- Manuel Palaiologos: "Ah! What the hell is that smell?"
- Shahkulu: "Apologies, Manuel. Some of these Ottoman prisoners are so... fragile."
- —Shahkulu, revealing his cruelty.[src]
Shahkulu (died 1512) was a Turkmen renegade, who became an orphan after an Ottoman attack on his tribe. Homeless, Shahkulu joined the Byzantine Rite of the Templar Order, and dedicated his life to his new cause.
As a child, Shahkulu was born into a Turkmen tribe in eastern Anatolia, which was oppressed by the Ottoman Empire, as it was on the edge of its boundaries. Later on in his life, an Ottoman ambush on his tribe left him orphaned and alone. Seeking revenge and a sense of belonging, Shahkulu joined the Templar Order.
Over time, Shahkulu grew to hate the Ottoman Turks for what they had done to his people, as well any who opposed the Templar ideology, and made it his personal mission to eliminate any that stood in his Order's way.
Partnership with Manuel
- "When the Palaiologos line is restored, Manuel, do not forget who helped you bring it back."
- ―Shahkulu to Manuel Palaiologos.[src]
Shahkulu eventually became a feared Templar, and circa 1511, he formed a partnership with a fellow Templar, and heir to the fallen Byzantine Empire, Manuel Palaiologos. Shahkulu aided Manuel in his attempt to restore the Byzantine remnants to their former strength, partly because he believed Manuel would reward him if the Empire was successfully restored.
By mid 1511, Shahkulu and Manuel met with Janissary Captain Tarik Barleti in Constantinople, in order to gain access to the Arsenal and check on a shipment of weapons Tarik had promised their forces. While inspecting the firearms, Shahkulu reminded Manuel that he had assisted him in restoring his army, and that he should not be forgotten. Nodding, Manuel assured him that he would remember the debt he owed Shahkulu.
- "Shahkulu, try to moderate your anger. I know the Sultan humiliated your people. But there is no need to spit on men who are beneath us."
- ―Manuel, regarding Shahkulu's brutal actions.[src]
In 1512, Shahkulu retreated to the Templar headquarters in Derinkuyu, Cappadocia. There, several of Tarik Barleti's spies were captured, and, as they were Ottoman Turks, Shahkulu personally killed many of them by savagely beating them to death. After a meeting with Manuel, who had reprimanded the renegade on his treatment of the Ottoman spies, Shahkulu demanded that his men bring the remaining ones to the chapel, where he intended to publicly torture and execute them.
As one of the guards replied that he did not have the key, Shahkulu angrily ordered him to find it. However, unknown to him, the Assassin Ezio Auditore da Firenze had being spying on the entire meeting, and, after learning the location of the key, set off to retrieve it before them. Shortly afterwards, a crowd gathered at the chapel where Shahkulu was to perform his public killings.
Shahkulu took his place in the open courtyard, and began beating a spy named Janos to death. However, having been led to the chapel by Janos' fellow spy, Dilara, Ezio climbed onto a cross above Shahkulu, and attempted to assassinate the renegade with his Hidden Blade.
Believing him to be dead, Ezio told Shahkulu that he deserved no pity for the pleasure he derived from sadism. However, Shahkulu's armor had saved him from the killing blow, and he reached up suddenly to strangle Ezio. To stop him, the Assassin stabbed Shahkulu in the chest with his Hookblade, yet he threw Ezio aside, prompting a duel between the two. Despite the presence of several Byzantine troops aiding him, Shahkulu was eventually defeated and killed.
- Shahkulu was based upon the historical Şahkulu, who died in 1511.
- Shahkulu was the third target to resist Ezio's last rites, with the others being Rodrigo Borgia during Ezio's first attempt on his life in 1499, and Cesare Borgia in 1507.
- Shahkulu can be translated as "servant of the Shah".
- Shahkulu is one of four assassination targets in the Assassin's Creed series to be stabbed with the Hidden Blade while in the Memory Corridor, the others being Majd Addin in Assassin's Creed, Checco Orsi in Assassin's Creed II and Edward Braddock in Assassin's Creed III.