- "The day my father died, all that was innocent in me died with him. So to avenge him I dried my tears and hardened my heart. For years, hate was all that drove me forward. But, with victory mine I had lost my way. Yet, I now realize my father was never truly gone. Within me, he lives on, guiding my path. And through him, for the first time in my life, I have found my way."
- ―Vincenzo to Claudia in Rome, 1513 after his pilgrimage.
7 July 1460
6 May 1527
House of Auditore
Assassin's Creed: Retribution
Vincenzo Rosetti da Roma (1460-1527) was a Roman nobleman and member of the Italian Brotherhood of Assassins during the Renaissance. As well as a ward of the House of Auditore. He is a descendant of Imran Al-Fadi, through his Italian bloodline, and is the ancestor to numerous Assassins throughout history, including Gabriel North, Henry North, and Matthew Knight. By Mcspark100
- 1 Biography
- 1.1 Early Life
- 1.2 Hunt for the Piccolomini
- 1.3 Returning to Rome
- 1.4 Avenging the Rosetti
- 1.5 The Pienza Event
- "Il mondo non è finito, bambino. (The world has not ended, child.)"
- ―Giovanni to Vincenzo after his father's death in 1467.
Vincenzo was born in Rome on July 7, 1460 as the first and only child of Alessandro and Silvia Rosetti, as Silvia sadly died during his birth, leaving him solely in the care of his father, a Florentine born lawyer. At the age of 7, Vincenzo was informed of his father's mysterious and untimely demise during a trip to Florence. After the funeral, per Alessandro's will, custody of Vincenzo was transferred to his god father, Giovanni Auditore, an old friend of his fathers. Upon his arrival in Florence, Giovanni introduced Vincenzo to his family: his wife Maria Auditore, his eldest son Federico, his middle son Ezio, his only daughter Claudia, and his youngest son Petruccio Auditore. He was warmly welcomed into their family, mostly, though he felt himself as a stranger in a foreign land. Not wishing to be apart of a family he did not truly belong to. Only legally being Giovanni's ward, he requested to work for Giovanni as a house servant. Though Giovanni never actually agreed to this, it never stopped Vincenzo from adopting such a role within the family, fooling himself into believing it.
Growing up in the Auditore family, it was not long before Vincenzo felt like he belonged to something. He quickly found himself drawn into Ezio's companionship, firstly. The two made fast friends of one another, a friendship Vincenzo was especially loyal to. The other members of the family warmed to him eventually: Maria and Giovanni treated him as they would there own, much to his displeasure, Federico acted as an older brother figure, most a comparatively to how he treated Ezio, and as Petruccio grew he saw Vincenzo as nothing less then apart of their family. Claudia was different story on the other hand. Her initial young and brash attitude along with her rude treatment of him, rubbed him the wrong way. Though she did eventually warm to him, and he especially to her.
By the age of 9, Vincenzo began to press Giovanni about the death of his father. This became so often that eventually Giovanni gave into his demands and told him the somber tale of his friendship with Alessandro Rosetti. He began by telling him how the two met. Alessandro was born in the city of Florence, but as a beggar living on the streets after his family lost everything they owned in a house fire. In 1450, when Giovanni first came to the city, he witnessed Alessandro's brutal mugging by street thugs. During this mugging, though out numbered and out matched, no matter how many times he was sorely beaten to the ground, he continued to rise and fight until he was nearly beaten to death. This went on until Giovanni finally stepped in and chased of the muggers. Giovanni told him how impressed he was with Alessandro's will and tenacity, and took him home to be tended and healed. And as soon as Alessandro was able, Giovanni offered him a chance to aspire to be more than he was, by joining an Order of Assassins of which Giovanni was a member. Alessandro surely agreed and began work as Giovanni's apprentice, learning the ways of the Assassins. Throughout his training, Alessandro and Giovanni began a close relationship, Alessandro with even serving as the best man at Giovanni's wedding to Maria. By 1457, Alessandro was inducted into the Order and a full fledged Assassin. Though he finally aspired to more than what he was before, Giovanni retold Alessandro's willingness to become a lawyer and live in the city of Rome, like he always dreamed of as a child. Giovanni understood his old friends wishes and gave him his blessing to take up a legal practice in Rome. Giovanni heard from him on a regular basis. Alessandro had made a few wise economic investments among the city merchants, and by 1458 he had made his own way and began to teach himself the law, as well as began the process of building a palazzo. He also had fallen in love with and courted a Sienese noble woman by the name of Silvia he met on a business trip, the two eloped a few weeks after their first meeting. After her death giving birth to Vincenzo, Alessandro had named Giovanni as Vincenzo's god father.
- "Messere Rosetti, you have stolen much from me. I would see the debt paid. Relinquish your accounts or your life. You have three days."
- ―Alessandro's mysterious death threat from 1466.
In 1466, Alessandro met with Giovanni in the Duomo with a dire problem. He had received a vague death threat from the city of Siena and needed assistance in dealing with the perpetrator, claiming them to be someone powerful. The note claimed he had stolen something, but before Alessandro could elaborate, the two were attacked by a large band of mercenaries. They were soon over run and subdued. From the band of mercenaries was a young man with a large scar running across his face. The man then coldly shoved his sword down Alessandro's throat, claiming that he had gotten what he deserved. The mercenaries then departed, leaving Giovanni weeping over his friend's bloody corpse.
Vincenzo was visibly shaken by the sheer amount of revelation that he had come to in such a short amount of time. Giovanni explained that he still did not know who killed his father or why, all he did know was that they were Sienese and had seized his family fortune by some unknown means, but vowed that he would not rest until he knew the truth. Giovanni then offered him the same thing he offered his father, a chance. But a chance to this time redeem his family name. Vincenzo agreed.
- "Nothing is true, everything is permitted. Truer words, never said."
- ―Vincenzo reflecting on the Creed.
In the following years, Giovanni soon began Vincenzo's Assassin training. He began to physically a tune himself, climbing among the structures of Florence and learning the basics of combat and assassination. In between, he studied the Creed, the tenants, the Assassin's history, their philosophy, and their war with with the Templars. He also accompanied Giovanni to his meetings with the rest of the Order all over Italy. Of course he was never allowed to share his training with the rest of the Auditore family, he found it particularly difficult to not reveal any of it to Ezio, whom he still considered his closest friend and confidant. By the age of 16, in early 1476, Vincenzo had been granted use of all the Assassin's weaponry and evolved his training into field work, accompanying Giovanni to his dealings in Rome, Venice, and Milan during his investigation into the Borgia conspiracy and the murder of the Galeazzo Maria Sforza.
By their return to Rome, Giovanni permitted Vincenzo a spell of off time from his training. He chose spend such time with Ezio and his various off sets with Vieri de' Pazzi and his family culminating in a brawl on the Ponte Vecchio, which Vincenzo participated in. After which, he accompanied and injured Ezio and his brother Federico to a doctor and then to the roof of a church where the three parted ways for the night. Federico and Vincenzo returning to the Palazzo Auditore while Ezio paid a "night time visit" to Cristina Vespucci. By morning, Giovanni had Vincenzo resume work with him and the Gonfaloniere Uberto Alberti, as he prepared for the up coming criminal indictment of Francesco de' Pazzi on the grounds of murder. Though upon Ezio's return to the house after the completion of the task given to him by his father, he had Vincenzo join Ezio in his assisting his mother with carrying paintings from Leonardo Da Vinci and gathering feathers for his little brother. When it came to Claudia however, she had been upset by her unfaithful suitor, Duccio de Luca, whom Vincenzo had an inexplicable dislike for since first meeting him. As brash Ezio ran off to beat Duccio into submission, Vincenzo was left to comfort a weeping Claudia. She continued to rant on about how she believed herself to be unlovable, as no boy in the city would "look at her twice" as she put it. Vincenzo looked her square in the eyes and calmed her with the same words Giovanni used when he was a child. He told her that love would not find her if she waited for it to come, and to instead seek it. The two of them felt uncomfortable by the tender moment they shared and Claudia walked off to dry her face, though Vincenzo could swear that at the moment she had blushed, he chose to ignore it.
- "Go child, lest they take you as well! Protect my family, your family! Watch over Ezio! Watch, but do not guide him, let him find his own path! God be with you my boy! God be with you and deliver you from harm!"
- ―Giovanni to Vincenzo, as the latter is arrested in 1476.
Upon Ezio's return from his fight with Duccio, the two returned to Giovanni for further work. After he had sent Ezio away on his own separate task, he gave Vincenzo a letter and a set of documents addressed to Giovanni's brother Mario Auditore in Monteriggioni, concerning the mercenaries of Sienese origin whom were responsible for the death of Vincenzo's father, hoping he might have better knowledge of the local hired swords. Vincenzo elected to do this with gratitude and departed. Upon his return to the house, he found Giovanni, Federico, and Petruccio being seized by the guards. He attempted to combat the guards several times during their arrest, but was surely beaten down several times in turn. He was then left battered and bruised in the palazzo courtyard as a result, until he was carried inside by the house servant Annetta and Claudia.Soon after, Ezio arrived in search of his father and was steadily informed of the situation. Vincenzo lamented his inability to save his father and brothers. Seeing no other option, Ezio chose to see his father and brother's at the Palazzo della Signoria, while Annetta took the rest of them to her sister's. Vincenzo pleaded with Ezio to let him go with him, but Ezio denied this, asking to see his mother and sister safely to Annetta's sister's. Vincenzo's pride was not helped.
Annetta soon lead a battered Vincenzo, a frightened Claudia (whom Vincenzo did his best to comfort), and a traumatized Maria to her sister Paola, the madam of a local bordello and an Assassin Vincenzo was acquainted with through Giovanni. Though Paola was welcoming of the family, she had recommended rest for them all after the day they had experiences. Though Claudia agreed, Vincenzo was not so easily swayed, he wished to liberate assist Ezio in the liberation of the Auditores. Claudia objected, but this did little to talk him down. Paola understood his willingness with a bizarre fixation. She talked Claudia down, sent her and her mother to their quarters, and told Vincenzo that though she agreed, she would not let Vincenzo go unarmed and had the exact tools that he needed. She led him down into the bordello cellar. Down there was a chest Paola intended for him to open, to which Vincenzo opened it. Inside was a set of Assassin robes, two hidden blades, a Roman Longsword, a set of throwing knives, a stiletto, and a set of Metal Armor platting. Vincenzo was grateful for this gift but Paola explained that it was not a gift but the returning of his property. She went on to explain that after his father left for Rome, he entrusted her with his robes. She always meant to return them but explained that she "selfishly" couldn't find the heart to. Confused, Vincenzo inquired as to why his father would give her his robes. She soddenly answered that his father was "an affectionate man" and that was all she had intended to say on the matter, and departed the cellar. Still confused, but not willing to waist any more time, he dressed and armed himself, and departed for the Palazzo della Signoria in the middle of the night.
Half way to the Palazzo, along the rooftops, Vincenzo happened upon a curious sight. On the lower streets, Uberto Alberti rode along in a carriage with two men whom Vincenzo did not know. He made his way down into the streets and tried to catch up to the carriage, but before he did, he caught the three men in mid conversation. One of them, portly man in a black hood who had been referred to as Master Rodrigo Borgia, had inquired to Uberto as to the nature of the documents he held, belonging to Giovanni Auditore. He elected to remain in the shadows and eavesdrop on the conversation. Uberto explained that documents held detailed evidence into their work within the city and that it was well timed that they had obtained them when they did. Rodrigo agreed and turned to the third man in noble attire, referred to as Cristoforo Piccolomini . Rodrigo inquired if the preparations for the Auditore hearing in the following morning were made, Cristoforo to which Cristoforo said yes. He went on to explain that his fellow Florentine council members were prepared to vote in their favor. So long as substantial evidence was not brought forward, Giovanni and his sons were to be hanged. Vincenzo gasped at this revelation, which unfortunately broke his cover. Cristoforo immediately reacted to this and struck him from with a throwing knife from the carriage. Before he knew it, Cristoforo was upon him with incredible speed, claiming that they appeared to have caught a rat. With that he was bludgeoned into unconsciousness.
Vincenzo eventually awoke in darkened room, tied to a chair. Two guards were before him, prepared to exercise whatever means necessary to extract the information they require. Vincenzo did not give them the chance. Before they knew it, Vincenzo slipped free of his restraints and engaged them. Even weaponless, Vincenzo was able to dispatch them with ease. Upon his victory, he gathered his equipment and made his way out of the complex he was imprisoned in. When he finally made it into the day light, he recalled that the hearing was supposed to occur that morning. He quickly made for the Palazzo della Signoria. Upon his arrival on the palazzo rooftop. He saw in the square bellow, an execution was taking place, Giovanni, Federico, and Petruccio were to be hanged by Uberto and Rodrigo. As the three of them dropped from the scaffold, Vincenzo was too late. He quickly spied Ezio emerging from the crowd shouting death threats, but quickly he was surrounded. Moved by his desperate resolve, he made his way across the rooftops, dropped down and assassinated one of the guards from the air. He screamed for Ezio to leave while he had the chance. Though flabbergasted, Ezio complied and fled. Though it took time and near life threatening effort, Vincenzo was able to fight off the guards and fled as reinforcements arrived. He eventually hid in a bale of hay and escaped his pursuers. For what seemed like hours, Vincenzo laid in the hay, quietly sobbing his troubles away.
- Ezio: "It is good to see you alive, amico mio. Piacere, Vincenzo, tell me what you know. What has been happening? Why has it happened? The blades, the robes, the murder, the conspiracy. What were you and father caught up in?"
- Vincenzo: "This is not the time or place to have this discussion. I swear to you all will be clear in time, you need only trust me."
- ―Vincenzo and Ezio in 1476.
Vincenzo finally collected himself and returned to the bordello where he ounce again encountered Paola. He had informed her of the situation, to which she advised not telling Claudia and Maria, as well as waiting for her to deal with Ezio. Vincenzo agreed and met with Claudia and Maria on the upper floors of the bordello. Though Maria had still been in shock, Claudia asked him when her father and brothers would return. Vicenzo responded by saying that Ezio would arrive soon enough. Claudia refuted that he did not answer her, he maintained a bitter silence. Hours later, Vincenzo went downstairs to speak with Paola, and found Ezio as well, preparing to assassinate Uberto Alberti. The two embraced, each glad to see the other alive and well. Ezio inquired as to what had been happening and why it had happened, but Vincenzo could only vaguely rebuke him, allowing Giovanni's last wish to be fulfilled. Come the morning Ezio had returned, triumphant in his indevour to kill Uberto and avenge his family. Ezio had decided that it would have been best if the family were to leave Florence for his uncle Mario's Villa in Monteriggioni. Vincenzo agreed and the Auditore began to prepare for their departure. Before they did, Claudia was sadly informed of her father and brothers' deaths by Ezio. Vincenzo abstained from comment or comfort, he still could not help but feel responsible. With that, the Auditore departed, but as they left, Vincenzo remain for a moment to bid Paola a farewell. He said he did not understand what his father meant to her, but he was never the less sure that he held her just as dear. Poala refuted that he unfortunately did not, and that perhaps won day Vincenzo would understand. Still confused, Vincenzo wished her well and departed with the rest of family.
Hunt for the Piccolomini
- "Grazie for all you have done for me Mario. For all that your family has done for mine. I appreciate it, truly I do. But the Rosetti famigilia will redeem themselves. This bastardo has stolen my father, my heritage, my home, and my life. I will take what is owed to me, in blood. But if I am to do so, it will be alone."
- ―Vincenzo to Mario Auditore in 1477 on Roberto Piccolomini.
Vincenzo and the Auditore had left the city of Florence for the Auditore Villa in Monteriggioni. Along the way, Vincenzo inquired as to his plans to deal with the list of names he received from Uberto. Though Ezio explained that he had no intention of doing so, the Auditore Villa being only a place of refuge before they made for Spain. Vincenzo objected to this but was swiftly talked down. He knew better than to argue with Ezio, it would take more than word to sway his thoughts. After miles of walking, they had finally arrived outside the Villa, but were intercepted by Vieri de' Pazzi and his men, both with ill intent. Though Ezio and Vincenzo held off Vieri's men, it wasn't until Mario Auditore and his mercenaries, arrived, did they finally drive them off. Mario greeted Ezio and Vincenzo (whom Vincenzo was already aquianted with) and welcomed them into the city. After their tour of the city, Mario recommended Ezio outfit himself while he prepared for the two to train, yet he was surprised to discover Ezio had no knowledge of his father's life as an Assassin. As he sent Ezio, Claudia, and Maria off, he and Vincenzo conversed in his office. He asked in frustration why Giovanni had never told him. Vincenzo explained that he intended to explain everything to him the day he was arrested and left such a thing to the both of them. Such was his last wish, to watch over him and see to it he learned to stand on his own two feet. Mario accepted this burden and left to begin Ezio's training.
For months, Vincenzo observed Ezio train with Mario. Maria had not been speaking for months since the execution and showed no signs of returning to her senses. While Claudia had been waiting out her days, working at the Villa. Vincenzo had taken it upon himself to comfort her at the Villa. He soon found himself compelled into spending more and more time with her, much to his confusion. In 1477, Mario came to Vincenzo with information concerning the request Giovanni had made him months prior to investigate the Sieniese mercenaries who murdered Vincenzo's father eleven year prior. He had uncovered that the group had been a company of mercenaries called Il Lupi di Siena in San Gimignano, lead by the scarred man Giovanni detailed as the one who murdered Alessandro, a mercenary by the name of Roberto Piccolomini. Acknowledging the family ties between he and Cristoforo, Vincenzo had no doubts that the two were linked in some way and attempted to set off for San Gimignano. Mario attempted to offer himself and his men's services in this endevour but was rebuked by Vincenzo.
He arrived in the city of San Gimignano the day after. The city was littered with mercenary companies of all types and descents, attempting to find a specific one of Sieniese descent proved to be less than simple. He began to make himself public throughout the Tuscan countryside. He announced himself in the streets of the city, slandering the name of Il Lupi di Siena and their place of birth, issuing a public challenge to them. By midday, this caught the attention of a these very mercenaries and a few of them were dispatched to "teach him a lesson." They soon regretted their words as Vincenzo bested them all, leaving but one of them alive to send a message to Roberto Piccolomini. Hell had come, and it had made room for his arrival.
- Roberto: "Bastardo! You will burn for this! You have spilled the blood of the Piccolomini. My famiglia will come for your blood!"
- Vincenzo: "Let them come! Let them bring their dogs with them. They shall all meet the same end. Today, I swear on the blood of my father, Alessandro Rosetti da Firenze, I will hunt down all who bear the name Piccolomini and wipe them from the face of the earth!"
- Roberto: "Ha . . . buono fortuna. . . bambino."
- Vincenzo: "Che Dio ti assolvo dai tuoi peccati. Requiescat in pace.(May God absolve you of your sins. Rest in peace.)"
- —Roberto Piccolomini's final words in 1477.
Come nightfall, Vincenzo awaited Roberto's arrival out side the Santa Maria Assunta. At the stroke of midnight, Roberto arrived, drunk and cocky, dismissing Vincenzo as a threat but asking why he went through so much trouble to find him. Vincenzo announced that eleven years prior, he had murdered his father on God's holy ground and needed to pay for it. Roberto laughed at the notion, as if a joke was told and he was the only one who understood it. He jokingly accepted Vincenzo's challenge and called for his men hidden in the shadows to strike. The men were well trained, but with effort, they were all ended. All that was left standing was the drunk Roberto. The two clashed, and though Roberto was impaired he was never the less stronger and more formidable. He caught a whole in Vincenzo's defense and brought him to the ground. As Roberto sat on the laurels of his supposed victory, Vincenzo stabbed his hidden blade into Roberto's chest, killing him. As he died, Roberto claimed that the Piccolomini would have him dead for his actions. Vincenzo claimed that they to would share his fate. Confusingly, Roberto still laughed at the notion of Vincenzo killing his family, but never the less died. Successful in his mission, he returned to Monteriggoni. There he began to set up his web of conspiracy for the rest of the Piccolomini family, no doubt certain that his war against them had just only begun.
