The Pilgrim opened his eyes slowly, the morning sun blinding him for a moment. Suddenly he sat bolt upright, realizing that the last memories he had were of nighttime. A quick glance revealed nothing hostile in his immediate area. He got to his feet stiffly, the battle having taken its toll upon him. After stretching a bit to loosen his muscles the Pilgrim searched his person to ensure he hadn't been robbed of anything in his slumber.
Finding everything in place he silently chided himself for having been so careless and proceeded on toward the next tower. The fog had lifted from the door, allowing easy passage, and the Pilgrim descended the stairs inside. The staircase led out underneath the ramparts, and the Pilgrim could see the gate that the drake had been dozing on the previous day. Beyond the gate, the cathedral awaited him in the distance, shining like Anor Londo itself in the morning sun.
He was about to proceed toward the gate when he saw a person standing on a balcony to his right. The Pilgrim warily walked toward the man, unable to tell if it was a hollow or not. Silently drawing the longsword from his sheath, he stalked up closer to the man. Upon closer inspection, he began to believe he could have sprinted next to the man banging his sword and shield together and not drawn his attention.
The man was standing at the edge of the balcony, overlooking the mountains of Lordran, though his head was tilted up toward the rising sun. The Pilgrim crept closer to the man, noting his armor as ornate to say the least.
A bucket shaped helm adorned with a red feather on top hid his entire head. Pauldrons with some form of green fur made his shoulders appear to be sprouting bushes. A white tunic emblazoned with an emblem of the sun covered a well built suit of armor, and a shield bearing the same motif was slung on his back.
If this was a hollow, he'd eat his sword. The big one. "Hail warrior!" He called out, sheathing his blade and making toward him.
The man didn't seem to hear him, his gaze still turned intently skyward. The Pilgrim walked closer and tapped the man on the shoulder. He jumped slightly, putting a hand on his blade and turning to see the Pilgrim. "I mean you no harm, I come bearing greetings." The Pilgrim said calmly, putting his hands up.
"Ah, hello! You don't look hollow, far from it! I am Solaire of Astora, an adherent of the Lord of Sunlight." He said, relaxing noticeably.
"Nice to meet you. I'm..." the Pilgrim said, stopping short. He had forgotten that he didn't have a name to go by. The knight tilted his head and he realized he'd been lost in thought. "On a journey, at any rate. What brings you to this cursed land?" He finished awkwardly.
"Cursed?" He said quizzically, laughing afterward. "It has fallen on hard times of late, to be certain, but I do not believe it cursed. Now that I am undead, I have come to this great land, the birthplace of Lord Gwyn, to seek my very own sun!"
The Pilgrim couldn't help but look perplexed. His own...sun?
"...Do you find that strange?" The knight asked, looking away.
"Admittedly, slightly. It's just difficult to wrap one's mind around."
"Well, you should! No need to hide your reaction. I get that look all the time. Hah hah hah!" He replied jovially, though the Pilgrim suspected he'd offended the man.
"Oh no, I had no intention of besmirching your quest. I only meant that it is somewhat vague." The Pilgrim quickly amended.
"Oh, ah hah! So I didn't scare you?" He laughed.
"Hardly... My own quest is somewhat strange in hindsight as well. You see I've been tasked by a man who saved my life at the cost of his own to ring two bells..."
"Ah, yes. The Bells of Awakening, a noble quest indeed. You seek the destiny of the Chosen Undead then? A task befitting the Great Lord Gwyn himself, no small task to be sure!" The knight said cheerfully.
"I...yes, I suppose so. To be perfectly honest, I've no idea what I've gotten myself into. I only wish to honor the dying request of the man who gave me my life back." The Pilgrim replied, slightly bewildered.
"Oh dear, you mean you know nothing of the Chosen Undead and their journey?"
The Pilgrim hesitated a moment. "No, I don't. I just know that I am to ring the Bells of Awakening. What more is there to know?"
The knight shrugged. "Well, nevermind that. I don't really think it's my place to speak of such things. If it is to be your destiny, then I am sure you will learn of it in time. Incidentally your journey is sure to be wrought with danger. I have a proposition, if you have a moment."
The Pilgrim nodded. "Indeed, a friendly face is a welcome sight in this place. I've plenty of time for any friends I meet. What's on your mind?"
"An echoing of my own sentiments! The way I see it, our fates appear to be intertwined. In a land brimming with hollows, could that really be mere chance?" The knight replied.
The Pilgrim had his reservations, fates intertwined? He kept silent though and merely listened.
"So what do you say? Why not help one another on this lonely journey?" Solaire asked, extending his hand toward the Pilgrim.
The Pilgrim shook his hand warmly. "Absolutely, I can see no reason to disagree!"
"This pleases me greatly! Well then, take this." Solaire responded enthusiastically, handing the Pilgrim a small white stone.
