- "Even when your kind appears to triumph ... Still we rise again. And do you know why? It is because the Order is born of a realization. We require no creed. No indoctrination by desperate old men. All we need is that the world be as it is. And this is why the Templars will never be destroyed."
- ―Haytham Kenway, regarding the nature of the Templar Order, 1781.[src]
The Templar Order, also known as the Order of the Knights Templar, is a monastic military order-turned-corporate giant, which was formed during the prehistoric era. The Templars seek to create a perfect world, although their interpretation thereof - emphasizing purpose, order and control, over the freedom of individuals - directly contrasts the ideals of their sworn enemies, the Assassin Order.
Because of this difference in ideology, the Templars became involved in a covert war against the Assassins, spanning millennia and continuing into the modern era.
The organization that would later be known as the Templar Order was likely founded by Cain, whose 'mark' was later adopted as the Templars' crest. Despite their aims being aligned, a difference in ideology quickly led to the Templars becoming an archenemy of the Assassins, who, as opposed to the Templars, sought to allow the people to retain free will.
Aiding the Achaemenid Empire
Assisting Alexander the Great
The Templars' influence reached out to Macedonia, where they succeeded in allying themselves with Alexander the Great. As a symbol of their alliance, the Templars entrusted Alexander with one of the Staves of Eden, which helped Alexander to create one of the largest empires in history and become one of the most successful military commanders. However, Assassin interference resulted in Alexander's poisoning in 323 BCE, by the Babylonian Assassin Iltani.
The Templars also became strong allies of Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China and also the founder of several of China's most famous landmarks. Qin Shi Huang was killed by the Chinese Assassin Wei Yu in 210 BCE.
Infiltrating the Roman Empire
During the Roman era, the Templars heavily influenced and manipulated the leadership of the Roman Empire, namely its emperors and the ruling body, the Senate. Their intervention in the empire's actions was continuously thwarted by the Assassins, however. A notable example of this was the plot against Gaius Julius Caesar, who was heavily influenced by the Templars, who was appointed as a dictator for life. Forty Assassins, most notably Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus, had infiltrated Caesar's inner circle as senators. They planned to assassinate Caesar, a plan which they successfully executed on 15 March 44 BCE. Sometime later, the Templar-allied queen of Egypt, Cleopatra, was killed by the Assassin Amunet in 30 BCE.
Crucifixion of Jesus
During the 1st century, they found out that one of the Pieces of Eden, the Shroud, was in the hands of Jesus Christ. Wanting the Piece for their own purposes, the Templars crucified Jesus in order to gain it.
Retrieving of the Ankh
By 259, the Templars still had positions within the Roman Empire. However, during the same year, the Assassin Aquilus, guided by his father Lucius, had begun taking down a number of Templars, until he got to his third target: the Roman general Gracchus. Being given entrance to Gracchus' military tent, he confronted Aquilus with the information he had gathered on the Assassin's activities. Trying to prevent Aquilus from killing him, Gracchus stabbed Aquilus in the chest; however, the wound was not fatal, and the Romans were quickly attacked by Alamanni.
Around this time, the Roman senator Caïus Fulvus Vultur - a secret Templar - traveled to Lugdunum to meet with his old contact Lucius; at the same time, Aquilus was traveling home to Lugdunum, carrying with him the Ankh, an ancient artifact capable of reviving the dead which Aquilus retrieved from his Alaman cousin Accipiter. Lucius and Aquilus, both unaware of Vultur's affiliations, had Vultur stay in their home temporarily. The same night, Aquilus interrogated the Templar priest Faustin, whom Lucius suspected on having informed Gracchus. Simultaneously, Vultur betrayed Lucius, killing him and taking possession of the Ankh. Faustin revealed Vultur's ties to Aquilus, who rushed back home, only to find his father dead and the Ankh gone.
- "Non nobis Domine, non nobis, sed Nomini Tuo da Gloriam"
"(Not to us God, not to us, but to Your Name Give Glory)"
- ―The motto of the monastic Templar Order[src]
Formation as a Knightly Order
In 1118, Bernard de Clairvaux decided the Templars needed the Church as an ally. He sent nine men to Solomon's Temple: upon their return nine years later, Grand Master Hugues de Payens and Bernard created the Latin Rule, and reorganized the Templars into a public Order of knights, whose apparent sole purpose was to protect pilgrims to the Holy Land.
In the 1129 Council of Troyes, the Order was officially recognized by the church, and in 1139, Pope Innocent II granted them diplomatic immunity in all provinces and territories and exemption from taxes. This allowed the faction to grow in numbers, strength and wealth quickly, and as they became a larger force, their responsibilities increased accordingly: the Order's many members were prominent figures in the Second Crusade.
Quest for the Chalice
In 1190, the Templars had come into possession of a powerful artifact simply known as the Chalice. Hiding it away in the Temple of the Sand, and needing three keys to unlock it. The Assassin Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad managed to obtain the keys and break into the Temple in search of the Chalice. Taking the Chalice back to Tyre, the Templars prepared to set sail with it, however they were again confronted by the Assassin, who managed to kill Lord Basilisk. The Templars, however, succeeded in taking the Chalice.
By 1191, the Templars had come under the leadership of Robert de Sable. The Templars joined in the Third Crusade that was waging in the Holy Land, and De Sable started secretly recruiting men on both sides of the war. Among these were Garnier de Naplouse, William of Montferrat and Sibrand on the Crusader side, and Tamir, Talal, Abu'l Nuqoud, Majd Addin and Jubair al Hakim on the Saracen side. Unknown to the Assassins however, was that Al Mualim, the Mentor himself had joined with the Templar cause, though only as a means to obtain the Apple for himself. These ten men found an Apple of Eden together in Solomon's Temple, and made a few discoveries with it.
When Robert de Sable and a few of his men went to retrieve it from the temple, though, their progress was delayed by a small group of Assassins consisting of Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad and the brothers Malik and Kadar Al-Sayf, who were sent by Al Mualim to retrieve the treasure. Despite Altaïr being routed, Kadar's death, and Malik losing his arm, the artifact was brought into Assassin possession. This event prompted Robert to lead his men to an attack on the Assassins' fortress of Masyaf, but as soon as they arrived at the fortress gates, they were routed by a wave of falling tree logs.
