I woke up from a dream which I can barely remember at this point, involving me and the golden warrior jumping down a tower. I saw both of us from outside my body, and even though we both seemed confident, I had a feeling that we would die, even though I didn’t really feel any anxiety. As we approached the ground, however, we started flying in spirals as if by magic.
For a few moments, I thought maybe the bonfire had granted me the ability to fly, so I tried to levitate off the ground, picturing myself roaming around, looking for the hellkite dragon’s nest, killing him with my zweihander in an amazing mid-air battle, then later crushing the eggs he had laid in the nest. I would then fly to the tower and ring the bell, then come back and talk to Solaire, offering to bring him closer to the sun, and alter fly around with the crestfallen warrior, trying to cheer him up.
Unfortunately, I was not able to fly, at this point at least. This fantasy had however kept my conscience in a limbo for some time, and after it was over, I felt like I would slowly remember who I was, the condition I was in, and it became very depressing rapidly. As I battled the feeling by remembering my earlier decision to find the love of a woman in this barren Lordran, it truly felt like for a few moments I had been another person, and my memory and conscience alone had brought me back to being me, being this person, this undead lowly knight caught in a world destroyed by a supernatural curse. It felt absurd and childish for this defeated man that I once again became to believe himself to be able to overcome such great difficulties, to slowly gain powers and defeat great monsters from hell and below. Not having much to live for beyond that, however, I knew I had little choice: I had to gather my weapons and once again walk forth to my demon-slaying, uncertain destiny.
I was glad to see that my hands grasped more comfortably on the zweihander, even with only one hand. For the first time I felt confidence in the zweihander-shield combo, but suddenly an interesting option presented itself. The severed tail of the hellkite dragon impregnated the bonfire area with putrid odor, so I pulled it back to the area with the broken statue. While doing just that, I realized that some of the spikes on the tail were sharp like a sword, and hard also, like metal. I hacked it off with the claymore, then analyzed it better. It was lightweight but hard enough to stand bashing it with my shield. I held it in my left hand, while holding the claymore on the right, and the lightness surely made it easier to manipulate, were it ever turned into some sort of sword. So I decided to keep it for a while, even thought it was unusable at present state.
I decided to keep using the claymore for now. It was heavy and long enough to do serious damage and keep distance, but not as cumbersome as the zweihander, which was slow enough to manipulate as to compromise my safety and ability to block. That shield had saved my life enough times for me to treasure it like a childhood friend.
Thus armed I walked back to the battleground of the previous battle. Carefully analyzing my surroundings and thinking back on what happened, I understood the actions of the golden warrior: any of the hollow warriors could have closed the gate while we fought the boar, and there was a suspicious passing through a basement at which a deadly trap was certainly prepared. Enabling me to avoid that area was a truly considerate parting gift.
My examination also allowed me to notice the presence of an altogether new enemy I would soon be forced to face: a knight wearing Balder armor. He stood inside the Church ready to attack, guarding the main entrance. The balders were famed for their ability with the rapier and their toughness, the thought of facing one, let alone two at a time, put me into a state of silent despair. I avoided entering his eyesight, and found scattered around a key for which I could see no use, but which I kept, and a… halberd! I almost cried when I saw it, just laying there like a piece of shit. I took it up and moved it around, It felt natural and beautiful, cutting trough the air making a satisfying noise. I had trained with toy halberds in my childhood, I loved halberds. So brought it along, but wouldn’t use it for now, because, once again, I didn’t feel confident in holding it with a shield, though I had seen it being used that way and it was surely efficient. If only I could find a mirdan hammer at some point, the noblest and most devastating weapon I could imagine. But it wasn’t a commonly used weapon in Lordran, so I didn’t hold my hopes high.
Again avoiding the balder knight’s eyesight, I went through a passage to the right, hopefully enabling me to find an alternative route to the tower. I raised my shield and moved carefully, but my armor was noisy enough to catch the attention of a balder knight keeping guard. He was an arm’s length away from me and suddenly turned to face me. I immediately ran back to the Church’s frontside, hearing his armor behind me, to at least fight in more open spaces where I could more carefully avoid his parrying ability. As we stood there in the stairs, he faced me and lowered his guard, as if asking for a strike, clearly preparing to parry. I took the moment to throw my baggage to the floor and thus fight more freely.
He then raised his guard and prepared to strike himself. The sight of that huge, well-trained knight preparing to attack me gave me a strange sort of fear. I instantly became self-aware of every space between the parts of my armor, and I thus felt like a naked man holding a shield, like every tiny space between my torso and my arms were an open door to a rapier strike that would pierce right through my heart. The shield itself seemed inadequate, more proper to taking axe strikes than elegant, careful pokes of a noble weapon. In short, I felt like a peasant fighting a crown prince. At this moment I decided: doesn’t matter how I do it, but I have, I just have to get that halberd and shove it in his bowels.
My father hated balders, he called them faggots. He hated all sorts of bullshit, weak weapons that couldn’t strike down a horse with one blow. I had grown up with this distinct appreciation for heaviness and sheer power, bashing down enemies through their armors like paper, and I thought that dying by such a weak, feminine weapon, would be a dishonor to the family. Damn the halberd. I decided to tear down that bastard with the zweihander, no shields. Anger and purposefulness grew inside me, I looked at the balder like a god over an insect. Without much thought I did what every parry-specialist earns for from their enemies, I tried to thrust my claymore right through his heart with one blow.
This happened at one of these moments, common in a fight, when two enemies, after measuring up each other for what feels like the longest time, decide to strike at the same time. I am happy to say that the claymore was victorious. My strike hit him in the armored chest, which made it slide through his left arm, while I barely felt his rapier through my armor. Both our aims had been complicated by our sudden movement, but I had been just luckier than him.
I took advantage from this brief moment to run to my bag and pull out the zweihander, the claymore and the shield now on the floor. The sense of power from holding that massive monster of a weapon with two hands was overwhelming. As I faced back the balder, he was once again on parry stance. Without hesitation, I jumped at him with the zweihander held over my head, crashing through his parry attempt, cutting deep in his shoulder in a way that his head looked funny dangling around. My second blow almost cut him in half.
So I quickly put the shield and claymore on the bag and threw it over my shoulder, ready to kill a thousand balder knights. Not being a stupid ass, however, I also avoided the guarding balder’s eyesight and went back to the rightside passage. Destroyed a spear-wielder, then charged three warriors, one of them with a crossbow. For a minute I was a bolt-dodging god, laying waste to two hollows and then mercilessly cutting the crossbow-wielding hollow to pieces. I was feeling a battle hush, but I knew I had to stop for now, I was tired, unfocused, and I knew when my luck had worn out.
I did not want to go back to my bonfire, however, as there was still some bravery in me, so a humbly put the zweihander back at storage, equipped that sword and claymore, thus prepared for another trap, and walked thorugh a passage leading to another building nearby, where I had this sense that I would find a bonfire. I remember this slight feeling as the first sort of magical experience I had, there was something supernatural about the bonfires and I felt connected to them. This subtle feeling would be very helpful in the future, as it was at this point. Luckily, there was no trap on the way to that bonfire, but I didn’t rest for now, because I could hear a striking rhythm that was very familiar and made me hopeful for all my future battles.