This is my fate. I cannot remember my first death, nor how I came to be locked in this ancient asylum. My memories are slowly fading, I fear I grow more hollow every day. I can still recall a tale from my homeland, Astora. It speaks of the creation of our world and the legends of the Lords. As I sit alone in my moss-covered cell, I recount the story to the cockroaches, my only company.
—=== In the Age of Ancients, the world was unformed, shrouded by fog. A land of grey crags, archtrees, and everlasting dragons. But then there was Fire. And with Fire came Disparity. Heat and cold, life and death, and of course… Light and Dark.
Then, from the Dark, They came, and found the Souls of Lords within the flame.
Nito, the First of the Dead. The Witch of Izalith, and her daughters of Chaos. Gwyn, the Lord of Sunlight, and his faithful knights. And the furtive pygmy, so easily forgotten.
With the Strength of Lords, they challenged the dragons.
Gwyn’s mighty bolts peeled apart their stone scales. The witches weaved great firestorms. Nito unleashed a miasma of death and disease.
And Seath the Scaleless betrayed his own, and the dragons were no more. Thus began the Age of Fire. But soon, the flames will fade, and only Dark will remain. Even now, there are only embers, and man sees not light, but only endless nights.
And amongst the living are seen, carriers of the accursed Darksign.===—
Yes, indeed. The Darksign brands the Undead. In this land, the Undead are corralled and led to the north, where they are locked away in an ancient asylum, to await the end of the world.
I was awoken by a noise above me. A shuffle of footsteps, the clanking of armor, then a loud thud as a corpse of one of my more hollowed fellow inmates hit the ground of my cell. I looked up to see a man in the armor of the elite knights of Astora looking back at me. Before I could shout he was gone, vanished as quickly as he had appeared. My attention was drawn to the corpse on my floor. After an examination I found a cell key and quickly tried my lock. To my surprise, it opened and I was free.
My cell was at the end of a long hallway. This place was decrepit and half in ruins. Fully hollowed inmates, mindless undead who had have lost their humanity, roamed the corridors moaning and ranting. I caught a glimpse of a horrifying demon gaoler through a barred window. It was hideously corpulent with an enormous gut and posterior. The beast was at least three times my height and heavier than a dozen horses. It waddled on two stubby legs and shook the ground as it made its rounds. I hid and waited until it passed on to another room before I continued down the corridor. Something was compelling me to escape this wretched place even though I knew there was nowhere else for me to go.
Soon I reached a courtyard containing an extinguished camp fire in the center. It had human bones in it. As I approached the pyre I felt a strange compulsion to touch it. The instant my hand came into contact, the bonfire went ablaze. I was not burnt, but the fire was hot. I rested a short time but soon grew wary of being found, so I continued to explore the surrounding area. There were more hollow inmates on the loose, whoever that knight was must have freed some of them as well. Some of them may have been guards at one point, now they are insane sentinels who attack on site. Luckily, I found an old shield and a sword and was able to defend myself against a few belligerent fellows.
On the upper terrace of the courtyard I was ambushed by a former guard who rolled a giant iron ball down a flight of stairs at me. He attacked with a blunt short sword, I quickly dispatched him. The ball had smashed through the wall at the foot of the stairway and revealed a small room on the other side. As I through the broken bricks, I was shocked to see the knight who had given me the key to my cell. He was lying in a heap of rubble on the ground and up against the wall. A large hole in the ceiling allowed a beam of light to enter the darkness and spotlight the dying man.
As I approached he spoke to me in a gentle voice with the familiar accent of Astora
“Oh, you. You’re no Hollow, eh? I’m done for, I’m afraid my insides are damaged and I’ll die soon, then lose my sanity. I can feel it coming. I wish to ask something of you. You are a godsend, to come at this moment. Hah hah. You and I, we’re both Undead. Hear me out, will you?”
I agreed to listen to his request.
“Thank you. Regrettably, I have failed in my mission, but perhaps you can keep the torch lit. There is an old saying in my family. “Thou who art Undead, art chosen. In thine exodus from the Undead Asylum, maketh pilgrimage to the land of Ancient Lords. When thou ringeth the Bell of Awakening, the fate of the Undead thou shalt know,” He winced and began to shake. “Thank you for hearing me out. Now I can die with hope in my heart. Well, now you know. And I can die with hope in my heart. Oh, one more thing. Here, take this, an Estus flask, an undead favorite. It should prove useful.”
The knight handed to me a glowing, golden flask and another key.
“Now I must bid farewell. I would hate to harm you after death. So, go now… And thank you…”
I thanked him for freeing me and for the equipment, and left him alone in the dark.