|This article is about the Templar. You may be looking for the French smuggler.|
- "I fear that you have lost so much already that you cannot bear to lose more. I think that you would let Germain rule France if you thought it would 'save' me. Have you ever known me to need saving? Have you ever had cause to think that I would accept it if it were offered? My fate is my own. My choice is my own."
- ―Élise's last message to Arno[src]
- "Sometimes I feel like one of those poor wretches we see in Paris, hunched over beneath the weight of expectations forced upon me. I am only ten years old."
- ―A young Élise writing her thoughts in her journal, 1778.[src]
Élise was born the daughter of François de la Serre, Grand Master of the French Templars, and Julie de la Serre in 1768. Due to their Templar connections, the family possessed a lot of influence, leading Élise to have a very privileged childhood. However, her adventurous nature kept her from being idle, with the young girl preferring the company of servants to attending a ball.
As a small child, Élise was oblivious to her family's Order and never wondered why she learned history, not etiquette, manners, and poise unlike the other noble children. She did not question her parents why they were different from other families. Her mother told her not to be like the other women at court who only knew of looks and status. This intrigued Élise, who started spying on other women behind her mother's skirts.
At age five, she entered a convent, in which the Mother Superior hated her happiness and laughter. The old lady caned Élise's palms, the scars from which Julie had taken notice of and threatened the Mother Superior. Since then, her parents hired tutors to educate her. The incident left questions in the mind of young Élise, who knew that other ladies did not behave the way her mother did.
A year later, the de la Serre family attended their neighbor's birthday party. Élise found other girls her age stupid for playing dolls and tea parties; instead, she joined the boys who were playing toy soldiers. Her behavior shocked the majority of the crowd, and her nursemaid, Ruth, dragged her away and told her to play with dolls, which she pretended to enjoy. As she watched other ladies gossip and her mother alone, Élise realized that she wanted to be like Julie and not the self-centered women of court.
Élise met her combat mentor and a British Templar, Frederick Weatherall, in February 1774. Her mother led her across their château's grounds with their Irish wolfhound Scratch. Unaware of their company, Julie taught her to study and observe her surroundings to find Weatherall. She failed to do so, and Weatherall eventually showed himself and gave them an exaggerated bow. The young girl admired the man and immediately took a liking to him.
At first, Élise was confused and questioned her mother about her father and Weatherall, but Julie convinced her that he was a confidant and protector and that her father would be busy. A growl from Scratch interrupted their conversation and Élise witnessed her mother and Weatherall arm themselves against a wolf. Julie convinced Weatherall to let the wolf go and the pair hid their weapons as if nothing had happened. This made Élise wonder how different her family was to other nobles. Her meeting with Weatherall and her sword lessons became Élise and Julie's vérité cachée, secrets.
By the spring of 1774, the Carrolls, an English family of Templars, visited their household. Élise and her mother entertained Mrs. Carroll and her daughter, May, with a walk across their gardens. May mocked her occasionally on their walk and kept reminding Élise that she was only six, while May was ten. Irritated, Élise decided to listen on the ladies' conversation about the Templar Order and caught snippets of it, which added more to her confusion. May asked her if she knew about her "destiny", to which Élise replied that she did not. Pretending to be shocked, May told Élise that she would soon learn when she turned ten, like May herself had.
When Élise turned eight, she and her mother visited Christian's shoe shop in Paris. After arranging their payment and delivery, they found no sign of their carriage and coachman. Élise saw Julie stiffen and watched the street around them. Julie assured Christian and Élise that their coachman was merely negligent but he warned her about the people and that it was getting dark. Julie led her scared daughter towards the square where carriages could be hired and warned her that someone was following them. Telling her to be calm, they passed another shop window and discovered that their stalker disappeared.
The pair took an alley lit only by lanterns at each end. They found themselves blocked by their stalker and a lamplighter who doused the lanterns' flames. Their attackers were armed with blades, but Julie took her advantage and attacked the stalker, who happened to be an Assassin, much to Élise's amazement. As the lamplighter grabbed Élise and threatened to kill her, he was killed himself by Julie's footblade. The Assassin fled and the pair arrived home, composed but bloodied. Élise discovered that her mother told different stories, even to her father and his Templar associates, whom the young girl called Crows.
Training for Grand Master
- "Instead, her journal was filled with a sense of injustice and of Élise at odds with the world around her... Page after page of her failing to realize that what she was doing wasn't rebelling. It was mourning."
