Freja and the Duke
Passing through the Doors of Pharros area with its weird passive elephant dudes, I emerged in an abandoned army camp that sat on the fringe of another area called Brightstone Cove Tseldora. This was another fairly simple region that shouldn’t give seasoned players too much hassle, but like anything in this game, just remember that complacency often leads to death. The Hollow grunts and undead pigs in this area were a piece It wasn’t a bad place for a quick soul top-up if – like me – the Covetous Silver Serpent Ring is permanently fixed in your load-out. It’s the one that grants bonus souls per kill.
There are two things I should point out here however. The first is that this area’s initial bonfire is hidden inside a tent, which can be easy to miss if you’re not listening out for its familiar, soothing sound. Also, you’ll have to walk down a slope to reach the area’s mid-boss and about halfway down you’ll see an item hanging by the cliff edge. I made the mistake of going over to pick it up, only to be crushed by a rolling boulder that fell from above. The trick is to make the Hollow push his rock before you grab the item, or you’ll feel really silly like I did. Nugget.
Here are the boulders. Now you won’t make the same mistake I did.
Further down the hill I found another fog gate that housed a mid-boss called Prowling Magus and Congregation. It’s a weird one in that you don’t get a boss soul for slaying the mage and his undead minions, but you do get a big dose of souls for your trouble. I found that Magus was made easier by taking down his healers first, then his minions, which left only me and him in the room. The chances of dying were slim. Beyond this trivial fight, I marched on to an elevated path above a swirling vortex of sand. I didn’t want to know what would happen if I fell in, so I refrained from sprinting or jumping around like a lunatic.
The area is full of mages who hurl slow-moving soul arrows around, but again, I was able to dodge them with relative ease. You can probably see a pattern forming here. At the bottom of the sandy valley I stumbled across a room filled with genuinely creepy stone dolls. This is the home of NPC vendor Weaponsmith Ornifex, an equally as creepy half woman-half bird beast who speaks very strangely. She won’t appear at first however, as I had to rescue her from a locked cell in the Shaded Woods. The door is unlocked using the Fang Key, which I managed to get by curing and then killing a petrified Lion Warrior in the area.
I spent a while levelling up in the lower levels of Tseldora, particularly an area leading to Freja’s lair that consists of a thin walkway flanked by spiked rocks. I found that I could run into the room at the end of the path and double-back to tease a pack of small spiders across. They get confused easily and nine times out of ten they fell onto the spikes and start taking damage per second. I just sat back and watched them die one by one while taking out stragglers. It’s sneaky but I found it helped generate a few more souls.
You guys are stupid…
Beyond the spider room sat a huge drop covered in webby walkways. My Knight’s feet stuck to the makeshift paths, which prevented me from running at full speed. I was half-expecting to be punished by much-faster enemies as some kind of sadistic ploy, but was met with more small spiders instead. Thankfully, I was able to cut through them in one or two blows by this point, and I got the feeling that they were merely there to chip away at your health before the Freja boss fight.
Freja herself is quite massive, and can really smash you up with her pincer attacks and body blows. I have to admit I was a bit disappointed when I saw her, as I was crossing my fingers that Queelag or some kind of spiritual version of her resided beyond the fog gate. That would have been cool. To help my chances I summoned the phantom of Boyd the Ashen Knight using a sign at the back of the previous room. Unlike other summons, you don’t have to defeat this guy as a black phantom first, you just need to be in human form. He really helped me out, and I defeated Freja first time.
I essentially kept a safe distance and used up all my Soul Arrows before attacking Freja’s sides, while taking time to retreat whenever she prepared her heavy pincer smash. Her moves are blatantly sign-posted, so there’s plenty of time to retreat. After defeating Freja, I was granted access to what could be the smallest named area in ‘Souls’ history, called Lord’s Private Chamber. It’s a study room that houses a guy called Vengarl that I slaughtered with just one hit. It felt a bit tragic actually, as it looked like he was in there researching a cure to turn Freja back into a human.
Uh, there’s no bathroom in here.
My guilt evaporated quickly as I picked up Vengarl’s armour set that – at the time of writing – is still weak compared to my Drangleic Armour+10, Gyrm Warrior Helm+2, Alonne Knight Leggings+1 and my Drangleic Gloves+5. However, if I manage to get a stockpile of Twinkling Titanite I should be able to boost Vangarl’s set beyond what I have now. Right now I’m still working on that particular goal. Maybe I’ll have managed it in part five of this journal. I can only hope.
Next; I took a jaunt to the Dark Souls 2 beta area Huntsman’s Copse.