Let there be no guilt. Let there be no vacillation.

Those words echoed ceaselessly in Nak’s mind. The Primordial Serpent called himself “Kingseeker Frampt,” spoke with a droll, nasally voice, and related tales of heroism and godhood—all while his oversized teeth clattered like the hooves of so many bulls. Nak had known Frampt since shortly after ringing the bell in Blighttown, but time in acquaintance had not made the friendly serpent any less weird.

At any rate, Frampt had been the one to guide Nak through Sen’s fortress, which Nak would still be bitter about if it weren’t for the fact that it led to Anor Londo, a place of stately, gothic beauty—and challenges worthy of warriors of his stature. In Anor Londo, he had slain countless Silver Knights, triumphed over giant sentinels, and visited furious justice upon Lautrec of Carim (for all the creepy but helpful undead Nak had met in Lordran, it was almost odd that the creepiest of them would be a murderer). He had done battle with valiant Ornstein and terrible Smough, and he had knelt before beautiful Gwynevere and received the Lordvessel, which he was fated to use to succeed Lord Gwyn.

The strange serpent now entreated Nak to slay the most powerful beings in Lordran:

The Four Kings and the Duke had been bequeathed shards of Gwyn’s soul. The Bed of Chaos and the First of the Dead still possessed the power drawn from the First Flame all those millenia ago. Nak would need all of it to fill the Lordvessel.

The beings who possess these souls have outlived their their usefulness, or chosen the path of the wicked. Let there be no guilt—let there be no vacillation.

As Nak crept through the ruins of New Londo, he wasn’t even sure why the Kingseeker had bothered to warn him with those words. How could he possibly have any guilt about this fight?

Shit was extremely evil down here.

Every few minutes, a restless ghost would float through a nearby wall and attempt to thrust a spectral dagger through Nak’s perfectly corporeal armor. Even beyond being obviously malicious spirits made restless by a horrible catastrophe, the ghosts were absolutely evil the way they would float just beyond reach, flail at Nak through walls, and swarm him in numbers unhindered by the limits of physical spaces. That, and Nak had to willingly visit a curse upon himself (and renew it every few minutes) to be able to fight back.

Nak died… quite a few times.

Finally, he spoke to Ingward, the last of the Sealers, who kept watch over New Londo. After issuing a few ominous warnings (of course), Ingward left Nak with the key to unseal the lowest, darkest reaches of New Londo, where he would find the Four Kings.

Nak accepted the key and its burdens. First, however, it was time to run some errands.

Sif: a Flashback


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The Legacy of Artorias

“Forge, I can. Strong, I am.”

There were scant few in Lordran who hadn’t formed the habit of ending every sentence with “ha ha ha ha” or “heh heh heh!” or “KEH HEH HEH HEH” (goddamn Lautrec). Nak made a point to befriend these people.

It paid off. Nak gave the Giant Blacksmith the Soul of Sif and his trusty Bastard Sword, already worked to perfection, and watched as the blacksmith transformed it. The blacksmith finished and handed Nak the Greatsword of Artorias, a weapon with a curse and an inner power beyond anything Nak had ever held, much less fought with.

Nak dashed off to the nearest Sentinel, held the great black blade in both hands, and swung!

Nak immediately stumbled backward with the shock of the blow.

Nak swung, and stumbled. Every time he made contact, the blade did its part and dealt terrible damage to his enemies, but somehow Nak could not follow through.

After the sentinel had taken the liberty of sending Nak back to the bonfire, Nak realized his mistake. He needed more faith. To wield this sword, once borne by of one of the very Knights of Lord Gwyn, required devotion. Devotion, of course, required souls.

The Four Kings

As evil as New Londo was, Lower New Londo was eviler.

By opening the floodgates and draining Lower New Londo, Nak had freed the Darkwraith Knights, the elite soul-hunting servants of the Four Kings themselves. Ingward had warned Nak about them: the Darkwraith Knights were never meant to walk again. Releasing them, necessary though it may be, would be releasing a terrible darkness upon the world.

But they fell, one after another, to Nak, who slew and trounced and cleaved through them with the Greatsword of Artorias… and no small amount of glee.

After slaying legions of Darkwraiths, putting to rest twisted masses of souls, and vanquishing a few more pesky ghosts, Nak stood at the top of a turret, hemmed in by a fog wall. What now? The spiral stairs downward led to an empty pit. The turret led no further upward; its top floors presumably crumbled centuries ago.

Nak stepped down to the very last step and looked downward. This wasn’t the first time it had been necessary to make a leap of faith. Nak stepped.

Nak fell and fell and fell and fell and died.

Nak combed every corner of New Londo, pleaded for help from Frampt, threw himself into the pit in the turret several more times, and held back immense frustration at the comfortable bonfire at Firelink Shrine.

Then he saw it: “Need Ring”

Nak banged his head against the wall, and again, and again, and once more, for good measure. Then he put on the Covenant of Artorias—the Ring that “symbolized Knight Artorias’s covenant with the beasts of the Abyss,” which he had earned fighting Artorias’s companion (the white wolf Sif), and stepped off the last step into the Abyss.

Nak landed in the emptiness. Not long afterward, the first of the Four Kings, wearing feathery, tattered regalia (and measuring a good thirty feet in height, of course) floated out of the infinite nothing.

Nak charged, and was blasted by terrible occult magic.

The second King descended upon the fight.

Nak stoop up (upon the surprisingly solid footing that the nothingness provided) and advanced upon the first King, bringing to bear the might of the Greatsword of Artorias. He swung, and swung, and swung, until the King swung back, flattening Nak, who bounced back up only to be scorched by the second King’s sorcery. Nak stood and vanquished the first King with two more sweeping blows of his mighty greatsword. By then, the third King had arrived.

Nak died.

Nak sighed.

The Three Kings

Return to the Abyss for the fourth time.

Charge. Sweep. Strike, strike, strike, block. Strike, strike, roll-strike. Strike. Roll. Strike.

Charge. Sweep. Block… block… die.

Return to the Abyss for the fifth time.

Charge. Sweep. Strike, strike, roll. Strike, strike, roll. Strike, strike, strike, block. Strike.

Charge. Sweep. Strike, strike, strike retreat—ouch. Strike, strike, roll, block. Strike.

Charge. Sweep. Retreat. Die.

Return to the Abyss for the sixth time.

Charge. Sweep. Strike, strike, roll. Strike, strike, strike, block. Strike, strike.

Charge. Sweep. Strike, strike, strike, block. Strike, strike, roll. Retreat, roll. Charge, Sweep.

Charge. Sweep. Strike, strike, strike, strike, take the blow, strike, strike, strike.

Piercing screech.

That was only three. Where’s the fourth? Oh, there’s a bonfire here. Oh, there’s the shard of Lord Gwyn’s soul. Good enough.

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