Taking Up the Task in Dark Souls

Last Time in Slooooooooooowly Crossing Dark Souls, we saw a dragon! And it didn’t try to kill us! Oh happy day! We’ve been just messing around for a while now, faffing about with no regard for what The Man wants us to do in this game. I’m afraid that’s going to have to come to an end, though. You can only leave the fate of the world hanging in the balance for so long, you know.

But we don’t have to stop quite yet! I was messing around in Anor Londo for a little while, building up souls and picking up some drops I missed the first time around. I do this, from time to time, having little adventures that don’t make it into a post because I either don’t really find anything new, or if I do, it’s not noteworthy. This time, though, was different! This time, a note left on the ground clued me into a secret passage I had missed before. This time, I found some really remarkable treasure.

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This otherwise seems to be an empty room, with nothing of note but a bunch of furniture to smash. The fireplace has a trick wall, though, fading away with a good smack. Beyond is a dark staircase leading down into a large, empty area. Well, mostly empty.

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There’s one mimic down here and four regular chests. The mimic holds an occult club, a hunk of wood enchanted with the dark, god-slaying energies. The chests? Well, do you remember Havel the Rock? That dude with the dragon-tooth club that completely flattened me in like the second or third post in this series, who we had ourselves a nice and fruitful duel later on? I’ve been wearing his ring ever since I beat him. Well, now I’ve got the rest of his equipment, too. Looks like I’ve stumbled onto his secret lair.

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Look at that. The armor, the shield, every bit of defensive gear on there is carved from a single slab of stone. That club is a petrified dragon’s tooth. It’s all very hard. Very strong. Very heavy. I can only wield the tooth effectively with both hands, and the armor slows me to a crawl. A shame, given that I’ve grown to prefer a speedier setup. Havel must have been an absolute beast. Still, I think I’ll keep all this at hand. I can foresee times where I might be needing the raw power and defense these grant.

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Anyways, we’re not getting around this any longer. The duties of the chosen one are calling, and I can’t get away. Seriously, it’s like they have my cell number or something. I’m going to kill some people and sacrifice their souls, and apparently that makes me the number one good guy in Lordran. So, to start off my wicked holy work, I’m going after the target that’s been confirmed to most deserve it. And wouldn’t you know it, his lair is right next door! I start by taking these stairs near the fire keeper of Anor Londo.

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This leads up to a forested pathway, which quickly yields to this structure. It was closed off before with that golden light, but planting the Lordvessel opened the way.

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Through the opening is a long, straight hallway, and at the end, a figure I can’t quite make out but is surely soon to be punctured.

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Bah! Armored boar! An absolute juggernaut at close range, he bowls me over easily and backs up for more. We fought one before, a long time ago in the undead parish. Well, not so much fought, as went somewhere she couldn’t reach and fired arrows at her until she died. This one, I’m going to have to face a little more honorably. I hate fighting honorably. The armor on the front of this boar is very, very thick. I’ll have to get by his haunches, where his armor is thinner, to do any real damage.

My efforts in this degree are stymied by the fact that the boar is large, and I’m in a freakin’ hallway.

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So I alter my strategy.

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It takes every bit of fire I have in me. But he falls.

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Beyond him is more hallway. Just what I always wanted. Copies of this statue, a woman holding a flame, line the walls here. I keep an eye on them, just in case one might be hiding a secret passageway. Alas, nothing’s amiss, so no secret treasure for me.

Moving onward, I spy something poking out from the next corner. Make that two somethings. Two pointy, armored somethings. Yep. Cautiously, I step beyond the corner and prep a fireball. The boar charges just as soon as I let lose.

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The flaming boar bowls me over. My fireball may have damaged him, yeah, but it also made his attack all the more wicked sweet. I might have to rethink this strategy.

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I’m not sure why, but I find the second boar a lot more challenging than the first. It actually takes me a few tries to take him down. The luck of the CPU seems to have this guy a bit more aggressive than the previous one, and it’s really hard to get some space. Persistence pays, though, and I’m eventually able to wear him down faster than he does me.

