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China is the cradle of civilization in East Asia, along with being among the oldest in the world, profoundly shaping the culture, society, philosophy, and language of this region. It has been a premier regional power throughout its millennia-long history, a history largely characterized by a cycle of fragmentation, reunification, and dynastic succession.

The first imperial dynasty was the totalitarian Qin whose first emperor, Qin Shi Huang, was assassinated by the proto-Assassin Wei Yu in 210 BCE, resulting in its abrupt collapse after only fifteen years in power. During the Song dynasty, it endured a harsh war in defence against the Mongol Empire, gradually losing territory after territory from the north until it was finally extinguished in 1279 in spite of the best efforts of the Chinese Brotherhood of Assassins. When indigenous rule was restored with the Ming dynasty in 1368, the government fell under the sway of the Chinese Rite of the Templar Order, becoming increasingly despotic and enacting innumerable purges against the Assassins and any civilian associates. As with the Song before it, the Ming eventually collapsed under the onslaught of a northern enemy: the Manchus who established the Qing dynasty in 1644.

The Qing proved to be the last imperial dynasty of China. Upon its overthrow in 1912, the Chinese revolutionaries under the leadership of Sun Yat-sen proclaimed the Republic of China, but neither the Assassins nor the Templars were able to prevent the fledgling republic from shattering almost immediately into dozens of warlord states. Sun's successor, Chiang Kai-shek, ultimately failed to defeat his last foe, the communists led by Mao Zedong, and in the present day, China remains divided between the People's Republic of China, which possesses all of Mainland China, and the Republic of China, now limited to Taiwan.

Beijing, the former capital of the Ming dynasty, has retained this status in the People's Republic of China.

历史

秦朝

In 210 BCE, China was under Templar domination in the form of Qin Shi Huang, who had proclaimed himself the first Emperor of China after reunifying the nation. That year, the emperor was assassinated by the Assassin Wei Yu, who slew him with a spear.[1]

宋朝

By the beginning of the 13th century, the Song was the reigning dynasty of China, and it was during this period that China's northern neighbors, the Mongols, emerged as an empire newly-unified under Genghis Khan. With a Sword of Eden in hand, Genghis embarked on a series of conquests across Asia, threatening northern China. In the 1220s, recognizing the peril, the Assassin Mentor Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad, his wife Maria, and their son Darim traveled to the region, liaised with Qulan Gal, a Mongolian Assassin, and assassinated the Great Khan while he was besieging Xingqing, the capital of the Western Xia Empire.[2]

Genghis Khan's demise, alongside that of many of his sons,[3] did little to stymie Mongol expansion and by the middle of the century, the Mongol Empire had annexed most of China. In 1259, the Mongols led by Möngke Khan, the first Mongol Great Khan to be inducted into the Templar Order, assaulted Diaoyu Fotress. Thanks to the sacrifice of a Chinese Assassin simultaneously serving as a Song commander, the Mongols were forced to withdraw for the timebeing. On 11 August 1259, the late Assassin's daughter, Zhang Zhi, avenged him by assassinating Möngke after being recruited into the Chinese Brotherhood of Assassins by its Mentor Kang.[4]

元朝

与孛儿只斤·铁木真一样,蒙哥汗的死亡只能警戒蒙古征服中国,最终在1279年,蒙哥汗的弟弟忽必烈为元朝开起了序幕。在他统治的期间,威尼斯商人尼科洛马费奥马可·波罗受到还在经营刺客兄弟会的阿泰尔的委托潜入了忽必烈的院子。在那里,经过数十年的努力,他们在马斯亚夫的陷落之后遗失的阿泰尔的手稿成功收回。[2][3]

明朝

By 1368, the Chinese had definitively threw off the yoke of Mongol domination, restoring indigenous rule with the Ming dynasty begun by the Hongwu Emperor. During this time, the Chinese Brotherhood based themselves in the city of Beijing and were led by Fang Xiaoru. In 1402, the throne fell to the Templar-allied Yongle Emperor, who had thousands of suspected Assassins across the country arrested and executed, including Fang Xiaoru. Li Tong, a female Assassin whose parents had also been killed during the purge, was able to escape Beijing with an apprentice and an Apple of Eden. In 1424, while the Yongle Emperor was trying to suppress a rebellion near the Gobi Desert, Li Tong entered his tent and assassinated him.[5]

