Saturday December 21, 2019
Back to the Roots
“But even if a hero found a key in Lordran to liberate this prison, would he have the means, or the heart, to ever come back?”
Undead Asylum F2 West Key
Abracadaniel’s got a busy day today – we’ve got a bunch of small things to take care of before we hit the Lower Undead Burg and the Depths. Some of it is to prep for Blighttown, and some of it is to help us with future upgrades. First, we’ll head to our friendly neighbourhood blacksmith, Andre, and purchase the Crest of Artorias – this will allow us to open a locked door in Darkroot Garden. It’s 20,000 souls, which is A LOT this early in the game, but I’ve done some co-op and gotten enough souls to cover it.
From here, we can run around the Titanite Demon lurking below Andre’s smithy, and into Darkroot Garden. Coming here before Blighttown to farm the tree creatures can be extremely beneficial, as they are the main source of Moss. Specifically, Purple Moss to cure the Poison status, and the more important Blooming Purple Moss to cure Toxic. This will help a lot when we’re down in the poison swamp.
There’s a boss in this area that I want to kill as well – the Moonlight Butterfly is an easy boss, but annoying – it flies around the arena, and you can’t hit it until it lands. However, there is an NPC summon here to make our lives easier – Beatrice is a beast. I rest at the hidden bonfire in Darkroot, and reverse my hollowing so I can find her summon sign. There are a couple stone giant knights that I have to kill, but they aren’t too difficult. And because we have powerful ranged option with our Soul Arrows, we make quick work of this butterfly. Being a magic user is definitely making a lot of these boss fights waaay faster.
After the boss is defeated, we can head up the tower and loot the Divine Ember from a petrified Smith that looks a lot like Andre…
From here, I make a quick dash back to Firelink Shrine – I’d forgotten to speak to our friend, Griggs, that we freed from the Lower Burg last time. We can buy some stronger Soul Arrows from him – like Great Heavy Soul Arrow – and he gives us some interesting information about his master, Big Hat Logan. Eventually, we’ll be looking for Logan ourselves, so this info is helpful – Griggs tells us that Logan was headed to Anor Londo via Sen’s Fortress. We’ll keep that in mind for later.
I level up at the bonfire and then head back into Darkroot Garden. Using the Crest of Artorias, I open the sealed door, and prepare to face a group of annoying enemies. This section of the forest is protected by the Forest Hunter’s covenant, in place to protect the grave of Sir Artorias, the Abysswalker, from robbers and looters. Unfortunately, we’ll have to dispatch these poor people in order to move deeper into the forest. They’re not too difficult as long as you tackle them one at a time; there’s is also a “cheap” way of killing them by luring them off a nearby cliff if you’re struggling. Abracadaniel clears the area (with only one death) and we join the Forest Hunter covenant by speaking to the cat, Alvina, so we can safely travel through.
There’s an ember that I want further into the wood – I have to kill a couple of giant mushroom men that guard the chest, but once they’re out of the way, I get my ember and return to speak to one of the forest clan members.
Shiva of the East will be a merchant later on – and we may want to murder him in future, as he and his hidden ninja companion each have rings that will help us out.
But we’ll leave them for now. There’s something else I want to take care of before we start heading into the Depths – another ring that’s going to help us out a lot once we hit the flooded labyrinths, and swamps of Blighttown. While on the elevator down from the Undead Parish to Firelink Shrine, I roll off onto a ledge before I get to the bottom. From here, I can wander around the upper sections of the Shrine. I get onto the nearby rooftop and grab a key that we’ll need where we’re headed – it’s the Undead Asylum West Key.
That’s right – we’re headed back to the area where we started the game, back to the prison. I repeat the elevator process, and ascend to the very top of Firelink Shrine. The lovely crow that carried us to Lordran before will take us back to the Asylum if we curl up and wait in its nest.
There’s a bunch of new (much stronger) enemies waiting for us here – a couple of Black Knights, and a boss which we won’t be facing right now. I head back to our original cell that we woke up in, and defeat the Black Knight guarding it with my sword. There’s an item in here – it’s the Peculiar Doll.
