The call to sacred service rang out in multiple harmonies.
It was countered immediately by deep drumbeats in unison.
Rydin closed his eyes and imagined what was transpiring far below on the ground. The Royligio Facet would be following their sacred call -usually reserved for devotion- into the Well Meeqat from the west, while the Vibulare would let their drums lead them into the very same area from the east.
Rydin tried to ignore the sounds and keep his eyes closed: maybe this day could somehow all go away. Yet no matter how hard he tried to push out the tumultuous feelings and thoughts, he kept revisiting the conversation he had nearly three lyears ago. The night that tasted so bitter.
Up until that point he barely had a family. Now he didn’t even have the barely.
He had been resting his back on the largest tree in his yard, which faced a grove of smaller trees. All of the Bustatrees, as they were called, had leaves that were every colour of the spectrum. Except for green. Half of the trees in the yard were a mix of red, yellow, and orange, while the other half were blue, indigo, and violet. The air was cool and crisp, and at this time of year, the leaves were beginning to fall. Rydin watched as big and small leaves, pointed and round, rough and textured, cascaded to the ground. As they detached from their branches, the dazzling leaves immediately began to lose their colour, so that by the time they hit the stone tiles, they were various shades of bluish-greeinish-yellowish. That wasn’t a thing but he had no other way to describe their odd hue.
You had to pick the leaves before they fell to extract the coloured resin otherwise they would be useless…
… To everyone but him.
He squeezed a large leaf and the resin seeped out of it coating his fingers .The Bustatree leaves gave off a musty and damp smell As he took the gooey brown substance and began to pull it the leaf gave off a musty and damp smell He kneaded the goo quickly into a large sheet while still being amazined how much one leaf could produce. Then suddenly the resin made a satisfying pop sound.
Many people-his family included- called the debris that had fallen Busta-Trash. Rydin didn’t mind, considering the fact that the Busta Trees required very little water and there was only one place to get it, people were lucky to have any foliage at all. Besides they just didn’t appreciate anything that wasn’t a stupid prism.
He held his now hardened sheet with pride, then quickly began to snap it off into smaller pieces. They weren’t the same size but he didn’t care. He shuffled them into a deck with his right hand, and licked his left then brought the watriva down on the edges an alternating fashion. It would create a cool but flimsy accordion fold. Sure the pages could come apart easily, but once they did secrets unravelled to the user. It was completely unique. He was completely unique.
“Self made papyr journal wa wa wa!” he said for the zillionth time to no one in particular.
He grabbed another smaller leaf rolled it vertical and this time slowly squeezed.
“Self made stilo ooo oooo!” he said for the zillionth and one time to no one in particular.
The back yard of his house was a perfect respite from everyone and everything. It was enclosed between the circular shaped house in front of him, and the 15-foot high fence of spectrum behind him. The fence bordered the back of his yard and arched around his house to re-join at the front. Rydin knew that on all four sides of it were his protective guards. Sometimes he didn’t know if he was being given his space from the world, or was in fact, being caged in.
He had never been silent on his worldviews, and he wouldn’t be, no matter who came after him….
At that moment, his mother emerged from the house onto the raised deck. Appearing immediately behind her was the taller figure of his father. Rydin shook his head and slammed his papyr book shut. Couldn’t he work on Nardvale in peace?!
Their complexions were in sharp contrast. His mother was as pale as the pieces of a Drath board, his father, as richly dark as the pieces of a Noelle board. Neither of them looked at the other, and they both walked briskly, as if reaching him first made some kind of difference. Rydin knew what they had come to say. He just wished they hadn’t come to say it.
“Have you made your decision?” his mother asked firmly.
He wondered how a woman who wasn’t that physically imposing could seem like she was larger than life. Her silver hair was tied back in a single braid, her fighting look Rydin often called it. She wore a simple dress with no designs or frills, which was ironic because she was anything but simple.
Before Rydin could answer, his father quickly added, “Yes, Rydin. Who would you like to go with?”
They each had a prism in their hands. His mothers was a rich violet, and his fathers a deep red. The colors were pretty, but what they represented was so so ugly. Still he was mesmerized by them. He just needed to take one…
His father was substantially taller than his mother, taller than Rydin himself. His parents were no longer wearing grey anymore. Neither of them had ever liked grey. It suited him just fine.
His mother looked at his father to show him that she was not amused. His father shrugged his shoulders and pursed his lips, which only seemed to irritate her more.
“Well…” they said in unison, each sounding anxious and determined.
