A wagon is a four-wheeled vehicle pulled by draft animals. The primary purpose of horse-drawn wagons is to transport large quantities of items or human occupants from one location to a set destination.
Wagons were commonly used by travel stations, which transported civilians between cities for a fee. During the Renaissance, armed horsemen would escort wagons in the outskirts of cities, near forests and around mountainous regions, due to the dangers posed by bandits and other dubious individuals. The famed polymath Leonardo da Vinci also made use of a personal wagon, during his travels to Forlì in 1480 with the Assassin Ezio Auditore. The wagon was loaded with designs and inventions, including a machine capable of flight.
Upon arriving at the Apennine Mountains, Ezio discovered Leonardo attempting to fix the wagon's broken wheel. Ezio helped by briefly lifting the wagon, allowing his friend to make the necessary repairs. During their ride to Forlì, they were ambushed by Borgia soldiers. Ezio took control of the horses' reins to shake off their attackers, forcing Leonardo to take cover within the wagon. The pair survived attempted hijackings, flaming arrows and successfully crossed burning bridge to safety.
Ezio instructed Leonardo to continue on alone as they drew near Forlì, and jumped off the wagon to face the attackers himself in a small village, dispatching them with relative ease.
In 1511 and 1512, Ezio was forced to commandeer a wagon on two occasions, first to pursue the Byzantine captain Leandros from Masyaf to Atlas Village in the Levant, and later, Prince Ahmet in order to recover the keys to Altaïr's library.
Ezio defended himself from other guards on wagons by smashing into them, or forcing them onto rocky terrain to destroy their wheels.
In 18th century North America, wagons could be used as mobile hiding spots or as part of a trade convoy. The Assassin Ratonhnhaké:ton could attack British convoys and loot their wagons. The British in the Frontier responded by targeting his trade convoys, requiring him to defend it himself or to send his apprentices.
During the Louisiana Rebellion, the Louisianan Assassins Aveline de Grandpré and Gérald Blanc commandeered a wagon containing gunpowder to start a fire in New Orleans. Aveline and Gérald jumped onto the horses and rode off before the wagon crashed and exploded.
By the Victorian era, carriage shapes and uses had far more variety, and these different forms allowed for racing to become popular in London, England. The twin Assassins Jacob and Evie Frye regularly hijacked carriages during assassination attempts. To earn extra money for their gang the Rooks, they also aided nobles in need of an escort for their carriages.
Behind the scenes
In the novel Assassin's Creed: Renaissance, Leonardo is initially accompanied by four men during his journey, not all of whom survive the attack. After the ambush, Leonardo drives the wagon to escape further pursuit, while Ezio instead rides on horseback to eliminate the remaining assailants.