The Pit where the Rotten lay, the Black Gulch, appeared to be filled with more foulness than i had originally considered. I had lost sight of Lucatiel after the battle and while i should have headed back to Majula, i found myself dawdling. The bonfire had been lit. I could return at any time, yet something in the wretched abyss fascinated me.
One thing about this land that’s hard to truly describe is these phantoms, for want of a better word. Other warriors like myself, sometimes garbed in the finest of armours with the most wondrous of weapons and other that seem to suffer far more than i ever hard in the worst of rags. These apparitions seem to float through the world around me as i travel. I can’t say they keep me company. They seem only briefly aware of me as i am of them, but i feel they are on the same clueless mission as me. They leave messages for me, providing me information on what is to come. Sometimes a warning of an ambush, sometimes a strategy to use fire against certain foes. Far too many simply urge me to throw myself off the nearest cliff face. I cannot tell if this is out of amusement or hopelessness.
And then there’s the blood.
The blood doesn’t seem to be intentionally left behind. Pools of it drain in random spots on the ground around me. Almost intangible. The merest touch sends images of other deaths. Warriors, strong or weak falling to invisible forces without warning or reason. Seeing these seem to serve as a warning for future perils.
The Black Gulch was full of them.
Stone statues, of innocent faces with malicious intent, flood the craggy walls of these deepest of depths. Each one releases a poison slob whenever i approach, as if some force within them senses my presence and attacks like a cat whose belly gets scratched in a way it doesn’t like. I don’t know how i set them off, but they seem all but mundane in the areas i have visited so far and it appeared they’ve taken one too many of my fellow travellers along the way, However, while these were where most of the bloodstains were lay elsewhere, seemingly hanging in the darkness of the pit below me.
It took some time to get there. The oil beasts and stretching worms threatened my life at every step. It was after dispatching the second worm that i realised where the other warriors were trying to get to. In the darkness below me, with just a flicker of life, was a ledge. Another one, like where i had found Lucatrcal. I was perhaps a little foolhardy in throwing myself down so quickly and i admit, a little horrified as i found myself lying next to a corpse over a perilous cliff face. I scrambled to the next ledge for safety and was met in my efforts with a large stone door. Eager, i attacked the door full force, almost ramming into it to push it open. But it was sealed.
A keyhole suggested a lock, which struck me as the oddest thing i had seen down here so far. The statues that spat poison i knew were made by the rotten monster, carved crudely and constructed by many hands all at once.The wooden structures of the gutter were more pieced together from dregs that had made their way down there. But a keyhole and a stone door, carved out of the rock and constructed. It suggested an artisan of some kind, but the ledge it was built on was thin. Was the ledge once larger, set in such a way that one could bring the materials down without risking death, or had this door been built from the other side?
Such mysteries eluded me but were soon pushed away with the prospect that i had no way off this ledge. The existence of the corpse filled me with dread. Whatever the purpose of this former man had been he had apparently spent his last moments trapped here, unable to climb back up and unwilling to throw himself to the void even as his last energies drained from him. I would share his fate if i could not take further action. Testing the wall i could quickly see that, even were i to abandon my armour and swords and rush the suffering of the monsters above, i would not be able to scale the face before me. It was almost a shear flat save for several jutting rocks that mocked an easy start that would not follow through. I banged on the door, only wondering for a moment that it would be foolish of me not to try this when there could have been someone else on the other side holding the key.
It wasn’t long before i came to the conclusion that i wasn’t going anywhere. Up wasn’t possible, and the door was unavailable. Down was the only place to go. I confess it’s a bit harrowing on the soul to know how willing one can be to throw oneself into the abyss where they’ve previously learned that they’ll just end up at a bonfire with nothing but a loss of skin tone. Even so i threw myself quickly over the edge expecting my conscious to leave me before i even felt the bottom.
This made the ground that i fell into a bit of a surprise.
I had fallen a few mere feet, though i could swear that the ground was nothing but darkness beforehand. All the same i found myself still on the cliff-face but this time facing an open tunnel with a faint light within it. I entered cautiously, unsure what to expect. The cavern felt large and hollow, yet i could not see even my own hand. I edged further into the darkness, using the toes of my front foot to ensure i was not about to engage in another freefall.
The cavern quickly widened and i saw a strange moving plant on the far wall, throbbing slowly in the dark, seemingly content in its small movements. I soon noticed that it wasn’t by itself. It shared a partner floating alongside it. I walked to them slowly, trying not to get distracted into falling to my death as i craned my head to look at them.
