[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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23. 21 – The Stitches in Time

Edward tore the wanted-posted from the lamp-post and stared down at the image of Mariqah. There had been wanted posters they’d come across before, but not with images attached. He stuff it in his pocket and made his way to the abandoned warehouse next to the docks – the cries of gulls filling his ears and the smell of salt livening him. He smiled more day by day, the longer they stayed near the docks, waiting for the ship that would sail them to Nassau. It was like a home away from home for him. He could even spear the odd fish, if Mariqah lent him her sword (which she still hid in a guitar case). He opened one of the large double doors, and entered, closing it behind him.

 

He found Mariqah sitting with one leg outstretched, the other folded beneath it, leaning against a stack of boxes. She was tying a belt tightly to her upper-arm, holding one end in her mouth, and then bent and flexed her arm so that her veins began to stick out. She then took a hypodermic needle out of a box and steadied herself.

 

“What are ye doing, Mari?” asked Edward, looking at her oddly.

She stared up at him, annoyed, “Need to focus, Ed.”

Her hands shook as she concentrated again.

Edward snorted, “The lass goes around killing people and she’s scared of a little needle?”

Please?”

He shook his head, and sat opposite her as she injected herself several times. She relaxed and then took the belt off, applying a fresh bandage.

 

“Can I have an explanation now?” he asked, amused.

“Vaccinations,” she said, “They help prevent disease. I should probably give you a few.”
Edward paused, “Nah, I don’t think that’s necessary.”

“Scared, mate?” Mariqah laughed.

Edward pulled the poster out of his pocket and handed in to Mariqah, in an attempted distraction, “And can you explain this, lass?”

She looked at the poster, “Dick,” she muttered.

“’Cuse me?”

“What? No, I meant Richard,” she said, “Urgh, when I get my hands on him…”

 

“Aye, and yer pretty close to going to him,” said Edward, “Just Nassau and then Masyaf, eh? But, tell me, Mari… What’ll you do afterwards?”

“Presumably? Disappear.”

“Disappear? Why?”

“Because I want nothing more to do with them.”

“Then why bother going fixing this mess at all?”

“Because it was a condition in sanctioning our journey to Nassau. What’s a person without his word, mate?” she paused and then added, “And… and because I’ve been meaning to wring that weasel’s neck for a while now. He had a hand in killing a good friend of mine – a man so old, he could’ve been my great, great, great, great grandfather. How despicable can a man be, eh? Him and his whole family – gutted and left to rot because of that prick. The worst of it is, I didn’t know until halfway through the War last year,”

 

“Aye, makes me wonder how such a young lass can make such an old friend,” he searched through his kit, and got out a bottle of rum. He took a swig, “We’re not much different, you and I.”

“How do you figure?”

“We do what we do, for coin and fame. We do as we please.”

“Aye,” mumbled Mariqah, “Aye, coin and fame…”

“That’s what you said, didn’t ye? To Dante’s lad. About ideas and coin. Did you ever believe an idea, Mari?”

“I did once. But time and age teaches you, Edward. I do not believe in the Creed of the Assassins. Not fully. Not even by a decent half. I shouldn’t be associated with them.”

“Makes me wonder how you choose sides, Mari, when you fight people’s wars. Is there a moral intent behind all those contracts? Or do ye just take the largest benefactor?”

 

“Nay, I don’t wait to be issued a job, Edward. I offer the assistance – to both sides at first. I offer them a considerable amount of brute for a considerable amount of wealth. I draw up a subjective contract to both sides, I hear both stories,” she looked up at Edward, “then I pick a side and decline the other. The odds are often in my favour and I rarely count losses. But, of late, I’ve been… biased. And my lads ‘ave paid the sum for it. I’ve been fighting Richard’s wars, making Richard’s sacrifices, and burying Richard’s dead. My lads have died for nothing for long enough – perhaps it was a sign from God that I’ve ignored for too, too long. That I was fighting on the wrong side, or for the wrong people. It’s one thing to die on the battlefield in honour and nobility. It’s an entirely different thing to die for a lying, bleeding, treacherous bastard,” she growled a little, “And when I get my hands on him, his unborn children laying rested in his loins will feel my punishment and his ancestors will turn in their graves.”

 

Edward stared at her with mild curiosity for a while, “Do you ever think of loving again, Mari?”

“Edward–”

“I ain’t looking for your love, I swear. But… your lad is never going to come back.”

She paused, “And his absence has taught me that it’s much easier to live alone, with no worry – than to live loving with insistent wakefulness!”

“You’re angry with him.”

“Of course I–” she caught herself, “I… I miss him,” the subject began to make her tense.

“Is it worth saving yourself for a man who’s never going to see you again? Why don’t you move on? You’re always so uptight, always calculating and always thinking. When are you going to seek out happiness?”

 

“I was seeking out happiness!” she yelled. Her voice echoed around the empty warehouse, being greeted by the frightened squeaks of mice, “I was! I was happy here! You know what – I was so happy, that my biggest enemy offered me sanctuary, just to shut me up and keep me away from the Assassins! But I numbered my chickens before they hatched! Because you came along!”

“Oi, Mari, it ain’t my fault that things went wrong! I didn’t summon no portal, lass!”

“Bad luck follows me everywhere! Urgh, I am da-mned! On my own, sleeping on benches – I felt so at peace. As if angels rocked me to slumber, and the harsh winds of the night soothed my broken mind. I chased after riches, and fortresses, and power, and glory – and I found none! None, that made me any happier than I was when my family abandoned me with my mother’s children!” she sighed, stifling a sob, “I abandoned them then. And now I abandoned my lads – and I swear that is the only thing that I’ve yet to do. That is the only path to happiness left. And I will keep them safe from the clutches of that unfaithful rat!”

 

“Mari…”

What!”

Edward pointed behind her, “It’s… it’s…”

Mariqah stood and spun around, eyes wide.

A sparkling gap stood out in the middle of all dimensions, not fitting perfectly in with everything around it. It looked like a hole in a stitched fabric that someone was pulling apart, white light shimmering out of it. A r-i-i-i-pping sound filled the warehouse, as the tear began to expand.

“No…” Mariqah mumbled, “No, no, no…”

 

There was a flash of blinding light, before Mariqah and Edward opened her eyes and found themselves standing on the deck of the Jackdaw

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