Last time, on Dying Slowly in Dark Souls, I learned that I had been underestimating just how bad this undead life can be. Sure, when you die over and over again, yet always come back almost good as new, it’s easy to forget the sting that death carries. It’s easy to forget that sometimes it’s final. And yet, just like Laurentius of Great Swamp before, death has taken one more good man. My friend, Solaire of Astora, gone hollow, or at least driven mad by that maggot that had attached to his head, and put down by my hand. And he won’t be coming back.
I feel a bit hollow. No, not that kind of hollow. At least, not much. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do here. Mourn? Rage against the Lords? Rail against the undead curse that allowed this to happen? None of those would help. Instead, as always, I can only move on. Just one foot in front of the other. My feelings don’t matter, I need to keep moving forward. I can grieve when there’s time. For now, much as I hate it, there’s some things I need to take care of.
I owe that much to Solaire, at least.
We’ve just got a few places left to explore in Lost Izalith. The first on our plate is this obvious trap we had noticed but largely ignored last entry. Now, I am a lot of things. A warrior. A genius. A renowned sexpot. One thing that’s not on this list? A chump. It’s obvious, just from checking out the lay of the floor in that room, that the ground is going to give way as soon as I put pressure on it. I don’t know a way of going through without triggering that trap, though. Hedging my bets, I stick to one side as I move forward, figuring that this will be less of a fall than walking in the center. Specifically, I stay to the left. Because it’s closer to the bait. Which I know is counter-intuitive, but come on, treasure!
Sure enough, the ground gives way as soon as I step on it. I fall. For like a foot. I had been walking directly over this root, which catches me, saving me from certain death. For once, my greed saved me. Of course, the bait disappears at this point, but I can’t complain.
I head down the root, which winds quite a bit before reaching the bottom. There are these monsters below me. I am really, really glad I didn’t fall in there. What kind of beast eats with the crown of its head?
Hey, look at that. It’s Sieg…. Something. Siegmeyer, or Sieglinde, I can’t tell. They both have those child-bearing hips. Runs in the family, I guess. Either way, I am really, really glad to see a friendly face. I could really use that, right now. I hop off the root when it nears the floor of this ruin, then make my way around to talk to them.
One of those tentacle pudding monsters tries to cut me off. I slip past him then cut him down easily enough.
I sidle up next to the Catarinan, who is pondering carefully the four creatures in the pit before us. At least, that’s what they seem to be doing, until I hear some snores coming from beneath their helmet. Siegmeyer. The father. Clear as day. Hey, Siegmeyer! How’s it going?
No, not really. I’ll probably just use pyromancy to take down all but one from a distance, then close in and finish off the final one in melee. Really basic tactics, in all. Safe and efficient.
Eh, I hadn’t really thought about it. You’d paid me back every time I’ve helped you out, after all. I mean, if you’re really worried about it, maybe you could put in a good word for me with Sieglinde, who’s totally looking for you by the way.
I think so, too. I’ve been dateless for way too long.
What? No. That’s asinine. I’m really low on arrows, but I have enough pyromancy to…
No, seriously, this is not sound tactics. We need to…
Wait, dude, just let me…
I can’t let him take on four of them alone! I follow him down there. Pyromancy is too slow, and would harm as much as it helps with him in the way. I need to get up close and personal to save him. I’m stunned by the fall, just for a moment. It’s long enough for the nearest pudding demon to rear up and strike me. I recover from his hit faster than he does, though, and I immediately cut him down.
I lost track of the next nearest one. He showers me with acid, which not only breaks some of my gear, but it saps away the little life I have remaining. As I fall, I watch Siegmeyer. Hopefully I disrupted them enough that he’ll be able to finish off the rest. I see that he’s managed to slay one himself.
Then, in my last moments of this life, I watch the knight get overtaken by the demon. He fades just as I do.
Oh, blazes. I don’t even know if he’s undead. I rush back to that room as fast as I can, hoping that that was not the final death for him.
And he is no longer there. Where he stood, there is just some humanity and this ring, which grants some additional defense against some of the harder to block types of damage.
I failed him. I feel a little guilty taking his gear, although I’m pretty sure that if he wanted anyone to have it, it’d be me. Still, Solaire and Siegmeyer dying in such close succession. I think I’m starting to understand why the other undead go hollow.
Thinking about it sends a chill through me. I’m going to assume Siegmeyer is undead, because why the blazes else would he be coming to Lordran? In any case, that’s four undead so far we’ve seen die a final death. Siegmeyer, Solaire, the Crestfallen Warrior, and Laurentius. None of them are coming back. Is it possible for an undead to run out of lives? We keep reviving, but is there a limit to that? Is there going to be one time where I don’t wake up at the nearest bonfire? I’ve probably died hundreds of time in my quest to be the best chosen one and actually do some good in this big screwed up world. Am I just going to run out sometime? Will that be soon?
Or, maybe it’s related to sanity. Solaire, the Warrior, and Laurentius had all lost their minds before they fell for the last time, and Siegmeyer, well, he certainly seemed resigned in that last conversation we had. Do you need to have the will to come back? Do you have to want it? Is that how this curse works? It just puts you through so much pain and suffering until you can’t deal anymore, or until you succumb to madness, then it releases you if you choose death?
I don’t know. Maybe I should be more careful, to preserve what life I have left. But I am the best chosen one. The fate of Lordran is resting on my shoulders, relying on me to be the next Geezer Zeus. I can’t avoid the dangerous situations I find myself in. And if I do wind up dead or hollow? Well, I won’t be concerned with the fate of the land then, at least.