- ―Arno, reflecting upon Élise's journal entries, 1794.[src]
Due to the incident, Élise's parents were forced to reveal their plans to her, which were to prepare her to become the future Grand Master of the Parisian Rite, and tell her of the secret Assassin-Templar War. Relieved that her questions were finally answered, Élise found the idea of leading the country to order and peace a principled idea. Since then, the young girl spent her time with Julie and Weatherall, training in combat and tactics, and with her father and governor, learning the Templar principles and beliefs.
Later that year, François de la Serre adopted young Arno Dorian, following his father's death at the hands of Shay Cormac. As a result, she and Arno grew up together, with the energetic Élise often getting her adoptive brother into trouble. Once, she convinced him to jump a fence into an orchard, which happened to be patrolled by guard dogs. They became great friends, and Élise took her role as older sister with enjoyment. The two children often played skipping, hopscotch, shuttlecock and sword fighting in which they were evenly matched, with the exception of sword fighting where Élise always won. She spent her mornings tutored as a responsible adult-in-waiting, and her afternoons with Arno as a child.
Soon after, Élise was called by her parents who revealed Arno's Assassin heritage to her, even though the boy himself was oblivious to it. François asked her to guide him towards the Templar Order, an idea against Élise and her mother's beliefs. They managed to convince François to delay his plans, for which the young girl was grateful.
Following her mother's illness, Élise no longer spent her afternoons with Arno, but rather at her mother's bedside. She found François gravitating towards Arno, which left her sad and grief-stricken. Élise also discovered Weatherall's love for her mother, when she spied on him visiting and sobbing for Julie. Before her death, Julie told Élise to stay strong for the sake of her father and the Order, and that she loved them very much. Julie's death brought emptiness in the young girl's life, even as her routines continued as usual. Weatherall gave her a box from Julie that contained a short sword with an inscription of the Templar maxim on the hilt, but Élise felt nothing. Later that day, Élise was summoned by her father to his study, where she finally confided her grief in him.
Élise was sent to the Maison Royale de Saint-Louis school at Saint-Cyr to complete her education as a proper lady and Templar knight, during which she was separated from Arno. She loathed the school and referred to it as Le Palais de la Misére in her letters, saying her personality was unsuited for the school. She detested the restrictions and regime of Maison Royale, which encroached such subjects as embroidery and music. Élise often caused trouble in school with her fights against the head pupil, Valerie, for which she was punished by Madame Levene, the headmistress. She would respond with insolence and would make matters worse. The emptiness in her heart caused by Julie's death became the root of her rebellion, which also gave way to her scorn of other pupils and teachers.
Due to Élise's occasional disturbances, François was called to Madame Levene's office on 8 September 1787, where the latter complained about his daughter's acts of rebellion. By then, the nobles had defied the King, and unrest began to spread through Paris, of which François notified his daughter. After scolding her, he also reminded Élise of their agreement regarding Arno's induction into the Order. Aware of the headmistress' presence, Élise reluctantly agreed, but never did perform.
Until January 1788, Élise neglected their agreement and worsened her behavior at Maison Royale. She was on the risk of expulsion and other threats to her education, and yet she never heeded the warnings. Her father was called once again, but Élise found Weatherall in Madame Levene's office instead. Weatherall told her that he had been intercepting Levene's letters to her father and the pair faked punishment just in case the headmistress was spying on their conversation.
Weatherall had been searching for the man who attempted to kill Julie years ago, Bernard Ruddock, and found him hiding in London. Élise pleaded to join him in his hunt by forging a letter, but Weatherall scolded her instead, telling her she had been reckless and irresponsible with her schooling. Nevertheless, Élise hatched a scheme to blackmail Madame Levene.
On the night of 23 January 1788, Élise spied on her headmistress after learning a rumor from her fellow classmate, Judith, that Madame Levene had a lover. She followed the headmistress through the woods and found her meeting with a younger man named Jacques, the groundskeeper. Élise's actions were followed by her theft of a horseshoe from the dormitory door.
Soon enough, Élise was called to the headmistress' office and the young lady confidently returned the horseshoe to her, ready to set her plan in motion. Yet, the headmistress revealed that she had taken a hold of Élise's journal and was aware of her scheme. Madame Levene assured her student that she was merely concerned for her and made an agreement, which entailed Élise staying quiet about what she saw, while the headmistress would send the forged letter to her father. Before Élise took leave, the headmistress added that Jacques was her son, not her lover, making the young lady ashamed of herself.
Meeting Jennifer Scott
- "She gave me two hours with them. It was enough time to read them and form questions of my own. To know that there was another way. A third way."
