Dark Souls Diaries – Day 21

Lordran is a land of contradiction, and it has forced me to come to terms with being alone. That loneliness is partially a choice; it helps to insulate me against those who would try to dissuade me from the path I walk. At the same time, I know that I must be careful about completely insulating myself from other perspectives. There is always the danger of becoming so single-minded that everyone else turns into either a means or an obstacle. Too far down that road and I’ll be in the same place that Lautrec was, a treacherous lowlife who existed only to serve himself and his misguided ideals.

That’s not to say that I feel the need to get that much closer to the other Undead I’ve encountered in Lordran. For every benign Solaire there is the chance of meeting another Lautrec or Patches, and, while I can afford to continue without their help, I have no desire to be stabbed in the back again.

What is important is that I never lose sight of the actual point of my mission. That I am sure nobody I talk to would support my decision to become a Darkwraith and rebel against their gods shouldn’t matter. I do what I do for their benefit, not my own. I do it for humanity as a whole, to give them the chance they deserve. My vendetta against the gods may be personal, but it is not only that. To justify my ends I cannot neglect the means. Even if those reasons are still ultimately selfish: what legacy can I hope for if those that I seek to help can only see me as a heretic and murderer? What moral authority can I claim if I am ultimately no more moral than the very gods I am trying to destroy?

What could I tell myself in the end if I am incapable of elevating my own human nature above the pompous beings who tell me that I unable to?

I seek no harm against those who do no harm to me, even though I might ultimately be making this harder for myself. Nothing about this should be easy. I will mourn their passing, but it will stop me, because I am certain about what I am doing, with how my life will end.

Firelink Shrine

I invest the Souls I have on hand into a point of strength. I need that 50 to use the Dragon Greatsword and to feel like I’m justified in dumping all my stats there to begin with.

bonfire 1

Now I need to decide on my next destination. The Duke’s Archives, Tomb of the Giants, or Demon Ruins. As usual, my decision is made based on curiosity: why is it that the Demon Ruins are missing a waypoint bonfire? The Duke’s Archives have the gateway bonfire in Anor Londo, and there’s a bonfire half way down Tomb of the Giants, but I got all the way to the blocked doorway in Demon Ruins and did not find a bonfire that counts enough to be a warp point. Did I miss one?

Demon Ruins

I run down through Blighttown, through Quelaag’s Domain, and into the Demon Ruins without finding anything new. Only when I’m making my descent toward the previously blocked passage does anything change. I am human this time, while I was not when I first came here, and that gives good old Kirk, the Knight of Thorns, a chance to invade my world and attack me. It happens when I’m on the narrow ledge leading down from the drained lake of magma to the temple-like structures of the Demon Ruins themselves.

kirk

Kirk shows up behind me just as I’m about to take on the Capra Demons waiting at the other side of the ledge. I turn to face him. He is helpless against the power of the greatshield, his pathetic attacks bouncing off harmlessly and giving me ample opportunity to stab him in the face. Soon, he is dead, and I am 25000 Souls and 1 Humanity richer. From his body I pick up a Barbed Sword, which appears to be just like a normal longsword, but with added bleeding damage, and no thrusting attacks (which is very strange, as its damage is listed as thrusting).

Next, I take down the Capra Demons. One of them drops a Demon Machete, which is the huge, heavy blades they swing around. It has good strength gain, and I figure it to be analogous with the Dragon Greatsword that I intend to use. While fighting with it, I notice that its great weight causes more staggers than my other weapons, which tells me that flinching is less a product of damage than it is of force; the sword itself, as it is without upgrades, does little damage, but staggers a Capra Demon on the first hit, while other weapons, that do more damage but are lighter, take 3 or 4 hits to cause a stagger. Good to know there’s an advantage for being so slow.

I get by all of the demons and down to where the yellow light had been blocking my path. Past that point is, almost immediately, another doorway of light, but at least this time it’s only white.

demon ruins white light 1

To the right of the doorway is another passage.

demon ruins side passage 1

I climb down one of the huge roots that has formed a ramp to the dusty stone floor below. Behind me the way is blocked by more roots, and ahead, after walking down some stairs, I find only a few large, red beetles that do nothing but hop around.

bugs 1

There is a door as well, something ornate, with intricate, swirling patterns carved into it, but I cannot open it. From the other side I hear a rumbling, powerful sound. More molten stone? Perhaps it’s best that I can’t open it yet.

side passage door 1

I head back up the root, then drop down to pick up a body on one of the ledges above the passage. I get the Soul of a Brave Warrior.

