74 Days Until Facades And the Uncertain End (Part 2)
Zeydar stood in Evester’s room staring at himself in the full body mirror that decorated one of the wardrobe fronts. He wore Circle clothes he had found in Evester’s wardrobe. They fit and despite how much Zeydar wanted to pretend, he looked good in them. He turned over himself in them, looking at every angle and seeing himself in something other than his Superior uniform.
He wanted to pace, to think, to question, but standing in the room gave him no answers. Trying on the clothes gave him no answers. No one had spoken to him about Evester’s confession. It had, instead, given him more time to train Kony and to think about the golden book. Zeydar was certain he understood it in detail. He had read it over multiple times.
“Why are you even here?” Zeydar sighed to himself. Looking at himself did not give him an answer if he wanted to fight the Igilistal rules or to fall to them. Evester was going to fall to them but he wanted freedom. He wanted to fight them. Zeydar did not know if he could fight them, or if he was willing to risk falling to them in the event he could not. He wanted the chance at a relationship but the cost of that…
“That was what I was wondering.” Estashia’s voice startled Zeydar and he found her sitting on the bed, as if she had been there for hours, when in reality Zeydar knew she had not been five minutes before. How had she got in and he had not noticed? He knew that in Evester’s room he felt the most at ease, but had the magic not alerted to her entering at all? The door. He had not heard the door open either? Had she come in another way?
“I apologize.” Zeydar bowed to her. “I did not hear you come in.”
Her eyes darted to a corner, and then she leveled them back on him. She had come not to him as the head of the house but as the head of the Igilistals. It was time. The talk was here. Evester’s mother was before him. “Evester has you confused? Feel at ease, he baffles almost everyone on a reoccurring basis.” She spoke with little gravitas to her voice. It was as if she were speaking with a friend. “He is the one child of mine that I think I can understand and then am utterly defeated by each time. He is truly his father’s child with a penance for danger.”
“Oddly… that is still his father.” Zeydar smiled at her. He looked to where she had glanced. Was there a secret passage there? Was that how Evester had escaped more than a year ago under the watch of almost everyone? Zeydar knew better than to be surprised. He was, however, certain that she revealed it because of what Evester had said. This was his entrance to the family.
“Evester does dangerous things because they are dangerous. Maverin does them because of the knowledge it can give them. The reason is different and now Evester has confounded you.” Estashia sat back, examining him. “The clothes look better on you than my son.”
“Thank you.” Zeydar did not know if he was supposed to continue standing or not. He grabbed Evester’s desk chair and sat across from her, back straight and making eye contact. She did not protest. Zeydar then went on. “Evester did not make me confused.”
“Evester said he liked you.” Estashia’s face seemed to darken. “In jest?”
“He was serious.” Zeydar watched as Estasia’s expression shifted from a dark one to a light and blank one. It was, perhaps, the first time he had ever seen the woman emote so obviously. She wanted him to see what she was feeling and thinking. She was letting him past her barriers all because Evester said three words. She too believed that Evester would fall to the established rules. It made Zeydar curious on how to break them, even more.
“Europa told me.” Estashia sighed. “You understand what that means.”
“I read the gold book.” Zeydar nodded.
“And you understood it?” When Zeydar nodded she went on. “I made a deal with his father to keep Evester out of our politics and yet he still chose to join either way.” She paused for a moment and then smiled light. “I know you and he are contemplating breaking free, but you won’t have to. The rules are not meant to hinder but support.”
“How?” Zeydar coughed back the wood, wishing he had not asked.
“They are designed to make it so that drama is controlled and that we trust our partner. Evester chose you, and he will fully chose you. You needn’t worry about him being faithless. Our family makes these decisions in any way but a light manner. We have a very rigorous view of relationships because of the weaknesses they bring us, and the opportunities and connections they can hold.” She paused again. “The rules are in place to circumvent that manipulation. It saves both sides and allows you to act and exist freely.”
“And if we stop?” Loving each other. Zeydar could not say the word because he was not sure he could admit it to her, when he had not said it to Evester.
“Evester was never planned to be married.” Estashia answered. “His reputation will overshadow anything. If your relationship fails, then it will be because he is a play boy. We predicted this.”
