During Rodrigo Borgia's reign as Pope, and Cesare Borgia's time as leader of the Papal army, Octavian de Valois aided the Templars by providing military aid, allowing them to retain their influence in Rome.
Rise to power
In 1498, Octavian's distant cousin, Louis XII, was crowned king. Following this, Louis assigned Octavian to lead his Italian campaign, despite the fact that his cousin had no actual experience in warfare, and had only received formal training. As the king's secretary wrote, "...the things one does for one's family...". Nonetheless, Octavian accepted the responsibility.
The following year, Octavian met Cesare and Juan Borgia at the French court, where the latter two were there to court Cesare's future wife, Charlotte d'Albret. After spending a month with them, Octavian went with the Borgia to Italy, thinking that the country would be given to him after they had destroyed all opposition.
Siege of Monteriggioni
On 2 January of 1500, Octavian accompanied Cesare, Lucrezia Borgia, and his Templar cohorts to Monteriggioni, where they laid siege to the town in an attempt to eliminate the Assassin Order and Ezio Auditore da Firenze.
When the Borgia infantry breached the city walls, Cesare, Octavian, and the others walked into the city, with Caterina Sforza and Mario Auditore as their prisoners. Cesare then took a golden wheel-lock firearm from Octavian, which had been reluctantly fashioned by Ezio's ally Leonardo da Vinci, and shot Mario in the head.
The French general of Rome
- "Calm down, for your wife's sake. You know my terms: Enter my camp unarmed at dawn."
- ―Octavian's ultimatum to Bartolomeo, 1503.[src]
Later that year, Octavian traveled to Rome, where he met Cesare, Juan, and Micheletto Corella at the stables of the Castel Sant'Angelo. There, Cesare left the city in the hands of his three generals as he left for Urbino. Octavian questioned Cesare's orders regarding the Vatican, but Cesare simply told him not to worry, and that they would soon have no need of them. Octavian went on to station several of his men at the Castello, in order to fortify its defenses.
In 1503, Ezio Auditore came to the conclusion that Octavian had to die in order for Cesare to lose the protection and allegiance of the French army. After killing Juan on August 1, he sought aid from his fellow Assassin, Bartolomeo d'Alviano, the leader of the mercenaries in Rome, who was directly opposing the advance of Octavian's French troops.
The French staged an assault on Bartolomeo's barracks, but Ezio and the Italian mercenaries were able to defend it. Thus, Octavian himself moved to the front lines and called out for Bartolomeo's attention.
With Bartolomeo listening from behind the gates of the stronghold, Octavian requested for his unconditional surrender, which was angrily refused. At this, Octavian told Bartolomeo that he must learn to speak French, in order to mask the condottiero's barbaric sensibilities. Bartolomeo mockingly agreed, asking the Baron to teach him French, while he, in turn, would instruct the Baron in fighting, since he appeared to do so little action in battle.
After exchanging insults, Octavian once again requested for Bartolomeo's surrender before sunrise, and finally revealed that his troops had managed to capture Bartolomeo's wife, Pantasilea Baglioni. As he left the area, he promised to release Pantasilea, should Bartolomeo come into his camp unarmed and alone.
However, Ezio and Bartolomeo devised a plan to steal the armor of several French soldiers and walk into the enemy camp with Bartolomeo acting as a prisoner. Once they and several of Bartolomeo's mercenaries had successfully infiltrated the camp, they faced Octavian.
Nobility in death
- "Perhaps you are right. I need more time."
- ―Octavian's last words to Ezio, 1503.[src]
Octavian, with Pantasilea beside him, greeted Bartolomeo in a mocking manner, with Bartolomeo angrily demanding that his wife is released. As Octavian attempted to continue with his insults, telling Bartolomeo that his entitlements were too much for a man of his low caliber, Bartolomeo claimed that his name was at least worth its currency, unlike Octavian's, which he claimed to be counterfeit.