With nowhere else to go, I head into the white light.

Demon Firesage

He charges at me down a wide corridor choked with old roots. I recognize this brand of ugly: the Demon Firesage is not much more than an Asylum Demon that’s hit its edgy years of teen-aged rebellion where it decides that burning things is really cool, and burning himself is even cooler.

demon firesage

The fight is easy enough. He only has one dangerous attack, which is an area of effect burst of fire magic that is apparently unblockable if I’m standing too close. Other than that, I have plenty of time to wait for openings and get my damage in. Soon, he is dead.

“Victory Achieved”

I receive 20k Souls and 1 Humanity. On the ground, I find a Demon Catalyst. It tells me that the Firesage was the first demon. I hope the ones that came later were a little better equipped for a fight.

At the other end of the boss room are stairs leading up, and stairs leading down, as well as a bunch of those floating statues that keep trying to breath fire on me.

demon ruins stairs 1

I go up, figuring that my overall goal will be to get lower and lower into the Demon Ruins until I find Izalith, so going up is more likely to lead to a side passage with extra loot. I can hear the deep, rumbling growl of more statues nearby. What is odd about them is that, although every statue I pass seems to float slightly, not all of them come alive to attack me. What are they, anyway? I can understand demons hanging around in the Demon Ruins, but these guys are standing around, often, where non-fire breathing statues would be. Perhaps whatever force caused the demons to appear also somehow brought life to inanimate stone. In which case, it’s mighty convenient that there happened to be a lot of statues carved to look like tubby, fang-faced monsters just lying around. Which brings to mind another question: were they modelled on something, or was there just a crazy, obsessed sculptor who made it his life’s goal to populate the land with his vision.

statue 1

At the top of the stairs, I find 3 statues in a tight group, and after breaking them apart I pick up a Soul of a Brave Warrior from the body of some pour unfortunate who was somehow too slow to keep them from killing him. Honestly, these guys are utter chumps.

A little further up and I find a pleasant surprise. A metal disk, like the one in Quelaag’s Domain. Positioned as it is, at the apex of this area, I figure it to be a shortcut, if I can activate it.

metal disc 1

I step onto the platform, then quickly off again, as I’m worried about the statues around it coming alive to attack me. As I move across the metal, I plant a foot on the button at its centre, depressing it, which activates whatever magical mechanism is needed to get it moving. As soon as I step off, the button glows with a soft inner fire, and the platform flies straight up into the air, disappearing from sight. None of the statues come to life, and I’m slightly worried that I just missed a chance to get out of here. I can see that if I drop down I will land back at the exit out to the outer Demon Ruins.

After a few seconds, the platform returns, and this time I step on and stay on.

As I expected, I end up in Quelaag’s Domain. Somehow (and it’s all magic anyway, so I shouldn’t be surprised), the elevator was in Quelaag’s Domain when I first came through there, but was inactive, and it was also down in Demon Ruins, where it was active. Unlike other elevators or moving paths I’ve found, there is no switch here to call a missing platform, so I guess it will just be in both places at once, which is fine with me. I’ve found some sort of shortcut, provided there’s a bonfire back down where I fought the Demon Firesage, and there usually is one after a boss like that.

Sure enough, when I take the elevator back down, and then use the stairs to descend further, I find an unlit bonfire, and at the bottom of the passage, down a winding old root, is a doorway of white light.

demon bonfire 1

There is also a summoning sign, which tells me that I’ve already found another boss fight. Should I go up to the bonfire and spend my Souls, just to be safe? There is no true safety in Lordran, and I should not be coddling myself. Besides, that’s an awful defeatist attitude to have before a boss fight.

demon summon sign

I summon Solaire. We step through the light.

Centipede Demon

A cutscene plays. We’re standing in a large cave, magma pooled all around the floor. That’s not what grabs our attention, though: up above, hanging from a wall, is pretty much the nastiest looking beast I’ve seen in my time running around ancient, forsaken Lordran–and I’ve seen my fair share of uglies here.

