Return to Lordran: Volume 5

Return to Lordran: Volume 5

As we are immersed in what we all expect is the grand finale of the Dark Souls franchise, I return(ed) to the roots of the series after a hiatus of several years.  DJ Jazzy Jeff and Tarkus just wrecked shop, and we discovered the real story behind Prince Ricard. Anor Londo, and adventure, await!


Chapter 8: Hot Dog! With a whole pile of catch-up

Author’s side rant: as I write this sentence, I’m almost exactly 12 hours away from the Ringed City DLC launching.  By the time you read this, the end of the series will already have been pored over.  Many players may already be gone for good.  It’s the end of an era.  As gamers and fans of the series, we are in a strange place.

It’s fitting then, that his tale finds itself in a strange place as well.  Somewhere around, oh, what I’m about to write about…the project started feeling like work.  Partly this is due to build up for the Ringed City.  Partly it’s because I wonder who I’m doing this for.  Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining about how many readers I have. If that was a concern I’d have stopped writing a long time ago. Lord knows I’ve poured tons of effort into many pieces that didn’t “go anywhere.”  And that’s not to claim that an enthusiastic reader or two doesn’t make it way easier to keep moving on a project.  But most times, I write for me.  And that’s more than enough.  I’ll be honest here though, after killing Artorias and having a bit of fun in Oolacile, there’s been almost no pull to return to DJ Jazzy Jeff’s quest. There wasn’t a ton of pull before Artorias either. 

This is my way of telling the readers (I know you’re out there, I can see the view count) that might have been looking forward to this that there might not be a true chapter 9.  Chapter 8 was only guaranteed because I’m hoping to shed a little light to one of the coolest tricks in the game. Coolest and perhaps most obscure.  I felt compelled to have Jazzy’s story at least reach the part where he got to be included on this secret. I owed him that much.  

Also know, while these projects are rarely ever intended to be “for you,” I do appreciate you.  Thank you sharing in this journey with DJ Jazzy Jeff and I.  With that rant over, at least once more, let’s traverse the white light together and see where DJ Jazzy Jeff will take us…

Reaching toward a circlet of light that seems strangely familiar, DJ Jazzy Jeff hears the flapping of leathery wings. He is startled to see small-demon like creatures surrounding him. Before he can raise his ax, he is being carried aloft.  He hangs on and hopes for the best. His strange transport flies swiftly toward an imposing wall. All the travels before have stood in the shadow of this grand structure. Much like his physical being, his spirit soars in anticipation of what may lie ahead.

imp

The future of Uber

Our hero finds himself deposited neatly at the top of the wall. He walks tentatively down a grand stair. Large suits of armor tower above him. He proceeds, unaware that they watch him and threaten to leap forth should he venture too near.

Then he found a bonfire and killed a gargoyle.  So far, this place starts off pretty poorly defended unless you’re into antagonizing giants. He spies a grand cathedral ahead, but a strange bridge is currently not in a position to allow access. Clearly taking a ton of time to look around, he “eventually” sees a broken window in a building to his left. Conveniently, this building also has a support structure that connects to where he is so he can just kinda walk from grand structure to grand structure. He climbs up and makes his way through the window.

Dexterous swordsmen wait inside. Despite some hawt dance moves, they are easily dispatched.  DJ Jazzy Jeff works his way down the building and sees a grand painting of a frozen landscape.  Everything is grand here. Nearing the painting he sees a corpse carrying the armor of his recent friend Tarkus. This is truly a bummer.

As with everything else, DJ Jazzy Jeff reaches out to touch shit. The painting seems to ripple under the lightest graze of his fingertips. As he wonders at this marvel, his hand is pulled in against his will. Cold gnashes its sharp teeth through his gauntlet, as the painting hides a winter’s wind beneath its surface. He struggles, but soon realizes it’s all for naught.  He is pulled inside, to a strange and cold place. Where it appears visitors are impaled on a regular basis.

Suddenly, it’s as if the world’s “fast forward” button has been pressed (aka “I’m gonna hurry through this part”). Inside the cold world he kills some bloated things, tengu, more bonewheels and another puke dragon. A weird guy in yellow loves to play with matches. All of these things die. Eventually he finds a tall, pale lady whose dress matches that of the strange doll he found in his old cell. Closer inspection reveals it’s not a dress at all, but rather misshapen wings. No worries reader, I didn’t kill her despite the fact that I love the dagger. Jeff walked off the ledge without ruffling a single scale on her hide.

tengu

Still not harpies

Back in the grand city, another Gargoyle gets killed, Jazzy was killed once by the archer tag team of death (took an arrow to the knee). Solaire thought I was hitting on him.  The Giant Blacksmith is still a cool guy. Oh look, a fog gate.

