Much had happened over four days. It was, without any doubt in her mind, the most difficult endeavor of her life.
Every memory of the past four days rushed through her mind as she stepped into the Time Streaming Device. Nobody had recognized her when she walked through the Sarafan Keep. Because she was so unfamiliar, it rose suspicion and it didn't take long until a soldier approached her. All she had to do was drop the name of a judge and she was brought to him. Holly was still in utter shock that the judge not only believed her story, but assembled the other judges from her trial to hear it.
Would they believe her? She was taking a risk in putting so much faith into this decision. She was, after all, telling these men to openly disobey and defy their commander. This was an act of treason, punishable by death if they were to bring her before The Sarafan Lord. But upon seeing her alive, and after hearing the story of her torture and failed execution at the hand of Sebastian, their inner conflict was short lived. Rumors of a political killing had circulated among the soldiers, though nothing was confirmed by the Sarafan Lord. He had told them that she had died in the Industrial Quarter when the explosion went off, and yet here she was. He had lied to them about a great many things, and if he could put the wife of any loyal Sarafan knight through such horror, these men knew any one of them could be next. Indeed, the men who saved her life had come through again.
It was our own fault for trusting someone who was not human. He may have helped us win the war, but we should have suspected that we would be next.
It took them hours to go over her plans, to discuss who could and could not be trusted. They were playing God with their own people, picking and choosing who would live and whose lives were just left up to chance. The harsh reality of this situation weighed down on her shoulders as they progressed through the list. Half of the people she had listed were recently detained for associating with vampires. Of those, a third of them confessed to being spies for Vorador and were to be executed.
If you would have trusted them with this information, everything could have been ruined before it even went into action...
She really couldn't have done it without them. She wrote her plans, but they had put them into action. Everybody who needed to be evacuated had been, from the trusted families within the keep, to Jane and Anne and the orphans she had listed. Because traveling by train or carriage would take longer than they could afford, Holly relied heavily on the Nexus Stone to safely and quickly transfer everybody to Magdalena's home. While it came to a shock for most of the men and women in her group, she discovered that this was not an uncommon form of transportation for most of the soldiers who accompanied the Sarafan Lord on missions.
Eight judges, six of Vladmir's former comrades and their famiiles, ten soldiers, their families, five healers, Anne, Jane, their families, the mechanics and workers they trusted from The Industrial quarter, their families as well, three orphanages, filled with at least thirty children each, all showing up at Magdalena's home. Needless to say, Mircea was very unhappy.
This all happened in such short notice. She remembered Magdalena's horrified expression when she saw what resembled a small village infront of her home. It was difficult for her to take everything in all at once. First her sister's family magically appeared in her home over night, and now her mother was back with a small army. That was the least of her worries: the worst part was being convinced to leave her home and come with them.
The last time my daughters looked that devastated was when we had to bury their father. Now I'm telling them that they have to leave everything behind them and come with us, to some remote location, live in some ruins hidden near The Lake of the Dead, hopefully reconstruct it all one day, because if they stay they will die.
During her meeting with the judges, she was provided with a map of Nosgoth. Rumor had it that there were hidden ruins near the Lake of the Dead, surrounded by water channels, rivers, and waterfalls that kept it safe from any vampire. Holly took the opportunity to travel there with the Nexus Stone before the evacuation of the Sarafan families was put into action. The rumors proved to be true, but the fortress was in bad condition. It would take at least thirty years for an entire team to restore it. Even longer with the few workers she had with her. But for now, it was remote, far from Meridian, and rarely anybody knew of it's existence.
It wasn't perfect, but it would have to do. If it would keep her family safe, and if it could shelter the only men left who could protect the human race in Nosgoth, it would have to do.