Centipede_Demon

First of all, it’s big. Huge, even. The size of the largest of the dragon-kind I’ve encountered, and probably bigger. Then, there are the half-dozen centipede limbs that it flails around. I mean, it would be bad enough to have a massive bug-monster stomping through the magma at me, but this is a massive bug-monster stomping through the magma at me while also gesticulating wildly with its centipede arms and tail, as if to demonstrate exactly how mad it is that I’ve interrupted its nap.

centipede demon 1

As I said, this room is full of magma, with patches of higher, cooler, ground dotted around. Where I’m standing, just outside the doorway of white light, is a small safe zone, and I’m not sure it’s in my best interest to leave it.

Solaire tosses a lightning bolt at the demon. The demon responds by thrusting its longest limb at us. I block, and Solaire gets slapped upside the head. Eventually, it gets close enough for us to attack, and while Solaire distracts it, I move in close to get some damage done. Unfortunately , I did not account for this thing’s greatest weapon: I had been so focused on the pools of deadly magma, the heavy, spiky limbs, and its chest cavity full of teeth (because at this point, why not?), that I failed to notice its ankles. As soon as I get close to attack it, the Centipede Demon lightly brushes a foot against my body, and though I have full HP, I fall down dead.

I know I said the first one was free, but I didn’t mean it to be that free.

I don’t bother to reverse my Hollowing or summon Solaire again. If this fight is going to be that silly, then I’m not going to waste my resources.

I step into the boss room again and recover my body. The Centipede Demon runs over to me and knocks me into the nearby magma with one of its bug-limbs, where I burn to death before I can roll to safety.

On my next attempt things actually get bad. I step through the white light, but I cannot find my body. I search desperately for it, expecting that it will appear outside of the magma, like it always has before when I’ve died in the stuff, but it hasn’t, and if it is in the magma then it’s too far away to access and the soft green glow of the recovery stain is being hidden by the strong red and yellow glow of the magma itself. I fight the boss again, and do a lot of damage to it, but somehow it hits me through my guard (it doesn’t break my guard, it just hits me even though I’m blocking), and I die again. I have lost 60k Souls and a Humanity.

With final, grim resolve, I return to the Demon’s lair. I pull out my club and stand strong, waiting for it to come near. I smash at it, knocking off some of its limbs. One of them drops an Orange Charred Ring, another comes to life and hops around after me. Feeling its own desperation, the Demon grabs at me and attempts to stuff me into its chest-mouth, but I break free, and, with one last swing of my club, I squash this bug once and for all.

“Victory Achieved”

I get a homeward bone, 1 Humanity, and 40k Souls. If I hadn’t lost the 60k I already had, I think I’d have been able to get 3 stat points out of that. Too bad.

The Orange Charred Ring allows me to walk through lava while only taking minimal damage. I suppose it would have been useful in the fight itself. It also reveals that I was mistaken about Ceaseless Discharge: his suffering was not due to a parasitic attempt to control him, but instead by having to spend all of his time standing around in lava, and this ring was made to alleviate that. His sister made it for him, and she was a witch of Izalith, which means that he is the only son of the of the one true Witch of Izalith. That his sister gave him the ring and not his mother strikes me as odd, but that the Chaos Witch had a son that looked like that is just as interesting. Like Quelaag, who somehow became a half-demon spider. She was not born that way, so I might assume that Ceaseless Discharge wasn’t, either.

That still doesn’t explain why one of his sisters was laying dead on an altar nearby.

Lost Izalith

With the Orange Charred Ring equipped, I am free to explore the rest of the boss’s chamber. Running through the lava is just ticks of life lost, instead of chunks, so I can pass through pools of the stuff without issue. I find a body nearby with a green titanite shard, and a strange wall with a crack in it like there used to be a door there, but it was blocked up for whatever reason. I take a couple swings at it, but it’s not false, or ready to break.

cracked wall

I find a side passage leading further down as well, but first I return to the previous bonfire, where I also find a body holding a brave warrior’s Soul. I’m not about to throw my loot away again. I sit down at the bonfire and take a point in strength.

bonfire 2

Before going further, I decide to test something. I warp back to Firelink Shrine, and, as I suspected, I still don’t have a bonfire to warp to in the Demon Ruins. It makes no sense to me. Why everywhere else, but not there? Am I expected to run back all the way from Firelink Shrine if I need to duck out?

