Shao Jun (1505 – Unknown)

Shao Jun was a member of the Chinese Brotherhood of Assassins and and the main character of Assassin's Creed Chronicles: China. A former concubine of the Zhengde Emperor, she was rescued by the Assassins after the emperor's death, and devoted her life to the Order as a result.

During the interregnum following Zhengde's death, Zhang Yong - the leader of the Eight Tigers, a Templar faction - ordered a purge of all those who opposed him, which included the Assassins. Jun and her Mentor, Zhu Jiuyuan, fled west to seek out the retired Italian Assassin Mentor, Ezio Auditore da Firenze.

Two years later, Shao Jun returned to China to take her revenge on those who previously destroyed the Brotherhood. Over the course of six years, together with a Master Assassin named Wang Yangming, she successfully eliminated all of the Tigers, prevented a Mongolian invasion and, despite Wang's death, rebuilt the Chinese Brotherhood and spearheaded it as its new Mentor. By 1567, Jun devised a plan to poison the Jiajing Emperor by using the elixir of life, which eventually claimed the life of the cruel monarch.


Imperial Concubine

The daughter of a concubine, Jun was born into imperial captivity and was raised to become a concubine in the Forbidden City during China's Ming dynasty, under the lackluster rule of the Zhengde Emperor.

At first she was one of the lower ranking concubines who hoped to become Empress, a wife of the Emperor. To this effect, Jun was taught the traditional arts displayed by the ladies of the imperial court, such as embroidery, singing and reading, but showed exceptional talent for dance and music early on.

As a child, Jun witnessed Liu Jin's execution and torture with the Ling Chi technique ("slow slicing", or death by a thousand cuts), a punishment for betraying the Emperor, which she would never forget.

The Zhengde Emperor, known for his juvenile nature and lack of interest in the urgent matters that concerned his country, regarded Jun highly among his concubines after she had reached her teenage years, for her agility and cat-like discretion fascinated him. Living a decade of her life under the Zhengde Emperor, he often used her as his spy or thief and to stage jokes against eunuchs and ministers.

By the age of thirteen, Shao Jun had risen to the rank of Imperial Concubine through her talents and the Zhengde Emperor's affection. Along with her best friend Zhang, she was poised to become Imperial Consort or even Empress. Jun always won her friendly competition with Zhang using her cat-like grace and talents against her foot-bound and breast-bound friend. Even then, Jun had never visited her Emperor's bed who preferred the intimate company of prostitutes and other ladies he invited in.

When the Zhengde Emperor fancied himself as a warlord and went to fight the Mongols in the north, Shao Jun was one of the concubines he took with him. Jun traveled with him to his expeditions in various places and met many foreigners; to serve mostly as his spy, and finally, for his personal leisure.

Joining the Assassins

However, after the Zhengde Emperor's death in April 1521, when Shao Jun was sixteen, the royal ministers fell into disarray and bickered over who should succeed the heir-less Emperor; Jun realized that her opportunities to becoming an Imperial Consort would be lost, unless the new ruler took a liking to her. She used her spying talents to find a way to maintain her Imperial Concubine privileges, and uncovered a secret war between the Tigers which were working for the Templar Order and a Brotherhood of Assassins. Soon, Jun fathomed that the Tigers were plotting to control China by using their power to place their puppet on the throne. She saw a chance for freedom in the Assassins and since the Tigers already controlled the most influential people in the court, she decided to contact the Assassin Order through Wang Yangming and joined them. Shao Jun was rescued along with several other concubines after the Assassins broke into the royal palace.

Loyal immediately to those who rescued her, Jun dedicated her first years of freedom to serving the Brotherhood. Wang trained her in the Assassins' ways until she was an Initiate, and was rewarded with a Hidden Blade. However, Wang had to disappear to escape the Great Rites Controversy so Zhu Jiuyuan replaced him as Shao Jun's new Mentor. Under his wing, she reached the full rank of Assassin and took a leap of faith.

Years after her rescue, Jun and her Mentor decided to save the remaining concubines whom she had grown up with. After breaking into the Imperial Palace, Jun discovered that most of her friends had been tortured and killed through the use of Ling Chi by order of the Zhengde Emperor's cousin and successor, Zhu Houcong, the Jiajing Emperor. Jun and her Mentor then fled the palace.

Before leaving, Shao Jun took the incredible risk of infiltrating the Forbidden City to free her friend Zhang. Although she knew the place by heart, the eunuch guards would have slaughtered her if she'd been caught. Fortunately, the level of security was lower than usual, for the Jiajing Emperor was often away in his own private palaces. Jun found Zhang and was astonished to hear that she wanted to stay, even if the Emperor was a brutal man. Zhang was lucky enough to please him and was now the Imperial Consort. She told her old friend to leave in peace, and did not want to hear about the Templars controlling the Tigers, even less of the man she'd expect to become her husband. Jun accepted Zhang's decision and remembered how important her career as a concubine was; she then left the Forbidden City for what she perceived to be the last time.

