I don't own the right to Dark Souls in any way shape or form.

I was writing this story anyway, and figured I might as well upload it. First time I did anything like this, so any and all comments and criticisms are appreciated. I apologize in advance if there is a problem, because once again, I never did this. This is basically the typical Dark Souls experience, just written out with some minor alterations.

The Tale of Gaius Stoneheart

It was dark in his cell, dark and lonely. So long had he been imprisoned that he had nearly forgotten the reason for his imprisonment. He let out a deep sigh as he fingered a strange mark upon his neck, no he thought, that accursed sign has brought me far too much sadness for me to ever truly forget its existence. For in Gaius's land, those branded with the dark sign were given the curse… or perhaps even gift of undeath. Such was the fear that the mortals harbored that they would go so far as to lock up all those afflicted, regardless of sanity or health. Gaius sat back, musing at his fate when his eyes set upon the sole thing in his cell worth attention, the rays of the sun shining and cutting through the darkness. And Gaius hated it. He hated how he could no longer feel the sun warm his cheeks and torso, he hated how he had forgotten the smell of grass and dirt, and he hated especially how it's light mocked him, it beckoned to him, knowing he would not, could not follow, yet still continued to do so. Just as his rage had reached a point where he would lose control, a body came crashing down from several bars on the ceiling. Gaius could only catch a brief glimpse of a knight, likely one from Astora due to his stylized blue tunic. After the shock wore off he decided to inspect the dead body figuring he might as well take anything interesting he found before the corpse dissipated. To his great fortune, Gaius found a key. Seeing that he had little options other than to use it on his cell door, Gaius approached the rusty iron cell and inserted the key. Gaius only half expected it to open, even as he turned the key. The sound of the tumblers clicking away was perhaps one of the most beautiful sounds he had heard. Gaius, being a mercenary knight, had adapted his armor to be easy to put on without the aid of a squire, in the event that he was alone and needed the protection only solid Astoran armor could provide. Gaius's only other personal belongings were a bunch of strange keys placed upon an old-fashioned key ring, which Gaius had procured during his adventures as a mercenary, in case he ever found himself locked within foreign parts. Gaius had tried (and failed to use the keys to escape many times. Upon exiting his cell, Gaius observed something glittering in the pale sunlight. Is that a… sword? Gaius eagerly reached for the weapon, but to his dismay, he found that it was merely the shattered remnants an old long sword. It's not exactly a good old fashioned Astoran broadsword, but it's likely better than my fists, I don't really have any other options so it will have to do. Almost immediately after finding the sword, Gaius saw a man who had truly gone hollow. He appeared far more dead than alive, and his feral eyes only further laid the impression that he had gone insane. Understanding that someone as hollow as that was dangerous to leave behind him, Gaius took precautions to ensure that he would be "safe" to travel on ahead. Those precautions happened to be stabbing the hollow in the back. Ruthlessly. Gaius had killed before, he had never enjoyed it, but it never bothered him. Something about this kill though… something put him off. It was almost as if Gaius head screams of relief and fear, alternating through his mind, while at the very same time experiencing a feeling as if he was… more. Not full, nor stronger or smarter, just as if some craving, some impossible to identify itch, had been sated temporarily. Gaius killed the next hollow he saw, and sure enough, that feeling overtook him again. After a few moments of reflection, Gaius realized he was absorbing the life essence of the hollows, or more specifically, their souls. He concluded that the spirit is what actually provides for individual traits, separate from the soul, which could be viewed almost as the basic unit of life energy. Contemplating aside, Gaius progressed onward, until he found himself at an open courtyard, which sole features were an iron gate, a massive wooden gate, and a smoldering pile of ash with a rapier, warped from flame, placed prominently in the middle. Even with what appeared to be no kindling at all, the fire still smoldered, as if it was only a few gusts of wind away from igniting. Feeling oddly compelled, Gaius approached the fire and held out his hand, as if he was trying to draw the rapier from its position. A sensation quite similar to when he received souls flew throughout his being, and the bonfire was set alight in a spectacular burst of light and flame. Once again feeling compelled, Gaius rested by the fire, not knowing how long he had been there. Somehow, a satchel filled with hard bread and cheeses was procured, and Gaius had himself a simple, but filling meal at the fire. He eventually mustered the will power to leave, and after checking to see if the door was locked (which it was), he turned to the only other option he had to progress onward. Summoning his courage Gaius pressed onward and forced open the large gate. He was met with yet another large space; this one however, was enclosed within what appeared to look almost like a small church room. Gaius walked to the center of the room and looked about. It was there that Gaius's instincts told him danger was approaching. Gaius, knowing his