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"I grew up with this broken skyline, the muted colors and the way the light falls. It's Dunwall, but it's not. Have I changed, or does everything just look different when you're not wearing a crown?"
—Emily, to herself, before returning to reclaim her throne[2]

Emily Drexel Lela Kaldwin I[3] is the rightful heir to the throne of the Isles and Empress Jessamine Kaldwin's only child. On 18th Day, Month of Earth, 1837, Emily was kidnapped following her mother's murder by the assassin Daud, for which Royal Protector Corvo Attano was framed. The Loyalist Conspiracy sought to recover Emily and reinstate the royal line by seeing her crowned Empress.

After the brief interregnum under Lord Hiram Burrows, Emily was reinstated as Empress of the Isles. For fourteen years, her reign saw the reorganization of the Dunwall City Watch,[4] increased trade between the Isles,[5] and the development of Dunwall proper.[6]

On 18th Day, Month of Earth, 1852, Emily Kaldwin was deposed of her throne in a coup led by Delilah Copperspoon with the complicity of Luca Abele, Duke of Serkonos.[7] Emily subsequently travels to Karnaca to take down those involved in the coup and regain her throne. Ultimately, Emily succeeds in trapping Delilah in The World As It Should Be, her painted reality, and regains her position as Empress of the Isles.[8]

Biography

Early life

Emily Drexel Lela Kaldwin was born 2nd Day, Month of Rain, 1827,[3] to her mother Empress Jessamine Kaldwin I, and her father, Corvo Attano.[9][10] Despite the secrecy of the affair, it was speculated by some citizens of Dunwall, including Farley Havelock[11], Lydia Brooklaine, and indirectly, Treavor Pendleton, that Corvo was her father.

Growing up, Emily displayed a natural curiosity about the world, and was noted for her active imagination and drawings. Royal Spymaster Hiram Burrows privately criticized Empress Jessamine Kaldwin's raising of Emily, believing her both undisciplined and spoiled. Furthermore, he disapproved of Emily's time spent with Corvo learning how to swordfight with wooden sticks.[12]

Dishonored

Main article: Dishonored
Screens01 emily2

Emily greeting Corvo.

Emily is one of the first to greet Corvo upon his return to Dunwall Tower from his tour of the Isles to solicit aid. She asks him to play hide and seek with her, and comments on the state of Dunwall Tower in his absence, noting in particular that her mother missed him while he was away.

When the Empress is assassinated by Daud and his group of assassins on the orders of Royal Spymaster Hiram Burrows, Emily is kidnapped and eventually delivered to Custis and Morgan Pendleton, who hold her at the Golden Cat in secret. Emily attempts escape through the VIP entrance on two occasions and nearly succeeds, but is ultimately apprehended. Madame Prudence subsequently relegates Emily to her own quarters in the Courtesans' dormitory,[13] where Corvo finds her during the House of Pleasure mission.

Callistaemily

Callista and Emily during lessons.

Once Emily is rescued, she is taken to the Hound Pits Pub, where she is introduced to the Loyalists. Callista Curnow is assigned to be her tutor and mentor, and throughout the game is seen trying to instruct Emily in proper study and the mannerisms of an Empress. Emily, however, is much more interested in learning of warfare and fantastic beasts than she is in formalities.

Emily spends her free time at the Hound Pits Pub drawing and exploring, and has several items in her room which she claims to have found by "digging". One such item is revealed to be a rune that she unearths and briefly keeps under her pillow, believing it will bring her good luck. However, she later turns it over to Corvo, saying it gives her nightmares.[14] Corvo can witness her having one such nightmare and talking in her sleep; it is hinted that she has seen the Outsider in her dreams.

Over the course of Dishonored, the effect of Corvo's chaos on Emily is shown through her drawings, which take on either lighthearted or dark subject matter depending on Corvo's choices during his missions.

Following Corvo's final mission for the Loyalists, Emily is seen at the party thrown in celebration of his efforts, where her behavior is influenced by the amount of chaos Corvo has caused. After the Loyalists betray Corvo, Emily is taken to Kingsparrow Island where she is held against her will by Havelock, Martin and Pendleton.

Fate

After Corvo returns to the Hound Pits Pub and reunites with Samuel, he travels to Kingsparrow Island to save Emily. The circumstances under which she is found will be determined by Corvo's final chaos rating.

