Melchizedek had all but thrown me out of his house. He said that I needed to move fast, so I did. At first I was afraid I was going to find people from my Clan, Melchizedek said that they were going to go look for me, but I didn’t find anyone. I changed vehicles at the limits of the territory, I left the ATV and grabbed a car I had left in one of my travels, the ATV was too dangerous to ride with a baby. I needed to be careful, I couldn’t make the same mistakes I did when I was taking Malkia to the Fortress.
I didn’t find any enemies, and it was a good thing, for some reason my body wasn’t fully recovered, I felt bruised and tired, the traveling was hard on me. I wasn’t feeling well and that wasn’t good, especially considering what had happened the last time, Kimball wasn’t here to save me if something bad happened. I was feeling paranoid, and I took extreme precautions to protect my baby.
I finally reached the Fortress, I couldn’t delay giving them my baby anymore. I used the plan I had for Malkia, I used my powers to create an illusion to help disguise my features. The Fortress was a safe place, and there were groups of students patrolling the territory all the time. One of those groups found me, they were just a bunch of kids, but they took their jobs seriously. They took me to the inside of the Fortress and I felt good about my illusion, people weren’t looking at me, they dismissed me without a second look.
“What brings you to the Fortress?” An old warrior asked. Despite her age, she looked capable and strong, I knew she was a person used to command.
“I bring my baby, she is a daughter of the Empire, and I want to leave her to its care.” I recited the words I knew would guarantee her a place in the Fortress.
“Give me the baby, I will decide if she deserves a place in the Fortress.” For a moment I felt like running, I wanted to leave and take my baby with me, but I couldn’t. I forced myself to give her to the woman. “I feel strong blood in her, Empire blood.” The Vlad said after taking Greca in her arms.
“Her father is a powerful man,” I wasn’t lying, Kimball was very strong. “She comes from a general lineage.” From several really, my parents and grandparents had been generals, some before becoming Emperors.
“She will be a great warrior if her lineage is as good as you claim, she will have a place in our army.” But not a good one, high rankings were reserved for people from the Royal Families, there were some exceptions of course, like Vasuman who was from the Common Families, but a Nova? Someone born outside of the Clan would never reach a high rank.
“She has a bright future, she will be a great warrior,” I couldn’t help to said. The woman looked at me, as if she was noticing something odd about me. “If that’s all, I will leave, I have a long journey ahead of me.”
“Travel safe, the territory around the Fortress is safe, but outside our limits there are many dangers.”
It was hard to walk away, and not because I was tired, but because every step was a step further from my children. I could almost feel Malkia, she was so close and so far. And it wasn’t just her, I was also leaving Greca behind.
I went to one of the Empire’s warehouses. I needed supplies for the rest of the way. It was a secure location, a place that only people from the Empire knew about, where we could pick up supplies between missions and rest for a few hours. I was alone, I felt alone, something was missing, my arms needed my baby’s weight. I realized how much being with Kimball had helped me the last time, even if I didn’t trust them, and even when some of them decided to attack me, at least they were a distraction from the pain of leaving my daughter. With Greca I had nothing to distract me, I was feeling the pain, raw and strong.
There were many things I needed to do. I needed to find a way to warn Trajan about the attacks the Slavers were planning on the Clans under the Empire’s protection, and I needed to go back to the Amazons and make sure they won the war against the Militaries. I needed to focus, I needed to act, but I couldn’t, my thoughts kept going back to my children. How long would it take them to find each other? Would they recognize their bond? Would they realize they were sisters? I knew that they would be stronger together, that their powers would draw them to each other.
I spent hours just lying there, thinking, feeling… I moved only when the hunger was overwhelming, I just moved long enough to eat, and then went back to nothing, until I fell asleep. While I had Greca with me I had someone to protect, I was careful and took precautions, I used astral projection to make sure I was safe, before and after sleeping, but I didn’t care enough to do it without my baby. I fell asleep and woke up and it didn’t occur to me to secure the territory around me. I was no longer hungry, but I forced myself to eat something, I needed to move soon and I had to keep my strength.
I started to prepare some documents, writing down all I remembered from the dinner with the Slavers, when I was able to hear thoughts about their plans to attack the Empire. I was working when I saw a ghostly figure moving. It was an astral projection. Someone was approaching and was looking to see if the place was safe. The figure saw me looking at him and disappeared. My things were unpacked, I wasn’t ready to leave. I wasn’t afraid of him attacking me, I was in a safe place, nobody would attack someone in a warehouse without a good reason, they would just assume I was another Imperialist in need of supplies. No, what I was afraid was that he would recognize me and try to take me back to the Palace.
