The Venetian Conspiracy refers to a Templar-orchestrated plot to take over the government of the Venice city-state. Primarily made up of members of the powerful Barbarigo family, the Venetian Templars were overseen by their Grand Master Rodrigo Borgia.
The plot was thwarted by the Florentine Assassin Ezio Auditore da Firenze, who targeted each of the Venetian Templars one by one. However, the Templars were able to temporarily gain control over Venice after the poisoning of Doge Giovanni Mocenigo, who was succeeded by Marco Barbarigo. With help from other secret Assassins stationed in Venice to rule over the city's respective thieves, mercenaries and courtesans guilds, Ezio Auditore was ultimately able to thwart the Templars' plot and ensured that the city remained out of the hands of the Templars.
Side-trip to Forlì
Trouble in the mountains
- "Ezio? What luck! I... er, have run into a bit of trouble."
- ―Leonardo, after meeting up with Ezio in the mountains.[src]
After finishing off the last of the Pazzi conspirators, Ezio returned to his hometown of Florence. From a letter he had taken from Jacopo de' Pazzi, Ezio learned that the hierarchy of the Templar conspirators stemmed all the way to Venice. Meeting with Lorenzo de' Medici, he informed him of his work in Tuscany, avenging the death of Lorenzo's brother, Giuliano, as well as his own former male kin. As a reward, Lorenzo presented Ezio with a cape, which bore the crest of the Medici, establishing him as not only a friend to the city of Florence, but to the House of Medici as well. Shortly afterwards, Ezio made his way to Leonardo da Vinci's workshop and, upon arriving there, was informed by an assistant of Leonardo's departure to Venice, having been commissioned by a wealthy Venetian noble.
Travelling to Forlì - by way of the Apennine Mountains - in order to charter a ship to Venice, he came across Leonardo, whose carriage had broken down. Lifting the carriage as Leonardo fixed the wheel, Ezio noticed a strange contraption made of wood stored within it. Asking Leonardo about it, the inventor revealed that it was a device intended to take a man into flight. Amused, Ezio dismissed it and climbed aboard the carriage along with Leonardo.
As they traveled, Leonardo began telling Ezio of the various wonders of Venice. However, a little while into their journey, the pair were attacked by troops of Rodrigo Borgia. As the attackers attempted to board the carriage, Ezio used sharp turns in order to make them lose their grip.
As he continued to escape the countryside, soldiers stationed further ahead attempted to stop Ezio by burning down a wooden bridge, which covered a large chasm. However, Ezio managed to make it over the burning bridge unscathed. Continuing onward, troops using fire-tipped arrows stationed on the surrounding hills began firing at the road ahead. Nearing Forli, Ezio asked Leonardo to carry on without him while he dispatched the remaining soldiers, assuring him he would catch up.
Damsel in distress
- "Don't just stand there! I need help!"
- ―Caterina Sforza, stranded in the middle of the lake.[src]
Leaving Leonardo to enter the ship, Ezio heard a call for help from a woman who was stranded on a small land form in the middle of a lake. Commandeering a gondola, he rowed it over to the woman and politely helped her onto it. As he brought her back to the harbor, she introduced herself as Caterina Sforza. Returning the favor, she ordered the ferryman to grant Ezio passage onto the ship.
After they had both boarded the ship, Leonardo informed Ezio of Caterina, being the wife of the Count of Forlì, Girolamo Riario, and also the daughter of the Duke of Milan, Galeazzo Maria Sforza. Leonardo continued, advicing Ezio that it would be in his best interest that he refrain from doing anything he might regret. Ezio only replied with a faint chuckle, commenting that she was his type of woman.
- "Ah, Venezia! What other place is as beautiful, as stable, as perfect?"
- ―Alvise da Vilandino, showing Ezio and Leonardo the wonders of Venice.[src]
Ezio arrived in Venice with Leonardo, who was organizing his belongings along the river bank near the Ponte di Rialto. As they conversed, the two were greeted by Alvise, who had been instructed by Leonardo's employer to give him a short tour of Venice.
Ezio and Leonardo walked the streets with Alvise as their guide, listening as he pointed out the city's most famous landmarks, such as the Rialto Bridge, an old church, the Venetian Markets, and the Palazzo della Seta. As the tour neared the markets, the group witnessed a man's stand being destroyed over a simple disagreement with the guards.
Alvise explained to Ezio and Leonardo as they viewed the grand Palazzo della Seta, that the man who lived inside, Emilio Barbarigo, wished to unify all the merchants under a single banner. He went on to say that those who resisted him were often the victims of unwarranted violence. As he said this, Ezio witnessed the same man whose stand had been destroyed be arrested on false grounds.
