After Desmond releases Juno he dies. But as a last chance Minerva interferes. And so, instead of dying, it throws him back in time to 1160, after living EVERY SECOND of Altair, Ezio, Haytham, and Connor lives, instead of the pieces he saw in the Animus.
He then uses his knowledge based upon living the lives of Altair, Ezio, Haytham, and Connor to stop certain events from happening. He realizes that he doesn't age, and has the physical capabilities of a full fledged assassin, as though he never stopped training. Along with his knowledge upon the edited hidden blade.
After a visit from Minerva, he is told he won't age until he lives back to his own time... Which is 852 years away. He uses this the time between his arrival and Altair's evaluation to master his skills. Which include being unable to die by any wound, save decapitation.
I yank up the mask on my face. It's a simple white cloth that covers my nose and mouth, keeping my face hidden. I chuckle, reminiscing memories of the last 16 years. I sit lightly up upon the highest tower of the castle and think, allowing myself to think back to the life I used to lead. To before I was Desmond, in 1176. We had claimed the apple, stopped the Templars, saved the world... And had been betrayed by Lucy.
Then I was stuck in a coma, I even got to meet Subject 16. Then it was off to saving the world again, and this time, it was through Haytham and Connor. And in the end, it came down to me and Juno. And I had released her, and died. Only to have Minerva intervene and send me here. Back to where everything started, so that I could maybe fix it.
I shook my head, yanking myself from the thoughts of those I had left behind. One of the many things I had learned over the last 16 years, was to never sit on one thought for too long. I had trained alone for 8 years after my arrival, before joining the brotherhood and remaining here. I had also shared my version of the hidden blade, to which I was welcomed into the brotherhood with open arms.
I had joined the brotherhood after speaking to the Master. Who was Al Mualem, a man I disliked speaking too. Yet still I was allowed to join the Brotherhood and wear my mask, after a few words with him. He did not know who I was, only that I was different. I am now one of the many teachers in the Brotherhood.
My teachings cover Free Running and climbing. Teaching them how to fall, and how to catch themselves. Along with the basics of life here at Masyaf. I'll also begin teaching them swordsmanship, a few intellectual lessons, and evaluating them for choosing their place here at Masyaf. Be it an Assassin, or a Scholar or Guard.
One of the reasons I am the teacher of free running and climbing is I am one of the 6 people in the Brotherhood who can climb this tower from the outside, and I had taken the time to set a hay bale up so I could jump from here. All students entering the brotherhood must pass my exam. After that they receive Mentors from the other brothers, and joint Swordsmanship and horseback riding lessons.
Here I am simply known as Desmond. I have no last name, as I refuse to allow my father to keep a hold on me, even though he is yet to be born. I sigh lightly, glancing down at the courtyard. Today was a special day. Today was the day we begin training the newest group of Assassins. Each group is made up of boys, who are all 8 years old, and all of them physically capable of running and climbing.
As I watch I see a young Male enter the Tower, behind him a group of around 14-18 boys follow behind him. They move together as a group, trying to follow but not anyone of them leading. He leads them to the area right in front of the sparring ring, asking them to wait as he walks over to the library and enters. All of them are dressed the same, the robe white and cut for movement, kneehigh boots and fingerless leather gloves with a red sash tied around their waist and a hood hanging behind them.
I sit up slightly and look carefully, and as I do I easily pick out the young man who I have waited 16 years to meet. All of them are the children of other assassins. All have trained under them for the last two years. Yet one of them different, one of them has the same golden brown eyes as mine, one of them is Altair. He's standing next to another boy, Malik, based on his height and their body language toward each other.
The children are all silent, looking around and absorbing, jumping as Assassins begin appearing. I move, shifting from a sitting position to a crouched one, balancing on the tower wall. We pour out of the open doorways, all wearing their hoods. The others stream out filling the courtyard and forming a ring around the boys, who all instantly huddle closer as they approach.
Al Mualem then exits the library and steps softly into the courtyard, standing at the banister, looking down at all of them. It takes but a moment for their attention to switch from the men around them to the man above, staring at him with wide eyes. I can't help but grin, finding Al Mualem and his theatrics captivating, once more thinking back to the point where I stood there as Altair.
My attention snaps back as Al Mualem finishes his speech. "Now don your hoods, and become one of the brotherhood." In unison the boys all pull up their hoods, shadowing there faces in the shade they provide. As this happens the others slowly disperse, Al Mualem himself returning to his study within the library.
Two brothers approach the group, Aslam and Tamask by the look of it, motioning them all over and saying "Yes yes. It's all alright. We are about to call your teacher down to us, he shall be the one to show you to your rooms." Another boy looks at them and says "Down?..." Tamask lets out a laugh and says "Yes! Down. Turn around and look up to find him!" They all turn, quickly finding me and letting out startled gasps.
Aslam calls "Why don't you join us Desmond?" I let out a light laugh and stand, watching with a little humor as some of them stare, before jumping forward and performing a Leap of Faith. I grin openly at the loud calls of fear and astonishment. Landing softly in the pile of hay. I climb out easily and walk over, letting out a small snort at the looks of surprise I receive. Before saying "So you are the newest group yes? Good. You all look like fine young men."
The praise is light, and aimed at the group as a whole, yet there are still a few among them who preen at it still. Those are the ones you have to watch, and who you have to take care mentoring. Because if mentored wrong they will become glory seekers, those who cannot share the limelight, and who will seek praise constantly, disregarding the rules to get it.
I see both Malik and Altair preen at the praise. They all gather around me, forming a half circle. I motion to the second tower of the castle, where the novices stay, and say "That tower will be your home, at least until you have completed your training. After that you shall move into another area of the castle, such as myself and the others live in this one." I motion to the tower I just jumped off of.
I see a few of them nod. I then say "But before that, let's go for a run." I grin behind my mask, watching the looks of curiosity and surprise they show, along with a few ecstatic grins. I walk through the crowd, and began leading them out to the town. They watch me carefully, I can almost feel them burning holes in the back of my hood, before a familiar voice pipes up from the group.
