The Assassin Order, also known as the Assassin Brotherhood, Liberalis Circulum (Circle of Liberals) during the time of the Roman Empire, or Hashshashin during the Middle Ages, was an organized order of assassins and sworn enemies of the Templars, against whom they fought a continuous, recondite war throughout the entirety of recorded human history. Whereas the Templars sought to save humanity from itself by controlling free will, the Assassin Order fought to ensure the survival of freedom, as it allowed for the progression of new ideas and the growth of individuality.
The Order believes in a strong set of values that strictly govern their way of life, referred to as "the Creed". This Creed consists of three tenets:
- "Stay your blade from the flesh of an innocent."
- "Hide in plain sight, be one with the crowd."
- "Never compromise the Brotherhood."
These tenets permeated every aspect of the Assassins' daily life, as well as their fight for "peace in all things". The Assassins carry out their duties through political, strategic assassination, in the hope that killing one individual will lead to the salvation of thousands. They also believe that they fight on the behalf of those who do not possess the abilities, resources, or knowledge to speak out against those who abuse their power.
Ideals and goals
- "The strings should be severed. All should be free."
- ―Ratonhnhaké:ton's motivation.[src]
The Assassin Order pursued many goals throughout its incredibly long existence, but its main and highest objective was in the pursuit of total freedom for all people. This objective led the Assassins to oppose tyrants and oppressors alike, as well as engage in rabble-rousing efforts in the aim of motivating the people towards change. It also led the Assassins to become sworn enemies of the Templar Order, who prized purpose and order above freedom.
Although freedom is their highest goal and ideal, the Assassins have also prized other ideals at various points in their existence. Examples included peace, justice and knowledge, while certain other individuals pursued personal objectives such as vengeance. At other times, such as the modern era, the Assassins have dedicated all their efforts to thwarting the Templars' goals and attempting to reverse their enemies' upper-hand.
While Haytham Kenway once claimed that the Templar Order was born of a "realization" of the truth of society, the Assassin Order was born of a "reaction". The entire Order's cause was often to counteract the efforts of oppressors, and to reverse the trappings of society that certain individuals forced upon the people. When dictators emerge, the Assassins seek to eliminate them, and thereby protect the freedom which they see as the inherent right of every individual.
- "Cultures and religions and languages keep folks divided. But there's something in the Assassin's Creed that crosses all boundaries. A fondness for life and liberty."
- ―Mary Read, on the Assassin's Creed and society.[src]
Throughout history, the Order recruited Assassin disciples through a variety of means. While individuals such as Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad were raised in the Brotherhood, those like Ezio Auditore da Firenze and Stephane Chapheau initially joined the cause as a way to seek revenge against Templars that had wronged them. The Order also recruited oppressed victims of different corrupt regimes – such the late Ming Dynasty and the Borgia – to fight within their ranks, as well as many other recruits drawn to their ideals.
The Assassins largely target key individuals they perceive to be corrupt or a danger to humanity. The removal of opposition by way of murder is their chief method; however, the Order encourages an attitude of respect for the dead, and would once ask for Assassins to give their targets last rites whenever possible.
However, the Order also engaged in a wide range of covert operations, such as espionage, theft of items or supplies, redirection of funds, secret support to select groups, or acts of sabotage. While most of these actions were covert in nature, the Order occasionally opted for open confrontation or control of territories where it has sufficient presence, such as in 16th century Constantinople.
In order to ascertain which deaths might best assist the Assassins' goals, target selection required extensive knowledge of contemporary politics and society. Thus, the Assassins endeavored to remain in tune with current and ongoing events. Obtaining information was the job of low-level members of the Order, who would be stationed throughout the cities of the world. These spies would observe local nobles and rulers, looking for signs of corruption, or for membership in the Templar Order. Once gathered, any useful information was passed on to the Assassins responsible for the actual elimination.
Despite their service to those who would otherwise suffer, the Assassins were feared by the general populace, due mainly to their reputation for taking life in public before many witnesses. Even when methods of assassination began to change under the leadership of Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad, their covert methods still caused them to be feared by the people.
The Assassin paradox
- "What follows are the three great ironies of the Assassin Order: (1) Here we seek to promote peace, but murder is our means. (2) Here we seek to open the minds of men, but require obedience to a master and set of rules. (3) Here we seek to reveal the danger of blind faith, yet we are practitioners ourselves."
- ―Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad's Codex.[src]
Despite the Order's benevolent intentions, it was still susceptible to faults, misguided beliefs and corruption. Many Assassins acknowledged the irony of their work on a variety of levels. When Desmond Miles was rescued by the Assassins, he assumed they were the "good guys", but Shaun Hastings reminded him they still achieved their goals by killing people. Rebecca Crane acknowledged that "it's not ideal... but sometimes there's no other way. Sometimes, Desmond, people have to die for things to change."
This contradiction in values caused some Assassins to defect. When members of the Brotherhood in the FBI began holding Nikolai Orelov's family hostage to make him give up his secrets, he told his son Innokenti "These are not honorable men, Kenya. They are killers. They live by old laws which apply only to them and then call themselves heroes." Orelov's great grandson, Daniel Cross, held to that notion when viewing his ancestor's genetic memory, claiming the Assassins were "a family of wolves, opportunistic, savage. They'll turn on each other at a moment's notice: they're anarchists. And anarchy can never lead to a unified world."
The Assassins often focused exclusively on battling the Templars, cooperating with dubious figures such as the House of Medici or Vladimir Lenin, or sparing the likes of Tomás de Torquemada, because they were not part of the enemy order. Vali cel Tradat, for instance, left the Assassins because they did not try to stop the Ottoman Empire's conquest of his native Wallachia, and Orelov defected because he felt he was "no better than a common grave-robber" under the Assassins.
The Order frequently sacrificed other ideals of society to freedom without regard for the implications of their actions. One method of infiltration employed by the Assassins was public agitation, which often caused great disruption and damage to the surrounding area. For instance, Ezio Auditore caused a riot at the Harbor of Theodosius in 1511 that reduced the market district to ruins, simply to infiltrate the arsenal and gather information. Later still, he deliberately caused an explosion in the underground city of Cappadocia, indirectly killing or injuring a large portion of the population to draw his target out into the open.
