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"Everything I worked for in the Holy Land, I no longer want. And everything I gave up to join the Templars... I wonder where all that went, and if I should try to find it again."
―Maria reflecting on her life after cutting her ties with Templars.[src]

Maria Thorpe (c. 1161 – 1228) was an English noblewoman living during the High Middle Ages, who joined the Templar Order prior to the Third Crusade.

On developing a strong relationship with the Order's Grand Master, Robert de Sable, she was eventually given a high-ranking position. In 1191, after the Assassin Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad killed eight Templar agents spread throughout the Holy Land, she was assigned by Robert to act as his decoy, as to trick the Assassin into assailing the wrong target. The plan was a success, though Altaïr chose to spare Maria's life. However, Robert was ultimately killed shortly thereafter, and Armand Bouchart took over Robert's former role as Grand Master.

Bouchart did not favor Maria, however, and did not find transport for her when the Templars moved to Cyprus. Planning to find her own way there, she was defeated and captured by Altaïr before she could do so, as the Assassins had attacked the Templars' fortress in Acre. Blaming Altaïr for ruining her reputation in the Order, she was taken with him to Cyprus and forced to help him take down the Templars.

Unwillingly giving information to Altaïr and escaping her captors several times, Maria began to realize that the Templars' ambitions were not beneficial for humanity, and slowly grew closer to Altaïr. Eventually, she and Altaïr infiltrated the Templar Archive in Limassol, where she went ahead of the Assassin and faced off against Bouchart alone. Though she was defeated, Altaïr was able to defeat the Grand Master and help Maria get out of the crumbling Archive.

Maria then followed Altaïr to the Assassins' fortress in Masyaf, where she settled down with Altaïr and had two children with him. Several years later, Maria, Altaïr and their son Darim went on a journey to assassinate the Mongol leader Genghis Khan, while her younger son Sef remained behind.

Maria was killed in 1228, during Abbas Sofian's coup d'état against her husband, by the blade of Swami.

Biography

Early life

"I'm what they call the unusual one in my family. Growing up, I always preferred the boys' games. Dolls weren't for me, much to my parents' continued exasperation. I used to pull their heads off."
―Maria about her youth.[src]

Maria was born in England circa 1161. In her early years, Maria chose not to follow the social norm for women of her age, and instead acted and dressed in a tomboy-like fashion. Because of this, she was often pestered as a child, and punished by her parents.[1]

Before the start of the Third Crusade, her parents forced her to marry Lord Peter Hallaton after her 18th birthday. Despite this, four years after the marriage, Maria left Peter's company, and an annulment was carried out. This disgrace, combined with Maria's own dreams of honor and glory, persuaded her to leave England behind and join the Crusaders in the Holy Land.[1]

Joining the Templars

"Fortunately the Bishop of Leicester was a close friend of the elderly Lord Hallaton and he was able to grant an annulment [of the marriage] rather than risking this silly impetuous girl cause the family further embarrassment. [...] Hallaton had demanded his bride price back but Father had already spent it. In the end I decided it was best for everyone if I left so I ran away to the Crusade."
―Maria, about her motives to join the Crusaders.[src]

It was uncommon for women to participate in combat during the time, so Maria often disguised herself as a man. She showed much promise amongst the Crusaders, and attracted the attention of Robert de Sable; a Crusader lieutenant, and the Grand Master of the Templar Order.[1]

Despite learning her true gender later, Robert supported her and even appointed Maria to be his personal steward. Although she did not share her Master's beliefs, Maria respected Robert enough to do anything for him, even forfeit her life if necessary.[1]

At one point, Robert gave her a ring as a gift, which Maria cherished and kept close. She would later treasure it as her only remaining link to the Templars.[2]

Robert's decoy

"We knew you'd come. Robert needed to be sure he'd have time to get away."
―Maria talking about her act as a decoy.[src]
AC1 Robert Decoy

Maria, disguised as Robert, looking to the crowd

Following the death of eight powerful Templars in 1191, at the hands of Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad – a member of the Templars' sworn enemies, the Assassin Order – Robert correctly reasoned that he was next on the Assassin's list.[3]

Not one to be defeated, Robert publicly announced his intention to attend the funeral of the late Regent of Jerusalem, Majd Addin, as a show of mutual cooperation and respect between Muslims and Crusaders. Privately however, the Templar Grand Master knew that this would be a chance too desirable for the Assassin to pass up.[3]

