Chapter 1 – The Old Man on the Hill
Everyday the old man who lived in the mansion on the hill took his stroll through the homestead. He would greet all he met on his path. The townsfolk consisted of people he had known as he helped the town in the time of Revolution grow to its current sprawl, their children and grandchildren. They in turn had helped attract a flock of wayward travelers to the town, bringing in revenue and more residence. The man made his path towards the lumber mill, and he made a passing wave to the young men who leaned against the building smoking pipes. The old man passed the inn and he considered stopping for a swig or nibble but continued his walk. At the seamstress's house, he told Maria that the Virgin Islands had called for an extra order of fancy wigs. He quietly advised her to complete the order at her own leisure. The old man trudged to the farm where the colored man he'd help deliver was currently tending to the wheat field. The chocolate-colored dog at his side noticed the old man and barked in recognition. The old man smiled and bent down to stroke the dog. "Hello, Primrose."
"I could use some acknowledgement too, elder." The colored man jokingly noted to the old man. "My mistake, Hunter. Has your wife prepared the shipment of eggs?" Hunter nodded and pointed to a crate near the chicken pen. "What a pity. The country has been locked in President Madison's war for close to two years now and yet Murdoch's Barter still has the nerve to send for their regular orders. If it weren't for my age, I'd consider enlisting as a privateer. The Aquila has been out of action for the quite the stretch now. Ah well, some dollars here for your troubles." The old man slipped Hunter some coins and he strolled towards the eggs. As he walked he examined the fine white spheres, seeing no cracks. "Hey, elder!" Hunter called to him as he walked away. "Something's been killing the livestock. Just today, I found a beheaded, half-eaten cow!" "I will investigate, Hunter." The old man called back. The old man deposited the eggs near the workers who were readying the convoy, and he was off. The old man returned to the mansion but he decided it was not yet time to slip inside. The old man continued his saunter, finally stopping at three graves which overlooked the harbor.
"I hope you are proud, old man." Connor stated as he nodded to Achilles' grave. As he glanced at Aquila stationed at the pier, a jolt of memories hit Connor. The stern man in the blue tri-tipped hat and coat berates his ability to captain the ship, as Connor tries to ignore him staying focused on the speeding schooner parallel to the Aquila. He can't afford to let Benjamin Church escape, the man who had betrayed both the stern man and the Revolutionary war effort. With a command, the ship's cannons releases dozens of chain shots at the schooner and the crew cheer as the schooner's mast collapsed. "Men, prepare to board-"but Connor was never able to finish his command as the man in blue knocked him aside. Connor demanded what he intended, which his father merely yelled that he was ending it. As they boarded the stranded vessel, Connor quickly stabbed the officers that had opposed him with the saw-toothed blade he had discovered in a lost Mayan ruin. He had frantically chased after Haytham into the ship's hull, hoping to reach Church before his father did.
He didn't know it, but this would be the final time that father and son would come together in alliance before the fateful meeting with Washington destroyed all of Connor's naïve hopes for the future and everything he thought he could believe in. Connor felt little remorse when he plunged his hidden blade deep into Haytham's throat as his father strangled him at Fort George. Connor felt nothing as the warm scarlet blood of the man stained his clothing and skin. Connor wanted to show the dying Haytham that he too wouldn't weep and dream of what could have been. But Haytham had predicted this. In a final action for his son, Haytham had left behind his personal journal. It served its purpose well. Connor still didn't know what to make of his father, even as one himself, but he missed Haytham almost as much as his mother or Achilles.
