- "I know a great deal, bodyguard. I recognize those marks on your hand. A gift from your friend, the one who talks to you in the dark. Talks to you when you visit his shrines. I've visited those shrines too."
- —Daud to a captured Corvo
Daud, renowned as the "Knife of Dunwall", was the leader and probable founder of a group of assassins known as the Whalers that operated in Dunwall during the Rat Plague. He is responsible for the death of Empress Jessamine Kaldwin and the kidnapping of her daughter, Emily Kaldwin.
Daud is a major adversary and assassination target in Dishonored, as well as the protagonist of the game's story DLCs, The Knife of Dunwall and The Brigmore Witches. He returns as the protagonist of the novel Dishonored: The Return of Daud, and as an ally to Billie Lurk in Dishonored: Death of the Outsider.
Childhood and Upbringing
Daud's mother was rumored to have originated from an island off the Pandyssian Continent. He was conceived on the 13th Day of the Month of Ice, 1795, onboard a pirate vessel which held her captive. She was rumored to be a witch marked by the Outsider and took control of said ship during its return to Serkonos. Daud noted that she was simply proficient in the use of poisons and hallucinogens, and ruthless in their administration.
Daud was born in Serkonos and grew up in various cities of the Isle.. At some point in his early childhood, his natural abilities caught the attention of a mysterious actor, which subsequently led to his abduction. At the age of 16, Daud moved to Dunwall where he began to make a name for himself "moving among the shopkeepers and City Watch officers of Dunwall like a reaper through wheat". Daud traveled throughout the Isles seeking the Outsider's shrines and was rumored to have spent a winter at the Academy of Natural Philosophy, of which he made cryptic mentions a few times to his followers. He eventually attracted the attention of the Outsider who marked him in 1820.
Marked by the Outsider
- "For years I'd held together a shadowy band of ex-mercenaries, street kids, and refugees through discipline and a bit of black magic."
- —Daud, on the Whalers
Now branded by the Outsider, Daud became infamous as an assassin for hire, feared not only for his skill, but also for his magic powers. His known powers are Blink (referred to as "transversals"), Bend Time, Summon Assassin, Void Gaze, Pull (referred to as "tethering"), and resistance to poisons and sedatives. Another power, known as Arcane Bond, gives him the ability to grant lesser versions of his magic to others, which he utilizes to empower his followers. Daud used these powers to establish himself as an assassin for hire to the elite of Dunwall. He started gathering other marginals of Dunwall and established his own gang of mercenaries and assassins, the Whalers, with which he shared his powers. In 1829, he crossed paths with Billie Lurk, a street urchin with an affinity for the trade who a year prior murdered Radanis Abele, son of the Duke of Serkonos. He trained her personally, and her quick-learning and skills would eventually earn her place as his second-in-command. During the plague, Daud moved his base of operation to the Rudshore Chamber of Commerce in the devastated and quarantined Flooded District. In 1835, he met some of the witches from the newly formed Brigmore coven.
The Whalers' reputation in the underworld of Dunwall caught the attention of Hiram Burrows, who made use of their services a number of times in his capacity as Royal Spymaster. Eventually during the Rat Plague, Burrows hired Daud and his assassins to murder the Empress and kidnap her daughter. Despite the Outsider's initial favor for Daud, a rift developed between the two sometime before this event. The Outsider himself notes that he lost interest in Daud prior to the assassination of the Empress, and interacts with Daud in a hostile and derisive manner throughout The Knife of Dunwall.
- Main article: Returning Home
Conforming to Burrows' plan, Daud takes up a position on Dunwall Tower with Billie Lurk and a group of assassins on the 18th Day of the Month of Earth, 1837. They are to take advantage of a moment when the Empress and her daughter are alone in the palace's gazebo, while the Royal Protector Corvo Attano was away on official business. However, neither the Spymaster nor Daud anticipated that Corvo would return that day, two days early, from his trip around the Isles. Seeing his men in difficulty facing the Royal Protector, Daud intervenes himself and executes the contract, leaving Corvo as the only surviving witness.
