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This article is about the proto-Assassin. For other uses, see Darius.
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"There have always been people who lust for power and control. And there have always been people who oppose them."
―Darius to Kassandra, c. 429 BCE.[src]-[m]

Darius, born Artabanus,[1] was the Persian assassin of King Xerxes I of Persia.

Formerly a agent and member of the Persian elite, Darius fought to ensure Persia would forever remain free of tyranny. For this, he and his friends created an organization that would do their best in stopping Xerxes' plans. His assassination of Xerxes I was the first recorded usage of the Hidden Blade, which would, later on, become the iconic weapon of the Assassin Brotherhood. In an attempt to kill Artaxerxes, he was betrayed by his friend Amorges. Left for dead and his group disbanded, Darius escaped with his son from Persia, avoiding the watchful eyes of the Order of the Ancients.

After the defeat of the Tempest in Achaia, Darius decided to settle down in the region with his son Natakas, who developed a relationship with the Spartan misthios Kassandra. Darius became a grandfather to Natakas and Kassandra's son, Elpidios, and later the ancestor of one of the Hidden Ones' founders, Aya.

Biography

Early life

"Darius: Yet for all their power, they couldn't protect you. Not from me."
―Darius to Xerxes after assassinating him, 465 BCE.[src]-[m]
ACOD Darius assassinate Xerxes

Darius assassinating Xerxes

Artabantus was present at the Battle of Thermopylae where he witnessed the full power of the Spear of Leonidas. At one point, he also fathered two children, Natakas and Neema.[2]

During the 5th century BCE, the Order of the Ancients supported the reign and conquests of the Achaemenid kings Darius I and his son Xerxes I.[3] Opposing the Persian kings' tyranny over the people, Artabantus and his allies, Amorges and Pactyas, plotted in the King's assassination. On one occassion, Artabantus was part of Xerxes' convoy, which his fellow freedom fighters attack to distract the King's guard. With Xerxes' left unprotected, Artabantus sneaked behind the King, striking the killing blow using the Hidden Blade in August 465 BCE in what would become the first recorded use of the Assassins' iconic weapon.[4][5][6]

Flee from Persia

"We – we trusted him! Loved him! We were all as brothers, but he drew his blade against us! Did you not consider the cost? They'd be alive. Your mother, your siblings... He may as well have killed them himself."
―A dying Pactyas to Natakas on Darius's past, c. 422 BCE.[src]-[m]
ACOD LotFB Protector of Persia - Amorges and Darius Fighting

Darius stopped by his former friend Amorges

After Xerxes I's son Artaxerxes I ascended the throne, Artabantus feared he too would be manipulated by the Order and thus plotted his assassination as a preemptive measure. However, his close friend, Amorges, opposed his decision and later joined the Order of the Ancients in order to prevent the killing. Artabantus was confronted by Amorges, who called for the guards. Branded a traitor and being pursued by the Order, Artabantus fled Persia with his family, taking on the new name of Darius.[1]

When the Order failed to manipulate Artaxerxes I to their side, they sought to have him dethroned and assassinated. Taking advantage of Darius' status as a fugitive, they used his name as a guise for the assassination,[7] working with Artaxerxes' brother Hystaspes. The assassin, using the guise of Darius, poisoned the young king, taking the man's sight, but was unsuccessful in his assassination attempt. Artaxerxes later spread the tale that Darius had succeeded, so that he might safely escape Persia.[8]

During their escape from Persia, Darius lost both his wife and Neema to the Order, eventually fleeing to Greece with only Natakas by his side. By the time of the Peloponnesian War, they managed to flee and sought refuge in an abandoned tomb in Makedonia. For a time, they managed to avoid being detected until the Order sent a branch to Greece eliminate a Tainted One named Kassandra, who gained a reputation as the "Eagle Bearer'.[9]

