Another day, another attempt to get something done. Never, it seems, what I set out to get done, but anything is better than nothing. As long as I keep moving, keep fighting, I have to believe that I will make it.
Still, I have to wonder what new distractions I will find this time, because nothing in Lordran is ever straightforward. The land itself is warped, as if it were consciously resisting straight lines. Is this a result of the great tragedies that it has seen, or was it always like this? Maybe it was impossible to walk down to the local bakery for a fresh loaf of bread without having to first pass through the lowest back alley and the highest tower, and recover a key to the bakery on the way. Must have been hard to run a business like that, but on the other hand, it would make security much easier.
With the Souls I’ve accumulated at the Asylum I have enough for a single stat point. I invest it in strength. It’s not really practical for me to sit on my options when I have no idea when I’ll get a spear that actually does decent damage. As much as I like them, the benefits they are supposed to have do not amount to much. It’s the usual problem that these types of games have, where it’s just easier and more efficient to brute-force my way through enemies with higher damage. The extra range of the spears, even the pike, is not nearly enough to make a difference against most enemies that I wouldn’t want to get close to. Even at their best, I am out-ranged by the stronger enemies I fight, or if I have a range advantage then poking at them with my shaft is never enough to cause consistent flinching, which means that they can just charge right up to me and I’ll have to fight them at close range anyway. The Black Knight Sword does about 2.5x the damage of my +5 pike, and it hasn’t even been upgraded yet. In most cases, a strong enemy will present an opening wide enough that I can get as close as I want, and when that happens I need to be able to deliver as much damage as possible: I can run in circles and poke an enemy 15 times before they die, or I can walk up to them and slash them 3 times with my sword. Still, the spears and pikes do come in handy occasionally, and it’s not like I can sell them. I’ll have to keep them in my back pocket, but I’ll still keep them.
I have some Souls left over, so I run back to Undead Parish and speak with Andre, the blacksmith. He has nothing to say about my Titanite Slab, and I see no option to use it. Maybe I need a higher level weapon first? I notice that it’s in the same item category as all my other Titanite, and I’m pretty sure the Embers I picked up were grouped with my key items.
I buy the armour and weapon upgrading kits, then leave.
In New Londo the other smith has nothing to say about the Titanite Slab, either. Oh well. Guess I can’t put this off any longer: I’m going down to Blighttown.
I enter through Valley of Drakes, through the cave I’ve been through many times. The Dung Hulks are still there, but with my new sword they may as well not be.
I leave the cave and I’m in the open air below Lordran. I peer over the edge. I can see the water below, and the great pillars as well. Who built those? For what purpose? What do they support?
How far down will I be going today?
The way this place has been built: piecemeal, bits of old wood, garbage everywhere. I see it and naturally think of scavengers, living below Lordran’s surface. Have they always been here, or did they spring up after there was nobody left to stop them? If that were true, why not move to the surface? Maybe they’ve been living off the scraps of the cities above so long they know no better.
I can hear the creaking of massive wooden wheels. I see them below. Someone must have been maintaining them. What does it power?
A couple of giant mosquitoes start buzzing around me. I switch my sword to a 2-handed grip so that I can hit them with vertical slashes. They don’t seem to be that dangerous.
I take a ladder down to a lower platform and find the fire-breathing bug. I kill it. I do not like these things. Bad enough that I have to deal with fire-breathing dragons, and all of the various Undead who throw firebombs or fireballs at me, I don’t need overgrown cockroaches doing it as well. My skin is dry and leathery enough already.
I slide down another ladder, onto a small platform. I see more mosquitoes coming for me, and I prepare for the fight. I hear a curious thudding sound nearby, but it’s very faint. I ignore it. The mosquitoes get close enough to attack. I swing at them, taking a step forward in the process. One of the bugs spits at me. Suddenly, I am toxic. My health is dropping rapidly. I kill the nearest bug, then climb back up the ladder. I desperately run through my hotbar. Purple moss. That cures poison. It won’t work. I pull out my talisman and kneel down to heal, but it’s too late, and I die before the prayer can be completed.
I return and recover my body. I climb down to the small platform again. Before me is only open space. I feel exposed. The mosquitoes in the distance turn toward me again. I hear that gentle thudding. What is it? I kill the bugs, and become toxic again, but this time I’m ready, and I have the correct moss on hand. I cure myself, then heal up. It wasn’t the mosquitoes that are getting me, because they didn’t hit me and I became toxic anyway.
