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Dark Souls 3 - Story Explained

Clorthax games steambest steam split screen games DARK SOULS™ III Before we begin the next four hours of uninterrupted dark souls lore, we just wanted to take a moment to thank our patrons who have gone above and beyond to make these videos possible, and of course a huge thank you to everyone who has supported us here on youtube. We appreciate you being patient with us over the last few months, we are confident that this is worth the wait, in fact some of the music youll be hearing was specifically composed for this video, well talk more about this towards the end. We are also extremely excited to introduce our very first sponsor here on this channel. Its crazy to think that after all these years, were so close to being able to do this full time, and Im sure youve heard of them before, so without further ado, lets take a minute to talk about this videos sponsor, Raid Shadow Legends. 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Without further ado, lets get into Dark Souls 3 Story Explained. In the age of a fleeting flame, a bell tolls, and echoes of despair spread through the ancient land of Lothric, a warning... that the world in its current form may cease to exist. In venturing north, the pilgrims discover the truth of a fading flame, that the link of fire is threatened. With the Age of Light nearing the end of its course, desperate measures are called upon, bringing forth the awakening of ancient lords. The Lords of Cinder are beings who have linked the first flame once upon a time. In reigniting the flame, they succeeded in prolonging the Age of Fire, and evolved to become ashen lords, the first of them was Gwyn. The legend of Gwyn ripples through many kingdoms, and his actions are studied by scholars, but there were many others who came after, those who were willing to give their life to extend the never-ending cycle of Disparity, Light, and Dark. The question remains, who were the Lords of Cinder, whose names were unspoken of, beings who the world chose to forget, until a new purpose gave rise to their souls. Why only now have they been awakened? It all began with a young prince, born out of the necessity to sustain the Age of Fire, a child destined to be the perfect vessel to link the First Flame. The kingdom of Lothric was ruled by King Oceiros, and his queen, together, they formed a mighty land built high in the mountains. Despite never being named, the queen of Lothric is potentially Gwynevere, Princess of Sunlight, and daughter to Lord Gwyn. She once lived in Anor Londo, amongst the gods, but has since left her home with a great many other deities, and became a wife and mother, raising several heavenly children, one of which was Gertrude, the Heavenly Daughter, whose relation to the queen would be kept a secret, serving as her holy maiden instead. The Kingdom of Lothric operated on the bases of three pillars, the first of which was the Lothric Knight. The knights were known to be masterful warriors, who once used lightning as a primary tool to take down dragons, but they have since evolved to tame them instead, using them as instruments of death to crush anything that would threaten their shores. The kings firstborn son Lorian, was a powerful knight himself, one who was recognized by his black-dyed brass armour, passed down from the royal family. Lorian was famously known for single-handedly slaying the Demon Prince. Marks of his victory forever displayed on his greatsword, now scorched with flames. The second pillar of the kings rule belonged to the Scholars, who were masters of the Grand Archives, an infinite base of wisdom for the teachings of sorcery. The third and final pillar was the High Priestess of Lothric, known as Emma. Whilst the knights gave Lothric a powerful military, and the scholars offered endless wisdom, the High Priestess granted the kingdom a higher purpose, a belief system to live and die by. The faith spoken of, is the very one pioneered by the Lord of Sunlight Gwyn, the linking of the First Flame, which was later publicized by Allfather Lloyd, through the Way of White. There was an additional pillar which by design, remained covert. The hunters serve Lothric on the fringes and in the shadows. For generations, rulers of Lothric have relied especially upon the Black Hand hunters to punish enemies in ways that the kings Three Pillars cannot. Due to their discreet nature, the hunters were able to use radical methods to solve the kingdoms problems, without being trialled by the public, or smearing the kings reputation. Black Hand was the title established to honor hunters who served successive generations of kings. To date, no more than three such individuals have borne this distinction. King Oceiros, through his devotion to the Age of Gods, formed an obsession with serving the First Flame, utilising his royal blood for a greater purpose. This led to the inception of a divine concept, an idea planted deep within the kings consciousness, one that would wholly occupy his attention. Oceiros desired to create a child with the strength to be the perfect candidate to link the First Flame. The Lothric bloodline became obsessed with creating a worthy heir, and when this proved impossible, resorted to unspeakable means. When the king came to terms with his inability to naturally produce a worthy vessel, he pursued other, more depraved means. One day, two twin sorcerers arrived at the Grand Archives, spiritual successors to the legendary Big Hat Logan, the Vinheim sorcerer who studied Seath the Scaleless. Under the direction of the Crystal Sages, the scholars of the Grand Archives accumulated a wide range of knowledge regarding sorcery, some of which became a cause of madness for Big Hat Logan and Seath. To avoid such a fate, the scholars began coating their heads and attire with candle wax, preventing their anchor of reason from being distorted. They tended to their candles with a reverence that exceeds the simple burden of labor. They know dangers of the archive store of knowledge all too well. King Oceiros was intrigued by the foulness that permeated the majority of the texts, and through the research found in the Archives, he discovered a way in which he could serve the flame. In seeking greater purpose, the king committed a vile deed, one so foul that it remains unspoken even now, and as a result, cursed his newly born son Lothric. The newborn prince, destined to be a Lord of Cinder, was cherished by the royal family, despite being born into illness, a frail and shriveled child. The High Priestess Emma, served as the princes wet nurse during his youth, she was strategically involved in his life from a young age, as to shepherd the young prince into serving his purpose as a Lord of Cinder. In his youth, Prince Lothric was so small and sickly that even in his later years, wore the same robes from when he was only a boy. Demonstrating his love for Lothric, lorian wished to share in his brothers burden, offering to suffer alongside him, in hopes of easing his pain, even if a little. The inseparable brothers carried the weight of the curse hand in hand, and Lorian was left mute and crippled by his younger brothers curse, a sacrifice of his own volition. The brothers fates were interwoven, one unable to die without the other, and both required to link the First Flame as one. For a time, the Three Pillars were the sole belief in which people stood by, until the queens holy maiden Gertrude, was visited by an angel, who revealed the tale of a new religion. Despite losing both her sight and her voice, she was determined to record the tale. Ordinary men cannot decipher her fragmentary scrawl, nor comprehend how it became the foundation of the Angelic faith of Lothric. It is theorised that the Angelic faith of Lothric was established by the angels born from the corpses of Londor Pilgrims. In visiting gertrude,the Angels spoke of a faith that would oppose the linking of the fire, advocating instead, to usurp the First Flame, and bring forth the age of humanity. Gertrude, blinded by her divine encounter, spread the word of the Angelic faith across all of Lothric. However, by virtue of the kingdoms firm devotion to their established religion, the Angelic faith, and worship of the divine messengers was viewed as heresy in Lothric and was unrecognized by any of the Three Pillars of Rule. The scholars, blinded by their disdain for the Angelic faith, took matters into their own hands, imprisoning the heavenly daughter, Gertrude in a large bird cage, on the upper rafters of the Grand Archives. Her body, now a corpse, remains confined to the cage, clasping the Divine Pillars of Light, unmoved for all eternity. From this point, the peace within the kingdom began to crumble, as tensions were high, with some standing firm with the Three Pillars of Lothric, whilst others were swayed by the Angelic faith, placing doubt in the legitimacy of the gods and even the First Flame. An example would be the Winged Knights, who swore themselves to the Angels. Making matters worse, Lothric and Lorian, fueled by their grief, chose to turn their back on their kingdom, opting to watch the world suffer, as they had done for years. The two princes rejected their duty to become Lords of Cinder, and settled down far, far away to watch the fire fade from a distance. The Firelinking curse, the legacy of Lords, let it all fade into nothing. It is unclear for sure, whether the Angelic faith held any influence on Lothric and Lorians decision to oppose the linking of the fire, as being born into constant suffering, would be enough for anyone to loathe the gods, and their religion. what is known for certain, is that Lothrics choice to renounce the flame, was guided by his private mentor, who played a pivotal role in the princes decision. His mentor is said to have been the first of the scholars to doubt the linking of the fire. Some have proposed that the scholar may have been Lord Aldia, the Scholar of the First Sin. Through his intensive research, Aldia concluded that one must avert the infinite cycle of light and dark, electing to instead find a cure for the Undead Curse, to shed the yoke of fate. Through his mentorship, aldia may have persuaded Lothric to rebel against his father, to allow the fire to dwindle, rejecting to play into the hands of fate. Although the mentor may have been Aldia, the reference to the scholar may be exclusively citing the scholars within the Grand Archives, who operated under Lothrics Pillars of Rule. This would place the Crystal Sages as potential culprits, but regardless of the mentors identity, their influence would result in the one born to walk a linear path, proving that destiny can be shattered by those willing to carry the heaviest burden. With Prince Lothric abandoning his duty, a civil war began, with the knights of Lothric battling the Angels and all who served the blasphemous Angelic faith. Corpses of Winged Knights, Lothric Knights, and Londor Pilgrims would scatter around the castle; there were no victors in this conflict, only those who paid with their life, fighting for what they believed in. What of the king and queen? Oceiros lost his sanity upon discovering the twisted worship of Seath the Pale Drake, earning him the title, Consumed King. The queen, after giving birth to Ocelotte, her youngest, would quietly disappear from Lothric, never to be seen again. Is Gertrude to blame for this conflict, or was she simply a messenger chosen by the Angels? The question that remains unheeded, is who was the Angel who appeared that fateful night? As we have established, the Heavenly Daughter was potentially visited by an Angel of Londor, who was given life by the Pilgrims. But what led to the Angels advocating for the usurpation of the First Flame? Throughout Lothric, there are statues of a serpent with angelic wings, resembling the primordial serpent Kaathe. Could it be... that the statues were carved to portray the leader of the Angels? If that were true, then Kaathe would be the one who orchestrated the collapse of the kingdom of Lothric. Darkstalker Kaathe, from the inception of the First Flame, has sought to bring forth the Age of Dark, be it through guiding the Chosen Undead to walk away from the First Flame, or allying himself with the people of Londor. The Darkstalker, through his cunning, planted the seed of usurping the fire in the people of Londor, and employed them to spread the message of the Angelic faith throughout lothric, using Gertrude as a vessel to propagate the new-found religion. Long after the fall of Lothric, Kaathe has continued to counsel various prominent figures from Londor, some of which will be explored at a later point. The serpent is restless in his pursuit of the age of humanity, unmoved by who he may hurt along the way. The most undeserving of his victims being Gertrude, who was led to believe that she was visited by an angel from the sky, when all along it was a devil from above. With the chosen vessel refusing to burn, the world retaliated by calling to the fallen Lords of Cinder. The Bells of Awakening began ringing, the clash of steel reverberated through every corner of the kingdom of Lothric, deafening the land with a cry of anguish, and bringing rise to the Lords of Cinder. The first of which was Aldrich, Devourer of Gods. Hailing from Irithyll, Aldrich was a holy cleric, one who was troubled with visions of a new age, an age of the Deep Sea, where the Human Dreg sank to the lowest depths imaginable, where they become the shackles that bind this world. The Human Dreg likely refers to humanity, revealing that the visions expressed a future of darkness, and suffering for the human soul. It is no secret that humanity and the dark are inherently intertwined, as afterall, humans were raised in the abyss, but this was something else entirely, a depth to the dark that had not been seen before, a layer beyond what was thought possible. The visions of a new age plagued Aldrich, and blinded his judgement, leading him down a steep path of darkness. Compelled to see these visions come to fruition, Aldrich departed from his home, and embarked on a journey where he founded the Church of the Deep, a cult that would utilise the power of the dark. The Cathedral of the Deep developed a strong following, and became recognised as a peaceful religious centre, overseen by Aldrich himself, alongside his archdeacons, Royce, McDonnell and Klimt. In time, the former cleric developed an appetite for human flesh, and had a desire to share with others his joy of imbibing the final shudders of life while luxuriating in his victims screams. Aldrich revelled in vice, taking pride in his immoral actions, and further indulging in the dark. His actions gave life to abhorrent creatures, breeding insects which harboured tiny jaws lined with fangs to tear open the skin and burrow into the flesh in the blink of an eye. The creatures that lurked in the deep were clear signs that Aldrich’s behaviour was becoming excessive, reaching further and further into the abyss, into an uncharted realm, testing the extent of the power of the dark. The deacons encouraged the actions of their saint, and his followers began to provide Aldrich with sacrificial bodies for him to devour, men and women were herded to their death, like sheep to the slaughter, not even children were exempt from such horrors. In tempting fate, corruption began to spread, and the once peaceful church became home to the most foul creatures. There were some who resisted the corruption for as long as they could, but In time, those dedicated to sealing away the horrors of the Deep succumbed to their very power. It seems that neither tending to the flame, nor the faith, could save them. Those who linger too long on the brink of the Deep will often slip, and so Aldrich wallows in this darkness, intoxicated by its peril. A right and proper cleric, only, he developed a habit of devouring men. He ate so many that he bloated like a drowned pig, then softened into sludge. Having consumed the souls of many beings, the dregs of the dark built up within him, poisoning Aldrich to the very core, and it wasn’t long before his body collapsed, and Aldrich transformed into a mass of dregs, a formless rotten being, the embodiment of the foul individual he was, so they stuck him in the Cathedral of the Deep. And they made him a Lord of Cinder. Not for virtue, but for might. Protected by his followers, he was sheltered and fed, and through the endless consumption of flesh and bones, Aldrich grew into a colossal being, one that proved a worthy candidate to link the First Flame. Without choice, Aldrich was sacrificed to the flame, granting him a taste of his own transgression, to be unwillingly devoured in service of greater power, mirroring the way in which Aldrich devoured human souls, in search of immeasurable strength. Ironically, through obtaining the power of the Dark, Aldrich became a vessel to prolong the Age of Light. Granted a second life, the world calls for the Lords of Cinder to take their thrones, and reignite the First Flame, as they had done before, a desperate last resort to empower the enfeebled flame, which carries little left but dying embers. Remaining strung to his true purpose, Aldrich neglected to take his throne. When he ruminated on the fading of the fire, it inspired visions of a coming age of the deep sea. He knew the path would be arduous, but he had no fear. He would devour the gods himself. Feeding on humans was no longer sufficient, as Aldrich now sought to devour the old gods, and whispers speak of a remaining deity located in Anor Londo. The second to rise from the ashes were the Abyss Watchers, members of the Undead Legion of Farron. A fighting force, inspired by the legend of Sir Artorias, the Abyss Walker. The Undead Legion of Farron is a caravan of Undead. Sworn by the wolfs blood to contain the Abyss, the Legion will bury a kingdom at the first sign of exposure. The Legion was created to fight off the threat of the Abyss. To do so, the Abyss Watchers incorporated combat techniques from Artorias, going as far as partaking in wolf blood, a means of emulating the strength of the Abyss Walker. The blood they ingested did more than reinforce their vigour, it is said that their very essence became linked to the soul of Artorias himself, all that imbibed the blood, became part of one greater, singular soul. The Abyss Watchers were not only strong, but agile in their movement, fighting as a coherent division, akin to wolves hunting in a pack. They acted in the dark, seeking out any sign of the Abyss, fighting a constant war with its abominations. The Abyss Watchers became infamous for taking little chances when repelling the corruption of the Abyss, at the slightest emergence of a threat, the Legion would massacre an entire territory. Be not deceived, as the Abyss Watchers were not evil, their intentions remained pure, but they were ruthless in their methods of battle. These warriors wielded a Farron Greatsword, modelled after Artorias’ blade, alongside a dagger, utilized as a wedge in the left hand while the greatsword is held in the right, a unique technique that was synonymous with the Undead Legion. The Legion hosted various divisions, each formed to facilitate a means of repelling the corruption of the Abyss. Acolytes were recruited to aid the Abyss Watchers, by using their expertise in sorceries and miracles. A scholar named Heysel was tasked with creating unique variations of existing spells, to better favour the agile focused approach of the Abyss Watchers. The future of Farron’s Legion appeared to be optimistic, as all was going according to plan, until the Abyss Watchers were met with the same fate as the very hero they idealised. In the same manner as Artorias, the Watchers became corrupted by the Abyss, falling victim to the enemy they swore to eradicate. One by one, the warriors lost their sanity, becoming enslaved by the poisonous substance that emanated from the Abyss. Their numbers dwindled overtime, as the corrupted members began to outnumber those who remained sentient. The once revered Abyss Watchers were surrounded, burned, and speared through the heart, an undeserving end to say the least. It’s unclear whether the Watchers were aware of Artorias’ true fate when they decided to don their now iconic black–dyed leather vests, and tall pointed helms, as not many knew of the tragic end to the Abyss Walker, who went to war with the Abyss, was corrupted in the process, and ultimately failed to complete his mission. The glory sought by the Abyss Watchers was that of the Chosen Undead, who travelled through the dimension of time, fought off the servants of the dark, and eradicated the Abyss, whilst in the process, freeing Artorias soul, from his corrupted, hollow body. But this is not the story that was etched in the history books, as all that was accomplished by the Chosen Undead in the land of Oolacile, was attributed to Artorias. The Abyss Watchers, whether they knew it or not, lived parallel lives to their hero Artorias, destined to in the end, meet the same tragic fate as him, a poetic conclusion to the Undead Legion of Farron. It is unknown how, or why the Abyss Watchers linked the First Flame; perhaps they were forced to do so, similar to Aldrich, or their hatred for the Abyss led to them siding with the light. As previously mentioned, when they consumed the blood of the