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The Battle of Forlì was a military conflict fought between the Templar forces of Rodrigo Borgia, commanded by the Orsi brothers, and troops of Caterina Sforza, Countess of Forlì, supported by Assassins during the year 1488.
Shelter in the Wetlands
Planning the protection
- Mario: "Take this to Forlì. The citadel is walled, protected by cannons -- and our ally controls it."
- Ezio: "Who is this ally?"
- Mario: "Her name is Caterina Sforza."
- Ezio: "You don't say... I think I might enjoy this mission."
- —Mario to Ezio on where to take the Apple, Venice 1488.[src]
After preventing the Templar Grand Master Rodrigo Borgia from obtaining the Apple of Eden in Venice, and the induction of Ezio Auditore into the Assassin Order, Ezio, Mario Auditore and Niccolò Machiavelli met with the inventor Leonardo da Vinci, with the hope that he might be able to shed some light upon the nature of the artifact.
Leonardo, fascinated by the Apple, explained he knew little more of it than the Assassins themselves. He derived that it was fabricated with materials that shouldn't exist, and yet was an ancient artifact. Mario then claimed that the Codex referred to it as a "Piece of Eden". Ezio then interrupted, stating that Rodrigo referred to it as "the Apple".
Leonardo then speculated that this might be referring to Adam and Eve's Apple, of forbidden knowledge. Leonardo asked Ezio if he was suggesting they were connected. Neither confirming nor denying this, Ezio touched the Apple.
The Apple immediately reacted with his DNA and cause the entire room to be filled with a blinding light, and images of the future. Causing confusion and pain to everyone except for Leonardo, Ezio stopped it once more with the touch of his hand.
After inadvertently witnessing the Apple's power, Leonardo proclaimed that if the artifact fell into the wrong hands, the results could prove evidently disastrous. Mario, however, knew it had to be protected.
He thought it best to hide the Piece of Eden within the city of Forlì, where a powerful ally of the Assassins reigned; Caterina Sforza, an old acquaintance of Ezio. Informing Ezio of this plan, he explained the city was walled and protected by cannons. Ezio expressed his joy with this plan, and prepared to depart for Forlì.
Escort to the conflict
- Civilian: "They came as soon as you left the city walls, Signora. The city is under attack!"
- Caterina: "What!? By who!?"
- Civilian: "The Orsi brothers, Signora."
- Caterina: "Aw, sangue di Giuda! (God damn it!)"
- —A civilian informing Caterina of the attack, Romanga 1488.[src]
Accompanied by Machiavelli, Ezio met up with Caterina, who was surprised to hear of Ezio's allegiances to the Assassins, even claiming she knew there was something special about him when they first met. Escorted by the city guards, Caterina, Machiavelli and Ezio made their way to the city. As they did, Caterina claiming that the Apple would be safe in Forlì.
As they walked Ezio complimented Caterina on ruling her own city, remarking it was very impressive. Caterina agreed, but reminded him it was once her husband, before he passed away. Ezio offered his condolences, however Caterina simply told not to, as she had him killed.
Surprised by this, Machiavelli explained that Girolamo was affiliated with the Templars, and was making a map on the remaining codex pages. Caterina then expressed her loathing for her ex-husband, pointing out various flaws. As they made their way towards the city however, they found the townspeople fleeing from an unknown hostile force.
When Caterina asked one of the fleeing civilians who was attacking, she was given the names Checco and Ludovico Orsi, the men she had hired to kill her husband. They had invaded and taken control of much of the city.
Fearing the worst for her children, the party made their way to the city with haste, but was blocked from entry, for the city gates were locked. Ezio asked if there was another way into the city, and Caterina replied that there was a secret entrance.
She instructed Ezio to swim under the city drain and open the gates once he got inside. As he made his way into the city, Caterina threw insults at the Orsi brothers, shouting and screaming at them with vulgar taunts.
After making his way through the city, avoiding open conflict, Ezio managed to scale the walls, and dispatch any Borgia invaders that challenged him, and eventually opened the gates for Caterina and her bodyguards, allowing them to retake the city.
Defending the Citadel
- "Reinforcements from the mountains! They are breaching the citadel!"
- ―One of Caterina's guard screaming of the Orsi's reinforcements, 1488.[src]
Ezio, opening the gates with Machiavelli and Caterina, made their way to the citadel. Ezio then performed a leap of faith to join the skirmish. There they fought off the Templars attacking. Though several times they were ambushed Ezio and Machiavelli both managed to protect Caterina. As they reached the inner citadel, Caterina went on to check on her children.
