Selah stared at the person in the mirror. Selah didn’t know this girl. This girl wore a stern frown with furrowed eyebrows, shadowing her dark brown eyes. This girl was thin and pale, when Selah was supposed to be muscular and tan. This girl had scrapes and scars across her face. Selah didn’t have any. But there was cold, cold voice of logic that told her. This girl was her.
Selah carefully traced her face. Thankfully her face didn’t look deformed or frightening, and many of the scrapes were already disappearing with pink tones in healing. But there was a pale line from her bottom lip to her chin and a crimson mark that curved around her left eye that the Assassin knew would scar.
The girl took the time to look over the rest of her body. Almost all of the minor wounds she suffered had healed, save for a couple scathes and bruises that were purple and black in “healing.” The wound on her arm was still red and pink, but the black lines of stitches kept it from reopening. She found a long red line on her side, probably from a lucky swipe from a bayonet. She removed the bandages from her leg, too, only for it to look like someone had rubbed a cheese grater against her skin. Her hands didn’t look much better.
After what felt like an hour of grimacing and gagging at her sensitive wounds, Selah carefully re-bandaged them. She knew she should be using fresh ones, but the doctor hadn’t come in a while and she had no idea where new ones were stored. She certainly wasn’t going to ask.
Selah chew her fingernails. A day had passed since Haytham’s departure, and the Assassin spent the night alone with restless sleep. The nightmare had returned. It wasn’t as gruesome or fearsome as the first, but it was enough to keep her awake for hours, alongside with the dark thoughts of her situation floating across her mind. These Templars were nothing but traitors and murderers. It was only a matter of time before they grew bored or tired of her, where they would either kill her or put her to better “use.” Selah had to get out of here.
That in mind, the Assassin left her post and barged through the door like a caged animal. She only scanned her surroundings for guards only for a second before making her way to the nearest window. She glanced around a little more carefully this time. Nothing.
Without wasting another moment, she buried her fingers under the frame and pulled it open. The girl relished the gush of warm air. She quickly swung a leg over the window still, completely ignoring the fact she was two stories high. The Assassin quickly swung the second out and planted the soles of her feet on the cold stone, holding herself up with just her fingertips. With just one hand holding the outside window still, Selah quickly slid the window closed, leaving no evidence of her endeavor.
The moment the sound of wood hitting wood hit Selah’s ears, her Assassin instincts kicked in. She leaped upwards, her fingertips and toes latching onto the smallest of footholds to propel her upwards. The Assassin scrambled onto the rooftop in a matter of seconds. Seeing a chimney a few feet away from her, Selah immediately slunk into its shadow. With a sigh, the Assassin closed her eyes and concentrated.
When she snapped them open, the bright world of morning was replaced by shadows.
Selah saw only the outline of her surroundings, but it was made up with the multiple tastes and smells that reached her, all mixing together but distinct at the same time. She tasted the gravelly dirt and soil cloaking multiple objects around her and the musky scent of the city.
Suddenly a shout across the fort placed a horrid taste of alcohol and tobacco on her tongue, making her gag. She looked over her shoulder towards the source to see the red outline of a man far down the wall. He was too far to notice her. Another quick scan of her immediate surroundings proved the same.
Selah grinned. If only she had thought of this earlier! Now strength finally flowed through her limbs, eager to be rejuvenated and used. However the comings of a headache came to threaten her newfound power. Selah blinked and the world returned to how it was.
The Assassin moved on to see the building rose above the height of the wall. And even though the two structures were several yards apart, with enough momentum she could easily launch herself onto the wall. She noticed with glee that this section of the inner wall joined with the outer, allowing only one leap to freedom. She grinned before taking off.
The Assassin leaped off the edge like she braced to fly, only to flail her limbs as gravity caught her. Selah didn’t mind as she used the force to her advantage. Tucking in her limbs, she expertly crashed onto the top of the wall, rolling to break the fall. Knowing now she couldn’t waste any time, she quickly scuttered to the edge, only for her stomach to drop.
It was at least a fifty foot drop. Even with all her training, Selah knew she would break a bone for sure. However, she noticed the wall was at an angle. A very steep angle, but Selah saw. Maybe she could use it to her advantage. That in mind, she planted her feet to the side and gripped the edge with her fingers. Squeezing her eyes, she let go.
The fall was quick. Selah let out a loud wheeze as her legs slammed onto the ground, absorbing the entire impact. They bent painfully and her body collapsed onto the ground. However the teenager quickly forced herself to her feet, even though her limbs screamed in protest. Selah didn’t care.
The Assassin smiled. She was free.
Selah bounded rooftop to rooftop, letting her instincts control her movements. Warm winds howled around her, bringing the scents of the city and the outside world. Her limbs moved unrestrained, blood racing at the newfound freedom. Every time she leaped to another building, the Assassin literally felt like she was soaring.
