<- Previous update: A Scent and a Sound
- Slayed the Darkroot Basin hydra
- Slayed the Great Grey Wolf Sif
- Obtained an Enchanted Ember
- Obtained the Covenant of Artorias
- Find the Abyss
- Locate and kill the Witch of Izalith, Gravelord Nito, and the Four Kings
(No boss video right now—this is more of a holdover update, and you'll understand why later.)
The Covenant of Artorias is a ring that allows me to traverse the Abyss—but where is the Abyss? I didn't have the faintest idea, but I picked up an Enchanted Ember just before I killed Sif, so perhaps Andre will have some advice to give. He was the one who told me about Artorias's grave in the first place, talking about how no visitors have ever returned and shit—so wait till he sees that I made it out alive.
Alas, Andre yielded no further useful information. Upon showing him the new ember, he simply admitted that he had no idea how to harness its power, and that I should find somebody else.
My first thought was to visit the giant blacksmith, but then I realized—there's a blacksmith caged up in New Londo Ruins that I haven't spoken to in awhile. He's a sorcerer, too, so why wouldn't he know what to do with an Enchanted Ember, of all things? I should probably revisit that place anyway, I figured, since I don't remember exploring it too thoroughly on my last trip (Update #17).
As I expected, he took the ember, and now I can make Enchanted weapons—not that I have any real use for those.
Still, I was getting some serious progressive vibes from the ruins. The developers wouldn't have put that ember there if they weren't trying to steer me in the right direction, right? There was no other choice in my mind—I had to re-explore the ruins. It may or may not take me to the Abyss, but I know that the Four Kings reside here, regardless, so I might as well see what I can do here. Fortunately, I had about 20 Transient Curses prepared for just this sort of occasion.
The place is just about as oppressive and bone-chilling as ever. Too many ghosts around. Like most weaker enemies, they can be hard to handle in groups, especially since they can phase through walls, the ceiling, or the floor—and, of course, they can't be hurt unless you're cursed. Fortunately, Transient Curses don't take a half-bite of your health bar when used. Instead, it's kinda like using the move Foresight in Pokémon, except it only lasts for a few minutes.
There's one lady ghost with red eyes that screams a blood-curdler at the top of its lungs when it sees you, and to this day, I don't understand what the hell that's all about. It has slightly more health than the rest of the ghosts, and it yields more souls when slain, so there's obviously something important about it—I just don't know what.
It seems I explored the place more thoroughly than I thought, which was nice. I think the only thing I missed was a Soul of a Proud Knight or something to that effect, and I'm kinda okay with missing those anyway.
I made it back up to the Ingward the Sealer. Recall his purpose—not only is he there to undo your curses and sell you anti-curse items, he's also (more importantly) one of the dudes who flooded New Londo and sealed the Four Kings away, along with the Darkwaiths, to keep them from fucking shit up. He talks about how everyone else died in the process, too—but I guess you could say it was for the greater good
Speaking to him now brings up some new dialogue. He notices that I've obtained the Lordvessel, and that I'm on a quest to achieve the four Lord Souls—of which the Four Kings seem to have one. (Collectively? Or does only one King have a Lord Soul? If so, which one? I'm not seriously going to have to fight all four at once, am I?)
As such, he agrees to lend me the key that opens up the floodgates to allow me to de-flood the ruins of the city, find wherever the Four Kings were sealed up, and destroy them. Though he warned me that, in doing so, I'm also freeing the surviving Darkwraiths. Great.
He also mentioned the Abyss, to my delight. It seemed as though I made the correct decision to come here right after obtaining the CoA, so after he finished speaking, I immediately put on that ring in case I happened upon the Abyss.
I went ahead and de-flooded the area, after which I was met with a pretty horrifying scene. I took an elevator down to where I needed to be, and all I could see in the drained remains of the city were just piles and piles
of dead, waterlogged bodies—very Holocaust-esque imagery that I found incredibly disturbing, but in a really awesome way. Of course, it soon became apparent to me that all those ghosts I was fighting before were actually the lingering spirits of all these rotted carcasses. Jeepers.
