[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


24. 21 – The End

Rogue pulled Darim and the beserkers back into the line.

“We need a new plan,” said Rogue, “I don’t know what I was thinking! Urgh! Dammit, where’s Ezio?”

“What’s your plan?” asked Darim.

They made their way to the Brain tent, “There’s only five of them,” she said. She heard more shouts as another tank fired, “We need to assassinate the controllers.”


Leonardo looked up in surprise as they walked in, as did Altair, Malik and Boudicca.

“Have we won?” asked Leonardo.

“Don’t be ridiculous!” said Rogue, “I need assassins. Here. Now.”

“You have one,” said Altair.

“Aye,” said Malik, “Here too.”

“And here,” said Darim.

“And there,” said Leonardo, pointing at Rogue.

Rogue shook, “Please, be serious!”

“I reckon you’re going to need that cupping after all,” said Malik.


Ezio walked in, “You sent for me, Rogue?”

“Listen,” Rogue sighed and pointed at the formation board, “There are five tanks up there, on the dunes. They’re going to destroy us, if we don’t get rid of them. I don’t know if the Matrix filled them into your memories, but think of them as giant fire-breathing dragons that have a rider. That rider is what controls them. as soon as he is removed, the beast is completely immobilized. However,” Rogue looked up at them, “the rider doesn’t sit on top, he is nested inside. There is a small circular door, like a hatch. Open it and he’s inside. I need assassins to take these five out.”

“I’ll go,” said Darim, “If there’s only one rider, as you say, then five in all should be no problem.”

“No, Darim,” said Rogue, “If they see one tank being sabotaged, then the others won’t hesitate to destroy it – and you with it. You’ve seen them fire those things into the thick of everything. They’ll kill where and when they need to. I’ll need five, or at the very least four to go.”

“Easy,” said Altair, “You, Darim, Ezio and me.”

“We’ve been through this, Jaddee!” said Rogue, slapping her face, “You are not going a stones-throw near that battlefield, let alone all the way to the dunes!”

“This is not soldiering!” said Altair hotly, “This is assassinating! It’s my strong suit!”
“It was! Was your strong suit. It isn’t anymore. Besides, you’ll have to swim through that raging horde of mad people! I’m not going to let you go and kill yourself out there!”

“You don’t have many options!”

“I’ll go,” said Malik.

“Malik!” said Rogue and Altair, “You only have one arm!”


“Look, you’re both wasting time!” said Ezio, “Let Altair, Rogue. He knows what he’s doing.”

“I’m not saying he doesn’t,” shouted Rogue, “I’m saying I’m losing enough people I love out there – I don’t need him to join them!” Her voice broke for a moment, “Jaddee, you are old. You are vulnerable. I know your ego is tearing to shreds hearing this, but I already lost an approximate grandfather earlier this year and I already lost the last remainder of him when Jess summoned the armies,” Rogue pulled herself together, “Duck, I’d rather go myself and get killed than have you do it!”
“You say it like I’ve lived in a retirement home for the last few years of my life!” said Altair angrily, “I promised you victory. I can hardly do that if I’m not stuck in with you,” he grasped her shoulders, “You forbade me to die and I intend to obey.”

“Death has a higher claim than me.”

“I’m an Assassin,” said Altair, “Don’t you think I know that?”


Rogue gazed at him for a long time. He suddenly bore Vesp’s face, but only for a second. Her previous pain stabbed her. The pain she felt when she lit the pyre. The pain she felt when Squishy was sacrificed. They both died willingly. And now Altair…

She looked away.

“Alright,” she said softly, her body suddenly racked in weakness, “Alright, you can come,” she grasped the edge of the table to steady herself.

She tapped her headset, “Barto, take command,” she said, “going to take solo mission.”

There was a pause before an incoming call rang.

“That wasn’t very ambiguous,” said Bartolomeo.

“Take command, Barto, there are matters in Masyaf I have to attend to.”

“What, now?”

Rogue held her breath, “Now. Please – send an escort of twenty of your best men to the Brain tent.”

Bartolomeo paused, “Everything alright, commander?”

“Don’t call me that. I’m a little less than a nitwit with a big mouth.”

“You’re sure? This errand?”

“Just do it.”

The call dropped.


“Any suggestions for a fifth man?” asked Rogue.

“Four of history’s finest, I think,” said Malik, “should be more than enough.”

Rogue tutted, “Three,” she corrected.

Altair glanced at her, but one look at the frown on her lips and he knew she wasn’t excluding him.

“Lighten up,” he said.

