In flagrante delicto - caught red-handed (lit. in flaming crime)
Benedicat vos omnipotens Deus, Pater, et Filius, et Spiritus Sanctus. Amen. Ite, missa est. Deo gràtias. - May Almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen. Go, the Mass is ended. Thanks be God. (ending of a Catholic Mass)
Hoc est bellum. - This is war.
Ergo - therefore
Para bellum. - Prepare for war.
Biblia - Bible
Si - yes
Troia piccola - little bitch
Niente importante - nothing important
Il stronzo's cazzo - the asshole's dick
Vai a farti fottere! - Go fuck yourself!
I ratti sporchi - filthy rats
Figli di cani - sons of bitches
Città - city
Canaglia - asshole
Capisco. - I understand.
Sta bene? - Is he alright?
Onestamente? - Honestly?
I Francesi - the French
Grazie! - Thank you!
Amico - friend
Domani, contempo? - Tomorrow, same time?
Amore mio - my love
Caro padrone - dear master
Senza di te - without you
Credo che questo è tuo. - I believe this is yours.
Lütfen! - Please!
Hayır - no
Evet - yes
Iyi misin? - Are you alright?
Sevgilim - darling
Hoşgeldiniz! - Welcome!
Günaydın! - Good morning!
Sagolun! - Thank you!
Alhamdulillah - a Muslim expression, commonly used amongst Muslims when someone sneezes apart from it's original use (lit. all praise to God).
Zehir - poison
Allah hu ekber. - God is great.
Putain - whore/bitch
17. In Flagrante Delicto
~ Rome, 1498 ~
"Benedicat vos omnipotens Deus, Pater, et Filius, et Spiritus Sanctus."
Dafne crossed herself, as did the people about her. Djem, thus enchanted by the peculiar act, followed.
"Amen. Ite, missa est. Deo gràtias," the priests bowed, stepping away from the wooden altar.
"Ah, you do not have to, Illustrious," the Florentine assured, but the Turk would only shake his head.
"Hayır, hayır, it is quite a pleasure. Your orisons intimidate me plenty," he confessed lightheartedly.
"If you say so, Illustrious," Dafne nodded, as Djem placed his hand on her shoulder.
"Lütfen, call me Cem. It has been three months. We're companions, are we not?" another goofy grin from his behalf, and Dafne was as amused as ever.
"Indeed," she admitted, standing up from the bench and heading off toward the exit of Saint Peter's, with Djem hot on her tail.
"Ah, look at the day, incredible," Dafne accentuated, "Such beauty is quite prominent here in Roma."
Djem laughed as he picked up a pebble.
"Evet, I can do nothing but agree. I deem it magnificent enough to be compared to my homeland in Konstantiniyye," he aimed for the fountain, steadily slipping his fingers over the stone's cold surface. He threw, and thus, a small splash ensued as the pebble thrust into the water.
Dafne smiled, "I am glad to hear so."
Suddenly, however, Djem raised his finger, his stare lost amongst the elusive, navy firmament.
"Truly, you Romans all appear graceful and your hospitality is beyond marvelous...But your skin is deceiving," Dafne thus raised a brow toward this cunning statement.
"Oh? I cannot seem to understand what Your Magnificence is implying," she narrowed her verdant orbs at the Turk. He faced her, with a smile broadening on his face.
"Ah, but you, best of all people, should know what I am implying, Dafne," the Florentine slightly twitched at the usage of her name, whence Djem would shrewdly add, "Or should I say, il Lauro?"
Djem cackled as Dafne's eyes widened in surprise.
"Did I pronounce it well?" he teased. The Florentine appeased herself slowly, startled as she was, but she decided to embrace the matter rather than shun it.
"...Well enough," she replied with a lukewarm smile, "And from whom, might I ask, had you learnt that, Illustrious?"
"Ah, Cesare-efendi, of course!" Djem exclaimed, "He told me lots whence I had asked him about you the other night. We drank a lot of wine that evening likewise..."
And again, just like when she was a young maiden, who had killed for the first time unto entering a service, Dafne had a tingling feeling; it was mostly all in ill will whenever someone would preach of her, and she could only imagine what Cesare narrated to the fatuous Turk, drunk as she deemed he was.
"I see," Dafne finally mustered her voice. Djem, on the other hand, looked as drunkenly-rejoiced as only he could do, patting the Florentine's shoulder sympathetically.
