[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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7. 5 – Old Fashion Assassinating

 

It’d been a while since Rogue had been on horseback, and she was certain that with the amount of riding she was doing, she’d be saddle-stiff for a good month or so. But this was so worth it. She wasn’t used to being a fangirl. Hell, she wasn’t used to being a girl. But this was an exception to every single Bro-Code that ever had female followers. This was making history in the literal sense. And having been so absorbed in history [and not to mention, Assassin’s Creed], Rogue felt it was alright to be a fangirl.

Exclusively for this occasion and no other.

 

However, there was still the issue of Darim. Rogue was fifteen years his senior, but despite that he seemed determined to impress her. It was annoying. Rogue was not the kind of person to chase after; she was the kind of person to run away from. She could have been paranoid, of course. Any Assassin from this time and age impressed her... but, who knew, eh? Perhaps she ought to lighten-up and feel good about herself.

That was the other thing – What was there to feel good about?

When you have a guy, who’s so young he could be your nephew or even son if you had been a really bad kid, chasing you for the odd glance or blush, it felt... weird. In the bad sense. Rogue hadn’t been in a relationship since... well, since ever – and this was just something she’d never opt for. She could be as celibate as Mother Teresa, as crippled as Dr. Stephen Hawking, as mad as Adolf Hitler – but she’d never even considered being a... cougar.

 

But onto more important issues: The Assassins had supplied her with more weapons than she could have dreamed of. When she set her sights on the weapons room, Rogue had literally squealed like a psychotic little kid. She’d taken her Damascus and her other weapons back from the Master’s Study [where she’d squealed again], and then from the weapon’s archive she took a few more daggers, knives, a chainmail shirt and a Hidden Blade [though, she knew she couldn’t use it unless she lost a finger... but she’d have to meet Leonardo da Vinci anyway, so she assumed that he’d gladly fix it for her]. Rogue wasn’t a fan of the bow. It was too big and it seemed a bit of a, er, ‘girly’ weapon [typical], but she picked up a cross-bow and a quiver of arrows. Then she’d picked a decent horse, and headed out with Darim.

 

As the two horses trotted through the city of Jerusalem, their hooded riders looking travel-worn and as inconspicuous as possible, Rogue marvelled at the scale of the city. The bustling markets, the shady back-streets, the towering spires of the mosques and churches – sheer brilliance. It made Ubisoft’s generated impression look like a complete rip-off.

More of those fans need to go back in time, she thought happily.

“You seem so marvelled by this,” said Darim, “Is there no Jerusalem in your world?”

“There is,” said Rogue, “But it’s been worn down by war,” she looked around the place, “The Holy Land never seems to be free of it.”

“It has been destroyed?”

“No. But this beauty that it holds now... It’s gone. Perhaps, forever. There is peace there now, in my time, but it will break soon. It always has. It always will.”

“Sad, really. It’s usually such a peaceful place. The monks on one end, the sheikh’s on the other, the rabbis in the centre. Like the eye of the storm: It is calm, whilst chaos rages around it.”

 

“Very poetic.”

“You have poetry in your time?”

Rogue nodded grimly, “Poetry that no longer rhymes.”

Darim tilted his head a little, “What’s the point of it then?”

“That’s a question that will remain unanswered. Something to do with ‘Freedom of Expression’. They’ve killed the art, and given a pen to all the untalented. And labelled it ‘Freedom’.”

Darim paused, and then: “Are you always so negative?”

Rogue laughed, “I’m negative incarnate. Today’s not a good day, that’s all.”

“Your time seems so bleak. We are at war here too, but it doesn’t sound half as bad as it does over in your world.”

“Ah, well...”

 

“Poems that don’t rhyme,” said Darim, frowning and speculating, “A peace-less Jerusalem. Forty-year-old women that aren’t married...”

Rogue straightened suddenly, “Let it go, dude!”

Dude?” asked Darim, quizzically, “Even if you complete this task, I don’t think I’ll enjoy visiting your world.”

“And I am envious of yours,” said Rogue, grateful for the change of topic, “This place has so much... colour.”