wolf, the blood was spread amongst the Abyss Watchers, and their souls became one with the soul of the wolf blood master, Artorias. This resulted in them becoming powerful candidates, worthy of strengthening the fire that burns deep within the First Flame. With little to live for, the legion’s followers went hollow, and lived a life without order, until eventually disappearing into a painted world. The Abyss, no longer held by a resisting force, consumed all within its path, including the Acolytes, who were slowly devoured overtime. Now re-awakened, and corrupted by the Abyss, the Watchers live to fight among themselves, aimlessly slaying their own brethren, in a futile attempt to rid the world of the Abyss, still wholeheartedly believing in their cause. The next to rise from beneath the soils of the earth, was a towering being, a descendant of an ancient conqueror, Yhorm, the Giant. Long ago, the subjugated people of the Profaned Capital, asked for Yhorm to lead them, serving as both a weighty blade and a stone-hard shield. Yhorm was a trusting person, known to have his peoples best interests at the forefront of all his actions, but as with all rulers, there would come those who opposed the giant, and questioned his position as a lord. In response, Yhorm gifted his doubters a Storm Ruler, one of two unique weapons, a Greatsword capable of slaying a giant such as himself. If Yhorm was to waver from serving his people, he would gladly meet the end of his own blade. Despite this, those who spoke of him as lord remained quite insincere. Yhorm once lumbered on the frontlines with a greatshield. But one day, in place of his shield, a left-hand notch was added to his machete, enabling the smashing technique that would become the legacy of his later years. Yhorm forsook his shield following a grievous loss of someone he had wished to protect, this person remains a mystery, but it was evident that Yhorm had lost a being of great value to him. In neglecting his shield, he became reckless in battle, no longer showing any signs of self preservation, likely blaming himself for the loss. The one-man vanguard mourned in solitude, until one day accompanied by Siegward of Catarina, who would become a dear friend of his. At a point in time, the peace within the capital was disrupted, a curse was triggered, and a Profaned Flame came to be. The curse was ignited by a collective of women, who gave life to a fire that would not dissipate, a flame that swallowed the hearts of those it possessed. The aftermath of the curse led to the women transforming into the Monstrosities of Sin, possessing a large hand for a face, with a gaping hole piercing their palm, and lined with dozens of grotesque teeth. The hand may be viewed as a symbolic visual, as in creating the Profaned Flame, the women reached beyond their competence, giving life to a flame that would impact the livelihood of all who lived within the capital. Nonetheless, they remained unbothered by their actions, and continued to live on without any remorse, despite their culpability. With the Profaned Flame being a risk to his people, Yhorm was adamant in removing the curse, no matter the cost. This was not only Yhorm’s opportunity to prove his doubters wrong, but to be a hero to those he swore to protect. Perhaps his previous loss had weighed on him heavily, a burden that he did not wish to carry for a second time. Yhorm, with every good intention, chose to link the First Flame, believing that in doing so, the Profaned Flame would be put to rest. Before sacrificing himself, he placed a second Storm Ruler, in the hands of someone he trusted, more so than even his own people, in the hopes that Yhorm would be slain, if he was to ever return from linking the fire. Unbeknownst to him, this would be his single greatest failure, as in linking the fire, the Profaned Flame did not rest, but instead, rained down from above like hellfire, destroying the entirety of the capital, and its inhabitants along with it. The fire, born of the sky, is said to have incinerated naught but human flesh. Charred bodies amassed within the Capital, and remain present until this day, a reminder of the catastrophic ruin brought to this city. Now raised from the dead, Yhorm learns of the fate of his kingdom, and worse, that it was his own doing, liable for the death of his people, destruction of his city, and tarnished legacy. Understandably so, Yhorm rejects his duty to re-link the flame, and abandons his throne, retreating back to the Capital, to live out his remaining days alone. Three Lords of Cinder rise from ashes, and unanimously reject their duties to rekindle the fading flame, leaving little hope for a world free of darkness. But there was one who quietly took to his duties, a Lord of Cinder who assumed his throne without dispute. Ludleth of Courland, appears to be seated on his throne, ready to sacrifice himself once more. Little details are offered regarding his past, but he was once referred to as Ludleth the Exiled, revealing that he was banished from his homeland due to his engagement in the art of transposition, a forbidden craft in Courland. The Lord appears to be undersized for the throne he perches upon, almost as though the throne once belonged to someone else. Ludleth is indeed a Pygmy, one who usurped the pilgrimage of another who was deemed to become a Lord of Cinder. Through analysing the Skull Ring carried by Ludleth, it is revealed that the ring was derived from the soul of a Soulfeeder, a beast that insatiably absorbed souls to feed its own power. Even after its accursed corpse was burned, it is said that the pungent stench of souls left the air permanently stained. Similar to the Chosen Undead, and Bearer of the Curse, the Soulfeeder amassed souls to grow in power, likely building its strength in order to complete its journey of linking the First Flame. Although speculation, it can be theorised that Ludleth utilised a Transposing Kiln to transfer the soul of the Soulfeeder onto himself, enabling him to link the fire. It remains unclear why a Pygmy would take part in prolonging the Age of Fire, a state which certainly favours the gods, who have done nothing besides torment humanity at every given opportunity. Ludleth appears proud of his stature as a Lord of Cinder, which may explain his decision to turn against his own kind, a small frail being, in search of a true sense of purpose, and finding it in becoming a Lord of Cinder. However, when viewed from an alternate perspective, it can be surmised that Ludleth did not link the flame by choice. The Lord can be heard stating the following... Forgive me. Oh please... I am not to blame. Ahh, it singeth, to the bone, it hurts... Please, help me. Be done with me... No, gods, no, I cannot bear it... it burns, burns, help me... Ludleth speaks of his traumatic experience in linking the fire, the pain and anguish he was made to endure. His words are that of a victim, forced by the gods to sacrifice himself for their cause. He seeks forgiveness, stating “I am not to blame”, as a strain of remorse continues to bite away at his consciousness, due to his betrayal of the Pygmy Lords, even if unwillingly. His encounter with the gods may have been so severe that Ludleth no longer challenges their command, choosing to play his part as an offering to the flame. Signs of his torture could be traced back to his appearnce, missing both of his legs, a depraved method to refrain him from escaping. From this perspective, Ludleth’s prideful remarks of being a Lord of Cinder, may be naught but a facade, to hide the true pain of his existence. Suffice to say, the path to linking the fire is a cursed one indeed. If the lords will not return to their thrones themselves, let them return as cinders. The Champion of Ash rises, an undead soul granted a new beginning in purpose of completing one singular mission, slaying those who forsook their thrones, and carrying their souls to the Kiln of the First Flame, where the Age of Fire may reign supreme once more. The Ashen One is a nobody, a being like many others, who has at a point in time, attempted to link the fire, but ultimately failed to complete their pilgrimage. Now revived as an Unkindled, the Champion finds themselves in the Cemetery of Ash, a graveyard where the cursed undead wander aimlessly, having lost all of their humanity. Within the cemetery, a corpse can be stumbled upon, belonging to Oscar, Knight of Astora, the undead traveller who guided the Chosen Undead on their pilgrimage. The chivalrous knight failed on his own journey, and although his legacy would end in a cemetery, he unknowingly continues to help others, yielding an Ashen Estus Flask, an item that would pay dividends in a crusade of this nature. In beginning their journey, the Ashen One emerges from their grave and stands opposing a Coiled Sword, embedded in the body of a once champion Iudex Gundyr. The mighty warrior was once a chosen champion, tasked with linking the First Flame, but was defeated by an unnamed warrior, perhaps a champion from a different time. Although a mystery for now, the future may reveal the identity of the nameless knight. Iudex Gundyr now stands as a sheath to a coiled sword in the hopes that someday, the first flame would be linked once more. The sword is bequeathed to the chosen ash, if they can prove their worth in the face of their judge, Iudex Gundyr. For many, the journey ends here, but the Ashen One does not accept defeat, standing firm in the face of adversity. During the battle, it is revealed that Gundyr, at some point in time may have been corrupted by the abyss, as a shapeless entity explodes from within his body, this consuming chaos manifests itself as an amorphous black silhouette, and attempts to devour the Ashen One. Through a hard fought struggle, the Champion of Ash emerges as a victor, and is granted access to a safe haven, one familiar to those who’ve sought to link the flame before. Upon entering Firelink Shrine, a Firekeeper awaits the Ashen One, introducing them to five thrones, four of which are empty, belonging to the aforementioned Lords of Cinder. The Firekeeper is a blind maiden, charged with a duty to tend to a bonfire, in addition to aiding the undead in their pilgrimage, be it via providing Estus Flasks, or nourishing their strength, granted she is provided with the necessary souls to do so. Deep within the shrine, a familiar face makes a return, Blacksmith Andre can be spotted sitting at an anvil, forging various weapons to assist the Champion of Ash in battle. It remains unknown whether this is the same blacksmith encountered in Lordan, or merely someone with his semblance. Also residing in Firelink, is the Shrine Handmaid, a merchant who is said to have been a Firekeeper in the past, but has long abandoned her duties, in favour of a peaceful life. The Shrine Handmaid was not the sole being to relinquish her duties, as Hawkwood can also be encountered at Firelink, a deserter from Farron’s Undead Legion, who declares himself unfit for locating the Lords of Cinder. We Unkindled are worthless. Cant even die right. And theyd have us seek the Lords of Cinder, and return them to their moulding thrones. But were talking true legends with the mettle to link the fire. Were not fit to lick their boots. Hawkwood displays little confidence, doubting his abilities to complete his mission, and so instead finds comfort in Firelink Shrine, where he can aimlessly wander, without the burden of serving a greater purpose. Hawkwood can be seen paying a visit to the grave which he had awakened from, the Farron Greatsword he had used to fight the abyss, rests on his tombstone, corroded and abandoned. Hawkwood’s appearance at the grave reveals signs of regret, a yearning for the glorious days of combat, but perhaps his fighting days are over, and now all that is left are memories of a once meaningful existence. One must ponder if such a life is worth living. Taking their first step into the outside world, the Ashen One finds themselves atop the High Wall of Lothric, a seismic obstruction, preventing travellers from reaching the Undead Settlement. This hostile land is home to many deadly foes, including Lothric Knights, Winged Knights, and even a wyvern who incinerates anyone who dares take a step too close. Exploring the High Wall leads to a man by the name of Ringfinger Leonhard, appearing at Firelink Shrine. A devoted knight who was born into royalty. His privilege granted him fine practice in both sorcery, and swordsmanship. In his youth, Leonhard suffered severe burns to his entire body, and notably his face, now gravely scalded, which explains his need to conceal himself with a mask. Eager to heal his wounds, Leonhard had set out on a journey of rebirth, but when he finally found Rosaria, the Mother of Rebirth, he abstained from healing his scars, and instead elected to serve the goddess as a knight. This seems to be a common occurrence among those who meet the Mother of Rebirth, as even Archdeacon Klimt, defected from his covenant to serve Rosalia. Before meeting her, Klimt was a member of the Aldrich Faithful, a covenant dedicated to ensuring that Aldrich, Devourer of Gods, remains undisturbed, by taking the form of loyal spirits and hunting down those who would trespass the ruined cathedral, where he resides. This demonstrates the influence that the goddess imparted on her followers, as those who were associated with the covenant were not easy to sway. Deep below the High Wall, Greirat of the Undead Settlement is held captive in a cell. There is no shortage of thieves in Lothric, those who are notorious for scaling the High Wall from the Undead Settlement, forming a path to conduct their mischievous endeavours. But even thieves know better than to set foot beyond the High Wall, as Lothric Castle is rumoured to devour men, a fear that keeps them clear of its grounds. Upon being freed from the cell, Greirat bestows a Blue Tearstone Ring to the Ashen One, under the condition that the ring is passed onto a woman named Loretta, residing in the Undead Settlement. Sadly, the only item traceable to the mystery Ashen one woman is Loretta’s Bone, discovered on a body suspended from the balcony of a building, revealing that Loretta had passed away during the period of Greirat’s imprisonment. Having relocated to Firelink Shrine, Greirat receives news of Loretta’s death, and although the relationship between the two is kept ambiguous, it is clear that the thief cared deeply for Loretta, despite attempting to suppress his grief. His love is further amplified by his effort to give Loretta the Blue Tearstone Ring, which temporarily boosts ones ability to withstand pain when nearing their end. Loretta may have been terribly sick, or suffering a near fatal injury. Aware of her dire condition, Greirat placed himself in harms way, ascending the High Wall to retrieve the Blue Tearstone Ring. Having been captured, he could not deliver the ring in time, and his efforts died in vain. The ring encapsulates a tear of sorrow from the goddess Caitha, who mourns those who have lost a loved one. It’s as though fate had a role to play, giving Greirat a loved one to mourn, lending faithful meaning to the ring he carried. Greirat will continue to rest in Firelink, whilst rallying his courage to pillage various locations, not as a petty thief, but a symbol for the poor, fighting for those who were shunned, given nothing but a life of poverty. Eventually, he will request permission from the Ashen One, to pillage Lothric Castle, which as mentioned previously, is no easy feat. Whether its the absence of self preservation, or misguided confidence, Greirat wishes to infiltrate the castle by himself. If granted the approval, he will disappear for a time, and his corpse is later found laying on the rooftops of the Grand Archives. Greirat was a thief who fancied himself a martyr for the poor, which is what drove him to climb the wall. In death, Greirat achieved what he had set out to do, and that is to give hope for those who are born less fortunate, to give them a reason to stand up to the gluttonous beings of unjust wealth. Greirat may have lived as a thief, but he certainly died a martyr. I lived a petty rat, but would rather not die as one. Thank you, for placing your trust in me. I meant every word of what I said. Turning back to the Ashen One’s journey, inside a cathedral, Emma, the High Priestess of Lothric Castle, awaits the arrival of the Unkindled. She expresses that the Lords of Cinder will not be found here, as they’ve long left to their churning homes, now converging at the base of the castle. Granted a Small Lothric Banner, the Champion of Ash is able to travel to the lands that inhabit the Lords. But that path is not yet clear, as Vordt of the Boreal Valley stands as a guard to the converging lands, an armoured creature, wielding a large mace. Vordt was once a man, an Outrider Knight who served under Pontiff Sulyvahn, a sovereign ruler, whose history will later be explored. What is known for now, is that Outrider Knights were given the eyes of the Pontiff, which transformed them into savage, raving warriors who only knew how to serve as mindless guards. The once knight, turned a frenzied beast, charges towards the Champion of Ash, and a battle ensues. Through an arduous duel, the Ashen One defeats Vordt, and utilises the Small Lothric Banner to call for the Batwing Demon’s aid in travel. Those who came bearing the banner were sent out with a duty, but had no way of returning, a one way course, without retreat. Placed at the Foot of the High Wall, the Ashen One encounters Yoel of Londor, a pilgrim, found at the edge of a crumbled bridge, surrounded by dozens of less fortunate beings of his kind. Yoel had surrendered hope, pleading to the skies in the hopes of being granted death, or as he words it, to have his shackles undone. Yoel ponders as to why he has failed to die as was ordained, perhaps his calling lies elsewhere. He offers his services to the Ashen One, believing that in accepting his aid, the Champion of Ash will have granted him a new purpose. Choosing to accept, leads to the pilgrim relocating to Firelink Shrine, where he will guide the Ashen One to draw out their true strength. In harnessing their power, the Unkindled is bound to a Dark Sigil. The darkness of humanity seeps from this bottomless pitch-black hole, the gap filled by the accumulation of the curse. Those branded with the Darksign possess untapped potential that can be drawn from, in utilising the powers of the dark, of humanity, the Ashen One is able to reinforce their strength, in preparation for the difficult road ahead. In doing so, Yoel of Londor will succumb to his death, having served his purpose, and another emerges from the shadows. Yuria of Londor will introduce herself, revealing that Yoel had served her in the past. She thanks the Ashen One for giving the pilgrim an opportunity to redeem himself through service, and pledges her allegiance to them, accepting the Champion of Ash as her lord. Yuria originates from Londor, a realm of hollows, a society of undead, comprised of the corpses and shades of those who led unsavory lives. To think that the Undead Curse has existed long enough for entire civilisations to be built for those who have become hollow, heavens know what could be accomplished with a union of this magnitude amongst the undead. Yuria, along with her two sisters, founded the Sable Church, also known as the Black Church. In having three founders, Yuria ensured that her legacy would survive, as even in her absence, her sisters could carry the torch, making certain that their mission of usurping the First Flame is realised. For the sake of all Hollows, the Sable Church operates to usurp the flame, and bring forth the Age of Dark, as nature intended. The Sable Church is not to be mistaken for a virtuous organisation, as they employed ruthless assassins, dubbed as the Pale Shades, who performed barbarous acts in the name of the church. The assassins wore a Sneering Mask, which exhibited a kindly smile for their victims to witness before being viciously murdered. The Pale Shades of Londor, are equipped with Manikin Claws, which cause heavy bleeding on the victims struck by their curved blades. The same Claws were once used by the Manikins that resided within Earthen Peak. Their reputation grants them the moniker, Harlots of Death, but the face of the darkly shrivelled hollow beneath the mask, remains hidden. Evidently, the Sable Church pursued their goals with neither honor nor exaltation, yielding nothing but withered moans. It is said that Darkstalker Kaathe, taught the people of Londor in the art of Lifedrain, which allowed them to absorb humanity through the use of the Dark Soul. To no surprise, the primordial serpent who is in favour of the Age of Dark, would side with the people of Londor, choosing to aid them in their journey to overthrow the gods. Darkstalker Kaathe’s involvement in the Sable Church extends further than initially thought, as Yuria herself answers to the primordial serpent, who guides her to the kingdom of Lothric, in search of a worthy individual to become the Lord of Hollows. Yuria was perhaps chosen for this endeavour, due to her expert swordsmanship, her weapon Darkdrift is estimated to have claimed a hundred lives. Whereas her younger sister Liliane, bears a more diplomatic role, credited with being the first to speak the Londor Braille Divine Tome, a