Characters finally meet! YAY! Well, not all of them, but some do. I've started putting two character names at the marker so it makes more sense. So, now, if two characters are in the same place, they won't have different sections written for them, it will all be bundled into one huge pack of goodness! Hope you like this chapter! I'm trying to make them longer and longer as I go along.


Chapter 5: Stormy Night

Gregory / Zanya

He yells as the blast throws him at the other end of the room. The red wind blows over him and his ears ring as if a bomb just exploded. Through his blurry eyes, he tries to see what is happening. He sees...he sees Zanya fighting, trying to manage the two monsters. Her mouth opens to speak but he doesn't hear anything. What...happened? He gets up clumsily and tries to get his senses back. Ugh. It was that damn Stray Demon, it used magic to create a blast of power that pushed him out of his way. His vision clears up and he quickly takes out of his estus flasks. Maybe this will help him. He opens the bottle and drinks rapidly while still enjoying the fresh sensation that engulfs his body. He feels reinvigorated. But, no time to waste on that. He advances towards the battle, sword in hand.

The Asylum Demon notices him and swings its hammer in his direction. The beast is crippled and is nearing his end. Its blood is dripping on the floor and it is becoming more and more pale. Gregory has no trouble rolling under his attack and slashing its feet. The monster roars and falls on the ground, close enough to the Undead that he can jump and stab the demon in the eye. With its free hand, the demon tries to grab him but Gregory resists. "Zanya!" He yells but it's too late. The beast grasps him firmly and slams his body on the floor. He can almost feel his rotten bones cracking under the pressure. Luckily, this was the monster's last attack, because it then falls on the ground beside Gregory, dead.

From the bars near the ceiling of the room, Undead are watching.

Suddenly, the body of the Asylum demon disappears and an aura glows around Gregory. White orbs fly into the air and towards him, only to pierce his soul as if he was blessed by the Gods themselves. A black orb then forms in his hand and swirls around it. Zanya stops fighting for a second to look at him and she smiles. "Your first Humanity. You must be happy!" she yells before avoiding a slam from the Stray demon. "My...first what?" Gregory questions with full knowledge that she won't reply now. He tries to forget his confusion, even though his excitement is palpable, and the man joins the warrior. "This beast won't die!" she screams as she spins her blade. "Can't we leave him?" asks the Undead. "He has the keys we need to get out, we have no choice but to kill him!" she yells. "And, after all, don't you want another Humanity?" She jumps backwards in a flip to avoid the mace of the Stray Demon before climbing onto the weapon and bouncing onto the head of the monster. The beast roars. Zanya's sword lodges itself into the creature's head and it falls on the floor.

Silence.

The monster's corpse explodes into white light and another swarm of these orbs gravitate into the air before going to Zanya, the demon slayer. Gregory is impressed. Not only did his companion defeat a demon mostly by herself, but she helped slay two of them. "There, you need it more than me." she says as she throws a humanity to him. He grabs it with his feeble hands before looking up. "What is it?" His blue, pale eyes eager for answers. "A humanity. I just told you! If you crush it, you will regain your human form and gain strength. It is a gift from the Gods." She smiles. Gregory looks at the black mass that resides into his hand and he follows the woman's advice.

He crushes it.

Suddenly, he feels a warmth surround him. A warmth greater than all the estus and souls combined. Indeed, it was a gift from the Gods. He felt his bones gain back their muscle, skin cover his rotten carcass. He felt alive again. But, all Zanya could do was laugh. "Th...thank you. Truly. I owe you." "No you don't, Gregory. I owe you. You've helped me slay these two beasts and at least you haven't died. Don't you remember? I had bet three of my estus flasks on you and you were worth it. Now, let's get moving." she said. Gregory felt truly honored but, more importantly, proud. For 15 years, he had laid in a cell, waiting for death to finally conquer him, but in one day, he had gained back the only thing he thought was no more accessible: his life. Perhaps this was really the Gods giving him a second chance. He felt like...like he didn't like them before he became Undead. His past was unclear, but at least he knew that. "What do I look like?" he asked the woman. "Hm, let's see. How would I describe you. Well, you have brown hair and blue eyes. Overall, you're a pretty noble looking person." "Thank you." Somehow, Gregory didn't believe her, but he kept silent.

