A/N: Just a note that I am using Assassin's Creed I as the only source of canon. I have played the DS game but I am disregarding it, because canonically, it doesn't make a lot of sense.
In the sanctuary of the Assassin's Bureau, the man found sleep. It was restless, but at least he needn't be too concerned about an ambush here; the rafik would be his eyes until the time came to leave once again.
Still, he did not rest peacefully. Behind his lidded eyes images danced upon his vision, unnerving, disturbing, and haunting.
Worse yet was the phantom's voice. She sang like a dove in the evening, as the sunset cast shadows of tall buildings over the marketplace. It was a song of mourning. He recalled a time when her songs had accompanied her smiles; when she would sing to him in her pretty voice about the sun in the sky and Allah's good grace upon them.
He wondered if she still praised Allah as faithfully as she once had.
He supposed she still had reason to, he reasoned as he passed from dream to reality over a foggy line he could not locate. Still groggy and yet not quite sleeping, his dreams and memories became tangled.
He felt warmth as if she was there with him, curled into his side, and yet the painful ache in his chest readily reminded him that she was not.
He closed his eyes tightly and hoped to drift back into a place where reality was not a factor, and the painful part of the process could be forgotten. In that place she sang to him like she used to. She smiled, and brushed his hand with her own.
There were no tears in that place. Against the background of surrounding mountains, she danced; head thrown back, lips parted with laughter.
Acre was quite a bit out of his way, but he returned to the port city anyway, on a fairly regular basis. There was a Christian Church there, positioned near the harbour, on whose roof he could sit relatively undisturbed and watch the sun cross the sky, landing in the sea at the end of each day.
Ships came and went with the tide, bringing in and taking away pilgrims. Some of them arrived with nothing, others with everything. When he had to, he ventured into the market, trying not to draw attention to himself, but stealing bits of whatever he could to feed himself. If the tender was poor, he would leave them alone, but if it appeared they could spare a piece of fruit or a loaf of bread, he did not hesitate to lift it from their stash of goods.
Still, part of his attention was always on the faces surrounding him, particularly the young women, some veiled, others not, carrying baskets over their heads, or under their arm.
She had said, when she left, that she was going to Acre.
He didn't know if she meant to stay there, or if she meant that Acre was just a stop before she took a ship to Cyprus, or Italy, or France. He didn't refuse to believe the former; he never refused to believe anything, but this didn't stop him from wanting to believe differently. Besides, there were two options here, and he had made the mistake of blind faith once before.
Sometimes he thought he saw her in the face of a young girl; a young bride on the arm of her husband, but she left far too long ago for him to believe she was still a girl of seventeen, blushing on her wedding day. Even on the morning she had left, she had looked weathered. She looked wise and seasoned. She'd washed the blood from his hands, and subsequently her own on too many an occasion.
He was being followed; he had been aware of the fact for at least an hour, but curious, he let it continue, because the footsteps were too light for the boots of a soldier, and too hesitant for those of an assassin. He was on the way back to the roof of his church, but instead of scaling rooftops, he dallied in the streets, as if danger was a game with which he amused himself.
The sunk was sinking, and the vendors and shop keeps were packing in for the night. Children ran home to their parents, and the night watch changed with the day guards. Only a few feet back, his tracker grew bolder, and stopped relying on the buildings to hide behind; the shadows instead worked as a cloak, keeping him from seeing his follower's face.
He turned a corner and stopped, waiting to hear the now almost companion-like footsteps stop as well, but they didn't.
She had been a child when he had first met her. Frail like a flower, with dark eyes and hair to match. Only just fourteen himself, he couldn't help the feeling of protectiveness he felt when his teacher passed her hand over into his own.
"This is Adah, Altair. One day you will be married, and you will take care of her, and keep her safe, and love her."
He believed it with every ounce of his being.
He still believed it.
When the footsteps finally stopped, she was close enough that he could smell her. An expression of pain and pleasure twisted his face and he closed his eyes, whispering her name. "Adha."