[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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12. 9 – A Change of Plan

Rogue had a bad headache.

And Myra jabbering on and on about how Agent Hollywood kept fighting over her boyfriend, Richard, wasn’t helping. Too many things seemed to be happening at once. The ‘guests’ [as they became known] had claimed certain territories within and around Masyaf. To Rogue’s great honor and pleasure, the Assassins [and their painter] decided to bunk in her barracks, along with Oliver Cromwell and his handful of bodyguards. King Leonidas and King Alfred [with their meagre entourages] decided to live just outside the barracks, on the training grounds. Joan of Arc took up residence in the Abbess’s monastery. The Agents lived with the Brotherhood bunkers, whilst the members of the Kingdom of Movellas decided to abide in the Brotherhood barracks.

 

But a sudden influx of well-known historical figures didn’t sit well with the mercenaries. What Rogue previously thought was a good thing, turned into an excuse to miss training and break discipline. The mercenaries wanted a challenge, and their historical role-models did little in the way of declining them one. It bothered her, but not as much as some other very obvious problems.

One was Richard.

Urgh, Richard… she thought with distaste as she walked slowly, but purposefully towards the Bureau.

She cast the very thought of him out of her mind. Her argument with him had long been avoided – through simply ignoring him and her use of wit to squirm out of a tight space. Perhaps it was the time to tackle her problems with him head-on. Not that she wanted to. Rogue had always been more of a conflict supervisor, rather than a conflict resolutionist.

Then there was the issue of Darim.

It still annoyed her that they’d kissed just before they’d taken that first Time Leap.

He kissed me, not ‘we’ kissed! Rogue corrected herself.

Maybe if she was fifteen years old, she’d have been ecstatic. An ancient cut-throat had a real thing for her. Only, she wasn’t fifteen. She was fifteen years older than him.

 

But, amongst all these problems was the current, though it was much more insignificant:

It was a Sunday, 5 a.m. and the Bureau had called on her all over again.

This better not be about Pills, she thought, miserable, as she opened the door to the room.

The occupants looked up at her, their faces sombre, as she entered. The room was much colder than she expected it to be. Though, that could easily be put down to the facts that the sun hadn’t risen fully outside, the windows were open, and she was wearing a sleeveless vest. But there was something else. She couldn’t quite put her finger on it. It was as if the feeling in the room was bitter. Perhaps not angry or cold-shouldered. But just… removed of warmth. Seated were Lia, Enya, Sakura, Mitchell, and Leonardo. Boudicca, Darim and Altair were standing in the background, grim-faced and somnolent.

 

Rogue hesitated when no one ushered her in, as the Abbess had done the time before.

“What’s… going on?” she said slowly.

Enya stood up, “Something… we hadn’t considered has come up.”

Lia nodded, “We have a problem.”
On a whim, Rogue chose not to reply. This was something very, very bad – she could feel it. It only made it worse that her instincts told her that she held a primary factor of the problem’s solution.

“Have you heard the courier’s report, Rogue?” asked Enya.

“Jess’s spy has returned?” asked Rogue.

Enya nodded, “It’s not good,” she repeated.

“Then tell me.”

 

“The WD have rounded up ten thousand strong.”

 

Time froze as Rogue took in the information.

Ten thousand?” she repeated, a deafening mumble.

Ten thousand. The Brotherhood could never take on that number of soldiers – no matter how inexperienced. Even if the soldiers were ten thousand neanderthals – Rogue’s mercenaries and the Brotherhood’s army combined would be beaten by sheer numbers. They would be massacred.

“You’re absolutely sure?” said Rogue, in all seriousness, “The courier didn’t add a zero? Or two?”

“We had it confirmed by a number of spies,” said Enya, “It gets worse. They’re not far from here. They could launch an attack any time next week.”

 

“Then…” Rogue’s mouth became dry, as if filled with sawdust, but she continued, “then I’ll prepare my forces to defend the borders. I’ll post them at the trenches. I’ll–”

Or,” said Sakura, “we could resort to the alternative.”
Rogue paused, “Go on.”

“Jess was here earlier and we discussed it with her. She’s gone to make ready some equipment. She said that we can open Historical and Dimensional Rifts. We can use the people we’ve brought here as Anchors. We can pull armies upon armies out of time and space, and save Masyaf from complete destruction.”

