Chapter Sixty-Three

A/N: My laptop died and I lost everything. I mean, everything. All my stories, my ideas, all of it. So I had to go and reread what I had written to give myself the inspiration to get it all back. So I am back and though this is very late, here it is. I've also decided to write more stories similar to this; I just don't know who to do next. Ideas would be nice so send them to me people!

As I watched the assassin off to his mission, I turned back to the bureau leader. "You have changed him."

"Altair changed himself, I merely gave him words of wisdom," I said, looking over at Malik as he nodded, his dark eyes staring into me. "I can only hope that he keeps my words to heart and remember them. He's a good man; I can only hope he'll turn into a better one soon."

"And what words would you have for me?"

I smiled, shaking my head. "What words of wisdom do I give one who is already wise?" Bells rang out around me but they weren't in alarm, no, it was to signal something, perhaps the beginning of the funeral? Noon? Who knows? I turned my head, hearing the song ring out as silence filled the streets. I knew it was a prayer song but this was more morbid, a sadder sound than that of the others I had heard before.

Looking up at the Dai, I could see him looking at the courtyard, a look on his face. "They're singing their farewells to the dead," he said softly. The funeral just started. I worried then, wanting to know what will happen next. With a nod, I went to my pile of pillows, watching the birds play as Malik's quill scratched at the parchment beneath his hand.

Ardeshir had arrived from wherever his was on a mission for, but Bahram was nowhere to be seen. Thinking on it, the quieter twin would probably be off on a smaller mission. "What do you think will happen once Robert is gone?" I asked Ardeshir, watching his knee bounce.

The assassin turned his head to me as he removed his hood, his small curls bouncing. "We continue to be assassins, and the world has one less Templar in it."

I nodded, looking back at the courtyard. "Don't be silly. I meant, what do you think will happen? To Malik and Altair? Their lives changed because of that one man."

"Who knows? They will still do as they have always done so that much I am certain but as to this, I have no idea. I don't believe that anyone does." He looked at me, his eyes filled with a strange look. "However, Altair has whispered something once, soothsayer."

"Just because I know of his fate does not make me a teller of the future for all." Still, I began to wonder what would come of this. I had a feeling, something that made me feel uneasy, like I was expecting more death in the future, a lot more. Something made me feel lost, confused. I knew there would be betrayal, a sadness that may never fill and then of course, a deep understanding.

I wanted to ponder more on this but I knew that if I did, I wouldn't be any closer to the mystery.

As I watched Ardeshir making adjustments to his hidden blade, his I could see the scar he made, the commitment of the creed. The silent brotherhood where death was a constant companion, where those in a white hood were feared. A sudden pain shot through my head like an arrow. I could see others in white hoods, but they weren't feared, but were disgusted. The burning of the living, of sacred relics and symbols and the cries of their motto. No, they weren't assassins but cowards. It made me give pause. Were they following the same creed as well or were they misled?

I couldn't give this much though, the image vanished just as quickly as it came. I lost recollection of my train of thought of the image but I knew it was something that left a bad taste in my mouth.

I turned my gaze to Malik as he grabbed the kitten by the scruff of his neck, moving him aside of his writing so they would be free of paw prints. My master warned me of him as well. If he were to learn, I would have to dispose of him.

My mind and thoughts turned darker. He should be easy to get rid of. Altair wouldn't see me coming, I could easily slit his throat in his sleep, as he is now comfortable around me, but Malik, I knew Malik was soft on me. I knew his eyes lingered a little longer, that he grew a gentle smile around me. I could kill him; it would be just as simple, if not better. Coupling would lower his guard and as he was lay exhausted and spent, then I would strike. Like a spider killing her mate, I too would kill my bedmate.

I then flushed, turning my head to the side. I couldn't believe that I had just thought of lying with Malik. He was very attractive with his dark eyes, easy smile. It would be pleasurable with him, as I believe that he would be a gentle lover. My face grew hot as my womb flipped. No, I couldn't think like this, I had a mission to do and such thoughts would lead me to my death!

Twisting my ankle, I felt my knife in my boot as the flat of the blade pressed against my flesh. Kill Altair should he know.

I wasn't an assassin, this was wrong!

But my master told me to.

But if I killed him, how would Ezio, Desmond…

…Who were Ezio and Desmond?

I shook my head, getting rid of the confusing thoughts. And like magic, I heard the bells. Something was wrong, very wrong.

"Did he kill her?" I whispered. Ardeshir turned his head to me, a curl falling in his eyes.

"Ardeshir, go and see what happened!" Malik barked, moving around the counter to go into the back. The bells were ringing frantically. They weren't bells of mourning, not like how they rang when Jubair or William fell, no, these were that of alarm. I grabbed my knife, readying myself.

"There was an attack at the funeral but no one knows what happened," Malik said, coming back. His boots were dusty, suggesting he went outside to ask.

"Altair confronted Robert, to put an end to the Templar's life," I said, pointing out that it was Altair's mission to do so.

Malik shook his head. "I am aware of that but details would be appreciated."

We didn't have long to talk on it as a white body landed in the courtyard, causing me to stand.

Standing, Altair strode into the bureau, panting. "It was a trap!"

"I had heard the funeral turned to chaos, what happened?" Malik asked, just as hurried as Altair.

The assassin paced, furious. "Robert de Sable was never here," he growled out. "He sent another in his stead! He was expecting me!"

Malik's eyes went wide. "You must go to Al Mualim!" If the Templar was expecting him, it would be right for the assassin to return to his master to report what has happened and wait to know what to do next.

