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- "You too must learn to blend like us: seen, but unseen."
- ―Paola, owner of La Rosa Colta, to Ezio Auditore, 1476.[src]
The Courtesans were one of the four factions allied to the Assassin Order, with the other three being the Thieves, Mercenaries and Romanies. They usually aided the Order by collecting information from clients, or by acting as distractions and allowing allies to slip into restricted areas.
Florentine courtesans were led by Paola, Venetian courtesans were led by Teodora Contanto, and Roman courtesans were led by Claudia Auditore, who took over after the death of the previous owner of the brothel, madonna Solari.
Though courtesans were mainly based in brothels within a city, many were known to stand along the streets – usually in groups of four – to entice customers. Each possessed a standard style of dress and hairstyle, as was deemed appropriate for those in their profession at the time.
After the execution of Giovanni, Federico and Petruccio, Ezio Auditore da Firenze sought sanctuary with Paola and her courtesans, who taught him how to conceal himself in a crowd, pick pockets, and be "seen, but unseen" as they were.
Afterwards, Ezio hired courtesans to distract the guards and allow his family to escape the city, and would continue to use their services from then on, usually instructing them to seduce a group of nearby guards in order to allow him to slip past unseen. Alternatively, they would follow Ezio along the streets, concealing him among them by walking around him in a diamond formation, in a similar manner to how Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad blended with scholars.
Upon traveling to Rome, Ezio aided the courtesans by funding the renovations for their main brothel, the Rosa in Fiore, as well as renovating smaller brothels throughout the city. After his sister took over Rosa in Fiore's administration, he volunteered to teach the girls several skills.
Courtesans could not perform any sort of free-running, and were usually unarmed, though in the cases where they were, they carried knives and bladed fans. Should they be discovered aiding Ezio in attempting to infiltrate a guarded area, the courtesans were usually attacked mercilessly, and killed very quickly in the fight.
If Ezio encountered a group of guards while walking with the courtesans, two of them would leave the group to distract the enemies, while the other two stayed with Ezio, in order to maintain the blend and help keep him anonymous. This behavior was very helpful in assassination missions where the target walked among civilians.
The courtesans in Rome acted much as they did in other cities, however, after Ezio had allied himself to their guild for some time, the girls he hired were able to poison any enemies they were instructed to distract.
- Main article: La Rosa Colta
- Main article: La Rosa della Virtù
- Main article: Rosa in Fiore
- Madonna Solari - Former owner of the Rosa in Fiore, killed by slave traders working for the Borgia.
- Fiora Cavazza - A courtesan working for the Solari, who eventually entered the service of Cesare Borgia.
- Giuletta - A traitorous courtesan who traded information about the Assassins to a Borgia contact.
- Lucia - A courtesan who accompanied Fiora and Santino Solari on one of his business outings, along with being kidnapped by slave traders alongside madonna Solari later on. She was sent back to alert the other girls of the ransom for Solari.
- Mina - A victim of the Templar Malfatto, a rogue doctor that preyed on courtesans. Ezio Auditore found her being mourned by her friend in a back alley of Rome.
- The "Red Light Addict" achievement could be gained by spending 5000 florins on hiring courtesans. One group of courtesans costs 150 florins, which meant that approximately 34 groups must be hired.
- A courtesan's appearance had five randomly generated options: hair, face, dress color, necklace and sleeves.
- A glitch could be encountered with a group of hired courtesans outside of Forlì, where one of them became stuck and separated from the rest of the group, along with the remaining three not activating any blending effects until Ezio approached the lost courtesan's perimeter and entered into the middle of the group.
- In Assassin's Creed II, if Ezio hired a courtesan group and then immediately attacked guards, the courtesans might draw weapons and fight the guards with him.
- Should one of the courtesans in a group fall into water, the remaining three would continue to activate the blending effect without her, indicating that the death of one courtesan was similar to when two left the group to distract passing guards.
- Courtesans could not be killed or grabbed by Ezio.
- The Assassin's Creed II memory "Fitting In" was the only one where Ezio could beat up, pickpocket and grab courtesans.
- During the memory "Carnevale", courtesans appeared in the streets wearing masks.
- In Monteriggioni, after renovating the brothel, random courtesans appeared to walk in the streets. However, Ezio was unable to hire them.
- They no longer appeared during the early scenes of Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, except for one who appeared behind Ezio as he was leaving the hidden tunnel from Monteriggioni.
- In Brotherhood, if a civilian you stole from prepared to have a fistfight with Ezio, the courtesans he had hired would sometimes go and fight them instead, knocking them out with only two punches.
- In Assassin's Creed: Revelations, courtesans were replaced by the Romani, as they were not accepted in Ottoman-Byzantine society.
- In Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, courtesans reappear in the form of "Dancers" which acted as prostitutes the new world and the Caribbean Sea.