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"I know a great deal, bodyguard. I recognize those marks on your hand. A gift from your friend, the one who talks to you in the dark. Talks to you when you visit his shrines. I've visited those shrines too."
—Daud to a captured Corvo

Daud, renowned as the "Knife of Dunwall", was the leader of a group of assassins known as the Whalers that operated in Dunwall. He is responsible for the death of Empress Jessamine Kaldwin and the kidnapping of her daughter, Emily.

Daud is one of the main antagonists and an assassination target in Dishonored, as well as the protagonist of the game's story DLCs, The Knife of Dunwall and The Brigmore Witches. He returns as protagonist of the novel Dishonored: The Return of Daud, and as an ally to Billie Lurk in Dishonored: Death of the Outsider.

Biography

Childhood and Upbringing

Daud's mother was rumored to have originated from an island off the Pandyssian Continent. He was conceived on the 13th Day of the Month of Ice, 1795, onboard a pirate vessel which held her captive.[3] She was rumored to be a witch marked by the Outsider and took control of said ship during its return to Serkonos. Daud noted that she was simply proficient in the use of poisons and hallucinogens, and ruthless in their administration.[4]

Daud was born in Serkonos and grew up in various cities of the Isle.[5]. At some point in his early childhood, his natural abilities caught the attention of a mysterious actor, which subsequently led to his abduction.[6] At the age of 16, Daud moved to Dunwall[1] where he began to make a name for himself "moving among the shopkeepers and City Watch officers of Dunwall like a reaper through wheat". Daud traveled throughout the Isles seeking the Outsider's shrines and was rumored to have spent a winter at the Academy of Natural Philosophy,[3] of which he made cryptic mentions a few times to his followers.[7] He eventually attracted the attention of the Outsider who marked him in 1820.

Marked by the Outsider

Daudtrainingassassins

Daud training assassins.

"For years I'd held together a shadowy band of ex-mercenaries, street kids, and refugees through discipline and a bit of black magic."
—Daud, on the Whalers

Now branded by the Outsider, Daud became infamous as an assassin for hire, feared not only for his skill, but also for his magic powers. His known powers are Blink (referred to as "transversals"), Bend Time, Summon Assassin, Void Gaze, Pull (referred to as "tethering"), and resistance to poisons and sedatives. Another power, known as Arcane Bond, gives him the ability to grant lesser versions of his magic to others, which he utilizes to empower his followers. Daud used these powers to establish himself as an assassin for hire to the elite of Dunwall. He started gathering other marginals of Dunwall and established his own gang of mercenaries and assassins, the Whalers, with which he shared his powers. In 1829, he met Billie Lurk a street urchin with an affinity for the trade who a year prior murdered Radanis Abele, son of the Duke of Serkonos.[8] He trained her personally, and her quick-learning and skills would eventually earn her place as his second-in-command. During the plague, Daud moved his base of operation to the Rudshore Chamber of Commerce in the devastated and quarantined Flooded District. In 1835, he met some of the witches from the newly formed Brigmore coven.

The Whalers' reputation in the underworld of Dunwall caught the attention of Hiram Burrows, who made use of their services a number of times in his capacity as Royal Spymaster. Eventually during the Rat Plague, Burrows hired Daud and his assassins to murder the Empress and kidnap her daughter. Despite the Outsider's initial favor for Daud, a rift developed between the two sometime before this event. The Outsider himself notes that he lost interest in Daud prior to the assassination of the Empress, and interacts with Daud in a hostile and derisive manner throughout The Knife of Dunwall.

Dishonored

Returning Home

Main article: Returning Home

Conforming to Burrows' plan, Daud moves to Dunwall Tower with Billie Lurk and a group of assassins on the 18th Day of the Month of Earth, 1837. They are to take advantage of a moment when the Empress and her daughter are alone in the palace's gazebo, the Royal Protector Corvo Attano away. However, neither the Spymaster nor Daud anticipated that Corvo would return that day from his trip around the Isles. Seeing his men in difficulty facing the Royal Protector, Daud intervenes himself and executes the contract, leaving Corvo as the only witness.

