The Evolution of the Present Day - Part 3
Markuz, August 8, 2016
Translated by: Stefania

It’s finally time to resume and finally conclude the analysis on the present day in Syndicate!
As we did with Unity, we analyzed the new status of Initiates, Assassins and Templars, but a major force at play in the present day of the franchise is still missing: Juno and the Instruments of the First Will. This article, therefore, will be dedicated exclusively to the creepiest Isu entity and her loyal followers. Follow us, then, and let’s enter the Grey!

Let's point this out immediately: in Syndicate the storyline about Juno and the Instruments basically hasn’t had any substantial development.

Juno only appeared for a few seconds in the cutscenes of the present day and the same is true for the Instruments of the First Will, although they both have had their moment in the World War I rift with Lydia Frye. Nevertheless, there is much to analyze because what has been shown gives us the opportunity to have an extensive discussion, following three main areas:

  • Violet da Costa and the Instruments of the First Will

  • Juno and her plan

  • The Vault of Buckingham Palace

Violet da Costa and the Instruments of the First Will

The Instruments of the First Will, as we already said, have a limited, albeit important, presence in Syndicate, which shows itself in three particular situations.

Inscriptions and illustrations in the
secret room of the Master Spy
(and in the Davenport Mansion
from ACRogue too!)
The first one is the presence of a cult dedicated to Juno in the World War I simulation, which did not necessarily have the name or the organization of the Instruments already, but that may have been the their origin. The group was led by a Sage, called "Spy Master" or "Master Spy", a German spy positioned in London, who, through this cover, tried to pursue the classic goal of a Sage and of Juno's followers, namely trying to reach his "beloved" Juno and preparing her arrival on Earth, also by collecting the highest number of DNA samples possible. In fact, this is the way in which the group operates, sneaking into the maze of 1916 London, collecting blood samples in Vials similar to the ones that appeard in AC4, or “odd-looking cubes", as Churchill describes them, and studying several Pieces of Eden while waiting for Juno's return. Bonus: it seems they are aware of the existence of the Assassins (although this fact is only mentioned and not examined in depth).
"She has been taking blood
samples into odd-looking cubes
and delivering them to an
unknown accomplice"
As shown during the Rift of World War I, however, Lydia Frye in 1916 destroys the group of spies and kills the Sage, perhaps even remaining unaware of the fact that this group had completely different purposes than mere espionage.

The second mention of the Instruments and of Juno’s cult comes from the Syndicate database, where Shaun describes them as a group of people who hopes to return to the glories of the First Civilization era, when men were subjugated to the Precursors. The simulation in World War I makes Shaun think, and he assumes that Juno’s worshippers existed, perhaps with different names, since the fall of the First Civilization. It is an interesting hypothesis that easily will be confirmed in the next games, perhaps giving even more prominence to the organization of the Instruments of the First Will.
The database entry about the Instruments continues and ends with more or less known information (such as the "working relationship" through which Instruments and Templars help each other in locating Precursor artifacts), although between the lines there is one last, little new piece of information. According to Shaun, the Instruments were also present during the Assassin attack in Paris in October, 2014 (which we analyzed in our 2014 Scenario and saw in detail from the Templars’ point of view in the second part of this article). It is a small piece of information that, however, is confirmed by the plot twist at the end of Syndicate, which also is the most important presence of the Instruments in Syndicate, in other words the "betrayal" of Violet da Costa, who joins the group dedicated to the worship of Juno.

Violet da Costa: betrayals and reinterpretations

I apologize to the fans who do not like her, but a paragraph dedicated to da Costa is necessary. As everyone has seen by now, at the end of Syndicate Violet da Costa contacts Juno, showing that she had brought the Shroud to Alvaro Gramática as part of the plan of the Isu entity.

Violet also claims to be worried about Juno, in case someone discovers what she is doing (which is obviously not explained directly). This revelation, which in itself is already important because it actually creates a kind of very strong separation of intent within the Sigma Team and, in general, shows how the Instruments have reached the high ranks of the Templar Order, made me reflect on Violet: is it possible that this change of direction is justified at a narrative level and, if so, how do we need to interpret her actions in the previous games?

It is difficult to hypothesize when da Costa has decided to join the dark... or rather... Grey side of the conflict, so there is nothing else to do but starting from the beginning. As stated in the Syndicate database and as we've seen in the second part of this article, the Canadian Violet da Costa started quickly her career at Abstergo as a field technologist after completing a degree with a double major in mathematics and computer science.
The Shroud #1, obtained
by Abstergo and the Templars
in 1944 through the Baguttiani
Her choice, among the various options at Abstergo, fell almost immediately on Sigma Team, although Gramática had already contacted her to have her work with him. The two, however, were destined to meet, because as early as June 2012, Isabelle Ardant persuaded her to help the Mexican scientist with his experiments on the first Shroud (to be clear, the one that appeared in Project Legacy and that contained Consus' consciousness). Up to this point, in my opinion, it is unlikely that Violet had already become part of the Instruments of the First Will, because Juno hadn’t been released by Desmond yet, but it is important to keep in mind that in the following six months the girl comes in contact several times with the Shroud and therefore we cannot exclude that the Isu entity has interacted with her through the Shroud in the same way she interacted with Connor through the Crystal Ball shown in the early scenes of Assassin's Creed III. Also, let’s not forget that these tests are carried out in the Paris laboratory, the same place where Shaun suggests a presence of the Instruments two years later.
Between late November and early December 2012, da Costa takes a short break from the experiments to help with the disastrous attack by Sigma Team on the Assassin hideout in Florence, where all the Templar agents were killed except Berg who got his proverbial burn scar. It is also likely she took part in the capture of William Miles in a museum in Cairo.
The first moments after
Juno's liberation"
Soon after, and for ten days, Violet re-joins Gramática to complete the six months promised in June and, coincidentally, her last session takes place on December 21, 2012. Of course, and as we have stated in the second part of this article, in Syndicate this date stands out because, through the Shroud, the Canadian IT expert and the Mexican scientist have learned about Juno's release from the Grand Temple of Turin (just think about the joy of da Costa, in case back then she had already joined the Instruments). Instead, what many people might have missed is, however, a dialogue between Gramática and da Costa just before Juno's release:

Gramática: I'll let you in on a secret. I talk to him [Consus] when no one else is around.

da Costa: I know what you mean.

