This is an overview of this area.
Table of Contents
- Chancellor Wellager (merchant)
- Darkdiver Grandahl (Pilgrims of the Dark Covenant)
- "Queen Nashandra"
- Benhart of Jugo
- Stone Statue Spear
- Titanite Slab (rare drop from stone knights).
- Stone Twinblade
- Great Combustion
- Soul Greatsword
- Fire Storm
- Fire Seed
- Soul Vessel
- Strong Magic Shield
- Faraam Set
- Hunter's Blackbow
- Royal Swordsmen
- Stone soldier
- Syan Knights
- (Temporary Name) Castle Knights
- Crystal Lizard
- Mastodon Warriors
- Boss: Dual Dragonriders & Looking Glass Knight
The Castle is reached after defeating and acquiring the souls of 4 bosses: The Old Iron King in Iron Keep,Rotten in Black Gulch, The Lost Sinner in Sinner's Rise, and Duke's Dear Freja in Brightstone Cove Tseldora. Alternatively, the door can be opened by acquiring a 1,000,000 soul memory [2 million in NG+, 3 in NG++, etc.] Then you must go to the Ruined Fork Road Bonfire in the Shaded Woods. Once you go up the stairs you will see three door ways. Go to the left and defeat the 4 poisonous undead outside the door way. Then follow the path down a slope until you are confronted by another opponent. Defeat him, then head left and you will enter the Winter Shrine. If you have all four souls the Black Gate will open you can proceed to the Castle (actually, the Winter Shrine opens with two great souls, although the emerald herald warns you not to enter the castle until your soul is less frail).
Before entering the area you will see a Crystal Lizard just before the staircase.
When you enter the area the Emerald Herald from Majula will be there to greet you at the bottom of a large staircase leading to the castle. There will be two mastodon statues standing at the top on either side; the statues will attack when you approach them, however they move slowly. If you run down the stairs you can use a ranged weapon to fire at them. Once you make it to the castle, you must kill the Royal Swordsmen or one of the hollows next to the Golems with the bowls. Hollows will keep spawning from the left. The Golems will absorb the white soul energy that your character would normally absorb. This may prove difficult at first, so it is important to kill your enemies close to the Golem statues. You may have to guide your enemies' soul energy toward the statues by dashing toward the bowls of the statues. Before you go into the entrance of the castle, go around to the right side of the building to find a chest containing a Fire Seed and Great Combustion.
Once inside talk to the invisible NPC, Wellager, on the staircase. After exhausting his dialogue options and learning about the King and Queen, he will become a merchant.
After speaking with Wellager head down the left stairwell (facing the entrance) and you will fight Knights wearing Syan's Armor and carry great shields and various weapons. Once you enter the hallway on your left will be three enemies; two Royal Knights and one Syan Knight. Avoid them, because the door they are guarding is a dead end so head to the right. You will face a door with two Royal Knights hiding behind it, so be reading to guard or roll once the door opens. After dispatching them head down the ladder and directly in front of you will be two sets of pale blue doors. Open both and there is a bonfire.
From the bonfire there will be two paths, one right one left. Since you need a Key item to go left, you should go right instead. You will enter a room with six pairs of stone enemies each in front of a Golem door that you have to fill with a soul in order to open, just like how you entered the castle. At the back of the room are two more Golems that will light torches if you fill them with souls. When you enter the room the stone enemies will come to life, so move cautiously otherwise you'll wake them all up at once. Stick to one side of the room to keep the other side from coming to life, and avoid going too far into the room unless you can handle them easily. Once a door is opened, only the shield-bearing statue will respawn.
Once you kill a foe near one of the Golem doors it will open, but don't get excited. Behind each door except the first one on the right as you enter, is a Ruin Sentinel guarding an item or chest:
- Left side: first room has a ruin sentinel guarding nothing; second room has sentinel guarding a Pharros' Locksotone, third room has Grandahl as explained below.
- Right side: first room has nothing but the path forward, second room has sentinel guarding a chest which contains a Mastodon Greatsword, and the third room has a sentinal guarding a chest containing the Royal Soldier's Ring +1.
