It's the "B" team!
Upon our approach to the Throne, Bellclaire and I were joined by Benhart of Jugo and Bradley of the old guard which is a pretty strong team! Inside a duo who are a poor emulation of Ornstein and Smough try to stop but are so easily defeated by our superior numbers. Then as the Emerald Herald predicted, Nashandra arrived - looking much scarier than before and proclaiming all of us should join the dark... by dying.
Nasty AoE's meant it was archery time!
Her aura of curse kinda caught me by surprise so I opted to stay far away from her and snipe with my lightning short bow instead until her health was low enough to burst down. Bellclaire and Benhart fell to her scythe during the battle but my plan worked - soon Nashandra was just another corpse. Before Bradley and I could even recover, Aldia then shows up in all the glory of a flaming, magic casting and tentacled shrubbery.
Die you shrubbery!
Bradley tanks him effectively while I get his patterns down. While this eventually leads to victory it is not soon enough for the old guard who is impaled by the bastard bush. Just like Nashandra, Aldia is surprised by his own death - asking what is it that I will ask the throne (in both his voice and that of the Emerald Herald) before he dies. Aldia was Shanalotte all along!? It's then I notice the "throne" looks a hell of a lot like kiln of the first flame, and have vivid memories of Gwyn flooding back. "Narp," I say out loud to the room full of corpses and turn my back on it all.
There must be another way to break the curse of the darksign...