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Assassin’s Creed Frontline: Pilot Chapter

 

The glass fogged expectantly as the hard lumps of ice, clinked happily on the bottom and stacked chaotically one on top of the other. It stood alone, no other to keep it company as from the dark a hand clutching a bottle poured in some whisky and watched as the cooling crystals drowned under a thick, dark wave of malt. This is what it had all come down to, Elliot Norton sat alone behind a desk and sipping on whisky almost as dark as the days he found himself in. He flashed back to times before this, before the raids, before the end and before their leader Edward Miles decided it was okay to abandon his post in order to chase after his son. Norton’s grip on the glass tightened as he thought about Miles.

The two of them together had spent equal time and achieved equal things within the Assassin Brotherhood; they were friends once and although Elliot sometimes found it hard to believe that Edward was his friend, he had often enjoyed his company whilst drinking. Although he missed their conversations about family and friends and whatever else came to mind at the time, there was something within Elliot that churned whenever he thought about these conversations now. Maybe it was the present circumstances. For all that talk of family or even remembering those talks of family made him miss his own, his wife and daughter whom were now in more danger than he could even fathom at this point. He knew that if he went home that they would die along with him, that’s how the Templars were unfortunately. They were merciless. But even so, there was nothing that could make him stop wanting to return to the one’s he loved. Maybe it was those present circumstances that made Elliot Norton de facto Commander in Chief of the Assassin Brotherhood resent his old and trusted friend.

Sitting back on his chair, Elliot’s head lolled to one side and brought his eyes to the closed blinds. He could only bring his free hand to his grizzled chin and then make it work its way to his temples. Stress didn’t even cut it when it came to describing Elliot’s current situation. When the fate of the free world rested on your shoulders after someone else had dumped it at your feet, it was hard to cope.  But Norton was trying even if it meant drinking more whisky than usual and sending out a call to arms to a force as deadly as it was in tatters. The future seemed bleak at that point. “Edward…” he whispered out towards the darkness “You’re a bastard…”

The blinds were closed on the day Edward left too but even then it seemed as though the days were brighter, Norton and Miles together thought that they could bring about a comeback, even after their near extinction there was nothing that Norton and Miles couldn’t do together. But then Abstergo got a hold of his son: Desmond. Desmond had run away from the responsibility of being an Assassin to become a bartender, to waste his life whilst a never ending war that could have benefitted from someone of his lineage taking part raged on.  So it wasn’t easy for Elliot to understand when his friend and leader of the Brotherhood decided it was about time that he made an appearance to save his son. They stood in this very room actually, arguing about it…

“Edward! You’re being selfish!” Norton yelled rising to his feet and slamming his hands on the desk “We need you here, now. You’re our leader!” Edward simply folded his arms and shook his head; even though he usually wore a somewhat cold and harsh demeanour there wasn’t much that could be done to change his mind on this course of action. It was just something he had to do. Desmond was his son. “I am sorry Elliot,” He replied sternly “But this is important.”

“What because he’s your son!”

“Well, yes.”

“People are dying Edward! Dying! Do you understand that? Sons, Daughters, Mothers and Fathers what gives you more of a right than them to go chasing after your family?” Elliot couldn’t help but grit his teeth; he’d wanted to go home for days now. If not just to check that his wife and children were still alive. He’d be back within days or a week at most but Edward had forbidden it and with good reason to. But this, to Elliot, just seemed unfair. He would have to deal with everything on his own whilst Edward was out repairing the broken relationship he had with his wayward son. And as Elliot had already said, people were dying every single day and they were supposed to be under his care. They were his sheep and Edward was meant to shepherd them to safety rather than go off gallivanting across the world. Norton once again banged his hand against the table, whilst Miles just sat there as calm and collected as ever. “What gives you the right?”

