AN: ATTENTION - UNBETA'ED VERSION.
First and foremost, sorry for the long wait. I know that there's only a small amount of people actually reading this and taking the time and consideration to review back, so thank you and sorry.
I've been terribly busy - more busy than I have in my entire life. I've got so many things going at the moment. My uncle passed away and my grandpa was sent to hospital the other day, not to mention a tonne of study as well. I'm trying my best - and this is a story that I would like to continue if I am given the support from my readers. Not to mention, I also have another IR Bleach story that I have to update as well.
Secondly, this is a crazy long chapter - I don't know why I wrote so much so please don't expect chapters to be this long (occasionally). It is a rare thing to happen when I hit over 12,000 words for a chapter hahaha so if you get bored, I don't blame you. But let me know so I can edit or whatever. I'm open to critique, but not unnecessary flaming (sometimes) but if my character is becoming a Mary Sue, please tell me. That is the last thing I want to-
Ezio: *swags in and interrupts author* Bella, there you are! *bounds over to give a bear hug*
Me: *shock* E-Ezio! What are you doing here? You're not due to appear just yet!
Ezio: Ah, but aren't you glad that I came out of my way to see you, bella? Besides, I love getting you so flustered. Its cute.
Tahlia: Ezio. Fuck off, you womanizer. Dev is trying to plead her case to the viewers.
Altair: And not doing a good job at it as usual.
Me: HEY! GET OUT ALL OF YOU!
Altair and Tahlia: *walks off tiredly* *leaves author to stand awkwardly at the side while Ezio turns to her*
Ezio: I'm offended-!
Me: *deadpanned* Out.
Ezio: Can I at least do the honours, bella?
Me: *glares suspiciously* ...no funny business, Ezio. And then you're leaving, got it? I have chapters to write and no time to spend with you right now.
Ezio: *grins devishly* Si! Si! Well, bella Devonshire does not hold the right of the original storyline, characters and the attractive yet modest italian assassin. All rights belong to Ubisoft. Please enjoy the story, bella Devonshire has put a lot of effort into it. ...How was that?
Me: Hmmm...to be honest, I was preparing to censor it all. I am impressed Ezio.
Ezio: Impressed enough so I can bed you?
Me: Out. Now.
Everything Tahlia knew about survival didn't come to her like they usually do in most movies. She wasn't a secret agent that knew she had to instantly disguise herself, nor was she a great adventurer who had travelled the world and knew exactly where she was. She was just nineteen and trying to make sense to what the fuck just happened.
One moment she was at the city library – the next, she was in some sort of middle-eastern city. And even though she was standing right in the centre of the madness, she still couldn't believe it.
It couldn't be possible. How could it be possible? Her mind was screaming incoherent words at her but her body remained rigid in shock. Tahlia would be lying if she wasn't petrified, because truth be told she was everything but calm. Her wide gaze haphazardly flickered around the crowd of strangers – to the sand-stone buildings – to the sky – down the street – and she felt more and more of herself being pushed harder against the stone wall behind her. She wanted to go back. But how? They door had closed behind her – the only door she knew that would take her back to the library – and it too, had abandoned her as well. When she threw it open, her hope for returning to her place had vanished and with that came an overwhelming sense of panic.
She just didn't know what to do.
Tahlia flattened herself closer to the wall – wishing she could sink into it and never come out. But fates align, the wall remained solid and Tahlia remained silently freaking the fuck out. Strangers in the crowds had begun to look at her strangely and she refused to meet their gaze. They were talking in a language that she didn't quite understand but at the same time she swore she heard English. English! Her native tongue! Her eyes tried to pick out to where the voice was, but she was met with failure. Yet, the spark of hope was pulling at her like a lifeline. It was at this point, she had thought, that she had to do something.
She could just stand there gawking like an idiot about her surroundings and pity herself because of her bad luck. Or she could...do something. Anything. She closed her eyes and bowed her head. Calm, Tahlia. You need to stop freaking out. She sucked in a deep breath – noticing for the first time how clean the air was as it warmly filled her expanding lungs. And exhaled. She slowly opened her eyes, allowing her pupils to dilate comfortably to the bright glare. She was still a little shaky, but she felt a lot more clearheaded. She wasn't going to get one hundred percent in sync with this whole endeavor, but she was a lot more relaxed than before.
The first thing she did was slip out of sight. She had no idea where she was going. Her feet were moving at their own accord, and she wasn't going to complain. At least its something. When she found herself in a shadowed alleyway, where the weeds grew in clusters near the stone walls and suspicious looking puddles seeped between the dirt and stone tiles, she relaxed for a moment or two. The shadows were welcoming from both the burning sun and the anxiety of the crowd and she found herself searching for something – anything she could use to camouflage herself a little better.
The alleyway curved slightly to the right and led up to a short flight of stone steps. Tahlia quickly looked behind her – saw that no one was glancing back and began to make her way up the steps when she felt she wasn't being followed. That's a good thing, her brain remarked. She obviously didn't catch the attention from someone unwanted.
She came across the end of the alley and three large crates – two of which the wooden structures were placed on top of each other. Iron bars fenced off the end of the alley, screening her from the busy street. Tahlia approached the wooden crates steadily – they came up to her mid-thighs in height. She squatted down.
There was a white, square piece of tarp-like fabric that seemed to be nailed by its corners with wooden pegs. She experimentally tugged on one of the corners and raised a brow when the nail popped out of the socket and clattered noisily onto the ground. Well, someone got a little lazy with their job. Not like she was complaining really. After she yanked the remained pegs off, she lifted up the fabric for closer inspection and folded it out until it was twice its size. The fabric was dirty and gritty with sand and grime – but it was a cover for herself regardless. She carefully lifted it up to her nose and sniffed it in trepidation. It smelled like earth and faintly of old dog pee.
And the best part was she was going to put it on herself.
Wrinkling her nose in distaste she lifted the fabric over her head and wrapped it around her neck and shoulders to act like a shawl. She had no mirror, so she had to make do with one of the murky puddles. She tucked in most of her hair – regretting that she didn't pull it up into a ponytail that morning. A bead of sweat trickled down to her jawline and she gave out an airy gasp. It was hot. Even in the shade she was still sweating like crazy. She considered taking off her leather jacket and tying it around her waist but something was nagging her not to do it. Even though she was standing out like a sore thumb already, showing her bare arms definitely made alarm bells ring in her mind. She had to keep herself covered as best she could because otherwise she felt something horrible would happen if she didn't.
It was just then that Tahlia looked at her phone in realization. She mentally face palmed. How the hell didn't she check her phone earlier? Because the device was already flipped open, she pressed a button to wake the small screen up... to be met with massive disappointment when she noticed she didn't have any service. She lifted her phone in the air in desperation, miserably chanting under her breath 'pleaseohpleaseohplease' like a pray. She angled the device this way and that way above her head. She stretched herself to her full height. The phone beeped a lone solitary beep as if to say, 'sorry babe, ain't no service here.'
