The sword whispered as it flew through the cold air, and it nearly rang as it pulled across bone.

Nak stepped back and raised his shield as two skeletal warriors pressed in on him. He backed up to the stairs, trying to buy time to find an opening. His back foot reached the first stone step without seeing one—so he lashed out, hoping to find something. Instead, his sword made a pathetic scraping against the ribcage on his left, and the skeleton on his right drove is curved, notched blade through his flesh.

Nak died.

Nak sat at the Firelink Shrine, wondering how many deaths it would be before he finally succumbed to the madness. As it was, he was about ready to break his sword over a rock. The Bell of Awakening (something something something fate of the undead something else), or, at least, one of the Bells of Awakening, was in the catacombs, and the path down was guarded by three pairs of skeletal swordsmen. Nak had been beheaded, sliced, stabbed, and run through seven times before he had finally defeated the first pair, only to discover the second pair not fifteen paces further down the path. The novelty of being undead and the sickly sweet taste of the Est were both beginning to wear thin.

Then Nak had an idea.

He approached the skeletons cautiously, eyes peering just over the edge of his shield and just under the edge of his helm. Damn their creepy laughing skulls. One swung, its blade clanging off of his shield. That was his opening. From behind his body, Nak swung his morningstar in a wide overhead arc until it made thunderous contact with the skeleton’s skull and ribcage, sending bones flying every which way.

It was glorious.

He learned quickly that the skeletons had a limited ability to reassemble themselves (presumably by whatever foul energy had seen them assembled in the first place), but if he was extraordinarily patient (which he was not always; he would still die several more times before his final triumph), he could bludgeon them until finally they would not stand.

With the first two pairs of skeletons down, Nak climbed the path to a secluded set of graves where another pile of bones lay scattered across the ground. He threw himself forward, morningstar first, hoping to end this quickly so as to claim the nearby treasure quickly and carry on with his mysterious quest.

Then he saw the tibia that was, itself, taller than he was, erecting itself upon a skeletal foot the size of his torso, supporting a skeleton that was exactly the size its tibia would suggest. Holding a sword. Proportionately sized, of course.

Nak died.

When he returned to the fork in the road, he chose the other route, halfheartedly vowing to return later.

He climbed down, down, down to the catacombs, where the fading light of the entrance behind him revealed a single skeleton before him. He engaged, certain he had the advantage, and sure that he could sustain his progress with enough caution.

As he managed his footwork and distance, he couldn’t help but notice the eerie red glow behind the skeleton. As he made to strike, that red glow surged, nearly blinding him, and overwhelming him with burning pain. Scorched and staggered, Nak separated himself from his sparring partner and hurled himself up the stairs, until he made a wrong turn and…

Nak died.

Maybe the morose old warrior sitting by the bonfire at the shrine had the right of it after all, Nak thought as he tried to forget what it felt like to be hit with a sixty pound sword. He squinted uncertainly at that man, and then back at the fire. He must have tried it all. The shrine was a crumbling stone ruin; it certainly didn’t lead anywhere. The only way past it was through the catacombs. Which just left the way Nak came, which he’d seen quite enough of…


Nak came by way of giant raven. He’d never actually gone that other way.

Nak turned around and saw a stairway leading up, up, up, to a city full of undead, and somewhere beyond that the second Bell of Awakening.

The first two Hollow he met on the stairs, he cast aside with three effortless strokes of his blade. A block here, a thrust here! Slice, hack! It was invigorating! Then, has he made to strike the third, a fourth hurled down a firebomb from a perch above.

Nak died.

But at least it wasn’t the goddamn skeletons.

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