• 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 2 - The Fire is Reborn

Consciousness rushed back as her eyes flew open. The rock underneath her felt brittle as she got up onto her hooves. “Where am I?” Twilight cocked her head and ears, looking for any sign of the Firelink Shrine. She was standing in the middle of a large floating rock. She combed the island in search of a clue of where she was.

The island, scoured, but Twilight found nothing of significance. With a sigh, she couldn’t see anywhere to go. Finding her way to the edge, she stared into the darkness. The void moved and pooled in odd ways, but she couldn’t find the energy to study it. As she looked out a slow and gentle wave of heat and light came from behind her. Whirling around, she went for her sword to realize her weapons and armor had vanished. Gasping and dropping to the ground, Twilight awaited death.

“Get up,” A deep booming voice called from in front of her “Cowering doesn’t suit you, knight.”

The unicorn peered over her hooves she saw a flaming mass standing tall. The fire hovered above the ground. She pulled herself back to hooves with a slight quiver in her body. Twilight could feel the heat radiating off the giant blaze.

“A talking fire? What are you?” Twilight asked with awe in her voice

“A good question, I am something unique, a truth to this world.”

The flame shrank to an ember. Fire burst outward expanding to take the small island and beyond. The light blinding twilight, she threw a hoof over her eyes and tumbled to the ground. Looking around her hooves to see what had happened, she saw the small island turned into a sprawling plain, with a town and castle off in the distance.

“I am the fire that keeps this land safe, the ones who sacrifice themselves to make sure it will always return.”

Looking at the fire, Twilight wondered what the fire meant by sacrifice. As she lay there drinking in the sight’s around she realized she had her armor and weapons back. Twilight noticed she didn’t have her helmet when she felt the wind blow across her ears and she relaxed into it. The fire grew till it was almost an inferno, but it produced no extra light. It and howled out in the deepest voice she had ever heard “I AM THE FIRST FLAME AND ALL WHO ARE APART OF IT!”

The scenery ages, The sun flying across the sky, days passing until years went. Only moments passed, and the kingdom fell. Building crumbled, People screamed and ran from horrors that made Twilight feel sick. All were dead and the land in ruins.

“Is this what you wanted to show me?” Twilight asked, “That without you, this will happen again?”

“No, The fire will let this happen! This was because of us and we want you to ignore the Firekeeper.”

Twilight felt like she had been slapped “What?”

“I wish for you too put out the first flame and bring about the age of darkness,” the fire said its voice switching to an older female’s “Put an end to me and let this world heal from the horror it has seen.”

Burnt cracked sand underneath her melted into stone. Walls climbing all around, she realized she was back in the Firelink Shrine. The thrones full and five... Things sat at them. A slug that stretched forever seemed to be sitting and struggling in vain against chains binding it to its throne. A man with no legs, wrinkled and old, sat calmly watching the others. Suit of armor bigger than the throne itself and four armored humans stood in front of the throne on the right side. Shadow’s cast off the body in the main throne. Black brass armor shined in the torchlight, the face hidden in shadow.

“The lords of cinder, five beings meant to fuel me and cast the world into the sun for a time again.” floating around the lords. “Some vile and not worth the flesh they use, and some...” weaving around the older man with no legs.

“Some accepted their fate and were willing to enter the flame.”

They faded from view one by one. First the slug, then the armor, the shadowed body and the multiple armored humans. All that was left was the legless man “Ludleth of Courland, He chose to be a lord with pride! Another ashen one came through and felt he had too much choice.”

A woman in drab, dull metal armor with what looked like a saddle Arabian headwrap. Crouched she had slid behind Ludleth’s throne before Twilight realized she was there. Wrapping an arm around the man before he could shout, she pulled him up onto her back. His arms were pulled around her neck and she hopped off the throne.

“That’s awful! You said he was willing to do what he had to, why would she take him like that?” Twilight asked

The Fire replied, “she was paranoid, she felt ludleth wasn’t safe on his throne and... Took him with her.”

The fire glided along the thrones as they vanished and the void returned. “You must destroy the lords, bring their ash back there thrones, and come to me before SHE does!”

Falling onto her haunches she groaned. Twilight covered her eyes with her hooves and thought about what this meant. ”Why does everyone want me to go on a killing spree? Why not ask me to go make friends! I can do that!”

“What do I have to do then?” Twilight asked hoping for a simple answer to this mess.

“Lie to the Firekeeper when I return you to your body,” a small boys voice came from the fire “Tell her you will hunt down the ashes and relight the flame.”

Before being given a chance to answer the fire spoke in the voice of an older man one final time “I brought you from your world to save ours and I will return you once you have done what I asked, now go!” The fire consumed Twilight as she felt herself return to the waking world.

Groaning as she felt herself laying against the hard ground yet again. “Ugh, this is becoming a nasty habit” Twilight muttered to herself as she climbed to her hooves. Darkness surrounded the area with torchlight illuminating little. Looking around she couldn’t find the Firekeeper anywhere in the area.

She clambered up the stairs away from the pit. Making her way up to ludleths throne, she hopped down. Studying the throne, she could make out the basalt and light coating of ash. Twilight swiped a hoof along the seat and looked at a sooty hoof.

“Hmmm seem’s the other Ashen One came through long enough ago that there has been build up.” Satisfied with her detective work she made to climb back onto the stairs.