Discovery in Tuscany
- Vincenzo: "You think that I do not know what I am?! What we are?! You think that I treat human life so carelessly as to take it with out cause, like some lawless marauder? You think I do not lie awake at night, thinking on the lives of those I end. And their families, their wives, their children?! Of course I do! The guilt and consequences are mine to bear. But I do so, not for myself, but for you, for the local blacksmith, for the town doctor, for all those who have the freedom to live without sin. So that bastardi, like the men who killed your family and mine never harm another soul again. I kill, so no one else must. . . I know you are afraid, but all I ask is that you understand that I am no different than I was before."
- Claudia: "But, I do understand, . . . and that is why I am afraid."
- ―Vincenzo and Claudia in April 1478.
By April 1478, Ezio has completed his training with Mario, but had not changed his mind about leaving for Spain. Frustrated, Mario left Ezio in a huff to gather Vincenzo and his men to ride for San Gimignano and meet the Templar threat. During their ride into the city, Vicenzo told Mario had been too hard on him, given he only wished to protect his family. Mario rebuked he was just being a stubborn child like Giovanni was. Vincenzo told him he didn't really think that. Mario agreed and admitted that he had just been frustrated with all that had been happening. Upon their arrival, Mario and Vincenzo prepared to strike the city at nightfall and kill Vieri de' Pazzi. By sundown, Mario's captain of the guard, Adriano, had returned from scouting the city with troubling news. He had seen Federico da Montefeltro in the city market. Mario had been visibly frustrated by this unforseen complication, as Montefeltro had been long known employed mercenary to the Templar cause ever since he first assaulted Monteriggioni some years prior. Adraino suggested that they deal with issue, but Mario refuted that he had not the time nor men to deal with the issue, butnoted that if Montefeltro was truly in the city with the Templar's he knew it boded ill for them. Vincenzo eknowledged this and volunteered to infiltraite the city and investigate his presence there. Mario agreed and Vincenzo was off. He made for the market place and discovered Montefeltro, only to find him in mid discussion with a man in a cardinal's robes by the name of Giacomo Piccolomini, whom Vincenzo recognized as the Duke of Almafi's uncle, Cristoforo's uncle and Roberto's father. In their conversation, Montefeltro argued that he had not the time to deal with Giacomo's grievences about his dead son. He went on to say that he had trained Roberto from a tender age as he was paid to, and that if he had met an untimely end, it would have been his own fault. Giacomo rebuked that with his son dead, speaking ill of him would be "unbenficial." Montefeltro apologized, but explained that Giacomo's nephew had him occupied with the matters of enforcing the Pazzi troops. Giacomo concieded that they should take their conversation to Cristoforo. They walked on with Vicenzo following. Along the way, Giacomo inquired as to the identity of the killer. Montelfeltro explained that he investigated rumors of a man dressed in white robes assaulting members of the Lupi di Siena. Giacomo was concerned that it was the Assassins. Montefeltro responded that it was his first guess but couldn't explain why, seeing as the Assassin's had no knowledge of their involvement with the Templar order.
The two finally came upon Cristoforo, who was conversing with Napoleone Orsini, a former Papal commander under the fallen Pope Pius II. Though normally known as Enea Silvio Piccolomini, the Duke of Almafi's uncle, Cristoforo's father, and former head of the Piccolomini family. The two explained their argument as to lack of involvement into the investigation in Roberto's death. Napoleone interjected with information he had collected through his own investigation. A few days prior to Roberto's death, scouts from Monteriggioni came to the city searching for a Sieniese mercenary of Roberto's description who had committed a murder in the Duomo twelve years prior. The men all new of what he spoke of, the murder they endorsed. Cristoforo deduced that, with Giovanni Auditore dead, the only logical assailant would have had to been Alessandro Rosetti's "bastard" as they had called him. Enraged, Vincenzo leaped from the shadows and struck out, ranting how they had no right to speak his father's name, only to be deflected by Napoleone. All men immediately knew who he was. Giacomo was enraged to see the face of his son, but before he could attack, Cristoforo stopped him and recognized him from the incident they had two years ago. Cristoforo had attempted to calm him and explain the situation, but Vincenzo drew his sword, not wanting to hear any of it, claiming they would all die that day. Giacomo, called to city guards, and they soon surrounded Vicenzo. By the time he had finished them all off, they were gone.
- "Never savor the lives that you take Ezio, we are not meant to enjoy our taking of them. These men may be monsters, but they are men still. We must simply accept that to do so is necessary."
- ―Vincenzo to Ezio in 1478 after Vieri's death.
Much to his surprise upon returning to Mario and his men, Ezio, who had a change of heart, had arrived to assist them. He had relaid his encounter to them, as well as the news that apparently Montefeltro was supplying the Pazzi with mercenary troops. Mario thanked him, but reprimanded him that he should not have let his emotions get the best of him. Vincenzo apologized and swore to never repeat the mistake. When nightfall arrived, while Ezio climbed the walls of the city, Mario, Vicenzo, and the mercenaries assaulted the city gates. When Ezio had finally managed to raise the gates, Mario and Vincenzo took the bulk of their force and marched for the square, while Ezio carved his way through the market. Entering the square lead them to an ambush. The battle was fierce and bloody, ultimately holding Vincenzo and Mario within the square. By Ezio's arrival, Mario had him go forth and slay Vieri in their stead while they contended with the guards. By the time they had finished, they had joined Ezio at the city walls where they found Vieri already dead and Ezio shouting angrily at his corpse, Mario reprimanded him for disrespecting the dead and gave Vieri his last rite. They soon departed. On their way back, Ezio asked Vincenzo why the Assassins fight for peace but take lives to do so. Vincenzo told him that the Assassins knew of their hypocrisy and acknowledge it. Life is precious and is not to be taken without need. Ezio seamed to understand this, but Vicenzo knew he did not. But that was fine, he soon would.
They had all returned to the Villa late that night. While Ezio acquainted himself with the work found around the Villa, Vincenzo took to his chambers and futhered his web of conspiracy surrounding the Piccolomini, adding to it the names of Giacomo, Napoleone, and da Montefeltro. While in deep thought, a curious Claudia had entered the room. She had inquired into what he was doing and he vaguely said that he was planning his "next move." She asked him what coyly and he responded with, his "next step taken against the Piccolomini. Claudia once again asked of him what they did, he told her "bad things" and she finished his sentence with "like with [her] father and brothers." She finally asked him what he planned on doing to them. Not wanting to inform her anymore than what he had done already, he told her he would "deal" with them. Claudia cut to the chase and asked, outwardly upset, if he planned to kill them. In a stunned silence, Vincenzo did not answer. Furious, Claudia stormed out. Vincenzo hurried after her and asked how she knew. She told him out right, that she wasn't blind or stupid, as there were books on the subject of the Assassins and Templars all over the house. He attempted to reason with her, but she did not want any part of it, calling both her and her brother "cutthroats." Brought to his limit. Vincenzo screamed that what he did was for the greater good and though it greatly weighed upon him, but bore it anyway. He then calmly continued, seeing the frightened expression on her face, and asked her not be afraid, but to accept that he was who he was. Claudia replied that she did understand and that was the reason she was afraid. She embraced him, and he soon found himself doing so to her as well. The hug lasted far longer than either of them intended, to which they both parted ways and got back to their respective work.
- "What is it that drives men of power to murder one another? Pride? Greed? Self Preservation? Or, like animals, is it simply in their nature to do so? I believe it is all of these things, yet none of these things."
- ―Vincenzo in April 1478 on the Pazzi Conspiracy.
A few days later, on April 25, Ezio and Vincenzo made plans to ride to Florence and uncover whatever it was the Templars were planning. Upon arrival in the city, Ezio and Vincenzo decided to pay a visit to Leonardo Da Vinci. But before doing so, Ezio left to visit Cristina Vespucci for the first time in two years. Upon his return he seemed sullen. Vincenzo was tempted to ask, but he already had a probable idea of what had happened. Time had passed, and time is the deadliest poison known to man. The two went inside Leonardo's workshop. After he had given Ezio the tools he needed to better face down his enemies, the two asked if he had known a way to discreetly dispose of Franceso de' Pazzi. He directed them to La Volpe, the head of the Florentine Thieves Guild and, unknown to Ezio, a member of the Assassins. After tracking down one of La Volpe's thieves back to his master, the two asked of a way to approach Francesco de' Pazzi so that they may take his life. He agreed to take them to a place where a meeting between him and his associates was being held and Ezio left to prepare. La Volpe greeted Vincenzo warmly, recalling the days when he was a child and he taught him to climb among the rooftops of the city. Vincenzo had asked him if he recieved the letter he had written him about Ezio's impending arrival within the city, La Volpe confermed and explained that he had made all the necessary arrangements. He also provided Vincenzo with so information that he knew he would be interested in. He had recently gotten news of the return of councilmen, Cristoforo Piccolomini, from his sabbatical in Tuscany, but had confined himself to the Palazzo della Signoria, out of fear of something. La Volpe surmised that Vincenzo no doubt had a hand in that. Vincenzo thanked him, and soon Ezio returned and the three of them made their way to the Santa Maria Novella where La Volpe directed them to the catacombs running beneath it where the meeting was taking place. Ezio and Vincenzo made their way through the catacombs and stumbled upon a meeting taking place within a chamber adjacent to the one they eavesdropped from. Inside were seven men surrounding a table of weapons. Three of the men were unknown to them at the time, but four of them were easily recognizable: Rodrigo Borgia, Francesco de' Pazzi, his cousin Renato de' Pazzi, and their uncle Jacopo de' Pazzi. However, the remaining man was unknown to Ezio but well known to Vincenzo, Cristoforo Piccolomini. The men began discussing an event consented by Sixtus IV, involving the Medici, at the Duomo the following morning. Rodrigo had inquired whether or not Renato and Cristoforo had been prepared to the carry the councils vote following the event. They affirmated as well as informed him of Duke Federico da Montefeltro's troops lying in wait in the hills outside the city, preparing to march with "the archbishop." The men concluded their meeting, with Ezio and Vincenzo fled the catacombs and made for the surface.
The two met with La Volpe at the docks where they informed him of what they had learned from the meeting. By the end of their conversation they were all in agreement. Whatever, the Templars had planned, it would not bode well for the city, and would need to be put to an end. Both Ezio and Vincenzo made for the Duomo. It was Sunday morning, April 26, 1478. Lorenzo de' Medici and Giuliano de' Medici attempted to enter the Duomo with their wives. However, before they could, Ezio and Vincenzo witnessed the Pazzi Conspirators lash out from the crowd, murder Giuliano, and severely injure Lorenzo. By then Ezio and Vincenzo joined in the fight and defeated the bulk of the Templar forces, causing Francesco de' Pazzi to flee. Ezio wished to pursue him, but Lorenzo required help returning to his home. Vincenzo volunteered to give chase to Francesco while Ezio assisted Lorenzo. With no other options, the two parted. Vincenzo pursued Francesco through the streets, until he believed he was finally upon him, only to receive a blow to the face from Condottiero War Hammer, and was brought to the ground. Dazed, he gazed up to see Cristoforo Piccolomini standing above him in confidence. Francesco reprimanded Cristoforo, saying he should have been at the Signoria, and Cristoforo came back saying that Lorenzo should be dead along with his brother. Cornered, Francesco fled to finish the rally his troops at the Signoria, while Cristoforo remained to deal with Vincenzo.
Cristoforo cursed Francesco de' Pazzi's name as he left, fortelling that his plan was doomed from that start and will die because of it. He also referanced that Renato would no longer have to feel guilty over his family's demise. He went to say that at some point he was afraid of Vincenzo, believing the angel of death a descended to judge him for his sins. But he then saw that it was foolish for him to think so, as Vincenzo was still a boy in his eyes. He went on still to say that half of his family wanted him dead, while other half wanted him in chains for his crimes against them, but Cristoforo saw no need in that. He claimed that the whole ordeal was one big misunderstanding. But, Vincenzo still wished to hear none of it. As soon as Cristoforo's back was turned the threw a throwing knife at his head, only to have the man turn at the last second and have the knife created a gash across his face. Groaning and cursing, engaged Vincenzo. With his face scarred, the difference and skill was of no conscequence. Cristoforo saw this, and bashed Vincenzo face with his hammer, once again dazing him. In this second daze, Cristoforo made his escape. Bruised and bloodied, Vincenzo made for the Palazzo Medici. Vincenzo arrived there, told the guards of the news, and was allowed inside. Once inside, he told Ezio and Lorenzo of Francesco's plan to assault the Signoria. Lorenzo bidded Ezio to kill Francesco, to which he agreed. They then made for the Signoria while Florence began to spill the blood of soldiers of enemy and ally soldiers.
- Vincenzo: "Your days of corrupting the people of Firenze are at an end Renato. Wash away your sins before you meet God. Tell me, what are the Piccolomini planning, and how are you involved."
- Renato: "The Piccolomini have lost all respect throughout Italia, since the death of Pius II. So, they seek to regain what they have lost through the Templar Order. My family had quickly gained the Spainard's favor. If we had taken Firenze, they would have been an afterthought to the Order. So, Cristoforo paid me to betray my family. I did not want to, I was weak. We planned to accuse Francesco of consorting with the enemy, planting false evidence. But it matters not now, we failed. This letter from Cristoforo tells me the Order has failed. . . I was going to run, leave the city and never be heard from again. I never wanted to die. And now I face oblivion . . . and I am afraid."
- Vincenzo: "Siate calmi. Il peggiore dei tuoi problemi è passato. Requiescat in Pace. (Be calm. The worst of your troubles is over. Rest in peace.)"
- —Renato de' Pazzi's last words in 1478.
It was the middle of the evening and the streets of Florence were littered with combat. By the time that the two of them found themselves at the Signoria, Francesco was a top the Palazzo directing his troops. Ezio told Vincenzo that he would deal with Francesco while he secured the Signoria. Vincenzo agreed as he descended to the streets and entered the Palazzo della Signoria. Inside, he found the councilmen all cowering in fear, as Renato de' Pazzi orated to the a speech of how if they were to survive the current conflict, they needed to abandon the Medici and conform to his family. Just then, one of his guards had handed him a letter. Upon reading it, Renato bidded his fellow councilmen farewell and fearfully hastened to the door. Only to be stopped by Vincenzo, who Renato knew had come to kill him. Terrified, he dispatched his guards to kill Vincenzo and ran for his life. Vincenzo killed his guards with ease and to after Renato. After a daring chase through the building, Vincenzo finally caught up to Renato as he tried to exit off the roof of the Palazzo, and ran his hidden blade into his back, killing him. In his dead, Renato confessed the Piccolomini's plans to restore themselves to their former glory, by use of the Templar Order, and by using him to betray his family. Renato then passed from life, in fear.
After he had died, a crowd of people assaulted his corpse and dragged it away. Before he knew it, he and Ezio watched the people of Firenze strip both he and his cousin Francesco naked and hung their bodies from the Signoria, if front of a rally held by Jacopo de' Pazzi, he fled in fear. Ezio had intended to stay until the morning and speak with Lorenzo concerning the conspirators. Vincenzo felt he had over stayed his welcome in the city for far too long as returned to the Villa in Monteriggioni. There he discussed with Mario what he had learned from Renato and the Piccolomini. From this, Mario told him they could only assume that the entire Piccolomini family was involved, even the head of the family, Antonio Piccolomini the Duke of Almafi. Vincenzo told him it did not matter. They would all meet their end one way or another.
Search in Bolsena
- Adriano: "The cardinale hides somewhere in this region, fearful for his life."
- Vincenzo: "Let him run and hide, he will die tired."
- ―Vincenzo and Adriano in search of Giacomo Piccolomini in 1479.
Vincenzo had spent the following months after the deaths of Renato and Francesco, tracking the remaining members of the Piccolomini of whom he knew were involved in the conspiracy to murder his father. Napoleone Orisini had disappeared after Vincenzo had last seen him in San Gimignano, Federico da Montefeltro had been confining himself to his palace in Urbino, and the council had uncovered Cristoforo's deception and exiled him from Florence, but Giacomo Piccolomini had fled to his dwelling, somewhere in the province of Viterbo, to the north. Giacomo was known as the papal envoy to the region and was therefore under the protection of Sixtus' resources. Several months following Ezio's assassination of the remaining Pazzi Conspirators, Vincenzo decided to take a short trip to Viterbo with Adriano Bianchi, Mario's captain, and a company of Mario's mercenaries to scour the region for him. The men arrived at the comune of Bolsena in mid February 1479.
The next few months, the men had devoted their time in the region, searching for Giacomo. During this time, Vincenzo and Adriano became well aquainted with one another which eventually grew into a mutual respect for one another. Come September 8, the men had been searching the countryside for Giacomo for close to a year and were beginning to talk of abandoning the mission. Vincenzo would have none of it. During this very evening, Vincenzo was working in his chambers at the local inn he had been staying at, when Adriano came in to invite Vincenzo to join the rest of the men in the the celebration of the Madonna di Torano. Vincenzo attempted to decline, but Adriano almost had him dragged out. Vincenzo chose to comply, there seemed to be no harm in it. Vincenzo and the mercenaries gathered in the tavern, drank, and were merry, though Vincenzo unsurprisingly kept himself low key. Late into the evening, the townsfolk of Bolsena were all called to assemble in San Lorenzo Nuovo , the newly constructed part of the comune for the feast. Along their way there, and drunk Adriano exclaimed his claims of joy and love to the men. Claiming he was enamored with a woman. The men all teased him endlessly with his foolish talk, but Vincenzo was sober enough to actually show curiosity in who this women was. Adriano answered that it was Claudia Auditore. Vincenzo felt the knot return to his stomach, and he still did not know why. The men in their drunken stupor suggested he begin to court Claudia, and when Vincenzo was asked of his opinion, he gave the same advice, though he had the strangest compulsion to say otherwise.
For the rest of their walk, Vincenzo seemed to be even more downtrodden the before. Upon their arrival at the church of Turan, where the feast was being held, the festivities were in full swing. Already the three godmothers were being crowned by the head of the local church. Which to Vincenzo's surprise was the Papal envoy to the region, Giacomo Piccolomini. With an inward explosion of rage, Vincenzo walked to the head of the table where Giacomo stood. As Giacomo finished the crowning of the godmothers, he stepped down from his stand and began blessing the people in the crowd. When it came to Vincenzo, he knelt in front of him and begged forgiveness for his sins. When Giacomo asked what he had done, he lifted his head and said that he killed a man's son in cold blood. Giacomo realized who he was and Vincenzo stabbed him in his gut with his hidden blade. Still alive, Giacomo threw him into the hysteric crowd and ordered the his guards to kill him. Vincenzo ordered the mercenaries to his aid. With their drunken stupor still in effect, they had no chance of victory and forced to retreat. Vincenzo had lost his opportunity to kill Giacomo, but he knew that he would not last another day. Not if he had a say in it. The morning after, September 9, Vincenzo and his men had taken refuge in an abandoned dwelling on the shores of Lake Bolsena. Adriano had informed him that they had not been followed, but since the previous night the city guard was no high alert and likely been keeping tabs on Giacomo. Adriano pleaded with Vincenzo to allow them to leave, believing that Giacomo had sustained a fatal wound and would not survive any longer than he had. Vincenzo was unconvinced and demanded they remain until he saw a corpse, it being their duty to do so. Adriano had tod him that the even though Giacomo was not fit enough to leave the Turan church, the entire complex was far too small to inflitrate and too heavily guarded to fight through with so few men. Though Vincenzo was determined, and eventually surmised that if Vincenzo was truly not well, being a Papal envoy, a doctor? would have to have been sent to over see him. Adriano caught on to his plan, if they had intercepted this doctor and tampered with his equipment, Giacomo could be poisoned and die without anyone the wiser.
