- "Beware the easy path. Knowledge grows only through challenge."
- ―William Miles.[src]
William Miles (born 1948) is a member of the Assassin Order who acted as a contact for Assassin teams spread throughout the world. Based in the Assassin headquarters, he regularly kept the teams informed about the situations of others. He had a wife and one son, Desmond.
Initially working from a remote compound known as "The Farm," William's dedication to the Assassin Order allowed him to assume the role of an unofficial leader, and he oversaw the activities of Assassin cells spread around throughout the world.
In late 2012, William joined the Assassin team consisting of Desmond, Shaun Hastings, and Rebecca Crane. The team had managed to obtain an Apple of Eden, and they eventually relocated together to the Grand Temple left behind by members of the First Civilization.
- "One day you'll understand. All this unease will be worth something, I promise."
- ―William to Desmond during the latter's training.[src]
A descendant of a number of noteworthy Assassins, including Ezio Auditore da Firenze, Edward Kenway and his grandson, Ratonhnhaké:ton; William was born into the Assassin Order, and he eventually chose to devote his life to the Brotherhood. By 1987, he lived with his wife in an Assassin compound known as "The Farm," which was located in the Black Hills of South Dakota, United States. There, he resided in the compound with approximately thirty other members.
William was responsible for the training of the young recruits, most notably his own son as well as Clay Kaczmarek and Lucy Stillman. When Lucy reached the age of seventeen, he made the decision to raise her outside the Order. This was to ensure that she would be able to covertly infiltrate Abstergo Industries, and her ties to the Order were severed as a result.
William also raised Desmond rigorously, and would often emphasize the importance of being careful, as well as being prepared for an attack at any time.
Researching Daniel Cross
In 1998, William was contacted by Paul Bellamy, the Assassin in charge of a Brotherhood compound located outside Philadelphia. Paul asked William to search for information regarding an individual named Daniel Cross, who was brought into the compound by Hannah Mueller under the assumption Daniel was an Assassin.
William collected information regarding Daniel's ancestry, and was led to the Russian Assassin Nikolai Orelov, who was closely tied to the Tunguska explosion. William relayed this information to Paul, and Daniel was brought into the Order. At some point, William met Cross personally and believed his sincerity.
In November 2000, Daniel was personally introduced to the Order's Mentor, but assassinated him due to an impulse covertly implanted into his brain by Abstergo during his youth. Cross also revealed to Abstergo the locations of all the Assassin camps he had visited during his search for the Mentor. This resulted in the Templars initiating an endeavor to destroy these camps. Nearly all of the Assassin compounds were eradicated, though because William was warned preemptively, he and other Assassins on the Farm survived.
Overseeing the Order
With the Mentor dead, and nearly all of the Assassin compounds seized by the Templars, the Assassins went into hiding, operating remotely from concealed hideouts and cells. Eventually, control of the Order fell onto William, and he began to oversee the Order's activities.
Sometime in 2003, Desmond abruptly departed "The Farm", claiming he was fed up with his parents' paranoia about the Templars, and believing them to be nothing more than conspiracy freaks. Despite efforts to locate Desmond, William and the Assassins were unsuccessful in retrieving him.
In 2012, Lucy Stillman continued to work covertly in Abstergo Industries as the assistant to Warren Vidic, who was a member of the Templars' Inner Sanctum. After the death of Clay Kaczmarek, who had been used in the company's Animus Project as "Subject 16," Abstergo's Lineage Discovery and Acquisition division managed to track down Desmond and capture him, eventually using him in the Animus Project as "Subject 17."
Around this time, William and the other Assassins deserted "The Farm" shortly before a team sent by Abstergo arrived there.
- Harlan: "Shit! He's gone into shock!"
- William: "Put him back in the machine, it's the only way to fix this!"
- Harlan: "But the Animus did this to him!"
- William: "Am I the expert or not? Do it!"
- —William and Harlan T. Cunningham arguing about Desmond's health.[src]
Lucy eventually broke Desmond out of Abstergo's facility in Italy, and the two joined Shaun Hastings and Rebecca Crane to continue Desmond's Animus sessions, while pursuing the Assassins' interests. During this time, William kept in contact with Lucy's team and learned of Desmond's progress.