In the months that followed, the Royal Spymaster implicated Corvo as culprit to hide his own participation and Daud's. Daud delivered Emily to the Pendelton twins, Morgan and Custis, allies of Burrows. He however threatened the Spymaster for a higher price because of Corvo's intervention, which Burrows paid and assured that he would offer other assignments. Unbeknown to Daud, Burrows, then appointed Lord Regent and aided by High Overseer Campbell, would orchestrate a sweep of the Flooded District by Warfare Overseers six months later to eradicate him and the Whalers.
The Knife of Dunwall
- "Daud, my old friend. It's been a while, but you've got my interest again...I'm here because you're right, the Empress was different."
- —The Outsider
After carrying out the assassination of the Empress and delivering Emily to Burrows' agents, Daud is wracked with guilt over the act, a feeling which the Outsider reinforces. Appearing to Daud after the assassination, the Outsider provides him with "one last gift" so that he may alter coming events: the name Delilah. Unable to abide a mystery by his own admittance, Daud begins to investigate the significance of the name. The conclusion of the DLC is affected by the chaos Daud inflicts over the course of his search, similar to how Corvo's actions affect the conclusion of Dishonored.
With the help of Billie Lurk, Daud discovers the whaling trawler Delilah at the Rothwild Slaughterhouse; his subsequent hunt eventually directs him to Delilah Copperspoon, a painter, black magic practitioner, and leader of the Brigmore Witches. As Daud discovers Delilah took an interest in him long before he ever heard of her (learning, for instance, that Arnold and Thalia Timsh saw Delilah painting his name across a canvas during a seance), the assassins' hideout in the Flooded District is overtaken by Overseers.
After pushing back the Overseers' forces, Daud learns that he was betrayed by Billie, who saw his regret over the Empress' assassination as weakness and plotted to take his place. Working in conjunction with Delilah, they brought the Overseers to the Flooded District and arranged for Billie to kill Daud herself. In high chaos, Billie duels Daud for leadership of the Whalers, and Daud can either kill or spare her; in low chaos, she chooses not to go through with the act, leaving her fate in Daud's hands. Daud's decision in either case affects the Outsider's final opinion and narration as the story closes.
The Brigmore Witches
- "My mother warned me never to make an enemy of a witch."
Following Billie's betrayal (which affected Daud deeply, according to Thomas's observations) and the removal of the Overseers from the Flooded District, Daud discovers Delilah's location at the Brigmore Manor, outside the Dunwall quarantine zone. He enlists the aid of Dead Eels gang leader Lizzy Stride to help him reach the hideout, accomplishing various tasks in Coldridge Prison and Drapers Ward to secure his passage; he also encounters the Brigmore coven on several occasions and slowly uncovers clues to Delilah's ultimate plan.
When he arrives at the manor, Daud realizes that Delilah is plotting to use a powerful ritual to steal Emily Kaldwin's body and rule in her place as Empress. In response, he pursues Delilah to the Void and eliminates her in the midst of the ritual, protecting the child he once abducted.
The Flooded District
- Main article: The Flooded District
- "Let's see if The Outsider will save your life or mine."
- —Daud to Corvo
While Dishonored runs concurrently with the events of The Knife of Dunwall and The Brigmore Witches, the mission The Flooded District falls between Daud's elimination of Delilah, and the DLC's epilogue. Discovering a poisoned Corvo Attano adrift in the Flooded District, Daud confiscates his gear and orders his men to place Corvo in confinement, awaiting delivery to Farley Havelock in exchange for a large bounty. Corvo escapes soon after, and one of Daud's men appears to inform him of the break-out. Daud correctly surmises that Corvo is bound for the Commerce Building to confront him, and waits for the man's arrival, recording an audiograph castigating Hiram Burrows and lamenting his own part in the murder of the Empress.
Daud's reaction to Corvo's arrival varies based on Corvo's chaos: in low chaos, Daud uses Bend Time on his men and orders them not to interfere while he and Corvo duel. In high chaos, Daud allows his men to assist him in battle to take down Corvo at any cost. Daud is ultimately defeated, and makes a plea for his life.
- "I have one more surprise for you. I ask for my life."
- —Daud to Corvo
Daud muses on the events that transpired during his pursuit of Delilah, noting that "our choices always matter to someone, somewhere", and that people must live with the consequences of their decisions.
