|This article is about the Assassin. You may be looking for Desmond, the dog.|
Desmond Miles (1987 – 2012) was a member of the Assassins and a descendant of numerous familial lines that had sworn an allegiance to the Assassins, including individuals such as Aquilus, Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad, Ezio Auditore, Edward Kenway, and Ratonhnhaké:ton. He was also the son of the Mentor William Miles and unknowingly the father of Elijah, a young Sage.
By age 16, Desmond became tired of living in hiding and aspired to pursue his own dreams. Using the minimal training of Assassin skills he had obtained from his father, Desmond fled from the Assassin compound he had grown up in and managed to travel from South Dakota to New York City, where he found employment as a bartender in the Bad Weather nightclub.
In September 2012, Desmond was kidnapped and incarcerated by Abstergo Industries, a Templar organization, and forced into a machine called the Animus to relive the genetic memories of his ancestor, Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad. It was Abstergo's aim to acquire a map that detailed many "Pieces of Eden" spread across the Earth, which Desmond was reluctantly successful in doing. Following this, he managed to escape Abstergo with the help of Lucy Stillman, an undercover Assassin, and joined an Assassin cell in Italy, which consisted of herself, Shaun Hastings and Rebecca Crane. Utilizing an upgraded Animus of Rebecca's construction, Desmond relived the memories of Ezio Auditore, in order to improve upon his newly obtained skills.
Eventually, with the knowledge gained from Ezio's memories, Desmond and his fellow Assassins obtained the location of Ezio's Apple of Eden, which was located in a vault underneath the Colosseum. Though successful in obtaining the artifact, Desmond's body was taken over by Juno, a member of the First Civilization, and was made to stab Lucy after Juno revealed her to be a traitor. As a result of the shock, Desmond fell into a coma and was placed in the Black Room, the safe mode of the Animus, in an attempt to stabilize his condition. With help from the virtual construct of Clay Kaczmarek, "Subject 16" of Abstergo's Animus Project, Desmond was able to regain consciousness, and found himself located in the state of New York once more, this time with Rebecca, Shaun, and his father, William.
While in the Grand Temple, Desmond relived the memories of Haytham Kenway and Ratonhnhaké:ton to find the key to the sanctum containing the device needed to prevent a devastating solar flare. He also undertook field missions to retrieve power sources for the Temple, coming into conflict with Daniel Cross. After his father was captured, Desmond rescued him from Abstergo's Roman facility and assassinated Cross and Warren Vidic in the process.
After finding the key, Desmond opened the sanctum but discovered he had been misled. It was made known that the device would save the world, but also unleash Juno, who had been imprisoned because of her hatred for humanity; using the device would also claim Desmond's life. Regardless, Desmond chose to sacrifice himself for humanity's survival, while expressing faith that his fellow Assassins would find a way to stop the new threat.
- 1 Biography
- 2 Postmortem and legacy
- 3 Ancestry
- 4 Personality and characteristics
- 5 Equipment and skills
- 6 Behind the scenes
- 7 See also
- 8 Appearances
- 9 References
- "You have any idea what it's like to be trapped in a place, knowing there was a whole world out there I'd never get to see?"
- ―Desmond to Lucy about his childhood.[src]
Desmond was born in an Assassin hideout near to the Black Hills, west of Rapid City, in the United States. Known as "the Farm", the hideout was an off-the-grid compound with a population of around thirty people, all leading a nomadic lifestyle.
Desmond trained along with the other children of the Farm under the supervision of William Miles, his father, which proved to be extremely intense, often scaring him. He was also instructed to always be wary of their enemies, though as he grew older, Desmond became bored by the war stories of the Assassins and Templars, and underestimated Abstergo's influence over the world as a result. Finally concluding his parents to be little more than conspiracy freaks, he decided to leave the compound.
On his sixteenth birthday, Desmond ran away from the Farm. His training proved to be useful, as he was able to outrun and avoid the Assassins who had pursued after him. Following this, Desmond traveled through "the badlands" and hitch-hiked for some time, until he eventually came across a person who advised him to go to New York City, prompting him to leave for the metropolis and blend into the crowds. In 2005, Desmond also met a woman with whom he unknowingly conceived a child.
Desmond eventually gained employment as a bartender at Bad Weather, most likely due to his looks. While he worked there, his specialty drink was the "Shirley Templar", a Shirley Temple cocktail with gin. Wanting to avoid the Assassins, Desmond never used his real name, and made sure to only use cash to purchase items. Over time, he tried to start a new life, but would sometimes begin to miss his family and old friends.
Unfortunately for him, Desmond was eventually found by Abstergo, after being traced through a fingerprint which was needed for his motorcycle license. Subsequently, he was kidnapped by the Templars, who brought him to an Abstergo laboratory in Italy. The company then went about erasing all evidence of his abduction.
Captured by Abstergo
- "I'm not an Assassin... not any more."
- ―Desmond to Warren Vidic.[src]
On 1 September 2012, Desmond was abducted by Abstergo agents at the command of Master Templar Daniel Cross. The next day, after awakening at an Abstergo facility in Italy, he was held captive for use as a test subject in the Animus, a device that could read the memories of people's ancestors through the "genetic memory" passed down through their descendants' DNA.
At first, Warren Vidic attempted to pry the information he wanted from Desmond's mind, who was out cold, but he was met with failure. When Desmond came to, he angrily claimed to be nothing more than a bartender, but Warren revealed that Abstergo knew of his history as an Assassin, forcing Desmond to finally admit his past life.
Warren and his assistant, Lucy Stillman, told Desmond that they were trying to access a certain memory of his ancestor, but Desmond's subconscious was resisting their efforts. Warren warned Desmond that if he refused to co-operate with their efforts, they would induce him into a coma, continue their work, and leave him to die when they had finished. Without much of a choice, Desmond agreed to help them and they became temporarily partners.
From that point on, Desmond was made to explore through the genetic memories of Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad – a Syrian man who was a member of the Assassin Order during the High Middle Ages. For several days, Desmond did so under the Templar's watchful eye, but during the nights, he was anonymously given a code that allowed him to open the door to the bedroom provided for him, which granted him the ability to explore the laboratory that he was being held in. As he was presented with the opportunity, Desmond used it to access the Animus' computer, and, after he had stolen Warren's access pen, gain access to Warren's personal computer as well.