"You're fucking kidding me," she hissed, glaring at the device. She lowered it to her face and scrutinized it some more. She tapped into the settings and growled in frustration. Did she have to get to higher ground? The walls were tall and intimidating, looming up around her. She pondered it for a bit and soon gave in.
She climbed on top of one of the crates carefully. She wasn't the most...coordinated person, but she wasn't a complete retard either. This was probably going to be the dumbest thing she has ever done. The crate creaked under her weight. Her knees buckled nervously ready to land cat-like if need be. Was it common for the crates to carry any form of weight? She hoped they were durable. When her confidence slowly came back, she readied herself to climb up higher, making sure not to make any sudden movements. She peeked her head around the lane one last time. She shrunk back a little. Should she go and find someone who spoke English? This was a stupid idea, wasn't it?
But she was too nervous to be out there...
So, the only option she had was to get to higher ground. Tahlia scaled the walls with her eyes. There was a high possibility that she wasn't going to get service because a) her phone plan was from an Australian company and b) she wouldn't have thought that this place would have any reception towers. And it didn't even look like the people around here had heard of electricity before. Which was weird. She didn't see little mopeds being whizzed around, nor could she hear the distant sounds of traffic. She was positive she didn't see anyone on phones. Did she travel back in time? She hoped not. Her ears strained to listen. The quiet howl of the hot wind and the mild chatter of civilians echoed up the street. Somewhere in the mix a horse neighed distantly.
Crestfallen, she turned back to her assignment. She might as well give it a try. Her eyes wandered over every possible way to climb up to the roof… that weren't many. She could run up the wall and grip the ledge like a boss – but she had never done any sort of Parkour in her life and the potential dangers of hurting herself outweighed the success. In fact, she would probably kill herself by doing that. So it only left one other option.
Tahlia rose on the duo stacked crates and stood up, a little unsteadily. She closed her phone and slipped it into her back pocket. Hands rose above her head as she twisted around to grip the ledge beside her shoulders. The stone was rough and warm against her sweaty palms. Her knuckles were white and her fingers were shaking. She had never done this before. Climbing up things wasn't her profession per se. Tahlia mentally counted down in her head before she tried to push herself over ... and failed. Her boots lurched back down on the crate again and her face reddened in embarrassment. Fuck. Once more. She glared at the ledge cussing it. Three, two, one…
With an upper body strength she didn't know she possessed, she finally managed to heave herself up and squirm her way onto the roof. She propped herself up on all fours for a moment. Eyes watered from the glare and heat – which seemed to conduct a hundredfold from the pale flat rooftops like a mirror to a light. The hard surface under her palms was hot to touch and she quickly scurried up on her feet. She wiped her dirty hands on the thighs of her jeans and looked around cautiously. The heat burned down on her as Tahlia made her way to the middle of the roof. She flipped out her phone and tested it out. It made another beeping nose. Fuck you no signal.
She cursed out loud and raised a fist to the world. "Perfect!" she snapped to no one in particular. "Fucking perfect!" She looked around hostilely. It was an enormous city. Rooftops rose and lowered like waves of an angry sea – imperfect structures of different sizes. There were plenty of bell towers scattered far and few between. The earthy-colored domes of mosques glinted dully, strewn amongst the inner sanctum of the tall city walls. The city seemed to slope upwards slightly to the east, towards a very large palace. Tahlia was sure, even though she couldn't see (unless she resorted to climb a tower) that beyond the wall was a desert.
Forlornly, as to be expected, there were no telephone towers.
She wasn't stupid enough to go around and start climbing towers. She wasn't that brave. In fact, Tahlia avoided heights all together. So it was a miracle that she was even standing on a roof. Uneasiness crawled up her spine when she became very aware of where she was. On top of a roof. Yes, she would rather have her own two feet planted soundly onto the ground, but she felt extremely crowded in the streets. At least, for now, up here there was a sort of vulnerability that didn't feel like it was going to trample down on her. The sides of the shawl flapped against her cheeks in the desert wind as another roll of sweat dribbled its way down her jaw. She looked down at her shaking hands, the familiar swelling prickling behind her lids.
What mess have I gotten myself into? Up here, the noises of the street chatter were muffled. But it was still there. She walked along the building top, careful not to stray too close to the edge and planted her hands on her hips. She started to pace – a habit she did when she was worried or stressed. She did do a lot of pacing back home. She had to keep herself moving because if she didn't she would burst into tears. Left, right, left… She slid off her leather jacket to tie it around her waist. The satin lining inside was already drenched in sweat. She was half expecting the wind to be merciful and cool her down. But it just made her feel hot and bothered and wanting to cry. She tried to scramble her thoughts together. She may be no Bear Grylls, but Tahlia did have some common sense hidden in her brain.
She noticed the way they looked at her. It was obvious that Tahlia was far out of her element and that her clothes were completely different than everyone else. She was an outsider to a city that hardly ever had travellers. She doubted any of them spoke her language and if they did, she was certain that they would refuse to talk to her simply because she looked different. A more logical part of her mind had taken in the fact of how everyone dressed – women were covered head to toe in very unflattering robes. Tahlia knew that flaunting skin wasn't accepted in this society. She spied over the ledge to the unsuspecting crowd below and pulled back before she felt the vertigo tugged at her.
Somewhere in her mind, her brain picked up a little of the conversations they were having. It was untranslated of course. Of course, she thought bitterly. Her brain believed that they could be speaking... Arabic? Yes. Arabic. Or something like that.
Tahlia inwardly groaned. Not only had she been magically transported – how else would you phrase it? – to the middle of know where, but she was pretty much walking around in a very male dominated and very influential religious community. Where, to a point, women like herself were not welcomed at all.
To point out the very fact, her arms began to prickle uncomfortably in the sun. Her skin was pale (ah...the conditions of a gamer) and was very prone to getting burnt quite quickly. Fortunately for Tahlia, her complexion adjusted well to the seasons and only remained pink and sore for a couple of days. But feeling that the desert sun was a lot harsher than the sun she was used to back home. She was sure to suffer a severe sunburn if she stayed out any longer like this. Grimacing, she made her way to a rooftop garden and leaned against the shadowed side of it.
She found herself watching the birds circle above in a daze. It might have been seconds, or minutes or hours as thoughts swallowed her up. She crossed her arms subconsciously and titled her head up further against the wooden pen to watch them dance. She gave up at that point. Tahlia didn't know what to do. Her phone was her greatest hint out of here. And that backfired. What a surprise.
So she just watched the birds, disheartened and alone, occasionally wiping the sweat and silent tears that trickled down her face with the back of her dirty hands. Her mind silenced then. Unanswerable questions dulled. Her eyes slowly fell to the world around her.
Like a seed being planted in the soft earth of her mind, another thought began to surface. It was quiet at first - a 'barely-there' passing thought. It faded out the moment it came. After a few minutes, she settled back down. But it came back again, like the tide of an ocean, more dominant and louder than before. She found herself staring at the buildings harder. Listening to the sounds closer. Wait a minute. Her eyes took in the shapes of the city as the clockwork of her brain began to start again. Things slowly started to click into place like pieces to a puzzle. Her eyes narrowed. Everything looked uncannily familiar...
