- "My dear, tenacious daughter, I want nothing more than to be close to you again. But this colony is my place now. The people here need me. Nouvelle Orleans (New Orleans) will always be haunted."
- ―Jeanne to Aveline, 1772.[src]
Jeanne (fl. c. 1725 – 1772) was a former slave and the first, if not legally recognized, wife of the wealthy French merchant Philippe de Grandpré, with whom she had a daughter, the Assassin Aveline de Grandpré. She is an ancestor to "Subject 1" of the Animus Project.
Captured by slavers at the age of five, Jeanne was sold to a plantation owner in Saint-Domingue, where she came into contact with François Mackandal, a revolutionary disruptor and Assassin. Although she was fond of his pupil Agaté, Jeanne soon grew frightened of the Brotherhood's violent ways.
In 1744, she was sold to Philippe de Grandpré and brought to New Orleans. Becoming Philippe's placée bride, Jeanne came to love her husband and had a daughter with him, whom they named Aveline. Her relationship with Philippe became strained, however, when he married Madeleine de L'Isle in 1752.
Five years later, Jeanne fled New Orleans, believing the Assassins would come for her, as she had previously stolen a valuable artifact of theirs. With the aid of Madeleine, she was transported to a slave worksite in Mexico, where Mayan ruins, believed to hold artifacts from the time of the First Civilization, were being excavated.
- "Did Agaté kill? For what freedom? Now I wonder. What will Mackandal ask of me in return for book and lessons?"
- ―Jeanne reflecting in her diary on the Assassin Brotherhood.[src]
Born around 1725, Jeanne was captured by slavers and taken from her homeland, the West Coast of Africa, at the age of five. Brought to the Americas, she was then sold to the owner of a plantation on Saint-Domingue, a colony situated on the island of Hispaniola. There, she met two other slaves, Baptiste and Agaté, the latter of which she came to love.
In 1732, the trio became pupils of François Mackandal, who taught them to read and write. Unbeknownst to Jeanne, Baptiste and Agaté were also trained to wield weapons and craft poison, in preparation for their induction into the Assassin Order. Upon her discovery of the Brotherhood's violent ways, she grew frightened of Mackandal, fearing what he would ask of her in return for the lessons.
Baptiste and Agaté officially joined the Assassin Brotherhood in 1738 and subsequently fled the plantation with their Mentor, while Jeanne was left behind, as she refused to ally herself with the Assassins. However, prior to their departure, she had stolen a valuable possession of theirs – a fragment of a First Civilization artifact she called the "Heart of the Brotherhood". This act would instill a permanent sense of paranoia in Jeanne, as she would dread the Assassins' potential retaliation from then on.
Marriage to Philippe
- "Your father made me free, but I could never be free in Nouvelle Orleans (New Orleans). Not with the Assassins watching."
- ―Jeanne to Aveline on her fear of the Assassins, 1772.[src]
Much to Jeanne's relief, she was purchased by Philippe de Grandpré in 1744, allowing her to escape the colony of Saint-Domingue. On the voyage back to Louisiana, she was often paid intimate visits at night by Philippe. Although conflicted, Jeanne was grateful for the kindness and affection with which he treated her and gradually grew closer to the merchant.
On 7 May 1746, Philippe proposed to Jeanne, asking her to become his placée, to which she accepted. The following year, their daughter Aveline was born, which led Philippe to have a personal enlightenment; he subsequently granted the two their freedom. With the next few years passing peacefully, Jeanne spent much of her time raising Aveline, who tightly knitted the small family together. Their happiness was further ensured by Philippe's status and wealth, which prevented Jeanne and Aveline from being mistreated by others.
When Philippe's business began to suffer in August 1750, Jeanne tried to reassure her husband that they could get by with less if necessary. Occupied with Aveline as she was, Jeanne failed to notice Philippe being courted by Madeleine de L'Isle, the daughter of a wealthy merchant family, whom he married in 1752 to alleviate his financial troubles. This strained the relationship between Jeanne and Philippe, despite the latter's assurances that nothing need change between them.
The next few years saw Jeanne being employed by Madeleine as her personal handmaid. From 1756 on, the two women interacted more frequently, as Madeleine had become interested in Jeanne's life on Saint-Domingue. With Madeleine often sharing the gossip of traders' wives, Jeanne strained to hear news of the Assassins, but it was not until April 1757 that her deepest fears were realized, when Madeleine mentioned that an individual named Mackandal had reportedly been seen boarding a ship bound for Louisiana.
Fearing for the safety of her daughter, Jeanne decided to leave New Orleans, aided by Madeleine's contacts. With Madeleine promising to take on the responsibility of raising Aveline in the placée's stead, Jeanne fled Louisiana on May 1, 1757, with the intention of returning as soon as she received word that the threat had passed. However, she left the Heart – hidden in a handcrafted locket – with her daughter for safekeeping.
Escape to Chichen Itza
- Aveline: "Are you free here?"
- Jeanne: "No. I traded one enemy for another. And they will not rest until they have what they seek."
- ―Jeanne explaining her place at Chichen Itza and the Templars' pursuit of the Prophecy Disk, 1772.[src]
Though haunted by grief, Jeanne found herself acclimatizing to the settlement at Chichen Itza, which was headed by Rafael Joaquín de Ferrer. She subsequently joined the other workers in the camp's excavation efforts to uncover ancient ruins and artifacts. However, upon discovering that the nature of these relics was similar to that of the Heart, Jeanne grew suspicious of her employers and the dig's true purpose.
However, the overseers remained unaware of Jeanne's concerns and soon promoted her to the position of forewoman. With no word from Madeleine, she continued to labor and eventually discovered a piece of a Prophecy Disk. Sensing the power within, Jeanne decided to hide the shard, to prevent it from falling into the hands of her employers, whom she realized to be a group as sinister as the Assassins. Her efforts at stalling them led de Ferrer to banish her from the community, forcing Jeanne to find a hiding place for herself. By this time, Jeanne also came to realize that she should not have trusted Madeleine, and feared for what she intended to do with Aveline.
In 1769, Jeanne ventured into mines near the settlement and chanced upon Aveline, who had just procured one of the pieces of a Prophecy Disk. Distraught, the former placée's terror grew when she noticed the Hidden Blades her daughter wielded. Believing Aveline had been sent by Agaté to kill her, Jeanne fled the mines, though not before warning her daughter that the Prophecy Disk should never reach Agaté.
However, Jeanne would come to regret the way she had acted, leading her to greet Aveline warmly when the latter returned to Mexico in 1772. Having accepted her daughter for who she was as opposed to her allegiances, Jeanne attempted to explain why she had left all those years ago. She then asked her daughter to retrieve another piece of the Prophecy Disk, so that she could be free from the prying eyes of the Templars.
Aveline agreed and, with the help of Jeanne's map and a canoe, managed to procure the First Civilization artifact, before returning to her mother. When asked to come back to New Orleans, Jeanne refused, as she felt that the city would never be safe for her, and that the community in which she resided needed her more. The two women subsequently said their goodbyes, but promised to stay in contact.
- Jeanne is a French female name ultimately derived from the Hebrew name יוֹחָנָן (Yochanan), meaning "Yahweh is gracious".
- Jeanne kept two diaries throughout her life, in which she chronicled her thoughts. These were later collected and compiled together by Aveline.
- Although Jeanne writes about her suspicions regarding Madeleine's identity as a Templar in one of her diary entries, she, inexplicably, does not share these concerns with her daughter on the two occasions that they meet.