|This article is about the smuggler. You may be looking for the French Templar.|
- "There is a smuggler – a woman named Élise Lafleur... She knows every bog and tangle of the swamp."
- ―Agaté describing Élise to Aveline, 1766.[src]
Élise Lafleur (fl. 1766 – 1776) was a smuggler who, together with her partner Roussillon, ran smuggling operations in the Louisiana Bayou. In 1766, her knowledge of the area led her to be contacted by the Assassin Aveline de Grandpré, who eventually became a close ally of hers.
Due to the strategically valuable territory she occupied, Élise was often faced with competition from other groups that sought to take over the bayou, hoping to use it to finance their own projects. Unafraid of confrontation as she was, Élise would frequently work together with Aveline to oust these intruders. In return, Élise occasionally aided the Assassin in her own endeavors.
In 2012, her genetic memories were used as an Animi Avatar by the entertainment branch of the Templar company Abstergo Industries, as part of their geosimulation workspace on the portable version of the Animus console, under the title of the Thief.
- "Roussillon saved my life once, long ago. I figured I owed him, so I helped him expand his "business". The Ol' Devil showed me a few tricks too, taught me his trade, if you will."
- ―Élise on how she became a smuggler, 1766.[src]
Little is known of Élise's background prior to her meeting with Roussillon, who at one point saved her life. Feeling indebted to him, she aided him in his smuggling endeavors, subsequently picking up many of his tricks. Élise eventually grew so competent at her trade, as well as well-versed in navigating the bayou, she became the smugglers' unofficial leader.
Conflict with Mackandal
- "They've set up their base around a wrecked ship that ran aground not far from here. The other base is a little further along. There!"
- ―Élise indicating the locations of Mackandal's camps, 1766.[src]
In 1766, around the same time governor Antonio de Ulloa arrived in New Orleans, Élise and the smugglers began to face opposition from a nascent cult that sought to overtake smuggling operations in the bayou. With the group of followers quickly expanding, their attempts to force out Élise and her cohorts soon grew bolder and eventually escalated into violence. The smugglers were subsequently rescued by the timely arrival of Aveline de Grandpré.
Aveline then enlisted Élise's help in locating the leader of the thugs, a man who called himself François Mackandal. Following some convincing from her business partner, Élise agreed to lead Aveline to some of Mackandal's encampments, which the Assassin subsequently eliminated. After discovering a ceremony being held on the Eve of Saint John, Élise and Aveline traveled to San Danje – a settlement within the bayou – to learn of the ceremony's whereabouts.
There, they spoke briefly with the village's resident houngan, who agreed to aid them if they eliminated the false Mackandal, to which they accepted. He then divined the ceremony's location and provided Aveline with an antidote as a precautionary defense against Mackandal's poisons. Setting off in their canoes once more, the pair soon tracked Mackandal down to Lake Pontchartrain.
Finding him plotting with the Templar Rafael Joaquín de Ferrer, they discovered that Mackandal was truly Baptiste, a former disciple of the real Mackandal, an Assassin Mentor. While Élise distracted Baptiste's thugs, Aveline snuck closer, pretending to be part of the ceremony, and eventually managed to assassinate Baptiste. Later, on Roussillon's request, Aveline would locate and eliminate the last remnants of Baptiste's followers, ensuring the smugglers could move their wares freely again.
- "The other day, I saw something, and I said to myself, Élise, old girl, something's not right... Convoys, loaded with the strangest cargo: People. Dozens of them."
- ―Élise informing Aveline about the recent convoys, 1768.[src]
In 1768, Élise reunited with Aveline, who had come to investigate a recent rash of disappearances in New Orleans. Élise confirmed she had seen convoys carting off people and though she didn't know where the slaves were headed, she knew the convoys originated from Fort Saint-Jean, a fortress in the bayou.
With Élise having agreed to help, the two women met again the next day and raced to catch up to a convoy that had just left the fort. After Aveline took out the guards, the pair freed the kidnapped slaves, but found that one of them, a worker called Chrisfait, was displeased at their actions. He claimed that the work site they were being sent to would offer the slaves employment and freedom. However, upon being questioned, Chrisfait could not tell the two women where this work site was located.
To find out more about the slaves' destination, Élise suggested they check out the fort and went to scout ahead. The next day, the pair reunited and discussed their plan of attack, aiming to find the lieutenant stationed at the fortress. Although Aveline managed to silently eliminate the men guarding the entrance, the two women were immediately spotted upon entering the fort itself, causing the ranking officer to flee.
