#10 – The Hellkite Dragon

I was puzzled by my conversation with the mysterious but friendly Solaire, but perhaps the hush of having a decent conversation again gave me the will to try for one last adventure before my well deserved rest. I sort of hoped Solaire would stop staring at the sun like a madman and peak at what I was doing as well, maybe I could do something to impress him. So I stopped and observed what was in front of me: a long bridge with five hallow warriors. Seemed easy enough, but it seemed like a perfect place for a trap as well. Right in the middle section there were stairs leading down, a perfect location for a hiding group, maybe for another black knight even.

As I stood there trying not to mind the ghosts walking about I noticed a bloodstain suddenly appear beneath my feet. I knew it wasn’t mine because it’s very appearance was ghostly and supernatural. Asking Solaire about it was out of question, I didn’t want to appear even more uninformed and lost than I already had. So I touched it.

From the strange bloodstain a ghost emerged and walked maybe 10 steps, then rushed for a few seconds and suddenly disappeared. I walked in the same directions, shield raised, trying to understand what made him run. That’s when I saw the burn marks, all over the bridge. Those were hunting grounds for the hellkite dragon, it seemed. It didn’t make me feel any safer that I realized this, however. So I just sat there for a while, observing the ghosts. They didn’t stay visible for long, but saying bits and pieces of both failed and successful attempts, I figured out fighting the hollows would be a death sentence. I couldn’t block their attacks either, since I had to run as fast as possible from about the burn marks onward. Up until the burn marks, it seemed safe enough.

So I gathered as much courage as I could. My whole life had been a preparation for this run, I thought, I needed all my strengh to run, all my concentration and reflexes to avoid the blows and arrows coming my way. I needed to impress Solaire by acting like a brave hero. So I walked until the very beginning of the burn marks and prepared to run. Three fast leaping steps later, I heard the dragon from very far and jumped back, running back to Solaire desperate and pathetic as a man can be. My full humilliation was worth it, however. I made it to safety only soon enough to notice that I could never run all that distance before the dragon bathed the bridge in fire. All the hollows were dead and the dragon sat in the very end of the bridge. I suddenly realized the meaning of all the ghost movements I had seen, putting together a few I couldn’t previously understand.

The distance between the dragon and me was now reassuring. I walked to the burn marks and ran as fast as I could, jumping down the stairs to the right of the middle section, listening from safe grounds as fire from hell boiled everything above that bridge. While running, just a few breathless and desperate moments before, I kept my eyes on the dragon, sitting spread over a small shrine, tearing apart bricks with his long tail, like a king on that murderous bridge that so many commonfolk had passed through, minding their lives. They are all probably rotting on the streets of the lower Undead Burg now, those poor bastards.

Coming down the stairs I was glad to see a passage beneath the bridge that I could use to avoid the dragon, but I would see into that later, because I was happier still to realize that I had landed just over my bonfire, from above, now being able to slide down the red metal stairs I had seen before. Within seconds I was sleeping like an old and worn blacksmith ember.


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