Henry Jackson is a newly recruited assassin, born of a slave mother and a slave owning father Henry recently escaped from his father's plantation. Henry ran away because had been caught listening in on his father's conversation with his half brother Jacob about his past as an assassin and now being a member of the Templar Order. Now Henry is learning the true ways of the assassin's from his new teacher Toby, a freed slave and also a member of the Assassins.
Chapter I: The Trees
Upon leaving the other escaped slaves, Henry's mind was filled with questions about the assassins and very much eager to learn. Henry didn't know why but he felt he trusted Toby, although he had only known him less than 12 hours but he trusted him more than his mother whom he'd known his whole life. With the thought of his mother Henry realize that he may never see her again and sadness passed over his face. He quickly changed back to an unfazed demeanor before Toby noticed it and as Henry looked up he saw Toby staring at him.
"I know what your thinking, and you will see her again," said Toby.
"What are you talking about?" asked Henry not ready to reveal his true emotions that quickly.
"Admirable," Toby replied, "you don't have to accept it now but if you want to become a real assassin you'll have to accept it when you’re ready."
Henry was fixing to ask what Toby meant by this but Toby laid out his hand stopping Henry in his tracks. Toby raised a finger to his lips to signal quite and told Henry to hid in the nearby jut of a tree. As soon as Henry was set in the crack Toby leaped up into the same tree Henry was in. There, Henry waited, bewildered by everything that was happening and wondered what Toby was doing. As time seemed to creep along Henry felt the darkness of the night creep towards him, beckoning him with taunts of fear and confusion. Henry grew scared and began to wonder whether this was one of Toby's tests for his new "recruit". Lost in thought Henry begins to hear a faint sound of sniffing. Henry passed it off, as another sound of the forest and the dark continually taunting him but the sound grew louder and seemingly closer. Henry not wanting to fail his test and scared of the pure darkness sat crouched praying that whatever it was would pass but it didn't and grew louder and closer. Henry trying hard to look into the dark stared blankly into the vast abyss wondering what exactly was making the noise when suddenly a loud barking seemed to materialize out of the darkness right in front of his face. Henry paralyzed by fear didn’t know what to make of it until the sudden light of a lamp seemed to creep towards him. He thought the light was a ghost but on further observation is was a party of men equipped with rifles,
"Slave hunters," Henry whispered to himself.
As the barking continued Henry stayed frozen as the light came closer to the spot he was hiding. With the new light revealed the noise was coming from a hound that stood barking 3 feet away pointing directly at Henry. Henry's first thought was to run and amidst deciding an arrow flew down straight into the dogs throat. As the three men walked closer to the dogs spot another arrow flew down into the side of one man's throat and out the other. Henry still maddened by the darkness couldn’t process what was happening but his thought was that the forest came to save him. However the figure of Toby fell down from the trees rushing to the two remaining hunters with rifles pointed. Toby quickly grabbed the closest rifleman getting his arm around his neck and moving him in front as a human shield. As the second rifleman shot the current human shield, Toby used the shot man's rifle and pulled the trigger shooting the lone hunter through the skull.
Chapter II: The Story
"What was that!?" Henry asked quite pissed at Toby.
"Are you alright?" Toby responded.
"Did you just use me as bait?" Henry asked fuming.
"Yes I did, I knew the hunters were on our trail for a while after we killed those men earlier. Speaking of where did you learn to handle yourself like that?"
"I picked it up working at the plantation."
"No slave I met ever learn skill with a knife like that at a plantation. Where did you really learn?"
" I learned from my fath.... my master. I watched him teach his son, he used to be an assassin but he said he became a templar...."
"Really?" said Toby looking at Henry questionably. "This important we'll have to relay this information to the mentor." Henry was going to ask what he was talking about but Toby was already walking away. Henry rushing behind him ran up to Toby's side when he asked, "Did you learn anything else from your master, like free running?"
