- Ratonhnhaké:ton: "What is it the Templars truly seek?"
- Haytham Kenway: "Order. Purpose. Direction. No more than that."
- ―Ratonhnhaké:ton and Haytham Kenway, discussing the Colonial Templars' goals, 1778.[src]
The Colonial Rite of the Templar Order was, prior to the American Revolutionary War, one of a number of autonomous factions in operation during the mid 18th century that composed the Templar Order. Haytham Kenway officially founded, and became the first Grand Master of the Colonial Rite in 1754, in order to find a suspected Precursor storehouse, on instruction of the Templar Grand Master of the British Rite, Reginald Birch.
The Colonial Rite played a significant role in guiding the course of the American Revolution, with an aim to usurp control of the newly forming nation. However, the Templars' plans were ultimately disrupted by the reformed Colonial Assassins, and in particular, the Assassin Ratonhnhaké:ton.
In 1738, British Templar Lawrence Washington was named by his Grand Master, Reginald Birch, as Master Templar of the British colonies in the New World, and tasked with locating the Grand Temple and other First Civilization relics. Once in the New World, Washington recruited a number of members into the Order, such as Samuel Smith and William Johnson, and also made contact with the famed explorer Christopher Gist. His goal was to secure the colonies with the development of trading and establishing good relations with natives.
In 1750, Birch sent the Templar agent George Monro to assist Washington in his search for the Temple. Around this time Gist introduced Jack Weeks, a former thief who became his errand boy. Monro agreed to hire him as his assistant. With time, seeing the skills of the man, Monro taught to Weeks about the Templar Order and in 1751 he oficially inducted Gist annd Weeks in the Templar Order.The same year, after the earthquake of Port-au-Prince, the Templars took two relics from the Haitian Assassins, the Precursor box and the Voynich manuscript. In 1752, Washington passed the two artifacts to Samuel Smith and James Wardrop, before being killed by the Assassin Shay Cormac.
Afterward, Wardrop took over as the de facto head of the Templars in the colonies, while Smith traveled to Europe in order to find a scientist who could understand how to work the box. In 1754, following his return to America, Smith was killed by Shay Cormac, who claimed the box for the Assassins. That same year, during the Congress of Albany, the Templars came in contact with Benjamin Franklin, who could make the two artifacts work, but Shay Cormac killed Wardrop before he could pass the manuscript over to Johnson.
In April 1754, the British Templar Haytham Kenway killed Miko, the leader British Assassins, and found the Grand Temple Key. So Reginald Birch send him to the colonies to find the Grand Temple. In August, Haytham arrived in Boston, and was greeted by Charles Lee, a hopeful wishing to join the Templar Order. With Charles' help, Haytham sought to gather four Templars that Reginald Birch had arranged for Haytham to recruit to his quest: William Johnson, Thomas Hickey, the surgeon Benjamin Church, and the captain John Pitcairn. Meeting Johnson in the Green Dragon Tavern, Haytham learned that the Assassin stole Johnson's research on the native tribes. With Charles and Thomas Hickey, Johnson's assistant and Templar, Haytham reclaimed the research. With his papers, Johnson could say that the symbols on the Grand Temple key were Kanien'kehá:ka but they would need their aid to find the Temple. Haytham and Charles searched Benjamin Church but discovered he was abducted by Silas Thatcher, a cruel British officer who demand protection money. Benjamin refused and he almost be killed by Cutter but Haytham and Charles saved him. Later Haytham and Charles wanted to join John Pitcairn, but the General Edward Braddock, a former British Templar and brother in arms of Haytham, refused to let Pitcairn left the British Army. thinking he was a deserter. Then Haytham and Charles attacked the guards who escorted Pitcairn and freed him. Learning that Thatcher had a group of Kanien'kehá:ka slaves, Haytham and his brothers decided to infiltrate Southgate Fort as British soldiers and freed the natives in exchange of the location of the Grand Temple. The Templars stole a slave carriage where a native woman,Kaniehtí:io, was prisoner. Arrived in the fort, the young woman flew the carriage to free the native. The Templars succeded to liberate the slaves which created a fight between the guard and the prisonners. During the battle Church shot Thatcher in the head. When the natives left the fort, Kaniehtí:io smiled to Haytham as sign of gratitude.
In 1755, Haytham and Charles searching Kaniehtí:io in the Frontier. Finding her, the woman ran away but Haytham caught her. The Templar explained to her why he needed her help but Kaniehtí:io refused before Haytham proved he could be trust. With the British taking the natives lands, Haytham agreed to help Kaniehtí:io to stop Edward Braddock. During their invastigation, they discoverd that with the outbreak of the French and Indian War, the British Government had arranged for Edward Braddock to lead an expedition to the French-controlled Fort Duquesne. In July, the combined assault by Haytham's Rite and the Kanien'kehá:ka, together with a timely assault by the French Army, led to the destruction of the expedition, and the death of Edward Braddock at Haytham's hands. True to her word, Kaniehtí:io, the Kanien'kehá:ka whom Haytham had agreed their alliance, led Haytham to the Precursor site, though the latter was disappointed to find little more than a cave.
