- "Uphold the principles of our Order, and all for that for which we stand. Never share our secrets nor divulge the true nature of our work. Do so until death – whatever the cost. This is my new creed. I am Shay Patrick Cormac. Templar of the Colonial... of the American Rite. I am an older man now, and perhaps wiser. A war and a revolution have ended, and another is about to begin. May the Father of Understanding guide us all."
- ―Shay Cormac reflecting on his allegiance to the Templar Order, 1776.[src]-[m]
Born to Irish immigrants in New York, Shay lost his parents at an early age, and was brought into the Colonial Brotherhood of Assassins by his childhood friend Liam O'Brien, where the two served under Mentor Achilles Davenport.
In 1751, the Templars stole two Pieces of Eden from the Brotherhood: the Precursor box and the Manuscript. The following year, after acquiring a sloop-of-war, the Morrigan, Shay was tasked with recovering the ancient artifacts. As he and Liam hunted down the Templars in possession of the Pieces of Eden, Shay began to question the Assassins' methods.
After recovering the Precursor box and Manuscript, Shay and his fellow Assassin, Hope Jensen, used them to discern the location of a First Civilization Temple in Lisbon. Achilles sent Shay to Lisbon in 1755, believing (incorrectly) that the Temple held an Apple of Eden. Although Shay successfully accessed the Temple and recovered the artifact inside, he inadvertently triggered a massive earthquake in the process, leaving thousands dead or homeless. His faith in the Brotherhood shattered, Shay resolved to prevent the Assassins from finding more temples by stealing the Manuscript from them, nearly losing his life in the process.
The Templar George Monro found the unconscious Shay and brought him under the care of Barry and Cassidy Finnegan in New York. Upon recovering, Shay met Monro and his fellow Templar Christopher Gist, and began working with them to reclaim the Morrigan and bring down the Assassin-allied gangs of the city. After Monro was killed by Liam in the aftermath of the Siege of Fort William Henry, Shay was inducted into the Templar Order, working with Grand Master Haytham Kenway to help the British Empire win the Seven Years' War and destroy the Colonial Assassins by hunting down his former comrades.
In 1760, a final confrontation in the Arctic left Liam dead, Achilles crippled and without followers and the Manuscript in Templar hands. Shay would spend the next 16 years searching for the Precursor box, leading him to Versailles, where he killed the Assassin Charles Dorian and reclaimed the artifact in 1776. Since reclaiming the artifact, Shay searched for more artifacts and trained both his son and grandson later in life. The date and circumstances of his death are unknown.
- 1 Biography
- 2 Personality and characteristics
- 3 Legacy
- 4 Trivia
- 5 Appearances
- 6 References
Shay Cormac was born on 12 September, 1731 in New York, to a family of Irish immigrants from Dublin. His mother died in childbirth, and his father was often absent from home due to his employment in the merchant marine, leaving Shay to be raised by his aunt. Living in a rough part of the city, Shay often found himself in trouble, but was constantly protected by his closest friend, Liam O'Brien.
Eventually, Shay joined his father at sea, and although he missed the company of his friend, he eagerly began training in marksmanship and swordsmanship, even going as far to face down and shoot an attacking pirate captain, saving his father's ship. However, tragedy struck in 1747, when a fierce storm claimed the lives of Shay's father and several crew members.
Shattered and desolate, Shay wandered New York's streets, picking fights in taverns, until he was helped once again by Liam, who managed to get his friend back on his feet. Later that year, Liam introduced Shay to his Mentor, Achilles Davenport, and inducted him into the Brotherhood not long after. Over the next four years, Shay devoted himself to the Order and the Creed, serving dutifully. However, he still pondered the ambiguous areas between the motives of the Assassins and those of the Templars, their sworn enemies. Over time, he voiced these doubts, questioning Liam about the morality of the Assassins' actions and the Creed. Shay also questioned what he believed to be mentor placing increasingly tight control over them.