Aveline swiftly gave chase, while Élise provided cover fire with a musket. With the lieutenant having been killed by Aveline, the two women instead hoped to gain more information from the slaves, but found that, just like Chrisfait, they were upset that they would not be able to board the work ship. Attempting to diffuse the situation, Élise offered to escort the laborers back to San Danje, while Aveline returned to New Orleans.
Sabotaging Vázquez's plans
- "We have been noticing rather a lot of men in Spanish uniforms... although I would question both their manhood and their allegiance!"
- ―Roussillon on Vázquez's troops, 1771.[src]
Over the next few years, the smugglers' territory would see an insurgence of Spanish troops, bribed by the Templar Vázquez in an attempt to seize control of the bayou. In 1771, Élise and Roussillon were reunited with Aveline. Together, the three hatched a scheme to sabotage one of Vázquez's plans; by disabling the fort's lighthouse, Aveline made a supply ship, which the Templar had intended to use for his own purposes, run aground, allowing the smugglers to then plunder its contents. Successful in this endeavor, Élise and her men procured valuable supplies, among which they found documents that led to Aveline journeying back to Mexico.
Five years later, the Governor of Louisiana tasked Élise and Roussillon with transporting supplies to Patriots fighting in the American Revolutionary War. However, troops hired by Vázquez were once again hindering the smugglers' operations by attempting to steal their supplies and preventing them passage through the swamp. A solution presented itself when Aveline arrived, asking for their aid in helping her escort an escaped slave named George through the bayou. In return, she would protect the smugglers' cargo from the Spanish.
Agreeing, Élise and her men set off with George on a raft, while Aveline navigated the bayou's trees, taking out the rogue Spanish troops from above. Having reached her destination, Élise handed the supplies over to the Patriots, led by Hopton, following which Aveline asked whether they would allow George to accompany them. They accepted him into their ranks and indicated they would continue their trade relations with the smugglers in the future.
Personality and characteristics
- Aveline: "I'm no enemy, if that's what you fear."
- Élise: "I fear nothing."
- ―Élise upon meeting Aveline, 1766.[src]
Élise was a rather sardonic individual, who tended to be quite abrasive in her interactions with others, especially Roussillon. In turn, he would frequently use a dubious inflection when calling her a "lady", to poke fun at her tomboyish nature. Despite their frequent verbal jabs at each other, Élise and Roussillon actually appeared to be quite fond of each other, with Élise even claiming she would "pluck her eye out for him".
However, when prompted by Aveline, Élise hastily clarified that a romantic relationship between her and Roussillon was out of the question. Notably, she treated the Patriot Hopton far more amiably, even saying she "hoped to see him again", suggesting a mild attraction on her part.
Initially, Élise treated Aveline harshly and even made disparaging comments about the latter's upbringing, calling it "gentle breeding", implying that the Assassin could not handle the rough terrain of the Louisianan swamps. However, as the two worked together, Élise mellowed out and came to view Aveline as an equal, and later a friend. Unlike Roussillon, who primarily worked with Aveline to pursue mutual interests, Élise would readily aid the Assassin, even when she herself would not reap any reward from it.
Although rarely displayed, Élise also possessed a playful and whimsical side. On one occasion, she stated that she would prefer to be mentioned as "Queen of the Bog, Protector of Innocents, Paddling Instructor, and Champion of Trade", despite the title presumably being too long to fit on a wanted poster.
Equipment and abilities
Having spent many years in the bayou, Élise had grown adept at navigating it, being both a capable freerunner, to the point of being able to keep up with Aveline, as well as a competent canoeist. Her skills and knowledge of the swamp were so renowned that even Agaté spoke of her favorably, which was by no means an easy feat. In combat, Élise wielded a machete, much like Roussillon. She was also shown to be proficient with a musket, easily taking out several guards with one inside Fort Saint-Jean.
- Élise was shown to be derisive of voodoo, claiming it was merely a way to attain power by scaring people into submission. Despite this, she showed no skepticism when the houngan of San Danje divined the location of Mackandal's ceremony, readily taking his word for it.
- Despite Élise's relatively large role in Liberation, Abstergo did not include a database entry for her.
- The name Élise is a diminutive form of the French name Élisabeth, meaning "God's promise". The surname "Lafleur" consists of the definite article la and the French word fleur, which translates to "flower".