An Assassin's Virtue
By Midnight's Assassin
Broken oaths and bloodied knives.
All was quiet over the sleepy city of London. Evie was about chasing a lead on an organised Templar heist, nothing to out of the ordinary for her nightly patrol. Nothing made her feel more alive than darting to and fro, over houses and under bridges, especially on a night like tonight. The figure that was Evie Frye sat perched atop the meeting point, wind on her face as the silvery moon hung silently in the sky above her.
It wasn't long before the criminals below began to stir, one spotting her shadow that was cast unto the red and tarnished bricks of the factory. Evie had to move locations if she didn't want to be compromised, so whilst donning her hood, she prepared to leap to the next roof.
Mid motion, she caught the eye of the scum beneath her, who then fired a pistol that connected with the heel of her boot, causing her to tumble onto the next home, thankfully uninjured. Thank god she had worn her thick heeled boots. The stillness of the night was interrupted by a loud thud as the young assassin landed on the shingles of the old houses, all nestled snugly in a quaint little row along Times Square. The sound grew louder when her silhouette darted behind a brick chimney, muffled footsteps followed. Evie lifted back her hood, a single lock of dark hair fell against her skin, caressing her freckled cheek.
She scouted around, hesitant to move. Before long, gunfire erupted from over the Chapple, it was time to go. With one swift flick of her wrist, she aimed and fired her grappling hook. Soaring through the air she felt safe, the cold winter moonlight reflecting her pale skin. Evie was assured a swift get away, until she felt a tingling in her gauntlet.
Grabbing at her other hand, she tried to eject but her grapple line snapped, the elastic force hitting her right eye and sending her hurtling down into the midst of the English night.
Henry Green, the notorious assassin of London was once again caught up in the lowly deeds of a local Blighter robbery. Fieldwork wasn't exactly his forte, but he had been tipped off by an anonymous letter and couldn't resist the attempted chance at espionage. The only trace of the letter's author was the strange insignia signed at the bottom of the paper.
He had hidden himself on the rooftop of the bell tower opposite St Paul's Cathedral, the letter gave clear directions to the left balcony on the second floor. Watching the roads beneath him became difficult as a thick fog rolled in, blanketing the tar-pitched paths. But no matter how deep the fog, in Henry's mind, it could not spoil such a beautiful and starry night. With such declaration, surely this would be a night to remember.
Out of the corner of his eye, something caught his attention, a shadow painted the side of the old rooves. When he turned his head to investigate, the shadow was gone but as mysterious and intriguing as it was, he had a mission to complete, and that was all that mattered.
Ready to move forward and attack, he honed in and assessed his first targets.
Two guards were standing by the door, the first; very scrawny, short as well, he wouldn't be much of a threat. But his stance indicated a fleeting position, and he held one hand tightly in the pocket of his coat, probably concealing a dagger. The second guard was of a very broad stature, very muscular and a mean look on his face. He cupped his left fist in the palm of his right hand, most likely a very heavy set of knuckledusters.
The occasional nervous glance from the second guard to his smaller companion suggested that he wasn't relying on his partner's 'fighting skill' to fend off any unwanted guests. This told Henry all too well that there was bound to be a sniper in the area somewhere, and whilst scanning the blackened rooftops, surely enough there stood a gunman, or 'gun-woman' to be more precise.
The sniper was a female Templar, but more formally dressed than her two associates. Around her arm was a band bearing the intrepid symbol of the Templar Order. She must have been a member of a more 'elite' blighter task force, probably forced to provide gun support for the two novice guards beneath her.
Even though she was a higher ranking official, she seemed somewhat nervous, and with good reason. Every time she came to the edge of the roof, the muscular brute below would shoot her an evil glance. Once he did she clutched her gun tightly, a worried expression etching its way onto her face. If the guard did have any plans for her, that rifle would be the thin woman's only line of protection against that brute of a man.
After seeing no imminent danger from another few rounds of the rooftop, she sheathed her gun, continuing on with just her eyes, completely unaware of 'The Ghost' that lurked in the shadows. Henry ducked behind the balcony railing, he adjusted the straps on his gauntlet, checking that his hidden blade was functional whilst he engaged it, adjusted the retort and once satisfied, sheathed it again. He checked the supplies on his belt, 3 darts and a few smoke bombs. A second load of bullets for his pistol, and of course his prised Kukri, a long sliver sword etched with gold.
