I've posted this on a few other sites. Thought I might as well add it here. Any constructive criticism would be much appreciated. What wouldn’t work or what did I leave out that could?
Disclaimer: This is in no way a purported leak; just my own thoughts and research on the subject. If anyone from Ubisoft does see this and wishes to use some of the ideas in a future entry I give up all rights to these concepts.
Warning: This is long as in almost 3000 words long; draws from more than just the game media, ie. Bloodlines, Project Legacy, Last Descendants; and I kinda shotgun a lot of ideas on here. The TL;DR for main concepts is that Kawab becomes the Magi Balthazar and assassinates Herod the Great, Mary is a Chalice, St. Longinus is an Assassin and the Lance is the Devotion Prong, Jesus ascends to a dimension like the Grey, the Shroud is taken to Britain where an Assassin branch is started up.
AC: Gospel (working title)
The story is told through the frame of someone reliving the memories of the Beloved Disciple who would go on to have children with Mary Magdalene after the Crucifixion. The descendant could also relive some memories of Mary Magdalene. The Beloved Disciple is a completely new person (possibly named something similar to Nisiri as that is Hebrew/Amharic for eagle which would also work as a pun on both the town of Nazareth, the Nazarites, and the Naziri, the historical Assassins) and not any of the usual claims such as John the Evangelist, James, etc. The Beloved Disciple is slightly older than Jesus and is the son of an Assassin family descended from the Tribe of Dan, trained in their ways but doesn’t official join until after the crucifixion. He accompanies Jesus during the ‘Lost Years’ period as a friend and guardian. Their relationship is similar to Achilles and Patrolocus (if Patrolocus was the better fighter) and is complicated by the arrival of Mary Magdalene which creates a complex love-triangle where both she and the Beloved Disciple have some attraction to each other but at the same time they prioritize Jesus over the other (similar to the relationships in Christopher Moore's Lamb: The Gosple According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal).
People, Events, Items, Lore:
The Shroud of Eden
This PoE would be the same as Joseph’s Coat of Many Colors. After his reconciliation with his family the Shroud stayed in the possession of Judah and from there was passed down the Tribe of Judah, with possible use by Moses and Aaron of the Tribe of Levi during the Exodus, to the Tribe of Dan granting Samson his strength, then to David aiding in his defeat of Goliath, possibly over to the prophets Elijah and Elisha, and then all the way down to Joseph, Mary’s husband. The Shroud is used as a bridal cloak (not sure if that’s an actual custom for the time and place) and later is what Jesus is swaddled in during the Nativity.
Mary, Mother of God, Immaculate Conception, Virgin Birth
She is a Chalice, having a high percentage of Isu DNA similar to a Sage but female and even less common. The Chalice is a later creation of the Isu entity Juno when she realized she was going to be imprisoned by Minerva. The Chalice had a unique genetic make up that would allow Juno to possess the body if it ever came in contact with the Grey. This can be used to explain the idea of the Immaculate Conception. During the marriage ceremony between her and Joseph, the Shroud, having been dormant for many years, is used as a bridal cloak. It reacts to her high Isu DNA and causes her to conceive without having consummated her marriage explaining the Virgin Birth.
The Adoration of the Magi, Massacre of the Innocent, Flight into Egypt
While the number of Magi is never stated in the Bible the most common number is three (due to the three different gifts) but some denominations state up to twelve. Both of these can be reconciled by three retinues of four members each. Unbeknownst to the others, each group represents a different faction, the Assassins (using this term instead of Hidden Ones), the Templars (using this term instead of Order of the Ancients), and the Instruments (I am having them exist already as the creation of their group has not been set in the lore yet). Each faction had Pieces of Eden that reacted to the Shroud reactivating sending them on their quest. They met with Herod the Great, a Templar himself, Herod in his paranoia ordered the Massacre of the Innocents and was later assassinated by the Assassin Magi. The Assassin Magi is actually Kawab who in THO stated he was going to forego his name for another as well as fight Herod the Great. The usual purported names of the Magi are Melchior from Persia, Caspar from India, and Balthazar from Arabia or sometimes Ethiopia (or variations thereof). Kawab can fulfill both of those places for Balthazar as in classical antiquity Ethiopia meant anyplace sub-Saharan in Africa such as Nubia while he also claims that he will travel to fight against Herod the Great. Some sources claim Balthazar died at the age of 112 in 55 AD which would put his birth around the same time as Kawab’s as well. Balthazar supposedly brought the gift of myrrh which symbolizes death and mortality, fitting for an Assassin. Melchior is said to have brought gold showing dominion of the Earth, matching Templar ideology and the Persian branch of the Order of the Ancients was formed by the priestly Magi caste. Caspar gifted frankincense, a symbol of the divine which would match well with an Instrument. I’d characterize Melchior as a benevolent Templar similar to a younger Haytham or de la Serre, not knowing of or later agreeing with the madness and paranoia of Herod the Great. Kawab, now Balthazar, warned the family and sent them to Egypt where they’d be protected by the Egyptian Brotherhood before assassinating the king.
