Looking through the Brahman - Chapter1
Markuz, February 27, 2014
Translated by: Stefania, Sara, Markuz

ATTENTION! The following article presents a highly SPOILERISH content for those who have not yet read the AC: Brahman Comic book. Access The Animus does not take responsibility for burned eyes, screams in despair (for the spoilers) and in happiness (for the content) and for every side effect that this article might cause.

The time has finally come for the Italian hardcore fans to live the moment that some of you, in foreign countries, has already had. Ladies and gentlemen, it's time for us to talk about Assassin's Creed: Brahman. The comic book built up a healthy hype in the fans both for the particular setting and for the various teasers released by the writer, Brenden Fletcher. About his work, Fletcher said that the comic book would have established interesting links with the current saga, and especially with the future of the franchise. And so it was, actually, and we can say by judging some of the elements that we’re going to analyze. Let’s start from the beginning, however, and let’s follow the course of the comic book.

Soora kidnapping
Panini Comics preview
The comic book begins with the panels we saw in the previews preceding the release, where we meet our protagonist of the present day, Jot Soora. In this first scene we see him while he’s forced to use an Abstergo branded visor, similar to the Animus Omega one (but it will prove to be very different actually), tied to a chair inside of a place that seems to be an abandoned farmhouse. In the lower right side of the page, some symbols suggest that we are entering Soora’s memories and, in fact, we get pushed back in time to follow Arbaaz Mir, the protagonist of the historical part of this comic. Mir is followed by a boy with whom he runs over the roofs of the city while taking care of the guards. The boy struggles to keep up with him and for this reason, the assassin takes his leave and reaches the golden dome of a building which, as we saw in "The Indian matter", is the Harmandir Sahib, the Golden Temple of Amritsar, the main town of the district with the same name located in the state of Punjab, India, and the spiritual center of the Sikh religion. Right after, we see a man suggesting to the Maharaja (the one we supposed to be Ranjit Singh) an agreement with the British but their conversation is interrupted by Mir who swoops in from above with his drawn hidden blade / three blades Katara. The panel representing this scene, also shows a box that was not displayed in all the previews and, inside of it, we can read:

Select New Brahman V.R. Experience:
  • Action
  • Fantasy
  • Movie Star
  • Meditation
The text, then, makes us understand that we are looking at the menu of the visor that Soora is using. We discover, therefore, that this operating system allows Soora to choose multiple types of “playable” experiences through virtual reality (VR). This use matches with the purpose of the Animus console launched between 2012 and 2013 by Abstergo, in which the users could "play" detailed memories (such as the Liberation ones, re-edited). As a side note, the bullets have an "Om" shape, the most sacred Hindu mantra and a tool for meditation and religious practices (as stated by Wikipedia).

The Mindfuck page
Taken from Paninicomics preview
The following page is very interesting and it is minfuck-soaked just like the “The Fall” double page after Nikolai touches the Staff.

In the upper left, we can see the box of the previous page with the word "Fantasy" highlighted to indicate which mode from the menu has been chosen by the user. It is possible that this choice may affect the rest of the page. At the top, we can see five heads and every one of them seems to stare at the reader. These heads are actually representations of Hindu deities. What led us to understand their nature is the face of an elephant, who necessarily reminded us of Ganesha (or Ganesh), the elephant-headed deity equipped with a single tusk, symbol of good luck, prosperity and fortune. So, starting from this, together with our Hephaestus, we tried to understand the other deities’ identities and we drafted the following hypothesis list.

The Goddess Kali
The deity on the far left , the one with a dark skin tone and not-human characteristics, could be the representation of Hanuman, the vanara (humanoid being with monkey features), who is considered to be the personification of wisdom, piety and justice. Moving towards the center, we notice a bearded face which could represent Brahma, the universe architect and the father of all beings ( similar to Jupiter maybe?). He is often depicted with a white beard to indicate the almost-eternal nature of his existence. Starting from the other side, on the far right, we can see a female face with her tongue sticked out, a representation that recalls almost immediately the popular and aggressive figure of Kali, terrifying and charitable goddess at the same time, mainly associated to darkness, destruction and violence, but also to creation and destruction of the worlds together with Shiva. In Hindu mythology, Kali, in particular, appears to be one of the forms / incarnations of Goddess Parvati. Next to Kali, we can see the elephant-headed deity Ganesha that we already analysed.

The head in the center, however, is surely the one who catches the eye the most, both in terms of size and characteristics. In this case, the distinctive element is the nose ring with a chain connected to the ear, typical representations of goddess Durga. Recalling Hephaestus’ words in "The Indian matter", Durga (Sanskrit for "the one that you can hardly approach ", the "unreachable" or the “Invincible") symbolizes the Indian Goddess that represents the victory of good over evil:
Durga riding a tiger while
fighting with the Demon Mahîshâsura
she is also known as the Mother of the Universe and it’s believed that she is the force that lies behind the three functions of the world, creator, preserver and destroyer. Her central position confirms in part Hephaestus’ ideas when he theorized that she would have been the most important member of TWCB of the comic (there will be further validations along the way, as we shall see).

