My master is dead - and many more with him, friend and foe alike. But the storm is broken, though pride may hold the clouds aloft a little longer. Of this much I am certain: with Robert and Al Mualim dead, the Saracen and Crusader armies will lay down their arms and give up this senseless war. Freed from the manipulations and schemes of wicked men, Saladin and Richard will find they have more in common than they think. Peace will return to the land. And if they should stray once more? Then my Brothers and I will do what needs to be done to set things aright... Masyaf is quiet now, caressed by the winds which carry through the valley. What is this thing I hold, that it can bend men's minds? No larger than an apple - yet its power greater than any weapon I've known. I have seen what evil even the smallest taste brings. I should destroy it... yet something stays my hand. No, I will hold it a little while longer and see what it may teach me. Perhaps it can be turned to good. Or is this what they others thought when they held it? Is that its power, then? To turn noble into cruel? I know not what the future holds for any of us, but I do know those Assassins who remain will need guidance. I must attend to them. Help to heal their wounds. We will march together into the future, and emerge stronger than we were before. If we are to succeed, if we are to rebuild, then we must be careful not to repeat the mistakes of those who came before. We must be vigilant; ever mindful of the past...
Masyaf, Assassin territory
Altaïr arrived at Masyaf, only to find it devoid of its townspeople. He then discovered that Al Mualim had used the Apple of Eden to enthrall both them and the Assassins to his will. Fighting his way into the fortress, Altaïr eventually assassinated his Master, but could not bring himself to destroy the Apple.
Altaïr arrived at Masyaf, and was approached by a single remaining villager, who spoke with him.
- Altaïr: What's happened here? Where is everyone?
- Villager: Gone to see the Master!
- Altaïr: Was it the Templars? Did they attack again?
- Villager: They walk the path!
- Altaïr: What path? What are you talking about?
- Villager: Towards the light!
- Altaïr: Speak sense!
- Villager: There is only what the Master shows us. This is the truth!
- Altaïr: You've lost your mind!
- Villager: You too will walk the path, or you will perish! So the Master commands!
- Altaïr: It was Al Mualim, wasn't it? What's he done to you?
- Villager: Praise be to the Master, for he has led us to the light!
Altaïr made his way through the village, and encountered other Assassins by the hill leading to the fortress. They attacked, and he was forced to defend himself. When all of them fell, a larger group appeared.
- Assassin 1: As the Master commands!
- Assassin 2: Toward the light!
- Assassin 3: Kill the traitor!
- Assassin 4: For the Master!
- Assassin 5: He does not walk the path! Destroy him!
Altaïr was surrounded by other Assassins, but they were suddenly felled by Malik Al-Sayf and his men.
- Malik: Altaïr, up here!
Altaïr made his way over to Malik.
- Altaïr: You picked a fine time to arrive.
- Malik: So it seems.
- Altaïr: Guard yourself well, friend. Al Mualim has betrayed us.
- Malik: Yes. Betrayed his Templar allies as well.
- Altaïr: How do you know?
- Malik: After we spoke I returned to the ruins beneath Solomon's Temple. Robert had kept a journal, filled its pages with revelations. What I read there broke my heart, but it also opened my eyes. You were right, Altaïr. All along our Master has used us! We were not meant to save the Holy Land but deliver it to him. He must be stopped!
- Altaïr: Be careful, Malik. What he's done to the others, he'll do to us given the chance. You must stay far from him.
- Malik: What would you propose? My blade arm is still strong and my men remain my own. It would be a mistake not to use us!
- Altaïr: Distract these thralls then. Assault the fortress from behind. If you can draw their attention away from me, I might reach Al Mualim.
- Malik: I will do what you ask, Dai.
- Altaïr: The men we face, their minds are not their own. If you can avoid killing them...
- Malik: Yes. Though he has betrayed the tenets of the Creed, it does not mean we must as well. I'll do what I can.
- Altaïr: It's all I ask. Safety and peace, my friend.
- Malik: Your presence here will deliver us both.
As Malik and his men headed down to the village, Altaïr continued towards the fortress. On entering the grounds, he witnessed all of the villagers blocking the entrance to the castle.
- Altaïr: There are so many innocents. I must be careful not to harm them.
Altaïr passed through the crowd of civilians and entered the garden behind the fortress. There, he was violently shaken and restrained by the power of the Apple of Eden, held by Al Mualim on the balcony high above the garden.
- Altaïr: No! What's happening?!
- Al Mualim: So, the student returns!
- Altaïr: I've never been one to run!
- Al Mualim: Never been one to listen either!
- Altaïr: I still live because of it.
- Al Mualim: What will I do with you?
- Altaïr: Let me go.
