Richard the Lionheart silently paced about his room, his hands folded behind his back and his mind reminiscing of everything. His head remained low in deep thought as well as a bit of depression. No expression was written on his face – he was much too distracted to even attempt to make any sort of emotion – as he kept pacing about in his room, trying to collect his thoughts and make sense of them before coming to a conclusion. So many things had happened so fast in the past few months that really made an impact on him and everyone around the city, and lately he had been distracted from it all to do...well, anything to actually fix any of it at once. It greatly impacted the things he did during his rule, and it was to a point where he just could not take it anymore. He was unable to truly understand the matters that had fallen onto his lap. For starters, his own daughter – Cynthia Richard – had left her home, leaving him and everything she once cherished behind forever. She ran away with an Assassin – Altaïr, he believed was his name – along with Ada Haksson and Alexandra Benedek, her closest friends. At first, it seemed like yesterday when it all happened, but in reality, it was just a few months back, after Abel - Cynthia’s late fiancé - was murdered by his own daughter. At least, that was what the guards said to him when word got out of the Englishman’s demise. He, also, figured out just who and what the Templars were, what they were up to for so long.
That was another reason why he had become so distracted from everything that needed attention, but it did not just stop there. The last time he saw his beloved daughter was just last month, standing by the side of Altaïr, after he brutally killed Robert de Sable right before his very eyes. Seeing his daughter so distant, especially from him, broke his heart. Knowing that she had turned her back on everything she was taught, everything she ever learned, hurt him greatly. To make matters worse, he watched Cynthia lace her fingers with Altaïrs‘, holding onto him and never planning on letting go for even a split second, just before looking over her shoulder and sending him an apologetic look. It was one that would never leave his mind, and maybe it would haunt him for as long as he lived. Since that very day, he had not heard from her or of her whereabouts. No letters came from her to assure her safety, no sightings of her in the cities with any other Assassin, nothing at all. It was as if she no longer existed in the world. It was as if she vanished from the world entirely.
Richard slowly stopped pacing for a moment, standing in the middle of the room and staring at the floor and his own feet. A feeling of guilt and regret filled his body as he continued to think of his daughter. How could he have let this happen? He may not have had anything against the Assassins, but to know his daughter, his daughter, was willing to leave him behind and forget everything about her past just to disappear with them broke him. It distracted him from his duties as a King and did not give much time to sleep. The anguish over the disappearance of his daughter hurt him to the core, and he would do anything to try and bring her back safely. Of course, she would try to fight against him, as he could tell she truly loved Altaïr with all her heart and soul added with the fact that they were so engrossed on protecting the people, his people, from the Templars. Still, he wanted to see his daughter again, know that she was truly safe with the Assassins. If he knew that much, he would be content and let her go like he should have from the very beginning.
He closed his eyes and ran a hand over his face. Well, Jamila, he thought. This must be what you meant by when the time is right. When she finally grows up...
A knock was soon heard at his door, breaking the King from his chain of thought. Composing himself, he turned his head toward the door and called out in a strong tone of voice, one that a King should always have.
“Enter.” He commanded, doing his best to keep his leader-like demeanor clear to all his subjects. Just because he was distracted by other matters does not mean he had to show it to anyone else, whether they knew about it or not. In an instant, the door to his bed chambers slowly opened, and a young man of about twenty years of age entered. He quickly bowed respectfully before his King before standing straight and speaking.
“My Lord, you have a guest that wishes to speak with you as soon as possible.” He spoke. "It is of the utmost importance." At first, Richard contemplated on whether or not he would like to see anyone. As a King, it was his duty to meet with others who wished to make negotiations or other matters that needed to be brought to his attention. However, instead of going with that simple fact, the King motioned for the man to leave, turning his head away from him.
“Now is not the time for guests,” he spoke, making his way over to the window. “I have a lot on my mind and need to make sense of it before I have a chance to worry about other matters. Do tell them to come back at another time.”
The young man at first was unsure as to what he should say, but after another second he inhaled.
“But my Lord, the guest says it is of the utmost importance that they see you,” the man said. His brown eyes became downcast. “It involves…it involves your daughter Cynthia, my Lord.”
Stopping dead in his tracks at the sound of Cynthia's name, Richard quickly looked back at the young man, eyes widening slightly. Surprise filled his eyes and his facial expression in an instant at the mentioning of his daughter's name, one he had not spoken of since he last saw her. It had something to do with Cynthia, he wondered curiously. Did the person not know about Cynthia’s disappearance a few months back after the death of her fiancé? If so, did they only come to send their apologies? That thought caused Richard to frown. He must have; nearly everyone did nowadays. Hell, most of them had witnessed it all and lived to tell the tale! Then again, just because news of what happened spread quickly, it did not necessarily mean everyone heard about it. Was it possible that this particular person caught wind of it from a neighboring country? Did he want to stop by to give their deepest apologies or at least assist him - Richard - in his search for her? A thought suddenly sparked in his mind in that moment. Did this person have plans to bring Cynthia back to him in some way, bring her back into his life so he may be able to make amends from the past and start over? If that was the case – and he hoped it was just that – he would bring this person in and speak with him in a heartbeat. However, he would not do that if he planned to send them away without even questioning them. What was he thinking?