Eventually, I do find what I’m looking for: there is a bonfire in Quelaag’s Domain, which I find behind a false wall. It’s in the room with the elevator, which makes the most sense. I rest there, then run out to the bonfire immediately outside, the one at the top of the Demon Ruins that’s surrounded by the egg bearing Undead, and find a new warp destination: “Daughter of Chaos.” I decided that this was the most likely place to have an extra bonfire as it was where the shortcut I found lead to. That’s a relief.

quelaag's bonfire

Before I could access the bonfire, I had to get past another egg bearer. This one could talk, though. He asks if I am a new servant of Our Fair Lady, and, thinking that it will get me where I want to go, I tell him that I am. He wriggles out of the way.

egg carrier

That’s when I see her, the Fair Lady, the Daughter of Chaos. She is a creature that was once like Quelaag, a witch grafted onto a spider demon, but she is pale, sickly, and probably unable to move.

fair lady 1

I talk to her, and she can reinforce flasks like a Fire Keeper. This bonfire was already lit before I arrived, so I assume that she’s actually a Fire Keeper herself. The only response she gives me, though, is, “. . . ?” At first I think that she was somehow silenced like the Fire Keeper at Firelink Shrine, but her response is not a lack of response, but instead a questioning blankness. She is not mute, but she is probably blind, and cannot tell who I am.

She has a Covenant I can join, which I assume to be what her little servant was talking about when I first entered. Without being able to talk to her I have no reason to offer my services, though.

I speak to the egg bearer again. He can upgrade my pyromancy flame, either because he was once a pyromancer, or perhaps just because of his association with the Witches of Izalith, and he sells a roster of the people who have joined the Fair Lady’s Covenant. Nothing useful.

I reverse my Hollowing before leaving. I can’t even kill this spider demon, because she’s the Fire Keeper here. Maybe later.

There is only one more curious feature here: a short, dead-end hall. But there is no false wall there, so it’s probably just another oddity like the cracked wall in the Centipede Demon’s lair.

I head back down to that boss room, and take the tunnel, which leads out to yet another bonfire, and Solaire.

centipede bonfire

Solaire is not his usual chipper self. All he will say is that after all of his searching, he still cannot find it. Not at all sure what it is that he’s looking for, only that it’s probably nothing to do with me. After all, he was in Anor Londo, and apparently not for the Lordvessel, so what else could it be?

I cross another lava pond, climbing across another of the ubiquitous roots, and step through a gap in the wall. I have finally reached Izalith.

lost izalith 1

Below, a lake of hot lava, full up with giant beasts that look an awful lot like the hindquarters of an undead dragon. Through them is the ancient, pyramid architecture of the city itself. Everywhere, the roots.

I find a couple of bodies with Undead Souls on them. I have to run through the lake of lava in order to progress, going from root to root until I can get to more solid ground. For the most part, the lava beasts seem docile. I wonder how many I will have to kill to get through to the city.

The glare from the lava makes it difficult to see where I’m headed, but I after a while I make it to the base of a tower.

izalith tower 1

So far, none of the lava beasts have attacked me. I figure that now that I’ve found some solid ground I may as well see what I’m up against. I take out my throwing knives and tag the nearest monster.

lava beast 1

It turns on me, runs over, and stomps around a bit. I kill it, but only gain 2000 Souls. Not really worth going out of my way for.

lava beast 2

I circle the tower, looking for a way in. Another lava beast attacks me, this time without any aggression on my part. I kill it as well, having an especially easy time when it jumps into the air, belly-flops onto the ground, and just lays there while I stab it to death.