Achilles Davenport's stubborn attitude to uncover Pieces of Eden and refusal to heed the warnings from Shay Cormac about disturbing the Precursor Temples depicted in the Voynich manuscript upon the destruction of Lisbon and death of the majority of its populace inevitably led Shay to defect from the Assassins and hunt down its members until only Achilles remained.
In his time, Connor ensured the abandonment of his tribe's native lands and the onset of the American Revolutionary War by eliminating William Johnson and John Pitcairn in pursuit of freedom, to his eventual regret.
- Main article: Initiation to the Assassin Order
There were two ways of entering into the Order: through birth, like Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad, Ezio Auditore and Desmond Miles, or through recruitment, like Assassin apprentices, Edward Kenway and Shaun Hastings.
After declaring oneself an Assassin under the Creed, a trainee would be tested to prove their worth over an unspecified period of time. For example, Ezio was tasked with hunting down Templar conspirators over years before he was officially inducted, whereas Assassin apprentices had to gain enough experience in their contract missions across the world before joining the Assassins Guild as fully-fledged members.
The Assassins spent their entire lives training to kill. From an early age, they were taught to observe their surroundings and plan ahead. Combat skills were essential and focused on bladed weaponry. However, the most important consideration in the Assassins' training was concealment. Stealth was the greatest weapon of the Assassins, and everything about their lives emphasized a devotion to it. It was essential for an Assassin to be able to reach their target unnoticed and then slip back into the crowd after they had struck.
Another significant focus of an Assassin's training was maneuverability. By the time an Assassin reached the rank of Master Assassin, they were also a master of free-running, an early form of parkour extensively utilized by the Assassins. Widely seen as alien by the general populace, this method of movement allowed the Assassins to reach areas not otherwise accessible. Free-running gave the Assassins a significant advantage over nearly all of their enemies and city guards, and could be used to traverse crowded urban environments quickly and efficiently.
However, not all Assassins were trained from birth, particularly those recruited later in life. Trainees had to learn the ways of their craft through personal experience and the teachings from other Assassins in the field. For example, Ezio learned many techniques from other Assassins and allies like Paola, his uncle Mario Auditore and the thief Rosa, as well as several fundamental assassination techniques through reading the Codex of Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad. Centuries later, Edward Kenway used skills learned through piracy to better himself as an Assassin.
Unlike certain other factions, the Assassins did not have a specific style of fighting. Aside from their signature Hidden Blade, each branch used weapons and fighting styles native to the area. For example, the Turkish Assassins favored curved daggers, while the Chinese Assassins were trained in kung fu.
Throughout the ages, the Brotherhood has had many weapons at its disposal. During ancient times, the Assassins did not have any standard attire or equipment, but ancient Assassins were known for using spears, poisons, bows, and other armaments. By the time of the High Middle Ages, they had assumed white as their general color and robes with beaked hoods as their common clothing.
This age also marked the appearance of the Assassins' signature weapon, the Hidden Blade, a retractable blade first conceptualized by Darius. Other weapons used by the Assassins included swords, short blades and throwing knives, though the Order forbade the use of poison as "a coward's tool". Many such rules changed under the leadership of Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad, who pioneered several inventions and techniques with the assistance of an Apple of Eden. These included the Poison Blade, the Hidden Gun, and new types of assassinations which dramatically altered the practices of the Order.
From the Renaissance onward, the Assassins' equipment did not change significantly, but some weapons were added to their arsenal. The use of armor over robes had become popular, although the white robes with beaked hoods persisted. Ezio Auditore and other Italian Assassins used a Hidden Gun, crossbow, poison darts, smoke bombs, and a secondary Hidden Blade, among more conventional weapons like swords and knives. Some regions also had unique weapons not seen elsewhere, like the tomahawk of Ratonhnhaké:ton or Hookblades used in the early 16th century Ottoman Empire. Still others, such as the Caribbean Assassins, did not have beaked hoods as part of their standard attire.
In modern times, Assassins followed the rest of society into the new era. As technology progressed, guns became commonplace and computers became prevalent, with Assassins like Rebecca Crane and Hannah Mueller specializing in their use. While Desmond Miles was being held by Abstergo Industries within their Roman facility, a small group of Assassins attempted to rescue him, armed with automatic weapons.
Historically, Assassins always showed great respect for the dead. Their own were buried in crypts or large tombs, wrapped in a cloth shroud with their red sash spread across the body. The greatest Assassins were venerated in large tombs and entombed within sarcophagi, their likeness emblazoned on the lid and their symbol venerated in the flags of the tomb.
For all assassination targets, unless circumstances prevented, Assassins would give them their last rites after they had passed away. Early in his career as an Assassin, Ezio Auditore was reprimanded by his uncle Mario for disrespecting the corpse of his target and longtime rival Vieri de' Pazzi, instilling in him a respect for the dead.
When an Assassin had behaved irrationally on several occasions, the Assassin Council could call for a vote of expulsion. The expulsion would include that the Assassin was stripped of their rank and exiled from the Brotherhood.
The Assassin Arno Dorian was expelled from the Order, after he had defied the Council's orders, performed several assassinations without the Council's consent and in their words "flouted the Creed at every step".
In cases of extreme disregard for the Creed's tenets, an expelled member may further become the target of assassination by their former comrades, such examples being Perotto Calderon for the theft of the Shroud of Eden, and Shay Cormac for the theft of the Voynich manuscript.
The bloodline of the original Assassins was formed millennia ago, after members of the First Civilization conceived children with humans. These children had the appearance of humans, but were gifted with extra senses from the precursor race, such as Eagle Vision. However, throughout the years, these senses were spread thin into the genetic pool, and became dormant in many humans. Only those with high concentrations of First Civilization genetics could freely use the power in the modern era, or those who gained the ability through the Bleeding Effect.
Regardless of ability, many of the resulting humans eventually banded together to accomplish the same goals shared with their modern-day descendants: the protection of the free will for all people, and the removal of individuals who would threaten the freedom of others.