Traipsing her way back onto the stairs the rhythmic sound of banging could be heard from the first floor. She trotted down the stairs towards a pathway underneath the stairs she came down originally. Peeking her head around the corner, she saw a stout man with a long white hair and beard. He beat upon an anvil with a hammer, barely noticing the world around him. Twilight edged her way down the hall. As she got close enough to touch him she let out a polite cough

“Hello? Hi im Twilight!”

Between the lull of his hammer, he looks up to see Twilight standing in front of him. “Ah, Ashen One, good to see thee. I am the Blacksmith Andre, here for any of the few who seek to rekindle the flame!”

“Of course, I’ll come to you if I need to fix my sword.” Playing with her hair she wondered if he would answer some questions she had. But as she was about to speak, Andre started talking over her.

“I will do you one better!” he reached down and pulled out a shard from underneath him
“This is Titanite, with it I can strengthen your weapons, make them more durable, and sharper.”

Twilight sighed, then nodded at the large man and handed him her sword. “I found some Titanite earlier when I had to... Kill some skeletons” pulling out the shard she found.

“Yes lass, that is indeed Titanite, do you wanna reinforce your long sword?” Asking Twilight while holding her sword and the shard. Twilight looking a little nervous nodded at the man, to get a chuckle as he put the blade to the anvil and shard on top of the sword.
The sound of metal hitting metal filled the forge. He beat on the sword for a time as the shard glowed and fuse with the sword. It shimmered and Twilight could see the blade grow an inch as the edge looked just a tad sharper.

Handing the sword back towards her, Twilight took it in her magic and sheathed it on her back. “Thank you, Andre, this will help” giving a polite nod to the dwarf, she walked off to search for the Firekeeper.

Along the way back to the large open area, The shadows coalesced around her. Moving closer, she peered into the darkness. Suddenly a face jumped out of the shadows. Twilight stumbled back and fell onto her haunches. She could make out a wrinkly face poking out from beneath a black hood. Silence penetrated the air, neither talking as they stared at each other.

“Um, hello?” Twilight said nervously inching away from the what she thought was an old woman.

“Hello ash bringer, you look like you need to let loose some of those souls.” The older lady reached forward and put a finger on Twilight’s nose. A stream of white energy flowed up the finger from Twilight.

Shaking her head get the finger away “AH, What did you do!?” Running a hoof along her muzzle.

“I took some souls you have collected so far as payment for the information I will give you. Now sit and listen well Ash Bringer, I will only teach this lesson once.” a breathy chuckle comes from the woman

“Can I ask a Question, why are you calling me Ash Bringer? The others I met call me Ashen one.” Twilight said nervous, twitching, a weird feeling coming from talking to the woman.

“Because I need you for a special Quest. You must bring me ash from peculiar individuals around Lothric.” the woman reached down and pulled out a pile of ash and blew it into Twilight’s face.
Twilight twitched, scrunched her face and sneezed. She rubbed her muzzle and gave a stink eye at the women. Chuckling she continued her speech.

“You must collect the souls of the enemies you kill to make it through Lothric. The Firekeeper will take the souls and empower your body, but I will buy them off you for items I... Collect.”

“I have to do WHAT?!” Twilight scrambled back “I barely get by with what killing I’ve already had to do, and you want me to do more just to buy stuff?”

“Yes Ash Bringer, life is as life is in the land of Lothric, souls for fortune and power.” The women reached up with a hand and waved Twilight away.
“Now go, you have much to do” a cackle escaping her lips as she faded back into the darkness.

Twilight’s ears folded back, and she gave a disturbed look at the shadow.
“Creepy bucking people coming out of the shadows,” Twilight muttered as she made her way back into the main atrium to see the Firekeeper waiting by the bonfire in the middle of the room. Trotting up to her Twilight let out a cough.

“Ah hello again Firekeeper, how have you been since you knocked me out?” The purple unicorn asked with a sarcastic tone. The women looked in Twilight’s direction and smiled but said nothing. Motioning a hand towards the bonfire, she clasped her hands again and stood there waiting for Twilight.

“What? Do you want me to sit at it...?” she trotted around it looking at it with an inquisitive look on her face “The other bonfire I found had a sword in... OH”

The purple unicorn pulled out the sword she got from Gundyr and hovered it over the fire. It looked like the same one in the last bonfire. Twilight stuck her tongue out and hovered the blade close and then away again. She did this three or four times before Impaling the blade into the skulls. With Twilight close enough, the bonfire erupted into flames.

Bright red flames crackled off the skulls. Giving a quick look back at the women behind her, she took a seat. She felt her worries fade and her muscles become less tense. “This is nice, I wonder if I can get one in the library when I get home.” Having a moment to relax did her good as she trotted back to the Firekeeper.

“You have talked to the First Flame, Ashen One?”

Looking down with a somber expression Twilight answered: “I talked to the Flame, he asked me to..” The Idea to just tell the truth came and went “IT asked me to find the ash and return them to it.”

“And will you listen and help a world that might not even need you?”

“Of course, I was asked rather politely by the Flame and it would be rude to say no, especially when it’s holding the way back to my home over my head.”

Twilight sat back at the fire as the voice of the Firekeeper could be heard over the soft roar of the bonfire. “Sit and think of your quest, the flames shall take you where you need to go”

The flames swallowed her and all that stood there was the Firekeeper.