Guess who updated?
So, because I take so freaking long, I made a long chapter with little surprises. Enjoy.
Disclaimer: Will not own Assassin's Creed in any present, past or future I know of.
Chapter 35 – Finding Truth under Masks
My head's thoughts were flickering too fast for me to process with my mouth but I was sure that I wanted to at least communicate one thing. "Why?"
Despite my memories being a muddled mess, I was still able to remember a feeling, and that feeling told me that this wasn't normal for these people. Whoever they were. They were assassins right? Wait, how did I know that? I felt a shock go through me and I must have expressed my pain because now Raha was putting his hands on my shoulders and asking if I was alright.
"I'm fine." I tried saying. But the thing was, I wasn't. I wasn't fine. There was something seriously wrong going on with my head but how was I supposed to explain that to them? I didn't want them to think I was crazy…er.
"Raha, take her and go inside." Antoine turned into that man I encountered in the alleyway when we first met. When he slung me over his shoulder and when he killed that beggar as an act of mercy.
I knew Antoine would never hurt me. He would never…But I found myself rushing inside with Raha, the pain in my temple still here. After a few more seconds, it was subsiding, but I was afraid to even think now. Something was preventing me from figuring out why my memories were being meshed and picked apart until nothing was left.
My mind was fighting with something that was eating it alive. "Raha, I know this is going to sound strange, but I...I don't think the man is going to hurt me. Or you, for that matter."
"What do you mean?" Raha's breathing was erratic and his eyes were wide. "Speak your mind, Kaylyn."
"I just...I can't explain it but I think it's not a simple string of murders. They are connected. They're assassinations." My brain didn't offer any resistance to this thought and I nearly sighed in relief. "I mean, he only kills people he is assigned to, right?"
"Kaylyn, this may be true for you and I, but what reason would an assassin have to infiltrate this building?" Raha was gripping my hand. He already knew the answer.
And when a moment passed, I realized I knew it too. Oh no. "This is Antoine's home. This is his home. He is the only person of importance who he would be contracted to kill." I wanted to run and find him.
"But he can't." I said pitifully as I tried to move, but Raha stopped me.
"He won't." Raha opened a door to an open room with barely any furniture. It looked like it was being refurbished.
But while I was distracted with the state of the room, I heard Raha say behind me. "And he won't find you either. Not on my watch." Before I realized what was happening, I was being pushed in. Oh shit no!
"Raha! NO! I should come with you!"
"You remember of that time you lured those guards away?" It was a redundant question. He gave me a smile, knowing I wouldn't have the heart to try and push him aside to get out. (Pushing a man in a wheel chair is also just a horrible thing to do.) "I am only returning the favor."
"What if he kills you Raha? What if he hurts you? NO PLEASE!" He closed the door and I heard the lock click.
"I'll be back to get you out but please try to be quiet Kaylyn, so they will not find you."
I didn't know what to do. There was only a small window close to the ceiling but it was too high to reach. And even if I did magically grow a couple feet, the window was too small for my bulbous cupcake of a body. So, naturally, I began pacing.
What do I do? I wanted to try shouting for help but at the same time, I didn't want to endanger Raha or anyone else. Freaking god, I happened to like everyone here. (Except Colin, but I don't want him to freaking die just because he's a racist douchebag!)
Raha was impressively practical in this situation. I underestimated his ability to plan around me. This room barely had anything that I could use, I mean, he already accounted for a window that was too narrow and high for me. And to top it off, there was no sharp objects of any kind to try and pick a lock or slowly chip at a door like a pathetic loser.
I briefly thought of morse code. And then dismissed it considering that no one knew it here. Not to mention me. I would probably just end up cussing up someone's mother in an improvised attempt of trying to call for help. Still…I needed to get out of this room.
Every minute that passed, I was reminded of an image of my friends bleeding or dead.
One part of my mind wanted to be angry at this assassin, I mean, what the fuck did he think he was doing coming here? The other part of mind, however, was somewhat…happy? Fan girlish, almost? It was confusing and I couldn't understand.
And I knew all too well that my lack of understanding came from my memories being shielded from me and inaccessible. Fucking frustrating.
What was almost just as frustrating was the lack of useful items in the room. There was a pile of cloth that would have been used for curtains, a small stool, white paint, and a wooden stick that was used to stir the paint.
I took the stool which only elevated my height by two feet. Barely anything. I was a little bit closer to the window but still really far. I reached out my arms towards it and my fingertips were inches away from the window sill. Fucking. Frustrating.
But then an idea starting swirling in my head. I sat down on the stool and looked at the items again. I picked up the stick, the white paint dried on the tip. It was nearly a foot long.
I looked up at the window again and thought back. The stick could reach the window. My fingers curled tightly over the stick and I looked at the paint. But I can't break the window with this thing. It's too thin. The stick would probably break before the glass did. But then again…I didn't want to get through the window, right? I just wanted to…
You're going to do something really stupid.
Yes. Yes I am.
You're not going to think this through?
I am thinking it through. I'm just ignoring the warning signs in my head that was telling me this could be stupidly dangerous.
I just need to attract attention. The assassin's attention.
But what are the chances of him coming this way? I paused for a moment and then shook my head. No. I was going to go through this. I was going to lure him here.
And then what? You're going to try taking him yourself?
I didn't even want to answer that question. I just started working and wondering to myself what word would be good to write on the window. Would "help" be too cliché and would "idiot" be just too insulting for a person to deem worth investigating?
That's me. Always asking the important questions.
"We should go after them."
"What?" Makin was in disbelief. But that's okay.
Because Ryan was in disbelief of himself too. "It's not right just sitting here."
Ryan could tell Makin wanted to go, but knew doing so was pointless if he was not useful. "What would you have us do? Especially me bring injured?"
Ryan tried to pry an idea out of his brain. He knew there had to be some way around this…there just had to be something they could use. Looking out in the streets, Ryan and Makin heard the familiar wail of a women begging for money from an unfortunate wealthy looking man. He desperately tried to weave his way past the crowd, away from her, but she was too quick. Too practiced.
