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One of the music boxes

The Secrets of London were a collection of music boxes scattered throughout London by the Assassin Michel Reuge; inside the music boxes were discs, marked with the Assassin insignia, that acted as keys for Reuge's Vault, in which he presumably hid a Piece of Eden.

31 discs were accompannied with a poem, except disc number 15, which was found inside the Vault.

Once all the discs were found by the British Assassins Evie and Jacob Frye, the Aegis, an outfit worn by Minerva during war, was unlocked from the vault, and Evie claimed it for herself.

Secrets

But I will find Bonny Maud, merry mad Maud
And seek whate'er betides her
Yet I will love beneath or above

The dirty earth that hides her.

While I do sing, any food
Feeding drink or clothing?
Come dame or maid, be not afraid,

Poor Tom will injure nothing.

With a thought a look for Maudlin,
And a cruse of cockle pottage,
With a thing thus tall, Sky bless you all,

I befell into this dotage.

I slept not since the Conquest,
Till then I never waked,
Till the rougish boy of love where I lay

Me found and stript me naked.

I know more than Apollo,
For oft when he lies sleeping
I see stars as mortal wars

In the wounded welkin weeping.

The moon embraced her shepherd,
And the Queen of Love her warrior,
While the first doth horn the star of morn,

And the next the heavenly farrier.

Of thirty bare years have I
Twice twenty been enraged
And of forty been three times fifteen

In durance soundly caged.

On the lordly lofts of Bedlam
With stubble soft and dainty,
Brave bracelets strong, sweet whips, ding-dong,

With wholesome hunger plenty.

When I short have shorn my sour-face
And swigged by horny barrel
In an oaken inn, I pound my skin

As a suit of gilt apparel.

The moon's my constant mistress,
And the lonely owl my marrow;
The flaming drake and the night crow make

Me music to my sorrow.

The spirits white as lightning
Would on my travels guide me
The stars would shake and the moon would

Whenever they espied me.

And then that I'll be murdering
The Man in the Moon to the powder
His staff I'll break, his dog I'll shake

And there'll howl no demon louder.

"With a host of furious fancies,
Whereof I am commander,
With a burning spear and a horse of air,

To the wilderness I wander."

"By a knight of ghosts and shadows
I summoned am to tourney
Ten leagues beyond the wide world's end—

Methinks it is no journey."

"The palsy plagues my pulses
When I prig your pigs or pullen,
Your culvers take, or matchless make

Your Chanticleer or sullen."

When I want provant, with Humphrey
I sup, an when benighted
I repose in Paul's with waking souls,

Yet never am affrighted.

The Gipsys, Snap and Pedro
Are none of Tom's comradoes,
The punk I scorn, and the cutpurse sworn

And the roaring boy's bravadoes.

The meek, the white, the gentle,
Me handle not nor spare not;
But those that cross Tom Rynosseross

Do what the panther dare not

That of your five sound senses
You never be forsaken,
Nor wander from your selves with Tom

Abroad to beg your bacon.

I'll bark against the Dog-Star
I'll crow away the morning
I'll chase the Moon till it be noon

And I'll make her leave her horning.

I now reprent that ever
Poor Tom was so disdain-ed
My wits are lost since him I crossed

Which makes me thus go chained.

So drink to Tom of Bedlam
Go fill the seas in barrels
I'll drink it all, well brewed with gall

And maudlin drunk I'll quarrel

"For to see Mad Tom of Bedlam
Ten thousand miles I travelled
Mad Maudlin goes on dirty toes

To save her shoes from gravel."

Still I sing bonny boys, bonny mad boys
Bedlam boys are bonny
For they all go bare and they live by the air

And they want no drink nor money.

I went down to Satan's kitchen
To break my fast one morning
And there I got souls piping hot

All on the spit a-turning.

There I took a cauldron
Where boiled ten thousand harlots
Though full of flame I drank the same

To the health of all such varlets.