"You are cruel, you Romans!" he threw joyfully, prompting a vague smile to embark on Dafne's features.
"We do not forgive," she answered, observing the endless flow of the fountain beside them.
At least, I think we do not.
Could there be a woman in Italia that is more abhorrent than you while you spilled such shameless falsehood?, Cesare asked over in her mind, austere and vile as only he can be. He was right, she couldn't deny, that she was abhorrent in plethora. But for whom she became so, he, apparently, tended to forget.
Such matters occupied Dafne as she followed Djem to his very own quarters they had arranged in the Castel. Everything looked and even smelled like home to the Turk there; cushions and dozens of pillows lied all over the floor, steaming hookah pipes rested among them, awaiting their next, and thus only, user.
As soon as Dafne and Djem sat down, a woman, modestly dressed in a silky pair of pantaloons and a short-sleeved shirt that exposed her belly, brought them a plate of baklava and two cups, as another granted them a jug of wine. With a diligent smile, Djem munched on one of the sweets, as he held the cup for the woman to brim it. Dafne politely declined the offered beverage, reaching for a baklava herself.
"You seem to have an amiable relationship with Cesare-efendi," Djem began again, as if he'd heard all of Dafne's thoughts from a minute ago, "He says you are his favorite servant."
The Florentine began choking on her baklava. After a few sharp coughs, she spit the goody out, groping her throat as if someone had just made her swallow poison.
"Ah, iyi misin, sevgilim?" Djem inquired, sincere worry drawn all over his face.
"S-Si," Dafne blurted, "Fine...I'm fine."
The Turk thus patted her back.
"Be watchful of what you eat," he advised, adding rather humorously, "Or rather, how you eat!"
Dafne feigned a chuckle to please him, whence she was having a most befuddled inner quarrel than any one beforehand. What devils had begotten Cesare whence he spoke with Djem? As far as she was of concern, he was never as cold to her as in the previous months. Lucrezia, most definitely, had inflicted her own sway in the matter, to which Dafne had thought she would be thrown out of service any moment now.
But then, she hears of this...Whatever it might be perceived as. This invaluable, pertinent knowledge was for her to savor and recognize, for it was the only thing she could cling upon at this point.
"Hm?" Djem's hum had forced her out of her musings, as another woman blessed them with her presence. Dafne's expression darkened in dismay, whereas Djem rushed to greet the blond newcomer.
"Donna Lucrezia!" he shouted in sloppy Italian, "Hoşgeldiniz! Do enjoin us!"
Lucrezia muttered a low gratitude, but before she could seat herself, Dafne was on her feet, asking to be excused, as well as for a private moment with 'the most Illustrious and Noble bella Donna.' The Turk appeared reluctant on granting them privacy, but would thereupon accept, trailing off from the cushions.
"What do you want, troia piccola?" Lucrezia asked with a hindering smile, as Djem waved at her over Dafne's shoulder.
The Florentine, thus, smiled herself.
"Oh, niente importante," she announced, slightly turning to glance at Djem, "Only that you would do well to keep away from il stronzo's cazzo. For your own sake."
The blonde seemed quite indulged with this proposal, even gifting Dafne a few gracious snickers as Djem eyed them carefully.
"Vai a farti fottere, Vespucci," she mocked sweetly, "Or better yet, do it with one of those filthy mutts, the Assassini."
And now it was Dafne's turn to laugh out.
"I'd rather you do it yourself. If you aren't doing it already, bella Donna," she stood to observe Lucrezia's feigned smile, raising a finger to highlight her following sentence, "Hoc est bellum, Lucrezia. Ergo, para bellum."
And thus, Dafne retreated from the two nobles, a smile on her face, and a bursting volcano inside of her.
"They're everywhere!" exclaimed one fretful Thief, named Lanz, with his arms above himself.
"Haunting, waiting..." whispered a woman to his left, known as Lia de Russo. A man clothed in wolf-skin observed them, thus peeping towards the end of the table.
"They intend to usurp our dedication and resources," he murmured, as another Thief, who wore a scarf over his face, raised his finger to gather attention.
"I had buried two more of my men yesterday, and both bore a penetrated hole in their necks," he said, prompting a shiver to coil down the spine of a large, bearded man seated beside him.
