#24 – Darkroot Garden

Soon I came down to talk to Andre, who said he heard the bell. He also asked if I had found any larger titanite piece, but I had not. He then said I should now be ready to venture through the Darkroot Garden. After the previous fight, I felt great, but took another peak at the Titanite Demon and wasn’t sure I was able to kill him. I could probably, with some luck, run past him though. Andre just shrugged, “do whatever you like, but I have a job for you, and you still have to repay the work I did for you. The ember repays the titanite, but not the work. Do this one thing for me and I’ll consider all my services past and future paid”. I agreed.

“You will go to the darkroot garden, past the titanite demon, and bring back to me a very special ember used by a blacksmith of my order”, he said. “I want the ember because it rightfully belongs to me, but it will be useful for you in the future as well”. I asked him what kind of ember was it, and why it was so special. He replied: “It is a divine ember used by the clerics of the way of white to fight the necromancers and their spawn in the catacombs. Its loss was the ruin of the way of white, causing it to lose control over the old burying grounds. After I have it, I will use it to craft divine weapons to give to the clerics, and I will give one to you as well”.

Of course, I knew that Rhea was venturing in the catacombs, she never left my mind, so I decided to get the ember and try to help her afterwards. I decided to try and fight the demon, but run if I figured I couldn’t defeat it. As I got closer, the prospect of running seemed better and better. The demon had a huge halberd-type weapon that, it was clear to me, should have some type of magic damage. I couldn’t wait for the first blow, I had to dodge absolutely everything or be impaled. I backstepped a little bit, circling around trying to keep my distance, and the demon threw a lighting bolt in my direction, but I dodged. At this point I decided to run, but I needed, absolutely need to strike at least one blow. I got closer and waited for one strike I could dodge. Thankfully, his first attack was slow and vertical, so i dodged it with some ease. His stone body moved slowly enough that I felt confident to run and hit his back double handing the zweihander.

This was the first time I attacked after fighting the Gargoyles, so the strength of the blow surprised even myself. The beast suffered and the feeling of sinking the blade in his hard flesh was refreshing, but then he turned around very fast, knocking me over with his long tail, trying to position me for a devastating attack. But he missed again, because I stood up fast and circled around him for another strike at his neck, my idea was to cut off his head. It didn’t quite work, but I felt I had done enough, two effective blows. As he repositioned, I ran off to the garden, dodging another lighting bolt right before going through the door.

As I stepped out into the garden, I was surprised by a complete change in daytime: it was now a full night, with a beautiful moon hanging over everything. I was amazed by this new strange fact about Lordran, and I was also very glad to see white markings on the floor again, and immediately touched them. Soon a warrior on a sorcerer’s clothes very similar to Briggs’ arose. I was glad to have some help and company. He bowed to me, and I did the same. As we walked through the garden, a small tree came alive and attacked us. it didn’t seem menacing, but I did not have to fight it, as the sorcerer attacked with magic from a distance.

We fought off two more of those trees, and from each one I extracted medicinal moss and kept it for later. I then saw a bifurcation and, in the distance from a cliff, the crystal golems and the hydra I had seen before, outside the door right after my fight with the stone armor knight. I knew that the ember should be ahead on the other direction, but the hillside seemed like an interesting area to explore and possibly find some loot. That was a good idea. As I came down the hill, I caught another crystal lizard, with more twinkling titanite and some green titanite on its back. Further down, I found a bow and some very good feather arrows beside it. Coming further down I reached the level of the golems, but faced the other way instead. I wasn’t confident in killing the hydra, even with some help.

Going further down, I saw a special-looking shield, glowing in green magic, and decided to get it, but it was guarded by another black knight. I could now, with the safety of a backup phantom, have my first try at fighting one of those beasts. He saw me and attacked, but was stunned by a magic bolt coming from behind me. I took the moment to hit him with the zweihander, but got hit by his huge shield immediately after and almost fell to the abyss beside us. Meanwhile, the sorcerer attacked the black knight with his sword, which glowed in blue magic. As I saw the black knight with his back to me, I hit him again with the zweihander. He was outnumbered, and the sorcerer took the chance to kick him down the abyss. He was dead.

I picked up the shield, which had a beautiful engraving of leaves. As I grabbed it, I suddenly felt more agile and with more energy, it’s hard to describe. Its magic improved my breath, made me feel like a younger man. It was clearly very beneficial, so I used it instead of the dragon shield, specially since up until that point no enemy in the garden had used fire attacks. I also saw another bonfire nearby, but I had no use for it. We came back up the hill into the other way.

We fought a few more of the living trees, then came up to some old, decayed castle. The knight showed me one of the stone walls was an illusion, and beyond it there was another bonfire. There was also a large door, but it was locked. To the side, there was another way forward. As we found an open area, I could see stone golems laying around motionless, but I was sure they would come back to life, since that seemed to be the way of the land. As I prepared to attack, the sorcerer showed me another way to the side, behind a moving tree that we both destroyed.

