- "Family. Honor. These things are nothing next to the Templar Order. The one source of light in a midnight world."
- ―The Black Cross to Darius Gift, 1927.[src]
Albert "Albie" Bolden (b. 1893), better known as the "Black Cross", was a Templar agent active during the early 20th century, who traveled around the world under the guise of the leading trumpeter in Albie Bolden and the Harlem Hotsteppers, a touring night club jazz band.
The Black Cross was not the first Templar to carry the title, which was bestowed upon the members of a branch within the Templar Order tasked with keeping the Grand Masters of the various Rites in line with the Templar Code and to eradicate any corruption of the Templar value. The agent was known for his signature weapon, which was a bladed pin shaped as a black Templar cross. Albert was also the last known Black Cross.
Before upholding the family tradition of the Boldens and becoming simply known as the Black Cross, Bolden was a soldier who fought in the trenches of World War I until he was injured by an explosion. Before his departure for the front, Bolden sired a daughter with his wife.
In February 1927, while in London, the Black Cross executed Grand Master Thaddeus Gift for stealing money from his fellow Templars and for using the good name of the Order to embezzle money. Tracking him across the streets of the city, the Black Cross eventually slit his throat and cut out his Templar ring finger.
Mission in ChinaEdit
One month later, as China was marked by a growing conflict between the Chinese Communist Party and the government of the Nationalists, the Black Cross confronted and killed Yuri Dolinsky aboard the Templar-built train, the Great Wall, as it traveled through Chekiang province for using it to support the warlord Zhang Zongchang in opposition to the Order's interests.
In April, the Black Cross was playing with his band in Shanghai when he witnessed the arrival of Darius Gift in the club where he was playing. He followed Gift outside when the package he was supposed to deliver to the Shanghai Rite was stolen by a bar girl named Roo. From a nearby roof, the Black Cross observed two Frenchmen approaching Gift, believing that the newly arrived young man was the Black Cross, before deciding to intervene. Having rescued Darius, the Black Cross discovered that the men were actually French police. After exchanging pleasantries, the Black Cross promised to retrieve the absent package for Darius as he was ordered to offer aid directly by the Nine.
Then the Black Cross eavesdropped on a meeting of the local Templar rite that discussed the struggles of holding Shanghai amidst gangsters and warlords. Word had reached them of the Black Cross's arrival, and that they were instructed to assist him in any way. One Templar, Joffre, hailed a taxi upon leaving the meeting, only to be lead to a quiet location to discover that the "driver" was the Black Cross himself. They discussed the Hop Wo Society, the name found upon one of the French police. Joffre pointed out that they were communists, and that the address was an amusement palace. The Black Cross infiltrated the building where one remaining Frenchman was under duress and seemingly was part of an ambush.
The Black Cross released smoke bombs and attempted to escapes the through the amusement park, he used environmental opportunities to take down his pursuers. Until he came across Fiery Crow, during their fight, Cross managed to stab him with his Templar pin, before being rendered unconscious. When he awakes he found himself face to face with Du Yuesheng, leader of the Green Gang Triad. Du mocked the activities of the Templar Order thus far in China, whilst Cross attempted to discover the whereabouts of the box. The conversation turned to the poison of the Templar pin, at which point 'Fiery Crow' keeled over, freed once more. The Black Cross planned to be captured, only to discover what Du really knew. He promptly grabbed his possessions and gunned his way out of the nearest window as he escaped.
The Black Cross investigated the servant of Madame Sun, earning himself a meeting with her. They discussed how she orchestrated the events to retrieve the box, and ultimately showed him the empty box. Sun revealed to the Black Cross that it was the machinations of Chiang Kai-shek. He searched, and eventually kidnaped a convoy driver who he interrogated. The Black Cross discovered that they were ordered to kill an actress and a 'British Kid', the Black Cross arrived and prevented Flowery Flag from finishing the job, The two men engaged in hand to hand combat until Flowery Flag pulled out a gun and shot him, hitting him in the shoulder. As Flowery Flag moved to kill the Black Cross, Ruan stabbed him in the back. Using the diversion, the Templar quickly wrapped his Templar Cross chain around Flowery Flag's neck before pushing him through a window. Flowery Flag was hanged with the chain. Darius fired a gun into the back of the Black Cross, citing vengeance for his father. Cross tried to protest that he did it for the order, but Darius fired multiple shots into him. Black Cross stumbled and fell of a ledge, with a brief flash of his wife and child coming to mind.
Spanish Civil WarEdit
Despite being believed to be dead by his fellow Templars, Bolden in fact survived his mission in China and went dark. Ten years later he was in Spain, fighting during the Spanish Civil War alongside the Assassin Ignacio Cardona.
In 2013, Juhani Otso Berg watched the memories of Darius Gift in order to learn more about his encounter with the Black Cross. Indeed after Berg's mission in India, the Templars discovered that Bolden was the last recorded individual in contact with the Koh-i-Noor, a Piece of Eden.
After witnessing Bolden fall from a temple roof, having been shot multiple times by Gift in 1927, Berg told Violet da Costa that despite the evidence, he wasn't sure that the Black Cross truly died that day. Bolden's family disappearing from the records after his departure for WWI, Berg put the search for the artifact on stand-by, hoping that the Order would find one of Bolden's descendants to further explore the Black Cross' memories.
Equipment and skillsEdit
Albert Bolden was a capable freerunner and climber, able to scale buildings in London and China. He was also a skilled tactician, allowing Thaddeus Gift to get to a phone to reveal his collaborators, and accounting for Yuri Dolinsky's superior sword-fighting skills by cutting the tracks of the train prior to their duel on board, causing Dolinsky to fall and lose his advantage. Bolden was a trained soldier and was a skilled marksman knowledgeable with many firearms.
Albert was also highly skilled in unarmed combat besting many opponents in the crime syndicate the Green Gang, such as the large Fiery Crow, and holding his own against the skilled Flowery Flag. And was capable of taking down multiple opposents in close-quarters combat, such as when fighting multiple soliders at once in the Great Wall. He was also exceptionally skilled in stealth, constantly sneaking up on those he had to interrogate or execute. Bolden was also fluent in Chinese.
In terms of equipment, Albert carried a bladed pin as his primary weapon; he had two poisons for it, one fast and another that took hours or so to set in. He also carried a sword on occasion and possessed what appeared to be a kind of chain dart, along with smoke bombs, grenades, a sub-machine gun and a gas mask.