Eventually, through reliving the memories of Ezio Auditore da Firenze, Desmond was able to ascertain the location of his ancestor's Apple of Eden; Ezio's Apple of Eden had been hidden for centuries within the Colosseum Vault. The team then entered the Vault and Desmond retrieved the Apple. However, Desmond's body was influenced by Juno, a member of the First Civilization, who made him stab Lucy with his Hidden Blade, killing her.
William dispatched several Assassins to retrieve the team from the Vault, and placed Desmond inside the Animus due to his fear of sedating Desmond too soon.
Back in the Animus, Desmond continued to relive Ezio's memories, and eventually found a restored memory sequence from 1506. From there, he received an email from William stating that the memory sequence he had found would lead the Assassins to crucial information regarding another Vault.
At the end of these memories, Leonardo da Vinci and Ezio Auditore located another Vault in Rome, which was located beneath the Temple of Pythagoras. When Ezio's DNA activated a pedestal, the room projected a set of coordinates: 43 39 19 N 75 27 42 W, which led to a small town in New York state, which was the location of the Grand Temple left behind by the First Civilization.
Once the sequence was completed, William instructed Harlan T. Cunningham to sedate Desmond, though it was too late; Desmond had entered a coma and had fallen into the Animus' Black Room. Despite this setback, William was confident his son would recover, and so he and Harlan left Desmond to investigate the coordinates.
Relocating to New York
- William: "Desmond, can you hear me? Son?"
- Desmond: "I know what we need to do."
- ―William and Desmond, upon the latter's awakening.[src]
While Desmond remained in the Animus, William transported Rebecca and Desmond to New York, while Shaun stayed in Italy to attend Lucy's funeral. During this time, William examined the Apple of Eden, though he concluded he did not have the genes to properly wield it.
Upon arrival, William helped Rebecca stabilize Desmond, as well as monitor his condition. While overseeing Desmond, William questioned Rebecca and Shaun about him. William also mentioned that Desmond's DNA had a high concentration of First Civilization DNA, which would allow him to wield the Apple of Eden.
When his son finally woke from his coma, William was the first to greet him, with Desmond seeming surprised to see him, but recognizing him immediately. Desmond, after seeing the Apple nearby, stated to his team that he knew "what we need to do," and William proceeded to lead the team out of their van.
Into the Grand Temple
- William: "The Temple triggered a bleeding effect. You collapsed and entered into a fugue state."
- Desmond: "So naturally you dropped me into the Animus instead of... I don't know... making sure I was okay?"
- ―William and Desmond discussing the latter's sudden loss of consciousness in the Grand Temple.[src]
Upon entering the Grand Temple, William ordered his son back into the Animus when Desmond began suffering from the Bleeding Effect. After completing Haytham Kenway's memories, Desmond exited the machine, to which William demanded that Desmond enter it again, in order to find the key to the Temple's gate faster.
Fed up with his father, Desmond yelled at William for provoking his own son, and accused him of being no better than the Templars, to which William responded by punching his son in the face.
William revealed that the driving force of his whole career as an Assassin was to make the world a better place for his son, and that the impending countdown did not afford Desmond time to relax. However, he did acknowledge that he had been a poor father to Desmond, though the two still avoided each other for some time.
Later, Desmond conversed with his father again, who apologized for snapping at him, and the two set their differences aside, with Desmond asking about his father's activity upon leaving "The Farm".
Meanwhile, Abstergo had been tracking William for some time, as they meant to use him as bait. Vidic planned to capture him in the hope that Desmond would exchange the Apple for his father's safety, or attempt to rescue him.
Capture by Abstergo
- "It appears we now each have something the other desires. I propose a trade. Bring me the Apple and I'll return your father to you no worse for the wear. Should you refuse, he will still be returned, albeit much worse for the wear."
- ―Vidic to Desmond threatening William's life.[src]
When Shaun located the third power source in Cairo, William volunteered to go there, as they were running out of time and he wanted Desmond to focus on locating the key to the Grand Temple. On his way there, he emailed his son, telling him to relax, as he had been "fighting these bastards before [Desmond] was even born."
Recognizing the opportunity, Vidic sent the Master Templar, Juhani Otso Berg, to capture William in the Cairo museum. Seizing William, Abstergo brought him to the same building where Desmond had been incarcerated a few months prior. William was placed in the Animus, but refused to cooperate, knowing that it would prevent Abstergo from using his memories to their advantage.