"Sir? Why is it that you wear a mask?" I turn to the voice, seeing all of the students looking at Malik, then turning their attention to me. I raise an eyebrow at the boy, smiling softly behind my mask, and reply "I wear my mask for the same reason you wear your hood. We are of the Brotherhood, of the Creed. One of many, a whole group instead of a single person. All actions not only reflect you, but your brothers and the creed as well." I say simply watching for a moment as the boys stare at me before I continue walking.
I let out a small chuckle at the looks on their faces, hearing as they scramble to catch up with me. As we reach the cliff that juts off from the path up to the castle. I lead them up to the edge, standing with my back to the edge and turning to look like them. There is a ladder leading from this level to the next, and a drop of about 6 feet in between. I look at all of them and ask "You all know how to fall right?"
I get a few confused looks as Altair slowly raises his hand. "Yes?" I say, giving him permission I speak. "You land in a tumble if you can... It helps to keep you from hurting yourself." He says, fidgeting slightly under the stares of his peers. I nod, giving him a slight smile behind my mask as I say "Exactly. Well done. Now. Who here knows how far they can fall without injury? Even with a tumble some heights will hurt you."
This time it's Malik who raises a hand, fidgeting slightly as well at the stares of his peers as he says "A-anything over 6 feet without a tumble will hurt you. Over 15 feet and you hurt yourself regardless... But sir. How did you jump from the Tower without hurting yourself?" I smile at him and say "Correct. And I will teach you how to do that later. But right now, let's work on jumping and falling alright? Follow me!"
I then turn and jump off the small cliff, tumbling with practiced ease as I roll to my feet. I then quickly jump down and tumble the next two, landing easily as I roll to my feet. I turn around to look at them, as the entire group is still standing at the top. "Come on." I call, waving them all down. They all back up, before Altair and Abbas nod at each other, swapping a few words before jumping together.
Altair easily falls into his tumble, but was slightly disoriented exiting it. Abbas however misjudged the distance and almost rolled off, but had the reflexes to catch himself. Altair quickly jumps off the next one, rolling into a tight ball but almost kneeing himself in the face before popping back up, Abbas easily makes it down the next one as well. The pair land identically on the ground next to me, both rolling nicely, but unable to roll to there feet in the same move.
Both boys are panting, standing shakily, slightly dizzy from the jumps. "Well done the both of you. Your fathers taught you well. Now stand over here with me so the others can come down." I say to them, motioning over towards me. The pair stumble over to me, standing beside me as the other boys make their way down, Malik having come down right after Altair and Abbas.
Once all of the boys are once again on the same level I shake my head and ask "Tired?" I get a few nods, as not only had the boys awoken early today for their initiation ceremony, they also had to walk up to the the Masyaf Stronghold, along with everything they just did in an outfit that's far heavier than what they're used to. I shake my head at them and say "Well too bad. I said we were going for a run remember? Now. Follow me! Stick close now."
I turn quickly and take off, leaving the startled novices behind. They quickly regain their wits and run after me, Altair, Malik, and Abbas leading the group. I easily lead the group through the town, slowing down often to keep from losing them. By the time we got to the bottom of the village, right in front of the gates, everyone save myself was panting. I glance up at the sky, seeing the sun hot and blazing overhead. Noon already? I think as I glance at the boys.
Their all bent over, gasping for breath or clutching at a stitch in their side. I shake my head as I say "Come on." They follow, keeping close to me as the number of people in the square begin to grow, yet also shrink as they begin to seek shelter from the blazing sun. I lead them over to the stables, thinking that I can kill time by showing them the horses till the midday heat passes. We have a few horses kept ready at all times outside of the gate, but the rest of them are kept in the stables.
I myself already have my own horse, a handsome black stallion named Alexander, who stays here in the stables except when I need or want to ride him. It's not because others won't ride him, it's because they can't. Alexander has a very bad biting habit, something he had before I got him. When the owner of a farm outside of Jerusalem died his sons set about to taking over his property, and getting rid of anything they didn't like.
Alexander being one of the things that fell into this category. Apparently the stallion had always been bitey, and it had worsened over the year they had him, getting to the point that he wouldn't let anyone near him. They we're planning on selling him to a butcher when I had passed through. They had set up a corral for him, as he would bite anyone who passed by his stall, and simply let him roam.
I had walked up to the corral, carrying a few apples that I had bought from a merchant not to far from here. I was eating one as I leaned against the fence, watching him survey the area before his gaze found me. He trotted over, seeming to look me over from head to toe before stretching his neck out to sniff me. I had reached out a hand gently, allowing him to smell me before I pet him gently.
I could tell that he hadn't been brushed in some time, and his coat wasn't as shiny as the others I had seen from here. He happily let me pet him as I fed him the rest of my apple, along with the other one, which he pleasantly munched on as I stroked his head softly. I had been standing with him for a few minutes, petting him as he nudged my robes in search of more apples, before two men had come running up to us.
Alexander and let out a surprised whinny, prancing away from me as they approached. "Sir! Are you alright? He didn't bite you did he?" They asked quickly, I shook my head and said "No... He was just eating my apples." The pair had stared at me in disbelief for a moment before letting out a cheer and hugging me.
"Finally!" One of them had said, holding me at arm's length and saying "He was our fathers before his passing. He wouldn't let anyone near him without being bitten severely! Father hadn't even been able to name Him before his passing. And we were unable to care for him due to his nature!" This lead into a long night of drinking and haggling in which I received Him, and named him Alexander.
Alexander had then been taken back to Masyaf with me and kept in the Brotherhoods stables. The handlers here were kind and gentle, and after a month or so Alexander allowed them to touch and brush him, but no one else could ride him but me so far. He was also wary of new people and was prone to bite those he didn't know. But I had a feeling that might soon change as we all entered the stables. The boys crowded close to me, watching the horses with awe and surprise.
