Interview transcript #33AB1
Incident: Regarding the fatal attack on Empress Jessamine Kaldwin by her bodyguard Corvo Attano
Subject: Royal Guardsman 234
Interrogator: Overseer Mitchell
Overseer: “Many thanks. Now, guardsman… hmm… guardsman 234, please describe the events of that day as dispassionately as possible.”
Guardsman: Sir. Yes, sir. Sir. Well, sir, I could see from the vantage point of my post –
Overseer: Your post, hmm? Where was this?
Guardsman: I was stationed on a balcony overlooking the river, so I could see the royal protector –
Overseer: Former royal protector.
Guardsman: Yes, sir. Thank you sir. Former royal protector. I could see him as he came in on the boat, and I thought at the time what a pleasure it was to see him again. He put my mind at rest. But when he actually came up in the water-lock, I started to get worried.
Overseer: Hmm? And why was that?
Guardsman: Well, you see, he sort of left the boat by the wrong side.
[There is a pause in the dialogue at this point, in which neither party says anything]
Overseer: The wrong side?
Guardsman: Yes. Rather than going straight to the Empress, rest her soul, like you might expect him to, he just sort of jumped out of the boat. In his clothes. I saw him swimming up and down the lock a few times, sir, but he wasn’t even very good at it. After he came up, he was spluttering a lot, like he’d run out of breath underwater and half-killed himself by drowning. But when he got out of the water, he didn’t try and explain himself at all. Just acted as if nothing weird had happened. He was still dripping with water when he ran up behind the two engineers who working there.
Overseer: What did he say to them?
Guardsman: Say? Oh, he didn’t say anything. He just stood there. I suppose, after a while, Corvo did run closer to one of them to make him talk.
Overseer: And what he say at that point? How did he stimulate this conversation, hmm?
Guardsman: I’ll be honest sir, I don’t know. I swear he didn’t say anything, or even really do anything. It was just a feeling you got. Like he wanted to hear more from you, even if it was just a basic variation on something you’d already said once or twice. You just felt compelled.
Overseer: Very curious. Did he speak to you?
Guardsman: Again, no. But he did approach me. He was sitting crouched behind the fence around the dock, peering out at us from behind it – I don’t know what he thought he was doing, everyone saw him get down behind it, it’s not like we’d forget what we saw in just a few seconds – sorry, yes – peering out, when he just jumped over it and ran up to me, in that weird way he has of running everywhere. Then he started jumping around me in circles, over and over again. I tried to humor him with small talk but he just ran away again. I would have asked him what he was doing, sir, but, well…
Overseer: You were afraid?
Guardsman: Sir, I feared for my life. And for his. Behind me, I could hear him jumping on all the equipment and walking along the walls of the tower, trying to get onto the roof. I could hear him actually trying to jump onto people, sir, onto their heads. Obviously, a lot of them were pretty annoyed and I heard them shouting at him, but no one really pushed him on it. I think, when they got over the shock, it seemed better to pretend nothing had happened, in case he got more confused and hurt himself or someone else. It wasn’t normal.
Overseer: Out of the ordinary for other people, hmm, but perhaps not for our man Corvo.
Guardsman: True enough, sir. I wouldn’t mind but he kept pinching things, too, and people just let him get away with it. Got away with a bloody nice cider.
Overseer: Did you see Corvo meet the Empress?
Guardsman: I didn’t. Me and all the rest of the lads had been called away by the Royal Spymaster by then – you know the Spymaster, right?
Overseer: Of course I know the Spymaster.
Guardsman: Everyone knows the Spymaster. Bloody great Spymaster. Aye, we were all called away by him just before Corvo killed the Empress. Good job for Corvo we were, too, or we would have fed him to the dogs.
Overseer: Very good, guardsman. I think that will be all for today.
Independent assessment of the security systems of Coldridge Prison in response to the recent escape of Corvo Attano [selected excerpts]
I would now like to draw your attention to systemic failings, which undermined the efforts of those guards who were not actively helping people to escape from Coldridge Prison.
1. Guard posting. Despite the modest tally of prisoners that Coldridge Prison actually appears to be responsible for (your records only show an additional three. Is such a large prison really necessary? What are the other rooms actually used for?), the implausible numerical advantage possessed by its guards was effectively nullified by the decision to station them away from the cells and, furthermore, actually facing in the opposite direction. In future, please attempt to ensure that guards can actually see their prisoners, at least periodically.
2. While the idea of having only one exit from the prison and thereby forcing potential escapees into a bottleneck is an admirable one, again, noble intentions were not matched by their execution. In particular, poor lighting meant that deep shadows were present along the entirety of this route, and the wide-open yard, which otherwise would have offered guard patrols a good chance of spying Corvo, was littered with objects that provided him with cover but seem to have served no other purpose. Really, it was fascinating. Why were there so many sheets of metal left propped up in the yard? Or all the skips? Is the prison starting a small haulage business? Or encouraging guards to decorate in their spare time? If so, they have done a terrible job.