I look around. I find the source of the toxic attacks and the sounds I was hearing: behind me, standing on a wooden platform below mine, is a shadowed figure who is attacking me with a blowgun.
I’m not waiting around to get poisoned again, so I rush him. I am made toxic anyway, though I can hear the darts pinging off my shield. When I get close enough to chase away the shadows, I see that he is a small guy completely encased in wooden armour. He turns to run, as all ranged attackers do, but I cut him down. I cure myself and heal up.
I rummage through my inventory a bit, hoping for an edge. I remember the Spider Shield, which is supposed to protect against poison. Toxic and poison seem to be related conditions, as they are both cured by the same moss, and there is no separate stat for poison resistance. It’s better than nothing.
I keep moving, past the wooden man’s dead body. I turn a corner, leaving the rickety wooden platforms of Blighttown and stepping onto a stone ledge. I’m at the edge of a large artificial cave built directly into the island. At the back is a large metal grate, and I can see the angle at which the stone floor slopes. This is the bottom of a sewer system, where the waste is dumped out and away. Is this where the ones who constructed Blighttown came to gather and salvage? The place is empty now; nobody has been using these sewers for their intended purpose in a long time. There are still guards posted, though, a bunch more of the wooden men, all with blowguns ready. They stand here instead of at the gates above, which could be further evidence of the importance of the sewer to them.
I raise my shield and begin my assault. Perhaps the extra poison resistance helps, but not in a way I notice. Instantly, I am toxic once more. I kill the nearest wooden man. He drops a clump of purple moss. That’s just trolling, as purple moss does not cure toxic status. I turn a corner into a small side passage. It’s a dead end, but past the rusted iron bars I see a dead body. I run over to it and pick up an Undead Soul. I kill a couple more wooden men, and one of them finally drops the correct moss for curing toxin. I run around the sewer, chopping down a few more of the wooden men.
I slip and fall to the sewer floor. The walls here should give me cover from the wooden men’s poison darts. From here I can heal up and plan my next attack. I look around to make sure I’m safe. I’m not: a few ugly rat-things, red like they forgot they were supposed to have skin, start breathing fire at me. Of course they do! Everyone thinks they’re part dragon in Lordran.
I kill the rats, see an item behind the sewer grate they were standing near. It’s a Fire Keeper Soul. How did the Fire Keeper come to be back there? Did they crawl from somewhere else, trying to escape from the strife above, only to find their passage blocked by the unyielding iron bars? Did they die there, even as the cities above bled out. Which stopped first, the Fire Keeper’s heart, or the sewers flow? Either way, it would not have been a good death. Then again, none of the Fire Keepers I’ve found so far looked like they had an easy time of it: the one sacrificed in the church, the other one at the edge of New Londo, as if they had been dragged out there and executed, the final act before the city itself committed suicide, and even the living Fire Keeper at the Firelink Shrine just sits in her cage, never making a sound.
It’s time to leave my alcove.
On the ledge above is the final wooden man. There are still a bunch of rats down here, and I fight them with my back in corners, safe from the darts. The main sewer passage is blocked off by iron bars, which are in surprisingly good shape. There is also a small, closed gate next to it, which would explain why the bars were left alone. Any debris big enough to be held back by the bars could be collected later. The small hatch was probably originally meant for maintenance, but may never have been used for that. Why would workers from the city bother, if the scavengers down here were cleaning out the junk for them?
The last wooden man is a bit of a problem. There is a ladder back up to the ledge above, but this guy is standing on the other side of a small gap that is just too far for me to jump across. Maybe there’s another ladder on the other side? I walk down to the edge of the sewer. The waste water would have cascaded out here. I’m near the wheels now. Were they originally built here so that the falling water could turn them? They are still turning now, so I wonder what powers them.
I notice that I have stopped hearing the sound of darts hitting stone. I turn back, and see that the last wooden man, in an effort to get a better angle on me, has fallen down. Down here with me. I don’t give him a chance to get back up.
I return to the wooden platforms above. A narrow root bridges the gap across the sewer entrance, leading further into the wooden maze of Blighttown.
There are also ladders where I can climb further down. I realize that reaching the bottom is possible. I see the roots of the great tree (the one above Firelink?) poking out through the rock and soil, searching for the water below.
I also see a massive hive structure. Well, that explains the bugs. Would bugs steal a key?
Down another ladder and I find out the purpose to the wooden wheel: it is powering a vertical conveyor system, platforms moving along a crude belt of wood. Not sure how it holds together while in motion. Web or sticky saliva from the bugs? I could hop on one of these platforms and be carried to the water below, or I could take the high road across Blighttown.
