|Un Millénaire Sans le Soleil
Author: Thagguy PM
Lord Gwyn is gone, burning in the Kiln of the First Flame, but his subjects must live on as Darkness slowly washes the Sunlight from Lordran.Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Tragedy - Chapters: 6 - Words: 8,830 - Reviews: 15 - Favs: 16 - Follows: 13 - Updated: 05-04-13 - Published: 03-05-12 - id: 7899880
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
In the ruins of Old Londo, the once-bustling and still-sprawling metropolis that long ago was the heart of Lordran commerce, there are many things that even a Hollow knows to avoid.
The most obvious to the newcomer is the Bridge of the Firstborn, his name chiseled out of the dedication stone and his statue smashed to pieces after his exile. Perching on the Church, once dedicated to Lord Gwyn's first child, is an enormous red drake that zealously guards her territory with torrents of flame and raking claws. She smites all who dare challenge her, the bellow of her wrath and the rush of air from the beating of her massive wings the only warning of the coming conflagration. Her back is ridged and jagged with razor-sharp scales the size of a man that dull the gleam of the sun like dried blood on a blade. The shortest of her talons is as long as a threshing scythe. The longest on each foot is held off the ground when she stands, and could spear the Great Felines of the Darkroot forest from nose to tail- not that she would risk a confrontation with the great grey wolf that wields the lighted sword. So large she is that her roars can be heard by the giants that stand guard outside the massive doors of the Church of Gwynevere; so hot her fires that they light up the crystallized walls of the Duke's archives a mile above, a second sun that glows from below. One day, perhaps, the Dragonslayer will tire of her daring and come to smite her has he has so many before, and mount her head in one of his many trophy rooms. But the descent of the Lion of Anor Londo is a long way in coming; for now, she rules her town with a fanged grin and lashing tail.
Another is the entrance to the old Peddler's Row, where the food sellers once made their homes and businesses before the Darksign removed such trivialities as civilization from their minds. Here lives a Capra demon, a beast with the body of a man, a skeletal tail, and a wicked horned skull for a head. Within the twisted, bleached skull- which resembles a goat in only the vaguest of ways- four glowing eyes are set deep into their sockets. No one knows if the skin and flesh of the demon's head is inside the skull in a grim inversion of life, or if there is nothing there but hatred and fire, for no mortal man has ever been close enough to see and lived. Though it is among the weakest of the demons spawned from the Bed of Chaos (Curs'd Be its Profaned Name by the Light of the Allfather), it towers over the few humans and Hollows still eking out an existence in the ruins of their town. It wields two great machetes, one each hand, each of which weighing as much as a knight in full gear. None lesser than the shining Silver Knights of Anor Londo have ever slain one in physical combat, have ever seen one dissolve back into the magic that formed it. Even the mightiest of sorcerers or pyromancers prefer to kill them from a great distance- a soul arrow through the chest will only stagger it, for it has no heart but the swirling hatred of the Flames of Chaos, and what is pyromancy to a creature born from molten rock and purest malevolence?
Were they still capable of rational thought, the few surviving Hollows of the middle city might wonder just how a Capra demon came to their town, so far away from lost Izalith. Even more so the enormous Taurus demon on the Northeastern battlements that occasionally bellows animal threats at the drake, massive shoulders scarred from too-close encounters with the red shadow of the Everlasting Dragons.
But they weren't, so they didn't: the base animal instincts of the Hollowed savages only knew to avoid these things, so as to stay a most painful death. But there is one other place that, though none have entered, all avoid. There is one door in one tower that is given the widest breadth of all. None know why; the door is locked, and has not been opened since it was first sealed. The do not know what is behind this door, just that their base instincts scream at them to stay away. So they do. What could be behind this harmless-looking door in an otherwise unremarkable tower overlooking the forest below that inspires such fear? There is a plaque of bronze (the gold has long since been stripped away by looters, before they lost their minds to a small circle of glowing embers on their skin) on the door, upon which reads:
"Thou stands before the door that guards a mighty servant, friend, and bishop of Gwyn, Lord of Sunlight, who fought amongst the Everlasting Dragons, who wore the armor of mightiest stone and swung the fang of an Everlasting, whose miracles purg'd the Ash from Lordran, who led his armies into fearless battle, who guided and nurtur'd his flock, who tended the sick and the hungry, who punished sin and injustice in the name of the Allfather and the Lord of Sunlight. He hath come here as Hollow'd, but he does not rest. He still stands guard with his Tooth and his Scales, ever vigilant, until the end of the World. Abandon hope, all ye who enter here; for beyond this gate hath be the resting place of Havel the Rock, Bishop of Anor Londo, Slayer of Dragons. He stands watch in exile and awaits the lifting of the Curse that has ended his life but not taken it."
The Gods, for all their virtues, were never known for brevity or understatement. Not that there remains anyone to read such a dedication and criticize the melodrama in which those that once resided in Anor Londo showed those who had passed away in death or madness.
Far below this door, in the basement of this tower, stands a figure in the darkness a single eternally burning torch can't fully penetrate. Clad in grey rock, a huge shield is strapped to its back. A tooth, longer than the pillar of stone in the shape of man is tall, is thrown back against its shoulder. There is nothing in this prison besides this figure; just the shadows and the staircase. Another door leads to the forest, but none go through it. There are monsters beyond that door, but the occupant never responds to the scraping of crystal joints and the distant, echoing roars that are sometimes heard beyond it.
Ankle-deep in the muck in a nameless tower, Havel the Rock stands motionless, never eating, never sleeping, never laughing, never again singing. He stands tall, but not proud. He can never be proud- not any more. All emotion and feeling are gone from him, only the mindless bloodlust of the Hollow remains- and with no victims to pulverize, he stands guard over his own remains, like a cart with no wheels. He waits behind a wooden door and bronze tombstone. Of his army, famous for the strength of their arms and their faith, there is no sign. Standing upright in his grave until the end of the world- such is the fate of the Bishop of Anor Londo.
The circle of the Darksign, hidden behind six inches of plated rock, glows without heat on his chest.