Disclaimer: I don't own Assassin's Creed. It's Ubisoft's. I do own a copy of 1, 2, and Brotherhood though, so there's that. Also Revelations!
Author's note: I think that's enough of a break from writing. Back to business! As I said last time, the names of any Assassin I put here are names the game gave me, except for my OC. Enjoy.
The blindfold was removed from the boy's eyes. It took a moment for them to adjust to the light. He found himself in a large, candle-lit room. He spied bookshelves, tables, and chairs, all occupied or being used by people in white hoods.
"My apologies for the blindfold," said the man who had saved his life. "This place must be kept secret, after all. If our enemies were to discover it, it could lead to disaster."
"I understand, messerre," said the boy. "But I promise you have nothing to fear from me."
"I admire your honesty," said the man. "Now, my boy. What is your name?"
"My name is Vincenzo," said the boy, "Vincenzo Aiolfi."
"Vincenzo," said the man, "I am Ezio Auditore de Firenze."
"Auditore de Firenze?" asked Vincenzo. "My father spoke of your family years ago. He used to talk about an old friend of his who was a banker."
"Your father may have been referring to mine," said Ezio. "But he was more than just a banker. He was an Assassin." The boy's eyes went wide. "Do not be so surprised. After all, I too am an Assassin."
"Assassino," muttered the boy.
"We fight for the freedom of mankind," said Ezio. "To liberate the people from tyranny. We each have our own personal reasons, but that is the overarching goal."
"Please, sir," said Vincenzo. "If an Assassin is what I must become to liberate Roma, I will." Ezio smiled at the boy.
"You are driven and passionate," he said. "I can see the fire in your eyes. This is good." He turned to face the rest of the room. "Assassin's, assemble." The people in white all dropped what they were doing and formed a group in front of Ezio. "I wish for you all to meet our newest apprentice." He turned back to Vincenzo. "We rescued him from the Borgia, as we did for all of you. He wishes to end their tyranny as well. What say you all? Shall he join us?"
"SI," came the resounding group response. Ezio smiled.
"Well that's settled," he said. "Now come, meet the people who helped me rescue you." The Assassin's dispersed except for three. Now that they were not in the middle of a fight, Vincenzo had a better look at them. There were two women and one man. Vincenzo noticed that their hoods were closer to Ezio's own, pointed hood, and that they seemed to be wearing more armor than the others.
"You are very observant," said Ezio, cutting into the boy's thoughts. "I have been following your eye. It is on their garb."
"Si, messerre," admitted the boy. "They are dressed in better things than the others."
"They have earned these things," explained Ezio. "These three are my finest. You have already met Giacomo Gadda and Bianca Carsidoni." The man, sporting a goatee, and one of the women, a brunette, nodded in acknowledgment. "There was another present, though you did not see her. Zita Zanovelli." The other woman, a blonde, nodded.
Vincenzo took stock of them. All three looked dangerous, but he could not deny the beauty of the two women. Giacomo even, Vincenzo acknowledged, was not an ugly man by any stretch.
"I am honored to meet you," said Vincenzo, bowing to them, "and I thank you for saving my life."
"Of course," said Giacomo.
"It was no trouble at all," said Zita, smiling.
"It really wasn't," said Bianca. "The Borgia's dogs are hardly a challenge when they think they have you outnumbered."
"It helps when you drop on them from the sky," said Ezio, smirking. Bianca grinned back. Ezio looked back at Vincenzo. "Do not be fooled by their attitudes. They each take this very seriously, as should you if you are to join our ranks."
"Of course, messerre," said Vincenzo sincerely. "Where do we start?"
"Enthusiasm," smiled Ezio, "I like it. However, I cannot start training you today." Vincenzo looked disappointed. "Do not worry, I will train you, and these three will help me. However, there are things I must attend to today. Tomorrow I will start working with you. But you must promise me something."
"Anything, messerre," said Vincenzo.
"You must promise to put everything you have into your training," said Ezio. "It will be bitter work, and you can do nothing half way. One misstep in this life, the life of an Assassin, could mean death. Capire?"
"Si, messerre," said Vincenzo.
"I am glad you understand," said Ezio. He nodded to the three Assassins. "I leave you in their care for now. They will show you to your room, and explain how life works here." With that he bowed his head in Vincenzo's direction and left.
"Follow us," said Giacomo. Vincenzo did as he was bidden and followed the three. They began leading him down a hallway. "Messerre Ezio seems to have taken a shine to you."
"Huh?" asked Vincenzo.
"He has," confirmed Zita. "He does not offer to train every apprentice personally, as he does not always have the time."
"He does get some one-on-one training in with all of us," said Bianca, "but he does not always do training at the basic level."
