- "The Assassins claim they protect the innocents. Let us show them that their actions have consequences. Arrest everyone! Burn all the ships to ashes and find me the Assassin!"
- ―Qiu Ju after the murder of Yu Dayong, 1526.[src]
The Chinese Rite of the Templar Order, also known as the Shanghai Rite in the years leading up to the Chinese Civil War, is the rite of the Templar Order in operation in China since at least the Qin dynasty.
During that first imperial dynasty, the Templars were allies of the first Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, helping him consolidate his power over China. Despite the first emperor's death at the hands of Assassins, the Chinese Rite continued to operate in the empire well into the Ming dynasty, when it became immensely powerful through its influence over the regime's rulers such as the Yongle Emperor and the Jiajing Emperor. Their grip over the Chinese government allowed them to enact multiple purges on the Chinese Brotherhood of Assassins throughout this period. Under the Jiajing Emperor, the Templar eunuchs known as the Eight Tigers dealt a particularly vicious blow, exterminating their archenemies down to a lone Assassin: Shao Jun.
Nevertheless, their foes were restored to their former prominence thanks to Jun's efforts, and their secret war over China persisted into the 20th century. Led by Sun Yat-sen, the founder of the Nationalist Party of China, until his death in 1925, the Shanghai Rite struggled to maintain their hold over the nation when it splintered into warlordism. Against the protests of Sun's wife, Soong Ching-ling, the rite placed their hopes in Chiang Kai-shek only to have their invitation rejected by the Nationalist military leader who desired to bring the country under his own, personal rule.
Manipulating the emperors
In the 3rd century BCE, Chinese Templars supported the reign of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of Imperial China under the Qin Dynasty, and his Templar backing ensured the realization of his reforms and constructions, such as the Great Wall of China. The Emperor was later killed by the Assassin Wei Yu in 210 BCE.
Purging the Chinese Assassins
In 1402, the Templars played a key role in the ascension of the Yongle Emperor, who started his reign with a purge of the Chinese Brotherhood, resulting in the deaths of thousands of Chinese citizens including the Assassin leader Fang Xiaoru. In 1424, one of the purge's survivors, the Assassin Li Tong, killed the Emperor in the Gobi Desert.
The Eight Tigers' rule
By the reign of the Zhengde Emperor, the Chinese imperial court was ruled by the Eight Tigers, a group of powerful Templar eunuchs. In 1524, after Zhengde was succeeded by the puppet Jiajing Emperor, the Templars manipulated him into initiating an operation which would eventually purge nearly all of the Chinese Assassin Brotherhood. The Tigers managed to capture the old Assassin stronghold at the Maijishan Grottoes and used it as a prison. Subsequently, the Templars sent squads of Chinese soldiers to hunt down the few survivors who had fled and were scattered throughout the world, even to Europe where they successfully killed the Chinese Assassin Mentor, Zhu Jiuyuan.
Two years later, the surviving Assassin Shao Jun, returned to China to rebuild her Brotherhood and exact revenge on the Tigers, tracking them one by one. Along with her old Mentor and one of the last Chinese Assassin survivors, Wang Yangming, they constructed a plan to deceive the Templars into imprisoning Jun through the Precursor box. The Tiger Gao Feng, who controlled the prison recovered the artifact, from Shao Jun but was later killed by the Assassin. During this time, Yangming assassinated another Tiger, Ma Yongcheng. However, the Assassins failed to retrieve the box, as it had already been passed on to the Tiger Yu Dayong.
However, the Assassins managed to locate the box in Macau and kill Yu Dayong. The Tiger Qiu Ju witnessed the assassination and set fire to the docks in an attempt to stop Shao Jun. Three years later, Jun traveled to Nan'an to eliminate Wei Bin, the Tiger in charge of the Assassin purge. Aware of the identity of Wang Yangming, the remaining Templars led by the Tiger leader Zhang Yong orchestrated his death, while Jun was preoccupied with Wei Bin's assassination. Zhang Yong escaped in time after Jun witnessed her Mentor's murder. By 1530, Zhang Yong and Qiu Ju discovered Jun's childhood friendship with the Empress Zhang and used her to trap the Assassin. However, while Zhang Yong was able to escape, Qiu Ju was killed by Jun.
In 1532, Zhang Yong allied with the Mongols of Altan Khan, orchestrating a plan to let his army invade China. His plans were destroyed by Jun and he himself was assassinated among the chaos of bombardment from the infuriated Mongols. He revealed that he had already sent the Precursor box to other Templars outside China. Nonetheless, his death marked the end of the Eight Tigers' rule.
Golden Age of Piracy
Chinese Templars engaged in piracy during the 18th century, such as Jing Lang who was considered as the "Queen of Pirates". She also manipulated the Nassau-based Caribbean Assassin Vance Travers to steal a treasure map from his brother, Upton. Jing's plans were impeded by the latter and Edward Kenway, leading to her demise.
- "If they want to come here and see all the squabbling nation-states we have to deal with... the warlords in the countryside -- the communists and gangsters in the back alleys... let them see how bloody easy it is to keep order in this cesspool, I say!"
- ―Master Coxworth regarding the difficulties of the Rite in the early 20th century.[src]
In 1927, tensions were growing between the Chinese Templars and the Inner Sanctum, due to their inability to appease the growing conflict between the Chinese Communist Party and the government of the Nationalists following the death of the Grand Master, Sun Yat-sen.
At the time led by the Shanghai Rite and Stirling Fessenden, the Chinese accepted the pact made between their leaders and General Chiang Kai-shek; in exchange for their support, he would join them as their new Grand Master. To conclude the deal, the young British Darius Gift was sent to unknowingly deliver his late father's Grand Master ring to Chiang while the feared Black Cross was also sent to eliminate Chiang's enemies.
While the Order intent was to make sure that through Chiang, peace would be restored in China under their rule, the General betrayed them, having no intent to share his power with the Templars. Indeed, during their meeting, the General revealed to a dumbfounded Fessenden that he used the Templar all along, before launching a purge against the communists with the help of Du Yuesheng and his gang.
- Sun Yat-sen (Grand Master; ?-1925)
- Soong Ching-ling
- Stirling Fessenden (Grand Master; 1925-?)
Allies and puppets
- Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood – Rifts (first appearance)
- Assassin's Creed Chronicles: China
- Assassin's Creed Templars Volume 1: Black Cross
Notes and references
- ↑ Assassin's Creed Templars Volume 1: Black Cross
- ↑ Assassin's Creed Encyclopedia
- ↑ Assassin's Creed II
- ↑ Assassin's Creed: Revelations – Discover Your Legacy
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Assassin's Creed Chronicles: China
- ↑ Assassin's Creed: Embers
- ↑ Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 Assassin's Creed: Templars