The Pieces of Eden are technologically sophisticated devices crafted by the Isu in order to react with neurotransmitters implanted in humans' brains and bring them to heel, the latter having been engineered by the Isu to serve as slave labor. As such, the Pieces' powers have mystified humanity over millenia, enough so for them to conflate their effect as "magic" throughout history.
Although many Pieces of Eden like the Apples and Staves of Eden were utilized as instruments through which humanity could be controlled, others deviated from this purpose. The Swords of Eden showed a more offensive capability in emitting energy blasts, while the Shrouds of Eden were medical in nature, capable of healing even mortal wounds. The diverse functions of the devices extend further: many were capable of bending the thoughts of one or more individuals to that of the user, projecting illusions or concealing the user's presence. The Precursor boxes, powered by other Pieces of Eden, could imprint the memories of its users onto others and decode Isuan scripts. Other functions were more mundane relative to modern human technology, such as the projection of holograms or the Crystal Skulls which acted as long distance communication devices, but these nevertheless appeared supernatural to ancient peoples.
Since the end of the Isu civilization, these devices, appearing sporadically in the hands of humans, have acquired a status as legendary relics of phenomenal properties. Greatly eclipsing the technological level of human civilization, even into modern times, the Pieces of Eden bestow tremendous power over society to those who come to possess them. Their employment has therefore had immense impacts on human history; some of the most influential leaders such as Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, Napoleon Bonaparte, and Mahatma Gandhi were aided by their use of a Piece of Eden.
Recognizing their significance, the Pieces of Eden have been at the forefront of the Templar Order's goals for centuries as they hope that by exploiting the artifacts, they could achieve their vision of a New World Order. The contest for the Pieces of Eden between the Templars and their archenemies, the Assassins, who traditionally seek to obtain the Pieces to safeguard them, has been a hallmark of their millennia long war.
- Adam: "Eve, what is this device?"
- Eve: "Touch, Adam, and you will know."
- ―Adam and Eve examining the Apple of Eden.[src]
The Pieces of Eden have a long history that punctuates the tales of humanity. The Pieces of Eden were used to control humans, who were created by the Isu to work as slaves. Humans react to the effects of the Pieces of Eden through a unique neurotransmitter implanted in the brain.
However, interbreeding between humans and members of the Isu led to the creation of a hybrid race, which was immune to the hypnotic effects of the Pieces of Eden. In 75010 BCE, two of these hybrids, Adam and Eve, stole one of the Apples from their masters and escaped from captivity in Eden. Soon after, war broke out, pitting humanity against their gods.
While the rest of the Isu were busy battling the humans, Jupiter, Juno and Minerva were tasked with finding a way to guard against the threat of an impending solar flare. They relocated to the Grand Temple in what is now Turin, New York, a facility which could only be entered using an Apple of Eden. Opening the Temple's inner gate required another Piece of Eden, the Grand Temple Key.
By this time, the Isu were already able to generate small magnetic fields through the Shards of Eden, which were worn as rings. Using similar technology, they hoped to create a large magnetic field to protect the Earth from the sun's flare. However, they lacked the resources to do so, and though they attempted to create fields to protect small portions of the Earth, they were ultimately unsuccessful.
The Isu soon discovered that when enough humans sat in thrall of the Pieces of Eden and were forced to believe, their thoughts became reality. Jupiter, Juno and Minerva considered the possibility that they could use human belief to change the consensus. This attempt was similarly unsuccessful.
As their third option, they sent an Apple of Eden into the sky, and when it was placed, uttered the words "Make us safe." When their first attempt failed, they resolved to send a dozen more after. This act was also met with failure as there was no way to direct the beams of energy emitted by the Pieces down to the Earth.
Only ten years after the human rebellion began, the solar flare destroyed most of the Earth's surface and population, leaving roughly ten thousand humans alive and far fewer of the Isu. The remaining members of the Isu were revered as gods by the humans; knowing that extinction awaited them, they began to aid the humans and guide their culture in turn.
- "What of these artifacts? Messages in a bottle? Tools left behind to aid and guide us? Or do we fight for control over their refuse, giving divine purpose and meaning to little more than discarded toys?"
