Daniela had been living on the Homestead for approximately a month. She had finally become somewhat accustomed to her new life and surroundings, though it was still different and strange in many ways. Since officially moving in, she had been given a different set of robes to wear due to her original ones ‘sticking out’ too much. To be perfectly frank, the new ones were considerably more comfortable and less stuffy than her old set. It was a nice change, but still would take some time to get used to. After all, the cloth was considerably thicker than what she had worn before, making it feel almost heavy at times. At least it was warmer. These colonial winters were much colder than she grew up with, but at this point, there was no reason to complain.
The most obvious difference was her living situation. Here, there was so much open space to explore and few ways to do it. There were only a few buildings, meaning she learned to climb trees and cliffs to get to places of interest on the land rather than use her preferred method. Still, she had never seen so many trees in her life! To put it simply, it was beautiful and quite peaceful on a typical day. Daniela had also come across many new species of animals she had never seen before and was teaching herself to differentiate between the various herbs and fungi found in the colonies.
By the end of November, her room was partially furnished, though she was still waiting on bits and pieces of less important furniture. What mattered most was that she had a bed now and no longer had to sleep on a mat. Of course, Connor had offered to sleep on the mat himself and let her use his bed until hers was complete, but even Daniela had a certain amount of pride to uphold. However, she did not refuse the offer of several fur blankets to at least keep her warm.
The second difference was the lack of people in the area. It took no time at all to figure out the names and habits of the few who lived on the land. First was Lance, the carpenter who seemed to be more than glad to craft various pieces of furniture for the newest habitant of the manor. He was a bit of a strange man, even by Daniela’s standards. At least, from first impressions, he seemed to be an easily excitable man, though certainly not a bad person. His work on the furniture she ordered was well done and his prices were fair, so she had no reason to complain about him. Then there were the two lumberjacks, Godfrey and Terry, as well as their wives, Diana and Catherine. Terry was a hotheaded but entertaining man while Godfrey seemed to be more laidback and carefree so long as he wasn’t working at the mill. Meanwhile, Catherine and Diana had made a quip about the manor having a new boss with Daniela’s arrival, which she certainly couldn’t disagree with based on how much of the housework she ended up doing. How they could live in such filth (meaning a fine layer of dust here and there) was atrocious, not to mention the severe lack of any proper decoration. Dealing with that issue would be a long and arduous task, but if Daniela was going to live there, she would sure as hell make sure it was enjoyable.
Achilles, of course, would likely disagree on the ‘new boss’ status. After all, he owned the land and the manor, meaning he was simply allowing those that used it to stay. Though he was an older man who seemed to have issues walking without the aid of a cane, Achilles was not the type to simply let people take advantage of a situation if he was involved. At times, it seemed like he had a short patience and at others, the complete opposite was true. It simply depended on his mood or what happened to be going on during that particular day. For the most part, the man tried to keep to himself and almost came across as exasperated at the growing number of people living on his land. Still, he was far from unkind and was not cold when speaking to someone; that was apparent on the first day Daniela had met the man.
At the very least, Achilles did seem to be pleased with her offer of cooking in exchange for letting her live in the manor. She did have a small learning curve in using ingredients she had never touched in her life, but various cookbooks bought in Boston helped her through the process. Even though it had only been a month since she arrived in the British Colonies, she already felt comfortable experimenting with recipes to see what worked better. Both Connor and Achilles were surprised at her cooking abilities, only to be less so when she explained the purpose of the Assassin Den her family maintained back in Palermo.
As far as Connor was concerned, Daniela’s first impressions of him were all over the place. On one hand, he was unbelievably handsome, though seemed to be entirely unaware of that fact. On the other hand, he was disgustingly naïve about the world and how it worked. Some would describe him to be idealistic, but there were times that it simply seemed like he just did not understand the meaning behind things that people said. Sometimes Daniela wondered if it was because English was not his first language, but the same could be said for her. Still, he was an extremely kind man who frequently went out of his way to help others, even with how socially awkward and overly serious he was at times. It was a nice change from the typical behavior from the men she had been forced to deal with both back in Italy, on the trip to the Colonies, and even those during short trips to Boston for various errands during the one month time span.
Of course, even all those changes were things she could get used to quickly. She knew things would be much different than back in Italy, but not even mental preparation could do a thing about the changes in climate. Being from a port city on the Mediterranean, Daniela was not fond of cold temperatures. In fact, she had never experienced a day of below-freezing temperatures in her entire life. That also meant that she had never seen snow. Though she had clearly read about the form of precipitation and had been told about it by various Assassins that traveled throughout Italy, the descriptions did not match up to the experience.
After the first snowfall of the colonial winter, Daniela simply stood and stared out the window for a good 10 minutes without saying a word. Once the sight finally sank in, it took quite a bit of will to not squeal and run outside. It was almost like turning back time for 10 years to relive her childhood, or at least the few points in it where she was not training to be an assassin, learning languages, or listening to tutors nonstop.
“You have never seen snow before?”
Though posed as a question, what Connor had said was more of a flat statement than anything else. Daniela had always come across as a rather collected woman, and certainly not the type to get overwhelmed by something as simple as snow. She was maybe around 6 months younger than he was, so her reaction was rather odd, to say the least.
“No, of course not! The weather never got cold enough for it back home,” she replied, clearly deciding to head outside to experience it firsthand rather than simply look from a distance. Assassin or not, Daniela was still a teenager and liked to have some time to simply mess around. There weren’t any opportunities to face the Templars, anyways, so why need to be so uptight all the time? Achilles wasn’t nearly as strict as her father was, thankfully, so he likely would not complain. At most, he would likely send Connor after her if he did not simply follow on his own. Ice was new to her, so the likelihood of her slipping was quite high. However, by the time he got outside, she was already out of sight.
Sometimes, the white assassin robes were highly inconvenient. On top of that, Daniela was highly intelligent and would easily make tracking her down incredibly difficult. If her tracks ending at a tree was anything to judge by, she was clearly trying to keep him at a distance. A part of him was somewhat worried that she would slip from one of the icy branches, but he had frequently run through the trees in winter for many years and had several slip ups on his own. He had no right to try and stop her.
That feeling lasted right up until a ball of snow hit him in the back of the head. He whipped around, expecting to see her crouching up in a tree. Aside from the faint, stifled laughter, there was no evidence that she had ever been on the branches behind him at all. Another snowball would have hit him if he had not rolled out of the way to dodge.
Dodging and attempting to speak proved to be counterproductive, ending with another snowball hitting him square in the chest. At least she was no longer hopping from one frozen branch to another in an attempt to stay hidden.
“You are going to get wrinkles if you continue to frown that much,” Daniela laughed, tossing another snowball she had made into the air before catching it lightly in her palm. “You are much too serious for your own—“
Right as she was about to finish her sentence, a snowball collided with her shoulder. She was surprised by the feeling; Connor firing back was not exactly what she had expected. After a moment of silence, he finally replied.
“You threw first.”
Such words were how wars were started, even ones fought with balls made out of nothing but snow as ammunition. After less than an hour, the battle ended, leaving the two fighters drenched and freezing. In the end, the event didn’t manage to pull a laugh out of Connor, but even he managed to crack a smile.