Assassin's Creed I – Tales of Altaïr and Malik
A/N #1 – New Year's Day 2013. Yup, another small installment. I did say there would be a few.
Malik locked up as he left, unsure and uncomfortable with the dark news he had left Altair with. However, he was on a schedule that would not understand the plights of the Assassins. And this errand, at least would not take him very long.
Malik tried not to think how he was currently playing the role of the woman today. He was standing in for Naheem's mother this morning. The rising sun shone pale and bright as he walked through the streets banishing all thoughts of the Order, of Sahar, of the terribly naughty things he and Altair had done last night. Well that only made him think on all of them more. APPLE! He mentally yelled the word in his head till he was picturing different kinds of apples. That worked.
He reached Tibah's home and knocked upon the door. One of Tibah's sister's answered. "Oh! The men are in the second house by way of the east entrance."
"Uh, I am not here for that. I am here to see Tibah's mother."
The sister giggled as she realized how the uncle was being the mother today. She fetched her mother.
Malik did his best to smile charmingly and she gave him an inquiring look. "I… Naheem has no mother alive to fill this role and no female relatives or friends of the family. So, I am being mother and father and uncle. I know I am not permitted to sit in with your talks. But here. Please accept this on behalf of a loving mother who cannot be here." Malik held out the basket for Tibah's mother.
Tibah's mother accepted it graciously and looked inside. As per the expected ceremony duties, the basket held sweets, three silver coins and one gold coin. The sweets were for the mother to share with the women of the house. The three silver coins were for the mother for the loss of a daughter. It was ritual. The gold coin was wrapped in a piece of silk Malik had bought in Damascus. At lunch, the Imam would meet with the women and tie the silk and gold coin to Tibah's hand for luck and prosperity and a wealthy family life to come. The woman, would go on planning and talking with Tibah.
Malik did not belong. So he returned first to the market to purchase fruits that he and Altair would bring over later.
Malik had returned to sit beside Altair and run his fingers gently through Altair's hair. The fairer man had fallen asleep so distraught. Malik regretted heading out. He pushed the hood back a bit further so he could better comb his fingers through Altair soft hair.
When Altair sat up, Malik and he talked about Maria. About Faruq. About Faruq's lover. About Kadar. And finally about Kadar's lover, Sahar. How and why she died. They mourned together through lunch. And Malik learned how Altair had discovered the lovers and promised to keep their secret, promised to keep secret that Sahar was a woman, until she herself or Kadar (Malik's little brother) released Altair from that promise. And in a whisper, Altair confessed that they, Sahar and Kadar, had had a daughter.
Malik sat back, stunned. "I have a niece? My baby brother had a baby?" Malik didn't know what to say or do. This must be how Altair had felt when he knew he had son. "And you kept it from me?!" There was a hint of anger in his tone and he saw Altair flinch instantly, arms raising in defense of the strike he expected. After all, Altair had hit Malik when Malik kept his son away, of course Altair would expect to be hit. Malik took in a deep breath. "Is… is she safe?"
Altair cautiously lowered his arms, "Yes. She is with the aviary's family here in Jerusalem. Her name is…"
"Elli," breathed Malik as all those little puzzle pieces clicked into place. Malik smiled. "Thank you, on their behalf, Altair. I wish… I wish that Sahar could have…" Malik clamped his hand over his mouth as he no longer trusted his voice, eyes watering. Altair did the only thing he thought he could. He hugged Malik. It felt like taking a leap of faith and missing the hay.
Malik pulled himself together. "Elli is safe. And she is happy. I… I have met her often. She is just like my little brother and names all the animals." He chuckled. "And she is unshakable like Sahar, I suppose, when she sets her mind to something. I… have family." He wiped his eyes. "Speaking of family. We need to go be Naheem's family this afternoon. And… you will get to meet with your son. Who is safe with that family."
A/N #2 – Because this needed addressing too before wedding stuff. And so I tie some more loose ends of this story.