I was going to originally write an epic fight scene for Ornstein and Smough. Something like this I think…

DJ Jazzy Jeff and Solaire step through the white light and are greeted by two grand (just gonna keep using that word here) knights in ornate armor. The first is a mammoth entity with a giant hammer. A foe struck down by this would be unrecognizable to even their own mother. The second is shorter and slimmer, and bears a fierce spear.  He leaps down from a balcony overhead, his agility on full display. They briefly stare at the challengers who dared to enter their cathedral.

And then they charge. The smaller of the two blazes forward, much faster than his ally. He thrusts his spear toward Solaire, catching him by surprise.  Hurt but alive, Solaire begins to move back and to the right, to separate the two cathedral guards. DJ Jazzy Jeff sprints forward to engage the hammer bro. Despite a somewhat slow rate of walking, he is deadly quick with the hammer. Narrowly avoiding the thunderous crash of this monstrous weapon, DJ Jazzy Jeff flanks his enemy.

It is soon apparent that Solaire is in trouble. The speed of the spear wielding guard is too much for him. Unable to consistently land his own strikes, Solaire begins to panic. He is knocked down and tries to avoid the next rush of his terrifying opponent. He prays to the Sun he adores so, that DJ Jazzy Jeff is faring better. Out of the corner of his eye, Solaire sees his friend duck just underneath a swipe of the mass of death that loosely goes by the name of “hammer.” His hope is renewed as DJ Jazzy Jeff finds an opening and strikes!

And then I was gonna continue on like that, and really honor Solaire’s death in phase 2. All of the above is true by the way. But I was a little surprised at this fight.  It’s nowhere near as good as I remember. Wonky hit boxes aplenty. Smough’s armor warping weirdly because he’s just a reskin of the Asylum/Stray/Firesage demon and his armor is nothing more than a digital coat of paint. And I could go on. I think I was sold on that initial presentation before. It’s so badass to see Ornstein gracefully jump down and get ready to light you up.  And who can forget Smough lumbering at you while it becomes readily apparent that Ornstein isn’t going to be taking his time? Or perhaps the march of time is the culprit for my current dissatisfaction…

ornstein

You finally got my plume. Happy now?

So here’s another completely accurate way to tell the story.

Jazzy Jeff entered the white light. A kickass cut scene played. Ornstein sprints toward our hero. But then goes right past him. I think he was targeting Solaire, but since Solaire was kinda straggling to get in he was basically aiming at a fog gate.  He got him the second time, as he was stepping inside. Jazzy Jeff sprints toward Smough. He also remember to leave enough stamina to roll to avoid the first hammer smash. Jazzy Jeff has little trouble with this enemy since he’s already bested the Asylum and Stray.  And this fight is identical except for Ornstein being added in. 

Meanwhile Solaire is getting his ass kicked, being bowled over repeatedly. Thank god he has some HP, because he’s basically worth two things in this fight. “Jack” and “shit.” He’s maybe a meat shield to keep one guy off you for a second, but honestly you could easily bait Ornstein around the room while Smough lumbers about like an obese penguin and that’d be just as good. 

I, uh…I mean…DJ Jazzy Jeff beat up Smough like he was the red plumed step child rather than Ornstein…and off we go to Super Ornstein. Seriously, the only reason Solaire made it this long is because Jeff beat the crap out of Smough so fast. Then 5 seconds in, Solaire gets impaled by Super Ornstein who was basically like “nah, **** this guy.”  So then Jeff goes to town on Super Ornstein and this fight is incredibly easy, because in addition to past times playing, he’s now fought the Stray Demon, Asylum Demon and Smough successfully.  So this is basically the fourth ****ing time I’ve done this fight, one of those times happening one short cut scene before. Super Ornstein lived twice as long as he should have, because it doesn’t appear his upper thighs have good hit detection. The height of the strike from the Crescent Ax was clearly hitting the guy but not registering. I chopped his nads, yet they did not respond to being chopped…

More fast forward, got the Lordvessel and went for Nito first. That was mostly no biggie. Then I did Seath and, funny story, Jazzy’s normal gear gives him about 30 curse resistance. Let’s just say Seath won round 1. I re-geared and Seath became a joke. Hurray Paladin Set.

gwynevere

“She’s beautiful, she’s rich, she’s got huge… tracts of land.”

I was gonna do Izalith next and mostly did. But before the Bed of Chaos, I did the rest of Onion Bro’s line to get him to the Shield Eaters. I killed all but one, did Siggy’s dialogue, jumped in…and he refused to follow. Aw hell. No reason to visit Ash Lake I guess.  If I return to these tales, I have notes to flesh out DJ Jazzy Jeff’s travels in these lands, but for now it’s enough for you to know that they happened, and posed small difficulty.

And on the way, I did the thing that prompted me to actually write this Chapter.  I beat Ceaseless Discharge without fighting him.  So now that we’re caught up enough to justify using DJ Jazzy Jeff as the catalyst behind the secret, I’m gonna make you wait until next time…

 

priscilla

See? Alive and well


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