The End of an Era - Part III
Markuz, October 23rd, 2013
Translated by: Stefania

Let's resume and close the matter about the AC3 finale interrupted in this article to discuss, as previously said, some subjects to completion, some doubts and some unresolved questions.
Let's start, therefore, with what happened immediately after the ending of AC3.

What happened afterwards?
After the AC3 ending the player puts again himself/herself in Connor's shoes, with an off-screen voice talking with the gamer:

Alright! We're up and running. This code is hacked to all hell– nicely hacked but hacked. The worm found three pivots before failing, so we've got those. You need to locate the remaining pivots on your own from inside. (...) Every one you find is supposed to produce a hex cipher and that's what we're after. Once you find them all, we'll sequence the code, package the data and Bob's your uncle. (...) I know it's tempting. So I've planted two of our pivots, not easy from my end, believe you me, but there they are. You can see those two activating a buried one... kinda. If you drop the third one we have, the buried pivot's precise location should resolve. Then go gather the hex cipher, rinse, and repeat. (...)

After finding all pivots:

Holy crap. We did it. It's done. His data's uploading to the cloud! HAHAHAHAHAHA! Vegas baby! Vegas!

While the off-screen voice pronounces these sentences, at last, the following image and the one we'll see further down appear on screen:

About this “cloud” theories have gone wild. Who this Cloud is, there's an Abstergo employee called Cloud, etc. The guide informs us that the one who's talking is an Abstergo technician working to interpret, disassemble and upload the memories of Connor (and probably everyone within his lineage) to the "cloud". This conclusion, moreover, according to the guide, means to suggest that now Abstergo is able to read genetic memories and package them in a format that anyone can experience and not only direct-line ancestors.

As we posted in the article about E3, based on an image appeared on AC: Initiates before the closed alpha, we know that Desmond's body was retrieved by Abstergo and, maybe, kept in a sort of cryogenic room (as shown in an image of AC: Rising Phoenix) in an Abstergo facility.
So, depending on the argument about this last epilogue, it's more than possible that finding “pivots” was the way the technician and his partner tried to access Connor's memories and also all the Desmond's ones (even if the guide specifies only Connor's lineage). The methods thanks to which they were able to access the memories of a dead person aren't exactly clear, but probably they'll be revealed in AC4. What I want to highlight is that now Desmond's memories are uploaded to the "cloud".

Representation of Cloud Computing
According to Wikipedia "cloud computing, or something being in the cloud, is an expression used to describe a variety of different types of computing concepts that involve a large number of computers connected through a real-time communication network such as the Internet. Cloud computing is a term without a commonly accepted unequivocal scientific or technical definition. In science, cloud computing is a synonym for distributed computing over a network and means the ability to run a program on many connected computers at the same time. The phrase is also more commonly used to refer to network-based services which appear to be provided by real server hardware, which in fact are served up by virtual hardware, simulated by software running on one or more real machines. Such virtual servers do not physically exist and can therefore be moved around and scaled up (or down) on the fly without affecting the end user—arguably, rather like a cloud."

Basically, all these actions can be performed from one's own computer using software installed on external servers and saving data on them. Thanks to this technology, one can access data / software everywhere without relying on his / her own computer.
Hoping I haven't written a load of rubbish, so, through the pivots mini-game, the technician and his colleague extracted Desmond's memories from the Animus core and uploaded them to the cloud. This is gathered from the command lines passing on the screen while the technician shouts for joy:

Extracting core

Source, in this case, defines the computer function of file recall through which the Abstergo technician executes the data supply. So this data (genetic memories) are searched in the Animus.ACO file. The .ACO extension was never showed in the Assassin’s Creed's saga, but it made me remember the codes appeared in the teaser trailer for Revelations and also in the game:


In that case .APHY and .AGEO represented the files searched and executed for the physical (physics) and geographical (geography) creation of the reconstruction of Desmond's memories carried out by the Animus. The fact that .APHY, .AGEO and the new .ACO files all start with the letter “A” is probably a reference to the word "Animus", considering the commonality of files and instructions used to retrieve them. About that “CO” of the .ACO file, I think it stands for “core” and so it might be a file referring to the Animus' core or to the memories' nucleus of the tested subject from which to start carrying out the reconstruction through the Animus. The fact that it could be “core” is supported, immediately after, by the command line that says “Extracting core”.

