“They can give you this,” Saeren put a map of the Yohanese-dominated districts of southern Fidaisa in front of the Respected Operan, “this chorem just across the river.”
“Only one measly chorem. There are hundreds of Ena – mostly families – who live far beyond ‘this chorem’.” The Enaian representative was becoming agitated. Saeren needed to calm him down a bit, but he had to tell him the reality of the situation.
“I believe that is their final offer,” Saeren was breaking a cardinal rule of negotiation; suggesting absolutes, but he was bored and just wanted to get this over with as quick as possible so he could go back to his home district in time for the Mendronian Koreji Festival. It only occurs once every six years, and he’s not going to let a minor squabble between a Hegemonic and a tiny Neo-Metro ruin this for him.
“Bah!” the proud Enaian almost blew off his traditional jaw cloak with the force of his retort, “The Yohan are a Hegemonic, they have more land and power than they know what to do with. Arrogant confeds!”
“My Respected Operan,” Saeren said in his highly trained Negovoice and using the official negotiation taxonomy, “I am very sorry to have upset you so. “Final” does not necessarily mean “Final” I am only suggesting that we work together with a bit more imagination to get through this….obstacle.” Good save, he thought.
Saeren noticed the elderly representative starting to calm down a bit; his gold-speckled eyes began to soften. I’ve never seen an Enaian male’s mouth. I wish he did blow off that cloak. He thought already getting bored with this assignment. I wonder how many of his teeth are pierced. He’s pretty old. Most of his must be pierced. Surprising all those metal charms that are supposed to be dangling in his mouth are not hindering his speech. Guess we all have to go through our special trainings.
“And I am sorry to bring this up, My Respected Operan, but we are at the Cultures Bureau in Karkasum Bigaj. I would like to advise you, for you own good of course, that such language is looked down upon here. I am sure your frustration with the situation and your dedication to your people are making you say things that you would not normally.” As Saeren said this, he rolled his eyes upward to a small brown cube up and behind him; signaling to the Ena elder that they are being monitored.
The representative followed his negotiator’s eyes, then quickly looked back down. “Yes, that must be the reason. I apologize.”
Why do they not show their mouths? His teeth must be amazing, or at least interesting. More interesting than this petty territorial negotiation, Saeren thought.
“What would you suggest, Madir?” The representative asked, jolting Saeren out of his cultural study in miniature. After all the years as a “Madir” he could not get used to the title. It was much more meaningful than just ‘Negotiator’ in his culture. Since the Mendro are highly sought after throughout the megalopolis for their superb negotiation skills, their specialized words have been incorporated, though simplified, into the official language. Even the Confederation employs Mendro as its state negotiators. Unfortunately, Saeren has not been a Madir for any high-level talks in a while; mostly these minor disputes among the disparate cultures and cultural groups that just cannot play well together. Saeren usually feels like an elementary school teacher making sure the small weak kids do not get beaten up by the big bullies and the weak kids do not whine too much and piss off the whole playground.
“First I will have to go back and pick through the Culture Laws and see what rights Neo-Metro cultures like yours have in situations like these.” Saeren hoped it would not come down to just rights in the Cultures Law. It would mean going to court; a sign that he failed in his negotiations. “The Laws keep changing along with the increasing power First and Neo-Metro cultures are gaining. There might be something there you could use.”
“Hmm, O.K. When shall we meet again?” The Enaian asked, his eyes a bit more bright. Saeren took that as a sign of hopefulness.”
“Let’s say the day after tomorrow. Of course you can remain at the lodgings we provided for you here in the Capital if you like. I apologize for the extended stay.”
“Thank you, but I need to go back up to Fidaisa to consult with my Kwet – sorry, my Council.”
“No need to apologize. Through my years as a Madir, I have pick up a fair bit of Cultures-specific terms. I knew what you meant by Kwet. Please feel free to speak as you would at home with me.” He hoped that would gain him additional trust with this hard elder.
“Thank you Madir.”
“Of course I will have to offer the same service to our Friend Yekalrin – the Yohanese” He hated using these stilted terms for the parties involved. They sounded so patronizing outside the Mendronian context.
“Certainly. Thank you Madir. I look forward to talking with you in two day’s time.” The Enaian representative rose from the form chair, his great height and long bellowing attire reminded Saeren of the New Fog that gently rolls in the in the late afternoon.
The door closed, shutting Saeren in a rigid cocoon of welcome silence. The Cultures Bureau fit right in with the other cloud grazers vying for grandeur, but the negotiation rooms were cold, grey cubicles with no windows to even look out into the fog-loving city. The design was deliberate – no distractions to hinder negotiations. Now for the Yohanese. This should be fun.