Ok, so I'm taking another adventure into the Dark Souls fanon, but I've had a lot to do these last couple of days so give me a break. Also, getting that pic gave me another excuse to play.
So, when we last left my nameless sorceress she had died a few times, discovered briefly what it is like to have a willy (peeing when standing up is the only real advantage), and then found herself wandering into a dark crack in the side of a mountain.
"Oh sunlight," I was immediately suspicious. Having been sat on several times by the monster equivalent of the 'before image' in a Slimfast ad I didn't believe for a second that the game was beyond lulling me into a false sense of security.
The sound of the sea and imagined tang of salt air wasn't fooling me, although the place did kind of look like Donegal on the one day of sunlight it gets each year.
Walking cautiously along a cliff edge I came across one of those helpful messages on the ground from the weird multiplayer aspect of Dark Souls. For the uninitiated the game is technically single player but your game can be invaded by players from other realms and you can summon guys to help you, or you can invade yourself. Players can also leave messages constructed from a limited pool of words that persist across the game multiverse to give advice and hints to other players.
"Try jumping," next to a cliff edge. Yep, that's exactly as helpful as I'd heard they were.
Ahead was what once was either a vibrant town fallen to ruin or a modern village in Northern Ireland, either of which could pose a threat. The lack of flags or painted kerbs led me to believe that it was probably the former, but you shouldn't take anything at face value. Hell, despite all appearances and a complete lack of anyone willing to admit it, I'm not actually a virgin. Shocking, I know.
So anyway, back to the computer game.
Running through a picturesque crumbling arch I spotted a bonfire and figured that I would be safe for at least twenty, maybe thirty feet. Lighting that beautiful, glowing, and most importantly, safe fire I turned to take in my surroundings.
A proud war memorial stood up on the hill overlooking the sea, and a wee guy sitting next to it who must have been the local representative for the Royal British Legion. Beyond this in the distance was the ruins of a once mighty city now sunk into the ocean. That's not at all foreboding.
A ruined building with a tent outside it and an angry looking green man was some distance away from the memorial... there's another Northern Ireland joke in there somewhere, then another building. There was some kind of ruined manor with a pit in front of it and then another building to the left, with some ruins in the distance and an enormous black tower lacking only a flaming eye looming over all.
And to my immediate left was another darkened tunnel that I wasn't ready to face just yet as it seemed to lead out to a fortress battle scarred and in disrepair.
One thing I did note was a distinct lack of things braying for my still warm blood, and that made me nervous.
I did see someone standing alone by a cliff edge staring longingly into the distant ocean, you know that visual cue of a person of great depth and knowledge.
The player message on the ground behind her said "Try thrusting."
'Are you the next monarch?'
I don't know, am I? I'm just here because I apparently thought that it was a sterling idea to jump into a whirlpool and next thing I was lying in a ruin surrounded by long grass and murder.
I continued the conversation anyway as the player message had Christopher Nolan'd the idea of a possible lesbian awakening for my nameless sorceress.
Several cryptic comments later and I discovered that this mysterious lady, lets call her the Emerald Herald because that's her name, was my spirit animal and would allow me to level up.
Spending all the souls that I'd gathered and feeling newly empowered I decided to explore Majula and practice my dodge-rolls because apparently that is really important and robes are about as effective as you expect in repelling blades, arrows, maces, hammers, whips, spears, halberds, poison, fire, tusks, and being sat on.
The first ruined building turned out to be a blacksmith's workshop and the blacksmith was locked out of his own building, you should find this slightly amusing because he's a bit of a dick.
The next building I thought was empty until a cat started getting sarcastic at me, which I thought was a bit rich since she was the sorceress who'd managed to get herself trapped in the body of something that needed a litter box. She did however recognise me as a kindred spirit from the immense power of my starting level spell, which was nice.
I could hear noises coming from beside the ruin, so going for a dander around the side of the manor I saw the telltale glow of an item on the ground and three little piggies.
Ok, maybe if I leave them alone like the doggies I can-
"Oh come on," I said as I respawned at the bonfire.
Retrieving my souls I remembered that the primary character trait of any protagonist in an RPG is that you are essentially a high-functioning kleptomaniac who everyone just sort of turns a blind eye to, so I tried the door of the manor to see what items I might be able to loot... uh, turn to use in the quest to save whatever.
The message I received was effectively "Door's locked, piss off."
Dealing with my sense of rejection in my usual mature manner I considered suicide into the pit outside, however upon looking in and seeing the full spectrum of filthy green stains coupled with the foul stench of death and toilet water I thought, "Better not."
The last building had a nervous-sounding guy selling armour, but anyone dumb enough to buy armour in the starting area of a game is asking for a long journey. He did however have a chest just waiting to be looted so it wasn't a total loss.
So what were my options? There was a tunnel that seemed to point in the direction of that sunken city, but a brief exploration into what looked to be a sewer told me that I didn't really want to go that way yet.
So, that left the tunnel that looked to lead toward that overgrown ruin of a fortress... at least it would be dry.
Views expressed may not be representative of reality.
Available for sale