- "I hold here a list. Nine men adorn it, nine men who need to die. They are plague-bringers, war-makers... Their power and influence corrupt the lands, ensuring that the Crusades continue."
- ―Al Mualim to Altaïr, regarding Altaïr's new quest.[src]
|Hunt for the Nine|
July to September 1191
Initially an effort to stop the Third Crusade from destroying the Holy Land, the hunt was ultimately part of a world control conspiracy that nearly led to the destruction of both the Templars and the Assassins.
After being tricked by Al Mualim into believing that he had been killed, Altaïr was stripped of his weapons and rank, due to his failure at Solomon's Temple. Demoted to the rank of novice, he was given a chance for redemption by Al Mualim; his first task was to hunt down a traitor within their ranks who had opened the gates of Masyaf during the attack led by Robert de Sable. Using nothing but his knowledge of gathering information, Altaïr was able to learn through eavesdropping that the traitor had an accomplice who was a basket weaver. Altaïr then found this man and attempted to steal a letter from him, and was then able to gather more information from the letter itself, discovering that there were actually two traitors.
One of the traitors was a man named Masun, a herald within their village, and the other was Jamal, a member of the Assassins. Following this discovery, Altaïr found Masun within the village, preaching to the villagers about a "New World Order". After stalking and interrogating him, Masun was revealed to be in league with the Templars, whom he believed to be righteous and just, as well as considering Al Mualim to be a madman.
Following the interrogation, Altaïr brought Masun back to Al Mualim alive, believing that the man's fate was not his to decide. Back at the fortress, Al Mualim gave Masun a chance to repent for his sins against the Brotherhood, but he remained defiant, believing that what he had done was right. In response, Al Mualim then killed Masun with a longsword before handing the blood-stained blade to Altaïr. When asked about the other traitor, Al Mualim replied that he would speak with him and decide if he was merely misled and could be saved, or if he was corrupted by the Templars as well and needed to be destroyed.
Start of the huntEdit
- Altaïr: "Nine lives in exchange for mine."
- Al Mualim: "A most generous offer, I think. Have you any questions?"
- Altaïr: "Only where I need begin."
- —Altaïr and Al Mualim discussing the task at hand.[src]
After being given a sword and reacquiring his Hidden Blade, Altaïr was tasked by Al Mualim with the responsibility of hunting nine men — Crusaders and Saracens alike — who supported the Third Crusade, in exchange for keeping his own life.
Al Mualim then informed Altaïr that he would need to obtain permission from the local Assassin bureaus to perform each assassination. Altaïr argued that he did not need their permission, but Al Mualim overruled him, telling Altair that this was the price he would pay for his earlier mistakes. Finally accepting the offer, Altaïr left Masyaf on horseback and rode towards the Kingdom, beginning his quest for redemption.
Inspection of the Damascus marketEdit
- Tamir: "Ah, but he thinks I act alone. I am but a piece, a man with a part to play. You'll come to know the others soon enough... they won't take kindly to what you've done!"
- Altaïr: "Good. I look forward to ending their lives as well!"
- Tamir: "Such pride. It will destroy you, child."
- —Tamir to Altaïr, after the Assassin's success.[src]
Arriving at the Assassin bureau of Damascus, the Rafiq that resided there made some suggestions as to where Altaïr should look for information about Tamir, prompting Altaïr to begin to gather information around the Poor District of Damascus. Through this, he was able to learn that Tamir had an unusually large shipment of weapons for an unknown client. After gathering all possible information, the Rafiq granted Altaïr permission to start his mission and provided him with a feather that was to be soaked with the blood of the target, as proof of the assassination. Altaïr then set off to the Souk Al-Silaah, in order to kill Tamir.
When he arrived at the Souk, Altaïr noticed Tamir harassing a man whose duty was to fill out the client's requests. The man claimed that he didn't have enough time or the manpower to finish the orders, to which Tamir replied that if not for his aid, the man would still be charming serpents for money. When the man suggested that perhaps Tamir asked for too much, Tamir flew into a rage and killed the man, leaving his corpse in the middle of the Souk courtyard to serve as a warning to the rest of his subordinates.
Following this, as Tamir was inspecting and deriding what he declared as 'pathetic' work, Altaïr slowly made his way through the busy crowd towards Tamir and stabbed him in the throat.
As Tamir was dying in Altaïr's arms, he swore that the Assassin and his Order would pay for their crimes. Altaïr, however, was not impressed by this threat, believing Tamir would soon pay for his in the afterlife. Tamir then asked Altaïr if he saw him as some petty death-dealer, taking advantage of the Crusades, and noted that he was a strange target, considering that so many others profited from the war as well. Altaïr asked Tamir why he believed himself different from other profiteers; Tamir declared that he served a far nobler cause than mere profit.
