Kaiserin’s first chapter was published six years ago. Now, I’m publishing the last one. It’s been a very long and significant journey to me. My goal always has been to share Kaiserin with all of you.
When I published that first chapter, I already had the first book finished, and it had been the work of many years. Even if I had an idea of where I wanted to take the story, I didn’t have the rest of the books figured out yet, and I feel that because of that the rest of the books weren’t as good as the first one, and I will be working on fixing that, taking and adding stuff as needed. The first book will be published in Amazon by the end of the year (this time I promise I will), and hopefully the others will follow soon, but in this site, Kaiserin’s story has reached its end.
I want to thank all of you that took the time to read this story, and thank to all of you who have shared it with others.
20 years later
It had been a while since all our family had been together, but the fight was too important for our family not to be there. I had just left Kimball and Ethan to get ready, and was on my way to the box area, when Apolo intercepted me. From all my grandchildren, Apolo had always been the more distant, so the fact that he had been the first to approach me immediately caught my attention, and I stopped to greet him.
“Grandmother, can we talk for a minute?” he asked, formally.
“Of course, can we do it while we walk? I don’t want to miss a minute of this fight.”
“We all know how it’s going to end, Grandfather has no chance against Ethan. All this sham is nothing but protocol.”
“It’s true that Kimball is old, especially under imperial expectations,” Apolo was the son of one of the Empire’s Generals. Greca was the only one to follow the style of most imperial women, and had three kids from three different men, but Apolo was the only one recognized as an Imperial heir, since his siblings were born from Assassins’ warriors, “even I should have already been dead by my people’s standards, but things are different in Mzansi, and despite what you may think, this won’t be easy for Ethan.”
“I thought Grandfather wanted to retire.”
“That’s right, his time has come to an end, for a while actually, but that doesn’t mean he will make it easy for Ethan, he still has his pride,” I could tell Apolo wasn’t convinced, not that it mattered, once the fight started, he would realize that even if Kimball was older, and not as fit as he used to look, he was still a top notch warrior, and Ethan would need all of his strength and tricks to win the battle and claim the position of King of Mzansi. “But you are not here to talk about your grandfather and uncle, what do you want to ask me about?”
“It’s just that something weird happened to me a few days ago, and I can’t stop thinking about it, and I thought maybe you could help me.” I knew that whatever it was, it was important to him, so I stopped a few steps from our destination, to give him time to clear his head. “I dreamed that I died,” he finally said, “but it wasn’t like a normal dream, it was way too real, as if it was really happening, and I can’t get it out of my head.”
There was no way I could have stopped smiling at that. For a long time I had given up hope on something like that happening. Malkia was the one with more psychic blood running in her veins among my children, but by joining a hybrid like Antrax, her children had even lost the ability to step into the astral planes, and even if there was a chance that Ethan’s and Hye Ki’s children could inherit the gift, they would be considered Seers of the Dominion, not the Empire. But Apolo was an Imperial heir, and if he had somehow inherited my powers, then he would have a big advantage over the others. I couldn’t help it, I embraced Apolo and started laughing.
“I had no idea you would get so excited about me dying,” he said dryly, trying, uselessly, to escape my embrace.
“Don’t be silly, you must know what this means. It’s your first vision, you are my grandson, the heir of my power,” I could see in his face that he didn’t trust my words. I knew he always had felt a little excluded from the family. Malkia and Antrax, as well as Ethan and Hye Ki had strong relationships and had raised their children together, Greca’s children had been raised only by her, and they resented being different from the rest of the family, even if that was normal for most people in the Empire. I knew that Apolo, by spending most of his life between the Imperial Clan and the Assassins’ Clan, felt even more isolated than his siblings. In a way, he didn’t feel like part of the family, not like he should.
“I don’t see how this is making you so happy. Most people, including you, don’t see Seers in a good light.”
“It is a heavy burden,” I had to recognize, “and not something I would usually wish on anyone. This may sound very selfish, but I want someone with my blood to keep up my work in the Tribunal. I know how strong you are, and how capable, and as soon as you get rid of that chip on your shoulder, you will be a great judge. You know that there’s been pressure from the Empire to replace me with Ratu, she is a kind of competent seeress and the Emperor’s sister, but even if we share the same blood, it’s not the same, and I would like for you to take over the position once my time is done, if you want it.”
“Do I have a choice? You make it sound like a done deal.”
“There’s always a choice. There are other things that may attract you, of course, you may decide not to get involved in politics at all, or decide you would rather be a Governor or the Emperor, those are extremely powerful positions with more glamour and less responsibilities. Being part of the Tribunal is a heavy burden, and even if it’s a job I consider greatly satisfying, it’s mostly a behind the scenes kind of work. Many people don’t realize how many wars we have stopped or how many live we have saved. You are the only one who can decide what path to take. No one, nor your mother, nor your father and especially not me, can tell you what to do. I just want to give you another choice, and ask the gods to make you want to follow my steps, if that’s what’s best for you.”
“Are you sure I’m the person you want in this job?” he sounded incredulous, but my powers allowed me to know he also felt interest and hope inside of him. I knew that for him it would be a way to feel accepted, really part of the family, in a way he hadn’t felt until then.
“Not right now, but I’m sure in time you will be the right person, you still have a lot of growing up to do, a lot to learn and much to live. You only have to decide what to do, and then work on getting it.”
12 years later
“Are you ok, mother?” Malkia asked. She wasn’t the one I was expecting, I was fairly sure that Ethan would be the first one to arrive and question me.
