Four figures struggled and stumbled their way through the solid Fog that was surely a one-way door. After this point, there would be no turning back.
In the centre was a fur-clad, barefooted figure, taller than any of them and hunched over the dying embers of the oldest bonfire they had seen.
When the four stepped through the door and into the Kiln, the figure straightened and turned towards them, showing a once-resplendent crown atop his head.
As the Sunlord Gwyn turned, the greatsword in his fist, wielded by the great Lord like a common longsword, lit up with a mere spark of what the flame had once been. It was still more than enough to decimate any of them with a mere scratch.
Skills and instincts that had been honed during the nightmarish trek through Lordran kicked in, and the four sprang into action, ready for the fight of their lives.
When the fight ended after several minutes of frantic combat, as Gwyn's lifeless body hit the floor, the power within burning it to ash; the four undead champions could only blink in indifference. They had been here before, and every time they had overcome this ancient champion, and every time; time had been reset and they awoke once more in the Asylum.
The four figures exchanged a glance. Finally, they were here. Finally, they could banish the darkness in this land and finally, they could break this maddening cycle.
This was what they had plotted, prepared and planned for.
A sword made of a strange material appeared in the centre of the large, ash-covered arena, bones of what were presumably undead stacked neatly in a pile at its base.
Though the promise of a final respite, especially after such a fight, was tempting, none of the four figures moved towards it with any intention to ignite it, let alone rest at it. They knew of this trap, and would not be caught in the cycle once again.
That would be risky in the extreme; they had no clue whether this would work, but if it did, they could hopefully return to the lives they left behind. The mere thought of that wistful dream spurred them on.
Each pointed their hands at the bonfire, and slowly small black sprites bubbled up from under their skin, only to be caught and bound by the powerful magic being woven. This was true magic, from an ancient source documented in a single book in the entirety of the Duke's library that had taken many cycles to find.
The humanities began to coalesce into a single, much larger sprite, growing larger and larger until the fist-sized sprites had all joined into a spirit the size of the four who had created it.
The magical bonds tightened and the spirit coalesced and condensed and began to burn. Now, in its current state, it resembled a soul the size of a basketball that burned black instead of white.
It was the closest thing that they would find to the original Darksoul: several hundred humanities all condensed into one.
But as most anyone knows, having fuel for a fire was not enough. One needs a spark to get it going.
Hundreds of thousands of souls drifted out of the four, surrounding the Darksoul. It had taken the four months of slaughter to collect this many, and they sorely hoped that this would work.
The souls span faster and faster around the imitation Darksoul, until none could make it out between the whirlwind of tiny white flames.
Suddenly the entire collection shot downwards right onto the final embers of the first flame with a blinding flash.
The four blinked the light out of their eyes and felt their hearts soar: the bonfire was blazing all the way to the hilt of the four-foot long sword with a merry fire, filled to the brim with estus.
"It worked! I can't believe it wor-" one of them, the mastermind of the plan in fact, exclaimed before a loud 'WHOOSH' interrupted her.
Suddenly, the flames from the newly-rekindled First Fire leapt to the roof of the cavern in a great pillar of fire. They had underestimated the size of the first fire, though the melted pillars outside should have tipped them off.
There was no way they could make it out in time.
The four began to back away and make for the door as the flames started to creep along the floor.
They got halfway before the explosion.
The four chosen undead never returned to the surface, and after a week, their companions dispersed from Firelink Shrine and wandered towards the outside realms.
The bonfires had gone out, and could not be relit. All of them. Their power had seemingly withdrawn to never grace the world again. The firekeepers had died as a result, their souls and their myriad humanities being drawn in by the second flame as it consumed everything of the first flame.
Historians would note the sacrifice of the four champions only by the Undead who managed to return from Lordran.
Few details were ever revealed of them, the tellers or of the heroes, their names and identities lost to all time, but they held the story that defied belief as absolutely true.
Time continued on, as always, and millennia passed; kingdoms rose and fell in that time, and the sacrifice of the undead was all but forgotten, though the protective light of the second flame protected humanity for many generations to come.
But as all things do, the light eventually faded, and monsters once again stalked the realms, scattering humanity into four kingdoms, and all light of hope was fading.
"Four rose coloured soapstones... four lost sigils... if the two could be reunited, the lost champions of the dying last age shall rise once more..." Ozpin looked up from his notes, at the four sigils, each a collection of symbols that radiated strange power.
Each reacted when he brought one of the crystals close, which eventually shot towards the sigil, violently embedding itself within the largest of the symbols.
"Who would have guessed Beacon was on such a historic site?" he said aloud, more voicing his thoughts than asking an actual question.
the sigils lit alight, each a fist size fire tinged with motes of green every now and then. Ozpin could feel, rather than see, that this was no ordinary flame; it felt primal, and centuries old. the heroes were nowhere to be found however and the fires gave no hint either and simply sat there and burned... like most fire, though they consumed no noticeable fuel.
"It must need time. These sigils have to reach across eight millenia to find these four heroes." he concluded.
"I suppose you want me to watch over them whilst we wait for them to work?" Goodwitch asked.
"If you would be so kind," Ozpin replied.
"The things I do for you-" Goodwitch remarked.
"I know, I know." Ozpin interrupted her.
Ruby Rose lay awake in bed that night, knowing, deep down in her gut, that something big was going on.
She couldn't tell what, but she knew that she wouldn't be able to sleep that night.