[Mock-Fiction] IV - Alea Iacta Est {Rogue's Story}

Note: Please read the Formal Notice movella. It should be on the list on the right hand side.

Yup. Just the one perspective.

Cover by Secrets Unfold


19. 16 – Fear

Rogue left the tent. To her surprise, she found Noel trying to hold back an unauthorized, unlisted visitor.

“Peace, Noel,” she said, grasping his shoulder.

“For a bloomin’ nun, this one ‘ere has quite the bloody vocabulary,” Noel muttered.


Rogue ignored the remark, “Abbess Britney,” she said, looking at the flustered nun, “to what do I owe the favor?”
“Don’t you take that tone with me!” said the Abbess, “Why was I not granted entry?”

“Entry? A military encampment is no place for a nun – unless she’s Saint Joan of Arc, that is.”
“But I’m Masyaf’s stand-in!”

“I’m afraid I was not notified of this.”

“But it’s me! Abbess Britney! Why would you not allow entry to me?”

“Because I must take precautions. The war is only days away. You did tell me you were coming, nor did you send a messenger.”

“Good God, Rogue! What? Don’t you trust me?”
Rogue regarded her for a long time, “Oh, Britney – I don’t trust anyone.”


“You should return to your cloister, Abbess,” said Rogue, “It’s dark and these are uncertain times.”

The Abbess shook her head in disbelief, “What has happened to you, Rogue? First Richard and now, me?”

“I did not come to judge the ills of men, nor to disgrace them, nor to disclose their well-kept secrets…” Rogue mumbled.

“What…? You’re not making sense!”
“Just go, Abbess. Please. There was nothing said in that tent that could ever do you good or evil. Again, it is no place for a nun.”

“But how will Sakura instruct the army? If she is unaware of your plans?”

“I will tell her. Personally.”

And in that way, she thought, take out any intermediaries.

Rogue nodded, “I’m capable of speech.”

The Abbess sighed, “Fine,” she turned to go as Rogue had instructed.


When Rogue turned around, she found Noel and the other tent-guards staring at her.

“What?” she said.

“Ma’am…” said Noel, “You be a mighty riddler…”

Rogue shrugged, “Perhaps,” she smiled at them, “You boys look worn-out from just standing around all evening,” she laughed, “Tell you what, help me pack up my tent and then you can turn in for the night, alright?”

“But… who’ll set it up?” asked Noel.

“I will,” Rogue paused, “Oh, don’t look at me like that. I was setting up tents long before any of you knew how to stand straight! Now, come on.”
They all slowly packed up the tent, and Rogue said her thank yous to them as they went in the direction of the trench. She followed them, the fabric of the tent held in the crook of one arm, the folded table and board in the other; the pegs, hammer, rope and the pole in her hands. Rogue passed the sentry on duty.

“Password,” he said, following orders, holding up his hand in a halting gesture.

Rogue cocked her head to a side, “Really? From me?”

“On duty, ma’am,” he said, guardedly, sensing a test.

“Good lad,” said Rogue, smiling at him, “The password’s ‘Open Sesame’.”
The sentry signalled one of the other sentries on duty and a draw-bridge was lowered.

In passing, she said to the sentry, “Remind me to promote you,” and crossed the draw-bridge without looking back.


She looked around for a clear spot. She didn’t want to set up in the place that had been allocated for her – only a complete pompous moron would do that, as WD spies would have marked it – so she set up along the edge of camp, right in a corner. She nailed the pegs in the ground, working slowly on her tent. It was the same tent as all the others – no distinct flag, no grandeur, nothing. Just the same, plain, old tent. And, still, Altair managed to find her. She was just fixing the central pole into place and setting her table when Altair lifted the flap of her tent. Rogue raised her brows at him.

“A bit late for a gentleman’s visit, isn’t it?” she asked.

“Well, I would have called but there’s no phone out here,” he said, his lips crinkling into a smile beneath his cowl.

“Gotten used to the modern age, I see?”

“It has many wonders.”

Rogue shrugged, “All the more to be worried about, eh?”


“I bite: Why have you sought me out?”


Altair spoke in clear Arabic, in a soft voice which Rogue would have never thought she’d hear from him, “Bintee. What ails you, child?”

“I…” Rogue was taken aback by his tone, engulfed by the purity of his language, “I don’t understand your meaning,” she said in English.

Bintee, tomorrow or the morrow after you lead war. How will you, if you put not your mind to rest? Your soul is an entity maimed by the things you have left to fester in your mind. Kayf? Speak with me. What ails you?”