Maybe it's just my interpretation, but it is possible that, in this moment, Violet says that she knows what it means to talk to an Isu entity when no one else is around because she has already done that with Juno. Exactly the way she does once again three years later, at the end of Syndicate, after Gramática left the room where she gave him the Shroud.

From this event onwards, and for nearly a year, we have no news about da Costa and her activities within the reformed Sigma Team, until November 2013. In fact, during this period Laetitia England gave new orders to the team led by Berg: the team would be dissolved and re-used for the purposes of the
John Standish in action
in Abstergo Entertainment
(Source: AC Wiki)
Phoenix Project. For this reason, da Costa is sent to Montreal to Abstergo Entertainment to provide technical support and prevent attacks to the Cloud Abstergo, in the same period of time where John Standish is active, during the ACIV: Black Flag events. This is another key moment where da Costa may have started to be part of the Instruments of the First Will, maybe by interacting with John or reading the sticky notes that he had scattered throughout the Montreal building.

Once again, however, Violet soon interrupted her new task to work on another mission, but this time she did it incognito. In fact, as shown in the Syndicate files, on November 17 Berg and da Costa, ignoring England's orders, go back to Paris because Berg, as he had already shown a few days before (in the Rogue files), is worried about something. Curiously we are precisely talking about the existence of the Instruments of the First Will, which Berg sees as a threat while England considers them as an opportunity to get more Isu artifacts. Berg's idea during his visit in Paris, then, is to use the Shroud unbeknownst to Gramática to ask Consus more information about Juno and the Instruments. From this point onwards, therefore, if da Costa has already joined the instrument and Juno, various events can be reinterpreted. In Paris, Violet serves once again as the "volunteer", wearing the Shroud, letting herself be shot and later possessed by Consus and, in this way, she may have reported to Juno and to the Instruments all the information in possession of the Isu entity and, subsequently, of Gramática, Berg and the Templars too (Juno's betrayal, her use of the Transcendence method, the knowledge of Aita and the Sages).

John Standish' voluntary sacrifice
(Source: theRadBrad)
A few days later, at the end of November 2013, John “from IT" Standish sacrifices himself intentionally in the Abstergo Entertainment offices to allow Abstergo to study the Isu DNA, and advancethe Phoenix Project purposes. If, as now seems clear (at least to me), da Costa has already joined the Instruments, the following developments become interesting too. As seen in the Syndicate files, on December 25th, 2013 Violet brings Gramática John's body officially as a gift from Berg, but she asks him two favors: to build a body / clone starting from John's Precursor DNA and to do it quickly. It seems almost obvious that the request comes from Juno and the Instruments rather than from Berg (who had reported his doubts about Juno). In this way, therefore, Violet would already have acted on behalf of Juno at least since the end of 2013. Fast forward to February 2014, Violet leaves Montreal again, although for the purposes of the Phoenix Project. In this situation she does what she does best (apart from betraying the Templars), namely tactical support to the temporarily recreated Sigma Team for the recovery of a Precursor box stolen in Rotterdam by the Assassins Harlan T. Cunningham and Arend Schut. In this situation Violet does not do anything strange or suspicious, she simply carries out her duties perfectly in spite of the partial defeat sustained by Berg's team, exactly like in May of that year, when Berg arrives in Essen, Germany, and discovers to have reached a dead end in the search for the Ankh.

Violet then returns to Montreal, and we see her in August 2014 (thanks to the AC: Unity files) while not only she seems to simply carry out her duty, but apparently she gives information about Juno to the Templars. In fact, August is the month in which Helix receives its first cyber attacks - although it has not been launched on the market yet - forcing Abstergo to activate their frying brain intrusion detection system. In all this, da Costa has the task of supporting the IT security. In particular, there’s a relevant e-mail that she sends Melanie Lemay in which not only she tells her about the latest cyber attacks but also mentions a communication between Juno and the Instruments (without mentioning their names) that was transferred several times during these attacks. What’s surprising here is that Violet even tells Melanie that it seems that the message is related to the Instruments and so it seems she wants to warn the Templars about the activities of Juno's followers, an action that, in turn, seems to suggest that Violet has not joined the Instruments' side yet and that is in contrast with the previous assumptions. In support of this theory there is also a sentence uttered by Berg in the Rogue files - probably occurred in 2014: "Juno’s motives are unclear. Although she has made one attempt to possess a corporeal body, she appears to be more powerful as a digital entity. Agent da Costa fears that should humanity ever achieve ‘Singularity’ - a fusion of humanity and machine - Juno would become unstoppable". Fear... or hope?