In low chaos, Corvo finds Emily locked inside a room atop Burrows Lighthouse with Havelock outside, soliloquizing his guilt. If Corvo chooses to confront Havelock face-to-face, Havelock will explain that he has revealed everything about the Loyalist Conspiracy to Emily. He will offer Corvo the key (with some resistance) leaving Corvo to unlock the door to her room.

0 em corvo grave

Empress Emily the Wise, visiting Corvo's grave.

Following her rescue, Emily comes to believe that all life is valuable, seeing how Corvo spared as many lives as possible while working for the Conspiracy. She becomes a wise and thoughtful Empress, dubbed Emily the Wise, and under her rule Dunwall and the Empire enter a golden age of prosperity with the eradication of the rat plague. When Corvo dies she has him buried alongside her mother, and can be seen placing her childhood doll on his grave.

In high chaos, Corvo finds Havelock and Emily atop a catwalk at the highest point of the lighthouse. When Corvo approaches, Havelock grabs Emily and threatens to jump. Corvo must stop Havelock before he jumps or Emily will perish. If Emily survives, she sees how Corvo used ruthless means to meet his desired ends, and believes any action can be justified to achieve her goals. She becomes a totalitarian dictator, Corvo at her side to protect her against subsequent coups and attempts on her life. He later dies, and Emily can again be seen in mourning.

If Emily perishes, the Empire descends into chaos. With no ruler, society collapses and the rat plague spreads at an astounding rate, eventually consuming the remains of Dunwall. Corvo leaves the city and the Empire, his eventual fate unknown.

Imperial Reign (1838–1852)

Dishonored2 Throne FULL

Emily serving as Empress of the Isles.

In her remaining childhood, Emily continued her education with her governess Callista,[15] but was also taught natural philosophy by Piero Joplin and Anton Sokolov.[16]. She grew up to assume her new status and to be able to argue with natural philosopher twice her age.[17]

Her reign saw the repair and recovery of the Empire, reducing the damage done by Lord Hiram Burrows' short-lived coup against her as well as also reducing the impact of Havelock's coup. Trade flowed once more,[5] travel restrictions were lifted, the Dunwall City Watch reorganized,[4] and the Imperial capital expanded.[6] Her reign also oversaw the gentrification of Dunwall.[18]

Despite her courtly functions, Emily felt "cooped-up" in the Imperial Court, and continued training with her father, Corvo Attano, in the ways of subterfuge, espionage, surveillance, stealth, and combat.[10] A few months before the Month of Darkness, 1851, Emily began sneaking out of her royal chambers at night to practice running across the rooftops of Dunwall to both learn about her subjects and explore the city. While she believed to be alone, she was in reality being watched over by her Royal Protector, Corvo Attano, who sought to ensure that no harm would be done to her.[19]

In 1851, the Empire saw a shortage of whale oil due to whales becoming rarer in the vicinity of the Isles and the cost of whaling expeditions becoming too high. As Empress, Emily passed a decree on whale oil rationing which led to a steep increase in the resource's price. This decree was met with outspoken outcry from some of the Empire's elite.[20] To further ruin her credibility, it was also around these times that the Crown Killer started targeting her detractors such as Ichabod Boyle, founder of the Anti-Rationing Club.[21] By 1852, her reign was called into question, with rumors of her link to the Crown Killer murders.[20]

Dishonored 2

Main article: Dishonored 2

Fifteen years after the Lord Regent's insurrection is brought to an end, Emily serves as Empress of the Isles. However, a new threat to her reign emerges in the wake of the Crown Killer murders. Either Corvo or Emily herself must travel to the southern city of Karnaca to confront the issue.

A Long Day in Dunwall

On the date of the 15th anniversary of the death of Empress Jessamine Kaldwin's death, Empress Emily Kaldwin hosts the annual event remembering her death. Tensions against herself and Corvo Attano are high due to the recent murders of the Crown Killer, which many believe she is responsible for, as the killer is eliminating Emily's critics.

Mere moments into the event Delilah Copperspoon, now styled Empress Delilah Kaldwin I, crashes the event with the Duke of Serkonos, Luca Abele by her side. They depose Emily despite Corvo's attempt to kill Delilah and during the ensuing fight, either Emily or Corvo is trapped in stone. Canonically, Corvo is trapped in stone and Emily later escapes the tower[8] after eliminating Captain Mortimer Ramsey lethally or non-lethally. Emily escapes with Meagan Foster, who had rushed to Dunwall to inform Corvo about the coup, on The Dreadful Wale.