In 1752, while on a mission in the North Atlantic, Shay and Liam came across Louis-Joseph Gaultier, Chevalier de la Vérendrye, who was supposed to meet with smugglers carrying valuable cargo. When the smugglers were intercepted and captured by the Royal Navy, Shay infiltrated the smugglers' camp, eliminated the British guards, and commandeered their ship, a sloop-of-war named the Morrigan.
Tracking the artifacts
Shortly after, Shay and Liam returned to the Davenport Homestead, headquarters of the Colonial Assassins, where they witnessed the arrival of Adéwalé, a member of the Caribbean branch of the Order. While Adéwalé convened with Achilles and discussed the earthquake that destroyed Port-au-Prince a year prior, Shay trained under the guidance of Liam, Hope Jensen, and Kesegowaase, before meeting with Achilles to receive a new mission, which entailed tracking down and acquisition of two First Civilization artifacts stolen by the Templars in Haiti: the Precursor box and the Manuscript.
After meeting with Chevalier de la Vérendrye and his informant, Le Chasseur, Shay traveled to Mount Vernon, home of a noted Templar, Lawrence Washington, in order to intercept a package. Having recovered an air rifle from the shipment, Shay infiltrated the grounds of Washington's manor and witnessed a meeting between Lawrence and three other Templars: Samuel Smith, James Wardrop, and Jack Weeks. Lawrence assigned Smith and Wardrop to guard the box and the manuscript, respectively, before dismissing them. As Washington walked about the grounds of his manor in the midst of a garden party, Shay managed to blend in and assassinate him; as Shay and Liam made their escape, Shay expressed both disappointment and guilt for killing Lawrence, who was already suffering from a terminal case of tuberculosis.
A few months later, Shay tracked down Samuel Smith at sea, who attempted to escape with the Precursor box in his possession. Although Smith's schooner led the Morrigan into a skirmish and attempted to deter the pursuers with burning oil, Shay gave chase and eventually assassinated Smith in his camp at Terra Nova, and recovered the artifact.
In 1754, as tensions between the French and British forces escalated to the brink of war, Shay traveled to Albany, New York, to eliminate James Wardrop. After observing William Johnson and Benjamin Franklin conversing at the Albany Congress, Shay headed to Fort Frederick to assassinate Wardrop and retrieve the Voynich manuscript, disregarding Wardrop's claims that he was endangering the world.
With both artifacts in his possession, Shay and Hope enlisted the aid of Franklin to activate the devices. After reassembling Franklin's lighting-to-battery assembly, Shay watched as the electrical charge powered the box, projecting a holographic display of the globe with a shimmering light over the site of a a Precursor Temple in Lisbon, Portugal. Relaying this information back to Achilles, Shay was tasked with traveling to Lisbon to investigate the Temple and retrieve the Piece of Eden held within.
Disaster in Lisbon
Arriving in Europe in 1755, Shay set out for the Carmo Convent in the heart of Lisbon. As the priest conducted mass inside, Shay activated several mechanisms at the convent's apex, opening a passage to the Temple hidden beneath. He then entered the Temple and approached the Piece of Eden – which appeared as a shining, star-shaped artifact suspended above a pedestal – and removed it from its place. However, disturbing the artifact from its stationary position caused it to disintegrate, and triggered a massive earthquake. As Shay emerged from the Temple, he hurriedly made his way through the collapsing city as civilians and buildings fell around him. In a swift but fortunate motion, Shay was able to make his escape and leap into the sea; he then swam back to his ship and sailed for the Thirteen Colonies.
Upon his return to the Homestead, Shay stormed into the manor and accused Achilles of sending him on the mission while aware of the chaos that taking the Piece could cause, recounting that the earthquake in Haiti happened shortly after François Mackandal sent Vendredi, one of his men, into a First Civilization Temple which Mackandal had discovered. Although Achilles insisted he knew nothing about the possibility of triggering a disaster, Shay maintained that he had been made to slaughter hundreds of innocents on Achilles' command.
