- "Everything I worked for in the Holy Land, I no longer want. And everything I gave up to join the Templars... I wonder where all that went, and if I should try to find it again."
- ―Maria reflecting on her life after cutting her ties with the Templars, 1193.[src]
Maria Thorpe (1161 – 1228) was an English noblewoman living during the Middle Ages, who joined the Templar Order prior to the Third Crusade. She is an ancestor to Desmond Miles, through the maternal line.
After developing a strong relationship with the Templar Grand Master, Robert de Sablé, she was eventually given a high-ranking position within the Order. In 1191, once the Assassin Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad killed eight Templar agents spread throughout the Holy Land, Maria was assigned by Robert to act as his decoy, to trick the Assassin into assailing the wrong target. The plan was a success, though Altaïr chose to spare Maria's life.
Robert was ultimately killed shortly thereafter, and his replacement, Armand Bouchart, did not favor Maria. He did not find transport for her when the Templars moved to Cyprus, and before she could plan her own way there, she was defeated and captured by Altaïr.
Unwillingly giving information to Altaïr and escaping her captors several times, Maria began to realize that the Templars' ambitions were not beneficial for humanity, and slowly grew closer to Altaïr. Eventually, she and Altaïr infiltrated the Templar Archive in Limassol, where she faced off against Bouchart alone. Though she was defeated, Altaïr was able to assassinate the Grand Master and escape the crumbling Archive with Maria.
She then followed Altaïr to the Assassins' fortress in Masyaf, where they settled down and had two children together. Several years later, Maria, Altaïr and their son Darim went on a journey to assassinate the Mongol leader Genghis Khan, while her younger son Sef remained behind.
- "I'm what they call the unusual one in my family. Growing up, I always preferred the boys' games. Dolls weren't for me, much to my parents' continued exasperation. I used to pull their heads off."
- ―Maria about her youth.[src]
Maria was born in Leicester, England in 1161. In her early years, Maria chose not to follow the social norm for women of her age, and instead acted and dressed in a tomboy-like fashion. Because of this, she was often pestered as a child, and punished by her parents.
Before the start of the Third Crusade, her parents forced her to marry Lord Peter Hallaton after her 18th birthday. Uninterested in the duties of a châtelaine, Maria left Peter's company after four years of marriage, and an annulment was carried out. This disgrace, combined with Maria's own dreams of honor and glory, convinced her to leave England behind and join the Crusaders in the Holy Land.
Joining the Templars
- Maria: "Hallaton had demanded his bride price back but Father had already spent it. In the end I decided it was best for everyone if I left so I ran away to the Crusade."
- Altaïr: "As a nurse?"
- Maria: "No, as a soldier."
- —Maria telling Altaïr how she joined the Crusades.[src]
As it was uncommon for women to participate in combat during this time, Maria often disguised herself as a man. She showed much promise amongst the Crusaders, and attracted the attention of Robert de Sablé, a Crusader lieutenant and the Grand Master of the Templar Order.
Despite learning her true gender later, Robert supported her and even appointed Maria his personal steward. Although she did not share her Master's beliefs, Maria respected Robert enough to do anything for him, even forfeit her life if necessary.
At one point, Robert gave her a ring as a gift, which Maria cherished and kept close. She would later treasure it as her only remaining link to the Templars.
- "We knew you'd come. Robert needed to be sure he'd have time to get away."
- ―Maria talking about her act as a decoy.[src]
Following the deaths of eight powerful Templars in 1191 at the hands of Assassin Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad, Robert correctly reasoned that he was next on the Assassin's list. Not one to be defeated, Robert publicly announced his intention to attend the funeral of the late Regent of Jerusalem, Majd Addin, as a show of mutual cooperation and respect between Muslims and Crusaders. Privately however, the Templar Grand Master knew that this would be a chance too desirable for the Assassin to pass up. Thus, Maria was left to take Robert's place at the funeral, posing as a decoy in wait for Altaïr.
As expected, the Assassin appeared during the funeral procession, and Maria carefully examined the gathering of guests to spot him. She signaled the funeral proctor to Altaïr's presence, and a great number of Templars were ordered to seize him.
Surprised but composed, Altaïr overpowered the soldiers, pinned Maria to the ground and removed her helm. Discovering her to not be Robert, Altaïr was greatly shocked that it was a woman he had fought, and questioned it as sorcery. Maria corrected him by saying that it was not, and revealed that she was in Robert's place as a distraction, mentioning that the success of Altaïr's Brotherhood in taking the Templar treasure and eradicating her comrades had not gone unnoticed.