"There. It's this door." Zanya said after they had walked for a bit. "But...there is no door, Zanya. It's a wall." replied Gregory as he looked around. "Look closer." she said. On the wall, there was a torch holder made of iron and, if you had eagle eyes, you could have spotted a keyhole fitted specifically for the key Zanya had in hand. "See?" "Yes. I do see it." "Good." She slid the piece of metal into the gap and turned the key, revealing a secret passage. "Impressive, I must say. But...how did you know?" asked Gregory. "I've got contacts. Let's go. We've got no time to waste." "Why do you say that?" asked the Undead nervously.

"Let's just say the demons aren't the only ones watching over this part of the prison." she replied.

To add to the tension, footsteps could be heard across the corridor they just came from. "What do you mean...who else is out there?" asked the man. "Ugh, stop with your questions. Do you want to die or not? Well then, follow me." she spoke as she rushed down a set of tight stairs. A cold wind was traveling through the staircase, bringing with it the sound of rain. The footsteps seemed to follow them. "Faster!" Zanya said. "This is a magical passage that can bring us miles away from the asylum. Many of them can be found throughout the world, but this one is a secret from most of the Undead." she said sharply as they descended even further. Gregory was starting to get dizzy after all that running but the fear of the foe following them made him forget his pain. "You mean it's a...portal?" "Well, it's more of an illusion. Are you tired yet? That's because you just ran across the seas." she said as they arrived on a floor. "From Lordran...to Drangleic, to be exact."

A thunderbolt could be heard throughout the room, but no trace of our pursuer. And, Zanya was right. Gregory was quite tired. "You...you keep too much answers...away from me...and create too many questions." Zanya, panting, glanced at him. "You're right. But...now is not the time to explain. Don't worry, you'll get them...someday." "Where are we now?" asked Gregory. "All the Undead prisons across the seas are connected. We went from the Undead Asylum to a place called the Lost Bastille." "You mean...we really walked that far?!" "Of course we did. But it was worth it. Magical passages like the one we took are not known to everyone."

But, suddenly, Gregory felt something on his neck. A sharp, rough breath, flowing on his shoulders. "Careful!" Zanya screamed as she jumped back with him. A dark sword slashed the air and, suddenly, the room felt very cold. "A Black Knight..." exhaled the woman in terror. Never had she seemed so scared of an opponent. The knight, dressed in his coal-colored armor, stood at the last step of the staircase they had walked down. He looked like a character ripped from a nightmarish portrait. "What is he doing here?" yelled Gregory. "They were sent by the great lord of Anor Londo, Gwyn..." she said as she pulled him to her. "We need to leave, now!" The man didn't bother contradicting her, why would he? They both ran to the other end of the room while the storm outside was trying to get in by the thin windows.

The knight followed.

Contrarily to the duo, he wasn't tired by the walk at all. He seemed to work at full steam and ready to cut through every opponent he saw. He started running, his metal boots echoing across the chamber. At the other end was an elevator made of iron, held up by chains. "Quick!" They were running as fast as they could and, when they finally reached the elevator, they almost jumped into it. The knight had reached them, however, and he was ready to attack. Cornered into the cage, Gregory and Zanya felt like animals. "Down!" the woman yelled as she pressed the button. And, just when they thought they were finished, the Black Knight slid like a snake into the elevator as it lowered into the floor. Zanya pushed him back but he replied by jabbing his sword next to her ear, barely missing her.

"By the Gods..." mumbled Gregory as lightning pierced the skies. This elevator descent would be rockier than he thought.


Eleana / Alister

The air smelled very different from Irythill. It smelled like fire, like ash, and the wind brought with itself flavors from the sea and salt. Majula was very different than Eleana expected. Well, not that different, but she at least thought there would be a place to rest other than this bonfire. The rain didn't quite help to relax. At least she had other people to keep her company. A man, named Maughlin, had decided to offer her and the others refuge inside his house for the night. Under the light of the fireplace, at least she had something to keep her warm. The stone floor wasn't that comfortable, but at that point, she couldn't care less.

There was this other man, Alister. He said he was an explorer, but Eleana knew he was lying. He didn't seem to notice that, however. He had came the same day as her, searching "for a purpose". The Snake didn't know what to think of him. He seemed rather nice and joyful but, sometimes, when he thought nobody was looking, a glimpse of darkness flew through him.