Combating the Order of Hunters

ACOD LotFB Hunted Promotional Image 02

Darius confronting Kassandra

Around 429 BCE, the Order of Hunters attacked the village of Potidaia in attempt to draw Kassandra and eliminate her. Darius son' Natakas aiding Kassandra against the Spartan soldiers employed by the Order. After Darius eliminated several of the soldiers including the Order Elite, he fought Kassandra in an abandoned tomb, unaware of her identity as the Eagle Bearer and assumed she was one of the assassins sent by the Order. Following a stalemate, the two were interrupted by Natakas, who introduced Kassandra as the Eagle Bearer that the Order was looking for.[6]

After successfully eliminating the Order of Hunters, and killing Pactyas, Darius and Natakas made plans to leave Makedonia.[1]

Darius and Natakas later sought refuge in Achaia, where they hoped to travel further east using a ship from the port city of Patrai. Shortly after their arrival, a Persian naval fleet soon began to blockade the port city, halting their plans to leave Greece. Fearing that the Order may be responsible, Darius sent a letter to Kassandra, seeking her help once again.[10]

Darius and Kassandra joined forces and eventually defeated the Order of the Storm and its Magi Phila. Deciding not to run any longer, he and Natakas settled down in Dyme, where Natakas developed a romantic relationship with Kassandra. This led to the birth of Elpidios, making Darius a grandfather.[11]

Hunted by Amorges

Despite their efforts, Darius and his family became hunted once again, this time by the Order of Dominion who set fire to their village. Darius and Kassandra returned to the torched village, where they were greeted by Amorges. After the Ancients leader made his intention of endangering Natakas and Elpidios known, Darius sent Kassandra to rescue them while he himself serve as a bait to allow them to escape.[12]

Darius was able to eliminate a few Persian soldiers before being ultimately overwhelmed. Before he was about to be killed by the soldiers, he was rescued by Kassandra who fought off and eliminated the Immortals. However, this gave the Order the chance to kill Natakas and take the baby away. Having lost his son, Darius travelled down south to Messenia to hunt the Order, leaving Kassandra behind.[12]

Kassandra later joined him in the town of Aipeia, where they devised a plan to dismantle the Order's operations in the region and lure out Amorges.[13] Recruiting an Athenian general and eliminating several members of the Order, Darius and Kassandra launched an attack on the Andania Mine from Messene before confronting Amorges at the Temple of Zeus above the mine. Darius pushed Amorges off the cliff, which mortally wounded him. Before succumbing to his wounds, Amorges revealed Elpidios' whereabouts and reconciled up with Darius, stating that the Order would always be hunting them.[14]

Darius and Kassandra travelled south to an island off Messenia, where they were greeted by a young man carrying Elpidios, confirming Amorges' words that he would never hurt the infant. The man introduced himself as the son of King Artaxerxes I, whom Darius had sought to assassinate decades ago. Believing that Artaxerxes was ultimately not manipulated by the Order, Darius called on the man to keep Persia safe.[14]

Believing that her life as a Tainted One would be too dangerous for Elpidios, Kassandra decided to let Darius take him away from Greece in order to keep him safe, as the Order would always be hunting Kassandra and ones like her. In this capacity, Darius became a guardian to Elpidios and took him to Egypt, where he would be raised and trained in his ways.[14]

Legacy

Darius' teachings would be passed on from generation to generation through Elpidios until his distant descendant, Aya.[14]

By 48 BCE, Darius' Hidden Blade wound up in the hands of the pharaoh Cleopatra, who passed it on to her protector and agent Aya. Aya eventually made one of her own and gave Darius' blade to her husband, the Medjay Bayek of Siwa, who went on to assassinate Order member Eudoros with it.[15] After the two founded the Hidden Ones, it became the signature weapon of their organization,[15] still used centuries later when their Brotherhood reformed as the Assassins.[4]

By the time of the Renaissance, Darius had become a legendary figure among the Assassins because of his deeds during the 5th century BCE, several centuries before the Brotherhood's foundation, and he was posthumously honored as one of their own. A tomb dedicated to him was built beneath Santa Maria Novella in Florence, Italy. The Italian Assassin Ezio Auditore da Firenze explored the tomb and took the hidden seal from the tomb's sarcophagus, which later allowed him to obtain the Armor of Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad sealed in the Sanctuary beneath Villa Auditore in Monteriggioni where a statue of Darius (along with Aya as Amunet, and other celebrated Assassins) had been erected sometime before 1476.[4]

