- "The people never have the power. Only the illusion of it. And here's the real secret: they don't want it. The responsibility is too great to bear. It's why they're so quick to fall in line as soon as someone takes charge. They want to be told what to do. They yearn for it."
- ―Haytham Kenway, 1781.[src]-[m]
After being sent to the British colonies in America to locate a suspected First Civilization storehouse, Haytham remained and established a permanent organized Templar presence in the colonies. Under his leadership, the Colonial Rite grew exponentially, almost completely destroying their Assassin counterparts, and manipulating the colonial governments at every level.
During this time, he unknowingly sired a son—Ratonhnhaké:ton—with Kaniehtí:io, a Kanien'kehá:ka woman whom he had met during his initial quest for the storehouse. He is an ancestor to Desmond Miles, through the paternal line.
Unbeknownst to him, Haytham was trained to become an Assassin by his father from an early age, and was tutored on how to use a sword, despite barely being six years old. A lonely child, Haytham was home-schooled by "Old" Mr. Fayling, and was not allowed to talk to the children who lived next door, although he did once manage to speak to a neighbor his age, Tom Barrett.
On his eighth birthday, Haytham's family was walking home from a trip to White's Chocolate House on Chesterfield Street, when the group were attacked by a mugger trying to steal Tessa's necklace. Reginald Birch, one of Edward's senior property managers, who was also with them, threatened to kill the man.
However, he was dissuaded by Edward, who was infuriated at Reginald's harsh vigilantism. When Haytham returned home that day, Edward asked his son whether he thought that the thief should have been allowed to go free.
At first, Haytham replied that he initially held feelings to enact revenge but would have offered the man clemency, to which he was presented with a steel short sword by his father. Edward then put the sword away in a secret compartment in the games room, as it was only to be used with his permission.
Losing his father
Haytham continued his training, where Edward encouraged his son to think for himself and dispute others' opinions. Birch became a regular visitor to the Kenways, as he was courting Jennifer. Shortly before Haytham was ten, Birch approached him and expressed interest in his training; Haytham mentioned to him that his steel sword was kept hidden in the games room.
Shortly after, Haytham overheard an argument between his father and Birch. Birch left and turned to Haytham, mentioning that he tried to warn his father. Subsequently Edward hired two British soldiers to guard the house.
On the night of 3 December 1735, five mercenaries attacked the Kenway household. Edward managed to dispatch one, but was killed when another attacker plunged a sword through his chest. During this event, Haytham took his first life by grabbing up the first man's sword and stabbing his mother's attacker in the eye. Soon after, Edward's killer knocked Haytham over, but was prevented from killing him too when Birch arrived and slew the mercenary. Regardless, they were unable to prevent the fourth and fifth men from kidnapping Jennifer and setting fire to the house.
Becoming a Templar
- "It is a requirement when you are raised in the manner that I was. Perception is fundamental to the Order. It guides the feet when running and climbing. Informs the hands when striking and fighting. But most important, it transforms the senses. And we begin to know the world in a different way."
- ―Haytham discussing his training with Charles Lee, 1754.[src]-[m]
After successive funerals for those killed. during the attack, including Tom and Haytham's nursemaid Edith, Birch approached Haytham with the boy's sword, which he had recovered from the rubble of the house. Birch revealed that having been appointed by Tessa as the family councilor and guardian, he was going to search for Jennifer in Europe, and was going to take Haytham with him. He revealed that his source for her location were his Templar contacts.
Haytham was enthralled by the notion of working with a Knight, but wanted to stay and look after his mother, who had been too ill to attend the funerals. Birch noted Haytham had not actually seen her since the attack, and added that she had been traumatized by seeing her son kill a man. After finally speaking to his mother, whose cold attitude confirmed Birch's observation, Haytham decided to leave London for Europe.
The night before his departure, Emily, the chambermaid, informed Haytham that her sister Violet, a servant for the Barrett family, had overheard Jennifer screaming about a traitor as she was dragged into the mercenaries' carriage. The following day, a man with a West Country accent had threatened her into keeping quiet. Emily suggested Birch could be the traitor, which Haytham dismissed, but he then realized Jack Digweed, Edward's personal valet, had been away during the attack.
After Birch introduced him to Edward Braddock, a fellow Templar in the army who was to conduct the search for Jennifer, Haytham told him of his suspicions. Birch and Braddock soon discovered Digweed was missing, but vowed to find him. For the next five years, Birch and Haytham searched for Jennifer, who had been sold to Turkish slavers.
The outbreak of the War of the Austrian Succession in 1740 forced them to curtail their efforts. The two bought a chateau near Troyes, France, where Birch continued to instruct Haytham in the ways of the Templars. Haytham found solace in the Templar ethos, which he felt to be a comfortable match to his father's philosophy of questioning, although he was skeptical of Birch's beliefs about the First Civilization. In 1744, Haytham was inducted into the Order, and performed his first assassination on a greedy merchant in Liverpool. He would later kill an Austrian prince as well. These actions soon gave Haytham the reputation of an efficient killer.
Finding his father's killers
In 1747, Haytham assassinated a Templar traitor, Juan Vedomir, in Spain, and retrieved a journal containing largely coded research on the First Civilization for Birch. On meeting Birch in Prague, Haytham was informed that his mother had died.
While returning to London, Haytham reread his childhood diary and realized that Betty, one of the nursemaids, had been in a relationship with Digweed. After Tessa's memorial, he tracked Betty to her current place of employment and interrogated her. She revealed Digweed had been blackmailed by a man with a West Country accent, who threatened his children.
Betty pretended to not know where Digweed was, but Haytham shortly intercepted a letter from her addressed to Digweed's location in southwest Germany. Haytham and Birch arrived there two weeks later, and questioned a shopkeeper. When the shopkeeper appeared reluctant, Haytham threatened his son, forcing him to recount that he had already informed two British soldiers of Digweed's location, and that they had blackmailed him into keeping quiet. Learning Digweed lived in a cabin fifteen miles north, Haytham and Birch immediately rode out.