"There is no time! She's told me where he's gone, what he plans!" Altair snapped, growing impatient. I breathed a sigh of relief. He hadn't killed her. They were safe… but… who were they? "If I return to Masyaf, he might succeed, and then I fear we would be destroyed…"

I could see great catapults lining up against Masyaf, all filled with rocks, dead animals and fire covered rocks as their oil fell to the ground. It would be a disaster and the death of all those innocents would cover Altair's hands, should he live through it.

Malik shook his head, as he was the one pacing now, his finger touching his bottom lip as he began to think. "We have killed most of his men; he cannot hope to launch a proper attack…" He then stopped and turned to Altair, disbelief on his face. "Wait, did you say she?"

"Yes! It was a woman! Strange, I know…" his voice then trailed off as both men looked at me. I narrowed my eyes, crossing my arms as I tilted an eyebrow. "But that's for another time," Altair said quickly as both he and the Dai looked away. "For now, we must focus on Robert. We may have thinned his ranks but the man is clever. He goes to plead his case to Richard and Saladin, to unite them against a common enemy: against us!" Altair said, putting a hand to his chest.

Malik shook his head, unsure of all of this. "Surely you are mistaken… This makes no sense," he said shaking his head. "This two would never-"

"Oh but they would!" Altair interrupted, looking at Malik while shaking his head. "And we have ourselves to blame," he whispered quietly. "The men I have killed, men on both sides of the conflict, men important to both leaders. Robert's plan may be ambitious but it makes sense, and it could work." This was visibly frightening to Altair, a man who knew no fear. He was scared not for his death, but the death of others, pointless deaths.

Raising a hand, the Dai tried to calm his friend down. "Look, brother, things have changed. You must return to Masyaf. We cannot act without our master's permission, it could compromise the brotherhood," he tried to reason. "I thought… I thought you had learned that…"

"Stop hiding behind words, Malik!" Altair snapped, as if seeing a clear picture of things. "You wield the creed and its tenants like some shield." His golden eyes suddenly turned to me, resolve firm before he spoke again. "He's keeping things from us, important things!" His eyes snapped back to Malik. "You were the one who told me we could never know anything, only suspect. Well I suspect this business with the Templars goes deeper. When I'm done with Robert, I will ride to Masyaf that we may have answers." My eyes went wide. "But perhaps you could go now," he suggested.

Malik shook his head, lowering his gaze. "I cannot leave the city."

"Then walk amongst its people, seek out those who served who I slew. Learn what you can." His tone then changed, as if to coax Malik. "You call yourself perceptive; perhaps you'll see something I could not."

"I don't know…I must think on this." His dark eyes rose to meet gold. He knew he was being baited but he could also see that Altair was right, or at least, suspected it.

Still, the assassin nodded, his shoulders dropping. "Do as you must, my friend, but it's time I ride for Arsuf. Every moment I delay, our enemy is one step ahead of me."

He then extended his arm and Malik clasped it, their hands touching each other's forearms. "Be careful, brother."

"I will be, I promise." As Altair began to leave, his gaze turned to me. "Stay in the city, you will be safe here."

I shook my head, glaring up at him. "I will ride to Masyaf. Someone has to tell of what you're doing."

Altair frowned, stepping towards me. "I do not trust you in there, not without safety."

"What's more safe? Here in Jerusalem where your face is known, where there may be whispers of me as well, or in Masyaf, surrounded by other assassins? No, I ride for Masyaf. I know the way by now and if anything goes wrong in Arsuf, I will be there." Feeling bold, I put a hand to Altair's cheek. "I'll be there, safe so you wouldn't get distracted." I then lowered it, looking at Malik. "I need a horse, one that can make the journey."

"No horse will run for three days straight," he said, putting a hand on my arm. "I too insist you stay here."

"There isn't any time," Altair said. "If you won't go, then she will. But I cannot stay."

"Go, Altair, and you better come back," I said, watching him nod before climbing the wall and leaving the bureau. "Malik, please, if you made it, so can I." Touching his arm, I looked up at him, lost within those eyes again. "Have faith."

After some time, Malik nodded, leading me out of the bureau from the back to the stables. "My own horse didn't survive the trip to Masyaf but I pray this one will," he said, grabbing the reins of a tan Arabian. "You must rest as well, do not exert yourself on this journey. Your life is not worth this information."

"My life is nothing compared to this." Kissing his cheek, I climbed onto the saddle, nudging the horse's sides with my heels as I felt the beast begin to run to the gate. Looking back, I could see Malik watching me leave. I couldn't keep m gaze back though, I had to tell the master of this.

With a heavy heart, I turned my sights to the horizon, to where I knew Masyaf was.

-.-.-

Within the first day, my horse had shown amazing resilience but by the end of the day, he was tired and needed rest. I couldn't though, I had to reach Masyaf. I felt bad, but I had to push the animal on. "Please, just take me as far as you can," I whispered. But by dawn, the animal had died, collapsing suddenly with a shriek.

His heart had burst and guilt ate at me. I had killed this great animal due to pushing it too hard. I could see his gum weren't the pale pink they were in the stables, but now a deep dark red, a tell tale sign of his heart bursting. I reached over, petting the horse's neck, whispering to him that I was thankful that he took me as far as he did.

I had to continue on until I reached the fortress city. If that meant on foot, then by God, I had to walk.

A/N: I killed another horse. I'm sorry!