Soon after having completed the extraction of genetic memories from the Animus.ACO file, therefore, we see another extremely interesting line:

Linking to Cloud.ASP.Server01

One of the first ASP models
The line refers to the data uploading to an Abstergo cloud server, as the Abstergo technician says and as we saw. But it isn't a common cloud server, because the line contains the writing “ASP”. The most observant fans already know what I'm talking about. The Akashic Satellite Plexus (ASP), as mentioned in the Revelations multiplayer, is a project created by Abstergo in 2008 that appears to simply be a collection of communications, weather, and observation satellites orbiting the Earth. The ASP, though, was actually a wider project that had to include also the EYE-Abstergo satellite, that even had to be one of its founding points. The objective of the ASP and of the EYE, according to the internal documents, seems to be the research of individuals “with potential” and, even if with many doubts from Abstergo, the acquisition of rough data (memories) or the awakening, in men, of what, according to Templars, rightfully belongs to humankind since its creation (the sixth sense?).
So the ASP is a big Templar project that, in a way, observes and holds in check the world (and if you remember, the public version of AC: Initiates showed the ASP on the job while we were following the actions of the characters in the present dat). For this kind of use, it's possible that a great calculating capacity is necessary to exchange date between the satellites and Abstergo on ground and for this reason maybe the ASP uses the cloud servers.

So the technician uploads the memories to the ASP cloud server, making them available to all the employees who can access them. That's why the guide states that Abstergo can read the genetic memories and package them in a format that anyone can experience. Specifically the paragraph of the guide is close to the Abstergo Entertainment symbol and indeed this is the branch of the "healthcare company" that already created a product containing genetic memories accessible to everyone, in other words AC3: Liberation, even if the original memories didn't come from Desmond. To the contrary, again and again during the marketing campaigns, Darby McDevitt and Ashraf Ismail, respectively Lead Script Writer and Game Director for AC4, mentioned that Edward's memories come exactly from Desmond (and now we partially know how). Recently, furthermore, as we showed in a note on our Facebook page, McDevitt said the colleagues of the protagonist are retrieving the genetic memories of many different people, especially Assassins, considering Ezio and Altaïr as an example. If this is truly going to happen for possible Abstergo Entertainment products, it would be more than possible that those memories originate from Desmond's data uploaded to the cloud.

The uroborus

The last thing showed in the game after the sentences pronounced by the Abstergo technician is the code 5523C23D2553.

This is the segment that most drew the attention of the community about the last part of AC3. The code isn't there by chance, but it has to be decoded and not only once. The Abstergo technician indicates where to start, in other words from the fact that this is a hexadecimal code. In particular, the conversion we're interested in is the one from hexadecimal to Base64. In this case 5523C23D2553 becomes VSPCPSVT . At this point the result has to be converted again through the Caesar Cipher transforming every letter in the previous one. So VSPCPSVT becomes UROBORUS.

The uroborus on the Grand Temple Key
The uroborus is a very ancient symbol that represents a snake biting his tail and shaping a circular form that suggests a continuos ending and a continuos beginning. This symbol was often used historically to represent the cyclical nature of things, the theory of eternal return (the universe is continuously born and dies according to fixed and necessary temporal cycles, eternally repeating a certain course and always remaining itself) and any other occurrence/situation that, through a cycle, starts again from the beginning after having reached the end.