Makin and Ryan watched the woman as she determinedly followed him until he started yelling at her and threw some coins to the ground. He was rude, loud, and clearly conspicuous but everyone went on their way, barely sparing a glance. This was normal for them.
Just another beggar. Just another annoyed citizen who finally relinquished money and was complaining.
"Makin." He looked at his friend, now that the idea was forming clearly. "You thinking what I'm thinking?"
"That man is going to be hoarded by more beggars once that woman leaves."
"Actually-…Oh wait, really? Bummer for him." Ryan briefly looked back at the man and then switched back to his excitement towards Makin. "But that's not what I was talking about!"
Makin raised an eyebrow in question. "What do you mean?"
"How are your acting skills, Makin?"
"Ugh." The smell of the paint was strong and I couldn't quite place where the smell originated from. I just knew that if I stayed in this room with this smell for too long, I'd get a headache. Jesus, why would someone try painting this room with only one window in it?! I'd fucking bust a huge new window with my fists if I could.
I was not amused. Holding my breath while mixing the paint, I got an idea that I really should have had much earlier. Putting the stick down, I went to the cloth which was a little thick, but I think if I worked it hard enough, I could rip it.
Perhaps a little hopelessly, I scanned the room again for anything that could remotely be used to cut the cloth. My plan B was to use my teeth, which I wasn't too keen on. A while ago, I was beginning to feel a kind of soreness in my gums and I had worried that I would need to get teeth pulled out. So using my teeth as an alternative to cutting cloth would not help it. At all.
I stood up and tried not to be frantic as I searched the room again. I needed at least a little rip. Just one small rip and I'd be able to work the rest on my own. Even if that meant slowly ripping the seams like a crazy lady. I was going to do it.
The image of a bloody Raha made me flinch. My mind was not being kind.
Let's be practical about this shall we? Raha is not going to get killed or hurt. He's in a freaking wheel chair for god's sake! The assassin won't touch him…He'll probably just push him out of the chair or something.
The image of a dead Antoine made me put my face in my hands. God damn it.
There was a time when I had never even seen a dead body before. There was a time when I didn't know the smell of rotting flesh and dried blood. There was a time when I never heard a scream than made my insides want to spew out of fear.
I don't remember that time anymore. It's blurred and hazy…
I looked at that stick again and decided I could take my chances and break it into something sharp…ish. I was not fond of that. Not that I was impartial to touching wood or anything, I just knew I didn't do well working with it. I think I had a bad situation that involved multiple splinters when I was little.
(I can't even remember my childhood, god freaking damn this memory thing sucks.)
But I knew I needed to do something, so going through with it, I took some of the fabric and covered my hand while I tried to break the tip off at an angle. It wasn't too difficult considering that the stick wasn't too thick, but it splintered which was disappointing. I had ideally wanted it to break somewhat cleanly, but I can never have everything I want, I suppose.
If things could go my way, a pair of scissors would float down from the ceiling at this very second.
For good measure, I looked up at said ceiling and was disappointed.
Sighing, I started rubbing the stick at an angle on the flood, attempting to sand it to a sharper point. I was grateful I had the cloth to cover my hand but I had to be careful about going about it too hard. I didn't want it to break or I'd be left with nothing.
Slowly but surely going at it, I tried to keep my mind occupied. This left me to thinking about my memories again and about the assassin. Why did I think I knew him somehow? It was confusing. I had this memory that was buried somewhere that probably would explain everything. I just couldn't grasp it. It was like fumbling around in the dark.
I wonder if my brother will ever find where I am. I wonder how they're all doing… At this rate, I wouldn't be surprised if they never found me. Though I knew they were competent people, I couldn't remember why I knew them to be competent. It…What was it about Masyaf that made it so important?
The throbbing in my head started again and I had to put the stick down. I lay down and started breathing heavily. The fumes from the paint weren't helping.
I should stop.
Stop what? Trying to get out?
No…trying to remember.
Are you an idiot? NO. DON'T YOU FREAKING GIVE UP ON ME.
But it hurts. I don't feel strong enough.
…It's hard isn't it?
You might think it's hard but the truth is…it's difficult to get to because it's important.
How do you know?
I'm your subconscious. I just do.
You almost sounded inspiring for a moment there.
Shut up and get working on it, you lazy!
Staring at the ceiling I began to try and think back to the beginning. As I grabbed the stick again and started trying to sharpen it again, I took deep breaths and tried thinking further. It hurt, like someone was banging my head.
But I kept going and found I couldn't remember past wandering around confused…and then Garnier found me. I thought maybe "abandoned". But no. I remembered telling Garnier I wasn't lost or left behind like I knew he assumed. And then I thought: "stranded". And that seemed right.
Looking at the stick, it seemed suitable and I tried my hand at poking through the fabric, gently at first. When it went through, I breathed a sigh of relief and continued to make a bigger hole that I could manually rip with my hands.
So I was stranded. I wasn't born here, I knew that much. But at the same time, I was still really familiar with this place. Too often, I remembered walking around and finding the buildings looking vaguely familiar even though I knew I had never seen them before.
It was too much. And suddenly I was tearing up because of the pain and I knew I had to stop trying to dip deeper. Still…That was good progress. Looking down at the cloth, I noticed I had made progress there too. Putting my hand through the hole, I began ripping at it.
The sound was so satisfying that I couldn't help but smile a little.
The two young men were in a small courtyard area with very little people. Most of the only other people who passed were scholars in their white robes and they didn't seem to say much...or really care much.
"I'm not enjoying this." Ryan said holding his breath and trying not to breathe through his nose.
The two young men were also looking through a trash cart that had come from the rich district.
It seemed that whether or not you were rich, your shit still stunk all the same. Fortunately they weren't going through literal shit. Man, that would be disgusting. Still, the smell was rank and smelled of putrid rotting sweat.