Refusing to serve under a man who would brush off such destruction and loss of life, Shay resolved to steal the manuscript in order to prevent the Assassins from finding other Temples. Sneaking into the manor that night, Shay took the artifact and was about to make his escape before he was confronted by Achilles. When the Mentor tried to stop him, a struggle ensued, during which Shay was thrown outside through a broken window.
With the Assassins hunting him across the Homestead grounds, Shay made his way to a cliff overlooking the bay, but was cornered by the remaining members of the Brotherhood. As he attempted to leap into the water below, one of the Assassins shot Shay in the left shoulder from behind, which caused him to fall off the ledge; Shay was led to believe it had been Liam who shot him. Due to this turn of events, the Assassins believed Shay dead and the manuscript lost, though his unconscious form was rescued and placed in the care of Barry and Cassidy Finnegan by a Templar, Colonel George Monro.
Meeting the Templars
Some weeks later, Shay awoke in a house in New York, where he was being nursed back to health by the Finnegans. When their home was attacked by members of a local gang, Shay came to their rescue and drove the bandits out. Since his clothes were ruined during the fall, Cassidy presented him with an outfit which belonged to Finnegans' late son, while Barry returned Shay's weapons to him. Leaving the house, Shay apprehended one of the gang members and learned the location of their hideout.
Infiltrating the compound, Shay cut down the gang's flag and killed their leader, driving the bandits out of the district and restoring order. He was then approached by Colonel George Monro, who introduced himself as a friend of the Finnegans. As the pair walked through New York, Monro subtly explained the Templar philosophy to Shay, while not revealing his allegiance to the Order, although he suspected that he was a Templar due to the cross and to the little confidence towards him when they met . When Shay returned to the Finnegans' home and discussed the next move in his fight against the gangs, Monro directed asked him to prevent the execution of Christopher Gist, one of Monro's allies that the gangs had captured and planned to hang.
Shay managed to save Gist's life and kill the gang members present, taking their headquarters as his own. Following on from this, Shay noticed a ship anchored near the gang's hideout, which he discovered to his surprise to be that of his former vessel, the Morrigan. Gist suggested reclaiming the ship, and helped Shay eliminate the remaining gang members in the area, as well as the Assassin stalkers who worked with them. Gist then gathered his allies in the neighborhood to crew the Morrigan, and applied for the position of the vessel's first mate, an offer which Shay readily accepted. The two then set sail, heading for Albany to meet with Colonel Monro.
Meeting with Monro at the Albany docks, Shay learned that a nearby French fort was disrupting Colonel's operations in the area, as well as posing a potential threat to the region's safety. After raiding a nearby warehouse to gain the items necessary to reinforce the Morrigan, Shay attacked the fort and destroyed its defenses. Fighting his way through the compound, Shay entered the war room and found Le Chasseur, armed and waiting for him. The two dueled, with Shay emerging victorious, and Le Chasseur revealed that a group of criminals in New York was creating a poison gas they planned to use against the colonial authorities. Determined to stop the criminals, Shay headed back to the city.
Finding Monro once again, Shay shared what he had learned with the Colonel, who in turn told him that a certain woman had been directing criminal operations in the city, including the production of large batches of poison which was to be used against the civilian population. Monro also told Shay that Benjamin Franklin was developing certain weapons for the unknown woman, and suggested that Shay visit the inventor.
Franklin was surprised to see Shay when he arrived, but did not question him when Shay claimed to have come to collect the results of Franklin's experiments. To this, Franklin gave him a prototype grenade launcher, which Shay used to destroy the compressors containing poisonous gas in the industrial district and halt the production completely.
After finishing the task, Shay met with Monro and Gist on a nearby rooftop, where they agreed Shay's actions had saved countless lives. While they observed the destroyed factory, Jack Weeks and William Johnson joined them and congratulated Shay on his work, before the group went to a nearby tavern to celebrate their success. Over the course of the next year, Shay assisted the Colonel, and by extension the Templars, in a variety of ways, proving himself a worthy candidate to recruit into the ranks of the Order.
