- "For centuries we have focused on the trappings of power: the titles of nobility, the offices of Church and State. Caught in the very lie we crafted to shepherd the masses... In the wake of revolution, the Order will adapt. They will retreat to the shadows and we will, at last, be the secret masters that we were meant to be."
- ―Germain to Élise de la Serre, regarding the Templars' agenda, 1794.[src]
After experiencing visions of the First Civilization and reading the Codex Pater Intellectus, he took it upon himself to reform the Order, which he believed had grown corrupt after aligning itself with the aristocracy for centuries. Inspired by Grand Master Jacques de Molay, Germain sought to carry out the "Great Work" and create a capitalist society in which the Templars could more easily control the populace.
François de la Serre, who was Grand Master of the Parisian Rite at the time, considered Germain's ideas too radical, and exiled him from the Order. Undeterred, he began turning de la Serre's advisors to his cause, forming a radical faction within the Templar Order. In 1789, he had de la Serre assassinated in the Palace of Versailles, leaving most of the Order under his control.
As the French Revolution broke out, Germain and his followers exploited discontent with the monarchy and sought to create as much chaos as possible. In this way, the aristocracy and clergy would be crushed and the populace would fear the idea of rising against the establishment again. The Templars hoarded food and framed the royal family, eventually leading to the execution of King Louis XVI in 1793. Under the Templar Maximilien de Robespierre, the Reign of Terror began, bringing the revolution to a violent and chaotic climax.
Along the way, Élise de la Serre, the daughter of the deceased Grand Master, opposed Germain. She and her lover, the Assassin Arno Dorian, eventually eliminated Germain's followers and tracked him down to the Temple in 1794. After the Grand Master killed Élise with a Sword of Eden, he himself was killed by Arno. In his final moments, Germain triggered a vision, telling the Assassin that his goals of reforming society and the Templar Order had already succeeded, even if he would not live to see the changes.
- "Great towers of gold, cities shining white as silver. I thought I was going mad. Then I found this place - Jacques de Molay's vault. Through his writings, I understood. [...] I was connected to Grand Master de Molay. That I had been chosen to purge the Order of the decadence and corruption that had set in like rot. And to wash the world clean, and restore to the truth the Father of Understanding intended. [...] Prophets are seldom appreciated in their own time. Exile and abasement forced me to reevaluate my strategy. Find new avenues for the realization of my purpose."
- ―Germain on his visions and expulsion, 1794.[src]
Germain was born a Sage in 1726 to Thomas Germain and Anne-Denise Gauchelet. The Germains were a distinguished family of silversmiths, and Germain was raised and trained by his father to continue the family business. He became the royal silversmith and sculptor to the King of France, and employed dozens of workers in a workshop at the Louvre that produced thousands of pieces. Since his recorded death in 1791 however, most of his works works have either been stolen, lost or melted down.
After a poorly-defined scandal in 1765, possibly involving the violation of guild regulations, Germain lost the prestigious position as royal silversmith and sculptor and was kicked out of his workshop in the Louvre.
At some point in his life, Germain became a member of the Parisian Rite of the Templar Order, rising to become the lieutenant of Grand Master François de la Serre. He crafted silver pins for members of the Order, and was trained in swordsmanship by fellow Templar Frederick Weatherall. Germain eventually began experiencing visions of the First Civilization. Initially, he believed that he was descending into insanity, but realized the truth of his visions upon the discovery of the Codex Pater Intellectus written by Jacques de Molay, in the vault beneath the Parisian Temple.
Through the readings of de Molay, Germain learned that the two of them were connected somehow, and became determined to shape the destiny of the human race in the way envisioned by de Molay. He believed that by stripping the aristocracy of power and giving it to the middle class, he would create a capitalist society which could be easily controlled by the Templars.
As Germain told the Order of these ideas, several Templars began to support them. De Molay was already a controversial figure among the Templars, and voicing support for him was considered heresy. Wishing to end the dissension, de la Serre pleaded with Germain to renounce his radical notions. As the latter refused, the heavy-hearted Grand Master decided to expel him from the Order.
At a ceremony, de la Serre announced Germain's expulsion and claimed that anyone offering relief to him would be expelled as well. Embittered, Germain deemed the Order corrupt and having forgotten its original purpose, and requested aid from Marie Lévesque, one of the Grand Master's advisors who had protested the expulsion. He also recruited other individuals who were dissatisfied with the state of living in France, and the French monarchy itself.
The new Grand Master
- Germain: "I tried to make him see. But the Order had become corrupt, clutching at power and privilege for their own sake."
- Arno: "But you could set it right, is that it? All by killing the man in charge."
- Germain: "No, de la Serre's death was only the first stage."
- —Germain speaking with Arno Dorian about de la Serre's death, 1793.[src]
To take control of the Templar Order from de la Serre, Germain orchestrated his assassination. Crafting a silver pin laced with poison to serve as the murder weapon, Germain entrusted two of his followers, Charles Gabriel Sivert and the Roi des Thunes, with killing de la Serre.
