The Shards of Ignition

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    Oswald seemed to find their awkward shuffling and stumbling amusing. He canted his head ever so slightly to the side, his grin ever in place, his hands still raised at his sides as if he were actively praying. Alej wouldn't doubt that he actually was, but he knew next to nothing about this type of thing. Being someone who clerics would actively call a witch. Internally he snickered at the thought, but on the outside he remained placid and wary, with only the slightest grimace on his pretty face. Oswald chuckled again. "I see. I must say, I have admiration for thine confidence. A world without the light of the Gods, for me, would be rather dull, and... frightening. But, be it not me who stops thee. I give thee my blessings, and invite you to return to me, should you have need for it." He gave another off-putting chuckle, before turning his head downward, closing his eyes as if he were returning to fully focusing on prayer. Alej glanced uneasily to Amelia, then shrugged. "We thank you for your blessings... Farewell, clergyman." The mage casts Amelia another look before he swiftly exits the Bell Tower, breathing a sigh as he returned to the cool air outside of the stone walls. He looked to Amelia with a raised brow as he continued walking, falling back into step beside her. "Hmph... Clerics," he scoffed idly, absentmindedly rubbing at some dried blood under his eye, wincing at the rawness of touching his burnt-but-healing skin. "I'd really like to leave his place now."


    As the two of them entered back into Firelink Shrine, Alej instantly noticed a stark difference in the atmosphere, and the people. For one thing, there were many more of them, scattered loitering about the place, murmuring in twos and threes, or skulking by themselves and watching. Alej felt his dark skin prickle, disliking the sudden popularity of the place, though it was obvious why this had happened. The Bell had woken everyone from here to Anor Londo, it seemed, and brought them to see what the ruckus was. While Alej was usually used to being alone, he had to admit the presence of Amelia in this crowded and suddenly tense area was a comfort. He didn't like it at the same time-- didn't like the idea of relying on someone. But it was... nice, all the same. Alej liked Amelia, he found. She was a chivalrous Knight, at the least, and Alej could certainly respect her for that.

    He almost wanted to whisper to Amelia, ask her what the hell she felt about this tense shift in Firelink's atmosphere, but he did not want to draw any attention whatsoever to them as they made their way to Frampt. Still, he can't help but to catch eyes with a few of those who are openly staring. Mostly the ones who stare are those sitting by themselves, some near the Bonfire, and some in the shadows. Many of the gazes that meet him are suspicious, wary, or outright hostile, but it is the one friendly gaze that causes him brief pause. The eyes are a light, baby blue, on the face of a man whose helm has been removed and placed beside him. He sits near the Bonfire, elbows resting on his knees, head slightly lowered so his short chestnut hair falls across his forehead. Alej stares back at him for a moment, narrowing his eyes. He's shocked when the man outright smiles at him. A small, close-mouthed smile, but a smile nonetheless. Alej's brows furrow with a scowl, and he rips his eyes away from the man. What the hell was wrong with him?

    Alej shook his head in mild annoyance as he continued on to enter the Shrine where Frampt was. The giant serpent was sleeping, his head lulled forward, large mouth with clacking teeth hanging open. Alej halted before the serpent, brows furrowing even further. "Kingseeker Frampt?" Nothing. "Kingseeker!" Silence. Alej looked to Amelia, an expression of vague annoyance crossing his face as he crossed his arms. He was suddenly aware of where all his clothing was ripped and tattered, reminding him of the need to stock up and repair before the two of them head underground.

  • Oswald had offered, in her opinion, useless things. She wore the the armor of knights, yet she knew that she was not as morally "right" as they were. Repenting for her sins would not only take days, but in the end, she still committed those deeds and asking for forgiveness to some made up character would not help. Amelia was fine with it as long as they didn't expect her to do it or anything. Oswald had toed the line with the redhead's short temper with his offering along with his complete disregard of her inquiry. At least he backed off quickly, accepting their disinterest. That may have been the only thing to save him. So when Alej strode out of the tower, the woman followed close behind. Amelia had been ready to leave ever since stepping out onto the rooftop.


    Firelink Shrine seemed far from a haven with the new influx of strangers. Amelia had recognized some, but most of the faces were new. That left an unsettling feeling. Amelia hated the knowledge that they knew. these complete strangers, most of which she didn't know, knew what she was doing and could probably guess what she was going to do next. Frampt's summoning was no secret and there was a small show afterwards, when the Knight's venomous words had been directed toward Alej. Oswald wouldn't be the only one to show up on their journey. That much was obvious by the strangers staring at them, whispering among themselves. Good God this was terrible. Still, the Knight stood upright, walking with her head held high and stride full of confidence.

