- "Let me repay your kindness with action, Assassin. If you will have me, I will join your cause."
- ―An Apprentice to Ezio, circa 1511.[src]
The Apprentices were members of the Assassin Order, training to become fully fledged Assassins. During the Renaissance, they were also known as the Assassin recruits – citizens who joined the Brotherhood at the behest of Ezio Auditore in Rome and Constantinople, both to strengthen the Order's presence in the region and simultaneously combat the Templar threat.
High Middle Ages
An Apprentice was usually born into the Order, with either one or both of their parents being an Assassin, as was the case with Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad and Abbas Sofian. Apprentices would begin their training from a young age, progressing through several tiers before being promoted to the rank of Assassin.
During the Crusades, the Levantine Apprentices primarily trained in the Masyaf fortress, which was also the Assassins' headquarters in the region, that was often attacked by both Crusaders and Saracens alike. Under the leadership of Altaïr, the Assassin Order was rebuilt with newly created techniques and rules and restrictions undone.
Using knowledge gained from an Apple of Eden, the Levantine Assassins were eventually spread to different locations around the globe – an effort to make the Assassin Order a more global organization – with the techniques developed by their Levantine brethren becoming widely incorporated to many other Assassin branches in the process.
- Ezio: "To win this war, Machiavelli, we need loyal soldiers. By recruiting enemies of the state, we arm those who have been disarmed by the Borgia."
- Niccolò: "Go then. Recruit our first novices."
- ―Ezio and Niccolò, regarding Ezio's plan to recruit allies.[src]
Having witnessed the overwhelming odds that the Assassins faced in Rome, as well as the citizens' oppression by those serving the Borgia, Ezio convinced Niccolò Machiavelli that they would require loyal soldiers with the strength and courage to face the forces of Cesare Borgia. Niccolò reluctantly agreed, and Ezio's recruiting efforts began.
The first novices were recruited during 1501, shortly after the rescue of Caterina Sforza from the Castel Sant'Angelo. Ezio traveled throughout the city, assisting the citizens wherever and whenever he could, finding many of them either being terrorized or making a stand against the city guards.
Upon saving them from their troubles, he would offer each citizen the chance to join the Brotherhood, and, should they accept, he would send them to Niccolò to officially be made into an Assassin recruit. The Apprentices subsequently devoted themselves to learning the ways of the Assassin Order, driven by the desire for revenge against the Borgia for oppressing the city and its people.
The Brotherhood steadily grew over time, operating with multiple recruits – both male and female – who were instructed in combat, free-running, pickpocketing, blending, and other skills necessary for them to become fully fledged Assassins.
Operating from the Tiber Island headquarters, the Apprentices were often sent on contract missions across Europe and Asia in order to improve their skills, gain first-hand combat experience, and aid the Assassin cause. When not on assignments, the Apprentices would support Ezio directly, coming to his aid whenever called upon.
One such occurrence happened after Ezio's visit to the Thieves' Guild headquarters. He and La Volpe learned that the Borgia knew about Volpe's spies, an occurrence of which Volpe used to affirm his previous suspicions of Niccolò's treachery, given several questionable acts that Niccolò seemed to be involved with.
As Volpe refused to lend Ezio the help of his thieves to save Pietro Rossi from being killed by Micheletto Corella, Cesare's personal assassin, this forced Ezio to enlist the aid of his recruits instead.
Discovering that Micheletto's plan was to infiltrate the play which was to be held at the Colosseum, Ezio followed him, and had his Apprentices eliminate Micheletto's men so they could take the guards' places. Disguised, the recruits and Ezio successfully infiltrated the Colosseum and foiled Micheletto's plan, with the Assassins protecting their leader from the Borgia guards as Ezio carried Pietro to safety.
The Apprentices were also involved in the assassination of the Templar agents around the city, an event during which several key Borgia supporters were eliminated. Malfatto, who was responsible for the murders of several courtesans in the Centro District, and Silvestro Sabbatini, a slave trader involved in kidnapping people interfering in Borgia affairs, were both killed by Ezio's recruits on his command.
- "The people here are quite sick of these Templar attacks. Can you turn on your charms and find us a few more recruits?"
- ―Yusuf, asking for Ezio's help in recruiting new Assassins.[src]
In Constantinople, Ezio was able to recruit Apprentices for the Turkish Assassins' Guild in a similar manner as he had done in Rome a few years previously. Some recruits were citizens that Ezio helped out by completing certain tasks, while others were saved from harassment inflicted upon them by the Byzantines.
Once recruited, Ezio could send these individuals out on contract missions in the Mediterranean, where they eroded Templar influence in key cities and eventually retook them for the Assassins. Ezio could also assign up to five recruits to be stationed at a reclaimed city, which helped the Assassins maintain control of it and protect the area from the Templar forces.
