Saturday December 28, 2019
“But be warned, gallantry entails great risks.”
Siegmeyer of Catarina
Here we are, back at it again in Anor Londo. I want to finish this area up, then do a couple of ‘optional’ side areas before progressing with the story. I’m not stalling though, haha… I’m not afraid, you’re afraid. I am quite nervous about the bosses coming up.
So in order to access the main cathedral where the boss room is, we’ll need to make a bit of a loop around the castle, unlocking doors to create shortcuts as we go. Before I start, I’ll knock through a nearby illusory wall to grab some treasures. The main enemies in this area are the Silver Knights, and some Mimics.
Havel’s full set, along with his Dragon Tooth weapon is down here. We collect it and then head upstairs. Turns out I can target the Titanite Demon in the little chapel from the balcony above, and take it out with Soul Arrows. This is both cheesy and very convenient. There are two Mimics out here that I kill, then a Silver Knight with a Dragon Slayer Great Bow. I head into the room to the left.
There’s a single Knight hiding through the next doorway, before we’re out onto a rooftop area. Again, there’s a Knight with a bow, and one guarding a staircase heading downward to the left of where we emerged. We head down there, and discover another one of our pals! As usual, he’s in a bit of a pickle.
We’ll need to help him out by clearing the room of three Silver Knights, which is easy enough. Siegmeyer will then reward you with the Tiny Being’s Ring, which gives you a small HP boost.
We head back up to the rooftop, and down the other staircase. We can unlock an important shortcut from here, that gets us back to the main bonfire. There is also a set of the Silver Knight armor in the chests, so we grab that.
From here, we can head into the main cathedral. There are two Giant knights in here, and a Silver Knight with a bow. We take care of these clowns before we – oh? What’s this?
The Black Eye Orb, which we picked up off the Fire Keeper’s corpse in Firelink is reacting. The murderer must be near…
Surprise, surprise, our old pal Lautrec, who disappeared abruptly from Firelink, is the murderer. Let’s make him pay. He has two lackeys with him – a mage, and a spear-wielder. The easiest way to deal with all these guys at the same time is to use the stairways to kite them around – they move at different speeds, so you’ll get more opportunities to take them on one at a time. Patience is key. In the original Dark Souls, you couldn’t heal here, but in the remaster, our Estus is available to us.
We get a Souvenir of Reprisal (the Darkmoon covenant item), the Fire Keeper Soul, and Lautrec’s ring – the Ring of Favour and Protection – for defeating him. I return to the bonfire to reverse my hollowing, because I want to see Abracadaniel’s beautiful face, then head to the boss room. Depending on how many tries this takes me, I might end up summoning Solaire, but for now, I head in solo.
As a magic user, this fight was actually quite a bit more manageable. I keep them both at a distance, using the pillars to block their rushes, and take aim at Smough with my Heavy Soul Arrows. I prefer to fight giant Ornstein (whichever boss you take down first, you’ll need to fight a stronger version of the one left alive) so I focus down Smough.
After Smough falls, its just me and Ornstein. I’m freaking out a little, because I wasn’t expecting this to go so smoothly on my first try. At this point, I’m relying on my Homing Soulmass to deal huge damage, while I focus on dodging his spear. Sorry, I don’t have as many screenshots of this fight as I would like – I was trying real hard not to die.
First try, first try, first try! Whew. Don’t know what I was worried about – that wasn’t too bad at all. We get the Soul of Ornstein, and because we fought him second, we also get the Leo Ring. You miss out on this item if you fight Smough in the second phase.
There’s a pair of elevators in this room, so we take one up – there’s a bonfire, and then, in the next room, a gigantic lady awaits us. Presumably this is the princess, Gwynevere, daughter of Gwyn. She gives us the Lordvessel, and asks us to take her father’s place as Kindling, by linking the First Flame again. In order to maintain the Age of Fire, we’ll need to sacrifice ourselves for everyone else. Hmm. Seems like communist propaganda, but I’ll think about it.
More importantly, with the Lordvessel, we can now warp between select bonfires. This is going to make our lives much easier. Just outside this room, on the upper balcony down from the bonfire, there’s a corpse with a set of armor – wonder who it is?
It’s Lautrec’s armor. He’s died here, in the cathedral. Rest in pieces. I want to talk to the Giant Blacksmith before I leave here, so I go talk to him, and grab the ring from the chest hidden by his elbow.
The Hawk Ring, like the Leo Ring, belonged to one of Gwyn’s four knights – Hawkeye Gough, who was unmatched with a Greatbow. Maybe we’ll meet him someday? From here, we can warp back to Firelink Shrine. We can return the Fire Keeper to Firelink, and say hi to Siegmeyer, who has returned here from the city of the Gods.
The Firelink Shrine bonfire is now usable again. We’ll use it to warp down to Blighttown. From the Daughters of Chaos bonfire, we want to hoon it all the way across the poison swamp, to the area with the giant tree roots on the opposite side.
We can walk up these roots, and access a hidden area in the game (it’s behind two illusory walls) called the Great Hollow. It’s a harrowing descent through the interior of this massive tree, with Basilisks lurking everywhere. But there are some great items around, and another secret once we reach the bottom – just be careful not to fall and die on the way there.