On the way, Haytham spotted one of the soldiers riding back, and noticed he had pointed ears like the man who kidnapped Jennifer. Soon after, they found Digweed being tortured by the remaining soldier, and Haytham pursued the man into the forest, where he caught up and pinned him down by stabbing his kidney. The soldier, who turned out to be the man with the West Country accent, revealed Edward was an Assassin and had died for something in his possession, but died before he could reveal anything more.
Subsequently, Haytham found papers revealing that the man served under Braddock's regiment in the Dutch Republic, and returned to the cabin to inform Birch. There, learning that Digweed had died of his injuries, Haytham resolved to pursue the pointy eared man into the Dutch Republic.
Working with Braddock
After a day of riding, Haytham caught up with the kidnapper and fought with him, until British troops arrived and knocked the pair out. Haytham awoke to find himself with a rope around his neck, and that he had been mistaken for the pointy eared man's fellow deserter. Haytham managed to break free, but too late to prevent the mercenary's execution.
Braddock soon informed Haytham that the man's name was Tom Smith, and expressed indifference to one of Jennifer's kidnappers having been under his command all along. He gave Haytham permission to conduct his investigation among his troops, but also requested his fellow Templar serve with him during the war against the French.
Haytham aided the British as a member of Braddock's Coldstream Guards during their retreat from the Siege of Bergen op Zoom. As they departed on the ships, a man asked if his family could come on board. Haytham obliged him as there was room, but Braddock refused. The man responded by calling him craven, so Braddock angrily ordered his executioner Slater to kill them all: even the infants were not spared.
Haytham witnessed more acts of cruelty and violence from Braddock as they served together, and realized Braddock was abandoning the Order. In the meantime, he befriended Private Jim Holden, who had been forthcoming with information about Smith. He revealed he had been a member of Braddock's inner circle of mercenaries, which worried Haytham. He eventually asked Holden to leave the army and become his gentleman's gentleman, primarily acting as his carriage driver.
Searching for the storehouse
Retrieving a codebreaker
In 1753, Haytham was ordered to kidnap a young rebel named Lucio Albertine in Corsica, who was being protected by the Assassin Miko. On being ambushed by the Assassin, Haytham lost his treasured short sword, though the fight ended when Haytham pulled Miko into a crevasse, but was subsequently dragged in along with him.
Miko grabbed hold of a rope and Haytham's arm to prevent himself from falling into a steep drop, though Haytham loosened Miko's Hidden Blade from his arm and bit his hand, causing Miko to fall. While this did not finish off his adversary, upon Haytham's suggestion, Miko fled to fight another day.
Afterwards, having the Assassin's Hidden Blade to compensate for his lost sword, Haytham then brought Lucio to Birch so that the Templar Grand Master could blackmail Lucio's mother Monica into decoding the journal that Haytham had retrieved from Juan Vedomir.
Stealing the Precursor Key
In the year 1754, Haytham attended the musical The Beggar's Opera by John Gay, in the Theatre Royal in London. Although lamenting the fact that he did not remember much of the play, Haytham's true purpose there was to obtain a "precursor" artifact from an attending patron and member of the Assassin Order, who happened to be Miko.
After obtaining the amulet and assassinating its owner, Haytham fled the opera house, eluded the security personnel and met once more with his co-conspirators. From there, he met with Birch for a short while, confirming the Order's suspicion that the precursor artifacts were tied to the New World.
Haytham was then chartered passage to Boston aboard the Providence as the Order's representative, and was instructed to locate a suspected First Civilization storehouse in the region. He would then set about organizing an official presence for the Templars in the New World.
Aboard the Providence
On the second day of his journey, Haytham engaged in a fight with some of the ship's crew members, Hector Graves being the main assailant. After defeating him and a man known as Quill, he was taken to the captain's quarters to speak with Samuel Smythe.
There, he learned from the captain that some of the crew members were potentially planning a mutiny. Smythe reminded Haytham that such a revolt would rule out him ever reaching the Colonies, so he agreed to investigate.
Haytham passed the time by reading the decoded copy of Vedomir's journal, and began to lose his skepticism about the First Civilization, becoming as fascinated as Birch.
On the twenty-eighth day of his journey, Haytham sped up his investigation by request of the increasingly worried captain. After asking the cook and doctor about information regarding peculiar actions, he was referred to a man named James Fairweather.
James told him that crew members had been gathering above deck and quietly conversing about things that he believed "boded ill". From there, after a splashing sound was heard, Haytham went below deck and discovered that painted barrels had been thrown overboard.
Five days later, Haytham spoke with Smythe about the marked barrels being thrown overboard on a daily basis, determining that they were a marker to leave a trail for another ship. Seconds later, a boat was sighted, which then began to attack the Providence. Following this, Smythe adamantly sent Haytham below deck, where he came into contact with Louis Mills.
Mills revealed that he had been the one throwing the marked barrels overboard and that he was in fact an associate of the Assassin Order; he had pursued Kenway once word of the murder in the Theatre Royal had reached him. On agreeing to settle the matter with a sword duel, the two engaged in combat and Mills was struck down by Kenway.
Haytham returned above deck and forced Smythe to lead his ship into an approaching storm to lose the pursuing vessel. During the storm, Haytham helped to secure the ship's rigging before flying the foremast to quicken the Providence.
After lightning snapped the main mast and left James hanging from a rope, Haytham quickly saved the man. Just then the attacking ship began to sink, having also been struck by lightning.
On the seventy-second day, Haytham reached Boston, where he met his first assistant and recruit, Charles Lee, who gave him a short tour of the city. During the tour, Haytham met Benjamin Franklin and discovered that some of his almanac pages were missing. He also met his first partner, William Johnson, at the Green Dragon Tavern.
Gathering the Colonial Templars
Now, effectively Grand Master of the Templar Order in the Colonies, Haytham's first aim was to unite his new partners so that they could locate the storehouse. After meeting Johnson, he learned that some of his work had been stolen in a robbery. Leaving to find Johnson's man, Thomas Hickey, who was also on his list of loyal Templars, Haytham searched for those responsible.
