Crossed Eagle

Chapter 29

When the party finally drew to an end, Selah did not hesitate to flee to her quarters. Instead of an entire group of maids, there were only a couple servants to help her escape her attire. Selah couldn’t remember much of it, only remembering collapsing on the bed in utter exhaustion and falling unconsciousness a moment later. She didn’t know what time she fell asleep, but despite her exhaustion, she woke up early the following morning.

The Templar moaned as she rolled over and rubbed her eyes, red sunlight of dawn pouring through her window. Already feeling alertness in her thoughts and unconsciousness slipping away, Selah sat up with a yawn and a stretch of her limps. Might as well. She wondered who else was up. The girl found her clothes from the Morrigan folded neatly on a dresser, scrubbed clean. Her polished weapons were even laid next to them. How convenient. She pulled them on, leaving her overcoat, and straightened her hair and washed her face. Once she was ready, she slipped out of her room.

Wanting some fresh air, the girl traveled through the villa, avoiding where the party was held. No doubt the servants were still cleaning up. After almost getting lost several times, she finally found a secluded terrace overlooking the ocean. The teenager was highly suspicious that the entire villa was built just for that purpose. She didn’t mind, though, leaning on the railing to watch the twinkling sparkles across the rippling waters.

After a few moments, Selah extended her hand, looking down at the ring on her finger. So it wasn’t all a dream. She really was a Templar now. The concept didn’t feel as frightening as she would think. She felt the opposite, in fact, even though she couldn’t find the correct word to describe it. Content? Convicted? Assured? Whatever it was, Selah had no desire to pull her new piece of jewelry from her. It felt like it completed her. The girl had always felt like a piece of her was missing, but always ignored it and pushed it into the back of her mind. If she did think of it, she believed it was because she wanted to be a true Assassin. But that wasn’t the case at all. She was meant to be a Templar.

Now she remembered all the times when she was in the Brotherhood, how she would always badger James on their actions or ideals or why the Templars did what they did. Now she understood why. The Templar closed her eyes. It was this life she wanted, not of an Assassin. Even though, the girl felt a flicker of illness within her.

Everything she went through, then, what was it for? Why was she so attached to the Assassins, if she wanted to be a Templar? Why did she vow to instigate control and prosperity, if she wished to have her freedom as well? And then there was Ojeda… He wanted to kill all the Assassins. He couldn’t even know of her origins. Yet Haytham choose to drag his favorite members of the Order to assist in the Spaniard’s war. Was Haytham really expecting her to fight her former Brothers?

She was angry at them! She did not hate them! How did Shay do it? How did he join Templars to bring peace, only to rage war against his loved ones? To kill them one-by-one until none were left? Selah sighed. Oh, how she wanted to ask him. How he found courage in his convictions. But how could she possibly say such?

The Templar was so lost in her thoughts she believed herself to be alone, so she was startled when a voice interrupted the silence.

Buenos días.”

With a small gasp, Selah whirled around to see Ojeda. Seeing the man was eyeing her, the teenager quickly hid away her surprise.

Buenos días, señor.”

“A beautiful sunrise, no?” Ojeda went on, nearing her.

. You have a beautiful home, Grandmaster.”

“You are too kind.”

Selah gave an innocent smile, trying to ignore the feelings of uneasiness as Ojeda neared even more. She suddenly felt self-conscious when he observed her attire with interest. They had first met when she was pale and in a dress, but now she was tan and in men’s clothes. Selah had been so used to no one questioning it she didn’t think what would occur if a stranger met her like this. However, Ojeda said nothing of it.

“Haytham told you were his student,” the man observed instead. “I did not know he had one. He seems a private man.”

He was prying. Selah decided to use Haytham’s story. “My father was a Master Templar traveling Europe,” she lied. “He was too busy to spare me his attention and wanted to give me proper education, so he sent me to Ha—Master Kenway to study under.”

“Ah. And who was this man?”

“I don’t believe that is any of your concern.”


“I do not ask of your family, Grandmaster. I will request you do not ask of mine.”

To uphold her defiance, the girl spun back around to face the ocean. In truth, she was trying to avoid the curious Spaniard. James—and Haytham—had teased and always caught on to when she was lying. Selah wouldn’t be surprised if Ojeda had the same gift and that she couldn’t use her story forever. Her skin crawled as the man leaned on the railing next to her, a little closer for comfort.

“I could always tell you of my family,” he invited.

“I rather not,” Selah retorted.

“I thought you would be quite curious.”

The teenager sent him a dirty glare. “I hope you are not trying to win my charms, Señor Ojeda.”