Tamir also revealed that he had "brothers", and that he was only a piece, a man with a role to play. When Tamir assured Altaïr that he would come to meet his brothers in time, Altaïr remarked that he looked forward to ending their lives as well. Tamir warned Altaïr that his death wouldn't be overlooked, and that Altaïr's pride would destroy him eventually. With this, Tamir died and Altaïr proceeded to smear the feather on the wound of Tamir, covering it in blood, before retreating to the bureau.
- Altaïr: "You truly believe you were helping them?"
- Garnier: "It's not what I believe... it's what I know."
- ―Garnier's last words to Altaïr.[src]
After his second mission, Altaïr regained the right to use throwing knives and was told to travel to Acre, a city that was then held by the Crusaders. There he had to kill a doctor by the name of Garnier de Naplouse, the Grand Master of the Knights Hospitalier.
Altaïr traveled to the bureau in Acre and was told to search the Poor District for signs of his target. As the Assassin walked the streets, he learned that Garnier would soon be leaving his secluded study to see to his "patients". Altaïr was then told that all of the men who resided in his so-called "hospital" were taken against their will from Jerusalem, likely stolen away and transported by Talal.
Terrible screams were heard coming from the hospital as people were experimented on by the cruel doctor, and Altaïr scouted out the hospital's location and returned to the Rafiq, telling him of his discoveries. While the man remarked that Altaïr had done well, he gave the Assassin the white feather necessary for his task.
With the help of some wandering scholars, Altaïr was able to sneak into the fortress just in time, allowing him to witness a patient breaking free from his oppressors; he ran out of the hospital, screaming for help, but was soon caught by Garnier de Naplouse's guards. Garnier then revealed himself and spoke kindly to him, preaching how he would heal him, but the patient was not convinced, yelling of the evils done by Garnier and his men within the hospital.
Garnier became enraged and slapped his patient, before commanding the guards to send him back to his cell. However, when the screaming man proclaimed that he would simply escape again, and that chains would not bind him, Garnier denied him from any future hope of freedom by ordering the guards to break both of the man's legs, which they brutally did by shattering his kneecaps. With the patient screaming with pain, and the crowd watching in horror, Garnier's victim was dragged wailing into the hospital.
Breaking away from the scholarly group, Altaïr followed Garnier deep into the hospital, climbing above him to avoid the crazed patients flailing about below, before the Assassin soon leapt down on his prey and ended him and his experiments.
Realizing his fate, Garnier accepted his death, but he showed worry about his "children." Altaïr was surprised and confused by Garnier's concern for the subjects he had taken against their will, though Garnier claimed that they had no will of their own, as the majority of his patients were either insane or had mental disorders. Taken from streets and sewers, Garnier de Naplouse mentioned that he and the Knights Hospitalier were merely trying to remedy this situation, and claimed that they were only taken for their own good. The Hospitalier Grand Master went on to assert that he had been occasionally successful in his efforts, noting that his own guards were once deranged mental patients.
Altaïr asked if Garnier truly believed he was helping his patients; Garnier firmly stated that this was something that he was sure of. With these final words, Garnier died, and Altaïr was left with a dilemma, though he immediately escaped from the guards who had witnessed the doctor's death. After the event, he returned to the bureau, and after asking the Rafiq for guidance, he was sent to report to Al Mualim. Once he arrived, Altaïr's master told the Assassin that Garnier was lying about his good intentions and that Altaïr should trust his intuition as to what he had seen there, rather than what he had been told by an enemy.
- Talal: "Beggars, whores, addicts, lepers: do they strike you as proper slaves? Unfit for even the most menial tasks? No, I took them not to sell, but to save, and yet you'd kill us all... for no other reason than it was asked of you."
- Altaïr: "No! You profit from the war, from lives lost and broken."
- Talal: "Yes, you would think that, ignorant as you are. Wall off your mind: they say it's what your kind do best. Do you see the irony in all this? No, not yet, it seems, but you will..."
- —Talal's final words to Altaïr.[src]
After returning to Masyaf from his successful mission in Damascus, Altaïr was restored a rank and rewarded with a short blade. Upon receiving this, he was then instructed to leave for Jerusalem, a city governed by the Saracens, in order to assassinate the second man on the list, a slave trader named Talal.
Arriving at the city's Assassin bureau, Altaïr was harshly greeted by Malik Al-Sayf, the man who accompanied him during his mission in Solomon's temple. Their conversation was brief, as Altaïr quickly left to search the Rich District of Jerusalem for information regarding his target and location. Through the information that he had gathered, Altaïr learned that Talal's slave trading was easily ignored by the guards of the city, presumably because of his ties with other major figures in Jerusalem. He also learned that Talal was transporting these slaves to Acre, a city ruled by Crusaders, to an as yet unknown man.