On the day where the assassination was to take place, Germain was briefly encountered by Arno Dorian, though both were unaware of each other's identities. Arno mistook Germain's carriage for François de la Serre's, when he attempted to deliver a message from a Templar loyalist, Chrétien Lafrenière, to the Grand Master.
Both Sivert and the Roi des Thunes succeeded in assassinating de la Serre, and reported to Germain. With the Grand Master dead, Germain gained control of a majority of the Templar Order. However, he was still opposed by Lafrenière and de la Serre's daughter, Élise.
In March 1791, Arno, now an Assassin, snuck into Germain's workshop to ask him questions behind de la Serre's murder.
Since the Assassin did not recognize him, Germain omitted the fact that he was once a Templar himself, and pretended to be a simple silversmith who had unintentionally discovered Chrétien Lafrenière's secrets while working for him, and had became a prisoner in his own shop as a result. Germain catered to Arno's desire for revenge, and falsely accused Lafrenière of ordering the creation of the poisoned pin, as well as plotting something ominous in Les Halles.
At the Hôtel de Beauvais, Germain met with several of his Templar subordinates. Lévesque informed him of the success of inflating the price of grain, to further stir the populace to revolt, but noted that the process would take too long. However, Germain said that it would be a small price to pay for successfully discrediting King Louis XVI, as he desired to see the King condemned before his death, rather than hailed as a martyr, despite Frédéric Rouille's suggestions of simply assassinating the monarch.
Aloys la Touche informed Germain of the deaths of Sivert and the Roi des Thunes, though the Grand Master remained confident that their demise would not hinder his plans for long. Rouille also expressed concern that Élise may have rallied the moderate members of the Order against them, but Germain revealed that he had already lured her into a trap, and that Lafrenière was no longer a factor in their plans.
Unbeknownst to the Templars, Arno had overheard their plot, and headed off to save Élise. By the time Arno had discovered Germain's deception from Élise herself, the Grand Master had already abandoned his residence, knowing that his act would not hold up for long.
Execution of the King
- "The King is... merely a symbol. A symbol can inspire fear, and fear can inspire control - but men inevitably lose their fear of symbols. As you can see. This was the truth de Molay died for: the Divine Right of Kings is nothing but the reflection of sunlight upon gold. When the Crown and Church are ground to dust, we who control the gold will decide the future. (Jacques de Molay, you are avenged.)"
- ―Germain to Arno during King Louis XVI's execution, 1793.[src]
On 21 January 1793, Germain was present at the Place de la Concorde, where Louis XVI was about to be executed. The Grand Master confronted Arno once again, proclaiming the rebirth of the Templar Order. Germain mentioned to Arno that the reason for de la Serre's murder was to rid the Templars of corruption. He also stated that the Grand Master's murder was only the first phase of the Order's reconstruction, and that it would truly be reborn with the death of King Louis.
Germain then revealed his plans as Louis XVI was placed on the guillotine. By stripping France's upper class and aristocracy of power and giving it to the rising middle class, it would be far easier for the Templars to gain control of the populace. Once the King was beheaded, Germain proclaimed that Jacques de Molay had been avenged, then made his escape, leaving Arno to deal with his subordinates.
With the death of Louis XVI, Germain entrusted the control of the newly founded French Republic to one of his followers, Maximilien de Robespierre. Robespierre would enforce Templar subjugation over the people in France through the Reign of Terror, carrying out mass executions of those accused of treason and moderatism.
- Élise: "Did you think this day would never come? That because François de la Serre had no sons to avenge him, that your crime would go unanswered?"
- Germain: "Revenge, is it? Your vision is as narrow as your father's."
- ―Élise and Germain's confrontation in the Temple, 1794.[src]
During the Reign of Terror, Germain secluded himself within the Temple, which was heavily guarded with no weak points. While there, Germain attempted to commune with de Molay and made use of a Sword of Eden.
After the fall of Robespierre's regime, knowledge of Germain's base of operations at the Temple was exposed to Arno and Élise, as each infiltrated the structure on their own and attempted to assassinate the Grand Master. It was during this endeavor that Germain was tracked by Arno to the Temple's rooftop. As the Assassin attempted to kill him, he soon discovered that the Templar wielded the Sword of Eden.
Germain retreated to the vault beneath the Temple, in preparation for the final confrontation. Arno requested that Élise distract Germain, which she successfully did. As she confronted the Grand Master over the nature of the Templar Order, the distraction allowed Arno to land three successive strikes. Prompted to use the Sword's power, Germain blasted Arno away with the artifact's power, pinning the Assassin under a large chunk of debris.
Faced with the choice of helping Arno free himself or preventing Germain's escape, Élise initially went to aid Arno, but soon changed her mind, engaging in a duel with the Templar. In the exchange of blows, Élise managed to damage the Sword of Eden enough for it to destabilize, with the resulting explosion injuring Germain and killing Élise. Just prior to the blast, Arno succeeded in breaking free, but arrived too late to save Élise.
