Dark Souls: The Princess and I

Chapter 11 - Chosen Undead

“Show me something?” Orlai asked. Dark flecks floated in his brown eyes, like vultures circling a dying animal. He had cried for this Rhea woman, why? She tried to kill him. Something must have happened between them, something that made even him, a stone of a man with hardly any real emotion, cry at her death. The thought made her jealous. He nodded, pulling up his hood and wrapping the cloth around his face, walking past her and up a different level of stairs into a large ruined structure that looked somewhat similar to the church they’d left. She hesitated when she saw what was inside,

“I am pleased to see you well.” It said in the voice of an old man. The man in black nodded back in greeting,

“Hello Frampt.” He said to a creature that filled Orlai with dread. A long serpent like neck stretched from a gaping hole in the ground, bulbous eyes of orange and black, a lipless mouth of ugly teeth, and two hanging pieces of flesh in the disturbing likeness of facial hair beneath a crooked nose, skin ash gray. It was as if a snake had tried to mimic a human’s face, producing this abomination of nature, worst parts its overwhelming stench and how it constantly ground its teeth together in sickening clacks. Orlai shivered,

“My, it seems you have finally decided to use that tongue of yours.” Frampt mused, teeth clicking, “Who is this companion you have brought?” Its orange and black eyes fixed on Orlai and she winced uncomfortably, its gaze a slime that slowly covered her skin. She would need to bathe later, “She carries a strange scent.”

“Orlai.” Said the man, raising a hand to her,

“Orlai.” Frampt croaked, Orlai’s skin crawled hearing it speak her name, “Quaint.” It looked down at the man, “What is it you need of me, Chosen Undead?” Orlai stared at it, no longer paying attention to its repulsive nature,

“What did you say?” She asked, Frampt turning to her, “Did you say Chosen Undead?”

“Indeed,” It croaked, “This Undead has rung the Bell of Awakening and is fated to succeed the Great Lord Gwyn, Keeper of the Flame.” The man looked at her curiously,

“He’s the Chosen Undead?” She repeated, “Let’s just clarify here. You just called him Chosen Undead?”

“Do I not speak clearly? He is the Chosen Undead.” Frampt stated proudly, “I am never wrong.” Orlai looked down at the man in black,

“Frampt,” She strained, “I’m borrowing him a second.” She calmly walked over to the man in black, reached beneath into his hood and grabbed his ear, yanking him after her as she marched back to the Bonfire. He yelped in pain, hands flailing about,

“Chosen Undead. I remain here, and await thee.” Frampt called, Orlai waving a dismissive hand,

“Yeah, yeah we’ll be right back.” She sat him in front of the Bonfire, hands on her hips, “So you’re the Chosen Undead?” Chosen rubbed his ear, glaring up at her silently. Lips pursed Orlai looked down her nose at him, “Don’t you back sass me this is a pretty important detail considering you’re the one I’ve been looking for this whole damn time to take back with me!” He shrugged indifferently. Orlai leaned forward, “I think it’s time we talked.”

She sat cross-legged across from him and he looked the other way, arms crossed and shoulders hunched. She growled at him, “What are you five?” She hit him upside the head, “Act your damn age.” She spat and he recoiled with a hurt look in his eyes, “Will you just talk to me?” He turned around to sit with his back to her. Orlai’s veins bulged in rage. She swallowed the emotion in a thick lump, shaking her head. She had to do this politically. She took out a mirror she’d fashioned from some broken glass, straightening her hair with a comb and rubbing a glossy ointment on her lips. Removing her chest plate and unbuttoning her shirt to a seductive level she nodded into the mirror with satisfaction. Rolling her shoulders and shaking her hands preemptively, Orlai stepped towards him, arms out to envelope him from behind,

“Fine,” He said, turning back around. She froze in mid-step and he leaned back in surprise. Looking up at her his eyebrows slowly rose beneath his hood and they stared at each other for several seconds. Orlai sat down deliberately, coughing into a fist,

“Alright then, let’s get started.” She began and he nodded, “So what do you remember?”

