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The Four Kings (四人の公王) are a boss in Dark Souls.

Description[]

The Four Kings are humans several meters tall with profoundly changed bodies and completely gray skin. Bark-like wooden membranes spread out chaotically from their heart, where their Dark Sign once stood, almost entirely covering their chest and left arm and spreading like branches. Several root-like horns extend from their heads and their spindly legs appear to be covered in bark. They all wield an enormous but terribly distorted and segmented sword, similar to the roots of their body.

Location[]

The Four Kings are found in the Abyss, accessed through New Londo Ruins. The player must first acquire the Key to the Seal from Ingward to drain the water from the ruins, as well as the Covenant of Artorias, a ring obtained from Great Grey Wolf Sif, to safely enter their battle arena.

Lore[]

The Four Kings were once the great leaders of a country of humans[1]. During the Age of Fire, Gwyn, Lord of Sunlight recognized their abilities and foresight and rewarded them with a fragment of his powerful Lord Soul and the title of kings[1], using his power to bind and hold close to him the powerful humans. The god also allowed them to build their civilization of New Londo near Anor Londo as a lower vassal of the city of the gods[2]. Over time their city of humans grew to host countless lives, becoming a robust and flourishing culture[3]. Although at some point the First Flame began to fade out, leading to the emergence of the Curse of Undeath[4], the city continued to exist and function as an Undead city[5], implying the good governance of the four kings who managed to adapt to the change.

After Gwyn sacrificed himself to link the fading First Flame, the Primordial Serpent Kaathe began searching for a human strong enough to become the Dark Lord capable of leading humans and usher in an Age of Dark[6]. At some point Kaathe arrived in New Londo and managed to seduce the Four Kings to follow his ideals, teaching them the art of Lifedrain so that they could preserve their humanity even while Undead and so cast off the shackles placed upon them by the gods[7][8]. But his dark influence did not stop with the kings and, in fact, their entire army followed them. The knights of New Londo became Darkwraiths[9], servants of the Dark who learned the art of Lifedrain and used it to absorb humanity[10]. As the Four Kings' were able to open an Abyss in the center of their city, their very bodies were mutated by their freed Dark Soul, and the Darkwraiths' armor transformed, too[11], as they began to employ the Red Eye Orbs granted by Kaathe[12] to seek humanity and plunge further into the powers of the Dark[13],

A nation of humans freed from the shackles of the Darksign, and who not only began to understand the powers of their Dark Soul but had an entire army at their disposal that shared this power, represented an unparalleled threat to the gods of Anor Londo, who branded the Darkwraiths as diabolical enemies of man and of every living thing[14][15]. For this reason, Artorias, one of the Four Knights of Gwyn, was sent to fight the soldiers of New Londo and was given a Silver Pendant to deflect the Dark of the Abyss in its magical forms[16]. However this did not prove sufficient to cross the Abyss of the Four Kings, and Artorias was forced to forge a covenant with the "beasts of the Abyss"[17], obtaining a ring that would allow him to cross the Abyss, while also cursing his Greatsword[18]. Artorias thus became known as the "Abysswalker", and hunted the Darkwraiths[19], but failed to eliminate the Four Kings and thus eliminate the Abyss of New Londo.

Having failed to eliminate the dark threat, an agonizing and terrible decision was made: flooding the entire land of New Londo despite the realization that countless lives and the rich culture of the country would be lost[20]. For this task, sorcerers were called[21], and the feat was accomplished without even evacuating the city's civilians, sealing away the Four Kings, their Darkwraiths and the entire population with them. The victims were thus cursed[22], and became Ghosts roaming the ruins of their country[23], seeking to make mincemeat of every living being[24].

Although decades have passed since New Londo was reduced to rubble and submerged, the Four Kings remained alive in their Abyss, while the Darkwraiths continued to wait and patrol the area. When a Chosen Undead was able to ring the Bells of Awakening, overcome the challenges of Sen's Fortress and reach Anor Londo, thus being rewarded with the Lordvessel, they would be guided by Kingseeker Frampt to find immense souls to fill the receptacle and link the fading First Flame to succeed Gwyn in his sacrifice[25]. The Undead would thus have proved their strength to Ingward to open the floodgates of the city[26] and find a way to traverse the Abyss until they reached the Four Kings, challenging and killing them to obtain the fragment of a Lord Soul which they still possessed[27].

