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Edward: "So it's you lot them Templars have been chasing, then?"
Mary: "Until you came along and mucked things up, it was us chasing them. We had them running scared. But they have the upper hand now."
―Edward Kenway and Mary Read discuss the Caribbean Templars, 1716.[src]

The West Indies Rite of the Templar Order, sometimes known simply as the Caribbean Rite,[1] was the rite of the Templar Order that presided over the West Indies region.

Founded by Laureano de Torres y Ayala, the two-time governor of Cuba, in the midst of the Golden Age of Piracy, the branch was tasked to locate the Observatory, an ancient Precursor site that served as a surveillance center for the Isu. Accordingly, one of their primary objectives was the acquisition of the Sage Bartholomew Roberts, from whom they hoped to learn the location of the Observatory.

From 1715, their efforts were complicated by the meddlings of the pirate Edward Kenway, who learned of their secret goals after they accidentally inducted him in the mistaken belief he was the Assassin defector Duncan Walpole. Eventually, Edward summarily assassinated almost all the key members of the West Indies Rite and was formally recruited into the West Indies Brotherhood of Assassins. In 1722, after having endeavored for more than twenty years, the West Indies Rite at last located the Observatory, only for Grand Master Laureano Torres to fall to Edward's blade inside the complex before he could put it to meaningful use.

History

Age of Discovery

By 1503, the Templars had began expanding their reach towards the New World.[2]

In 1521, the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León, under the influence of the Spanish Rite of the Templar Order, journeyed to Florida in search of the Fountain of Youth. However, the Assassins in Florida stopped Ponce de León by sending one of their agents, Miguel Ramón Carlo de Lugo, to convince him to abandon his quest and turn back. When Ponce de León refused, the Assassins struck him with a poisoned arrow that would soon afterwards result in his demise, thereby ending his quest.[3]

Foundation

The West Indies Rite was established sometime around the last quarter of the 17th century by the Spanish Templar Laureano Torres y Ayala, who arrived in the region in 1673.[4] Torres, having been inducted into the Order in his twenties, was a veteran member who simultaneously served as Governor of La Florida for the Spanish Empire from 1693 to 1699.[1][5] In this capacity, Torres became well acquainted with the West Indies, enough to effectively found a new branch for the Templar Order in the region.[1]

Around 1707, the Templar commander Alejandro Ortega de Márquez, operating out of his base in Isla de la Juventud, led the West Indies Rite in an attack against a Taíno village with ties to the Assassins. Though he destroyed the entire village, he perished in the battle.[5]

The primary goal for the West Indies Rite from its inception was the search for the Observatory, a surveillance center of the First Civilization. By 1715, at least two decades since the mission had been assigned, the site had still not been located, though Grand Master Torres captured the Sage Bartholomew Roberts, who he correctly believed knew its whereabouts.[5]

Interference by Edward Kenway

That same year in July, Torres organized the induction of several new recruits at once, including the British privateer Woodes Rogers, the French mercenary Julien du Casse, and the Assassin defector Duncan Walpole. All three were to meet with him at his estate in Havana, with Duncan specifically delivering blood vials for the Observatory and maps detailing the secret locations of all bureaus of the West Indies Assassins. Unbeknownst to the others, Duncan was waylaid by pirates under the command of Edward Kenway en route to Cuba. After Duncan was slain by Edward, the pirate seized his outfit as a disguise, planning to infiltrate the Templar meeting for the chance of stealing away the reward due for Duncan.[5]

At the meeting, none of the Templars saw through Edward's disguise, having never met Duncan, and the induction ceremony proceeded without incident. Edward handed over the maps of Assassin bases and the blood vials to Torres, not caring for what they were, only that he would be paid for them. At the induction, Torres briefed his guests on the main goal of locating the Observatory as well as revealing to them the Sage he had captive that would lead them to it.[5]