forbidden script that offers salvation to all hollows, and curses all living things. Little is yet known about the third sister, aside from being the first Ash to enter a painted world. Yuria of Londor, warns of a man who proclaims himself Lord of Hollows, demanding that the Ashen One settle the matter at once. Im afraid I must say, Orbeck of Vinheim is a cause of much consternation. He proclaimeth himself Lord of Hollows. If left alone, he may one day imperil thy rule. Fall to this matter yarely, else we are unraveled. Decisiveness is the mark of a true monarch. Orbeck of Vinheim is a man fascinated by sorcery, but without the means to become a sorcerer, he offered to serve at the Vinheim Dragon School, in the only way he knew how, as an assassin. In exchange for his service, Orbeck was to be accepted into the academy, and taught in the art of sorcery, believing that one day, he could reinvent himself as a legitimate sorcerer. Orbeck is invited to Firelink Shrine, where he would become a mentor of sorts to the Ashen One. Through their collaboration, Orbeck begins to learn of the true lore of sorcery, the meaningful knowledge he would not be taught at the Dragon School, the ancient land of Oolacile, the prodigious Big Hat Logan, and the sublime creations of Seath the Scaleless, just to name a few. In Vinheim, I was an assassin. A sorcerer only in name, a killer for hire. What a fool I was, thinking one day I would learn real sorceries. When I became Undead, I was exiled from the school. But here I am, now, exploring the depths of sorcery. All thanks to you, I might add. Ensuing the pleasant time spent with Orbeck, it is difficult to believe that he intends to replace the Ashen One as the Lord of Hollows. Becoming a true sorcerer appears to be his only motive, and his fascination for the inner workings of sorcery is made apparent. Was this narrative a fabrication of Yuria? Aiming to create unfounded conflict to test the Ashen One’s conviction to her cause? With the tension now rising, does the Champion of Ash trust their instinct, and disregard Yuria’s warning, or kill Orbeck to avoid the faint chance of a later betrayal. If given a chance, Orbeck will fulfil his oath of sharing his library of knowledge, and bid farewell to the Ashen One. His tale would conclude in the Grand Archives, where his corpse can be found. Like many others before him, those who bear an obsession with sorcery, will meet their fate pursuing it. The curse of life is the curse of want. Promise to stay safe. Its been nice running our own little school. For now, the Ashen One makes their way through the Undead Settlement, where evangelists can be found praying, aiming to spread enlightenment among the citizens. however this is all a facade, as they are in reality, agents of the Church of the Deep. Their true goal lies with collecting potential victims, and corralling them to the church, where they would be sacrificed to Aldrich. These sadistic beings relish in taunting their victims, before cleansing their sins with the warm embrace of fire. Moving ahead, the Ashen One comes across Eygon of Carim, a mysterious knight, with a duty to safeguard a woman named Irina of Carim. The knight wields a Great Hammer, and a shield with a face carved in the centre, depicting his older sister. Eygon tends to Irina, ensuring her safety by confining her to a cell, a drastic, yet effective way to keep her from harm. Contrary to Eygon’s wishes, the Ashen One frees Irina, and without intending to, assumes the responsibility of protecting her. Eygon, although relieved from his obligation, stipulates that his alliance is solely linked to Irina being kept safe, if the Ashen One is to fail in protecting her, it wouldn’t be long before he finds them. Through conversing with the reclusive woman, it is revealed that Irina was a nun in her homeland of Carim, and has journeyed to Lothric to assume the role of a Firekeeper. She claims to have failed in bearing that commitment, deeming herself unfit to tend the flames. Upon closer inspection, it appears that Irina is blind, revealing that she must have been ever so close to achieving her goal. Firekeepers are forbidden from keeping their eyes, a means of stopping them from seeing visions of a world without fire. Any risk that may lead to a Firekeeper betraying their purpose, is preemptively dealt with, by any means necessary. Knowing this information, alludes to the fact that Irina may have already begun the Firekeeping ritual, when she reconsidered her path, and departed from her mission. From this point, the fate of Irina is in the hands of the Unkindled, who can guide her towards the light, where she would relocate to the bottom of the tower outside Firelink, and adopt the role of a Firekeeper, as initially intended. If steered towards the Dark, Irina will embrace the darkness stored within humanity. This draws Irina to her innate strength, as beneath just a thin layer of skin, a Firekeeper retains swarms of humanity that writhe and squirm. Believing that the Ashen One had corrupted Irina, Eygon escorts her away from the shrine, and makes his last stand against the Champion of Ash. I made myself very clear. My allegiance remained only as long as you assured the girls safety. This knight of Carim does not forgive betrayal. Even a broken woman deserves her dignity. It seems Eygon cared for Irina more than he had confessed, his protective nature revealed, as he risks his own life to ensure her safety. He likely witnessed the cruelty of becoming a Firekeeper, being eternally blinded, as to retain no visions beyond serving the light, whilst being eaten away by the humanity trapped within their core. Perhaps a life in a cage is a lesser evil than being exposed to the horrors that roam freely in the outside world. In protecting Irina, Eygon was put to rest, offering his life to remain faithful to the duty he swore to uphold. Unaware of what had taken place, Irina requests but one favour; The dark surrounds me, nibbles at my flesh. Little creatures, they never stop biting. So please, hold out your hand, and touch me. No longer comprehending the world around her, Irina depends on her sense of touch, to identify he who remains by her side. If the Ashen One equips Morne’s Gauntlets before holding out their hand, Irina will mistake them for Eygon, believing that he had won the fight. Oh, you again, touch me, one last time. And kill me, as you promised you would. Ohh... A Knight of Carim... is always true to his word. Prior to his death, Eygon had promised to put Irina out of her misery, alleviating her from the torture of being eaten away by the humanity within her. Although he could not fulfil this promise himself, the Champion of Ash assumes his role, allowing Irina to rest in peace, to die believing that her protector remained by her side in her final moments. Returning back to the Undead Settlement, from a distance, a sharp collision of an arrow can be heard, with each draw and release, sending a shockwave through the ground. These are certainly no regular arrows, fired by no regular being. Atop a colossal tower, resides a Giant Archer, reminiscent of Hawkeye Gough. The Giant Archer was once a slave to the Church of the Deep, but has since took refuge on the highest tower of the settlement. Shackles of his past remain strung to his body, nails dug deep within his skin, a constant reminder of his traumatic history. The archer wields a greatbow, and takes it upon himself to defend the land from the monstrosities given life by the Undead Curse. His intimidating presence is alleviated once the Ashen One approaches the giant, revealing his friendly nature. A Young White Branch is given as a token of friendship and trust, a valuable ally to gain when traversing through the dangerous lands of Lothric. Surveying the environment will unmask more of the hidden history of the world, as in locating a Grave Key, the Ashen One gains access to a barred door leading below the Undead Settlement. The grave, which no longer receives visitors, was once the site of a statue of Velka, Goddess of Sin, and was believed to pardon wrongdoing and life curses. Velka, the rogue deity, whilst not physically present in Lothric, maintains her influence in the form of an idol statue, granting absolution for those who have sinned. It is evident that her presence is shunned, as her shrine is concealed behind bars, whether it was the gods, or the people of Lothric, someone attempted to bury her existence, in the hopes that time will erase the memory of Velka from the kingdom. This may have been due to her potential association with the occult, a rebellion which attempted to destroy the gods, but ultimately failed. Her connection to the Occult is on the basis of Velka’s Rapier being imbued with Occult power, and so theories have suggested that her involvement resulted in Velka being confined to the painted world of Ariamis, where much of her items can be found, along with various statues of the Goddess. Moving along, a knight of Catarina, recognised by their onion-like shape, is seen taking an elevator up from the basement of the church in the Undead Settlement. This is Siegward of Catarina, an old dear friend of Yhorm the Giant. Upon hearing about Yhorm’s resurgence, Siegward aims to find and put him to rest, as he is aware that Yhorm’s return was no choice of his own. As an honourable knight of Catarina, Siegward intends to uphold his duty, but appears lost, unable to locate the path to the Cathedral of the Deep. With the Ashen One by his side, he finds the upper level of the Undead Settlement, and as allies in battle, both charge towards a demon, one of a dying breed, born from the Chaos Flame that devoured the city of Izalith. The Champion of Ash fights alongside the knight, and together they take down the demon, driving the creatures one step closer to extinction. Before parting ways, the Ashen One shares a toast with their new acquaintance, wishing them good luck in their journey. Deep within the Settlement, resides a Spirit Tree which once sealed away all manner of curses that found their way through Lothric. Spirit Trees are beloved entities, worshipped by many, due to their inherently good nature, having protected people from curses for as long as they’ve existed. However, with this specific Spirit Tree, the curses took their toll, and with every new curse that inhabited the guardian tree, the burden became less and less bearable. Overtime, the curses outgrew that which sealed them, transforming the tree into the Curse-rotted Greatwood, a monstrous freak of nature. The now hollow peasants still pray to the entity, despite it showing no concern for their presence, as it tramples their bodies in pursuit of the Champion of Ash. In the midst of the battle, the ground begins to crumble, collapsing under the weight of the creature, sending the Ashen One to the Pit of Hollows, where they would strike down the Curse-rotted Greatwood, ridding the world of its existence, along with the curses it had long carried. In the Pit of Hollows, Holy Knight Hodrick makes an appearance, a man known as a sorry fool who wandered the battlefield as a crazed ghoul, lashing out at friend and foe alike. This unhinged knight is the leader of the Mound-makers Covenant, the members amongst their ranks are indifferent to those around them, wishing only to add to their legion of maniacal killers. Covenant members are tasked with collecting a specific bone found in the body of their victims, located in the vertebrae, which the Mound-makers believe to be a shackle of the gods. In their minds, any kill might lead to another shackle, so they must take the life of as many beings as possible, freeing them from the possession of the gods. A psychotic covenant, fit to have a mad leader such as Hodrick. As his title implies, Hodrick was once a Holy Knight of the Sunless Realms, serving under Gwyndolin as a member of the Blade of the Darkmoon. It is theorised that upon discovering the shackle of the gods, Hodrick abandoned his covenant, and was driven to madness, dissecting the bodies of countless victims, fighting to free them from their ficticious shackles. Hodrick’s granddaughter, aware of his lunacy, travels to Lothric in search of him, seeking to put an end to his misdeeds. Sirris of the Sunless Realms, as a member of the Darkmoon, is currently tasked with taking down Rosaria’s Fingers, a covenant belonging to the Mother of Rebirth. This cult is dedicated to invading the innocent and collecting their tongues, as a means to please Rosaria, who was robbed of her tongue by her firstborn. The Ashen One allies themselves with Sirris, and joins her in hunting down one of the members named Creighton, the Wanderer, a once ruthless criminal who roamed the lands of Drangleic, now an assassin working under Rosaria. That Dark Spirit was one of Rosarias Fingers. Vile bastard offspring who lurk in the darkness. My sworn enemies. The mission is completed successfully, as another one of Rosaria’s Fingers is hacked off, but Sirris’ true purpose still lies in finding her grandfather Hodrick. At a later time, the Ashen One receives a message delivered by the Shrine Handmaid, who appears to be Sirris’ grandmother. The message states Good-bye, dear Grandmother. I will visit Grandfather, in the Pit of Hollows. If the Handmaid is given the Dreamchasers Ashes, which may have belonged to Hodrick, she will express greater interest than usual, querying on where the ashes were found. This indicates that she was close to Hodrick at a point in time, prior to him dedicating his life to the rotted forest. I finally found you. Just as I promised, grandad, remember? Good night, grandad. Sirris, with the help of the Ashen One, puts an end to Hodrick, the once honourable knight, turned crazed killer. May his soul rest in peace, even if his victims were not granted such a privilege. At last, my grandfather will rest in peace, and I can die. May I take a vow? To serve you, as a knight. With her purpose fulfilled, Sirris wishes to conclude her journey as a knight, living in service of others, like her grandfather once did. Through the passage of time, Sirris’ corpse can be found, laying before her grandfather’s grave. Having lived a meaningful life, she rests in peace beside he, who was closest to her. Centred on their mission to find the Lords of Cinder, the Ashen One clears the path to the Road of Sacrifices, a path once used to transport Aldrich’s victims to the Cathedral of the Deep. Leading into the Crucifixion Woods, the Champion of Ash is acquainted with an unkindled, such as themself. Oh, hello. How do you do? I am Anri of Astora. Unkindled, like you. This is Horace, a friend and travelling companion. We seek the cathedral, home of the grim Aldrich. Anri and Horace were both captives of Aldrich from a time long ago, and the only two children to have escaped his clutches. If not for their luck, they would have been among a long line of children, sacrificed as nourishment for the Devourer of Gods. Anri of Astora, wishes to track down and slay Aldrich, revenge for her traumatic past, and the many undeserving deaths, sacrificed for his sake. Horace, although not talkative, is an upstanding, kind-hearted knight, whose presence makes Anri’s onerous duty slightly more tolerable. Horace is outfitted with an executioner set, The original owner was said to be a corrupt executioner, who was killed and stripped of his armor. From that moment, Horace took a liking to its cold and bulky insides. In search of Aldrich, the two knights depart from the woods, and make their way to the Cathedral of the Deep. Ahead, lies one of two Crystal Sages, awaiting the next victim to step foot in their territory. As mentioned previously, the Crystal Sages initially settled within the Grand Archives, but at an unknown point in time. One of the two sages joined forces with Farron’s Undead Legion in a pact of uncertain terms. Since the collapse of the Legion, the Crystal Sage migrated to the Road of Sacrifices, whilst their twin remains at the Grand Archives. This foe demonstrates their diverse skill set, teleporting to various locations whilst casting powerful spells. Deep within the battle, the Crystal Sage begins cloning itself, surrounding the Ashen One from every angle, but through their unwavering nerve, the Champion of Ash conquers the opposition, clearing the path to the Cathedral of the Deep. The home of Aldrich, and his followers. From outside the cathedral, a faint voice can be heard from a distance… Hello! Hello! Anyone there? Anyone at all? Oh! I know that voice. Just how long has it been? Its me, Siegward of Catarina. Siegward claims that he had been deceived, his armour stolen, and left stuck in a well. This is the doing of Unbreakable Patches, a mischievous swindler who fools the unsuspecting to gain their loot. Patches appears fitted with Siegward’s stolen armour, imitating the onion knights behaviour, in an attempt to gain the Ashen One’s trust. Patches remarks of a treasure spotted on a bridge, urging them to retrieve it. In doing so, he lowers the bridge, leading the Ashen One to a room housing many dangers. Although the trap proves futile, this is only one of many attempts yet to come. Upon making amends for his actions, Patches relocates to Firelink Shrine, where he would once again, without shame, seek to disrupt the Unkindled’s journey. He waits for them to enter the tower adjacent to the shrine, and upon reaching the top of the tower, Patches locks the gate behind them, claiming that he will return to pillage their corpse upon death. Is this all Patches has to offer, a senseless thief who rejoices from the misery of others? Or is there more to his scale of morality, a reason for why he portrays himself in such a heinous way? Albeit rarely, Patches does demonstrate a sense of compassion, as on multiple occasions, he has been responsible for Greirat’s return from pillaging, choosing to rescue him in times of need. It’s never explained why Patches cares for Greirat, perhaps its honour among thieves, but even as a guardian, Patches elects to take no credit, choosing to wear the Catarina set to mask his identity. Thank the gods for that. I dont like cutting things so close. I mightve died if it wasnt for that peculiar onion knight. Maybe there is more to Patches, the Unbreakable, than meets the eye. In hopes of facing their first Lord of Cinder, the Ashen One makes an entrance to the Cathedral of the Deep, where they are met with Slave Knight Gael, a mysterious man, kneeling before an alter, and praying for divine aid on his mission. The mission at hand is yet unknown, but Gael is sure to make a return at a later point. In forging ahead, the Ashen One discovers that Aldrich, the Devourer of Gods had already abandoned the church, fleeing to Irithyll alongside Archdeacon McDonnell. After Aldrich left for the Boreal valley, Archdeacon Royce remained in the cathedral with the high priests, to keep eternal watch over their masters coffin. The deacons are not particularly skilled combatants, but do pose a threat in numbers, choosing to defend Aldrich’s coffin as a collective. Defeating the high priests, paves the way to Rosaria, who until now, had been concealed within the Cathedral. Surrounding Rosaria’s Bed Chamber, Man-grubs stand as guards of their goddess, each wielding a staff capable of casting sorceries. The creatures who appear before the Ashen One, were once humans, but through abusing the process of rebirth, have transfigured into maggot-like entities, and yet they maintain their reverence for the Mother of Rebirth. Due to the Ashen One becoming acquainted with Rosaria, a certain admirer of the goddess becomes paranoid that the Champion of Ash plans to steal her Soul. Ringfinger Leonhard, the knight who abstained from healing his wounds, grows doubtful of the Ashen One’s intentions, choosing to kill Rosaria himself, and fleeing with her Soul. In tracing their path, the Ashen One arrives at Gwynevere’s Bed Chamber in Anor Londo, where Leonhard stands ready, in anticipation of their arrival. Felt sorry for the poor thing, in all her festering glory? And now you want to ravage her soul, as well. I sowed the seeds. Ill prune the mess. I, Leonhard, swear so upon my vows to the goddess. Fascinating, is Leonhard’s choice to retreat to Gwynevere’s Chamber. Some have meditated on the idea that Rosaria was Gwynevere all along, departing from Lothric Castle during the war with the Angels, and seeking refuge in the Cathedral of the Deep. This would explain Leonhard’s choice, deciding to carry Rosaria’s Soul back to her original home. Also lending validity to this theory is Rosaria’s Soul, which can be transposed into the miracle Bountiful Sunlight, a spell granted by the Princess of Sunlight, Gwyenevere. There is also reason to believe that Rosaria may have been Gertrude, as her bird cage being found open, hints at an escape from captivity. All things considered, the truth of Rosaria’s identity remains naught but speculation, as little concrete evidence can be traced back to her origins. Now enlightened on Aldrich’s residence, the Ashen One aims to reach Irithyll of the Boreal Valley, but to do so, they must first trek through the menacing land of Farron Keep, a site that has seen many reformations over the years. Long ago, it was the ancient land of Oolacile, which became Darkroot Garden, and now, home to the Abyss Watchers. Remnants of Oolacile can still be discovered by those with a keen