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Weight of the Heart

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12th Century Persia, Alamut Castle. Diran, A Master Assassin of the Hashashin Order, is looking for the man who murdered his family. Unintentionally, he rescues a girl named Lusia on one of his quests. After the alluring girl deceives him, Lusia is forced to go back home, waiting to fulfill her chosen destiny. Meanwhile, Diran has to make a heartwrenching choice between vengeance and love.

Romance / Drama
4.9 10 reviews
Age Rating:

Chapter One; The Eagle.

Baghdad, 1145




With these instructions, I enter the city gates of Baghdad.

After a few long days of riding through the smoldering heat of the desert, I leave Berlo, my horse, in the hands of a merchant running a stable for the animals of travelers. Handing him one gold coin, I promise him more for saddling my horse after he has been fed and rested.

Walking towards the crowded souk, I wrap the shemagh* off my head, feeling the brisk sun tickle my face. The smell of roasting meats awakens my stomach, yet thirst is my main concern. Vendors confidently shout when I pass them by, looking for water to replenish my mashk*.

A frail elderly woman stands by the local well, struggling to pull a bucket to the surface. I take the rope from her.

"Here, let me help.”

Soon the bucket stands on the edge of the well. The woman smiles.

“You are too kind, young man,” She says, filling a wooden cup and handing it to me. “Here, looks like you need it more than I do.”

Grateful for her kindness, I greedily drink the cup in one go and thank the woman as I hand it back.

“You don’t seem to be from around here,” she states skillfully pouring water into a narrow jug, leaving just enough for me to freshen up my face.

“What gave me away?”

Smiling, she pinches my cheek. “I would’ve remembered a handsome face like yours.”

Her boldness makes me laugh.

“Could I ask you for directions towards the palace, please?”

“Oh, you have been invited to the Caliph’s* grand feast?” She asks with wonder.

Smirking, I pull up another bucket to refill my water bag. “Well, I do have a surprise for him.”

After thanking the woman for sending me on my way, I quickly reach the assigned destination.

The Caliph’s palace is a gigantic white marble building with golden columns and domes on the various towers. About a dozen guards in black uniforms stand by the entrance gates with veils covering their faces. Large groups flock to them dressed in their finest, most colorful evening wear.

Peering at the guards, I know I cannot pass them without an invitation. But an opportunity has quickly come to rise.

Off to the side, I see a lonely watchman lurking at a sensual street dancer beckoning him to come closer. Taking this distraction to my advantage, I walk up, firmly shoulder-bumping him from behind. He turns and curses before coming after me.

Accelerating my pace, I lure him into a deserted alley, where I hide in the shades. Lacking stealth, I hear the watchman approach, shouting as he’s calling me out.

“Coward, show yourself!”

His words still echo when I grab him, wrapping my arm around his neck. Grunting he resists until my tight grip eases him into a deep sleep. I drag the watchman’s body behind a wall and change into his uniform.

Tucking the shemaghs veil in place, I walk back to the palace raising no awareness from the guards, when making my way toward the courtyard.

A ray of sun momentarily blinds me, reflecting off a gold fountain standing center of the flower-filled square. Tables are set wearing white linen embellished with gold flowers. Decadent wine cups match the golden platters set with expensive and rare delicacies, like juicy meats and fruits I don’t even know the name of.

Entertainment is neither lacking. Magicians and acrobats eagerly share their crafts while musicians play upbeat music, creating a joyful atmosphere. Belly dancers wearing dazzling attires are scattered all over, pleasing the eyes of many men and women who are mesmerized by their beauty.

Passing the fountain I notice a veiled girl, dressed in red, dancing in front of me. She moves exceedingly gracefully, making it almost hypnotizing to watch. The glistening water streaming down behind her makes it a vision whereby I somehow feel serene. I don’t even realize that I am staring until suddenly, I find her eyes catching mine.

Loud music announces the arrival of the Caliph, making me snap out of my daze. Turning around I see twelve slaves carry El Sibar, the Caliph of Baghdad, onto the courtyard in a solid gold carrying chair.

El Sibar is a mad dictator, who single-handedly forces his people into poverty. He sows fear by letting his brutes torture men, women, and even children, for the whole town to see, when they refuse, or cannot afford to pay him.

It has taken us over a year to get this chance to take him out. The magnitude of his personal security was the only thing holding us back. The Caliph is extremely fat. He can barely take one step forward, let alone fend for himself. That is why he constantly surrounds himself with at least a dozen trained safety guards.

Careful not to break their backs, the slaves place the Caliph down at a table in front of the square.

Behind El Sibar stand a series of guards, wearing the same black uniform I borrowed from one of their helpful colleagues.

With his loud baritone voice, he thanks his guests for coming, before gobbling down his food as if he has been starved for days. Grease runs down his chin after using his teeth to tear flesh from a bone.

When the surrounding guests sit down, minding their own plates, I see my opportunity to strike.

I take a deep breath walking past the tables toward my target. Slowly I guide my hand to my kard*, skillfully hidden in my belt. As soon as I stand before the Caliph, I draw my weapon and slice his throat.

Guests scream in horror as guards charge at me with swords drawn. The entrance from which I came is instantly blocked, so I have no other choice but to turn and run the other way.

Jumping tables, I reach a wall with narrow windows making it easy to climb towards an open balcony. Then there is no other way but to enter the palace.