This conclusion leads him to surrender to the mercy of Corvo Attano, who acts in accordance with Daud's chaos at the end of The Brigmore Witches, either killing or sparing him. If Daud is spared, he can be seen placing his sword at the tomb of the Empress after the end of the credits. If Daud is killed, his body is cremated on a boat in the flooded yard of the Greaves Refinery – if Daud spared Billie at the end of The Knife of Dunwall, she will be there as well, looking on from a distance.
In the canon of the sequels to Dishonored, Corvo spared Daud's life. It is revealed in Dishonored: The Corroded Man and Dishonored 2 that many people have tried locating Daud after the events of The Brigmore Witches, but without success.
Dishonored: The Return of Daud
Daud returns to Dunwall 15 years later, upon having nightmares about his past after going several years without them while living in Tyvia and Wei-Ghon. These drive him to seek out a way of killing the Outsider, where he learns about the Twin-bladed Knife through rumors and that it was spotted in Dunwall.
He arrives the day of Delilah's Coup and spots the Empress fleeing from her tower, but doesn't intervene. He instead goes to Wyrmwood District in order to get in contact with the leader of the Sixways Gang, who handle the smuggling of such items. One of the Clockwork Soldiers arrives while he is in the middle of a fight with the gang and he destroys it, but when reinforcements arrive he and the leader, Jack, flee from Dunwall while unaware he's being spied on by the Devlin couple.
He's later smuggled to Porterfell, a small village in Gristol, to meet with the current owner of the Twin-bladed Knife, a collector known as Maximilian Norcross. In the process, however, he is attacked by three agents of the League of Protectors. One is killed in the ensuing struggle, one escapes, and the other is captured and taken along with Daud to Morgengaard Castle.
Dishonored: Death of the Outsider
Daud ends up in Karnaca in his quest to kill the Outsider. Some time before the start of the game, Daud was captured by the Eyeless cult, and forced to fight for months in the pit of a fight club owned by the cult. Aided by his former second-in-command Billie Lurk, he plans to confront underground fight clubs, Sisters of the Oracular Order and the Eyeless cult to gather the artifacts that will help them in taking down the Void deity. Daud admits that he needs Billie's help to complete this mission, and says that he'll never recover from the damage he took in the pits, which proves accurate.
Throughout the game, Daud remains on the Dreadful Wale, coughing and saying he can "feel the Void dragging [him] away," and is limited to giving information on the world to Billie, and giving advice on missions. Eventually, after learning that the weapon required to kill the Outsider is in the Dolores Michaels Deposit & Loan Bank he sends Billie to retrieve it. During the mission Daud passes away on the Dreadful Wale from natural causes which the Outsider alludes to Billie. After returning to find Daud dead, Billie burns her ship which acts as a funeral pyre for Daud. After his funeral, Billie played a recording Daud left for her, saying goodbye and making his peace with who he had been, and with his history with his former apprentice.
Later on, Daud's spirit is encountered in the Void just before Billie is about to kill the Outsider. His form is wavy and indistinct, and at first he doesn't recognize Billie. He encourages her to finish the Outsider. Here she is given a choice:
If Billie kills the Outsider, Daud will speak with her saying it's done, but Billie declares herself to be always a killer and that she will never change. In this ending Daud does not find peace and his spirit is doomed to wander the Void for eternity.
If Billie decides to not kill the Outsider, she convinces Daud to let him live by revealing the circumstances of the Outsider's mortal life and reminding Daud of how he spared her once. Daud frees the Outsider by speaking his name. Daud then agrees and after freeing the Outsider he says a final farewell to Billie as he finds peace and his soul dissipates.
- "We make our choices and take what comes and the rest is void."
One of the most callous and calculated individuals in all of the Isles, Daud has no qualms with killing for coin and does so indiscriminately. Daud is also known to almost never smile or laugh further showing how cold he is. From aristocratic pedophiles to respectable law enforcers and scholars, all are potential victims of his blade. Realizing the fortune of his supernatural abilities, he uses them to primarily "force [his] will on the world". The whispers of the Outsider only further inflate Daud's ego, causing him to believe that he is somehow special or important. Daud himself comments on these feelings in his plea at the end of The Flooded District: "It felt good, made me believe I was powerful."
