Initiating to the Initiates
Markuz, December 4th, 2013
Translated by: Stefania

With this article I would like to give ATA fans a series of important pieces of information about Assassin’s Creed: Initiates and about some implications of the plot that aren’t essential for the understanding of AC4, but might be important for the future installments of the saga.

During the last year the worldwide community was involved in a project called Assassin’s Creed: Initiates (ACI in short), started in September 2012. The project remained public for four months, with the formal aim of giving a background plot to the events leading to AC3, justifying the change of some characters (e.g. Daniel Cross), describing the motivations of others and also leaving clues about events that already happened in the saga. Later (from January 3rd, 2013) the project had a transition period and the members received a suspicious email asking them to rebuild the D.N.A., in other words the unspecified Database Network Archives, through a daily answer to various types of queries.
Then the website entered the “closed alpha” stage, closing down publicly and allowing access only to a privileged and limited amount of people, the first who asked for an access key. The “closing” period of Initiates determined a structural change for the website, with the obligation of accepting a non-disclosure agreement (unfortunately not everyone respected it) and the creation of the C.TAG mini game. The website stayed closed from the beginning of February until around the release of AC4 for current gen, touching upon purely historical elements, old plot parts and new ones too. Eventually, in the last months (since August), the C.TAG was closed to make room for a new game, the Operations, that now are called Missions.

This was, in summary, the “front” development of the site. What most people don’t know, instead, is that this facade hides a part of the plot that might be essential, also with regards to the future chapters of the saga.

Also in this case, like in AC4, it seems that we, the members, have been and are protagonists of this part of plot in the present day, “The Initiates”, in which a new potential fourth faction appeared after Assassins, Templarsand Erudito.

The revelation occurred at the end of the C.TAG mini game, but various elements before that event gave an idea of what was happening.

One of these elements was the promotional message that was featured on the homepage when the website was still public at the end of 2012: “A secret war rages on. The Initiates are watching. Join us.

The message was direct, maybe too direct, to the point that it just looked like an adornment, when a real faction was actually hiding behind it, a faction of which little or nothing was known (unfortunately, also nowadays little is known, but let’s go on).

The promotional message

Another banner included the following sentence: “As an Initiate, you are privy to secrets known only to a privileged few. In due time, a Master Initiate will contact you.

The Desmond files
This sentence appeared promotional as well (less than the other one though) but it was way more contextualized in terms of plot. The website was telling us that we were a part of the Initiates faction and we were privy to secrets known to a privileged few. In that period the part of plot dedicated to Initiates was “limited” to the Desmond Files, in other words the description of everything that happened from AC1 to ACR with some strong elements of new plot. The files followed Desmond during his adventures, but didn’t dislike to go after Templars and their movements both in general and in relation to Desmond and his team's actions. The message in the banner, therefore, stated that the Initiates were watching, were observing the events of the Assassin’s Creed’s saga and so were aware of these facts and of the secret war – mentioned in the banner – between Assassins and Templars. Hence the indication about secrets known only to a privileged few. The hint to the Master Initiate, on the other hand, referred probably to an email sent a few months later, that we will examine afterwards, or even to missions, that were released even later. I would also like you to notice that back then everyone was wondering who was following the information about Assassins and Templars in the Desmond Files, if it was Erudito or some other entity. Now we have an answer.

An example of a completed query
Initiates was also active in this “spoilerish” version throughout and immediately after the release of AC3 until the end of December 2012, in line with the plot of AC3, Juno’s freeing and the catastrophe which was started, but then prevented. This set of events made the Initiates website crash until the first days of January, when, still open to the public, it had only a single page where users were asked (by the Initiates) to help re-establishing through daily queries the synchronization of the Database Network Archives (the acronym DNA of these archives in possession of the Initiates should say a lot and furthermore it will be connected to the C.TAG, as we’ll see). The first ones were even contextualized: the asked to write some words to verify the server status, to re-synch them, to start the recovery of data in possession of the Initiates and the real reconstruction phase of the archives of this new fourth faction. The following queries were dedicated to various information about the AC series plot, ranging from the Akashic Satellite Plexus to Giovanni Borgia, and this further indicated how many information the Initiates had about both the factions that fought and were fighting their secret war.
The reconstruction queries of the Initiates’ archives continued until the end of January, but, while this was happening, some members of the ACI community received a strange email (the suspicious mail I mentioned above):

When Ubi does these things one feels like crying of joy

The email described, in an extremely captivating way, how the Initiates needed to recover information, re-synch the network and rebuild their archives. The interesting fact in this email(that as of now hasn’t been mentioned again) is the sender’s signature, Fourth Initiate. As it could be expected, therefore, we know that the Initiates are hierarchically organized and probably have also an identification number within their names. Maybe the Fourth Initiate was the Master Initiate who had to contact the users?