    The Knight failed to notice the slight pause, her focus more on the observers. If he had paused any longer than perhaps she would have taken interest but he was quick to correct and therefore, Amelia found no reason to invest any interest.

    The Serpent was asleep. That much was apparent. Alej's calls did nothing to awake the creature as it continued with it's obnoxious snoring. The mage seemed to match her emotions with this, annoyance flitting across his face. Words weren't working? Well there was only one thing left to do. Regardless of whether this angered the beast or not, he couldn't kill her. She had the Shard after all. It's fate was in her hands. With this in mind, the woman strode forward and used the weapon to poke at Frampt.

    "Kingseeker!" Amelia's voice rang out loud and clear, annoyance shining clear in the single word.


    At the restrained yet insistent jabbing of Amelia's sword, Frampt startled awake, giant orange eyes creaking open and mouth unhinging in a yawn. "I'm fine, I'm fine, well and perfectly awake!" the serpent said groggily, seeming to shake himself awake with the slow, lumbering movements that matched his great size. Alej gave a silent scoff but hid a fond smirk for Amelia behind his palm, glancing away to compose himself. Sometimes he and she seemed to be on the exact same page, he thought contentedly to himself. Now, they just had to get this formality over with, and with Frampt's blessing, could heal up and head downward to Blighttown. Alej slowly lowered his hand and allowed his arms to rest at his sides, both his rapier and his catalyst sheathed in their holsters. He stepped forward to be next to Amelia, bowing respectfully, then straightening his spine and raising his chin to meet gazes with those massive orange eyes, now filled with a hopeful interest as the serpent gazed down at the two Chosen Undead. "I see thee both hath returned successful," Frampt exclaimed happily, his great head swaying with his enthusiasm as he shifted his gaze between Alej and Amelia. "I rejoice in thine strength and bravery! The Bell could be heard through Lordran, and so I must ask that thee make haste to Blighttown and finish thy mission. Once thou hath done this, Anor Londo shall be open to thee." Alej's eyes grew wide, his lips slightly parting in his awe. Anor Londo had been closed off since... well, the Dark began to consume Lordran, Alej was fairly sure. Even then, Alej had never been to Anor Londo, but he'd heard that it was once magnificent and powerful in its armies and ruling. Hell, Alej has spent the majority of his life living in and around Darkroot Garden. He hasn't seen a building that wasn't an abandoned pile of rubble since he'd lived with the Dragon Scholars as a child. Absently, Alej reached up and pressed a palm over the shard hanging at his chest. Frampt gave them a grave expression. "If thou ringeth the second Bell, I will know thou art truly worthy of your fated mission. Make haste, please, however, remain cautious as well; guard your own lives valiantly." At this, Frampt cast a longer look to Alej, who wanted to scowl boyishly and cover up the holes in his clothing, the burns still visible on his face. Instead he did as he always would, and stared back blankly, hand still over his Shard. Frampt seemed to take the silence as acknowledgement and moved on. "If thou ever needeth advice, or aid, I shall remain here to advise thee. The second Bell awaits thee in Blighttown."

    As Frampt seemed to sink down comfortably into his cesspool at this last sentence, eyes already drooping sleepily again, Alej surmised that he was finished, and gave a parting bow before glancing at Amelia in acknowledgement. "I shall be restocking my supplies and repairing my cloak," he said amicably, his tone towards Amelia now noticeably softer than towards anyone else. It wasn't friendly really, but it was calm and unguarded. He tilted his head boyishly at her. "What have you to do before we depart?" He trailed off for a moment, hesitating, his eyes darting away before returning to Amelia's face. "Should we rest a little first?" he asked, uncharacteristically uncertain in his demeanour. He wasn't used to accommodating for other people, and only now realized he should probably take Amelia's concerns into at least some consideration.

  • Amelia didn't flinch as the ugly beast rose. She held steadfast despite being so close to the edge of the hole and Frampt. Being this close to the Kingseeker was uncomfortable though. It might be a bit rude to think, but Frampt looked like the physical representation of Blighttown even more from this close. The Knight moved back so she could properly kneel for a moment, taking note how they bowed at the same time. Great minds think alike but fools rather differed and Alej happened to be on the side of the fo- Frampt interrupted her thought process with his praise, which rather pleased her. Accomplishments being noticed was always a nice feeling. Especially considering where this battle had taken lace. Speaking of Frampt almost being the embodiment of Blighttown... A frown rose beneath the woman's helm. Of course, the Knight knew that the damned place would be the next place they went but hearing it confirmed and knowing that, that was where they were going after this talk was... did not give the nicest feeling.