The representation of Durga is also of importance both because in the page there is another symbol that represents her, namely the tiger, which the goddess mounts in some representations, and also because it has three symbols of the Assassins on it: two small stylized Assassin insignias are located between the eyes of the goddess and her headdress , while the third is as large as all the headgear and encroaches on the face of the goddess. Why should the goddess therefore wear on herself so many "connections" to the Assassins ? Perhaps also the symbol of the Assassins has a special meaning in the First Civilization era as it happened with the Abstergo logo? Or is the presence of the Assassins insignias some sort of recall towards the nature of the ancestor than that of the member of TWCB, being this page still part of the memories of Soora’s ancestor? Both hypotheses are equal because of the Assassins symbols show up, again in a stylized manner, also on the forehead of the snake that can be seen on the right side of the page, on a golden temple in the upper left in the background (First Civilization building or representation of the Golden Temple?) and also on the purple underlying foliage / peacock feathers.

The main attraction of the page, however, can be found in the center of the page. We don’t know yet what it is in terms of plot, but our curiosity will be satisfied in a few pages. It’s a large, bright diamond floating between two hands put in the shape of a bowl to contain what it seems to be water. The hands are located beneath an arch that resembles an Indian temple and, on the top of it, we can see a tower that rests on what appears to be a lotus flower. Keep in mind this page and the diamond because they will prove to be the core of the comic book.

In addition, on the page there are two text elements, which obviously had to be difficult to interpret: the first one is written in computer language, while the second one is in Sanskrit (I told you it was the mindfuck page).

The one in computer language, overcome by an Abstergo logo, probably represents how Soora’s visor is working. We can read:

The box containing these command strings lies on the far right of the page, and these commands are so long that the last lines are cut by the edge of the page. Nevertheless, it is possible to deduce several things from the text.

Don't mistake it for Brahma that
was mentioned earlier
The first string is located outside of the text box and it is not part of the described command but it is a directory, a path to follow in order to reach a given file. In this case we are inside the G: drive (which is a unit used for mass storage devices, usually for external ones) and in a folder called Brahman. Already at this point, the title of the comic proves to have a practical meaning and not only the clear reference to the immutable cosmic unity from which everything arises, the Brahman of Hindu religion.

The requested file is called system00.abst.tplr: it doesn’t hold any particular function per se but the abbreviations "abst" and "tplr" that stand for "Abstergo" and probably "Templar", again always following Hephaestus‘ ideas.

The text that follows, instead, is written in computer language and, after a brief research, we found out that the command strings belong to the C++ language. The code, in fact, is completed as follows:

Example of an Access Token taken
from technet.microsoft.com
It’s a privilege activation function of what is called an “Access Token”, in other words, as Wikipedia says, it’s an object of the Microsoft Windows operating systems containing the security credentials for a login session and identifies the user, his/her privileges, and the groups to which he/she belongs to.
So we are in front of a script that manages the access to many levels of something that refers to a folder named “Brahman” in the Abstergo files. This idea is also confirmed by the fact that below the script in the comic book you can see a black box with a white line as if it were asking for a password. Later we will see how this access has its importance for the events of the comic.

The writing at the bottom of the page, instead, as was stated before, is in Sanskrit and is the following, with the first two words in gold:

The phrase, although covered by a hand, turned out to be a saying, which we translated with our powerful tools (Google Translate). The meaning is literally “All that glitters is not gold”. In particular the highlighted part can be translated as “All that glitters”. So, does the message imply that we must watch out for appearances and glittering things? This too will be touched upon by the unwinding of the events in the comic book.

At last we can proceed with the comic and in the following pages we come back to our Jot Soora in the present day, a week prior to when we saw him tied to a chair forced to use an Animus-like visor. In this case Jot is dressed up to the nines, in a suit, and he’s sitting at a desk in his business office, busy using the same visor with an Abstergo logo connected to his PC and also to a console, this one too with an Abstergo logo. Jot stretches his hand forward, confirming the virtual reality featured in the visor we saw a while ago in the menu.

So thanks to this page we can understand that the hand stretched towards the diamond covering the Sanskrit writing belonged to Jot Soora who was viewing the various images. But while in the virtual reality his hand gets closer to the diamond, Soora sees the picture of a fluorescent tiger with bloodstains all around and, shocked, he turns off the visor. On his computer various writings appear, extremely useful to understand what we have in front of us.

Jot's PC screen - Picture taken from Panini Comics preview

At the top left we can see the writing “-AHMAN –A TIMELINE” and below a graphic very similar to the DNA helix seen on the visor/screen of the Animus in AC1 in which, this time, you can see written "Memory Block 3.56" and “Amritsar" in the box identifying the memory. It’s an interesting graphic showing the status of the visor and memories exactly as in AC1, but with additional references to the Brahman (the writing at the top should be "BRAHMAN DNA TIMELINE"), which can be already identified as the name of the visor. Furthermore, above the word "-AHMAN" there is some data, in other words the writing "16.54 AM 24th Oct Tue" and the addresses "WAN:" and "LAN:". While the first writing seems to show a date referring to the comic book, actually, through a search, we found out that the last Tuesday that occurred on October 24 was in 2006 and the next one will occur in 2017. It’s a strange dating and maybe not very useful also because of that "AM" next to the time 16:54, since "AM" is used only with the 12-hour clock to specify the morning hours.

