The Illustrated Story of Assassin’s Creed II (PC)

Lucy: “We have to go.”

Desmond: “What’s with the blood? Are you okay?”

Lucy: “Look, we have maybe ten minutes - maybe - before they figure out what I’ve done. If we’re not out of here and on the road before then...”

Desmond: “Wait, we’re leaving?”

Lucy: “Desmond, I promise I’ll answer ALL of your questions. Later. But right now, I need you to just shut up and do what I say. So please - get in the Animus.”

Desmond: “Alright...”

Game Highlights

It’s A Boy!

With Desmond still confused over what is happening around him, Lucy manages to make him use the Animus to search for another of his ancestors. They manage to witness the birth of this new ancestor, Ezio Auditore da Firenze with the help of subject 16. Then she hastens Desmond to follow her and fight their way past security and into freedom. Once at their destination, Lucy explains that she needs his help in order to fight the Templars


Boys Will Be Boys

Lucy introduces Desmond to her assistants Shaun Hastings and Rebecca Crane, and reveals that this place is the headquarters that they will be operating from whilst also training him to become an assassin and help to beat the Templars. Rebecca is in charge of operating their own version of the Animus, while Shaun is in charge of maintaining the knowledge archives, but he doesn’t seem to be too pleased with Desmond’s presence. Anyway it’s time to ride the Animus 2.0!


The Animus takes Desmond to 1476 Florence, and puts him in the shoes of Ezio Auditore in his late teens, just before he and his men start a fight with Vieri de’ Pazzi and his men. They beat each other for a while, until Vieri retreats. Ezio’s brother Federico shows up, and takes him to a doctor. Ezio then lets off some steam by visiting his friend Cristina Vespucci and sleeps with her.


Paperboy

The next morning, Cristina’s father is not too happy when he goes to wake her up and finds Ezio beside her. The boy quickly jumps out of bed and escapes, then goes home to find another angry father - his own. Ezio’s father Giovanni quickly gets down to business though, and sends him to deliver some documents to Lorenzo de’ Medici. He then goes to run some errands for his mother and sister Claudia, meeting Leonardo da Vinci along the way.


When Ezio returns home after completing further jobs, he finds out that his father and brothers were taken away and locked in jail. Ezio goes there and speaks with his father through the cell’s window, who instructs his son to go back home and search for a secret passage and take everything that he will find inside a chest. There he should also find some documents that he has to deliver to Uberto Alberti. Back home, Ezio finds an armour inside the chest. He wears it and sets off to complete his mission.


The Conspiracy

Uberto seems surprised to see Ezio, but he promises that with the documents that he has brought him he will be able to get his father out of prison when morning comes. However the next morning, when Ezio reaches the piazza he sees that a scaffold was erected to hang his father and brothers, with Uberto standing there to accuse them of treason. Uberto denies that he had any letters delivered to him and sentences the whole family to death, which the guards promptly do. At this point Ezio has no other choice than to run away.


Ezio takes refuge with his mother and sister inside a brothel, where the hostess Paola teaches him how to blend with the crowd and steal when necessary. She also gives him an assassin’s hidden blade, and sends him to Leonardo so that he can fix it up for him. He uses the blade soon enough, as a guard comes to question Leonardo about his involvement with Ezio and is quickly disposed of.


The Truth

Meanwhile, Desmond finds out that he can use Ezio to find clues about a message that was hidden inside the animus by subject 16 whilst he was at Abstergo. However, it’s time to kill Uberto now, and the place to do it is at the art show in Santa Croce. Shaun manages to unearth some information about Uberto, whom the Templars called within their ranks when the Medici family had him evicted. With their help he managed to get Giovanni Auditore out of the way, but his actions have brought him on the wrong side of Ezio’s blade.


Ezio is a notorious wanted man now, and certainly killing Uberto in front of everyone whilst screaming that he is still alive did not help. Together with his mother and sister, he sneaks out of Florence and travels to villa Auditore in Monteriggioni. However, on his way there, Ezio gets confronted by Vieri de Pazzi. Ezio’s uncle Mario helps him to repel the attack and together they make it safely to their destination.


