After we had left the bureau it had began to turn to dusk.Me and Kitsune then began to maneuver through the city until we eventually arrived at the warehouse.We snuck inside secretively.It was easy,a little too easy.It was planned that way.It was a trap.When inside,Kitsune and I were surrounded by trapped people crying out to us for help.It was a horrid sight and Kitsune seemed to be affected by it deeply.I could see her shaking with wide eyes as we passed by the poor people who were chained or locked away.I tried to comfort her but it all seemed to be too much for her.Then as we continued to walk Talal called out to us.He played with us and made us advance deeper into the horrid scenes of the warehouse.Talal seemed to have recognized Kitsune and called her the Fox Angel.He seemed to know a lot about Kitsune’s past.She was shaking even more when she heard him speak of her past life in Jerusalem.There seems to be more behind her than what I know.I growled angry about the situation and stepped in front of Kitsune.He said he was the one who took her parents and now he wanted her,and I wasn’t going to let him touch her.I promised her I’d protect her and that’s what I’m going to do.
~The Day Before~
After we left the bureau and began to walk upon the streets of Jerusalem again,it had turned to dusk and the sky darkened but was eventually lit by many bright stars.I looked up at them as I walked alongside Altair and smiled.There’s something about the night sky that makes me reminisce.I drifted off for a moment remembering my childhood as we continued to walk together.”Deep in thought?”I heard Altair asked.I blinked out of my trance and looked at him and nodded.”Yes,just remembering.”I replied with a smile.He smiled back.”I’m glad that amongst all of this you still find a reason to smile.”He said making my smile widen a bit.”I still have quite a few reasons to smile around,one of them is…really important.”I said.”And I don’t want to lose it.”I added as I looked at him sincerely.He returned my look and smiled softly.”Whatever reason it may be,I promise I’ll help you keep it.”He said.I smiled shyly and stepped a bit closer to him.”Thank you Altair.”I said.He nodded with the smile still on his lips.He doesn’t know but,the most important one that makes me smile most is…him.
After a while of walking we eventually arrived to a dark looking warehouse.”This is it.”Altair said as we stopped and stood before it.”Looks…creepy.”I commented.He nodded.”I can see why you’d say that.”He said.”Let’s go,we must get inside.”He added as he turned to look at me.I nodded in agreement.”Right.”I said.”Stay close to me inside,I won’t let him take you from me.”He said and took my hand in his grip tightly.”Ok thank you Altair.”I said with a smile as I held his hand back.He smiled back and then proceeded to enter the warehouse.Surprisingly,it was pretty easy to get inside.I would expect it to be more difficult or the inside to have guards or something but no it was just very dark with a feeling of…dread added to the atmosphere.When we got inside Altair stopped and held me back also.He seemed to be thinking about our next move and suddenly,we heard the door slam shut and lock with bolts behind us.I jumped a bit by the sudden sound.Inside there was a few torches along the walls that barely lit the way but it helped a bit.Altair reached for his sword with his other hand and drew it out in front of him.”Let’s keep moving.”He whispered to me.I nodded slightly and got closer to him.This place…it really creeps me out.In the background you could hear a constant drip-drop of water that made the atmosphere just that more edgy.Then as we proceeded forward we started to hear low moaning.I shuddered at the sound and tightened my grasp on Altair’s hand.He tightened his grasp as well and we proceeded forward and eventually we saw a cage.We stepped forward to take a look and see what was inside and when we saw it,I was utterly shocked.In the cage was a man.He was pale and so skinny you could see his bones.He had his legs brought to his chest and his eyes were watery.”Help me.”He said outstretching his hand to us.My eyes widened and I stepped away from the cage and Altair followed.Then came another low voice.We turned around and saw a man chained to the wall with his head hanging.He seemed to be saying a prayer.Altair began to move forward to the man and I followed close behind but he came to a halt when even more voices called out to us from below in a barred cell.”Help me.”They all