Assassin's Creed: Vengeance

When Angélie Delacroix's mother is killed in front of her very own eyes, she wants answers.
She is the daughter of an infamous Assassin and while blessed with beauty and courage, her strength is also her downfall. She must venture to Paris to join the elite Assassin Order her father did so much for, however nothing is quite as it seems.
In a world of love, hate and betrayal, how will she ever learn who to trust? Or rather...who should be her first target?

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3. Chapter Three

Death is a terrible thing.

This was the thought that fluttered through Angélie's mind as she observed her mother's favourite lily bouquets slowly shedding their beautiful petals. The once majestic, elegant flowers were now wrinkled and grey, their life cycle coming to an end.

Mother will be upset, she thought to herself. She loves her flowers almost as much as she loves people.

She caught the next petal that glided down to the wooden dining table's surface, cradling it gently, which gave her the perfect idea. The child hated even the thought of her mother upset - as any son or daughter would - but if she didn't notice that the flowers had died, then there would be no need for her to cry. Brilliant! She could ask her mother for money (she obviously wouldn't tell her why she needed it because that would give the whole game away), how much she would need Angélie didn't know, however, as she'd never seen the price of all the fancy bouquets at the market, regardless of the fact that she'd walked past the same stall every other day since she was five years old. She would then walk down to the market, purchase an identical bunch of fresh white lilies, make her way home, replace the flowers and all would be well!

Pleased with her fool-proof plan, she peeled her tired body off the chair it had been slumped on and slipped into the main hallway; the room in the center of their family villa. Sunlight danced on her shoulders as she passed through the hall, the beautiful blue sky and puffy white clouds visible through the glass dome at the very top of the building, brightening Angélie's mood just a little more, after all she knew she wouldn't get caught in the rain today.

She spun slowly on her heel, contemplating each of the seven closed doors as her gaze passed them. Which one would her mother be most likely behind? There was the parlour next to the front door, a cosy little room with a velvet couch which her mother favoured, next to that was a door to a long corridor, which branched out to make the maids' bedrooms, the kitchens and a small lounge. Juliette could be discussing tonight's dinner with the cook, as she did every morning. The third door was the smallest of the three libraries they had in the De la Croix Villa, a welcoming little space with a plush Persian carpet, a warm fireplace and two ginormous bookcases bursting with all sorts of volumes, the fourth a living room which was where her father, Jean-Luc de la Croix, was usually found. The fifth and sixth were both doors to the humongous dining room; the room which Angélie had spent almost an hour half asleep at the table, whilst attempting to eat her breakfast. The seventh was a cloak room, though it was more like a cupboard, to be honest, as it was so small and cramped in that tiny space. How they managed to keep all their coats, hats and gloves in there was a complete mystery to Angélie.

Too tired to yell for her mother, she played a game of Eenie, Meeny, Miny, Mo and selected the fourth door: the living room her father loved. Approaching the room, her sharp ears caught the small murmur of voices from behind the wall, little snippets of conversation capturing her attention. Leaning against the wall she strained to make out her mother's voice.

"What do you mean...have business...where am I supposed...keep Angélie occupied..." she pricked up at the sound of her name. Her mother was talking about her? Another voice could be heard now, that of her father's.

"...no choice...wish...another way...distraction...my men take care of business..." both noises faded until they were so quiet it would've been a miracle if even a bat could've heard them. Her mother needed to distract her? But why? Was it a surprise birthday party? No, her birthday was in October and it was still May... Some kind of family secret? Well that would hardly be fair considering she was part of the family whose secret it was. Could it be-

Her thoughts were interrupted by the handle turning to the door she was leaned against. Panicking, she had only just managed to jump out of the way as the door swung open, revealing her mother, frowning at the floor. Her expression changed to shock and then guilt as she saw her daughter, which was quickly masked by happiness.

"Angélie, darling," she said warmly, her voice shaking ever so slightly. "I was just coming to look for you."

"You were?" she asked, though it was rhetorical. "Listen, Mother, I need you to do me a huge favour."