In the case of AC, it is probably a reference to the historical courses and recurrences, to the repeat of the catastrophe and to what was shown in the AC3 ending in the scenario suggested by Minerva: the disaster hitting the Earth and Desmond who, with his team, becomes a leader, rebuilding together with other survivors, and then passes from hero to god, like TWCB 75.000 years ago.
The uroborus on the inner door of the Grand Temple
In support of this thesis and of the importance of the Grand Temple for the defense against the catastrophe is the fact that the uroborus appears both on the Grand Temple Key and on the door in which the key will have to be used. In some way Those Who Came Before meant to suggest, also through symbolism, the cyclicity from which the Earth had to protect itself.

Lucky English people...
For further information, moreover, I add that the uroborus appeared also in one of the various mini-games of "Unlock The Animus", a competition by Ubisoft competition created for English users only during Revelations that had a trip to Istanbul as a prize. The uroborus in this mini-game appeared only on one of the various seals to rearrange, but it didn't have any other meaning.

Declaration of the Rights
of Man and of the Citizen

AC community especially after the release of Brotherhood. In those days, as a matter of fact, everyone wondered where the next game would have been set because Shaun, during the ending of ACB, said: "I know this, I know this symbol. That's a Phrygian cap. It stands for freedom... (pointing out another one) and that, that's a Masonic eye. Now those two come together in only one place–". The unanimous idea, back then, was that the “place” was exactly the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, just for the presence of the two symbols. Now, in the document, under the Phrygian cap, the uroborus appears in a yellow-like version. It's a pity that such connection wasn't made, but never say never...

The theme of historical courses and recurrences and of cyclicity isn't new in the Assassin's Creed saga and, actually, was disclosed in AC1 through some messages left by Clay with blood in Desmond's room inside the Abstergo lab. Clay, indeed, also left other two interesting messages, "22.13" and the drawing of the Mandelbrot set with the related equation zn+1 = zn2 + c .

About "22.13", it is a reference to the thirteenth verse of chapter 22 of the Apocalypse: I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. In this case there's a direct allusion to the recurrence and to the beginning becoming ending and vice versa. As for the Mandelbrot set, on the other hand, the matter is way more complex (BIG MATHEMATICAL EXPLANATION, I've warned you). The Mandelbrot set is the set of values of “c” in the complex plane for which the sequence defined by: zn+1 = zn2 + c is bounded (in other words it doesn't tend to infinity in every iteration), starting from z0=0. The sequence can be solved indicating a value for “c” and using iteratively the result of an equation as a base for the following one. For example, if c=1, we get the sequence 0, 02+1 = 1, 12+1 = 2, 22+1 = 5, 52+1 = 26 … (solution that tends to infinity, so c = 1 doesn't fall within the values that make the fractal true). Without going into details (I would have done it, but I spare you at least this one) the solutions in this sequence are limited values (or rather don't tend to infinity) and so bound to always stay in the same area of results in every iteration. From the perspective of AC, we have to highlight that the values required by the fractal must stay confined and not to tend to infinity, generating, then, recurrences in the iterations. The idea, so, is that the fractal was cited in AC to talk about recurrences and intersecting beginning and ending (if you need further information – as far as it's possible – you can leave a comment, but I know it won't happen :P).

How can Juno show possible futures even without a divination device?

In her millenarian plan, Juno speaks many times and shows herself as a hologram to the various users through the Pieces of Eden. As explained above and also in the guide, Juno communicated with the user through the Grand Temple technology. It happened, though, that the goddess showed the “possible futures” also after the destruction of the divination device (with Connor and Clay, for example). How come? It's still unclear and the hypotheses are many, but in my case I have three possible theories.

They wonder too...

