For the first one I recommend unfreezing the pyro lady stuck on the handle.
For the second. The absolute best place is at the shaded ruins. When coming from the fire go out and right. You will see a small building with an axe guy blocking the path. Un petrify him to get the chest behind him. You will recieve the lion mage armor. It appears to be the lightest armoe around and has better defence then anything else in its weight class. Also you get a branch of yore to replace the one you just used. Yeah buddy.
What about the guy below the tower of sinner blocking the path to the jail cell with a bonfire in it? What happens with that? Also branches are just a one time use thing, right?
That is Straid, one of the two boss soul to weapon NPCs. You get plenty of branches later in the game... I would use the first for Rosabeth, the pyro vendor. Then the next for straid, then the chest in Shaded. There is also a lion statue on the ledge near the closest bonfire (right next to the pit exit, if you've been there you'll recognize it) to the above statue that drops the Fang Key once you revive and kill him. It unlocks that door in the Shaded pit freeing Ornifex, the other boss soul trading npc.
GT: thatKevinkid the first man on the moon was soma, and he got there by yorick jumping.
The three best spots are the pyro lady as mentioned above, the guy in on the way to sinner's rise blocking the bonfire takes boss souls and sells high-end miracles, hexes, and sorceries, and by the bonfire at the shaded ruins is a petrified satyr across from the log. When you kill him he has a key to open a door in the basilisk pit which unlocks the other boss smith who moves near the last bonfire by the spider boss. You can find a lot more branches just by playing. I currently have four extra in my inventory.
For the first one use it on Rosabeth the Pyromancer Trainer. Next you if you want to, use it on the Lion that is blocking a path to a chest, as the chest will give you an armor set and give you an extra brand of yore. After that you can either use it on Straid or the other Lion near the bonefire in the Shaded Runis to acquire the Lion Key to free Ornifex from her sell. Depending on what boss weapon you want, you can decide who you want to use the brand on.
Hmm, well now I'm wondering what happens if you do Straid first, because the lady next to the lever is needed to unlock the new area, right? What would a person do if they wasted their one branch after the Sinner on the Straid guy?