Protagonist: Francesco Vecellio
Setting: Lonigo, Italy
Time period: 1510 CE

Introduction video of the chapter: "You may feel mild discomfort during synchronization. This is normal. It is important to maintain your concentration. History places Niccolò di Pitigliano's death in Lonigo, Italy in the year 1510 CE. Our data supports this fact. But the circumstances of his death require further investigation. Please take notes and report your findings."

First memory group – ON THE HUNT

My target is old, unsuspecting. Age will take his life soon, but I will not allow it. I am here to send a message to his allies. I must study his routines, find his weaknesses, and sow discord within his community.

Memory 1 – BARFLY
When an old soldier has outlived his glory, he may try to revive it through drink and dinner, boasting his victories in a bustling tavern. No doubt I will learn much about my target by visiting his preferred spots.

The people in this tavern laugh at Niccolò's exaggerated stories. They poke holes in them!

Niccolò's guards frequent this tavern. I keep their glasses full and eventually they begin to talk.

I indulge in a few glasses myself, but not enough to lose my focus. The proprieter shares stories about Niccolò's drunken exploits.

I sit with one of Niccolò's servants. She tries to change the subject, but I do manage to pry some information from her.

I stand and weave a rousing story about Niccolò's exploits. The crowd groans and provides me with valuable contradictions.

The residents of Lonigo have grown tired of Niccolò's excesses. Through my time spent in his favourite taverns, I have gained both information and allies.

Niccolò has been entertaining couriers from Rome. They move in shadow, usually without guards, making them easy targets for me. If they refuse to share the information I want, I have techniques to make them talk!

This courier is stubborn, but breaking a will is easy once you've broken a bone!

He gives me a good chase, but I have memorized the alleyways of Lonigo. Once tackled, he is quick to relay his message!

This courier defies me, so I expose a wrist blade and nick his throat! He talks.

I demonstrate my anatomical knowledge with the tip of my knife. The courier tells me everything he knows!

My victim refuses to talk, despite my best efforts. I kill him swiftly and recover information from his belongings.

Niccolò di Pitigliano has not left the game. The information I have recovered from his couriers has frightening implications!

Memory 3 – WORD OF MOUTH
Often the easiest way to gather information is to do nothing but walk. I pick the busiest streets in Lonigo and closely follow the ebb and flow of the crowd, careful not to draw attention, yet close enough to overhear their gossip.

I eavesdrop on a group of farmers involved in a land dispute with Niccolò. He seems to have many enemies.

I get no specific information, but the people here seem on edge. Perhaps I can use this to my advantage!

When the murmur of a crowd grows, people tend to think their conversations are masked. I listen.

Niccolò's guards mock him when they're off duty. Interesting...

A couple discuss Niccolò. I confirm a rumour and vanish into the crowd before they turn. Paranoia leads to richer gossip.

After a day walking beside its people, I feel Lonigo's pulse. I understand not only how her populace think, but how it moves. I am one step closer to trapping my prey!

Memory 4 – SIREN'S LURE
My target spends his nights with a pampered lady on each arm. He uses them to feel young; they use him to feel powerful. No doubt these courtesans are privy to secrets he would like to bury.

Fortunately, this woman is more interested in coin than secrecy!

I have uncovered an intriguing, yet disgusting detail!

I suspected Niccolò's vices might be unusual, but these surpass even my imagination!

This woman seems to be genuine in her fondness for Niccolò. I tread carefully. Her reactions tell me what I wish to know.

We laugh as she describes Niccolò's... difficulties.

I have uncovered vile details about Niccolò's private life! They are valuable to my plans, but I will spend many years trying to expunge them from my memory.

My Order prides itself on precision. I must study the behaviour of my target before I strike. I must have an escape plan. There is no room for error.

Masked by the movement of the crowd, I study the times that Niccolò leaves and returns to his house. I note the number of guards he brings and the types of weapons they wield.

From a rooftop, I watch Niccolò's guests arrive; courtesans, couriers, scoundrels and nobles. Most visit alone, but occasionally he entertains a large party of guests.

I study the doors and windows of my target's house. Should I choose to kill him here, I must be prepared for surprises.

I follow Niccolò and his guards to the market. I take note of what he purchases and who sells it to him.

I test Niccolò's guards, sometimes with thrown pebbles, but usually with my voice. I watch their patterns as they move in to investigate and I time how long it takes before they call off their hunt.

I am confident that I can now predict Niccolò's daily actions, and I have an intuition about how his guards will respond to an attack. Soon, I will take advantage of this knowledge...

Second memory group – BAIT AND TRAP

My task is not to simply murder my target, but to destroy his influence over Lonigo. I will strip him of his power, defile his name, and ensure that his legacy dies with him!

The people of Lonigo already harbour ill will towards Niccolò. It is time to unleash them! My assistants will spread rumours, make wild accusations, and incite violence.