Maria continued, revealing that Robert had headed to Arsuf to propose a truce between the Saracen and Crusader armies, in order to besiege the Assassin fortress of Masyaf. As the Templars Altaïr had killed came from both sides of the conflict, the Assassins were now their common enemy.
Though Maria thought she would be the ninth of the Templars to die at the Assassin's hand, Altaïr rebutted her, sparing her life but warning her not to follow him. Maria replied haughtily that she did not need to, and that it was futile for him to try to stop Robert.
Journey to Cyprus
- Knight: "Begging your pardon, but it might be better if you stayed in Acre."
- Maria: "What is that? A threat?"
- Knight: "It's a fair warning. Armand Bouchart is Grand Master now and he doesn't hold you in high regard."
- Maria: "Why, you insolent... Very well, I'll find my own way to Limassol."
- —A knight advising Maria to stay in Acre.[src]
A month after Altaïr had killed both Robert and Al Mualim, Maria's standing with the Templars had deteriorated considerably. It was only as the Templar fleet left Acre for Cyprus that Maria was informed Robert's replacement, Armand Bouchart, had not arranged a means for her to travel with the others of her Order.
After she dismissed the messengers, musing on the opportunity she had lost, Altaïr appeared to speak with her. She confronted the Assassin, and the two of them engaged in another sword fight. Ultimately, Altaïr bested her, and interrogated Maria about the Templars' plans for Cyprus. While she revealed little, the Assassin elected to take her prisoner, hoping to use her as leverage to lure other Templars out into the open.
The two of them traveled to Limassol, where Altaïr met with his Assassin contact, Alexander. Maria was escorted to and kept at the resistance safe house, but escaped following an ambush by Templars, during which the building was set on fire.
Maria hurried to warn Bouchart of Altaïr's presence in Limassol, but he responded with suspicion to Maria's second "miraculous" escape from the Assassins. Maria claimed innocence and attempted to reason with him, becoming angry when Bouchart suggested that she, as a woman, was Robert's undoing. Bouchart ignored her pleas, ordering her to be locked away in prison.
Maria was led away by two Templar guards, only to be saved by Altaïr. Enraged at her present situation, she vowed to kill him once the opportunity arose. Altaïr reasoned with her, noting that the best way to regain the Templars' favor was not with his head, but through the recovery of the Apple of Eden. Seeing the logic of his claim, Maria reluctantly returned to Altaïr's custody.
Travel to Kyrenia
Altaïr then took Maria with him on a ship to Kyrenia. While on the vessel, he inquired about her life and motivation to join the Crusaders. Maria told him of her childhood in England and her previous marriage, noting that her ideal husband would embrace her masculine personality and interests, a standard which her former husband did not meet. She also revealed that, while she had cared for Robert, she knew he had exploited her and believed that his death was fitting.
Altaïr spoke to her about the philosophy of Empedocles, saying that "only a mind free of impediments is capable of grasping the chaotic beauty of the world". Although Maria resisted his ideology, she did take interest in it, inquiring as to whether "chaotic beauty" was truly something to be celebrated. Altaïr in turn claimed that while freedom did bring hardship, it was worth preserving. He maintained that "the order and peace the Templar seek requires servility and imprisonment", a statement which the captive Maria found to be ironic.
As the two prepared to disembark, Altaïr cut the rope binding Maria's wrists so that she would be able climb the ladder to the upper deck. At that moment, the two were recognized and attacked by some of the pirates who had ferried them. Maria used the opportunity to kick Altaïr down the ladder, forcing him to face their attackers alone and allowing her time to escape.
However, Maria's freedom was short-lived: she was also attacked by members of the large crew, and saved by Markos before Altaïr caught up to her. Because of his honesty and their common dislike of Templars, Altaïr entrusted Markos with Maria's care, and asked him to look after her.
During his investigations, Altaïr learned that "the Bull" – his target – had posted large bounties for both him and Maria. Fearing for her safety, Altaïr rushed back to the harbor, where he found her and Markos being attacked by Templars. After rescuing them, Altaïr brought them to the Kyrenia safe house.
Maria mocked Altaïr's crude plan for killing "the Bull" – whom she knew as Moloch – and inadvertently gave away his position in Kantara Castle. By the time Altaïr returned from killing him, Maria had been taken away by Templar agents, who had raided the safe house in his absence. Maria was given to Moloch's son Shalim, separated from the resistance members and Altaïr's attempts to rescue her.