The silence hung for what seemed like hours, even though it was a few seconds. All Rydin could hear were the leaves hitting the ground. He kept looking down, as his head felt too heavy to lift.
When it became obvious that no answer was coming, his mother turned as cold as ice. She seemed to draw in the crisp air to make her words more clear.
“I do not have time for this, Rydin Razi. You have had months to make up your decision! This will be a monumental achievement for Billen, as he is becoming the Base of the Vibulare. In three lyears he will be given the honour of opening the World Water Council Sessi-“
“He’s not the only one, Mimeen!” His father was hot under the collar now. “Arsin has been selected as the Ascension by the Royligio, and he too will open the World Water Council Session. Rydin please tell us now who you want to come with!”
His mother and father glared at one another while gripping their prisms tighter and tighter. The prisms made from these very trees behind him. Rydin couldn’t take it anymore. He stood and brushed the brown leaf fragments from his Shalmeez. As he got up, the bits of leaves fell from him and fluttered in the air, withering and crumbling as the wind took them in a million different directions. At least the fallen leaves could understand him. He wished he could join them.
He put his hands over the unkempt stubble that was trying to call itself a beard on his face. Rydin wanted to get in the middle of them before the fight escalated, but he was not quick enough to prevent their lit for lat war.
“I wasted my entire life with you,” said his mother.
“No one forced you, now did they?” his father said.
“You took my eldest child and brainwashed him!” his father accused.
“You took my youngest son and manipulated him,” his mother accused right back.
A pressure was building inside Rydin, he couldn’t keep it in, or he would explode. He finally whispered, “I am not going with either of you.”
His parents didn’t hear him. Rydin stopped listening, because it was all black noise. He couldn’t focus on the rest of their words, but didn’t need to: they had been having this debate the whole 20 lyears of his life.
Rydin said louder this time, “I am not going with either of you!”
Both of their heads whipped around. He had their attention again.
“I am not going with either of you!” Rydin repeated through gritted teeth, warm sweat beading on his forehead and mixing with the cool air.
He said it again as if the words were a lifeline. “I am not going with either of you!”
His mother looked at her son as if seeing him for the first time. She appraised him and said, “We don’t belong here, Rydin.”
“For once, we agree on something,” his father echoed.
His parents looked at one another as if attempting to find some meaning in their minuscule agreement. The moment quickly passed and they looked away, words unsaid. They refocused on Rydin anew.
“Rydin, your Nunna and Nuneen have given the decree. I am allowed to re-join the Vibulare Facet, and will be at the Opening. Don’t you see what this means?” His mother looked exasperated.
And like clockwork his father had to respond. “Yes, but your Dadin and Dadeen have executed the order that I am allowed to re-join the Royligio Facet,” he said. “Surely you understand the importance?”
Something snapped in Rydin.
“I know exactly what it means, you are being welcomed back into your original Facets only because of your other “precious” sons! Arsin is the greatest Emotive Liner in a generation, Billen the greatest Reasonal Liner! Don’t either of you see that you are being pardoned because my stupid grandparents,” he pointed at both his mother and father, “want to turn my brothers into weapons?!”
Rydin couldn’t stop the words from coming anymore.
He gestured outwards. “All of these people we are responsible for, how do you think they got in this state?! You two started this whole vision and abandoned it! How do you think it will end up for those two, because you let them LEAVE?!”
He switched from visceral emotion straight to clear thoughts.
“If you loved your damn Facets so much, why did you throw it all away and marry each other? Why did the two of you not fight each other? And why do you grovel back to the same people who kicked you out? I can’t handle a Prism like either of my brothers or my spectacular parents, but I don’t care. My brothers, the two of you, your FACETS… just leave me ALONE!”
The heat had somehow crept back in at the end; he was all over the place all the time, it was frustrating. No wonder people never took him seriously.
But Rydin was so lost in his own words, and he didn’t realize the impact that they had on his parents. He may have well slapped them, for how stunned they looked. Well let them be stunned.
His mother looked at him and said quietly, “We were never truly accepted here, Rydin, we were just given something to occupy ourselves with. You won’t be accepted by them either. The MultiFacet isn’t as beneficent as you would like them to be.”
She paused unable to speak the words, but his father finished for her.
“You always feel you are right, Rydin, well you are not, and sometimes there is no perfect way. You are not welcome at the Opening Ceremony. If you are not joined to either of our sides, your protection will not hold. This Sanctuary Meeqat” he gestured around them, “is your permanent home.”
Rydin rolled his eyes and answered, “Yeah, Dad because for the last 20 lyears I have been living somewhere else. I don’t need protection from either of them; tell them they know my address.”