- ―Élise's ideology after reading Haytham Kenway's letters, 1788.[src]
Élise arrived at the docks of Calais on 7 February 1788. Ignoring the coachman's warning, she entered the tavern to locate the captain of the ship heading for London. Confident that she could defend herself, she questioned the Middle Man, paying no heed to the drunkards watching her. Élise finally realized that the Middle Man was just playing with her and decided to leave. However, she was stopped by his men and lost a sword fight because of her lack of practice. The men tried to kidnap her with another girl, Hélène, but were stopped by a drunkard and ship captain Byron Jackson. Élise saved Hélène in time and joined Byron's journey to England aboard his ship the Granny Smith.
After bidding goodbye to Byron at Dover beach, Élise and Hélène rode a carriage to the Carroll house in Mayfair. Their arrival shocked the Carrolls and Weatherall, who had been inquiring for their assistance. The mentor and his student pretended that her arrival was planned and managed to convince the Carrolls to help them find Ruddock, in exchange for Élise and Hélène's help in infiltrating Jennifer Scott's home, posing as "Yvonne Albertine" and a maidservant, respectively.
Tasked with finding Haytham Kenway's letters to his sister, Élise maintained contact with Weatherall through light signals inside Jennifer's home at Queen Anne's Square. In an attempt to converse with her mentor, she was caught and questioned by the butler, Smith, which she answered quite well. By April 1788, Élise managed to hear the story of the Kenway family through her and Jennifer's visit to Hyde Park.
As the pair returned to the games room, Élise was blocked by Jennifer and her men. Jennifer had investigated Élise's background and learned of her true identity, saying that there was no "Yvonne Albertine", and that the members of that family had been killed by the Templars. Nevertheless, Jennifer saw goodness in her heart, and gave the letters to Élise, on two conditions. The first was that the Templars leave Jennifer in peace, and the second was for Élise to attempt to unite the two warring factions. Jennifer also gave Élise a Templar pendant which Haytham once sent her, as a parting gift.
Before arriving at the Carroll house, Élise found the family holding Weatherhall hostage. Using their owl signal, Élise learned from her mentor that they had found Ruddock. Telling Hélène to leave immediately, she followed the Carrolls to the Boars Head Inn. Élise successfully managed to warn Ruddock to escape and confronted the Carrolls in the process. Élise gave them letters she received from Arno, after telling them that she was aware of what they had done with the Albertines, but the English Templars burned them, thinking they were Haytham's letters.
Their actions caused conflict and Élise was forced to murder May Carroll and one of the guards. With the help of Weatherall, the pair narrowly escaped the infuriated Carrolls, but Weatherall was shot in the leg. They've returned to France with Hélène, where Madame Levene welcomed them and called a doctor for Weatherall. Élise continued her education while her mentor and handmaiden temporarily stayed with Jacques.
Élise continued her hunt for Ruddock in January 1789, after obtaining information from the Butchered Cow tavern. She found him in a village outside Rouen, where Ruddock was about to be hanged. Cutting the rope in the last second and saving him from the townspeople, she was forced to torture him for information which he could not provide. Ruddock eventually promised that he would find the man who hired him, and Élise let him go in hopes that he would find purpose and direction in life.
Return to Versailles
In May 1789, Élise returned to the de la Serre estate in Versailles, and attended the meeting of the Estates General held at the Hôtel des Menus-Plaisirs with her father on 5 May. Later at the Palace of Versailles, Élise was officially inducted into the Templar Order as an initiate, and gifted with a pin symbolizing the membership by François. A private party was held to honor her arrival and induction, where she was reunited with Arno.
After sharing an affectionate kiss, Élise helped Arno escape the guards by distracting them and asking them to lead her to the billiard room. Halfway though her destination, she heard the cries of the crowd, and later learned that François had been assassinated and her lover was the culprit. By July 1789, the French Revolution was starting, but Élise was too overwhelmed by grief to do anything and developed scorn for Arno, whom she discovered had failed to deliver a warning letter to her father on the night of his murder.
Weatherall visited her and advised the grief-stricken girl to act, not only for herself and Arno but also for the Order, now that she was Grand Master, along with a similar counsel which came from Jennifer Scott's letter. On 14 July 1789, Élise joined the people storming the Bastille, where Arno was imprisoned, and witnessed the people's lust for freedom and justice, along with Arno and Pierre Bellec's escape from the fortress by leaping off the battlements.
Desperate to reach the de la Serre estate in time, Élise ran amongst the chaos and found her house ransacked by looters. She told the remaining servants and butlers to go someplace safe while she checked her important belongings. Élise found two men named Hook and Harvey, who were hired by the Carrolls to eliminate her, but managed to kill them with a distraction from Ruddock. Ruddock told her that he had found the man who hired him, known as the Roi des Thunes.