The tour continued, and as they walked further into the city, Ezio saw a group of thieves run by him, one of which brushed up against him in an attempt to steal his money pouch. After this, the tour concluded with Alvise introducing Leonardo to his new workshop, where the master inventor quickly set up shop. Leonardo then asked if Ezio would like to come in, however the Assassin declined, saying that he needed to gain an audience with Emilio. After saying goodbye to Leonardo, Ezio set off towards the Palazzo della Seta.
The Venetian Thieves
- "We know all about you, Ser Ezio. Your work in Firenze and the rest of Tuscany. Good work too, if a little unrefined."
- ―Antonio upon meeting Ezio.[src]
Ezio scouted out the palazzo from afar, looking for any way to get in. Ruling out scaling the walls, as there was a large gap in the climbing surface, Ezio searched for a possible alternative.
Still searching for a way in, Ezio witnessed some thieves break past the palazzo's guards, prompting them to give chase. As the guards left their posts, a woman ran up to the plazzo walls and began to climb them using a strange climbing technique. The woman managed to clear half of the wall before being shot in the leg by archers and falling to the ground.
Stumbling towards Ezio, the woman requested his help, which the Assassin readily gave. Making their way to the water, Ezio and the woman, who revealed her name to be Rosa, battled the pursuing guards. The duo pushed on until Rosa collapsed due to the wound in her leg, at which time Ezio carried her in his arms all the way to the water.
As he carried Rosa to the edge of the canal, he found Rosa's comrade Ugo awaiting her with a gondola in tow. Ezio left her with her friends so they could bring her to safety; however, upon noticing that there were guards stationed by the canal, he took it upon himself to deal with the soldiers in order to protect the gondola.
Ezio succeeded in protecting the gondola and they made it safely back to the Venetian Thieves Guild. After docking the gondola, Ugo attempted to lift Rosa up, but only caused more pain to her. Instead, Ezio lifted Rosa up while Ugo ran ahead to call Antonio de Magianis.
Ezio then carried Rosa into the guild, and carefully placed her on a work table cleared by the thieves. Just then, Antonio arrived at the scene to examine the wound. Though Antonio protested that they should wait before removing the arrow, Rosa demanded that it be done right away. Holding her down, Antonio, along with a little help from Ezio, removed the arrow and treated the wound. Rosa was then taken away by the thieves to see a doctor.
Antonio then thanked Ezio for his assistance. He revealed that he and his people knew him from his work in Florence and the rest of Tuscany, commenting that it was quite remarkable, "if a little unrefined." He then requested him to come to his office when he had some spare time, for they had much to discuss.
- "You may not share our motive, but I know you share our goal."
- ―Antonio securing an alliance with Ezio.[src]
As Ezio entered Antonio's office, the man offered him some coffee, a drink still unfamiliar to some of the Italians. Antonio then continued, remarking that their efforts to attack the Palazzo della Seta had been wasted yet again, and that they would need time to recover. He then asked Ezio for help, to which the Assassin gladly replied that he would assist in any way he could.
Over the next few years, Ezio worked closely with the guild. Firstly he assisted Antonio in rooting out the spies planted by Emilio among the thieves. He then aided Ugo in rescuing those thieves that were captured in the attack on the Palazzo della Seta. He also learnt the technique that Rosa had used to scale the palazzo's walls during their first encounter. Finally, Ezio helped steal some archer armor that would help the thieves take the place of the regular archers.
By 1485, all of the preparations were deemed complete by Antonio, and he then instructed Ezio to meet him at his office, where he would inform him of the plan to assault the Palazzo della Seta once more.
The Corrupt Merchant
- "Your little house of cards is crumbling, Emilio."
- ―Carlo Grimaldi to Emilio soon before the latter's death.[src]
Antonio, finally ready to initiate the takeover, filled Ezio in on his role on the attack. He was to dispose of the archers guarding the palazzo opposite the building, after which their own disguised men would replace them. Afterwards, he was instructed to meet him and the others in a nearby, secluded area. Ezio agreed to this and, after successfully dispatching the guards, met up with Antonio and Rosa. He was then instructed by Antonio to infiltrate the palazzo from ground level with the help of several of his men. Ezio accepted and returned to the palazzo's doorstep.
Ezio, with thieves in tow, ordered them to cause a distraction in order to open a way for him. As they successfully did so, Ezio quietly sneaked inside the palazzo. Scaling the walls using the methods taught to him by Rosa, Ezio managed to reach the top of the palazzo unscathed and undetected.
From there, he was able to observe a brief conversation between his target, Emilio Barbarigo, and another man named Carlo, who, based on his appearance, was a government official. The official thought that it was best for Emilio to leave his palazzo, for the Assassin had been seen on numerous occasions around Venice, much to Emilio's surprise. He was openly shocked by this revelation of the Assassin's presence, an ignorance which the official quickly reprimanded.
