Summary: It was a great honor, and the Novice was eager to accept it. (It was a violation, one that he had fled at the age of sixteen and had run from ever since.)

It was a great honor, and the Novice, one of several going through the ritual, was eager to accept it. It was the next step in becoming an Assassin, in becoming what he had dreamed of being for as long as he could remember, and he stood eagerly in line with the others, his recently settled black eagle daemon tensely perched on his right shoulder. This was one of the order's most important rites, perhaps even more so than the severing of the ring finger. It allowed the Assassin's to embrace their code fully.

(It was a violation, one that he had fled at the age of sixteen and had run from ever since. It was the final straw in convincing him to abandon a family that could not and would not love him in the way he wanted. It was, and had always been, an important event at the Farm and his parents had made sure he knew what to expect of it. After all, as their son, he was not allowed to show uncertainty, was not allowed fear, and was not allowed to serve the Brotherhood as anything less than an Assassin.)

They went in order of their age and then in order of their settling, meaning that the Novice was near the end of the line over-all but at the head of his age group. He was proud, but he tried not to let it show; this was supposed to be a time of reflection before they faced the Master and left forever changed. But being among the youngest, the Novice allowed himself the smallest of grins as he looked over to his friend, whose daemon had settled shortly after his own.

"Nervous?" His friend's hawk daemon whispered.

"No," The Novice's eagle, Khayrat, responded, "We are ready."

(He had waited until almost too late to run, hoping against all hope that just this once his parents would indulge him that maybe Ayda hadn't really settled as a gyrfalcon. He had known that he was wrong on both counts, but he'd clung to naïve false hope because it had hurt less than the truth. His hopes had been crushed when his father had told him that as the eldest, he would be going first. He left the night before the ceremony and refused to look back.

"Are you sure?" Ayda had asked from her spot on his shoulder after he'd escaped into the desert that served as a barrier between the Farm and the rest of the world.

"More than I've ever been in my life.")

Some screamed as they underwent the ritual, it was understandable. Damaging the fundamental bond between man and daemon was something unthinkable to most, and the results were what put fear and respect into even the most low of the Order's foes.

The Novice had decided before he'd even heard the first screams that he would hold his tongue. He would honor his Master, his Instructors, and himself through his silence.

(Now, years later, he listened to the screams of young men who'd died long ago. He could still feel the table he lay on, unable to move. The scientists had physically restrained his daemon and he been too shocked and then too weak to do anything as he was laid on a strangely contoured table surrounded by tens of other tables. He could hear them talking almost inaudibly about how necessary this was for full synchronization.

He wished he could scream as he laid on a table held captive by people who had no respect for him. People who broke the most basic courtesy people afforded each other.

He wished he could scream as he stood in line and waited for the ceremony he had spent nine years avoiding.)

The Novice was led blindfolded away from the others and once he had been taken to a room, his daemon was snatched off of his shoulder and all of his strength left him. He was caught by his elders before he hit the ground and as the blindfold was removed he saw the Knife.

(Every Farm had a Knife. He knew this; it was one of the things his parents had taught him. They were few in number and had been made with a technique that had since been lost. He had never seen one in person before and it looked so innocuous for what it was. Its golden-silver blade shone in the dim light as the oldest man in the room approached whoever he was now slowly and with purpose.)

The Master approached him holding the Knife carefully in his hands as if it would cut him if he moved too suddenly, and, if the legends that the Novice had been taught were true, then it could. The Knife was made by one finest smiths in the world based off of a blade that the smith's village had been said to posses. The original had disappeared long, long ago and had supposedly been able to cut the very air itself. The Knife that the Assassins held was not quite as sharp but it could still cut the intangible.

There were no words spoken as the Master brought the Knife down on the air between the Novice and his daemon.

(Held in Abstergo Labs, Desmond screamed as he lived through the severing of a bond between his daemon and himself that stopped just short of intercision.)

Altair emerged weak but proud, his daemon held in his hands. He had not screamed.

With a grin, he threw his daemon into the air where she flew a lap around the fortress before returning too exhausted to stay up.

(Desmond was taken to his room on a gurney, his daemon carried by an orderly thirty meters ahead. He was weeping silently despite himself.)

A/N: Originally written for a prompt at the Assassin's Creed Kinkmeme

Desmond's daemon is a brown morph gyrfalcon. It's one of the largest falcons with females weighing 2.6-4.6 pounds. According to Behind the Names Ayda means 'returning visitor'.

Altair's daemon is a Verreaux's Eagle (sometimes called a black eagle). The average female weighs nearly 10 pounds. According to Behind the Names Khayrat derives from 'khayrah' meaning 'good deed'.