Episode 2 Dollhouse

The summer sun hanged high, sitting on a thrown of the blue skies, and cottony clouds that slowly flowed by. Fields of grape rows rolled with the land touched by the sun. Sitting at the center of the Rosso vineyard at the top of a hill was the villa, crawling with white and red rose vines. The stables sat to the west, clinging to the walls of the villa like a child. And reaching around from west to the stables, were the houses of the ones that worked the land.

As Ezio fallowed the dusty road, a cold snake seemed to slowly sliver up his spine, and coiled around his stomach. He hadn't felt dread in years, and he saw no reason too now. But the feeling was there all the same. Pushing the feeling aside, he rode around to the west to were the scaling of the walls would be a breeze. He absorbed his surroundings for guards as he slowly guided the bay to the stables. Once satisfied that no threats where around, he leaped to the clay tiled roof.

Darting to the outer wall of the villa, Ezio ran, and glided up the wall, and then perched himself there. From his perch, he could see the garden that turned and wove with paths surrounded by short hedges. At the center of the garden maze, was an elegant fountain with a beautiful limestone maiden holding a pitcher that flowed with shimmering water to the maiden's feet. All across the garden there was no lilies, violets, nor jasmine. None of the normal flowers that should be in such a beautiful garden; only white, and red roses ruled.

"What is with this woman and roses?" Ezio wondered in his head. He shoved these thoughts aside when the raised voices of a man and woman reached his ears. Turning around, he dropped and hanged on the side of the wall. Leaping and turning backward, he caught hold of the roof of the villa. Heaving himself up, he silently moved to the open window just below.

"…You are a bastardo!" yelled the voice of Countess Belloza Godric, or whatever she went by this days.

"You have some nerve calling me that, when you yourself have been unfaithful!" Ezio's fists clenched to the sound of the man that had placed two people he deeply cared for in grave danger.

"Did you not think at I would not notice the men that come to you at night, and hastily leave in the morning?"

"Ha!" Belloza laughed coldly. "And do you think me blind to your dealings with young women, behind closed doors? I know who you fantasize about…that cagna Assassino that not only foiled your plan kidnap the artist De Vince, but also escape…on her own whim!"

Ezio heard a slap from below, followed by sounds of rough passion. Taking his leave, he found a window of a servant's chamber open, and slipped in. Stalking the corridors he abruptly slipped back behind a corner. The click of a key touched his ears, followed by the squeak of hinges.

"Come on you hag!" yelled a heated voice of a young Italian woman. "Give me the keys, and I will stop calling you an ugly old warthog!"

Ezio heard a heavy tray slam on a table followed by the slam of a door, and the klick of a key. He waited for the pounding footsteps to disappear before going to the door that must hold the kidnapped girls. Pulling out a lock pick, he began to work the tiny tools. Before he managed to unlock the door, he had broken all but one—till he broke his final one dislodging it from the keyhole. Lightly pushing the door ajar, he peeked into the large chamber.

Through the crack Ezio saw a young woman dressed in a rather reviling, scarlet silk drees. Though his eyes were attracted to her fairly sized bust, his eyes went to the shackle and chain that was clamped to her ankle, and to the bolt on the wall.

"Well are you going to stand there and gawk, or are you going to help free us?" spook the girl in scarlet.

"Who are you talking to—?" inquired another girl just as Ezio slipped in, and closed the door behind him. The entire chamber was full of ten, young women; all chained, and dressed in reviling garments. The girls eyed him, and shied away hugging pillows and blankets. But not the one in red that had spook to him. Her gray stone eyes sized him up with approval.

"Did Juliet send you?" she asked, reclining back on her elbow and pillows; reminding Ezio of a cat. Seeing that she was the only one willing to talk to him, he slowly approached the side of her bed.

"Is Juliet a courtesan that carried a ledger page of the Rosso Villa?"

"Sì."

Ezio sighed, and sat on the edge of the bed.

"I see," she murmured, as some of the girls began to silently cry into the pillows and blankets. "Girls stop that!" She ordered. "We will get out of here alive, and this man is going to help us do it!"

The gentle weeping stopped, but Ezio saw the fear, pain and sadness in their gray eyes… "Gray eyes…" he thought. "Brown hair, and all vary pretty…" anger slowly sparked in him, not yet a blaze but still strong enough to make a fist at his side, and clench his jaw.

"I'll return with the keys, and then get you all out and far from here." He rose and made for the door, but a gentle and strong hand grabbed his wrist. He turned and looked down to the girl in scarlet, and held her piercing gaze.

"The keys should be on the Count," she informed.

"Grazie signorina." He thanked, but she still gazed at him.

"I would like to know the name of the man that I'm putting my life, and faith in."

"Ezio Auditore da Firenze, mia signora."

"pff, I'm no lady! I'm Florence—,"

"The witch." Muttered one of the girls.

"Sì, like my mother, and her mother before her!" Florence smiled with pride, and a mischievous glint in her eyes. "Go, you don't have time to waste!"

Ezio nodded with a curious look in his chocolate eyes, but left. Softly closing the door behind him he began to stalk the corridors, hiding in shadows and behind corners when servants or guards came near. "The keys are with the Count," he thought, with a silent flame steadily rising within. "Saves me the time to return later, and finish what I should have ended years ago."

Slipping into a dark chamber, he listened to the thumping, and clanging footsteps of the guards. The thumping and clanging grew, then faded. Ezio rose his hand to the door to open it, but grew still. Something was off, so terribly off about not only the air in the room, but the dim gray and red light that passed more as shadow.

