• Published 25th Aug 2016
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Of Cinder and Ash - OpenPage



The land of Lothric is dangerous and untamed, Survival isnt certain for a certain purple unicorn.

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Chapter 1 - Iudex Gundyr

Chapter 2

Twilight started her short trek down the sloping trail weaving through the tombstones and open caskets. The path curved down until it came to a shallow body of water at the bottom. Taking in the long pond along the bottom of the path, she prodded the water to check its depth and was surprised to see it was only a half a hoof deep. Twilight placed her hooves in the water and started her long trudge through the waters towards wherever the path would lead.

Twilight immediately noticed what seemed to be a bipedal figure in a cloak standing off a short distance away in a slightly deeper part of the water. The bipedal figure was facing away so she couldn’t make out its features.

She called out to the figure and hoped it would have some answers. “Hello, can you help me? I don’t know wher...” her words died in her throat as the figure turned around, showing itself to be a skeleton holding a longsword with hollow sockets for eyes.

Stumbling backwards, not understanding the monstrosity she was seeing; It walked towards her making loud gurgles and screeches, swinging its sword whenever it got even remotely within striking distance. Just the sight of Twilight seemed to have enraged it. Twilight screamed as she tried to back away but hit a stone wall. The Skeleton stood atop of her and brought his sword down, the armor withstood the blade but the power behind the swing bruised her ribs. Flipping over and trying to scramble away, the skeleton got a deep slice across her back. Blood came oozing out of the wound, causing twilight to cry out in agony, feebly trying to push it away with her magic all she could do was scream as it cut off her back right hoof. She watched in horror as it tumbled into the water.

The Corpse looked down at her; realizing its prey was going to die on its own, it began to wander back towards its original position, staring blankly at the wall. Twilight could feel her lifeforce draining quickly, she was groggy and confused from blood loss she tried to reach for her hoof. Leaning forward she fell into the blood soaked water. The world began to lose color and twilight started to feel the numbing effects of blood loss as the world started to go dark. Twilight duly notes her hoof bobbing in the water next to her, the lavender a stark contrast from the murky water.

I miss spike,’”she thought as the last breath of life left her, and then she was standing next to the grave that she had originally dug herself out of.

Scrambling around looking herself over she saw her hoof was back and the gaping cut through her back armor was repaired. “I-i’m alive?!” she called out, only realizing a moment later that anything that hears her might not be as nice as she thought. Flicking up the faceplate and cautiously walking down to the water to see her face, the familiar sight helping her calm down from the fight.

After a few moments, Twilight decided that this problem wasn’t going to stop her. Twilight stood up and put her faceplate back into position and set off toward the skeleton, determined to deal with this new challenge.

Twilight clumsily drawing her sword and holding it out in front of her, she rounded the corner to see the skeleton exactly where it was standing before, looking away like before. Seeing the skeleton again made her squirm from the remembrance of not even five minutes ago dying, But she pushed forwards towards the threat.

She Crawled through the water as slowly as possible to not draw its attention. Getting as close as possible without it turning around she got ready to try and stab it in the back. The sword wavered in the air as she stabbed forward and missed over its shoulder the first strike. The skeleton turned around with its sword at bear, towering over twilight. Taking a quick slice in its general direction, twilight saw the monstrosity’s arm not holding the sword fall to the ground.

The Skeleton, taking a swipe at Twilight, was able to cut her along the left hoof. Trembling from the pain, Twilight stabbed at the skeleton’s stomach and managed to pierce it straight through the abdomen. It howled, and cut twilight directly across the face. The pain driving her to finish it off quickly cut it directly in half at the hip. Letting out a sigh she checked over her wounds quickly to see if she was bleeding badly. Twilight was surprised to find her wounds open but no blood coming from them. Dropping back to the ground as the thought of the crime she just committed, she reminded herself that it was an act of desperation at the moment.Pulling herself off the ground, She bowed slightly at where the body disappeared wishing it best wherever it may go. Raising her head she looked around in hopes of finding out which direction she would need to go.