After receiving the feather from a hesitant and spiteful Malik, Altaïr departed for the slaver's warehouse. The Assassin moved in quietly, and as he did, the warehouse doors closed automatically behind him. He then noticed several of the slaves Talal had taken in: beggars and lepers who had been bound behind metal bars, pleading for their freedom. As their cries continued, Altaïr noticed a shadow at a window. The silhouette tried to reason with Altaïr about what he was aiming for, but after realizing that Altaïr wouldn't see things his way, Talal began to mock Altaïr. The Assassin then went further into the warehouse, where it opened into a large room with light shining in its center. Following this, Talal beckoned Altaïr to enter the square of light cast by an open shutter on the roof of the warehouse.
As he complied, Altaïr was mocked once more by Talal as his men surrounded the Assassin. As Talal, though hiding in the shadows, continued with his sneers, he promised Altaïr one last request; the Assassin demanded that Talal reveal himself, to which the slaver proceeded to the high balcony and entered into view, showing his face. From there, Altaïr told him to fight with honor, though Talal ordered his men to kill the Assassin. However, Talal watched as his men were quickly dispatched by Altaïr, and, scared for his life, exited his warehouse through the roof and ran into the streets of Jerusalem, in a futile escape attempt. Altaïr swiftly pursued him, and after a long chase through the streets, he was able to catch and kill Talal.
Before dying, he exclaimed that God had abandoned him and the people he had captured. Talal further stated that he was not taking away their lives, but saving them; liberating them from the troubled streets and improving the quality of life for his captives. He continued that the Brotherhood, the same Brotherhood mentioned by Tamir, would not be easily stopped by his death. Altaïr disagreed with Talal, stating that he benefited from the Crusades, from the broken lives of his captives, though Talal sneered that Altaïr was ignorant and still did not see the irony in the situation. As he drew his last breath, Altaïr smeared the feather with his blood and returned to the bureau, where he was criticized by Malik for rousing the entire city and not being subtle enough in his work.
The Merchant King's partyEdit
- Altaïr: "So this is about vengeance, then?"
- Abu'l: "No, not vengeance, but my conscience. How could I finance a war in service to the same god that calls me an abomination?"
- ―Abu'l Nuqoud to Altaïr.[src]
After Altaïr received a new pair of combat gloves from his master, along with his next rank, he was given the names of three more targets and three more messenger pigeons were sent out to the Assassin bureaus in the nearby cities.
Subsequently, Altaïr returned to Damascus and headed to the bureau, where he asked about the wealthy Abu'l Nuqoud, the "Merchant King" as he was colloquially referred to. Whilst he was there, the Rafiq gave Altaïr a backhanded compliment, saying he envied him, aside from his demotion, failure, and the hatred of his comrades. Altaïr claimed he didn't care for what others thought of him, and was then told that his new target was very secluded and "strange". From there, the Assassin was instructed to gather more information around the Rich District of the city.
After scouring the district for information on the Merchant King of Damascus, Abu'l Nuqoud, Altaïr found out that the man was having a rare celebration, during which he would remove himself from the seclusion of his home and appear out in the public that he despised. On his return to the Rafiq in the bureau and his explanation of the plan he concocted to strike during the party, Altaïr was given the necessary feather and left to kill his target.
Once at Abu'l Nuqoud's grand palace, Altaïr mixed in with the crowd until the man himself revealed his presence in order to give a speech to the attendants from a balcony above the people. While at first he appeared to be a gracious host, Nuqoud soon changed his attitude when he lectured the people on their foolishness in paying to support the war effort, stating that the party-goers were ignorant in the way they only feared those who were different from themselves, such as the Crusaders and himself, and used it to fuel unnecessary conflict.
Abu'l then accused the attendants of mocking him and his idiosyncrasies, though he gleefully explained that they would no longer talk behind his back, since they discovered too late that the wine was poisoned, once a few of the attendants began to drop while they clutched at their throats, coughing and choking as the toxin invaded their systems, before slowly perishing to Nuqoud's cruel plot. Following this, Abu'l then commanded his archers to "kill anyone who [tried] to escape."
Spurred into action, Altaïr climbed up the centerpiece of the courtyard, a statue of a water-bearing woman, before he free-ran towards Nuqoud as he watched the people around him dying from the wine and the volley of the guard's arrows, before he grasped hold of the balcony. However, Abu'l made every effort to flee, despite his large size slowing him down considerably, forcing the Assassin to pursue. Altaïr's stamina was enough to eventually catch up with the obese man and deal a fatal blow to the Merchant King.
As the Assassin ended Nuqoud's life, Abu'l claimed that he didn't believe in the same God whose faith labeled him as an abomination, and that his personal motivations were based somewhat on the rich men who pretended to follow him, but whose hearts were rife with bigotry. Abu'l Nuqoud then told Altaïr that he did not support Saladin, but a higher power, claiming that they "[would] have [their] New World."
He also challenged Altaïr's faith in his cause, remarking that they were the same in what they did, killing a few to improve the fortunes of the many. Once Nuqoud passed away and Altaïr obtained the mark of his death, he then returned to Masyaf with news of his success, but asked Al Mualim about the men that he killed, saying that they all seemed to be connected, though Al Mualim only replied that he would learn the answer when he "no longer needed to ask."