Ojeda laughed. “Oh, of course, not! If we are to work together, I simply believe our Orders should know one another.”

“As you said, Master Kenway is a private man. He is here only for business. I advise you keep it that way, Señor.”

Selah knew she was bordering on disrespecting him. Ojeda didn’t seem to mind, but the girl knew if Haytham heard of this, she would never hear the end of it. But the man was prying more than her comfort and she needed to end this conversation before it could continue.

, but what is your business here?” Ojeda questioned.

The question caught Selah off guard, having her blink. “I beg your pardon?”

“I find it curious that Haytham would send his student to such a dangerous, foreign land.”

“He wishes to teach me the ways of the Order. There is no way better to see how far our fold stretches.”

“Yes, and how troublesome the Assassin can truly be.”

Selah prayed he did not notice her knuckles turning white as she gripped the railing. This was coming too far.

“Y-yes…” she forced out.

Ojeda made a noise of disgust. “A band of thieves and murderers, they are. I am quite proud of Haytham’s erradicación of them. He must you have told you all about it.”

Selah desperately tried to ignore the flashes of blood and fire across her vision. “Yes, of course.”

Perfecto! Perhaps you could share of his strategies?”

“I-it’s not my place to say.”

“Oh, you were there, were you not?”


Her hand on the railing was hurting now. Something suddenly flashed across Ojeda’s eyes.

“It is quite curious, though. If Master Kenway was so concerned with the Asesinos, why would he take in a student?”


Ojeda leaned closer and Selah did not like the look in his eyes. “Is there something you are not telling me, Selah?”

She had to leave. Now. The poor girl stuttered, desperately trying to search her mind for words, but horrid memories and uneasiness clouded her thoughts. Selah peered around, searching for anything to aid her. She sent endless praises of gratitude as she saw two familiar figures walking nearby, one once again clad in black and the other obediently following along. Shay and Gist.

Selah looked to Shay, who thankfully looked over at her. She sent him a look of desperation, pleading. Immediately the Templar glanced between her and Ojeda and alarm lit up his eyes. Haytham must have warned him, as well. The captain did not hesitate to race over.

“Selah! There you are!” Shay exclaimed. “I was looking everywhere for you.”

Ojeda immediately turned around at his approach. “Oh, Master Cormac, was it?”

“Hope I’m not interrupting, but I need Selah for training.”

The Spaniard looked confused. “I thought Master Kenway taught her.”

“We both do.” Shay snatched Selah’s arm, dragging the girl away from the Grandmaster and closer to him. “I hope you don’t mind.”

“No, of course, not.”

Shay gave a curt nod. “We’ll be off, then.”

Half-leading, half-dragging Selah, the Templar walked away, Gist trailing behind them. He tugged her closer but released her once they were out of earshot.

“What are you doin’ talking to him for?” the captain questioned.

“He approached me, what was I supposed to do?” Selah retorted.

“Leave. Not that hard.”

Gist gave a barking laugh at Shay’s tone. Selah rolled her eyes.

“Well, thank you. I’ll be more careful of avoiding him.”

“You better. Now, come on.”

“What for?”

“I wasn’t kidding when I said I needed you for training. Haytham wants to make sure you’re acquainted.”

“He does know what we’ve been through, right?”

“Yes. He also knows we did nothing but sail for weeks. Calm down, it’ll be fine.”

By now they had traveled to a courtyard separated from the gardens, obviously used for combat training. A handful of dummies were set up on one side. On another, there were various crates and equipment. Selah even spotted a long rack of swords of all kinds. Shay didn’t hesitate to cross over to it.

“First we ought to find you a sword,” he announced.

“I fought with a cutlass in the Brotherhood,” Selah informed him.


He seemed to be already ignoring her as he observed the array of weapons, picking them up one at a time. The Irishman plucked up a sword that almost poked him in the eye, but to Selah it looked more like a needle.

“Gist, what the fuck is this?” he called.

The quartermaster had settled onto a crate and leaned towards his direction. “I believe that’s a Spanish rapier, Captain.”

Shay made a noise of disgust. “Make sure this doesn’t get on the Morrigan. If it does, burn her.”

Gist and Selah tried not to giggle. “Yes, Captain.”

Instead of putting it back, Shay violently tossed the fencing sword into a bush and continued his search. Finally the ex-Assassin found a sword he was pleased with, pulling it from the rack and crossing over to Selah.

“Now this is a rapier. An officer’s sword,” he identified. “Nice and swift for you.”