Through reading private emails, Desmond learned much about Abstergo, as well as the Animus subject that had preceded him, Subject 16, who was noted to have suffered from the "Bleeding Effect", a drastic symptom induced due to prolonged exposure to the Animus. Eventually, on Lucy's prompting, the Assassins attempted to liberate him, with the gunfire of their assault being heard through an intercom device.
After the rescue attempt failed, Warren boasted that those Assassins were, in fact, the last of the group Desmond had escaped from, and that their desert hideout had been previously destroyed. When Warren left, however, Lucy reassured Desmond that that compound had been found deserted and that his parents had "probably escaped". During this discussion, Lucy revealed herself to be an undercover member of the Assassins.
Subsequently, Desmond eventually achieved Warren's goal and discovered the locations of numerous Pieces of Eden. Following this, three executives of Abstergo Industries ordered for Desmond's execution, but his life was saved by Lucy's intervention, as she asked them to keep Desmond alive in order to re-access his memories if necessary.
After the executives left, Desmond realized that he was able to use "Eagle Vision", an ability that he shared with Altaïr, which he had picked up through the Bleeding Effect. Using it for the first time, he perceived a strong interpretation of Warren and Lucy's true allegiances, as well as countless scrawled messages and puzzles on the walls and floor of the main laboratory and his own quarters.
Escape to the Hideout
After Desmond spent some time alone in the laboratory, Lucy suddenly returned, covered in blood and demanding that Desmond was to get into the Animus before Abstergo discovered what she had done. Desmond, rather confused, agreed to her request and managed to synchronize himself with the closest genetic match between him and Subject 16, which was recorded on the Animus' memory core. Inside the Animus, Desmond experienced the birth of another of his ancestors, Ezio Auditore da Firenze, before he was pulled out abruptly, so that the two could both make their escape.
The pair were quickly spotted by Abstergo's security, though Lucy was able to react fast enough to lock a door and keep the guards from reaching them. Unfortunately, they were forced into an engagement with two more security personnel, who Lucy promptly dealt with, astonishing Desmond and allowing them to continue undetected. The two soon entered an elevator, which led down to a large open room filled with office blocks, that housed a large number of Animi.
As Desmond followed Lucy through the maze-like walkways between the blocks, in order to avoid the guard patrols, they eventually reached the back of the room. Lucy attempted to enter a code into the locked door of another elevator, but it was rejected, prompting Desmond to instinctively call upon his recently acquired Eagle Vision. Seeing the buttons necessary for the code, Desmond successfully unlocked the door on his third try. However, once they had both reached the car park underneath the building, the two were halted by more of Abstergo's guards, but were able to defeat them and escape.
Arriving at one of the Assassins' hideouts, Desmond was introduced to two more Assassins – Shaun Hastings and Rebecca Crane – who had previously worked with Lucy. Lucy told Desmond that they wanted him to be trained as an Assassin, which could be achieved in a matter of days, thanks to the Bleeding Effect. Doing so required him to learn through the ancestor that he had matched up with through Subject 16, being Ezio Auditore, and Desmond agreed to help almost immediately, which surprised Lucy. After this, he was quickly plugged into the Animus 2.0, where he began to relive Ezio's memories.
After learning the skills of an Assassin through Ezio's lifetime and the Animus, Desmond was retracted from the machine, partly to test his retention of the techniques he had learned, but also to prevent the mental degradation that Subject 16 had suffered from being placed in the Animus for an extended period of time.
Instructing him with initiating security protocols around the hideout, Lucy left it to Desmond to figure out how to reach them through the use of his Eagle Vision and newfound freerunning skills. Just as he began, however, he started suffering vivid hallucinations of the Third Crusade era. At first, the visions were short, and were nothing to worry about, but after completing the task, Desmond was incapacitated as the visions became more real.
Taken back to medieval Acre by the Bleeding Effect, Desmond once again followed the memories of Altaïr, though this time, without using the Animus. Through the vision, he discovered that Altaïr and Maria Thorpe had conceived a child, Sef, who was to be Desmond's direct ancestor after Altaïr.
The next day, Desmond had recovered from the experiences and returned to the Animus, though he neglected to tell his Assassin teammates about what had happened. From there, he continued to watch the genetic memories of Ezio Auditore, despite at one time being thrown out by "corrupted memory sequences".
Eventually, the team learned that Ezio's nemesis, Rodrigo Borgia, had become Pope Alexander VI in 1492, in order to gain access to both another Piece of Eden, the Papal Staff, and the Vault underneath the Vatican. As Ezio entered this Vault, he was confronted by the hologram of a "goddess", who called herself Minerva.
Minerva warned the Assassins of the end of the world, recounting the story of the war between "The Ones Who Came Before" and their human subjects. The Assassins were shocked when Minerva addressed Desmond by name, confusing even Ezio, and revealed that she was in fact talking to Desmond through Ezio. Mere moments after, Desmond was quickly pulled out of the Animus, and upon seeing the three rushing to collect their belongings, he realized that the Templars had found their location.
As he climbed out of the Animus, Lucy tossed Desmond a Hidden Blade with the Assassin insignia on the bracer, and asked for his assistance in covering their escape. Making their way into the warehouse, they were confronted by Vidic and several Abstergo security guards, all of whom were intent on reclaiming Desmond.
Together, the two eliminated all of the Templars that assaulted them, with Desmond – now fully synchronized with Ezio and possessing all of his abilities – masterfully using his Hidden Blade to kill many of the guards himself. With his entourage defeated, Warren was left to confront Desmond on his own, though he opted instead to retreat, before promising that their victory was only temporary.
The four Assassins then fled north, with Desmond being hooked up to the Animus inside the van so that he could continue to search through his memories for anything useful. Meanwhile, the other Assassins began to discuss the nature of Minerva and her speech.
Hiding in Monteriggioni
- "What if I can't stop the visions? How long before I start painting symbols on the walls?"