For years, Daud continues on his crimson-lit trail of bloodshed, undeterred by the results of his wetwork. It is only when he kills Empress Jessamine and abducts her daughter Emily that something finally breaks within him. Rather than successfully repressing the regretfulness brought about by his deed, he instead becomes filled with grief and dismayed with the societal collapse of Dunwall. Daud slowly realizes that his story is coming to a conclusion of his making, and comes to terms with the consequences of his life choices.
After realizing that Delilah was trying to take over Emily’s mind and body, something changed in Daud in which his second in command Billie Lurk saw. She eventually saw him as weak from his regrets and betrayed him and fought him and lost. Despite the betrayal of his most trusted assassin, Daud spared Lurk which shows he is capable of mercy.
Continuing on his quest, Daud investigates Delilah and realizes that by taking over Emily she would rule the Empire as a tyrant and wreak havoc across the world. Daud goes out of his way and puts his own life at risk from the Brigmore Witches in order to save the little girl he once had abducted. Which reveals that Daud is willing to put his life on the line to ensure the Empire’s safety.
Despite this, he is still willing to turn Corvo in for the monetary reward it will yield him, although regretful. He remains calous and antagonizing during his fight with Corvo, but is eventually defeated and left at Corvo's mercy.
After losing to Corvo, Daud snaps out of his callous behavior and asks Corvo for mercy as after murdering the Empress something broke inside of him. He tells Corvo that the Outsider made him feel like he was powerful but says that he has accomplished no more than Corvo. He then promises Corvo that he is done with killing and said that he will go away from Dunwall. Corvo on the edge of killing him decides to spare him as Jessamine would not want him to kill a defenseless person and decides letting Daud live in fear is better than death.
After this, Daud lays his sword he dropped in the fight on the Empress’s grave revealing that he feels heavy remorse from killing her and is willing to pay his respects. Daud then vanishes from Dunwall to enjoy a long retirement in Karnaca from his gang and killing for almost sixteen years.
- Daud is voiced by Michael Madsen.
- Before his appearance in Death of the Outsider, it was revealed by Harvey Smith in an AMA that Daud is still alive by the time of Dishonored 2, but not doing well. This was further hinted at in the game.
- In the mission Death to the Empress, a letter between Meagan Foster and a former Whaler reveals that no one from the former gang has been able to locate Daud.
- If Meagan, who is revealed to be Billie Lurk in the last mission, survives at the end of the game, the Outsider tells in the epilogue that she leaves to seek out "the closest thing she'd ever known to family".
- Delilah expresses that she feels and knows that Daud is still alive somewhere, when talking idly in the last mission while painting.
- Her spirit trapped in the Heart remarks that: "There are marks on our flesh. Made by the Knife of Dunwall. Cursed Daud, who hides in the world and breathes still."
- The Heart also mentions to Emily that: "Six came over the walls and dragged [Emily] from [her] mother's corpse. Two are still alive." Both Daud and Billie took part in Jessamine's assassination.
- Upon receiving the Heart for the first time in the Void, using it there one will receive multiple unique lines, one of which confirms Daud to still be alive: "The one who took my life walks the world still, but he has withdrawn."
- According to the official guidebook, "Ego homini Lupus" ("I am a Wolf to man") is his motto.
- As with all other assassination targets, if Corvo decides to murder Daud with his sword, a special animation plays in which Corvo grabs Daud, slits his throat, then throws him to the right as he dies.
- In The Brigmore Witches, however, Corvo will throw Daud frontally over the wall rather than into the hole to the right.
- Daud is resistant or immune to the majority of Corvo's offensive powers and gadgets.
- If Corvo attempts to possess him, Daud will compliment him on his ingenuity, but then say that his mind is the last place Corvo would want to be.
- Wanted posters for Daud feature a picture of a regular assassin rather than Daud, yet throughout The Knife of Dunwall, various civilians will recognize Daud instantly.
- Jerome in The Brigmore Witches similarly notes that he recognizes Daud from his wanted posters.
- In Death of the Outsider, a wanted poster with his face uncovered can be found on the Dreadful Wale.
- Although Daud does not have a mask he can still zoom in and out as if he were using a spyglass.
- In The Return of Daud, it's confirmed that Daud indeed uses a spyglass. From afar, he spots Emily escaping from Dunwall Tower, and swimming to the Dreadful Wale during the opening sequence of Dishonored 2.