Finally she settled on a slanted rooftop, overlooking the skyline of New York. Selah loved this view. She remembered she would pause alongside other Assassins to take in the sight. The New World. It was the Assassins who had it first—all to themselves in fact—after being discovered by Mentor Ezio Auditore’s Assassins and then founded by John de la Tour. They had planned to rid of the Templars that had dared invaded and to open the minds of the people, to grant them the same freedom the Assassin could feel in their veins. But now, they were as available to the Cross as slaves on the market. Nothing would stop the people to be influenced to the Templars’ lies until they could no longer think for themselves and find themselves in a world that was not theirs. It made Selah’s stomach twist nauseously.
The young girl bit her lip and let out a sharp, high-pitched whistle that blew into the wind, resembling the eagle’s call. She waited patiently for several long moments.
No flying streak of an arrow or materializing shadows. Not even a replying cry. Selah continued on.
For over the next hour, Selah would travel for several blocks and give the cry of the eagle, waiting patiently for the reply of her brothers each time. There was none. The young Assassin finally paused by the bell tower of a church, panting. Squeezing her eyes, she gave one last whistle, sharp and long. She swore this one carried all her desperation.
Moments stretched into minutes. Silence. Selah buried fists into her eyes and let out a tearless sob. Haytham was right. The Brotherhood was dead. No one would come for her.
Now what? Selah hurriedly tried to think of any shelter. The village was burned, no doubt the homestead, too. Any contact of the Assassins was most likely being hunted by the Templars as of now. There were maybe a few sympathetic gang members, but all the gangs were destroyed and their subordinates in hiding. There was nowhere in America to go…
Selah blinked. Wait. If not in not America… Europe.
The Assassin Order was spread worldwide. Hundreds of men and women sworn to the cause; thousands more who gave sympathy. And Selah knew for a fact that their main stronghold was held somewhere in Europe, established during the reign of Ezio Auditore da Firenze. Yes. She could go there. Her brothers there would no doubt help her. Maybe even they would send more Assassins to fight the Templars. She had to find a way there. Or very least establish some sort of contact with them. Even if it would take months…
Her mind made up, the Assassin focused her senses to check her surroundings. A sharp smell of gunpowder came from a few buildings away, alongside the scuffles of movement reaching her ears. She glanced over to see flashes of red. Regulars.
They stood on a higher rooftop, clutching their weapons as they scanned the city. No doubt they would spot her if she continued across the buildings. A miracle they haven’t noticed her already. Scanning her surroundings, Selah discovered a pile of cargo stacked against the wall of her building. Staying out of the sight of the scouts, she clambered off the edge of the roof onto the supplies and onto the street.
Taking up her lessons of stealth, the Assassin nonchalantly navigated through the alleys and roads. She would occasionally join a crowd of people; naturally acting to belong when in fact she was well an outsider. When there were none to blend with, she carefully avoid the eyesight of any who would notice her. Even though she was avoiding attention, the Assassin apprentice felt highly exposed without the comforting weight of her hidden blades on her wrists. She tried not to think about it. Throughout her journey, Selah continuously saw the flashes of red of the British.
She tried not to curl her lip. The Assassins actually remained neutral during the war—or at least they tried to be. The Seven Years’ War was nothing more than a contest of power—something the Brotherhood openly condemned. However, the Templars sided with the British, complicating things. Remain too neutral and the British would gain the advantage—and so the Templars. And so the Assassins found themselves leaning more towards the French.
It started purely out of politics against the Cross and the assistance was small—anonymous tips of troop movement or sabotage of enemy conveniences. It quickly escalated to assassinating British officers and raiding forts. And while the Colonial Assassins fought on the frontline, their brothers were in a fierce political war with their Templar counterparts in Europe. Their influence in France skyrocketed while their members in England battled Parliament and Templars for peace. But it wasn’t just because of the Templars.
The Brotherhood soon found the British was using more force than necessary—placing soldiers in unnecessary stations and attacking before giving a chance of peace. And now the war was supposedly over—but redcoats still swarmed the city like it was still time of conflict. It had become obvious to the Assassins the British used the war as an excuse to exploit more control. But even with all their efforts, it was too late: the British had won. They had gained control over new territories, including part of the land of Louisiana and Quebec, even taking Florida from Spain. The Spanish then desperately held on to what they had left, only leaving a handful of islands to the French. But it was obvious the English had the most spoils. Now there was nothing to restrain the Crown and the Cross.
Selah was so lost in her thoughts she failed to observing eyes boring into her. The girl let out a cry of surprise and protest when suddenly a strong hand grabbed her arm and pulled into a dark alley. A strong hand clamped over her mouth to cut her screams.
“Sh! It’s me!” a gruff voice hissed.
Selah snapped her eyes open. She knew that voice. Giving them a gentle jab with her elbow, she pulled away and whirled around.
William de Saint-Prix. The man was tall and muscular, even though he was growing into his fifties. However his graying shoulder-length hair and trimmed whiskers betrayed his age. He wore a forest-sage coat wrapped around his body, neatly buttoned and straight. A hood covered his head with a tricorne hat on top, giving him a funny appearance but efficiently obscuring his face. But Selah saw that face perfectly at she peered up at his gleaming hazel eyes and charming smile. As well as the golden Assassin insignia on his coat and hat.
