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Eraicon-Assassins

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"Take these carrier pigeons for example. Each one sent from Machiavelli bears the name of an important Templar in Roma. Eliminate them and you will have more of an impact than a battle ever could."
―Pantasilea Baglioni to Ezio Auditore, 1500.[src]
BH-PigeonCoop

Contracts were typically assigned via pigeon coops

Assassination contracts were assignments given to the Assassins, marking one or more individuals as a threat and ordering their elimination. The details of these contracts were generally sent via carrier pigeons or couriers.

History

Classical Era

During the Peloponnesian War, habitants of Greece left assassination contracts on Message boards for misthios to accomplish them. The targets could vary between soldiers, bandits, politicians and mercenaries The misthios Kassandra accomplished some of these contracts during her journey having her own message board on her ship, the Adrestia. She could also be contacted directly by civilians who hired her for killing their targets. The assassination of a governor was a strategic move to weaken the defense of a region, facilitating the invasion by foreign troops.[1]

At the end of the Ptolemaic Kingdom, the Medjay Bayek received complaints from citizens about criminal activities. As a protector of Egypt, his task was to eliminate the bandits to bring justice. When Bayek became Medjay of all Egypt, he acceded to Apollodorus' network of informants, receiving reports on the Order of the Ancients' activities and their allies. Bayek eliminated them to protect the citizen of Egypt.[2]

When Bayek and his ex-wife Aya founded the Hidden Ones, a group dedicated to protecting the liberty of Humanity, assassination contracts were their primary tactics to stop the tyranny of the Order of the Ancients or other despots.[2]

Middle Ages

AC1 Acre Bureau Feather

Altaïr receiving his feather from Jabal

Under the leadership of Al Mualim, word of the intended target was sent through courier pigeons to the Rafiq present within the target's city or region. Novice Assassins were sent out by the Rafiq to investigate the plans, routines and surroundings of the intended target, amassing information that might help with the actual assassination, carried out by an Assassin of a higher rank.[3]

Before said assassination was carried out, the Assassin was judged on the value of their knowledge and, if deemed sufficient, handed a feather to dip in the target's blood as proof of the deed's success. Master Assassins, due to their skill, were not obligated to meet with the Rafiq after the investigation had been completed and could immediately proceed with the elimination of the target. Although rare, investigations and assassinations were sometimes carried out by the same person, as was the case with the disgraced Assassin Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad.[3]

Renaissance

By the 15th century, much of these practices had been abolished, with the Assassin receiving the contract also being the one that carried it out. Following his rescue of Lorenzo de' Medici, Ezio Auditore da Firenze began to serve as the man's unofficial assassin, receiving messages through pigeon coops and carrying out contracts in the cities of Florence, Tuscany, Romagna, and Venice. Since these targets were picked out by Lorenzo, they were frequently enemies of the House of Medici; in particular, people that had collaborated with the Pazzi.[4]

BH coop

Ezio accepting a contract in Rome

When he was a Master Assassin living in Rome, Ezio's contracts were provided by Niccolò Machiavelli and relayed to him through Pantasilea Baglioni and pigeon coops. By eliminating these targets, who were primarily affiliates of the Borgia family, the Italian Brotherhood of Assassins gradually weakened the position of power held by the Templars.[5]

Ezio also provided contracts of his own for his Assassin recruits, sending them to countries across Europe and Asia. In completing their missions, the apprentices damaged the Templars' presence in various regions and gained the experience necessary to progress through the Assassin Order.[5][6]

Having grown somewhat weary by the time he reached Constantinople, Ezio no longer carried out assassination contracts himself, though he still aided the Ottoman Assassins in other ways. As he did in Rome, Ezio recruited citizens and then sent them out on strategic missions across the Mediterranean to train them. This proved critical not only to the apprentices' development but also to the expansion of the Assassins' knowledge and influence in the region.[7]

Age of Empires

A Botched Escape 1

Edward taking on a contract

Upon being introduced to the Assassins in 1716, the pirate Edward Kenway was persuaded by the West Indies Assassin Mary Read to work assassination contracts in the Caribbean for monetary reward. These contracts, delivered through a network of pigeon coops, covered a plethora of islands, with the majority being located in the more densely populated cities of Havana, Nassau, and Kingston. The people targeted by the Assassins were not limited to Templars however, but also included cruel slave traders, corrupt officials and criminals of all sorts.[8]

During the French and Indian War, the Colonial Assassins used the same system than their West Indies brothers, the contracts being accomplished by teams of their affiliated gang. The former Assassin turned Templar Shay Cormac intercepted some of their courier pigeons and foiled many of their assassination contracts.[9]

In the 18th century New Orleans, the Assassin Aveline de Grandpré occasionally carried out assassinations on the orders of her Mentor Agaté, who left messages for her in Saint Peter's Cemetery. These missions were meant to sabotage the Templars' attempts to gain power within the region, eliminating new recruits or vital enemy contacts. Similarly, Aveline received contracts from Gérald Blanc's informants, targeting various corrupt Templar business rivals active in the city. By eliminating them, more shops became eligible for renovation, allowing slaves to attain employment and a decent wage.[10]

Edward's grandson, Ratonhnhaké:ton, occasionally accepted assassination contracts given to him through couriers, who identified the locations of Templars nearby, allowing him to complete them in his own time. Following his liberation of the Boston and New York districts, Ratonhnhaké:ton also recruited six individuals, who were sent to fulfill contracts around the British American colonies. In this way, his recruits gained experience, acquiring valuable resources for the Colonial Brotherhood and aiding the Continental war effort during the American Revolution.[11]

French Revolution

During the French Revolution, the Assassin Council of the Parisian Brotherhood of Assassins was the only authority that can approve the assassination of a target. The young Assassin Arno Dorian was the steward of the Café Théâtre, the intelligence gathering front of the Brotherhood in Paris. As Arno bought other cafés through the city, the buildings served as safe houses for the Assassins and the Council left assassination contracts for Arno. They primarily targeted Templars, thugs, Extremists or corrupted officials who operated in Paris. As Arno accomplished the contracts, it permitted to the moderate revolutionaries allied to the Assassins to operated in the districts.[12]

As some contracts were too difficult to be taken by one person, the French Assassins organized themself in clubs and teams to assure the coordination of a mission.[13]

Victorian Era

During the Industrial Revolution, the Council of British Brotherhood of Assassins, which was in fragile position against the British Rite of the Templar Order, ordered careful assassination contracts to not compromise the Brotherhood. They also modernized the practice to dip a feather in the blood of target, replacing the feather by a handkerchief.[14]

When the Assassin Twins Jacob and Evie Frye arrived in London without the consent of the Council, they entered in contact with Jayadeep Mir, the leader and only Assassin of the city's guild. As their plan was to liberate London from the Templar, Jayadeep gave them contracts on high ranking Templars through the city. These actions reduced the influence of the Templar's gang the Blighters on the city.[14]

Behind the scenes

In Assassin's Creed II, during memory sequences 13 and 14, as well as the succeeding free-roaming sequence, assassination contracts were still available, even though Lorenzo de' Medici had already died by that point. As it turned out, Ezio was also tasked to assassinate associates of various characters who had been dead for years by then.

In "Hunting the Hunter," the attacking guards bore Medici colors. If Ezio looted the scarecrow target afterward, it yielded a set of keys.

In Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, contracts were available for Edward to complete as soon as he reached Havana in 1715, despite him not being officially introduced to the system until 1716.

Appearances

References

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