Al Mualim sent Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad on a quest to take down nine Templars . One by one, the Templars spread throughout the cities of Damascus, Acre and Jerusalem, fell to Altaïr's blade, until he was assigned to take down Robert de Sable. De Sable had foreseen when his time would come, and assigned Maria Thorpe to impersonate him at Majd Addin's funeral, while Robert himself would ride for Arsuf in an attempt to have the Crusaders and Saracens unite in the face of the “Assassins threat”. The Assassin fell for the trap, but quickly found out about Robert's true location. Robert and Altaïr engaged in a battle at Arsuf before Robert was successful in his plan, and Robert was defeated. Before dying, he revealed to Altaïr that the last Templar was his own master, and the Assassin rode off to his final target. After Altaïr killed Al Mualim, the Apple was ultimately lost to the Assassins.
Relocating to Cyprus
Control of the Order fell to De Sable's successor, Armand Bouchart. Not too soon afterwards, Bouchart bought the island of Cyprus from King Richard I, which was formerly ruled by the secret Templar Isaac Comnenus. Planning to retrieve all the artifacts that were hidden in Templar Archive underneath Limassol, the Templars set sail from Acre to Cyprus in the fall of 1191.
The Templars quickly expanded their reach, starting with building strongholds in Limassol but rapidly taking control of Kyrenia as well. As the Templars used brute force to stay in control, the people formed a Resistance force that aimed to route the Templars from Cyprus. Additionally, the Templars were followed by Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad, who had taken Maria Thorpe as a captive. Due to Altaïr's efforts, all of Bouchart's generals in Limassol and Kyrenia were assassinated, and the Templars began to lose grip of Cyprus.
Despite the loss of many men, the Templars were successful in their objective, because while Altaïr was busy with removing Templar control in Kyrenia, the Templars had shipped out all of the artifacts in the Templar Archive underneath Limassol. After all the artifacts were shipped out, Bouchart found himself confronted by Altaïr in the Archive. The two faced off in a duel, but Bouchart too fell to Altaïr's blade.
By 1307, the French King Philip le Bel was manipulated by the French Assassins into accusing the Templars of heresy, forcing Pope Clement V to disband them. The Grand Master Jacques de Molay allowed himself to be burned at the stake to fool his enemies into believing the Templars were destroyed. However, Jacques passed his knowledge of the Ancients to nine of his subordinates, allowing the Order to thrive underground.
In 1321, the Templars killed the Italian Assassin Dante Alighieri, making their existence known to the Assassins. Three years later, they also killed the Assassins Marco Polo and the father of Domenico Auditore.
Hundred Years' War
In 1337, the House of Plantagenet of England attacked the kingdom of France, ruled by the House of Valois. Around 1428, a French girl named Jeanne d'Arc, who had somehow obtained one of the Swords of Eden, joined the French front and lead the French to many victories. However, this caught the attention of the Templars, who had set their sights on the Piece of Eden she had in her possession. In 1430, Jeanne was captured and interrogated by the English, which caused her to lose the Sword to the Templars. In 1431, the Templars executed her by burning.
In the latter half of the 15th century, the Brotherhood had regained a stronger position of strength on the world stage, spreading deep into the Church and nobility of Italy. Under the command of Rodrigo Borgia, the Templars sought to unify northern Italy under their command, and regain the Apple of Eden which they knew to be buried in Cyprus.
Under Rodrigo, the Templars sought to remove the Sforza family from power in Milan, thus destabilizing the city's relations with Florence. Their plan was to assassinate the Duke, Galeazzo Maria Sforza, on the Feast of Santo Stefano. Rodrigo, having made plans in Florence, left the city with a couple of henchmen, but was followed by Giovanni Auditore da Firenze, an Assassin. Rodrigo, frightened, left his henchmen to fight Giovanni while he made his escape. Giovanni managed to kill the henchmen, and take one captive. Giovanni brought this man to the Medici, where he was tortured by Lorenzo de' Medici and Uberto Alberti, who was secretly a Templar.
Having gathered enough information on their plans from Rodrigo's henchman, Giovanni hurried to Milan to prevent the Duke's assassination. However, the Templars Giovanni Andrea Lampugnani, Carlo Visconti and Gerolamo Olgiati killed the Duke when the church bell rang for the twelfth time. Visconti and Olgiati managed to escape, while Lampugnani was killed by a Sforza guard.
Having been successful in their plan for Milan, the Templars switched their attention to the city of Florence. However, Florence's de facto ruler, Lorenzo de' Medici, was an ally of the Assassin Giovanni Auditore, and his family was a strong enemy of the Pazzi family; the Templars' main stronghold in Florence. In order to avoid further interventions from the Assassins, Giovanni Auditore and his two sons Federico and Petruccio were imprisoned in the Palazzo della Signoria, and they would be trialed by their former ally Uberto Alberti, who was corrupted by the Borgia.
However, the Pazzi guards were unable to capture Giovanni's remaining son; Ezio. Nonetheless, Giovanni, Federico and Petruccio were hanged in front of the Palazzo della Signoria. Ezio, who had attended the execution, realized that his family had been betrayed by Alberti, and after escaping, began making preparations for his revenge. Not too soon afterwards, Ezio, using his father's equipment, killed Alberti during an exhibition of Verrocchio's latest work.
However, the Borgia, believing their problems with the Assassins were solved, continued with their plans to take down the Medici.
Over the next two years, the Templars, majorly the Pazzi family, continued their schemes for control over Florence. In 1478, Rodrigo met with Jacopo, Francesco and Vieri de' Pazzi in San Gimignano, discussing everyone's tasks in the conspiracy. However, Vieri was killed right after the meeting ended by Ezio, who had attacked the town alongside his uncle Mario and his mercenaries.
Nonetheless, the Templars continued their plans, again arranging a meeting underneath the Santa Maria Novella not too long after the former meeting. Rodrigo, who had received Pope Sixtus IV's blessing on the conspiracy on the condition that nobody was killed, was again present, and made the final preparations. The following Sunday, the Pazzi attacked the Medici when they arrived at the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore for High Mass; the event that would be known as the Pazzi Conspiracy. Francesco successfully killed Giuliano de' Medici, stabbing him in the chest nineteen times, but the Pazzi Conspirators were only able to wound Lorenzo de' Medici, who was joined by Ezio Auditore in fighting off the Medici. With Ezio's help, Lorenzo managed to escape, but the Pazzi did not cease to cause trouble in the city. On Lorenzo's request, Ezio hunted Francesco de' Pazzi down and killed him.
