[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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8. 6 – The Smell of Trouble

Several weeks went by since the meeting with Emperor Lodovico Smith. Looking back on it, Mariqah almost felt silly – sitting in a large car with her old enemy, sipping wine and chatting as if they were old friends. But the bargain had been struck, and Smith had been as good as his word: Mariqah had received his official stamp of security through Father Samuels’s mailbox the next day. Having learnt his lesson, the Father had handed it to her gingerly without opening it. It was then that she told him that she’d like to stay and rent out the basement.

By God, she had never seen the old man so happy.

Bless him, she had thought, bless him a thousand times over.

Mariqah was still her precautious old self, still keeping her most important possessions in that tattered old bag, but she had relaxed.

 

Of course, respite only lasts so long.

 

Mariqah was towel-drying her hair in her basement bathroom – her hair having grown out since her time as a mercenary, and now she might even have considered herself pretty despite her several battle-scars – when she heard muffled cursing from her living space. She picked up her bag, that lay in the corner of her bathroom, and took out the Hidden Blade, strapping it to her forearm. She put on her bathrobe in a hurry, and cracked the door open a little, peaking through it.

“Who’s there!” yelled the voice (the owner of which Mariqah could not see), “I hear you! Show yourself!” He had a Welsh accent – Swansea, if Mariqah wasn’t mistaken – but she still couldn’t see him. There was also a funny, and not particularly nice, smell in the air.

Mariqah was about to step out and counter the intruder, when he crash into her, sending them both flying.

 

“Hold your peace, man!” she cried, the two of them rolling on the floor, “I ain’t no harm to you, mate! Good God!” she choked on his scent, “When the hell was the last time you had a shower?”

The giant of a man paused as he heard her voice. Mariqah caught him in the jaw and pinned him down, breathing heavily.

“My God…” she said, staring at him.

“My apologies, lass,” he said, a little saucily, “I thought…” he noted the strange look she was giving him, “Here, what are you looking at?”
“What’s your name?” she said, her voice shaking.

“Excuse me, but I don’t think that’s…”

“Dammit, man! What’s your name?”

The man narrowed his eyes, but then spat, “Duncan Warpole.”
“Oh God… Oh God, no!” Mariqah slapped her forehead and rose her feet, hurrying this way and that as if something horrible had stepped into her life.

The man looked at her queerly, but didn’t say anything for a while. And then, “Here, I can be somebody else, if you don’t like Warpole much.”

She turned to him, “You’re not Duncan Warpole,” she said, “There’s no need for pretence. I know exactly who you are,” she gulped, “You’re Edward Kenway, 18th Century pirate…”

 

* * * * *

 

It wasn’t until after the small confrontation that Mariqah had actually marked that Edward Kenway was stark naked. And since a nude man with a barely dressed woman under a church-father’s house wasn’t the most comely scenario, Mariqah went up and told Father Samuels that a naked homeless man had wandered into the basement through the exit and needed clothes. It wasn’t too hard a story to believe – as Edward smelt of wet dog and fish, and he had plenty of scars (and tattoos) to prove he’d had nothing but a rough life.

Confused, Edward did as Mariqah told him and kept quiet about his sudden appearance, but when he came back down from the upper levels of the house, he looked mighty uncomfortable with the white shirt and trousers that the Father had dressed him in. He smelt a lot fresher too, so Mariqah assumed that Father Samuels had done some scrubbing also. It was a good thing for her, but probably didn’t bode too well for the Father.

 

“So,” he said, sitting at the desk opposite Mariqah – who’d done him a little kindness and put her paperwork away and laid out some breakfast (though, the Hidden Blade was still strapped firmly to her arm), “You know me.”

“Aye,” she said, “How about you start by telling me how you got here?”

“Well, one minute I was on my ship, the Jackdaw. The next minute, I wasn’t.”

“Any specific memories, Kenway?”

He looked amused, “I doubt you’d want to know ‘em, lass. They concern a very comely wench.”

She looked at him sourly – a look she hadn’t given since she was surrounded by the rather immature men in her barracks – but resisted the urge to make a comeback. Instead she said, “Let’s start from the next minute, shall we?”
“Well, there isn’t much to tell. Just that I got sucked into this blinding whiteness and then – here.”

Blinding whiteness… now doesn’t that sound familiar?

 

“Edward, do you have any idea where you are?”

“I was hoping you could tell me that.”

“You’re in London, Kenway.”
Edward stared at her before he burst out laughing, “Oh, that’s a good one, that is!”
Mariqah waited patiently.

“Don’t get me wrong, lass. I ain’t ever been to London. Ain’t had no intention to either. But this cannot be it. With your funny gadgets and gizmos… This’d have to be the Indias or China or somethin’!”

Twenty-first century London,” Mariqah added.

“Oh, this gets better and better!” he laughed longer and harder. It took him a while to mark Mariqah’s expression.

 

“So, lassie, what sorta nutter are you?”

“The kind you really ought to beware of,” she replied.

“I see your dark skin, lass. You can’t be a White woman. ’Specially not one from London.”

“Right, so explain the White man living upstairs.”

“We’re in India. He’s here on colonial business.”

“And explain the gadgets, Edward.”

“Well, you babbus were always good at making things.”

She tipped her head to a side, ignoring his racist comment, “Explain how I know you.”

“Well, maybe I’ve reached infamy after all.”

“Why would a simple Indian babbu know about an infamous pirate of the New World? And know that he wasn’t Duncan Warpole, the rogue Assassin that had turned Templar and was about to join forces with Governor Torres, Woodes Rogers and Du Casse before you killed him without the knowledge of, well – everything I’ve just told you?”

Edward stared at her, “You one of them Oracle nutters?”

“No, Edward,” Mariqah laughed, “No. This is the future. I don’t know how you got here, or who it was that’s got you here – but that’s where you are. The future.”

 

Mariqah leaned back in her seat and thought for a moment as Edward continued to stare at her, still insisting she was plenty mad. She thought about the War she’d led last year. They had had to open huge Time Rifts to add historical soldiers to their army, in order to face an overwhelming foe. Could that somehow have thinned the barrier between time and space? Were small tears in history opening up and sending people to different eras?

That didn’t sound good.

Mariqah knew someone who would be able to answer these questions.

Jess.

But there was the agreement with Lodovico…

 

“So I’m in the future,” said Edward, “Tell me, lass, how do I get back?”

Mariqah paused, “My name is Mariqah,” she said.

“No need for introductions, if I’ll be heading back, Mari. But nice to meet you.”

Mariqah thought of all the things the Brotherhood had put her through. All the sacrifices. All the pain. All the trauma. How she hated Richard and everything he stood for – yet he was still the single Mentor of Masyaf. She didn’t want to go anywhere near there, not even if…

Not even if it meant changing course of history.

She picked up her cup of orange juice and drank, “There is no going back,” she said, “You’re stuck here, Ed.”

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