January 2nd 1500 (aged 74)
Loukas Notaras (1425 - 1500) was the last Byzantine Megas Doux and a Master Assassin.
Early life and induction into the Assassin OrderEdit
Born in 1425 in Monemvasia to a rich mercantile family, he was inducted into the Assassin Order by the Mentor of the Byzantine Assassins, Nikephoros Elenikaetos in 1447, after purges instigated by Thomas Palaiologos - a Templar and brother of the Byzantine Emperor John VIII - decimated the Assassin Order in Constantinople.
Loukas quickly made a name for himself not only as a skilled Assassin and swordsman, but also become known for his talent for persuasion, manipulation, and general speech, and reached the rank of Master Assassin before the end of the year.
Megas Doux of the Byzantine EmpireEdit
Late in 1447, shortly after his promotion, Nikephoros sent Loukas to Blachernae Palace where he would infiltrate the Byzantine government and pinpoint the sources of the Templar influence that was seeping into the policies of the Empire.
Loukas, thanks to his talent for speech, quickly rose through the government and became the Megas Doux - the Byzantine equivalent of a Prime Minister. This position of power enabled him access to the darkest secrets of the Byzantine government, and by the death of John VIII in 1448, he had noted and discreetly killed several Templar members of the Byzantine government, and even a few in the imperial family.
Shortly after becoming Megas Doux in 1447, John VIII married Loukas to his niece, Irene Palaiologina and the couple had a son.
Nikephoros insisted that Loukas either kill his targets using untraceable poisons or by making it look like an accident, partially so that Loukas could keep himself ingratiated with the new Emperor, Constantine XI, and partially to avoid giving the remaining Templars an excuse to cause further purges.
Loukas followed these instructions, and by 1450, the Byzantine government was free of Templar agents. Despite the threat having ended, Nikephoros decided that it would be best to keep Loukas in the Byzantine government, because with his position Loukas could cut significant red tape for the Assassins, and also put the Assassins in a better position to assist Constantine - whom they allied with - in keeping hold of the reins of his Empire and rebuilding it, for despite having had the sense to retreat to the Despotate of Morea to escape assassination, Thomas Palaiologos was still a threat both to the Assassins and his brother, Emperor Constantine.
Between 1450 and 1453, aside from arranging the official pardon of the occasional Assassin, and granting them other favors, Loukas was mostly kept busy in assisting Constantine in preparation for Ottoman invasion, mostly by securing western aid.
When the invasion finally came in 1453, Loukas was charged with defending various sections of the city walls, and also led successful efforts in preventing Ottoman attempts to mine into the city around Blachernae Palace.
For all his successes, the Ottomans breached the walls, Constantine XI was killed leading a final charge against them, and Constantinople fell to the Ottomans on May 29th.
Unlike the rest of Constantinople's surviving Assassins - whom Nikephoros led to the Despotate of Morea which, despite a small group of Assassins already stationed there, was still very steeped in Templar influence - Loukas was barred by the Ottoman Sultan, Mehmet II from immediately leaving the city, due to his position as Megas Doux, and he, his wife, and son were imprisoned.
He and his family were freed in the following days, in exchange for most of his family's fortune.
On June 3rd, he hid Irene in the city, then faked his and his son's deaths, and bribed Georgios Sphrantzes and Michael Doukas to spin some wild tale about their deaths, so that he and his son could easily escape to rejoin Nikephoros in the capital of the Despotate, Mystras.
Life in the remnants of the EmpireEdit
Loukas and his son managed to reach Mystras unhindered and Loukas once again began focusing on killing Templars, and began training his son in the ways of the Assassin Order.
Together with Nikephoros, Loukas made a series of assassination attempts against Thomas and Demetrios Palaiologos, the Despots of Morea, between 1453 and 1459, so that a distant relative of theirs could take their place - Graitzas Palaiologos, an ally of the Assassin Order and commander of the garrison at Salmeniko Castle. Finally, Loukas, Graitzas and Nikephoros managed to get rid of the incompetent Palaiologoi by getting the Ottomans to force them out.
Loukas brokered this agreement with the Ottomans - Thomas and Demetrios would be handed over to the Sultan, as they had already offended him numerous times, and in return, the Ottomans would either kill or imprison them, and would allow Graitzas to take over as Despot.
The Ottomans did force Thomas and Demetrios out in 1460, but did not allow Graitzas to take over as Despot, instead taking over the Despotate for themselves. The Ottomans besieged Salmeniko Castle, trapping Graitzas inside. The Assassins again relocated from Mystras to Salmeniko, and it was due to their timely arrival that the initial siege was repelled, but within a year, the Ottomans resumed the siege.
Graitzas, realizing that the Despotate was beyond reach now, and the Empire completely defunct, surrendered Salmeniko to the Ottomans in exchange for his men's and the Assassins' safety to leave. Though Sultan Mehmet personally accepted the terms, his subordinates disobeyed and arrested the first men to leave, forcing Graitzas and Nikephoros to lead a sortie and escape by force.
Return to Constantinople and life in VeniceEdit
With the Empire finally and fully dead, Graitzas and the Assassins sought refuge in the remaining Venetian territory on the Greek mainland, where Graitzas and his men accepted a commission with the Republic of Venice. The remainder of the Byzantine Assassin Guild then fractured, some returned to Constantinople to reestablish the guild there, and some relocated to Italy.
Loukas and his son briefly returned in disguise to Constantinople in 1462, to find Irene. It was after an investigation that Loukas discovered her fate - Irene had been sold into slavery by the Sultan less than a month after he and his son had fled the city, in an act of petty vengeance against Loukas for fleeing Constantinople, and she had then died on the road to Adrianople.
Devastated, Loukas took his son and rejoined Nikephoros in Venice, where the latter had settled after the end of the Empire due to its sizable Byzantine expatriate community in the Cannaregio District.
Like Nikephoros, Loukas and his son continued to work for the Assassins, lending his Italian counterparts any help they might need, for example, helping Ezio Auditore da Firenze track down various Templars in Venice between 1481 and 1488, then helping him find Girolamo Savonarola between 1488 and 1494.
He and Nikephoros would also travel to Durazzo to visit Graitzas on occasion, as Graitzas was not only a Venetian general but also governor of that city. The two continued to visit him until he died in 1492.
When Nikephoros died in 1496, Loukas became even more dejected, finally retiring and settling in the Assassin stronghold of Monteriggioni, in Tuscany, before being killed in the Siege of Monteriggioni led by Cesare Borgia on January 2nd, 1500.