FromSoftware’s Soulsborne franchise has always prioritized a level of communication in its game design. The original Demon’s Souls and its PS5 remake have intricate multiplayer systems that make summoning and being invaded a momentous occasion in-game. At the same time, there was always something missing from Demon’s Souls multiplayer: focus.
Dark Souls’ Covenant system was introduced to give multiplayer a greater purpose while also incentivizing its benefits. Each Covenant in Dark Souls comes with its own rewards to unlock and side effects which typically don’t activate until someone has been summoned or an invasion is underway.
There are several Covenants to choose from in Dark Souls, but arguably the most illusive is the Darkwraith. Led by the Primordial Serpent Kaathe, the Darkwraith Covenant reveals the nuances in Dark Souls’ lore while offering truly deadly gameplay bonuses. Missable as well, most players will go through Dark Souls without so much as discovering the Darkwraith Covenant.
The reason so many first time players end up missing out on the Darkwraith Covenant is actually directly because of Frampt. Dark Souls’ main Primordial Serpent, Frampt and Kaathe’s quest lines actually contradict each other as the two have completely contrasting goals. If you speak to Frampt and place the Lordvessel after Anor Londo, Kaathe will be removed from the game altogether.
Since most players will instinctively speak to Frampt once they find the gigantic snake in Firelink Shrine, it stands to reason that most will just place the Lordvessel without thinking. To even have the chance of entering the Darkwraith Covenant, players either need to avoid Frampt entirely or try to join the Covenant before the midpoint (which is a challenge in and of itself). To guarantee your entry into the Darkwraith Covenant, avoid Frampt at all costs.
Obtain The Covenant Of Artorias
Kaathe can be found in The Abyss at the very end of New Londo Ruins, but attempting to drop into The Abyss without the Covenant of Artorias equipped is pure suicide. To drop into The Abyss without instantly dying, players first need to kill Sif so they can unlock the Covenant of Artorias.
Great Grey Wolf Sif can be found in Darkroot Garden. A wolf wielding a greatsword in its mouth, Sif is actually a fairly simple battle. All her telegraphs can be easily read and she actually starts limping once in critical health, actually making the fight easier closer to death. Once Sif has been defeated, they’ll drop the Covenant of Artorias. When equipped, the Covenant of Artorias allows players to land in The Abyss without taking damage or dying.
Lower The Water In New Londo Ruins
With the Covenant of Artorias on-hand, it’s time to actually get to The Abyss. As mentioned, The Abyss is located at the very end of New Londo Ruins – which itself is connected to the lower elevator in Firelink Shrine. To access The Abyss, the water in New Londo Ruins must first be drained. Once the valley has been unflooded, you’ll be able to access more of New Londo Ruins, including the chamber that leads to The Abyss.
In order to drain the water, first find Ingward atop the New Londo Ruins rooftops. If you have the Lordvessel in your inventory, Ingward will hand over the Key to the Seal which is used to unflood New Londo Ruins. Without the Lordvessel, however, Ingward must be killed in order to get the Key. That said, this does mean players can actually try joining the Darkwraith Covenant before Anor Londo on subsequent playthroughs.
Kill The Four Kings
Before Kaathe can actually be met, The Abyss needs to be cleared out. One of the hosts for the four Lord Souls, the Four Kings hold the potential to be one of the hardest boss fights in Dark Souls. Despite what their title indicates, the Four Kings are fought on a timer that’ll keep spawning new Kings the longer it takes for players to actually drain their health bar.
All Four Kings share a health pool, but they deal a staggering amount of damage, are fought in a disorienting arena, and have hard to read telegraphs. The easiest way to defeat the Four Kings is to simply rank them. With full Havel’s Gear, the Havel’s Ring, and plenty of Estus, it’s possible to build up enough poise to heal through strikes while dealing as much damage as possible whenever possible. It’s not a clean victory, but it’s a sure-fire way of stopping the Four Kings in their tracks.
Speak To Kaathe
If all the correct criteria has been met, Kaathe will appear in The Abyss once the Four Kings have been killed. Once spoken to, Kaathe will offer players the ability to enter the Darkwraith Covenant. Joining the Darkwraiths awards players with the Red Eye Orb – an unbreakable item that’ll let you invade others indefinitely – and the Dark Hand, a melee weapon which drains Humanity from other players.
The Darkwraith Covenant is leveled up by offering Humanity to Kaathe. Rank 1 is met by exchanging 10 Humanity and rewards the Red Eye Orb; Rank 2 is met by exchanging 30 Humanity and rewards the Darkwood & Darkwraith Armor sets; and Rank 3 is met by exchanging 80 Humanity and buffs the Dark Hand to steal 10 Humanity with a single strike. For anyone who enjoys invading in Dark Souls, becoming a Darkwraith is mandatory.
Next: Dark Souls: Solaire’s Questline, A Step By Step Guide
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