Ash Lake has some cool items, some enemies useful for farming Twinkling Titanite, and a hidden covenant. There’s another Hydra that we’ll have to beat in order to explore in peace, so I rest at the Ash Lake bonfire, then head over to take it on. This one was much more of a pain than the first – the area is more awkward to fight in, and it’s a lot stronger. Thankfully, it moves close enough to me that I can spam Soul Arrows at its body, without having to cut off all of its heads.
I can head down the beach now, killing the clam enemies as I go. They drop Twinkling Titanite, and Purging Stones to cure the Curse status, so they’re worth killing. At the end of a winding stretch of sand is an Everlasting Dragon – obviously, Gwyn hasn’t killed them all, as we were lead to believe.
You can join this Dragon’s covenant, and even cut its tail off for a weapon (this won’t do anything to the Dragon or covenant). This is all we can do here, so I’m going to warp back to Blighttown to deal with another small errand. I only ever come down to Ash Lake after I have the Lordvessel, because without it, we would have to walk all the way back up the Great Hollow. This would be about as much fun as getting out of the Catacombs. From the Daughters of Chaos bonfire, I rejoin the Forest Hunter covenant, quit the game, and load back in. When I head out to the swamp waterwheel, Shiva of the East (the merchant) is back. I quickly murder him and his ninja companion. I collect the ring that I want – the Dark Wood Grain Ring. This will change our rolling animation (when we are under 25% of our equip load) to a front flip. Functionally, this gives our roll more i-frames (invincibility frames) and makes us harder to hit.
Now, because we’ve ‘sinned’ and betrayed this covenant by murdering its members (go figure) we’ll need to request absolution from Oswald of Carim. He’s located in the tower where we fought the Bell Gargoyles, way back when. It costs me a lot of souls, but he also gives me an interesting bit of information. He tells me that I have a lot in common with Petrus of Thorolund (I mean, I know, we have the same haircut) because we are both “steeped in sin”. Looks like Petrus may have been lying about ‘losing’ his lady friend in the Catacombs. We’ll see.
From here, I warp back to Anor Londo, because there is another side area to want to explore. Back in the cathedral with all the Painting Guardians, there are some items waiting for us, as well as a secret area. I dispatch all the guardians, and collect my loot.
Remember Iron Tarkus, our friend who helped us with the Iron Golem in Sen’s Fortress? Well, we find his armor set here, on a corpse. The implication seems to be that he tried to traverse the rafters above (which we did earlier) and fell to his death because of his heavy armor. Sorry friend. We can now interact with the gigantic painting on the wall, which we’ve been ignoring until now. Important to note: you can only access this area if you have the Peculiar Doll in your inventory; we picked this up from our old cell when we returned to the Northern Undead Asylum. With this in hand, we’re sucked into the painting!
We’re now trapped in the Painted World of Ariamis. Trapped being the imperative word here. I highly recommend preparing before entering the painting, as you cannot leave until you ‘complete’ the area. You cannot warp out, nor use a homeward bone, if I recall. I suggest buying/collecting some Blooming Purple Moss to cure Toxic, and maybe grabbing some Pyromancy spells if you haven’t already. This is quite a nasty area – there are a lot of hollows, and the ‘bloated’ hollows – they release a Toxic gas when you kill them, so either deal with them from range, or, if you hit them with a fire attack (like Pyromancy or a torch) they won’t release the spray upon death. After resting at the bonfire, I head up onto the ramparts.
Some of these enemies are ‘casters’ as well, and will shoot you with Pyromancies, so be wary of that. There are a lot of really great items hidden around the Painted World, if you take the time to explore it. I’m not really looking for anything specific, so I just take the shortest, most direct route through to the central courtyard.
I open the main doors for easy access to the bonfire, before I try to deal with the NPC invader in this area. It’s King Jeremiah, and he’s wearing an absolutely ridiculous outfit. Its a nod to the Old Monk from Demon’s Souls. My attacks do approximately zero damage (apparently he has extremely high magic defense) and he kills me quite quickly. Huh.
I decide to forget about Jeremiah, and try to open our way out of here. From the courtyard with the Phalanx-esque enemies, I head to the left, where an open well waits. I descend, and prep my Homing Soulmass to deal with our beloved friends, the Bonewheel Skeletons again.
There’s a switch hidden by one of the pillars in this area – when I turn it, a statue activates overhead, and opens the door to our exit. Bonus. I head into a mess of narrow corridors hidden behind an illusory wall, looking for the Annex Key I know is here.
I head back up the ladder, and use the Annex Key to open a locked door on the right side of the courtyard. There’s an ember in here that I want to pick up. I also get murdered by the Crow People, as their grab attack one-shots me with my low health and light armor. Good to know.
I run back to grab my souls, then head for the exit. There are a bunch of hollows and a Berenike Knight guarding the bridge, but nothing too difficult. We head through the boss fog – but this boss isn’t hostile (for now). Priscilla’s fight is optional, and we can actually talk to her. She tells us to leave – so we do. I have no interest in killing someone who isn’t trying to kill me. We take her advice and jump off the plank. Wheeeee!
We’re back in the cathedral. All the Painting Guardians are back as well. That’s annoying.
That’s all for today – next time, we’ll try to collect the first of the four Lord souls we’ll need to fill the Lordvessel. Down in New Londo, the Four Kings are waiting, deep in the Abyss…