Becoming an Assassin

Mario is surprised to learn that Giovanni had never spoken to his son about their family’s ties with the Assassins and their timeless fight with the Templars, so he sends Ezio to get some weapons and start his training. But Ezio wants nothing of this, and tells his uncle that he just wants to leave again. In the end, he decides to stay and starts by helping his uncle mount an attack against San Gimignano. Ezio is tasked with sneaking in and opening the gate for Mario and his men, and finally manages to kill Vieri.


Upon their return to the villa, Mario tells his nephew that killing Vieri is just part of the story since the Pazzi are being led by Rodrigo Borgia, known as the Spaniard and leader of the Templars. They also turn their attention to the codex pages, which will lead them to discover something important, with the help of their ancestor Altaïr. For now they stick the first page on the wall, in the hope of finding more in their adventures. However, Mario shows Ezio one last thing; a hidden underground sanctuary built by his great-grandfather which houses the armour of Altaïr. But there is one catch, Ezio must find the keys to the armour in six different secret locations around Italy.


Wolves In Sheep’s Clothing

Two years later, Ezio returns to Florence and asks Leonardo to help him to decode the codex pages that he has found as well as helping him to locate a person known as the fox. This man in turn helps Ezio by showing him a secret entrance inside Santa Maria Novella where a secret Templar meeting is being held. Although the path through the catacombs is not so safe, he is in time to hear the Templars plotting to kill the Medici. He is also lucky to stumble upon one of the keys to Altaïr’s treasure.


The next morning after mass is over, the Templars wait for Lorenzo and Giuliano de Medici to get out of the church before striking them in public. Although Giuliano is killed, Ezio is in time to save the life of a wounded Lorenzo. He escorts him back to his house, then heads off to confront Francesco de Pazzi, who earlier had dealt the final blow to Giuliano but then shows his total cowardice when he is confronted by the trained assassin.


The Conspirators Must Die

With Francesco de Pazzi out of the way, Lorenzo Il Magnifico gives Ezio a list of names who need to receive the same treatment. The names are Jacopo de Pazzi, Bernardo di Bandino Baroncelli, Stefano de Bagnone, Antonio Maffei, and Francesco Salviati. Ezio travels back to his uncle to help him find his targets. He goes after Stefano first, who has taken refuge on a monastery as a monk, but is an easy target for the assassin.


The young man’s search then takes Ezio to a villa where Archbishop Salviati is hiding. Accompanied by a group of mercenaries, he fights his way through the walls and kills his target. Then it’s on to San Gimignano, where Maffei is hiding inside a tall tower. There is no tower that Ezio cannot climb however, so another target is soon eliminated. After some other errands that the assassin completes for Lorenzo, an informer reveals that Boroncelli is thought to also be hiding in the city. Another name to cut out from the list.


Friends Like These

After searching Baroncelli’s body, Ezio finds a letter from Jacopo that says that there is going to be a Templar meeting inside San Gimignano before they plan to travel to meet their leader. Ezio decides to participate and silently follows his last target. The Templars seems to be having a disagreement between them, with one of them ending on the wrong side of a blade. However, their guards capture Ezio, so he has to finish them off one by one, including Jacopo.


To The Mountains

Ezio goes to Florence to speak about his successes with Lorenzo, revealing that the Templars are headed to Venice. After that Lorenzo tells him to trail their enemies there, Ezio also hears that Leonardo is headed to Venice as well. They meet on their way through the mountain road, where Leonardo is having some trouble with his wagon. Ezio helps him to fix it and they proceed together to Forlì. However, on their way they are attacked by Rodrigo Borgia’s men who desperately try to stop them without success.


Soon, the two wanted men arrive in the picturesque fortress of Forlì from where they will ride the boat to Venezia. Lorenzo informs Ezio that Girolamo Riario, the lord of Forlì, has to be dealt with. So the assassin stays a bit in town to do his business, and also has some time for a private lesson with a local named Amelia. When it comes time to board for Venezia, Ezio finds out that he needs a pass in order to do so, and has to turn back. His attention is caught by a nearby woman crying for help. She is surrounded by water, and Ezio hops on a boat to save her.