Taking a few deep breaths, he went over the plan once more in his mind, pulled his cowl from around his neck and over his head. Henry moved from underneath the railing up onto the post, looking from underneath his hood, he found a thick steel cable hanging from the bell tower to the edge of the cathedral balcony. He steadied himself and walked across stealthily, almost gliding. Henry made the last jump onto the Cathedral's roof and mounted the railing. Now he was positioned perfectly above the two guards, only hidden from the sniper's view by the statues that decorated the rooves.
Henry had a choice, assassinate the two guards at the door and risk being compromised by the sniper, or kill her. Henry didn't want to kill the sniper, although she sided with the Templars, maybe a near death experience would be enough for her to see the light. It was hard enough for him to let his blade be responsible for the death of many men, but to let it be forever stained with the blood of a woman? His conscience always found it hard to heal.
But his conscience would have to heal faster, as the sniper herd his landing, and was coming to investigate.
"Who's there?" she sounded young, maybe 18, her whole life ahead of her. Henry began to panic, he couldn't do it, he wouldn't. He heard her begin to approach, she had drawn her gun and was looking down the sights. Her voice was trembling, "I'm...I'm w-wwarning you!" Ss-hhow yourselfff..!" she was scared. Her words broke off at the point, stabbing at Henry's heart. But then he had an epiphany. Maybe he could scare her.
With every footstep, her fear became more apparent. Still looking down the barrel of the long gun, Henry could hear her finger loosely jingling on the trigger, her trembling hand making the whole weapon quake. Henry thought about what he could do, she just needed to be…closer. Her pulse was rapid and she drew closer with every breath. Henry was waiting,
'C'mon' he thought.
Just a little closer…
She was within reaching distance now, but one more step would do it. Henry heard the heel of her boot crunch on the shale roof once more and then, he put his idea into action. From where she was standing, all the sniper could see was the statue to which Henry was leaning his back on. In hopes that she would get scared, in one quick movement Henry stuck out the wrist that held his gauntlet, (his left) and engaged his hidden blade, the sound of the metal popping out ringing in his ears. The girl gave a small scream and dropped the rifle, falling to the floor. Henry disengaged his blade and lowered his hand, slumped against the wall of the statue and breathing heavily. Show time.
He rose from behind his hiding place to finish what he had started. Henry began walking towards the girl, who backed herself up until she hit the side of another statue. When he stopped he loomed over her cowering body, every ounce of his beating heart present in his ears. Trying desperately to ignore it, he once again engaged his blade, and watched as tears began pouring down her cheeks as she quietly sobbed. "Please, please…have mercy." Henry felt so sorry for her, all he wanted to do right now more than anything in the world, was to hug her, to comfort her and wipe away her tears. But he could not, so he continued. Henry raised his arm above his head, the girl began crying louder now.
Henry took a deep breath, I'm sorry
With one swift blow he landed the dagger, the girl still wailing from horror, until she realised… he hadn't killed her.
With one tear-stained eye, she followed the length of his arm and gauntlet to where he had landed his dagger, just but a few centimetres above her head, embedded in the cement back of the Cathedral's roof. A warm and teary sigh of relief came spluttering out of her throat, in between the sudden gasps for air and mercy. She looked at what part of Henry's face was visible from under his cowl. He had managed to scare her, now it was time for her to…
"Leave" he said.
She looked at him confused, still terrified, but confused.
"Leave" Henry said once again, "Leave, go, say nothing and do not return."
The girl felt pathetic at his feet, but graciously said thankyou before skidding down the slanted roof and away into the night. Henry took a deep breath, now all he had to do was try and get his blade out of the wall.
After using two feet, Henry managed to dislodge his blade from the statue and sheathed it again. He was prepping his gear for the two guards when he heard the scream of a woman, a young woman. The young assassin ran to the top of the balcony to find his next targets were gone. Internally cursing, and worried for the life of his hostage, he fled to the other side of the rooftop, scanning the dark streets for any sign of the 'punisher' and his assailant. Suddenly, the backs of the two guards emerged from the darkness to underneath the light a nearby street lamp.
'They appeared to be Crouching?' Henry observed and once the two moved further, realised they were dragging something. And surely enough, as they stepped into the light, (their backs to Henry) they lugged a shadowy figure into the light with them. Upon closer inspection, it was the young sniper, kicking and screaming as she was dragged across the cold cobbles, only given shelter by the seemingly warm light of the street lamp.
Both guards pulled her over to the base of the lamp, the smaller guard pulled rope from a nearby crate and tied the young girl's hands to the street post. The larger guard stepped back into the light, now wearing a set of brass knuckledusters.
The Punisher donned a sickening smile, before he spoke to her. "Now, now Miss Jaya, it seems here like we have a little bit of a situation, don't we?"
