Crossed Eagle

Chapter 7

Returning to the fort was actually easier than Selah thought. The Templars hadn’t even realized she was gone: no bells rung, the redcoats were still posted at their stations, no Master Templars ran around in panic. At first she thought it would be impossible to re-enter the district with its intimidating walls forbidding any entry. But like God was on her side that day, she found a convenient route of loose bricks up the side of the wall; away from peering eyes. So with a talent that would prove impossible for the average person, Selah scaled the walls of Fort George and snuck back into the compound.

Now was the difficult part: waiting.

The Assassin would only have to wait two days before her next meeting with William—two more days until she could leave for Europe—but to the captive it felt like eternity. She spent most of her time locked in her room. What time she didn’t spend in there, she spent wandering around the fort, continuing her search for any Templar secrets but to avoid contact at all costs. However she still came across the occasional Templar. It wasn’t surprising the most contact she had was with Johnson. He would check on how she was doing and coerce her into a conversation, although she kept it brief and strict. He was no doubt doing it because he was ordered to. She encountered Hickey a few times as well, only to exchange sneers and insults. The Assassin even spotted Charles Lee a couple times, who was usually speaking with lesser Templars. Selah would immediately flee before he could notice her. The girl didn’t fail to notice Eleanor and Gillian leering at her from a distance, usually commenting between themselves. However they never approached her. Apparently their encounter with Cormac had made them fearful of his wrath.

The Assassin never once saw the Irishman, not even a brief mention of him. Selah almost began to question if he even existed; that he wasn’t some absurd hallucination. However she knew better. Shay was a hunter. He knew how to stay undetected.

The young girl now paced the corridors of Fort George, chewing her nails once again. Tonight was the night. Her meeting with William and to leave America. She would have to escape the same way as before, and then make her way across New York, the largest city in the British Colonies. If she made it to the docks in one piece, then they would have to slip the ship out of the harbor without any eyes noticing. Sounded simple from an Assassin aspect—but Selah knew a number of things could go wrong.

She was so lost in thought she started when a loud slamming noise filled the air. The Assassin leaped back behind a corner and peered around it. She noticed Charles Lee storming out a room, followed by a British officer. He had dark brown hair and beard around his mouth, looking almost Spanish. But his sharp eyes allowed Selah to identify him. Eleanor’s father.

Lee and the redcoat exchanged a muttered conversation before disappearing down the hall in the other direction, leaving the door unguarded. Curiosity got the best of Selah. She snuck to the doorway, immediately noticed it was fancier than the other ones, being made of dark mahogany with the Templar Cross subtly etched into the wood. Selah grinned. It screamed of Templar secrets.

Once again the stars were aligned that it was unlocked when she tried the handle and slipped inside. She was greeted with a large study, dominated with a large, elegantly designed desk. A large bookshelf lined each wide of the wall, crammed with editions of all sizes. On the desk itself were neatly placed linen papers, all carefully placed and organized. Selah grinned as she realized what this was. The Grandmaster’s study. No doubt she would find something useful here.

She immediately went for the desk, scouring through the papers. Even if she was leaving tonight, maybe she could find something that the Assassins could use against the Templars. She was only disappointed to find that the papers carried no secrets. The most prominent Templar information she found were general orders of footmen and a ledger detailing payment to mercenaries. The rest were just meaningless letters and business information—over half of them fake.

Selah made a hiss of distaste. Haytham was meticulous, she’ll give him that. She crouched as she prepared to search through the desk’s drawers, but a dark voice interrupted her.

“You’re not supposed to be in here…”

Selah froze. She instantly recognized strong accent. Irish. The Assassin shot up. Standing in the doorway to the study was Shay Cormac.

The Templar stared at her with an inscrutable expression. Selah jumped away from the desk—and farther from his gaze—as she stumbled for words.

“I—I,” Selah tried but failed. She desperately tried to think of a logical excuse as to why she was in the Grandmaster’s study. Better yet try to explain why she was snooping through his private belongings. Or hell, even find a retort to distract from her actions. Anything. But no words formed and her mind offered no thoughts. “I was just—”

Finally Selah gave up. She slumped her shoulders and stared at the floor. She half-expected him to kill her right then and there or at least cruelly drag her away or rebuke her. The teenager was instead astonished when the man simply stepped to the side and waved his fingers. Selah understood the order and obeyed.