Equipment and skills

Despite his age, Darius had the strength and reflexes of a man half as old. According to Natakas, he never missed a day of his training regimen. He was skilled enough to match Kassandra in combat and trained with her regularly in the year or so they lived together. He was an expert at stealth, being able to appear and disappear at will, where even Kassandra couldn't track him. He preferred to work and kill silently rather than engage in open battle.[16]

Darius made and maintained his Hidden Blade on his own, considering a "choice" to use it as his main weapon, with the skill required for its usage being part of the reason for him doing so.[17] Unlike many later users of the Hidden Blade, Darius wore the hidden blade on the outside of his arm.[16]

Behind the Scenes

Darius was first mentioned in Assassin's Creed II, as the first Assassin to wield the Hidden Blade. Early artworks depict Darius with the Blade under his right arm but with no amputated fingers. Darius was reintroduced in Assassin's Creed: Odyssey's DLC Legacy of the First Blade, where, following the retcon of the origins of the Assassin Brotherhood, he was introduced as not an Assassin proper, but rather simply a freedom fighter whose ideals and organization matched the eventual Brotherhood. In Legacy of the First Blade Darius served as a boss battle early on and later as an ally who would fight alongside the player character.

Historically, according to accounts by Aristotle, Artabanus murdered the Crown Prince of Persia Darius just prior to killing Xerxes himself. The Latin historian Justinus , however, offers an alternative account where Crown Prince Darius was executed for the patricide of Xerxes after being framed by Artabanus.

Darius' age is a point of contention, as if he had participated in the Battle of Thermopylae in Malis it would place Darius' age at his late 60s to 70s by the time of the Peloponnesian War. If he was 20 at the Battle of Thermopylae (the age for full-time military service in the Persian Empire), he would have been born in 500 BCE and been 78 years old at the latest possible point in the game's story for the DLC's events to take place (422 BCE). However according to Plutarch, [citation needed] Artabanus was the official that decided the succession dispute after Darius the Great died. This means that historically he might have been even older.

In the battle with Amorges at the end of Legacy of the First Blade: Bloodline, Darius executes a move wherein he jumps on Amorges' shoulders, before back-flipping off and slice down Amorges' back. This move is exactly like one used by the Prince in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, another Ubisoft IP.

Appearances

References

Animuslogowhite An image gallery is available for
Darius
  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Assassin's Creed: OdysseyLegacy of the First Blade: HuntedProtector of Persia
  2. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyLegacy of the First Blade: Hunted
  3. Assassin's Creed Encyclopedia – History of the Brotherhood: Early Assassins
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Assassin's Creed II
  5. Assassin's Creed: OriginsAya
  6. 6.0 6.1 Assassin's Creed: OdysseyLegacy of the First Blade: HuntedShadow of a Legend
  7. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyLegacy of the First Blade: Bloodline
  8. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyPrince of Persia
  9. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyLegacy of the First Blade: HuntedThe Horsemen Cometh
  10. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyLegacy of the First Blade: Shadow HeritageStranger Tides
  11. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyLegacy of the First Blade: Shadow HeritageHome
  12. 12.0 12.1 Assassin's Creed: OdysseyLegacy of the First Blade: BloodlineA Flight in Fire
  13. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyLegacy of the First Blade: BloodlineAnswers from Ashes
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 Assassin's Creed: OdysseyLegacy of the First Blade: BloodlineLegacy of the First Blade
  15. 15.0 15.1 Assassin's Creed: Origins - End of the Snake
  16. 16.0 16.1 Assassin's Creed: OdysseyLegacy of the First Blade
  17. Assassin's Creed Odyssey - Legacy of the First Blade: Shadow Heritage - Theatrics and Espionage

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