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William of Montferrat sought to kill King Richard. I had assumed he meant to do this for his son, Conrad, but it seems I was in error. His wish was for the people to inherit the land, free from the whims of petty tyrants. A 'new world' he called it. What is the meaning of these cryptic words? I shall have to ask Al Mualim...
Altaïr witnessed King Richard's quarrel with William, and entered the Acre Citadel afterwards, where he assassinated his target.
Altaïr approached the fortress, just as King Richard was about to depart, with William walking at his side.
- Richard: Three thousand souls, William. I was told they would be held as prisoners, and used to barter for the release of our men.
- William: The Saracens would not have honored their end of the bargain. You know this to be true. I did you a favor.
King Richard laughed.
- Richard: Oh yes, a great favor indeed! Now our enemies will be that much stronger in their convictions, fight that much harder!
- William: I know our enemy well! They will not be emboldened, but filled with fear!
- Richard: Tell me, how is it you know the intentions of our enemies so well? You who forsake the field of battle to play at politics.
- William: I did what was right, what was just!
- Richard: You swore an oath to uphold the work of God, William! But that is not what I see here! No, I see a man who's trampled it!
- William: Your words are most unkind, my liege. I would hope I might have earned your trust by now.
- Richard: You are Acre's Regent, William, set to rule in my stead. How much more trust is required? Perhaps you'd like my crown?
- William: You miss the point! But this is nothing new!
- Richard: Much as I'd like to waste my day trading words with you, I've a war to fight. We'll have to continue this another time.
- William: Do not let me delay you then, your Grace.
King Richard then left with his escort, and rode for Arsuf.
- William: I fear there will be no place for men like him in the New World.
William turned to one of his men.
- William: Send word that I wish to speak with the troops. We must ensure that everyone is doing their part. Warn them that any negligence will be severely punished. I am in no mood to be trifled with today!
- Soldier: Yes, my lord!
- William: The rest of you, follow me!
William and his men retreated into the fortress. Altaïr made his way inside, and managed to catch William in the middle of lecturing his men.
- William: Men! Gather round! Heed well what I have to say! I come from speaking with the King, and the news is grim. We stand accused of failing in our duties. He does not recognize the value of our contributions to the cause.
- Soldiers: For shame! He knows nothing! He is wrong!
- William: Peace, peace! Hold your tongues! Aye, he speaks falsely, but his words are not without some merit. To tour these grounds, it is easy to find fault, to see imperfection. I fear we have grown slack, and lazy!
- Soldiers: Never! We are committed! Why do you say this?
- William: I see the way you train. You lack conviction and focus. You gossip and gamble. Tasks set to you are left unfulfilled, or poorly performed. This ends today! I will not suffer further degradation at his hands! For whether or not you see it, and you should, this is your fault! You've brought shame upon us all! Skill and dedication are what won us Acre, and they will be required to keep it! I have been too lenient it seems, but no more! You will train harder and more often! If this means missing meals, missing sleep, so be it! And should you fail in these tasks, you will learn the true meaning of discipline. Bring them forward.
Two of William's soldiers were brought forward for questioning.
- William: If I must make examples of some of you to ensure obedience, so be it. The two of you stand accused of whoring and drinking while on duty. What say you to these charges?
- Soldier 1: M-my lord, please, w-we meant no harm by it.
- Soldier 2: We... we forgot ourselves. It will not happen again.
- William: No, it won't.
The two men were then executed.
- William: Disregard for duty is infectious. It shall be rooted out and destroyed. In this way, we may prevent its spread. Am I understood?!
- Soldiers: Yes, my lord! Of course! By your command!
- William: Good, good. Return to your posts, filled with new sense of purpose. Stay strong, stay focused, and we will triumph. Falter however, and you will join these men, be sure of it. Dismissed!
Once William was finished, Altaïr assassinated him.
- Altaïr: Rest now. Your schemes are at an end.
- William: What do you know of my work?
- Altaïr: I know that you are going to murder Richard, and claim Acre for your son, Conrad.
- William: For Conrad? My son is an arse, unfit to lead his host, let alone a kingdom! And Richard, the all-see-know is no better, blinded as he is by faith in the insubstantial. Acre does not belong to either of them.
- Altaïr: Then who?
- William: The city belongs to its people.
- Altaïr: How can you claim to speak for the citizens? You stole their food, disciplined them without mercy, forced them into service under you.
- William: Everything I did, I did to prepare them for the New World. Stole their food? No. I took possession, so that when the lean times came, it might be rationed properly. Look around, my district is without crime, save those committed by you and your ilk. And as for the conscription, they were not being trained to fight. They were being taught the merits of order and discipline. These things are hardly evil.
