I woke up feeling awful, and worse yet, hollowed back to the state I was in when I first arrived in Lordran. The headache and general lack of vitality was awful to bare after being fully human for so much time. felt defeated and humiliated, and the crestfallen warrior laughing at my face while I tried to stood up didn’t help. He said he and Petrus dragged me back to the bonfire in just barely enough time to save me from becoming a full hollow. The bonfire had apparently used all my humanity’s energy to heal me back from my wounds, yet another tidbit of information about how they work. I might not have the same luck next time, however. Fortunately, I still had the strenght and dexterity previously granted by the bonfire, but my will was broken, along with my confidence to face off the sorcerer.
I decided to explore the area and see what I could find, but first I had to go back to the Church using the elevator and get my weapons back. On the way to the elevator, I met Petrus and thanked him for the help. He said only that I should be more careful and that, since he would leave soon, he wouldn’t be there the next time. I went up and, luckily, my weapons were still there, sitting by the giant knight’s body. I didn’t stay much time, I had had enough of that area for the moment. I did take a peak at the sorcerer, however, and seeing that he was distracted and apparently couldn’t see me from afar without all the commotion caused by the previous battle, I took a moment to check a body that was laid upon the altar, apparently sacrificed in some kind of ceremony, for some loot. What I found was an old Estus flask, shining from within with an intense white light, very different from the yellow glowing liquid that filled my flask when heated by the bonfires. I took it with me and went straight to the elevator, down to the firelink shrine.
I showed it to the crestfallen warrior, who seemed impressed, and instructed me to give it to the mute firekeeper. She did not say anything, only opened the flask and received the white light in her body somehow. The old estus flask was now of a dull green, and was broken to pieces. She then pointed at my flask and I gave it to her. She just blessed it, and gave it back to me. I came back to talk to the crestfallen warrior and he just explained that my flask should be more powerful now. That should be useful later, I thought.
Then I started properly exploring the area. I went down on an old elevator near the firekeeper, where I found a passage to New Londo, now in ruins and apparently flooded. Nearby I found an estoc, which might be useful later, but probably not, and an insane-looking fellow who claimed to be a blacksmith specialized in magic weapons. I talked with him for a little while, but he had little to teach and seemed to despise me after I told him I had little interest in magic.
I took yet another elevator nearby and arrived at a very high hill, where I need to walk carefully. Some walking around showed two options, a dark way into the mountain, with at least two huge, bloated hollows holding huge clubs. The air stank of disease so I decided to try for the second option, leading to a huge sort of dragon, apparently dead or sleeping, with an appearance like it was made of vomit. I approached carefully and his smell was that of disease, death, rotten food, just putrid and awful. On the distance I saw a shield and a sword, but the three dead bodies next to them did not give me confidence in the dragon being dead. The sword seemed noble and beautiful, but useless to me, but the shield seemed better than mine, so I decided to make a run for it.
As I suspected, the dragon awoke, but he was slow to raise up and his lower part fell to the bottom of the cliff. He was clearly sick and weak, but the sword wasn’t worth a fight, so I took the shield and ran. After I left, he vomited all over, I was not sure as an attack or as part of his weakness. I had no more business being there. A quick analysis of the shield from the distance showed that the new shield was better than mine, so I tossed my old shield down the cliff to make company for the dragon’s ass. Then I went back to the firelink shrine.
I chatted with the crestfallen warrior for a little while, then decided to try my luck against the skeletons again. They didn’t freight me as much as before, as I now had superior weapons and enough strength to allow me to wear armor while being able to run back to the bonfire if things got ugly. They never did, however. I spent about an hour carefully fighting all the skeletons in the cemetery, even the two giant skeletons I found. They were hard fights, but I was prepared and able enough. I found a nice spear there, which could prove useful, more than the estoc at least. Also binoculars, and I was glad to keep it around to help when figuring out strategies for future attacks.
I then went back to the Undead Burg and rested in the old bonfire there for a while. This is when I remembered about the white soapstone Solaire had gifted me with before. I was left pondering for some time on the nature of this strange world, specially since, sitting around by the bonfire, I could see the ghosts approaching it and becoming clearer. By the light of the bonfire, I could see their faces, their weapons and clothes. Some seemed like sorcerers, some wore little more than rags. I pitied them, their difficult life I had known so well. Those first enemies were tough for a newcomer, and now I was sure I could help greatly, so I stepped outside and wrote my name down on the floor with the soapstone.
Time after time they would summon me, those helpless souls. I helped them defend from the arrows, face the mobs attacking in group, and even killed the knight on stone armor who guarded the tower to the bottom, basically by having them distract him while I hit him in the head with the zweihander. A few times I failed and got killed by him, I was crushed by the taurus demon a few other times, but after a while I got the hang of it and started winning. Soon I had help kill Taurus perhaps four or five times. All of this gave me enough soul energy that I quickly regained my humanity and became much stronger. At some point, however, they stopped summoning me. I guess I became too strong for them, and our spiritual link faded. I was sorry for them, but I felt so strong and powerful, I just had to test my newfound powers. So I headed straight to fight the stone-armor knight.