Assassin's Creed: Renaissance Page 74

Dante turned, having reached his objective, an iron club pierced with twisted nails, and faced them again. He swung it at Bartolomeo and one of the nails tore a furrow in his shoulder.

‘I’ll have you for that, you pig-eyed sack of shit!’ bellowed Bartolomeo.

Meanwhile Ezio had loaded and fired his pistol at Silvio, and missed. His shot ricocheted off the brick walls in a shower of sparks and splinters.

‘Do you think I don’t know why you’re really here, Auditore?’ Silvio barked, though clearly frightened by the gunshot. ‘But you’re too late! There’s nothing you can do to stop us now!’

Ezio had reloaded, and fired again. But he was angry, and confused at Silvio’s words, and once again the shot went wide.

‘Hah!’ spat Silvio from the ramparts as Dante and Bartolomeo slogged it out. ‘You pretend you don’t know! Though once Dante’s done with you and your muscle-bound friend, it’ll hardly matter either way. You’ll just follow your fool of a father! Do you know what my greatest regret is? That I couldn’t have been Giovanni’s hangman myself. How I would have loved to pull that lever and watch your miserable dad kick and gasp and dangle! And then of course there would have been plenty of time for that winesack of an uncle of yours, ciccione Mario, and your not-quite-past-it mother, droopy-dugs Maria, and that luscious little strawberry Claudia, your sister. How long it’s been since I fucked anything under twenty-five! Mind you, I’d keep the last two for the voyage – it can get quite lonely out at sea!’

Through the red mist of his fury, Ezio concentrated on the information the spittle-strewn lips of the Inquisitor were madly spewing forth along with the insults.

By now, Silvio’s guards, at superior odds, were beginning to rally against Bartolomeo’s commandos. Dante dealt another swingeing blow at Bartolomeo, thumping him in the ribcage with his knuckle-dusters and causing him to falter. Ezio fired a third bullet at Silvio and this time it ripped through the Inquisitor’s robes close to his neck, but though the man staggered, and Ezio saw a thin line of blood, he did not fall. He shouted a command to Dante, who fell back, swarming up to the rampart to join his master, and with him disappearing over the other side of the wall. Ezio knew there’d be a ladder on the other side to take them down to the jetty, and, yelling to Bartolomeo to follow him, he dashed out of the arena of battle to cut his foes off.

He saw them clambering into a large boat, but noticed the anger and despair on their faces. Following their gaze, he saw a huge black galley disappearing across the lagoon southwards.

‘We’ve been betrayed!’ Ezio heard Silvio say to Dante. ‘The ship has sailed without us! God damn them! I’ve been nothing but loyal and yet this – this! – is how they repay me!’

‘Let’s use this boat to catch them up,’ said Dante.

‘It’s too late for that – and we’d never get to the Island in a craft this size; but at least we can use it to get away from this catastrophe!’

‘Then let us cast off, Altezza.’


Dante turned to the trembling crew. ‘Cast off! Raise the sails! Look lively!’

At that moment Ezio sprang from the shadows across the wharf and on to the boat. The frightened sailors made themselves scarce, diving into the murky lagoon.

‘Get away from me, murderer!’ shrieked Silvio.

‘You’ve delivered your last insult,’ said Ezio, stabbing him in the gut and drawing the blades of his double-dagger slowly across his belly. ‘And for what you said about my kinswomen I’d cut your balls off with this if I thought it was worth it.’

Dante stood rooted to the spot. Ezio fixed him with his eye. The big man looked tired.

‘It’s over,’ Ezio told him. ‘You backed the wrong horse.’

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‘Maybe I did,’ said Dante. ‘I’m going to kill you anyway. You filthy assassin. You make me tired.’

Ezio snapped out his pistola and fired. The slug hit Dante full in the face. He fell.

Ezio knelt by Silvio to give him absolution. He was nothing if not conscientious, and always remembered that killing should only happen if there were no alternative; and that the dying, who very soon would have no rights at all, should at least be accorded the last rites.

‘Where were you going, Silvio? What is that galley? I thought you sought the Doge’s seat?’

Silvio smiled thinly. ‘That was just a distraction… We were meant to sail…’


‘Too late,’ smiled Silvio, and died.

Ezio turned to Dante and cradled the massive leonine head in the crook of his arm.

‘Cyprus is their destination, Auditore,’ croaked Dante. ‘I can perhaps redeem my soul at the last by telling you the truth. They want… They want…’ But choking on his own blood, the big man passed on.

Ezio searched both men’s wallets but found nothing except a letter to Dante from his wife. Shamefacedly, he read it.

Amore mio

I wonder if ever the day will come when these words might make sense to you once more. I am sorry for what I have done – for allowing Marco to take me from you, divorce you, and make me his wife. But now that he has died, I may yet find a way for us to be joined again. I wonder, though, if you will even remember me? Or were the wounds you suff ered in battle too grave? Do my words stir, if not your memory, then your heart? But perhaps it doesn’t matter what they say, because I know you’re still in my heart, somewhere. I will find a way, my love. To remind you. To restore you…

Forever yours


There was no address. Ezio folded the letter carefully and put it in his wallet. He would ask Teodora if she knew of this strange history, and if she could return the letter to its sender, with news of the death of this faithless creature’s true husband.

He looked at the corpses and made the sign of the Cross over them ‘Requiescant in pace,’ he said, sadly.

Ezio was still standing over the dead men when Bartolomeo came up, panting. ‘See you didn’t need my help, as usual,’ he said.

‘Have you taken back the Arsenal?’

‘Do you think I’d be here if we hadn’t?’



But Ezio was watching the sea. ‘We’ve got Venice back, my friend,’ he said. ‘And Agostino can rule it without further fear of the Templars. But I think there’ll be little rest for me. Do you see that galley on the horizon?’

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