After spotting Hickey and receiving an explanation, Haytham, with the help of Charles and Thomas, infiltrated a mercenary fort and located the papers. Thomas and Haytham then killed the attacking soldiers while Charles carried the chest that contained Johnson's information.
Learning that the research would not be of much use in the situation, Haytham went to find his other partners, beginning with Benjamin Church. After he visited Church's home, Haytham discovered that there had been a raid, which resulted in Church's kidnapping.
He then continued to conduct an investigation with Charles, in which he eavesdropped on the conversations of Benjamin's neighbors. The first pair informed Haytham that Church had been taken somewhere in north-eastern Boston. Following that, he went to the top of a church to view the rest of the city for other prospects.
The second eavesdrop gave him relatively nothing and was a conversation between two British Regulars. The third—also a conversation between two Regulars—notified Haytham that Church was in debt to someone and that a man named "Cutter" was included in this group, who planned to torture or kill Benjamin. The final conversation, between two civilians, revealed the group that had captured Church had taken him to the top of a hill, at a fort which had a doctor.
After obtaining this information, Haytham met with Charles once more to consolidate it together and locate Church. Piecing together that the Templar would be near to the water-front besides the fort, the pair slipped by undetected to a locked door at the edge. Silently, Haytham stole a key from one of the nearby Regulars and opened the door to the building. Entering with Lee, Haytham found Church tied to a chair, surrounded by a few British Regulars and being interrogated by a man named Silas Thatcher, who was in charge of Southgate Fort. After Silas left, Lee and Haytham silently killed the soldiers and Cutter before freeing Church and going back to the Green Dragon Tavern.
For the next name on his list, Haytham traveled to the Copp's Hill Battery to retrieve John Pitcairn from General Edward Braddock. After having sneaked in with the help of Lee, he located Pitcairn near the end of the battery, speaking with Braddock about mistakes. When Haytham attempted to take Pitcairn with him, Braddock refused and sent him and Charles away.
Uneager to submit to Braddock's orders, Haytham later tricked the General and his men into a dead-end and slaughtered most of them, humiliating Braddock before 'stealing' Pitcairn. Following this, Haytham took Pitcairn with him to the tavern and spoke with his partners.
While in Boston, Haytham encountered Slater in a secluded spot relieving himself, and opted to kill him, avenging the Dutch family he murdered on Braddock's behalf.
After gathering his co-conspirators, Haytham planned an infiltration on Southgate Fort, so that he could free the Kanien'kehá:ka slaves there in order to discover where the First Civilization storehouse was. Locating a convoy, he and his partners ambushed it, killing all of the Regulars and dressing in their garb.
Using the tactic of the Trojan horse, Haytham sneaked his men into the fort, freed the slaves within, killed the fort's general and wounded Silas so that he could be shot by Church.
Alliance with Kaniehtí:io
Six months after the death of Silas, Haytham had successfully had his partners track down a woman that they had freed in the attack, a native who had appeared to have some grasp of English. Near Lexington, he located her by following tracks that she had left behind and chased her through the Frontier on the ground while she ran through the trees.
When he met her at the hilltop, she told him about soldiers in the nearby tavern that wished to drive her people away, and that they were led by Edward Braddock, the "Bulldog". He suggested that they stop the soldiers, coming up with a plan to kill Braddock.
After entering the tavern, Haytham began eavesdropping on some Regulars, which informed him of Braddock's plans to go on an 'expedition'. The second group of Regulars he listened to informed him that Braddock was already at the 'advanced' camp, preparing to fight French soldiers.
Just as he attempted to leave the tavern, he was brought into a bar-fight with some of the Regulars, making short work of them with a minor face injury; the native woman, Kaniehtí:io, quickly cleaned it for him. She then left, telling Haytham to meet her at the camp.
After getting into the camp, Haytham silently went through the area, breaking the stronghold's two cannons before beginning to eavesdrop on a conversation between the young George Washington and John Fraser.
Listening, he learned that Braddock refused a truce to end the Seven Years' War and was rallying troops before he would take a trip to Fort Duquesne, and also that a copy of the plans was located inside of the command tent.
The Braddock Expedition
A few months later, Haytham rallied his co-conspirators to meet with Kaniehtí:io near the edge of the river. After speaking with her, they waited in the planned hiding point for Braddock and his men to pass by.
Creating a quick plan of deception, Haytham went and assassinated one of the Regulars, before taking the man's outfit and disguising himself, allowing him to sneak up to Braddock's side.
After witnessing Braddock kill one of his men for showing uncertainty, Haytham waited a moment before riding closer to the General. Following a failed attack from a French soldier, the Bulldog rode off and Haytham was forced to chase after him. When a tree fell before Braddock, the Bulldog fell back, allowing Haytham to catch up with him.
However despite this, just as he was about to shoot, Washington killed the horse beneath him. To save him, Kaniehtí:io tackled Washington from his own horse and pinned him to the ground, while Haytham got to his feet and pursued Braddock again on foot.
Chasing him until he was able to assassinate him, Haytham delivered Braddock his last rites and took the Templar ring from the Bulldog's finger, before he went with Kaniehtí:io to the storehouse.
Having reached it, Haytham attempted to open the door with his key, though he discovered that he was unable to do so because it was the incorrect Piece of Eden; this was followed by a romantic moment with Kaniehtí:io, the pair kissing in the storehouse's cavern.
Following this, Haytham met with his co-conspirators again, plotting the future of the Templar Order in the Colonies and inducting Lee as an official Templar.
Afterwards, Haytham and Kaniehtí:io spent a few weeks camping together. Their bliss was ended when Lee came, delivering a letter from Holden, which revealed Jennifer had been found. Lee then informed Haytham that Braddock had died of his wounds: realizing Haytham had lied about ensuring Braddock was actually dead, Kaniehtí:io ordered him to leave.
In the Ottoman Empire
Haytham reunited with Birch, returning the journal to him. However, as their relationship had become strained, he opted to lie that the Templars in America were working on finding the site, and that he had been given a clue to a new precursor location in the Middle East.
