Of Embers and Aura

Prologue

A/N: I BURN! CAN'T HOOOLD ME DOWN!

Ahem… memery aside:

We're back baby! Welcome one and all, both new arrivals (though I'd highly recommend you read the prequel if that's the case), and those who've been waiting for the sequel to From Ashes to Dust.

On a side note, a 4 character tag limit of FFN is stupid, so here's the tag list I actually wanted to make: OC, Trusty Patches, Neo, Penny P, Roman T, Team RWBY, Team JNPR. But seriously, why 4 tags? Can't we have like 8? Or even 10? Four is just so limited. But I digress.

To everyone here: Welcome to Of Embers and Aura, the second installment in this series (which I will call From Ashes to Dust. So that's the name of both this AU, and the first book). So I'll try to keep this brief so you all can dive right in, but here's a quick recap (spoilers if you're still here but you haven't read the previous book, in which case, GO READ IT, you boneheaded hollow!):

Vyliria of Avalon, unkindled, awoke in the Kiln after snuffing the First Flame, just in time for the start of a new year at Beacon Academy. Remnant was an utterly alien world to her, but she adjusted quickly enough, sticking the plunge attack and taking off running. She's made friends in this age, and through trials and tribulations, team RWBY and her own team, JNAPR, have gotten their hands on the arcane arsenal the Irithyllian has doled out. In particular, the animate corpse has struck up a surprising rapport with Remnant's first synthetic being possessing an aura. Yet it's become apparent that this age isn't all rainbows and sun-praising, as the most recent Vytal Festival, celebrating the end of the most destructive war in the world's (post-First-Flame) history, was interrupted by a terrorist attack and a Grimm invasion, orchestrated by one Cinder Fall, who had usurped part of the power of the Fall Maiden, and was using the chaos to finish the job. She succeeded, but was slain by Vyliria, who had taken a fragment of the Dark Soul itself into her so that a child could paint a world back when the First Flame still burned. The Grimm attack on the campus was defeated, the massive wyvern that had been slumbering beneath the mountains outside of Vale slain by a sunlight spear by Pyrrha Nikos, though not without the aid of her close friends, her boyfriend, Jaune Arc, and over a dozen others. In the city proper, the one and only Unbreakable Patches had, for the second time in this age, gathered the criminal elements of a nation to rise to defend their homes from the Grimm, aided by the notorious thief Roman Torchwick and his surrogate daughter Neopolitain. Weiss Schnee has refused to return to Atlas with her father, and has been disinherited, but her sorceries, glyphs, and summons grow in strength by the day. Yang Xiao Long has mastered pyromancy, and her half-sister Ruby Rose can wield a phantasmal lifehunt scythe as well as her normal farming implement cum murder-tool/sniper-rifle. Blake Belladonna has an impressive control over the black flames of humanity, and has taken her team with her to answer the invitation of her father, who leads the faunus on the island of Menagerie. They've been joined by Neopolitian (who everyone calls Neo), who's roped Patches in to act as a chaperone. A cloaked figure boarded the ship they're on shortly before it left, unnoticed by all save the crow who has decided to roost on the seafaring vessel. Further north, Vyliria travels with Penny Polendina, Pyrrha, Jaune, Lie Ren, and Nora Valkyrie, to their destination in the city of Mistral, where they seek answers about Salem and the relics left behind by the Brother Gods, pursuing the single clue of Cinder having posed as a student from Haven. Roman himself has decided to set off for Atlas to make Jacques Schnee's life hell, and I'm looking forward to when I get to that. However, the forces of evil still grow and fester. Emerald Sustrai has become the next Fall Maiden, and seeks vengeance for Cinder's death against Vyliria, and Salem is more than willing to aid her in that goal. And other figures from the Age of Fire rear their heads in the modern era, as the Tyrant Sulyvahn, having somehow survived the events that transpired at the end of his age, has offered to join his own forces with the Queen of the Grimm's, and Lothric's deadliest denizens turn their gazes towards an unsuspecting Remnant. And even discounting threats of their level, Mistral lies in peril, as with huntsmen in the largest kingdom dying by the dozens, both Grimm and whole tribes of bandits reign nigh-unopposed outside of the mountain city's walls.

Right. Let's light this bonfire, and get this show on the road.