Though their presence was strange their purpose seemed little more than an intriguing sight. How did plant life flourish down here in the dark? It wasn’t a question i usually considered but here at the bottom of the world all alone i found myself being rather contemplative about these things. The underground had moss and damp, but no light existed here. Did the plantlife somehow not need it?
Kicking a rock, my body froze as the plant swung round to face me. The image before my eyes brought me no small measure of confusion to its sudden movements. Whatever the plant was, it would have only been able to move like that if – forgive me. This writing appears to be trying to make the dramatist out of me. I seem to be trying for a big reveal, but my skill with the pen isn’t there and i simply appear to be making melodrama.
Simply put, it wasn’t actually a plant i had been observing. That was a trick of the dark and nothing more.
What i was actually looking at were two giants, who had noticed me and were now approaching me with seemingly hostile intent. How i could have mistaken the two in retrospect, i have no idea. Regardless, their figures were clearer now, as were their weapons. Two large clubs each, almost as big as them and certainly three times larger than me. What they had been doing down here in the dark i’ll never know, but it was only sharp reflexes that saved my addled brain in that moment, throwing me to the side and out of harm’s way. Even when rolling i felt the ground shake through my skull.
Both seemed intent on attacking me at once and i had to dodge blows before i could even ready my sword. Not that i knew what to do with it. Unlike the Rotten, whose mass allowed me to swing with reckless abandon, and the Last Giant, whose slowly lurched form allowed me to take advantage of blind spots, these two were simply much larger men who could easily step away from me should i get close enough to their ankles yet were always close enough to me to pound the flesh from my bones.
I will not deny my fear here. Fear is a strong weapon in a fight. It tells you when you’re in too deep, and though my seemingly indestructible nature brought about by continued resurrection had alleviated some of these fears, two looming monsters in the darkness coming towards me was more than enough to start it up again. I ran, uncaring for any potential holes in the ground that would spell my doom anyway.
A light caught my eye and i went for it. It seemed to glow green and my suspicions were quickly confirmed where i found it to be the luminous moss in the area. It revealed to me a pit, one i didn’t care to throw myself in just yet. I turned around, looking to steel myself, only to find the giants had stopped. They were now back in the form of plants, hiding in the darkness, still.
Were they automata? I had heard of such things. But these were large creatures and it would not entirely make sense for them to be purely machine, but they had willingly stopped as i entered this cavern and made no effort to track me further. I waited, more for my heart to slow than to wait for an opening. It quickly dawned that they had no intention of moving. But i quickly found that this meant neither could i. The cave i was in was too small for them to follow me and contained nothing more than the moss, the hole and what appeared to be a metal hanging cage to trap a human in. It rose up through the large opening where the ceiling should have been above me. And it was then i realised where i was. A monster’s pit.
Prisoners must have been fed from here for whatever reason. The hole above me was no doubt where people started and i was where they ended. Maybe the stone door was the entrance and this was the exit. All the same, i wasn’t going anywhere.
It was at this point i felt the frustration of the hours piling on me. Trudging through darkness without purpose in a land where i can’t even die. I was vexed, which probably explained my next actions.
Realising that they could not reach me from here, and had no apparent intention of movement, the giants quickly came victim to my bow. I usually use the bow to grab the attention of others but for now i figure i would see how long i could take this. I started firing arrows into the darkness, aiming for the flower. even if i missed the target was still big enough for me to hit. Dipped in poison the blade of each seemed to rip into the giants with little fanfare. The big golems just took it and with nowhere to go, i wasted the next few minutes striking them down, my arrows apparently so meaningless that they didn’t even acknowledge them.
Which made it very confusing where the first one suddenly lurched over in pain and fell to the ground.
It brought to me a renewed sense of vigour, They could be killed, apparently by poison and blade, which made the second one fair game. By the end as he too fell to the ground. I almost felt like i had cheated. It mattered not. I was alive and they weren’t.
I went to search the bodies, the loot on such creatures possibly being too big for me to carry about. At this point i figure it was still worth the effort. I scrambled over to them, my fear of falling now completely gone but as i approached i realised they were no longer there. Their bodies had fallen to dust.
Like so many before i suppose, but it was an odd sight to behold with creatures so large. I immediately abandoned my search and was rewarded with the discovery of a key laying on the ground, making itself known to me as i kicked it. A small simple key, but one with apparent purpose. There was only one place it would fit.
I headed for the stone door.