Siege of Fort William Henry
In August 1757, Shay received a package from Colonel Monro. Inside, he found the Manuscript and a letter from the Colonel. From what was written, Shay learned of Monro's involvement in his rescue and recuperation, following Shay's defection from the Brotherhood, and the fact the Colonel was tasked by the Grand Master of the Colonial Rite of the Templar Order with decoding the manuscript, a task at which he had failed. Reading on, Shay learned of Monro's assignment to Fort William Henry and the dire conditions the Colonel faced there.
An alliance between the French Army and the Abenaki threatened the safety of the fort, and William Johnson's reinforcements had never arrived to assist Monro's troops. Suspecting Kesegowaase to be involved in the alliance, Shay set sail for Monro's location. Arriving, he found Jack Weeks, who had been waiting for Johnson's reinforcements at the shore, and pointed Shay in the direction of Monro's division, patrolling in the wilderness.
Fighting off French troops and Assassin stalkers, Shay met the Colonel and escorted him to the safety of the Morrigan. As the ship cast off, Kesegowaase appeared on shore, enraged that Shay had survived and allied himself with the Templars. Before the Assassin could leap onto the Morrigan's deck, Weeks threw a barrel of gunpowder onto the dock, which Shay detonated with a gunshot, scarring Kesegowaase's face. Having saved Monro, Shay turned his attention to Johnson's regiment beset by French forces, and the Oneida tribe whose village had been attacked and captured by an Assassin-allied gang. Shay managed to assist both parties, strengthening Monro's army, and allowing the Colonel to travel back to Albany and protect the town from the impending French attack.
Some time later, Shay arrived to find the city under siege by the French Army and their native allies. Making his way through the town, Shay reached the fort as Monro fought off a wave of attackers. Spotting Kesegowaase, Shay chased and dueled the Assassin, mortally wounding him with a mounted Puckle gun. As Kesegowaase died, he scorned Shay's conversion to the Templars, commenting that they would fail in time, and that Monro was already dead. When Shay questioned him further, Kesegowaase merely uttered "Liam", before collapsing.
Fearing for the Colonel's life, Shay made his way to the docks and was told by Monro's soldiers that their commander was trapped inside, to which Shay ran into the burning building and carried a wounded Monro outside. In his final moments, the Colonel told Shay that Liam had taken the manuscript, before removing his Templar ring and entrusting it to Shay, before succumbing to his wounds.
Following this, Shay was inducted into the Colonial Rite by its Grand Master, Haytham Kenway, with Christopher Gist, Jack Weeks, William Johnson, and Charles Lee present at the ceremony. Afterwards, Shay informed Haytham of the Precursor sites and his belief that Achilles would recklessly endanger innocents by his continuous pursuit of the Temples.
Hunting the Assassins
Shay traveled to the north Atlantic to meet with a Royal Navy captain, James Cook, and was given leave to use Cook's Man O' War, the HMS Pembroke, to halt the advance of the French Navy. During the battle, Adéwalé aided the French with his brig, the Experto Crede, by leading several fireships towards the HMS Pembroke. Shay followed Gist's advice to focus on the fireships, allowing the Experto Crede to slip away, just as the Royal Navy ships arrived to combat the French forces.
Eventually, Shay and Haytham managed to track Adéwalé down into the River Valley, and forced him to beach the Experto Crede at Vieille Carrière, after a brief engagement. The two Templars separated, with Haytham choosing to distract Adéwalé, allowing Shay to assassinate him. With his dying breath, Adéwalé told Shay that Achilles already possessed the means to find more First Civilization sites.
Shay subsequently traveled to New York, and overheard Achilles and the other Assassins talk about replicating the Franklin experiment on the Precursor box. Determined to stop his former comrades, Shay worked with Jack Weeks to break Hope's control over the city's organized crime. To accomplish this, the pair stole gang uniforms and staged a heist against a military outpost, in order to give the British a reason to fight the criminals. Shay met with Haytham after the successful heist, just as the Grand Master was interrogating a gang member to discover Hope's location.
