The Fraternity of the Stone Author:David Morrell Persia 1090. — Hassan ibn al-Sabbah, leader of a fanatical sect of Muslims, adopted murder as a sacred duty in his fight to wrest control of his country from Turkish invaders and their ally, the Egyptian caliph. His secret organization of religious killers soon spread west to Syria, where his successors each acquired the title 'The Old Man of the... more » Mountain'. In 1096, the European Crusaders invaded the Mideast, commencing their papally authorized Holy War against the Muslims to regain the Holy Sepylchre. These invaders naturally attracted the attention of the The Old Man and his followers, who were known as hashishi because of the hashish they allegedly smoked to acheive religious ecstasy and promote the frenzy which they prepared themselves to face possible martyrdom.