- ―Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad's Codex, page 5.[src]
During the 12th century, the Knights Templar participated in the Crusades, aiming for conquest of the Holy Land. By the time of the Third Crusade, they were led by Grand Master Robert de Sable, and had focused their efforts on obtaining a particular Piece of Eden: Apple of Eden #2, hidden in the catacombs of Solomon's Temple in the city of Jerusalem.
Seeking the Apple to aid them in their mission and ensure their rule, the Templars used the cover of the Third Crusade to infiltrate the temple. However, one of their own betrayed them; Al Mualim, secret member of the Knights Templar and public leader of the Assassin Order, had sent his best agents to procure the device. Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad, Malik Al-Sayf and Kadar Al-Sayf intercepted the Templars, and the two parties engaged one another. While the Templars were able to eject Altaïr from the battle and kill Kadar, Malik successfully captured the Apple and spirited it back to the Assassin fortress in Masyaf.
Over the following year, the Assassins and Templars fought one another for control of the artifact, until the conflict was ended with the deaths of both Robert and Al Mualim at the hands of Altaïr. Originally intending to destroy the Apple, Altaïr found himself unable to do so, and instead decided to seal the Apple in the Limassol Archives. Circumstances worked against this plan however, and he decided to keep the Apple for himself, lest it fall into the wrong hands.
Over the course of his life, Altaïr gazed into the Apple frequently, basing new weaponry and assassination techniques off information gleaned from it. He recorded all he learned from the Apple in his Codex, which he would later entrust to Niccolò and Maffeo Polo. In addition to knowledge useful for the Order's purposes, Altaïr witnessed visions of the past and future within the Apple, some of which greatly disturbed him. At the end of his life, he secured the Apple within a wall of the Masyaf library, which could only be accessed by an individual bearing all of his recorded Memory Seals.
By 1454, an Apple of Eden had fallen into the hands of Sultan Mehmet II of the Ottoman Empire. Using its powers, Mehmet was able to conquer Constantinople and subdue the Byzantine Empire, taking Constantinople as his new capital. Mehmet II died in 1481 and he was succeeded by his oldest son, Bayezid II. Bayezid's brother Cem, a secret Templar, discreetly took his father's Apple of Eden for himself, hoping to use it to further the Templars' goals. However, to his dissatisfaction, the Apple refused to communicate with him despite his attempts to use it.
Cem eventually decided to leave the Apple for European Templars to retrieve later. While on his way to meet the Knights Hospitalier on Rhodes, Cem made a stop in Cyprus and hid the Apple in the Templar Archive in Limassol, where the western Templars could find it.
By 2012, Templar front group Abstergo Industries was in the midst of a project to recover the remaining Pieces of Eden. The Animus Project was set up with the sole intention of locating the Pieces of Eden through the use of the Animus, a device based on Isu technology which allowed an individual to relive the genetic memories of their ancestors.
The Templars sought to manipulate the neurotransmitters that made humanity susceptible to the Pieces' hypnotic effects. To accomplish this goal, they devised the Eye-Abstergo project, which would end in the launch of an "all-in-one telecommunication" satellite into orbit around Earth. However, unbeknownst to the rest of humanity, the satellite would contain an Apple of Eden, and spread its power across the globe.
On 10 October 2012, an Assassin team of Lucy Stillman, Desmond Miles, Shaun Hastings, and Rebecca Crane located the Apple of Eden hidden by Ezio Auditore beneath the Santa Maria Aracoeli in 1506, discovered by Desmond as he relived Ezio's memories in the Animus. When Desmond touched the Apple, Juno gained access to his nervous system for a brief time. Under Juno's control, Desmond killed Lucy, who was secretly a Templar agent.
Upon release from Juno's control, Desmond fell into a coma, but was able to regain consciousness through achieving a Synch Nexus. Desmond, his father William, Shaun and Rebecca later arrived at the entrance of the Grand Temple in New York, where Desmond used the Apple to open the central chamber gate. It was only then the Assassins discovered the Grand Temple Key was needed to open the inner gate.
After William was captured by Templar agents in Cairo while looking for a power source for the Grand Temple, he was brought to Abstergo's Rome facility. Warren Vidic, a member of the Inner Sanctum of the Templar Order and head of the Animus Project, proposed a deal with Desmond to exchange William for the Apple. Desmond traveled to Rome and entered the facility, killing the Abstergo agents and Daniel Cross. Arriving at Vidic's office, Desmond used the Apple to force the facility's guards to shoot Vidic and themselves, then released his father from confinement. Due to Vidic's death and failure to retrieve the Apple of Eden, the Eye-Abstergo project was put on hold indefinitely.