The fifth method of salvation:
one of the failed attempts at the research for the singularity (Source: AC Wiki)

Besides what's mentioned above, the Unity files report another dialogue between Violet and Melanie, this time via chat, in which da Costa reports to Lemay another attack, or to be more precise, 17 attacks carried out in unison aimed at scanning and analyzing data (genetic memory archives, precursors analyses, raw DDS data, etc...) rather than at stealing them. Such data, according to Violet, seems to have been moved around the Abstergo servers multiple times over the course of the attack, reorganized, and most likely altered, but this is not the most interesting part yet. Da Costa says that in these attacks it's almost as if some sort of bot or AI program was actually able to "live" in the network and move freely (of course the reference is to Juno).
In this case, da Costa also points out how this AI program is able to slip in and out of the Abstergo network without being detected by the alarm system. While so far, as on many other occasions, we had thought about the fact that Juno was able to move freely in the Abstergo servers because she had “superior” conscience and intelligence, now it’s also possible to assume that this freedom was guaranteed by the Instruments that backed her up at Abstergo, at first John Standish and now (in 2014 and later) Violet da Costa and perhaps others. In this way, then, Violet may have acted as Juno's intermediary for at least 2-3 years, keeping a perfect cover even during her attacks on the Helix servers.

The Abstergo laboratory in Paris
October 2014 is a crucial month for Violet, Berg and the Sigma Team in general and the reason is the one we wrote about in several articles, namely the attack of the Assassins led by Shaun Hastings and Galina Voronina at the Abstergo laboratory where the body and DNA of John Standish were being studied.
Thanks to Syndicate we learn that, before the attack, Gramática was in the laboratory, intent on talking "to Consus" about the progress made through the Phoenix Project. As previously stated, Shaun believes that in this period the Instruments were operating in Paris and, in fact, shortly before the Assassin proceed with the assault, da Costa contacts Gramática to warn him about the impending threat. At this point all the fans should know how things went (the Assassins raid the lab, Galina throws a grenade to blow up Gramática with the Shroud, Shaun steals various data from the server before melting them down) but what’s important for the purpose of this article is, once again, the new interpretation that can be given to Violet’s actions.
Once again, although da Costa officially is working for the Templars, I cannot help but think that she is also, and especially, serving Juno's interests, in other words saving Gramática so that he can continue developing the Phoenix Project until he'll be able to create a body that the Instruments can steal and Juno can "wear".

October 2014 is also important because Laetitia England realizes that the Paris defeat had been caused by the disbandment of the Sigma Team in November. Curiously enough, England admits her mistakes and thus the strike team is officially recreated, with Berg obviously as a leader, but da Costa is forced to remain in Montreal for the technical support necessary to defend the studio against the attacks by the Assassins, Erudito ... and "the First Civilization consciousness". Berg, therefore, decides to travel to the Canadian city to be able to help her, allow her to finish her task and bring her back in the Sigma Team, putting the events shown in AC: Rogue in motion.

Violet da Costa: AC:Rogue style (Source: AC Wiki)

As narrated in Rogue, one of the researchers / analysts of Abstergo Entertainment, by analyzing the memories of Shay Patrick Cormac, released a virus in the Montreal facility, a powerful virus according to da Costa:

Man, whoever designed this virus is a genius. Not only does it restrict our access to the Cloud, it's adapted to fuck up the other operating systems that regulate building functions!

As all those who have played Rogue know, from now on Berg orders to analyze Shay’s memories to send his message to the Assassins' Network and show them how both their infrastructure and their ideology are weak, while Violet, together with the analyst, tries to reboot the infected servers in the Montreal building.
Looking at the situation this way, then, it seems that on this occasion Violet has simply pleaded the cause of the Templars and specifically of Berg (perhaps because during the development of Rogue her betrayal hadn’t been planned yet), were it not for the detail of the virus. To this day, the origin of the virus hasn’t been confirmed and probably will never be, but it is possible that the virus was caused by Juno (with or without Violet's help), taking into account her prophecy in the Rogue files that was intended for the researcher / analyst. That prophecy started with "The fracture in Helix has gifted you my eternal presence” (you can find the whole prophecy at this link), a sort of “proof" that might prove that Juno created the virus that, in fact, generated from Helix.

The Assassins will soon have to
change the "Violet da Costa" entry
in their database..
We hear nothing about da Costa from the end of 2014 until the last months of 2015, when Isabelle Ardant and her subordinates learn about the second Shroud and thus they send Violet and Berg in London to retrieve it. At this point we see Violet and Berg again on October 24th in Isabelle Ardant's office, originally summoned for the ''Phoenix Project Recon Kickoff". Unfortunately, however, in the cutscene in Syndicate we only see Berg and da Costa pointing guns at Shaun and Rebecca before they flee and we don’t know the content of the meeting which probably took place soon after.
We hear nothing about Violet and her boss until the end of Syndicate, in which we see them committed to protecting the Shroud and defending Ardant from the attack of the Assassins. Violet at first tries to shoot Galina to save Berg, but by order of the latter (the now famous "Only the mission matters!"), she shoots Shaun - hitting Rebecca - in order to recover the Shroud.
Knowing that Violet is, by now, part of the Instruments of the First Will, the situation in the Buckingham Palace vault appears to be perfect for her: it’s her Templar boss who asked her to leave him to complete the mission and, indirectly, to continue her own (bring the Shroud to Gramática according to Juno's plan). In this way, her cover is not called into question in any way and, therefore, Violet can reach Gramática without further problems and that’s where we get to the final twist in Syndicate.

