A/N: I know, two weekends came and went and no update. Sorry, sorry. It's coming now, no worries.
I wish I didn't see it. I wish that there was a way I could erase it, but instead, I had to witness this destruction. It wasn't the type of fires I knew, it was much worse. There were many homes on fire, and men were tossing parchments in the homes, adding to the fire and the flames.
I could hear the screams of those trapped inside, of the burned victims as they lay in the street, their charred flesh black and red. I gagged as one man rose a hand to reach for his wife, her screams in horror had frightened the baby in her arms as a large portion of the man's skin slid straight off and onto the ground beneath him. The madness of the fires was something I didn't remember. No, it should have only been piles of books and scrolls on fire, not homes, not people.
"What madness has filled this man?" Altair grit out as his fist clenched with rage. I followed him quickly as we traveled through the throng of people, weaving in and out of crowds and those helping the victims. With a hand on my stomach, flashes of images past filled my head, of the bloodbath I witnessed the last time I was in Damascus. I then vowed that I wouldn't return to the city, not for all of the money and gold in the world.
Grabbing my shoulder, Altair pushed me against a wall once we were clear of crowds. "You knew of this, didn't you?" he growled, glaring at me.
Shaking my head, I felt fear rise in me. "No, I knew of the fire yes, but not how far it would get. Please believe me, Altair, I did not see this destruction, this amount of pain and suffering. I did not see any of this."
Pulling away, he blinked, a sort of clear look passed his face. "Then nothing is set in stone if you didn't see this much." Looking back at me, he frowned. "Will the future change because of this change?"
I shook my head. "No, it won't." I then thought back to what I knew of the game and quickly compared it to what I saw then. Of course I didn't see fires and people dying, it would have altered the map of Damascus and therefore, altered the way Altair assassinated Jubair. It would have also tampered with what Kalil would have said. Would the rafik still say the same lines? Would he not know of what was happening? "Wait, something would have changed, but not enough to be significant."
Without a word, Altair took off again, hurrying to the bureau. Not bothering with the roof's top, Altair's fist pounded at the door on the side. I looked around to see if any were watching, especially a red helmed Templar but as far as I knew, these people in the poor district were oblivious to what was happening. Instead, they gossiped amongst themselves. Catching a phrase or two, I could hear that a few had no clue as to what was going on in the other two districts. Of course not. The poor district was just that, poor. The poor have no need for paper, only the supplies to survive.
The door creaked open and I could hear the rafik talking. "It's the hero of Damascus! Come in, stay a while, tell me of your adventures!" Kalil said, opening the door completely, making his way back to the main room of the bureau.
As Altair and I followed, I shutting the door after, I could hear the assassin growl. "I'm afraid I don't have the time."
Walking in the room, I could see the familiar pottery lining the walls, my ears catching the feign hurt in the rafik's voice. "I see, too important for me now."
Altair shook his head, his hood moving as he rose his hand. "It's not that..." he started, trying to find an excuse.
Kalil just smiled and right away I could tell that he was joking. "No, no, of course not," he said, waving a hand to dismiss it all together, winking in my direction. "How may I serve you then?"
Very serious again, Altair's shoulders straightened. "Al Mualim has asked I take the life of the one they called Jubair."
Recognition hit the rafik's face. He has heard of this man before. "Ah... Saladin's chief scholar." Looking over at Altair, I could see that he was trying to think of how Jubair fit into the puzzles of the Templars. "Strange choice of target, in my opinion. But who am I to question the master's work," he said quickly, as if Al Mualim had heard him and put a feather out for his head. "I'm sure he has his reasons."
Altair turned to me before looking back at Kalil. "Then you are familiar with the man?"
Shrugging, Kalil shook his head. He only knew of him, as did anyone else outside the ranks of Saladin's circle. "He has been quite busy these past few days, organizing the scholars and sending them into the streets to preach."
"What do they speak of?"
"Light and fire, cleansing sins."Altair's fists clenched again, harder this time, the worn leather he wore creaked. "Apocalyptic nonsense if you ask me, all this talk of paths and a new world." Kalil rolled his dark eyes.
"What of this new world?" I asked, hoping more could be told for Altair's sake.
Kalil turned to me and shrugged. "Couldn't say. I don't pay attention to the ramblings of mad men; much too busy with real work," he said, flourishing a hand over his pots and tomes. Of course, his earnings for him and his wife and his job as a rafik. Of course he wouldn't get out as much.
The assassin nodded. "Very well, I'll walk among the people, see what I can learn. Where would you suggest I search?"
Kalil pulled out a map and pointed at a roughly drawn square. Not a professional map such as the ones Malik works on but it would work for Altair. "South of here is an academy and a guard tower. They are both good places to search." Looking back down at the map, Kalil then pointed along the side of the map, following invisible marks, as if following steps leading to the next location. "There is also a hospital to the east you might want to visit."
Altair nodded, studying the map before looking up. "I'll begin at once."
Kalil smiled and nodded, rolling up the map before pointing it in Altair's direction. "So eager! You're certainly change, and for the better, I might add." I saw the corner of Altair's lips rise just a fraction before he set off to the courtyard, fixing his bracers and climbed the wall, beginning his mission. "Tell me, is Altair...different to you?"
I smiled before turning my attention back to the rafik. "Have you stepped away from the district in the past two days?"
Kalil shook his head. "I have not. I have no need to. Is there something wrong besides Jubair's actions?"
I sighed before shaking my head. "You'll learn soon enough," I said quietly. I didn't bother with asking him questions, especially since I only would have to unravel the truth for myself.
"Tell me, you have become as cryptic as the man who was just here. What has changed since our last meeting?"
Looking over at Kalil, I sighed, lowering my gaze before looking back up at him. "If anything, I'm realizing the reason why I do what I must do, why I have to sit and watch Altair go through his mission without interfering. It's maddening to know that I can't help, that I have to just watch idly."
Kalil nodded, walking to me as he laid a hand on my shoulder. "Life isn't a path we all know and can walk down easily. Even you must go down it blindly." I nodded. "I may not know what you see or have seen, Elisheba, but I know that you can go on normally."
I shook my head, closing my eyes. "That's just it, I can't. There...there's something I may have to do soon, but I don't know if my interfering with mess it up or set things as I know it will. That's a gamble I have to take."
"And if you don't?"
"If I don't... if I don't, and the events aren't as I know, then I've just messed everything up."
I could tell that he had given my words a lot of thought because he patted my shoulder, pulling away. "Then meditate on what you must do."
A/N: Second for today. I MAY put up a third if I have time, otherwise, it'll be another two chapters next weekend.