Thus, Maria was left to take Robert's place at the funeral, posing as a decoy in wait for Altaïr. As expected, the Assassin appeared during the funeral procession, and Maria carefully examined the gathering of guests to spot him. Following this, she signaled to the funeral proctor of Altaïr's presence, from which a great number of Templars were ordered to seize him.[3]

AC1 Funeral Fight

Altaïr fighting Maria and the Templars

Surprised, but still aware of the situation, Altaïr overpowered the soldiers, until he pinned Maria to the ground and removed her helm. Discovering her to not be Robert, Altaïr was greatly shocked that it was a woman he had fought, and questioned it as sorcery. Maria corrected him by saying that it was not, and revealed that she was in Robert's place as a distraction; mentioning that both his Brotherhood's success of taking the Templar treasure, and eradicating her comrades had not gone unnoticed.[3]

Maria then continued, revealing that Robert had headed to Arsuf to propose a truce between the Saracen and Crusader armies, in order to besiege the Assassin fortress of Masyaf. As the eight Templars who had been killed by Altaïr composed of both sides of the conflict, the Assassins had become their common enemy.[3]

Though Maria thought she would also be one of the Templars to die at the Assassin's hand, Altaïr rebutted her, sparing her life but warning her not to follow him. Out of her confusion, Maria replied haughtily that she did not need to, and that it was futile for him to try to stop Robert.[3]

Journey to Cyprus

Knight: "Begging your pardon, but it might be better if you stayed in Acre."
Maria: "What is that? A threat?"
Knight: "It's a fair warning. Armand Bouchart is Grand Master now and he doesn't hold you in high regard."
Maria: "Why, you insolent... Very well, I'll find my own way to Limassol."
—A knight advising Maria to stay in Acre.[src]
Altair Maria Acre

Maria defeated by Altaïr

A month after Altaïr had killed both Robert and Al Mualim, Maria's rank with the Templars had dropped considerably, and she was not allowed to travel to Cyprus with those of her Order. Around this time, she confronted Altaïr after the assault on the Acre harbor, where the two of them engaged in another sword fight.[2]

Ultimately, Altaïr bested her, and interrogated Maria about the Templars' plans for Cyprus. Following this, the Assassin then took Maria prisoner and brought her with him on the journey to Cyprus, hoping to use her as leverage to lure other Templars out into the open.[2]

The two of them traveled to Limassol, where they met with the Assassin contact, Alexander. Maria was escorted and kept at the resistance safehouse, but escaped following an ambush by Templars, during which the building was set on fire.[2]

Maria hurried to warn the new Grand Master of the Templars, Armand Bouchart, of Altaïr's presence in Limassol, but Armand only grew suspicious of Maria's two "miraculous" escapes from the Assassins. That, coupled with his general distrust of women, led him to sentence her to be locked away in prison.[2]

Maria was led away by two Templar guards, only to be saved by Altaïr. After his recovery of her, she vowed to kill him, but Altaïr reasoned with her, noting that the best way to buy back into the Templar's favor was not with his head, but through her recovery of the Apple of Eden.[2]

AltaïrMariaBoat

Maria and Altaïr conversing aboard the ship

Altaïr then took Maria with him on the ship to Kyrenia. Whilst on the vessel, the Assassin spoke to her about the philosophy of Empedocles – saying that "only a mind free of impediments is capable of grasping the chaotic beauty of the world."[2]

Although Maria resisted his ideology, she did take interest in it, asking curiously as to whether being able to see this "chaotic beauty" was truly something to be celebrated. In turn, Altaïr admitted to hardship imposed upon human beings as a result of freedom; though he maintained that "the order and peace the Templar seek requires servility and imprisonment," a statement in which the captive Maria found some irony.[2]

As the two prepared to disembark, Altaïr cut the rope binding Maria's wrists so that she would be able climb the ladder to the upper deck. However, as she did, the two were recognized by the pirates who had ferried them. Maria used the opportunity to kick Altaïr down the ladder, forcing him to face their attackers and allow her to escape.[2]

However, Maria was also attacked by other members of the large crew, and was helped to safety by Markos. Because of his honesty and their common dislike of Templars, Altaïr entrusted him with Maria's care, and asked him to look after her.[2]

During his investigations, Altaïr learned that "the Bull" – his target – had posted large bounties, not only for him, but for Maria as well. Fearing for her safety, he rushed back to the harbor, where he found her and Markos being attacked by Templars. After rescuing them, Altaïr brought them to the Kyrenia safehouse.[2]

