A Test of Knowledge and Flame

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    A Test of Knowledge and Flame

    Post by Luna Ori on Sun Dec 08, 2013 9:49 pm

    [url=https://www.fanfiction.net/s/9894334/1/A-Test-of-Knowledge-and-Flame]Read this in its original publication here[/url]

    A Test of Knowledge and Flame - A Dark Souls Fanfiction
    =============================================
    The complete works of Albin Tennerton, student of the Vinheim Dragon School of Sorcery, detailing his expeditions and quests to find what Pyromancy really is.
    =============================================

    An Introduction to Pyromancy and Fire Sorcery:
    AN INTRODUCTION TO FLAME SORCERY


    -and the chaotic nature of Pyromancy-
    ~ VOLUME I ~
    by
    OLIGARCHUS DRACONIUS,
    ADV. SORCERY INSTRUCTOR AT THE VINHEIM INSTUTE OF MAGIC

    Pyromancy is an interesting art, different from the various sorcery developed across Lordran. Pyromancy was developed by a chaos witch after the creation of the Bed of Chaos; Quelana, the mother of Pyromancy, spread the art amongst her pupils, who in turn spread it among the rest of Lordran. Pyromancy differs from any other magical art in that it doesn't take intelligence, strength, or a certain dexterity to use; Pyromancy relies on one's willpower and ability to focus.
    That being said, the art is oft mocked by the sorcerers of Vinheim for its rugged simplicity. Fire is unfocused, and therefore easy to lose control of, and in the hands of a novice, is as destructive as it is beautiful, burning as the element sees fit. The caricature pyromancer in the land of Vinheim is usually portrayed as a failure in the arcane arts, i.e. one who could not get in the Vinheim Institute of Magic.
    This brings us to the curious case of a Mr. Tennerton, a young magician at our school who was dedicated in his research on what exactly Pyromancy was and how it had come to be. What we do know about Pyromancy is very little; it is in fact manifested in its core form as a small ember, not unlock those that the legendary blacksmiths of yore had used when forging weapons. These embers, commonly referred to as “Pyromancy Flames”, channel one's will into fire itself. It is a very simple creation, and incredibly effective in usage as opposed to what the graduates of this great institution have said about it. These embers are quite easy to find; they are created as part of the nature of fire itself, and can be found among ashes with ease.
    The Great Swamp in particular is the only place that comes to mind when one thinks of skilled pyromancers. The people of the great swamp are an incredibly proud race, strong, hardy, and adaptive. None would be more suited for the art, so it seems, besides them. Yet some from lands beyond, out of the reach of the Undead curse (touched on in a later argument), have developed some advanced, more sinister types of Pyromancy. One art in particular causes the caster to fill their lungs with toxins and spew them forth as a cloud toxic enough to kill a person in mere seconds. However, such pyromancies are frowned upon even in their own community, so the usage is not so widespread.
    Pyromancy is often seen as the remnants of the long-forgotten flame sorcery, an art lost to time. Since the creation of the Bed of Chaos, the only beings known to use flame sorcery are the creations of the Bed itself, as all manner of observed daemonic origin have some affiliation with flame, and the stronger ones in particular seem to be able to control it as if it were an extension of their being, which, if we were to consider their creation, we would be wise to acknowledge in their presence.
    This brings us back to Mr. Tennerton and his research, flame sorcery. 'What flame sorcery is', he says, 'is simply pyromancy from the soul- theoretically, far more powerful flames would be created this way, as with all soul-related creations, but the toll to contain it would be incredible. That's why the focused ember is better suited to channeling pyromancy than, say, a catalyst.'
    'Yet, curiously, some catalysts seem completely at home channeling the flames of Pyromancy. Experiments with a catalyst recovered from the ruins of Izalith – specifically expedition 26-A, have revealed that Pyromancy is able to be cast with other mediums. This “Daemon Catalyst”, as my colleagues have dubbed it, can create a weak, yet still very much alive, ball of flame not unlike those produced by Pyromancy Flames.'
    Mr. Tennerton's research into the connection between Pyromancy and sorcery has heavily influenced the academic focus of this school, for the time being. Many a pyromancer are being collected in order to study their skill and explain the nature of their art. However, most data gathered ends up being more qualitative than quantitative; the intelligence of most above-average pyromancers is low, and as such descriptions tend to be simple.
    The daemon catalyst, as our institute calls it, is an oddity in itself, the name paradoxical in particular. Daemon weapons are famed for both their rarity and refined properties when honed, but all bar this catalyst lack any magical properties whatsoever, yet attempts to etch ember into the weapons are met with a readiness not found in materials otherwise noted. Unlike other creations of daemonic origin, the daemon's catalyst possesses an innate magic unlike any other creation of modern magic.
    This has been the centerpiece of Tennerton's research. When used to cast conventional sorcery, it fails to measure up to even the most basic of catalysts used throughout Lordran. This has been thought to be because modern sorcery is not meant to be used with the catalyst, as is Pyromancy.
    Following this introduction is the complete collections of Albin Tennerton concerning his expedition to the daemon's ruins, the area surrounding Lost Izalith, in order to recover the secrets of the daemon's catalyst. This journal has been published with his express permission. Discretion is advised; the contents of this journal are not for the faint of heart.
    Chapter I - The Route to Lordran, Pt. I:
    “Log 1-A