Mothers would never see their sons again. Daughters would now have a hole in their lives where their Father once stood. It made Elliot sick to think that he would just be abandoned with the same sort of responsibility. Edward was their leader for a reason, even though they were almost equal in everything else; Edward was a natural leader and Elliot was anything but. “My old friend,” Edward began still sat down and looking Elliot dead in the eyes “This is about a little more than me and my son,” he stopped unfolding his arms for a second and running his hands through the sides of his greying hair “Abstergo targeted Desmond for a reason and the intelligence that they have gathered from him is rather worrying. I couldn’t give a damn about if you think I’m selfish. I have to do this; the world is at stake here.”

“And while you’re doing this I’m supposed to what? Sit here and fight off the Templars and Anonymous at the same time alone?”

“The distress signal has been sent worldwide. Someone will answer the call.” With that Edward got up and prepared to leave. He walked passed Elliot without even looking at him but when Norton grabbed his arm and barred his retreat Edward could only sigh. “And if no one heeds the call? If there’s no one left?” Elliot asked.

“Then hope me and my son can do something…”

Edward left after that and it had been about three months with no answer to their calls. The Assassins, it seemed, were done. Norton had locked himself away in this safe house, he was probably presumed dead by now, maybe his wife had moved on. He flicked open his phone, took a sip of the cold and bitter whisky. He looked at the screen. There were no messages and soon he hovered over his wife’s number deciding whether or not to call her. Could he take the heartache? He’d taken bullets, broken bones and he’d never been scared once. Now though, he could be destroyed by something as insignificant as a phone call. His thumb rose to press the call button.

His phone buzzed to life before it could land though and shocked, Norton jumped in his seat. This phone hadn’t rung for weeks and the number one the screen was withheld. Picking out his gun from the desk’s top draw, Elliot Norton answered the phone sombrely. They had found him. His time was up now and now h could either fight his way out or he could die like the cornered rat he was at the moment. Those were his options and he’d rather indulge in the former if anything.

“Hello?”

“ ’Ello.”

“Hello? Who is this?”

“Well, that’s rude after you called.” The person on the other end was British, from the Midlands. His dialect gave it away, that strange mix of the London and countryside accent spelt out that the stranger was obviously from somewhere that was subject to the London overspill. Elliot made his way to the front door warily and pointed the gun towards the door ready to fire, his eyes slipping to the peep hole as he kept the phone to his ear. Outside, stood a young man, no older than his early 20’s wearing a tweed jacket and a phone to his ear too; it was the man on the other end of the line. “Well, you asked for the cavalry didn’t you mate?”

Elliot was soon amazed that the man wasn’t really alone, next to him were five others adorned in many different types of clothing but the tweed jacketed man with the phone laughed, as the door opened in Elliot’s face and the hidden blade he’d used to pick the lock slipped back up his sleeve.

He hung up the phone.

“So, where do we start?”

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The Blackground… A Preview

It was my sense of hearing that first confounded me.  My eyes were tightly shut and my body couldn’t feel a thing. I could hear though. I could hear the scuttling of something small across some sort of surface; it was funny really because it kind of reminded me of the sound I imagined sand to make as it made its way out of one side of an hourglass into the other. I’d often used that sound as a way to calm myself, something that I wasn’t able to do now. I panicked, as the rest of my sense failed me all I could do was hear. I couldn’t see anything, my eyes were tightly shut unmoving, heavier than the boulder that formed the impenetrable barrier of Christ’s own tomb.

 

At first I thought I was paralyzed, that I had had some sort of accident. Maybe I’d been hit by a car; maybe I’d fallen off a ladder; there were so many maybes and questions but so few answers. And then I realised, I realised that the underlying numbness of my body was so complete and so perfect that it was almost as if I couldn’t feel my own soul. ‘Soul’ may have been a strong word or even the wrong word but I know what I mean. What I mean is that feeling, that feeling that you have right down in the centre of your body, which if anything, let’s you firmly know you’re alive. Which then made me question, am I dead?

