[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

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6. 4 – The Woman That Appeared Out of Thin Air

This was not Darim’s day.

 

Darim ibn LaAhad constantly tried to fend off the blows of his enemy – a seven-foot English Crusader – but everything happening in the background kept distracting him. He wondered where his father was. The situation didn’t seem to be in the Assassins’ favour. It was very rarely that an army would attack Masyaf and succeed. If the Crusaders captured the fortress...

 

Darim struck the Crusader’s sword head-on. Unfortunately, the blow was a little too powerful and Darim lost his footing momentarily. But it was enough. The Crusader threw him off. Darim landed in a heap, his back cracking against the rough bark of a palm tree. When the fogginess left his mind, he expected the worst – and that was what he found. The Crusader, sword held high up above his head, wore a psychotic smile on his face.

Darim was a goner for sure.

Of course, he wasn’t expecting a woman that smelt of disinfectant to appear out of thin air and save his skin.

 

Rogue ripped the Damascus out of its scabbard just as the Crusader dropped down his sword for the coup-de-grace. Rogue blocked the swing and the soldier’s sword was sent wide. Crusader backed-up, the hit jarring the bones in his arm, but Rogue fought on. She kicked him fully in the chest, and he went down sprawling in the sand. Standing over him, Rogue killed the Crusader quickly. She looked around. There were a number of skirmishes taking place everywhere.

They’re losing, she thought, horrified, Us, we’re losing!

 

Still staring in wonder, Darim watched as the cowled woman caught a stray horse and mounted it without difficulty.

There is a God, he thought.

He stood up stiffly and continued to watch her. Many had stopped fighting and gazed at her in a likewise manner to Darim.

There were no women amongst the Assassins’ fighters: Where did this one suddenly come from?

 

Rogue scanned the area again. Assassin forces were all scattered.

The Crusaders are going to break in... We need to reform.

Kicking the horse into a canter, Rogue raised her sword above her head, “Assassins!” she cried, “On me!”

The desert skirmish silenced immediately and all stared at her.

Rogue growled. “Move it, damn you!” she ordered.

There was a momentary pause, but then – slowly, slowly – the Assassins formed around her, fighting back any Crusaders that followed; creating an impenetrable shield-wall. Only, it was a shield-wall that killed you if you came too close.

“Charge!” said Rogue. The Assassins leapt – again chaotic – onto the remaining numbers of the Crusaders.

 

Rogue joined in for a time too, until a solid object hit the back of her head and the world went dark...

 

* * * * *

 

Rogue stared at the ropes that bound her hands together. Her tongue flicked in the corner of her mouth, she used her fingers to pull one of the ropes out of two loops. She growled, frustrated, as the ropes tangled into a new mess. She huffed, and leaned back against the hay behind her.

 

When she’d come to, Rogue had found herself lying – no sword and no robes – in a place that could only be a stable [her next-door cell-mate was a horse], she sat up and found her hands bound in an intriguingly complex knot. It could have been hours or days; she’d been trying to work out how to undo it. But now – after however long it had been – she’d given up. There wasn’t an actual point in getting out of the knot or the stable-prison; Rogue was where she had to be. She’d expected to be captured and eventually interrogated. She stretched out her feet in front of her, and watched her horse-neighbour snort at her curiously.

 

Rogue heard the rush of feet, and sat up straight, furrowing her brows and sensing something was amiss.

That’s not the way an interrogator approaches you, she thought, And unless there’s some horse-emergency that I’m unaware of, someone here is trying to get a sneak-peak at me – an alien from some unknown planet.

And sure enough, a hooded figure in robes unlatched the door to her cubical. On seeing him, Rogue noticed that the man wrinkled his nose at her. The stench of manure was heavy in the air, but Rogue was unaware of it until now.

If you can bear Nazgul manure, you’re practically immune to all other bad smells.

He had a dish in his hands, covered with a napkin, and he said: “I have to get you out of here.”

 

Rogue raised her brows, “I’m sorry?”

“I have to get you out of here,” repeated the man, “You’re innocent,” he removed his cowl.

Rogue stared at him, recognising his face but unable to place it with a name. Then it struck her, “You’re Darim. Darim ibn LaAhad, son of the Master Assassin, Altair!” Rogue suppressed the excitement.

This is no time to fan-girl, she told herself, You’ll have plenty of time to get him to sign a t-shirt later.

“You seem to know who I am,” said Darim, “But... who are you? Where did you come from?”

“Are you my interrogator?”

“No.”

“Then I’ll keep that information for them. You won’t believe my story.”

 

Darim frowned a little, “They believe you’re some sort of Templar scheme. Some sort of spy. But you saved my life just a few hours ago.”

“I did what now?”

“You saved my life. You probably didn’t realise it, but your first kill when you... appeared was just about to be done with me.”

