I won't repeat this every chapter as some fics are wont to do, but since I expect it will be relevant:
"Shall we gather for whiskey and cigars tonight?" - Speech
"Delilah." - Emphasised or distorted speech
"Emily." - Godly or otherwise powerful speech
'Sicc 'em.' - Sign language
'To the new empress,' - Written word
Okay, this was a bad idea. - Thought
A better writer would just imply all this through context, but sod that, right?
A Righteous Indignation
Emily Kaldwin awoke in her bed, in Dunwall tower. That, obviously, was wrong, but also in some ways expected.
She sighed, slipping (conveniently fully clothed) out of bed, and walked to the door.
Once she left her room, the subtle indicators of wrongness became more obvious. Open windows showed not the dreary Dunwall sky, but a mystical purple fog with objects floating weightlessly. There was no human noise. Just the hum of oil-powered lighting, occasional background whale-calls, and the skittering of rats that couldn't be seen.
Emily came across Alexi's body in the hallway outside her room; arm extended to where Emily's cheek had been, eyes gazing intently at nothing. Next to her, Ramsey's brutalised body lied on the floor, blood perpetually trickling from the back of his head.
Emily took a second to steel herself, then stepped past them and kept going.
The throne room contained many people, but all were caught in a freeze-frame. Delilah sat on the throne, attended by several others. Luca Abele was recognisable, but the wiry young man with a moustache and the older woman in professional academic clothing only vaguely stirred Emily's memory. They may have been important, she may have even met them before, but there were too many people in the Empire for her to keep track of all of them. The final figure (a hooded, masked, hunched creature shrouded by shadow) Emily couldn't even guess at. Unless…
Eyewitness reports and police sketches describe the Crown Killer as looking something like that.
Emily committed all their appearances to memory, and kept walking. Bodies and blood littered the room, a clockwork automaton was frozen mid-step. The portrait of Jessamine Kaldwin was torn to shreds. And Corvo Attano was still there, a statue frozen in stone rather than time.
Emily approached him, reaching out to touch his shoulder…then pressed her forehead against his.
I will free you, father. Count on it.
After a moment, she stepped back, and continued to the great double doors at the end of the hall.
They opened with a groan at her shove, swinging wide to crash against their restraints with an echoing boom.
Before her, the world fell away. The gardens ended not five metres from where she stood, terrain cracking and floating out into space. Past that was nothing but a great emptiness, broken up by seemingly random shards of black stone, half formed buildings, wrecked ships, and bleeding whales flying through the aether.
The Void. It had been a while.
"Hello, Emily." Shadows curled into each other in front of her, forming into the floating figure of a young man in vaguely formal attire with black eyes.
"Outsider." She greeted, inclining her head. Oh, I can speak in here. That's good.
"Funny how history rhymes, isn't it?" The Outsider continued, clasping his hands behind his back and staring at her impassively. "Once again, someone bearing my mark attacks your tower, kills someone you care for, takes Corvo away from you, and forces you to flee. One might have thought you'd have been ready the second time."
"I could have dealt with Daud. This was different." Emily looked at the back of her left hand. "Delilah stole my mark. Can she do that?"
"There is very little that those wielding my magic can't do." The Outsider answered. "Your powers helped you with what you needed to do. Stealth, subterfuge. Control. Delilah's are much less direct, but much broader in scope."
"Felt pretty fucking direct…" Emily looked back into the hall, her gaze falling first on her father, then her 'aunt'. "I'm going to bring her down."
"I sincerely hope you do." The Outsider replied.
"…So?" Emily asked, when he stopped there. "Are we doing this or what?"
"Doing what?" He asked, tilting his head.
"Giving me a mark again." Emily prompted, making a confused face. "Is that not why I'm here?"
"Perhaps I simply wanted to catch up with an old 'friend'." The emphasis the Outsider put on that last word definitely wasn't accidental. "You know, you were a lot more polite the first time we met."
"I was a lot more terrified the first time we met. Was hoping we could skip past the formalities." Emily spread her arms. "Well? You just want things to be interesting, don't you? This is probably going to be the most fun you've had in fifteen years. Give me my powers back, and let me put on a show for you."