Avoiding his gaze or any sort of contact whatsoever, the teenager pushed past him and into the hallway. She wondered if she should run away while she still had the chance, but Shay had already joined her. Selah’s throat constricted as he fell into a heavy stride by her shoulder as they walked through corridors in a deafening silence.

She anticipated him to start dragging her away to Lee or start interrogating her, but he was just as silent as she was, glaring ahead instead of sparing her a glance. In fact he seemed to be escorting her more than anything. Selah didn’t know how long the silence lasted until she licked her dry lips and gulped. She couldn’t take it anymore. “Are you going to tell Haytham?”

Finally Shay glanced at her from the corner of his eye. “Not as long as you don’t act on it,” he said simply.

Selah gave another dry gulp and they returned to their solitude. She didn’t even know where they were until suddenly Shay paused by a door. “Is this your room?”

The teenager blinked. How did he know where her room was? She didn’t dare question it as she nodded slowly. Shay pulled the handle and stepped away to allow her entrance. She stepped through the threshold without hesitation. The girl meant to close the door, but Shay had already gained his hold.

“Don’t cause any trouble,” he warned in a dark voice, sending chills across Selah’s skin.

The door closed with a click.


Selah jumped into the shadow of an alleyway, hugging the corner of the building. A pair of drunks stumbled by, laughing and babbling unintelligibly. Selah slipped behind them silently. The Assassin’s muscles were tense and her mind was sharp. She not playing a silly game of blending in or avoiding contact; she was to become a shadow of the night. A skill reserved only for true Assassins.

James did everything he could to teach her the highest stealth and Selah participated on several missions of the like, but to the other Assassins she was but an apprentice. She still had so much to learn. So much to master. Maybe the British could teach her. And maybe if she proved herself, she’ll be allowed return to the Colonies. Perhaps she’ll be granted permission to assassinate Haytham Kenway…

Selah shook her head. Now was not the time for daydreaming. Her mind snapped to its deadly sharpness. Almost there… The Assassin slid into the next shadow.

The night was deadly silent with the moon lazily drifting between clouds. The only light was from a few lit lanterns and the soft moonlight shining onto the cool muddy-packed ground. It was the perfect night for Selah. The weather seemed to bend to her will. If she wished for more shadow, a cloud would hide away the moon’s light. It was what allowed her to slip away from the fort. That and the half-awake guards were blinded by their own brilliant lanterns. An Assassin would say a perfect night was one with no moon, but for Selah, it acted like a beacon. The light all Assassins served for.

Finally the fresh scent of the salt reached her nostrils, defeating even the strong stench of the streets. The Assassin quickly heard the soft lapping of waves against reinforced wood. She smiled. She had reached the docks.

The girl climbed to the edge of her shadow and scanned her surroundings. The street was empty. The water was crowded with large ships of all purposes—from merchant to military—tied to the land like some great anchor. The looming building of the Brewery took up almost the entire space next to the harbor, its property even coming to the edge of the water.

The air was still and silent.

Selah scanned the harbor for a familiar sign, but she saw it: a shadow moving near the pier. A shadow she recognized. William. Selah sighed in relief, unable to stop herself from relaxing her muscles. Scanning her surroundings a final time, the girl finally slipped out of her hiding place and carefully approached the shadow. William stopped his slow pacing when he spotted her. The Master Assassin turned to her, giving one of his charming, reassuring smiles. He nodded in greeting.

Selah nodded as well. It was over. She could start again. To leave the New World to find a world of her own. A world where she could become a true Assassin—a Master. A world where she could redeem the deaths of her brothers and her teacher. A world where all would be free.

Selah’s world shattered.

Everything was muted as suddenly William’s body lurched, eyes wide and mouth gapping. A spray of dark blood exploded from his head, filling the air with a red mist. It wasn’t until his body started to collapse when the sound reached Selah’s ears. The deafening thunder of a musket.