For me, there is little choice. I have already seen what Blighttown is offering, so it only makes sense to sample my other options.
I wait for a platform to come around, then hop on. After a little while of steady motion, the platform reaches the bottom of the belt, flips out from under me, and dumps me to the water below.
I land with a thick splash. This is no ordinary water. It is viscous with the mud down here and years of being mixed with the raw sewage. Immediately, a bar appears on my screen and begins to fill. Seems the sewage has left the water with more than an unpleasant consistency and smell; it is also poisonous. I spin around, searching for some solid land above the water level. I find it nearby, running up to the thick stone wall that Blighttown was built into. There is also another fire bug. I kill it and get out of the swamp water before the poison takes hold.
As my meter drains, I consider my options. To get anywhere down here will mean wading through the poisoned water. Should I return to the high road? I don’t think so, as I have plenty of purple moss to keep the poison regulated. Then I remember the Iron Ring I found at the Undead Asylum. It specifically mentioned swamps.
I test it out. First, I run into the swamp. I sink down to my knees and progress becomes achingly slow. I turn around and make it back to dry land. I try again, this time wearing the Iron Ring. I now move through the water as it weren’t there, easy strides through the deepest parts of it without losing any speed. I return to land.
The poison is still an issue, but I figure that I can pick my spots, make a run for it, then rest on patches of land while the poison recedes.
I look for somewhere to go. On my right, under one of the huge stone support pillars, is a loot corpse. Past that is the hive. In front of me, all the way across the swamp, against the far stone wall, is another loot body. On my left I can see more bugs guarding the ramp I’d need to take in order to reach the elevator if I wanted to get back up into Blighttown, and the swamp also runs beneath Blighttown itself. For how long? Are there other ways back up onto the wooden platforms?
I run to the nearest loot corpse. I find my way out of the water before becoming poisoned. I pick up the item. It’s a Titanite Shard. I hear the buzzing of mosquitoes. I kill them as they come.
Next, I’m going after the item against the far wall. I can see that it’s being guarded by a couple of Dung Hulks holding large boulders above their heads. I run across the swamp water, find some solid ground near the wall, and try to coax the Dung Hulks over to me; I don’t want to fight them in the water. The first of the brutes sees me, turns in my direction, drops its boulder into the water, and charges at me while rolling the rock ahead of itself. I’m no longer so sure that it’s holding a boulder; perhaps my name for them is more apt than I’d thought. I circle away, not wanting to even block what could very well be a clump of shit that weighs more than I do. I get in behind it as it rolls past and start working with my sword. I’m rudely interrupted by a couple of mosquitoes, who hover in behind me and start spitting blood over me. Now I’m poisoned. I turn around and slash at the bugs, killing them. The Dung Hulk is busy rolling its orb around again, so I take a moment to eat some purple moss. When the monster returns, I kill it, then defend myself from a few more flying bugs. Now there is only the final Dung Hulk. It’s throwing its boulder at me. I wait for an opening, then cross the water to it. When I get close, it smashes the boulder into the ground before it. I circle around behind it and stab through with my sword, knocking it to the ground.
Here is something that bothers me about this game: many enemies, especially the big, slow ones, have really long standing and recovery animations. That seems like it’s great for me, as the player, because that should mean I have plenty of time to get damage done, rewarding me for getting knockdowns. But that isn’t the case at all, because these guys are completely invulnerable during their recovery animations. For most enemies I can let that slide, and they stand up fast enough that we can get on with the fight again, and I can wrap my head around the video game logic of safe recovery frames. But these Dung Hulks take their sweet time stumbling back to their feet, then, even after they’re completely upright, there is another good second or so while they fish around for another wad of crap to use as a weapon. During this entire sequence I can wave my sword through them as many times as I want, but nothing will happen. It gets to the point where I back off just because I’m not sure when I’m actually allowed to attack again: it’s quite likely that I will whiff an attack while they’re recovering, which then leads me wide open to get smacked around.
After the Dung Hulk has finally stood up, we’ve shaken hands, and the referee has said that the fight can continue, the bell rings and I slice the ugly thing in half.
I loot the corpse and find a great club, which is basically a huge, 2-handed version of the club I’ve been using. It’s a log that I can use to smash things. Unfortunately, it requires 28 strength to use properly, and its damage is low when compared to the other heavy weapons I’ve found.