The Jiajing Emperor sought to detain and execute any opposition or possible threats against his rule. The Assassins were some of the purge's most high-profile targets, and on the Jiajing Emperor's orders, a majority of the Assassins in China were killed. The few who survived either went into hiding or fled westward.

Time in Italy

Isolated, Shao Jun and Zhu Jiuyuan despaired and finally decided to leave the country in order to seek the help of other Assassins, to the former Italian Mentor Ezio Auditore, whose reputation had spread all over the world, a suggestion of Zhu to which Shao agreed. It was a long journey, and neither of them spoke Italian, but it was their only hope. The pair traveled secretly to Macau, where transportation was easiest towards Europe, in which they witnessed the crippled state of the Brotherhood's network in the country: most safe houses had been raided and no Assassin worthy of the name was left alive.

By 1524, Jun and her Mentor were able to travel as far as Venice, stashed aboard a Portuguese vessel transporting porcelain and silk. Once in Italy, the pair were oblivious to the fact that they were actually followed by Templar agents. Ambushed by elite soldiers armed with muskets, Zhu sacrificed himself so that Jun could escape alive.

Continuing onward, Jun arrived at Ezio Auditore's Tuscan villa, where she encountered Ezio's young daughter Flavia and began speaking with her. Though Ezio initially saw Jun as a threat and fervently restrained her to protect his child, he released her after recognizing the Assassin insignia on the necklace she wore.

Later that day, Ezio and his wife Sofia confronted Jun, who asked for aid in restoring her Order. Ezio, who had retired from his life as an Assassin, refused to associate himself with the Order again, and asked her to leave. However, Sofia, knowing that Jun had come a long way to meet Ezio, asked her to stay for the night. Jun thanked Sofia, and accepted her offer.

The next day, Jun came across Ezio's study and looked through some of the writings he had left on his desk. When Ezio discovered her, he furiously told her to leave, which Jun soon obeyed. He then demanded that Jun depart Italy entirely, stating that she had wasted her time looking for him. Jun, reciting a portion of Ezio's writing, responded that all she wanted was to understand the Order as he did.

Ezio finally admitted why he was so reluctant to help her, and invited her to accompany him to Florence, where she could assist him with the harvesting of his vineyard. There, Jun observed the crowd as Ezio attended to his business. He then took her to the Palazzo della Signoria, where half of his family had been hung in 1476. Ezio taught Jun how the Assassins lived their lives: through pain, in order to end pain.

After the brief discussion, Ezio and Jun prepared to return to the villa. On the way back however, the two were intercepted by an Imperial soldier in an alleyway. Despite the ambush, Jun managed to kill the soldier with her footblade and quickly fled the city with Ezio.

On the way to Ezio's villa, Jun explained her plight, and informed him about those who were after her. Ezio told Sofia to bring their children to Niccolò Machiavelli's home, as he suspected that the soldiers would pursue Jun to the villa.

That night, Ezio told Jun the story of how he had defeated the Borgia family through fraternity and love, and how he had reformed the Brotherhood in both Rome and Constantinople. Jun then rested for the night while Ezio kept watch from the living room.

Soon enough, the villa was invaded by Imperial soldiers. The two Assassins fended off most of the attackers, with Ezio saving Jun from the shot of a hand cannon held by a brutish soldier. Fleeing outside to avoid the devastating weapon, both Jun and Ezio worked together to deal with the last foe. Though the soldier charged Ezio and pinned him to a tree, the elder Assassin managed to stab his enemy with an iron poker that he wielded as a sword. Jun then helped Ezio recuperate from the unexpected exertion.

Return to China

The following morning, Jun, with a renewed resolve, looked on to the horizon as Ezio approached her. Ezio stated that the trip back to China would be long, but Jun replied that it would be worthwhile, with so much to see along the way.

Before Jun left, Ezio gave her a small chest that contained something which could aid her in the future, stating that she should only open it if she were to lose her way. As government guards came into view onhorseback, Ezio bade Jun to leave and gave her his blessing before they arrived. Jun then departed Ezio's villa to return home to China.

Reaching China in 1526, Shao Jun used a network of old abandoned Brotherhood safe houses and eventually sought out Wang Yangming, where she told him about her travels, the death of her Mentor, and Ezio Auditore. The Chinese master had not seen her since he helped her escape the Forbidden City, and was impressed by the accomplishments of the former Concubine who had now become a skilled killer, not only trained by Zhu Jiuyuan, but now also by the Italian legend. Adding to her skills, Shao Jun had created an invention of her own – complimenting her cat-like agility – the Shéng Biāo, or rope dart.

Further to their meeting, Jun passed on the small chest to her new Master Wang Yangming, who to his astonishment explained its relevance as a Precursor artifact. She then told Wang what Ezio had told her, in that she should only open the box if she lost her way. Jun confessed to being torn between the sacred mission to rebuild the Brotherhood and the burning desire to find and kill the Tigers who had murdered her friends. Thinking that the box would help her, she opened it, with Wang as her witness, but found out that it was empty; Wang then told her that the empty box was a message from an experienced man and that it was merely a tool she needed to fill herself, in order to realize her destiny.