Have I been here before?
It hit her like an oncoming train. Déjà vu. Holy shit.
She stiffened. The hairs on the back of her neck stood on end. No way. There's just no way. Her heart started pounding in her throat. She searched around her - for some kind of fault in the system. A reason not to believe. But the more she looked, the more it was familiar. And with the familiar, it was dawning on her that it was real. Tahlia snapped her eyes shut. She pinched herself. She didn't believe. She couldn't believe. It was impossible. It was all so fucked up.
"This is not real!"
Somewhere in the distance, church bells rang. It made her jump. Her eyes sprung widely open. She could recognize that sound anywhere - and if by anywhere, she meant one place. Or three. But all from one game. For a moment she stood there rigidly, eyes flickering around her hastily. She expected to see someone running along the rooftops followed by a string of guards.
A moment passed.
There was nothing. Everything was still. The bells continued.
You know, this probably isn't what you think it is. Just because you hear bells going off doesn't mean its 'City Alert'. She frowned. Was she over reacting? Maybe its the lunch time bell...or the church bell for mass or whatever...yeah...she heard that some religions have several mass periods during the day...
Either this was one fucked up storyline from one deranged fangirling author, or Tahlia seriously needed to stop spending countless hours playing video games. She pinched the bridge of her nose and closed her eyes. She exhaled through her nostrils noisily.
She wasn't sure whom she angered upstairs, but Tahlia was stumped at the hand of cards life had given her. An eagle finished its round of circling and graciously perched itself on a tiny wooden ledge on top of one of the church towers. She opened her eyes and found herself staring at it.
Tahlia didn't know what to do next. So...she tried to scramble up some logical thoughts. She knew that she couldn't stay on the roof forever. Tahlia had to find a way back to her home somehow. And it required research. Which required her to actually move around and find it. And if she knew where she thought she was then she had a small inclination of who she had to meet. Though…she thought hesitantly. Meeting someone like him, she was in no hurry to do that either.
She pulled out her phone and clutched it like a child does with their safety blanket. Her clothes, her memories, her phone were the only real evidence that she wasn't from this place. The device pressed warmly against her sweaty shirt. Slowly she opened it to double check that it was real. That all of things she had now was on her phone. She opened up the most recent message that was still active, half typed and unsent.
I'm starved! Definitely need to stuff my face with some food :) Can we g-
She wanted to smack herself. If she weren't so selfish in the first place, she would have realized what she literally walked into. She had an urge to toss her phone over the edge and be gone with it. That stupid thing had made her so preoccupied. But she decided against it. If she did throw it, she knew she would be spending hours trying to find it. Huffing, she closed it and placed it back undesired in her pocket.
She wondered what Daniel was doing right now. Has he already started searching for her? Was he asking where she went? Or was he still in the library, scribbling notes about Leonardo Da Vinci unaware that she had pretty much disappeared from the face of the earth and possibly into another realm? It made her nervous to think she didn't know what was happening back in her life or the effects her disappearance could cause.
Tahlia deliberated with herself for a moment. A part of her – a very large part in fact – wanted to stay up here and hidden until it was dark. But Tahlia had a bad feeling. Even though the night offered shelter, it meant nothing when she didn't know how to walk in the shadows. Awareness of the approaching night quickly dawned on her. Where would she sleep? What would she eat or drink?
She would be cast out of inns and the no knowledge of the language would have her turned away from shelters. Would people consider her a Templar? A crazed civilian from Acre? Wait. I thought I wasn't going to think about those things. She glared at nothing in particular. Not to mention she heard the nights in the desert were very cold to a point that it could cause hypothermia. That was something that she didn't want to wait to find out. The night was dangerous. Tahlia would have to make haste while the sun was still up and use it to her advantage.
As much as she said she would rather avoid crowds and the public altogether, something about the eerily empty streets at night frightened Tahlia enough that she found her feet jolting back heavily on the ground.
Dirt and loose sand swirled around her boots and carried on in the breeze. She threw on her jacket quickly and left it open (it was too hot to zip it shut) and pulled the tip of her makeshift shawl a little lower over her face. She bent her head down and quickly made her way into the street.
She received stares – a lot of stares, plenty more than she was comfortable with. Some people stopped and stared while others watched her for a moment before continuing on their way. Tahlia wasn't sure where she was heading, she just needed to head somewhere. She was half on the look out for someone who spoke English. Maybe if she pleaded her case, they would be kind enough to allow her to stay for the night. That would give her enough time to think up her next plan. Not to mention she would be safe and sheltered until morning. She passed a large bale of loose hay and fisted her hands. Any town could just have random piles of hay anywhere. It's to be expected. I can't just presume that when I see hay I randomly think of assassins or leaps of faith…
The inner fangirl of course, was having the time of her life. She ogled as she thought about the possibility of running into a fictional character in the flesh and blood. She was on a field trip, practically drooling out of the mouth. Tahlia forced herself to ignore her. No. No way was she even going to think about that just yet.
The staring was becoming more noticeable. The church bells were a constant noise in the background, grinding on her nerves. Even the civilians seemed to be on edge. Eventually, Tahlia was sure she could hear conspired murmuring all around her from the groups of men and woman she passed. If her paranoia served her correctly, she began to notice the length of which people were avoiding to be in her presence.
And walking the streets in broad daylight, dressed the way she was, was becoming a very bad idea, very, very quickly.
Taking a sharp left, away from the large open street and down a small lane, Tahlia walked briskly. There were a few people scattered here and there. Some sat in the shade on a stone bench lost in their own thoughts. Others chatted idly to each other about trivial things Tahlia didn't recognize. But their eyes followed her immediately as she passed; like a moth to a flame. Conversations paused with hesitation as she neared and started up again with pointed glances and contrived muttering when she passed. Her pace quickened more. Half the time she was walking she was expecting someone to grab her. Her body was buzzing with pre-adrenaline as if it was a loaded gun. All it took was a pull of the trigger. If the situation called for it, Tahlia wouldn't hesitate to leave immediately.
However, such luck regards her, she found four guards on patrol walking down the lane towards her. Tahlia skidded to a stop. She had seen them before they had seen her. Their green uniforms with yellow stitching made them easy to point out from the crowds. Not to mention the gleam of their unsheathed swords in their hands caught her attention just as swiftly. They weren't talking to each other. Instead they were looking around themselves, searching the crowds. Tahlia's knees locked into place for a moment. She could spy that type of uniform anywhere. She wanted to cry out.
A quiet "Oh my fucking god" choked its way up out of her throat. She wanted to throw up. She knew where she was. She knew what was happening. And she didn't like it one bit.
A pair of eyes scanned her way. She froze like a deer in the headlights. They swept over her form in the shadows and continued briefly before snapping back on her. Tahlia's legs jerked her backwards but it was a second too slow. She had just barely turned around. She didn't get the chance to take another step. A guard stopped and shouted after her.
