Diving into in Dark Souls

Last time, in Don’t Die in Dark Souls, I died. I died hard, too. So hard that I didn’t even have time to grab a screenshot of it. It turns out that being able to cut through hundreds of opponents with less resistance than than a hurricane through tissue paper kind of got to my head, when really, it was only building up a pedestal so that I’d have farther to fall.

Now that I know the area, I try to rush back to where I fell. My supplies of these transient curses, that I need to put up a defense against these ghosts in the first place, are limited, so I want to make it there while still under the influence of the first one I consumed. That proves to be a humbling experience. These guys, that I was beating so effortlessly before? Yeah, that was only because I was cautious the first time around, taking them on a few at a time before any of them could make a move. Now that my confidence is bolstered, I do my best to rush through them.

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Turns out they’re a little tougher when they can gang up on you. They still don’t do much damage, but they’re able to overwhelm me nonetheless. I don’t die, but I come closer than I’d like. When I regain my feet, I roll out of the middle of these guys, and dissipate them with a few quick strikes. This was a wake up call for me. I resume my careful pace moving forward.

I end up back in the elevated walkways just before where I died last time. There were a number of ghosts here, attacking through the ceiling and floor, last time I went through. I admired their tactics then.

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Well, I found a ladder now, that allows me to completely subvert them.

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Case in point, here’s a lurking ghost, just waiting for me to walk overhead into his eager knives. Unfortunately, he’s paying attention to the above walkway, and doesn’t notice me down here. I teach him the error of his ways. I dispatch another ghost in a similar manner, then return to the upper walkway and continue my path forward, unmolested.

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Here’s where I fell to my death last entry. Just like the previous time, two ghosts emerge from the water, one by one, as I approach. These ones are tricky, able to clip through the ground and come at me at a low angle that’s difficult to strike at. If I back off, to give myself more space, they retreat, hovering beyond the edge of this walkway. This is going to take a careful hand.

Last time, I misjudged the distance between the ghost and the ledge, and overextended myself, sending me hurtling off. I’m paying more attention now, but even so, I almost do the same here. I catch myself with one foot before I fall. I’ll have to be more careful.

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The second ghost, I arrow him to death. Or undeath. Redeath. Whatever. He actually takes a few hits, enough to give him time to close the distance. He gets off one strike, but no more.

There’s a staircase that leads down into a tower, but it’s broken, so for now, I head into the fort this pathway’s been leading around. A ghost starts floating down to meet me. Before he reaches range, I swing my sword, my blade passing through him effortlessly like all the rest. Maybe even moreso. A little… too effortlessly, actually. The ghost is unharmed. My Transient Curse has lived up to its name and faded away. And did you know that those ghost blades sting a lot more when your armor is immaterial to them?

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I back off, reapply my curse, and heal just as he reaches me. I pay him back with interest the wounds he cause me. I’ve been wearing a ring that increases the rate at which enemies drop items. These ghosts drop transient curses, and I definitely don’t want to run out. The ghost behind the one that wounded me drops his blade, instead of the cursed limb. It’s not very strong, but I wonder if it has the same armor-penetrating properties. I’ll have to try it out sometime.

I make my way through the pathways of the fort, fending off a few ghosts striding through the walls as I do so. There are a few paths leading outside. One leads down to the tower I saw earlier, where I find some titanite. Another leads to a corpse with a decent mass of souls still residing within him. A third takes me up and out, where I find…

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Increases my resistance to curses. As Red Metal said, it would have been totally useful one area ago.

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I head back inside, and continue exploring the fort. The paths untaken lead me into a larger room, filled with my most vile nemeses, those blast pots. I do my civic duty of smashing them all up, when this message appears before me. I have no idea what it means.

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The room with the pots open up into this area. I have no idea what this used to be. A large dining room? An operations room? Some sort of captain’s bedroom? The only clue of its past use is the fireplace on the far side, beyond the female ghost. As for its current use, well, the large number of human remains (badly textured) on the floor suggest that it can’t be anything good.

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The woman screams as I get close, much like the last one did. I dispatch her anyway. The clatter she makes attracts the attention of a number of other ghosts who start floating down from above. I switch my weapon to a two handed grip, to better use my overhand strike, and meet each of them as they near. Three slashes later, and I’m the only one left alive in this room. Or something approaching alive, anyway.

I poke around the fireplace a bit. It’s large enough to fit someone in. Although urgh. Given the human remains littering the ground, that’s a grisly thought. There’s a ladder in here, for cleaning, or an escape route, or something like that. I take the fireplace ladder up.

A ghost begins striking me through the wall. I can’t do anything about it on the ladder, so I simply take the pain, and continue climbing, past where the ghost is willing to rise.

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The ladder leads onto the roof of this building. It’s almost entirely empty, save for a single cloaked man at the far side. I don’t know about you, but talking to mysterious anonymous men holding pointy things in the dark has always worked out well for me. I go do the same here.

He does not offer his name, merely his shock that someone is roaming about the ruins of New Londo. However, he does notice that I bear the Lordvessel, and am therefore the world’s best chosen one.

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You see that?! You know what that is?! That, my friends, is a compliment! That is what I’ve deserved from every single sane resident of this blight-infested country for as long as I’ve been taking this journey! Finally, someone recognizes my worth as the best chosen one! This is obviously the smartest man in all of Lordran.

