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"To the uninitiated, it would appear that the Templar Order and Assassin Brotherhood are both in ethos and manifesto, diametrically opposed. And it is true, up to a point."
―Otso Berg musing on the similarity of a Black Cross and Assassins, 2017.[src][[ [citation needed] |-[m]]]

Black Cross is an enigmatic rank created by the Inner Sanctum for the purposes of combating corruption within the Templar Order and to search for Pieces of Eden. The Council of Elders had significant influence during the earliest years of the Black Cross.

Secret inquisitors only answering to the Inner Sanctum's orders, the agents were authorized to use any means necessary, even deadly force, to take down corrupted members of the Order within Rites. The Black Crosses were tasked with keeping the Grand Masters and their subordinates in line with the Templar Code and ideals.

Deadly enforcers acting as an independent morality police force of one man, very few individuals wore the title of Black Cross across the centuries, though the Bolden family line counted many among their number.

Structure

Purposes

"Your predecessors were visionaries. They saw traits in the Assassins we lacked... Autonomy. Initiative. Flexibility. We are a small cutting from the enemy, grafted into the Order to make us even stronger"
―The Black Cross explaining his purpose to the Inner Sanctum, 2017.[src][[ [citation needed] |-[m]]]

The purpose of the Black Cross Templars is identifying and rooting out individuals corrupted by power or by Pieces of Eden held by the Order, such as Templars seeking personal power instead of using power as a tool to bring about worldwide order.[1] Other grounds for investigating corruption include theft of Templar resources for profit, nepotistic uses such as on their own family,[2] and betrayal.[3] In addition to these duties, Black Cross Templars are given the task of protecting the Koh-i-Noor diamond.[4]

In their service combating corruption and searching for Pieces of Eden, while also securing the plans for Templar Rites in the interests of the Inner Sanctum, the Black Cross are similar to the Council of Elders in that they share the purpose of maintaining the Order's integrity.[2] However, they differ in the means of this, as a Black Cross enforces the Templar principles within their governing structures instead of serving an advisory role that influences and guides said structures.[1]

Requirements

"It has been remarked that the unique skill set required of a Black Cross is akin to taking a cutting from the Assassin tree... And grafting it to that of the Templars."
―Otso Berg reflecting on the skills of a Black Cross, 2016.[src]-[m]

The unique skills required in order to become a Black Cross was based on parts of the Assassins' skill set that were recreated to fit the Templars' doctrine and strengthen the Order itself. By operating alone, and self-contained similar to individual Assassins who are reliant upon only themselves, Black Crosses are therefore harder to fight,[5][4] yet remain just as efficient working as a team,[2][4] another strength of the Assassins. Such observations were made by the Master Templar Juhani Otso Berg during his study between the standard operational practices a Black Cross and the Assassins.[2]

The variety of methods used by a Black Cross during investigations included other Assassins skills like espionage, theft, freerunning, interrogation, close-combat, ranged-combat, and blending using various socioeconomic statuses. The most skilled Black Crosses, like Otso Berg and Albert Bolden, are exceptional in that they can travers cities with ease and are capable of fighting multiple opponents such as crime syndicates and Assassin survivors of the Great Purge.[2][4] A Black Cross also committed assassinations of key individuals that became corrupted,[2] a defining attribute of the Assassin Brotherhood, though these skills were instead used to maintain the Order's stability and integrity.[1]

A key distinction with a Black Cross was their power, the authority during investigations and interrogations to act with impunity within the governing structures of a Rite, while using social and economical roles to blend in society by posing as various roles to maintain discretion, secrecy, and an advantage to use deception. This tactic made their capabilities as skilled tacticians that could quickly coordinate plans despite complications on their missions. They also used a gas mask, poisons, smoke bombs, swords, and firearms, while commonly dressed in black with a visible red Templar insignia of a cross pattée.[2][4]

Appointments

"Given the challenges facing the Order now... Those we are about to face... It may soon be time for the Black Cross to be reborn."
―Otso Berg explaining his concerns for the Order to da Costa, 2013.[src][[ [citation needed] |-[m]]]