- Giacomo: "W-What have you done?! . . . I burn!"
- Vincenzo: "I have sent you home to your son."
- Giacomo: "Bastardo! You will burn for your sins! You do not know the pain I-"
- Vincenzo: "Yes, I do. I have known the bitter sorrow of knowing that there is another man alive responsible for taking the only thing you ever knew how to love. I have felt the anger and guilt of waking up to a world where they no longer exist. This, what I do now cardinale, is a kindness. Che la morte pose l'anima infelice a suo agio. Requisecat in Pace. (May death put your unhappy soul at ease. Rest in peace.)"
- —Giacomo Piccolomini's final words in 1479.
The dead was done in the middle of the night. The mercenaries had stolen uniforms of the city guard, halted the oncoming doctor, and gave Vincenzo just enought time to tamper with the equipment. Vincenzo however, decided to stow away in his carriage, he needed to be their when it happened. The carriage had arrived in the church stables and from there, Vincenzo had stalked the halls of the church until he came upon Giacomo's chamber with the doctor injecting him with a muscle relaxant, which was actually a high dose of poison made to replicate the effects of malaria. Upon entry, Vincenzo threatened the doctor who fled out of fear, leaving he and Giacomo alone. Intially, Giacomo cursed his name in death, but Vincenzo refuted that he two knew how he felt and gave him the relief of death. After he was certain Giacomo had perished, Vincenzo had exited the church before the body was discovered and rejoined Adriano and his mercenaries. The men left evening and Giacomo Piccolomini was pronounced dead of malaria on the morning of September 10. Vincenzo was without guilt,
Upon there return to Monteriggioni, the men were welcomed back with open arms. Even Ezio and Claudia had come to the reception. Claudia was overjoyed to see him return safely, the two shared a tender moment where Vincenzo felt the knot in his stomach return, he began to understand it finally. But in that moment he realized that a knot was all it was ever going to be. He did not know how to love some one as amazing as Claudia or even show that kind of affection to her, or anyone for that matter. He quickly broke away from her and walked to Adriano whom he implored to pursue his feelings for her. Though reluctant, he agreed to do so, thanking him. He lead Ezio away from Claudia and began to tell him of his trip to Bolsena. He glanced back once to see Adriano cheerfully chatting with Claudia, whom returned his glance. Regret swelled within him, but it was soon eased by his self assurance. It was for the best. Ezio asked if Vincenzo was alright, to which he did not respond.
Traveling to Venice
- "We have tried to calm him, but the more of us he kills, the less of an option that becomes. As depressing as it may be, it is none of our concern. We are to do our job and protect the family we swore service to. The boy must die. Capito?"
- ―Napoleone Orsini to his fellow Piccolomini vassals in 1480.
A year following Giacomo's death, Vincenzo chose to bury his head in his work rather than think of Claudia. His next target was by estimate, Napoleone Orsini. The former papal commander had all but vanished for the past two years, and Vincenzo had hit a wall as a result. One day in late December 1480, Vincenzo was contemplating when he was once again interrupted by Claudia. Vincenzo felt immediately compelled to stand at attention. She asked if he had a moment to do her a favor, to which he agreed to. Since Mario and Ezio were away on business and then men had better things to do, she had hoped that he could deal with a disturbance in the city. The people had complained of an arrogant merchant in the market, attempting to sell African slaves, of which Claudia was disgusted with. Vincenzo agreed to it without question. Vincenzo took to the market and found the merchant in question to be none other than Duccio de Luca, Claudia's former suitor. Without revealing his identity and resisting the urge to bash his face in, he told him that the people of Monteriggioni had no respect for slavery, nor a need for it, and politely asked him to leave. After a worded argument, Claudia descended from the Villa and noticed who it was that was selling the slaves. Duccio then recognized who both were and threw some choice insults in their direction. It was only until he insulted Claudia that he chose to beat him to a pulp in front of the public. When he had him on the ground, he claimed that Duccio did not have the courage to travel to Africa and buy slaves, and demanded to know where he had them purchased. He sheepishly told him he was sold them cheep from a slave trader's ship in Forli. He did not know the man's name, but told him he owned a ship called Il Mare Funciulla. Vincenzo told him to never sell slaves again and sent him on his way out of town. Afterward, he freed Duccio's merchandise and told Claudia that he intended to travel to Forli with the intent of bringing down the slaver. Claudia told him he did not need to do any of what he did or planned to do. Vincenzo agreed but never the less said that he did it regardless. Vincenzo departed, but he could have sworn he saw Claudia smile. He wondered if she saw him do the same.
Before venturing through the Appennine Mountains, Vincenzo stopped outside Florence and met up with Ezio, who he remembered was also on his way to Forli. The two traveled along the mountain trail and eventually stumbled upon Leonardo who had a spill of trouble with his cart. After helping him, they joined him on his journey to Forli, where they intended to take a ship to Venezia. They arrived in Forli after a touch and go situation on the mountain trail. He then sent himself away to deal with his business, and informed Ezio he would meet him and Leonardo at the docks. Vincenzo entered the city and began canvising the port for the slaver's ship. The only one to be found was indeed the one he had been searching for. Though he could see no slaves aboard, what he did see was a more astonishing sight. A man in a sailors garbs, welcoming Federico da Montefeltro and Napoleone Orsini aboard his vessel and escorting them below deck. Seizing this opportunity, Vincenzo scaled the hull of the ship and was able to listen in on their conversation. Napoleone informed them of how their Florentine influence had been all but descimated, how Giacomo had been killed, and how the Duke of Almafi had not been pleased. Federico absolved blame from himself, claiming that he had done his part and that if anyone was to blame, it was Cristoforo. The sailor, refered to as Alvise Cadamosto, inquired as to how he had died. Napoleone informed him of Vincenzo and their situation with him. Alvise believed the entire ordeal to be depressing, but Napoleone told him that they had finished trying to appease him, their only option was absolute submission, death. Napoleone asked if he and their Venitian contacts were safe in Venice and prepared for the Barbardigo's plan. He affirmed his beliefs and Napoleone prepared to take his leave, wishing Alvise and da Montefeltro good fortune in their pursuits.
- Napoleone: "So it would seem I have lost. . . So be it, I charge into the the unknown."
- Vincenzo: "Not yet. What business do the Templars have in Venezia, and how are the Piccolomini involved?"
- Napoleone: "Stronzo. You think me disloyal. Say what you will of me, but I am not without my honor, my dignity. Strip me of my life, but you will not strip me of that."
- Vincenzo: "As you wish, I know all need to. Che tu possa affrontare la morte senza paura. Requisecat in Pace. (May you face death without fear. Rest in peace.)"
- —Napoleone Orsini's last words in 1480.
As Napoleone departed, he saw this as his only chance to kill him before he vanished again. When he had exited the boat and took to his hoarse, Vincenzo stole a local man's hoarse and took after him. He chased Napoleone throughout the wetlands, and when he eventually caught up to him, he lept from his hoarse and assassinated him with his hidden blade. In his last moments, he refused to tell Vincenzo of what the Templar's plans were in Venezia or why the Piccolomini were involved. He died in arogance, clinging to his pride. Vincenzo respected him for that. He did not like him for it, but he respected him for it. His next destination obviously Venice, Vincenzo joined Leonardo at the Avamposto Veneziano. The two were soon joined by Ezio who secured them passage by use of a favor from the countess of Forli, Caterina Sforza, much to Vincenzo's amusement considering the ridiculousness of the concept. As they departed Ezio asked if he had settled his business in the city. Vincenzo explained that he didn't not yet at the very least.
War of Ferrara
- "I assure you signore, whatever boy in me died long ago."
- ―Vincenzo to Sanservino in 1482 before the siege of Adria.
Vincenzo, Ezio, and Leonardo soon arrived in Venice by January 1481 and were given a tour of the city. On this tour, they witnessed the brutal extortion of the police for under the employment of Emilio Barbarigo. By the end of the tour, Leonardo had moved into his new home, while Vincenzo and Ezio scouted the Palazzo della Seta and planned his death. During this scouting, the two witnessed the entrance to the Palazzo being assaulted by thieves. One thief in particular who Vincenzo had recognized from his last trip to Venice with Giovanni, by the name of Rosa, was injured in her leg attempting to climb the structure. It was then that she, Ezio, and Vincenzo chose to flee the guards together. As Vincenzo guarded the two, Ezio carried her to the canals. On the way introductions were made, where Rosa almost revealed her knowledge of Ezio, whom she was unaware of, in terms of her situation. Finally they made it to the canals. There they met a thief, Ugo, who ferried himself, Rosa, and Vincenzo down to the Gilda dei Ladri di Venezia where she could be treated, while Ezio guarded them from the rooftops, all the while, Vincenzo applied pressure to her leg. Which she was, by another of the Assassins who Vincenzo knew from Giovanni, Antonio de Magianis. With the arrow removed from her leg, Vincenzo carried her inside to help close her wound while Antonio spoke with Ezio. As Rosa was brought inside, now out of Ezio's earshot, she told Vincenzo it was good to see her again in an, albeit, profane way. Vincenzo returned the remark, lacking in the curses. The two struck up a conversation as he sewed her, remembering the times of their youth when they first met. Rosa went as far as to tease him with a story of how she got him to swim naked in the canals, stole his clothes, then rowed away in a stolen gondola as he swam after her naked. By the end of his sewing, he asked a favor of her. The ship captained by Alvise Cadamosto, Il Mare Funciulla, had made it's way into the city and he needed it's location. Knowing she knew the city better than he, he asked to keep an eye out for it. She agreed, it was the least she could do, if anything.
With Ezio off making preparations for Emilio's assassination, Vincenzo returned to Antonio and reacquainted himself with he thieving mentor from his teenage years. With pleasantries aside, Vincenzo inquired into Ezio's suspicion of the convenience of the Thieves Guild's similar goal to his own. He told him Ezio suspected nothing, just as Vincenzo's letter had explained. He included the fact that the guild had also uncovered the information that a disgraced Florentine delegate had discreetly made his way into the city. Armed with this knowledge, Vincenzo set off to work. Months passed perfecting the plan to assassinate Emilo, and Vincenzo's own work was lacking in results. Nothing came to fruition until June 20 of 1482. Antonio's men had failed, Rosa succeeded. With a now healed leg, she delivered on her promise and found gave him a stolen shipping manifest from a shipyard on the eastern part of the city, which contained the name Il Mare Funciulla. The two found this shipyard and hid themselves among the scaffolding, awaiting the Templars to reveal themselves. Eventually Cristoforo walked outside. Rosa recommended they kill him while they had the chance, Vincenzo disagreed, claiming they should follow and see if they lead them to his fellow Templars. After a bout of stalking, they ventured deeper inside the shipyard.
Vincenzo and Rosa followed him inside and eavesdropped on a conversation they happened upon. Which consisted of Cristoforo, Rodrigo Borgia, Alvise Cadamosto, an middle aged sailor, and a young mercenary. Cristoforo graciously thanked Rodrigo for finally meeting with them after months of asking. Rodrigo brushed him off and demanded he explain the plan he had to assume control of Venice for the order. Sheepishly, Cristoforo explained that the tensions between Ferrara and Venice had been teetering on the edge of war over the local salt trade. So it was simple using his cousins in Naples to convince King Ferdinand I to ally with his son in law Duke Ercole d'Este in war. Rodrigo had been in formed of the duke's choice in commanders, Federico de Montefeltro, and was concerned with his ability to deliver victory. Cristoforo reassured him that Federico would indeed follow through with his duties despite previous failures. With Venice in total submission to Ferrara and his cousins in Naples, there would have been no need to usurp political control from the city. They had ample funding from their trading contacts, men from their mercenaries and Venice was none the wiser to their intentions. Rodrigo told him that he and his vassals spoke boldly despite their recent deaths, including the famous Napoleone Orsini. Cristoforo was visibly shocked hearing his old friend's demise. Rodrigo angrily told him that Orsini had been dead for months and that Christoforo was idiotic for being so oblivious. He went on to say that Orsini had been murdered on own horse by Vincenzo, who Cristoforo had told him would not be an issue. Before Rodrigo left in a huff, he said he would hold off on using the Barbarigos, but told Cristoforo that he refused to be disappointed. Cristoforo was visibly upset after Rodrigo left, knowing his old friend was dead, and dismissed his vassals in a rage. They all disappeared deep into the shipyard so Vincenzo and Rosa could hear no more.
Armed with vital knowledge, they reported the knowledge they gathered to Antonio and Ezio. With war on their very doorstep, Ezio recommended they postpone their plans to deal with Emilio. Vincenzo refused, they had worked too long and too hard to have it all fall to pieces, he would be the one to take care of it. Antonio agreed and claimed he intended to anonymously provide the information to the Doge, Giovanni Mocenigo. The next day, news had returned that the Doge had verified the information and had proclaimed war. Antonio had also, recommended a man who would be fit to crush the Ferrarans, and old friend of his named Roberto Sanseverino. The Doge had personally requested he be the one to lead the Venetians against the Ferrarans. Vincenzo was charged with meeting Sanseverino at the port, which he did and convince him to take the contract. Sanseverino proved to be a proud and arrogant man but none the less took job. After a week of preparations, on the morning of June 28, Vincenzo met with Antonio and Sanseverino aboard his flagship as he explained their plan of assault, their fleet would launch simultaneous attacks on the coastal comunes of Adria, Comacchio, Argenta, and Ficarlo. and eventually charge inland to take Rovigo, where da Montelfeltro was no doubt bunkered down. Vincenzo asked when they would leave, but Sanseverino pompously told him that he was not bringing a child to battle with him. But Vincenzo stood his ground and refused to be denied. Moderately impressed, Sanseverino allowed him to come along.
- Vincenzo: "Be still Ducca, you have lost."
- Federico: "You killed me? . . . You can't kill me! . . . I am Il Luce d'Italia, no one can kill me!"
- Vincenzo: "Until today."
- Federico: "Well, Assassino . . . what now?"
- Vincenzo: "Now, you die, and I leave. I am done with you. Posa la tua spada. La battaglia è fatto. Requiescat in Pace. (Lay down your sword. The battle is done. Rest in peace.)"
- —Federico da Montefeltro's last words in 1482.
On the morning of June 29, the fleet had arrived at the Ferraran coast. The flagship that carried Sanseverino and Vincenzo was part of the invading force that assaulted the coast of Adria. Vincenzo grew impatient below deck as they made no process in taking to the shore. Took to the upper deck and made this inquiry to Sanseverino. Sanservino explained that their fleet navy had formed a blockade around the comune that was proving difficult to pass. Vincenzo took this as all the explination he needed and dove into the sea and swam to the blockade. After a great deal of blood and effort, Vincenzo managed to take one of the ships and steer it into the remaining ships, opening a hole in their defences. With the blockade open, the fleet landed on the shores of Adria and began sacking the city. Vincenzo met with Sanseverino who admited to him later that perhaps he had underestimated him, Vincenzo agreed.
The war raged on, Vincenzo did his best speed the progress along, but it took until August before they finally had made it to Rovigo and had the coast in their hands. By the war had taken it's toll on Vincenzo as he grew tired of the daily blood spilled and death to be found, but he held out. Until finally, word had spread that the commander of the Ferraran forces, da Montefeltro himself, had secretly arrived by ship to see to his forces on September 10. With this information provided to Vincenzo by Sanseverino, he was allowed to strike the killing blow. Sanservino provided him three of his ships and the men needed to assault the Duke's on coming forces. Vincenzo took the men in gratitude and took Federico's forces by surprise during the night. With the Sanseverino's ships locked in bitter combat, Vincenzo took his men and boarded Federico's vessel and finally confronted the Duke. After a brutal bout of combat, Vincenzo struck him down, killing him. Though the Duke was angered by his defeat, Vincenzo lead him away with a warriors death. From his corpse he discovered a letter containing the names of the Venitians allied with the Templars and the Piccolomini. Francesco Coppola, Carlo Malatesta III, and Alvise Cadamosto. Sanseverino congradulated Vincenzo's work, knowing that the Ferraran military command would be in ruins and they would siege Ferrara within they year. Vincenzo then told him that he would not able to join him in doing so, his only purpose of joining him completed. Sanseverino express his disappointment, having finally come to appreciate his skill, but never the less wished him luck in his work. Vincenzo did the same and he left of Venice as soon as he could.
- Carlo: "How? How did this happen? We were so careful."
- Vincenzo: "No, you were not. Trova conforto nella grazia di Dio. Requiscat in Pace. (Find comfort in God's grace. Rest in peace)."
- ―Carlo Malatesta's last words.
Upon his return to Venice, Vincenzo devoted his time to tracking down the Piccolomini conspirators he had knowledge of and helping prepare for the assassination of Emilio Barbarigo. He began with the easiest of the men, Carlo Malatesta III, who happened to be known in Venice as the count of Roncofreddo and Montiano. Nonviolently, Carlo was under the enlistment of the Venetian police force, and by extension Emilio, with a commission of approximately one hundred men at arms. As the head of Emilio's enforcers, he had the privilege to serve his time inside the safety of the Palazzo della Seta. Two birds, one stone. Vincenzo attempted a preemptive strike on the count by following his patrol to the local barracks one evening, but unfortunately was unable to deliver his strike, as he had lost him in the crowd of his men. However, he did manage to scale the complex and eavesdrop from one of the windows. Malatesta was being reprimanded for his cowardice by Cristoforo Piccolomini. He ranted on how his family was on thin ice with their Order in their present situation and needed no more cause for distrust. Carlo, sheepishly admitted that he had to be careful after the death of his former mentor, Federico, he was almost certain that Vincenzo would come for him next. Cristoforo, in a rage, told him that he had enough of Vincenzo and that instead of fearing Vincenzo to kill him out right. Just then, one for the guards spotted Vincenzo from the window and at the mere mention of his presence, Cristoforo yelled at the entire police force to kill him. After out running them all, he returned to thieves guild with a moderate sense of pride. Though he did not show it, he could tell one thing of certainty from Cristoforo. He was frightened.
By the eve of September 11 of 1485, all was in place for the taking of the Palazzo. Ezio was to infiltrate the building from the roof, while Vincenzo and the thieves exterminated the guards in and around the building as well as intercept the police force before in had a chance to reinforce the building. The moment was finally upon them, as Ezio took into the Palazzo and struck down Emilio, the thieves struck as well. And with them the alarm raised, the Venitian police force lead by Carlo Malatesta III rushed to the Palazzo in droves. Vincenzo and his men were able to intercept them before they made their way to Seta, and were able to kill off enough of their captains to discourage and scatter them, one of which was Malatesta himself. Though sadly the man had escaped in the confusion, much to Vincenzo's dismay. He then joined Antonio in entering the Palazzo and celebrating with one and all, the death of Emilio and their victory. The Piccolomini did well to hide there presence afterward. Vincenzo found absolutely no trace of their common activity in Venice. To pass the time for an on coming slip up, he took to more actively assisting Ezio in his work against Rodrigo Borgia. On the day of September 13, Ezio returned to Seta and informed he and Antonio that the Templar's planned to assassinate the Doge by way of Carlo Grimaldi, and replace him with one of their own. Though the concept of saving them appeared difficult, a plan to infiltrate Palazzo Ducale was none the less put in motion. Ezio and Antonio had scouted the Palazzo and came to no conclusion of entry. However, Ezio came to the conclusion that it was possible to gain entry by way of Leonardo Da Vinci's flying machine. After setting up various fires through out the city, Ezio was able to be carried all the way to the Palazzo. Vincenzo unfortunately found out the next morning, that he had failed and the Doge had been killed.