“Nothing.” Orlai rolled her head around a few times before responding,

“Ok,” She said, voice strained, “Tell me about yourself.”

“I am very old.” He stated. Orlai waited,

“…and?” She rolled her hand around, “There’s more right?”

“I am Undead.” She dragged a hand down her face,

“Yes, the Chosen Undead, why are you the Chosen Undead?” He frowned behind his mask,

“I do not know.” She opened her mouth, taking a breath to shout, “I have always lit the flame.” He continued, “Succeeded Gwyn many times.” Words echoed in her mind,

Retrieve him, and end the false world he inherits.

“Wait,” She interrupted, “You’ve already done this?”

“A very long time.” He answered. Her anger dissipated. Dark hole forming in her chest she held a hand up,

“How long?” She pressed, “You said centuries before, how many time have you done this?”

“Many,” He answered tiredly, “Too many.” Orlai swallowed nervously, a terrifying thought dawning on her,

“Have you… met me before in your other cycles?” He shook his head, to her relief, but the possibility still existed. What if she was already caught in the unending cycle and didn’t know it? What if she had been doing this as long as he? The thought was maddening,

“Princess?” She looked up into his concerned eyes,

“It’s nothing,” Orlai snapped, “What do you have to do now to succeed Gwyn?”

“Kill the Four Kings. Kill Gravelord Nito. Use Lordvessel. Kill Gwyn.”

“Ok, but if we continue the pattern that’d just reset everything wouldn’t it? Is there anything outside this world or some way we can talk to someone?” He shrugged. Orlai sucked her teeth, “Thanks. What’s this Lordvessel thing?” He stood, walking back to Frampt,

“Come.”

“Welcome Chosen Undead, is it something urgent?” Frampt greeted them at their return. The man in black shook his head, standing at the edge of the black hole and extending a gauntlet to Orlai,

“Here,” He said, pointing down the hole with his other gauntlet. She walked up next to him,

“The hole?” He nodded, grabbing her arm and pulling at her,

“Come.” Orlai eyed him suspiciously,

“To do what?” He swept her off her feet and into his arms, “Wait!” She cried as he swung a foot over the hole, “You can’t be serious!” She screamed as they fell.


I held Orlai tight as we fell, her screams deafening and grip vice-like. It would’ve taken too long to explain anything, much faster to just show her. I saw a light below us that quickly grew, and we fell into a large room that looked like the interior to an ancient temple. I could not recall its name. White flecks of ash materialized below us, cushioning our fall and allowing me land lightly on the solid stone. Orlai’s eyes shot murder at me,

“Explanation long.” I said, setting her down. She opened her mouth to start screaming at me when she noticed the room,

“What,” Orlai looked around in awe, mouth agape, “What is this place?”

“A big room.”

“I can see that you ass,” She snarled, “I mean what is it? What’s it called?” I hummed thoughtfully,

“Firelink Shrine is above.” I grunted, “No idea.”

“Shocking.” She snorted, walking up the stairs to a large metal bowl set on a meaty tree stump, “Is this it?” I followed her,

“Yes.”

“Didn’t you say you already had two souls?” I nodded, “Put them in I want to see what happens.” I reached into my bottomless box and procured two souls that burned furiously, lighting the room with their flames, “Whoa.” Orlai whispered, staring at them in wonder. I knelt, offering them to the Lordvessel. They vanished in a puff of embers lighting the astral flames, swelling as they spiraled slowly, “Amazing.” I glanced at Orlai, sparkling eyes wide in awe. I couldn’t help but smile, this was much more fun with an audience, “Now what?” She asked as I stood,

“Kill the others.” Orlai hummed, thoughtfully massaging her chin,

“Yeah, but that’s what you’ve always done. Can you remember things you did differently?” I frowned thoughtfully. I could remember every trap, every enemy, every path, and every creature along the way, so long as it dealt with Linking the Flame, but outside that I remembered little. But I did not reply to her yet, I had to think.