The next day, the Templars met at the docks to receive Roberts and extract his blood into a vial, rumored to be necessary as the key to the Observatory. While escorting the Sage to the mansion, the group was ambushed by Assassins, but all the assailants were dispatched thanks to Edward, and subsequently Torres handed Edward his first payment, a sum of a thousand reales from the Spanish Treasure Fleet. This reward was unsatisfactory to Edward, who then turned his prospects towards the Observatory, believing that its sale would ensure he'd be rich for life. That night, in violation of Torres's request to help interrogate Roberts the next morning, the pirate sneaked into the mansion in the hopes of claiming the Sage and acquiring the location himself. However, Roberts had already escaped, and the Templars, alerted to Edward's infiltration, caught him in what was Robert’s cell, realizing he was not Duncan Walpole to begin with.[5]

Assassination of du Casse

In the hopes of recapturing Roberts, Torres sent out an offer of reward for any who might do so in behalf. Meanwhile as punishment, Edward was imprisoned aboard the Treasure Fleet bound from Havana to Spain. When the fleet was sunk by a hurricane on 30 July 1715, Edward was erroneously presumed dead by the West Indies Rite. As a result, Julien du Casse did not expect to encounter him again when later in September, his flagship the El Arca del Maestro became the target for Edward and his friend Edward Thatch in the hopes of procuring the galleon for their Pirate Republic. After escaping the pirates and docking at his base in Great Inagua, du Casse, as the rite's chief arms dealer, took to overseeing the loading of weapon shipments onto his ship, but his preoccupation with this affair allowed him to be air assassinated by Edward from the yards above the deck.[5]

Assault on Tulum

Du Casse's death was meant to keep Edward's survival a secret from the Templars though he seized du Casse's mansion in the Great Inagua as his own personal base of operations. In the meantime, guided by the maps Edward had given them, the Templars launched attacks on Assassin bases throughout the Caribbean in 1716. This included a major assault on Tulum, headquarters of the West Indies Brotherhood itself, and the residence of the Assassin Guild's Mentor Ah Tabai. A contingent of the British Army overran the Assassins' defenses and took many of them hostage alongside the crew of Edward's ship the Jackdaw, which happened to be visiting. They were accompanied by Laurens Prins, an associate of the Templars acting under letter of marque from Governor Archibald Hamilton of Jamaica. Edward killed the British captors, freeing Assassins and his pirates alike, and Ah Tabai rallied a counter-attack that saw the British forces routed from the city.[5]

Defeats on multiple fronts

Attacks on other Assassin bureaus from 1716 to 1717 witnessed similar defeats. In each case, the losses owed to the assistance of Edward Kenway, who cared less about repaying the Assassins for exposing their bases, than for obtaining the keys each of the Templar leaders held for a vault containing a powerful suit of Templar armor.[5]

Upon learning of the Taíno Assassin Opía Apito's location, Lucia Márquez, daughter of the late Alejandro Ortega de Márquez, returned to her father's former base on the Isla de la Juventud to rally her Templar army for an assault. Opía was alerted by Edward before this plot could take place, and the two tracked Lucia to the island and assassinated her.[5]

In Havana, a Templar assault on the Assassin bureau of Rhona Dinsmore was repelled with the timely arrival of Edward. The leader of the Templars in Havana, Hilary Flint, had by that point skirmished with Dinsmore's agents for years. He waged an arms race against her by employing pickpockets, but with the help of Edward, she was able to destroy his weapons stores, depriving his forces of a large portion of its power. Soon after, Flint was assassinated by Edward while he was distracted by a duel against Dinsmore.[5]

The next year in Nassau, the Chinese Templar pirate Jing Lang seduced Vance Travers, brother of the Assassin bureau leader of Nassau, Upton Travers. Both brothers held one half of a valuable treasure map, and Jing was ordered to acquire the complete map. Rather than invading with her forces outright, Jing hoped to convince Vance to murder his brother, which he attempted twice, once by lying to Edward that Upton was a Templar, and another with an assailant of his own. After the failure of both attempts, Upton turned the tables by instructing Edward to eliminate them, which he did so successfully.[5]

For many years, the Templar Kenneth Abraham, a commander in the British Royal Navy, had been in charge of the war against the Maroons in Jamaica, in turn under the leadership of the Assassin Antó. Despite the technological inferiority of the Maroons, Abraham's forces continuously failed to dislodge them from the mountains. With the location of Antó's bureau, there was a chance for the tide to turn, but a critical strike against the base failed with the intervention of Edward. This setback did little to buckle the morale of the British, for large shipments of weapons were expected to arrive shortly to bolster their forces. In anticipation of victory, the British soldiers even staged a ball one evening, but it was during that same night that Abraham was tracked down by Antó and Edward and assassinated.[5]