Aside from having the skills required, the Inner Sanctum were in charge of appointing the rank of Black Cross to Templars. An appointed Templar would carry out missions for the Inner Sanctum, and should they be presumed dead, then another Black Cross would be appointed.[2] They would also send Templars to investigate disappearances of a Black Cross, such as the Templar Rufus Grosvenor being tasked to find and ensure the Black Cross returned.[4]

On rare occasions, a Black Cross can themselves train someone to become a Black Cross. Alternately, a member of the Inner Sanctum can appoint themselves;[2] though the wider Inner Sanctum being unaware of it would cause a dispute, it was also rare of individual members to tolerate being challenged.[4] A Templar family could also pass the rank through birthright, with the Bolden family having served as Black Crosses for centuries.[2] Importantly, the identity of a Black Cross was always unknown to the Inner Sanctum.[4][6]

Authority

"I don't answer to you, ma'am. As I said, I'm here as a courtesy."
―The Black Cross affirming his independence from the Laetitia England and the Inner Sanctum, 2017.[src][[ [citation needed] |-[m]]]

A Black Cross' arrival was signaled by the Black Cross insignia and their investigation of Templar Rites. They kept a Grand Master and their subordinates in check, as a Black Cross had the authority to do whatever was necessary to find anyone breaking Templar principles within the governing structures of a Rite, including killing any corrupt Templars. Their operations were not to be interfered with, all information in regards to encounters with the Black Cross must be kept silent, and the Rites were instructed to assist with anything requested by the Black Cross.[2]

While a Black Cross only answered to the authority of Inner Sanctum,[2] their earliest operations were impacted by the Council of Elders. Additionally, they also had the authority to challenge the Inner Sanctum,[1] though that power did not extend to Albert Bolden during his time as Black Cross, as the Inner Sanctum at the time had complete authority over a Black Cross.[2]

Under extreme conditions, the Inner Sanctum could try to denounce a Black Cross by having the Templar presented for all the Grand Masters of the Templar Order for an official denunciation. The power to challenge the Inner Sanctum was taken back by the modern day Black Cross, Juhani Otso Berg. Because of Berg being a member of the Inner Sanctum, the position of Black Cross gained independence and was no longer required to serve the Inner Sanctum,[4] while also consolidating the powers of serving as the Operations Specialist, such as their command of the Abstergo Industries' task force Sigma Team.[1][4] Should the situation require it, a Black Cross could also work with the Assassins.[4][2]

History

Early Years

"You all know as well as I do why the Black Cross was created—What it means."
―The Black Cross to the Inner Sanctum, lecturing them on its origins, 2017.[src][[ [citation needed] |-[m]]]

To prevent corruption and stop Grand Masters from flouting the precepts of the Order, the Inner Sanctum created the position of the Black Cross.[6] During the earliest years of the Black Cross, the Council of Elders may have had an significant impact on their assignments.[1]

By late 18th century, the Inner Sanctum had appointed the Templar Tavis Olier as a Black Cross with the mission of acquiring the Koh-i-Noor from Sultan Selim III. Sometime before 1805, Olier was captured and imprisoned.[2]

The Koh-i-Noor

Van der Graff: "This... This is what the Templars teach?"
Olier: "Not teach. Reveal. Impose. Are."
—Olier to Van der Graff, explaining the role of death embodied by a Black Cross, 1808.[src][[ [citation needed] |-[m]]]

During the early 19th century in 1805, the American Templar Solomon Bolden was appointed as the new Black Cross, since Olier was believed dead. Bolden posed as a slaver, and during the crossing of the Mediterranean Sea, he befriended Jan van der Graff after he helped fight pirates sent by the Sultan to sink the ship. Bolden would protect Van der Graff during his mission and the latter would use his contacts to help the Black Cross enter the palace.[2]

They arrived in Tripoli, where Bolden and Van der Graff meet his contacts Edmund, a deserter marine, and Ahkbar, a shady local, who revealed to them the existence of a secret underground tunnel. Following the departure of their companions, Bolden and Van der Graff bonded over several drinks. They entered the tunnel later that day and were ambushed by several men waiting for them. In the ensuing fight, Ahkbar betrayed his contacts, revealing himself to be a Libyan Assassin serving the Sultan, and fatally stabbed the Black Cross in the back with a knife.[2]