    Route Summary: Preparations to travel to Lordran from Vinheim have commenced. I've packed all supplies necessary for the trip, including rations allotting me at least six weeks time and a talisman blessed by a Thorulund cleric allowing me safe passage home. I've wrapped the catalyst in cloth enchanted with shielding sorcery strong enough to resist even the most harmful of blows. As Lordran is known for being incredibly dangerous in itself, I am taking a short-blade and my own war-catalyst for protection.


    Accompanying me is my dear friend, a young street urchin named Beatrice. She shows much potential in magicks, yet refuses to join my colleagues and I at the Dragon School.”


    Albin put his pen down and looked up at the sky. The sun was barely visible through the thick layer of clouds, with only a few sunbeams illuminating the surrounding area. The road to Lordran was rough, and, for the most part, untrodden. Albin recalled the few times where he and Beatrice had thought to have come to the end of a path, only to find a new one beginning a few meters away.


    “Excuse me, Albin, but how exactly do you plan on safely making your way into Lost Izalith without a guide?” Beatrice inquired politely, her pace quickening a slight bit in order to make pace with Albin, whose walk was now brisk.


    “I'm sure some fanatic daemon-worshipping crazy in New Londo could help us,” replied the sorcerer in an annoyed voice. “It's truly, truly remarkable as to what you may find among the cobblestone streets of that ci...” His voice trailed off as a rather large drake flew overhead. “Damned buggers. The drake tamers must have let once loose again.”


    “Drake tamers?”


    “Yes, Beatrice. You must be some kind of shut-in. You'd think a street urchin such as yourself would fill her head with outlandish fantasies. New Londo is quite famous for its legendary drake tamers. There seems to be a certain air around the place, I think. Something that makes them tame. Perhaps its those kings? Who knows.” Albin's voice mumbled a bit more and Beatrice looked away, adjusting her cap.


    “You'd think the sun would be brighter here,” she remarked quietly.


    “Come again, Beatrice?”


    “Nothing, Albin.”


    With that, the duo pressed on, eventually coming to a small grove. A road marker with faded text marked the area as Oolacile territory.


    “Oh, great! Oolacile.” Beatrice giggled with delight. “I think we should press on, it's not far, and New Londo isn't far past that, either!”


    “Calm, Beatrice. I would like to rest here. I've been walking for ages carrying everything and to be quite frank, I am tired.”


    “Fine.” Beatrice kicked a stone over, sighing. “Will we still travel to Oolacile?”


    “Do you really think I want to travel there?” A lone fire burned before them. Neither of them really paid much heed to the conversation at all; complaints aside, they knew they had to pop in to Oolacile one way or another.


    “Oolacile allows those filthy undead, as well.” Albin spat the words with a harsh venomous tone. The sky had grown darker than it was before. “A plague to our land, they are.”


    “Right...” Beatrice's response wasn't so strong.


    “Fortunate for us, they're developing an Asylum for their kind. Up in the North, I think. How wonderful it would be to ship the whole lot of them out there to die... or, well, undie. Whatever you call it.”


    “What do you have against the undead, Albin?” Her tone was suddenly spiteful.


    “Why the harsh tone, may I ask? Do you sympathize with them?”


