The initiation into the Assassin Order was a ceremonial tradition upheld over many years of its existence. It was a rite of passage symbolizing when an Assassin apprentice became a full-fledged member of the Order, and vowed to commit their life to safeguarding the freedom of humanity.
High Middle Ages
Although the full details of the initiation into the Order up to the 12th century are unclear, the ceremony included the amputation of the ring finger, as a sign of commitment to the Creed. Afterwards, the Hidden Blade was installed, allowing the Assassin to participate in any assassination missions bestowed upon them.
As noted in the Codex of Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad, some time after becoming the Order's Mentor, Altaïr used an Apple of Eden to modify the design of the Hidden Blade, so that the amputation of the ring finger would not be necessary. This change was made so that an Assassin could not be so easily identified by their enemies.
- Assassin: "Where other men blindly follow the truth, remember..."
- Initiate: "Nothing is true."
- Assassin: "Where other men are limited by morality or law, remember..."
- Initiate: "Everything is permitted."
- Assassin: "We work in the dark to serve the light. We are Assassins."
- —The words of the Creed spoken during every initiation.[src]
During the Renaissance, the initiation was performed by the Mentor of the Order, alongside several other Assassins. The ceremony came in three parts: the speaking of the Creed, the branding of the initiate's left ring finger, and a Leap of Faith.
First, the participants stood around a lit brazier, with one Assassin reciting the Creed, which was answered in turn by the initiate. The final words, the maxim of the Creed, were spoken by all present.
Next, the initiate's left ring finger was branded, using tongs that had been heated in the aforementioned brazier. This was a modification of the removal of the finger that Mario Auditore once commented on, saying that "In this modern age, we are not so literal as our ancestors, but our seal is no less permanent."
Finally, the initiate took a leap of faith to signify their trust in the Order and their fellow Assassins - sometimes preceded by the Assassins present also taking a leap of faith - after which, the initiate was considered a full-fledged member of the Order.
- "Out of the dark, you come into the light. From the light, you will return to the dark. Are you prepared to travel the eagle's path?"
- ―Mirabeau, 1789.[src]
In 1789, Arno Dorian approached the Assassin Council. The leader of the Council, Mirabeau, asked Arno why he wanted to join the Assassin Order, among other things. After conferring with the other members of the Council, Mirabeau allowed Arno to take a test to prove if he was worthy. Arno accepted the offer and drank from a ceremonial goblet, the contents of which induced a hallucination.
Upon awaking from the hallucination, Arno found himself in front of the Assassin Council. The Council recited the tenets of the Creed – after which, Arno began his training as a member of the Assassin Order.
- "You have proven yourself worthy. Today, commit to uphold the pillars of our Creed. We are Assassins."
- ―William Miles.[src]
However, certain Assassins still performed portions of the ritual, though the branding of the finger was uncommon. In the later 21st century, Clay Kaczmarek was initiated in the traditional way by William Miles, walking among his soon-to-be Brothers before taking a leap of faith.
- Though Ezio Auditore da Firenze's burn mark remains on his skin for the rest of Assassin's Creed II, it is not visible on his finger in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood or Assassin's Creed: Revelations.
- In Assassin's Creed III, when Achilles Davenport was ready to make Ratonhnhaké:ton an Assassin, he decided not to perform a traditional ceremony.
- In Assassin's Creed, Aguilar de Nerha undergoes a slightly different initiation into the Spanish Brotherhood: the mentor asks him if he swears to honor their order in the fight for freedom and to defend mankind against the Templars' tyranny. Upon answering that he swears, his right ring finger is ceremonially amputated and Maria recites the tenets of the Creed whilst arming Aguilar with his dual Hidden Blades.