called out to us reaching out through the bars.I grabbed onto Altair’s arm frightened and I began to shake.What was this place?It’s like hell!”Help me,help me.”They called.I closed my eyes shut and trembled at the sound of their cracked and weak voices.Then I felt Altair bring me closer to him and wrap his arm around me.”It’s ok,I know this is a horrible sight but we’ll be out soon.”He whispered to me.I opened my eyes and looked into his with fear in my eyes.”O-Ok.”I stammered.”Don’t worry,I’m with you I won’t leave you alone.”He said.Hearing him say that made me feel better than how I felt before and I nodded.”Thank you…”I managed to say.He held me against him tightly and reassuringly for a moment and then took a strong hold of my hand again but this time he held it in a way that made me stay right beside him.We started to walk a bit more but then another voice interrupted us.”You should not have come here,Assassins.”The voice echoed.My eyes shot wide open at the sound of the voice.Could it be Talal?Altair crouched down on the floor and I did the same but when I did,Altair let go of my hand and wrapped his arm over me and brought me closer to him and held me against him tightly.I stayed in that position,close to his body as I looked around wondering where the voice was coming from.Altair,on the other hand,let his eyes wander from one side of the room to the other calmly.”But you are not the kind to listen,lest you compromise your brotherhood.”The voice echoed mockingly.As the voice spoke Altair began to move forward with me tightly and securely in his grasp.His eyes wandered up looking from one side to the other,trying to locate the man.”Did you think I’d remain ignorant of your presence?”The voice asked with a chuckle.”You were known to me the moment you entered the city;such is my reach.”The voice added.Then as he spoke I started to hear more sobbing and moaning from below.Both me and Altair looked down to see more men and women in chains in a barred cage reaching out to us.”Help me,save me.”They called.My heart started to pound a bit faster at the sight of them all reaching for us,for our help.”So there are slaves here.”Altair began.”But where are the slavers?”He asked.”Behold my work in all it’s glory.”The voice said and lights illuminated the room and a gate slid open.By now I figured it was Talal.I gulped silently as Altair and I proceeded forward and entered the next room.When we entered Altair seemed to tighten his grip on his sword.Was there an unseen enemy in the room other than Talal?”Do my eyes deceive me,or am I looking at the ‘Fox Angel’ herself?”Talal called.Fox Angel…I haven’t been called that in years…how could this man possibly know my nickname that I had when I lived here in Jerusalem?Altair then got a curious expression on his face as he turned to looked at me.”How delightful!I haven’t seen you in so long,Kitsune Visare.”Talal said gleefully in a dark type of way.”I almost didn’t recognize you with those Assassin robes on you.”Talal added.My eyes shot wide open and now my heart was hammering against my chest.H-How does he know my name?!”H-How do you know me?”I asked shakily.Talal merely chuckled making the noise echo around us.”Oh the Visare family,such loyal,hard working people.”Talal began.”The Visares were very valuable to my work but you were lucky.You escaped me that night before I could find you,your parents wouldn’t tell me where you were.”He continued.”Where are they?!Where are my mother and father?!”I asked desperate for answers.Since it had been 2 years I just thought…they had passed but does this mean they could still be alive?Talal chuckled at my question.”What do you think,my dear?”Talal asked.”They are dead.”He concluded with a bittersweet smile.I froze.The reality of it slowly began to sink in but it sank in so painfully it felt like tens of hundreds of daggers being thrown into my heart,one by one.They’re gone…?”Yes it is true,they have passed.A pity,they were perfect subjects but they just couldn’t handle what was in store for them.”Talal began.”You escaped me once.”He continued.”But you won’t escape me again.”He concluded darkly.I shivered and shacked in Altair’s grip violently.I have never felt this scared or this insecure in my whole life.All I could do was stand and stare wide eyed as I shook uncontrollably.Altair growled deeply as he held me tighter.”Leave her out of this!”Altair growled.”I won’t let you touch her!”He added angrily.Talal chuckled.”Of course you won’t Assassin,of course you