Age of Man Chapter 1: Onion Road

Age of Man Chapter 1: Onion Road

This story follows the Dark Lord ending of Dark Souls 1. The nameless main character—who you can give any name to (he’ll be referred to as “warrior” throughout the story), however, it is a male character, unfortunately, for any of you who wanted to imagine him as a girl instead—finds himself in a lot of trouble when his journey takes an unexpected turn. What is it like to live as a Dark Lord? If you readers happen to enjoy this first chapter and want me to write more, I would be happy to continue this as a series. I had planned on making drawings for some eye candy, but unfortunately I do not have the time. Instead, I will compensate for that by using descriptive words as best I can, and maybe some occasional images here and there if I can find some that are appropriate.

For the readers’ convenience, I will be using subtle numbered marks (i.e ♦01) for every several to a handful of paragraphs starting from chapter one. I understand that some of you may not have much time to read, so consider the marks as bookmarks. Copying and pasting your mark into the little search bar in your browser (CTRL+F) will let you find your place.


Prologue

During my time at the Undead Asylum, I began to wonder about this wretched dark sign. An undead’s life is like a fire that keeps burning, but it will eventually die, truly die. Of course, my travels on Lordran had taught me that the curse of the undead was thanks to Gwyn, the Lord of Cinder, or Sunlight in his prime. He really liked those flames, didn’t he? The hollows that were once people didn’t deserve to suffer from such mindlessness. Gwyn was an exception. He deserved to be hollow.

He despised humans, and thought of them as a disease that would harm his envisioned dream of a world teeming with his “fire of life.” Within the Duke’s Archives that belonged to Seath the Scaleless, I had found some information about the Furtive Pygmy. Humanity is the direct descendant of the Pygmy. His name, the Furtive Pygmy, meaning quiet and insignificant, explains why he is such a mystery. He carried the dark soul which lives on in all of humanity in very small pieces.

Only one human would carry a piece of the dark soul that desires the whole dark soul. This information was hidden deep within the archives. Before I killed Seath, I asked him about the Pygmy. Seath spoke out in anger about how the Pygmy had mocked his dreams for immortality. Indeed, the Pygmy had also fought the dragons. Seath explained that the Pygmy mocked his immortality by allowing him to live after he had nearly killed him with ease. He spoke of a Pygmy who was clad in armor with an indestructible sword enhanced by the power of Gwyn’s scale-peeling bolts, making him a powerful adversary against Seath himself, even if he was scaleless. Seath promised that he would achieve immortality and face the Pygmy once more. But his ambitions caused him to forget about half of that promise. From that point on, I wanted to know more.

Dark Lord 1

Eventually I was faced with the decision of leading the next cycle of the Age of Fire, or to lead a new Age of Dark, the time of Man. I chose the latter. I walked down the stairs of a dark room filled with primordial serpents bowing their heads, acknowledging me as their new Dark Lord. They had warned me that the world will be thrown into chaos, and that it was my job to lead humanity to preserve the world. They also told me that the journey will not be fast, but as the Chosen Undead, time will not be an issue for as long as humans exist. I wasn’t sure what they really meant, but I spent three years rediscovering what it means to be human. But one day, my journey took a new turn…


Chapter One: Onion Road

I quickly snatched a ride on a hay wagon, not believing how exhausted I felt after walking for dozens and dozens of miles the previous day. “Oh ho! Are you off to Caterina too, then?” said the wagon driver. “Of course,” I replied, with a slight smile. I haven’t heard that name since Lordran. I looked ahead to what seemed like a city in the far distance. The wagon driver turned his head around and looked at me and said, “That’s Caterina alright!” I expected something to look onion-y. After that slight disappointment, I laid back on the hay, looking up towards the sky. “I kind of expected you to stop and kick me off the hay,” I said to the wagon driver. “Well, you look like a warrior in need of food and rest,” said the driver. It’s true, I was hungry and tired. Strange, isn’t it? I’m both hungry and tired. My body actually needs nutrition from consuming food. Come to think of it, I find myself having to use a restroom, like normal people. I don’t know what kind of magic was casted on me, but being a dark lord sure is high maintenance.

