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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5. Chapter 5

Connor groaned as he woke up. His head throbbed again, and he was freezing. He tried to get up but his wrists and ankles were tied to a post. He looked around and saw what looked like a stable, with his horse tied up a few meters away from him. His weapons lay in a pile out of his reach.

Connor coughed. The air was stinging his lungs. His breath frosted in front of him, and as he looked around he realized he was in the British camp. Soldiers walked past him, neither caring nor reacting to him. The sun was high up in the sky; midday. Connor was not thirsty or hungry – yet – but he knew that would pass. He was on his knees, leaning against the post he was tied to.

Suddenly a man walked towards him. He was obviously some sort of lieutenant, but they way he carried himself told Connor he was not the leader of this camp. He was tall and thin, with two men trailing behind him. He walked under the cover of the stables.

"So, Assassin. I have been told not to kill you, but my commander told me nothing about harming you." He said. He walked over to Connor, sneering at him.

And he punched him in the face.

"Look at me when I talk to you, savage!" He exclaimed.

Connor spat out blood onto the ground near the lieutenant, glaring at him.

"Very well." Said the lieutenant.

He stood up, turned away, but at the last minute he turned back and kicked Connor in the ribs, winding him and causing a great deal of pain to spike up Connor's stomach. Connor coughed and tried to breathe, while glaring at the lieutenant.

"What do you want?" Spat Connor.

"Nothing. I only feel that vermin such as yourself need be brought down to their proper place in society, which is of course at the feet of true men such as myself." He sneered.

Connor coughed up another few drops of blood. His nose was bleeding profusely. The lieutenant punched him in the face again, right in the eye. Connor felt dizzy, and the world went upside down. He sank onto his side, and the lieutenant laughed.

"Look at how easily you fall to your place!" He exclaimed.

Connor rose up again, onto his knees, panting. He was punched in the mouth this time, and although no teeth came out, his lip split and bled. His uniform was being stained a deep red.

Far behind the lieutenant he thought he saw Clara's face. But then it was gone. Connor supposed he had been hit in the head too much.

But there it was again, and Clara looked directly at Connor, dashing from tent to tent until she reached the stable. Then she hid behind the stables, and Connor knew he had to distract the lieutenant.

"Why are you superior? If you really are so much more civilized than I, why do feel the need to pound me?" He asked.

The lieutenant stopped and stared at Connor. Clara reached Connor's weapons and grabbed the tomahawk, her weapon of choice.

"You dare insult me? Question me?" Hissed the lieutenant, murderous. He pulled out his sword and held it an inch from Connor's throat. Connor stiffened his neck but stared the lieutenant right in the eye.

What was Clara doing?
The lieutenant lowered his sword and, very slowly, pushed it towards Connor's chest. The second it touched Connor the lieutenant stopped. He fell forwards and behind him stood Clara, the tomahawk in her hands bloody. The two henchmen that had been guarding the lieutenant sprung at Clara, but she twisted and turned, chopped and hacked until they lay at her feet, completely still. She turned to Connor and, again, chopped the ropes binding him.

"Mr Kenway, if you don't mind I would appreciate it if you stopped allowing yourself to be tied up." Joked Clara.

Connor stood up, his body aching a great deal, and walked over to his horse. She was unfased by the bloody ordeal that had just occurred. Connor climbed up onto her back, as did Clara.

"We must go, unless we wish to be caught again." Said Clara. Connor nodded, and they walked out of the stable. Connor tried to guide his horse around the tents, but sneaking around on horseback is a great deal harder than on foot. They were soon noticed, so Connor urged his horse forward and they sped off. Guns were fired at them, but none hit. Men chased after them but no man can compete with a galloping horse who was bred for speed. Connor and Clara sped off into the woods, and soon the British troops realized they hadn't a hope in the world of catching up. Connor and Clara continued onwards, towards Boston. The sun was blocked by thick, grey clouds, but it still faintly glowed through the dark grey mass that loomed in front of them. Every step his horse ran would send spikes of pain through Connor's ribs, but he did not complain. It would not do him any good. After several hours, they stopped the horse. It was sunset, and they were around an hour's travel from the city. Connor jumped off his horse, and his ribs felt as if they were on fire. He ignored it, for no good would ever come from complaining. Clara saw Connor's face, bloody and bruised. She approached him and pulled out a handkerchief from a pocket in her skirt. Thankfully it was clean, so she used it to clean Connor's wounds.

