Part 1, Chapter 5/5: Klin of the First Flame


"Why, you look like you've seen a ghost. Or, might I say, a phantom!" - Solaire of Astora

...in which Solaire and the Chosen Undead attempts to balance Light and Dark.


Casivir's eyes ascended as the great door swung open, on impulse taking a step back, eyes turned towards the Klin of the First Flame. Gwyn resided further inside the ash-clad wasteland while both Frampt and Kaathe had made an appearance.

A descending staircase protruded from the floor. Ghostly specters of Gwyn's knights - possibly in a different world - were marching. As expected, his path was riddled with ash, the smell of burnt wood and sand permeating his nostrils.

The First Flame was indeed burning out.

Taking a deep breath, he stepped across the threshold and gripped the hilt of his sword.

The air felt colder there, only the hint of embers grazing the coal, being the only source of warmth. His breath came out in a foggy haze. Through it, he saw two knights of Gwyn, armor charred to black, the flames from the Demon War having burned them. He had expected there to be more. Being Gwyn's final vanguard - his faithful warriors - one would think there would be an army.

Casivir clutched the soapstone around his neck.

The only thing he had to lose wasn't currently in this world. In one way, it gave him peace, but there was the hint of longing keeping him from saying it aloud. He wanted Solaire to be there with him. However, their worlds hadn't been in contact since the Bed of Chaos fell, separating them in time. Perhaps they would never meet again. Knowing that, his heart ached, but he was no fool.

He had accepted such a fate a long time ago.

Ruins appeared before him, thin walkways having him remember the not so fond memories of the scaffolding in Anor Londo, but none of the knights he'd encountered seemed to wield long-ranged weapons.

Once it was crossed - and the knight guarding it defeated - an all too familiar, brilliantly shining signature caught his eye.

"Why, you look like you've seen a ghost. Or, might I say, a phantom!"

Startled he turned to the sound of a familiar laugh.

"I'd just might," Casivir said. "Yet, I cannot see through you, terminating my suspicion. It appears our world have collided once again. Our fates truly do seem to be intertwined."

This wasn't a phantom. It was Solaire. In the flesh.

"I was afraid to hope, but yet I did foolishly, awaiting your arrival," he replied, turning to where his signature had dissolved. "When someone approaches our signatures, we Undead feel it as if the breach between worlds are closer. I am certain you have felt it as well... Or perhaps simply the desire to see you again took ahold of my senses."

"I have felt it as well... although your insinuation flatters me. I am glad you are here."

"This mission... it burdens you still, does it not?"

He swallowed.

Casivir's eyes fell to the floor, brows drawn together.

His chin captured, head gently tilted up, nothing but understanding was in the expression before him. He was brought back to their first encounter. Such a gesture, no matter how small, let him know that 'lonely' was no longer part of the equation.

"Do not fret, my dear!" Solaire said, ever the optimist. "There is yet another obstacle to face before the decision is to be made! Whether we let the Flame be relinked in Light, or welcome the Dark, Gwyn's Hollowed soul should be released from his torment. Come now and let us face the Lord of Cinder, together, engaging once more in jolly cooperation!"

"Your words hold wisdom. Then I assume it is not improper to request your aid?"

"My blade is and will always be yours, Cas... although I must warn you; the Lord of Cinder is an aggressive sort."

"You have seen him?" he asked, leaving the nickname unmentioned.

Solaire turned to the fog gate. "In my world, his suffering has ended. He charges with fury and guards the Fire with his every fiber. A worthy opponent, by all means!"

"Always a step ahead of me," Casivir muttered, a fond smile on his lips. "I am surprised you haven't made a choice as of yet."

"I found it impolite not to await your approach," he replied, the tease apparent in his voice. "After the time we have journeyed together, I only found it appropriate to make an appearance... to see you complete such a tremendous task. Your shield will protect against most of his attacks, so your defense is at the ready... but if I may ask, have you encountered a ring by any chance –- one with a carved hornet?"

"I do. However, I do not think it would help me by much."

"Ah -aha! Your lack of parrying skills! Even after I bestowed you my suggestion? I am offended," he teased again.

"To my defense, my blade has a staggering effect like none other."

Solaire laughed and clapped his shoulder. "You speak the truth! It is too clunky for my tastes, but a fine weapon of choice nonetheless!"

"It has certainly saved my hide on more than one occasion," he replied, feet moving towards their final destination.