eye, as the corpse of Elizabeth, the mushroom, can be found in a cave, guarding a chest which houses the attire of Dusk, the princess of Oolacile who was abducted by Manus long ago. Also found in the keep, are the Watchdogs of Farron, inspired by the Great Grey Wolf Sif. The Watchdogs were recruited to ensure that the Abyss Watchers sleep in serenity, by taking the form of loyal spirits and hunting down those who would trespass the woods of Farron. The Old Wolf of Farron remains committed to its role, commanding the watchdogs from atop a tower. Marks of a troublesome life can be identified, as the wolf appears starved and withered, barely holding on by a thread. After the Legions Watchers became Lords of Cinder, the wolf blood dried up, and Farron was consumed by a festering wood. The path ahead is locked by three flaming towers that must be extinguished, each of which display a carving resembling the gods of old. One displays Gravelord Nito, the second carving potentially depicts the Witch of Izalith, and the third illustrates the Four Kings of New Londo, who were granted a fragment of the soul of Gwyn. Extinguishing the fire that burns within the three towers, leads to the Abyss Watchers, who are now completely corrupted, mercilessly fighting one another, still battling to eradicate the abyss, not knowing that they themselves have become consumed by it. And so they fight, and fight, endlessly caught in a cycle of their own making. The Champion of Ash enters the fray, marking their territory with a draw of their steel. The skirmish begins, and the Watchers rise from the Abyss, taking to their blades to draw first blood. In a losing rally, one Abyss Watcher absorbs the blood of their comrades, reinvigorating their spirit through harnessing the powers of those who have fallen, an amalgamation of the strength of all who once fought to eradicate the Abyss. It all ends with a duel of honour, one versus one, two warriors on equal ground with nothing but their valour to determine a victor. The Champion of Ash rises to the occasion, freeing the Abyss Watchers from their involuntary awakening. With the Abyss Watchers defeated, and their Soul returned to the throne, three Lords of Cinder remain. Next in line is Irithyll, to reach the Boreal Valley, the Ashen One descends into the Catacombs of Carthus, the resting place of High Lord Wolnir. Once upon a time, Carthus was distributed among many rightful lords, each of which was granted jurisdiction over a certain branch. This was until Wolnir brought them to their knees, and ground their crowns to dust. Then the crowns became one, and Wolnir, the one High Lord. The conqueror of Carthus soon succumbed to the Abyss, gripped by the fear of true darkness, he pleaded to the gods for the first time. It is said that a holy sword, together with three armlets stripped from the corpses of clerics, gave him some semblance of comfort. Through the discovery of pyromancies such as the Black Flame, Wolnir sought to claim the Abyss for himself. As with all who attempt to command the Abyss, the High Lord failed, and found himself stranded in a realm between worlds, an ocean of darkness which he cannot escape. Through the passage of time, the High Lord sentenced countless souls to gruesome deaths, keen to outlive them all. As the Ashen One traverses the Catacombs, they happen upon Anri of Astora, who remains insistent on finding Aldrich. However, her partner Horace, is nowhere in sight. Oh, hello, how very fortunate. Have you seen my companion, Horace? To my shame, I was snared by a trap, and weve become separated. Ive not been able to find him since. As Anri continues to search for her dear companion Horace, the Ashen One continues on their journey, encountering a chalice crafted from the remains of a human skull. In touching the mysterious object, a black cloud emerges from within, the abyss scatters across the ground, consuming the room in its entirety. The Champion of Ash awakens in a dark space, and in stepping into the unknown, comes face to face with High Lord Wolnir, a gargantuan heap of skeletons moulded into one. The High Lord draws strength from the armlets he carries, and so the Ashen One shatters them one by one, depleting Wolnir’s power with every swing of their sword, until the tyrannical giant falls. Deeper into the catacombs, Knight Slayer Tsorig attempts to ambush the Ashen One. He is suited with the Black Iron Armor, which once belonged to Tarkus, a knight of Berenike who presumably died by falling off a rafter in Anor Londo. Could Tsorig have been responsible for his doom? Perhaps he simply claimed the armour from Tarkus following his death. The knight slayer appears to have a knack for acquiring items belonging to others, as he wields a Fume Ultra Greatsword, the weapon of Raime, who later became the Fume Knight, and died at the hands of the Bearer of the Curse. Following Raime’s defeat, the sword was so heavy that it found no owner, and became a forgotten relic of history. Many tried to wield the greatsword, and many failed, leaving Tsorig to be the only being besides Raime, to ever utilise the blade in battle. Long ago, Tsorig engaged the guardians of an ancient city in a bloody confrontation, and returned with their rings as his prize, still frozen on their dismembered fingers. It is theorised that the ancient city referred to, may have been Eleum Loyce, as Tsorig removed the prized rings from frozen fingers, likely that of the Loyce Knights. It is safe to assume that Tsorig travelled through befallen kingdoms, obtaining the Fume Ultra Greatsword from the Brume Tower, followed by infiltrating the frozen land of Eleum Loyce, and executing what remained of the kingdoms knights, collecting their rings with every kill he made, earning him the title, Knight Slayer. Descending to the depths of hell, the Ashen One steps into the Smouldering Lake, the remains of what was once the city of Izalith. Two of the daughters of the Witch of Izalith can still be found within the city. Hidden behind the veil of an illusory wall, are the corpses of the Fair Lady, and her sister Quelana, signifying a reunion between the two, following their separation which came as a result of the chaos that erupted within the city. From the inception of the Flame of Chaos, demons were birthed, and an eternal war was waged between Gwyn’s black knights and the demons of Izalith. Scattered through the wind are the days of battle, as all that remains now are corpses. Dispersed through the land are the deceased bodies of all manner of demons, including the infamous Asylum and Stray Demons. How did this come to be? With the aid of the Bearer of the Curse, the Old Chaos that loomed beneath Eleum Loyce was snuffed, and thus the reproduction of demons was put to an end. The remaining demons were likely slain by Gwyn’s Black Knights, who remain in the Smouldering Lake until this day, ensuring that the outliers who still live, meet their end shortly, an inevitable extinction, edging closer with every passing second. Traversing through the inferno, a heartbreaking uncovery displays itself, at the rear end of a long tunnel, stands Horace the Hushed, the dear companion of Anri of Astora. Having been separated from his partner, Horace accidentally wandered into the Smouldering Lake, all alone, and unequipped to deal with the dangers that lurk below. In solitude, this beacon of purity hollowed, losing memory of the Ashen One, Anri, and even himself. Faced with a conundrum, the Champion of Ash must decide, do they inform Anri of Horace’s fate, and risk her dying at the hands of her beloved companion, or refrain from sharing this information, and put Horace to rest themselves, saving him from the dread of living as a hollow. The Ashen one deals with Horace, and only after the threat is neutralised, do they inform Anri of the events that had taken place, as after all, she deserves to know what had become of Horace, having journeyed together through thick and thin. With the Old Chaos extinguished, and the demon race being slowly erased from existence, one particular demon persisted, becoming the last living witness of the Chaos of Izalith. The Old Demon King, sustained by what little fire burns within his soul, resides in a large chamber, fending off those who enter his domain. Unbeknownst to the Old Demon King, the Champion of Ash would be the one to put an end to his long lasting survival. Nearing his defeat, the ancient demon begins to display the effects of time, as the inner fire is smothered, and he desperately kneels over, helpless in the face of death. Emerging from the bleak nature of the catacombs, the Ashen One is greeted with an alluring, snow-filled kingdom, a beautiful vista, exhibiting large estates and cathedrals. A touch of tranquillity eases its way through, as the moon hangs low, forever watching over the ancient kingdom of Irithyll. The Boreal Valley is said to have existed since the heyday of Lord Gwyn’s reign, a home to nobles who worshipped the moon, and thereby endorsed Dark Sun Gwyndolin, who was affiliated with the moon. The rich history of the kingdom presents itself in various ways, as in a distant manor, paintings can be found depicting Gwynevere, the Princess of Sunlight, Nashandra, the Queen of Drangleic, the Frozen Kingdom of Eleum Loyce, the Iron King’s throne within the Brume Tower, and other notable locations such as Anor Londo, and the Grand Archives. Much has changed since the Age of Gods, as now, this land lays dormant in the hands of the tyrant, Pontiff Sulyvahn. Long ago, when Sulyvahn was yet a young sorcerer, he discovered the Profaned Capital and an unfading flame below a distant tundra of Irithyll, and a burning ambition took root within him. The sorcerer commanded the Profaned Greatsword and set out to conquer Irithyll. His means of accessing the kingdom came by way of the Blades of the Darkmoon. Sulyvahn infiltrated the covenant and was granted a ceremonial sword, which represented the judgement of the moon. Upon closer inspection, the magic within the blade was far closer to sorcery than any existing lunar power, and its dark blue hues, deeper than the darkest moon, a reflection of Sulyvahn’s true nature. Magic was seen as heretical by the gods, making it evident that Sulyvahns use of sorcery was concealed during his time with the covenant, and Darkmoon Knights were ignorant to his cunning. Through time, the city fell in the hands of the tyrant Sulyvahn, who seized all which resided within the walls of Irithyll. A battalion of warriors known as the Pontiff Knights, were formed to maintain order within the city grounds, serving as Sulyvahn’s watchful eyes, and merciless blades. Outrider Knights were tasked with conquering faraway lands, extending Sulyvahns rule beyond just the Boreal Valley. Visions of both the Dancer, and Vordt can be seen departing from Irithyll, their Phantoms depict them in their human form, as they had yet to be transfigured by the Eye of Pontiff. The citizens of Irithyll were twisted into malformed beasts, becoming both slaves and prisoners to the tyrant, and his dark magic. With complete control over Irithyll, Sulyvahn would impose himself as the new Pontiff of the Way of White. However, becoming a sovereign ruler would not satiate this covetous dictator, who shifted his gaze to usurping Anor Londo, home to the last remaining deity, Gwyndolin. To achieve a goal of such ambition, Pontiff needed an ally, and so he placed a Small Doll in Aldrich’s Coffin, so that upon awakening, he would hear the words, Wherever you go, the moon still sets in Irithyll. Wherever you may be, Irithyll is your home. Having placed a magical barrier around Irithyll, the Pontiff Sulyvahn gave this doll to valued subjects, so that they might use it to cross the barrier when they return home. Aldrich, granted a second life, seeks a new purpose of devouring the old gods. In this moment, their destinies aligned, as a diplomatic relation between Pontiff and Aldrich would grant them the means of fulfilling all that they had desired. Sulyvahn and his knights were granted the powers of the deep, whilst Aldrich was promised a clear path to the last remaining deity in Anor Londo, who was not easy to reach, as he always kept his Darkmoon Knights by his side. The Darkmoon Knights were once led by my elder brother, the Dark Sun Gwyndolin. But he was stricken by illness, and leadership of the knights fell to me. Then Sulyvahn wrongfully proclaimed himself Pontiff, and took me prisoner. Oh where could my dear brother be? This is Yorshka, who sits alone in a tower above Anor Londo, as a prisoner of Pontiff Sulyvhan. Yorshka claims to be the daughter of Lord Gwyn, and younger sister to Gwyndolin. It is thought that Gwyndolin’s deteriorating health was not of a natural cause, but the doing of the Pontiff, who may have cursed, or even poisoned him. With Gwyndolin weakened, the Pontiff and Aldrich took over the land of the gods, capturing the Dark Sun and his sister Yorshka. This was followed by Aldrich slowly consuming Gwyndolin, who had become all too powerless to fight back. Aldrich dreamt as he slowly devoured the God of the Darkmoon. In this dream, he perceived the form of a young, pale girl in hiding. In devouring a deity, Aldrich fell into a deep slumber, absorbing Gwyndolin’s memories in the process. The visions of a pale girl may be referring to Crossbreed Priscilla, a being who warranted the fear of the gods, due to the power held within her Lifehunt Scythe, and thus she was restrained in the confines of a painted world, hidden away from all existence. Gwyndolin may have been personally responsible for her banishment, which would explain her place in his memory. Others believe that the pale girl may be Yorshka, as his sister was the last person by his side, prior to being devoured. The Ashen One marches through Irithyll, intent on finding the Devourer of Gods, but they are not the sole seekers of Aldrich, who had a talent for making enemies. Anri of Astora, can be found within the Church of Yorshka, now travelling alone following the loss of Horace. She hones her focus on fulfilling the duty of a Lordseeker, if not for Horace, then be it for the children who died in vain at the hands of Aldrich. Inside the church, a pilgrim assassin conceals themselves alongside various statues, awaiting the right moment to step out of the shadows and strike. Less a strike of a blade, and more a strike of deception, to manipulate Anri into becoming a vessel to conduct the Lord of Hollows ceremony. The hired assassin likely works in company with Yuria of Londor, seeking those who possess the potential to lead the world into an age of Dark. Unlike the Ashen One, Anri does not wield the strength to lead, and so would be used as a pawn to elevate the true Lord of Hollows, the Ashen One. An intervention must take place, or else it would mean the death of Anri. The Champion of Ash, without hesitation, cuts down the pilgrim, and in turn, prevents Anri’s doom. She will forever be ignorant of her narrow escape from death, as the Ashen One acts not for recognition, but from a place of selflessness, a silent guardian watching over their fellow travellers. In a prodigious cathedral, laced with reflective marble flooring, and invaluable sculptures, resides the tyrant, Pontiff Sulyvhan. With his weapons drawn, he slowly edges towards the Ashen One, one step at a time; as he enters the range of battle, the Pontiff leaps forward, building up momentum as he swings his Profaned Ultra Greatsword, missing only by a hair. The two combatants engage, and a battle of wits and brute strength ensues. As the fight progresses, the Pontiff begins to utilise his skillset to the fullest extent, creating a variant of himself to mirror his attacks. By analysing their opponent’s movements and patterns, the Champion of Ash is able to take down Pontiff Sulyvahn, clearing the path to the dark and gritty dungeons of Irithyll, home to withering corpses and depraved creatures born out of evil. Sources suggest that a part of the Profaned Flame is preserved in Irithyll Dungeon, held within an icy skull. The dungeon serves as a prison, in which guards are Jailers, survivors from the Profaned Capital. Handmaids serving in the Capital reportedly took pleasure in hurting others. Locked away, on the ground floor of Irithyll Dungeon, is Karla, a child of the Abyss. The stained clothes she wears are torn and odorous, telling of a long journey and even longer imprisonment. Her pointed hat is the signature of a heretical sorceress, revealing Karla to be a dark witch. To truly understand who Karla is, one must explore the journey of a little-known wanderer named Alva, a knight who travelled across many kingdoms in search of a cure for Saint Serreta, a woman burdened with a sickness. Alva traversed through Drangleic, and even Lothric, but ultimately failed to find a cure. He was wracked with guilt and remorse, and as a result, relinquished his knighthood. During Alva’s expedition, Zullie the witch, learned of his dedication to Saint Serreta, and grew jealous of his unbending commitment that spanned the width of the world. Zullie used all manner of tricks and deceit to ruin him, but in the end she would spend her life with him, supporting his endeavors. By fair means or foul, Alva and Zullie became enamoured with one another, choosing to spend the remainder of their lives together. To this day, troubadours sing of tales of the Wandering knight Alva and his travels, and of his involvement with the saint and the witch. Needless to say, the songs traditionally end in tragedy. And tragic indeed is the end of Alva, as through all of his travels, he was unable to find peace. Alva is referred to as Seeker of the Spurned, and Karla’s Ashes describe her as the spurned child of the Abyss, this reveals that prior to his death, Alva set out to find Karla, but regrettably met his end within arms reach of her. What motive would a knight such as Alva have in seeking Karla? The Dark Edge miracle, which was once used by the witch Zullie, and now in possession of Karla, states that the spell is passed down from mother to daughter. This reveals that Zullie is most probably Karla’s mother, which would explain Alva’s fixation on seeking Karla, finding his daughter. There are interesting details that remain unexplained, such as Karla being referred to as a child of the Abyss. The same terminology is used to describe the children of Manus, who each represented a shard of his emotions. It is theorised that Karla’s mother Zullie, may have been a descendant of a fragment of Manus, as this would justify Karla being a child of the Abyss. If that were the case, Zullie would most likely be related to Nashandra, who represents greed and envy. Characterised by those same emotions, Zullie’s envy led to her manipulating Alva into renouncing his commitment to Saint Serreta, unravelling their relationship in its entirety as a means of usurping his affection. Having said that, Karla’s path to becoming a child of the abyss remains speculatory. Many travellers make it to Irithyll, but almost none survive its cruel dungeons, be it through the various contraptions designed to imprison trespassers, or the difficulty of manoeuvring through its maze-like structure without getting lost. Pardon me. I was absorbed in thought. Oh. Look at me, trapped like a rat. But you neednt worry. Ive just been sitting here, weighing my options. Snared by another trap, is Siegward of Catarina, who can be found locked in a cell within the dungeons. The onion knight is yet again in need of a saviour, halted on his mission to confront his old friend, Yhorm, the Giant. With the aid of the Ashen One, Siegward can be freed, allowing him to continue his journey to the Profaned Capital, the very city that was burned to ashes by the flame that would not dissipate. When the Champion of Ash reaches the capital, a corpse of a man can be found beside a bonfire, holding onto a ladder, a relic of a former life. This hollow being was once Gilligan, a laddersmith, hailing from Drangleic. The nature of his travels were never explored, but for one reason or another, Gilligan found himself in the Profaned Capital, the wrong place to be, and certainly at the wrong time. His body appears charred, which suggests that he was present when the Profaned Flame rained down fire, in retaliation to Yhorm sacrificing himself to the Flame. Yhorm now resides in a temple within the Profaned Capital, seated on a kings throne, awaiting the arrival of the Ashen One, who does not come alone. Yhorm, old friend. I, Siegward of the Knights of Catarina, have come to uphold my promise! Let the sun shine upon this Lord of Cinder. Siegward of Catarina makes his entrance, having overcome much adversity, he is ready to fulfil his duty, to put Yhorm beneath the dirt, where the giant can rest at last, letting go of all the guilt, and suffering of his past life. Siegward comes prepared, with a Storm Ruler clasped tightly in his grip, revealing that all along, Yhorm had put his faith in Siegward, giving him the last of the Storm Rulers prior to linking the First Flame. Yhorm did not believe in his people, or even the gods, but bestowed the last remaining weapon that could slay a giant, to the honourable knight of Catarina. Wielding a Storm Ruler, the Champion of Ash calls upon the residual strength of a storm, striking the giant to his knees. The weapon crafted as a deterrent to keep Yhorm honest as a leader, would