Chapter Nine: The Flame
I enter my room, accidently slamming the door behind me. Startled, Lusia looks up from the book she was reading lying underneath the covers of my bed.
“Sorry…” I say gruffly and start removing my weapons and leather armor, placing all of it neatly on my desk.
“That’s alright.” She says and puts the book away onto the cupboard next to my bed.
She lays down on her side, watching me as I take of my outerwear, leaving me bare-chested. I sit down and take off my leather boots.
“Did something happen at the meeting?” she asks.
“Nothing for you to need worrying about.” I say and get up from the chair to poor myself a cup of water.
“Yet you seem troubled. You may tell me should it help ease your mind.”
I sigh and look up at the ceiling, then take a sip of my water.
“It is nothing… Malik just gets under my skin sometimes.”
“I have noticed he seems to be a bit harsher towards you. Even more so than to anyone else.”
“Malik just cannot help himself to taunt me.”
“Is there a reason for that?”
I go to sit back down and sigh once more.
“When we were young, Malik and I had to take each other on during training. Malik tripped causing me to win the fight. He has accused me for making him trip ever since.”
“That is it. Since then he does not leave one moment alone to talk bad about me to everyone. Even to our Master.”
“That is pretty petty of Malik then.”
“Yes, it is.”
My body is tense and I can feel Lusia’s eyes on me, shamelessly roaming her gaze over my exposed chest. In all honestly it is only fair as I suddenly remember my inappropriate behavior when I helped her undo her dress.
I take another sip of my cup and notice the shirt I gave her lies on the floor. Lusia chuckles softly when she sees that I have noticed.
“Why don’t you come over here. I know plenty of ways to help you relax.”
She sits up making the sheet slide down her body. Her long black hair modestly covers her bare breasts. Without taking my eyes away from her, I take a big gulp of water, and lean against my desk, taking in the scene before me. All the innocence I saw in her eyes earlier has completely disappeared. Instead, she’s enchanting me by overthrowing me with a lustful look in her bright emerald eyes.
Her body beckons invitingly as she slowly guides her fingers from her leg, up towards her stomach and higher, turning small circles in between her two, not so forbidden, fruits. My heart starts racing and my breath grows heavy. Lusia is not just a beautiful woman, but an image of the most irresistible Goddess who may never even have existed.
Reaching out, she beckons me with her slender fingers. I walk towards her, hesitantly, and stand before her by the bed. Smiling she gets up on her knees, fixing her gaze on mine. Her soft hands slowly explore my bare chest, and as wonderful as this feels, my mind suddenly decides to put up a fight.
Her lips now caress mine and I can smell the intoxicating wild flower scent I am starting to yearn. Deep within my core I feel a desperate longing to kiss her, do things to her even in the most dishonorable way. But I cannot ignore these thoughts holding me back from doing so.
I laugh, frustrated with myself and shake my head as I pull away from her incomprehensibly. But I know what it is that makes me not want to go through with this.
“I do not want you doing this.”
Lusia looks at me confused. “Why not?”
“I do not want you to give yourself to me because you believe it is what you owe me.”
My rejection clearly upsets her as she looks at me with even more confusion and embarrassment.
“But…I do owe you.”
“No…you do not.”
I pick up the white linen shirt of the ground and hand it to her. She snatches it of me quickly putting it on, then looks away from me seemingly ashamed. There is an amulet she wears around her neck, and she grabs it tightly. It pains me to see her upset, once again caused by my actions, only this time I know I did the right thing.
At a respectable distance, I sit on the bed next to her.
“I must beg of you to not be offended, because I can say with certainty that rejecting you, requires ALL of my strength right now.”
She glances at me and I see a slight smile tugging at the corner of her lips.
“Well that’s sweet, but…also unusual. A man has never turned me down before. Sometimes they wanted me so bad they would even use force...” she says with a pained chuckle. “...as you have witnessed with your own eyes…”
Lusia clears her throat and looks the other way.
“And that is yet another reason I do not wish to do this. I do not want to take advantage.”
Lusia turns around and looks at me intently. “You really are not like other men, are you?”
I laugh and raise my shoulders. “I would not know. I mainly try to do what I think is right.”
She smiles. “Well so far, I think that is very wise of you.”
The tension between us soon fades and I can finally see her relax. She scoots a little closer, watching me curiously before parting her lips to speak.
“Could I ask you to tell me more about you? You as an Assassin I mean...”
“What we do and who we are, are things meant to be kept secret.” I say and cock an eyebrow.