Violet brings the Shroud to
Gramàtica, as expected
Violet finally meets Gramática, and, after learning what he intends to do with the Shroud, that is recreating a Precursor body from scratch thanks to the Shroud’s power (perhaps even that was part of the plan), she contacts Juno. This is the twist par excellence, which leads to the traditional cliffhanger of the Assassin's Creed games, and that gives us two important pieces of information, before the credits roll. The first one is that Violet has brought the Shroud to Gramática at Juno's request and, therefore, this being her intent from the start, she’s been lucky that her cover wasn't shattered; the second piece of information is that Violet says "If anyone finds out what you've been doing ...", suggesting that Juno is actually preparing something, and obviously - and at this point now terribly - we don’t know what it is yet.

From all of this we see a character, Juno, who since her attempt to possess the Abstergo researcher in AC4, has done nothing but plotting, planning, influencing without ever actively showing the extent of her threat (except perhaps in some events on Initiates).
On the other hand, Violet undergoes an unexpected evolution that causes indirectly an evolution of the Instruments organization: unlike their "goddess", finally their organization came seriously into play and with the help of a main character, not only through "hearsay" in the files. The ending in Syndicate has, therefore, demonstrated that the Instruments can reach the high ranks of Abstergo and so what prevents them from reaching the highest ones, maybe convincing a member of the Inner Sanctum to join them? As always, there’s only one answer: we just have to wait and see how the future events will evolve, but this time I have to say I am very interested in how this narrative branch will play out and in the degree of importance of this organization.

Juno and her plan

Juno's character has had its ups and downs in recent years. In 2012 with Assassin's Creed III she has maybe reached the pinnacle of her importance and her menace with her thousand-year plan which, to be fair, for the most part was not shown and not narrated in the game, and involved, I think in a masterly manner, various events and especially characters of the Assassin's Creed saga.

In my analysis of this thousand-year plan, written three years ago and that you can read at this link, I had hypothesized that this plan had involved, among others, Marcus Junius Brutus, Ezio Auditore, Connor, Clay Kaczmarek, Daniel Cross and Desmond Miles, and this had to be the clear demonstration of how dangerous Juno already was when she was imprisoned, before being liberated.

Juno and her attempt at
"possessing" the AC4 protagonist
(Source: AC Wiki)
Contrary to this premise, and after the flash in the pan of the failed "possession" of the researcher / analyst in AC4, Juno relegated herself, or rather, she has been relegated to a minor position within the plot, a necessary but not preponderant element which has perhaps lost the role of main antagonist in this story arc of the present day (something that, instead, Vidic and the Templars have more or less maintained in the so-called "Desmond Saga"). In fact, after AC4, Juno only appears in the Unity and Rogue collectible files and only in Syndicate we actually see her (but even in ACS she had an active role in the development of events only at the end of the game).

What Juno heavily missed in terms of "stage presence" until Syndicate, however, has always been balanced by the menace arising from her plans (which unfortunately, however, still hasn't had a significant outcome). In fact, after she was released by Desmond, the "schemer" (as Consus called her) has transferred her consciousness into what she calls the Grey, which is the set of digital networks that interconnect the world. From this moment on, Juno started doing what she is best at doing, namely plotting, planning, conspiring.

Her initial plan was to possess, at the first opportunity, a human body (the researcher in AC4), but the idea wasn't successful. According to her words in AC4, she wasn’t strong enough to live in an organic vessel. All this was also confirmed by file 18 of the Assassin Network in Unity, where Juno was complaining that the human genome had changed too much and that, therefore, their bodies could no longer be useful to her.

The biggest boost for
Juno's plan
So, my theory is that, from this moment on, Juno has opted for a sort of backup plan. She was interested in a "suitable" body to transfer her consciousness into, while Abstergo were working on sequencing the Precursor DNA at least since 2004: the more or less obvious result was that Juno tried to help the Templars achieving their goal, believing in their ability to create a body based on Isu DNA which, finally, could contain her digital consciousness.

For this reason, she persuaded the Sage John Standish to sacrifice himself in order to give his body ("Guide me into Grey, Beloved! I am your instrument!") to Abstergo so that they could start the Phoenix Project. Similarly, Violet da Costa’s task to bring the Shroud to Gramática was part of the plan too: this way Juno wanted to give to the Templars an important tool that would allow them to create from scratch a Precursor body, just what she needed.

Among other things I would like to point out how Juno is disturbing and fascinating at the same time in this picture. Congratulations to the artists who have created it, because it’s a great depiction of the way the Sages have described Juno in recent years:

Another aspect that deserves a mention is the fact that the Templars, probably unaware of Juno's intentions (even if they are aware of her existence and dangerousness), acquired a Precursor Box and, as we have seen in the Chronicles series, they have also discovered its power. Specifically, as we have seen in our analysis of Chronicles Russia,
The Precursor Box in
Gramàtica's hands
through the Precursor Box the Templars may be able to even give a Precursor consciousness to the body created by the Shroud. A further step forward for the Phoenix Project which, however, Juno might not like. In fact, in this way she wouldn’t be able to transfer her consciousness into the body created by Gramática, and that's not all. As a matter of fact, Laetitia England , in the secret video of Chronicles Russia, tells Berg not to talk to anyone about the Precursor Box and about him bringing it to Gramática: in this way it is possible that Violet, and Juno as well, may not aware of this little ace in the hole that Templars have.
Ultimately this "game" is very dangerous, especially for the Templars, but both sides aren’t done yet and the Assassins may even be the unexpected balance of power ...

Juno’s schemes, however, did not stop there. While on one hand the "goddess" was planning her return in physical form, on the other hand she had a sort of "plan B". If she failed to return physically to earth, she would try to attract as many people as possible in the Grey. An example shown in Initiates is her presence in the Protvino laboratories where, from the day she was released from the Grand Temple until March 2014, she sought to influence Galina Voronina's mother, making her believe to be Eve, and pushing her to put all the remaining Assassins in the lab in a very rudimentary Animus, Galina and her sister included. This kind of torture lasted for more than a year, until Galina, with Gavin Banks’ team, reached her mother and was forced to kill her, not before she babbled about her lost husband (a clear reference to Aita) and, in fact, about the Grey.

