- "Ah, it's good to be at sea again! But I don't much like that sky."
- ―Faulkner to Connor upon investigation of Martha's Vineyard, 1773.[src]
Robert Faulkner (born 1715) was a veteran sailor and first mate aboard the Aquila, during Ratonhnhaké:ton's captaincy. Although he was a fourth generation sailor in his family, he was the first to be recruited into the Colonial Brotherhood of Assassins.
Faulkner began his career in the Royal Navy, but as he was unable to purchase commissions, he left to work for the United Company of Merchants. Faulkner proved to be great mariner, running a disciplined crew and avoiding trouble. He also had an uncanny knack of predicting the weather.
During his time as a merchant in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Faulkner served with David and Richard Clutterbuck on the Stalwart from 1750, and was in a relationship with Amanda Bailey. During this time, he and his crew were saved by the Aquila and Achilles Davenport, Mentor of the Colonial Assassins. Impressed by the ship and grateful to Achilles, he offered his aid, creating a shipping route between the Colonial Assassins and the European branches of the Order, with the help of Chevalier de la Vérendrye.
In 1751, he started investigating two powerful French shipping companies - the Lévesque Family and the de L'Isle family - suspecting an affiliation with the Templars. He became worried about the future, and shared his concerns with Chevalier.
In 1753, Faulkner was officially recruited by the Colonial Assassins to be first mate of their ship the Aquila, abruptly leaving his friends. He served aboard for fifteen years, though he deferred the position of captain.
During the 1760s, the Templars - led by Haytham Kenway - launched an all out extermination of the Assassins, culminating in the Aquila's destruction in 1768. Faulkner had the wreck towed to the Davenport Homestead's harbor, and fell into alcoholism, living in a shack near the shoreline.
- "I thought you brought him here to restore order? I reckon he's the greenest thing on the frontier!"
- ―Faulkner to Achilles after realizing how ignorant Connor was nautically, 1770.[src]
Two years later, Achilles introduced Faulkner to his recruit Connor. Connor had recruited the lumberers Terry and Godfrey, who gathered the timber necessary to repair the ship. Six months later, after the Aquila had been repaired, Faulkner gathered a crew and took Connor aboard to teach him how to captain a ship.
They sailed to Martha's Vineyard to buy cannons and recruit gunnery officers. Faulkner reunited with Amanda, David and Richard, and recruited the latter two. However, Connor noticed the Templars Nicholas Biddle and Benjamin Church sitting nearby, and almost provoked them into a fight.
Faulkner and Bailey defused the situation by leaving. Faulkner then taught Connor how to use the cannons and swivel guns. However, as they began sailing home, they were waylaid by English frigates, giving Connor a baptism of fire.
Three years later, the Aquila sailed to Martha's Vineyard following reports of gunboats gathering to threaten merchant ships. Connor and Faulkner escorted a ship to safety while firing on the gunboats. They encountered a blockade of naval mines: Faulkner suggested firing on the mines to use them to their advantage. They then discovered Fort Phoenix had been reoccupied, and despite heavy mortar fire, the Aquila managed to destroy the fort. Faulkner deduced Templars were responsible for the raids, while Connor opted to sail home to piece things together.
1773 was also the year Connor began searching for William Kidd's treasure. During these voyages, the Aquila was anchored and Faulkner would row a boat to take Connor where he needed to be. The first clue to Kidd's treasure was located in Fort Wolcott: Connor infiltrated the fort and obtained part of the treasure map, while Faulkner returned to the Aquila and ordered an attack so the captain could make his escape.
American Revolutionary War
- "From British coxswain to captain of a Colonial Flagship. Something doesn't add up."
- ―Faulkner on Biddle's promotion, 1776.[src]
In 1776, the Aquila sailed to Nantucket. They rendezvoused with Bailey, who informed them Biddle - now captain of the USS Randolph - was raiding the coast. The Aquila sailed into a storm to rescue a merchant ship being attacked by the Randolph and her fleet.
After saving it, they pursued the Randolph, but were attacked by English frigates. After sinking them, the delay and the storm forced the Aquila to leave. Faulkner was confused as to why Biddle, a Patriot, was working with the British, but Connor realized he was manipulating them to convince the Continental Congress to strengthen the Navy.
Later that year, the Aquila sailed to the Caribbean Sea to escort the French supply ship La Belladonna. The Randolph had been her escort, but had abandoned her. The British soon attacked, and their man-of-war disabled La Belladonna. The Aquila boarded the man-of-war and Connor interrogated the captain, who was a Templar that had been alerted to La Belladonna by Biddle. When Connor spotted the Randolph, Faulkner ordered an attack, but the captain belayed that order as he could not leave La Belladonna defenseless.