Vidic then sent the Assassin team a video message in which he bargained for a trade between William and the Apple of Eden in Desmond's possession. In response, Desmond complied, but chose instead to begin a raid on Abstergo's headquarters before reaching William and Vidic.
Opening the Grand Temple door
- Desmond: "You need to go. All of you. Now. Get as far away from here as you can."
- William: "Come with us. We'll find another way."
- ―William pleading Desmond to reconsider his decision.
Eventually discovering the Grand Temple Key's location and retrieving it from the grave of Achilles Davenport's son, Desmond unlocked the final barrier that separated the group from the Grand Temple's inner chambers. Once inside, the group located a pedestal, and Juno explained to them that it would shield the planet from the solar flares with Desmond's touch. However, Minerva suddenly appeared hoping to discourage Desmond, commenting that touching the pedestal would also unleash a dormant Juno, who would conquer the Earth for herself.
However, on deciding that Juno could be combated, Desmond made his choice and went to touch the pedestal. William made a final attempt to dissuade him, but Desmond was unfazed and simply told his allies to flee the Temple. Following the departure of the rest of his team, Desmond touched the pedestal, giving his life to save the planet.
Leaving the Order
William, Shaun and Rebecca spent the next six months in hiding. Eventually, overwhelmed by the the loss of his son, William resigned from his position in the order and delegated his duties to his closest ally, Gavin. William left Gavin a codex, detailing what he had learned, before departing.
Shaun and Rebecca spent some time trying to locate William, but were unsuccessful. After they met Gavin in Peru, they passed on William's book and opted to carry on his mission. Gavin expressed hope William would return when he recovered from his loss: in the meantime, Shaun and Rebecca began searching for Desmond's body as they felt they owed it to him.
Characteristics and personality
- "Focus, Desmond, focus! Strength, speed, agility, no excuses!"
- ―William motivating his son during training.[src]
William was truly devoted to the Assassin Order, sacrificing social relationships he had with those around him for its sake. While William's wife was able to deal with his emotional distance, his son could not, which became one of the main reasons Desmond elected to flee his parents. To this effect, William would admit to Desmond years later that he did a poor job at raising him.
William was also a highly proud man, going so far as to punch Desmond when his son compared him to the Templars. Despite this, he had no value for his own life when his death may have been necessary to safeguard the Assassins, scolding Desmond on rescuing him from Abstergo.
Throughout his life, William appeared to remain focused more on the Order than his own son. However, William constantly cared for his son, as Shaun revealed in an email that William never left Desmond's side while his son was in a coma, sleeping next to him in the Animus.
His somewhat cold personality also occasionally disturbed other members of the Order, most notably Shaun and Rebecca. Both were taken aback at how little remorse William showed over Lucy Stillman's death.
Nonetheless, the driven personality and intelligence William used to serve the Order earned him the loyalty and respect of the Assassins, allowing him to become the de facto leader in the absence of an official Mentor.
Following his rescue from Abstergo, William's feelings towards his son were made clearer, as he admitted to Desmond that though he found it hard to express himself, he did love his son. Ultimately, the permanent loss of Desmond left William depressed and unable to focus on leading the Order, causing his departure.
- William is derived from Germanic name Willahelm, from elements wil ("will, desire") and helm ("helmet, protection"). Miles is a Latin word meaning "soldier", but it has also been suggested to be a derivation of Slavic mil, meaning "grace, gracious."
- At the start of their argument, Desmond states to his father that Haytham was one of William's ancestors and asks him to substitute him in the Animus and explore his memories. However, William said that Desmond's reply to his question was "like dealing with a six year old." As such, due to the nature of how it was said, it is ambiguous as to whether Desmond's statement linking William to Haytham – and by extension, Edward Kenway and Ratonhnhaké:ton – as his ancestor is true or false.
- ↑ Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 Assassin's Creed Encyclopedia
- ↑ 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 Assassin's Creed: Revelations
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Assassin's Creed: The Fall
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 Assassin's Creed
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
- ↑ Assassin's Creed II
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 Assassin's Creed Initiates
- ↑ 9.00 9.01 9.02 9.03 9.04 9.05 9.06 9.07 9.08 9.09 9.10 9.11 9.12 9.13 Assassin's Creed III