Makin had to bribe the man carting it so they could look through it. It was nice to know that untrustworthy woman's money was going into use. That's what you get for being an accomplice to kidnapping. His sister would have been proud.
"I hope I never have to do something so repulsive again."
Thinking about shit again, Ryan quipped. "Maybe just something more repulsive." He and Makin shared a grimace and continued to look through the trash heap, their fingers getting to an ugly greyish brown color from the grime.
Rich people. Ryan shook his head as he rummaged and put aside a tunic that was obviously too small for Makin to try into. A lot of these were either too detailed or too small. It was such a waste. It turned out that the man was carting all this stuff to be burned. Maybe there was a personal reason, but Makin and Ryan didn't think it was relevant to ask.
"I found something for you, Rye-an." Makin was on the other side of the big heap and tossed something to Ryan. When he caught it he saw that it wasn't too fancy and dirty that it would probably be able to work.
"Thanks. This will do just fine." Just a little water and this will look passable. Probably. "I can't find anything for you on my side though."
"We will find something." Makin said without looking up and continued looking with his one working arm.
"Watch your arm, man. Don't get so worked up." Ryan said worriedly and went over to Makin's side to help him look. He'd already searched most of his half and it was mostly useless.
Makin was looking at him questioningly and then smiled. "'Worked up'? Heh. I will try not to."
Ryan grinned at him as he reached to pick up a heavy pot and toss it to the side. Look at all this crap. Scanning through and feeling the ache in his neck from looking down so long, Ryan stretched. "This is taking longer than I expected."
Makin was going to reply but then stopped and looked quickly into the pile. "Wait. What is that?"
Ryan looked closer and saw something that looked…metal. Which was weird considering that mostly everything in here was cloth and ceramics, even paper. He put a hand on Makin's shoulder and reached forward to unearth whatever was there.
"Buckles?" Ryan didn't know why he found them baffling. Maybe it was because they were so uncommon, especially ones like these- they looked intricate, made of leather and too nice to throw away. He looked at the shoes and them back at Makin and his feet.
They looked the right size. "Here."
"That's not my role, remember?"
"Yeah but...They won't fit me. And they're too good to pass up. You can put them on later." Ryan passed them to Makin who reluctantly took them and held them under his arm. Looking in the spot where they found the shoes, they saw some loose clothes that looked like they were for sleep.
"This could work." Ryan took it and held it up. It was cotton and not too thin, but it had no lacings or anything. It was going to look very loose.
Makin was holding the trousers which were actually not too dirty and looked like they would fit him fine.
The two looked at each other for a moment and Ryan said. "We'll rub it around in some dirt and grime to make it look convincing."
"Sounds like it should work." Makin let Ryan help him off the cart and they passed the man they bribed on the way out of the courtyard. He only slightly nodded at them in acknowledgement and turned back into the courtyard to go about his cartly duties.
"I want to suggest splitting up, but I don't think that's a good idea." Ryan looked around nervously.
Makin almost looked offended. "I am not totally helpless-"
"What?...Oh no Makin! I'm just nervous because I'm incompetent when it comes to self-defense and this place is just…shady you know? I feel better when you're with me." Ryan confided easily. "Even when you have a messed up shoulder."
Makin blushed slightly and looked embarrassed. "I am grateful you think that, my friend."
"I'm only being practical, I promise." Ryan grinned as they walked. "No feelings of admiration for you at all."
Makin's mouth curved into a slight smile, knowing Ryan was only joking and lead him along as they got prepared to get into their roles. They had already used up too much time as it was.
The two were now on a bench where all the people who were passing by ignored them. This was a busy area where people mostly did their errands and had no time to observe too random young men who were dressed like everyone else. Especially when one of them looked like an injured beggar. "How do I look?" Makin stood up.
Ryan replied. "Like a homeless wretch."
Makin took another look at his arm to make sure it wasn't bothering him too much and then nodded. "Good."
Ryan had still insisted on keeping the leather shoes for Makin and was holding them under his arm, wrapped in Makin's original clothes.
They had managed to rip the clothes they found for Makin just a little to make him look like he had lived in them and fought in them on the streets. But at the same time, he didn't look like he had gotten beaten up every day either.
There was some dirt on his face to make him look like a regular street beggar. "Try and walk funny so people won't question why your shoulder looks injured."
"Is it odd that a beggar's shoulder be injured?"
Ryan paused with a thought in his brain. "Actually…that could work. That can be one of the reasons why you want to beg money from me." Ha, look at me, complicating things unnecessarily!
Ryan looked ahead for a moment and sighed. "Ok, are you sure it's in this general direction?"
Makin was untroubled. "Yes. Do not worry, I will guide you."
"You're supposed to be the one stalking me for money remember?" Ryan let out a laugh that only came out unsure.
It seemed that it was Makin's turn for ideas. "I will let you know if you're going the wrong direction. If you're going the right way, you'll know that too."
"And how will I know that with you out and about everywhere? You can't look like you're leading me, Makin."
"Just listen out for my voice." Makin put his hand on Ryan's shoulder. It made him feel a little bit better. Especially when Makin seemed to know what he was doing. "I'll be begging you for money if it's the right direction."
Ha! So they were doing verbal signals that were disguised under supposed conversation! Nice! Ryan felt himself smile a little too brightly. "Ok, and when I'm wrong?"
"Oh, you will know it, Rye-an." Makin started backing away with a smile signaling it was time to start the game. "It will be hard to miss!" With a slight skip, he disappeared into the crowd where Ryan knew he would wait somewhere unnoticeable until Ryan started walking. As long as Makin was able to scout ahead and read where Rashid and Altair went, Ryan wouldn't get lost.
Ryan turned in the direction that Makin had told him to start going, clutching his clothes to his chest with the leather shoes.
I tied a piece of cloth around my mouth and nose feeling very accomplished and let the smell of paint waver. Whatever could be used to my advantage.