By 1808, Van der Graff had been trained by Olier in the ways of the Black Cross and the Templar Order while they shared a cell. During their escape, Olier sacrificed himself and Van der Graff witnessed Ahkbar assassinate the Sultan and steal the Koh-i-Noor for his own gain. Despite Ahkbar's attempt to use the artifact against Van der Graff, the Assassin was killed just as members of the Brotherhood arrived as back up. Van der Graff pretended to hand over the artifact and its box, in reality having pocketed the diamond himself, then escaped the city, intending to keep his prize safe as the new Black Cross.[2]

The Last Black Cross

Fighting Corruption

"Thaddeus Gift. Embezzler. Rake. Shylock. You have betrayed your vows. You have stolen from your Order and traded its good name to enrich yourself."
―The Black Cross charging Grand Master Gift with corruption, 1927.[src][[ [citation needed] |-[m]]]

In February 1927, the Black Cross Albert Bolden played as the leading trumpeter in Albie Bolden and the Harlem Hotsteppers in London, England. When Bolden investigated Grand Master Thaddeus Gift of the British Rite for embezzling money from the Order, Gift attempted to escape his assassination. Bolden tracked him across the streets of the city and eventually caught up with Gift, slitting his throat and cutting off his Templar ring finger in public.[2]

By March, while traveling towards Shanghai, China, Bolden prepared for the ambush of the Templar-built train, the Great Wall, that traveled through Chekiang province after having been stolen by the Russian Templar turncoat Yuri Dolinsky. Bolden managed to fight his way to Dolinsky while getting them into his trap, efficiently killing him and succeeding in his mission to prevent any support to the warlord Zhang Zongchang while protecting the Templar ally Chiang Kai-shek.[3]

The Shanghai Rite

"Family. Honor. These things are nothing next to the Templar Order. The one source of light in a midnight world."
―The Black Cross to Darius Gift, on the purpose of the Templar Order, 1927.[src][[ [citation needed] |-[m]]]

In April, Bolden was playing with his band in Shanghai and observed the the arrival of the Templar Darius Gift. Bolden followed him outside to witness his delivery to the Shanghai Rite from a nearby roof, after Gift was tricked by Ruan Lingyu, who had stolen the box with the Koh-i-Noor. When Gift was approached by Frenchmen that beloved him to be the Black Cross, Bolden intervened and discovered that the men were actually French police. After exchanging pleasantries, Bolden promised to retrieve the absent package for Darius as he was ordered to offer aid directly by the nine Inner Sanctum members.[2]

During the Chinese Templars' meeting, Bolden eavesdropped on it and overheard Grand Master Stirling Fessenden inform the Rite of Bolden's arrival while they discussed the struggles of holding Shanghai amidst gangsters and warlords, instructing the Rite to assist him in any way. Bolden disguised himself as a taxi driver and picked up a Templar from the meeting, Master Templar Joffre, and they discussed the Hop Wo Society, the name found upon one of the French police. After Joffre pointed out they were communists and the location of the address discovered, Bolden infiltrated the building and walked into an ambush where the remaining Frenchman was under duress and in hiding.[2]

Forced to escape, Bolden was chased through the amusement park and used environmental opportunities to take down his pursuers until he was confronted by Fiery Crow and forced into close-combat. Bolden managed to stab him with his Templar pin before being rendered unconscious. Having been captured by the Green Gang Triad, he was faced by their leader, Du Yuesheng, who mocked the activities of the Templar Order thus far in Chi whilst Bolden attempted to discover the whereabouts of the box. When the conversation turned to the Templar pin, Fiery Crow keeled over and Bolden freed himself once more. He promptly grabbed his possessions and gunned his way out of the nearest window as he escaped, having successfully been captured to find out what Du really knew.[2]