Edge of the World

Emily is visited by The Outsider on her way to Karnaca, who gives her the choice as to whether they want to accept his mark. Emily chooses to accept his mark[22] and armed with her new powers resolves to find out why the coup managed to be successful, as well as look for a way to regain her throne.

Meagen Foster explains that Anton Sokolov, Emily's old tutor, was the one who discovered evidence of Delilah's coup, but he was captured before they could reach Dunwall with the news. Meghan tasks Emily with infiltrating the Addermire Institute to discover the origins of the Crown Killer and news of Anton's whereabouts. Emily subsequently infiltrates the city and manages to make her way into the Institute in search of answers.

The Good Doctor

Emily infiltrates the Addermire Institute, only to find its renowned chief alchemist, Dr Alexandria Hypatia, in recluse, despite being a public figure shortly before, and the halls in a derelict state. The Duke's Grand Guard patrol the place, but as Emily investigates it becomes clear they are here to keep Dr Hypatia locked away.

As Emily investigates it becomes clear that the good doctor is in fact the Crown Killer, as a result of a test serum which gave her split-personality disorder. Duke Luca Abele has been using the 'Grim Alex' persona to commit the murders which undermined Emily's reign. Emily can seek out Bartholomeus Vasco, who was attempting to create a cure for Dr Hypatia. Emily meets Dr Hypatia, who is acting oddly, but it is only after she speaks to a grievously injured Vasco that Grim Alex attacks Vasco and Emily.

Personality

Childhood

"Boring sums. Boring history. Boring geography. Boring, boring, boring Seven Strictures. Why can't we study sword fighting? And sailing? And monsters?"
—Emily, complaining about school[23]
Emily hide

Emily playing hide and seek at the Hound Pits.

Emily's personality and behavior are greatly influenced by Corvo, who has acted as Royal Protector since before her birth,[24] and the Heart indicates that Emily sees more than she lets on.[25] As her father figure and role model, Corvo's approach to the elimination of his targets changes not only her behavior, but her future decisions in regard to ruling the Empire.

Emily begins life as an innocent and playful ten-year-old child with a very close bond with Corvo Attano. She loves playing games with Corvo and has a great interest in his work, asking him to teach her about sword-fighting, and noting that he promised to show her how to perform a Tyvian choke-hold. Imaginative and free-spirited, Emily disdains her schoolwork, preferring to spend her time drawing or in her imagination; activities supported by her mother.

Following her mother's murder and her own subsequent kidnapping, Emily behaves in a more serious manner, though her childish nature is still apparent in her interactions with Corvo and Callista. She is extremely inquisitive and adventurous, frequently asking questions of the adults in the Loyalist Conspiracy and happily exploring the Hound Pits Pub. Also highly perceptive, she eventually detects changes in the Loyalists' behavior, even discerning the nature of Corvo's actions without witnessing or being told about them.

Adulthood

"You were smart when you stole this place from me. You knew who among my people to corrupt, and your took away my strongest ally, my father. But you didn't know me. You only saw a sheltered princess. You never thought I'd fight back. You didn't know me, Delilah, but you will."
—Emily to Delilah upon her return to Dunwall Tower.[26]
Emily portrait, d2

Emily as an adult.

By the time Emily is 24 years of age, she develops a strong sense of morality,[27] believing that her rule is firm and just.[10] Eager and ambitious, she is prone to impulsive tendencies – albeit with good intentions – especially when confronted by a moral wrong. However, her ability to analyze a situation, plan her next move, and follow her better judgment allows her to escape dangerous situations both before and after they occur.[28]

Fourteen years after her coronation, Emily still feels grateful for Corvo's presence in her life, not just for his assassin training, but also his love, protection and guidance. She still feels the deep pain of her mother's absence, and often finds herself bewildered by the time that has passed since Jessamine's death. Though frequently overcome with grief, Emily lets such emotions smolder in her heart, reminding herself that she has her own life to live and an important role to fulfill.[10]

During her regal years, Emily disdains the doting affection paid to her by sycophantic members of the aristocracy, and surprisingly finds herself self-conscious of her hands, which are constantly kissed, held reverently, and examined.[29]

Skills and Abilities

Far-reach,-gameplay-trailer

Emily using Far Reach to eliminate an enemy.

