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Monday 17 March 2014

The passage of the undead, episode 1

It was with a crash and a boom that I was awoken from my eternal slumber- not so eternal as the wardens of my cell believed it to be. Someone, a knight of some sort had dropped a body in with me. I frowned at it for a moment before drawing the long forgotten energy from my undead bones and climbing to my feet, broken sword in hand and ready should this be some kind of trap.
I searched the body and found a key on it - male or female I was unsure, it didn't matter to me at that point in my un-life.
With apprehension I put the key to the lock and turned it. The door swung open and excitement flooded through me. I was free... I could leave the asylum. were I alive I'm certain tears would have begun to stream from my eyes.
I took my first steps from my cell and began on my way, learning as I went what had once been common knowledge to me. attacks, movement, dodging and protecting myself with a simple shield that I picked up in my escape. Guards didn't roam the halls of the asylum, but hollow cell mates did. undead that had lost completely what made them human. I dispatched them with ease, they weren't the threat within the asylum.
It was the Demon that brought fear to my weak bones. blow after blow he saw through my rolls and my blocks. slash after slash he tore through me. Time after time he killed me, but for the regenerative properties of the bonfire outside his dwelling I would surely have hollowed like the other inhabitants of the asylum.
Feeling thoroughly outmatched I once more step through the breach, this time resolved to my fate. I step into his home and a vision comes to me, words from another soul, a kindred stranger who had been through this before.
"Left" it said. As my mind cleared I looked up, unsure what to make of it. The demon glared down at me from it's perch above and it jumped. it's hammer falling down towards me. I rolled to the left and landed on my feet, looking up at... a doorway. My eyes widened in surprise. Left it had said. A path out!
I fled with all my dignity in the wind and rolled through the gateway. Feeling, more than seeing the flush of air at my back as the hammer came down just beyond the doorway. A moment longer and I would be dead. I stand and look back... laughter, that's what I would have produced had I still been alive. It was so close I would have had no choice but to laugh my elation.
But I was not alive. Not any longer.
I turned from the demon, angrily hissing it's disgust that I had fled and soldiered forth.
the winding corridors led me past other hollowed undead, skeletal in their malnutrition they were a puny task compared to the demon I had escaped. a few held weapons and armour above the standing of my own, but none lasted long once I chose to defeat them.
I found stronger weapons and a better shield along the path, readying me for bigger and badder things. It was shortly after laughing to myself that I'd be fine so long as I didn't have to fight against that damn demon again when I found myself once more before his doors. the corridors had lead me around in a circle.
I stared up at the great doors, heart pounding in my chest... except... it can't have been. My heart didn't beat anymore, yet I could feel it. Perhaps like those who have lost a limb and find themselves with a phantom itch on their missing apendage those who had lost their life would suffer a phantom heart beat from time to time.
I sighed, warming myself by the bonfire for a moment and steeled myself. I could do this; I was stronger than I had been the first time the beast had bested me. I had stronger weapons, better shields and a new wealth of experience.
I was not the weak Undead I had started as... yet that first monster to kill me still held a grip upon my heart. I had no choice however. I moved forward. I pressed my hand againts the door and- it wuldn't budge... it had been barred...
Relief, shock and bewilderment flooded through me. Was I trapped in here now? Had I missed my chance to escape?
I stepped back and searched the room. Nothing. I returned the way I came and instead of coming down the stairs I began my journey upward- no sooner had I started moving did I feel the rumble and hear the bangs of movement. I looked up to fine somethign large and heavy flying towards me. I leap aside and watch it roll past, narrowly missing me before it slammed into and through a wall below.
Curious I followed it through into the room beyond to find a man, lying on his back atop a mound of rubble. Careful and cautious I move closer, blade in hand. He looks up at me and I see the relief in his eyes.