Jaddee,” said Rogue slowly, her Syrian dialect seeming so inferior to Altair’s higher version of the language, “I… I am no captain general. I do not lead wars,” she sat down on the ground, “I help in their process. But I don’t lead them. I have been bluffing myself and bluffing my men and…,” she looked up at Altair with a pained expression, “and bluffing you. All of you. That zeal I had before – years before – perhaps that would have been enough to fill the gap of doubt that forbids my mind to rest,” she looked down at her hands, “But I no longer have that zeal.”

Limaadhaa? Why not?”


Jaddee…” Rogue shut her eyes and then opened them, and barely a whisper passed her lips: “Can Masyaf have traitors?”

Altair paused a moment. It was not a question, as such. It was a statement that Rogue knew the answer to. She knew it. Altair knew it. Yet – it was as if knowing was not enough. It was as if the idea needed confirmation for it to be even thinkable, utterable, tangible.

“My daughter, of course it can.”

Rogue and Altair’s minds both flitted to the memory of Al Mualim – Altair’s one-eyed mentor, who betrayed everyone, even those he pacted his evils with.

“Is this what you fear, ya Mariqah? Is this what troubles you?” asked Altair.

“Many things trouble me, mualimee, I…” Rogue clamped her mouth shut, and looked away.

Wayhakee, speak to me!”


“I fear for all of you! I fear for Masyaf! I fear for myself! Akhafat kulluhoom!” Rogue barked, “Our intial zeal is broken. Our original motives are burned to embers. Our former intentions marred, blackened, scorched! I fear, Jaddee, I fear everything! Where a mountain of evil could not stir me in my youth, a wisp of shadow pierces my being now! Where once stood a fortified soldier, now lies a cripple of mind, body and soul! Where once sat a heart of pride, now lingers a hole of all that malignance could conjure!” Rogue spat, as if something bitter had gathered in her mouth, “And where once stood a trustworthy leader, now stands a despicable traitor! Kadhdhaab! Huwal kadhdhaab!”


Bintee, ya bintee,” said Altair softly, “Knot your tongue and calm yourself,” he knelt down next to her, patting her shoulder, “Your fear is undue. We will be victorious tomorrow, and you with lead us to victory. Anti fatiha. You are victory.”

“You taunt my hopes to rise, Jaddee. What if I lead all of you to your demise?”

“You will not. It is not of you and it will not become of you.”
Rogue sighed a little, calmed, “I cannot ensure victory, Jaddee.”
“No one gave you the choice.”

“Well, that makes me feel better!”
Altair laughed, “None of us are in any better condition, the night before a battle. Calm yourself. You will do fine.”

Rogue cracked her knuckles idly, blinking unnecessarily fast and stayed silent.

“This traitor,” said Altair, “Who is he?”

Rogue repeated, “I did not come to judge the ills of men, nor to disgrace them, nor to disclose their well-kept secrets.”

“This problem cannot be solved if…” started Altair, but he abated, “Then what do you intend to do about this traitor?”

Na’am. Hadha ghazwal khandaq. Hadha ghazwal ahzaab. This is the Battle of the Confederates. All over again. How can I punish a criminal, who has not committed a crime that people have bourn witness to? How will I justify such a sanction? Jaddee? There is nothing to be done.”

Sahih…” Altair paused and conceded, “There is nothing to be done. But a snake cannot hide under his rock forever. A chameleon cannot hide his colors for eternity. Asa’atuhu qareeb. His time is near.”

Rogue sighed, a hand to her head, “Shukran, Jaddee. Thank you. For coming. For listening.”

“Well, thank you, for talking – it appears to be quite the acheivement for you.”

“It is…”


A moment passed before Noel appeared by the flap of Rogue’s tent.

“Khadir told me to give you this, ma’am,” he said, “Said you left it behind,” he held up a large bound case, and the Hidden Blade that Leonardo had given to her just minutes ago.

“Thank you, Noel,” said Rogue, “I had forgotten about them. Give Khadir my thanks.”

Noel snorted, “I’m not sure if I should, ma’am. He looks mighty grim and pale. Like he’s seen a ghost, or some’un.”

“Well, when he brightens a little, then,” Rogue rose, “Get the boys to assemble. There are announcements to make, rules to repeat.”
“Blimey, ma’am – we be well aware of your rules.”

“I know,” said Rogue, “but they need to be repeated. So that the lot of you don’t come along later telling me I didn’t tell you anything.”

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