His parents almost smiled at his lunacy, they sort of smirked but their eyes looked sad.
His father turned and walked back through the house and disappeared.
His mother finally had some words, but this time Rydin was the one who felt slapped.
“I can’t protect you anymore,” she said, “from here, you are on your own.”
Then she too turned and walked into the house, and out of his life.
“Alone, I have all of my leaf friends. Don’t take it too hard leaves I still value you.”
In answer they continued to fall.
Rydin was snapped out of his reflection by a loud announcement that was audible even so far up in the Sanctuary.
“30 minlycles till World Water Council Opening Session. No more entries to the Well Meeqat permitted after 30 minlycles. Only valid Visage holders will be allowed entry.” The women’s voice was so nasal. One of these days he would figure out how The MultiFacet projected sound so easily.
Rydin knew that if he left the Sanctuary, he could be killed or worse. The MultiFacet would be spread thin today with all attention on the ceremony. It may mean he couldn’t be protected but it would also mean his guard too would be thin…
Rydin smiled. It wouldn’t be the first time he had snuck out, and surely he wasn’t going to miss his brothers’ big day? They were his brothers after all, why should a whole bunch of strangers get to see it and not him?
He stepped through the back gate…
… and came face to face with a bald man who looked tough as lines. The man was standing there as if he had been waiting for this. His pristine green uniform shone in the light.
“Going somewhere, Rydin? Also do you not know how to shave, there are water nicks all over your face.”
Rydin couldn’t quite read his expressions, he never could, but the man certainly didn’t look amused. He had never looked amused at any point during the last two decades he had spent protecting Rydin and his family.
“Well that depends, Esbin. On you. And I don’t shave often.”
“I can tell.”
Today wasn’t a day for Rydin to back down, but maybe he should go patch himself up first.
Esbin brought Rydin directly via the platforms from the Sanctuary Zone. Rydin had been planning to use these to get down, but admittedly, he hadn’t really figured out how he was going to do so. Fortunately, Esbin had solved it. Rydin hid out of sight on the way down, so anyone looking would only see Esbin not him. Thank goodness no sensor or sight prisms were allowed in the Well Meeqat today. Rydin couldn’t believe how easy this was turning out to be. They both stepped off the platform and onto the edge of a roof that Rydin knew was the World Water Council Chamber.
He admired the view for a second. The giant water conduit hung in the air just over an oval skylight that looked into the Chamber below. It was disconnected from its other piece, which was below the chamber he stood on. There were few occasions were the water wouldn’t flow like it normally did: a special occasion indeed.
His admiration changed into annoyance when he looked and saw all of the Royligio and Vibulare clusters that had floated in.
“Why couldn’t they just stay on their own damn fragments?” he said to himself.
Surrounding the skylight and standing fanned out like a 360 degree human fence were some of the most intense men and women Rydin had ever seen: Waleez. They were different than the usual guard who watched him. These were elite. Dressed in light green Shalmeez waistcoats, they looked fierce and intimidating.
Rydin looked anxiously at Esbin who gave him a reassuring smile. As Esbin strode forward, the soldiers saluted. Esbin nodded and simply walked by them and Rydin followed quickly in case the soldiers changed their mind about letting him pass.
Five standard line lengths away from the skylight, Esbin halted Rydin. He spoke firmly.
“Rydin, you and I both know that you are not supposed to be here. These men and women are sworn to me,” he gestured to the Waleez, “however it is best if we keep your visit as discreet as possible. I am taking a risk by bringing you here, but of all people, you have a right to see this. Please watch from here.” Esbin’s tone left no doubt that this wasn’t a request.
“C’mon Esbin let me go closer… please.” Maybe if he pleaded?
“Absolutely not. You can watch from–“
“What? Do you think I am gonna dive in or something?”
Rydin’s attempt at humour fell flat, so flat. Esbin didn’t say a word.
Let’s try another approach. “Look Esbin this has been a very difficult time for me, I would just prefer to have this look right up close, I promise I won’t do anything bad.”
Esbin growled, “Except you have always been a profuse liar.”
He smiled sheepishly, “Well I mean who knows what can be called truth these days, isn’t the greater point in life to search for meanin-urk”
Esbin grabbed him by his collar. “Do not make me regret this,” he said.
Esbin spun him around and gave him a not so light shove towards the opening.
Rydin tried to fight the apprehension he felt and tried to compose himself, not trusting his decision in this moment. He took a deep breath and forced himself to look into the large opening. Better to face this head on he thought, then let it smack you in the face. He was as close as he could possibly be without being in the ceremony itself: the skylight was a good vantage point. Rydin could still see into the chamber making out the figures below, and the chamber was noisy and electric.