Standing tall like a King should have, Richard finally nodded once in the young man’s direction.
“Fine, then.” He spoke with more confidence in his voice. “Send them in.”
“No need to do that, my dear.” Their heads turning toward his door, Richard and his subject watched as a slender, hooded figure entered his quarters, shutting the door before turning to face the King. “I would much rather enter the room myself, thank you. I have two legs of my own, you know?”
Richard blinked as the figure took a few steps toward him, passing the young man without so much as a second glance or word of thanks. Based on the way the figure subtly swayed their hips ever so slightly and spoke in what seemed to be a condescending yet mesmerizing tone, he knew immediately that it was a young woman. A woman with a prominent English accent, to be exact, similar to what Abel once had or even thicker than that. Not wanting to be rude, or at least he assumed that was the reason, the woman quickly pushed her black hood off from her face, shaking out her long, charcoal black hair kept back by a dark red ribbon. Dark colored bangs framed over her face and hovered over her eyes, which were a dazzling shade of sky blue. They held a look of mischievousness and evil instead if the innocence and kindness that the King would have predicted her to have. Her chest was purposefully pushed outward slightly, as if she was very confident in herself and in her stride. Her attire, excluding the dark robe that sat over her small shoulders, was that of an English noblewoman; a crimson, short-sleeve blouse, dark colored pants, and black laced up high-heeled boots. Ruby red earrings adorned her ears, and she had on an assortment of necklaces and bracelets , proving the point that she was, indeed, a noblewoman of the English nature.
Before Richard could say anything to the mysterious young woman who had entered his room as if she were some sort of queen, she turned her attention to the young man, who was eyeing her as if she was the most attractive woman he had ever seen in his entire life.
“Be a dear and let us adults do the talking,” she spoke in a voice so sweet, it almost seemed...menacing. "I greatly appreciate you bringing me here, and I am sure Richard will understand my reasons for…convincing you."
Blushing and nodding furiously in a silent response, he quickly left the room, shutting the door behind him as he left. She watched the door for a long moment, as if she were waiting for the man to take his leave, before returning her attention back to Richard, who was thoroughly confused by the interaction that took place. When he realized she was looking at him, he became serious.
“Who are you?” He questioned before she had a chance to speak up.
A smile appeared on her full lips, and her eyes narrowed in such a manner that it would probably make any man fall to their knees, begging to claim her as their own. Richard, though, was not interested in her seductive manner, whether it was intentional or just an unconscious gesture. Instead, he was much more focused on his daughter and her safety.
“Relax, your Highness,” she responded, her English accent very prominent, yet understandable nonetheless. “I am nothing more than a friend. A friend who wishes to help you in your time of need.”
He raised an eyebrow curiously.
“Help me? With what, if I may ask?” Even though he knew what her response was, he wanted to pretend not to know what was going on for now.
The woman closed her eyes and began approaching him, her hips swaying with a stride that would tease any man that set her eyes to her. To Richard, as he told himself before, it did not affect him at all, even when she slipped past him and toward the window, revealing a beautiful scenery of woods and forests that his room had to offer.
“I have heard about the events that had taken place a few months back,” she spoke, stopping in her tracks, “with your daughter’s wedding.” She paused for a moment before looking back at Richard, who tensed at the memories of that day. “I am truly sorry for the loss of both your missing daughter Cynthia and your would-have-been son-in-law Abel Tailour.”
He looked at her curiously once again.
“You speak as if you have known Abel for some time,” said Richard, approaching her slowly. "Is that true?"
She shrugged and looked back out the window.
“I am...a close friend...of the Tailour family.” She simply stated before turning around to face him, a small, delicate smile gracing her lips. “They were good people, I must say, but I am not here to talk about myself or about the family, but about you.”
His eyes narrowed slightly, wondering what was up with the strange woman that had entered his domain uninvited and rather unannounced. Something about the woman and her befuddling words, he knew for sure, did not seem to make him trust her as much as he wanted to when he heard that his daughter would be saved, that she would be returned to her safely and soundly. He had a feeling she wanted to help him bring back Cynthia and away from the Assassins. What her reasons were Richard could not deduce. However, something about the way she spoke – so condescending and filled what he perceived to be vanity – made him trust her a little less as time went on. Still, who else did the King know that would be brave enough to actually stand up to the Assassins and bring back his daughter, knowing full well that their life was on the line? He knew the Assassins were a strong group of individuals, fighting off their own enemy and protecting the people, but that did not seem to be the case for others. Apparently, the woman that stood before him, smiling at him with pride and confidence, was that brave person that was willing to stand up to them, sword in hand, and fight them if necessary. All to bring his daughter back to him. As untrustworthy as she was, she was the only person willing to do just that. She was his only hope.
“Just...who are you...?” Richard spoke slowly.
The smile on the woman’s face grew as she slowly began walking up to him.
“Gwendolyn is my name, my Lord,” she introduced herself. “As you may already be thinking, I am going to and know exactly how to bring your daughter safely back into your welcoming arms...”