“Darim... I merely defended myself,” said Rogue, sitting cross-legged, “Don’t get me wrong, I’m on your side. I am an Assassin like you. But the guy was holding a sword over my head. There was no Templar or Assassin or Crusader or Saracen at that moment – just someone who was about to kill me.”

“Nonetheless, you saved me.”

“You don’t know that,” Rogue shook her head and stood up. She placed her hands on his chest, trying to get a better look at the man she’d never even imagined she’d meet, “Had your place been reversed with the Crusader, you would have been just as dead.”

“Um...”

 

Rogue felt his heartbeat increase beneath her palms, and she tilted her head to a side, amused, “Still single?”

Darim flushed, “I... um...”

“What are you? Nineteen?” she stepped away from him, and sat back in her place.

“I’m twenty-five,” said Darim, indignant and irritated.

“Whoa, seriously?”

“And you are...?”

“Midnight Rogue,” she said, grinning with cheek, “Pleased to meet you.”

Rogue?” he said, stretching the word – unable to recognise the sounds of some of the letters in the name, “You’re no Arab.”

She nodded, “And nearly double your age.”

Darim eyes widened, “You’re fifty?!”

“Well, no. Forty, almost.”

“You look barely twenty-one!”

Rogue’s jaw tightened, “Well, in my world we live longer than thirty-five. I must be ancient to you.”

“If you are what you say, then yes. Most people would envy your youthfulness in old age.”

Rogue furrowed her brows, “Old age? I’m not a hundred!”

“That’s not what I meant...”

“I’ve had enough for the moment, thanks,” Rogue turned around, ignoring the man’s presence.

 

* * * * *

 

There’s only one thing worse than being interrogated, but better than being tortured. And that was being tied to a chair, blindfolded, and having the people who you’ve admired for so long, embarrass themselves.

“You aren’t scaring her, Malik,” said one voice.

“With that attitude, my friend, I won’t be able to scare her,” said another, tersely.

“No, she wasn’t scared from the beginning. She practically undid your amateur knot.”

That was an amateur knot?! thought Rogue, blindly.

“Altair,” said Malik, “I only have one arm!”

“Will both of you please give me back my gift of sight?” interrupted Rogue.

 

There was a momentary pause, but then the cloth that had been tightly wrapped around her eyes was removed and she squinted to see the two towering figures that stood in front of an open window. One was cowled, and had a sombre expression. He wore thoroughly-worn white robes held by a thick brown belt, and the famous Hidden Blade mechanism was strapped to his left arm. He had no ring finger on that hand, Rogue noticed, and he stood straight and looked unimpressed by Malik’s embarrassing tactics of interrogation. Malik wore no cowl and was clad in dark blue robes. He had dark hair and sported a short, well-kept beard. He had only one arm, having lost the other a long time ago.

Perhaps it was better to have the blindfold on... thought Rogue, aware that she was probably smiling like a mad-person.

She suddenly became very self-conscious. Having your hands tied behind your back, and your calves tied to a chair-leg each so that your legs were splayed, when you were only wearing a vest and tight back jeans wasn’t exactly classy.

But the two men didn’t seem to care about her attire.

 

“Wipe that smile of your face,” Altair snapped.

Rogue gulped and did as she was told.

“Now,” he took one step towards her, “My son says you appeared out of nowhere. This seems a little outlandish, you understand, but also suspicious. So explain yourself – who are you and where did you come from?”

Rogue gulped again, mad with worry that they would not accept her story [not that anyone could ever blame them], but she explained everything: About dimensional shunting, the situation in her own time and age, and the need for their help.

 

After Rogue had finished, even beneath his cowl – Altair looked impressed.

It’s either she’s mad, he thought, Or she has a remarkable imagination.

“And how were you able to retreat to our time?” asked Malik, more intrigued than hostile.

“Using the Pieces of Eden,” said Rogue.

Altair and Malik glanced at each other, sharing a knowing look.

Now it’s either she’s a Templar, thought Altair, Or she’s telling the truth.

 

“Um...Rogue,” said Malik, “You do understand that your story sounds a little... far-fetched?”

Rogue laughed, “Just a little? My story is probably the thing that induced the term ‘far-fetched’!” and as she was saying that, she realised that perhaps that presumption wasn’t so far off the mark. She was about seven-hundred years before her own time after all.

“Well, whatever the case,” said Altair, folding his arms, “We’re going to need a show of loyalty.”

Rogue’s eyes sparked in interest, “Just tell me who, where and when.”

“Geoffrey d’Franc, Jerusalem – the times of his appearance may vary, but if you are an Assassin as you say, I’m assuming that this is no problem for you?”

“It is not,” said Rogue, nodding, “May I take any weapon of my fancy?”

“You may,” Altair stretched out his hand, gesturing behind her, “And as I’m feeling generous today, my son shall escort you to your destination.”

 

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