- Mukhlis: "He takes our money and gives us nothing in return, where once the citadel was the heart of the community from which came strength, guidance..."
- Altaïr: "And protection."
- Mukhlis: "That too. All those things left with you, Altaïr, to be replaced by... corruption and paranoia."
- —Mukhlis and Altaïr discussing Abbas' leadership, 1247.[src]
Abbas Sofian (1166 – 1247) was a Syrian Assassin during the Middle Ages, and the Mentor of the Levantine Assassins from 1227 until his death. His leadership over the Levantine Brotherhood showed a period of corruption and disregard for the Order's Creed, resulting in the decline of their castle in Masyaf and its villagers fearing and secretly loathing the Assassins.
Raised as an Assassin from birth alongside Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad, the two became best friends during their childhood. However, after Altaïr revealed to Abbas that his father, Ahmad Sofian, had killed himself instead of leaving the Order as Abbas had believed, he labelled Altaïr a liar, and developed an intense hatred for him that would span a lifetime.
After Altaïr killed their former Mentor, Rashid ad-Din Sinan, Abbas stood against Altaïr, who desired to become the Order's new leader. However, he eventually repented, and kept a low profile during Altaïr's time as Mentor.
When Altaïr and his family left for Mongolia to deal with the threat led by Genghis Khan, Abbas staged a secret coup d'état against the Order, killing Altaïr's son, Sef Ibn-La'Ahad, and framing Altaïr's best friend and right-hand man, Malik Al-Sayf, who was thrown into prison.
With Sef and Malik out of the way, Abbas held the most power over the Order and so he implemented a council into the Brotherhood, with himself as its head. Eventually, he also disbanded the council, usurping the title of Mentor and becoming the sole leader of the Levantine Assassins.
Under Abbas' leadership, the Order declined and became corrupted. Additionally, Abbas spent the majority of his time hiding in Masyaf's fortress, fearing for his life. Eventually, after Altaïr returned from his exile, the Assassins joined him once again, and Abbas was killed by one of Altaïr's newest weapons.
Abbas Sofian was born in Masyaf, in the year 1166. As the son of Ahmad Sofian, a member of the Assassin Order, Abbas spent the first decade of his life living with his father, until 1176.
That year, during the Siege of Masyaf, Abbas' father was captured by the attacking Saracens, and, under torture, revealed the name of Umar Ibn-La'Ahad as the Assassin who had killed a Saracen nobleman. Umar was executed at his own request, in order to spare Ahmad's life; however, the latter only grew guilty for his fellow Assassin's death.
This later led to Ahmad killing himself in Umar and his son Altaïr's quarters, though Abbas was brought up to believe that his father had left the Order and would eventually return.
Abbas was then paired up with Altaïr, and together they began their training to become Assassins, under their Mentor – Rashid ad-Din Sinan, commonly known as Al Mualim. The two boys developed a close friendship, being constantly by one another's side, and referred to each other as brothers; however, the thought of his father's self-imposed exile was never far from Abbas' mind.
After some time, Altaïr began to notice a change in Abbas' mood, with the strain of his father's disappearance beginning to wear him down. In the hope that it would give him some peace, Altaïr informed Abbas that his father had not deserted Abbas as he had thought, but that he had actually committed suicide in Altaïr's chambers not long after the Saracen siege. Abbas refused to believe him and simply turned around in his bed, silent.
During combat training the next day, Abbas made a request to their instructor, Labib, to use real swords in their training, a request which was accepted with Labib's joy. However, instead of partaking in their regular training, Abbas ferociously attacked Altaïr in a burst of hatred, demanding to know why he had lied about his father.
Reluctantly, Altaïr falsely admitted to lying, and the two were thrown in Masyaf's cells for a month. When they were allowed to continue their training, Abbas was punished further, as Al Mualim decreed that he had brought disrepute to the Order by allowing his emotions free rein, and as such, his training was to be extended by a year.
Attack on Masyaf
- Altaïr: "When I close the castle gates, flank the Crusaders in the village and drive them into the canyon."
- Abbas: "You don't stand a chance!"
- Altaïr: "Abbas! No mistakes."
- —Altaïr and Abbas discussing their course of action during the attack.[src]
Following these events, neither of the two considered the other as brethren. When Abbas was about 23 years old, Masyaf was attacked by Templars under the command of Haras, a former Assassin apprentice who had betrayed the Order, due to his dissatisfaction with the Order's motives and his progression through its ranks. During this time, Abbas joined his fellow Assassins in battle against the Templars.
