Michael was already slipping through the fornt door of the pub when the clock in the city square struck 6 o'clock in the morning. He felt decidedly dejected and tired, and moved with the air of someone with his mind on other things than the activities of the few people who dared wander the streets of the city at this time. He had no desire to earn money, to dart up behind one of the people sharing the street and swiftly pick thier pocket, or slip through the ajar door of a bakery to his right and steal a morsel for his breakfast. He instead stared down at the rainsoaked road, the event sof the previous night replaying over and over in his mind's eye. He had a feeling another death would be announced by the time the rest of the city woke up.
In a normal day, he wouldn't have cared less whether the fellow criminal had been caught. But this was different. This wasn't just another pickpocket or theif sharing the gold of Grailin, the man was completely evil, and for the first time in his life, he was struggling with guilt for not going directly to the guard and reporting events.
You shouldn't care about this! his thoughts chided him. That man's crime is of no business of yours. And besides, you would just end up like that bloody corpse!
But what if I don't care?! he argued. What if this time, I want to tell someone. This time... I want to do the right thing!
The right thing? his concious mocked. Since when have you ever wanted to do the right thing?
Michael clenched his fists beneath his cloak, furrowing his brow. He, too, was wondering the subtle change in his thinking, this sudden longing to do what a reasonable person would have done. He had never had such inclinations before. He pushed all the thoughts from his mind. he still needed to make a living, and theivery was all he had ever known. Today he would be pickpocket, as usual.
And today's market day, he reminded himself, There will be plenty of crowds to rob and get lost in. A mischevious grin crossed his face for a moment and then vanished as the picture of the corpse reappeared.
"Stop it," he muttered beneath his breath, massaging his temple. The memory faded and he immediatly filled his minds with other thoughts.
So.... where should I position myself so I can get into the market without being seen by the gaurds. he knew that at least some of the guards knew that he was not to be trusted, and if he was seen in the market, he had a feeling he would spend the next few days locked up in a cell. He flipped the hood of his cloak over his auburn hair and slipped through a few alleyways, and then turned back...
They'll announce the death in the town square... he thought. I should learn who it is. And, plans abandoned, he proceeded towards the square.
he hid himself in a nook in the wall. It payed to be thin and short for a seventeen-year-old. It was much easier to hide. And sure enough, only a few minutes later, a man stalked through the square to the city hall and knocked smartly on the door. A butler opened it, looking flustered. The man muttered something that Michael couldn't hear and handed the butler a scroll of parchment.
The butler opened it and took one glance, and a mixture of fear and confusion crossed his gaze.
"Another assassination?" His voice carried to Michael's hiding place.
The man sighed. "It seems so." And then he turned and moved away. The butler watched him go and looked at the scroll again, sighing. Then he moved to a large board in the center of the town square and nailed the paper to it, before moving back into the hall.
Michael swiftly checked to see if anyone was watching and darted over to the board.
The scroll read:
Amanda Haren, daughter of The Grand Duke, has fallen prey to the so-called Assassin's Creed. The public is assured that the king and his guard are trying their hardest to stop these attacks, but you are asked to take extra guards of safety in the light of recent events.
The King's bold signature followed, along with the impression of his signet ring in a form of wax.
Ha! The king trying his hardest! Michael thought angrily. The villain is working within his own palace!
The guilt returned, and his concious spoke. If you told him, the attacks could be stopped.
No! Michael retaliated. I'll end up like that corpse we saw!
But the uneasyness of his guilty consious remained as he slid back throught the alleyways towards the market square.