Shay managed to infiltrate the mansion in which Hope resided, and bore witness to her successful replication of Franklin's experiment with the Precursor box, prompting Liam to depart and inform Chevalier de la Vérendrye of the First Civilization site's location. As Liam left, Hope detected Shay and shot out the overhead window, causing him to fall into the chamber. She then took away Shay's gas mask and released poisonous vapors into the room while making her escape. Carefully, Shay managed to leave the chamber and spotted Hope outside, however she shot him with a poison dart that affected his heart rate. To maintain his life, Shay chased Hope across the city, eventually assassinating her and taking the antidote from her body. As he expressed remorse for killing her, Hope revealed that her diversion had bought Chevalier enough time to escape, and lamented on what she saw as Shay's wasted potential in aiding the Templars.
Shay took the Morrigan out into the North Atlantic, where he and Gist met with Captain Cook once again to inquire about Chevalier's whereabouts. At Cook's suggestion, Shay infiltrated the fort on Anticosti Island, stealing Chevalier's maps in order to figure out where he was headed before heading back to the Morrigan. Bringing the maps to Cook, the Captain was able to pinpoint Chevalier's location. Sailing into a snowstorm, Chevalier's fleet ambushed the Morrigan, but Shay was able to to sink the enemy vessels, before boarding Chevalier's ship, the Gerfaut, and killing him. However, Chevalier told him that he was merely a decoy for Achilles and Liam, who were on their way to the Precursor site in the Arctic.
Confrontation in the Arctic
Shay reported his findings to Haytham, who joined him on the journey to the Precursor site. As the pair navigated through the ice caves and past the Assassins, an ice bridge collapsed, separating the two and forcing Haytham to find another route to the Temple. Once they had reached their goal, Shay and Haytham came upon Achilles and Liam studying the Piece of Eden, identical to the one Shay had encountered in Lisbon. While Achilles admitted that he was wrong about the artifacts, Liam condemned Shay for betraying the Brotherhood. In response, Shay accused Liam for shooting him in the back at the Davenport Homestead. Liam clarified Chevalier as the actual shooter that day and prepared to fire at Shay, but was restrained by Achilles. After a brief struggle, Liam fell back onto the artifact, disturbing the Temple and triggering an earthquake. Shay pursued Liam through the collapsing caverns, while Haytham followed Achilles to a clearing outside.
Eventually, as the former comrades fought each other, the precipice under them gave way, causing them to fall. Shay survived the fall, whereas Liam was mortally wounded. With his dying breath, Liam was still firm in his conviction of Shay's betrayal, which the latter justified as attempting to save the world. Liam ironically stated that he hoped the world Shay and the Templars were attempting to save was a "good one", before passing away. Shay recovered the manuscript from his body, and headed back to find Haytham and Achilles.
He eventually came upon Haytham besting Achilles in combat, and stopped the Grand Master from delivering a fatal blow to the Mentor, reasoning that Achilles knew then the danger of the Precursor sites, and if he perished, the Assassins would blindly continue their search for the Temples. Reluctantly, Haytham agreed with Shay's reasoning and spared Achilles, but to ensure he would not stand in the way of the Templars anymore, Haytham crippled the Mentor with a shot to the shin. While the Colonial Rite took on the task of purging the remaining Brotherhood, Haytham charged Shay with tracking down and recovering the Precursor box, although Shay admitted their only lead was Chevalier transporting it away from the colonies, and that it could take years for the Templars to find the box again.