The Lost Years
Being the son of a Chalice and having been in contact with a Shroud of Eden from a young age gave Jesus a strong connection to the Isu, possibly more than even a Sage would have. As he grew older he struggled to come to terms with what it all meant. Around the time of his secular maturity, 13 years-old, Jesus goes on a journey of self-discovery accompanied by the Beloved Disciple. Their first stop is Petra where the prophet Aaron, Moses’s brother is supposedly buried. From there they go on to visit all three Magi (the usual locations are Persia, India, and Babylonia although Ethiopia sometimes replaces Babylonia as stated above). Through them Jesus learns more about the philosophy of each faction which he later incorporates into his own teachings. This is also how Jesus and the Beloved Disciple learn the full story behind his birth and the death of Herod as well as some esoteric teachings such as holistic medicine and alchemy (which has already been introduced into the AC universe via the Divine Science chapter of Project Legacy). The last place Jesus and the Beloved Disciple travel to before returning to Judea is Britannia (for reasons yet unknown) witnessing the early period of its contact with Rome prior to it official inclusion into the Roman Empire. Once back in Judea, Jesus and the Beloved Disciple stop and study with the Essenes where they became acquainted with Joseph of Arimathea and then through him Nicodemus.
Once returned from his travels, Jesus meets with John the Baptist (sometimes said to be his cousin on Mary’s side). John possess a PoE of his own, a Staff, most likely passed down through the Tribe of Levi from Moses and his brother Aaron. The Staff reacts to Jesus’s presence explaining what people would later call the Holy Spirit. During this time the true events of the Exodus are revealed to Jesus, John, and the Beloved Disciple. After the beheading of John the Baptist by Herod Antipas, the Staff would later come into the possession of the Apostle Simon Peter, later canonized as Saint Peter and from there the Papacy where it would be last seen by Ezio and Rodrigo Borgia in the Vatican Vault.
The Prophet Elijah
A possible owner of both the Staff and the Shroud, he was alive during the interim years between the reign of King Solomon and the Assyrian Captivity. He is said to have entered Heaven alive, a trait shared by Enoch (who is also said to later become Metatron), Jesus, and Mother Mary in Judeo-Christian writing and a few others across different religions. John the Baptist is said to be his spiritual successor. A possible explanation for this is Elijah’s consciousness imprinted on John in similar way to Shao Jun and Anastasia. Elijah alongside Moses also appeared before Jesus, who was with some of his followers, in a vision, The Transfiguration on the Mount.
The Temptations in the Desert
After the Baptism Jesus is said to have gone to fast in the desert. During this time he was confronted with three temptations: turning stone into bread to relieve his hunger, jump from a great height knowing that he is safeguarded by God, and worship Satan who will make him a great king. The middle temptation evokes the Assassins and the Leap of Faith; while the other two could be the Templars and the Instruments, all tempting Jesus to join their respective factions. He rebuffed their offers and set out to begin his own ministry.