My staff has murdered giants
My bag a long knife carries
To cut mince pies from children's thighs

For which to feed the fairies.

"No gypsy, slut, or doxy
Shall win my mad Tom from me
I'll weep all night, with stars I'll fight

The fray shall well become me."

I've diced with many royals
And from their gilded palaces
With a crown of green, light feet so keen

I'll have their silver chalices.

I took a climb to Heaven
And saw the stars a-moving
In pirouettes and batonnets

For Galileo's proving.

I walked the world's four corners
And heard the roll of thunder
I smelled the rain and felt life's pain

And all the world's wide wonder.

Behind the Scenes

Although secret #15 does not come with a poem in-game, the game files have the following poem associated with it:

From the hag and hungry goblin
That into rags would rend ye,
All the sprites that stand by the naked man
In the book of moons, defend ye.

The game files also include database entries of Michel Reuge's journal dealing with finding the Aegis and his work on the music boxes.

Left Val-de-Travers on the early train for Paris this morning, and thence on to Le Havre to take ship for England (avoiding London, naturally, as we dare not let the Templars catch wind of our scheme). The train was hot and crowded, but our spirits remain high. Alice remains convinced that the Romano-British shrine to Sulis Minerva at Bath is built over a Precursor site, and that fabulous treasures await us; enough to secure a Mastership for all three of us. Lavinia is, I think, thrilled to have a bodyguarding assignment that is not ceremonial.

For it is into the lion’s den we go, and no mistake. Even outside the capital, the south of England is a Templar redoubt. Our wits must be as sharp as our blades, and we may yet all come to ruin. But the reward is worth the risk, of this I am certain. When we return, our names will be reckoned alongside the likes of the Auditores of Florence.

Michael Reuge
Paris
12 July 1844

We have had a most promising beginning. Upon arrival at Bath, we met with one John Philips, a geologist of no small repute. In his youth, he assisted his uncle, the equally-venerable William Smith, in an excavation of the Roman baths to restore the hot springs. While the official records claim that the spring had merely diverted into a new channel, Mr. Philips told us a most wondrous tale of a strange vault, all aglow as if with gas lamps, yet far older than even the shrine to Sulis Minerva above. Within he described a great vault that no drill could mar, and inside a garment or armour of ancient make. I am certain that this must be the Aegis Minerva, of which our forebears as far back as Marcus Junius Brutus have written.

I have engaged Mr. Philips to show us the way to the vault, which his uncle sealed up many years ago to prevent its discovery. He was at first reluctant to share what he deemed his uncle’s legacy, but I believe he was persuaded by Alice’s rather infectious enthusiasm for the enterprise.

Michael Reuge
Bath
15 July 1844

Success! Success beyond our wildest hopes! As we’d suspected, Alice confirmed that the Williams-Philips find is a Precursor trove. We are still cataloguing the complete contents, but thus far the key finds are as follows:

– A large vault containing garments in the style of Those Who Came Before. True to Mr. Philips’s word, the sarcophagus has resisted all attempts to force it open. Even the carefully controlled application of dynamite had no effect.

– 32 circular metal plates, etched with runes that defy translation and punched with numerous holes. These resemble nothing so much as the plates inside the oldest clockwork music boxes, which produce by means of a striker the melodies that so enchant their owners.

Based on a preliminary examination, Alice believes the plates serve as some sort of key to opening the Vault, though by what principle none of us can guess. We have researched extensively, but I fear Bath has not the library nor the industry to further our studies. Alice suggests that we take the Vault to London, where we might find more information in the annals of the British Museum. Lavinia is of course against it, and I confess I am not entirely sanguine about it either. But think of the acclaim if we should succeed!

Michael Reuge
Bath
18 July 1844

Over Lavinia’s objections (and, if I am honest, no few of my own), we have come to London. Lavinia hired a sturdy oxcart to haul the Vault, and we have set up shop in an underground chamber once meant to be a bank vault before the bank lost its funding. I hope we will be secure here, but already I feel the all-seeing eye of the enemy wherever I go. Alice assures us that even the Templars cannot hope to find three Assassins in a city of over two million.