My arm was aching from all the moving I did with the freaking stick. I looked at it accusingly but couldn't bring myself to toss it. It could possibly be used for a weapon. You never know.
Suddenly, I heard a crash from outside the door and jumped. It sounded like it was a little far off, but it still surprised me. The surprise turned to worry when I heard the men shouting that "they" had gotten in. Oh shit.
Then I heard the thumping of their feet running across the wooden floor when I put my ear to the door. All I could do was listen. Inside a locked room, not know what the heck was going on. Oh god, Raha, I hate you for doing this to me but please be alright! I hope he found Antoine. I hope Antoine was keeping him safe.
"Stay away from there!" A shout came from a voice that sounded like Raha's and I backed away from the door like it was going to explode. What do I do? I looked around. Should I hide?
The door was locked but I was pretty sure that breaking the door in was always an option. Wait, what am I thinking? No human has the strength to bust down a door in one hit. Even thinking this, I still backed further away from the door, staring at it.
There were more footsteps and they seemed to be getting closer. I heard low whispers and I got nervous as I held my breath and sat perfectly still. Not that I thought that assassins had super hearing, but…you never know.
A few moments passed and I was sure that they had left but then I heard a rattling at a door. Not my door. But damn, if I could hear it that meant that they were close. A door closed. "There is nothing in here. Damn him." A man said as the other scoffed.
They spoke in husky voices but because they were uncomfortably close, I could still hear what they were saying. "We cannot afford to wander about aimlessly. He will catch up."
"That one's legs were-"
"Not that one. The one who came in and attacked us."
"Ah." There was a slight pause. "Yes. That one."
I didn't need to wonder about who they were talking about. Though I worried that Antoine and Raha would not be able to reach me in time before these assassins figured out where I was. I didn't know how they would react to finding out a person seemed to be locking themselves in a room from them. Maybe they wouldn't even care but did I really want to take the chance?
I decided to try and move further away from the door and did a weird inchworm movement towards the large fabric. It would probably be a pathetic attempt, but I was going to try and hide underneath it in a corner or something. Better than nothing.
They were still talking as I slowly inched my way, pausing constantly to look at the door.
"This house is larger than I had initially anticipated."
The other one scoffed. "The rich bastard. Heard he inherited the entire place from a dead relative with no heir."
I heard their voices slowly move away as though they were going down the hallway and I nearly sighed in relief. They were leaving.
And then I accidently moved onto a floorboard that squeaked.
In the moment that it happened, I closed my eyes and nearly groaned but instead waited and held my breath to see if they heard.
"What was that?" The footsteps came closer again. Shit. Shit. Shit.
I could hear them as I tried to slide towards a wall, avoiding that freaking squeaky floorboard. Don't come here. There's nothing here. I finally reached the wall and felt my heart pounding. I've done more than enough hiding since being stranded here. Yet I still wasn't used to it.
"Did you hear where it came from?" The other questioned as I cursed the fact that they had both heard.
My heart didn't appreciate the fact that they were coming closer. At least they're not zombies. This didn't make me feel any better. At least they're not monsters.
Humans can be monsters too. And it was too late to take that statement back. Oh yeah, there was no calming down now.
"I think it came from here." Shit. They better be bad at guessing. I heard my doorknob rattle and I cursed even more. God freaking damn. Are you kidding me?
I tried to hold out being quiet for as long as I could but then the guy said. "I was sure I heard something. And why is it that this door is the only one locked?"
"You think there is something inside?" The other one said. "Something worth hiding?"
There was a really long uncomfortable pause that I took for them exchanging a look and weighing their options. And then with a shock, they started pounding on the door. OH GOD NO.
Ryan was walking forward but kept on getting tempted to look around or behind him to see if he could spot Makin. Knowing that would only spoil his cover, Ryan instead tried to distract himself by looking at the people around him instead. With his clothes being a little bit cleaner and nicer, people were treating him a little differently.
They didn't bump into him as much and men and women who looked to be of the same stature would acknowledge him with a look or just nod slightly. Ryan questioned whether he over dressed somehow. He tried to remember to walk without slouching and not to hold onto the clothes too tightly. He didn't want to look as nervous as he felt. These people ate fear for breakfast. They could probably smell it like a drop of blood in a sea of water. Did he just compare these people to sharks?
Yes. Yes he did.
"Please sir, I beg of you, spare a few coins. Just a few coins!" The voice sounded too feminine to belong to Makin. Oh dear.
Ryan tried ignoring the woman and kept moving, unconsciously grabbing onto Makin's clothes so they wouldn't get stolen. He tried not to rush too quickly, but it was hard considering he found the beggars to be a little daunting.
Especially when he had nothing to give. Makin was the one who had all the money. As ironic as that was when you considered their played situation. With Makin playing the beggar and Ryan playing the supposed semi well to do rich person.
"Sir, sir! Please, my children! Think of my children!" Ryan got a look at her face and realized it was the same woman who was badgering the other man from earlier. This made Ryan a little intimidated. He already knew she was determined and didn't even care about getting shouted at. And Ryan knew that (even though he would never do it) pushing her or any aggressive physical act of any kind would only attract attention.
Of course he had nothing to worry about in that department when it came to him but…For Makin…He was sure that was a whole other story.
As if on cue, he saw Makin close in on the woman like a wolf hunting his prey. That woman would never see it coming. Ryan almost pitied her. If it wasn't for the fact that her begging was getting ridiculously annoying.
"I ask for very little and it is only for food! Food to feed my children, sir! Spare me a few-" She was interrupted when Makin put a hand on her shoulder.
There was nothing aggressive about his gesture, but immediately the woman turned to him and you could see the fire in her eyes. "Who are you to touch me, sir?!"
Makin brushed off her response as though she only greeted him in the politest way. "I wouldn't keep begging from him, he's not as rich as he looks."