 

Darim paused a moment, and pointed slowly, “That’s him.”

Rogue followed the line of Darim’s vision. Geoffrey d’Franc trotted out of an inn, looking slightly unhinged and possibly drunk. It was hard to tell: with such a tall, brawny man in heavy armour. His flaxen, curly hair seemed so awfully out-of-place. He edged closer to a horse-drawn cart.

“Darim, he’s going to board that cart...” Rogue mumbled.

“Yes, he –” Darim stared after the cloud of dust before him as Rogue’s horse cantered away, “Rogue, come back here!” he called, “We could always try tomorrow! It’s too dangerous!”

Rogue galloped on. Sorry, Darim, she thought, But I’m a Cynic. And that means there is no ‘tomorrow’.

Geoffrey turned, narrowing his eyes as the hooded rider chased after him. He tapped the shoulder of the driver and conversed with him shortly. Rogue saw the driver nod.

What are they planning?

 

Suddenly, the cart swerved and hit a number of stalls. The scaffolds and merchandise came crashing down in a heap, the bewildered merchants shaking their fists in fury and screaming in discontent. Rogue’s horse stopped short of the wreckage of its own accord, neighing and snorting at the mess. Rogue scowled. Darim rode up to the site, prepared to say: I told you so, when he realised the horse no longer had a rider.

People gasped and pointed at a cowled figure, climbing up an ancient and probably sacred building, as quickly as a gecko. Rogue stood on the rooftop, observing the surroundings below, trying to find that wretched cart. She saw it, and, with a smile, ran after it.

 

She leapt from rooftop to rooftop, trying to keep the cart in sight.

I’ll catch it, she thought, As soon as it tries to turn at a junction, I’ll get my chance.

The cart edged closer to a forked road. Rogue frowned.

Those crossroads... that cart could change into any three of those roads. And it’s too risky to guess... I have to make my move now. But how...?

Rogue jumped from a roof and landed on another, feeling pain shoot up her ankles.

This used to be so easy, she shook her head, I feel so old! Curse Darim for his youthfulness! And curse me for cursing him!

 

Rogue gritted her teeth, noticing that she was a few steps ahead of the cart. She frowned as she realised that the cart would turn into the less desirable road. The one with no reachable buildings to jump onto.

Rogue’s father had once said: “To be an assassin you’d have to be either remarkably resourceful or completely insane.”

It was a good thing that Rogue had an excellent measure of both.

Without giving herself a moment to hesitate, she leapt off the roof – arms outstretched – and slammed into her target’s body.

The two – hunter and target – held onto each other for dear life as the buildings and people became a blur of nausea and sand. Rogue let go of d’Franc – crouching on the sand, stilling the dizziness – and watched him roll in the dust a few feet away from her.

 

d’Franc coughed and spluttered as he looked up at his pursuer.

“What,” he panted, “is the meaning of this?”

“In my time,” said Rogue, standing up, a hand on the pommel of her sword, “the meaning of this would be: You’re screwed.”

d’Franc gritted his teeth at the remark – not quite knowing what it meant, but getting the hint that is was derogatory – and staggered as he rose up, his own hand resting on the hilt of his broadsword.

Out of the crowd that had gathered, three men in Crusaders’ uniforms joined him. The four men drew their swords simultaneously.

“Cowled lady, I believe you,” said d’Franc, “are the one who is ‘screwed’.”

Rogue snorted, pulling out her Damascus in one hand and holding a curved dagger in the other, “That joke’s ahead of your time, mate,” she said.

 

d’Franc scowled again, and charged – his sword held overhead – the three Crusaders following after him in suit. Rogue smirked, and dodged to a side at the blow descended on her, and tripped d’Franc over with her leg.

I’ll take care of his entourage first, she thought, parrying the sword of one of the Crusaders, and using the dagger to stab him in his side. The man wailed, pulling back a moment and then lashing out with his sword again. The flat of the blade smacked Rogue on her hip, jarring her pelvic bones, but the attacker moved off; struggling to stem the flow of blood spilling out of his side. The other two ignored the plight of their companion, and charged at the hooded woman as one. Both swords were caught by the blade of the Damascus.