"That's Commander Kipling to you." The girl looked down at her black boots, marked with the Templar symbol, which she began rubbing into the ground, a disgusted look on her face. "I am your supervising officer, and I demand you unhand me…" The guard pulled his hands apart and revealed his weapons, making the girl nervous. "…at once…"
"Such a sweet girl." He said, grabbing her chin forcefully. "Wouldn't want any harm to come to ya." He flashed his knuckledusters in the dim light. "Please, no" she said quietly."
"It's ok, nothing has to happen, just tell us why you abandoned your post, who saved you and where he is now."
"I won't tell you anything." She scampered, trying to free herself.
The guard punched her clean across the face, his weapon leaving her with a swelling cheek and a bloody nose. The girl screamed in pain as she began to cry.
"Now, Like I said, you're going to pay for your acts, one way…" he stopped, glanced down at the chest of her shirt and ripped it open revealing a thin white blouse, feasting his eyes on all her concealed woman-hood as she lay bound, helpless. "…Or, another." He teased with a wicked smile.
"Get off me! Stay away from me!" the girl screamed avoiding his calloused fingers, hoping for a saviour, so where was he?
The brute placed a bloody hand on her dimpled chin, then began stroking her cheek lightly with the knuckledusters.
"Wott'a pretty face." He said, still stroking her cheek. "Wouldn't want anyfink to 'appen to it now, would we?" Gripping her chin, he began pressing the spiked knuckledusters into her cheek, harder and harder until he drew blood. Once he pulled away, her tears had turned crimson, mixing with the blood that dripped from her nostrils and oozed from the left side of her face.
The punisher lent down on his haunches once more. He grabbed a soiled handkerchief from the pocket of his red britches and mopped away the blood. "Aw, I'm sorry poppet, I don't wanna urt ya. Honestly I don't. So I'm gonna ask ya one more time. Where's our assassin friend?" He lent into the girl's face, she looked as though she was about to kiss his shredded lips.
He foolishly mistook this and moved closer before she coughed up a large ward of mucus she had been gathering in her mouth, and spat a mix of tinted greens and yellows right into his eye. "I'll never tell you."
He stumbled, taken aback by the miscreant's efforts, so he pulled a large fistful of red hair from her tiny head. He punched her once more before looking to his associate, "Fetch the oil, and a match."
The teenager panicked, screaming and trying to free herself from her bindings. Henry watched as the small, string-beam of a guard nodded to the large thug and disappeared behind a pile of wooden crates. When he returned into vision, he was carrying a small red jerry-can. Henry could hear a thick liquid sloshing around in the container as he walked, a devilish look in his eye.
The larger guard turned and took the can from his associate, exchanging with him a dry chuckle, before turning to the young girl, slowly swinging the bottle in front of her. Her eyes alight with worry. Henry froze in place, he had to do something, but he couldn't expose his cover on what could be the biggest Templar heist yet, could he?
The muscular guard set the bottle of oil down and snapped his fingers at his assailant, who fetched him a piece of dirty cloth that was protruding from his coat pocket. The larger man then proceeded in his evil doings and tied the cloth firmly around the girl's mouth, despite the disgusting state of the presumably once white material, it made a fitting gag.
Henry's thoughts became a haze as the consequences of each outcome whizzed around in his mind, stabbing at his brain like darts tipped in silver. The whizzing became surreal as the large guard popped the top off of the red bottle and began splashing oil over the fatigued body before him, tiny little droplets gathered on her collar as tears beaded in her eyes. The girl tried to close her mouth underneath the gag to stop any of the toxic liquid coming through, but her mouth became drenched in oil as did the rest of her body. Both guards stood back and watched the squirming body. They were both standing around the edges of the circle of light that the street light provided, facing Henry's direction and backs to the darkness.
The smaller guard pulled a small red box from his coat and handed it to the larger guard, who then struck a match. The girl panicked as the golden tinge of the flame reflected in her brown eyes. Again and again she tried to free herself from her bindings, thrashing about but to no avail. Once more Henry tried to make up his mind as to whether he free the young girl or risk losing what could be one of the Brotherhood's strongest Templar leads.
Luckily, that would be a decision he wouldn't have to make.
The guard laughed wickedly as he held the match close, just about to throw it onto the horrified girl, when all of a sudden, it blew out. Startled, his laughter ceased as he looked to his comrade who had already raised a finger to check for any wind at all, but not even a light breezed trudged through the muddy streets on such a still night.
Henry realised this as well, and before he or either of the guards could piece together what had happened, two gloved hands appeared from the midst of the night, covering the largest guard's mouth and restraining his arms.