Turning from the door, he toke in dark and scarlet chamber. Dark red curtains barely allowed any light in, but even with such dim light Ezio could still see the scarlet silk bed with curtains tied to the posts. A lovely gold framed mirror hanged over a low dresser near a matching wardrobe. "This could have been the mistress's room," Ezio thought. But then his eyes fond an elegant wedding dress lidded out on a scarlet covered table, below a portrait of a young woman in the same dress. Ezio gazed hard at the woman. Though she had no outstanding resembles to Elinana, he could not help but think that this was meant to be a portrait of her.

Anger and disgust grew like oil to fire within him, just on the verge of boiling over with the kidnapped girls that shared the same qualities as his former apprentice, the portrait, the dress, the room, and the Countess's wards."I know who you fantasize about…that cagna Assassino…"

Shockingly, Ezio found himself glade that Elinana was far, so vary far away. So she would not have to see the work of an obsessed madman. He closed his eyes, and clenched his jaw and fist.

Suddenly he felt danger approaching, and drew his sword to welcome it. The door to the chamber opened soundlessly, and closed as the Count walked in only wearing trousers and an untucked chemise. The Count didn't notice Ezio, not till his sword was against his throat. The Count's Adam's apple bobbed against the blade as a bead of blood grew, then ran down his throat and to his chest.

"Auditore," he briefly smirked. "It has been too long."

"Before I kill you, tell me why." Ezio growled.

"Why?" echoed the Count.

"Why her, why Elinana?"

"Why? Why not? She is beautiful, despite her being a murderous thief... Tell me where is she? I have not heard of any news about her for some time."

"Gone," Ezio replied darkly. "She has gone to a place where neither of us can touch her."

Ezio saw anger rose in the young Count, but it mattered not to him. The Count moved to attack him, but he merely swatted his hand away, and drove his sword through the Count's chest. Ezio drew out his sword, and lied the dying man to the scarlet, black, and gold designed carpet.

"No," he coughed. "I was not meant to die like this. With no glory, no…satisfaction."

"This no glory in death," Ezio informed. "That is a fool's assumption."

"Perhaps," the Count laughed with blood running from the corner of his mouth. "Perhaps not…where has she gone? Where is the Deadly Dove that I could not stop thinking of?"

"…Back to her father…in the new land."

"The New Land?"

"Sì."

The Count coughed blood, then he grew still.

"Requiescat in pace." Ezio murmured while closing the eyes of the dead man, then took the keys from his pocket. Suddenly a floor board creaked from the door behind him. Whipping around, he saw the glint of a dagger, but it bit into his side before he could react. Looking up to his attacker, he saw Belloza standing in her shift, gazing hard at him with her red eyes.

Glaring back, Ezio drew out the dagger and tossed it to the floor. "I do not kill women," he informed her. "Do not make this the day that I brake that."

"Ha!" she laughed coldly. "So much for chivalry!" she through another dagger but he managed to avoid it, and through a dagger into her heart. Blood pooled around the dagger handle, staining her white shift. Ezio darted to her side as she slowly fell. He gently held her as the life flowed out of her. Laying her next to her husband, Ezio left; but not before cutting the false portrait of Elinana.

While making his way back to the chamber that held the kidnaped girls, he halted to the sound of a baby's cry. Silently, he moved to the door in which the cries emanated from. Just barely opening the door, he saw a wet-nurse holding one of two babies to her bosom.

Ezio slightly stumbled back. "They are orphans," he thought shakenly. "They are now orphans because of me."

Taking a deep breath, he continued on. "Yes they may be orphans, but now they may not be corrupted by their parents…But you still took their parents away from them…" his conscience argued. But Ezio continued on to save girls.

Finally returning to the chamber of the kidnapped girls, he quickly worked the key to the nearest girl's shackle. "We do not have long," he informed to the girls. "Watch the corridor." He ordered to the now freed girl who robbed her ankle, then did as he bid as he continued to free the others. Not long later all the girls where free, and now he had to get them to the stables, and ride for Rome.

"Stay close, and do what I tell you do, understand?" he ordered, and was replied by silent nods.

He did not take two steps before the alarm bell sounded. "Cazzo!" he cursed. "Move!" he ordered, and lead the way down the corridors in a sprint. What guards he did met quickly fell, but he let the servants be.

Cutting through the kitchen, Ezio lead the way to another corridor that lead out to the stables. Helping the girls onto the horses, he then leaped up on top of the bay, and took off with the ten girls following behind on the dusty road.

From high noon to evening, Ezio escorted the kidnapped girls through the rolling country. As the city of Rome steadily became visible, Ezio steadily became fatigued. Sweat beaded down is face, his head steadily throbbed, and his guts tightened and turned. The sun seemed to shine brighter overhead, nearly making it painful to see. He looked to his side and saw Elinana ridding beside him.

"Yes Brother," she said to him without looking away from the horizon. "You've been poisoned, again. You really need to be more careful, honestly!"

"Colomba…" he murmured dryly and weakly. And she finally turned to him.

"Remember what I told you? Back when Gasparo had poisoned you, and I temporarily lost my sight because of the lightning bolt? I told you that I first thought that he either poisoned you with Foxglove, or Nightshade. I decided Foxglove because you were not dead. But…" as she paused the world started to fade into shadows with the voices he could not understand. "That Templar snake laced that dagger with Nightshade, my dear Tiger."

He then fell into a dark hole, like that of a well. Falling into its dark embrace.

To be continued!

In Episode 3 Always and Forever

Coming soon!