Summoning[]

Summon signs are most commonly found at the beginning of the New Londo Ruins, before crossing the bridges. Some can also be found right before the boss door.

Witch Beatrice's summon sign can be found hidden around a corner just before crossing the short bridge to the Fog Door, but only if you have already summoned her for the Moonlight Butterfly fight. It may prove more than useful if you are a light build.

Strategy[]

  • Unequipping the Covenant of Artorias will result in the player dying immediately; you cannot unequip this ring while fighting the Four Kings. After the battle has been completed, the ring is no longer necessary and may be unequipped without dying.
  • Upon entry, the player will have time to cast any sort of buffs, during which a single king will appear; the second will join approximately one minute later; the last two appearing in the minute following. It is vital to eliminate each King quickly to avoid being surrounded.
  • There is no obligation to kill any specific amount of kings, so it is possible to spread out the damage to several of them. This can be done by dealing massive postmortem damage to a single King, as they can still be hurt during their death animation.
  • Power Within adds decent amounts of damage to attacks and can help destroy individual Kings quickly before the next one appears.
  • The use of Great Magic Barrier, Magic Barrier, or any equipment with high magic resistance can help, as all of their attacks deal at least partial magic damage.
  • The damage dealt by the Kings in NG+ is far greater than in NG, so it may prove difficult to absorb their attacks with heavy armor.
  • Staying close to a King will force the lower portion of the blade to hit, minimizing damage. This is true even on NG+, as getting hit by the upper section of their blade will deal heavy damage. This will also prevent it from using some magic attacks (namely, the homing shot) and the unengaged Kings tend to use melee at most distances.
  • Using a ranged attack and staying at around 1-1.5 roll distance away in front of the king (just within the reach of his sword) makes him rely mostly on the vertical slashes and the occasional Homing Abyss Arrow or Life Drain. The Life Drain is also easier avoided since it looks less like Wrath of the Kings at this distance then it does close up, and the player already has a head start on getting out of reach.
  • Their homing attacks can be deflected by using Force or Wrath of the Gods, although it is safer to avoid the attacks entirely. Due to the speed at which the King approaches, the player will become vulnerable to other attacks during the casting animation. Deflecting the large homing shot will likely be fatal, since the duration of the attack lasts a fair while and doesn't collide with anything other than the player.
  • Initially, it can be hard to determine how close a king is; they can appear close, when they are in fact out of reach. It's a good idea to run into a king before attacking, not only to be sure your attacks will land, but also because being close to a king can cause his attacks to miss.
  • Using armor with good poise (Havel's Set will be the best for this as it has good defense without using materials) while staying close to the kings will allow you to tank through the hits (as they deal significantly less damage while you are next to them) and constantly hit them. Be wary, though, as full heavy armor is extremely heavy so fat rolling or even no rolling is likely. Using Green Blossoms and the Grass Crest Shield is also recommended.

Notes[]

  • The battle arena is pitch-black with no visible features. While there are invisible walls, rarely do they create complications.
  • The Kings spawn in one after another at a rate of about 1 every 40 seconds, and all four can be present at once. If one is killed before 40 seconds elapses, another will take its place, immediately resetting the spawn timer. Kings will continue to spawn for as long as the battle lasts, unless there are already four Kings present.
  • Although up to four may be present during the fight, only one will engage the player in direct combat. The other Kings, however, are able to attack with their sword if the player is close enough, or cast magic homing missiles when the player is too far.
  • Each of the Kings' health is equal to a bit less than ¼ of the total bar. This means that after killing four individual Kings, the boss itself may not yet be defeated and a fifth King will spawn. This can be avoided by attacking the Kings as they are dying, which can do additional damage to the life bar.
  • Bonus damage dealt due to a weapon's divine effect applies to the individual King's health, but not the collective health bar. This means that divine weapons will kill the individual Kings faster, but the fight itself will take just as long as if the player had a non-divine weapon with the same attack rating.
  • It is possible to bypass most of the ruins and reach the Kings by starting from the bonfire between Darkroot Basin and the Valley of Drakes, cross the bridge in the Valley of Drakes and enter New Londo. From there, take the elevator on the left that leads up to the seal and drop down right next to the fog gate. This route is about 20 seconds faster than starting from the Firelink Shrine bonfire.