The Ministry and Miracles
As previously stated in the lore many of the miracles can attributed to Jesus’s possession of the Shroud, specifically the ones dealing with healing or raising the dead. Jesus could also exhibit a form of Eagle Vision similar to that of Bayek or Io:nhiote which allowed for the catching of the fish and the multiplying of food if extended to plants as well. Walking on water and the changing of water into wine could both be done through alchemical transmutation, alternatively, for the wine, in his travel Jesus could have learned, discovered, or created a distillation process making a clear hard liquor thought to be water until tasted. His many feats of exorcism can be seen as healing psychological disorders while others can be metaphors for people defecting from the Assassins, Templars, or Instruments. Mary Magdalene would be one of these converts; her seven demons are usually seen as the Seven Sins but could be changed to being tenets of her pervious affiliation. One of the Apostles, Simon the Zealot, could be a former Assassin as he is sometimes said to have belonged to the Jewish Zealot movement as denoted by his moniker. The Sicarii, a later more extreme faction of the Zealots, known for assassinations could be an Assassin affiliated group similar to the Rooks. Judas Iscariot is sometimes said to have been a Sicarii, even though the accepted timeframe doesn’t line up perfectly.
The Passion, Wandering Jew, Crucifixion, Holy Lance
When Jesus arrived in Jerusalem he visited the Temple on the Mount, an Isu site, and interfered with Templar plans there by casting people out. This is the last straw for the Templars based in Rome, who desiring the power of the Shroud, concerned with Jesus’s growing number of followers including some of their own, and giving up on him joining them, plotted his death. However, he was well guarded by his companions. The Assassins also kept tabs on him, seeing him as an ally even if he didn’t fully agree with their ideology and also making sure the Shroud isn’t misused. In response to this the Templars sent agents to Judea in possession of the Devotion Prong. Using this they turned Judas Iscariot, fixed Jesus’s trials, overturned the sentence from Pontius Pilate, and secured the release of Barabbas. On Jesus’s journey to the crucifixion site he is confronted and mocked by the Wandering Jew. The Wandering Jew has already been introduced into the AC lore as a Sage and thus could be the leader of the Instruments during this time and one of the ones the tempted Jesus previously in the desert. He is also linked to both a Persian king (there are a couple of claimants; I've chosen Cambyses II) and Cain. This allows for an interesting possible narrative with Cambyses II having also been a Sage and Cain being the one that Juno modified with Aita’s genes (in a modification of the Osiris myth). During all this commotion the Templar used Judas acquire the Shroud. However, the Assassins in Rome had also sent an agent, later to canonized as Saint Longinus, a relative of Gaius Cassius Longinus, one of Caesar’s head assassinators, to meet with their brethren in Judea in including the Beloved Disciple. Longinus and the Disciple are able to steal the Devotion Prong. Longinus is then able to use the Prong to stab Jesus and create the swoon effect and convince the masses that Jesus is dead. Thus the Devotion Prong and the Lance of Longinus are the same. The Lance later appears in the Arthurian cycle as the bleeding spear that torments the Fisher King. The Lance can then fall back into Templar hands via King Arthur, a known Templar. Notably of the three main claimants of the Lance today, one of them, the Hofburg Spear, is part of the Imperial Regalia in Vienna. That one is said to have been added to the collection by Otto I who was also at one point in possession of the Devotion Prong according to the Last Descendants series, lending credence to the Prong and the Lance being the same. Adolf Hitler, a Templar affiliate, is said to have been obsessed with finding the Lance, theorized as a reason for annexing Austria but unfortunately for Hitler it was only a replica of the real one which by that time had been hidden in Scandinavia. At the same time as Longinus’s theft of the Prong, the Beloved Disciple was recovering the Shroud from the Templars as its hold over Judas was broken by the changing in ownership who then told them where the Shroud was being kept and then committed suicide in horror to what he was forced to do.