She looked at him with mild contempt, “Leave me be.”

Altair looked like he was going to say something, but relented. A steady stomping of feet emerged as the escort arrived. Rogue pulled off the headsets and took out a cellphone, placing the items on the table. She secured the remaining cellphone in one pocket.

“If Barto calls,” she told the Brain, “handle it for me.”

They nodded.

“Come on,” she told the others.


Rogue walked through the flap of the tent, and saw the Italian mercenaries dressed in their red and black livery, standing in uniform lines – ready for her to command.

“What news?” she asked.

Their leader saluted, “Commander Bartolomeo sent us to you, ma’am! At your command, ma’am!”

She squinted her eyes at him, wrinkling her nose, and shaking her head a little – disconcerted by his robotic formality. Rogue couldn’t tell if he was mocking her or if this was military protocol.

“Could you not talk like that?” she said, only mildly aware that more explosions were taking place.

“Please elaborate, ma’am!”

“Like a… Oh, never mind!” she turned to the Assassins, “come,” and back to the mercenaries, “Form a shield around us. I’ll give you directions after this.”

They wordlessly formed a human shield around them – five men to each side, forming a uniform square.


“March!” said Rogue and they progressed steadily towards the bloodbath, “Testudo!” the soldiers raised their shields up and around them – like a tortoise’s shell – and the Assassins walked unharmed through the battlefield. Every now and then, one of the mercenaries cried out, but none of them fell.

They were nearing the dunes, though not quite out of the battlefield. Nonetheless, Rogue commanded: “Disperse!”

The mercenaries flew in all directions, but Rogue pulled the Assassins along to the tanks sitting on the horizon like five ugly vultures. They fought their way through the squandering numbers of live fighters. She wondered for a moment how many of her men had fallen. She managed to put it out of mind and tried to focus on the task ahead.

The last of the mercenaries that were sent to escort them must have been a little less disciplined than the others – which Rogue was wholly grateful for – and asked, “Ma’am, a word?”

“Yes?” she replied.

“The Commander told us you were going into Masyaf…”

“I told him that, yes. That’s a ruse. You may tell him this. But tell him not to worry about that small problem up there,” she pointed to the tanks, “It’s going to be taken care of, soon.”

“Fortune go with you, ma’am.”
“Aye, you too.”


He went away, and Rogue gestured for the Assassin’s to follow her lead. She got onto her belly and crawled her way towards the tanks. Their rang of sight was far, but could only see in one direction, depending on where the muzzle of their gun was facing. No peripheral vision. Using this to their advantage, the Assassin’s approached from the side, crawling on their fronts. They all drew up alongside.

“Darim,” whispered Rogue, “take the one on the end. Remember what I told you about the circular hatch on top. Get it open and you’ll find your target sitting pretty, comfy and take him unawares. It’ll be all the more easier if you climb up from the back. Ezio you take the one in front, Jaddee…” Rogue paused, looked at him, “Jaddee…” she resisted the urge to say stand watch, “take the second one. I’ll take the third. Once you’ve finished, squat on top and raise your hand. We’ll decide what to do about tank number four from there.”

They nodded and crawled their way towards their marks, climbing stealthily from the back as Rogue had instructed. Rogue slipped off her boots and climbed up, aware that the thick grips might make noise. She got on top, and prised the hatch open with the egde of her knife. As soon as a beam of light shined into the small compartment, the controller looked up, surprised.

“Zayn,” said Rogue, “Isn’t this a pleasant surprise?”

“Where is your honour and dignity now?” he replied, “Going to attack me in a tight space?”

“No,” said Rogue. She yanked him out by the collar, and threw him down. She looked around to see the others with their arms raised, their missions completed, “Take care of the last one,” said Rogue, “This moron wants a fair fight.”


She jumped down and landed in a crouch, and threw Zayn her sword.

“You asked for it, Zayn,” she said, drawing a seax, “And now you’re going to get it.”

Zayn spat sand and got up, hefting the heavy Damascus in one hand, “This still isn’t entirely fair.”

“This coming from a man who was just sitting in a tank and killing his own people?” said Rogue and she launched, landing a blow from above. Sparks flew as the blades collided.

“Well, my moral code doesn’t dictate loyalty,” said Zayn, trying to keep his balance.

“Your moral code is a blank page,” Rogue slashed sideways, Zayn narrowly missed it as he jumped back.


She attacked with a high strike again, but Zayn caught it. Again and again and again. He stepped steadily backwards. Rogue could see the others watching in a circle from the edge of her vision.

