A mysterious book with a hidden message. Find the PDF here.
Eivor sure seems interested in books. Just how many “books of knowledge” are in this game? What real-world books might they be? And what the heck happened to them all?
The Ravensthorpe Library is a fan fiction piece encoded and hidden in a collections of texts inspired by the ridiculously deep and wide bookishness of AC: Valhalla.
Legends, history, folklore, myth — for a book nerd, this game is Valhalla indeed. It seems like every other line is a reference to something, and that’s not even counting all of Eivor’s Havamal quotes. (Spoiler warning: what better way to learn the wise sayings of Odin than to jack into the animus and hear them first hand?)
Right from the beginning, the fan base got into linguistic fun. Someone translated the runes in the teaser shortly after it came out. The Isu language was just cracked. There’s plenty for a language lover to get into in AC: Valhalla, be it ogham text, norse runes, Latin church chants, or apparently inscrutable Welsh.
The Ravenshorpe Library is a collection inspired by the world of the game. The gnostic texts Eivor finds, poetry she reads, saints whose legend she hears, mythic events she witnesses — there was plenty to choose from, and it was an absolute blast to gather.
And hidden in the text is an encrypted message, a tale of the Assassins and the fate of Eivor’s personal library (which, by the way, deserves its own building). The little volume is part puzzle book, part fan fiction, and 100% a labor of respect and love for the amount of work the team put into the text of AC: Valhalla and the faith they show in the players by leaving us breadcrumbs which lead to a better understanding of the setting. I mean, Guthlac A and B? Harek Gand? These are some deep cuts I never would have even come close to hearing of were it not for the clues left in-game.
Now, I did a similar project for AC: Revelations an age ago. Pulling together The Sartor Classics was a bit different, since the list of books was given explicitly. This one had more of a feeling of sleuthing and discovery as I scavenged dusty corners of the internet looking for the texts being referred to. I hesitate to say how much time I spent trying to figure out which translation of the Bible was used for the quotes in-game. (Note: I’m still not sure). I can only hope archive.org got some benefit from the clicks.
For Sartor, I sent a copy of the book to Ubisoft. I had no contacts, so I picked a person from the credits whose job seemed like it might be the best bet. It made its way to the narrative team and Darby McDevitt, which was great fun. That odd stunt may have been a one-time deal — with lockdowns, who knows if anyone is even in the office these days?
Either way, I’ve got some reading to do!