- "That man is our greatest enemy."
- ―Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad regarding Robert, 1191.[src]
|Robert de Sable|
Born into a powerful family, Robert was immersed in nobility from birth. He eventually became lord and ruler of the Sarthe region of Anjou, France. Subsequently, Robert entered the order of the Knights Templar and reigned as their Grand Master in 1191.
During the Third Crusade, Robert and the Knights Templar, alongside the rest of the Crusader army, laid siege to the city of Acre, which soon fell. Throughout August 1191, they also recaptured many fortresses and cities along the Palestinian coast, which had previously been lost.
Quest for the Apple of Eden
In 1191, Robert and a group of his men entered Solomon's Temple beneath the Temple Mount within Jerusalem. Robert and his men were attempting to retrieve the Piece of Eden that was hidden there; however, just as Robert sent his men to climb up to the artifact, a group of Assassins consisting of Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad, Malik Al-Sayf, and Kadar Al-Sayf ambushed them.
Altaïr approached Robert head-on and attempted to assassinate him, but Robert was able to thwart the Assassin's attack. Robert then threw Altaïr out of the room, causing a minor rockslide that blocked the entrance with rubble. Following this, Robert and his guards engaged the remaining Assassins, killing Kadar, and severely wounding Malik's left arm.
However, Malik was able to steal the artifact from the Templars, flee from the city, and return to his Mentor, Rashid ad-Din Sinan. Robert, however, determined to regain the artifact, pursued the Assassin out of Jerusalem, and towards the Assassin fortress of Masyaf. Upon the arrival of the Templars, two of the Assassins defected, opening the gates of the town for Robert and his Templar infantry, and allowing them to storm the village. As a result of this, many of Masyaf's civilians and numerous Assassins were killed as a result.
Though the Assassins battled the invading Templars, they were eventually driven back into the safety of their fortress. Arriving at the fortress gates, Robert demanded that they return the artifact to him, saying that it was his property.
However, Al Mualim refused to do so, stating that he had no claim to the object. Robert rebuked him, claiming that he played a dangerous game and that the Templar forces could simply wait out the Assassins. The Mentor ignored this threat, and after the display of three Assassins leaping from the fortress' walls, he signaled Altaïr to activate a trap that caused several logs to tumble onto the Templar soldiers, killing many of them and scattering Robert's remaining men. With his forces severely diminished, Robert and the remaining Templars retreated from the town.
Decline of power
- "You have laid waste our plans: first the treasure, then our men. Control of the Holy Land slipped away. But then, he saw an opportunity; to reclaim what has been stolen, to turn your victories to our advantage."
- ―Maria Thorpe speaking to Altaïr about Robert's plans.[src]
Robert managed to convince many Crusaders and Saracens to secretly defect to the Templars, promising them power in the "New World" they would create. Despite these promises, Altaïr, who had been demoted because of his failure at Solomon's Temple, was assigned to eliminate nine potent Templars, including Robert, in order to regain his lost rank and honor.
Over the course of around a month, Altaïr was successful in killing eight of the Templars. Ultimately, he pursued Robert to Jerusalem, where the Grand Master was scheduled to attend the funeral of one of his former targets, Majd Addin.
After realizing that he would be the next target, however, Robert assigned his lieutenant, Maria Thorpe, to disguise herself in his image and attend the funeral in his place, as a trap for Altaïr. Meanwhile, Robert left to join the battlefield at Arsuf, alongside King Richard. Altaïr fell for the trap, though he was able to defeat Maria and learn of Robert's true whereabouts and intentions. Despite this, he spared Maria, as she was not his target, and rode for Arsuf, determined to take Robert's life.
Battle of Arsuf and death
- "Robert de Sable is now all that stands between us and victory. It's his mouth that gives orders, his hand pays the gold. With him dies the knowledge of the Templar treasure."
- ―Al Mualim speaks of Robert.[src]
Robert stood by King Richard's side during the course of the Battle of Arsuf. There, he was able to convince Richard to ally himself with Saladin against a common enemy: the Assassins, as they had caused numerous deaths on both sides.
However, Altaïr fought his way through Arsuf against Crusaders and Saracens alike, eventually arriving at the Crusader camp, where he met Richard and Robert. Altaïr attempted to convince Richard that the men he killed were secretly Templars, and that Robert was going to rebel against Richard, though Robert defended himself by saying that the Assassins were master deceivers.
Richard, unsure of who to believe, left God to decide who was speaking the truth, and had Altaïr duel against Robert and his Templar troops. Altaïr soon stood victorious against them, but he was left to face Robert himself. Robert proved to be a match for Altaïr, but he was nonetheless defeated, and as he died, Robert enlightened Altaïr to the fact that Al Mualim was secretly a Templar as well. He told him that Al Mualim wanted to have the Apple of Eden for himself, and that he had sent Altaïr to kill the nine targets in order to keep them from gaining possession of the artifact.
Personality and characteristics
Robert was a manipulative individual, who was able to recruit various members to the Templar cause by offering them power in the New World. At the same time, Robert gained King Richard's trust, despite secretly plotting his downfall.
He was also an ingenious strategist, turning Al Mualim's plan to kill his supporters into a trap to destroy the Assassin Order. Robert was a supreme fighter as well, able to almost match Altaïr in battle, and he was also able to easily stop Altaïr from assassinating him with a Hidden Blade inside Solomon's Temple.
However, due to his disregard for the Templars' rule to not consort with women, Robert was not held in high regard by all of his fellow Templars, among which was his own successor, Armand Bouchart.
- Robert de Sable is the in-game counterpart to the real world, historical Robert de Sablé - 'Sablé' referring to the French commune of the same name. In game, however, he is named as "de Sable" (sans "é"), which when translated into French means "of Sand".
- In Assassin's Creed, Robert was in his mid-30s when he was killed by Altaïr. Historically, however, he was relatively old around the time of his death. Additionally, Robert died in 1193, and not during the battle of Arsuf.
- Robert appeared to have one of the largest physical builds in Assassin's Creed, being a head taller than Altaïr and physically stronger.
- Robert was one of four Templar Grand Masters depicted in Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, in a collection of modern-day portraits titled "Great Minds of History". In his portrait, he is seen wearing black, similar to his concept art from Assassin's Creed.