Waking up in Kimball’s arms became part of my routine, waking him up with a kiss too. He became an addiction that I didn’t want to let go. I couldn’t help but regret all the time we lost because of my fears, we could have been together for a long time if it wasn’t for me, but I was making up for lost time, and he didn’t mind. It was hard to understand how he could hold back so much, he never pressured me for sex, but when I asked him to be with me he was as insatiable as I was, it was like he couldn’t get enough of me.
But what I liked more it was the way he felt about me and how he made me feel, his feelings were like a drug, making me feel for him more than I thought it was possible. Without me noticing he had become my world. Sometimes that scared me, but most of the time I was too happy to care.
Even Alkaia’s daughter’s training was going well, I was sure that she was ready to face whomever they choose for her naming day. I knew that it was mostly because of Kimball, without his help it would have been difficult if not impossible to take her to where she was at that moment. And not only her, I had learned a lot from watching him fight, he had a lot of fighting styles to choose from and he changed them to make it harder for Alkaia’s daughter to fight him.
Everything was perfect, I was truly happy, that’s why I should have expected something to change things. When the vision arrived, I resisted at first, I didn’t want to see it, didn’t want to believe what I was seeing. I entered the fog of the future in search of an alternative, but all I found was a hard decision to make: I had to sacrifice my happiness or many lives. It took me a while to get back to the present, and when I did I found Kimball’s worried face, I had spent more time that I wanted in the fog and he had noticed something was wrong.
“What happened?” He asked, still worried about me.
“I just had a vision.”
“Your visions don’t take so long.”
“Don’t worry, it was nothing,” but I could see he didn’t believe me, he could read me so well, he knew I was lying.
Things changed just a couple of days later. I woke up in the middle of the night and he wasn’t with me. I heard some noise and moved out of the room to investigate. I heard voices coming from downstairs, the voices started as whispers and then went up in volume as the discussion got heated. They were talking in Kimball’s language, the one I didn’t know, but I didn’t have to understand to know what they were talking about, my vision had told me what I needed to know.
“You have to go.” I told him.
“Kaiserin?” They had been too busy talking and hadn’t noticed that I was approaching them until I spoke.
“Your nation’s future is going to be decided in a few days, you need to be there for your people.”
“No, they don’t need me, you do. My place is here.”
“I need you,” I walked closer and he opened his arms, I went to him and he wrapped his arms around me, he was my safe place, “but they need you too, your people need you. I’m only one person, they are more.”
“No. I’m staying with you.”
“If you don’t go something terrible is going to happen. If you go, I can’t tell you everything is going to be fine, but there’s a possibility they will. You can’t turn your back to your own people, not for me.”
“Kaiserin, don’t worry about this, is not your problem.”
“If you stay, you will regret it.”
“Do you want me to go?”
“No, I want you to stay with me forever,” I hugged him closer to me, “but I’m old enough to know that things not always go the way we want them to go.”
I could see that Kimball wasn’t happy with my words, but his companion was grateful for my intervention, he knew that my words had more weight than his.
“Just think about it, you know where to find us. We leave tomorrow night, we’re going to the island first, then to the continent.” Kimball didn’t acknowledge his visitor’s words, he didn’t even say goodbye to him.
We went back to bed and when I woke up a few hours later I was alone again, Kimball was already in the kitchen preparing breakfast. I had a meeting with the Amazons and I needed to go, I didn’t say anything to Kimball during breakfast, he had a lot to think about, he had a difficult choice to make and I had nothing else to say about it.
I left, leaving Kimball alone so he could think. By the time I arrived at the meeting, everyone was already there, just waiting for me. We were there to discuss Alkaia’s daughter’s test, we were going to plan the battle that would end with Alkaia finally naming her. Alkaia’s cousins and sister were enjoying the planning, for them it was an opportunity to humiliate Alkaia and her daughter, but I knew better, I knew it was an opportunity to show them once and for all who was the true heiress of the Clan.
“You should wait until after the test before discussing a new heiress,” I finally snapped after hearing them discussing, “you may be surprised by my protégé’s performance.”
“Or we can finally show everyone how worthless you really are and finally get you thrown out of our Clan.” Polemusa answered.
“Helping with Alkaia’s daughter’s training is just one of the reasons I’m here, don’t forget my visions and how helpful they are to your Clan.”
“Good point. And I’m hoping that now that you are pregnant again your visions will increase again, during your last pregnancy you had visions almost daily, but then they decreased.” I was surprised by Derinoe, not only that she had noticed that my pregnancy increased my visions but that I was pregnant again.
“Pregnant?” Alkaia asked. “Congratulations Pitonisa! I hope you have a daughter this time.”
“Is good to see that your slave is working after all, maybe now that he accomplished his task, you can lend him to me.” Polemusa said.
“Kimball is mine and will remain with me.” I said in a tone that didn’t leave room for a discussion.
I spent most of the day away from home, first with Alkaia then with Alkaia’s daughter. It was late when I started walking towards my home. I was almost there when I noticed someone hiding in the shadows.
“Are you here to talk to Kimball again?” I asked the man.