serve its purpose thoroughly, taking down the giant, and ending his short lived days as a Lord of Cinder. A gruelling journey for Siegward of Catarina, but one that proved fruitful, as with the help of the Ashen One, he completed the one goal that held meaning to him, a duty he was willing to give his life for. Through a moment of peace and clarity, Siegward cherishes his final moments, before surrendering himself to what awaits beyond mortal existence, choosing to walk beside his dear friend Yhorm, in the afterlife. Another Lord of Cinder is toppled, yet two remain present, the next being Aldrich, who resides in Anor Londo. An inevitable collision awaits, as the Ashen One, prepares to face the devourer of gods. A root of evil commands the once sovereign land, as the beauty of the sunlit kingdom, is now overshadowed by a cold and dark presence. The corpse of the Darkmoon Knightess can be found in Gwyndolin’s chamber, a being who once tended to the flame as a Firekeeper, and fought as a member of the Blade of the Darkmoon. Her clash with the Chosen Undead led to her drawing her final breath, now her body rests in a dark empty room, secluded from all manner of life. Many who were once prosperous during the era of the Chosen Undead, have been defeated by the age of a dying flame. The Giant Blacksmith of Anor Londo, who crafted various weapons and tools to support travellers, is found dead, with the cause of his demise remaining ambiguous. The infamous cathedral that housed the battle between the Chosen Undead, and Ornstein and Smough, is now infected with the corruption of the deep. To overthrow Aldrich, the Ashen One unites with Anri of Astora, who is driven solely on seeking vengeance on the Lord of Cinder. Together, they pass through a veil of fog, where the Dark Sun Gwyndolin appears on the opposing side, still in the process of being devoured by Aldrich. He can be heard groaning in distress, as his consciousness is stripped away from him, and he is slowly eaten alive. The weapon wielded by Aldrich resembles the sword of Gravelord Nito, and the black feathered texture surrounding his body is almost identical to that of Nito’s appearance. These visual indications are a portrayal of Aldrich’s gradual shift into becoming the essence of death, having been responsible for the taking of countless human lives, and now even gods. Aldrich utilises Gwyndolin’s body and magic in retaliation to the Champion of Ash, but mercy is granted for the Dark Sun, as the Ashen One, with the aid of Anri, slays Aldrich once and for all. I owe this to you. Thank you. Truly. Horace weve done it. We really have. Upon returning to Firelink Shrine, Ludleth of Courland speaks in a riddle, hinting at a chilling warning regarding Anri’s fate. Seek not the girl. She knoweth her faith. What will become of her upon her dutys end. She would not wish thee follow her. Like many who roam the lands of Lothric, the singular reason for preserving ones sanity, is the duty they are bound to. The sense of responsibility inspires the undead to endure through all misery and pain, but once the duty is fulfilled, for what reason should one continue to suffer? And so Anri, having completed her journey, ceases to resist the curse, allowing it to consume her as it did her friend Horace. She now resides in the Smouldering Lake, a hollow without purpose. The duty that binds all beings falls in the hands of the Ashen One, who pledges to free Anri from the shackles of the Undead Curse, allowing her to rest along with Horace the Hushed. It was one choice, made by the Ashen One, that led to Anri succeeding in her quest, if anything were to be done differently, Anri’s fate would have diverged considerably. Let’s turn the hands of time, to the moment in which the Ashen One intercepted the Pilgrim assassin, in the Church of Yorshka. If the pilgrim is left unscathed, Yuria of Londor explains that the path to becoming a true monarch is sealed through a wedlock ceremony, revealing that Anri awaits in the hidden darkmoon chamber of Anor Londo. The Ashen One approaches Gwyndolin’s chamber, and is welcomed by a pilgrim, who offers the ceremonial Sword of Avowal, It is said that a rite of wedlock will presage a true Hollow lord. Your spouses name is Anri, who patiently awaits a rightful lord, deep within the mausoleum. When the Champion of Ash nears the end of the long and narrow hallway, Anri’s corpse is presented before them, her knighthood revoked through the removal of her helm, and her face covered by a fine silk cloth, she is laid out as a sacrifice to produce a true Lord of Hollows. The Ashen One obliges to the rules of the ceremony, plunging the sword of Avowal into the heart of Anri, absorbing her Dark Sigils, and concluding the wedding. Ahh, our Lord and liege. I presume thy holy vows are sworn? Now thourt the true and deserving Lord of Hollows. With a spouse, the strength to claim the fire is thine. Thy Lordship, I prithee wrest the fire from its mantle. I, Yuria, and all of Londor, embrace thy impending Lordship. Only one thing remains, to claim the soul of Lothric himself. A voice beckons the Ashen One, to save the soul of Prince Lothric. A golden light warps the Champion of Ash to the High Wall of Lothric Castle, where the high priestess Emma once resided. It was she who called out to the Ashen One. A cold wind extinguishes the light in the room. Forming in the ceiling, a dark portal releases the Dancer of the Boreal Valley. An elegant and majestic fighter. Her gaunt figure waltzes through the church, swinging her blades igniting the room. “Sulyvahn bestowed a double-slashing sword upon a distant daughter of the formal royal family, ordering her to serve first as a dancer, and then as an outrider knight, the equivalent to exile.” One blade aligned with the dark, the other to the flame, symbolic of the the dancer’s vows. “The mirage-like aurora veil is said to be an article of the old gods, permitted only for direct descendants of the old royal family. The black eyes of the Pontiff eventually transformed the Dancer into a beastly creature, her gauntlets fusing with her own hide. Her spectral cloak associates her with the old gods. Was she a descendant of Gwynevere? Similar to Vordt, she was yet another victim of Pontiff Sulyvahn. The Dancer’s body was contorted, and her brain was moulded to obey the will of the Pontiff. From her soul, the Soothing Sunlight miracle can be obtained. A miracle granted to the maidens of the Princess of Sunlight. This miracle of Gwynevere, was bestowed upon a great many warriors. Doubtless, the dancer is connected to the princess. Her veil symbolises a biological relation, rather than as a servant of the family. Defeating the dancer, enables the Champion of Ash to navigate to the Consumed King’s Garden. Deep within, resides Oceiros - father of Lothric and Lorian. His body resembles that of a frail dragon, not the human king he once was. Grasping an invisible figure in his arm, held close to his chest. He refers to this individual as “Ocelotte, child of dragons. Refusing to abandon him, Oceiros engages the Champion of Ash. As the fight rages on, he loses sight of his child, furthering his madness. On the brink of sanity, the Consumed King charges through the room. Crushing the infant under the mass of his body, rendering the cries of the child silent. He claws and flails, trying to slaughter the Ashen One. Failing to do this, the once king of Lothric is slain. His soul denotes “Oceiros went mad trying to harness his royal blood for a greater purpose, leading him to the heretics of the Grand Archives, where he discovered the twisted worship of Seath the paledrake.” His obsession with Seath is illustrated by his form, akin to that of a dragon. Driven by his desire for a greater purpose, he became one with their kind, and eventually fathered one for his own. Further demonstrating his compulsion for the Paledrake, was his pursuit of the moonlight - “Oceiros, the Consumed King, was infatuated with the search for moonlight, but in the end, it never revealed itself to him.” Oceiros’ manic fascination with Seath, is similar to that of Big Hat Logan. In the past, the Dukes research struck a chord with old Big Hat who, in his mad, disrobed state, made divine works such as the White Dragon Breath sorcery. Oceiros was no doubt edified by this. Exploring the hidden passageways of the garden, leads to the discovery of the corpse of a Drakeblood Knight. A faction of knights once led by Sir Yorgh, who laid siege to the Eternal Sanctum in pursuit of the blood of Sinh, the Slumbering Dragon. The Champion of Ash memorises the pose of the fallen knight, before entering the main halls of the castle. Weaving through the Lothric knights, the Unkindled One comes under the fire of two Lothric Wyverns. Both of which are infected by the Pus of Man. It is doubtful that these dragons are alive. Instead, their corpses were reanimated by the abyss. In days of yore, these drakes were utilised by the kingdom of Lothric. Even in death, the wyverns defend the castle, alongside their allies - the Lothric Knights. Investigating further, the Ashen One discovers the statue of the Warrior of Sunlight covenant. The very same altar, which once resided in the Undead Burg, then Harvest Valley, and now within the walls of Lothric Castle. Surviving the ages, this altar is a vestige of the long lost firstborn of Gwyn. Despite his absence, and the passage of time. Many humans stayed true to their faith, devoting themselves to the Warrior of Sunlight covenant. Unhindered, the Champion of Ash comes face to face with the Dragonslayer Armour. “The Dragonslayer Armour, is controlled by the Pilgrim Butterfly, however, it lost its master long ago, but still remembers their sporting hunts.” Many presume that this armour once belonged to the Dragonslayer Ornstein, knight of Gwyn. However, this is just speculation. Regardless, the empty suit of armour remembers the ideals of its host, and is puppeteered by the butterflies. Who in turn, commands it to slay the Ashen One. His greataxe is imbued with lightning, an element which was utilised specifically in the hunting of dragons. Interestingly, the greatshield is nigh on impervious to lightning, indicating that the Dragonslayer Armour’s host used lightning as a weapon, but also expected to fight against it. In any case, the Champion of Ash bears the firestorm reigned down upon them, and hastily outmanoeuvres the suit of armour. Eventually, the armour is put to rest, for now. Pressing forward, the Champion of Ash comes upon the doors of the Grand Archives. Laying before the entrance, is the corpse of Black Hand Gotthard. In his possession, lies the Grand Archives Key - “With the fire fading, and the spreading pus of man tainting the castle, the Grand Archives closed its doors for good. Today, only a few of its keys remain. This one likely belonged to Gotthard, one of the kings Black Hand, who fled the castle.” Previously, Gotthard could be summoned to aid in the fight against the Abyss Watchers and Sulyvahn. Indicating he left the castle, to potentially aid the Ashen One on their journey, and help them gain passage to Prince Lothric. Unfortunately, his journey was somehow brought to an end. Perhaps he was assassinated by the other members of the Black Hand, who may have deemed Gotthard as a traitor, as a result of his choice to flee the archives and ally himself with the Ashen One. Suggesting he believed that Prince Lothric should link the fire, whereas others of his order did not. Opening the doors, leads to an encounter with the crystal sage the sibling of the sage who allied themselves with Farron’s Undead Legion. Unlike his sibling, he chose to stay in the Grand Archives and further study the magics of Seath and Big Hat Logan. Evident by his possession of the Crystal Scroll, a tome of sorceries made by Seath the Scaleless. Wax covered scholars are seen throughout the majority of the archives, remaining receptive to the Crystal Sages, learning from their wisdom. Several ghostly hands reach from the bookshelves, clawing at any who would come close. Perhaps the echoes of Seath are protecting his hoard of knowledge, even in death. Protected by an Outrider Knight, the lone corpse of a scholar can be found. In his palm, lays the Soul Stream spell. The description reads “Sorcery imparted by the first of the Scholars, when Lothric and the Grand Archives were but young. The first of the Scholars doubted the linking of the fire, and was alleged to be a private mentor to the Royal Prince.” In ages past, a sorcery of a similar name could be found in Aldia’s Keep. This spell was once referred to as “Soul Geyser”. It was a blasphemous spell and heirloom of Lord Aldia. Perhaps the Soul Stream variant, is an evolved version of the original spell. Leaving the archives behind, the Champion of Ash is ambushed by a trio of warriors. The first of which is the Daughter of Crystal, Kriemhild. Her staff, a crystal catalyst, once belonged to the sages. Kriemhild was a gifted student, the favourite pupil of both sages, and therefore was gifted the Sage’s Crystal Staff. Accompanying her is the Lion Knight Albert. Donning the armour of the god of war Faraam, this knight resembles the Forossa Lion Knights of old. A legendary faction of knights, who were said to have gone beyond death. Vengarl was once one of these knights. His body fought on, despite his decapitation. Lastly, a member of the Black Hand, Kamui, wielding an Onikiri and Ubadachi, enters the fray. The might of the three, is not enough to dissuade the approach of the Champion of Ash. Having reached the summit of Lothric Castle, the Champion of Ash arrives at the entrance to the chamber of Prince Lothric. The symbols of the three pillars which upheld the kingdom, can be seen etched into the surface of the door. Upon entry, Lothric reiterates, that the mantle of Lord does not interest him, and that he would prefer the firelinking curse, and for the lords to fade into nothing. Both princes chose to renounce their duty of becoming Lords of Cinder, deciding to let the flame fade instead. Additionally, a curse has intertwined their souls, uniting them on a spiritual level. Lorian, the broken elder brother, using his eternally scorched greatsword, attempts to stave off the Ashen One. The Champion of Ash does not falter, and executes the prince. Witnessing the downfall of his brother, Lothric emerges from above, resurrecting Lorian through the use of magic. Together, the princes align their strengths to oppose the Unkindled One. Utilising both magic and sword. The power of Lothric, immortalises Lorian. Knowing this, the Ashen One dispatches Lothric first, which hastily brings an end to Lorian. Without his brother, he could no longer escape death. And so the line of Lothric was broken. The final Lord of Cinder, now rests in the palm of the young hollow. Retracing their steps, the Champion of Ash returns to the Consumed King’s Garden. Concealed behind an illusory wall an obscure pathway can be discovered. Exploring this passage leads to a familiar location - the Untended Graves. The absence of light is peculiar, as the entire valley is blanketed in darkness. Journeying ahead, the Ashen One, once again faces Gundyr. However, this time he is referred to as “Champion Gundyr”. The stalwart fighter immediately duels the Ashen One. Using a mixture of martial arts and his unyielding halberd. Overcoming this adversary, leads to the possession of his soul. “Once, a champion came late to the festivities, and was greeted by a shrine without fire, and a bell that would not toll.” Reflecting on this, we learn that Gundyr arrived at a shrine absent of fire. The Fire Keeper who awaited her champion, would meet her end long before his arrival. The bells of awakening would no longer ring, and therefore no Champions of Ash would arise, to embark on their journey and link the flame, resulting in a world of darkness. Gundyr, out of devotion, stationed himself at the foot of the shrine. Awaiting any who would oppose him. Of course, that day would come, as the Ashen One would put him to rest. As mentioned previously, Iudex Gundyr, was once a champion, defeated in his prime by a nameless knight. The unnamed warrior was none other than the Champion of Ash. Defeated, Gundyr chose to become a judge, stationed at the Cemetery of Ash. Becoming the ultimate test for all future champions. Paradoxically, Gundyr would then battle the same Ashen One who defeated him in the past, but this time as Iudex. This establishes a theory of time travel. As the defeat of Gundyr as a champion occurred in the past, so long ago in fact, that the name of the human who slayed him, was lost to time. You may recall, when the Ashen One originally rose from their grave and defeated Iudex, he was devoid of a soul. As his soul was actually obtained in the past, which in this case, is the future of the Ashen One. Standing between the Champion of Ash, and Firelink Shrine, are a plethora of Black Knights. The very same knights who once served Gwyn, and safeguarded the Kiln of the First Flame as he linked the fire. Even as ash, they wander the realms, defending the kiln. Inside Firelink Shrine, the vast halls are empty, except for one figure. The Shrine Handmaid, appearing identical to her counterpart, in the current day Firelink Shrine. Amongst her wares, she offers to sell the Wolf Knight set of armour. A suit of armour which once belonged to Artorias the Abysswalker, still drenched in the abyss. Andre appears to have perished, leaving behind his Blacksmith Hammer. Alternatively, he may have abandoned the shrine, as his skills would not be utilised in a world devoid of champions. Scouting the area leads to the discovery of the Eyes of a Fire Keeper - “Said to be the eyes of the first Fire Keeper, and the light that was lost by all Fire Keepers to come. It reveals to the sightless Fire Keepers things that they should never see.” We can surmise that these eyes once belonged to the keeper that was stationed here. Returning to the present day Firelink Shrine, the Unkindled One speaks to the Shrine Handmaid. “Oh thourt... Oh, no, tisnt anything Ashen One.” Undoubtedly, the handmaid recognises the Ashen One from the past. But she abruptly stops herself before letting slip that she does indeed recognise the Champion of Ash. Intriguingly, she chooses to conceal what she knows. Perhaps if the Ashen One knew their role to play in the past, it would disrupt the flow of time, and prevent them from travelling through time in the first place. Ludleth, curiously, appears to recognise the Eyes of the Fire Keeper. “Ahh. Found her, did we? And the black eyes that shimmer within, I see? Tis as if it were but yesterday. We did all we could to spare her from them. The eyes show a world destitute of fire, a barren plane of endless darkness. A place born of betrayal. So I willd myself Lord, to link the fire, to paint a new vision. What is thine intent? I took the mantle of Lord of Cinder of mine own volition. All the more, should thy fate entail such foul betrayal. Ludleth, recalls his past, and how he once knew this Fire Keeper from his time. When she witnessed in her visions the grand betrayal, Ludleth ignited himself. To prevent her vision from becoming a reality. He could not save her, but at least he sacrificed himself of his own volition to link the fire, or so he says. Following this, the eyes obtained in the shaded realm are given to the Fire Keeper. She appears stunned upon receiving them, noting that eyes are the very things Fire Keepers have been missing. She states “Ashen one, my thanks for the eyes thoust given. But Fire Keepers are not meant to have eyes. It is forbidden. These will reveal, through a sliver of light, frightful images of betrayal. A world without fire. Ashen one, is this truly thy wish?” The sole purpose of a Fire Keeper is to tend to the flame and aid the undead in their journey. The very thought of a world absent of fire, fills her with dread. As it directly opposes her ideals and original purpose. Although dismayed, she will side with the Ashen One, should they choose to embrace a world of darkness. Brimming with sadness, the Fire Keeper notes: “...Ashen one, if thine heart should bend... kill me, and strip these eyes from my person. I will return as the Fire Keeper I once was. As it is has always been.” Evidently, the Fire Keeper does not want to pursue the path of dark. Nevertheless, she will remain supportive, as that is thee duty of a Fire Keeper, to support all Unkindled who walk through the shrine. A sombre tone fills the atmosphere, as the Ashen One bids farewell. Recalling the pose of the Drakeblood Knight, the Ashen One returns to Irithyll Dungeon. Mimicking the gesture of the Path of the Dragon, the Champion of Ash falls into a deep slumber, only to awaken in Archdragon Peak. A landmark situated upon a mountainside. The screeching cries of dragons echo through the horizon. The sunkissed mountaintop, is home to serpent men, rock lizards and wyverns. The hybrid snakelike humans are descendants of the ancient dragons, though they have fallen far from grace. Eventually, the Unkindled One comes upon a stone bridge. Before crossing, they are halted by the arrival of an Ancient Wyvern. A colossal creature, nigh on impervious to the blade of the Ashen One. Under dragonfire, the Ashen One sprints through the area, evading the serpent men. Gaining the advantage, the Ashen One plummets from a great height. Plunging