Maria, her wrists once again bound, mocked Altaïr's crude plan for killing "the Bull" – whom she knew as Moloch – and inadvertently ended up giving away his position in Kantara Castle. By the time Altaïr returned from killing him, Maria had already been taken away by Templar agents, who had raided the safe house in his absence. Maria was given to Moloch's son Shalim; separated from the resistance members, and from Altaïr's attempts to rescue her.[2]

Bellydancin

Maria infiltrates Saint Hilarion dressed as a courtesan

However, Maria escaped from Shalim, and headed to Saint Hilarion Castle disguised as a consort, sneaking in via palanquin. On her arrival, she confronted Shahar in his private room, and demanded to know about the Templars' plan for the Apple of Eden. Shahar stated that the Templars would achieve order by any means necessary, even if that "order" became synonymous with enslavement.[2]

Shahar grabbed her by her wrists, as if to subdue her, but was interrupted when Altaïr burst in upon them, searching for Shalim. Maria killed his two pursuers as if by impulse, but refused to fight beside him any further, and fled.[2]

Altaïr traveled back to Kyrenia on his own, and carried on without Maria for a while. However, following his use of the Apple of Eden to quiet the rioting townspeople, it was Maria who killed the mysterious Templar agent, intent on taking the Apple, by stabbing him in the back.[2]

Faito

Maria fighting Armand in the Archive

Although she remained adamantly distrusting of the righteousness of his motives, Maria led Altaïr to the Templar Archive hidden under Limassol Castle. There, she engaged Armand Bouchart in combat. However, Armand was an extremely skilled fighter and hurled Maria back, knocking her unconscious.[2]

After Altaïr defeated Armand, he and Maria managed to flee the Archive. She then told him that she no longer wished to be part of the Templar Order, or return to England, and instead intended to go somewhere in the East.[2] However, she ultimately decided to travel with him to Masyaf.[1]

Settling down

"Some two years after the events I've described, they were wed at Limassol. The ceremony was held there as a measure of respect to the Cypriots who had offered their island as a base for the Assassins, making it a key stronghold for the Order."
Niccolò Polo explaining Maria's marriage to Altaïr to his brother Maffeo.[src]
AC2 Altair Maria

Maria and Altaïr, after having conceived Sef

Maria became romantically involved with Altaïr after returning to Masyaf, and in 1195, they were married in Limassol, with Markos as a guest of honor, and also rewarding the pirates from Cyprus that helped the two of them in becoming closer.[1]

In 1195, Maria gave birth to the couple's first child; a boy named Darim. Two years later, their second child Sef was born.[1]

Though Maria became a part of the Assassin Order, there were still Assassins – such as Abbas Sofian – who secretly loathed Maria for being an outsider and an Englishwoman, and never fully accepted her, disregarding Altaïr's decision to bring her into the Order.[1]

From that point onward, Maria and Altaïr became inseparable from each other and Maria continuously supported Altaïr, with the only extended period of time that they were in each other's presence being in 1204, when Altaïr tried to bring the Order to Constantinople.[1]

Journey to Mongolia

"Darim was in his early twenties and an accomplished bowman, and so it was that Altaïr took him and Maria and left Masyaf."
―Niccolò Polo explaining the journey to Mongolia to his brother Maffeo.[src]

Around 1217, Maria, Altaïr and Darim began a journey to Mongolia to assassinate Genghis Khan, whose marching army was preventing the Assassin Order from expanding their influence; leaving Malik Al-Sayf to take care of the Order. Once there, the family joined with the Assassin Qulan Gal. While the men made plans to take Khan down, Maria stayed on the sidelines and tended to Altaïr after he had returned wounded from the Mongol camp.[1]

After Darim, aided by Qulan Gal, successfully killed Genghis Khan in 1227, the family headed back home to Masyaf, only to find it completely different from when they had left.[1]

Later life

Altaïr: "I have to destroy Abbas."
Maria: "But not for the purposes of vengeance, my love. For the Order. For the good of the Brotherhood. To take it back and make it great once more. If you can do that, and if you can let it take precedence over your own thoughts of revenge, the Order will love you as a father who shows it the true path. If you let yourself be blinded by anger and emotion, how can you expect them to listen when what you teach is the other way?"
―Altaïr and Maria about taking back the Order from Abbas.[src]
New regime 1