Emilio defensively stated that he had been busy with his other tasks. The official recommended that Emilio find a safe place to hide for a few days, before leaving the palazzo. The merchant, fearing for his life, hurriedly ordered his men to fetch him a boat. Wasting no time, Ezio made his way inside the palazzo, and slew the old merchant. Before dying, Emilio admitted that he did not feel fear, but regret, for he had only sought unity and order. The guards that inhabited the palazzo were then taken down by Rosa and the other thieves posing as archers. Ezio, after speaking words of respect for Emilio's corpse, came along with Rosa to open the palazzo doors for Antonio and the others.
Antonio gleefully greeted Ezio on his success, and remarked that they were now free of Emilio's tyranny. When asked for what he wanted in return, Ezio only asked for two things: money, and the identity of the government official he had overheard speaking with Emilio. He received both from Antonio, a sack of Florins, and the name Carlo Grimaldi, a member of the Council of Ten. After this, Ezio left the Palazzo, as the thieves celebrated their victory.
Meeting in the streets of Venice
- "The plan is this: Doge Mocenigo will die tonight. And once the deed's been done, Marco shall take his place."
- ―Rodrigo Borgia.[src]
After some time of scouring Venice, Ezio located Carlo Grimaldi meeting with an associate, Silvio Barbarigo, in the streets of Venice. Tailing the two men, Ezio learned that Carlo held a position close to the Doge of Venice, and was constantly trying to recruit him to the Templar cause.
Arriving at the courtyard of the Palazzo Ducale, the two met up with Silvio's cousin, Marco Barbarigo, and his personal bodyguard, Dante Moro. Exchanging hurried greetings, Marco then informed Carlo and Silvio of Emilio's death, which took them by surprise. Laying the blame on the Assassin, Marco then continued on to say that their plans would have to be carried out that week itself. Marco then revealed to his comrades that the Spaniard, Rodrigo Borgia had come from Rome to meet them. The group carried on to the meeting site, now arguing about who would be chosen to assume the role of the new Doge once Mocenigo was dealt with.
Arriving at the meeting place, the group was joined by the Spaniard, who quickly put an end to their discussion. Laying down the plan, the Spaniard confirmed that they would need to eliminate Doge Mocenigo, at which time, Marco would become the new Doge. Continuing walking through the city, the Templars continued to plot the assassination, leaving the acquisition of the poison in Silvio's care, and the poisoning in Carlo's.
Finally arriving at the Rialto Bridge, Rodrigo told his fellow Templars that the plan was to be carried out promptly, and that should they fail, a fate similar to that of the Pazzi would befall the Barbarigo. Ezio, who had been eavesdropping on their entire conversation lost track of the Templars. Cursing himself, he then went to visit Antonio to salvage the mess he had made.
A Way in through the Skyline
- "It's impossible! There's no way in or out for men. Only birds."
- ―Antonio expressing his frustration at not getting into the Ducale.[src]
Meeting with Antonio, Ezio revealed what he had learned from the meeting. He told Antonio of the Templars' scheme to murder the Doge, and the two subsequently traveled to the Palazzo Ducale in order to find a way inside. Along the way, Antonio spoke of his past life, of his father being a cobbler, and his mother being a simple maid. He spoke of a noble's true evils and intentions, and that, in the end, it was the thieves, mercenaries and prostitutes who were the real nobles of Venice.
They finished their conversation as they arrived at the palazzo's courtyard. Scouting the area around the palazzo the duo first examined the main entrance, but quickly eliminated it as an option due to the many guards protecting it. Next they made their way to a tall campanile behind the palazzo to see if they could climb it that way, however this idea was immediately shot down when they saw the number of archers on the rooftops. Finally, Ezio and Antonio made their way to the back of the palazzo where they managed to find a perfect path up to the top of the Basilica. Free-running to the roof, Ezio and Antonio witnessed Carlo Grimaldi in conversation with the Doge. Realizing that they couldn't get in that way and that they were almost out of time, Antonio and Ezio returned to the courtyard.
As the two friends milled around the courtyard, Antonio exclaimed that the only route in was for birds. This comment gave Ezio an idea, as he was suddenly reminded of Leonardo's strange flying contraption. In high spirits, Ezio set off to see his inventor friend.
Meeting with Leonardo in his workshop, he quickly asked if his machine worked. Leonardo admitted that the machine was only a prototype. When asked if it had been tested, Leonardo exclaimed that it was to dangerous, requiring the tester to leap off a tower. Accepting the role of the first tester, Ezio, along with Leonardo, went to prepare for the flight.