He tossed her the weapon, the former Assassin catching it easily. It was long and thin like its Spanish counterpart, except it was flat and sharp like most swords instead of needle-like. A handle wrapped around the golden hilt, which was also common. Selah swung a few times to adjust. It was indeed light and swift, which complimented the girl’s speed and fighting style. It was already fitting. As she adjusted, Shay pulled out his own sword, which the teenager noticed was a longsword with the Templar Cross etched into the hilt. She also noticed he did not reach for his parrying dagger.

“Only your sword?” she inquired.

“I want to give you half a chance at succeeding,” he replied.

Selah gave a challenging grin. “Your mistake.”

The two braced. Through a silent message, both charged for the other. Selah swung her newfound sword towards his abdomen, but she never saw it strike. Instead, her world violently panned with streaks of color as her organs flew. The girl wheezed as suddenly the ground brutally slammed into her, her head spinning. What just—?

“Difference between me and Haytham: I don’t hold back,” Shay’s voice came.

It was then Selah’s ringing ears were butchered by Gist’s bellowing laugh, near hysterical. Apparently watching Shay literally pluck her off the ground single-handedly and throw her over his shoulder was amusing. Selah groaned. This was going to be a long day.

The next several matches were like the first. Selah would charge, only for Shay to shatter her defenses and knock her down in a moment’s notice. Now she understood why he was so successful. Eventually Selah would begin to anticipate his movements and fought more cautiously, lasting a few more moments. However, no matter what she did, Shay eventually won. Each victory would have her groan and Gist to laugh. Finally the Assassin Hunter grew bored.

“That’s enough for today,” the Templar declared, sheathing his bastard sword.

Selah could only let out a noise. Shay took pity on her by crossing over to her fallen form and offering a hand. The younger Templar accepted it and he easily hoisted her up. The girl fought a groan at the soreness in her limbs. No doubt there would be bruises. She held out the rapier to Shay. He shook his head.

“Keep it,” he ordered. “It fits you.”

Selah shrugged and clipped it to her belt. As if she would turn down a proper weapon. The warrior rolled her shoulders.

“Now what?” she asked.

“Gist and I have to check a few things on the Morrigan,” Shay explained. “You can accompany us, if you like.”

Another shrug. “I don’t see why not.”

The sun burned brightly in the sky, a pleasant cool wind of spring refreshing souls walking across the mostly dirt-laced streets. At least it wasn’t like the mud found in some parts of New York. In the center of the street was Shay and Selah, returning from the docks. They had spent the rest of the morning and better part of the afternoon organizing cargo for the Morrigan, which included finding materials to improve the vessel and selling the tobacco she had stored. When all was done, the pair of Templars decided to return to the villa as Gist volunteered to stay behind and watch over the ship.

Shay gave relaxing groan as he stretched his limbs. “We’ll check in with Haytham when we get back. He’s probably already found a mission for us.”

A mission so soon? It was no different than the Brotherhood. End one chore, report for a mission. End one mission, report for another. One after another. Selah felt uneasiness beginning to crawl across his skin.

“Shay,” the girl spoke up, hating her voice wasn’t stronger. “What happens? When this is all over?”

The Templar looked up in thought. “Head back to the colonies, first of all. Possibly see what needs to be done. The Order’s not going to have enough to do, once the Assassins are gone.” The man made a strange snort. “It’ll be strange without the Brotherhood around.”

His words couldn’t be truer. Selah couldn’t help the pit forming in her stomach.

“Shay, do you regret wh—the decisions you made?” she asked.

“…No, not really.”

The Assassin Hunter looked away as the girl stared at the ground. “Can I ask you something?”


“…Never mind.”

Selah’s nerve failed her at the last moment. She couldn’t do it. What was she supposed to ask? What it felt like, to personally kill everyone you knew? She knew Shay was convicted to the Templar cause, and did not regret the path he now walked. That should be enough. So why did she demanded to know more?

The young Templar tried to ignore Shay’s curious stare. She opened her mouth to speak, but never got the chance. Without warning, the pit dug deeper and the crawling intensified. The former Assassin felt her hair beginning to stand on end. Her breath caught in her throat. She felt this before.

“Shay… someone’s following us,” she hissed.

Immediately Shay’s eyes narrowed with a dark glare. Falling into his Assassin training, he subtly glanced around, ending the circle to glimpse over his shoulder. He stepped closer to Selah, feigning to avoid contact with a beggar.

“Stay close to me,” he murmured.

