[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


43. 41 – Apologies

Mariqah passed by a blacksmith’s tent, intent on taking up some work there. She’d found that work was always a good distraction from the thoughts that bothered her. It was a small black tent, grimy with soot and ash, and smoke billowed out of one of its corners and from its entrance.

“Evening, madam,” said the blacksmith, “anything I can do for you?”
“I’d be grateful if you allowed my to do some work,” she said, “to pass the time. And… to help me think.”
The man chuckled, “Well, I’m not going to say no to a break, but I may have to object to you workin’ my smithy.”

“I’ll be careful, I promise. And all the payment will go to you.”

The blacksmith considered this, and then said, “Fair enough. But I’ll have to keep an eye on you, yes? So that you don’t hurt yourself or nothin’. It’s tricky work, this.”

“Aye, that sounds agreeable,” she smiled, picking up a hammer and pulling out a half-finished sword from the furnace, “with your experienced tutelage, perhaps I can become the world’s greatest blacksmith yet,” she pounded on the hot metal, her hammer dropping tunefully to a beat.

The man snorted, “Oh, you’re all ready there, madam. You’re the forger of great and vicious men, you are.”

“Well… their soft on the inside, so.”
“Ha, ha – indeed!”


Their banter went on for a long while – until Mariqah’s face was smeared with ash and the muscles in her arms became weary.

It wasn’t long before Khadir found her and said, “I’ve been looking for you.”

“Aren’t you always?” she replied, handing the hammer back to the blacksmith and bidding him farewell, “What news’ve you got to tell me?”

“No news. I just came to ask you how your talks with Seth went.”
“He’s leaving in the afternoon tomorrow.”

“That’s it?” Khadir grinned, “You’re usually generous on details.”

“There’ll be consequences if he doesn’t leave. That’s all I’m going to say about it, for now.”

“Well… I’m sorry to say that they don’t look too intent on leaving, Mariqah.”

She shrugged, “Up to them,” she turned on heel to leave.


“Mariqah…” said Khadir, staying put, “I’ve never seen you like this.”

“People change.”
He narrowed his eyes, “What happened?”
She paused before answering, “You were right. About him.”
Khadir eyes widened, shocked, “How… how right?” he asked carefully.

“Stop lookin’ at me like that!” Mariqah snapped, “he… he kissed me. He asked me to marry him,” she scowled, “and then talked shite to my face about poor people deservin’ their poverty.”
“And… you told him to get out?”
“Wouldn’t you?”

“I don’t know. I’ve never been proposed to by a Prince– Oi!” he grabbed Mariqah by the arm as she tried to walk away, “Don’t be like that, I was only joking.”

“I don’t need that right now.”
“I’m sorry. It’s just… I don’t think I’ve ever seen you so… insecure.”
“Khadir, I am not talkin’ about this with you.”


“But you are and you will. Mariqah, you’ve tied yourself to that eleventh-century lout for too long. He’s gone. Move on with your life.”
“Wha…? This has nothin’ to do with Darim!”

“Of course it does. So Seth’s proposal was a little out of place, alright, and he kissed you. But are you going to tell me that you didn’t kiss him back? It takes two, you know.”

Mariqah looked away and muttered, “Aye, because you’re the expert on romance.”

“We aren’t talking about me. Why did you, when you’ve absolutely no interest in Seth?”
“Go away,” Mariqah mumbled.

“You miss Darim, Mariqah. You kissed Seth, because for a moment you forgot about Darim. But then you remembered and you’re angry about it. Angry about the fact that he’s not here and that some cheap stand-in – in relative comparison – is–”

“I said go away!”


“No! Mariqah, you’re making a mistake, ending talks with Seth like that! A big, big mistake! Fix it!”

“I’m not makin’ a mistake! He shouldn’t be here!”
“And Darim should?”
“This has…” Mariqah’s lips trembled, and her anger was replaced by sadness, “has nothing… to do with Darim. Why would it?” she sniffed and walked away, “Why would anything have to do with him? He’s gone, he’s not coming back and he doesn’t even remember me! And I can’t even blame him for it…” she pulled out of Khadir’s grasp.


Leave me alone!”

* * * * *


Mariqah sat in her study, reading a page sent by Marcus, the messenger she had sent to Bengal. According to him, Bengal had been in some sort of turmoil, but it wasn’t as great as the letter from Masyaf had detailed – which meant it could be dealt with at a later time.

Should I feel like dealing with it at all, Mariqah thought.

Relieved that her scouts were okay, she wrote a quick message at the bottom of the page – bidding Marcus and his team to come back to Normandy.


She put the piece of paper to a side, and picked up another letter from Nassau. It was from Mr Wraggs, still demanding that Mariqah attend a hearing concerning her misadventure in the eighteenth century. She would have treated the piece of parchment with some… colourful language, but she conceded to her mistake.

She wrote a formal apology for her changing a rather large event in history, but detailed a delay in attending the hearing. Mariqah wrote about the importance of securing Masyaf into more capable hands before entertaining any minor distractions – and, though she could not attend the hearing immediately, she promised that she would attend at a later time.


Mariqah sighed and stretched her arms, as a knock came on her door.