From down here I can look up and see the structure of Blighttown above. Maybe it’s the distance, maybe it’s that nothing is ever as impressive the second time, but it doesn’t seem so bad from here. I also see that it extended much further upward than I could have seen from where I entered. Maybe I was near the lower levels? The immense bulk of the stone architecture out here warps perspectives at a distance, hiding the scale of everything. But what could I see from up there? The views must be something else.
I look over to the hive. It’s very close now. I move back out to the water, seeking for solid ground from which I can attack the hive itself. A trio of Dung Hulks guard the entrance. I wonder about the irregular protrusions, sticking into the air like sharpened defences. What are they? Something the bugs made, or maybe roots taken from the great tree. The way they are placed doesn’t look structural. What could they be there to defend against? Nothing of my size. I shudder to think of the beasts that would be large enough to worry about thorns of that size.
I figure I’ll get a foothold in there, see what it’s all about, and then decide whether I want to go further. I move in on the guards, close enough for them to see me. I’m hoping to get them to chase me so I can fight them here, but they just stand in place and chuck their rocks at me. I have to run across the water, taking a wide enough path that they can’t hit me with their projectiles. Once on the hive itself, I attack. I wait for an opening and move in to kill the nearest one. While I am stabbing it, I am nearly killed myself when one of the boulders is smashed into my, driving me face first into the spongy wall of the hive. I roll to my feet, finish off the enemy I’d been stabbing, then find enough space to heal. The next Dung Hulk leaves behind a pick axe when it dies. Maybe if I didn’t already have this sword I would consider it as a weapon, but not now. I find the last Dung Hulk, stuck behind a wall of those strange spires. By now I have the timing of their recovery animation down, so I’m able to ready one of my big heavy attacks for when it’s no longer invulnerable. I suppose that’s a compromise I can live with.
I am now ready to enter the hive itself. The only question left is what will I find. Ants? Spiders? Bees?
There is a single tunnel inside the hive. It’s plenty wide, so whatever lives in here is sizable. I follow the tunnel as it slopes downward; I assume that the hive extends further underground than above ground. The walls and ceiling of the tunnel are covered with bulbous mounds. The suggestion of growths, or of things buried in the construction of this place.
I reach the bottom of the tunnel, where it widens out into a small chamber. There are two creatures down there. Things, really. They look humanoid, but have large, warty growths on their backs. Shells? I can hear them murmuring softly. Both are facing away from me and not moving. I run to the first and slash at it with my sword. It bursts, dying in the process. That was easy. I run to the next and slash it as well. I’m all ready to move on, but I hear a sound coming from behind me. I turn around and see a parade of wriggling, hook-mouthed maggots, each the size of a cat, coming right at me. Those weren’t shells; they were egg sacks. I slash at the maggots, but miss. They’re too low to the ground. I raise my shield as they jump at me. They crash into me, a disgusting torrent of gaping, pale flesh. My guard is broken, and I take a lot of damage. I circle around them, running to the other end of the chamber so I can heal. I turn back to see that they’re still coming. I try my sword’s heavy attack, a long stab. I catch a couple of the maggots as they launch themselves into the air, but it’s not good enough. I lead them up the tunnel, then run past them. Now they’re on a slope, far enough above me that I can swing at them with my sword. I keep slashing until they’re all dead, and then a little while longer, because it’s hard to tell which are alive when their bodies still flop around after they’ve been killed.
I need a weapon with some vertical reach. I could switch to a 2-handed grip on my sword, but I feel I also need my shield, because a bunch of those maggots jumping me at once will hurt a lot, and possibly kill me. I switch to my club. I also pull out my Black Knight Shield, as these maggots aren’t doing any sort of poison damage.
On the other side of the chamber is a doorway of white light. I step through.
Chaos Witch Quelaag
I get the answer to my question. It’s not ants, spiders, or bees: it’s a giant flaming spider-ant that is being ridden around by a naked witch lady with a flaming sword. Because of course it is.
The thing charges right up to me and starts spewing lava. Not fire, but lava. It lets forth horrifying streams of the stuff, which lays in puddles around the room. The effort required to spit up flaming bile like that is great, and must take some concentration, which allows me plenty of time to more around to its side and smack at it with my club. Once the ground nearby has been sufficiently covered with lava to limit my movement options, Quelaag pulls out her flaming sword and starts swinging away at me. I play it safe there, and keep circling until I have openings. The fight is actually going well for me, until, while bashing away at the monster’s rear, I am caught by an explosive blast of purple magic, and I die.
