Corina was still very unhappy with how Didi had avoided their earlier conversation in the Mediation Chamber. Why was Shabina always difficult whenever it came to who she would marry?
In truth, of course she appreciated the concern, but Didi always felt she was right and never wanted to see her as a sister. No, the mighty Shabina saw her as a valuable asset for The MultiFacet. It was the same for Thal. Shabina had a vision that the two of them could serve The MultiFacet together. Maybe it was because of this that they weren’t as close to her as they were to each other. She and Thal were twins after all, even though they weren’t the same, she just felt a natural connection. No it was more than that after that incident Didi wouldn’t let her or Thal come close. It always seemed that she was their sister one minute and Potential the next, you could never get a read on her. She and Thal truly didn’t understand Shabina, and certainly not when you mixed in Facet Politics.
Corina walked in lockstep with Thal, while Didi was at the front marching to her next goal. Always a next goal. There was a huge commotion to her right as Arsin entered. Her pulse pounded a little bit faster as he waved at her, she knew she must look silly as she felt her cheeks expand with water. He always had that effect on her. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Thal saluting Billen. Her twin’s face was a little expanded too!
Thal was less giddy than her but Corina knew that Billen made her sister’s synapsis explode in intrigue. She was fascinated by the eldest Razi, not Corina’s cup of sizzint though: he was a bit too dry for her. She wanted to be with Arsin, Thal with Billen, and those two brothers didn’t get along, no, detested one another.
She and her twin had really big decisions to make. Her father and mother weren’t going to stop either of them if they wanted to leave. They actually couldn’t, by MultiFacet law. A key role of staying was that no one could be forced to Live With Contradiction. If you declared for either the Roy or the Vib you could never be allowed to rejoin. Not even the daughters of the Seleto were exempt from that. She thought about how hard she had worked to sue for peace as a Connect. If she left she would officially be no longer neutral, yet could she advocate for peace more successfully from inside the Royligio? But what if instead she and Thal become enemies? What if she was dragged down that line?
The two of them had spent many late hours discussing what their lives could look like if they ended up on opposite Facets. It was getting harder and harder to avoid arguments though.
They weren’t as dumb as Didi thought: the two of them had to face the possibility that they could end up at war, even if hostilities were in neutral right now. So she had suggested to Thal that they make a pact of peace between them. Thal agreed.
Corina remembered the night they had agreed to it. She was of course happy to just have it spoken, but that was not formal enough for Thal. Thal had added that they should keep their own words secret from each other only to be brought forth in the future should they join the Vibulare and Royligio respectively and ultimately go to war. Thal insisted the best way for the pact to be serious was that it was written down.
So, Corina found herself lining a document with a stilo prism. They had each used a different stilo, not in the air but on an actual piece of papyr! How centuried! Corina had laughed at the relic from the past, but she went along with it. Each of them had written down their declaration and rolled up the papyr so the other could not see. They had put the prisms and the piece of papyr together and locked it away in a container. They had given it to their mother, but made her swear not to read it or show anyone unless war broke out. This way even if they were embroiled in a fight, their pact would be known.
She wasn’t sure how Ammi would react to such a serious thing, but her mother surprised them. She had told them she would safeguard it until the last drop of her life and would follow their instructions.
It all seemed to be happening so fast. There was a lot of gossip about her and Arsin in the Royligio and MultiFacet related to their possible pairing. Of course none of it would be formal until he asked her father. She began sweating a bit about what that would represent! Once he asked, so many lines would be set in motion. She wasn’t sure she would say yes even? She would have to give up her ambassadorial position as Multi Facet Connect to the Royligio. She had been working for so long at it. That was how she had gotten so close to Arsin to begin with. Corina felt it was ironic that a diplome position for The MultiFacet may be the reason she ended up leaving it.
