Disclaimer: I don't own anything assassins creed belongs to its creators who are geniuses
Note: Thank you to my new beta Shadow-hunter93 for helping me get this chapter done and terrific ideas. And of course to all my readers who have been begging me for a new chapter and leaving me magnificent reviews I apologize profusely for it taking this long. Lets just say schools been a pain and I got distracted my other stories as well. I was also having major writers block as Desmond can tell you from a previous conversation.
Desmond: Well what do you know you speak!
Solena: ...is that the best you can come up with?
Desmond: It's called a humor, which you and Malik both seam to lack.
Solena/ Malik: " death glare"
Desmond: "gulp" changing the subject. When are you going to start writing the story again. I mean you just left your audience hanging!
Audience: " pitch forks and swords"
Solena: point taken but don't murder me!
Malik: you are being neglectful of your duties as a writer and if you don't mind I would rather NOT HAVE TO DEAL WITH MY WOUNDED ARM ANY LONGER!
Solena: "fingers in ear's" I'm not listening to you Malik I'm listening to myself and myself says I will get to it when I no longer have writers block so SHUT IT.
Solena: to the audience I apologize for their behavior it's hard being the mature one here. "runs away"
Malik: Get back here you imp!
Well I'm back now and not dead so sit back relax and enjoy:)
The trek to Robert's camp took less time than Desmond thought it would. Malik managed to keep up with him as they cautiously traversed the path to the wide gap in the cliff face. A mound of rock debris spanned the still jagged cliff walls in an uneven concave scoop. The climb up the brittle hill was surprisingly easy for Desmond. Only a few times did the rock crumble beneath an unsteady step.
Up and over he went, sparing small glances to Malik who managed to keep up behind him.
Desmond smoothly jumped the last of the heap onto flat ground checking this stretch off his mental list. Looking down at himself Desmond could see a fresh layer of dirt covering his cloths. Biting his lip, he held back a groan of annoyance. Well at least it was not a sewer he thought.
Desmond brushed himself off as Malik clambered down the hill. Malik was using one hand to steady his decent down the last few boulders. On the last step the rocks beneath Malik's feet split in two sending him forward. Desmond rushed to him and caught him by his good arm before the man ate dirt. He was surprised when Malik did not push him away as he got his feet under him, but leaned into his support as he choked for air.
Desmond did not bother asking if he was ok. There was no point, Malik had made it very clear that he was going and that was final.
When Malik's breathing became less labored he nodded to Desmond signaling him to let go as he pulled away from him.
"I am fine." Malik said taking a few steps off to the side sounding more than a bit deadbeat.
Giving Malik a few more moments Desmond looked ahead through the gradually thinning line of trees down the hill to Robert's camp.
It was a little under a fourth of a mile away he estimated, but even at this distance he could still tell that there was quite a number of men camped there. He counted all the tents he could see illuminated by the camps fires, torches, and even a few by moon light. Doing the calculations in numbers and by memory he reckoned that maybe half of Robert's forces were here. But they had been enough, or they would be enough to beat back the Assassins to the castle tomorrow.
Tomorrow. The word sent a cold chill down Desmond. His actions tomorrow would determine his fate in this time. He was not that naïve to Malik's reasons for staying with him. Heck the man could have taken the Apple and ran at any time, but he did not. The first part in his strategy to gain Malik's trust had been to gain his interest. However it was not until the cave that he realized he had already gained the man's interest, but not in the way he wanted. He knew now, and was able to confirm his worst fear that Malik was not just coming with him to spy on Roberts's camp for himself. He was making sure Desmond did not run away.
Malik was planning on turning him over to the Al Mualim.
A midnight breeze blew from the west chilling Desmond. Automatically his hands rose to rub some warmth back into his body, but it was little use against the chill in his soul.
Desmond felt Malik's approach behind him without even looking back. Knowing that Malik would want to take a look at the camp himself. Quickly he dropped his arms to his side and backed off not even giving him a backwards glace. Still feeling the ever-pressing weight of foreboding.
Something was going to happen soon and he did not know what it was, but something was coming. Whether it be a person or event Desmond did not know. But he was definitely going to listen to his gut. After his little trip back a couple hundred years. His instincts were forefront in his mind.
His eyes firmly fixed on a broad tree to lean against while he waited. He made an effort to be calm as he rested his heavy shoulders against jagged bark. But inside his anger was building.
Desmond hoped that this trip would be a lot easier than his previous incident in the cave. Preferably he would not have to explain anything to Malik this time around. Going over his recent actions he really wanted to kick himself. Hard. "My parents were of the order but, we traveled a lot, always on the run. I was trained but I'm alone now."God! Could he have been any more cryptic! He was supposed to gain Malik trust, not dangle a bone in front of him like a starving dog only to pull it away at the last second!
Shifting his feet Desmond tried to get comfortable as Malik finished up his assessment.
A few moments later Desmond heard the hitch in Malik's breath.
So Malik had counted the same as him. He closed his eyes feeling pity for the man besides him. He had known this was coming but Malik was just now seeing the reality of it.
"The soldiers are preparing for battle!"
"Yes" Desmond replied.