Boss information[]

Attacks[]

Double Horizontal Slash [note 1][]

Dmg phy Dmg mag Dmg fire Dmg lght Attack Type Parryable Tracking Speed
368 189 - - Physical / Magic No Both Fast

Two wide sweeping slashes with the King's sword. May occasionally stop after one attack. These have excellent tracking and are quite damaging to health should a critical hit land. Stamina is largely drained when blocking both consecutively. They can be rolled under, and can be sidestepped away from without taking damage.

Vertical Slash[]

Dmg phy Dmg mag Dmg fire Dmg lght Attack Type Parryable Tracking Speed
378 189 - - Physical / Magic No No Medium

Powerful vertical slash. Does not track, however, blocking is not recommended, as massive damage to the stamina bar is guaranteed.

Forward Thrust[]

Dmg phy Dmg mag Dmg fire Dmg lght Attack Type Parryable Tracking Speed
389 189 - - Physical / Magic No No Medium

Single powerful straight thrust with the Four King's Sword. It has the longest reach of all melee attacks and deals massive damage when absorbed head on. This attack is only triggered when the player is at a distance and cannot be strafed; although it has poor tracking and can be dodged.

Double Slash [note 1][]

Dmg phy Dmg mag Dmg fire Dmg lght Attack Type Parryable Tracking Speed
441 189 - - Physical / Magic No No Medium

Two diagonal slashes with the Sword; may take a fair amount of stamina to block. May stop after one attack.

Wrath of the Kings[]

Dmg phy Dmg mag Dmg fire Dmg lght Attack Type Parryable Tracking Speed
- 546 - - Magic No AoE Medium

Extremely powerful, large area-of-effect attack in which the King will spin around, covering himself with his left "wing" and emanate a purple aura. Blocking is most successful when using a high stability shield with good magic reduction. Otherwise, players should release their lock and run away when the King begins his attack. 

Homing Arrow Mass[]

Dmg phy Dmg mag Dmg fire Dmg lght Attack Type Parryable Tracking Speed
- 347 - - Magic No Both Medium

The King will fire off six energy shots that home in on the player. These are much quicker than Homing Abyss Arrow, but they also have much weaker homing capabilities, allowing the player to easily roll or move away when they approach. Getting hit by multiple shots will deal immense damage.

Homing Abyss Arrow[]

Dmg phy Dmg mag Dmg fire Dmg lght Attack Type Parryable Tracking Speed
- 483 - - Magic No Both Slow

The King will fire off a slow moving, large, purple projectile that has high tracking capability and powerful magic damage. It cannot be evaded and may only be blocked by a high stability shield with high magic resistance; which will likely drain the entire stamina bar, but may also reduce the damage. The only way to avoid this attack is to outrun it until the projectile disappears. A new king might spawn within that time period.

Life Drain[]

Dmg phy Dmg mag Dmg fire Dmg lght Attack Type Parryable Tracking Speed
- 494 - - Magic No No Slow

This is a Humanity stealing grab attack, and, like all grab attacks, it is unblockable. Its animation is similar to Wrath of the Kings: the King will spin around and pause, holding its wing/arm in preparation while emanating a colorless aura. If the player is slow to react, his forward grabbing dash will be inescapable. Counter-intuitively, it can be avoided by moving closer to the attacking king before they begin their lunge. In extreme proximity the attack will simply go over the player's head. Unlike other grab attacks, the King can still be damaged by aiding phantoms as a player is drained; however, this will only deal damage to the Four Kings' collective health bar rather than the individual King.

