Altair slowly crept along the thin wooden beam, his hood concealing his face from prying eyes. He retained a peaceful attitude, yet he still reeked of danger. The moon was full, and its light illuminated the land before him. The village Masyaf, quiet and still at night, with few villagers still trading or talking with neighbours. Altair had no knowledge of how late it was, he was too anxious to care. He sat on the end of the beam, legs hanging over the edge, where several hay stacks lie below. The great master sighed and looked to the stars, hopeful for an answer or sign yet it was a false hope. The assassin reached into a pouch that hung from his belt, pulling out his Apple of Eden. He brought it out slowly, letting its weight sink into his hand. He held it up, and it glowed gold. What knowledge could this object have if it was to remain reluctant to make sense? Altair held the Apple tighter, and felt its weight in his hand. Such a perfect thing. He tucked the sphere back into his pouch and pulled one leg to his chest, sighing deeply.
The Order was slowly crumbling, yet recovering from Al Mualim's death. Altair had no remorse for his death, wise or not, Maulim was a traitor. The weight of the Brotherhood had fallen into Malik's hands, much to his objections. Altair couldn't help but feel sorry the man. He was tasked with so much, every decision was vital and Malik was silently in despair. Altair did what he could to help, but in the end it wasn't up to him. Malik could technically order his death now. Altair was merely a student.
"A small sacrifice to save many. It is necessary"
Altair was startled by the voice. It was Malik. Without turning around Altair greeted his brother at arms,
"Malik.. You startled me. Your words of wisdom speak the truth, yet was Maulim's death truly needed. Could it have been resolved without blood being spilt?"
Altair was truly at war with himself, over a death. Never in his life had he questioned the death of someone he had killed. Malik walked slowly to a wooden beam next to Altairs, and sat facing him. Altair looked to Malik. He only had one arm, and the cause haunted Altair. Malik looked at the master with a soft expression,
"Brother, his death saved the Order. You did us a great favour, but I see that you're conflicted. I suggest writing your thoughts down. Your fears and your goals"
"I fear nothi-"
"Altair. Do not attempt to fool me. Its clear you fear the results of your actions, and the Apple."
Altair turned to face Malik with surprise. He was right. Whether he liked it or not, Malik was correct.
"The Apple... How do you know I fear it?" He asked quietly, looking down,
"I watch you each day, attempting to unlock its secrets. You do not show raw fear. But deep down you are afraid that if you succeed with its secrets, it will bring chaos."
Altair regarded his words once more. He dipped his head to the side, away from Malik.
"Two months since his death. Two months since my redemption. Yet the people fear me for killing their leader, they despise me. But I won't give up on the Apple."
Malik reached over and placed his hand on Altairs shoulder, offering a gentle smile. Altair merely stood up.
"I thankyou for your guidance Malik. I hope to re-pay the favour."
Malik sighed deeply as he watched the assassin leap off the beam, to the hay stacks below. Altair was truly a great master, and he was facing a tougher test than he ever had. Malik saw Altair land in the hay. He watched as he emerged from the stack and walked briskly back to the fortress. Malik felt bad for him. If only he could help more. He stood up slowly, and considered leaping after Altair, but decided against it, and returned the way he came.
Malik sat in his study, once again filtering through the numerous stacks of paper that sat on his desk. Candles lit the room and the fortress was silent. Malik would do this same process daily, before writing in his journal, where he spilled his heart out. Malik took an Eagle feather quill, dipped it in ink, and began writing;
"Two months since the rule of a traitor was ended. And with it a new age was brought to life, with me at the helm. My father once told me I was a great leader, but I'm not cut out to lead an entire Brotherhood… Each day more and more work piles up, from trade, to recruits, to meetings. My close friend, Altair has me worried. It seems he regrets killing Al Mualim… Yet the deed is done and he doesn't seem satisfied with his efforts. The people despise him for killing a man they looked up to… They don't understand the depth of his treachery…"
Malik placed the feather on his desk and put his journal away, pondering what he had written. Altair was a great master, and he had Maliks respect, even if he had caused the los of his arm and brother… the odds were not in their favour that day. Malik prepared to retire to bed, when he heard a thud coming from down the hall. Malik instead grabbed his dagger and walked towards the noise. It was coming from… the library? Malik cautiously opened the door, prepared to face whatever lie on the other side. Only he wasn't.
Altair sat on the middle of the floor, motionless, when suddenly, he stood up and turned to face Malik. In his hand sit a gold glow. The Apple! Malik took a slow step towards Altair. The Apple fell from his hand, and he lunged at Malik. He dodged Altair with some difficulty, and pushed him to the ground. He planted his legs either side of the masters chest.
"Safety and peace Brother!" He hissed, attempting to snap Altair out of the Apples control.
Altair tried to throw Malik off but he held fast. Then, he heard the soft metallic graze of a hidden blade being released. The master aimed for Maliks throat, missing… just. Malik felt the blade graze his neck and focused on trying to get Altair restrained. With one arm, that proved difficult. Altair had Malik pinned at a painful angle and flipped so that he was over Malik. Thinking quickly, Malik focused on pinning Altairs left arm down, the one with the hidden blade. He had no success and instead grabbed the masters collar in an effort to pin him back down. Altair raised his left arm in the air and Malik watched at the blade sprung from its cuff. He had to think fast. As Altair brought his left arm down, Malik hooked his leg around Altairs neck and used his other to kick him squarely in the chest, while narrowly missing the blade which hit the floor and snapped from the impact. Malik then shoved Altair off and pinned him back down, but not before a painful blow to his side, causing Malik to wince.
"Altair! Its me, Malik!" He shouted in a desperate attempt to get through to him. Malik could taste blood as Altair once again pinned him down. The pain in his side crippled him and he could only watch as Altair reached for the dagger in its sheath on his back.
Malik saw that the Apple had stopped glowing and Altairs expression softened. He loosened his stance and Malik could see the Altair he knew back in his amber eyes. It only lasted for a moment, as Altair whispered,
Before his eyes rolled back and he collapsed unconscious on the floor, Malik stunned at his side.
14:17, May 13, 2013 (UTC)