By the following morning I was still undecided on what to do. The most logical option would be for me to stay and finish what I had started, I had gone to the Amazons for more than one reason, and the reason I needed to be there still remained. The visions I had received while I was with Melchizedek were sent to me because I was in a position to avoid a bloodbath, I knew I could save thousand of lives depending on my decisions. But things had changed, in the last years I had taken selfish decisions, if something important for me was in danger I was able to push everything else aside. If I was the only one affected then I would have no problem staying, but I had Kimball, I couldn’t let what they have done to him slide. I had abandoned my Clan once for Malkia, I had no problem leaving the Amazons for Kimball. I knew that it was me who had convinced him to go back to his people, but it was a decision that had cost me a lot, the months of fear, of thinking I had sent him to his death had shown me how much I needed him. Having Greca to look forward for, had helped a lot, but now it was just me and him again, and I wasn’t going to lose him.
We heard noises in the house and we got out of bed so we could go investigate. I suspected that it was Alkaia that wanted my answer, but it was Molpadia who I found in my kitchen.
“Good morning Pitonisa,” she said, “I brought breakfast.”
“Good morning Molpadia,” I noticed a pair of slaves setting the table and was surprised to see three places. During training Molpadia had seen the power of Kimball and the strength of our relationship, but still she couldn’t see past his label of slave. “Did your mother send you?”
“No, I wanted to see you.”
“Good morning Molpadia,” Kimball greeted her. I saw him noticing the third place in the table, but he didn’t look surprised. “I didn’t have an opportunity before to thank you for your help, so thank you.”
“I don’t…” she started to protest, but Kimball interrupted her.
“I mean, thank you for sending your slave to help me, even if he just gave me some water, it was what I needed.”
Molpadia was fidgeting, she was uncomfortable with Kimball’s words, like she had been caught doing something bad, and maybe in her eyes she was doing something wrong. I caught her thoughts and saw a memory of her telling her personal slave to go and help Kimball in any way he could. I was sure he had done his best to help, that all he could do was give him so water wouldn’t change his punishment if he had been caught.
“I’m sorry I couldn’t do more, I didn’t go to my mother because I assumed she knew what was going on. When I saw my aunt gloating about killing you I went to speak with my mother and ask how it was possible for her to allow something like that, but she wasn’t aware of what my aunt had done. She was mad at her, but we thought it was too late to do something.”
“Don’t worry about it,” Kimball just shrugged, “everything it’s fine.”
“Pitonisa, have you decided what to do?”
“What did you see while you were away? What will happen if you go?”
“It’s not easy to predict what could happen, there are many possible futures and many little things that could move the future one way or another. All I know is that even if I’m not here you still can win the war.”
“But, if you stay?”
“If I stay your chances of winning increase exponentially and with far less casualties.”
“What would happen if we lose?”
“If the Militaries win the war, then your Clan and all the Clans that remained loyal to you will be enslaved by the Militaries. They will feel so powerful after winning that they will continue the fighting and will attack the Empire. They have no chance of winning, but the conflict will cause a lot of damage and take thousand of lives from both sides. It will be a war worse than the one my mother died in, the one between the alliance between Amazons, Militaries, and the New Word Clans against the Empire.
“Then you have to stay here, I know you won’t allow that to happen, you won’t let the war touch your people, and you will not let my mother and me become slaves.”
“Your mother will kill you before the Militares can take you as a slave. But it won’t come to that, you have a chance to win, even if I’m not here, even if I go. You can’t depend on me or anyone else. Both you and your mother are strong, intelligent women, you have good instincts, you can win without me.”
“We can, but we still need you. I want you to stay and my mother feels the same. My aunts are jealous of you, they know how strong you are and they are consumed by envy, but they know how strong you are, and I doubt they will bother you again. Even Kimball is safe, they are impressed by him, not everyone can come back from death.”
“I hope you’re right, I won’t allow them to try to harm him again. I thought I had lost him before because of my visions, and then because of Polemusa’s memories, I can’t go through that again.”
Molpadia was watching Kimball and me, as if she could understand our relationship just by looking at us.
“Is there nothing I can do to convince you to stay here?”
“I just need time to think.”
Molpadia left after breakfast and I had to start seriously thinking about the decision I had to make. I knew how important Molpadia was going to be as the leader of the Amazons, she was an ally I couldn’t lose. She was important for the future of the Rebels Clans, it would be a bad idea to fight with her.
“What are you thinking about?” Kimball asked.
“I’m not sure of anything anymore. I think that I need to go back to the fog and review the future without me to help the Amazons. It’s just that is easy to get lost in the fog and without Melchizedek as a guide I could get lost in the paths. When I was with him I focused on the futures that had me on them, I had no intention to leave the Amazons, but now everything is different. The problem with the future is that every decision can open a new path, there are hundred of paths, and I didn’t bother to explore all of them.”
“Can I help you?”
“No, it’s something that I have to do.”
Even after all the time it was still hard for me to go into the fog, it was a weird experience. I had to explore all the paths that I had neglected before, if I was going to leave the Amazons I had to know what they were going to face. I didn’t like what I found, and after a while I decided that nothing would change if I kept looking. Leaving the fog was as weird and as hard as getting into it, but there was the added problem of losing track of time. What could feel like a lifetime in the fog could be just a few minutes, or days. When I got out I felt weak.
“I’m glad you’re finally back.”
“How long was I gone?” I noticed an IV in my arm.
