Chapter 178: Volantis
Aldrich spent the next few hours of the plane ride doing nothing at all. In the
Null Box, severed from mentally communicating with any of his units, he found himself being unsurprisingly bored. There was only so much time he could devote to just constantly thinking about what he planned on doing, after all.
At a certain point, when Aldrich's boredom started to reach an appreciable mass, Volantis spoke out. "I sense that you lack mental stimulation," said Volantis. "I may offer you stimulation, Armored."
The idea of Volantis offering Aldrich any kind of 'stimulation' repulsed him, and that was something considering Aldrich had a very high tolerance for almost anything. "Please don't ever use that phrase with me again," said Aldrich. "My apologies, Armored," said Volantis. "But you're right, I do have nothing to do," said Aldrich. He paused for a moment, remembering his time talking with the people at the shelter in
He remembered how much their trust for Aldrich seemed to grow when he actually took the time to sit down there and talk with them individually to hear their stories.
Aldrich figured the same could work with Volantis.
Plus, it was a nice way to pass time. And Aldrich was curious about some thing about Volantis. "I'ma little curious, actually, Volantis," said Aldrich. "Why serve me? Is it because you're under my control?" "No," said Volantis. "I call you my Armored for I deem you worthy." "Worthy? In what way?" "You wield power with purpose. Purpose that feels nostalgic to me." “And what purpose would that be?" "You have never stated your purpose to me directly, but I can sense it. It is akin to world domination. You wish to mold this world into your own image." "World domination?" Aldrich pondered this. His purpose for using his power was to try and bring order to this world. To minimize people like him that lived only to suffer and seek vengeance from being born.
To put it simply, he wanted to make the world a better place.
It was a relatively noble goal, and not one unique to Aldrich. Where it started to get unique, though, was in the lengths Aldrich was willing to go. He was willing to kill, to control minds, and sacrifice lives, even innocent ones, if he had to.
It was not that Aldrich did not care about innocent lives. No, he valued them, and if he could, he would try to preserve them. But his parents had died because they had surrendered after hostages were used against them.
Had his parents allowed the hostages to die, they might have survived and done far more good across their entire lives. They could have given Aldrich a proper and loving childhood.
Aldrich deeply respected the noble ideals his parents had been willing to uphold even to their deaths, but a part of him had felt resentment as well, especially when he had been younger. Resentment that his parents had been willing to sacrifice Aldrich's happiness for their ideals.
Over the years, Aldrich had come to terms with what his parents had done, and he no longer resented them. But it was engraved in him now that if he ever came upon a similar situation, he would not make the same mistakes his parents did.
On that note, when it came to the lengths he was willing to go to, if it ever came down to it that Aldrich had to become some kind of ruler, some kind of emperor like authority over the whole world, then he would not hesitate.
In that sense, Aldrich could see where Volantis was coming from. Aldrich was willing to dominate the world to get what he wanted. "I guess you could say that," said Aldrich. "You mentioned that my purpose felt nostalgic, though. Does that mean you served someone else with a similar goal? The Death Lord, I assume, considering the fact that she wanted the entire realm to be part of her own realm of death?"
Aldrich actually had no idea what Volantis's backstory was like. In the game,
Volantis was not fleshed out too much. He was just one of the Death Lord's mini-bosses who appeared to thwart the player during the mid game.
After getting defeated, Volantis then went on a warrior's journey to recover his honor, growing stronger and finally severing and integrating hand of the
Blood God to become a fully fledged late game boss.
But aside from dialogue showcasing that Volantis was a dutiful warrior that served the Death Lord to the very end, there was very little about his actual past. "The Death Lord also had a purpose to her power, yes, but she was never my
Armored," said Volantis. "The nostalgia I feel seems to be from my past life, before I became forged into armor. I served...someone with a strong vision.
Someone that wanted to dominate the world. However, I remember only faint pieces of them. I cannot even recall their appearance. When I try, all I perceive is shadow where they once were." "So, not the Death Lord. Interesting," said Aldrich. He knew that Volantis did not have the best memory of his past life, but if Volantis could remember even a little bit, Aldrich thought it was possible to use his knowledge of the lore to find out who Volantis had been. "Do you remember more?"
Volantis's normally smooth, calm voice grew faintly warm, as if remembering fond memories. "...1 remember marching with them across dry steppes.
I remember passing the steppes, into swamps, into desert, into forest, into snow, into fire.
I remember standing atop a great mountain. They stood at the precipice and waved their arms at the world unfolding before them, saying that it would all be theirs and they would make things right.
I remember being swept away by that grand dream, feeling as if my life had purpose.
Before then, I knew I had been a fighter. But I had fought only for the sake of the fight. My mind had been simple. | ate, slept, and sought only the next challenge to kill and take their bones to add to my collection." "I get it now," said Aldrich as he came to a realization. There was exactly on species in Elden World that lived in steppe like plains and took the bones of others as war trophies. "It's surprising, but all your memories hint to you having been an Orc in your past life."