I hope d’Franc hasn’t bothered to get up yet, she thought, gritting her teeth under the weight of the two soldiers.

Seeing the slight gap between the two, she loosened her hold and stumbled through the narrow space, sword in hand. The two Crusaders lost their footing. Rogue’s arms were aching.

Man, I never thought I’d regret aging until now, she looked back quickly, sliding her sword through cranium of one of the men.

 

The other spun around, a glint of fear and shock in his eyes. Rogue stood poised as d’Franc came and joined him.

Rogue relaxed a little, I need a new game-plan. I barely made it out of those two guys. Man, Khadir would have loved this. Him and Noel and Jeb and Hans and Jack...

She could throw a dagger at one of them and catch them between the eyes. But the daggers she’d picked up were curved and no good for close throws. The butt of the dagger would end up hitting them. She began to notice things around her.

The people that had gathered at a distance, cheering and waving their fists.

The two dead Crusaders lying in the sand.

The blood red against the light yellow.

“What’s this?” said d’Franc. Rogue’s head snapped in his direction. He smirked, “Can’t you fight us?”

Rogue grimaced at him, his mocking tone making her bare her teeth.

“Tell you what, you have put up a good fight,” said d’Franc, his smile lengthening, “Lay down your arms now and you shall be spared. Perhaps we’ll make good use of you as a slave.”

 

And that’s when the butt of Rogue’s dagger hit him between the eyes.

 

d’Franc staggered back, blinded momentarily by the pain caused by the impact of the dagger, whilst Rogue slashed her Damascus. The Crusader standing next to d’Franc felt the impact throw his sword out of his hand and jar the bones in his arm. Rogue dug her nails into his Adam’s apple and ripped the organ out.

One of the many weak points in masculinity.

d’Franc, holding his forehead as his vision cleared, watched as Rogue stepped towards him. He backed away, holding his sword up threateningly.

But with little effect.

Rogue slapped the weapon out of his hands, kicked him full in the chest and sent him sprawling in the sand again. The target caught a good glimpse of Rogue’s face as she stood over him.

The ungroomed brows.

The dark circles under her eyes.

The central scar on her bottom lip.

This is no slave, he thought, helpless.

 

Rogue raised the sword and stabbed him cleaned through the chest. Closing his eyes, and picking up her dagger, she climbed up the nearest building and soon disappeared from sight.

 

* * * * *

 

Altair, Malik and Darim stood on a ledge to one of the towers of Masyaf.

A promise was a promise – Rogue had proved she was worthy. She held a vial containing Red Pills and handed one to each. Masyaf had been left in the hands of Maria Thorpe, Altair’s wife, until he returned from his journey to the future.

Rogue had given them instructions: “Swallow the Red Pill and then perform a Leap of Faith, and we’ll reach a place that’s completely white. I have to get a few others before we can head to my time, but I won’t take long.”

“We have to Leap?” asked Malik.

“No, but if we’re going to Time Leap, it only makes sense that we, well, Leap,” she’d said and then added, tongue-in-cheek, “Unless you feel you’re too old for that?”

Malik and Altair had shared an amused look at the remark.

“If she’s one of us,” said Altair, “She’s definitely one of your descendents, Malik.”

 

Now they stood on the ledge. Altair leapt first, then Malik.

Darim and Rogue watched as they disappeared before they hit the hay-stack beneath.

Darim put the Pill in his mouth and said to Rogue, “There’s something I need to do before I jump.”

Rogue tilted her head to a side, “What? Why?”

Darim kissed her full in the mouth, Rogue’s arms flailed behind her, losing her balance and staring murderously at Darim. He let go and stepped away from Rogue, “In case I break my neck,” he said, swallowing the Pill and jumping.

Rogue shook in fury, humiliated, blood throbbing angrily in her temples, “Oh, you’ll break your neck alright, Darim,” she muttered through her teeth, “You’ll get it when I’m through with you.”

 

She put a Red Pill in her mouth, momentarily choking.

Stupid Pills!

And then swallowed it down and jumped.

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