|I work on the small portrait of a woman. I am growing rather fond of it...|
This is a work of fanon, constructed by Kabutsu.
"You see, Alexander, these men cannot be trusted. They pull the strings of power, playing our leaders like puppets. Their intellect and charisma are unmatched, and they would enslave us all given enough time, power, and freedom." - Quentin Ferrant to Alexander William on the Templars
Assassin's Creed: The Apple is the first in the Assassin's Creed: Conquest trilogy, which follows the shifts of power and the struggles in Europe during the late Georgian and early Victorian era, and the influence of the Assassins and Templars on the seats of power at the time. It also sheds light on the truth about the First Apple from the late Georgian period up to the early 20th century.
AC: The Apple follows the narrative of Quentin Jamoux Ferrant, accomplished French master assassin, as he mentors Alexander Edward William, a young but abandoned and betrayed English aristocrat, as power shifted and enemies were made after the death of Napoleon Bonaparte I and the crowning of Queen Victoria 16 years later. Through this journey, the truth is revealed as to the fate of the First Apple during this period, including the how Napoleon aquired it, and its fate after his death. Following stories will continue the arc, and detail the journey of the First Apple during the Victorian era and then the early 20th century.
"We need to ease him in, let him experience one of the earlier memories before proceeding to find it..."
London, February 1820Edit
The street lived as it always had, the rows of terraced houses leading down the cobbled pavements to the monstrous factories at the heart of London. Alleys jitted off in all directions, with the sound of children's laughter and parents' curses echoing down the dusty paths. Smog hung heavy over the air, as it did most days of the year, forming a dense, choking cloud over much of the city. Street sellers advertised their wares, and cursed at those who ignored them; beggars lay on the edge of the cobbled roads, lost and abandoned; in the alley-way, a dog whimpered, searching eagerly for food to fill its starving belly, but wary of any people who approached it after a lifetime of neglect.
The travelling circus had arrived in town, and everywhere you looked were strongmen, lifting unbearable weights; fortune tellers, who claimed to be able to predict the future for as little as sixpence; sweet sellers, who's stalls had the most incredible and exotic treats one could imagine, and who had crouds of excited children queuing up to purchase these wonderful creations; and acrobats, cartwheeling and somersaulting in front of the growing crowd who had come to marvel at these curiosities.
And at the end of the street sat the manor. William Manor had been home to the most aristocratic and powerful family for as long as anyone could remember. Lord Robert William ruled with an iron fist, presiding over this whole north-eastern area of London, taking most, if not all the income from the factories, powerhouses and street sellers, taxing the area dry. It certainly showed; the manor was the grandest building you would have ever seen, whereas the houses and slums in the surounding area were in a state of disarray. Sewage lined the streets, the poor and weak starved in their hundreds, and disease was rife. The manor, on the other hand, was the grandest building you would ever see. Ivory turrets sprouted from the rooftop, gothic decor swirled around the outside of the windows, and the garden was lined with perfectly kept hedges and trees. There was a sense of irony about it; rows and rows of poverty-stricken slums leading up to an impecable mansion.
Down the street, at the edge of one of the alley corners, stood a man. His arms were folded, and he leant against the nearby wall, but he was heavily focused on the goings-on of the travelling circus. His breath was coming out in small, misty clouds in front of his eyes in the cool, late-winter weather. His attire was not of English origin; he seemed to be a noble of France. His red cloak had a frill at the neck, and beneath it was a buttoned shirt. A buckle on which there was a holster for short blades was mounted over his head and round one shoulder. He had various pouches lining his belts, and his boots were well fitting and dyed with maroon and gold. The buckle of his belt was a metal insignia in the shape of an 'A', with a curve below it. He had a bracer on his left wrist, and there was a sabre held in a sheath to his right side. There was a simple, flintlock pistol in a holster on the left of his waist. He had a narrow, defined face, with pale blue eyes and a long, thin patch of well-kept hair on his upper lip. A thin, pointed, scarlet hood emblazened with golden patterns was hung heavy over his face, and he was nearly invisible to the nearby crowd he was silently observing, waiting to strike. After what felt like millenia and yet also a few moments, he straightened up and started walking forward. Each step was single, precise, and silent; he was a predator stalking his prey. As he glided, unnoticed, towards the crowd, he flicked his braced left wrist, and the silver glint of a blade emerged from the sleeve of his coat. He could see his target now.
