Tale – City Exchange

“Good evening…”

“Phovos. You can just call me Phovos.”

High General Elkay waited for the Raptor to sit down, before sitting down himself. “… Phovos. It is a pleasure to meet you again.”

Phovos smiled. “You were going to call me Ser. I could see it. Shame you don’t have a feminine version of the word.”

“It is genderless, it applies no matter one’s gender,” Elkay explained.

“Oh. I see… Still, it’s nice to see you here, rather than getting changed in a small room in my arena…” Phovos mused. “I bet you’re wondering what I am doing here?”

“I have an idea. Generals Retvik and Gath sent a message to Vice General Rethais explaining the situation.”

“Are they siblings? Retvik and Rethais?”

“Yes. Rethais is the elder brother. Both are wonderful Rethans.” Elkay reached to one side, for a glass of water. “Do you want anything to drink?”

“Nah. Your little Ksa offered like five times already. I know it’s like, traditional for you to offer drinks and stuff, but I am fine. Plus, ain’t they both older than you?”

Elkay sighed. “Yes, most Generals of the Stratos are older than me.”

“You’re something special though. Like… I dunno. I get a weird feeling whenever you are around…” Phovos shifted in her seat. It was a padded stool, like most Rethans sat on. She wanted to lean back a little. “I’m proud of you, really. You climbed back up to the top.”

“Thank you, Phovos.”

The Raptor smiled. “Sorry, totally changing topic. So they told you what I want to do? About handing Palaestra over to you?”

Elkay nodded. “Yes, they explained it. I can understand the ins and outs and whys, but this does put us all in a very awkward situation…” Elkay sipped his drink before continuing. “On the one hand, Rethan control of the city will protect those prosecuted. But the downside is that our occupation could be interpreted as an act of war, not only by the Sixteen but by Thanatian allies. The Banikans and Cassids could both attempt to invade, either on behalf of the Thanatians, or by simply claiming to protect their friends.”

Phovos sighed. “I… didn’t think of that… I mean, the Cassids can’t invade, we have a treaty with them barring their military on Thanatian territories. But the Banikans would be a problem… How can we get around this?”

“You would have to be the ruler of the entire Vriskera region, I believe. But the territory is purely Thanatian, I doubt you could even claim it as your own.”

“Hm… Actually…” Phovos’s smile quickly returned. “The territory isn’t specifically owned by anyone. I could, if I wanted to, build an army and take over the whole region. There is nothing in our laws stopping me from doing so.”

Elkay nearly spat out his drink in surprise. “Really?”



“Insane. Blame the ones before us. They set up the laws. Tradition makes it incredibly hard to change.”

“I guess…” Elkay tutted. “But even if you did conquer the region, you would have to then claim Vriskera to either be a neutral territory, or an independent nation on its own. Ideally, a neutral territory would be better, as I am allowed to send in Rethan soldiers if the Maza agrees to it. But only if your takeover is non-hostile. A hostile takeover could result in everyvok stepping in.”

Phovos shrugged. “Shouldn’t be too hard. I can just talk everyone into doing it. The Thraki and Kshan will immediately listen anyway.”

“Whatever you do though, Phovos, do not claim to be fighting under a Rethan banner. Or a Thanatian banner. Or anything but your own banner. If you fight under the flag of one race, then the Maza will try and interfere. Understood?”

Phovos nodded happily as she stood up. “Won’t be a problem, High General! I’ll see you next week then!”

“Yes, of course…” Elkay replied. “Wait, what?”

Before Elkay could work out what had just happened, the Raptor was already gone.