For two years, Haytham and Holden tracked Jennifer's location to Topkapı Palace in Constantinople, where she had been a concubine, and then to Qasr al-Azm, the governor's palace in Damascus, where she was an attendant in the harem.
Disguising themselves as eunuchs, Haytham approached Jennifer and got her to leave, but not without tipping off the guards. Holden stayed behind to fend them off, while the Kenways escaped.
Holden was taken to the Abou Gerbe monastery on Mount Ghebel Eter, Egypt, where he forcefully underwent operations to become a eunuch. Haytham found him, and distraught, killed the priests who performed the operation before setting the monastery ablaze.
Avenging his father
While Holden recovered in a cottage, Jennifer revealed to Haytham that Birch had ordered the attack on their home, because she had discovered he was a Templar and informed Edward. She described a journal in Edward's possession, which Haytham realized was the one Vedomir had been decoding, and explained he had unintentionally tipped Birch to its location when he told him where his sword was kept.
After Holden's condition improved, the trio traveled to Birch's chateau, attacking at nightfall. Haytham and Holden took out all the guards and Haytham's associates, including John Harrison. As Haytham went into Birch's office to confront him, he forced his sword through the door and the guard waiting behind to pounce him.
While Holden went down to free Lucio and Monica, Jennifer attacked Birch, but he caught her and placed a knife to her throat. She continued to struggle, and eventually pushed him onto the sword in the door, killing him.
Subsequently, Haytham gave Lucio and Monica food supplies, horses to travel, and his own sword for their safety, though Lucio swiftly stabbed Haytham in his chest with the weapon for his previous crimes. This injury kept Haytham in bed for half a year, during which he was taken care of by Jennifer and Holden.
When he finally recovered however, Haytham witnessed that Holden had committed suicide, as he had little reason to continue living with his injury. After Holden's burial, Jennifer returned to live in Queen Anne's Square, while Haytham returned to America. The two continued to write to each other, but very rarely, as they had little in common other than their harrowing experiences which they had little reason to reminisce about.
Search for Precursor sites
Haytham returned to the colonies in 1758 and bought a plot of land in Virginia, building up the Order's presence in the colonies. Later, he traveled to New York to oversee the induction of the former Assassin, Shay Cormac, into the Templar Order, following the death of Colonel George Monro. Prior to his death, Monro had recommended Shay to Haytham, claiming he had the potential to become a valuable asset to the Order.
Shay informed Haytham of the Precursor sites, and that disturbing the artifacts held within triggered massive earthquakes capable of destroying entire cities. Shay believed that Achilles Davenport and the Assassins would recklessly endanger innocents during their pursuit of the Temples, which convinced Haytham to task Shay with tracking down and eliminating the Assassins involved in the search, and recovering the Voynich manuscript and the Precursor box, which were in Achilles' possession.
Battle of Louisbourg
In June 1758, Haytham requested the services of Royal Navy captain and explorer James Cook, to provide aid for Shay before the Battle of Louisbourg against the French Navy, which would potentially be a turning point for the war against the French, who were allied with the Assassins.
Haytham accompanied Shay, Shay's first mate Christopher Gist, and Cook aboard the HMS Pembroke. During the battle, the Assassin Adéwalé, former quartermaster aboard Edward Kenway's Jackdaw, aided the French with his brig, the Experto Crede, by leading several fireships towards the British fleet. Shay followed Gist's advice to focus on the fireships, allowing the Experto Crede to slip away, just as British reinforcements arrived to combat the French forces.
Adéwalé's status as an Assassin legend made him a high priority target of the Templars, who, with the aid of Captain Cook, tracked him down to a French fort. While Adéwalé was able to escape from the Templars on his ship, he was relentlessly pursued by Shay on his ship, the Morrigan. Eventually, the Morrigan's attack forced Adéwalé to beach his ship at Vieille Carrière, where he would make his last stand.
Haytham personally accompanied Shay as they continued to track Adéwalé's movements, with Haytham deciding to provide a distraction for Shay to get close. Adéwalé and Haytham confronted each other from a distance, and had a brief exchange over Haytham's father Edward, whom Adéwalé had fought beside as a pirate many years ago. While the Assassin claimed that Edward would be ashamed of seeing his son take the path of a Templar, the Grand Master jokingly claimed that he wasn't aware that his father had a sense of shame, and commented that he had chosen his own path.
This exchange of words between the two bought Shay the time he needed to reach his target as Haytham intended. Shay then managed to get in range of Adéwalé and fatally wounded him in combat. Before succumbing to his wounds, Adéwalé mentioned that his death would not stop the Colonial Assassins in their search for the Temples.
Fall of the Colonial Brotherhood
A year later, Shay met with Haytham in New York and informed him that the Assassins were preparing an expedition to locate another Precursor temple. Jack Weeks suggested that they target the Assassin Hope Jensen, who was attempting to activate the manuscript and the box.
While Shay and Weeks impersonated Hope's criminals in order to turn the New York's military against the gangs, Haytham tracked down and interrogated one of Hope's men to ascertain her location. Upon doing so, Shay tracked down and assassinated Hope and later eliminated the Assassin Louis-Joseph Gaultier, Chevalier de la Vérendrye in 1760.
Upon discovering the location of the Precursor site, Haytham accompanied Shay into the Temple to confront Achilles and Liam O'Brien, who were the last remaining members of the Colonial Brotherhood. To his dismay, Achilles discovered that Shay was right about the temples and while attempting to stop Liam from shooting Shay, he disturbed the artifact and caused an earthquake. During the chaos, the two Assassins split up, forcing Haytham and Shay to pursue them separately. While Shay pursued Liam, Haytham chased after Achilles and dueled him.
With Liam dead, Shay arrived to stop Haytham from killing Achilles, stating that he was no threat without his Assassins and that the Templars needed to show mercy to create a better world. In addition, they needed Achilles to live in order to warn other Assassins about the Precursor sites.
Haytham agreed with Shay's points and spared Achilles, but not before shooting him in the shin as a reminder of his defeat. With the battle won, Haytham ordered Shay to recover the Precursor box, which de la Vérendrye had sent away before he died.