His words made no sense but the austerity of the Arabic language made Tahlia freeze in her tracks. She wished she stayed up on the roofs. Tahlia hated herself right now. Her body was humming against the edges. She still had a chance to run. But she didn't know how fast the guards were and how slow she was. What were her chances? Terror locked her feet into place. She could feel him approach her. His eyes burned like lasers against her back. If she ran now, she would let up a chase. And a chase was something she really didn't want to have, especially when they were more than ready to kill her on the spot. She couldn't fight them. Her chance for fleeing was quickly evaporating.
A hand grabbed her shoulder roughly and swung her around. There was not one guard, but four. She lowered her head to the floor, her body trembling. They said something to her. But she didn't understand them. Why didn't they kill her now? Their swords were right there and she was so easy to knock down... They surrounded her. The hand that grabbed her jerked her back into the wall. The voice snarled at her this time, repeating their sentence. They were getting impatient. Why wasn't she speaking back to them? Another guard grabbed the sleeve of her jacket and said something harshly. Were they asking about her clothes? She tugged out of his grip. She didn't want to be touched. They exchanged glances to each other. One started up again, eying her up and down suspiciously. Tahlia winced under their gaze. They spoke to her again, this time grabbing and pulling at her clothes. They found her struggles humorous. Boisterous laughter rose around her. They were teasing her. Like a cat toying with a mouse before it eats it.
A rough, calloused hand shot out and grabbed her shawl roughly before it was ripped off. Some of her hair went with it and she cried out in pain. Laughter quieted briefly and the shawl was instantly tossed to the side forgotten. Sweaty, matted bangs flopped over her face, obscuring her features to the guards. She could hear them talking. Her body pressed against the wall in fear. One guard - the same guard that took off her shawl - reached over and grabbed her chin to jerk her face up to them. She tried to push away but the guard shouted at her and grabbed her entire lower jaw, digging his thumb and fingers into her cheeks and forced her face closer.
She refused to meet their eyes. But she could tell that they were all staring at her. She could see their teeth shining as they opened their mouths. Oh, she could see it now. The looks on their faces. Fear was rolling off her now. Tears stung her eyes. I've never been raped before. The thought was so raw and overwhelming that she wanted to cry out. They leered at her though. One of them noticed how hard she was holding back on her tears and leaned over to her. He said something – sweet nothings? Or just more teasing? His disgusting breath washed over her face before she was pushed back against the wall and freed from her captor. The main guard - the one that Tahlia recognized as the party leader, crossed his arms and turned to face the alley. He was look out. She thought horrified. They were going to have their way with her and kill her once they were done.
The three guards advanced on her and Tahlia panicked. "NO!" she shrieked. "NO! DON'T TOUCH ME!"
They didn't understand her. The confusion was a fleeting emotion on their faces before one of them turned her around and pushed her hard against the wall. He flipped her over so the front of her body was against the wall. She bucked and struggled but the guard just growled and pressed his body tightly against hers.
"STOP IT! PLEASE NO!" she cried at him over her shoulder. He snapped something back to her. He ordered her to be quiet. But Tahlia refused to be quiet. She started screaming as loud as she could until a dirty hand covered her mouth. Hands fumbled to part her legs, groping her inner thighs as the heat of a swelling member pressed tightly into her ass. Tahlia squirmed and struggled as hard as she could, muffling into the hand. Her soon-to-be rapist was growling in her ear. The other two guards noticed their ally struggling with her jeans and went over to help. Of course, jeans weren't invented back then. Confusion turned quickly into impatience as they began to tug hard to pull them down. Dirty nails and thick fingers struggled to grip the hem of the fabric. They weren't used to this type of clothing. Her mind exploded into overdrive at that moment. FUCKING DO SOMETHING TAHLIA!
Without thinking, she bucked her ass as hard as she could straight into him. The guard was caught off balance but didn't stumble back. A small space was created between them. It was enough though. Tahlia lifted her leg up and dragged the heel of her boot as hard as she could down his shin. Pain rippled up his leg and the guard loosened his grip, cursing. She drove her heel straight ontop of the arch of his foot as hard as she could. A satisfying crunch meant that she successfully broke the air pocket. The guard shouted out in agony and yanked himself away from her, stumbling over onto the dirty ground on his ass. The other three turned to her. Hands shot out to restrain her, swords were raised to kill her.
Tahlia darted underneath their arms as she escaped. One of the blades however nicked her forearm just as she jerked away. Crimson fluid began to seep out of her wound. She hissed and grabbed her arm. She didn't care about that right now. Swords clanked against objects, missing the target and hitting stone. Curses were thrown after her. She broke into a sprint. Angry cries were shouted after her. Whatever way they looked at it, Tahlia just assaulted a guard. And given the fact at how much yelling, she was going to pay.
Running as fast as she could, she escaped down the lane and into the bustling street. She ducked and zigzagged through the people – and when she couldn't, she pushed through the groups of bodies. She could hear the guards doing them same, yet the crowds parted for them quickly, which made their advance after Tahlia shorten in distance dramatically.
She felt a hand just narrowly miss gripping her arm and she jerked herself around the corner. Surprised, the guards ran straight past before running back down the street after her. The distance had doubled instantaneously. Now she just had to keep it up.
Vases were dropped. Curses were thrown. People cried out and stepped away. Crates were broken. Behind Tahlia was a trail of destruction, a perfect path for the guards to follow. Not to mention the sudden hysteria the public went into when they saw her running like an accused thief down the street. Or worse, a disingenuous accused assassin. They pointed after her like neon 'She Went That Way' signs for the guards to pursuit after. Some shook their fist; other's pressed themselves tightly against doorways and walls. She saw a stone bench and leapt over it, streaking across the busy courtyard and into another street. Her legs burned and her lungs worked furiously to try and keep up with the stress on her body. More guards were alerted and joined haste. Harsh pants escaped her as she bolted down the street, dodging this way and that. She had terrible cardio. She wanted to stop and throw up somewhere.
But fear overcame the desire to stop as the crowd thickened and forced her to push hastily through. The crowd did not part easily and her sense of direction was disorientated. Bodies pushed into her and knocked her around. An angry looking thug glared at her when she was accidently shoved into him by another civilian. It wasn't until she managed to finally squeeze herself out of the suffocating mass of bodies did she realize she hardly moved from her spot at all! She sacrificed a glance behind her, to see the guards having a slightly harder time parting the crowd like herself. They struggled and barked at the crowd. But there were so many of them that the guards were losing sight of her quickly. There was a sound of metal meeting flesh and several cries rose from the public. Tahlia's eyes widened in fear as she backed away. Did they really resort to hacking down their own people just to get to her? She whipped her head around in panic and spotted a ladder perched against a wall halfway down another lane. Panting, she raced over to it and grabbed the rickety thing. The feet of it wobbled against the stone floor as she furiously climbed the object as if hell was on her heels.
By the time she reached the top, she was struggling to breathe. Tahlia doubled over with her hands clutching her knees. Sweat ran down her nose and dripped to the ground as her heart thumped and her brain swayed. Gravity took a moment to dance around her before settling rather disproportionately at the sides. She gulped in the hot air. H-how is she going to get out of this? Guards shouting jerked her out of her exhausted stance. She stumbled up and looked around. She had to find a place to hide.