1776 also took the Aquila to the Northwest Passage and Jamaica so Connor could recover two more pieces of Kidd's treasure map. Looking at the complete map, Faulkner realized the treasure was on Oak Island, a forgettable isle he had sailed past dozens of times. When they arrived there a year later, Faulkner was nervous, concerned by the lengths Kidd went to hide his treasure on such a remote island. After Connor found the sinkhole the treasure was buried in, they were attacked by wolves: Faulkner ran, but the captain quickly dispatched them.
Afterwards, they used explosives to open the sinkhole and Connor leapt in. When he finally emerged from a cave, Faulkner was disappointed to see he'd emerged with a mere coin. But when he lifted his flask to have a drink, the coin emitted an energy field that knocked it out of his hand, and Connor realized Kidd had possessed a Shard of Eden.
In 1778, Faulkner sailed to Martinique with Connor and his father - Haytham Kenway - to find Benjamin Church, who had stolen supplies from the Continental Army at Valley Forge. During the voyage, Faulkner defended Connor from Haytham's dismissive and critical attitude towards his son's sailing. When the Aquila disabled Church's ship, Faulkner realized Haytham had pushed Connor to take the wheel, and collided the ships to board. Regardless, Faulkner continued with his duty of ordering the men to hook the ships up and attack.
That year, the Aquila also located the Randolph, successfully boarding her so Connor could assassinate Biddle. However, Connor opted to fulfil Biddle's last request of letting him sink with his ship - much to Faulkner's disappointment, as he considered sinking the Randolph a waste of a good vessel. Regardless, he encouraged Connor to let the crew celebrate their victory.
Faulkner sailed with Connor during the Battle of the Chesapeake. The Aquila was ordered to hold the bay with just two other ships, until Admiral De Grasse returned with the main fleet. Ultimately, her allies were sunk and the Aquila's guns were disabled by a Man-of-War.
To Faulkner's disbelief, Connor rammed the ship, as he jumped on board, killed the captain and blew up their gunpowder, and returned just as the enemy ship exploded. Faulkner cheerfully dubbed Connor a "mad bastard", just as the French fleet arrived to relieve them.
In an alternate reality where George Washington used the Apple of Eden to become a tyrannical king, Faulkner lived in Boston, drowning his sorrows after Benjamin Franklin confiscated the Aquila. However, Ratonhnhaké:ton and Franklin appeared, prompting him to try to strangle him. Ratonhnhaké:ton intervened, explaining Franklin was now working with the rebels, and that he would get his ship back.
While Ratonhnhaké:ton killed the snipers guarding the docks and untied the ropes docking the Aquila, Faulkner gathered a crew. They charged the docks the following morning, and swam to the drifting Aquila while Ratonhnhaké:ton held off Washington's soldiers. Eventually they all escaped on board, and sailed to New York City to confront the king.
The Aquila soon engaged Washington's fleet in New York's bay, and ran out of gunpowder. Ratonhnhaké:ton ordered everyone on board to swim away to shore, while he rammed the ship into a Man-of-War.
Personality and characteristics
Faulkner was a calm, respectful and wise man but could, at rare times, be short-tempered. As a sailor, Robert had a keen interest in sailing the ocean, and often enjoyed singing shanties during his travels. Despite his extensive knowledge regarding the ocean, Faulkner believed himself unworthy to become a full pledged captain, and often referred to the position of quartermaster instead, a role which he personally felt more suited with.
Upon joining the Assassin Order, Faulkner acted as a mentor to a young Connor, whom the latter gained a clear respect for.
Equipment and skills
As a veteran sailor, Faulkner possessed exceptional skill in sailing and nagivating across the Atlantic. His vast insight and knowledge regarding the ocean led him to becoming First Mate of the Aquila. Additionally, his commercial skills helped secure a route linking the Colonial Brotherhood with other branches across the Atlantic. In terms of equipment, Faulkner wielded a single cutlass.
- Faulkner's voice actor, Kevin McNally, portrayed Joshamee Gibbs, the first mate aboard the Black Pearl in the Pirates of the Caribbean series. Faulkner also shares some similarities to Gibbs, his appearance and his superstition, as they both believe having a woman aboard, and stepping on the ship with the left leg first, are omens of bad luck.
- Following the destruction of the Randolph, Faulkner could be heard leading "Wild Rover," an Irish folk song that was written in the late 16th century.
- For reasons unknown, Faulkner did not attend Achilles' funeral.
- Mysteriously, Faulkner and the Aquila do not make a formal appearance in Assassin's Creed: Rogue. (Although the Aquila's wheel and sails are present in game)