The first idea that came to my mind, to answer the question, is that all the possible futures used in the messages sent in real-time by Juno were calculated by her with the divination device and saved somewhere in view of a future use, before Minerva and the others tried to kill her. However this hypothesis seems unlikely to me unlikely: not only it would require an extremely complex planning from Juno, but it also would be in conflict with the little time the goddess had before the catastrophe. Instead the second idea is that all the "possible futures" shown to the users were only mere illusions created by the goddess for persuading them to act in the way she needed. As much as this hypothesis seems more plausible to me, though, what I got from the various messages is that they were truthful or partially truthful (for example the hypothesis that the Templars might have violated the sacred land of Connor's tribe) and not created by Juno. For this reason I formulated the third hypothesis. The third idea, as for me, is that the calculation of possible futures doesn't necessarily occur in the divination device but in general in the Pieces of Eden or in TWCB's technology. This way it would be possible to explain how Juno showed the truthful futures to Connor and Clay in real-time and also how the alternative future showed in “The Tyranny of King Washington” DLC was created, in which Juno wasn't present and everything was generated by the Apple. The downside in this theory is that the divination device's importance would be reduced. The device, in fact, wouldn't be the only tool to make “calculations” anymore, and so its importance would come only from the possibility of interacting with possible futures leaving messages, as Minerva, Jupiter and Juno did.

How is it that Minerva and Jupiter didn't predict Juno's betrayal and her millenarian plan in the time of TWCB? Why didn't they speak to Desmond about the Grand Temple Key?
As stated in this article, Minerva and Jupiter used the divination device many times, both to find a way to save the Earth from the catastrophe of their era, and to leave messages for Desmond predicting that he would have been in the right time and right place to get them. Everything guaranteed by the big calculating capacity of the divination device, that can manage perfectly "time's myriad variables" , as the guide says. So how is it that Minerva and Jupiter, having used the device many times, didn't predict Juno's betrayal and why didn't they even mention Turin's Grand Temple Key in the messages for Desmond?

Minerva supported by hope
In answer to this question and as an alternative to the simple and short answer "plothole", our Xander, with whom I discussed the matter back when no one would have imagined it, steps in. Xander offers a theory for which, first of all, Minerva doesn't talk with Desmond about the key because her message in AC2 comes before the discover of Juno's betrayal. Minerva, therefore, wanted Desmond to try once again to save the world or, at worst, to seek refuge in the temple and let it burn to start rebuilding from scratch. To do so, Desmond had to reach the temple and enter the main room and for that the Apple was enough.

Hence the absence of a mention of the Key - pendant. Jupiter / Tinia's message, on the other hand, comes after Juno's rebellion and the attempt by Minerva and her companions to kill her. In this case it's possible that the Key wasn't mentioned purposely. Supposing a commonality of view between Jupiter and Minerva, probably Tinia didn't mention the Key both because, theoretically, it wasn't essential for his plans for Desmond (as in the case of Minerva), and because, in theory, the Key wasn't of any use anymore, since he was sure they killed Juno. It's even possible that, not considering it useful anymore, Minerva and Jupiter left the Key to its own destiny in the History without worrying about it, not knowing that Juno survived.
In any case, being certain of having killed the treacherous goddess and of having done everything to make Desmond act according to their plans, Tinia and Minerva started rebuilding unaware of Juno's plan and it's only thanks to Minerva's concern that she comes to know, in the conclusion of AC3, that the goddess survived. So how is it that Minerva didn't predict Juno's betrayal and her millenarian plan? According to Xander everything depends on the way TWCB calculate the development of events and on the logic with which they decide to affect the future. Considering that the divination device was capable of interpreting time's myriad of variables, as the guide says, the only element that could have removed Juno's actions from Minerva's previsions is the way the device was used. As we saw in the article about the six methods of salvation, when Juno talks about the divination device, she says it was used many times with the intent of finding a way to prevent the catastrophe, but every time the result was the same, in other words the solar flare would have occurred anyway. We also saw that if the attempts were many and the result always the same, what changed needed to be the variables set up on the device. In our case Minerva and Tinia couldn't really expect Juno to survive (otherwise they would have came back to “finish the work”) and so, not predicting the presence of this variable, the calculations never had as a result the presence of the millenarian plan and of its various historic consequences. According to Xander's theory, therefore, it's only when Minerva verified, when she had the doubt of Juno's presence and so added the variable “Juno” so that the divination device predicted the correct future, that she became aware of the millenarian plan, but it was already too late...

