Monday January 27, 2020
The Wolf, the Hawk, and the Hornet
“Soul of Lord Gwyn’s knight Artorias, who was consumed by the Abyss. The legend that Artorias repelled the Abyss only told half the story. It seems that he was defeated, and his honor preserved, by some unsung hero, who is the true victor over the Abyss.”
Soul of Artorias
We’re back in the Oolacile Sanctuary today, on our way to fight Artorias – we’ve already unlocked a shortcut to the boss fight, so we can head there immediately. We’ve heard a lot about Artorias – both here, and in our own time, in Lordran – about how he traversed the Abyss, and repelled its darkness. However, we’re going to meet Artorias pretty soon, and discover that that isn’t exactly the case. It seems that maybe the legends were wrong – that maybe the Abyss was the thing that conquered Artorias, not the other way around…
This is easily my favourite fight in the game. Artorias is a formidable foe, which is surprising, given his weakened state. You might notice that his sword arm appears to be broken (and his greatshield missing) so he is forced to fight with his off-hand. The fight is already difficult – imagine facing him at his full strength!
Can we talk about this health bar? I almost did this fight on my first try. There are times in the fight where Artorias will back off to buff himself, and it’s here that being a sorcerer really shines. While he buffs, I can simply hammer him with my strongest spell – the Crystal Soul Spear. It does absolutely insane damage – over 1500 points while he powered up. Unfortunately I died about 10 seconds after that – technically I was being greedy, but also technically, his health was literally zero, and I am Salty™.
I down the proud knight shortly after, which opens the way into the Oolacile Township. Here’s the question though – according the the legend we know, Artorias conquered the Abyss, saving this ancient land. However, we’ve seen Artorias, corrupted, and now dead. So who’s going to deal with this mess?
That’s right – Abracadaniel to the rescue. Turns out, the legend of Artorias the Abysswalker is actually our legend. I guess I’m getting a bit ahead of myself here though – we need to actually defeat the Abyss first. But how could you doubt such a lovely face?
The main bonfire for the Township is straight ahead, so we’ll go ahead and light that. I want to reverse my hollowing for an NPC invasion in this area, but I’m also not trying to get invaded by real players, so I hold off for now. The Oolacile Township is one of the most popular places to get invaded, so if you don’t enjoy PVP, I would recommend staying hollow for this area. Truthfully, this doesn’t seem to be an issue on the Switch, where I barely run into other players, but just in case.
We can head down a couple of narrow staircases (watch your step – Oolacile isn’t too concerned with safety hazards, because none of these have railings) to deal with what’s become of the Oolacile citizens. They’re quite strong, and very aggressive, so we have to be careful not to get swarmed. I’m also rocking my new, fully-upgraded Moonlight Greatsword, which is doing huge damage. I’m having a lot of fun pushing enemies off cliffs with the R2 knock-back, but it heavily diminishes the weapon’s durability, so I have to use it sparingly.
We also have to be very cautious of the Oolacile casters – so-called Bloathead Sorcerers. They cast Dark sorceries, which do a lot of damage. Their spells also have a knock-back effect, so we’ll need to be wary of that. I typically try to rush the sorcerers, and deal with the regular Bloatheads after. My ranged spells obviously help a lot against the casters.
From this lower section, we can head across a plank bridge to the top of a tower, where a completely non-suspicious chest waits in the center. This Mimic drops a fantastic item though, so we kill it immediately. Very Good!
I’m actually going to turn around at this point, and head back to a side/hidden area through the section we just cleared out. It’s confusing to explain, because the Township is so twisty, and windy, but we head around a tower, and down some stairs to find a hidden door. There’s a developer message on the floor to assist us in finding it.
I don’t have Cast Light equipped anymore, but thankfully, I have an extra Skull Lantern from the Catacombs which I can use. The Sunlight Maggot might work as well? Holding up the light reveals the illusion, and allows us to move through the doorway.
There are a bunch of casters in here, so I use my Homing Soulmass to deal with them one at a time, being cautious of their projectiles. There’s a chest down here with the Dark Orb sorcery, which I’ll probably try at some point. There’s a more important item in this area that I came for – it’s hidden in a chest nearby. There’s also another Bloathead Sorcerer near a ledge outside, that I can kill for another carving. I’m Sorry! (not really).
The Silver Pendant can be a really clutch item in the DLC – when used, it temporarily creates a shield around you that can dispel Dark sorcery. You can use it (infinitely) against the casters, and the boss waiting at the bottom of the Abyss. We’ll equip it in our quick items for now. I want to head back to the bonfire to reverse my hollowing now, and trigger than invasion that I mentioned earlier. There’s also a new NPC we can meet in the Coliseum, where we fought Artorias.
There’s a lady praying at a small makeshift grave – presumably for the knight. This is Ciaran, the Lord’s Blade. As of now, she is the third of Gwyn’s four knights that we’ve encountered. She asks us if we have Artorias’ soul (we do) and asks if we’d be willing to part with it (we are) in order to pay respects to her friend. I don’t need the soul for anything, so I hand it over. She thanks us by giving us her signature weapons – the Gold, and Dark Silver Tracers.