- ―Desmond to Lucy about the Bleeding effect.[src]
After the Abstergo attack on their warehouse base, the Assassins traveled to Monteriggioni, one of the last Assassin safe-houses in Italy. As the Templars were actively searching for them, and were analyzing the surrounding environment via the use of cell phone towers, the Assassin group were forced to set up their equipment underground, in the Sanctuary located underneath the Villa Auditore.
Whilst searching the grounds of the Villa Auditore for a way into the Sanctuary, Desmond – through the Bleeding Effect – saw a vision of Ezio in the past, who led him to a high, narrow ledge, which he promptly leapt off. Desmond immediately followed suit, resulting in him performing his first ever Leap of Faith into a pile of hay. Desmond and Lucy then made their way to the Sanctuary, through the tunnel that was used by Ezio and the villagers of Monteriggioni during their escape after the Borgia attack on the town in January 1500.
As the two of them passed through the tunnels, Desmond saw more visions, which troubled him, and made him wonder if he would eventually "start painting symbols on the walls". Lucy then scolded him, telling him not to joke about his condition, and reminded him that Subject 16 was dead and that he needed to focus.
When the two reached the Sanctuary, Desmond saw another vision of Ezio, who seemed to have visited it in his old age. Before he opened the door to Mario Auditore's office, Desmond noticed the numbers 1419, 1420, and 1421 written on the walls, which he pointed out to the other Assassins. Shaun theorized that the numbers referred to dates; however, he admitted that he needed to do further research on the matter.
After the team fully set everything up, Desmond was given the responsibility of bringing electricity into the Sanctuary, by inserting power splitters into four electrical power boxes located around Monteriggioni, which would allow them to divert small amounts of power from each source. After that problem was sorted, Desmond continued with his regular Animus sessions.
Obtaining the Apple
- Harlan: "Shit! He's gone into shock!"
- William: "Put him back in the machine, it's the only way to fix this"
- Harlan: "But the Animus did this to him!"
- William: "Am I the expert or not? Do it!"
- —William Miles and Harlan T. Cunningham, regarding Desmond's health, October 2012.[src]
After finishing in the Animus, Desmond and the others learned that the Apple of Eden which Ezio possessed was hidden under the Colosseum. Upon traveling to Rome, the group separated, with Desmond climbing through the ruins of the Colosseum as the others tracked his route above ground. While he headed deeper, Desmond saw several visions of Juno along the way, until he eventually arrived at the Basilica di Santa Maria in Ara Coeli, where he unbarred the door cover for the other Assassins to enter the building.
Upon synchronizing his DNA with a strange pedestal, several levers and structures lowered from the church's ceiling, to which a brief vision of Ezio showed Desmond the way to climb up. Along the way, more visions of Juno appeared, and she explained that the Vaults were made as the only proper places to hide away knowledge. Eventually, Desmond reached a structure with a lever, where he saw a vision of Ezio lowering it. Copying the phantom, Desmond also lowered the lever, which caused another pedestal to rise from the ground, along with a set of poles that Desmond used to make his way down.
Once again synchronizing his DNA with the pedestal, Desmond activated an elevator that took all of the Assassins down to the chamber below, which held the Apple in its center. As it was noted that a free-running course was the key to bridging the gap, Desmond maneuvered his way around the chamber and lowered several lever throughout the course, all the while seeing visions of Juno scattered throughout. Finally, the stairway leading up to the Apple was raised, and the Assassins noticed several symbols being projected around the room as they walked up towards the Piece of Eden.
However, as Desmond took the Apple of Eden from its pedestal, Juno's voice was heard, saying that Desmond's DNA had activated the Apple. Juno then took control of Desmond's body through the Apple, and forced him to stab Lucy in the abdomen with his Hidden Blade.
After collapsing in the Colosseum Vault, Desmond was taken away by the Assassins. Having slipped into shock at the ordeal, his unconscious body was recovered and transported to an unknown location.
During this time, Desmond was placed back into an Animus by William Miles and Harlan Cunningham. In this session, Ezio and Leonardo da Vinci were shown to have discovered a smaller Vault in Rome, and as Ezio's DNA had activated the Vault, a set of coordinates that was intended for Desmond were projected, showing: 43 39 19 N 75 27 42 W. Finally, after reliving more memories, Desmond's condition worsened to the point that he entered into a comatose state.
Exploring the Black Room
- "Right now you should be sitting in a hospital ward, drooling, and chewing on your tongue. For now the Animus is keeping you intact. Keeping all your ancestors from collapsing into one big mess. But if you can't find a synch-nexus, all those personalities will smash together. That won't be pretty."
- ―Clay informing Desmond about his mental state.[src]
Due to the intense mental strain, the exposure to the Apple, and the incident with Lucy which caused Desmond to fall into a coma, William Miles – Desmond's father and the de facto leader of the Assassin Order – ordered Rebecca to place Desmond into the Animus and shut down all of its non-essential functions, stabilizing his condition. As such, this led to Desmond entering the Black Room, a safe mode built into the Animus' core programming.
Upon first awakening on the Animus Island, Desmond was met with a virtual construct of Clay Kaczmarek, Subject 16 of Abstergo's Animus Project. Clay explained that Desmond needed to continue reliving his ancestors' memories until they had nothing left to show him—eventually reaching what Clay called a "Synch Nexus". Once Desmond had located it, the Animus would be able to separate his consciousness from Altaïr and Ezio, and he would be able to wake up.
Clay then coldly remarked that if he hurried, Desmond could make it in time for Lucy's funeral, which bombarded Desmond with flashbacks of the events that transpired in the Colosseum Vault. Desmond felt deep regret for his own actions, but he proceeded to relive the memories of Ezio Auditore, so that he could return to a conscious state.
After completing the first sequence of Ezio's memories, Desmond overheard a conversation between his father and Rebecca. During it, William was examining the Apple, which made Rebecca nervous. However, William reassured her that he did not believe he had the proper genes necessary to use the Apple, with Rebecca following the conversation by guessing that Desmond did.
