It was my third trip to the fog, I needed to make sense of my future and those trips were the only way. Despite making the decision of going to the Acuarium that Kimball was building and accepting keeping him in my life, I still found that some paths didn’t have his presence. I needed to know why, but the paths were many and it was hard to find what I was looking for. Besides, I could see a lot of paths that kept distracting me, trying to make me see further away in my future. I knew it was important, but I didn’t have the will or the time to go there. First, I needed to understand my own future, then I could see the others.
“What are you looking for?” Someone asked me. I knew that any number of Seers could be in the fog at any given moment, but I never thought that I would find someone there, the space was too big for company to be an issue.
“Who are you?” There was something familiar about the woman that had interrupted me.
“I’m someone from your future. Our paths will cross in a few years, and if everything goes according to plan, they will stay together for a long time.”
“Sofia,” I knew her, I knew why she was so familiar, her face and her paths had been intruding into my exploration. “I’ve had a lot of visions about you during my travel, but I haven’t planned on studying about you and how our paths relate until another time.”
“Our time together is yet to come. It will be a while. If our paths cross before their time, it could be very bad for us. It’s better if our encounter stays here for now. It will be years before you are ready to face the future where we are together.”
“I haven’t decided what path to take. I’m trying to find the best one for me.”
“Don’t you care about the best path for everyone? You are an important piece for the future of many nations. The decisions you make could affect millions of people.”
“No pressure, huh? I have sacrificed myself for others before, and I decided that I won’t do that again, I’m looking out for me.”
“And what about your son’s future? What kind of world do you want to leave for him?” She knew me, she knew how to grab my attention, but I wasn’t going to let her manipulate me.
“Are you going to tell me what to do? If you know me, you should know that I don’t follow orders anymore. I choose my own destiny.”
“I’m here as a guide. Let me know what you need and I will do my best to show you the way. I know it’s hard to find the right path, especially when you are alone. It’s easy to get lost here, easy to lose your goal.”
“No offense, but how do I know your intentions are good? For all I know you could be trying to manipulate me into doing what you need me to do, to create the future you want.”
“You are right, you don’t know me and have no reason to trust me. Why don’t we take a look at my past so you can understand me better? Maybe if I show you where I’m coming from, you will find that you can trust me.”
“No, the path is too long and I still have a lot to do. The future is too confusing and I need to make sense of it.” I looked back, to the single path that showed my past, it was easy to travel because it was already set, but I didn’t have the time to go looking for Sofia’s path, I needed to focus on myself.”
“The more lives are involved, the more decisions need to be taken, and the more elements you have to take in consideration, the more paths will open in front of you. But, there are places where paths cross, where no matter what decisions are taken, you have to experience them no matter what. Let me show you those crossroads, maybe that will help you reach a decision.”
I knew that I shouldn’t trust her, but I was curious, it wasn’t as if she could fool me, the future couldn’t be manipulated, I understood enough about the paths to know which one were more probable and which ones were just possible. I followed Sofia, she showed me some key moments in the fight between the free nations and the conquering kings, she showed me some battles where the nations fought to be free of the king’s control just to be stopped, losing hundred or thousand of lives. Sofia was linked to most of those scenarios, and I knew it was because her hand had something to do with it happening.
“Why do you want that to happen?” I asked after noticing her influence on the battles.
“It’s not something I want, it’s something I have to do. You are the only one capable of changing the future, only your influence can make my predictions crumble. You think I want you here so I can hurt you or fool you, but that’s not what I want. I need your help, but I want to help you too.”
“I can feel your touch on these visions.”
“The truth is that I’m trapped, my daughter is forcing me to use my gift to help her. Maybe you think I’m helping her kill my people because I want to, but the truth is, it could be worse. I’m trying to do the best I can, I want to avoid a massacre, but it’s not easy, my daughter and his husband are too thirsty for power and they want the fights to happen. I’m doing my best to get them to back off of Mzansi, but there’s nothing I can say to change their mind. Your power and your presence it’s making things more difficult for my daughter, but it will be a time when even Mzansi will fall.”
“Mzansi won’t fall, it’s people is strong and will fight until their last breath, and I won’t fall, no matter what I will remain free.”