- Altaïr: No matter how noble you believe your intentions, these acts are cruel and cannot continue.
William laughed once more.
- William: We'll see how sweet they are, the fruits of your labors. You do not free the cities as you believe, but rather damn them. And in the end, you'll have only yourself to blame. You, who speak of good intentions.
Altaïr then escaped the citadel, and returned to the Bureau.
- Jabal: What news?
- Altaïr: William of Montferrat is dead. And with him, his plans for betrayal.
- Jabal: You've done well, keeping Acre from his hands.
- Altaïr: But why now, when the Crusaders require unity most? Could have waited.
- Jabal: Waited for what? For Richard to return and discover his schemes? No, it was the perfect time for him to strike.
- Altaïr: Strange... I was sure he meant to take Acre for Conrad, yet he claimed this was not his plan.
- Jabal: You cannot trust the words of snake, which even in death, produces venom.
- Altaïr: I should discuss this with Al Mualim.
- Jabal: Yes, my friend. Make haste for Masyaf. I am sure he is eager for news.
Altaïr left the Bureau and travelled back to Masyaf.
- Al Mualim: Come, Altaïr. I would have news of your progress.
- Altaïr: I've done as you've asked.
- Al Mualim: Good, good. I sense your thoughts are elsewhere. Speak your mind.
- Altaïr: Each man I'm sent to kill speaks cryptic words to me. Each time I come to you and ask for answers. Each time you give only riddles in exchange. But no more!
- Al Mualim: Who are you to say "no more"?
- Altaïr: I'm the one who does the killing. If you want it to continue, you'll speak straight with me for once!
- Al Mualim: Tread carefully, boy. I do not like your tone.
- Altaïr: And I do not like your deception!
- Al Mualim: I have offered you a chance to restore your lost honor.
- Altaïr: Not lost! Taken! By you! And then you've sent me to fetch it again like some damned dog!
Al Mualim took up the sword lying on his desk.
- Al Mualim: It seems I'll need to find another! A shame, you showed great potential.
- Altaïr: I think if you had another, you'd have sent him long ago. You said the answer to my question would arise when I no longer needed to ask it. So I will not ask. I demand you tell me what binds these men!
- Al Mualim: What you say is true. These men are connected, by a blood oath not unlike our own.
Al Mualim placed the sword back on the desk.
- Altaïr: Who are they?!
- Al Mualim: Non nobis Domine, non nobis.
- Altaïr: Templars.
- Al Mualim: Now you see the true reach of Robert de Sablé.
- Altaïr: All of these men, leaders of cities, commanders of armies.
- Al Mualim: All pledge allegiance to his cause.
- Altaïr: Their works are not meant to be viewed on their own, are they? But as a whole. What do they desire?
- Al Mualim: Conquest! They seek the Holy Land not in the name of God, but for themselves!
- Altaïr: What of Richard? Salāḥ ad-Dīn?
- Al Mualim: Any who oppose the Templars will be destroyed. Be assured they have the means to accomplish it.
- Altaïr: Then they must be stopped.
- Al Mualim: That is why we do our work, Altaïr. To ensure a future free of such things.
- Altaïr: Why did you hide the truth from me?
- Al Mualim: That you might pierce the veil yourself. Like any task, knowledge precedes action. Information learned is more valuable than information given. Besides, your recent behavior had not inspired much confidence.
- Altaïr: I see.
- Al Mualim: Altaïr, your mission has not changed. Merely the context within which you perceive it.
- Altaïr: And armed with this knowledge, I might better understand those Templars that remain.
- Al Mualim: Is there anything else you want to know?
- Altaïr: What about the treasure Malik retrieved from Solomon's Temple? Robert seemed desperate to have it back.
- Al Mualim: In time, Altaïr, all will become clear. Just as the role of the Templars has revealed itself to you, so too will the nature of their treasure. For now, take comfort in the fact that it is not in their hands, but ours.
- Altaïr: If this is your desire.
- Al Mualim: It is. You are restored another rank. Take back your weapon. Use it to bring honor to the Brotherhood.
As Altaïr was about to leave, Al Mualim stopped him.
- Al Mualim: Altaïr, before you go?
- Altaïr: Yes?
- Al Mualim: How did you know I wouldn't kill you?
- Altaïr: Truth be told, Master, I didn't. I took a Leap of Faith.
Altaïr assassinated William of Montferrat, and returned to Masyaf to report to Al Mualim, where he learned the true nature of his enemies.