Do you know who I am?
That is what I ask you. All I want to ask you. It is the only thing that comes to mind as you stand here before me, trapped like a rat as you are. The sole thing I think of as you fall to your knees, with nowhere to run or hide. In the darkness of this dead end, cut off from any form of salvation, it is this and this alone that I want to know of you.
I wonder if you ask yourself the same thing. If you think about it with every fearful step across the cobblestone, if it haunts you with every panicked breath you take. While I watch as you cry out for mercy, I am curious to see if you even want to know. I still assume you do. After all, like all men who walk this earth, you want a reason when harm befalls you. It is human nature and I truly contemplate giving you the answer.
I might as well. Though once I may have been cruel, I now believe that even you have the right to certain things. We are equals, after all. Not under God or under kings or queens, perhaps, but simply because the laws that protect mankind are born from reason rather than the divine. Therefore, I, in my own way, will be respectful to you.
Despite all you did, I shall not repay your misdeeds. I shall not beat you to make you feel my pain. I shall not put my hand around your throat to watch your fear take the better of you. I shall not mock you or taunt you for the way you wrong those around you at every chance you get. I shall not prolong your suffering nor shall I become you. That what you never gave, you shall now receive and you will go with honor as you will be given the mercy of a quick, clean passing.
The way the Master taught me and countless others before me, I set about my task in a dignified manner. This thing I do is no longer an act of vengeance, though once I could only regard it as such. It is an act of which the purpose goes beyond my own needs, a service performed for the greater good. These are the laws I live by now, as do all my Brothers and Sisters with me.
Therefore, I feel nothing. Nothing at all as I do what was asked of me. Not a flicker of emotion as the steel of my blade slices through your skin. Not a twinge of feeling as the crimson blood spills out of your throat. No anger, no hatred, no sadness or even bitterness
As you sink onto the cold, hard stones of the street, it is perhaps only the gravity of the deed that weighs on me.
I simply watch as you succumb, struggling against the inevitable. Hands at your neck, trying to stop the blood from flowing and air from escaping, you look up at me. For the very first time, I can read fear in your eyes. What for, I wonder? Death? Why do you fear it? Is the thought of no longer existing so frightening to you? Do you have unfinished business? Are there loved ones you will leave behind? Or is it simply that you cannot believe someone such as yourself will meet his end this way?
It matters little now. Your life is rapidly fading and you realize that. You finally understand that it is useless to fight it, merely a delay of the inevitable. I can see how you slowly come to terms with it, but as you do, your swiftly fading eyes turn towards me again. With great effort, your lips part and you finally speak three words that I knew you would say.
You ask me who I am.
It is an easy question, isn't it? Simple, a standard inquiry, something you often ask when you first meet a new person. Still, seeing our current situation, it is probably the most misguided thing you could have asked.
You know me. Or at least, knew who I was. You know it all too well. After all, it is because of you that I stand here, watching over you as you give up on life. And yet, you still want to know who I am? It is hard to fathom that the very thing you already know shall be your last request, but it is not one that I shall deny you. I will honor your last wish, but first, I will tell you who I was.
I was the son of the noble family that you ruthlessly murdered because we spoke out against you.
I was the daughter of the farmers you burned in their own house to take possession of their land.
I was the artist who didn't portray history the way you wanted others to see it.
I was the laborer who questioned if there was not more to life than serving the Borgia.
I was the husband whose wife was drowned because we could no longer pay the taxes.
I was the wife whose husband was hanged because he had the courage to resist when you tried to take what was ours.
I was the boy that was begging on the streets because you took away everyone he could have turned to.
I was the girl that you and your friends violated and left to die.
I was the man of whom you took everything.
I was the woman whom you would give everything as long as she bowed down to you.
I was the beggar. The outcast. The vigilante. The outlaw. The rebel. The victim
I was all of these people, in a past that is still as clear as day. I was every single person that you broke, beat, spat on, tortured or humiliated. Every last one whose life was shattered and dreams were snapped by your hands. But at the same time, I was also something else.
I was also the one who survived the tragedy you inflicted upon me.
The one who decided to keep on going rather than give up and wait for the end.
The one who realized that I didn't deserve what had happened to me.
The one who found salvation in my inner sense of justice and the edge of a blade.
The one who, in my darkest hour, looked up and found your greatest foe standing over me, extending the helpful, compassionate hand that I had so far been denied.
The one who took that hand and felt the unmistakable truth when that hooded man told me that, at last, the liberation of Rome had begun
I remain frozen as I look at you now. Or rather, I look at what's left of you. It is not a beautiful sight. Your body has gone limp, your eyes have glazed over. Dirt is starting to soil your expensive robes. The gaping hole in your throat no longer releases blood to add to that which has seeped onto the stones. Any sign of life is gone now, leaving nothing but an empty shell that will soon crumble to dust.
It tells me what I already suspected. You are no longer with me now. That what kept you in this world has been taken away and nothing will wait for you as you pass to the other side. My work here is finished and it is better that I leave before anyone finds your remains. Our kind rarely gets caught, elusive as we are, and it is a trait that I proudly uphold.
I do not look back as I turn away. I have no need to. All I am concerned with as of this moment is to report back to the hooded man, my Master. I am eager to tell him that I have succeeded and performed well. I have followed every tenet of his Creed and I gave you your final request as I did.
You asked who I am. I admit I couldn't tell you that in time. The eternal sleep is not a patient fellow and he did not wait for the words to leave my mouth. Nonetheless, I think you know. I am certain you do. I could tell that when you fought to stay in the realm of the living a little longer, the answer finally dawned on you and as I closed your eyes and told you to rest in peace, you finally understood who I am.
So who am I? I will tell you. I will tell you the truth you have tried to run from. The revelation that you tried to deny until your last painful breath. All that you never wanted to face up to in your lifetime, I will lay out before you now, so you and those of your kind will no longer disregard it.
I am the living evidence that what goes around comes around and that everything you do has its price. I am the one thing you would now like to forget. I am the crime that you thought was without consequences. The wrongdoing you thought no one would see. The sin of which you thought the priest could absolve you. I was the one you convicted, but now, I am your judge, jury and executioner.
I am your opposition.
Your sworn enemy.
Your inescapable curse.
Your most fatal mistake.
After all you and your fellow Templars put me through, I am now your worst nightmare come to life.
I am an Assassin.