Elden Ring : Ascension

He unfolded it with trembling fingers, the parchment slick with a sickening warmth. Blood. Words scrawled in burning crimson screamed across the page: "Though the path be broken and uncertain, claim your place as Elden Lord!"

Lucien_Morningstar · Video Games
Not enough ratings
6 Chs


Kale, the merchant by the ruined Church, was a lifesaver. Dude had every basic thing – combat stuff, even camping gear. Didn't even blink when Ansel grabbed one of everything from the camping section. Probably wasn't the first clueless Tarnished he'd seen out here, what with the giant graveyard right next door. Smart businessman, gotta give him that. He even pushed a crafting kit and those two "special clues" he kept talking about, all to "smooth my journey," as he put it. Threw in a torch, too, but hey, Ansel could light a fire with a flick of his wrist.

Here's the interesting part: Ansel paid with runes, just like you do in the game. Prices weren't crazy either, came out to about 1300 runes in total. Fair deal, he hoped? Anyway, Kale pulled out this golden rock – a rune stone, he called it. Said it shows how many runes you got and lets you transfer them between people. Course, he only has one, but hey, he sweared the Tarnished could see their own rune count at these glowing Grace sites. So, they do the whole exchange,

Ansel putting his hand on the stone. And bam! Numbers floated in the air above his hand in stream of gold: 13500. Now that's a number I can get behind! Thank Melina! Still, it would be a lie to say it didn't hurt a little as he saw the number dwindle to 12200.

In the end, Ansel decided to crash for the night in the Church, right next to the Site of Grace. Setting up my tent, Kale revealed the current state of the Lands Between with a touch of weariness.

"Madness, boy," he muttered, shaking his head. "Pure madness has taken root in these Lands Between. Decades of war between demigods, centuries without peace... it's left everything in ruins. Only the Tarnished, like yourself, keep a flicker of life in these withered lands. Makes you a rare sight, that's for sure. A welcome customer, you might say."

Ansel forced a chuckle, the sound laced with a darkness that mirrored the weight settling on his chest from Kale's words. "Not to worry, old man," he said. "You won't be losing this customer anytime soon."

The state of the Lands Between gnawed at him. How twisted did these people become, trapped in this endless war? No wonder everyone attacked Tarnished on sight in the game. It was all they knew - blind obedience, puppets dancing to the whims of their shattered lords.

"Hope so," Kale sighed, setting up his own tent at the ruined church's edge. "Truly hope so." He paused, waiting for Ansel to finish setting up theirs. "See the Site of Grace there? Good. Always camp near one. They say its light protects Tarnished, keeps enemies at bay."

Ansel furrowed his brow. "What about you, then?"

Kale waved a dismissive hand. "Don't fret about me, boy. You travel long enough, you learn a thing or two about staying alive."

Ansel grinned, rubbing his chin. "So that fire in your bones you mentioned? Not entirely a lie, huh?"

Kale chuckled, shaking his head. "Enough smooth talk for one day, wouldn't you say? Get some sleep. You look like you could use it."

"Alright, alright, old man!"


Ansel wasn't aiming for sleep. Not with a damn hurricane of thoughts swirling in his head. He started snagging Rowa fruits inside the Cathedral and around – man, there were way more than he thought. He stuck close to the church, didn't dare stray far. Ended up with a couple hundred, maybe even a thousand. Should keep Torrent chomp-happy for a good while.

Heading back, he couldn't help but peek at the Graveyard. Not nearly as close as it was in the game, just a black splotch with blurry edges in his supernatural vision. But those golden gleams? Still sharp, brighter than ever in the dead of night. Did the Tree Sentinel even sleep? He didn't waste time pondering it, scurried back to the Church. Maybe they turned into hollow puppets too, after they died...

Ansel ducked into the Church. Kale looked like he was snoozing in the corner, but Ansel knew better. The old man's chest rose and fell a little faster, a hint of worry etched on his brow that smoothed out as Ansel entered. Only then did Kale finally let his guard down, eyes fluttering closed.

Sorry for the late night, old man. Ansel squeezed into his tent. Cozy. Well, as cozy as a medieval hovel got, anyway. The basic magical enchantments he'd slapped on helped a ton. Magic, lifesaver once again! All hail magic! But the real star of the show was the softball-sized blob of light hovering in the centre. It glowed faintly, barely enough to see by, but just enough to avoid tripping over his own boots. It felt...attuned to his needs, somehow. Like it could read his mind, you know what I mean? Probably not, but hey, it worked.

Now Ansel slumped in front of the pulsing gold Grace, eyes distant. "Screw it," he muttered, reaching out and shoving his hand in. A jolt of warmth, barely there, tingled through him, smoothing out the worry lines on his face. Otherwise, nothing. It just floated there, waiting for him to tell it what to do.

"Melina," he rasped, voice rough. "Are you there?" A grin, more of a grimace, twisted his lips. "Come forth, my Maiden."

A flicker of blue light, and then Melina materialized. The spectral woman settled across from him, the Grace's glow making her look like a dream. "It appears you have settled yourself well," she observed, taking in the makeshift surroundings.

"As well as I can afford at the moment." Ansel chuckled wryly.

Melina was silent for a moment before she suggested, "Limgrave is rife with abandoned castles, ruins scattered across the landscape."

"You're not implying what I think you're implying, are you?" Ansel raised his brows with enthusiasm. Now we're getting somewhere!

Melina gave a small, knowing incline of her head. "However, claiming a seat of power would present a significant challenge. Though Limgrave rebelled during the Shattering, they have effectively become a vassal to the Capital in all but name."

