Gao Feng (高鳳; died 1526) was one of the Eight Tigers, a group of powerful Templar eunuchs who controlled the Ming imperial court during the reign of the Zhengde Emperor. With the ascendance of the Jiajing Emperor, he played a role in the Great Rites Controversy, an event that saw the purge of the Chinese Brotherhood of Assassins.
Despite being one of the lesser of the Eight Tigers, Gao was granted jurisdiction over the Gansu province. He also served as the warden of the Templar prison in the Maijishan Grottoes, formerly the headquarters of the Chinese Assassins. There, he was slain by the Assassin Shao Jun in 1526, unwittingly effecting her infiltration by capturing her as she planned.
Though not as influential as the other Tigers, Gao Feng was still valued for his ability as an agent. He was competent and knew how to exercise discretion, and for this, he was given charge of the Gansu province by the Jiajing Emperor. There, he presided over the Maijishan Grottoes, turning the former base of the Assassins into a secret prison for the Templars' enemies.
In 1526, his forces captured Shao Jun, one of the last surviving Chinese Assassins, and imprisoned her in the Maijishan dungeons. He seized the prized Precursor box that she held, but to his frustration, it was empty. Concluding that it was incomplete, he interrogated Shao for answers, but she refused to relent.
Gao therefore left her in her hanging cage, intending to have her tortured by his fellow Tiger Ma Yongcheng later. Though Shao had hinted at it, Gao did not realize that the Assassin had intended to be caught. This not only allowed her to learn what the Templars understood about the box but also to infiltrate his base and kill him. As soon as he left her, Shao made her escape.
It was while standing in solitude at the edge of a cliff, gazing out at the great landscape before him, that he was attacked from behind by Shao. The Assassin slashed him once from behind with her sword, then stabbed him through the back as he reeled around. Mortally wounded, he was helpless to defend himself as Shao delivered a final thrust through his heart, all the while taunting him for falling into her trap. In his dying words, Gao refused to divulge the location of the box, which he had already sent to his allies far away.
Behind the scenes
His name as written in Chinese is 高鳳. The surname Gāo (高) means 'tall, high' while his personal name Fèng (鳳) is the term for a male phoenix.
Historically, Gao Feng was born in 1439 and died in 1512.