[Mock-Fiction] V - Fures Misericordiam

Note: Please read the Formal Notice movella. It should be on the list on the right hand side.

Aye. Tis me again.

Cover by Secrets Unfold

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18. 16 – Reunited

Mariqah yawned as she stepped out of one of the hostel rooms, more comfortably dressed in a jacket, shirt and trousers, her hair held back by a simple band and the scent of beauty washed from her face and body. She hadn’t felt more real all night. She sighed, smiling a little, as she looked down the stairs to a remarkable view of the wreckage her lads had made of the gambling den. She descended the stairs and leaned back against an upturned table. A large man came up and handed her a glass bottle.

“Thank you, Hans,” she said, taking a swig and then coughing. She spat, “It tastes like somebody’s pissed in this, lad,” she said, laughing, handing the bottle back, “Urgh, how do any of you drink this?”

 

She could see Edward eyeing her from the other end of the room. She raised her head in a gesture to make him come.

“I’m missing something,” he said, as he approached, “These all your admirers?”

“Aye,” said Mariqah, kicking a broken chair-leg, “but the politically-correct term would be ‘mercenaries’.”
Before Edward could say anything more, Dante approached and Mariqah rose saying, “I hope this wasn’t your doing.”

 

“What a bloody mess!” said Dante, taking in the destruction of his den.

“In short response to that, I’m no hide-and-go-seek killer, mate,” Mariqah laughed, “You asked for a man dead, and I got your man dead,” she paused, “Oh, will you stop looking like that? Put it on my tab – I’ll have this place looking good as new before the sun goes down tomorrow.”

“Do you never get tired of wasting your jack?”

“Wasting?” Mariqah turned away from him, “What’s a hoard of money for, if not for spending, mate?”

“Yet, you’ve been sleeping in gutters for the past year?”

“And felt at home doing it,” she put her hands in her pockets and looked around, “Alright, boys, now that its easier to walk and breathe – I think I have a thing or two to say to you.”

 

The mercenaries turned to look at her, dropping the spoils they were gathering. She stood up on an chair, and said, “Since you lot lent a hand in saving my skin tonight, I’ll refrain from giving you all a good bollocking. But that don’t change the fact that you lot did a stupid thing coming here,” she spread her arms, “Two of the most powerful people on the planet have put a bounty on my ‘ead, and I seen those posters. I seen the number of zeros coming after that pound-sign and that one. You don’t want to be caught and interrogated for me, believe it,” she smiled broadly, “but that don’t mean that I’m not glad to see you,” her face became serious again, “Listen. I want you lads to go back the way you came. Today. And no accidents, so don’t drink too much. Sit pretty in Normandy ‘til I come to ye – then you’ll have me bawling at you to march! again in no time. That understood?”

 

There was a chorus of  “aye”, before Mariqah climbed down and met with Dante, “You didn’t bring them here?”

“Nope. All I did was tell them that you’ll be joining them soon and that your safe here in London.”

“Aye,” said Mariqah, shaking her head, “that’s why I prefer sending my own letters. You told them I was in London? These lads haven’t seen their commander – and the practical mother of the better half of their lives – in over a year, man!”

“Oh, please, Mari – you’ve been soldierin’ them, not motherin’ them,” said Edward.

 

“Ah, it takes more that a loud voice and a hard cane to make a lad into a man, Kenway,” she looked at him, “That’s why their fathers send them to me – none of them come willingly,” she turned to the mercenaries, “Tell ‘em, lads, how many nights I had to stay up telling old war-stories when the lot of you get the runs,” she laughed, “The most common injury in the infirmary is an infected paper-cut. Infected paper-cut. Boys will ever be boys. Good Greif, I feel sorry for that old wispy physician – mending a dying lad with a dismembered leg, and then having a poorly lad yammering about splinters! How is the old coot?”

The mercenaries smiled and there was a chorus of  “well”.

“Aye, good,” said Mariqah, “That man has saved more of your lives than you know it. I hope you lot have been laying off of him,” she took another bottle from Hans and drank, “Much better. Thank you, Hans,” she raised it to him, “Irn-Bru does me credit and the rest of you some favours. Where’s Khadir?”

 

“Over here, ma’am,” he said, coming over.

“Good to see you, akhee,” she said, going over and embracing him, “Very good to see you. I see you’ve kept the lads in shape? And that you’ve mastered the English language? Quite impressive.”

“Tell me – what is it, now? Mari? – When will people learn not to duck with mercenaries?”

“Learnt it too well,” Mariqah muttered, “They call me ‘Mariqah’ in these parts – or ‘Mari’, for bloomin’ short.”

“Why can’t you come back to Normandy with us?”

 

“Khadir: Always quick to meet with business,” she shook her head, “But then, talking was never your thing. This,” she gestured to Edward, “is Edward Kenway: pirate, marauder, scourge of the Seven Seas–”

“Oh, you’re too kind, Mari,” chuckled Edward.

“–And unfortunately from the eighteenth century. I’m heading to Nassau, taking him home. Then I’ll come back to Britain and sort out all the trouble that Richard’s been making with you lot in Normandy.”

The bearded man looked from Edward back to Mariqah, “You’ll be coming back to us?”

Mariqah nodded solemnly, “Aye. Hold the lads until then,” she paused, “And how’s Myra?”

 

“Better than she was a month ago, when she found out her fiancé was tupping an abbess.”
“Hmm,” Mariqah looked around the den, thinking, “give her two more months to cool off, then reinstate her. She’s a good soldier. And tell her I said we’ll make Richard pay. His crime on her will fit his punishment. It’s only too bad you didn’t bring her along. Would have been good for her to blow off some steam out here.”

“She… she’s loathe to see you.”

“I can understand that. What I don’t understand,” said Mariqah, “is why you lot are so eager. I practically abandoned you all.”

Khadir paused, and then smiled a little, “No-one can stay mad at family, Mariqah.”

She looked away, “I wish that were true, Khadir.”

 

“Khadir, is it?” said Edward, “This fella is huge, Mari.”
“Watch your tongue, this is my lieutenant, Kenway, and my brother in sword,” she replied, taking a seat, “And with jealousy to spare. His father trained me in the desert. A nomad. Those were the days,” she mimicked with her hands, and spoke in a mockingly reminiscing voice, “Oi, Mari, this is how we eat scorpions in the desert!” they laughed, “And this is how we feed snakes to sheep!” she shook her head, “I was a gullible idiot, then. Boy, did Khadir make a fool of me. How the old man yelled at me for poisoning his sheep. Still, brother or no, Khadir could never throw me off in a fight.”

“Aye,” said Khadir, laughing, “One time she sat on my back, with both my arms twisted backwards, until I called her ‘uncle’. We started fighting at sunrise. Didn’t stop until it got dark. Say ‘uncle’, she’d keep yelling. Say ‘uncle’.”

 

“Your father never did let that one go, did he?”

“He reminds me every time I see him.”

“When was the last time? You saw your father? Or your wife and your kids?”

“They’re in Normandy at the moment. He was expecting to see you. He doesn’t like… stone walls much.”

“I can imagine,” Mariqah snorted, “The man liked moving around with his thousand sheep,” she laughed, “Enough jeering, I think, you lads get a move on. Hold the fort me, for a little longer, ay, Khadir?”

“They all from the desert?” asked Edward, “The one that handed you the drink… he looks like he came from a slum in Germany.”

“He did,” said Mariqah, “bastard son of a priest.”
 

“My God, father,” came a voice, “What a mess! Did you have an army throwing dice last night?”

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