Setting up the machine atop a tall tower, Leonardo instructed Ezio on how he could balance his weight with the machine. Bracing himself, Ezio leaped from the tower with the machine and took to the air. Though a successful launch at first, the machine rapidly began to lose altitude, and eventually crashed before Ezio could even reach even a fraction of the palazzo's distance.
Leonardo was happily astounded by the machine's capability, but Ezio felt otherwise, stating that the flight time was much too short for him to reach the palazzo. Leonardo remarked that it was never made for distance, before attempting to alter the blueprints to allow the machine to fly higher and longer, but to no avail.
As he worked, Antonio arrived at the workshop to warn Ezio of the lack of time they had. Ezio gave Antonio and Leonardo a formal introduction, then showed Antonio the machine that could potentially grant them passage to the palazzo, but had failed to do so. Leonardo told them that he could not find a way to extend the flight, before angrily throwing the designs he had drawn into the fireplace. As Leonardo calmed himself down, he, Ezio and Antonio noticed the paper in the fire floating over it in mid-air. Leonardo was ecstatic at the realization, and quickly returned to his work table to draw out his idea.
Antonio and Ezio looked over the designs, and saw immediately what Leonardo intended. The inventor told them to set up open fireplaces across Venice in order to keep the machine aloft, using the principle of rising heat. Antonio agreed and told them that his men could set up the equipment, though he was concerned about the guards. Ezio then assured them that he would take care of them as the thieves prepared to bring the materials for the bonfires. With this, Ezio, Antonio and Leonardo, put their plans into motion.
Man from Monaco
- "You're too late. The Doge is dead."
- ―Carlo, succeeding in his attempt to poison Mocenigo.[src]
After the guards around the city had been disposed of, Antonio and his men managed to set up the fireplaces all over Venice. Meeting up with Leonardo and Antonio at the tower where the machine was set up, Ezio prepared to take flight once more. Leonardo bade Ezio good luck, as Antonio warned him of the very short time they had left. With this in mind, Ezio took hold of the machine, and jumped off of the tower. Archers, who saw the machine from afar, quickly tried to shoot down the "flying demon," but to no avail, as Ezio glided through the skyline, evading the guards' fiery bolts.
Flying through the skies of Venice, with hot air beneath him to give altitude, Ezio finally made it to the rooftops of the Palazzo Ducale. However, as he was about to land, the wooden wing of the machine was struck by one of the many fire arrows, and ignited. As luck would have it, Ezio landed unscathed on the rooftops, with the machine crashing into a group of guards patrolling the rooftops. Mocenigo, who was playing chess with Carlo inside his office, heard the disturbance from afar, and immediately became alert. Carlo assured the Doge that it was probably just firecrackers, before bidding him to continue with the game.
Ezio, who had quietly made his way to the Doge's quarters, jumped through an open window and warned the Doge not to drink from the cup he was holding. The Assassin's work, however, had gone in vain, as Carlo immediately stated that he was too late. Fleeing from the scene, Carlo ran into the courtyard, shouting that the Doge had been killed. Quickly pursing the councilman, Ezio caught up to him, and ended his life.
As he died, Carlo remarked that both he and the Assassin were the same, considering death as the best way to solve their problems. Ezio remarked that it is not his wish for his targets to die, and that he made sacrifices for the betterment of the people. He then gave his final words to Carlo, and took a Codex page from his body.
Mocenigo, delusional from the poison coursing through him, screamed out his final words, and accused Ezio of killing him instead of Carlo. After this, the guards closed in on Ezio, but he swiftly managed to escape before they could capture him, and left the San Marco district.
Purging the Templars
A Night to Remember
- Ezio: "Antonio, I trust you know why I am here."
- Antonio: "I imagine to rid Venice of Marco Barbarigo?"
- Ezio: "'"
- —Ezio and Antonio discuss their plan.[src]
In the year 1486, a year after Doge Mocenigo's death, Ezio made his way to Leonardo's workshop. Gleefully greeted by Leonardo after a long period of absence, the painter quickly asked him if he was the one responsible for the murder of Mocenigo. Denying the rumors, Ezio exclaimed that he had been trying to save the Doge, but concluded that the truth mattered little, for he had failed, and terrible consequences had resulted.
Leonardo tried to lift his spirits by telling him that Carnevale was being celebrated all over Venice, and that hiding his identity would be the least of his worries. Ezio asked him if he had a mask that he could borrow, and as Leonardo searched for one, Ezio handed him the Codex page he had taken from Carlo Grimaldi. Ecstatic, Leonardo quickly placed the page on his work table and deciphered it. From its writings, he discovered schematics to attach a small firearm onto Ezio's hidden blade.