Ma era davvero troppo tardi? Perchè Minerva non ha provato dopo il finale di AC3 a mandare un ulteriore messaggio al Desmond di qualche settimana prima? La prima risposta che ci siamo dati è che i messaggi già lasciati nel tempo generano una precisa linea temporale (se questa avviene sul serio, il dispositivo fornisce sempre risultati probabilistici) che ne riduce le variabili ed alternative modificabili da ulteriori messaggi. Mi spiego, ogni messaggio cambia il futuro perché i CVP riescono a far cambiare il comportamento delle persone a cui parlano (Ezio, Connor, Clay, Desmond ecc.), generando quindi una nuova situazione sulla quale i CVP avranno meno variabili a disposizione per modificarla ulteriormente. Ne consegue una progressiva riduzione del limite di influenza tramite i messaggi e da questo potrebbe derivare l'assenza di un secondo messaggio di Minerva.

But was it really too late? Why didn't Minerva try, after the ending of AC3, to send another message to the Desmond of some weeks before? The first answer we've thought about is that the messages left in the course of time generate a clear time line (if this really happens, the device always produces probabilistic results) that reduces the variables and alternatives alterable by other messages. Let me explain it better: every message alters the future because TWCB manage to change the behavior of people they talk to (Ezio, Connor, Clay, Desmond etc.), generating a new situation thanks to which TWCB will have less variables in hand to change it further. It follows that we have a progressive reduction of the influence limit through messages and the absence of a second message from Minerva message might originate from this.
Minerva without hope
The second idea that came to our minds, more intuitive than the first one, is that maybe Minerva, after the ending of AC3, gives up in the face of Desmond's free will, that makes him choose Juno's alternative. So it's possible that Minerva thought that, also in other circumstances, Desmond, up against the same choice, would have opted for Juno's alternative anyway and hence the uselessness of the second backdated message to Desmond. The third idea, eventually, is that, as affirmed in the dialogue during the AC3 ending, Minerva is close to death and so her intervention might have been her last message.
At the end of this paragraph I'd like to point out that this theory of the divination device use gets closer to my hypothesis on how the Apple works and on the results that it can provide depending on the user's knowledge, as we saw with Altaïr in the first article dedicated to the explanation of his Codex. After all, the technology is the same, it probably works in the same way depending on the user's knowledge. If you think about it also the Eagle Vision works like this...

The alternative explanation offered by the guide

The misleading Juno (art by Eddy-Shinjuku)
The AC3 guide, at the end of the explanations about the events and characters' motivation (in which some absurdity are mentioned, like the fact that Juno's message may be false or better "a sabotage" to lead Desmond on a fool's errand and damn humanity to endure the second catastrophe, when actually her solution offers the opposite extreme), introduces an alternative interpretation about the story conclusion that I don't agree very much with, but that I write for the record.
All of the interpretations so far are based on the assumption that a catastrophe is set to occur on December 21, 2012, similar to the one at the time of TWCB, compelling Desmond to accept Juno's offer. But what if there were no such cataclysm? The guide's theory is that the harbingers of the catastrophe (global aurora borealis, unusual weather, seismic activity etc...) are actually a mere illusion created by Juno to force Desmond to act as he did. If it's true, as the guide said, since the effect of the catastrophe are felt globally, then Juno had the power to create global illusions even before Desmond released her. So there would be a connection between this possibility and the third method of salvation, that, among other things, involved the amplification of suggestive powers of the Apple and the “change of consensus”. In support of this hypothesis, always according to the guide, we have Desmond's story about the vision that makes him kill Lucy. Desmond claims to have witnessed the Eye-Abstergo launch, but he doesn't talk about any catastrophe and moreover the guide wonders why Templars choose to launch the satellite during a period of solar activity. Then the guide, continuing with this alternative interpretation, concludes saying that Minerva's apparition was, maybe, a mere illusion created by Juno with the intent of getting closer to Desmond, revealing an even more obscure and intricate plan.