Fragment of Eden

By 1716, the Templars came into the possession of the Fragment of Eden, a Piece of Eden with special capabilities. The Fragment of Eden was also sought by the Assassin, Samuel Bellamy. The Assassin took up the guise of a pirate and appointed a significant crew after overthrowing the pirate leader, Benjamin Hornigold. Grand Master Torres assigned Christopher Condent, Francis Hume, Benjamin Hornigold and Barnes to protect the Piece of Eden from the Assassin.[6]

Believing that the piece of Eden was transported in the Spanish Treasure Fleet, Bellamy attacked the fleet, with the assistance of pirates Alonzo Batilla and Olivier Levasseur. Finding out that the artifact was not in the Treasure Fleet, Batilla tailed Barnes and Hume and overheard a Templar meeting, where they plotted to kill Bellamy. Meanwhile, Bellamy found the location of the artifact, which was with the Templar ally, Laurens Prins. The pirates soon managed to attack and steal the Piece of Eden, capturing Prins' ship, the Whydah and killing Hume in the process.[6]

Believing Bellamy to hold the artifact, the Templars sank the Whydah off the coast of Massachusetts, killing him. In the meantime, Condent had infiltrate the Pirate Republic in Nassau to steal the artifact. However, Levasseur sensed Condent was a Templar and left the island, leaving clues for Batilla to find him. The Templars ambushed and sunk his ship while he was attempting to flee, but the pirate used the powers of the Piece of Eden and escaped on another ship. Barnes was later killed by Condent, after he failed to give away the location of Olivier Levasseur.[6]

Deal with the slaver

In January 1717, Torres received news that the Dutch slaver Laurens Prins had captured Roberts and was prepared to sell him to the Templars as promised. To collect the money for the purchase, Torres visited one of the rite's forts Punta Guarico, but before he could leave, it was invaded by Edward Kenway's pirates for its gold. Edward, still seeking after the Sage himself for the Observatory, pressured Torres into conducting the transaction on his terms.[5]

Thus, when Torres met with Prins in Kingston in April, Edward was following close behind with a portion of the ransom. The plan was for him to bring up the rest of the money once Prins had proven he had the Sage in his possession. Unbeknownst to Torres and Prins, the Assassin Mary Read was just behind preparing to assassinate the latter but was urged to stall her move by Edward until they see the Sage. When Torres and Prins had reached a secluded spot, however, the slaver spotted the Mary and Edward, and reneged on the deal, ordering his soldiers to kill the hostiles. Torres was therefore abruptly deprived of the prize he had been expecting and left empty-handed. Prins, himself, was assassinated later that evening, and Roberts escaped.[5]

Hornigold's efforts

In 1718, Woodes Rogers was appointed Governor of the Bahamas and sought to reestablish order to to the anarchic Nassau, which had hitherto hosted what pirates such as Edward Kenway, Benjamin Hornigold, and Edward Thatch romanticized as the Pirate Republic. Rogers arrived in Nassau on 22 July, bringing with him news of the King's pardon that offers clemency to pirates who accepts it on or before 5 September 1718. Hornigold, disillusioned with the failure of the Pirate Republic, was receptive to Rogers and inducted into the Templar Order not long afterwards.[5]

In the meantime, the Templars discovered that Roberts had been working on a slave ship named the Princess which regularly sailed out of Kingston. In May 1719, Rogers and Hornigold's learned from their investigations in Kingston that the Princess had been assailed by pirates six weeks previously off the coast of Principe. Hornigold dispatched his men under the command of trusted subordinates Josiah Burgess and John Cockram to Principe to recapture Roberts, but their conversation was eavesdropped by Edward. Having failed to prevent Edward's escape upon discovering him, the Templars were now in a race against Edward to Principe for the Sage.[5]