Zayn knew it was a losing battle. But he had an angle to play from: “My duplicate had a lot to say, didn’t he, Rogue?” asked Zayn.

“Shut up,” was her reply, as she kicked him in the shins.

He fell to his knees, dropping the sword, cursing. Rogue dropped her weapon, snapping his head up and punching it.

Blood sprinkled out of his mouth. He spat, and said, “He did though. It hurt, didn’t it, what he said? It hurt you,” his head snapped in the opposite direction as Rogue punched him again. He laughed, “Oh poor other-dimensional you, right? Imagine what that would be like. All that torture. But then, you’ve already been tortured, here too? Mentally. I’m surprised someone, unstable like you is allowed to command an army–”

“Shut up!”
“Oh, we’ve all heard that one before. Going to go berserk, Rogue? Turn ape?”

She kicked him and he fell back, sliding through the sand a little.


He grabbed the hilt of Rogue’s sword, and picked it up, “Thing is,” he said, gazing at the blade, “I’m not leaving without making sure I hurt you. Wrong Direction honour, you know?” in a second he flipped over and stabbed Altair in his calf, plunging the blade deep. The old man gasped and fell on the sand.

Rogue screamed, her head pounding, “You!” She leapt on him, straddling his back, and wrapped an arm around his neck, jerking his head upwards. She didn’t wait for him to choke. Snapped his head sideways, twisting it all the way around – the man’s spine splintering, and the skin and flesh tearing as she did – and drew a dagger from her belt. She stabbed his face again and again.

Damn you!” she screamed, “Damn you, Zayn! And, duck, you better die and stay dead this time!”

She turned her head skyward and breathed heavily. She was aware that the others were staring at her.


She pulled out the cellphone and dialled Bartolomeo’s number, “Barto– n-o, shut it! Let me talk and then you can say what you want! Send an escort of at least five men up to the dunes where the tanks are. Altair’s been injured, severely. Don’t talk! Don’t talk! Just send. Yes, damn you, of course the tanks have been dismantled. Now! No more questions. And don’t you dare hang up – I want to hear you give the command. And for God’s sake, tell them to bring a stretcher!”

It didn’t take long for her to see men sprinting up to them, with a stretcher.

“…Have you calmed a little?” asked Bartolomeo warily.

She addressed the mercenaries saying, “Just get him to my barracks. Don’t interrupt me! To Hell with Masyaf. Don’t get him anywhere near the place! There’s a physician at my barracks, take him there!”

She addressed Ezio and Darim, “Go with them.”


Altair spoke softly, “Darim, stay with her.”


He is staying with you, Mariqah!” Altair barked.

“Oh, curse you, old man!” barked Rogue back, her voice breaking and tears running down her face, “Curse you! And damn me, I never should have brought you!”

She got up and kicked Zayn’s body until she’d rolled it over, her back to Altair as they took him away.


“…Rogue?” Bartolomeo’s voice sounded from the cellphone.

Rogue put her forehead on the cold metal of a tank, “What?” she replied weakly.

“Why… why did you bring him? You knew he was old. Isn’t that why you left him with the Brain?”

“I brought him… I brought him because…” Rogue lied through her teeth, “because he’s the expert.”

Bartolomeo paused, “You killed all the controllers?”

“Yes,” said Rogue, “The enemy commanders are all dead.”

“Then… then you’ve won, Rogue.”

“Hooray for me,” said Rogue sourly, “Round up the survivors. Take prisoners. And for duck’s sake, don’t let Leonidas kill them – no matter what he says.”

“As you wish, commander.”

“I told you not to call me that.”

“I can’t call you anything less than you are.”
“Then call me duckwit!” she growled and hung up.


Rogue turned her head a little and saw Darim looking away from her. She was grateful for it.

“Darim…” she said softly, collapsing on the sand.

He raced to her, pulling off her hood and fanning her face with his hand, “Shh, I’m here.”
“Don’t be a bloomin’ romantic,” she said, laughing lightly, a giddiness enveloping her mind.

Darim’s face remained impassive, “We need to get you inside.”

“Don’t be daft. I’m fine,” she closed her eyes for a moment and sighed, “I need to dismantle these pieces of scrap metal. Stand watch for me?”

“…You’re sure?”


“Positive. And if I do pass out from heat and exertion, you’ll be here to catch me. Won’t you?” she laughed and touched his face; tracing a finger over his brows, the bridge of his nose, the bow of his lips, “Sometimes I forget who you are. Sometimes I forget what you’re going to become,” she sighed, “Sometimes I’m just too much of an arsehole to be grateful for what I get.”

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