There’s another Black Knight we can take out – then we find an old friend who has gone hollow. It’s Oscar – the knight who gave us the Estus Flask, and helped us out of our cell. Goodbye old friend! We do get his shield though, so thanks for that. Aesthetically, the Crest Shield is one of my favourites in the game, so I’ll probably use it for this playthrough – it also has extremely high magic defense.
Next, Abracadaniel heads upstairs (careful – the Indiana Jones ball trap is reset) and I can grab the item that I came here for: The Rusted Iron Ring. It doesn’t look like much, but this ring will allow us to maintain our movement speed in waist-high water. Normally, our walking would be impeded, but with this item, we can move and roll normally. It’s a huge help in the areas we’ll be traversing next. From here, we can head back to Firelink Shrine – our friend the crow is gonna ferry us again.
Alright, enough stalling – it’s time to take on the Lower Undead Burg and the dreaded Capra Demon. Sigh. I clear out the dogs again, and get ahead of a nasty trap waiting for us. Behind closed doors are some thieves waiting to ambush us – once you walk by, the doors will burst open and the 3 assassins will emerge. However, if you do a jumping R2 at the closed doors, you can actually hit them and kill them before the trap is triggered.
There are a couple more thieves and dogs waiting for us down the way, but we can dispatch them methodically, one at a time, before we get to the fog where the Capra Demon waits.
I hate this boss fight – with the demon, and his two dog companions, it’s an absolute shitshow. The arena is extremely small, and you’ll want to take out the two dogs as quickly as possible before you turn your attention to Capra. This fight was a bit of a mess – I ran up the stairs immediately and dealt with the dogs, but I realized that the Capra Demon was actually able to reach, and hit me, from below. I wasted a lot of Estus. So I ended up just dropping down and fighting him normally. Whew. That was stressful.
I also got the Demon Great Machete from him, which is exciting – I’ve never gotten this drop before!
From here, we can use our newly acquired Key to the Depths and head down into, well, the Depths. We also unlock a new shortcut back to Firelink Shrine, and a new Undead Merchant that sells moss and some other assorted items. I level up in Firelink, and then run back and down into the Depths. There are a bunch of torch hollows to deal with in this first area, and then the real enemy – the butcher. I take out her dog first, then deal with her. With my new Heavy Soul Arrows, she’s a piece of cake. The casting time on some of these spells is quite long though, which is starting to worry me.
There’s another NPC that needs our help in here – he’s stuck in a barrel in a room just ahead of where we killed the butcher. Be careful when approaching this room though – there’s another butcher hiding in the rafters above the hallway that will drop down when you pass underneath. Laurentius of the Great Swamp thanks us for freeing him – he tells us he was going to be her dinner! He heads back to Firelink (which I’ll do shortly) and I return to a hidden chute behind the butcher’s table. There’s also a chest here that contains the Large Ember – make sure to collect that before leaving. Down the chute (and past the gross pile of bones and bodies, nasty) we find a couple important items – the Sewer Chamber Key, and the Spider Shield. The Spider Shield is crucial – it is capable of blocking poison/toxic projectiles, and will be invaluable in Blighttown. I kill the giant rat down here, and then use a homeward bone to return to Firelink.
Our new pal Laurentius is here – and he gives us a Pyromancy Flame, so we can now use these fire magics if we want. I also go to check on our cleric friend, Petrus, and find that the group he’s been waiting on has arrived. There are two knights, Vince and Nico, and the holy maiden, Rhea of Thorolund. They’re heading into the Catacombs to seek Kindling, according to Griggs. Whatever that means. Surprise – they aren’t too interested in speaking to us.
Good luck, ya’ll. I rest at Firelink and level up before I head down into the watery labyrinth that is the Depths.
I’m going to end this entry here, as it’s getting quite long, but next time we’ll be heading into the Depths for real, and then into the dreaded Blighttown. Can’t wait.