I grow concerned for her, though I would not say so to her face. Alice has scarcely slept or eaten since we discovered the Vault, so consumed is she by her schemes. She is a genius with clockwork, of that there can be no doubt, but the complexity of the Vault’s machinery defies her still. Of late she has taken to scouring London’s pawn shops and curio dealers for antique music boxes, which she tears apart and refits with the plates we found in Bath. I will admit that the sounds they produce are like unto music, and when certain of them are played in a particular order they do seem to build to a common theme, but the full sequence remains elusive. Lavinia tells me that she has caught Alice singing some bit of doggerel about lunatics from Bedlam when she thought no one was listening.

Michael Reuge
London
24 July 1844

Lavinia tells me that the Templars are closing in—apparently they can find three Assassins in a city of over two million if those Assassins are asking the wrong sort of questions. We must make all haste back to the Continent, but that perforce means abandoning the Vault, and Alice will not have it. Lavinia has tried to reason with her, but Alice insists she is close to the answer. The music boxes play nonstop now. I do not know what to do.

Michael Reuge
London
30 July 1844

Addendum: Nearly captured today. The Templars know we are here, and they are hunting us in force. We must take ship now, or by dawn at the latest, but Alice assures me she needs only a few more pieces to make sense of the whole. I tried to reason with her, but she grew angry and stormed out. Lavinia has gone after her in hopes of bringing her around. A fine leader I’ve turned out to be. For my part I’ve nothing to contribute, save to pack these damnable music boxes and make them ready for shipment. We cannot take the Vault with us, but at least we may deprive the Templars of the plates.

Michael Reuge
London
30 July 1844

Lavinia is dead.

She returned in the hours before dawn, badly injured, with a tale it breaks my heart to relate. Alice has betrayed us, sold us to the Templars for the hollow promise of safety to continue her studies of the Vault. Before she died, Lavinia warned me that the Templars were coming in force. They will be here by dawn. The ports and the rail stations are all being watched—there is no escape from London for me. I write these words only in the feeble hope that some future Assassin will find them and understand what I have done.

I now thank Providence that I packed the music boxes away for easy transport. I will hide them as I can, throughout the city. Scattered, they will be as safe as I can make them. If by some miracle I survive the day, I will find my once-Sister and do justice upon her. It is not the legacy I desired, but it is the only one open to me.

We work in the dark to serve the light.

Michael Reuge
London
31 July 1844

The music is all I hear now. Day and night, waking and sleeping, it clings to me like Marley’s chains, an incessant reminder of my sins. We sought the wisdom of Minerva, but in Her temple we found only the rot within ourselves. Hubris was our undoing, my sister or brother, and if you do not turn back it will be yours as well.

The Vault is safe. The keys are scattered across London, and even I no longer recall where they are hidden. They tried to break me, you see. They tortured me with devices both earthly and otherworldly, cast me howling into Lambeth, beat me, starved me. They even brought in that mesmeric devil Elliotson, but I would not yield the secret. I was not a traitor, no—not like her. I remember my vows. I remember the Creed.

To you that have found this meagre scrap, I offer no congratulations, only condolence. The quest for the Aegis has shattered me, and claimed the lives of those I loved best. Turn back, I urge you. But if you will not, listen for the music. Find the music boxes, find the keys, and perhaps you will do what I could not and recover the treasure of Sulis Minerva.

I leave you, reader, with the words of another poor madman, born long before I and yet suffering under the same curse. Perhaps you will heed their warning and forget that e’er you saw this place, but I fear that, as I did, you will follow the verse’s path to ruin.

From the hag and hungry goblin
That into rags would rend ye,
All the sprites that stand by the naked man
In the book of moons, defend ye.

God be with you. We work in the dark to serve the light.

Michael Reuge
London
14 May 1845

Appearances

References

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