I disagree with almost all the arguments of this theory, but I preferred to report it with the intent of offering possible ideas and discussing with you about it. If the catastrophe had really been an illusion, then most of the motivations of the saga and of its characters would have made a little sense. This matter doesn't stand up very much also because what was the point, for Juno, of deceiving everyone if what she needed was only Desmond and however he couldn't hear news and announcements about the first signs of the catastrophe? Another thing of this theory that should be explained very well would be Juno's superiority. If she can even create illusions on a large scale when she's still imprisoned, how can the two Orders deal with her once she's free? And why at this point didn't she use this power of illusion in the past to enslave humanity? I'd also like to point out that the vision before the killing of Lucy was created by Juno to “deceive” Desmond, so it isn't exactly the most trustworthy source. Furthermore, even if it was true, the fact that Desmond doesn't mention the catastrophe doesn't mean it didn't happen in the vision, so much so Desmond talks about the failure of Eye-Abstergo without explaining the reason.
Eye-Abstergo, according to Abstergo files
Moreover, the Templars launched the satellite during a period of such intense solar activity because they had faith in the Akashic Satellite Plexus, as showed in the Abstergo files in Revelations, so much so they indicated December 21st as the most suitable day to launch it exactly because of the previsions about the sun's behavior.
“Fortunately” the guide escapes by the skin of its teeth thanks to the way it's written, in other words in the form of hypothesis and not of truth. It seems the intention of the guide and of the Encyclopedia is to give different hypotheses to the users so that they can develop their own idea while waiting for future developments, an approach similar, to some extent, to the one of Access The Animus.

What function has the Grand Temple Key?

The amulet - Key, as the guide says, is a First Civilization's artifact created with the function of key for a crypt inside the Grand Temple, or rather the room with the biometric device. The importance of the Key, therefore, regardless of what TWCB did to Juno and her followers, is in its function as a second level of security. Security for what? The guide says, while the Apple of Eden was enough to enter the Temple, the contents of the crypt were so dangerous and valuable that an additional protection was needed, deriving exactly from the Key. According to what the guide affirms, therefore, it's possible that in the inner crypt, something else important, pertaining to TWCB technology, was located or is located there, unless the dangerousness and the value concern the biometric device.

Maybe this sort of cables under the device?

The “historical” importance of the Key, on the other hand, can mostly be found in the novel AC: Forsaken and in a less intense way also in AC3. The guide says that the Key, as many other TWCB artifacts, ended up in the hands of humans and over the years in the hands of the Assassins before being taken by Haytham at the beginning of AC3, but the most interesting phase of this change of hands can be found in Forsaken and sees that the importance of the Key originates from an object: Edward Kenway's journal.
For those who didn't read Forsaken, this journal is the heart of events narrated in Oliver Bowden's novel. ATTENTION, FROM HERE ON, “SPOILERS” ABOUT FORSAKEN (even if the plot should be known anyway). It is a brown book, closed with leather stripes, the Assassins emblem on it. Inside, as the novel says, there is a more or less detailed research about the Grand Temple carried out by Assassins and several information about the Key and about who had it in the first half of 1700. Edward was in possession of the book in 1735 and probably also in the previous years, but not necessarily he wrote it (only) himself. The assault to the Kenway mansion during the night of December 3rd, 1735, that cost Edward his life, was executed mainly to recover the book (as well as to kill Edward, obviously). The assault was orchestrated by Reginald Birch, Grand Master of the British Rite of the Templar Order, who was interested in the contents of the book. Birch approached the Kenway family just to obtain the manuscript (he was the husband-to-be of Jenny, the first daughter of Edward). To complete the plan, with a clever surprise attack Birch made his henchmen kidnap Haytham's sister, became the guardian of the boy when his father died, and set him on his way to the templar philosophy.

