Hey guys, so, I decided to go with a narrative route for the "Origin story" contest. I hope that you enjoy! Now, I know that there were some religious tensions back during the Crusades, but, I've tried to be as balanced as I can be. So, please, enjoy this work of fiction, and good luck to all the other contestants. Enjoy!
900 years is a long time. A time to see how evil the world is. How disgusting, how putrid the odor of mankind is. I have seen the world for what it truly is, and it must be cleansed.
Prince Asliraf ran through the palace hallways, searching for his brother.
“Shareef! Where are you Shareef?” Asliraf called out for his younger sibling. They often played hide and seek, but never had Shareef been this successful. Asliraf ran towards his father’s study, hoping to find his brother inside, playing with their father’s maps. His brother was nowhere to be found, though there was something curious on their father’s desk. Asliraf had heard of pale-skinned soldiers who were coming from the west, but he had only thought that they were myth. But, there, on the desk, among books and maps, lay a broadsword, European in make. “My child, what are you doing here?” His father stood at the doorway, with a look of concern on his face.
“I was looking for my brother, Father. Have you seen him?”
“This is a room not fit for young boys, Asliraf. Your brother is downstairs in the kitchen. Go play, while you still can, my son.”
Asliraf ran to find his brother. They played for some time, but Asliraf remembered the sword and the look on his father’s face. The pain and sadness in those eyes hurt Asliraf. But, like most children, he forgot the pain.
Several leagues away, an army led by Richard the First marched towards the city. Their scouts had already discovered that there would be little contest from their next objective, and the spoils would be vast. The armies under Asliraf’s father had tried to push back the European invaders, but to no avail. Destruction was coming.
That night, Asliraf was awakened sharply by his mother. She ushered him to the stables, where three horses sat, saddled and bridled.
“We must leave, now. It is no longer safe here.” Shareef argued with her.
“We cannot leave Father to fight alone! I will not leave.” He began to walk back inside, but a resounding smack from his mother caused him to change direction. “He would want us out of harm’s way, children. We must flee.” They flew out of the city, and towards the desert. Asliraf could hear the screams of the innocent as the Crusaders marched through the city. He could smell the smoke and the burning bodies. The clashing of steel blades grated in his very soul. He never once looked back, but vowed that he would crush the ones responsible for the death of his home.
Asliraf and his family rode on through the desert. They slowly ran out of water.Their mother always gave them the larger portions, but, finally there was nothing at all to give. And still they rode on, until the horses dropped from exhaustion. The blistering hot sun beat down on them from above, and the equally hot sands tortured from below. They were loaves of bread in a hot oven, and they would be eaten by the fowls of the air. Slowly, painfully, Shariff died. Asliraf held his brother and wept, hoping that his quickly drying tears would somehow bring him back to life. Living water, he thought. But it was the foolish hope of youth.
His mother quickly followed, succumbing to the sands and the sun. All that remained of his world was a promise. The young boy wandered the desert, waiting to be taken by the heat. He yearned for death, for an escape from the hell he lived in. He longed to be with his family, and yet life would not leave him. By sheer chance, Asliraf found an oasis. The palm trees were alive, and there were trees covered in delicious fruit. The water looked clean, but glowed green. Asliraf found himself drawn to the waters. It wasn’t a simple thirst, but something stronger that drew him in. He dove headfirst into the pool.
A searing, sharp pain ran through his scalp. He could feel his sanity slipping as he roared in pain. The strange water flooded his lungs, and for a moment he thought he was going to drown. But, the water left his body, and he was flung back to the surface by some force. Even though he was a young boy, he felt stronger, wilder. He felt power, and it was pleasurable. Something had changed within him. He was no longer an innocent child, he was a warrior, ready to go forth and conquer his enemies.
Abdul was a tradesman by birth, but was a member of something larger, something greater. It had given him purpose. His job was to keep the oasis safe from invaders. For decades he had guarded one little watering hole. That was his purpose. As he neared the oasis, he noticed that something was dreadfully wrong. The waters were agitated, and the vegetation was disturbed. Abdul dismounted, and walked towards the pool, sword drawn.
“If you are a friend, show yourself. If foe, then prepare to face my blade.”
A young boy climbed out of the brush. His clothes were dirty and torn, but underneath, the lad was as fresh and strong as if he had every luxury on the earth at his disposal. “Who are you, to turn the blade upon me?”
“I am the keeper of this pool, and you have trespassed on a sacred site. I should kill you for that. But, the waters did not reject you, so you must have some purpose. I will take you to Father, and he will decide what to do with you.” Asliraf nodded, and mounted the horse behind the tradesman. They rode towards a castle at the base of a mountain range. It was built to be a part of the mountain itself, and each tower looked more like a craggy peak than a spire.
“What is this place?”
“It is the Fortress of the Demon.”
Hundreds of soldiers practiced in the courtyard as they rode through. Each one was armed with a blade that curved at the tip, and each one wore tight-fitting armor and a mask. And each soldier made the exact same movement, at the exact same time. Asliraf was amazed at their precision and expertize. Abdul led him inside the castle, to the very center. It was a massive and ornate throne room, with tapestries and marble statues. Soft music filled the air, and the smell of smoking meat filled the boy’s nostrils. Behind the throne was a pool, much like the one he had stumbled upon. The area around it was tiled in marble, gold, and other fine stones.
Six guards entered through a door near the throne, and a seventh man followed. His robes were that of an emperor, and his presence filled the room. The king sat down on his throne, and leaned towards the boy.
“So, this is the child who defiled my waters. You look strong, my son. What gives you this strength?”
“The death of my family, and the vow to destroy the ones who killed them.”
“My child, I am going to give you that chance. You will destroy those monsters, and then you will destroy all the monsters. Are you willing to follow your destiny?”
“I would follow, if I knew the name of the man I would serve.”
“My child, you would serve no man. But, if you desire my name, I shall give it, for one day you shall take it. I am Ra’s al Ghul, the Demon’s Head, leader of the League of Assassins. I am the man who makes empires rise and fall. And you shall take my place. Are you willing?”
I am Ra's al Ghul, sent by God to rid the world of evil. I am the evil that destroys evil. A millennia of pain and suffering has taught me one thing: that my work is never done. I am the way. I am the truth. But, I am not the life.