    It definitely helped to see Alej get picked on a little though. A laugh was almost drawn from the woman, though Alej kept his features carefully neutral as always. The next bit seemed to wrap up Frampt's speech leaving the duo to do as they please. Amelia was certainly not heading to Blighttown first. There were preparations to get and weapons to be looked at. They didn't seem broken or worn, but it was better be safe than sorry. It had been a bit since she had done so as well.

    Words turned toward her were softer, friendly than Amelia had expected. They certainly were not friends in any regard, not yet at least, but Alej seemed to be warming up to her. She was unsure of how to feel about that. If he considered her a friend, that certainly lessened the chance of him turning on her. Or maybe not, but one could be hopeful? It took a moment for the redhead to respond.

    "...Yes, I would like to rest for the night before continuing. It will give us enough time to finish preparations, restock, and rest." Though the thought of everyone out at Firelink Shrine was less than preferable for a rest. "Though I think I will head away from the shrine for the night." Amelia stated as she begun moving away Frampt and toward the bonfire. Normally she would leave it at that, not caring enough to know where her partner would be as long as they were on time the next day. However, the mage had been rather nice and had fought alongside her. "And what of you? Are you going to stay at Firelink or will you be leaving as well?"


    As Amelia responded, Alej nodded agreeably with her words, trailing after her as she moved away and towards the Bonfire-- the hub of Firelink, and most densely surrounded. Firelink wasn't currently packed by any means, but just the fact that there were enough people for there to even be a buzz of voices in the air was enough to be shocking in its oddness. At her question, he also paused to think before speaking, eyes casually glancing around the area, though his mind was churning. "Very well. I agree with you. My wounds should have healed by tomorrow morning; it would be best for me to be in peak condition for the descent to Blighttown." He tilted his head thoughtfully, eyes now looking Amelia's form up and down. "Yes, I shall remain here," he finally decided, even though the idea of Amelia wandering off without him made him mildly uncomfortable. Realistically, he knew she was more than capable of taking care of herself; he'd seen the proof first hand. Still, he did not wish to wake up come morning and find that she had been ambushed. That thought alone nearly sent a shudder through him as memories flashed in his mind, which he forced away from his consciousness before they could take hold of his mind. Ultimately, he determined it would be better if they separated for the night. It would draw less attention to them if they weren't huddled up together and very obviously allied with each other. If they effected a more casual relationship, it might lower interest and suspicion. Alej explained all of this to her in a hushed voice, trying to look casual all the while, only leaning as close to her as strictly necessary to get the words out. When he finished explaining, he rocked back onto his heels and laced his hands together behind his back, giving Amelia a very small and genuine smile. "Please take care of yourself," he finally said, then paused. Attempting to make that sound less horribly sentimental, he tacked on, "And be ready for the travel tomorrow. I would hate to see you running low on supplies in such a putrid place as Blighttown."

  • Amelia studied the man for a second, before nodding slightly. There was no need to comment on what almost sounded like worry for hr. If anything, Amelia thought, she should be worrying for him. Though he had proved to be a worthy partner so far, the lack of armor was still worrying. He had decided to stay in Firelink though, which was somewhat comforting. She would know where to find him and there were eyes everywhere. If someone were to do anything, there would be quite a few witnesses. She trusted that Alej would not make the same type of mistake as before, when they first met.

    "I will be off then and return in the morning for our departure." There was still daylight left, more than enough time for her to go over everything she needs and more. There would be time she would need to kill. That'd probably be spent double checking everything and just resting. It had been quite some time since the Knight had a battle like that. "Farewell." Then, without looking back or waiting for a response, the Knight was off.


    It had certainly been nice to wash up, washing grime and sweat off after the Gargoyle battle. Everything was right and clean again, just as it had been before Frampt's summoning. Then, provisions were restocked, both of her own findings and from being bought from the local merchants. Everything seemed... oddly calm. It almost seemed as if the fate of the world didn't lay in their hands. Everything was too normal, too calm. The only exceptions was her own thoughts and the buzz of the people in the Shrine. Some of those looks hadn't been too friendly though and Amelia found herself wondering how Alej was faring. She would have to see in the morning.