In the months that followed, the Royal Spymaster implicated Corvo as culprit to hide his own participation and Daud's. Daud delivered Emily to the Pendelton twins, Morgan and Custis, allies of Burrows. He however threatened the Spymaster for a higher price because of Corvo's intervention,[9] which Burrows paid and assured that he would offer other assignments.[10] Unbeknown to Daud, Burrows, then appointed Lord Regent and aided by High Overseer Campbell, would orchestrate 6 months later a sweep of the Flooded District by Warfare Overseers to eradicate him and the Whalers.[11]

The Knife of Dunwall

Daudjessamine

Daud in the Void, with a dead Jessamine Kaldwin.

"Daud, my old friend. It's been a while, but you've got my interest again...I'm here because you're right, the Empress was different."
—The Outsider

After carrying out the assassination of the Empress and delivering Emily to Burrows' agents, Daud is wracked with guilt over the act, a feeling which the Outsider reinforces. Appearing to Daud after the assassination, the Outsider provides him with "one last gift" so that he may alter coming events: the name Delilah. Unable to abide a mystery by his own admittance,[12] Daud begins to investigate the significance of the name. The conclusion of the DLC is affected by the chaos Daud inflicts over the course of his search, similar to how Corvo's actions affect the conclusion of Dishonored.

With the help of Billie Lurk, Daud discovers the whaling trawler Delilah at the Rothwild Slaughterhouse; his subsequent hunt eventually directs him to Delilah Copperspoon, a painter, black magic practitioner, and leader of the Brigmore Witches. As Daud discovers Delilah took an interest in him long before he ever heard of her (learning, for instance, that Arnold and Thalia Timsh saw Delilah painting his name across a canvas during a seance), the assassins' hideout in the Flooded District is overtaken by Overseers.

After pushing back the Overseers' forces, Daud learns that he was betrayed by Billie, who saw his regret over the Empress' assassination as weakness and plotted to take his place. Working in conjunction with Delilah, they brought the Overseers to the Flooded District and arranged for Billie to kill Daud herself. In high chaos, Billie duels Daud for leadership of the Whalers, and Daud can either kill or spare her; in low chaos, she chooses not to go through with the act, leaving her fate in Daud's hands. Daud's decision in either case affects the Outsider's final opinion and narration as the story closes.

The Brigmore Witches

"My mother warned me never to make an enemy of a witch."
—Daud

Following Billie's betrayal (which affected Daud deeply, according to Thomas's observations) and the removal of the Overseers from the Flooded District, Daud discovers Delilah's location at the Brigmore Manor, outside the Dunwall quarantine zone. He enlists the aid of Dead Eels gang leader Lizzy Stride to help him reach the hideout, accomplishing various tasks in Coldridge Prison and Drapers Ward to secure his passage; he also encounters the Brigmore coven on several occasions and slowly uncovers clues to Delilah's ultimate plan.

When he arrives at the manor, Daud realizes that Delilah is plotting to use a powerful ritual to steal Emily Kaldwin's body and rule in her place as Empress. In response, he pursues Delilah to the Void and eliminates her in the midst of the ritual, protecting the child he once abducted.

The Flooded District

Main article: The Flooded District
Daud and Corvo Face-off

Daud dueling Corvo in the Flooded District.

"Let's see if The Outsider will save your life or mine."
—Daud to Corvo

While Dishonored runs concurrently with the events of The Knife of Dunwall and The Brigmore Witches, the mission The Flooded District falls between Daud's elimination of Delilah, and the DLC's epilogue. Discovering a poisoned Corvo Attano adrift in the Flooded District, Daud confiscates his gear and orders his men to place Corvo in confinement, awaiting delivery to Farley Havelock in exchange for a large bounty. Corvo escapes soon after, and one of Daud's men appears to inform him of the break-out. Daud correctly surmises that Corvo is bound for the Commerce Building to confront him, and waits for the man's arrival, recording an audiograph castigating Hiram Burrows and lamenting his own part in the murder of the Empress.

Daud's reaction to Corvo's arrival varies based on Corvo's chaos: in low chaos, Daud uses Bend Time on his men and orders them not to interfere while he and Corvo duel. In high chaos, Daud allows his men to assist him in battle to take down Corvo at any cost. Daud is ultimately defeated, and makes a plea for his life.

Epilogue

"I have one more surprise for you. I ask for my life."
—Daud to Corvo
Dauddaud

Daud after being defeated by Corvo.

Daud muses on the events that transpired during his pursuit of Delilah, noting that "our choices always matter to someone, somewhere", and that people must live with the consequences of their decisions.