But there was anger and rage in Shao Jun's heart. To recreate the Brotherhood, she would take the path of blood; the Tigers would have to perish by her hand, and on their very corpses would a new China flourish, free from the scheme of the Templar Order. She accepted Wang Yangming's instructions to use the Precursor box as bait to lure the Tigers out, and together with Wang, they planned the Assassins' revenge against the Templars to restore their fallen Brotherhood.

Quest for vengeance

In 1526, Jun used the box given to her by Ezio as bait and allowed herself to be imprisoned by Gao Feng, one of the Eight Tigers. She was taken to an old Assassin stronghold turned Templar secret prison, the Maijishan Grottoes, where Jun remained silent when Feng questioned her about the origins and purpose of the box and only replied that she was exactly where she wanted to be, to Feng's irritation. After escaping her cell, she freed the Assassin informantHong Liwei and retrieved the remaining Assassin scrolls. Jun eventually killed Gao Feng and fled from the prison to meet her Mentor, Wang Yangming, who had also eliminated one of the Tigers, the torturer and "butcher" Ma Yongcheng. Though Jun was not able to retrieve the box, Wang told her not to worry for they would find it in time.

Some time after, Wang located the stolen box in Macau, in the hand of the third Tiger, Yu Dayong. Shao Jun infiltrated the city stronghold through the docks and quickly heard about three Portuguese merchants who suddenly became rich and important after helping the Tigers and killing her allies. She assassinated them along with their master Yu, freed his personal slaves, reclaimed the box, and escaped the fire set in retaliation by Qiu Ju, the fourth Tiger. The fire had killed many innocents, much to Jun's dismay, to which she blamed her desire for revenge. Wang warned her about the vengeance she sought, although in line with the Assassin cause, he added that it was an endeavor that could not be put in her heart, just as Ezio had told her before.

Three years later, to get to the leader of the Tigers, Zhang Yong, Shao Jun traveled to Nan'an to kill the fifth Tiger, Wei Bin, who had led the slaughter of the Chinese Brotherhood. The words of Wang still echoed in her mind and hatred was too strong in her heart. To leave room for peace, she decided to pay her respects in the shrines for her brothers who were murdered by the Snake. After crossing the guarded bridge of Nan'an, Jun killed three of Wei's bodyguards before assassinating him. As Wei Bin died, he told Shao Jun that Zhang was hunting Wang Yangming, who was also in the city to meet a contact able to study the box. Shao Jun immediately left to save her Mentor but arrived too late, witnessing Zhang killing Wang and claiming the box again. After killing the rest of Zhang Yong's soldiers, Jun apologized to her deceased Mentor and realized that there was no good in taking revenge if she kept losing those she cared for.

Now the very last Chinese Assassin, Jun was contacted in 1530 by Empress Zhang, Shao Jun's former concubine friend, who had a lead on Zhang Yong's location. To meet her, Shao Jun infiltrated the Forbidden City and saved Zhang's concubines who helped her pass the information. Jun was horrified to find that Zhang Yong and Qiu Ju had threatened the Empress to set a trap, for which she forgave her friend and understood the risk Zhang had to take if she refused. The Templars mocked her, saying that the Assassins were too trusting, and that was how they had destroyed the Brotherhood and killed her Mentor. As Shao Jun dueled Qiu while Zhang Yong fled, lanterns dropped during the fight spread fire across the city. After killing Qiu, Jun was forced to escape with a leap of faith into a nearby river.

In 1532, Shao Jun pursued Zhang Yong, the last Tiger, to the Great Wall of China, where she learned his plans to let the Mongols of Altan Khan invade the country, in return for a seat in power after the outcome. In response, she killed the Mongol scouts and closed the Wall's gates, blocking the barbarians from entering her home. When Jun finally reached Zhang Yong, she learned that he had already sent the Precursor box to other Templars outside China, though she rebutted that retrieving the box was another Assassin's destiny, and hers was to eliminate him.

Among the chaos of bombardment from the infuriated Mongols, she eventually reached Zhang and assassinated him, eliminating the last Tiger and Templar influence in China. As Zhang Yong died, Jun realized that pursuing vengeance was pointless, and that she had found a better goal: the future. Shao Jun vowed to rebuild the Chinese Assassin Brotherhood and bring a new tomorrow for China and freedom for its people.

Mentor of the Chinese Assassins

Shao Jun eventually succeeded in her reconstruction of the Chinese Assassins, recruiting new members and obtaining the title of Mentor. By 1567, she was a wise elder who shared her knowledge with the younger members of the Brotherhood while tasking others to accomplish various missions. As such, she planned the death of the Jiajing Emperor, sending Assassins to offer him the elixir of life, while in fact it was a lethal dose of mercury that brought about the opposite effect.

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