- The prologue is a tearjerker in spades. Corvo is a legendary warrior, but he's helpless to stop Daud from killing Jessamine and taking Emily. And with the hints in the game, confirmed in the sequel, that Corvo and Jessamine were lovers and Emily is his daughter, it's so much worse.
- Emily's letter, which you read in an Alternate Dimension:Corvo, I am very sad. They say that you are dead like Mother, but I'm going to put this note in a bottle and throw it into the river because I do not believe them. Living here is very strange. I do not like it, so please come for me if you can.
- Not to mention the pose Corvo finds Emily in - caught in the act by the Pendleton twins.
- Emily's conversation with Callista, after the former is brought to the Hound Pits Pub by Corvo:Emily: Callista, I don't want to look around right now.Callista: Of course. We can give you the tour later, when you've rested.Emily: I was wondering, do you think my mother is really dead? I saw her get stabbed, but maybe she was still alive and got better. Is that possible?Callista: I'm sorry, Emily. But no. She did not survive...Emily: Oh... Did you go to her funeral? Was it fancy and beautiful?Callista: A train of carriages rode through the city. It was very beautiful. Flowers everywhere, and thousands of people wept because they will miss her.Emily: I wish I could have seen it.Callista: I'm sorry, dear.
- The Heart makes an observation about Callista, who is teaching Emily how to be a lady.She dreams of freedom, and the decks of whaling ships fast after the beasts of sea. But alas, she is a woman.
- After kidnapping Sokolov, you can go see Emily in bed, tossing, turning and sleep-talking from a nightmare as Callista can only sit next to her while she fitfully sleeps.
- Before kidnapping Sokolov, Emily hopefully asks Callista if there's a chance that her mother somehow survived being stabbed by Daud and is in hiding somewhere. Callista has to tell her that no, her mother is definitely dead.
- The Heart's Despair Event Horizon.The Heart: Such misery! Such corruption! Please, don't make me look at it any longer.
Why am I so cold?What have they done to me?Can you hear them too? Crying out in the dark?I am not alive - nor have I received the gift of death.
- Between the explanations about the location or person, the Heart sometimes seems to become self-aware, leading to it lamenting or questioning it's state.
"Why have you brought me here? Am I to forgive this man for what he has done?"
- And the Fridge Horror implied by what happens when you use it on Daud, head of the assassins.
When not as his post, he searches for his sister, missing a week now.The floods took his home and family.He misses the days he spent at sea.His is worried, he hasn't heard from her in four days.
- Not only is The Empress dead, but her spirit is bound inside her OWN HEART, which The Outsider then gave to her lover as a magical "artifact" to carry around with him.
- The Heart's secrets regarding the guards are usually about what awful people they are. But every once and again you find good people among them, or otherwise good men brought to the breaking point by the waking nightmare that Dunwall has become who would rather be doing anything than the cruel, brutal work they find themselves in. All thanks to the Lord Regent they find themselves serving.
- When it's initially implied Havelock had the entirety of the Hound's Pit staff murdered.
- And then you find their bodies, wrapped in rough cloth and lying in the dirt with blood pooled under them. And then, just to twist the knife, you can find a note on Wallace's body from Pendleton, telling Wallace that he and the rest of the staff are going to be rewarded for their loyal service.
- In the sewers after you break out of prison, there are two plague corpses off to one side, hugging each other, with a journal that indicates that they couldn't afford enough elixir, and decided to just wait it out in each other's arms, hoping their fire would keep the rats away.
- Another pair of, this time men, is found at the end of Daud's base. They seem to be good friends. One of them has gone blind from the plague and thinks he is in a dark basement. He tells his buddy that others survived the plague to which he responds that it's "one in a thousand, ten thousand probably". The man replies that that's still a chance and goes on to say all the things he will do when he recovers. The entire time he is disparately trying to convince himself that he will live, though it is obvious that he is one step away from being a weeper. The entire time, his buddy knows that he is also infected and is just cradling him in his arms. Then the blind one dies and his buddy asks you why you're here if you're not contaminated... If you leave and come back to him a little later, you'll see that he dragged himself and his dead friend to beds and started sleeping.
- Both High Chaos endings. If you spared him, Samuel is swept away by a giant wave. If you didn't, Corvo spends a quiet - possibly remorseful - moment at his graveside. Emily and Corvo cannot prevent Dunwall's ruination - if Emily survived. Her death only speeds Dunwall's complete and total collapse.
- Daud's speech to Corvo when Corvo confronts him in a Low Chaos Pacifist Run, culminating in Daud's words to Corvo if Corvo sheathes his weapons and steps back, silently granting Daud his life. Daud's almost awed tone just makes it all the more powerful.Daud: And you choose mercy. Extraordinary... Unexpected.
- Let that last word sink in just a little bit. He fully expected Corvo to kill him for his crimes.