His target was wearing a heavy fur cloak, under which was a thick, woven shirt, and was chatting loudly to an associate. He seemed to be of Bulgarian or Serbian origin. His hair was heavy, knotted and black, and he had a thick moustache on his upper lip, whilst the rest of his jaw was uncared for, with patches of stubble every here and there. He was wearing the trousers and boots of a noble man who had stopped caring for this world, and so whose possessions had fell into dissarray. On the forefinger of his right hand was a ring on which stood the red cross of the mark of Cain. This man was a Templar, and he ran the nearby jail; little known to the law enforcers of the area, it was also where he experimented on prisoners given the death sentance, trying to figure out how to control the masses of humanity. He was completely oblivious to the Asassin approacing him from behind.
Before the Assassin could reach his target and stealthily take him out, the large, oak doors of William Manor barged open, attracting all attention and silencing the crowd. Out of the splendidly decorated hall marched two police officers, dragging a blonde teenager, who was struggling and cursing at the two men. This young man seemed to be aged 17, and his hair was short and messy. He was clean shaven, and had small, brown eyes. His face was full yet defined; his chin was pointed and triangular, and his nose was slightly crooked to the left; there was a scar along his right cheek; and bruises dotted his face. The clothes he was wearing were grand, though torn from trying to resist the two officers. This was Alexander Edward William, the younger of two sons of Lord and Lady William.
As the two officers descended the steps to the crowd, one cried out to the Templar, "Branislav, I have another one for you. This young and insolent criminal was found defacing the back of his own manor! How could you disrespect your family and betray society, you brat?!" The last words were directed at Alexander.
Before the young man could respond though, Branislav spoke up. "Good. I have been running out of... work. Bring him here. I will bring him in immedietly. No doubt his family will be devastated. They will want this commotion to be over as quickly as possible," faking sympathy.
At these words, the Assassin glanced a look at the William family. They did not seem upset, rather on the contrary; they had smugly joyful faces, and it looked as if they were pocketing some money. There was definitely something wrong with this. But before the Assassin could act, Alexander was handed over to Branislav. He could not kill his target now; he had to follow him to his prison and finish him in his own domain. And what of the boy? His family did not seem wanting of him, but he was not going to survive in the jail. Freeing him and leaving him on the street would not work either; he was a noble, and would not cope with such harsh conditions. He looked like a fighter. Perhaps he would make a good recruit.
As Branislav dragged Alexander to his jail of torture, the Assassin made his way onto the rooftops.
Chapter 1: InductedEdit
"We have as much time as we need..."
Part 1: The JailEdit
The Assassin slinked along the rooftop, body low to the ground, remaining hidden from his prey. Beneath him was Branislav Petrovic, the Templar agent who was unlocking the secrets of how to control humanity without the aid of a Piece of Eden. He was dragging Alexander William, a young, betrayed, aristocratic man, to the jail in the north-east of London. There he would certainly experiment on him, turning his life into hell to aid the Templar means, before his life was lost on the gallows.
For that was where Alexander would certainly go. The Assassin had noticed something strange as the boy was being handed over to the Templar. It made sense now that his family would have betrayed him for a little bit more money, sending the child they did not care for to the Templars. The Assassin had not been in London for long, but he already knew the workings of the devious William family. Branislav was only allowed to experiment on those sent to death. The police turned a blind eye to what happened to those deemed not worthy of life, so the jail workers could do with the prisoners what they pleased. And the William family wanted to get rid of their son. Being paid for it by the Templars was just a perk to the deed.
But why? Why to Branislav? The Assassin knew that there were others in the city who also dealt in the illegal trade of humans. Others who would offer better prices than Branislav, and who would do the deed more quietly; surely it would be shameful for an aristocratic family to have their children thrown into jail?