“There’s still plenty of road ahead, so why don’t you take a rest?” asked the wagon driver. Sure enough, I was feeling sleepy, so I just stared into the blue sky and then fell asleep. I woke up a few hours later and now I’m smelling a lot of cows and pigs. The city still seemed far away. The wagon driver stopped for a break at a farm, which he encouraged me to visit. The farm is noisy. It’s filled with a variety of animals. I went into a large house with the wagon driver to get something to eat. A woman tapped my shoulder and handed me a glass of milk. “Drink up, lad! It’ll keep you strong!” said the woman. A dark lord needs milk? I never had milk. At least I don’t remember ever having milk. I took a sip, and was amazed by how thick and rich the milk tasted. After that, I gulped it all down.

Dark Lord 2

The same woman handed me a glass of water to rinse my mouth with afterwards. “You new here?” asked the woman. “Yeah,” I replied. I also asked the woman if that wagon driver always takes this path to Caterina. She nodded and also says that she and her family are good friends with that driver, as well as all the other farmers along the “Onion Road” as she called it. “Onion Road?” I asked. With a big grin, she slapped my back and said, “It’s called the onion road because when the Caterina knights travel away from the city on this road, it really looks like a road filled with onions, teehee! Although that’s normally if they are going into battle somewhere.” That’s to be expected of Caterina, I guess.

♦01

The wagon driver hasn’t begun to leave yet after stopping at the animal farm for several hours. The sun was starting to set and the mood in the building has gotten grimmer. I immediately went over to the wagon driver to ask what was going on. He started to walk me around the farmstead to talk to me about the matter. “You’re a warrior, right?” he asked. I nodded. “Can I ask a favor of you, warrior?” he asked with a slightly desperate tone; it was almost as if he was trying to hide his desperation. He clenched the handle of my sword and pulled a third of my sword out of the sheath.

There’s… a killer wandering around the onion road and the farms along it,” he said. He pushed my sword back into the sheath. I began to feel goosebumps, a feeling that was absent during my time on Lordran. “Is this fear I’m feeling?” I asked myself. I’ve fought ridiculously powerful foes, but not once have I felt fear. I asked the wagon driver, “What does the killer look like?” “A knight of Caterina,” he replied.

It’s been three years since I’ve swung my longsword, a handy weapon indeed. My instincts seem to have faded away somewhat. My senses aren’t as sharp as they once were. I felt frustrated at this feeling of fear. I could not sense the killer that is apparently a knight of Caterina. My powers have waned since becoming a dark lord. Simple punches to walls used to easily produce holes and vibrations throughout. Since Lordran, those simple punches felt like my hand would shatter into pieces. My longsword feels a little heavier than before, requiring the comfortable use of two hands. Come to think of it, my gear feels quite heavy as well.

My increasingly inferior physical strength is probably the reason I easily become exhausted. With these things in mind, my fear grew bigger. I felt like I would die fighting this knight. For the first time, I am afraid to die. I am afraid that I may not come back to life like before on Lordran. The wagon driver asked me if a warrior like me was willing to stop the Caterina knight. I was badly reluctant and hesitant, but I accepted his request, without bothering to ask him for a reward, since I thought it wasn’t a good time.

♦02

I felt my hand starting to shake a little. I closed my eyes to collect myself. I started to analyze the situation to compensate for my decreasing senses and instincts. First I asked the wagon driver how skilled this killer is. “He’s a Caterina knight for goodness sake! He’s quite good. Some of the top ranked knights from the city were slain like they were nothing,” said the wagon driver. I gulped. If I wasn’t a dark lord, this man wouldn’t be asking me to take on an allegedly skilled killer, would he? No time to think about that. Next I suggested to myself that the killer would strike at midnight.

My mind is struggling against this overwhelming sense of fear. However weak my senses and instincts have become, I knew this killer was already on the move somewhere. I have to draw him out. I ordered the wagon driver to keep everyone safe and to lock the doors. It was time for my first fight in three years. I kept my right hand gripped on my longsword that was still sheathed on the left side of my waist. I started to walk out to the onion road with a lit torch. The wagon driver quickly ran out and in a loud whisper he said, “Hey! Don’t forget there’s well-lit barns. You ain’t gonna win if you fight in the dark.”