"If you mean like jumping through tree branches and everything then yes"
"Good this should make the trip much faster. Follow me." Toby then ran up the nearest tree as Henry watched his figure dart from branch to branch. Henry now questioning his choice ran on instinct and climbed the nearest tree. Catching up to Toby proved no great feat, as he seemed to be going slow. "Now let's see if you can keep up." Toby began to swing from the branches and side stepping trees, all of which Henry did with similar ease. This continued on until the morning as the seemed to lead each other traversing through the forest until they arrived to their destination, a small town showing the signs of slowly waking up. "In here," Toby said while walking towards a door with the same strange symbol above the doorway. Toby walked up to the door stopping in front and giving three light knocks and a whistle that sounded like a birdcall.
"Be you friend or assassin," spoke a voice behind the door.
"Is there any difference?" replied Toby.
"Ahh Toby! My friend, only you would reply with such sarcasm! Do come in!" said the stranger from behind the door, opening it wide letting the assassin and his small friend in.
"No time for catching up Samuel I have important news and a new recruit."
"This must be the recruit, do tell me of your information," said the man named Samuel.
"It's better if I let the boy explain, he can tell you the full story."
Samuel, a giant of a man with a handle bar mustache and a bald head, leaned down in front of Henry. Looking Henry in the eyes, Henry froze by its gaze but remained unaltered and stared back. In Samuel's dark eyes he saw something that can only be explained as the eyes of a killer. "Alright boy, speak your piece" boomed the large man. So Henry explained all the events of his past life up to the point where he had arrived at the door. "Mhm, you said you master was an assassin defector?"
"Yes, that's what he said," Henry replied meekly.
"Alright, I want you to take a deep breath and remember every part of your master's story, the details are very important. Then I want you to tell us everything."
Henry paused, he tried his hardest but he couldn’t remember a thing about his father or the stories he had told Jacob. In a last pitch attempt to remember Henry took a deep breath and closed his eyes.
Chapter III: Origin
"Jack! Jack Thomas!" screamed his mother.
"Wake up Jack it's time to go to class," said the voice. Jack slowly opened his eyes to see his older brother, Harry, nudging him awake. "Come on, you've slept in enough."
"Fine! I swear it’s as if you guys can't do anything without me," replied Jack.
Jack was a shaggy-haired kid of the age of 15 and his brother Harry was 17. As Jack rose he walked slowly to the window to see the town. The town littered with small wood houses also included one giant wooden building, it was the training house. The town, which Jack, his family and several others lived, was an assassin compound. Surrounded by a moat-like river, only a small bridge was the only way out into the woods that surrounded the compound and spread for miles. There was no path to the compound, it could only be found through luck or the distinct knowledge of how to get there.
As Jack put on his clothes he rushed outside to meet his brother as is mother remained screaming at him from inside the house. "I swear that woman will scream herself mad one day," Jack remarked to himself while heading to the training house where he was to meet his brother. Upon entering the building he saw the class already in session. While trying to sneak back in class he searched frantically for his brother but couldn't find him.
"Jack, how nice of you to join us! Cleaning duty is yours for the day," replied the teacher a wiry-haired women who looked she could be 90 but was actually 50 years old. Many of her students called her grandma because of her looks but in truth she actually was Jack's grandma. Just as Jack was about to plead his innocence Harry burst through the door. "Ahh! It only seems fitting both of the brothers are late! Harry, Jack both of you have cleaning duty," proclaimed grandma. As the rest of the kids snickered Jack and Harry sat down in their seats.
After class Jack and Harry were scrubbing the floors, covered in mud. "What made you show up later than me?" inquired Jack; "you were the one who woke me up."
"I had stopped to get something," replied Harry.
"Oh really and what was that?"
"Fine, if you must know I went in the woods to get flowers for Susan," Susan was a girl in the compound about a year younger than Harry but he had a crush on her since the two brothers could remember.
"Whatever lover boy, but I wished you'd have woken us up earlier, then we wouldn't be stuck doing this. In fact this should be a job for those blacks who live on the compound, this is just the type of brutish work they're used to."