Inside the tower is a single chest, and inside that is the Soul of a Great Hero.

tower chest 1

I run across more lava, and find a root I can climb to a crumbling stone bridge above the tower. I can’t get into the city from there, but I do find a chest with Twin Humanities inside. From there, I spot the twinkling of items at the edge of the lava.

lava body

I make my way into another tower, where I kill some floating statues, and inside, past a false wall, is a bonfire.

tower bonfire

To get to the item in the lava, I will need to fight past at least a few of the lava beasts. Every time I step into the lava, one of them is likely to come after me. I step out and the nearest lava beast turns toward me. I back away to the tower, where I can fight without my feet being on fire. Unfortunately, I do not account for the statues having respawned after I rested at the bonfire, and one of them sneaks up behind me and starts to blast me with fire. I turn to deal with it, and notice that things have just gotten a lot darker, as if a shadow has fallen over where I’m standing. Just as I realize what the problem is, the lava beast slams down onto me, and I die.

Thankfully, none of the lava beasts respawns. I return, recover my body, then proceed to kill everything, using the Dragon Tooth for added vertical reach to help hit the lava beast’s body. After I’ve cleared the way, I run across the lava toward the items, only to discover that the way to them is blocked by a large, petrified root.

items blocked

I get around the root and pick up a pair of Divine Blessings. I have to use a flask charge to make it back to safety, but other than that, it’s as easy a trip as I could expect running through a lake of molten rock.

There are more of the lava beasts nearby, and I wonder if they also might be guarding something.

lava beasts

I kill a few, but decide that it’s taking too long, and for only 2000 Souls. I get back onto the bridge above the lake and survey the area to look for any other items, but see none. Time to move on.

izalith 1

I find my way up into the city through yet another twisting root, the bottom of which is located inside an upturned stone tube, a tower that must have been knocked into the lava long ago.

I reverse my Hollowing at the tower bonfire, then enter the city.

izalith 2

I can hear growling. More of the floating statues populate the city’s ancient, broken streets. They come at me alone or in pairs, and each of them falls to a single swing of my club. The only issue I’m having is that, like many other areas that are choked by roots, it is very easy to get stuck on the terrain here. Even the slightest root that forms a bump in my path is enough to halt progress until I can roll around it. It’s frustrating, since it makes navigating an otherwise simple area tedious. At one point I actually get worried that I am stuck permanently between a pair of narrow roots, and I have to roll desperately in every direction until I make it out.

Ahead is a tunnel underneath low, wide bridge. It is full of brittle roots and many of the floating statues. Above is a body caught on a root.

bridge body

Past the tunnel are stairs leading up into the higher parts of the city. At the top I can see a strange monster. An orange body dotted with black eyes, and hose-like limbs that suggest cannons.

cannon creature 1

I run up the stairs until I get the monster’s attention, then lead it back down to the bottom where I can study it. It walks with goofy suction sounds, each leg popping as it leaves the ground. Its cannon limbs occasionally shoot out jets of what I assume is steam, but I have no interest in getting close enough to find out for sure.

cannon creature 2

After I’ve seen what it can do, I club it to death and move on.

At the top of the stairs is another tower. From there I can drop down to the bridge I passed underneath. I loot bodies there, picking up a Soul of a Hero and a Ring of Rare Sacrifice.

I walk up another short flight of stairs and run into a familiar looking black-robed figure. It’s a pyromancer, dressed in the gold-hemmed robes that I had found on the altar near Ceaseless Discharge. This must be a surviving Daughter of Chaos.

pyromancer 1

She starts throwing fire around, and at the same time Kirk decides to invade me again.

I retreat from the pyromancer. Kirk appears behind me, and I lead him back down the stairs where I killed the cannon demon. He hasn’t brought any new tricks with him, so I don’t waste time and just beat him to a pulp with my club. I gain around 27000 Souls, and pick up a Humanity (That seems to have been cursed? It partially fills my curse bar, but not enough to be dangerous.). I then run back up the stairs and club the pyromancer until she stops spewing flames (not very difficult, as every club swing interrupts her spell casting). From her I pick up an Izalith Catalyst, which confirms that she was a Daughter of Chaos.

I find another root, which I take down to an area full up with more of the floating statues. As I tab out to take my screenshot, I notice that my controller is rumbling. I quickly tab back to the game and find that one of the floating statues has struggled its way up the root and is trying to roast me in my armour. I’m down to about a third of my HP already, which is the most danger I’ve been in so far. I smash the statue. That’s never happened to me while playing. I was sure that the statue would not be able to get up the root at me.

izalith 3

I go down the root, kill more statues. In a nearby tunnel I spot a body with a twinkling item. I run toward it, only to find the ground giving out below me. I fall down, and land in an old, abandoned sewer system. All around are more roots, and directly ahead I see another familiar figure.

onion knight 1

I guess I should have been expecting to run into him somewhere in Izalith, and it makes sense that he’s stuck again. Though, how did he get down here? Not through the same way I did. Probably the way I’ll take to get out.

