The Lord's Blade

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                Under any other circumstances, being summoned to stand before the Great Lord of Sunlight would have been the highest possible honor. Of course, in light of the Eldest’s treason, those that served him were now potential traitors as well, and as one of the disgraced war god’s knights happened to also be the captain of the Four Knights, all four were to be in attendance. Ciaran could understand – after all, if the leader of the Four was a traitor, the Lord had good reason to believe that the other three would follow along. Quite frankly, Ciaran was surprised that she wasn’t the main suspect, or indeed the target of any suspicion at all, considering her status as the foremost among the Lord’s assassins and spies. Then again, perhaps that was exactly why she wasn’t seriously considered a threat; regardless, she couldn’t envy the Dragonslayer his present condition.

                “I swear I knew nothing, my Lord,” Ornstein said, kneeling. His helm and spear lay in front of him at the Lord’s feet. “His betrayal was as shocking to me as it was to you.”

                Being in the Great Lord’s terrifying presence was one thing; seeing the golden lion-knight, one of the most faithful and honorable knights of the Sun, brought to his knees to beg for mercy was almost nightmarish.

                “Thou wouldst have me believe that?” The Lord looked down on His knight from His throne, His expression unreadable and body almost motionless. “Thou wert his most faithful servant, and still he told thee nothing?”

                “Yes, my Lord. My loyalty to him only extended so far as to best serve you, and I suspect he knew that.” The Dragonslayer was unusually hesitant. Perhaps the others would see it as his nerves getting the better of him, as one would expect given the circumstances. No doubt all three of them were unsettled by this, Ciaran especially. She hoped that either her deductions were wrong or that the Lord would assume that any strange behavior by His Knights could be attributed to the stress of the situation. If Ciaran’s skills were still reliable – and right now she very much wished for them not to be – Ornstein was right to be afraid, though perhaps he’d never have acted on his desires. Still, some deep part of him was yet loyal to the exiled king, and Ornstein was very seriously considering listening to it. Of course this would be an uncomfortable situation. She really didn’t want to be around to see what would happen when the Lord saw the truth.

                There was another reason for Ciaran’s present anxiety, though, for she had been en route to deal with more personal matters when she’d received her summons, but that was a drop in the ocean compared to what potentially awaited the Four. Even so, if they were going to be executed as traitors, Ciaran hoped she’d at least be allowed to deal with that before being put to the hammer, to retain at least some dignity.

                The Lord sat still for a while, and the room was silent save for Gough’s breathing. Then the Lord rose and said, “Very well. I shall reaffirm thy station among my Knights. In return, thou shalt prove thy loyalty again.” He raised His left arm and snapped His fingers, and within seconds a silver knight was at His side, presenting His greatsword. The Lord pulled the sword from its housing, and taking it in two hands He touched the flat of the blade to each of Ornstein’s shoulders before returning the sword to the knight that had presented it. “Thine orders come now from the Princess. Thy station is to be shared with… the cannibal…” There was a hint of disgust to His voice for a moment. “And together thou shalt serve and protect the Princess and the Cathedral. Thou shalt not leave Anor Londo without my order to do so. Go now.”

                “At once, thank you my Lord.” Ornstein stood, collecting his helmet and spear, and backed away from the Lord while bent into a deep bow. When he came to be in line with the other Knights, he put his helm back over his head, straightened out, and turned to leave.

                The first to speak when he had gone was Artorias.

                “The cannibal, my Lord?”

                “If Smough cannot break him then truly his loyalty lies with me.” The Lord turned to Ciaran while Artorias bowed his head in acknowledgement. “Ciaran. Thou art to follow him, ensure that he does as ordered. Do not be seen. Gough and Artorias, I shall summon thee again if I have need of thee. Go now, Ciaran.”

                “Of course, my Lord.” Ciaran bowed deeply while the other two gave a salute and rushed off. By the time she’d turned to leave, Artorias was already at the steps leading down into the Cathedral’s main room, and she hurried to catch up with him. “So,” she said, popping up from behind him. “Where are you off to?”

                Artorias turned his head ever so slightly to look at Ciaran, presumably giving a bit of a sideways glance and a suspicious glare – hard to tell under his helmet. “I was headed to the blacksmith, but don’t you have work to do?”

                “Oh, well, I was actually going to go that way, so we can walk over there together.” Ciaran had developed a bit of a spring-step while speaking.

                “It’s… just down the hall…” They passed a set of Sentinels, and Artorias returned the salute they gave.

                And, indeed, the two were nearly at the first set of stairs that would lead to the Giant Blacksmith’s workshop, but Ciaran didn’t seem the least bit discouraged. “Yeah, I know, but wouldn’t it be nice to have a bit of company for a little bit?”