Desmond was then pulled out of the memory corridor and back to Animus Island, where Clay explained that the Animus had detected him leaving his assigned partition, and had pulled him back to the island, acting as a failsafe program to try to keep his mind intact. Clay also told Desmond that he would keep the Animus distracted, in order to stop the machine from thinking that Desmond was a virus and deleting him.
Whenever he collected enough data fragments scattered across Constantinople, Desmond could enter the core of the Animus and reflect on his own memories—the Farm where he grew up, training as an Assassin, his escape from the Farm, life in New York City, and his eventual capture by Abstergo.
He recalled his relationship with his parents and regretted not listening to them, as well as coming to terms with his role as an Assassin, noting that his easiest days were long gone but that he did not want them anymore.
Between certain sequences, Desmond was pulled out of Ezio's memories, and conversed with Clay upon his return to the Animus Island. The first time they talked with each other, Clay asked Desmond if it was possible that he could go with him once he exited the Animus, and attempt to find another body which he could occupy. However, Desmond hesitantly refused, and Clay remarked that he understood the reason why and lamented on his situation.
Later on, Clay asked Desmond if he regretted anything he had done in his lifetime, like leaving his parents and ignoring his role as an Assassin for so long. In response, Desmond admitted that he wished he had been more patient with his mother and father, as well as confirming to himself that things between him Lucy could have gone differently. Afterwards, Clay thanked him for "making sense".
Being pulled out a third time, Desmond was confronted with the sight of the island disintegrating around him. Clay proclaimed cynically that the Animus had scheduled them for deletion, grabbing onto Desmond as the virtual ground beneath their feet began to fracture.
Desmond was bewildered at both the suddenness of it and whether Clay intended to have both of them die together. He was proven wrong with this doubt, when Clay sacrificed himself, pushing Desmond back through the portal to allow him to relive Ezio's final memories.
- "I know what we need to do."
- ―Desmond, upon awakening from his coma.[src]
When Ezio discovered the Apple of Eden that Altaïr possessed, it began to glow. Ezio, recalling his experience in the Vatican Vault, called out to Desmond, knowing that he would be listening. He urged Desmond to make sense of all the questions and suffering he had been through in his life, while bringing his story to an end and directing Desmond into the Synch Nexus.
It was here Desmond was confronted by another member of the First Civilization: Jupiter. The advanced being explained that the other members of the First Civilization had built Vaults all over the world, each of them researching different methods of salvation from the impending solar flares. Each Vault's discoveries were transmitted to the Grand Temple (located in modern upstate New York), where Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva sorted through what the others had found. In all, six solutions were tried and tested, and although they failed, a major breakthrough appeared to be emerging. Unfortunately, before they could reach this conclusion, a massive solar flare struck the Earth, killing almost the entire First Civilization. Less than 10,000 humans lived, and fewer members of First Civilization remained, though both races worked together to rebuild mankind following this disaster.
Jupiter then charged Desmond with a mission: to visit the Grand Temple. He told Desmond to take his words, and to "pass them from [his] head into [his] hands", as by doing so he would "open the way". However, he warned Desmond that he was not sure how things would end, for either him or Desmond. Following this, Desmond then woke up from his coma, with Shaun, Rebecca, and his father standing beside him as he sat up from the Animus' seat. After Desmond took in his surroundings, he told the others that he knew what they needed to do next.
Arrival at the Grand Temple
- William: "The Temple triggered a bleeding effect. You collapsed and entered into a fugue state."
- Desmond: "So naturally you dropped me into the Animus instead of... I don't know... making sure I was okay?"
- —William and Desmond arguing after Desmond was put in the Animus.[src]
Desmond, William, Shaun and Rebecca soon arrived at the Grand Temple, where Desmond used the Apple of Eden to unlock the entrance. However, on doing so, the Temple activated the Bleeding Effect within Desmond, which showed him that a key was required to unlock its inner chambers. Due to the event causing Desmond's mind to enter a brief fugue state, he was placed back into the Animus by the Assassin team.
Upon reliving the memories of Haytham Kenway, an 18th-century Templar who once had possession of the key, Desmond learned that ultimately, Haytham's illegitimate son Ratonhnhaké:ton would come into possession of it. Desmond then began to search through his memories in order to find the artifact. Desmond occasionally left the Animus to explore the chambers of the Temple, where he often came across Juno as he had done in the Colosseum Vault. She explained to him the details of the six methods that the First Civilization had tried to use in order to save the world from the previous apocalypse, as well as continuing to urge him towards finding the key.
However, Desmond's experiences in the Animus were interrupted when it was revealed that the Temple's power sources were running low, and that they needed to be replaced. Thanks to Shaun tracking some down, the first power source was found in Manhattan. Desmond journeyed there to carry out his first proper mission as an Assassin, in which he climbed a skyscraper and parachuted from a crane to another building, where the power source was located. Whilst there, he encountered the Templar operative Daniel Cross, whom he disarmed and then knocked out in order to escape.
After further exploring the Temple, Desmond came to realize that whatever was waiting for the Assassins beyond the door would ultimately benefit Juno in some way, though as Desmond was unsure how it would do so, he warned the others to "play it safe". Desmond also revealed to the others that when Juno appeared to him in the Colosseum Vault, he was shown a vision that showed that should Lucy have been kept alive, she would have taken the Apple of Eden to Abstergo for utilization in the Eye-Abstergo satellite, though it would ultimately fail. Because of this, Desmond came to terms with the fact that he was not forced to kill Lucy, but he instead did it to stop the Templars from gaining the upper hand.
Some time later, Shaun discovered a second power source that was in the possession of a wealthy woman who was set to attend a martial arts tournament in São Paulo, Brazil. After arriving at the stadium and sneaking across through the rafters, Desmond arrived at the room the woman was staying in, only to find Daniel Cross once more. After Daniel shot the woman and her husband, he attempted to flee with the power source. However, Desmond managed to catch up to him, eventually besting him in hand-to-hand combat and incapacitating him once more.
With the power source in hand, Desmond fled from the Abstergo agents pursuing him, and escaped the stadium by boarding a train. He and his team subsequently left Brazil on board the Altaïr II, and returned to the Grand Temple. Soon after the team's return to the Temple, Shaun located a third power source in a museum in Cairo, Egypt. However, as the team's deadline of 21 December was rapidly approaching, and Desmond had yet to locate the key to the Temple door, William went to retrieve the artifact in Desmond's stead.