Selah was completely frozen. Her bones where locked in place and her muscles were cold. She swore her blood and heart weren’t moving. She watched the scene unfold with a silent scream until finally the sound returned.

NO!

She launched forward, only for something to lock her into place. Selah screamed as strong hands grabbed either side of her, the large bodies of men blocking out her surroundings. The Assassin flailed, but her restraints did not weaken.

“Thought ya could get away, did ya?” a slurred accent mocked.

Selah screeched as Thomas Hickey appeared across her vision, dressed in his mercenary outfit and musket in hand. He was grinning ear-to-ear at her.

“Come on now, it can’t be that easy, eh?” Selah spat like a rapid feline. Hickey ignored her. If anything, he was only more amused by her rage. “Gotta ‘and it to ya, though. Been lookin’ for this one for months. Thanks, sweet’eart.”

He moved closer to her, probably to tauntingly flick a strand of hair, but Selah screamed again. She raised her body to launch her legs towards the man, effectively landing a powerful kick to his jaw. Hickey let out a shout of pain and flew back, doubling over and clutching his face. When he looked back up, his eyes were dark with rage and blood trickled from his chin. He stormed towards her, but suddenly was cut off by a red arm.

“Enough now,” a regal Scottish accent interrupted. A man barged his way between them. He wore a red coat similar to British officers, but a brown cloak draped over his shoulders. His brown hair and eyes were covered by his hat. Even with her rage, Selah was able to identify him as Johnathon Pitcairn.

“Let it go, Thomas,” the redcoat urged, pushing the other Templar slightly.

Hickey stepped away with a sneer. “Like it matters. Oi, ‘Aytham, wot do you think we should with ‘er?”

Selah’s blood ran cold.

“I’ll decide that, Hickey,” a cold, British voice spoke up.

Selah stiffened as she spotted the broad form of the Grandmaster in the corner of her vision and sensed his suffocating demeanor. She dared a glance to see Haytham’s face was an emotionless mask of stone, completely ignoring her existence.

Hickey sneered again and turned around. Selah cried when he kicked William’s body. She was so distraught she failed to notice Pitcairn and Haytham’s death glare at their disrespectful associate.

“Pity,” Hickey sighed. “Thought a Master Assassin would be more of a challenge. Guess not.”

“I rather not have any more challenges,” Haytham growled. He glanced at Pitcairn. “Handle this, Johnathon. Last thing we need is the people to think the soldiers are shooting onto the streets.”

“Understood, sir,” Pitcairn confirmed obediently.

Finally the Grandmaster laid his eyes on Selah. The Assassin felt like every fiber in her body froze from the ice in his eyes.

“Take her back to the fort,” he ordered. “I want at least two guards to keep watch on her.”

Selah’s handlers didn’t hesitate to roughly drag her away, never once was loosening their grip. The last thing she saw before being forced away was William. He was face down on the cold stone, face still perfectly obscured by his hood and hat. A pool of blood surrounded his head. Selah let out a heartbreaking cry. The girl was flailing madly as the Templars dragged her into an alleyway to take her back to the fort. They were losing their grip on her. Finally an arm slipped free.

Selah grabbed the arm of the other man, trying to pry her own away. The Templar who lost his grip desperately tried to regain a hold on her, but she denied him with a swift kick to the crotch. He collapsed in a yell of pain. The Assassin twisted and delivered a violent punch to the other man’s throat. He released her with a choke. The teenager then rammed into him full force, slamming into him into the wall and crashing his head against the stone. She took off before his body could even slide to the ground.

Like her sprint from the Homestead, Selah flew through the city, running as fast as her body would allow. She didn’t dare waste time searching for pursuers or shelter, only caring on an escape route without a thought of slowing down. But it wasn’t long before the shouts of pursuers reached her ears. Before she could determine their source, a team of shadows slipped from the night and formed a line to block the street before her. Selah spotted the light glinting off the bayonets as the mercenaries lowered their muskets.