This conclusion leads him to surrender to the mercy of Corvo Attano, who acts in accordance with Daud's chaos at the end of The Brigmore Witches, either killing or sparing him. If Daud is spared, he can be seen placing his sword at the tomb of the Empress after the end of the credits. If Daud is killed, his body is cremated on a boat in the flooded yard of the Greaves Refinery – if Daud spared Billie at the end of The Knife of Dunwall, she will be there as well, looking on from a distance.

In the canon of the sequels to Dishonored, Corvo spared Daud's life. It is revealed in Dishonored: The Corroded Man and Dishonored 2 that many people have tried locating Daud after the events of The Brigmore Witches, but without success.

Dishonored: The Return of Daud

Daud returns to Dunwall 15 years later, during the last days of his life. He seeks a powerful artifact said to be able to kill the Outsider but encounters both old and new enemies.

Dishonored: Death of the Outsider

Daud ends up in Karnaca in his quest to kill the Outsider. Some time before the start of the game, Daud was captured by the Eyeless cult, and forced to fight for months in the pit of a fight club owned by the cult. Aided by his former second-in-command Billie Lurk, he plans to confront underground fight clubs, Sisters of the Oracular Order and the Eyeless cult to gather the artifacts that will help them in taking down the Void deity. Daud admits that he needs Billie's help to complete this mission, and says that he'll never recover from the damage he took in the pits, which proves accurate.

Throughout the game, Daud remains on the Dreadful Whale, coughing and saying he can "feel the Void dragging [him] away," and is limited to giving information on the world to Billie, and giving advice on missions. Eventually, after learning that the sword required to kill the Outsider is in the Dolores Michaels Deposit & Loan Bank he sends Billie to retrieve it. During the mission Daud passes away on the Dreadful Wale from natural causes which the Outsider alludes to Billie. After returning to find Daud dead, Billie burns her ship which acts as a funeral pyre for Daud. After his funeral, Billie played a recording Daud left for her, saying goodbye and making his peace with who he had been, and with his history with his former apprentice.

Later on, Daud's spirit is encountered in the Void just before Billie is about to kill the Outsider. His form is wavy and indistinct, and at first he doesn't recognize Billie. He encourages her to finish the Outsider. Here she is given a choice:

If Billie kills the Outsider, Daud will speak with her saying it's done, but Billie declares herself to be always a killer and that she will never change. In this ending Daud does not find peace and his spirit is doomed to wander the Void for eternity.

If Billie decides to not kill the Outsider, she convinces Daud to let him live by revealing the circumstances of the Outsider's mortal life and reminding Daud of how he spared her once. Daud frees the Outsider by speaking his name. Daud then agrees and after freeing the Outsider he says a final farewell to Billie as he finds peace and his soul dissipates.

Personality

Daud01

A grief-ridden Daud paying his respects to Empress Jessamine.

"We make our choices and take what comes and the rest is void."
—Daud

One of the most callous and calculated individuals in all of the Isles, Daud has no qualms with killing for coin and does so indiscriminately. From aristocratic pedophiles to respectable law enforcers and scholars, all are potential victims of his blade. Realizing the fortune of his supernatural abilities, he uses them to primarily "force [his] will on the world". The whispers of the Outsider only further inflate Daud's ego, causing him to believe that he is somehow special or important.

For years, Daud continues on his crimson-lit trail of bloodshed, undeterred by the results of his wetwork. It is only when he kills Empress Jessamine and abducts her daughter Emily that something finally breaks within him. Rather than successfully repressing the regretfulness brought about by his deed, he instead becomes filled with grief and dismayed with the societal collapse of Dunwall. Daud slowly realizes that his story is coming to a conclusion of his making, and comes to terms with the consequences of his life choices.

