Pippa, It’s Called Redemption

Roslyn was anxious. Anxious because, on the other side of that wall, the members of The Citadel’s underground council were discussing her fate. She was more than anxious- she was scared. If The Citadel didn’t want her anymore... they would kill her. She knew too much about them. Secretly, she hated The Citadel. She wished that someone else had stopped by the orphanage on that chilly september day and picked her out of the crowd. Roslyn knew the type- desperate, infertile couples responding to the silent whimpers she made, but it was never enough.

Her feet banged against the stone walls of the underground. They wanted something to do, so she made them walk toward Pippa and Georges, the moving man, huddled under some indoor foliage in the corner. The room was damp and humid. Pots of dirt were carried in and dumped on the floor in some desperate attempt to get atmosphere pumped through the church. This was supposed to be the indoor greenhouse, the relaxation room, where injured assassins would heal and obtain the herbs for their wounds from the numerous potted plants, all shoved to the side. In reality, the indoor greenhouse was a stuffy mess of disorienting smells, ghastly mud, and quite common leafy greens. The only surfaces suitable for resting on were Georges’ crates, dented and cracked as if burnt. The only person who truly enjoyed the indoor greenhouse was... Georges. This was his regular haunt, and unfortunately, the other assassins had to endure the disgusting scents in order to catalog the prizes they found, or have heavy treasures moved. Georges was the man.

Roslyn’s feet sloshed through the mud- one, two, one, two. She kept uniform about it. This was her way of steadying her nerves. If she could keep everything neat and organized, it gave her mind a task to complete. A pointless objective. If Roslyn was still alive by the end of the day, she had to stop by Bolts. He had sent a courier over with a detailed description of his new wares; gaseous rings, state-of-the-art pistols, that sort of stuff. She had a score to settle with him, anyway. Rumors buzzed around town that Bolts was secretly in line with The Sontas.

Their connection was already delicate. Roslyn had reason to suspect Cedric, Bolts’ son, in a major plot to overthrow The Citadel. She had seen him at the marketplace, conversing with a cloaked figure sporting The Sontas emblem. But it could have been one of her agents, back from a raid or some such.

Roslyn hoisted her ebony hair above her head and tied it in a tight knot. She bent down to smear a bit of dirt on her face. It was a tactic she was practicing- camouflage. Of course, it went against  her principles. Roslyn was used to hiding in plain site- under raven masks at the Paris costume balls, under rags and soil as a pretty beggar milling about the marketplace. This was a different sort of camouflage, a lot harder sort that required illusion and elusive fast-thinking. The plunder of Jacques Pamuk only meant that Roslyn had to spread her wings a bit. She crouched down and stalked over to Georges, who offered her a single sideways glance. He was busy explaining the rules of the trade to Delphine-something, a new assassin whelp. He looked miserable, out of his element, glumly crumpling dirt between his fingers. Pippa, to the side, was smirking. She liked playing Georges like that, torturing him, dumping him with the newbies while he craved adventure: possibly, a stakeout. Her cat-shaped eyes snapped to Roslyn as she batted her inch-long lashes.

“Hello, sweets, here to apologize?” Pippa called all the assassins she considered ‘below’ her by the nickname, ‘sweets.’ She even used it against Georges, when he was punching a nerve of hers, to demean him. Roslyn put a brave face on, rubbing her hands across her mouth and the bridge of her nose. The dirt smeared- little flecks of it cascaded onto her black robes. She was barefoot.

“Yes, Pippa, I’m sorry...” Her voice dwindled to a whisper, despite her attempts to hold firm.

“Oh, what are we sorry for? Is there something I’m missing?” Georges pushed his head against Roslyn’s, who blushed scarlet. Delphine grew bored and walked away. She was holding her dagger at the wrong end, a goofy smile on her face as if she thought she was something great.

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