“More than 30 hours. I was worried about you, I feared your body would collapse without food and liquids, so I put the IV to help keep your body hydrated.”
“Thanks, it was a good idea. Melchizedek usually gets me out of the fog before my body starts suffering.”
“Do you want to eat? I prepared some food in case you woke up.”
“Yeah, but first, take this off please.”
After eating and discussing what I had seen in the fog we both decided on what to do. Just like I had known that Kimball would have regretted not going back, he knew that I wouldn’t be able to forgive myself for the death of so many people, if I was in a position to help, I had to do it.
Just a couple of hours after getting out of the fog, we were on our way to Alkaia’s Palace. Again, I expected people to close our way, but everyone stayed respectfully away from us. Once in the Palace the guards even opened a way for us and guided us to where Alkaia and her generals were reunited.
“Pitonisa, I’m so glad to see you, I was told you were indisposed,” Alkaia said. I heard something accusatory in her voice.
“I needed time to reach a decision.” I saw maps and charts on the table, I noticed the settlements the Militaries had already attacked, and those that were completely lost.
“I suppose you reached your decision, then, if you are here.”
“That’s right, I decided to accept your proposal and stay here to help.”
“Good. You arrived just in time.” Alkaia said while she pointed to the map in front of us. “New information just arrived, the Militaries attacked more of our farms.”
“Our problem is that they are using small groups to attack, is hard to track them or know where they are going to move next. The attacks are completely random, they have no logic to them.”
“Does your visions tell you where the next attack is going to be?”
“I know what will happen, where they are going to attack and how, but it’s hard to know the order of most of the attacks, I couldn’t tell you when the next attack is going to be, just where they are going to attack.” I said as I studied the maps in front of me.
“We can’t predict the attacks, some are done by groups with just a few warriors, some with hundred of them. We can’t never know how many people or where to send them.” Bremusa complained.
“There’s no such thing as random attacks,” Kimball suddenly said, “the human brain is not designed to process that, no matter how much someone tries to randomize his actions, sooner or later a pattern emerges. Can you tell me the chronology of the attacks?” No one answered him, they looked at me instead.
“Answer him. That was one of the conditions. You will treat him like an extension of myself, treat him like you would treat me, or I will take offense.” I could see the faces of the women, they weren’t happy about my words.
Iphito was mad, but she moved to the map and started to put markers with numbers, I assumed she was marking the chronology of the attacks. I also took some markers, green to show the places that were safe and red for those that would be attacked.
“Our main problem,” I said while Kimball studied the maps, “is that the war have been taking place in our territory. We need to move the fight to their territory.”
“Do you think that we haven’t tried?” Derinoe asked. “All attempts to move into their territory had cost us a lot of warriors. Every time we have been surrounded by their armies, somehow they manage to circle around us and trap us.”
“We have to do it, otherwise we won’t be able to win.” We kept discussing the pros and cons of attacking, but they kept bringing the same arguments, they didn’t want another defeat. Kimball suddenly cursed out loud and then started to laugh. “What’s so funny?”
“I think that in a couple of hours I will be able to predict the next attack from the enemy…” Kimball started to say before being interrupted.
“Now you are a Seer?” Pitonisa mocked him.
“Not a seer, an expert in information analysis.” Kimball said. “Now, that’s not important, what matters is that I think I know what Ace is trying to do,” he signaled to a few points in the map, “The Miliataries are not circling around your armies, they can attack from all flanks because they have people in both Militaries’ and Amazons’ territories. They have people hiding in your territory, they attack, move and hide, that way you don’t know when they are going to attack next. So far their plan is working.”
“I think we would notice if we had an army hiding in our lands.” Bremusa pointed out.
“Not necessarily,” he said, “what I think is that they are moving in small groups, they divide or unite to attack the different targets and then go into hiding. Maybe a few of them go back and forth to simulate the movements of an army, but it’s just to confuse you.”
“That kind of make sense, that’s what happened to us with the Beasts Clan, they were using small groups to attack and that confused us for a long time, we always assumed they were one group.” I started to go through my visions, trying to puzzle together what I knew with what Kimball had said. “I think that’s true, what Kimball said would help me puzzle together my visions. That’s what I was missing.”
“There’s no way he could know that.”
“Are you kidding us?”
The Amazons didn’t believe him, nor were they impressed.
“I know about war strategies, I know how to get into the minds of my enemies.” Kimball smiled and turned to face me. “That’s why my king wanted me back so bad, not for my fighting abilities, but because of my analytic power.”
“I know,” I said with a smile, “you are pretty amazing.”
“What is the name of your Clan?” Alkaia asked, as she studied Kimball as if she was seeing him for the first time.
“I’m from a Clan that doesn’t exists, you can find it in a land that is only known in legends. My Clan doesn’t have a name, but you may know it from different names.”
“Are you mocking us? That’s not an answer.
“Is not that hard to figure out,” I told Alkaia. “I’m sure that even here you have legends about the Shadows Clan or the Phantom Clan.”
“Yeah, but as you said, those are legends, something we invented to scare your recruits on their first missions.”
“As I said, my Clan doesn’t have a name, we come as go as we need and that’s all you get from me. So, what are you going to do to defeat the Militaries?”
The Amazons and I continued our discussion, while Kimball worked on the map. I knew they didn’t trust Kimball’s words, they were used to look down on men, knowing one that could be actually smart was foreign to them, but I knew that it was a good chance he could figure it out and help us stop the Militaries. With my visions and his brain we would be able to win the war.