Once Twilight got to her hooves, she noticed two paths, one to the right, into a small crevice, and another to the left, where another skeleton was standing around a fountain. She decided she wasn’t in the right mindset to deal with that moral crisis, so Twilight set off down the right path first. Trotting along the right trail, which seemed to lead through a tiny ravine leading into a basin like area at the end; Twilight thought about whether she should have killed it or tried talking to the skeleton again. Rationalizing that the skeleton would have killed her again and that what she did was for the best. Angry that she was put into a predicament where she was forced to kill and reason with herself why it was ok to do, she pressed forward towards the end of the tiny ravine.

Turning left into the basin, she stopped dead in her tracks as she saw a body lying against a rough, bumpy rock wall. The body, a scraggly man with a short blonde beard; wasn’t what made her stop though, it was the orb of white light hovering over it. Edging her way closer to the body she wondered why this corpse stayed but the Skeleton turned to ash. Her contemplation ended when she got close enough to touch the light.

Sticking a hoof out she hesitantly poked the orb and it flashed and disappeared leaving a small white blob with a weird face no bigger than a grapefruit floated in front of her. It let out a small moan and flew into Twilight. Twilight could feel a little strength come back to her; Feeling more like her usual self she looked around to inspect the rock walls and vines hanging about. Twilight was surprised to find the walls were made of limestone, yet she couldn’t identify the fauna the roots came from. Satisfied with her inspection of the area and finding nothing else of interest she started her trek back to the fountain. The fountain coming into view, with the skeleton sitting towards the fountain in front of it as well.

Pulling out her sword and shield this time, she started towards the corpse. “Ok, it’s just a skeleton, you can do this’Twilight thought as she got into a shaky stance, holding her shield out to protect her.

The undead groaned as it turned around and got the first strike in, taking a quick swipe that hit her shield and was deflected. Twilight lowered her shield and attacked with a counterstrike, taking a swing at the Skeletons abdomen, her sword missing and cutting across the right femur of the Monster. The corpse howled out and went straight in for a cut ignoring the damage, catching twilight across her back that cut that would deep enough to bleed. Twilight staggered from the laceration, recovering quickly and lunging in for a stab.Twilight caught the skeleton in the upper chest and it fell over with a screech and disappeared into ash.

“I’ll have to look into where these bodies are disappearing to.” muttering to herself trying to not go into science mode.

Sheathing the sword and slinging the shield onto her back she winced and limped around looking for any of the small white orbs. Twilight spotted one hovering over another body leaning against the stone fountain. The body seemed to be just skin stretched over bone, Hollow and thin. Cantering over quickly she poked the orb and it dropped a small pouch onto the ground in front of her. Twilight Picked the bag up in her magic and opened it, to notice another of the green flasks, this one had blue flames swirling inside. Next to the flask was a note, picking it out of the bag she began to read it, hoping to get a glimpse of information of this world.

Tild, I will need my ashen flask back soon, magic is my only defense and it takes to long to recharge without a recharge. I’m still worried about you forgetting your estus flask, you WILL need to heal in those mad charges of your’s. If I don’t hear from you in three days, I will wait for you in the firelink shrine. Give the firekeeper the ashen flask if I am not there.

Your Friend,
Lugeus

Taking in this new information, She opened her small brown bag. Hoping someone would tell her if one of her friends passed away; she decided to keep the note. Twilight stuffed the note in her bag hoping to let this Lugeus know of his friend’s demise. Not knowing where or what this firelink shrine was or who this firekeeper is, she questioned if it was even possible to find this pony or place.

Hesitantly she pulled out the flask with the orange flame, now knowing it was called an estus flask. Worrying that the fire might be dangerous, even fatal to drink, she reminded herself that she most likely would just appear back at the grave. Twilight put it to her lips and took a quick swig of the fire expecting it to burn as it went down. Twilight’s eyes went wide as it went down smooth and her back felt instant relief, as if it wasn’t injured at all. The fire tasting of orange juice, which Twilight found odd; She put the flask back in her bag and tied both bags to her side. Getting ready to continue forward she saw a skeleton up some stairs guarding another small ravine passage. Behind the skeleton though was open air it seemed so that’s the way twilight decided to head next.