"Brother you should not speak in such a way. That family of 'blacks' you call them are our fellow assassin's and are just as equal in the right of freedom. Remember what we assassin's fight for, that all men be free to make their own decisions and choices. Slavery is wrong and is equal to the same thing those Templars try to do to the world, enslave and control all of mankind. That’s why we are here, to protect man's freedom."
"Fine, I still think we shouldn’t be stuck doing this work though, I'd rather follow the Templars than be stuck doing chores like these all day." With that Harry splashed the soapy water at his silly brother causing a water fight to ensue.
Chapter IV: Welcome to the Order
As the years passed Harry and Jack continued to progress through the order learning all the ways of the assassins, Harry had progressed well and continue to succeed, while Jack did exceedingly better than his brother, eventually surpassing his age in skill level. Soon Jack was 19 and his brother 21 but both equally skilled assassin recruits when they were finally accepted into the order. Harry and Susan eventually fell in love and were now planning to get married soon but Harry was given a fairly dangerous mission. Jack felt it was too dangerous of a mission to send Harry alone and was pleading with him to stay.
"Come on Harry, don’t go you have a fiancé and a life here, leave this mission to someone else," Jack pleaded.
"No, I was given this by master assassin himself, I have to go" replied Harry.
"Then let me go with you, you know I’m just as equally skilled if not better than you."
"Sorry little brother but I need you here to look after the family. Now don’t you worry I will return soon and it will all be okay, you wait and see."
"Fine, I'll trust you but I'm still uneasy about this. When are you to depart?"
"Tonight, I have already told Susan and mom and dad bye, you are the last before I leave."
"Well I wish you safety on your travels brother."
"And safety to you little brother," said Harry before he turned to mount his horse and ride across the bridge.
About a month passed before Harry himself or any news arrived from him. As Jack returned home one night he saw his mother crying in her chair with a letter on the table next to her. Jack assuming the letter is the cause of his mother's dismay walked over to read it.
To the family of Harry Thomas, I am sad to write this in this letter but your son was killed by a group of Templars in Lexington. On our mission there we were surrounded, Harry had sacrificed himself to provide an escape for us. The news we heard afterwards was that Harry had been captured and was being tortured for information. We planned an assault to set him free but upon our arrival all the Templars were gone, but they left the carcasses of the various prisoners they had and among them was Harry. He was a valiant man and an amazing assassin. It was an honor to work beside him and it pains me to write this now. May peace and safety be with you. Sincerely, Brother of Lexington.
Jack was astonished by what he read, filled with anger he stormed out of the house searching for something to release his anger. Suddenly a thought formed in his head to gain revenge, but not on the Templars that killed his brother but the assassins that had caused his brother to be in a life that was bound to take his brother's life and he knew it would eventually kill him too. Grabbing a nearby horse, he road across the bridge into the woods, as he continued riding he formulated his revenge and knew just how to do it. After hours of riding he arrived at his destination, a large mansion with guards everywhere. Jack dismounted and pushed the gates open.
"Halt!" yelled a guard before Jack had thrown a knife landing in the guards eye socket. Jack continued forward when suddenly several guards materialized with rifles pointed aiming for Jack. Unaltered Jack continued walking forward reaching for his shoulder. In the split second he reached for his shoulder all guards fell. On further analysis later, a small knife was found lodged in each man's neck. As Jack entered the house in the corner of his eye he saw a woman dressed regally covering over her two children protectively. Jack dismissed them and walked forward, they weren’t the reason he had come. Upon walking up the stairs he came upon an office door. He pushed it open and stared at the back of a man looking out the window.
"I guess you are here to kill me," said the man not taking his gaze out of the window.
"I’m not here to kill you Templar. I'm here to help you." replied Jack.
"Ha! Help me? You are an assassin, templars and assassins only murder each other such is the way it has been for years."
"I know the areas of several assassin compounds and am willing to give them to you."
"AND HOW DO I KNOW THIS ISN'T A TRAP!? HOW CAN I TRUST YOU ASSASSIN!?." screamed the templar, screaming not of anger but for courage to face his assailant.