Republic of Rome
During the Roman Republican era, the Assassin Order was a secret enemy of the SPQR – the Senatus Populusque Romanus – a precursor to the Templar organization that composed the ruling body of the Roman Republic. Little is known of the Assassin Order's hierarchy and activities during this time, barring a few major assassinations. In 44 BCE, forty Assassins, who had previously been part of the Roman senate, plotted the assassination of the Roman dictator, Gaius Julius Caesar.
Marcus Junius Brutus was tasked with plotting the assassination by Gaius Cassius Longinus, after seeing visions granted by the First Civilization in the Colosseum Vault. Twenty-three of the forty Assassins stabbed Caesar to death at the Roman senate. Following this event, the Assassins went their separate ways, but most were eventually tracked down and killed by Caesar's allies. Brutus himself committed suicide before the Battle of Philippi, which his forces eventually lost. Afterward, his Brothers unsuccessfully tried to revive him with the Shroud of Eden.
In 30 BCE, Cleopatra, Caesar's former lover and Queen of Egypt, was killed by the Egyptian Assassin Amunet with a venomous snake. Years later, on 24 January 41 CE, Roman Emperor Caligula was stabbed to death by the Assassin Leonius under unknown circumstances.
In 259 CE, the Assassins Accipiter and Aquilus safeguarded an Ankh for the Assassin Order, which was operating under the alias Liberalis Circulum. Aquilus' father, Lucius, initially held the Ankh, but when he was killed by Templars, Aquilus fought to retrieve it. He uncovered a Templar traitor, Faustinus, who pointed to Roman senator Caïus Fulvus Vultur as the ringleader before Aquilus eliminated him.
Though he was able to kill and retrieve the Ankh from Vultur, Aquilus died a captive of the Prefect of Lugdunum. Accipiter, Aquilus' cousin, managed to save Aquilus' wife, Valeria, and she told him of the work that they were doing. Together, the two recovered the Ankh, and Valeria interred it in a shrine to Aquilus' memory.
High Middle Ages
During the Middle Ages, the Templars became a public knightly order under the name "Knights Templar". In the year 1090, control of the Assassins fell to Hassan-i Sabbāh, who in turn changed the Assassin Order into a public organization. Under his command, public assassinations occurred much more often and the people were encouraged to stand up to their oppressors, realizing that they were not on their own.
During the 1170s, the Assassins were at odds with the Saracens; in 1174, thirteen Assassins were sent to the Sultan Saladin's camp close to Damascus to assassinate him. They successfully infiltrated his tent, but were detected once inside. One Assassin was killed by a Saracen general and the others were executed upon trying to escape.
In 1176, Saladin led a siege on the Assassins' fortress at Masyaf. After the location of Saladin's tent was revealed by the Assassin spy Ahmad Sofian, Umar Ibn-La'Ahad was sent to leave a feather and a dagger with a threatening message at Saladin's bedside. Despite a careful approach, he was ultimately detected and killed a Saracen noble to make his escape. Ahmad Sofian confirmed Umar's identity under torture, and Umar gave himself up to execution to spare Ahmad's life.
In 1189, the Assassins were betrayed by a man named Haras, who captured Mentor Al Mualim and three other Assassins, and allowed Crusaders into Masyaf's village. Under the leadership of young Assassin Altaïr, members of the Brotherhood were able to force the Crusaders back. Altaïr personally assassinated Haras and saved Al Mualim, earning the rank of Master Assassin.
The next year, the Assassins began to hunt for the Chalice, an object rumored to be so powerful that it could end the Crusades. Al Mualim wanted to keep it out of Templar hands, and sent Altaïr to recover it. Investigating the Chalice's location, he eventually tracked it to the Temple of Sand, but found the Templar leader Basilisk had removed it. As the structure began to crumble, Basilisk revealed that the Chalice was not an object, but a woman, then left Altaïr to die. However, Altaïr escaped and hunted Basilisk, uncovering the Templar plan to poison the water supply of Acre.
After foiling this plot, Altaïr followed the trail of the Chalice to Jerusalem and recognized her to be Adha, a former acquaintance of his. On Adha's instruction, Altaïr killed Harash, a traitor to the Assassin Order. Altaïr then planned to run away with Adha, but she was soon captured by Basilisk and transported to an unknown location. Years later, Altaïr found her dead, and began hunting the individuals responsible for her murder.
In 1191, the Assassins were still in a secret battle with the Templars and their leader, Robert de Sable. It was during the Third Crusade that the Assassins learned of the Templars' interest in an ancient artifact hidden within the catacombs of Solomon's Temple. A mission to retrieve the artifact was organized, and though it was successful, it led to the death of one Assassin, the disfigurement of another, and the arrival of the Templar army at the gates of Masyaf. The Assassins were nearly overwhelmed by the following battle, but were ultimately able to drive the Templars from the fortress and village.
Following the assault, the Assassin blamed for prompting the assault – Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad – was reduced to the rank of novice and tasked with eliminating nine corrupt leaders who all answered to Robert de Sable. As Altaïr made his way through the list of both Crusaders and Saracen, he was unsettled by the realization that their goal to bring peace to the Holy Land was just, and that they were "misguided perhaps, but pure in motive."
This was a view shared by Al Mualim, who agreed with their goals, but felt that their attitude of "the end justifies the means" undermined the good they did. As his mission progressed, Altaïr sought to know what tied his victims together, and the discovery that they were all Templars reinforced his determination to bring an end to their plot.
By fall of 1191, Robert de Sable and his associates had been eliminated. However, it was soon discovered that Al Mualim was secretly a former member of de Sable's coalition and wished to use the Apple of Eden to force his rule upon the world. He was killed during a confrontation with Altaïr, who subsequently took on the position of Mentor of the Levantine Order. With full control over the Assassins, Altaïr set out to liberate the island of Cyprus from the Templars, who had recently purchased it from King Richard I. After assassinating the Templar Grand Master Armand Bouchart and discovering the Templar Archive, Altaïr returned to Masyaf with Maria Thorpe, de Sable's former disciple and Templar deserter.
During this time, Altaïr began to write a detailed Codex based on information gleaned from the Apple of Eden. These secrets profoundly affected the Order, as new assassination techniques and equipment changed the way the organization operated. In 1209, Altaïr began to send his Assassins to cities throughout the world, after he was made aware of their existence by the Apple of Eden.