"Persistent monsters..." nauseously would Augustine Oberlin, reaching for his giant war hammer that rested on the floor. The next man, Il Carnefice, just as cumbersome, dragged his finger along the blade of his giant ax, making an exasperated groan, "Why don't we just hunt i ratti sporchi down? We could make a grand bacchanalia of their executions!"
"That," pealed Malfatto, the masked Doctor, robust in disgust, "Would be utterly obnoxious. Public executions are so...Indecent. Contriving new poisons and killing in secret is the key. Aren't these the means our enemies have used for centuries with success?"
"Are you saying," bit Sabbatini, the slave-dealer, "That the figli di cani are better than us?!"
"If you don't do something about it, Lauro," he was interrupted, "They will come and bring us all ruin!" Thus cried Donato Mancini, fixing his Captain helmet as he too eyed the table's peak.
"Hah! As if a mere putain like her could put up against such an entity that are they!" snorted Gaspar de la Croix tauntingly, evoking gasps throughout the room.
"Hey, watch the language, she is Cesare's most loyal-"
A knife flew beside the marksman's cheek, creating a bleeding scar, before the Priest, or rather Brother Ristoro, could finish his sentence. Dafne sat back into her chair, features barely visible upon the humble remainders of a candle they had lit, it seemed, an eternity ago. Meant to cleanse and scheme the future of the Order, the meeting appeared to be a utter anarchy, rich in odds and drawn desperation because of the craven knowledge they lacked. Even though Dafne's patience was long, she too knew when the drop brims the cup.
She intertwined her fingers, gazing downward as Gaspar spat numerous noiseless curses her way.
"I beg all of you to exile your ignorance and focus on the matter at hand at once," she reasoned calmly, "You are our Order's most loyal and servile agents. All that you are, that you were, and that you will be, is purely the merit of the Order. We have influence, as we have the means to protect ourselves. The Church shades us from the bloody rays of the Assassin sun. We cannot falter."
A barely audible sough commenced, but Dafne would easily appease it as she spoke on.
"Thus our case, there is no need for us to quarrel inly," she threw a vicious glance toward Gaspar, "But elaborate plans to further maintain the domain our masters had labored tenaciously to obtain."
The Florentine paused again, reaching at the insides of her bag. She pulled out a map and elegantly extended it before the candle, motioning for everyone to come closer and lend an ear.
"We must apply new positions to secure the most important points of the città," she began, her hand hovering over the Central District, moving over the Antico and the Campagna, "The newly-erected Borgia Towers will be our primary landmarks. Split as you please, but take note of the required presence of balance."
Thus the agents went to choose a desired location in which they would dwell and which they would keep safe from uprising and bloodshed. Whence they all finally met agreement, each would bring out their own respective Templar Cross.
"May the Father of Understanding Guide You," they all declared simultaneously, marking the meeting's end. As they started exiting the room, Dafne extinguished the candle's ember, leaving and locking the dark room behind herself.
"How was it?" Micheletto had almost made her jump with his sudden appearance in the corridor. Dafne smiled.
"Quite splendid. They all seem blankly devoted whence you draw a drop of blood," she earned a chuckle from Micheletto, adding, "That marksman is quite a canaglia."
"And an artist with his arquebus," explained the assassin, "Cesare relies on him plenty in combat. He is a valuable utensil when it comes to shooting down unaware targets from a great distance."
Dafne acknowledged with a lenient nod.
"Capisco," she further inquired, "And Cesare...I had not seen him lately. Sta bene, Micheletto? Onestamente?"
Worry depicted her features as the Spaniard crossed his arms.
"I should suppose so," he replied, "But he's been acting a bit strange lately...I've heard he is bearing some hindrances with the newest campaign for his army. It is most probable that he will be forced to seek the assistance of i Francesi sooner or later."
Dafne contemplated; that could only imply the need of a marriage, a one of political sort, and a noble title. But Dafne shunned the thought off, nodding to Micheletto once again.
"I comprehend, grazie," she murmured, "Excuse me, amico, but I must retreat until the morrow. I cannot seem to lie down before midnight these days. I bid you a fair rest of the night."
And thus they parted, each to their own quarters. But a surprise awaited for the Florentine to witness, and a better moment for it to occur could not have been picked. Moans of pleasure and lust could be heard behind the ajar door of Lucrezia's room.