I drop down, slay the two pudding demons, and then kill another one waiting in the wings. The bog I find myself in is poisonous, but my constitution is such that it barely harms me. I find some souls on the corpses in the pit, discover some titanite in a chest in the corner, then take some stairs up, kill another demon, and find some more souls. With that, I’ve cleared out this whole area, so I head back to the root and take it all the way up, past the collapsing floor, and return to the three-way branch. I take the stairs up this time.
And immediately, the welcoming party rushes up to greet me. Wearing some really familiar clothes. I don’t think I’ve quite managed to piss off Quelana by asking her on a date just yet, so I’m guessing that’s one of her sisters, whom she’s asked me to free from this life. I catch her gathering flame as I near and immediately duck to her side, out of her direct line of sight, only to recognize a few moments too late the pyromancy she’s mustering. I roll back, trying to put some space between us, but am still caught by a gout of intense flame bursting through the floor. It knocks me back first, then burns my life away before I can rise again.
One good thing about the undead curse, at least, is that it makes it really hard to keep me down. I make it back here in short order, than head up the stairs again. Once more, she runs up to meet me, then begins preparing her flame. This time, though, I don’t give her the moment she needs to cast it. Her armor is virtually nonexistent. She flinches as my first strike, immediately dropping the pyromancy she was preparing. The second does her in completely.
I pick up her Izalith Catalyst, which will go forever unused, then find a new pyromancy in a chest beyond. I do look over the catalyst for a good long bit. She used pyromancy, pyromancy doesn’t require any implement other than one’s own flame, so I’m not sure what the catalyst is there for. Well, from the description of the wand, it turns out that pyromancy has its roots in flame sorcery, the art of which has been forgotten to the ages. Huh. She didn’t use it in battle, I wonder if that was just something sentimental to her. In any case, the only other thing of note here? A fog gate. It appears I’ve come to the boss fight of the area.
The gate opens up into a long, smooth ramp leading down. I slide all the way down it. I may let out a few noises of childlike glee on the way down. I’m not telling. I reach the bottom, and land on my feet, standing before…
Well, before this. Giant tree-babe. I rush forward, sword at the ready.
We skirmish for a bit. She swings her arms around the battlefield, which I easily block. I probe the base of her form for a vulnerable spot, and find none. I also reflect on how mildly dirty that last sentence sounds. But seriously, she’s not much threat, her attacks are so telegraphed she’s practically sending me a signed and notarized application requesting to hit me with each blow, but I just can’t figure out where to hurt her. I spend a will striking at her hands, at the base of her body, anywhere I can reach just to damage her.
This proves fruitless, so I just go back to the old videogame standby and strike at the glowingest spot I can see. I roll away from her giant slap, then make a beeline towards one of the red glowing orbs that surround her.
By luck, a ghost appears before me, heading the same way. Pretty sure this is the right thing to do, in that case.
I enter the orb without resistance, then begin cutting away at the roots here. I reach a glowing root, slice through it, and…
A section of the tree being seems to light aflame, before exploding.
This frees… something. Something fiery. Quelana had said that her mother, the Witch of Izalith, had attempted to copy the First Flame, which ended up creating the Flame of Chaos, twisted the forms of the Witch and all Quelana’s sisters, and apparently sunk Izalith and possibly opened the gates to all these demons roaming the land.
Might that be what this is? Either the Flame of Chaos itself, or at the least the Witch of Izalith? The Bed of Chaos, for she is that which Chaos had spawned from?
I’m sure we’ll learn about that by the time we kill her. In the meantime, I keep my eye on that flame-thing, watchful of an attack from it. Its presence destabilized the area, causing it to quake wildly. It fractures the ground, too, opening up deep, deep pits underfoot. So intent am I on watching it for any action that I don’t notice the ground cracking away right underneath me. Just as I register what’s happening, I find myself falling to my death.
After I revive, I head right back to this room. To my surprise, the Bed of Chaos has not recovered any since I had died. The damage I did, namely, awakening the being of fire, still remains. Man, why don’t more boss fights roll like that.
I immediately rush towards the orb on the other side, dodging crumbling sections of floor as I go. Having to worry more about my placement in the shifting battlefield makes it a bit harder to dodge her swats, but, keeping my shield raised the whole way, I absorb blow after blow and make it there without any major damage.
Once within the orb, I take the same strategy. Cut through root after root, until I sever the glowing one.
Once again, this causes a particularly long, narrow branch to light aflame, then burst…
Which frees the being of fire’s other arm.
Those arms aren’t just for show. I barely survive as one slices right through me. The Bed of Chaos leaves me enough time to recover safely, however, and I spy my next target. This pit has opened up directly in front of her, and I think I spy an opening in her roots.
I leap to to the thick root trailing off from her base, run up it, and reach this cave at the foot of the treeform. I hack wildly at the branches, slowly advancing as I cut them away. I remain unmolested by the Bed of Chaos. I guess she can’t reach me here, as I penetrate to her core. I keep my shield at the ready, watchful for any danger as I advance.
It doesn’t do me any good, however. I don’t know where it comes from, but I find the space all around me catching alight. The burn is not enough to put me down, and I only pause briefly to chug some estus before advancing once more.
Finally, I reach the end of this path. The only thing before me is a large, bug-like creature, huddling on the floor. Figuring this is the last stage of the fight, I immediately attack it, seeking to get my damage in before the Bed of Chaos retaliates and I have to retreat.
Instead, the bug dies in a single hit, and with it, the entire Bed of Chaos. I didn’t even have time to get a decent screencap of the bug monster. I receive the Lord Soul. I guess that was indeed the Witch of Izalith.
What a pathetic form Chaos had forged her into.
Next Post: Moving on…