[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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10. 7 – Bianca

9 – Bianca

 

“Quick,” said Rogue, “Ezio, go to Paolo’s bordello. Leonardo and I will meet you there.”

“How did you–?” Ezio shook his head indignantly, “I do not flee!”

“Well, today is your lucky day!” Rogue pushed him to back back room of the shop, “Get out! Go!”

“But I–”

Rogue glared at him, “Don’t make me hurt you, Ezio.”

“You and what army, signora?”

“The kind of army that takes after a certain Bartolomeo di Alviano. Heard of him?”

Ezio paused, “Si…”

“Right, out you go then.”

 

A thick voice rattled from the entrance, “Who is it that you are shooing out?”

Rogue strode back to the main room of the workshop, her stride holding as much deceitful purpose as she could muster. There she found the tiny, cluttered room bombarded by five giant guards in colorful livery. The artist’s assistants were cowering in a corner each and Leonardo looked as if he was doing his best to appear intimidated.

Mi dispaice,” said Rogue, “that silly mutt came along looking for handouts again, messer Da Vinci,” she looked around the room, with feigned interest, “Mio Dio, what is the meaning of this?” she gestured at the guards.

The leading guard bawled in rather exaggerated laughter. The breath that came out of his mouth reeked of either exaggerated raw onions or exaggerated cheap wine or both. Almost everything about him looked exaggerated. He was practically a hyperbole in the flesh. His limbs billowed out like tree-trunks, his double chin was more than double, and to describe his belly as swollen would have been an understatement. Rogue turned her face away, finding the smell almost offensive.

He out-does Nazgul manure, she thought, her nose wrinkled.

 

“Who are you trying to fool, signora? This artista is well aware of who we seek. Do not interfere.”
She looked at Leonardo first and then at the guards, “And who is it that you seek?”
“He is a known renegade, surely you must have heard?”

“Forgive me, I am a traveller. I only arrived here a few hours ago.”

“Even so. There’s a huge bounty on his head. Il assassino, Ezio Auditore da Firenze.”

Il assassino!” gasped Rogue hysterically, “But, scuci, what would an assassin possibly want with a painter?”
“We are on sound knowledge that the assassin’s mother commissioned paintings from this artista.”

Rogue looked suddenly furious, “This is your evidence? This is what you waste my time for!”

The guard drew up straight, “…Signora, I–”

“Don’t you ‘signora’ me! Do you know who I am?” Rogue shook her fists in fury, “Leave here at once,” she pointed sharply at the door, “before my father has your head for this, this nonsense! ‘An assassin’s mother’! The very thought of it!”

 

“Who…” said one of the more curious guards, “exactly are you?”

Leonardo looked at Rogue with uncertainty.

What are you going to say now…? he thought.

Rogue’s nostrils flared, her fists clenched, her frame shaking as if about to erupt, “You dare question me?” she asked in a coldly quiet voice. “Are you familiar with the name Bartolomeo di Alviano?”

The guards gave small nods, their eyes wide.

I,” said Rogue, angrily, “am his Bianca!”

They gasped simultaneously, bowing and leaving without further question.

 

“How could you…?” Leonardo stared at the suddenly empty room, turning around slowly.

He found Rogue steadying herself on a table, a relieved look on her face, “Were you willing every bone in your body to look hostile?” she asked, “Because it wasn’t working out too well for you.”

“But how did you do that?”

She straightened, “The benefit of knowing the future. And being forced to go to a useless acting class – that doesn’t seem all that useless at the moment,” she brushed out a crease in her robes, “Come. Let’s go find our renegade and hope he hasn’t gone and gotten himself into trouble.”

 

Leonardo regarded her as she walked passed him towards the exit, “What could you possibly want me for in your era?”
Rogue stopped walking, “What do you mean?”

“I think I showed you just how terrifying I can be,” he replied, in a small voice, “I reckon a kitten with enlarged eyes and tawny little paws could do better.”