Rescuing his father
- William: "You never should have come here. You put everything on the line - for, what? So you could rescue your father?"
- Desmond: "Yeah."
- —William and Desmond, upon William's rescue.[src]
After Desmond experienced more of Ratonhnhaké:ton's memories, the Assassins were sent a video message by Warren Vidic, who explained that Abstergo agents had intercepted William at the museum and brought him to Abstergo's Roman facility. Vidic stated that in order to let his father free, Desmond would need to hand over the Apple of Eden. Soon after, Desmond traveled to the facility with Shaun and Rebecca.
Upon his arrival at the building, Desmond was offered a peaceful trade-off by Vidic over the intercom, but he refused. Desmond then fought security guards as he made his way to the building's upper floors, eventually arriving at the Animus room he had been held captive in, months before. There, Daniel Cross yet again confronted Desmond, ordering that he hand over the Apple. Before Daniel could shoot Desmond however, he suffered from the Bleeding Effect triggered by the Apple, causing him to suddenly speak in Russian. Panicked, Daniel fled and Desmond gave chase. Eventually, the two ended up in the room for the Templars' Animi Training Program, as Desmond caught up to Cross and assassinated him, and retrieved his gun.
Desmond proceeded to ride an elevator up to the fifth floor, where Vidic's office was located, killing any security guards that crossed his path. As Desmond made his way towards the office, Vidic explained his anger over intercom, stating that Daniel was like a son to him, and that Desmond and the Assassins only took what did not belong to them, such as the Apple of Eden and Lucy Stillman's life. Eventually, Desmond made his way to Vidic's office, where William was detained. After Vidic told Desmond to give him the Apple, Desmond used it to control the security guards in the room, forcing one to shoot and kill Vidic before then influencing them all to shoot themselves.
After freeing his father and hugging him, Desmond took the third power source and left the building, using the Apple to cover them. Once he arrived back at the Temple, he placed the power source in its slot, received the details of the last two solutions the First Civilization attempted, and then re-entered the Animus.
- "You know it's true. It's already started. I need to do this now. So go! GO!"
- ―Desmond's final words, to his father.[src]
After reliving more of Ratonhnhaké:ton's memories, Desmond learned that the Assassin eventually buried the key to the Grand Temple's barrier outside of the Davenport Homestead manor in Massachusetts. The team traveled there and retrieved it from Connor Davenport's grave, before they returned to the Temple. Using the key to open the final gate, Desmond, William, Shaun and Rebecca proceeded into the Temple's deepest chambers.
Upon arriving in the central room, which contained a large orb set in a pedestal, the Assassins were greeted by Juno, who stated that should Desmond touch the orb, the world would be saved. However, immediately following this, Minerva appeared, urging Desmond not to touch it. She explained that Juno had previously tried to use the First Civilization's technology to conquer the world rather than save it, and that she was sealed inside the Temple so she would not be able to do so. While the device would save the world from the impending solar flare, it would also kill Desmond and release Juno, allowing her to continue her quest to rule over Earth.
Shocked by Minerva's appearance, Juno told her to show Desmond what would happen if the solar flare was not stopped. Minerva stated that while the majority of Earth's population would die, there would be a small amount of survivors. Desmond would become a symbol of love and hope for the new world, similar to Jesus Christ, though following his death, his message would eventually be misinterpreted and corrupted by those who followed him, and lead to war, thus repeating the cycle of religious conflict through history.
Despite this, Minerva pleaded for Desmond to let the world burn instead of saving it and releasing Juno. Desmond stated that if Juno was released, there would still be the slim chance that humanity could stop her, while if the world was allowed to be subject to the natural disaster that the solar flares posed, billions would die, and there would be no hope. Acknowledging Desmond's decision, Minerva stated that the consequences of it were his "to live – and die – with."
With his mind set on his choice, Desmond turned to William, Shaun, and Rebecca, and commanded them to get as far away from the Temple as possible. William pleaded for him to reconsider his decision and find another way instead, but Desmond refused, stating that it was too late to find another option. With this, William, Shaun, and Rebecca hurried to leave.
After the three exited, Desmond walked up to the orb. Juno watched as he touched it with his hand, his body shook violently for several moments and shone a bright gold; though, after a brief time, Desmond fell to the ground, sacrificing his life to protect the planet from the Second Disaster. Later, she was seen walking away from his body, thanking him for releasing her.
Postmortem and legacy
- "I had this colleague. He was our boss's son. I didn't much care for him at the start. Everyone treated him like he was so bloody special. To me, he just wasn't invested in anything that didn't affect him personally. But, I was wrong about him. He became my friend. Put himself through hell. And he saved us all in the end. So I reckon... Well, I can't apologize to him, but I can, I don't know. I can try and live up to his example."
- ―Shaun Hastings reflecting on Desmond, 2015.[src]
Desmond's body was eventually discovered by Abstergo several hours after his death, and an immediate autopsy was performed, with various DNA samples being extracted in the process. Case Fisher, the lead of Abstergo Sample Recovery Unit 3, noted that aside from a severely burned arm and fused bones in the right hand, Desmond's body was in good condition.
Within a year, Desmond's memories were being exploited by Abstergo Entertainment, the multimedia branch of Abstergo Industries, for use in the Sample 17 Project. Many of his ancestors' memories were subsequently explored by Abstergo Entertainment's researchers, including the memories of the sheep farmer Bernard Kenway, and his son Edward - the father of Haytham, and grandfather of Ratonhnhaké:ton.
Data from Desmond's mobile phone was also recovered by Abstergo Entertainment, and stored on their servers. This data included photos of the team and voice memos directed towards his father, revealing Desmond's feelings of regret over leaving the Farm and his acceptance of the role that he had been chosen to play.
By 2015, an Assassin surveillance drone was named in honor of Desmond, alongside other drones, all named after fallen Assassins, and used during the missions coordinated by Bishop. The 'Desmond' drone was later destroyed by Templar Juhani Otso Berg beneath the Buckingham Palace vault during the chase for the Shroud of Eden.