Her eyes fell onto a rooftop garden on top of the neighboring building. She had no choice but to jump. She quickly evaluated the space between the two buildings. It was a short distance, easily jumpable, but in Tahlia's state, it seemed to be a bigger challenge than what it was. She took a few steps back, gulping down air and braced herself. Is that them running down the lane? "Come on!" she growled at herself. Her legs were burning. Her calves tensed. Her knees felt like buckling. She broke into a sprint.
The edge of the building quickly approached and Tahlia used all her effort to push off with a loud grunt. The street below passed beneath her as the wind rushed past her ears. She over calculated her jump and landed with a heavy jolt on the other side. Adrenaline hammered through her body as she staggered upwards. She scurried over to the rooftop pen and flopped herself into the confinements of the shelter.
It smelled strongly like earth. It was a stuffy, small little space that filtered out most of the sunlight. The olive green tarp fluttered back into place above her. She pressed herself hard against the rot wood box and clamped her eyes shut. Her legs gave way underneath her. Her body shook from the rush. She was covered in sweat and probably smelled. She didn't care. She was too exhausted. Her heart beat was racing a thousand miles in her chest. Tahlia lifted her sweaty head up a little higher. It was quiet for a moment or two. Then she heard a guard shouting out. Her heart almost dropped. They were on the roof, already? He was trying to coax her out. Like she would fall for that! HAH! She slowly got up in a crouching position - in case she needed a chance to flee. Her body protested. It wasn't ready just yet. She felt a strange breeze on her face. What? Her eyes snapped open in alarm.
Crouching in a mirrored position to her own, a few inches away glared a very impassive assassin.
She couldn't help but to stare. Her breath caught. He was dressed in the white robes she recognized all too easily. She knew that he was adorned in intimidating blades of different sizes and shapes. There was a leather gauntlet on his left forearm which held a hidden blade. Her eyes slowly trailed down his bent body to his hand. Oh god, please don't let there be a missing finger. And gazed at the absence of where the left ring finger should be. Instead it was gone from the second knuckle, an old pink wound left as a reminder of his sacrifice. She swallowed thickly as she stared at his hand. No way. T-this is just. No. It can't be- Her eyes tore themselves away from his hand and up his thick forearm before slicing along to the assassin emblem on his stomach guard. Her ears prickled red. She was staring and she couldn't stop it. Her eyes slowly ascended up his body to land on the exposed tanned skin of his collarbone. This...this was...
He was staring right back at her. The way his eyes drilled into her made her too scared to even look at his face. The tension was so thick in the air, you could practically cut it with a knife. She remained staring at his neck. She couldn't look away. It wasn't because he was a master assassin, but it was because he was a master assassin that she used to play in a video game and was now kneeling in front of her in the flesh and blood. Not to mention, he was one of her favorite characters she loved to play. She was gaping at him. Somewhere in her mind she must've known she looked stupid because her mouth audibly closed. Tahlia thought she was going to scream. She wasn't sure whether it was going to be out of sheer panic or from her hormones, but an inhumane sound gurgled up her throat. She never got a chance to speak, as Altair sensed the impending doom that she was going to reveal their hiding spot and quickly clamped a hand over her mouth, twisting her around into him.
Outside, the guard swore he heard something and paused to listen.
His voice was low and deadly and Tahlia didn't miss the dangerous flash in his eyes. It sent involuntary shivers up her spine. "Quiet. Or they will hear you."
His hand was warm and rough against her mouth, cupped tightly over the muscle. For a second her mind flashed back to the guards before. Altair's golden eyes remained trained through the gap at the guard. The heat and scent of his body pressed around her. His breathing was slow and calm. Tahlia's mind went into panic. He must've sensed it because his thumb rubbed a soothing circle against her cheek. Her face flushed and slowly casted her eyes up to his face. His skin was dark and tanned, smooth from the sun and hidden beneath the hood. Only the light caught his jawline and mouth. Where Tahlia was sitting, she could see his entire face. He was handsome. So it wasn't my imagination at all. Could he feel her skin burning? The hairs on her arms stood on end. A part of his chest armor was digging uncomfortably into her back. She wanted to move but she was leaning against him so awkwardly she was terrified the smallest sound she could make would alert the guard. She exhaled through her nose, trying to calm her convulsing lungs. It wasn't working. Her hand went up to tug on his over her mouth. Altair's gaze flickered down impassively. She was struggling to breath. His eyes narrowed in warning. Not a sound from you. Tahlia nodded her head. He slowly loosened his grip.
She sucked in a breath and her constricted lungs swelled mercifully. Altair's hand lowered back to his side and focused his gaze back on the guard. Footsteps paced along the rooftop and impatient shouting was heard. The assassin moved away from her and stood up to peek through the tarp. Tahlia scooted to the farthest corner of the pen and stared at him.
It wasn't like she couldn't stare. She made sure that he wasn't looking at her when she was staring. To her, sanity and all she knew had left the building. She pinched herself on the arm subtly and winced. Nope, this was real. Her eyes must've been burning holes into his back because he glanced over his should to check on her. Her eyes zipped down to the ripped corner of the tarp, heart hammering. Busted. A frown sketched on his face before he turned away again. She swallowed loudly and ran a shaky hand through her matted hair. Her eyes slowly found themself staring in wonder on his back when she felt like she was in the safe. That was Altair. The master assassin from Assassin's Creed. Right here. Right in front of her. Tahlia wondered if she died and went to heaven. Her eyes ran over his figure. This time his head whipped around, annoyance flashing in his eagle eyes. She quickly looked away again. He didn't like her staring at him.
A few moments passed before the guard gave up and descended back down the ladder. Altair parted the tarp and peered out to double check that they were alone. He turned his head to Tahlia and gave a nod before he jumped out with a audible swoosh of his robes. Tahlia stood up, brushing the loose hay and dirt from her jeans and butt. Altair offered her his left hand as he held the tarp aside. Her eyes immediately zoned onto the absence of his finger and hesitated. Should she take his hand? No. She felt weird. He dropped his hand as Tahlia made an embarrassment of herself and flopped back out onto the rooftop. The next action Tahlia took might have been the biggest mistake she had ever made.
Her boots jolted onto the ground and with a second wind, Tahlia dashed off, across the roof in a full on arms-pumping-legs-flailing sprint. She couldn't handle this. That guy right there was the fucking Altair in the flesh! He was the assassin that knew how to kill her in several ways without making an effort - and just by his hands. Sorry, but Tahlia was going to get as far away from him as she possibly could. Damn her luck! Damn this stupid door parallax! She pushed off from the rooftop and leapt over back to the other building. She could take the ladder back down into the alley and then call for-
There was a soft thud behind her and a strong tanned hand shot out and yanked her arm back. She was whisked back by hardly any effort on his behalf and was sent stumbling into his hard chest.
She leapt back immediately like his body was made of acid. She tugged her arm and glared at his hand. He didn't move it. She pulled again and he didn't budge. He was too strong for her (as cliché as it sounds) - much stronger than she would have liked at that moment. "Get off!" she snapped. "Let go of me!"