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Beyond him, the hallway opens up into, well, this. There’s a bonfire there, a bunch of lecterns and podiums and a raised platform at the end. A helpful message lets me know that I’ve entered the Duke’s Archive.

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The raised platform at the end holds nothing but a large elevator. The elevator takes me up here.  The crystallized zombies take interest in me as soon as they catch sight.

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They’re tougher than the average zombie, and have better equipment. They seem to favor shield bashes and jumping strikes that cost quite a bit of endurance when blocked. They’ve also got an archer covering them, complicating things a bit. They’re no faster than I am, however. Spying an opening as one warrior lunges, I cut twice, taking an arrow but cutting him down easily enough. I duck and weave around the second, diving under a swing then punishing him for it.

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Taking cover under the archer’s fire, I duck behind a pillar. Another of the crystal swordsmen comes running up to meet me. I mistime my defense, and eat a jumping slash, but that leaves him open enough for me to end him. A quick heal afterwards, and I’m none the worse for wear. That archer remains a problem though, but that crystal golem is alarmingly near. I’ll need to take the archer out quickly, before the golem comes within melee range. I’ve taken plenty of them out before, but I really don’t want to deal with him while having to dodge arrows at the same time.

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Well, the golem didn’t bother with me as I went by, although I did draw the attention of another one of those crystal warriors. The archer falls in a single hit. The swordsman in two. Neither are worth wasting any more on.

I hear the distinctive sound of a magical arrow crashing against the wall nearby. In the next room, there’s a channeler, the six-eyed caster I’ve been occasionally disemboweling in my journeys across Lordran. I spy some more crystal zombies out in the next area, so I just stay our of sight for a while and try to draw him closer. He’s not having it. Well, if he’s not going to bother, I’m not either. I ignore him and make my way across to the crystal golem. The golem doesn’t react at first, just staring at the wall. Is this obliviousness? Introspection? Can a golem even think so deeply? Whatever it is, he finally notices me once I walk within an arm’s distance, and immediately attacks. I dodge backwards, then lead him down the stairs to the more open area below.

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The battle is fierce. The golem fights with everything he has, summoning crystal from nowhere to slice me up and form weapons. I’m noticing a real ‘crystal’ theme for this area. Perhaps this is where they all come from? In any case, I take some real damage. So does he. Here, he hits me with a vicious strike, shattering his crystal club over my skull, but it leaves me standing. I power through it, and slash at him before he can recover. That blow takes him down.

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I pick up this pendent. Thanks to the magic of awkward writing, I both can and can’t sense its power. It is imbued with paradox. Must be important. I happily pocket it.

I return my attention to that channeler. I see him charging up another magic arrow. I run forward, and roll as he fires, the bolt whizzing over my head. As I rise to my feet, I swing my blade, scoring a clean cut through him. He lunges towards me with his trident, which I catch on my shield. As he pulls his weapon back, I slice once more.

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And so, it is done. I find myself harried by the archers on the staircase. With the pillar ahead of me, it’s difficult for them to get a clean shot, but a few near misses discourage me from investigating the room further.

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If they so wish to engage me, I will oblige. I take a few shots as I charge upwards. Nothing that can stop me. But I carry plenty that can stop them. 15 seconds, 3 swipes, and they’re all dead.

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The staircase leads up to two different landings. The first has two of these guys on it. If you think they last more than a few seconds, well, you haven’t been paying attention, have you?

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The landing leads out to a balcony. The corpse had some treasure on him. Souls or titanite, something necessary but small and boring like that. I don’t even remember. The point is, I’m out in the sun again. The sunlight is sickly, fading, and filtered heavily through the clouds. But there’s so little light in Lordran, I’m happy to see it whenever I can get the chance.

Two bits of treasure I find on the landing. One, inside a mimic, is a crystal knight shield. A powerful piece of defensive equipment, but fragile and irreparable. The second, some more titanite. From there, there’s nothing left to do in here but take the elevator at the end of the room.