Characteristics and attributes
Amongst the greatest tools known to man, the Apples of Eden can control the human mind by interacting with a neurotransmitter located deep in the human brain. Other Pieces of Eden are capable of warping reality, creating illusions, ensuring total obedience and healing physical injuries. Both Templars and the Assassins believe that the Pieces of Eden were responsible for many historical tales and miracles, such as the Parting of the Red Sea, the Trojan War, the miracles enacted by Jesus Christ, and the Biblical plagues that ravaged Egypt.
Abilities of the Pieces
Some Pieces of Eden were known to interact with and change the passage of time, possibly creating paradoxes. Others were able to "speak" to those who wielded them, as was the case with Ezio Auditore, Perotto Calderon and Giovanni Borgia, who spoke with Ezio's Apple and the Shroud.
When activated, Apples of Eden are capable of extending a pulse of energy that can drive those in the surrounding area to insanity and death. Doing so has a detrimental effect on the physical health of the wielder if they are unskilled in the Apples' use, but a capable user is not as easily afflicted. Altaïr, for example, was able to use Apple #2 for a limited duration without adverse affects at age 92. Using the Pieces' powers in short bursts can also minimize the negative effects dealt by the artifacts, though to what extent is unknown.
Destruction of a Piece
Following the destruction of Apple of Eden #2 during an experiment at the Denver International Airport, the Templars found themselves in need of another artifact with similar properties. Seeking access to a map that indicated the location of all Pieces of Eden, Abstergo kidnapped Desmond Miles in order to view the memories of his ancestor, Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad. This would allow them to see the very same map that Altaïr discovered in 1191.
Each of the Pieces of Eden contained a great deal of potential energy, and the destruction of one could cause an explosion on the scale of a nuclear blast. One such explosion occurred in 1908, in the region of Tunguska, Russia. The Imperial Sceptre, one of the Staves of Eden, was seemingly destroyed when Nikola Tesla fired at the Tunguska facility with his wireless electric weapon, attempting to strike a blow against the Templars.
However, the blast failed to totally destroy the Staff, and at least one shard remained. The Staff shard still possessed powers of mind control, as demonstrated by Grigori Rasputin. While he was in possession of the shard, he brainwashed Alexandra Feodorovna, the consort of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, as well as several disciples like Khioniya Guseva.
- "I KNOW WHAT YOU'RE DOING. I KNOW WHAT YOU DID. I SAW HIM. HE HAD A METAL BALL. IT OPENED. THEY WENT CRAZY. SHOOTING. STABBING. TORE EACH OTHER TO PIECES. I KNOW IT WAS YOU PEOPLE. SAW THE LOGO. HEARD THE NAME. I'M GOING TO TELL. ANYONE WHO WILL LISTEN. YOU'LL BE EXPOSED. THEY'LL KNOW THE TRUTH. AND THEN YOU WILL PAY. YOU CRAZY BASTARDS. YOU'LL PAY."
- ―An unidentified individual's e-mail to Dr. Warren Vidic.[src]
Although the Isu created humanity to be susceptible to the Pieces of Eden, eventual cross-breeding between the gods and their slaves led to the birth of a hybrid species. These new humans possessed some of the natural abilities of their gods and were free of the neurotransmitter necessary for the Pieces of Eden to control them.
The first two known hybrids were Adam and Eve, who later stole one of the Apples of Eden and instigated the Human-Isu War. Members of their lineage inherited these natural abilities and immunity to the Pieces, although the Pieces' ability to physically manipulate them remained. These traits were passed down through generations to the likes of Altaïr, Ezio and Desmond.
By the early 21st century, the Templars were aware that some humans were immune to the Pieces' mind control. On at least one occasion, Dr. Warren Vidic received an email from an individual unaffected by the Apple's power, who threatened to expose what they had seen when an Apple was used on others.
Confirmed Pieces of Eden
After seeing the Apple's projection indicating the location of all Pieces of Eden as of 1191, Altaïr copied the map and hid it within his Codex so that only his descendants might find it.