Taking a couple apprehensive steps around, I saw a figure accosting me out from the darkness—it was a knight, except he was holding up a shield that looked like it was made of pure energy. Was this a Darkwraith? Am I gonna get to kill my first one of these scummy bastards?
Unfortunately, he killed me before I could kill him, because I got cocky and tried to parry every one of his slashes—but I fucked it up. He also appears to have obscenely high poise, not recoiling at any of my attacks whatsoever, and one of the moves he performs is a grapple: his arm starts glowing, and he snatches you by the head and pushes your skull to the floor in a really slow and dramatic fashion—except it only does about 40%, if not a little less. Kinda funny.
When I got back, I got my revenge on him pretty quickly. They're not so tough, really, and some of them drop Titanite Chunks, which is really quite nice.
Reminder: if YOU are or ever have been a Darkwraith online, you're probably a bad person. I won't tell you to drink bleach, but if someone handed you a cup that contained bleach, and you didn't know about it, I wouldn't stop you from drinking it.
Directly behind me were the opened gates, behind which was a familiar looking bridge in a nightly cliffside—it was the Valley of Drakes. The same Weyr of cerulean drakes that I met in Update #7.5 were there, guarding some kind of item. Hoping my memory served me correctly, the other side of this bridge leads up to the hidden bonfire in the Darkroot Basin. If I slay every single drake, which I've never bothered to do before, perhaps they won't respawn, and I'll have an easy time making my way back to the lower end of New Londo.
Coaxing each wyvern over individually with a few arrows—which, by the way, I ascended my Longbow to Lightning Longbow status. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear to have done a whole lot, and it doesn't even create a lightning effect, and the damage increase is quite minimal. Pretty disappointing—but one by one, I slayed each and every drake, dodging their fearsome lightning breath. None of them dropped anything whatsoever, but I did grab the thing they were guarding, and I've been looking for this thing for a very long time: a Spider Shield. Turkey brought this up several updates ago when he noticed I was having trouble with poisonous creatures—likely referring to Blighttown. This shield, apart from looking super dope, happens to reduce poison build-up. Which is neat and all, but it has sort of come to me rather late in the game, and I'm none too worried about poison anymore.
Crossing the bridge, I stopped at the hidden bonfire I mentioned earlier, just to confirm whether or not the drakes respawn—and, to my dismay, the drakes continually respawn even after you slay them.
It was only after I killed them all again
that I began patrolling New Londo itself.
The ruins are very dark, making it pretty hard to see shit—I learned Cast Light from Dusk for this exact scenario, but I needed a couple extra stat points in intelligence to make it work, and that's gonna be around 60,000 souls at my SL. I made a decision earlier that I didn't want to increase my level beyond 65, to avoid being too overpowered for the rest of the playthrough.
I honestly didn't know where the hell I was going, so I just kind of wandered aimlessly (that's what my starting class is supposed to do best, after all). Deflooding the city sure put a whole new perspective on the place, which was quite interesting. The creepy and oppressive atmosphere kept my feet moving at a constant rate—I never stood still, even for a second, though I remained cautious of my surroundings. I must have killed about nine or ten Darkwraiths as I explored.
Another enemy I encountered, at least two or three, were these great masses of amorphous goop—or, I would say amorphous, but they clearly had these grotesque skull-shapes on their front-end when facing you. They had a lot of vitality, and they attacked by spitting wads of sludge at you, covering you with shit and causing a slow movement debuff. They could also summon a smaller skull creature above its head with a glowing red aura. It chased after you, and eventually explodes while making a shrieking noise. They don't appear to respawn, which is great, because they're annoying to fight and they kinda freak me out just a little bit.
There was almost no notable loot to be found, but in one spot, I found a Very Large Ember. This allows me to ascend my +10s to +15s, which is really rather nice—but it wasn't exactly what I wanted to see. What I was desperately searching for at this point was a bonfire, especially because I kept seeing white veils for me to cross—but there were absolutely none to be found.