However, Maria escaped from Shalim and headed to Saint Hilarion Castle disguised as a consort, sneaking in via palanquin. On her arrival, she confronted Shahar in his private room, and demanded to know about the Templars' plan for the Apple of Eden. Shahar stated that the Templars would achieve order by any means necessary, even if that "order" became synonymous with enslavement.
Shahar grabbed her by her wrists as if to subdue her, but was interrupted when Altaïr burst in, searching for Shalim. Maria killed his two pursuers, but refused to fight beside him any further and fled.
Altaïr traveled back to Kyrenia on his own and carried on without Maria for a while. However, following his use of the Apple of Eden to quiet the rioting townspeople, it was Maria who killed the mysterious Templar agent intent on taking the Apple, stabbing him in the back.
Although she remained distrusting of the righteousness of his motives, Maria led Altaïr to the Templar Archive hidden under Limassol Castle. There, she engaged Armand Bouchart in combat. However, Armand was an extremely skilled fighter and hurled Maria back, knocking her unconscious.
After Altaïr defeated Armand, he and Maria managed to flee the Archive. She then told him that she no longer wished to be part of the Templar Order, and had no interest in returning to England. Instead, she intended to go east, as far as India or "the far edge of the world". When Altaïr claimed he would return to Masyaf and use the Apple to learn more of the world, she cautioned him, saying he was "tread[ing] a thin line" with its use. Regardless, when Altaïr expressed interest in accompanying her, she ultimately decided to travel with him to Masyaf.
- "Some two years after the events I've described, they were wed at Limassol. [...] This represented a mainly peaceful and fruitful period for the Master. He talks of it little, as though it is too precious to bring out into the light."
- ―Niccolò Polo explaining Maria and Altaïr's marriage to his brother, Maffeo.[src]
Maria became romantically involved with Altaïr after traveling to Masyaf. In 1195, they were married in Limassol out of respect for the Cypriots who had made the island a key stronghold for the Order, with Markos as a guest of honor. Later that year, Maria gave birth to the couple's first child, a boy named Darim. Two years later, after the pair briefly visited Acre, their second child Sef was born.
Maria became a part of the Assassin Order, though there were still Assassins – such as Abbas Sofian – who secretly loathed Maria for being an outsider and an Englishwoman. They never fully accepted her, disregarding Altaïr's decision to bring her into the Order.
From that point onward, Maria and Altaïr became inseparable. She continuously supported Altaïr, with their only extended time apart being in 1204, when Altaïr tried to bring the Order to Constantinople.
Maria initially tolerated Altaïr's use of the Apple during this time, and on one occasion asked him what he saw of their family's future in it. However, she eventually demanded that he relieve himself of it, saying it was taking control of him, a request Altaïr denied.
Journey to Mongolia
- "Darim was in his early twenties and an accomplished bowman, and so it was that Altaïr took him and Maria and left Masyaf."
- ―Niccolò Polo explaining the journey to Mongolia to his brother Maffeo.[src]
Around 1217, Maria, Altaïr and Darim began a journey to Mongolia to assassinate Genghis Khan – whose army was preventing the Assassin Order from expanding their influence – and leaving Malik Al-Sayf in charge of the Order. Once there, the family joined with the Assassin Qulan Gal; while the men made plans to take Khan down, Maria stayed on the sidelines and tended to Altaïr after he returned wounded from the Mongol camp.
After Darim, aided by Qulan Gal, successfully killed Genghis Khan in August 1227, the family headed back home to Masyaf. When they arrived, they found it completely different from when they had left.
Return to Masyaf
Maria, Altaïr and Darim were greeted by Swami upon their return. He informed them that their son Sef had left for Alamut, that Malik was imprisoned, and that a council had been formed to take control over the Order with Abbas Sofian at its head. Darim left for Alamut to retrieve his brother, and Maria and Altaïr were directed to a residence in the west side of the castle, instead of to the Master's tower.
The next day, the two met with the council, seeing that it was made up of the most weak-minded Assassins in the Order. Altaïr gave the council a summary of their journey, and Abbas revealed that Malik had been imprisoned for the murder of their son Sef.
Returning to their assigned residence, Altaïr and Maria mourned their son's death, and thought on their next move. While a grief-stricken Altaïr was shaken enough to consider Abbas' account valid, Maria rebuked him; she claimed that the deed was obviously Abbas' doing, pointing out logical flaws and contradictions in his account, and shamed Altaïr for doubting Malik. When Altaïr responded with anger, she once again told him to destroy the Apple, saying it had made his mind too open to ridiculous considerations.