I prepared myself, I put my psychic wall and faced the entrance. It didn’t take long for a group of warriors to walk inside. There were ten of them, they looked like they had just left the battlefield, and some of them were injured.
“What happened?” I asked, worried about them. I helped carry the injured inside.
“We got caught in an ambush,” a Vlad that looked to be in charge told me. “What are you doing here alone, beautiful?”
“I got separated from my squad and came here for supplies. I was just leaving when you arrived.” The major looked at me, as if he was just noticing me.
“You are not wearing an Imperial uniform, what sector do you come from?” He was staring at me, and I saw the exact moment he recognized me.
‘I don’t want to hurt you or your men, so just shut up.’ I spoke directly into his mind.
‘We are at your service Empress, as soon as we stabilize our men we can take you back to the Palace.’
‘But I don’t want to go there.’ I had to get out, even if none of them couldn’t fight me, it was still a risk to stay there.
‘I never thought I would see you again beautiful, even less like this, but whatever you need, you can count on me.’ He flashed a charming smile and it was then that I recognized him. I spoke briefly with him when I met my father after rescuing the soldiers from the Shadows and taking the tribute to him. ‘My men are at your service, just ask whatever you need.’
“Thanks. I didn’t catch your name…”
“We were never properly introduced. My name is Talamaur from the Vlad Family. What should I call you?”
“Call me Pitonisa, is the name I have been using, but I will have to change it again. I have to leave soon, and I don’t want you or your men following me. But before I leave there’s something I need you to do for me. I have important information that I want my brother to have, I want you to take it to him.”
“I’m at your service, I will do whatever you need.”
I told him about my meeting with the Slavers and how I had listened to their thoughts. I told him about their plans to attack the Empire, where to find them, and everything he needed to know. I also gave him the reports I had prepared for my brother. I knew the reports would make it easier for my brother to believe the information was coming from me, but I wasn’t sure if that would be an advantage or disadvantage, I wasn’t sure what he thought of me. If Rex had told him that I was working with the Amazons, there was a possibility that he would think that I was sending him to a trap. I just hoped that the Slavers stick to their plans so my brother could see that the information I was sending him was legit. The first attacks were distractions, hopefully he would trust the information by the time they were preparing their main attack.
Nobody paid much attention to us, they were busy taking care of their injured. I wasn’t sure what were Talamaur’s powers, so I kept my distance. Talamaur spent most of the time fishing for information, he wanted to know where I had been and where I was going, but I just told him what I expected from him and his men. I, on the other hand, was able to get information from him, I caught some of his thoughts, he wanted to stop me, but he knew he wouldn’t be able to fight me, his next best choice was following me. I felt better knowing he was aware of his limitations, he wouldn’t attack me because he knew I was stronger than him and his men.
Talamaur left to check on his people, I took the opportunity to gather my things and get out of the place. When I arrived to the place where the vehicles were stored, I found they had motorcycles, and I took one. While I had Greca with me I needed a bigger vehicle, but now a motorcycle would be better, it was easier to move with it and easier to hide. Before someone tried to stop me, I took one and left.
I traveled south, I didn’t want them to know where I was really headed. I knew they wouldn’t let me go easily, and soon enough I felt someone following me. He was way behind me, but seemed to know where I was going. I suspected that he was using something to track me. I stopped and checked my stuff, I found what I was looking for in my backpack, they had put a tracking device inside it. Using one of the oldest tricks in the book I used my mind to call a bird and I strapped the tracking device to it, that would keep them busy for a while.
I waited for a while to see what the person following me would do, and then I astral projected to see where he was and what he was doing. I found him a few yards away. I knew it would be pointless to wait for him to fall asleep, but I want him to think I was asleep. I spent a couple of hours in the astral planes, giving my body some time to rest. After that I went looking for the person following me.
He noticed I had discovered him and that I was approaching him, he tried to move but he wasn’t fast enough to avoid the roots getting out of the ground and wrapping around him. The roots started to dry up and brittle, it wouldn’t be enough to stop him, so I shifted the ground around him and moved it, forming a cave around him, I made sure to leave him an opening so he would be able to breathe and then I closed the cave. I was sure he wouldn’t be able to get out in a couple of hours. I got back to where I had left my stuff and left in a hurry. Using my powers to erase the tracks of the motorcycle I headed for the Amazons’ territory.
I needed to be careful, I couldn’t let anyone see me and find out my true destination. If as I suspected they had already gone looking for me there, then I was safe, at least for a little while, as long as I made them believe I was going somewhere else they wouldn’t go look for me with the Amazons. I decided to take the long way back, it would be safer for me, and a couple more days of traveling wouldn’t affect the war. I didn’t have an exact date, but I knew that the war wasn’t going to reach a critical point in the next few weeks, I had time.