“Yes, I was waiting until later to go inside.”
“I want to ask you for a favor,” I moved closer to him and lowered my voice. “Promise you will take care of him. A difficult task is ahead of you, he will be in great danger. I know you need him, but I don’t want to lose him.”
“Do you really care about him?”
“Yes, I do.”
“Don’t worry, I won’t let anything happen to him, you don’t even have to ask.”
I went into the house and found Kimball in the kitchen. I was surprised, normally at that hour he was training, he said it was how he relaxed, what he needed to think. He didn’t notice me at first, that told me how worried he was, his mind was miles away. That wasn’t the Kimball I was used to and I worried. I was out of control because my routine was broken, what would happen if he decided to leave?
“How was your day?” He asked me.
“You know, I had to listen to the Amazons fighting and then I went to discuss strategy with Alkaia’s daughter. Tomorrow is a big day for her, she is both excited and scared. She thinks the world will end if she doesn’t impress everyone tomorrow.”
“They will be more than impressed, that young lady had grown a lot since you started training her.”
“It’s not just my doing, you helped a lot, without you I wouldn’t have known what to do, you gave me the key to unlock her potential.”
“I did nothing.”
“It’s part of who you are, you can’t see someone needing help and don’t act. You are a gentle spirit and loyal to your ideals.”
“We are not talking about Alkaia’s daughter anymore, are we?”
“Kimball, I don’t want to lose you, but I don’t want you to lose yourself either. If you don’t help your people you will regret it sooner or later.”
“What did you see in your vision?” Kimball opened his arms to me and I went there. I sat in his lap and let him hug me.
I let my mind go blank and then I tried to give him what he needed. “In the night when the moon is hiding and the gentle souls dream, those that seek to destroy the peace will bring the eternal sleep. Only those that hide under the night’s embrace while nursing their broken hearts will have the power to awake their brothers.”
“I have no idea what you are talking about.” Kimball said.
“You will understand when the moment arrives.”
“Kaiserin, I don’t need riddles, what I need is for you to tell me why is so important that I go.”
“But I thought that you liked riddles.” I tried to make things lighter, but Kimball wasn’t letting go. “I saw murdering, a battle and your enemies’ victory. I don’t know what how things are in your world, I won’t pretend to understand your problems or your culture, all I know is you. I know things are different there, but I know that you are needed.”
“I already lost one family to that war, I won’t lose another.” I thought that maybe he knew about my pregnancy, I was only 2 weeks pregnant, but he knew me so well. But he misread my surprise, another first for him. “You are my family, you are all I need.”
“You can return later, leaving me doesn’t have to be forever.”
“Are we going to see each other again? What do your visions tell you?”
“There are a lot of paths in front of us, the future can go many ways. In some futures we have each other, in others I travel alone. But being together doesn’t depend on me. You will have to take your own decisions and walk your own paths.”
“If I decide to leave, you have to know that I will come back for you. No matter what, I will come back.”
I had nothing else to say, it was his decision to make. I wanted him with me, but I knew he would regret not going. Either way it would cost him, only he knew what price was he willing to pay.
Kimball took me in his arms, I was about to protest, since my leg had healed, I haven’t allowed him to carry me anywhere, but I decided not to. We went upstairs and he took me to my room. At first I didn’t know what he was planning, he was always so careful, he asked again and again before doing anything, he never took anything for granted, but this time he just took me my bed and started to strip me of my clothes. I knew that all I needed was a gesture or a word and he would stop, but I didn’t want him to stop. He needed me and I needed him.
After a couple of hours we finally took a break and he went for food. I was scared, was he saying goodbye? Was he going to leave me? I knew it was selfish to keep him with me, he needed to go, I had told him that myself, but it was hard for me to let go. His love making felt like a goodbye, it was like he was trying to memorize every inch of my body, and I was trying to do the same, just in case he decided to go. I tried to stay awake, I didn’t want to waste a second with him. Even after Kimball fell asleep, I stayed up, just looking at him, until I could stay awake no more.
I found myself in the middle of a massacre, shadows moved between lifeless bodies. As I watched the scene before me, I knew it was something I had seen before. Just as I expected Kimball walked in, he started to fight the shadows, just as I remembered, but then something changed. I heard a shot and then saw a red stain growing in Kimball’s chest, he looked down, surprised to see the blood there, and then fell. It wasn’t the same vision, it wasn’t something I had seen before.
I woke up frightened, more likely I just came out of the vision, and searched for Kimball, he wasn’t with me, the bed was empty. I got up in a rush and ran around the house looking for him, but he wasn’t there. In the kitchen I found a tray with breakfast and a note: I’ll come back for you.
I felt sick, I had made a terrible mistake, I should have kept my mouth shut, I should have asked him to stay. He had promised to come back, but maybe he would be unable to keep his promise. What had I done? Had I sent Kimball to his death? Or would he be able to survive the wounds I saw in my vision? I felt so alone, I needed to calm down, it was a very important day and I had no time to crumble. I did my best to calm down, I had to remind myself that I wasn’t alone, I had a part of Kimball growing inside me.