The other two elements, on the other hand, are IP addresses configured for a WAN and a LAN. The first one, Wide Area Network (WAN), is defined by Wikipedia as a computer network spanning regions, countries, or even the world. Instead the second one is a Local Area Network (LAN), a limited and local computer network that usually covers a limited area such as a home or an office building. In particular, the IP address specified for the LAN is used to indicate the computer in use, in other word the localhost. In this case the idea is that the specified addresses show that the Brahman is connected locally to Soora’s PC and from here it is connected with an IP address (pointing to Philippines) to a far larger network, the WAN, that probably, considering the logo on the visor, is the Abstergo Cloud, as pointed out by our Hephaestus.

Also, there are other two windows on the computer screen. The first window contains the following text:

QThis command lines show various data. First of all there’s a further reference to the fact that the visor is called Brahman and we also come to know that it’s a product coming from, or anyway is related to, Abstergo Entertainment. Also, in the initial notes, we can see that the Brahman is copyrighted by Absergo and is part of a series of works started in 1985 (the reference is obviously to the Animus Project) and completed - for now - in 2013.
The following strings resemble an anonymous access to an FTP server (the file transfer protocol used to transfer files from one host to the other). So in this case the strings indicate an active data exchange (a bit slow, 2,3 KB/s) between Soora’s PC and the Abstergo Cloud through an anonymous access and the support of the server "br-bangalore.com", in line with the fact the Brahman in the present day takes place exactly in Bangalore.

This last part is confirmed by an additional writing visible on the screen that surprises Jot:

Jot does not care about the last string though, and not only he disconnects the viewer, but also uploads everything to a USB flash drive that he brings with him.

Artwork of Monima Das
Now Jot is in his house where he finds his girlfriend, Monima Das (or Mon, as he calls her) and starts to talk about the “Brahman VR”, the new virtual experience he’s working on and that, according to him, will revolutionize the entertainment world within a year. Up against the skepticism of the girl Jot tells what he knows about the Brahman, in other words that it uses both sound effects and videos and “feeds” on the user’s brain waves, but also that he found out another thing that day at work. Jot shows Monima a spot on the visor from which, according to him, generic data is extracted and he states that, at work, he noticed that the Brahman sorted his DNA in small packets analysing it backwards for centuries, following a “path” throughout his memories, and points out that he probably didn’t have to see anything of that.

Monima puts the visor on without turning it on, asking Jot what she should see and he answers she can look at real memories, from the point of view of the people who lived them (this is useful to confirm that the Brahman is based on the Animus technology). Mon doesn’t activate the viewer because the next morning she has to leave early for a photography session (Monima is an actress) and asks Jot to go with her but he says he wants to stay at home; the girl seems to be offended and tells him to stay at home with his toy.

And that’s exactly what Jot does that night, until he goes to sleep and some hours later he’s woken up by a call from Ajay Rana, president of MysoreTech, the company where Soora works. Jot ignores the call and not seeing Monima in bed with him, he looks for her in the apartment and finds her on the couch using the Brahman, with a PC next to her with the same screen of data exchange he saw the day before at work.

We’re immediately thrown in the past, where we see another full-page illustration, this time not inclined to the mindfuck but to the contextualization. We see some elephants, an Oriental-like architecture, fruits, a girl with a nose-piercing (similar to Durga’s piercing) and aristocratic clothes and jewels speaking with an older man dressed up as well. Further down we can see a close-up of the girl, next to the face of our protagonist of the past, Arbaaz Mir.

The scene shows a seducer Mir who catches up with the girl showing he stole a pink oleander for her from her dining room. This suggests that probably it was guarded and this confirms the probable - until now - nobility of the girl. Everything is supported by the fact that Mir introduced himself as an emissary of Kashmir and by the fact that the girl, before “surrendering” to Arbaaz, says her grandfather could have him killed.

Jot, in the present day, looks at the monitor of the PC connected to the Brahman, that shows the same graphic he saw when he was using it in his office (so with the same upload of data to the Cloud), but with the appearance of an additional writing, “Bangalore 31”, where the name of the city probably indicates the (first) place in which the data is transferred while the number still doesn’t have an explanation.
Our protagonist, hearing Monima sighing, closes the laptop deactivating the Brahman and for this reason Monima wakes up. The girl is annoyed and in a bad mood while she observes her engagement ring and soon after Jot, as a good partner, incessantly asks her what’s wrong, pointing out that he modified the Brahman so that only genetic memories (and so not other users’ memories) could be visualized. Following Jot’s insistence, Monima tells him she lived the memories of a princess of Punjab, the state of India where Amritsar is located, and that this princess was no less than the granddaughter of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. This is the same Maharaja we supposed to be important for the comic in “The Indian Matter" because he could have possessed a Piece of Eden, but there is more.

