Soul of Lords
Fitz' Thoughts 7-9
We entered the Parish and foolishly stepped right in to the middle of a fight between what remained of Balder and Berenike knights. As soon we opened the parish door the two sides broke off from each other and focused their attention on us instead. I had heard stories about the knights of Balder, but even so I was not prepared for them. They wordlessly broke off through the parish window and surrounded us. Their execution was flawless, they swarmed me and with pin point accuracy pried my sword from my hands. I should have died then.
I learned long ago that a soldier losing his weapon in combat is as good as dead. But I didn’t die, Drakka broke the two of the ones surrounding me and Vanetia finished off another, opening up a path for me to reach my sword. It cost them though, after having neutralized me, the remaining Balder knights grouped up around the other two. They expertly went for weak spots, places their guard and armour didn’t cover. Drakka bore the worst of it, her lack of armour making her an obvious target both for the Balder as well as the Berenike knights. The Berenikes had stayed where they were, their heavy shields protecting them while hurling javelins at us. She was cornered, hurt and afraid. So she did what I would have done, she attacked.
When we had taken care of the last of the Balder knights, she charged inside the parish at the Bernikes. It earned her another nasty hit, but opened them up for further attacks. Their armour were as impressive as you described them to me, even old, corroded and dented, their armours ignored most of our attacks. Eventually however, even their armour couldn’t do much against an arrow through the eye or a sword through the neck.
Having taken off one of their heads, an amulet dropped out and rolled to the floor. We found a matching one around the neck of the other one. They had a bear paw engraved on them, and according to Drakka they were similar to the talismans the orc tribes use to augment their hides. I have made it no secret how I feel about my ancestry, so I offered them to the others. But as Drakka claimed her own amulet gave her a different kind of protection, she handed it back to me. And as I keep reminding the others, we need all the help that we can get in this place, so I put it on. Doing so caused my blood to stir and the hue on my skin darkened. I reminded myself that I don’t need to like it as long as it did what it was supposed to, but that didn’t do much against the bile gathering in my throat as I watched it happen.
I moved on to look around the room, it seemed as if the Berenikes were guarding the altar. There lied the body of a woman, The old Flame Keeper I assumed. She didn’t show any signs of a violent death, but rested peacefully. Drakka sensed magic from a golden headband she was wearing so I made her take it. I knew she disliked it, not simply because of her faith but due to what wearing something like that would mean to her. She thinks too much about others and what they might think, and far too little about how herself and her own well being.
We moved on up the stairs and found an old room, most likely the Flame Keeper’s. We found some books and letters that survived the years and the decay in the room. We take them as well as some supplies and were about to climb up to the top when we heard a cry for help. It was another undead, this one from Carim, clearly a knight of some sort, locked inside a cell.
He said that he had been trapped there after having been “killed” by one of the Gargoyles on the roof. I’ve heard many horror stories of the Carimese undead, but he seemed to have kept hold of his sanity and appeared honest with us. So we let him out, he was still weak and worried he might turn permanently should he “die” again so he didn’t want to join for the fight, but promised to pay us back in some other way. He went to use a lift going from the Parish that would take him to Firelink Shrine.
Finally we moved up on the roof. The two others went up first and before I had gotten up the ladder, a shining light began forming up above. I rushed up, expecting some sort of attack but it was simply Drakka, reaching our for something, or someone. As she did, the form of the little man from earlier, Solaire appeared before her. His shape was vague and almost transparent and he couldn’t speak, but there was no mistaking the strange little man. He did say he would aid us should we call on him, and it seems that he lived up to his word. I admit I wasn’t particularly relieved by that, I thought him unreliable at best, but might be of some use. I underestimated him.
While we walked towards the bell, preparing ourselves for battle he grabbed my shoulder and I could feel his will, his determination, and my view of him changed immediately. Behind his cobbled together armour and weakening mind, there still burned the soul of a soldier. I found myself wishing I’d have known him before he died and the deterioration had begun. As I did, the gargoyle let out a roar.
It slowly came to life, flexing its wings and soared towards us. The thing was huge, far larger than I had assumed from what I heard and far faster. It landed between myself and Solaire and effortlessly swept us off our feet, we began hacking away at it, I landed hit after hit on it, shearing stone and marble from its body, but it barely seemed to care. It soon caught on that me and Solaire were trying to keep it busy while Vanetia bombarded it from behind. When it did, he simply ignored us.
First he bathed us all in his flames, I suffered the least from it thanks to the potion we bought from the blacksmith but while the others were recovering, it struck. Me and Solaire tried to draw its attention, but it was no use, instead it focused on Vanetia and struck her down mercilessly. For a moment I was sure it had killed her. Bones and organs don’t last against attacks like that.
I’m used to comrades dying, but it always strike hard, especially in cases like Vanetia’s. I don’t like her. Perhaps that’s not entirely her own fault, her Carimese princess life might have given me a predisposition to have a problem with her. And I did, at first, but we’ve fought together enough times that those things lose importance, what I still couldn’t forgive her for was her inability to fight back during the encounter with the dragon. That’s why when I saw her fall, it wasn’t the sadness of seeing a comrade die that struck the hardest, it was the knowledge that that would significantly lower our chances of surviving in this place, not to mention succeeding in our mission. Or even survive the fight we were in for that matter. I mourned what her death would mean. She should have died there, but she didn’t.
Drakka, ignoring the gargoyle’s flailing, dashed towards Vanetia and a visable surge of energy streamed in to her. I watched as Vanetia’s broken body mended itself as she opened her eyes. The Gargoyle made another attack against the two, but Drakka held her ground and somehow stopped the attack that would have cleaved them both in two in its track. I still don’t understand her training, but at times it truly is impressive. But even with her training she wouldn’t last forever, and as the gargoyle prepared to finish them, me and Solaire charged forward.
Solaire went first, but the thing ignored him, his sword never biting in to the actual body of it, instead it turned to me, waiting. I had little choice, so charged towards him. He welcomed me with an attack with it’s tail, using all his strength behind it, it must have been secreting some sort of poison as I could feel my legs going numb. I saw him looking at Vanetia slowly getting back on her feet, and as it did, I attacked. I hurt it this time, I hurt him good and I finally got his attention. He attacked me again and I could feel my bones giving way. He attacked a final time and once again, I should have died then.
But I didn’t, suddenly Solaire was there in front of me, taking the hit in my stead. It gave me time to make one last attack on it. I bit in to it, and I could feel whatever it was that kept it alive weakening, but I could tell it wouldn’t be enough. And then I looked at Vanetia standing up again, hurt and scared. I knew that she would have to make a choice, either she would give up once again, give in to fear and with it damning all of us, or she would choose to fight back.
A single arrow piercing through the Gargoyle, draining what remained of its life was the answer I got. Perhaps she learned from her experience with the dragon after all. I could feel my legs starting to give way as I thought that when Drakka caught me. Once again she used her magic and I felt my bones mending.
We were not safe however, before dying it had gathered reinforcements. Another gargoyle, smaller and weaker than the other, but still deadly, had come to finish what the other had started. It took Drakka with it, pushing her off the roof. We couldn’t let her fight the thing alone, so me and Solaire followed after her, crashing down on the grounds below, while Vanetia on her part glided down gently behind us.
The gargoyle bathed us in fire, and like the previous one, used that opportunity to attack Vanetia as she fired her arrows. Me and Solaire went after it, and I got another heavy blow as reward, but we managed to get it down. And before we knew it, the fight was over.
We should have died, but somehow we survived.