[Mock-Fiction] III - In Amore et Bellum

Note: Please read the Formal Notice movella. It should be on the list on the right hand side.

Protest piece. Third in the series after 'I - Requiescat in Pace' & 'II - Memento Mori'. Enjoy x

Cover by Secrets Unfold

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7. Five - Hunted

Rogue gasped as she applied the torn, wet rag to her disfigured wrist. She cleaned the cut as best as she could, and applied some anti-septic she’d found in the guard’s drawstring bag. She was sitting up in a tree; situated in a place her father would call a ‘jungle’. It was more of a swamp, really. Not the best place to be when you’ve got so many cuts and bruises, but then it was better than having your head on the block… depending on how you looked at it.

 

The trees were knotted and the soil wasn’t firm. It squelched beneath your feet when you walked on it. Deeper inside the swamp, there was a waterhole that Rogue didn’t touch. One sip of that water and she wouldn’t have a dry ass for months. It was fine. Thirst could be dealt with in the morning. Mosquitoes buzzed around her, their swollen black bodies and long noses taunting her in the darkness. Rogue had taken a number of vaccinations before her journey here, and she hoped they could ward of any… er, mosquito-induced disease. Right now, though, she’d have to deal with them until she could move away from the swamp.

 

Rogue brought out the bayonet and set it in front of her. She’d always believed that a gun was a coward’s weapon – regardless of who said what. You could kill your enemy from several feet away, and he wouldn’t have even known you were there. That wasn’t a kill. That was a betrayal. A lack of honour. A lack of courage. Rogue took out a dagger and unscrewed the 30 centimetre bayonet knife. She separated the knife from the gun carefully. She wrapped the knife in the remainder of the rag, emptied the cartridges in the gun and threw the dreaded thing as far as she could into the swamp. She heard a far off splash. Rogue looked at the knife.

This. This is a weapon.

 

Rogue smiled, putting the knife securely in her drawstring bag, hoping it was smart enough to say secure for the moment. She zipped up the fleece, pulling the hood up, and huddled into a ball. She could look for help in the morning. She just needed to find a monastery – and frankly, those grand buildings were hard to miss. Rogue was sure she’d find one of Abbess Britney’s nuns. Smiling, Rogue fell into a half-sleep, the mosquitoes feasting on her undisturbed.

 

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

 

Luck was not on Rogue’s side.

 

Rogue sat on a flat rooftop in the morning sunshine, recounting inventory. Her conference with the Brotherhood nun, optimistically named Mother Mary, could have come out of a Grimm’s fairytale.

Oh, come on. It wasn’t that bad.

Well, for one thing, the nun would not stop staring at Rogue. It’s like: Woman, I understand. I look like I came out of Gotham City. Will you please listen to me now?

But, no. The nun refused to help. Unsurprising – Rogue was posing as a masked woman without a mask, and was asking for Brotherhood help when she had no evidence of being part of the Brotherhood. She’d said her thanks, though fuming with outrage, and picked up some supplies from the monastery.

 

The nuns had an amazing apothecary. Rogue had taken a few salves and linen bandages. Many clothes had been donated, and Rogue picked out a leather jacket with the arms torn off – which was fine, since the guard’s fleece had arms – a two belts, one thick and one thin; and a pair of leather gloves. There were also strips of thick leather lying around in the donation pile, which Rogue reckoned would be useful to her. And, to top that off, Rogue sat in a huge diner and ate soup with a group of homeless people. Great, considering how rich she really was back in Masyaf. Just great. She felt like a theif, but, meh, what could you do?

 

Now sitting on the rooftop, she bandaged her wrists properly, and wrapped the strips of leather around the handle of the bayonet knife – making a makeshift hilt. It wasn’t her prized Damascus, but it would suffice. She sheathed the daggers in the thick belt around her waist, and the knife she hung on the thinner belt placed on her shoulder. She wore the leather jacket, and the weapons became less visible. The gloves made her feel comfortable… though, she didn’t understand why. Slinging the bag on her back again, she climbed down from the roof, barely anyone taking notice of her.

 

Rogue walked through the busy, populated streets of Calcutta, looking around uneasily, wondering if the Queen’s forces had noticed her absence. The Queen was a right git, but she wasn’t a fool. There was no way she was going to make Rogue’s disappearance public. No. They knew Rogue was on the loose, and they’d be looking for her.

With her head down and hood up, Rogue headed towards the poorer district of the city. She’d always found that the more destitute people were more hospitable they seemed to be. Funny, really – you would have thought they’d be bitter.

 

She made her way to a small, rundown tea-shop, ordered some tea and some snacks, and sat close to the exit. She listened to all the gossip going around. Mostly idle chatter, but if she listened carefully, perhaps she would pick up something of importance. There was one name running through her mind constanly, though: Javed Singh.

He was the leader of the Bengal Brotherhood. He invited her here, to take part in the supposed campaign. He led her here, the traitor, and ambushed her. There was no campaign – just a jerk named Javed that needed sorting out.

 

Rogue took another sip of her tea – not a particularly easy feat, when you have only half a bottom lip – when a man with a bright face approached her. He smiled, and said, “Can I sit here?”

She lifted up her head to look at him. The man was momentarily shocked.

Rogue tilted her head to a side and said, “Of course.”

The man hesitated, and then took the seat, “I’m sorry, uh…”
“I know,” she said, nodding, “It happened in an accident some time ago.”

“I’m sorry to hear that.”

Rogue shrugged, “It happens.”

 

“Your accent is different… where are you from?”
Rogue peered behind the man, “I came from bidesh – another country. But, I was born and raised in Sylhet.”

“Ah, East Bengali then?”
Rogue looked suddenly uninterested, “You make it sound like a bad thing…”
“Well… East Bengal isn’t technically India.”
“Well, that would make you technically an asshole, then.”

 

The man looked like he’d been smacked in the face, “Ji?”

“You heard me.”

“Your manners are terrible.”
“Tell it to someone who cares.”

“Honestly, what would your mother say?”
“She’s already said what she’s had to say – I’m looking at her.”

The man gasped, “Who do you think you are?”

“Someone you should have stopped hitting on a long time ago.”

He furrowed his brows, his nostrils flared. The man noticed that Rogue was looking past him again, “What are you looking at?”

Rogue stood up abruptly, “I must leave. Allah hafidh.”

“Wha..?”
 

There was gunfire, and sharp needles pricked into the man’s back. Rogue ducked under the table, other tranquiliser darts ricketting off the wall behind her. The tea-shop exploded into chaos. People screamed and bumped into each other; not understanding what had just happened.

Thank God for all the people in India! Rogue thought, taking a quick look at the men holding the guns, before slipping out and immediately climbing up the building. There were shouts as more darts fired around her, and she scurried up the building like gecko [with burning wrists]. Reaching the roof, Rogue wasted no time,  in bounding to the next. Tiles broke and slipped beneath her feet, crashing into passers-by below, but Rogue ran on. She jumped down as the shouts began to fade, landing in a crouch. She looked behind her shoulder, and kept walking.

 

Crash!

 

“My goodness,” she said, “I’m so sorry,” she held out a hand to the man she’d bumped into, “Are you alright?”
He looked up, “You should watch where you’re go–”

The two regarded each other, recognition burning in their eyes.

The man had tanned skin, small eyes and dark brows. His hair was black, save his bangs that had been dyed something between a light red and a bright pink.

“Dann…?” said Rogue.

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