The irresistible Mir
Monima is still unsettled due to what she felt first-hand, the moment of passion between the princess and Arbaaz which happened after what we saw. Monima says everything seemed real and she never felt like that before, adding that suddenly losing (as the Braham was switched off) a man like the one she met in her memories makes her “sad”. Obviously this distances the two a bit, with Jot saying everything is ok, when actually he probably means the opposite, and Monima trying to comfort him saying he shouldn’t be jealous, especially of a man who died centuries ago who, as far as they know, could be her great-great-grandfather.

In the following scene we see Jot at work at MysoreTech in front of the usual computer connected to the Brahman, but this time the writings on the screen are different:

Application quit unexpectedly
Send report?

Data stream interrupted.
Upload incomplete.
Scan incomplete.
User identity unknown
replay last data strea_

The information shows that the application of the Brahman was quit unexpectedly (due to the “manual” closing of the laptop the night before). For this reason the data stream was interrupted and the system communicates that both the upload and the scan are incomplete. It also says that the identity of the person using the Brahman is still unknown (to the Brahman itself and to the Cloud).
The last line is a command that Jot is inserting in this moment, it’s clear from the fact that the first letter is in lowercase, that in place of the last letter there’s still the classic “flashing underscore” and also from the sound effect of the pressing of the keyboard keys. We can deduce that Jot hasn’t overcome yet what happened the night before and he wants to see the same memories of Monima.

Jot gives the command to the Brahman but the answer he gets is the following:

So the system tries to access the uploads made through the unit 00 of the Brahman (the one that Jot has), but it reveals that our protagonist doesn’t have access to Abstergo Cloud and so he can’t visualize the memories. Also, this shows the Abstergo security system for the Brahman: everyone can upload memories to the Cloud at any time, but only an authorized person can see or analyze them, and this makes our Jot swear.

Immediately after, one of his collegues appears at his office door, offering him some coffee. She walks in and she notices the Brahman. She also seems to be aware of the visor because she expresses her satisfaction for the hardware arrival by saying " Badhiya hai!", which, in desi slang, is a sentence used to praise someone’s work, the same as "good job". The girl asks Jot if she can try it, but he refuses and he sends her out of his office . The girl obeys but, while leaving the room, she reminds him of the forthcoming meeting with Mr. Rana (Do you remember? The man who called him while he was asleep) and the "guys" from Montréal (coming probably from the Abstergo Entertainment facility we knew in AC4).

Jot is still distracted and the comic suggests us that he keeps thinking about the line which implies that the last user’s identity (Monima) remains unknown. For this reason, Jot wears again his visor and goes back to the past.

Artwork of the boy whose name we don't know until now
The next page is very similar in style to the one we saw when Monima used the Brahman, which was an introductory profile of her ancestor. In this case we see a baby and then a kid who receives on his forehead a large circular red sign, a symbol of the lowest caste of the Hindu society, the Shudra, who were made up of the laborers and slaves and in general of those who took care of the manual labor. The last picture of the page shows the boy getting slapped while being called "Mongrel". The boy is punished by a man in his fifties for breaking a dish that he thinks is worth three times the boy himself, but the scene is interrupted by the entrance of Arbaaz Mir who lets an object wrapped in paper fall on a table. The man who beat the boy is amazed at the fact that Mir was able to come back and, looking at the object, he is filled with joy. The man asks if he can "trust" that the blood on the paper that wraps the object is not Mir's but Arbaaz in his badassery replies that trust is a dangerous trait, calling the man Hamid and greeting him with "As-salamu alaikum" which literally translates to "May peace be with you".

Hamid, who will then reveal to be a high-ranking Assassin and then will also be confirmed by this year's Encyclopedia as Mentor of the Assassins in Amritsar, answers with "Wa alaikum assalam", the traditional answer to Mir's greeting, which means "And with you may peace be". The Encyclopedia also specifies that the two knew each other well before this meeting. When he was young in fact, Mir was involved in a tryst and was rescued from a difficult situation by Hamid. It's exactly because he owed his old friend a favor that Mir in 1839 stole the object that we are going to see.

Hamid can't wait to see the object wrapped in the paper, but Mir is doubtful because he does not want it to be seen by prying eyes. Hamid reassures him by saying that there are other people in adjacent rooms but they are sleeping (perhaps forgetting about the boy) and even if they saw the object in the package, they would not believe their eyes.

Immediately after Hamid opens the package and inside he finds a scroll that shines with a blue light. THE scroll.
THE Scroll

It is a document on which various information related to the First Civilization are drawn, some already known, other completely new. In total there are eight elements on the document, seven of which are graphically placed around the eighth, which is also probably most important.

