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"The Aztecs hesitate. They must wonder... why are their gods attacking them? Today they are celebrating in our honor!"
―Giovanni Borgia observing the slaughter.[src]

The Night of Sorrows (Spanish: La Noche Triste) was an event during the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire, in which Hernán Cortés and his army of Spanish soldiers murdered their Aztec hosts in Tenochtitlan, and held their emperor, Moctezuma II, hostage.

Pretending to be a Spanish scholar, the Assassin Giovanni Borgia was allowed entrance onto Cortés' ship, earning him the chance to retrieve a Piece of Eden, which turned out to be one of the Crystal Skulls.

However, the journey resulted in a massacre of the Aztec people, when the Spanish explorers grew greedy of the wealth and riches within the city, as well as possibly being offended by the sacrificial rituals that welcomed their presence.

Journey and arrival

"The Brotherhood has made connections, leveraged deals, and ensured my place aboard Hernán Cortés' ship, bound for the New World. To México."
―Giovanni Borgia.[src]

Knowing that there had to be a Piece of Eden somewhere in Mexico, the Assassins used their contacts to place Giovanni Borgia on a Spanish ship, making the crew believe he was merely a scholar. During the journey Giovanni wrote a journal to inform his fellow Assassins of the events when he returned, though he made sure no one else would notice anything suspicious about him.

Upon their arrival in Mexico, the Spanish began to make contact with the local people and acquire the services of several translators, although their inability to directly translate Nahuatl into Spanish made communication between themselves and the Aztec slow and troublesome. They were eventually taken to Tenochtitlan, where they were astonished by the size of the city and the massive population it contained.

The Spanish visitors were soon greeted by the Emperor Moctezuma II, who allowed them to stay in his palace, either because he believed them to be Gods or to learn their weaknesses.


"Moctezuma no longer sides with us. His heart is filled with sorrow. He believes he has brought this upon his people."
―Giovanni, regarding the Aztec leader.[src]

The Spaniards voicing their outrage to the Aztecs

As the Aztec public believed the Spaniards to be Gods, they organized a festival to honor them, with many citizens dressed with expensive jewelry and gold. The Spaniards, however, grew greedy when they noticed how much wealth the Aztec possessed.

Meanwhile, Giovanni started his search for the Piece of Eden, though he had no idea what exactly he was looking for. The Spaniards eventually ended up in a temple, where the Aztec priests prepared to sacrifice one of their own men in a dramatic ritual, which left the Spaniards shocked and uneasy.

After the human sacrifice, the Spaniards drew their weapons and began to kill the unarmed civilians honoring them. Giovanni then noticed a priest holding a skull made of crystal, and recognized the tell-tale signs of a Piece of Eden. He managed to assassinate the priest, and claim the artifact without anyone noticing.

The Spaniards were eventually driven back to Moctezuma's palace, where they convinced the hostage Emperor to speak to his people and calm them down. Moctezuma II tried to convince his subjects to stand down and return to their homes, but they refused and stoned their leader to death.


"The smiles on their faces disgust me! They believe we will get away with this. This slaughter. This theft."
―Giovanni, as the Spaniards escape.[src]

The Spanish retreat

Having been trapped in the city, the Spaniards fervently planned their escape. They built a portable bridge to cross the rivers, and took as much gold as they could, not realizing the weight of it would slow them down.

They stole through the night, and were convinced they would escape without any trouble, when one of the captains was suddenly hit in the eye by an arrow, causing the remaining Spaniards to flee with their stolen gold. However, many of the bridges they had built were not sturdy enough to hold the loot and collapsed. Most of the men on them, weighed down by the gold, sank and drowned.

Despite suffering losses, the Spaniards managed to fend off the Aztec forces and make it to shore, and many of them escaped back to Europe.


In 1527, Giovanni traveled to Basel, and allowed the Assassin ally Bombastus to study the Crystal Skull. Bombastus, however, could not make the skull work as he had hoped, and the mystery of the Piece of Eden would haunt Giovanni until later on in his life.