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It has been ages since a traveler stopped here. The Mistress doesn’t even have family over anymore. Perhaps it was from the argument that sprung up between her and a past lover who stopped by during the family gathering. That night was unpleasant, to say the least, and worse for me and Creighton. Us workers feel bad for her since she is alone most of the day, that is until her son comes home from school. So the others and I saved up enough money to buy the Mistress a dog to keep her company. We had never seen her smile in so long that when she did we nearly fell over backward. She increased everyone’s pay for the next month to show her appreciation and never seemed bothered again.

That was until a strange man stopped here at the farm. He waved me over and gestured with his hands to take his horse. He took something from his pocket and flipped it into the air towards me. I caught it and nodded to the man who was walking towards the Mistress’s house. I took a moment to look at what he had thrown me and realized it was a rusted coin. The only thing that wasn’t covered by rust was the word Drangleic. At the moment the name sounded foreign to me for it had been years since I moved from Majula and to this peaceful little farm that was far away from all the chaos that stirred in Drangleic. Nonetheless, I asked him about it when he returned. He handed me a note that answered my question and simply gestured for his horse. I untied the reins and led it back to the man who bowed as I approached. I patted the horse’s neck and grabbed an apple from my satchel in an attempt to feed it. And it worked, the horse devoured the apple as if it was starving. The man bowed again more sincerely then hopped up onto the saddle and patted the horse on the head.

“I do remember you from the village, Benhart. You helped me along my journey and I do not forget those who aid me. You are one of the few I like and I hope you feel the same. I speak little to those I encounter since most don’t let me speak. Majula is fine if you wish to return. I slew the evil there so you may return. Or don’t. But, this place seems to suit you. May our paths cross again,” the tone the man carried was deep and clear. Yet, you could see in his eyes that he was conflicted.

“And your name, what may that be?” The man looked down at me with a look of genuine surprise but it was gone in an instant.

“My name, I haven't been asked that since I met the ladies in the Things Betwixt cave. It is Nocere,” and with that, he made a clicking noise, prodded the horse with his heel, and trotted down the path that led towards the mountains. I can still hear the clanking of his armor and the scraping of his equipment against his armor. The man took on countless monstrosities and survived. Not without some help but for the most part, he was alone. Maybe the prophecy wasn’t wrong after all. The Mistress waited till Nocere was gone to speak to me.

“Do you know him.”

“Not a whole lot, we’ve helped one another in the past that's all, why?” The Mistress looked at the ground as she spoke.

“He saved my sister from a petrified state and I never got to thank him,” I scratched my beard as memories of that stone girl was freed by Nocere.

“I think he knows miss. Such a kind soul he has. I don’t think you’d get much of a reaction from him though,” the Mistress grabbed my hand, whispered a prayer, and then headed back into her house without saying another word. During the silence, Creighton had come up behind me and tapped my shoulder.

“Need help with the fence, its to keep the cattle in.” I nodded and went to work with Creighton. It took us hours to finish the rest of the fencing and we had a small break when the dog decided to come to say hi. We rested with him for about an hour before throwing him a bone and continuing our work. By dusk, it was all set up and ready to be left alone. Creighton headed for his shack at the opposite side of the farm while I collapsed onto one of the porch chairs outside the Mistress’s home. An odd night this was. The slight glimmer of something caught my eye as I looked towards my shack that was across from the yard. The glimmer came from a greenish-blue blade that rested perfectly on the edge of my front window. I pulled out the note Nocere handed me once more and let out a tired sigh, on it read I swore an oath, I promised to keep the darkness at bay. And I will not break it now...

I never thought I would see him again. That strange man. Most would see him as a vessel or a hollow and nothing more. But not me. I see him as a man who helps the poor and weak and stops the brutes of Drangleic. If not for him I would still have been stuck in that petrified state. Poor Benhart just wanted to protect me, but it seems he has moved on, and honestly, it is probably for the best. I still remember hearing his gruff voice when he spoke to the man in black. “She is free? Impossible. Hmmm but, you speak sincerely quiet one and I believe you. Just make sure she gets back to the Mistress in one piece,” is what he had said.

“Of course,” was all the man in black had said. Then, poof. I was able to move again. Then the man asked if I was alright. After he listened to what I had to say he gave me some spare clothing then went on his way. I’ve encountered him only once after that. I had made it back to the Maiden’s farm and found a peaceful spot next to the cliffside to rest. He approached me without making me a sound which made me jump. “Oh it's you,” I said joy filling my cheeks. He dipped his head respectfully and waved.

“I hear you sell pyromancy spells.”

“Why yes, I do.” I frowned as he looked at me. I could sense his lack of magical intellect. “I could teach them to you but, from your attire, and from how you spoke of it tells me you aren't meant for this for the time being. I can see you specialize in something else,” He just nodded and left without saying anything. I just hope he isn’t dead on some trail out there. I have noticed that since we last spoke Majula and just Drangleic overall has been less dangerous. I wonder if it has something to do with the man in black?

Author Notes: This is a fan-based piece off of the game series Dark Souls, specifically Dark Souls 2.

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14 Jun, 2020
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