- Altaïr: "No matter how noble you believe your intentions, these actions are cruel and cannot continue!"
- 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."
- ―William to Altaïr, on his last breath.[src]
After his work in Damascus, Altaïr was given an pair of Assassin's boots that allowed for dexterous dodges and improved balance, along with a stronger silver blade. Altaïr then rode to Acre for a second time to assassinate the city's regent, William of Montferrat.
After arriving in the bureau, the Rafiq in Acre told Altaïr that William was put in charge of the city as a sort of political hostage, to calm the conflicts that his son, Conrad, was building with King Richard I. Altaïr remarked disgustedly at the underhanded acts of politicians, but the Rafiq reminded him that he too was a politician in his own right, as each kill committed by the Assassins was changing the power balance of the Holy Land through the removal of vigorous tyrants or political figures.
Altaïr then traveled to the Rich District of the city and found that William of Montferrat was a harsh leader, who oppressed his people with strict governing. Although he was said to be training soldiers for the Crusade, no men had moved from Acre to join the battle at Arsuf; instead they surrounded William in his fortress. However, the Assassin was told that King Richard had come to Acre to berate the Regent Lord for the execution of nearly 3000 Saracen prisoners taken when the Crusaders captured Acre, who were meant to be traded back to Saladin.
Through procuring information from multiple sources, Altaïr learned that William was always angry and distracted, as he antagonized his own men, blaming them for his failures. Altaïr returned to the bureau with this news, saying that he would attack while Montferrat was distracted with his men in his fortress. The Rafiq then approved, and gave him leave to strike.
Altaïr found William escorting King Richard out of his fortress as they argued heatedly. William claimed that their enemy's army would not be outraged by the death of the Saracen prisoners in Acre, but rather filled with fear. Richard asked suspiciously of how a man who stayed so far from the fighting knew his enemy so well, to which William replied that he ought to have had his King's trust by then. Richard responded that making him Regent of Acre was sufficient proof of his trust, and left William to sulk, as he headed back to the front line at Arsuf.
Frustrated with this, William gathered his men, preparing to blame and berate them, just as Altaïr suspected he would. As his target yelled at his men, Altaïr infiltrated the citadel, running across the rooftops and using his throwing knives to take out many of the archers stationed within. Soon, Altaïr reached the Regent Lord as he scorned his men's sloppy work, and waited silently above as William dismissed his men and sent them back to their posts. While William walked over to a nearby desk to make plans, the Assassin leaped down from above, putting his blade through William's throat.
As William died, he claimed that he didn't care about his son Conrad or King Richard, and that neither man would be fit for the "new world" he was creating. When questioned about his cruelty to the citizens of Acre, such as stealing their food, he responded that he was simply preparing his people; by merely taking possession of it so that it could be rationed for the lean times that the transition to his new world would bring. William told Altaïr that he ruled strictly to give his city order and justice, as his district was free of crime other than those committed by the Assassins, and that the heavy conscription of men into his army was to install those virtues of his ideals into the people. Altaïr remarked that while William's actions may have been well-intended, they were cruel and could not continue, but with his last breath, William sneered that Altaïr's actions would not free the people of the Holy Land, but damn them.
Altaïr returned to the bureau and asked about these strange speeches of his victims, however the Rafiq told him not to trust a snake, who had venom even in death, and to see Al Mualim for more answers.
With this, Altaïr returned to Masyaf, frustrated and furious, where he confronted Al Mualim for the constant encryption of his words. Altaïr accused his master, saying that his high rank was not lost, but rather taken, and that if any other man had the ability to kill these powerful men, then he would have already been sent in place of Altaïr. Altaïr elaborated that Al Mualim needed him, and demanded explanation of his tasks. Though furious at Altaïr's outburst, Al Mualim gave in, and told the Assassin of the hidden connection between the nine men – that they were all Templars. Whatever side of the war they claimed to be on, their masters were not King Richard or Saladin, but rather Robert de Sable. Before Altaïr left, Al Mualim asked the Assassin how he knew that he would not kill him, to which Altaïr replied, "Truth is, Master, I didn't. I took a leap of faith."
- Altaïr: "You'd kill people simply for believing differently from you?"
- Majd: "Of course not! I killed them because I could! Because it was fun! Do you know what it feels like to determine another man's fate? And did you see the way the people cheered? The way they feared me? I was like a god! You'd have done the same if you could! Such power!"