In the year 1217, Altaïr set out with his wife Maria and son Darim to kill Genghis Khan, leaving Malik Al-Sayf as the Order's temporary leader. Khan's army had advanced westward rapidly, and Altaïr suspected that he possessed a Piece of Eden. On their journey, the family met with Mongolian Assassin Qulan Gal, and the group worked together to end the threat. Ultimately, Darim and Qulan succeeded in killing the Khan in 1227.
On their return to Masyaf, Altaïr found that his rival Abbas Sofian had taken over the Order, imprisoning Malik and killing Altaïr and Maria's youngest son, Sef. Shortly after Altaïr's arrival, Malik was killed as well. Abbas then attempted to take the Apple from Altaïr, leading to Maria's death at the hands of Swami, Abbas' lackey.
Altaïr and Darim fled Masyaf and Altaïr fell into a deep depression, obsessing over the Apple and ultimately driving Darim and Sef's family away. Continued study of the Apple led him to Memory Seals, and taught him how to make several advanced gadgets. Recovering his mental fortitude, Altaïr returned to Masyaf in 1247 and found it in disrepair. He rallied Assassins loyal to him and Malik, and turned several of Abbas' henchmen to his side. Together they took the fortress, and Altaïr executed Abbas with the Hidden Gun, reclaiming the title of Mentor.
During this time, the Mongol threat continued advancing west, and Altaïr ordered his Assassins to abandon Masyaf and carry on their activities in secret. He trained and initiated the travelers Niccolò and Maffeo Polo into the Order in 1257, then tasked them with creating Assassin guilds throughout the Old World. He then gave them his Codex and the Memory Seals for safekeeping in Constantinople before locking himself in the empty Masyaf library.
Late Middle Ages
- "In this modern age, we are not as literal as our ancestors; but our seal is no less permanent..."
- ―Mario Auditore at Ezio's official induction into the Assassin Order.[src]
During the Late Middle Ages, the Order continued to thrive, despite being forced to adopt an even more secretive and isolated existence. When the Renaissance – a cultural movement – started in Italy, the Assassin Order primarily focused themselves in Italy, where the headquarters of the Templar Order were also located.
In the early 14th century, the Assassins manipulated King Philip IV of France to try and destroy the Templars. They made the Church brand the Templars heretics, turning their own weapon against them, with the intention of finishing off the Templars. They managed to have the Templar Grand Master, Jacques de Molay burned at the stake, however, his nine most trusted men had escaped after he had passed on the knowledge of the ancients, and their Order continued to survive.
By 1321, various members of the Assassin Order had successfully integrated themselves into the everyday life of middle Italy, widely unknown to the average folk. That same year, a young sailor by the name of Domenico, the son of an Assassin, was apprenticed to the poet and Assassin Dante Alighieri, who had been tasked with transporting Altaïr's Codex from Venice to Spain.
Upon Dante's death, however, the undertaking fell instead to Domenico. During the voyage, pirates under the employ of the Templars ambushed the ship looking for the Codex, consequently killing Domenico's wife. Fortunately for the Assassins, Domenico managed to break apart the Codex and hide its pages before he and his son were forced overboard.
Eventually returning to Venice, Domenico found his father and his patron, Marco Polo, an ally of the Assassins, dead. Thus, Domenico emptied the bank accounts of Messer Polo, and traveled to the city of Florence under the adopted name of Auditore. He eventually constructed the Villa Auditore in the city of Monteriggioni, which became the center of the Assassin Order in Italy up to the year 1500.
Despite the order "modernizing" since the 12th century, they still retained many of the rituals and practices, albeit altered. The practice of removing one's ring finger had been ceased, although the seal of the Order was branded upon the finger instead with a heated iron. Although significantly fewer in number, the Assassins were supported by the courtesans, thieves and mercenaries of Florence and Venice; the guilds of which were each run by a member of the Order.
During this time period, the Assassins entered another span of increased hostility with the Templars, who were attempting to overthrow the ruling House of Medici in Florence, and the Doge of Venice. Having already killed the Duke of Milan in 1476, Rodrigo Borgia, the Grand Master of the Templar Order, brought the noble families of Pazzi and Barbarigo together to accomplish his goals.
Entering into conflict with the Assassins, Borgia dealt a crippling blow to the Order in 1476, when he had the experienced Assassin Giovanni Auditore da Firenze and his two sons executed, Federico and Petruccio, although a third son, Ezio, had managed to escape. With the aid of Ezio, the Assassins were able to counter Borgia's plot over a twenty-three year campaign, defeating him at every turn.
In 1487, the Order of Assassins learned that the Templars had retrieved another Apple of Eden from the island of Cyprus, and deemed its capture necessary. Following the artifact from L'Arsenale di Venezia, Ezio managed to overpower and replace the Templar guard carrying the artifact. Under this guise, Ezio met with Borgia himself, and the two engaged in battle.
Borgia fled upon the arrival of other Assassins, and in doing so, the artifact fell into the hands of their Order. The Assassins of this age, however, were unaware of the nature of the artifact, although they did recognize it as one of the Pieces of Eden mentioned within Altaïr's Codex.
By 1500, right after Cesare Borgia besieged the city of Monteriggioni, murdering Mario Auditore and once again claiming the Apple for the Templars, Ezio Auditore had moved to Rome, meeting up with Niccolò Machiavelli and laying the foundations of a new "brotherhood" of Assassins. Utilizing the mercenaries, thieves and courtesans of Bartolomeo d'Alviano, La Volpe and Claudia Auditore da Firenze respectively, Ezio's brotherhood worked to combat the influence and power of the Borgia family, and by extension, the Papacy itself.
Headquartered in an underground storeroom owned by Fabio Orsini, on Tiber Island in the center of Rome, the Assassins began to spread their influence throughout the city, recruiting Rome's own citizens as Assassin apprentices under Ezio, eventually becoming inducted and branded into the Order as Assassins themselves. Under the instruction of Ezio, many Assassin recruits undertook a variety of missions across Europe and Asia in cities such as London, Paris, Barcelona, Lisbon, Moscow and Calicut.
