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"I am the Hero of Tyvia, and I am here to save the world."
—Zhukov[src]

Zhukov is the primary antagonist of Dishonored: The Corroded Man. Once a Hero of Tyvia, he was in his words betrayed by his country and sentenced to "freedom" by the High Judges. He came to Dunwall with the intent of saving the world, with the help of powers akin to those of the Outsider.

Biography

Originally a vigilante in Tyvia, Zhukov was recruited by the High Judges to act as an agent. With the nation-state being beset with bandits and revolutionaries, it was his duty to keep the peace, presented to the people as a Hero, only later realizing he was being used as a tool of oppression.[1] He kept his role for twenty years,[2] until he was approached by agents of the Royal Spymaster Hiram Burrows in need of a spy inside the nation of Tyvia.[1] Burrows acted on the orders of the Empress Jessamine Kaldwin, who wished to clean Tyvia from its corruption.

Shortly after the Empress died, the then-regent Hiram Burrows exposed Zhukov to foster closer diplomatic ties with Tyvia. Zhukov attempted to flee, but was stopped by Operators, stripped of his title, and was sentenced to "freedom" at Utyrka for treason against his nation.[3]

Imprisoned, Zhukov had a vision of the Outsider.[4] Zhukov had been working for over a decade, acquainted with a fellow prisoner, Milosch, who led him to a shrine to the Outsider, upon which sat a knife. Zhukov killed Milosch with the knife, it instructing him in how to make corroded bone charms.[5]

Dishonored: The Corroded Man

In Tyvia

Between 1849-1850, Zhukov broke out of Utyrka[6] using powers provided by his bone charms, allowing him to escape over the ice fields. Zhukov's power provided him with the ability to transpose through his reflection,[4] although the reflections in the Tyvian glaciers were fractured and imperfect - in crossing them, Zhukov "fractured" too. His body became "corroded", with blackened, flaky skin and rotting flesh.[7][8] After escaping Tyvia he travelled to Morley, Serkonos, and even the shores of Pandyssia.[9] He spent many months looking for the assassin Daud, having heard that he bore the Outsider's Mark. Unable to find Daud, Zhukov instead followed tales of Daud's lieutenants, Billie Lurk and Thomas, he was led to Dunwall.[10]

In Dunwall

Trying to find remnants of the Whalers, Zhukov found Galia Fleet, whom he recruited from the Golden Cat.[11] Together, they based themselves in the Greaves Auxiliary Slaughterhouse 5. Fleet was sent out to do his bidding along with a new group of Whalers. On the 15th Day, Month of Darkness at Boyle Mansion, Zhukov was in attendance, needing the assistance of Lady Lydia Boyle to access a vault under the mansion. When chaos breaks loose at the ball, his Whalers are easily able to overpower Corvo Attano and his agents. Zhukov then reveals Emily Kaldwin's face to the shocked guests, and kidnaps her.

Returning to Slaughterhouse with Emily, he kills Galia. He then reveals his master plan to Emily: The Black Mirror.[12] The mirror is able to show reflections of the past, as well as potential futures. Zhukov asks Emily to tell him what she sees in the mirror if her mother was never murdered by Daud, and his plans were never revealed to the High Judges. Emily tells him that if he uses the mirror to prevent Jessamine's murder, he would indeed succeed and rule Tyvia, but would ultimately condemn the Isles to fall to the rat plague.[13]

Corvo intervenes, fighting along with Emily against Zhukov. Emily unhooks one of the chains suspending the mirror from the wall, bringing it crashing down on top of Zhukov. However, this fails to kill Zhukov, who reaches for a shard of the broken mirror. Emily forces her hand in with his, and pulls Zhukov's knife from the mirror. As she falls unconscious, Corvo seizes the blade and stabs Zhukov before pushing him into a boiling vat. The resulting explosion destroys part of the slaughterhouse, apparently killing Zhukov. However, neither his body nor any parts of his mirror are recovered.[14]

Trivia

  • During his time as Hero of Tyvia, Zhukov was described as "A handsome young man, his eyes blue and bright like the ice of his homeland, a black beard, trimmed to a sharp point".[15]
  • The knife Zhukov found, which gave him his supernatural abilities and which he used as part of his ritual is the same one which created the Outsider thousands of years before.[16]
  • Despite being able to use supernatural powers, Zhukov is not marked by the Outsider - only empowered by the corroded bone charms. His "mark" is only a crude facsimile that he himself carved into his hand while in a trance.[17]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Dishonored: The Corroded Man, p. 322-323
  2. Dishonored: The Corroded Man, p. 318-320
  3. Dishonored: The Corroded Man, p. 299-301
  4. 4.0 4.1 Dishonored: The Corroded Man, p. 102
  5. Dishonored: The Corroded Man, p. 157-164
  6. Dishonored: The Corroded Man, p. 9-17
  7. Dishonored: The Corroded Man, p. 84
  8. Dishonored: The Corroded Man, p. 103
  9. Dishonored: The Corroded Man, p. 104
  10. Dishonored: The Corroded Man, p. 109
  11. Dishonored: The Corroded Man, p. 45
  12. Dishonored: The Corroded Man, p. 314
  13. Dishonored: The Corroded Man, p. 328-329
  14. Dishonored: The Corroded Man, p. 356-357
  15. Dishonored: The Corroded Man, p.
  16. Twitter post by the novel's author, Adam Christopher.
  17. Reddit AMA with Adam Christopher

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