"Oh, you.... Your no hollow, hm?" He says, calm, as if he didn't appear to be upon his death bed. "Thank goodness. I'm done for I'm afraid. My insides are damaged. I'll die soon, then lose my sanity. I can feel it coming. I wish to ask something of you. You are a godsend, to come at this moment." He chuckled, as if to a joke that I had not been made aware of, before looking back to me. "You and I, we're both undead; hear me out will you?"
I paused for a moment but then nodded, stepping closer and kneeling before him.
"Thank you. Regrettably; I have failed in my mission, but perhaps you can keep the torch lit. There is an old saying in my family; Thou who art Undead, art chosen... In thine exodus from the Undead Asylum, maketh pilgrimage to the land of Ancient Lords... When thou ringeth the Bell of Awakening, the fate of the Undead thou shalt know."
He coughed and gagged for a moment, but he didn't move. I frowned down at him, certain that he would not speak again, but then he continued.
"Thank you for hearing me out... Well, now you know, and I can die with hope in my heart..." He coughed again, a great gurgle of a cough. Sputtering before one final utterance. "Oh, one more thing: Here, take this. An Estus Flask, an Undead favourite. it should prove useful." He laughed, offering me a golden bottle. Once more it was a knowing laugh that I was yet to understand. I do not claim not to have felt joy as the laughter moved into a final coughing fit. "Oh, and this..." he handed me a key. "Now I must bid farewell... I would hate to harm you after death... So, go now... And thank you...."
His body fell limp and he was gone.
I sighed and stood up, returning back through the wall to the stairs. I looked back at his body once more, then down at the flask. It would serve as a reminder what could still happen were I not careful.
The home for the key was not far, up the stairs and behind an armoured hollow. I made short work of him and continued. Three more undead, lost to madness fell before my blade before I found myself at a wall of mist.
Once more I steeled myself uncertain of what was to come. would I even survive the transference to the other side? I took a breath and stepped through it.
I found myself on a small balcony, over looking the demon. It stared up at me with all the hate and malice it could offer and my mind went back to my first moments out of the cell.
I thought about the excitement, the relief and the posibilities that lay before me... and now- staring down at the demon of the asylum I can't help but wonder if I had made the right choice. If I had not been foolish by venturing out of my terribly safe cell.
I shook my head. It was far too late to wonder.
I leapt from the balcony, my new weapon in hand and planted it into the head of the demon. blood flowed freely from the wound, but it was not defeated. I leapt from its head to land behind it. I spun on my heal and struck again, Once, twice, three times in it's back. It spun with it's hammer and I rolled away. It staggered adn I moved back in for the kill. My sword struck deep into it's gut, I almost grinned at my achievement, but I was thrown back by the power of the demons great weapon.
I felt my ribs crushed under the pressure. I felt my head swim. I felt the blood in my veins stop for a second... and I knew that I was going to die again.
All that training, all those souls and I was going to die again... my hand brushed against something warm on my hip. I pushed myself to my feet and checked my hip to find the flask that the knight had given me.
I looked up at the Demon baring down on me and took a sip of the flask. I had figured that I might as well get something to drink before I die, but then something unexpected happened... my bones healed my mind cleared. The demon struck forth and I rolled past its attack, coming up at it's back. I spun to face it and struck again, and again. My blade carving great chunks from its hide.
strike after strike buried into the beast, long after it was dead. Even as it's body turned to naught I found myself still striking, so happy to have bested such a foe.
Finally I fell to the floor in exhaustion and I allowed myself a moment to rest before leaving through the gate that the demon was guarding.


Well that was my first experience of Dark Souls, retold as a narrative.  Something that a vlogger said recently was that the reason they like Dark souls is that every persons story in it is different. they might go to the same places or kill the same monsters, btu every one of them has a fundamentally different story, so I decided to tell mine.
There will be at least 1 more of these, as I have just completed the next boss, but beyond that I'm not sure. hopefully I'll complete it, but I'm not very trustworthy with such things.

- James

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