Chapter 1: Out of Frying Pan
Heavy metal boots crunched across the ashen field, the only sound that could be heard save a faint crackling of flame.
The Ashen one stopped, just behind the Firekeeper, the woman knelt down in front of the embers of fire.
His head slowly turned towards the up, the orange ring of fire which hung in the darkened sky flickered ever so slightly. The glowing of the horizon fading as darkness began to creep in around them.
The only light that still persisted was the faint flame which fluttered ever so slightly in the Firekeepers hands. The Ashen One stared down at what she held.
A bitter thought rose in his mind that this pathetic ember of warmth had been the deciding factor in the world's existence for millennia uncounted. A sigh escaped his throat, it was a dry thing, blowing away some of the dust in his visor.
Twisting the sword in his hands, he stabbed it into the ground next to him, right hand resting on the pommel.
"Ashen One…" The Firekeepers whisper called out to him, her voice sounding serene and full of kindness even as the dark crept in around them, the horizon no longer existed, the seal branded in the sky had been blown out. Still, the servant remained silent. There was nothing else left to say.
But she didn't need him to say anything, she continued on with one final question to him "Hearest thou my voice still?"
The question echoed around him as his eyelids shut. A final, unnecessary breath, escaped his useless lungs.
He felt the darkness encroach in, his body becoming numb.
Yet, he did not find himself disappearing. He would have frowned, he felt something pulling him, raising his head, he beheld a glowing light. A singular orb with rings circling it. Information, random parts were forced into his mind.
A concept of a place after death.
A...A throne of Heroes?
Where legends would dwell. The information flooding into his mind was painful at best and agonising at worst, considering that as an undead he was granted an extraordinarily high pain tolerance, this was on the extreme end of the spectrum.
As the pain continued to wrack his brain, he could feel a voice calling out to him. From beyond this...Throne.
He could feel the pull of a summon, except it was different. Stronger somehow that before. He moved his spirit, he could feel it. The choice to accept the call for aid from whoever was summoning him. It wasn't what he had expected in the least.
This entire situation was far too bizarre. However, he was a Warrior of Sunlight.
Honour bound to heed the call of the summoning, he allowed it to pull his body towards the light.
"Hurry up." Olga continued to whimper, continually casting nervous glances over her shoulder as the trio stared down at the shield on the floor. Mash held an anxious expression.
"Is...um...is it supposed to take this long?" Fujimaru Ritsuka asked, awkwardly rubbing the back of his neck, he flinched when Olga Marie turned to face him with a glare, a vicious bard on the tip of her tongue before she held herself back. Inhaling and exhaling as she controlled her breathing.
"It depends." She growled out, turning back to face the shield. Mash saw this as her opportunity to expand further.
"Summoning using the Fate system means we can make the attempt without a Catalyst. However it is up to chance whether a Servant will answer the call, Senpai." Mash clarified, Ritsuka had no idea what that meant, until a few minutes ago he didn't even know what a servant was.
"So...we'll be getting help?"
Mash winced "It...maybe?"
"Ah...I see." He nodded his head "You've...um...You've done a good job so far protecting me and the Director." Ritsuka offered "I'm sure we'll be fine with just you."
Mash gave a sad look in response "That's very kind Senpai...but I'm-"
"Wait." Olga interrupted the two, staring at the shield with narrowed eyes "Something is happening." The two turned down to stare at the shield, watching as a ring of glowing spheres sprang to life just above the centre of the cross-shaped shield.
The spheres began to rotate rapidly until they became a central ring, soon shooting inwards as a pillar of light shot up into the sky. The trio covered their eyes at the sudden brightness before lowering their hands.
Standing atop Mash's shield was a man.
Ritsuka could only guess they were a knight, dressed in steel armour with a blue fabric covering it, a white furred shoulder cape rustled in the wind, the 'T' shaped vision of the full silver steel helm slowly turned and stared down at them. In his right hand, the knight held an extraordinarily long pitch black sword, there were diamond shaped cut outs moving up the blade allowing a person to see through the actual sword itself.
After a few moments, no one said anything. Then the man spoke.
"I am…" He seemed to hesitate for a few moments, deciding on his words before he continued on "I am Saber. Unkindled of Lothric, who has need of this Warrior of Sunlight?"