I respawn at the Firelink Shrine. Right away, I feel like something is wrong. The first thing I notice is that all of my item glows are gone. What happened? I open my status screen, but see that I still have the extra equip load from Havel’s Ring, even if the aura is missing. Looking back, I think the auras disappeared around the time I fell to the swamp below Blighttown. Odd.
But still, something is wrong. The shrine feels colder, darker. Then I notice it: the bonfire is out. I walk up to it, but without a Fire Keeper, it’s unusable. Without a Fire Keeper? I run down the stairs. The golden knight is gone. Whatever, he’s gone half the time I come through here lately.
The Fire Keeper is gone.
No, not gone. It’s worse than that: she is dead. I walk to the bars of her cage and recover the items there. A set of tattered clothes, and a Black Eye Orb. My first thought is that Quelaag must have done this. Somehow, she found out where I was coming from, and she struck at me from a distance.
I look over the Black Eye Orb. It tells me that the Fire Keeper was murdered, and the only way to reclaim her is to use the Orb and invade the realm of her murderer, so it wasn’t Quelaag. The Orb is greyed out and unusable in my inventory. What to do? Black Eye Orb, Red Eye Orb. I have some Red Eye Orbs as well, but I haven’t used them since they’re for online play. I read their description, and they say that a Hollowed cannot invade another player’s world. So the same rules must apply for using the Black Eye Orb. Well, I’ve got plenty of Humanity in my pocket, and I could reverse my Hollow status, but not here, not without a bonfire.
This is a quandary. I also have 20000 Souls and a boss that needs killing down in the hive. But there’s no bonfire there. I’d have to go up to Undead Parish for that, which is the opposite direction.
What to do.
I talk to the dope up by the bonfire. Of all the times to have nothing at all to say, of course this would be one of them. The cleric is still whining about not getting paid. I’m on my own.
I think about this problem. I look at my actual circumstances, after putting aside the reaction to finding my Fire Keeper missing. There is no panic. What has actually changed? The bonfire here is gone, but that’s it. It’s not even totally gone, either, because I still have my 15 Estus charges and my 5 healing spells. Really, all I’m missing out on is the ability to level up or otherwise spend my Souls. And my Souls are currently down at the bottom of a glorified ant hill anyway, so that’s not as much of a problem as it seems.
In addition to that, though I do have a fair amount of Humanity saved up, it’s not unlimited. I have no idea what I’ll be dealing with when I use the Black Eye Orb, and I may only get one chance. I’ll need to be prepared, and part of that preparation should be the spending of Souls on some additional stat points or weapon upgrades.
Besides, I had that bitch on the ropes.
I’m going back down to the hive.
Of course, I then do something really stupid and get killed by a Dung Hulk, forfeiting my body and all the Souls I’d gathered. But I respawn at Firelink with all of my flask charges and spells, so it’s not a total loss.
That’s not going to stop me. I return to the hive anyway. On my way down I notice that the wooden men who had been shooting me full of toxic darts are no longer around. Guess they don’t respawn. That’s nice.
Half way down, about the time the conveyor belt is ready to dumb me into the swamp, I realize there may be a hitch in my plan. When I kill the boss, what do I do with the loot? I haven’t yet found a bonfire here, so where can I go? In the end, I figure it will be best for me to just return through the route I’ve already cleared, and take it all back to the Undead Parish.
I think about not even killing the egg sacks this time. As I walk past them, they are not hostile. They lay there, making their mutterings, and do not attack me. I turn around and see the awful truth: they are not hostile because they are not my enemies, and they are not muttering, they are praying. It may be babbling now, but how long have they been at it? How long have they been like this? How much pain must they be in? At some point, years ago, they would have lost all rational thought. Their prayers would no longer be distinct calls to gods that have never helped them, but instead just mindless strings of syllables, the last thing that their cracked minds could focus on, the only part of them that exists outside the pain. This thing I’m standing over is not raising a hand against me; it is raising both hands, and it is using them to beg for death.
I pull out my club once more.
I smash the egg sack open. The creature lets out a final sigh. Release. I don’t stop there: I smash again and again, killing the maggots as soon as they flop to the ground, giving them no chance to move or attack me. I do the same with the other one, but it only takes me a single 2-handed smash with my club to kill all of the maggots at once.
I fight Quelaag again, this time with my Black Knight Sword. Those creatures outside were her work. Those creatures outside deserved my pity; Quelaag deserves only my blade. My only regret is that her death is quick and clean. Were it in my power, I would grant her 1000 years of torture. I would cast her into a pit along with every one of her abominations, and I would let them poor their rage and pain onto her. With her legs broken and her fangs blunted, she would be helpless to stop them. I would feel the swell of her screams, and I would bask in them like one might bask in the warm glow of the sun. Her agony would be my pleasure, and I would want for nothing for as long as it took to settle her accounts.