    Night fell a bit faster than she had expected. Everything was done, so it wasn't a big deal but Amelia found that she couldn't sleep. The stars seemed brighter that night as she lie beneath them. Thoughts of the whole ordeal being over, living knowing that the fire was restored and everyone would be happy for awhile more lulled her to sleep.


    Just as the sun was peeking over the horizon, Amelia stirred awake and quickly got to work. It wasn't long before she arrived at the Shrine, feeling rather refreshed despite everything. Blighttown may have been the worst place to exist in her journey so far, but it would be fine. They would get it over quickly and then everything would go back to normal. With this rather chipper attitude, Blighttown would be a breeze. So the Knight made her way down the steps of Firelink Shrine, eyes scanning over the people present to find the mage.


    Alej nodded in return at Amelia's easy acceptance of his decision. He had to admire her for it; she never fussed about anything that wasn't completely necessary to fuss about. Her abrupt goodbye didn't really surprise him, yet he still felt a little put out by it. He watched her back silently as she retreated from Firelink, getting smaller and smaller as she climbed the stairs to the tunnelway and disappeared from sight, not once looking back at him. It was for the best; don't show these people sentimentality or attachment. Not that Amelia had any attachment to him. The though caused him to blink himself back to the present, and he carefully straightened out his tattered cloak by its fraying lapels, turning his gaze to fix upon the Bonfire, refusing to let his eyes dart around, which would make him look nervous and insecure. Instead he heaved out a gentle sigh and strode to the Bonfire pit in a relaxed gait. Regardless of everything going on, Firelink was a place valued for its peacefulness. No one had dared disturb it since the Dark had begun to descend. It was a rare sanctuary, not a place that anyone would risk being welcomed into, and attacking others was a surefire way to get yourself kicked out by citizens arrest, if not outright killed for showing Hollow-like tendencies. Alej felt uncomfortable with the attention, but unthreatened. He settled himself on the edge of the pit, removing his satchels and beginning to meticulously account for all items in his possession, making mental calculations of what he would need to buy and what he wouldn't. He could feel eyes on him as he went about his business, and ignored it for as long as he possibly could, but as he finished his cataloging and began to repack his things, he darted his bright green eyes upwards, and found his gaze caught by a pair of baby blues once again. It was that Knight who had smiled at him before. He wasn't smiling now, but he was staring with an open, intent focus in his eyes. When Alej caught him staring, he casually looked away, resting his sculpted chin in his calloused, upturned hand. A breeze stirred his chestnut hair slightly. Alej gave a huff of irritation, looking away too and reaching up to finally pick at his hair, undoing and rebraiding it into loose but tidy designs. Some of the ends were still a bit singed.

    Finished with that, Alej put his satchels back on and stood to his feet, leaving for the merchants he'd seen around Firelink. He paid a pretty penny for a bulk amount of Purple Moss, refilled his Estus, and had his clothing repaired and his rapier sharpened. When he finally returned to Firelink's center, the sun was beginning to set in the horizon, a beautiful skyline of orange, red, pink and purple. Alej sat at the edge of the pit again, preparing to hunker down and sleep for the night. He was exhausted from battling the Gargoyles, larger foes than he'd faced in a fair long while. Many others were either leaving Firelink, or getting ready to sleep themselves. Again, some in pairs, and many alone. Alej looked around at the Undead idly, noticing that the blue eyed Knight was still in the same spot, though he was now gazing into the ever-burn of the Bonfire, looking to be deep in thought. Alej turned and watched the sunset for a small time. It reminded him of the isolation of nature, of his home in Darkroot Garden, and he felt a vague ache in his chest. He missed his privacy. When the sun had finally disappeared and the stars were the only light in the sky, Alej sighed softly to himself and collapsed onto his back, gazing directly upward. Most were either gone, silent, or asleep. He found his gaze wandering over to the Knight again, out of pure curiosity. He was one of the very few left awake, and he continued to stare into the Bonfire as if it were sharing the dark secrets of the world to him. He was strange, but seemed rather mild, maybe even overtly friendly, and he hadn't displayed any antagonistic qualities whatsoever. Alej was not worried about him, but he found him odd. Too tired to keep thinking, Alej's eyes drifted closed, and he fell asleep on his back, legs splayed out and hands resting on his stomach and chest, head listed to the side.


