Balor (erm I mean the old iron king), is a ridiculously simple fight with easily readable moves yet he still manages to 1HKO Manhunter O'Harrah and knock me into the instadeath lava lake half a dozen times. I finally win but am frustrated that it took me so many attempts. Using the bonfire just past him scares the bejeezus out of me though since it explodes as a shrubbery appears to tell me "I'm interesting" then goes away. WTF? Ok to be fair, he also speaks a little bit about King Vendrick, who "almost" claimed the throne. Whatever that means.
Hello Mr. Jump Scare!
There's also another shrine teleporter here which leads to more locked doors so I return to Majula where I find a new, stout fella named Gillian sitting by the pit. He claims to be a laddersmith so I pay him a fair bit of souls for his longest ladder. This pays off in that it leads to a key! Not to the locked doors in the lava lake but to the locked doors beyond the lair of the Rotten!
I sure hope he decides to land.
Following the path down I find myself in a huge cavern which houses the ancient Sanctum City. The Mayan temple in the distance is a nice touch. This place is guarded by giant, poisonous skeleton warriors, corrosive bugs, and more poison shooting statues - these ones actually move since they ride little turtles! Even cooler is that the city landscape changes upon hitting switches (which I accidentally discovered during combat). Whole buildings move to form or reveal new paths. Best of all, there's a great white dragon down here. I suspect I'll be fighting him eventually!