By the age of 25, Emily has grown into a competent field operative in her own right. Her combat prowess and stealth capabilities have noticeably been honed, now comparable to those of even her father. She is able to venture into the unknown unassisted, discretely infiltrating locations and easily defeating any opposition she encounters. Her powers and gadgetry only further complement her natural abilities.

Emily is a skilled swordsman and proficient marksman, efficiently wielding Corvo's sword and using with great precision a personal crossbow and pistol. She has also been granted the Outsider's Mark, gifting her with a host of supernatural powers unique to her, such as Domino, Far Reach, Shadow Walk, etc. Now a force to be reckoned with, her weapons in conjunction with her newfound powers allow for the swift dispatching of multiple enemies consecutively.

Her freerunning has also improved significantly, allowing her to briskly traverse the urban environments of the Isles. With her natural and supernatural abilities, she can easily scale high-rising structures as well. Emily has also displayed an adeptness at swimming.

Trivia

  • Emily is voiced by Chloë Grace Moretz in Dishonored[30] and Erica Luttrell in Dishonored 2.[31]
  • If Corvo visits Emily's Tower after returning from the House of Pleasure mission, Emily can be heard asking Callista if her mother is really dead, or if she managed to survive the assassins' attack. When Callista confirms that her mother has passed, Emily asks if her funeral was nice.
  • In Dishonored, Emily is immune to almost all of Corvo's gadgets and powers. The only way she can die is by falling from Burrows Lighthouse.
  • In Dunwall Tower, there is a secret room behind one of the fireplaces, in which her mother has created an audiograph for her.
  • According to Gameinformer, Emily stands at 5'10" (1.78m) tall as an adult.[32]
  • Canonically, Emily is the person travelling to Karnaca during the events of Dishonored 2.
  • In Dishonored 2, Emily is in a relationship with Wyman, a noble from Dunwall.
  • Throwing knives were considered for Emily's arsenal but were eventually scrapped. They would have unfolded in three blades when thrown.[33]
  • In Dishonored 2, Emily almost had the ability to defy gravity, but it was cut due to the technical difficulties it posed.[34]

Audio

Description Audio
Emily - idle dialogue during Returning Home
Returning Home, Emily idle dialogue

Gallery

Emily's Drawings

References

  1. Developer Commentary - Dishonored ages masterpost
  2. Death to the Empress
  3. 3.0 3.1 Dishonored: The Dunwall Archives
  4. 4.0 4.1 Dishonored: The Corroded Man, p. 61
  5. 5.0 5.1 Dishonored: The Corroded Man, p. 35
  6. 6.0 6.1 Dishonored: The Corroded Man, p. 48
  7. File:Bethesda Showcase (2016) - Dishonored Gameplay World Premiere.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Dishonored: The Peeress and the Price, Issue 1, Page 2
  9. GameInformer: "21 Things We Know About Dishonored 2"
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Dishonored: The Corroded Man, p. 24
  11. Havelock Log Entry Seven
  12. Field Survey Notes: the Royal Spy
  13. Golden Cat Master Key
  14. "Search for Emily" side objective
  15. Emily's travel log
  16. Inspectable Objects
  17. Corvo's travel log
  18. Dishonored: The Corroded Man, p. 36
  19. Dishonored: The Corroded Man, p. 56
  20. 20.0 20.1 Woes Plague Beleaguered Dunwall
  21. Crown Killer Rampage Continues
  22. Dishonored: The Peeress and the Price
  23. Emily Complains About School
  24. Dishonored game manual
  25. "She sees more than she is telling. Young Lady Emily."
  26. Death to the Empress, Opening Cutscene
  27. Dishonored: The Corroded Man, p. 52
  28. Dishonored: The Corroded Man, p. 54
  29. Dishonored: The Corroded Man, p. 26
  30. Dishonored Credits § Voice and Music
  31. Game Informer - Dishonored 2 Taps Vocal Talent From Game Of Thrones, Daredevil, And The Wire
  32. Get Reacquainted With Emily Kaldwin From Dishonored 2 on gameinformer.com
  33. Concept arts by Jean-Luc Monnet in The Art of Dishonored 2, p. 113
  34. IGN - EMILY COULD ALMOST WALK ON WALLS IN DISHONORED 2


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