The planning and the relocation had taken two whole days. Everybody had to carry everything they needed and leave behind everything else if it meant their survival. Food and drink needed to be rationed, and there was no telling what they were going to have to do to survive in this new sanctuary. It was asking a lot. She knew this, and it was made even more apparent on the third day when this small group had to take refuge in these cold ruins. Nobody was happy with this decision. They all wanted to survive, and there was no telling what was going to happen to the ones who could not be saved. Holly could see the resent in their eyes. She might have had their best interests at heart, but she had robbed them of everything they ever had. The nobles were mingling with commoners, those who once had plenty now had close to nothing, and it was all because of her plans.
But she could deal with it. Their resentment would have been nothing compared to what they would feel if they knew she had been conspiring with vampires. Or if she carried out her promise to Janos.
And then I gave Mircea my plans.
The letter was addressed to her daughters, but she left it near Mircea's hand as he slept. It was her future plans for the Human Citadel. She had made alterations now that she had seen the ruins for herself. She also made special requests for all able bodied men and women, as well as all of the children, to be trained by the Sarafan soldiers. Whatever was going to happen after these next few days was anybody's guess. They all had to be prepared to fight if the battle was brought to them. Today's infants would need to be tomorrow's soldiers. She had bought them time, but someday their enemies would find them. Vampire or Hylden.
And then I said goodbye.
There was no explanation for her disappearance. She did not want to tell them all that had happened to her, or the deal she had made with Janos. Perhaps someday she would come back and tell them everything. Perhaps then, things will have changed for the better. After a silent farewell to her family, and after coming to terms with the fact that she may never see them again, she used the Nexus Stone's power to take her to the Time Streaming Device.
She had visited the other ones in Termogent Forest and the cathedral. Both were sealed closed and without some form of magic, Holly could not gain access to them. Much to her relief, the Time Streaming Device in the ruins of the Sarafan Stronghold was open to her. Perhaps the Timestreamer believed that the device was already heavily guarded within the fortress. If she was to come across him in Nosgoth's past, she may have to thank him personally for such a decision.
This was going to be dangerous. The patterns along the walls were unfamiliar to her and the controls were unlike any she had ever seen in her life. The knobs and orbs along the walls seemed to follow some kind of pattern, but she did not know how they should or could be adjusted. In the center of this strange device was a large transparent orb with two handles on either side. She assumed that using this strange device was what would essentially move her through time and space.
She was acting on blind faith again, and she didn't like it this time around either. It was no consolation that she was essentially breaking her deal with Janos. He had gone through such lengths to ensure her safety. It was no easy task convincing Vorador to trust her actions, and yet here she was, breaking that trust.
You would have been dead to them the moment you handed over that stone. You know this. Kain and Vorador do not share Janos's honor. Forget about them. They made the mistake of leaving the stone in your possession and as such, it is yours to do with as you will.
Still, she considered herself a woman of honor. He expected her to make a sacrifice for the greater good. It was a sacrifice that was too much for her to cope with. Still, she told him she would do it. Perhaps someday, she would be able to put things right.
Her hands rested on the handles of the Time Streaming Device. She didn't bother to mess with the strange symbols and knobs on the wall. As she had no idea what they were for, and as she was risking everything by being here to begin with, she would just have to deal with whatever was in store for her.
You realize that without the stone, The Sarafan Lord cannot be defeated. The Hylden Gate will not be closed. Nosgoth will be left wide open for an attack. Should you really do this?
Although her children were safe, would they be safe for long? Could she really gamble with the lives of her daughters and their families like this? This was a chance for a new throw, a better throw at Nosgoth's destiny. She had her weapons, knowledge, skills, and experience on her side. If this device were to take her into Nosgoth's history, perhaps she would have the best chance of changing things for the better.
But if she failed, not only would she never be able to come back, but the future could be changed for the very worse.
"I will do what must be done. For my girls... for the humans... for Nosgoth. Vladmir, give me strength."
She twisted with all of her strength. The orb shifted to the right and was stuck fast. Sparks flashed from within the orb, then expanded out towards Holly. The last thing she remembered was being lifted off the ground.
To be continued.