Bolden later earned himself a meeting with Madame Sun by confronting her servant Tsai. They discussed the events surrounding the box, and Sun revealed to Bolden that it was the machinations of Chiang Kai-shek. Afterwards, Bolden ambushed and interrogated a convoy driver, who revealed they were ordered to kill an actress and a 'British kid', and arrived in time to prevented Flowery Flag from finishing the job. Bolden was forced into hand-to-hand combat until he was shot by Flowery Flag, who in turn was stabbed in the back by Ruan, though Bolden used the chance to hang Ruan with a Templar Cross chain. Darius attempted to murder him in revenge for his father, and despite Bolden citing it being done for the Order, Darius shot Bolden multiple times until the Black Cross stumbled and fell of a ledge.[2]

Disappearance

Conflict with Grosvenor

"The Black Cross is the keeper of the Koh-I-Noor. You will not rob me of this final dignity."
―The Black Cross to Rufus Grosvenor, on the protection of the artifact by a Black Cross 1928.[src][[ [citation needed] |-[m]]]

However, Bolden survived and was treated at a local hospital after the incident, though his failure to report to his superiors lead the Order to sending Rufus Grosvenor. In 1928, Bolden was confronted by the high ranking Templar who attempted to blackmail him, threatening to reveal to the Order that Bolden was alive if he did not gave him the Koh-i-Noor, something Bolden refused. The encounter with Grosvenor forced Bolden to travel to Switzerland, where he retrieved the Koh-i-Noor, knowing that Grosvenor would eventually find it.[4]

Over the next 9 years, Bolden traveled with the artifact to keep it safe, while being observed by Grosvenor's own agents within the Order and occasionally being forced to fight them. Because of his visits to his family during these years, Grosvenor killed them himself sometime in 1937, and Bolden was ambushed when he returned home to find his family murdered and the Piece of Eden stolen by Grosvenor. Out of his duty as a Black Cross, Bolden spent months tracking Grosvenor to Spain, where he saw the body of the British Assassin Norbert Clarke.[4]

By May 1937, Bolden eventually found Grosvenor posing as Norbert Clarke within an Assassin cell, witnessing Ignacio Cardona hold the Koh-i-Noor before a group of Spanish Assassins, and attacked while Cardona was passed out due to the usage of the Piece of Eden. Unable to reach Grosvenor to get the artifact, Bolden threw smoke bombs and escaped with the unconscious Assassin instead to an unknown location.[4]

At the hideout, Bolden patched up his wounds and told Cardona of his history with Grosvenor and explained how he had tracked him, something that resulted in Cardona attacking him until they were able to come to an agreement. Seeing as Cardona himself was a possible target now, and having been told of Grosvernor's plan to use him as a conduit for the Koh-i-Noor to unleash its powers, Bolden asked Cardona to help him track down Grosvernor in exchange for helping him to warn his cell, which he accepted. Cardona rode with Bolden along with Spanish revolutionaries to meet him.[4]

Assassin Alliance

"I`m a Black Cross. A station that carries its own duties, unrelated to our war... Or this one, for that matter."
―The Black Cross to Ignacio Cardona, on the duties of a Black Cross, 1937.[src][[ [citation needed] |-[m]]]

Cardona and Bolden were ambushed in a nearby village when Miguel Carasso and Dwight Adams launched an attack on both of them. After being easily defeated, they discussed the risks of using the artifacts to end the war, something that resulted in a disagreement due to Adolf Hitler's rise to power in Germany[4] through his Apple of Eden[7] and because Cardona could still lose his life in the process. During the conversation, Bolden was attacked from behind, leading to a fight. While Bolden was held by Dwight, Miguel attempted to kill him, but Bolden deflected the finishing blow, causing caused him to stab Dwight who was holding him from behind. While Dwight collapsed, Bolden punched Miguel and rescued Ignacio from Glaucia Acosta, who had slipped behind her lover and held a knife under his throat.[4]

Afterwards, both Cardona and Bolden followed the tracks of Miguel to the town church. They were greeted by Grosvenor, standing over a pit of anarchist bodies killed by Francisco Franco's men and ranting about humanity needing the firm guiding hand of the gods. During his speech, Glaucia and Miguel had Ignacio and Albert at gunpoint and demanding they drop their weapons. Continuing his speech, Grosvenor told of the conditions expected by Ignacio's bloodline, and its importance in using of the Koh-i-Noor.[4]