Word gets around that Niccolò has an unhealthy attraction to his horse. He must be furious!

Workers in the marketplace expel Niccolò's men! Though they protest, the citizens of Lonigo outnumber them.

Niccolò has been branded a traitor! I am certain he will denounce such a claim, but we both know this one is not merely a rumour.

A group forms outside Niccolò's home, demanding answers! They will get none, of course.

I bribe several street criers to distribute my own doctored version of the news for a day.

I have created a battlefield of public opinion. With his attention focused on another front, Niccolò will not expect my advance!

Ricordo 7 – POLITICS
Lonigo's politicians have overlooked, falsified and intervened to cover for Niccolò. No doubt he crawls to them now as I turn this town against him. He will find their offices empty.

This one spits threats at me but how quickly they change to pleas once he realizes my trade!

I dispatch my victim from a rooftop nearby. A perfect shot!

He struggles to speak while I tighten the coil around his neck! I have no interest in what he wants to say.

He offers money for his life. Predictable! So is his flight when he realizes I will not accept his bribe.

This politician has some skill at swordplay, but one missed thrust is all it takes for me to run him through!

I have severed any powerful ties Niccolò might call upon, but now I risk exposure if I linger too long. I must strike soon!

Memory 8 – CHURCH DUES
The "church" in Lonigo has been bribed to brand Niccolò's enemies as heretics, condemning them to unfair trials and often execution. These are not "men of God." These are men who believe they are gods. I intend to demonstrate their mortality!

He cries out for guards rather than his own God! I doubt this corrupt curate even believes what he preaches.

A church is a place of false security. I finish one of my targets in plain sight!

I find a priest assembling documents that condemn a young woman to the gallows. He kicks a table over as my cord tears into his neck!

A priest addresses me as one of his brothers before he realizes I only wear garb similar to his. I swiftly silence him!

I am careful not to draw any blood. This church still belongs to the people of Lonigo.

The church can be more powerful than the law, so I retreat quickly once my work is done. I only hope the replacements for the men I have killed will serve their congregation honestly.

Niccolò uses assistants to do most of his purchasing in Lonigo. He is no light spender, which means his men are carrying a hefty amount of coin. I believe I can put it to better use... I will hire assistants as well.

The men I have recruited return with bloodied blades and full purses!

A profitable attack. Niccolò will feel the sting of this one!

I suspect my hired help is pocketing most of the money they recover. I suppose they've earned it.

Sloppy work this time! My men were nearly arrested. Fortunately, they were successful.

I am shocked by just how much money Niccolò sends out with his men! He believes they are untouchable.

Though we have only taken a small portion of Niccolò's funds, we have done enough to upset him. He will be nervous and nerves often lead to mistakes.

Memory 10 – NO ESCAPE
Niccolò plans to flee my trap! Already, he sends convoys out of Lonigo, carrying his prize belongings. They will not be easy to take, but I pay my men well for the risk.

The convoy succumbs to the punishing fire from my archers! We find mostly clothing inside. I allow my crew to keep what they want and sell the rest.

We take a convoy filled with paintings and sculptures. Some of us suggest sell it, but I intervene. I will see that this art is cared for.

My men nearly lose the battle for one of the convoys, but it pays off — they will eat well tonight!

Niccolò tries to sneak relatives out of Lonigo, but we turn them back. I have no plans to harm Niccolò's family, but he must not feel like he has control.

My men are untrained, but I have made sure we outnumber Niccolò's horsemen two-to-one. We easily take a convoy!

We were vigilant and none of Niccolò's convoys managed to escape Lonigo. We have gained plenty of funds for my plans to continue!

Third memory group – BLOODWORK

With Niccolò's community turned against him, he will be employing every resource to ensure his survival and I will be employing all of mine to hunt him.

Memory 11 – BOXING IN
I must scout every possible exit from Niccolò's manor. If he tries to run, I will be able to anticipate every potential move he makes and quickly adapt my strategy.

I seal several of the windows shut from the outside!

I tie cords across the bottoms of several doorways; they should topple anyone who runs through them!

I spill a vial of oil onto the stairs — a crude, but effective trick!

I extinguish several lights around the manor's perimeter. Unlike my target, I am trained to work in the dark!

I hang some of Niccolò's own clothing in trees around his yard. In the dark, he may perceive them as waiting assassins and choose another route.

I have severely limited Niccolò's options for escape. It seems excessive, but I am a man of detail!

I have instructed my hired help to swarm the front entrance of Niccolò's manor, where they will draw a rowdy crowd. I intend to separate Niccolò from most of his guards.

The crowd swells! Furious shouts draw more and more people to it!

Someone peeks at the crowd from a window upstairs! Niccolò?

They hurl fruit at the manor's facade! They know there will be no retaliation — the crowd is too big!