“You are an intelligent woman Kaiserin, you will see that sometimes you need to lose a few battles in order to win a war. I know that you don’t like to lose, but sometimes you need to make some sacrifices for the greater good.”
“Is that what you are doing? Are the lives that are being lost just a sacrifice for the greater good?” I knew the terrible things Emily and Faakhir had done, the lives that had been lost in their search for power, and I knew that Sofia had allowed that to happen by staying out of it.
“Believe it or not, it could be worse. Until now you have been the only element I can’t control. The victories you have had over my daughter’s army have put you on the top of the list, you are their greatest enemy. Until now I have been able to justify my errors with the excuse that you are also a Seeress, but that won’t keep them from trying to stop you. You have been able to stop them before, and if you do it one more time, I can give you some peace, a time for you to be free and enjoy your family, you certainly deserve that.”
“All I want it’s to be left alone and be able to watch Ethan grow, I don’t want to be part of your people’s fight. They are your problem, not mine.”
“It’s also the problem of Kimball and his people. Are you going to turn your back on him too?”
“He turned his back on me first, I don’t care what happens to his people, all I care about is my son.”
“So you don’t care if he dies?” For a moment I wasn’t sure if she was speaking hypothetically or is she knew something. I pretended I didn’t care, but I couldn’t think of a future without Kimball without feeling sick. Despite everything I couldn’t let him go.
Without realizing it, Sofia had taken us to a crossroad where I could see the point where my paths grew with and without Kimball, the moment of his death. I knew that if I wanted to stop his death, I didn’t have much time left.
“You knew about this. Do you know when it’s going to happen?” I asked Sofia, I couldn’t pretend I didn’t care anymore.
“This is my daughter’s last plan, her husband and her, found a way to stop your husband and his people. If this fails, they will have to listen to me when I say they won’t be able to stop you, but if they succeed, the fight that will start will take years to finish and will claim the life of half of Mzansi’s people and many of Republican’s lives. You are the only one who can stop this from happening, and I have the power to give you and your people a few years of peace.”
“What is it going to cost me? I know you wouldn’t do that for free.”
“It will be a time when our paths will cross and I will need you to help me save my son. My time is over, but he still have a future ahead of him, and if can get out of his sister’s control, he could help free the Republic.”
“I can’t make promises right now, it will be years before our paths cross, and if you help me now, I can’t promise I will be able to help in the future, I don’t know where I’m going to be and if I can fulfill any promises.”
“You can’t change who you are, I know that when the time comes you will be the right thing, you are an honorable person,” with those words the figure of Sofia vanished in the fog.
I took my time studying the crossroad, I needed to understand what was happening. After that, I got back to the present, if everything went as planned I would have time to do more searching later. I got out of my trance and found out I was very tired, more than normal, I had no idea how much time I had been out, but I was very thirsty and starving. I got out of the room and headed for the kitchen, it was early and the cook was making breakfast. I had just been there a few minutes when Mbali arrived.
“It’s good to see you, I was getting worried about you.”
“Good morning Mbali. How long was I out?”
“Two days. I was starting to think you were lost.”
“Where’s Ethan? Is he with Kimball?”
“No, Kimball is gone, he went to a meeting yesterday, and should be there for a couple more days…” Mbali kept explaining, but I was no longer paying attention. If Kimball was gone, then the attack was coming sooner that I thought.
I didn’t realize I was moving, I had gotten out of the kitchen and was stepping out, looking for the office where the pilots of my jet were supposed to be.
“Do you know where Kimball went?” I asked as soon as I opened the door.
“Yes, he is at the base that the Elders Council is using, there is going to be a meeting there and he needed to go,” one of the mechanics said.
“I need to go to him as soon as possible.”
“We will need time to check and prepare the jet…” one of the pilots started to say.
“You have one hour to do what you need to do, I will be back then and I expect everything ready for departure.” I got out of the office and started back to my room, I needed to get ready, and I needed a few minutes to visit Ethan before leaving.
“Kaiserin, what’s going on?” Mbali looked worried, as if she was afraid I was losing my mind.
“Something is going to happen at that meeting, and I have to stop it, because if I don’t, Kimball could die.”