Although Burgess and Cockram arrived first, they were killed on 19 June 1719 by Edward to prevent news of Roberts' escape from reaching the Templars. Months later in September, the Portugueuse galleon Nosso Senhor da Compreensão which carried the blood vials of leading Templars of the West Indies Rite was lost to Roberts and Edward. Subsequently, the two pirates were tracked by Hornigold just as they were traveling at last to the Observatory. A naval battle ensued that quickly saw Hornigold's defeat; his ship, the Benjamin was run aground on outcroppings called "The Devil's Backbone". There, Hornigold met his end at the hands of Edward.[5]

Final developments

In November 1720, Rogers and Torres attended the trials of Mary Read and Anne Bonny for piracy, where they met with Edward Kenway. Edward by then had languished at the prison in Port Royal for more than a year after having been betrayed by Roberts and turned over to British authorities. Aware of Edward's former partnership with Roberts, the Templars offered to whisk him out of prison if he revealed the location of the Observatory. For this recourse, they used their influence to delay Edward's own trial and execution but knew they could not do so indefinitely. In April 1721, however, the Assassins finally made their move to rescue Mary and Anne, freeing Edward at the same time; the pirate formally joined the Assassins shortly afterwads.[5]

A month later, displeased with the poor financial management of the Bahamas, King George I recalled Woodes Rogers to England. Before his voyage home, Rogers hosted a farewell party in Kingston where he was nearly assassinated by Edward in the guise of the Italian diplomat Ruggiero Ferraro. In return for sharing his lead on Roberts's location, Principe, Edward spared his life.[5]

Despite the subsequent death of Roberts at the hands of Edward, Torres finally managed to locate the Observatory by August 1722. While he launched an expedition there, his decoy was assassinated by Edward at the Castillo de San Salvador de la Punta. Edward survived the trap by killing Torres's bodyguard El Tiburón in a fierce duel.[5]

On 1 September 1722, Torres arrived at the Observatory. His soldiers massacred the Guardians that defended the site and forced their way through the jungle to their destination. As he pushed his way through the complex, however, his forces were decimated by its defense mechanisms. Torres, himself, made it to the central chamber unscathed, but was unceremoniously killed by Edward while stranded by the shifting platforms and traps.[5]

Struggle to revive the rite

With the demise of Torres and all leading members of the West Indies Rite, the branch had been all but destroyed. Assassin control of the West Indies remained uncontested by the Templars for the next several decades. In 1742, in light of erroneous[7][8] rumors that the precursor box of legendary Assassin Ezio Auditore had been transported on a Manila galleon to Acapulco, British Templar John Harrison reported to his Grand Master, Reginald Birch, that the West Indies was enormously difficult for Templars to penetrate. Similarly in 1750, Rafael Joaquín de Ferrer of the Louisiana Rite wrote to his father expressing fears that the region was utterly lost to the Templars, failing to find means of reestablishing the former West Indies Rite. In spite of this, de Ferrer managed to steal maps of the Yucatán Peninsula and some messages between Assassins from the aging Rhona Dinsmore after seducing her.[9] The former would be instrumental in his search for the Chichen Itza Temples[10]

In 1741, Lawrence Washington arrived in Jamaica and was part of the expeditions against Cartagena, New Granada, Cuba, and Panama in what became known as the War of Jenkins' Ear. As part of the infantry regiment created by the British Parliament created in 1739.[11]

During the Seven Years' War, the Templar Shay Cormac sent emissaries to Francisco Cajigal de la Vega in order to maintain the Order's relation with him.[11]

In 1773, just prior to the American Revolution, the British warship Windermere, sailed around the Bahamas carrying a mysterious shipment of Templar interest. The ship and her fleet were destroyed by the Aquila, a Colonial Assassin ship under the command of Ratonhnhaké:ton and Robert Faulkner. Later that same year, the Leviathan, another British warship, attempted to sail from the Bahamas to England with an important Templar emissary, but it too was destroyed by the Aquila.[12]

Modern times

In 2014, there was a Grand Master operating in Cuba. That year, Alan Rikkin, CEO of Abstergo Industries and head of the Inner Sanctum, sent a memo to Álvaro Gramática informing him that should they proceed with his plan to excavate the Observatory and retrieve the missing vials of Isu blood critical to the Phoenix Project, he would contact the Grand Masters in Cuba, Mexico, and the United States for assistance.[13]

Members

Allies and puppets

Golden Age of Piracy
Seven Years' War

Appearances

References


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