instincts deserved to be trusted performed a clumsy backwards roll, bruising himself in the process. After a quick curse, he realized a bruised rib or two was a small price to pay for what he could have been, or rather, could have not been, seeing as a demon the size of a house( with a sizable paunch suggesting he weighed more so) landed where he had been standing moments before. Gaius looked at the demon, then at the broken sword in his hand, and then at the horned demon once more. This demon must be some type of stray demon; I remember the old veterans back home would talk about how their blackened skin could turn all but the strongest blades. Something's off about this one though… Its skin is far too pale for it to be a stray demon, and its hammer doesn't appear to be magical, like the oldies had said… Perhaps it's a runt..? But…Velka take me, this thing is the spitting image of what my grandmother looked like! While he was contemplating this, the demon had drawn back its great hammer and performed a massively powerful swing, which cracked the floor beneath it. Right. Gaius, the middle of a battle is no time to be thinking, runt or not, this demon is sure to be more than a match for you with this pathetic imitation of a sword in your hand. Glancing about, Gaius saw a chance; behind the demon was an open gate. The demon appeared to be aware of this however and shifted himself to better block Gaius only escape route. Figuring this was as good a chance as any, Gaius flung his broken sword at the demon and performed a blind charge for the door. The demon was hardly phased by the sword, and its eyes glittered with malice as Gaius approached. Drawing itself up on runt-wings, the demon lifted itself in the air, clearly intending to crush Gaius. Putting on an extra burst of speed, Gaius performed a jumping-roll-dive which placed him within the safety of the gate, mere seconds before the demon landed with enough force to crack the floor further. Screaming with rage, the demon attempted to reach Gaius with its free hand, for some reason though, the ornately spiked gate slammed shut with bone shattering force, completely shearing the demons hand off. The demon screamed in pain, but made no more noise than that. Gaius stood transfixed by the mass of flesh, which gushed with blood, but it strangely disappeared soon after. Shaking his head Gaius moved forward, and he found another one of those strange, magical ash piles. Gaius took a very long rest before he moved on to be met with his next obstacle. A fellow prisoner who had escaped was at the end of a hallway; however, he had gone mad and was attempting to kill Gaius with a short bow. Although his armor was sturdy, he did not like the thought that the archer could get lucky, and longed for a shield. To his astonishment, a letter in perfect Astoran script appeared at his feet. Soon the letters began appearing at rapid pace until a completed message was formed. The message simply said "Armory ahead." Gaius eagerly opened the cell that was located behind the sign, and was nearly ecstatic with what he found. Before him lay a solid Astoran broad sword and a tower kite shield, both of which were standard equipment for any self-respecting knight with even a few gold coins to his name. After a few more moments of examination, Gaius had found a dagger and several arrows. Having salvaged all that was worthy of use, Gaius left the armory, broadsword in one hand, and kite shield in the other, dagger strapped to his thigh for quick, stealthy drawing, and an old leather quiver on his back. The crazed prisoner was no match for Gaius, and after a brief struggle, he was promptly slain. Sure enough, the strange feeling of absorbing life energy took him again. He found it almost comforting at this point, and he felt as if he could see the faintest outline of a white, Smokey substance floating toward him. Gaius moved on, and found himself on balcony of sorts, where he could oversee what appeared to be the courtyard he rested at prior to his confrontation with what he had dubbed as being the Asylum Demon. Gaius decided to examine the room and see if he could open the gate from this side, and he did indeed find a staircase which took him right to the gate. Naturally, he opened it and then he went back up the way he came. It was on this return trip that he noticed two things. First, there were quite a few cracks and imperfections in the wall on his left, and it appeared quite vulnerable. Second, there was something metallic and rather large, coming his way. Fast. Realizing not a second too soon that what appeared to be an oversized cannonball was rolling towards him, Gaius flung himself out of the way with one of his clumsy forward rolls, and when he recovered he observed that A: He was very much alive, and B: The ball had managed to break the wall where he had previously noted imperfections. Gaius cautiously entered, and to his surprise, he saw an Astoran Knight. Upon closer examination, he noted that it was not just any knight, but a higher class noble. The pieces clicked, and Gaius nearly recoiled from shock, this was the knight who had rescued him from his cell. Not knowing what else to do, Gaius called out a simple "Hail" to the man, and gave him the proper bow for Knights of Astora, specifically, the bow required a slight spreading of the feet, and a slow and gradual incline of the body, without ever allowing ones eye's to drift from those of the other's. This was done to show mutual respect of each other's prowess as a fighter and knight, while still never fully letting down the guard in the rare case that an assassin was impersonating a knight. Gaius heard the man softly laugh at his gesture.