Maria along with Altaïr after their return from Mongolia

Maria, Altaïr and Darim were greeted by Swami upon their return. He informed them that their son Sef had left for Alamut, that Malik was imprisoned, and that a council had been formed to take control over the Order; with Abbas Sofian at its head. At this, Darim left for Alamut to retrieve his brother. Opposed to what they had expected, Maria and Altaïr were pointed to a residence in the west side of the castle, instead of to the Master's tower.[1]

The next day, the two went to meet the council, seeing that it was made up of the most weak-minded Assassins in the Order. Altaïr gave the council a summary of their journey, and Abbas revealed that Malik had been imprisoned for the murder of their son Sef. Doubting the story's credibility, Altaïr left to free Malik from the fortress' prison and bring him back to their residence.[1]

Maria tended to Malik, and the latter informed them that it had been Abbas who had had Sef killed, and had planted the murder weapon in Malik's bed. Once Malik was asleep, Maria and Altaïr left to confront Abbas.[1]

They entered Masyaf, and went to the courtyard to meet Abbas, who was with Swami and a group of other Assassins. Abbas told them that they would learn the reason of their son's death, but only if they gave him the Apple; Altaïr then held out the Apple, and Swami tried to take it. During this, Swami told them that as Sef died, he told him that Altaïr had ordered his death. Enraged, Altaïr then removed the Apple and used its powers to freeze Swami.[1]

New regime 11

Maria dying in Altaïr's arms

However, Altaïr's anger was transferred into the Apple, and when Swami touched it, his eyes began to pop out, and his mouth was forced open, with a golden glow emanating from it, causing Maria to scream at Altaïr that he had let his rage take control.[1]

In the frenzy that ensued, Maria was fatally wounded by Swami's hand. As she was dying, Altaïr took her in his arms, before she passed away.[1]

Personality and characteristics

Altaïr: "But you're..."
Maria: "Adept at disguising myself as a man, yes. Did I have you fooled that day in the cemetery?"
Altaïr: "I knew you weren't de Sable, but..."
Maria: "You didn't anticipate me being a woman. You see? Years of being boisterous finally paid off."
—Maria talking about her boisterous attitude.[src]
AC1 Maria Altair

Altaïr confronting Maria about Robert's whereabouts

At an early age, Maria was a bit of a dreamer, thinking about leaving England to find honor and glory in the Holy Land. During this time, she showed a certain amount of stubbornness, refusing to act as a lady, and insisting on answering her wanderlust to leave her homeland.[1]

She was a very determined person with a great passion to accomplish more within the Templar ranks. During her first encounter with him, Maria presented a straightforward, merciless style of command with Altaïr, and acted arrogant and confident of Robert's cause.[3]

After the events in Cyprus, Maria's harsh and stubborn attitude around Altaïr instead became more open and civil. Over time, she chose to side with him and the Assassins.[2]

She also presented a provocative side, as shown when she led Altaïr up a tower in Acre, where she beckoned him to kiss and eventually make love with her.[4]

Trivia

  • Maria is a derivation of the Hebrew name מִרְיָם (Miryam), meaning of which is uncertain; various possibilities include "sea of bitterness", "wished for a child" and "rebellious." It might also be derived from Egyptian terms mry, meaning "beloved" or mr, meaning "love."
    • Maria's maiden name Thorpe is a Middle English word meaning "hamlet, little village", derived from Old English thorp and Old Norse þorp, meaning "village."
  • If the PS3 version of Assassin's Creed II is connected with the PSP game Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines, the weapons of the defeated bosses in Bloodlines would appear at the Villa Auditore; Maria's weapon was labeled as "Maria Thorpe's Longsword", which was the first mention of her surname.
  • Maria was approximately 29-30 years old during Assassin's Creed.[5]Assassin's Creed official game guide.
  • Not only was Maria the first known female Templar to appear in the series, she was also the first Templar to be spared and assimilated into a rival faction (from Templars to Assassins).
  • In Assassin's Creed II, Desmond refered to Maria as the "woman from Acre." However, Maria was encountered only in Jerusalem during Assassin's Creed.
  • In Assassin's Creed: The Secret Crusade and the novelization of Revelations, Maria was mentioned to have been killed by a stray knife slash across her throat by Swami as he was affected by the Apple, instead of the stab to her back as shown in Revelations.
  • In Maria's database entry in Assassin's Creed: Revelations, it states that Altaïr killed Robert de Sable in the year 1192, and Maria was cast out by Armand Bouchart not too long after his death.
  • Dressed as a decoy, Maria wore cloak clasps similar to the pin that Warren Vidic wore, featuring what is known as Occitan cross.

Gallery

References

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