"Oh? What would you know?" She was putting up her hands on her hips, sizing him up. Ryan felt nervous for him but couldn't intervene since they were supposed to not know each other. But then Makin gave him a barely perceptible nod as he continued speaking to the woman, slowly moving her away from Ryan.
Ryan turned and continued on walking, making sure not the look back. He knew Makin would take care of it…And then they would meet up again.
As he was leaving, he heard the woman say to Makin. "Who are you? You do not look familiar…" Oh shit. Hopefully Makin can get out of this situation. Ryan realized that the two of them did not take into consideration the idea that beggars probably know other beggars and there was probably some territory division of some sort where they were accustomed.
Ryan decided walking where he didn't know wasn't going to help anyone- least of all, him- so he decided to stop at the stands in the shopping area. It was a little bigger than the one in Masyaf. Though that wasn't saying much since Masyaf was a place that was small to begin with and was not meant to be wide scale. It wasn't meant to be noticeable.
Just like how Ryan didn't want to be noticeable. He was careful not to look too interested in anything that was being sold, lest he get sucked in by an overly enthusiastic seller. There was a time when Ryan used to a have a hard time just talking to other people he was unfamiliar with, but when you worked for Baha al Din, you had to get used to talking to people. Especially when he needed to apologize profusely for coarse language.
Despite being very careful not to look at anyone for too long, Ryan seemed to catch the attention of an older looking woman, leading a horse to a stable. She seemed to squint at him as though remembering something, and then realized Ryan was looking back at her and hurried off. A little confused, though undaunted, Ryan continued walking, waiting for Makin to catch up.
"I saw her." And then all of a sudden, he was right next to him.
"Um…NO BEGGAR, I WILL NOT GIVE YOU ANY MONEY!" Ryan said loudly and briskly walked, knowing Makin was following. This was not the place to have an actual conversation.
Fortunately, Makin was quick to catch on and donned on his poor boy face. "But sir, just a few coins!" Thank goodness that the other beggar woman was nowhere near to hear Makin mimic her words to perfection.
He seemed to continue as Ryan took a left, though unsure of where to go, and Makin's voice started quietly. "Prepare the chance of a lifetime...be prepared for sensational news..." Was he...? Ryan's look of utter shock was not pretend as he stopped and turned to the right. He tried hard not to draw attention and look back.
But Makin was now singing his words. "A shining new era is tip toeing nearer..." Oh my god, he totally is.
Ryan stopped and turned sharply, unable to resist. "BUT WHERE DO WE FEATURE?!"
"Just listen to teacher." Makin he put his finger to his lips and pointed in the opposite direction towards some ruins. Ryan made an "oh" with his mouth and realized that this was the signal he was talking about. This was his way of telling him to change direction. Damn that's...I can't even process anything right now.
They both scurried off into a ruin of a burned down house that had yet to be rebuilt. No one was around so it was perfect. And despite them being so weird, they had drawn the stares of some people, but they just assumed that Makin, looking like a beggar was just insane and that Ryan's question was a one in sarcastic anger. How convenient.
"Did you recognize her?" Makin finally asked as they rounded a corner and were sure no one was looking. Totally pretending what had happened didn't just happen like some smooth motherfucker.
Ryan was almost caught off guard but realized that this wasn't the time to dwell. Even if it was really awesome. "I-I didn't know her…but she seemed to recognize me." Now that Ryan had time to think about it, he felt a little disturbed. This was the first time he was in Acre and he wasn't here long enough to establish any sort of recognition for any person to have of him.
"We do not have time to think about it now. We should try and make for the building." Makin wasn't the kind to like leaving loose ends, but figured that they had no choice or time in the matter.
Building? "What do you mean 'building'?" Ryan inquired.
"The beggar woman was having herself a long heated scolding to me about rude people. She considers unnecessary touch to be most rude." Makin almost smirked.
"That explains the whole eyes on fire thing when she looked at you."
"Yes, yes it does, but in that rant, she went on about these two scholars that rudely ran past her in haste and did not take the time to apologize." Makin smiled and thought a bit. "And then she went on like that for a while before I excused myself."
Ryan caught on. "So she told you what direction they went?"
Makin nodded. "She noticed the condition of my arm which elicited a sympathetic response in my favor. When I asked her what direction the rude scholars rushed to, she told me she overheard them muttering about a building in ownership of the family Decaux . How that family made their fortune is a mystery. Only the nephew lives there now. Also, the rest of the family has long since passed. Even if he does not use the family name in public, it seems to be common knowledge amongst the common poorer folk."
"That's sad." Ryan couldn't imagine his entire family being dead aside his sister. Even if the image he had of them were very blurry. "Did they mention a first name of the guy?"
"His name is Antoine. Unmarried, but is rumored to be living with a man who is lame." Makin reported automatically which made Ryan impressed at the beggar woman's knowledge. People should consider paying the beggars for information- they knew more than others let on. AND they were actually guaranteed to be ignored.
"Impressive." Ryan then thought more on the words. "Wait, what do you mean by 'but he is rumored to be living with a man'?"
Makin looking quite innocent. "I do not follow. Speak your mind, my friend."
"You had the comment followed by the statement that he is unmarried." Ryan donned on a weird look. "Are you implying-…"
"THERE YOU TWO ARE!"
Ryan immediately stepped in front of Makin but then realized it was only Rosette and Gervaise. He let out a sigh of relief. "Oh, it's you guys."
"Obviously." Rosette rolled her eyes. "We have been scouring the city, looking everywhere for you two."
Gervaise's eyebrow raised. "You mean that I've been looking everywhere, my lady."
But Rosette waved his comment away. "Yes, yes, same difference." She seemed to flutter like a butterfly when walking towards them and Ryan was made uncomfortable by her slow movements. He was so unused to it. "Where were you two? And how did you come by such despicable looking garb?" She looked absolutely scandalized.
"It's a disguise." Makin said without shame.
"Are you trying to look like the scum of the earth?" Rosette sniffed and bit and then backed away quickly. "And smell like it too?"