You can kill Ciaran in order to get her weapons (and unfortunately, this is the only way to get her cool-as-hell armor) but I don’t really need either, and since I’ve already screwed over about half the NPC’s in this playthrough, I decide to leave her be. Once we leave the area, she’ll disappear for good.
We’ll go back through the first section of the Oolacile Township, in order to trigger our invader. I’d forgotten that he spawns in a really inconvenient spot – once you move onto the staircase/plank bridge, he appears behind you. It’s hard to roll past him, to retreat back to the area you’ve cleared, but I do manage it.
Turns out Discount-Lautrec, the merchant that we met earlier, is really a Darkwraith scumbag – who would have guessed?? Marvelous Chester has a shit-ton of health, a crossbow, and a really cool leg-sweep move. I really love his armor set as well – we’ll pick that up at some point (I have no qualms about murdering this dingus). It takes about 3 or 4 of my Homing Crystal spells to take him down.
When we go back to speak to him, he’s pretty salty about it as well.
But moving on – we can push forward into the second half of the Township now. Past the tower with the Mimic, and down a flight of stairs, we can see another long, narrow plank bridge. There’s a Bloathead waiting, and a Bloathead Sorcerer on the other side. They’ll try to pelt us with sorceries and knock us off the bridge when we go to cross. What larks.
There’s also another Bloathead hidden off to the right – I lure it, and the other one back up the stairs to kill them before I attempt to cross the bridge. We can run across with our shield up, to absorb some damage, try to roll through the spells, or use our Silver Pendant to deflect them. I decide to use the Pendant, and it’s working pretty well (just need to get the timing down), but as I’m dicking around trying to get screenshots of the deflecting Dark Orbs, I get nailed and fall off the bridge.
Fast forward! We’re back at the bridge, and I just roll through the spells this time. Once the sorcerer is dead, we can move into the next building. As we push onward, our surroundings are getting more and more Abyss-y. Everything is covered in a dark, sludge-like matter. We’re getting closer to our goal, but this building is a bit of a cluster.
There are numerous Bloathead enemies, and at least two Bloathead Sorcerers. I take out the ones on the upper floor (one comes up behind me, after I thought the area was clear and scares the shit out of me) before doing anything else. I move down, then run back up to bait a few of them to me. I’m also able to hit one of the sorcerers from above with a Heavy Soul Arrow – get wrecked. From here, I can use the pillars in the middle of the room as a shield from the second sorcerer, while I deal with the rest of the regular enemies. We can pick up the Dark Fog spell in this area as well.
Once we’re in the clear, I move up a covered staircase to another section of the upper floor. I can hear a Bloathead laughing nearby, and the sound is unnerving. I find a Red Titanite Chunk in a chest behind another hidden doorway, before I roll down to deal with our laughing friend.
It doesn’t aggro right away which is interesting – I basically just run up and murder it while its still laughing. Easy money. There’s a chest in this room as well, beside the fireplace. This is a Mimic – and we defeat it to pick up the Crest Key.
Where does the Crest Key go? What does it open? Nobody knows. That’s a lie – I know. And we’ll get there soon, just after I open a shortcut. There’s an elevator just outside this building that goes up to the first section of the Oolacile Township. Now, if we die, we can use this lift to return here immediately. Which is great, because I die.
This nasty section has two sorcerers, and several Bloathead enemies, all clustered around a corridor with little cover. I tried to hide behind a pillar, but got swarmed – when I tried to retreat, the sorcerers got me with a spell. RIP. On the bright side, we’re back at the Township bonfire, and I can use the Crest Key – the door is quite close.
Up the Coliseum stairs is a locked door at the base of a tower. When we open the door, we can climb a ladder, and meet the fourth and final of Gwyn’s knights. It’s Hawkeye Gough.
He’s massive – a giant. He’s also working on some carvings – the same carvings we’ve picked up around the Township (we have Very Good, and I’m Sorry – we can buy Thank You, and Hello from Gough now). He seems pretty chill.
He commends us for killing Artorias (“with his honour intact”) and gives us a warning. There’s a black dragon in the area, and he suggests we avoid it. He doesn’t think we could handle it. Not sure exactly what about my appearance would suggest this, but Abracadaniel listens anyway.
We’ll be going against Gough’s advice however – we’ve seen the black dragon already, when we were exploring the Royal Wood, and we’ll be seeing him again. What could possibly go wrong?
I want to wrap up for the day, so I take the Oolacile shortcut back down to the sorcerer corridor and manage to get through it on my second attempt. Ahead, there is a unique enemy, and it doesn’t respawn. Its called the Chained Prisoner. It has a ball-and-chain to attack, so I definitely want to stay at range. My sorceries do good damage, and it’s not a problem.
Ahead is another lift that we have to activate – but be prepared for an attack. When the lift comes up, a Bloathead is standing on it. I kill it, and take the lift down.
There’s a bonfire in a prison-type area just ahead. We’re at the edge of the Chasm of the Abyss, so I’m going to retreat – we’ll tackle this area next time. Before I quit, I decide to murder Marvellous Chester, just because. So he’s dead now, and I have his armor. Nice.
We’ll find the black dragon, and hopefully finish off the rest of the DLC next time. Oolacile is sinking into the Abyss, and Dusk is still in trouble – we’ve got our work cut out for us.