Disclaimer: I own nothing, but the plot.

"Ashen One..."

Those were the words that caused the armored man with a burly upper-body to snap his magenta eyes open. He wore a full suit of black plated armor that had silver ornamentals, and black clothing underneath. Draped over his shoulders and going down to about the back of his knees was a red cape with a golden dragon symbol on the center. The helmet he wore was a closed helmet that had the same designs as his armor.

However, not very long after he opened his eyes did they narrow a bit, and his lips curved downwards into a small scowl. The person he had heard call out to him wasn't there, the Fire Keeper he was expecting to see upon opening his eyes wasn't sitting next to him.


He found it to be odd that the Fire Keeper wasn't by his side and slowly started to sit up.

Could I have imagined things? He highly doubted he would have awoken from his long and deep slumber by imagining the Fire Keeper's voice, but it was a possibility, at least a very tiny one.

As he wondered this, the Ashen One's ears were graced by a faint, and soft voice that said only two words.

"Ashen One..."

Hearing those soft words made him stop thinking, and look straight ahead at the one, and only exit of the place he had been resting in for who knows how long.

Fire Keeper.

He knew who that voice belonged to, and would never forget the warmth it carried, but there was something off about it, something that bothered him. He didn't quite know what it was, but he felt like there was pain and sadness in it.

Wanting-no needing to know why he was sensing sadness in her voice, the Ashen One climbed out of the coffin he had been sleeping in, and made his way to the exit. He didn't know what had happened to the shrine they had sought shelter in so before leaving the room he pulled out his weapons. They were the twin straight swords of the late Black Hand Gotthard.

They were made out of some fine steel with the blades being a silvery color that could easily reflect the light, while hilts were made out of polished bronze with the leather wrapping it being a maroonish red. As for the guards and pommels they were gold. On his back was a kite shield that was dark teal with a golden trim and a golden crest on it.

Upon reaching the door that would lead him to the rest of the temple, the Ashen One noticed that the door was rotting and looked to be in terrible condition.

I doubt I'm going to run into anything, but..

He believed the chances of encountering something were low, but knowing his luck, he realized that it was better to play it safe than sorry.

Sheathing the blade in his right hand for a quick second, the Ashen One grabbed onto the door handle and carefully opened the door. He then unsheathed his sword and pressed forward.

He didn't encounter anything upon walking through the doorway, but the Ashen One did notice the room temperature change.

He huffed at this, and thought, cold.

He wasn't a fan of places that had low temperatures like the snowfields in Ariandel, and would have preferred something like a swamp for they're usually warm, but that was just his preference.

Nevertheless, the Ashen One began to search the remains of the temple in an attempt to find the Fire Keeper.

He didn't have much to search since the temple had crumbled over the years, and was unsuccessful in locating the Fire Keeper, which caused him to scowl once more.

Where are you, Fire Keeper?

After seeing that the Fire Keeper wasn't in the temple, the Ashen One left the temple through the front entrance. It consisted of two large metal double doors that were practically covered in rust.

They took some effort to move, and while he wasn't able to open them fully, he was able to move them to where he could walk through them.

Upon opening the doors, the Ashen One was welcomed by the sight of a winter forest, with evergreens all around the entrance to the temple, much to his chagrin. Further away, he spotted some snowy crags; their cliff faces an unspoken danger of the landscape. Beyond that, he caught a glimpse of what looked like the tip of a tower.


The Ashen One had expected to see nothing but darkness upon leaving the temple, so seeing all of this made him feel a bit happy. However, that happiness he felt did not last for long, for he quickly remembered the Fire Keeper and the pain he heard in her voice.

He shook his head, and after doing so, his expression became serious and he clenched his fists.

I'm coming, Fire Keeper.

He didn't have the slightest clue as to where she had gone off to, but that wasn't going to stop him from looking. He was going to look for her and keep searching for her until he found her. As for why it was because she was all he had left.

He had no idea what had happened to everyone else after extinguishing the First Flame, and while it was possible they were alive, he didn't know that for sure. However, what he did know was that the Fire Keeper was still alive, for if she wasn't, then how could he have heard her voice?

Sure, the possibility of him imagining her voice was out there, but he couldn't believe that. He just couldn't.

Unclenching his fists, the Ashen One looked down and removed a wooden box that was on his belt. It was a small, plain box weathered with age, capable of fitting on one's belt by a metal clasp, and while it did look mundane, the box was capable of storing an unlimited amount of objects, with an unlimited variety of shapes and sizes. How it opened was via a portal to its storage realm; it was capable of holding any manner of objects inside, without issue.

He then opened it and stuck his hand in it for no longer than two seconds before pulling it out along with an item. The item he took out from his bottomless box was a black spear that was once wielded by a Ringed Knight.

The Ashen One then gave it a quick look over to check its condition, and after doing so, gave himself a small nod and put the wooden box back on his belt.

This will do.

Satisfied with his current loadout, the Ashen One officially began his journey to find the Fire Keeper.

To Be Continued.