Altair awoke feeling his head buzzing with pain. His hand went to the back of his neck were the majority of the ache resonated, and felt a slight bump. The flesh was tender and flinched with discomfort when he touched it.
Lowering his hand, reality slowly crept back as he took in his surroundings, thinking his whole encounter with the black 'demon' was just a dream. But this was not the Assassin's bureau, and he wasn't lying on the familiar firm ground that was blanketed with rugs and plush pillows. He slipped his hood off to get a better look around and nothing short of confused. There a low table next to where he was lying, a few bookshelves lined the far wall, and a desk of some sorts supported a white panel that glowed a matching light like the sun.
"What in the name of Allah?" he slurred in Arabic before his ears began to pick up voices from down the hallway that was just to his left.
The assassin got up and crept down the darkened hall without a sound till he could pick up the voices of a male and female. As he inched closer to the closed door, he entered his ease dropping mode in order to pick up the details.
"-Alex you've never done something like this before!" came the more famine voice, "he could be part of the fucking military for all you know!" Altair could tell from her tone that she was irritated. But some of the words he couldn't quite understand seeing as she was speaking in the language of the Templers, English. Altair had picked a pretty decent amount while on his missions and was partly grateful of Malik's constant ramblings of how important it was to know English. He only learned it to shut his accomplice up rather then to really complete his duties. But he made a mental note to thank him once he returned to Masyaf.
"I know he's not military ok?!" said the male voice. The rough grumbling made Altair's skin crawl because it was the same voice of the demon that had apparently knocked him out. "When I was about to kill his ass, the look in his eyes just wasn't right," the male continued on, "normally when the fucks know they're going to die, they bitch and curse around, but this guy was just so…accepting. That's something not even the military displays."
'Of course,' Altair thought, 'assassins don't fear our deaths. We embrace it.'
"You've never been this trusting of a complete stranger, or anyone for that matter, before. But if you think he's cool, then what can I say huh?" the female replied. Footsteps made Altair silently return to the room he woke up in but instead of lying back down, he simply sat on the floor, pulled his hood back up, and waited.
The door down the hall opened and the two occupants were still chattering to each other in lower tones. The female was the first to walk in fallowed closely by the other who she had called 'Alex'. She gasped at seeing the assassin sitting upright and fully awake.
"Oh! You're alive?" she asked going to the glowing panel and sitting in the chair. Alex cocked a brow but didn't say anything.
"What's your name?" the girl asked him, "I'm Dana, and this is my brother Alex." Altair cocked his head at the last statement, but was able to understand the question he was asked. Still he gestured with a movement of distrust.
After a minute Alex rolled his eyes and said in a harsher tone "Tell us your fucking name! Are you that fucking stupid?"
The girl, Dana, gave him a stern look, "Alex! Take it easy!" The elder Mercer just growled and stormed out of the safe house, slamming the door as he went. Altair looked from the door to Dana, who looked back at him with a fearing gaze. Altair knew why. He was a complete stranger to her, and all the weapons still strapped to him must have appeared rather intimidating. But seeing as she stood up to Alex the way she did, he decided that she wasn't a threat to him.
"A-Altair," he said finally.
"What - oh! That's your name? Altair?" the girl asked relaxing a bit. The assassin nodded, gazing about the room. Dana sat in the chair that was by the desk, and the two sat in a somewhat awkward silence. Altair got to his feet and tried to form the proper question in his head out of what English did he know.
"What...is this...place?" he finally asked gazing about.
Dana shrugged, "A safe house. A place to stay hidden from the Military."
"Military? What about...the Templers?"
"What?" the girl asked looking at him like he was out of his mind. "You mean like, King's Templers, like from history class?"
"No!" the assassin burst suddenly very agitated, then he seemed somewhat panicked, "Templers! The enemy!"
"Whoa dude, you need to take a fucking chill pill!" Dana said pointing a finger at him. The statement was so over Altair's head that he only cocked his head in confusion. "The only real enemy here is you!" she said accusingly. "The only reason I'm not tossing your ass out on the streets for the infected to have lunch, is because Alex trusts you. I don't know why, but he does, and that in itself is a fucking miracle!" Dana didn't realize how much of her words were simply going in one ear and out the other, till Altair cursed loudly in a string of Arab words. The florin words seemed to tip the girl off that English wasn't Altair's main language.
"Oh so you don't speak much English?" Dana asked after she had calmed down a little. Altair turned to face her after having gotten all of verbal frustration out, and nodded, lowering his head, feeling exhausted from all the mental stress he'd been under in past few hours.
"Ok, ok," Dana said loosing herself in a bit of thought.
"Alex used to be like you and I," she began, "if I lose ya tell me," the assassin nodded.
Over the next few hours, Dana told of how she and Alex were brought up. For the most part, she felt like she was talking to a child because she had to explain many things to him that were very common sense. Like what foster care was. She also had to make sure to use very basic words, for if Altair heard a word he didn't understand he'd give her a confused look.
Some times he's eavesdrop and have little time to process the words before the guard would talk so fast that he caught only what he needed in order to complete his missions.
"To tell the truth," Dana continued after telling of their early life, "I think it's an improvement. He's actually caring. If that was the real Alex Mercer he wouldn't give a shit about me or the whole city. He'd probably just take off and leave New York forever."