Ritsuka raised his hand.
"I see." The man nodded, slowly looking down and staring at the shield he was standing on before looking towards the only other armoured person around. Mash seemed to wilt as the Servant stared at her for a few moments before he stepped off of the shield, leaning down and picking it up, then handed it back to her "A great shield should be treated with proper care. It will keep you alive in terrible situations."
"R-right!" Mash nodded her head "T-thank you Saber-san!"
Olga frowned, cupping her chin. She had never heard of Lothric or any kind of title like unkindled, meaning it was a Heroic Spirit of very little renown from some forgotten kingdom in history. Which was just about her type of luck so far. "Master Candidate 48." she barked, Ritsuka stood to attention "What are their stats?"
"Stats?" He asked, blinking at her, Olga let out a groan before palming her face, remembering just how inexperienced he was.
"You are his Master, so you will be able to see what the stats of servants are. Focus on him and try to visualise them. They will appear as letters around him."
"They will?" Ritsuka blinked, turning to Saber. The servant simply shrugged at him.
"My first summoning like this." He replied "Ones in Lothric weren't this complicated."
"Right…" Ritsuka nervously answered, rubbing the back of his neck before squinting his eyes at Saber, after a few moments he noticed the letters and words Olga had spoken of "Alright so...Strength is C plus...Endurance is C...Agility is B...Mana is C and his Luck is E." he shrugged "He's got a Noble Phantasm, which I have no idea what that is, which is ranked at B and it Anti-team." he turned to Olga "I have no idea what any of that means."
Olga turned her head back to the Saber, through stats alone he was rather mediocre for a Saber class, barely average. His Noble Phantasm and speed seemed to be his saving grace which made him moderately useful.
"Well...Magic Resistance is B."
"Riding is E."
That was bad.
"Pyromancy is B." Ritsuka blinked looking back at Saber "You can use fire?"
"I am adept at the art, yes." Saber nodded back, "It is remarkably useful."
Olga gaped at him while Mash now held a more amazed look in her eyes "Wow, you can use magecraft Saber-san! I've never heard of a magus swordsman before!"
"Really?" Saber titled his head "It is hardly uncommon for undead to be flexible in their methods of combat."
"...Undead?" Olga parroted back, looking far more perturbed than she had a few moments ago, Ash turned to her and nodded his head "You're saying your undead."
"Unkindled if you were to be more specific." He replied "Is that a surprise? You all look rather shocked right now."
"O-of course it's a surprise you fool!" Olga shouted back incredulously while hiding behind Mash "What are you then!? A Dead Apostle!?"
The Saber looked at her for a few moments and then turned back to Ritsuka "I have no idea what the woman speaks of. I can feel a link to you, however." he stepped towards the young man "I assume you are my summoner?"
"Um...Yes." Ritsuka responded, looking the Saber up and down "I'm Fujimaru Ritsuka...sorry if I'm a little...Nervous right now." he gestured to the surrounding city "Just...a lot going on."
The Ashen one turned his head to gaze over the city surrounding them, getting a good look at the burning ruins which could put some of the worse off areas he had visited to shame, although compared to the Wastes in the Ringed City, he would say it was still salvageable once they put out the fire.
"I see." Saber nodded his head "I am here to assist you then, as a Warrior of Sunlight." he held out his hand "Pleasure to meet you."
"Huh?" Ritsuka blinked, seeing the outstretched hand before he stepped forwards clasped it with a smile "Y-yeah, good to meet you too."
"You fool!" Olga hissed at him "What are you doing!? He just announced himself as a ghoul of some variety and you just approach him like it's nothing!?"
"...What's a ghoul?"
"-ervant signature right next to you!" Ritsuka blinked and stared down at his wrist, holding it up as Romani's face popped up "You need to get out of there right-" the Doctor cut himself off as he saw the Servant in question standing right next to the boy, staring blankly at him through the helmet. Romani let out a squeak "They're right behind you Fujimaru!"
"I know…" The boy slowly nodded his head "This is Saber...I summoned him…" sending a slightly questioning glance over to Mash "I did summon him...yeah?"
"Yes, Senpai." Mash nodded, shifting her gaze over to the Saber servant "We're happy to have your assistance, Saber-san!"