For the next three years, Haytham and the Templars hunted down and eliminated any remaining allies of the Colonial Brotherhood, culminating in the attack on the Davenport Homestead in 1763 that destroyed the Brotherhood, leaving Achilles and Robert Faulkner as the only survivors and the Templars in control of the Colonies.
The American Revolution
Due to the war debts acquired by the British government as a result of the Seven Years' War, the Colonies were taxed heavily by King George III. Many colonists became disillusioned with the monarchy as a result, especially since they had no representation in Parliament. Haytham decided to take advantage of the colonists' frustrations and formulated a plan to expel the British from the American Colonies and allow the Templars to create their own country where their ideals would become law.
The Boston Massacre
In 1770, Haytham was present in Boston with an agent in that year, where they watched as the civilians began to revolt against the British soldiers due to the various taxes that the British Crown had put into motion.
As tensions began to flare, Haytham sent his agent to the rooftops to fire a shot into the crowd and provoke the troops to open fire, unaware that his agent was being followed by his own son.
When the agent was killed by Connor, Charles Lee shot his pistol into the air as a back-up plan and prompted the soldiers to open fire on the civilians. Following this, Haytham pointed out Connor to be the one responsible. As Boston was put on high alert to apprehend Connor, Haytham and Charles quickly departed.
At the start of 1774, Haytham reunited with the Templars who had aided him in the search for the Grand Temple, to discuss taking advantage of the American Revolution. Lee informed Haytham that Kaniehtí:io had died fourteen years before during an attack on her village ordered by George Washington.
Lee admitted they knew this because beforehand, they had gone to the forest and threatened a Native boy, who was about five-years old, into telling them of his village's location. Church said while in Martha's Vineyard four years before, presumably the same boy, came to him asking for Lee's location, and that Johnson had seen him again at the Boston Tea Party, now wearing the Assassin robes.
Assassination attempt on George Washington
After both William Johnson and John Pitcairn were assassinated by Connor, Haytham instructed Thomas Hickey to murder George Washington after Lee was turned down for Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army.
However, Hickey's plan was almost foiled by Connor, who exposed him to the authorities for running a counterfeiting ring in New York; despite Connor's claims of innocence, both men were captured and thrown into Bridewell Prison.
In response, Haytham accompanied Lee to the prison, where Thomas was released from a cell next to his son, only to be moved to a different part of Bridewell due to investigations made by Benjamin Tallmadge against Hickey. Haytham reprimanded Hickey and told Charles to handle things from there as he left the prison. While in the prison, Haytham got to glance at Connor, whose similar facial features confirmed for him that he was his son.
During the time of Connor and Thomas' imprisonment, Haytham and Charles managed to convince the judge to execute Connor rather than put him on trial. However, Haytham had a last minute change of heart and decided to save Connor from his execution.
When Connor's Assassin apprentices attempted but failed to cut the rope holding up his noose with a fired arrow, Haytham threw a knife from amongst the crowds, severing the rope and saving Connor, but also causing the audience to panic.
Reunion with Connor
At the start of 1778, Haytham was in search of the former Templar Benjamin Church, who had deserted the Order before being sent to prison for treason against the Continental Army. Slightly outside of the Continental fort in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, Haytham had tracked the traitor to a small church.
After an investigation, Haytham determined that he had reached Benjamin too late, but stayed nonetheless to wait and see if someone would appear so that he could ambush them. To his surprise, this proved to be fruitful, though it turned out to be Connor, instead of one of Church's men. Undeterred, Haytham leapt from the rafters in a surprise attack.
After a slight brawl with the Assassin, Haytham revealed that he too was searching for Church and suggested a truce, given that while they were searching for Benjamin for different reasons, their shared goal was to find him. Connor agreed and the pair departed the building.
Not long later, Connor had begun to track the location of Church's mercenaries through the snow, while Haytham followed. When the two had found one of the men by a broken cart of Continental supplies and quickly captured him, there was a quick interrogation that ended with Haytham shooting the man, much to the dismay of his son.
Then, he ordered Connor to infiltrate the camp that they had discovered from the man while he sneaked in from a different route, which ultimately led to his capture. Connor, who quickly came to the rescue, was left behind to kill the other soldiers, while Haytham went to make plans in New York.
A month later, when Connor had finally made his way to the city, Haytham led them atop the rooftops to where Church's location had been stated to be. In one exchange, he revealed he had spared Connor out of 'curiosity' and that he was not so different from those that his son aided. They also spoke of their ideas of freedom, which he saw as an 'invitation to chaos'.
After reaching the gate to Church's hideout in the abandoned Smith and Company Brewery, Haytham allowed Connor to retrieve some sort of disguise, waiting at the rendezvous point until the Assassin's return.
When Connor did arrive, Haytham led him to the door, passing through with the permission of the guards after stating that Connor was his son. Exploring the brewery, both Haytham and Connor engaged in a conversation about Kaniehtí:io, in which Haytham pretended to learn of her passing despite having become aware of it before Johnson's death.
Once Connor had given the blame to Charles Lee though, Haytham denied it, saying that he had ordered against it and that it was not possible, hoping that this 'shock' would cause his son to doubt what he believed was the truth. When they reached Church, Haytham set his accusations and sentenced the man to death, only to be surprised to discover a decoy, following which they were ambushed by the mercenaries.
Making short work of them, there was a quick interrogation for Church's location, which allowed them to discover that the rogue Templar was on his way to the island of Martinique. Once more, Haytham killed the man once the interrogation was over, despite Connor promising mercy, eliciting another angry glare from the Assassin.
Following the murder, a second ambush began, where the militia began to shoot at gunpowder barrels within the warehouse and set the building on fire, with the two inside.
As Haytham led the way, he and his son narrowly escaped the treacherous brewery by breaking through a locked door on the higher levels, crashing into the water below.