When Altaïr arrived in the middle of the fight, Abbas met up with him and told him that they needed to fall back. He also informed Altaïr that the Templars had taken Al Mualim hostage and that they could do nothing to save him. However, Altaïr ordered Abbas to flank the Templars once he had driven them from the castle. Despite his protests, Abbas had no choice but to follow his rival's orders, as he was of higher rank.
Altaïr was eventually successful in saving Al Mualim, after which Altaïr was raised to the rank of Master Assassin. Abbas, in an act of jealousy, spat on the ground before Altaïr's feet, though the others sneered at him in response. This event was the first sign of Altaïr's arrogance, which would, over time, further fuel Abbas' hatred for Altaïr.
Causing a civil war
- "Forgive me... I did not... know..."
- ―Abbas apologizing to Altaïr after having used the Apple.[src]
In 1191, Al Mualim came into possession of one of the Apples of Eden, an artifact from the First Civilization, which had been hidden deep in Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem. Studying the Apple over the course of several months, Al Mualim found his mind not able to comprehend its powers, and soon grew corrupted and disillusioned by it.
Eventually, Al Mualim betrayed the Order he had served faithfully and strictly for numerous years, and used the Apple to brainwash the Assassins present in Masyaf to mindlessly follow and worship him. Finding out about his Mentor's secret Templar affiliations, Altaïr confronted Al Mualim and slew him in the castle's gardens, subsequently hiding the Apple in the Master's study in Masyaf castle.
After Al Mualim's death, Abbas made his way to Masyaf castle and met with Altaïr at the gates, where he discovered his rival carrying their Mentor's corpse. Abbas, openly distrusting and demanding an explanation, listened to his reasoning while they walked to a funeral pyre set out on a cliffside near the castle.
As Altaïr lit Al Mualim's body on fire, Abbas confronted him, saying that burning a man's body was forbidden in their Order. In his defense, Altaïr said that the body could be "another one of Al Mualim's phantoms," and that he must not be given a chance to return. Enraged, Abbas shoved Altaïr off of the cliff, where he was confronted by both angry citizens and Assassins alike.
Abbas hurried to the Master's study in the castle, from which he stole the Apple of Eden, and proceeded to climb to the top of the watchtower outside the fortress to look out over the civil war that he had started. Yelling out to Altaïr and claiming that he was not able to wield the Apple, Abbas soon found himself unable to resist its charm and activated it.
However, Abbas' mind was too weak to bear the consequences of his actions, and the Apple began slowly draining the life from his body. In response, Altaïr hastily climbed up the tower and took the Apple from Abbas to save him, after which Abbas muttered an apology to Altaïr.
As time passed, Altaïr gained the full support of the other members of the Order, and became the Mentor of the Levantine Assassins, much to Abbas' displeasure. However, his new-found hatred for his late Mentor surpassed even that felt toward Altaïr, and Abbas relented against his former friend.
- Altaïr: "I am the Master of this Order, Abbas. I demand that leadership is returned to me, in line with the statutes of the Brotherhood. They decree it be returned to me."
- Abbas: "They do not. Not any more."
- ―Altaïr and Abbas discussing Altaïr's leadership.[src]
Abbas continued to serve the Assassins faithfully for many years to come, well into Altaïr's role as Mentor. However, following Altaïr's departure for the Far East in 1217, he slowly begun to build up support among the populace to undermine the Order's acting Master and second-in-command, Malik Al-Sayf. In 1225, Abbas began to stage a coup d'état to assume control over the Order.
Abbas commanded his subordinate Swami, a weak-minded apprentice, to murder Sef Ibn-La'Ahad, the younger son of Altaïr, and to pin the blame on Malik. As a result, Malik was found guilty of the murder and imprisoned in Masyaf's dungeon. With no acting leader, a council was founded to lead the Order – in accordance with the statutes of the Brotherhood – and Abbas placed himself at its head.
Two years later, in 1227, Altaïr, his wife Maria, and their eldest son, Darim, returned from their ten-year journey to the Far East, unaware of the events that had transpired in their absence. Arriving at the fortress, the aging Mentor was informed that his son, Sef, had departed for Alamut not long before their arrival. On his father's orders, Darim left for Alamut immediately, and the next day Altaïr and Maria met with Abbas and the ruling council.
During the meeting, Abbas informed the Mentor that Sef had been murdered by Malik just two weeks before his arrival, and that the Council had been set up following his arrest. Altaïr demanded that the council turn command of the Order over to him, though Abbas refused. Abbas claimed that Altaïr would not be impartial, since his son had just been murdered and there was the possibility that he would act out of vengeance.