Hence Haytham started his templar career (at the expense of the education with Assassins precepts given to him by his father) that brought him to Altea in 1747, in Spain, on the track of a former Templar converted to the Assassins' cause, Juan Vedomir. Haytham's mission was to kill Vedomir and recover his journal and so it happened. When Haytham delivered the journal to Birch in Prague, he gave him a report saying the book was partially encrypted and partially readable. In the understandable part there were Vedomir's thoughts and Haytham said they were very close to his father's ones, among them the sentences, “Para ver de manera diferente, primero debemos pensar diferente”, in other words “To see differently, we must first think differently”. The encrypted part, though, was the one Birch was interested in. According to him, actually, the encoded part could be the first step for locating a temple built by the First Civilization (the one that later would have been identified as the Grand Temple). At that time, in 1747, Haytham learnt about the Temple for the first time (even if back then he was still skeptic about the First Civilization existence). But what he didn't know was that Vedomir's journal was the same book stolen from Edward the night he was killed. In this case, maybe Birch gave the book to Vedomir so that he could decode it for the Templars, but Juan joined the Assassins (hence the need of Haytham's mission in Altea). So Birch tried again to decode the manuscript together with John Harrison,
Reginald Birch in all his englishness
another member of the Order who, like Birch, was extremely dedicated to the study of TWCB, maybe too much. In 1753 Birch was increasingly obsessed by the research of information about the First Civilization, but he was still unable to decode Edward's manuscript. To make up for it he captured a woman affiliated to Assassins, Monica, who might have been able to decipher it. To do so, however, the woman needed her son Lucio, who was in Corsica. So Haytham travelled there, in a land oppressed by a war between Corsican rebels and their Genoese rulers. In this situation Haytham was able to find Lucio anyway, but the boy had a bodyguard, an Assassin named Miko, and other six pro-assassins rebels. Thanks to a trick, during Lucio's escape throughout the heat of the battle, Haytham pretended to be an Assassin and then stunned and captured the boy. But while he was coming back to his horse, Haytham was forced to deal with Miko. During the battle Haytham lost the short sword his father had given him, but before winning the dispute, without killing the assassin, Haytham was able to obtain his hidden blade, that from that time onwards he would have worn. Once he completed the mission, Haytham gave Lucio to Birch's men in Corsica, and, after having escaped without a trace from the Assassins, he went to France, to the castle where Birch was, with his prisoners Monica and Lucio working on Edward's journal. The two Italians, decoding the manuscript, were able to discover the presence of an amulet – our Key – that in some way should have been used in the Temple mentioned by the book. Here one can see how the Assassins, already in 1735 (and who knows since when), were aware of the Grand Temple, of the Key and also partially of its function, but there's more.
Haytham and Birch at the Royal Opera House
We're in 1754, at the beginning of AC3. Haytham and Birch were at the Royal Opera House of London because, among the decoded information inside the book, the name of an assassin had emerged, who had then been tracked down by Birch's henchmen. They hoped this trail would have led them to the Key and in fact it happened. Haytham jumped across the theater until he reached him and in that moment he was struck by the irony of fate. Forsaken, in fact, tells us that the assassin was Miko, his old opponent in Corsica. Haytham narrates the assassin felt relieved when he took the amulet from his neck, as if he was glad he wasn't the guardian of the Key anymore. Also this fact supports the idea that Assassins were aware of the Key since about twenty or thirty years before. In any case, as we saw in AC3, a few hours later, Haytham and Birch met with other Templars both to celebrate the recovery of the Key and because, at that point, it was necessary to proceed to the next part of the plan. Birch said his calculations were correct, the amulet had to work as a key to open a temple of Those Who Came Before. In support of this, John Harrison had grossly calculated where the Temple could have been, in other words between New York and Massachussets.