Months of hiding away followed, until February of 1486 came. And with it, Carnevale. Ezio was much preoccupied in dealing with the new Doge, Marco Barbarigo. As he did so, Vincenzo returned to hunting down Malatesta. He had not been seen in the city for some time, and as a result, gave Vincenzo quite a great deal of grief searching for him, but once again Rosa produce results where he could not. She came to him with the knowledge that the Venetian police force was throwing and officers gala, aboard a group of their naval frigates that sailed around the harbor. At the stroke of midnight, the gala would sail down the Grand Canal, vulnerable to a covert boarding. Approving of this plan, Vincenzo and Rosa rowed down the canal at midnight and scaled one of the three ships. From there they discretely scaled to the top of the main sail and overlooked the party. The two then immediately spotted Malatesta uncomfortably standing among his men, abstaining from socialization. Knowing he needed to be coaxed from his position, Vincenzo began to devise a plan. Though Rosa, already having one in mind, descended from the mast and took to the party below. There she drew a noble woman from the crowd sent her into a deep slumber and stole her clothing. She entered the crowd and made her way to Malatesta under the noble woman's guise. She eventually coaxed him from his men and began to dance with him, Malatesta visibly elated. Seizing the provided opportunity, Vincenzo descended from the mast made his way through the party and discretely ran his hidden blade into his throat, killing him. His last words were those of fear. Vincenzo took pity on him and comforted him in his last moments. He was just a man who did as he was told.
- "Vincenzo. I write this to you a time much later then I intended. I will admit, I waited because I could not find right the words to express. It is strange really, I seem to be doing much of that as of late, waiting. I wait for the day I awake from this horrid dream my life has become, I wait for my mother to speak to me again, I wait for Ezio to return to us so that we may be a family. All I do is wait, and I am sick of it. I am sick of waiting for something that will never come. For my brother, my mother, my life, and a boy, a boy who I have held affection for as long as I can remember. Perhaps I was foolish, holding on to something that was never there, to a feeling that was never mutual. Adriano, after a great deal of courtship, has asked me to marry him. I enjoy his affection Vincenzo, and I am tired of waiting for you. We are to wed within the year. I invite you and Ezio to come, though I doubt you will. I wish you buono fortuna in all you do, amico mio. Affettuosamente, Claudia."
- ―Claudia's letter to Vincenzo in 1486.
Vincenzo and Rosa fled in the confusion and disappeared into the Grand Canal. They returned to the Thieves Guild and sat upon the roof, watching the fireworks burst in the distance. Rosa was the first to speak and handed him a letter that she found addressed to him early today, she admitted to reading it. Vincenzo open and read the letter silently, it was from Claudia. It said that she was to marry Adriano, though ever since they were children, the feelings that he had for her were mutual. She invited him to their wedding, though she knew he would not come. Vince absorbed the gravity of what he read in silence. Rosa offered several means of raising his spirits, from racing across the rooftops, to showing him to La Rosa della Virtu, to even swimming in the canals, though she promised she would actually join him that time. He sullenly rejected them all. She exasperatedly asked what he need her to do. He looked into her eyes, feeling a rush of temptation, but it slowly subsided and he sighed. He told her to go and be happy, for the both of them. She asked if he at least wanted to write her back, he said no. With that, Rosa left and Vincenzo remained, watching the fireworks burst vibrant and passionate colors. He was in envy of them.
Conspiracy of the Barons
- "I miei cugini have made their choice, now I have made mine. No mercy fratelli, no mercy."
- ―Cristoforo Piccolomini on the Conspiracy of the Barons in 1487
Months had passed and Vincenzo was no better. Claudia had been married and he was no closer to bringing down the Piccolomini influence then the months prior. By September 2 of 1486, Vincenzo was contacted by an old friend, Roberto Sanservino, who bidded him to meet him on his ship at the harbor. Vincenzo greeted his old war time friend with great pleasure, and Roberto returned. But, he admitted that he arrived to inform him of troubling news. His grandson Antonello Sanseverino had informed him of an unruly conspiracy he had gotten himself mixed up in and needed assistance in getting out. Knowing not how to deal with political actions, he saw no one else to turn to but Vincenzo. Vincenzo in turn agreed with out hesitation but needed more information, Sanseverino complied. A year prior, Antonello and a group of noblemen had grown displeased with the rule of the king of Naples, Ferdinand I. As a result, Antonello assembled these men to devise a strategy for ousting the king. By the time the Pope gave support to the en devour and a man named Cristoforo Piccolomini became involved, talk of murder came about and by then Antonello lost faith in the plan and no longer wanted any part of it. Believing he had finally caught a break, he requested the names of the conspirators with the resolve of dealing with them swiftly. He told him their names: Antonello Petrucci, Francesco Coppola, and Luigi de Gesualdo. Armed with this knowledge, he requested Sanseverino take him to Naples, to which he agreed.
The twp arrived by ship in Naples several days later on September 9 of 1486. Wasting no time, Vincenzo immediately took up his search for the conspirators. He began at the source of the corruption, the king of Naples himself. He and Sanseverino had gained an audience with King Ferdinand in Castel dell'Ovo. Ferdinand proved to be a proud and malicious man, so he refused to take heed of anything they had to tell him without concrete evidence or a confession. With having Sanseverino's grandson confess to the king out of the question, Vincenzo saw no other course of action but to track down the conspirators and kill them personally. Though he dreaded the king's rule and would have gladly seen him deposed, but with the Templar's in current opposition to him, he could take no chance. Soon after, Sanseverino took him to his grandson who gave him a place to begin. The conspirators had planned a meeting in an undisclosed location two days from then, the only one with knowledge of the location being Cristoforo himself. The only way they would meet was for all of them to assemble in the midst of the Piazza del Plebiscito at midday, under the cover of the massive crowd, and travel to the meeting place. With midday fast approaching, Vincenzo spared no time in making for the square. He arrived in the Piazza square, finding it to be a monogamy of citizens all blurred together. He began to scan the crowd to no end, until an end finally came. To his luck, Francesco Coppola had fallen down in the midst of the people, and in his hand he bore a letter bearing the seal of the house of Piccolomini. Vincenzo followed Coppola through the crowd, until he finally came upon a group of carriages, one of which the man entered. Seizing the moment, Vincenzo hid himself within the back of the carriage, as it took off for parts unknown.
Vincenzo could tell days had passed, but on September 11 the carriages finally came to a halt in the town of Lacedonia. Upon stopping , Vincenzo quickly removed himself from this hiding place and hid himself in a nearby alleyway. He observed Cristoforo and his fellow conspirators emerge from the various carriages and begin to walk with their armed escorts. Vincenzo followed them until they came to the local church of St. Anthony. Vincenzo scaled the exterior of the church and entered in through the roof. Once inside, he managed to spy on the meeting between the conspirators. Cristoforo proclaimed that they could waist no more time waiting for Antonello Sanseverino and declared the meeting underway. Cristoforo explained that like the last time they met, they were all in agreement that each of their respective cities was to block all trade and communication with Naples until the city was weak enough for the Pope to pass his forces into the region and bring King Ferdinand to his knees. Leaving the city of Naples in their complete control in the aftermath. Luigi de Gesualdo asked why they had even betrayed their former ally King Ferdinand as well as Cristoforo's cousins. Cristoforo explained that the Borgia had all but completely lost faith in them as an asset. With the Barbarigo in dire straights, it was their moment to seize power. His cousins refused to relinquish their loyalty to the king who had failed them, so naturally, they would see to their own downfall. The men were all in agreement. Cristoforo then began to assign duties to the conspirators. Luigi de Gesualdo would travel to abroad to meet with the fellow the other families in the region and gather support for their cause. Coppola would travel Venice and begin assembling the funds needed finance to revolt through his trading contacts. While, Petrucci would travel with Cristoforo to Rome where they would meet and discuss the revolt with the Pope. Them men agreed and the meeting concluded. Cristoforo had his guard take the official minutes of the past meetings and burn them, though he warned him to be wary as he had felt uneasy since their arrival in the comune. The guard complied and left to go deeper into the church. Vincenzo chose to follow this guard from the scaffolding. As soon as he was certain the guard was out of sight, he discretely assassinated the guard and looted the accounts from his corpse. With what he needed to burn the conspirators, he sneaked out of the church and took rode back to Naples.
With evidence in had, Vincenzo and Roberto Sanseverino arranged another audience with the king, who by this time had believed their tale. With the knowledge of a conspiracy against him, the king began to discretely pick apart their plans without their knowledge of him doing so. Vincenzo assisted, but no matter the effort, the conspirators proved too large in number and too resourceful. So, Vincenzo came up with a plan to assemble the conspirators in one place and arrest them all. By May 11 of 1487, King Ferdinand was to celebrate his niece's wedding and the whole of the noble lords were scheduled to attend. With the conspirators still oblivious to their knowledge of their conspiracy, they would be open to arriving. The king approved of this plan and preparations were made. The day had finally arrived and all the guests were in attendance, even the uneasy conspirators. Vincenzo watched from the rafters of the grand hall, anxious to see Cristoforo dead. Ferdinand called for a toast to his niece's good fortune in her marriage, and ordered the public arrest of the conspirators. Though there was some resistance, the conspirators were all rounded up, yet despite this, Cristoforo killed the guard holding him and sprinted out of the great hall. Vincenzo took after him in anger. He pursued him until the reached the harbor, where Vincenzo managed to tackle him to the ground. When he finally thought he had him, Cristoforo managed to blindside him with a knife to the gut. When it looked like Cristoforo would finally kill him, the palace guard arrived. Left with no other option, Cristoforo fled the scene as Vincenzo slipped into unconsciousness.
Killing the Slaver
- Vincenzo: "Your profit off human suffering is at an end."
- Alvise: "Foolish boy, you would have yourself think I am the source of all slavery. If not these Africans, then who? The Portuguese, the Swiss, will we be the ones! To be weak is to court subjugation. Mankind will always conquer those who are beneath us, it is in our nature."
- Vincenzo: "Silencio, I did not come here to argue slavery with a dead man, I came for Cristoforo Piccolomini. Where has he gone?"
- Alvise: "The Spaniard could take no more of his failure. So . . . he banished him to Roma. You will find him somewhere in the city. Take it for what it's worth."
- Vincenzo: "Dio abbia pietà della tua anima malvagia. Requisecat in Pace. (God have mercy on your wicked soul. Rest in peace.)"
- —Alvise Cadamosto's last words in 1488.
Vincenzo awoke a week later aboard Sanseverino's flagship in Venice, on May 18. Sanseverino was there to greet him and told him of their success against the barons, but failure in capturing Cristoforo. Though disappointed, he was undeterred and thanked Sanseverino for all he had done. Sanseverino returned his thanks and left to make preparation for his trip back to Trent, to deal with inserectionists lead by Sigismund of Austria. Vincenzo, afterward, returned to Ezio and the Theives Guild. The two eventually made prepartions to assassinate Silvio Barbarigo and Dante Moro by besieging L'Arsenale with the assistance of Bartolomeo d'Alviano, an Assassin in secret, months later in 1488. With Vincenzo and Bartolomeo's assistance, Ezio successfully killed both of the Templars before they could flee by ship. The two mentioned a piece of cargo inbound from Cyprus. Though Ezio did not have the slightest clue as to what he it was that was they spoke of, Vincenzo and the Assassin's knew too well what it was. A dreaded Apple of Eden. Vincenzo was eventually eventually received a visit from Antonello Sanseverino, with the news that Roberto had perished on the field of battle in Trent, months prior. Vincenzo shed no tears for his fallen friend, he knew that was how he would have wanted it.
By June 24, Vincenzo had intended to meet Vincenzo outside the Palazzo Ducale so the two could celebrate his birthday. He was, however, late for the occasion and only found Rosa on a bench alone as Ezio and Leonardo walked away. He greeted her and asked what had Ezio all riled up over. She told him that they had uncovered the ship carrying the Apple back from Cyprus, which just so happened to be named Il Mare Funciulla. Clearly making the connection, Vincenzo and Rosa came to the conclusion that Alvise Cadamosto was the one who took the Apple and was somewhere in the city, even though they had been convinced that he died at sea five years prior. Compelled, Vincenzo started for the shipyard, but not before Rosa handed him another letter. She admitted to reading it and told him, somberly, to read it only when he had a moment. He accepted and went on his way. He made his way to the shipyard and found the dock which Alvise's ship was docked in. Then suddenly, out of the nowhere, Alvise himself appeared with his men and surrounded Vincenzo. After some choice insults, Alvise in his men attacked. In the ensuing struggle, a barrel of lantern oil tipped over and spilled on the ship while one of the sparks of the battle ignited the oil and set the ship a blaze. Off put by this, Alvise was fatally run through by Vincenzo's sword and was cut down. In his last words, Alvise revealed that Cristoforo Piccolomini had been banished to Rome out of mercy for his periodic failures. In the end, Vincenzo left the wicked-hearted slave trader's lifeless body on board the burning ship and walked out of the shipyard. The captain finally got to go down with his ship.
Vincenzo returned to the Thieves Guild to relay his new found information to Antonio, but soon found that he was not the only one of note there. As it turned out, Mario and the rest of the Order arrived to see the Apple safely removed from Templar hands. This included the famous Master Assassin, Niccolò Machiavelli. With his news soon of little consequence, Vincenzo joined the party as the set off to join Ezio in seizing the Apple. The party arrived to find Ezio in mid combat with Rodrigo Borgia's men. Upon joining a fierce battle ensued, culminating in Rodrigo's retreat and the Assassin's victory. Then the time finally came to reveal the truth of the Order to a much astonished Ezio and induct him into the Order. Vincenzo remained to watch his old friend take the oath of the Order and speak with him afterward. As the two casually conversed on their way back to the guild, Vincenzo revealed his intentions of not leaving Venice with Ezio and instead pursuing Cristoforo in Rome. Though disappointed, Ezio never the less understood. The two embraced and parted way, both knowing that it would be the last time either would see each other for a great deal of time, after being almost inseparable for twenty one years. Vincenzo boarded the nearest boat to Rome and decided to read the letter he received from Rosa. Before he opened it, he thought of all that heartache he had received for years at Claudia's expense, and all he had done to rid her from his mind. In the end, he cast the letter into the unopened letter into the wind. He wasn't sure if it was the right choice, or even the smart choice, but he did know that he couldn't get over her for a third time. And that was enough for him.
Returning to Rome
- "Family. A term I've never been too familiar with. It has found a way to evade me most of my life. But, from what I can gather it isn't about the people who bore you and raised you. The people that love you, care for you, do anything for your sake. That is family. Vero?"
- ―Vincenzo after the Missionary's death.
Vincenzo had arrived in Rome weeks later, finally home after twenty one years abroad. He found the city to be just as he left it, which gave him no small amount of joy. He immediately got down to business and made contact with the section of the Order stationed in the city. Their leader had much more to be concerned, rather than assist in the revenge schemes of a "Florentine Assassin." But never the less deferred him to a subordinate who would serve as his guide throughout the city. A young Assassin, in his early twenties, by the name of Perotto Calderon, who proved to be quite enthusiastic about learning from a more experienced Assassin. With guide in tow, Vincenzo began to reacquaint himself with the city around him. The search for even the slightest hint of Cristoforo proved to be even more difficult for the two of them then Vincenzo had originally thought. After a year's worth of searching the convents, churches, city, and countryside, there was not even the slightest hint of the Piccolomini. After hitting a wall, Perotto made and educated suggestion that they delve deeper in the Rome's underground, specifically an institution Vincenzo never thought he would find himself visiting casually. By January 1490, the city of Rome was in celebration of an early Jubilee granted by Pope Innocent VIII, so Perotto took Vincenzo the institution he had mentioned. A bordello called the Rosa in Fiore. Upon entry into the bordello, he found himself uncomfortable considering why they were there. Perotto explained that courtesans hear more of the city's secrets than most, and on duty is when one would be able to find them the most talkative. Still not comforted, Perotto told Vincenzo to simply walk among them and "open himself up them" so to speak. Vincenzo tried to comply as such, but was met with no results, as he found himself fumbling over every sentence with every courtesan he came upon. Eventually he gave up and found the most reclusive table he could find and waited for Perotto to find what he could not.
When all his hopes for ever coming out of his shell seemed to die, a women sat down at his table uninvited. To Vincenzo, she seemed different compared to the other courtesans. More intelligent, alluring, and confident as well as beautiful. She began to coax a conversation out him with flattery. Vincenzo knew this game all too well and returned her flattery in kind, under the disguise of a local nobleman. The two went back and forth in conversation for the next hour. As they did so, Vincenzo found himself in much relief to find himself in such good company. Their flattery soon turned toward an exchange of information. They both knew the game, why not play it. Vincenzo revealed the true nature of his being the city asked her if she knew of any foreign nobleman who came to Rome in the past two years by the name of Cristoforo Piccolomini. She admitted she did not, but she knew of such a nobleman who had come to the city and began a mass organization and take over of the criminal underworld of the city, referred to only as "The Missionary." Vincenzo was grateful for her assistance and began to leave. The courtesan stopped him and invited him to retire for the evening with her and escape his troubles. Though tempted, Vincenzo respectfully declined, but did ask for her name at the very least. She told him it was Fiora. He then told her she could try again the next time they meet. Fiora asked if there truly would be a next time, and Vincenzo responded that he was all but certain of it.
Vincenzo found Perotto and together the two of them left, intent on finding this missionary and bringing his death. The Missionary himself proved difficult to find, but his criminal network did not. In order to root out the deviant, Vincenzo and Perotto began to pick apart the criminal inner workings of Rome's underworld. Smuggling operations, slave trafficking, and all other large scale criminal operations no doubt tied to The Missionary. This went on endlessly for over a year, until one evening in March 1490. In the aftermath of a raid on one of The Missionary's safe houses, the two came upon a bundle of letters between The Missionary and a man referred to only as "dearest." Vincenzo did not have the slightest idea who the letter was written to, but the letter's bore the seal of the Piccolomini family and referenced the Templars, Sienna, and the Borgia several times. Vincenzo and Perotto were almost certain of The Missionary's identity being Cristoforo Piccolomini. The final letter spoke of a meeting to take place on that very night in the Basilica Giulia. Without delay the two rushed forth to the Bascilia.
- Vincenzo: "It is over Cristoforo- wait . . . No! Cos'è questo? Who are you?!"
- Laodamia: "Laodamia Piccolomini. No doubt you are familiar with my nipote."
- Vincenzo: "Si, I am. Why have you done this, signora? Tell me where Cristoforo is. Let us end this foolish game."
- Laodamia: "He is long gone, stronzo. And you will not find him. My blood will be the only one you spill today. And why do I do this? WHY you ask? We are famiglia, clear and simple. When your black heart finds something to care for more than anything else on this earth, then maybe . . . you will understand."
- Vincenzo: "I believe I already do. Possiate voi e che Dio perdoni il mio errore di giudizio. Requiscat in Pace. (May you and God forgive my error in judgement. Rest in peace.)"
- —Laodamia Piccolomini's last words in 1490.
