[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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20. 18 – Political Distraction

Edward walked out of his damp-smelling room to the kitchen, holding a shirt in his hand. He frowned as Mariqah turned to him from the spicy curry she was making.

She stirred the contents of the pan one more time, before she put on the lid and said, “Morning, sunshine,” she smiled mockingly, “you have any idea what time it is?”

 

“Always mocking with you,” said Edward, he raised the shirt, “Is Dante seeing us today? Usually you’re a’right with me walking around bare-chested.”

“I wouldn’t say ‘alright’, Edward,” said Mariqah, leaning against the counter, “But yes, Dante wants to visit. He’ll be here soon. It’s lunch-time. I don’t know if you and your… friend still want breakfast.”

“Did you make it?”

“No.”

“Then make it.”

Mariqah shook her head, “Go get your Mariqah-Insomnia buddy, give her something to wear, and come eat. Do you want tea?”

“Aye,” said Edward, walking out.

“And ask her if she likes her eggs sunny-side-up!” she called, taking out the frying pan and making for the fridge to get out a loaf and eggs.

 

As the eggs fried and the bread toasted, Mariqah made two mugs of tea and turned off the hob as her pan of curry was done. She waited, folding her arms and watching wisps of steam rise out of the mugs, the soft crackling of the eggs filling her hearing. It was a nice sound, she noted. Warm and somehow homely. The toast sprang out of the toaster and Mariqah hurried to butter them and put the fried eggs on a dish.

She heard Edward and his ‘friend’ approach.

 

“Sleep well?” she asked.

“Yes,” said the girl, smiling as Mariqah turned around.

Mariqah gave Edward a look, “What part of ‘give her something to wear’ didn’t you understand?”

Edward shrugged, “She didn’t want to wear nothing.”

“Go and wear something,” said Mariqah, pointing to her bedroom, “and I don’t care if my tops aren’t tight enough or my pants aren’t short enough – you’re going to get pneumonia if you stay nude in this house,” she paused and looked at Edward, “or an STD.”
“Hmph, jealous much?” muttered the girl as she went into Mariqah’s room.

Mariqah stared after her, “Your habits have got to change, Edward,” she murmured, “or at least keep the rude ones out of this place.”

 

“Aye,” said Edward, “And ones that don’t talk so much,” he sat down to eat, “is there any more of that rum left?”

“Have tea first,” said Mariqah, “then you can have rum. And please go wear that shirt.”

“I dare say, you’re starting to sound like my wife.”

“Don’t push it, Kenway.”

“Why is everything lines and boundaries with you, eh, Mari? Would it kill you to loosen up a little?”

“Believe me, Kenway,” said Mariqah, pulling out a chair and sitting front-to-back, “if I was loose, I’d never get much done.”

“Aye, but there’d be loads doing you.”

“Oi, mate, watch it!”

Edward laughed, “Kiddin’, kiddin’.”
 

“Christ!” said the girl, exiting Mariqah’s room, “What size are you?”

Mariqah suppressed a smile, “Jealous much?”

The girl scowled at her, sitting uncomfortably in a blouse and jeans that looked far too tight on her, “Please. With a guy like that in your house, you’re either the one who’s jealous or a pretty hard lesbian.”

Or,” said Mariqah, picking out bits of eggs from Edward’s sandwich and eating them, “I know the difference ‘twixt a gentleman, a friend and a player,” she blew a raspberry at her, “It’s called boundaries, lass.”

“Please! Boundaries don’t get you a good time.”

“Aye, and them good times’d probably get you pregnant and ill quicker than any actual good,” Mariqah shrugged, “Save it for your high-school friends, little lassie, a dull wit don’t really impress me.”

“Yes, well you clearly haven’t impressed him.”

“Maybe I’m not trying to.”

“And why not?”

“Because maybe he has an… itch that I happen to know about.”

The girl stared at her, “Itch?”

“If I were you, I’d go see your GP.”
 

