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Database: Opia Apito

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Born: around 1695
Died: Unknown

Born in Cuba, Assassin bureau leader Opía Apito was raised Taíno, among her mother's people, never knowing her father, a Spaniard.

At twelve, her village was raided by the Spanish. Most of her community was kidnapped and killed. But Opía, the lone free survivor, fought and ran. She survived in hiding for close to a decade.

Much of what we know of Opía is inseparable from legend. Her name, possibly self-given, is an amalgam of the Taíno words for "eternity" and "ghost." She claimed to be a direct descendant of the warrior, Hatuey, who stood against the Spanish in the 16th Century. She was guided throughout her life by the mantra, Aji aya bom -- better dead than a slave.

In her early twenties, she was hired by the Assassins as a guide, and was soon adopted into their ranks. She delighted in a characteristic Taíno approach to strategy: preferring to harm the enemy by taking something from him in battle, that he might live to notice it missing. But as an Assassin she did not shrink from violence.

True to her name, once promoted to Assassin Bureau leader, she built an agile and highly effective "ghost" bureau near the Cayman Islands, with virtually no physical footprint to speak of. We might regard it today as an early example of a terrorist cult, but she left no records and no descendants, and until now, history has held no record of it.

(I also found speculation that her father was the adventurer, Alejandro Marquez, which would have made her a sister to Lucia Marquez. -JM)

(Can we verify that? And what about the Hatuey connection? -ML)

(Almost none of this is verifiable. Half the books report the Taíno as "extinct" by this time. But their present-day descendants beg to differ. -JM)

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