    When Alej woke, he did so slowly, feeling more groggy than he had in ages. The first thing he noticed was that it as still early, the sun barely breaking out over the horizon. There was the dull murmurs of life around the shrine again, voices and snores and shifting movement. Alej stretched, arms above his head and pointed toes, then relaxed back into the earth, blinking blearily. He could feel that his Mana had returned, the light of the Bonfire helping it to fully regain its energy in his core. He gave a contented little sigh at the feeling, closing his eyes.

    When he opened them again, he nearly startled into a sitting position as a figure was now looking above him, standing upright. He almost wasn't surprised at who it was, however. The blue eyed Knight. The Knight blinked down at Alej, his face calm and completely open with a bright curiosity. "Hello," he said. Alej squinted up at him, suddenly wary, and sat up, narrowing his eyes at the Knight. The Knight crouched down, keeping a respectful few feet of distance between himself and Alej, and then he smiled a small and earnest smile. "You are the one who rang the Bell, aren't you? Quite a feat, I must say. I've heard the Parish is a heavily infested place. I have to say, I admire your accomplishment. Yourself and that Lady Knight."

    Alej continued to warily stare for a long moment. Then, he got his feet under him and stood up, disliking having this encounter while on the ground. As he brushed the grass from his cloak, the Knight also stood up, and Alej noticed that he all but towered over him. He was rather tall. And broad. And handsome, if Alej were honest. And he seemed very, very earnest. Alej gave a vague shrug, looking away for a moment before returning to looking up at the Knight. "I suppose," he finally responded, trying to downplay. No need to bright attention to the mission. "Was there something you wanted?"

    The Knight smiled brighter this time, giving a slight bow. "To introduce myself, mostly. My name is Galehaut. I am a Knight, once hailing from Astora. That is, before the Darkness encroached on Lordran. Now, I'm something of a vagabond, I suppose." He gave a curious tilt of his head. "I've heard about you. You are Alejandro, the young mage who wanders Darkroot, as I've been told?"

    Alej truly resents his reputation sometimes. "...Yes."

    Galehaut nodded, continuing to smile mildly, stance loose and unthreatening. His helm and his word, Alej noticed, were propped up on some rubble behind him, near where he had been sitting last night. "Well, I admire your capabilities. I wish to tell you, I would be interested in lending you help on your journey, wherever you may be going. The way of the Light, it is a noble pursuit, and no doubt it is a destination yourself and your Lady Knight are striving for. Please, if you ever see me around, do not fear to approach me for whatever reason." He seemed almost as enthusiastic as a puppy as he said this, teeth showing in a grin and bouncing on his feet the slightest bit.

    Alej felt the slightest bit flustered at being lavished with such positive attention. He couldn't remember the last time he'd seen someone smile at him so sweetly. "Uh... right. I- thank you, Knight Galehaut. I appreciate the sentiment." He gave a single jerky nod.

    Galehaut stuck his hand out. Alej stared at it. Galehaut grinned some more. "My word," he said, by way of explanation. Alej reached out and gingerly took his hand. Galehaut grabbed him up in a firm grip, giving one firm shake before releasing Alej. Alej quickly lowered his own hand again, swallowing.

    At that point, Alej spotted Amelia descending to Firelink in the near horizon. He felt deeply relieved. "I must apologize, but there are matters that need my attending," he said to Galehaut, shuffling anxiously on his feet, glancing periodically between Galehaut's blue eyes and Amelia's approaching form. "Good day, sir."

    Galehaut bid him a chipper farewell, and Alej briskly began to approach Amelia as she approached the Shrine. He stopped in front of her once he reached her. "Morning. Rested well?" he asked casually, looking Amelia up and down briefly as if searching for injuries or issues.

  • Another knight seemed to be in a sort of cheerful chatter with the mage. Alej seemed... hesitant perhaps, but the other person, the stranger, didn't seem the least bit upset and quite relaxed. Amelia wasn't familiar with him. Distrust was already starting to come up, wanting them to separate. She didn't know this knight and by the looks of it, neither did Alej. Was he trying to get more information? Or to join them? Perhaps it was an old friend of the mage. He didn't seem like the type of person to keep friends for very long though. Amelia said nothing when the Omitter caught sight of her. He looked between them. It screamed suspicious in Amelia's mind. What about her presence made the Omitter nervous to talk to the other knight? Hmm...

    Still, the mage seemed friendly enough, approaching her. Green eyes checked her over and Amelia felt herself pulling the shield closer in front of her, as if to protect herself from prying eyes. A frown appeared behind her helm and her eyes narrowed ever so slightly, though that was obviously not easily visible. The chipper mood was gone now despite her thoughts trying to reassure that nothing bad had happened.