Disclaimer: I don't own Dark Souls or RWBY. Dark Souls belongs to From Software and RWBY belongs to Rooster Teeth. I only own my own OCs.

(Vyliria)

Teal metal sunk into another beowolf, the lupine Grimm twitching as it died, before the Moonlight Greatsword was ripped from its corpse. A gray, sharply angled legging of a knight of the Ringed City, forged in the Abyss and sealed with fire by gods long dead, rose and kicked the dissolving corpse out of the way. A head covered by the red, gold-embroidered, veiled hood of a desert pyromancer from Jugo turned, looking up as another of the Grimm's breed bounded towards her. She rolled out of the way of its lunge, the taloned, silver gauntlets of the Dancer of the Boreal Valley finding purchase within the cracks of the bricked road in the village center, allowing her to push off the ground and gain further distance. Embers gathered on her torso, clad in a dull armor resembling a ribcage, with faded red cloth atop it. It was part of a set that the phantom who'd traded it had called Firelink, and she privately agreed that it bore an uncanny resemblance to the attire of the Soul of Cinder. The fire raced down her arm, and upon reaching her empty left hand, leapt off, coalescing into the shape of a crossbow with a wheel atop it. The burning ash faded away, revealing the repeating crossbow wielded by Slave Knight Gael, and a mechanism within clunked, a barrage of lightning bolts spewing forth and bringing the next beowolf down. That was the fifth one dead since she'd entered the village center, nevermind the score and a half she'd slain on the way in. She dismissed her ranged weapon in another burst of burning ash as she watched another four approach from multiple angles. She rolled her neck, a small pop sounding from the cartilage in her vertebrae, shifting her stance, even as small motes of fire lazily traveled across her clothing, courtesy of the ember she'd consumed back at Beacon Academy.

Vyliria Avalon surveyed the oncoming Grimm, and snorted with disdain. The unkindled put both hands on her legendary greatsword, raising it above her head as it basked in the moonlight that was its namesake. Teal light gathered on the weapon, and she slammed it to the ground as a wave of lunar magic arced forth, cleaving the first beowolf in half. She switched to a one-handed grip, and ran towards the next, pyromancy flame crackling to life as she thrust a burning hand out, the black flames of humanity pulping whatever passed for the creature's brain. Her flame went out, both hands gripping the Moonlight Greatsword as she raised it above a shoulder, thrusting forwards and unleashing a blast of teal light as it skewered the next Grimm's chest. She whipped around as the last one in this group went to swipe at her with a paw, grabbing the parrying dagger that always rested on her hip, reversing the grip and stabbing it into the beast's palm, pushing it out of the way as she thrust her weapon forwards, the blade plunging straight into its snarling maw.

Her instincts screamed out to her, and she rolled, a brick the size of her head narrowly missing her. She followed its trajectory, noting the beowolf atop the clock tower in the village center, already priming another brick to toss at her. While the projectiles couldn't hurt her due to her aura, the shield projected by her soul that shimmered black when struck, there was a finite amount of protection it offered, and if a strike could be dodged, it should be dodged, barring an opportunity to counter presenting itself. Narrowing her eyes, she willed a burst of burning ash down her arm, a staff from the lost land of Izalith forming in her hand. She leveled the arcane wood, the catalyst glowing blue, before a shriek erupted as a crystalline lance of magic shot forth, the crystal soul spear slaying the nuisance. Five sets of bounding thuds alerted her to a quintet of beowolves coming to kill her, and she sighed as she returned her staff to the embers from whence it came, before charging to meet them head on. She met the first two running, parrying dagger digging into the ground to act as an anchor as she dropped, sweeping the Moonlight Greatsword in a horizontal arc and dispatching them, before flipping and spinning the other way, repeating the process for the next pair. The final one was treated to the spectacle of her flipping into the air, slamming her main weapon down in an overhead strike, confident that the Grimm wouldn't be parrying her any time soon.

A pair of screeches from the skies alerted her half a second before a wave of razor sharp feathers descended upon her, and she grunted as her aura took the hit from the twin assault of the pair of adolescent nevermores. She quickly holstered her parrying dagger, rolling her shoulders as she willed forth the gold and white chime given to her an epoch ago by her surrogate sister, Yorshka. She rang the sacred bell, rearing her arm back as she called out to the world, channeling the hate within her.

