Note: This story is set about 50 years from present time.
“Tenuk, we should not be doing this!” Retvik had repeated that phrase a good thirty or fourty times, and every single time, Tenuk had ignored him and steamed forward with even more determination. He was a Half-Retha on a mission and not even his best friend was stopping him.
“Please, Tenuk, listen! He’s gone! He finally got to go to sleep. Let him rest!”
“No. He is not sleeping.” Tenuk nearly growled.
Elksia, who had just caught up, put a clawed hand on Retvik’s shoulder. “He won’t listen.”
“I know, but this is wrong. We do not even know Tenuk’s intentions! Even if we reach this mythical place, how do we even find him?”
Tenuk was ignoring them still, but time was hanging over him. They had been walking for weeks and he had not stopped once, despite Retvik and Elksia trying to intervene. It took Elksia kicking him in the legs to get Tenuk to finally stop.
“What was that for!?!” Tenuk roared, throwing Elksia back. Retvik jumped between them, exhaustion and desperation etched in his face.
“Tenuk, listen for two minutes! We have not stopped once. You have not eaten. We carry on like this, we will find ourselves joining Arkay in the cold circles of reincarnation.”
“He is not dead. He has not been reincarnated…” Finally Tenuk said something of use.
“Well, why don’t you take a few seconds and explain what the fuck is going on?” Elksia sighed. “All this time and you haven’t told us anything.”
Tenuk sat down, head in his hands. “I did not want to scare you with the truth.”
“We have killed gods, brother. I am sure whatever you have to say is not that terrifying,” Retvik tried to reassure Tenuk as he sat down next to him.
“Well…” Tenum began, “It all starts with what happens when one dies. Normally your soul is cleansed and you are reincarnated as a new being. The process takes anywhere between a week and a month. But Deitics used to try and interfere with this process…”
“By making you believe in heaven?” Elksia asked.
“That rarely works unless you sign into it on your deathbed. Normally Deitics would just go to the cleansing factory and steal souls. Now they can’t do that. Things changed. The factory was terramorphed into a planet, a world filled with animals that do the jobs of machines.”
“What does this have to do with Arkay?” Retvik interrupted. “He has been dead for 10 days. He has probably already had his mind erased.”
“I told you, Retvik, he hasn’t been reincarnated!” Tenuk sighed. “This world has no name, but us Deitics call it Kinigi. I used my Deitic powers to bring us here. It has protectors, Theoktons who hunt down anyone stupid enough to steal souls, forced to feast on Deitic flesh until the end of conscious life!”
Retvik and Elksia glanced at one another. Tenuk wiped a tear from his eye and continued talking.
“Arkay was only young when he died. My hope is that we can bring him back before he becomes a Veth.”
“The name of the protectors of Kinigi. Perfect predators. Resembling their original selves. Horrible, vicious beings with no trace of kindness. But it takes time to create a Veth, Arkay is probably still being processed. And we’re nearly there, so you stopping us is wasting precious time!”
Tenuk pointed ahead of them. There was a large, green dome. It looked as if it was made out of vines. The three Retha stood up and slowly approached the unusual building. At the front was a single entrance made of some kind of red goo.
“Are you sure?” Elksia hesitated.
“Yes…” Tenuk pulled out his Dessaron blade and pressed it to the goo, which pulled away with a squelching sound, giving them access to the building.
Inside, there were several large, pulsating cocoons, each one attached to an organic console at the centre of the room via translucent tubes. While most of the cocoons were simply pulsating, one was moving much more than the rest.
“I have a horrible feeling about this…” Retvik shuddered.
Suddenly, the cocoon burst open, revealing the creature inside. About 2.5m tall, similar in size and shape to Retvik, but with a yellow and black body and intricate gold armour. The creature struggled to its feet, clawing slime off its body, before sniffing the air.
The creature turned to look at the three Retha and began to growl menacingly.
“You’re too late!” Arkay roared, his formerly delicate voice replaced by a deep growl, his memories replaced by his eternal mission as a Veth. With a second, bellowing roar, the Veth charged forward, scythe-like claws flailing, towards his old friends. Retvik and Elksia both dove to one side, while Tenuk used his powers to simply let Arkay phase through him. As Arkay tumbled and struggled, his newborn status still cloudy and dizzy to him, Tenuk grabbed Retvik and Elksia and teleported to safety.
“I’m sorry, Arkay…” Tenuk muttered as the three Dessaron faded away.