This was originally posted as part of "Red Soul" on the Spacebattles forums.


Knight Artorias' azure blue cape fluttered slightly as he stood in the former prison of Oolacile, despite the stillness of the air. The layers of his armor shined silver in the dark light. From his helmet, a thin plume of pure white hair trailed down to the base of his neck. The front of his helmet, in the shape of a wolf, had no metal to obscure his face. Framed by the same blue cloth as his cape, it was a kind, handsome, open face, with eyes that showed not the slightest trace of the millienia of fighting they had seen.

He looked down at the shield strapped to his arm. Along the inside of the shield, his thumb slowly rubbed in gentle circles around a small white porcelain carving of a hornet, worn smooth over centuries.

He looked up then. In front of him was the two lances of Human warriors that accompanied him to Oolacile in his mission to rescue Princess Dusk from the grasp of Manus, Father of the Abyss, and stop his spread across the lands of Oolacile.

Although the tallest of them barely came halfway to his own height, he could not be prouder of his warriors, these brave few who stood and fought by his side against Dragon, Demon, and Abyss alike. There were sorcerers and bishops and clerics, and even a pyromancer among their ranks, but most were swordsmen like their leader.

With him also was Sif, the last son of the great wolf-god. Though still just a puppy, he was already much larger than any true wolf, the size of a truly massive lion. Between his teeth he held a glowing great-sword nearly the size of him. It was a near exact replica of Artorias' own. The wolf pup sat, holding the sword, staring at Artorias intently. Artorias' gaze fell on the wolf, and the pup's tale struck against the ground happily before he regained his composure and stilled the traitorous appendage.

With them as well was Alvina, caretaker of the forest, and one of the oldest beings known. The bearcat was not crouched down against the ground, as was her usual, but sitting quietly, though her eyes still held some of their ever-present annoyance. Despite her great age, Alvina of the Darkroot Wood was never known for her patience.

"Some of you have fought with me since the War of the First Flame," Artorias began without preamble. His voice, though quiet indeed for a God, was firm and confident in its words, " striking out against the Everlasting Dragons that held the world in silent oppression for untold time before the Flame lit itself, and gifted the Lord's Souls to the mightiest among us, so that we should smite them and bring about a new age of fire and light, prosperity for all, so that we had not live in the darkness and the cold."

"Many of you have fought with me against the Demons that threaten our lands ever since the Witch of Izalith fell to her own attempts to revive the flame. You have stood with me against the twisted fires of Chaos, once a symbol of change and the wondrous spontaneity of life and now a wellspring of hatred."

"Most of you have fought with me against the Darkwraiths that came as the vanguards of the foul Darkstalker, servant of the Abyss and the very beast we now come to put down."

"But all of you, no matter how old or how young, how inexperienced or weathered by combat, are the bravest men I have ever known, who would stand against the Everlasting Dragons themselves, would cut down every last World Tree, would stare down the end of the world itself, just so that they might do a bit of good for those you serve and fight to protect. We come here now, not just to rescue a princess or a kingdom, but to save a people."

He waved his great shield, gesturing behind the gathered force in the direction they had came.

"You have seen what this monster has done to the good people of this land. To the men. To the women. To the children.You have seen the way this devil twists their flesh and their minds to its vile being, how in turns their very souls against them. Will you stand for it?"

"NO!" came the roar of sixteen human voices. Sif, sword held in his mouth, reared back his head and howled. It was a joyous, defiant sound that echoed across the ruined prison like a bell that tolled the ringing of a new year.

"Will you let this monster live, unpunished for its crimes?"

"NO!"

"Will you fight with your all, will you die with your all, will you plunge your sword into evil and cleanse it from this land so that it can hurt no more, curse no more, hate no more?"

"YES! FOR LORD GWYN! FOR PRINCESS DUSK! FOR OOLACILE!"

"Then thus we descend."

Artorias reached into a fold of his armor with his sword hand. He slowly pulled it out of the pocket, a silver chain wrapped around his wrist, a broad silver pendant gripped gently in his fingers. He lifted it over his head, and it shown with a bright, pure white light. As he held it, the light extended beyond him to encompass all present, enveloping God and wolf and man and cat alike in pure white illumination. Artorias slowly turned to face the Abyss, holding the pendant in front of him. His armor glowed with a radiance like a sun.

And then, with a booming voice, he called out into the blackness:

"MANUS! BEAST OF THE ABYSS! FOUL FATHER OF FOUL CHILDREN! WE HAVE COME TO END THINE TERROR OF OOLACILE! WE HAVE COME TO STOP THINE ENCROACHMENT ON THE GOOD PEOPLE OF THIS LAND! WE ARE THE KNIGHTS OF ANOR LONDO! WE SHALL SMITE THEE, FOUL WRAITH! OUR FAITH IS STRONG, OUR HEARTS PURE, OUR RESOLVE UNSHAKEN! THE PEOPLE OF OOLACILE SHALL HAVE RESTITUTION FOR YOUR CRIMES AGAINST THEM, MANUS, FOR I AM ARTORIAS THE ABYSSWALKER, SLAYER OF THE DARKWRAITHS, KNIGHT OF LORD GWYN! I AM THE WOLF THAT GUARDS THE DEN! THINE EVIL SHALT NO MORE TARNISH THOSE THAT LIVE IN THE LIGHT OF THE SUN!"

There was a long silence. From the chasm, came a great sound, a voice beyond and below a voice, like the ground itself was opening its mouth to speak.

"THEN COME."