Once upon a time,
there was a dashing, dangerous assassin who enjoyed dancing across the rooftops, flirting with danger, and waltzing with death. All across the land his deeds invoked quiet whispers and hushed tones, sparked awed fear and mindless bluster, inspired brave deeds and deadly dealings.
A master of many blades (including most definitely *that* one, oh yes), the dashing, dangerous assassin roamed the land in search of vengeance against his enemies, against those who had dared destroy his life and his happiness, who had presumed to dictate to him what he should be, think, and do. Blades at each hand, he systematically hunted down each and every one of his enemies, ending their lives with a single well-placed lethal thrust of his hidden blade. (His metal one. C'mon, stay with me here.)
So desperate were his enemies to escape the righteous wrath of their pursuer that they searched far and wide for one who would be willing to seek out the dashing, dangerous assassin and take him down. So it was that they found a lithe, lethal hunter who, for an exorbitant price, agreed to solve their problem for them. Discreetly, of course.
He utilized all his skills to locate the dashing, dangerous assassin and then settled in to watch his target. Over time he strove to learn his opponent's weaknesses and habits, scrutinizing his movements and methods.
Yet this time, something odd crept over him as he prepared to fulfill his contract.
As he gazed upon the graceful glissando of death, the lithe, lethal hunter found that he spent less time analyzing the hooded figure for weakness and more time considering what the figure and form of the other would be without that cumbersome white cloth around him. Instead of counting how many blades the man possessed, he considered how skillful those hands would be in other situations. As well, the whispers of what drove the man also reached his ears, of a child-brother executed for no crime other than his existence and a home violated only for petty arrogance.
Such a luscious lothario of justice, pondered the lithe, lethal hunter, deserves better than the death of some mongrel in an alley.
And so the hunter resolved to approach the dashing, dangerous assassin, though he knew not what he hoped to accomplish.
He waited on the rooftops of the largest building in this strange, foreign city, knowing that each and every day the man would climb to the top and gaze across the strange caverns and valleys of building and alleyways, mien thoughtful. Ever patient, he waited in the shadows of a nearby bell tower until he heard the faint scraping that indicated the incipient arrival of his prey. As the man pulled himself over the edge of the roof, he stepped forward. "I greet you, master of the dance."
The other man regarded him from under the shadows of his white hood, face obscured by the angle of the sunlight. "So, you reveal yourself at last. I suppose the Templars sent you?"
The lithe, lethal hunter shrugged modestly. "It is true that I was brought here to deal with what they termed a 'minor inconvenience.'" The hunter smiled at the snort that emanated from the shadows of the cowl. "Of course I took that description to mean that you were causing quite a lot of trouble down here in this Roma of yours and charged them accordingly."
The assassin tilted his head slightly. "You kill for money?"
"And you do not?" the hunter countered. "I have seen the riches you accrue with your actions, and the actions of your followers."
The other man was silent, obviously considering the words of the one before him. "This is true, but… there is more than you think."
The hunter waved a hand dismissively. "This I have heard. This I have… investigated, if you will." Reaching into his coat, he froze as the other man tensed. "Peace, my charming friend. I mean you no harm." Pulling out a rolled up piece of paper, he held it out to the man, who warily reached out to take it.
"And what is this?" he asked in his deep, beautifully accented voice.
"The contract for your life, my friend. Should you wish to… destroy it, I would not be of a mind to stop you." Turning, he added over his shoulder, "Your life is your own."
"Wait," the assassin called out. Puzzled, the hunter turned to regard the assassin. Tucking the paper into his voluminous white coat, the man stepped forward, lowering his hood, revealing a face that made the hunter sigh inwardly in envy and desire. "I sense we could easily share a common purpose, you and I. I would wish to shake the hand of a man with such honor."
Lowering the hood of his own cloak, the hunter stepped forward and clasped hands. "I am indeed honored to be acceded such regard from one who knew of my original intent."
The man's eyes flicked to the hunter's pointed ears, but only lifted an eyebrow. "You are indeed far from home, it seems. I am flattered that the Borgia saw fit to bring in such an… exotic individual to ensure my demise. Perhaps you would like to remain in Roma and join my Brotherhood?"
The hunter bowed, pulling his cloak's hood once again over his features. "I think it best if I make myself scarce for now, my friend. Your notoriety is great enough without one such as I to increase it unnecessarily."
The man chuckled, a rich sound that again made the hunter regret his decision to leave. "You are as intelligent as you are skilled, amico. Perhaps when my notoriety is unnecessary, you may return to these lands."
The hunter bowed in acknowledgment of the compliment. "High praise, indeed, my friend." A smile flitted across his face. "And now, if you will excuse me – I have always wanted to attempt this."
And with that, he turned, ran off the edge of roof, and flew like an eagle into the waiting haystack below.
As he smoothly vaulted out of the sweet-smelling pile of golden softness, he turned and glanced at the shadow that stood on the roof. With a swift salute, he turned and ducked into a nearby alley, heading for the road that would take him away from Roma, away from Ezio Auditore, and away from temptation.
Ah, a wish for all that could have been, Zevran though wistfully. But I fear it can never be.