I circle around the roots till I can get close to the onion knight. As usual, he’s asleep, and I’m pretty sure I’ve figured out what his problem is without even asking.

onion knight 2

When he wakes up, he tells me that it’s time for him to repay me for all the times I’ve saved him. He’ll charge the monsters while I run away. Before I can point out that this wouldn’t actually be saving me at all, since the monsters are not really in a position to attack either of us, he leaps into the pit. Well, I’m not about to let him get away with that, so I dive in after him, club swinging. We lay into the beasts, which are more of the cannon monsters. All the while, the onion knight is screaming about delivering his wrath and shouting other battle cries, but I’m too busy to pay much attention. Almost as soon as I land, I become poisoned: there is a layer of thick, sticky sewage at the bottom of that pit, making it hard to move, like the tar at the bottom of Sen’s Fortress.

Seconds later, the fight is over, and all of the beasts are dead. The onion knight walks to the other side of the room and stands expectantly. I loot a nearby body for an Undead Soul, then stand around till the poison has run its course. As soon as it ends, I become poisoned again. I had thought that the monsters had poisoned me, possibly with their steam jets, but it’s the sticky sewage here that’s doing it, which means that I can’t stay.

onion knight 3

It seems as though everything worked out for the best, though.

I walk over to the onion knight, who only admonishes me for not having run when I had the chance. Though he looks fine, he calls out for his “Lin” and then slumps to the ground and dies.

onion knight 4

I am horrified. I was sure that we had made it again. This idiot! The one time he decides to take action instead of waiting on his ass for me to do the work, and this happens. I could have taken those things on my own; I would have taken them on my own.

The onion knight–no, Siegmeyer of Catarina–is dead. I gain 1000 Souls, which seems like a paltry  amount for having witnessed such a thing, 3 Humanity, and the Speckled Stoneplate Ring, which has fire, lightning, and magic resistance bonuses.

I can’t stay here to mourn. I have to get away from the poison. I put on my Iron Ring, fight my way past another of the cannon monsters, and find stairs leading back up. Before taking them, I do a circuit of the sewers, where I find a chest containing a red titanite slab, which should allow me to fully upgrade a fire weapon. I find a cannon creature guarding a body, and on each of them I find a red titanite chunk, and finally, I find a root that leads back to the surface.

I’m running low on healing now. I walk up some stairs and find a bridge full of roots, and a Titanite Demon.

titanite demon 1

I decide to double back first, to check the area that the Daughter of Chaos had been guarding. Maybe there’s another bonfire.

Unfortunately, all I find are another cannon beast, which drops a white titanite chunk, a chest containing the Chaos Fire Whip pyromancy spell, and a large doorway of white light.

izalith doorway

This is a bit of an issue. Behind that doorway is surely a boss, and the last time I rested at a bonfire was all the way down in the lake of lava.

I decide to go after the Titanite Demon first, thinking that maybe it’s guarding another bonfire.

I return to the bridge, and, just to be safe, I pull out my Black Knight Greataxe.

titanite demon 2

It starts to crawl toward me. We fight on the narrow bridge, and I am much more worried about it somehow knocking me off into the lava below than actually killing me. I take the fight slowly, deliberately, to the point where I’m probably taking more damage than I should be, but I still kill it. I pick up a demon titanite.

Past the bridge I spot a faint glow. A bonfire?

izalith glow 1

I leave the bridge, and find a crystal lizard, which I bash with my club. I pick up 2 twinkling titanite and a red titanite chunk.

crystal lizard

I still see a glow ahead, at the bottom of some stairs. I start down toward it. It’s not a bonfire, it’s a bunch of bugs and a knight. Another familiar knight.

sunlight knight 1

Solaire mutters about having finally found his own sun. I realize that he has gone insane, if not Hollowed. He is wearing a strange crown, which was the source of the glow I had been seeing. He attacks me, and though I held no grudge against him–even if his goofy attitude often seemed to make light of the deadly serious nature of my own mission in Lordran–I must defend myself. In a contest of arms, there is no dispute, and, with some reluctance, I cave his skull in.