He stared at her for almost a minute (at least, that's what it felt like). Then asked "That's all?"
Emily blinked. "Did I miss anything?"
"Hm." The Outsider looked away. "Very well then. No."
"What?" Emily stared at him flabbergasted for all of a second, before he vanished as quickly as he'd arrived. She didn't even have the time to process what his words had meant, because the moment he was gone the world around her shook, and the ground beneath her fell apart, leaving her to plummet through the crack and fall screaming down into the Void—
Emily awoke with a strangled gasp.
This ceiling was unfamiliar, dull metal and low enough to feel cramped. The bed beneath her was hard, the sheets were rough, and the room was dimly lit by an oil lamp that served only to make the whole place stink. She could tell it wasn't the Void anymore because her body ached, particularly her arms, head, and mouth.
She shoved the sheets away and tried to sit up, groaning…only for no sound to come out.
"Huh? Emily!" The voice of someone else in the room jolted Emily into greater alertness, but when she recognised Thomas' unkempt uniform and black hair, she sagged in relief.
"Emily, thank the Void, I was worried there." He got up from his seat at her bedside (where it seemed he had been sleeping), and perched on her bed, clasping her hands between his. "Are you alright? I picked you up on the rooftops outside the panic room. You're safe here, for now."
"I feel like death, but I'll recover. Thomas, they killed—"
Was what Emily tried to say. But the words didn't come out, and it was about damn time for her to confront that problem. She frowned, touched a hand to her throat, and coughed. That worked. Tried to hum. That didn't. Swallowed, which felt very strange and almost made her gag on reflex, and then tried to speak again. Once more, no response. She looked up and gave Thomas a very worried look.
He winced. "Okay, we should probably get this part out of the way…Uh, Meagan put a mirror in here, hold on." He moved to the desk on the other side of the cabin. Emily stood, wincing, and followed, noticing the floor shift beneath her. Either I hit my head really hard, or I'm on a ship.
Thomas opened a drawer, pulled out a hand-mirror, and held it up for her. "Here. You should probably see it. It's bad, but…try not to panic, okay?"
That was about as un-reassuring as anyone could possibly be. Emily took the mirror, scrutinising herself. Immediately, it wasn't great. Her lips had gone completely black, the skin chapped, with black scars that spiderwebbed across the lower half of her face. Sokolov and Pierro's health elixirs aren't going to be able to do much for that…
But it didn't explain her problem. Breathing in deeply through her nose, Emily hesitated, then opened her mouth.
The mirror cracked against the floor not a second later.
Emily scrambled away from it, crawling back onto the bed with wide eyes—
"Emily! Emily, look at me!" Thomas tried to grab her, but she pushed him away, backing into the corner.
This can't be happening. I'm still in the Void, or, or it's an illusion, or a curse, or—
She reached up with shaking hands to touch her own face. The scarring on her lips certainly felt real. A more intensive inspection confirmed what the mirror had told her: Her teeth were missing or ruined, her gums were a mess.
Her tongue was gone.
A hand lightly slapped her cheek, and she looked up, meeting Thomas' eyes.
"Hey." He emphasised, putting his hands on her shoulders. "I get it, but try to keep it together, alright? Can you make any noise at all?"
She shook her head. Tried, again to produce any kind of tone, and failed.
"Okay. But you can write, can't you?" He briefly flashed her a weak smile. "I have actually learned to read since we were ten, so we can communicate that way. There's a pen and some paper in your desk, shall I get it out?"
She (obviously) couldn't say anything. So she just threw herself at him, wrapping her arms around his back and sobbing into the crook of his neck.
"There; there. Easy. You're alright." He repeated, holding her tightly and rubbing her back.
They stayed like that for…Emily wasn't sure how long. Long enough for her tears to run dry, and for her breathing to stabilise.
Eventually, the grief and anguish and fear settled to a manageable level, to the point where she was able to gather them all together, shove them to the side (if not completely out of mind) and focus on what she was going to do to solve this mess.
