Malik is a former Guardian of the Grail and the nemesis of the Templars.
Malik's origins are complex. Born a parsee, a chosen leader and a rallying call for non-Christians persecuted by the Crusaders, Malik was abducted by the Templar Order at a young age. Slowly brainwashed through a strict regimen of prayer and mind-altering herbs, he was turned into a fanatical knight and accepted into the Order. He shortly demonstrated his loyalty by denouncing his people and disinheriting them, destroying the rebellion and securing the land for the Order. He was a natural choice for a second in command, especially due to his ties to the Priory.
Selected for inclusion in the Aeternis project, Malik was part of the expedition into the depths of the future site of Aeternis in 1163, investigating rumors of 'dwellings of the gods' Niamh provided. The rumors proved true, but far from divine: After witnessing a glorious ziggurat and extensive tunnel networks created by the Byzantines, the expedition discovered a small series of Byzantine rooms within which horrific experiments using Grailstone occurred. Intrigued, not repulsed, Malik convinced Tobias to investigate further, discovering even grander chambers, including a site for the Grail itself! This expedition formed the basis for all of Malik's subsequent madness. Ignoring the horrors, Malik was fascinated by the Byzantines and their religion. Of particular importance was their attempt to reshape living things to one's own will, mirroring god (and the violation of his own mind by the Templars). Malik decided to study the Byzantines. After all, if he replicated their experiments, Aeternis could become the heart of an empire with an army of tireless soldiers obeying one strong man.
Slowly gathering research material, he labored for centuries, finally completing the translations in 1512. The information was woefully incomplete, forcing him to conduct experiments to fill the gaps, and immerse himself in the philosophies of Maal to comprehend the findings fully. Malik realized the danger, as the rituals involved potions that twist the mind and release into Maal. Other experiments required human test subjects, whom he procured by abducting servants and convincing others to follow him through his charisma and manipulation. He said that The Lord was an illusion, that his Maal was the only truth. That only the worship of grailstone was right. That it lifted the Byzantines to greatness, out of this hell. With that, he slowly gathered his faction. Some, like Edgar and Philip, followed him because he opposed Tobias' supposed madness; others, because he offered them release from the torture of grailstone. The latter joined him in his cult of Maal, in sinister rituals and terrifying experiments. They aided his research into the properties of grailstone, unlocking its secrets. The most prolific researcher was Tallum Broadhand, who devised a method of augmenting humans with grailstone... Or so he thought. The first attempt to modify a knight was made using Claude Lancet as a test subject. Mixing blood and exposing it to grailstone, then injecting it into Claude, Tallum turned Claude into a vicious, undead monstrosity that could not be killed by any regular means.
Malik's experiment, exposure to grailstone, and most importantly, the cult of Maal eventually led to madness in the rogue Templar. Suppressed childhood memories surfaced, clashing with his Templar brainwashing and the adverse effects of mind-altering potions he used to understand the Byzantines. Quite frankly, Malik went stark raving mad, by all accounts. When Philip finally pulled the plug on his project and advised Tobias on how to purge his court, driving his followers into the light, Malik fled Aeternis pursued by Guy of Bramley. The stalwart knight did not have grailstone, however, and perished, while the now-mad Malik made away with nearly all the grailstone gathered by the knights during their long seclusion. Armed with grailstone and the knowledge of unlocking its secrets, he hid himself from the world at large, biding his time and preparing the armies he so desired to conquer the world. Eventually, following the removal of the Holy Grail from Aeternis by the Holy Thief, his influence grew to the point that he was able to openly challenge the Priory of Sion and their New Jerusalem.
Behind the scenes
- Before the introduction of the Priory, Malik was a much more straightforward character, stealing grailstone because of a thirst for power. The more nuanced image of a victim-turned-executioner was introduced much later. Interestingly, the story of the expedition and his relation with Geffrey mirrors that of Sasha and Niamh.
- Mikhail: "He is Tobias' second in command. He was a pawn for the Templars. By birth he was a parsee, a chosen leader from birth. A rallying call for heathen rebels. The Templars stole him from his people. They indoctrinated him by the virtue of constant discipline of prayer and the use of vision inducing herbs, until one day, he stood up before his people and disinherited them, destroying the soul of their rebellion."
- Special Order 1047
- Expedition log
- Malik's log, 1163
- Vincent: "The thieves. It has come to that time already then. But you will hear me? At last. (BREAK) Listen well, for I swear to you my innocence. (BREAK) Malik was the one, so convincing, insidious. He said that The Lord was an illusion, that his Maal was the only truth. That only the worship of grailstone was right. That it lifted the Byzantines to greatness, out of this hell. (BREAK) In the stronghold he prepared for us, he had many tablets from those that dwelt here before, deciphered, translated. Slowly, he divided us, sowing seeds of mistrust. Forcing us to work on isolated projects for him, telling us that Tobias had sworn slow deaths for us all and was constantly trying to invade the area. (BREAK) All I did was use his grailstone on plants, to make food for the armies he promised us he'd raise above ground. (Almost crying) But when he deserted us and Tobias captured us, one of the others sold me for their own survival. I didn't know. I tell you I didn't know. One of the experiments was on Claude. To turn him into...Horror. It was horror when I saw what was left of him. I told them it wasn't me. But they would have none of it. They tortured me for weeks, but I wouldn't confess. Even if I hadn't been innocent, they would have had nothing from me. (BREAK) Eventually, they tired and before my freshly dead eyes, they broke open my head and fed my brains to a hungry Theo. Then they powdered my skull and bones and ground them into the rock of this place so that my spirit could never leave with my remains. (By now he is openly weeping) Since then I have awaited the one person who will believe me and give me their blessing and the name of my true tormentor. The one that cast his own crime upon my head. Perhaps God will then let me sleep at last. (BREAK) Well, you have heard the truth. Do you believe me innocent?"
- Edgar: "He was once Tobias' second in command. He was the instigator of the rift between the knights. In this he was right. But later, the burden of the responsibility and the presence of the grail drove him to acts of insane evil. He is the only knight to have escaped the temple and survived. He was an astonishing and frightening man."
- Malik's log, 1696
- Malik's log, undated
- Entry 1501
- See Tallum for details.
- Philip: "He was a genius. But an insane one. When eventually Tobias flooded his court with poison gas, he fled the temple with his store of grailstone. He is undoubtedly still living up there in your world. A dangerous situation. He must be like the only wolf in a world of sheep. No insult intended."
- Colin Scott: "A vicious, ruthless megalomaniac by all accounts. I'm rather glad he escaped. I really wouldn't like to have met him down here. Though God only knows what havoc he may have caused upstairs. (BREAK) Apparently, he made some old Byzantine chambers into some kind of laboratory and conducted some pretty disgusting rituals down there. (BREAK) Turned one of the knights into some kind of zombie horror. The others couldn't kill him, so they stuck him in a casket in the crypt."