(Hint: A good way of dealing with the Ruin Sentinels is to take them back to where the bonfire is, and keep them in that corridor. They won't attack you, but they will keep their shield up. It's slow to kill them, but it's much safer. You just have to stand in front of them while they try to walk back to the big open area. * I personally like to pull them towards that corridor so they start walking back, then moving towards them to make them attack. All of these attacks are guardable with a 100% phys resist shield, and easily evaded by rolling. After they've attacked, you've got time to get one or two attacks or spells in while they don't have their shields up. As soon as their attack animation is complete, they'll raise their shield and ease out of the corridor, allowing you to rinse and repeat until they're finished. -- Yuuji)
Once you pass through the first Golem door you will find a chest, and after going up the stairs you eventually come to a room with corrosive acid covering the floors and contraptions shaped like dragons spitting even more acid at you. It does not affect HP but will destroy your armour quite quickly if you want to play around in the acid. in the acid you will find a chest containing a corrosive urn. and a dead and a dead body. there is a crossbow guard above the entrance but you are safe to remove your armor to keep it from getting broken just don't take too long. Ascend to the next area and you will come across a door to a room filled with masks. The masks spit poison arrows at you so quickly open the next door and use a recovery item if you need to. The next room has three Syan Knights that you'll need to deal with and a large painting of the Queen (I think). It is cursed and if you get too close it will fill the curse meter VERY quickly. Exiting this area will lead you outside to some more stairs where there are a number of Royal Soldiers ahead of you shooting crossbows. Take them out and you will be invaded by an NPC Dark Spirit who will appear just outside of the room with the Queens painting, so turn around and head back down the stairs. Once he's dead you'll find a ladder going down to the left of where the Royal Soldiers were, take it down and if you didn't kill them already there are two more Royal Soldiers waiting for you here guarding a corpse with an item. Another ladder will take you down to a chest containing Hunter's Blackbow and some Dark Arrow and one more Royal Soldier. After opening the chest, climb back up to ledge and examine the wall; press X for the PS3 or A for the XBOX to reveal an illusory wall that opens to a bonfire. This is a good time to rest because you have a mini-boss fight coming up with two Dragon Riders. After resting, climb back up the ladder and continue along the path you enter a room with the Queen seated at the far end. Talk to her, exit through the side, and get ready for a boss battle.
Strategy: Take out the Dragon Rider that is launching projectiles at you first. The other Dragon Rider with a halberd is not as fast so it's easy to outrun him while returning and attacking the ranged one. The Great Bow Dragon Rider is on top of a platform but can be lured down if you fight the other underneath it, and has less HP than the Halberd Dragon Rider, (around 1400HP compared to 3400HP). Once the ranged one is finished with, the other is very simple.
Note: (Used great lightning spear, three shotted bow rider as soon as fight started and took about 5-6 hits to kill second rider, VERY effective! 44 faith and int) I found an Ultra Greatsword did large damage, One thing I manage to do at the very beginning of the battle was get a couple soul vortexes off which hit both of them and gave me a bit of a handicap. Before you walk in have a large area effect spell/pyromancy, or hex attack ready, launch it at them when you traverse the fog and have your shot lined up. They will be on the back left side of the room. If you can get it to hit between them it will get them both a little, if you can get it to barely tag one, it will do one larger damage and still get the other one a little. I would aim for the one that is behind the halberd wielding vanguard. You may not be able to lock on because of how far you are away so either use very quick spells that do moderate damage in smaller areas or spells that take a little more time but can envelop a large area; the only quick small area large damage spell I found is lightening spear. I used a very light armour so moving around was easy. Equip one right hand weapon that is long but fast, like a Black Knight Great Sword or Ultra Great Sword that has a Slash/Thrust attack or a buffed katana. The great swords that only have a slash attack are slightly slower. I am going to reload this boss fight and try it with no shield, dual-wielding katanas, and a chime with soul vortex, lighting spear, and great heal excerpt spells (not great heal, it takes to long to cast). The good thing is about this fight is how close the bonfire is to it.
After this fight move in to the next area you will arrive at the Central Drangleic Castle bonfire. Rest here first and then you can talk to Benhart of Jugo. If you exhaust his dialogue he will disappear and go to the Cardinal Tower. From here, head in to the room with a giant round hole in the floor. There are 3 paths to take, two of which are unavailable. One is the iron door "The King's Passage" and the second is an elevator that has yet to drop down that will cover the big hole in the floor. So take the only route you can. Up a lengthy ladder to room with another Golem that needs to be activated by souls again. Once you go through this door you will drop down, hug the right side of the room to discover an exit to the next area. Staying on the right side of the room will only cause stone soldiers on that side to become active. Kill one near the Golem to activate him like in the previous room. One way to fight the stone soldiers that reanimates is to quickly drop into the room and quickly open the door on the right hand side. This room contains 2 metal chest, one is Old Knight Hammer and the other one Caitha's Chime and Sorcery Soul Greatsword. But first make sure you kill the stone soldier from this exit is easier and they don't seem to leave the area they come to life in so you can lure them toward the door and fire bomb them from around the corner or use other ranged attacks. Tip: Try not to get stuck with 3 or more of them attacking you at once, they are quick at attacking and will wear down your stamina quickly. Tip: Stone soldiers can be activated with arrows and will activate in preset groups, not necessarily just by proximity. For instance, the trio soldiers on the right hand side of this room will activate together and can be easily taken out from the door with a bow without ever jumping into the room. The soldiers on the left hand side are harder to get from range but activate in twos instead of threes. After jumping into the room (and you've killed the three on the right) head along the wall. The first soldier carries a spear only while his activating buddy also has a shield. Go bananas on the spear only guy IMMEDIATELY which will make it a fast one on one fight. This can be repeated with their counterpart duo further along the wall. This also allows a manageable one on one situation to activate the golem easily.