There, the recruits killed and sabotaged Templars, the Templars' allies, and corrupt men in power, as well as defending and aiding their Assassin brothers and sisters, along with any willing to stand against the Borgia and the Church.
Over a period of three years, Ezio's brotherhood whittled away the Borgia family's power, and with the murder of Rodrigo Borgia at the hands of his own son, and the arrest of Cesare by the Papal Guard of Pope Julius II, the Templars' influence over the city of Rome was shattered.
Three years after Siege of Viana in 1507, when Ezio ended the threat of Cesare Borgia for once and all, the Assassin Mentor traveled to the ancient fortress of Masyaf, on a pilgrimage to learn about the origins of the Order. When he arrived, he discovered that the fortress had been overrun by the Templars, who were searching for the five keys, which would unlock a secret library beneath the fortress of Masyaf.
With one seal already in the Templars' possession, Ezio learned that the remaining four were hidden throughout the city of Constantinople. From there, Ezio made his way to the city in the hopes of obtaining the remaining seals.
When he arrived in Constantinople, Ezio was welcomed by the guild there, led by Yusuf Tazim, and learned how to use their unique weapons. With the knowledge made known to him that the Templars had taken over the Byzantine remnants, and in the recent years, had been attempting to overthrow the Ottomans, Ezio began to take a leading role in the conflict.
He retook all the Assassin Dens around the city and trained seven recruits to the rank of Master Assassin, assigning each to one of the dens. The Constantinople guild of Assassins also worked to help liberate and spread their Order's influence in other cities, namely Bursa, Rhodes, Marseille, Damascus, Jerusalem, Madrid, Lisbon, Tunis, Tripoli, Athens, Algiers and Alexandria, where they slowly whittled away Templar control, rebuilt the cities and protected them from attacks by the Templars.
They also rescued captured Assassins in these cities, and helped those who opposed the Templars. During these ventures, the Assassins were responsible for destroying the compound of the Knights Hospitalier.
Together with Yusuf, Ezio protected the Ottoman prince Suleiman I from the Templars, while continuing his search for the keys. Befriending a Venetian lady, Sofia Sartor, she deciphered a map containing the location of the keys. After finding four of the keys to Altaïr's library, Ezio traveled to Cappadocia – after asking Yusuf to protect Sofia at her shop – to hunt down Manuel Palaiologos and find the final key. On doing so, he discovered that Manuel was not the true leader of the Byzantines, but that Suleiman's uncle – Ahmet – was.
On his return to Constantinople, Ezio made his way to Sofia's shop, only to find that Yusuf had been killed and Ahmet had captured Sofia, demanding the keys in exchange. However, after a full scale assault on the city's Arsenal, Ezio chased him over the countryside, culminating with Ahmet's brother, Selim I, killing Ahmet by throwing the man from a cliff.
From there, Ezio and Sofia traveled to Masyaf and unlocked the library of Altaïr, where Ezio attempted to communicate with Desmond. Deciding that his mission was over, Ezio left behind his sword and Hidden Blade, resigning his life as an Assassin.
Once he had returned to Italy, Ezio appointed the Assassin Lodovico Ariosto as the Mentor of the Italian Assassins and then retired from the Order, marrying Sofia Sartor and having two children with her, Flavia and Marcello Auditore, while settling down on a Tuscan vineyard.
As the Templars had been severely weakened in Europe, the Assassins began collecting and studying several Pieces of Eden. In 1510, Francesco Vecellio hunted down Niccolò di Pitigliano, recovering the Shroud of Eden.
By 1519, Giovanni Borgia was secured a position aboard Hernán Cortés' ship, which was sailing to the New World. After the Spanish troops began to ransack Tenochtitlan, Giovanni recovered a Crystal Skull from the Mayan city, assassinating one of their priests to obtain it. On bringing it to Paracelsus for study, the Assassins found that it was not one of the Pieces.
In 1527, Giovanni accidentally read a tome belonging to Paracelsus and succeeded in crafting the Philosopher's Stone. After discovering that the tome was one half of the Book of Abraham, he searched for the other half with Maria Amiel, Paracelsus' assistant, but only found a translation. However, he did develop a relationship with Maria, with the two of them becoming romantically involved and later marrying each other.
In 1542, after studying the Crystal Skull over a long period of time, Giovanni found out that it could be used to communicate over large distances, seeing the face of a Chinese man in his mind.
Around this time, the Chinese Assassins were fighting desperately against the Templars. Several Chinese Emperors came to power through Templar support, who would then orchestrate the mass killings of Assassins. One such emperor was Yongle, who was killed by the Assassin Li Tong in 1424.
When Emperor Jiajing came to power, he nearly destroyed the Brotherhood in China, though a handful of Assassins fled west for support. Shao Jun and her Mentor escaped to Italy, though Jiajing's men killed Jun's Mentor along the way, leaving her to fend for herself. With no alternative, Jun went to Ezio to seek guidance and support.
Though he initially wanted nothing to do with the Assassins anymore, he eventually relented and taught her how to rebuild her Brotherhood. Shao Jun, armed with this knowledge and a box that Ezio told her to open only if she lost her way, traveled back to China with the vow to rebuild the Chinese Brotherhood, no matter how long it took.
As the reach of the Old World spread to the New, the Assassins followed to ensure they were able to protect it from any advances the Templars made. In 1503, the Italian Assassins under Ezio were sent to recover a map of the New World made by Piri Reis. Using this map, they too began to send their forces to America. The first Assassin to ever reach the New World was John de la Tour, who set up a base for the Brotherhood there.
In 1510, the Assassins in Florida recruited Alonso Carlo and his adopted son, Miguel Ramón Carlo de Lugo, to their cause. In 1521, Carlo was tasked with stopping the explorer Juan Ponce de León from reaching the Fountain of Youth, where they knew he would find a Piece of Eden. While Miguel distracted León in conversation, a poisoned arrow killed the explorer, following which Miguel escaped.
In the mid-1730s, Achilles Davenport was recruited to the Colonial branch of the Assassin Order and became its Mentor in 1746. The Templars, headed by Haytham Kenway, nearly decimated this branch of Assassins in 1763, wiping out most of its members and nearly all of its records. The exact nature of the attack still remains unknown, but it left at least one survivor, Achilles, who disbanded the Order and went into retirement.