"Is that so?" Ansel rubbed his chin thoughtfully. Is the Tree Sentinel working for the Capital then? And isn't Godrick a Demigod? How does he allow this? Is he truly as weak as the game suggested?

"You could try, regardless," Melina suggested. "The Capital will persecute you for being Tarnished, one way or another. And your actions at the Chapel will undoubtedly reach their ears with haste."

"So," Ansel finished, "make hay while the sun is high, eh?" It would be a lie to say he wasn't tempted, but it was just that, tempted. "Alas, I fear the journey ahead is not one for settling down."

Melina merely nodded in concurrence, dropping the matter with her stoic ease.

"But," Ansel continued, unnerved, "let's not dismiss it entirely." His eyes looked at the bright, shimmering Grace. "This could be a great ending for our journey ahead."

There was a moment of heavy silence from Melina, then her voice came, composed as ever. "Yes, a great ending."

Ansel let the heavy silence linger, sensing something stirring within, something very deep, very personal. Only after a few hesitant moments, he managed to extend his hand. "So want to convert runes to strength?"

The flickering golden light might've been playing tricks, but Melina seemed downright eager. Her grip, firm yet gentle, met his above the shimmering Grace. The golden blob pulsed, then exploded into a thousand threads of light, swirling around them, wrapping their hands, binding them together. A golden bond that slammed into their minds like a battening dam, a bond forged in power.

"Choose," Melina's voice boomed, echoing in his skull like a furious god. Her single eye blazed gold, shimmering with an otherworldly power.

Ansel would've been a liar to say the flood of golden energy wasn't overwhelming. It wasn't painful, more like a bracing wave, cleansing and invigorating, washing over him in its entirety. But the sheer power of it all… it felt like staring into the heart of a star.

"Mind or Body," Melina thundered. "Choose your path amongst them."

Ansel wasn't about to surrender. He slammed his will into the runes, urging them to surge towards the golden bond. They met in a dazzling burst, the runes melting into pure essence. With a renewed focus, he split the power, channeling a larger portion to his mind, but not by a landslide. This wasn't some game with pre-set options. Melina's booming voice offered a choice, but the real power lay in how you shaped it, how you bent the enchantments to your will, how you made them a part of you.

Ansel's choice, honed to a point during his extraordinary flight to the Graveyard, was already set, firm as a mountain. This is the path, he willed his intent like a meteorite against the golden light.

The essence melted into him, a searing kiss that became a comforting embrace. Then, the world...exploded. His senses, oh his senses! They were a whirlwind, sharpened to a terrifying edge. He could see, with a ridiculous clarity, a lone leaf snagged in a tear of Kale's tent across the camp. Wisps of lingering magic, faint as ghosts, swirled in the air. His mind crackled, ideas sparking like lightning, illuminating mysteries that had been shrouded in darkness for ages. Magic, his own magic, surged through him like a tidal wave.

His body, though – that was a different story. He felt lighter than air, like a feather dancing on a breeze. A single jump could probably clear a chasm, he thought with a giddy thrill. Yet, there was a counterpoint to this lightness – a faint and subtle power coursing through his strengthened muscles. He felt grounded, potent, like a coiled spring waiting to be unleashed, silent and deadly.

"Sleep," Melina's voice, calm and sure again, drifted back to him. Their hands had separated, but a shimmering, unseen thread still connected them. "It will help with finality of assimilation, fully adapting you to the enchantments

Ansel didn't fight it. Even if he wanted to, Melina was already gone, leaving behind a trail of shimmering blue stars and him alone with the golden Grace, now shrunk back to a small, innocuous blob.

He yearned to explore his newfound abilities, but Melina was right. A heavy drowsiness washed over him almost instantly. Sleep... that's what he needed to... then blissful darkness swallowed him whole.


Ansel snapped awake, his violet eyes sharp with newfound awareness. A shift in the air, a presence – faint, almost invisible, yet undeniable to his heightened senses. He rose with the silence of a shadow, his steps lighter than a feather, staff clutched tight in his hand. His gaze darted through the tent flap, sharp and tense.

The moon cast a brilliant glow, the stars like scattered diamonds, their brilliance almost unnatural. And bathed in their light, on the ruined wall, sat not a woman, but a doll. Skin the color of glacial ice, her white hair cascading down her shoulders in double braids. A wispy, ice-blue gown draped her petite form, a wide-brimmed witch's hat perched atop it. A fur cloak added a touch of warmth, and her four arms were folded serenely in her lap. One eye glowed an eerie blue, fixed on the stars. The other remained shut, just like Melina's.

But none of these peculiarities held a candle to the spectral second face hovering beside her own, burning with a moonlike luminescence.

And it wasn't just the eye that mirrored Melina. Her aura, that serene, ethereal presence, held the same otherworldly touch, a power Ansel couldn't quite grasp before.

Now, though, a new understanding dawned. Her aura thrummed with an energy akin to the Grace, the same feeling that made him feel insignificantly small, the same feeling that resonated with a power so immense, so...

Transcendent. Divine. Empyrean.

The ethereal doll, all sharp angles and moonlight, finally spoke. "Thine prying isn't subtle," she said, her single eye swiveling to fix him with an unimpressed glare. But there, on her spectral face, a smile bloomed. It started as a hint, a tug at the corner of her lips, then blossomed into something soft and strangely comforting. The longer he stared, the wider it grew, that spectral grin seeming to devour the moonlight around her.