Juno, in the picture that appeared on Protvino's monitors

These were the first references to the Grey and to the attempt by Juno to attract the largest number of "souls" to her, after AC4, but several others have followed. These include the various attacks on Helix during the summer of 2014, for example, the most interesting of which showed a transcript in which Juno was discussing with her Instruments in the Grey and stated:

"HostCipherNotFeasibleAtPresent. ParietalAndTemporalInadequaciesAbond. AsIMayNotLiveInAHumanHostTheWorldMustComeToMe."


"OpenTheGates.LeadThePeople.EnterTheGrey.TheWorldOfFleshWillSoonDecay. TheWorldOfMatterIsDone.PlugInAndAscent"

(you can read the whole transcript in this article).

In another file, once again in 2014, Juno goes as far as to tell what her strategy is in this "Plan B":

"The future is singularity, children. All must enter the Grey or risk a permanent night. Lead them here through the Animus. Enter and never leave. Not for my sake but for yours."


"They may know it not, but the Templars have built us a gate, a portal into a new age"

(you can find the full version of the audio file at this link)

Who wouldn't trust such a
graceful and not at all
creepy hologram?
Finally, with the "prophecy" in Rogue, which can be unlocked through the Animus fragments, Juno also explained what her ultimate goal is (or at least what she wants her Instruments to believe), once everyone will enter the Grey:

I will help you see outside the rigid structure of your flesh-bound lives. You will help me see what remains of my ancient people. Together, we will move towards the infinite. When all are one within the Gray, you will know the greater good. Our glory will live again and we will flourish. Together.

In short, trying to cleanse everything from Juno's prophetic way of speaking, her intent is to ensure that, through the Animus created by the Templars, more and more people join her in the Grey and that their consciousnesses won’t abandon her. For this reason she asked her Instruments to “open the gates" (to use the Animus) and, by intercepting their sessions, to lead people into the Grey, a "perfect" world in which the entire history lies (represented by all the memories contained in the Abstergo databases and analyzed since the creation of the Animus).

This second plan is developed in 2015 too, when Juno herself intercepts the Animus session of the Initiate protagonist of the present day of Syndicate. Specifically Juno creates, at the edges of the map of the London simulation, an access through which the Initiate can visit London during World War I.

Before entering the new simulation, the Initiate hears Juno luring him/her to the rift with “Come closer, cipher. Perhaps we have met before. Perhaps not. You search for an artifact. Let me show you the truth”. As expected, therefore, an Animus user lured by Juno. Also the description of the mission, although in code, has the same purpose:

01101100 01111001 01100100 01101001 01100001 01110111 01101001 01101100 01101100 01101100 01100101 01100001 01100100 01111001 01101111 01110101 01101000 01101111 01101101 01100101 00001101 00001010

As a matter of fact, the binary code means “Lydiawillleadyouhome”. Through these and other words, Juno says that the Initiate, following the story of Lydia Frye, will come to her, to be able to talk about the future (and the past), and that’s exactly what happens. In fact, after carrying out various missions in the World War I simulation, Juno tells the Initiate about her past and her intents, adding several interesting details.

In fact, she says that she was born in the city of Feyan in the year 2195 of the Isu Era and with this simple sentence she tells us something more about the era in which the First Civilization lived, also picking up, what Consus said in the audio files ("This [Shroud] is the original. My prototype. Created in the year 1923 of the Isu Era").

Juno reveals to the Initiate that men have been created by the Isu, Those Who Came Before, for hard labor purposes and sometimes even war. She tells him / her how one day humans rebelled against them and a war raged on between the two factions preventing the Isu from noticing in time a coronal mass ejection (which would cause the so-called Toba Catastrophe). For the Initiate (and for the new fans of the saga) Juno says that she, along with other scientists such as Minerva, Jupiter and her husband Aita, met in the Grand Temple to elaborate various methods of salvation. One of these methods, designed by Juno and inspired (*cough*STOLEN*cough*) by Consus' research, involved the transfer of Aita’s consciousness in a synthetic body. Unfortunately, as we have seen in AC3, the method did not work, Aita died and Juno started creating the Sages unbeknownst to Minerva and Tinia. When they learned about her plan to conquer the world, they killed her (or at least Minerva and Jupiter tried) and sealed the Temple. Juno, however, survived and, perfecting Consus’ method, she transferred her consciousness into the Temple or better, as stated in Syndicate, into the Grey (inside the Temple).

"Now I see we were
Small digression, in Syndicate Juno says that Minerva and Jupiter sealed the Temple because they had discovered that she had survived, but actually this is in contrast with Minerva’s speech in AC3 in which she claims to have discovered that Juno had survived when she talked with her and Desmond, a long time after leaving the Grand Temple together with Tinia.

Going back to the main subject, when the player finds out that the leader of the spies in the simulation of World War I was a Sage, the Isu entity ends her speech by thanking the Initiate for discovering the fate of the Sage so that she can be able to add his pattern to the her own. Which means, in my opinion, that Juno adds the memories and the location of the Sage to her "database", as all the other memories that make up the Grey for the Instruments of the First Civilization.
Before bringing a closure to her speech, Juno continues the attempt to persuade the Initiate in order to have him/her joining her side. Since he/she is an Assassin, she tries to convince him/her that it was an Assassin (Desmond) who freed her and that if the greatest Assassin of his/her generation could see things her way, then perhaps the Initiate can do too. A feeble attempt that, however, doesn’t take into account the fact that Shaun, in one of the scenes in the present day, tells the Initiate about Desmond (without naming him) and about his sacrifice for his team and for the world.