His grip remained tightly on her arm and he refused to move it. Tahlia tried to jerk herself away but soon found herself quickly tiring out. He tightened his grip and growled as she tried to claw his hand off of her. She hissed out in pain. Nasty red lines burned across his knuckles. The assassin glared at her, eagle eyes flashing angrily. He wasn't here to play childish games.
"Who are you?"
His accent was thick, meandering with the English vocabulary that made her chest tighten and inner fan girl swoon. She scowled and tried to tug away from him again as if by some miracle he had slackened his grip. Her demand was weak. Pathetic. Her eyes watered involuntarily from both the heat and anger. "Let me go."
His expression grew so intense she had to look away. Tahlia almost blanched under him. Was it normal to feel extremely intimidated and weak in front of him? "Look…" she started bitterly. His darkening look made her stutter. "I-I don't think that this is a…"
Making the mistake of catching his gaze, her stomach spiraled downwards. His jaw ticked in annoyance as gold eyes hardened underneath the shadow of his cowl. Tahlia quickly averted her gaze, options running short and brain struggling for answers. Heat was crawling up her neck. "I'm not some damsel in distress if that's what you mean."
Altair wasn't in the mood. His head dipped a fraction lower. And with such authority that the said assassin was known for he snapped, "Your name."
She hesitated. He noticed. But he didn't dare to remove his hand from her arm. It caused her great discomfort to know that he was touching her. She found a spot between his boots – a crack in the tiles and traced it with her eyes. Should she tell him? She knew he was such an ass in the game but his power seemed to be a hundredfold more intense. It was too late. Her mouth had betrayed her. She choked out the first syllable and then gave up quickly. "Tah…lia."
His eyes roamed her face at that point. She kept her gaze on the roof underneath even if she could feel his eyes burning her with such intense scrutiny. To him, she looked like one of those civilians from the city of Acre but her clothes and accent were so unalike, Altair was positive she didn't reside in that foul place. Her clothes were strange - he had never met a woman who dared to walk through this city wearing such cloth that could get her killed. Altair wouldn't give such a show for stupidity. He wouldn't waste his time helping someone who is that stupid to do that. Someone like her does not belong in here. What unnerved him the most is how she looked at him like she had met him before. Was she someone he had saved before? Did he pass her on one of his missions? Or had he just seen her somewhere through the crowd, lost in thought?
He had been staring at her for a while now. His gaze would occasionally flicker down at her clothes in the highest of upmost scrutiny. Tahlia began to grow extremely uncomfortable and self-conscious. It was beginning to get hot and his unnerving stare and the pressure of the silence between them both was biting on her nerves.
And it must've done the same for him, for the assassin decided to suddenly let her go. Tahlia stumbled a step back gripping her prickling arm as blood began to flow freely in her victimised limb. She flexed her fingers, rubbing the spot where Altair had held her tenderly. Altair spared her a look of boredom before turning around and leaving her.
Panic rose. "Wait!" she strangled out, taking half a step after him. He didn't answer until he was standing on the ledge. "Hold on a minute!" His back faced her. The breeze ruffled the bottom of his dusty white robes. He cocked his head to the side so she could only see the tip of his chin and jaw. He was listening. She watched him reticently from where she stood.
"You said you didn't need my help," he drawled dismissively.
As if he could sense her gaping expression he added as an afterthought, "Leave this city and don't come back."
She tried to form words. Her throat seemed to gugrle up a response but nothing came out. Satisfied of the silence Altair turned his head forwards again. "We will part ways here." And stepped off the building.
"Wait-!" Tahlia scrambled over, legs and arms jerking in response. Sure she had watched Altair jump off hundreds of buildings many times before – yes she had instructed him to jump off the highest point in Acre before - there was always a bale of hay underneath to cushion his fall. But that was just watching through a screen into a land made of pixels. But to see someone willingly step off a building right in front of her eyes scared the crap out of her. Assassin or not, she wasn't sure how things worked here – and her only credible way to go back home just swaggered off a rooftop.
She ran up to the ledge and looked down at the lane. People were weaving through the crowded street below her. A sea of earthy tones and rare emeralds. She was half expecting to see a dead assassin on the ground and a ring of shocked citizens around him. But everyone carried on their way as if the assassin never existed in the first place. That bastard! She could picture him now just gently pushing people out of the way. He had flicked her off! Decided she wasn't worth the effort! She inwardly seethed at him as her eyes scurried through the crowd. Fucking asshole, cock sucking, dick, faggot assassin-
She spotted him. He was at the end of the lane - a white hood bleeding through the murky colors. His head was bowed as he brushed past people, occasionally placing his hands gently on their arms to move past them. He wasn't that far off, but he had a head start and was leaving Tahlia very quickly behind.
How did he make it that far! There was no way in hell he was leaving her. She ran wobbly across the wooden planks to the other rooftop, desperate to keep him in her view. Which was hard because the crowd obscured her view and he ducked into lanes to escape her line of sight. Dammit. She had lost him on several occassions for a few seconds. That itself had made her heart lunge into her throat. She would run up to the ledge and wait until she caught a glimpse of his hood. Each time she caught him, he was further away, disappearing around corners and slipping down steps. She tried to follow him, to keep him in sight but he was making it impossible and not to mention, she was running out of 'Tahlia Friendly' roofs along the way. Was he trying to shake her off? She tried her best to keep up, ignoring the feeling of rejection.
Rooftop options ended quickly. In front of her eyes immersed a very busy courtyard, decked with stalls and afternoon shoppers. It was the marketplace and at peak hour rush too. Did she take the right turn? Did she follow him correctly or did he finally give her the slip? Terror and defeat washed over her. No. No, no, no, no! This couldn't be happening! She was wishing now that she had just followed him in the streets, so at least then she could've grabbed his arm or something.
With both feet planted firmly on the corner of the rooftop overlooking the citizens, Tahlia sucked in a deep breath. She ignored the moment of vertigo and raised her hands to her face. Cupping her palms around her mouth as a makeshift megaphone she sucked in a breath and shouted as loud as she could and prayed to the gods he heard her. "ALTAIR!"
Pigeons fluttered away from nearby rooftops and dropping covered ledges. Voices lowered and civilians looked around perplexed. A few people spotted her straight away as she panted desperately on top of a house. The hot wind blew past and ruffled the parts of her hair that weren't sticking to her face or the back of her neck by sweat. An eagle cried out in the distance. A church bell rang twice. Tahlia ignored the stares; the slow ascend of more pairs of eyes caught her figure. She wasn't sure about the looks she received. Did she frighten them? She wondered briefly. Some quickly made an escape down the streets. Others remained looking at her warily, shuffling along in a cautious pace. But she didn't care. She wasn't here to deal with them. She wanted to find Altair.
And find the assassin she did. Like a needle in the haystack, he glinted in front of her eyes. The amount of relief that washed over her was so intoxicating she felt like saying something like, 'tried to lose me, did you?' His back was turned to her, his body angled in a finished stride. He remained frozen in time as the people around him slowly gazed around. His body was rigid, back muscles taunt and hackles raised.
