Pairing/Characters: Bis, Dastan, Garsiv, Hassansins, Nizam, Sharaman, Tamina, Tus, Zolm & OCs
Rating/Warnings: PG+ for violence and character death in later chapters
Summary: What if Nizam never attacked Dastan on the stairs? What if Dastan's brothers believed their Uncle over him? An alternative ending to the Prince of Persia movie, and events thereafter.
Spoilers: Yes, for the events of the movie
Disclaimer: Prince of Persia does not belong to me
Nizam's hand had gripped his sword, and Dastan recalled the moment of sick satisfaction he had felt. If only he had drawn the brutal blade and attacked him, proving to the entire congregation that the words he had spoken were true. Then Nizam's fate would have been sealed and his family would never have to know of the threat he posed to the world around them. But his Uncle had dropped the hilt of his sword, raising his hands and stepping back. He'd beseeched his brother then, using the very same words that their father had spoken to Tus in private to try and sway him to believe his cause, but Tus had also grown in their wise father's shadow – he was ever the honourable Prince, and sought for the third man, the spy, to give them the deciding answer. Unfortunately for Dastan, the spy was more easily located than he thought, and quite loyal to Nizam.
Garsiv struggled to hold him, his gauntlets biting into the Prince's flesh, but Dastan ignored the pain. He had to convince them that they had this wrong. "Please brother," he begged Tus, eyes pleading with him to understand, to believe. "You're making a mistake, Nizam—"
"Nizam is our Uncle, and our father's most trusted adviser! How dare you call treason on his name, after everything else you've done?" Tus was furious, but everyone could see his internal struggle. The three brothers had been thick as thieves ever since Dastan had been brought to the palace as a young urchin boy. They had been inseparable, and the bond they shared was legendary. Everyone knew they prided three things above all else – love, respect, and family – and anyone who endangered any of those things was harshly dealt with. But before now, they had never thought to expect the danger to come from within, from a loved one, from someone they trusted beyond all else. "Lock him below," Tus added, with a dismissive wave of his hand as he turned away. "I can't bear to look at him."
"You're coming with me, little brother," Garsiv snarled, his usual rough tone coloured with sarcasm when he uttered the words.
Bis, ever loyal Bis, rushed forward, eyes wide with uncertainty and fear. "But Prince Dastan is innocent, it's the Uncle that –!"
"Silence!" Tus roared, addressing the man directly. "Leave us, or you will be thrown in the cells as well."
Bis sought Dastan's gaze, his eyes showing his preparation for rebellion, but the urchin Prince shook his head and looked away. He wanted no heroics on his behalf, and he certainly didn't want Bis to face the same fate he did. Nizam had already managed to convince his brothers that this entire attack had been orchestrated by their own brother, so what why would he hesitate at naming Bis a co-conspirator? Dastan already knew that his Uncle would stop at nothing to gain the crown, even if it meant the death of his entire family in the process. Bis was merely a pawn in this game of war and treason.
Dastan allowed himself to be dragged from the room – what else could he do? – but he had to find a solution to this. His brother glanced at him once more before he was pulled away, and he caught the briefest flash of regret in Tus' eyes before the wall impeded his gaze. "Garsiv, you have to believe me. Nizam is planning an attack on the crown. He wants our father's throne!"
Snorting, his brother replied, "He plans to kill all of us does he? At his age? Dastan, do you realise how foolish you sound?" He felt him shake his head, before Garsiv continued. "No, you're getting locked in the cells until our father arrives. He'll see this dealt with."
The rest of Dastan's pleas fell on deaf ears, just as they had since the spy had 'revealed' his plan to all and sundry, but he couldn't help but make their trip down the many flights of stairs as difficult as possible for his dear brother. Call it habit after years of being the youngest, but he wouldn't go down without a fight. A thwarted escape attempt and a few rough scuffles later, earning both of them a set of aching ribs, they were soon standing in front of the black iron gates of the Alamutian cells.
"Garsiv, please …" Dastan murmured, one last feeble attempt before the lock on the door tumbled to a close.
"Enough, Dastan," replied his brother, just as weary as he was. "Just … enough."
But he couldn't stop, he just couldn't. Bis was his trusted friend and ally, but Garsiv would be far too wary of passing a message on to him. There had to be someone, somewhere, who would heed his words and try to help him. There had to be someone.
"Wait," Dastan called, raising a hand through the bars to stop his brother from walking away. "Pass a message to the Princess for me."
Garsiv's eyes widened and his expression turned from surprise to suspicion in a matter of moments. "What is it?"
"Tell her … tell her that the temple is not safe. She can't take it to the temple." It was cryptic enough for no one else to understand, but obvious enough to those who knew what he could be referring to. He only hoped that the Princess' drive to protect the dagger was strong enough to tempt her into speaking with a shackled Persian accused of treason against the crown.
"The temple? Is this temple where they're hiding your Alamutian weapons then? Or, wait, is the temple secretly a forge that they use to manufacture Koshkan's goods?" His voice once again laced with sarcasm, Garsiv turned away. "Save your lies, Dastan."
"Brother please, just do this for me. Please."
Something in his voice must have touched the man, because his brother paused momentarily, though he barely spared a glance over his shoulder. "Perhaps," was all he said, before taking the stairs to the surface two at a time.
Sighing, Dastan pulled away from the bars and stepped further into the cell. Slumping against a wall and letting himself slide to the ground, he sat there and thought about what he could do next. A pointed tip bit into the tender skin of his ankle, but he didn't dare touch it, let alone remove the offending item. Best that stayed hidden for as long as possible, lest someone realised what the key to the sand's powers really was.
"And that was all he said?"
"Yes, my lady."
"Those words, nothing more?"
"Yes, that's right."
Shocked beyond belief, Tamina slumped back in her chair and pondered the words her servant had just told her. Her mind was awhirl with possibilities, and yet her instincts told her to reject this knew piece of information – the Persian had already been called a liar and a traitor by his own family, so why should she believe his poisonous tongue? But he spoke of things he should not know, that no Persian should know, and the question of how he could possibly be aware of the dagger or the temple was prominent in her mind.
But the most worrying, of course, was what he could mean. Why would the temple be in danger? In danger from what? And what on earth would she need to take the dagger there for? The Persian attack was over, they had agreed to stop all hostilities against her people – the threat was gone. But above all else, this made her fear over the loss of the dagger ever greater. Her priests still had not recovered it, and all they knew was that a Persian warrior had stolen it from them some time during the battle.
It could be anywhere by now.
"And he has been placed in the cells already?" Tamina asked, rising from her chair. They needed to solve this mystery, and soon. "Do their guards stand at the doors, or do ours?" Her servant knew not, but that did not bother her. The palace and its surrounding rooms had been built with secrecy in mind; tunnels, rooms, and various disguised pathways were hidden throughout, and she knew of at least one path that lead to the very centre of the dungeons. However, she thought it likely that it fallen into disrepair, as it had been so long since they had been used as anything other than storage. "When night falls, I will seek answers."