Saturday January 18, 2020
Away from the Sun
“Catalyst of the Witch of Izalith of long ago, when her daughters were still flame witches, before they were engulfed by the Chaos Flame. Before the birth of Pyromancy, their wands were mediums for sorcery, but knowledge of this flame sorcery has long since vanished.”
I’ve decided to stop stalling, and get the Demons Ruins and Lost Izalith over with. Despite its fascinating lore, involving the Witch of Izalith and her failure to recreate the First Flame (resulting in the birth of Chaos Demons, and the end of their civilization) these two areas are the worst in the game. It’s a fairly well known fact that FromSoftware ran out of time while working on Dark Souls, and as a result, these areas suffered the most in their rushed development. The enemies are strewn about haphazardly, the lava hurts to look at, and the bosses are god awful. It’s really sad to see the bones of what could have been Izalith, if only the developers had had more time to bring their original vision to life. Visually (as in, architecture-wise) I think the Demon Ruins and Lost Izalith look extremely cool, but alas, the other elements are all sub-par. Oh well – it is what it is.
Before I actually head into the Demon Ruins, I want to stop in Blighttown real quick. Here, we can talk to Quelana, daughter of the Witch of Izalith, and she’ll give us a bit more background on her mother and sisters.
This confirms that Quelaag and co. were deformed by the Flame of Chaos, and turned into the frightful creatures we encountered. Makes you wonder – if the daughters look like that, what does their mother (at the center of the disaster) look like now? Unfortunately, we are going to find out. We can also encounter Siegmeyer, Onion Bro, down here, near the entrance to the Great Hollow. He’s short on Purple Moss, and asks us for a favour. Again.
Of course we’re happy to help. Siegmeyer thanks us by giving Abracadaniel the Pierce Shield. We’ll probably see him again soon. Now, I can head back to Quelaag’s Domain. We can enter the Demon Ruins easily from here; the entry is just below where we rang the second Bell of Awakening. There’s a bonfire almost immediately, so we can light that, and then move on.
Taking a look around the area, it’s flooded with lava – this makes most of it inaccessible. However, there is a way to get rid of a lot of this lava, and it involves taking care of a boss. We can head down the cliffs to the right, and over a narrow bridge to the fog wall. This is probably a boss right?
The fight doesn’t start right away. We run up along the cliffs that plunge down into the lava, and catch our first glimpse of this boss. He’s non-hostile right now, simply standing and watching over something – something that looks like an altar. His face looks quite sad, actually. I mean, if I was constantly oozing lava, and my entire family was dead or gone, I would probably be a little bummed as well.
Turns out, this giant monster is actually watching over the body of his dead sister, laying upon the altar with a nice, shiny item. Yoink! This begins the fight.
If you’re already feeling a bit bad, just wait – it gets worse. This is a bit of a trick boss, in that you don’t actually have to fight him at all. I’m not quite sure what triggers it (because I’ve never had it not trigger) but after we grab the Gold-Hemmed set off the altar, we just run back towards the fog gate. The boss, Ceaseless Discharge, will follow.
He has a specific animation you want to watch for – he rips his arm (fused to his chest) off his body – and once you see this, you’re good to take off running. In order to reach you by the gate, Ceaseless has to make a bit of a leap, and ends up hanging onto the cliff right beside you. At this point, all you have to do is hit his arm once or twice, and he’ll fall, ending the fight immediately.
Does anyone feel good about this? I don’t feel good about this. But at least he’s out of his misery (Ceaseless Discharge is actually the younger brother of the Daughters of Chaos). When this boss is defeated, we’ll be able to watch a cutscene of the lava draining out of the lower areas of the Ruins. Now that they’re traversable, we can go ahead and reach the next section. There’s a giant gaggle of Taurus Demons off to the left, which I ignore, and head right. Our old friend, the Capra Demon, is now a regular enemy and is laughably easy to defeat. I also return to the bonfire to reverse my hollowing (which I should have done earlier).
Since I reversed my hollowing, we get invaded as we pick our way along the cliffs to the next area – surprise, it’s ya boi Kirk, the Knight of Thorns. He invaded us way back when, in the Depths. We’re forced to kick his ass a second time. It can be a bit sketchy on this narrow ledge, but with my ranged sorceries, it’s not an issue.
From here, we can proceed past a group of Capra Demons, and down a set of stairs. There are a couple of statue enemies, then off to the right, a hallway extends to a bonfire (just mind the giant slug that bursts out of the wall as you approach).
There’s a wide staircase leading down towards a fog gate, and curiously enough, if you look below, on the right side of the stairs, you can actually see a future boss clinging to the wall. It’s the Centipede Demon, looking a bit calcified, and definitely Not Alive. Moving on.