The Apple of Eden
AC3 version
On the upper part and on the lower one there are two half circles containing some stars and from which several rays depart, and this most probably represents the sky and the sun, maybe with a possible reference to the catastrophes arising from it that we met in the saga. Proceeding anticlockwise from the top to the bottom, we see in the parchment an Apple of Eden, in the AC3
The Memory Seals
in Ac3 and ACR
version and, below it, we can see what appear to be rounded scrolls and a kind of "road" that reaches the representation of a Memory Seal seen frontally, similar to how Memory Seals appeared in ACR and how it appeared in Minerva's message in AC2.
On the right side, instead, two other "gifts" for hardcore fans appear: another drawing of an Apple of Eden, this time the AC2 version, and, unbelievable, the fourth scroll of Romulus depicting Juno's Temple and what at the time was theorized to be a stylized representation of a tree with branches and roots.
The picture of the
fourth scroll of Romulus
and of the "tree"
This representation gave support to the theory that there really is some technological structure to which the Pieces of Eden could be connected, a theory which was partly confirmed in the AC2 glyphs (with references to the Shroud that had been detached from a tree protected by a Snake and the fact that the Pieces of Eden were once part of a "whole").

The last two elements of the parchment recovered by Mir are special because they are made up of drawings and lines that never appeared in AC. The first features a series of concentric circles with a series of figures (men or gods?) placed long these circles, each separated from the others by a star. The second one, instead, shows some kind of river in which other women are perhaps taking a bath, alongside a symbol and again, some rays that likely indicate the sun. The two drawings remained a mystery to me for a long period of time until Hephaestus had an epiphany: they are two illustrations belonging to the Voynich Manuscript, one of the most important cases in the history of cryptography in which the document has never been deciphered (if not during these days). This document is a codex dating back to the fifteenth century, which may have been written in Northern Italy, on vellum pages (info coming from Wikipedia), which takes its name from Wilfrid Voinich, a book merchant that bought it in 1912 in Villa Mondragone, near Rome. The manuscript, though it has never been deciphered by all its owners (and the same goes for its copies), features illustrations, as stated earlier, that make it possible to grasp its multiple content / sections:

  • Herbal - the drawn plants have rarely been recognized in nature
  • Astronomical - the twelve zodiacal constellations are represented in this section, each with two concentric bands on which thirty female figures are drawn, each bearing in their hand a star
  • Biological - it features some drawings of women intent to bathe in the water of some rivers, which are connected by an intricate series of pipes, which in some cases have lead to think about alchemy even if their representation was very different from the instruments of that era
  • Cosmological - it contains more circular diagrams, but these are more obscure than the ones of the astronomical section, including a map of nine islands connected by "causeways", castles and what could seem to be a volcano
  • Pharmaceutical - it contains several drawings (some real , some fantastic) of elements isolated from plants with objects similar to containers for mixtures , vials and ampoules)
  • Recipes - the last part is made up of text and is dedicated to what seem to be some recipes

Edward Kelley, from Project Legacy
The particularity of the text, of the unknown language which was used to write it and of the possible meanings that it could contain attracted the attention of many people, even famous ones, in the various historical periods. According to a letter dated 1666 it is known that the manuscript was in the possession of Rudolf II, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, the same emperor who in Project Legacy had hired Edward Kelley and many other alchemists to free Prague from the threat of the Golem. Following this Rudolf also had Kelley imprisoned because he could not produce the gold he had promised as a result of his studies on the Book (of Eden?)hat had been previously owned by Giovanni Borgia.

Kircher's Atlantis
The manuscript was then passed on to the head of Rudolph's botanical gardens and to other alchemists until it was sent, with the above-mentioned letter, to Athanasius Kircher, the geology and medicine scholar considered by some, among other things, the founder of Egyptology. Kircher is also the author of "Mundus Subterraneus" the book which appears several times in the Abstergo Entertainment offices and which features several pages about the legendary island of Atlantis and even a map with the caption "Site of the Island of Atlantis, swallowed up in the past from the sea, (based ) on the information by the Egyptians and Plato's description". The Manuscript, then, was transferred to the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome (along with Kircher's correspondence) until the city was conquered in 1870 by the troops of Victor Emmanuel II. The potential confiscation of the new Italian conquering government made so that Kircher's correspondence and the manuscript ended up in private libraries and then in Villa Mondragone, where Voynich bought it.

John Dee, from Project Legacy
Other interesting notes about the Manuscript see it as potentially written by Roger Bacon, a theory that Voynich took so seriously that he stated (quoting Wikipedia) that the only person that could have sold the manuscript to Rudolf II could be John Dee. The mathematician, astronomer, and occultist, was a friend of Edward Kelley (who was stepfather to Elizabeth Jane Weston, the protagonist of a set of memories of Project Legacy) and we also know that he was in possession both of an Apple and the Book (of Eden). Going back to Kelley, another theory states that, since he had claimed to speak with the angels (which in PL happened through a Crystal Ball like the one that appeared in AC3), he could have come into contact with the Voynich Manuscript or may even have written it - perhaps along with Dee. This way he could have supported his thesis and maintained his position at the emperor's court. In support of this hypothesis there is also a declaration by Thomas Browne, an eclectic scholar of the seventeenth century who claimed that his friend Arthur Dee, son of John, had told him that while he was in Bohemia, his father possessed a book that contained only hieroglyphics, (a reference nonsensical or coded characters, not actual hieroglyphics).