Long night

The assassin asks the woman he just saved to help him to get on the boat, which she promptly does. Leonardo soon tells him that she is Caterina Sforza, the Duke of Milano’s daughter, and wife to the lord of Forlì. Just then the boat sails off into the open sea, and Desmond is called out of the Animus to take a rest. Lucy puts him through a test to see how much of Ezio’s abilities he has acquired in the physical world, and is impressed by his progress. Desmond starts having hallucinations however, and ends up reliving Altaїr’s memories without needing to use the device. He is staggered to see his ancestor having a passionate secret meeting with Maria, a Templar that had previously tried to foil him from reaching his target.


The next morning Desmond tries to cheer up Lucy after she is informed that another eight of their people were killed. Life must go on however, and he hops back in the Animus to see what Ezio was up to a year after they left him, when he arrives in Venice. He and Leonardo are shown around the city by Alvise de Vilandino, where they are told to stay away from Emilio Barbarigo, a powerful figure who lives in the Palazzo della Seta. Whilst Ezio is studying how to breach the palace walls, he is amazed to see a young lady climb the walls as if it was nothing. She is hit by an arrow however, and the assassin goes to rescue her from Emilio’s men. The lady tells him that her name is Rosa, and with her foot wounded she asks him to take her to her guild’s hideout.


Birds of a feather

Antonio, the thieves’ guild leader, thanks Ezio for helping them, but confesses that they are in dire need of help if they are to succeed in overthrowing Emilio. Ezio accepts to help, but asks Rosa to teach him how she climbed the palazzo’s building so easily. Then he starts his mission by freeing some thieves from imprisonment, eliminating some traitors, and stealing some of the shipment of Emilio’s archers’ gear. The plan is for Ezio to kill the archers that are guarding the palace, and replace them with Antonio’s dressed up men in order to avoid suspicion whilst still getting a clear path to Emilio. Before killing him, Ezio hears Emilio say that he had a meeting with Carlo Grimaldi, so another target is added to the list.


Emilio never shows up to the Templar meeting, but Ezio goes in his place. Staying at a safe distance to eavesdrop on their discussion, he discovers that the Templars are planning on replacing Doge Giovanni Mocenigo with one of their own, and that the Spaniard’s arrival is imminent. Since Carlo is a close confident of the Doge, he is tasked with his elimination. Ezio reports everything back to Antonio. They plan to intervene, but the Palazzo Ducale will be hard to breach. After scouting the area to try and find a way in, Antonio declares that only a bird would be able to enter the palace. Ezio has an idea and runs to his friend Leonardo. It’s time to test his flying machine!


Well begun is half done

Leonardo cannot even believe that his contraption works as he watches the assassin flying it. However the flight distance is too short for the machine to be of any use. After some thought, the inventor has another idea. The flight path can be increased by lighting bonfires along the way. The warm air generated by these fires will be caught by the winged machine and will lift it upwards, so gaining some further airborne time. With the fires in place, it’s time to visit the Doge. Ezio flies successfully to the palace, but when he arrives the Doge has already drunk the poison that Carlo Grimaldi gave him. Carlo seizes the opportunity to accuse the assassin of the murder, but Ezio kills him too before escaping.


Five years later during Carnival, Ezio is a wanted man running errands for Lorenzo in Venice and Marco Barbarigo is the new Doge. Ezio goes to look for Antonio inside a brothel, where sister Teodora tells him that the Doge will be attending a private Carnival party, and the only way to get in is by winning the last ticket in the form of a golden mask, which is up for grabs for the winner of the Carnival Games. Ezio decides to participate and wins all the events, but it had already been decided that the Doge’s bodyguard Dante Moro should have been the winner so Ezio gets ambushed by the other guards. However it is only a matter of time before he steals Dante’s mask, and the Doge is dead by his hands soon after.