He was hoping to see his brothers and his parents but saw her instead.
His eyesight had always been perfect even at distance; he wished right now it wasn’t.
A mix of emotions and thoughts coursed through his entire being. He felt a little unsteady. Esbin asked him if he was all right. Rydin didn’t look at him and tried to focus, to no effect. She, like everyone else had abandoned him. Just like his brothers, she was on to her own future espousing her “Middle View”. He tried to focus on something, anything else. He ended up stupidly focusing on her hood.
The Potential Hood that marked her as a future candidate to lead. I mean it was such a stupid name it was more like a scarf, stupid MultiFacet trying to be so extra all the time. He was wearing a grey scarf, and he called it a scarf! But still her “hood” shimmered in shades of green, dark then light… it was pretty, she was pretty.
…They were 10 lyears old (well he was 9). She had just received her hood and they were exploring the Refuge Meeqat in disguises. She had fallen and rolled her ankle and he had used her hood to wrap it. She was mad at him for treating it so improperly and getting it dirty, but Rydin didn’t care. It felt soft and silky yet somehow very durable. He had carried her on his back through the market.
…They were 13 and he had made her a notelet, on it he had written. Don’t forget me when you’re famous-Nardvale.” She had laughed and had use lines to weave it into her prism wristlet.
…They were 15 and he had fled from home and stolen his brothers and parent’s prisms. She had tracked him down. She had marched him back and made him give the prisms back. Then she kissed him and gave him her own prism.
…They were 16 and she was consoling him because his brothers had left for the Royligio and Vibulare. He was crying on her shoulder and she didn’t mind that her hood was getting wet…
…They were 17 and she and him had put on a lining trapeze show for the dependents. Well she put on the prism show and tossed him around in the air as she flew. Him always trusting she would catch him, she madly scrambling as he deviated from her plans. She had said he was reckless but had said it with a smile…
…They were 19 and arguing, because she had had told him that she was in serious contention to lead The MultiFacet. He had told her that The MultiFacet was just as stupid as the Royligio and Vibulare, because it didn’t try to unite the two other facets, but just tried to keep the peace and preserve itself. She ripped his notelet from her hood and threw it at him. He told her Living With Contradiction wasn’t the truth, that there was more that she wasn’t telling him..
…They were 20. She asked him why he didn’t want to be with her. She asked him why he wouldn’t let her in after his parents had left. He was distant, and had just said the he was not important to her anymore, not with her future ahead… She became cold and told him he was being childish, that he was important to her. He asked her to prove it. Give up leading The MultiFacet and help him find a new way to end the hostility between the Royligio and Vibulare, to make them one. She called him an idiotic dreamer. That crushed him, so he crushed her. “Well then your majesty, go enjoy your life, stay out of mine, and don’t choke on your hood.”
Don’t choke on your hood. His last words to her. The hurt look on her face lined into his head. She cried that day and began spouting nonsense. She never cried. She never spouted nonsense.
That was the last time he had seen her. Until now.
The chamber erupted in applause as voices announced… his brothers. Rydin finally saw them and for the second time he nearly lost his balance.
Arsin and Billen looked impressive decked out in their regalia. So did she, and a part of Rydin was proud of his brothers and of… her. Was he insane? Proud of them, Rydin exhaled, what was going on in his life?
She was saying something that silenced the crowd, but her words even though they were clear to everyone else didn’t come through to him. They were black noise and he wasn’t sure what she said, but he felt more and more disoriented. She was walking forward with purpose; her sisters were standing behind her not following. Somehow those two never really inspired the most confidence in him.
She was no better than either of his brothers despite her vehement defence of The MultiFacet: it was no different to him than the Royligio or Vibulare. Still he was a little awed by the pomp and circumstance of the occasion and it was truthfully one of the reasons he was drawn to see it for himself.
But then he looked again at the spectrum of colours they wore: (Arsin in flowing Roy attire, Billen in a streamlined Vib ensemble, and Shabina in her middle green) and the colours were a representation of who they were. Rydin looked down at his own plain grey clothing and felt inadequate, not for the first time.
He hadn’t seen any of them in years. Even though he was above the chamber, the distance to the ground might have been the size of Dunya. Well Dunya’s size was relative depending on the moment. Stupid! Can’t you even mope properly! As he was saying to himself he had never felt so alone. There that’s how you mope, be melodramatic!