What does this mean in AC, then? The Voynich Manuscript in my and Hephaestus' theory is most likely a copy of a document of the First Civilization, a Book with similar abilities to the ones featured in Project Legacy, like creating pictures and especially formulas in the mind of the user and containing who knows what other information.
Folio 70 r
One good example for that would be the formula for the creation of the Philosopher's Stone. As with the copies of this Book written by Nicolas Flamel and Samuel Liddell Mathers, the Voynich Manuscript could also be a copy of a Book by TWCB, maybe even the same mentioned in Project Legacy. The page that we see in Brahman, in fact, is not a normal sheet: in fact it emits a soft blue light to show that it has some special features, a light very similar to the one we see in the temples created by TWCB. In particular, as mentioned before, the elements at the bottom of the parchment stolen by Arbaaz are very similar to two pages belonging to the Voynich Manuscript, folio 70 r and folio 75 r. The first one shows a series of three concentric circles containing different "nymphs", each emerging from a cylinder while holding in hand a star, and two fish and two stars at the center of the circles.
Folio 75 r
The second one, instead, shows other nymphs along some sort of river which is divided in two parts, connected by some canals. In addition to that, the second element in the version featured in Brahman, also contains a symbol which is extremely particular and is not drawn in the Voynich version, namely a sort of stylized "M". After a little research it turns out that this symbol is a reference to Altaïr and Ezio, because it is the logo on their throwing knives. What is a reference to Altaïr and Ezio doing on a parchment featuring references to the Pieces of Eden and TWCB is yet to be explained, but it is still interesting as a connection.
Altaïr's and Ezio's throwing knives
The fact that the Arbaaz's scroll shows these two pictures is an element that supports the theory that the Voynich Manuscript was a copy of a book / document which belonged to TWCB, but there's more. The whole structure of the parchment is very similar to another page of the Voynich Manuscript, folio 86v, which is folded six times on itself.
Folio 86 v
The difference lies in the fact that some of the graphical representations of folio 86v have been replaced with the aforementioned Pieces of Eden . Even more so, therefore, we could say that in the AC universe, the Voynich Manuscript somehow recalls a TWCB document, given that the content of the scroll stolen by Mir is scattered among the pages of the Voynich.

The last element of the page that we have to analyze is paradoxically the most important one and it is located in the very center of the scroll. It is a diamond, extremely similar to the one we saw in the mindfuck page, where we saw the faces of the Indian gods and the Assassins insignias. Its presence on the parchment hints that the diamond has something to do with TWCB and the Pieces of Eden. Its central location within the scroll also gives the sense of its importance.

The comic's focus shifts on the eyes of Hamid's slave boy while he is peeking into the scroll and listening to the discussion that his master is having with Arbaaz. Hamid claims to be able to understand very little of what is written on the parchment, and that no one has ever been able to fully understand the text (an assonance with the inability to read the Voynich Manuscript). The Mentor also adds that the text on the parchment is written in the language of the Gods. This is very interesting because it is probably the first time we see the calligraphy of TWCB, and, again, it is also a small reference to Edward Kelley, who "spoke with the angels" (again, in Project Legacy), and to William’s words in AC3 about the difficult comprehensibility of the messages of TWCB.

Glass replica of the Koh-i-Noor
Diamond after its first cut
Arbaaz directs his glance at the diamond at the center of the parchment and Hamid confirms that the diamond is very familiar to everyone, since they were children: it is known as the Koh-i-Noor, or Mountain of Light, once it was called Syamantaka Mani and, before that, it had an unpronounceable name, a gift to India from the very God of Sun. In two dialogue lines, Hamid shows us a new Piece of Eden, the Koh-i-Noor, and its history too. The name that cannot be pronounced suggests we are probably talking about the language of TWCB and so it indicates that the diamond firstly belonged to the First Civilization (as expected). Here the plot becomes blended and indistinct with the mythology like it had not happened for a long time in AC.

Durya on his chariot carried
by a seven-headed horse
The Syamantaka Mani is the most famous jewel of the Indian mythology. It originally belonged to Surya, the God of Sun, who wore it around his neck. The legend said that the land in which the gem had been lodged, would have never met any natural disasters such as droughts, floods and earthquakes. In addition, day by day, the gem would have produced for its owner eight golden bharas per day, corresponding to approximately 90 kilos of gold. According to the mythology, one day Surya appeared in front of Satrajit, a high ranked man, devoted to him, who offered him several gifts in his worship. Surya, impressed by the offerings, asked him what he wanted in return and Satrajit asked for the jewel around his neck and so it happened. From this moment onward, several adventures revolved around the jewel and it passed into different hands until it came into possession of Krishna and then of Akrura , one of the leaders of the Yadava, an ancient Indian population. From this point, we lose track of the jewel and the legends who describe how the Syamantaka Mani became the Koh-i -Noor rise up, and they are the basis on which the Brahman plot is founded.