“Come,” she said, standing up.

The door opened.

“Oh,” she said sourly, “It’s you.”
Seth looked away, as if ashamed, and said, “I’ve come to apologise.”

“I’m ain’t changin’ my mind on anythin’. Leave. Don’t come back.”
“I… I know that your mind is made up on that,” he took the seat in front of her desk, “I just… your lieutenant, Khadir explained everything to me.”
Mariqah paused, “What did he explain?”

“That you… belong to someone else, and that he hasn’t come back in a while. And that my actions had caused you some… injury.”

“He…” Mariqah closed her eyes, holding down her anger at Khadir for the moment, “That… that is correct.”

“I did not know and I’m sorry. I’d… I’d like to ask for some time to stay, but I understand your disapproval of this. All the things have been made ready, and we will leave, as you said, this afternoon.”

Looking out of her window, bleary-eyed, Mariqah said, “I couldn’t care less as to how long you stay.”

“Um… I beg your pardon?”

“Have you ne’er entertained the idea that your brother sent you here to die, Seth?”
“Not this again!”

Mariqah shrugged, “Fine. Your brother is an Angel from Heaven. Go home and enjoy leadin’ his army into the spinnin’ whirlpool of failure.”
“I don’t…” Seth put his hand on her desk, “Okay, so my brother is a Devil that came out of the Chasms of Hell. But what can I possibly do about it? I don’t want the throne, and he’s quite content with it.”

“There are things that are more important than selfish wants, Seth!” Mariqah snapped.

He’s an Emperor!”
“Oh, and you think that emperors have never been challenged before? Seth,” she turned to him, “you told me that poor people are only poor because they don’t work as hard as me. And though I disagree wholly with that logic, you seem quite taken to it – if you challenge Simeon you will have a followin’. And if you have a followin’, you’ll have an army. And if you have an army – you have your throne.”

“But I don’t want the throne!”


“Well, poor people didn’t ask to be poor – but they still are! So, stop sulkin’ like the little boy that you are and do as your father had intended! Sit on his throne and rule the Empire!”

Seth huffed, “You’re only saying this for your own benefit. So that both Simeon and I are distracted whilst you sort out Simeon’s current ally, Richard!”

“Aye! Aye, it’s mostly for my own benefit! Why would I be so adamant otherwise? – but you know it’s the bloomin’ right thing to do!”

“No, it’s not! I’ll be fighting my own brother!”
“Then let the UAF burn in Hell! No skin off my nose! It would appear that your father’s Empire rose and fell with him. He was a man of legacy, of vision. His sons are men with no mind and no heart!” she sat down at her seat, and picked up another page, “I have work to do, so be on your way.”

Seth puffed his cheeks and stayed put.

“What are ye waitin’ for?” said Mariqah, indignantly, “Get out!”

“Things could be a lot easier if you ruled with me.”

“Shut your ducking gob, Seth! I am not going to be the Fairy Queen of your bleedin’ dream land!”

“I know that you are loath to…” he shook his head, “Fine. I’ll hear you out. What can I possibly do to de-throne my brother?”

“Are you honestly thinkin’ about it or are you wastin’ my time?”

“I’m… I’m considering it.”


“Hmm, why?”

“I’m sorry?”

“Why? After all this arguin’ and all this humiliation – why are you finally considerin’ it?”


“If it’s to impress me, it’s not workin’.”

“Because what you told me… about my brother and my father… it disturbed me. I can’t go back, not when I’ve failed here, and I know that I can’t stay here. And all the things you’ve said… it…” he finished weakly, “it disturbs me.”

“I want to get to the bottom of it. But I can’t, like you said, without challenging Simeon.”

“So, what’ll you do?”


“I don’t know.”
“Don’t you think your ignorin’ a factor that you could possibly use in your favour?”

“What? The rebellion?”

Yes, the rebellion!”

“How can I use that in my favour when I’m a rebel target?”

Mariqah furrowed her brows at him, “Have you completely forgotten who it is you’re talkin’ to?”

“Oh, right, yes – the person who started the pandemonium in the first place!”

“Aye,” Mariqah folded her arms, “And the one person that can get you in, mind.”
“You would do that?”

“For a price.”

“Shut up.”

“I’ll send word to Gavroche. Tell him to have you start from the bottom and to keep his eyes on you.”

“What? You don’t trust me?”


“But, Seth, what’ll you do about your… ‘army’?”

Seth paused, putting a hand to his chin, “Keep them here. Have Simeon ransom them out.”

“And what should I tell him about you?”

“Tell him… tell him that I’m dead,” he pulled off a ring from his finger and put it on the table, “Send this to him as proof.”
“A finger to go with the ring would have been more convincin’,” said Mariqah, “But I suppose it’ll do. You’ve yourself a plan and a deal. I’ll send word to Gavroche and he’ll meet you on deck of a ship named The Pauper’s Revenge. You’ll find her docked in Port de Vernon in about five days time,” she shook his hand, “Make haste. I must make preparations for Masyaf.”
“What will you tell my men?”
“Are you kiddin’? They’ll be so pampered, they won’t know you’re gone.”

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