The following phase, as described a short while ago, was the rebuild of the website and the transition to the “closed alpha”, or rather to the access to the site limited only to some privileged users acting as testers. The distinctive element of this phase was the C.TAG, a daily mini-game in which users had to search for a more or less specific place in the world map - and later a place with a date - related to an event of the AC plot (like, for instance, Masyaf for Altair’s birth) or to historical facts (like the discovery of DNA by Johann Friedrich Miescher). In this case too, like for the Database Network Archives, the name of the mini-game had a meaning related to its acronym. Indeed C.TAG is an acronym too, because it stands for Cytosine, Thymine, Adenine and Guanine, in other words the nitrogenous bases forming DNA nucleotides, because we don’t want to skimp on cool stuff.

So while users kept on rebuilding the network through the C.TAG, the Initiates kept following events in the present day and indeed, starting May 14th, a new set of information, Surveillance, appeared on Initiates and we also posted them on our Facebook page. You should read them, because they’re essential to better understand the events in the present of AC4, but they contain spoilers for those who haven’t played AC4 yet, so don’t miss them once you will complete the title.
This set of information about the present day helped us to understand how the events leading to AC4 happened, but it’s also important to prove how, even now, the Initiates are watching the dynamics of the secret war between Assassins and Templars even if we still don’t completely know their motivations.

Near the end of August, the C.TAG was on its way to ending, but it did it with a big bang. The last week of the game, indeed, wasn’t dedicated to the past plot, but to the Initiates themselves. With the end of the C.TAG, the Initiates “introduced” themselves and showed some of their intents with five dedicated files belonging to the sequence "Between the lines", by now only present in the site archives. Such files are the following:

  1. WE EMPLOY ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY // Turin // USA // 2012-12-21

On December 21, 2012, coronal mass ejection threatened the Earth in a repeat of the Toba Catastrophe of 75 000 BCE. Desmond Miles, in collaboration with the First Civilization entity Juno, reactivated the Grand Temple. Their actions prevented the destruction of civilization. However, the resulting massive solar flares still caused global electronic disruption. The Initiates computer network crashed and user input was re-quired for reboot and restoration. New direction for research: The apparently limitless potential of First Civilization technology.

  1. WE OBSERVE TO GATHER KNOWLEDGE // Ujiji // Tanzania // 2013-02-11

C.TAGs specified the geographical location of events of interest. Latitude and longitude provided with cus-tomizable degrees of accuracy. Locating significant features laid down network nodes, facilitating connectivity.

  1. WE DISCOVER CHRONOLOGY // Greenwich // United Kingdom // 2013-04-08

Further development increased C.TAG precision. Chronological coordinates supplemented geographical data, providing more accurate references. Multi-layered memory storage array increased network connections exponentially.

  1. WE PREPARE FOR THE FUTURE // Parkes // Australia // 2013-08-21

The C.TAG program has substantially improved the Initiates network. Structural learning has reached its maximum current potential. Proposal: Cease development of C.TAGs except to complete specific lacunae. Instead, launch active Initiate operations. Potential risks: Significant. Potential gains: Impressive.

  1. WE ARE THE INITIATES // Sri Lanka // 2013-08-30

Initiate recruits have greatly increased available knowledge while respecting the project’s need for secrecy. Several pieces of First Civilization technology have been cataloged. Wider dissemination of the Initiates network will soon be possible. Groundwork has been laid for active operations. Congratulations are in order.

The Initiates, therefore, at the end of C.TAG, showed their hand and Ubisoft proved how the Initiates project is an integral part of the plot of which we, the users / adepts, are the protagonists.

