A Dishonourable Display
"Pride ... impatience ... arrogance."
The first and last lesson at the Academy
Midnight ... and the full moon.
There couldn't be a worse time, but it has to be done.
Corvo stepped into the alley - and was immediately assaulted by the stench of Dunwall: Death and Decay. The Empress had tried to clean the city, but after her assassination, the cleanliness of the citizens was of low priority to Burrows, and this was the result.
Filth and disease descended upon the denizens. Rats crept in the shadows as the people struggled to stay warm. It was a depressing sight; each person was sentenced to a slow death in their own prison of squalor.
He could not help them now. Tonight was important and this scene was too disheartening. A quick Blink is all it would take to escape the nightmare.
From the rooftops, Dunwall had a different view. The ramshackle houses packed together made the city appear to be a deadly maze. It was past curfew and patrols crept through the streets, keeping watch over their charges, blanketing them in fear. No one dared to venture outside, least they be cut down for violating the hour; only the foolish, desperate, or brave would challenge them. Which one was Corvo?
As the lone figure scurried across the shingles, pieces gave way and clattered on the cobblestones below. Hopefully, the Watch wasn't very alert this evening; or worse - the Elite Guard. They were not who he wanted to run into now.
With a few more Blinks, Corvo arrived at his destination: The Waterfront.
The Flooded District housed many trawlers, bringing lifeblood to the city - trans; its strange blue glow gleamed through the hulls. But they weren't the only ships docked there. Transports brought many things into the city, including parts for the tall boys. These mechanical monstrosities gave the Guard an overwhelming advantage over the Loyalists - one that they exploited at every chance.
Hopefully with the success of this mission, that tyranny would end.
He gingerly made his way into the scummy water, a result of the fledgling sewer system. Although it did drain a majority of the filth from the streets, all was deposited into the waterways. And that drained into the Wrenhaven.
Where seabirds had migrated to its coast in the past, now flies and the occasional rat floated on miniature islands of rubbish.
Fighting his reflex to gag, the disgraced Protector slowly made his way under the wharf. Their mighty oak beams were eaten way by shipworms a perfect spot.
For the past few nights, he had been carefully scrapping down the planks of the dock. It had to look natural and it had to be finished tonight.
The next shipment of parts was arriving within the hour. Corvo had scouted the area and saw that the deliveries had increased. They were getting ready for something big.
With the last few shavings, the wood had been sufficiently weakened. It would be able to support the weight of man but not a heavy crate.
And just in time, the ferry was coming in.
Shaking the slime from his arms, he now smelled like a wet dog. His mask was doing little to smother the smell. But, hopefully, no one would notice.
Next: the old Roseburrow warehouse.
It had been abandoned after the inventors death, but his sources told him that it was now a hub of new activity.
Maybe Sokolov thought that no one would notice the activity in the District? Luckily, his sources were denizens of the area.
A quick Blink, and his suspicions were proven correct. He had a good view of the commotion from the roof. Crates were being brought in, as well as a large numbers of trans barrels.
And the shining wall of light barring the entrance was a good indicator as well. Maybe they thought no one would pay attention to this quarantined area?
With a flash of Dark Vision, he can see that there is too much activity to try a frontal assault. There are guards at the door, men scattered about trying to pile drums and others putting the final touches on a new fleet of tall boys. All the while, a pair of figures overlooks the workers on a catwalk.
That is what we were afraid of they cannot be allowed to complete this squadron.
He hears a crash in the distance. Men are cursing, others scream in panic, and even more groan while attempting to rescue sinking equipment.
"Come on you louts! Pick up the pace! They were expecting these things last night!
Look at these marvels, boy. How can the Loyalists stand up to the might of Lord Reagent Burrows?"
"No Sir. No one would be stupid enough to oppose us, Boss!"
"That's a good boy, Toadie" (pats him on the head) "... you'll go far with that kind of attitude!" (snickers)
A loud crash alerts the crew. The wall is released and men swarm to see what is causing all the commotion.
