Jessamine Kaldwin I is the late Empress of the Empire of the Isles, who is killed by the assassin Daud on the orders of the Royal Spymaster Hiram Burrows. Before her death, Jessamine watches helplessly as her daughter, Emily Kaldwin, is kidnapped by Daud’s assassins.
As she passes, she charges Corvo Attano with the safe return and protection of her beloved child. Her body and circumstance are later used to charge Corvo with treason, kidnapping, and murder.
Born to Euhorn and Beatrix Kaldwin on the 3rd day of the Month of Earth, 1805, Jessamine is the second ruler in the Kaldwin line, which rose to power after Empress Larisa Olaskir was assassinated and left the former ruling dynasty with no heir. After naming Corvo Attano her Royal Protector at age 12, she was crowned soon after her father’s death in 1825. While her father presided over a period of relative peace and prosperity, Jessamine’s time as ruler saw “political intrigue and minor conflicts that created cracks in the Empire, undermining unity across the Isles.” The exact nature of these conflicts is unknown.
Jessamine committed herself to a just and compassionate rule, doing whatever it took to alleviate the suffering of her people. For instance, she rejects Hiram Burrows’ proposal to establish quarantines and a deportation program as a response to the rat plague, believing they should value the lives of all of Dunwall’s citizens. She is also a very trusting person, which strained her relationship with the paranoid Royal Spymaster, and likewise blinded her to his scheming.
Jessamine was both loved and hated by the people that she served – commendations and condemnations of her can be found throughout Dunwall in the form of graffiti and overheard conversations.