“As well as you can expect from someone who just lost the love of her life,” my eyes went back to the bed, now empty, where just moments before I had found Kimball dead. In a way, it was something to expect, he was many years older than me, and his life was not easy, even with his powers, there had to be a moment when his body reached its limits. It’s just that after witnessing his parents and uncles went over the 100 year mark, I had expected him to do the same. I had always believed my time would run out before his. He had always felt timeless, and even if it had been mere moments, I already missed him.
“I can’t imagine how hard it must be,” Malkia said, sitting next to me, “he wasn’t my real father, and still, I loved him as if he was. His death left a hole inside of me, and I’m sure that’s nothing compared to what you must be feeling.”
“Pain is not about who should feel it more, each person feels the loss in their own way and lives their mourning different ways, all of them very valid, and equally important. Kimball always thought of you as a daughter, and in a way, you were.”
“It’s just that I worry about you, after all those years together, are you ready to live without him?”
“No, I’m not ready, and I’m not sure I will be someday. But that doesn’t change anything, it’s not the first time I lose someone important to me, nor the first time I face a radical change in my way of life. Besides, I know I’m not alone, I have you and your siblings, I have my grandchildren and great grandchildren, all three generations to keep me company.”
“But losing Kimball is not easy,” Malkia said, and for the first time I realized the tears trying to escape from her eyes and how hard she was fighting to contain them, “but I wouldn’t be able to stand losing you.”
“Oh, my dear!” I took Malkia into my arms and I felt her tears finally falling. “I’m not ready to leave just yet. But I can’t stay forever either. Sooner or later we will have to tell each other goodbye.”
“I hope we still have a long wait until that moment arrives,” Ethan interrupted. With his arrival Malkia escaped from my embrace and tried to regain her composure, pretending she wasn’t just falling apart in my arms moments before. “I was getting everything ready for the funeral, he will be given all the honors he deserves. It will be a public event, but I also prepared a smaller, more intimate ceremony, only for immediate family.”
“Thanks for taking care of that,” Ethan had grown to be everything I expected of him, and more. In the time he had been taking charge of Mzansi, he had proved to be a worthy successor to his father, and sooner or later, when he managed make it to the Dominion, he would prove to be my worthy successor.
“It’s the least I could do, mom,” Ethan moved closer and took one of my hands, while putting his other hand on Malkia. “I know we are all sharing the same pain, we are with our family, it’s not time to pretend or try to be strong, this is a time to show our pain,” Malkia started crying again, and I could see tears falling on Ethan’s face. I felt another presence enter the room and Greca came to us, taking my free hand. I could see in her eyes that she had been also crying, and at seeing us, she resumed her crying.
It had been many decades since I had last cried, I had believed I had forgotten how to do it, but then I felt something on my face, and realized that I, just like my children, was crying. It was a weird feeling, but it felt good in a way. I wasn’t the only one who would miss Kimball, but his absence was leaving a hole in my heart, he didn’t leave me alone, I had my children, my grandchildren, even a few great grandchildren, and soon there would be even more. Life would go on, even if at that moment, it felt like my world was ending.
5 years later
When someone becomes a Seer, the first vision they get is that of their death. I knew exactly how I was going to die since a long time ago, but knowing that didn’t mean you knew when, not exactly. Many times during my life, I had faced difficult situations, in which I felt my life was threatened, but I had the advantage of knowing that no matter what, I still had time. But my time was running out.
I had been having the feeling that my time was running out for a few days. I had taken the time to put everything in order, preparing for what was to come. Since I had woken up that day, I had realized that my time was reaching its end, I had very little time left.
I went into my room and gathered all I needed. First, I took the letters out of my desk, I had spent the last few days writing them. How to say goodbye to the most important people to you? I couldn’t do it face to face, none of them would understand. Well, maybe Apolo would, but not the others. They would try to find a way out, to change my history, but I knew there was no delaying my death. Not that I wanted to, I was ready, and something I had been waiting for since Kimball had left me.
I put the letters in groups. Those going to my family were a priority, and had to be delivered that same day, while the others, the ones for the people I didn’t share blood with, but that were important to me, would arrive after the news of my death.
“Did you call, my lady?” my butler asked.
“Yes, I need you to get my plane ready, I want to go to Mzansi as soon as possible.”
“Is there a problem?” he asked, I could tell he was worried and about to call someone else to help.
“No problem, it’s just that I feel like I have to visit my husband’s grave,” Kimball, as the Kings before him, rested in Pretoria. Ethan was there, and would most likely be the first one to find me. “Once I leave, I want you to send these letters,” I pointed to the first group, “these must be delivered today, I don’t care when the others are delivered.”
“It will be done as you ask,” he immediately said, “your transportation will be ready in an hour.”
I had only an hour to walk the halls of Aquarium one last time. Time flies when it’s running out, and it took me longer than an hour to reach the plane, but no one said anything about it. Some wondered about my lack of luggage, but they knew I had properties in all the cities where my children lived, so no one said anything.
It was already late when we arrived in Pretoria, and I knew I was almost out of time. I didn’t stop to eat or rest, not of that mattered anyway. When I arrived at the cementery, I didn’t go straight for Kimball’s grave, first, I took a walk through the place, visiting the tombs of those I knew when they were alive. In a way, I felt like I was saying goodbye for the last time.
I finally arrived at Kimball’s grave and took a seat on the bench next to it. I had spent a lot of time there since his death. Even if I knew that all that remained of him were his bones, and that his essence had already transcended, there was something especial about being there, I felt more connected to him in that place.
Many people feared death, but it was never something I feared. I knew that people I was leaving behind would miss me and be pained by my death once I was gone, I know there will be tears and mourning, and I like to think that I had touched enough lives for more than one person to miss me, but that won’t be relevant to me, I wouldn’t be there anymore to worry about it.
It’s been a long time since my first visions, so I didn’t remember exactly how it was going to happen. I still remember the pain, my body shutting down…