed to be in charge?”

Retvik paused. He didn’t really have an answer. He knew that a lot of the Bayvak nests had leaders and stuff, maybe that was why. “Maybe… I think the kings and queens of the major nests have a lot to do with supporting him, but the average Bayvak does not care for them. It would not be a problem if the Bayvak leader was now trying to be completely isolationist.”

“Wait!” Gath interrupted. “Are they leaving the Maza?”

“Possibly. Their Tharebay already dragged them out of the Maza anti-aggression pact that stops vok from declaring war on everyone. He wants to build a wall all around Bayvak territories and he plans to force smaller nests to merge with bigger ones in order to make the larger nests more powerful…”

“That sounds bad.”

“It gets worse. There are rumours that this Tharebay… he is being influenced by Cassids. That a shady group of Cassids not only bankrolled his rise, but that they also stole and released confidential information about the other Bayvak also running. And that they have compromising information on the new Tharebay that could get them all in trouble.”

“Wow…” Gath rubbed his eyes. “That all sounds insane! How do you know about all of this?”

Retvik sighed, then reopened a tab on his computer and showed it to Gath. “It is all over the Olanet… I have been… binging this as it all unfolds, in my spare time. Mostly on breaks though…”

Gath nodded, but his eyes didn’t leave the screen. He was scanning the many links and posts other beings have made.

“This is very interesting…” Gath finally smiled. “No wonder you are obsessed!”

Something binged behind them. A clock. It was 7pm. Gath smiled again, then changed the subject. “We should finish up and head home.”

“I was getting tired of working anyway…”

Gath got up, then grabbed Retvik by the hand. “Come on, dear. Maybe we will treat ourselves to an ice cream or something.”

Retvik grinned. “That would be lovely.”