I walked along the onion road for at least an hour. Families in the farmsteads seem to have shut their doors and locked them. I could see a few heads peeking from behind some windows. The atmosphere on the onion road took a complete turn at night—pitch black and incredibly ominous—compared to the daytime. I began to regret not asking for more details about this killer. I don’t think anyone is going to open their doors at this time. The most important question I could have asked was where and when the killer strikes. For all I know, the killer could be anywhere else but along the onion road. I didn’t want to wander far away from the farms along the road, so I just stuck to the plan of searching for the killer knight.

For a moment, the fire on my torch blew in a different direction. I felt no breeze. How spooky. I took a guess that the killer must have been close. I tried to taunt the killer by shouting. I pulled out my sword and started to drag it along the road, constantly tapping the ground to create some annoying clanking noises. I gathered some stones and other pieces of junk and placed them along the road. This time, I tapped my sword on the placed objects to create even more annoying clanking noises. Why isn’t he coming out... I started to become aggravated, and so I started to pound my sword against the placed objects. Suddenly, I hear the call of a crow, and stopped pounding the stones on the ground. A crow in the night? Are crows normally awake at this hour? It was only one crow. That was the second strange thing I’ve witnessed so far.

Dark Lord 3

♦03

The crow flew away with one last loud call. Again, the fire on my torch blew in another direction, with no breeze for me to feel. For a moment, I had caught a glimpse of a subtle shadow in the distance. My eyes were pointed in the direction the fire had blew into. That become the third strange thing I’ve seen during this manhunt. I’m still frustrated at this suspense, so in one last attempt to draw out the killer, I gathered all of the strength in my right arm and pounded my sword against a large stone on the ground, shattering it. The clanking noise had echoed a bit, but I thought it was enough to draw some attention. The fire blew in the direction behind me, but the strength of the flame was intense. All I could do in that moment was just look behind my back. A large, tall figure had appeared, with breathing sounds that reminded me of Artorias, one of the four knights of Gwyn. The intensity of the killer’s appearance reminded me of how the mere sight of Artorias was menacing, matched with his incredible strength.

Dark Lord 4

I jumped back to gain some distance from the knight. I moved my torch around to see the killer in more detail. Sure enough, the killer is a knight of Caterina or someone or something donning the signature onion-like armor. Through the slit on his helmet, I could see glowing red eyes, suggesting that what I am encountering is not human. The knight raised what looked like a zweihander with just one hand and struck down on me with the force of a collapsing mountain. Beforehand, I dropped my torch, gripped my sword’s handle, and blocked that strike with my blade’s edge. The knight’s strength forced his zweihander to slide down my sword. Luckily I was moving to the left past his sword as he struck. I would’ve been sliced in half.

Indeed, that one strike was overwhelming. My right wrist feels like they’ve been brokenalthough they weren’t. I shook my right hand in response to the pain. I gripped my sword with both hands, holding the sword horizontally at a slight downward angle. I charged at the knight, hoping to return the favor. The knight gripped his sword and swung it vertically from the ground, deflecting my attack. “Oh, crap…” I said. In that moment, I realized that my body was being flung back, with my sword flying in the air. I landed on the ground, rolling around uncontrollably. Damn, that was just ridiculous. That knight is incredibly fast. Suddenly, the knight charged at me with his shield, which I blocked using both my forearms. That method of blocking was surprisingly effective, except the fact that the single spike on that shield had already pierced through my shirt.

♦04

That damn knight pushed me back, and I fell on the ground, where my sword landed. I used the adrenaline from my body—which has helped dull the pain on my right wrist a little—as an opportunity to grab my blade and gain a little bit of distance. I managed to slice the knight several times while evading his strikes. During the fight, the knight would always have beast-like grunts and roars. I came to the conclusion that the knight definitely had to be something else. Seeing what he is could provide me with some hints as to what is going on around here on the onion road. My latest strike was blocked, and the knight swung at my head.

Immediately, I rolled forward a little past his back, readied my sword, and plunged straight for his backside by gripping both hands on my sword and rotating my chest for the initial torque, and finally letting my left arm impale him. The sword went through both his back and front side. This better be it… I couldn’t believe my eyes! That knight was still able to move around. I removed my blade from his body and kept dodging another series of attacks. This time, the knight became even more menacing, as he faded into the darkness.

