“It’s been a year.” Kimball repeated. “A year and I haven’t even meet my little girl.”
“She will be a year old in a few days, if I remember correctly.” I wasn’t sure what was going on, in my Clan having kids was a women’s business, most parents didn’t even meet their children until graduation, some didn’t even know they had children until they were called to assist to graduation. But then there were some fathers that got involved in their children’s life, from conception to birth. But all of them were ok to leave their children alone to be raised by others. I couldn’t understand why Kimball was so mad, so sad.
“I should have gone to her already, I shouldn’t have been so distracted, I let too much time go by.” Kimball was pacing the room. I couldn’t believe that a simple comment had him so worked up. I had mentioned that it was a year since I had been with Melchizedek, and that I was glad that I was there because of the help Soturi gave me with Greca’s birth.
“I really don’t see what the problem is.” I said, and Kimball looked at me in a way that I didn’t want to try and interpret.
“When I found out about Greca I just thought that I just had to get better and then I could go and see her, take her to my people. I just don’t want her to grow away from us, in the Empire.”
“But you can’t do that!” I said. “We agreed that she needs to be with her sister, they have to find each other, support each other.”
“We didn’t agree on anything, you took that decision alone. But I understand if you want to keep them together, we can just take both of us to my Clan.”
“No. They can’t leave the Fortress, their future is there.”
“I don’t know why you care where they are, in the Fortress or somewhere else, it’s the same, it’s not like you care about their upbringing.”
“How dare you!? I care about my daughters. Do you think I don’t think of them? That I don’t worry or wish I could have them with me? You were there when I had to give Malkia away, you know it wasn’t easy for me, but I did it because it was the best for her. And it was the same with Greca, she needed to be there, not just for Malkia’s sake, but for her own. Together they will be stronger, they will survive, but apart, they have fewer chances of survival.”
“But Greca is my daughter too, I have a right to worry.” I didn’t understand what was going through his mind, but something wasn’t right. Kimball was always understanding, always supporting, he wasn’t acting like himself. “I just need to make sure she is ok.”
“Where are you going?” I asked as I saw Kimball grabbing his backpack and dumping stuff inside it. “You can’t take her away, she needs to be there.”
“I have the right to know her.” Kimball finished going through his stuff and went to mine, looking for something.
“Kimball? What are you going to do?”
“I’ll be back in a few days.”
“Kimball, you can’t go. You can’t interfere. Just trust me, I just want what is best for them.”
“So do I. But I have to be there for her birthday, I need to see her.” His attitude changed, he relaxed and hugged me, kissing me softly. “I know I have no right to be mad at you, I wasn’t there for you. You did what you thought was best. But she is my daughter too, and I should have some say in what happens to her. For now all I want is to see her.”
Kimball left in the middle of the night and I couldn’t sleep, still trying to grasp what had happened. I tried to go to the fog, look for some comfort in my visions, but I didn’t want to go too far and get lost, there were too many paths. I needed to be on my guard, Spike was just next door and I wasn’t sure if he had noticed Kimball’s absence and would try to go. I couldn’t lose both of them at the same time.
In the morning I tried to keep my routine as close as I could, but it was hard without Kimball, he was a big part of my life. After getting ready I went to the kitchen. I knew Spike was there because I had been monitoring him with my powers, but I didn’t know what he was planning.
“Where is Kimball?” He asked as soon as he saw me.
“He is away.” I felt Spike’s fear as he heard my words. He was looking around, as if looking for something.
“What am I supposed to do?” Then I understood. He was afraid because he was uncertain. Even if Kimball wasn’t my slave, he was always doing things for me, things many people expected a slave to do. Spike always helped Kimball, but he didn’t know what to do without his guidance. I knew that he had seen his father and brothers torture the slaves that failed in their tasks. I was surprised to see how afraid he was of failing me. Kimball acted as a shield for him, he felt better having him around.
“For the moment we are supposed to have breakfast. Why don’t you see if there is any cake left while I prepare some tea?” I almost laughed at Spike’s relieve, but then I realized it wasn’t that funny and felt a little anger. I had experienced something that was very similar to true slavery, in one day with Agmong I had received more pain and abuse that Spike had in all the weeks he had been with me. Why was he so scared?