They had all seen horses before, they weren't bizarre or anything, it's just that the majority of them have never ridden one, as they won't learn that till after they pass my training. I greet a young handler named Kadeer, who sets down a crate of apples before stepping over to us. "Desmond! It is good to see you! And it seems you have brought your entire class to see me on this fine day, I'm honored." He says, flashing them all a friendly smile.
I shake my head at him and return the smile, nodding at them and saying "I was wondering if they could help you feed them today, if you needed the help that is." He lets out a light laugh and says "They were just fed in fact, but you could let them feed them some apples from the crate there." He motioned to the crate he just say down. I nod at him as we split the novices into two groups to show them how to feed the horses.
Altair, Malik, and Abbas had stayed with me during split up, along with 5 other boys. "Grab an apple." I say to them as I do so myself and walk over to a pretty brown mare. She tosses her mane importantly as I gently hold out the apple for her, flattening my hand so the apple sets easily on the palm of my hand. She looks at me for a moment before reaching her head forward to accept the treat, munching on it happily as I softly pet her head.
I then show them exactly how to hold there hand to feed them, making sure they got it right, and warning them to be careful as not all horses are nice and all horses can bite. Before I let them go though I say to all of them "Horses are loyal creatures. They are our companions on missions and sometimes our most understanding friends. They never forget those who are kind to them, and they never forget those who are harsh to them."
The boys nod, before separating off to look at feed them. Malik feeds a pretty grey Mare, while Abbas feeds a proud white stallion. The others easily finding a horse worthy of their attention, yet Altair has yet to find one, instead he walks slowly down the stables, apparently looking for a specific one. I notice him walking toward Alexander's stall and choose to stop him, placing a hand gently on his shoulder and saying "You can pick one as we walk together okay?"
He nods, staying close to me as I grab another apple from the bin and say "Kadeer. How about we show them how to take care of a horse, as it will be their job during their training. Or should we just show them around and let them start that tomorrow?" Kadeer stretches lightly, glancing around before saying "I can show them around quickly while you go see to Alexander, as he decided he didn't like one of my newer apprentices."
I nod, shaking my head at him and letting out a small laugh. "I'll go see to him. I'll meet you there in a few minutes?" I ask, to which he nods. He then leads the group off in another direction, as I myself grab a comb and a brush from the closet and a couple apples from the bin before walking over to his stall. As usual he's standing in the center of his stall, glancing up at me as I approach. He lets out a small whinny, stepping toward me and bumping my outstretched hand. I pet him softly as I offer him an apple, one he happily accepts as I enter his stall. I leave the door open, as I know he won't try to exit without me leading him.
He munches happily as I gently begin brushing him, and by the time I'm done with that I can hear the group approaching. I place his stuff in the nearby bin and return to his stall. I shut the door to it, making sure it's locked before handing him another apple, one he happily munches on as we wait for the group to appear. As we wait I glance up at Alexander, noticing how he seems to straighten up even more, seeming even more intimidating.
I want to laugh at him but shrug off the thought as I let him stare down at them. I can see Altair stare at him from my peripheral vision as I motion to him and say "This is my horse Alexander. You may see me on him from time to time. I am warning you now, he bites. He has for as long as I've had him. So be careful when you approach him, and never try and ride him."
They nod at me, taking a step away from him as they do. Altair however seems to be unafraid as he steps forward and offers the apple in his hands to Alexander, who looks down at the small boy with an expression I would almost describe as shock. Alexander then lowers his head slowly and accepts the treat, munching on it slowly before gently nuzzling Altair, who let's out a small laugh.
I see Kadeer staring at him with a look of absolute awe. I nod at him before saying "Come on, let's get you all fed so I can show you your rooms." I walk by them all, Altair on my heels as we move toward the exit. Kadeer stops us however when he says "One moment my friend, will you return here later today? I must speak with you about something." I nod at him before leading them out of the stables.
I look down at all of them and say "And now we run back!" Before taking off toward the castle. I hear a few startled sounds as well as them all running after me. Altair, Malik, and Abbas all stay close, seeming to be determined to out run everyone else. I glance back after a moment, seeing all of them struggling to run up the hill as I waited at the top.
When they finally reached the top I nodded at them, letting out a small chuckle before saying "Was that hard? Because you all will be making that run every morning before your meal. Now, who's hungry?" I turn and walk through the gate, hearing a few tired groans as they followed. I get a few nods as I walk, seeing quite a few familiar faces.
I lead them through the castle, making my way toward the Hall, which was closer to the cliffs of the compound. I step through the giant double doors and see the beauty that is Masyaf. The hall is designed much like the Bureau's were, except instead of the ceiling having the slatted beams for light, the Hall had slatted doors that lead out into the garden, which was in full bloom this time of the year.
All around us were lush rugs with pillows around them, the area designed for meals and conversation. Ladies garbed in white walked softly around the room, serving those already seated or speaking to the people around them. The smell of incense drifted lightly around the room, along with the smell of food.
I lead my group to a large rug in the right corner of the room, which was pleasantly cool despite the time of day. As we sit a few Ladies approach us and set down a variety of dishes at the center of our rug, ranging from Lamb and Chicken Kebab to stuffed vegetables. I nod at them and say "Thank you." To which I receive quite a few smiles before they place a tray of cups near us.
I take a small plate and take a small amount from each dish, and am followed by everyone else. I have to say, they are all very well mannered for children. I pull down my mask just enough to eat, finding everything beyond amazing as it always is. As I finish up, leaving a small amount on my plate as someone walks over to us.
I pull my mask up, having seen quite a few of my students attempt to get a look at my face as they ate, especially Altair and Malik, who sat to my right. Aslam walked to the edge of our rug, smiling down at me and asking "May I join you?" I nod at him and motion to my right, allowing him to sit in the space between Altair and I.
Aslam sits and asks "How have they been?" I sigh and say "Better than your bunch. At least some of them knew how to tumble. You barely knew how to do that!" I nudge his side with a small smile, ensuring that he knew I was joking with him. Aslam let's out a laugh before saying "Oh really? They must have been perfect in order to earn your praise!"