The girl got up, knocking over her chair, and scurried her way to the door. She swung it open and bumped into a man in a well-ironed shirt and suit-pants.

“Ah, Dante,” said Mariqah, “Good to see you, come in,” she gestured from the table for him to come join her.

He made his way to them awkwardly, closing the door behind him, “Who was that?”

“One of Edward’s bad habits,” said Mariqah, wrinkling her nose, “You might just get in trouble if you ain’t clean, mate,” she told Edward, punching him playfully in the shoulder.

“Does me little worry, Mari,” said Edward, “From the way you say it, she’s probably not so clean herself.”

“I’m sorry, am I interrupting poor-banter session?” said Dante.

 

Mariqah and Edward paused.

“Why’re you so grim today?” said Mariqah, “Something happen to our passage?”

“Why is it always about you, Rogue, hmm?” said Dante, “There are other things to worry about!”

She paused again, “Did your wife forsake your bed last night?”

Dante stiffened, tipping his head slowly to a side, “Can we not go down that alley?”

“I’m sorry,” said Mariqah, raising her arms in nonchalance, “I’m only basing your mood on what I see in Khadir when he’s bitching.”

“I am not–!” Dante sighed, “She didn’t take it well, when I told her Leonardo’s gone to join the mercenaries in Normandy, yes. There, are you satisfied? Now, to actual, real, important business – rumours in Masyaf are brewing. Richard and Britney are inquiring about you and my ties with you. And, though they made the letter seem quite… care-free, it’s clear they have their suspicions,” he sighed again, putting a hand to his head, “I’m not entirely sure what to do. There’s more at stake than just my standing here as a Brotherhood advocate. Richard holds my older son.”

“…He’s threatened you?”

“Well… well, no. Not openly. But it’s there, Rogue. I don’t know what to do. Do I tell him you’re not here? Do I hand you in? Do I give you a week’s head-start and pretend then I’m hunting you down?”

 

“What do I look like to you, a bloomin’ turkey for Thanksgiving?” snapped Mariqah.

“I’m at a loss, Rogue!”

“I know, but get a grip, man!” Mariqah stood up and walked to the window, “No. Suspicions will always be suspicions. You have work from a different angle.”
“Please, don’t talk in riddles.”

Mariqah tapped her chin, “Go to them.”
“What?”

“Go to them. Show them you’re on their side. Come clean. Tell ‘em I made you side with me. Tell ‘em I put your wife and son in jeopardy. Tell ‘em,” she said, looking at Dante as ideas slowly came to her, “I took him hostage, that he’s at Normandy right now.”

“Oh?” Dante scoffed, “And then what, Rogue? Wait for those venomous snakes to come to my ‘rescue’?”
 

Mariqah paused, and pointed out the window with her chin, “Look at them, Dante,” she said, pensively, “Look at them. Food that makes them sick. Walls that barely keep the wind and rain and snow out. A less than decent life to be living,” she turned her head to Dante, “Use them.”
He stared at her for a while, a little bitterly, “You’ve lost me.”

“You know our plan, Dante. Free Masyaf from the likes of Richard and Britney. That’s the priority. But who’s the other enemy here? Now?”

Stop slow-walking me and just tell me!”
“We create a rebellion, Dante! We create a rebellion and mask our true priority! That way Simeon will have hands too full to aid Richard in my downfall, and Richard will lower his guard! You’ll be off his case if you go running to him pretentiously-scared!” she then said, barely above a whisper, “Then you make them rot from inside, out!”
 

“How will we raise a rebellion if I’m not here?”

“Leave your best man under my command. I’ll have the biggest horde of angry poor people history has ever seen in a week, tops,” she walked up to Dante, “by the end of this month, I’ll’ve captured cities. The Emperor will be forced to act, and Richard will be forced to cut any ties he plans to make with Simeon. Then I’ll leave all in the hands of your man, to wreak havoc and confusion.”

“…And then?”

“I head for Nassau, come back – and destroy everything.”

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