Years later, Achilles mentored the young Assassin Ratonhnhaké:ton, who ultimately destroyed the Colonial Rite of the Templar Order through his actions during the American Revolutionary War. Ratonhnhaké:ton also rebuilt the province's Brotherhood, by recruiting several citizens of New York and Boston.
- "In the old days, that usually meant killing anyone who became too powerful or greedy. [...] These days, it means subversion of established regimes. [...] Countries. Corporations. We change the system from within."
- ―"The Mentor", in 2000, on the Assassin Order.[src]
During the mid-19th century, at the start of the Sikh Empire, the Indian Assassin Arbaaz Mir and ancestor to Monima Das was active in the search for a powerful Piece of Eden known as the Koh-i-Noor. During this period the Indian Assassins were led by the Assassin Hamid in the capital city of the Sikh Empire, Amritsar.
By the late 19th century, the Russian sect of the Assassin Order, the Narodnaya Volya (People's Will), played a vital role in overthrowing the Tsarist rule over Russia. The Assassins strongly assisted their close ally, Vladimir Lenin, the leader of the Bolsheviks – as Lenin's brother was an Assassin himself.
Due to the efforts of the Assassin Nikolai Orelov, the Templar-affiliated Tsar Alexander III died of kidney failure and a Staff of Eden was destroyed in the Tunguska explosion. Without power, Tsarevich Nicholas II was removed from the throne and Russia became communistic.
By the 20th century, the tactics and practices of the Assassin Order had changed greatly. Whilst the Order of Assassins had kept to their policy of remote camps and isolation, the Templars had begun to infiltrate society further; taking the form of many publicly known corporations such as NASA, Kraft and BP, which all secretly linked to the shadow-corporation Abstergo Industries.
The Templars Winston Churchill, Joseph Stalin, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Adolf Hitler planned a war, World War II, which would place the Templars in control. At the end of the war, Hitler was supposed to kill his double, created by the Piece of Eden in his control, and then escape. However, the Assassins spoiled this victory by assassinating Hitler as he exited the bunker that his body double was placed in.
The Assassins relied less upon killing powerful or greedy individuals, and more on changing the "established regime" from within, using politics as well as the blade to achieve their aims, such as rigging elections to keep Templars out of office.
By the year 2000, the Hidden Blade had become a largely ceremonial weapon. In the meantime however, the Templars continued to search for and investigate the various Pieces of Eden they discovered throughout this period, whilst the Assassins continued their war against them; notably being responsible for the destruction of at least one Templar-controlled base in Siberia in 1908, known in public as the Tunguska explosion.
However, by the year 1985, the Templars, under the guise of their front-company Abstergo Industries, had begun kidnapping Assassins or those related to them in an attempt to locate even more Pieces of Eden.
That same year, a ten to eleven year old child, a descendant of the Assassin Nikolai Orelov, was kidnapped by Abstergo's Lineage Research and Acquisition department and entered into the Animus Project, later being codenamed "Daniel Cross". Years later, in 1998, Daniel joined the Assassin Order as a prospective, but with a mission to find the then-current Mentor.
Two years later, he was granted his wish and inducted into the Order by the Mentor himself; Cross subsequently murdered the Mentor with the very Hidden Blade he had been bequeathed by his victim just moments before, as a result of a neurological impulse instilled in him by Warren Vidic during his time as an Abstergo captive.
Cross' actions directly led to the fall of the Assassin Order, as he compromised virtually all of the Assassin camps around the world that he had visited in search for the Mentor upon his programmed return to Abstergo Industries, which forced the Assassins even further into hiding. Other notable Assassins held captive by Abstergo included Clay Kaczmarek and Desmond Miles – both descendants of Ezio Auditore and Adam.
After the Mentor's death, William Miles began to take a prominent role in the Order's functioning, and became their de facto leader. It was his decision of raising Lucy Stillman outside the Order after the age of seventeen, so that all her ties to the Assassins were cut and she could infiltrate Abstergo.
The Assassins attempted to spy on Abstergo using moles several times, but the people they sent always turned out to be strong and got themselves killed, or too weak and easily manipulated by the Templars.
Sometime around 2008, William also recruited Clay Kaczmarek to the Order. Tasked with infiltrating Abstergo and discovering information about them, Clay returned successfully with a memo detailing the allocation of Abstergo Industries' budget, along with their funding of the Animus Project. With this information known to the Assassins, a plan was devised for him to get caught by their Lineage Research and Acquisition department as Subject 16, and was to be rescued later by Lucy.
However, years of isolation had caused her to turn against the Assassins, and once Clay learned of her defection through hacking into Abstergo's systems and uncovering security footage, she did not help him escape when the time came, leading to his subsequent suicide.
- "We lost two more teams last night. That's eight more of us just... gone."
- ―Lucy Stillman, 2012.[src]
Later on, the Templars tracked down Desmond Miles, William's son, who had left the Order in 2003. Using Desmond, Abstergo managed to obtain a map of the locations of the Pieces of Eden across the globe, and subsequently begun their attempts to claim them. When Desmond began to suffer from the Bleeding Effect, Warren Vidic told Lucy to take him somewhere where he would feel safe, as part of a plan code-named "Project Siren".
Not long after, the Assassins were able to free Desmond with the "aid" of Lucy, as well as obtain their own copy of the map. Following this, Desmond agreed to aid the Assassins in their quest to defeat Abstergo, mostly for revenge, but also for closure.
Utilizing the Animus 2.0, a copy of the machine used by Abstergo to explore his genetic memories previously, Desmond followed the memories of Ezio Auditore, adopting his skills in combat and freerunning, while the rest of the Order concentrated to locating the Pieces of Eden before their Templar counterparts.
Despite this, however, the war with the Templars had taken a turn for the worse. With their numbers dwindling, the Order of Assassins was in danger of losing the war. At least two known teams were reported to have been killed, one in Brisbane, Australia, and another in Whistler, Canada.