She called his name.
He didn't tell her his name.
He never said anything about his name.
Relief washed over her. She lowered her arms. She swallowed dryly and stepped gingerly away from the edge. There was a cart full of hay right underneath her. And she wasn't tempted to drop into it. Though...getting off the building was proving to be the most difficult task at hand. She hoped Altair would stop pretending to ignore her and turn around. Impatience grew. Tahlia frowned. A shadow passed above and she flinched looking up. An eagle cried out again, louder, overhead. Civilians anxiously looked around. A strange tension began to grow. The afternoon markets had been disturbed. Then the people began to notice Altair who remained frozen where he stood. Was he trying to think of a way out? Several guards walked in at the scene at that time, unaware. Their unsheathed swords glinted in the sun. She shied back a little more, just enough so that if the assassin turned to her, she could easily slip from his view.
She had called him out in the middle of the crowd. Probably while he was escaping. Possibly after he just assassinated someone. Right in the middle of city alert.
As if it was the straw that broke the camel's back, the distant noise of a crate being dropped snapped the people out of their trance. The public panicked then. And Tahlia didn't mean just little gasps and stumbling around. This was full on high pitched screaming and arms flailing panic. People were shoved; bodies were pushed and pulled as feet scrambled to the streets. Merchants howled after their lost customers and kneeled in fright under the shelter of their stalls. A group of women carrying vases of water walked at the scene then and tried to desperately turn around and save themselves only to topple over like dominoes – ceramic and water smashing everywhere as panicked people stumbled over their bodies. Guards leaped into the madness, swords unsheathed and searching around wildly. They spotted Altair quickly who remained rigid where he stood. She shied away at the presence of them. They spoke in Arabic, which Tahlia's mind quickly translated to: "INFIDEL! KILL HIM!"
Altair didn't spare Tahlia a glance. She didn't need eye contact to know that she had a big fat target painted on her ass. He instantly spotted the guards. They were having a hard time reaching him - stumbling through the crowds as they howled and shoved bodies away. Altair quickly used this opportunity to escape. He streaked across the courtyard with master efficiency. People saw him coming and screamed even louder. He tackled some of the people out of his way, shouldering past them as he leapt over the platform and onto a lower alleyway. The guards finally managed to burst through the crowd and raced after him, swords raised and leaping over the wooden railing.
Her eyes glazed over in a daze. The screaming started up again and Tahlia glanced down. People were pointing at her. Oh god. What the hell have I gotten myself into? Not wanting to have any officials scampering up the rooftops again, she backed away and ran back along the rooftops. She ran as far and fast as her body would allow her to. It wasn't until her body collapsed out of exhaustion that Tahlia knew she couldn't continue. A painful stitch was burning in her side and her legs had turned into puddles of goo. The afternoon sun had lowered and shadows began to crawl along the ground. She slumped her worn out body beside a rooftop crate and groaned in pain. She pulled out her phone and glanced at the time. It had been four hours she had survived so far. Four hours that had been the most traumatic hours of her life.
Her eyes began to close.
When she opened them again, the setting sun burned into her face. She let out a loud moan. She wasn't meant to pass out. Her body was stiff and sore. Her phone remained closed in her hand, sitting on her lap coated in a fine layer of desert sand. She gave it one last look before slowly pushing it back into her pocket. Unfortunately for her, this all wasn't a dream. She sulked and stood up slowly, feeling her legs buckle a little underneath her. She was thirsty. Oh god she was thirsty. She leant against the crate and redid her loose laces before stretching out her legs and arms. Her back cracked and a numb relief washed over. Tahlia blinked and looked around. There was no sound of church bells ringing which meant Altair was long gone - probably at the Bureau resting up. She pouted. Fuck him. It was his entire fault to start with. Goddammit.
She started to walk again. This time, she really needed to find water. And with the threat of Altair no longer hot on her ass, she slipped back into the wide-open space of the rooftops and slowly made her way around. Her movements were slow and jerky. Her body was still recovering. The streets were still busy, but weren't crazy like before. Tahlia could actually see gaps in the main lanes now. She wondered where she could get another piece of fabric to wrap over her head. After all, her last one had been torn off by hormonal driven guards and was lost god knows where in some lane. Her stomach recoiled as her hands subconsciously rose up to hug herself. She shuddered at the dark memory. That was something she didn't want to think about. It was all too real and overwhelming as if she was a tempered glass ready to break into pieces at the lightest of touches.
Tahlia spotted an almost empty courtyard to her left. The sound of trickling water teased her ears and she picked up her pace, hobbling along. There was a stone fountain below her with hardly any people around it. What luck! She thought to herself perturbed. She licked her lips. She was too scared to even go and steal a sack of water from someone in case they cut her hands off. She was in no state to escape like she did earlier today. Her stomach growled and she found herself searching openly for a way off the building.
She was halfway through thinking to herself; I wonder why people don't look up at the buildings-, when the hairs on the back of her arms prickled up. She stiffened, half inclined over the ledge. She swore she could hear footsteps coming closer-
That was when she noticed a presence behind her. Tahlia whipped her head around to face a very murderous looking assassin charging towards her over the rooftops. She shrieked loudly and stumbled into a run. In fact, regardless how painful it was, she ran for her life. She rounded the corner of her roof and quickly tripped across the wooden planks to the next. Her hands caught her fall as the skin on her palms tore open. She hissed at the sting and stumbled upright again. How the hell did he find me? Like an arrow of pure white sent from God, he soared over a higher building and rolled into a landing on the one she was just on. Tahlia snapped her head back in front of her. Run, run, run! A large square base of a high church tower was coming up to her. She hissed out a string on profanities, looking around quickly for another route. She looked back again. Altair leapt up on to his feet as he shot off over the wooden planks after her. And with that murderous glint in his eyes, he was going after her head. And that was something Tahlia wasn't ready to give up just yet.
She didn't even make it ten feet across the rooftop when she was jerked roughly back. The grab was a lot more forceful than last time – almost popping her arm out of her socket. An arm wrapped around her top-section and another around the side of her head. She screamed again and kicked for her life. Oh my god! He's going to rip my head off! But Altair had different plans. Instead, he grabbed her and shoved her hard against the base of the bell tower, screening them both in its shadow.
His left hand snaked its way to grab the back of her neck. Tahlia gave out a struggling gasp as her face met the stonewall that was sure to leave a bruise. "Tell me," he growled darkly in her ear. He crammed her between his chest and the wall. There was a familiar shnnk! noise as he unsheathed his hidden blade and pressed it hard against her side. He was panting just as hard as she was. Had he been searching for her the entire time? She gave out a stuttered gasp in horror and realization. What a fool she had been to think he had given up on searching for her. "Who are you exactly?"
She couldn't move. The blade pressed deeply into her side, ready to impale her kidney if she dared to move more than an inch. He could slice away at her and leave her body up here for the eagles to feed on. No one will notice. He tensed his hand on her neck, thumb and forefinger ready to push against the two main arteries in the spot between her jaw and ears. Even now, she was beginning to get dizzy. Her heart was pounding in her ears thickly. She turned her face to the side – her cheek crammed against the wall - to choke out over her shoulder, "I-I'm not the bad guy!"