won’t.”Talal said mockingly.”What now then,slaver?”Altair asked bitterly as I clung onto his robes shakily.”Do not call me that!”Talal snapped.”I only wish to help these people as I myself was helped.”He stated.”You do no kindness imprisoning them like this.”Altair called out darkly.He sounded angry when he responded to Talal.”Imprisoning them?I keep them safe,preparing them for the journey that lies ahead.”Talal stated.”What journey?”Altair snickered.”It is a life of servitude.”He added.”You know nothing.It was useless to bring you here.To think you might see and understand.”Talal said.”I understand well enough,you lack the courage to face me,instead you hide amongst the shadows.”Altair began.”Enough of this,show yourself.”He growled.”Ah,so you wish to see the man who brought you here?”Talal asked.Although I was pretty much still in shock,I could hear movement in the room only making my shaking worse.This place is so…hollow and full of death,I-I just can’t handle it.”You did not call me here,I came here on my own.”Altair said.Talal chuckled.”Did you?”He asked.”Who unbarred the door?Cleared the path?Did you once raise your blade against a single one of my men?No.All of this I did for you.”Talal said.Then another noise filled the room and light shone from the ceiling to the stone floor below.”Step into the light then,and I will grant you one final favor.”Talal said.Altair stood there for a moment thinking of what to do,it appeard.Then after a brief moment he stepped forward into the light and I followed right next to him,clutching onto his robes.Suddenly then we were surrounded by six men who wore masks and swords hung by their sides.Altair glared and held me more defensively.Then,above the room,Talal appeared with a smile on his face.He wore a heavy striped tunic with a bow over his shoulder.”I now stand before you.”He began as he spread his arms.”What is it you desire?”He asked.”Come down here.”Altair replied.”Let us settle this with honor.”He added.”Why must it always come to violence?”Talal asked with an almost disappointed sigh.”It seems I cannot help you,Assassin,for you do not wish to help yourself.I cannot allow my work to be threatened.You leave me no choice…you must die.”Talal said and waved to his men.”And when this is over,I’ll finally have the Fox Angel,I could help you,my dear,just like the others.”He added.”You would be perfect for my work.”He said with a chuckle.I gulped and shook my head.”N-No!”I called out immediately as the men who surrounded us approached.”As I said before,I won’t let you touch her!”Altair snapped as he pushed back two of the men and then focused on a third.He grabbed the man and threw him into another.The two men hurdled backwards smashing into a scaffold that was around them.”Kitsune,stay away from this fight but stay somewhere near me.”Altair said to me before he approached and stabbed one of the men with his sword.I shook myself,trying to get out of the trance of despair I was set into and began to think clearly.I looked over and found a couple of crates by where Altair was so I went and hid behind them as the other men then slowly began to circle him but Altair seemed the least bit intimidated.He stood tall with a deadly sharp gaze as he fixated his attention on one man in front of him.A small smirk formed on Altair’s lips and the man whimpered.Altair then quickly stepped forward and stabbed the man in the chest.The man starred at the blade in him almost in disbelief and groaned as he fell to his knees and Altair ripped his blade from the man’s chest.He then fixated his attention on the next man who now stood trembling at the sight of the great Assassin.The man shouted and stepped forward clumsily,trying to land a blow on Altair but failed.Altair sidestepped and cut the man’s stomach open making his insides fall out onto the stone floor.I looked away from the man who now lay on the floor lifelessly with the other and turned my attention to Altair,who had slit yet another man’s throat open.Then he kicked one of the two last men to the ground and delivered the final blow.He stood and looked at the last man who turned and ran,hoping to save his life.I thought it was alright to go to Altair now since the fight was almost over so I stepped away from the crates and rushed to his side as he put away his sword and took out two throwing knives.He threw them and each hit the target’s back.Thunk thunk,and the man fell from the ladder as I got to Altair’s side.Then we heard footsteps from above.Talal was