With the Templars routed from Florence, Jacopo and the other conspirators fled to San Gimignano in Tuscany, where they had once again arranged to meet with Rodrigo in 1480. However, all four remaining Pazzi Conspirators - Bernardo Baroncelli, Antonio Maffei, Stefano da Bagnone and Francesco Salviati - all fell to Ezio's blade over the course of two years. Jacopo went to the meeting alone, where his failure and words angered Rodrigo; in the process, Jacopo was stabbed in the chest, nearly killing him. Sensing Ezio's presence at the meeting, Rodrigo sent his guards after the Assassin; nonetheless, Ezio was once again able to fend the guards off and put Jacopo out of his misery. With their plans for Florence thwarted by the lone Assassin, the Templars turned their attention to Venice.
Taking over Venice
By 1480 in Venice, Emilio Barbarigo was attempting to unite all the merchants in Venice's commercial district under his banner. Despite failed attempts from the city's Thieves Guild, Emilio was assassinated in 1486 by Ezio Auditore. A meeting between Carlo Grimaldi, Silvio Barbarigo, Marco Barbarigo, Dante Moro and Rodrigo Borgia took place soon afterwards, discussing their plans for Venice. They decided that they would kill the Doge, Giovanni Mocenigo, that same night and that Marco Barbarigo would take his place. In fact, the plan to take the Doge's seat was a plan to distract the Assassin from the Templars' real objective: retrieving the Apple of Eden from Cyprus.
Ezio Auditore, who had eavesdropped on the meeting, quickly devised a strategy to prevent the killing of Mocenigo and used Leonardo da Vinci's flying machine to infiltrate the Doge's residence, the Palazzo Ducale. However, Ezio was too late to prevent the Doge from being poisoned, but he managed to kill Carlo Grimaldi, who was responsible for the Doge's death.
Marco had taken the position of Doge, never to come out to prevent the Assassin from having an opportunity to kill him. However, during Carnevale, Marco was obliged to show himself to the people at his personal party. Ezio had managed to obtain entry to the party, and as soon as Marco showed himself, the Assassin struck.
Due to the Assassin's efforts, the Venetian Templars had to rely on Silvio Barbarigo and Dante Moro. They had hired a group of mercenaries to strengthen their forces, and positioned themselves in the Arsenal of Venice, fighting with Venice's Mercenaries Guild led by Bartolomeo d'Alviano. Ezio Auditore joined forces with Bartolomeo, and together they managed to draw Silvio and Dante away from their troops. Without any protection, the two attempted to flee to their boat inside the Arsenal to sail to Cyprus, but they were killed by Ezio before they could set sail. Other boats had already managed to set sail, though, and were on their way to Cyprus.
Quest for the Apple
Despite the Templars facing "complications" on Cyprus, the Templar boat returned to Venice in 1488. A Templar courier was assigned to bring the Apple to a Templar guard post, from where the Apple would be escorted to Rodrigo Borgia. However, Ezio killed the guard assigned to carry the Apple, and put on his uniform; impersonating him. After the escort had reached Rodrigo, its members were killed by Ezio and the latter faced off in a fight with Rodrigo. Ezio was later joined by other members of the Assassin Order, and Rodrigo made his escape, leaving the Apple behind.
With the Apple in the hands of the Assassins, the Templars approached the Orsi brothers – Ludovico and Checco – to obtain a map detailing the location of the Codex pages from the wife of the Templar Girolamo Riario – Caterina Sforza. Invading Forlì, the Orsi brothers demanded the map, and the Apple in exchange for the lives of Sforza's children. The brothers were rebuked, and assaulted the Rocca di Ravaldino. Together with the city guards, the Assassins Ezio Auditore and Niccolò Machiavelli held off the assault, although a second succeeded in claiming the Apple briefly when Ezio Auditore left to kill Ludovico. After Ezio had returned successfully, he chased after Checco and assassinated the latter, taking the Apple with him.
Control over the Papacy
Despite the loss of the Apple, Rodrigo was ultimately unfazed. In 1491, he became a candidate in the Papal conclave and fooled the Spanish Inquisitor General Tomás de Torquemada into following his orders. Much of these orders involved annihilating the Assassins Guild in Barcelona, Spain, with Rodrigo claiming they were heretics. Rodrigo also made attempts to thwart Christoffa Corombo's journey to the New World, and planning to make the Templars journey there. However, all of these plans were thwarted again by Ezio Auditore, who had sailed to Spain.
On 11 August 1492, Rodrigo had become Pope Alexander VI after having bribed most of the cardinals. Being the head of the Christian church, the Templars became the most powerful force in Europe and based their headquarters in Rome. As the Pope, Rodrigo had access to the Papal Staff, which was in reality one of the Staves of Eden.
In the late 1490s, Rodrigo learned that the Apple had come into the possession of the monk Girolamo Savonarola, who had just become the ruler of Florence. Aiming to get the Apple back in their possession, the Borgia sent continuous waves of soldiers to Florence. However, the bodies kept being sent back, and the Borgia were disappointed when Savonarola was executed without them having the Apple in their possession.
In 1499, the leading Assassins in Italy traveled to Rome to distract the Borgia guards, while Ezio traveled along the Passetto di Borgo to St. Peter's Cathedral. Once inside, the Assassin lunged at Rodrigo Borgia while he was proclaiming the Nicene Creed in Latin to the congregation. Rodrigo shoved the Assassin away, then used the Staff to subdue his entire congregation. A fight ensued with Rodrigo using the Staff and Ezio using the Apple. The power of the Staff was able to overpower Ezio, and after Rodrigo stabbed Ezio in the abdomen, he entered the Vault underneath the Sistine Chapel. Rodrigo wasn't able to enter the Vault, though, as only the "Prophet" could do it. Rodrigo was soon faced by Ezio again, and after one final fight in hand-to-hand combat, Ezio informed Rodrigo that he was not the Prophet and had never been. Broken by this revelation and accepting defeat, Rodrigo told Ezio to kill him and put an end to it, but unlike Ezio's other targets, Rodrigo was not killed as Ezio could not find a reason to do so, stating that killing him wouldn't bring his family back. As Ezio entered the Vault, Rodrigo fled back to safety.