Hamid has not finished yet playing his trump cards and, in fact, he states that the Brotherhood higher-ups consider the the Koh-i -Noor as an immense source of energy with the power to bind the fate of all Pieces of Eden together as one. Mir asks if the scroll indicates the diamond location but Hamid says they already know where it is: Maharaja Ranjit Singh owns it. The mentor asserts that all the attempts to steal it ended with the death of the thieves after a short time, and this generated a curse: the diamond would have given great wealth to the owner (according to Indian mythology), but the owner would have suffered a bad end. Mir claims that Singh actually is expanding a bit too much, saying that he is a "murderous cur". Hearing Mir's words, Hamid says that his people in Kashmir had suffered a great tragedy (due to Singh) but those days have long passed and now Singh is the only line of defense from the British conquerors.

This last Hamid reference, luckily or not, is explained in this year's Encyclopedia, in which we can read Mir’s family story according to which they were killed during the Kashmir annexation by Singh in 1819.
The trascription found on the french
back cover of the comics
Hamid, then, orders Mir to protect Singh by the British in order to prevent the diamond to fall into Templar hands, no matter the cost. Mir obeys, swearing loyalty to the Brotherhood. In that very moment, the boy (who was still eavesdropping ) makes a noise and Hamid hears it. He moves towards him with the intention of punishing him but Mir stops him because he decided to buy him (in this situation it turns out that the boy is mute too). Before Mir leaves for his mission to protect the maharaja, Hamid warns him by mentioning a part of the " transcription " (perhaps quoted from the parchment) that describes the diamond: "He who owns this diamond will own the world, but will also will know all its misfortunes. Only God, or a woman, can wear it with impunity." An interesting prophecy that suggests that only TWCB or female human beings can use the diamond and this could depend on some kind of DNA activation.

Immediately after, we get back to the present day with Jot: he is getting ready for the meeting with his boss and the "guys from Montreal". He is still upset about the bad situation that has arisen with Monima and, while looking at the mirror, he sees nothing else but Hamid’s slave boy. In this very moment we have the certainty that Jot Soora’s ancestor is the slave boy and not Arbaaz Mir as we were driven to believe before the comic's release. We could actually guess it before: the introductive page on the boy and the focus on his eyes were suggestive elements. The Encyclopedia also expands what we have seen so far and gives the boy a name: he is Raza Soora.
Jot recovers from Raza's vision (a vision that left him shocked and upset) and goes to the meeting room where on a big screen we see the lines " Brahman Project - MysoreTech - Abstergo Ent.". His boss, Ajay Rana, introduces our protagonist as the company genius but, unfortunately, he behaves hesitantly in front of the Abstergo leaders, probably because he’s still upset about Monima. Not only he hesitates while talking to them but he also gets to say that the Brahman adapts itself to the genetic memories. He then corrects his words immediately by saying that it adapts to the user. Rana seems surprised and he probably is because he understands that Jot somehow grasped the way in which the Brahman uses the genetic memories. For this very doubt, later he invites him to a squash game.

Rana asks him if he has problems at home and says that he was contacted by Abstergo because they needed to requisition his laptop (of course to better analyze the data and their sources, and to be sure that no one else can see them). Rana answers to Jot 's doubts about the Brahman and about the intents of Abstergo with the visor by saying that MysoreTech was hired to launch a console on the mass Indian market and that's what they are doing.
Ajay Rana interview
(Picture taken from AC: Initiates)
The memory I’m talking about is called "So hot right now" and it was released on September 25th, 2013 . It showed an interview with Rana in which he talked about of the contract he signed with Abstergo for the production and launch of the Brahman. The interview showed how Rana appreciated to play squash and on the opposite page there was a picture with the line: "Is Monima Das engaged? " (What are you waiting for? Run and read it again now that you know about Rana and the whole situation!)

Going back to the comic book, Rana also claims to have spoken with Monima and advises Jot to spend more time with her instead of digging into matters that don't concern him. Jot in a way follows Rana's advice, as in the next scene we see him engaged in a sexual intercourse with his girlfriend, unfortunately unsatisfactory for both, because their thoughts are probably dedicated respectively to insecurity and to Arbaaz Mir.

Returning to the past, we find Mir intent in explaining Raza their mission, stating that he never had a servant but to pretend being a dignitary
Nader Shah, as shown in the comic book
(picture taken from AC: Initiates)
dignitary in order to infiltrate the palace, he will also need him to play his part. He also goes as far as making him remove from his forehead the red circular sign that identifies him as part of the Shudra.