Approximately two years after fleeing the Assassins Desmond met a woman with whom he unknowingly sired a son. In 2015 Elijah's mother brought the child to an Abstergo clinic in New York, being unaware of the company's affiliation with, or even the existence of, the Templars. Through analysing the his lineage, Abstergo learned of the boy's parentage; further analysis also revealed that the child was also a Sage. Although Dr. Álvaro Gramática wanted to kidnap the boy and dissect him for experimentation, Isabelle Ardant planned to abduct Elijah when he was older and put him into an Animus for fifty years, so she could study the genetic memories of both his ancestors and Aita. Elijah eventually became a leading member of the Instruments of the First Will only to later betray them. Afterwards, Elijah helped the Assassins in defeating Juno.
By August 2020, Desmond's mind had spent eight years in the Grey. In his time there he was transformed into a being of light calling himself "The Reader". The Assassin Layla Hassan entered the Grey via the Isu simulation device Yggdrasil to find a way to slow the magnetism of the global aurora borealis device. Layla showed the Reader more possibilities and calculations based on timelines he had not explored. The reader then told Layla she had a minute to live as the radiation from the chamber was killing her physical body. Layla then decided to stay in the Grey with the Reader and explore more timelines.
- Shaun: "What is he... is he the chosen one, is that it? Little Jimmy Special or some bollocks like that?"
- William: "I'm afraid not. But what he has is rare. His genes contain high concentrations of First Civilization DNA. Only about one in ten million are so lucky."
- —Shaun and William about Desmond's importance to the Order.[src]
Desmond Miles came about from many different lines of Assassins through both sides of his family. As a result, Desmond had a higher concentration of First Civilization genes in his DNA than most other humans, which allowed him to properly wield the Pieces of Eden, which the First Civilization had initially created so that only their race could use them.
Desmond's most distant known ancestor was Lucius, a Gallo-Roman Assassin. His son and fellow Assassin, Aquilus, was next in line in Desmond's ancestry, alongside Aquilus' wife Valeria. Lucius and Aquilus were also members of the Liberalis Circulum, an Assassin organization, and were closely related to the Ankh, a First Civilization artifact that was wielded by Isis.
During the height of the Hunnic Empire in the 5th century, Desmond had an ancestor believed to be a Sage living in Europe. This was discovered by Abstergo Entertainment when they were researching Desmond's genetic material.
During the High Middle Ages, Umar Ibn-La'Ahad and his wife Maud would become Desmond's ancestors, and were both members of the Levantine Assassins under the leadership of Al Mualim. They had one son, Altaïr, who became one of the most legendary Mentors of the Assassin Brotherhood. Following them, Altaïr and his wife Maria Thorpe conceived two children, Darim and Sef, the latter being Desmond's next ancestor. Next, Sef married and had two daughters, who moved to Alexandria after his death at the hands of Swami. The family line would pass on and eventually become Desmond's maternal line.
Desmond's bloodline also extended to Renaissance Italy, where his ancestor Domenico Auditore founded the House of Auditore in Monteriggioni with his son, Renato. Two generations later, Desmond's ancestor Giovanni Auditore da Firenze was born, a leading figure in the Italian Brotherhood. Giovanni and his wife Maria gave birth to his next ancestor, Ezio, who like Altaïr, would become one of the Brotherhood's most renowned Mentors. Late in his life, Ezio married an Ottoman-born Venetian woman named Sofia Sartor, who became Desmond's ancestor after conceiving one of their children, a daughter named Flavia.
Desmond's ancestors during the 18th century included Edward Kenway, a British pirate and Assassin. Edward and his second wife Tessa fathered a son, Haytham, who became the first Grand Master of the Colonial Templars. Subsequently, Haytham's relationship with a Kanien'kehá:ka tribeswoman named Kaniehtí:io resulted in a son named Ratonhnhaké:ton, who was raised among his mother's tribe. Ratonhnhaké:ton would later become heavily involved in the Assassin-Templar conflict during the American Revolutionary War, fighting for the Assassin Order. Ratonhnhaké:ton would later marry a native woman from a nearby tribe and had a son and two daughters; his youngest child was named Io:nhiòte.
The Auditore and Kenway families eventually intertwined, becoming Desmond's paternal line that passed from William to his son. Other known matrilineal ancestors hailed from a variety of places and eras, including the Ashikaga Shogunate in feudal Japan; 1800's France, in the midst of the Revolution and later during the Napoleonic Wars; 19th century New England and the American Midwest; Taiwan during the Sino-French War; and as recently as the Civil Rights and Peace movements on the American Pacific Coast in the 1960s. All of these were detailed in an internal email sent between high-ranking members of the Abstergo Entertainment development team.
Personality and characteristics
Desmond was a gruff and cynical individual, who held a serious outlook on life. This was mainly due to him learning of the Templars and Assassins in his youth, and even of their connection to Abstergo, as he was educated to their power and reach during his childhood at the Farm. However, he grew to disbelieve this, eventually dismissing what he was taught as paranoid delusions—and his parents as "conspiracy freaks"—until he was kidnapped and brought to Abstergo.
Despite this, he was not above jesting about his situation, and would occasionally crack jokes, although they rarely elicited a good reaction from anyone. After his emancipation from Abstergo, Desmond's demeanor became considerably more relaxed, and he spent a notable amount of time conversing with Lucy. However, he began to question his sanity after experiencing the Bleeding Effect.
After Lucy's death and the discovery of his confinement in the Black Room, Desmond was overcome with grief and remorse. While trapped in the Black Room, he reflected on his life, his family, and his choice to not be an Assassin. However, Desmond eventually found closure while recalling his past and learning from Ezio and Altaïr's final genetic memories; he came to realize that his easier times were over, and that he had to face the fact that he was an Assassin and not to shy away from it.
Upon reuniting with his father, the two had a strained relationship due to William's rather cold-hearted nature along with Desmond's past decisions, leading Desmond to personally refer to him as an 'asshole' and thus the two distanced themselves from each other for some time. Eventually however the two were able to reconcile their differences and began to show more care for each other, as proven when Desmond personally journeyed to Abstergo in order to save his father.
