“Don’t think I have any intention of caressing your cheek and saying I was wrong. I will not weep, and wonder what might have been. I’m sure you understand. Still, I’m proud of you in a way. You have shown great conviction, strength, courage, all noble qualities. I should have killed you long ago.”
Never before had I heard words of regret uttered with such venom. For all his cultured polish and ruthless competence, he was truly so frail. As if I had taken the life of a man and not a monster. I have no doubt that his curiosity would yet endure beyond every and all ends, for the fervor he inspires in men is no illusion, nor is it blind. Charles Lee afterall, is not a man to be swayed by love nor cowed by threat.
Even on his deathbed he spirits lies as the currency of his trade. To envision what might have been is folly, but I know he sees – saw – a bright flicker of fathers and sons in simpler worlds and simpler lives. My conviction would have been no weaker than his, for Haytham Kenway would not raise a son to see anything but the Templar dominion.
Perhaps what is most remarkable is that I do pause upon the idea of victory so absolute as to be final. Had I shouldered the mantle of Kenway, it is likely I would have fled unerringly toward a cause that is both comprehensible and knowable, tenets and strands of history woven competently by empty hands not marred by the frigid cold.
And yet nevertheless here we were stood, a man and a boy quarreling bitterly over a passing thought so much grander than the both of them – caught, as we are, in our respective bayings.
He was beyond recourse, as am I.