Some citizens required that Ezio demonstrate his abilities in a race or pickpocketing challenge, while another sought Ezio's help in protecting his family from the Byzantines. Other tasks involved things such as winning a fist fight, or helping a woman eliminate the Templars that destroyed her shop.
During his own missions, Ezio was able to have up to six Apprentices support him. They would commonly operate alone or in pairs, and were often called upon to perform Arrow Storms (wherein they would fire a volley of arrows upon any target from above), to engage in direct combat with an enemy, or to perform assassinations. Each time, Ezio would signal the Apprentices to strike by raising his arm and clenching his fist.
When operating without their Mentor, the Apprentices would move in teams, led by a single Assassin appointed by Ezio. Together, they would complete missions across Italy, as well as the rest of Europe and beyond. One such team was led by Francesco Vecellio and notably featured Cipriano Enu, who specialized in archery, along with the stealthy Tessa Varzi, who was skilled with poisons.
This team participated in the Defense of Camerino, the rescue of several prisoners that Cesare Borgia was to execute merely for his entertainment, and the protection of the astronomers Novara and Nicolaus Copernicus.
Although the Apprentices would not always survive these missions, should they succeed, they would return with greater skill and experience, as well as money and items that they had obtained during their travels.
Likewise, while in Constantinople, Ezio could send his recruits out to cities in the Mediterranean to complete contracts. At first, the cities were controlled by Templars; only by sending Assassins into the city could the Brotherhood erode the Templar influence and eventually reclaim it for the Assassins.
Once reclaimed, Ezio could channel some of his income into these cities to improve their infrastructure, which in turn provided him with additional money and supplies. Assassins stationed at reclaimed cities would also receive extra training.
Due to the absence of Sultan Bayezid II, the Byzantine Templars' influence in Constantinople grew to a point in which the Byzantines were able to take over several Assassin Dens located in the city. Following this, they used them as staging grounds, locked down the surrounding area, and prevented Ezio from restoring the city. Eventually however, the Assassin was able to reclaim several of the Dens.
Such activities did not go unnoticed however, and for every reclaimed Den, there was a possibility of the Templars attacking one that was already under the Assassin control. If such an event occurred, Ezio once again relied on his recruits, co-ordinating the defense of a contested Den from an adjacent rooftop – though he supported the recruits with his Hidden Gun when he saw the need to – but nonetheless concentrated on tactics and the placement of the Assassin units.
Equipment and skills
The Apprentices during the Third Crusade primarily wore generic white robes. Under Al Mualim's rule, each rank of Assassins had a unique set of robes, with Al Mualim himself dressing fully in black.
However, after Altaïr consolidated power in the Brotherhood, the rank-based clothing was discarded, with all Assassins wearing the same set of standard robes, while Altaïr himself continued to wear his Master Assassin robes for the majority of his life.
The Levantine Assassins were the first Assassin branch to use most of the techniques later adopted by other Assassin branches, including air assassinations, ledge assassinations, and assassinations from hiding spots; all of which were idealized by Altaïr and Malik Al-Sayf.
Nonetheless, the Levantine Assassins wielded no special equipment, only primarily being equipped with a Hidden Blade, a sword, a short blade, and throwing knives, with the amount of weaponry depending on the rank of the Assassin. On very rare occasions, an Assassin was allowed to use two Hidden Blades; however, only a limited amount of Assassins were given this privilege, as the materials required to create a Hidden Blade were scarce at the time.
The Apprentices during the 16th century were trained in a wide variety of skills and weaponry, including all the weapon types used by the previous Assassin generations, as well as heavy weapons, long weapons, crossbows, poisons, guns, and explosives. They were also capable of fighting on horseback, and unlike Ezio, Apprentices could use their pistol in conjunction with a heavy weapon.
The Apprentices' armor and weaponry could be customized however they chose, allowing them to decide whether they would specialize in attack, defense, or both. Typically, an Apprentice began with basic leather armor, eventually adding several more pieces of equipment.
As they advanced through the ranks, the armor became reinforced with metal parts, to the point that a recruit would resort to using a set of plate armor, before attaining the rank of Assassin. At that moment, the Apprentices were granted the Assassin armor, which combined the lightness of the leather set and durability of the plate armor.
Apprentices were also given trainee robes to wear to show their affiliation to the Order. Although these were all identical, standard white robes, they were permitted to dye them a variety of colors.
Once inducted into the Order as full Assassins, they were given white Assassin robes, similar to those of Ezio's own. The Ottoman Assassins were rewarded by a set of robes reminiscent of those of their leader, Yusuf Tazim, and a kijil, upon completing their training and achieving the rank of Master Assassin.
During a Den defense, recruits were equipped with several types of weaponry, such as crossbows, rifles and bombs, and also utilized stationary weapons such as Greek Fire, machine guns, and cannons that were mounted on barricades, which were used to slow the Templars' advance on the fortification. Some also preferred to go directly into melee combat with the enemy, while others relied on air assassination.