I see every boy in the group had gone quiet, watching us with rapt attention. Aslam turns his attention to the group and says "I was his apprentice 6 years ago. And I still hate that morning run, but I must say, I have outrun many guards because of it." He gives them all a proud smile as they let out a few laughs.
I sigh and shake my head as I smile at him from behind my mask. After a moment he says "Oh! I almost forgot, Al Mualem has asked that you meet him after the evening meal. He did not speak of what, only that it was important." I nod at him, showing that I had heard him before saying "Then I must get them settled quickly, since I must still show them the castle."
He nods before standing and bidding us farewell. Malik looks up at me before back down at his hands, seeming to want to ask something. "Speak your mind boy. Even if the answer is one you don't like, the question is sometimes better asked, than left alone." Malik jumps at my words before asking "W-well… I was curious about what area he had chosen…"
I nod before saying "Aslam is, despite his rather fun loving nature, an Assassin. Although he sometimes puts his talents as a courier to use, he is deadly when need be." Altair perks up at my words and asks "And you trained him?" I nod and say "Yes I did." Abbas then asks "What other things can you do here?"
"You will all choose a path to take after you complete my training. Be it a Scribe, a Courier, a Guard, an Accountant, a Stableboy, or an Assassin. Whatever you choose shall be the area you are trained in. And as you progress through my teachings I shall help you find a place where you can be your best." I say, labeling a few of there choices.
I than stand, placing my plate near the center of our rug, leaving it to be taken by the ladies around the room. I am followed by my class as they all stand and follow me, yet stop as I take a moment to complement our head cook, who is a woman around 30. After that I lead them to their tower, which was a rather annoying stair climb.
I stop on the first landing, motioning to the two doors here and say "Alright. You will share a room with a partner, which I shall pick for you. Your rooms will either be on this floor, or on the three above it. Once you have a mentor, you shall be moved to a room closer to theirs. Such as those training under the stablemaster live in or near the stables, yet take their meals here."
I see them nod at me as I look them over and smile to myself. Now let's change some shit. I point at the first door and say "Altair and Malik, you two will stay here." I point at the door next to theres and say "Abbas and Tamir, you two will stay here." The boys nod and stand in front of their rooms as I divide up the rest of them.
"Go look at your rooms and choose which bed you want. Return here in 5 minutes." I say as I wave them off. They all immediately dart into their rooms, talking excitedly to their new roommate. The rooms are set up much like college dorms, with two beds on either side of the decent sized room. There was also a chest at the foot of each bed and a large desk between the two beds.
The desk was directly under the room's window, which let in light that fell upon the rooms plush rug. Two lanterns hung in the room, unlit due to the time of day. The rooms window faced east, making it so that the boys would wake with the dawn light. Altair takes the bed to the right, Malik quickly taking the bed to the left.
The next few minutes passed in a buzz of activity as I see and hear the boys take in their new rooms before gathering in front of me once more. I than lead them throughout the castle, showing them the different areas that they would be visiting in the future. By the end of our tour it was time for us to return to the Hall and eat.
I glance at the boys behind me and see that they're all dead on there feet, looking beyond exhausted as they trudged behind me. I lead them all to the Hall and take our seats at the same rug we were at before, and I watch as some of them are barely talking as they try to stay awake. Even Altair looks tired as we eat our meal.
I nod at the women serving us and they accept my compliments on the food, smiling gently at the boys seated around me before moving off to the others around the room. I eat quickly, seeing that I needed to get them to bed soon. It took a few moments to get them all on there feet again so I could get them back to their rooms.
I openly smile as they all trudge to their rooms, yet I see Malik and Altair look perplexed at their beds when they see a pile of fabric upon them. Altair exits his room and asks "Sir? What's on our beds?" I look down at him and say "Sleep clothes. Tomorrow you shall all go with me and have another training outfit made." He nods at me and returns to his room, closing the door softly behind him.
As I walk down the stairs to the entrance of the tower I see a guard stand near the door and nod at him as I pass. He was placed there to listen out for them, and help them if need be. I make my way over to The Master's study, which was in the upper level of the library.
I walk up the stairs, nodding at the guards as I find him sitting at his desk, studying a scroll that was rolled out across his desk. He looks up at me as I approach, motioning to the place in front of his desk. I stand where he motioned before he asks "What do you think of them?" I raise an eyebrow at him as I sigh.
Since I had entered the brotherhood he had valued my opinion of people, going to almost any length to know what I thought of them. Yet I could expect it in this instance, since I am there first teacher. "They are all very well suited for this life. They are young and able, yet do not have the narrow mindedness or stubbornness an older child would have developed." I say, watching as he nods.
"They need to be strong. We are in need of more Assassin's." He states simply before waving me off, with a small goodbye. I shrug before walking off, not bothering to reply as I step down the stairs. I exit the castle, walking down the the mountain toward the stables as I take in the night air, feeling the chill of the night calming.
Before long I had entered the stables, and had found Kadeer by Alexander's stable. He looks up at me and says "There you are. That boy… He is rather talented isn't he?" I nod at him and say "Yes, it seems his father trained him well." He chuckles before saying "That he has… Call it my gut, but I have a feeling that he is going to be great one day." I nod at him and say "That I must agree with my friend."
He then stretches, letting out a yawn before saying "I better get myself to bed, as I have to get up before dawn tomorrow." I nod in confirmation as I let out a small yawn myself. He grabs my shoulder before saying "Good night my friend. May your mind be free of dreams tonight." I grab his shoulder and say "And yours as well my friend." Before we go our separate ways.
The walk back to my room felt way longer than it really was, and despite how tired I was I took the time to wash off the filth that had accumulated over the day before changing and climbing into bed. I glanced out the window, seeing the moon shining serenely in the sky as I darken my lanterns.
My room was set up much like my students, except instead of two beds my room had one queen sized bed which was against the right wall. My desk was under the window as well, yet I had two bookshelves against the left wall, with a large table between the two. The shelves were full of books while the table had my armor laying upon it.