Desmond could also be selfless and brave, an example being his decision to save his father from Abstergo, even if he thought of him as an "asshole", as he put it. He also had little issue with taking lives when necessary, evidenced in his conflicts with Abstergo's guards and when he used the Apple to kill Vidic.
Equipment and skills
- "You've picked up every single one of Ezio's skills. The adoption rate is fantastic! Another day or two and we'll be done."
- ―Lucy Stillman to Desmond Miles regarding his rapid adoption of skills, 2012.[src]
As Desmond was trained during childhood as an Assassin, he was proficient in basic reconnaissance skills, such as eavesdropping and pickpocketing, both of which he used in his first days at Abstergo. After about a week of being forced to relive the memories of his ancestor Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad, Desmond developed an extra-sensory ability dubbed Eagle Vision.
Later on, after willingly exploring the memories of his ancestor, Ezio Auditore, Desmond gained his ancestor's freerunning skills, allowing him to scale structures easily. Additionally, he learned sword-fighting and fist-fighting techniques, including disarming and countering. Not long afterward, he was able to easily fend off a Templar attack on the hideout. After fully synchronizing with Ezio, Desmond was able to use most of his ancestor's abilities in the modern era, most notably freerunning across Monteriggioni and the Colosseum.
After waking up from his coma, Desmond explored the memories of one of his ancestors, Ratonhnhaké:ton, improving his agility when traversing man-made structures and natural elements. As such, he easily outmatched Daniel Cross' freerunning capabilities. Desmond could also blend with crowds more effectively and use foliage to bypass enemies undetected. Most prominently, Desmond gained Ratonhnhaké:ton's deadly combat skills and dual-wielding capabilities, allowing him to engage and triumph over multiple opponents during his mission to rescue his father from Abstergo.
Desmond naturally used a single Hidden Blade prior to his coma, which he used with great proficiency. He was also capable of using a tactical baton in combat during the Templar attack in the Hideout. After his coma, Desmond was now able to rely on his fists and legs alone, and was now wielding a bowie knife and Daniel Cross' MK23 pistol, which Desmond obtained after killing Cross. Desmond managed to use the pistol with great skill and force, without ever losing aim.
By the end of his life, Desmond had become a particularly skilled Assassin, capable of fighting against multiple armed guards with ease, guards who were trained to the point they could easily shatter ballistic glass simply by jumping, a feat Desmond was also capable of. He was able to send his enemies several meters into the air just by kicking them, as his ancestors could in the past.
Behind the scenes
In Ubisoft's 2012 community project Assassin's Creed: Initiates, the final entry "Journey's End" in "The Desmond Files" states that two Abstergo employees found Desmond's body shortly after 3:00 p.m. on December 21, 2012. After removing his broken Hidden Blade and backpack, they put him in a body bag and dragged it out of the chamber. However, in the 2014 video game Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, players can unlock a classified video file on the origins of the Sample 17 Project which contradicts the information from Initiates.
In the video, the recorder instead states that it was Abstergo's three-person Sample Recovery Unit who found Desmond's body some time before 3:00 a.m. on December 23, 2012. The backpack was kept and its contents catalogued for analysis, though no mention is made or image is shown of Desmond's Hidden Blade. Desmond's body is then subjected to a full autopsy before undergoing dissection and extraction of various internal organs, after which it was zipped into a body bag and removed from the Vault.
- The etymology of Desmond's name was stated as "the world" by a Ubisoft developer who worked on the game, possibly deriving it personally and incorrectly from the French words "des mond(es)", or "worlds". The correct, and accepted, academic etymology however is that the name is of Irish Gaelic origin deriving from "Deasmhumhain" meaning "South Munster". Either way, Desmond's name deviates from Altaïr and Ezio, who were both given names with avian meanings; Altaïr, meaning "the flying one", and Ezio, meaning "eagle". Desmond's surname has a more pertinent meaning to the game, as Miles is the Latin word for "soldier"; it has, however, been also suggested to be a derivation of Slavic mil, meaning "grace, gracious".
- Physical description
- Desmond was modeled after Francisco Randez and voiced by Nolan North.
- A "missing-person" poster, purportedly made by Desmond's friends after his disappearance, gave Desmond's physical characteristics as "Age: 25 - Height: 6' - Weight: 195 lbs - Brown hair - Brown eyes".
- The medical report from Abstergo's evaluation of Desmond, dated 3 September 2012, described him as physically fit. His weight, however, was listed as 189 lbs.
- Yet another weight, 170 lbs, is given in the Assassin's Creed game manual.
- Also, while the poster stated that Desmond had brown eyes, his eye color has changed on multiple occasions. In Assassin's Creed they were golden; in Assassin's Creed II they were brown again; and in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, when he entered Subject 16's virtual maze, they were displayed as blue. The latter was best seen during the dialogue between him and Subject 16.
- According to the Assassin's Creed game manual, Desmond was an A+ blood type.
- Desmond's ancestors Altaïr and Ezio both possessed scars identical to Desmond's on their lips.
- In Assassin's Creed and Assassin's Creed II, Desmond's face model matched that of the game's respective protagonist.
- In Assassin's Creed: Revelations, Desmond's scar had been removed, possibly due to an oversight. The scar on his lip was returned in Assassin's Creed III, however.
- Desmond possessed a tattoo on his left forearm, the top part of which resembled an eagle with its wings spread.
- Assassin's Creed
- Desmond's history showed that he never wanted to be an Assassin, nor did he have the skills before Assassin's Creed II to be one; as Shaun put it, he "didn't even try to escape." However, in the graphic novel of Assassin's Creed that was included with the limited edition of the game, he did call himself an Assassin, and showed skills of stealth and lethal prowess.
- Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines
- The Animus machine, during the tutorial segment, referred to the subject viewing the memories as Subject 17, which was the subject number given to Desmond during the events of Assassin's Creed. Although likely, Desmond's presence in Bloodlines is highly debatable, due to time conflicts between Assassin's Creed and Assassin's Creed II.