It was no matter any more. The terrifying jail owned, paid for and run, oblivious to the people of course, by the Templars loomed staggeringly into sight. Windows were broken, sewage ran from its core onto the streets, and the screams of the tortured could be heard even from the outside. It was a place of true horror, but of course it needed to terrify its victims. It would make their minds easier to break.
The Assassin could see the expresion on Alexander's face as he neared the building. It was a face he would never forget.
Alexander was pale, and shaking. Goosebumps ran up and down his skin, and tiny beads of sweat ran down his face. He was unblinking, and his eyes were dilated. His mouth was open in an open scream, but no sound came out. He was too terrified to make a sound, or even try to run. He was facing his destiny with full, if unwanted, acceptance. There was no way he was going to escape his fate now.
Branislav, on the other hand, was unafraid, and determined. There was no fear or dread in his face, just the slight hint of the sad acceptance and guilt he faced by having to do this work. Of course, it was all for the betterment of humanity; if he could unlock the secrets of enforcing order now, the rest of humankind would be better for it.
At least that is what he believed.
As the Templar walked with his victim into the jail, the Assassin dropped from the rooftops to one of the broken windows. He clambered through, severing and tearing parts of his attire as he did so, cursing "Merde!" under his breath as he treaded on broken glass.
The inside of the jail was no less frightening than the exterior. It was dimly lit, and a heavy fog of candle smoke choked the air. There was a stench of rotting flesh, and as he looked around, the Assassin could see why. There were rows and rows of cages, some with the rotting remains of dead prisoners, others with the starving shells of the living who had lost all hope. It was probably better for them if they were dead. Rats gnawed on the bones, and cockroaches scampered through cracks and over the living. It was an imensely dreadful sight to behold.
In the distance, through the dim light of this cavern, the Assassin could just make out the silhouette of Branislav, throwing Alexander into one of these cages. Realising that those he could see in the cages near to him were just dead men walking, he bid them "Repose en paix," and left to free the young aristocrat, and to kill the bastard who had brought him here, and who had ended the lives of so many others.
He quickly found a rotted, wooden ceiling beam he may be able to run across unnoticed. Testing his weight, he clambered onto the ancient thing and shimmied accross to the other end of the room. He passed Alexander's cell; he could see him crying and begging his family, no, his mother, for forgiveness. There was no time to dwell on him. At least, not for the time being. The Assassin needed to take out the Templar. edging further to the edge of the room, he could see Branislav looking over some of his books; arcane scrolls of herbs and spices, and also texts on the human body and mind. Not wanting to dwell on how he used these books, the Assassin decided it was time to strike.
He whistled to get the man's attention. Branislav looked around, before standing up out of his chair and looking up at where the Assassin was perched. His next expression would have been comical had the matter not have been so serious. The Assassin may even have smirked. But instead, he leaped, unleashing the hidden blade from under his wrist as he did so.
Landing on Branislav, he plunged the blade deep into his flesh, ending his life almost instantly. There was only enough time for the Templar to explain his means before his life ebbed away.
"Why Assassin? You know my goals; I want-" he spluttered, before continuing, "I wanted peace, in all things. I was only trying to help them..." His last words came out as a whisper, as he gestured to the prisoners.
"Les extremites ne justifie pas les moyens. Repose en paix," the Assassin responded, though he knew the Templar could not hear him. Now it was time to find Alexander.
Fishing the keys from Branislav's corpse, and backtracking to the cage in which Alexander was held, and he opened the door.
"The man who threw you in here is dead," the Assassin announced, unwaveringly, in a heavy thick French accent, to Alexander.
"You- what? He's really dead? You just killed him?" Alexander had a look of surprise, astonishment and admiration on his face. "You freed me from the gallows?" His voice was rough, but not deep. It had a slight posh tinge to the accent.
"Then I am forever in your debt. Give me your name, Sir, and I will follow you, and serve your cause, as I have no family of my own." He sounded bitter.
