This time around, I did a little exploring off-camera to work out where I might want to go next. I’d just come from Darkroot Basin and connected the path from down there alllll the way back up to the Undead Burg by way of one newly-dead Havel.

There was still the Hydra down there. And a path to The Valley of Drakes. But surely there are other, less death-inducing options around. So off I went for a look.

Lower Undead Burg

This seemed a little more my speed. I accessed it via the doorway at the Taurus demon end of the Dragon bridge, with the Basement Key found past the Moonlight Butterfly.

It is down a loooong ladder which initially didn’t exactly fill me with confidence. Once there though, it wasn’t so bad. A few feral dogs — not nearly as scary it seems as their Dark Souls 3 counterparts — and best of all, almost immediately I get to open a shortcut to the Upper Undead Burg through one of those ‘Opens from the other side’ doors that had been bothering me since essentially the beginning of the game.

Winding my way through the area, I rescue a Sorcerer who couldn’t work out how to open a door which — I won’t lie — made me question his credentials somewhat. In any case, he’s back at Firelink Shrine now and I believe had I the talent, would sell me spells.

Not too long after finding him I encounter a boss fog-gate (I assume, it has a summon sign out front) but I promptly give it the double middle-finger and carry on my way to the stairs beyond it. I’m sure I’ll have to do the boss there soon (in fact, just beyond it there is a locked door that I bet the key will on or around the boss). But not yet.

Although I will say, I thought I’d be back almost immediately.

Instead I found a way through the Aqueduct from here all the way back to Firelink Shrine.

And there was a merchant in there! From her conversation, I don’t think she’ll be coming back to the Shrine with me any time soon. (She really likes the iron bars there separating us.)

Return to the Undead Asylum

Turns out, crouching in a giant crow’s nest is not only quite safe — it’s also a great way to travel.

The creepy guy at Firelink mentioned seeing ‘someone else’ get air lifted out by the giant crow. Which reminded me that this was a thing you could do. I’d seen it when going back to look for things I’d missed in areas already visited but I just hadn’t done it yet.

The area was much as we’d left it.

Except the Hollows have torches now. And fire is bad. Oh- and also that I came bearing the key necessary to open the side door. Another one that had been irking me since the start. Behind it was a Rusted Ring. More useful than the name might suggest though — you can use it to walk at normal speed through water, swamps, etc. A fact I’d wish I remembered a little later, when I returned to the Hydra.

More pertinently to the here and now though — I found a Black Knight. These guys don’t scare me as much as they once did, but this one still managed to take me out a few times before I walked him out a little further into the more open space behind the corridor he starts in.

Behind him was a little sadder. Not really a challenge given the low damage, but the knight that helped us right at the beginning had — as he had in fact predicted — turned hollow and tried to kill us.

Neat shield though.

Bonus: Back for the Hydra

Like I mentioned before — wish I’d recalled the Rusty Ring when I came to fight this thing! The last few heads were… Quite a pain.

I eventually worked out that with the pattern of attack I was never going to be able to melee attack it, but nor was it going to hit me — so I just stood there, equipped a bow, and pew-pew’d the last head off.

It was great.

The question now is: Where to next?

I think the answer will be to that boss gate I ignored in the Lower Undead Burg. But we’ll see. :)