[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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51. 49 – Do You Hear the People Sing?

Mariqah was laying in bed, her eyes wide open as she breathed – grateful for her restored health. Thanks to Edward’s keen (and surprising) nursing, and the quality of Masyaf’s doctors (and a bit of a miracle), Mariqah was healthy in relative comparison to her former state some two months ago. She turned to her side, stifling a giggle as she saw Edward’s head tilted back on the back-rest of his chair, snoring in the slumber of several wakeful nights. She thought she ought leave him to it, but then decided to wake him,

“Edward,” she said, shaking his shoulder, “Edward?”

He snorted, disturbed, and picked up his head, a pain his neck making him wince, “What is it, Mari?”

 

She sat up, cradling her wound which continued to hurt her, “Why don’t you find a bed to sleep in?”

He yawned, and grinned, “I could sleep in yours,” he said, suggestively, “Any chance o’ that?”

She tipped her head to a side, “Maybe.”

“Really?”
“A small one.”
He scoffed, “I don’t do small ones.”
“Oh, rich comin’ from you, mate!” she laughed with him, “Can you tell me, now? What happened? Richard? Britney? And so on?”

“Dante’ll explain it to ye,” said Edward, “Now, though, I think it’s time for ye to have some food.”
“You’re sweet for a pirate.”

“Have to be, for the lassies.”
“Really? That’s the reason why ye choose to take care o’ me?”

Edward took a broth pot from the table and stirred the contents with a spoon, “Well… maybe.”

 

Mariqah smiled, not pressing for a definite answer, and took the pot from him, eating as enthusiastically as she could make it seem. The stuff was horrible, but she supposed she’d eaten worse.

“Besides, if I had been part o’ sieges before, I’d’ve joined your lads,” he said.

“Sure,” said Mariqah, with a shurg of her shoulders.

“No, really. I’d’ve been a hero in that fight! Ragin’ the battle! Destroyin’ the enemy!”

“But you’re a sailor, so you were useless in battle.”
“Well, when you put it that way–”

“Edward, I think no less of you, for lookin’ after me. Calm your pride, will ye? No need in created a legend where there wasn’t one.”
“Fair enough,” Edward laughed, “you reckon you’ll still be fightin’ wars after this?”

“Aye,” said Mariqah, “just need time to recuperate. I’ll be fine.”

Edward stroked her head, “No chance of you tellin’ me about Caroline?”

“Nope.”
“Damn it, after all of this?”

“I’m sorry, Edward. But rules are rules.”
“As if you fear breakin’ ‘em!”

“These ones, I heed,” she smiled, “It’s too much trouble, Kenway.”

 

Voices could be heard, raised from outside, in merriment.

“About time,” said Mariqah, “the lads ought to celebrate.”

“I’ll… I’ll be leavin’ soon, won’t I?” said Edward.

“Aye, that,” said Mariqah, frowning, “But… I will always remember your kindness to me.”

“And… I’ll have good hopes for the future? For you?”

“That’ll do me,” she smiled, “You know… I loved you, as a young woman. I knew everything there was to know about you. My father and mother used to worry on it. And… the only reason I can’t love you now like I loved you then… is because you’re going to leave,” she looked away, “Like… like him.”
“Oi! Don’t bring that up again!” he said, “Sod that old-young man, eh? You’ve got a pick of the finest before you! Count on it, there’ll be some happiness for you yet.”

“I hope so,” she said, putting down her finished broth, “I really do.”

 

Do you hear the people sing, lost in the Valley of the Night?

It is the music of a people who are climbing t’wards the light.

For the wretched of the Earth, there is a Flame that never dies –

Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise!

 

They will live again in Freedom in the Garden of the Lord,

They will walk behind the plough-share. They will put away the sword.

The Chain will be broken and all men will have their reward!

 

Will you join in our crusade, who will be strong and stand with me?

Somewhere beyond all the wars, is there a world you long to see?

Do you hear the people sing? Say, do you hear the distant drums?

It is the future that He brings when tomorrow comes!

 

Will you join in our crusade, who will be strong and stand with me?

Somewhere beyond all the wars, is there a world you long to see?

Do you hear the people sing? Say, do you hear the distant drums?

It is the future that He brings when tomorrow comes!

 

Ah! Ah! Ah!

When tomorrow comes!

 

“The voices o’ your lads…” Edward shook his head, “They’re so merry. So happy,” he looked at Mariqah, “You saved them, you know. From mindlessness, pointlessness.”