Vincenzo lucky dropped in on the meeting in full swing. A cloaked figure, presumably The Missionary, and his two guards spoke with three shady individuals about their individual criminal cartels. One of them grew inpatient speaking through The Missionary's guards and not The Missionary himself, so he slipped passed his guards and attempted to get a look at his face, but after he did so, the guards took him prisoner and killed him on the spot, no one could know his identity. Vincenzo had more than enough of this and struck The Missionary while Perotto killed the his guards. As he lay dying, Vincenzo discovered that he was not Cristoforo, he was actually a she. That she being Laodamia Piccolomini, his aunt and the mother of the Duke of Almafi. Vincenzo asked why she had pretended to be her nephew. She simply stated that he was family. As she passed, Vincenzo was discouraged. He had no intention of killing a defenseless old woman putting on an act to save her nephew. Never the less, his mission was done and Cristoforo needed to be found. His work in Rome was only beginning.
Protecting the Pope 
- Fiora: "There are moments where I look back on all that has brought me to where I am today. And they fill me with nothing but regret. Have you ever had a moment like that?"
- Vicenzo: "Si, and it has lasted twenty-six years."
- ―Vincenzo and Fiora Cavazza in 1492.
During the next two years, Vincenzo had begun to settle in to his old home. Despite the fact that his time revolved around his work, he took another leap of faith and began to socialize. He formed a particular attachment to Perotto, training with him and such, as well as helping him with the training of his young student Francesco Vecellio. Apart from that, he made good on his word and began to frequent the Rosa in Fiore and visit Fiora. Eventually, Fiora managed to "coax him out of his shell" and one evening, he allowed her to take his virginity. Though during those two years, Vincenzo grew as a person, he found himself at his wits end in discovering the Piccolomini's plans. This changed one evening Vincenzo and Fiora spent in the Rosa in Fiora. During a conversation they had, Fiora let it slip that she had heard from a Papal cardinal that the Pope had received a death threat in the Sienese dialect not two weeks prior. Fiora thought nothing of it considering Innocent received such threats by the score. Vincenzo knew better than to believe in coincidences.
Vincenzo brought this before the Roman Assassins the next morning but was met with only skepticism. The Assassin leaders were already well aware of the Templar threats against the Pope's life and had taken the necessary measures against their will. Despite this, the Assassin leader still had no intention of heading any unnecessary warnings. Though frustrated, Vincenzo was still determined to keep his vigilance about him. Unknown to the Assassins of Rome, Vincenzo and Perotto took up undercover positions in the Papal guards in the Vatican city. Months passed without even the slightest sign of an attempt on the Pope's life.
Yet once again, Vincenzo was proved wrong. The Pope was preaching his daily sermon in the Sistine Chapel with Perotto and Vincenzo on as his guards. Suddenly, out of nowhere, the church bells ring in quick succession, signaling that a fire had been taking place within the city. The cardinals had all been aroused in a panic and quickly filled out of the Chapel. With the Chapel empty, Vincenzo and Perotto noticed that the Pope had not been among the cardinals who escaped, yet none took notice. Vincenzo had an uneasy feeling and quickly entered back into the Chapel. Inside he witnessed the unthinkable. He witnessed the Pope sprawled out on his pedestal, covered in blood, as three cloaked assailants stood triumphant. The two immediately sprung into action and hurled their throwing knives at the assailants. Two managed to scale the walls and flee out the windows, but Vincenzo managed to land a knife into the other's head, killing him. Upon overturning the body, they found the assailant to be the Roman Assassin leader, who had apparently betrayed the Order. Before the rest of the Papal guard could arrive, Perotto and Vincenzo seized their opportunity to leave. Vincenzo was beside himself, he had failed and once again an innocent had paid for it. Someone needed to pay.
City of the Wolves
- "Live strong, live free, and never hunt alone"
- ―The Piccolomini motto, discovered by Vincenzo in 1493.
Soon after the betrayal of Roman Assassin leader, chaos was unleashed in that portion of the Assassins. Luckily, order was restored following the temporary instigation of a council of Assassin leaders who would remain in power until the crisis was averted and a new leader was chosen. Popular opinion swayed toward Niccolò Machiavelli, but Vincenzo paid no attention to that. What really drew his attention was the election of a new Pope, following Innocent's death. Among the three candidates running, one was none other than Rodrigo Borgia himself. Rumors spread throughout the Church that the Borgia began paying off the Cardinals to receive the most amount of votes. Vincenzo urged action to be taken, but the Order at the time was in too much disarray as Templar infiltrators were searched for. With no Assassin intervention, Rodrigo ascended to the Papacy in August 11 of 1492, no doubt all planned by the Templars. No Assassin in all of Italy was safe.
With their backs against the wall, the Roman Assassins found themselves in dire straits by late January of 1493, until the unexpected arrival of a man with a solution to growing Templar opposition. On this particular day the leader of the Assassins from Rome's sister city, Siena, came to provide aid to the Romans. A man by the name of Niccolo Borghese. The council was skeptical at Niccolo's claims as to the extent of how he would eliminate their problem. While Niccolo had no immediate, out right, solution. He did have a plan to make it so. He spoke of how Rodrigo Borgia, now Pope Alexander VI, was officially the most powerful man in Italy, and how the only way to stop such a powerful man was to make an almost equally powerful man jealous. He told them of Pandolfo Petrucci, the richest and the second most powerful man in all of Italy, as well as the ruler of Siena. Pandolfo and his family already bore the Borgia no love and would gladly crush them given the opportunity to do so. The only thing preventing him was the influence of Siena's second most powerful family, the Piccolomini, the Petrucci's most trusted advisers. The Borghese and the Piccolomini had rivaled over Pandolfo's support a decade. While Pandolfo, who had no knowledge of the Templar-Assassin conflict, had continuously chosen the Piccolomini over the Borghese and was unwittingly financing his enemies. Niccolo swore that Siena was teetering on the axis of control, but in order for him to help them, they needed to first help him usurp influence over Siena. The council claimed to have enough to deal with and declined his proposal. But afterward, Vincenzo spoke to Niccolo and told of his tale, as well as his willingness to help a fellow kindred spirit against the Templars and the Piccolomini. Niccolo gladly accepted the assistance of such renown Assassin, as Vincenzo soon found out that was something of a legend among the Sienese Assassins. Niccolo left for Siena that day and gave Vincenzo time to prepare. For the next two days, Vincenzo made his necessary preparations, bid farewell to Francesco and Perrotto, and spent one last evening with Fiora. By the morning he had left her a note professing his love and a rose as she slept. He then purchased a horse and rode for Siena.
By sundown, Vincenzo had arrived in Siena. Niccolo took the liberty of welcoming at the gates with his men and took him on a tour of the city. Vincenzo told him he was surprised to see that the city so vibrant considering how it was politically described. Niccolo explained that, unlike most of the other cities, Siena was not under any form of monarchy or government. For the last five years, Siena was dominated by the Noveschi, a group of nine merchantile-banking families that served as the nobility. Of those nine families, the most powerful served as the ruling body of the city, who at the time was the Petrucci. Siena had no political or military foothold, Siena's existance was merely devoted to the pleasure of those who knew how to use it. Though such a political system was falling apart at the hands of the tyrannical rule of Pandolfo Petrucci. Along the way of their tour, Niccolo managed to show one of the few things plainly seen in the beautiful city, the extortion of the poor by their richer merchant betters. Niccolo informed him that this was common place among the two social classes and that the poor were soon growing tired of being abused by the rich, threatening mutiny. By the end of their tour, the two had come upon the Borghese estate, where he was promised housing for the remainder of his stay in the city. Upon entering the estate they were greeted by Aurelia Petrucci; Niccolo's daughter, Pandolfo's wife, and a secret member of the Order. Vincenzo expressed his disbelief in hearing that Pandolfo's wife would consent to his political manipulation. Niccolo and Aurelia explained that the marriage was merely political, as a means of gaining influence over Petrucci. Vincenzo further expressed his disbelief that Niccolo would marry his own daughter off to tyrant for the specific purpose of undermining him, but Aurelia surprisingly interjected that it was her idea to begin with.
To prepare for the coming political war with the Piccolomini, Niccolo thought it best that Vincenzo should have acquainted himself with whom he was to be fighting. So, that evening, he accompanied Aurelia and Niccolo to a gala held at the Palazzo Pubblico. The two went to the gala, where he was adressed as Aurelia's cousin from Rome. There he was shown the Assassin's three biggest threats in Siena all huddled around one another at the Petrucci's table. Antonio Piccolomini the Duke of Almafi, Alfonso Piccolomini the son of the Duke and ambassador to Siena, and Francesco Piccolomini the archbishop of Siena. The two took their seats at the Petrucci's table, where Vincenzo put on an inconspicuous face, even though he had nothing but disdain for all three of them in his mind. Aurelia took the liberty of introducing him to the lot of them, who thankfully did not have the slightest suspicion of his identity, as well as her husband Pandolfo, who quickly solidified his reputation for being a loud, self center, arrogant tryrant. It was no wonder to Vincenzo that the Templars could manipulate him so thoroughly. As the evening wore on, the archbishop Francesco was asked how construction was on the Piccolomini Library. When asked what this was, the archbishop explained that Pandolfo had gifted them with a library in the process of being erected in the Siena Cathedral, to commemorate the Piccolomini family and their greatest member, Pope Pius II. The rest of the night was absent Vincenzo's ears, as he had formed an idea.
When they had returned to the estate, Vincenzo told Niccolo and Aurelia of his plan. The best way to start a war is to make people angry. The Piccolomini Library appeared to the pride and joy to its namesake, so a little sabatouge would manage to make just the right impression. The Borghese saw no error in making an impression, so they gave him free range to deal with them by any means he deemed needed. Vincenzo was pleased, and he was sure the Piccolomini would not be. He left for the Cathedral in the dead of night and slipped in under cover of darkness. Upon entering, he found the work site heavily guarded, but managed to avoid the lot of them and make his way down into the lower catacombs. In these lower hallways were all manner of traps and puzzles, guarding the tapestry of the history of Enea Silvio Piccolomini. Vincenzo uncovered the final piece of the tapestry which detailed the famed Piccolomini family sword, the Blade of Aeneas, said to be crafted by the founder of the their household centuries, laid to rest within the Library catacombs. Vincenzo happened upon another brilliant idea at the sight of this. He eventually slipped his way into the rafters of large grand hall, where a fall would mean certain death. Vincenzo made his way across the ceiling, watching below as the three Piccolomini elders all convened. Alfonso expressed his displeasure in having to smile and nod to the Borghese to appease Pandolfo. Francesco calmed him saying as soon as Siena was in the Borgia's hands, they would not have to submit to Pandolfo's pride any longer. The aged and withered Antonio inquired as to how such plans were progressing. Alfonso explained that they had already incriminating evidence of Pandolfo's secret support of Ludovico Sforza against Rome. When this knowledge was brought to light, Rome would call for Pandolfo's blood and the majority of the Noveschi would have no choice but to turn against him in favor of saving their hides from the terror of the Borgia. All they required was the return of Cristforo from his pilgrimage, as he had the necessary documents professionally forged in Germany. Antonio asked when he was due to return, but Francesco said that he had neglected to return correspondence for weeks. Antonio seemed undeterred and told them that until Cristoforo returned they would wait. Vincenzo took this opportunity to make off with the sword and this new information, so he crossed the ceiling and into the treasure chamber in the next room. Along the way there, noticing Alfonso stoking the fireplace that lit room and accidentally knocking over the oil keg he drew from, spilling it all over the floor. He cursed and demanded one of the servants come in and clean it. Afterward he had made it into the next room and finally had taken the Blade of Aeneas.
- Antonio: "I know who you are, bambino. Submit, while you have the chance, end this foolish game. Otherwise, you will not leave this place alive."
- Vincenzo: "If so, then neither will you. Vai a Dio con l'uomo vecchio dignità. Requiascat in Pace. (Go to God with dignity, old man. Rest in peace.)"
- ―Antonio Piccolomini's last words in 1493.
He then attempted to flee the Library by returning to the way he came. But before he cold even thinks so, the Duke had entered into the chamber and found him there. Upon seeing him he turned around and called for the guards. And as he did, Vincenzo grabbed him from behind, held him by his throat, rested his hidden blade near his neck and threatened to kill him if any of the guards came close. They soon began to flood the chamber, archers with arrow trained on him, Francesco and Alfonso cursing his name, he truly had nowhere left to run. Antonio pleaded with him to give in the the hopelessness of the situation, for which at the moment, there was none. At moment indeed though, for a moment later, he had gazed upon the torch that hung from a rusted hinge on the wall before him. With that he said gave his hostage, the Duke, his late rites. What followed was Vincenzo slicing the Duke's throat, hurdling him into the guards, breaking the torch hinge, and allowing it to fall to the ground and igniting the oil on the ground and setting up a wall of fire. Vincenzo then vaulted over the flames and made for the exit, but not before locking eyes with the enraged Francesco Piccolomini as he tended to his dying brother.
- Joffre: "My family hates me. . . Mio padre believes I am weak and patetico, mia madre does not care for me, Cesare and Lucrezia believe I am nothing, and Juan . . . Juan never loved or respected me, that is obvious enough. The people hate me because I am for the Borgia, and the Borgia hate me because I am for the people. No matter where I turn, there is no place for me in this world!"
- Vincenzo: "A man is not defined by his lineage, but by his legacy. You are Jofré, before you are Borgia. Trust in that, and be whomever you wish to be. No man must ever doubt who he is. Not you . . . nor I."
- ―Vincenzo and Jofré Borgia in 1497.
Vincenzo returned to the Borghese with his victory, yet as he soon found out, it was not the most clever of victories. As it turned out, not long after the Duke's death, Alfonso inherited his father's title and positioned, then intelligently left for the Tuscan countryside. Meanwhile, Francesco and the Piccolomini spent their days raising hell over their beloved patriarch's death. The Borghese received the blunt of this assault, suffering politcal blows in favor of the Piccolomini as well as financial regressing, also no doubt on account of the Piccolomini. Years were spent butting horns with the Piccolomini and not an ounce of progress was made. Pandolfo Petrucci still preferred the Piccolomini over his in-laws, no proof was found from the claims of the Piccolomini's treason, the Cristoforo was nowhere to be found, and all in all, nothing was for the better. However, out of the blue, an interesting turn of events came about after the four year stalemate, on June 12 of 1497. A Borgia courier had found himself on the Borghese doorstep. Originally thought to be an intruder, he was taken captive by the Assassins, which soon changed after the courier had revealed that he carried a letter addressed specifically to Vincenzo. The letter had detailed that the writer information to trade in exchange for a task to be preformed in the writer's name, though it did not specify what name that might be or what task. Niccolo and Aurelia were all but certain that it was a trap he was being invited into. Vincenzo believed it was a possibility, but how could he resist, it was all a bit too interesting to be ignored. He made for Rome almost immediately.
He arrived in Rome a day later, on June 13, and met at the specified location and time. The Pantheon square at midday. Once there he found the courtyard not packed, but suspiciously empty. He had tread carefully, until finally he began to notice certain men in cloaks with concealed weapons stalking the streets, watching him like hawks. He felt uneasy until one managed to sneak up behind him and startled. The man pleaded innocence as he was just to escort Vincenzo to the real meeting place, fearful of Vincenzo's hidden blade inches from his throat. Vincenzo complied and soon all of the cloaked men began to lead him into a secluded back alley off the courtyard. Inside this alleyway he met with his mysterious would be employer, who turned out to be a child. A child who just so happened to be named Jofré Borgia. With the initial shock and skepticism out of the way, the boy had gotten down to business with Vincenzo. He informed him of some uneasy suspicions he's had regarding his brother Juan. Lately he had seen Juan often in the company of his wife Sancha of Aragon. Though the boy bore no real love for his wife, who was several years his senior and the result of a political marriage, he never the less was concerned the she and Juan were engaging in an affair. Vincenzo was skeptical was to the real reason he chose to send for his help, as Jofré did not even know him. Jofré explained that he could not send his own guard as they would be easily identified and manipulated. However, he heard Vincenzo's name in passing from his sister's personal messenger. Jofré had full knowledge of the Assassin's skill and discretion, as well as Vincenzo's specific interest in the Piccolomini, so it all seemed to fit together well. Jofré concluded that he didn't want his brother killed only spied upon. Unable to resist the intrigue of it all, Vincenzo agreed.
Jofré was pleased with this and informed him that his wife was to be escorted from the Castel Sant'Angelo to various places around the city, some of which Jofré had no knowledge of. All Vincenzo was required to do was shadow her to find evidence of infidelity and upon his return, Jofré will reveal the information on the Piccolomini. Satisfied with the terms, Vincenzo took off for the Castel Sant'Angelo. After staking out the bridge for some time, the moment finally came when Sancha rode out into the streets with her escort. He tailed her around the city until she finally came upon a small inn near the forum. She walked inside, cloaked to hide her appearance, and left her guards to mind the buildings. After working his way around the guards and into the inn, he discreetly searched each room until he came upon the sight of Sancha "in the act" with not Juan, but his younger brother, Cesare. When they had finished, she complained that she despised venturing out among the common folk for their trysts. Cesare expressed that it was necessary in order to hide their endeavors from his brothers. She sullenly agreed, until she realized he had said "brothers" and attempted to correct him. But he admitted that he had meant what he had said. He grabbed her by the neck and held her against the wall, cursing and damning her for her deception. He then released her from his grasp and threw a series of letters at her, all of which he said he had discovered were love letters between she and Juan. He told in a rage that he refused to have his brother cheat him out of what was rightfully his anymore, and stormed out of the room. Vincenzo was able to discreetly pick the letters off of the floor while Sancha wept.
Vincenzo returned to Jofré with his revelation that not only were his suspicions proven true, but that they extended beyond that. Having both his older brothers committing adultery with his wife, Jofré was visibly shaken. He flew into a rage and dismissed his guards. When the two were alone, he asked if the Assassins truly did as their name entitled, to which Vincenzo professed it was true. Jofré seemed cruelly satisfied with this and charged him with Juan's murder. Vincenzo seemed taken a back by this forward request and was initially apprehensive. But Jofré demanded it be done, with hurt in his voice. In complete understanding, Vincenzo agreed and began his man hunt. Vincenzo made his way through the Vatican City, and eventually came across the rumor among the cardinals, that Juan had been taken into the city to partake in a local bordello: the Rosa in Fiore. Coincidences aside, Vincenzo made for the bordello. He entered and began to forcibly search the building eventually questioning the madam, who he coaxed into revealing that Juan was upstairs with one of her best girls, paid for by his own brother Cesare. He took to the stairs and came upon the room, only to find the bed sheet covered in blood and the window wide open. He pursued the assailants out the window and onto the streets as they dumped Juan's body in the Tiber River. He saw Cesare among them and charged him, only to be slashed in the legs and tripped up by another of his men. And as the attacker stood in the moonlight, Vincenzo could make her out to be Fiora, drenched in another's blood, pointing a knife at his chest. She had the wild eyes of a murder that only softened and sliver upon realizing Vincenzo's identity. Cesare demanded Fiora follow him as he and his men departed. Fiora hesitated, but then coldly struck Vincenzo in the head, responding that he had been dealt with.
- "Non ero abbastanza veloce. Perdonami. Requaiscat in pace. (I was not fast enough. Forgive me. Rest in peace.)"
- ―Vincenzo's last rites to Juan Borgia in 1497.
Upon returning to consciousness a few moments later, Vincenzo saw the body of Juan Borgia floating helplessly down the Tiber. He quickly crawled into the water and plunged in after him. After a few moments of awkward swimming, Vincenzo finally took hold of Juan's body and dragged him to shore. He observed the state of the body, mercilessly stabbed and cut, no doubt the cause of much pain before he finally died. He then closed his eyes and apologized for not getting to him in time. After which he passed out on the shore from exhaustion as passersby began crowding around the two bodies.