"Are they truly going to attack Masyaf?"
Desmond blinked at Malik surprised by the inquiry.
"That's what I said, but if you really want to find out..." he let his sentence trail off, both to let Malik come to his own choice. And also because his eagle vision had just turned on.
Though this time, it felt different.
"There is no other way," Malik stated, defeated but firm. "Let us go."
Without looking back he continued to silently walk to Robert's camp.
But Desmond was not really listening at this point his eyes were frozen on Malik's retreating back, shimmering in blue and white.
Desmond forced his feet to move, his mind and eyes still on the ground where shimmering footprints flickered in and out of existence. They were Malik's footprints. Looking slightly up watched as Malik's boots rolled up off the ground leaving behind more shimmering blue prints.
I should not be able to do this! Desmond thought. And it was true; in all of his time in the animus he had never "seen" any of his ancestors do what he was doing now. What the heck was this?
Shuddering a bit in his steps Desmond tried to turn off his eagle vision like he had in the past. Just letting it fade, but after a few tries Desmond blinked. And nothing had changed. Malik was still outlined in blue and his past footprints still shimmered. Blinking Desmond suddenly felt a burning behind his eyes and not the 'I've got dust in my eyes feeling', this was more like a 'I've been in front of the computer too long with a side of his Dad's coffee concoction' he was wide awake jittery. The forestry around him shimmered and the camp was becoming more focused. With his eyes locked forward his vision seamed to close in on a certain location in Robert's camp. A tent stood out among its copies that littered the area but unlike the others it was started to pulse a faint red.
Before Desmond could piece together his scattered thoughts. The power behind his eyes burned out causing his vision to zoom back to normal. The trees returning to moonlit black and green, the tents to their far away grey and Malik's diminishing form in front of him.
What did I just do? Desmond thought. Eagle vision was old news to him, he had been using it for weeks now but this was different, way different.
Surprisingly Desmond was still moving. But he could not remember how.
But he did know one thing now. Out of everything that happened so far, getting here, scatterbrained plans and pure guesswork. He finally had a solid lead.
His men were scurrying about making ready for the battle that was to come tomorrow. The shadows of their scrambling forms cast shadows on his maps that he and his most trusted subordinates were pouring over. Strategy over strategy plan after plan, drilling the battle spirit into the men with a fierceness that would assure no mercy for those despicable Assassins! Everything was ready except for two crucial uncertainties.
"Has there been any word from our spy!" Robert bellowed at his assembly.
"No my lord." It was Lovell that answered. One of Robert's most reliable intelligence agents and the most stoic.
"And why not!" Robert growled. Had it been any other man he would have had a few more harsh words, but Lovell had never failed him in all the years he served loyally under him. His connections as well as his brutality made him a most valuable asset.
"Had the attack been two days from now and not one he would have reported directly to me however under the circumstances I had to resort to a back up plan"
"Which one." Robert demanded
" The second milord." Lovell coolly answered unaffected by Roberts burning glare.
"Then you imbecile why haven't you left yet!"
Two of the men in the room smirked their eyes gleamed in satisfaction the older man seamed to have final failed.
"My best man has already ridden ahead and is taking care of the plan. I am here milord because the Assassins are not ahead of us."
The men's smiles dropped like dead flies.
"Shi..! Mhmmm!" Malik's hand clamped over Desmond's mouth before his voice gave their position away.
Desmond and Malik had infiltrated the camp with only a few difficulties. With Malik more familiar with the outlay of the camp than Desmond they only had to kill a few patrolling guards. Desmond had made a few stealth kills hiding in the haystacks and also took the liberty to hide Malik's kill in the camps crude well. Malik had been speechless for a few moments as Desmond dumped to body down a perfectly good source of water and had actually looked ready to give Desmond a tongue lashing, but instead he had taken a breath and actual gave a weak chuckle before saying. "That's actually quite clever."
Nothing much had happened after that. Malik led the way but Desmond noticed after a while that they were heading to the same tent that caused his eagle vision to go haywire. At the said tent there was a line or barrels against the back with just enough room for him and Malik to hide behind. It became very obvious who the tent belonged to as a thick French accent started barking orders. It was Roberts. This must be his center of command Desmond thought but did not voice. Malik and him had not spoken since the well the guards were too thick and if one of them heard them talking and came to investigate there was a too great of a chance of being caught.
Which was why Malik's grip on his face was not lessening. He tried to move Malik's had with his own but all that got him was a harsher hold on his face.
Ok he got it! Desmond thought Malik's hand was not going anywhere but could he loosen his grip a little. Desmond's thoughts must have played out in his body language because not a moment later Malik let his hand relax. Desmond's felling of relief was quickly lived because the conversation was resuming in the tent.
"How do you know this?!" Robert asked this Lovell character. The name was ringing a bell somewhere in the part of his mind that was Altaír's but he did not have time to dwell on that.
"Impossible." A younger highly peeved voice sounded. "We have reports that the man Robert let go already passed this point."
"Did I give you leave to speak boy!"
A harsh slap sounded loud enough to make Desmond flinch at the thought of the pain of a blow that made that much noise.
"Then stay silent!" a meek yes milord was uttered by the soldier and soon after he left the tent.