Rogue narrowed her eyes, a sick feeling building in her stomach, “What… what’s the catch?”

“The procedure requires a lot of enegry,” said Lia. There was a slight apology in her voice.

“Kinetic?” said Rogue, helplessly, “Hydro-electric? Solar? Lunar? Tectonic?”

Leonardo stood, his face set, “Life,” was his simple reply.

 

The word echoed in Rogue’s mind.

Life.

There was only one life source they could possibly be referring to. There was only one life source that could fuel the opening of so many rifts at once. There was only one possibility.

“No,” said Rogue, frozen with shock, “No.”

“Rogue, you know it must be done,” said Sakura.

“No… n-no, no, no, no, no!” Rogue slammed her fists down on the table, “I can’t let you have him! Not him! Anything but him!”

“There is no other way,” said Lia, “If we defend Masyaf merely from the borders, we will be overwhelmed! You know that better than any of us, Rogue.”
“But…” Rogue gasped, holding her forehead, suddenly finding it difficult to breathe. There was a stinging high up in her nose, her tear-ducts activating after so many months of inactivity. Where once she’d have thought it ludicrous to cry in front of the other members of the Brotherhood, now she found it most appropriate.

With tears streaming down her face, she said, “You cannot have Squishy! He hasn’t ever had anything to do with any of this! I’m not going to sacrifice him!”

“He is our only means,” said Leonardo, “There is loss and gain in war. He is your loss.”

He doesn’t deserve to be lost!” Rogue barked. She rubbed the sharp sensation out of her eyes, sobs and whimpers escaping from her mouth. She could feel spasms riddle her hands, putting her fingers in unnatural positions. The veins in her temples and neck bulged as if about to burst.

 

Her past was resurfacing.

 

She felt surrounded by danger, surrounded by predators. The space in her chest became tighter, her breath becoming heavier and heavier. Rogue gritted her teeth, her hands clawing at her temples – covering her ears – as if trying to block out an especially painful sound.

The others bore witness to her body convulsing, as if possessed. She got down on one knee, trying to steady her nerves. Her breathing refused to become even.

They’re not trying to hurt you, she thought desperately, They’re not trying to hurt you…

You’d think that, wouldn’t you?” said a voice in her head, “It’s the same thing that poor little Mormon sucker thought before I got him killed. Do you remember that? Do you remember him?

Get out of my head, thought Rogue, gasping in agony, Get out of my head, Smith!

Aww, am I hurting you? You should have known better than to think so highly of your clingy father. He should have sent you to a lunatic asylum. He He You are a nutcase. A bloody schitzo. I’m not even here, and you’re telling me to go away.”
“Get out of my h-ea-d!” she yelled, audibly.

He never cared. And he was your father, for Pete’s sake,” the voice chuckled, “What makes you think that this lot does? They don’t care about you. Just their agenda. They’ll make you sacrifice what you have, but then what? They won’t have to deal with it. Not a single one of them. But guess who will.

“Shut up! Shut u-p!”

Go ahead. Deny it. I dare you.

Me!” said Rogue, “I’ll have to deal with it. Now go a-way!”

 

Her mind cleared immediately.

Rogue almost collapsed, her breathing now shallow. She became aware of a bleeding nose and ears, a light-headed feeling, and – most of all – everyone staring at her in confusion and fear. The gnawing in the pit of her stomach was gone. All that remained was a hollow, empty nothingness. She thought she had recovered from sadness. She was wrong. There she was, kneeling in the Bureau, broken and shattered all over again.

For a while she remained, staring blankly in oblivion, unable to understand nor care about anything else. Things had been taken from her before. Things she’d never thought were possible to remove.

And now it was happening again.

At that moment, she didn’t know of a Brotherhood, of mercenaries, of adventure, of chivalry and sacrifice. All she knew was that echoing sickness of having lost something that simply didn’t deserve to be taken away.

 

“R-Rogue…?” said Lia.

“You…” Rogue gulped down the bile that was lodged in her throat, “you can’t have… you can’t have Squishy.”

Darim suddenly grew very angry, “Oh, what is this?” he said hotly, “All this hue and cry over a pet!”

Rogue didn’t move her head, she was breathing heavily through clenched teeth.

She looked up at him, her pupils dilated, “I’ve nothing to do with you,” she said coldly.

She got to her feet, and walked out of the Bureau, stiffly but briskly.

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