Later, Haytham returned to the Green Dragon, and explained to his brothers that they did not found the Grand Temple. He decided to officially established the Colonial Rite of Templar Order with him as the Grand Master, and inducted Charles Lee in their rank. The Templars would continue to search the Temple and helped the unification of the Colonies by aiding the British Crown against the French.
Purge of the Colonial Assassins
In 1756, Monro's men saved Shay Cormac, who was left for dead after he betrayed the Assassin Brotherhood. On Shay, Monro found the Voynich manuscript. Understanding his allegiance, Monro send the Assassin to Barry and Cassidy Finnegan, a couple who had a son in the Templar Order, to recover from his wounds. Later, the Finnegans where attacked by an Assassin-allied gang. Monro wanted to attack their headquarter but Shay, who recorvered, arrived first and killed their leader. Seeing the potential of Shay, Monro convinced him to work for him without revealing he was a Templar. Shay agreed to help the colonel to rebuild the city. Later, Gist was captured by the same gang who attacked the Finnegans. Monro send Shay to save Gist in Fort Arsenal. Gist safe, Shay reclaimed the fort but also the Morrigan, his ship when he was an Assassin and made Gist his quartermaster. Afterward, Shay, Gist and Monro navigated through the River Valley to attack a French fort who disrupting the colonel operation. Shay infiltrated the fort and met Le Chasseur, an Assassin ally, who was surprised to see Shay still alive. For prevent le Chasseur to reveal it, Shay was forced to kill him. In his last moment, le Chasseur revealed that the Assassins planned to poison the officials of New York City. Shay returned to the city to stop his former allies. With Monro, he planned to destroy the gas factory of the Assassin. After the explosion, Shay was joined by Monro, Gist, but also William Johnson and Jack Weeks. Surprised, Shay understood he had help his former ennemies but keep his thought for himself.
In 1757, George Monro was assignied to Fort William Henry which was threatened by the French. So, Monro send the Voynich manuscript to Shay to keep it safe and revealed his allegiance. Shay decided to save the colonel with Gist and Weeks. After the Siege of Fort William Henry, the British troops were authorised by Louis-Joseph de Montcalm to leave the fort but were attacked by the Abenaki led by the Assassin Kesegowaase. Shay arrived to save Monro but was recognized by Kesegowaase. During their escape, Shay wounded the Assassin with an explosion which let scars on his face. Later, Monro learned that Kesegowaase prepared an attack on Albany. The colonel decided to prepare the defense of the city and send Shay helped the Oneida, a native tribe allied to the British troops, who were attacked by Kesegowaase's men. On November, Shay arrived to Albany when the Assassins attacked the city. In the fort, Shay gave the Voynich manuscript to Monro. Kesegowaase arrived but was kill by Shay with a Puckle gun. At the same time Monro was mortally wounded by the Assassin and Shay's former best friend Liam O'Brien who took the manuscript. Shay arrived in the burning house to save the colonel but it was to late. In his last breath, Monro passed his Templar ring to Shay, trusting him to continu his work.
In 1758, Shay was officially inducted in the Templar Order by Haytham Kenway who was returned from Europe. Learning of Assassins activities near Louisbourg, Shay, Gist and Haytham joined the captain James Cook on the HMS Pembroke. The captain informed them that a British fleet would attack the fort. Concerned about the defense of the fort, the Templars decided to help the British, with Shay commanding the Pembroke. During the battle, the Experto Crede, the ship of Adéwalé, a Caribbean Assassins, helped the French Navy. The Assassin ship flew the battle but the Templars decided to destroy the fireships and were later joined by the British Navy. With the British victory, the Templars could focus on the Colonial Assassins. Later, Shay, Gist and Haytham found Adéwalé and after a battleship between the Morrigan and the Experto Crede, the Assassin beached his ship to escape from his ennemies. Haytham decided to serve as a diversion thereby Shay could kill Adéwalé. With the death of Adéwalé, the Assassins lost their moral.
By 1759, the Assassin Mentor Achilles Davenport, Liam O'Brien, Hope Jensen and le Chevalier de la Vérendrye met in New york to use the Voynich manuscript and the Precursor box to find another Temple. Shay eavesdropped their conversation and informed Haytham and Weeks about the Assassins plan. With the help of Weeks, Shay impersonated gang member and turned the British guards against the Assassins which led to the attack of Hope Jensen's mansion. On the roof, Shay saw Liam left with the box and the manusript but Hope shot on the window where Shay was spying. With Shay on the ground, Hope tried to poison him with gases but the Templar left the mansion. Hope, seeing that, threw a poison knife on Shay and Shay was forced to kill her to take the antidote. In her last moment she gave the information that Chevalier had the artefacts.