Bartolomeo insisted that nobility was gained by battling beside one's soldiers, and not by kidnapping innocent women to cheat one's way out of battle. As he once again demanded that his wife is released, Octavian sneered that "savages never learn," before aiming his pistol at Pantasilea's head.
Seeing the danger, Ezio fired his Hidden Gun into the air, startling Octavian and signaling the mercenaries to initiate the attack. Hastily, Octavian fled deeper into the camp with Pantasilea in tow, while the Papal Guards defended his retreat. Ezio, Bartolomeo, and their mercenaries then engaged the French soldiers, and a furious battle erupted.
Ezio left the fight to Bartolomeo and pursued Octavian. As he set foot in the main courtyard, Octavian only narrowly missed him with his gun, before quickly dragging Pantasilea behind the safety of his arquebusiers, and the stronghold walls.
He heatedly called out to the Assassin, threatening to kill Pantasilea should he notice the slightest hint that Ezio was near. However, Ezio was able to avoid detection and assassinated Octavian from above.
As he died, Octavian told Ezio that he had only wanted respect, to which Ezio reminded him that it was earned, not inherited or purchased. The Baron then realized the error of his ways as he closed his eyes before Ezio delivered his final blessings.
Personality and characteristics
- "The Baron thinks Cesare will allow the French to rule Italy. He's so blinded by the trickle of royalty in his blood, that lazy inbred can't see the battlefield."
- ―Bartolomeo, on the Baron, 1503.[src]
A power-hungry man by nature, Octavian wanted nothing more than to be respected and feared. However, he believed in attempting to purchase these things rather than earn them. Having noble blood in his veins, the Baron believed in acting like royalty, condemning battle to be barbaric and beneath him. His personality was almost exactly the opposite of Bartolomeo d'Alviano, which resulted in great differences in their tactics during combat. Unlike his Templar allies, Octavian seemed to have regretted his actions at his death, noting that he remarked that he needed more time to gain the respect of others of those around him.
- Historically, there was never a Baron of Valois. There were, however, Dukes of Valois, and also, both in-game and in the novel, he is interchangeably referred to as Baron or Duc (the French translation of "duke"). The real Duke of Valois at the time of Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood was only a boy and would later become King Francis I of France, explaining the substitution of the ahistorical Octavian.
- The Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood novel spelled Octavian's name as "Octavian", the French variant of "Octavian"; the name is ultimately derived from the Latin word Octavius, meaning "eight".
- In the memory Castello Crasher, Octavian appeared in a gold aura while his fellow Templars glowed red.
- In Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, Octavian was never referred to by his real name. When a character mentioned him, it was only by his title, or by his last name (the Baron, the Duc, Baron de Valois, Valois).
- In the Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood novel, Octavian shot Ezio during the siege of Monteriggioni, as opposed to him being shot by two arquebusiers in-game.
- There are three alternate versions of Octavian's death:
- In Assassin's Creed: Ascendance, Octavian, and his men held Pantasilea hostage in the Roman Forum but were attacked by Ezio. Ezio killed Octavian from above with his Hidden Blade and, unlike in the game, he was wearing his Roman Assassin robes instead of the French armor. Also, as his final words, Octavian spoke that he only played a small part of Cesare's plans for conquests, rather than his desire for respect.
- In the Brotherhood novel, Octavian was in the middle of the courtyard, attempting to convince Ezio to spare him. Octavian subsequently accepted his fate, bowing down before Ezio killed him with a sword.
- In the non-canonical mobile adaptation of Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, Octavian, spelled Octavian in the game, is hunted by Ezio in Venice after the Assassin killed Lucrezia and Juan Borgia in Venice. He is pursued by Ezio while traveling down a canal on a gondola with his guards. The baron fearfully cries for his guards to protect him just before Ezio uses his grappling hook to pull himself into a Flying Machine gliding overhead. Without further ado, Ezio then redirects his grappling hook at Octavian himself. He forcefully drags the baron from his gondola and into the air with the grappling hook around his neck and kills him by towing his body into spikes protruding from a building. Though the assassination occurs after the Siege of Monteriggioni, it is set in 1486 like the rest of the game.