Soul of Lords
Letters to Gaius
I write to you, knowing full well that these words will most likely never reach you, or anyone else for that matter. But it seems like it’s going to be a long and tiresome journey in hostile territory, and keeping a log of sorts might help me keep track of our progress and avoid making unnecessary mistakes. And perhaps more importantly, it gives me some form of reprieve from the dreariness that surrounds us.
I went to meet Kingsley and the other clergymen as requested. While waiting for them to receive us I met the ones who were to be my two companions on this mission. Vanetia, a Carim Paladin and… Drakka.
You might remember hearing about her, she was the friend I had before you found and recruited me. She went away on a pilgrimage to some foreign land. I thought she had died there since no one returned, but I guess I was wrong.
The Hierophant and the Lorekeeper danced around the subject but eventually by the help of Kingsley they got to it; we three are to walk in to Lordran, a place that has swallowed armies, even entire kingdoms, and head to the Capital and somehow find a solution for The Curse. Then turn around and head back again…
Not even they seemed to be particularly hopeful, which I guess is why they only sent us three since we were “expendable”. But Kingsley agreed to your requests so I agreed to his. You will have your reinforcements.
The others didn’t have a choice, they were ordered to go, but neither the Carian nor Drakka seemed to be concerned about that though. I fear Drakka haven’t had time to fully understand how bad the curse has gotten while she was gone, she’s still just an acolyte and hasn’t faced them in combat yet. I hope she’s still a fast learner.
We travelled alongside a small party of inquisitors while heading up towards the asylum. I made sure to keep clear of my two companions. I doubted I would have much to say to Vanetia,( a Carim noble, and a paladin to boot). And while I would have liked to talk to Drakka, I feared for it as well. She is one of the few truly Good people I’ve met growing up, especially within the church, and as you know, I have done plenty of unpleasant things over the years,
and I’ve enjoyed it.
I fear she will notice that at some point, and I don’t want to disappoint her. So I will keep my distance.
We arrived at the asylum to find it overrun by hollows. Inquisitor Cedric and his men split off to look for survivors among the wardens. While we three went to look at who or what was controlling the gate. It was what used to be one of the wardens. While realizing the magnitude of the outbreak, “demons” attacked. At least that’s what Vanetia called them, and I can believe it. I’ve cut through armour tougher than these things’ skin. We won somehow though, Vanetia seemed to be more than just an airheaded noble after all, seems like she can fight as well.
So can Drakka, with her bare hands no less, I guess she’s not as fragile as I thought.
After the fight while we were tending to our wounds, I noticed that Vanetia was wearing the same sigil the royal guards of Carim used, when asked about it she started sputtering and eventually presented herself as a damn princess. Not only that, she is actually looking for someone out in Lordran. I don’t know what her aim is, but I guess I will need to keep an eye on her as well.
As I said, it seems like it’s going to be a long and tiresome journey.
We found the rest of the inquisition, but we were too late. We were not the only ones who got ambushed. Goblins had swarmed over them along with some of their dog-like creatures. The battle seemed to have been short, the inquisitors fought back and killed several of them, but they were caught off guard and were soon overwhelmed. We had better luck and were able to finish off the remaining goblins quite easily, their dogs however proved to be a bigger problem, Vanetia underestimated them and it almost cost her her leg, if not her life. We eventually killed them but it seems the princess got hurt quite badly, both she and Drakka tended to the wounds, but she still seemed weary and off balanced, but she could move. That’s all that matters.
Drakka went to see about sending word outside about what is going on here, that’s when the inquisitors began to move. Cedric’s throat had been ripped out, but he kept following me with his gaze. He seemed to have his mind still intact, and perhaps he could have aided us in some way. But I couldn’t take the risk, there was no way of telling how long his mind would remain, and the cells are useless here. So I began hacking him apart, his eyes silently watching me as I tore away his arms. He didn’t need to speak; his eyes told me all I needed to know. Anger, pain, regret, perhaps even gratitude. But eventually the eyes fell silent and glazed over. Then I did the same to his men.
I never hesitated, which worries me even now. Perhaps I really am just a butcher. But at least this way they won’t hurt whoever is sent after us, that’s the least I could do for them. Hopefully what little life remained in them left them now, leaving them as empty husks. That way they won’t be aware of what they are turning in to.
No one commented about my actions. Vanetia saw what I was doing but stayed silent and turned away. That’s probably for the best. Drakka came back and saw what I had done as well, she didn’t say anything either but again, she didn’t need to; her eyes told me all I needed to know. They reminded me of Cedric’s.
We sent our message and then continued in silence. We found the asylum’s well, there is a strong stench of decay seeping out from it. Even the water seems rotten somehow. Perhaps that is what is attracting these monsters. Both Vanetia and Drakka spoke of some great evil from within, but we had no ways of getting to it, and it wasn’t part of our mission. So we locked it behind us, hopefully locking away whatever was in there with it.
We made our way to the east jail section, more demons but weaker than the last. Vanetia and Drakka drew on their powers and the demons were soon taken care of, but the fight drew the attention of the inmates. They began barraging us with debris from above. We tried to get one of the portcullis and open it, but the hollows kept on throwing whatever they got their hands on. It hurt, and brought back bad memories, and I got angry.
For a moment I lost control, and with a snarl I got the portcullis up, I yelled something at the others and we got inside, leaving the hollows behind us.
We reached the armory, it’s seemed undisturbed for the most part. If any survivors had barricaded themselves, this seemed like a good place for it, so I called out. To my surprise someone answered.