Hanging on the wall above the table was a weapons rack, which had all of my weapons hanging neatly upon it. However some of my weapons were still laying upon my table, and my hidden blade stayed upon my arm, and was the only item from the future that I had kept. I had received a second hidden blade from Al Mualem when I had become a teacher here, making it so I had one on each arm. I stretched out across my bed, letting out a tired yawn as I slowly close my eyes, finally letting myself fall asleep after such a tiring day.
I pull off my robe, laying it on the bed in front of me before I pull on the thinner robe on the bed. It was made of a thin cotton that seemed far cooler than the heavy robe I had on before. I take my training robe and place it on top of my chest, arranging my boots and belts along with it. I turn and see Malik doing the same.
When I'm done I climb into my bed, sitting on top of the covers as I do so. I look over at Malik and ask "So… What do you think of him?" Malik looks up toward the window and says "He seems for more… expectant? Than father was… Father seemed to want me to do well. He seems to know I can and expects such."
I nod along with his words, looking down at my hands. "What do you think of him?" Malik asks, causing me to look up. "He's so… Different. My father told me that he's a Master Assassin, and has been since he joined the brotherhood 8 years ago. Did you see the way he lept off that tower? Almost like he was flying… And after he landed he walked over to us like it was the most normal thing he could ever do…" I couldn't even try and hide the wonder in my voice as I spoke.
Malik nods at me before letting out a small yawn, one that is echoed by me as my bed seems to grow more comfortable by the second. "Let's get some sleep… I have a feeling that he was going easy on us today…" Malik says, climbing under the covers on his bed. I nod at him and move, blowing out the lantern above my bed before climbing under the covers, sleep finding me quickly.
I open my eyes, finding my room bathed in predawn light. I climb out of bed, finding that task far harder than it sounds. Once I'm standing I yank off my robe, feeling the barest hint of a chill as the air hits my skin. I stand in my pants before going through my stretches, which I learned from both Altair and Connor. Yet even now I feel my muscles burn and stretch as I go through some of the moves. When I'm done I wash of the small amount of sweat that had accumulated before pulling on my clothes.
By the time I had fully secured my armor and had ensured that all of my weapons were in there proper place and easily reachable, the sun had just barely peaked over the horizon. I quickly exit my room, making my way down the flight of stairs between me and the top floor of the castle before making my way over to my students.
I stop at the staircase leading up to their tower and turn to the guard. "Go get three more guards and go wake them up. Have them meet me at the gate." I say quickly, smiling to myself before walking away, hearing the guard scramble to follow my order. I continue down the castle, walking out to the training area and stopping at the gate, moving to lean against the wall as I watch the doors for them.
After a few minutes I see them, moving as a group as they run over to me, coming to a stop in front of me. Their all panting, looking slightly ruffled as they crowd around me. I stand up fully, looking over each of them before saying "From now on you will wake up at dawn, and make your way down here, where you will meet me. From here we will go on the same run we went on yesterday, before returning here. Do you understand?"
Everyone there nods, replying with a firm 'Yes Sir.' Before I turn and begin walking toward the small cliff I showed them yesterday before saying "For the first week a guard will come and wake you, after that you're on your own. If you are late, or if I have to wake you, the result will not be pretty. Am I understood?" Once more they repeat their statement before I turn.
"You will have to jump down this every morning, so be ready for that." I say as I final statement before jumping down the small cliff, copying the movement with the others before rolling to my feet at the bottom. I see them all quickly follow me, as soon as the last of them land on the ground I turn and run, not even waiting for them as I dart ahead, hearing them following me from a distance.
As soon as I'm out of there sights I climb on top of the nearest building, waiting there until I see them, which isn't long as they all run by me. I easily take to the rooftops, running from one building to the other as I follow them. Once though they stop, not sure where they were supposed to go before Malik steps forward and runs down the correct path. They run all the way down to the gate, stopping for a moment as they look around for me.
I jump off of the roof I'm on, landing in a tight roll next to them, startling quite a few of them. I roll to me feet, watching all of them for a moment before saying "Nicely done. It seems that one of you remembered the way I showed you yesterday." Malik looks down at his feet at my words as he gains a few glares from his peers.
Abbas moves slightly and, sounding slightly out of breath, asks "Were you watching us?" I nod at him and reply "I was following you all. It wasn't very hard, since you don't quite know what to look for yet." Abbas nods as Altair looks around us, seeming to be trying to figure out how I was following them.
"Back up you go." I say, motioning to the top of the mountain as I hear a few of them groan. I shake my head and start running, slowing down enough for them to run with me. Meaning I was jogging while they were sprinting. By the time we had returned to the top of the mountain all of them were panting, leaning against the wall of the gate or clutching at stitches in there sides.
"Come on, you need to stretch. It will help some of the pain go away." I say kindly to them, knowing from experience how much their legs hurt. I get a few tired nods as some seem to try and make it look like they're not in pain, Altair among them. I lead all of them to the space beside the training ring, and sit down on the ground.
They follow my example, forming a haphazard semi-circle around me. I then spend the next half hour teaching them the stretches they would need to be able to run like that everyday. Along with the beginning stretches for the flexibility they will need. Once they know all of this I say "Come along. We still have things to do before we can eat."
I get more than a few 'are you serious?' looks at my words. Something I ignore as I lead them back into the castle, walking toward a very specific room. I knock on the large door, which looked no different than any of the other doors in the castle, yet contained the people I needed. I had barely knocked on the door before it had been yanked open to reveal our resident head seamstress.
She was a young looking woman with black hair that she kept tied back and a pretty face that was almost always shining with a smile. She nods at me before looking down at the boys around me, letting out a small laugh before nodding, accepting my unasked request. She walks into the room, which was rather large and filled with large bolts of fabric, along with 7 of her helpers.
"This is Nevaeh Rochelle, she's the head seamstress here. You can thank her for the robes you're wearing. As she's responsible for all of the robes made within these walls." I say, looking back at my students before entering the room. Within an instant the other women in the room had converged upon us, the boys instantly huddling together out of surprise.
