Arksi yawned as he stretched his arms, that lingering, warm bed feeling tugging at his mind, wanting him to go back to sleep. The little Rethan did what he could to fight it, by throwing off his duvet covers. Big mistake, outside his bed, it was pretty nippy.
Rather than brave the cold, Arksi got up and took the duvet with him, wrapping it over his shoulders like an overly thick cape. There was sun trying to shine through a crack in the curtains, so Arksi decided to open them.
The view outside though was bleak. Endless fields of nothingness, and an empty sky with a single yellow sun in it.
“Guess I forgot again, didn’t I, Nenth?”
Arksi glanced back towards the bedside table, where a small, silver dagger lay, sealed off in its sheath and attached to a long belt. Below the bedside table was his armour, right where he had left it. As he put his armour on, he kept his eyes firmly on the dagger.
“Did you sleep alright, Nenth? Of course you did! You have always been such a good sleeper. That reminds me, how long have we been sleeping? Not like us to stay in bed for so long.”
Arksi’s rambling was met with silence. Nenth had been dead for a long, long time, but Arksi still carried his partner’s blessed blade. A Rethan tradition, that was what partners did for their fallen loved ones. That hadn’t stopped Arksi from talking to the blade, as if Nenth was still alive.
With a sigh, Arksi headed over to the bathroom, which was even colder than the bedroom. He begrudgingly left the duvet on the floor and washed his eyes and snout. He couldn’t be bothered to shower or anything. Wasn’t any soap around anyway.
Feeling refreshed, Arksi threw on the rest of his armour and strapped Nenth’s blade around his waist, stroking it gently as he did so. He then sat on the bed, waiting for the door opposite to open.
Five minutes passed and the door remained shut. He was supposed to wait for it to open. That was what Arksi was told before he went to sleep.
A few more minutes passed, and someone knocked from the other side.
“Are you awake, Kronaron? May I come in?”
Arksi jumped up. “Of course! Come in!”
The door swun open. Standing in the doorway was a draconic being, standing on four legs. Behind it was Verlais.
“Good to see you again, Arksi,” the Vrekan smiled. He was wearing his full set of armour and carrying a large staff. “We’re needed again.”
“I guessed as much,” Arksi sighed as he left the room and followed the dragon and Verlais down a long corridor. “What does the Whenvern need this time?”
“Not sure,” Verlais replied as they entered a conference room, where Ct’Era and Kindyna were waiting for them. Ct’Era was clearly ready for battle, but Kindyna was still half asleep, her head resting on the desk. The dragon nodded at the four of them then left, locking the door behind him.
“Well, that was rude!” Arksi tutted. “Did you two sleep alright?”
Ct’Era nodded. “I did. Was a struggle to wake up. Kindyna is still trying. Have you eaten?”
“No,” Arksi replied. “I guess we just wait?”
As Arksi spoke, something glowed in the middle of the conference table. A hologram exploded into view. It was the Whenvern himself.
“My little Kronaron, you are needed.”
Verlais rolled his eyes. “Clearly.”
“The three of us are having a contest. The minions of Death, against the slaves of Stasis, against my beloved Kronaron. I have chosen you four to represent and fight for me.”
“Why are we fighting?” Kindyna yawned, still not quite awake. “I’m tired of this not dying and fighting for you crap…”
The Whenvern flapped its wings. “You need not worry. The universe is not at stake. This is… How may I put it? An alternative way of keeping the Cycle, and by extension, yourselves, going.”
The Kronaron looked confused, so the Whenvern explained further.
“The Cycle is getting old, tired and bored. Stasis is tempting her with his slaves. I intend to tempt her with the brave, proud, adorable warriors that you are.”
“So what are we doing?” Arksi scratched his head, still confused.
“Um… You are fighting Veth. For the amusement of Kinisis,” the Whenvern finally admitted. “Because of this, I now grant you access to one of my treasures.”
Behind the four beings, a new door appeared. It swung open, revealing a huge, seemingly neverending room, filled with weaponry of all shapes and sizes.
“The Grand Clockwork Arsenal is yours, my children. Take what you please. You deserve it. You require it.”