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- Escaped from Duke's Archives
- Rescued Big Hat Logan (again)
- Killed Seath the Scaleless
- Tie up some loose ends in previous areas
- Locate and kill the Witch of Izalith, Gravelord Nito, and the Four Kings
After slaying Seath, and immediately taking his Bequeathed Lord Soul Shard to the Firelink Altar, it became starkly apparent to me just how much more shit I still needed to do in this game.
The first thing I wanted to take care of was heading back to the prison in the Duke's Archives, just to check up on those strange snakelike abominations in the basement. I didn't fully grasp what was going on down there until I started reading the lore texts for all the keys I had gathered.
Basically, those creatures used to be human. They were maidens captured by channelers working under Seath the Scaleless, which explains why I found a set of maiden's clothing while down there—maidens who once worked for Gwynevere, who I met in Anor Londo. Once imprisoned, Seath's minions began conducting cruel experiments on them, which transmogrified them into snakelike reptilian soldiers. The creatures in the basement are repeatedly referred to as "mistakes"—botched attempts at transformation.
When I first escaped the prison, one of the snake soldiers from down below pulled a lever, which activated a large phonograph. The phonograph then produced this incredibly loud and extremely eerie music, which caused all the "mistakes" to start patrolling the prison—presumably to get me back in there, but they were far too weak to do me any real harm. Pulling the lever again causes the phonograph to stop playing the music, and the "mistakes"—if they haven't been killed yet—swiftly re-enter their claustrophobic room.
Only two of these "mistakes" don't respond to the phonograph at all; they can be seen cowering in a corner, weeping in despair over their fight. Unlike the others, these two seemed fully conscious of their fate and are visibly suffering. Regardless, they will not attack you, even if you strike them.
I had hoped that, after I killed Seath, that I would be able to save these two—maybe they would revert back to their human form, and only Seath was preventing them from doing so. But apparently, that's a little bit too Disney for this game—because unfortunately, killing Seath didn't appear to do them any good after I checked up on them.
What I hoped would be a last resort—putting them out of their misery—ended up being my solution. Upon mercy killing them, I picked up two miracles—Soothing Sunlight and Bountiful Sunlight. The former is a powerful but extremely demanding healing spell, and the latter is another demanding spell that heals you gradually over time. It feels bad that I'll never use these, but I feel better knowing that there was nothing else for me to do about those maidens.
The last thing I did in the Archives was catch up with Logan. He doesn't really offer anything that I can't already get from Griggs, which is a shame, but he did teach me a little bit about Seath—despite the fact that I had already killed him.
The crystal rod in the back of his arena was exactly as I initially suspected it to be. I regret not talking about it much in my coverage video, because that would've made me look smart, but oh well. The object is essentially his source of strength—if I didn't destroy it as soon as I did, I would not have been able to hurt him. So, I made the right call—I guess that's pretty good to know.
The next thing I wanted to do was slay that hydra—the one that I first encountered in Update #14. This thing has been alive for too long.
If you watched my AMA video, you already saw me take this thing out.
It was easier to kill than I thought it would be. However, embarrassingly, it took me a solid three attempts—which I try my best to hide in this video, but you can clearly see me going from human to hollow (as well as a shift in my number of souls) at one point. Don't worry, I can explain.
The first attempt, I was just unprepared. I wore heavy armor—the same armor I wore for the Seath fight, so my movement speed—as well as my shitty midroll—simply were not very good at dodging the hydra's water blasts.
The second attempt, I made the switch to my old Wanderer clothes—every part is currently +6—and I traded my trusty Eagle Shield for an old friend of mine, the Grass Crest Shield. Not only does this give me quicker stamina regeneration, it also has high magic resistance—and with Havel's Ring, my weight is reduced to a point where I'm finally
fastrolling for the first time since Update #1.
It's actually incredible the amount of shit you can get away with just by fastrolling—it's definitely not to be taken for granted, as someone who's been midrolling for every single boss.
The reason I died was just stupid, and you can see it in the footage above. I got the hydra down to his final head, but for whatever reason, whenever I coaxed it to lurch forward and try to bite me, it always swerved off to its right, never actually getting anywhere near me. Sometimes its head would just clip through the side of the hill or mountain it was next to, making arrows a little tricky to use. So in order for me to cut it off at all, I had to come near it—but when I tried that, I didn't realize that there was a big gaping hole in the water, and that I would just fall right into it as if there wasn't any water at all.
That bullshit takes me back to Castlevania, because Simon Belmont couldn't swim either, despite being this macho warrior.
I got him on my third attempt—as shown, I just shot the final head with a well-placed arrow and sealed the deal.