Suddenly, the knight’s speed became overwhelming. He would constantly appear out of nowhere and attack from all directions. At this moment, there was no longer any option but to run. I ran towards the torch which I had dropped earlier to defend myself from that zweihander. The torch was still burning brightly, which apparently kept the knight away. Light… I remember the wagon driver saying something about lights. After quickly thinking back, the driver did mention some lit barns. Without wasting another second, I started sprinting to the nearest well-lit barn. As usual, I was being hit with a barrage of slashes and tackles from the knight.

The pain was excruciating and my body wanted to drop on the floor. Nearly at the barn doors, two huge wooden fences block my way. Unable to jump over it, I had to slice a fence down. I was suddenly tackled, but I kept on sprinting to the next fence, where the same two things happened again. Finally at the doors of a barn—which had some lights that were strongly beaming from the gaps around it—I hurled my body towards the door in an attempt to keep my momentum going. Nothing. The door was unlocked, but it was jammed stiff for some unrealistic reason, and that was really aggravating. I had no choice but to do what I did to the fences, which was slice it down.

♦05

My stamina was nearly exhausted, which means cutting my way in was no longer an option. The knight had sent another barrage of hit-and-run attacks with a series of tackles. That’s it! I’ve got to make him tackle me right into the barn. After all, he’s the one that can still move around. I positioned myself to be open for a head-on tackle—although I know that the next one will really hurt, as if I wasn’t in enough pain already. After being hit from random directions, the knight finally came at me from my front, with his zweihander ready to slash me apart. I blocked the sword, but the inevitable force from his attack sends me flying straight through the barn doors—luckily I was up against the doors, so the knight flew in with me. I landed more than halfway into the barn. The knight’s dark, shadowy aura quickly faded away, revealing his very worn out Caterina armor.

At this point, I was panting hard. My lungs constantly forced me to breathe in monstrous amounts of air. My muscles were aching everywhere, yet I managed to summon the strength to stand. My sword was dangling from my fingertips, even though I was holding it with both hands. The knight started to struggle holding his zweihander, which brought me some relief. Maybe I can kill him now. That shadowy stuff might have been some kind of enchantment. He’s panting as hard as I am right now. Hell, he’s barely able to hold that huge sword. I seized the chance to attack him, with no intention of letting him do any counterattacks.

That armor may be worn, but it still requires a lot of strength to cut through. Unable to cut through the armor anymore, I quickly searched for soft spots in his defense, stabbing—in this case my left hand is gripped to the handle while my right hand is gripped just past the middle section of the blade, to allow extra stabbing precision—into his underarms, gaps, and even between the flab-like areas on his torso. It was clear that I was inducing lots of pain, but it still wasn’t enough to kill the knight. “Just how much more can he take before he falls dead?! I’m only a few strikes from passing out,” I exclaimed. During this brief bout, I was repeatedly slashed and blood spewed from my wounds—the blood that spewed from me turned into white specks and faded away, and this was really the first time that I’ve noticed this.

♦06

After attempting to finish him off, the knight stabbed me with his piercing shield just as I raised my sword to stab him. I felt a white-hot pain. My body became unable to move, ignoring my every command. He threw me back to the floor, and proceeded to end my life. The knight raised his zweihander, and at this moment I shouted, “Do your worst!” Suddenly, I hear a peculiar, but familiar sound, like a casted spell. Next, a boom. That boom was very loud, accompanied by the sound of subtle electricity, shattered glass and metal. I remembered that spell. A crystal soul spear. The knight was in terrible pain, roaring as loudly as the boom of the crystal soul spear. I looked towards the barn doors at the front, and it was the one and only wagon driver who had told me about well-lit barns earlier.

Dark Lord 5

He’s… a magic caster, eh?. Hope… he’s… got enough to… kill him. I wrestled with my consciousness to stay awake. “Get up!” shouted the wagon driver. He aimed his what looked like some fancy catalyst at the knight and it began to glow. Like most amateur casters, he grabbed his wrist in an attempt to cast more powerful magic than he could handle. The wrist grabbing, in my experience, is to help the caster stabilize and channel energy through a catalyst, which intensifies that energy. Catalysts must at least be a stick of any kind. The better the catalyst, the better the spell. As a caster improves, the need to grab the wrist decreases, increasing spell casting speeds. “Haaaa…” “Haaaa!!!!” the wagon driver shouted, as he unleashed some kind of explosive spell. Some energy was leaking out of his right arm. He began to pant like someone had ran a marathon.

