The white sun glowed brilliantly overhead, its rays stretching across the clear, crystal-blue sky. Its warmth seeped into the land, banishing anything cold from setting in. Sea birds glided across the winds, occasionally squawking with pleasure. The exotic plants of the Caribbean looked just as lush as ever and the rippling ocean continued to sparkle. The clear waters looked like liquid sapphire. It was truly beautiful.
It was over.
The Assassin Brotherhood was gone.
The Templars stood as victors.
Alonso de Ojeda would stay as Grandmaster over the West Indies, but he would only report to Haytham. His sole duty was to rid of any survivors and handle Templar finances. Madeleine de L’Isle in New Orleans would do the same. Meanwhile, Haytham would return to the colonies, taking the head of all the Templars in American and stay in contact with the Order in the Old World. It would be his responsibility to see the Order expand and secure their control over the Continent. Complete control. But that could not be done in the shadow of the British Empire. The Crown had become too engrossed in its power and abused it on its people of America. The Crown had to be removed.
The Templars would continue their war for peace. Whether it was against the Assassins, or the ignorance of men.
Selah stood on a private dock, known only to select Templars. Without the stench and sounds of a crowded harbor, the girl was able to inhale the fresh sea breeze and feel rustling against her. Only the sailors making last-minute adjustments interrupted her peace. Selah looked out to open sea, lost in her thoughts. She gently touched her right flank, only for a burning fire of pain to coarse through her body. Her right flank had been burned by the cannon shot. It would take a while for it to heal, and it would mostly leave a horrid scar.
Haytham himself had a few scrapes from their rush through a jungle. He had rammed into a few fronds that were sharp enough to cut through his thick clothing and into his skin. One slice was infected by the time a doctor treated him. By the time they escaped, the Grandmaster looked far older than he should have: his crow’s feet had deepened and the darkness under his eyes was baggy. His hair seemed duller and few more strands of gray had appeared. It wouldn’t be long before all of it turned. He had stumbled through the jungle the entire night, panting and sweating like a horse. Selah truly pitied him.
There had been no rush once they found the river. The howls of war dogs had disappeared and there was no more sound of pursuit or any distant battle. The canines had no use to follow them. They had their fill. Selah could not think of it. What the beasts had done to Cacicaná when the Taíno Assassin Mentor flung himself into their jaws. He had sacrificed his life for Selah to follow her ideals. She could at least give him the respect of doing so. The Templar sighed and walked away from her post.
“It was an honor to sail with you, Master Gist,” the teenager spoke once she spotted the quartermaster.
The frontiersman immediately spun around. “Oh, the pleasure was mine! Don’t hesitate to visit the Morrigan whenever you have the urge to be at sea. We would love you have you.”
Selah smiled. “Thank you, Christopher.”
She was still not particularly comfortable with calling him by his nickname as Shay, but he did not seem to mind with his full first name. Nevertheless, the girl welcomed his brief embrace, silencing the squeak at the pressure on her ribs.
“Take care of yourself,” Gist advised.
The first mate pulled away, allowing Shay to near them. The Assassin Hunter had recovered from his dilemma, regaining control over his muscles. His wounds had been treated and bandaged, promised to heal relatively soon. He hadn’t been pleased hearing of Kumi’s death, but Selah never saw him mourn.
“I’ll meet you back on the Morrigan, Chris,” the captain promised.
“Aye, Captain,” Gist affirmed.
The jovial sailor gave a nod and marched off. Meanwhile Selah noticed Shay’s unmoving posture.
“You’re not coming with us?” she asked.
The Templar shook his head. “No. I am to set off for France. There is old business I need to take care of.”
Surprise was the least Selah felt. “How long you will be gone?”
Another shake and a shrug of the shoulder. “Hard to say. Most likely a year or so.”
Selah couldn’t help the disappointment in her voice. Even as long and torturous it had been, she had enjoyed sailing with Shay. She wouldn’t mind accompanying him on the journey home. He was her brother now, after all. The elder Templar saw dismayed look and gave her a reassuring smile.
“I’ll return to America once I have completed my mission,” he promised. “I am a member now.” He smiled with an amused snort. “And someone has to keep you from getting out of trouble, after all.”
Selah gave him a disapproving glare, but her own smile failed to support it. There was a moment of silence between them as the girl’s lips fell into a frown. She wasn’t able to stop herself.
She captured Shay in an embrace, burying her face in his chest and arms wrapped around him. The Templar returned the gesture, securing his arm around her shoulders and a hand in her hair, his chin resting on her head.
“I’ll miss you, Shay,” Selah whined.
“I’ll miss you, too, darlin’,” he hummed.
They broke apart then. Shay gave her a final smile with a rustle of her hair. Selah watched him as he walked away, towards his own adventures.
The young Templar closed her eyes when he slipped away. She turned around, heading for the single ship docked to the peer. She ignored the still-working sailors as she made her onto the deck. The girl crossed over to the bow to the railing, where Haytham stood looking out to sea. The Grandmaster glanced at her approach.
“Everything is taken care of?” he asked.
“Yes,” Selah nodded.
“Let us be off.”
The anchor was raised and the sails snapped into the wind. The seagulls that’s had rested in the masts took flight with squawks of surprise. The hull of the ship glided across the waters as the wind carried her away from shore.
Selah sailed for the New World.
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