"Um, thank you? Well, shall we continue on then?" The Pilgrim asked, confusion evident.
Solaire chuckled softly. "I'm afraid that's impossible, my friend. For I am anchored here, as you are anchored in your own world." The Pilgrim's face caused Solaire to laugh aloud. "Oh dear, I apologize. I do not mean to mock you, allow me to explain. We are amidst strange beings, in a strange land. The flow of time itself is convoluted, with heroes centuries old phasing in and out. The very fabric wavers and relations shift and obscure. There's no telling how much longer your world and mine will remain in contact. Do you understand?"
"I have seen shades that seemed locked in combat occasionally, though I had thought it only my imagination and exhaustion. You're saying we aren't even from the same time period?" He asked, making an effort to grasp the situation.
Solaire shook his head. "Nevermind, it matters little. Understanding it isn't necessary, but use this..." He said, gesturing to the stone he'd given the Pilgrim. "To summon one another as spirits, cross the gaps between the worlds, and engage in jolly co-operation!"
The Pilgrim gave his strange new companion a questioning glance. "And you learned all this on your own?"
Solaire laughed, but there was no humor behind it. "I have certainly had a long enough time to learn it, but no I learned from another adventurer such as ourselves."
"There's another who has learned these secrets?" The Pilgrim asked, surprised that anyone could make such a discovery.
"Of course. There are many, we are not the only ones engaged in this. Not all of them are as honorable as we two either; many would stab you in the back for the humanity you possess."
"And how am I to prevent such a fate from befalling me? I face adversaries on all sides already."
"Ah, but you forget. I am a warrior of the sun! Spot my summon signature easily by its brilliant aura. If you miss it, you must be blind! Hah hah hah!" Solaire responded, laughing heartily at his own joke.
The Pilgrim smiled as well despite himself. When Solaire began to catch his breath, the Pilgrim asked, "Summon...Signature? I'm afraid you've lost me..."
Solaire nodded sagely. "Yes, I was confused at first as well. I think it would be easier for you to try it for yourself, it will explain things much better than I could."
The Pilgrim stared at the stone, unsure of what he was supposed to do. "Oh no, it will be quite useless as you are now. A human will have little ability to use such a stone, but one who is near hollow will find it much easier." Solaire said, answering the question that wasn't asked.
"Yet you can use it as you are now?" The Pilgrim said incredulously.
"Ah, but I am a special case. You see it is my duty as a Knight of the Sun to help those in need!"
"I see. Well, thank you for your assistance. May we meet again." The Pilgrim said with a slight bow, turning back toward the gate.
"I believe we shall. Best of luck to you, friend." Solaire responded, looking back toward the sky.
The Pilgrim headed out onto the ramparts. Several hollows had wandered onto the path, and turned toward him as he headed down the path. The Pilgrim began to draw his sword, but an ear piercing screech stopped him. He looked in the direction the sound had come from, and was dismayed to see the drake flying above, staring down at the bridge. It only took him a moment to realize it was flying around behind him. It would cut off his escape, ensuring his death. His only escape was a staircase set into the rampart, leading to another lower level.
Leaving his sword sheathed, the Pilgrim sprinted forward, shoving any hollows out of his way. He glanced back, expecting to see the drake landing, but was instead greeted by the sight of flame pouring from its mouth as it remained safely aloft. He looked back ahead and made a split second decision, diving at the staircase.
The flames got close enough to singe some of his hairs, but the moment he flew into the relative safety of the stairway he put the roof between himself and the flames. He could hear the hollows moaning in agony outside, and felt it as the drake landed. It raged above, indignant that its prey had escaped. The Pilgrim scanned the room, weighing his options.
One of the two doors in the room led underneath the path he'd just been on, and he had no desire to put himself back within the drake's reach. The other led down another staircase, and seemed oddly familiar to him. The Pilgrim headed down the stairs, hearing the sound of the drake scratching at the top of the previous stairs behind him.
The moment he was through the door, it became apparent why it looked familiar. This was the room in which he'd nearly been killed by the hollow, and where he'd reformed when the knight had killed him. He remembered the ladder that he couldn't dislodge, and was ecstatic to find that he was indeed upon the landing it led to. Heading down to the ladder, he saw that the latch was not only secured, but rusted shut with age. The ladder itself seemed to have escaped the worst of the elements however, still appearing perfectly usable. All it would take is a solid kick to dislodge it...
Bracing himself against the wall, the Pilgrim kicked out at the latch, a satisfying clang followed by the ladder falling down marking his success. He climbed onto the ladder, descending as fast as he could. When he reached the bottom, he shut the gate completely seeing as he no longer required it to leave and it was only another entrance for hollows when open.
Sitting next to the bonfire, the Pilgrim silently reflected on his accomplishments so far as the drake continued to rage above.