“Aargh… It’s no good! Get away!” I screamed. My words barely reached him as my voice was very quiet from the pain. “Not yet… you’re going to get back up and wreck him! I’ll pour all my will and might into these last handful of spells. You’d better be ready by then,” said the wagon driver. What more can I do? I can’t move my body. The knight charged at the driver, which the latter had casted some kind of magic spear that extended from his catalyst in response. His fourth spell missed and hit me instead; that spell felt intense. The driver dropped to the floor, barely conscious.

The knight was dragging the weight of his armor and sword to finish the driver’s life. All of a sudden, my body could move. It was unbelievable! The intense pain from the knight’s shield stab remained, but I could still move around. The knight lifted his zweihander to execute the driver, but that would not happen. I quickly stood up and dashed towards his back and sliced his arms, knocking away his zweihander. The knight swung his shield arm around hoping to impale me once again. I continued my sword stabbing assault from earlier and noticed that his stamina had drained more significantly than before. I held out and aimed my blade towards his heart and proceeded to stab him, when he suddenly grabbed the blade with both his hands. The knight took his left hand and drove his palm right through the middle section of my blade, breaking it in half. I became much more curious about what lies underneath that armor, but something tells me that I would probably not like what I would find.

♦07

While my sword is broken, it certainly isn’t completely useless. I held my sword by the blade—while also completely wrapping my fingers around the extremely sharp, but durable edges, with a firm grip—to wield it as a striking weapon, like a club or a hammer. This type of sword wielding is not uncommon, as some warriors do it if they cannot slice or stab through their opponents’ armors. In a crazy frenzy, I struck the knight as many times as I could, as hard as I could. Then I realized that this effort was utterly useless. That’s right, how could I forget about the zweihander that I knocked out of his hand?

After quickly dropping my broken sword, I picked up the heavy zweihander and jumped back several feet to gain some distance. I readied myself with a stance—spreading my feet for balance, facing my left side forward, and gripping my right hand on the blade—to prepare for his next attack. Immediately, the knight charged and swung his spiked shield in a frenzy to which I countered with several slashes and stabs. Our weapons clashed. With my new boost in energy, I managed to push back his shield arm and immediately proceeded to stab his heart, straight through his armor.

Finally, the knight’s life began to slip away. As he stood there dying, my right hand was on his left shoulder, and that’s when I noticed something peculiar, yet familiar. It was the sensation of humanity—this sensation is indescribable, as I barely even know what humanity feels like, and I am sure other humans wouldn’t understand this sensation either—in this case, what little of it the knight had. He finally died, falling into a lifeless state before my eyes and his humanity had faded. Only for a moment, I felt the kind of man he was, his spirit, drive, and courage. I also felt the “edge” of the darkness that consumed him.

That “edge” was intense, just like the strength and persistence he displayed. My body desired that humanity of his, but I was unable to obtain it. The knight’s helmet conveniently cracked itself open to the point where I could easily remove it, which I did. The face behind the helmet was that of a “blackened hollow.” I’m sure that he went hollow long ago, but the black shade upon his muscly flesh was something I’ve never seen before, except if a hollow was actually burnt to a crisp.

♦08

The shadowy aura that gripped his body shattered, which sounded like tiny shards of glass streaming through the air. The way the knight fought earlier was that of a berserker. It was some kind of enchantment, no doubt. I felt so relieved that this battle was over. The energy given to me by the driver started to dissipate, leaving my body with no choice but to fall asleep, and my eyes closed. The next thing I knew, I had woken up at sunrise in the same barn on some piled up hay made to be a little comfortable. My head felt like hell and so does my body. My wounds looked as if they weren’t open in the first place, just clean.

“You feelin’ okay, warrior?” asked a farm woman—this woman was the one who gave me milk yesterday. “I’ll let you in on a secret that only us farmers and that wagon driver know: I can use a bit of healing magic, teehee!” But then I asked, “Did you use healing miracles?” The woman looked at me in confusion. “Miracles? I don’t know about that, lad, but I just simply use a small catalyst and channel a bit of magic in a way that would speed up healing,” said the woman. Magic, huh? It occurred to me that I still have a lot to learn about the magic that exists out there, which could be useful.