The Resurrection, Ascension, Joseph of Arimathea, Holy Grail, Arthurian Cycle
Using the Shroud, the disciple were able to heal Jesus from his deathlike state and sustain him for forty days. However, the power of the Shroud is too great for his body to handle and eventually it burns away his material being while his consciousness ascends into Avalon, a precursor to the Grey (William Robert Woodman who had a connection to Consus existed on as a spirit after the death of his physical body as shown in the Divine Sciences pack of Project Legacy). Prior reference to the strain of possessing this PoE, along with being the son of a Chalice, can be seen in the Agony in the Garden just after the Last Supper but prior to his arrest. After the Ascension the Beloved Disciple fully joins the Assassin Brotherhood being inducted by Longinus. They takes possession of the Shroud while also retaining possession of the Prong and along with Mary Magdalene, Mary the Chalice, and Joseph of Arimathea with his family travel to Britannia where the Beloved Disciple had traveled to before during his time with Jesus and settle near what is present-day Glastonbury. It’s possible that the Beloved Disciple kept in contact with Nicodemus and John the Apostle via another PoE and was a source for some of their written works. This move would run concurrent with the official initial invasion of the island by the Roman Empire and thus the Templar Order. There he weds Mary Magdalene and establishes an Assassin branch with Longinus. There first child could be hinted to have actually been fathered Jesus but left unconfirmed.
This sets up a possible sequel set during the time of King Arthur focusing mainly on the Quest for the Chalice but also featuring a Sword of Eden, the Devotion Prong/Lance, and explain why there was a Shroud (the same Jesus had) in Britain as was shown in Syndicate and which could have at one point been hidden or stored in a cauldron being known as the Pair Dadeni or Cauldron of Rebirth. The Prong and the Shroud would be in the possession of the Fisher King at the start of the story. The misconception of the Chalice/Grail as an object rather than person can attributed to it being conflated with the Shroud within the cauldron. Additionally, the Mantle of King Arthur, one of the Thirteen Treasures of Britain, possessing the power to grant invisibility, could be reworked to be the Aegis which also appears in Syndicate. Merlin, a Sage (while also sometimes being said to be the grandson of Hermes through the god Pan), could also be the leader of the Assassins in Britannia (I believe not all Sage should automatically be Instruments or Templars and would like to see how one that was an Assassin would be characterized) in one of the rare instances where they worked alongside to Templar for a common goal, until being brought down by a different Templar rite that has allied with the Instruments (where Morgan le Fay, Mordred, and Nimue would come in).
The Modern Day focuses on the descendant of the Beloved Disciple and Mary Magdalene who has been entangled into the Assassin/Templar/Instrument conflict as one of the factions (any of them) thinks another Chalice has been born and believes that reliving the memories of people that were in contact with previous Chalices, first with the Beloved Disciple, then with a character from the Arthurian Cycle, and later someone on the Sinclair Expedition, will lead to clues where the next one will appear. This would allow the franchise to bring Adha back into the narrative as the only currently confirmed Chalice and solidify her lore. Other historical characters could be theorized as Chalices as well such a Jeanne d’Arc in explanation to her high Isu DNA content or Dorothy Osborne from the Salem Witch Trials. Marian Apparitions could be linked to other Chalices as well. (This is kinda not as applicable with the end of Uprising.)
There are a few other topics that would be touched upon by characters in the modern day but don’t get too much exposition as they don’t add to the current narrative of searching for the Chalice. One is the appearance of the Sword of Saint Peter, a possible Sword of Eden, which he gave to Joseph of Arimathea when he took possession of the Staff of John the Baptist. Joseph took the Sword with him to Britannia and kept it hidden in the abbey he would later found. It was later given to Saint George by the abbot of Glastonbury. Saint George was martyred by Diocletian during the Great Persecution. The Sword however passed not to Diocletian but Constantine, aiding in his rise to power. The Helix menu of Unity included this future story under the title “The Bladed Cross”. Constantine is also sometimes said to be an ancestor of King Arthur possibly allowing for the Sword of Saint Peter to also be connected to Excalibur, confirmed to be a Sword of Eden in Heresy, but more likely the Sword was lost and later recovered by Attila the Hun (since there is an actual claimant for the Sword of Saint Peter). The legend of Prester John, a legendary Nestorian king ruling a fantastical realm, could also introduced as he is stated to be a descendant of both one of three Magi and a Percival's half-brother in the Arthurian Cycle. Another topic would be the death and cremation of David Jones aka David Bowie. In AC IV he was noted to be a possible Sage. His death and subsequent cremation could be mentioned in relation with Project Phoenix.