- ―Majd Addin, speaking to Altaïr regarding the power he held.[src]
Following the death of William of Montferrat, Altaïr was given additional throwing knives and was sent to Jerusalem to kill the city's ruler, Majd Addin. As he was told, Altaïr traveled there and met with Malik in the Bureau. Malik told him that the area had been in chaos since the tyrant Majd Addin usurped control over Jerusalem after Saladin left for war; Addin ruled the city through a combination of fear and intimidation, proving to be a violent leader and harsh in his punishments. Altaïr asked for a location to begin his search, though this amazed Malik, as for once Altaïr had asked for aid rather than demanding it, following which Malik gave the Assassin the names of areas in the Poor District to explore.
As Altaïr searched through the area, saving citizens and finding information, he discovered that Majd Addin loved personally performing executions and giving righteous speeches to the people and the criminals during them, and that when he talked to the criminals, his back was always to the crowd. Altaïr also overheard from a father whose son was to be executed that there would be an execution that day, performed by Addin himself.
Altaïr returned to Malik, who criticized him, called him a novice, and said that rank was based on one's actions, not the markings on their robes. Altaïr explained that he would strike during the execution that was to be held that day. Before he left, Malik gave Altaïr one more task: one of the men being executed was an Assassin, and although another team of Assassins was prepared to rescue him, Altaïr must end the life of Majd Addin before the brother was executed by him, and provide a distraction for the escape.
At the execution site, Altaïr moved stealthily into the crowd gathering before the criminals as Majd Addin entered, with all the people cheering for him. Addin gave a speech to the crowd about justice, and told the people about the four criminals' "crimes", calling the Assassin a 'heretic'. As it was, guards were stationed all around the podium and archers were on the roofs, so when the angry father came charging towards the stage and insisting that his son was innocent, he was instantly shot and his friend was cut down by a guard. Following this event, Altaïr noticed a group of scholars coming to pray for the souls of the soon to be executed people and he stealthily joined them, walking slowly with his head down to blend in with the holy men who reached the stand at the edge of the platform, and past the line of guards. The first victim, a woman, was accused of infidelity, but she proclaimed that she was not there for laying with others, only for refusing to lay with Addin before he silenced her cries. As Addin moved to the next victim, Altaïr broke away from the scholars and assassinated Majd Addin with his Hidden Blade.
Altaïr expected Majd Addin to give some kind of justification for his actions as the others did, but Addin simply stated that the Templars wanted control of the city and he wanted power, showing that he was not the most loyal in his Order, as he did not believe in their New World. The tyrant admitted that his victims were no criminals, but dangerous just the same; they were dissidents who spoke out against his authority. When asked how he could kill men simply for disagreeing, Majd replied that he didn't kill them for believing differently, he killed them because he could, because he loved the power and fear that he gained from it, claiming that it was a sense of an almost god-like power, and that anyone else – even Altaïr – would have done the same in such a position. After hearing this, Altaïr showed his target what happened to men who raised themselves above others, by savagely thrusting his Hidden Blade into Addin's throat once more and ended his reign of terror.
Afterwards, Altaïr informed Malik that he had been successful, however Malik replied with silence. When Altaïr sarcastically asked why Malik had not pointed out some incredible flaw in his work, Malik said that Altaïr performed no better or no worse than he should, and that he should not have to ask for praise just because he completed the task assigned to him. Following this, Altaïr returned to Masyaf and talked with Al Mualim about something that he had noticed; the Templar leaders seemed to be intentionally hindering both the Crusaders and the Saracen army, but Altaïr was at a loss to know why. Al Mualim opened the Templar treasure that Malik had recovered and removed a silver orb from inside, before proceeding to explain to his student that Robert de Sable wanted the Holy Land for himself to begin a new Templar empire, what they called their "New World", but that they could not do so because the treasure he held was crucial for the Templar's plans. Altaïr queried how a piece of silver could have such importance, and Al Mualim explained that it was this object that parted and closed the Red Sea, that began the Trojan War, and that allowed "a carpenter to turn water into wine". Altaïr then vehemently claimed that this power must never touch Templar hands, and Al Mualim gladly agreed, giving Altaïr two more targets, one in Acre and one in Damascus.
- Jubair: "Why?! Why have you done this?!"
- Altaïr: "Men must be free to do what they believe. It is not our right to punish one for thinking what they do, no matter how much we disagree!"
- ―Altaïr to Jubair, speaking of the rights of man.[src]
As a reward for his previous success, Altaïr was granted with his personal sword, before being set off to eliminate his final target in Damascus – a man named Jubair al Hakim. However, when he arrived at Damascus and told the Rafiq there of his task, the man found it odd, as Jubair was not a politician, but the Chief Scholar of Saladin. Despite this, the bureau leader would not question Al Mualim's judgment and explained that the scholar had been very active lately, sending his men out into the city to preach about "the light and the flame" as well as something about a "New World" and more Templar madness. Altaïr was then sent south, to the Middle District of Damascus to uncover more information on the man.