                “I guess…”

                Ciaran glanced at Artorias, her expression hidden behind her porcelain mask. “What are you having the blacksmith do anyways,” she chirped. “All your stuff is in good condition.”

                Artorias put a hand on the sword at his hip and returned a salute from a passing silver knight. “Yes, it is, but I’m going to have him make me a shield. A proper magical one that can still protect someone even if they’re not actually carrying it.”

                “Sounds pretty complicated.” Ciaran had started fiddling with the hair on the side of her mask. Not quite the same as if it were her real hair, but it would do.

                “It has to be. It’s not just myself I need it to protect. But I trust the giant’s skills. He’s even earned our Lord’s trust, so I have no doubt he’s capable.” The rhythmic clanking of the Giant Blacksmith’s wooden hammer against his anvil could now be heard, and it grew louder as Artorias spoke and the two descended towards the workshop. “Should you really be going this way? Probably would have been better to just follow him out the front door.”

                “What do you mean?” The two looked at each other for a moment, and Ciaran suddenly realized what it was she was supposed to be doing. It was a good thing her mask hid her flushed face. “Oh! Oh, right, no, this is fine. He’s… he’s not going to sneak away anywhere just yet, I’m sure. I’ve, uh, got to keep a good distance anyways.”

                “Riiiiiight…” As they reached the bottom of the stairs, Artorias gave a little wave to the blacksmith while he spoke. “Well, here we are. Good hunting.” He made a gesture that was almost a hybrid between a salute and a wave, then turned to the blacksmith who greeted him the same way he greeted everyone else.

                “Forge, I can. Strong, I am.”

                “Oh, don’t I know it. Listen…”

                Ciaran cut him off when she suddenly turned around at the door and called out to him, carefully walking backwards to get properly outside. “Oh, I’ll probably need to check on the painting too, so I guess I’ll see you later.” She gave a wave before she disappeared.

                “Uh, sure, I guess.” Artorias shrugged, at this point no longer talking to anyone at all.

                Ciaran sighed as she walked the streets of Anor Londo. It hadn’t taken very long to find Ornstein, so it was just a matter of watching him and staying out of sight. She was looking for any opportunities to get on top of a building, so she could see and hide better. Not the easiest of tasks considering her divided attention.

                First, there was her job. She would be in quite a lot of possibly-explosive lightning-based trouble if Ornstein really did try to pull something and she wasn’t there to see it and report back to Lord Gwyn. Maybe even worse if she was there but wasn’t paying enough attention.

                Then there was Artorias. Ciaran wasn’t stupid. She could tell Artorias wasn’t responding to any of her advances. He barely even seemed to know she existed. And yet, she couldn’t help but think that some day she’d win him over, that one day he’d be hers alone. She knew perfectly well the odds of that happening were just as good as the chance that the Dark he hunted would take him first, and yet here she was chasing after him like a child. It’d never work, so why was she trying so hard?

                As if that weren’t enough, that personal matter of hers from earlier had returned in force once she’d calmed down from the audience with the Lord and almost having been briefly alone with Artorias. Keeping in constant motion was helpful, but considering Ciaran had already been preparing to deal with this issue hours ago, there wasn’t much time left until she didn’t have a say in the matter anymore.

                For now, though, she was still in control. Very fortunate, as she still had a job to do and Ornstein was passing by the stables, which Ciaran would have to go through to stay out of sight. Fortunately, they were mostly empty. Except for…

                Bark. Bark.

                The little grey wolf pup Artorias had brought back from the forests around Oolacile; the inspiration for his Wolf Ring. Her name was Sif, she was Artorias’s best friend, and as far as Ciaran was concerned she was absolutely adorable – or would be at literally any other time. As it was right now, Ciaran had to maneuver herself over a wall to hide from Ornstein, who almost certainly would have come to investigate the barking. Usually such a maneuver wouldn’t have been a problem, but her present condition made her a good deal slower.

                Sif was kept in a separate enclosure, large enough for her to grow into a proper great-wolf, so there was no doubt Ornstein knew exactly where the sound was coming from. Indeed, just as soon as Ciaran had gotten herself out of sight she could hear the clattering of the golden armor approaching, then stopping, presumably at Sif’s enclosure to see if the wolf had noticed anything out of place.

                Ciaran of course knew that she was the one to set Sif off in the first place, but Ornstein was left to try to find some reason the wolf would have been startled. So he looked, or at least Ciaran could assume that was what he was doing – she could only hear his armor rattle as he moved, never going far.

                Perhaps some other time Ciaran would have been more than patient with something like this, but right now she was praying for Ornstein to move on so they could both be done. The pressure was growing while Ciaran was just sitting there doing nothing, and if she couldn’t at the very least move along soon… something would happen that she preferred not to think about.

                Finally, after what must have been hours – but of course was hardly even five minutes – the Dragonslayer addressed the wolf.