Five days afterwards, Rodrigo's son Cesare, who served as the Captain General of the Papal Army, had slowly begun to take control over the Templar Order and laid siege to the Assassins' and Auditore's headquarters of Monteriggioni. In the process, the Templars captured Caterina Sforza, executed Mario Auditore, shot Ezio Auditore and obtained the Apple of Eden. After Monteriggioni lay in ruins, the Borgia returned to Rome victorious.
As control over the Templars slowly shifted to Cesare, he became the new Grand Master and strived to take over all of Italy, and later Europe. As the Templars were ruling the church, individuals such as King Louis XII of France, King Ferdinand II of Aragon and King Manuel I of Portugal all answered to the Borgia. Meanwhile, Cesare planned to strengthen his army with war machines created by Leonardo da Vinci, who had been forced into serving the Borgia. With his army, Cesare quickly conquered various states in Italy.
However, Ezio Auditore had moved to Rome and started rebuilding the Assassin Brotherhood there. In Cesare's absence, Ezio destroyed the war machines and the Assassins killed most of Cesare's high-ranking generals, including his personal banker Juan Borgia and the French general Octavian de Valois. Control over Rome became lost to the Templars, and their plans couldn't be executed. Returning home from war, Cesare found all his support gone and his funds cut off.
Routing from Italy
On 18 August 1503, Rodrigo, who had begun to see Cesare as a threat, met with his son in the papal apartments of the Castel Sant'Angelo. There, he placed a platter with poisoned apples on the table, and as planned Cesare took a bite from one of them. However, Cesare's sister Lucrezia had found out about Rodrigo's intentions and entered the room to warn her brother. Furious, Cesare shoved the remaining apple down Rodrigo's throat, asking him where the Apple was simultaneously. However, Rodrigo died and Cesare obtained the Apple's location after threatening his sister. Ezio Auditore entered the room after Cesare left, and also got the Apple's location from Lucrezia. Both Cesare and Ezio raced to the Apple, though the latter got to it faster. With the Apple, Ezio exterminated most of Cesare's remaining followers and Cesare himself was arrested on orders of Pope Julius II.
Cesare, who had become the sole ruler of the Templars, was able to escape his imprisonment in the Castel Sant'Angelo. He tried to escape by boat, but was captured by Ezio once again. The Pope had Cesare transferred to Castillo de la Mota, Aragon in Spain in 1504; a location that only the Pope was aware of.
In 1506, Cesare was freed from La Mota by Micheletto Corella, and together they rode to Valencia. There, Cesare started to raise an army, operating from the Lone Wolf Inn. Ezio, who had used the Apple to track Cesare, destroyed Cesare's encampment and twelve ships together with Niccolò Machiavelli. Cesare blamed Micheletto for the attack, and the latter attempted to strangle Cesare. Cesare gained the upper hand during the struggle, though, and shot Micheletto. Without any men, Cesare made his escape to the Kingdom of Navarre, ruled by his brother-in-law John III.
In March 1507, John III appointed Cesare to lead his forces during the Siege of Viana. During the battle, Cesare was once again faced by Ezio, who used the Apple to locate Cesare. Cesare made his escape towards the castle, but was ultimately confronted by Ezio atop the walls of Viana Castle. After being defeated, Cesare got thrown off the castle walls by Ezio. With Cesare's death, the Templars were no longer led by the Borgia and their quest to conquer Italy and the rest of Europe was at an end.
Search for the Masyaf Keys
Following the earthquake in Constantinople in 1509, Templars reappeared in the city under the Byzantine banner. Due to Sultan Bayezid II's disappearance from the city following the earthquake, the Byzantine Templars could easily integrate into the city and start their plans for taking over the Ottoman Empire, while operating from their headquarters in the underground city of Derinkuyu in the region of Cappadocia. Initially led by Manuel Palaiologos, the Byzantine Templars quickly caught the eye of Prince Ahmet, Bayezid's son and supposed successor. Ahmet joined the Templar Order, and his youth and charisma allowed him to slip into the position of leader while Manuel was forced to become a second-in-command.
The Templars somehow recovered "The Secret Crusade", the journal of the Italian explorer and secret Assassin Niccolò Polo, from which they found out about the existence of the library of Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad in Masyaf and the keys needed to open it. Ahmet placed Manuel Palaiologos in charge of the Masyaf expedition to find the Masyaf Keys throughout Constantinople, while Ahmet himself continued his plans to secure the Templars' power in the Empire.
By 1511, the Templars had managed to obtain one of the Masyaf Keys from underneath Topkapı Palace, and had taken full occupation of Masyaf. Without the other Keys in their possession, the Templars had resorted to digging their way into the library, with no success. In the winter of 1511, Ezio Auditore da Firenze arrived in Masyaf, also wanting to access the library. He was ambushed by Byzantine Templars led by Leandros, and was overpowered and captured. The Templars subsequently led him to Masyaf's watchtower, where he was to be hanged. At the very last moment, he fought back against Leandros, who was tying the noose around Ezio's neck. Ezio threw the noose around Leandros' neck instead, and Ezio jumped down to a scaffolding below. With no sign left of Ezio in the thick snowstorm that was brewing, Leandros instead decided to focus on other matters and was about to leave on a horse cart. Ezio gave chase, and jumped to a rope hanging on Leandros' cart, eventually procuring his own cart and chasing Leandros.
Leandros crashed Ezio's cart near Atlas Village in the mountains, and made his way into the village while sending the other Templars to deal with Ezio. However, the wounded Ezio made his way through the guards and into the village's center with some difficulty, coming to the area where Leandros had taken refuge. Leandros, sending more of his men at Ezio, was ultimately confronted and killed by Ezio on top of the village's watchtower, where Ezio took "The Secret Crusade" from him.
Struggle in Constantinople
In Constantinople, the Templars were still ever present, engaging in heavy combat with the Turkish Assassins, occupying numerous Assassin Dens throughout the city and searching for the secret locations in the city leading to the Masyaf Keys. The Templars discovered that two of the Masyaf Keys were located in the Yerebatan Cistern and the Forum of the Ox, but Ezio Auditore recovered the artifacts before the Templars could.