Extending a hand to help the battered young man, the Assassin proclaimed, "Je m'appelle Quentin Jamoux Ferrant. Et je suis un Assassin."
Part 2: The Assassins
Quentin's hideout, west LondonEdit
"I still don't get it," Alexander murmered under his breath, stirring the tea Quentin had made him. He was sitting at an expensive wooden table, with one arm over the back of his chair. Quentin was busy in the corner writing and reading letters to other assassin contacts across Europe.
"You are an assassin, and yet you don't get paid for killing your targets? You say you are fighting for the greater good?"
Quentin sighed and slumped for what felt like the millionth time. He picked himslelf up, dropping his pen in the pot of ink that sat next to the pile of notes and letters on his desk. Striding over to Alexander, he cleared his throat, before booming in a voice that wasn't loud, but demmanded respect, "Right. I am only going to tell you this one more time, comprende?" He leant over Alexander.
Beneath him, Alexander shrunk in his chair, and gulped. Meekly, he replied, "Yes."
"Okay," Quentin responded, before walking back over to his desk. Straightening up and fixing his clothes, he began to explain the age old conflict between the Assassins and the Templars to Alexander.
"Everything you think you know about assassins and the Knights Templar is wrong. You believe that assassins are hired killers, trained to take out those who are unwanted by an individual, oui? You also believe that the Knights Templar were a group of knights whose resposnibilities were to protect pilgrims in the Holy Land during the Third Crusade. That they were disbanded in 1314 after King Phillip IV of France burned their Grand Master, Jaques de Molay?"
When there was no response from Alexander, Quentin grunted, then continued, "This is wrong." He paused, cocked his head whilst thinking it through, then added, "Well, most of it, anyway. There are those who call themselves assassins who kill for money. But these are only men who are aware of our tendency to kill and believe that they are becoming one of us." He laughed. "If only! Pouvez-vous imaginer la pagille, nous serions en?"
Studying Alexander's puzzled expression, he continued. "Sorry, I am sidetracking. That is not who we are. Our order is much more... noble than that. We fight not for money, but for the preservation of the free will of humanity. So far, bar a few isolated cases, we have succeeded. That is all you need to know for now. We fight for peace. Peace is the purpose of our creed."
"So who are the Templars?" Alexander asked, like a young boy asks what the sun is. "What do they stand for? Are you telling me that they still exist?"
"Unfortunately for us, yes. Both the Assassins and the Templars have existed since the dawn of man."
"Since Adam and Eve?" Alexander interrupted.
"Oui- non. No.
Not how you know that story. But yes. Since Adam and Eve... In a way. Some of our great mentors showed us how." He waved nonchalantly at a board, at which drawings of 3 men were hung. One seemed to have come from the east; Egypt, possibly, or Syria. Another seemed Italian, or Spanish. The third seemed native to the Americas. "In time, Alexander, you too will know the origins of our species. But it is a tale best kept for later..." Quentin stared longingly into the distance, as if he were peering into a future in which Alexander was a Master Assassin, learning the truth of humanity's existence.
Snapping out of his trance, Quentin exclaimed, "I am sidetracking again! I am sorry. I do this a lot. You must forgive me. Ou etais-je? Oh yes... From the birth of humanity, there have been those who have been seeking peace, in all things. In the beginning, though, these men splintered, on contrasting ideals, into the Templars and the Assassins.
"The Assassins seek peace through freedom. We beleive that peace should be found, and that free will is a far greater gift than anyone can imagine. The ones we kill... They have chosen the path that denies us our power. They want to take it from us, to enslave us all."
"And that's who the Templars are!" Alexander exclaimed, the concept finally clicking in his mind. "They want to turn us all into slaves, and grow rich and fat off our suffering."
"NON! Quand il comprende? The Templars believe that they are also following the path of righteousness. They cannot see that humanity can achieve peace through free will. So, in order to enforce peace, they seek to control us, if only to protect us. But they are sly, and can manipulate even the most powerful world leaders in order to further their aims. Julius Ceaser, Pope Alexander VI, in fact all of his family, Prince Ahmet of the Ottomans, Branislav Petrovic - the man who captured you earlier, maybe even Napoleon Bonaparte! These men were all either influenced by the Templars, or were Templars themsleves. All to further the Templar goal of controlling humanity.