"So, where are you from, Maughlin?" asked the explorer.

"I come from Volgen. It's quite a nice place, but the business there w...wasn't the most profitable." he replied. "Why is that?" "Well, to do good business there you...you need to have good funding. A "nobody" can't run a shop and, sadly...I was a "nobody"." Alister nodded his head, silent. Since he had arrived, he had met quite a few people, more than he expected. There was that Eleana girl who spoke only a few words, but she appeared to be respectable. He never thought much of Undead like her, probably because there was mostly nothing to talk about. Apparently, she came from Irythill. Alister had never been to such a place. He wondered what it looked like, or if a mercenary like him could get a good job running there. "Do you have family there?" asked the Snake. "I did have a sister...but I believe she died." replied Maughlin. "I never attached a significant importance to relatives. People are people, there are some you like and some you don't like."

"And what about that woman, Shanalotte? What is she doing here?" asked Eleana. The woman that she was talking about had stayed outside, in the freezing cold, to watch over the sea, and the man on the stairs was currently sleeping in the same room as them. "Shanalotte? Well, she is just...there. She has...great knowledge about the world. Some call her the Emerald Herald." "The Emerald Herald..." mumbled Alister like he was savoring the sound of it. "Why does she call herself that?" asked Eleana. "Well, you'll have to ask her, not me. I just recently arrived, I haven't...really got time to socialize." Well then, this just meant Alister had another reason to talk to the woman. Maybe she would give him the purpose he was searching for or some information about his queen and king. It was worth a try at least. When the rain would have settled, he would go to her.

"But, now, what is up with this town? Why are there only three inhabitants?" asked the woman. "You see, Majula was once a...domain for the exiles of Drangleic. Nobody respectable came here," answered Maughlin,"but times have changed since the arrival of the giants. We live here in the hopes that we might rebuild the past world." Alister smiled at that. After the destruction of Heide, he had seen countless city fall to ruin and castles get destroyed under the foot of the giant Lord Yhorm and his brother Corho. This Maughlin was following a foolish hope. But, alas, so did he.

A thunder bold fell down on the earth.

"I see you guys are well equipped. Armor and all that. But...m...might I suggest some of my wares?" asked Maughlin shyly. He opened a bag and scattered clumsily his articles. "Why would we need all that?" demanded Alister, only for Eleana to reply: "Trust me, you'll need it if you want to get anywhere around here." "This woman is right. There: an...an iron parma, fitted for an explorer like you."

Alister laughed.

"How much is it?" he asked. "Well, it is 40 coins or, if you have any to spare, 1,200 souls." replied Maughlin with a joyful smile. "You accept soul currency?" asked Eleana. "I do. Souls are worth a lot more if you know where to sell them. Undead like you a...are desperate to find some..." "We are." replied the Snake sharply before taking a look at some hard leather boots. "I'll take this shield." Alister said as he handed the money to the merchant. "Good, very good. Th...thank you for y...your purchase." Maughlin looked at the coins like a wolf looks at a bone. Undead were maybe desperate for souls, Eleana thought, but humans were even more eager for gold.

"Look, the storm is calming itself." said Eleana as she pointed the open door, from which you could see the horizon lighting up. "Seems like we made it through." replied Alister. Outside, the Emerald Herald stood strong and proud, as if she hadn't just stayed under rain and thunder for a night. Her clothes didn't even look that wet. "She's a tough one." said Alister with a smile. He walked out of the house and went to speak to her. She was distant, once again, but her eyes glowed with a new flame. "Dear, shall you not worry about me," she said, "the rain never bothered me. Far from this land came good news, and I can only be happy." "What good news?" asked Alister and the woman smiled slightly. "You'll hear about them sooner than you believe, my explorer..."


-?-

The circular room was bathed in darkness and only the light of one candle resisted. A figure was standing there, dressed in black and wearing a silver crown that covered her eyes. Three other shadows, similar with only a few exceptions, stood next to her. "The flame is dying, swinging on the edge of existence. The Undead shall rise to relight it and bring the lords to their thrones. For the darkness shall not prevail."

The group dispersed, leaving the shrine silent. This was the beginning of a new era. And from the the ruined tower of this shrine, a bell rang, resonating across the earth and seas.