25 to Dark Souls

Last time on Dirty Deeds Done Dark Souls, The Man finally caught up to us! And The Man is a dragon. Funny how that works. Anyways, I got beat up then found myself in prison. Not my proudest moment. But still, it’s only a temporary measure. They’ve got nothing on me! That was all self-defense! Besides, I’m pretty sure that only a few people I’ve killed are actually dead anyways, thanks to the whole eternal undead curse thing. I’ve just got to wait for Lordran to get some sort of government back together, rebuild its judicial system, then finally get around to reviewing my case, and I’m home free.

Yeah, maybe I should think about breaking out of here.

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First things first, though, I’ve got cell-mates! I should go say hi, then we’ll bond over our shared misery, talk about how we didn’t really do anything, then build long-lasting friendships that will endure all through our huge, elaborate escape attempts.

Or instead, I’ll kill them all because they PUT ME IN A CELL WITH A PAIR OF CRYSTAL ZOMBIES! Not cool, Seath. Not that they can last long enough to pose a threat to me, but still, I’m offended by the principle of the thing.

So what is this, anyway? Some ploy to drive me hollow? Or are they holding me here for some sinister, future purpose. I can’t imagine they’re expecting me to just rot in here, given the whole ‘I will never truly die’ thing. This place isn’t nearly as secure as the Northern Undead Asylum was, and if that place couldn’t hold me, what makes you think this will?

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Hey, you know what’s a good, traditional celebration of prison life? A good shanking. Unfortunately, I just slew the only two people within easy reach, but luckily, one of the guards decides to take his smoke break right next to my cell. They hadn’t been able to disarm me; presumably Seath just had some weird magic that connected me with the bonfire in here rather than the usual one upon my resurrection, so nobody actually laid hands upon me after I died. Maybe the guards don’t even know I showed up here. In any case, I’ve still got all my pointy implements. I put them to use, and show this guard where his spleen is.

Fortuitously enough, he had the key to my door. I reach through and grab it, then quickly affect my escape. Unfortunately, I don’t go unnoticed.

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One of the serpent men sounds the alarm. Well, if they didn’t know I was here before, they certainly do now.

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Someone else opens a cell door, releasing a horde of these… things. Pisacas, I later find out they’re called.

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They march out and start filling the lower level of this… combination library/prison tower? Whatever I’m in.

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Back outside my cell, I spot a serpent man heading right for me. I brace myself for an attack, only for him to barrel right past me. He’s followed by another snakefolk who does just the same thing. I don’t know whether they’re running away from the monsters down below or running towards something up above, but either way, I’m being ignored.

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I mislike being ignored. I follow them up a slowly spiral staircase and catch up by this ladder. I punish the first for his oversight. After cutting him down, I start chasing the second up the ladder. I’m a faster climber than he is, but he’s got the higher ground, and he sends me skittering downward with a kick. It barely tickles.

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He reaches the top before me, and I have to roll under a slash as soon as I get my feet beneath me. I fought enough of these guys in Sen’s Fortress to know how to handle them, though. Watch for the right moment as they swing, move to the side, then cut twice. It’s all too easy.

The only two things of note up here are this giant door and the crude walkway to the side. The doors locked, as they are, so I take the walkway.

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It leads around the tower at a dizzying height. Here, we see where I broke out of my old cell.

I continue following it until it comes to an end, where I drop down onto a lower section of walkway. That leads into an area overlooking another cell, where a kneeling corpse awaits, wearing the clothes of a maiden of the Way of White, as well as a white séance ring, which lets the bearer hold more spells. Hope that wasn’t anyone I know. I take the clothes and the ring. I don’t expect to need any of this, but you never know, do you?

From there, I drop down once more, and make my way back to the central staircase, taking it down.

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There are a number of cells in this tower. Most of them hold more of the crystal zombies, which doesn’t make much sense to me. Once hollow, the undead are pretty easy to corral, and the ones at the entrance to the archives seemed perfectly happy to defend Seath’s home. Why would you bother locking them up? Unless… given that Seath seems to have a thing for crystals… is this where they’re made? Is that why people never return from the archives? Is that what Seath had in store for me?! Locking me away until I could be crystallized and made to do his bidding?! This cannot stand! I was feeling bad about this quest before, but Seath is just making it easier and easier to want to kill him.

The key I picked up from the serpent man guard opens some of the doors in here, but not all of them. Inside another cell I find a corpse with another key. This one seems to open all the doors the first key can’t, save for the big one up top. Through some of the new cells I can get into, I find some more souls and other minor items, as well as another walkway that overlooks the platform with the alarm on it. I drop down there.