Ezio, after arming himself with the new weapon, tested the firearm's capabilities, and was left in awe. As Ezio thanked Leonardo, the painter assumed that Ezio's return was not just to play with new weapons, and guessed that it was due to the new Doge, Marco Barbarigo, who was also secretly a Templar. Leonardo advised him to meet with Antonio, whom he had seen frequently at the home of a mutual friend in the Dorsoduro district. There, he told him to ask for Sister Teodora. After receiving a mask to cover his face, Ezio left the workshop and quickly made his way to the indicated district.
Ezio managed to locate the building, which turned out to be a brothel, and entered it. Locating Antonio in the company of two women, Ezio asked to speak with him. Joyful at Ezio's arrival, Antonio proceeded to introduce him to the brothel's owner, Sister Teodora. Just then, a customer at the brothel killed a courtesan and ran away with her money. Asking him to prove his talent, Theodora asked Ezio to chase down the murderer, which he successfully did.
Returning to the brothel, he saw the courtesans mourning over the loss of one of their friends, as Teodora and Antonio looked on. While Teodora thanked Ezio, Antonio was exasperated, saying that everywhere he went, trouble would always follow. Ezio then asked Antonio if he knew why he was there, to which Antonio guessed that it was to rid Venice of Marco Barbarigo. Antonio then pointed out that the new Doge hardly ever left the Palazzo Ducale, making it extremely difficult to assassinate him.
Teodora then spoke, telling Ezio and Antonio that Marco would leave his palazzo that very night to throw the biggest party in all of Venice. She continued, stating that all exclusive guests were given a Golden Mask as a pass into the party. Before Antonio and Ezio could even think of forging one, Teodora warned them both that each mask was numbered. However, she told them that there was a way to obtain one fairly, by competing at the parlor games thrown annually within the district. She then escorted Antonio and Ezio to the Squero di San Trovaso, where the games were held.
Reaching their destination, the three witnessed the speaker of the Carnevale games show off the Golden Mask to the crowd, and reveal that one would need to win three games in order to be presented with the prize. Teodora and Antonio left Ezio at the carnival square to handle the parlor games. After winning one game after another, Ezio's victory was almost certain, though his success caught the eye of Silvio Barbarigo and Dante Moro.
After the third game, the fourth and final game was held near the square, where contenders needed fight each other in hand-to-hand combat in order to win. Ezio, who fought every contender that stood in the arena, was soon faced by Barbarigo's personal bodyguard, Dante Moro. Although the man's size caused a disadvantage to Ezio, the Assassin proved otherwise, and defeated the brute fair and square. As Dante left the arena, bruised and battered, Silvio than had a word with the Games master and handed him a bag of florins. Silvio's guards were then allowed passage into the game, along with their daggers. Defeating each one of Silvio's thugs, Ezio was declared the winner of the final Carnevale game.
Soon afterwards, Ezio took his place on-stage behind the speaker of the games, expecting to be declared the overall winner of the games. However, just as the winner's name was about to be announced, Silvio, who was watching from the sidelines, let out a fake cough, reminding the speaker of the deal they had made. The speaker then declared Dante Moro the winner of the games, much to the outrage of many of the citizens, and handed him the Golden Mask as his reward. Ezio, humiliated in front of the crowd, returned to the brothel in order to consult with Antonio and Teodora.
Crashing the Party
- " Your pistola (pistol); the one you stopped the murderer with. It's as loud as those explosions. Time it right and you'll walk out of here unnoticed."
- ―Teodora giving Ezio an idea.[src]
Contemplating on his failure, Ezio frustratedly paced back and forth as Teodora tried to reassure him. As they conversed, one of Teodora's courtesans came to inform them that Dante was on his way to the party. After learning this, Ezio quickly told the others that he would go meet with Dante, and take the Golden Mask back by killing him. Antonio argued with him, saying that if he killed the bodyguard, Marco would surely cancel the party out of fear, and their efforts would be wasted once again. He then instructed Ezio to quietly steal the mask instead. Teodora continued further, saying that Ezio should use her girls to distract Dante. Obliging, Ezio immediately left the brothel to pursue Dante Moro.
Ezio caught up with Dante, and sent the courtesans to hold his attention. Seeing an opportunity, Ezio stole the mask as Dante was busying himself with the courtesans, and quickly left the area. Arriving at the party, Ezio switched his current mask with the golden one, and entered unnoticed. Inside, he was greeted by Teodora, who informed him of Marco's location. The Doge was evidently making his way to the party by boat, and would arrive shortly. As Ezio waited, however, Dante arrived with several guards in tow, and ordered them to search the area for Ezio.
