Disclaimer: I don't own Altaïr, Malik, or Al Mualim, so please do not sue.
Author's Note: I'm sorry I didn't complete the other story I wrote! My mind went blank as far as continuing because I didn't set up any of the chapters for a good plot. This one is entirely new. Takes place after Al Mualim gets killed. Review "kick me" if you want. I know I deserve it…..
Chapter One: Midnight Intruder
As the rest of the world slept one peaceful night, a young woman, desperate and afraid, ran for her life away from the dreaded Templars. The vast, deserted Kingdom provided no cover in the ghostly pale moonlight for the girl to hide. Her legs were burning with exhaustion from running nonstop with very brief breaks in between sprints in an effort to get away from the white devils chasing her.
Nothing was going to stop them from chasing her down, seizing her, and then executing the poor girl for being in the wrong family, which wasn't even in her control. Her father had been taken away to Alexandria a few days before, and there was very little hope that he was still alive. Just thinking about him tore at her heart, tears threatening to fall from her honey-colored eyes.
'I must be strong for him, or I'll never see him again,' she thought, pressing on. Up ahead, a few soldiers were standing around, passing a skin of alcohol amongst themselves. Thinking she could run right through them, she picked up her pace, only to be grabbed by the arm and pressed against a bony, malnourished body.
"Hey, pretty girl. Where are you going?" he said through slurred speech. His clothes reeked of the liquid he was drinking and his breath was horrendous. She gagged at the terrible smells emanating from him. His hand slid across her arm and over her breast, and out of instinct, she elbowed him in his stomach with all her might, making him drop the alcohol. It poured out onto the dirt and disappeared.
"You little wench!" he spat out as he slapped her across the face. Little did he know that she was not a submissive woman. The moment she recovered her balance, she landed a well-aimed punch on his nose, making him fall to the ground. The other inebriated men stood in awe, hushed at seeing their drinking companion laid out by a mere woman. They allowed her passage without a single word and she walked away satisfied, her anger finally taken out on someone who wouldn't even remember what happened.
"There she is! Stop her!" a Templar yelled out, quickly closing in on her. She instantly broke out into a run up a steep hill, gravity pushing against her muscles hard at work.
'I don't know how long I can keep this up...' She thought of turning around and running through them, but with the path growing smaller and smaller, she couldn't take the risk.
"If you stop now, your punishment will be a little less painful!" a voice threw at her. She ignored the offer and continued running until she no longer heard them trailing behind her. Perhaps they'd gotten tired of chasing her at last. But it was strange how quickly they stopped and disappeared from sight as if they knew something she did not.
'At least they stopped chasing me. I was about to give up,' she thought, observing her dark surroundings. The area was eerily still and quiet. There was a tall tower up ahead; she decided to catch her breath there. Along the way were bodies of Templars pelleted with arrows, a strange sight to her, yet she continued walking along.
There wasn't a single guard in sight inside and she took the opportunity to wander around and find some food. There was a whole sack full of freshly made bread and ripe fruit. Eagerly, she took an apple and a roll of bread and sat down to eat it. Though she had had better, this small meal tasted like heaven after three days with no food. She looked down at herself and laughed; she was a pitiful sight. If her father had caught sight of her in her current state, he'd have definitely had a fit. Her clothes were dirty and torn, and she looked so tired it aged her twenty-three year old face. She had even lost her shapely figure and now her clothes just hung off of her.
'Raja, you don't deserve this. I want to go home to Banghazi*.' A tear stung her eye and she let the tears flow as she sat. She was supposed to be at home with her family, sitting around the fire and enjoying one other's company. But no, she had been dealt a bad hand and now she had to deal with it.
"...Maybe you can speak to Altaïr about you becoming an Assassin, eh little brother?" a voice heavy with a Jerusalem accent suggested. A younger voice approaching her replied,"I don't know, Mahmed. Altaïr can be a bit intimidating, and also random. You never know what kind of mood he's in."
'Oh no! They're coming this way!' she thought, scrambling to her feet and hiding in the shadows. From her hiding place, she could see the red sash wrapped around their waists, and next to them long, deadly swords. She dared not speak or move at all. Then she noticed the half-eaten apple lying on the floor next to the older one's feet, hoping he'd take no note of it. But unfortunately, he looked down and picked it up.
"What's this apple doing on the floor?" he mumbled softly, and then he immediately drew his sword and calmly scanned the room.
"What is it, brother?" the younger one asked cautiously, unsheathing his sword as well.
"There's someone else here, but I cannot sense their presence."
'Great. I've run into more Templars. Could this day get any worse?' She let a small exhale escape her lips and he turned towards her quickly.
"Show yourself!" he commanded, his sword tip directed towards her. Panicked, she darted out and ran past them to the outside.
"Stop!" the younger one commanded, chasing after her. She decided not to run in the direction she came, so Raja ran further up the hill into a village protected by a large, wooden gate. She didn't care which direction she went; she just wanted to escape their sights. She veered to the right and ran up the hill without stopping.
Raja looked behind her, relieved that they weren't in sight. As she looked back, she didn't realize that she had stepped into a castle that loomed high over her head. The moment the warmth from the lamps touched her, Raja faced forward and froze dead in her tracks. Standing on the stairwell was a white-robed man, tall and menacing. His features were hidden by his hood, but she knew his eyes were focused on her.
"Not again..." she mumbled. He still hadn't moved; he was waiting to see what she was going to do. She took a step back and bumped into a somewhat soft wall. The younger of the two men was standing behind her and he grabbed her by her shoulders.
"You sure are fast," he said. Biting her lower lip, she kicked her leg backwards and hit him where it hurt. He immediately let go to comfort himself and she ran back outside, racing past the older man approaching mindlessly. The man that was once standing on the stairwell was now chasing after her, a white shadow moving with deadly speed.
'I'm surprised my legs haven't failed me yet!' she told herself. This was the most she had ever ran her whole entire life. Then suddenly, she felt a large hand wrap around her waist and pull her to a grinding halt.
"Don't even try that little kick move you did earlier. It won't work on me." Yet, like the defiant woman she was, she turned and pushed him; he remained unmoved like solid stone wall.
"Let me go, Templar!" she grumbled, trying to break free from his grip; he was much too strong.
"I am no Templar. They are my enemy," his deep voice growled. "Do not try to run from me again." Raja finally calmed down and exhaled long and hard. Her sultry voice spoke, "Fine." His hands were still on her and she brushed them off.
"There is no need to hold on to me anymore. I won't try to run again." She loosened the scarf tightly wrapped around her face to let the chilled night air cool her cheeks. He led her back up the hill to the castle in silence.
"So what are you going to do to me?" she asked.
"Maybe I should kill you for interrupting the peace and trespassing in Masyaf. Now that you know where the Assassins are located, I'm afraid I'll have to keep you here for life," his cold voice said.
*A coastal city in Libya.
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