When he awoke, he found himself in an inn, his injuries tended to, and under the gaze of a stoic young Jofré and his guards. He explained that his men heard of the commotion an quickly retrieved him as the city guard took Juan's body. Vincenzo thanked him, but explained that it was not he who killed Juan, but Cesare by use of an assailant. Jofré returned Vincenzo's robes and weapons to him and bid to take a walk with him before their business was concluded. Vincenzo complied and the two met outside the inn. As the two walked, Jofré handed him a bundled of travel documents, telling him that Borgia spies and received news that Cristoforo Piccolomini was due back in Siena only by July of next year to visit his family, and that if Vincenzo wanted him dead, it would need to be by then. Vincenzo thanked but before he left, Jofré began to vent his shameful opinions of his own family, as if to tell someone, anyone of the torture he endures under their roof. Vincenzo sympathized with boy and told him that his family did not need to define, only he could do so. If he wished to redeem the Borgia name, it would be on his his terms, not there's. With that he parted ways with a shaken Jofré, as he made for Siena, and the death of Cristoforo. Before he crossed the city gates, he looked back only once and thought of all that he had owned and lost in the short few days he spent within the city. He thought of Fiora Cavazza, the woman he thought he knew. The woman who turned out to be another facade, another misbegotten chance at happiness. He did not want to dwell on it, so didn't, but he would not forget.
The next few months, Vincenzo slipped into a depression, subsetted by heavy drinking. The only thing that managed to rouse him was news that his old friend Perotto Calderon had gotten into trouble with the Borgias and was on the run from the Brotherhood. His course was found to be Agnadello where the Shroud of Eden lies protected. The Brotherhood could not allow him to use it, even it is so save his infant son. Given his history with Vincenzo, in attempt to reason with him, they dispatch him. Even though he has been weakened by months of drinking, he accepted and traveled with a contingent to Agnadello. They set up a defense of the Shroud in small guards to hopefully subdue or assuage him. Vincenzo insisted on being the first to talk him down. Late in the evening of March 1498, stood in the middle of the road, drunk. Perotto arrived with his son in his arms. He ordered him to stand down. Perotto stalwartly refused, determined to save his son. Vincenzo sympathized, but wouldn't turn away, his mind bitterly clouded by alcohol. Perotto got off his horse and implored that he stand aside for old times sake. But, Vincenzo drew his sword and did battle with him. They dueled, and even drunk he still gave the fight all he had. But he was careless and left his side exposed. Perotto took this opportunity to strike and tore open his abdomen with his sword. Vincenzo fell and watched helplessly as Perotto continued on. He passed out from the loss of much of his blood soon after.
Vincenzo awoke startled in the home of Rinaldo Vitturi, the Keeper of the Shroud. The remaining members of the contingent were tending to there wounded. Well enough, Francensco Vecellio infromed him that Perotto was put down after he had used the Shroud to save his son. The Brotherhood plans to return the boy to The Borgias out of respect to Perotto. Vincenzo was saddened to here this, but even more surprised that he had survived his encounter with Perotto. He looked at the Shroud across the room in it's box. Vincenzo wasn't sure what to make of it, but he could almost feel it calling out to him. A sensation he was almost familiar with.
- "Run! Run bastardo! Run! Run as far and as fast as your mortal legs may carry you! Run through every valley, over every mountain, across every sea! Run until your feet bleed beneath you! Run and I will chase you! I will chase you through every valley, over every mountain, across every sea! Run and I will chase you straight into the gates of hell! RUN!!!"
- ―Vincenzo's final declaration to Cristoforo in 1499.
Vincenzo returned to Siena with his knowledge, and awaited his moment to strike. A year of preparation went by, until the time of Cristoforo's arrival had come around on June 30 of 1499, which just so happened to coincide with Il Palio di Siena. The entire city was in an uproar and unfortunately a great deal many people entered into the city in honor of thee race. One of which was Cristoforo, who managed to enter the safety of his family's embrace. Lost, Vincenzo and the Borghese formulated a plan. Vincenzo uncovered that Cristoforo would only be in the city for the next two days, leaving after the race. Once the house of the Piccolomini had been scouted, they had ascertained that mounting an assault would be foolish and finding a way to sneak in would take too long. The conclusion was made that the only way for them to successfully kill Cristoforo, would have to be in the most open and exposed location he could be; during the race. They scouted the race track all around the Piazza del Campo, and found nothing but guards and checkpoints along the rooftops and surrounding the noblemen's box. With few options, Vincenzo surmised that the only was some one could get to the noblemen's box would be if some one was one of the racers.
The next day came and the Borghese searched for a contrada to sponsor. So late into the festivities, few positions were open, so they could only manage to become sponsors of the Aquila district of the city. But sadly the district belonged to the church and the notaries refused to exchange riders. The secondary plan, violence. Vincenzo sought to discretely kidnap the rider and replace him, so that evening he tailed the rider to a local tavern, where he surrounded himself with his cohorts. Seeing as the Pantera contrada was a known rival of the Aquila. Vincenzo found a group of them across the street and faked an assault in the name of the Aquila. Furious, they chased him into the tavern, where the Aquila's were drawn into the fight. A brawl ensued, and among the chaos, Vincenzo managed to subdue the Aquila rider and drag him off.
The next morning, with no alternative, Vincenzo was allowed to race for the Aquila. At high noon, with best wishes from the Borghese, Vicenzo took his place at the starting line with his fellow racers. As they took to the starting line, Vicenzo saw that an agitated Cristoforo had taken his place in the noblemen's box with Alfonso and Francesco. The man who had eluded him for twenty seven years would finally pay. After and arrogant speech from Pandolfo, the racers were off. As they rounded the first lap, Vincenzo gazed at Cristoforo, who seemed even more agitated now. By the second lap, Vincenzo had drifted into the inside lane and gazed at Cristoforo once again. Cristoforo knew this time, he tried to leave in a panic, but was held back by his relatives. Unknown to the threat on his life. Vincenzo rounded the track for his third lap and took his chance. He leapt off his horse, on to the fence post, and extended his hidden blade with the intent of killing Cristoforo. However, in the last moment, Alfonso stepped in Vincenzo's way and took the blow in Cristoforo's stead. Vincenzo cursed the fool for his stupidity, but he was unable to respond as his throat had been punctured by his blade. All he did was look upon with a look of anger and un-explicable remorse. The guards quickly swarmed him as the noblemen were corralled to the exits. The Piccolomini were attempting to escape, so Vincenzo disregarded the guards and took after them on the rooftops. Thankfully, Niccolo Borghese's men had managed to rally to him and assisted him in fending off the guards. The populace was in a frenzy and the city burned. Vincenzo never found himself so cornered by destruction, all he could do was dwell on it being Cristoforo's fault. Vincenzo and his men pursued the Piccolomini across the city, but were sadly to late and could only look on as they entered their carriage to leave the city. Infuriated, Vincenzo swore on his life that he would chase Cristoforo to the ends of the earth to see him dead. Vincenzo was unsure, as the distance between them was great, but he could almost be certain that for the first time Cristoforo looked genuinely terrified. And after he heard himself speak, so was Vincenzo.
- "I have learned three things since I last we last looked into one another's eyes signora. Uno (one), how deep into hatred one man may fall. Due (two), our beginnings do not restrict our endings, only how we get there. Tre (three), I love you Claudia Auditore. Only you. The way any mortal man can love an angel. And I am incapable of truly loving any other while I am. My life has been one of isolation, pain, and sorrow. I do not deny that. But whatever you felt for me before I swear to you they were nothing but reciprocated. Would I the words to describe it, I would still not be able to. For no mortal man's language is deep enough to capture how dearly I hold you Signora Auditore. Claudia I was a fool for too long, and mi dispiace for that, but I refuse to spend another moment of my life without you. Piacere Claudia, let us make up for lost time."
- ―Vincenzo seeing Claudia again after nineteen years, in December 1499.
With Cristoforo and Francesco completely out of touch with the rest of Templars, Vincenzo had finally realized just how far he had fallen. The man had spent twenty three years chasing down a man who murdered his only family, only to spend those twenty three years murdering his friends and family. If there was ever such a thing as an even score between them, he had more than balanced it out. The Borghese were more than grateful for completely decimating the Piccolomini influence on the Sienese government, they could ask no more of him. Though Niccolo and Aurelia had offered him a permanent position with him in the city, he declined. He had caused the people of Siena enough pain, as well as himself. With a sentimental parting, Vincenzo finally made for home, Monteriggioni.
Vincenzo arrived at the Auditore Villa a week later. When he had arrived he walked in on the entirety of the Brotherhood, convening on Giovanni Auditore's Codex pages. Among them, Ezio and Mario, greeted him warmly after their long separation. Mario and the others seemed relatively the same, but Ezio was a different story. It wasn't just the obvious signs of his aging, but also the way he carried himself had been altered. Vincenzo could tell that his time spent with the Assassins had changed him into the spitting image of his father, perhaps even greater. He knew Giovanni would be proud. Vincenzo was filled in on their progress. With the Codex pages assembled and the Prophet's prophecy finally decoded, their next plan of action hindered on infiltrating the Vatican in Rome and recovering the Staff of Eden from Rodrigo Borgia. The plan was daring, yet sound. Ezio asked Vincenzo to accompany him on the assault, his help and company greatly appreciated. Vincenzo respectfully declined, however, electing to remain at the Villa, for its protection. Ezio agreed, though moderately disappointed, and bid him farewell once again. Before all of the key members of the Brotherhood had departed, Vincenzo took a moment to speak with Paola. He told her that after all of the years that had past, he had finally understood what she was talking about all those years ago in Florence. She asked him if he was talking about Claudia, and he was. He told her that he had enough pain in his life and now all he wants is what little joy he could find, but unfortunately not with Claudia, as he assumed she was still married to Adriano. She informed him this was not so, as Adriano had died in battle a decade ago and their only child perished from pneumonia not long after. Vincenzo now realized what she had been trying to write him about and felt like a complete fool. Paola told him to got to her while he still had breath in his body, though told him to at least be gentle.
He raced through the Villa until he found Claudia out in the courtyard in the moonlight. She turned and their eyes locked. It was a passive reunion, as they kept each other at a distance and exchanged few words. Both were glad the other was doing well and were happy to see one another. She seemed more mature then he had remembered, though that was to be expecting considering he was thirty-nine and she was thirty-eight. She was more reserved, not the child who antagonized him in their youths, though losing a husband and a child can do that to a person. No matter how long ago it was. At one point he became over come with caged emotion and finally told her that he loved her and asked her if she felt the same. She sadly replied that time had taken its toll on them both and whatever was possible was gone. But for the first time in his life, Vincenzo opened himself up and professed his unwillingness to live without her. She finally accepted this as motivation enough and the two kissed beneath the stars.
Avenging the Rosetti
Fall of Monteriggioni
- "A nightmare! Dio mio, this is a nightmare!"
- ―Vincenzo upon witnessing the destruction of Monteriggioni on January 2 of 1500.
By the beginning of the new year, the two new found paramours, Vincenzo and Claudia had fallen irretrievably in love with one another. The only issue, Ezio, who had absolutely no clue and Vincenzo with no way to tell him. On January 1, the eve of Claudia's birthday, Ezio and Mario returned from Rome. Open entering the Villa, Claudia took the liberty of greeting the two, as well as informing Ezio of Caterina Sforza's arrival. To which Vincenzo gave him no small amount of grief. After Ezio went off into town to settle some business, he returned to the house only to say that he had found out from a woman in town about their little "escapades." Needless to say Vincenzo was embarrassed, but was eased by Ezio who told him he was happy for them both, yet warned him that if he hurt her, he would break each individual bone in his body one at a time. Vincenzo understood. Later, Ezio convened a meeting, explaining what he saw in the Vatican and what it entailed. The end of the world and beings far beyond their imaginations. Everyone in the room was stunned. Yet Ezio went on to say he did not take Rodrigo Borgia's life out of vengeance. Machiavelli was the most displeased and immediately set out for Rome. Vincenzo was tempted to join him out of mutual wish to see the Spainard dead. But after everything Ezio had been through, to just concede vengeance when it was well within his grasp, he admired his control. It was far stronger then his own, as Vincenzo shamefully still harbored a hate for his enemies, despite his new found happiness. He decided to trust Ezio's judgement. On a lighter note, Vincenzo changed the subject as Machiavelli left and reminded everyone that it was soon the time for celebration. The following day would be Claudia's birthday and the festivities, which he spared no expense in planning, should be enjoyed. Everyone retired bed. That night, Vincenzo was grateful man, life could not be more giving. Until it gave no more.
Vincenzo woke his love early for her birthday, and he had much affection to show her. Claudia was grateful, but she complained that there was no need for a cannon salute. Vincenzo was confused, but he too hear cannon fire. Such a thing, he did not plan. He peered out their bedroom window and saw a vast attack force approaching, bearing the Papal bull. They were to be sieged. He ushered her to dress and get to cover as he armed himself and took to the door. He found Mario and Ezio in the courtyard. Ezio planned to mass a defense, and allow the townspeople to escape, Vincenzo volunteered to lead them out. By the time he had mobilized the last of the citizens, the Papal forces broke through the gate. Vincenzo watch from the rooftops as a man clad in Papal armor, killed Mario Auditore in cold blood and a sniper shot Ezio. Overwhelmed, Vincenzo caught Ezio before hit the streets and gave him over to two of his men. With the town in shambles, Vincenzo had no choice but to order a full retreat into the Villa. He first insured that Maria Auditore was to safety, only to find that Claudia was still in the city. He returned and assisted both she and her injured brother in escaping the Templar forces through the Sanctuary. Once clear of the enemy, Ezio insisted on traveling to Rome and seeing justice served. He requested Vincenzo take his mother and sister to Florence. He complied and wished Ezio luck on his journey.
That evening, Vincenzo scrounged up what little food he could. He did his best to wish Claudia a happy birthday, but she was far too distraught to acknowledge him. She demanded that they follow Ezio to Rome. Vincenzo expressed his wish to see them safe and protected. But, Claudia refuted that she was no longer a child and refused to be treated like one, saying she had just as much Assassin's blood in her as Ezio did. After a tenacious argument from both Auditore women, Vincenzo knew he they could never be persuaded, such is an Auditore when their mind is set. He relented, Mario was his family too, they all were. And family always remained together, they set their path to Rome the next morning.
Back Into The Wolf's Den
- "Bella Roma, beaten to its knees . . . Rodrigo and his Templar dogs will pay for this."
- ―Vincenzo arriving in Rome in 1500
It took them a few days, but the three of them finally arrived in Rome and quickly established contact with Machiavelli and the Assassins. Machiavelli was gracious enough to put Claudia and Maria up at the Rosa in Fiore, while Vincenzo worked assignments for the Brotherhood. It wasn't long however, until Ezio had finally appeared and discovered them at the brothel. Ezio chastised Vincenzo for breaking his promise, but he explained that he had never been able to say no to an Auditore. Begrudgingly, Ezio accepted that they were here to stay, and that Claudia was to play a more active role in the Order, managing the courtesans for the Assassins. Claudia confided in him that she only wished to make her family proud, just as her brother had done. Vincenzo told her that all Ezio wanted to do was keep his family safe, but he would come to realize in time that she was no longer a child.
Months of work passed as Vincenzo and Ezio simultaneously worked to further the Assassins efforts in the Borgia torn city. To see his childhood home butchered angered Vincenzo and strengthen his resolve to see it out of the Borgia's hands. With plans beginning to assassinate Cesare Borgia and Rodrigo Borgia under way, in retaliation for Monteriggioni, Ezio directed Vincenzo to reach out to the Brotherhood's allies in other cities. Hoping to rally the Borgia's enemies, Vincenzo made the suggestion that he reach out to the Borghese in Siena. Pandolfo Petrucci continued to hold the Borgia no love and with Aurelia's influence he would be happy to assist. Ezio approved and dispatched him.
In early August 1500, Vincenzo arrived at the Borghese residence in Siena, only to find the abode empty and cleaned out. Confused, he asked a vagrant drinking in the street, what became of the family that lived within. The vagrant replied that a few weeks ago, the lord of the house was butchered in a home invasion, most say at the command of Pandolfo Petrucci for treason, his only daughter is in mourning at her home, Palazzo Salimbeni. Shocked at Niccolo's, Vincenzo traveled to the Palazzo to see Aurelia. She found here there, dressed in black, glad yet sullen to see him. She explained that her father had finally decided to retire from political life and as head of the Assassins in Siena, believing the Piccolomini could never come back from the losses they had suffered. But in the recent months, Pandolfo had expressed renewed support for the Piccolomini, now publicly headed by Cardinal Francesco Piccolomini. Niccolo began to once again criticize his son-in-law's policies and as a result Pandolfo had him killed, no doubt at the advisement of the Piccolomini. Aurelia feared that soon she would be next, if the Piccolomini were to find out she succeeded him as leader of the Sienese Assassins. Vincenzo expressed his condolences for her loss, but if they were to prevent the Piccolomini from taking measures against her, they needed to act fast.
Thus began a series of preventative steps Vincenzo took to keep what remained of the Assassins in Siena. Including liberating Aurelia's brother, the dutiful and stoic Pietro Borghese, from prison. He thanked Vincenzo for his assistance and swore vengeance on the Piccolomini for the atrocity they committed. An oath Vincenzo was happy to help keep. After securing the remains of the Sienese Assassins, the two returned to Aurelia only to find her in the midst of being taken away by Pandolfo's guards, accusing her of treason. Against Aurelia's protests, the two managed to subdue the guards and free Aurelia. With her in tow, Vincenzo and Pietro got her to safety in the ruins of her family home. In distress, she told them that someone had been feeding Pandolfo lies, that she was consorting with her father to usurp the Petrucci's control over the city. With no doubt the Piccolomini were involved, Vincenzo rallied the remainder of the Assassins and planned a retaliation. Vincenzo had returned to the Piccolomini Library in force, lead by Pietro. The Assassins of Siena stormed the buildings, picking off all the family's guards, one by one. In a rage, Vincenzo knew who he was looking for and shouted his name. Daring him to come out and face him like a man, in the main chamber of the building. Just then, from the scaffolding, Cristoforo emerged and ordered his men to kill them. Dispatching them with ease, Vincenzo took after Cristoforo and chased him throughout the library, and into his office. Cristoforo managed to save himself by locking himself behind a locked gate however. From behind the safety of the bars, he demanded to know why Vincenzo wouldn't die. Vincenzo screamed back that it was because he wouldn't.
Cristoforo fled, as the Petrucci's guards arrived and arrested Vincenzo and the surviving Assassins. In Cristoforo's office, Pandolfo Petrucci strolled in with and recaptured Aurelia and Pietro in tow. Petrucci asked for one reason why he shouldn't kill Vincenzo outright, and he replied that if he did he would only do his enemies a favor. He directed Pandolfo's attention to Cristoforo's desk where he correctly guessed that there would be document baring the papal seal, solidifying the Piccolomini's relationship with the Borgias. Rather calmly, Pandolfo realized his mistake and set his wife, Vincenzo, Pietro, and the Assassins free. Pandolfo didn't pretend to understand the entire ordeal he got dragged into or what his wife had anything to do with, but he offered a return to amnesty for Aurelia, to which she agreed to. Before Pandolfo took his leave, he shook Vincenzo's hand and thanked him out loud, before pulling him in close and whispering that if he ever hoped to continue living he would never presume to know better than him. He then strolled out, to which Vincenzo begged Aurelia to leave that man, for he was no doubt insane. Aurelia lamented that it was her duty, as was her fathers, to serve the greater good. Even at their own expense. Though with the Assassins back in control of Siena, she pledged her support to the rebuilding of the Roman chapter of the Brotherhood, as well as the Petrucci's private financial backing in their efforts against the Borgia. As she was sure Pandolfo would have it no other way. More or less satisfied, Vincenzo took his leave of the city, but not without a parting "gift" from the house of Petrucci as a sign of good faith. He left in a set of Helmschmed Drachen Armor, straight from Pandolfo's personal metallurgist - Vannoccio Biringuccio.