- Al Mualim: Oh, Altaïr. I hear the hatred in your voice, feel its heat. Let you go? That would be unwise.
- Altaïr: Why are you doing this?
- Al Mualim: I found proof!
- Altaïr: Proof of what?
- Al Mualim: That nothing is true, and everything is permitted!
Al Mualim held the Apple high above his head.
- Al Mualim: Come! Destroy the betrayer! Send him from this world!
Al Mualim used the Apple to disguise nine Assassins as the nine Templars Altaïr had killed. After they were defeated, Al Mualim restrained Altaïr using the Apple and approached.
- Altaïr: Face me! Or are you afraid?
- Al Mualim: I have stood before a thousand men! All of them superior to you! And all of them dead, by my hand! I am not afraid!
- Altaïr: Prove it.
- Al Mualim: What could I possibly fear? Look at the power I command!
Al Mualim used the Apple to create eight illusions of himself, but Altaïr was able to see through it and strike the real Al Mualim. However, he was promptly restrained by the power of the Apple once more.
- Al Mualim: Have you any final words?
- Altaïr: You lied to me! Called Robert's goal foul when all along it was yours as well!
- Al Mualim: I've never been much good at sharing.
- Altaïr: You won't succeed! Others will find the strength to stand against you!
- Al Mualim: And this is why so long as men maintain free will, there can be no peace.
- Altaïr: I killed the last man who spoke as such.
- Al Mualim: Bold words, boy! But just words!
- Altaïr: Then let me go. I'll put words into action.
Al Mualim laughed.
- Altaïr: Tell me, "Master", why did you not make me like the other Assassins? Why allow me to retain my mind?
- Al Mualim: Who you are and what you do are twined too tight together. To rob you of one would have deprived me of the other, and those Templars had to die. But the truth is, I did try. In my study, when I showed you the treasure. But you are not like the others. You saw through the illusion.
- Altaïr: Illusion?
- Al Mualim: That's all it's ever done, this Templar treasure, this Piece of Eden, this word of God. Do you understand now? The Red Sea was never parted, water never turned to wine. It was not the machinations of Eris that spawned the Trojan War, but this! Illusions, all of them!
- Altaïr: What you plan is no less an illusion. To force men to follow you against their will!
- Al Mualim: Is it any less real than the phantoms the Saracens and Crusaders follow now? Those craven Gods, who retreat from this world that men might slaughter one another in their names? They live amongst an illusion already. I'm simply giving them another, one that demands less blood.
- Altaïr: At least they choose these phantoms.
- Al Mualim: Or do they? Aside from the occasional convert or heretic?
- Altaïr: It isn't right.
- Al Mualim: Ahh. And now logic has left you. In its place you embrace emotion. I am disappointed.
- Altaïr: What's to be done then?
- Al Mualim: You will not follow me, and I cannot compel you.
- Altaïr: And you refuse to give up this evil scheme!
- Al Mualim: Seems then that we are at an impasse.
- Altaïr: No! We are at an end!
- Al Mualim: I will miss you, Altaïr. You were my very best student.
Altaïr and Al Mualim engaged in combat once more. When struck, Al Mualim used the Apple to weaken Altaïr.
- Al Mualim: Blind, Altaïr. Blind is all you've ever been, all you'll ever be!
Altaïr was able to use Eagle Vision to see through the Apple's power, and was able to strike at his Master.
- Altaïr: My blade sees for me, Al Mualim. And it cuts through the darkness.
Altaïr fought Al Mualim, and eventually defeated him. As Al Mualim fell, the Apple rolled away from his grasp.
- Al Mualim: Impossible! The student does not defeat the teacher...
- Altaïr: Laa shay'a waqi'un moutlaq bale kouloun moumkine. (Nothing is true, everything is permitted.)
- Al Mualim: So it seems. You have won then. Go, and claim your prize.
- Altaïr: You held fire in your hand, old man. It should have been destroyed.
- Al Mualim: Destroy the only thing capable of ending the Crusades and creating true peace? Never.
- Altaïr: Then I will.
- Al Mualim: We'll see about that.
Altaïr looked at the Apple of Eden, and heard Al Mualim's voice.
- Al Mualim: I applied my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also was a chasing of the wind. For in much wisdom is much grief. And he that increaseth knowledge, increaseth sorrow.
Altaïr stood still, mesmerized by the Apple.
- Al Mualim: Destroy it! Destroy it as you said you would!
- Altaïr: I... I can't...
- Al Mualim: Yes, you can, Altaïr. But you won't.
Altaïr approached the Apple, as it projected the holographic map of the globe. Malik and his men arrived soon after, and also looked at the hologram in awe.