These five files are very important because they add information characterizing the Initiates. The first one, for example, tells us that the Initiates know about the ending of AC3, about Desmond, Juno and the prevented catastrophe (actually one could already foresee it because these elements were included in the Desmond Files). The first file, moreover, explains the reasons behind the closing of the website at the end of December 2012 and the Initiates’ database collapse, in other words the global electronic disruptions that occurred anyway even if Desmond saved humanity. So, following all of this, the queries about the D.N.A reconstruction (the Initiates archives) were the user input necessary for the reboot of this new faction’s network. The last information emerging from this file is that the new direction for the Initiates’ research is the First Civilization technology (while the previous one focused on what was happening to Desmond).

Hence the research for these information through C.TAG started, and, as the second file points out, it was also useful for creating new nodes (the various daily queries). With the passing of time, as mentioned above, chronological research was added to geographical location in the C.TAG, and this, as the third file says, increased network connections exponentially thanks to the creation of a multi-layered memory storage array (composed of dating, location, information and images).

One of the various logos of the C.TAG

At the end of August the C.TAG ended, since the reconstruction through this tool had reached its biggest potential, and the operations / missions started (I’ll talk about them later).

The last file, that coincides with the last C.TAG, affirms that the work of the users / Initiates increased available knowledge while respecting the project’s need for secrecy (this is a reference to fans who didn’t leak the contents of ACI). Moreover the file says that several First Civilization artifacts have been catalogued (some Pieces of Eden were, indeed, the subject of C.TAG queries) and so the new direction for research announced in the first file was partially successful.

After a short quiet period the Operations started. Those were (and are) more interactive mini-games in which users had to fulfill actions both on the Initiates website (examining some memories) and in AC3, using data exchange through Uplay. Moreover, small parenthesis, unlike the C.TAG, these missions can still be played, and not only they unlock parts of new plot that will be examined below, but also experience points for some of the new functions of the website and also in-game contents.

In any case, going back to the plot, there are several playable missions and each one is partitioned in several levels. For each of them there’s a small part of plot written for every stage and an additional short text at the beginning. These parts of the plot are in the form of dialogue, in particular in the form of comments made by an unknown person, a member of the Initiates talking with us and explaining how missions work and their purpose. I add them hereunder, gathered in a single text for each mission:


We are operational and our network grows daily. We are currently testing new technologies and now have an opportunity to delve into the mindset of an Assassin through a series of Stages where you perform specific Actions. Start at the beginning, study what they are best known for. Your curiosity has brought you here, now let’s get to work. Do Assassins really have the world’s best interests at heart? Their actions need to be studied in their proper context.

“One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer. But one has seen.” – Rene Daumal

The Assassins fascinate us, with their creed and contradictions. Theirs is an interesting philosophy, if only they were not so quick to rely on murder to achieve progress. What did you see when you looked at the world through their eyes? Share with us.

Congratulations, you have completed your first assignment. New ones are now available on the Missions page.

The first mission starts exactly where the C.TAG ended, from the Initiates’ network growing daily. Now, after more than 8 months from the prevented catastrophe, the Initiates possess new technologies and can delve into the mindset of an Assassin. This is their new objective through missions that, they explain, will be elaborated through a series of stages. Immediately our interlocutor puts himself/herself above us, as if he/she was our superior or instructor, in any case someone who further introduces us to the Initiates organization. Is this the encounter with the Master Initiate who had to get in touch with us?

Then the interlocutor starts to ask questions to the user, wondering and asking him/her if, in his/her opinion, Assassins really have the world’s best interests at heart. This question, that presumes a negative answer, shows the point of view of the interlocutor and consequently of the Initiates organization. It really seems to be very different from that of the Assassins and probably external, observers as they say they are.
Later the interlocutor quotes the writer René Daumal, author of the novel “Mount Analogue”, from which the sentence in the mission was taken. But such sentence is part of a more extensive passage:

"You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again. So why bother in the first place? Just this: What is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above. One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen. There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up. When one can no longer see, one can at least still know.”

In my interpretation, considering the quote and the remaining sentences of the Initiate interlocutor, this is a reference to the fact that things have to be observed from above, from an external point of view, in order to understand how they are and evaluate them in their context (as it was affirmed before in relation to the actions of the Assassins) and this applies also to the war between Assassins and Templars and the behavior of the Initiates. To the contrary, still according to my interpretation, evaluating actions “on their same level” would risk to polarize the viewpoint and so induce incorrect observations.