She noticed that two of her children, Ottaviano and Bianca were missing. The servant informed her that the two were playing outside during the attack, and feared the worst. Before Caterina spoke, a guard posted on the city walls bellowed that the Orsi were bringing reinforcement from the mountains, and are breaching the citadel.
- "Caterina! Caterina Sforza! I know you're in there! I have something you may want back! Are you missing any children?"
- ―Checco Orsi calling out to Caterina.[src]
Caterina told Ezio to stop them from breaching the citadel. Preparing for combat, Ezio, Caterina and Machiavelli fought off the invaders as they made their way into the citadel. After fending off most of the attackers, Caterina heard some very familiar voices.
Looking outside the citadel, Caterina saw it was the Orsi brothers, accompanied by their infantry of Borgia soldiers. Checco then claimed that he had something she may want back, informing her that the children were with them. The two were also surprised to see Ezio, and introduced themselves to the Assassin.
Caterina insulted them and demanded her children be released, and the Orsi brothers claimed that they would be freed once Caterina handed over her husband's map. During this exchange, an unknown monk watched from the back of the Orsi's armed band.
Caterina refused to surrender the map, and even went as far as to say that the Orsi can have her children, stating that she has "the instrument to make more". Knowing that Caterina would inevitably change her mind, the Orsi brothers claimed that she had one hour before they killed them. After this, the brothers and their men retreated to the countryside.
Caterina cried out of concern for her children. Ezio told Caterina that he couldn't let her make that sacrifice, and Caterina replied that there would be no sacrifices and asked Ezio get them back for her. Ezio agreed and gave Caterina the Apple of Eden, stating that it needed to remain safe in the citadel. He then departed to rescue her children.
Dealing with the Orsi
- "The Maestro gains his prize, because of me..."
- ―Ludovico Orsi's last words after Ezio slays him.[src]
With two of Sforza's children still in Orsi hands, Ezio was tasked with their liberation. The Assassin overpowered the guard detail assigned to imprison Bianca, who directed Ezio to her brother Ottaviano.
As Bianca fled back to the city, Ezio made his way the lighthouse upon which Ottaviano was being held by Ludovico himself. Climbing the tower, Ezio dispatched Ludovico and rescued Ottaviano, though not before learning that the distraction of the captured siblings had allowed the brothers to steal the Apple.
Hurrying back to the citadel, Ezio learned that Ludovico's jeering had been true, and that Checco had acquired the Apple; Ezio swiftly tracked down and killed him.
Retrieving the Apple, Ezio failed to notice that Checco had stabbed him in the abdomen. Injured, Ezio collapsed to the floor, the Apple rolling from his hand.
Before losing consciousness Ezio saw a monk with a missing finger pick up the Apple and walk away, despite Ezio's warnings against doing so. The battle was over, and the city remained under the control of Caterina Sforza.
The hunt for the monk
Woken in a daze
- "He wore a black robe. Like a monk... And I think... a missing finger? Sì! Caterina, I have to go - right away!"
- ―Ezio after waking up.[src]
In the battle's aftermath, Forlì guards scouting the area found Ezio, barely alive. They brought him back to the city, where Caterina personally nursed him back to health.
When Ezio regained consciousness, he told her what had happened, and she suggested that he head for an abbey in the wetlands where he might find some clues to the monk's identity, and also gave Ezio the map, since he would need to find it to find the remaining Codex pages in order to determine the location of the Vault. With that, Ezio thanked Caterina for her help, and departed.
Search for the monk
- Abbot: "Unholy demon! Get away!"
- Ezio: "What's wrong?"
- Abbot: "You're the one who killed Brother Stefano! Brothers! The killer of the monks has returned!"
- —Abbot expressing great fear when Ezio arrived.[src]
Ezio headed to the abbey, where he found an Irish priest, Brother O'Callahan being roughed up by Borgia thugs. After helping the priest defeat his attackers, Ezio was able to inquire as to the identity of the monk with the missing finger. O'Callahan replied that he didn't know, but suggested that Ezio might gain more information at the abbey within Forlì.
Returning to the city, Ezio went to the Abbey and was about to make inquiries when one of the priests present recognized him as Stefano da Bagnone's killer nine years previous. The man fled, but Ezio caught up and tackled him. Ezio managed to convince the monk that Stefano's death had been justified, since Ezio only slew those who deserved death, then asked for the identity of the monk.
The priest identified the monk as Brother Savonarola, but insisted that he had retired to a hermitage. Ezio replied that Savonarola had left and asked where he might have gone; the priest suggested he might have returned to the place where he studied; Santo Spirito, in Florence.