Frost and Fire

An immediate short story to follow the completion of Maverick :D ***** Cover by AldrinHD


19. Extract from the Journal of Mariqah de Saint-Omer

I don't know where to begin. Everything... everything is still so fresh. 

After Morgan's revelation, Estaban sent the wretch away - telling him that the pirate was not welcome in Tortuga and would be dead if he was so much as spotted on the horizon. Estaban expressed that the Pirate Code held no weight in Tortuga and that he would be dictating his own code - a code for a more ordered and structure society of self-made men. Naturally, Morgan was resolved to leave ex-pirate-hunter, Adrian Schneider behind. Schneider offered to take me to Syria himself, but Estaban wouldn't hear it. Estaban insisted that he would take me home if it was the last thing he did. 

So, I'm here - on Blackwell, on the voyage home at last.

Estaban and the crew seem to be giving me some breathing space - even though the captain checks on me regularly and refuses to see me doing any work. He doesn't speak to me as often as he used to. 
Is he leaving me to my thoughts? Or is he too occupied with his own? It could be both. 
Either way, I suppose I need the room. Callum... Oh, Callum... 
From what Estaban was able to dig up, he had been callously murdered and a new leader was to be soon elected in Nassau to represent the Brethren of the Coast - but all of this is of no importance to me.

Callum had been murdered.
Callum had been MURDERED.
I can't stress the issue enough. 
We'd had our share of disagreements, but he was - by all means - one of my longest-standing friends. Someone I could rely on for anything, someone I could always run to - almost a like brother when I was away from home. I don't even know how to deal with this, live with this, process this... 
How can Callum be gone? 
It feels like only yesterday that I was laughing with him, shouting at him, drinking for his sake... 

Was it really so long ago?

I seem to be constantly ignoring the fact that he's dead, just to get through the days. I haven't even said those words. I don't want to taste them.
Callum is dead.
My eyes are swelling up just thinking about it. I can't believe it. Part of me refuses to. How can he be dead? Why would he be dead? Who would want him dead?

Estaban shared some thoughts on the murder. He believes - because we are so closely affiliated - that Callum's murder could have something to with the bounty placed on my head. But there's no evidence to support this - all the papers that belonged to Commodore Eastwick suffered damage in the attack on the fortress. I wasn't able to find the name of a person or organisation that would want me - alive. 

Even so, I have my suspicions.

I will no longer associate myself with the Brotherhood. I will leave the vicinity of Masyaf and transfer all my men to Normandy. If Callum's death had anything to do with the misunderstanding that I work for the Brotherhood and believe in its cause - then there is chance that further assault on my loved ones are planned. 
Enough have suffered and died in the name of Richard Shankar's ridiculous aims and beliefs.
I'm done working for him, trusting him and even living near him. 

I only hope that my voice will be heard and obeyed when the mercenaries of Masyaf once again receive me.

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