The Champion of Ash stood at the end of a world,

Around her the dark clouds roiled and swirled,

She faced down the Red Hood, to see through his last demand,

That a niece he'd left behind, could create an unburdened land,

And all throughout their battle, as the end of Flame drew near,

Crashing down all around them, were Dark Lightning Spears!

The blue bolt of lightning she formed sailed forth, tracking and striking down one of the four-eyed corvid Grimm, before she repeated the spell and felled the other. The thumps of a large beast's lumbering gait alerted her towards the next threat, and even as the chime was whisked away, she twisted, bracing a wrist further up on the flat of her blade, which barely intercepted the meaty fist that swung at her. She went skidding back from the impact with a yelp, barely staying on her feet before coming to a stop. She assessed her attacker, identifying it as a scarred, old beringel, a massive simian Grimm resembling a gorilla. Like all of the creatures of darkness that plagued this age, its flesh was as black as the Abyss, with crimson eyes that glowed with malice, and bleached white bone-plating acting as a natural armor on parts of its body. This Grimm was clearly an alpha of its breed, old, weathered, missing one eye, but with its age, its intellect and strength grew. Recognizing that she wouldn't be beating this opponent in a battle of poise, the Moonlight Greatsword was recalled in a wash of embers, replaced by the ornate glaive of a Black Knight, the additional reach of the weapon more likely to aid her here.

The beringel beat its chest, before roaring and leaping at her. She bit back a curse at its speed, backflipping out of the way of its fists, which left a crater in the ground they struck, and jabbed the glaive forward, the sharpened tip of the ancient titanite weapon sinking deep into its flesh where an ordinary blade would have only scratched its toughened hide. The next roar was one of pain, and she pulled her weapon free with a spray of black ichor, ducking the first fist thrown out but caught by the second. She winced as the wind was knocked out of her and she went flying, but where an age ago such an impact would have meant a severe injury and the need to down a dose of estus, now her aura cushioned the blow, preventing damage, but not the pain. She came to a stop after striking the ground thrice, and scrambled to her feet. She viewed pain as nature's way of telling her she fucked up, and that if she didn't act fast that she'd be feeling a lot more very soon. This view was proven correct, as her hasty dive to her left was all that prevented the beringel from crashing down upon her. Before it could follow up the strike, she acted, both hands gripping the glaive as she spun twice, and its blade sliced into the Grimm's chest on both sweeps, then transitioning into an overhead slam, the blade plunging straight into the beast's shoulder, before she twisted and savagely yanked to the side to rip it out. Yet even so, it didn't care, and its other arm reared back to grab the Irithyllian as her eyes widened.

But it wasn't to be, as a beam of emerald green light shot forth, drilling a hole straight through its head. The beringel took a few seconds to realize it was dead, before it keeled to the side, landing with a thump as its corpse began to dissipate. Vyliria turned around to regard her comrade, raising a hand with a smile on her face, confident that the only other person in her party that had night vision could see the expression beyond her hood's veil. "Took you long enough," the Irithyllian called out in a jesting manner.

"Well, if you had stayed with the rest of us, instead of taking advantage of the fact that you could run full speed across a third of the city of Vale before tiring, coupled with you having the largest stride of the group, then we all could have gotten here at the same time," responded Penny Polendina. The gynoid, proud owner of a humanity sprite that rested in her soul, still looked much the same as when the unkindled first met her. Her face was still freckled, her hair in the same style and the same carrot-orange color, and a pink bow still sat on the back of her head. Her dozen swords, Floating Array, which could bunch together and function as a laser, hovered over her head, their forms shifting from their laser configuration back to blades. A plain black shirt was just visible at the collar of the slightly unzipped emerald green hoodie she wore, the sleeves ended at her wrists with bands of dark-gray fabric. The inside of the hoodie was a much brighter green, and two pockets sat on the outside at hip level. From the hips down to below her knees rested a skirt the same shade as her hoodie, with a black hem at the bottom striped with a lighter green that matched the interior of her hoodie. Her shoes remained black, and rising from them were a pair of opaque black leggings, with light green stripes running up the sides, before they disappeared under her skirt. It still gave Vyliria slight mirth to note that the Painting Guardian gloves she'd given Penny when the fake skin on her hands had been scrapped bare once upon a time were now a feature of her attire, covering her hands with their dull beige fabric. And though she couldn't see it, she felt pride in the knowledge that a badge of the covenant of the Warriors of Sunlight rested in one of her pockets.