- Main article: Initiation into the Assassin Order
- "Laa shay'a waqi'un moutlaq bale kouloun moumkine. The wisdom of our Creed is revealed through these words. We work in the dark to serve the light. We are Assassins. Nothing is true, everything is permitted."
- ―Ezio, during the initiation of an Apprentice.[src]
During the Third Crusade, at the rank of Servant, the Apprentice would receive their Hidden Blade and have their left ring finger amputated as a way of ensuring their commitment to the Order. It also allowed for the blade to function properly.
The practice of amputation was eventually amended by Altaïr once he attained the position of Mentor, as he saw it as a method which the Templars could exploit to identify the Assassins. The Hidden Blade mechanism was also modified to function properly without the need to remove the ring finger.
During the 16th century in Rome, upon completion of their training, an Apprentice was formally inducted into the Assassin Order as a fully fledged Assassin. A ceremony would be held within the Tiber Island headquarters, where, as per tradition, the Apprentice's left ring finger would be branded, and they would perform a Leap of Faith from the top of the building into the Tiber river.
In Constantinople, the recruits progressed in a similar manner, moving through several tiers of training and completing guild contracts. When a strong enough force of Assassins were sent to a city, they could free it from the Templars' control, allowing for greater support of Ezio's efforts in Constantinople.
The Constantinople guild did not hold initiation ceremonies like its Roman counterpart. Instead, once an Apprentice reached the rank of Assassin, they could be assigned as a Den Master to one of the seven Assassin Dens in Constantinople, in which they would continue their training to eventually attain the status of Master Assassin.
Usually during this training period, an Apprentice discovered information concerning a Templar agent operating in the area. The assassination of the agent would mark the completion of their training and promotion to the rank of Master Assassin, and their training and experience allowed them to subsequently defend their Dens from any further attack attempts by the Templars.
Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
- Each Apprentice's appearance and name was randomized. However, their gender was dependant on the location of the map from which they were recruited.
- When sending Apprentices on a mission, even when the odds of success were 100%, it could sometimes fail regardless, and the Assassins used for that contract could be lost.
- Assassin's Creed: Project Legacy included several memories that corresponded to the guild contracts in Brotherhood.
- An Apprentice, Vitellozzo Vitelli, shared the name with an Italian condottiero, who was also a friend of Bartolomeo d'Alviano.
- When managing contracts in the Tiber Island hideout or via pigeon coops, the map of Europe featured modern political boundaries.
- Though a recruit received white robes when they reached the rank of Assassino, any changes made to their outfit color before attaining the maximum rank would still be visible on the underside of their capes.
- If both an Assassin and Ezio attempted to assassinate the same target, they would both appear to leap on him in high profile, but Ezio would then promptly teleport onto the next closest guard, killing him as well.
- It was possible to kill Apprentices with the Apple of Eden if they were caught within the affected area.
- Apprentices could sometimes be heard saying "Requiescat in pace," among other such phrases to dead enemies whenever a skirmish was won.
- Apprentices received no damage from falling, and if a guard or Ezio pushed an Apprentice into water, they would not die, but simply return to the Tiber Island hideout.
- Even if all the recruited Apprentices were normally female, the recruits in the memory "Exit Stage Right" always appeared as male.
- The Apprentices would never travel alongside Ezio. Once all the targets in the area were dead, they would run out of sight and vanish.
- Even if all other Apprentices had achieved the rank of Assassino, during the initiation ceremony, all of them would appear to wear their recruit attire.
- When an Apprentice died, Ezio could approach them, and there would be a "close eyes" option. Following this, Ezio would then kneel down and close the eyes of the Apprentice, as a sign of their last rites.
- Although there was no Hidden Gun visible on their wrists, the Apprentices had the ability to use them in combat.
Assassin's Creed: Revelations
- The appearance of the Apprentices in Assassin's Creed: Revelations could be customized further by allowing them to wear hoods and masks. The mask could not be worn without the hood, however. The hair color of females would also change if their uniform color was changed too.
- If a recruit was raised to the rank of Master Assassin, they would not die in battle. Instead, they would be "injured" and were unavailable for combat or missions for 20 minutes.
- Seven out of thirteen available Apprentices could attain the rank of Master Assassin, since it was dependant on the number of Assassin Dens in Constantinople. Elevating an Apprentice to the rank of Master Assassin involved completing a two-part mission for each Apprentice, in which they eventually eliminated a Templar agent.
- Unlike in Brotherhood, only one assassination of a Templar agent, Vali cel Tradat, was essential to completing the single-player campaign in Revelations.
- The initiation ceremony was no longer present, even when an Apprentice attained the Master Assassin rank.
- Once an Apprentice had been called and had dispatched nearby guards, they would always run towards the nearest Assassin Den.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Assassin's Creed
- ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Assassin's Creed: Project Legacy
- ↑ 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 4.14 4.15 4.16 Assassin's Creed: Revelations
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Assassin's Creed II