Altaïr learned that Jubair had been gathering all texts and books from the people and burning them all, calling the writings "dangerous". The Assassin's target had a group of followers who wore the same robes as he did, with the only way to differentiate between them and Jubair was that his cloak was made with fine golden embroidery and that he often carried a pouch with him. Upon overhearing a man who wanted to join Jubair's ranks, Altaïr learned that his target had scheduled a meeting with his men that day at the Madrasah Al-Kallāsah in the Middle District.
Altaïr returned and told the bureau leader of Jubair's actions and the burning of the texts, explaining why Al Mualim might have cause to want him killed. The Assassin said that he planned to strike during the daily meeting and the Rafiq relinquished another feather for Jubair's blood.
Arriving at the meeting, Altaïr watched from above as a scholar pleaded with Jubair to stop his vendetta against every written work in Damascus. Many other scholars watched their interchange from afar as they threw books to the flame. Jubair told the pleading man that the books were a weapon used to trap the people, but the scholar disagreed, saying that the writings were not weapons, but gifts of knowledge. To this, Jubair questioned whether the man before him had considered who had wrote the books and whether the authors were trustworthy, before he then picked up a book and moved to a nearby bonfire, while stating that books limited people's view of the world and hindered free thought.
As the scholar stepped between Jubair and the fire while asking him to stop his madness, Jubair scoffed, saying that the man believed in the books more than he did in himself. Following this, he asked the scholar if he would do anything for his precious books, to which the man hesitantly replied yes, before Jubair loudly exclaimed "Then join them!" and pushed the man into the flames.
While the man writhed in the fire for a short time, the chief scholar turned to the rest of the group and inquired whether any of the others would like to disagree with him, but after witnessing what had just occurred, none spoke. Promptly, the meeting ended, with all of the men splitting up to gather texts and to preach across the district.
Swiftly, Altaïr moved through the area from scholar to scholar, killing off each man before he was able to take more literature away from the people. Finally, Altaïr found Jubair in an open, roofless house proclaiming his ideals to the people in the street. The entrance to the house was well guarded, so Altaïr climbed around his target, defeating the archers who watched over Jubair from above. Next, the Assassin dropped silently into the house, sneaked up behind his target, and put an end to his destructive beliefs.
In Jubair's last moments, Altaïr told the Templar that free thought could not be forced on the people: it had to be taught to them. In response, Jubair protested that they would not learn because they were fixed in their ways. Altaïr claimed that he was wrong, but the dying man replied that he himself was not so different from the books that he had burned, a source of knowledge that was disagreed with. Yet, Jubair taunted, Altaïr did not hesitate to take the chief scholar's knowledge from the world. Altaïr explained that Jubair was a danger to the people, "A small sacrifice to save many", but Jubair al Hakim reminded the Assassin that it was books and written word that led both Saladin and King Richard toward their bloody war. Jubair added that books had caused many more deaths than one man ever could, and finishing that, he too was making a small sacrifice.
On his departure, Altaïr returned to the Assassin bureau and told the Rafiq what he had seen, before he moved on to Masyaf. When Al Mualim heard that they were one step closer to their goal, he asked Altaïr what exactly their goal was. Altaïr answered that it was to provide freedom to the world, and Al Mualim asked what the world was. The student stated that the world was an illusion, one that most men were blinded by, and while the Templars tried to use that illusion to rule the people, the Assassins sought to help them transcend. Al Mualim then asked what it was to transcend, and Altaïr replied that it was to realize that nothing was true and that everything was permitted, and that they must use that understanding for wisdom, not brashness. After Altaïr's understanding of the deeper meaning behind the Assassin Order's maxim, Al Mualim mentioned to Altaïr that there was only one more obstacle before his final task.
- "I followed my orders, believing in my cause, same as you."
- ―Sibrand's last words.[src]
With the success of Jubair's assassination, Altaïr was rewarded with an upgraded short blade. With that, he traveled to the ports of Acre to kill the last man that stood between him and de Sable, Meister Sibrand, leader of the Knights Teutonic. Upon further investigation, Altaïr learned that Sibrand had become paranoid with fear of the Assassins, due to the news of his brothers' deaths across the Holy Land, causing him to see enemies everywhere. Due to his fear, he demanded that the patrols be doubled and even threatened to withdraw knights from the battlefield in order to protect him. With Sibrand's evident fear clouding his mind, Altaïr returned to the bureau to report what he knew and was granted permission by the Rafiq to carry out the assassination.
Infiltrating the docks, Altaïr came across a commotion; Sibrand had accused a scholar of being an Assassin due to the similarities in their clothing. The scholar cried to the onlookers for help to no avail, as no one stepped in to assist him. Though he claimed that the Assassins wore similar robes to install fear, Sibrand refused to listen, and brutally killed the scholar claiming "what I do, I do for Acre!" He then told the onlookers to be vigilant and to report any suspicious behavior to the guards, saying that he doubted he had seen the last of the Assassins. From there, Sibrand moved to don his personal helmet and returned to the safety of his ship to await departure.