As he hid himself from the guards, Ezio witnessed Marco's arrival. As Marco gave his speech from the safety of his ship, and as the guards continued to search for the Assassin, Ezio contemplated on what to do next. Saying that he would swim to the ship and assault the Doge directly, he was quickly reprimanded by Teodora who pointed out that he would be spotted right away. Just as they were debating on how best to approach, fireworks ignited the night sky. Gaining an idea from the loud noises, Teodora told Ezio to use his pistol, as the fireworks would mask its report. Quickly, Ezio pointed his new weapon at the Doge, and fired one shot from it. Crumpling to the floor of his ship, Marco Barbarigo was no more, and Ezio proved successful in his objective.
However, the fireworks weren't enough to silence the noise of his pistol, as the guards quickly caught sight of Ezio from afar. The Assassin hurriedly escaped the area, slipping past the guards and the civilians, and making his way back to the brothel.
There, Ezio was greeted by the applause and praise of the courtesans as they surrounded their hero. With Antonio heavily praising Ezio, Teodora advised he rest his weary limbs. She then ordered some girls to accompany him.
With courtesans escorting him further into the brothel, Ezio rested, forgetting any troubles he had encountered, and sleeping through the night with the women to keep him company.
The Brave Condottiero
- "Bartolomeo d'Alviano is the man you seek. He and his men have little love for Silvio."
- ―Antonio tells Ezio of the condottiero.[src]
Soon after he had killed Marco, Ezio, who was at the Rialto Bridge, received a message from one of Antonio's men to meet him at the Palazzo della Seta. Agreeing to this, Ezio left the district and met up with Antonio. There, he was introduced to Agostino Barbarigo, the next Doge of Venice, and also the younger brother of Marco. Ezio gave his condolences for Agostino's loss, however the man simply dismissed it, stating that his relatives had been corrupted by the Borgia's influence, a mistake he had no intention of repeating. Ending their conversation, Antonio told Ezio to come with him and Agostino, for they had much to discuss.
Making themselves comfortable in a room of the palazzo, Antonio told Ezio that he and his men had located Silvio Barbarigo, who had fled to L'Arsenale di Venezia and filled it with an army of his own mercenaries. Ezio asked if Agostino, as Doge, could command them to stand down, but he told him that he could not, as the council had not yet confirmed his ascension. Agostino also added that, because of Silvio's actions, the conditions for his election could get worse for him.
Ezio thus thought of an alternative action to take, stating that he needed to raise his own army to combat Silvio's. Antonio, figuring as much, told Ezio to head for the Castello district of Venice, and search for Bartolomeo d'Alviano and his men, none of whom held Silvio in high regard. After this, Ezio quickly left the palazzo and made his way to the district.
As he progressed through the area, Ezio heard a faint cry for help coming from the rooftops. Making his way to the source, the Assassin discovered a severely injured mercenary on the balcony of a small building. Inquiring as to what had happened, the mercenary told Ezio that Silvio's thugs had attacked them and that they had taken Bartolomeo deeper into the district. Having told Ezio all he had known, the mercenary fell still. Ezio gave the man his last rites, before commencing his search for the mercenary leader.
After a brief period of searching, Ezio found Bartolomeo, who was shouting insults to the guards that held him captive, remarking that their acts were only proof of their cowardice. After dealing with the guards, Ezio came to Bartolomeo's rescue, and unlocked his cage. After a brief conversation, they were attacked by guards, but the two easily dispatched them. After this, the two made their way back to Bartolomeo's home, fighting off any enemies that crossed their path.
- "I have business with Silvio Barbarigo. I was told you could help."
- ―Ezio requesting Bartolomeo's aid.[src]
Upon returning home, Bartolomeo saw the mess the guards had made, and began to worry about someone named "Bianca." After locating Bianca, who was actually just his claymore sword, Bartolomeo asked why Ezio had come to him. Ezio explained his story, telling him that a mutual friend had claimed that Bartolomeo was a man who could help him with his business with Silvio Barbarigo. Bartolomeo gladly obliged, and told Ezio that he would begin the preparations. As he did so, Bartolomeo asked Ezio to free his men that were being held captive by Silvio's, for he could not leave them behind with good conscience. Ezio agreed to his terms, and proceeded to rescue the mercenaries.
After rescuing Bartolomeo's men, Ezio returned to discover that the condottiero had devised a plan. Bartolomeo told Ezio to plant his men across the area where the Venetian guards were stationed, so that when signaled to, the mercenaries would engage the guards in combat and lure Silvio's men out of L'Arsenale. After this, Ezio began the first half of the plan, and stationed the mercenaries throughout the district.
Returning to Bartolomeo's home after setting up the attack, Ezio was handed a small firework. Bartolomeo instructed Ezio to climb the tallest tower on the district, and set off the firework there to signal the men to launch their attack. Climbing to the indicated viewpoint, Ezio set off the firework, instigating the attack. From on top of the tower, Ezio witnessed the district thrown into mayhem. He also saw that Bartolomeo was engaged in combat with Dante Moro. Making his way down from the tower, Ezio came to the aid of Bartolomeo and succeeded in fending of Dante. Realizing that he could not win, Dante fled.