It was a Carim soldier of some sort, much of his body and armour had been crushed and it was clear that he was close to turning. He recognized Vanetia. They talk for some time, it seems they used to be lovers. I suppose she found who she was looking for in Lordran. He provides us with much needed information, and warns us of the demon that defeated him. Soon he asks Vanetia to leave before he turns and Drakka follows her to comfort her. I stayed behind to give the man a choice of second death, but all he seemed worried about was Vanetia. He was strong willed so might potentially be dangerous after turning, but I decided against turning my blade on him.
Vanetia seems pained enough, and it is unlikely he will hurt anyone down here. I hope I won’t regret my decision. I left him and barred the door behind me.
Vanetia wept silently, but soon steels herself with new motivation. She still seemed weary and heartbroken, but she can move.
That’s all that matters.
Vanetia strode off in front of us with slow, determined steps, silently casting away her weariness and uncertainties as she moved forwards. She didn’t let the rage and sorrow control or hamper her, instead she drew strength from it, focusing it to a point. Much like how you taught me to do it all those years ago. But it still seemed fragile somehow; I doubt she is used to loss and anger like this.
We made our way back to the courtyard. As we crossed it, we were attacked. Drakka tried to warn us, but I was too slow. Again she used her magic to aid me, but I didn’t have time to do anything as the ground collapsed beneath me. I landed hard and the demon, an enormous beast, seemingly made of sewage and puss made flesh landed next to me, preparing to finish me off. Instead came Drakka and kicked the thing in its face, drawing its attention. I tried to stop her, but again, I was too slow. The Demon picked her up and hurled her across the room, crashing her in to Vanetia, who was providing fire support from above, knocking them both in to the floor. Vanetia quickly got back to her feet, but Drakka remained motionless. There was no time to see if she was still alive, but on the off chance that she was, it was my time to draw the beast’s attention. I furiously began hacking away at him, my anger or perhaps Drakkas words, bolstering my strength. It bled. Not anything recognizable as blood, but it was all the motivation I needed to go at it harder. The demon changed its focus to me, and slammed in to me with its enormous claws, picking me up and finally biting in to me. My vision began blurring, not sure if due to the wounds or the smell from inside of it. I struggled to get free but it was too strong, that’s when I felt some of my wounds begin mending. Drakka was alive, and again trying to protect me by putting her life in danger. Vanetia had taken up her artillery position and her arrows seared through the monster, some opening wide holes close to me. The demon had no choice but to retreat so spat me out and moved behind cover. There it began casting its magic, I don’t know what it did, but it did something to Drakka, hurting her. Vanetia had problem getting a clear shot on it while behind cover, so again I drew its attention. I charged at it, my feet heavy beneath me, I hurt it, but not enough. Once more it picked me up, I could feel my body giving way in its grasp, but somehow I broke free and was able to fling myself next to the others behind cover. But it wasn’t enough; again it began bombarding us with magic, I could feel myself drifting close to death. Once again I could practically see Nito reaching out to me. There is always a strange sort of temptation accompanying those moments, a dulling of the pain, a dampening of the sounds of battle, as if a taste of the peace to come. I could just continue sitting there, and it would all be over. All of it.
And just as I have done so many times before, I refused. It wasn’t a conscious decision, but suddenly I simply found myself standing up, a rictus grin on my face. We could not drag the fight on for any longer, our only option was to walk forward or die. So I ran. Finally I felt the blade strike in to it with a reassuring crunch. It began drawing back, running away, but just as it did a final arrow from Vanetia landed right between its eyes, and just like that the demon was gone.
I hurt again, the sound and pain came rushing back to me all at once, that and a weight on my back. For some reason Drakka was there clambering on to me with surprising strength. It hurt, and I was about to point that out, but thought better of it. She was very quiet, her small body still ripped to ribbons as she healed me. She mistook what I did for bravery, but I didn’t know what to tell her, so I remained silent.
Vanetia joined us soon afterwards and healed us as well. She was back to limping on her leg, and back to looking weary and sad. She tried to disregard it, but Drakka immediately began taking care of her, after which she moved on to me. Again she takes care of others without even thinking about herself. I tried to tell her that, that she was being too reckless but she just mistook me for being angry with her, maybe I was yelling, I don’t know, I was tired. I slowly removed my armour allowing her better access to treat my wounds. Both of them looked fairly pale looking at my scars, Drakka began moving her mouth, as she does when she’ nervous and most of it didn’t make much sense, but it’s clear that she tried to encourage me about something. When she was done, Vanetia finally tended to Drakka and I asked her about how she survived without armour. She began talking rapidly about a lot of things and a lot of words neither I nor Vanetia recognized. She seemed uncomfortable so I dropped it. I can’t say I understand it, but I imagine it’s something similar to controlling ones anger, only the other way around, perhaps controlling her calmness and compassion. That would make sense for her.
Vanetia eventually found Lucas’s belongings, including the artifact that supposedly will allow us to get us to Lordran. We made camp and the two women began talking, they were surprisingly talkative after what just happened, but I suppose that is a good thing. I only half-listened to most of it, but at some point they began talking about how I carried Vanetia to position her to shoot. It would seem the princess took offense. I guess she hasn’t truly given up her position as much as she thinks she has. I humored them; it’s good that they are able to care about things like that even here. It means they don’t let it get to them too much. Or perhaps that’s their way of dealing with it. Soon they moved on to talking about elves however, and their mystical powers that the elf-blooded have been granted. That’s when I took my leave; such conversations never end well when my kind is around.
Eventually they fell asleep pressed up against each other. They looked calm, even Vanetia for the most part. It made me think back to the end of the fight. Nothing has really changed by killing the demon. If that was indeed something that followed the Carian here from Lordran, Nito’s hand is just as close to reaching us as it was during the fight. And the same concept still applies. Time is still against us, and we need to move quickly. Our only option now is to walk forward or die.
Forwards, towards Lordran.