their blade into the skull of the wyvern. Slaying the great beast and obtaining the Dragon Head Stone. An artefact allowing one to “Gain the head of a dragon, a transformation that is irreversible until death. From ancient times, the path of dragon worship was walked by warriors. It is said they envision Archdragon Peak in the depths of their meditation, and at times, they even hear the distant sound of the great bell at the peak.” The death of the wyvern results in the Unkindled One being teleported away to a location deeper within the peak. Nearby a man-serpent summoner, conjures a Drakeblood Knight to battle the Champion of Ash. The Drakeblood Knights worshipped dragons. No wonder they embarked on the Path of the Dragon, aligning themselves with others of a similar faith. As long as the summoner remains alive, they will continue to manifest warriors, such as a knight resembling Havel, and another who wields a rapier. The rapier-wielding knight could potentially be Ricard. An undead prince who was once encountered by the Chosen Undead in Sen’s Fortress. Traversing the peak, leads to the discovery of a familiar figure. A man suited in the armour of Havel the Rock and his knights, stands firmly in front of a deceased dragon. In ancient times, Havel the Rock was a close friend of Gwyn. Using a dragontooth, carved from an Everlasting Dragon as his weapon of choice, to single-handedly hunt the beasts. Many people theorised that Havel was locked at the base of a tower in the Undead Burg. Due to his potential affiliation with the occult. Members of the occult posed a significant threat against the deific reign. Resulting in them being isolated, as evident by concealment of occult items and those affiliated with it, to the Painted World of Ariamis. Havel also appears to have hidden an Occult Club, behind a fireplace in Anor Londo, along with his armour. On the contrary, many believe that the man imprisoned in the tower, was just a follower of Havel, one of his knights. Perhaps the Havel located here in Archdragon Peak is the true legend of old. Or perhaps he survived his encounter with the Chosen Undead, living through the ages. Slaughtering dragons in his hollow state. Upon his death, his suit of armour can be found in Farron’s Keep of all places. Located next to a stone-covered Stray Demon, whose soul can be transposed into Havel’s Ring. In close proximity, lies another deceased dragon. Ultimately, it is unclear why Havel’s armour can be found here, or if the knight at Archdragon Peak was Havel at all. Wandering the heights of the peak. The Champion of Ash discovers an altar, at the summit of countless worshippers. In the distance, the corpse of a dragon rests upon a distant mountain. Once again, the Ashen One performs the Path of the Dragon gesture. Until the Twinkling Dragon Head Stone falls into their possession. Perhaps the dragon is not truly dead. Noticing the devotion of the Ashen One, and gifting them with a prize. This stone enables one to not only gain the head of a dragon, but to also breathe fire. “The illusion achieved was the first case of a human imitating the form of an ancient dragon, and it revealed the smallness of human existence. The road to the old dragons is long and arduous, and only one can complete the journey. Meanwhile, the Champion of Ash discovers a great bell. Once rung, the mist manifests on the peak, onjuring a storm. The ringing of the bell initiates a duel. Signifying to the host, the approach of a challenger. Piercing the veil of fog, the Ashen One faces the King of the Storm and his rider. Atop the drake, the rider fires bolts of lightning, while his drake wails through the air. With a decisive blow, the beast is incapcitated. Mourning the loss of his companion, the warrior reluctantly puts the creature out of its misery. Absorbing their power to make a final stand against the Ashen One. The Nameless King rides the storm, using momentum to crush the Champion of Ash. Bending lightning to his will, to bombard the arena. Unwavering, the Unkindled One remains steadfast. Defeating the great king. As the undead monarch falls, the skies clear. The warm hues of the sun paint the horizon, returning the landscape to its natural state. But who was this unnamed noble? - “The Nameless King was once a dragon-slaying god of war, before he sacrificed everything to ally himself with the ancient dragons.” One can surmise that this king was the firstborn son of Gwyn. Who once aided his father in his campaign against the dragons, before forming an alliance with them. The once slayer of dragons, utilised a “A dragon hunting weapon from the age of the gods.” Solidifying his point of origin, as the Age of Fire. His soul can be transfigured into the Lighting Storm Miracle, which speaks of the legend of the deity - “...the former king and wargod tamed a Stormdrake, on which he led a lifetime of battle. This miracle is likely a tale of their bond.” Gwyn, unable to tolerate his firstborn’s unity with the dragons. Forced him into exile. By command of Gwyn “...he was stripped of his stature as punishment for his foolishness. No wonder his very name has slipped from the annals of history.” His statue was torn from the halls of Anor Londo, leaving an empty alcove, and the shrines worshipped by the Warriors of Sunlight were destroyed. Wiping his legacy from the earth. Time would do the rest, as no-one recalls his true name. It is interesting to note that a Hellkite Wyvern, once stood guard over the Sunlight Altar in Lordran, much akin to the Ancient Wyvern who protects the Nameless King in Archdragon Peak. Displaying the familial bond between the firstborn and dragonkind. Gwyn placed much faith in his son, as he positioned him as the leader of his four valiant knights: Dragonslayer Ornstein, Hawkeye Gough, Artorias the Abysswalker, and the Lord’s Blade Ciaran. One such knight left Anor Londo to pursue their former master. As at the centre of the bridge, a suit of Dragonslayer Armour can be found. The golden armour of Ornstein. “In the dragonless age, this knight, who long guarded the ruined cathedral, left the land in search of the nameless king. It is hypothesised that Ornstein remained loyal to his former commander. Abandoning his title as dragonslayer, to embark on the path of the dragon, and become the King of the Storm, although there are no direct links proving this theory. Or perhaps, Ornstein, a knight famous for his prolific hunting of dragons, wanted to kill the Nameless King. Unable to forgive his act of betrayal, perhaps they engaged in a duel, resulting in the death of Ornstein. Either way, the existence of the unnamed monarch will remain forgotten, just as Gywn intended. Having returned to the Shrine, a note can be discovered, attributed to the Ashen One. - Come to the mausoleum in Farron. Only Only one can take the path of ancient dragons.” Hawkwood, lays down his gauntlet, and challenges the Champion of Ash to a duel. The home of the Watchers now looms desolate, with a deafening silence breezing through the wind. “I should have known. Well, Ive decided to stop running from my fate. Loathe me all you like, I shall take what makes you dragon.” Finding a purpose, Hawkwood was Crestfallen no longer. His newfound faith has led him on this journey. Witnessing the crestfallen warrior find something to live for, is a worthy sight. Unfortunately, it would cost him his life. Desperate to claim the Twinkling Dragon Head Stone, he musters his courage nd battles the Champion of Ash. Unable to defeat them, he proclaims that the Ashen One is more of a dragon than he. With his death, the Twinkling Dragon Torso Stone is obtained. Using this stone, in conjunction with its counterpart, allows one to completely ascend into dragonhood. Sadly, Hawkwood would not live to see his dreams become reality. The Lords of Cinders are returned to their thrones. Surrendering their fire to the Unkindled One, the Champion of Ash is able to grant death, to the old gods of Lordran, deliverers of the First Flame. At last, the Unkindled bears witness to reality. Beneath the veneer of a false world, lies the results of Gwyn’s machinations. A dying world, sustained by the linking of the flame. An age that should have died long ago, clinging to life. An eclipse, much akin to the Darksign, brands the crimson horizon. The very same pillars devastated by the linking of the first flame by Gwyn, still remain to this day. At the stump of an archtree, resides the Soul of Cinder. The last guardian of the First Flame. Before long, the entity harnesses its true power. Using all the strength it can muster, the knight begins to cycle through its vast arsenal of weapons. Casting sorceries, pyromancies, Striking with both greatswords and spears, there is no end to the onslaught. What led to this entity, being able to master so many forms of combat? With each swing, the identity of the Soul of Cinder becomes clear. Each Chosen Undead, every Bearer of the Curse, and all Unkindled who would link the fire, have manifested into a singular entity. A force, consisting of intertwined souls, who burned within the flame. As the battle rages, the Soul of Cinder ignites its sword, emblazoning it with fire. Gwyn’s soul begins to command the vessel. Continuing his duty, as he once did millenia ago, safeguarding the First Flame. A corpse, clinging to a dimming age. Despite his efforts, like all who had faced the Champion before, the Soul of Cinder is defeated. The Soul of the Lords further reinforces the identity, of the Soul of Cinder - “Since Lord Gwyn, the first Lord of Cinder, many exalted lords have linked the Flame, and it is their very souls that have manifested themselves as defender of the flame. From this soul, the miracle Sunlight Spear can be transposed. The miracle is based on Gwyn’s famous lightning bolts, which he used to hunt the Everlasting Dragons of old. Furthermore, the Firelink Greatsword can also be manufactured. The Soul of Cinder’s weapon of choice. - “This coiled sword, found thrust into the bonfire, existed long before the throneless laws themselves. No obstacles remain between the Unkindled One and the First Flame. Since their awakening, their one true purpose was to pursue the fire, but what they decide to do with the flame, remains undecided. Like many others, the Champion of Ash may choose to link the fire with their body and soul. However, the flame has diminished to such an extent, that they must sit by the fire, as it slowly burns away their vessel. When the Chosen Undead linked the fire aeons ago, the kiln erupted into an inferno. Igniting the landscape and rapidly consuming the undead. Further signifying the state of the flame, and how much its strength had diminished over the ages. Alternatively, the Age of Fire can be ended, to an extent. As mentioned earlier, the Unkindled and Fire Keeper can enter an agreement, to take the flame. Staying true to her word, the Fire Keeper is summoned. Who in turn absorbs the feeble fire, allowing the Age of Dark to take hold. In an act of selfishness, the nameless, accursed undead, can take the flame for themselves. A cruel fate for the Fire Keeper. If this is avoided, and their alliance is maintained, she will remain at the Champion’s side. Interestingly, she remarks: “But one day tiny flames will dance across the darkness. Like embers linked by the lords past.” As the world falls under the blanket of darkness, one may ponder, is the Age of Fire truly over? All but one path remains, the usurpation of fire. Throughout their journey, the Unkindled had formed an accord with Yuria and the pilgrims of Londor. Deciding to usurp the flame, instead of extinguishing it. Using the First Flame, a supposed device of the Age of Fire, to manifest the Age of Dark. An interesting option, as one would initially think the flame must fade for the Age of Fire to end. This plan draws parallels to Nashandra’s motives in Drangleic. Although her act was selfish, and not for humanity. She wanted to utilise the Bearer of the Curse, to steal the flame for herself. Once usurped, the fire now burns within the Champion of Ash. The eclipse that dwells in the sky, no longer bleeds red, but instead glows with a white hue like humanity itself. The Unkindled One, is then greeted by Yuria, her sister Liliane, Anri of Astora and many undead followers. They request that Londor is made whole again, as the Unkindled One takes the mantle Lord of Hollows, leading humanity into a new age. This plan was not only designed by Yuria and the Sable Church, but instead was pioneered by a Primordial Serpent. If at any point, Yuria is killed, she will cry out: “Kaathe, I have failed thee…” Indicating their true master, and the one they answer to, is none other than the Darkstalker Kaathe. Implying this whole scheme may have hatched from the mind of the serpent. Who once urged the Chosen Undead to pursue the Age of Dark, while his counterpart Frampt, persuaded others to link the fire. Determined, the Darkstalker endured the ages, until Londor came to be. Where he put his plan into motion. Realising one could not ignore the Age of Fire and let it fade, but instead, one must take hold of their fate, and wrestle the flame from its nest, to fuel the Age of Man. However, does Kaathe truly have humanity’s best interests at heart? Or is he furthering an agenda of his own? We know from Kingseeker Frampt, that he was not truly devoted to linking the fire, as he can be seen with the Darkstalker, kneeling before the Chosen Undead if they selected the path of dark. But Kaathe appears to have kept his allegiance to the dark, planting the seeds of a new age. Using humanity as his vessels, to bring his plans to fruition. In the domain of gods, perhaps humanity can never be the victor. Always the slaves of faith, or the Primordial Serpents. A path remains beyond the shadow cast by light. It is up to humanity to carve their own fate. In this world, or the next. Defeating the Soul of Cinder, enabled the Ashen One to continue, or modify the existing cycle set into motion by the Gods of Old. Inheriting a fractured world, beyond repair. But what if the cycle was broken? If the shards of the Dark Soul were reunited once more, perhaps humanity would no longer live under the curse of the Darksign. Recalling their chance encounter with the peculiar figure in the Cathedral of the Deep. The Unkindled returns to the chapel. This man reveals himself as Gael, the Slave Knight. - “Long ago, only the Undead served as slave knights, warriors used as fodder in the bleakest of battles. They grew decrepit, their skin charred black and their bones twisted. Eventually they went outright mad, but were never relieved from duty. The fine craftsmanship made the armour a symbol of honour. A strange notion, considering the undead who wore it, were viewed as expendable fodder. Immortal warriors who fought endlessly, despite the damage it caused to their bodies. This idea is further enforced by his greatsword, which was originally an executioner’s sword. The “blade is heavily chipped and stained with the blood of countless battles.” Perhaps this was Gael’s occupation, prior to becoming a Slave Knight. As the name would suggest, being a “Slave Knight” was far from honourable, and merely a trick used by the gods, to earn the favour of the Undead who would fight their wars eternally. Conversing with Gael, reveals that he had been searching tirelessly for the Ashen One. He elaborates that we must burn the rot away in the cold land of Ariandel, to show his lady fire. The name Ariandel is unfamiliar to us, and the identity of the lady remains ambiguous for now. A parchment is drawn from his pocket, a fragment of a painting. Could this be a piece of the painting, once hung in the great halls of Anor Londo? Before long, the world around flickers and fades, as the Ashen One is drawn into a cold and lonely painted world. In the immediate vicinity, Farron Followers can be seen patrolling the frigid snowfields. These men, were once valiant soldiers under the banner of the Undead Legion. They would travel in packs, quietly eliminating any in their ranks who had become tainted by the abyss. Their fighting technique was “honed to face men, implying those yet to lose their human aspects were their likeliest prey.” A torch was also utilised in their arsenal of tools, as the abyss would often manifest as pus within the body. In ancient times, this infection was treated with the use of fire. They were also especially skilled throwers, hurling javelins to bombard their enemies. This was also considered a display of honour, as all the men they hunted, were usually their former comrades. As history has shown, the Abyss Watchers departed to link the First Flame, and Farron Keep was swallowed by a swamp of poison. Rendering the followers of Farron purposeless. With the legion fragmented, the followers drifted throughout the lands, finally arriving at the Painted World of Ariandel. Unfortunately, all had succumbed to the undead curse, becoming aimless hollows. Upon the revival of the Abyss Watchers, they would hunt themselves, as each watcher was corrupted by the abyss. Normally this task would fall to the followers, but as they were no longer able to fulfil their duty, the Abyss Watchers had no choice but to slaughter one another instead. And so Farron and its Watchers fell to ruin. Amongst the hollows, packs of wolves hunt and stalk their prey. They attempt to circle the Ashen One if provoked, working strategically to eliminate their target. Amidst the conflict, a colossal wolf makes an appearance. But swiftly retreats when injured. Further ahead, we come upon the ruins of a tower. Surrounding the structure are the Millwood Knights. Earth worshipping warriors, who once lived in the primitive land of Millwood, where chieftain knights served as high priests. Long ago, when the Millwood Knights lost the forest they called home, they began a journey so long that even thoughts of their sworn enemy washed away, replaced by a vision of a cold and brittle wood.” The knights wielded all manner of weapons, from battleaxes, to hammers and greatbows. These weapons were often blessed by the symbol of the Ethereal Oak, a sigil of their homeland. The Quakestone hammer allowed them to use the earth as a weapon. Piercing it into the ground, shockwaves and tremors would ripple through the land, upheaving the earth itself. The bows were carved from black oak, and “It is said that the Millwood Knights used these to face their sworn enemy, the Abyss Dragon.” Some may posit the theory, that this dragon was Kalameet. However, it was not the Millwood knights that defeated Kalameet, but the Chosen Undead from many years ago. Others theorise the dragon to be Midir, however this too is not confirmed. Similar to the followers of Farron, the knights abandoned their forest home, and arrived at the gates of the Painted World. Eventually, the Ashen One comes upon a withered rope bridge. A very familiar environment, reminiscent of the Painted World of Ariamis. Crossing this bridge leads to an encounter with Vilhelm, a knight clad in armour. He states: Well, well... Youre Lady Yurias Lord of Hollows. No bell tolls, and yet, youve slipped into the painting? Ah no matter. If youve lost your way, the words of Lady Friede will guide you. Now, go on ahead. Show respect, and listen carefully.” Heeding his words, the Unkindled eventually enters Ariandel Chapel. Here they meet Sister Friede. “Welcome. To the painted world of Ariandel. I am Friede. I have long stood beside our blessed Father, and the rest of the Forlorn. I presume it visible to thee? The bonfire here, in this room. A meek and faded thing, but twill guide thee nonetheless. Should this world wither and rot, even then would Ariandel remain our home. Leave us be, Ashen One. Thourt the Lord of Londor, and have thine own subjects to guide.” Friede confirms that we are indeed in the Painted World of Ariandel. She encourages the Ashen One to leave this land, and wipe its existence from their memory. Interestingly, Sister Friede appears to be protective of the painting, attempting to dissuade the Unkindled One from venturing deeper into the land. Her clothing recounts how she had once renounced everything and “discovered a people that she wished to protect, and assumed the precise form that they yearned for.” Strangely, it appears as though Friede knows of our journey, and how we became the Lord of Hollows. Her intimate knowledge of Londor, implies that she may be familiar with the Sable Church. Surrounding her, lies portraits of a woman, striking a similar pose to Friede. Perhaps the woman depicted, is Friede herself, from a time long ago. Interestingly, some of the paintings display the woman set alight by flame, something which she would detest. At this time, little is known regarding the sister’s true identity. Her reference to the bonfire in the room, and how the flame has diminished, shows knowledge of the fading First Flame. Despite this, she would rather see the Painted World rot, than be shown flame. You may recall that Gael specifically instructed the Ashen One, to show his lady fire, and burn away the rot. Directly opposing Gael, she has little interest in the flame. For now, by severing the rope bridge, the Ashen One descends to the depths of the painting. At the foot of a weeping tree, the sorcery known as Snap Freeze can be discovered - “One of the spells left behind by the young sorcerer Sulyvahn before leaving the Painted