- Assassin's Creed II
- Desmond acquired a Hidden Blade at the conclusion of Assassin's Creed II. The original owner of the blade was not mentioned, but its bracer was identical to the one that Ezio inherited from his father, Giovanni. However, it was very unlikely that Ezio's bracer was passed down to Desmond, as Ezio replaced it upon traveling to Rome.
- Although only given a Hidden Blade, this was not the only weapon Desmond could use, as he could disarm and use the tactical batons of Abstergo security guards when he defended himself at the Assassin hideout in Rome.
- Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
- Interacting with the statue of Altaïr in the Sanctuary at any point during the storyline would trigger Desmond to say "Hey, wassa-matta-you, Altaïr?", followed by Rebecca reprimanding him for being racist, and then Lucy rebuking them both for wasting time. This could be done as many times as desired after the cutscene, however it lacked any responses from the other Assassins.
- In early images, Desmond was seen with a beard identical to Ezio's. It was unknown why the beard was present then, and why it was later removed.
- Surprisingly, prior to Assassin's Creed III, Desmond's climbing resembled that of Altaïr rather than Ezio's, considering he had spent more time training through Ezio's memories than Altaïr's.
- During the beginning, when Desmond and Lucy were traversing through the tunnels to get to the Sanctuary, the two would engage in a brief argument on how to climb a small wall. Desmond suggested that one of them should give the other a boost into the air to reach a ledge, however, Lucy refused. This could be a reference to the game Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, in which the protagonist, Nathan Drake, who was also voiced by Nolan North, often needed to launch his female companions with a boost to get around certain obstacles. Coincidentally, Lucy and Desmond also began using a catapult jumping technique exactly like the one seen in Uncharted 2, in order to cross gaps in the path to the Sanctuary later on.
- Desmond was practically invincible outside of the Animus, being able to survive falls of any height.
- Despite being equipped with a Hidden Blade throughout the story, Desmond only used it twice; the first in the Auditore Family Crypt, to lower a platform for Lucy, and the second in the Colosseum Vault, to stab Lucy.
- Should full synchronization be achieved in Sequence 8, Desmond would appear as a playable skin in the Animus. The Animus stated that the Desmond model was uploaded from the Animus memory banks, and despite him only wearing one Hidden Blade, double kills were still possible.
- An exact replica of Desmond's shirt (as well as one in an alternative color) was available from the Ubiworkshop online store.
- Desmond's t-shirt design had changed in development of the game. In screenshots, the eagle on his shirt was facing towards Desmond's right, but in-game, the eagle faced towards Desmond's left.
- If Desmond failed to return to the Sanctuary after 10 minutes, he would reappear back there to no ill effect.
- After Desmond was given the watch and earpiece by Lucy, he would continue to wear them even after returning to the Sanctuary for the duration of his stay there. Despite this, the watch and earpiece would still be located on the counter where Desmond received them.
- If medicine had last been used in the Animus and it was saved onto a quick use slot before exiting it, Desmond would be able to have the medicine as well, with no ill effects. The process of using the medicine as Desmond could be repeated until there was no longer any medicine in Ezio's inventory, despite Desmond not being able to injure himself.
- Assassin's Creed: Revelations
- As long as Desmond appeared in his subconscious state, he wore a black hoodie with a white shirt, which was inverted from what he wore in Brotherhood (white hoodie, black shirt). Despite this, the Desmond outfit that could be used within the Animus still depicted the Brotherhood outfit with his facial features from Revelations. However, he no longer wore his courier bag, headset or wristband/watch, and his Hidden Blade appeared to have been removed.
- A replica of the black hoodie that Desmond wore in Revelations was available from the UbiWorkshop site, along with the white hoodie from Brotherhood and two other versions that were not exact replicas.
- While on Animus Island, Desmond could flick his wrist as though he was activating the Hidden Blade, despite him not actually wearing one.
- Desmond's animations were changed in Revelations; instead of using his own animations from Assassin's Creed II and Brotherhood, he shared his animations with Altaïr and Ezio.
- Assassin's Creed III
- When Desmond equipped his Hidden Blade to save his father from Abstergo, he wore it on his right forearm, as opposed to the conventional left forearm. However, as Desmond's Hidden Blade did not pivot like Ratonhnhaké:ton's, it can be presumed that the switch was made to allow Desmond to carry a knife in his left hand.
- While Desmond's hood was down, his hoodie appeared to be completely red on the inside, like it was in Brotherhood and Revelations, however when he wore his hood up, the interior changed to white, with red only lining the edge of the hood.
- Desmond's outfit was altered to depict the end of his red belt hanging loosely, evoking an image similar to that of the sashes worn by his ancestors.
- In The Tyranny of King Washington: The Redemption, a Lucid Memory Fragment of Desmond's death can be found.
- Like in Revelations, instead of using his own animations, in Assassin's Creed III Desmond shares his animations with Haytham Kenway.
- According to Nolan North, the original plan for Desmond's story was that he would appear in six games, using the Animus to acquire the skills of each of his ancestors. By the last game, he would have eventually become "the ultimate Assassin" and be able to time travel back and forth into different eras.
- Assassin's Creed (first appearance)
- Assassin's Creed II
- Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
- Assassin's Creed: Revelations
- Assassin's Creed III
- Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag (mentioned only)
- Assassin's Creed: Initiates
- Assassin's Creed: Syndicate (mentioned only)
- Assassin's Creed: Origins (mentioned only)
- Assassin's Creed: Odyssey (mentioned only)
- Assassin's Creed: Valhalla (as the Reader)
- Assassin's Creed: Initiates
- Assassin's Creed Encyclopedia
- Assassin's Creed: Revelations
- Assassin's Creed: Syndicate
- Assassin's Creed – Modern day
- Assassin's Creed II
- Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
- Assassin's Creed III
- Assassin's Creed: The Essential Guide
- Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
- Assassin's Creed: Syndicate - Database: Reconstructed Data 010
- Assassin's Creed: Uprising
- Assassin's Creed: Valhalla – Modern day
- Assassin's Creed 2: Aquilus
- Assassin's Creed 3: Accipiter
- Assassin's Creed: Unity
- Assassin's Creed: The Secret Crusade
- Assassin's Creed: Forsaken
- Metrocon 2015: Nolan North Friday Panel