"You see, Alexander, these men cannot be trusted. They pull the strings of power, playing our leaders like puppets. Their intellect and charisma are unmatched, and they would enslave us all given enough time, power and freedom.
"We fight against them. And currently, we are losing. The Templars are tightening their grip on us, Alexander. We need more Assassins. We need you, Alexander." Quentin was shaking. Beads of sweat were slowly making their way down his face, and his eyes were filled with terror and desperation.
Alexander laughed to ease the tension that had arisen in the room. "Okay, crazy man. I'll help you, seeing as I have no alternatvie..." He gulped as he remembered how his family had abandoned him, just a few hours previously. "Hell, I've heard too much now. I want to help. You never can know, it may be fun."
"Nous n'avons jamais avoir du plaisir..." Quentin whispered chillingly under his breath as he shuffled back to his desk to remain in contact with however few Assassins there were left in Europe.
"What? I do understand some French you know. My parents may have been rotten and corrupt, but at least they cared to educate me when I was young." Alexander stood up out of his chair.
Quentin turned around so suddenly and menacingly that Alexander took a few steps back in surprise and fear. Relaxing, he sighed. "Nothing. Now quieten down. I am expecting an old... friend, soon."
Part 3: Esmé Beauguoix de LyonEdit
At that precise moment, a loud thud echoed through the house. A visitor had arrived.
Quentin hurried down the creaking oak stairs, silent and gliding as ever, leaving Alexander sitting, bemused as to the timing of the knock, staring at the portraits of the three men on the wall opposite him. Moments later he heard hurried whispering from downstairs, before footsteps made their way towards him.
Behind him, Alexander heard, in a rather hurried, eccentric tone, Quenting proclaim, "I would like you to meet Esmé Beaguoix de Lyon, legendary Assassin and master of the Assassins in France." He nonchanantly turned round in his chair to see one of the most battered, bruised young women he had ever seen.
She was not tall, standing no larger than 5 and a half feet, and was particularly scrawny as well. Her clothes, those of a peasant from some farm or another, were in tatters, a mesh of patchwork patterns. She wore no shoes, so her feet were covered in blisters and mud, along with god knows what else were on the streets of London. He could see the handle of a short blade poking out the top of one pocket, and she wore a holster round he waist, hanging in which was a simple flintlock pistol. Although she was turned away from him, apparantly at the end of a deep conversation with Quentin, Alexander could still make out her face under her knotted brunette hair. Her eyes were small and close together, and her nose short and pointed. She was not particularly pretty, and yet she had an awe of wonder, confidence, and a little bit of smug arrogance, surrounding her; Alexander had no doubt that she was incredibly skilled with a blade and a gun.
Chapter 2: NapoleonEdit
"This part is important. Make sure you watch carefully."
Part 1: Saint HelenaEdit
Part 2: Repose en PaixEdit
Part 3: NotoriousEdit
Chapter 3: Paris, The City of Regents and RatsEdit
"His signs seem to be improving. Perhaps we could venture a little further forward..."
Part 1: How Did This Happen?Edit
Part 2: Welcome to ParisEdit
Part 3: Bird of PreyEdit
Chapter 4: InfiltrationEdit
"We must carry on. We need to know the truth."
Part 1: PandemoniumEdit
Part 2: Rappelez-vous, non anglaisEdit
Part 3: Lost and FoundEdit
Chapter 5: BetrayalEdit
"I don't care if he seems to be deteriorating now! We are near the end. We cannot afford to pull him out."
Part 1: The Templar MasterstrokeEdit
Part 2: The Beginning of The EndEdit
Part 3: The Final ActEdit
"Perfect. We've got it."
Epilogue: The Shape of Things to ComeEdit
"Wait, what's going on here? How is this happening?"
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