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The herd rumbled by, dappled brown and white. Here and there were men in rough wool and leather astride different beasts at the edges of the herd, moving them as a whole through a gate in the rough fortification. As her own retinue neared the city walls people dropped to their knees bowing. Her plainest dresses were immeasurably beyond these people’s capabilities; her splice and sauron guards were chosen for intimidation. Her chariot floats and moved without any beasts of burden, and behind her her servitants wore the finest, whitest cloths these people will ever have seen.

There were envy in the priest’s eye as he bowed low in greeting. She smiled and presented him with his own robes after he seated her into the dais on one side of the town square.

The ring on her hand glowed as she placed her hand on one last child’s forehead. The vaccine cocktail will ensure the child’s greater survival in its harsh environ. This world needed so much remedial care after the volcano that almost wiped out the entirety of humans on its surface. Mothers and children bowed as she looked up to the sky. She did not snort as a a clipper made to look as a bird floats above the mud and wicker buildings. Little bots flew on fermionic wings lowering jars of honey and bread into outstretched hands - Titus and his agents has certainly made his way through this town before she did. Titus himself floats down on a shining platform, stepping off it to give her a bow.

“Mother,” he said as he rose to take her hand.

“Titus,” she smiled, and let her son guide her through the parting crowd. Titus had pulled some strings with the Legion; a double row of skyjackers flanked the street they now passed afloat with wings spread out.

“Such paltry accommodations for one who made their world,” Titus remarked, careless of hearing ears as they reached the town’s largest hall set aside to her use. She bent to bury her nose in the bouquet arranged on the table just into the room. Wild flowers without any engineered beauty, without any pretense to be anything than something attracting pollinators into play. The scent was heady.

“It has its charms,” she answered.

“You really will spend the night here?” Titus whispered into her ear. “I could put a sim in here, my guest beds are guaranteed to be softer. And free of parasites.”

“I should make you spend the night here. I’m sure they can drag in another bed,” she answered.

She waited until Titus bade his goodnight and withdrew. The shield that spread to cover the room was something he will expect, even then, she ran through her entire security regime before she dared to check the log on her ring. Hidden in the innoculation were randomised bits of gene will carry through her entire genome in the population. Blind luck she will have to give her trust to that they will recombine in the future. A whiff of knowledge of her interference and the recurrence could lose the rights she’s painstakingly building for her. Blind luck and a little help. She watched as the shadows in a corner lifted into a cloak a man was taking off his shoulders.

“Buri of Asgard,” she tilted her head, one equal to another.

“Lady Seraphi,” the armoured man gave her an equally measured nod.

Her eyes flicked upwards.

“Your son will have no knowledge of my presence,” the man said. “You are set, then, on this path?”

“This universe is stagnant. And every path outside has been hidden by those that fears us. If the end of nectar is your price for us to set foot beyond your gates, so be it,” she answered.

“Not just my price. There are many others, more powers and universes beyond reckoning,” he answered. “And yet it is true enough. In time passage through the doors I watch over will open,” he looked up. “But you will be betrayed.”

Her sons and daughter, too, had remained unchanged for millennia. She perplexed them these days. “But will another heir of mine survive to carry out this work?”

“The threads of that weave glows ever stronger. It may yet snarl and snap.” he cautioned.

“The care for that I leave to your hand,” she smiled.

“And my heirs.” he answered. “Come, I have mead, and one of mine supervised the roast.”