Was it normal or healthy to be able to function within ten minutes of all this happening to her? Probably not. But after the first few times something this awful had happened, she was fairly experienced in the process.
She pulled back slightly, met Thomas' eyes, and gave him a nod.
"There's the Empress I know and love." Thomas said, smiling a little more genuinely. "So? What happened back there?"
Emily took a deep breath, then let it go. Then moved over to the desk, and began to write.
Thankfully, her right hand had been left largely unharmed by the chaos, and her literary skills were still functioning. The basics were quick to summarise, almost too quick, for what momentous things they were.
Delilah 'Kaldwin' had taken the throne, with aid from Duke Abele of Serkonos and his clockwork soldiers. Delilah was a witch. She had stolen Emily's powers and trapped Corvo in stone. It was her that had taken Emily's tongue. Alexi was dead. Mayhew had betrayed them, and Emily had killed him.
There, she hesitated, and looked up at Thomas.
He knew her problem immediately.
"It's okay." He reassured. "It was going to have to happen eventually."
'Not if I was strong and smart enough.' She wrote, underlining it.
"Nobody's perfect, Emily." Thomas said. "And if they were, they wouldn't survive a day in this world. You did what you had to do, and you did it to someone who deserved it."
'I broke his skull on the palace floor.'
"And I'm sorry you had to. But as crap as it is to say it, the world's a better place because you did. Who knows what would have happened to you, to Dunwall, if you hadn't escaped."
Emily paused. 'What if I have to do it again? I don't want to kill people, Thomas.'
"You're not going to be that off-guard again." He pointed out. "And you'll have me with you. If anyone has to die…I'll do it. Okay?"
She looked back up at him. Then rapidly wrote 'No Killing.' and underlined it twice.
Thomas chuckled. "Feels like old times, eh? Two of us, out in the streets, your bloody morals…"
Emily rolled her eyes. Then paused, winced, and wrote out 'I can't sing anymore.'
"Yeah. Pity. I miss your voice already." Thomas rested a hand on her shoulder. "We'll get it back. Undo whatever Delilah did to you."
'And if we can't?'
"Really? What kind of question is that?" He blew a raspberry, shrugging. "Well, I suppose you'll have to get a new witch name. I'm less mad about that. I always thought 'Void-Singer' was a bit pretentions."
Emily snorted. 'Liar. You loved that name.'
"Yeah, but you did come up with it when you were ten. A lot of what we said and did back then was really embarrassing, looking back on it."
'Agreed.' Emily replied. She tapped the pen a few times, then wrote 'So what now?'
"Now, we need to decide what to do next." Thomas answered. "For that, if you're up to it, I reckon we head into the main cabin. You look like you could use some food, and I think it's about time you met the person who's actually driving this boat."
The city of Dunwall was utterly miserable this time of year. Rain poured from an overcast sky and no sunlight peaked through the clouds, both because the cover was that thick and also because it was one in the morning.
Outside the Abbey of the Everyman, a carriage trundled up along its rails, coming to a stop just in front of the main entrance. The door opened, and a heavyset man in a practical navy overcoat stepped out. The rain or cold didn't seem to bother him at all, as he paused to take a breath of the air. Then looked back at the carriage.
"You coming in, Geoff?" He asked.
The officer of the watch who had been driving the cart leaned back, looking at him through the open door. "Am I, sir?"
The man rolled his eyes. "I know for a fact your husband's in there. Don't be a stranger, you're both as much a part of this as we are."
"Yes, sir." Geoff coughed. "Only, I thought you might need someone with plausible deniability, sir."
"I'm not sure our new Empress cares much for what's plausible, Captain Rhyme."
"Yes, but, what if I'm caught and tortured, sir? I can't promise I won't croak."
The man sighed. Anyone else, he might have taken the words as a hint that they didn't want to be involved. But this was Geoff. He was genuinely offering that he might be less of a liability if he was in the dark.
"If they catch you, and I'm not already dead, it's my failing." The man said, firmly. "Get out of the damn carriage, Geoff."
