Assassin’s Creed: How Princess Anastasia Became a Killer

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Assassin’s Creed is known for altering the stories of some real historical figures, but one games presents a famous princess as a trained killer.

One of the best things about the Assassin’s Creed franchise is how each entry weaves its story into real-world history. Through this, players have been able to encounter various historical figures from legendary artists like Leonardo Da Vinci to iconic leaders like George Washington. However, the series took plenty of creative license with one historical figure in particular — by making her a highly trained and vicious killer.

In the early 1900s, Russia was going through a period of change that culminated in the death of Czar Nicholas II and his entire family. However, due to false reports of her survival, Princess Anastasia has become the subject of much speculation, to the point where various plays and films have theorized regarding her fate. In Assassin’s Creed, this is used to create a story revolving around the young girl and the journey to understand her rebirth following the death of her entire family.

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In Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: Russia, the assassin Nikolai Orelov enters the Czar’s home to secure a precursor box that belonged to Ezio Auditore. This box is valuable to the Assassins because it contains vast amounts of valuable knowledge. However, as Orelov hunts for the box, it resonates with the Romanov family’s imperial scepter. Following a blinding flash, Anastasia is shown as the last person standing among her assailants, whom she killed.

Anastasia shares these skills with the Assassin Shao Jun. Apparently, Shao Jun’s skills and memories bonded with Anastasia’s, similar to the bleeding effect after being in the Animus for too long. Immediately, she and Orelov flee the scene, and he promises to keep her safe, hoping the Assassin Brotherhood can help her sort out her newfound dilemma. Over the course of the game, Anastasia struggles with the conflicting memories of Shao Jun as they fight for control. On more than one occasion, the young princess loses herself, and Nikolai has to bring her back to reality. However, her troubles only mount once she reaches the Assassins.

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Rather than trying to understand how to help Anastasia, the Assassins separate her and Nikolai, sending the young girl to the Kremlin. While in the prison, the Assassins subject her to various experiments to try and extract Shao Jun’s memories, tests that don’t always end well for those involved. Eventually, Nikolai finds and frees Anastasia, and following a small bout with Jun’s memories, she regains control and kills the assassin scientists that hurt her. The two flee, and Anastasia is forced to flee Russia under the name Anna Anderson — the name of the real-life woman who claimed to be the long-lost princess.

Anastasia Romanova never becomes an assassin, but like every historical figure in the franchise, she greatly affects Nikolai’s life to the point of him leaving the order to keep her safe. However, the greatest impact that she has on the overarching series is through the memories she shares with Shao Jun. Thanks to the precursor box, Abstergo and the Templars could now send people into the memories of people they weren’t related to. Ultimately, without Anastasia, there might never have been a retelling of assassins like Edward Kenway, Arno Dorian and Bayek of Siwa.

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Khajiit Merchant

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