    "Yes, quite well actually." A pause as she decided to ask about the chestnut haired male. "An old friend?" The inquiry seemed neutral enough. The Knight moved away, toward the stairs that led down toward the elevator for New Londo Ruins. That seem like the fastest way by far to get to Blighttown. "A shortcut." Amelia explained simply as she paused, looking back to him to make sure he was following.


    Alej noticed that Amelia's hackles were up immediately when she adjusted the grip on her shield, as if about to use it against him. She was wary, and it didn't take a genius to understand why. He was hoping she wouldn't be suspicious of the interaction she'd born witness to, and it wasn't like he had anything to hide, but it still hurt some small thing inside him to see her suspicion towards him. It was just a coincidence that now of all times, Amelia caught him actually talking to someone when he hadn't done so in literal years. As she told him she slept well, Alej gave a nod and a genuine smile, truly glad to learn that Amelia had taken good care of herself. Her question didn't come as a surprise, and Alej gave a grimace and shook his head firmly as he followed after her towards the downward staircase. It brought them closer to the Bonfire, and Alej resolutely did not look in Galehaut's direction as they passed by, walking close to Amelia's side to speak quietly to her. "No, not at all. Just some strange nobleman... though, he held very high praise towards our... endeavours, so to speak." Alej relaxed as they descended the staircase, out of view of all those people at last. He glanced at Amelia. "He offered us his help, should it be needed. He seems... genuine, gave me his name and all... I feel that we could take him up on it."

    Just as Alej finished his stilted explanation, He noticed the glint of gold that sat at the edge of the small landing that Amelia had led them down to, and his eyes widened at the sight of the golden Knight, Lautrec, whom they had rescued from the Parish prisons. He appeared aloof and totally unharmed. For some reason, Alej was relieved by that. It always felt horrible towards Alej's conscience to let Unhollowed lives go to waste where they needn't. Before Amelia can respond to his explanation on Galehaut, Alej exclaims, "Knight Lautrec!", unable to withhold his surprise as he stops walking to stay directly in front of the figure seated in the grass. Lautrec lifts his helmed head, tilting it curiously at them. Then he chuckles. "So you made it out alive," he observes in his low and gravely voice. Alej blinks owlishly. "It is quite impressive," Lautrec continues, "and I must thank you again for freeing me from that dungeon. In fact, I would like to reward you." The golden knight withdraws something from his satchel, holding it out to Alej, who takes it carefully. Looking at it, the mage recognizes it as a Sunlight Medallion, usually used by Clerics to concentrate faith. Alej wants to scowl at it; it's of no use to him, and judging by how Amelia had reacted to Oswald earlier, he presumed she felt much the same. Alej maintained a neutral expression, slipping the medallion into his own satchel. He would offer it to Amelia later; doing so in front of Lautrec would be rude. "I hope it is enough for you," Lautrec says, and Alej can hear the smirk in his voice. "I possess little in the way of riches at the moment. Surely you understand my predicament."

    Alej simply shrugs. He hadn't expected anything from Lautrec. He was simply happy that an Undead had remained alive, and hadn't gone Hollow. Lautrec's death would have been a waste. "We are honoured that you recognize us so highly." The mage glances towards Amelia, as he apparently tends to do a lot now. For some reason, he likes to know her opinion on situations, and wishes, not for the first time, that he could see her face more often. It was rather ironic, how Alej was the one literally known for his closed off and cold nature, yet he left his face in plain view. "Well, we must go. We are traveling away from here," Alej says shortly, giving a slight bow. "Farewell, sir." He continues on the path Amelia had been setting them on, feeling in a slightly better mood now for knowing that Lautrec was alive and well because of him. He glanced to Amelia again. "So... about the nobleman?" he continued on from his cut off conversation about Galehaut, prompting her opinion.

  • While Alej seemed to take the interest in their mission as possible help, Amelia regarded it as troublesome. She knew that there were people on their side, people who genuinely wanted the light to stay within Lordran. These people would probably be eager to help them with their quest. It would be a lot easier to go about it with others to back them up. However... distrust bubbled up. There was too many things that could go wrong. Relying on others proved to be disastrous most of the time. Amelia knew herself, knew her limits, and knew what she could do. She could not rely on another person if she didn't know those things. It could be so easily lied about as well. Most of Amelia wanted to shut down the idea of having help instantly, making it clear that such a thing will not happen. However... things were only going to get harder. A little help wouldn't be the worst...