Exit and go into the next area. In this room with the big staircase beware of 2 Alonne Captain trying to snipe you with great arrows on the balcony facing your exit. Another 2 more Alonne Captain on top of your door.
Tip: You will see a chest on each side of the upper level. If you are facing the exit the chest on the right is booby trapped chest contain 10 Fire Great Arrow. The chest on the left contain a Pyromancy spell , Firestorm.
Equip a strong shield and go around the back of the staircase for cover and then run up the stairs to one side of the upper-level using pillars for cover from the opposing sides arrows. With your shield ready run up to the first Black knight and try to line up the knight in back so that he can't shoot through his partner while staying next to a pillar. Beware of a lighting sword attack once they put their bow away this attack can kill you if you don't dodge or block, you can tell it's coming from how the knight telegrams the move and electricity begins to shoot out from the holster. If you have a spell, items or equipment that can augment your defense against lightening do it for good measure. Once one side is taken care of things are a little less hectic. Now, for the knight on the ground by the exit.These knights have incredible defense and can only be dispatched swiftly if you engage them one at a time, get close enough so one will come after you, then move on to the next, but if you have enough ranged spells or items to lob at them go for it. Once the room is clear open the doors and be ready to fight a Mastadon knight with a large halberd, while being snipped at but this time by 3 Black knights instead of 4. You can either run past the Mastadon and open the wooden door down the stairs, NOT up. Or Just fight him whilst dodging near the right hand wall or hitting him with ranged attacks from the previous room. If you chose to fight you can either try to take out the 3 Black knights or continue on. See the big blue door?... Nope sorry, not for you, if you want to try taking out the black knights you will have to take the ladder up to them if you do fight them, DO NOT drop down off the edge, the gate will be locked from the other side. Whether you picked the cowardly survival way or took out all of the foes in this area head through the small brown door at the bottom of the stairs There is Repair Power x5 and Flame Butterfly x10. And in the chest near the ballista is a Estus Flask Shard. Now pull the lever near the gate and it will open. Don't worry about the balista, they don't fire at you. Open the door and make your way down the stairs to the previous bonfire 'Central Drangleic Castle'.
From here head to the room that had the locked door and giant hole in the floor. It will now have an elevator, the Golem that turned the floor key in the drop down room is what triggered it to come down. You can now take it up via pressure switch when you stand in the middle of it. If you happen to walk over it and miss you ride don't worry, just pull the lever right next to it and it will come back. Once at the top there will be a caged cell with an unlucky woman in it and an even more unlucky hollow by the name of "the Embedded" chained and bound to it upside down. His side-story can be found here: The Embedded. There are 3 chests in here one has Fire Seed x1 and Soul Vessel x1 another is Great Magic Shield and the last one is the Kings Passage Key. You will also notice a pleasant sound of someone passing gas every 10 seconds or so (its actually The Embedded moaning... *smh*)
Take the elevator back down and use the Key to Kings Passage to open the Previously looked big doors. This cathedral looking place has stone guardians lining the path. 4 of them will come to life as you get close to them. Their eyes will turn red before they fully animate which is a good chance to get some shots in, and you can take them out before they stand up for extra damage (the ones who stand up have heads). The Golden knight at the end is another shielded defense type and can only be injured while he is going into or coming out of a offensive position. Before you pass through the fog look to the left, there will be a summoning symbol of Benhart of Jugo. If you want his armor , make sure he survive this fight and other 2 more bosses. If the boss keep killing him first, you can equip Redeye Ring to draw the attention of the boss mostly on you. Let Benhart do most of the damage and you can just shield up.
. Use it and traverse the fog. This fight was very difficult with out the Boss focusing on the spirit.
(This can be moved to "Looking Glass Knight" Boss tips)
This Boss is the Looking Glass Knight; his opening move is a large jump/lunge at you with his huge sword. Be careful not to get stuck between him, the wall, and his massive shield. So once he jumps, roll out of the way. Physical attacks did not work well for me, but physical attacks with magic imbued weapons did as well as magic attacks. The best one was 'Lightening Spear'. When he is focusing on you summoned partner lock on from just far away and unload on him. His attacks are over head chops, slashes right to left, Lightening slash, Over head chop with lightening imbued projection when the sword hits the floor, he can also use his shield like a gateway and summon knight through it on to the field. His glass shield can be broken if you land enough damage and preventing him from doing the summoning. He is also able to deflect ranged magic that hits his shield, but only in a certain spot it seemed. I don't know if the same goes for arrows though.
Once the boss is finished you can move into the next area, but don't take the elevator down just yet, there is a chest to your left on from when you enter this area on the other side of the stones that contains Soul Bolt x1, Spell Quartz Ring +2 x1, Bonfire asthetic x3. Now you can take the elevator down. The path here is very linear. You will enter the root covered passage and in the first opening to the right, hack the branches away and receive Green Blossom x1. From here it is a straight shot to the next area Shrine of Amana where you first bonfire awaits.
Insert Strategy/progression chart/events
(Work in progress!)