Solaire fell into his steps, and after being rid of the knights guarding their path, they stood before the fog gate.

Casivir escalated his hand and splayed his fingers as the fog formed around the digits. Casting a final glance Solaire's way, he nodded, both shortly stepping inside the smoky haze.

Lord Gwyn looked to be tending to the Fire in the distance.

Only an ember flickered in the bonfire, and if his sight didn't betray him, there was a hint of sorrow in his eyes as he turned their way.

It quickly turned into blood rage.

He was Hollowed.

Heart in his throat, Casivir readied his shield, the only thing he was able to do before Gwyn was upon him. The flaming blade hit his defense and he was forced to put out a foot behind him to retain his balance. Before he was able to compose himself, Gwyn's blade was upon him again.

A Sunlight Straight Sword struck in Casivir's defense, catching Gwyn's attention, a hand at the speed of light dodged by mere inches.

Open after his failed attack, back turned again Casivir, the Zweihander struck him from behind that in return staggered him. Casivir raised the Zwei again. Nevertheless, Gwyn sensed his attack, his attention regained. Casivir's greatsword was quick enough to strike him before he could counter it. Again, the Lord of Cinder was forced back, straight into Solaire's area of effect.

However, he wasn't staggered for long, a moment of panic flushing up in Casivir's chest as he saw his companion grabbed.

"Solaire!"

Powerless to his hold, Solaire managed to graze Gwyn's cheek with his blade as he was lifted into the sky with ease, in return receiving a terrifying grunt before he was thrown thirty feet.

Metal struck a pillar.

If his ears didn't betray him, it was as if he heard a crack, and he feared the worst.

The Lord of Cinder was shortly towering over Casivir. His view blocked, despair grew for the unknown, blood beginning to boil. He dragged the sword against the ashes and struck. Gwyn was unmoving, the middle of a sword-swing catching him off-guard, a small rift burning into and across the cloth above his pecs. He was forced back a step. A muffled groan escaped him, attempting to ignore the fresh wound of which the flames dissipated. The pain was manageable. Shield quickly raised again, he blocked the next attack, hold tightening around the Zwei.

Gwyn went for another grab, but he managed to dodge it, landing two hits.

He swore he saw movement behind him.

Distracted, Gwyn struck him again, another pained sound escaping his parted lips.

Each hit was of raw power and tiresome to block, knowing he wouldn't be able to keep it up for long. He managed another swing with the Zwei but immediately regretted it. Once he raised his shield, his arm nearly dislocated again from another fierce blow, back shortly hitting the ground while the helmet flew off his head with a clunk.

He gritted his teeth and rose, ready to strike again, only for eyes to go wide when a Sunlight Spear enveloped his opponent.

With a growl, Gwyn turned, only to barge into a halt.

The next thing he remembered was seeing the tip of a sword through his gullet.

Arms thrown out, the Lord of Cinder's larger body crumpled into dust, a blinding but brilliant light replacing him at the spot. The man behind the finishing blow was revealed. As he watched Solaire stand before him - his hand-painted shield firmly in his left hand and sword hanging limply from the other - Casivir made a beeline for his companion.

"Praise the Sun, you are unharmed! Forgive me for delivering the final blow, but I feared the worst -" Solaire began as he sheathed his blade, only to be cut off by hands separating him from his helmet, and green eyes hastily looking him over.

Solaire laughed. "Oh, I am fine! It was simply my left bracer that splintered!" he said with a sheepish smile and blush to his cheeks. "Dear me. I fear I grew reckless after I witnessed your struggle! I forget we Undead cannot perish unless our purpose is fulfilled or we give up. Foolish of me, I am aware, but I know as well as any other Undead that we feel pain just like everyone else... I did not wish such a thing upon you."

"I am grateful... but you had me worried," Casivir replied, cupping his cheek and touching his forehead to his own.

"I am a little disoriented with a few scrapes and burns, but alas, nothing that won't heal!"

"Are you certain? That looked rather painful."

"Certainly! My purpose here was to keep you safe, and here we are, so I suspect we can forgive a few embarrassing eccentricities," he teased, receiving an exasperated but fond shake of Casivir's head in return.

Nevertheless, the mood gradually faltered, Casivir dropping his hand and turning towards the dying embers.

A comfortable silence passed between them.

"What's on your mind, dear?" Solaire asked, voice soft.

