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[Excerpt from the personal memoirs of Hiram Burrows, dated several years earlier]
This is the Fourth Day, Month of High Cold.
Progress continues on the suppression of gang activity in the Distillery District, but more slowly than I'd expected. The ruffians operating there have been cunning, I'll grant them that, but it's only a matter of time. I'll see their leaders flogged in public and sent beneath the Royal Executioner's blade. If I had my way, that mute bastard would be working night and day, removing the heads that need removing.
Internally, the Empress does not seem pleased with my investigations. It seems that it is beyond her thinking - against her very nature as a trusting person - to believe that traitors move among us, but I know they do. They must.
No, Jessamine would rather spend her time with the Royal Protector. At least he's likely to stop any immediate threat to her safety, but a strong arm is not what's needed against those who would undermine us. How will Corvo's sword stop a poisoned wine glass or an explosive delivered by courier? It will not. There are many threats around us. Threats requiring meticulous efforts to police.
Young Lady Emily is undisciplined, I'm afraid. Here within Dunwall Tower, she receives instruction from the finest tutors known in the Isles, yet her mother spoils her and she spends most of her time lost in imagination, wasting her time drawing, or asking Corvo to teach her to fight with wooden sticks. The girl might rule the Empire some day; every moment spent at play is a moment wasted.
Shoring up security for the main gate leading into Dunwall Tower has been another pet project of late. To think that back in his day Emperor Kaldwin left it open to the public during the day, allowing anyone to come and go as they pleased. If it were up to me, I'd seal off access to the streets entirely, but the Empress won't hear of it. The water lock is much easier to protect and if it were the only way in to the Tower, traffic in and out would be greatly reduced. Someday the wrong person is going to slip in and we'll suffer for it, mark my words. No amount of security is excessive when it comes to protecting heads of state.
The Empress also disapproves of my plans for the Sokolov devices. Sokolov himself has no interest in security, of course, but he's vain and therefore keen to see his inventions deployed in any fashion. This "wall of light" he's been tinkering with has promise. In any case, at least I was able to convince the Empress to upgrade the pistols carried by the officers of the Watch.
Why do I worry so, when no one else seems to care? If I ever fall asleep, will it all sink into the Ocean? Will the rough things clamber over the walls and fill themselves on our flesh? This is what I see in the same dream several times each month. If only I had more say in things, more authority, I could protect us all.
--Hiram Burrows, Royal Spymaster
- In Dishonored, this book can be found in Corvo's room in the Hound Pits Pub, on the activation of the pre-order content's code and after his first encounter of the Outsider.
- In The Corroded Man, the fourth paragraph is quoted in the middle of the prologue. A part of the third one is quoted at the beginning of the epilogue.