There in the middle, in addition to Haytham's
diary, is the journal written by his father
Here Haytham's mission in the colonies begins. Birch gave Haytham the book (you can hear it – but not see it – also in AC3) and made him embark on the Providence. Forsaken, though, gives some details about Haytham's approach to the book during the journey. Indeed Haytham, initially skeptic about TWCB, became convinced of their existence reading this mysterious book which belonged to his father and, in particular, he described it in depth. The book was written, decorated and scribbled by a man or maybe more than one (we can already count Edward and Vedomir), at first considered crazed lunatics, but to whom, then, proceeding with the reading, he started to believe. According to Haytham, all the theories on TWCB that Birch had talked about came from the book he was reading: the existence of a race of beings before humans, the fact that men were born thanks to their efforts and so they were forced to serve them and also the story of the bloody war through which men achieved freedom.
The information about the book and the key, at this point, change proportion. While before the travel to Boston we knew a lot about the book and little about the Key, now the book is hardly mentioned and the Key instead follows all the historic course that we know from AC3. The book, in particular, was initially given by Haytham to William Johnson in 1754, so that he could study it together with the key with the intent of localizing the Grand Temple. The attention, therefore, shifts to the Key, with Haytham who, through his adventures in AC3, reached the Temple with Kaniehtí:io but wasn't able to enter. The further and last news about the book date back to 1757, when Haytham returned to England as a consequence of some information, unknown to Birch, about his sister Jenny, still untraceable after her kidnapping. After his comeback, Haytham met Birch, who didn't ask information about the spread of Templars in the British America, but only wanted to know the outcome of the research on the Temple. Haytham told him about the failure and about the fact that he asked William Johnson to create a copy of the book, so he could give him back the original. Then Birch asked him if his men were still analyzing the Temple's antechamber and if he had the Key, questions to which Haytham replied positively, even if he was lying about the first one. At this point of the plot, eventually, we completely lose track of Edward's book/journal while the Key acquires the importance we saw (the recovery at the hand of Connor “the guardian” and the recovery from Desmond).

I used this very long part extracted from Forsaken to draw the attention on the Key and on the book both to show how the Key wasn't an end in itself in AC3, and to bring to the attention of all the ATA fans the presence of Edward Kenway's journal. The two, in my opinion, should be considered intertwined because the knowledge (from Templars) of the Key's existence comes from reading the book, but in some way also the book's existence is due to the presence of the key (for furnishing proof).
Haytham's failure at the Grand Temple
So it needs to be evaluated how much this book can be important. It's a journal written by the Assassins, a sort of diary – codex that exists since before 1735 and includes information about the Key, the Grand Temple, and Those Who Came Before too. This means the Assassins, in one way or another before 1735, were already aware of the Grand Temple and of the Key too, even if they didn't know what was hidden behind the door that could be opened with the Key itself. In particular Haytham tries to use the Key to open the first door and not the inner room and so we can assume that also the Assassins didn't know about the true use of the amulet. All these data and the fact that Edward Kenway guarded the book at the cost of his life lead, in my opinion, to a probable presence of the book and the Key in AC4: Black Flag. If it were really so, maybe we might be able to read these pages in-game too and have some further information about the Grand Temple and TWCB. In line with this idea maybe we might also see how the Key ended up in the hands of the Assassins or, at least, have information about it, analyzing the meaning of the Key in the AC plot. At this point, assuming my theory is correct or close to reality, one might also wonder who provided these information to the Assassins. After all they determined a fixed guardian for the Key - Miko – so they had detailed information, maybe coming from an encounter with the First Civilization (maybe between Edward and one of TWCB at the end of AC4?). We'll see in some days if the theory is going to be confirmed or not.
And with this article we have really finished, I didn't think I would have written so much, but in my opinion the topic deserved a different interpretation as opposed to the immediate hate, once settled the various events of the plot. The theme, however, doesn't stop here and in fact I exhort you to comment in order to let me/us know what you think and to start a discussion about this topic that made fans struggle so much.

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The end of an Era - Part2

The end of an era - part1