The Templar wrapped a protective arm around her and ushered her forward. However the unnerving sensations increased and Selah felt the muscles of Shay’s arm tensing as he sensed something she could not see. The tension in the air was suffocating the teenager.

That tension shattered as without warning Shay violently shoved her to the ground. Immediately a savage cry filled her hearing, followed by grating steel and struggling grunts. The teenager glanced up to see the ex-Assassin had unsheathed both his sword and dagger, using them as a shield an inch from his eyes. A large man dressed in tattered clothing pushed against him, his knife meeting the Templar’s weapons. The assaulter’s face was red and his eyes were wild, as if he was a beast demanding blood.

The handful of civilians on the street gave startled yells of fright at the event. Their gasps turned into the screams as Shay shoved back the attacker just enough for him to plunge his dagger into his neck. The Templar ignored the stampede as he sheathed his weapons and yanked Selah to her feet.

“Come on, time to go,” he ordered hastily.

Selah could only nod, following along as Shay yanked her forward. They fell into a half-run, half-jog pace, racing towards the villa. In the colonies it would be foolish to head straight for headquarters, but they weren’t in the colonies. However instead of darting and screaming civilians disappearing from view, they increased in frequency.

“What’s going on?” Shay hissed.

It wasn’t much further they found the answer. Spanish soldiers crowded in front of the main gates of Ojeda’s villa, struggling with assailants seeking to access to the grounds. Bodies writhed and flailed in every direction with weapons of all kinds jutting out. Gunshots filled the air, along with screams of battle. Shay and Selah stopped dead at the sight, the girl immediately noticing the rivers of blood and unmoving bodies covering the ground. Shay snapped her out of it before she could even freeze.

Jaysus Christ!” the sailor cursed in a savage voice.

The Templar took off, unsheathing his weapons. He did not hesitate to ram into an unsuspecting thug, digging his weapons into their spine. Selah’s eyes widened before finally instinct kicked in, allowing to charge after him with her own sword.

“Haytham! What happened?!” Shay bellowed.

“I’m busy at the moment, Shay!” Haytham howled back as he twisted his sword into an attacker.

Selah dived into the fray, twisting her sword around the club of a thug. The man gave a savage growl, but it was cut short as the Templar struck her hidden blade into his gut. He stumbled away, only for Selah to turn around as another invader lunge for her. This one was armed with an axe, swinging it at her head. The teenager blocked it with her sword, shoving it away. She quickly twisted to slam her heel into the attacker’s stomach, forcing him to wheeze. His guard lowered, the warrior quickly drove her rapier into his windpipe. He gurgled before death consumed him.

Selah turned around at a yell to see a Spanish soldier had stumbled onto the ground, a thug standing over him with a raised machete. The Templar leaped over to barge between them, all the while driving her rapier into the man’s chest. He was dead in an instant. Selah forced her blade back out, giving a stubborn tug when it refused to remove itself from its sheath. Something flashed across her vision, but she ignored it as she meant to turn to the soldiers.

She never got the chance as suddenly the figures of fighting men were replaced by silhouettes. The bright sunlight was replaced by shadows. Instead of sweat and the coppery smell of blood, Selah smelled smoke and death. The girl trembled. That night. That night. She couldn’t let it happen again!

The former Assassin tried to regain her senses, only for muteness to surround her and a vision to flash across her eyes. She couldn’t tell if she was moving or not. Suddenly a familiar, hooded figure crossed before her.

“James?” she breathed.

Her teacher moved away, causing a delirious Selah to reach after him.

“Selah? Selah!”

A muted call pierced the hallucination. The memory faded away to return to the bright world of Havana, but it was blurry and Selah felt numb. She noticed a figure approaching. Instinct kicked in, having her raise her sword with a cry. It was immediately deflected. Just like…

“Selah,” Haytham appeared. He didn’t hesitate to place a hand on her neck, brushing back her hair in the process.

“I-I’m fine,” Selah stuttered.

The look on the Grandmaster’s face showed he was not convinced. He wisely decided not push her, glancing around.

“It’s done,” he announced solemnly.

He was right. The sounds of war had disappeared with a deafening silence, only filled by murmurs. The bodies of the attackers were strewn across the ground, a handful of soldiers alongside them. The survivors were picking through the mess and concerning over their own welfare. No flames. No shadows. The villa still stood at the sight of victory. Selah gave a shuddering breath. Haytham watched her closely.

“I’m taking you back to your quarters,” he proclaimed. “We’ll sort this out later.”

“Yes, Sir,” Selah stuttered.

The Templar removed his hand, allowing the girl to glance down at her trembling fingers. What just happened?

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