Later Mir shows us and Raza he has various information about the diamond, the objective of his mission. “Koh-i-Noor” is a Persian name and, referring to that, he cites an episode of the long history of the diamond, in other words the theft by the “fiend” Nader Shah. Arbaaz refers to the invasion of India by Nader Shah, the shah of Iran, in 1739 and to the sack of Agra and Delhi thanks to which he stole not only the Koh-i-Noor and the Darya-ye Noor (the “mountain of light" and “sea of light" diamonds) but also the Peacock Throne. The latter was a jewelled throne that was the seat of the Mughal emperors and on which the Koh-i-Noor itself was placed for a period (hence the presence of the peacocks in the mindfuck page featuring the faces of the gods?). Eight years after the theft of the diamond, Nader was assassinated, joining the other victims of the diamond's curse, as any other man who was obsessed by it. But Arbaaz is still skeptic, the diamond was simply stolen several times and this is also the intent of our Assassin of the past.
Peacock Throne Representation

Arbaaz explains that, from the information he has, the diamond that Maharaja Ranjit Singh shows to the public is a fake and the real one is inside a Tosha Khana (the room dedicated to treasures, gifts and emblems of honor) placed below the Summer Palace which is accessible only by Singh and his treasurer Bustee Ram. Mir, then, is planning to enter with Raza as a dignitary of Kashmir with his servant, in order to tail the Maharaja’s treasurer and obtain access to the Tosha Khana to steal the diamond.

Artwork of Generale Cotton
Mir and Raza are able to enter the palace using their cover but are immediately interrupted by the arrival of the Maharaja wearing the fake Koh-i-Noor. Here, near the dining room of the palace, Arbaaz gets acquainted with William Hay Macnaghten, one of the most trusted advisers of the Governor-General of England in India, Lord Auckland. During these formal small talk, Macnaghten makes fun of the behaviour of the Maharaja’s servants, asking for confirmation and indirectly introducing General Cotton, an English soldier who has a suspicious cross pinned on his chest that Mir notices. As soon as Macnaghten goes away, Mir and Cotton look at each other up and down, both aware of their respective Orders. What we see is an extremely charismatic verbal clash in which Mir seems to disobey the oath affirming that he wouldn’t have interfered between the Templars and their intent of killing Singh. Cotton reacts saying that if Mir doesn’t mean to protect the Maharaja, then he must have another objective.

While Cotton and Arbaaz continue their psychological clash, Raza turns around and soon after Mir does the same, because the princess we saw in the first pages, Monima's ancestor, makes an entrance and catches up with the Maharaja, her grandfather, while he gives the fake Koh-i-Noor to Bustee Ram. So Mir asks Raza to follow him, while he steals a pink oleander with a smirk that, after having seen the princess, reveals the intents of the Assassin. In particular the pink oleander in the hands of Arbaaz makes us understand that all the events until now happened before the facts described when Monima put on the Brahman in Jot’s apartment, specifically the seduction of the princess by Mir and their moment of passion.

Artwork of Jot Soora
We go back, therefore, to the present day and come to know that Jot stayed "at work" till late at night to visualize the memories we saw until now. We see him wearing a stylish shirt in front of his computer with the Brahman up and running and his mobile phone vibrating due to a call from Monima. Jot takes a look at it and doesn’t answer, maybe a sort of personal revenge, probably still upset because of the situation with his girlfriend. Suddenly the door opens and Jot intentionally hides himself under the table and he's ready to defend himself with a screwdriver. This demonstrates that maybe he was not supposed to use the Brahman until now, or more likely that he is scared by the fact that Abstergo is still interested in his computer and his data. Luckily the person who enters the room is only Jot’s colleague who reminded him of the appointment with Rana and Abstergo Entertainment at the beginning of the comic book. The girl, wearing a white hoodie (you have understood right?) is still interested in Soora’s work. She is also interested in the girl / princess who is part of his past, but she's even more interested in the person that he was in the past and in this situation our protagonist acts like a real man. Intended as a stupid, dumb and lying being who tries to impress a nice woman in front of him. To show off, Jot says he had an assassin as ancestor and the girl reacts by kissing him. Keep this fact in mind because it will have great repercussions for the prosecution of the comic book.

The following morning (and that could say it all) Jot arrives at the hotel where he should have stayed with Monima. He is so late that the girl is going out because she must take a taxi to the airport to fly to Mumbai for work. Mon is obviously annoyed and the two talk lazily, but an important detail emerges: Ajay Rana called Monima to ask her to be the testimonial of the advertising campaign for the Brahman. This suggests that maybe Rana or Abstergo identified Monima too, or they want to test her past too in addition to Jot’s one to see who generated the memories dedicated to the Koh-i-Noor and its scroll. Before leaving, Monima gives Jot her engagement ring because the advertising campaign wants her to be single, asking him to keep it until her return.

The Italian version of the comic book ends here, as though it was “cut”, without cliffhangers, even if surely everything is still open and the questions are many. Was Raza Soora able to tail Bustee Ram to find the real Koh-i-Noor? What kind of relationship do Mir and the princess have? Will Jot and Monima be able to settle down their differences?

We already have the answers here in ATA, but out of respect for Italian readers we are not going to reveal them. Just to create some hype for you while waiting we can say that we will discover some interesting details about Ajay Rana, about the Koh-i-Noor abilities and about how the Assassins and Templars fight in the modern day and ... and we will have an extraordinary guest star. The second part of this article, therefore, will be published only during the release of the second part of the comic book in Italy. Stay with us.

Keep reading "Looking through the Brahman - part 2".

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Looking through the Brahman - Part2

The Indian Matter