Which, you know... I guess that makes sense. This whole place was submerged in water for however long, so any bonfires that were here were likely destroyed. But this made me incredibly anxious. I've ran around this nightmareville for 30 or 40 minutes, and I haven't come across anything that would lead me to anywhere useful. I only had two drops of Estus in my flask. I haven't felt this helpless since the Depths.
Eventually, I said fuck it—I'm gonna traverse one of these white veils. I had to make the choice between the two that I found—I chose the one that was located just under that big statue you see just before entering the church when the ruins were still flooded.
Beyond the veil was a long spiral staircase heading downward—and it just kept going down.
There was so much "down" that a lingering sense of foreboding began to build up with each and every step, until I finally understood that I made the wrong decision to come down here.
Eventually, the staircase tapered off into the darkness. I'm not sure what my thought process was in doing this, but I chose to continue—despite not seeing anymore stairs to descend from. So I fell, and I kept falling, and I kept falling still, until I eventually landed in a distinctly pitch-black void—this was the Abyss.
The only reason I didn't fall to my death was because I had the foresight to equip the Covenant of Artorias—once again, it was ever so fortuitous of me to fight Sif before coming here.
That said, after about ten seconds of running through this void, a health bar appeared, with text reading, "Four Kings"—essentially confirming that I'll be fighting four enemies at once here.
When the first King appeared, I noticed I was able to move freely—that is, as far back or as far to the side as I wanted, and no matter where I was, I was able to run up to the King in about five seconds and hit him from practically anywhere, as long as I was facing him. It's very strange and difficult to describe, but it was as though the game's physics just didn't apply in the Abyss.
I was able to take on the first King for about a minute before the second King appeared, and at that point, I wasn't able to heal anymore. Fortunately, his sword slashes seem quite easy to dodge—but fighting four of these bastards at once? That's gonna require a little bit of preparation.
After respawning, I warped to Anor Londo to do a little bit of grinding—I needed three more boosts in intelligence before I can use Cast Light, after all—but more importantly, I thought it was about time for me to create my first boss weapon. It's long overdue.
Upon careful deliberation, I decided to play it safe and craft myself a Moonlight Butterfly Horn—a humorously long spear with a neat design, only it does pure Magic damage alone. It may not have been the greatest choice, but it's the only spear that I can create, and I just really like spears in this game. I had to de-upgrade my Lightning Spear to make it, but after ascending it fully, I think it ended up being worth it. No ragrats, especially since I needed the same intelligence stat to wield the Horn that I needed to use the Oolacile spells that I'm grinding up for—so, the way I see it, it was meant to be.
I was one
Demon Titanite short from being able to fully upgrade my Horn—but luckily, I left a couple of Titanite Demons alive back in Sen's Fortress (mostly because they were really hard at the time, and I wasn't in the mood to bother with them). I quickly headed back there just to get my Horn up to +5 straightaway, and now the weapon is officially doing more damage than my old Winged Spear. I still plan to use it as a backup, though—she's been too good to me for me to fully replace her.
Back in New Londo, Cast Light really does make quite the difference. Not only does it help me see, it also gives me a sense of security—I'm far more confident and less apprehensive with my movements. But I was still in need of a bonfire. Without one, I don't have a swift route to the Four Kings, and I likely won't have sufficient Estus to take care of them all. I've allowed kindled bonfires to carry me throughout the entire playthrough, and perhaps I rely too much on 8-10 drops before boss fights—but the fact of the matter is, I simply don't feel as confident going in there with only 4 or 5 drops, so finding a closer bonfire would be absolutely wonderful. But I just can't find one.
I'm currently three attempts in on the Four Kings, and I get better with each attempt, but I still haven't slain even one of them yet, and I'm often waiting up to 20 minutes between each attempt because of my bonfire issue. Things are kinda looking bad for me. At the moment, I'm considering coming back to this spot later, because this whole area might be a little above my league right now. The fact that I picked up a weapon that allows me to ascend weapons further than +10 kinda gives me the hint that I might be a little bit underpowered, so I could leave this place and visit the Catacombs or the Great Hollow instead, like I've been planning.
Then again, how cool would it be for me to beat the Four Kings this early...