The next day, after Altaïr learned the true circumstances surrounding his son's death, he went into the dungeons to see Malik and find out what was really going on. On witnessing that Malik was in an extremely weak state, and had obviously been imprisoned for much longer than two weeks, Altaïr rescued him and left Malik in the care of his family.
Altaïr then decided to confront Abbas once more, however, Abbas managed to turn the Assassins against Altaïr after he accused him of killing Malik out of vengeance, showing Malik's decapitated head in public as proof. However, in reality, Malik had been killed by Swami on Abbas' orders. Following a brief struggle, which resulted in the death of both Swami and Maria, Altaïr fled from Masyaf, and Abbas usurped the title of Mentor.
- Altaïr: "They were not lies. In all these years, did you never doubt?"
- Abbas: "Did you ever wonder if there is a next world, Altaïr? In moments I shall know for sure. And if there is, I will see my father, and we will both be there to meet you when it is your time. And then – then there will be no doubt."
- ―Altaïr and Abbas during the latter's final moments.[src]
Twenty years passed before Abbas once again encountered Altaïr. During his reign, the Assassins retreated into their fortress, leaving the surrounding countryside to the mercy of Fahad's bandits. Accompanying this, Abbas imposed increasingly high levies on the local civilians, and took severe and paranoid action against any uprising and dissent, like that which followed Altaïr's escape in 1227.
In the year 1247, Abbas learned that Altaïr had returned from exile, intent on reclaiming his position at the head of the Order. With the help of Tazim Al-Sayf, Malik's son, Altaïr gained the assistance of his fellow Assassins against Abbas, though he stressed the fact that no blood was to be spilled. Because of this act of pacifism, most of Abbas' supporting forces joined Altaïr.
After a brief power struggle, which saw most of the Order returning their allegiances to Altaïr, Abbas confronted the old Assassin on the steps of the Masyaf fortress. Once again refusing to accept the truth surrounding his father's death, Abbas ordered his few remaining followers to kill Altaïr. However, the former Mentor extended his arm towards Abbas and placed his other hand on his wrist, and a second later, the castle echoed with the sound of an explosion.
Looking down, Abbas saw a small stain of blood appear on his chest, which then expanded, until the front of his robes were entirely drenched with blood. He then collapsed and rolled down the stairs to Altaïr's feet, where he uttered his final words, telling his former friend that he hoped there was a second life after death, where they could meet again and where Abbas could know the truth about his father. Closing his eyes, Abbas died, the first victim of the newly wrought Hidden Gun.
Personality and characteristics
- "I would have defended the Order, Abbas. Instead you have sacrificed everything we stand for. You sacrificed my wife and son on the altar of your own spite – your blank refusal to accept the truth."
- ―Altaïr, about Abbas' actions shortly before the latter's death.[src]
Abbas was a weak-minded, though obstinate and strong-willed man, who held his family's honor in high regard. However, these traits came paired with a quick temper whenever someone slandered this honor, which was mostly shown after Altaïr had told Abbas of his father's suicide, wrecking the friendship of the two permanently.
Though he had great respect for the Assassin Order, Abbas was quick to use the Order's rules to cover his own intentions and actions. After Altaïr killed Al Mualim, Abbas angrily accused Altaïr of bending the rules while his rival burned their Mentor's body – as was forbidden by the Brotherhood's statutes. As soon as the Assassins started to doubt Altaïr because of Abbas' accusations, Abbas pushed him from the cliff the two stood on and secretly took the Apple for himself.
Later still, when Altaïr returned from his journey throughout the Mongol Empire, Abbas used the statutes of the Brotherhood to claim power for himself, and to force Altaïr into exile. However, Abbas was not fit to lead others, with his desire and lust for personal power resulting in the corruption of his Brotherhood, as they ended up disregarding the rules of the Brotherhood altogether.
- "Abbas" is Arabic name which can be translated either as "lion", "austere" or "stern (in appearance)".
- Abbas' surname, "Sofian" (سفيان), means "devoted".
- In Assassin's Creed, Abbas was illustrated with all of his fingers, despite the fact that all Assassins were to be missing one of their ring fingers, due to the Hidden Blade requiring a sacrifice to wield it, until Altaïr learned of the necessary information to bypass it. The same went for nearly all of the other Assassins in Masyaf.
- In Assassin's Creed: Revelations, however, this oversight was fixed, with all Assassins during the late 12th century having one of their ring fingers removed.