We have to push through some statue enemies, a Taurus Demon, and another of those giant slugs before reaching the fog gate. Through here is our first real boss of the area, the Demon Firesage. It’s a re-skin of the Asylum Demon, and inherently not that difficult. The only problem comes from the tree roots in this arena – they impede your movement, and occasionally leave you stuck in the crosshairs of this boss’ magical attacks (with significant AOEs). I die after getting stuck in the corner on said roots.
Here I go agaainn on my own (sing it, Whitesnake!), going down the only stairs I’ve ever knooown; like a hollow I was born to walk alone – and I’ve made up my mind, I’m gonna do it on my second try – HERE I GO AGAIN. Can you tell this area drives me insane?
Truthfully, the only thing to keep in mind for the Firesage is to stay behind it (to avoid most of its magical attacks) and bait its butt slam attack. 1. Stay behind it, 2. Capitalize on butt slam, 3. Profit. It also drops an interesting catalyst upon death, but I’m gonna stick with Logan’s for now.
We can go up some stairs just beyond here to reach a shortcut back to Quelaag’s domain, before pushing onward. There’s yet another terrible boss just ahead, but thankfully, we can take a buddy with us to make it less horrendous. Solaire is summonable for this one, so after we get our humanity back at the bonfire, we’ll call him in. Down from the shortcut area is another bonfire, and a large tree root you can run down to reach the fog gate; Solaire’s sign is just in front of it.
This fight is going to be the boss I pointed out earlier – the Centipede Demon. It’s annoying because you have to try and lure it over to where you can actually hit it (90% of this arena is covered in lava) which can be tricky. It has many reach attacks, and likes to hang out in the areas you can’t access. Solaire and I do pretty well, until I get caught in its grab attack and die instantly. But on the bright side, I get the “tail cut” – the Orange Charred Ring. Normally the boss would drop this when it dies, but you can get it earlier. This allows us to run through lava while taking extremely minimal damage.
I reverse my hollowing AGAIN, and summon Solaire AGAIN. This time, I run around to the right side of the arena, to a larger area of non-lava, in order to have more space to fight this thing. It takes Solaire a hot minute to catch on to my plan, but he comes over (sort of) eventually. This time, we’re successful.
Now that we have the Orange Charred Ring on, we can cross the pools of lava into the next area – effectively, the entrance to Lost Izalith. Our pal Solaire is here, sitting by the bonfire. He seems to be in a bit of a funk; he still can’t find the “sun” he’s looking for, and he’s feeling pretty down about the whole thing.
It’s at this point that Solaire’s quest diverges: if you continue into Lost Izalith, Solaire will perish. However, if we leave now, we can take some preventative measures to ensure the light of our lives, the best Warrior of Sunlight there ever was, makes it to the end of the game. First, we’ll have to go back to the Depths, to do some Humanity farming on the rats.
Once we have 30 Humanity, we can head back to the Daughters of Chaos bonfire, and re-join that covenant with Quelaag’s sister. Upon offering her 30 Humanity, our rank in the covenant is now +2, and we are gifted a special Pyromancy, as well as access to the Lost Izalith shortcut. Only high-ranking members of this covenant can open this door.
Now, we can head to the shortcut door (right by the Demon Firesage boss room) by walking down some tree roots in the Demon Ruins.
In this hallway, and past the door, there are a bunch of small, nasty-looking bugs hopping around. We’re going to kill them all, but we’re looking for one in particular – upon death, this bug drops the Sunlight Maggot. This is the one we need to kill to save Solaire.
I nearly had a heart attack, because as soon as I did this, Solaire appeared in the hall right behind me – I didn’t remember that he spawned in so quickly. He still seems to be in a bad mood, but we know he’s safe now, and can continue his journey. Essentially, if you continue into Lost Izalith without killing this bug, you can find Solaire here later, wearing the Sunlight Maggot, hostile and delusional. There are a couple workarounds to doing it the Chaos Servant way (as I did), one involving the Pyromancy Toxic Mist, but I decided to do it the ‘proper’ way.
I’ll give Solaire some time – I use a homeward bone to return to Firelink Shrine. I remembered that our other bestie, Patches, is here now (by the stairs that lead down to the graveyard, and the Catacombs) so I stop to chat with him.
Patches is still a scumbag, but he does remind me that we need to check in on our cleric friend, Petrus, and see if lady Rhea made it out of the Tomb of the Giants in one piece. We’ll check on them next time – before we head into Izalith and see what’s become of the Witch…