Apples of Eden are all capable of controlling the hearts and minds of humanity, creating illusions and, to a degree, permitting control over physical bodies. The Apples can be used in conjunction with a Staff, which increases the power of both the Pieces of Eden. Other Pieces include the Shroud, which heals the wounds of those it touches on a cellular level; the Ankh, capable of resurrecting the dead; and the Sword, a Piece which can project energy blasts and enhance the charisma of its welders. It was possessed by many great rulers through the centuries, including King Arthur, Genghis Khan and Attila the Hun. A Sword was also in possession of the Knights Templar by 1307, and was subsequently entombed beneath the Temple in Paris. Centuries later, it was recovered by the Grand Master and Sage François-Thomas Germain.
The Crystal Skulls were Pieces scattered throughout Central and Southern America which allowed for unassisted telepathic communication between their owners. At one point, a Crystal Skull came into the possession of Giovanni Borgia, who made use of its power in 1542. Similar artifacts known as Crystal Balls allowed users to access the Nexus and communicate with members of the Isu. One of the Crystal Balls was notably used by the Assassin Ratonhnhaké:ton to communicate with Juno. In addition, the Assassin Aveline de Grandpré discovered a Prophecy Disk in the Isu Temple of Chichen Itza, which showed her the election of Eve as the leader of humanity's rebellion against the Isu.
In North America, William Kidd discovered a Ring of Eden, which creates as a magnetic shield around the user and repels all metallic objects, creating the myth of his "invincibility". There was also the Grand Temple Key which, when combined with three ancient power sources, allowed the holder to open the gate to the inner chambers of the Grand Temple.
During the Golden Age of Piracy, an unidentified Piece of Eden in possession of the Templars was stolen by the Assassin Samuel Bellamy, with the help of fellow pirates Olivier Levasseur and Alonzo Batilla. Later, during a confrontation with Templar Christopher Condent, Batilla used the artifact, which increased his ship attacks and defenses, imbuing it with a golden aura, and allowing him to easily sink Condent's significantly more powerful vessel. 
According to emails read by Desmond Miles in 2012, at least one Piece of Eden existed that granted the ability to manipulate time. Concerns over possible paradoxes, however, led to Abstergo Industries locking it away. Warren Vidic had a prototype Piece of Eden of his own design, which he used to brainwash Daniel Cross with an impulse to become a high ranking Assassin, so as to get close enough to kill their Mentor. Sebastian Monroe's team discovered the existence of the powerful Trident of Eden, which can manipulate the emotions of individuals -- fear, devotion and faith.
- According to the Glyphs and Truth files, many legends and myths throughout human history are actually historically accurate. The supernatural or paranormal parts of each legend can be explained by the protagonist in each having acquired his or her own Piece of Eden (i.e. the Greek myth of Perseus, King Arthur, etc).
- During his battle with Rodrigo Borgia in the Sistine Chapel, Ezio created copies of himself, much like Al Mualim did against Altaïr. If Ezio's robes are customized, or if the Armor of Altaïr is worn, his copies appeared with different sets of armor and colors. If he was not customized, each copy would be perfectly identical to the real Ezio, besides his weapon.
- Both the Codex map and the map projection show that there were only fifty Pieces of Eden at that time, though Subject 16 said the Shroud was Piece of Eden 66.
- In the French and German version of Assassin's Creed II, the Shroud was referred to as number 36, not 66. This however, was an oversight.
- The Chalice was initially thought to be a Piece of Eden; however, besides the Shroud, all other artifacts linked to the Christ-figure were confirmed to be merely literary tools.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 Assassin's Creed II
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Assassin's Creed: Revelations
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 Assassin's Creed III
- ↑ Assassin's Creed Encyclopedia
- ↑ 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 Assassin's Creed
- ↑ Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 Assassin's Creed: Recollection
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
- ↑ Assassin's Creed: Revelations - The Lost Archive
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 Assassin's Creed: Project Legacy
- ↑ Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood novel
- ↑ Assassin's Creed: The Fall - Issue #2
- ↑ Assassin's Creed: The Fall - Issue #3
- ↑ Assassin's Creed: Unity
- ↑ Assassin's Creed III: Liberation
- ↑ Assassin's Creed: Pirates