Al Cotton (1835-unknown) was a black Assassin during the American Civil War. He was the ancestor of Leroy Jackson.
He was the son of Mimi, a enslaved black woman. He never knew his father as his father was in a slave auction before he was born. In 1860, Al, his mother, and a few fellow slaves escaped from their plantation with the intention to escape to Illinois. Al and his company where eventually tracked down by the overseer of the plantation. Al was able to escape by preforming a Leap of Faith. The first step in a long path to becoming part of the Assassins Order.
- "Don't worry, my son. All God's chillun have wings."
- ―Mimi to her son.
Al Cotton was born into slavery. His mother, Mimi, gave birth to him in 1835 in the barn on the plantation where she picked Cotton. Cotton never knew his father as his father was sold at an slave auction, but she spoke of him fondly and that she loved him dearly. Cotton was very protective of him mother and several times tried to save her from whippings, which only resulted in whippings for himself and her. Cotton hoped that one day he would escape the brutality of his enslavement, much like the slaves in the story his mother would tell him about the African slaves that had a magic that allowed them to fly away from their enslavement. Cotton thoroughly believed this through and through and aspired to "fly away one day".
- "I don't want to be here no more, momma!"
- ―Al to his mother.
In 1850, Al attempted to escape from his enslavement. While his master, Big Daddy McCoy, was inside and the Overseer was going through a different row of cotton, Al made his escape. He snuck silently past the Overseer and into the bushes where he waited for the activity to die down and where he would steal away into the night. He waited until dawn and snuck past the boundaries. Al got as far as five miles before he heard the barking of dogs come for him. He ran his fastest as the dogs ran after him. He was bitten and ravaged by the dogs, only to be saved by the Overseer. The overseer dragged him back to the McCoy Cotton Plantation where he found Big Daddy McCoy waiting for him at the steps of the Big House. Big Daddy McCoy told the Overseer to "whip him hard, and whip him good", which the Overseer took a particular interest in doing.
After his whipping, Cotton found his mother waiting for him the barn. She scolded him for his stupidity of running away without the proper knowledge of how to even survive. Cotton pleaded that he didn't want to be a slave and that he needed to get away. Cotton made a silent promise that he would "fly away one day" from all the horrible slavery.
"'I got wings, you got wings - Al God's chillun got wings. When I get to heaven, gon' put on my wings, gon' fly all over God's heaven, heaven. Everybody talkin' 'bout heaven, ain't goin' there, heaven."
- Al singing about his escape attempt
In 1860, Cotton, now twenty-five years old decided that he was finally going to escape. He decided to heed his mother's warning that he recieved years earlier and learn to survive. He eavesdropped on Big Daddy McCoy's hunting stories and how he would stay out of sight and silent when he was hunting deer. While picking cotton, Al began to sing a slave song about the escape attempt he planned to do that night.That night at the barn, as Cotton waited for his moment to escape, he was approached by his mother and a few fellow slaves who wanted to come along. Cotton agreed and they all escaped past the boundaries of the plantation.
Cotton and his company made it as far as the woods when they heard the sound of dogs barking and the shouts of men. Cotton's fellow slaves began to panic and became frantic. Cotton, however, stayed calm as he instinctively knew what to do. He told each of them where to hide so that they would not be captured by their hunters. Their hunters passed by them without a notice that Cotton and company had been there.
Cotton lead his party for many miles until the decided that they needed to rest. cotton reasoned that they couldn't go to town as they wouldn't lend rooms to slaves. It wasn't until he was startled by a white man who had been hunting in the forest. Cotton's party where about to make a run for it until Cotton noticed a strange blue aura around the man's body. He automatically knew that they where to be safe with the man. The hunter introduced himself as Lenny Stillwater, an agent of the Underground Railroad who had stationed himself in Mississippi to make it easier for escaping slaves. He told Cotton that he could hide him and his fellow slaves for a night so they could rest and stock up on food.
That night, Cotton had a dream about a man dressed in radiant armor guiding his way. He told him of his innate "sixth sense" of knowledge adn that it could differentiate his friends and enemies. Cotton asked the man if he was God, to whiche the man replied "I am similar" and vanished.
Cotton woke up the next day early in the morning and he and his company departed for Illinois. Along the way, he utilized his sixth sense in many situations: finding unique hiding places, and other agents of the Underground Railroad. It wasn't until Cotton came to a unscaleable cliff that his life would change forever. He and his fellow slaves were cornered by the Overseer and his slavers. Cotton was unable to decide what to do as his other slaves were either being killed or captured. Cotton's mother was snatched from away from him as they were pulled apart. His mother cried out to him "You've got wings, baby boy!" before she was carried away. Cotton struggled free and preformed an instinctive Leap of Faith of the cliff and into the water below.
Joining the AssassinsEdit
"'Up close and personal'? My friend, I think I've got just the thing for you."
- Ulysses S. Grant proposing Cotton's induction into the Order.
Cotton, alone, sad, and tired, wandered the rest of the way into Springfield, Illinois where he had a horrible time. He slept on the streets, begged for money or food, and sometimes stole from vendors. While wandering in the streets looking for a place to sleep he came across a group of Illinois regiments training under General Ulysses S. Grant. Cotton watched them silently from behind a bush watching them train. He sat for hours observing them, contemplating the thought of freeing his mother and getting revenge on Big Daddy McCoy. It was a while before Grant noticed Cotton watching him. He approached Cotton and question him as to why he was watching them. Cotton replied that he wanted to join the army and get his mother back. Grant invited him into his tent where Cotton retold the story of how he came lost his mother and how he arrived in Springfield. Cotton made it clear that he wanted revenge on the slavers who captured his mother. Grant, contemplating Cotton's story and the characteristics of Cotton, made him an offer which caught Cotton's attention.
Grant revealed himself to be an Assassin, a order founded long ago that fought for freedom and justice for the people. Grant, seeing potential in the runaway slave, made a proposition with Cotton. If he would join the Order, help the Union win the war and free the slaves, he would help him get his mother back. Cotton wondered about the deal that lay before him. He wondered if he could even trust Grant. He used his sixth sense and, through it, it was revealed to him that he could trust Grant.
"Getting What I Came For!"Edit
Bigg Daddy McCoy: "So, you came back for your mother?"
Cotton: "Not just my momma! For you too!"
Cotton trained under the tutilage of Grant for the next year. He quickly learned the ways of the Assassins and easily learned of their Creed. He practiced day and night, training himself to be a master free runner and excellent swordsman and gun slinger. Cotton never forgot about his mother, his soul purpose being only to get her back. Cotton finally planned to make good on his promise.