The plan had been perfect, a subtle push to the local anarchs, or Sabbat as they want to be known now, the hint of a lightly guarded elder, and Malik’s plan was in motion. The fire would be blamed on them, and her escape from the noose of the upstarts hunt would be complete.
It was when she was onboard the boat to Barcelona that she found out her plan had been anticipated.
Leandro Giovanni diFirenza was a skilled hunter, with over a dozen of her kin already doomed by his hand. The deception had tricked his fellows, but not him. He feigned a need to visit his cousin in Castile to arrange his passage without raising their suspicions, for if they knew of his plans, they would have frowned upon what came next.
While the Bedouin was strong, Leandro was stronger. Their fight lasted for hours. The unfortunate crew, a victim of the two warriors as they worked to gain the upper hand. Blade against blade, a pair of perfect khopech against his cinquedea. Using his cape as a defense, he was difficult to hit, while she was difficult to hurt.
She fought with methods he’d never seen before, even turning his own body against itself, having it rot whenever they touched. Yet he pushed on, refusing to give up the prize he so desired. He saw the power his kin had stolen, and here was his own chance to grab some of it for himself. Leave the anarch’s to their celebration, they knew not what power they could have.
By the time the battle was won, his resolve was made. He would taste her power and make it his own. Without even removing the cover to see her face for himself, he acted before thought. His hunger for that power overtook him, a passion he had not felt since his heart last beat. For it was this woman’s hearts blood he so craved, and the power it held.
While she lied there, waiting for the end, he paused and lifted the veil from her face. His heat turned to pity, and he brushed the hair from the decomposed features, Leandro sat and stared as if in disbelief, unable to move. And that was when he discovered that it was but a ruse.
Her eyes suddenly focused, and a rotting hand grabbed his face. His scream was filled with pain he had never before imagined, as his own flesh rotted away under her touch. Soon enough, the scream was replaced by a silence even louder than the noise that once filled it.
When will finally asserted itself, and she stood, holding the now dessicated corpse of Leandro, she looked down at his own hands as if in disbelief. Then, almost absentmindedly, she picked up and slung the two khopesh along with resheathing her signet dagger which had fallen out from among the folds of her dress.
A hand to her face, she looked over the side to his own reflection in the water and laughed.
For the first time, she was truly free.