Spike spent most of the day in a constant state of nervousness, and I was getting tired of his attitude. Then I realized that I was cranky and he was afraid I was going to take my frustrations out on him.
In the afternoon, as we walked to the stadium where I was training the Amazons I got caught in a vision. One moment we were walking and the next I was in the stadium, surrounded by Alkaia’s guards. The vision was brief, but when I came back, I found a very worried Spike staring at me.
“Are you alright?” He asked, and I was surprised to find that he really cared about my answer, but I didn’t try to find out if he was worried because he cared about me, or because he was worried about what I could do to him.
“Of course I’m alright, I just got distracted.” I said and started to walk again.
“It’s ok if you don’t want to tell me. I know I have no right to question you.”
“You can ask as many questions as you want, but I get to decide which ones I want to answer.” We kept walking and reached our destiny a few minutes later. When we entered the stadium Spike’s nervousness increased as all of the Amazons looked at us.
“Where’s Kimball?” Molpadia asked what all of them wanted to ask.
“He won’t be here today. But don’t worry, today is shooting practice, we don’t need him here for that.”
“He escaped again?” Areto asked.
“You cannot escape if you’re not trapped. He needed to do something, so he went away for a few days.” I said.
“But he can’t just go,” Ainia said. “It’s against the rules.”
“Rules are made by people with power. Kimball and I draw are own rules, in case you haven’t noticed.” My voice was a little harsh, but I needed them to stop questioning me. Once I saw no one would say anything else I sent them away to prepare everything for the training. They started to prepare the weapons and the targets. “Spike, go with them and take a gun. I want you to show me how good is your aim.”
“Are you going to trust me with a loaded weapon?” He was suspicious of my motives.
“Why not? It’s not as if you could do something against me, weapon or not. I can’t stop you before you even think about firing at me, and if you manage to injure or kill one of my proteges then the other Amazons are going to make you pay, in blood.”
“Right, there’s nothing I can do.” I didn’t even try to read his emotions, I was too busy trying to understand my own.
The young Amazons were surprised when Spike joined them, but soon they forgot that he was just a slave and a man, and started to enjoy a little competition with him. Soon they had organized a quick tournament and some were even cheering for him or joking with him. Spike was too busy enjoying himself and the competition that he forgot they were his enemies.
When I first had the vision while going to the stadium I thought I was looking at the far future, but as soon as the storm clouds started to move above us I knew that I was running out of time, the warning had come with little time to waste.
The wind started to blow, but I let them continue their competition, just Euryleia, Molpadia and Spike remained, and the wind was making it harder for them. I let myself relax while I watched them, and then started to gather my defenses. I wasn’t going to run away, and I wasn’t going to hide, I needed to face whatever was coming my way.
“Could you explain what is going on here?” Alkaia’s voice was full of anger and recrimination. Her words caused the young ones to jump, afraid, like little kids caught disobeying their teachers.
“We are in the middle of training.” I told her, as calmly as I could.
“Then why is the slave with them?” Her voice was harsh. “How dare you let him hold a weapon? He is a slave, a Militar! He could have killed my daughter!”
“I would never do anything to risk your daughter. I just needed to test his abilities against those of the Amazons.”
“But you can’t trust him, he is a man, and worse, a Militar. He has no concept of honor, men like him just know how to cheat, to lie. He will stab you in the back if you give him the chance.”
“I think you are mistaking him for Ace.”
“He is just like Ace, they share the same blood.”
“So does Molpadia.”
“It’s not the same! How dare you? She is my daughter, and you put her in danger.”
“Mother, don’t worry, I’m fine, everything is fine. Pitonisa knows what she is doing.” She tried to defend me; she condemned me. “And even if Spike was to try something, Pitonisa or Areto would have found out and stop him before he could act.”
“Shut up, you don’t know what you are talking about Molpadia. You don’t know what he is capable of.”
“Neither do you mother, you don’t even know him.” Molpadia said back. She moved closer to me, and her cousins did the same.