An example of this way of thinking is offered soon after: the Assassin’s Creed is interesting for the Initiates, but it isn’t coherent, it’s founded on contradictions and, in this case, the three famous ironies mentioned by Altair in the Codex come to my mind, the first of which promotes peace by killing who stands in one’s way, as mentioned by the Initiates.
After that the Initiate asks what the user saw through the eyes of an Assassin (Connor), in order to share it with the other Initiates. In this case, since the user relived Connor’s memories, he/she came down, to the same level of the war between Assassins and Templars, but being conscious of what he/she saw from above (through Initiates), as Daumal affirmed.

A last clarification. The completion of each mission gives users a badge to show off. In this case the badge is extremely important in figurative terms:

These vials are everywhere...
Take a close look. It really look like the cube / vial with the drop of blood we saw in the hands of Edward Kenway in the various trailers of AC4.

The aggressive nature of humanity is undeniable. But why is it that so many use violence to solve problems? Study this closely, but keep your wits about.

Versatility is as much a weapon as a knife or an axe. You must be ready to exploit everything that falls into your hands: weapons, technology, or the most dangerous thing of all, ideas. While dedication is crucial, you need to follow your survival instincts. Learn to recognize when sacrifice and retreat are the best strategies.

We must not involve ourselves in the conflict between Assassins and Templars. Our time might come, but for now we study them. We can’t do it alone. We are the Initiates. Join us.

Here the fact that our interlocutor is our instructor, perhaps our mentor, strengthens. And he/she takes advantage of the “Connor experience” through unspecified new technologies with the intent of teaching us something that probably is in line with the Initiates’ way of thinking. Also in this case we delve into the “low” level of the secret war between Assassins and Templars to study it, but our interlocutor tells us to keep our wits / calm and not to get involved.

Our instructor, then, reveals one of the first qualities / characteristics that the Initiates appreciate: versatility. It’s necessary to exploit everything that falls into our hands in order to survive, even ideas. In other words, we must be able to use a conservative approach too when necessary.

Finally he/she directly says that the Initiates must not involve themselves in the above-mentioned secret war: he/she hints that maybe, at a later time, they’ll come into play too, but now it's not the right time because they can’t do it alone. Is it because the organization ranks are small or because they need external support to come into play? For the time being we don’t have enough data to answer these questions.


We are not Assassins or Templars, yet both have elements we need. That’s why, like us, you must walk among them undetected. You must embody stealth and discretion at all times.

We must stay hidden while we uncover the web of half-truths that Templars and Assassins have weaved. Our actions must be planned with care and executed with precision.
Observation comes before action. We bide our time, uncovering truths they would prefer remained hidden.

The instructor proceeds with the teachings to his/her adepts. He/She highlights that the Initiates aren’t Assassins or Templars, even if the two factions are useful for the interests of the organization. Later the instructor drops a potential bomb: adepts must walk among Assassins or Templars undetected, like the Initiates. This means that, still probably with the intention of observing without acting, it’s possible that some Initiates are already inside the ranks of Assassins or Templars. Also our master says the Initiates are uncovering truths that Templars and Assassins would prefer to remain hidden. We still have to understand if he/she is referring to what was already discovered through the various actions during the network reconstruction or to something else.


The way I see it, the Assassins of today aren’t all killers, but those who are know more ways to kill than a kindergarten’s got crayons. The hunter’s instinct of these warriors can’t be learned from books and whatnot so what are you waiting for? Jump in there and live the life of a predator for a change.

Call me sentimental but there’s something that’s just so… satisfying about smashing enemies with blunt weapons. The Assassins of old generally didn’t resort to brute force, but weren’t afraid to crack a skull every now and again. We can learn from their fine example.

Ahhh, the sweet smell of cordite! I have yet to find a problem that won’t go away with the application of enough explosives. Even the Assassins, usually so careful and quiet, have used them extensively to create diversions and eliminate targets.

Battlefield control, from the tiniest skirmish to entire battlefronts, is crucial for decisive victories. What As-sassins lack in strength and numbers, they make up with cunning and creativity to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

Veteran agents from both sides spend years honing their lethal skills. Some are now revered as legends. Learn from the best, whichever side they were on. Who knows, maybe one day you’ll be a legend, too.

The true warrior makes good use of every asset available on the battlefield. Combat sharpens their minds to a point where action becomes faster than thought, making them true engines of war. I expect as much from you when strapped to those machines.

