|Spoiler Alert: This article or section contains details about plotlines not covered in the anime. Do not proceed unless you wish to be spoiled. |
Yofel Castle (ヨフェル城, Yoferu-jō?) is an instanced dark elven base on the 4th Floor of Aincrad and the site where the players may continue the Elf War campaign after completing all ten quests for the dark elf side on the 3rd Floor. The castle is controlled by Viscount Leyshren Zed Yofilis.
The Yofel Castle was located in the middle of a great circular lake several times larger than the caldera lake where the floor’s Field Boss Biceps Archelon resided. The castle looked like a fearsome and grand fortress with four towers of differing heights standing over the roof of the building, each one waving a triangular pennant that featured a crossed horn and scimitar on a black field - the dark elf flag. The fortress was walled with white stone, its steeply angle roof gray slate tile. Orange light spilled from its countless arched windows. The building itself was completely isolated from the surrounding land, and several large black gondolas were moored at the long pier straight outside the front gate. According to Kirito, the highest of the towers had to be about fifty metres tall. A massive gate made of dark and gleaming plates of thick metal blocks the path to the castle from the pier, and two dark elves who are heavily armed by elvish standards guard it on either side.
The entrance to the castle leads to a front garden, which in turn leads to the main hall that a marble fountain filled with glittering water at its centre. Beyond the fountain was a grand staircase and wide hallways extending to left and right. The castle was laid out in such a way that the main building connected the four main towers in the shape of a rectangle with one open side. The right side of the castle was a station for soldiers, while the left side housed the castle’s inhabitants and servants. The castle also had a central courtyard. If the players manage to save the dark elf at the beginning of the Elf War quest, the courtyard consists of a cobblestone pathways and a thorny maze that leads to a beautiful garden surrounding a stunning conifer with brick flower planters and bronze benches alternating around the tree. If the players did not manage to save the dark elf, the players would find a dusty stone path with a single, dried, dead tree in the middle instead of a thorny hedge maze and garden.
The castle’s dining hall is located on the second floor of the west wing. Additionally, the second floor also includes a ten-man barracks, where the players may be housed during their stay if they did not save the dark elf at the beginning of the Elf War campaign. Alternatively, the players may be housed in the officers’ room on the fourth floor of the east wing if they do rescue the dark elf.
The castle also has a huge bathing room at the far end of the west wing on the third floor. The bathing room only has a single, huge changing room with pure white-tiled floors, a shining chandelier hanging from the ceiling, large potted plants sitting in the corner, and a glass door at the back of the room leading to the bath. The bath chamber itself had ivory-white tiles so pure that one could see through them. The bath as large as a pool was made of horizontally lined ebony basalt that surrounded the lake, but polished to a perfect sheen. Gold faucets set into the wall poured out a considerable waterfall of water. The western and southern walls of the chamber were made of glass, offering a huge vista of the lake.
Yofilis’s office, with two armed guards standing outside the chamber, was located on the fifth floor. The office was a very large room, but its windows were all covered with curtains, making the room unnaturally dark. An approximately three metre-wide, heavy desk made of polished blackwood was located in the very back of the chamber. The chamber has a secret door along the wall that led to a staircase formed from window frames, allowing quick descent to the bottom of the castle.
Kirito and Asuna first arrived at the castle on December 24, 2022, after the defeat of Biceps Archelon. Kirito decided to take Asuna to the castle as a Christmas present, as he knew that Kizmel would be present at the castle. After the reunion, they all went to the dining hall for a meal, and then Kizmel showed them to their rooms on the fourth floor. Once they were left alone and seeing that Asuna was concerned about a bath, Kirito told her that the castle had a huge bath, and she had him accompany her to the bath show her the way. While they were having a bath, they were joined by Kizmel. As they talked about Yofel Castle, Kirito suddenly remembered the events of the Shipwright of Yore quest and realised that the fallen elves planned to provide the forest elves with ships to attack the dark elven castle and decided to inform Kizmel of this, thus completing the quest.
Kizmel took the two to the office of the castle’s ruler to report. At the chamber, Kirito presented the scroll given by the Dark Elven Commander to Viscount Yofilis, and was rewarded with two rings that served as identification inside the castle. Kizmel then proceeded with the report, at the end of which she recommended transporting the first and second keys to a higher floor. Yofilis agreed with the proposal and requested Kirito and Asuna to assist Kizmel in retrieving the keys while the dark elves prepared for the upcoming siege. Afterwards, the group retired for the night.
The siege forest elf attack began on December 27. During the battle, two forest elven ships managed to pass through the dark elven blockade and made contact with the castle’s pier. As the dark elves were outnumbered, Kirito asked Asuna and Kizmel to help defend the gate, while he himself ran to Yofilis’s office. During a conversation with the Viscount, Kirito managed to persuade the dark elf to participate in the battle and lead his troops. With Yofilis motivating the dark elves and greatly decreasing the forest elf number at the castle by using «Flashing Penetrator», Kirito, Asuna, and the dark elves managed to repel the forest elven forces. In the aftermath, Kirito and Asuna discovered that the Clearers had already departed to the boss room in the Labyrinth. The two were considering not to participate in the battle as they were already late; however, Kizmel informed them had a special ability that could endanger the players. As the two were about to depart to the Labyrinth to warn the other players, Kizmel and Yofilis, along with two dark elven guards, announced that they would assist the players in the battle, and all six of them departed using a dark elven gondola.
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