Chasing Benjamin Church
- "So here we are, face to face at last, my friend. It's been quite an adventure – let me tell you – working my way through your nasty little tricks and traps. Clever. Some of them, anyway. I'll give you credit for that. And for the quietude with which you pulled it off. We had a dream, Benjamin! A dream you sought to destroy! And for that, my fallen friend, you will be made to pay."
- ―Haytham beating up Benjamin Church, 1778.[src]-[m]
Meeting Connor at a New York pier, in the far-eastern section of the city, Haytham boarded the Aquila for the journey to catch Church. By 1778, they had caught up somewhere along the Caribbean Sea, despite Haytham's remarks that they were probably days behind because of the route choice.
After a narrow crossing though sea rocks, they approached the Welcome, Church's initial escape ship, which was already abandoned. Following a quick examination, a smaller ship was noticed in the distance, sailing away, firing shots at the Aquila.
Quickly pursuing the vessel, Haytham and Connor's crew went through the rocky passage, while Haytham repetitively heckled his son over imperfections he observed, claiming his naval superiority as well.
After the smaller ship passed through a narrow cliff-side area, the Aquila was forced to maneuver around the rocks and was greeted on the other side by a British Man-of-War and a few smaller vessels firing at them with full force.
Making short work of the smaller boats, Connor and Haytham had the crew fire chain-shot at the Man-of-War, breaking the masts before they boarded the enemy ship.
Just as they were about to meet at the side, Haytham stole the wheel and rammed the Aquila into the opposing ship, followed by a mighty leap to the other side as he fought his way to Church below decks.
Quickly, Connor lept to the ship himself, bringing his crew with him to fight the mercenaries aboard. After killing the three officers on the upper deck, Connor made his way to the position of Haytham and Church.
Haytham, speaking briefly to his former co-conspirator, continued to violently beat Church near to death. Connor proceeded to end the man's suffering after discovering the location of the Continental supplies, which lay on a nearby island awaiting pickup.
Final cooperation with Connor
After cooperating with his son to kill Church, an uncertain alliance formed between Haytham and Connor. This was an uneasy unity, at best.
In an effort for the American colonies to secure independence from Great Britain, Haytham began working with his son to deliver the final blows. He also attempted to dissuade his son from believing the Templar cause was biased against the the rebelling colonists.
When the pair met up after the assassination near Bowling Green, they began a mission to discover the Loyalist plans, striking to interrogate the officers around the ruins from New York's Great Fire. Climbing through the destroyed buildings, they made their way atop the ruins of Trinity Church above the higher ranking soldiers.
Determining after useless eavesdropping that a different attempt to gather information was necessary, Haytham leaped down and proceeded to start a fight with the British Regulars. Connor, forced to help, went along to fight as well.
Making relatively short work of the soldiers, Haytham and Connor quickly caught the officers against the wall, except one that had managed to run off. While Haytham bade that Connor chase the officer, Haytham took the others to his quarters in Fort George, interrogating them and eventually killing them.
After the return of the final officer, a final interrogation occurred, following with another death by Haytham's hand, justified in his terms because the man would have told his command; despite this, the act still garnered Connor's scorn. Following their subsequent argument, Haytham made his way to the Continental fort in Valley Forge.
During the night, Connor also made his way towards the fort, meeting with Haytham at the foot of the hill to George Washington's command point. Following a short argument over what Connor favored, they proceeded up to meet with the Commander-in-Chief.
Haytham then proceeded to educate Connor on the Commander's plan, along with dispensing the information that Washington was the one responsible for his mother's death during the Seven Years' War through a similar order, causing the Assassin to cut ties with both of them.
In his anger, Connor claimed that his father had known all along and that Haytham had kept the information from him on purpose until it suited the Templar's aims, making him equally despicable as Washington. After Connor's departure, Haytham was left alone with Washington and pondered on killing the man for his role in Ziio's death. Ultimately, he elected not to, believing that Connor may have been right about Washington's abilities as a leader due to his success in the war.
- "Don't think I have any intention of caressing your cheek and saying I was wrong. I will not weep and wonder what might have been. I'm sure you understand. Still, I'm proud of you in a way. You have shown great conviction. Strength. Courage. All noble qualities. I should have killed you long ago."
- ―Haytham's final words, 1781.[src]-[m]
After Connor had completed assisting the French Armada at the Battle of the Chesapeake, he had convinced the French Admiral de Grasse to allow the use of five ships for an attack on Fort George. While they shelled New York Harbor from above, Connor sneaked through an underground tunnel network to reach Lee. Haytham, who still had a quartering in Fort George, had been working on his plans there with Lee prior to the attack.
By this point, Haytham believed Connor to be a viable, urgent threat to the Templar Order. Fearing for his co-conspirator's life, he sent Lee away in the hopes that he would survive and continue the Templars' work, while Haytham remained behind to deal with his son. Connor, who had been injured in the shelling, eventually reached Fort George's courtyard, where Haytham was waiting for him.
Haytham attacked Connor, and though he initially had the upper hand, Connor was able to even the odds by stabbing him in the arm. Eventually, a cannonball knocked them both to the ground. As they dueled, Haytham belittled both his son and the Assassin Order and his son for placing his faith in it, while also furiously denying allegations of Templar involvement in the slaughter of his people. After a fierce battle, Haytham pinned Connor to the ground and declared that the Templar Order would inevitably rise again, to which Connor fatally stabbed his father in the neck with his Hidden Blade.
In his final moments, Haytham noted that despite everything that had happened between himself and Connor, he felt a certain sense of content and pride with his son's noble qualities, and that he should have killed Connor long ago, before passing away. With his death, the title of Grand Master in the American colonies was passed down to Charles Lee.
In an alternate reality shown by an Apple of Eden, Haytham had died long before Ratonhnhaké:ton was an adult, and his Hidden Blades were possessed by Kaniehtí:io. She gave them to Ratonhnhaké:ton when Washington, who had crowned himself a king with the Apple, attacked their village.
Haytham's foundation of the Colonial Rite, the first permanent, organized Templar presence in Colonial America. By the French Revolution, the Colonial Rite had reorganized and become the American Rite. Despite his ideals, the American Rite only offered sympathy to the overthrown De la Serre family, as it was likely François-Thomas Germain had convinced the American Rite that overthrowing them was necessary.