“Men of wisdom can succeed where men of brute strength fail,” said Rogue with a smile, “I can’t tell you too much about your future, Leo. But I’m telling you, we’ll need you alright.”

Leonardo nodded. “One last question,” he said.

“Yes?”
“Who’s Bianca?”
Rogue snorted, “Bartolomeo’s sword.”

 

* * * * *

 

Ezio looked at Rogue sourly as she entered the bordello with Leonardo.

 

The building was of a large structure, with marble floors and carved white pillars. Inside, there were statues of barely dressed women and an intricate painting detailing what Rogue would refuse to discuss with a person under the age of eighteen. There were silk drapes of red, giggling young girls whose attire left little to the imagination and lavish long couches of velvet, red and purple. The sites made her stare at the floor and blush uncontrollably. She’d known some pretty bad rendezvous point in the past, but this had to be the worst. If someone creeped up behind her now, she was sure they’d kill her.

 

Paolo, the middle-aged woman who ran the business, eyed her warily. Ezio had told her all about the appearance of the mysterious woman from the future, and Paolo had disliked every bit of the detail. She didn’t trust strangers, much less those with a lack of sanity.

“So,” said Ezio, “have you come to further undermine me?”

Rogue raised her eyebrows at this, but replied with just a simple, “No.”

Ezio was not to be moved, “Then why did you throw me out as if I was incapable? It’s my trouble, not yours.”

“You can’t kill every fool you meet, Ezio,” replied Rogue, “it’s a waste of your time and energy.”

“I’ll be the judge of that!”
Rogue bowed her head slightly, her right fist in her left palm, “Very well.”

 

Leonardo stood beside her, “She got rid of the guards with a good deal of lies,” said Leonardo, “Spared my shop all the mess a fight would have caused.”

Ezio looked surprised, “You didn’t kill them?”
Rogue shrugged, “I didn’t need to. They were so stupid, they could have practically been innocent.”

Leonardo, Ezio and Paolo looked at each other. This was something they had never seen or heard of before. A use of wit over the use of sword. The sparing of a life that really didn’t deserve to be spared – wasted as they were. But was this a show of loyalty? Ezio couldn’t be sure.

 

“Tell us… more of the turmoil in your world,” he said.

Rogue, with an exasperated sigh, explained all she could, from the very beginning of the story. The occurrence of Smith, the rise of the WD, the assassinations, etc. Her stories sounded so remarkably outlandish, that Ezio was moved to believe her Brotherhood did have the Pieces of Eden. He only knew of two, but she made out that there were several.

“Do you believe me?” she asked, with little hope.

Altair and Malik had been far easier to convince – a fair exchange: blood for help. But Ezio wasn’t yet the leader of his Brotherhood. His life as an Assassin had only recently begun. He didn’t have any specific, reachable targets for her terminate to show her loyalty.

“I… I guess…” even from the way he looked at her, Rogue could tell he still had his doubts.

“I know,” he said at last, “There is one thing that every Assassin knows: The Creed. What is it?”
Nothing is true. Everything is permitted.” Rogue paused, “But wouldn’t a Templar know that also?”
“Would a Templar bring that up?” asked Leonardo. He smiled in her direction. “I believe you,” he said.

“Tell me,” said Ezio, “do you know of the Fox? Il Volpe?”

“Yes,” said Rogue, with a smile.

“What’s his real name?”

“Gilberto.”

 

Ezio smiled. “How do we get to your future?”
Rogue held out two Red Pills in the palm of her hand, “Take one, both of you and swallow them. They’ll take you to a place that is completely white. And then to our Masyaf.”

Ezio looked at Paolo, “Take care of things in my absence. And take care of my mother and sister.”

Paolo nodded solemnly.

Leonardo and Ezio took a Pill each and swallowed them simultaneously.

Then Rogue took one herself, willing herself not to choke.

Home… she thought, One step closer to home…

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