"Indeed…" The Unkindled murmured, tilting his head as he stared at the Doctor "What is this anyway? Some sort of sorcery?"
"It's...A hologram." Ritsuka replied, he himself didn't understand it that much either, all he knew was that it was a magic hologram. "I...They also call it magicraft. I think?"
"Magecraft." Olga mumbled into her hands "It's called magecraft."
"Oh, I see." The Unkindled crossed his arms, dissipating his blade "So, where are we?"
"Forget that right now." Olga stepped towards the hologram "Romani, find out what we can about this Heroic Spirit, he says he's from some place called Lothric and that he's an undead of some sort."
"Eh?" Romani blinked, then cast a wide eyed look towards Saber, the servant's posture remained mostly relaxed, although they occasionally cast a glance over their shoulder "Undead? Eh? What's their true name?"
"I don't have one." Saber replied, turning back to look at them "Although if you need to call me something, the title of Saber would suffice...or Ashen One...or unkindled."
"Wonderful…" Olga palmed her face "A nameless Heroic Spirit from some kingdom no one has ever heard from…"
The Ashen one titled his head to the side, while it was somewhat insulting, he was well aware that as an unkindled, he was worthless from the beginning so it wasn't much of an insult to his pride, if he had any to begin with.
One thing, however, stuck out to him "You have never heard of Lothric?" he asked, somewhat bewildered.
The woman turned to him and made to speak before a voice cut her off "Director." Romani interrupted them "I'm sure you can discuss this later, but right now I think you need to move. A servant summoning would have attracted the attention of the nearby skeletons."
"Skeletons?" The Saber clicked his tongue in annoyance "Troubling foes, especially when the return." turning his head to stare down at Ritsuka "When shall we move, Fujimaru?"
"You can call me Ritsuka if you like." The boy replied with a small, somewhat relieved, smile before he turned to the Director "So...when do we move to?"
Olga bit her lip, struggling to think of something before she abruptly turned away "Right now we need to move to find cover, this street is too exposed."
Ritsuka and Mash nodded their heads in unison while the Ashen one stared out across the cityscape, his eyes trailing over the surrounding areas before he shrugged and moved to follow after them.
All unaware of the set of eyes that were observing them in the distance.
Saber swung his sword downwards, instantly shattering the skeleton that had charged him, lashing out with his left hand he let loose a small explosion in the face of the second one which had attempted to flank him, the bones being sent flying off in all directions before they dissipated into purple smoke.
Saber stared at them for a few moments before he let out a noise of surprise "Bit different than how I remember." he shrugged "Must be summons of some sort, I suppose." Turning around, he caught a glimpse of the shielder servant slamming her weapon at her own opponent, the skeleton easily being shattered before she ripped the shield free from the ground, lashing out with the bottom of the metal instrument and uppercutting another opponent.
The Unkindled one frowned, her own movements appeared somewhat sluggish, as if she was unused to her own strength. He dismissed it soon after, as she would probably learn how to better control herself in the future, so there was no real reason for his intervention.
Although he might give her some pointers if it got bad enough, he didn't really use a shield that often, it normally meant having to give up his Pyromancy hand or his sword in order to use one, and that wasn't exactly something he was all too pleased with at times.
Ritsuka watched Mash and Saber make short work of the Skeletons with an almost awed expression; he hadn't actually seen anything like this before. Saber slowly turned his head towards where Ritsuka and Olga were, his posture changed all of a sudden, clenching his sword with two hands and turning his body towards them.
"Eh?" Ritsuka let out a confused noise as the Saber servant suddenly kicked off the ground towards the pair in a burst of speed which he could barely even keep track of. The Director let out a sharp gasp of surprise as she widened her eyes in alarm, throwing her hand towards him to try and grip his collar and pull them out of the Saber's path.
The Unkindled swung the Onyx blade upwards, going directly over the heads of the Masters. There was a clanging sound as the blade made contact with something. A thud soon followed, Ritsuka and Olga slowly lowered their gaze to see a small black knife embedded in the ground.
The Ashen one stared up at the nearby building as Ritsuka and the Director ripped their gaze away from the dirk in the street and towards the same direction the Saber was glaring in.
"Get down here wraith." Saber barked out at the building "I already know you are present."
"Eh?" Mash turned around from where she had finished off the Skeletons to see Saber shouting at the room. Romani's panicked voice soon came up on the communicator.