Navigating his way across the water, Altaïr managed to reach Sibrand's vessel, where the latter shot arrows at nothing in particular, screaming "Fine, none of you will lift a hand in defense of your master? I'll take care of this heathen myself!" Altaïr, understanding that this insanity made Sibrand vulnerable, climbed aboard the vessel, and as Sibrand saw Altaïr, the Templar attempted to make a flawed escape. However, with a brief pursuit, the Assassin lunged at his target and drove his blade in Sibrand's throat. In his dying breath, Sibrand said that he was afraid. Altaïr reassured him that he would be safe in the arms of his God, but the Teutonic leader revealed that he knew that only nothingness waited for him; that the treasure was proof that life was all he had, and that was the cause of his fear.
He also revealed that he intended to block the ports to prevent "the fool kings and queens" from sending reinforcements. Altaïr asked if it was for once they had conquered the Holy Land, but Sibrand retorted that he sought not to conquer the Holy Land, but free it from the tyranny of faith. Altaïr questioned his idea of freedom because of the means by which they would achieve it. To this, Sibrand merely rebuked that he followed his orders, believing in his cause, same as Altaïr.
Back at the bureau, Altaïr questioned the Rafiq about the justness of his task and whether his targets needed to die, debating that they were "misguided, perhaps, but pure in motive." The Rafiq assured Altaïr that regret for the killing of others is only human, but said that such knowledge of the Templar's unworthiness to live is above him and that he should speak with Al Mualim about it. With that, Altaïr rode for Masyaf to speak to his master.
On his arrival, Al Mualim finally explained to Altaïr of Robert de Sable's plans for the Holy Land once he had took it: peace, and an end to war. Altaïr was confused, but his teacher told him that it was not the Templars' goal that was evil, only their way of achieving it; that they wish to force order, using the Apple. The speeches of the men he had killed began to make sense for Altaïr, and from that moment, the Assassin knew that he must kill his final target so that the Assassin Order could guide the people to freedom, where Robert would force them.
Funeral for the fallenEdit
- Maria: "Robert rides for Arsuf to plead his case, that Saracen and Crusader unite... against the Assassins!"
- Altaïr: "That will never happen! They have no reason to!"
- Maria: "Had, perhaps. But now you've given them one: nine, in fact. The bodies you've left behind, victims on both sides. You've made the Assassins an enemy in common and ensured the annihilation of your entire order! Well done!"
- —Robert's decoy, Maria Thorpe, to Altaïr, revealing the Templar's plans.[src]
After a successful assassination in Acre, Altaïr was promoted to the tenth and final rank, and all of the equipment that he had during the mission in Solomon's Temple was returned to him. With this, he was instructed by his master to head for Jerusalem, where he was to confront the ninth and final man on the list, Robert de Sable, the Grand Master of the Knights Templar: the man who he faced in the Temple, the leader of the siege in Masyaf, and the Assassin Order's greatest nemesis and obstacle to their goals.
Arriving at the bureau, Malik greeted Altaïr with a more respectful tone, much to Altaïr's surprise, although the conversation was cut short, as Altaïr began to scour the Middle District of Jerusalem for information regarding de Sable's presence. It seemed that Robert publicly announced that he would be in Jerusalem to attend the funeral of one of Altaïr's past targets, Majd Addin, along with a number of his men, as a symbol of mutual cooperation and respect between the Saracens and the Crusaders. With this knowledge, Altaïr reported to the bureau, where he was handed the feather. He then quickly left to attend the funeral of the man he had killed.
As he arrived, he saw that both the citizens and soldiers had begun to listen to the sermon of the funeral's speaker. Standing beside him was Robert de Sable, alongside his men, and the Saracen guards assigned to protect them. As the speaker began to preach Addin's past life, Altaïr quietly watched from within the crowd, blending in amongst the citizens by praying. As Altaïr watched from the sidelines, Robert de Sable whispered in the speaker's ear, following which the speaker then began to preach their attempts to locate the man responsible for Addin's death. As he did, Crusaders and Saracen soldiers appeared and stood before the crowd, and Altaïr's presence was revealed by the speaker; as the citizens fled from the cemetery, the soldiers went to seize Altaïr.
Drawing his sword to engage the soldiers before him, the Assassin fought with superior skill to that of de Sable and his men. As the last soldier fell to the ground, Altaïr confronted de Sable and overpowered him.
To ensure his victory over Robert, Altaïr wanted to see de Sable's eyes before he died, but to his surprise, the face underneath the helmet was not that of Altaïr's nemesis but that of a woman's. She explained that she was merely a decoy so that the real Robert had enough time to flee. She admitted that, because of Altaïr's meddling, both in denying the Templars the Piece of Eden and by slaying their agents across the realm, control over the Holy Land seemed farther away to them, though de Sable saw an opportunity where he could turn the Assassin's victories into their own.