Djem?, immediately crossed Dafne's mind, as she went to peek inside. The weak light, the libelous motion of their movement and the passionate kisses that emerged between the pair confined her vision and declined her to see the face of Lucrezia's lover, but one she could judge; the skin color was paler than how she remembered the Turk's, and his locks were not black, but a bit lighter.
Almost an hour of patience and placid standing would cost Dafne the needed evidence. As he got up and vestured himself, the Florentine didn't miss it; an Assassin.
"Domani, contempo?" he asked, covering his head with the white hood.
"Si," she heard Lucrezia hum from the bed, "Stay safe, amore mio."
They shared another kiss, whence the Assassin leaped outward through the window. Hearing Lucrezia's incoming footsteps, Dafne barely managed to conceal herself behind a statue in time, escaping the blonde's sight. She heard the lock click, and then she ran, insecure no more.
"Domani, contempo, amore," she hissed bittersweetly.
Cesare leaned over the map for the hundredth time that evening, as the overwhelming twilight impelled him to light himself a candle. Since the annulment of Lucrezia's marriage with the malevolent Sforza, the surrounding tyrants would grant him no peace. He hated to admit, but France seemed his only hope in the matter, not to mention the many petitions for aid he had sent to the Orsini, the Colonna and the others.
And thus the fools ludicrously swagger in time of his trouble. Do they not know he will turn them into ashes once he elevates and Italia be contained in the palm of his hand? But his ascendance requires labor. More labor. Labor is all he knows. It's almost sickening, but ambition allows him no-
"Hm?" Cesare raised his head from the map. A whimper and some rustling resounded from outside of his quarters. Curiosity over caution, the General almost tripped as he ran to open the door. Before him lied...Nothing.
He paused. No, he couldn't have imagined it, he is no madman. But as he gazed about himself he, for the briefest moment, caught a glimpse of white cloth disappearing around the corner. The virtue of its color fascinated him, for never had he seen such purity beforehand.
And so, Cesare ran, determined to find this purity, this white that could only be compared to the vests of angels painted in Saint Peter's, and even then, it could not be done justice. So unblemished that it was almost vile. And excruciatingly tempting.
As he ran around the corridor himself, Cesare noticed it, scattered on the floor, calling for him to make it his. And he did. He picked it up, bringing it over to his face. It had no scent, no essence to describe it. It almost made him clamor, this untainted thing. He wanted more of it.
Thus, he noticed it extending forward, going around another corner. Cesare didn't hesitate one bit; he jogged as the white clothing massed in his arms, forming a small pile, and making him greedier in the means to claim it.
So beautiful, so unique, and seemingly, it existed in abundance! Cesare felt as though he had walked half of the Castel by following the virtuous trail, curious as to what he may find once he gathers up all of it. If there is an end to this beautiful, soft material. Supremely, he wished there wasn't, but reality over craving. Was the cloth arranged as it is purposefully? In the means to indulge him? Befool him? Entice him?
The General possessed not the answer. Nor did he want to leave the fabric, no matter what its cause may be.
He stopped to catch his breath, carrying on as soon as his feet would allow him. He had his eyes firmly fixated onto the ground, barely noticing the confused gazes and hummed questions of the surrounding castellans. He didn't care one bit for them anyway.
And thus Cesare collected this marvel, and upon the utmost of his amusement, he discovered its end. With a sigh he didn't wish to conceal, he crouched and pulled, but instead of the expected nothingness, something else came down with the clothing. The General's eyes widened in shock as he dropped the collected cloth.
But before he could exclaim further, the Florentine had her finger over his mouth, thus silencing him. She smiled, her eyes gleaming with some alien, vigorous appeal, slightly tilting her head to the left. This only made her more wondrous to Cesare, as he realized that what he'd been gleaning were only pieces of an enormous dress. Pieces of herself.
Lord knows how much time it took her to arrange it, and to make him obsessed with its virginal whiteness the moment he laid his eyes on it.
She truly is strange, this Dafne Vespucci, Cesare thought to himself. Even stranger than he'd like to admit.
He didn't notice when had his knees ceased him obedience, but as Dafne slowly stood up, she offered him her hand, which he took, standing up with difficulty. Her flesh was ice cold, Cesare pondered, as her fingers wrapped around his own. They exchanged no words, and by the vacant expression on her master's face, Dafne knew that the desired impact was left.
To phase him further, she pointed towards the door beside them, which Cesare came to acknowledge only now, as the door to Lucrezia's room. He eyed the Florentine doubtfully for a couple of moments, whence he finally comprehended the message.