I walk further into the room, letting the seamstresses do their thing while I lean against a window. I chuckle softly at the blushes almost every boy has, the women around the room working without a care as Nevaeh walks over to me. She glances over my robes and says "I'm pleased to see that there holding up this time."
I nod with a soft laugh and say "I am as well. The brotherhood could not ask for a better seamstress." I nod at her, watching her smile before she softly walks off, watching over some of the younger seamstresses as they measure the boys. As they finish Nevaeh nods at me and says "They will be ready by tomorrow morning. I'll have them delivered to the boys rooms."
I nod at her once more before saying "Come along, we have one more stop to make." I hear a few soft groans from behind me and turn, giving my new students a piercing glare, which silenced them instantly. I quickly lead them out of the castle, exiting the gate and walking down to our forge, which is already ringing with the sound of pounding hammers and working apprentices.
My students instantly stepping closer to me, reminding me of a mother duck and her ducklings. The Smith master exits the forge, looking down at all of us. He stands at 6'5 and a half, he's almost twice as broad as I am, and all the work in the forge has made him look like he could crush your skull with his bare hands.
I nod up at him and say "Everyone, this is Axel Zedtroveltski. He's our forge master, as well as weapons master." I hear one of my students ask "His last name is Zedtroveltski?" Axel let's out a deep booming laugh and says "You pronounced it slightly wrong. Say it like Zeh-tro-vel-skii." I nod at him as he looks back at me and asks "So Desmond, what brings you to me at this hour?"
"I need 16 weighted training swords. Also, I need another set of throwing knives." I say, watching as the smith nods before marching back into his forge, which I hear some crashing and shouts before he returns and says "Alright. I should have their swords properly weighted, as well as your knives by lunch. Return here afterwards."
I nod at him and say "Alright. Thank you brother." He nods at me before I turn to my students and say "Now, we can go eat." I see quite a few of them grin as I lead them back to the castle. It didn't take us long to walk to the Hall, finding it to be rather full, as most of the brotherhood had just woken up.
Luckily, the same rug was open for us, and I quietly led my students over to it. We had barely sat down before we were served, finding everything to be as delicious as it always is. I slowly drink a cup of tea, listening as my students talk softly amongst themselves. Abbas is entertaining the three boys around him with stories of his father.
Malik is talking to a soft spoken boy about the books his father showed him before he came here. Altair, seems to be watching me and listening in on Malik's conversation. I look at him, raising an eyebrow in question as he hurriedly drops his gaze to the cup in his hands. I manage not to chuckle at him, knowing how bad his curiosity must be. I instead sip on the tea in my hands before looking over at Aslam.
I call him over with a small nod, making him softly approach us. He takes his spot beside me and says "Our cook requests a few novices help them with some work in the kitchen, since apparently someone left the door open last night and a few rats got in." I nod at him, noticing that once more our entire rug went silent. "We can go help after breakfast. I also have to get them started on their studies as well, but we can start that afterwards."
He nods with a shudder, looking over at the others and saying "I swear, he reads faster than anyone else! It's almost scary!" Grinning at me. I huff playfully and say "Perhaps I should assign you to help them with their beginning instruction. I do believe you tried to sleep through my first lecture." Smiling behind my mask. The kids around us laugh lightly as Aslam rubs his head and says "Yeah. You hit me with a book that you threw from across the room."
I nod and say "My time is precious, as is yours. You should not waste mine by sleeping while I teach." He groaned and said "Okay okay you win." I humph and say "Of course I do. I haven't lost once to anyone since I arrived." I see the children around me stare in awe and Aslam nods and says "Yeah. At anything. You even beat the Master at chess." I nod approvingly and say "He puts too much faith in his queen."
A lovely young lady walks over and hands Aslam and I a cup of tea. Holding her tray against her stomach and asking "Sir? Evangeline Robinson asked if you would assist in the kitchens. She also asked if the novices would help as well. We have much to move." She seems unbelievably shy of me, yet I see Aslam giving her a warm smile. "Of course Isabella. We'd be happy to help!" He says, to which she smiles and bows before leaving.
As she leaves I take a sip of my tea. "If I didn't know better, I would think that perhaps you like the lovely Isabella." I hear him choke beside me as I drink my tea, hacking and coughing into his sleeve as my Novices all snicker. He goes red and says "I do not. She's just nice is all…" I nod and say "She's also the lovely lady who serves that rug the you sit at daily. She's also the only lady I've seen you smile like that since-"
I'm cut off by him saying "Okay okay! I was sixteen! She was pretty! You don't have to bring it up again!" I chuckle as he goes red, his hood hiding part of it. I finish off my tea and say "Let's go. We have to help them now since Aslam decided to say Yes." The kids grin and scramble up, I yank up my mask as they watch us closely.
"Sir?" Altair suddenly asks, watching as I stand. I raise an eyebrow and ask "Yes Altair?" He looks down a second before asking "How… How does one become an assassin?" I blink at him before taking a breath. "Assassins are our best and brightest. They are adept at reading, writing, planning, teamwork, leadership, and swordsmanship. You will be watched by many mentors over the next few weeks, and you will be chosen for apprenticeships after that."
Abbas glares and angrily asks "We don't get to choose?" I glare down at him, seeing him pale as I say "I suggest you never get that tone with me again, and let me finish. At the end of your training with me you shall be called into the master's study one by one. He shall have with him every Mentor who wishes to offer you an apprenticeship. You may choose who you accept, and who you decline."
Abbas nods slowly, backing up a step, looking slightly ashamed of himself for his outburst. Altair looks at me and asks "What about you though? Do you have any missions while training us? How long does training last?" I almost smile at his curiosity while my brothers filter out of the Hall and Aslam stands slightly behind me.
"I usually don't have any missions. But I may be forced to accept a mission if it is extremely important. And your first training can take anywhere from three months to six months. The longest I've ever had to train anyone was seven months, but that was because he broke his arm." I say, looking back to Altair.