Rydin gritted his teeth and realized he had been day dreaming again. He could hear his mother’s voice reprimanding him for losing focus.
She was closing in towards the centre of the chamber. His brothers had made proclamations of their own and also headed that way. Rydin didn’t pay attention to their words either; it must be those mantras the two of them always recited before going to sleep. Propaganda in its highest form. Those idiots made him listen to it every night as kids. Rydin would have to go see Arsin in his bedroom first and recite it with him, and then he would have to go down the hall and do the same with Billen. Rydin had made up his own mantra, but it was not appropriate. For some reason, he could never remember The MultiFacet one, no matter how many times Shabina tried to teach it to him. He think it ended with Can You Stay The Middle? Of course his brothers were trying to outdo one another, and Shabina was trying to outdo them. Even when everything had changed, some things never changed.
Rydin refocused as Shabina arrived slightly before his brothers in the middle circle. Rydin knew this was some kind of ceremony, but he had always tuned out when his mother and father began to go on about how Billen or Arsin were going to take part in it. He hated everything to do with the Facets, and especially lining. Once his brothers both left, he had stopped pretending to care.
Because Rydin couldn’t use Emotive Lining, the Royligio could care less about him, and because he couldn’t do Reasonal Lining he didn’t exist to the Vibulare. Arsin was admitted to the top Roy lining academy, and Billen the best Vib institution. As each of them got better at their type of lining, they grew apart and began to follow the garbage that the Royligio and Vibulare espoused. Soon they stopped talking to one another and stopped coming home. Then they left for good. Lining drove them apart.
During the same time, Shabina had become obsessed with becoming the best at Middle Lining, spending every spare second on it. Obsessed with being better than Lavindra. She was there too sitting in the stands. If Shabina was obsessed Lavindra was obsessed with beating Shabina.. Any person who got caught between those two should run! Rydin knew firsthand. So complicated, Lining… it ruined relationships.
What exactly was going to happen next? Rydin realized he had no clue.
Rydin looked back at Esbin who was hanging back. Esbin read his face. “You want to know what they are about to do, right?”
Rydin sighed. “Yes, Esbin. What exactly is the big deal?”
Esbin looked at him as if he was talking to a child he had to instruct.
“You spent your life with Shabina and your brothers, and you are telling me honestly you have no clue. Maybe if you spent less time with those bottles!”
“Hey my bottles are amazing, they never talk back!” No one could make fun of his collection.
Rydin got even more defensive. “I have never been to one of these, okay?”
“That’s hardly an excuse,” Esbin quipped.
“Are you going to tell me or not?!” Rydin knew he should be grateful, but he was annoyed.
Esbin relented. “Well this is the opening of the World Water Council. It is usually performed by the Seleto and a designate from the Royligio and Vibulare, often a Fanata or an Ultrere.” Rydin grew angry on hearing their names and even Esbin looked like he had said something foul, but he continued, “but 3 lyears ago (Rydin felt a stab of pain) Pieroz insisted that Shabina would break the tradition and open it herself. The InterFacet objected fiercely, but Pieroz wouldn’t be denied. The Royligio and Vibulare in response picked your brothers. Kind of a youth movement. It’s all been building up to this. What exactly were you doing for 3 lyears?”
He ignored the last question. “How generous of them,” was his answer while he rolled his eyes. In truth he was remembering all of what Esbin said. Maybe he had just intentionally buried it.
“Shabina will go up first and create obstacles made from light-resin. Your brothers will ceremonially duel each other by racing to get her prism, it’s a tradition and the winner gets bragging rights.”
Rydin froze. “Bragging rights, Esbin what do you mean?”
Esbin looked perplexed. “Whomever retrieves the prism gets to say they defeated the other for that session. Some say it gives an edge before the negotiations get underway for either the Royligio or Vibulare. At the very least it gives bragging right up until the Lining Fela…”
Esbin was still talking but Rydin was no longer listening.
Bragging rights. Defeat. Edge.
Rydin had spent his whole life separating his brothers, there was no half speed, no joking. Rydin thought they would just be acknowledged and not have to compete against one another. The stupid ceremony made the stakes that much higher to them… In that moment, Rydin knew what was going to happen next, he saw it. Why did no one else understand?! Why did they not see?! Where was Danal? Wasn’t this supposed to be his department?
The Chamber. Carnage everywhere. The world in chaos…and she was dying.
Esbin misread the look on Rydin’s face for something else.
“If it’s too much, I understand–”
“No Esbin, I will be fine!” He turned back to the opening, clenching his fists.
