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Dissidents

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Lisi gently traced her finger along the curve of her mother's face, staring up at her with smiling, dark brown eyes from the locket. She gazed into the eyes, silently asking for some kind of help, some kind of sign to show her which path go down. But the smiling portrait remained silent. No help would come to her from there.

The padding of footsteps makes Lisi raise her head, and she quickly shuts the locket and shoves it beneath the neckline of her robes. She turned, automatically raising her fists and taking a fighting stance, until she saw that the three figures approaching her were wearing robes similar to hers. She lowered her arms and watched as the tallest of the three approached her, pulling down their hood.

"Annalise O'Doherty I presume?" He asked, extending a hand. Lisi noticed that his skin was brown, slightly lighter than hers.

"Yes." Lisi replied, taking the hand and shaking it. "But I prefer to be called Lisi."

"Of course." The man nodded and smiled. "I am Henry Green, and these are the Frye twins."

The other two Assassins had lowered their hoods as well, revealing another man and a woman. "Evie Frye." The woman said, taking Lisi's hand and shaking it. "Nice to meet you Lisi."

"And you Miss Frye." Lisi nodded, glancing at the other man, wondering about the relation. "And you are?"

The man took a step forward, grinning broadly with the kind of easy confidence Lisi had never been able to obtain. "Jacob Frye, at your service." He took Lisi's hand in his, large and rough and warmer than she had expected. "It's nice to have another Assassin around! The work load was getting to be almost unmanageable."

Lisi raised an eyebrow, unable to find a proper response. Evie jabbed her brother in the side with her elbow and gave him a rather disapproving look, which Jacob responded to by appearing wounded. "What Jacob means is, we're happy to have you here with us." Evie said. "Although I wish it had been under better circumstances." Evie glanced downwards at what Lisi guessed was her wedding ring. "You have my condolences."

"Thank you." Lisi replied. It seemed that she was forever thanking people for giving their condolences.

"I understand you believe the men behind your husband's murder are Templars from London." Henry said. "What makes you say that?"

Without a sound, Lisi reached into her robes and pulled out a dagger. It was finely crafted, the blade was made of tough steel and the point was so sharp the briefest, and most feather light of touches could result in a cut. Lisi directed the handle of the dagger to Henry, holding onto the side of the blade. The handle was pure white, probably ivory, with the symbol of the Templars engraved in it. "This was used to kill James." She said. "And I know for a fact that the Templar it belongs to resides here." She looked down at the dagger, remembering how it looked in James's chest.

(Lisi gazed in horror at the hilt of the dagger, the Templar insignia staring back at her mockingly. The blade had been buried so deep that the insignia was all that could be seen, standing tall and proud and impossibly white and clean amidst all the blood and carnage in the room. Lisi opened her mouth to make a sound, but nothing came out.)

"Mrs. O'Doherty?"

Lisi blinked and looked up, seeing that the three Assassins were looking at her expectantly. "I-I beg your pardon." She said, clearing her throat and putting the dagger back. "I was...distracted."

"That's fine." Henry said in a tone so gentle, it made Lisi want to wince. "I just asked how you know who owns the dagger. I mean, how can you be so sure?"

"I just am." Lisi replied, not wanting to get into details.

Henry and Evie exchange a look which Lisi cannot read and doesn't like.

"Well, you can count on us Lisi!" Jacob said enthusiastically. "With the four of us and my Rooks, we should have the bastard in no time!"

"Your...rooks?" Lisi looked at Jacob quizically while Evie sighed and rolled her eyes.

"That's the name of my gang." Jacob replied, looking rather proud. "They're helping us liberate London from Starrick's control, and a better bunch of men and women you can't find anywhere in London!"

"Using a gang to weaken the Templar's hold on the city..." Lisi considered this. "It's unorthodox, but with things the way they are, it isn't a terrible plan."

This seemed to please Jacob greatly as his grin wider. "I knew I liked you Lisi." He put a hand on Lisi's shoulder. "Together we'll give these Templar bastards what they deserve!" He punched the air, as if having already achieved victory.

"Oh for God's sake..." Evie rolled her eyes and Henry seemed amused by Jacob's confidence.

Lisi took a step back hastily, making Jacob's hand fall from her shoulder. "Well, it has been a pleasure meeting you three, but I'm afraid I need to get some rest. The journey to London was an arduous one." Lisi took out a piece of paper with a back pocket and handed it to Henry. "This is the name and address of the inn where I'll be staying should you need me." She put her hood back up. "I look forward to working together." She said, and turned on her heel, taking a running leap onto another rooftop, trying to rid herself of the feeling of Jacob's hand.

 


 

 

"I like her."

Back at the train, Evie, Henry, and Jacob were discussing the prospect of working with Lisi. A prospect Jacob was rather looking forward to. "I've got a good feeling about her." Jacob sat in a chair, resting his feet on the desk Evie used, mostly just to annoy her.

"I don't know..." Evie said, scrutinizing the paper Lisi had given Henry, as if expecting to find some kind of hidden message. "I feel like there's something she's not telling us."

"I agree." Henry said, sounding slightly ill at ease. "She says she knows who the Templar she is looking for is, but she wouldn't tell us how she knew him." Henry held his chin, deep in thought.

"Well it's not like she owes us her whole life story." Jacob pointed out, more than a little confused by the suspicion Evie and Henry were showing. "And I imagine there are plenty of reasons why she doesn't want to talk about the man who killed her husband."

Evie and Henry exchanged rather sheepish looks. "He does have a point." Henry relented. "Perhaps we're expecting too much from her too soon."

Jacob smirked, satisfied. "Glad you see things my way Greenie!"

Evie rolled her eyes and said nothing, not wanting to give her brother more satisfaction.