"Because I am here, and have yet to kill you." replied Jack.
"Fine assassin, you have my attention, but what do you ask for in return?"
"Two things, one that I join the Templars."
"And what is the other?" inquired the templar intrigued by this offer.
"That you leave no survivors."
Chapter V: The Tourist
Henry opened his eyes to see Toby and the man he called Samuel staring intently at him, seeming to try to probe his thoughts for further information. In the corner of his eye, Henry could see two people hiding in the shadows of the doorway. It seemed to be a girl about his age and a younger boy about the age of 5 with their eyes affixed on Henry.
"That's all I can remember." stated Henry meekly.
"That's good for now boy," replied Toby as he gave Samuel a look. "It was always thought no one from that fire survived. Now that we know of this we must take action."
"You should go alert the Mentor of this information first, who knows how many Templars this man could have trained in our ways." said Samuel as he stood up.
"What about the boy?" inquired Toby.
"We will take him in, if he is as good as you think he is he will fit in just fine."
"But wait, I thought you were going to train me?" asked Henry.
"I will, when I return I will teach you all that I know." replied Toby as he laid his hand on his shoulder.
As Toby turned to leave Henry wanted to say something but the words escaped his mind. He sat watching as the door closed behind Toby as he left. In that moment all of the energy Henry had drained out of his body. Henry suddenly realized how tired he actually was and was now starting to feel it. He was barely conscious as Samuel led him to another room. Henry could only make out a few phrases such as "much promise" and "those shackles on your feet". As Henry laid down in a bed he began to drift off into unconsciousness. The last thing he saw were the same two figures now staring at him on the opposite side of the room.
Henry awoke to the sound of birds and children playing. As he tried to regain his bearings he noticed another bed on the side of the room and a shelf next to both of them, each with an oil lamp atop of it. Henry stumbled out of the room into the open room where a women stood cooking over a stove, the young boy staring and smiling at Henry enthusiastically, and the girl with her eyes locked onto Henry as if ready to strike.
"Ahh! Here is the young prodigy Sam has spoken so much about!" stated the women grinning at Henry. "It is quite amazing that you should freerun well enough to keep up with Toby, even with those shackles on," the woman replied nodding towards the corner where a few shackles laid. Henry looked down at his feet and noticed that his shackles were gone. He stood amazed, staring at this as if it were nothing short of a miracle.
"But I'm a really good freerunner too mommy!" said the young boy.
"Yes you most certainly are!" cooed the mother to her son. "This is Samuel Jr., my name is Mary, and that grumpy girl over there is Sarah." Henry nodded his head at Sarah who continued to stare at him with daggers for eyes. "Sarah will be showing you around the compound today." Sarah gave a look of disapproval to her mother only to receive a glare back. She slowly stood up and walk towards the door. "She gets better once you get to know her," stated the mother as Henry followed Sarah out of the door.
As soon as the door closed behind Henry he was pinned against the wall with a dagger at his throat.
"I heard your story, I know you were owned by a Templar" stated Sarah moving the dagger ever closer to Henry's throat. "And if you think you can try to get away with fooling us you've got another thing coming. If you try anything I will personally hunt you down and kill you." Henry knew by the look in her eyes she was fully serious as if the dagger wasn't proof enough. As she let go Henry coughed for air, feeling relief the blade was away from his neck.
"Follow me," said Sarah as she began to walk away. While walking through the compound Henry noticed it was similar to a small village, with merchants and stores and even what seemed to be a large church. Although it in fact wasn't a church but the place many new assassins were trained, as Sarah explained. "This is where you'll learn to become one of us, you'll eat, sleep, and train like one of us."
"Where will I be staying?" asked Henry.
"My father tells me you will stay with us as a favor to Toby, you'll room with my little brother. Come on we're late for your first lesson as it is." replied Sarah as she walked into the front of the school. Henry gazed up at the large pillar atop the bulding and wondered why they would add such a thing.