Ahmet personally devised a plan to have his nephew Prince Suleiman kidnapped at a feast in the Topkapı Palace, allowing Ahmet to "rescue" him and gain the Ottoman citizens' favor over his brother Selim for the Ottoman throne. However, Yusuf Tazim and the Turkish Assassins found out about the Templars' plan and plotted to stop their plan. With the help of Ezio Auditore, the Turkish Assassins - dressed as Italian minstrels - found and killed all of the Templars hidden amongst the party goers. Ahmet, of whom no one was aware of his Templars affiliations, instead accused Tarik Barleti, the captain of the Janissaries, from being unable to stop the 'attack' of the Italian minstrels.
Some time later, Manuel journeyed to Constantinople to buy guns from the Tarik and the Janissaries to arm the Templars in Cappadocia with them. Accompanied by the Turkmen renegade and Templar Shahkulu, Manuel inspected the weapons in the city's arsenal and successfully closed the deal before returning to Cappadocia. Tarik was assassinated by Ezio Auditore some time later on Suleiman's orders, after the two came to the wrong conclusion that Tarik was in league with the Templars; Tarik had instead been spying on the Templars in Cappadocia in order to thwart them. Tarik's death was quickly believed to be conducted by Ahmet, damaging his public image.
Collapse of Cappadocia
Manuel and Shahkulu returned to Derinkuyu in Cappadocia, where they continued building up the Byzantine army's strength and the capture and execution of numerous Ottomans.
Due to Ezio Auditore, who had trailed Manuel to Cappadocia, an Ottoman spy named Dilara was captured from Templar imprisonment. Consequently, Shahkulu gained the attention of Dilara and Ezio. Ezio jumped down and stabbed Shahkulu from on high, though Shahkulu resisted against Ezio and a fight ensued. Ultimately, Ezio killed Shahkulu and simultaneously stopped the torture and execution of the Ottoman spies in the city.
The Templars panicked when Ezio Auditore blew up the ammunition and armaments hidden inside the city, and Manuel Palaiologos tried to calm the city's citizens. Upon spotting Ezio, Manuel fled and sent the Templars to kill Ezio. The Templar soldiers proved no match for Ezio, and the Assassin confronted Manuel after the latter ran to a dead end on a jetty. Manuel was easily slain, and gave up his Masyaf Key to Ezio, cynical that he would survive long enough to enter the library. At that very moment, Ahmet arrived on the scene by boat, revealing his Templar affiliations and threatening to capture Ezio's love interest Sofia Sartor when Ezio did not give up the Masyaf Keys.
Fall of the Byzantines
Ahmet returned to Constantinople not too long afterwards, and sent a battalion of Templars to capture Sofia from her book shop. The book shop was guarded by Yusuf Tazim and other Assassins, though the Templars emerged victorious, killing Yusuf in the process. Upon discovering Yusuf's lifeless body, Ezio rallied the Assassins against Ahmet and the Templars, who had located themselves in the arsenal. When Ezio reached Ahmet, the latter explained that his death would prevent Ezio from knowing where Sofia was, and subsequently lectured Ezio that the both of them wanted peace and tried to convince him of the people's reluctance to acknowledge the truth. Unsuccessful in convincing the Assassin, Ahmet instead told Ezio to meet him at the Galata Tower with the Masyaf Keys.
Ahmet and a group of Templars waited for Ezio on the wall of Galata Tower, and demanded the Keys from Ezio upon his arrival, in exchange for Sofia, who was held by a Byzantine atop Galata Tower. However, Ahmet instead had Azize dressed in Sofia's clothing with a bag hidden over her head held by the Byzantine soldier, while the real Sofia was being hanged on a nearby plaza. Ahmet made his leave out of the city with the Masyaf Keys, and started his journey to Masyaf to open the library.
Ahmet and his Templar entourage were tailed by Ezio and Sofia, who was rescued by Ezio, and a chase on horse cart ensued. The other Templar horse carts were taken out by Ezio, only to be knocked off his own cart by Ahmet. Ahmet continued making his way forward, with Sofia driving their horse cart and Ezio hanging on to the cart with a parachute deployed. After a long chase through the mountains, Ahmet obliterated Sofia's cart. Ezio landed on a nearby hill and from there jumped onto Ahmet's cart, causing the both of them to fall off a cliffside.
Though initially fighting during their freefall, Ezio deployed another parachute to result his safe landing, while Ahmet held on to Ezio. The both of them safely landed, but showed signs of heavy fatigue. At that moment, Selim arrived with his army from battle with his father, and walked up to Ahmet. Revealing that he had been assigned as the next Sultan, Selim started choking Ahmet and threw him off a cliff to ensure that there would be no conflicts for succession. With Ahmet's death, the Byzantine Templars were ultimately dissolved.
Aiding Jiajing's ascendance
In 1521, Emperor Zhengde of China passed away, and lacked a proper heir. The Chinese Templars, eager to gain power, aided in the ascendance of Zhengde's nephew Jiajing. With Jiajing as the Emperor, the Assassins in China were hunted down and nearly fully eradicated. The remaining Assassins were forced to flee, with Jiajing's men in hot pursuit. The imperial soldiers even followed the Assassins to Europe, where the Assassin Shao Jun had made her way to Italy in order to seek aid from Ezio Auditore, the now retired Mentor of the Italian Assassins. Jiajing wanted the Chinese Assassins eradicated at all costs, and the imperial guards even went as far to attack Shao Jun in Ezio's villa in Tuscany. However, Shao Jun and Ezio, in his mid 60s, were able to defeat the soldiers.
Age of Reason
Templars looked at the Renaissance as a dark time for the Order: while other men progressed humanity's knowledge, the 15th century Templars led by the debauched Borgia did not care for such ideals, using the Order as a platform to gain power and influence. By the 17th century, the Templars began adjusting their philosophy. Instead of making personal bids for powers, the Templars sought to influence rather than control the leaders and intellectuals of the new age.