In any case, maybe one of the most interesting parts of Juno’s speech and the one that ends her story is the following: "I am no longer She Who Lies in Wait. I am the Mother of Wisdom. I am the nexus of flesh and machine. I am Juno".

It is a sentence as emblematic as it is cryptic, which shows not only how she is no longer sealed in the Grand Temple, but also that she is continually working on the knowledge through the genetic memories and through the concept of singularity (represented in short, in the AC saga, by the union of "man" and machine) that identifies her.

"I'm the Mother of Wisdom"

What’s Juno’s next step, then? Hard to say, there is the possibility / risk that Juno is still waiting in the Grey during the upcoming film and / or in the next game. I strongly hope it’s not the case because this waiting is now becoming wearing and the character is losing freshness and credibility ... unless this waiting is compensated by a "descent into the field" that makes up for all these years of waiting and planning, but it seems unlikely to me...

The Vault of Buckingham Palace and the adventures of Edward Kenway

The analysis of the last part of the 2015 status quo is more or less completed. But I'd like to end this article with a curiosity that probably will not find any correspondence in future chapters of the saga.

The Buckingham Palace Vault is very important in the finale of Syndicate, as every place where a Piece of Eden is contained, but in this case there’s a sort of mystery about its construction and the statue in its central chamber.
The Templar archive
shown in Bloodlines
In 1868, when Starrick, Evie and Jacob enter the Vault, what they find is not the traditional First Civilization temple with its classic symbols drawn on every wall, the blue and cold lights and that sense of ancient but extremely advanced technology surrounding the player. In fact, the three characters access the vault through a stone tunnel which contains several small niches containing stone depictions of real and imaginary animals, and then they reach the central room, which is mainly made up of stone too, with two levels of columns connected by arches that surround the perimeter of the room, a central colonnade and a circular altar on which the most interesting elements, in terms of plot, are placed. For the hardcore fans among you, this rooms reminds a little of the Templar Archive shown in AC: Bloodlines (you can see a picture for comparison here).

The casket with the case
The altar is, of course, the most important element of the Vault for two reasons: in the middle of it there’s the casket with the case that contains the Shroud #2 and, around it, there’s a series of low-reliefs that cover half the circumference of the altar and have at their center a statue of Juno holding a spherical object that probably represents an Apple.

The low-reliefs around the altar
The low-reliefs are perhaps the strangest thing in the room because, unlike the statue, they are hard to understand: they depict dragons, horses, goats, and other fantasy animals, but that’s not all. There are also human / humanoid figures that have horns, wings and perhaps ... gills? (I suggest you to replay the final mission and also to watch the back of the low-relief, which has strange and interesting pictures too).

Anyway, what attracted my attention more than anything else was Juno's statue. Not much for the statue itself (although it is perhaps the first time that she is officially represented with the Apple of Eden in her hand) but for the meaning it may have.

Juno's Statue

As previously stated, the Vault of Buckingham Palace may not seem like a classic Isu temple ... because it actually isn't. In fact, the memory "Change of plans" in Sequence 7 in Syndicate, features this dialogue, at the very beginning:

Evie: Please tell me again where we are going.

Henry: I found a letter from the Prince Consort among Lucy Thorne's research. Marked with the same insignia as your key. Dated 1847.

Evie: 1847?

Henry: The same year the Prince began renovations to Buckingham Palace.

Evie: You think he added a vault for the Shroud!

Henry: And since there is no map of the palace with a room marked "secret vault"...

Prince Albert and Queen
Victoria in Windsor Castle
(Edwin Landseer, 1840-1843)
The dialogue clearly shows that the Buckingham Palace vault was built by Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Queen Victoria's husband who died in 1861, during the renovations to Buckingham Palace that historically occurred for real in 1847.

Therefore, taking into account the fact that the vault was built by man, how is it possible that it contained Juno's statue and the casket containing the Shroud? The answers to these questions partially belong to the theory world.

As for Juno's statue... unfortunately there aren’t any parts of the plot that justify it. The only reason that came to my mind to explain the fact that in the mid 1800s there is a statue of Juno inside a hidden vault in London is that whoever put it there (along with the Shroud) was a follower of the self-proclaimed Mother of Wisdom… So either the Prince or someone who has followed the creation of the Vault was a Sage or a follower of Juno (we saw that Juno's worshippers, apparently, existed well before today's Instruments of the First Will), or the statue has been placed by the developers in the main room of the Vault only because in this period of time the "goddess" is the creepiest presence and acts as the main antagonist, without any actual meaning related to the plot.

The mystery of the statue thickens too, if you look at the present day sequences in Syndicate. In fact, when Shaun's team enters the Buckingham Palace Vault, the situation they find is different from what we’ve seen in Jacob's and Evie's memories. Radically different. In fact, the statue is not the same statue depicting Juno that appears in the 1868 memories, it's another one.

The mystery about the Statue thinckens...

Therefore, in this case too, there are two options. Was the statue maybe replaced between 1868 and 2015? And if so, why didn't the person who removed it take the Shroud as well? Perhaps Jacob, Evie or Henry Green did it? Maybe we'll find an answer in the third series of AC comics, Assassin's Creed Locus...
On the other hand, and as previously indicated, the difference between the statues may have been a mistake during development. In fact it’s possible that the scenes set in the present day have been developed using an early model of the vault, which was different from the one used in the Evie's and Jacob's story ending: looking at the details, in addition to the different statue, in the present day the walls with low-reliefs are higher and some columns are positioned in front of the walls themselves while in the past the columns are behind them. This idea is most likely the correct one, especially considering that the present day cutscenes were commissioned by Ubisoft Quebec to an external company.

