I just finished Dishonored in a hyper-violent manner, yet somewhat stealthy and somewhat combative. This is just a reflection on that, after the 'High Chaos Emily Lives' ending.' Everything described is how I actually played the game. Major spoilers.

Disclaimer: I do not own Dishonored and any associated characters, events, or location.

They are the property of Bethesda Softworks.

There's nothing quite like killing, is there, Corvo?

Is it the thunk of the blade as it buries into the flesh just below the clavicle? The dying gasp, cut off before it can completely escape? The hands, feebly grasping at the weapon before falling limp? The rush of adrenaline at the idea of getting caught, and knowing that it really doesn't matter? That you'll kill them all anyway?

Or perhaps it's something else? Maybe it's acknowledging that with every life you take, the barriers holding back anarchy from this little city break just a little bit more? That each of those dead individuals, snuffed out for your mission or for your own sake, is one that can't stamp out the rats that hide everywhere, or the plague they carry?

It could be any of those, couldn't it? Which one, I wonder?

I don't think even you know.

Oh, don't give me that look. The mystery is half the fun, isn't it, Corvo? At least, it is when they're the ones mystified, scurrying around blind, in the dark, friends screaming in the distance or completely silent, not knowing when your skulled visage will appear over their shoulder and drag them into the abyss.

That's what happened at the Boyle party, wasn't it? I must say, that was your highest point. Oh, you had some rocky first steps-those three chatty aristocrats nearly set off the alarm-but you took care of that quickly, didn't you? You silenced everyone outside, went to the second floor, and dealt the others the same fate. It was easy to find what you were looking for-Lady Esma Boyle had just attended her last party.

And then the real fun began.

Creeping from room to room, blending in perfectly with the shadows-or the light. You were a guest, after all. They just couldn't understand what entertainment you were looking for. Watching, waiting, for one of them to step the smallest bit out of place, enter a room by themselves-and your hand would immediately be on their shoulder, blade gliding across their throat as their weak limbs dissipated into ash and vanished.

I always could hear the silent gasps of gratefulness you whispered me when that happened. It was truly entertaining, so I suppose we both profited.

By the time dinner was served-the maids curiously absent, of course-the other guests were beginning to whisper among themselves, wondering where their friend who had stepped away for a moment was now. And you delighted in their terror.

So much, in fact, that you deigned to sign the guest ledger. Oh, that was a lark, truly. You just had to rub it in, didn't you?

That's what I suppose I like about you.

But why, Corvo? Why did you kill them all? You knew so very, very early on who you needed to kill. So then why did the guests start disappearing?

You couldn't resist the challenge, could you? It was a game, a contest for yourself. Or was it? Maybe it was sacrifices, in my name, an act of service to someone besides the resistance?

Stop that, you'll get wrinkles. Ah, you're not surprised that I can see. Very good.

...But, alas, all bad things come to an end. You didn't get sloppy-oh, no, you nearly won, only two guests besides the Boyles and three guards-but Miss White screamed surprisingly shrilly under her moth mask, didn't she?

When all was said and done, when the wine on the floor ran with musket powder and bolt feathers, the final piece of the puzzle awaited your blade.

You knew where Esma was, but there were two more guests that needed to be taken care of first. Her sisters.

Lydia was the closest, and it was fitting considering that her white clothing was the most easily stained with blood.

Let it be said that even when you know you are found, you try your best to make tracking you difficult. Lydia practically died on the spot when you rolled in from the attic. Not the most dramatic entrance, but certainly the quietest.

Her bed and body broke your fall, and, fortunately for her, your weapon was sheathed. Otherwise, this might've turned out very differently.

But the best part? You landed atop her in a position so very familiar to yourself, your arms at her sides as your foreheads nearly touched.

The last time you were like this was with Castilla, in the bath, no? And before that, Cecelia. And before that, the Empress, your first.

I see how you hiss at her name, like a trained wolfhound. We'll get to that later, don't you worry.

Your mind was only on murder, and Lydia would've just been another body if not for what she said next. Shall I remind you?

"You're going to do it, aren't you? You can't help yourself."

Ah, now it's all coming back to you, full circle. I was nearly as shocked as you were when you bolted out of the room, leaving poor, scarred Lydia untouched as you raced to Esma, the lady in red. I was even more surprised when you dragged her, asleep, to the oh-so-friendly Lord Brisby.

In case you're wondering, she's still alive and quite happy, though I know you don't care.

But why, Corvo? I spent-well, you don't need to know how long-wondering why you didn't kill them?

And I just figured you out.

It's not that they were women, or particularly fine specimens of them. None of the 'courtesans' of the Golden Cat were spared.

It's because she also figured you out, Corvo. She knew-someone who had barely met you and would never see you again-she knew your motivations and trappings.

You have to kill, Corvo. Not because I'm making you, which I'll let you wonder about, but because you have a need. Why else would you put yourself in infinitely greater danger, ignoring your storied lack of self-preservation instincts, just to finish off that one last citizen?

You can't help yourself, as she so perfectly put it.

You look at people and rarely see and individual. Instead, you see another victim, another blank slab of wood to have art carved violently into, a blank canvas to be painted forever red. You're doing it now, wondering just how deep you'd have to cut to hit where my carotid artery should be on my neck. Or how many times you would have to bend me backward until my spine might snap.

The Empress's death was really just an allegory to what you're doing right now, except all at once-it was the final push that brought your mind to anarchy, breaking apart the thin border of your self-control.

Few things can resurrect that. Women, for one, at least sometimes. And Emily...

You saved her because you knew that her death would be the last straw. And even you didn't want to open that door, awaken that beast, did you?

But I've got a little secret for you, Corvo. See, that door's already open, knocked off its hinges and scattered into splinters.

You've already become that, and we both love it already.

That monster was unleashed when you took up the mask. A simple gift from Piero became so much more, even more than the Masked Felon, the terror of Dunwall. It became a demon, a force of chaos, murder, lust, and horror that carried itself in front of the face of a man. But there's more to the mask-to the creature that is calling itself Corvo, with good reason- than that.

You carry the mask of death. The face of the night terror. Oh, this is so very rich.

You have become the mask itself. It is an inseparable part of you.

I know the ending sucks, sorry.

It's short too. Sorry about that.

Review please. Another darkfic, I guess.