Stick with me, and I may succeed in turning you scrubs into men and women I’d be proud of.

The instructor of this mission praises the best and most useful traits that the Assassins use in battle, referring to actions that usually aren’t typical of them (brute force, explosive powder, etc…) and also their creativity and cunning that often they used to turn the situation around.

The last part of the mission plot is very interesting, the instructor touches on how the technologies mentioned in “First Blood” are made, in other words they are machines to which the adepts will be tied. The Animus technology is obviously in the air, but where does it come from and how did the Initiates get it?

As fascinating as studying the intricacies of the struggle between Assassins and Templars can be, we can’t ignore the sheer richness of lore and history in which this conflict is steeped. The level of detail encoded in the genetic memories of modern day Assassins opens up countless opportunities for our exploration.

Man’s relationship with animals during the American Revolution makes for such a fascinating subject. On one hand, domesticated animals provided the colonists with companionship, protection, and food. On the other, wild animals tried to turn the colonists and livestock into food.

Aggressive expansion and territorial conflicts left deep scars in the newly forged United States of America. They say history is written by the victors. Well thanks to technology, we will write the final truth when all is said and done.

Animus addiction is a relatively new area of study. Abstergo Entertainment has not been very forthcoming about the risks involved with its latest public project. What little we know seems to indicate there’s significant risk involved, which bears further investigation. Please don’t worry; we’ll make you work within acceptable parameters.

The distance algorithm of Animus technology has always been, at best, a generous emulation rather than an exact simulation. We need to establish proper distance coefficients so later calculations can be per-formed within acceptable parameters for our own experiments. Your participation is appreciated. As they say in France, “les voyages forment la jeunesse.”

In spite of our technological advances, the printed page remains one of the most stable forms of data transmission and storage. Therein lies the delicious irony of using the Animus to recover journals and other important historical documents.

Some within our rank chafe at our slow progress and non-interventionist stance. Yet without proper understanding, any action would likely cause irreparable harm to our long term goals.
"Nam non solum scire aliquid , artis est , sed etiam quaedam ars docendi ".

In this case the interlocutor points out that the Assassins-Templars conflict isn’t the only thing to keep in mind when these “studies” are carried out. Indeed one must consider the historical and cultural context provided by the utilized technology (domesticated and wild animals are offered as an example).

In this mission we have the confirmation that the technology that the Initiates are using is the Animus or a derivation of it. The Initiates, indeed, know about the Animus addiction (an emblematic example is Daniel Cross) and it seems it was also mentioned to Abstergo Entertainment, maybe publicly, since they know the company wasn’t willing to answer about it. Considering that the Initiates suppose that the Animus addiction (so even the console version) is an existing and real risk, it’s possible that the matter might return in future releases.

Later the instructor highlights how the Animus emulations aren’t always real, especially in terms of covered distances, saying that the Initiates are working so that the distance algorithm can operate in the best possible way, because, as they say in France, “Travelling shapes youth”.

The last part is dedicated to the irony of using an advanced technology (the Animus) to recover printed data, useful for who researches them, and also to the fact that some within Initiates would prefer action over waiting. It seems to hear Altair’s words when, in the XVIII page of the Codex, he writes:

We are obligated to hide. To be silent. To shape the course of history in secret. But some of my brothers and sisters disagree. They grow angry, insisting it is a mistake to shroud ourselves. They say it slows our work. But they do not understand the risks. To expose ourselves now would be too dangerous (…)

Our master Initiate, lastly, quotes the De Legibus by Cicero when he says “not only is there an art in knowing a thing, but also a certain art in teaching it”. This is maybe a reference to those too-aggressive members of the organization who know the secrets of the Initiates, but still must learn how to approach them according to the vision of the organization and risk of doing great harm to it in the long run.

There are some among us who see Animus technology as their own personal battleground or as some sort of hub for socialites. Worse still, others want to study it until we’ve squeezed all elements of novelty from it. It is obvious they fail to see the unique opportunity of managing long-lost resources and accumulating unique digital treasures.

My colleagues argue all the time about the symbolic significance of chasing feathers and collecting scraps of the local wildlife in the genetic memories of old Assassins. They should learn to appreciate how collecting is a journey worth taking in itself.