Élise spent her following days drunk and anxious, until 25 July 1789, when Arno arrived in the estate and explained that he was not François' killer. Élise showed Arno the letter that he had failed to deliver, and told him to go. Weatherall and a new Templar initiate Jean Burnel arrived on 20 August 1789 and helped Élise recover her bearings. She managed to learn from her mentor that the Roi des Thunes was also responsible for her father's death.
Adamant in her desire to regain leadership of the Templar Order, Élise called a meeting at the Hôtel de Lauzun in October 1789. Accompanied by Jean, she discovered through the Marquis de Pimôdan that some of her Templar associates had been murdered in a purge. The Marquis revealed to Élise that there were killers waiting for her downstairs, and Élise attempted to outwit them. Her efforts failed however, resulting in Jean being killed by ligature, and Élise breaking a rib on a ship's hull as she tried to escape by jumping into the River Seine.
Élise was nursed back to health by Hélène and Jacques, and learned that all her allies had abandoned her. Nevertheless, she trained to improve her combat skills as she waited for a chance to find her enemies. On 1 April 1791, she decided to meet Chrétien Lafrenière at the Hôtel Voysin, having received a letter stating his willingness to support her. However, she discovered the meeting was a trap. To her surprise, she saw a hooded Arno, who informed her that Lafrenière was dead, and helped her escape the attackers.
Hunt for justice
- "You are not men with whom I would normally parley, monsieur, but my father is dead, as are my allies within the Order. If I must turn to the Assassins for my revenge, so be it."
- ―Élise, addressing her comments to the Assassin Council, 1791.[src]
In spite of their opposing allegiances, Élise and Arno shared a goal of finding François' killer. However, while Arno sought to redeem himself, she was driven by vengeance, wanting justice for her father's murder. As a member of the "old guard", Élise also desired to safeguard her Order against corruption and sought to clash those Templars who had betrayed the de la Serres.
On 2 April 1791, the pair went to the Assassin Council to ask permission for Élise's aid in hunting the rogue Templar members. While the Council held a private meeting, they decided to investigate on their own in the warehouse of Arno's informant, the silversmith and former Templar François-Thomas Germain. However, Élise and Arno fell into a trap set by four Templar killers, but they were able to fight and eliminate them. The pair uncovered Templar plans and documents signed by Germain and fathomed that he was the new Grand Master.
They were interrupted by gunshots and the two headed to the Assassin Mentor Mirabeau's estate, where they found him dead beside a Templar badge designed to inflict poison. Thinking that Élise might be blamed for the incident, they decided to investigate further and tracked down the killer: Pierre Bellec.
After killing him, Arno told Élise that he had also killed the Roi des Thunes and the traitor Charles Gabriel Sivert, much to the lady's fury. She wanted to inflict pain and death to her father's killers and Arno stole the opportunity from her. Fortunately, he managed to calm her down, saying that he gave them justice.
The pair continued their hunt, where Arno eventually assassinated Marie Lévesque, and shared a ride on a hot-air balloon, where the lovers shared an intimate moment. However, the deaths of her father's advisors served as a mere diversion and added to the anger consuming the young lady.
On 20 January 1793, Élise returned to Versailles where she reported her latest endeavors to Weatherall. Her mentor noticed her want for revenge and tried to warn her, but the young lady remained stubborn. The next day, Élise and Arno attended the King's execution, where they planned to assassinate Germain. Unfortunately, Germain had the guards alerted and he escaped, Arno choosing to save Élise over chasing the Grand Master, for which Élise was not grateful. She then cut off contact with him.
Élise learned from Weatherall that Arno had been expelled from the Brotherhood and retreated to Versailles, where he had become the town drunk. In June 1793, she went to the Palace of Versailles where she found Arno's watch, and returned it to him. Élise requested his help, but Arno was reluctant. Eventually, she was able to convince him to resume their hunt for Germain. While Arno assassinated the Templar Aloys la Touche, Élise secured transport to Paris.
Through the memories of la Touche, Arno learned that revolutionary leader Maximilien de Robespierre was one of Germain's conspirators. They decided to instigate a rebellion against Robespierre. If this happened, Germain would abandon Robespierre, who would be more vulnerable to give up information on his master. At the Festival of the Supreme Being, Élise poisoned Robespierre to make him appear insane to the crowd. Arno also found lists of political opponents that Robespierre planned to eliminate. He placed the lists on critics of Robespierre, who was soon deposed by the National Convention.