After fighting off a few strange beings, some sort of red manta rays, we encountered a stone golem. As I had predicted, the golem rose up and we had an interesting fight, if not terribly hard, due to its slowness. As soon as the golem woke up, he raised his sword and used an interesting spell, by which I found myself immobilized by arcane floating energy writings. I naturally despaired for a moment, but the magician kept throwing spells at the golem from a distance and seemed unaffected. I raised my guard and had to endure one very strong blow on my shield, but the golem was soon dead by the magic. In the end, it was a good way to learn about the golems’ attacks to prepare for the following fights.

Going up some more stairs, we fought another golem, which did not use its blocking spell, so I needed only to dodge and attack when his guard was low. There I found another magical ring, with the markings of a wolf, and put it on. Its effect was apparent somehow, I felt more grounded, perhaps more able to absorb attacks with my shield, it’s hard to explain. We walked back to the area where the other sleeping golems were awaiting, but on the way I found something which made me very satisfied: tobacco weeds! I grabbed a few handful of leaves and put it in my bag.

Anyway, I figured the ember should be at the top of the tower behind the main area where the golems slept, and we could sneak around them to go straight to it, but I noticed a dead body wearing a beautiful armor around two golems and a few trees, so we attacked them as well. This was a good opportunity to feel the effect of the wolf ring I had just found, I noticed I felt much less affected by blocking the golems attacks.

New armor time! I made the sorcerer wait while I took out my tired old armor and put on my new elite knight armor, exactly like the one I had seen the white phantom who helped me against the dragon use. I felt so great, I had to do one this: I grabbed one of the tobacco leaves and rolled it. Did I have a way of producing fire? Oh yes I did! I lighted up my makeshift cigarette with my pyromancy! Oh sweet relief, how many years had passed since I had had a smoke? Now reader, please take a moment to picture me, wearing an armor like a nobleman’s, my huge and powerful zweihander shining in the moonlight of the garden on my back (forget about the lame green wooden shield), lighting up a fresh tobacco cigarette with the fire coming out of my hand at will, standing over the dead bodies of an army of golems. Am I cool or what? I’m the coolest dude in the place, clearly.

The sorcerer smoked a little bit as well.

(fan art ilustration)

Then we went to the tower behind the area, killed another golem, and there I found the white markings of another warrior, hidden behind a small tree. I summoned her, it was a witch. Great. I felt confident.

As we came up the stairs I saw another fog gate and passed it, followed by the two phantoms. Suddenly, as we reached the elevated ground above us, a bridge leading to a second tower, a huge monster, similar to a butterfly, started flying around. I raised my shield, but couldn’t do much, since the butterfly kept a distance. Luckily, the two phantoms could shower it with sorcery. The butterfly ignored them, but threw magic rays at me. I tried to block them with the green shield, but it was too small, and the attacks were fast. I tried to jump around and run, sometimes it would work, sometimes I blocked it with the shield, but most frequently the magic rays hit me and I felt embraced in pain just like before, when I was hit by the sorcerer at the church. I was in absolute terror, but I knew I had to endure long enough for the phantoms to kill the monster. Drinking estus helped, but the flask was getting emptier and emptier, while the butterfly seemed unaffected. I stayed at this for a while, but then the flask went dry and I knew I would die if I had to endure much longer.

Then the butterfly suddenly stopped and seemed tired, flapping its wings helplessly while losing altitude, finally crashing in the bridge side. I felt beaten, tired and in intense pain, I couldn’t raise the zweihander an inch from the floor if I tried, but I walked towards the butterfly. The witch kept throwing magic, while the sorcerer attacked with his sword, but seemingly to no avail. As I stood a few staps from the butterfly, it started glowing, and I sensed it would die in an explosion of magic that would surely kill me. In my despair, I put my hand closer to its head and, without taking even a moment aside to concentrate, summoned the largest flame I could.

The magic explosion was averted and the butterfly was dead. The two phantoms disappeared and I collapsed in the floor, thinking I would die in seconds. Luckily, the death of the butterfly also triggered a huge transference of souls which kept me alive for a little while longer. I dragged myself to the bonfire I had seen earlier, next to the closed door, and slept.

After I woke up, I was glad to see I had not started hollowing and felt stronger as well, from all the soul power I had absorbed. I came back to the tower, crossed the bridge leading to a second tower and there I finally found the divine ember that Andre requested. With a great feeling of mission accomplished, I went back to him, but first I destroyed the titanite demon.

Do I need to explain more? I made the titanite demon my bitch. I chopped him with my zweihander and then I burned him alive until he was dead. What I had just been through, the new armor, the new ring, the new strength, the experience in enduring pain, all of this had made me into a new man, a knight of a different class, able to face the titanite demon as easily as I had once fought the hollows. I didn’t even break a sweat, I just killed it then cut off his metal head which, according to Andre, might be useful in the future.

Andre asked about my experience and I lied, excluding the phantom sorcerer and pretending that I had done everything alone. He was impressed and asked for some time to work on a few divine weapons I could hand out to the clerics. Having nowhere elso to go, I came back to the firelink bonfire, looking for news about Rhea, but she had not returned. It was time to look for the second bell, beyond the cavern where I had seen a couple of fat hollows. I knew I was absolutely ready for them now, but I had no idea of the horror that awaited me behind them.

2 comments
  1. Anonymous said:

    Glad to see a new chapter. Can’t wait to see the blighttown and ToTG parts.

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