Behind enemy lines
- The Assassin Chronicles Part 4 –
The cool breeze of the night against your face is a welcome change to the pitiless burning sun of the last days. And it keeps you awake since your body is aching and longing for sleep. But after what you experienced last night, sleep is an almost impossible thought. Still your head is spinning.
You lied to those loyal to you, to your comrades in arms. But without doubt they would kill you instantly if they knew what really happened back in that chamber in Antiochia.
As you closed the door in silence and fled the room, the corridor was dark and empty. Your comrades had to retreat, just as Raimund had said but you knew where to find them. Outside, on a ledge at the wall besides a window the shadows were lurking, just out of sight of the guards patrolling below. You gave them the sign to retreat. Your work was done, the mission a success. All of you managed to escape the court with it´s guards and the empty streets of the sleeping city.
You were glad that all of you still are veiled so that your puzzled face stayed hidden.
Even now you remember the scene as if it had just happened.
While the false Raimund, most likely a trusted servant, rose from the bed and left the room without a word through a door behind a curtain in the back of the room, you faced the real Raimund who had just trapped you like a kitten.
The man in front of you was of a high growth and broad shoulders, black long hair with streaks of white and gentle, sad eyes.
“Liar” you spat “My father was a beekeeper back in Al Yaseh, and people like you murdered him!”
Raimund flinched a little, like he had been slapped in the face.
“People like me..? Son, the man you took for your father was my brother.”
That was too much.
“You are trying to save your worthless life, aren´t you? “
Again there is something of amusement in Raimunds voice.
“Hiring the Assassini just to commit suicide is a truly expensive matter don´t you think?” With that he sheathed his knife in the scabbard at his belt and spread his arms. You could have killed him easily. But still you were not sure. There was something in the mans voice. Something that said he was telling the truth
“So...you say you have hired us to kill you?”
“Well, not exactly. After I finally found you, I charged a friend with hiring you to get to know you and to tell you the truth about your past.
Listen, we don´t have much time. In this moment your Warriors will be busy with some of my guards and since they are too much and could easily raise alarm your comrades will retreat unseen I assume.
You raise an eyebrow and some of your tenseness fades a little.
“You are well informed about the shadow people. Who told you of how we work?”
“Well, after what happened in Al Yaseh we had an eye on your clan for quite a while now. But it took a while to figure out about your disappearance. You had not been among the dead back in the village”
“But the slaughter in Al Yaseh was done by Englishmen, I killed some of them and I know what I saw!”
Again Raimund looked like he had been slapped.
“Puppets on strings. You, most of all should know that the Assassini rely on precision and secrecy rather than on brute force. And since they did not know who they were looking for exactly, they hired soldiers to kill the whole village so they could be sure to have the right man killed. That´s why they appeared in the village and found you. That´s why they saw what you did.”
Your legs felt like they would not suppose your weight any longer. You sank down on your knees.
“But why all this, why my….the man I called father?”
Raimund took a few careful steps and sat beside you in a chair.
“Let me tell you your story from the beginning.
Back in France, your lovely mother, Anasthasia, died giving birth to you, our firstborn.
You were still a little child, to young to remember, when the pope called us to these lands to defend the Lord and free the land from the disbelievers. I have mighty enemies back in France and since I had no one to trust back home, I feared for your life if I left you with a nurse. So I took you with me. But a battlefield of course is no place for a child, so I gave you under my brother´s care and he promised me to raise you as one of them should I not return. It was a long time and sometimes your uncle would let me know what a fine young boy you had become.
But your uncle and I wore a secret. Both we were knights of the secret order of the holy lance. I still am. That is why Antiochia was captured. We assumed the lance to be hidden below the city and we are still searching for it.
Someone must have revealed your uncles identity. He had chosen to stay hidden, away from the battlefields and all hostile attention to do research about the lance and it´s whereabouts.
But someone had found him, or at least the village he hid in. I assume someone back home feared our power should the lance come into our possession. So they paid the Assassini to get rid of us. Some of your brethren tried to assassinate me, too, but failed. Since I learned that you had not been killed I never rested till I found out what had happened to you.”
Silence fell. It felt almost like eternity when your father finally rose.
“Your comrades are waiting. If it takes too long, you will incur suspicions.
Do as you wish. I do not want to force you into something. A war is upon the city. I might not survive and I just wanted to see my son, before I die.”
With a single tear in his eyes he looked into your face and slowly, without really noticing what you are doing, you unveiled yourself and faced him. Just for a short moment.
After that you turned and left, without looking back.
A shout of warning fetches you back into the now. One of your comrades, sent as scout, returns up the road. A mighty army is marching towards Antiochia. They have reached the outer plains and are a day´s march away from the city gates. So the rumours were true. And it will strike the city almost unprepaired. You will have to evade and ride around the moving behemoth marching to destroy your father.
Against better judgement, you dismount and sneak up a hill to take a look at the enemy. A wild thought crosses your mind. Maybe there is something you can do for your father. It will be very difficult and you might get killed, but there is a chance. Your life might be forfeit anyway if they find out about you sparing Lord Raimund´s life.
You turn and send your comrades back to the secret fortress. They would not support you since this mission is your own and has not been sanctioned by the elders.
All of your comrades change strange looks but do as they are told. One by one they mount and ride off without a word, bound to obedience.
As all of them are out of sight you turn back to the camp, where the vanguard of the army has just prepared to rest. You know the flags waving slowly in the wind.
Prince Mustafa al Jabat, seventh son of the Caliph Arhmemed is leading the troops. He is called the wolf because of his relentless skill in hunting down enemies.
If you manage to find and kill him somewhere down there, it will slow down the ambush significantly.
Perhaps it will buy your father some time.
Perhaps it is a chance to see him again.
- to be continued…
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Here's your prize!
But it's still true, though. Everything deserves a 5!
here's your 1, as promised... I am asking the heavengames staff to delete both my rating and M1i2K3k4O's. Let's not exagerate with high ratings here. I doubt it took you more than a day to prepare the terrain, place the troops and buildings. Map makers like stratego and warlord_designs never got a 5 on any of their maps in their entire "career", and those were maps that worth every bit of atention they could get.