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I immediately hear the crackling of electricity behind me and have to roll out of the way of a bolt. A serpent mage stands watch over this platform. I quickly close the distance and slice through her. Her magic may be trouble, but she’s got nothing close quarters. The chest holds the final key I need, that to the large doors on the top of this tower.

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I knew we were missing somebody. The serpent man that first sounded the alarm starts heading up the stairs. I rush towards him to engage, hoping to strike him down before he makes it all the way up.

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Unfortunately, in a moment most unseeming, I misjudge my attack and end up running right off the ledge. I land in a heap on the ground below, where a pair of serpentfolk are already waiting for me, not to mention the horde of pisacas that quickly converge on my location. Needless to say, I don’t last long.

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So I regenerate, kill everybody, and make my way down once more. This time, the pisacas aren’t strewn all over the place. Makes this a little easier. There’s a pile of gears thrown haphazardly on the floor, here. I wonder momentarily where they came from, but they don’t seem to be connected to anything. Curious.

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Without the alarm blaring, all these beasts are quietly tucked away by this one great cell. I could easily leave them alone, offering them peace in dealing with their cursed state. On the other hand, there might be treasure behind there, so I burn them, flinging fireballs into the enclosed area. Once that runs out, I lure them out one by one with arrows then finish them off with blade until there are only two left.

These two don’t respond to my presence. Not even when I feather them. They just stand there, weeping in a distinctively feminine voice. The description of one of the keys I picked up mentioned something about failed experiments being held in the basement of the tower. Is that what these two are? And do they still hold onto sanity? They do run away from me when I approach, but otherwise put up no resistance to me.

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I kill them. They do nothing to stop me but flee. They drop two miracles related to sunlight, which I don’t even care what they do. I’d feel sorry for them, but dying sucks, and I’m not willing to turn my back on them on the off-chance they turn in just that moment.

Inside that cell I see a familiar face. Or rather, a familiar hat, but presumably there’s a face underneath it.

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Big Hat Logan’s been seeking the Duke’s Archives in order to access the knowledge hidden here, but he got clobbered and locked up just like me. He asks for my help in getting out. Which, I would, but I don’t have the key to this door, oddly enough. I’ll keep an eye out for it, though. Stay dry until then, Logan.

With that, I’ve completely cleared out the tower, so there’s nothing left to do but open the door at the top and leave.

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Ah, to see the sky again! How long’s it been?! Even gray and cloud-filled, it’s still a welcome sight! Although that big crystal structure does mar the view a bit.

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Further marring the view is this crystal zombie that ambushes me from the side of the balcony. I turn to face him, but that leaves my rear open to be peppered with arrows by the zombie archer waiting there. So I draw the warrior back into the covered walkway, and dispatch him from shelter there. I’m damaged enough to necessitate a return trip to the bonfire, however.

When I get back, I take care of the zombie swordsman just like last time, then make a dash for the archer, knocking away his arrows as I approach. The archer has another zombie lying in wait, ready to surprise any warrior charging him just like I am.

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It doesn’t help him.

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With those crystal zombies cleared out, I have another opportunity to check out the view. That crystal spire certainly stands out. Given how much crystals seem to form a basis in Seath’s power, I’m willing to bet that’s important somehow.

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Heading onward, we make our way back to the main hall of the Duke’s Archives, where we were exploring before we encountered Seath and he decided to stake a claim on my flesh. Well, almost. We’re in another section of the hall. One where a channeler has a clear view to open fire on me from above. I roll out of the way…

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only to run headfirst into yet another channeler. I hit him once, then he teleports away as the bolt from the one above strikes me. I quickly set eyes on the second channeler as he rematerializes a bit down the hallway. I charge, and attempt to roll as he readies a magic bolt. I miss the timing though, and it hits me squarely.  Then a bold from the one above hits me. The one before me readies another as I stand. With no time to dodge, I catch it on my shield.

My block was clean, but enough damage bleeds through to kill me anyways.

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This new foe’s going to require a change in equipment. I swap out my Bloodshield for this Crest Shield, the one I picked up from the hollowed out Oscar of Astora, the knight that freed me from my cell in the Northern Undead Asylum. I haven’t upgraded it and it’s not as stable as the Bloodshield, meaning that it’ll take more stamina to block attacks, but it’s enchanted or whatever to be significantly better at blocking magic. Magic attacks will still do damage, as far as I know there’s not a shield in this world that can block them completely. But this shield should temper them to where they’re doing little more than a scratch.

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Unfortunately, I don’t get a chance to test it out, as I end up killing this channeler before he can hit me. Oopsie!