 

I couldn’t be dead. Right? I can hear and my eyes work, their just shut, right? RIGHT!? I felt my heart suddenly race as the possibility that I might be dead began to swirl around in my half-awake brain. I hadn’t noticed the effect this experience was having on my mental capacity. I couldn’t even function half sharp; I could remember trying to tell my fingers to move. To grasp at the ground, that hopefully, I was lying on.  Yet, my fingers lay still. Or so I believe. But as the fog of my body’s collective sense of touch began to reawaken; my faith I was alive slowly rekindled.

 

Why?

 

The reason why I had new found hope that I was alive was simple: I’d never believed in an afterlife. I’d never believed in a kingdom of clouds or a burning pit that floated by so precariously without our noticing. To me there was only one lease of life and no matter how short it is or was, there was only one. So, once you’re dead. You’re just that, dead.  There’s no spirits, no messages from the far beyond and most of all there’s no you. You can’t feel anything. You can’t hear anything. That’s because you don’t exist anymore. So the reason that I have a new found, albeit desperate, hope in my life came from the fact I could feel. I could hear. Even if I can’t see, those two were enough to let me know that my heart was still beating; I could feel it in fact, rattling my entire core.

 

Now that I had confirmed I was alive, it was now a matter of re-taming my body to work under my brain’s rule. I thought that starting small would be best and with all the effort in the world I tried to clench my fists. My fingers twitched a little. It may not have been what I had originally hoped for but it was enough for me to get a feel of the environment around me.  They had made contact with something solid. So this ruled out that I was being suspended in the air, I was definitely on the floor. Which was kind of a relief because that also ruled out that I was at anyone’s mercy.  I could have been on my kitchen floor, outside my front door, I could have been anywhere. Anywhere at all. Which then made things a little more worrying; I could have been in the middle of a road or in some strange place which would have been frightening.

 

I can remember telling myself that I didn’t belong here. What I felt with a further twitch of my fingers made that fact all the more obvious.  The floor felt strange, there were many different indents and embosses kind of like when you ran your hand across a jigsaw puzzle. It felt as if it was made up of many different parts; which like I said, reaffirmed my convictions that I did not belong where I was. Even with the slight control I had over my facilities, my mind and my sense there was no comfort to be found in my predicament.

 

The sound that had first stumped me was growing louder, my ears were slowly dragging themselves out of their apparent slumber and that slow sandy scuttling sound was joined by a chorus of other noises.  I thought it was just me at first. But from what I could remember, none of the many groans I could hear matched my voice; especially the slightly feminine ones that sprang out the darkness every now and again.  I tried my hardest to speak, to call out to the other people that were apparently around me. I couldn’t open my mouth. It was tightly shut, not forced shut but just not operational.  I suppose it stopped me screaming. I was scared.

 

When my eyes finally decided that it was a good time to open, they couldn’t have picked a worse time or a worse place. The weight that had almost welded them shut seemed to lift in an instance giving way to a fit of blinking.  I could hardly see it was just as dark as it’d been with my eyes shut and my vision was slightly blurred. It wasn’t getting any better for me and for a couple of seconds I wished that I was still comatose.  That I couldn’t feel and I couldn’t hear and for what it was worth, that I couldn’t see.  My heart sank as I realised the hopelessness of my situation.  I was trapped and as my eyes adjusted to the darkness, I soon realised I was not alone.

 

“Hello?”

 

I panicked.

 

“Hello, is there anyone there?”

 

It was strange.  I’d been actually craving some sort of voice to call out to me. A guiding light in this apparent darkness, as corny as that was, to help put me at ease.  I wanted to say something back but being unable to see, I was scared now of a voice that I’d wanted only moments previously. I didn’t know whose voice it was, who I was talking to. It could’ve been the devil for all I know.

 

“Hello?”

 

Just shut up! It killed me to think that. But I wanted them to be quiet. I didn’t know what was going on, who I was with, who was listening and there was this annoying voice nagging at me even though I couldn’t speak.  It was then that my own voice croaked, out into the darkness.

 

“Hello…”

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Filed under Pilot, Prose