The wagon driver walked into the barn, with a big grin on his face. “Oh thank you, warrior!” he said. “Thanks to your help, the farms around here are gonna be lively again, even at night.” He quickly aimed his catalyst right at my body and channeled some magic to it. My body felt more awake and energized. “What is that spell?” I asked. “It’s not really a spell, but a technique. It does indeed use some magic, but only to support the transfer of energy. The recipient’s body takes in that energy, while the caster takes a penalty,” explained the wagon driver.

“Heh, well if you are still up for it, Caterina is still some miles away, which will take half a day’s ride at a relaxing speed. But, for your troubles last night, I’ll teach you this technique along the road. I can tell you’ve used quite a lot of offensive magic. Support magic or techniques are just as important as well, I think. It’s worth learning, dontcha think?” I accepted his offer of teaching me a new technique. The farm woman had also offered to teach me healing magic before I went, which the wagon driver allowed. One week later, I became able to utilize healing spells. For someone who’s growing weaker, I think these spells and any more new ones are invaluable.

♦09

The wagon driver and I started traveling to Caterina with the goal of spreading the good news of the knight’s death on the onion road. “So, warrior, what brings you to the onion road? Were you headed to Caterina in the first place?” asked the wagon driver. I told him of my journey on Lordran, but he refused to believe it. “Ha! You could have fooled me. How could someone like you survive up there? Lordran is all sorts of crazy, isn’t it?” he said. He refused to believe that I am a Dark Lord. I told him of Logan, and how I rescued him from a pathetic cage.

Dark Lord 6

“What!? You really met Logan? I’m quite the fan. But… isn’t he dead? Everybody, even the books say that he died at least a hundred years ago.” he asked. “No, he’s fine. Just senile—although not really, since he’s an undead—and obsessed with learning new spells from Lordran. Of course, I don’t know where he is now,” I replied. I explained to him about the dark sign that brands the undead and how humans fear the undeath. I showed him my dark sign, which was still active, but looked very dim to the point where I don’t even think it serves a function, other than to signify my status as an undead.

“If you’re an undead, then does that mean all things “holy” affect you?” asked the wagon driver. “No, this is a different kind of undeath. Trust me, I’ve tried showering myself with holy water, put my tongue on a cross, and all that, but nothing worked. The only greatest fear for this kind of undeath is becoming hollow, a state of mindlessness, and if you are killed in that state, you would truly die,” I explained.

“Ah ha! I see now. So you’re on a quest to rid yourself of that sign, right?” asked the wagon driver. I began to wonder at his question, as I hadn’t thought about curing this undead curse. If there were no traces of the age of fire (still prevalent around the world), then this curse wouldn’t work. At least that’s what I think. It may not be so simple. The wagon driver then asked, “So, Logan is an undead, right? Then wherever he is now, I just hope he finds his way back to Vinheim, to help keep the school together. I think all the students and teachers would be astounded by his presence.”

I myself hoped that Logan is safe somewhere, not trying to get himself hollowed. “Heh, anyway, my name’s Rich, just Rich. Don’t go calling me Richard or anything,” said the wagon driver. Rich then told me of his desire to travel to Vinheim, to explore the vast array of magic to be witnessed and learned there. That sounded great to me. “You know, if you’re willing, you could come to Vinheim with me. It’s still very far away, but once we get there, you could try to find something useful for yourself. I don’t know what will happen next after that. Ha! Guess we’ll find out, eh? So what do you say?” asked Rich. I told him I would think about it after we get to Caterina. From there, we were only minutes away from the city, which turned out to be one of several cities, and it also marked the entry into the land. “Ah… do you smell that?” asked Rich.


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Just a former superhero who writes and draws (a little bit).

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3 comments on “Age of Man Chapter 1: Onion Road”

  1. Avatar Alkaiser says:

    Enjoy :D

  2. Avatar BlackMannequin says:

    Very well done. Keep writing it. I am intrigued.

  3. Avatar Alkaiser says:

    Thanks :D & welcome to the forums!


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