Just before she came upon them, the Assassin ducked into an alleyway. She thanked her guardian again as she immediately spotted a tall ladder leading to the rooftops. Without hesitation, she leaped onto it and scaled it faster than she thought possible. She glanced down to see a Templar already climbing after her, several more preparing to join him. Selah didn’t hesitate to give the top of the ladder a strong kick, sending it crashing down accompanied by a yell.

The Assassin raced across the rooftops. She leaped between them at soaring speeds, feeling like she barely had a step for each building. The wind was now roaring frantically in her ears, when before it had been silent. The yells of men constantly filled the air, like the baying of hounds searching for their hunt. How many were there? Selah wasted precious concentration as she focused her senses.

Her bleak world was replaced by shadows. Immediately the overwhelming taste of blood and gunpowder cloaked her tongue, along with a deafening thunder in her ears and a pounding in her head as her instincts screamed of danger. She dared to glance at the streets below to see swarms of red keeping pace with her. She even spotted the jumping flashes of crimson bounding on the rooftops. The Assassin urged herself onwards, but suddenly her Vision sensed a new presence.

Selah gasped at the new wave of blood and death that filled her mouth, rising to fill her nostrils. The thunder was accompanied by a piercing ring. Her vision flashed with a brilliant red as a new glowing figure joined her above New York, freerunning as fast as her. Even with her panic, she was able to recognize who it was. Shay, the Assassin Hunter.

Selah gasped again as she noticed he was going to cut her off. Without thinking, she leaped off the side of the building, crashing onto the hard ground below. She cried as she clumsily rolled to break her fall. The Assassin ignored the pain in her shoulder and ankle as she took off again.

Thankfully she sensed no mercenaries near her, but now the teenager saw the streaks of shadow above her as the Assassin Hunter easily kept pace from the rooftops. Selah ran harder and tried to make random turns to shake him off, but it was no use. Shay always remained close.

Finally she took a random turn between a wooden fence, only to run into a vacant lot. She skidded to a halt as she noticed with dismay that the surrounding buildings had her completely boxed in. Selah looked around widely, trying to find an alternative escape route. Her stomach plummeted to frigid depths as suddenly a heavy thud and the rattle of weapons sounded behind her. Selah spun around in panic, only in horror to see Shay, blocking the way she came. The Assassin Hunter’s eyes were narrowed dangerously as he stalked towards her.

“Where do you think you’re going?” he demanded. The mockery and deadliness in his voice made Selah tremble.

The Assassin apprentice scrambled away from him, desperately scouring the small field for a weapon. Anything she could use. Selah finally rammed into a lifted log, where she looked down to see a shiny object. The panicked girl scrambled for it and held it out in front of her.

A saw.

The Assassin held the bizarre weapon like a sword, even though it was anything but. Hell, it could cut, couldn’t it? But Shay’s look showed he was less than impressed. He could barely cock an eyebrow before suddenly Selah lunged forward, swinging the tool towards his midsection. Shay lunged back, easily dodging it. Selah swung it again towards his shoulder, but the man simply sidestepped it. The girl repeatedly attacked with her newfound weapon, even though the Assassin Hunter avoided her attacks like she was swinging a twig at him.

Finally Shay slapped at her hand, knocking the saw away with a cry. Selah stumbled backwards, once again realizing she was defenseless. In another bolt of energy, she spun around to run away, only to slam into a solid object. Selah screamed as strong hands grasped her arms.

“Good Lord, you two are fast,” Haytham gasped in exasperation.

“Heh, perhaps your age is catching up to you, old man,” Shay replied, almost teasing.

Haytham snorted as Selah continued to flail. Even with her screams she couldn’t believe what she was hearing. They were trying to capture her and they were simply having a friendly conversation? The Assassin pounded against Haytham’s chest, forcing his grip to loosen.

“Shay, a little assistance, please,” the Templar begged.

Suddenly Selah felt a presence behind her before a pressure appeared on her shoulder. She let out a high-pitched cry as something pierced her neck. Immediately her vision darkened and her body numbed.

“Sleep dart,” Shay identified. “She’ll wake up soon.”

Selah fell into unconsciousness, the Grandmaster and the Assassin Hunter standing over her.


Continue Reading Next Chapter

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.