Ezio pursued him, and fought against Dante and Silvio's guards; all the while hearing Silvio taunt and insult Ezio's allies and family from atop the walls of L'Arsenale. However, as his guards fell, Silvio foolishly opened the gates to let Dante escape inside, shouting that their ship was about to leave without them. With Bartolomeo handling the remainder of the soldiers, Ezio chased after the two Templars, and successfully assassinated them both.
As he drew his last breaths, Silvio revealed that the attempt to gain the seal of the Doge was merely a distraction for their ship to set sail safely. When Ezio asked for its destination, Silvio swore to hold his silence and died without another word. Dante, however, managed to tell Ezio of the Templars' destination: the island of Cyprus. Shortly though, he too succumbed to his injuries, and was unable to tell him what the Templars sought there. After speaking words of respect on behalf of the two, Ezio left to meet with Bartolomeo.
Bartolomeo happily greeted Ezio, congratulating him on his success. Ezio, puzzled by the last words of his two targets, admitted his uncertainty to Bartolomeo, and told him that he needed to discover what the Templars were hiding. Finally bidding the other farewell, Ezio left L'Arsenale as the mercenaries celebrated their victory against Silvio.
The Final Year
The Apple from Cyprus
- "These last two Codex pages, I was studying the copies... I don't know why I never saw it before! But when put together, I realize the markings on the back, clarify into words. Here: 'The Prophet... will appear... when the second piece is brought to the floating city.'"
- ―Leonardo, telling Ezio what he had found within the Codex.[src]
By the year 1488, Ezio had grown restless. On his birthday of that year, Ezio sat brooding on a bench by the harbor, where he was approached by Rosa. The thief greeted Ezio, and asked him of his problems, to which he only replied that it was his birthday. Rosa, after wishing her old friend a happy birthday, asked why was he was so glum. Ezio recalled his life as an Assassin, and told her that his journey so far had yielded nothing to him, stating that even after ten years, he was no closer to the reason behind the murder of his family. Rosa tried to raise his spirits by telling him that his actions had made things better for the people of Venice.
Thinking of another way to cheer her friend up, Rosa presented Ezio with a birthday gift: the Shipping Manifest of L'Arsenale from the day the boat to Cyprus had left. Ezio, ecstatic, tried to take the manifest, but Rosa teasingly kept the book out of the Assassin's reach, right before telling him that the boat was due to return tomorrow. Just as the two were playing around, Leonardo arrived, and told Ezio that he had something important to discuss with him. Handing Ezio the shipping manifest, Rosa left the two alone, as Leonardo and Ezio took a walk to discuss what Leonardo had learned.
Leonardo explained to Ezio that the last two Codex pages, after putting them together, had markings that clarified into words and revealed a message: "The Prophet will appear when the second piece is brought to the floating city." After hearing this, Ezio recalled the two Pieces of Eden that been previously mentioned to him, and explained to his friend that his uncle had once told him of a prophecy hidden within the Codex, which led to an ancient vault that contained a powerful entity. Leonardo was astounded by the possibility, but was worried by the fact that some of the pages were taken from the Barbarigo and their cohorts, meaning that the enemy likely knew of the prophecy as well.
As they walked, Ezio then theorized that the boat to Cyprus was an attempt by the Templars to locate the Apple on the island and bring it back to Venice. Remembering the Codex' hidden message, everything suddenly fell into place for Ezio. Then and there, he realized that the death of Mocenigo, the conspiracy of the Pazzi against the Medici, and the deaths of his father and brothers were all part of Rodrigo Borgia's scheme to find the Vault. He told Leonardo that he would meet the boat's arrival the next day. Bidding his old friend good luck, Leonardo left to attend to his personal business, as Ezio prepared to await the boat.
The Spaniard's plot
- "You claim not to be a believer. And yet, here you are... Don't you see him? The Prophet is already here...
I am the Prophet."
- ―Borgia, revealing the Prophet's identity.[src]
Arriving at L'Arsenale, Ezio climbed onto the fortress walls, which was a better and safer vantage point. As expected, the boat arrived at the harbor, and soldiers bearing the Borgia's coat of arms on their armor delivered an ornate artifact to a courier. As Ezio looked on, he was surprised to see his uncle Mario also spying on the boat from afar. As Ezio wondered what his uncle's business was in Venice, the courier completed his preparations and left the harbor. Stealthily tailing the courier, Ezio made his way across the district, evading the guards as he did. When the courier finally made his way to a stronghold, it was revealed that the Spaniard was present in Venice, and that the courier was to package and deliver the artifact to him.
