Having decided that, even in decimation, Boletaria was a little too crowded for my tastes I gleefully depopulated the area a bit. I guess I liked the look of the “corpse pile” decorating committee and gave them a hand. With several paths still available to me I face some tough choices. I go with more death.
In Better Times, Perhaps….
If there’s one thing I like…..it’s closure (and ice cream but I did say “one thing”). Having just introduced myself to some of Boletaria’s finest and most elegant socialites via brutal murder I decide to push on.
I kill a lizard and keep going. I see lizard number two and hesitate on whether I should pursue all willy nilly. It costs me some loot. I recall a knight lying in wait and am unsure if the lizard will lead to a backstab. I peek into the doorway, shield raised. No knight. I walk in slowly. No knight. I get shot at by the archer I recall being exactly where he is. No knight. I use my white bow to do some skeet shooting. And by skeet I mean “crotch.” That’ll show that silly archer.
Heeeeere’s the knight. I backpedal and switch to my new love the Penetrating sword(1). My dragon longsword has become much less effective as I’ve progressed. My other primary alternative being my sorta upgraded longsword which is near the same damage as the Penetrating sword. I actually win the fight pretty easily.
I come back in and go for the second archer who I recall waiting for me. I of course get jumped by the assassin just as the game has planned for me. Jumping off the ledge makes it a one on one fight again. I make the archer pay for tricking me. I approach the next knight, who is waiting for me on the stairs. I start off strong but he lands a hit. I try to heal and misjudge the distance I need. He combos my face pretty hard and it’s a one way ticket to the archstone.
On my way back I make sure I get both lizards. I won’t talk much about these guys anymore but by the time I finish the area I have two pure hardstones and a smattering of chunks of a couple varieties. Thanks little dudes!
This time the first knight hears me (must be the lizard stabbing) and comes out to greet me. No problem I think. I miss my timing on a parry and he one shots me. Crap.
Back I go. Skip to the assassin and a new find (for me). I bait him and jump down off the ledge. He follows. I hit him in the air. I didn’t know there was an animation for this but…..
He does a faceplant. Well, more like a belly flop. Onto stone. Whaaaaaaaaaat?!? I almost forget to stab him to death I’m so amazed by this. Pure greatness that this is a thing.
I show the knight on the stairs who da boss is. Meaning of course that I point up toward the False King and stab him while he’s looking away from me….
That would have been interesting but I just actually bait attacks, step back, stab…..
Of note is this:
I step out of the shadows of the stairwell into the light of the ramparts. There he is….Ol’ Blue(2). I step out enough to get him to throw his bad breath at me(3). Naturally, I shoot the Minister to draw him into the flames. The smell of burning flesh is likely something my character does not enjoy. I however, am willing to make him suffer with it as it seems a fitting (aka “funny”) end to the Minister. Quickly I go to work. If anyone is going to harass a dragon by repeatedly launching small sharp sticks at his feet it’s gonna be me. He flies off into the not so distance. I’m left with only 12 arrows. Fire arrows. I can’t beat the dragon just yet (sorry Biorr) but I can make a flaming Minister pincushion(4)!
Prior to warping back to the Nexus, I collect all the loot I can to drop off. I return and make my way back mostly uneventfully. I have purchased an obscene amount of arrows from Mr. Graverobber. Fast forward to the dragon. I needle his toes until he flies away disgusted with my lack of creativity/bravery. Because it was funny the first time, I turn the second minister into a fiery pincushion again(5).
I make my way to the stairs and take a moment to absorb the atmosphere. This is another great moment in gaming. A grand stair stands before you. Surely you are near the King’s chambers. Pillars and statues of formidable knights give the place a hallowed atmosphere. An immense dragon breathes fire and death. As your eyes moves away from the grandeur to inspect the flames, the corpses of brave warriors begin to haunt your vision. The fall of Boletaria. This ascent impresses the corruption of the land like no other location.
Biorr is fighting in the flames. He tells me to go on. He can handle this.
I take a shot at the dragon from the base and confirm what I already knew. Even with the white bow it will take an excruciatingly long time to win this fight. I doubt I have enough arrows. I’m gonna have to run for it.
I have memories flood back. Of dying in the flames. Of going to the Adjudicator archstone to kill the reaper for souls to buy more arrows. Memories of doing that a couple times just to make sure I had enough to go through the tedious process of shooting the dragon’s feet again.
I try to calculate my odds of getting through clean the first try. I’m already thinking that I might end the night right here and now. I see the opening and RUN!!
I carefully select my spot and take aim. My character is craning his neck to see anything of the dragon above him. There’s barely anything exposed I can shoot. Somehow, I kill a dragon by repeatedly hurting what’s less than 1% of his mass. Also, due to the particular structure I can actually hit (membranous wing tissue) I doubt he would have bled to death regardless of the number of arrows. Perhaps the collective weight of the arrows was a problem? Maybe he’s so aggravated he has a heart attack? Was I so annoying he committed suicide? We may never know.
I walk in and the horrors of the last section are immediately contrasted by the pristine condition of these stairs. Since the fall of Boletaria none have traversed this passage. Until now. Wait a second…..Ostrava got in somehow. He must be a good sprinter too.
I approach to converse with this melancholy fellow:
These aren’t better times though. Ostrava is distraught. He calls for the death of his father. He takes his own life. Before I finish for the night, I feel I should close the loop. I ascend the stairs in preparation of the quit/reload I think I’ll have to do to trigger the Phantom Ostrava. Turns out he’s much quicker than I expected. There he is. I don’t know if it’s a change in body language or the ominous red aura but it’s pretty clear that this isn’t the Ostrava I would have had a beer with. Not that I didn’t know that already of course.
I decide that I will abandon the “Two Bs” method of killing Ostrava. “Two Bs” of course being “bow” and “Biorr(8).” Human foes were always the bane of my Demon’s Souls existence. The aggression and speed, along with a wider variety of attacks often led to a one sided fight. With them being the victor naturally. Dark Souls changed that somehow. Whether it was the PvP (I’ve been to Forest Hunter level 3 a couple times now) or just the additional practice with a similar system, I’m a different person going into this fight.
I beat Ostrava easily. I think he hit me once. In the end it didn’t matter though. His misery is ended. I will soon use his shield in his honor(8). For now, the False King lies before me. But his time will end soon too(9)…..
(1) The Penetrating Sword is a replica of the sword used by The Penetrator. It’s really long and great at stabbing things. Sty tuned because in no way would I ever use that description as a set up for juvenile humor
(2) Ol’ Blue is the bigger, more annoying version of Ol’ Screechy the red dragon. Ol’ Blue is of course a blue dragon (the color, although he could be sad inside). He’s responsible for a lot of structural damage to the castle and as a doorman for the King he’s actually pretty terrible since he has the tendency to char visitors a little too much
(4) There’s a second Minister
(5) This will always be funny
(6) Gotta get lucky sometimes I guess
(7) Vallarfax was either a Twin Fang (like Biorr, so in other words a badass knight) referenced in the game or a company that specializes in the brave transmission of facsimiles
(8) For like 8 seconds probably
(9) Otherwise I’d never be able to stop writing
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