Malik then asks "Who do you mentor?" Aslam steps in and says "Desmond rarely mentors anyone, he's only mentored three people in his eight years here. But all of them have become some of our best assassins, achieving the highest mastery possible. I'm not quite there yet, but I should be soon."
Altair's stare was almost burning holes in my face as Aslam continued with "He's the best teacher that's ever graced our halls, and the best Assassin to date." I ruffle his hair through his hood, knowing that I got his attention and say "Alright, I think they know enough about me. You can all talk later at lunch, I'll let you sit with them while I set things up. For now, let's help our head cook."
I see the novices quickly hold their tongues as I lead them out of the hall and into the kitchens. Evangeline, our head chef looks up as I walk in. The novices file in behind me, crowding around behind me. The kitchens are a large area, ovens and steel stoves are everywhere, large tables where they prepared food were in the center of the room.
Herbs and spices hung from the ceiling, baskets and other containers were everywhere. I saw that the room was filled with girls, anywhere from eight to thirty. Stupid Gender Roles. I smiled at our black haired cook and sweep into an exaggerated bow, straightening back up and saying "My Novices and I are at your disposal my Lady."
She gives me a happy smile and says "Thank you Desmond, I need the help. Will you and the Novices help my girls move the baskets into the Hall? Once that's done we can clean and get rid of the vermine, but some of it's to heavy to move." I nod and say "Of course. Anything to help." She gives me a knowing smile and walks over to a table, helping another girl prepare something.
I motion to the smaller baskets and say "Carry them if you can. If you need help, ask for it. Don't hurt yourself doing something stupid. Don't bite off more than you can chew. Stick toward the smaller ones. Don't pick up a larger one without help." I stop one of the smaller Novices, who looks like they'd weigh nothing soaking wet.
"Help guide them through the door and to the hall, make sure the doors stay open." I say to him, seeing him nod in appreciation before scampering off. Aslam grabs a large basket instantly and walks off, making a show for Isabella, who seems to smile at him as he passes. I step over to the larger baskets, which are beautifully woven and is about waist high. I test the weight within, finding it oddly lightweight. I'll grab two of these. I hoist two of the larger baskets up onto my shoulders, knowing that my strength comes from training daily.
I see a few of my novices stare in shock as I walk by them, ducking enough to get the baskets out the door way. I see my smaller Novice step around me as I walk, hearing my Novices scamper behind me. I step into the Hall, finding Aslam setting his basket down as I walk in with two. He sees me and his jaw drops down in shock.
The others walk in as I set mine down as Aslam says "Always have to show off don't you." I shrug and say "Isabella seemed more focused on you, so I had no trouble walking by with more." I turn as Aslam breaks into a giant grin and rushed back to the kitchen. The next two hours are spent getting everything together for them, moving it, helping clean, and moving everything back.
As I set the last basket down I saw everyone around me panting or rubbing their arms from the strain. I was barely winded from all that and simply stretch my arm across my body. "I think that's it. Thank you Desmond." I nod and say "Come along now. We have more to do." I get a few soft groans of tiredness as I walk them over to the Library, Aslam nodding to me before leaving my group.
I walk them into the Library, walking up to the head scholar and saying "Hello Jeremy, these are the students I'll be teaching the basics to today." He nods and says "I already set up a the book you requested, as well as the materials you asked for." And leads us to a quiet portion of the library. I motion to the tables and they all quickly sit down. Altair, Malik, and Abbas all moved to the table in front of mine. The three of them adjusting so that Malik was in the middle as a mediator.
On my table lay a steel assassin sword, a steel guard sword, a steel apprentice sword, and a wooden, weighted training sword. The book is asked for was a simple book over the Assassins works. I was glad that I wore all of my armor and swords everyday, it showed how much they had to learn, and how far I had come.
I picked up the smaller training sword. "You'll get one of these later today." I say showing it to all of them. It's smaller than all of the other blades, but still weighs a good bit. It's designed to teach them the basics of swordplay, and help their muscles develop.
I glare at them and say "You will never use these against each other, unless I allow it." I see them nod as I pick up the next blade, the apprentice one. It was made of steel, but was still smaller and a little heavier than the Assassin blade. I show it to them all. "If you choose to enter an area of the castle that requires defense, than you will gain one of these once your master deems you ready."
I see there eyes light up at the plain steel blade, which is still too large for them to fight with. I move onto the guards blade, and hold it up for all of them. The blade was simple, but had a small silver shield on the crossguard, barely an inch high. I step closer and show it to all of them, walking among them as I say "Should you choose to be a guard, than you would get one of these blades when you complete your training."
I see a few eyes light up as I speak. I almost smile as I walk back to the table, picking up the Assassin blade. It's lighter than the guards blade, thinner too. Designed more for speed and offence, than defence like the guards blades. I hold it up to them, motioning once more to the crossguard.
"An Assassin's blade bares the mark of the Creed upon the crossguard, and are only given once you become an Assassin. As you can see, they are thinner than the guards swords, and the reason is simple." I say, giving the sword a small controlled flourish. "It's designed to kill, and kill quickly. An assassin relies on their speed and cunning, as much as their strength and instincts."
I see them all stare at the blade in awe, Altair seems to be the most entranced. I set the blade back down and unsheathe my own Master Assassin blade. I see a few of them gasp as I hold up the beautiful blade. My sword was one of the things I kept in perfect condition, and now it shone brightly under the torch light of the library.
I show it to them and say "This is a Master Assassin blade. There are only five of them in use at the moment. One of them belongs to our Master, I have one. Altair, your father bares the third, and Malik, yours bares the fourth blade. Abbas, your father bares the final blade. We take our blades with us to our graves."
I motion to the main part of the blade and say "Down the center of every Master Assassin blade, you will always find these words. 'Nothing is True, Everything is Permitted'. What do you think this means?" They all think a moment, none of them answering as I say "Think over it today. Give me an answer tomorrow."
I place my blade back in it's sheathe and turn to my book, picking it up off the table. "Within the Creed at the moment, there are three Assassin's willing to take on apprentices, including myself. Ten scholars willing to teach new scholars for our libraries. Six couriers, and eight guards are willing to take on apprentices as well. The stables and forges are willing to take two each." I say, looking over all of them.
