I headed down towards the clear smith-working noise and there found an impressive-looking man, his torso strong as that of a bull from practicing his art and insane, but friendly eyes. Upon seeing me, he said: “Oh, another one, aren’t you? Well done my boy”.
I replied, “I see no others, what do you mean by ‘another’ “? He just shrugged signaling he didn’t care to answer. I wanted more details about his state of being able to talk to different adventurers, but I figured he would give me nothing. Then he interrupted my train of thoughts:
“Your armor is shit and let me see your weapons”. As he tossed each weapon around, he clearly felt nothing but disdain. “Not one of these is reinforced with titanite! Tell me, did you loot the bastards you killed on your way here? What did you find?”. I had but three small pieces of titanite, as well as a few twinkling titanite pieces I pulled out of the crystal lizard’s back. “These winkling titanite pieces are of good quality and should be useful for you in the future, but since every piece of weapon you have is shit, I’ll have no use for them now. These titanite pieces are good, but they are not enough to make a good weapon. I will give you some titanite I have on me, but you will owe me a favor, do you get that?”
“Yes, I understand. What type of favor?”
“I will explain later. Now tell me which of these pieces of shit you want to make a decent weapon out of.”
“Well, I don’t know, let me see”. So I considered this for some time. I could trust the claymore, but the zweihander was more powerful in able hands. Unfortunately, it wasn’t my specialty. The same goes for the halberd. So I decided for the claymore.
“No, you stupid bastard, the best weapon of this bunch is the zweihander”.
“But I am not trained in it”.
“Luckily for you there is a master zweihander knight from Catarina just a stonethrow away. Do this, go back to the bonfire area above, do not rest on it, but instead head straight to the fortress ahead. There you will find Siegmeyer of Catarina. You couldn’t do better for a zweihander teacher than one of those onion knights”.
“Oh yes, Catarina, the onion heads! I remember them”
“Don’t you go and tell him no onionhead anything, don’t even mention onions at all, and let me tell you this as well: I could never, if I worked on it for a thousand years, construct one of those curved armors of them. That is master craftsmanship, I respect it, and you should also “. As I was leaving, he added: “do not rest by the bonfire before you at least start training with Siegmeyer. The bonfire will build upon the ability you have been lacking, if you train first, the bonfire will help you improve your learning”. As I started walking up again, he once again interrupted me: “And give me that dragon bone, you wouldn’t know what to do with it”. I complied.
I was puzzled by those last words, at last I had a better understanding of the ways of the bonfires. While pondering his words, I headed to the fortress and there found Siegmeyer. He was asleep.
I woke him up by touching his shoulder and was amazed by how he showed no fear. He just calmly spoke to me, as if I was his son and he had just woke up in his bed, on a summer day by the sea.
“Hello there my boy, how are you today?”
“Hello, well, I am… undead”
“Oh, so am I! That’s not that bad, at least we are not hollows, don’t you agree? I don’t like to fight young men such as you when they are hollow, this whole mess, it just seems so absurd and wasteful”.
“Well, I agree. But will you please tell me sir, what are you doing here?”
“Nothing of much importance for now, it’s just that I can’t figure out how to open this gate, and this is the only way I know to Anor Londo, my intended destination. What about you?”
“I came here looking for your help, I intend to use the zweihander to fight the hollows and demons, but I was never trained on its art. Andre the blacksmith said you could happen”.
The knight was visibly happy, he took out his helmet and I could see his face.
“Oh well my boy, isn’t this some great news? I great opportunity for me to flex my knees and get something done!”
My training with Siegmeyer lasted for what felt like three days. He taught me much more than his zweihander technique, he trained me on the basics of the whole Catarina fighting arts, from the fighting stance to proper parry techniques. The zweihander lessons, however, were just priceless, and I knew that from then on the zweihander would be my weapon of choice. I learned how to swing it around to hold off multiple enemies at once, then immediately pull it close to my body for defense, something I would never consider before, and in the next moment swing it over my head, making use of its weight for a devastating blow. He taught me how I could repeat the plunging strike I used against the taurus demon without having to lose the sword, and what the best technique to strike after a parry would be, a three-strike combo that would annihilate any human being, finishing with a strike that would barely explode the enemy’s head. I now had the proper stance and new the right moves to allow me to hold the zweihander with a shield, though it was still a slow weapon and not as efficient against mobs.
I then thanked Siegmeyer and promised to look for a way to open the gate to the fortress, though I had no idea how to achieve that at that point. I then went to talk to Andre one last time before I left. He had crafted me a sword from the hellkite dragon’s spike. I tried it and it felt agile and perfect. So I tossed the claymore.
During my training with Siegmeyer, I had brief conversations with Andre. He showed me, on the basement of the building where we stood, what he called a “Titanite Demon”, a monster who’s very body was hard as metal and, headless, had a special titanite over the neck. Andre guaranteed me that I could not defeat him at this point, and even if I could, it would be of no purpose. The demon guarded the passage to the darkroot garden, of which Andre did not want to say much. His last words before I parted were simply: “ring the bell and come back to me, I’ll have a job for you, so you can pay your debt”.
And so I left.