- "Refusing to marry is unbecoming. Refusing to allow a man to conduct my affairs is unbecoming. How unfortunate that I didn't accept your hand in marriage all those years ago [...] The omnibuses would be yours by right and I would be at home, acting as hostess to your guests instead of standing here being so... unbecoming!"
- ―Pearl Attaway to Crawford Starrick, 1868.[src]-[m]
The owner of Attaway Transport, she was not afraid to act against her competitors, in particular the Millner Company that was in the hands of her cousin, Grand Master Crawford Starrick. In 1868, Pearl struck up an alliance with the British Assassin Jacob Frye, in an effort to gain a monopoly on English transportation, but was assassinated by him after he discovered her Templar affiliations.
Little is known of Pearl's early years and how she came to join the Order. Upon her father's retirement, she inherited the Attaway family's stagecoach company, which was originally centered around the delivery of goods. Pearl turned it into a private transportation service, but found little success in this endeavor.
She subsequently changed businesses again, changing from private stagecoaches to public omnibuses. Pearl's new company, titled Attaway Transport, was immediately successful, to the ire of her competitors like Malcolm Millner. At some point, Starrick asked for Pearl's hand in marriage, but she turned him down, wishing to keep Attaway Transport in her name.
Eliminating the competition
Following Starrick's acquisition of the Millner Company in 1867, Pearl's business became the target of various attacks, with buses being set on fire and employees being abducted. On one such occasion, having arrived to see another one of her vehicles go up in flames, she was approached by Jacob Frye. Initially suspicious, Pearl quickly realized he did not know of her affiliation with the Templars and saw an opportunity to turn her situation around.
Together, the pair tracked down one of Millner's employees, which led them to the businessman's storage yard. There, they discovered he planned to use parkesine to blow up one of Pearl's depots. At Pearl's suggestion, Jacob infiltrated the storage yard and ignited the explosives, destroying several of Millner's buses. Emboldened by this success, Pearl decided to extend her partnership with Jacob, officially "hiring" him, despite his protests, and then driving off in a carriage.
Jacob subsequently tracked down the carriage and, without warning nor appointment, entered it. Pearl chastised him briefly, before revealing the next step in her plan. She requested that Jacob secure the internal combustion engines that were to be delivered to Millner and pass them on to her. On their next meeting, Pearl toasted to their success in ruining Millner, before telling Jacob to kill him, ending his business permanently.
Following the Assassin's departure, Pearl went to meet with Starrick in a nearby warehouse, where they discussed what to do. Starrick was displeased, as Pearl had sabotaged his plans to create a monopoly on English transportation by having Millner eliminated. She justified her actions as being part of business, and reassured him his idea was still perfectly feasible, just with her company rather than Millner's.
Nevertheless, Pearl agreed to give back the internal combustion engines and, at Starrick's behest, oversee their transfer to one of his factories. The two then departed, ignorant to the fact that Jacob had been eavesdropping on them, having learnt of Pearl's allegiance from a dying Millner.
Death at Waterloo station
- Pearl: "You will get your engines back. Our new motorized buses will bring us both a lot of money."
- Starrick: "I'll need to arrange proper transport for the engines to get back to my factory. I want you at Waterloo, personally, to ensure that nothing goes wrong."
- —Pearl and Starrick discussing the engines, 1868.[src]-[m]
Later, with the engines in tow, Pearl arrived at the Waterloo station, which was occupied by members of the Blighters, and prepared to have them unloaded and moved to the factory. Residing in a fortified wagon for protection, she was nonetheless assassinated by Jacob, who had made use of a structural weakness in the wagon's roof. With her dying breath, she warned the Assassin that Starrick would seek retaliation for her death.
Following Pearl's demise, the London transportation network became destabilized, with both Attaway Transport and the Millner Company having lost their leaders and no other enterprises available to replace them. In addition to this, the Blighters managed to acquire the deed to Attaway Transport and began harassing omnibus builders like Edward Bayley to work for them. Evie Frye put a stop to this malpractice by stealing the deed, allowing Bayley and his associates to form the London General Omnibus Company.
Personality and characteristics
An ambitious woman, Pearl went against many conventions of the time, being determined to create a career of her own. This led her to reject Starrick's proposal, as she intensely disliked the idea of being a mere hostess to guests while her husband led the company. As a result, Pearl was frequently criticized by male contemporaries for her "unbecoming" behavior.
Cunning and ruthless, Pearl built up Attaway Transport on her own, a fact she was very proud of, and went to great lengths to see it prosper. Its importance to her was tremendous, as she was prepared to act against the very interests of the local Grand Master to ensure that it was her company, not Millner's, that would have the monopoly on London's transportation. Indeed, even in her final moments, Pearl only lost her composure when she realized that the business for which she had sacrificed so much would cease to exist with her death.
Behind the scenes
Pearl is a feminine given name derived from the English word pearl, an organically created gemstone. Attaway is a shortening of the words "at the way", denoting someone who lived close to the road.
Pearl's death is the subject of an era-appropriate folk song, called "The Late Pearl Attaway", that was created for Assassin's Creed: Syndicate. Similar "murder ballads" that were made for John Elliotson, Philip Twopenny, and Maxwell Roth. Pearl is the only character in Syndicate that has a database entry in both the allies and enemies section of the database.
- Assassin's Creed: Syndicate – Database: Pearl Attaway
- Assassin's Creed: Syndicate – End of the Line
- Assassin's Creed: Syndicate – Friendly Competition
- Assassin's Creed: Syndicate – Research and Development
- Assassin's Creed: Syndicate – Survival of the Fittest
- Assassin's Creed: Syndicate – One Good Deed