"Ah, so you must be a knight of Astora as well. I would bow, but I'm otherwise, ahh, occupied if you will."

He said this with a gesture towards his lower torso. Gaius brought his eyes down to the indicated spot, and his eyes widened with surprise. The elite knight had blood pooled around his stomach, soaking the Astoran tunic and turning it a dark blue. His leg also appeared to be shattered.

"Yes I encountered some… difficulties after our encounter, and barely managed to crawl here with the last of my strength. I used my last firebomb to collapse the normal entrance so none of those hollow could get in."

Gaius looked around, and he did indeed notice a rubble filled doorway.

"I thought I was to die here alone, with my story unknown to all. That I was to be left as a forgotten pile of bones whose quest became ancient and meaningless. If it's not too much to ask, I wish to tell you of my quest, so that it may be taken up by new, more able adventurers. Perhaps even you."

Gaius could only assume the knight wore a pained grin as he said that, seeing as his Helmets visor was down.

The knight then spoke, "I'm Oscar by the way, and who may you be?"

"I am known to all as Gaius Stoneheart." Gaius replied.

"Gaius… huh? Well then Gaius, will you hear of my quest? Oscar asked.

Gaius replied with a simple nod of his head.

After a quick, pained breath, Oscar began "Well, you see I come from a noble Astoran family…"

After several minutes of speaking, Gaius had the gist of Oscar's tale. He had come from a noble and strong family of Astora, and he had been cursed with the darksign. In order to not shame his family's name, he quested to ring the bells of awakening, which were rumored to unlock great power once rung. He had unfortunately been waylaid on his way to Lordan, and he found himself in his current predicament.

"Alas, I have suffered a grievous wound and find myself unable to finish my quest." Oscar lamented.

"I have but a single request. If you can escape this …asylum, please, ring the bells in my stead, so my family may have some pride in their son, ah yes, but I almost forgot! Before I pass, I want you to have this key and flask for storing Estus."

"Estus?" Gaius inquired.

"Yes, Estus. 'Tis an undead favorite, due to its restorative properties. Estus can be harvested at a bonfire."

Oscar sighed and shook his head "If I had but one drink of Estus, I would be able to make it to safety and recover my wounds in full."

With these words, realization came crashing upon Gaius. If he could get this…Estus Flask to Oscar, he could very well likely save his life. Gaius told Oscar not to go anywhere (not that it made a difference) and hurried down the stairs to the courtyard Bonfire. He held the flask out and gaped in amazement as it filled with what appeared to be…liquid orange light. He sped back to Oscar and presented him the full Flask of Estus. Oscar drank deeply of the Flask, and soon, all of the orange substance was gone, leaving the flask with only a few dim drops. The light of the flask appeared as if It was entering Oscars being, and right in front of Gaius's eyes, his Shattered leg began to set itself.

"My friend, I offer you my deepest Gratitude and appreciation. I surely would have perished if not for your intervention. I am indebted to you. In a few moments, I will have recovered enough strength to press on. Please, keep the Estus Flask; it is the least I can do in my present state to repay your kindness."