The economics of Animus technology are, to put it mildly, borked. No one in his right mind should take them seriously. Yet there’s something fundamentally satisfying in acquiring and disposing of wealth in these simulations. Flash that cash, Initiates!

Being a completist is nothing to sneer at. One needs dedication, passion, and a level of bone-headedness that borders on obsession. But such drive is what allows us to power through the most mind-numbing of tasks to achieve our objectives.

The lure of treasure, especially when hidden or guarded, is often too hard to resist for the adventuring soul. From stories of pirate treasure to tales of plundering dungeons, it’s easy to get swept away in the excitement of it all...

It would be irresponsible if we failed to recognize how vital pursuing completion within the Animus is for our cause. Some will ask you to do it for historical accuracy or for academic reasons, but really, it’s fine if you do it for glory and bragging rights alone.

In this case the mission is dedicated to the collectibles in AC3 (you can notice that collecting is praised, especially in the second part of the text). The instructor talks again about his colleagues, about what they say and about what they think. He/She states that, in his/her opinion, the Animus potential can be used collecting unique digital treasures, that, I guess, are the historical documents he/she was talking about in “New Frontier” and are found through the Animus.

Then the instructor talks about the economic system in the memories reconstruction through the Animus, saying no one in his right mind should take them seriously (and so highlighting once again that memories reconstructions are just simulation). Could it be a dig taken at those users complaining about the economic system of previous chapters of the series?

Our master, in the end, concludes saying that “completion” within the Animus is extremely important for the Initiates. Considering their role of (maybe temporary) observers, essentially the completion aligns with the objectives of the Initiates, who want to have the most detailed possible view of what they’re studying. In particular, in the end, the master shows a more “benevolent” side than usual, stating that, apart from the objective of historical accuracy and academic reasons, completion can be also pursued for personal glory.


It is astounding how accurate the social simulations within Animus technology are. You get thrown into whole new universes brimming with historical figures to meet and so many things to accomplish. It is far too much for a single person to take in. We need you. You play as important a role as the rest of us in this grand experiment.

Rob from the rich, give to the less rich. The lesson here is dead simple: it's okay to steal, as long as you pay it forward. At least, I think that's the lesson.

The Assassins are, like, one of the oldest frats in the universe. Their hazing rituals used to involve cutting off fingers. Harsh! We don't have anything like that. We invited you, you joined us, done!

Teamwork is the best. The Assassins relied on it constantly, since they were horribly outnumbered most of the time. There's nothing like being the underdog to light a fire under your ass!

The Templars try to change things real sneaky-like, using the world as some sort of chess board. The Assassins prefer to just flip the table and help clean up the mess.

It's a lot of hard work toppling a monolith of secrets and lies that stretches back through recorded history. That's why we're reaching out to you so that we can do it together.

We want you on our team. We're the Initiates. You're not alone.

In this case our instructor gives us an explanation (among many) of our “usefulness” for the Initiates. The Animus simulations create completely new universes for the users and, according to our master, this is far too much for a single person. Hence the intent of having several followers to go ahead together in what they call the “experiment”.

After a brief subplot about the practice of robbing from the rich and giving to the less rich (caused by the objective of stealing from convoys and launching coins to citizens in AC3), our master talks once again about the Assassins. He/she shows us that he/she also knows about the Assassins’ initiation rituals and says that the Initiates don’t have anything like that, the adhesion to their organization results from the simple acceptance of the invite.

After that the instructor continues comparing Assassins and Templars, their characteristics (the teamwork of the Assassins) and their way of approaching the world and history (using the comparison of the world with a game of chess). The result of this comparison is that also the Initiates are determined to shed light on secrets and falsenesses of the recorded history.

All right, it’s time to separate the hunters from the prey, the strong from the weak and the griefers from the gamers.

You’ve had your fun tackling simulations and recreations, but let’s see what happens when you’re forced to go toe-to-toe against another flesh-and-blood human being.

I’m not going to be around to gently kiss away your tears, so don’t disappoint me.

Well, well, well! I never thought I would see the day when one of you stepped up and met my minimum expectations. I may faint.

The Niitsitapii tribe of the American plains had it right. It’s all about counting coups and showing others how brave and crafty you are. You can add a few notches to your coup stick, you’ve earned them.

