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The Odd Path to Fire

By lysden


Chapter 1: Messages

Ornstein knew that Smough was sitting on the small stairs at the back of the room on the floor below, probably happily chewing the scorched meat of a piece of bone. That is what he liked to do when they had some free time.

Ornstein had asked once where his current companion got those bones but Smough answered with a noncommittal shrug that it was chicken. 

Now, Ornstein had never seen chicken in Anor Londo – or anywhere else in Lordran, for that matter – but he decided that he knew enough about Smough that it would be smarter not to question him any further on this. He would probably be happier not knowing anyway. 

Not that he was happy now. Ornstein was actually grumbling through gritted teeth about the disrespectful little shits that all the incarnations of the Chosen seemed to be. He had been guarding this room for countless Chosen Cycles, and not one of them that he could remember showed proper respect to his Lady. 

With that thought, he stopped scrubbing the floor, and threw his lion helmet on the wall in a fit of uncontrolled anger. 

“What’s wrong?” Smough asked from the floor below, with an obviously full mouth. 

“These fucking messages! I’ve been trying to clean them away for hours, and they just won’t come off! How the hell do they even create them?” 

“Ornstein, seriously, just leave it,” Smough said with a tired air. They’ve had this discussion before. Different words in different Cycles, but it was still the same problem. 

“I can’t just leave it! What will my Lady think if she sees them?” 

“You do know she is not real, right?” 

“I don’t care if she is real or not! They don’t know that she is not. Damn, I even agree with their quest, but it’s the principle of the thing. How can anyone have the nerve to write these about a goddess?” 

Smough sighed and went back to his bone. 

Smough heard Ornstein make a sound of pure happiness – or maybe it was a bird being strangled, he couldn’t be sure from his place under the balcony where the other knight was. 

“I did it! I finally cleaned it all!” It was happiness after all. 

Smough threw the rest of his meat in his mouth, and got up from the stairs. 

“Good, ‘cause I hear fighting outside. I bet it’s the Chosen.” 

“What?” Ornstein practically squeaked, coming up to the rail to stare at the fog wall. He tried to hear what was happening on the other side. He stayed there long enough to hear the stone guard just outside fall to the ground. 

“Oh no. No. No no no,” He said, putting his helmet back on. “We are not doing this again. Do you know how long it took me to clean all those messages?” 

“Three days, four hours and twenty three minutes… but who is counting?” 

“Exactly! I don’t care what it takes, he is not coming up,” he said with finality, and jumped down to stand beside Smough as the scrawny little thing that was this incarnation of the Chosen trespassed the fog. 

Ornstein stared at his hands, and considered what his role was in the Chosen Cycle was. The fact that he was back here meant that that last Chosen had finished his quest, and they were beginning the Cycle anew. He didn’t know how it all had started. They had been at it for so long that he couldn’t remember a time without that damned curse. 

Artorias was the lucky one. He died before it all begun, and could just remain dead.

Ornstein was so tired. 

He got out of his reverie when the elevator stopped and went out on the foyer to check on his Lady. 

Ornstein stopped right in the middle of it, and stared at a spot on the floor, just before the door to her chambers. He sighed in carefully controlled despair, and turned around to grab a bucket to clean that “Amazing chest ahead” message.

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1. Chapter 1: Messages
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Alex Rushmer: I just want to say that the writing in this is amazing! I read the first couple chapters and was absolutely drawn in by it, The way you use first person in this story is extremely engaging and does wonders with your character development. I immediately had a picture of the characters and plotline...

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