"You have a servant signature nearby, it looks a little weird but its there." The man called out "It wasn't there previously, so I assume it's an Assassin Servant."
Saber continued to glare up at the building "Very well then." cocking his fist back, his left palm burst into flames before he made an overhead throwing motion, a ball of fire emerged from his hand and rocket through the air before crashing into the building, blowing up a good portion of it.
Mash rushed in front of Ritsuka and the Director, covering the pair with her shield as pieces of debris rained down onto them, the pangs of bricks against metal continued on for a few seconds before ceasing.
Only to be replaced by Olga's panicked cry "What are you doing!? Throwing fireballs around like that? What if your Master had gotten injured?"
"He would be fine." Saber dismissed "Never heard of an undead who couldn't walk off a few mild injuries."
"We're not undead!"
Saber jolted, his head snapping to them in shock "You are-arrgh!" he was cut off with a cry of pain as several dirks buried themselves in his side, the Saber growled and let out another fireball towards the direction they came from. Destroying another portion of the building before a black shadow danced in front of the flames and landed on the far end of the ruined street.
"Becoming distracted in combat is such an amateur mistake." The Assassin mocked, his body was wreathed in a dark shadow, save for the white skull mask present on his face.
The Ashen one reached up with his free hand, clasping the dirk embedded in his collarbone and ripped it free, staring down at it a few moments before he tossed it away. Levelling his sword at the Assassin servant.
"Mash!" Ritsuka called out "Do your best to support Saber!" he really didn't know how she would be able to do that, but the Director had been trying to hammer into him the idea of commanding his servants. Although he wasn't exactly keen on 'commanding' anyone.
"Yes, Senpai!" Mash nodded her head, standing just behind the Saber servant and in front of the two Masters.
"Another Servant signature is closing in on you!" Romani called out, Ritsuka and Olga paled at the mention, and the Assassin let out a chuckle.
"Assuming one such as I would risk an open engagement with a Saber and an unknown Servant is equally foolish." His left hand came out from underneath the dark cloak he wore, flicking around to reveal three blades gripped between his fingers. Something crashed into the rooftop near them, Saber allowed his eyes to briefly flicker up, a frown came to his face.
It was a woman, wearing a dark grey cloak with long purple hair, in her hands she held what appeared to be a spear with a curved tip at the end, perhaps it could have been mistaken for a small scythe.
"I'm surprised, Lancer." Assassin rumbled "I thought you did not leave your hunting grounds."
"I sensed another Servant." She replied with a gentle tone "I had thought it was him...but this is very much an improvement." snake like eyes flickered onto the Shielder and the two masters "Ah...such young supple skin you have…"
Mash backed away, moving to stand closer to her Master while the Unkindled remained where he was, eyes flicking between the two servants.
There was a beat.
Then they both lunged towards the group.
AN: This is the Re-write.
As for some concerns about the Dark Souls servants stats in the future being underpowered, I think it's actually pretty fair to them.
Anyway...for future reference.
Ashen One Stats
Noble Phantasm: B
Onyx Blade: B (Anti-Team) Max Target: 50, Max Range: 0-40
'Elfreide' Releases a wave of black fire towards their opponents. Blade is swung in an arc.
Magic Resistance: B (A)
Battle Continuation: A+
Mystic Slayer: A
(Gods, demons, dragons. Doesn't matter to me what I kill.)
The lands of Lothric are perilous and one doesn't survive without being
able to slay the many monsters which inhabit the world.
Utility of Weapons: B
Without a doubt, undead are known for using anything they can get their hands on as a weapon. While it will not equal a skill like Knight of Owner, he will be able to use any weapon he picks up with a degree of competence. He is not a master, but he is average enough, a Jack of all trades, if you would.
"Servant, Saber. I have answered your calls. I may have no name but I shall do as you direct me to. God, Demons or Dragons. Your foes are my foes."
"Free time? I must admit, this is something unusual to me. One never strayed far from conflict in Lothric."
"I must apologise if I am lacking in social cues. Conversation isn't a common thing where I am from."
"The relationship between a Servant and a Master? Is the answer more complicated than the assigned roles?"
Dialogue 4 (If you have Enkidu)
"So...they turned away from their created purpose as well? Ha...at least I am not the only failure around here."