After the redcoats had been driven from the colonies, Connor had been present on the date of their evacuation. The Assassin couldn't help but give a thin smile as he watched the New Yorkers celebrate their newfound independence and he almost found a laugh when the departing British ships fired a few warning shots and the colonists scattered. Yet, the smile quickly subsided when he looked back towards the city. A loudmouthed man in a fine coat and pantaloons was energetically attempting to sell a family of shabby dressed African slaves to a gathering crowd. Connor felt a beast growing within him, and he had to prevent himself from rushing the man with his tomahawk held high. What good was the revolution for independence, if its fighters gave such a freedom only to the highest on the social ladder? Ratohnhaketon would've slaughtered the slave seller and the bidders. But Ratohnhaketon was long buried, and Connor Kenway walked in the body that was once his. Connor had sworn to follow the Creed, to never harm an innocent, even if that "innocent" was someone as disgusting enough to degrade a fellow being to the role of a caged animal.
In the months following the assassination of Charles Lee and the colonist victory, Connor felt nothing but disillusionment. He was forced between the freedom of the colonists and the preservation of his own people, in spite of his own efforts to find a balance between the both. In the end, he failed both. True freedom was still a glacial work in progress, and his people had long moved on by the time he finally chose to return. His melancholy grew as he learned that it was the work of men who he had chose to support like Washington that had forced the Kaniehkehaka to move westward. Washington… how could Connor have been so naïve? As a weary and world-traveled man, Connor pondered that question. The animosity that Connor felt towards Washington gradually subsided, but it would take more than a few uneven games of bowls to mend the shattered respect Connor felt towards Washington. Connor eventually recovered from his depression and through his own form of compromise, he readily embarked down the mysterious road shrouded in darkness.
Much time had passed since the Brigadier General Charles O'Hara surrendered to General Benjamin Lincoln at Yorktown on behalf of their respective commanders. The treaty written at Paris was but a memory set in stone. The Revolution had succeeded, and the world moved on. Connor himself hardly reminisced about the part he had played in freeing the colonists from British rule. He had been there at Lexington and Concord, Bunker Hill, Monmouth, the Chesapeake, and many more skirmishes but they hardly mattered. His enemies and reason for fighting was not a nation, but the ideals that the Revolution sought to end. Still, he sometimes thought about the men that he had met and found himself conspiring with as they drew him into a fight for freedom. Washington needed no introduction. Connor fondly recalled scolding Washington in New York as he heard of the commander's desire to exchange his duties as leader for a life of quiet retirement. Connor didn't know how much of an impact his words had on Washington, but he couldn't call himself surprised when Washington finally accepted his duties as president. Connor had feared for the worst when Washington took over, that the colonists may have simply swapped one crown for another. But in a breath of relief, Washington proved to be a far superior president than a military commander or friend. The two saw each other a few more times through the course of his leadership and his retirement, but Washington's abrupt death from pneumonia ended the likelihood of any future meetings. Not that Connor completely missed Washington. He had remembered a chance encounter in the frontier with Washington, who was carrying the golden sphere which Achilles had called the Apple. The memory of what happened afterwards was a haze for Connor, but he knew that the dealings had left him a changed Assassin. Perhaps even a small part of him had died when Washington showed him the Apple.
What of the others? Although he regrettably had minimal contact with the late Benjamin Franklin, Connor still owned the honor of speaking with the man on several occasions. Franklin was one of the individuals keen enough to connect Connor and Haytham's bond, but seeing Connor's discomfort he had kept the knowledge to himself. Connor had been tasked by Franklin to finish the work he'd given Haytham. Connor was alarmed at first, but his suspicion of Franklin's true allegiance had faded when he found out it was to simply reacquire some stolen pages of Franklin's. After the war, Connor had spent a few days in both Boston and New York sprinting across the rooftops and alleyways. Dodging the overzealous rooftop patrols, Connor had managed to find all of Franklin's pages. He had returned them to the blissful man, but not before he in curiosity had his friends at the homestead to craft a few of the bits and pieces detailed within. Connor's personal favorite of the inventions copied was the item that the pages had called Joseph Priestley's Soda Apparatus.