“And I could tell the world about the rules.” Zeydar threatened.
“Like you told the Star’s lies?” Estashia’s smile turned violent. “You won’t because the relationship does not hurt. It protects us and our interests. You might not agree with what we do, but we are trying.” Zeydar had to give her that. The Igilistals were trying to do what was best for the world, by alliances. The romance rules were designed to protect their hearts and their interests. Zeydar did not see it as wrong. Not when everyone wanted to destroy them and arguably they were the only reason the world had made it thus far.
Estashia went on, leaning back relaxed. “He was trained to be a flirt, who wouldn’t invest his heart into another. To invest his life into another and to fight for that connection. Yet, he is an Igilistal and we do not view the commitment to love, lightly.”
Zeydar was at a loss for words. “And I’m a good political choice for your family, as a Superior.”
“Don’t think he picked you for that reason.” She reminded him. Zeydar knew better than that. He knew that Evester was drawn to him the way Zeydar was drawn to Evester. Zeydar knew that Evester hadn’t held Zeydar when Zeydar raged, or gotten Zeydar to focus on him for something like political reasons. Evester liked him and the Igilistals did not love lightly.
“But it’s why you would approve.”Zeydar did not break eye contact with her when he said the words. He wanted to see if she would deflect. “Its why you gave me the golden book.”
“I didn’t take you to be the type who would need that sort of approval.” Estashia taunted him, knowing full well that she had approved for that exact reason. She knew that they both wanted their freedom. Zeydar was the only person Evester could have the freedom with because Zeydar was powerful. Zeydar wanted freedom himself, from the system and establishment. Zeydar wanted love. And Zeydar was a Star. It was for all the reasons that Evester loved Zeydar that Estashia approved of the relationship. Evester would stay out of politics and family matters. Zeydar was strong enough if needed, and to not be drawn into anything. Zeydar was a Star and gave her control over the Stars. Zeydar wanted freedom and in that freedom, he was the best choice politically.
“I am not sure what he wants or what is best for either of us, when I still believe he only likes me because of the danger I give him.” Zeydar did not believe the words but he wanted to test her. To test her dedication to her family and to letting Evester do what he wanted.
“And what is the problem in that? I picked Maverin because of how his intellect stimulated me. I only picked him because he’s smart. He is pretty much a horrible person other than that.” Training his son to fight an invisible enemy. Leaving his wife for years to raise that child alone. Faking his own death and disappearing. Maverin was far from father of the year. “I still love him and I do not regret my choice.”
“What if I no longer scare him. What if I can’t make his adrenaline rush and bore him?”
“I find Maverin to be one of the most idiotic men in the world, however I still love him. It is the commitment to the relationship, and even if Evester was not raised by me, he is still an Igilistal. He won’t stop loving you, just because your relationship changes. Just because you change. People evolve and love must follow suit, Evester knows that much. He will invest in you, should that be what he picks. The choice here is up to you.”
The words struck Zeydar. He had not thought of the possibility of growing out of love with Evester but Evester loving him as fiercely as before. It was an unconditional love and they did not even know each other fully. Or rather, Evester did not know him. Zeydar had been afraid without realizing that when Evester knew him, he’d grow tired. Estashia disagreed and Zeydar was inclined to believe her. Zeydar knew Evester better than Evester knew him and yet Evester was willing to take the risk on someone he did not know that well. Evester had to have thought about it from the day that Zeydar left.
The weight of Evester’s choice sat on Zeydar’s shoulders, and he was willing to carry the weight.
“ He will have to convince you during the courting period to love him. Let him know exactly who you are in that time, but I do not think he will run.” Estashia stood up. “It is your choice. Evester is not that smart, despite all that he took after his father for. You’ll know if he is worth your time, if you don’t already know it.” She then left the room.
Zeydar turned back to the mirror thinking of Evester’s mind, almost as if he could see it there before him. Focus on me. Zeydar clenched his chest. He would explore the house through the secret tunnels another day. He would figure out his own emotions at another time. He’d process the fact that Estashia had all but welcomed him to the family and established ground rules later. For the moment all Zeydar could think of was Evester’s voice and his hands. Discarding his clothes, Zeydar needed to take a shower.