Dark Souls III Diary - First Playthrough Journal - Part 4

While I'm a veteran Souls player, this is my first time playing through the latest installment, Dark Souls III, following the adventures of my pyromancer, Vedekka.

In the last episode of DSD, I met Greirat of the Undead Settlement who asked me to find "old Loretta" and deliver her a Blue Tearstone Ring. This got me thinking. The short amount of time I've been in this game has already felt like a massive journey, but I haven't even met the area boss yet. So, I put my nose to the grindstone and start trudging my way through the remainder of the zone, including backtracking to areas I haven't yet explored.

 Remember the rotund fellow circling the courtyard? He's toast now. Pyromancy is super powerful.
 Remember the zombies with living oil that explodes from their bodies to murder you? Found another one.
Remember that giant dragon? Yeah, he's still alive. But I stole all his treasure out from under him! See my new axe? It's very powerful and has dark magic damage on it. I still use it! I found it here, under the dragon...
...in this treasure chest! Except that's not a treasure chest. That is actually a mimic monster, which the user-shared hint on my left alerted me to. If you try to open that chest, it opens up to a massive set of bladed teeth, and you get to be lunch.
After clearing most of the level, I come to a long staircase leading to a cathedral. At the bottom of the stairs is a massive set of doors that I assume leads to other areas, perhaps even the Undead Settlement that Greirat referenced. I opt to look at the cathedral first as the way out which likely has the boss. I fight a pair of knights who are pretty tough. I DIE a few times, but I'm earning lots of souls, so it's okay. Then I see a knight with his back turned.

Now, see, NPCs in the Dark Souls series are often found out in the world and you are completely free to attack them at will, taking on any rewards and consequences that accompany that choice. I like to be nice, so I take a chance and approach normally rather than attempt to sneak in the first blow. He could have items to sell, a quest to give, or at least have some interesting story to tell--NOPE, HE HAS RED EYES AND IS CHARGING ME.

In hindsight, I probably should have given more credence to the fresh pools of blood in the area.
He chased me a remarkably long distance before finishing me off. :(
After he kills me, I decide to leave him alone. Seems wise for now. I still venture nearby to the cathedral to see what's inside but I get nervous. It's a dark, deep chamber and someone is sitting at the far end in a red cloak. Creepy. Could be risky and I'd rather go face the boss. I make my way down the massive stairs, flanked by the dead bodies of the devout, all of whom apparently expired before completing some long and brutal pilgrimage. I enter a huge chamber and... nothing. I'm sure this is a trick, but it's time to spring the trap. I head to the double doors which are choked by roots to have a look see.

How am I going to get through all this mess?
Suddenly, a humming sound heralds the opening of a strange and dark portal behind me. The boss climbs out of the portal and now I'm sealed inside the hall with a beast known simply as Vordt of the Boreal Valley.

Imagine a giant knight as a dog. Emanating cold magic and carrying a big mace. That is how we get to die today.
I DIE. A lot. After the first couple attempts, I use the player co-op system so I can learn the fight in other players' games with no risk to myself (and earn buckets of souls in the process). This also earns me Embers which are consumable items that allow me to "enkindle" myself so that I can summon player co-op helpers in my own world. Even after I get the fight down, I still make a lot of dumb mistakes and die a lot. I'm playing late at night now and I'm slipping, but I rally one last time and take Vordt down.

Reader, insert Xena battle cry here.
Success! Kinda. I head through the doors to find the bridge is out, completely collapsed. It's a straight drop down to death, but I notice that the game seems to want me to place an item here. I figure I  missed something, probably in the cathedral I avoided. Sure enough, I head inside and find Emma, High Priestess of Lothric Castle sitting in the red cloak.

Tell me about it, I climbed out of my own grave to be here.
Emma hooks me up with a mark of the Way of Blue covenant. See, when you're enkindled, there's a chance that other human players will be able to invade your game and gank you. If you equip the Way of Blue parchment, it will summon another player to defend you (those in the Blue Sentinels covenant, which we'll get to later). She also gives me a small Lothric Banner which is somehow going to help me leave High Lothric.

So, I head back to the drop and things... take an unexpected turn.

Okay, place the banner and... what's the scuffling sound down there?
"Uh, hey guys... I, you know what, I can just head back the way I came, I don't want to trouble anyone--"
"No, no, really, I can see myself out. Guys? Why, where are we--"

Adrian Martinez is a graphic designer, comic book letterer, hobbyist writer, and all-around geek living in New York City.