Double Dipping in Dark Souls

Last time, on Losing It in Dark Souls, we managed not to make the crass joke that was begging to be told.  Seriously, that took some willpower.  We also lowered the lava level in the Demon Ruins, allowing us to progress onwards towards the whole saving the world thing.  I’m sure that’s worth something, too.

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With the Ceaseless Discharge (hehe) gone, this is what the landscape before me looks like now.  Considering this was flooded in molten magma just minutes ago, the stone underfoot should be hot enough to cook me all the way through in the stockpot that is my armor.  I’ve never let something so minor as the laws of physics keep me down.  I stride onwards, down the hill, and find myself faced with a choice of two paths when I reach the bottom.

The path to my right has something shiny on it, but it looks suspiciously like the way I’m supposed to go.  The path to the left has at least seven big hulking monstrosities on it, who are more than ready to turn me into some sort of ugly paste.

Eh, but who wants to go the way you’re supposed to?  There’s adventure to be had!  I arrow the nearest one.  It doesn’t do any damage, but it draws the monster’s attention.  The beast charges.

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Hey, I recognize you.  It’s the Taurus Demon, from way back in the Undead Burg!  My eyes dart around rapidly as he approaches, but nope, there’s no easily accessible ledge to abuse this time around.  A pity.  I’ve absolutely no experience in fighting these guys fair.

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Luckily, I’ve grown considerably stronger than I was the first time I faced these.  Two hits puts it in critical condition.  The demon clocks me with that great axe of his once in the meantime, though, and sends me flying.  Dude’s strong.  Still, he’s slow, and his tells are long.  I easily duck around his blows and put him down with a third strike.

After that, I feather another, and start the whole process over again.

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Obviously, it’d be suicide to charge them all together.  More than one, maybe two, at a time, I’d be minced.  Luckily they’re not very smart.

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Strong, yes.  Intimidating, maybe the first one.  But their grasp of tactics is minimal.

This turns it into a battle of attrition.  Their numbers against my estus.  I take a few hits here and there, but it’s still decidedly in my favor.

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The second to last one is even kind enough to leave his weapon behind.  I’ll need to give that a try, sometime.

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I charge the final one, ready for our climactic battle.  He hits me once, dealing damage through my shield.  Not nearly enough, though, and I put him down as easily as the rest.

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Bringing the Burn in Dark Souls

Last time, on Dealing Death in Dark Souls, I totally took on four ancient evils sealed away for years out of fear for their powers at once, and won without breaking a sweat.  I’m the best!  Send your accolades my way, ‘tis only natural.

After such a magnificent victory, I decided to celebrate in my people’s traditional manner.  That is, just screw around for a while.  Yeah, I come from a pretty laid back culture.

After I beat the four kings, a bonfire popped up in the midst of the Abyss.  I used that to port out, then returned to New Londo for a bit of grinding.  My glorious figure and all these beautiful, beautiful muscles don’t come easy, you know.  I need to do something to keep my shape up, and I can think of nothing better right now than smashing Darkwraiths.  I get a few drops off of them, mostly the usual titanite chunks, but one of them leaves behind something I find very interesting.

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Some kind of magic… hand… thing.  It can apparently steal humanity from others.  Is that what their grab move does?  That’s really nasty!  Well, it would be, if I ever lived long enough to carry a decent store of humanity, but all my repeated failure has a benefit, I guess?

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I mess around with it a bit.  I’m not able to pull off that grapple attack they did, but I am able to conjure up the defensive field they were using.  Not nearly as stable or as protective as my trusty shield, but it was a fun attempt, at least.

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Now that New Londo’s unsealed and the four kings are vanquished, I follow up with this guy.  Remember him?  My former best friend who possibly drowned all the people in this formerly great city?  He compliments me for slaying the four kings, as everyone should be doing, and remarks that now he’s not stuck in New Londo anymore, he’s going to head somewhere he can see the sun.  You know, I’d invite him to Firelink Shrine, but I’m not sure he’s going to fit in there.  We’ve kind of looked down on having mass murderers hanging about since that whole issue with the last guy.

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Last time, I found a Very Large Ember in the ruins.  I’ve been keeping it in my pocket since then, waiting until I run across a blacksmith interested in using it.  Rickert of Vinheim’s too good for embers, in pretty much his own words, so I take it to Andrei, who’s ecstatic at the thought.  This should allow me to further upgrade my equipment with his help.

