Tale – A Strong Drink

Arkay lumbered in, dragging his large gun-staff across the ground behind him and slamming the door shut. With a few, exhausted grunts, he threw himself onto a bar stool, sighing.

“Didn’t expect to see you back so soon,” Iatre smiled. He was standing behind the bar, because for some reason one of the most powerful Veth alive currently wanted nothing more than to run a bar for his Vethic brethren. He poured both himself and Arkay a drink, then sat down as well. “You look tired. Where’s Kinisis? Still at her thing?”

“Yeah. Still at her thing. Asked her if I could leave, she said to do whatever I want.”

“So you came here to have a drink, rather than going on a rampage destroying those who have hurt you, or simply going back to your mortal life or something like that?”

Arkay didn’t answer the question, instead taking a large gulp from his drink, then recoiling when he realised it was some sort of alcohol. Iatre raised an eyebrow, looking somewhat concerned.

“You… don’t like alcohol?”

“It… was always illegal for me to drink alcohol. Only had it a few times. I… don’t know what I expected.”

Something gurgled and murmured behind Iatre. He glanced downwards, where Syklos rolling around, asking for more to drink. Arkay glanced over the counter to see what the sound was, then rolled his eyes.

“And you call me immature.”

“He’s been celebrating. Since Kinisis buggered off to do things for her conscious self, we’ve been doing things for the unconscious self. Apparently the universe hasn’t been this stable in a long time.”

Arkay hesitated, then took another sip of his drink. It felt wrong, the whole idea of him, a Ksa, drinking alcohol. But that was just an errant memory of when he was alive. He was a Veth now, he could eat or drink whatever he wanted. Within reason.

“What is this?” The drink tasted sweet. It was thick and red and looked eerily like blood.

Iatre shrugged. “Beats me. I just have bottles of stuff with labels on and all the labels are pointless, covered in riddles than the actual contents of the bottles. Stupid really. This red stuff is what we have most of so I just serve that.”

“Huh…” Arkay drank some more. It was quite nice, especially since he had gotten over his initial shock.

“So what’s up with you?” Iatre asked. “You look awful.”

Arkay sighed, resting his head on the bar. “I’m just… tired of all of this. It’s only been a few damn months but I’m already exhausted and messed up from all the shit that has gone on. I don’t suppose it’s normally like this, but if I have to deal with several million years of all these mistakes and messes constantly, I’m going to fall apart.”

“To be fair, you already are,” Iatre joked.

“I am…” Arkay sighed again. “I… I can’t really put how I feel into words. It’s like I say things and people only half listen. I offer solutions and get ignored. I try to be nice but end up staying away because I feel like everyone hates me as much as I hate myself.”

“Why do you hate yourself though?”

“Because I’m a miserable lump of stupid mediocrity.”

“You keep on saying that,” Iatre tutted. “The world tells you you’re wrong but you disagree.”

“No, those who care tell me I’m wrong but the universe knows how inconsequential everything is.”


“If it wasn’t me, it would have been someone else. And they probably would have done a better job.” Arkay gulped down the rest of his drink, then requested another. “I wish I could just kill myself, not have to think. But I have duties and responsibilities. And people would care. I keep going for other people, not myself.”

“Well,” Iatre shook his head as he poured some more drinks. “You’re going to have a miserable eternity.”

“Yeah, but I could change it if I had the strength to. Just need to find that strength.” Arkay downed his drink in one go, then asked for yet another. “Until then, I think I’m just going to enjoy this brief respite and get drunk.”

Iatre grinned, pouring several more drinks. “Sounds like fun. May I join you?”

“Sure,” Arkay smiled weakly. “Depression could do with some company…”