RAIN

I am a simple girl. I don't care about dresses or delicacies. I hate the guards and the cruelties they encourage. Then I met Connor. He saved my life and so I have devoted myself to the Assassins and all they stand for. My parents are strongly opposed to it, but they'd never cared about me. Until now. My name is Clara, and this is my story

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10. Chapter 10

I wake up to a loud knock on my door. A rude awakening, and I think Connor might still be annoyed from last night.

"Clara! Get your weapons and meet me at the barn!" He says loudly. I roll out of bed and get dressed in my usual black pants, white shirt and black waistcoat. I bring my bow, arrows and knives, and exit my room.

When I reach the barn, I enter it to find it deserted.

"Connor?" I call. I hear a rustling behind me, and I turn around to see Connor lunge at me. He wrestles me to the ground and holds his hidden blade to my throat.

"You must always be alert for enemies. If I was an enemy, I wouldn't stop at your throat. You'd be dead by now." He says. He gets up, offering me a hand to get up. I take it, and he pulls me up like I weigh nothing.

"You can fight, I know that, but you won't always be fighting guards. The Templars are dangerous and deadly." Connor warns. "Take off your weapons."

I place them in the corner, and Connor advances on me again. He attacks with weapons and hands, and I manage to dodge most of his attacks. Suddenly my cheek feels wet. I touch my hand to it, and when I pull it away there's blood on it.

"Clara? Are you alright?" Asks Connor, worried. Any annoyance he felt towards me has suddenly disappeared, replaced by concern.

"Yes, I think so." I reply. We try to continue the fight, but my cheek is bleeding too much. Connor jogs off towards the stables and I follow him. Connor reaches into his saddle on the wall, pulling out his water canteen and several strips of linen.

He walks into the sun, his reddish brown skin seeming to glow in the sunlight. He sits down and motions for me to do the same. We sit cross-legged, facing each other, as Connor cleans my cheek. His usually emotionless face is now concerned and concentrating.

"I'm sorry." He finally says, sucking up his pride.

"Why?" I ask.

"I've been rude and angry. I have no right to be. You are right, I cannot tell you what to do and you are skilled."

"Connor, I've been rude too." I say. "I shouted at you. You are not the only one to blame." I wince as Connor wipes my cheek with the linen. He draws his hand back.

"Don't worry." I say, motioning for him to continue. When he finishes, we continue fighting until we are both tired and sore.

I train for months. My body develops hard muscles, but my arms and legs look thin. At first glance, I look small and weak, which is a mistake. I learn lessons of the mind from Achilles and Connor, while only Connor trains my body. I train with every weapon imaginable, except for the hidden blades. They are reserved for Assassins only. My hearing and eyesight notice things I didn't notice before, and they become sharp as razors. My hands become hard and calloused from wear, and I gain several new scars from mistakes or training.

Spring continues to change the landscape. The grass grows green, the trees gain leaves, wildflowers dot the ground.

I get to know Connor, as well.

He's fiercely loyal, to his friends and his people. He will do anything to protect them, and loves the land. He has an incredible bond with nature, and doesn't like to kill. He's naive. He thinks killing isn't needed to take down the Templars. He thinks we might be able to resolve our differences with them, maybe make peace.

He doesn't like sweet things, and when he runs he reminds me of a wolf. When he fights, he looks like a bear, deadly but beautiful and incredibly intimidating. He is strong and brave, and determined, and the thing that fuels his mission is a man called Charles Lee. He burned down Connor's village when Connor was a small boy. Connor sometimes has nightmares and a few times I heard him shout "Ita!". I don't know what it means, and I haven't the courage to ask him. It would be too embarrassing. His real name is Ratonhnhaké:ton; Connor is a name Achilles gave to him. He thinks of Achilles as a father figure; he hasn't told me directly, but I can tell.

Connor and I become friends. Good friends. We watch out for each other. I haven't left the homestead since Connor brought me here, and I'm getting restless. I want to put my new skills to use!

One day I wake up and I immediately know something's wrong. The sun is too high up in the sky, I should have woken up hours ago. I get dressed and take my weapons downstairs, my knives in my pockets, my bow and arrows slung across my back. I strain my ears for any noise, my feet padding silently across the wooden floor. Suddenly I hear a noise behind me, but I don't react. I walk into the living room and pretend to look around. I approach the fire, then as quick as a cat I grab one of the pokers, swing it around and hit my follower in the stomach. He doubles over in pain, and I hit him over the head. Then I realize who I've just attacked.

Connor.

"Oh, no!" I say. "You shouldn't sneak up on me like that, Ratonhnhaké:ton. This is your own fault."

He looks up at me and nods, and I can't help but laugh. Achilles appears from around the corner and sees me holding the fire poker, Connor clutching his stomach. He starts to chuckle, and motions for me to follow him. Connor recovers, and we follow Achilles into the basement. On the usually bare mannequin is a white uniform, made for the female form.

"I had it made for you." Achilles says. Connor walks out and takes a box from underneath it, opens it, and reveals two hidden blades.

I put on the uniform in another room of the basement. There is a mirror, and as I look at myself I no longer see Clara Butterfield. I see a dangerous woman. Someone deadly, lethal. My eyes burn with a ferocity I've never seen before. I no longer look like the perfect British girl I never really was, and I don't look like a T-word.

I look like an Assassin.

And guilt claims my heart.

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