The artifact was offered to Cardona, something Bolden opposed. However, Cardona used the artifact to create the illusion of its own self destruction, and created creatures of energy who stampeded into the walls of the church bringing it crashing down upon all of them. It fooled both Grosvenor and Glaucia, who managed to escape the collapse of the church. In the aftermath, they discussed plans for the protection of the artifacts and the civil war. When Cardona asked if he had defected from the Templar Order, Bolden responded that he would never join the Assassins, but he would also not stand alongside the Templars if they were to make common cause with Hitler and Joseph Stalin. Bolden and Cardona left the artifact in the ruins of the church, and trained several young locals as guardians of the artifact, while also fighting alongside the Republicans[4] before going their separate ways.[1] The Order never heard from the Black Cross after he disappeared.[2]

Revival

The Indian Connection

Violet: "The gem... It's one of the most powerful Pieces of Eden for which we have records. We must find it before the Assassins do, yes?"
Berg: "Indeed. But the trail has gone cold, as it so often does. Fortunately, an order as ancient as ours can afford patience."
—Violet and Berg, concerning their search for the Koh-i-Noor, 2013.[src][[ [citation needed] |-[m]]]

In November 2013, Berg and Violet da Costa worked at the Abstergo Entertainment's headquarters in Montreal, Canada, where Berg used the Helix to relive the memories of the last known Black Cross after having gathered intel from raids in India suggesting that Albert Bolden was the last known individual to keep the Koh-i-Noor. According to Abstergo's Lineage Discovery and Acquisition department, they speculated the box carried by Darius Gift contained the Koh-i-Noor.[2]

Their trail grew cold when they discovered the box did not contain the artifact, along with the presumed death of Albert Bolden in 1927. This forced Berg to put the investigation on hold, something the Order could afford while saving their resources until new evidence presented itself. Expecting that locating any modern descendants of Bolden would take time, Berg expressed that they should look into other matters in the mean time. Though the role of Black Cross had been retired for almost a hundred years, Berg expressed concerns that the challenges faced by the modern Order and challenges to come were reasons enough to perhaps even resurrect the title.[2]

The Descendant

Berg: "I can only ask you to trust me when I say telling you more would put you and everyone you love in danger. I know it doesn't seem like it now, but we're the good guys."
Bolden: "I suppose if you weren't, you'd just knock me out and stick me back in your machine. What do you want me to do?"
—Berg to André, having convinced the Bolden to return to Abstergo, 2016.[src][[ [citation needed] |-[m]]]

In 2016, Berg and Violet were put in charge of an Abstergo's Historical Research Division facility in Philadelphia, having resumed their search for the Koh-i-Noor. They were aided by by senior technician Caitlin Gift, a descendant of Darius Gift, and a doctor called Freddy. After locating a descendant of Albert Bolden, Abstergo contacted and brought him to their Philadelphia Facility for treatment against his PTSD from fighting in the Vietnam War. The 72 year old Vietnam veteran named André Bolden was greeted by Berg and his team, then André was put inside the Animus, were he relived the memories of Jan van der Graff in the Barbary Coast, much to the surprise of the Templars who expected him to be the descendant of Solomon Bolden. The incident caused André to neutralize two men and then flee the complex once he woke up, but Berg let him escape by overriding Caitlin's order to apprehend him, as Berg intended to speak with him.[2]

André was tracked back to his hotel, were they discussed the Bleeding Effect and an important item that was tied to André's family, coming to an agreement under the condition that Berg not lie to him again. Once back in the facility, the team discussed the possibility of a fractured timeline and the loss entire bloodline of the Black Cross because of Andre's ancestor, with Caitlin noting their only possible lead a brief appearance in the accounts of Tavis Olier after Violet asked what they knew about Graff. Then they had André put back into the Animus. While was in André's session, Violet and Berg discussed trust along with secrets of the Assassin-Templar War, with Berg explaining why André was helping. Violet noted she had never known him to be so trusting, to which Berg remarked that he trusted her. As they witnessing Graff's imprisonment, Violet asked Berg whether he planned to reveal everything to André, as he had now also heard about the Koh-i-Noor, though Berg answered that he did not know whether he would.[2]