- "Bravo. You've slain the villain. That is how you've cast this little morality play in your mind, isn't it? [...] At the moment, I'm bleeding out on the floor of the Temple. But it seems the Father of Understanding has seen fit to give us this time to talk. [...] Think on this: the march of progress is slow, but it is inevitable as a glacier. All you have accomplished is to delay the inevitable. One death cannot stop the tide. Perhaps it will not be my hand that shepherds mankind back to its proper place - but it will be someone's. Think on this when you remember her."
- ―Germain's final words, 1794.[src]
Mournfully, Arno looked over to the body of his dead love, before turning to assassinate Germain with his Hidden Blade. As Germain bled out, he spoke to Arno through a vision, telling the Assassin of his memories of the First Civilization, and the motive of his purge of the Templar Order. Germain further explained his reasons for influencing the revolution to become chaotic and violent. Before succumbing to his wounds, Germain told Arno that his death would do little to stop his plans, Élise's death an example of this.
In 1808, Arno entered the Temple once more, accompanied by Napoleon Bonaparte. They discovered Germain's corpse which had long since decayed, and buried his skeletal remains in the Parisian catacombs.
Being a Sage, Germain was important to both Templars and Assassins of the 21st century. Finding information regarding the whereabouts of his body through the memories of Arno was an important goal of the modern Assassins, but no recovery effort was made after they had learned that his remains were poorly buried in a Parisian catacomb, and would have been badly decomposed by modern times.
Even with Germain's death, his long-term goal of reimposing order amongst the violent anarchy in France would eventually succeed in a way. In 1799, the revolution orchestrated by him enabled Napoleon Bonaparte to establish himself as the new leader of France and re-establish about law and order across the nation.
Personality and characteristics
As a reincarnation of Aita, a member of the First Civilization, Germain displayed contempt towards humanity, believing that it should revert back to being the subjugated race they had been millenia before. His beliefs were also influenced by the ideologies of Jacques de Molay, a fellow Sage.
Germain was extremely ruthless, willing to go to great lengths to see his ambitions fulfilled, and humanity returned to the role of slaves. This was seen through the turmoil of the French Revolution, where his machinations caused millions of civilians across France to starve, and thousands more to die under the Reign of Terror. He also expressed little remorse for the deaths of his Templar followers, even forsaking them if they were ever to outlive their usefulness, as seen with Robespierre. Germain believed these sacrifices to be for the greater good.
He cared little for his own well-being, calmly embracing death in his conversation with Arno. This was due to his confidence that others would carry on his ideals in the future, and the knowledge that as a Sage, he would be born again.
Equipment and skills
As a Sage, Germain was capable of using First Civilization artifacts without suffering from any detrimental effects. He was able to wield the Sword of Eden with great proficiency, accessing its abilities of physical displacement, creating illusions and projecting energy with relative ease. Germain could use the sword as a melee weapon as well, being able to hold his own in a sword fight against Élise, as he was trained in the art of swordsmanship by Frederick Weatherall, making him a highly skilled swordsman.
As a silversmith, Germain was a skilled craftsman, and was able to manufacture silver pins used as symbols of recognition within the Templar Order. These pins could be used for offensive purposes, and laced with poisons if needed.
Germain was a master of manipulation, able to recruit certain individuals by exploiting their dissatisfaction with the corruption in France, such as Aloys la Touche and Frédéric Rouille. Likewise, Germain was able to take advantage of Arno's desire for redemption for de la Serre's death to eliminate Chrétien Lafrenière.
- According to Bishop, Germain was the second known Sage who became a Templar Grand Master, following Jacques de Molay, as Abstergo Industries suggested.
- Shaun Hastings claimed to have one of Germain's silver antiques in his possession, which he used as a paperweight.
- During the execution of King Louis XVI, Germain exclaimed "Jacques de Molay, you are avenged." A recurring real life Templar legend states that during the execution, a French Freemason either dipped his hand in the king's blood or held the king's head and yelled "Jacques de Molay, thou art avenged!"
- Germain is only partly based on the French Silversmith. His character, profile and nature as the Sage derives from the Comte de Saint Germain, a courtier whose tall claims and urban legends made him popular in the 19th Century occult as a supposed immortal, who was formerly the Wandering Jew and who prophesied the French Revolution.
- Germain's plot to usher the French Revolution to unleash vengeance on the royal family for the purge of the Templars, to manipulate the people to chaos and violence by instigating hatred against Church and Crown derives from a real-life book by Augustin Barruel.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Assassin's Creed: Unity – Database: François-Thomas Germain
- ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 2.23 2.24 2.25 2.26 Assassin's Creed: Unity
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Assassin's Creed: Unity novel
- ↑ Assassin's Creed Unity: Abstergo Entertainment - Employee Handbook