Golden Age of Piracy
In the following centuries, the Templars expanded their enterprise to the New World, establishing their first notable Rite in the West Indies, led by Laureano de Torres y Ayala and operating largely out of Havana, Cuba. It was the mission of this branch to locate and secure the First Civilization site known as the Observatory, a complex that would further the Templar goal of influencing world governments through the application of precursor technology to spy, blackmail, and coerce politicians and other men in positions of power.
Although the Templars searched for nearly fifty years, it was only in 1715 that they received their first solid lead, locating a Sage named Bartholomew Roberts and bringing him to Havana. With the Sage's knowledge, the Templars planned to finally find the Observatory; however, the Sage's subsequent escape, coupled with the discovery that one of their newest recruits, Duncan Walpole, had been impersonated by the pirate Edward Kenway, set the Order back once again.
In the next years, Templar Woodes Rogers, governor of the Bahamas, attempted to dislocate pirates around the region, convincing Benjamin Hornigold and two of his subordinates, Josiah Burgess and John Cockram, to join the Order as pirate hunters. However, Kenway, searching for the Observatory for his own gain, eventually killed all three of the hunters. Roberts resurfaced, became a pirate, and soon took Kenway to the Observatory.
In 1720, Kenway finally allied himself with the Assassins, and was tasked with eliminating three targets, two of which, Rogers and Torres, were Templars. Although he attacked Rogers in Kingston, the Templar was able to survive. Disgraced and in heavy debt, the man returned to England, but was expelled from the order for his continued trading in slaves and hot temper.
Torres, having finally located the Observatory on his own, rushed to the complex to secure it. However, he was soon followed by Kenway, who managed to make his way through the chamber and assassinate the Grand Master.
In the years that followed, the Templar Order sought to expand their influence to North America, permitting them to locate and access a hidden First Civilization temple in the region. In 1754, the Grand Master Reginald Birch sent Haytham Kenway, Edward's son, the British colonies to recruit other Templars there into the quest to find the temple.
After gathering his fellows Templars and assaulting Southgate Fort, Haytham earned the trust of a local Kanien'kehá:ka woman named Kaniehtí:io, who eventually led him to the temple, although he was unable to open it. With his mission a failure, he turned his focus instead to bringing the colonies under the influence of the Templar Order.
In 1763, the Templars launched an attack on the Assassins in America, decimating the Brotherhood and leaving only one survivor, Achilles Davenport. However, confident that the old man posed no threat, the Templars allowed him to live quietly on his remote homestead. With the Assassins all but exterminated, the Templars' hold on the colonies was secured.
However, in 1770, a Kanien'kehá:ka boy, Ratonhnhaké:ton - the son of Haytham and Kanienhtí:io - allied himself with Achilles in an effort to save his land and people, and dedicated himself to eliminating the Templars that threatened his village.
After Ratonhnhaké:ton - going by the name of Connor - killed the Templars William Johnson and John Pitcairn, the Templars caught onto the renewed presence of the Assassins; in the meantime, however, the American Revolutionary War was in full swing, and the Templars set about influencing its battles and events to gain the upper hand. Chief among their goals was the ultimate murder or disgrace of George Washington, Commander of the Continental Army, so that he could be replaced with Haytham's right-hand man, Charles Lee.
As the Templars fought on both sides of the conflict, and in various locales, Connor sent his recruits across the colonies to assist the revolutionaries, often eliminating the Templars present as they went. By the end of the war, the Templars' network in the newly-formed nation was crumbling.
There was a short time in which Connor and his father Haytham worked together, to find and kill Benjamin Church, a traitor to both the Templar Order and the Continental Army. After killing Church, Connor considered the possibility of the two factions uniting, saying that they could accomplish much more together than either could apart; however, a falling-out between Haytham and his son destroyed any hope of an alliance.
Ultimately, Connor foiled plot after plot, helping the Patriot cause and securing the freedom of his people, and worked to rid the colonies of the last of their Templar influence. After killing his father in New York, Connor focused on the last Templar, Lee, and finally removed the Templars from the United States.
However, in the generations that followed, the Templars once again built their presence in the country and elsewhere around the globe, regaining the advantage in the war against the Assassins.
War of Currents
By the 19th century, the Templars had established a major foothold in the American industry, with important figures such as Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone being Templars themselves.
During the late 1880s, Edison, who had created a direct current (DC) for electric power distribution, became an adversary of Nikola Tesla, his former employee who had created an alternating current (AC). Jealous of Tesla's more efficient invention, the Templars began to spread propaganda slandering Tesla, like electrocuting an elephant with AC electricity on public television. Additionally, Edison contacted his business associate and fellow Templar J. P. Morgan, who was financing Tesla, informing him of Tesla's intentions to make electricity free to all people and telling him to cut off Tesla's funds. Eventually, the Templars' efforts worked in their favor and DC electricity was distributed across the globe.
During the late 19th century, the Templars started gaining strong influence over the Russian Empire and the ruling House of Romanov. Both Tsar Alexander II and Tsar Alexander III became strong allies of the Templar Order, and supported their goals. As a result, the Russian Assassins and its left-wing terrorist offspring the Narodnaya Volya targeted the Romanovs, eventually managing to kill Tsar Alexander II in 1881. The Assassin Nikolai Orelov made an attempt on the life of Tsar Alexander III, in which he was unsuccessful due to the Tsar's surprising strength, stamina and his possession of a Staff of Eden, and the event eventually turned into the Borki train disaster.
Tsar Alexander III died in 1894 of kidney failure. His son Nicholas II, who was not an ally to the Templars, gained control over the Empire, and the Templar agent Grigori Rasputin infiltrated Nicholas' close circle by "miraculously" healing his son. After being close enough, Rasputin replaced the Staff of Eden with a replica, taking the real artifact to a Templar research station in Tunguska.
In 1908, Orelov obtained the station's location and, together with a group of other Assassins, was sent to destroy the artifact. While the Assassins killed the Templars inside and secured the station, their ally Nikola Tesla sent a bolt of electricity from the USA, causing the station to explode and the Staff to be scattered into pieces; known commonly as the Tunguska explosion. Rasputin somehow managed to obtain one of those pieces and used it to hypnotize and control the Imperial family. Rasputin himself was later killed by the Assassins, and the Templars lost control over Russia.
The Russian Imperial family was overthrown during the Russian Revolution, and power shifted to Vladimir Lenin, an ally of the Assassins and leader of the newly formed Soviet Union. Unbeknownst to them, Lenin's subordinate Joseph Stalin was secretly a Templar and took over control of the Soviet Union after Lenin's death.