- Daud is referred to as "the Big Knife" and "the Old Knife" in a letter between Meagan Foster and a former Whaler in Dishonored 2.
- If Daud initiates dialogue after sneaking up on Delilah, she derisively calls him the "Mouse of Dunwall".
- In the German, Russian, and Italian translations of The Brigmore Witches, Daud says that he moved from Serkonos to Dunwall at the age of 16. Developer Harvey Smith has confirmed this information.
- Daud's plea to Corvo varies between Dishonored and The Brigmore Witches, with the former being substantially longer.
- Though he can use a pistol during the course of gameplay, Daud never acquires upgrades for the weapon.
- According to Harvey Smith, Daud "was conceived on a pirate vessel, and grew up in various Serkonan cities".
- Daud can not be dismembered.
- Daud cannot be drop assassinated if fully alerted to Corvo's presence and Corvo is in sight; rather he will block the attack.
- If killed from behind, Daud is not stabbed in the stomach and neck like other assassination targets, and is simply killed in the same way as any regular enemy.
- It is stated by Galia Fleet that Daud had occasionally made cryptic mentions of the Academy of Natural Philosophy, further implying that the rumors about him spending a winter at the Academy are real.
- Upon seeing an example of Trimble's handwriting, Daud comments on how he distrusts people who can write that neatly.
- As a result of his use of a corrupted bone charm, Daud is missing at least three teeth.
- Sokolov's painting of Daud shows his coat being blue rather than red. This is in line with the master assassins, who wear blue outfits.
- It is stated in a book that Daud has no interest in sex, implying that he is asexual. Though the accuracy of this book is questionable and the author unknown, Harvey Smith has confirmed through Twitter that Daud is asexual.
- Despite being seen placing his sword at Empress Jessamine's grave in the Dishonored epilogue, in Dishonored: The Return of Daud he retrieves the same sword from a cache hidden in a cave in the cliff face of Shindaerey Peak in Karnaca. According to the book, "He hadn't thought he would ever wield it again, yet something had compelled him, years ago, to keep it rather than throw it into the sea."
- Upon meeting Daud's spirit in the Void at the end of Dishonored: Death of the Outsider, he can be heard reminiscing about his late mother. He reveals that he tried to find her in the Void, but couldn't remember her face, and she had too many names that even her son didn't know the true one. He blames the Outsider for losing everything he had, including his mother.
|Daud, during the fight with Corvo|
|Daud asks Corvo for his life|
|Daud's opening speech in The Knife of Dunwall|
- Developer Commentary – Dishonored ages masterpost
- Dishonored: The Dunwall Archives
- Rumors and Sightings: Daud
- Cobbled Bits of Bone
- Developer commentary
- The Heart quotes
- Dishonored: The Corroded Man, p.108
- Meeting Daud
- Dead Drop
- Letter to Daud
- Orders from High Overseer Campbell
- Daud's Journal: Delilah Copperspoon
- Dishonored Credits § Voice and Music
- Developer Commentary – Daud's fate
- Cobbled Bits of Bone
- Developer Commentary – Daud's Sexuality
- Dishonored: The Return of Daud, Chapter 24
Characters in Dishonored
|Minor Characters (Male)||
Alec • Blake • Boo • Bunting • Byron Alderdice • Captain Ren • Craxton • Crowley • Dunstan • Earl • General Tobias • Grayson • Hackworth • Harold • Jeffrey • Jelly • Lord Brisby • Lord Shaw • Mace Brimsley • Mad Survivor • Magnus • Overseer Archer • Overseer Berthold • Overseer Franklin • Overseer Gerard • Overseer Jasper • Overseer Sturgess • Pratchett • Ramsey • Rodney • Sergeant Heyburn • Stu • Tom • Watch Officer Thorpe
|Minor Characters (Female)|
Characters in The Knife of Dunwall
Characters in The Brigmore Witches
Annabelle • Arnold Timsh • Corporal Hamrick • Corvo Attano • Evie • Lucas Penroe • Maggot Montaine • Melina • Naria • Overseer Pradclif • Private Morris • Skinflint • The Dressmaker • Tilda • Watch Officer Thorpe
Enemies in Dishonored