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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2. Chapter Two

Mere weeks later, the bringer of death learned to nurture life. His daughter had been born.

The afternoon was dark and stormy, with lightning dividing the sky with its brilliance and divinity, the cheerful sun hidden behind masses of charcoal clouds. Jean-Luc, having been headed towards home after another contracted kill, had received word from Francois - one of his men - that his beloved wife had gone into labor and sprinted where before he had walked.

Bursting into the room, he heard his wife's cries and the reassuring compliments of the midwives around her. There she lay on their elegant mahogany bed, the sheets crumpled around her, bunched by her fists. Juliette's blonde hair was mussed and sweat stuck strands to her forehead as she clenched her jaw and eyes, whimpering and crying from the pain. He ran to her side, kissing her sweaty forehead and clutching her hand as if for dear life. Seeing his soul mate in such pain was unbearable, but he knew that something amazing would come of it all.

"Jean?" Juliette spoke through clenched teeth.

"Yes, mon amour?" he replied softly, pushing his hood back, exposing his scruffy hair, black as night, his handsome features and his scar. He'd once took a blade to the cheek and now a small flaw in his tanned skin remained, shaped remotely like a hook.

"Why did we ever agree to have children?" she screamed at another contraction. Jean-Luc chuckled, stroking her hair with affection.

"It will be worth it," he whispered, that same gut instinct he had had so many times before returning, telling him that this child would achieve the unimaginable. "Trust me."

The minutes dragged on like hours, the hours dragged on like days until eventually, after what seemed like an eon, Juliette gave birth to her first and only daughter. There was a glorious celebration, with all the midwives and the servants dancing and laughing with joy, and the mother and father holding their child for the very first time. She had a beautiful face, with the features of her mother, and anyone could tell that she was their daughter, even at just a few minutes old.

Already, she'd grown a thick mop of light hairs on her head and her wide, curious eyes sparkled with the blue of a thousand oceans. She was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen...he doubted anything could rival the pure, innocent beauty of that moment.

Juliette passed the child to her husband, who received her with great happiness, stroking her tiny head. Standing in the middle of the room, he raised the girl - the heir to the French Assassin Order - and spoke with a loud, clear voice that had only just recovered from the wave of emotions that had threatened to smother him at holding his daughter.

"Welcome to the world," he spoke, the girl staring at him with her aquamarine eyes. "Angélie de la Croix."

 

-†-

 

~1472~

10 years later

 

"Shh, mon amour," Juliette ordered her husband. Just minutes before, she had heard his pained cries as he limped home, and had swiftly ushered her daughter to bed. Angélie couldn't know about her father's...occupation. Not yet, anyway. Picking up her skirts, Juliette had ran to Jean-Luc's side in the dark of night, relying only on the sound of his groans and what little light was given from the clouded moon.

"Jean! What happened?" she had cried, trying to make out his face in the darkness and seeing his white robes dowsed in blood that she could only pray was not his own. She supported him as he limped his way into their home, breathing sharp, quick breaths as he went. She led him to the small parlour that lay nearest to them, a warm fire snapping and cracking in a wintry tune on the cold night.

The fire and candlelight illuminated his feature's just enough for Juliette to take a good look at her husband's condition, with a healer's eye - which was terrible. His clean Assassin robes were now crumpled and torn and stained with blood, his hood hung loose over his eyes and a dripping knife lay limp in his hand.

"Marcelo..." he grunted. Of course, she should have guessed. Mercelo Paolini, a horrible man, enemy to the Delacroix family. Years ago, Jean-Luc and Marcelo had been friends - so close that they were like brothers - but after Jean's marriage to Juliette, their friendship had crumbled as Marcelo tried to convince his best friend's beautiful wife to run away with him. Refusing, she had warned Jean-Luc and ever since then, the men have been in constant conflict over love and betrayal.

Quickening her pace, she struggled with the weight of the large brick that concealed her emergency healer's supplies, stashed away next to the fire. She hated having secrets, it was something she was hopeless with, however it was either hide Jean-Luc's life from her daughter and keep her safe, or reveal all and put her in the midst of the raging battle. She much preferred the first option.

Back at her husband's side, Juliette tore off his robes and cut his shirt open to survey the stab wound. She remembered how she used to be unable to cope with the smallest of grazes, her stomach threatening to turn over at the smallest amount of blood and now look at what she had to deal with. It was a good thing she'd learned to overcome her fear. The wound was deep, the skin torn open and oozing with dark, sticky blood, and was definitely not an accident. Grabbing a cloth, she cleaned the blood, carefully, ignoring Jean's whimpers, and bandaged him up as tightly as she could.

"You need to be more careful, Jean," she sighed, looking into his eyes with such a deep sorrow that it was his natural instinct to comfort her, but in his current state he couldn't. "If you had been any closer to him when he threw that knife, you would not be here right now."

"I know," he replied. The same words as always, they had often had this conversation and yet he never seemed to take her advice.

"No, I'm serious," she said, her voice firm. Her eyes turned from sad to an icy cold. "This is real life, Jean. You're not in one of those books you read, you're not in a dream where nothing can touch you either - you are not immortal. One false move and it's over for you!"

"I know," he repeated, not seeming to comprehend what Juliette was saying.

"Listen to me," she hissed, forcing him to look at her. "We have a daughter to protect now and we are a family. If anything ever happens to Angélie then we're both dead, Jean! I will not lose my only child because you were so reckless as to get yourself killed."

There was a long silence between them, the atmosphere as cold as a winter night, even with the fire roaring just in front of them.

"How could my death kill Angélie?" he asked, his voice nothing more than a rasp whisper from his fatigue.

"Because," she explained, her frustration growing. "If you die then who will protect her? They're scared of her, Jean. Scared of what she could become - of what she has the potential to be - and if you can't protect her then I certainly can't! We'll both be dead the next day, if you die."

"So why don't you join the Brotherhood, Juliette? I've asked you before so many times and yet you still do not seem to understand that this is what I want for you. I want you to be able to defend our daughter - and yourself, for that matter - and if you let me train you then you could-"

"No." she interrupted. Rising from the couch, she covered her face in her hands. Why did he always have to make her feel so guilty? "I've told you before, Jean. I will not join the Brotherhood and you cannot make me."

"But why not?"

"I am not discussing this any longer," she sighed. "You need to rest, if you can't make it up the stairs then I will bring you some blankets...and think of a cover story in case Angélie asks, alright?" Through her anger and sadness, she crept closer to him and kissed his warm forehead. Through all their quarrels and disagreements, she still needed him to know how much she loved him. After all, that was the most important thing. Love. And family.

Eventually, Jean drifted off to sleep and, unwillingly, Juliette joined his slumber at his bedside.

Neither one of them had noticed their devious little daughter, watching through the open doorway. She had witnessed the whole thing.

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