When Ezio heard of the Spaniard's presence, he took it upon himself to kill the courier, and pose as him in order to meet Rodrigo, and see to his death personally. After passing through the barricade of guards and dealing with the courier, Ezio took the man's armor, and wore it in conjunction with his hidden blades and other weapons. After his preparations, a guard captain arrived and spoke with Ezio, unaware that he was talking to an Assassin. The guard asked him if everything was ready, before telling him of the great importance of his role in the delivery. After this, Ezio and the captain, accompanied by two other guards, left to meet with Rodrigo by the side of one of the city's canals.
The group arrived at the meeting place, where Rodrigo was awaiting them alone. As the captain gave his respects the Grand Master, Ezio prepared to make his move. Killing the guard captains and his escorting guards, Ezio confronted Rodrigo face to face.
Greeting Rodrigo, Ezio then demanded to know where the so called prophet was. Rodrigo then smirked at Ezio's ignorance, before revealing that he himself was the prophet the Codex spoke of. Demanding the Apple, which was still in Ezio's possession, Borgia prepared to fight the Assassin.
As they fought, Borgia called for his men to join the fray. Even though Ezio was at a disadvantage, he managed to fend off Borgia's men. Angered, Borgia ordered even more of his men to attack Ezio, but as they did, Mario arrived on the scene, much to Ezio's surprise. As Mario prepared to do battle, Ezio was attacked by another guard, who was subsequently killed off by La Volpe, the thief Ezio had met in Florence. As La Volpe helped Ezio to his feet, more of the guards around them were killed off by Antonio and Bartolomeo.
As the fight continued, Borgia taunted Ezio and told him that his brothers, Federico and Petruccio, had never needed to die, remarking that he had killed them only to make a point. Claiming that their efforts were futile, Rodrigo continued to fight until the last of his men lay dead. As Ezio moved in to deal the final blow, Borgia kicked him in the stomach, and fled the scene.
Into the Order
- Machiavelli: "Where other men blindly follow the truth, remember..."
- Ezio: "...Nothing is true."
- Machiavelli: "Where other men are limited, by morality or law, remember..."
- Ezio: "...Everything is permitted."
- —Ezio and Machiavelli, during the initiation.[src]
As he tried to recover from the blunt kick, Paola, the courtesan who had helped Ezio in Florence and had thus begun his journey, made her appearance and helped him to his feet. She told him that they did not need to follow Rodrigo, as they had what they had come for. Ezio exclaimed that he needed to go after him, but as he did, Teodora arrived as well, asking Ezio of his true intentions. Ezio, surprised, demanded an answer as to why all of them were there at all. He was answered by a man he had never met, who stood behind all of his allies.
The man explained that they had all come for the same thing that Ezio sought, the Prophet. Ezio denied the statement, stating that he had come to kill the Spaniard, and also exclaiming that he couldn't care less about the Prophet, for he had never shown up. The man then reminded him that he, Ezio, was there. He then told Ezio that he was the Prophet that they had sought.
Ezio, extremely confused, asked for the man's name, to which the man replied. He was Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli, an Assassin just like all the others gathered there. Greatly surprised that his long time allies had also been Assassins, Ezio was then told by his uncle Mario that they had all watched over him, teaching him the skills necessary to join their ranks.
Antonio then gave Ezio a map and told him to meet them there at sunset. Ezio, arriving at the meeting place, stood before all of the significant members of the Order, as his uncle began the ceremony by uttering the words spoken by his ancestors, "laa shay'a waqui'n moutlaq bale kouloun moumkine." Machiavelli then began the initiation, as he and the others began to recite the Creed. Mario then asked his nephew if he was finally ready to join their ranks, to which Ezio confidently replied yes.
Antonio then applied the mark of the Assassins to Ezio's ring finger, using a hot metal tong that had been placed in a brazier. After this, Machiavelli gave Ezio a formal welcome, and told Ezio to follow him, for they had much to discuss. With this, Machiavelli and the other members of the Assassin Order executed a Leap of Faith, an act which Ezio closely followed.
- "You may not see it, Ezio, but it's better here because of the things you've done."
- ―Rosa to Ezio.[src]
Killing off major Venetian Templar figures, Ezio significantly diminished the Templars' power in Italy. Not only were the Templars purged from Venice, their corrupt influence was no longer present and Venice was, in a sense, liberated.
With the Apple of Eden in hand and Rodrigo Borgia defeated, Ezio, Mario and Machiavelli brought the artifact to Leonardo's workshop for the painter to examine. Fearing its presence and power, they decided that they needed to find a safe place to store it. It was here that Mario suggested that Ezio should take it to Forlì, where their close ally, Caterina Sforza reigned.