"It is not Altaír I was speaking of milord but Malik and the boy."
It was Malik's turn to stiffen at the use of his name. Desmond's mind was racing at this point. Who the hell was this guy! Wait, what did he mean "the boy" oh crap they were talking about him!
"Everyone go to your posts you are dismissed for the moment make ready for tomorrow! Guard, fetch my steward!" A chorus of milords was heard before the soldiers hustled out of the tent and to their duties.
"You were saying Lovell."
"I had my men sweep the area, the runt was right that Altair passed this way but no other Assassin has passed this point. However I would be a fool if I were to assume they were behind us."
"Speak plainly Lovell."
"Milord I believe that the Assassins may be near our camp."
"You are certain." Robert said. The pitch in his voice dropping.
"Yes Milord." Lovell answered.
Desmond at this point was sweating. This guy was good really good and that was so not good for them. If this guy was is charge of finding them their survival rate was dropping very quickly.
A chuckle resonated from the tent it took a moment for Desmond to realize it was Robert who was laughing.
"Knowing you, I am to guess you already sent out the scouts to prove this?'
"Yes milord they should be getting back momentarily with a report." Lovell replied seeming pleased with himself.
"Good." Robert firmly said.
"Get the report and return to me will see what our jackals have been doing."
"Yes milord." Lovell replied.
The opening of the tent flap signaled Lovell's exit and Malik let go of Desmond's face.
"Allah" Malik whispered as Desmond massaged his aching jaw.
"I thought that bastard was dead!"
"You know him?" Desmond asked surprised.
"Yes. But your curiosity will have to be sated later."
Malik inched forward from their hiding spot, glancing at Desmond then back at the patrolling guards looked to be contemplating for a moment before nodding his head.
"Boy stay here and don't move."
"What!" Desmond hissed.
"Quiet, I have to find out what his scouts have uncovered. I will make quick work of it faster if it is only I." Desmond opened his mouth to protest but Malik cut him off
"Do not argue with me boy!"
"You're trusting me here by myself?" Desmond questioned.
Malik sighed and said, "Yes."
Desmond blinked in surprise that was not at all what he expected.
"Your name was uttered in the same context as mine and you are full of fear at the fact that Robert is hunting you. Now wait here!"
With that last word Malik was gone leaving Desmond on his own.
But not a few moments after Malik left did Desmond hear some one enter Roberts tent.
"You summoned me milord." Said a very familiar feminine voice.
Desmond had to clamp his own hand over his mouth to hide his shock. It was Maria! Future wife of Altaír or at least she would be. But what was she doing…Oh. Desmond mentally kicked himself. Robert had called for his steward, he had been too absent minded at the time to remember that his steward was his many times great grandmother. Ugh! For some reason thinking about it like that was making him feel a little sick.
"Yes. Maria, remember when I said that the artifact contained secrets that could change this very world."
Desmond's ears pricked up. Now he was glad Malik had left. This conversation was more up his alley.
"Yes milord. The wonders you described to me about the Apple were nothing short of miraculous." Maria sounded firm but a little unsure about where this subject was heading.
"We have had an unexpected development in our plan." The rustle of papers accompanied Roberts voice
"The loss of the apple you mean." Maria questioned.
"No." Robert countered, "It's the boy."
"With all due respect milord how does this urchin affect the circumstances?" Maria inquired.
Desmond was surprised at this point in how much Maria was getting away with when talking to Robert.
"If he was a normal boy he would not but he is anything but that." The was a very tense pause.
"Maria what I'm about to tell you is never to be uttered again to anyone but me do you understand."
"Yes milord." Maria's voice was firm but held caution.
"I held to Apple once in my hands. In that one moment I saw things that in my wildest dreams could never have come up with, some were familiar some were not. Only recently have I been able to make sense of some of the images I saw." Robert passed once again to take a breath. Desmond did not dare even to breath. What the hell did this man know?
"The boy was one of the images that I saw. He knows more about the Apple than any man alive. He is the Key. I will say no more than this, but it is paramount that this boy be captured alive and delivered to me." Robert let his revelation hang in the silence. Letting Maria absorb the information.
Desmond on the other hand had felt the blood drain from his face with every word Robert spoke. His thought process was frozen in a cold chill. Robert knew about him. Knew about him from the Apple. The Apple of Eden! If he knew about him from that damned sphere, then he possibly knew the truth about him where he came from!
Desmond was starting to hyperventilate. No! He quickly told his body. Not now, I need to stay calm!
The conversation had resumed in the tent while Desmond and been in a state of panic But he just managed to tune in again as Robert stopped giving orders that he had missed.
"It will be done milord, but may I speak freely." Maria asked.
"You may." Robert answered with mild amusement.
Maria hesitated for a moment, which was quite strange because she was a woman that was never afraid to voice her opinion.
"When we capture the boy should he be brought to your headquarters or your bed first?"
WHAT! Desmond had frozen yet again. She was not serious was she?
"Hahah! Very perceptive of you Maria. We will see when the time comes."
Desmond felt like he was going to be sick.
Note: Yes Lenbug it's another cliffy MUAHHHHHHHH!