Tuesday January 7, 2020
Mo Magic, Mo Problems
“The Archive Tower, once a trove of precious tomes and letters, became a prison after the onset of Seath’s madness. The serpent men who guard the prison know not the value of what they hide. In the basement of the tower are the writhing “mistakes” of the terrifying experiments which were conducted there.”
Archive Tower Cell Key
Lord Gwyn, before leaving to link the First Flame, split his own Lord Soul into two pieces. One, we’ve just retrieved from the Four Kings, who were made so by Lord Gwyn, in recognition of their leadership. The second we’ll need to strip from Seath the Scaleless – the dragon who turned against his own kin to aid the Gods. Now that we’ve collected our prize from the Abyss – the Bequeathed Lord Soul Shard from the Four Kings – it’s time to move on to the next leg of our quest, in the Duke’s Archives. The archives are located in Anor Londo, so we’ll start there.
Up and to the left from the main Anor Londo bonfire, there’s a set of stairs that lead to a long hallway. Remember the armored boar from the Undead Burg? Well apparently they’ve got family in the area, because there’s two more of them guarding this entrance. It’s safest to lure the first one back to the beginning of the hall – they won’t cross the threshold past the entry arch, so you can safely fight it from a distance. Some call this “cheesing” but I call it “tactics”. Anyway, with one boar out of the way, we can easily fight the second one in the hallway without being ganged up on. We get the Fang Boar Helm for our troubles.
There’s a bonfire to light here, before we take the elevator up. *Jazzy music plays* Once we’re at the top, we’re in the archives proper, and it’s a bit of a shit show immediately. The main enemy for this area, the Crystal Hollows (or Soldiers), will begin attacking immediately. There’s a couple hidden throughout the room, all while a Channeler spams Soul Arrows at you from afar, and buffs all the enemies. We’ll just take it slow, and deal with the enemies before moving forward.
There’s also a Crystal Golem in this first room, hanging out in the corner. Upon killing it, we receive the Broken Pendant. We only receive this because we rescued Princess Dusk in Darkroot Basin all that time ago. This item, while extremely obscure in its description, allows us access to the game’s DLC. I’m not really planning on tackling the DLC at this point, since this series is taking a bit longer than I had thought, but we’ll see. Artorias happens to be my favourite boss, so maybe we’ll fight him at least. Moving on.
I want to rush the Channeler, because once we hit it a few times, it will teleport away, slightly up the staircase. This leaves the floor to me, to clear out the remaining Crystal Hollows. We’re careful to stay behind the bookshelves, to avoid the Channeler’s Soul Arrows, and the archers firing arrows beside it. From here, I can pick off the archers using my own Soul Arrows, before rushing the Channeler one last time to finish it off. This area can be a pain in the ass, so it’s important to take your time and move through methodically. There’s a couple items in the area to pick up, some chests (be wary of mimicry) and then we can take another elevator upwards.
We’re in a small space, with the only option to move forward being an extremely narrow staircase, choked with crystals growing from, well, everywhere. Are you noticing a theme yet? I wonder if Seath understands how trendy his crystal obsession is? The one and only Crystal Knight in the game is about halfway up the stairs, so we’ll lure him down to the elevator to deal with him there. Then, we can proceed up the staircase (watch for the Titanite Lizard) and we find ourselves in front of a fog wall. I’ve got quite a few souls on me, and I don’t want to lose them here, so I equip a Ring of Sacrifice. This allows me to keep my souls upon death. You’ll see why in a second.
This is our first face-to-face encounter with Seath, the pale drake. It’s disguised as a boss fight, but it’s a facade. You’ll notice that any damage you deal to him is healed immediately. He’s technically immortal at this point. We can’t beat him here, so we’re forced to let him kill us. Normally, you would want to equip a Rare Ring of Sacrifice, because Seath’s crystal attacks build up curse – if this kills you, your HP will be cut in half until reversed – but I have the Resist Curse spell, so I’m not worried about this. We die, and awaken in a cell next to a convenient bonfire. I believe trying to use a Homeward Bone at this point will still put us next to this bonfire, so we’ll have to escape the prison tower without any kind of warping.
Luckily for us, our keeper (one of the Serpent Men from Sen’s Fortress) is sleeping on the job, so we can murder him from inside our cell. He drops the key, which we can use to free ourselves. As soon as we do this, however, a small cutscene triggers – a Serpent Man turns on a strange phonograph (the sound is quite annoying actually) which drives the enemies in this tower mad. They’ll start rushing up the stairs, so be prepared. The Serpent Men run past us to escape, but we’re heading downward – we need to turn that alarm off. Not only because it’s making these enemies more aggressive, but if you don’t turn it off, you can actually hear the sound all throughout the archives. Unless you want to listen to it the entire time you’re in the area, definitely turn it off here.