Silently, he braced himself, grabbing the doorknob and opening it with caution. Dafne thus moved to his side, observing Cesare's jaw drop in the biggest gasp she will ever see him make. Dafne could, as well as he, hear Lucrezia scream in pleasure and satisfaction, all vain, however, if she knew what awaits her in the days to follow. And thus, before the General could react afore, Dafne deliberately closed the door, careful to keep the intercoursing couple unaware of their presence.
Cesare felt Dafne's hand on his cheek, and was too startled to shun it, or avert his eyes from the Florentine, or even breathe properly. So struck was he by what she had just shown him, so confused, that he did not know what was he to do first.
And Dafne's ice cold hand and warm smile only gave him nuisance, since his outburst from before could be tolerated no more. He had made a mistake. Misjudged one of his most loyal servants. It was no lie that he'd been having recurring nightmares, and doubted his own self, and even shared his thoughts about it with that silly Turk he will soon have poisoned.
"Am I still abhorrent, caro padrone?"
Dafne dragged her fingers over Cesare's chin, now caressing his other one diligently, smile not wavering. His lips parted in a manner to speak, but the Florentine silenced him with her finger yet again.
"You need not apologize," her sweetness appalled him, "For I do not need your apology."
Her voice was incredibly melodic as it came to Cesare's ears like a choir. He was astounded by this, but also clueless, as he knew not how else to treat Dafne in this moment.
"We Romans, we do not forgive," she assured him, examining a lock of his silky hair, "But I ask of you something else."
"Anything," Cesare complied. Dafne thus let out a snicker, grinning at him as if his blank, tensed features were the most diverting things in the world.
"Harbor more faith in me, believe me," she strained, "If ever my goal had been to oppress you, I would have quit my service the very moment such a thought might have occurred. Or rather, quit the world, for I would be left purposeless...Senza di te."
It took courage, it took exile of fear, turmoil in abundance, but Dafne had uttered it. And though there could be many meanings to her words, it would remain unbeknownst to her which one had Cesare chosen for the time being. But now, it was her turn to become startled; from the insides of his tunic, and with a small smile, La Divina Commedia was in Cesare's hand.
"Credo che questo è tuo," he muttered, graciously giving the book away to the Florentine, who had took it from him hungrily. And thus, no longer able to contain herself, in his arms she fell, and remained there for a blissful moment, before running off, another sleepless night full of preposterous laughter and smiles ahead of her.
"Günaydın, Illustrious!" Dafne entered Djem's little quarter, bearing in her hands a plate of freshly-baked baklava.
"Aah, Dafne! How nice," the Turk stood to embrace her, as they both seated themselves.
"I am glad to see you this fine morning," he emphasized, adding joyfully, "Ah, breakfast! Sagolun!"
The Florentine brought the plate closer to him, but before he could take a bite, he snooze.
"Ah, Alhamdulillah, Illustrious," Dafne patted his shoulder, to which he smiled, taking a giant bite off his goody.
"It is amazing how hospitable all you Christians are, even here, in the very heart of your faith," said Djem, as Dafne eyed swallowed baklava descend down his neck, whence she tried to keep her eyes fixated onto his own. She simply nodded, as the Turk grabbed another of the sweets.
"It may be a temptation Allah places before me," he continued to confess, swallowing this baklava as well, "But...I'd like to become one of you."
Dafne raised a brow as Djem ate on.
"I had been reading your holy book...Biblia. You preach of love, of justice, of honor..." he appeared wistful for a moment, adding mystically, "Could I really...Become one of you?"
Irony aside, the Florentine feigned a small smile, as her hands began to quiver.
"Of course you can, Illustrious. Anyone can," she reasoned, as Djem munched on yet another, and another baklava. This would be facile indeed. And thus, of an indulged smirk became a frown, and then a frozen, blatant expression of a madman. The Turk grabbed his neck, choking and coughing, after a few seconds, his very own blood.
"Z-Zehir!" he yelled maniacally, but Dafne was placid.
Placid and focused.
As she made no attempt to give him succor, Djem realized that his own credulity and advice had killed him, in the end. Thus he hacked, twitching amid the cushions and pillows, leaving his blood and spit all over them.
"A-Allah...Hu...Ekber!" he hissed, as his final breath dissolved into nothing.