- More than half of The Heart's lines fall under this heading, especially when the sheer misery of the setting's inhabitants begins filtering through. In these lines, almost every single unnamed NPC ends up getting painted as The Woobie: male survivors have lost everything to the flood and the plague, are forced to perform backbreaking work that their superiors will never be satisfied with and driven to steal from their fellow workers just to get by; female survivors have to starve themselves just to make sure their children are fed, and are often driven to alcoholism; the servants are horribly mistreated, deep in debt, worried that the other servants don't like them, and likely to be killed by weepers; the prostitutes are little more than slaves, taken from broken homes, shipped into the Golden Cat under the belief that they'd be working in a factory, terrorized by the Madame and in danger of catching the plague from their clients... even brutal enemies like the members of the Bottle Street Gang and the City Watch have a few lines that make them genuinely pitiable. The Weepers aren't much better, since they fell to the plague. The Heart will mention that one of them may have gotten the plague while attending to their children, for example. Most saddening of all is the fact that many NPCs are revealed to be contemplating suicide in some way - and for good reason.
- In the Flooded District quest you come across a plague-ridden woman in an apartment. Every noise she makes is subtitled, so enjoy "hacking cough" and "weeping" flashing across your screen every five seconds. Then you get to her dialogue, where she'll give you advice on getting into the city and, if you hang around, mockingly accuse you of wanting to save her. Finally, point the Heart at her. Her children were desperate to hide her, but she deliberately handed herself in to protect them from the Watch and so she wouldn't waste their food. Now, she's just waiting for death. Finally, you can find a letter on her bed what is either her husband or one of her children. The letter promises that her family will care for her and doesn't care about her illness, begging her to stay with them instead of dying far away and alone. It ends with a desperate "I love you".
- In Knife Of Dunwall Billie Lurk's death in Low Chaos is an absolute heart-breaker. She smiles at him. Daud actually holds her hand. And the narration only makes it worse: She smiled because she remembered when she first met Daud, where he spared her life and made her an assassin, the best day she ever had.
- If you thought Daud deserved his fate at the end of the main game, your opinion will be changed after playing Brigmore Witches on Low Chaos. Almost every moment during the lengthy ending is a tear jerker for Daud.
- Actually, during the Main Game, if one listens to his audio recording, Daud will explain about how - out of all the things he has done - he regrets having killed the Empress and not the Spymaster. He is a murderer and would stab Corvo in the blink of an eye, but he is also fully aware that he had commited one murder that was undeserved and one murder that he should have done instead yet didn't.
- In the epilogue of the main game (at least in the Low Chaos ending), the Outsider says that when you die decades later, Emily lays you to rest in Jessamine's tomb, the implication being that she was the true love of Corvo's life. And he lost her tragically young.
- Everything Cecelia says. Not only is the text itself extremely sad, what with her saying that she fully expect to be the first one to be eliminated or fired when the Conspiracy disband, but it's her resigned tone that makes it truly tear jerking.
- If you fail to save Captain Curnow, Callista will comment about how much she will miss her uncle, noting that he was good man, better than her own father. Later, you get to listen to her reminiscing about their family (all dead except the two of them) and how much of a hero he was to them. Considering that Curnow is one of the few uncorrupted men who joined the Watch to help people, not saving him is a choice not many make during their playthroughs.
- Despite his betrayal, Teague Martin's last words before committing suicide are still pretty depressing.Martin: "I was born into nothing, and it's nothing I'll return to."
- During a low chaos play through, some of Cecilia's dialogue implies that Martin and Pendleton felt guilty and remorseful about having the other residents of the Hounds Pit Pub executed.Cecilia: "Pendleton kept apologizing. Martin was drinking and seemed sad."
- And her saying she thought Lydia would give her up, but instead Lydia told Havelock to screw himself.
- While racing up the High Chaos lighthouse, you will find a dead maid on the steps up to where Havelock and Emily are. She has a gun, and it doesn't look like she was using it on herself. Here's a post that flat out hands you the implication.Shes a generic NPC without a background (or likely a purpose beyond being an extra bit of gruesome high chaos decoration)but looking at her and thinking about where shes found, I somehow got the feeling that maybe she was killed while trying to intervene, or even just put in a word of protest, when Havelock started dragging Emily up the lighthouse steps?
Which then got me thinking about how many women a high chaos!Emily has seen brutally murderedin front of her, trying to protect herin less than a year: her mother Jessamine, then Callista, and now this poor maid, who would have barely known Emily but would pay the ultimate price for her anyway.
- The unnamed noble encountered in The Knife of Dunwall who is trapped during the Trisch campaign. While he talks in a condescending voice, he not only gives you the means to a nonlethal solution, he even explains how he went to great lengths to ensure he doesn't involve any servants or guards into it. And why did he do all that? Because he (as many others) got accused of being infected and will be send to the Flooded District, dooming him to become a Weeper.
- The guards that Daud can save from execution in prison. They get killed since they allowed Corvo to escape. If Daud does nothing, then they get shot then and there. If he kills/knocks out the two executioners, then they will run and hide in a spot, cowering in fear. And while Daud might have saved them now, it is impossible to help them out of the prison, leaving their ultimate fate vague.
Tear Jerker / Dishonored