Banquet of Chestnuts
- "I can say with all certainty, that this is the most disgusting party I have ever been to."
- ―Vincenzo to Claudia at the Banquet of Chestnuts in 1501.
As Ezio began his work to tear down Borgia influence in Rome and build the Assassin's influence back up, Vincenzo did his best to work along side his old friend, once he returned to Rome. Even providing consultation during Ezio's infiltration of Castel Sant'Angelo in June of 1501. But slowly he began to understand that Machiavelli was grooming him for leadership, and if he were to ascend he would need to do so with Vincenzo's assistance. Vincenzo understood and complied, for Ezio was not the young boy he was. Even if he could help him, Ezio no longer needed it. So Vincenzo spent most of his work training the new Assassin recruits, including one in particular he took under his wing. A thief who tried to steal from him in the streets. A young man named Alessio Collari.
A few months later on October 28, 1501, Vincenzo visited a frantic Claudia at the Rosa in Fiore. When asked what caused her distress, she told him that she had received an order from the Vatican apartments for fifty of her courtesans, paid for by the accounts of Cesare Borgia himself, for a "celebration" dubbed The Banquet of Chestnuts. All signs clearly pointed to Cesare's location to be at the Papal apartments in two days, in a position of vulnerability, but Ezio refused to take action. Vincenzo told that it was widely held knowledge that Cesare was in Urbino with his armies. Why would he return to the city for an orgy in the Vatican? Claudia digressed that they could kill him and expose his depravity in one fowl swoop. An opportunity like this deserved an investigation at the very least. Vincenzo relented, she obviously wanted to be apart of the Brotherhood's actions, a simple investigation couldn't hurt. He told her he would bring it up with Ezio.
That evening he met with Ezio and Machiavelli, as the two were appraising the new recruits. He told Ezio of the Banquet, but he was just as unconvinced as Vincenzo was and told him that they simply did not have enough resources to infiltrate the Vatican for an unconvincing rumor. Vincenzo was less then pleased that Ezio would barely even consider Claudia's evidence, but he understood that their were other matters to attend to. As the meeting concluded Machiavelli took Vincenzo aside authorized their investigation into the Banquet. If there was an opportunity to assassinate Cesare, however small, it needed to be at least attempted. Vincenzo understood and took the news to Claudia. Pleased, she began making the arrangements for her girls attendance at the Banquet, as well as their infiltration. Two days had passed, and so came the evening of October 30. Vincenzo overlooked Claudia's courtesans granted entry into the Vatican, from the rooftops. He was startled, however, by Claudia herself, dressed in initiate robes. After a brief moment, he demanded to know why she was there and dressed as she was. She proclaimed that it was her operation and her idea, so she should come along. Though immediately adamant against it, Vincenzo understood that arguing was pointless. So he invited her along.
She recommended they follow the crowd inside, as the walls were too high and guarded. Vincenzo agreed, so they blended in with the cardinals and courtesans flooding into the papal palace, eventually arriving at the Apostolic Palace, where security had tightened. Luckily by way of an open window, they managed to sneak into the palace and make their way to the Papal Apartments. Sneaking there way through the party, and trying best to avert there eyes from the debauchery taking place around them, they made there way into the grand foyer, where three men in masks gathered our Pope Alexander himself, sitting smugly on his throne. One man of the masked men appeared to be Cesare Borgia as he presided over the congregation and proposed a public toast to the glory of Rome, met with a tremendous applause. Claudia and Vincenzo took this opportunity to identify the men speaking with the Pope and of what they spoke of. The first was easily Cristoforo Piccolomini, while the second Vincenzo remembered from their past meeting at the Palio, Francesco Piccolomini. The third was unknown to Vincenzo, but Claudia managed to recall him being Astorre Manfredi III, a gluttonous man who attended the brothel quite frequently. In conversation, they were able to make out Rodrigo conceding that Cristoforo made a fair point regarding his son. To which Cristoforo agreed, that Cesare's lust for power had grown beyond control and beyond the aims of the Templar Order. Francesco chimed in that should the worst come to pass, they had already taken measures to keep Cesare out of reach of the Papal seat, thanks in no small part to Astorre's supply of valuable information, and that their family were prepared to stop at nothing to keep their dream for Italy alive. After contemplating Rodrigo told them that he would take the matter under advisement, and thanked the gentlemen for their loyalty to their cause. He proclaimed that he was finished with idle talk and rose from his throne, charging head first into the Banquet.
Vincenzo lead Claudia into a storeroom and voiced his concern with what the Templars spoke, but Claudia diverted him back on topic. Rodrigo was too surrounded to be take out, but Cesare was still mingling with the crowds and could be lured away into a private location given the right distraction. Confused, Claudia made the matter clear, by removing her robes and displaying a courtesan's outfit. Before Vincenzo could even form a sentence, she was out the door. He mused to himself that she most certainly was no longer the child she was. Vincenzo watched through the keyhole as Claudia successfully caught Cesare's attention and seduced him into following her into the store room. Barring the door behind them, Claudia drew her knife as Vincenzo came up from behind them, holding his sword to Cesare's neck. However, the commotion knocked Cesare's mask free, and he was revealed to not be Cesare at all. Lamenting their misfortune, Vincenzo threw the man to the ground and held him at sword point as Claudia questioned him. He cursed her and refused to speak. But under a little duress, names Claudia's knife held firmly against his manhood, he confessed. He revealed his name to be Giovanni della Rovere, a mercenary in service to the Papacy and vassal to the Piccolomini family, who was impersonating Cesare so he could cheat on his wife. Claudia cursed at their missed opportunity, but Vincenzo believed the situation salvageable. He order the mercenary to his feet and questioned what Cristoforo was discussing with the Pope. He explained that Cesare had ventured beyond his means in the Templar Order and was plotting against the Rodrigo for control of the Order and Rome. Cristoforo saw this opportunity to gain favor with Rodrigo once more after his past failures. Vincenzo asked him if Cristoforo was trying to reclaim his place as Rodrigo's second from Cesare, but Giovanni corrected him. Cristoforo was trying to usurp control over both Cesare and Rodrigo. Their squabbles had divided the Order and left it at it's weakest. Giovanni wasn't sure how, but Cristoforo planned to stage a coup of his own within the following months.
- Giovanni: "Brucia all'inferno, fottuto demone! Brucia all'infer- (Burn in hell, demon! Burn in he-)"
- Claudia: "Requiescat in pace. (Rest in peace)"
- ―Giovanni's "last words" in 1501.
Soon there came a knocking at the door, the guard. Claudia told Vincenzo to kill him quickly, so that they may make their escape. But, in calling him by name, Giovanni realized who Vincenzo was. The man who killed his father-in-law and mentor, Federico da Montefeltro. In a blind rage, he lunged for Claudia, but was intercepted by Vincenzo who tackled him to the floor, knocking Claudia knife our of reach under some shelves. As they wrestled for his sword, Vincenzo told Claudia to look for a way out. After a moment, Claudia discovered the window to be the only option and hurled a crate through it, breaking it. But just as she did, Giovanni knocked Vincenzo's sword away and forced him to the window, hoping to impale his head on a shard of glass. But as they struggled, just as Vincenzo was about to meet his end. Claudia came up from behind and ran Giovanni through with Vincenzo's sword. At a loss for words, his fatally injured body stumbled out the window and fell into the river below.
Impressed and grateful, yet out of time as the guards came barreling through the door, Vincenzo leapt out the window with Claudia. The sea was rough that evening, so they wouldn't be able to survive a swim in the current, So Claudia and he fled across the scaffolding on the outer walls at the guards shot at them. Realizing that they were running out of scaffolding, Vincenzo noticed a small ship passing by and directed Claudia to jump on in as it passed. Successful at out maneuvering the Papal guards, they found themselves in a new mess, as the ship they were on was in fact a naval patrol boat. Thinking on his feet, Vincenzo quickly grabbed a guard and held his Hidden Blade to his throat as a hostage, and both he and Claudia found themselves surrounded. Asking her for any idea, she stated she had one and grabbed his crossbow. She then shot a bolt at a lamp above them, which when broken, set the main mast ablaze and gave them a chance to escape, which they took as the flames engulfed the ships gunpowder and caused the entire ship to blow. The two swam to shore, exhausted. Vincenzo told Claudia she was insane, which she new. And that Ezio was going to lecture them as soon as they got back to Tiber Island, which she was fine with as it would be ironic. But she wondered if they couldn't wait until morning to head back. Which they did, united in the dark, beneath the stars.
- "To kill is an act of a warrior. To murder is an act of a criminale. (criminal) But to assassinate, that is an act of an Assassin. It is important that you understand the difference, Alessio. It is sole truth that separates you from the monsters you fight."
- ―Vincenzo imparting wisdom on Alessio in 1502.
True to their word, the two returned to Tiber Island the next morning only to find that Ezio was already aware of the events at the Banquet. Apparently, some fishermen had fished Giovanni della Rovere's body out of the Tiber, making his death public and sending the Templars scurrying back into their holes, making finding any worthwhile targets difficult. Furious, Ezio berated them for taking such a massive risk, against his council, and not even producing the slightest positive result. Vincenzo finally managed to get a word in and corrected him, telling him what they had learned about the Piccolomini coup and the rising divisions within the Templars. Calmed and intrigued, Ezio saw the value in this as well as the possibility of turning such information to their advantage. He told them never to go behind his back again and charged Vincenzo with finding out more concerning what Piccolomini are planning. Before Ezio left, however, Vincenzo added that the plan was Claudia's, so Ezio begrudgingly congratulated on a job well done, but told her he will call upon her when she is needed, not before.
With all parties satisfied, Vincenzo began his search. Cristoforo proved the most difficult to track down, as per the usual. Francesco had disappeared into the clergy, so searching for one cardinal amid a million in the Vatican, or beyond, was no simple task either. So, Vincenzo decided to focus his efforts on the disgruntled nobleman, Astorre Manfredi. Information on him was scared however, all he could gather was that was once the Lord of Faenza, sworn fealty to the Pope, but got deposed and sent to Rome once Cesare seized the region. A clear explanation of his defection to the Piccolomini in their plot to bring Cesare down, but provided little information regarding his whereabouts, especially after the fiasco at the Banquet. It took many months of searching and training, until one day, June 1 of 1502, did his apprentice Alessio approach him in his study. Vincenzo lamented to his apprentice that he had exhausted all his leads regarding Astorre Manfredi, but he was nowhere to be found. But, it was then that Alessio sparked and idea. It was clear Astorre was in Rome, but instead of finding their way to him, why not force him to come out? Organize a situation that would have to get Astorre to arrive in a public place. Vincenzo applauded the idea, but he had unfortunately tried several means of coaxing him out, he saw through every one of them. But, Alessio continued, if he was convinced that and ally, not an enemy wanted him out in the open, he would have to comply. Especially if that ally was one whom he had betrayed, Cesare. Vincenzo praised his genius and even knew exactly how to execute it.
Vincenzo sent a letter to an old friend in Naples, begging for his help in the matter. It took a week's worth of waiting, as Naples was currently in the midst of a war, but correspondence was finally achieved and who else would arrive at Tiber Island but, Jofre Borgia himself. Pleased to see the young man once more, Vincenzo remarked that he had grown up in five years they had been apart. The two spent the afternoon catching up with one another, trading stories. Jofre of his wife's imprisonment in the Castel Sant'Angelo and his recent imprisonment at Naples, and Vincenzo of his recent troubles with his brother Cesare. Finally arriving at the business at hand, Vincenzo begged his help. All Jofre need do was inform his brother that he had learned Astorre Manfredi had betrayed him. Though reluctant at first, Jofre still did not bare any love for his estranged family and owed Vincenzo for his help five years prior. In the end, he agreed and saw to it that a letter be brought to Urbino immediately and would inform him of the news.
- "Well, what are waiting for? . . . Are you not angry? Idiota (Idiot), I was a whore! Did you really think I loved you. I loved you because you paid me. . . I did you a kindness . . . You are better off with out me . . . I'm just a selfish, murderous, whore . . . what right do I have to live?"
- ―Fiora Cavazza's confession to Vincenzo in 1502.
It took a week's time, but Jofre's letter finally arrived in the evening. Cesare had investigated his brother's accusations and found them to be true. A meeting had been arranged with one of Cesare's lieutenants at the Castel Sant'Angelo in order to settle the matter. The meeting was to take place that very morning, so Vincenzo took this as a sign that his apprentice was ready and decided to take Alessio with him. Alessio thanked him for this opportunity and told him that he would do him proud. Prepared, the two left for the meeting.
After making their way over the walls of the castle, the two began to search for the meeting place. Eventually coming across it in the garden, while scaling the roof. The young lord impatiently awaited the individual he was to meet with, so Vincenzo order Alessio to stay his blade and await the lieutenant's arrival. Moments later, a young woman entered the garden, who Vincenzo shockingly recognized as Fiora Cavazza. And before Astorre could even get a word in, Fiora extended a bladed fan and slit his throat. Caught off guard, Alessio quickly jumped down before Vincenzo could stop him. Realizing the Assassins were here, she quickly fled as Alessio pursued. Vincenzo pursued as well, hoping to stop Alessio for getting in over his head. He pursued the two into the courtyard where Vincenzo attempted to warn Alessio that it was a trap. But, caught unawares, Fiora caught him from behind and ran him through with her fan. Enraged with her merciless killing of the boy, Vincenzo pursued her out of the castle and into the streets, where he cornered her in an alleyway. Accepting her fate, she submitted herself to Vincenzo's wrath and even implored him to do so. She cursed and told him that her love of him was all fake, and she deserved to die for it. But even so, Vincenzo could not. He gave her last rites and fled, leaving her unharmed. But just before he left, he could see just out of the corner of his eye, her bladed drop to the ground from behind her back. Vincenzo should have been surprised. He wasn't.
The Piccolomini Coup
- Pandolfo: "I have had this planned for some time. This is going to happen with or without you, Signore Rosetti. Francesco will be killed. The question is, if whether or not you want to be one who does it. Have we a deal?"
- Vincenzo: "Si, we most certainly do."
- ―Pandolfo and Vincenzo's bargain in 1503.
Vincenzo lamented that he had lost his only lead, and had slumped back into his old depression. He tried returning to teaching the Assassin apprentices but found the weight of his failures too encumbering. This time he was so close, and he feared he would never be that close again. This was when opportunity came knocking. By 1503, Vincenzo's old student, Francesco Vecellio. Had approached him one evening with a crate of documents from Fiora Cavazza. Apparently she had defected from the Templars and now wished to work with the Assassins in killing Cesare and his lieutenants. Vincenzo was unmoved by this and got to the point of what the crate was. Francesco explained that Fiora accumulated all of Astorre Manfredi's correspondence and personal affects and presented them as sign of good faith. Perhaps even as an apology. Vincenzo accepted them without question and immediately began pouring through them. Francesco requested that they accept her offer of assistance, Vincenzo told him to run it by Ezio, as he didn't care. But, before he left, he told him that Fiora asked him to deliver a message - that she was sorry and hoped the two of them could meet, and possibly talk. Vincenzo flatly told him that if he ever saw her again, he would finished what he started in the alleyway. He dismissed Francesco and demanded to be alone.
For weeks, Vincenzo locked himself in his study and combed over every piece of information Astorre had with his Piccolomini conspirators. But all he could muster up was a few reports of troop movements from Giovanni della Rovere and progress reports on the Papal Conclave from Francesco Piccolomini, but nothing even remotely resembling a conspiracy. Vincenzo's time in his study began to trouble his loved ones. He did not even flinch when he had been told that Fiora Cavazza had been found impaled on a pike outside Tiber Island. As far as he was concerned, she was dead to him already. He had missed out on all of the Assassin's significant operations, leading right up to Rodrigo Borgia's death. Claudia continually tried to coax him out, but all he ever muttered in response was: "I am so close." She brought this to Ezio's attention, and they all agreed that Vincenzo was becoming unstable and needed time away from the city. Claudia and a few of the apprentices approached him in his study on September 25, intending to take him to Siena, where he would stay with Aurelia and her family. Vincenzo was noncompliant and even violent at first in their attempts to take him out of his study. But, thanks to Claudia's pleading, he was finally talked out of his alcoholic daze. Realizing what he was doing to himself was hurting Claudia, he agreed to leave immediately.
Claudia left Vincenzo with the Borghese on September 30, 1503. She was saddened to leave Vincenzo in such a sorry and somber state, but knew that it was for his own good. Vincenzo reassured her that he would be fine. For the following two weeks, Vincenzo began to sober up and recuperate under Aurelia's council. Deep down he still desired to finish his path to vengeance, but was determined to prove to Claudia and Ezio that he was in control. If that meant spending a month or two in seclusion from the fight, he was happy to pay that price. While walking in the Siena marketplace on October 14, Vincenzo and Aurelia conversed. She was happy to see him recovering so readily. Vincenzo told her he was simply determined to get better, though his minded was distant. Noticing this distance, Aurelia told him that she understood his anger. She saw it in her father every day of his life. The Piccolomini had arranged to have her mother killed when she and her brother were just children, in retaliation for his continued outspokenness toward the Piccolomini's corruption of the local government. Form that day on he was a changed man. For decades he thought of nothing but what he had lost, haunted by some bitter emptiness that dwelt within him, and this fueled him to fight against every ounce of opposition in his path to see justice done. Even when those responsible for the murder were long dead, he pressed further in his endless crusade, unwilling to submit until the emptiness inside himself was finally whole again. But, it was this vendetta that lead him to his demise. So in the end, he could never be whole again. Vincenzo implored that he was not like her father, but Aurelia disagreed. She told him that her father never understood what she had come to understand in recent years. When she lost her mother, she too felt that same bitter emptiness and she too wanted it gone. But in time she realized that the emptiness never goes away, no matter how much blood and anger you force into it. When you loose someone you love, you are forever changed. A broken version of the person you once were. But she insisted that this was not a bad thing. At the end of the day, the two of them were allowed to be happy, to move on with their lives. But if Vincenzo was ever going to be at peace, he needed to accept that his father was gone and not amount of corpses of personal satisfaction was ever going to change that.
For the briefest of moments, Vincenzo was almost moved by Aurelia's words. Perhaps if the two had been anywhere else at that exact moment, he would have finally accepted the truth. But he didn't. Because they were in the marketplace, where he suddenly heard a local crier preaching a decree by the newly anointed Pope Pius III, Francesco Piccolomini. Enraged, Vincenzo tackled the crier and demanded he explain himself. Frightened, the crier explained to him that Francesco had been elected Pope for weeks. Infuriated, Vincenzo ran back to the Borghese estate to grab his belongings. Aurelia chased after him and once they had arrived, she attempted to explain the situation. Francesco had been elected to the papacy while Vincenzo had been shut up in his study. The Piccolomini had severed all ties to the Templars and had refused to take sides in the conflict. Not wishing to see another Pope die needlessly, it was decided that Vincenzo should not have been told until he got his head on straight. Fury engulfed Vincenzo. The Piccolomini's plan had been their the whole time. With Francensco having the Pope's ear and Giovanni della Rovere's place in Cesare's armed forces, the Piccolomini had funneled enough doubt and information to pit Cesare against Rodrigo, using Astorre Manfredi as the go-between, in the hopes that one would kill the other, allowing for either Cristoforo to take Cesare's place or Francesco to take Rodrigo's. They had been using the Templars the whole time, in order to advance themselves to power. He implored with Aurelia that he knew the Piccolomini better than any of them did. Allowing them to have the papcy would lead to nothing but ill will to all of Italy.