In 1760, with the help of James Cook, Shay found the location of de la Vérendrye in the North Atlantic and aborded his ship, the Gerfaut. After a duel, Shay defeated Chevalier but discovered that the Assassin served as a diversion to give enough time to Achilles and Liam to reach the Temple. In his anger, Shay threw the Assassin in the cold water. Tracking the remaining two Assassins to a First Civilization Temple in the Arctic, Shay and Haytham infiltrated the Assassins camp and arrived in the artefact room at the same time than Achilles and Liam. Achilles understood that Shay was right about the the Seismic Temples and forbid Liam to touch the object. Shay and Liam argued and Lam tried to shoot Shay but Achilles interrupted him which cause the fall of the artefact and the collapse of the Temple. During their escape Liam revealed he had the manuscript but that Chevalier hid the box. Shay managed to reach his Liam to fight him but the ice plateform collapsed and the two former friends fell in a waterfall. Shay survived but Liam died from the height. Recovering the manuscript Shay joined Haytham who had follow Achilles and bested the Mentor in a sword fight. While Haytham wanted to execute him Shay demanded to spare his life to let the Assassins knew the Precursor sites are dangerous. Achilles agreed, but as a mean of insurance, Haytham crippled him with a shot to the leg. Later on the Morrigan, Haytham tasked Shay to find the Precursor box while the others Templars would eradicate the last Assassins.
In November 1760, a group of Templars led by Lee assaulted a young Kanien'kehá:ka boy named Ratonhnhaké:ton, who unknown to them was the son of Haytham and Kaniehtí:io. They asked him for the location of his village, so that they could speak to the natives about the Grand Temple; stubbornly, the boy told them nothing, and was knocked out. After the village was burned by George Washington, Ratonhnhaké:ton believed Lee and his cohorts to be responsible.
Finally giving up their search for the Grand Temple, the Templars focused on strengthening their influence in the colonies. In 1763, the Colonial Rite launched an attack on the Davenport Homestead, which served as a base of operations for the remaining Colonial Assassins. Killing those who remained, the Templars once again spared Achilles' life when he agreed to cease all Assassin activities in the colonies. When, in 1773, revolutionary fever begun to grip the Thirteen Colonies, the Templars attempted to influence both sides, in order to achieve their desired outcome and maintain the status quo.
- Charles Lee: "Why do you persist...? You put us down. We rise again. You end one plot; we forge another. You try so hard... But it always ends the same. [...] Yet you fight. You resist. Why?"
- Ratonhnhaké:ton: "Because no one else will!"
- ―Charles Lee and Ratonhnhaké:ton, 1782.
Unknown to the Templars, however, was that the Colonial Assassins had begun to rebuild; Ratonhnhaké:ton, the illegitimate son of Haytham Kenway, had begun his training with Achilles Davenport. With the deaths of William Johnson, who had sought to purchase land from the native tribes, in 1774, and John Pitcairn, a British officer who had hoped to end the budding Revolutionary War before it truly begun, in 1775, the Templars' were powerless to prevent all out civil war.
Despite this, the Templars still hoped to control the conflict, by operating within the ranks of both factions. Eventually however, following the assassinations of Nicholas Biddle, Thomas Hickey, and Benjamin Church – who was killed by Haytham Kenway, in alliance with Ratonhnhaké:ton, for betraying the Templars – the Rite's plans begun to falter.
In 1781, after cutting ties with his father, Ratonhnhaké:ton, seeking out Charles Lee, was confronted by Haytham in the Templar stronghold at Fort George, New York. After a brutal fight, the Templar Grand Master was killed, and Charles Lee rose to hold the position in his stead.
At least three months later, in 1782, a funeral was held for Kenway and presided over by Charles Lee, but it was interrupted with the arrival of Ratonhnhaké:ton. Charles had the Assassin detained, before making preparations to travel to Boston. Eventually, the Assassin caught up with Lee once more, and after a rugged pursuit, tracked the man down and killed him in Conestoga Inn, Monmouth. Lee's death marked the collapse of the Colonial Rite, and the end of Templar influence in North America, for a time.
- Lesser known Colonial Templars were the targets of assassination contracts accepted by Ratonhnhaké:ton.
- Other lesser known Colonial Templars were the targets of district liberation missions in Boston and New York.
- Barry and Cassidy Finnegan's son was a member of the Colonial Rite.