Assassin's Creed I – Tales of Altaïr And Malik

A/N #1 – I own nothing of Assassin's Creed but I deeply appreciate the imaginative inspiration that Ubisoft and my friends that work there have given me.

A/N #2 – The trials and tribulations of two friends who have grown together and been driven apart in duty and tragedy. Does time heal all wounds and reveal all truths? What secrets are sealed in silence and bound by trust? When you see the great eagle soaring, can you see how broken the wings of its soul are? Assassins endure in the shadows and fly the moment they are seen. The eagle mates for life and soars solo and lonely when its mate is lost till its body and soul dies.

Crouched high above the city of Jerusalem, the amber eyes of an eagle gazed out. It let out a sorrowful cry before it took flight and circled the tower of its perch as the wind blew at white robes. Altaïr peered down across the city, his hood shading his amber eyes, hiding the truth. The pile of hay seemed so far below. It was always a leap of faith when he dove from the ledge and trusted that his landing would be soft. He never missed... except that once when his leap of faith was more metaphorical and he questioned the master of the order, Al Mualim. He banished all thought and memory as he leapt. God would give him a soft landing if he was to continue, death if not.

Brushing bits of hay from his robes, he walked away one more time from the impossible drop. A woman with a clay pot on her head yelped in shock and dropped her pot with a crash.

Hide in plain sight. Be unseen. Become one with the crowd.

Altaïr smoothly dipped his shoulder as he slid invisibly between two people in the growing crowd, eyes locked on a thug farther ahead. Each step drew him closer to the small blades at the back of the man's waist. His fingers flitted out and nicked the three throwing knives to complete his own set. He turned with a single step into the shadows and was again gone from view.

A swift leap brought him to the protruding stones of a building in a darkened corner. Moments later he stood unnoticed on the roof. A flutter of white and red fabric and Altaïr flew from ledge to ledge, roof to roof, across beams and vine covered lattices till he almost skidded upon the smooth stones of the Bureau. His heart pounding hard as he stared at the trickling water of the fountain in the open air room below. The sharp scratching of Malik's quill almost made Altaïr step away. He stood long as he thought through his last orders from Master Al Mualim.

Be unseen...

Altaïr wished he could be invisible to Malik. Yet, at the same time he wished deeply to be seen... Truly seen. But that was long gone with the life of Malik's brother, Kadar, and Malik's left arm... Gone as was any trust or friendship that was between them.

Stay your blade from the flesh of an innocent.

Who is innocent? Does this target deserve death? What is the purpose? Why hunt these specific men? What is this... piece of Eden. So many questions that Altaïr needed answers to, but to ask was risky. He wanted someone to know, to believe in him, his doubts and concerns. Would Malik? Not likely.

Altaïr sank down to crouch on his haunches by the opening in the roof.

Never compromise the Brotherhood.

Since he mysteriously died at Al Mualim's hand and was revived and stripped of rank, every step he took seemed to. Altaïr was not sure why he felt that way. However, in his bones he knew. Each targeted death revealed more of the hidden truth, but not enough.

Each death now was as his first strange few with a moment stopped in time and shrouded in fog where the dying soul spoke to his own. A gift? A curse? He told Malik once of this and soon learned to bury and hide the ability.

Ever wonder, Malik? Ever doubt your duty? Ever wonder... If your duty is not in accord with the Creed? Ever think that maybe Al Mualim is wrong... Mistaken?

He asked that once when he was a teen. Malik laughed. Another teen told him he was crazy. He now calls Al Mualim Master... Just Master. He does his duty and tries not to question. To question or to fail had dire consequences. Death... Would be a blessing compared to the punishments. You lived by the code. You obeyed the Master. You did your duty.

Altaïr clenched his jaw and watched the sun set at last. The lamp light faded from the main Bureau room and blinked out as Malik slipped behind a secret curtain to an inner room to sleep. With a soft thud, Altaïr dropped onto the carpets below. He cupped water in his hands from the working fountain and sipped. WHY! Why couldn't you have waited, Altaïr! WHY! If you just waited... Malik's angry words in fevered fury on the healer's bed rang back into his ears. He waited patiently.

After several hours he padded silently into the main room of the Bureau. Maps in rolls littered the table and the long counter. Bottled inks lined one shelf along with many books. The dusty smell of the books and paper tugged at near forgotten memories. Altaïr closed his eyes and remembered a moment long ago. He had always hated the books and reading and writing, but loved curling on the blankets in a small room full of books with Malik and Kadar.

Incense and tallow from the lamp filled the air with the dusty scent of paper. Malik and his younger brother discussed and debated what they read together while Altaïr pretended to ignore them. The messy writing in the books always boggled him, but he now missed the joy as those two brothers inadvertently shared the knowledge within the pages with him.

A light hop over the wooden gate brought Altaïr to Malik's side of the counter. He would never dare crossing this barrier in the day. He no longer had the right to be so close. He laid his hand on the deceptively painted fabric that gave the illusion of a wall. A tiny push and he could peek through at Malik asleep on a bedroll on the floor, surrounded by books and maps, a tallow lamp guttering almost out of fuel. Altaïr's throat tightened and he flinched painfully away.

Malik rolled over sensing a change in the air and feeling eyes upon him. He looked toward the fabric door. His eyes narrowed with the light movement of the edge. However, Altaïr vanished into the night, taking instant flight before discovery, remaining unseen.

A/N #3 – The tail end of this chapter is inspired by a picture from Deviant Artist – luulala. You can view it at this address (minus spaces):

http:/ luulala . deviantart .com/art/Which-Never-Comes-Back-139928886

Beta'd by I'm Sexy, 13/06/2010