|الاغتيال (أبو النقود)|
These men I'm sent to kill are wicked. They profit from the war. And so I am sent to stop them, and ensure that peace returns. But then why do the Merchant King's words dig so deeply? Is it wrong for me to see a bit of truth in them? I should return to المعلم, that he may help me make sense of this and crush these seeds of doubt.
الطائر infiltrated the Merchant King's Palace, and assassinated أبا النقود, after the latter decided to kill his party guests.
الطائر entered the Merchant King's Palaceand waited. أبو النقود soon emerged from his quarters to address the crowd from a balcony.
- أبو النقود: Welcome, welcome! Thank you all, for joining me this evening. Please, eat, drink, enjoy all the pleasures I have to offer! Take your time, I will wait.
The fountain began to fill with wine, and several people moved in to fill their cups.
- أبو النقود: I trust everything is to your satisfaction?
- المواطنون: Most excellent, most excellent, thank you.
- أبو النقود: Good, good. It pleases me to see you all so happy. For these are dark days, my friends, and we must enjoy this bounty, while we still can. War threatens to consume us all. Salāḥ ad-Dīn bravely fights for what he believes in, and you are always there to support him without question. It is your generosity, that allows this campaign to continue. So, I propose a toast then! To you, my dear friends. You have brought us to where we are today. May you be given everything you deserve.
Loud cheering was heard from the crowd.
- أبو النقود: Such kindness! I didn't think it in you! You, who have been so quick to judge me! And so cruel.
The crowd seemed shocked at the Merchant King's accusations.
- أبو النقود: Oh, do not feign ignorance! Do you take me for a fool? That I have not heard the words whispered behind my back? Well, I have, and I fear I can never forget. But this is not why I called you here tonight, no. I wish to speak more of this war, and your part in it. You give up your coin, quick as can be, knowing all too well it buys the deaths of thousands. You don't even know why we fight. "The Sanctity of the Holy Land" you'll say. Or "The Evil Inclination of our enemies." But these are lies you tell yourselves!
أبو النقود laughed.
- أبو النقود: No. All this suffering is borne of fear and hate! It bothers you that they are different, just as it bothers you that I am different!
Abu'l drank the rest of his wine before continuing.
- أبو النقود: Compassion, mercy, tolerance. These words mean nothing to any of you! Mean nothing to those infidel invaders, who ravage our land in search of gold and glory! And so, I say enough! I've pledged myself to another cause. One that will bring about a new world in which all people might live, side by side, in peace. A pity none of you will live to see it.
A man in the crowd hunched over, coughing violently, and eventually collapsed and died, affected by the poisoned wine. Several more people followed, while the rest ran in terror as archers took aim at the crowd.
- أبو النقود: Kill anyone who tries to escape!
الطائر managed to climb the palace walls and escape the courtyard. He navigated the building and eventually assassinated the Merchant King.
- الطائر: Be at peace now. Their words can no longer do harm.
- أبو النقود: Why have you done this?
- الطائر: You stole money from those you claim to lead. Sent it away for some unknown purpose. I want to know where it's gone and why.
- أبو النقود: Look at me! My very nature is an affront to the people I ruled. And these noble robes did little more than to muffle their shouts of hate.
- الطائر: So this is about vengeance then.
- أبو النقود: No, not vengeance, but my conscience. How could I finance a war in service to the same God that calls me an abomination?
- الطائر: If you do not serve Salāḥ ad-Dīn's cause then whose?
- أبو النقود: In time you'll come to know them. I think perhaps, you already do.
- الطائر: Then why hide? And why these dark deeds?
- أبو النقود: Is it so different than your own work? You take the lives of men and women, strong in the conviction that their deaths will improve the lots of those left behind. A minor evil, for a greater good? We are the same.
- الطائر: No, we are nothing alike.
- أبو النقود: Ah, but I see it in your eyes. You doubt. You cannot stop us. We will have our new world.
الطائر escaped Abu'l palace and returned to the Bureau afterwards.
- الرفيق: Word has reached me of your success, الطائر.
- الطائر: أبو النقود's reign of terror is at an end.
- الرفيق: I'm glad to hear it.
- الطائر: He killed them. The men and women at his party. It was poison, a coward's tool. Blamed them for the war. Said he wished to end it.
- الرفيق: Strange. But then again the Merchant King was known to be a bit... different. Perhaps this was simply a symptom of his madness.
- الطائر: Perhaps.
- الرفيق: You sound unconvinced. Speak with Al Mualim then. He may offer a better explanation.
- الطائر: Yes, we'll see what he has to say...
الطائر left the Bureau and returned to Masyaf. He found his Master near a bookshelf in the study.
- المعلم: Come, الطائر. Speak with me a moment.
- الطائر: As you wish.
- المعلم: Word has reached me of your success. You've my gratitude, and that of the realm. Freeing these cities from their corrupt leaders will no doubt promote the cause of peace.
- الطائر: Can you really be so sure?
- المعلم: The means by which men rule are reflected in their people. As you cleanse the cities of corruption, you heal the hearts and minds of those who live within.
- الطائر: Our enemies would disagree.
- المعلم: What do you mean?
- الطائر: Each man I've slain has confessed strange words to me. They are without regret. Even in death they seem confident of their success. Though they do not admit it directly, there is a tie that binds them. I'm sure of it.
- المعلم: There is a difference, الطائر, between what we are told to be true, and what we see to be true. Most men do not bother to make the distinction. It is simpler that way. But as an الحشاش, it is your nature to notice, to question.
- الطائر: Then what is it that connects these men?
- المعلم: Ah, but as an Assassin, it is also your duty to still these thoughts, and trust in your Master. For there can be no true peace without order. And order requires authority.
- الطائر: You speak in circles, Master! You commend me for being aware, then ask me not to be. Which is it?
- المعلم: The question will be answered when you no longer need to ask it.
- الطائر: I assume you called me here for more than just a lecture.
Al Mualim chuckled.
- المعلم: Very well. A rank and weapon are again restored to you. Two more leaders remain. Go and see to it that their rule is ended.
الطائر assassinated أبو النقود, and returned to Masyaf for further instructions.