Blood and Fire:
Allister Dunadain was a simple man, with simple taste. Wine fine, excellent food, and not getting mauled by nightmarish beasts in the blood soaked ruins of a once noble city.
Was that really so much to ask?
Apparently it was, as he cut down yet another demented and malformed pig-thing.
This one though was unique compared to the others he had fought within Yharnam, This pig was far more boar-like, and had razor sharp and barbed tusks. Its skull and bones protruded from its body, forming a hardened bone helm and plate that protected it head and upper body. It was able to deflect all but the most devastating attacks, and only magic and Quicksilver pierced it. Or, someone could attacked it from behind, where none of its armor was.
And so Allister Dunadain, fourth son of Viscount Roger Dunadain and current Good Hunter of the Dream, once more flayed the butt of a pig with his grandfather's Threaded Cane.
He offered a silent prayer of forgiveness towards his beloved grandpa as the Blood Echoes poured in.
Now that the boar was dead, he could take a look around the area he was in.
He had discovered a strange Chalice Dungeon buried beneath the lowest levels of Mensis' old headquarters, and proceeded to enter it. Immediately he was assailed by several armored boars and what appeared to be large lumps of animated blue crystal and men with the bodies of snakes.
Perhaps they were the origin of those strange snake-monsters he had seen in the woods around the area? That would make sense if Mensis' "geniuses" had tried to experiment with the inhabitants of this dungeon and their work got loose.
What truly astonished Allister was the fact that this Chalice Dungeon was a library. It was filled with countless books, most of them rotted to nothing on the shelves, but several tomes still remained, preserved in chunks of crystal or within glasses cases and treasure chests.
Here and there great clusters of shimmering crystals dotted the area, sealing some parts off entirely. It was as if a geyser had erupted then instantly frozen in several spots the crystal formations were so large, misshapen, yet elegant.
Revolving stairs and assorted mechanical wonders also could be seen, and Allister wondered if this was where the inventions he had seen in Yharnam had been copied from.
Now, however, he came to a chamber almost completely bathed in opaque crystal. Sitting at the far end was a pedestal upon which a book had been placed. It seemed intact, but was guarded by a large Golden Crystal Golem.
Allister tensed, then sprang into action as it barreled towards him. He leapt aside from its wild swinging arms which struck the ground, causing pillars of jagged crystal to burst forth.
He aimed and fired his Evelyn pistol, staggering it. He then darted forward and swung his Threaded Cane, striking at its joints. Had he a larger weapon he could have simply smashed the golem to pieces. Instead, he was forced to rip its limbs apart so it was immobilized. Then, he dropped a rock on its head. Destroying it like all the others he had encountered.
It perished and offered no Blood Echoes, annoyingly, but the crystalline material seemed fairly precious and radiated an unknown energy, so he pocketed several large chunks for study. Perhaps they could make excellent bullets or upgrade materials!
Foe vanquished, he approached the dias where the tome lay. The cover was made of gold, and elegant images of flames decorated it. He cautiously opened it, revealing the interior.
He gaped in shock. Someone had made the pages out of gold! Each one was made of finely pressed and polished gold, the words etched into the surface and filled in with black ink. He could not recognize the language, but there were numerous diagrams and it seemed to be a combination of a diary and a scientific journal.
One page detailed a wyvern-like beast, dissected and its assorted parts labeled. Another had both versions of the snakemen and a new one that seemed female, but had tentacles for hair and the lower-half of a serpent.
A picture of a trident-wielding man with a six-eyed helmet gave Allister pause, and he wondered if that head cage-thing the Mensis members had worn had been inspired by this item.
Near the back the script became more erratic, and eventually devolved into scribbles. Then, a new author seemed to pick up the pen, as their words were steadier but noticeably different from the last man's writing.
These words had a faint ember glow to them, and Allister quickly snapped the book shut, afraid of being drawn too deep into the glittering words upon the pages.
He still took the grimoire, and hastily exited the Chalice Dungeon. This warranted some investigation. What could be so precious and mystical that he'd needed 100 insight just to find this place?
Outside of the library shaped Chalice Dungeon Allister tore through the notes of the various scholars of the facility. There was little on the mysterious dungeon, and what he could find had belonged to the department heads.
At last he had swallowed his bile and broken into Micolash's personal study and rooted through the blasphemous texts within. After hours of searching and throwing up a half dozen times from the horrors the mad head of Mensis had written of, he finally found what he was looking for:
A book entitled "Lordinium to Yharnam, how it all came to be," a translation guide for the ancient language in the golden tome, and several notes by Micolash.
'What we have here is proof, actual proof!, that the mythical Empire of Flames, Lordinium, as the fables call it, existed! Not only that, but it was here, right where Yharnam is now located! Here is the source of an ancient power that seems to have been coveted by the Old Ones. We believe our very own research facility is built on the ruins of a notable site, but cannot access it due to a strange power that keeps us at bay.'
'We managed to uncover a way into the ruins! Using the newly developed Chalice Dungeons, we have pieced a hole into whatever mystical barrier kept it hidden and intact all these years. Interestingly, it seems that the Church's vaunted Blood Ministrations are useless within this space, and anyone who has had one cannot enter lest they suffer lesions and burns all over their body.'
'This place is amazing! It is a library, filled with wondrous knowledge! We have begun rudimentary examinations and tentative translations of the few surviving texts, and already we have learned so much! Not to mention some engineers are over the moon for the machinery and devices it employs. It is guarded by unnatural beasts, though. Snakes that walk like men, boars that are armored in their own bones, and sentient lumps of crystal impede us at every turn.'
Allister flipped through it all, until he came to the last entry in Micolash's journal in regards to this dungeon.
'I don't believe it. It seems impossible, but we have found a golden tome that has revealed to us the very nature of the soul, and how to use it. Those snake-men? Human-reptile hybrids. The boars? Pigs enhanced with the souls of so-called 'dragons.' The golems? Raw souls transmuted into a solid substance! And there's more! Details on how to absorb souls for nourishment lies in here, alongside the methods to moving souls from one body to another. Not to mention we have finally uncovered vital facts about the Old Ones, how to contact them, and how to fuse their essence with mortals! Those fools in the Church have been wrong this whole time! The answer was never in the stars, but below us! We can become like the legendary God-Kings of old! Immortality is in our grasps!'
The rest was smudged and ruined, but the information within stunned Allister. Souls were real. Not just metaphysical or anything, but actually tangible! No wonder Micolash went mad, he meddled in that which was not meant to be touched!
But the words gave him pause. The old leader of Mensis claimed that the secrets to moving and manipulating souls was within the pages of the tome he now held.
A thought he had long fought to keep from thinking about pushed its way forward.
"Could I give Doll her own body?"
The doll. His companion. His teacher. His, dare he say it, lover. She loved him unconditionally, cared for him and tended his wounds. He would not lie and say he had not fallen in love with her. But he could never be with her.
But now, he had a lead. A way that could give him what they both craved. And it did not lie in the sick, twisted miracles of false gods and moon-starved abominations.
He gripped the tome tight. He had his answers, now. And, he had hope. The most terrible of poisons.