He heard Esbin softly saying, “Very well.” Esbin Softly? No time to focus on that man!
Rydin inched forward till he was right next to the opening. They had begun the ceremony, and were racing towards Shabina who was above them! Not fully understanding what he was doing Rydin leaned forward and just… fell.
He heard a rush of wind as Esbin tried to grab him and yelled, “No Rydin!” Esbin’s voice sounded muffled like it was coming from under water.
As Rydin floated in air, he saw the most spectacular cavalcade of colors or colours as some would say below. Why did such random things occur to him in bad situations?!
Then he dropped.
He wasn’t a skilled lino-batique in the air, like his brothers, or her, he had no prism and couldn’t line. Whenever he had tried copying any of them he found out he fell very fast in the air, and densely would crash into the ground. He never stuck landings.
He never stuck landings…
Rydin was going to die, or even worse.
At least the colours looked nice.
He was sitting in a cell. A single piece of spectrum, or light-resin, or lining (whatever people called it) floated in no particular pattern over the entrance (or exit!). Its slow movement was hypnotic. Up, down side to side. As it floated, it left green streaks that quickly disappeared. That was all that separated him from leaving. Except if he came close to it, the piece of spectrum would expand out into a number of solid bars. This wasn’t his first cell.
He was blinking rapidly. His vision was blurry, yet something was not quite right. He could see nothing but white, but when he blinked he could see colours again.
Blink. White. Blink. Colours. It was actually kind of neat. So much better than his usual vision though!
He moved and felt immediate stabbing pain all over his body. He touched his arm, it had an open cut on his wrist and water was trickling out of it into a small tube and collecting in a container on the ground next to him. The bandages on his wrist from this morning had been torn. In-fact there were seven tubes all collecting water into seven containers on the ground.
But Rydin realized there were cuts of various sizes all over his body. The tubes of all seven colours were all placed on waterie vein points.
“Are they trying to Dehydrate me?!” he panicked and moved to get rid of all of them!
“I wouldn’t touch those if I were you.”
His vision was in full colour, and Rydin made an effort not to blink.
A woman stood looking at him. Rydin was sure she had lots of lovely features but he only cared about her name crest in that moment.
It said Sidrah Guyuu, in stylized lettering.
“Sidrah, is it? I can call you that right?”
The women had a stern expression and said nothing.
“So why is it exactly that I am looking like a loculine just ran through me?”
She said nothing still.
“Oooookay, so next question.”
“I know. Here is an easy one: who won the ceremony?” This would get an answer.
The woman’s eyes widened and she opened her mouth.
“It was that exciting, eh? Which of my brothers won? You know the two guys lining at it, yup those are my brothers.” Rydin hoped name-dropping might help him now.
Except instead of answering, this woman looked like she might open a million more cuts on his face.
Sidrah finally spoke, but more like sputtered out words between shallow breaths, “You…You mean you have no clue what you just did?!” Her eyes looked ready to pop out of their sockets, again she may have had lovely hair but Rydin just saw the white in her bulging eyeballs.
“Ummm well you see I kinda fell through the ceiling, and the rest is a bit you know… a bit of a jumbled line if you will.”
So he had done it now, this woman who was dressed in all black (when it didn’t look white of course), was going to–
Rydin’s thoughts jumbled together, and then he had a swell of wonderful feelings and thoughts. Of course that caused his body to expand with water, and of course there was much much pain as it gushed out of the cuts!
“Wait, are you a Separator?”
The woman paused, confused as to how to react.
Rydin kept talking, his mouth just moved. “Wait, if you are a Separator why are you on prison guard duty… isn’t there a ginourmous crowd of people out there… What happens if they start going at it… You should really take your duty more serious…..”
“SHUT UP”, his new best friend Sidrah snapped.
She momentarily composed herself. “You are in a whole pile of lit, Rydin Razi.”
“Yes you are,” but it wasn’t Sidrah who spoke. It was a voice of another woman.
Rydin realized that he couldn’t see her.
In a second though, this other woman had walked into view of his cell from his left.
She gently touched Sidrah on the shoulder.
“Sid, it has probably been a rough little while for him, cut him a line okay?”
Sidrah instantly relaxed at the touch. Like instantly.
He flushed and his face expanded. Water filled his cheeks and made his forehead fat and mushy. He smiled through the pain.
The woman (once again he was paying attention to her crest only), whose name was Fien Reve looked at Rydin’s smile, and laughed. “Yes it’s like that.” Her voice was… well it was definitely more feminine sounding than Sidrah’s.