As technology progressed, so did the weapons used against the Assassins. By 2012, the Templars were using cell phone towers and satellites to track them down. As a result, Desmond and his group had to take refuge within the Sanctuary, deep beneath the city of Monteriggioni. By this point, the Order was using at least one e-mail network, known as the Hephaestus Email Network, in order to facilitate communications.
In the latter half of 2012, an Assassin team made up of Lucy Stillman, Rebecca Crane, Shaun Hastings and Desmond Miles discovered the Colosseum Vault – after Desmond had relived Ezio's memories in Rome through the Animus – and infiltrated it, securing the Apple of Eden that Ezio had hidden there centuries before. On contact with First Civilization artifact, Desmond's body was taken over by the ancient being Juno, who forced him to stab and kill the Assassin-traitor, Lucy.
This indirectly helped to ensure that the Templars could not get their hands on Ezio's Apple of Eden and kept Desmond safe from Templar influence from within the Assassins. Due to this event, the team and the Apple were brought to William Miles and the Order, in turn securing one of the ancient artifacts for the Order's cause.
Also, around this time, an Assassin team in Moscow were chasing a potential lead on a Piece of Eden. However, as William Miles stated, this was some of the only good news they had got. There were teams in Osaka and São Paulo. In Osaka, the team was being tailed, so they had gone dark. In São Paulo, a leak was confirmed and the team was working on flushing it out.
The team in Denver were even worse off. They had lost contact without informing, and their safe house was empty. This meant that they were dead or captured, or that they had gone dark without notifying the Assassin headquarters.
After killing Lucy, Desmond entered a coma, and was put back into the Animus. He relived a restored memory sequence, which provided the Assassins with co-ordinates, leading to the Grand Temple. While most Assassins continued their fight with Abstergo, William's team – with help from Gavin Banks – reached New York, hoping to find the Temple and stop the end of the world.
Upon finding out that they needed a key, and three "batteries" to open the door in the Grand Temple, Desmond began to work on finding the key, by reliving memories that Juno told him to. While William's team began working on opening the Temple, he had other teams run interference, and tried to thwart Abstergo's attempts to find them, or other Pieces of Eden.
During this endeavor, several Assassins were killed by Abstergo agents, including Adriano Maestranzi. William was captured by Juhani Otso Berg when he went alone to Cairo to retrieve the third and final power source. This attempt to find Desmond and take the Apple from him ended in failure, as he assassinated both Daniel Cross and Warren Vidic, killing the men responsible for nearly destroying the order 12 years previously, and foiling the Eye-Abstergo through these actions.
Returning to the Temple, Desmond fully reactivated it and discovered the Eye, a device that would save the world from the Second Disaster. Juno urged Desmond to activate the Eye, but Minerva asked him not to, saying that the Eye's activation would also kill Desmond and release Juno from her prison.
While Minerva and her brethren tried to save the world, Juno was planning to use their technology to conquer it, so she was imprisoned. Minerva showed Desmond that if he let the Second Disaster happen, the world would be devastated, but humanity would endure. Desmond would become a legendary figure that would rebuild the world. However, upon his death, his ideals would be misinterpreted by future generations, bringing about the fall of civilization, and "what once was, shall be again".
Believing the world would have a chance at defeating Juno, Desmond told William, Shaun and Rebecca to leave and prepare for the incoming struggle. Desmond then activated the Eye and the world was indeed saved, but as he was informed, Desmond died and Juno was released from her prison.
- "The seeds were planted as two worlds became one. Behold, the Assassins, the children of two worlds!"
- ―Clay Kaczmarek.[src]
The Assassins have existed since before the turn of the first millennium; several known figures included Darius, Iltani, Wei Yu, Gaius Cassius Longinus, Marcus Junius Brutus and their co-conspirators, Amunet and Leonius. Historically however, the forebearers of the Assassins have existed since before recorded time, possibly reaching as far back as Adam and Eve.
Medieval and Renaissance periods
During the Third Crusade, the Levantine branch of the Assassin Order was mainly made up of native individuals; although some, like Altaïr, were born to parents of both religions. Led by Al Mualim, and later Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad himself, other members included Harash, Malik and Kadar Al-Sayf, Rauf, Abbas Sofian, Masun and Jamal.
Decades later, in the north, the Mongolian branch of Assassins were working to halt the rise of the Mongolian Empire; notable members included the legendary Assassin Qulan Gal and his protégé Nergüi.
Later on, during the Renaissance, the Order's numbers had dwindled significantly. Having become much more secretive, members of the Order often had occupations and lives outside of the Order, ranging from artists, to thieves, and even royal treasurers.
They included the Florentine banker Giovanni Auditore da Firenze; his brother Mario Auditore, caretaker of the Auditore Villa and condottieri leader; Federico Auditore da Firenze and his brother Ezio Auditore da Firenze; Paola and Teodora Contanto, the heads of the Florentine and Venetian courtesans respectively; Antonio de Magianis, the head of the Venetian Thieves Guild; La Volpe, the head of the Florentine, and later, Roman Thieves Guild; Niccolò Machiavelli, a writer and head of the Florentine mercenaries; Bartolomeo d'Alviano, condottiero of Venice and later Rome, and Perotto Calderon, undercover in the employ of the Borgia, who posed as a courier.
Others included Giovanni Borgia, the illegitimate son of Calderon and Lucrezia Borgia; Paracelcus, Swiss scientist and alchemist; Francesco Vecellio, Renaissance painter; Tessa Varzi and Cipriano Enu; Rinaldo Vitturi, the keeper of the Shroud; Ridolfo Fioravant and Pietro Antonio Solari, spies working undercover as architects on the Kremlin; Luis de Santángel and Raphael Sánchez, finance minister to Ferdinand II and treasurer of Queen Isabella I respectively; Yusuf Tazim, the leader of the Constantinople Assassin Guild; Piri Reis, a top navigator and cartographer to Bayezid II; and Dogan and Azize, two lieutenants of the Constantinople Assassin Guild.
Once again, the Order had many allies amongst the common folk of Italy, as well as amongst the nobility. Foremost among them was Leonardo da Vinci, Ezio's closest friend and a genius of invention. Others included Caterina Sforza, the Countess of Forlì; Lorenzo de' Medici, the ruler of Florence; Agostino Barbarigo, the Doge of Venice from 1486; and the famed explorer Christoffa Corombo.
