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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11. Chapter 11

My hidden blades clash against Connor's sword as we spar near the barn. He has been training me for a few days on how to properly use my blades, and even though I've improved, I'm still not very good at using them. Connor is encouraging, but not in a very nice way.

"You have improved, but there is still a lot of room for improvement. You wouldn't last a second in real battle." He says.

"You could have stopped at 'You have improved.'" I mutter under my breath. I forget about Connor's excellent hearing, and he shoots a glance at me. Slightly amused.

He never really shows any emotion. He occasionally smiles, but apart from those rare instances he stays unsmiling and serious.

Connor raises his sword again, and we spar for around an hour more before we are both tired, so we head back to the homestead. The sun is warm on my back.

As soon as Connor and I enter the house, Achilles approaches us.

"I have something to show you. Follow me." He says. Achilles leads us down into the basement and takes out some sort of mechanical object. He passes the mechanism to Connor who fiddles with it experimentally. I stare at it, trying to figure out a way to use this strange weapon.

"What is it?" Connor asked.

"A Sheng Biao or rope dart, if you prefer. One of the many plans given to us by Shao Jun to—"

Connor interrupts Achilles explanation by accidently letting go of the rope dart he's swinging, getting lodged several inches into a wooden beam. Achilles gives Connor a serious look.

"Sorry." Connor says.

I laugh, and take it from his hands. I aim the rope dart at the mannequin in the center of the room, and the rope dart lodges itself firmly in the mannequin's head. Pure luck, or course, but I I'm not going to say that. I hear a knock at the door so I walk upstairs to get it.

"Is Ratonhnhaké:ton there?" Asks a man wearily as I open the door. He is dressed in full Native clothing, his hair braided.

"Yes, he is." I say. I look behind me, where Connor is watching the door. I motion him with my hand to come forward.

"Kanen'tó:kon?" He asks as he sees the man.

The man nods at his question. "Yes, my friend." Connor steps outside and shows a small smile, which is rare for him.

"What brings you here?" His smile fades and his face turns more serious. "Is the village alright?"

"Men came, claiming we have to leave. They said that the land was being sold and that the Confederacy had consented. We sent an envoy, but they would not listen." Kanen'tó:kon explains.

"You must refuse!" Connor exclaims fiercely.

"We cannot oppose the sachem." He admits sadly. "But you are right as well, we cannot give up our home."

"Do you have a name? Do you know who is responsible?"

"He is called William Johnson."

"Where is Johnson now?"

"In Boston, making preparations for the sale."

"Sale? This is theft!"

"Connor, take care. These men are powerful." Achilles warns, having appeared next to me.

"What would you have me do?" Connor asks, raising his voice. "I made a promise to my people!"

"If you insist upon this course of action, seek out Sam Adams in Boston. He'll be able to help." Achilles says.

Irritation flits across Connor's face for a moment, but disappears quickly. Kanen'tó:kon hands Connor his hatchet, and Connor walks over to one of the columns holding the balcony upright. He slams the hatchet into the column, and I jump at the sudden action.

"What have you done?" Achilles exclaims.

"When my people go to war, a hatchet is buried in a post to signify its start. When the threat is ended, the hatchet is removed." Connor replies calmly.

Connor jogs towards the stables, and I follow him.

"You could have used a tree!" Exclaims Achilles as we run. I laugh under my breath.

"I ride for Boston. Kanen'tó:kon, please look after the village until I am back." Connor says.

"Of course, my friend." Replies the Native.

Connor and I approach the stables.

"You must stay here." Connor tells me.

I laugh, even though nothing is actually funny. "No. I am coming. You're going to need help, and I'm an Assassin now. I can do what I want, Ratonhnhaké:ton. " I retaliate.

Connor opens his mouth to argue, but then does something unexpected. "You're right. You are an Assassin now. Follow me." He says. I smile as Connor mounts his horse, and I do the same. We set off at a gallop towards Boston, and my heart flutters with excitement. I have been waiting for weeks to put my new skills to use.

We ride for most of the day, stopping when it turns dark. The moon above us shines brightly, casting shadows upon the ground. Connor collects wood for a fire while I tie the horses up, giving them half an apple each for their hard work. I recognize Connor's horse as the one I saw when I first met him.

Soon, the fire shines brightly. Connor and I sit around it, and I remember the first time we met. I laugh quietly at the memory. We sit at the fire for a while, then I roll onto my side to sleep, and Connor does the same.

I wake up to a sunny forest. The birds are singing, and Connor sleeps quietly next to me. I stand up and brush myself down. Connor wakes up, and we continue on our way. The day passes slowly, but soon enough we arrive in Boston. I remember the last time I was here, that dreadful memory. I shudder.

We tie our horses just outside Boston and head into the city. We make our way through the streets, asking about Sam Adam's whereabouts. We soon find him, huddled in a group with several men talking in serious tones. He looks up and sees Connor and I walking towards him.

"Ah, Connor. Hello again." He says. "And who might this be?" He asks, gesturing towards me.

"I'm Clara Butterfield." I say, stepping forward. He shakes my hand and smiles.

"So , what brings you to Boston?" He asks.

"You." Connor replies, looking back at the other men.

"If you would excuse us, gentlemen." Sam says, indicating for us to follow him. "Thank you. That conversation was about to turn unpleasant. Now, what can I do for you?" He asks.