Founding Abstergo Industries
In 1937, the Templars founded Abstergo Industries, a secret company aiming to control capitalists and workers and neutralize communism. The Templars, who had previously created the capitalistic economic system as a facade for their activities, hoped to control the people through owning corporations, as opposed to having people own the companies. The company would go on to control many corporations and organizations around the world, including the Ford Motor Company, NASA, the CIA, the US Federal Reserve, Kraft, Coca-Cola, and BP.
World War II
In the late 1930s, Adolf Hitler, an associate of the Templars, began to take over political control over Germany. After having assumed full control, Hitler used an Apple of Eden to form Nazi Germany and hypnotize the population to join his cause. With this newfound support, Hitler began to declare "war" on Germany's neighboring countries, quickly conquering them. A worldwide war - World War II - soon erupted, but the entire war was a Templar plot to keep the people under the Order's control.
While the entire war was overseen by the Templars, the world was split between two forces. On one side of the war stood the Axis, primarily led by Hitler and Benito Mussolini. On the other side stood the Allied forces, led by the Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin; the Big Three.
On 30 April 1945, Hitler shot his own double inside his Führerbunker to make the people believe he had died, while the real Hitler planned to take the Apple of Eden and meet with Churchill. However, an Assassin had been biding his time outside the Führerbunker, and assassinated Hitler before the latter could make the meeting.
During the 1950s and 1970s, Abstergo Industries heavily involved themselves with opening up the markets to capitalism.
In 1953, the Templars orchestrated the overthrowing of Iranian prime minister Mohammad Mosaddegh, to make the constitutional monarch Mohammad Reza Pahlavi into an authoritarian one. The Shah, SAVAK and Sha'baan Ja'fari terrorized citizens and protected capitalist oil interests, which Mossadegh wanted to go to the people.
JFK assassination and Apollo 11
In the 1960s, the Templars sought to obtain an Apple of Eden that was located on the Moon. However, President John F. Kennedy, who also had an Apple of Eden in his possession, did not share the Templars' motives for space exploration and thus the Templars planned to get rid of Kennedy.
On 22 November 1963, Kennedy was planned to visit Dallas, Texas, in a parade, and the Templars appointed William Greer as his driver, while Lee Harvey Oswald would be the primary assassin whilst Abraham Zapruder, who filmed the entire assassination, acted as his support. Oswald shot Kennedy several times, while Greer grabbed the Piece of Eden in the confusion. Moments afterwards, the Templars made a "phantom" appear on the hill near the street to cause more chaos. After Kennedy's death, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, who was also a secret Templar, became President of the United States. Greer and Zapruder evaded suspicion, but Oswald was arrested by Dallas police and was shot and killed three days later.
During the late 20th century, the Templar's support of the Communist system ended, and plans were made bring about the end of the Communist system.
Abstergo manipulated the American Secretary of State Henry Kissinger into orchestrating the 1973 coup d’état against Chilean president Salvador Allende, who had gained much popularity with the people and wanted the people to own Chile's corporations. Abstergo removed Allende and replaced him with general Augusto Pinochet, who installed a military Junta. Abstergo promised the Chilean capitalists to ensure the Junta remained in power, they would transfer all corporate debt to Argentina.
During the 1990s, Abstergo manipulated Margaret Thatcher, a Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, to contact Boris Yeltsin and inform him that Mikhail Gorbachev, the head of the Soviet Union, did not bear the company's interest at heart. Yeltsin stood up against communism, causing Gorbachev to lose popularity. In December 1991, Yeltsin unseated Gorbachev and became President of the Russian Federation.
In the late 20th century, Abstergo began abducting people of Assassin descent to use them as subjects for their Animus project. In 1985, they captured a young American boy of Assassin descent who was named Daniel Cross; codename Subject 4. Doctor Warren Vidic used a "working prototype" capable of mimicking a Piece of Eden to plant an impulse into Cross' brain that would make him subconsciously infiltrate the Assassin Order and, when given the opportunity, kill the Order's Mentor. After the operation was successful, Cross was sent into the outside world.
In 2000, the Templars and Assassins both struggled for control over the United States due to the Presidential election. The candidate George W. Bush was used as a puppet by the Templars, while Al Gore was backed by the Assassins. However, before the eventual election took place, Daniel Cross had successfully infiltrated the Assassin Order and killed the Mentor, and Cross returned to Abstergo's Philadelphia facility. The Templars had obtained the locations of all the Assassin camps due to Cross' visits being in his memories, forcing several Assassin cells to relocate and the organisation as a whole to start operating in smaller teams, and the Templars had gained the upper hand in the election.
By September 2012, sixteen test subjects had been "retired" before the company succeeded with the seventeenth – Desmond Miles, a descendant of both Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad and Ezio Auditore da Firenze.
For seven days after his capture, Desmond Miles was forced to relive the genetic memories of his ancestor Altaïr in order to reach one specific memory the Templars were seeking. The memory that was valuable to Abstergo registered the moment his ancestor found a holographic map containing the locations of all Pieces of Eden scattered across the world. With the information they had long sought in hand, the Templars set about gathering the remaining Pieces to ensure "absolute peace", although they soon found themselves in a race against the Assassin Order to obtain the Pieces first.
They planned to send a satellite with a Piece mounted on it into orbit, with the launch scheduled on 21 December 2012. Ultimately, Abstergo cancelled the launch of the satellite as they were unable to obtain the required Piece of Eden in time. During this time, two of the Templar leaders, Daniel Cross and Warren Vidic, were assassinated by Desmond Miles, while a third one named Otto Schmidt died under mysterious circumstances.
In spite of these blows, the Templars were able to continue the Animus project, and began selling it to the public as a video gaming console via their multimedia division, Abstergo Entertainment.
Ideals and goals
- "We're cruel and desperate creatures, set in our conquering ways. The Saxons and the Franks. The Ottomans and Safavids... I could go on for hours. The whole of human history is but a series of conflicts and subjugation. A desire for more, and more, and more."