making a break for it.”Come on!”Altair said and took my hand and led me to the ladder.Before we climbed up,he bent down and took his throwing knives from his last victim’s back and then he and I climbed up the ladder.We got up just in time to see Talal head for another set of steps.We followed him and climbed up the stairs and now we were on the rooftop but just as we got up,an arrow shot and got stuck on the floor far behind us.There was a bowman on another roof who aimed for us.Altair lifted his arm and skillfully threw his knives at the bowman.He screeched as the knives hit his chest and neck.Then we saw Talal heading for the streets and we followed close behind.Altair told me to get on his back and I did as told.I held onto him firmly with my arms wrapped around his torso and my legs around his waist.He then scaled down the wall swiftly and darted behind Talal with me still on his back.He was really fast.We were already catching up on Talal,who would look over his shoulder to see us following right behind him.Talal would bump into many bystanders who would shout and curse at him and some even shoved back.”Flee now!”He shouted over his shoulder.”My guards will be here soon!”He added.Altair merely chuckled and continued the chase.”Give up this chase and I’ll let you live!”Talal shouted.Altair didn’t reply as the distance between us grew smaller.”Hold your ground and hear me out!perhaps we can make a deal?”Talal asked desperately.Again,Altair said nothing as we watched and saw a woman ahead of him with many flasks in her arms who didn’t see where she was going and neither did Talal,soon they would both collide surely.”I’ve done nothing to you!”Talal shouted.I snickered.”Sure you haven’t…”I said to myself.Did he not remember what just happened not even 5 minutes ago?”Why do you persist in chasi~”Talal began but was cut off as he smashed right into the woman of many flasks.They both fell to the ground with the flasks smashing around them as me and Altair got to them and I jumped off of Altair’s back.Altair flicked his wrist and out came his blade,waiting to taste the blood of it’s next victim and it soon had gotten it.Altair kneeled by Talal and drove his blade into him,making blood spill from the corners of his mouth shortly afterwards.The woman Talal had bumped into stood up angrily but then her anger vanished as she saw Altair and the blood spilling out of Talal’s body so instead she decided to turn and run in the other direction.Bystanders looked in our direction wide eyed but kept moving forward.Jerusalem was always a city of violence so it’s people were always used to it but stayed away when troubled arose not wanting to be a part of it.Seems as though it is still the same since I had left.”You’ve nowhere to run now.”Altair began.”Share with me your secrets.”He added.”My part is played,Assassin.”Talal replied.”The brotherhood is not so weak to let my death stop it’s work.”He added.”What brotherhood?”Altair asked.Talal managed to form a smile on his crimson red stained lips.”Al Mualim is not the only one with designs upon the Holy Land,and that’s all you’ll have from me.”Talal said.”Then we are finished.Beg forgiveness from your God.”Altair said.”There is no God,Assassin.”Talal said with a weak chuckle.”And if there was,he has long abandoned us.Long abandoned the men and women I took into my arms.”He added.”What do you mean?”Altair asked.”Beggers,whores,addicts,lepers,do they strike you as proper slaves?Unfit for even the most simple task.No…I took them not to sell but to save and yet,you’d kill us all.For no other reason than it was asked of you.”Talal replied.”No.”Altair said with a confused look on his face.”You profit from the war.From lives lost and broken.”He added.That sentence that escaped his lips made reality sink in even deeper.I was now finally realizing that my family was truly gone…and for what?For profit but this man thinks otherwise.He thinks he does right with what he does to these poor people and to what he did to my family.It hurt.I ached.My heart tightened and felt as if it was under thousands of pounds of pressure.I felt…alone.I was falling.I was going to collapse into the darkness and despair that has surrounded me tonight but…something held me.Something didn’t allow me to collapse.A strong,warm,reassuring grasp wrapped around me as if knowing and understanding my pain.I looked and saw Altair holding me firmly with his arm wrapped around me tightly.I blinked away the sour tears that were forming and got