His jaw clenched. "My mind has come to a plethora of reasons to why this happened in the first place. The Undead Curse," he said, slowly approaching the bonfire. He felt Solaire's eyes upon him as he did. "We have seen what occurs when Dark goes out of control, becoming the Abyss, ushering the fall of Oolacile and perhaps many lands centuries before it.

"Yet we also know what happens if an Age of Fire is prolonged... Gwyn couldn't accept the Dark, and so he unintentionally created the Undead Curse by attempting to break the rules."

"...and what rules are those?" Solaire asked, lining himself up next to him.

"Balance."

He watched Solaire's expression mellow in his peripheral vision.

Casivir narrowed his eyes. "Heat and Cold. Life and Death... Light and Dark. Light cannot exist without Dark and Dark cannot exist without Light. It is a balance that Gwyn disturbed once he attempted for one to overrule the other."

"Do you know what to do?"

More silence.

"I do," he replied, turning to face him "...but I need your help."

"Whatever you ask of me."

"We need to allow the Flame to burn out and either convince or destroy the next Chosen Undead with the intent on prolonging this Age. Only then can it be true balance," he replied, expression somber. "I know you have always wanted your very own Sun... but linking the Fire is not the way."

A soft laugh escaped Solaire's lips. "Why, my Sun is standing right in front of me."

Casivir's heart bloomed as his features mellowed, the back of Solaire's knuckles brushing against his cheek. His blue eyes with such sincerity seemed like a cruel illusion.

"In Lost Izalith, it occurred to me. You became my new purpose as you ushered me to resume my journey," Solaire continued.

Closing his eyes, Casivir pushed into his touch with his brows drawn tightly together.

"Your words make this none the easier."

"If this truly is the last time our worlds are in contact, I would live every moment and leave nothing unspoken," he muttered, expression somber. "I'd be unable to forgive myself if this was left unsaid."

Solaire gently grasped his chin and drew him to his lips. It was chaste, sweet, knowing time would soon run out as the ember was close to dying.

Casivir took a step back. "To be safe, we should remain here and make sure no one lights the Fire -"

"So, it was you... I had a feeling..."

Casivir turned his gaze to the entrance, narrowing his eyes to make sure they weren't simply betraying him.

His face twisted in recognition. "Oscar -?"

Oscar came walking towards them, separating the sword from his sheath, as he seemed to be staring unyieldingly at Casivir.

Abdomen churning, Casivir took a step back.

"Oscar, what is this?" Solaire demanded, placing himself between them.

"So this is where you stand? We have been brethren for years, and yet, you pick the side of this... this epiphany of Dark," he replied, voice low but intimidating altogether. "What madness has claimed you, Solaire? Your entire life was dedicated to the Lord of Sunlight, yet now... you stand beside the Dark Lord, betraying your vows as if they never mattered to you."

"This is madness, Oscar! Unhand your blade at once!"

"No. No, I won't. Stand aside. I would hate to harm you," he replied, before glaring at Casivir "...but you... I shall destroy you, as fate has commanded me... Foolish pawn of Darkstalker Kaathe... And fiendish Dark Lord... I have waited for thee."

Oscar lunged for him, but Solaire took Casivir's place, blocking the attack with his blade so the hilts locked.

"Oscar, stop this immediately! You have gone mad!"

"Stand aside, Solaire. My business is with him," he spat, pushing his weapon forward to stagger and force him a step back, leaving Casivir mostly open as he retreated couple feet as well.

Casivir drew his own blade. "Oscar, please. I wish no harm upon thee. Allow me to speak my decision -"

"I've no interest in your lies, fiend!"

He lunged for him again, Casivir quick to grasp his own shield, preventing the blow. Oscar took a step back. His blade was pointed in a parry stance, movements steady and alert, his other fist clenched around his Crest shield.

Oscar froze, knowing someone was behind him, but his attention was yet directed forward.

Over his attacker's shoulder, Casivir glimpsed Solaire, blade at the ready.

"I see you have made your choice," Oscar muttered, his tone unrevealing to what rushed through his thoughts.

Before he had the chance to react, Oscar turned swiftly, knocking the sword behind him out of position with his shield before going in for a sweep. Solaire groaned softly, grasping his chest, a deep line having dug into his armor. Blood prickled between his fingers as he clutched at it. Oscar was left open and Casivir went in for an attack, his Zweihander hitting Oscar's shield, the sword ruined at the blow. He hadn't had the time to repair it since the battle with Gwyn. Nevertheless, the weight of his greatsword was yet heavy, staggering Oscar nonetheless.