He drops a set of sunlight and iron armour, along with his sunlight sword. There is no doubt left that it was Solaire that I killed. I also recover a Sunlight Maggot, which appears to be the crown he had been wearing. Could it be that our disconnected flows of time made this encounter an inevitability from the start? Maybe the first time I met him he had already sealed this fate. That’s comforting, in a way, but it still only something that I tell myself.

There is a door here. Carved wood that I recognize. I can hear buzzing and clicking from the other side.

wooden door 1

I step close and touch the wood, which causes the door to open, revealing the passage back to Quelaag’s Domain, the one that I couldn’t open when I first came through here. There are more beetles here, and I kill them.

I return to the Fair Lady’s bonfire, and find something new: there is a body in the hall that had been empty before.

queelag body

From it, I recover a set of Armour of Thorns, which is what Kirk had been wearing. He was announced as a Darkwraith every time he invaded me, so why would his body be in the headquarters of a different Covenant? I mean, I know that the Darkwraiths are probably all assholes, but this guy was a sadistic freak. Probably doesn’t matter, as long as I now know that he won’t be bothering me again.

I rest at the bonfire and get 2 more points of strength.

bonfire 3

I return to Lost Izalith through the same way I’d left it. This is still shorter, I think, than having to run up from the lava lake.

I am presented with yet another unfortunate sight: the Titanite Demon has respawned.

titanite demon 3

Is this a source of infinite demon titanite? All I really care about is that he’s standing between me and the boss, but I should still check. I walk up behind it and smack its tail with my club. It turns around and stabs me with its long, forked spear, killing me in an instant. Whoops.

I return, pick up my body, and beat it into dust. I get 2 demon titanite and another titanite catchpole, which is its weapon. Good to know I can get more of that stuff whenever I need it.

Now I’m ready for the boss. There was no summoning sign, and I suppose that’s fitting, as I’ve just seen the deaths of the companions I was likely to summon. I’m on my own here.

I step through the white light.

Bed of Chaos

I’m standing at the top of a steep ramp. I step on and slide down, past more old roots. I land at the bottom and see what I’m up against.

bed of chaos 1

So, this is the source of the roots I’ve been seeing everywhere down here, the source of whatever disaster overtook this city.

It slaps at me with branches,wide hands with pointed roots like claws. I don’t see a way to attack it, though. I make my way to my left, where I see a suspicious glow, blocking its attacks on the way. I get close to the orange glow and start bashing away, breaking down roots until I make contact with a spot that seems to be an anchor. A cutscene plays and the boss sprouts a fiery spirit from its back, which in turn unfurls a long limb not dissimilar to the jointed appendages that Ceaseless Discharge had used to attack me.

Now the stone floor is collapsing out from under me as I run away. I get hit in the back by a tree limb, but get to my feet and make it back to where I started. From there, I try to attack its middle, but I’m completely blocked by thick roots. So I go around to the right, the ground still collapsing out from under me, and hit the other anchor point, which causes another cutscene to play where the fiery spirit pulls out another long tentacle limb. The tree has limbs resting on the ground here, but hitting them does no damage. I have to get back out. I have no done damage, and I’ve only made the fight worse by freeing up additional ways for it to attack me.

Beneath me, the ground erupts in flame. I heal, then run. I get back to the middle, and all of the ground there falls away as well, revealing a root-ramp that I could drop down to. Maybe I haven’t even reached the boss yet. Before I can position myself to jump down, flames hit me from below, and a clawed hand smacks me from the side, killing me.

I respawn in Quelaag’s Domain and run back to the boss, completely bypassing the Titanite Demon. I go through the white light and slide down the ramp, and, good news, the fiery spirit is still out and the floor is still broken up, so I don’t have to go through that process again.

bed of chaos 2

I run forward and drop down to where I think the root should be, but miss and fall to my death. Whoops again.