Dozens of guards burst through the palace doors but have yet to make up for the distance I have created. Running up a flight of stairs, I zigzag my way through corridors and enter the next door I see.

Perplexed faces of about a dozen young women, wearing obscure clothing are suddenly all on me. A strange tension fills the air as they desperately hide their figures by clutching onto clothes or hiding in the massive bath taking up almost the entire space. They all seem scared, yet they shouldn’t be, as I have no interest in them.

Hearing rumbling in the hall I place my index finger against my hidden lips warning them not to make a sound when the guards pass by.

Crossing the room the women all make way as I walk towards open windows onto a spacious balcony. Below it runs a roof creating a perfect path for me to escape and fetch my horse from the stables.

Before making my way down, strange noises trigger my ears. It sounds like a girl pleading.

“No…no, please…Please! No…”
Followed by what I can only describe as slaps and cries of pain. The gruff voice of an impatient man resounds accompanied by muffled laughter.

“Stay still whore! YOU…hold her legs.”

A few girls walk up motioning to a closed door right next to me. They look at me expectantly, but what happens in these rooms is none of my concern. The guards are still after me, and I must get myself to safety.

Nodding apologetically, I turn away until a terrified scream sends chills down my spine. Groaning I step away from the railing and hurry towards the door shoving it open.

My eyes widen as I try to make out the scene before me. A frail girl tied to the bed with tight ropes around her wrists, surrounded by two robust men. One holds her leg, while the other is bent over her with his pants down his ankles.

I drag the foul rapist along by the neck, smacking his head against the wall. Tossing him to the ground after cracking his skull, the other scumbag runs at me with his sword drawn. I grab his armed hand, duck under his arm, and twist it, pushing his own weapon through his stomach. Gasping his last breath, he falls back against the wall, leaving a trail of dark red while slowly sliding to the ground.

Pulling a dagger to cut the girl free I realize that I saw her before at the Caliph’s party. The belly dancer in red.

After freeing her from the ropes on her wrists she tightly grabs onto my sleeve. Her voice is hoarse as she pleads.

“Help me…please…”

Conflicted I turn my gaze from the door to the wounded girl, lying in different shades of red. This delay has already taken up too much of my time but yet for some unknown reason, I decide to take her with me.

Sighing at my stupidity, I wrap the girl in satin sheets take her in my arms, and head towards the balcony.

As I reach the railing, the entrance door bursts open flooding the room with black-veiled guards. The women scream and make way as a man, sadly no stranger to me, walks up to the front.

Hatred fuels my trembling body, making it hard to contain myself. He is not my assigned target, yet my target he is nonetheless.

“Let the girl go, Assassin. You have nowhere left to run.”

The sound of his voice makes me want to charge at him and separate his head from his body. But when I try to reach for my weapon I am instantly aware of the girl shivering against my chest.

Leering at the grey-eyed bastard I stubbornly climb onto the railing, holding the girl tightly in my arms. Still torn between slicing his head off and bringing her to safety, I hurriedly jump onto the roof below the balcony and run.
Watchmen chase me, attacking us with throwing knives when I venture a deep jump into the desert sand. Through the impact, I lose hold of the girl and she hits the ground. Quickly I crawl towards her noticing she is knocked out. I pick her up over my shoulder and run towards the city gate where Berlo is nervously neighing and waiting for me.

Cutting his reins I throw the girl over his back, toss a bag of gold coins at the helpful merchant, and urge Berlo on to leave the city as soon as I touch the saddle.


We are a long way from Baghdad before I decided it is safe to stop. Night has already fallen and the temperature is dropping fast.

I lift the girl off the back of my horse and lay her down in the cooled sand. Unwrapping a blanket tied to Berlo’s back I place it over her before taking out materials to build a fire. When ignited the girl gently stirs and I take a seat beside her.

Strands of long black hair cover the girl’s bloody face. I stroke them back to take a look at the damage she’s suffered. Her left eye appears swollen. She has a deep cut on her lip and bruises on both jaws. The friction of the ropes caused scarlet burns around both her wrists. Some of her fingernails are broken. Seeing all this, I don’t even want to think about the damage done to the rest of her body.

Taking my mashk I place it against her lips to try and make her drink. Her eyes flutter before opening wide. Instantly she tries to punch me away.

“Calm down,” I say grabbing her hands and making her look at me. “I am not going to hurt you.”

Her eyes dartle from left to right until she realizes there is nobody here but me. A relieved sigh escapes her lips and her body relaxes when I gently caress her cheek.

“Do not worry. You are safe with me.”

Struggling to keep her eyes open I make her drink before letting her doze off.

“Can you tell me your name?”

Her eyes flutter as she whispers. “…Lusia…”

“It will be a long night, Lusia. Sleep, and I shall provide more help tomorrow.”

After only a short moment she slips back into a deep sleep and I decide to do the same. As soon as the sun rises over the sandy hills, we will ride home to Alamut for aid.

I pull her fragile body close to mine wrapping us both underneath the blanket. Before I doze off I lay my head on top of hers.

She smells like wildflowers.

*Shemagh: A headscarf mainly worn by men.

*Mashk: a traditional water-carrying bag, usually made of waterproofed goat skin.

*Caliph: In Islamic history the ruler of the Muslim community.

*Kard: A kard is defined as a straight, single-edged dagger that is worn on the left side of the belt. Unlike most daggers, in which the narrow tang attached to the blade fits into a handle, the blades of these daggers are made with a flat steel tang of the same width as the blade.

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