"Rose- er, I mean, my lady, barely recognized you two." Gervaise had to grace to not look too amused. "But I could see you two easily enough."
He seemed to be making the point to Makin personally and the two started glaring at each other again. Ryan sighed. Here we go again. Makin chuckled without humor. "That was very perceptive of you."
Rosette seemed unaware of the battle of glares going on in front of her. "No need to compliment him, Gervaise is usually just incompetent most of the time." She waved out a handkerchief that appeared from her sleeve.
Stepping in before things escalated too quickly, Ryan said. "Guys, aside from making jabs at each other, how about we actually get going and find my sister? You know since…we know where she could possibly be now?"
That got everyone's attention. Gervaise's eyes widened. "You know where she is?"
Makin and Ryan summarized the information Makin had acquired from sucking up and letting himself get scolded, though Ryan seemed to do most of the talking since Makin looked too annoyed to even look in Gervaise's direction.
When Ryan was done, the young man and woman needed no push to actually get going and the four young people set off in the direction of the grand building where, unknowns to them, a struggle was taking place.
With every assault on the door, I grew even more nervous and was unsure of what to do. Hiding didn't seem like a smart option anymore. And my stick seemed really flimsy now. I didn't have a chance, and any move I chose to make would only make things more inconvenient for me.
"This won't budge! Damn it!" And he pounded harder.
In a stroke of madness, I got up and started moving like a madman. I heard a slight pause as the man questioned the other if he "heard that". I paused and then started tapping the floor with my stick like I wanted to stab the floor to death.
"I heard it!" He wasn't pounding anymore. My almost nervous breakdown seemed to be working. But now they knew I was here. "It sounds like a tapping or-"
"Bark!" I started barking like a dog. Probably a Chihuahua. I felt like a Chihuahua. And like a Chihuahua, I started barking like I had no intention of stopping anytime soon. I'm pretty sure the men on the other side were confused.
"Is there…a dog in there?"
I growled and then combined my little yips with howls and started scratching on the floor as I crawled around. I was really getting into it. I'm so glad that no one could see me right now because this would be embarrassing.
"Sounds like its sick in the head." To be fair, I probably am right now. The man spoke like he had no intention of going in the room anymore. It sounded like a "dude, let's just leave the freaking thing in there, it's crazy" feeling that was seeping into the heart of his friend as well.
"Must have woken it. Damn it. No loot in there I suppose." The other man sounded disgusted. "The rich bastard must have locked it up to die."
I started howling and growling again. I would have foamed at the mouth if it helped, but all I managed was a little spit and drool. Which was enough, let's be honest. I didn't have an audience here to appreciate it anyway.
And then, with a sudden thought, I rushed at the door, making such to scratch the floor simultaneously as I rammed into it with my body weight. I was suddenly a disproportionate Chihuahua. But I didn't care. They probably didn't even know what a Chihuahua is. I heard the men on the other side curse as I started scratching at the door and howling again. They were thoroughly freaked out now.
And with a final grunt, the two of them started leaving as I continued barking and scratching for a little while to keep up the act. But inside, I was more relieved than I can possibly say. My heart was still pounding from the fear and excitement.
After a few minutes of my theatrics I eventually let myself slow down as though getting tired and slowly backed into the wall and sat down again with a sigh. I was tired. But I just avoided a break in. It made me feel so accomplished. I'm not sure if I would tell anyone about this event on the account that it was also freaking embarrassing.
What bothered me the most was figuring out the fact that those men did not sound right. I don't know how I knew this but my mind was in a tizzy from the way they were talking. It wasn't what an assassin would sound like. Not the ones I knew, supposedly. The ones I knew had a sort of honor, a code…a creed.
My head started pounding. I would have preferred a ding of a bell to tell me I was right instead of this. This just freaking hurt. I don't know why my brain decided to rebel against me for trying to remember myself, that's just unfair.
I laid my head down and could feel my eyes water from the pain as I breathed heavily. Assassins. The creed. What is it?
Stay your blade from the flesh of an innocent. I heard a voice in my head that sounded familiar as my head assaulted me. Suddenly, it was as if my struggling caused a dam to break and all this information was flooding but drowning me. I saw the vision of three men, two in white that seemed to be arguing. "I would not have drawn attention to us. I would not have taken the life of an innocent." One of them was saying, angry as they stood over the body of a man.
There was a ripple that flowed in front of me and my vision blurred. The voice spoke again. Hide in plain sight. I saw an elderly man, speaking to one of the white hooded young men from before. "Let the people mask you such that you become one with the crowd."
It all still came, and I felt that my eyes were still wet, but I couldn't say anything. The words were stuck in my throat as I lay on the ground immobile and helpless. The next vision cleared before me. Never compromise the Brotherhood. The elderly man was angry, standing in front of the young man- a young assassin, I realized-from before. There were two others grabbing his arms, preventing escape as the man spoke. "Your actions must never bring harm upon us- direct or indirect!"
After that, things became indiscernible as if flipping through pages of a book, with barely time to even catch anything that would begin to make sense. I didn't understand how I was able to see this and why everything was from a third person view, as if I was some omnipotent being looking from afar which no one took notice of. I kept on catching a shimmer of light in the corner of my eye as the visions passed quickly and relentlessly.
What is going on!? I only asked a simple question! Damn me for being persistent! Was I viewing these things in a dream? Or was this all real in a sense and flickering in front of my eyes like a hologram? Would someone watching me be able to see these things too?
By the time that the visions slowed, I felt my heart calm and my breathing even to my relief. It was like reaching the end of a slideshow, as one more vision persisted to reveal itself to me. I took a breath and let it come as a white light enveloped me like a cool breeze.
I was standing and walking around a vaguely familiar area. Like a blank slate, it was eerie who empty it was. And the more I walked or ran, the more it seemed I was going nowhere. I settle for sitting for a few seconds until I realized a digital female voice was saying into the space around me, "Loading area."