Journey to France
In 1776, Shay was present in Paris, France, following the information about the Precursor box being in possession of a French Assassin, Charles Dorian. Shay assisted Benjamin Franklin, who was in France as an ambassador to the French royal court, in escaping from a group of criminals. As a token of gratitude, Franklin provided the means for Shay to enter the Palace of Versailles, although he was unaware of the Templar's true mission, as Shay merely stated he was meeting a business associate. Having infiltrated the palace, Shay located Charles and assassinated him, recovering the Precursor box in the process. In his dying words, Charles remarked that Connor's Assassins and the American Revolutionary War had thwarted the Templar plans in the New World. However Shay was actually pleased to hear this, since the Templars in the Colonies had become corrupt which caused the Revolution. Furthermore Connor's Brotherhood honored the creed Shay's Brotherhood betrayed and used the conflict to restore peace to America as Shay once had. Instead Shay told Charles that the Templars would state a revolution of their own indicating that the Templars in France had also become corrupt and Shay wanted the Assassins to reset the balance of power once more. 
Travels, later life and death
- "Never a traitor to the truth! He never betrayed the Templar Order! And he taught me how to kill vermin like you."
- ―Cudgel Cormac, regarding his grandfather's allegiance to the Templar Order.[src]
Since Shay reclaimed the artifact in 1776, he searched for more precursor artifacts rather than returning to the colonies. Later in life, Shay trained his son and grandson in learning to master Freerunning and Eagle Vision. They also inherited his air rifle. Shay remained a Templar to his death, having never betrayed the Templar Order.
In 2014, Shay's life was researched by Juhani Otso Berg who had a keen interest in Assassins who became Templars or those with Assassin ancestors that chose to become Templars instead. After researching Shay's life Berg created a propoganda video using his memories to intimidate the Assassins and desmonstrate his firm belief in the superiority of Templar ideology. But Berg altered some of the footage to make Achilles seem more ruthless and removed Shay's remorseful qualities towards the Assassins. Berg also had a somewhat false perception of Shay believing his actions were the greatest demonstration of his beliefs but ignored the fact that Shay only joined the Templars in desperation, was highly remorseful towards the Assassins he killed and the fact that he saved Achilles life despite being the reason for his betrayal.
Personality and characteristics
- "Life's hardest choices are the ones that force you to question your own moral code."
- ―Shay, regarding his ties to both the Assassins and the Templars.
Shay was originally a brash, immature, and insubordinate young man who often did not take his role as an Assassin seriously. This was due in part to lack of experience, but also his own brewing doubts regarding both the integrity of his fellow Assassins and the morality of the Creed itself. Shay was highly outspoken and did not shy away from pointing out the (perceived) hypocrisies of his Assassin brothers, especially the militant and dogmatic Chevalier, which often landed him in trouble. The above factors would gradually push him further and further away from the Brotherhood and lead to his betrayal.
But despite openly aligning with the Templars and fighting his former comrades, Shay expressed remorse for having to eliminate them (except Chevalier and Kesegowaase), particularly his teacher Hope Jensen and his close friend, Liam O'Brien. He also, at least initially, took no pleasure in killing Assassins whom he was not familiar with on a personal level, such as Adéwalé.
Shay had a sense of honor, as he disliked having to kill individuals whom he deemed weak and defenseless, particularly Lawrence Washington or Samuel Smith, despite their allegiance to the Templar Order. Shay even reasoned with Haytham Kenway to spare the defenseless, beaten Achilles. He also expressed a dislike of slavery, displaying disbelief when he learned that the French, who were allied with the Assassins at the time, were still practicing slavery in Haiti, despite attempts by François Mackandal and Adéwalé to end the practice. Similarly, Shay was deeply affected by the earthquake in Lisbon, believing that he had personally slaughtered throusands of innocent people through his activation of the First Civilization device. He would carry this trauma with him for the rest of his life.
Shay was determined to help those in need, as seen through numerous property renovations commissioned by him across the North American colonies. It was through helping the British against the oppression inflicted by the French authorities and the Assassin-affiliated gangs that Shay learned to embrace the Templar ideology.