Caged Fighter

Ezio evades the place by hopping on a gondola, and goes back to rest at Sister Teodora’s. Agostino Barbarigo, who is a friend of Antonio, is getting ready to claim his title as the new Doge of Venezia. Agostino fears that Silvio Barbarigo may get in his way, so he asks the assassin if he can get rid of him. This time Ezio needs additional men in order to be able to fight against Silvio’s army, so he is sent to find a man called Bartolomeo D’Alviano in order to enlist his forces.


Ezio finds out that Bartolomeo has been captured by Silvio, so he frees him from his cage first. Then they fight their way in the streets to Bartolomeo’s house, where he is relieved to find his sword Bianca all in one piece. The huge Bartolomeo then offers his support to Ezio, but asks him to free more of his men first. So the assassin goes around Venice, striking more of Silvio’s guards and freeing the prisoners.


All things come to he who waits

As the time to attack Silvio gets closer, Bartolomeo suggests to lure Silvio’s men out of the fortress by causing havoc around the city, as a direct assault would be a suicide. Ezio fires a flare to signal the attack to start. Silvio’s men led by Dante Moro are kept busy with the mercenaries, but Ezio has to intervene when Dante starts running back to Silvio. He leads his attackers to his master. When they try to flee away, they realise that the boat that was going to take them away has already sailed off. They are easy targets for Ezio now, who makes them reveal that they were fleeing to Cyprus before killing them.


Two years later, Ezio is still trying to find out why the boat was headed for Cyprus. One day Rosa comes to tell him that the same boat was coming back to Venice the following day. Leonardo also has something important to tell him, that the boat will probably be carrying the powerful artifact known as the Piece of Eden. The day after, Ezio is watching the guards unloading the boat when he spots his uncle Mario watching them too. Ezio hears the guards saying that they are to deliver the package to the Spaniard, and decides to take the place of one of them.


Play along

Ezio is just in time to be given an order from another guard to pick up the box containing the Piece of Eden. He happily accepts the order and carries the box to Rodrigo Borgia, then attempts to murder him. He is joined by his uncle, Antonio and Bartolomeo, but the Spaniard flees away, leaving the box behind. Then some other people join the meeting. Paola, the fox, and sister Teodora are all there plus Niccolo Machiavelli. They all go atop a nearby tower where they recite the assassin’s creed and admit Ezio into their brotherhood.


A Warm Welcome

Through hindsight, Shaun knows that Rodrigo Borgia is soon to be elected as Pope, but the assassins hold the all important Piece of Eden. They do not know what it does yet, but they swear to protect it. The brotherhood decides to send Ezio and Machiavelli to Forlì and keep the Piece of Eden safe in the fortress. When they arrive there, they find the city under attack, and while Caterina Sforza came to welcome them in she was locked outside of her fortress by the same mercenaries that she had previously hired to kill her husband.


Whilst Caterina puts on a colourful show insulting the attackers, Ezio goes to find a secret way into the fortress. He manages to open the gate and let everyone in. They take back their fortress, but another wave of attackers is approaching and two of Caterina’s children seem to have been taken away. Later, the Orsi brothers, Checco and Ludovico, come to ask Caterina to give them her husband’s map and the Piece of Eden in return for her children. She is distressed, but does not give in to their demands and sends the assassin to rescue her children instead.


Checcomate

Ezio is just dying to find someone to fight, so he hops onto his horse and goes to hunt the children’s captors. Whilst he is at the top of a tower with his blade hidden in Ludovico’s chest, Checco attacks Forlì again and rides away with the Piece of Eden. Ezio returns the children to their mother and hears the news. He goes after Checco, lands the blade inside his throat and retrieves the pouch with the Piece of Eden once again, although he gets hurt in the process. The assassin falls down on the floor, and the apple is taken away from him.


Some days later, Caterina is relieved to see Ezio open his eyes again. He is able to remember that the Piece of Eden was taken by a monk with a missing finger and wants to go after him. Caterina gives him her husband’s map and sends him to the monastery. With the map, Ezio is able to find the last seal to the assassins’ vault and so obtains Altaïr’s armour. He puts it on and travels to his destination in the wetlands to find the abbey.