    Amelia hadn't even formulated a response yet when the gold armor caught her eye and Alej's surprised voice rang out. With a small scowl, the Knight continued walking forward, pausing by the next flight of stairs as Alej conducted his business with Lautrec. Firelink was a relatively safe place, with few stories of violence within it's boundaries to speak about. However, that didn't stop them. There was few stories, not none. Amelia was well aware that the man probably held some type of grudge or ill-will against her. The decision she wanted would have left the man in the cell alone to die a lonely and painful death. Yet she had turned a blind eye to it, deciding on what was best for her own personal goals. So compassion wasn't her strong suit. Lautrec was lucky that she was paired with someone unafraid to go against her word, and who had more compassion. Otherwise he would still be locked away in the tower. She had plenty of enemies in her past, and she would make plenty more. It was an unfortunate truth.

    Alej being the only one to obtain something from the gold clad man was definitely telling too. Or perhaps not. It hadn't been that long since he was released so it was entirely possible that was all he could give them. At least it gave her time to think back to the Omitter's "friend". After this Blighttown trip, perhaps they could take the nobleman up on his offer. There had to be a bit of trust in Alej after all. Surely he wouldn't pick a person who would be likely to go against them? Amelia started to push her thoughts away, focusing on the lean figure walking toward her. Doubting the mage would only harm them.

    "About the nobleman," Amelia began, echoing her partner's words, "...perhaps it will be the best decision to recruit him." She really wanted to tack on that it'd be unfortunate for him if the knight were to mess things up, but she held her tongue. Not everything needed to be passive aggressive... or outright aggressive. Green eyes scanned the mage's face for a moment to catch a reaction. "We will talk to him about it once we get back from Blighttown. If that is fine with you, of course." Despite implying that Alej had a choice in the matter, Amelia continued on down the stairs. "I would like to get through Blighttown as quickly as we can. It is... not a favorable place." Did that count as opening up? Probably. Alej would have to take what he gets without complaint for now. It was not like he was opening anymore than she was and it wouldn't be bad to keep it like that.


    When Alej turned away from Lautrec to return back to Amelia's side, he felt the barest hint of amusement to see her waiting already at the top of the hidden staircase, giving off an air of impatience and purposeful self-removal from the situation. He couldn't blame her for keeping her distance; he doubted that Lautrec wouldn't try to attack, if not outright kill her were she and him alone together and away from Firelink. If Lautrec were to attempt such a thing, though, Alej would of course be on Amelia's side, and strike Lautrec down with a bolt of magic. It was a relief that Lautrec chose to rest himself in the most peaceful location Lordran had to offer, and had remained mild towards both of them. While he seemed like an underhanded and sneaky individual, he was also very mild, and didn't seem the type to outright cause trouble. Not a danger to the peace. Alej couldn't be mad at him, really.

    Alej shrugged these thoughts off as he and Amelia traversed down the narrow stairs, wanting to focus and understand her thoughts on the more important matter of Galehaut. He fell in behind her, pressing a hand to the wall to his right as the sheer drop to his left put a knot in his stomach. At Amelia's words, he turned his head to look at the back of her head with wide eyes, genuinely surprised by her acquiescence. He'd expected her to at least tell him to maintain suspicion. He was silent for a long moment, before finally deciding that she was likely trusting his judgement on the matter, rather than reprimanding him. When she stopped to turn and assess him, he stopped as well, blinking his widened eyes silently at her, though he kept his expression otherwise mild to avoid potentially offending her. When she turned back around to keep walking, Alej followed closely, though he felt a satisfied warmth in his chest. She was trusting him with this. She was listening and agreeing with him. It somehow felt like some small accomplishment in Alej's mind. It felt really good, until...


    Alej suddenly didn't like having this chip in his metaphorical armour; hated that there was an emotional part of him that was somehow vulnerable, and he hadn't noticed. He blamed it on how deeply he had shrouded himself in loneliness over the years, haunting Darkroot Garden like a sad spirit. It could only be his fault, for behaving so stupidly in his isolation, dealing with his useless grief. Alej wanted to hit himself, he was so stupid, stupid, stupid, and suddenly this spiral of self-loathing dampened his mood heavily, a gentle scowl tilting his lips downward and furrowing his brow. He curled his hand, the one at his side and not trailing against the wall, into a restless fist, clenching and unclenching it over and over, frustrated at himself. He'd made himself weak like this. It was all his own fault. He had to resist beating his clenched fist against his own head, as if he could knock the sentimentality out of it. Sentimentality was dangerous, too dangerous. Yet irremovable.