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He’s so smart, in fact, that he knows exactly what I’m here for.

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My new best friend must be guarding them in the same sense as prison guards, because even knowing what I plan on doing to them, he does nothing to stop me. Hands me the key to their ‘Seal’ in fact. He points me to them, telling me that I’ll find them in the deepest chamber of the ruins after I open the floodgates. Which, if you’re going to be sealing any bad dudes anywhere, it really should be the deepest chambers, after all.

He also warns me about the Abyss, and that by checking up with Artorias, I might learn how to traverse it safely. Luckily, thanks to getting tricked into doing some plot stuff, I’ve already got what I need for that.

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And finally, we chat a bit about why New Londo’s flooded. Turns out the residents had to give up the city to keep the Darkwraiths, whatever they are, here. The way my buddy here speaks of them, they are some great ancient evil reawakened some time ago that are an absolutely dire threat to ‘any living thing that has a soul’. I’ll… have to keep them in mind after I open the floodgates.

I head back down again, dodging by the ghost in the chimney, and make my way out of another exit to this fort. There’s not a whole lot I can get to, from here. I spy a pathway leading to a large, round tower built into the massive walls of New Londo’s borders, and a staircase leading upwards into the unknown. That tower looks like progress, so I take the staircase up first. It leads up near the roof of the fort.

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Nothing much on this path itself, just a bit of consumable Humanity. I spy something shiny on the fort, though.

And I do love me some shiny things. I hop over where the roof nears the path, then make a beeline for the treasure. It’s a Rare Ring of Sacrifice, a great find, and one of those too-good-to-use items I’ve been carrying around for so long. Maybe now that I’ve got two of them, I’d be more apt to make the splurge.

I explore around the rest of the roof on the level I find myself on, killing what I hope was the ghost of the fireplace as I do so. I’m not finding an easy way down. I heave a heavy sigh, then preemptively chug some estus. This is going to hurt.

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I drop through the open window back into the fireplace room of the fort. It’s a fall of about two stories, or so. I land hard, but nothing to worry about really.

Retracing my steps, I make my way back to the tower I saw earlier. Entering it places me at a staircase leading both downwards and up. I head towards the sky first. The staircase leads to an area with balconies overlooking either side. The one on the left just offers a view of the New Londo Ruins, but the balcony to the right shows me some very familiar looking territory.

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Huh. So this is where that giant door in the Valley of the Drakes leads to. I also pick up a composite bow and some arrows from the corpse of a lone archer up here. Usually, I pay these bodies no mind, but I kind of wonder about this one. Was this the remains of some singular guardian in New Londo’s last days? Or some fool adventurer erroneously thinking the drakes of the Valley couldn’t reach him if he picked them off from up here?

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Heading down on the tower, I find an empty elevator well that doesn’t respond to pulls of the nearby lever, and a bar door. The door is locked, but opens with the Key to the Seal my best friend gave me earlier.

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There’s nothing but a large lever in the landing the door opened up to.

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The lever activates a mechanism connected to the doors between New Londo and the Valley of the Drakes. It pulls the massive bar out of its holdings.

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The doors lurch open. The flood covering the lower levels of New Londo spills out.

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It pours into the Valley, emptying into the chasm below.

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The water level lowers, revealing the structures kept hidden.

And so is the lower reaches of the New Londo Ruins revealed to me.

With the floodwaters lowered, the elevator is working again. I summon it, and ride it down. I take my first steps, possibly the first steps any almost living person has made in centuries, onto the ground of the fallen city of New Londo and eeeeeeeeuuuuuuuuuugGGGGGGHHHHHWHAT THE BLAZES?!

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This… is… this is grotesque. I have seen so many things since I broke out of the Undead Asylum. I thought I had seen the worst that Lodran had to offer. I was wrong. So many people. And that’s not all.

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Before me lies a tower of bones. What exactly happened here? The dead pile into the streets. According to my buddy above, New Londo was sealed in order to save the rest of Lordran from the Darkwraiths. Was this what they were capable of?

I’m not alone.

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I don’t have time to be shocked right now. This figure, which I’m assuming is one of those Darkwraiths, runs down the pillar of bones at me. I raise my shield in time to meet his thrust, and the battle is joined.

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The Darkwraith has no shield of his own, but this warped field he’s able to raise before him seems to serve. It neatly deflects y attacks, with barely any actual damage making it through.

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He’s not able to keep it up for long, however, and I catch him when he raises his blade for a double-handed strike. With that, his corpse joins the many laid around here.

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I poke around a bit, trying to find out what exactly is up with all these bodies, this mass killing field. For the most part, they’re only en masse up here, right in front of the exit to the Valley of the Drakes. Sure, they’re all over the place on this landing, but I’m not seeing such corpses anywhere else around here. I’m struck with the image, of crowds and crowds of people noticing the rising water levels and rushing here, trying to flee to the Valley, only to find the door shut and barred before them, absolutely helpless as the flood overtakes them. Geezer Zeus. No wonder this place is haunted. I’d be a pretty pissed off ghost too, if that happened to me.

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And, my best friend above, the one who had the key to this place, he seemed to know an awful lot about it. Did he have a hand in this?

He’s not my friend anymore 😦

Next time: Four on one?  I almost feel sorry for them.

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