William Molineux, who had helped him dump the tea, had fallen during the early days of the Revolution. Samuel Adams, the one that Connor truly considered a friend, lived to see the great day for freedom. Yet, he too died following the new century and Connor regretted not being able to pay him one final visit. He wasn't even sure if others like Israel Putnam were still alive but Connor made no attempts to find if they had died or were somewhere within the colonies. Paul Revere was still alive and somewhere in Boston, but Connor felt no need to seek him out. It hadn't been the most pleasurable of experiences, being seated on a horse that had no interest in serving Connor while Revere barked directions in his ear. He had accompanied Lafeyette to France to aid his European brothers as their French rose in their own revolution but Connor had not heard from the man since he departed the country.
It had been a while since Connor had last soared across the rooftops of cities and branches of the frontier, and even longer since he had plunged his hidden blade into another's flesh. Given the remarkable shape of his body for a man in his late fifties, Connor was sure that he could still accomplish all those tasks with the ease of the youthful Assassin he once was. But the world had moved on. Connor saw in the future no need to don the white hood once again. Following his return from chaotic France with his future wife, Connor had finally hung up the Assassin robes in the armory. Dressed again in the attire of the Kaniehkehaka, Connor felt a painful feeling that he couldn't express. Connor's work was done. The American Brotherhood that had been annihilated by Templars thrived again, thanks to the efforts of Connor and other Assassins that had sprung up in the colonies.
One day long ago, it had just been him with six striving recruits. Today, the Assassin Brotherhood had spread its wings to all corners of America, which itself had added to the original thirteen colonies. Connor, with his aspiration of rebuilding the Brotherhood accomplished, slipped away quietly with his family to retirement on the Homestead. He left Stephane in charge. Connor's sole request to the Mentor who had once been his student was to leave him in peace, unless the situation grew dire enough to call for his return.
"Papa, come quickly! There were men at the mansion who wanted to speak with you!" Connor's remembrance was snapped by the voice of his daughter Charlotte. Connor smiled at his energetic child and brushed his fingers through her fine brown hair. "Well, run back and tell them that I'll be along eventually. There are some words I need to give to the old man here." He motioned to Achilles' grave. The eleven year-old Charlotte knew little of Connor's former life but she understood enough to know the significance of the old man to Connor. "Papa, I think you should still come! The men looked serious, and there were many of them. Some of them were wearing these peculiar hoods and carrying weapons!"
Like a veil being lifted, Connor's expression changed. He nodded to Charlotte and ran after his child back to the mansion. As they reached the stables, three men dressed in unique garb went to meet them. Connor surveyed them. One was a native of the land like Connor. As Connor glanced from the native's white hood to his multicolored shawl to his moccasins to the tomahawk hanging by his torso, Connor wondered if this man was of the same people as he. Connor instinctively stepped in front of Charlotte, his hands motioning for a blade that wasn't there. Following him was a scrawnier man dressed in a brown leather coat with metallic fixings. The man's features were largely hidden by his large hat and scarf, but Connor saw a twinge of instability in his eyes. He was twirling a hook with his index finger. The youngest looking of the bunch wore a gray tri-tip hat with red accents with a similarly colored uniform. The dress of the man reminded Connor of his own father, and there was something worryingly familiar about him. The young man appeared to be in charge of the three men, and his stony expression eased as he saw Connor. He beckoned to Connor, showing him that he had no intentions of harming him or his family. Connor eased, and he walked to greet the strangers.
"I see the Mentor wasn't lying when he said you'd put your ties with the Brotherhood at rest, Connor. You aren't even carrying the bracer."
Connor's eyes grew as he at last recognized the man in front of him.
"I'm surprised you even remember me, with this new wife and child of yours." He muttered while waving to Charlotte. "Dobby would've sent her regards, Connor, but it's rather hard to come up with words when you've been claimed by yellow fever. I see you're shocked. But I sympathize, Connor. There's no reason to keep track of your first love when you're busy running across Paris."
"Why don't we head inside, Matthew? I'm sure we can discuss whatever news you've brought in the mansion."