Élise de la Serre's letters were a series of messages written throughout the life of the French Templar Élise de la Serre that were mainly addressed to her lover, the Assassin Arno Dorian. After forcefully extracting François-Thomas Germain's location from Maximilien de Robespierre, and anticipating her demise at the hands of the usurping Grand Master, Élise wrote two letters to Arno and the failed Assassin Bernard Ruddock detailing her final wishes. Following her death, her letters and accompanying journals kept at the Maison Royale were bequeathed to Arno.
Old Times' Sake
September 23, 1788
I never thought I could be so bored in Paris. Can you imagine it? The greatest city in the world, and here I am, stuck in endless lectures from dawn to dusk. It’s worse than that winter we spent in Strasbourg. Do you remember? When it snowed for a week straight and we couldn’t leave the house, and all the books in the library were in German? We convinced that cook the house was haunted by some young Frankish prince, and the poor man refused to leave his kitchen without a rosary in one hand and a Bible in the other.
I miss those days. The things I’m learning from Father’s friends are—well, I wish I could I tell you about them. Someday, perhaps, but not now, and not like this. But still I find myself missing those days. Missing home. Missing you. Next time Father comes to Paris, you must persuade him to bring you along.
I remain always your,
I confess I'm not entirely sure what to say here. 'It was good to see you again' somehow rings hollow, an empty space unfit to contain the totality of my feelings. And yet I am pleased—pleased that the Assassins have not changed you completely. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. You never were one to be easily awed.
It seems we have both found ourselves at an impasse in the hunt for my father's killer. Perhaps together, we can accomplish what neither of us alone could. It's nice to think that after all this time, we're still better together than apart.
Oh Arno, what have you done? I know we didn't part on the best of terms, but to go running to the Assassins? My Father kept you away from them for a reason. Their Creed is like wine—sweet enough at first blush, and in moderation it makes life seem more bearable, but drink too deeply and you find naught but madness and anarchy.
No doubt they've already filled your mind with tales of how dreadful we Templars are, that we would make slaves of humanity and place our boots on the world's neck. You knew my father, and you know me—I can only pray that is enough to give the lie to those tales. My Order has turned against me, and I am hunted by those I once called friend. I could not bear it if you turned against me also.
Think of me and be well,
I can barely conceive how much has changed in the last three years. How far our roads have taken us—sometimes I feared our paths would diverge forever, or else come together at loggerheads like the star-cross'd lovers in some hackneyed stage piece. Yet here we are, not the same brash children we once were, nor yet strangers.
When this is over, when Germain is dead at our feet and my father rests, who then will we be? Assassin Mentor and Templar Grand Master? The continuation of the old, or the beginning of something new? Will we shape the future of our world, or will we retire quietly to the countryside to raise goats? (I can just see you as a goatherd, leaping and climbing about the Alps. No goat would have a change of escaping you.)
I do not know what the next days, months, years will bring. All I know is that we shall remain Arno and Élise, and with that, I am content.
As I write this you are asleep. If the light wakes you, I'll have some explaining to do, but at this moment you are sleeping peacefully. Tomorrow is the day, it seems—the culmination of five long years, our moment of revenge. So why can I not quiet this part of me which fears that, at the tipping point, you will flinch?
Is it that I fear you loved my father less than I? Or do I doubt your resolve to strike the killing blow? I do not think so. Rather I fear that you have lost so much already that you cannot bear to lose more. I think that you would let Germain rule France if you thought it would "save" me.
Have you ever known me to need saving? Have you ever had cause to think that I would accept it if it were offered? My fate is my own. My choice is my own.
If somehow we both return from this, I will burn this letter. If you are reading it now, then I made my choice there in the Temple. Know that I made it gladly, and do not take the burden of it onto yourself. Be at peace, my love, and walk what path you will.
All my love,
To Be Opened In The Event Of My Death
Forgive the lack of pleasantries but I'm afraid I have reconciled my feelings toward you, and they are this: I don't much like you. I'm sorry about this, and appreciate you may consider it a rather rude thing to announce, but if you're reading this then either you have ignored my instruction or I am dead and in either case neither of us should be concerned with matters of etiquette.
Now, notwithstanding the fact of my feelings toward you, I appreciate your attempts to make recompense for your actions, and I have been touched by your loyalty. It is for this reason that I ask you to show this letter to my beloved Arno Dorian, himself an Assassin, and trust that he will take it as a testimonial to your changed ways. However, since I very much doubt the word of a deceased Templar will be enough to ingratiate yourself with the Brotherhood, I have something else for you, too.
Arno, I would ask that you pass the letters I am about to discuss to Monsieur Ruddock, in order that he may use them to curry favor with the Assassins in the hope of being accepted back in the creed. Monsieur Ruddock will be aware that this deed illustrates my trust in him and my faith that the task will be completed sooner rather than later, and for this reason will require no monitoring whatsoever.
Arno, the remainder of my letter is for you. I pray I will return from my confrontation with Germain and can retrieve this letter from Ruddock, tear it up and not think of its contents again. But if you're reading it, it means, firstly, that my trust in Ruddock has been repaid, and secondly that I am dead.
There is much I have to tell you from beyond the grave, and to this end I bequeath to you my journals, the most recent of which you will in my satchel, the preceding ones being kept in a cache with the letters of which I speak. If, when inspecting the trunk, you reach the sad conclusion that I had not been treasuring letters you sent me, please know that that reason why may be found with the pages of my journals. You will also find a necklace, given to me by Jennifer Scott.
[ . . .]
. . . now, of course, I lie at the Cimetière des Innocents, and I am with my parents, close to those I love.
Who I love most of all, though, Arno, is you. I hope you understand how much I love you. And I hope you love me too. And for allowing me the honor of knowing such a fulfilling emotion, I thank you.
If you are reading this then either my trust in Ruddock has been justified, or his greed has prevailed. In either case, if you are reading this, then you have my journals.
I trust having read them you may understand me a little more and be more sympathetic to the choices I have made. I hope you can see now that I shared your dream for a truce between Assassin and Templar, and to that end I have one final request of you, my darling. I ask that you take these principles back to your brothers in the creed and evangelize in their behalf. And when they tell you that your ideas are fanciful and naïve, remind them how you and I proved that differences in doctrine can be overcome.
Please do this for me, Arno. And think of me. Just as I shall think of you until we are together again.
- The documents featured in the letters' database image are actually from the missive written by Marie-Joseph Chénier to Robespierre in the memory "The Supreme Being". While looking for incriminating evidence in the latter's tent, Arno found Chénier's letter begging Robespierre to spare his imprisoned brother, the poet André Chénier.