Here is a small guide on how to level up and spend your souls in Dark Souls 2.
Spending souls in Dark Souls 2 is different than the first game. In the original Dark Souls you could level up at any bonfire in the game, in Dark Souls 2, you can only level up in one place in the whole game.
In order to level up and spend your souls, you must first get past the Things Betwixt area, which is the tutorial for the game. Then after you first enter Majula (the small village next to the sea) find the tall tower overlooking the sea, to the right of that area you will find a woman wearing a gree cloak named Emerald Herald. Speak to her until she runs out of dialog options (talk to her multiple times) and she will relocate to the Majula bonfire.
After that, you can level up by speaking to her at that bonfire only.