Continue your journey with Prima's Dark Souls 2 Guide and Walkthrough!
Return to the Shaded Woods and head to the Ruined Fork Road bonfire. Head up the stairs to the left and through the doorway on the left side. Kill the four enemies, then head down the path. Veer off to the left after you pass under the stone archway. Kill the two enemies and continue to the left to find a Ring of Life Protection and the Soul of a Proud Knight.
Head back down the main path again and engage the enemy ahead. It looks similar to the boss from No-Man's Wharf, the Flexile Sentry. Don't worry, it's much easier than the boss, but there's also another weaker enemy around. Back away, take down this creature and then engage the Flexile Boss clone. Block its attacks, then counter attack or continuously back away while using ranged attacks to take it down with ease.
Pick up the Dragonslayer's Crescent Axe and the Golden Falcon Shield behind where the enemy was standing, then head down the path to the left to reach the Shrine of Winter. Head up the stairs and open the door ahead. Go through the room and down the path just beyond, then head to the right. At the end of the path is a Repair item and the Large Soul of a Lost Undead. Head back in the opposite direction to find a Divine Blessing on the left side of the path. Continue down the path and engage the white knight on the left if you're feeling confident. Defeat him to find a Heide Lance.
Keep moving down the path to find the Large Soul of a Nameless Soldier and a Human Effigy on the right, then continue into the tunnel ahead. Make your way up the stairs at the end and take down the three enemies near the halfway point. Continue up the stairs and move around the large boulder to find two Holy Water Urns. Reach the top of the stairs to enter Drangleic Castle.
Head down the path and quickly take down the crystal bug to obtain three Titanite Chunks and a Titanite Slab. Speak with the woman at the base of the stairs, then make your way to the top. The two statues come to life as you get near them, and there are four enemies on the stairs beyond. To avoid fighting them all at once, take down the statues first, then proceed up the stairs to engage the other enemies.
Go inside the castle and head up the stairs to speak with the ghostly Chancellor Wellager to learn the "This one's me" gesture and browse the store for items. Head back down the stairs and around to the left. Defeat the enemy ahead, and continue into the next hallway. There are several enemies here. Lure them out one at a time to avoid taking them all on at once.
Head through the door on the right and take out the two enemies inside the next room, then climb down the ladder. Open the door at the end of the room below and continue through the next door ahead to find a bonfire. Light the bonfire, then head back out and to the right. The first statues guarding the doors in the next room come to life. Take them down two at a time to open the passages beyond.
Inside each door is a single Sentinel, similar to the bosses you fought in the Lost Bastille. In the middle room on the left is a Pharros' Lockstone in the corner. Be careful in the last room on the left, as the floor caves in if you go too far into the room, which leads down to a bonfire and a set of Faraam armor. You'll have to use the bonfire to return to the upper floor again. Unless you're keen to fight many of the same enemies again, the armor set isn't worth the effort, as it's almost certainly not as good as what you're currently wearing.
To avoid this, Lure the Sentinel out and battle it in the main room. Defeat all three Sentinels, then move to the right side of the room to repeat the process. In the middle room on the right side is a coffer that holds a Mastodon Greatsword. The last room on the right hides a chest that contains a Royal Soldier's Ring +1.
Head through the first doorway on the right side of the room and around the corner into the next room. Open the chest here to find 15 Dark Arrows, then head up the stairs to find the Soul of a Hero, a Monastery Charm, and three Old Radiant Lifegems in the corner, under the next flight of stairs. Collect the items, then head up the stairs.
Continue up the stairs in the next room to find a pool of acid-like liquid ahead. In the corner of the pool, near the stairs is an Elizabeth Mushroom. Around the corner in the alcove is a chest that holds three Corrosive Urns. If you want these items, remove all of your weapons, armor and rings before entering the pool. If you go in with any gear equipped, it will degrade rapidly.
Choose to collect the items or not, then head up the stairs and through the doorway in the next room. Take out the enemy, then make your way around the corner and up the next flight of stairs, then through the door at the end. In the room ahead are faces on the wall that fire blow darts. The item in the room contains a Large Soul of a Brave Warrior and a Twinkling Titanite. Collect the items, then make your way to the door in the corner, moving slowly with your shield raised to avoid taking damage from the darts.
Head up the stairs and take down the three guards in the room at the top. Head through the door and to the right, then up the stairs to engage another enemy at the top. Head down the next hallway to find another enemy, then go back to the entrance of the room to find a ladder. Climb down the ladder, defeat the enemy below, then go around the corner to find the Soul of a Brave Warrior on the ledge.
Climb down the next ladder and open the coffer below to find a Hunter's Blackbow and 20 Iron Arrows. Head back up both ladders, then go up the stairs to the left. Go right when you reach the top, then head into the room on the left and speak with Nashandra, Queen of Drangleic. Head out of the room through the passage to the right and down the path to the mist door to face two Dragonrider bosses.