Unswayed, Aurelia continued to keep him from going after Francesco, claiming he could never take on the Vatican by himself. To which Pandolfo Petrucci came in and agreed. Having listened to their conversation, he too believed Vincenzo could not make his way into the Vatican, not without help at least. Aurelia tried to intercede, but Pandolfo silenced her. In his mind, business was to be discussed. Pandolfo informed him of a plan he had in place for sometime. Originally he had planned to finally end the Borgia's dominance over his family by killing Rodrigo in the Vatican, but the Piccolomini's rise to power changed things. Now he wanted the Pope dead even more, still sore from their betrayal three years prior. He had a ship on the coast prepared to take a contingency of men to Rome where they would meet up with his loyal men in the Vatican, prepared to strike. All he required was a man of considerable skill to ensure the Pope died indefinitely. A man just like Vincenzo. Normally, Vincenzo would be reluctant to make a deal with the devil. But he did not even give it a second thought, and agreed. Aurelia begged him to reconsider, but he could not hear her, he was already to far gone.
Before departing, he insisted Pandolfo see to it that he find Cristoforo, where ever in the country he cold possible have hidden himself. History had proven that if he were to be left alive, the Piccolomini would indefinitely have a chance to return again. Seeing the fairness of his point. Pandolfo told him he would arranged it. Vincenzo left immediately. It took him several days to reach Rome by ship, but he did so on the evening of October 18. The boat had docked in the harbor and from it, Vincenzo was ushered, under cover of darkness, inside the Vatican by Pandolfo's men. Inside a broom closet, they had armed themselves, prepared to strike at the guards in full force. Vincenzo advised against it, they would never be able to fight their way to Francesco's chambers, let alone out of the Vatican. But then, he had an idea. Francesco was being tended to by a variety of apothecaries and doctors for an ulcer in his leg. And as Pandolfo's men had informed him, the newest physician had just arrived from Bologna. Vincenzo had the doctor and his entourage ambushed and brought to him where he had all their clothes stolen. Under the guise of the Bolognese doctor, Vincenzo emptied the entire contents of his Poison Blade into one of the doctor's vials and took his place on his way to see the Pope.
- Francesco: "(choking) . . . Y-you . . . You!"
- Vincenzo: "(whispering) Si, me, you parasite. Die, bastardo. Look at me and die!"
- ―Francesco Piccolomini's last words in 1503.
Vincenzo and Pandolfo's men, under the guise of the doctor's entourage, entered the Pope's chambers and found the man sweaty and sick in his bed. The current attending physicians were pushed to the side, so Vincenzo could work. Restraining every murderous impulse in his body, Vincenzo pretended to examine him and announced that he had a way of treating him, and took out his bottle of poison, presenting it as a muscle relaxant from China. He fed it to the eager Pope, then demanded the room be cleared so his "patient" could be given room to breathe. As soon as the steward, cardinals, and guards were hurried outside, Vicenzo gave him the entire bottle of poison, soon watching the man choke in confusion. Vincenzo removed his mask, and Francesco instantly recognized him. But before he could scream out he began coughing up blood. Vincenzo muffled his coughs and starred him down until the life left his eyes. Satisfied, Vincenzo closed his eyes, wiped away the blood and left the room, telling the cardinals that he simply needed time to rest. Swiftly he departed with Pandolfo's men, refusing payment. As soon as they had left departed the Vatican, the church bells began ringing, the Pope was dead and they had gotten away with the doing of it. And yet, when the men had arrived at their ship, eager to depart, they were met with enemies who had seized it. Not the guards however, the Assassins.
- Ezio: "Well? Are you satisfied? Are you finally free?"
- Vincenzo: "Yes. No. I won. No, I lost. I-I am empty, I am broken, lost. I lost. No father, I didn't mean . . .Oh God, what have done? I am sorry! Please I am so sorry! (sobbing)"
- ―Vincenzo's hollow victory in 1503.
The Assassin's apprehended Vincenzo and brought him before Ezio's judgement on Tiber Island. Vincenzo went gladly, he knew that he had done no wrong. Ezio and his fellow Assassin leaders, Claudia and Machiavelli however, did not agree. In the Assassin's sanctuary beneath Tiber Island, before the whole of the Brotherhood, Vincenzo was tried for breaking two of three tenants of the Creed: Not staying his blade from the flesh of an innocent and compromising the Brotherhood. Not to mention directly disobeying Ezio's orders. Full of rage, Vincenzo asserted that it was he who was betrayed. Ezio knew what the Piccolomini had done to Vincenzo's family and countless others. Ezio argued that Francesco had renounced all ties to the Templars and was willing to reform Rome in the name of peace. A peace that Vincenzo had jeopardized with his murder, plunging Rome in an uncertain fate. Vincenzo retorted that the Piccolomini would have schemed their way to champion over both the Assassins and the Templars, already Francesco had reaffirmed Cesare as Gonfaloniere, in order to placate both sides. They had done so for years and would have turned out even worse than the Borgia, had Vincenzo not acted. Claudia butted in and added that Vincenzo had no way of knowing that. Nearly every person involved in his fathers murder was long since dead. She claimed that Vincenzo's vendetta had no longer anything to do with keeping the peace or restoring justice, he had let anger cloud his judgment. She demanded for him to admit that all he sought was vengeance. They all did. Every judging eye in that room demanded he admit the "darkness" in his heart. So he did. But what he sought wasn't vengeance, it was freedom.
He shouted at them. Freedom! Freedom was all he desired. He had bore the weight of his father's grave with him his entire adult life. He swore he would find him retribution. He swore to himself that he would not rest until every Piccolomini left in the world would die until someone answered for the crime. It had been a long journey. He was tired and angry, filled with hate and spite. He wanted it to be over just as much as they did. But he centered on Ezio. He did not stand in the latter's way on his quest, he even aided him in it, Ezio should have given him no less. Ezio pleaded with him, that the path he chose as a young man almost destroyed him and was close to doing the same to Vincenzo. But, Vincenzo didn't care. The room fell silent. Until who would come busting in but Pietro Borghese.
Pietro came baring news from Pandolfo Petrucci. That he had discovered the location of Cristoforo Piccolomini. It was a widely held belief that Cristoforo had been living abroad in order to maintain his reclusive lifestyle. This was however false. His men had contested that for the past several years his only place of residence was a palazzo built along the Tiber. Palazzo Rosetti, a structure bought from the city, after it's previous owner, Alessandro Rosetti, was murdered during it's construction. All present information pointed to the last surviving Piccolomini Templar being there. Vincenzo was over eager, he begged Ezio for this chance. With Cristoforo's death, he would finally be free and would accept his punishment without protest. Ezio contemplated this, but ultimately conceded. Vincenzo needed to make his own mistakes. Vincenzo left without delay, to the protests of his fellow Assassins and his beloved Claudia.
The dawn was quickly approaching as Vincenzo arrived at Palazzo Rosetti. Though it was far from a palazzo. Dilapidated and run down as it was, stones coming apart and vegetation growing all around. But strangest of all, no patrol, no guards. Vincenzo entered through the front door apprehensively. The building was dark, curtains drawn, dust, mold and vermin filled the space. Vincenzo cringed, this is what became of his father's dream? After traversing the seemingly abandoned building, he could see down a distant hallway, the faint glow of a fire. He approached the light and found it to be the remains of the dining room. A large bonfire comprised of tables, chairs, and books burned in the middle. Sitting at it's edge was the disheveled, drunken remains of the man the was called Cristoforo Piccolomini. A man as fallen into disrepair as the house around him, nursing a bottle of wine. Vincenzo approached the man, who made no effort to run as soon as he realized he was there. Cristoforo greeted him and offered him a drink, met only with Vincenzo's drawn sword. Cristoforo seemed unimpressed.
- Cristoforo: "You have her eyes."
- Vincenzo: "Requiscat in pace, zio. (Rest in peace, uncle)"
- ―Cristoforo Piccolomini's last words in 1503.
Before he took his life, all Vincenzo wanted to know was why. Why did they murder his father? What did a little seven year old boy do to deserve being orphaned? Being born, Cristoforo replied. Apparently, Vincenzo had killed his sister, though Vincenzo had no recollection of this. Cristoforo had told him in his drunken stupor, that he killed her the very moment that he first drew breathe. Horrified, Vincenzo put two and two together. His mother, Silvia. Silvia Rosetti, or rather Silvia Piccolomini. As Vincenzo stood in terror, Cristoforo explained the truth behind his forty year long vendetta. Silvia, a young girl of seventeen at the time of her meeting Alessandro, left Siena with him against the wishes of her family. Years after Vincenzo was born, the Piccolomini had discovered she had perished giving birth. So, of course they ordered Alessandro's death as retribution, though they could not legally adopt Vincenzo as he was legally the ward of Giovanni Auditore and Assassin who refused all contact with his Templar heritage, they had seized everything in Vincenzo's inheritance in the hopes that he would come to them in search of it when he came of age.
This never came to pass, as he became an Assassin long before then and began killing them off. They had attempted to reach out to him numerous times, but Vincenzo never listened. And when he had killed enough of them they had decided he was not worth redeeming. Thus, he had devoted his entire life to the murder of his kin, such so that only one remained, Cristoforo. Enraged, Vincenzo held his sword to Cristoforo's throat, asking for one reason why he shouldn't finish the job. Cristoforo had none. Most of his family, everyone Cristoforo ever loved, was dead. The rest had disowned him. He had no money, no titles, no friends, and no willpower left. Just and empty house. He invited Vincenzo to kill him, but told him that he would only take his breath, not his life. His life ended long ago. He wept before him, saying that all he ever wanted was to do something worthwhile with his life. He would never get that chance. Vincenzo swallowed hard gazing upon the weeping despot at his feet. It took every ounce of his will to sheath his sword and walked away. But before he exited the room behind him he could hear Cristoforo drunkenly screaming if Vincenzo wouldn't do it, that he would do it himself. Cristoforo stood up and tossed his wine bottle onto the fire, making it burn brighter. For a while, Cristoforo just stood there gazing at it.
Vincenzo looked at him, his hobbling silhouette against the roaring fire, and realized he couldn't do it. His legs would not let him leave. He could not leave it like this. To go would mean that he would finally let go of his pain. That he could finally prove to himself that he could move on. Leaving Cristoforo as he was would be the ultimate retribution. The poor man would never have the courage to jump into that fire and end it all. He would suffer as Vincenzo suffered for the rest of his natural born life. He was finally free, vengeance was his. But as he gazed at the walking corpse Cristoforo was, he realized he had taken his vengeance long ago. He knew, that he had not set out to kill Cristoforo, all those years ago. Deep down, all along, he wanted the man destroyed. And he succeeded, there was nothing left of him. So in that moment, what Vincenzo knew he needed to do, in truth it was a kindness. He drew his hidden gun and aimed it. Across the room, Cristoforo saw Vincenzo in the reflection of a broken mirror that hung on the wall. He remarked with a sad joy that Vincenzo had Silvia's eyes. He fired.
Cristoforo's corpse fell to the floor, his arm bathing in the bonfire. The flames soon engulfed him and spread to the curtains. The whole house would be ablaze in mere moments. Vincenzo solemnly walked out and let it burn. He walked back to Tiber Island and threw himself at Ezio's knees begging forgiveness, weeping. He was a broken shell of what he was. All the hate that had kept him going his whole life was gone. He had nothing left now, and he knew. Vincenzo and Claudia embraced him as he wailed on the floor. He was forgiven. Thus began the healing. It would be a long journey back from the darkness he thrived in for so long, but that day was his first step.
The Pienza Event
Ambushed in Florence
- "This is your life, bambino. (child) It is not something anyone can fix. The past will always remain as it is, Vincenzo. All we can ever do is live, and ensure no one else need make the same mistakes. It took me too many years of my life to understand this. I do not wish the same for you."
- ―Paola counseling Vincenzo in 1504.
Following his near nervous breakdown, Ezio had Vincenzo moved back to Florence to be rehabilitated by Paola. Months later, news reached him of an assault on Claudia's life. One that left her terribly scarred both mentally and physically. Upon request, Ezio sent her to Paola as well. Together, with a great deal of effort and time, the two slowly began rebuilding themselves and each other. Though any signs of the once thriving romance between the two seemed all but gone. Though Paola was certain whatever reservations they had about their love for one another would be worked out soon enough. Yet by December 1504, there seemed to be no hope between them. They were civil with one another, almost friends, but neither seemed willing to dredge up the past. This stasis was broken one morning, December 27th.
Claudia and Vincenzo had been having an awkward breakfast as per usual, in La Rosa Colta, wistfully recalling past glories of their exploits, with a forlorn sadness. Vincenzo had remarked that those where indeed the good days, to which Claudia responded that she hoped not. She had hoped that perhaps there were still some good days left to share, with perhaps a bit too much hope in her voice. Before Vincenzo could respond, a sudden commotion rattled the brothel as the girls began gathering at the windows. They two followed and spoke to Paola, inquiring what was causing the fuss. She gestured to the street bellow, to a series of heavily armed and armored mercenaries, lead by a man in thick plate armor, showboating himself as Verulo Gallo. This knight demanded the head of Vincenzo Rossetti, and unless he did not come out and fight him like a man, he would be forced to go in side the brothel and kill him like a coward. With little choice, Vincenzo armed himself, climbed to the roof, jumped off, and assassinated one of Verulo's horseback riders off his horse, taking it as his own. This of course attracted Verulo's attention, who joyful drew his sword for battle. Noticing he was outnumbered and out matched, Vincenzo rode off through the city while Verulo and his men gave chase.
- Verulo: "Ha! So finalmente (finally) I meet my match! Who would have thought it be today?"
- Vincenzo: "Silencio! (Silence) Who are you and why have you come to my home? Who sent you?"
- Verulo: "Ha-ha . . . They await in Pienza, Assassino (Assassin) . . . should be quite the show . . . shame I will miss it ."
- Vincenzo: "Adagiare la tua spada, la vittoria è vostra amico mio. Requiscate in pace (Lay down your sword, victory is yours my friend. Rest in peace.)"
- —Verulo Gallo's last words in 1504
Using every available opportunity, Vincenzo picked off Verulo's men one at a time, until they cornered him in front of Santa Maria Novella. Surrounded, Vincenzo fought off Verulo's men until such a time when Verulo decided to fight him, himself. His men watched as both he and Vincenzo squared off in single combat. The battle was long and arduous. Both men beating each other to a bloody pulp, until finally Verulo got so winded that he had no defense against Vincenzo who managed to tear one of his shoulder pads off. Knocking him off balance, Vincenzo took this opportunity to leap on him and drive his hidden blade into Verulo's chest, stabbing repeatedly until the brute was on the verge of death. In his dying words, he taunted the Assassin and directed him to Pienza, a place he knew to be birthplace of Pope Pius II and his own mother. With the death of their leader, the men fled in fear. He returned to the brothel and proclaimed that he had unfinished business with whoever these people where who wanted to make an attempt on his life. Claudia begged him to stay or at the very least accept assistance, but ultimately knew it was futile. Before departing for Pienza, Paola wished him well and asked him to ensure he returns home safely, for Claudia's sake if not his own. Vincenzo made no such promises, to which she gave the following response: "You made that girl a promise a long time ago, and you are a coward if you go back on it now. You think you are broken, as does she, but together you can find salvation. You need only accept it." Vincenzo had no response. What was there to say? He left without a word.
- "Popolo dei Pienza! (People of Pienza) Rejoice! The evil that lie in your midst has been uprooted. Gaze upon him, good citizens. For this be the face of il diavolo! (the devil) He has come to spill your blood! To steal your possessions! To burn down your homes and businesses, set all you hold dear to ruin! This tagliagole (cutthroat)! This assassino! (assassin) This murderer has made the mistake of coming into your city and making his presence known to you! So I say rejoice, my people! For today is the day the devil dies! ABBATTETELO! (cut him down)"
- ―Ilario Lombardi's speech to the people of Pienza on Vincenzo in 1504.
Vincenzo arrived two days later, on the morning of December 29th, in the town of Pienza. While it was perceived as a peaceful mountain town, upon closer inspection, Vincenzo found there was a strange mercenary for littering the fields leading up to the town. Vincenzo entered the town with apprehension, to find the mercenaries in greater force and the people filled with a subtextual fear. As he rode into the city, he was stopped by one of these mercenaries, ordering him to halt. He demanded all Vincenzo's weapons be handed over to him, but Vincenzo refused. The mercenary persisted and called him men to his side, ordering him to disarm himself by the decree of the Lombardi Trading Coalition. He feigned surrender, then quickly threw down a smoke bomb and escaped them, leaving his horse behind. Vincenzo had thankfully lost them in the crowds, but was soon confused as the crowd he was in began to shift frantically in one direction. Vincenzo could see there was a mass of people gathering and decided to follow the commotion.
He followed the crowd to a clearing in front of the Palazzo Comunale, where and armed entourage gather on the top of the front steps. He witnessed emerging from the town hall, a strange group of menacing looking individuals. A charismatic man in a black trench coat, a seductive woman with red hair, a young woman in tattered clothes, and at her side a nobleman in a fur coat, wearing a mask. Beside the nobleman, two more armed individuals pushed an older, portly, prisoner. After a moment, the nobleman spoke to people announcing "that the instrument of their oppression" had been brought to his knees. With his fall, he told the people that their work in cleansing the city has almost come to a close and that even as he spoke, his agents seek to deliver the final instrument of their holy purpose. And soon all of Italy will be enlightened. The prisoner scoffed and mocked the noblemen, saying that it was funny how much sense a mad man can make to himself. Insulted. the nobleman ordered the guards to rip off the prisoner's clothes. The prisoner begged the people for their bravery in the face of the tyrant nobleman, as the man in question bludgeoned him into submission. Just then, a woman emerged from the crowd and called the man a monster. He immediately stopped what he was doing and searched for the woman with an unbelievable rage. Unable to find her, he took one of his men's firearms and started shooting blindly into the crowd. Vincenzo could stand by no longer, and was about to charge in before one of the mercenaries from earlier grabbed him and began arresting him. With no time for this man, he subdued him and slit his throat with his hidden blade, following which he easily defeated the two other men that backed him up. This caused a commotion as the people in the crowd began backing up and staring in awe of Vincenzo. The nobleman witnessed this and smiled at him with cruel satisfaction, ordering his men to cut him down.
Seizing the moment, before the guard descended upon him, Vincenzo charged threw the crowd, which parted for him and stormed the steps as the noblemen fled with his people, into the Palazzo. He freed the prisoner and dispatched those guarding. He gave the man his knife to defend himself and led him away from the square, fighting all the while. The two finally managed to escape into back alleys, where the prisoner led Vincenzo into a tunnel beneath the streets. The prisoner thanked Vincenzo for his assistance, claiming they would be safe in here. Vincenzo wondered what exactly was the tunnel the found themselves in. The man explained that he had been using his family's hidden passages in Pienza since he was a boy. Vincenzo was confused, until the explained that he was Andrea Piccolomini, a banker who managed his family's assets in Pienza, before the entire mess with the Lombardi Trading Coalition. He explained that a few months ago, the nobleman in the mask, Ilario Lombardi arrived in the city and began monopolizing trade in the city. When he had the majority of the businesses, elected officials, and even the police in his pocket, he staged a takeover with his own private military force. He had been holding the city ever since, on some kind of crusade against "corruption" though he's always been unspecific as to who that is, abducting seemingly random people to be executed. He had claimed in the New Year that they would bring about a change to the world, and spread their message to all peoples.