- "We bring order from the chaos. If everything is permitted, no one is safe."
- ―James Wardrop on the Templars in his final moments, 1754.[src]
James Wardrop (c. 1705 – 1754) was a merchant, politician, and a member of the British Rite of the Templar Order in the years leading up to the Seven Years' War. Operating along the Thirteen Colonies, Wardrop was the custodian of the Precursor manuscript, a First Civilization artifact.
Acquiring land and wealth
- "He's one of the most devious and ruthless men in the colonies. He uses the letter of the law to serve his purposes, and when the law does not bend to him, he gets lawmakers to bend it for him. Mark my words, Shay: James Wardrop is a bureaucrat, and doesn't care how his actions affect others."
- ―The Assassin Liam O'Brien describing Wardrop, 1754.[src]
Wardrop was born into a Templar family in the American colonies around 1705. Following in his father's footsteps, he was inducted into the Templar Order in 1720. Wardrop's main role in the Order was to secure land and wealth, slowly and surely building up the foundation for the fledgling Colonial Rite.
In 1744, Wardrop began to build a trade network for the Order that ran from the American colonies to the West Indies. By 1750, he worked with Christopher Gist to acquire North American land for the Order. The Wolastoqiyik Assassin Kesegowaase reported that Wardrop evicted many native tribes from their ancestral lands in doing so, and the Brotherhood held proof that he was responsible for numerous massacres.
Wardrop sought to keep the young colonies loyal to the British Empire, although he was not above using his bureaucratic position to acquire profits for himself. When his position did not allow him to achieve his goals, he used his connections to change this. Gist also claimed that Wardrop "could not hold his liquor", and that he had trouble getting along with fellow Templar Jack Weeks.
Translating the manuscript
During the 1751 Port-au-Prince earthquake, Lawrence Washington, Master Templar of the Northern Colonies, stole the Precursor box and manuscript from Assassin Mentor François Mackandal. While the box was entrusted to Samuel Smith, Wardrop was tasked with interpreting the mysterious language of the manuscript. In July 1752, Wardrop, Smith and Weeks met with a dying Washington at his home at Mount Vernon.
After the Templars assured him that his brother George would be kept out of Templar business, Wardrop reported that he was close to discerning the meaning of the manuscript. As they left, Washington was killed by the Assassin Shay Cormac. As the Assassin was preoccupied with Washington's death, Wardrop, Smith and Weeks were able to escape.
- Wardrop: "You have no idea what you are doing, fool."
- Shay: "Keeping the people free from your control."
- Wardrop: "How free will you be when the French undermine these squabbling colonies?"
- —Wardrop in his final moments, 1754.[src]
Following the death of Washington, Wardrop was put in charge of the Templars in the colonies. During the Albany Congress in July 1754, Wardrop was present in Albany. Fearful of his life after Smith had been assassinated and the box taken from him, Wardrop hid at Fort Frederick, giving out instructions to the garrison. During the Congress, his fellow Templar William Johnson prepared to hand over the box and manuscript to the scientist Benjamin Franklin; Wardrop refused, however, claiming that the risks in doing so were too strong.
Remaining at the fort, Wardrop sent a captain to report this to Johnson, but an enraged Johnson sent the captain back with his demands that the former hand over the manuscript. Shay was present at the Congress during this exchange and killed the captain shortly after, before he infiltrated the fort and assassinated Wardrop from above.
As Shay took the manuscript from Wardrop, he claimed that in doing so, he was keeping the people free from the Templars' control. With the colonies already entering the Seven Years' War with France, Wardrop retorted that the Templars maintained order and kept the territories from descending into anarchy, before succumbing to his wounds.
- His name was on a list of known British Templars used by the Templar Isabelle Ardant in 2015.
- Though Wardrop is cowardly, he still displays some skill in swordsmanship and firearms to Shay if the latter manages to surround him in open combat.