My Soul magics are doing good damage against the Pisaca’s – the weird-looking squid/octopus/snake enemies – and I reach the bottom of the stairs without dying. There’s a ladder we can ascend to get to the phonograph, and a couple Serpent Men guarding it. There’s also one of the mage Serpents, so watch for him. Once they’re all dead, we can turn the alarm off, and breathe a sigh of relief. There’s a chest up here with the key we need to unlock the door leading out of this area, so we’re (really) free to go now.
From here, we can go back down the ladder and check out the area where the Pisacas were being herded. There’s a large cage at the back, and two more (non-hostile) Pisacas left. Killing these two will get you two miracles: Soothing Sunlight, and Bountiful Sunlight. The implication seems to be that the Pisacas were maidens of Gwynevere’s that were experimented on by Seath. All the Pisacas are the failed results of his research. Yikes.
Horrors aside, you might notice a familiar face behind the bars of this giant cage – it’s our mentor, Big Hat Logan, trapped again. He asks us to find the key to his cell and help him out. He’s finally made it to the famed archives, but he still can’t access the knowledge he seeks. So close, yet so far. We’ll come back for him later.
We can head all the way back up the tower now – there are a bunch of cells with items in them, but I’m not really interested in searching them right now. I head to the very top, and then up the ladder to a massive set of double doors. I also need to deal with the Serpent Men that ran by us when we exited our cell – they’re still hanging around up here.
Through the doors, there’s a couple of Crystal Hollows to dispatch, and past the balconies, we’re back into the archives and straight into a Channeler. It will teleport away again when we attack, so once it’s out of the way, I just hoon it down to the left. There’s a set of stairs that lead down to the ground floor, and I run down, without stopping to fight anything along the way. There are two Channelers firing Soul Arrows, and countless Hollows that I’d like to reset. The main bonfire for the Duke’s Archives is just ahead, so I light that and rest before continuing to explore.
I ended up dying about a thousand times trying to explore the area, because my Enchanted Longsword and Soul magics aren’t doing a lot of damage to the Magic resistant enemies in this area. It’s easy to get ganged up on, or picked off by the Channeler’s Soul Arrows while trying to make your way around. I decide to take a brief break to grab an item that I think might help. We head back to Firelink, and fly over to the Northern Undead Asylum. The Souls trading crow (don’t ask questions) is in this area, so I drop a Skull Lantern that I picked up in the Catacombs, and upon reloading, I’m given a Ring of Fog. This obscures our presence, and makes it harder for enemies to detect us. There’s a sorcery for this as well, but I’m not interested in using an attunement slot for it.
I’m starting to get worried about the Seath fight as well – I don’t think my magics are going to be doing enough damage. I also want to get the tail cut from this fight – notoriously annoying and difficult though it is. Seath’s tail becomes the Moonlight Greatsword, and it scales with Intelligence. Though I don’t have the strength to wield it currently, we could use it in the future. Instead of using Magic for the upcoming fight, I figure I’ll try Pyromancy instead. Back in Firelink, Frampt scolds me as I walk by for choosing to side with Kaathe (whatever, man) and I make a quick trip to Laurentius to upgrade my flame. Then, its down to Blighttown to see Quelana, who we haven’t met yet.
Quelana of Izalith is one of the Daughters of Chaos, and sister of Quelaag. Unlike her monstrous sisters, Quelana was able to escape the disastrous eruption of the failed First Flame (more on that in future). She agrees to teach us Pyromancy, and we get our spells to help against Seath (hopefully he’s not as resistant to Fire and he is to Magic…) We’ll come back to Quelana later, to get some more info on her mother in Izalith, but for now, it’s back to the archives. Away!
The Ring of Fog helps a little bit, and I’m finally able to make it through the archives in one piece. There’s some puzzles involving turning staircases (a bit Hogwarts-y) and eventually, we’re able to open a shortcut behind a bookshelf (classic) that leads straight back to the bonfire. In this area, there are a couple chests – and one Mimic – that have some pretty good items. The Channeler’s set, the Crystal Ember, and more importantly, the Archive Tower Giant Cell Key. We can go back and free Logan now, but unfortunately, we’ll have to walk, as warping to that bonfire is impossible.
Fast forward to the prison tower. Logan thanks us for freeing him again, and tells us to find him later for more sorceries, after he’s had time to study. There’s also a Fire Keeper Soul in the back of this cell, which will allow us to increase the healing of our Estus.
With our trip complete, we can head back to the bonfire. From now on, Logan will be in the secret library section of the archives, and we can talk to him to learn some new Crystal sorceries. He’ll also tell us a little bit about Seath.
We can see why we weren’t able to harm him earlier – Seath is immortal. According to Logan, in order to kill him, we’ll first have to destroy the Primordial Crystal. Will do. Unintentional cliffhanger here (this post is quite long already) – I’m going to end this entry, and next time, we’ll head into the Crystal Caves to confront the grandfather of Sorcery, Seath the Scaleless.