 


 

 

The full moon was high in the sky and Lisi was once again gazing at her mother's portrait. She was sitting on the roof of the inn where she was staying, re-studying her mother's features in the moonlight. She tried something of herself in her mother, beyond the dark skin, curly hair and brown eyes. Did they share the same face shape? or nose? Were her hands anything like her mother's? She closed her eyes, trying to remember her mother's hands. She knows they were rough, calloused from years of being an Assassin, but her touch had always been gentle, like nothing could break while in her grasp. Lisi remembers holding her mother's hand as a little girl and wondering if there was anything in the entire world as strong yet gentle as them. For all the stories Lisi had heard, from her mother and others, she couldn't imagine those hands breaking a neck or wielding a gun, not when they've stroked her hair and patted her cheek.

"Who's that?"

Lisi jumped at the sudden voice and moved so quickly to see who had spoken that she lost her footing, slipping on a loose tile and falling backwards. Panicking, she flailed her arms around, trying to grab something that would steady her when she felt a hand firmly grasp her forearm.

"Whoa! Careful now!"

As Lisi was pulled back onto the roof, she stumbled forward slightly and softly collided with a man's chest. She looked up, and recognized her rescuer to be Jacob Frye. "Jacob!" She said, slightly out of the breath due to shock. "You-you scared me."

Jacob chuckled, which made his chest rumble slightly. Lisi thought that the sound wasn't unpleasant, and feeling Jacob's chest beneath her hands wasn't terrible either. "Sorry about that, guess I should've announced myself sooner."

When Lisi made eye contact with Jacob, she suddenly became aware of how close they were. She quickly took a step back, making sure not to fall again. She cleared her throat, feeling thoroughly embarrassed and wanting to cringe. "Can I help you with something?" She asked, trying to remain professional despite her warm her face felt.

"Just thought I'd pop by and say hello." Jacob said good naturedly. His eyes flicked down slightly before meeting Lisi's again, shinning with curiosity. "Who's the woman in your locket?"

Lisi blinked and realized that her locket was still open and resting in her palm. "Oh." Her body relaxed slightly, no longer on edge and fearing a surprise attack. "That's my mother." She said, voice quiet and unsure. "She died when I was young." Lisi took one last look at her mother before hiding back beneath her collar.

The smile on Jacob's face seemed to dissipate and he took on a more thoughtful expression. "Sorry to hear that." He said.

"It's fine." Lisi said hastily. "There's no need to be sorry." She tried to find something else to say, but found herself stumped. Lisi had never been one for small talk, and she was finding it difficult to continue the conversation.

"You look a lot like her." Jacob said, with a gentleness that caught Lisi off guard.

"I...thank you." She said, as she was unable to think of anything else to say.

"If you don't mind me asking, where is she from?" Jacob leaned against the brick chimney, his hands clasped in front of him. "It's just that I've never seen anyone as..." He trailed off, probably realizing what his next words were going to sound like and quickly backtracked. "I mean, I've never anyone that looks like her. You. Both of you." There was a slight, awkward pause and Jacob coughed. "I mean, if you don't mind sharing..."

"She was from Senegal." Lisi replied. She was used to the question, although it had been worded far more awkwardly and asked far more offensively in the past, so this was a nice, surprising change. "That's in Africa."

"Ah. Africa." Jacob paused. "Was your father from there as well?"

Lisi shook her head. "No. He came from pure Irish stock." She could tell she was pulling a face, could feel her expression change into something unpleasant. "I'd rather not talk about him."

"Fair enough." Jacob said. "I'm not gonna force you into talking about anything or anyone you don't want to."

This understanding and acceptance surprised Lisi, and she couldn't help but feel slightly suspicious. "What of your parents?" She asked. "Were they from London?"

"My father was, but my mother was from Crawley where Evie and I grew up." Jacob looked down, and Lisi could just make out a small, sad smile come across his face. "They're both dead now, unfortunately."

"Oh." Lisi felt her face heat up again, embarrassed at having brought up the topic. "I-I'm sorry. For asking, that is."

Jacob shrugged and looked back up at Lisi. "It's fine. You didn't know."

There was another pause, just as awkward as the last, as Lisi tried to think of something to say while Jacob seemed perfectly content to watch her. It made her nervous. "Is there something I can help you with Jacob?" She asked finally.

"Actually..." Jacob straightened up and he grinned widely. "I thought I could help you."

Lisi didn't like the sound of that. "How so?" She asked, feeling wary.

"I could show you around London! Introduce you to some of the sights and boroughs, you know, to help you get you bearings." Jacob seemed rather enthusiastic with this idea, almost like a puppy. A very tall puppy, who had blades and guns and knew how to use them. "And maybe you could meet the Rooks too!"

The offer caught Lisi off guard (it seemed that Jacob was good at that) and she considered it. "Well..." She glanced over her shoulder, at the shadow the lights from the inn cast on the street. She had slept for most of the day to catch up on rest lost due to the journey from Dublin to London and stress. She knew that she would not be able to sleep for a while yet, and she had no means of entertaining herself. There were her books that she had brought with her, but she didn't feel much like reading. She looked back at Jacob, who was watching her excitedly. She bit the inside of her cheeks and didn't think for much longer before saying "Alright, if you want to."

Jacob's grin got wider and he clapped his hands together, rubbing them excitedly. "Brilliant!" He said, clearly pleased. "Come on Lisi, got lots to show you!" Without waiting, he turned on his heel and ran jumping onto a nearby rooftop. For a heartbeat, Lisi just stood there, surprised at the amount of energy Jacob possessed. They appeared to be the same age, and yet his enthusiasm made her feel decades older. With a sigh, Lisi quickly ran after him.