"We were hoping you could help us locate William Johnson." Connor says.

"Of course. I'm headed to a meeting with some men who should be able to help. Why don't you come along?" Sam invites as we walk along.

I lok around for a while. Eventually Sam speaks.

"It's good to see the people taking a stand against injustice…" He comments.

"Says the man who owns a slave." Retorts Connor.

Adams lets out a small laugh. "Who, Surry? I practise what I preach, my friend. She's not a slave, but a freed woman…at least on paper. Men's minds are not so easily turned. It's a tragedy that for all our progress, still we cling to such barbarism."

"Then speak out against it." Connor states simply.

"We must focus on defending our rights. When this is done, we'll have the luxury of addressing these other matters." Adams replies.

"You speak as though your condition is equal to that of the slaves. It is not."

"Tell that to my neighbour- who was compelled to quarter British troops. Or to my friend whose store was closed because he displeased the Crown. The people here are no freer than Surry." Adams says matter-of-factly.

We then come across a group of guards outside a house. They shout up to a window, something about owning the house. A man appears out of it, and shouts back that it's his house. He leaves the window and comes back with a chamber pot, dumping the contents on the guards. The guards smash the windows and at the same time the owner comes barreling out of his house, tackling one of the guards.

"I trust the mounting evidence is proof enough." Sam says to us.

"Continue on. I shall meet you at your destination." Connor says to us. I roll my eyes, wanting to participate, but I get the feeling I'll have more than my fair share of action later, so I don't argue. Connor runs off to the fight, and Sam and I continue on.

"How did you come to meet our mutual friend?" Asks Sam.

I don't want to tell this man the real reasons, so I lie.

"I was in Boston when some guards started to harass me. I fought most of them off but I wouldn't have survived if Connor hadn't intervened." I lie.

"You fought off guards?" He asks, surprised. "Redcoats?"

I nod.

"That Connor is a brave man. Smart, too, especially for a Native." Sam says.

I stop in my tracks and glare at Sam. He stops too.

"What is it?" He asks.

"What do you mean, for a Native?" I ask, angry. I step up right close to Adams. "That man is a brave, kind person. It doesn't matter whether he is Native or British or anything else. Natives are no less intelligent than Colonists; and don't you forget that." I growl.

Despite my small size, Adams seems slightly intimidated by me. Inside I smile, but on the outside I keep up the angry face. Adams steps back.

"I apologise." He says.

I nod, and we continue towards our destination.

"Forgive me if this is insulting to you, but there is a certain couple staring at you." Sam says. I spin around and my gut feels like it's somewhere around my feet; my parents are staring at me in disbelief. They must have recognized me, even with my new outfit.

"Keep walking." I say to Sam. He looks slightly alarmed but follows my instructions, and we reach our destination. It's a small tavern, and inside sits a man at a table.

"Hello, my name is William Molineux." He says, getting up and kissing my hand. I don't appreciate the gesture, but I have to keep calm so I don't make this into another fight.

"Hello, I'm Clara Butterfield." I reply. I smile the fake smile.

At that moment a man enters the tavern, the same one who was shouting at the guards. I think I'll like him. He walks into the kitchen, looking triumphant, and it's obvious he won. Connor enters the tavern as well, and the man re-enters the room.

"Connor!" Samuel greets loudly. "I'd like you to meet some like-minded friends. The owner of this fine establishment, William Molineux," He gestures to William. "And the manager and chef of his newest venue, Stephane Chapeau." He says, looking at the shouting man.

"Ah, Connor and I just had a ball with some redcoats enforcing some taxmen outside my home!" Stephane exclaims.

"The collectors grow bolder and more forceful. Something we must address, Samuel." William says.

"Then let us raise a banner." Samuel suggests to the group. "Something to let the people know that they are not alone. The docks are an angry place of late, protestors picketing the latest shipments of British tea. The eyes of the city are upon that stage…"

"A Bostonian without his tea is a dangerous beast!" Stephane interrupts. I laugh; definitely liking Stephane.

Sam raises an eyebrow and William begins to speak. "William Johnson is smuggling the tea off the ships- one of his mean tried to sell me this." He holds up the sample of the tea and places it on the table. "A sample of what I refused, but it's from those ships- no mistaking the stamp. He's charging a King's ransom, must be he's making a mint off those who buy it."

"Where is he now?" I ask.

"I've never met the man." William admits.

Sam turns towards Connor. "May I ask why you seek him, Connor?"

"He intends to purchase the land upon which my village stands without the consent of my people." Connor says calmly, but I can hear the trace amounts of anger in his voice.

"No doubt the revenue from his little smuggling endeavour is financing the acquisition. A tax enforced on tea grants a boon to smugglers. I'll wager the same men who levy the taxes are selling the tea. A stage requires a spectacle and I may know the play. Connor and Clara, head back to the docks and see to the destruction of the tea. If you should need us return here." Sam tells us.

We exit the building. I pull up my hood to conceal myself from my parents, if they're still there. a taxman walks past us, holding a crate, so Connor "accidently" bumps into him and causes the crate to crash to the ground.

"Sorry." He apologises.

"Aw, come on mate." Replies the taxman, walking away looking irritated. He walks past me and "accidently" walks into my shoulder.

"Hey!" I exclaim, annoyed. He runs off, so I let him go.

 
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