I was astounded, yet very much honored, when the Lord Captain approached me. After all, his reputation as a loyal servant of the Crown of Aragon was second to none, while I, on the other hand, was little known, even in my hometown of Epila.
It all became clear when the Lord Captain revealed that he was a member of the Order I so proudly served, and asked me, a man of letters, to validate the rumors he had heard.
With the assistance of his retinue, I began to investigate, confident I would find the answers he sought amongst Barcelona's cultured elite.
Of all the valiant men and women of out company, only the Lord Captain and I were brother Templars. And no one, not even the Lord Captain's most trusted advisors, could ever know our secret. Our Mission into Italia depended on it!
The Lord Captain was a man both driven and devoted, but more importantly he was a born diplomat. Still, in order to prove his worth to his Excellency, the King, he needed the sucor of all able men and women of his newly formed company.
And so the Lord Captain pitted us against the other great lords of Aragon and their servants in a battle which went far beyond proper courtly etiquette.
In Valencia, the Lord Captain appointed me guardian of a young man named Adrià, the son of a Catalan nobleman who would accompany us on our journey. The morning chill had not yet vanished when Adriá and I boarded the vessel which would bring the Lord Captain's company to Italia.
To our surprise, Brother Ristoro, a zealous priest who was journeying aboard the same vessel, told us that we were no longer welcomed aboard. Fortunately, the Lord Captain stepped in to confront the priest.
Città Stato d'ItaliaEdit
We were careful to avoid detection as we made our way to Siena. After docking in a secluded, coastal village, we eventually stopped in Gavorrano. We did not expect to find trouble in this quaint little place, but troubled found us.
The condottiero Micheletto Corella was already in town, and his scouts had espied our arrival. Corella and the Lord Captain, I learned, knew each other well. Perhaps too well. There was a great rivalry between the two, yet they called each other brothers. This came as a surprise to me, for I did not know Micheletto was a Templar, like the Lord Captain and I.
Yet, for reasons unbeknown to me at the time, Corella's men ambushed us!
I count myself fortunate, for the men and women of the Lord Captain's company are both brave and capable, as much in war as in the art of politics.
It was on the third day of our visit to Siena that the Pazzis, one of the most powerful and influential families in Tuscana, agreed to see the Lord Captain.
The engagement lasted long into the night, and despite the fact that Vieri de' Pazzi and the Lord Captain were part of the same Order, it took the collective efforts of everyone in the company to win the respect and, more importantly, the trust of the Pazzi family.
Monteriggioni: By the BookEdit
From our encounter with the Pazzi family, we learned that the Lord of Monteriggioni was suspected of being an enemy of the Order both the Lord Captain and I secretly served.
It thus came to no surprise when the Lord Captain commanded us to investigate the matter.
In the fortified town of Monteriggioni, I did not expect to be pitted against some of the greatest scholars in Italia.
However, I must admit I was glad to meet, amongst others, the astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus.
San Gimignano: Aiming for the StarsEdit
The Lord Captain learned many secrets from the scholars in Monteriggioni.
Most of these secrets I did not understand myself.
One night, by the fire, the Lord Captain revealed to me, his most devoted servant, that he would soon have the means to make our Order even stronger, in the lands of Aragón and beyond.
The following day, we entered San Gimignano, where we were greeted by the thespian Pietro Rossi.
Our long journey to Pisa was uneventful, but it was on our way there that the Lord Captain deemed it wise to explain to me the true purpose of our secret Mission into Italia.
He was searching for an ancient relic, an object so powerful it would double the strength of our great Order—provided we could locate it. It was for this reason that he asked me to be Adrià's guardian, for he believed the young man could help us in our quest.
More to the matter, it was the very reason which brought us to Pisa, where we met some of the most learned men in the world.
Our great company had been entrusted with the secret task of promoting the political and economic interest of the Crown of Aragón throughout the lands of Italia, but the Lord Captain also had another agenda: To win the favor of the greatest and most influential men of the land, and bolster the strength of the Order we both served.
Few in our company were aware of this, but I suspected that some amongst us were secretly conspiring against the Lord Captain, and thus against the Order.
My suspicions were confirmed when La Volpe confronted us in Firenze. Someone close to the Lord Captain had betrayed us!
Our Mission to Italia had thus far been fruitful, but there was yet much work to be done.
In Tuscana, we had learned that our Order was strong, despite its occasional dispute amongst its members. However, to secure the Order's position there were many potential allies who needed to be rallied.
It was principally for this reason that the Lord Captain attended a great feast in Vernio.
Reggio Emilia: Now HiringEdit
I had been wondering why the Lord Captain had sworn to help the Countess of Forlì.
No doubt Lady Sforza had something—a vital piece of information, perhaps—that the Lord Captain sought.
When we arrived in Reggio Emilia and met Gaspar de la Croix, Master Engineer, I began to understand the Lord Captain's reasoning: If he could convince de la Croix to help Forlì in its hour of need, then the Master Engineer's secrets would be revealed to us—and to our Order.
All that needed to be done now was make sure Master de la Croix would cooperate...
Armed with the knowledge gained by the Master Engineer, we returned to Forlì to help secure the town's precarious defenses.