Trotting through dilapidated ruins and pillars towards the stairs and skeleton, Twilight kept her trot steady. Once she got close enough she noticed it didn’t have the cloak and sword, but old looking armor and a crossbow. The thought crossed her mind a second too late as a a crossbow bolt went by and lodged itself into her shoulder. Letting out a scream, she pushed forward pulling her shield close and in front of her. About ten meters from the undead she felt a thump against her shield, realizing the skeleton was still firing with little chance to hit her.

“These skeletons are persistent’” she thought as she felt another thump hit her shield.

Getting close enough to see its feet she slashed at its head and caught it in the neck. The skeleton fell with little sound and disappeared leaving nothing behind. Feeling more confident with her sword, she trotted through the small ravine and came to the edge of a cliff with a path leading upwards to her left. Twilight didn’t notice the path till minutes later because she came across a sight that would never leave her.

Snow-capped mountains sprawled along the horizon with the setting sun off in the distance glimmering off the peaks. Fog cutting off the ground from sight as the tips of the mountain looked to be shining from the setting sun reflecting on the snow. Standing in awe for a few minutes to take in the sight, Twilight shook herself out of her stare and started left up the path, being cautious of the ledge. Peeking to her right every few seconds as she climbed higher to look out at the mountains. Reaching the plateau at the end of the upward slope, Twilight immediately noticed a bonfire similar to the one in her house sitting near the rock wall away from the cliff.

Galloping over, she stuck her hoof at the sword and felt relief that she was finally going home. Seconds turned to a minute and dread started to overtake Twilight, repeatedly jabbing her hoof at the sword in a panic; Twilight let out a wail as her recently found hope turned to ash. Falling to a laying position to wallow, a sound of fire erupting rang out. Not caring about anything, she let her sadness out in tears. Looking up when her tears dried she felt her shoulder wound closing and the arrow disappear. Twilight realized that sitting here and moping wouldn’t get her anywhere

Building up the courage and remembering her goal, Twilight pulled out her sword and shield to move on as she stood up, and turned to continue along the path. As she was about to set off she remembered the estus flask with fire in it. Thinking that maybe she should try and fill the flask with the fire’s flames, as ridiculous as that sounded. Pulling out the flask and running it through the fire, she was satisfied and perplexed to see when she pulled it back that the flames licked at the lip of the flask, never overflowing. Turning the flask over she found the fire seemed to defy gravity and stay inside. Storing it in her bag she took a look around to see where the path was going to lead.

Off in the distance she could see a small coliseum and past that an ancient looking ruin that towered over the surrounding landscape. Looking back at the path, she noticed the path leads down and left around a large rock and through a dusty, rocky trail. At the end twilight could see a skeleton standing, staring daggers at her but not moving. Getting into a fighting position twilight started her short crawl towards the undead.

Once twilight got close enough for the undead to start moving towards her, she got into her fighting stance and held her ground. The undead stumbled towards her and took a swipe with his broadsword. Twilight using her magic tried a teleportation spell behind the skeleton. Feeling her magic pull into her horn she cast the spell to feel it fizzle out as it left her. Making a snap decision Twilight jumped left out of the way with no time to bring her shield up. With the skeletons sword splitting hairs on her coat she jabbed her sword forward, killing the skeleton

“Why won’t my teleport work?” Twilight groaned “Now i have to deal with skeletons and no magic, other than telekinesis.”

. Putting her sword back on her back; she trotted past the falling body towards where the skeleton came from. She came across a ledge, above a crevice with a closed casket inside it. Seeing another white orb on top of the casket she got into position to hop on top of it.

“Ok, It’s just a hop, a skip, and a jump” she said to herself hyping herself up for the jump.