“William!” she cried in joy.
She launched herself at the older man, trapping him a tight embrace. William only braced calmly and immediately wrapped his arms protectively around her. Before he could speak, the younger Assassin whimpered into his chest like a lost toddler, “They’re dead. They’re all dead.”
“I know, sweetheart,” the man whispered solemnly. “I know.”
Selah buried her face in his chest as he gently stroked her long dark hair. William was a Master Assassin and was one of the most respected members of the Brotherhood—possibly even more so than Achilles. He was born in noble France, but his commitment to the cause sent him to the Caribbean. It was from there he came to the British Colonies, alongside his associate Adéwalé. William decided he liked colonies and stayed, even purchasing a small property. However following Adéwalé’s death, he had gone into hiding considering their ties.
Selah stayed in his embrace for several long moments until he finally murmured, “Have you been safe?”
The apprentice’s stomach knotted. She pulled away. “The Templars—they destroyed everything. But they—” The young girl shut her eyes and shook her head. “They took me away, William.” The man was already frowning. “They want me to join them.”
“What have you said?”
“I have said nothing. I just escaped their fort moments ago.”
William looked away and muttered something in French. Even with her lessons, Selah didn’t catch what he said. But the Assassin quickly flipped back to English. “It won’t be long before they come looking for you…”
“I need to get to Europe,” the apprentice blurted. William snapped his gaze back to her. “We find our brothers from the Old World. They can help us.” When the older Assassin looked away again, Selah pressed on. “You have a ship, don’t you?”
“I do,” the Frenchman muttered. “But without the others, it’s not going to be that easy.”
“What do you mean?”
William glanced at her, solemn. “Our fleet’s been completely destroyed, Selah. What remained of it was burned during the attack. The Aquila and my ship were the only ones to escape.”
Selah gasped. “But our fleet rivals that of the Crown’s! You said so yourself! How can it be destroyed?”
“I think you know…”
A cold realization seeped into Selah’s veins. “Shay Cormac…”
“He’s dangerous, Selah. There’s nothing deadlier than a man who’s vengeful and determined. Don’t underestimate Haytham, either. He’s a cunning and manipulative bastard.” He stared down at her. “Do not believe a word he says…”
Selah shook her head rapidly. “I know that already. That’s why I need to get to Europe.”
William closed his eyes in thought. “Like I said, it’s easier said than done,” he muttered. “Not only are we short on ships, but the British are monitoring the docks and the Templars are scouring the city for what’s left of our Brotherhood. And even if we do get to Europe, it’s not that easy to build up a fleet and stir up another war.”
“We have to try, William.”
The Master Assassin gave a defeated sigh and opened his eyes, allowing Selah see the scholar’s calculating gaze. “The British or the French Brotherhood might do. And I can pull a few strings.” He finally glanced at her. “But it’ll take some time. Especially if we want to leave unnoticed. The British don’t favor smuggling.” Selah smiled in relief, but it disappeared to her brother’s next words. “In the meantime, stay with the Templars.”
“What?! No! I can’t—”
The man roughly grabbed her shoulders, silencing her high-pitched protests. “Listen to me, Selah. I’m having enough time as it is staying away from their sights. If you come with me, they’ll be looking for us both—making it that much harder to find a charter. We’ll both be in danger.”
“But—” Selah whined. William quickly squatted himself to her level.
“I know you don’t like it. I don’t, either. But if we have a chance—” The man sighed and continued in a softer tone, “It’ll only be a little while, Selah. I know how brave and clever you are. If you can escape once, you can do it again.” He squeezed her shoulders. “I’ll see you safe. I promise you.”
Selah shut her eyes. But she was just free! And he was telling her to waltz right back into her cage? The apprentice knew he had logic to it, though—he always did. He spoke the truth: once the Templars found her missing, they would not rest until she was found and either captured or both of them were killed. It would make it impossible to sail an unsanctioned ship out of the harbor. Also maybe this way, they’ll have the element of surprise.
And Selah trusted the nobleman with her life. He and James became quick friends and the Frenchman gained a strong interest in her. And she him. He had even taught her some fighting techniques and told her stories of his adventures, including how he had outsmarted and assassinated a whore of a puppeteer. He was like an uncle to her.
Selah gulped and opened her eyes. “I’ll do it.”
William nodded in approval and gave her a reassuring smile. “Just play along for now. It won’t be too long.” The man stood back up. “Meet me by the docks by the Smith and Company Brewery in two nights. We’ll leave then.”
Selah nodded obediently, hoping she didn’t look as miserable as she felt. She must have been tearing up, though, because William placed a comforting hand on her shoulder. “I’ll get us out of here. We won’t let the Templars get away with this. Good fortune to you, my dear sister.”
“Good fortune to you…”
Selah quickly slipped away as William disappeared back in the shadows to make the arrangements. The young Assassin was so distracted with her stomach knotting more and more as she neared the fort, she failed to sense piercing eyes watching her every move…