110 Days Until Dreams And the Uncertain End (part 2)
Evester flipped through testimonies that he had collected and his notes on the moles. Those that were particularly suspect had been sent back but the others had gotten many of their permissions revoked. With the communication hold, there was a lot more that they were able to protect against. However now, Evester had to help Uly with ensuring that none of them sabotaged Uly’s calculations. Evester lifted his gaze to Uly, to ask him a question when he say Uly glaring at his laptop. Evester could see Uly’s eye twitch. The room filled with silence as they all starred at Uly. Evester was not the only one to notice his reaction.
“You are supposed to be on break.” Rayda reminded him, dealing both him and Evester into the card game. “Both of you.” Evester placed the papers down and Uly shut his laptop.
“What is it?” Karla asked him noting the hostility in is actions.
“Nothing.” Uly lied badly.
“Let’s try that again.” Karla smiled at him, words soft but chilled. “What is it?”
Uly starred at her for a long moment before looking to Evester and then to Maverin who was also in the room. He quickly diverted eye contact from Evester and Maverin and in an instant Evester knew what it was. Uly said her name just above a whisper. “Europa.” Evester’s father started laughing so loudly that the room bounced in the sound of it.
“Since when were you messaging Europa?” Rayda asked unaware of what Evester and Maverin knew.
“The entire time. Reports and such.” Maverin hummed to himself picking up his new cards. It did not surprise Evester that Maverin knew. If anyone found and tried to exploit the security leak first, it would have been Maverin. Uly closed his eyes annoyed and rubbed his temples. He was clearly perturbed and Evester wanted to push it further.
Evester taunted Uly. “I thought it was dangerous for us to communicate.” Maverin laughed at Evester’s words. The others in the room seemed confounded that Uly had broken his own protocol to speak to Europa, but they did not elaborate further.
“Somehow,” Uly opened his eyes with a playful glare. “You are comparing our communications? Last I checked one of us was the genius.” Uly used his own title as Evester had the last time they had spoken on the very same subject.
“How long has she been messaging you? What if others exploit the hole in the lockdown to send information.” Rayda asked them all realizing that they were not taking the security breech seriously.
“He’s been messaging Europa with reports since Evester and Uly were kids.” Maverin did not answer her question with the answer she actually wanted. Uly glared at him and Maverin smiled louder. Evester laughed. “Don’t bother hiding it.” It was how Estashia continued to know Evester and his father’s lives even when his father stopped responding to Evester’s mother. Uly had kept his family united, which was part of the reason that Evester already considered Uly his brother. He never blamed Uly for telling his sister anything, and Evester doubted it was anything good. The reports that Uly sent were probably highly technical analysis emails and nothing a human would write. Likewise, Europa sent back detailed and intricate essays that no human would understand from reading once.
“You were a snitch?” Evester gasped in fake betrayal. Uly shoved Evester who continued to laugh. Evester looked to Rayda who was serious and Crass who seemed interested. Karla was confused by it all, and the humor that Maverin and Evester had regarding the communication. “What does she want?”
“For me to keep emailing her.” Uly answered.
“You told her you would stop?” Maverin’s voice had a gravity to it that was not there before. “Why?”
“You know why.” Uly turned to Maverin with a straight face. With the established connection between the siblings, there was no reason to keep the security breach open. He had kept a close control over it this whole time, and their communications went under the radar to everyone. Evester did not doubt that while it was the excuse that Uly was using with her, that his real reason was that Europa was showing more interest in him. It was approaching dangerous territory again. He looked to Rayda and Crass who understood what he was saying. Once again he mimicked her voice. “She called me a fool.”
“Fool?” Rayda repeated taking the cue and falling into routine to tease him and to lower the severity of what was happening.
“She’s pissed.” Crass chuckled to himself.
“Why were you stopping?” Karla asked confused. Evester knew she had more questions but she was trying her hardest to pick up on context clues.
