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The metal felt cold in Malik’s hand, lifeless. It was just a sphere to him. But when Altair held it, it glowed softly waiting for a command. If Malik had not seen it with his own eyes he would not have believed that it was anything more than an extravagant decoration. He wondered why it responded to Altair, but not him. It had responded to Rashid as well, perhaps it obeyed whoever was the leader of the assassins, but Malik doubted that. It seemed older than their brotherhood.
Altair called it the apple, the original apple, the one that gave knowledge to mankind and caused their misfortunes. Malik didn’t know if it truly was, but he knew that it frightened him. He’d seen the power it possessed. He knew it could bend men’s will and force them to obey whoever controlled the apple. Malik trusted Altair, but he still worried about the power he possessed. He had trusted Rashid as well. They all had. Still Malik trusted Altair far more.
Malik had imagined what the world would be like if the old Altair had been the one to gain control of the apple. He wasn’t sure Altair would have intentionally done evil with it but he surely would have misused it. The new Altair, the one shaped by redemption and growth, held it with a similar level of fear to Malik’s. He knew what destruction he could cause with it and he feared doing so accidently. It had taken days and weeks of pleading for Altair to even allow Malik to be in the room when he used the apple, fearing he would fall under its control.
“I trust you, Altair. If anything goes wrong you will right it.” Malik had assured and Altair had finally conceded.
Altair watched as Malik drew the map the apple displayed in silence. It felt right: the two of them working together. The night air was cool. Outside, down in the courtyard a group of novices were sitting around a fire. Older assassins would be at the baths or home with their wives and families. Malik was exactly where he wanted to be: by Altair’s side.
Altair paced slightly. He’d never been very good at staying still but Malik suspected there was more to it tonight. Something was on the Mentor’s mind. Malik knew Altair would speak when he was ready so he did not ask. Finally Altair spoke.
“I know you have unfinished work in Jerusalem, but I’d like you to return here once a replacement can be found to run the bureau.” There was a pause “I need you help.” Altair sounded so young as he spoke.
“Of course.” Malik agreed, immediately, smiling softly..
“Thank you.” Altair sat down at the desk. He watched Malik for a few minutes more before he slowly drifted to sleep. Malik finished the section of the map he was working on and gently woke Altair. Once the apple had been safely stored away they made their way to their room and settled in for the night.