"Forge work is very physically grueling. Our master forger isn't that strong because he's working out, he's that strong because he's dealing with molten metal and giant hammers." I say, noting how they watch me. "The stables is another place that requires a lot of physical poweress. You'll have to wrangle and occasionally subdue horses. Not a easy thing to do." I say as I lean against the table.
"Guards also keep themselves physically fit, but allow a little more relaxation amongst their numbers. However, they require both physical and mental strengths. They know this castle as well as the back of there hands, and the village as well." I say as I scan the boys in front of me, who all stare at me with rapt attention.
"Scholars and Couriers work closely together, however Couriers have a more physical demand than scholars, yet both are very intellectually based." I say as I motion toward a scholar and Courier talking nearby. You could only differentiate by the markings on their sleeves, as the Courier had black stitching around the hem.
"The Assassin apprenticeships are very hard to attain. We require the best of the best. You must be strong, smart, fast, level headed, an expert swordsman, be accurate with the throwing knives that you'll be taught later, an expert climber, excellent at freerunning, and a leader. We will accept nothing less. You must show at least a talent, or at least a certain level of skill for you to be even looked at for an apprenticeship with an Assassin." As I speak I see a few kids pale.
Altair seems intrigued though, as does Abbas and Malik. I than spend the next few hours lecturing on the specificities of each job here at Masyaf. When the midday mark finally approached us I guided my Novices back to the Hall. Aslam sat at our rug, grinning and motioning to the space around him.
"Join me my friends!" He says as we sit. I chuckle and say "I shall be leaving them with you for a few minutes before the end of lunch. I must set things up for them. You can lead them there not long after." He nods and says "Perfect! It'll give me time to tell them about you, oh great lord of mystery."
I shake my head at him as he launches into a tale of his time with me. A little more theatric than it really was, but still close to the truth. When lunch is mostly over I bid them goodbye before walking off to the forges, and collecting my knives and their swords. Axel was more than happy to supply me with two of his apprentices to move them.
They also helped me set it to the side of the sparring ring. The training ring was mostly empty at this time, most people preferring to head indoors to work. Aslam lead them out a few moments after the apprentices returned to Axel. He grins again as I watch all of my students stare at me in awe.
God dammit. I say to myself as I glare at him while he says "What! It was just the recounting of how you took down five templars on your own!" I sigh and say "Only that one?" He looks a little sheepish and says "Well no… But still!" I shake my head and say "Everyone, pick up a training sword and sheathe. Belt it on like this."
I show them how, Aslam and I walking through and helping everyone. Once that was done I walked them through basic defensive and offensive moves, which took up the majority of the day. Once they had gotten those moves down I moved on, and now, just as the sun was falling I turned to them.
"Come along." I say, motioning them toward the cliff again. "Run the route again, then we'll get you all cleaned up and get to dinner." They all quietly moan or groan but start down the cliffs. I run ahead of them, Aslam running behind them. They were all panting and gasping by the time we got back to the top.
I nod at them and say "Come along. Let's get you all cleaned up." I lead them to their rooms and say "In your trunks are a towel and lighter sleeping clothes. Go grab them then come back here, I'll lead you to the baths." They nod and do as I tell them to, returning here quickly. I lead them down to the baths, which are easily gotten to.
"Try and come here either before dinner or after. I won't have any of you filthy. If you notice any holes or tears in your robe, take it to the seamstresses. They'll repair them for you. Take care of your equipment, it'll save your life someday." I say as they walk in. Altair stops before entering and asks "Will you go in with us?"
I shake my head and say "No. I'll clean up after dinner, once all of you are in bed." He nods before walking within and I shut the door. Aslam nods at me and says "You can go wait for them in the Hall. I'll lead them to you." I nod at him before leaving, sighing happily. Today went well, and If I keep them on track, than I should be able to have quite a few new additions to the creed.
I groaned softly as I cleaned myself off. My entire body was sore, even in in places I wasn't even aware could be sore. I ached everywhere and as I pulled on my outfit I almost winced. Yet as I moved my mind was elsewhere. I have to get that apprenticeship. After everything that Aslam said about him… I have to have it. I will become his apprentice, and become a master Assassin.
Malik walks over to my side and asks "Dreaming of the Assassin apprenticeship, aren't you Altair?" I gape at him and ask "What? Well…" I go to say more but Abbas says "Like hell you'd get it Altair, especially not with Desmond. You heard him, they only accept the best, and you're far from that."
I glare over at him and say "I also remember Aslam saying that Desmond doesn't take well to being lied to." Abbas goes a little red at that while Tamir says "In truth, you three have an unfair advantage over the rest of us… Since your fathers are all Master Assassins. You all know more than we do."
Malik shakes his head and says "I don't. My father placed his faith in the Creed and said I'd learn as I progressed. Altair?" I nod and say "My father said I would learn better by listening to my Mentor, than being given an edge over my peers." Abbas nods and says "My father knew I wouldn't need any help to beat you, so he said I'd learn here."
I nod at him before placing my sword on my uniform and walking out of the baths. Aslam stands there, Desmond nowhere to be seen. He looks us over and says "Keep your sword with your uniform, and we can run and place it in your rooms. Than we can get to dinner." I nod as the others exit.
Malik suddenly asks as we walk "Aslam? Would Desmond think of mentoring any of us?" I perk up at his question as Aslam turns around with a shocked look. "Well. Maybe he might. Desmond is really good at reading people, and probably already has a good grip on where you'll go after his training. But if he is thinking of training any of you, you won't know it till selection day."
I tilt my head to the side and ask "Selection day?" He nods and says "The nickname we use for the day you Select your apprenticeship." I nod as we walk into the door area of our castle. I quickly place my clothes down as the thought comes back again. I will become a Master Assassin. And Desmond has to be my mentor.
And that's Chapter 1. What do you think? Thoughts? Comment! Review!