Defenses[]

Physical Defenses Elemental Defenses Resistances
Regular Defense Strike Defense Slash Defense Thrust Defense Magic Defense Fire Defense Lightning Defense Poison Toxic Bleed
299 299 299 299 205 192 177 S S S

These stats are sourced from FuturePress's Official Dark Souls Strategy Guide.


Drops[]

Item BequeathedLordSoulShard
Bequeathed Lord Soul Shard
Humanity
Humanity  ×4
Drop Rate Guaranteed Guaranteed

Trivia[]

Gallery[]

Videos[]

A_faster_way_to_the_4_Kings!

A faster way to the 4 Kings!

Music[]

Dark Souls — Four Kings by Motoi Sakuraba

Achievements/Trophies[]

References[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Bequeathed Lord Soul Shard description.
  2. The title of "Petite/New Londo" and the location of the city so close to Anor Londo imply a close connection between the two
  3. Key to the Seal description.
  4. Opening (Dark Souls) dialogue.
  5. Crestfallen Warrior dialogue: "Have you been to the ruins of New Londo below? Just head down the stairs, and take the lift. It's certainly worth a visit. It was once an Undead city. You may find a clue or two. Unless the ghosts find you first... Keh heh heh heh!"
  6. Darkstalker Kaathe dialogue: ""Hmm... You are astonishing. The truth I shall share, without sentiment. After the advent of Fire, the ancient Lords found the three souls. But your progenitor found a fourth, unique soul. The Dark Soul. Your ancestor claimed the Dark Soul, and waited for Fire to subside. And soon, the flames did fade, and only Dark remained. Thus began the age of men, the Age of Dark. However... Lord Gwyn trembled at the Dark. Clinging to his Age of Fire, and in dire fear of humans, and the Dark Lord who would one day be born amongst them, Lord Gwyn resisted the course of nature. By sacrificing himself to link the Fire, and commanding his children to shepherd the humans, Gwyn has blurred your past, to prevent the birth of the Dark Lord. I am the primordial serpent. I seek to right the wrongs of the past, to discover our true Lord. But the other serpent, Frampt, lost his sense, and befriended Lord Gwyn. Undead Warrior, we stand at a crossroads. Only I know the truth about your fate. You must destroy the fading Lord Gwyn, who has coddled Fire and resisted nature, and become the Fourth Lord, so that you may usher in an Age of Dark"." and "They failed me, every last one of them. They were strong, but saw not the truth... I am certain that you will prove different. Ahh... If you wish, I shall grant the art of Lifedrain, the legendary power of the Dark Lord. It can preserve your humanity while Undead, and cast off the shackles placed upon your brethren."
  7. Darkstalker Kaathe dialogue: "They failed me, every last one of them. They were strong, but saw not the truth... I am certain that you will prove different. Ahh... If you wish, I shall grant the art of Lifedrain, the legendary power of the Dark Lord. It can preserve your humanity while Undead, and cast off the shackles placed upon your brethren."
  8. Four Kings#Attacks explains how the Four King learned the art of Lifedrain.
  9. Darksword description.
  10. Dark Hand description.
  11. Dark Set description.
  12. Red Eye Orb#Availability
  13. Red Eye Orb description.
  14. Dark Set description.
  15. Ingward dialogue: "New Londo was sacrificed to contain the Darkwraiths. Mark my words. The Darkwraiths are the enemies of man, and any living thing that has a soul. They were never meant to roam again." and "I am the Guardian of the Seal. I watch over the Four Kings, the masters of the Darkwraiths. The Darkwraiths are the enemies of man, and any living thing that has a soul. They were born in New Londo, and that is where they perished; the entire city was sacrificed to contain them. ...For that is how great a threat they were..."
  16. Silver Pendant description.
  17. Covenant of Artorias description.
  18. Greatsword of Artorias (Cursed) description.
  19. Greatsword of Artorias description.
  20. Key to the Seal description.
  21. Tin Banishment Catalyst description.
  22. Transient Curse description.
  23. Key to the Seal description.
  24. Ghost Blade description.
  25. Kingseeker Frampt dialogue.
  26. Key to the Seal description.
  27. Bequeathed Lord Soul Shard description.

Footnotes[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Damage is listed per slash.
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