My reward was only a little bit disappointing, just because, once again, I have no use for it: A Dusk Crown Ring. It boosts the number of sorceries I can cast (six Fire Orbs becomes nine
Fire Orbs, I believe), but at the cost of cutting my HP in half—which is a pretty brutal downside. I also got a Dragon Scale, but I don't use dragon weapons, so I don't care. I did notice a cave behind where the hydra used to be, but there was fuck all inside it when I looked.
Later, a friend of mine told me to come back to this spot—so I did, and this time, I actually found something in the cave. How I would've figured that out on my own, I'm not sure—but what I spotted was yet another one of those giant golden crystal golems, like the one that had captured Siegmeyer's daughter before.
After slaying it, I had indeed rescued another person—this time, a lady called Dusk from Oolacile. I remember seeing her name in the description of my Dusk Crown Ring. Apart from having a cute voice, she offered to teach me some more miracles—and she actually has some pretty cool ones, even if they're a bit gimmicky. One of them allows you to make your weapon (or even yourself) invisible, one of them transforms you into an object for stealth purposes, and one of them lights up dark areas. I took that one, because it seemed the most useful.
Still, though—even after having done all that, I knew I still wasn't finished with the Darkroot area.
In the interim, I took it upon myself to do a bit of grinding. It's become apparent to me that I still don't have a boss weapon, despite the fact that I'm more than equipped to get myself one. My problem is, I just can't decide which one I want, and which of my weapons I want to sacrifice.
I gathered up around ~100,000 souls (the most I've ever carried at once) and fully upgraded my Pyromancy Flame; it was +11, and now it's +15, and Laurentius cannot ascend it any higher.
Using my Symbol of Avarice, I warped back to Crystal Cave and slaughtered a bunch of clams, gathering up a lot of Twinkling Titanite and Purging Stones. I think it's bullshit that the effects of the SoA and the Covetous Gold Serpent Ring don't stack, but whatever. I also used this as an opportunity to test out different weapons—particularly my divine ones, because I know I'll be using them very soon. I also discovered that the clams have a weakness to fire—using my Combustion power makes them reel back pretty hard. I wish I would've known that earlier.
Finally, I went back to Firelink and tested out my divine weapons against those skeletons in the graveyard. Trying to fight them with anything other than divine weapons is futile, because they simply reanimate—a hard lesson I learned way back in Update #1.5, a year and a half ago. Needless to say, it was quite satisfying—especially in discovering how easy the bigger skeletons are to deal with.
There was one last thing on my agenda for the night, and that was to head back into the Darkroot Wood.
I've wandered in here before, after I got the Crest of Artorias—in part #16, I determined that this was a good grinding spot, because the Forest Hunters give you a pretty decent chunk of souls. I've since outgrown them, but past the stone castle where Alvina the cat resides was a portion that I had previously strayed far away from:
This particular neck of the woods was divided by a wide crevice. The gap was bridged together with a small building, though, with a funny-looking cat sitting at the window. It started bitching at me for not wanting to turn back. After telling it to fuck off, I made my way to the other side of the forest--which was inhabited by a group of these timid little mushroom midgets that waddled away from me when I approached them.
Next thing I know, I get bowled over by a giant rolling cat. Probably the biggest "oh shit" moment in the playthrough for me. It knocked at least 60% of my health down, so, as for what I did next, I have just two words: Homeward Bone.
Those "giant rolling cats" are a bit easier for me to deal with now, and there's only two of them in a relatively small locale, so I had nothing to worry about all along.
As for the little mushroom dudes, I met their parents. Again, only two of them, but they packed a wallop and forced me to be pretty cautious with my strikes. I took care of them without any problems, and was pleasantly surprised to see that they drop Gold Pine Resin, which was my favorite early-game item. They also guarded a chest that contained another Ember to add to my collection: the Enchanted Ember.
Heading further up the forest, I came across a pretty sight—off in the distance, a bridge connected where I stood with a giant door with light shining through it. This wasn't the first time I had seen this door, but this was the first time I felt confident enough to head over to it. My "boss" senses were tingling.
Opening the door revealed a wide open area with a singular large yet ornate grave in the center—this must have been the grave of Artorias that I heard Andre whisper about. I approached it slowly, because I noticed that the grave was being guarded by a large figure—No, it's just an enormous sword.
Approaching it triggered a cutscene—when I got near it, out popped a very large wolf staring down at me.
Apart from Sif's soul, I also retrieved a special ring called the Covenant of Artorias. According to its description, it allows me to enter a new realm called the Abyss—at least, whenever it is I figure out how to get there.