Now doubting the credibility of Abbas' story, Altaïr freed Malik from the fortress' prison and brought him back to their residence.
- Altaïr: "I have to destroy Abbas."
- Maria: "But not for the purposes of vengeance, my love. For the Order. For the good of the Brotherhood. To take it back and make it great once more. If you can do that, and if you can let it take precedence over your own thoughts of revenge, the Order will love you as a father who shows it the true path. If you let yourself be blinded by anger and emotion, how can you expect them to listen when what you teach is the other way?"
- ―Altaïr and Maria about reclaiming the Order from Abbas.[src]
On the pair's return, Maria tended to Malik's wounds, and he informed the couple that Abbas had Sef killed and the murder weapon planted in his bed. Once Malik was asleep, Maria and Altaïr plotted a new course of action; Altaïr claimed he needed to destroy Abbas, to which Maria agreed, but emphasized that it be the good of the Order rather than revenge if he wished to win back the minds of his people. Deciding on a bloodless strategy, the two left to confront Abbas.
They entered Masyaf and went to the courtyard to meet Abbas, who was with Swami and a group of other Assassins. Abbas told them that they would learn the reason of their son's death, but only if they gave him the Apple. Altaïr agreed, to Maria's surprise, and presented the artifact to Swami.
As Swami moved to take it, he informed them that prior to Sef's execution, he told Sef that Altaïr had ordered his death. Enraged, Altaïr then used the Apple's powers to freeze Swami, and drove the man to self-injury.
Altaïr was haunted by the loss of Maria, and as he grew older he suffered nightmares about her death, confused by her absence. Twenty years later, Altaïr avenged her and their son when he retook Masyaf and killed Abbas with the Hidden Gun.
Personality and characteristics
- Altaïr: "But you're..."
- Maria: "Adept at disguising myself as a man, yes. Did I have you fooled that day in the cemetery?"
- Altaïr: "I knew you weren't de Sablé, but..."
- Maria: "You didn't anticipate me being a woman. You see? Years of being boisterous finally paid off."
- —Maria talking about her boisterous attitude.[src]
At an early age, Maria was a dreamer, thinking about leaving England to find honor and glory in the Holy Land. During this time, she showed a certain amount of stubbornness, refusing to act as a lady, and insisting on answering her wanderlust to leave her homeland.
She was a very determined person, driven to accomplish more within the Templar ranks. During her first encounter with Altaïr in Jerusalem, Maria presented a straightforward, merciless style of command, and acted arrogant and confident of Robert's cause.
After the events in Cyprus, Maria's harsh and stubborn attitude toward Altaïr became more open and civil. Over time, she chose to side with him and the Assassins against the Templars.
- Maria is a derivation of the Hebrew name מִרְיָם (Miryam), the meaning of which is uncertain; various possibilities include "sea of bitterness", "wished for a child" and "rebellious". It might also be derived from Egyptian terms mry, meaning "beloved" or mr, meaning "love".
- Maria's maiden name Thorpe is a Middle English word meaning "hamlet, little village", derived from Old English thorp and Old Norse þorp, meaning "village".
- If the PS3 version of Assassin's Creed II is connected with the PSP game Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines, the weapons of the defeated bosses in Bloodlines appear at the Villa Auditore. Maria's weapon was labeled as "Maria Thorpe's Longsword", which was the first mention of her surname.
- Maria was able to wield a sword ambidextrously.
- Not only was Maria the first known female Templar to appear in the series, she was also the first Templar to be spared and assimilated into the rival faction.
- Maria's database entry in Assassin's Creed: Revelations states that Altaïr killed Robert de Sablé in the year 1192.
- Dressed as a decoy, Maria wore cloak clasps similar to the pin that Warren Vidic wore, featuring what is known as the Occitan cross.
- Maria's reference to a Bishop of Leicester annulling her first marriage is historically inaccurate, because at the time, Leicester was part of the Diocese of Lincoln.
- In 2015, her name was on a list of known British Assassins used by the Templar Isabelle Ardant.
- ↑ Assassin's Creed Initiates - Database: The Templar Tomboy
- ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 Assassin's Creed: The Secret Crusade
- ↑ Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
- ↑ 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 4.14 4.15 Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 Assassin's Creed
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Assassin's Creed II
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 Assassin's Creed: Revelations