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Empire of the Isles

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Empire of the Isles
Political information
Type of government

Constitutional monarchy

Head of State


De facto leader

Prime Minister,
Lord Regent

Legislative branch


Societal information




State religious body

Abbey of the Everyman

National holiday

Fugue Feast

Historical information

The Empire of the Isles is a constitutional monarchy in Dishonored that is ruled by an Emperor or Empress, with a Parliamentary government as its legislature. In the absence of an Imperial head of state, a Lord Regent may rule the Empire until a new Emperor or Empress is crowned.


The Empire encompasses four large islands and several small ones, which make up the Isles. The four main islands are Tyvia, Morley, Gristol, and Serkonos, with Gristol acting as the head state of the Empire.


At an indeterminate time, Gristol conquered its surrounding nations to form the Empire of Isles, with Morley being its latest addition.[1] The Morley Insurrection occurred some years after its annexation, a conflict that ended in favor of the Empire; many Morley citizens still hold separatist sentiments as a result.[1]

At one point in history, soldiers known as Overseers gathered and led a trek to White Cliff. There, they laid siege on the population and purged the region of those they deemed followers of the Outsider. White Cliff was "cleansed" and ceremonial rites followed the battle. The invocations and speeches given were inscribed in the Litany on the White Cliff. The siege led to the birth of the Abbey of the Everyman, the Empire's dominant religion.[2]

The Empire has repeatedly tried to colonize the Pandyssian continent, attempting to build a port city there to rival the Imperial capital city of Dunwall. Despite these efforts, all colonization ventures have failed.[3] Anton Sokolov participated in an expedition to Pandyssia during which the majority of the crew members died before reaching the continent, and Sokolov himself had to lead it after the captain perished.[4] The expedition of Vera Moray and her husband predates Sokolov's by an unknown number of years. The Abbey of the Everyman has invaded Pandyssia at least once. Scott Grafton is known as being the "First Overseer to forge into Pandyssia, to purge darkness wherever it might be found."

Roughly fifteen years before the events of Dishonored[5], Jessamine Kaldwin was crowned Empress of the Empire of the Isles. During her reign, "...political intrigue and minor conflicts created cracks in the Empire, undermining unity across the Isles."[6] Following the early years of her rule, a plague swept through the city of Dunwall, taking the lives of many. In response, the other nations of the Empire blockaded Dunwall to halt the spread of the disease.

During this time, a coup led by Royal Spymaster Hiram Burrows leads to the assassination of the Empress and abduction of her daughter, Emily Kaldwin. The Royal Protector Corvo Attano is framed for the act, and Burrows rises to the position of Lord Regent, thus taking control of the Empire.



While Gristol is the heart of the Empire, the remaining islands are mostly autonomous, with their own heads of state.[7]A king reigns in Morley,[8] while the title of marquis exists in some capacity within the Empire, and the nation of Serkonos is noted as having a duke.[9]

Officially, the Emperor (or Empress) is the head of state and government of the Empire, holding a great amount of political power. Each island in the Empire has its own lesser monarch, and diplomatic and trade relations between the nations vary.[10] The Kaldwin family is the current ruling dynasty, and over the course of Dishonored two Empresses hold power: Jessamine Kaldwin, and her daughter, Emily Kaldwin. In situations where a ruler is too young to assume the throne, or a proper successor cannot be determined, a Lord Regent chosen by Parliament may act as a temporary head of state.[11]

The legislature of Gristol is the Parliament,[8] headed by a Prime Minister, which the Emperor or Empress is dependent upon to pursue his or her government policies. Parliament was formed in the year 1626, on the 20th day of the Month of Timber.[12]It is a largely aristocratic body, as Morgan and Custis Pendleton's positions in Parliament pass to their younger brother in the event of their deaths, and the rest is made up of "important figures."[8] Membership in Parliament is "based on holdings, inheritance, and special dispensation."[13] As voter priority is determined by the size of members' holdings and land, important families in Parliament may establish voting blocks that can have a greater influence than those of individual members and lesser aristocrats.[8] During the later events of Dishonored, Treavor Pendleton becomes Prime Minister of the Empire.

Positions and RanksEdit

There are a number of positions of note that serve in the royal court of the Emperor or Empress. The Royal Protector acts as a bodyguard to the Imperial head of state and his/her family. The Royal Protector keeps constant company with the Emperor or Empress and as such acts as a court figure, given "enormous latitude" by the demands of their position.[14] Corvo Attano serves as Royal Protector prior to the events of Dishonored.

The Royal Physician serves as medical practitioner to the Emperor or Empress. While the specifics of the assignment are unknown, it appears to be tasked with matters of public health, as standing Physician Anton Sokolov is charged with finding a cure for the rat plague by Empress Jessamine Kaldwin.

The Royal Spymaster, a formerly secret position that became public knowledge following the Morley Insurrection[15], is in charge of espionage operations throughout the Empire. Although the Spymaster serves as an adviser to the Emperor or Empress, in practice the position is not accountable to the head of state, and can therefore act without the ruler's approval or knowledge.[15] During his tenure, Royal Spymaster Hiram Burrows advises the Empress to create blockades and install other means of social control to combat the rat plague.

Another position of recognition, though not as notable as the others, is the Royal Interrogator, who interrogates and executes criminals in Dunwall Tower and Coldridge Prison.


The Fleet, which is led by the Grand Admiral of the Fleet, is the Empire's naval force. The Fleet protects the port cities of Gristol, as well as seafaring vessels from pirate incursions.[16] The Fleet is best known for its substantial role in claiming victory for the Empire over Morley during the Morley Insurrection.

The Empire also maintains an army, which is commanded by the Supreme Commander of the Combined Armies of the Empire and his generals, and its soldiers guard high-profile locations in Dunwall alongside the City Watch. The Overseers of the Abbey of the Everyman also serve in a military capacity, but are a separate group, and neither the City Watch nor the Overseers cooperate professionally.


During the events of Dishonored, Dunwall is ruled over by martial law: curfews are strictly enforced, nearly all supplies are rationed on pain of death, and the City Watch acts with impunity when enforcing the Lord Regent's decrees. In The Knife of Dunwall, it is also revealed that hampering production in "critical industries" (such as the whaling industry) is a high crime under Burrows' government.

In addition to secular law, the citizenry must abide by the state-sanctioned religious laws of the Abbey.


The Empire's state religion is the Abbey of the Everyman, run by the High Overseer. Under Burrows, the Overseers have the judicial right to arrest and prosecute any citizen accused of worshiping the Outsider or participating in other occult practices, such as collecting runes or bone charms. Followers abide by seven core tenets, called the Seven Strictures, and draw teachings from their holy text, Litany on the White Cliff.


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