As the years went on, his sense of honor and selflessness gradually gave way to a more manipulative, cold, ruthless, calculating, and somewhat twisted disposition. For instance, he showed no remorse in killing the French Assassin Charles Dorian, despite the deep trauma it caused for his young son Arno Dorian, whom Shay had encountered mere moments earlier. He also gleefully boasted of his plans to start a revolution in France, one that would claim even more innocent lives than the disaster in Lisbon had. Shay would often use his status among Templar puppets to reach his goals, which included posing as part of the King's Royal Navy when working with James Cook, or relying on his friendship with Benjamin Franklin to gain admittance to the Château de Versailles to kill Charles Dorian, under the pretense of "meeting a business acquaintance"; however, in the latter case, it was also to repay him for saving the doctor's life. He would go on to manipulate events in the colonies and Europe with his Templar fleet and assist other Templar Rites, particularly the Louisiana Rite of the Templar Order.
Shay also had characteristics of being a lone wolf, often leaving his ship and crew and spending hours exploring the Hudson River Valley as well as the North Atlantic by himself. Many Assassins later grew to fear him and branded him as a traitor, rebel, and renegade, including his former best friend Liam, and by the Assassin Varius during the American Civil War, who branded him a traitor and the Cormac's for "Hunters".
Throughout his life, Shay carried a motto of "making his own luck", displaying his belief in personal independence and ingenuity, rather than fortune or others' actions to achieve success.
Equipment and skills
- "A pity, the boy has so much potential... But so little discipline."
- ―Hope Jensen, regarding Shay's skills, 1752.[src]
From his early life as a sailor, under the wing of his father, Shay was trained in swordsmanship and marksmanship; additionally, he was tutored in terms of sailing and navigating a ship. During his youth, Shay was renowned for picking fights in local taverns where he proved to be a capable fist-fighter, being able to take down multiple opponents.
Upon joining the Assassin Brotherhood, Shay's skills grew. He became a skilled swordsman to the point where he was able to dual wield weapons with great efficiency. He also became skilled marksman and a capable freerunner, able to scale trees and cliffs almost effortlessly. He was tutored in stealth and pickpocketing by Hope Jensen. His skill as a captain was noticed by the other Assassins, with even Chevalier regarding him as the second-best sailor of the Brotherhood. In terms of weaponry, Shay wielded dual Hidden Blades, a sword and parrying dagger, two flintlock pistols, rope darts, throwing knives, and smoke bombs.
Shay became a capable hunter, having been instructed by Kesegowaase, and was able to overpower and kill dangerous animals including wolves and bears, as well as sea creatures. In addition, Shay possessed the rare ability of Eagle Vision, which he would use to help pinpoint the location of his enemies.
Shay later acquired a prototype air rifle, which was diverse as it fired projectile darts including sleep, berserk and firecrackers; in addition, after being upgraded by Benjamin Franklin, the rifle became a deadlier tool as it was able to fire sleep, berserk and lethal grenades.
Shay was noted by Hope and Achilles to have great potential as an Assassin, though this was offset by his brash and laid-back attitude. Nonetheless, he was skilled enough to be entrusted with the search for the Precursor sites by Achilles, despite the latter having more experienced and disciplined subordinates at his disposal.
Upon joining the Templar Order, Shay became a deadly adversary. His training as an Assassin allowed him to easily snuff out all of his Assassin pursuers and defeat most of his former allies including Kesegowaase, Chevalier, and even the legendary Adéwalé. As an Assassin Hunter, Shay was skilled enough to counter the Assassins’ signature moves, including air assassinations. To protect himself from the effects of smoke bombs and various gases, Shay usually carried a gas mask on his person. 
Shay's actions, specifically his assassination of high-ranking Assassin members, had a long-lasting effect on the Assassin-Templar War in the colonies. The Colonial Templars maintained dominance over the colonies, while the Assassins were all but wiped out, with the exception of Achilles who was forced into seclusion at his homestead. The Assassins would not regain a foothold until the presence of Ratonhnhaké:ton tipped the balance back into the Assassins' favor and dismantled everything that Shay built for the Templars.
