Getting to Shaded Woods
To get to the Shaded Woods, you’ll need a Fragrant Branch or Yore to unpetrify Rosabeth.
From the Majula Bonfire, head back towards Things Betwixt, and turn right towards the archway framed by branches. Proceed along the path and you’ll come across Benhart sat before the entrance to a cavern. Speak to him and exhaust his dialogue.
Head into the cavern, there’ll be rooms boarded by wooden planks to your left and right. Smash these doors and kill the poison zombies inside, at this point you should be more than a match for them. They inflict poison damage but are weak to fire. Once these foes are down, use the Fragrant Branch of Yore to free Rosabeth, she’ll speak and say she needs a moment to recover. Head back to a bonfire, rest, then back to Benhart. Rosabeth will be stood next to Benhart. Speak to Benhart first, he’ll thank you for rescuing Rosabeth, and will now be available to summon before certain boss fights. Now speak to Rosabeth, you can buy certain spells from her and gift her armour to equip herself with. Note that you can’t get any items back you gift. She’ll return to Majula after being given the items.
Head into the cavern and pull the lever, the door will open and a few more poison zombies will swamp you from above, but a melee weapon with a horizontal slice will dispatch of them quickly. Behind the door is a Basilisk, the giant, bug-eyed froggish creature. Kill it quickly before it spits out gas that causes petrify. In this second room there’s a bonfire behind the wooden door on the left and a chest behind the door on the right. If you rest at the bonfire you’ll have to pull the lever again at the bottom of the stairs to open the door at the top. Before doing so, Run up the stairs and jump left and right, killing all the poison zombies. When you pull the lever, all these enemies aggro and attack, so it’s better to pick them off one-by-one beforehand.
Head through the door and enter Shaded Woods. Follow the path and you’ll come across two more poison zombies, one of which is sitting on the floor. Kill these and continue onward, you’ll come across four more, two of which are up the stairs to the left, throwing rocks. There’s an item behind the two atop the stairs.
There’s some ruins ahead with three more zombies, lead the two melee fighters away from the stone thrower first, then kill the last one.
Follow the path round to the left and you’ll find the Ruined Fork Road bonfire, rest here then head up the stairs, taking the exit straight ahead to grab the Red Tearstone Ring. To proceed any further along this path you need a particular ring, which you don’t yet have, so head back and take the exit to the left (the one that isn’t foggy).
Head through and kill the poison zombie immediately left, then the three that swarm you. Once you’re through the archway, turn immediately left and grab the Ring of Life Protection.
At the bottom of this hill is the Flexile Sentry, the boss you face in No Man’s Wharf. Adopt the same tactics as before and the fight will be much easier. Once it’s dead, grab the Dragonslayer Crescent Axe and Golden Falcon Shield. The path leads to the Shrine of Winter, ignore this for now and head back to the bonfire.
Now we’re going into the fog. This area is filled with ghost enemies that are nearly impossible to see. The safest way through this area is to hug the left-hand wall. The first exit will take you to Vengarl, an NPC buried under rubble amongst some ruins. There’s also a Fire Seed amongst these ruins, hidden behind a wall. Speak to him and you’ll be able to buy items. Head back out, hugging the left wall once again and the second exit will lead to the Shaded Ruins bonfire and the route to the boss.
There are a number of items littered around the forest, including:
- Soul of a Proud Knight
- Human Effigy
- Radiant Lifegem
- Chloranthy Ring+1
- Old Sun Ring
So if you choose to explore the fog, try sprinting around and grabbing whatever you can find. From the Shaded Woods bonfire, head forward and jump right to the lower platform, smash the petrify pot and grab the soul and Firebomb. There’s a lion enemy petrified by the tree, you need a Fragrant Branch of Yore to free, then kill him to grab the Fang Key, which you’ll need later to free Ornifex.
Head up the fallen tree and back through the building, the exit on the left leads to three lions. If you have a crossbow or bow, hit the one on the far left and take it out first. The other two will attack as a pair no matter what you do, so lead them back towards the doorway so you can fight them one at a time. The lions do heavy damage with their axes, but have a short range, making it easy to step in and out with hits. They also have a jump-kick which you need to be aware of, but being so close to a bonfire, this is a good place to practice. Once the lions are dead, there’s a giant Basilisk to the right, but ignore it for now and turn left, grabbing the Flame Butterfly from the dead body. Head back and turn left into the ruins, taking the Human Effigy and Bleeding Serum from the chest. From these ruins, you can take out the Basilisk with bows and bolts without it attacking you. It’ll take a good amount of each, but it’s a far better strategy than getting into a war with the thing.
Follow the hill up to the left, the lion below you wall walk onto the wooden planks and drop through the false floor (note if you die and come back here, the lion won’t fall for the same trick twice). Grab the lifegem below the hill and head forward. There are two doors to the left and a central path leading to the boss, head into the doors either side of the path and grab the items inside. Don’t go for the boss yet, it’s best to grab all items in the area and free Ornifex before speedrunning back to the boss, so head into the grass to the right. In the far corner is a false floor, drop through it. You’ll land in a bandstand and meet Darkdiver Grandahl, he allows you to join the Pilgrims of the Dark covenant, but not quite yet.
Drop off the ledge, avoiding all gold puddles, as they destroy your armour and equipment very quickly. You’ll be swarmed by Basilisks, take these out quickly. The door ahead can be unlocked with the Fang Key to free Ornifex, a weaponsmith who will be available to buy items from later in the game. There’s also an Estus Flask Shard in this room.
Head back and through the hole in the wall to get to the Shaded Ruins bonfire. Once you’re back at the bonfire, speedrun all the way back to the path leading to the boss; Scorpioness Najka.
How to beat Scorpioness Najka
At first, Najka seems like an incredibly tough enemy, but is easily beatable once you learn her attacks. When you first enter the room, she’ll be buried in the sand, throwing Soul Arrows at you. Najka is a giant scorpion who has toxic stingers. The trick is to stick to her sides, using your Fire Longsword or Pyromancy.
If you get too far away from her, she’ll cast Homing Soul Arrows, at which point you need to run to avoid them. It’s best to go into this fight light to dodge attacks. When she swipes with her pincers, get your shield up or roll away, staying to her side.
You really need to avoid her poison stingers. If they hit you, you’ll be infected with toxic, which sucks your health at a rapid rate, and will almost certainly kill you.
Keep swiping away and she’ll soon be dead, head through the door to enter the Doors of Pharros.
Dark Souls 2 Guide - Shaded Woods walkthrough