Dialogue 5 (If you have Siegward)
"Never mock the one who dresses like an Onion, he is a fiercer warrior than you could possibly imagine. Makes a pretty good Estus soup as well."
Dialogue 6 (If you have Artoria Pendragon)
"A King, you say? Such a responsibility to place on a little girl is it not?"
Dialogue 7 (If you have Aldrich)
"Master...I realise I should not question your choices of Servants...but that thing isn't pleasant company of any variety. It would be better disposed of...quickly."
Dialogue 8 (If you have The Chosen Undead)
"So...he was the first was he? I see the way he stares at me, like I'm lower than a common hollow. Yet I can't help but pity him all the same, to be tricked in such a way is saddening. Then again...I don't know what choice he would have made had he known...but he had more experience with it than me."
Dialogue 9 (If you have Solaire)
"Oh? A Warrior of Sunlight? You pick your allies well, Master. They are as formidable as they are honourable. I was a member of such an order as well."
Dialogue 10 (If you have Pontiff Sulyvahn)
"He is spiteful and cruel...but he is determined. No...he is driven. Even if, in the end, he was right...I can't overlook it. Even if he was correct...it did not make him right."
Dialogue 11 (If you have Slave Knight Gael)
"He's a good man. Of all the undead in existence, he was probably the best of us all. He deserved a better end."
Dialogue 12 (If you have Fire Keeper)
"Ah...so she's here too? That's good, she'll stay with us all to the very end. No matter how difficult or hopeless it becomes, she'll stay with us."
Dialogue 13 (If you have Gilgamesh [Archer or Caster])
"He's an arrogant one isn't he? Yet I hear he has quite the collection of weapons. Truly, I wonder if I could use my bottomless box in such a way...Hm? Oh nothing, simply an idle curiosity and nothing more."
Dialogue 14 (If you have Cu Chulainn [Caster or Lancer])
"Ah! Cu! Off to the simulator are you? I'll join you for a few matches, I feel as though its getting closer...in your favour."
Dialogue 15 (If you have Patches)
"...I see. Well...no surprise he's here. Whenever you would least expect him, he seems to materialise. Well, not that there's any helping it. But...I would watch your back around him, more so if he smiles at you."
Dialogue 16 (If you have Scathach)
"I will admit, there is something about her that is a little unnerving. Not fear exactly, but whatever else she says, we do share a similar nature. At least as far as God slaying goes."
Dialogue 18 (If you have Gawain)
"It truly is somewhat disconcerting, how similar our faces are. Still, I can't say its too bad, considering what he's like. He would be considered the model of a Warrior of Sunlight."
"What do I like? I've never really thought about that before. Few undead get the chance to experience any joy."
"Mimics. Trust me...you're better off not knowing. You'll never look at a chest the same way again."
Wish for the Holy Grail
"Wish? I suppose...I wouldn't mind being Human...to be something more than Ash, to have a choice in my life...but I can put aside my desires for the greater good."
Bond Level 1
"This will be a difficult journey ahead of us, Master. I shall remain your sword for the entire way forward."
Bond Level 2
"This is certainly thrilling, it's like being in Lothric again but...It is better to have allies."
Bond Level 3
"You are a good ally to have, what I would have given to have you by my side as I slew the Lords of Cinder...perhaps I wouldn't have died so often."
Bond Level 4
"You have been kinder to me than expected. Few have shown me such concern before, only the fire keeper. It seems she has some competition in that regard."
Bond Level 5
"You are a true friend, Master. Even if I were to hollow by the end of this quest. Know that the memories of our journey together shall be forever inscribed into my very soul. When we prove victorious, I shall be at ease knowing I aided a True Hero."
"A...Birthday? I suppose this is a time for celebration. With each passing year your wisdom grows."
During an Event
"It appears there is a commotion happening, breaks from our battles are few and far between. Perhaps we should investigate?"
"Ah, I indeed feel stronger. Perhaps I shall return to my God slaying self yet."
"I feel like grand, if Vordt were still alive I would challenge him to a fist fight...well, probably not."
"I'm in my prime, as I am I would fight any opponent you ask of me, Master."
"I feel stronger than ever before, this power...I wonder if this is how the Lords of Cinder felt?"