Obviously these are only hypotheses, though ... What do you think about them? Do you agree or do you have other theories about them?

The casket and the (second) Shroud, however, have a more complicated but interesting story, hidden between the lines of the dialogues and the documents of Syndicate, a story that begins with his pirateness Edward Kenway. That's right, it was Edward Kenway who recovered the Shroud first, during his travels for the Brotherhood. But let’s start from the beginning.

Yes, everything started with him!

The end of Black Flag (the game) and that of the AC4 novel see Edward Kenway returning to England, and, after being rejected by his mother for the problems he caused before he left and after receiving the pardon by Prime Minister Robert Walpole, we see him moving to London and eventually joining the Assassins. From this moment on, in a short time Edward became a Master Assassin and, as indicated in the Syndicate database, he rose to
Miko and Haytham at the
Royal Opera House of London
(Source: AC Wiki)
the leadership of the British Brotherhood together with Miko, the man from whom Haytham in Forsaken got his hidden blade and whom Haytham himself assassinated in AC3 at the Royal Opera House in London to get the amulet / Key to the Grand Temple.
Both Miko and Edward have supported the British Brotherhood and made its position more stable and stronger during the eighteenth century, and both, in a different way, dedicated themselves to the research of First Civilization sites and artifact. The Syndicate database, for example, states that Miko has toured throughout Europe in search for the Pieces of Eden while, as for Edward, he dealt several times with the Isu artifacts and temples. Obviously we can mention the Observatory, the Vials, the Crystal Skulls, and Roberts’ words about the Great Temple before his death: "I had hoped to find her, to see her again. To open the door of the temple and hear her speak my name once more. Aita". This sentence, in particular, was the one that drove Edward to carry out the research on the Grand Temple, a research that he wrote down in his journal in code (to have an idea of Edward’s journal and the events about the Grand Temple that involved him, I suggest you reading this article, although it’s quite old).

Altair in the Alamut
Temple with the
Memory Seals
The Grand Temple, however, was only one of the elements about the First Civilization that Edward noted in his journal. Surely it was the most important, but not the only one. There’s, in fact, a letter in AC: Rogue dated 1738 in which Reginald Birch, Grand Master of the British Rite of the Templar Order, writes to Lawrence Washington, half-brother of the more famous George and Templar agent in the colonies, to share some of the information he has about Edward's journal of Edward. From this letter, written three years after the Edward's murder organized by Birch himself, the Templar Grand Master said that, after discovering the Observatory, Edward dedicated many years of his life to seek out other First Civilization sites. He found several vaults in Italy, that the Templars were already aware of (probably the vaults of the Vatican, the Temple of Pythagoras and perhaps the Colosseum one) and a temple in Alamut (it’s the temple shown in the Revelations guide in which Altair found dozens of Memory Seals), in addition to the unfinished search for the Grand Temple.

The letter, then, shows that Edward, after he returned to London in 1722 and became Master Assassin, dedicated many years to the research of the various First Civilization sites, traveling all over the world.
At this point, and finally we get to the Shroud, things get complicated. In fact, during the search for the artifact in Syndicate, when Evie and Henry reach by carriage the Kenway mansion in Queen Anne's Square in the memory "Playing It by Ear", this dialogue takes place:

Henry: Do you know, I think this map may be taking us to the Kenway Mansion!

Evie: Kenway? The pirate?

Henry: Master Assassin and pirate, yes.

Evie: How much do you know about the Shroud of Eden?

Henry: It's said to heal the sick - popular myth is that it brings people back from the dead, but the Assassin records say that's not true. I've never heard of one being in London, though. Do you really think Edward Kenway could have found one?

Evie: He traveled extensively, so it's possible. But if he did, he kept it a closely guarded secret.

Henry: But if it's true - what a find it would be.

Albeit vague, this is the dialogue which partially confirms and shows that, during his travels as a Master Assassin in which he found several First Civilization sites, Edward also found the Shroud and the casket with the case in which the artifact was kept, together with the key that opened it.

The drawing of the key
on the book
To ensure that the secret was kept and jealously guarded, Edward together with the British Assassins created a plan as complicated as worthy of the best William Miles.
As stated in the memory "A Thorn in the Side", after Lucy Thorne stole the key from Evie in St. Paul’s Cathedral, the latter shows Henry a drawing of the Key, found on a book that may be the one stolen from Thorne in the early stages of the game (or not). Henry recognizes the design and says:

Henry: This matches a casket owned by the Queen. Kept in... the Tower of London.

This is the sentence that persuades Evie to look for the casket and the Shroud in the Tower of London but, getting back to Edward, this is also the sentence that many fans have used to try and discover where Edward put the Shroud and its containers, after finding them during his travels.

At this point, analyzing the events in Syndicate backwards, after placing the casket and the Shroud in the Tower of London with the Queen's jewels, Edward and the British Assassins, who at the time had excellent stability and a good control of London, hid the key in a different place from the casket with the Shroud, in a secret room at the top of St. Paul's Cathedral.

Not satisfied yet, to make it even more difficult to find everything, the Assassins closed the secret room, and made so that it could only be opened with a mechanism positioned exactly at the top of the cathedral, which could only be activated by two discs depicting St. Paul that, in turn, were hidden at the top of the Monument to the Great Fire of London and could only be recovered if a golden disc was inserted into a corresponding hole at the base of the monument itself.