Suspicious Activities

Violet: "All right. I'm sorry about Caitlin. I should have caught any abnormalities I her background."
Berg: "No... I suspect there are other agents at work here."
—Violet and Berg, discussing the innocence of Caitlin, 2017.[src][[ [citation needed] |-[m]]]

Later that day, Berg joined André at a bar and payed for his drink. There, they discussed the purpose of Graff's memories and Berg revealed the truth about the Assassin-Templar War, something André dismissed as nonsense while Berg thought it did not sound too far fetched given everything André had experienced. As they left the bar, they were attacked in a drive-by shooting. Berg saved André and managed to jump inside the vehicle to eliminate its occupants. Afterwards, Berg called Violet and instructed her back to the lab because of the recent attack, and that he was bringing André in. Once back in the lab, Berg was surprised by Freddy's presence beside Violet, who assumed Bolden might have been hurt. Freddy instructed the doctor to check on André. Berg informed Violet of the attacked before Caitlin arrived, then Berg instructed everyone to continue André's Animus session. When questioned further by Violet, Berg said he suspected that they had a leak and that this unknown party knew something they did not.[2]

When André's session reliving van der Graff's torture caused him to scream out in pain, Berg asked Caitlin if they could get skip the memory. Caitlin eventually managed to fast-forward the memories to a few days afterward. When the session was finished, Berg informed Violet they could not force André to continue, before handing her Albert's Templar pin to give to André while Berg cleaned the mess caused by the drive-by shooting. Finally alone, Berg spoke with the proxy used to arrange the attack that won him André's loyalty, then received a phone call that there had been an incident in the lab.[2]

André gives the Templar pin to Berg

Berg and Violet returned at the lab, where they found Caitlin Gift's body. Privately, Violet and Berg discussed her innocence, with Berg being convinced it was done by a third party. With the assumption of a mole, Berg was concerned that a fifth column had infiltrated the Order and instructed Violet to find the mole, then convinced André to once more enter the Animus to further explore the memories of van der Graff. Berg and André met again after the last Animus session showed van der Graff give the Koh-i-Noor to the Assassins. Bolden revealed to the dumbfounded Templar that his ancestor deceived the Assassins and kept the artifact, while also stating he wanted nothing with Berg's war and returned the Black Cross pin to Otso as Bolden believed he would need it. Otso agreed, and reflecting on his conversation with Violet that he could not trust anyone, then decided that he would assume the mantle of Black Cross.[2]

The Fifth Column

"To walk in their shoes to see through their eyes. To make their talents your own. For some, this smacks of heresy. For a Cross however, it's standard operating practice."
―Berg, on the methods of the Black Cross.[src]-[m]

In preparation to became the new Black Cross, a role viewed as a being grafted from the skill set from the Assassins to instead serve the Templars, Berg returned to Abstergo Entertainment in Montreal, he would muse on the similarities of Assassins and a Black Cross when he studied their strengths and weaknesses by reliving the memories of the lives of prominent Assassins. Berg relieved the memories of Ezio Auditore,[8] Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad,[5] Edward Kenway,[9] and Connor.[10]

Independent Black Cross

"I came here as a courtesy to let you know that Abstergo may have been infiltrated by a hostile fifth column. One or many of you may even be members."
―The Black Cross to the Inner Sanctum, on the challenges faced by the Order, 2017.[src][[ [citation needed] |-[m]]]

By February 2017, Berg and Violet were in Hong Kong investigating a former Phoenix Project site cleared out months ago and transformed into an archive office. Berg was surprised as to how a small, unidentified army appeared to be defending an Abstergo archive against the Assassins, with Violet suggesting there might have been a fight within an Assassin cell. Violet was ordered by Berg to bribe the Chinese police to leave the site as it was, and retired to his hotel room for the night. Later, Berg used his advanced Black Cross attire and investigated the office on his own while Bolden acted as his tech support, finding evidence of both high tech Templar equipment and Assassin weaponry by the people who butchered the Assassins.[4]

