05. assassins creed forsaken
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He spat and beckoned me forward with onehand, rolling the blade in the other. Comeon, Assassin, he goaded me. Come be awarrior for the first time. Come see what itfeels like. Come on, boy. Be a man.
It was supposed to anger me, but instead itmade me focus. I needed him alive. I neededhim to talk.
I leapt over the branch and into the clear-ing, swinging a little wildly to push him backbut recovering my stance quickly, before hecould press forward with a response of hisown. For some moments we circled one an-other, each waiting for the other to launchhis next attack. I broke the stalemate bylunging forward, slashing, then instantly re-treating to my guard.
For a second he thought Id missed. Thenhe felt the blood begin to trickle down hischeek and touched a hand to his face, hiseyes widening in surprise. First blood to me.
Youve underestimated me, I said.His smile was a little more strained this
time. There wont be a second time.There will be, I replied, and came for-
ward again, feinting towards the left then go-ing right when his body was already commit-ted to the wrong line of defence.
A gash opened up in his free arm. Bloodstained his tattered sleeve and began drip-ping to the forest floor, bright red on brownand green needles.
Im better than you know, I said. All youhave to look forward to is death . . .
Ace titles by Oliver Bowden
ASSASSINS CREED: RENAISSANCEASSASSINS CREED: BROTHERHOOD
ASSASSINS CREED: THE SECRETCRUSADE
ASSASSINS CREED: REVELATIONSASSASSINS CREED: FORSAKEN
THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUPPublished by the Penguin Group
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either arethe product of the authors imagination or are used fictitiously, and any re-
semblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events,or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any controlover and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party web-
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ASSASSINS CREED FORSAKEN
An Ace Book / published by arrangement with Penguin Books, Ltd.
Ace premium edition / December 2012
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PART I: 17356 DECEMBER 17357 DECEMBER 17358 DECEMBER 17359 DECEMBER 173510 DECEMBER 173511 DECEMBER 1735
PART II: 1747, TWELVE YEARS LATER10 JUNE 174711 JUNE 174718 JUNE 1747
20 JUNE 174723 JULY 174714 JULY 174715 JULY 174716 JULY 174717 JULY 1747
PART III: 1753, SIX YEARS LATER7 JUNE 175325 JUNE 175312 AUGUST 175318 APRIL 17548 JULY 175410 JULY 175413 JULY 175414 JULY 175415 NOVEMBER 17548 JULY 17559 JULY 175510 JULY 175513 JULY 17551 AUGUST 1755
4 AUGUST 175517 SEPTEMBER 1757 (TWO YEARS
LATER)21 SEPTEMBER 175725 SEPTEMBER 17578 OCTOBER 17579 OCTOBER 175727 JANUARY 175828 JANUARY 1758
PART IV: 1774, SIXTEEN YEARS LATER12 JANUARY 177427 JUNE 1776 (TWO YEARS LATER)28 JUNE 17767 JANUARY 1778 (TWO YEARS LATER)26 JANUARY 17787 MARCH 177816 JUNE 177817 JUNE 177816 SEPTEMBER 1781 (THREE YEARS
EPILOGUE: 16 SEPTEMBER 17812 OCTOBER 178215 NOVEMBER 1783
LIST OF CHARACTERSACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
I never knew him. Not really. I thought Ihad, but it wasnt until I read his journal thatI realized I hadnt really known him at all.And its too late now. Too late to tell him Imisjudged him. Too late to tell him Imsorry.
EXTRACTS FROM THE JOURNAL OFHAYTHAM E. KENWAY
6 DECEMBER 1735
Two days ago I should have been celebratingmy tenth birthday at my home in QueenAnnes Square. Instead, my birthday hasgone unremarked; there are no celebrations,only funerals, and our burnt-out house is likea blackened, rotted tooth among the tall,white brick mansions of Queen AnnesSquare.
For the time being, were staying in oneof Fathers properties in Bloomsbury. Its anice house, and though the family is devast-ated, and our lives torn apart, there is that tobe thankful for at least. Here well stay,shocked, in limbolike troubled ghostsun-til our future is decided.
The blaze ate my journals so beginningthis feels like starting anew. That being thecase, I should probably begin with my name,which is Haytham, an Arabic name, for anEnglish boy whose home is London, and whofrom birth until two days ago lived an idylliclife sheltered from the worst of the filth thatexists elsewhere in the city. From QueenAnnes Square we could see the fog andsmoke that hung over the river, and likeeverybody else we were bothered by thestink, which I can only describe as wethorse, but we didnt have to tread throughthe rivers of stinking waste from tanneries,butchers shops and the backsides of animalsand people. The rancid streams of effluentthat hasten the passage of disease: dysen-tery, cholera, typhoid . . .
You must wrap up, Master Haytham. Orthe lurgyll get you.
On walks across the fields to Hampsteadmy nurses used to steer me away from the
poor unfortunates wracked with coughs, andshielded my eyes from children with deform-ities. More than anything they feared dis-ease. I suppose because you cannot reasonwith disease; you cant bribe it or take armsagainst it, and it respects neither wealth norstanding. It is an implacable foe.
And of course it attacks without warning.So every evening they checked me for signsof measles or the pox then reported on mygood health to Mother, who came to kiss megood night. I was one of the lucky ones, yousee, who had a mother to kiss me good night,and a father who did, too; who loved me andmy half sister, Jenny, who told me about richand poor, who instilled in me my good for-tune and urged me always to think of others;and who employed tutors and nursemaids tolook after and educate me, so that I shouldgrow up to be a man of good values and ofworth to the world. One of the lucky ones.
Not like the children who have to work infields and in factories and up chimneys.
I wondered sometimes, though, did theyhave friends, those other children? If theydid, then, while of course I knew better thanto envy them their lives when mine was somuch more comfortable, I envied them thatone thing: their friends. Me, I had none, withno brothers or sisters close to my age either,and, as for making them, well, I was shy.Besides, there was another problem:something that had come to light when I wasjust five years old.
It happened one afternoon. The man-sions of Queen Annes Square were builtclose together, so wed often see our neigh-bours, either in the square itself or in theirgrounds at the rear. On one side of us lived afamily who had four girls, two around myage. They spent what seemed like hours skip-ping or playing blind mans bluff in theirgarden, and I used to hear them as I sat in
the schoolroom under the watchful eye of mytutor, Old Mr. Fayling, who had bushy greyeyebrows and a habit of picking his nose,carefully studying whatever it was that heddug from the recesses of his nostrils thensurreptitiously eating it.
This particular afternoon Old Mr. Faylingleft the room and I waited until his footstepshad receded before getting up from my sums,going to the window and gazing out at thegrounds of the mansion next door.
Dawson was the family name. Mr.Dawson was an MP, so my father said, barelyhiding his scowl. They had a high-walledgarden, and, despite the trees, bushes, andfoliage in full bloom, parts of it were visiblefrom my schoolroom window, so I could seethe Dawson girls outside. They were playinghopscotch for a change, and had laid outpall-mall mallets for a makeshift course al-though it didnt look as if they were taki