“So ummm who wears the line armour?” He didn’t know what made him say that, he just did. Suprisingly, Sidrah (the ‘mean one’ to him) blushed furiously water expanding her face now, while Fien (the nice one) put her hand over her mouth to cover her laughter.
Fien shook her head, but as she removed her hand the laughter was gone and she had a very serious expression. She spoke softly but he heard every word.
“Rydin, you have committed an act of transgression against The MultiFacet, The Royligio Facet, and The Vibulare Facet, not to mention the Separators.”
“Transgression?” he asked
“Yes you interrupted the Opening Ceremony of The World Water Council.”
Rydin remembered all of a sudden, how could he have forgotten? He had jumped through the opening.
“Esbin…” he said to no one in particular.
“Yes thanks to you, Esbin has been sequestered and awaits punishment.”
The physical pain Rydin was feeling, was matched by the feeling of his own betrayal.
Fien kept talking, but she seemed to be less nice somehow, “Not only that, but there was no winner in the Opening Ceremony.”
Hearing this though made Rydin feel good.
“Well for that I don’t feel bad at all,” he said smiling. Rydin had stopped his brothers from fighting.
Fien shook her head, “You really don’t understand. The MultiFacet wasn’t able to announce a winner. There has always been a winner to the ceremony. It serves a purpose, the winning side teases the losing side, and sure there maybe is a small skirmish or two, but it usually ends peacefully.”
Fien was getting heated, but she wouldn’t stop, “The crowds outside in The Well Meeqat were at first confused, but now they are extremely angry and are demanding answers! Outside on the ground of the Well, the chants are raging ‘Where is the winner?”
Rydin asked the question, “If you are here how would you know that?”
Fien scrunched her face trying to keep calm, “Just trust me on that one.”
Rydin didn’t, but he asked another question. “So who is ‘Separating’ the two sides if the Separators are here?”
The Thabaz and Commander Fakhir.
“Fakhir!” Rydin said incredulously. “That guy is a complete bashoe!
Fien looked at him disapprovingly, “Mind your language.”
“Sorry” Rydin said. “So it is bad down there you say?”
“The Roy and Vib have been chanting back and forth at each other for the last two long lycles.” Fien.
“Wait” Rydin was puzzled. “How long have I been in this cell?
“Didn’t Sidrah just say they have been chanting for two long lycles?” Sidrah was rude. He decided that her meanness could no longer be overlooked and they were no longer friends!
Fien looked at him with pity again. Could she decide on a moodset it was confusing! “Sidrah and I were ordered to bring you here by Danal just about two long lycles ago. After your umm big splash. Around the same time word got around about the unusual ending to the ceremony, and people grew agitated.”
Rydin stood up and instantly agonizing pain surged through his body as water gushed out even faster from the colored tubes into the seven different colored containers they matched up with. Confusion and sadness flooded through him at the same time as the pain flared. The three sensations were completely disorienting. This time he yelled and could not keep the pain in.
With serious concern, Sidrah turned her head and yelled down what he thought may have been a corridor; he couldn’t see it from his cell so he could only guess.
A short man in a green and white coat came to the bars.
Sidrah gestured towards Rydin, “He stood up too fast, Lycter!”
The Lycter looked at him but didn’t try to enter. He instead eyed Rydin with curiosity.
Sidrah asked the Lycter, “Aren’t you going to tend to him?”
The Lycter clicked his teeth, “I am sorry my orders were to stabilize him and have no further direct interaction with him. The apparatus are still intact.”
Rydin Realized something about the tubes that were clinging to his body, “Wait these are made out of Spectrum!” he fidgeted “What gives you the right to take my water without my permission?”
Sidrah and Fien both looked angry and perplexed.
Fien, “But he could Dehydrate if he loses too much water!”
“These orders are not to be disobeyed, and they go for the two of you as well. Separators or not!” The Lycter became gruff and turned and walked out of Rydin’s view.
Sidrah muttered under her breath, “Now that is a Basshole!”
“Thank you both for trying to intervene, I know it is not part of your duty, but I don’t need anyone’s help.” Rydin hated being indebted to anyone, even though he was always indebted to everyone…
Sidrah snorted, “Yeah okay.”
Fien had a look in her eyes he didn’t like. One of pity.
He hated being pitied even more than he hated owing people.
“Why are you looking at me like that, did I do something else wrong besides ruining their stupid ceremony?”
Wait he was asking about something and someone a second ago. It would come back to him… eventually. For now he wanted to know just what he did that was so bad.
Fien seemed to measure her words before she spoke them, Sidrah was back to being the stoic silent type.