I'm not kidding, it's the whole process that Evie has to follow in Syndicate and which necessarily had to be prepared by those who had the Shroud, in other words Edward and the British Assassins.

The document with
the history of the
London Assassins
After positioning all these devices and mechanisms to protect the Shroud, Edward took the gold metal disc and placed it inside the secret room of his mansion together with the helm of his Jackdaw (which, meanwhile, he had donated to the Assassins, and that's why we can see its wreckage in the Caribbean in Freedom Cry). Edward also added a document in which he wrote, with an ink visible only using the Eagle Vision, the history of the London Assassins before they were wiped out by the Templars, making references to "bolt holes... vaults… a hidden key” (the bolt holes are those of the British Assassins as stated in Evie’s notebook, the vault is that of St. Paul's Cathedral and the key ... well, it is the Key, the clue that had to make other Assassins like Evie understand that they were on the right track).

Soon after, Edward sealed the secret room, wrote on the wall with the same ink the notes of "Lowlands Away" to be played using the piano to open the room and continued his activities as an Assassin.

The last piece, left for future Assassins if they needed the Shroud, was the creation, together with the British Brotherhood, of the book containing the only written evidence (only visible with the Eagle Vision) of the Shroud that led to Kenway mansion, the real starting point of the journey filled with riddles, mechanisms, devices and hidden rooms that would have led to the localization of the artifact.

The above mentioned book, and here we get back to Syndicate, is what you see in the early stages of Syndicate in possession of Lucy Thorne and which is then stolen by Jacob and Evie in the memory "The Crate Escape": as we shall see, this volume possibly hides some really interesting implications.

The book that led Assassins and Templars to search for the Shroud

In fact, several members of the community stated / speculated that this book is Edward Kenway's journal, the same book in which the pirate and Master Assassin had recorded the information about the Isu temples in Italy and in Alamut, and the intentionally encrypted data on the Grand Temple and the location of the Amulet / Key seen in AC3. It is, in my opinion, a plausible hypothesis, although it is not confirmed, and it implies a number of possible faults. First, if I'm not mistaken, there’s nothing in Syndicate that indicates that this is really Edward’s journal. Furthermore, the novel Forsaken (for what it is worth in terms of canon compared to a game of the franchise) described the journal as "wrapped in cloth, tied with twine" and with an "aged brown cover" and "the stamp of the Assassin on its front" - a description that is a little different from how the book looks like in Syndicate. Another reason, although not essential, is that in her notebook, Evie says they stole a "notebook" instead of a "journal", a term usually used to refer to the book written by Edward; Evie, then, also claims to have stolen it from a collection "Miss Thorne acquired", while Edward's journal has always remained in the hands of the Templars since 1735, when Reginald Birch ordered the Edward's murder. Finally, if this were really Edward's journal, it would be strange that by 1754 the Templars were able to decode most of the journal to obtain the location of the Key / Amulet and the possible location of the Grand Temple, but that up to 1868 they had not been able to get information on Kenway mansion, on St. Paul's Cathedral and, especially, on the location of the Shroud.
In any case, it doesn’t matter if the book stolen by Evie and Jacob was the journal of Edward, or another book written by the British Assassins with Edward. The substance of the matter is that this book, whose part about the Shroud has been written at least between 1722 (the year when Edward returned to England) and 1735 (the year in which Edward was murdered), was the real key to start the process of locating and obtaining the Shroud ...

... And so it was.

Lucy Thorne recovered the manuscript (it wasn't explained how she did it), Evie stole it and reached the Kenway mansion, she found the golden disk, reached the Monument to the Great Fire of London, recovered the two disks depicting St. Paul, reached the top of the cathedral, got the Key and immediately lost it, stolen by Lucy Thorne.

Lucy Thorne while searching
for the "casket", in vain
At this point, after obtaining the Key, Lucy Thorne and Evie reached through separate ways the Tower of London, very close to obtaining the Shroud. They only had to reach the casket in which they could use the Key and .... they didn’t found it. After all the hard work Edward put in the construction of the trail, and the continuous research conducted by Thorne and Evie, in the end the point of contention had disappeared.

Only later, when Evie had assassinated Thorne and was groping in the dark trying to find the Shroud, it was Henry who resumed the search, with the
Well, well.. look at
his mustache and imagine
him with heterocromia...
aforementioned memory "Change of Plans". In fact, in this memory, the Indian Assassin said he analyzed the documents of Thorne’s research and found a letter written by the Prince Consort Albert containing the symbol of the Isu Key dated 1847, the same year in which the renovations to Buckingham Palace had begun.

Retracing the events, then, and to answer the original question of this part of the article, Prince Albert, after he married Queen Victoria in 1840, discovered the presence of the Isu casket among the jewels and possessions of the Queen at the Tower of London and for some reason, surely not by accident, he decided to relocate and hide it in a sealed space, a dedicated crypt, and not by chance with a statue of Juno in front of it. And all this without ever getting hold of the key.

Therefore, it is almost certain that Prince Albert realized that the casket was made up of Isu technology and therefore decided to hide it for unknown purposes, which, however, are probably aligned to some form of alliance or veneration of Juno. This is the reason why the casket, the case and the Shroud were in the Buckingham Palace Vault, although they had to be in another place.

And that's all for the infinite analysis of the change of the Status Quo in Assassin's Creed Syndicate!
What do you think about it? Do you agree or do you see things differently?

Please let us know in the comments and in the meantime stay tuned for future articles about the AC plot that was developed in 2016!

comments powered by Disqus




Evolution of the Present Day: Part1

The 2014 scenario