As Oscar composed himself, Casivir reached for his spare Balder Side Sword, but Solaire had already managed to bring Oscar to his knees. The tip of his straight sword was lined directly underneath his chin.

Solaire was still grasping his wound. "Enough, Oscar," he muttered, voice strained by pain. "All he asks is your ear for but a moment."

In the following silence, Oscar's gaze was piercing through his helmet.

"Then speak. It appears I have no choice."

Casivir clutched the hilt, just in case. "I do not wish you harmed, Oscar," he replied. "You told me you encountered Frampt, yes? That he had spoken of me. It is true, I believed him at first, that our mission was to relight the Flame... but the more I have encountered, the more I have learned, I knew something was not right. The serpents are masters of manipulation. Believe me, Oscar; I do not trust Darkstalker Kaathe any more than you do. I trust Kingseeker Frampt no more."

Behind the helmet, he couldn't tell what Oscar was thinking.

"We men are creatures of Dark, my friend," Solaire piped in, sorrow in his voice. "There is a Cycle and history has been unchanged. Another Chosen Undead will always show him or herself and the Cycle will repeat itself. Our mission is to keep the balance between Light and Dark. To guide the next Undead into retaining the balance. The Lords are dying and they are desperate."

"The Lords are yet in power, Solaire, how can you not see that?" Oscar spat, fists clenched. "Anor Londo is proof itself. I was there. Gwynevere, Dark Sun Gwyndolin... they are still there!"

"You are wrong, Oscar," Solaire replied, sword yet drawn. "Princess Gwynevere and Anor Londo were illusions."

"Illusions? What is this trickery? I shall not fall for this," he spat, but the seriousness in their eyes had him hesitate. "You truly believe this, do you not? It... it is impossible. No. No, I shall not fall for this insanity! What proof do you have?"

Casivir sheathed his blade. "Join me to the City of the Gods and I will show you."

"Forgive me, Oscar... but I cannot trust you alone with him," Solaire said, voice mirroring his regret.

"You must remain here," Casivir said. "All worlds appears to be connected in the Klin of the First Flame. You must protect the bonfire and talk to or destroy whoever attempts to Link it. There is no other way."

Silence followed.

Solaire eventually gave in. "Then I hope you return before the new Age begins. I pray for your safety... both of you."

Giving him a singular nod, Casivir turned to Oscar, extending his hand. A moment passed by. Just as he was about to take it back, Oscar reluctantly grasped his wrist, allowing himself to be pulled onto his feet.

On the other side of the gate, they froze in unison, taking in the scene before them.

Serpents formed a corridor as they stared.

"Casivir...?" Oscar muttered reluctantly.

"My Lord, bless thy safe return," one of the serpents said, heads bowing to form a path between them. "Let Kaathe, and Frampt, serve Your Highness. We are here to serve Your Highness. Let true Dark be cast upon the world. Our Lord hath returned'st."

Casivir turned to the fog gate that he found left impenetrable.

His face fell.

It was too late, as of now, he couldn't reach Solaire.

He could only pray he wouldn't give in to his wish and light the Fire.


A/N: Part of the ending here is actually canon - as confirmed by Miyazaki - because he said that Solaire would relight the flame in his own world if the Chosen Undead didn't.

Dark Souls is made up by timelines and Dark Souls 2 is a different timeline based on the Chosen Undead choosing 'Link the Fire.' Like stated previously, Gwyn tried to extend the Light, disrupting the balance between Light and Dark. The Undead Curse was created because of it. I believe that the core message behind this game is that the world needs balance; it's explicitly stated in the opening cutscene how important balance is; Heat and Cold, Life and Death, Light and Dark.

Another thing worthy of notice is that Solaire isn't in his phantom form during the last battle with Gwyn. He's not see-through. I'm certain their worlds collided again at that point.

Also... in the cut content, the Chosen Undead actually has to kill Oscar after he attacks him/her. I made my own twist to it (because I love Oscar too much.) Whatever choice you make, he'll choose the opposite, in denial that you are the Chosen Undead and not him. He's too desperate to have a purpose that he'll neglect everything else. Personally, I wished they kept this in, even if he died a hero in the Undead Asylum in the final release.

Anyway, onwards to part 2!

On AO3, chapter 1-5 is part 1, but I'll be publishing part 2 at the same story here on fanfiction.