There was a loud woosh as things got brighter and then dimmed into an area. I could already feel the heat, smell the sweat and see the people. Before I could question where I was, the mechanical voice said, "Loading…Jerusalem."
What am I doing here? I looked at myself, and almost felt a shock as I realized I wasn't me. I was in someone else's body. The eyes of the body looked at his hands, callused and hard upon his dark skin. One of his fingers was missing. Oh god. Who am I?
He pulled on his hood and started walking.
I found I was incapable of controlling him (not that I felt comfortable to). So despite being very conscious, I was trapped here- though the man seemed unaware of my presence. Whoever this person was, despite the fact that I was unsure of what needed to be done here, he seemed to know. He/We moved towards a crowd of scholars and with a panic, I felt the heaviness of his sword on his hip, and the weight of a metal contraption wrapped around his arm where he was missing a finger. Oh shit.
Despite my worry, the man only proceeded to swiftly move into the group as he belonged there. With a slight glance at one of the elderly men, they began moving with the man in tow, as though they had been waiting for him all this time.
When we neared the entrance of what seemed like Jerusalem (I doubted the digital godlike lady would have any reason to lie to me), I realized the reason for this façade was to get past the guards as they only let in those permitted. Fortunately, the scholars were permitted. And after we passed the guards after what seemed to last forever, the man wasted no time in sprinting off into one direction and jumped onto a building.
Holy crap! Was the only thing I could think as I saw everything from his point of view as he ran. The jumps, the rolls, the climbing, the heights made my heart jump. Or was it his heart?...God this was so confusing. Was that an adrenaline rush?
He ran past some guards which notified their attention and I thought: For his sake, it better be. And he was on the buildings again, as though leading them on a wild goose chase before jumping into a haystack which nearly gave me a heart attack. I briefly wondered (not for the first time) what would happen if he died. Would I die too?
We heard the guards shouting before passing us and he waited a few moments before jumping out and walking back in the direction where he came where he listened in a loud speaker, talking about religion, about God, about what the people should do. It was annoying. I couldn't feel the man's emotions, but I'm sure he was annoyed too as he stepped closer and closer.
The man finished speaking and stepped from his podium like a professor finishing his lecture and walked off. I felt the man's fists gripped at his sides as though preparing for an attack. I hoped he didn't intend on doing that out in the open. Even though he led the guards away, it would take only seconds for the public to freak out and bring them back.
We followed the speaker for a while until we reached a secluded area. What an idiot. I thought as the volume went down from the lack of people. You'd think he'd realize he was being followed.
The speaker went around a corner into an alleyway and my potential killer followed. With a shock, we both met face to face with the speaker who had a smirk on his face, as though feeling very accomplished. For a second, I panicked and thought it was a trap…
But then I realized the speaker was only fucking arrogant. He spoke, "I've heard about you, lurking about, meddling in people's business. Assassin." It was then that I realized he was also fucking stupid.
I almost felt sorry for him. Especially when my assassin's only response was to punch the man in the face. I felt the bridge of his nose break under his fist. It felt satisfying. So it was only natural that my assassin went in again. And again. I think I lost count after 5 punches, mostly because I was too busy watching this man's face get bloody and molded like clay. It was grotesquely interesting.
I must sound like a homicidal maniac.
Finally, the man sputtered a: "W-wait, s-stop!" His hands went up as he kneeled pitifully. "I surrender! I will tell you what you want!" I wondered what took him so long to give up. Must have been hard trying to talk while getting punched in the face.
My assassin wasn't much to beat around the bush. "What can you tell me of Robert de Sable? You seem to know his words well enough." Who's that? My mind connected with a flashback to a bald man in a cavern as a rash assassin ran towards him, trying to put a blade in his throat. Oh. I thought as I realized that I was sharing my man's memories.
"Robert de Sable?" The man was suddenly more nervous than before. If such a thing were possible. "I do not personally know the man-"
"Do not lie to me." My assassin punched him the gut. What did I tell you? Straight to the point, this guy.
"P-please, I cannot speak any more."
My assassin brought out a dagger and I saw the whites in the other man's eyes. "I can make that permanent." OH MY GOD. JUST TELL HIM EVERYTHING ALREADY! I think my homicidal curiosities stopped when a dagger was included. I didn't need to experience any of that in graphic detail. I still thought about that dead beggar. I had nightmares for days after that had happened.
Just as I'm sure this man would after this encounter. If he survived. You could see it in his face he wanted to think anything but of dying this day. Even if it seemed to be staring him in the face. "I…I will tell you everything."
And he did. There was going to be a funeral and Robert de Sable was going to be there. I experienced quick run through of the memory of my assassin ending the life of the man whose funeral they would be attending and I didn't know whether to be disturbed or impressed. My assassin was efficient, I'll give him that.
As I thought this, the man looked at my assassin in the face with a look of horror which quickly dissolved into acceptance. He wasn't going to leave this area alive. There was no denying that. I could only look on, unable to do anything. Sure of the fact that I wouldn't have been able to do anything even if I were standing right there beside them.
My assassin was quick. The attack was a swift stab to the neck and I felt him hold the man's head to his chest as the blade went through the flesh.
My assassin was efficient. There was little blood.
He didn't even look at the body as he went on, saying a silent prayer and moved across the buildings with ease. I still felt frozen in my head. I just witnessed another death. And the man's face, bloody and beaten, was in my head. Or was it his head? I hoped it was. It would make him less heartless than he seemed.
He didn't give me time to think much more as he entered into a building and stepped inside to speak with a man in black. I recognized him as Malik.
My memory jumped back to meeting him at a dinner at Faridah's home. That was the first time I'd seen him. What is he doing here? My mind rejected this memory as though insisting me it was wrong. That was not the first time I'd seem Malik.
Though I was thoroughly confused, I continued to observe and heard myself/the man talk. "Safety and peace, Malik."