She grasped his face, her hands surprisingly warm, and dabbed at his lip with the handkerchief. Connor winced and pulled back, but realized Clara was trying to help, so he leaned forwards again.

"How did you escape?" He asked.

Clara made a face of disgust. "I was forced to extremely low levels. That is all I shall say on the subject." She said.

Clara cleaned up the dried blood on Connor's lip, and inspected his nose.

"You are lucky it is not broken." She said. The blood had stopped flowing from his nose, and it was dry as well, so she cleaned it up as well. There was nothing she could do for his eye, so they mounted Connor's horse again and set off for the city.

They reached Boston by nightfall. The rain had not arrived yet, but Connor was sure it would by tomorrow.

They entered the city and Connor slowed his horse to a walk.

"Where is your home?" He asked Clara.

"Past the harbor." She replied.

They rode past buildings, and as always Connor couldn't understand why they needed so many shops. He was fascinated by the city, but at the same time nurtured a strong distrust for it; something unfortunate happened almost every time he entered it.

The snow covered rooves but not streets; people were constantly walking them, so the snow would not stick there.

They reached the harbor, and Connor dismounted the horse, wincing as his feet hit the ground. He walked over to the harbor master.

"When does the next ship sail for Davenport?" He asked.

"You just missed it. There's another that sails tomorrow at noon." The harbor master replied.

Connor felt a tinge of annoyance, but he pushed it aside.

"Thank you." He said, nodding.

He returned to his horse. Clara was waiting, but several men were staring at her, or rather her buttocks. For some strange reason, this annoyed Connor.

"When does the ship sail?" Asked Clara.

"Tomorrow at noon." Replied Connor.

"Have you a place to stay?" Asked Clara.

"No. I will find an inn and stay there."
"Mr Kenyway, you saved my life. You kept me fed. I shall not have you sleeping in an inn. You will sleep in my home. I have plenty of room, and you will be comfortable." Clara said.

"Thank you, Miss Butterfield."
"Please, call me Clara."
"And you shall call me Connor." Replied Connor.

Clara smiled and nodded. She had a beautiful smile. It muddled Connor's thoughts. He wondered why on earth she was having such an impact on him.

They continued through the city, Clara giving Connor instructions. They stopped in front of a medium sized house.

It was red brick, with white painted windows and roses growing on one side of the wall. It was three stories, adjoined with the other houses along the street.

"You can tie up your horse here. She will be safe and fed." Said Clara.

They hopped off the horse but Connor landed too hard, and his ribs sent up spikes of red hot pain.

"Ah!" Winced Connor.

"What is it?" Asked Clara, concerned.

"Nothing. I am fine." Replied Connor.

Clara raised an eyebrow at the man, doubtful. She walked up to her front door, and she was about halfway there when a shout arose from the crowd.

"Clara!"
She spun around, not quite recognising the voice. Her chest grew red with anger and annoyance. Robert, an annoying suitor who would not give up on Clara, was walking towards her.

"Oh, Clara dear?" He called tauntingly.

She hurriedly tried to open her door. She knocked on her door, begging for her housekeeper, Ruth, to open the door.

It was to no avail, as Robert reached her.

"Darling, where have you been?" He asked.

He was a handsome man, and wealthy; it was true. But Clara did not care for him one bit, as he was as annoying as a housefly who whizzes around your head refusing to be quiet.

"That is none of your business, Robert." She replied curtly.

"Now, Clara. That is no way to address a suitor." Warned Robert. He extended a hand up to touch her face. She leaned away from his hand, glaring at him.

Connor had been tying up his horse and making sure she was taken care of, but when he turned around he saw Robert clearly making Clara uncomfortable. He wondered why Clara did not respond with violence, as he thought she would, but it did not matter. He quickly approached them.

"Is everything alright, Clara?" He asked, glaring at Robert. He was around the same height as Robert, but more built. Connor appeared to tower over Robert.

"No, Connor, everything is fine." She replied, giving a hateful look at Robert. "Where is Ruth?" She wondered quietly.

"Very well then, Clara. I shall return, and you shall fall. I shall conquer your heart!" Robert exclaimed. Clara cringed at his statement.

