The Three Assassins – Part 1: Altaïr

The first in my Triptych of Assassin’s Creed character briefs for SquareGo.

A shortened game history of our man with a wrist-dagger, Altaïr.

First I’m gonna stab yer mate, then I’m gonna stab yer other mate… and then I’m gonna stab YOU

Assassin’s Creed: Altaïr

Seeing as the many medium spanning Assassin’s Creed series has seven full release games in it, with two more on the way, not to mention a slew of webisodes, comics, internet mini-games and even expannsive novelisations of the main games by Oliver Bowden.

This first in a trio of articles will briefly explain the history of the earliest of the ancestors in the AC bloodline, summarising the pertainent events in his life.  Warning, there be SPOILERS aplenty.

Standing proud, perhaps a little too proud, is the stoic and seemingly emotionless Syrian-born Master Assassin; Altaïr ibn-La Ahad; living in the war-torn depths of Third Crusade era Holy Land. He’s a proud figure, a master of his art, a death-dealing cold and humourless killer, as can be seen in the chronologically earliest game, Altaïr’s Chronicles. This prequel to the main game shows the first confrontation between Altaïr and the Templar agents, in a quest to find a sacred ‘Chalice’, also sought by the Templar Lord Basilisk. During this adventure, our stoic hero find that the chalice in question is in fact a woman named Adha, an old friend and flame of Altaïr’s; one he plans to elope with and presumably hang up his stabby spurs for.

However, during his final battle against Lord Basilisk, he loses Adha, and in the years following sets off down a path of reckless arrogance. A notable change in character which, by the time of the original Assassin’s Creed game, leads to his abject failure to prevent Templar leader and Crusader, Robert De Sablé from stealing another sacred artefact, and is subsequently demoted to the lowest ranks of Assassin. It’s from here that the story becomes more complex.

Four Candles?

At the bidding of his Assassin master Al Mualim, Altaïr has to make reparations for his error. To do so he must extrapolate the secret Templar plot during the midst of the third crusade, a conflict that foists him under the very eyes of rival generals Richard Coeur de Lion and Salah Al’Din all the while trying to uncover a secret item of great power. It’s a labyrinth of misinformation and secrets each of which slowly begin to uncover a far deeper mystery, of a hugely powerful device known only as The Apple, which can control men’s minds. It’s through this great task, and his understanding of the importance of others that Altaïr begins to regain his wisdom. Growing into a strong and capable leader, instead of an embittered and single-minded killing machine, which allows him to carefully instigate a confrontation with his great foe. After finally bringing De Sablé into the open, and fighting him to the ground, he discovers that it is a ruse, as inside the armour of De Sablé is a young Templar woman named Maria, whom Altaïr lets live.

It’s onlymuch after this that Altaïr finally defeats De Sablé, manages to prevent an all out war between the Christian and Muslim factions and returns to the Assassin Fortress of Masyef and the brutal realisation that his mentor and leader Al Mualim is already corrupted by The Apple and has had a hand in the near destruction of the Assassin order. In defeating his master, Altaïr takes control of the Order of Assassins and sets about stopping the Templar threat.

So, after thus saving the world, capturing The Apple and generally making himself useful by killing many people. In Assassin’s Creed: Bloodlines, Altaïr heads off to Cyprus, to seek the fabled Templar Archive. In the true spirit of a holiday-goer makes a nuisance of himself, breaks things and offends the locals all while having a stirring romance. This all takes place in, as he follows the trail of his Templar enemy, Maria. At first using her as a lure and then coming to her aid after she is betrayed by her former allies. Ultimately she begins to warm to him and becomes an friend and cohort to the Assassins, eventually wedding Altaïr and having his two sons, Sef and Darim.

Is your missus alright there mate?

In his later years, as told through Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, the ageing killing machine is deposed as Mentor of the Assassin’s by a fellow Assassin Abbas. Upon his return from a sojourn in Mongolia, his son Sef and his love Maria are both murdered. Fleeing for his life with his only surviving heir, Altaïr spends a score of years re-affirming his power base, before finally returning to defeat Abbas, reclaim the Assassin’s as a power for good, and construct a huge library beneath the Fortress of Masyef to contain The Apple forever. It’s within this shadowy tomb that he finally finds peace, his life finally ebbing away, secure in the knowledge that only a true successor will be able to find this Apple of Eden.

The next article will detail the next great Assassin in the bloodline, Ezio Auditore da Firenze.

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