Trivia

  • Daud is voiced by Michael Madsen.[13]
  • It was revealed by Harvey Smith in an AMA that Daud is still alive by the time of Dishonored 2, but not doing well.[14] This is further hinted at in the game.
    • In the mission Death to the Empress, a letter between Meagan Foster and a former Whaler reveals that no one from the former gang has been able to locate Daud.
    • If Meagan, who is revealed to be Billie Lurk in the last mission, survives at the end of the game, the Outsider tells in the epilogue that she leaves to seek out "the closest thing she'd ever known to family".
    • Delilah expresses that she feels and knows that Daud is still alive somewhere, when talking idly in the last mission while painting.
    • Her spirit trapped in the Heart remarks that: "There are marks on our flesh. Made by the Knife of Dunwall. Cursed Daud, who hides in the world and breathes still."
      • The Heart also mentions to Emily that: "Six came over the walls and dragged [Emily] from [her] mother's corpse. Two are still alive." Both Daud and Billie took part in Jessamine's assassination.
      • Upon receiving the Heart for the first time in the Void, using it there one will receive multiple unique lines, one of which confirms Daud to still be alive: "The one who took my life walks the world still, but he has withdrawn."
  • According to the official guidebook, "Ego homini Lupus" ("I am a Wolf to man") is his motto.
  • Daud is the only playable character in the Dishonored franchise to both be a protagonist and antagonist.
  • As with all other assassination targets, if Corvo decides to murder Daud with his sword, a special animation plays in which Corvo grabs Daud, slits his throat, then throws him to the right as he dies.
    • In The Brigmore Witches, however, Corvo will throw Daud frontally over the wall rather than into the hole to the right.
  • Daud is resistant or immune to the majority of Corvo's offensive powers and gadgets.
    • If Corvo attempts to possess him, Daud will say that his mind is the last place Corvo would want to be.
  • Wanted posters for Daud feature a picture of a regular assassin rather than Daud, yet throughout The Knife of Dunwall, various civilians will recognize Daud instantly.
    • Jerome in The Brigmore Witches similarly notes that he recognizes Daud from his wanted posters.
  • Although Daud does not have a mask he can still zoom in and out as if he were using a spyglass.
  • Daud is referred to as "the Big Knife" and "the Old Knife" in a letter between Meagan Foster and a former Whaler in Dishonored 2.
    • If Daud initiates dialogue after sneaking up on Delilah, she derisively calls him the "Mouse of Dunwall".
  • In the German, Russian, and Italian translations of The Brigmore Witches, Daud says that he moved from Serkonos to Dunwall at the age of 16. Developer Harvey Smith has confirmed this information.[1]
  • Daud's plea to Corvo varies between Dishonored and The Brigmore Witches, with the former being substantially longer.
  • Though he can use a pistol during the course of gameplay, Daud never acquires upgrades for the weapon.
  • According to Harvey Smith, Daud "was conceived on a pirate vessel, and grew up in various Serkonan cities".[citation needed]
  • Daud can not be dismembered.
  • Daud cannot be drop assassinated if fully alerted to Corvo's presence and Corvo is in sight; rather he will block the attack.
  • If killed from behind, Daud is not stabbed in the stomach and neck like other assassination targets, and is simply killed in the same way as any regular enemy.
  • It is stated by Galia Fleet that Daud had occasionally made cryptic mentions of the Academy of Natural Philosophy, further implying that the rumors about him spending a winter at the Academy are real.[15]
  • Upon seeing an example of Trimble's handwriting, Daud comments on how he distrusts people who can write that neatly.
  • As a result of his use of a corrupted bone charm, Daud is missing at least three teeth.[16]
  • Sokolov's painting of Daud shows his coat being blue rather than red. This is in line with the master assassins, who wear blue outfits.
  • It is stated in a book that Daud has no interest in sex, implying that he is asexual. Though the accuracy of this book is questionable and the author unknown, Harvey Smith has confirmed through Twitter that Daud is asexual.[17]


Audio

Description Audio
Daud, during the fight with Corvo
And now we fight
Daud asks Corvo for his life
Daud spared
Daud's opening speech in The Knife of Dunwall
One more job shouldnt have mattered

Gallery

Artistic Renditions

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Developer Commentary – Dishonored ages masterpost
  2. Dishonored: The Dunwall Archives
  3. 3.0 3.1 Rumors and Sightings: Daud
  4. Cobbled Bits of Bone
  5. Developer commentary
  6. The Heart quotes
  7. Dishonored: The Corroded Man, p.108
  8. Meeting Daud
  9. Dead Drop
  10. Letter to Daud
  11. Orders from High Overseer Campbell
  12. Daud's Journal: Delilah Copperspoon
  13. Dishonored Credits § Voice and Music
  14. Developer Commentary – Daud's fate
  15. Dishonored: The Corroded Man, p. 108
  16. Cobbled Bits of Bone
  17. Developer Commentary – Daud's Sexuality


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