"Thank you, sir." Geoff smiled, clambering out and shutting the doors behind him.
They entered with little more than a cursory nod from the Overseers on guard. Even with the Abbey on high alert, turned into a fortress almost overnight by its residents, the pair were common enough visitors to be recognised on sight.
They entered the main hall, made their way through the busyness with some standard greetings, then stepped through a door into the back rooms usually reserved for servants and deliveries of supplies. Down they went into the basement, with Geoff giving their surroundings a brief check for snoopers before giving an all clear.
The man in the navy coat nodded, then twisted the gem in the eye of the conspicuous statue flanking a dead-end corridor.
The wall rumbled, then slowly slid open.
"…solutely absurd. No meetings, no parliaments, just orders relayed from the damn—Hm? Ah, you're here!"
The three people in the secret room looked up.
Admiral Havelock of the Imperial Navy walked through the door, looking across them all and smiling. "Gentlemen. Good to see you all. Anyone else getting a sense of Déjà vu?"
The hidden room of the previous High Overseer, Thaddeus Campbell, had been built to let him enjoy his sins in secret. It had since been repurposed into something more practical, stocked with supplies, maps, and munitions.
Inside was the other guard-captain Rhyme, Jack, who Geoff quickly walked in to embrace. Beside him was Teague Martin, High Overseer of the Abbey of the Everyman, and Treavor Pendleton, one of the most influential politicians in the city.
"The three of us, scheming to usurp the one on the throne and put Emily back in her rightful place." Martin waved his glass of whiskey, chuckling. "It really does feel like old times. Of course, we're all a lot older."
That was true; apart from the Rhymes in their forties, not one of them was a day younger than sixty, with greying hair and sunken cheeks.
"Then let's hope that, like last time, we don't have to do the fighting ourselves." Pendleton added. He handed a glass over to Havelock, clapping the man on his shoulder, but didn't keep a drink for himself. "Though I do wish we could have done this in the Hound Pits, if only for the sake of nostalgia."
"Aye, but now the old place is a damn tourist attraction." Havelock grumbled, easing himself into a seat. He looked into his glass, and sighed. "And of course. Not everyone who was there has made it here."
"Hear; hear." Martin agreed, softly. He raised his glass. "To Samuel Beechworth."
"To Pierro Joplin." Pendleton added. "May they rest in peace."
"Cheers." Chorused all five, most drinking.
After a sombre moment, it was Havelock who spoke up. "So? Who's on our side?"
"Plenty, sir." Jack spoke up. "More of the watch than I'd like sided with Ramsey and the Duke of Serkonos. But most everyone in the watch who didn't agrees that this is an unlawful takeover, and they're not happy about it."
"Most of us loved Emily." Geoff agreed. "The guards that hated her usually did so for the same reasons they now hate Delilah, so we're putting our differences aside."
"And obviously, the Abbey is in outrage." Martin said.
"Why?" Pendleton chuckled. "Because she's a witch? So was the last one."
"Emily Kaldwin swore an oath never to harm or coerce her people with her magics." Martin pointed out. "She reaffirms that vow every year, and attends mass every Sunday. Considering the number of people Delilah reportedly froze into stone inside Dunwall Tower, I don't think she'll acquiesce to the same concessions. An official statement denouncing her is being circulated across the isles as we speak."
"I've only had time to contact a few of the nobles." Pendleton said. "But they're in shambles, to say the least. Delilah plainly has no interest in catering to them, and its quite a shock to the system."
"And the people aren't happy." Jack added. "Those that aren't cowering in their homes have taken to the streets in protest."
"So we have the city watch, the navy, the money, the religion, and the people's support." Havelock summarised. "Sounds wonderful. What does she have that can stop that?"
There was a silence, as everyone digested the unspoken answer.
"Uh. Magic?" Geoff said, making everyone look at him. "It's. She's got magic, that's why she's—"
"Thank you, Geoff…" Havelock sighed, as the others chuckled.