"Where are you idiots going?! No one said it was break time! Get back to work!!!
You! Go out to there and see what is going on NOW! I want this batch of boys shipped out TONIGHT!"
"I'm" (yawn) "... going to take a nap."
"Yes Sir. Yes Sir."
The assistant scrambles along the walkway and peers out the double doors. All he can see is a mélange of smoke, flailing people and general disarray.
He races outside to survey the situation. But he does not notice a shadowy figure slipping past him.
The foreman walks past a pylon, goes back into his office and reclines in his chair. In mere moments, he is soundly asleep, snoring and rattling the windows.
Corvo quickly settles near the doors and surveys the area.
The foremans office is at the far eastern end, with an arc pylon covering the only door.
To the west, the assembly and fueling area. The smell of whale oil fills the air and the floor is slick from freshly spilled trans.
A dozen finished tall boys are lined up for inspection in the centre. Pyramids of barrels surround them, casting their ghastly glow over the death machines.
It seemed like a simple plan: Disable the tall boys and make sure that they can never make any more. How?
But first take care of the foreman. He is the one behind this operation. Eliminate him and that will set their plans back for years.
Another Blink and Corvo is behind the pylon.
"Need to be careful. One wrong move and Ill the one whos be ash."
With a satisfied sigh, he rewires the guard. Now, back to the doors.
The wall of light is the next issue cant have the workers stumbling on him while he sabotages the factory.
As he nears the control panel, the stooge comes running back. Hes in tears, blubbering and sniffling in misery.
Racing past the rebel, he collapses on the gangplank.
"Is that a man or a sniveling child?"
A few quick twists and the wall lights back up.
"Boss! BOSS!!! Come quick the docks are on fire!"
"Whaaa ? Whats going on?"
The boss wipes the drool from his mouth and scratches his belly.
"What are ya yelling for? I was having the greatest dream See, there was this lil' ..."
"Boss! Look out the window! The docks are gone!"
Still grumbling from his rude awakening, the surly man rubs the sleep from his eyes and stares towards the river.
"Wha' are ya going on about? There's no fire. Besides, I can't see a thing from all that ... smoke?"
As the assistant makes his way up the stairs, a blue flash envelops his body; quickly followed by an arc of electricity.
Toadie watches in horror as his hand slowly starts to disintegrate. The tingling sensation crawls its way up his arm and grows as his chest caves in; his legs collapse beneath him.
"What happened!? What happened to the pylon?"
The Boss tries the handle and is stunned by the blue aura surrounding it. No way out.
"Blast! Who did this?! No! This can't be happening!
We have the might of Empire behind us! The Great Burrows leads us! Who would DARE to stand against our superiority?"
As he looks out the door window, a lone man raiding an arms cabinet catches his eye. He is helping himself to a cache of incendiary bolts.
"You! Are the one? Show me your face ..."
The figure stashes the darts in his satchel, then turns to look at the doomed man.
A familiar black shadow stares back at him: The Face of Death.
"No. NO! It cant be you! Overseer Campbell himself assured us you were dead! Yes, he said you were DEAD!"
(Sobbing) "It CAN'T be you! Theres no reason he would lie. The Empire NEVER lies!
Yeees ... that's it. You must be a fake! The Empire could fail! CORVO IS DEAD!!!"
The True Corvo calmly shakes his head and draws his crossbow. He nocks a bolt and aims at one of the pools littering the floor.
The flaming projectile arcs and skips in a puddle of trans promptly igniting it.
As he walks down the stairs and through a pile of ash, he draws a few sticky grenades and tosses them at the barrels and machines. Then Blinks out of sight.
A haunting laughter echoes through the flaming building. The Boss knows what will happen next.
As the last second ticks by, all he can think about is one man and he screams the name aloud:
On a nearby roof, Corvo raises his mask and lets out a small chuckle.
The Boss failed the lesson.
His mission is complete - onto the next.
As the sun rises on a new day, a second ball of flame leaps into the morning sky. The Loyalists can claim a new victory and hopefully this will be the first of many more to come.