By 1501, Ezio Auditore and Niccolò Machiavelli had begun training new Assassin recruits in the Order from their Tiber Island headquarters in Rome. In 1503, Claudia Auditore da Firenze, sister of Ezio, also joined the Order.
Age of Empires
During the Colonial period, the Assassins spread their influence to the New World. Around this time, the Caribbean Assassins were led by Ah Tabai, a Mayan-born member of the Order. To secure the Assassin interests, he recruited Mary Read into the Brotherhood, as well as stationed numerous bureau leaders across the Caribbean, including Opía Apito, Rhona Dinsmore, Antó and Upton Travers. By the 1730, Edward Kenway and Adéwalé had joined the Order, albeit only after significant personal journeys. Adéwalé displayed an interest in the Creed early on, and became a student of Ah Tabai, while Edward joined the Order to make amends on the past misdeeds he had committed in his life.
John de la Tour was the first Assassin to reach the American Colonies. In the following decades, the Colonial Assassins had grown in number significantly, led by Achilles Davenport as their Mentor. Other members of the Colonial Brotherhood included Liam O'Brien, Hope Jensen, Kesegowaase, Shay Cormac and Chevalier de la Vérendrye. Following Shay's defection to the Templars, and an assault in 1763, the Colonial branch of the Order was almost completely wiped out.
It would take another decade for the Assassins to rebuild their ranks, when they were joined by a number of new members, including Ratonhnhaké:ton, the grandson of Edward Kenway, who managed to ultimately eliminate the Colonial Rite of the Templars in 1782. During that time, he managed to recruit several individuals into the Order, including Clipper Wilkinson, Deborah Carter, Jacob Zenger, Stephane Chapheau, Jamie Colley, Duncan Little, and Patience Gibbs.
During the mid-19th century, Indian Assassins had developed a strong presence in the Sikh Empire, with their main goal being the search for the Koh-i-Noor diamond and the removal of foreign Templars attempting to control India. Around this time, the Sikh Empire was ruled by Maharaja Ranjit Singh, who was seen in a mixed light; he was viewed as a murderer by Assassins like Arbaaz Mir for his removal of Muslims in Kashmir, but by others as a hero for his near liberation of India, which ended abruptly with his poisoning by Francis Cotton.
In the late 19th century, the British Brotherhood, under the leadership of Henry Green, restrengthened their ranks from the mid 18th century when the Assassin siblings Jacob and Evie Frye moved to London. While there, they worked to overthrow the Templar presence by establishing a criminal syndicate in order to fight the oppression of poverty.
At the turn of the 20th century, the Assassins' Order had spread as far the Russian Empire, with a strong presence in and around Petrograd. Members of the Narodnaya Volya were in fact members of the Assassin Order. Some known Assassins included Nikolai Orelov and Aleksandr Ulyanov, the older brother of Vladimir Lenin.
During World War I, there was an Assassin on the Western Front, an unidentified medic fighting for the British on the front line. The medic assassinated Erich Albert, a German general and member of the Templars.
During the late 20th and 21st century, however, the Order seemed to have sunk further into hiding, with their numbers fewer than ever. Although it is evident that more existed, only a few were known to be in the Order: Clay Kaczmarek, Desmond Miles, Lucy Stillman, Rebecca Crane, Shaun Hastings, Hannah Mueller, Paul Bellamy, Daniel Cross, William Miles, Gavin Banks, Harlan T. Cunningham, Siobhan Dhami, Jasdip Dhami, Adriano Maestranzi, a woman named Janice, and a man named Marco. There were also known groups of Assassins based in São Paulo, Brazil; Moscow, Russia; Osaka, Japan; Denver, Colorado, United States; Whistler, Canada; Georgia and weapon suppliers in the Philippines..
- Historically, the Hashshashin were a sect of radical Persian Shia Muslims who, under Hassan-i Sabbah, were given a hallucinogenic drug called hashish, under the influence of which they experienced "the Garden of Paradise". In exchange, they were expected to murder Sabbah's religious and political rivals, and due to the euphoria they experienced as an effect of the drug, they became unwaveringly loyal to Sabbah.
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 Assassin's Creed: Revelations
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 Assassin's Creed: The Fall - Issue #1
- ↑ 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 3.18 3.19 Assassin's Creed
- ↑ 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 4.14 4.15 4.16 4.17 4.18 Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
- ↑ 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 5.12 5.13 5.14 5.15 5.16 5.17 5.18 5.19 5.20 5.21 5.22 5.23 5.24 5.25 5.26 5.27 5.28 5.29 5.30 5.31 5.32 5.33 5.34 5.35 5.36 5.37 5.38 5.39 5.40 5.41 5.42 Assassin's Creed II
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 Assassin's Creed: Unity
- ↑ Assassin's Creed: The Chain
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Assassin's Creed II: Discovery
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 Assassin's Creed: The Fall - Issue #3
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 Assassin's Creed: Rogue
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 11.6 11.7 Assassin's Creed III
- ↑ Assassin's Creed: Forsaken
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
- ↑ Assassin's Creed: Embers
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 Assassin's Creed: The Fall - Issue #2
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 Assassin's Creed: Project Legacy
- ↑ 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 Assassin's Creed: The Secret Crusade
- ↑ 18.0 18.1 18.2 Assassin's Creed: Altaïr's Chronicles
- ↑ 19.0 19.1 19.2 Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines
- ↑ Assassin's Creed: Revelations - Abstergo Files
- ↑ 21.0 21.1 21.2 Assassin's Creed II - Auditore Family Crypt
- ↑ 22.0 22.1 Assassin's Creed: Lineage
- ↑ 23.0 23.1 23.2 Assassin's Creed: Revelations - The Lost Archive
- ↑ 24.0 24.1 24.2 Assassin's Creed: Initiates
- ↑ Assassin's Creed: Brahman
- ↑ Assassin's Creed: Renaissance
- ↑ Assassin's Creed II - Battle of Forlì (DLC)
- ↑ Assassin's Creed: Brahman
- ↑ Gamespot: Assassin's Creed: Syndicate Story, Characters and Setting Breakdown
- ↑ Assassin's Creed: Initiates