In March, Berg and Violet were back in Montreal, where they discussed the greater equipped force in an administrative location fighting Assassins, before the phones of every Inner Sanctum member present suddenly displayed the Black Cross symbol. Agneta Reider, Laetitia England, David Kilkerman, Mitsuko Nakamura, Simon Hathaway, Alfred Stearns, and Berg retreated to the Abstergo Executive Retreat, were they had a meeting in Charlevoix, Quebec and were confronted by the Black Cross. The Black Cross affirmed his independence and informed that the Order has been infiltrated by a fifth column. In truth, this was a ruse for the Inner Sanctum, as the insubordination against the group was used by Berg to feign outrage when he leapt on the Black Cross. The Black Cross said they were all suspects and dropped a smoke bomb to leave. Once Berg had returned to his apartment, he and Bolden discussed how their trick ensured he would stay outside suspicion that the Black Cross was one of the Inner Sanctum, then they decided to head to Berlin, Germany, to investigate further.[4]

Dark Money

"Now, the account. Assassins bleeding Templars like leeches. How did that come about?"
―The Black Cross to Lemair, questioning the irregularities in the accounts of Templars, 2017.[src]

In Germany, Berg eavesdropped on Heinrich Hart's interrogation by Galina Voronina and Arend Schut Cunningham, then jumped on Hart after their departure. Seeking answers from the Abstergo engineer who created the goggles found in Hong Kong, the Assassin mole revealed that he had expected the Black Cross to come. Unleashed an electric whip, Hart attacked Berg but was quickly subdued. While cryptically revealing his identity as a member of the Instruments of the First Will, Hart pulled out a high explosive and the Black Cross barely escaped through a derby window into the river below. While Berg survived, the blast claimed the lives of 170 people and Berg returned to his flat. Berg discussed the fifth column with Bolden, who advised he to look into anomalies in Abstergo accounts and that their money must be redirected somewhere it should not be.[4]

Once in Geneva, Switzerland, Berg discovered that money was being directed elsewhere from Abstergo's accounts, and saw the Assassin My'shell Lemair arrive to likewise investigate Assassin financial irregularities. Berg intercepted Lemair and interrogated her at knifepoint, finding out she knew nothing and therefore a third party was indeed responsible. When Berg realized they were being watched, he knocked out My'Shell and attempted to escape but was ambushed by Instruments. He quickly killed five of them before collapsing from his wounds as the former Indian Assassin Jasdip Dhami appeared. Revealing himself as the high tech 'Assassin' of the fifth column, Dhami warned Berg to stop his investigations before throwing him over a guard rail.[4]

United Front

"Isn't it obvious? I'm coming to you because I can't trust you. When faced with only bad choices, opt for the one with predictable outcomes."
―The Black Cross to the Assassins, strategizing a united front against the Instruments, 2017.[src]

My'shell brought the injured Black Cross to the Assassins' hideout, where Galina attacked Berg[4] in retaliation for their last encounter in 2015 within the Shroud of Eden's vault beneath Buckingham Palace.[11] After recovering, they later went to a restaurant and discussed events in Geneva. Given the current situation, Abstergo was compromised because of the trail of the Templar money, but since the Assassins had also been attacked by the same group lead by Dhami, Berg proposed that they worked together, especially as his distrust of Assassins made them the safest option. Charlotte de la Cruz agreed to the truce because she had witnessed how powerful the Instruments were and what they were capable of. Once back in the hideout, Berg offered to help and was rejected. While they argued about their ideologies and alignments, Arend found found an old image of the Spanish Assassin Ignacio Cardona standing alongside Albert Bolden, the Black Cross.[4]

During Charlotte's Animus session, Berg was told to leave, as she had not recovered from her encounter with Juno, so Berg decided to have a chat with Guernica Moneo, a member of Erudito and a secret Instrument. They played a game of Jenga while discussing their goals and alignments of various powerful political groups competing for power, including their own. Eventually, Moneo unwittingly revealed his devotion to Juno, and Berg left the room while thanking him for the information.[4]

