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"Henceforth I aim to improve our lot by harmozing the average man with the order of the universe. To walk him down a quiet road, to lead him to safe and sober thoughts, to quiet his mind and cool his impassioned heart. Be he God-fearing or God-less, this new Order will encompass all and seek to improve man by aligning his needs with the ebb and flow of nature itself. This is my hope. This is my vow."
―Alfred in his commentary.[src]-[m]

Alfred the Great (Old English: Aelfrēd; c. 849 – 899), also known as Alfred of Wessex, was King of Wessex from 871 to 886 and later King of the Anglo-Saxons from c. 886 to 899. During his reign, he repelled the Viking invasions and laid the foundation for what became the Kingdom of England.

Secretly, he was also the Grand Maegester of the Order of the Ancients in England, a position he inherited from his late elder brother Æthelred, who in turn had adopted it after the death of their father Æthelwulf. Seeing the role's required polytheistic worship of the Isu to be blasphemous and a defilement to his Christian beliefs, Alfred worked to eliminate the Order from within, though the Viking invasion of England delayed his plans.

After the Viking and Hidden Ones ally Eivor Varinsdottir eradicated the Order's prominent agents in England, surreptitiously aided by the Grand Maegester himself, Alfred abandoned the remnants of the Order of the Ancients. Over the following years, he focused his attention on building a new "universal order" to replace it, one that was more compatible with his religious principles and which would rapidly develop into the Templar Order.

Biography

Early life and ascension to the throne

"Grand Maegester was not a title I desired. It passed to me on the death of my brother, from my father before him. Defilers of God's majesty and grandeur. I was their master, and I loathed them."
―Alfred to Eivor, 878.[src]-[m]

Alfred was born as the youngest son of King Æthelwulf of Wessex and Osburh. As a child, Alfred accompanied his father to Rome, where he met and was blessed by Pope Leo IV. The pope recounted to Alfred his victory against Saracen pirates at the Battle of Ostia in 849, which made a lasting impression on the young boy. As the youngest of the brothers in the family, little expectations were placed on Alfred of becoming king, so he devoted himself to learning and scholarly pursuits.[1]

In the late 860s, Wessex became subjected to Viking raids from the north by the Great Heathen Army which led Alfred to fight alongside his brother Æthelred, who became king in 865. Alfred proved himself a capable commander, scoring victories at the battles of Reading and Ashdown, and although he led valiantly, the Battle of Wilton was a devastating loss.[1]

After Æthelred died from a spear wound sustained during the Battle of Merton,[1] Alfred became king and in turn, assumed his brother's leadership of the Order of the Ancients. Unlike his father and brother, however, Alfred disagreed with and deeply reviled the Order's ideals and beliefs, believing them to be sacrilegious to the one God preached by Christianity. Thus, he devised a plan to rid England of the Order and developed an alias for his war against the Order. Posing as a spy by the name of "A Poor Fellow-Soldier of Christ", Alfred recruited the reeve of Wincestre Goodwin as his personal informant to scout England for information while using the study in the Old Minster as a base of operations. In the meantime, Alfred remained serving as the Grand Maegester of the Order, with Palatinus Fulke as his personal attendant.[2]

Exile and revelation

"You have saved England, whether or not that was your intent. Now, let England save you."
―Alfred to Eivor, 878.[src]-[m]

Following the Battle of Cippanhamm in January 878, Alfred went into exile after the Vikings led by Guthrum seemingly defeated his troops under Goodwin.[3] While in exile, Alfred lived as a commoner at the village of Athelnay in the west of Hamtunscire. After Eivor had eliminated the hierarchy of the Order of the Ancients in England save for the Grand Maegester, Alfred, under his Poor Fellow-Solder alias, sent a final letter to Hytham and invited Eivor to the village to discuss the Order.[2]

Eivor accepted the invitation and travelled to Athelnay, meeting Alfred a while later and learning of his identity as the Poor Fellow-Soldier. As Eivor asked about the identity of Grand Maegester, Alfred showed her his medallion, revealing his identity of Grand Maegester and his motives for bringing down the Order. Thanking Eivor for her efforts, Alfred gave her a key to his study in the Old Minster, as well as telling her of his inspirations for a new order, one that would replace the Order of the Ancients and inspired by God for the betterment of man. He then proceeded to bid Eivor farewell, returning to his duties as a commoner in the village. This new order would go on to become the Knights Templar, otherwise known as the Templar Order.[2]

Later life and death

Eventually, Alfred returned from his exile and was able to muster up an army, defeating Guthrum's army at the Battle of Edington. This led to the Treaty of Wedmore, which saw Guthrum's conversion to Christianity and departure from Wessex, and the official establishment of Danelaw in eastern and northern England.[4]

Alfred remained as King and continued to defend Wessex against Viking raids in the next few decades before dying on 26 October 899. His actions laid the foundation of what eventually became the Kingdom of England, founded by his grandson Æthelstan.[4]

Personality and characteristics

As the king of the Anglo-Saxons, Alfred always stood tall, fearless and proud, even in the face of enemies who were more powerful than him. Being inspired by Pope Leo IV, Alfred was deeply devoted to his faith in God and rigorously pursued scholarly activities, turning himself into a highly educated man. When he summoned Eivor to his study in Winchestre, Alfred displayed immense charisma, hospitality, patience, thoughtfulness and a strong vocabulary which helped him persuade Eivor, a woman who despised him, to help him rid of the Order of the Ancients in Winchestre. Even Guthrum, leader of the Vikings in Mercia, and Eivor admired him and secretly confided with each other that they were envious of Alfred's inner strength which is fueled by his faith. [citation needed]

Upon discovering the existence of the Order of Ancients, especially their theological beliefs, Alfred came to secretly despise the Order and even despised his own role in the Order as their Grand Maegester. Despite his repulsion of the Order, Alfred did take a strong reverence for the Father of Understanding, whom Alfred believed to be another name for God himself. Alfred also displayed little to no tolerance for Pagans, especially the Viking invaders in northern England as well as the druids in the west.[2]

However, Alfred did see the value in having a secluded organization with a vast network and sought to create his own secret order, but one guided by his strict Christian principles and held a strict reverence for the Father of Understanding. This new secret order rapidly developed into the Templar Order. [citation needed]

Behind the scenes

Alfred the Great is a historical figure and character introduced in Assassin's Creed: Valhalla, where he is voiced by Tom Lewis.

According to Assassin's Creed: Valhalla's narrative director Darby McDevitt, Alfred is an antagonist in the game, but he is not be the central antagonist.[5]

Gallery

Appearances

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Assassin's Creed: ValhallaDatabase: Aelfred
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Assassin's Creed: ValhallaThe Poor Fellow-Soldier
  3. Assassin's Creed: ValhallaHoly Day
  4. 4.0 4.1 Wikipedia-W-visual-balanced.svg Alfred the Great on Wikipedia
  5. Hussain, Tamoor (01-05-2020). Assassin's Creed Valhalla's Narrative Director On Crafting A Unique New Story. GameSpot. Archived from the original on June 7, 2020. Retrieved on June 6, 2020.

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