The answer didn't seem to satisfy him. His voice grew colder. The blade dug into her stomach more. She winced when she felt the sting as it prickled open her skin. Tiny beads of blood swelled on its tip. He jerked her head once again. "How did you know my name?"
"How did you know my name?" he repeated fastidiously. "Who told you?"
He gripped her hair and pulled at it harshly. Tahlia's face lifted and she cried out. Her arms rose to brace herself against the wall. "No one told me!" she cried out in distress. Images of guards behind her invaded her mind painfully. Tears began to well in the corner of her eyes.
The hidden blade dug in further. Now the pain was unbearable. Altair was always known for his ways to get answers. Tahlia had been there, she had seen it, she had played it. Instructed him to avenge the citizens from the Templars. What he was doing to her now was nothing close to anything she could imagine. But it still hurt. Everything still burned and stung and fear was rolling off from her in waves. Surely he wasn't going to kill her? "Please!" she begged. "You have to believe me! No one told me your name! I-I just heard it, that's all. I swear that's the truth!"
His blade retracted a fraction. Bitter relief flashed through her eyes. Now they were getting somewhere. "Where did you hear it?" he insisted indifferently.
He grabbed her shoulder, turning her around and shoving her back to the wall. She yelped when her head hit the back of the wall. His left hand remained at her neck restraining her, tipping her head up higher so he could see her face – her eyes. If he was to kill her, he wanted to be the last thing she saw. He didn't put any distance between them as their chests flushed together, dancing against their own bodies from their breathlessness. His patience was running out. Golden eyes grew colder as he studied her face.
His hand was at the border of choking her. Tahlia flinched back, her neck elongated and exposed to the hot air. She saw that look in his eyes. She knew exactly what he was thinking. She had to plead to case and quickly. "Brother!" she begged hoarsely. Her hands were tempted to pull his own away but she knew it would only end with her dead. She remained exhausted and beaten underneath him. "Use your sight, brother!"
She felt him stiffen at her request. She watched as his eyes hardened the tiniest of ways. And then confusion briefly flowed in the gold like ice cracking under water. She knew she should look away. She knew that is what she had to do. But she didn't. Tahlia forced herself to keep looking at him. If he was going to kill her – then there was nothing at all she could do to stop it. At least with her looking in his eyes, he might decide his consent to her unpretentious appeal. For a while his remained gold and the tension grew as his hand tightened slightly. Then, thank the heavens, his eyes flashed quickly. The world darkened and the girl was haloed in a pleasant blue. She was an alley. A friend. As wary as he felt, he knew he could trust his vision. If his sight showed him the truth, then he would accept it, no matter how difficult it deemed be at that moment. The world brightened once again and the sounds that were once jumbled into muffled noises returned back to their normal and clear volume.
The hidden blade quietly shnnk-ed back into the bracer and his hand dropped slowly from around her neck. His presence retreated a few steps back, eyes burning into her as thoughts ran through his mind. Tahlia felt herself peel off the wall as she double overed in utmost relief while catching her breath. A hand went up and rubbed her neck tenderly. She winced, feeling more beaten up than she had ever felt in her entire life. She leaned against the wall, warily looking at his figure. She was thankful that he had ceased. By then, Altair casted his eyes to the city, clearly uncomfortable.
"You do not look like much of a sister," came his statement. His voice remained calm, a hint of acerbity dancing along the edges.
"I never said that I was one," she answered hoarsely.
He turned to gaze at her then. His eyes burning with curiosity. "Then how did you know?"
His question made the hairs on her arms prickle up. She continued to rub her neck sourly. "If you're thinking that I'm a spy, then forget it," she snapped, clearly agitated. She dropped her hand and glared at him. "I know you have a lot of questions-" if she weren't feeling so beaten up, she would have raised the whole 'oracle' act a little more. But right now, she felt like a wounded animal. Cornered and defending herself from her predator. "-and I'm not in the mood at all to answer any of them."
He took this as a challenge. "And why not?" he asked heatedly.
Eyebrows were raised. Did he seriously just ask that? "I don't trust you," she put simply. "And I know for a fact that you don't trust me either. So...until we can come to an agreement that we're not going to kill each other the second we have the chance…then you can ask away."
He scoffed at her, folding his arms across his chest. "Imprudent woman. You actually think you could hurt me?"
Her eyes narrowed. If she were capable of getting away with it, Tahlia wouldn't hesitate to skewer his head on a spike for the rest of Jerusalem to see. "You know nothing about me."
It was more of a statement than a threat. But Altair heard the malice. No, he didn't know anything about her. He glared at her and she returned it with her own. He growled in frustration. She held the trump card high in her hand. What was he going to do? He didn't know how much she knows about the brotherhood. She even knew about his sight to which only the Master Assassin knows of its gift. How much did she really know? Did she know too much? Or was she bluffing? She could compromise the brotherhood if he let her go. He couldn't allow her to just walk freely away. Who else did she tell? Are there more that know about the brotherhood? Questions were like a disease – infectious and spreading like the plague in his mind. He would have to keep her hostage. At least until he brings her to Masyaf for a proper interrogation. He wouldn't kill her. Not at least now. His eyes fell to her body and saw she was trembling.
"And you know more of me than I like," he snapped back finally. He uncrossed his arms and tipped his hood lower on his face. His movements were slow and calculated - even though she didn't cause an immediate threat, Altair remained as tense as ever. "Be wary. Those who walk blue can easily turn to red."
He turned to the city then and stepped out of the shadows. He knew she would follow but looked back to check just in case. Tahlia had taken a few limped steps after him and froze on sight. Altair took a step back towards her, her expression a mixture of anger, fear and uncover-able pain. She flinched back slightly. "If you do not wish to answer my questions and deem it to be on the little trust we have, then leave it be. But let me get this clear," he said in a voice that meant finality. "You are coming with me, woman. If you run again, I will hunt you down. If you so much as think to compromise us, I will not hesitate to kill you. If Templars come by, I will not hesitate to throw you in front of them. You are to be silent and obedient until I take you to Masyaf. Understood?"
She wanted to retaliate - god she was just itching to snap something back at him along the lines of 'shove it up your ass'. His glare made her sentence falter and her tongue pressed itself tightly on the roof of her mouth. No, she wouldn't. Tahlia knew her chances and it was best not to test them when she was wounded and he was more then ready to toss her off the edge. Satisfied, Altair turned his back on her. "Keep up," he told her over his shoulder and started to head off. Tahlia hesitantly followed him, hating her situation more than ever.
She prayed that the door parallax worked here too.
AN: There you go! I tried to keep it as 'real' as possible. I'm sorry if I got you bored - but CONGRATS if you made it down to read this here! Keep in mind I promise chapters won't be as boring as this x
Don't forget to write a review (the longer, the better xD), your support is the only motivation I have going right now for BTP :/
Keep it together guys, love Dev x