Chapter VI: First Day
Henry walked in to see a large circle of people in the middle of the class with what seemed as two people in moving in the middle. As Henry stepped forward he noticed Sarah whispering to a thin old man. He had wiry hair and a thin goatee on his chin. He seemed to smirk at Henry but it quickly vanished. As Henry got near the circle he noticed that it was comprised of kids from the ages of 15 to 21. Their colors differed from black to white to even a few spanish. Upon further investigation Henry realized that the two people in the middle were circling each other. Then he caught the glint from the light off of one of their daggers and realized the two were fighting. He began to question why no one was stopping them when he suddenly heard a loud boom of a voice.
"ENOUGH!" said the voice. As Henry looked he was surprised to find that the booming voice came from this thin man. "We have a new recruit amongst us." As he said that all of the eyes in the room turned towards Henry. "His name is Henry, and Sarah here says he's quite good with a knife." Henry hears a few snickers and laughs within the crowd. "We shall have to see just how good he is, Zachary you shall spar with Henry! Test his skill." stated the old man with a smirk on his face.
A white boy about the same size as Henry emerged from the crowd. He had short brown hair and what seemed to be a scar on his left cheek. As the human circle began to form around the two Zachary walked up to Henry with a dagger and placed it in his hand.
"Don't worry I'll try to go easy on you. We use real daggers to simulate the effect of battle." stated Zachary with a smile. Zachary then stood with his own dagger prepped in a fighting stance. "The object isn't to kill, we only pin into a submission stance such as a dagger to the throat."
"Well thats reassuring," Henry stated as he too got into the stance he remembered from his father's teachings. As Zachary came forward he swaung his knife, instantly Henry ducked only to be kneed in the face. Within seconds Zacharywas on top of Henry and had his knife at his throat. Henry stared as he heard the rest of the class laughed, in the corner of his eye he could see the old man scoff.
"Again," said Henry staring at Zachary.
"You sure? You can give up now if you..."
"Again," Henry said with more determination.
"Fine by me then," Zachary replied while getting up. The class continued to snicker and laugh as the two went back into their stances. Zachary lunged forward swinging his dagger. Henry sidestepped it grabbing Zachary's arm with his free hand and extending it outward. Henry kneed the back of his opponents legs causing them to buckle. Within a split second Henry stood over a kneeling Zachary with his dagger poised at his throat. The whole room was silent as if in awe. Henry moved his dagger away as Zachary started to chuckle.
"Haha, I guess Sarah was right about you, you are pretty good with a knife." replied Zachary extending his hand.
"Thanks," said Henry as he shook it.
"That wasn't nothing I could do better than Zach!" said some voice from the crowd.
"Yeah! Let me have a chance at him!" exclaimed another voice
As the sparring ensued henry came out victorious in all of them. Whether by swinging high or by tricky manoeuvring, Henry always found a way to trip, disarm, or sidestep any opponent.
"It's my turn," said Sarah approaching the middle of the circle.
"Fine, if that's what makes you happy." replied Henry trying to catch his breath.
Sarah and Henry locked eyes as they encircled each other. Then in a slight moment of apprehension Henry swung his dagger forward. Sarah spun around behind Henry, grabbing his arm while pressing the cold steel of her dagger to his throat.
"Drop your dagger," Sarah demanded. As Henry let go of the dagger, he moved his hand upward to grab the blade of the one at his throat. Moving it just enough to spin out of Sarah's grasp. As Henry stood free, blood trickling down the palm of his hand Sarah lunged forward. Henry dodged, stepping backwards while simultaneously looking for an opening. While Sarah continued lunging forward Henry saw his chance and grabbed her hand clutching the dagger. Just as quickly, Henry ducked downward grabbing her ankle with his free hand and pulling causing her to fall backwards. Very swiftly Henry pushed her hand still holding the dagger to her throat. Sudden gaps emerged from the crowd as Sarah laid pinned to the ground with her dagger at her throat.
A slow clap came from the old man at the back of the class who had apparently been watching the whole time.
"Well, you just might be exactly what we're looking for."