“Rydin,” Fien bit her lip. “You performed Full Spectrum.”
“It makes you a Waterist.” Sidrah looked increasingly angry when Fient mentioned the word Waterist.
It came back to him at that moment.
“Wait. Danal ordered you to bring him here, does that mean you are part of his Separator Quas?”
Fien’s mouth was open. Sidrah was eye bugging again.
Rydin looked at them, “Umm why are you guys staring at me like that. I mean girls…. Okay one of you might be more like a guy than the other… I mean… Don’t take it the wrong way….It is just two girls together I mean… Not that there is ANYTHING wrong with that.. Okay so both my brothers do think there is something wrong with that.. But Me I am totally cool… Esb-”
Rydin stopped rambling as a man appeared next to the two women.
Rydin went to look at his name tag, but his eyes caught Rydin’s gaze first. Somehow they were quickly changing colour from green, to blue, to red to brown, to yellow.
“What these two sweet lines are trying to say,” the man said without being asked, “is that you, Rydin, just performed Full Spectrum without a Prism.”
Without a Prism… Awesome!
Fien spoke to the Man, “Xanec you can’t just break it to him like that!”
“Giving bad news is the same thing as lucking with a woman, just finish as quickly as you can!” Xanec seemed pleased at his own comment.
Fien looked disgusted, “Your a real lig, you know that.”
Xanec smiled, “Well if you ever get tired of the line breaker over there (gesturing at Sidrah), be sure to give me a try. I love women who bend the lines.”
Sidrah burst out laughing, and Fien looked completely insulted.
Rydin couldn’t stop laughing. In fact he laughed so hard the other three stared at him in surprise.
“Sorry I just didn’t know Separators were so normal, in my limited experience they are a bit too much of a stiff line. Danal was always so uptight.”
Fien looked even more surprised, “You know Chaptain Danal!?”
He raised his left eyebrow, “Umm know him, you know he used to be my best friend right?”
Sidra looked somehow even more shocked than when he first opened his eyes, “Be- Best Friend?!”
“Yeah I knew him before he went all, super line!”
He lifted his arms in the air and clenched both his fists mimicking his former friend.
The three of them wanted to laugh, he knew they wanted to laugh but all just stood there with their mouths open.
They looked from one to another.
Xanec forcing down his desire to laugh changed subjects, “For someone who just found out they used a completely forbidden form of spectrum, one that makes you hated by us Separators the most you don’t seem to be taking it so bad.”
He looked at Xanec with confusion.
Xanec, “You mean you don’t know the punishment for what you did!”
“Know what?” Rydin demanded.
Xanec looked at him his eyes were now blue, “The punishment for Full Spectrum is…”
Rydin interrupted, “Oh yeah, Full Dehydration, I know. The Waterist were outlawed and banned.”
Xanec looked truly shocked. “You..know.”
Rydin just spoke as he always had. “Of course it is a forbidden use of spectrum, Forbidden because everyone is afraid of it.”
Sidrah spoke, “and you are not.”
“Why would I be? The Waterist are shrouded in so much amazing mystery. Plus If you guys kill me at least I get to find out which one of my brothers is right. Is there a One or is there None? Haven’t you guys also wanted to know? Don’t you think The MultiFacet is kinda stupid for trying to pretend they don’t take a position? All this ‘Stay The Middle Crap’. C’mon I know Separators don’t have to follow The MultiFacet’s rules…. Ummm why are you all staring at me like that?”
All three of them looked at him as if he was some kind of strange luchant. Well a luchant didn’t really exist but Nardvale knew what it was. He wondered if these guys had read his Weekly Line Letter?
Before any of them could break the awkward silence that was now hanging, yet another man came hurrying into view.
His nameplate said Sazier.
“Xanec we have to leave. Potential Shabina and Potential Lavindra have requested a Potential’s Persuasion and it is Privileged!
Fien looked alarmed, “Wait, both of them, AT THE SAME TIME? Where is Danal, how could he let this happen?”
Sazier shrugged. “Danal was the one who told me to do so, this guy’s brothers are demanding to see him right after as well together.”
All of a sudden Rydin felt very very weak..
Xanec all joking gone, “Lavindra and Shabina alone in the same room, this is insane! Why would Danal allow that? We have haque over the prisoner, he is our responsibility not the MultiFacets…”
Both of them.
“So any chance you guys could just Dehydrate me Now? Please please don’t leave me alone with them!” Rydin was screwed, so screwed.
They all gave him looks of pity. As he slumped back down on the floor he accepted them this time…….