The elevator rises quite a long way. Bypassing a lot of stairs, landings, and books. So many books. It’s not call the Duke’s Archive for nothing. I wonder how people find anything here. I’ve yet to see some sort of indexing system. Anyways, I pass by a lot of areas obviously made for walking around, but there’s no clear way to get there. I spy some small layers of crystal growing on the wall, seeming to increase in frequency as I rise.2014-12-19_00071

Eventually, the elevator comes to a stop in this room. There’s little of interest in here, so I take the hallway at the other end.

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Someone’s standing guard. I draw his attention, than back out into the room.

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The crystal knight is slow. Very slow, in fact. I take a few hits to my shield, then the knight tries to roll away. He ends up against the wall. I press forward, slashing as he gets up. He doesn’t even bring his shield to bear by the fourth strike. Needless to say, that’s all for him.

After that, it’s back down the hallway. It leads to a staircase with a bunch of crystals growing out of the walls. The crystals get thicker the farther I rise.

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Eventually, the walls are absolutely infested with the stuff.

I finally end up at a fog gate. I walk through and…

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Well, you were easy to find. Seath, I bear you no ill will, but I need your soul. Prepare to die.

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He has some sort of crystal breath. He’ll fire a beam from his mouth against the floor, which will cause a field of crystals to sprout up. It covers a lot of space, but it’s slow, and exceedingly easy to dodge.

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He may not be able to hurt me, but I don’t think I can hurt him either. His lower half is completely encased in crystal, and I can’t climb it to get close enough to bring my blade to bear. His breath is coming too fast for effective counterattacks with arrows, too. I try launching a fireball at him, but that just hits the crystal below him harmlessly.

So I duck back, dodging his beams, waiting for an opening. Eventually, he gets tired of firing futilely, and readies a new attack. This might be my chance to strike. I prepare myself, tensing up my legs, ready to move at the slightest opening. I dash forward as he unleashes his magic and…

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CRYSTALS CRYSTALS EVERYWHERE!

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BAH!

You know what? That’s fine. I was almost out of estus anyway. I’ll just restock, make my way back to Seath and…

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This isn’t where the bonfire was.

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Uhh….

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Well, crap.

Next time: So, it turns out that’s not the end of the game.

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8 responses to “Taking Up the Task in Dark Souls

    • This is actually the end of the game. They figured they’d throw a nice twist in there, set you on some prophecy fulfilling quest, then stuff you in a box with no chance of ever completing it. And then the credits roll. So, it’s been a good run. Hope you enjoyed the series, everybody!

  1. Now that I think about it, Dark Souls is one of the few non-JRPG games I’ve ever played where it’s completely impossible to beat the game without dying at least once (if you’re wearing a Ring of Sacrifice, you get to keep your souls and humanity, but you still have to deplete your health, so I think it still counts).

    Also, when you face Seath again, it might be a good idea to wear the Cursebite Ring or a Rare Ring of Sacrifice because some of his attacks inflict the curse ailment.

    • Yeah, other games will have the odd boss fight you’re actually supposed to lose, but they don’t typically require you to go through the whole game over process the way Seath does here.

      And thanks for the tip. I wouldn’t have expected a boss character to use curse attacks, but I guess I should have learned not to underestimate Dark Souls by now. I don’t have much in the way of curse mitigation gear, though. Hmmm… I may have to look into that.

      • No problem! The Cursebite Ring is in the New Londo Ruins, so you’ll have to get Transient Curses in order to damage the ghosts that haunt the region. They’re sold by the female undead merchant that sells you the mosses in the Undead Burg tunnel. The Cursebite Ring is a good idea if you don’t want to change your armor for the boss fight.

        You can watch this video to see exactly where the ring is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrBETXGeWtA

        Although the first order of business would be getting out of that cell…

    • Yep, that’s totally the end of it! Well, almost. I forgot to screencap it, but Seath, Nito, the four kings, all those guys you were supposed to kill for their souls, they parade by and shake their butts at you for a bit. Beyond that, there’s nothing.

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