World. Sulyvahn was born and raised inside the painting yet had little use for his frigid homeland, since he had not yet experienced loss.” The spell recounts that Pontiff Sulyvahn, hailed from the Painted World. The realm was home to all who had suffered loss, beings who were outcasted by their peers. Pontiff, however, had never experienced such loss, having been raised in the confines of the painting. The weeping birch woman, standing guard over the spell of Sulyvahn, is none other than his own mother. “Where have you gone, sweet child? It’s cold outside, it’s awfully cold. Where have you run off to? I’m here, sweet child, right here.” With a new purpose laid before him, the young sorcerer departed for lands unknown. Eventually ruling over the cold kingdom of Irithyll. Perhaps the snowy landscape, reminded him of home. Inhabiting the deepest confines of the painting, resides the Champion’s Gravetender and the Gravetender Greatwolf. This wolf is the very same creature, encountered earlier in the snowfields. Upon slaying both the fighter and the wolf, both his ashes and weapon fall into the hands of the Ashen One. “Long ago, an Undead declared a fight. A fight to celebrate their undeath, and so to preserve what remained of their souls. So it was that the Undead Matches were born. The merit of an Undead is measured in deaths. Could there be a greater gift for such a creature, than a fight that has no end?” It is revealed that many years ago, a lone undead formed a contest of some kind. Many undead participated in the duels, but none could overcome the champion. “The champion fought on, without rest, until he lost his mind. In the end, only his page and a lone wolf stayed at his side.” Directly above the area, a familiar landmark can be seen. A tower, that once held Crossbreed Priscilla, ages past. The existence of this structure solidifies the theory, that this painted world was once Ariamis. Advancing further, the Unkindled One reaches the Corvian Settlement. A village of black-feathered humanoids. Their crowlike feathers are symbolic of Velka, the Goddess of Sin, whose mention was mostly confined to the Painted World of Ariamis. A strange individual begins to speak: “Oh wondrous Ash, grant us our wish. Make the tales true, and burn this world away. Surely youve seen the rot that afflicts our world. But that witch fooled the good Father, and buried the flame. After we had all made up our minds, too. Make the tales true, and burn this world away. My Lady must see flame, and you have only to show her. When the world rots, we set it a fire. For the sake of the next world. Its the one thing we do right, unlike those fools on the outside.” The Corvian Settler echoes the words of Gael, to burn this world away, and to show Friede flame. His dialogue provides much needed clarity, to the state of this broken world. It appears as though the inhabitants of the painting, had agreed to set the world ablaze. Purifying the rot, and to give way for the rise of a new world, free from the decay. Friede disregarded the voices of the residents, and instead convinced the father to bury the flame. As the rot was not expunged, it instead spread, until it infected every resident, and claimed the land itself. Polluting the ground and air, and decaying the very structures built upon it. It is interesting to note, that the Corvian Settler claims that burning the world is the one thing they do right, unlike the fools on the outside. Directly referencing how the outer world clung to the First Flame, repeatedly linking it. Instead of allowing the birth of a new world. Although many Corvians rejected the ideas of Friede, some were swayed to her side. As evidenced, by the existence of the Corvian Knights. Warriors, reminiscent of the Crow Demons, from Lordran’s Painted World. These formidable warriors were infatuated with Sister Friede. Their devotion is clearly shown, as they “swore to protect the painting from fire, and to this end, took to the execution of their own brethren.” Those who were doubtful of her ideology, were executed. Until the masses had no choice, but to submit to Friede, as the blight took root. Evidence of devotion to the Way of White can be found in the settlement. Located within a decrepit church, at the base of an altar, lies the Way of White Corona Miracle. The altar is strikingly similar to the one Gael knelt before in the Cathedral of the Deep. Navigating the decomposing settlement, the Ashen One is reunited with Sir Vilhelm. Except this time, he is hostile. Despite his struggle, Vilhelm falls, crying out: “Forgive me, my Lady...I swore an oath, but I have failed you... Lady Elfriede... What made Vilhelm such a devout follower f Friede? His armour describes Vilhelm as a Knight of Londor. “This hollow knight, who served the three sisters who founded the Sable Church, was particularly loyal to the eldest, and was known as a cold-blooded hangman. At this moment, it is revealed that Friede is the oldest of the three sisters who founded the Sable Church. Yuria, also mentions her sister by name, recalling that she was “A poor wench turned to Ash, who would abandon Londor”. Confirming that Friede is the sister of Liliane and Yuria. Furthering this notion, is the weapon of choice used by Sir Vilhelm - the Onyx Blade: “Elfriede, the eldest amongst her sisters and leader of the Sable Church, bestowed this sword to her knight. Only, the sword was a farewell gift, and acceptance signified the knights resignation from Elfriedes service.” This sword was a gift to Vilhelm, allowing him to be free of her service. Vilhelm knew that this was a sign that Friede was indeed leaving the Sable Church, in pursuit of another purpose. Although he was a free agent, he chose instead to follow his former master, to the Painted World of Ariandel. Where he remained devoted to her, protecting her and enforcing her ideals. His loyalty never wavered, and eventually he met his match, and was bested by an Ashen One. Upon his death, the Contraption key is dropped. “The key to the contraption leading to the attic of the archive found on the edge of the Corvian Settlement. After Sir Vilhelm led a white-haired woman to the attic of the library, he kept this key as if it were his life.” The white-haired woman imprisoned by Vilhelm, under the orders of Friede, must pose a significant threat to the world. Leading to Vilhelm guarding her quarters with his life. By using the key, a secret passageway is unlocked. Granting the Ashen One access to the room. A small white-haired girl can be encountered. Examining her closely, we can see that scales occupy the surface of her skin. Her reptilian eyes are also similar to Crossbreed Priscilla, although different in colour. Indicating a potential relation between the two. Or is she a relative of Yorshka, whose body also harbours similar elements? When spoken to, she says: “Thourt the one whom Uncle Gael spoke. The one to show me flame. Tis good. When this is done, may I return. The door is open thanks to thee. Ill head off to paint. I promised Uncle Gael I would.” She appears to have been expecting the arrival of the Ashen One, as she has been working with Gael to ensure our quest succeeds. She refers to Gael as her “uncle”, however this could just be a term of endearment, rather than a biological relation. The two appear to be working together, but their larger goals are yet to be revealed. Leaving the Painter behind, the Ashen One must now cross the Snowy Mountain Pass. Once again Farron Followers, packs of wolves and Millwood nights defend the perimeter. At the heart of the pass, a Bell of Awakening can be found, buried in snow. It is clear that this bell has been purposely removed from its original location, rendering it useless. It should be mentioned that Vilhelm once said “No bell tolls, and yet, youve slipped into the painting?” The dismantling of the bell, is yet another attempt to prevent any Ashen Ones from entering the painting. With no bell to wake them, they would sleep eternally, and the painting would never see fire. Having conquered the mountain pass, we finally arrive at the lowermost floors of Ariandel Chapel. Swarms of flies begin to sprout from the cracks in the walls. Pools of blood spill across the floors, and dozens of eggs are nested in the ground. Once again, we find ourselves at a very familiar location. A wheel mechanism can be found at the centre of the room. When turned, the contraption repositions the altar above, revealing a secret hall concealed within the chapel. this mechanism is identical to the one found in the Painted World of Ariamis. Only one thing remains, to venture through the passageway, and confront Friede, once and for all. Here we catch a glimpse of Father Ariandel, the very being who this Painted World is named after. Ariandel was the restorer of the Painted world, he “knew that it was painted with blood, and only blood could protect the secret.” This crucial piece of information, unveils that Painted Worlds are painted by the blood of a soul. He appears to be nailed to a large chair, holding an object similar to a Lordvessel in his hands. He requests Friede to bring him his flail, as Ariandel would lash his own skin in order to shed blood. As the world was painted with his blood, he understood that only his blood would appease the flame, preventing it from burning. With her great scythe in hand, the symbol of a long-lost home, Friede begins the fight. Displaying graceful finesse with her swift attacks. She chooses to conceal herself throughout the encounter, making it difficult to identify her approach. The Ashen One remains resolute, eventually killing Sister Friede. In an onslaught of rage, the mournful Ariandel frees himself from his shackles, setting the room ablaze. Choosing to use the fire at this specific moment. The embers ignite, granting Friede another chance, for she too is Unkindled. The battle rages on, as both Sister Friede and Father Ariandel fight side-by -side, they will not let one lone undead erase the world they had chosen to rot away with. Nevertheless, the Ashen One struggles and overcomes the two. Father Ariandel proclaims: “When the Ashes are two, a flame alighteth. Thourt Ash, and fire befits thee, of course...” With his final words, Blackflame Friede arises. Using her dark powers of humanity, to relentlessly attack. She is much more powerful and deadly in this form, proving to be a legendary adversary. Even with all the power she could muster, it was not enough. The Ashen One was fated to defeat her, and so they did. With this single act, the world was burned. Flame had been introduced, and with time, the blight would be nothing but ashes. The Corvian Settlers are grateful, and the plan set into motion by Gael had succeeded. Examining the interior of the chapel, reveals numerous paintings arrayed on the walls of the church. Displaying the silhouettes of two figures, with humans beneath, reaching out in prayer. Both of which, can be found impaling and grasping serpents. These figures could possibly be Friede’s Sisters of the Sable Church. Perhaps a memento from her previous home. It is unknown why this picture depicts the harm of snakes, when Yuria and the residents of Londor are aligned with Kaathe. Lastly, at the very entrance to the chapel, the doors are adorned with the engravings of two serpents. Many identify these snakes as Kaathe and Frampt, serpents whose ideals appear to be the opposite. One in favour of the dark, the other the light, yet their goals appear to be interwoven, just as depicted on the door. With Friede’s death, Yuria remarks that her sister abandoned Londor. She then asks for the Champion of Ash to let Friede’s soul nourish them, and to remember those who stayed by her to the end, in the shadows cast by fire. Despite their differences, Yuria asks the Ashen One, to remember her fallen sister, and those devoted to her. Retracing their steps, the Ashen One has discovered that the Painter has relocated to the attic of the chapel. She remarks: “Those who arent ken to fire cannot paint a world. Those absorbed by fire, must not paint a world. Her statement denotes, that those who lack knowledge of the First Flame, cannot paint a world. As they lack the fundamental understanding of the soul, and how it can be used in the creation of a painted world. Those absorbed by fire, must not paint a world - This is a cautionary tale, as those who were absorbed by the fire such as Gwyn and Friede, chose to sustain an unnatural cycle, instead of letting the natural order take place. In summary, those accustomed and attached to the current state of life, the First Flame, should never create a new world. As their perception of what life should be, has been warped, and no longer represents the natural order. She goes on to say: “I can almost see the flame. Soon uncle Gael will bring me the pigment. I wonder if he has found it? The dark soul of man...” We finally understand the ultimate goal of Gael and the Painter. To find the Dark Soul. In wake of this revelation, the Ashen One returns to the chapel hall, following the footsteps of Gael. The newly kindled flame has sprouted another bonfire, stationed in front of a statue, depicting a serpentine lady. When touched, this flame will transport the Ashen One beyond the veil, to the Dreg Heap. Here we see the world on the cusp of death. Ash covers the horizon, and the cities of the world have collapsed. The landscape is warped beyond comprehension. There is no equilibrium in the final days of this world. Bearing an unbendable will, the Unkindled One navigates the convoluted terrain. Upon arrival, we are greeted by the Stone-humped Hag. Her appearance is similar to a pilgrim of Londor. “This old woman was once the wet nurse of royalty.” Perhaps this woman was the Shrine Handmaid from Firelink Shrine. Back in the alternate version of the shrine, the Handmaid offers to sell a Priestess Ring. Rings which once belonged to high priestesses, who once served as wet nurses to the Lothric family. Furthermore, if she is given the ashes of the Stone-humped Hag, she will remark: Well, well, what warm humble ash have we here. It’s as if thy fate were with death entwined. almost as if to realise that she will one day die. Others suggest that this lady is Emma, the High Priestess of Lothric Castle. In addition, she mentions Lorian by name, further solidifying a connection between her and the Lothric dynasty. Either way, her identity is never truly confirmed. But one thing is for certain, she was a wet nurse to Lothric royalty. One may initially assume, that all pilgrims originated from Londor. But if we are to believe that this hag is Emma, then her origin is in Lothric. A kingdom which wanted to continue the legacy of linking the fire, the opposite of the goals of Londor. Perhaps her ideology shifted, having witnessed the outcome of the perpetual linking of the First Flame. She notes that this world is now at the close of the Age of Fire, indicating we have been propelled many years into the future, at the twilight of the cycle. Great kingdoms and anaemic townships have become one and the same, meeting at the end of the earth. She also warns of a great demon, inhabiting the depths of the dark cavity below. The same demon that was once defeated by Prince Lorian. Lastly, she talks of a fabled land, known as the Ringed City: “The Ringed City is said to be at worlds end. Past this heap of rubbish, as far as one can go. The forsaken Ringed City was walled off by the gods to contain the pygmies… and the dark soul is better left well alone.” Her statement reveals some vital information. Firstly, the Ringed City was established at the edge of the earth and was utilised to trap the pygmies, in order to conceal the Dark Soul from the outer world. It also appears that there is more than one pygmy, descended from the Furtive Pygmy. As mentioned previously, Gael wants to obtain the Dark Soul, so that the blood of the soul can be given to the Painter, who in turn will paint a new world. It is no surprise that he has journeyed to the Painted World, and co-operated with the Ashen One, to open the passage to the Ringed City. A slew of murkmen slither through the grounds of the Dreg Heap. Many of these humanoid enemies fail to stand, and so crawl as a means of travel. However, some are able to stand on their own two feet, with the aid of their staves. These entities have perished to the murk, erasing most of their human features. Travelling in packs, the murkmen prefer to fight together. They are feeble fighters, but some possess powerful dark magic. Strangely, the magic they use is similar to the spells cast by the Deacons of the Deep. Suggesting these murkmen, may be the result of the Cathedral falling to the Deep. Standing beside them are the Harald Legion Knights. Gargantuan warriors, wielding curved greatswords. The Harald Legion came to the Ringed City, like many others, in pursuit of the Dark Soul. Their fate is a familiar one. As they entered the gates of the city, “Their armor sank into the dark with the legion, where their cavities bloated in grotesque displays, never again to fit any ordinarily-shaped body.” The swamps devoured their ranks, contorting their frames. Their blades were severely corroded, and their quest to obtain the Dark Soul, ended in failure. Deeper still, the Ashen One plunges from the heights of the Dreg Heap, venturing deep into the recesses of the land. Here they come under the fire of angels. Aerial creatures, who fire particles of light, to deter and destroy all who would come close. These angels can only be eradicated, by destroying the infected corpses of Londor Pilgrims. Providing a link between the Pilgrims of Londor, and the Angels. It appears as though the angels would sprout from the corpses of the dead pilgrims, thus forming a connection between the angelic body, and their deceased corpse. Severing this link, leads to the death of the angel. It should be mentioned, that the Stone- Humped Hag will eventually pass away. Upon doing so, another angel appears and circles the skies. Crying out in anguish. Unlike the others, this angel remains passive, indicating that it mourns the passing of the old lady, as it was given life by her death. Lothric Knights also appear to have lasted till the end times. Further beyond, the Ashen One encounters a knight with a familiar voice. “Call me Lapp. I cant remember my real name, so lets just go with that. Im... a Hollow. Yes, I try to play it off, but I havent a clue about my past. Who I was, or what I lived for. Not even my own blessed name. Thats why Ive come here, searching for the purging monument, said to be in the ringed city.” Lapp reveals that he has lost his memory. Leading him to the Ringed City, as he seeks the Purging Monument. A structure that will enable him to recall his memory. For now, we part ways with the innocent knight. Jumping forward, the Ashen One plummets into the ruins of Earthen Peak. It seems as though a place, from a time long ago, has found itself at the base of the Dreg Heap. This land once bordered Drangleic. The collapsed windmill is a reminder of the Bearer of the Curse’s journey. Many cycles prior, the Cursebearer climbed the tower of Earthen Peak, and burned the fans of the windmill, to inhibit the spread of poison. Evidence of their efforts remain, as seen by the scorched markings on the surface of the structure. A desert pyromancer, known as Zoey, also wanders the grounds of the peak. A reference to the pyromancers who once dwelt within the windmill. Lapp can also be seen, sat atop a small overlook. He states that there is a treasure nearby, a package that he left behind, as it serves him no use. Should the Ashen One attempt to find this treasure and fail, he will instead grab the item himself. The treasure he spoke of was a Titanite Slab, which he gifts to Ashen One as a symbol of trust and friendship. Advancing further, the Champion of Ash edges closer to the dark pit mentioned previously by the Stone-humped Hag. At the edge of a crumbling tower, the phantom of Gael, points down at the crevice below. Throughout the Ashen One’s journey, the phantom of Gael has been spotted. Highlighting the path forward, and etching markings into the ground, to prevent one from sustaining any injuries when falling great distances. Just as he set the Unkindled on their journey through the painting, he now guides us to our final destination. The shen One places their faith in Gael, as they descend into the chasm. The screeching screams of the demons, pierce through the void. The battle with the Demon in Pain, and the Demon from Below begins. Working together, the two demons attempt to barrage the Ashen One, flanking them from all angles, but to no avail. Delivering a mighty blow, the two demons are slain. However, defeat would not come easily. From the corpse of the defeated demon, the Demon Prince emerges. Bursting forth from a ball of flames. With this rebirth, the demon has sprouted wings, and in turn, become a much deadlier foe. Throughout the fight, the entity emits rays of Seething Chaos, the last flame lit by the Demon Prince. Despite the onslaught of blazing heat, the entity is slaughtered. The soul of the creature reads: “The The demons, birthed from a common Chaos, share almost everything between them, even the pride of their prince, and his near-faded flame. So that the last demon standing may rekindle it.” History tells us that demons were birthed by the creation of the Bed