    Beatrice shook her head, placing her hands against the fire to warm them. The sky was almost completely dark and the temperature had dropped well below comfortable levels. “I don't sympathize with them, but is it really their fault they were branded with that... that accursed mark? The darksign, I think is what it's called. Jolly good times when people notice an innocent child cursed with such a thing.”


    “Inquisition is a necessary evil. We do not know if those infected can spread it like a disease, but we shan't take a risk.”


    “I still don't think it's fair, Albin.”


    “This world isn't fair.”


    Albin looked to the sky. She was young, but her head was strong. She would make a wonderful addition to the the sorcerers of Vinheim- that is, if she would actually consider joining. She was only a few years his junior but the difference in age was very noticeable; her being seventeen made her aura young and reckless. He, on the other hand, was merely twenty-four and was already world weary.


    “Life isn't fair...” he mumbled.



    Clank, clank, clank.


    March, march, march.


    The sound of marching armor and hooves awoke Albin and Beatrice, much to their chagrin. Beatrice groggily rubbed her eyes and shot Albin a look that asked what it was. Albin nodded and got up, peering over the bush that had hid them from the main road. Black knights with towering greatshields and horses that were even taller than that clumsily strolled ahead, struggling to carry the weight of the great knights.


    “Who're they,” asked Beatrice, peering over his shoulder. “Some kind of army, yes?”


    “I honestly have no idea, and to be quite frank, don't care to know. Get back down.”


    Obeying, Beatrice sat back down and looked at the flame, which had gone out the night before. Not even a wisp was left, and the few ashes that were left seem to have been already gathered up. Presumably by Albin, no doubt, as he collected them for study.


    “Why are you so interested in fire? Fire doesn't do anything, Albin, except burn.”


    “You'll understand later on, Beatrice. When we get to the ruins, you'll see.” He flashed her a quick smile and gave a thumbs up. She rolled her eyes. “You're young, you wouldn't understand. Fire is incredible; you can do so much with it!”

    Realizing that he could have alerted the knights, he covered his mouth and ducked down almost inhumanly fast, as if it was a reflex learned from his childhood.


    “Some mouth you have, Albin.”
    Chapter II - The Iron Giants:
    Log 1-B


    We're still on the road to Lordran. Beatrice's curiosity has no end. We both shared a ration over the fire. Down 1. She is now sleeping, and I am keeping watch. I cannot shake this feeling that I am being watched by something when the night comes. It's unsettling, to say the least.

    I experimented with pyromancy tonight; my skill seems to be improving much faster than I thought it would. Conjuring a small flame, which had been a task in the past, is now easy. Kindling the flame to keep us warm is simple. Thank Gwynevere flames are quiet, unlike the loud ringing of spells. Beatrice would be pestering me if she knew I practiced while she sleeps.


    I took out the daemon catalyst and tried to muster a flame, to no avail. The catalyst fails to react to my hands. Perhaps I lack the willpower?”

    Albin dropped his pen in frustration, letting it clatter against notepad. It fell to the ground with a soft thud. “This damned thing will be the death of me.” he said in a fit.
    -


    “Some mouth you have, Albin...”

    The clanking of the knights stopped and she could hear a shuffling. A gruff voice spoke out.

    “Oi, out with your hands up, fools!”

    Albin and Beatrice's eyes simultaneously widened as a greatsword swiftly shredded the bush they were hiding behind. “Trying to sneak up on the glorious greatknights of Berenike, are you?”

    The man was huge- easily stood four heads above Albin, possibly more. A white plume sat atop his massive and gleaming full-helmet. His suit of armor shone in the sun, so polished that Albin could see his very own reflection. The intimidation factor (as if they needed one) did not lay in their humongous stature. However, it was their massive greatswords and maces that intimidated Albin the most.

    “S-sir!” Albin stammered out, trying to recollect the items he had dropped. “We are merely travelers, and you awoke us from our rest. We were weary from travel; the road from Vinheim to Lordran is a long one, and-”

    “I don't have time to listen to your ramblings, runt.” The great knight took him by the collar and lifted him up to bring him face-to-face with his stupidly intimidating helmet. “We'll let Gwyn be your judge.”

    “Oi, I know who that is!” Another giant- this one in stable-hand clothes, as opposed to the knight's magnificent armor, and much younger sounding, stepped aside from the crowd. “Albin Tennerton of Vinheim, that is. If I have it correct, you're traveling to Lordran on an expedition to Lost Izalith, correct?”