"Fair point," Vyliria conceded. "Though at least I only ran ahead. Nora wanted to ride a nevermore in, for Gwyn's sake!"

Penny shrugged. "Nora will be Nora, but ever since Ruby mentioned doing it during initiation, she's been harping about trying it for herself. I feel like Ren's the only thing stopping her."

"And you'd probably be right."

A growl alerted the pair that another pack of beowolves were coming in, and they squared off to face it. "Since neither of us have to actually breathe, I'm assuming the rest of our team is still a few minutes behind us, right?"

"That would be correct," Penny said, Floating Array positioning itself as she drew an incredibly rare (and that was before the First Flame was snuffed) chime of the goddess of tears, Caitha, intoning:

With the bite of a lance yet the speed of a sparrow,

The maidens of the Lord smote them with their Lighting Arrows!

The electric projectile formed, and she took aim at a nevermore swooping in from the distance. Vyliria gave a smile to her companion, which was quickly reciprocated, before the unkindled said, "Well, I guess that's more fun for us to have, then. Though I still can't wrap my head around the fact that this is the same damn village that Nora and Ren wanted to go to before the Breach happened."

"It is a very unlikely coincidence," Penny agreed, before releasing the miracle in her hands, striking the Abyssal corvid from the skies as she joined Vyliria in a headlong charge at the Grimm.

()

A/N: Hey, remember when the prequel's prologue was a disjointed muddle of thoughts and memories that would make virtually no sense to someone who hasn't played Dark Souls 3? Just goes to show how constant writing can make some marked improvements. And speaking of the FAtD prologue, in case you didn't notice, I had revamped it to read better the day after I had put up the epilogue for From Ashes to Dust.

Straight into the action we go! So how about that volume 4 prologue? I'm assuming that was somewhere in Vale, and thought it would not only be cool to redo it with a FATD twist, but to also have it be the village where Ren and Nora wanted to shadow a sheriff before the Breach interrupted them.

WE GOT NEW FASHION SOULS! I present to you the fashion souls of another one of my DS3 characters: Desert Pyromancer Hood, Firelink Armor, Dancer's Gauntlets (originally the Black Knight gauntlets, and those go well with the armor too), and Ringed Knight Leggings. It clocks in at 18.93 poise in-game, which lets you use a halberd (two-handed) to trade indefinitely with one-handed straight and curved swords, and anything smaller. Of course, I'm not playing by in-game rules, so that number has no bearing on the actual story, but there you go.

And so does Penny. Who I maintain is just behind Neo in rankings for Best Girl. Penny's outfit is partly my own design, slightly borrowing from Penny 2.0 in canon, and heavily inspired by the Penny in Combat Ready, a (almost certainly discontinued) RWBY story on FFN by AuthorOfTheUniverse2401. Good story, and I'm sad it cut off at what was probably 2 or 3 chapters to the end of the big throwdown at Haven. Plus, Yang pissing Mercury off with nonstop leg and foot puns (which somehow infects everyone around them, including Watts and Mercury himself) is absolutely hilarious.

And I haven't revealed what new clothes any of JNPR may be wearing. I mean, since Pyrrha dies in canon, that means I can come up with something new from scratch with her as well. And I have a different outfit in mind for Jaune, since he isn't incorporating any of Pyrrha's ensemble in this timeline. I mean, he's already going for that knight look, so why not make it official?

Lastly, since this is the prologue, the next time we get to Vyliria and co, they'll have made it to Anima. Considering that the town in question was a bullhead ride from Vale, I'm placing that first bit as less than a week since they set out. I'm just throwing a dart at the actual time frame to get from Vale to Anima, so I'm gonna say that the next time we get to that group, it will be slightly past 3 weeks into the journey to Mistral (and a good way over a month since they set off).

Also, be aware that with 3 separate journeys occurring, there will almost certainly be chapters where I focus on only 1 group, and the others either minimally feature or don't make an appearance at all. There's a good chance there will even be stretches where I focus solely on one chunk of the story for several chapters in a row, and other characters/plots don't get mentioned while I advance that part of the story.