- ―Haytham Kenway, regarding his view on humanity.[src]
The existence of the Templars became known to the public in 1129, when its military order was endorsed by the Holy See as a means of countering the ever-increasing threat against the Holy Land by the Saracens, and to protect the city of Jerusalem. Over time, the Templars began to believe it within their power to unite the world in peace.
Their system of belief changed greatly upon the discovery of the Pieces of Eden; they began to speculate that God was a myth and this led the Order to become atheistic, though they publicly maintained the pretense of following the Christian ways so as to not lose the support of the Church.
Realizing the power that the Pieces of Eden held over man, the Templars began to seek out the artifacts. In 1191, Robert de Sable, then Grand Master of the Order, personally sought the fabled Apple of Eden, buried in the catacombs of Solomon's Temple, beneath the Temple Mount. The theft of this Piece of Eden by the Order of Assassins renewed the sustained conflict between the two powers, ending with the deaths of De Sable at Arsuf, and Armand Bouchart in Limassol. Despite this setback, the Order continued its mission of creating a world of peace, through manipulation of the Pieces of Eden.
As time progressed, the Templars became more focused on the Pieces of Eden, rather than operating to transform and influence society through non-supernatural means. Their goals changed as they sought to control and unify the entire world using the Pieces of Eden to create a "New World Order".
The Templar world view was based upon an inherently pessimistic view of humanity. As opposed to the Assassins, who believed that free will was an inherent quality and right for all humankind, and should be preserved regardless of the cost, the Templars insisted that "freedom" caused chaos and upheaval, and ultimately threatens the fabric of civilization itself. Templars hence believe that order, purpose and direction are key in the construction of a perfect world. More moderate Templars would try to influence humanity to have discipline and restraint, as well as opting for tighter and more centralized governmental control. The most fanatical Templars, however, would aim at nothing less than the total destruction of free will, and absolute control over humanity.
It is easy (and common among Assassins) to mistake the Templar pursuit for control as a pursuit for power. Whilst many Templars were indeed after power, the Order's base ideology itself is about attaining control in order to enable humanity to transcend their animal roots, and become a species perfectly in harmony and in peace. That is why Templars tend to agree with Assassins when it comes to pursuing peace, but detest their pursuit of freedom.
Despite the highly noble ideals of the Order, the Templars were often questionable in their methods, which included subterfuge, manipulation of individuals as well as events, murder and even warfare. The Templars' treatment of individuals such as Desmond Miles, Daniel Cross, and Clay Kaczmarek are unethical at best, and throughout history many atrocities have been committed in the name of the greater good. The Templars are liberal in their methods used in the name of the greater good, and is perceived by many to be 'evil' or 'corrupted', or at least bent on domination in many instances. However, while some Templars commit those atrocities fully aware of the magnitude of their actions, others are simply unaware of the atrocities committed in the name of the greater good. Some, such as Maria Thorpe, choose to leave the Templar Order in disagreement with the Order's methods. However, for those that are steeped in the Order's plans and secrets, leaving the Order was nearly an impossible task, as they would usually have been killed to stop them from revealing any information they were party to.
At various points in history, such as during the 18th century, the Templars opposed the unethical treatment and unnecessary killing of innocents, though their definition of an 'innocent' was less broad than that of the Assassin brotherhood. By the early 18th century the Templars had come to view slavery as an unnecessary and questionable practice; Laureano de Torres y Ayala for one believed that "a body enslaved inspires the mind to revolt. But enslave a man's mind and his body will follow on naturally." So strong was the Templars' distaste for the practice that at least one member, Woodes Rogers, was forced out of the Order for continuing to trade in slaves. 
The nature of the Order, which involves the acquisition and the exercise of power, makes the Templars highly susceptible to corruption. Many have used the Templar cause as a shield or stepping-stone to further their own selfish desires, attaining power not for the benefit of mankind as was the decree of the order, but for power's own sake. Others like Thomas Hickey or Juan Borgia, likewise, used the Order's considerable connections, wealth and power to attain wealth and luxury of their own. Dedicated Templar visionaries, who are fully convinced of the Order's righteousness of cause and who lived in service to such an ideal, such as Haytham Kenway and prince Ahmet, are few and far between. During the Italian Renaissance, Templar goals were corrupted by Rodrigo and Cesare Borgia into seeking power and domination at all costs, which is far removed from their original noble motive. Modern Templars view the Borgias as debauched tyrants and consider their reign to be a Dark Age of the Order.
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 Assassin's Creed
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 Assassin's Creed (French comic): Tome 2, Aquilus
- ↑ 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 3.18 3.19 3.20 3.21 3.22 3.23 3.24 3.25 3.26 3.27 3.28 3.29 3.30 3.31 3.32 3.33 3.34 3.35 3.36 3.37 3.38 3.39 Assassin's Creed II
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 Assassin's Creed: Lineage
- ↑ 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 5.12 5.13 Assassin's Creed: Revelations
- ↑ 6.00 6.01 6.02 6.03 6.04 6.05 6.06 6.07 6.08 6.09 6.10 Assassin's Creed Encyclopedia
- ↑ 7.00 7.01 7.02 7.03 7.04 7.05 7.06 7.07 7.08 7.09 7.10 7.11 7.12 7.13 7.14 7.15 7.16 7.17 7.18 Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
- ↑ Assassin's Creed (French comic): Tome 1, Desmond
- ↑ Wikipedia: Knights Templar
- ↑ Assassin's Creed: Altaïr's Chronicles
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines
- ↑ Assassin's Creed II: Battle of Forlì
- ↑ Assassin's Creed II: Discovery
- ↑ Assassin's Creed: Renaissance
- ↑ Assassin's Creed II: Bonfire of the Vanities
- ↑ Assassin's Creed: Project Legacy
- ↑ 17.0 17.1 Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood novel
- ↑ Assassin's Creed: Revelations novel
- ↑ 19.0 19.1 Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
- ↑ Assassin's Creed: The Fall - Issue #1
- ↑ 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 21.4 21.5 21.6 Assassin's Creed: The Fall - Issue #3
- ↑ 22.0 22.1 Assassin's Creed: The Fall - Issue #2
- ↑ 23.0 23.1 Assassin's Creed III
- ↑ The History Channel, Decoding the Past: The Templar Code, 7 November 2005, video documentary written by Marcy Marzuni
- ↑ Assassin's Creed: Black Flag (novel)