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Jessamine Kaldwin

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Jessamine Kaldwin
Empress Kaldwin Render
Vital statistics
Age 32[1]
Nation of Origin Gristol
Location Dunwall Tower
Introduction Returning Home
Role Empress of the Empire of the Isles
"When you are near my heart is at peace... Hurry home, and bring good news."
―Jessamine to Corvo

Jessamine Kaldwin is the late Empress of the Empire of the Isles, who is killed by the assassin Daud on the orders of the Royal Spymaster Hiram Burrows. Before her death, Jessamine watches helplessly as her daughter, Emily Kaldwin, is kidnapped by Daud's assassins.

As she passes, she charges Corvo Attano with the safe return and protection of her beloved child. Her body and circumstance are later used to charge Corvo with treason, kidnapping, and murder.


The daughter of Emperor Euhorn Kaldwin, Jessamine is the second ruler in the Kaldwin line, which rose to power "when the former dynasty provided no heirs."[2] After naming Corvo Attano her Royal Protector at age 12,[3][4] she succeeded her father following his death in her late teens.[5] While her father presided over a period of relative peace and prosperity, Jessamine's time as ruler saw "political intrigue and minor conflicts [that] created cracks in the Empire, undermining unity across the Isles."[2] The exact nature of these conflicts is unknown.

Jessamine committed herself to a just and compassionate rule, doing whatever it took to alleviate the suffering of her people. She rejects Hiram Burrows' proposal to establish quarantines and a deportation program as a response to the rat plague, claiming that efforts would be made to save all citizens of the city. She subsequently becomes distraught upon learning that Dunwall is to be barricaded by the other nations of the Empire to stem the spread of the plague. She is also a very trusting person, which strained her relationship with the paranoid Royal Spymaster,[6] and likewise blinded her to his scheming.

Though they are not seen together during Dishonored, Jessamine is said to have been familiar with Anton Sokolov."[7] Sokolov also mentions personal knowledge he has of Jessamine, telling Corvo she was "a strange one. Stranger, I think, than you know."

Jessamine maintained a close relationship with Corvo Attano, and it is speculated by many citizens of Dunwall (including Farley Havelock, Treavor Pendleton, and Lydia Brooklaine) that Corvo was Jessamine's lover as well as her bodyguard, and that he fathered Emily.

It is believed that the Outsider removed her heart upon her death and used Piero Joplin to mechanically modify it,[8] trapping her spirit, and presented it to Corvo as "a gift" to aid his search for the tools that he would need to avenge her. Her voice and memories emit themselves from the Heart when Corvo activates it. The Heart's inconsistent knowledge of the Empress' death,[9] its anger toward Daud,[10] and its recognition of Dunwall Tower (as well as its suggestion that it and Corvo had both been there prior to the events of Return to the Tower[11]) support this theory. Developer input has confirmed that the Heart is indeed that of Jessamine Kaldwin.[citation needed]

Jessamine was both loved and hated by the people that she served--commendations and condemnations of her can be found throughout Dunwall in the form of graffiti and overheard conversations.


  • Jessamine is voiced by April Stewart, who also voices the Heart.
  • Jessamine has never been married, according to developer input.
  • In a hidden room in the back of Dunwall Tower there is an audiograph that Jessamine was planning to give to Emily. It details the weight on Jessamine's shoulders because of the rat plague, how much Corvo and Еmily mean to her, and Emily's future as empress. The audiograph also emphasizes that Corvo is "always close to [her] heart."
    • Corvo always being close to Jessamine's heart can be taken literally, since the mechanical Heart given to Corvo by the Outsider is hers.[citation needed]
  • A bottle of whiskey and cigars can be found in the Empress' secret room, and she shared both with Corvo Attano on occasion.[12]
    • A letter to Corvo found in the same room tells of Jessamine's sadness in Corvo's absence, and claims "when you are near, my heart is at peace."
  • When Corvo first enters the Void and finds Jessamine's corpse, there is a letter near her body reading, "YOU CANNOT SAVE HER." In The Knife of Dunwall, when Daud first enters the Void, he finds a similar letter near her saying, "YOU KILLED HER."



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