They had barely interacted as kids when he was still in the Sanctuary. In fact she distinctly remembered hating him and finding him annoying! Except when she had met him again all these lyears later. He had this burning intensity and was fully committed to the Royligio. Even though that intensity might signal the destruction of everything she had known…
She found it to be such a turn on!
She quickly regulated her breathing before things got awkward for her.
Too distract herself, she looked into the Royligio and Vibulare stands. She wondered if Didi would be missing him. She wondered if Didi had kept track of him these last lyears. She and Thal had. Rydin Razi was an idiot, but he was deeply important to Arsin and Billen. The only thing the two of them agreed about was protecting him.
She remembered the day the two of them had separated. Shabina acted like it hadn’t bothered her, but she knew Didi had cried that day, maybe one of the few times she had ever done it.
She and Thal had tried to get information from her, but all Shabina would say was that the past was done and it was time to focus on the future.
But that was a lie. There had only ever been one person who had made you pause the slightest, Potential, now wasn’t there?
The nerve of Arsin! She had just wanted to see how he was doing. Why did he always have to act like he was more important than her? Well, he wasn’t. Yes, she wanted to be with him, and maybe was even willing to change her whole life, but not if he didn’t see her as an equal.
She sped up her walk and passed by one of the large entrances that looked into the Chamber, it was the same entrance that she herself had used to come in when the ceremony began. The system of entrances in the chamber was ingenious, as gates for all the Facets led directly from outside and weaved their way through the structure. There were multiple gates, ones for Roy ones for Vib, and even ones for The MultiFacet. There were additional special gates that connected the Main Chamber Floor to the hidden green, violet and red rooms. These were the designated areas that the Facets waited in before they had made their entrance. These were also the rooms where the Facets respective leaderships had retreated to after the chaos of the ceremony.
The Separators had ensured no Roy or Vib crowds could get into the hollowed out area beneath the Chamber. The World Water Council Chamber itself was only a small fraction of the entire structure; the surrounding rings and meeting areas underneath and around the chamber were vast. Those meeting rooms were scheduled to be full tomorrow with negotiators from all three Facets discussing water terms. Would that even happen now?
There was even a built-in holding cell to handle unruly participants or spectators, or negotiators. Sadly, it was needed more often than one would think. Diplomats weren’t always nice, she had learned.
Rydin was being held in one of the holding cells. The key players from the Roy, Vib, and MultiFacet and InterFacet had all been told to assemble there in 10 milycles to discuss the fallout of what had happened.
As Corina glanced into the Chamber, she paused. Didi was sitting there all by herself.
A massive rush of guilt flooded her. She hadn’t even gone to check how her sister was doing. She quickly tried to justify her actions. She had been doing her job, right? She had to make sure the Royligio were placated. Yet Corina knew that she was lying to herself. The guilty feeling in her mid section told her as much: she had chosen concern for Arsin over Shabina.
Didi had warned Corina about her allegiances. If Corina formally picked Arsin and the Royligio like she had picked Arsin today, the water they shared would be worth nothing. Shabina was MultiFacet, either you were in or you were out. Didi had told her as much and was firm with both her sisters “If you leave we are no longer sisters, we are political relations, that is all.”
MultiFacet Yes or No.
It was that simple.
Didi had become more firm in this after what had happened with Rydin, she had made him her one exception, but she would never again. Corina was under no impressions that their relationship would ever be the same again if she left. Corina balled her fist, why was this world so complicated? Couldn’t you just be with the person you wanted to be with, without it being this big deal? Was she as naive as Rydin?
She knew she would be late but she had to go see Didi. But as she made a move to walk into the Chamber, she saw Danal enter. Water Waste! With Danal there she wouldn’t be able to speak to Didi privately. Plus, Danal had his own reasons for wanting to see her. Good luck with that one Danal, The MultiFacet is her first love!
She would talk to her sister later and so she hurried down the hallway towards the stairs. She hiked up her dress. The silky green fabric of her attire swished with air as she ran. Please let me be on time, I always need to be Current!