However, Robespierre was sentenced to death, leaving Élise and Arno little time to interrogate him. After splitting up to find Robespierre, they cornered him inside the Hôtel de Ville. As Robespierre refused to give up Germain's location, Élise lost control and shot Robespierre's jaw, much to her and Arno's horror. He then wrote that Germain was hiding at the Temple.
- "...Think of me. Just as I shall think of you, until we are together again."
- ―Élise's final words in her letter to Arno.[src]
By 28 July 1794, Élise was too consumed with hatred and decided to split up from Arno in their pursuit for Germain in the Temple. It was Arno who encountered Germain wielding a Sword of Eden and was defeated, letting Germain escape once again. Élise and Arno found him in a Templar crypt where the two tried to attack him. Using the Precursor sword, Germain trapped Arno underneath a pillar.
Élise decided to leave Arno and pursue the Grand Master herself. She locked him in a fierce sword fight, which Germain was slowly losing due to an injury that Arno had inflicted. The Sword of Eden's power source became unstable and exploded, throwing Élise into a column, crushing her beneath it. A freed Arno immediately went to his lover, but was seconds too late, as Élise died in his arms. With her death, the de la Serre family was presumably rendered extinct, as she had no siblings and died childless.
Personality and characteristics
- "You should be proud to inspire such loyalty in your followers, Élise. Perhaps you can use those gifts to inspire your Templar associates in other ways. We shall see."
- ―Jennifer Scott, admiring Hélène's loyalty to Élise, 1788.[src]
A free spirit, Élise was rarely idle and would often seek out trouble in her youth. As a child, she was quick to laughter which caused her peers in the convent and in the Maison Royale to became annoyed by her. Defined by her mentor Weatherall as overconfident, she sometimes underestimated her opponent and showed stubbornness and irritation if her views were countered. She was very similar to Julie, never keen on joining any of the other noble women's daughters, instead taking an interest in more masculine activities, such as playing war with the boys. Élise believed that there was always a third way, an ideology that she had gained from her deceased mother. Growing up, she developed a set of values which she loyally lived by and was willing to go to any lengths to see her goals fulfilled.
Her opinions were strengthened during her meeting with Jennifer Scott. Élise supported Haytham Kenway's judgement that the war between Assassins and Templars must cease. Élise was also considerate and loving to animals, and was fond of giving them treats or grooming them if they had behaved properly.
Equipment and abilities
Due to extensive training throughout her life, Élise was both well-educated and in her physical peaks, with her swordswomanship outclassing even Arno. She was also able to equip pistols in combat. In battle, she would rely on strategy, planning counters for her opponent's moves ahead of time. As a Templar, Élise was also trained to become aware of her surroundings and to use clues found in her environment if she needed to track hidden enemies. If needed, she would use charm to convince people to help her.
Although they were technically family, Élise and Arno saw each other not as siblings, but as friends during their youth. Growing up, their feelings developed and the pair eventually fell in love. Due to their respective educations the lovers had very little time to spend with each other and were only able to meet several times a year. During one of her visits abroad, Élise met Byron Jackson whom she eventually spent a night with as they sailed from Calais to Dover after sharing a drink. However, Élise immediately regretted this decision and felt extremely guilty about it afterwards. Ultimately she decided not to tell Arno about it and chose to look at her mistake as a sign of the great love she had for him; given how upset she felt over the action and that she wanted no other man in her life other than Arno.
Once Élise discovered Arno's failure to deliver a letter warning her father of the betrayal, their relationship became strained. Élise held Arno responsible for her father's death, and it was not until years later, coincidentally by which point Arno had joined the Assassins, that the two began to rebuild their friendship and quickly resumed their romance.
Behind the scenes
The name Élise is a diminutive form of the French name Élisabeth, meaning "God's promise". Meanwhile, Élise's family name comes from the French Serre, meaning "talon" or "greenhouse", while de la, "from the", indicates nobility.
Both Unity's ending cutscene and the novel have Arno visit Élise's grave in the Cimetière des Saints-Innocents. However, when visiting said location in-game, Élise's grave is not there. Instead, the gravestone appears next to her parents' in the garden of the de la Serre's Versailles estate.
- Assassin's Creed: Unity (first appearance)
- Assassin's Creed: Rogue (as a child)
- Assassin's Creed: Unity novel
- Assassin's Creed: Syndicate (painting only)
- Assassin's Creed: The Official Collection
- Assassin's Creed: Rebellion (mentioned in Database entry only)