Henry's ears perked as he tried to accommodate the sudden advance. Just as quickly as they had appeared, the hands vanished, dragging the guard back into the night with them, only then did Henry hear a loud scream. As soon as his cockney shout pierced the stillness of the night, the guard's body was thrust back into the light, landing at the feet of his accomplice. A large, clean cut travelled across his throat.
He was dead.
Before the second guard could raise his fists in defence the same black gloves appeared again. This time Henry noticed that one donned an assassin's gauntlet and the other was wielding a kukri, much like his own.
The gloves lunged towards the man and the hand holding the sword started slashing at him in all different directions, before finally lodging firmly in his stomach and pulling him towards the other hand which engaged the gauntlet's hidden blade and stabbed him clean through the throat. Even though so far away, Henry could make out the triangular tip of the silver blade as it poked through the back of the man's neck. It then retracted, letting him slip off the kukri and onto the bloodstained cobbles beneath him.
The two guards lay next to each other at the feet of the young girl who was still trying to process being doused in petrol let alone the hands that belonged to her unknown saviour.
When the hands emerged from the darkness once more, arms followed, then a torso and a body. Henry now saw a figure in a long black coat the bore the Creed's symbol, and a cowl pulled over the heroine's face. The womanly figure stepped into the light and towards the girl who was at first, scared of the shady figure, but soon realised that she was friendly once she began soothing the girl.
"It's alright. I'm a friend."
Although she spoke quietly, Henry could make out the voice, it was very formal but thick with a British accent, and somehow, very familiar. The woman took the gag from the girl's mouth and tossed it to the bodies with disgust, it became stained as it lay in a pool of their blood. Once her mouth was free, the girl began taking huge gasp of air as colour began returning to her bloodied face.
"Thank you, thank you so much." She breathed she looked around in a dazed confusion, then back to the woman who began untying her hands.
"Where is your friend?" she asked in a slur.
The woman stopped momentarily, head tilted to one side at the young girl's question.
Henry decided to investigate, and made his way down from the roof onto the cobbles below, landing with a thud. The woman helped the young teenager stand, who noticed Henry as he stepped into the light to… well he hadn't thought that far ahead, very unusual for him.
The girl squinted and then smiled when she saw Henry step into the light. "There he is." The Indian assassin was surprised when the girl who he had 'threatened' ran to him and hugged his torso. Not knowing what to do, he cradled her head and tried to comfort her a little after all she had been through. When she finally let go, she realised that she had acted without thinking, and a little embarrassed, took a few steps back from where the desolate figure of Henry Green that stood underneath the street lamp.
"Thank you both, I shall hope to be joining you soon." The young girl said to them before she looked down at her arm, ripped off her Templar band and threw it to the ground so that it now laid in the large puddle of blood that slowly creeped from the dead guards, down the cobles and towards the drains. The young girl gave the hooded pair a bloodied smile before running off into the night. Once the girl was gone, Henry moved his vision to the hooded woman standing opposite him, who had now dropped the girl's discarded bindings.
"Mr. Green," She greeted him, lifting her hood back to reveal to Henry the dazzling face of Evie Frye. "I thought you said that you preferred books to fieldwork." Her smile widened as she saw Henry's face once he lifted back his hood.
"I do, I was just following up on a lead that Jacob had presented me with, thought I'd try my hand at a simple heist." Henry gestured to the two dead bodies and the spatters of crimson from where the girl had been seated.
"Obviously my place is back on the train. I am not sure of what would've happened if you had not of been here. Thank you Miss Frye."
Evie Frye and her brother Jacob had been in London for a few months, and had liberated the city, had successfully located the Shroud of Eden and of course, their most notable triumph had been killing Crawford Starrick, the Templar Grandmaster of London. Now, Jacob and Evie had talked Henry into joining a nightly patrol that they each conducted, eradicating any remaining Templar-Blighter forces and claiming resisting boroughs.
"Don't be daft Henry." Evie laughed walking over to him and placing a gloved hand on his shoulder. "You are just as much a skilled assassin as Jacob or I. You just need to put your skills into practice on your next patrol." Evie reassured him as she pulled a white handkerchief from her coat and wiped it across the throats of her kills. Usually Evie and her brother only performed that sacred tradition once they had killed one of Starrick's Henchmen. Seeing as that was no longer necessary, Jacob and herself had decided it would be a good idea to mark their hankies with the blood of everyone they killed, then they could take the cloth back to the train and record their kills, in an attempt to try and figure out how many Templars were left, still secretly worshipping the way of the dead Templar Grandmaster.
A good way to also mark out how many had fallen at the blood-stained tip of each twin's blade, not that Jacob was counting.
