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PL ArtisanHQ.png Patience, brothers. Soon we will reveal the secrets of Assassin's Creed: Blade of Shao Jun and Assassin's Creed: The Ming Storm.

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Qiu Ju and Zhang Yong manipulating Empress Zhang

The Eight Tigers were a powerful group of eunuchs in the Ming imperial court during the reign of the Zhengde Emperor, almost all of whom were Chinese Templars.

History

Rise to power

Originally led by Liu Jin, who was not a Templar himself, the group leadership was taken over by Zhang Yong in 1510, when the latter betrayed Liu by denouncing a plot against the Emperor, leading to his execution by lingchi.[1]

When the heir-less Emperor died, the Tigers rose to power and planned to put their own man after remaining silent and obedient in the past years. During the interregnum, they had acquired a certainty that Wang Yangming was indeed an Assassin and started to spy on him and identified many of his allies. They were ready to strike, to purge the Assassins from Beijing and the confusion that reigned in court, due to the absence of a declared Emperor, was perfect for the Tigers to eliminate their enemies. They planned a massive operation to get rid of the Assassins but they had made a mistake and the word of the plot leaked to the Concubines. Shao Jun, the Imperial Concubine and an ally of the Assassins, warned Wang in time.[1]

After the Zhengde Emperor was succeeded by the puppet Jiajing Emperor, they ruled in his stead and made important decisions while the Emperor spent his time in brothels and palaces. They would even choose his consorts to better control him. During the "Great Rites Controversy", the Tigers murdered many of their opponents, not only the Assassins. The purge led by Zhang Yong was executed by his minions: "the Snake", "the Butcher", and "the Demon".[1]

Soon enough, they convinced the Jiajing Emperor into initiating a purge of the Chinese Assassin. The Tigers became confident that they controlled China. They retreated in luxurious places to enjoy their new power and put another puppet in place. Yan Song was to be the public face of the administration while Jiajing Emperor turned himself completely towards private affairs. In the shadows, the Tigers completed their hunt for Assassins all over China, and started to search for precursor artifacts as well as consolidating their grip and financial power through diverse operations throughout the country.[1]

Hearing that the Assassin Mentor Zhu Jiuyuan and concubine-turned-Assassin Shao Jun were trying to seek aid in Italy, the Tigers sent mercenaries to kill them, resulting to the Mentor's death.[1] Shao Jun fortunately escaped and was trained by the famous Italian Assassin and former Mentor, Ezio Auditore.[2]

Revenge of the Assassins

Gao Feng questioning Shao Jun

Shao Jun returned to China in 1526 to rebuild her Brotherhood. Reunited with Wang Yangming, they began exacting revenge on the Tigers, tracking them one after the other. Using the Precursor box given to her by Ezio, Shao Jun tricked the Tiger Gao Feng into imprisoning her in the Maijishan Grottoes. She escaped her cell, freed the informant Hong Liwei, retrieved the remaining Assassin scrolls and assassinated Gao Feng. Wang Yangming also successfully eliminated the torturer Ma Yongcheng though they did not retrieve the box in time.[1]

By 1529, Yangming eventually tracked the box to the "slaver" Yu Dayong in Macau and Jun exacted her revenge to the Tiger and retrieved the precursor artifact. The enraged Qiu Ju set the docks to fire in retaliation, killing many innocents in the process. Determined to eliminate the last Chinese Assassins, Zhang Yong then tracked Yangming down as Shao Jun assassinated Wei Bin in Nan'an. Before Jun could reach her mentor, Zhang Yong ended Yangming's plight and stole the box.[1]

Shao Jun and Zhang Yong in the Great Wall of China

Upon their discovery of Shao Jun's friendship with Empress Zhang in 1530, the remaining Tigers used her to trap the last Chinese Assassin. However, their plan was in vain for Shao Jun managed to kill Qiu Ju in combat and Zhang Yong was forced to escape, leaving a huge fire in his wake. He then sent the precursor box to other Templars outside China.[1]

Zhang Yong pursued his endeavor to rule China and allied himself with the Mongols and their leader Altan Khan. However, before he managed to open the gates of the Great Wall of China and start the invasion, Shao Jun interfered and assassinated the last Tiger, ending the Templar influence in the land.[1]

Members

Behind the Scenes

Several members of the Eight Tigers have beards. While a eunuch loses his ability to secrete male hormones, which is essential for beards to grow, a eunuch’s beard grown before being neutered can still be kept, such as in the example of Tong Guan, a prominent eunuch during the Song Dynasty. However, the majority became eunuchs at a very young age, which is too early for a beard to grow. Zhang Yong, according to historical records, became a eunuch at an age of 10, which is highly unlikely for him to have such a beard.

Appearances

Non-canonical appearances

References

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