“I understand…I just wonder about you. What thrives you and, seeing as I live here now…I just hoped you could answer some of my questions.”
I look at her feeling partially suspicious but also understanding. Medina was right about Lusia looking for answers. So I decide to give her some.
“All I can tell you is that we rid the world of infectious leaders. Powerful men, and on occasion women, who abuse their power to gain control over others. Innocent people. The means do not matter, as long as the job is done.”
Lusia stares at me as she hangs on my every word.
“I did notice you are an excellent fighter, as I saw you earlier with those Shades.”
“Most of us are general Assassins who take out more low-key leaders. But some of us, like me, are part of another unit. We are the best, the Master-Assassins, and we take on the difficult targets.”
“Difficult in what way?”
I am already scared to have said too much. Something about her makes me want to tell her everything she wants to know. But I need to think about my training and the Assassin’s oaths, to never compromise the brotherhood, and keep our business to ourselves. So I must round up this conversation.
“Difficult like when I found you. Big places, lots of people, powerful leaders.”
“Yes…you where alone in Baghdad weren’t you? And you succeeded.”
I nod. “I was, and I have. That is what I do.” I say and look at her intently.
What she must be thinking right now I do not know. The emotions on her face I cannot clearly read. All I hope is that I have not scared her by telling her what I do. I tense as she suddenly places her hand on top of mine and smiles. As I look down at our hands together, a feeling of peace overcomes me.
“I do wonder Lusia, how did you end up in that room back there in Baghdad?”
Her smile fades into a grim one and she sighs.
“I was a gift.”
“A gift? What does that mean?”
Her fingers squeeze my hand as she tries to find the courage to continue her story.
“Where I come from they call me ‘The Desert Flower.’ Apparently I easily attract men, present company excluded,…” she says with a chuckle. “…so my father hands me out to men who want me, in exchange for whatever it is he needs from them.”
This revelation tends to anger me and I look at her in shock.
"How often has something like this happened to you?”
She shrugs. “Let us say I have mastered the art of seduction as soon as I reached womanhood. But It’s okay. I was brought up thinking it was normal for me to do so. Honestly it wasn’t until Baghdad that I wondered that, maybe…it is not okay what my father did…”
Her eyes are soft as she gazes into mine.
“This place, the Garden, and even you, have showed me it can all be different from what I know.”
Lusia’s vulnerability is full on display and I feel a strong urge of protectiveness towards her. Here I thought the event happening back in Baghdad was just a bad moment in her life. Turns out it was just the worst of many.
“So where is your mother in all this?” I ask and she looks down.
“My mother died when I was little…It’s always been me and my father.”
Looking at her I feel nothing but sympathy, making me feel even more glad I did not go through with letting her seduce me. I do not want her to feel like her only worth is the use men take out of her. Surely when I can clearly see, she is worth more than the greatest treasure in the world.
“Okay…this is depressing.” she says smiling and looks up at me. “Can you tell me about your family?”
Suddenly I feel myself tense up again. My family is a box I wish to leave unopened. Only two people I trust know the truth about my past.
“Oh…I’m sorry I should not have asked…” Lusia says wanting to pull her hand from mine. But I grasp it and hold it tight. I do not wish to lose this sense of peace when I touch her. When she touches me…
I look at her and she does the same. Her emerald eyes seem to break through me somehow and I feel like I can tell her anything.
“Unfortunately that is not a less depressing story. My family was taken from me years ago when I was living in Karnak.”
Lusia gasps and looks at me with widened eyes.
“Karnak…surely you do not mean…”
“The Grand Karnak Massacre. So you know.”
“Everybody knows. People still talk about that tragedy.”
“Then I need say no more.”
Quickly I pull my hand away from hers and stand up from the bed. I grab one of the pillows and drop it on to the floor. With my back turned towards her, I lie down on the floor and close my eyes.
I do not know why I chose to tell her. Right now I wish I hadn’t because the thought of it only emerges rage inside of me so I need to try and calm myself down.
For a moment there is only silence. Then I hear a rustle of the sheet and soft footsteps approaching. I lie completely still as two arms squirm themselves around me, and Lusia’s warm body presses up against my back. My body relaxes as she gently strokes her fingers up and down my chest. Her warm breath tickles my neck as she whispers into my ear. “I am sorry about your family…”
Soft lips press a tender kiss against my shoulder. A warmth like I have never felt before flows through me like a wave. It whirls inside of me until reaching its destination, igniting a small flame that lights up my darkened heart.
-AN- Update 15/9
Chapter 10 coming soon...