Getting a running start, Twilight jumped when she reached the edge. Forgetting about the weight of her armour, Twilight clumsily fell, Not use to moving in her heavy and unusual gear to land properly. Slamming into the coffin, she felt the air leave her lungs from the heavy impact. Twilight laid there for a moment to let herself steady. Feeling better she brought herself to her hooves, Looking over to the orb she leaned towards it and touched it, dropping a small piece of metal onto the casket in front of her. Picking it up and looking it over, and finding nothing of interest, she dropped it in her pouch for later. Hopping off the casket she followed the path and found a small drop that seemed to lead directly above a skeleton. Seeing that the skeleton hadn’t noticed her yet she decided to hop on top of it and stab it on her way down.

She got into position and jumped down onto the unsuspecting skeleton, Catching it in the skull, and killing it without making a sound. Twilight was already trekking past the body turning to ash when she saw she was coming up on the coliseum she saw from the bonfire, guarded by an undead archer. Keeping her shield up, she pushed towards the archer, hoping to get close enough to cut it before it shoots more than once. Feeling the shield push against her magic, she knew an arrow hit its mark. Feeling her shield hit a solid, she pulled her shield back and swung missing the skeleton when it dodged right out of the swipe. Leaning down and putting an arrow in her chest the archer went to reload his crossbow. Twilight, in pain and annoyed for missing her window, stabbed the skeleton in the chest, watching it fall to ash.

Twilight pulled the arrow out, took out her estus flask and took a drink, and watched as the wound healed in front her. “Stupid skeletons sure are agile for being only bone, somehow moving without muscles. Maybe this place has stronger magic than I initially thought” she muttered to herself while entering the coliseum.

Entering the circular room, she immediately took notice of the crushing, dark atmosphere. Stairs covered in candles throwing an eerie light into the area with the setting sun. The stairs led down into a middle platform with a large bipedal set of armor held up by what seemed to be its halberd jammed into the ground for support. Edging herself forward in case it decided to attack, she got closer and noticed a spear jammed into its upper right chest. When she was only twenty feet from the armor she noticed the rippling darkness emanating from its back, flowing in what seemed to be an almost fluid like movement.

After taking a better look and realizing it was a pole like blade in the armor, she took pause. “Should I pull the sword out?” twilight mused, thinking that the sword might make a better weapon against the skeletons than her current one.

Grabbing the hilt of the sword in her magic, she yanked out the blade, as she did so the wound in the chest closed in front of her and the armor stood for the first time in centuries. Letting out a groan, the towering armor stood tall, the pus of man squirming along it’s back.

Looking down upon twilight, the armor exclaimed in a booming voice “Young unkindled, are you the one who has challenged me?”

“Uh, if you mean did I pull the sword out, then yes that was me.” twilight said nervously bringing up her weapon, just in case.

“Hmm, you don’t look strong small one” the armor snorted through it’s helmet “times have changed.”

Looking around rapidly, Twilight could see it stalking closer, pulling up the bardiche in what looked like it’s fighting stance. Not seeing another way to stall while she came up with a plan, she yelled out the first thing that came to mind.

Twilight yelled “Wait, before we fight can you tell me what that stuff on your back is? And who are you?” Hoping to buy some time to build a plan.

“Ah, I am Iudex Gundyr, and this is the pus of man, a corrosive and dark substance that eats at your very souls itself, but it has given me power”

“If its that bad, then why have it?”

“Because I now have the power to test if new unkindled are truly strong enough to save the age of fire, I missed my time, so I am ok with giving my soul as the price to save this flame,” Gundyr exclaimed “now stop stalling, it is time to fight!”

Gundyr charged at twilight full force, at a speed twilight could almost not follow. Dodging left she barely missed getting sliced in two by the bardiche or getting knocked over by the blast of wind.

“Hm you managed to dodge my first attack,” Iudex said turning to face twilight “be proud young equine, not many unkindled can say that” Straight back on the attack, he jumped at twilight almost impaling her; twilight knocked away the halberd with her shield at the last moment. Slicing twice at Gundyr twilight saw that she was cutting through the armor and making small cuts along the barely seen skin below. As this thought crossed her mind a shadow fell over her and she felt herself get crushed to the ground.

