BENEATH THE WHITE CLIFF: A DUNWALL TALE
HORATIO, poor boy
As they stood us over the White Cliff that fell far away to the churning black below, I think we each felt something. The Overseers, cold behind their masks, acted very stiff and mechanically, as if they’d done this a thousand times and were bored. But it was a first for each of us, it was the sort of thing that no one should feel used to. Stolen from our homes late at night, locked away, kept silent by more silent sentinels, then there was the long blind scared trip to the sea, to this spot. I, we somehow each must have known what was coming. The faceless overseers in the street perhaps looking, watching us, a moment too long, City Watch averting their eyes, even Tallboys clanking in a wide berth around knew not to interfere.
I don’t think my parents knew, or they didn’t want to see. They would be scared now, woken to find me gone, only a daughter left when before they too had had a son. As we stood there, eyes out over the cliffs too scared to look down or at one another. I wondered about each of my fear filled companions’ families too, their stories, lives they would have led, cut short for the work of the Abbey, or even shorter by a fall.
I think I had been destined for this; it was fitting with the life of studiousness and prayer I had come to lead. I needed my faith, I needed the Abbey; the only way out of the filthy streets, so lowly born honorless as I was.
But that was behind me now; that was behind all of us now. This moment was all that mattered, and as prepared and certain as I was, still my body quaked with fear.
“… that is behind us now, that life is behind you now, you shall be as our brothers… when only the pure remain.” the overseer pacing behind us whispered. I shivered with excitement this time.
With the crunch of a gravelly bootstep the boy on the far right end screamed and fell away over the cliff, he was unworthy. I must not be; I straightened my back.
The overseer leafed now through some pages, I heard them shuffle, and quickly a boy closer to me fell, he only managed a cry before the wind whipped his body away, but I saw his face, Impure I thought.
Another scream and another fall, another face etched in my mind, Heretic I believed.
With a crunch this time I felt the pressure on my shoulder, and suddenly I was in the wind, I didn’t scream, I only gasped in surprise before darkness fell over me.
I awoke screaming in a pale light on a stone floor, there were but a few rocks jutting up around me and there the world fell away, I was alone.
I peered over the edge, there was a man looking up at me, but that wasn’t what startled me, it was the vast empty nothing on which he stood, just empty air, Void.
His gaunt curious eyes laughed at me as he floated up onto my platform and stood on the rock looking into my eyes. I didn’t know what to say, “Am I dead?” stupid I reproached myself.
“Do you want to be?” he now held a blade in his hand, balancing the sharp point almost dancing on his palm.
“No but… I thought… I’m unworthy…”
The blade was gone, his arms folded, “for the overseers? Maybe so or maybe it was a mistake, he tripped and shoved you, or maybe they just don’t care much for worth, and only luck chooses the survivors. Maybe I have a hand in these things.” Again I didn’t know what to say, what even to think.
In his hollow smirking tone, he continued, “Do you like games? You grew up living cheaply; did you ever use your imagination and invent creative play?” I nodded, both in answer and at the strangeness of the query.
He smiled mischievously, “Go and play.”
Black and wind.
Now I was falling toward the sea, the crashing waves were almost upon me. I curled up in fear, and I crashed and scraped into solid rock, slipping I grabbed for a handhold and found a shallow cleft. I curled into the cliff face, confused and more alone. The waves crashed mere feet below me, the sun was setting, and it would have been a beautiful sight had I not felt so lost.
SILMAN, rat catcher
There were lights atop the cliff tonight, brightening the speckled black sky. They wouldn’t see me rowing in this gloom, not from up there. The waves battered my little dingy, it was a struggle but my precious cargo gave my hand strength and my mind inspiration to continue. My eyes were tearing up as I thought of Her…
We’d come out here one night, before we were wed. Those pale white cliffs were gorgeously matched to Her skin; She teased and taunted me, She laughed at my excitement. I ravenously mauled that perfect flesh, She’d giggled then resisted, but in the morning She broke Her silence only to tell me we had to marry now. So we did that very morning, She grew to love me, even my ravenous hungers.
It was a ravenous hunger I saw in Her blood red eyes last night as She clawed for me held at arms length. I cried as I caved Her skull in, I’d never seen a more beautiful kill. That must have been what brought the tears, the raw beauty in the blood as She stopped breathing, the life, and the disease left Her body.
I said my short good byes and dumped Her over, She floated palely glowing in the moonlight, and then She faded, inky black hair in tendrils sinking beneath the inky black waves. As black as ever, even after all these years some things remain constant. Surrounded in blackness alone I wept anew.
The lights were fading from the cliffs above, as the waves rocked me I heard a peculiar sort of splash and a sputtering cry; I didn’t look up, assuming it was one more friend for Her to keep company… I’d never been able to give Her the children She wanted, perhaps this was, suitably, the best I could do, a never ending supply of the lost to mother.
There was suddenly a soaking boy in my boat looking at me with scared eyes. He didn’t say anything. I didn’t know what to say, grief and confusing must have masked my face. There was a long incomprehensible moment, and an infectious smile overtook me from nowhere. So I took back up the oars and headed for home.
Word of Warning: Dishonored fanboyism incoming, i’ve seen tons of gameplay and read the interviews and articles, never had the luxury to afford the game. I’ve never been one for fan fiction, but i love have a knack for writing, so why not give it a go in hope of winning the game itself? Inspired by “Litany on the White Cliff” and of course "Dishonored"