"What kind of favour?" Juliette replied, calm once again, closing the door behind her as she heard her husband call about how cold it was in the hallway.

"Well, you see I need some money-"

"The answer is no, Angélie."

"But Ma! You didn't even hear what I had to say about it!"

"You're ten years old, Angélie, far too young to be trusted with money."

"But you know that I'm mature for my age. Please, Mother, I need it!"

"Why do you need it?"

"Well I-" she cut herself off. Should she tell her? It wouldn't be a surprise then, though... But, judging from the look on Juliette's face, it would be a definite no if she didn't confess now. "Alright fine... I noticed that the lilies were dying and I wanted to go buy some more for you so that you weren't upset."

She watched as her mother's face softened, her lips easing into a sweet smile. Before Angélie knew what was happening she had already been wrapped in a crushing hug, which was warm nonetheless because of Juliette's slight pudginess, which gave her a soft, doughy feeling that was like snuggling a huge friendly teddy bear.

"That's very sweet of you, little cabbage," she whispered, teasingly. She knew her daughter hated being called a cabbage - it made no sense whatsoever; how could humans be compared to cabbages?

"I am not a cabbage." she said stiffly, rolling her eyes.

"It doesn't matter, I'll still call you one," Juliette giggled, taking her daughter's hand in her own, which was embellished in a large diamond ring. "Well, how about we go and get those flowers then?"

And with that, they were whisked out the door, headed for the bustling streets of the market.

~ † ~

 

As usual, there were large crowds in the market square, with people laughing, shouting, singing and even some playing instruments. The air smelled of spice, but the expensive kind that was imported all the way from India, causing Angélie's stomach to rumble, even though she'd only just eaten not even twenty minutes ago.

"Look at these ones, Angélie," Juliette cried, motioning towards a beautiful bunch of pearly lilies, which really just looked like all the other ones she'd been shown. "Aren't they pretty?"

"Yes, Mother," as usual Angélie just smiled and nodded, when on the inside she really couldn't care less. Her eyes were drawn towards the majestic cross atop the church's short spire, and for some reason she couldn't tear them away. For some reason she felt like climbing that church; she wanted to feel the rush of wind as she balanced on that cross, the thrill of a life or death situation - it all seemed so familiar yet so distant.

Her thoughts were interrupted by her mother's perky voice as she bought the lilies, breathing in their sweet perfume. Something else caught Angélie's eye as her mother reached over to hand the florist her coins, though this time it was a person. There was a man dressed in black halfway across the square just...standing there. Just standing there, in the middle of the crowded cobblestones, staring at her. His expression was unreadable, but if she had had to put it in any form of emotion she probably would've deciphered it as angry. Very angry.

She felt her hand being tugged as she continued through the market with Juliette, tearing away her eye contact with the strange man. He had been unnervingly creepy, sending shivers down her spine, each one more violent than the last. She had a bad feeling about that man, a feeling that was planted in her bones and in her gut. Dismissing it as a mere overreaction, she carried on weaving her way through the many citizens of Dijon.

After five minutes of walking, the mother and daughter came to a quieter part of the town. Here there were no people and theirs were the only footsteps that were heard if you disregarded the din of the market square, which was still faintly audible in the distance. Angélie wished that they had never come to this part of town. If they hadn't then maybe it wouldn't have happened; maybe it all could've been avoided. But she knew in her heart that it had had to happen. It was inevitable and nothing could've stopped fate. For as Angélie walked alongside her mother, lagging slightly behind, she hadn't noticed her mother's abrupt halt, causing her to crash into Juliette.

"Mother, why-" she started but then she saw for herself. Up ahead were three men, all in black all terrifying. As they sauntered towards them, Angélie caught a glimpse of the man in the middle - it was the same person she had seen staring at her before! She should've listened to her gut instinct back in the market, they should've gone home... But they hadn't. Now she could see the sinister gleam of knives in the men's hands.