Robert grabbed Clara's hand roughly, much too hard. It hurt her hand, and he pulled her closer.

"You will be mine!" He whispered cruelly to her. He squeezed her hand so hard she cried out, and was just about to push him away when he was pushed forward, onto Clara. He was pulled back abruptly, and behind him was Connor. Robert was dragged by his neck to the wall of Clara's house, where Connor shoved him against it.

"She clearly is not interested in you. Leave Clara alone, and your face shall remain as it is." Connor growled.

"Savage!" Barked Robert.

Connor's fist darted up and punched Robert, hard, in the nose. It started to bleed, and Connor grabbed Robert's shirt and tossed him onto the street. He scrambled to his feet and sprinted away.

"Clara? What's happened?" Exclaimed a woman.

Clara turned around with relief as Ruth's voice sounded out.

"Ruth! Where have you been?" She asked.

"I was shopping for groceries." Ruth replied. "Well, you'd best come in. I don't think the guards would appreciate us loitering around a fight scene."
She pulled a set of keys from under her coat, and unlocked the door. Connor and Clara entered the house. Connor was welcomed by a warm, welcoming light as he stepped inside Clara's house.

"I'll start preparing dinner. It should be ready in an hour." Ruth said. She was a middle-aged woman, plump and cheery. Her red cheeks and smile were very kind.

"Connor, if you'd follow me I will show you where you shall sleep tonight." Said Clara. He followed her up the stairs, where there were several doors leading into different rooms. Clara lead Connor into the end door, opening it for him.

It was a small room, with a bed in one corner and a table, dresser and mirror on the opposite side. The bed was a rich, wine red. The pillow was plump, and after the long day of travelling nothing could have looked more inviting to Connor. All he wanted to do was collapse onto it, but Clara was standing in the doorway.

"Thank you for your hospitality." He said to her.

"Connor, don't be ridiculous. You saved my life-"

"And you saved mine." Countered Connor.

"Well, I'm still very grateful to you, and it didn't seem right that you stay in some cheap inn when I have plenty of room here." Clara told Connor.

Connor smiled at her. It wasn't a full smile, just a small one, but it filled Clara with a sort of giddy happiness.

"Clara, when we first met..." Started Connor.

"And I kissed you?" Asked Clara.

"Yes... why did you take so long to hit me? Why didn't you just... kiss... for a second, then hit me?" Asked Connor.

"Maybe it was to distract you more... or maybe because I liked it." Said Clara with a broad smile. Connor blushed profusely, and Clara left the room.

Connor sat down on his bed, feeling the soft fabric, running his fingers along it. He heard a knock at his door.

"Erm... hello?" Asked Ruth. "Um, these. Clothes. For you." She said, loudly and slowly.

"I speak English, ma'am. You need not speak slowly or loudly, I will understand. I have spoken English since I was four years old." Explained Connor.

"Oh. I'm so very sorry, Mr Kenway." Apologised Ruth, blushing.

"I do not mind. Why have you brought me clothes?"
"Miss Butterfield told me to bring them to you. She said she would not have you at the dinner table with all of your weapons."
Connor laughed internally. How amusing Clara was. She would simply not take no for an answer.

"Please tell Miss Butterfield that I will wear these clothes, and thank her for me." He said.

"Yes, Mr Kenway." Replied Ruth. She placed the clothes on the dresser and left the room. Connor took off his uniform and remembered his aching ribs. He knew they were not broken, but they could possibly be cracked or bruised. He saw the colossal, purple bruise that spread across his side and winced. He poked it, and his ribs twinged.

He pulled on the pants; grey and thick. They were surprisingly comfortable. The shirt was white, and he had been given a grey waistcoat to go over the top. He saw himself in the mirror and stared.

Instead of the Assassin, he saw a man. A perfectly normal man, except for his hair. He was not sure if he liked what he saw, but it certainly was different. His dark skin looked nice with the white shirt, and his deep brown eyes scanned over himself. His muscled arms seemed to burst out from the shirt.

He exited his room and went downstairs. Clara and Ruth were sitting at the dining table. Clara had changed out of her blood-stained, dirty blouse and skirt with a blood red dress. It was also without a corset or layers of fabric, but simply hung down from her waist. There was a white trim around the neck and wristlines.

"Connor, come and sit down." Invited Clara.

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