- "My name is Helene Dufranc. I was born into a family of Assassins like yourself... but unlike you, I had no patience for the duties of the Order."
- ―Helene to Ezio, 1492.[src]
Helene Dufranc was a French adventurer born into a family of Assassins. She trained in the art of combat and stealth, until her disinterest and impatience with the discipline demanded by the order prompted her to seek the life of a rogue.
As a mercenary working for the highest bidder, she sought adventure abroad, where her activities eventually led to encounters with the Italian Assassin Ezio Auditore da Firenze, with whom she shared a brief rivalry with in Spain.
- "Not exactly. I haven't called any place home for a very long time."
- ―Helene to Ezio, 1491.[src]
Born to the Parisian Brotherhood of Assassins, Helene Dufranc deserted them when she became frustrated by the strict duties expected of her. No longer beholden to their goals, Helene decided that her expertise as an Assassin could be translated into a new profession. She therefore took up the life of a wandering adventurer and freelance mercenary.
Adventure in Barcelona
- "You're skilled, stranger. As proficient as any Assassin, yet half as wise."
- ―Helene to Ezio, 1491[src]
It was while being pursued that she first encountered the Assassin Ezio Auditore da Firenze, who had just arrived from Italy in the hopes of saving the Spanish Assassins from the Inquisition. Engaging Ezio in a casual conversation, she distracted him long enough to steal his sword just as her pursuers found her. After an intense chase through the city, Helene escaped the guards only to be caught by Ezio, who jumped behind her and snatched back his sword.
Helene praised Ezio's skills but teased at his foolishness. Despite Ezio's request, she refused to share anything she knew of the Assassins, asserting that she was visiting Spain for money and reputation—not friends. With that, the two parted ways.
Hunting the Cygnet
- "Ah, mon petit Assassin! Are you following me? Or am I following you? The heat seems to have affected my memory."
- ―Helene to Ezio, 1491.[src]
A while later, Helene plotted to ambush a wealthy Templar financier known as the Cygnet at a town on the road from Zaragoza to Granada. On the way, she encountered Ezio once again—this time with his fellow Assassin Raphael Sánchez. After taking a moment to trade banter with them, she rushed off to complete her mission. Raphael did not approve, however, as an attack on the Cygnet could alert the Templars to their presence in the area. He sent Ezio to follow after Helene, not only to prevent her assault but also to learn to recognize the Cygnet for future reference.
When Helene reached her destination, she found that the Cygnet had already left thanks to Ezio's efforts, much to her annoyance. After Helene admitted that she was a former Assassin in response to Ezio's suspicion, her rival admonished that while she had the right to live as she liked, she should not do so at the risk of the Assassins. Nevertheless, he acknowledged that he was impressed by her feats, but Helene, still vexed, reaffirmed that they were open to the highest bidder—even to the Templars.
Saving Queen Isabella
- "I go where the adventure goes, and right now it seems to be following you."
- ―Helene to Ezio, 1492.[src]
Though Helene and Ezio seemingly parted ways again after their last meeting, in truth, she had begun to follow him all the way to Granada, where he saved Muhammad XII by convincing him to surrender to Spain and end the war. Ezio had stayed behind in the aftermath to guard the city from violence perpetrated by the conquerors or Inquisition, and it was not until the night of Muhammad XII's formal abdication ceremony in early January 1492 that Helene finally revealed herself to him.
She had heard rumors of an impending Templar assassination attempt on Queen Isabella I of Castile at the ceremony and approached him for assistance. Shocked by the news, Ezio raced with Helene once again—this time as an ally. He beat her to the ceremony and killed the Templar soldiers outside just before they launched their attack, saving Isabella's life.
Helene, arriving at the scene a little late, applauded Ezio, revealing that she had known his name all along from the legends that had begun to spread of his exploits. It was only then that she formally introduced herself to him, and despite refusing his offer to join with the Italian Assassins someday, she gave him her earnest blessings and the two parted amiably.
Personality and characteristics
- "And trade one family of Assassins for another? I'm flattered, Ezio, but I prefer the life of a rogue."
- ―Helene in response to Ezio's offer to join the Assassins in Italy, 1492.[src]
Fiercely independent, Helene Dufranc early on came to find her temperament to be incompatible with that of the Assassins she was born into. Although the dangers as an Assassin afforded her the adventure she craved, their principles demanded a discipline too constraining for her free-spirited nature. She was restless and in her own words, too impatient for the responsibilities she was obligated to fulfill as an Assassin. The higher goals of the Assassins did not align with her own desires, which revolved around the thrill of adventure and profit. Akin to her love for excitement, Helene bore a playful personality, prone to teasing and jests. Much of her interactions with Ezio took the form of such banter, which she found amusing and fun.
After her desertion, she did not make herself an enemy of the Assassins, though she considered herself unaligned in their conflict and even when she attacked Templars, her ostensible motivation was only money. Once, while irritated, she openly remarked to Ezio that her services could even be bought by the Templars. As a neutral party, she did not bother to consider the greater ramifications her activities could have on either faction. In spite of this, her brief rivalry with Ezio rekindled some former admiration she had for the Assassins. Her penchant for mischief didn't prevent her from expressing sincere appreciation when she truly felt it, and she wished Ezio the very best for his future.
Equipment and skills
Trained by the Assassins, Helene Dufranc retained the freerunning and martial skills she had learned from them even after she left. Her aptitude in the former impressed the legendary Assassin Ezio Auditore da Firenze, even though he outperformed her in that area. She was confident in her ability to evade guards with ease, and she conducted her freelance mercenary work with enthusiasm. As a self-declared rogue whose chief motivation lied in money, she was an expert thief, capable of even stealing Ezio's sword while engaging in a full conversation with him.
- Helene Dufranc only appears in the iOS version of Assassin's Creed II: Discovery.