- "Altaïr! We have been betrayed. The enemy has overrun the castle!"
- ―Abbas Sofian to Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad regarding the attack on Masyaf.[src]
The assault on Masyaf was an event during the High Middle Ages in the year 1189 in which an Assassin double-agent, Haras, led Templar soldiers in an attack on Masyaf, the headquarters of the Assassin Order located in Syria. The Templars ravaged the village of Masyaf and infiltrated the Assassin fortress, where they swiftly took prisoners, Assassins and civilians alike. Among the hostages was the eminent Mentor of the Levantine Assassins, Al Mualim.
As the battle ensued, Assassins fought to beat back the Templar assault on Masyaf and retake the fortress. They met with little success until Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad arrived and turned the tide of the battle, saving the civilians and the village, before rescuing Al Mualim and retaking the castle. He and the Assassins were then able to rout the remaining attackers.
Takeover of Masyaf
- "No. You misunderstand. I am no traitor... for I cannot betray those I never truly loved."
- ―Haras to Altaïr regarding his true allegiance to the Templars.[src]
Circa 1189, a mysterious man by the name of Haras joined the Syrian branch of Assassins. Haras grew to be an Assassin more characteristically similar to the Templars, and thus during his tenure within the Order, failed to obtain promotions.
Haras became fed up with the Assassin Order, and he eventually gave in to the ways of the Templars. Covertly allied with the Templars, Haras began acting as a double-agent while he remained at Masyaf. Then, in 1189, Haras led Templar forces into Masyaf, disguising himself as a Templar Crusader to conceal his identity from the Assassins.
The Templars proceeded through the village swiftly, killing livestock and murdering villagers, with some civilians kept as hostages. Haras quickly made his way to the Masyaf castle, where he and several of his soldiers added captured Assassins to the prisoners, who were then placed in the castle's main courtyard to be guarded before Haras interrogated them.
Other prisoners were executed and thrown off the walls of the castle. As the Templar soldiers below were massacring the village, the Assassins were sent to fight back. The village came under siege as the Assassins held their ground to retake Masyaf from the Templars.
Reclamation of Masyaf
- Altaïr: "When I close the castle gate, flank the Crusaders in the village and drive them into the canyon."
- Abbas: "You don't stand a chance!"
- Altaïr: "Abbas! No mistakes."
- —Altaïr to Abbas on his plan.[src]
With the castle taken, the battle continued as Templars and Assassins fought in the village below. The Assassins were unable to reach the fortress and rescue their Mentor, as they could not fight through the Templars in the village.
Eventually, the Assassin Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad arrived at the village, finding it in chaos. Noticing a fellow Assassin outnumbered by a pair of soldiers, Altaïr charged from behind on horseback, dispatching the first soldier with his sword.
Dismounting as the second man slashed into and broke the unnamed Assassin's foot, Altaïr let loose a throwing knife at the Templar before he could deal a finishing blow. As Altaïr helped his comrade to a nearby bench to recover, the wounded Assassin expressed his appreciation of Altaïr's assistance and asked of his name.
Altaïr simply replied that he was the son of Umar Ibn-La'Ahad, whom the man commended. As Altaïr tended to the Assassin's wounds, Abbas Sofian arrived and informed Altaïr that they had been betrayed and that the castle was overrun by the Templar soldiers.
Altaïr demanded Al Mualim's status, and Abbas explained that he was taken hostage when a Templar agent and his soldiers took over the fortress. Altaïr gazed at the battle from afar, believing that they were fighting a losing battle.
Abbas insisted that the Assassins fall back, believing they could do nothing to save Al Mualim. Altaïr, however, was confident that he could save their Mentor and retake the castle alone, and instructed Abbas to have the Assassins flank the Templars once he had closed the gates of the fortress, then drive them into the canyon. Abbas protested that Altaïr would not stand a chance against the Templars in the village, let alone make it to the castle and save Al Mualim.
Altaïr ignored the protest and simply told Abbas not to make a mistake in the task at hand. Altaïr than left Abbas and the injured Assassin and headed into the heat of the battle within the village, aiding fellow Assassins, killing many Templars, and saving multiple villagers while making his way towards the castle.
Saving Al Mualim
- "Tell me what you know of the artifact! Tell me where you are searching for it. It is a small price to pay to preserve what you have built here, no?"
- ―Haras to Al Mualim regarding an "artifact".[src]
Nearing the castle gates, Altaïr was stopped by the Templar agent, finally revealed to be Haras, who claimed that he would kill Al Mualim and the other Assassin hostages if he came any further towards the castle.
Altaïr warned the traitor that he would not leave the castle alive, yet Haras merely put his helmet back on, responding that he was not a traitor, for he could not betray ones whom he had "never truly loved". Altaïr snarled that Haras was therefore twice as vile, as he had been living a lie.
The gates of the castle closed, and Haras returned to questioning his prisoners. As the gate prevented Altaïr from entering, he took an alternate route up the walls. As Altaïr assassinated sentries atop the walls, Haras began interrogating Al Mualim, demanding to be given information regarding an "artifact". He proceeded to kill off the three Assassin hostages one by one in an attempt to force Al Mualim to reveal what he needed to know.
The enraged Haras offered Al Mualim one last chance to reveal his information, or die. At the same time, Altaïr was able to get close to the three Templars and Assassin Mentor from above on a ledge but was presented with a dire situation, as there was almost no way to prevent the death of his Mentor.
In a last resort, Altaïr leapt off the ledge with his Hidden Blade at the ready, and landed on the unsuspecting Templar, assassinating him. The two soldiers who had restrained Al Mualim were momentarily stunned by the death of their leader, giving Al Mualim the opportunity to break free and eliminate his captors.
As Haras bled out, he claimed the Templars knew that humans were weak and petty, though Altaïr rebutted that the Creed was evidence to the contrary. Before dying, Haras sneered that he was "too wise" to believe such things. With the castle retaken and Al Mualim saved, Altaïr began walking down the courtyard with his Mentor.
As they talked, Al Mualim asked why Altaïr offered the Templar a chance of salvation. Altaïr reasoned that no person should die without being shown some kindness. Al Mualim admitted to Altaïr that watching him grow from a boy to a man had given him much sadness and pride, before stating that Altaïr fit the role of his father perfectly. After saying that Altaïr's father was an Assassin above all else, Al Mualim asked the young Assassin if he regretted the life he had been put into as a child.
Altaïr responded by asking how he could regret the only life he had ever known. Al Mualim finally told Altaïr that he would find his path to glory in time, and that the battle for Masyaf was not over. The two Assassins left the fortress and joined the other Assassins in the day's final fight against the Templars.
- Altaïr: "How can I regret the only life I've ever known?"
- Al Mualim: "You may find a way, in time. And it will be up to you to choose the path you prefer. Come, my boy... and ready your blade. This battle is not yet won."
- ―Al Mualim to Altaïr after the assault on Masyaf.[src]
The Assassin fortress was recovered. Abbas and the other Assassins drove out the Templars under the leadership of Altaïr, and reclaimed the village of Masyaf. Altaïr was then promoted to the rank of Master Assassin.