                “Are you looking for your master? He’s not here now, but I’m sure he’ll come visit you soon.”

                Sif just barked at him in response, and he must have considered that to be acceptable, for the sounds of his armor soon faded away. Ciaran pulled herself up to look over the wall, with far more effort than it should have taken, then worked her way over and dropped onto the ground on the other side, receiving another greeting from Sif as she landed. That little bit of sudden warmth she was feeling had absolutely nothing to do with any of that and would go away if she just ignored it.

                Not that she had time to deal with that even if it had been something – truly, ignoring it was the only option. She had to hurry to make sure Ornstein wouldn’t get out of sight. He was approaching a path down to the lower city, and now there was finally going to be an opportunity to get above him, if only Ciaran could climb up one of the many buildings that made up the residential center of the holy city. All the better that the Executioner worked in the slums, where the spaces between buildings were just barely large enough for a silver knight to slip through. If this were one of the more upscale places out towards Duke Seath’s library, sure the houses would be larger, but they’d be so far apart that Ciaran would have to climb down and back up every time she got to the edge.

                Right now, just getting onto a roof once would be a problem. Ciaran was hanging back out of sight and, save for the occasional civilian, the streets were empty, so she had some time mostly alone to prepare herself for the task of scaling the side of a house. Mentally more than physically – things were under control for now and would remain so, if only Ciaran could focus on guaranteeing it. She had to act quickly, though, as narrow roads and sharp turns into innumerable alleys and side streets meant she could lose track of Ornstein in an instant. So, with a deep breath, Ciaran slipped into the nearest alleyway and got to work climbing up the house wall in front of her, grabbing at windows and using the Tracers to get a grip in places where the masonry was cracked. It was a good deal slower than normal, as Ciaran was trying to maintain the delicate balance she’d established in her lower half, and if anything were to happen to disturb that balance… she didn’t really want to think of what that meant.

                Fortunately, Ciaran was able to maintain focus and control long enough to get up onto the roof, and even more fortunately, she could see both Ornstein and the executioner’s block from there – she’d still have to jump across to another couple of houses on the way, but so long as Ornstein planned to do as he was told, there wouldn’t be any issues. He’d slowed down considerably, though, and stopped just before he rounded the last corner. He stood there, looking around at whatever there was to see, adjusting bits of his armor and inspecting his spear. Ciaran loomed overhead, just out of sight, both hoping the Dragonslayer would move on, so she could get back to personal business, and wishing he wouldn’t, so she didn’t have to get so close to the Executioner.

                After idling long enough to seem suspicious, though, Ornstein did head down the proper road, and Ciaran followed above and slightly ahead of him, hopping over gaps between houses to end up directly above Smough. There was a prisoner already on the block, so her focus was on Ornstein while he approached, putting up a hand to block his view and turning his head to the side as a massive cracking noise and guttural laugh rang out in the alley. Only Smough was left standing when Ciaran and Ornstein both looked again. Neither of them dared look directly at what had happened to the prisoner, though the Executioner’s reputation and the size of that hammer were more than enough to guess.

                The lion-knight cautiously stepped forward and opened the maw of his helm that served as a visor, and Ciaran dropped into a low crouch to hear what he was to say. There was a protest from somewhere deep within her body, but she willed herself to ignore it, just for a little while.

                “New orders for you,” he said, “From, eh, from Lord Gwyn.”

                “What? Why would He do that?” Smough’s voice was muffled and distorted by his grotesque helmet.

                “You’re, uh… you’re, you’re more than welcome to… to ask Him yourself when you see Him.” Ornstein tugged on the plume at the back of his helmet and looked off somewhere just beyond Smough – in Ciaran’s general direction, though she was sure she was hidden. “But… best not to bother Him with questions like that.”

                “Right.” Smough let his hammer down at his left side, grabbing the handle to keep it upright. “Well, what is it?”

                 “I was sent to tell you,” Ornstein leaned his spear towards Smough as if to point at him. “That, uh, you, and me too actually, we’re to speak to Princess Gwynevere. We’re in Her service now.”

                Ciaran shifted around as her body continued to disagree with her choice of position – and she tried her best to stay silent as she felt a most unwelcome warmth in her smallclothes.

                “Uh, alright. Hey, if I’m working with you now does that mean there are Five Knights?”

                Ornstein closed his visor again and briefly looked up at Ciaran’s roof, this time quite explicitly. Surely he couldn’t have heard her fighting against her own body. “No, I’m pretty sure that’s never going to happen. I mean, you eat people’s bones. I don’t think that’s the kind of person the Lord wants representing Him. Lord Nito, maybe, or even Lady Izalith if She’s in the right mood, but not Lord Gwyn.”

                “Fair enough, yeah.”