"By the Void, I love you." Jack shook his head, smiling. "But yes, besides the obvious, she also has Serkonos. The Duke supports her absolutely, so if this became a full civil war, we'd be fighting him and his forces."
"No navy in the isles can match Gristol's." Havelock said, proudly. "But…I worry what Morley and Tyvia might do if it came to that."
"Somehow I doubt this will be settled in open war." Pendleton pointed out. "I may not be a military man, but I don't see how occupying the ports or patrolling the streets will do anything. Delilah and her coven are all holed up in Dunwall Tower."
"We could shell the palace from the sea?" Havelock offered.
"Let's maybe table that option." Martin said, with a smile. "I'd rather Emily have a home to come back to. When she comes back."
"Speaking of whom, do we have any idea where she's even gone?" Pendleton asked.
"Some rumours have filtered through from the tower, sirs. Staff or nobles who escaped, guards who defected when things got too strange." Geoff added. "The official statement is that she resisted and was killed, but from what we heard, Emily did escape. They were in a panic looking for her. But Corvo's stone, and Alexi's dead. No-one's seen hide nor hair of Thomas."
"If that young man isn't by Emily's side, I'll turn in my uniform." Havelock declared. "And I don't know anyone who could stop the two of them. If they're in Dunwall, I suspect they'll find us soon enough. If they're not…well, let's put an end to this madness, and hope that it's enough to bring them back."
"Agreed." Martin declared. His face turned solemn. "We failed her once, gentlemen. Let's not do so again."
"Agreed." Muttered Havelock, and,
"Agreed." Stated Pendleton. "Now then. I will get to rallying up support. You two need to figure out how to overtake the most defensible location in Dunwall, while it's full of angry witches and mechanical death machines."
"…They're in Coldridge Prison?" Geoff asked.
"Oh, no, I meant Dunwall Tower."
"He's right though, Coldridge is more defensible."
"Yes, I know, I just wanted to set the mood."
Meagan Foster was annoying. Not in manner, words, or actions, but because around her, Emily didn't have any right to complain about her tongue.
Meagan was an older woman who had one eye and one arm, and looked about as wretched as that would imply. A long tan coat and a cheap pipe completed the look of a down-and-out ship's captain who was struggling to keep her boat (and her life) together.
Meagan took one look at Emily as she walked into the ship's main room, raised an eyebrow, and said "You look like shit."
Emily's opinion of her shot up immensely.
"Emily, this is Captain Foster." Thomas introduced, pulling out a seat for Emily and leaning against a nearby wall. "Meagan, uh. Empress."
"Your worshipfulness." Meagan greeted, with a nod. "We have actually met before, if briefly."
Thomas frowned, asking "You have? When?" but there was something about Meagan's name and appearance that vaguely stirred Emily's memory.
"Fifteen years ago. I pulled her out of the drink in the Flooded District." Meagan smiled wryly at Emily. "I was better off in the limbs department at the time. You…looked about as terrible as you do now, but the clothes were less dirty."
That was it. At the prompt, Emily could remember the (much younger) woman giving her some charred meat and advice in the ruins of the old financial district. Right after I fled the loyalists, and right before I confronted Daud.
She inclined her head, offering the Abbey of the Everyman's traditional gesture for gratitude.
"Emily can't talk." Thomas stated the obvious. "Delilah did something to her, took her tongue."
"Stole her voice." Meagan corrected, meriting a curious look from both of them. "It's one of the tricks the old Brigmore witches were known for. They didn't just cut out your tongue, they stole your voice box. At least, whatever part's necessary for making vocal sounds."
"Where'd you find that out?" Thomas asked, gaze quickly turning suspicious.
"Oh, Delilah told me herself." Meagan said, casually. When that caused a matched set of raised brows, she rolled her eyes. "I grew up in the worst parts of Dunwall. People told stories. We knew about Daud and his assassins, and we knew about the witches of Brigmore manor. Delilah (I sincerely doubt this is a different Delilah) led a coven there."
"Led, past tense?" Thomas checked.
"Apparently someone took them out, not long before I left the city." Meagan answered. "Docks were full of people planning trips to loot the manor when I was on my way out."