Several of Niccolò's private guard push towards the crowd. I see flashes of violence as they are pulled into it! They never emerge.

Guards step forward and fire their arquebuses into the air. The crowd takes a step back but does not break!

I have blocked any possible escape route through the front of the manor. Many of the guards will be too busy with the crowd to come to Niccolò's aid!

My hired men are mostly ruffians and thieves. I will call upon my Order to join me and reduce the amount of guards Niccolò has employed. I will send an encoded message by courier pigeon; she will know where to fly.

I have killed with this one before, several years ago!

This ferocious assassin was once a Barbary Corsair. He is perfect for my plan!

A condottiero arrives. I know he is not one of my Order, but he has worked with us in the past. I trust him implicitly.

Two assassins arrive, but they cover their faces. They must be new to our Order — once skilled enough, there is no need for a mask.

I am joined by one of my own students. This will be a solid lesson for him, should he survive it!

I have called upon my Order to aid me while I end Niccolò's life. They know the kill is my task alone, but they will attempt to keep the guards from interfering.

Niccolò has amassed his guards behind his manor. He will attempt to flee Lonigo soon. My Brothers will slip through the crowd and slay as many as they can!

One of my Brothers tosses a smoke bomb into the crowd. The guards scatter!

Two assassins strike as one, their blades saluting each other as they pierce through their victims!

I hear the whistle of throwing daggers and three guards drop!

The guards shout to each other, confused! One man is silenced mid-sentence.

I see only glimpses of my Brothers as they weave through the crowd!

Content that the guards are busy, I prepare to head inside the manor. No doubt there will be more inside, but I am sure I can handle them alone.

Memory 15 – INTO THE DEN
I have entered the manor. The noise outside is tremendous, but I hear multiple voices inside. I must tread carefully as I scout for my prey.

I find a group of guards rifling through Niccolò's cabinets. They will take their payment however they can and leave him soon.

Several men have gathered near the entrance. They discuss how they will safely move Niccolò from the manor. He is not with them.

I hear Niccolò's voice from the floor above me!

I sidestep into the shadows of a bedroom as several guards run past! They are focused on the carnage outside and do not stop to search.

As I slip my way through the manor's interior, I take note of each window and how it lines up outside, quickly check each door for locks, and plan my own escape route.

Niccolò is on the top floor. I have determined that most of his guards have left the manor. I hide for a moment to finalize my strategy before moving in.

Fourth (hidden) memory group – PLAYING DEAD

I should be dead! The assassin's blade struck true, yet I still draw breath. The Shroud! I was sure he would find it, but I still feel its presence; I hear it in my head!

(Hidden) Memory 16 – THE VOICE OF REASON
It's just a faint whisper in my head, but it demands action. It speaks in a language I do not understand, but I sense what it means. "GET UP," it demands. I try, but my wounds are too severe.






I drag myself over to floorboards beneath my desk and pry them open. As soon as I see it, my mind blazes.

(Hidden) Memory 17 – WHITE
I touch the artifact and my world is enveloped in brilliant light. Did I die? Can this be — no, I must wake up from this!

I extend my arms and watch them stretch into the void.

Eyes within eyes! An infinite sea of perception! Stop staring! Please, stop staring!

My tongue catches a playful wind and unrolls like a spindle of red ribbon. It sails skyward and I grin.

I reach into the white and it stains my hands. I watch it travel through my veins.

I try to close my eyes, but I have none.

I shake my head and the room returns to normal. I can move again! The pain is extreme, but I am rejuvenated. I grab the artifact.

(Hidden) Memory 18 – AFTERMATH
My manor is burning! I must flee this place! I can only hope the crowd outside has dispersed.

I stumble over two of my guards. Their throats are slit!

This stairwell is impassible; burning debris has fallen from the floor above! I am not sure I have the strength left to find another route.

My fingers tremble! I nearly drop the artifact, so I tuck it under my arm.

The hallway is completely dark. I proceed with a hand scraping along one wall and hope for the best.

I test a window, but it has been sealed from the outside!

I gasp for air as I drop onto the grass outside. Where will I go? If I can even escape Lonigo, I will not survive a trip to another town, unless...

(Hidden) Memory 19 – SIDE EFFECTS
I have no choice. Whatever power this thing holds, I must try to unleash it! I wrap myself in the Shroud.

I begin to vomit! A little at first, but then it flows red as I violently expel my insides.

Too much! A thousand voices shouting at once! My head cannot take anymore!

My body folds upon itself! My muscles pull tighter than should be possible and I feel my bones snap!

I feel the Shroud's power! It is tearing me apart! I cannot control it!

I am no longer in control of my own body! It reconfigures as the voices demand!

I have stopped breathing. One of my eyes has gone blind, the other is slowly losing focus. I see the assassin approach. "Disgusting," he says, as he pulls the Shroud from my dying grip. How? How did he know?