“Now that you, Kony, and Kori have established a communication in public, there is no necessary for us to continue the communication.” Uly answered her with a sweet smile.
“Great reason and all but, what did she ask that made you decide to stop?” Maverin asked with austere foreboding.
Uly looked to him and then to everyone in the room one by one before starring at Evester. He opened his mouth trying to form the words. Evester knew then just how serious it was, and that Uly was more scared than he ever had been regarding her. Evester placed his hand on Uly’s shoulder and nodded. Uly turned his focus to Maverin and with the little strength he seemed to have left, he spoke. “When I was coming home.”
Evester nearly dropped his hand at the words. Europa was a complicated and astute person. She was too particular with her words to let some phrasing slip out unintentionally. What she said was what she meant, and the words had Evester shaking with Uly.
Karla went to ask another question when Rayda held up her hand to Karla silencing her. Crass shook his head and Rayda tried to say something and failed in the same way.
While many rich Circle families had agreements for marriages, the Igilistals only ever picked people based on importance to society and what such a union would do for the progress of society. Uly knew this. It was why he was so hesitant about having any sort of feelings for Europa and why her feelings for him made him uncomfortable. Igilistals picked partners for the heir that were going to strengthen alliances or to make a statement. Maverin had been chosen because he was the lead scientist for the Yasloughve Project. While the Project had been highly debated and criticized, the Igilistal family continued to back it, which was why it couldn’t disappear completely.
Estashia had married Maverin in part as a political statement of support as the project continued to wane. He had not been the head scientist then, just a worker. She had known he’d be smart based on his scores and his progression in the company. No one expected him to lead before Estashia caught sight of him. When she claimed him there was no other path for him but up. The Yasloughve Project internal team had seen it as a chance and had given Maverin many more opportunities that most did not get, because they needed him to advance and to advance fast. With his advancement, Estashia grew closer to Maverin. Maverin moved higher and got more tasks. He was able to flourish, but in it he was chained down. Estashia used him, the Yasloughve Project used him, and he used them. Maverin was smart, quick, and dedicated, yet it was because of Estashia that he became the man that determined the Uncertain End.
Evester had heard the stories from his father. His father had told Uly of it all when he had first found out that Uly liked Europa. A relationship with the Igilistal heir was a transaction where you were nothing more than a tool. He had made it exceedingly clear. The Igilistals and the Yasloughve Project team had ensured that Maverin had ended up as lead scientist, and when he decrypted the Uncertain End prophecy, his place was solidified. It could have been anyone. Maverin always spoke on how there were others as dedicated or as smart or more. But he had been chosen and he had to commit to that and what that meant.
Evester remembered his father sitting alone in his lab motivating himself to keep going, because he had a duty to. He remembered his father appeasing his mother and loving her but wanting his own space because they were strangers in a way. Evester saw his father drunk, talking about how he wondered what his life would be like if he had not been picked.
The day that Estashia had picked Maverin was the day his path was solidified whether he wanted it or not. He had been the best choice for the forward progression of the family in intellect. He was Estashia’s political choice and a choice for science. The Choice, as it was called, always was said to have more important weight and power than any other decision, as it would help dictate the progression of society onward. It would change the world. Evester’s mother’s anti-fans had used her marriage as a way of saying she had broken tradition and only married for love. That she had discarded the common people. After the catastrophe they had blamed her for withholding details despite who she had picked.
Estashia and Maverin had separated living together so that Maverin could train Evester, in part. It was mostly because Maverin needed space to work on the project and he did not want to be a part of the politics. Yet, Maverin knew the family rules. He had trained Uly, Kim, and Evester in them. He had raised them all for the project. Maverin had raised Uly for the chance that he would be chosen. Maverin made sure that they knew everything so that they would not be thrown off guard as he once had been.