    The great knight put Albin down with force, and turned to the stable-hand. “Tarkus, I highly doubt that you're-”

    “No, really, I know of him, and I've seen the manuscripts. Check his parcel, for Gwyn's sake! I'm certain you'll find all manner of magical items.” He winked at Albin and mouthed 'fanatic'.

    Albin quickly nodded and delicately pulled out the the catalyst. “Yes, he's right.” People all the way in Berenike read my works? I must be more famous than I thought. “This is the highlight of my research, sir; a daemon's catalyst.” He waved it around and weak sparks fizzled out of the end.

    The great knight huffed. “Very well, Albin. What of the girl? She has been quiet.”

    Albin gestured towards her. “Oh, her? She's not important. A simple apprentice taken along to tend to my needs. A plebeian and nothing more, dear knight.” He could feel the glare boring through his skull, but it felt oddly satisfying. “By chance, are you marching towards Oolacile? Would you mind if we accompanied you? The outskirts leading to its gardens can be frightfully dangerous, if I remember.”

    The knight nodded, and gestured for the stable-hand to gather their things. “If you're so infatuated with him, Tarkus, then I fully expect you to handle this kind sir's belongings.”

    “Yes sir.”

    The knights of Berenike moved painfully slow, and Albin's impatience got the best of him multiple times, causing him to fidget. “Bollocks, the lot,” he said under his breath, trying to ignore the now annoying clanking of armor and feet against the earth. “Saved by an adoring fanatic, who would have thought...”

    Meanwhile, Tarkus had relegated his time to Beatrice. “What's it like traveling with him? I've read all of his work, and it's just astounding. I've even mocked up my own armor design fit for myself that is completely resist flames, thanks to his genius theories in An Observation on the Nature of Flames. Truly a work of art, isn't it?”
    Beatrice looked away, her gaze wandering nowhere in particular. “Yeah, it is work of art, isn't it? All brains and curiosity, that's Albin.” She added “...and a bit of an arse, at that.” under her breath.

    -
    It was dimming, and was noticeable day to day, or lack thereof. Sister had already left her alone, and her father had left on his quest to save what was precious to him. Brother was struggling to keep a grip on things as it was. Her only friend now was an undead. She was surprised at how wise this particular undead was.

    “Oh, how thy setting light is frightfully beautiful, brother,” she remarked, cradling a beautiful ring with a delicate hand. The ring was gifted to her by her father before he had left on a personal quest. She had known for some time that he was very troubled over the state of his lands, but not this much. Why did he not leave with the rest of them? Most of all, why did he entrust his entire kingdom to her, of all people?

    One of her pet snakes wrapped around her neck and playfully nuzzled her. Footsteps could be heard from above; first soft trodden, then frantic. They seemed to be running towards her. She calmly got up and headed towards the door, adjusting her cloak. “Dear brother,” she quietly asked, “Is that you?”

    The footsteps stopped at the door.

    “Yes, dear Gwyndolin, it is I.”
    -

    The group arrived in Oolacile, welcomed by the city. It was beautiful; the white stone towers were huge, and enchanted stones kept the various bridges and walkways aloft. “How magnificent,” Beatrice said in wonderment, sticking to Tarkus's side. “Could you imagine? The intricateness and beauty of the enchantments that make this city what it is? I thought the magics of Vinheim were wonderful, but this... this is something else.”

    Tarkus nodded in agreement. “The great iron towers of Berenike are also a sight to see. You absolutely must visit some time, Beatrice.” He smiled. Honestly, she wasn't that bad looking, even if she was just a commoner.

    Up ahead, Albin chatted away with the captain that had found them. His name was Nicholas, and he was much less frightening without his helmet on. “These things get bothersome if you wear them for too long,” mused Nicholas, “But they are the pride of our nation, and a symbol of our strength, so we press on anyways.”

    “So, what brings you to Oolacile, anyways, sir Nicholas? The knights of Berenike do not seem like the type to associate with a frail people such as those found here, in Oolacile.” He glanced at Tarkus. “Nor do they seem like the type to associate their selves with magic.”

    Nicholas gave a heart laugh. “You have a point, scholar Albin. Oolacile and Berenike are trying to strengthen relations through an arranged marriage. We were sent here as a token of good will; we are to be stationed in Oolacile to protect the newborn Princess Dusk from danger.”