                The two trailed off into some sort of conversation, though Ciaran had stopped paying attention. Still in her squatting position that her body hated her for, she had both hands vigorously rubbing her thighs, drifting ever closer to grabbing at herself without ever quite getting there. The inside of her mask was utterly saturated with her sweat and the warmth below grew in little intermittent bursts until she was practically sitting in a puddle within her own clothes. She was out of options and out of time. She’d done as she’d been commanded, and it seemed like Ornstein and Smough were just going to sit around making friends with each other. She’d earned a minute to herself.

                Thus, Ciaran backed away from the edge of the building, stood up and immediately ran back to the house she’d climbed up in the first place, the force from jumping the gaps between buildings causing a little more liquid to join the party. Once she was fairly sure she’d reached the right house, or at least was far enough away, she fumbled with getting the Gold Tracer off her belt, nearly dropping it, and dug it into the wall as she jumped off. Thanks to whatever magic the Giant could work into weapons, that knife was far stronger than it had any right to be, so Ciaran could simply slide down the wall of the house and drop into a quiet alley. And thanks to her small stature compared to the other Knights, she didn’t have to worry too much about being seen, though she was right next to the open road.

                Not that any of that was important. Ciaran could think of nothing else as she tore down her pants, a light but steady stream already working its way to the ground, which became a full-force torrent as soon as Ciaran had lowered herself into the usual position. The pale golden stones below her immediately became drenched in a fresh coating of a much deeper gold, and even the opposite wall of the alley was close enough to receive a generous spray.

                Alas, it didn’t last long. Before Ciaran was even halfway done, she could hear heavy footsteps coming from behind her, out on the road. If they were loud enough to be heard over her own cascade, that meant only one thing. With every grain of strength left in her body, Ciaran forced herself to stop, hastily redressed, and crossed her arms as she willed a disguise spell upon herself. Not a moment later did Ornstein pass by, Smough at his side. They were engaged in some sort of conversation that Ciaran truly did not care one bit about, until Ornstein, who was the nearer of the two to Ciaran’s alley, stopped abruptly and looked down. He lifted his right foot, and a little bit of the Blade’s waters dripped from the heel of his boot.

                “Eugh.” Ornstein shook his foot and took several steps to his left to avoid the still-expanding puddle that had spilled out onto the street, then the two carried on walking. “How do you live down here with these creatures and their filth?”

                Smough’s response was something about plenty of opportunities for him, but Ciaran only listened for when their footsteps had faded away enough for her to be considered out of earshot. As soon as she was sure, she dispelled her disguise and instantly fell forward, lying on her hands and knees in a pool of her own making. There was hardly even time to breathe before the flood she had so rudely interrupted started again, this time filtering through Ciaran’s clothes before hitting the ground with even more force than earlier.

                With no real options available, Ciaran moaned as she let herself fall even lower, head kept off the ground only by the fact that her forearms were in the way. Her chest and arms were soaked almost immediately, to the point where she could feel her waters on her skin. And yet she didn’t really care. She was bent over as if she were a dog in heat presenting herself, and was panting like one too, and still she didn’t care. Only the relief mattered, so Ciaran stayed as she was, reveling in the feeling of being able to remove what must have been more than twelve hours of fluids from her system. Ciaran couldn’t properly gauge how much time passed until the torrent ended, but even when it did she remained in her position for a while, letting whatever was left drip down from her garb and join the ocean she’d made.

                Once she heard the last drops land, she pushed herself up and fell back against the wall. Ciaran lifted up her mask and for a few moments gasped for breath before calming down again and sliding even farther into the pool below. It took a while to process what had just happened, and when she did finally figure it out she pulled her mask down again to hide her deep blush. Then she looked around and sighed. She was an absolute mess. Soaked through to the skin practically everywhere except her back and head, she had no idea whatsoever how she was meant to clean up. Perhaps she could just borrow a painting guardian uniform. They wouldn’t dare pry into their leader’s personal business, if she could get over there without being seen by anyone else, like a silver knight, or Artorias, or worst of all Lord Gwyn. What nightmare awaited her if her Lord found out one of his prized Four Knights lacked the constitution to perform a simple task without soiling herself like a pathetic Undead?

                Oh well. She’d deal with that if it came to it. At least she’d made sure nobody could say the streets in Anor Londo were not paved with gold.



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This is such amazing storytelling, I am shocked you kept it here in the blogs and not made it public. Bravo indeed!

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6 hours ago, Storytime said:

This is such amazing storytelling, I am shocked you kept it here in the blogs and not made it public. Bravo indeed!

All my blog posts are mirrors of things that already had forum threads, this is just a more convenient format for keeping them organized.

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My bad, I guess I just missed them then but these stories are beautiful. This one is my favourite of the three you have written.

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