Altaïr sneered that the Piece of Eden was still in Al Mualim's possession and that the Assassins could easily repulse Robert's army as they had before, but the woman continued to explain that de Sable had marched to Arsuf, where he would plead to both the Saracen and the Crusaders to unite against the Assassins. Although Altaïr believed that they had no reason to, the woman proudly explained that they did have a reason, in fact nine. Altaïr's targets, the men he had killed, both Saracen and Crusaders, were the driving force for why the two forces had a common enemy. With this in tow, Altaïr remarked that they only had eight reasons; since the woman was not his target, he spared her life and threatened her not to follow him. She proudly said that she would not, as he was already too late, to which he replied that remained to be seen.
Returning to the bureau, Altaïr explained to Malik what had happened, following which Malik asked Altaïr to return to Masyaf and seek the permission of Al Mualim. However, Altaïr disagreed and said that he would ride for Arsuf and stop de Sable's plan. Malik explained that they could not act without the master's permission, for this could compromise the Brotherhood, a part of the three tenets he thought Altaïr had learned. Altaïr however, reprimanded him to stop hiding behind the Creed, and that he believed that Al Mualim was hiding important things from them; Altaïr suspected that the business they had with the Templars was deeper than what Al Mualim had told him.
Altaïr then instructed Malik to leave the city and head for Masyaf while he himself headed for Arsuf. However, Malik could not leave the city. Thinking on his feet, Altaïr then gave him a new order, to walk amongst the crowd and scour the city for information he might have missed regarding his past targets. After this, Altaïr and Malik bid their farewells to each other, as Altaïr prepared to ride for Arsuf.
In pursuit of Robert de SableEdit
- Main article: Battle of Arsuf
Riding on horseback to Arsuf, Altaïr fought his way past archers and guards until he reached King Richard. The monarch initially assumed Altaïr was one of Saladin's heralds, come to negotiate, but the Assassin refuted this, and corrected him on his assumption. Upon hearing Altaïr's explanation, King Richard allowed Altaïr to converse with him. Altaïr stated that one of Richard's men, Robert de Sable, was plotting to overthrow him and his army in order to take control of the Holy Land using the Apple of Eden. Richard responded that Robert had told him a different story; that he merely wished to avenge the murder of several lieutenants in Acre by the Assassins. Altaïr replied that he had killed those men for good reason, as they had become corrupted, and were working from Robert's orders.
At this point, Richard turned to Robert and asked him for the truth; the Templar Grand Master insisted that Altaïr's words were lies meant to prevent the Crusaders and Saracens from allying and marching on Masyaf. Uncertain as to whom he should trust, Richard decided that the decision would be made by God, and instructed the two to fight, believing God would side with the person telling the truth, thus giving them the victory. Robert reluctantly agreed, and then set half a dozen of his best men against the Assassin. Altaïr swiftly eliminated them, forcing Robert to enter the fray; Robert proved a masterful swordsman and a difficult foe to defeat, but eventually left an opening, allowing Altaïr to strike a fatal blow.
As Robert lay dying, Altaïr remarked that the Templars' schemes were finally at an end, but Robert gave a cold laugh and told the Assassin that he knew nothing. Robert explained that of the initial nine that he killed, there had originally been ten, with the final man being that of his master, Al Mualim. Altaïr refused to accept this, but Robert informed him that Al Mualim could only have known about the conspiracy if he was part of it. The Templar then continued that Al Mualim had been using Altaïr to hunt down and kill the nine Templars not to end the Crusade, but so he could gain sole possession of the artifact, and the right to the Holy Land. With this, Robert warned the Assassin that he was the only one left to be disposed of by Al Mualim, before succumbing to his wounds.
After learning the truth, Altaïr spoke with King Richard, who stated that God was watching over Altaïr, even if he was not a believer. After a brief discussion as to the validity to the Assassin Order's mission, Altaïr took his leave, and headed back to Masyaf to face Al Mualim.
- Main article: Retaking of Masyaf
Altaïr returned to Masyaf, where he found it to be in a state eerily reminiscent of a ghost town. While it appeared initially abandoned, forthwith Al Mualim sent many enthralled citizens towards Altaïr. Forced to fight against them to survive, the Assassin was soon joined by Malik and a group of those unaffected, which allowed Altaïr to power his way through his possessed Brothers to get to the Assassin fortress.
Within the Masyaf castle, Altaïr made his way through the courtyard where many faces of the civilians eyed him with intense focus, until he entered the gardens in the back of the fortress. There, Al Mualim restrained Altaïr with the Apple, but on his repeated resistance, the Assassin eventually powered through the illusions created by the Piece of Eden and struck a grievous blow to his former master. As he lay dying, Al Mualim revealed why he wanted to seize the Holy Land: by enslaving all those under the Apple's radius, there would be no war and the populace would be guided by one objective, his own. With the death of Al Mualim, peace was returned to the Holy Land, and Altaïr ushered in a great new era in the Assassin Order's history during his time as Mentor.