DISCLAIMER: Bethesda/Arkane own Dishonored, Daud, Dunwall ... wow, a lot of these names start with a 'D', don't they?


Daud leaned against his desk, waiting.

As expected, he felt a sudden, searing pain at his temples. With a single touch to his gloved left hand, he murmured, "Nice try, Corvo, but inside my mind ... is the last place you'd want to be."

He heard a frustrated groan from somewhere above him, and hid a satisfied smile, before turning his attention back to the portrait that lay in front of him. It was a bad copy of one of Anton Sokolov's portraits. The Tyvian physician and mad genius was another of his rival's victims, he'd heard. Daud studied his own features, mirroring the pose of the portrait. It was an old one; he looked barely thirty in this, while in reality, the scarred assassin himself had lost count of how old he was.

Forty? Forty-five? Either way, I'm too old for this business, Daud thought. I should be retiring soon. And if the Lord Protector does what I believe he will, I'll be retiring permanently. An assassinated assassin. How poetic. He smiled inwardly once more, and again surveyed the portrait. A weather-beaten, brown-haired man stared dispassionately back, his face harsh and bleak, a bloody scar curved over the right eye. In the portrait, Daud wore a black overcoat and a white shirt with khaki trousers, and thick leather gloves. Straps of crossbow bolts were slung over his shoulder and belt, but no sword. He'd not had one at the time.

Ah, the gloves. No one suspected the reason he wore those back then, but nowadays, every beggar on Clavering Boulevard knew that the 'Whaler of Dunwall' had been 'cursed' by the 'Outsider'. All lies. He was the only one who knew his story.

A swarm of rats burst from nowhere, and an unexpected gust of wind threw one of the assassins by Daud's side into their midst. Screaming, the man clawed at Daud.

Daud looked at him, drew a sword, and plunged it into his heart. A mercy. He would have suffered if not for my actions, the old man convinced himself. "Corvo," he called. "Come out." And he waited.

Finally, the air in front of him hazed and thickened, and in a fraction of a second, the former Lord Protector materialised in front of him, wielding a sword in his right hand. His left hand was bare, and on its back was etched a black tattoo. The Mark of the Outsider. Even as Daud watched, an assassin Transversed, slashing at the skull-masked warrior from behind. Corvo spun around, at the same time bringing his sword up, achieving a double purpose. The assassin stumbled back as the force of his own attack was pushed back into him, and the Lord Protector lunged forward, slitting his throat. Even as his blood spilled, Daud's student crumbled into ash.

The Silence ability, as well as Windblast and Transversal, Daud mentally observed. The swarm of rats, hmm? In this time of plague, an irony. I wonder what other new skills the Outsider grants his students. Come to think of it, I've not seen Corvo Tether anyone ...

Another assassin attempted to slash Corvo in the back. Before he could, the royal guardian turned again, locking swords. Sparks flew for a second, and then Corvo pushed aside the assassin's sword and kicked him in the chest. As he struggled to catch his breath, Corvo stabbed him.

"The last of my assassins," Daud lied. "Well done, Corvo." As he spoke, Corvo whipped a pistol into his left hand, shooting at Daud. The older man vanished, reappearing behind Corvo and lashing out. He caught his foe in the back of his head, and Corvo stumbled. Daud instantly raised his left hand. Beneath the thick gloves, he felt his skin heat up, and he knew his own Mark was glowing bright blue. Clenching his teeth, Daud made a twisting motion as though pulling on a valve wheel. All sound ceased, there was no wind, and the billowing curtains at the windows of his room froze. Time had slowed to a halt.

His hand burning, Daud lashed out and cut at Corvo's skin. But the Lord Protector ... wasn't there?

Confused, Daud turned, only to be hit in the leg with a crossbow bolt. Cursing, he ripped it out of his boot and blinked once. He could just barely make out a golden outline in the corner of his eye, a human figure crouching at the ground with sword in one hand and crossbow in the other. Daud didn't hold back his smile this time. He Transversed, reappearing in front of Corvo, and struck downwards, only to meet hard steel as the other assassin blocked his move.

"Let's see which one of us the Outsider saves!" Daud spoke through gritted teeth.

Ever silent, Corvo hammered away Daud's sword and kicked him in the chest - but the older man was a quick learner, and had Transversed away before Corvo could stab him in the gut.

Daud placed a hand to his side, and felt it sticky. When he looked at it, he realised it was covered in blood. Shit. It wasn't often the Whaler swore, but when he did, something serious was happening. He's got me. Damn ... Where did he go now?

Time had resumed its normal pace when Daud had been stunned; he quickly Transversed to the window in the upper level of his study, and from there, he rematerialised in the ruined tenement in the house opposite. He waited, and sure enough, Corvo climbed to the window and Transversed across him to the metal chair, where he collapsed, panting heavily. Daud realised, a little proudly, that he'd underestimated himself. An old assassin and a young bodyguard. Who'd have thought we were evenly matched?

"Several years ago," Daud began, and then shook his head. "Forget it. It's a long story, an old one of no significance."

Corvo shrugged, as if to say, "I've got time." Taking this as the meaning, Daud said, clenching his teeth in pain, "I'm running out. If you don't mind ..."

Corvo uncapped a vial of red elixir, and downed half of it. He tossed the vial to Daud, who caught it not quite expertly. The old man sighed as he felt the warm, rejuvenating liquid trickle down his gullet. "Thank you." Feeling oddly self-conscious, he added, "I won't pass out at least, but I've got a few hours at the most. Just enough to tell you an old man's drunken memories. That is, assuming you'd like to hear them?"

Curious, Corvo inclined his head.

"Very well."

And so, as two killers, one old and near death, the other in the prime of his youth, lay in the destroyed apartments of the Flooded District of Dunwall; the old one bleeding against a wall, the young one leaning, exhausted, on a rusty stool; both of them endowed with impressive, fearsome, awe-inspiring, deadly supernatural abilities; so began -

THE WHALER'S TALE
2013