3. It should go without mention that weaponry should not be left unattended in the immediate vicinity of the city’s most dangerous criminals, whose crimes range from acts of horrific violence all the way up to killing our late Empress. I hope it will not have to not be mentioned again.
4. It is a small point, only indirectly related to the escape, but, if you do decide that an audio recorder in the torture chamber is an absolute necessity, I would counsel you to actually record the session itself. Documenting treasonous conspiracies and past felonies is an inappropriate use of prison facilities and should be confined to privately-held audio equipment. If an expository paper trail is a total necessity, private journals and diaries, or notes that can be left strewn across the workbenches and dinner tables of Dunwall, are perhaps more suitable.
5. Despite stopping to read every book and slip of paper that he came across, listen to every audiolog, smash every empty bottle, climb every available piece of raised furniture and eat every scrap of tinned fish (was he never fed?), Corvo was not discovered by your men. Guard alertness appears to be an issue.
6. On the subject of all the empty bottles, why were there so many of these liquor bottles and, specifically, why were so many of them empty? While I recognize that the problem afflicts Dunwall more generally, it is understandable that the citizenry of Dunwall should fall back on the crutch of alcohol in such difficult times. But alcohol consumption – especially in such prolific quantities – is unacceptable in the guard of the city’s most secure prison facility. Given the quantity of empty liquor bottles, I must ask if all of your guards are actually drunk all of the time. It would explain a lot.
7. Many of the prison’s doors were locked. In light of the prison’s other failings, this mundane fact seems almost a remarkable accomplishment. But somehow, at each point where a locked door may have halted Corvo’s progress, his passage was enabled by the sudden appearance of an alternative path. At the entrance to the sewers, such a route was actually marked out by a trail of tinned seafood (which, obviously, he devoured entirely). On a second occasion, he only had to wait long enough for someone to open the offending, deviously-locked door. And at a third, Corvo was able to circumvent a locked door simply by climbing around it. This is stupid.
8.Corvo makes a loud whooshing noise when he crouches. How did everyone miss that?
The next reconstructed stage of the escape took place in a region of the jail that offers guards a distinct advantage. The main room is the single route to the prison’s only exit. It is watched by two guards from within two separate guard rooms and patrolled by a third. The door out can only be operated by a switch found within one of the guard rooms. It should be impassable.
If your men had attacked Corvo with knives made from fish and then insulted him about the smell, they would have offered more resistance. The guard room doors were not only unlocked but both rooms were actually also accessible via broken windows, allowing a master assassin to ghost through and incapacitate either guard whilst their back was turned.
In the event, while attempting to silently approach the first man, who was doggedly staring at a blank wall (presumably in case it should attempt to escape, too), Corvo appears to have gotten stuck behind the frame of the window and only stumbled through in time to be spotted by the turning guard. Both individuals evidently panicked at this point, but, flailing his sword around like a blind rhino at a cheese board, the former royal protector prevailed. Perhaps all the tinned food gave him an edge.
Both remaining guardsmen were alerted by the noise and, showing an exceptional grasp of teamwork, the one patrolling outside immediately entered the room through a side door and was impaled by Corvo’s still wildly swinging sword. The third entered more cautiously but was beaten by the escapee’s tactic of, rather ingeniously, cowering in the corner with his sword over his face and occasionally darting forward to stab the guard.
Corvo could have chosen to exploit the room’s other glaring security holes – chiefly, the cover that lined the room and the route over the supposedly securely guarded door, which can be easily reached by clambering up some pipes. That he did not suggests that he accurately judged the competence of your guards, or that he is even stupider than his method of escape suggests.
The single positive to be taken from the recent escape is that it has provided us with a valuable overview of the security of Coldridge Prison (i.e., that it lacks any). Given the institutionalized alcoholism, it is no surprise that your guards lack alertness and occasionally just stare at walls (what are they thinking about? Are they wondering what that loud whooshing noise is?). Yet, even were I to, for some reason, allow for this, the culture of laziness, the disorganization and the downright stupidity apparent in both the layout of the prison and your wardens’ actions means I cannot recommend anything less than entirely restructuring the prison and its staff.
From The Dunwall Hatchet [news cutting]
“Assassin Kills Prominent Socialite: Ludonarrative Dissonance Suspected”
Renowned local industrialist Waverly Boyle is believed to be one of 12 people who were killed last night in an apparently politically motivated attack on her Estate District home.
A single hit man gained entry through an upper window, stealing a number of valuables and disarming several guards, before retracing his steps to enter through sewers, then through the front door using a mislaid invitation and finally through a side door.
The assailant also seems to have navigated his way into and around the building while occupying the body of a rat. Witnesses did refuse to name the exact opening by which the assassin entered the animal but described his demeanour as remaining enthusiastic. They also noted that he looked to be enjoying the freedom offered by his teleportation black magic and the number of routes into the supposedly impregnable building.
Among the victims were a number of maids who were rendered unconscious and left in the cellar. These are believed to have begun disappearing when five or more were stacked together, and many remain missing. The women are recognizable from their identical, stereotypical appearances and studied passive aggression. Overseers are seeking assistance with their inquiries.
Survivors report that the assassin looked well fed. (Cont. p4).