“Hm, that was too quick equine” Gundyr pushed down onto Twilight “When you come back through we will need to work on that survivability”

“Be strong, because if you truly wish to help this world,” The armor said pushing down on Twilights barrel “you will die fighting your enemies more then you will fighting me”

”I just want to go home!”Twilight sobbed out as the crushing weight of his foot cracked her ribs.

“You will need to survive this world to get back to yours young one,” Gundyr said pushing down on twilight more and more. Twilight’s body cracking and bleeding, flattening as blood flowed from her ears.

“I will end you!” twilight screeched as her body gave out and she was flattened. Next thing she knew she was standing back at the bonfire overlooking the mountain. “He wants me to kill him, fine I’ll kill him” twilight snarled, too angry to think about the consequences of this thought process.

3rd Attempt

“AGGGHH”

15 DEATHS LATER

“Ok I think I found out his fighting style, I can do this!”

27 DEATHS LATER

“How did I fall off a cliff?!”

34th boss fight Attempt

Entering the arena for what seemed to be the millionth time twilight yelled out “I’m back Gundyr! Lets finish this!” Looking around for the hulking armor and not finding an trace of it. Hearing a creak from above she looked up and saw Gundyr perched in the large tree overlooking the arena.

“You going to come down and fight me?” twilight said to the armor hoping to catch him as he jumped down. Sneaking her sword up into an attack position she got ready for the first attack.

Gundyr jumped down from the tree he was perched on, a blast of wind shooting out from the landing and blowing out candles and knocking Twilight back, ruining her first attack. “Ah equine, you look stronger, do you think you can finally beat me?”

Standing back up, she pulled out her sword and her shield, and got into a fighting stance ready to finally beat him. “Dying is really wearing thin on me, so just fight already.”

Twilight charged, aiming to stab at him, until she had to deflect his halber with her strike instead. She then used the new opening to cut up his legs and knees, to hinder his movement as much as she could. Turning and running to get out of the range of the bardiche, she felt herself get picked up by her tail and tossed at the entrance.

“Running will not save you.” Gundyr snorted as he jumped at twilight, Smashing his bardiche into where twilight was not a moment ago.

Twilight rolled right and stabbed Gundyr in the chest from below, she ran out from below through the gap between his legs as he grabbed at the wound and grunted. He turned swiftly and swiped at her, hitting twilight in her side and tossing her. She skidded along the water and ground till she came to a stop in the middle of the arena. Grunting and standing up, she turned towards Iudex and readied her sword and shield for combat again.

Looking at Iudex she could see that the pus was flowing out of the chest wound, darkening parts of his armor. Charging while he was in a stagger she sliced at him, getting three hits along his back and getting a deep cut on his right arm. The pus oozed out of the cuts and twilight wailed on him. Finally he was consumed by the black ooze, making armor out of the pus as it sent out a blast wave that threw twilight into the back wall.

“NO MORE GAMES EQUINE, YOU WILL NOT PASS!” Gundyr yelled as the new armor came into place around him as his bardiche grew and turned into a longer glaive.

Throwing himself at twilight, he dug his new glaive deep into her gut and slammed her into the ground. Backing up to let the ooze resettle from the attack he got into his fighting stance ready for another attack. Coughing up blood into her helmet, she weakly flipped up the visor and fumbled with the estus flask and took a swig of the fire to heal her wounds. Her side and organs reforming quickly and the pain disappearing she grunted and pulled herself up. Ducking underneath a wide slice that she saw at the side of her vision, she dove into range, cutting at his stomach. Jumping back and to the right, she barely missed getting her head ripped off by the pole of the glaive.

“You could just let me pass Gundyr,” Twilight yelled to the armor, dodging his attacks as much as possible. “This doesn’t have to end with you dying!”

Letting out a grunt as he hit the ground from an attack “Oh but this is absolutely necessary.” He exclaimed cryptically as he sliced at Twilight’s last location. “One of us must die for this to end young one!”