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Digging Deep in Dark Souls

Last Time on Deftly Dominating Dark Souls, we drained a drowning pool. It wasn’t pleasant.

What do you say we finish up and get out of here as soon as possible?

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Seriously, so many corpses, all over the place. This area’s depressing me. I just want to finish up as soon as possible. I head into this shack up the stairs.

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I spot a darkwraith casually walking forward, into the other side of the shack. I don’t think he’s spotted me. I park myself to the side of the entry way, and wind up for a stronger attack, a powerful forward lunge. It does significantly more damage than my usual slash, but it takes a bit more time to prep for it. It’s not so useful in the midst of combat, but now, when I have the drop on the enemy? The perfect time.

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Well, in other circumstances, it’d be the perfect time. I underestimated him. On two levels. My thrust is not quite enough to kill him in a single blow, but it leaves me way open as I pull my weapon back. Then, he busts out a combo I wouldn’t have guessed he’d have, slashing me for times in the second it takes me to recover from my own attack. Dude is fast. Naturally, that’s more than I can bear, and I fall before him.

So, waaaaay back to the beginning for me.

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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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Dicking Around in Dark Souls

Last time, on Aether Plays Dark Souls… you know what? Let’s not talk about last time. That way lies memories I don’t really want to re-live. We’re forward-thinking, here at Lost to the Aether. It’s all about the future! And in my future lies… fighting against a list of possibly-innocent supreme badasses in order to harvest their souls. Erm. Don’t think I’m ready for that just yet. What say we procrastinate a bit, eh?  We’re going to spend this entire entry cleaning up loose ends and doing nothing the ‘main plotline’ wants you to do!  We’re fighting the man on this one!  And not like the actual physical man that we kill all the time but the metaphorical one… you know what?  Forget it.  Let’s go!

Hey, you remember way back in Sen’s Fortress, when I rescued that hat? Well, he’s made his way back to Firelink Shrine! Griggs’s so excited to have his old teacher back! He says the hat master wants to talk to me. I’m popular! This chosen one gig is finally working out in my favor!2014-10-07_00070

The hat offers to teach me sorcery, but then tells me I can’t learn any. Even though Griggs managed to teach me. Are you saying you’re a worse instructor than your own student? You know what? Whatever. Pyromancy’s working out much better for me anyways. No needing to adjust my stats, no worries about education, I just make things burn.

Speaking of burning, I take a warp through the newly restored Firelink bonfire. I’ve still got business in Anor Londo.

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I start by chatting up the Firekeeper there. She congratulates me on utterly dominating the City of Lords, as everyone should, and prays that I’ll be able to fulfill Gwynevere’s wish. Then she starts chatting about Seath the Scaleless, one of the beings on my fate-imposed hit list. The dragon born without the scales of immortality who turned against his kind during their war with man. After Geezer Zeus got all sweet on him, Seath retreated to the Duke’s Archives way up in the mountains to research how he might be able to grow those scales. As everyone knows, you can’t do science without going completely mad, and Seath is no exception. His experiments turned wicked, and now nobody who goes to the Archives ever returns. The knightess finishes by warning me against ever going there.

You know what? That actually makes me feel a bit better. Sure, he’s camped out in some evil library from which none are ever seen again, but I guarantee none of those disappeared people were the Best Chosen One. They were probably more like the diet soda version of chosen ones. They look the part, but they’ve got half the substance and they don’t make nearly as good of cocktails. And if I’m going to have to kill someone, I’d much rather kill someone who’s already gone killcrazy. At least that way it’s not technically murder, and my morals survive intact.

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Anyways! Two things we came to Anor Londo for. For the first, we head up to the top floor of that big entry hall in front of where Ornstein and Smough were painting the walls in my blood. I head through this broken window, which lets me walk along a decorative outcropping on the outside of this grand structure. I follow the outcropping beyond a fence below, drop down, and…

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You remember those giant bows the silver knights used? The ones that fired arrows the size of lances? We’ve got the same artillery, now. Continue reading

A quick bump for Dark Souls

We’ve had an odd progression, in our journeys through Dark Souls. We started our journey because some dead guy threw a corpse at us and told us to go be the chosen one. From there, we rang some bells because some asshole told us to. Then we had to go find the macguffin because a freaky snake told us to. Last time, on Baby’s First Dark Soul, we finished that up, then we were tasked with our greatest quest yet! We have to go talk to the freaky snake again, because a holy hot chick told us to! Hey, the quest giver counts for a lot.