Gaius accepted the procured flask, and with a lightened heart went up the stairs from which the metal ball had rolled from. Jovial attitude aside, Gaius drew his dagger (which was better suited for combat with limited room to swing a weapon), and proceeded cautiously. His caution was rewarded; he was able to get the jump on a crazed prisoner and stab it in the back, ending his strange half-life right there. The feeling of absorbing souls was growing almost comforting at this point, and he paid it no more heed then that which was necessary. Gaius moved forward, and after brief combat with 3 more crazed prisoners he encountered a hollow with full regalia consisting of ancient-looking metal armor. Gaius cautiously approached, but his armor gave him away, and the soldier whirled around and entered a combat stance. Knowing this ghoul would prove to be quite a threat, Gaius warily circled his adversary. The hollow lunged at Gaius, and Gaius responded with a quick high low chop that forced the ghoul to drop his guard. Seizing his chance, Gaius performed a backwards slash that sheared the Ghouls armor and cut him deeply. The Ghoul disengaged Gaius and began to rifle through his pack, eventually procuring a small, emerald flask. After a moment of recognition towards the Estus flask, Gaius pressed his advantage and finished the hollow of with a savage lunge. After a few moments rest following the bout, Gaius attempted to open the cell he was guarding, and found that none of his key's worked. Cursing his ill fate, returned to the outer balcony where he encountered the three Hollows, and looked at the only feature worth noticing, the ominous archway filled with a hazy fog. After a moment's hesitation, Gaius entered the Gate of fog entered onto a small balcony. Walking to the edge, Gaius looked down; and two malice filled eyes looked right back up at him. Anger filled Gaius, and after a brief look at his broadsword, which he had drawn without even realizing it, Gaius did the only thing he could do. He jumped. Gaius leapt of the balcony in one bound, and plunged his sword straight towards the demons eyes; only he jumped just a little too far, and ended up plunging his sword in the Asylum Demon's back. His momentum gave him enough force to ride his blade down the demons back straight to the ground, which opened a huge gash on the demon. After a scream of rage, the demon hefted his hammer with his one good hand, and brought it down, further cracking the floor. Gaius circled behind the Demon and focused his strikes on the area which he had previously wounded. The Demon whirled with surprising speed and hefted his hammer just as fast. Moments later, he brought the hammer down, and Gaius performed one of his clumsy rolls, only this time, his armor snagged on the floor and he was caught helplessly on his back, much like a turtle that had been flipped upon it's back. Even as the blackened hammer drew closer to Gaius, and the demons eyes alighted with victory. Gaius could only bitterly scoff at how short lived his escape had been. Gaius closed his eyes, expecting to feel nothing more in mere seconds. The seconds stretched onto minutes, and Gaius eventually opened his eyes. Only to see Oscar's helmeted face staring right down at him.

"I was wondering how long it was going to take you to wake up!" Oscar expressed, the slight tremble in his voice showing how he was only inches from bursting into laugher.

"Yeah…Well… What are you doing here anyway?" Gaius grumbled.

"I found that bonfire you used to fill up my Estus flask, and I was resting there when I heard the sounds of combat. After a few minutes, I came to investigate, and I see this bloody demon about to kill you. I charged the thing and it just dissipated after one blow off my sword."

"Velka take me.", Gaius swore under his breath,

"What?" Oscar inquired.

"That means I would have been able to slay the Demon myself if I had just tried to finish my attack…"

At this, Oscar broke into true laughter, which rang out with surprising force in the quiet room. After a few moments, Gaius rose to his feet, and examined the space where he had last seen the demon. In its place was an oversized key. Picking it up, Gaius saw that it was so large, it could only serve one purpose. He looked at the great locked door in front of him, and raised the key to the keyhole. He turned it, and the lock sprang open. The door popped open with surprising force. Gesturing for Oscar to follow, Gaius walked out. They walked as far out as they could go and stood at the edge of a cliff.

Gaius whistled at the sight: "I must be able to see the entirety of Lordran from this cliff here"

Oscar remained silent, which Gaius interpreted to mean he agreed. Gaius was still marveling at the sight when he heard a great cry, quite akin to a bird. Out of nowhere, a raven that was nearly as large as the Asylum demon flew right toward Gaius and Oscar, and took each of them in its left and right talons respectively. For a few moments, Gaius could see the asylum becoming smaller and smaller at a rapid pace, and the land rushing by underneath at breakneck speed. And then all he could see was darkness.