Shay's assassination of Charles Dorian left the latter's son, Arno Dorian, an orphan. Arno was soon adopted by Grand Master François de la Serre, and Arno would become embroiled in the Assassin-Templar conflict years later.
Shay, however, is not the only Templar in the Cormac family's history, as his grandson, Cudgel Cormac, was also an active member of the Order during the 19th century in New York City. Through Cudgel, his lineage also stretches to at least Javier Mondragón in the 21st century. 
Shay is also highly revered amongst modern day Templars, specifically the Master Templar Juhani Otso Berg. Juhani saw Shay as the perfect example of what a Templar should be, and idolized him to the point that his attire somewhat resembled Shay's.
Juhani also made use of Shay's genetic memories of the Assassins' flaw in order to weaken the Assassins in spirit. He uploaded Shay's memories into a server which was broadcast to the Assassins, temporarily throwing them into disarray. Berg also used Shay's memories as a feint that caused the Assassins to empty a few safehouses, shut down a few servers, put up some new firewalls, and flushed out the Assassins' man in Montreal almost instantly. Berg, having monitored his communications with other Initiates, watched them run, and where they were running to, resulting in the death of their man in Montreal. By 2015, it had resulted in the military contacts of the Assassins and the Initiates being transferred or discharged, their wealthier private citizens being audited or brought out by Abstergo, and their friends in the higher learning faced budget cuts and their authority and curriculum was challenged. This caused the Initiates and Assassins world wide to enact the Rooftop Garden Protocol. Efficiently shutting down all unnecessary communications on their network on the orders of William Miles.
- Shay's name is the anglicized form of the Gaelic Séaghdha, which means "hawk". His middle name comes from the Latin Patricius, meaning "nobleman". His family name is a conjoined term; mac is Gaelic for "son of", while cor has been interpreted as either "charioteer" or "raven".
- The word "shay" is a corruption of chaise, originally from French. Alternately: liar, breaker of promises, betrayer.
- Shay's Templar attire bore similarities to the Templar armor obtained by Edward Kenway during his time in the West Indies.
- Shay's Templar outfit was adorned with several symbols, including Celtic knots, Yggdrasil, triquetras, and the Templar insignia.
- The Yggdrasil symbol on Shay’s Templar outfit is similar to the ash tree emblazoned on the medallions worn by members of the Order of the Ancients in England during the 9th century.
- Shay's practice of dual-wielding a sword and a dagger was also utilized by the Templar brothers Shalim and Shahar during the 12th century.
- According to the Scottish fencer Archibald MacGregor, dual-welding a sword and a dagger was also common among Irishmen, who used two sticks, a short one in their left hand to guard with and a long one in their right, "which they manage with amazing dexterity"
- While promotional images depict Shay's Templar outfit with a hood, the in-game version of the outfit does not actually have one. Though it should be noted that the hood was removed in order for Shay's Templar outfit to fit in his new allegiance and personality.
- Shay is similar to Vali cel Tradat of Assassin's Creed Revelations. Both are Assassins who loyally serve the Creed until they both lose faith in their Brotherhoods, join the Templar Order, and begin to hunt down their former comrades. Unlike Vali, who is killed by the Assassins, Shay survives every attempt of his life by his former allies.
- Although Anne Bonny's maiden name was Cormac, she possessed no relation to Shay, with the similarity in surname being purely coincidental.
- Even though Shay defected from the Assassins due to their willingness to sacrifice the lives of innocents, he himself is able to kill civilians without the Helix desynchronizing. According to Rogue's lead writer, Richard Farrese, this is due to a glitch in the Animus.
- Shay is the first playable main protagonist who is a Templar rather than an Assassin, and Rogue was marketed on this premise.
- Assassin's Creed: Rogue (first appearance)
- Assassin's Creed: The Official Collection
- Assassin's Creed: Last Descendants (mentioned only)