First thing first, we’ve got to get back to Firelink Shrine. We’re a pretty long walk away. Well, I think. After Sen’s Fortress, I have no idea where those demons flew me off to. For all I know, we could be two doors down from Firelink. In any case, it was a long, hard journey to get here, and it’d be a long, hard journey to get back. If I even can. The demons might be a little hesitant to carry me away after I killed a bunch of them. Luckily, we’ve got other options.

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With the Lordvessel in hand, we’ve linked up several of these bonfires, and can freely transport between them. We can’t connect with all of them, in fact, the list of what we can teleport to is disappointingly lacking. Still this is probably going to save us a lot of time walking. And a lot of cheap stupid deaths, most like.

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In any case, in spite of the Firelink Bonfire going out, I can still port here.

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First thing that I notice is this. You might not think there’s anything odd about this screenshot. That’s because you hadn’t gotten used to the constant waves of depression and body odor coming from this corner. The crestfallen warrior is gone. I wonder about that. I didn’t think he actually had it in him to leave this place. Mayhaps he, so inspired by my performance, has decided to do something other than sit there and suck? Is he no longer crestfallen? I’m not sure what to call him now.

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As you’ll recall, we had ourselves a brutal, bloody battle with Lautrec to get the Fire Keeper’s soul back. Using it, I can return life to her. I can bring back one of the few meager bits of light in this world that’s just so blasted dark. And yet… I find myself hesitating. As this keeper has taught me already, a Fire Keeper’s soul is a powerful thing. I could use it. I could have this consumed to upgrade my Estus Flask, improving my healing abilities and better keeping me alive in the long run. And I mean, really, wouldn’t that be a better use of her soul than just sitting in this cage and not talking to anyone? Isn’t this more important than…

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I can’t believe I’m thinking like this. The undead curse is getting to me.

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Taking Vengeance in Dark Souls

Last time, on Aether Crushes Dark Souls Beneath His Heel, we took on Anor Londo, one of the more famous locations in the game, which is quite a testament to its design, considering this is like thirty hour in. Usually, the more well-known places tend to be early on in the game. Anyways, we took on hordes of the Dark Knights’ slightly lamer cousins, wrestled with giants, fought through demons, and none of them could stop us. We made our way through this castle-church thing, with the tons of enemies arrayed against us, barely able to slow us down. I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling pretty good about our progress. We’ve been going through the game slowly, but we’ve been absolutely indomitable. We’ve always been making progress. We haven’t faced a challenge that took more than a few tries to overcome since way, way back with the Capra Demon. In the time since, we have become truly mighty. Is there anything left in Lordran that can stop us?! Is there anything more in this game that can meet my challenge?! Or have we left all the difficulty that Dark Souls is famous for behind?

Those who have played the game before are probably laughing at me now. They know what’s coming next. For the rest of us… well, let’s just keep our innocence for now.

So, last time, we had capped off by slaying the fearsome titanite demon and heading up into a staircase into the unknown. Well, the unknown is actually a massive room. An entry hall of some sort, sized so that even the giants that apparently once called this place home could stand tenfold on each other’s shoulders and still not reach the top. You could hold air shows in this place. It’s huge, and there’s no way to really do it justice via screencaps. You’ll just have to trust me on this one.

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I take stock of the place. For all its size, it’s still mostly empty. There’s another one of the Silver Knights across the way, and two ornately-dressed, giant sentinels on the floor. None of them seem to have noticed me. There’s a staircase leading down and another leading up from my current position. The one leading up seems to take me to a walkway around all the enemies, so I take that first. The walkway leads me by a broken window that gives me access to a section of roof. It has some dropoffs and seems to be a one-way trip, so I ignore it for now. I follow the walkway along to the other side. I hear a sound, a somewhat familiar sound of metal on metal. I’m not sure what exactly it is, but it keeps coming rhythmically, growing louder as I approach a opening in the wall.

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The opening leads to a staircase down, which I take, as that noise grows ever louder. I spy this giant figure below. It’s him who makes that noise, metal impacting against metal, over and over and over again. Whatever he’s doing, his attention is solely focused on his work. Slowly, I continue descending. On top of that sound, there’s blood! So much blood! Smeared on the floors, the walls, streaks of it everywhere! What exactly…

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