Shogun Hunter: Shao Jun
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 Emperor Zhengde.
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.
Zhengde, 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 Zhengde, 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 Zhengde’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 Zhengde 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.
However, after Zhengde’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 Zhengde; 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 priveleges, 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.
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 Zhengde’s cousin and successor, Jiajing. 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 Jiajing 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.
Jiajing sought to detain and execute any opposition or possible threats against his rule. Shao Jun could only flee for her life.
Isolated, Shao Jun decided to leave the country in order to seek the help of Italian Mentor Ezio Auditore. She came up on the Villa outside Rome, where she was confronted by two men, demanding to know why she was there. She explained her story, and how the few Assassins that were in China were now destroyed. She sought training to seek revenge against those that were hurting her people.
She later discovered the companion was Nicolaus Meridius, a fellow Assassin. She stayed at the Villa for a few weeks, recouping from her journey. Ezio came to her to tell her she could travel with him, he knew a place to go. She was smart enough to let Ezio and Nico have their farewells without her presence.
Ezio and her traveled to Masyaf.
The arrived in the middle of the battle. Determined to show her skill, Ezio pushed her to the side told her to stay and strode into the middle of it. She knew then – he was the one that could train her.
She ended up Trained at Masyaf, holding her own against men who felt that a woman couldn’t do the job. It was Tamara that encouraged her, and Dastan laughed as she held her own against the ‘bigger’ men.
Before she left to go back to China she requested Ezio Turn her.