I slide down the ramp once more, and this time the boss doesn’t even wait for me to hit the bottom before attacking. Behind me, the ramp ignites, and when I stumble to the bottom there is a tree branch ready to smack me. I block it, recover my body, and then drop down to the root. I run up and get close to the beast’s heart. I can break through the branches here, and after getting through a few I can see that I’m getting closer to some sort of flaming heart.

bed of chaos 3

I get closer and find a burning bug, which I squash. All at once, the boss dies. Well, that was simple enough. I gain a Lord Soul, 1 Humanity, and a bonfire appears. When I light that, I also gain 60k Souls.

chaos bonfire

The Lord Soul once belonged to the Witch of Izalith, who tried to create her own Flame, but instead created the Bed of Chaos, which consumed Izalith and became the source of demons. I suppose a few escaped, like Quelaag and the Fair Lady, who were only partially corrupted, and the other Daughter of Chaos who was guarding the boss’s door, and who seemed to have escaped all corruption.

I rest at the bonfire and get 2 more points of strength. I’m getting closer all the time.

bonfire 4

I then warp to Firelink Shrine, which feels emptier every time I return. I talk to the pyromancer, who bothers me about some pyromancy I saw, but I’m not paying attention. I agree to tell him about where I saw whatever it is that I saw, and he seems happy about that. On a whim, I decide to upgrade my pyromancy flame to +6, which uses up my excess Souls.

I warp to the Abyss, talk to Kaathe. I decide to offer him my extra Humanity, which he takes. I get a message saying that my Covenant bond has been strengthened, but there is no reward yet. How many do I have to give him before I get something back?

I then go to the Firelink Alter and place the Lord Soul into the Lordvessel. Nothing much happens with that, either. I use another Humanity to reverse my Hollowing. It’s been a long day, and I need my beauty sleep.

Exodus

Izalith was gone. That was the first thing on their minds. For the rest of their short, miserable lives, it was the only thing on their minds.

The horrors they had seen were ancillary, a byproduct of the true horror that could only exist in the mind. It was not physical, not even mental in the sense of the nightmares fuelled by the dark. They had seen enough twisted bodies, heard enough of the distorted screams of the newly dammed (or their victims, who. most agreed, were the lucky ones), to have been numbed to that sort of terror.

What truly frightened them, what had shaken them to the cores of their Souls, was that they had been wrong. Wrong in a way that was so profound that it no longer mattered that they had ever been right.

Izalith was the grand experiment. Unlike the sun-bleached cities that the other gods chose to live in, or the sombre land of bones that Nito preferred, the Witch had promised to move the world forward.

The great spires had been built, and the people saw the Witch and her Daughters of Chaos as more than simple gods. The idea spread that perhaps Gwyn himself had knowledge of what they did, but to their followers it hardly mattered. What they knew was that the Witch had been there at the beginning, and she would be there in the end.

The Witch and her daughters held the mystery of ancient knowledge about them. They had an unknowable confidence that could never be questioned. Izalith was a self-contained community that had the most consistent peace of any city in the land. That was a peace born of a singular purpose, of a knowledge stronger than any faith. Izalith was built to service an ultimate end.

When the towers crumbled, when the fire erupted and the stone flowed in rivers of flame though the streets, when the roots broke the stone and the twisted demons crawled out of the cracks, the people of Izalith fled. Those that could, at least. But none of them really left that place: what they couldn’t bring with them was more than property, it was the way the world worked. The physical devastation was only surpassed by the shattering of their minds, and people wept openly in the plains below the city even as the lava poured in and the fire consumed them.

They did not weep for those they had lost, or even for the mistakes that had been made. They wept for the want of a single question. A question that was never asked because it never could have been asked. It was not merely taboo, it was unthinkable.

Izalith died, and countless people lost their lives. Lordran was scarred for all time, and, try as they might, the survivors would never recover, never pick up the pieces.

What else was there to live for when everything they knew was a lie? What else could they hope to accomplish when even their gods had been wrong?

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5 thoughts on “Dark Souls Diaries – Day 21

      1. they said there wasn’t going to be any dlc so that the game is stand alone and that people don’t have to buy more content to satisfy a full game but there is always a possibility that they could change their minds. DS2 has enough content that there doesn’t need to be any DLC in my opinion, ive played through NG++ and I think the game is awesome the way it is

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