Chapter 3

Sam dropped into the sewers just five minutes later. As he grasped the inset rungs, he pulled the iron manhole cover back over the 4-foot diameter hole. Glancing down, he dropped the remaining fifteen feet into the brick-lined tunnel below. As he gathered his bearings, his goggles dimly lit the interior with a muted green glow, the result of a type of luminescent glass Leon had developed.

Like the average sewage system, the accessible areas consisted of a wide river of sewage, flanked on both sides by concrete walkways that were the width of two men. However, similarly to Paris and London, Washington's sewage systems followed the exact course of the streets and alleyways above, making a trip through them quite confusing, considering how there were hundreds of square miles of sewers. This was where the Assassin's had hidden their headquarters.

Sam began walking north, past grated pipes leaking weak streams of sewage and wooden doors leading to inspectors' quarters and maintenance passages. He made a series of turns and then stopped as he entered a large circular room. In the center of the room was a circular concrete island dominated by a marble tower that reached all the way to the ceiling. Massive support pillars circled the island, upholding the tons of earth and city above.

Searching the ceiling, he found the large metal ring hanging from the roof. He fired his Hook Dart at it, reeling it in as he swung across the gap of water and waste. As he landed, he moved around to the north east corner and stopped. Before him, on the wall, was a small mechanism composed of a glass skull embedded in the center of the Assassin Seal. Reaching out, he grasped the eyes, pulled, and then let go. The skull snapped back and broke apart, reforming upside down. Finally, on silent hinges, the hidden door swung open to reveal the room inside.

It had a cozy appearance about it. Inside the 20 ft by 20 ft space was a large Oriental rug that dominated the floor. There were also some lightly padded recliners, in which some of the other Assassins were relaxing, speaking in hushed tones or silently reading. One side of the room was dominated by a large bookcase that reached to the landing above, while the opposite side consisted of a several small fireplaces and two bomb-crafting stations. The fires cast a soft orange glow around the room, lighting the space, but not making it too bright.

"Brother!" cried a female voice. A female Assassin, wearing a loose wool shirt that exposed her navel and tight-fitting wool pants, ran forward and embraced Sam. After a few moments, she let go and took a half-step back.

Sam was a full head taller than the woman. While Sam had just celebrated his twenty-second birthday that previous week, the woman, with hair the color and shade of a ripe apple and eyes as green as emeralds, looked to be about seventeen. And while Sam wore two Hidden Blades, as one of the American Mentor's lieutenants, she wore only one. Her loose wool shirt was held down by leather strips, used as overalls, sewn into her pants. Similarly to Sam, she wore fingerless leather gloves. However, she wore no mask and wore her own pair of goggles around her thin neck. Her angular face was sprinkled with a multitude of freckles.

"Sara, it's good to see you. I missed you while I was away." Sam embraced his sister again.

He had recently been on a diplomatic mission to the Black Hills to meet with the leader of the united Indian territories that composed the seventh "nation" of the former United States and its territories. The chief, named Running Wind, had wanted to negotiate a treaty between the united clans and the American Assassins, effectively tying up ends for both sides, as neither had to worry about attacks from the other any longer.

"Oi! Sam? Is tha' you?"

A large man emerged from behind a statue of one of the Great Mentors, Ezio Auditore da Firenze. Unlike Sam and Sara, whose "robes" were a mixture of colors, this man's suit was completely black. He was a few inches taller than Sam (which was tall, as Sam was 6'8") and with a neatly-trimmed black beard streaked with grey and white. His clothing was similar to Sam's, save that he wore a long, multi-layered coat the swept the ground as he walked. He wore an eye patch over his left eye and his right hand had been replaced with a moveable replacement of iron rods and wooden pegs. (Imagine Anakin's hand from the end of Star Wars: Episode II)

"Leon! My brother-in-arms! Or," he said, looking at Leon's prosthesis, "arm…"

"Okay, Mister Big-Shot Negotiator think just 'cause he's back, he can be an ass? Is tha' how it is?"

"No, of course not. I'm an ass all the time. I never stop. It's like, my full-time job. Y'know?" Sam walked over into the kitchen and grabbed an apple, taking a hefty bite as he walked. "Oh, and Sara?"


"How about you and I go train?"

At the mention of this, everyone in the room looked up. Several lower-ranking recruits looked on with interest, while the others began placing bets on who would win. Because, all rank and command chain aside, everyone knew that Sam and Sara were the best fighters in the Guild.

Minutes later, Sam and Sara, along with a procession of Assassins, many of which had betting tables with them, walked north through the sewer system. They soon arrived at a large antechamber, similar to the one encircling the hideout, but with a solid floor all around. In the center was a large circular ring chalked onto the cement. Surrounding the ring were tripwires that entangled anyone who got too close. This was to ensure that the winner was clearly decided, and also to keep potential interference out.

As Sam and Sara approached the ring, the each took off their most obvious weapons: Sam, his sword, Hidden Blades, and dual-revolvers. Sara removed her own Hidden Blade, but pulled a machete out of her sheath, as well as a tomahawk and rifle strapped to her back. But this had nothing to say for any concealed weapons. They each walked to, and stood at, opposite ends. At the center was an inlaid iron etching of the American Assassin Guild emblem: the traditional emblem with three stars at the base and eagle's wings sprouting from the tip and arching up in preparation of flight.

"You ready?" Sam yelled across the 10 ft. space.

"Are you?" Sara retorted.

With this, one of the spectator Assassins rang a bell, which commenced the battle. Immediately, Sam dashed forward, springing on the tips of his toes. Sara responded by sending clouds of small, poison-tipped darts toward him, which he dodged with ease. Which isn't to say for the small throwing knife that she had followed them up with. It took him by surprise and impacted his shoulder, sticking solidly. Grunting, Sam yanked it out and smiled. It was an evil smile. And Sara soon discovered its purpose. Sam began round house-kicking both his legs alternately. As he kicked, razor-sharp steel discs began flying out, swerving around. Sara jumped back and flipped, narrowly missing both as she soared over one while the other flew over her. They continued to fight like this for hours, scraping, cutting, and injuring each other, yet neither yielding.

"Do you think they're ready?" the shadowed, hooded figure asked.

"She is patient and wise, whilst he is brash and naïve. Yet he is quite strong, I believe one of the strongest I've ever seen. His skills and… compatibility are matched only by the likes of Altaïr and Ezio. We'll take the boy, but allow the girl to grow." the American Mentor replied.

"When do we do it?"

"Tonight, while he sleeps. He will awake in the morning with no recollection of the event, only with a new and innate sense of the power he shall contain. Then, we shall begin his training."

The conversation finished, both men turned back to the bout, waiting, as all were, for the winner.