“See? I told you, she is turning them against you, she is brainwashing them.” Valasca whispered to her, just low enough for Alkaia and me to hear her, no one else.
“Your actions don’t go according to our way of thinking, these last weeks have been even worse. I don’t think that being here is good for you. Maybe you need to find a place more according to your way of thinking. Somewhere where you can be yourself.”
“Are you asking me to leave?”
“Mother, you can’t do that, it’s not fair! Just a few months ago you were begging her to stay, you can’t ask her to leave now that she helped you.”
“Molpadia, this is between Pitonisa and me, stay out of it.”
“Think about this, it’s not a good idea to make decisions when you are upset, you may regret them later.” I told her, trying to calm her down, but also warning her.
“Are you threatening me?” I felt Alkaia’s power moving, covering the place, my body started to feel weird, slowed down, but my mind was already prepared for that.
“I’m just warning you.” My voice came out sounding a little weird.
“Mother?” Molpadia was scared, she was feeling her mother’s power and knew something was going to happen.
“Don’t think I’m not grateful for all your help,” she said in a calmer tone, “but I have to look out for my people, and right now I think that your influence it’s not in our best interest, it’s nothing against you.”
“And what am I doing that is so terrible?” I saw Alkaia’s guard moving to surround me, but at the same time my proteges, including Spike, moved between them and me, protecting me from a direct attack, which only fueled Alkaia’s fury even more. “Treating slaves as human beings it’s my decision. I don’t tell you what to do with your slaves, even if I don’t agree with the way you treat them, so I don’t see why you think you need to interfere in how I treat them.”
“Your actions influence my family. I won’t let you control them or turn them against me, they’re mine.”
“And I won’t let you insult me, and don’t even think you can threaten me.” A lightning bolt illuminated the sky, the thunder that followed made the place tremble. “If you want me to go you could have asked, but I don’t appreciate this treatment. Don’t push me, because I will push back and you won’t like it.”
Alkaia moved, trying to attack me, but even if my reflexes were slow, my psychic wall was strong and in place. I knew her guards were going to attack too, so I let my power go and summoned a small tornado that picked them out, the strong winds tossing them around. A couple of them used their powers to help themselves, but the rest were tossed with so much strength that they lost consciousness when they hit the ground or were too hurt to move anymore. Valasca saw the opportunity and took her gun out and fired at me, but with the wind blowing and my psychic wall it was hard for her to aim at me, the bullet was deflected and hit the ground behind me, near Spike.
“What do you think you’re doing?” Alkaia took Valasca’s gun and hit her. “What were you thinking? You could have hurt one of your cousins.”
“So? They’re nothing but traitors.” Valasca said back.
The two guards that had survived my little tornado moved closer to me, I saw one of them had ice around her hands, I knew I would get frostbite if I let her touch me, I had to be careful. Using my powers I hit one against the other, but it wasn’t enough, I was still affected by Alkaia’s power, they were disoriented for a second and then kept moving. I connected to the ground under them and made it collapse, making them fall and get trapped under the ground. Meanwhile Alkaia had put Valasca out of combat, she was on the ground, trying to get over Alkaia’s punch.
“Go away and take your warriors with you.” I told Alkaia.
“I don’t follow orders from you. It’s time you see who’s in charge. I will take the Militar and get rid of him like we should have done from the beginning and then I will take care of you.”
I was still under Alkaia’s power, so my responses were slow, but I knew Alkaia was going after me, so I concentrated and used my power to take hold of her. I took her by the neck and started pressing. Alkaia was on the air, trying to break my hold, but she had nothing, she couldn’t fight a psychic hold and slowing my responses even more would do her no good. In a few minutes she was unconscious and her power was lifted.
“Mother!” Molpadia ran to her mother.
“She is ok, she just passed out. Once she comes out tell her that I will speak to her once she calms down and that I don’t recommend she comes or sends someone after me, she won’t like the outcome.”
“Are you ok?” She asked.
“Of course I am.” I felt the start of a headache, so I knew I had to hurry back home.