"Angélie," Juliette murmured, her voice level and calm. "Angélie I need you to get out of here. Run for the house don't talk to anyone and most importantly do not stop until you are safe and inside the house with your father, do you understand?"

"What?" Angélie barely had time to ask before the first man lunged forward, attempting to stab Juliette. She dodged the attack and with one swift motion, she grabbed her daughter by the hand and sprinted back the way she had came, the men in hot pursuit. She skidded to a halt when more men dressed in the same black uniforms blocked the other end of the street. "Ma..."

"Shh, Angie it's going to be okay," she whispered, but her voice was wavering. Even she could see how transparent that promise was.

With a loud roar, two men sprinted forward, one grabbing Juliette, the other tearing Angélie from her grasp. Angélie screamed for help but she knew no one would come; nobody would hear her desperate cries. They made her watch as they plunged the knife into her mother's throat, blood spraying the street, splattering on to Angélie's emerald green dress and in her blonde hair. Of course they wouldn't be so kind as to leave it there, oh no, no. They tore her dress with their knives, stabbing at her chest seven times followed by carrying out several lacerations to her arms. Angélie was screaming with all her lung capacity, kicking and struggling, fighting the tears that spilled over her cheeks as she cried, until her captor closed a hand around her small throat, cutting off what little air she had left. She knew she had to keep screaming; she knew that if she did somebody would hear her - somebody would make them stop. Gathering up every ounce of strength that was slowly slipping away she tried one more time... "Mother!"

The next thing she saw was a blur of white, she heard the surprised cries of the murderers at the attack and she felt herself falling as her captor released his iron grip on her throat. She gasped for air, collapsing to the ground, all her strength gone. She peered up at her saviors: men in white robes with red belts, hoods covering their heads with a strange arch symbol appearing wherever she looked. They were fighting the gang and anyone could see that they had the upper hand; these were professionals and... She couldn't believe she was thinking that when her mother was crumpled dead on the floor.

"Ma!" she cried, and rushed to her side. She heard the grunt of the last gang member as the hooded men gained victory. She could barely see her dead mother through the tears that refused to shed, but she wasn't sure she wanted to see. Her bright blue eyes were now vacant and unseeing, her beautiful pale skin was a ghostly grey and her luscious blonde hair was now sticky with her own blood. The dress she'd been wearing was torn and tattered, her arms, chest and neck invisible underneath the oozing red. The lilies she'd clutched on to were scattered around her, now as dead as she.

"Angélie!" she thought she heard a distant voice call her name, though she couldn't be sure for all she could her was the loud thumping of her heartbeat in her ears. She was numb all over and she didn't know what to do with herself; she couldn't leave but she didn't want to stay, she didn't want to see her mother like this but she couldn't help it. Suddenly, she was being lifted by strong arms, and enveloped in a tear-soaked embrace. It was her father. His eyes were red and puffy, his black hair was hidden under his hood and his face matched his daughter's; pain, grief and the empty feeling of numbness. "Angélie thank God you're okay!"

"Th-they... Mother!" she cried, burying her face in his white robes. He let her sob for a while before placing her on the ground once again, crouching so he could look her in the eyes.

"Angélie listen," he started, his voice wobbling and wavering. "We don't have much time and this is going to be hard for you to understand but you will eventually, so for now just listen to me very carefully, okay? Those men were not after your mother, they were after you, you hear? They were after you. We don't know why, but we know that they are. It's not safe for you here anymore, understand? You need to get out of here right now!"

"What? No, that's not true! I'm just a child!" she sobbed in disbelief. "Where will I go?"

"It doesn't matter but it has to be away from here! Go to the big city or somewhere with a lot of people, alright? They won't be able to find you."

"But aren't you coming too? I can't go if you're not coming with me!"

"I can't. I need to fight here to protect you. This will be the last time you will see me for a very long time, okay? So I need you to remember this promise. Are you listening?"

She nodded, unable to rely on words. They were both sobbing now.

"One day I will find you again."

With that he kissed his child goodbye and ran into the distance with his men.

That was the last time Angélie saw him.

 

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