Continue your journey with Prima's Dark Souls 2 Guide and Walkthrough!
Head into the Black Gulch and enter the cave to the left. Light the bonfire and prepare to deal with poisonous enemies ahead. Leave the bonfire cave and head to the left. There are plenty of poison statues and black holes ahead. Destroy all of the statues to prevent them from spitting poison. Be careful, as some will still attempt to poison you as you destroy them. It's best to use Common Fruit to slow the effect of poison, and Poison Moss to heal it.
When you reach the first set of black holes, approach them carefully. If you have Firebombs, toss them into the middle and right holes. This ignites the holes and damages the enemies hiding within. Both enemies will come after you, so be ready to fight if the Firebombs don't kill them.
Head to the left of the first three black holes to find a cave. Take out the poison statue near the entrance, then open the coffer at the end to obtain a Shotel and a Great Magic Weapon. Coming out of the cave, only the first black hole to the left has an enemy hiding inside it. Be careful moving forward because there are several poison statues along the upper ridge to the left that are difficult to destroy without proper ranged weaponry.
The cave to the left, just beyond the overhead statues, contains a worm-like monster different from what's found in the black holes. If you approach this creature, it lunges from the cave. Back away slightly, just out of its attack range. It will attempt to attack, and hopefully miss. As soon as it misses, move in to strike, then move back outside of its attack range. Repeat this process until it's dead.
Destroy the pottery next to the cave to find the Soul of a Nameless Solider, Scraps of Life and a Torch. Another worm creature attacks from the hole ahead on the left wall. After that, the next black hole on the ground is empty, but there are three holes behind it. The Two holes on the right house creatures. Firebomb both, or get close, then back away to lure them out if you don't have any Firebombs. Another creature awaits in the middle hole in the next row of holes.
The pottery here contains a Radiant Lifegem. Pick up the item, defeat the creatures and head into the cave to the left. Destroy the statues, including the statue behind the chest at the end, then open the chest to find a Divine Blessing. Head back out of the cave to find another creature in the black hole across the room. This is the last creature in the room. Ahead is the mist entrance to the boss battle against the Rotten.