Though his dream to pacify Assassins and Templars failed, he wrote about it in his letters to his sister, Jennifer Scott. These letters inspired Élise de la Serre—who received them from Jennifer—to try to put an end to the Assassin-Templar War, with the help of Arno Dorian. In the British Rite, by the influential Carroll family, his beliefs of unity were considered to be heretical and treasonous and they wanted to destroy his letters. They used their influence to slander and alienate Elise from the rest of the Order, as well as spitefully ordering the deaths of Frederick Weatherall, Hélène, and her. Despite that, Jennifer would occasionally propose later in life that Assassins and Templars should reconcile.
Abstergo Industries, the main front of the Templars in the 21st century, commissioned a series of portraits of their most respected leaders, entitled "Great Minds of History". Haytham was among them, for they regard him as one of their greatest Grand Masters. Haytham would eventually be another influence on modern day Templar Juhani Otso Berg, who also noted that Haytham's caring for his son Connor and keeping some of his Assassin heritage eventually led to his death.
In 2014 Abstergo Entertainment created The Lone Eagle, a game featuring Haytham as the main character.
Personality and characteristics
- Lee: "Doubt hardly befits a Templar Grand Master, don't you think?"
- Haytham: "Perhaps. Or perhaps I've learnt that only fools and children lack it."
- —Haytham defending his decisions, 1781.[src]
Beginning as a vengeful young man, Haytham was molded by his mentor Birch into a killer with a code. He initially tried to reconcile his Templar beliefs with his Assassin heritage, and hoped to unite the two Orders, but would eventually abandon these ideals and become a devout believer in the Templar ideology, eventually ascending to the position of Grand Master. However, Haytham did not consider himself above actual field work, and was not hesitant to leap into action when the situation called for it.
Haytham, as a man who lived in service to his ideals and in humanity, was fully convinced that bringing order, purpose, and direction would benefit mankind in the long run, and tirelessly endeavored to fulfill the Templar vision. Charismatic, erudite, and level-headed, Haytham acted with authority and was a natural leader. Under his direction, the Colonial Rite flourished, eventually purging North America of most Assassin presence.
The only time Haytham had a visible outburst of anger was when he confronted Benjamin Church over his betrayal of the Templar cause. Even then, his anger was not expressed on his own behalf, but on that of the Templar Order itself. However, Haytham's upper-class upbringing engendered a sort of arrogance, as was evident by his attitude toward lower class civilians. Haytham also had a stern pride in his skills, and was partially embarrassed when he admitted to Connor that he didn't know Benjamin Church's location. But when in the company of people closer to what he believed to be his level of intelligence or class, he was quite kind and well-mannered.
In all instances, Haytham was distinguished from both his father and his son by having a natural aristocratic bearing, speaking in an elegant London accent different from that of his compatriots, and from his father and son respectively. His disregard for those underneath his standards contrasted with his respect for the Native Americans, whom many considered to be savages. He saved them from slavery at the hands of Silas Thatcher, and admonished Charles Lee's negativity toward them. He would eventually have a child with Kaniehtí:io.
Haytham was also, at least initially, reasonably good-natured. He did not kill Duncan Little at the opera house after he witnessed Haytham assassinate Miko, and readily agreed to help Benjamin Franklin find his almanac pages if he saw any.
But after Haytham had discovered that every word uttered by his mentor had been a lie, he became a devious, impulsive, and fanatical individual who was more than willing to kill innocents, and even his own son, in the service of his ideals. However, he was secretly shocked by his own malice, as he wrote in his journal.
In the company of his son, his hardened demeanor softened somewhat, although he was no less determined to kill him due to his Assassin affiliations. Haytham was visibly distraught when Connor cut ties with him after his face off with Washington, and only relented when Connor threatened to kill him. Despite his love for his son, his belief in the Templar cause prevailed, and so he ultimately attempted to kill Connor in order to protect it.
However, Haytham left behind his journal for Connor, in an attempt to have his son understand his life's journey, despite their clashing ideologies. After his death, Connor agreed to compromise with his father by acknowledging his belief that humanity was flawed, but instead retained hope that it would improve.
Equipment and skills
- "I am an expert swordsman. And I am skilled in the business of death. I take no pleasure in my skill. Simply, I am good at it."
- ―Haytham, describing his lethal prowess.[src]
Upon joining the Templar Order after being mentored by Reginald Birch, Haytham's skills increased significantly and he became renown for his skill as an efficient killer. He was trained in the methods of stealth, swordsmanship, eavesdropping, pickpocketing and lockpicking. Additionally, he was a skilled strategist, able to quickly come up with infiltration techniques that would cripple the enemy. As well as that, he was a charismatic speaker and a master of both deception and stealth.
Through his training, Haytham became a capable freerunner, able to stealthily climb the insides of an opera house and the buildings of colonial America with little effort. However, unlike his father and son, Haytham was unable to traverse natural obstacles such as tress or cliffs. In addition, he proved to be a capable swimmer.
He eventually became a master swordsman, utilizing an elegant fencing style which differed from his son's feral combat techniques. Haytham is the perfect specimen of classical fencing using slashing and, mostly, thrusting. His quarts and sixtes, catching the opponent's blade, are text book perfect which translates extremely well into his preparation and anticipation. His confidence is displayed in the lack of grandeur in his every attack. His finishes could be as subtle as just an advance and extending the arm right into his opponent's face. He also uses the hidden blade the same way when utilized with his sword. His stance, though, is something that some might disagree on. While his shoulders are a lot more relaxed, it leaves him pretty open and is basically a feint in and of itself, begging for an attack for Haytham to promptly parry and then counter. Perfect footwork, anticipation, preparation and technique make Haytham one of the best pure swordsmen. He was even able to defeat Achilles Davenport in a sword fight. He is shown to be physically strong as he is able to break locks with just one punch. Additionally, he was trained in the use of firearms including pistols and muskets.