True soldiers don’t need fancy ree-wards at the end of missions. Surviving, and knowing you’re on the right side ought to be thanks enough. But it’s still nice to be recognized for your skills, so soak in the compliments while you’re still sucking in air.

Sure, being the “Lone Wolf” can be glorious, I’ll grant you that. But if you really want to impress me, you have to prove you have what it takes to work as a team. You wanna know what rhymes with survival? Teamwork!

Well whaddaya know? You managed to do it? Color me surprised soldier, you just might make it after all!

Never forget, we’re in this to win. The price may appear to be too high, but guess what? It’s only going to get more expensive as we forge ahead. So we can’t afford anything less than total victory.

In this case the mission was completely dedicated to the multiplayer and so, in terms of plot, our instructor is making novices test an Animus session against other flesh-and-blood users like them. Considering the comments, the Initiate we’re playing is acting well, to the point that his/her master is impressed.

In particular the latter, in order to demonstrate he/she was really impressed, makes a comparison with the Niitsitapii tribe and in general with the natives of the American plains. The instructor says that the multiplayer / clashing with other Initiates is a matter of “counting coup” and the protagonist (we), considering how he/she acted, deserves a few notches on his/her coup stick.
Counting coup is a reference to a practice of the native tribes of the American plains to gain reputation in battle: basically warriors gained reputation through acts of courage and each of those counted as a “coup”. These coups, in order to be remembered and counted, were indicated with notches on sticks. An interesting fact is that warriors who won the count were allowed to put an eagle feather in their hair, but if they had been wounded during those acts of courage, they would have had to show it coloring the feather in red…

So the instructor tells us we can add a few notches to our coup stick thanks to our acts of courage in the multiplayer and later prompts us to carry out matches as a team saying that survival often depends on teamwork, echoing his words in “Rising Star” when he speaks about the Assassins.

Finally he/she explains that the only possibility for the Initiates is to reach their objective at any cost. They “only” aim for total victory.

That’s all in regard to the AC3 missions. Actually, there’s another one at the moment, called “Life Scratcher”, but unfortunately the issues afflicting Initiates didn't allow it to be analyzed by the time this article was written.

So, in conclusion, who are the Initiates? From what we saw they’re another faction beside the ones we already know since before AC4, that so form the following list:
  • Assassins
  • Templars
  • Erudito
  • TWCB (Minerva, Tinia and the others)
  • Juno (and possible allies)
  • Initiates
I also add that, as pointed out by user Acrimonious_Nin in the ACI forums, we can exclude that the Initiates are part of the Erudito Collective because of one of the Desmond Files (“Passwords" of September 22nd, 2012), whose description - by the Initiates - says "A message from Erudito. We have yet to determine what Erudito is, but evidence suggests it is a group of hackers speaking with a single voice.".

The "Passwords" file
The other important question about the Initiates concerns the source of their information. In some way they are aware of Desmond’s story since his kidnapping, of the war between Assassins and Templars, they know the First Civilization and also the Pieces of Eden. How can they always be up-to-date about what happens to Templars and Assassins? Probably they have moles and maybe this is the reason why they have the Animus technology but also Desmond’s memories in a playable / usable form, since those memories can be relived through missions by any members of the organization. This means that they were able to also get information recently, considering that, as announced in the marketing campaign for AC4, now Abstergo is able to let everyone revive Desmond’s memories (and who played AC4 knows what I am talking about).

I finish reporting another reference mentioned by Acrimonious_Nin, that I support for the most part. Three months ago Acrimonious mentioned the first AC3 multiplayer file.


Security Fail. Critical communication leak. Network compromised.


These files need to be secured, encrypted and removed from public view.
I don't know what they're doing there anyway. They should be classified TS/SCI.
This project of yours is nothing but trouble! Fix this before Launch...

Don't worry, they won't fix it.

This is a lot of noise from the grapevine. Don't know what's true. what's false...but they are talking. Let me help you make it clearer.

Just listen.

The sleeper is awakening.
Acrimonious’ theory concerns the subject of the several above-mentioned messages. While it's surely Alan Rikkin and then Erudito who wrote them, it is possible that, instead of a breach created by Erudito (that anyway in my opinion is the most likely hypothesis), this is one of the signs of the Initiates in action to get essential data? Let’s hope to obtain some answers from the AC4 missions and from the next contents of the website.

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Interview with the ACI Comdevs

The full moon and the new Assassin