"Well clearly they didn't do a good enough job…" Thomas glanced across at Emily.
She didn't really know what to do in response, just looking back at him, and he grimaced. "Right, can't talk. This is going to take some getting used to…Meagan, you never finished telling me why you came here. Or what your letter actually meant, or how you know Sokolov."
Emily perked up at that, looking to Meagan. Anton? I haven't seen the old man in years. Not since Pierro passed away…
"Right. From the beginning, then." Meagan also took a seat, leaning on her good arm. "I met Anton Sokolov some time ago. He needed a discrete boat and I needed money, but we became friends, after a while. Then, in Karnaca, he caught onto the trail of some kind of conspiracy."
"The Crown Killer?" Thomas asked. It was a good guess; reportedly, the Crown Killer murders had started with Emily's opponents in Karnaca, and only recently moved up to Gristol and its capital of Dunwall.
"That, and more." Meagan said, looking down. "I don't know much. At first he was just bothered by inconsistencies. Then one day he came back seriously rattled. That evening, someone in a hood and mask tore open the top hatch like it was nothing, grabbed him, and pulled him out."
Emily's pulse quickened. Anton's been kidnapped?
"I tailed them for as long as I could." Meagan continued, guilt plain on her face. "But I'm not as fast as I used to be. I did see that they were headed to the Addermire institute. Uh, that's a hospital, of sorts, run by one Doctor Hypatia. One of the only good things the Duke still puts money towards."
"Meaning the killer, or Sokolov, or both might be holed up there." Thomas finished. He glanced at Emily. "Might be a good place to start?"
Emily nodded. Then looked around the messy desk in the centre of the room. Eventually she spotted some paper and lead pencils, and moved over to them, scratching her words out.
"That's going to be inconvenient…" Meagan grumbled. "Only got so much paper on this damn boat. Either of you know sign?"
"Gristol Sign Language?" Thomas blinked. "Uh, no. Never thought to."
"I still remember the basics. It was useful in my old job." Meagan explained. "I suppose I could try and teach you both?"
"I've not got any better ideas. Emily?" Thomas turned to where Emily had finished writing. She held up the page, which read 'How long will it take us to reach Serkonos?'
"Two weeks, maybe three if the weather's bad." Meagan answered. "You up for this, then?"
'My Empire.' Emily wrote and underlined.
"Hmph. I suppose so." Meagan turned her nose up. "You've got a better shot than me at bringing back the old man. But I can't help but notice you've got two unmarked hands. Your magic gone, too?"
Emily grimaced, and nodded.
"You any good without it?"
"We've been training with Corvo Attano for over a decade. We'll manage." Thomas answered for Emily, before glancing at her. "Besides, I doubt Mr black eyes is going to be content staying on the sidelines. He might pop in to give you a present, right?"
Emily turned back to the paper, and scowled. What had been with the Outsider? She'd never seen him act like that before. Almost…bitter. Angry.
'We do this alone.' Was all she wrote.
"If you say so." Meagan turned and started walking away. "I'll make sure we're on-heading for Karnaca. You two get comfortable. The Dreadful Wale's a little cramped, but you're going to be here for a while."
"You got it." Thomas called after her as she left. Then sighed, clapping his hands and turning to Emily. "So. 'The jewel of the south'. What do you think Karnaca's like this time of year?"
A corner of Emily's mouth quirked upwards.
Delilah Kaldwin stepped into the gazebo, and stared at the small metal plaque situated there. The memorial for Jessamine Kaldwin.
She tutted, crossing her arms. "Such a small thing. But then, that was like her. She did so enjoy the small things. Coveting them. Lying about them. But that's the trick, I suppose. What is small to her is a good deal larger for the people beneath her. I wonder how long the craftsmen laboured to make this small tribute…"
"Shall we destroy it, mistress?" Asked one member of her coven, hovering a respectful distance behind her.
"No. Leave it. I will have my fun with it later." Delilah dismissed the girl with a wave of her hand, and she vanished. Delilah herself stood alone in the centre of the gazebo, and exhaled. Closed her eyes…and opened them elsewhere.