Evie tucked the hankie back into its pocket and look to Henry. "Well, it was good to see you with your head out of the books. Now if you will excuse me, I'm off to record these assassinations, and to rub it in Jacob's face that I killed 7 Templars." That earned a light chuckle from Henry, who was sad to have no kills to his name that night, but nevertheless happy for Evie.
"Goodnight Mr. Green. I shall see you back at the train." Evie smiled and then walked off into the night.
Henry Soon followed, but took a longer route back to their train hideout, if not to just enjoy the starry night and the constellations that poured out into the open sky above him. He finally made his way back to the train at sometime late in the night.
As he walked through the main cabin, he looked up at what Jacob had named 'The Tally Board' a chalkboard on which the twins kept track of their nightly kills or 'scores'. As he looked up at the board, he saw both of the twin's names in Jacob's handwriting, but upon closer inspection, he noticed his name written in cursive script that he recognised to be Evie's hand. He smiled, but became confused as he noticed that his name had two tallies beside it.
Henry walked over to the rack of hooks on which everyone placed their hankies, and noticed a white hankie dabbed with two red dots sitting on the hook that was reserved for him. Still trying to work out what had happened, Henry walled over to the hankie and felt it questioningly. He then had an idea, and low and behold, when he checked the bottom right hand corner of the hankie he found Evie Frye's initials.
Henry smiled to himself at her generosity, even though it didn't really matter, it was very kind of Evie 'donate' her two kills from earlier that night to him. Henry lifted the hankie and was about to return it to Evie's hook when a note slipped out from underneath the cloth. He bent down to pick it up, then realised it was from Evie.
Put your hankie back on your hook.
They were your kills, and besides, it's a gift.
But now you owe my one.
~ Evie Frye ~
Henry gave a light hearted chuckle and did as he was told. He continued to his car, writing a quick report to himself on a piece of torn parchment, before hunkering down for the night.
The Next morning, Henry woke to the sound of Jacob ranting at Evie, saying that she must have cheated to have had so many kills from the previous night's patrol. Shortly afterwards, Henry joined the twins for breakfast, surprisingly, to have Jacob congratulate him.
"Well, well, well," Jacob said gazing at the old chalkboard.
"Henry got two kills last night, huh. Congrates Greenie." Jacob chuckled as he patted him on the shoulder. Henry raised his head from his oatmeal and exchanged a smile with Evie who was sitting opposite him in the booth.
She was eating toast with cold tea, Jacob had made it for her.
Henry couldn't help but laugh to himself at her brother's feeble attempt at breakfast for his loving sister. After spending so much time with Evie when searching for the piece of Eden, they had often engaged in small, casual conversations, and Henry now knew exactly what Evie liked. For her first meal, Evie fancied fresh bread, lightly toasted accompanied by a steaming cup of English tea, two sugars. Despite it being the complete opposite of how she desired it, that morning's breakfast had been a gift from Jacob on account of his sister winning the most tallies, so she graciously accepted and quietly nibbled on her burnt toast, sipping her cold tea.
It wasn't long before two of the Rooks that Henry was yet to memorize the names of, approached the three assassins in the breakfast cart.
"Sirs" the first one said glancing at Henry and Jacob, then noticed Evie, "… and Ma'am."
"What is it?" Jacob coughed from behind a cup of his famous cold tea.
"We have a new member, a retired Templar here to join our gang."
Jacob almost choked on his tea, but after clearing his throat, began addressing the rooks again. "Hmm… ahem, interesting. Well then, send em' in." As soon as Jacob had uttered the command, the rooks parted and sent in a young woman.
She had slick red hair tied back into a neat ponytail, a black eye, a puffy cheek, lots of bruises and she reeked of oil. Henry and Evie glanced at one another in a happy
"Hmm, so you wish to join the Rooks?" Jacob scoffed as he ran a hand through his messy hair. "What made you change sides?"
The girl straightened, "Let's just say that I have, seen the light. I had a dangerous encounter and realised I was fighting for the wrong team, so I am here to mend my ways."
Jacob circled the young woman, who Henry and Evie had instantly recognised as the girl from last night. After asking about her combat and sniping skills, Jacob scratched his chin and after a long silence, spoke again.
"…What's your name?" he asked briskly. The girl swallowed and played with the bottom of her new 'Rook outfit.'
"Jaya sir, Jaya Kipling."
Jacob called for one of the other Rooks who handed him something. "Well Jaya," he said.
"Welcome to the Rooks." He called as he tossed the young maiden a yellow sash. A large grin spread across her blackened cheeks.
"Thank you sir." She turned to Evie and Henry who were smiling to.
"Where do I start?"