    When the pair reached the elevator at the bottom of the staircase, Alej forced himself to loosen his tense posture, though he kept his eyes cast down, on the stone flooring beneath his boots, and crossed his arms, uncomfortable in his own skin for a short moment. He nodded, tried to crack a small and lopsided smile. "Well, that is good then," he managed to reply. "I'm... glad you agree. We shall speak to him upon our return. It should certainly be a... benefit." He shuffled his feet, stopped himself. God, now he was trying to smile, just to placate this woman and avoid her suspicion. It was enough to exhaust him, and the smile quickly fell, as did his folded arms, hands returning to his sides. He stepped onto the elevator, and once he checked that Amelia was safely aboard too, tamped down one of his feet onto the conveyor contraption, the floor seeming to dip beneath them as it began to lower them to New Londo Ruins. Alej loathed New Londo, suppressing a shiver at the thought of it. Ghosts. Darkwraiths. Facsimiles of actual life. He hated them, was glad they they would only be passing through for a second. He would truly rather go to Blighttown. As soon as the elevator hit the bottom floor, Alej swept out of it, descending the stairs there rapidly and crossing over to the adjacent building. He entered, climbed more stairs, reached the open gate leading to the Valley of Drakes. Here he paused, glancing in Amelia's direction. He wasn't sure how she wished to go about this. He tilted his head inquisitively, and tried to return to a show of trust towards her; he didn't want her to think he was suddenly feeling cold towards her. It wasn't her fault. "Ladies first?" he offered, somewhat cheeky.

  • It was a moment before the reply came. Amelia had figured the mage was just picking words or was going to stay quiet, happy that she finally went along with a decision. It was... odd that she went along with bringing a total stranger along with them as the first thing she actually trusted him on, but it couldn't be helped now. Her warnings and questions asking for reassurance would come later, spacing out the positive and negative. Amelia didn't like the slight hesitations in his speech though. She turned her head slightly, just enough to see the smile drop. Oh?

    The elevator brought them down and Amelia' thoughts were now focused on that small expression, the tenseness in the mage. Always thinking, rarely speaking up. At least it certainly seemed that way by the never ending whirlwhind of thoughts locked behind distrust and wanting distance between her and those who could hurt her. She let a couple of her thoughts slip out when it was called for, such as her opinion and letting the nobleman join the hunt for the souls of the Great Lords or some complaining.

    Alej seemed awfully ready to leave. She wasn't sure if it had to do with the seemingly soured mood or if he was ready to get Blighttown over with. Either way, she figured it wasn't really her place to ask. They were only partners in this because of some shard, nothing more. Once this was over with, Amelia knew that they would part ways and only spare each other a nod or a passing glance if they did stumble upon each other again. So she stayed quiet, following the path Alej was taking without another word. Then the green eyes were turned toward her. Unlike Alej's typical reaction to being studied, Amelia kept moving forward, ignoring seemingly fake respect.

    "Only because you're scared." Came the response, not missing a beat. It held the same tone as her comment of them "not getting hit next time", the strangely serious but still borderline sarcastic or teasing tone laced in. It was just a shame that the comment was not as hard hitting as her previous one. Regardless, she was sort of glad that she couldn't see the sheer drop to either side of her as she passed over the rickety wood that people dared to call a bridge. As soon as the knight traversed through the taller grass that grabbed at bits of armor and through the opening in the mountain, she felt her skin start to crawl with discomfort. It would be quick, she reminded herself as she continued further in, sword being adjusted in her hand. The big hulking beasts that guarded Blighttown were coming into view. It was quite a bit darker here. More caution was needed, especially since these creatures were used to such dark while the knight was not. Perhaps Alej could summon something to help them? Amelia didn't know the limits of magic, but he seemed powerful. It would certainly help when the wood that the whole placed seemed to be lined with dared to trip her or shift under her weight.

    "Take the one further from us." Her eyes glanced between the two, moving toward the one closer to them to give Alej a clear line of sight. A giant club raised above it's head, swinging down with surprising speed. Amelia was sure to move before it could strike her. It would be a shame to get hurt this early in the day. Without a second to spare, the dark blade ran through the dirt, grime, and fur to pierce the belly of the fish-mouthed foe.