People fought to prove their worth to the heir of the family. So many tried to go for the other Igilistal children. Endwin had many suitors. Evester had seduced many more. They all wanted something, wanted to “give” something to their family in the standard political arrangements of the Igilistal families. While the heir was off limit for such arrangements, the other children were free reign and in the past the children had been used to solidify other alliances. The heir’s choice was the most politicized, romanticized, and dangerous of all the choices.
Europa was saying she had made her decision.
“If she chose you there is nothing you can do.” Evester reminded him feeling how the room had chilled. Uly was shaking ever so slightly under Evester’s hand. Evester was not sure if it was fear or not.
“Chose?” Karla asked.
“It offends me.” Uly answered with a dark look in his eye. There was anger within him that told Evester that he was not afraid, but deeply offended by Europa’s words. “I may be the best choice for now, but when we get to our new home? There will be alliances she will need then, and the path will be different. I can not confirm what the new world will be like. My skills will be important, yet we can not rule out unexpected scenarios.” He was thinking like an Igilistal more than he probably realized. As Evester saw this, he knew that Uly was Europa’s only choice. He was an Igilistal and she knew that. He was dedicated to her, and always had been. He was the best choice for the new world even if he didn’t see that yet.
“You feel that she’s acting on emotions rather than logic?” Maverin chuckled. “I understand. I thought the exact same when I was chosen. But there is nothing you can do. No one turns down an Igilistal marriage proposal.”
“I know.” Uly breathed out trying to erase his festering frustration. “I thought I still had time.”
“What?” Karla looked between everyone. “How did you get that Europa wants to marry him?”
“She asked when he was going home.” Rayda answered.
Karla shot her a look of confusion.
Evester paused for a moment before Uly answered. “She used home. Ovaria is not her home, Valaria is. She is living at the Igilistal estate which was Evester and Maverin’s estate but not her own. Home in this does not mean the house, it means her person. She also used ‘you’ in the email which specifies me. In context it is not asking when I am going back to Ovaria or when we are returning, but rather when I, personally, am returning to her side.”
“She wants to protect him.” Maverin continued. “She does not care for anyone else but him, which means that she has chosen him and is thinking of the continued Igilistal line more so than the current political situation. Estashia is now Queen and is in complete control over all Circle matters, meaning that this is, in theory, the best time for Europa to make a choice should she not wait until we get to our new home.”
“Hence Uly’s anger, because he thinks she should wait and see what the new world has to offer before she makes any choice at all.” Evester hoped that it answered her question.
“It also offends me because she should not be making a choice off of emotion.” Uly sulked to himself, grumbling about how he couldn’t believe she would let herself do something so childish.
Maverin sighed. “She’s not going to let you cut her out.”
“No. She’s not and she called me a fool.” Uly sighed leaning back in his chair. Europa was pissed that Uly was contemplating the idea that he could say no to her. They both knew he would not. They both knew that reasonably he could not. They both knew that he was avoiding the conversation. He was angry because he thought she was acting childish and she thought he was childish, hence her: fool.
“How are you sure?” Karla asked again.
“We just are.” Crass told her. “Once you know the Igilistals there is no way to unknown them. Evester and Maverin are bad examples but you know how careful Endwin and Europa are.”
Karla nodded. “And why does it matter?”
“Because Europa’s marriage is everything.” Uly answered. Evester hoped that Crass or Rayda would better explain it to her later. However from Uly’s posture and expression, Evester wanted to do something.
“I’d love to have you as a brother Uly.” Evester tried to lighten the mood. He picked up his cards looking to Uly. Evester was the first player to go.
Uly paused, picked up his cards, and placed his cards face up on the table. As he put the cards down, he stood and went to leave. “I have a planet to find.” He should have won the game that they never bothered to play. All of his cards were pairs. He had held all the aces, the queens, and the joker which he handed to Evester.
Uly left the room in a tense silence only broken by Maverin who offered to shuffle the cards.
In theory this and chapter 42/189 should cover the whole of the Igilistal relationships. I’m pretty sure I didn’t repeat information. Oh well if I did, lol.