“I was buidlin’ an army.”
“Oh tosh! Nobody buys that! You were buildin’ a sanctuary, so that no-one would have to live like you did. Without a home, a decent image to line yourself against, crimin’ through life just to survive. You made men out of lads, the way blacksmiths make swords out of metal.”
“Don’t praise me,” she mumbled, “I don’t know how to respond to praise. And there are so many things I have to repent for. And some things… some things can just never be forgiven.”

 

* * * * *

 

Mariqah sat under a tree, observing the winding emptiness of the desert – Masyaf to her back. She could see her memories play before her: a canvas of happiness, anger, sadness, excitement, and remorse. One hand touching her wound, the other probing the all-too-familiar sand. She collected up a fistful, feeling the grains slip through her fingers.

 

“Oi.”

 

Mariqah looked up, not expecting company, and said, “Afternoon, Dante.”

He looked a little worried, “You alright?”
She nodded and mumbled, “Alright.”

He sat down beside her, “So… Edward’s gone.”

“Aye.”

“What’s on your mind?”

“Nothing. Everything. I don’t know.”

“What happened here – everything that happened here – was not your fault, Mariqah.”
“That’s… that’s not what I’m thinking about.”
“Then, why so grim?”

 

She sighed, not looking at him, “I’m leaving Masyaf, Dante.”
“Well… I guess, that’s alright. Where are you headed? Back to Britain? Or Normandy?”

“No… I mean…” she sighed again, “I want nothing more to do with Masyaf. Or the Brotherhood.”

Dante furrowed his brows, “But… we need a new Mentor.”
“So?”

“You… weren’t going to take that position?”

“I’d be a fool-and-a-half to,” she scoffed, “I don’t believe in your Creed, let alone carry it on my shoulders for all to follow. I’m a soldier. That’s all.”
“You don’t…! Well, this is news!”

“I did follow. Once upon a time. An era ago. But I followed blindly. The very opposite of what your Creed dictates. I was not wise. I spent lives for no reason. I served a tyrant,” she swallowed, “I’ve made friends and enemies here and Masyaf will always have a place in my heart – but I will not concede to a Creed that does not make sense to me. That, perhaps, will never make sense to me,” she laughed, a fruity laugh, “Perhaps I should have met Haytham rather than Edward. We’d’ve had much to discuss.”
 

“I’ll grant, you’re beginning to sound like him,” Dante muttered, “So, who will you leave this to?”

“The Brotherhood. They can keep this plot of land. It’s their’s, anyway.”

“I meant… the leadership. Who will you leave it to?”

“Me? Why should that be my decision?”

“Well… you relinquished the fortress.”
“No,” she scoffed, “Khadir and you did. In short: you sort it out, mate. Claim the leadership for yourself, if you like. But remember – and mark me, Dante – you wind up acting like Richard, and you’ll wind up dead like him too.”

“Consider it marked,” Dante laughed, “So… Richard’s daughter. What will happen to her?”

 

“Give her to me.”
What?”

“Give her to me. I’ll raise her. And it’ll give our ‘abbess’ little cause to come looking for her.”

“You’re going to raise the child of your enemy?”

“Why should she have to bear the sins of her father and mother? Mary is a child, as innocent as any other. I’ll raise her, aye, and she’ll know about her parentage. When she’s ready,” Mariqah paused, “Why? What were you intending for her?”
Dante regarded Mariqah for a while, before saying, “I’ll not answer that. You wouldn’t like my way.”
Mariqah smiled, “Fair enough,” she rested her head against the trunk of a tree, “I’ll leave in the morning tomorrow. I was hoping to go on foot, but Khadir’s insisting I take a horse. If it would so please you, may I take one of Masyaf’s?”

“Masyaf would shed its bricks for you.”

 

“Oh, shut up, Dante. You already have a wife.”
“I wasn’t–” Dante shook his head, sensing a game in play, “How did it feel? Getting serenaded by a pirate on the day he left? Edward was keen with his drunken song of The Star of the County Down.”

“Ah,” Mariqah waived the remark away, “it wasn’t the first time.”

“What?”

Mariqah laughed, “It would seem that the biggest revelation to me over the last few months is,” she paused to turn her head at him, “I’m a very attractive woman. An Assassin, a few idiots in a café, a dead gambler, a few pirates and a prince – all in my pocket. I hate it, you know. It’s annoying.”

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