closer to him.The look in his eyes…it looks as if he knew this pain,as if he understood.”Yes…you would think that,ignorant as you are.Wall off your mind eh?They say it’s what your kind does best.Do you see the irony in all of this?”Talal stated.Altair simply stared at him without a word spoken.The look of confusion still on his face as well.”It appears not.”Talal commented and smiled a small,final smile.”But you will.”He said and with that he passed,the blood staining the sand around his lifeless,limp body.Altair inhaled and exhaled deeply and took the feather out from his robes and soaked it in Talal’s blood.”Let’s go Kitsune.”Altair said as he put the feather back in his robes carefully and he faced me.I nodded weakly.”Right…”I said quietly.And so we began to walk down the streets of Jerusalem together quietly.We both seemed to be in deep thought,I noticed,but even though we were quiet he still held me close to him but he held me tightly more tight than he has before.I looked up at his profile and looked at his chocolate brown eyes.They seemed to be filled with something,an old memory,a painful one.”Altair…”I began.”Yes Kitsune?”Altair asked as he turned his head to look at me as we walked down an empty path now in the night.”I think I should tell you about it…about my past…”I replied.He looked at me with sincere eyes.”You don’t have to if it’s too painful Kitsune,I know how you felt,I saw how much pain you were dealing with before…you really don’t have to.”He said.I shook my head.”No…I want to.You deserve to know,plus,I did tell you that you are one of the only people that I trust the most right?”I asked.He nodded.”Then it’s ok…I’ll tell you,I’ll tell you everything.”I said.He nodded.”Ok Kitsune…”Altair said and stopped us.I looked at him curiously but was then surprised by a strong embrace.”I’m sorry Kitsune…for what happened…I’m sorry you had to deal with that question in your mind for so long…I’m sorry you had to experience such pain…”He said in between pauses and held me tighter.”I can’t help that pain go away…I wish I could.”He added just above a whisper.I held back a sad whimper as tears swelled and I hugged him back as tight as I could.”Thank you…”I whispered as I hid my face in his robes.He held me like this for a while.For that moment time seemed to have stopped,as if it had given us a moment to escape the pain.Altair was warm and his embrace was reassuring and…and…I don’t know…it’s an odd feeling but what I do know is that it made me feel a lot better to be held by him like that and the things he whispered to me made me feel even better.Why is that?Why is that he makes me feel this strange emotion?For everything he has done for me and all we’ve been through so far,he deserves to know everything.I inhaled when we parted and looked into his eyes.”Well should I begin my tale?”I asked.He shook his head.”No,not here.Let us return to the bureau so we can have more privacy and you could have a place to rest your head.”Altair replied.I nodded.”Ok.”I said.Then we started to walk together at a slow pace to the bureau.The night was silent but it was still young,many stars adorned the dark and infinite sky tonight.As I stared at the sky in a daze we had arrived.I looked ahead into the bureau and sighed quietly.I could really use a place to sit in comfort for a while.Soon after we entered we saw Malik behind the desk.He looked up at us.His gaze went from Altair to me and then to Altair.”Altair,you’ve returned.”Malik began quite harshly.”Yes,the deed is done.Just as you’ve asked.”Altair stated.”Yes I heard.”Malik said and looked as if he was going to say something else but stopped himself we suddenly made eye contact and he sighed.”We’ll speak of this tomorrow,I believe you’ve come to rest am I correct?”Malik asked.Altair nodded.”Go ahead.”Malik said as waved to a doorway leading to another room.”Come Kitsune.”Altair said as he walked to the doorway.I nodded and followed but before I entered I turned and smiled at Malik.”Goodnight Malik,and thank you.”I said.He smiled a small smile and nodded.I then turned and entered the room with Altair.Inside it was quite different from the other bureaus,this one had soft carpets and rugs all over a large portion of the room which were followed by many pillows of different shapes,colors,and sizes.Altair and I sat on the carpets and I reached for a pillow and hugged it.Altair sat cross-legged across from me and looked at me with his deep chocolate brown eyes.”Well,this is my story…”
~End Of Chapter 9~