Continuing down the hallway from that channeler, where the one above can’t reach me, I catch an archer ready for a few potshots. Carefully, watchful for any zombies in wait, I approach.

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I thought so! Not one, but two crystal zombies seek to take advantage of my distraction. They’re easy enough to handle when I know they’re coming, however. I quickly ice them, then return my attention to the archer.

The thing about dedicated archers is that they value movement and flexibility. None of these crystal hollows are particularly well-armored, but the archers are even lighter cover than most. It makes them quick, dextrous, and incredibly squishy once you get within sword range.

The archer was next to a staircase. The staircase has a wheel on it. I think I know what that does, so I ignore it and just explore the upper levels right now. I find a little of note, particularly a Strong Magic Shield Sorcery, then I make my way back to the staircase and give the wheel a turn. Just as I suspected, this rotates both this staircase and the one in the next room.

I take the staircase up, follow the hallway down, and find the newly rotated staircase in the other room, leading right up to the channeler who’s been safely firing down on me from above all this time. I drop down to this staircase, run up it, and…

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Hey, good news, this shield totally works.

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From there, I poke around on the upper level a bit, and find this opening. I can’t reach that archer for some melee goodness. I try working with the bow, using the corners for cover, but I can’t find a spot that keeps me safe and give me a good shot against him. Outdrawing him is out of the question, given that he’s already got a bead on me.

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So I fireball him down to the floor below. I follow him down, at a far safer speed. The room at the bottom has a very apparent lever and a few connected rooms.

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The first room looks pretty benign. Nothing much of note here besides that treasure chest, which holds some blue titanite. Well, nothing of note unless your into books and things, in which case, I guess, this would be like a little slice of heaven. So have fun with that. Looks like somebody’s been rummaging through this place. Why they would ransack the room and leave that lovely, alluring treasure chest completely untouched is a mystery to me.

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The second room is the same as the first, except more. More space, more books… more treasure chests. Just look at it! It’s beautiful! You can’t see them all in this shot, but there’s four chests in here! I love treasure! Oh, come here, my dear, sweet Chesty. You’ve been lonely for so long. Don’t worry, I’m going to open you. I’m going to open you so good. And when I’m done, I’m going to stick it in you.  Yeah, I think you know what I’m talking about.  I’m going to stick you with something long. Something hard. Something I like to call my BLACK KNIGHT SWORD!

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Seriously, there’s not been a single one of you able to trick me thus far! What makes you think that doing the exact same thing that has failed for every one of your kind would all of a sudden work now?!

The mimic held an enchanted falchion. I also picked up a Symbol of Avarice from his corpse, basically, a mask in the shape of a mimic that boosts item drop rate and the amount of souls I receive but also deals continuous amounts of damage while I wear it. Also, putting it on is pretty much like sticking your head inside one of those creatures. Ew. The rest of the chests in this room are all normal, and contain a crystal ember, the key to Big Hat Logan’s cell, and a set of channeler clothing. The clothing reveals that all the channelers I’ve been running across are servants of Seath, and the ones outside of the archives are roaming the land looking to kidnap people for the Dragon’s experiments. Glad I killed them all. Also, Seath’s blind. For whatever that’s worth. You can never count those advantages too strictly with the magic types.

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There’s a lever next to a very distinctive patch of floor. I didn’t need to read that message to know that it opens up a new passage.

Before we take that, though, we probably shouldn’t forget about Big Hat Logan. He of the “Oh you can’t learn magic even though my student can teach you and I could presumably do better”. Yeah, that guy. I hit another switch near the ladder, which moves a bookcase in the other room opening up a shortcut. I love shortcuts.

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I find this bonfire out on a balcony near the staircase heading back upwards. So now I’ve got a place to rest, recharge, and head back somewhere everyone’s not trying to kill me. You know, if I feel like it.

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So, with that, I return to the prison tower, smash and/or burn everybody, and open the cell. I’m a hero.

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And that’s two you owe me, now. Forget that, what was this amazing treasure that message promised?

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OOOOOOOooooooooooooh!

Next time: We finally finish up with this place.

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4 responses to “25 to Dark Souls

  1. It’s nice to know that as difficult as some games are, you can always count on guards being complete idiots. Maybe this guard went to the same academy as the prison security from Chrono Trigger?

    I’m looking forward to future installments such as Highway to Lost Izalith.

    • I’ve been locked up hundreds of times, yet no video game prison has ever held me. This one made me go through two locked doors to get out, rather than the usual one, so Dark Souls is totally living up to its reputation of being bone-breakingly harder than the average game.

      I’m kind of proud of the next installment. I hope you enjoy it 🙂

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