Kindyna chased after the exhausted Vrekan as he stormed away.
“Please, come back!”
Verlais was having none of it. He was tired and hungry and confused. He wanted to lay down somewhere and have a nice sleep or something. But all around him was yet more rubble, more nothingness. Finally, he came to a stop.
“Kindyna, I just want to rest for a bit. We have been at all this for too long. When was the last time we sat down to rest and think about all that’s happened?”
“I guess… I mean… I see your point. Maybe we should rest…”
Their conversation was interrupted by a worried Ct’Era.
“Friends! Arksi is not around!”
“He is missing! I do not know where he is!” Ct’Era spun around and bounced off in a panic, looking all over the place, even under things Arksi couldn’t possibly hide under. When she got tired of that, she started calling Arksi’s name. Kindyna and Verlais both glanced around, unsure where their little friend had disappeared off to.
Finally, Verlais spotted the little Rethavok. He was almost a speck, standing on the roof of a nearby building, staring at the sun frozen on the horizon.
“Arksi!” Ct’Era shouted, only for him to ignore her cries.
Verlais glanced at Kindyna. “Maybe I should go speak to him.”
“Why you?” Kindyna asked.
Verlais shrugged. “He is a Ksa. I am a member of the Myst. A fledgling member but a member none the less. There is an air of…”
“Superiority?” Kindyna joked.
“No, that isn’t… what I meant. I meant that we both have something in common.”
Kindyna nodded and patted Verlais on the back. “Go talk to him. I’ll calm Ct’Era down.”
Verlais smiled and walked off towards the building. It was only a couple of storeys high, but Verlais had no idea how Arksi had got up there so quickly. The front door was locked, but on the side of the building was a ladder. That was probably how.
Of course, being as tired as he was, Verlais took a while to climb that ladder. It didn’t help that it was built for Thanatian proportions, not for heavily armoured, weirdly shaped Vrekans like him. But as he made it to the top, he noticed that Arksi still hadn’t moved.
“Friend, are you well?”
No answer. Verlais asked again.
“Arksi, are you alright?”
Verlais shrugged. “As in, in general? It is unlike you to run off.”
Arksi stopped staring at the timeless sunset and instead stared at the ground.
“I am sick of all of this.”
Verlais quietly made his way over to Arksi’s side. It amazed him how something so small and delicate could be considered such a powerful warrior.
“I am sick of it all too. So much nonsense, breaking the walls of reality. What bothers you currently?”
“I have a feeling you know more than the rest of us, Arksi?” Verlais muttered, after a while of Arksi not answering.
“You’re right. I know just how fucked we are. You three don’t.”
“Is this because of your brother?”
“Partially. He disappeared for eleven years. Spent ten of those years being tortured. Different circumstances though. The Deitics were trying to control us, not freeze time.”
Verlais shrugged. “Are you… worried we will spend ten years being tortured?”
“Then what are you scared of?”
Again, Arksi didn’t answer. Tears were welling up in his eyes, but Arksi did his best to hide them.
“It is not me I am concerned for. I am not even hugely concerned with you three. You are all capable, honourable warriors, I know you can look after yourselves…”
“Then what is it?”
Arksi turned to gaze at Verlais, wiping a tear from his eye. “I have a partner, Verlais. I have a husband back home who is worried sick about me. Or might be. For all I know, he’s frozen in time like everyone else. I am… terrified… that I won’t see him for ten years. Or see him ever again…”
Verlais put his arms around Arksi.
“I understand. But standing here being sad won’t get you home.”
“I know that. I just… I don’t know… I wanted to get away for a moment… Just not think about it…”
The Vrekan’s frown turned into a smile. “Well, you are not alone there. Perhaps we can find somewhere to relax for a while. Find a cafe, get something to eat, just sit down and gather our thoughts. I’m sure Kindyna and Ct’Era will agree. Sound alright to you?”
Arksi nodded. “That is a brilliant idea, Verlais.”
Verlais smiled some more, then walked over to the ladder. “Come on, let’s go get the others.”