I sat down, mind working furiously to remember something outside the ring, something not crucial to the cycle. I hit a wall of fog, the same wall I always found when I tried to think. I did not give in this time, however, I knew Orlai would hit me if I just shrugged again, so I pushed at the fog. To my surprise it gave easily, that was different. I gasped as memories exploded into my mind, clamoring to speak with me.

I remembered a dragon in a forest of gigantic tree trunks on a beach of ash surrounded by an ocean of black, a beast with a lion’s head and angel’s wings that breathed lightning and guarded a talking mushroom, a maze of roots and ladders inside the trunk of a large tree filled with bug-eye beasts of black, a painted world with the child banished from the world.

Priscilla.

“Hm?” I opened my eyes, Orlai lounging in my lap, “Did you say something?” She asked, looking up at me, “You’ve been sitting here for a while and just muttered something.” I shook my head, closing my eyes and refocusing. A painted world, something had seemed important about that, a name had resurfaced in my ancient mind. I thought harder, struggling.

Priscilla.

My eyes shot open and I spun, looking around. Orlai was asleep next to the flames of the Lordvessel wrapped in a cloak. I put a hand to my head,

Priscilla.

I had not spoken that name verbally or mentally someone had told it to me, the only other person nearby the sleeping Orlai. I felt eyes from the dark, cold sweat beading on my forehead,

“Show yourself.” I growled, “I know you are here.” Firelink Altar. That was the name of this place. Why did I remember now?

Chosen Undead.” I tensed, grasping Artorias’ Greatsword, “There is no need for that my son. Blades, no matter how divine, cannot touch me.” The shadows grew darker and longer, light of the Lordvessel dimming, “And nor can they touch you, for that matter.” This voice felt familiar, dangerous. I knelt over Orlai, shielding her from the dark with my body,

“Stay away.” I growled. Dark laughter echoed in my mind,

Fool, you do not know what you and she are. How ironic this is, the Son of Darkness protecting the Daughter of Fire.” I tensed, “Kill her, and bring a new age upon us.

“Who are you?” I demanded. The Dark did not answer, as if pondering something,

One you owe much to, Chosen Undead, but now is not the time. The Game must end, Gods growing impatient. Kill her. The Dark must rise again.” I drew Artorias’ Greatsword,

“She is mine.” I sneered, “Mine!” The Darkness closed in, pressing down upon me as I sheltered in the light of the Lordvessel,

How will you ferry her to safety before her death then, my son? How will you rescue her from your own madness? Better to die by your hand than the lucky kiss of another’s sword.

“Priscilla.” The name fell from my lips without my knowledge or consent, as if another had spoken. The voice snarled,

Priscilla will never assist the Chosen Undead, kill the Child of Fire and end this lark!

The light grew again. I let go of a breath I didn’t realized I was holding, exhaling loudly. I looked down at the woman beneath me. She did not belong in this world, so what had put her here? What deity had placed her beneath the Chosen Undead’s watch? What was my role in this? I growled at the thought that I was but a pawn in the grand scheme of the gods. I put a hand to Orlai’s shoulder,

“Wake up.” I grunted. Orlai opened her eyes, stretching,

“Welcome back to the living,” She yawned, “You sat there for hours.” She frowned, sitting up, “You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”

“We must move.” I reached out to the astral flames of the Lordvessel, a hand on Orlai, and grasped the essence of the flame pulling us through space and time. Lights flashed past us for an instant and We reappeared in Firelink Shrine,

“What?” Orlai managed to get out, stunned,

“Warp.” I said quickly, standing up and walking towards Frampt, “Come.” I urged to her, walking up the stairs,

“Wait dammit!” Orlai shouted, “Where are we going?” She hurried after me, snatching her armor off the ground,

“The Undead Asylum.”

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