We barely had time to prepare, for on the fourth morning, at dawn, the alarm sounded. A great host laid siege to the city, and it was up to us to defend it—or die trying. Fortunately, there are many paths to victory...
I never learned the secrets the Lord Captain uncovered from the Lady Sforza, or what favors she agreed to bestow upon him, but as soon as the siege of Forlì ended, our commander urged us to Ravenna. No doubt, the Lord Captain had discovered some kind of clue that would bring us closer to the forgotten relic he had mentioned.
Unfortunately, Bartolomeo d'Alviano, the infamous condottiero, was waiting for us outside of Ravenna. Had we been betrayed by the Lady Sforza? Or were the Brotherhood's spies as effective as I had feared?
Regardless of how the condottiero had learned about our journey to Ravenna, we now needed to deal with his unlikely troops: a few militants who seemed eager to support him.
The Inquisitor blatantly accused the Lord Captain of heresy.
The charge came not only as a complete surprise, but indeed as an appalling and hurtful blow. Yet again was proof that the members of our secret Order were conspiring against their fellow brothers.
If only they understood that it is through unity that the Order of the Knights Templar will endure! We had enough enemies to deal with without bickering amongst ourselves.
Fortunately, by now we knew how to deal with the likes of the Inquisitor!
After our brush with the Inquisitor of Venezia, we were betrayed once more.
This time, the betrayal came not from fellow Templars, but by one who undoubtedly walked amongst us. There was no other explanation! I had not yet been able to identify the Judas, but I vowed there and then to uncover him, whatever the cost.
Because of this traitor, the scourge of Venezia, who were clearly in league with our Enemies, did everything in their power to stop us. Their leader, Antonio de Magianis, proved to be a worthy adversary.
We were on our way to Roma when the Lord Captain further explained why he had appointed me the guardian of the young Adrià: The Catalan youth was not only well learned, but he would be able to help us identify the relic we sought, and perhaps even help us understand its workings.
No wonder the youth was so dear in the eyes of the Lord Captain.
I was contemplating these matters when the troops of Cesare Borgia intercepted us.
This time, we had to prove that we were worthy of an appointment with the Pope.
After an uphill battle with Lia de Russo, she promised that she would speak on our behalf to the Roman nobility.
We had not yet reached Roma, but everyone in the company understood that our journey would soon be at an end.
I was still trying to uncover the traitor who hid amongst us, but to no avail. He was laying low.
As time went on, I began to fear the betrayer was an Assassin. And not just any Assassin, but a master! No one else could have deceived the Lord Captain for so long a time.
When we arrived in L'Aquila, we had other matters to attend, for we now faced one of the most fearsome man in Italia: Cesare himself, Captain General of the Papal Guard.
Following our encounter with Cesare Borgia, we entered Roma. At last!
The Lord Captain was confident that he would find his precious relic in the Vaticano District, perhaps even within the very walls of the Cappella Sistina.
How he came to this information, I can only speculate, but I was certain—as certain as I was of Aragón—that the Lord Captain was right.
Meeting Rodrigo Borgia, the Bishop of Roma, was a grand affair.
At the appointed time, we met her at the Rosa in Fiore, but fell into an ambush!
The courtesans betrayed us! Worse still, they were working with Assassins!
It was when the fiends revealed themselves that Adrià, my ward, turned against us. At last the traitor in our midst had revealed himself!
And so began the most formidable battle I had ever fought.
Constantinople: Facing the MusicEdit
I was now fortunate enough to be the Lord Captain's right-hand man, but the treacherous youth Adrià, of whom I had been appointed guardian at the beginning of our journey, had escaped during our confrontation with the Assassins in Roma.
The days of our humble company, however, were far from over, and every one of us would gladly follow the Lord Captain wherever he would lead; although, to be fair, none amongst us had expected to travel so far east when we first left our beloved Kingdom of Aragón, months hence.
After a long sea voyage, we finally set foot in the great port city of Constantinople, Pride of the East.
The locals did not make us feel welcomed, but fortunately for us we had the wise Lord Captain to guide us.
We knew we would not fail!
--Ece Ashkar, Assassin
Our city is in turmoil following a great tremor, one more massive than any man now living can remember. It began suddenly, like the coming of a rolling nausea, leaving Konstantiniyye weak, legless, and crippled. Thousands are dead; many more are homeless. Hundreds of buildings and dozens of mosques have been damaged, with Bayezid's signature glory showing the worst of it.
And even now, three weeks after the event, the earth still shakes from time to time. It reminds us of its power, teasing us. Muslims, Christians, and Jews alike are calling this "Little Judgment Day," though each has his own private idea about the exact target of God's wrath.
Meanwhile we Assassins concern ourselves with more parochial matters. From the first day, Yusuf Tazim has led our efforts to feed and shelter those who cannot do so for themselves. But only today we learned some troubling news - unusually large numbers of mercenaries have appeared in the city with the intent, out sources tell us, of launching an attack on our waterfront headquarters in Galata.
Yusuf has taken it upon himself to fortify and expand our secondary location near the tower, while the rest of us prepare for battle, taking pains to warn and protect the innocents who will be caught in this fight. But who is behind this unprovoked attack? And what do they hope to gain? It is hard to imagine they are not aware of the full strength of our Order within the Sultan's empire. But only time and shed blood will tell.