Malik seemed to be somewhat cordial at my assassin's arrival, though a thought in my head (probably from my assassin) made me remember a time when he did not have a reason to be so. I thought back to one of the visions that was shown me and realized he was the man who was arguing with my assassin about killing innocents.
The speaker's face came back to me and I realized that he was not the one of the innocents he was speaking of. My thoughts were interrupted when Malik and my assassin began exchanging words and information. The word "peace" was put into the conversation and Malik looked confused as they were in relation to the "Templars".
My memory was growing clear as I was working in tandem with my assassin's. My mind was less hazy and the barrier seemed to be wearing away slowly as though by soft tides. This must be what a cough drop for the brain would feel like.
"That would make them our allies." Malik was saying in relation to the Templars which I learned, all too quickly, my assassin had dispatched single handedly. "And yet, we kill them."
"Make no mistake. We are nothing like these men." You could hear my assassin speak with contempt, refusing to believe for even a second that they could be considered one of them. "Though their goal sounds noble, the means by which they achieve it are not…" He paused, thinking of an elderly man. "At least, that is what Al Mualim told me."
"So what is your plan?"
"I will attend the funeral and confront Robert." My assassin said simply as though saying he was just running some errands.
And Malik agreed to the quickness of his statement with a nod and placed a feather on the counter. "The sooner, the better." Memories of the Templars that my assassin killed flickered quickly through his head and I knew he was probably troubled. I didn't feel it or hear his thoughts, but the way he kept going through his memories was like someone searching for something they might have missed. He was confused.
After the pause, my assassin stepped forward and mechanically put the feather in his robes as Malik completed the ritual by saying, "May fortune favor your blade, my brother."
At the word "brother", my assassin's muscles stiffened and he (and I) went back to a memory with Malik, bloody and without an arm, accusing him of being the cause of the death of his brother. Flickering to the face of the young assassin I assumed to be Malik's brother, I sensed my assassin was…guilty?
"Malik." He turned to him. "Before I go, there is something I should say."
Malik waved his arm. "Be out with it."
"I've been a fool." And in that word, the memories came quickly and I saw a quick replay of that entire failed mission. What a mess. I was starting to remember it with him and I could feel in that moment of how arrogant he was and how many people died.
"Normally, I would agree without question but I must ask what you are talking about?"
"All this time…I never told you I was sorry." He looked straight at Makin, and I could hear the sincerity in his voice. "Too damn proud. You lost your arm because of me. Lost Kadar. You have every right to be angry." The memories kept on flashing back in his mind.
Without hesitation, Malik replied, his face unreadable. "I do not accept your apology."
I felt a flush of sadness for my assassin as he only replied. "I understand."
"No. You don't." Malik continued. "I do not accept your apology because you are not the same man as the one who went with me into Soloman's temple. And so you have nothing to apologize for."
My heart. It was gushing right now. I wondered if my assassin's was too as the only thing he could manage to say was: "Malik."
"Perhaps if I was not so envious of you, I would not have been so careless." He touched his hand to his chest. "I am just as much to blame."
I think both my assassin and I knew that was a load of bullshit. He was just being a nice guy. And it was breaking my heart. "Don't say such things!" He said as though agreeing with me. Gosh, this is getting really intense. I almost feel like I'm intruding.
"We are one. As we share the glory of our victories, so too shall share the pain of our defeat." He closed his hand into a fist in the air. "In this way we grow closer. We grow stronger." I need a tissue. I'm emotionally compromised right now. I can't function.
"Thank you, brother." I almost wanted to know what he was thinking right now.
"Rest if you need to, Altair." He nodded. "So that you might be ready for what lies ahead."
Altair? As the conversation ended, I felt myself being pulled from my assassin- Altair. That's his name!- as I seemed to float upward. And then the light took me again just as I wondered what I had just witnessed. Was it the future, the present or the past?
When I woke up, I was feeling heavy. And a gust of wind was blowing on me. And then I realized there was a lot of bouncing until I registered that Antoine was carrying me in his arms, running and breathing laboriously.
When he noticed I was awake he offered me a smile as he said with relief. "Thank god you are alright."
"Antoine." I was glad he was alright. But then I remembered. "Where's Raha? Tell me he is safe."
"He is safe." No hesitation. No nervous look in his eyes. Good. "He managed to get out and I convinced him to be escorted by Anton to a safe place where we will meet them."
I raised an eyebrow. "So he willingly left us behind?" This did not sound like the man who was willing to trick me into a nearly empty room and lock me in there for my own safety.
He chuckled. "I admit it, he was adamant to stay…so I knocked him out so he could be carried."
"ANTOINE!" I was shocked. "I can't believe you would do that!"
"Well, not really but…" I imagine Raha was not going to be happy when woke up. "Raynham is going to be merciless in his retribution." I was sure that once a man's legs were broken he understood his limits all too well. Broken people were not to be messed with.
"Oh I'm sure he will." He smiled thoughtfully. "He usually is."
"Nothing." And Antoine seemed set on changing the subject as I noticed his face became lightly colored. "What happened to you back there? He was worried that it was the paint."
Was it the paint? I wasn't sure if it was the fumes…unless there was some weird ass shit in that mix that I didn't know about. But the visions and that out of body experience as Altair felt so real. Who is Altair? And what is he in connection to me? I wondered if I was asking the wrong questions because my mind offered no answer. "I think I just fainted…Maybe it was from the paint. I don't know."
Better to say it was than actually tell the truth. The truth was too confusing for me to make out, how in the hell would I explain it?
Speaking of explaining… "Antoine, why are we running?" For one thing, we were outside. For another, before I had my weird experience, we were all in the house.
Antoine let out a breath and sighed deeply as though it was painful to say. I didn't like where this was going but was patient as I let him think in his silence. After a little while, he finally said with a fatality that hit me strongly. "The house has been set on fire."
You know what's a great way of letting me know how you feel?
Other activities are wonderful too, if you're more of the strong silent type. I respect that.