"He taught us personally," said Giacomo, "but has only done so for a few others."
"Really?" asked Vincenzo.
"Si," answered Giacomo.
"How many of us are there?" asked Vincenzo.
"There are not as many as we'd like," said Bianca. "At present, there are twelve of us. Well, thirteen counting you. We do not count Messerre Auditore or some of the others."
"Why not?" asked Vincenzo.
"Because," answered Zita, "we are all still apprentices, really." Vincenzo was shocked, and Zita saw this, so she continued explaining. "While we are the highest in rank among the apprentices, we are still in training, really. Messerre Ezio is generous to call us Assassins at this level."
"But we are close to achieving that rank," said Giacomo.
"Very close," confirmed Bianca.
"What of the others that you mentioned?" asked Vincenzo
"There are a few other full fledged Assassins," said Bianca. "But they are not typical. One of them leads much of the mercenary force in Roma, another is the leader of the thieves guild. And still another is... well, we cannot tell you who, not yet. But you will meet him in time, provided you live long enough."
"And we are not the only Assassins," said Zita, somewhat excitedly. "We are just one faction out of many. There are Assassins all over the world! All of them fighting towards the same goal: the freedom of mankind."
"That sounds very heroic," said Vincenzo.
"Do not get too caught up in la poesia of it," said Giacomo. "What we do is still dirty work, but we do it to those that dirty their hands with the blood of the innocent."
"He is correct," said Bianca, sounding a bit dour. "While what we do is for the benefit of others, we must still do what those others might consider horrible things."
"I... I know," said Vincenzo. He thought back to his own hesitation today. "I was not happy when I thought I had to kill that man today, but I was still prepared to do it if necessary."
"That is the correct attitude to have," said Zita, sounding surprisingly comforting. "We do not revel in the kill, and I doubt anyone is happy to do it. But what we do is necessarry in this day and age, and we do it so that one day we will not have to."
"But do not worry about it too much today," said Giacomo. They finally stopped walking. Vincenzo had almost completely lost track of where they were going. "It will be night time soon. This is your room. Your training begins tomorrow before dawn. Do not be late." With that, he bid Vincenzo goodnight and walked away. Vincenzo looked after the man.
"Is he always that severe?" he asked.
"Only sometimes," said Bianca. "Don't worry about it too much. He'll lighten up a little as you get to know him I promise. I look forward to watching you tomorrow. I would love to see what you can do." She winked at the boy and walked off along down the hall after Giacomo. Vincenzo blushed a bit.
"Is... is she always like that?" he asked Zita. The blonde woman smiled at him.
"Quite often," said Zita. "She likes to tease. But make no mistake, she is every bit as deadly as Giacomo. And don't worry about being late tomorrow. I'll get you up and moving on time, I promise." She smiled sweetly at Vincenzo, who smiled back.
"Grazie," he said. She nodded and walked down the hallway, following her two companions. He turned around and opened the door to his room. It was a very small place, with nothing more than a bed and a small storage chest. 'It does not matter,' he thought, sitting down on the bed. 'I do not have any possessions anyway.'In truth, Vincenzo was simply happy to have a bed. He had not actually had one in a long time.
He took off his boots and lay down on the bed. He looked up at the ceiling, contemplating the events of the day. This morning he had been reduced to nothing. Dressed in patched clothing, he had only a few coins left when the Borgia's men had come for him. He'd needed that money for some bread, he'd argued. But no, they had insisted that he give it to them, as he had been short on his taxes.
Taxes for what? They had already taken everything from him in payment for his taxes. He didn't know why he had snapped. Hunger perhaps. Or maybe it was that he really, truly could not stand being stepped on anymore. Besides, better to fight to the death than starve, he reasoned.
He became aware of a rumbling in his stomach. In all of the excitement, he'd forgotten how hungry he was. He was about to get up and try to figure out where the kitchen was when he heard a noise. He looked to the door, which he'd left open, and saw a plate on the ground. The plate held a leg of chicken, a loaf of bread, a bunch of grapes, and a folded piece of paper. Vincenzo immediately grabbed the loaf and the paper, which he assumed correctly to be a note.
Giacomo realized that you had not eaten today, and asked me to deliver this to you. Enjoy your meal, and do not hesitate to speak up if you are hungry in the future. This is your home now as well.
Vincenzo smiled. Giacomo really wasn't so bad.
After he had eaten, Vincenzo felt sleepy. He went to bed excited, for tomorrow he knew would be the start of a brand new life.
And there you have it. This chapter is still a little shorter than I would have liked, but there wasn't much more I felt I could do to it. Besides, next chapter we'll see some action, and that will be when the fun really starts.