Having received a blood sample of from André, Berg used it to relive the memories of Albert Bolden during his search of the Koh-i-Noor in the Spanish Civil War, since Charlotte was unable to continue. Once the location of the artifact was discovered, Berg asked the Assassins to dig into their records for information in regards to Glaucia Acosta. Afterwards, Berg informed André of the discovery while requesting him to keep watch on Álvaro Gramática's laboratory and then made preparations to travel to Spain to recover the artifact using his own resources.[4]

Purge of The Isu Cult

"And now I know who I can trust, I am cauterizing this wound. The infection is cut out, the fever broken. And your blasphemy against humanity is over."
―The Black Cross to the Instruments and da Costa, declaring the end of the Isu cult, 2018.[src]

Once in Spain, Berg paired up with Charlotte and Galina, while the rest looked elsewhere. They managed to recover the artifact after some digging, but were discovered by Jasdip and the Instruments. As they fought each other, Charlotte gained possession of the Koh-i-Noor and unleashed an energy blast that broke them up, Jasdip then captured Charlotte and claimed the artifact, while ordered mortar bombardments by the Instruments to prevent Berg and Assassins from saving her. With the combined efforts of Miguel, one of the assigned protectors of the Koh-i-Noor, Berg attacked Jasdip and freed Charlotte. The artifact remained with the Instruments, therefore Berg and the Assassins looked to locate Gramática's lab to destroy the body meant for Juno's resurrection.[4]

By August 2018, Berg and the Assassins were able to locate Gramática's lab in Australia[12] and traveled using an Abstergo plane. Berg and the Assassins also planned their attack and infiltration of the lab. While Charlotte infiltrated the lab through a vent shaft using a sandstorm as cover, Berg and the Assassins distracted the Instruments by the entrance, with Berg confronting the army of Instruments led by Violet, who had since been revealed as the Templars' traitor. Using Berg as bait, Galina shot Jasdip with a sniper rifle as Arend and Kiyoshi Takakura launched an RPG to kill more Instruments.[4]

Once inside, Berg and the Assassins watched as Juno was trapped in an illusion conjured with the Koh-i-Noor by Elijah, who betrayed the Instruments for murdering his mother earlier. Charlotte took advantage of this and killed Juno, then Berg and the Assassins fled the collapsing lab and were confronted outside by Violet and the surviving Instruments. While Violet pointed her gun at Berg,[4] Sigma Team arrived, surrounding her and the Instruments.[1] Seizing the opportunity of her distraction, Berg disarmed Violet, shot her in the chest, and detonated the lab with Charlotte still inside using a Skunkworks endgame grenade while Violet bled to death.[4]

After the destruction of the Phoenix Project, the Black Cross' partnership with the Assassins ended and Berg started hunting any Instruments that still remained. By November 2018,[13] Berg had succeeded in the purging rest of the Instruments and retired from his role as the Black Cross.[1]

Legacy

The Black Cross as a concept had reached almost legendary status among Templars through history, who admired and feared the Order's mysterious inquisitor.[1] Some Templars even doubted their existence and therefore became afraid once the presence of a Black Cross was notified, earning the title even more fear from those in doubt.[2]

The Black Cross also had a reputation for their skills, being constantly compared to Assassins for their means of operations, with them being similar to that of the Assassins but remade in the image of the Templars using their most efficient methods.[2][4]

Known Black Crosses

Behind the scenes

While the origins of the Black Cross remains unclear, the earliest known activities of both the Council of Elders and the Black Cross can provide an approximate time frame. Since the Council tasked Laureano de Torres y Ayala of the West Indies Rite to find the Observatory in the Caribbean during the late 17th century,[14] and with Tavis Olier being appointed as a Black Cross in the late 18th century,[2] the title had to have been created sometime within that century-long span.

The Black Cross insignia is also the same insignia of the Knights Teutonic, an organization supported by the Templars during the Crusades. The use of the Black Cross insignia as markers against their targets can be seen as a counterpart to the feathers used by the Assassins to mark their assassinations.[15]

While the role of the Black Cross is never stated to be an Assassin Hunter, their skills allows them to perform such Templar specializations as well. Like Assassin Hunters, the methods used by a Black Cross is identical to the means of the Assassins.

Juhani Otso Berg is the first Black Cross that is also a member of the Inner Sanctum.

Appearances

References

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