“Ugh, Why are you so stubborn!” Twilight screamed as she jumped over a glaive slice and stabbed Gundyr in the head. Seeing him stumble from the attack she pressed forward slicing and cutting at him till he fell to the ground. The Pus flowing off him and slithering off the nearby cliff, Twilight paid it no thought however as she walked over to see his chest rising and falling slowly, his wounds looking more severe than at first glance.

“Please Gundyr, I don’t want to kill you” twilight choked out tears forming in her eyes at the thought of killing something that talked, had feelings, and was technically as alive as her.

Iudex turned his head towards her “You must for the door to open…. Twilight, you must continue on to get home,” he let out a weak breath and continued “Go.. And find out why you are here, I wish you luck small one.”

Twilight, with tears in her eyes, Pulled up her sword and stabbed Gundyr through the head. His body shimmered and disappeared into ash and blew away, a small fire came into existence in front of her, looking like a mix of the blob with the face and the bonfire. Picking it up, she pulled it close, thinking of the armor that had just wanted to make sure his world would be safe without him.

Twilight felt her entire body lighten as she saw fire burst from the cracks in her armor. Freaking out she tugged at the armor trying to get it off before she burned to death. After a minute of trying to yank off her armor, Twilight realized that the fire wasn’t hurting her. On the contrary, she felt better than she ever had before, stronger and more alert. Taking a couple hops, she felt ALIVE; like nothing in the world could stop her. She took a couple laps around the arena quickly to burn off some energy. After 20 laps she found that she wasn’t losing this feeling of power. Determined to continue on she got ready to set off.

Twilight put the fire in her second bag and walked to the middle of the arena noticing a bonfire that wasn’t there for the fight. Sticking her hoof near the sword the fire sprang from the ash and she sat down to relax and heal with the fire. Taking a few minutes to compose herself and fill up her flask. Getting to her hooves she made for the door that was the exit to the coliseum.

Twilight made it to the door and looked over the wooden door, a mixture of steel reinforcements for a mahogany door. Standing on her back hooves she put her front hooves on the door and gave it a hearty shove. The door creaked open slowly, showing more graves and a rocky path leading right, Twilight walking forward turned her head to follow the path which seemed to lead to the ruins which she guessed was her destination. Taking a quick look back she lowered her head and gave a final goodbye to her first true fallen enemy. Following the path she kept her shield and sword up, nervous that she would get attacked any moment from a monster popping up from behind one of the tombstones. Getting to the stairs that lead to entrance she was surprised to not get attacked once.

Entering the large arch entrance, she was surprised to feel the atmosphere change. It felt calmer, like she could relax her guard. Putting up her shield and sword she found the edge that descended into a main foyer with a bonfire without a sword in it. Another bipedal, this one without armor but instead wearing a flowing gray robe, stood near the bonfire staring absently up at twilight. Twilight deciding to observe her surroundings before heading down to the woman.

She saw the five large empty stone thrones adorning the back side of the room. They seemed to be empty for a long period of time, shown by the dust and cobwebs layered around and on the thrones. Seeing stairs leading upwards, she decided she would head up there once she was done talking to the person by the bonfire. Slowly descending the stairs, Twilight reached the bottom and cautiously approached the woman.

“Ah, Ashen One, you have arrived” The Firekeeper said to twilight “I am the Firekeeper, I take care of the shrine while it awaits a new unkindled. You seem different from the rest, but that is no matter. The lords of cinders have left their thrones and need to be returned. Sadly i have already sent a different unkindled on the quest, but you may go along if you wish and help collect the lord’s ashes.”

Twilight gave the firekeeper a look “I would like some answers before I just go running off on a quest for you” Giving the woman a look “Like what are you? And why was i brought to your world, especially if you already have someone doing what you supposedly summoned me for?”

The Firekeeper looked down at twilight “All will be explained in time, but for now you have been called” Putting a finger to twilight’s forehead, it glowed and Twilight’s vision faded to black as she fell into a blissful sleep.