Far from the tree

Ezio storms into the monastery, but he does not find what he came for. He is told that Father Girolamo Savonarola has a missing finger, but has now left the Romagna and was probably headed to Florence. Ezio waits for almost ten years before returning to Florence, and he has to hide amongst the scholars in order to gain entrance into the city. During this time, Savonarola has taken the city under his iron grip by means of the mind-controlling powers of the Piece of Eden. Macchiavelli meets Ezio to brief him of the situation and tells him that Savonarola has the leaders of Florence under his control.


Since Savonarola is controlling the leaders, and the leaders the people of Florence, the assassins decide to take out the leaders one by one so that the mad monk has no direct control over the people anymore. Ezio starts his grim task, and with each person he kills he realises that their mind was being controlled, making them believe that they were following God’s will instead of that of Savonarola. With the minds of the people free of any corrupt influence, Paola and the volpe lead these people to face their former captor.


Power to the people

When the monk sees all those people approaching he gets out the apple, but Ezio throws a knife at the artifact to make him drop it. A soldier finds it and runs away with it, but still the assassin manages to get it back. He then turns his attention to Savonarola, who has been dragged away by the people and is now tied to the stake in the middle of the piazza, with the mob getting ready to burn him. The assassin decides to kill him first and spare him from this terrible faith. He then turns to the people and tells them that they are all free to choose how to live their lives.


With the Piece of Eden back in their hands, the assassins now prepare to find the hidden vault. They gather all the Codex pages and meet inside the Tuscan villa in order to make sense out of them. The pages contain some enlightening words from Altaïr, but when pieced together the assassins find out that the vault is in Rome, and the Pope already has the other Piece of Eden in his hand in the form of a staff.


In bocca al lupo

1499 is the year when the assassins finally decide to strike their target in Rome. Ezio stands in a quiet alleyway opposite the Sistine Chapel, contemplating his next move. He then climbs from the side of Castel Sant’Angelo and makes his way inside the Vatican City walls. The assassin has to fight a number of Swiss guards before he can get inside the Sistine Chapel, where the Pope is preaching to his followers. He quietly sneaks closer on top of the scaffolding that was placed on his right path, and when the moment is right jumps upon his target with the hidden blade ready to strike.


As Ezio prepares to stick his blade inside Rodrigo’s throat, the holy man uses his magic staff to fight back. He gets back upon his feet after he was thrown to the floor by the assassin's surprise attack to show that he is ready for a fight. Ezio uses the Piece of Eden to multiply himself for this fight, but the Pope is able to see through his trickery and stop him. The tides are turned in the Templar’s favour, who blocks the assassin, takes the apple and stabs him with a dagger. He then turns around and walks inside the vault.


WTF?

However, Ezio is able to get up and follow Rodrigo. In the inner chamber, he tries to stop the false prophet again. This time they end up in a fist fight, and Ezio is able to beat his opponent. He then proceeds to where the staff and apple have been carefully placed by Rodrigo and is now able to see the light. The door to the vault opens before him and his curiosity takes him inside.


There a woman surrounded with dazzling light all over her image, greets Ezio and asks him to show her the apple. When he asks her who she is, the woman responds that one of the names that she was known with is Minerva. The astounded assassin then asks her if she is a God, and she simply responds that her people were the ones that came before, widely more advanced than the human civilisation. Minerva then states that humans may never be ready to understand her people, but they must understand her warning. She then goes on to reveal that her people gave life to the humans, but in return they fought back until the whole world was on fire. These so called Gods started to rebuild the world again from the ashes, but to Ezio’s surprise, Minerva now calls out to Desmond and asks him to prevent the end of the world once again.


Suddenly the Templars invade the assassin’s present day hideout, led by Warren Vidic. Desmond and Lucy go ahead to confront him. They have to fight his guards, and when he sees his plan foiled, Vidic climbs upon a van and runs off. Lucy tells her three companions to prepare to move, just saying that they are headed north. During their trip, they have some time to contemplate what they just saw, and what lies ahead of them next.