正德帝

1505年正式登座的年轻统治者,朱厚照,其享乐主义的生活方式与国家事务的疏忽成为皇帝的主流。此外,圣殿骑士和刺客在统治期间继续秘密地争取在皇室的影响力,而前一派主要由刘瑾领导由腐败太监组成八虎。在1510年,刺客强迫安化王朱置鐇作乱对抗正德皇帝,只有透过刘瑾的有效指挥才能迅速平摆叛乱。然而,由于八虎之间的权力斗争,刘瑾也受到了牵连并被他的第二手张永陷害,不久后被处决了。除了这些阴谋之外,中国在这段期间持续受到蒙古人频频的袭击,而皇帝则亲自前去打仗。[6]

在1521年,朱厚照在没有继承人的状况下死亡,造成一个短暂但混乱的空白月份。圣殿骑士在没有皇帝的掌权下对在首都北京的刺客势力进行大规模的袭击并取得胜利。这个行动由一位嫔妃邵君透过言语泄漏给刺客,他们反击了这个先发制人的袭击,但是以灾难性的失败告终。八虎就此获得了宫廷的控制权,并确保了他们的傀儡-朱厚照的表弟朱厚熜-能够顺利继位。与此同时,各地的无辜百姓遭到逮捕与拷打以及国家级的刺客与嫌疑犯的大清洗。[6]

嘉靖帝

Like his predecessor, the Jiajing Emperor refused to responsibly partake in his duties as a ruler, preferring to leave them to his court officials while he indulged in a life of luxury. As a result, his government fell under the domination of the Templars and their chief instrument, Yan Song. By 1524, the Jiajing Emperor was manipulated into succeeding where the Yongle Emperor failed. Rather than have himself adopted by his predecessor's line, he declared his own father an emperor posthumously, precipitating a political crisis known as the Great Rites Controversy. Under the pretext of purging dissenters to the Emperor's will, this was seized upon by the Templars to organize a campaign against the Chinese Brotherhood that by the end of the year annihilated them down to only a few Assassins left.[6]

Despite the decisive Templar victory, the survival of an Assassin, the former concubine Shao Jun, spelled their doom as she almost single-handedly assassinated each of the Eight Tigers from 1526 to 1532. This shadow war conducted in the backdrop of Chinese affairs led to several disasters such as the burning of Macau in 1526 and the destruction of the Forbidden City in 1530. In a bid to preserve his power, Zhang Yong made a secret pact with the Mongol Altan Khan in 1532, allowing them a free pass through the Great Wall of China to invade the country as his allies. The conspiracy was thwarted by Jun during her assassination of Yong, and she subsequently revived the Chinese Brotherhood.[6]

Decades later in 1567, Shao Jun, now a Mentor, sent one of her agents to poison the Jiajing Emperor with a lethal dose of mercury disguised as an elixir of life.[6]

Republic era

In 1912, the last imperial dynasty, the Qing was overthrown in by republican revolutionaries which led to the foundation of the Republic of China with the Templar Grand Master Sun Yat-sen as its provisional president. China soon after fractured into dozens of warlord states, and the Shanghai Rite of the Templar Order struggled to maintain order. All the while, crime syndicates such as the Green Gang led by Du Yuesheng plagued large urban centers like Shanghai. The Templar's efforts were not helped by the demise of Sun Yat-sen at the hands of the Assassins in 1925, but Sun's successor in the Nationalist Party, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, made a strong push for the reunification of China.[7]

His military successes were welcomed by followers of the Communist Party of China and the Templars, both whom eagerly awaited his army in Shanghai and the latter whom desired Chiang as their new Grand Master. Albert Bolden, the Black Cross, personally destroyed the armored train that kept Chiang pinned down in Chekiang Province to facilitate his arrival, but Chiang, in collusion with the Green Gang, had no intention of swearing allegiance to the Templar Order and wanted China for himself. Breaking ties with not just the Templars but the communists as well, on 12 April 1927, he initiated the split by massacring the communists cheering his arrival in Shanghai.[7] The massacre triggered a conflict that escalated into the Chinese Civil War,[7] fought between Chiang Kai-shek of the Nationalist Party and Mao Zedong of the Communist Party. Mao, a Templar, would ultimately emerge the victor and found the People's Republic of China in 1949.

In 2012, the Templars were planning to launch a satellite into space with a Piece of Eden attached to it. The Assassins listed China as one of the possible countries where the satellite was located.[8]

参考

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