Haytham was efficient in combat as he could easily engage multiple opponents; he could also utilize the surrounding environment to his advantage given the opportunity. Following this, he was not afraid to use whatever was available to get the upper hand, such as strangling an executioner's assistant with his feet and throwing him into an enemy during the Siege of Bergen op Zoom.
As a child, Haytham attracted a few interests from girls he grew up around in Queen Anne's Square, though his father's prior work as a pirate and privateer caused his family to be alienated by the people.
Over the years traveling with Reginald and working as a Templar, Haytham experienced few romantic encounters, always feeling his dedication to the Order was more important than pursuing a family.
The most serious romantic relationship that Haytham shared with was Kaniehtí:io, a member of the Kanien'kehá:ka nation. They met when Haytham saved her from British slavers working for Silas Thatcher, and after breaking into Southgate, he released her from captivity.
Following Silas' death, she escorted her people who were freed by Haytham out of the fortress, disappearing from Haytham's notice. By winter 1755, Haytham officially met Kaniehtí:io after chasing her around the forest outside of Lexington after he attempted to show her the emblems on the Precursor amulet.
The pair soon worked together on taking down General Edward Braddock who was occupying her people's lands. Originally, she distrusted Haytham, but she soon warmed up to him after a bar fight in Concord, as she applied alcohol on a cloth to a wound he received on his face.
Eight months later, Kaniehtí:io met with Haytham, his associates and allied Native American chieftains in their aim to bring down Braddock. During this encounter, she saved Haytham's life after he was nearly killed by George Washington.
After Braddock was defeated, she took Haytham to the Precursor site where she saw the symbols on the amulet. While Haytham failed to open the door because he lacked another piece, Kaniehtí:io comforted him and the couple kissed. Later on, they shared another moment together which led to the conception of their son, though sometime following this, when she discovered his Templar affiliations, he respected her wishes for him to leave and never come back.
Haytham was surprised when he discovered Connor was his child, and when he finally met up with Connor, he told his son that he had always wondered what life would have been like for the three of them if he and Kaniehtí:io stayed together, adding that he wondered what she might have said about him.
- Haytham's name was connected with an eagle, continuing the eagle motif set by Aquilus, Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad, Ezio Auditore da Firenze and Nikolai Orelov.
- "Haytham" is a transliteration of the Arabic name هيثم, meaning "young eagle".
- "Kenway" comes from an Old English name, either Cynewig or Cenwig, composed of the words cyne ("royal") or cen ("keen, bold") and wig ("war").
- Haytham possessed an eagle symbol on his jacket's left cuff, and what appeared to be a broken, rusted Assassin insignia on his right bracer. His cloak was also adorned by symbols both resembling a Templar cross near the top, and an Assassin insignia, referencing his dual heritage.
- Haytham is the first playable Templar in the Assassin's Creed series' single player mode, and the first chronological playable ancestor who wore a hat instead of the symbolic hood of the Assassins, the second being Aveline de Grandpré.
- Haytham is the first known Templar capable of using Eagle Vision, the second being Shay Cormac, and he was the second known ancestor of Desmond to be a Templar, the other being Maria Thorpe.
- Haytham's left Hidden Blade, which he had taken from Miko, was unlike those of previous ancestors, being shorter and closer to his wrist.
- Haytham's model in Assassin's Creed: Syndicate appears to be missing his cape.
- Haytham mentioned that he had cut ties with Edward Braddock for the man's ruthlessness and slaughter of innocents, which Haytham himself showed signs of committing towards the latter half of his life, by killing prisoners of war with little hesitation.
- Prior to his meeting with Connor, Haytham appeared to have suffered three scars on his face. He had one across his forehead, a second above his right eyebrow, and a third across his chin.
- Adrian Hough, Haytham's voice actor, received a BAFTA nomination for his performance in Assassin's Creed III.
- Haytham grew up in Queen Anne's Square, nowadays located by Great Ormond Street Hospital. The hospital possesses the copyright to Peter Pan, a play featuring pirates and Native Americans, groups that Haytham's father and son respectively belonged to.
- In 2015, his name was on a list of known British Templars used by the Templar Isabelle Ardant. She also had a portrait of Haytham in her office in London.
- In Assassin's Creed: Origins, Haytham's words, "The Order is born out of a realization. We require no creed. No indoctrination. All we need is that the world be as it is." is mentioned by a recruiter of the Order of the Ancients, an indication that they are the precursor to the Knights Templar centuries later.
- In Assassin's Creed: Valhalla, a note written by Shaun Hastings details Haytham may have been named after Hytham, one of the first Assassins in England, since Shaun believed Edward Kenway may have possibly read about the origins of the British brotherhood.
- Assassin's Creed III (first appearance)
- Assassin's Creed: Forsaken
- Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag (end credits only)
- Assassin's Creed: Memories
- Assassin's Creed: Rogue
- Assassin's Creed: Unity (mentioned only)
- Assassin's Creed: Unity (novel) (mentioned only)
- Assassin's Creed: Syndicate (database entry only)
- Assassin's Creed: Reflections (mentioned only)
- Assassin's Creed: The Official Collection
- Assassin's Creed: Last Descendants – Fate of the Gods (mentioned only)
- Assassin's Creed: Rebellion (mentioned in Database entry only)
- Assassin's Creed: Valhalla (indirectly mentioned only)
- Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
- Assassin's Creed: Forsaken
- Assassin's Creed: Rogue – Database: Haytham Kenway
- Assassin's Creed III – 
- Assassin's Creed: Rogue – 
- Assassin's Creed III – Broken Trust
- Assassin's Creed III – Lee's Last Stand
- Assassin's Creed III – Laid to Rest
- The Tyranny of King Washington: The Infamy
- The Tyranny of King Washington: The Redemption
- Assassin's Creed: The Essential Guide
- Assassin's Creed: Unity novel
- Assassin's Creed: Underworld
- Assassin's Creed: Reflections
- BAFTA.org: Games in 2013
- Assassin's Creed: Valhalla – Shaun's notes: "The Hidden Ones"