Maybe Alex wasn't a demon, Altair pondered. Maybe, he was just misunderstood. Dana didn't know what else's more she could say. Call it assassin instinct, but Altair could tell Dana knew way more then she let on. But he didn't ask, because he had secrets all his own, and trying to get to revel more than she wanted might inquire a mirrored response. A single thread of dread loomed in the back of his mind: what if they are Templers?
The door opened and Alex stepped in. He was covered in black ooze and a rancid smell clung to his leather jacket.
"Alex!" Dana gasped at seeing blood on her brother as well.
"Relax Dana," he said slipping his hood off and shaking out his short, yet rugged hair, "the blood isn't mine." Without another word, he went down the hall to his room glancing at Altair as he went.
Dana rubbed her forehead in annoyance, "He's not a man of many words." she said glancing at a circle on the far side of the room. "But anyway, it's going to be dark soon." She stood and went to a door that was adjacent to the opening of the hallway. Turning the door knob she pulled the door open, reviling a rack of clothing hung on some form of hook.
Bending down, she gathered a blanket and a pillow from the floor of the closet and tossed them on the structure Altair had woken up on.
"You're welcome to stay here," Dana said.
"Can't stay," the assassin said after a minute, "Need to return to Masyaf."
"Dude there are soldiers out there that will shoot someone like you on fucking sight!" the younger Mercer said firmly. "I don't know why Alex brought you here, but seeing as he did -"
"You're not going anywhere," Alex's voice suddenly broke in from the hallway. He had changed his clothing to nothing but loose jeans and a muscle shirt. "Dana, a moment." his overly stern tone defined his words more as an order then a request. His younger sister rolled her eyes but did as she was told. Pushing past Alex, she went to her room, and leaving them alone. Alex advanced a few paces, making Altair back up in response. The hairs on the back of Altair's neck rose in anticipation, expecting some form of attack. He felt his hand twitch almost instinctively and the light switching sound of the blade extending from its hidden place ringing in the air.
"I don't trust you," he said evenly "but not just anyone can kill a hunter the way you did earlier today." He took another step, then another till he was within and arms length of Altair. The assassin maintained his gaze into the other's eyes, prepared for anything. "I heard some chatter from some of the soldiers." Alex continued, "There was a really bad electrical shock that knocked out all of their communication equipment. And it happened around only an hour before I found you."
Altair's brows lifted with confusion, but Alex seemed to really know that he was talking about. "I also heard that their detecting equipment fucked up too. That explains why i never got any solders on my ass while I was bringing you here." The assassin's puzzled look seemed to be the only answer Alex needed. "Tell me stranger...who are you? Or should I say what are you?"
Altair felt his heart racing, but kept his cool, "Altair. My name is Altair."
"Oh now your open? Dana must be quite the charmer. Where are you from?"
"Masyaf, in the Holy Land."
"Holy Land huh," Alex inquired, "dude, it's fucking 2008 no one calls the Middle East 'The Holy Land' anymore. That is if they're not from religious fuck with no understanding of how the world works in reality."
"Wait!" Altair said suddenly, "What did you say?" Did he hear Alex right? 2008?
"The holy land is called the Middle East ya dumbass!" Alex responded, his short fuse starting to burn even shorter.
"Not that! The year, did you say 2008?"
"Yea, it's 200 - fucking - 8"
Then that's when the realization hit both men and both stood awkwardly staring at each other, not sure of what to say. Altair's head became so full of confusion, where as Alex's filled with more questions.
"It's getting late," Alex said finally turning away from Altair and returning to his room, only to return moments later with some cloths. He tossed them on the pillow, "the door and windows are locked a boarded so you're not going anywhere till we can figure this mess out."
"But I must -"
"Look," Alex's voice elevated in volume as he spoke "there's nothing either of us can do about this tonight. Just get some rest and we will continue our little questionnaire in the morning!" with that he spun on his heal and stormed back down the hall to his room.
Altair sighed. This was so strange. But after seeing and hearing about what Alex was capable off, processing such raw power, the assassin was almost fearful to even try to leave. He yawned and picked up the cloths Alex had left him.
They looked nothing like anything Altair had ever seen, but seeing as he was being given the choice not to sleep in his ropes, he shrugged and began the slow yet steady process of removing all of his weapons. First was the throwing knifes, followed by the dagger and sword, then lastly, his hidden blade bracer.
After having all of the weapons off, he reached behind him to undo the latch keeping the leather armor tightly bound around his middle. He folded the leather and set it aside before untying the red sash and placing it atop the armor. He felt lighter even with the heavy robes still draped over his body.
With a soft rustling, he shimmied out of the white robes, folding them neatly to the side. He arranged his clothes and weapons on the floor before sitting down to remove his boots. Since he was already wearing pants he pulled the shirt on. It was as black as writing ink, and had an unusual softness to it. He heard the door to Dana's room open and the girl padded into the room in clothes similar to what Alex was wearing only looser and solid black with accents of yellow, red, and orange along the bottom of the legs.
She smiled at him, "Don't worry," she said going up to what looked to be a candle under a triangular shaped shading and, yet it didn't flicker like a flame and was much brighter, "You'll be safe here."
There was a soft 'click' and the light was out, leaving the room to bask in the glow of the full moon that leaked in through the boards over the windows.
"Good night," she said through a yawn before returning to her room.
Altair sat on his bed for the night, his body had become suddenly stricken of energy, but his mind raced with all sorts of questions and confusions. Finally, his body got the best of him, and he stretched out on the cot-like bed, covering up with the woolly blanket.
The sounds from outside seeped in and they kept the assassin awake longer still, until his mind simply blanked out with exhaustion.