But I do not have the luxury of time. I have things I must do. In the end, as awful a being as Quelaag is–as she was–she is no more than a bug caught underfoot as I take another step toward realizing my destiny.
I tell myself that for those last, desperate moments, she knew what fear was. As the threw everything she had at me and didn’t even slow me down, as I cut into her again and again with my demon slaying sword, as she slashed madly at me with her own blade, only to be blocked every time by my shield, she knew what it was to be weak, to be helpless. Her last thoughts in this life were of me, of the pain I brought to her, and of how, even after all of her terrible works, she could not stop me. In Lordran, a land bereft of justice, sometimes it is only the ideas we hold onto that matter.
I cannot turn back the clock, but I can smash the hourglass of anyone who wrongs me. If I have to build my thrown from the bones of my enemies then I will feel that much more comfortable when I finally sit in it.
I gain a Soul of Quelaag, and Twin Humanities. That should come in handy.
There is an old building at the back of Quelaag’s chamber. This is where she skittered from when I first came down here. Was it where she lived before becoming like this? Or maybe something she was protecting. What could be in there that is so important.
Inside is nothing I could have expected. It’s the gateway to another world. The entrance to deep parts of Lordran, where no human should ever go. There is a large, open room. Outside of it all I see is orange and red. All I feel is heat. Out there is a land of burnt stone and lava. There is a switch, and a passage with stairs leading further down. I take them.
There is a metal disk set in the centre of the floor here, with what looks a lot like a button in the middle. Another elevator? There are no chains around, and stepping on it does nothing. I keep going. There is a break in the wall, and a tunnel that leads deeper still.
I return to the room above to throw the switch, thinking that it might open up a passage, or activate something in the room below.
I get another surprise when a bell rings. I didn’t even notice it. Apparently, I’ve found the second bell without even looking for it. A cutscene plays. A giant pulls open a gate. It’s the gate leading into Sen’s Fortress.
At this point I could cut and run, take my winnings back to Undead Parish, level up a bit, recover my Fire Keeper’s Soul, and head into Sen’s Fortress. Or I could take a peak around that last corner and see what I can see.
Of course I’m going to take a look. Come on now: I can’t get that close and not check it out.
I exit through the break in the wall. Another short passage through the webs of the hive. I can see what is outside the hive now. A whole bunch of those crawling egg sacks, and the dark, but ever-welcome, shadow of a bonfire.
I take cautious steps to the bonfire. None of the egg sacks make a move. I light the bonfire and sit down. I also let out a breath that I didn’t know I was holding. I spend what Souls I can on another point in strength.
I clear out a few of the eggs sacks nearest the bonfire, but they all respawn when I sit down. Unfortunate, but there’s nothing to be done about that. At least they’re leaving me alone.
I’m not sure how to feel about today. My intention had been to stop ping-ponging around Lordran, to pick an area and comb through it thoroughly enough to feel satisfied before moving on. It worked well enough in Darkroot Garden, but since then I’ve been deflected from every direct route I’ve tried. I made little progress in New Londo, then went to Blighttown in the hopes that I would find the key I needed. That should have been a simple task, but instead I’ve rung a bell that opened my way into Sen’s Fortress, and from there into the realm of the last living god. I have also found a path deeper into the earth than I’d ever thought I’d go. Then there’s the matter of the murdered Fire Keeper. And I didn’t even go through Blighttown.
I spend a long time thinking about my next move. Every choice feels like a compromise. I wish things were simple. I wish I could return to the time before that bridge, where I first found my path altered beyond my control. That dragon has a lot to answer for. But why does it have to be complicated? When I break it down, the complications are only a result of too many choices. That’s not a real problem.
I can make things simple again. All I have to do is keep my eyes forward and keep my legs moving. I have been thrown off many times, but the worst thing to do when lost is wander aimlessly. If this is a maze then I need to find the end of each path before I know which one will get me where I want to go.
Tomorrow, I do not storm Sen’s Fortress, nor do I conquer the rest of Blighttown. The key can wait. So can the Fire Keeper; she’s dead anyway.
No, I stay the course. Quelaag was the first demon I killed, but she will not be the last. I’m going to search the Demon Ruins, and Hell itself if that’s down there somewhere, until I run into a real wall, and only then will I return to the surface.
And, gods willing, I’ll do it with my head held high.