Her gaze fell upon Breanna Ashworth, working at her desk. The woman looked up, gasped, and immediately teleported to the foot of the statue Delilah was possessing. "Empress Kaldwin!"
"At ease, Breanna." Delilah chuckled, waving her hand. "I've told you before. You of all people don't have to stand on ceremony with me."
"It is devotion, not obedience, that directs my manner, mistress." Breanna answered, raising her head.
"Then devote yourself to my order to please, call me Delilah in private." Delilah retorted, also smiling.
"Very well, Delilah." Breanna curtseyed and stood, her posture relaxing. "Can I take it from this that your journey was successful?"
"As if there was ever any doubt." Delilah preened—before glancing away. "Well. There was some. But little Emily Kaldwin proved to be even less dangerous than I was expecting. All bark, and no bite…and now she lacks even the bark."
"As if any witch, warlock, or sorcerer in the isles could match up to you." Breanna dismissed.
Delilah laughed. "Oh, Breanna. As much as your flattery always puts me in the mood, you should restrain yourself. We are an island apart, after all."
"And when might that change?" Breanna asked. "I was apart from you for far too long, Delilah. Now I have you back, I can hardly cope with the ocean's separation."
"Too long for either of us to be truly comfortable with it, I'm afraid." Delilah said, nose curling. "The throne may be mine, but I must assert my control over the rest of the city. Until then, you must stay in Karnaca…and keep at work on that brilliant Oraculum of yours. Is Jindosh still obedient?"
"Like all genii, he hungers for knowledge." Breanna dismissed. "He will continue to do everything we ask, provided we occasionally throw him scraps of what we have learned."
"Excellent. Just be careful that he does not go insane; at least not until he has finished work on his army of wood and metal." Delilah paused, and smiled. "Speaking of insane. How is our dear Alex doing?"
"The Crown Killer remains sequestered in Addermire, as per your wishes." Breanna answered. "I have her under observation. So long as she is given sufficient opportunity to kill, she remains quite pliant. Out of curiosity, do you ever plan to make her one of us?"
"Not until I've performed my own analyses on her." Delilah said. "I'm just fascinated by what goes on inside her head…agh, so much to do, so little time." She shook her head. "On to business. You may tell our members in Karnaca that Dunwall is ours. Luca is returning shortly to keep control of Serkonos, and to prepare it for war, if it comes to that. But I must warn you that I expect he may be followed shortly by another. Emily Kaldwin, though I robbed her of her power, has managed to escape. If she remains in Dunwall, I will deal with her. But I have a strong suspicion that she will instead flee to Karnaca…in which case she will be your responsibility."
"Well, we can hardly trust the duke to get much right, can we?" Breanna chuckled. "Do you want her alive?"
Delilah pondered. "Hm…no, not particularly. I have everything from her that interests me. Do as you wish with her."
"Excellent." Breanna's smile turned predatory. "Will that be all?"
"As much as I'd love to stay and chat, yes, that will be all. Take care, my love. Once this is all settled, you can come and visit my new capital."
Delilah closed her eyes, and opened them again in the Dunwall Tower gardens. Once more, her eyes drifted down towards the memorial…and an ugly scowl came across her face.
She hacked up a mouthful of phlegm, and spat it on the marble. Then turned, and made her way back to her throne.
Something of an interlude chapter, showing how the world responds to Delilah's coup. Emily is coming to grips with what's been done to her, and wondering why the Outsider is not following the expected script. Everybody like Thomas? He's an OC from the first fic, largely added because it is really dull to read about someone sneaking around for five heists in a row without anyone to talk to. Or, well. 'Talk.'
We also get to see what's going on in Dunwall, and hey, the loyalists are alive! AU magic. Surprisingly, they were less eager to betray and murder a ten year old than a full-fledged assassin. I was always curious what the hell was actually going on in Dunwall while we were out hunting down Abele, so expect to see some more of that, and more of how Delilah handles it.
I'm going to guess...not particularly graciously.