Assassin’s Creed Origins introduced players to Aya, and AC2 introduced players to Ezio’s sister, Claudia – both women nobly served the Assassins.
Unfortunately, it’s been fairly consistent that Ubisoft has given its Assassin’s Creed women the short end of the stick. Whether it was in the games or behind closed doors, the women of Assassin’s Creed haven’t always been treated with the respect they deserve. Aya, the mother of the Creed, was supposed to be the main protagonist of Assassin’s Creed Origins, but her character slowly got diminished until she was a shell of the original pitch. However, just because her role was reduced, it doesn’t mean she doesn’t have a prominent place in Assassin’s Creed lore.
Assassin’s Creed 2 isn’t known for having wonderful representation for women, but it does have some incredibly strong female characters that either teach or help Ezio in his journey to joining the Creed. One woman who tended to stay on the sidelines in Assassin’s Creed 2 and eventually became a member of the Creed in Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood was Ezio’s sister, Claudia Auditore da Firenze. Both Aya and Claudia had fiery personalities, but each also regarded the Creed in their own way.
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Assassin’s Creed Origins’ Aya
Players don’t immediately meet Aya, Bayek’s then-wife, at the start of the game, but it’s soon revealed that she has a very prominent role in Origins – players just don’t get to experience it firsthand. Instead, she and Bayek split up to take down pieces of the Order of Ancients scattered throughout Rome and Egypt. Aya was half-Greek, half-Egyptian and a descendant of Odyssey’s Kassandra.
From an early age, Aya was already incredibly smart and had dreams of becoming a scholar in Alexandria. She gave these up when she found out she was pregnant with Khemu, who would end up being her only child. Aya married Bayek and settled in Siwa, until tragedy uprooted her and her marriage. Khemu is killed, leaving Aya heartbroken and Bayek thirsty for revenge. They separate for over a year, finally reuniting to only separate again as Aya begins to work for Cleopatra and Bayek goes off on his own.
Bayek and Aya are betrayed by Cleopatra, and Aya goes down in history as the woman who killed Cleopatra with an asp (though this happens many years after the events of Origins.) She renounces the name Aya and lives the rest of her life as Amunet, the mother of the Creed (the Hidden Ones) and spends the rest of her days fighting the Order of Ancients. Though she and Bayek break up, neither one of them remarry, instead devoting their lives to the Creed.
Assassin’s Creed 2’s Claudia
When players first meet Claudia, she tells Ezio her fiancé Duccio has been unfaithful, so her older brother confirms the rumors and beats up the adulterer, also nullifying her engagement. Not long after, tragedy strikes the Auditore family as her father Giovanni, her eldest brother Frederico, and youngest brother Petruccio are all executed because of a false report of treason. Ezio manages to escape Florence with Claudia and their mother, Maria, making it to Monteriggioni to stay with their Uncle Mario. Claudia spends the rest of Assassin’s Creed 2 bookkeeping for Mario and managing the finances of the Villa – a task she openly protests.
Her attitude changes in Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood, where both Claudia and her mother follow Ezio to Rome rather than go to Florence as he asked. Claudia wanted to assist the Creed, and eventually became the Madame of Rosa in Fiore, a bustling brothel in Rome. She cared deeply about protecting her courtesans, and the Rosa in Fiore also became an epicenter of information for the Assassins. Soon, Ezio inducted her into the Assassin Order, even taking over the Italian Brotherhood branch when Ezio left to visit Masyaf and search for more answers about Altair Ibn-La’Ahad.
She relinquished the title when her brother returned and resigned, naming a new successor in his place. Claudia had already been married once before, but eventually got married again and lived in Rome with her new husband. She was furious when she learned Ezio was going to resign from the Brotherhood, but eventually she came around and even went to visit Ezio, Sofia, and her niece and nephew. She was actually fairly close to Sofia despite their age difference.
Aya and Claudia were both great fighters and fierce protectors. Unfortunately, both women suffer losses as well, with Aya losing Khemu and Claudia losing her father, two of her brothers, and her uncle. They’re both incredibly intelligent, as evidenced by Aya’s scholarly pursuits and Claudia’s bookkeeping and eventual business leadership of the brothel. They were both skilled fighters, though Claudia’s physical strength doesn’t really shine through until Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood when she defeats the attackers of the Rosa in Fiore with nothing but a knife. It’s safe to say that hand-to-hand combat with these women would definitely be a losing game.
Both women understood the gravity of serving the Assassin Order, though they showed it in different ways. Aya and Claudia were both leaders within the Order, but Aya maintained her role for the rest of her life, while Claudia eventually stepped away. Claudia and Aya both defended those they served, meaning Claudia fought anyone who dared hurt her courtesans and Aya protected those in the Hidden Ones, and both women fought to keep the people they swore to serve out of the clutches of the Templar Order. Though Claudia was born many years after Aya, it’s possible she saw Aya’s statue in the basement of Monteriggioni, though the inscription calls her Amunet.
Claudia and Aya’s rise to power followed very different paths. Aya forged the Hidden Ones from the ground up, while Claudia joined the Brotherhood that already had an established way of doing things. Both women worked incredibly hard for the Assassins, it’s just interesting to note that Aya actually created the Creed while Claudia took control of it for a time. Aya also always seemed to have a propensity to learn and grow, while Claudia was definitely spoiled by her father. His death was an unfortunate wake-up call, as well as Mario putting her to work at the Villa. Without these occurrences, though, Claudia may not have become the woman players know today.
Both Aya and Claudia were incredible fighters, great leaders, and left players with a lasting impression of how strong they really were. Players can reacquaint themselves with both characters by replaying Assassin’s Creed Origins, Assassin’s Creed 2, and Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood.
Assassin’s Creed Origins is available now for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.
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