|Valerio Ettore da Firenze|
Valerio in his Assassin Robes
26 April 1474
1549 (aged 75)
House of Ettore
Valerio Ettore da Firenze was an Italian Assassin, most notably known as being the Guardiano di Firenze (the Guardian of Florence) due to his prominent work for the Assassin Order that kept the city of Florence safe from the long running Templar threat. Prior to his initiation into the Order and his position in Florence, Valerio came from a noble family of architects, and was a simple, well educated young man, before leaving his home to find and study under the tutelage of Ezio Auditore, and to become an Assassin.
Birth and early life
Valerio was born to Orlando and Anita Ettore in Florence, on April 26, 1474. From a young age, Valerio was exposed to the world around him, his parents showed him the wonders of Florence, and especially that of the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence's main cathedral with which Orlando was involved with designing renovation plans at the time. To Orlando and Anita's surprise, Valerio was a far more physical baby than they had intended to have, learning to walk at a very early stage and even running and climbing by the age of 7 months. As he grew, Valerio was known to climbs trees and other obstacles around his district, which would land him in quite some trouble.
In 1478 however, a tragedy that would not really hit him for a few years after occured. On his fourth birthday, at the High Mass outside the Santa Maria del Fiore, the Pazzi Conspiracy against the Medici family was staged, and chaos erupted in the courtyard surrounding the church. As a riot ensued with the murder of Giuliano de' Medici, Orlando grabbed a fallen sword and fought the Pazzi guards to aid the Medici, as he saw a white-hooded figure carry a wounded Lorenzo de' Medici away from the battle. Orlando yelled at Anita to run herself and Valerio to safety, as he stayed and continued to help the Medici guards fight the Pazzi. Unfortunately, Anita and Valerio waited hours long for Orlando to return, and Anita went back to the church to find him slain, a strew of guards around him. Orlando had fought honourably to his death, for his family, his city, and its leaders.
After the death of his father, Anita was left to raise Valerio alone. Despite having relatives in Venice, she could not bear to leave their city or their home, and she did not want Valerio to realise what had truly happened. Years passed quietly and Valerio grew into a young, well educated man, adept in fighting and a skilled freerunner. Soon enough, when he reached the age of 15, they had spent all assets left behind by their father, and Valerio was forced to work and continue his education from home, as a private tutor could no longer be afforded. He began to hope that his fathers name would be enough to become recognized as an architect, along with his years of education towards the trade, but he abandoned all plans towards architecture when at the age of 17, his mother ended her own life, due to her ongoing depression since Orlando's death, not before leaving a series of letters she had never given to Valerio, explaining his father's death and how Lorenzo de' Medici had commended his efforts during the riots. Left with little money and no family left in Florence, Valerio decided to find a new family, and a new way of life.
Becoming a thief
Shortly after his mothers death, Valerio's assets were quickly diminished and he was soon homeless and without money. Using his freerunning and combat skills, he became a notorious thief, stealing from wealthy nobles and slave traders that docked their ships all along the Arno River. Valerio quickly caught the attention of La Volpe, the leader of the Florentine Thieves Guild, who approached Valerio about joining their ranks. Valerio, being heavily dependant on himself, declined and told La Volpe he "doesn't trust others easily". Unsure as to whether he had made the right choice, Valerio returned to his makeshift home in the top of Giotto's Campanile, to plan his biggest theft yet. After being kicked out of his childhood home, Valerio was sure to keep all of his father's architectural plans, including many of the banks in Florence. Valerio planned to rob the biggest bank in Florence, using his father's plans to work out how to pull it off, and then travel to Venice to start his life anew. After his plans were complete, Valerio set out to rob the bank, but quickly ran in to trouble when he got inside, realising his fathers plans were out of date, and renovations to the bank had changed the layout of the building completely. Valerio was quickly sighted by the guards and chased through the streets, until he was eventually surrounded on the Ponte Vecchio bridge. As the guards closed in to kill the notorious Florentine thief, La Volpe and his men arrived and took care of the guards, allowing Valerio to escape, who did not stop to thank them, thoroughly embarassed over his failed attempt. He returned to his hideout only to find La Volpe already waiting for him, who further attempted to persuade him into the thieves guild.
La Volpe: "Messere Ettore, you can not deny it, your skills are incredibile. I think you would thrive in our cause, we only wish to help you, aid you, not hurt you." Valerio Ettore: "Tell me why I should trust you?" La Volpe: "Because if it were not for me, you'd be at the bottom of the Arno by now." --La Volpe and Valerio Ettore discuss Valerio's potential initiation into the Florentine Thieves Guild.
COMING SOON: Read about Valerio's involvement in Girolamo Savonarola's reign of terror...