    “A new princess? I heard nothing of this.”

    “Oh, forgive my mouth. We were not supposed to speak of it until we entered Oolacile, but seeing as we're already here...” He placed his helmet on. “I'm sure you'd like to stay with us at the palace for the night, correct?”

    Albin's gaze wandered across the streets, spotting a gaggle of undead children. His mouth twisted from a light smile into a sneer of disgust. “Yes, I would very much like that.” he said in his trademark scholarly tone.

    The massive castle's doors were ivory in color and the tops were lightly coated in a vivid green moss. Beatrice and Albin were told to wait outside; only those expected were allowed admission in the castle.

    “Not a bad place, right Albin? I wouldn't mind settling down here, if it weren't for the height. I get dizzy just looking at the abyss below.”

    Albin looked towards the edge. They really were high up. Above what, however, was the real question. “I'm sure we could get an answer from someone as to what's beneath us. I'm sure they must mine this ivory rock from someplace- perhaps a mine? Ah, it does not matter.” He kicked a small pebble over the edge, listening for a sound. Nothing returned.

    “Ominous, isn't it?” he added with a chuckle. Beatrice shivered. “What,” said Albin. “Are you afraid of heights?”

    “Not heights,” Beatrice replied. “Just of what might be down there.”

    With that concluded, they waited for the remainder of the time in dreary silence, the weak sun above beginning to set. It was nearly dark when a knight of Berenike, this one in normal clothing, exit the building and gestured for them. “Oi, the king 'n queen arn't goin' ta let ye rot in the cold forever, come on in. Ah'll show ye to your room.”

    “Is his accent different?” Beatrice whispered to Albin. He shrugged. “Sounds more northwestern to me. Southern Catarina? He doesn't even look as large as the other men...”


    Their boarding room was well furnished, offering all of the luxuries they had at home. Even more, in Beatrice's case. She was on the bed, cuddling a pillow, still in her travel attire. “Such comfort! Much better than the streets of, say, Vinheim. Or a bush. A mere plebeian like me wouldn't have ever dreamed of such...” She stopped as Albin sighed heavily, waving his hand in her direction.

    “I'm sorry for calling you a plebeian, Beatrice. It was a moment of idiocy. It won't happen again.” He turned his head to her and frowned. “I hope you will forgive me for my action.”

    She rolled her eyes and fell, her back on the bed. “I don't know, Albin, you have been unkind to me as of late. A plebeian such as myself could never dream of having revenge on such an upstanding member of society.” She giggled. “I think you're safe.”

    Yet another sigh, this time of relief. “What am I to do with you, child?” He laid down on the bed, stretching his arms. “I just hope we may sleep without interruption, unlike last night.”

    -
    A burning sensation, and then, for one moment, everything stopped. She was suspended in air. She drifted in and out of consciousness as she floated, suspended by momentum and gravity far above the clouds. It was here she could see the entire world. It was beautiful, in this singular moment of time, and the moon above all else was glorious in its eternal light.

    Her gaze shifted down as gravity took its reigns and began to pull her towards the earth. Magic could not save her now, even in these most perfect of conditions. A small speck of light appeared, slicing through the clouds. A beautiful bolt of sunlight radiantly crashed towards her. A booming voice filled the air.

    “Your very birth was a blasphemy! Your dark is what tore this family apart, Gwyndolin! My sun has no need for you; I beseech thee, die!”

    The bolt pierced through her stomach, followed by another through the heart.

    “Dear brother...” Her voice trailed off as she fell, her consciousness finally fading to black.
    -

    Tarkus gazed towards the sky. Since he was a stable-hand, he was in charge of the knight's horses. This meant eating with them, cleaning with them, and, most of all, sleeping with them. Oolacile's stables were far more kind to him than Berenike's, though; actual living quarters were installed, and it even had a window.

    He had been gazing out the window when it fell. A bright, shining ball of white fire, crashing and crackling through the air. It was impossibly fast, and it was only in the sky a few seconds before it crashed into the ground, not far from Oolacile.

    “By Gwyn's name!” He grabbed his belongings and ran for the palace. Now was not the time for etiquette.

      Current date/time is Thu Nov 23, 2017 12:03 am