of Chaos, which was fabricated by the Witch of Izalith. The Chaos Flame, similar to the First Flame, cannot be replaced, and therefore, must be rekindled by a powerful entity. Such a task fell to the Demon Prince. Sadly, the original Prince was bested by Lorian, and no one remained to kindle the Chaos Flame. Intriguingly, all demons shared memories and power with one another. Resulting in the race remembering the will of their fallen monarch. Meaning, no demon will ever forget the goals of the prince, and will harness his essence, to kindle the Chaos Flame, down to the very last one of them. It appears as though the Witch of Izalith, was able to imitate the kindling aspect of the First Flame, in her design of the Chaos Flame. And demons, just like humans, would kindle their flame, clinging to the one thing they thought would extend their rage. Upon closer inspection, the area where the Prince was defeated resembles Firelink Shrine. The cobbled archways, and even the chasm Frampt once occupied, can still be seen to this day. Lordran, Drangleic and Lothric. Three great kingdoms have all assembled at this one point. Close by, a corpse holding a Small Envoy Banner is found. Traversing the serpentine tunnel, leads to the edge of a cliff. Entry to the city is permitted only to those who wield the Small Envoy Banner. Therefore, the Ashen One presents themselves as a messenger requiring escort. Batwing Demons encircle the warrior, and gracefully carry them to the mythical… Ringed City. The reclusive city had finally been discovered. Upon entry, we witness the sprawling landscape. A magnificent city, basking in rays of golden light. At the close of a bridge, resides a Judicator Giant. The towering giants were tasked with protecting the Ringed City by the king’s decree. When approached, the giant will summon phantoms of the Ruin Knights. These knights once “...sought the dark soul, but were so soundly crushed, they had little choice but to swear themselves to the Judicator Giant.” These knights were later immortalised as the Ruin Sentinels. Golems who were manufactured and inspired by their tale, tasked with defending the Lost Bastille. The Judicator, can also summon a Silver Knight known as Ledo, a Hollow that uses a Dragon Head Stone, and Zullie the Witch. key figures we may encounter at a later point. An abundance of gravestones litter the bridge. Each possessing a hollow circular shape, similar to the Darksign which brands humanity. Venturing ahead, the Ashen One encounters a creature. Speaking with him, unveils some important information: If it is the dark soul thou desirest. Then seek Filianores church, at the base of the cliff. There wilt thou the sleeping Princess waken. Her slumber is a deceit... A lid covering an overgrown privy; a prop to keep thee from the dark soul of thine desire.” Once again the notion is reinforced, that the Dark Soul is held within this city. Moreover, he makes note of a slumbering princess known as “Filianore”. If the Ringed City was pioneered by the king, Gwyn the Lord of Sunlight. Then perhaps this princess is directly related to him, working together to contain the Dark Soul. For now, the purpose and identity of Filianore remains obscure. Entering the inner walls of the Ringed City, the Champion of Ash stumbles across the Ringed Knights. Human warriors, branded by a seal of fire. Their armour reads: “The armor of early men was forged in the Abyss, and betrays a smidgen of life. For this reason the gods cast a seal of fire upon such armor, and those who possessed them. Humanity is often linked to the abyss, and this armour holds true to that statement. The description also confirms that it was the gods who cast the seal of fire on the armour, much akin to the Darksign that branded humanity. This sigil most likely suppressed their abilities, as it did to the human race. Each knight also possesses a shield, “formed by the head of the descendant of an Archdragon. The Ringed Knights, by command of the gods, stood amongst the ranks who set out to slay the dragons, but their contributions were never lauded. The ancient tales of old, refer to the battle between the Gods and the Archdragons. History would have us believe that it was the gods, who single-handedly defeated the everlasting dragons. However, history is often written by the victors, and so the Gods erased the mention of the Ringed Knights, and how humanity aided them in overthrowing the dragons. Once the war concluded, the Ringed Knights were sealed away, confined to the city, a cruel reward. With their rightful place deniedd, humanity was doomed by the gods from the beginning. Ironic, that humanity helped cement the Age of Fire, and aided in the denial of their own age. Journeying ahead, the Ashen One is invaded by Alva, Seeker of the Spurned. As noted before, Alva and Zullie the Witch became lovers. Their relationship led to the birth of Karla. But why would Alva be here in the Ringed City? Following his defeat, the Ashen One discovers the corpse of a female. Draped over this body, we discover the Black Witch Set. The clothing belonged to none other than Zullie. “It is said that Zullie the witch, who was never loved, nor loved another, experienced all manner of misfortune, and yet in the end, found her purpose in life.” Despite her newfound love, she passed away. Alva, distraught, devoted himself to safeguarding her remains. We now turn to the Silver Knight Ledo. A great hammer wielding knight of Anor Londo. Examining this weapon, provides some insight into his character. He was “...an eccentric who travelled across the outskirts and became a close friend to the giants and even Havel, the Rock.” Just like Havel, Ledo chose to use a hefty weapon, designed to crush his enemies. Perhaps their similar fighting style is what led him to befriend Havel. In a time long ago, Havel, “...was locked away by a dear friend.” Initially, many would consider this “friend” to be Gwyn. It is possible that Ledo, a soldier from the ranks of Gwyn’s army, was the one to lock him away. Whether this was done of his own volition, or under the orders of Gwyn is unknown. At the base of a sealed tower, the Ashen One hears the voice of Shira, Knight of Filianore. She pleads with the Unkindled, to not wake the princess from her slumber. According to her, as the fire wanes, Filianore protects the dark, all for the sake of man. Her stance on the purpose of Filianore, appears to be a direct contradiction of what was previously believed. Shira, believes that Filianore is protecting the dark, and while this is true, it is not for the benefit of humanity. In fact, it is the exact opposite. Her purpose is to prevent humanity from reclaiming the Dark Soul. Which is why she is held within the Ringed City, a land designed with the sole purpose of concealing the Dark Soul. Additionally, she speaks of a lone dragon, by the name Midir, that inhabits this city. The Darkeater, is the descendant of the Archdragons. For an eternity, Midir had railed against the dark. This eternal conflict poisoned his body. Nevertheless, the Darkeater vowed to defend Princess Filianore. Shira informs the Ashen One, to seek out the dragon, and put him to rest. Before the dark consumes him entirely, making him forget his oath of protecting the princess. Midir’s presence in the Ringed City is peculiar. As it displays that Seath was not the only dragon to ally himself with Gwyn and the Gods. Midir’s station in the Ringed City, proves he aided in the suppression of the human race. Shortly after, we encounter a monolith, covered in a dark substance. This structure is known as the Purging Monument. An incredible artefact, that allows an undead to cure their own hollow state. You may recall, that Lapp was seeking this monument, in order to cure his hollowing and in turn, remember who he once was. Ironically, he can be found nearby. He admits he has had little success in finding the monument. His confidence appears to be on the decline, as he mutters to himself that he is Unbreakable”, a self affirmation of sorts. Luckily, the Ashen One had found the monument, and informs Lapp on its whereabouts. Overjoyed, Lapp thanks the Unkindled, and promises that he will remain a true friend despite the return of his memories. Only time will tell, if he will stay true to his word. Descending deeper into the streets of the city, we encounter a Locust Preacher. He begins citing various sermons, each of which refers to specific humans. Firstly, he mentions Alva and Zullie, and how the abyss granted them a reunion. He then speaks of a figure who studied the dark, and learned his knowledge was wanting. It is much harder to distinguish who specifically the preacher is referring to here. Some suggest he may be referencing Big Hat Logan, whose pursuit of knowledge drove him mad. Others believe this to be a mention of Aldia, who studied both the light and dark. In the end, Aldia had no answers, and so placed his faith in the Bearer of the Curse to escape the cycle. In his next sermon, he makes note of a girl who slew her own kin. From this information, we can surmise that he is referencing Sirris, who had to slay her own grandfather. Lastly, he speaks of a woman who lived in fear of the dark, that gnawed at her flesh. The gnawing sensation of dark is often mentioned by Fire Keepers. Irina of Carim, once spoke of dark tales that lurked deep within men. She also spoke of little creatures that nibbled at her in the darkness. In this same sermon, he also mentions a man, who was clad in weighty armour, yet lived in fear. It is safe to assume that this sermon, refers to Irina and Eygon of Carim. But what exactly are the locusts, and why are they here in the Ringed City? “The white-faced locusts were meant to beckon men to the dark with sermons, but most of them are unable to think past their own stomachs.” These locusts were yet another measure of defence, as their role was to beckon men to the dark. Their greed would overpower their purpose, and so they resorted to devouring humans instead. It then goes on to say: “Someone must rise to the occasion, and restore the path of righteousness. Perhaps that someone is you? Did you not arise from the Abyss, and did you not resist drowning in the Age of Fire?” The Ashen One is directly mentioned here, as a human who rose from the abyss, and resisted the age of fire it then goes on to question, if they will be the one to restore the path of righteousness. Further ahead, an Iron Dragonslayer, patrols the murky depths of the swamp. “The Armour, defeated by the Champion of Ash in Lothric, was left ages to rust, until it slipped into an abyssal swamp, where it was possessed once again by the memory of the hunt. Inspecting the armour, acknowledges that this is the very same suit that was defeated by the Ashen One. The armour appears to have rusted over many ages, reinforcing the idea, we have travelled many years into the future. Moving forward, the Champion of Ash climbs out of the abyssal swamp. As they do so, the powerful roar of a dragon echoes through the city. The very presence of the Unkindled, has provoked the ire of the ferocious dragon Midir. He releases a volcanic torrent of smouldering fire to block the path forward. Evading his infernal breath, the Ashen One is able to avoid Midir for now. In the shared grave, the Moaning Knight invades. His appearance is identical to Eygon of Carim. Although, the identity of this particular knight emains unclear, as many Carim Knights wore this armour in service of a maiden. Jumping forward, the Ashen One encounters Lapp once again. His tone differs from when last encountered. His voice is one of cunning and deceit. He speaks of a trinket atop a broken staircase. Moving closer to the treasure, Lapp kicks the Ashen One down to the floor below. At last, he removes his helmet, revealing himself to be the Unbreakable Patches. The infamous merchant, the Champion of Ash once crossed paths with in the Cathedral of the Deep and Firelink Shrine. This conniving trickster, appears to have lasted until the close of the Age of Fire. Staying true to his nature, he once again outwitted the Ashen One. Despite this, it appears that Patches had formed a bond, and is no longer entirely driven by his obsession of treasure. As he leaves his armour behind, as well as his summoning sign, to aid the Champion of Ash. Also, he did not send us to our death, but instead in the direction of the exit. Retaining his humanity, Patches parts ways with his newfound friend for the last time. In the distance, Darkeater Midir makes a return. Once again attempting to impede progress. Instead, he is sent plummeting to the depths below. Of their own volition, the Ashen One pursues Midir, to put an end to his reign once and for all. To uphold their promise to Shira. In search of the Darkeater, the statue of Gwyn crowning a human is discovered. A symbolic statue, representing the alliance between the Lord of Sunlight and humanity. Nevertheless, a lie will remain a lie, as Gwyn never saw humanity as his equal, and did everything in his power to exploit and enslave them. In the very same chamber, a hidden passage is concealed, behind the statue of a silver knight. Traversing this secretive tunnel leads to a small chapel. Here, statues of the Primordial Serpents are displayed. The faces of the creatures are identical to Kaathe and Frampt. Their bodies appear similar to that of a dragon, however their bodies have been depicted in many forms as seen with the angelic statues in the Grand Archives of Lothric Castle. This could simply imply that no-one has ever seen the body of a primordial serpent, which explains why their faces are always depicted consistently, unlike their frame. All that remains is to plunge into the rift and confront the titanic Darkeater, Some theorise that Midir’s resting place is none other than the founding location of the Dark Soul. The very spot where the Furtive Pygmy discovered that which would change the course of the world. It would make sense for Midir to lay in the very location, where dark was given life. Detecting the presence of the Ashen One, Midir poises himself for his greatest battle yet. The beast rages on, flailing his limbs and tail. Emitting rays of dark light, and conjuring, swathes of fire. Using everything in his power, to stop the Champion of Ash. After a long and gruelling battle, the Darkeater is slain. Midir’s war with the dark had finally reached its conclusion. “Midir, descendant of Archdragons, was raised by the gods, and owing to his immortality was given a duty to eternally battle the dark, a duty that he would never forget, even after the gods perished. From the corpse of Midir, a badge related to the Spears of the Church is dropped. An established covenant, dedicated to watching over Filianore’s slumber. The Judicator Giants often serve as summoners, casting spells to warp members of the Spears to the Ringed City, to fight in defence of their princess. Returning to Shira, she displays her gratitude for the slaying of Midir. She then reiterates, that one must not wake the slumbering princess. Resistance appears futile, in preventing the Ashen One from claiming the Dark Soul. Further beyond, the Champion of Ash reaches the Church of Filianore. “The Abyss runneth deep. By the Kings decree. None may disturb our mistresss slumber. Turn back, unknowing visitor.” Inside, the Judicator Giant Argo, summons Halflight, a Spear of the Church, to halt our advance. Halflight appears to have originated from an ancient land of sorcery, most likely Oolacile. He was a missionary that visited the Ringed City long ago, and elected to stay behind. “It was he who ecame the last recorded Spear of the Church. Curiously, Painting Guardians aid Halflight in this endeavour. Protecting the road to another land, as they once did in Anor Londo. The Spears of the Church and the Judicator Giant, are the last and final measure of defence. With their death, passage to Filianore is granted. Halflight, is not the only connection he Ringed City has to Oolacile. Through their journey, the Champion of Ash can discover the White Birch Bow: The bow is a relic from an ancient land of sorceries that was swallowed by the abyss, most known for its folktale of the heroic Abysswalker. The land of Oolacile is mentioned once more. A kingdom famous for the legend of Artorias and Manus. The Father of the Abyss is an important figure, imperative to the tale of the Abysswalker. The “primeval man” as titled by Chester, that felled the great knight. Perhaps this bow belonged to Manus? He could potentially be one of the Pygmy Lords, who somehow escaped the shackles of the city, establishing a career as a proficient sorcerer in Oolacile. Who in turn, spread the abyss to the township, which also corrupted his soul. Although his title as “primeval man” insinuates that he could also be the Furtive Pygmy, the first of all men. Climbing the steps of the church, the Champion of Ash opens the door. The Princess FIlianore, makes an appearance for the first time. She appears to be in a deep, death-like slumber. A dark, abyss-like substance occludes her eyes. Signifying the concealment of humanity within her. Similar to the Fire Keepers, she appears to be blind. According to the Spears of the Church covenant, the young grass symbol is the crest of Filianore. Suggesting that the Grass Crest Shield, which could be discovered in both Lordran and Lothric, is a reference to the princess. In addition, the Small Envoy Banner reads: “For the pygmies, who took the dark soul, the Great Lord gifted the Ringed City, an isolated place at worlds end, and his beloved youngest daughter, promising her that he would come for her when the day came.” In his desperation, Gwyn abandoned his own daughter, to conceal the pygmies. Making a promise that he would return, however, that day would never arrive, as Gwyn himself would go to link the fire. In the grasp of the princess, we see a white fractured egg. A shell, which bears an uncanny resemblance to the Transposing Kiln, used by the pygmy Ludleth. Possibly, the egg was used to transpose the souls of the Pygmy Lords. Rendering them a husk of what they once were. On the other hand, it is often stated that this egg hatched Darkeater Midir, but this is never confirmed. Shira had stated earlier that Filianore is the matriarch of the church, and that her rest should remain undisturbed. In an act of defiance, and the pursuit of truth, the Champion of Ash reaches for the egg. At the slightest touch, the egg withers. The princess wakes from her rest, and a blinding light emits from within. At last, the true state of the world is revealed. The landscape is arid, devoid almost completely of life. An ashen desert stretches as far as the eye can see. The landmarks of Anor Londo and Lothric lay in ruins, and the world is nothing but dust. The Ringed City has deteriorated, and only the ruins of Filianore’s Rest remain. Implying that the Ashen One, had been transported through time yet again. Inspecting the princess, reveals that she had passed away. Her corpse appears to have decayed many years ago, implying the figure we saw earlier was an illusion. She appears to have hidden the Pygmy Lords, in a pocket dimension, while maintaining the facade of the Ringed City. She stayed true to her duty, waiting for her father to wake her. Instead, she passed away in her slumber, carrying on Gwyn’s will in her death. Exiting the church, a hollow cries out: “Ohh, Filianore, help me, please... the Red- hood is come to eat us... to eat our dark souls... Examining this entity, we can surmise that he is a Pygmy Lord. His feeble appearance is similar to that of the Furtive Pygmy. He pleads for Filianore’s aid, unaware that she had passed long ago. The blood-drenched pygmy appears to be mortally wounded. The Red Hood he speaks of, is none other than Gael. As slave knights would don red hoods, as part of their attire. Confirming that Gael had successfully infiltrated the Ringed City, and found the descendants of the Furtive Pygmy, whose bodies harboured the strongest concentration of the Dark Soul. Unfortunately, the Pygmy Lord succumbs to his wounds. Before long, the Ashen One encounters a knight of Filianore. For the first time, we witness Shira in the flesh. Her attire is befitting of one whose veins coarse with royal blood, as well as those who would serve as a handmaiden to the princess. Her clothing appears to originate from ancient times. Shira’s dialect and phraseology, indicate her to be much older than the other residents of the Ringed City. Hinting at her point of origin potentially being the kingdom of Lordran. Furthermore, she refers to herself as the “daughter of the duke”, suggesting she could possibly be related to Seath. Filled with animosity, the knight charges the Ashen One. Distraught that the slumber of Filianore would be disrupted. She reiterates that she will honour the gods, the glory of fire, and remain fearful of the dark. A peculiar weapon is utilised by the knight - the Crucifix the Mad King. “Once, a mad king was born to the pygmy royalty and Shira, knight of Filianore, put him to rest. But Shiras cross spear, unable to kill the undying king, only pinned itself to him. Shira delivered them together to the darkroom, where she stayed and held them close. In the past, Shira had unsuccessfully attempted to kill a Pygmy Lord. Consequently, she chose to brandish her cross spear, with his immortal corpse. Confining the undying lord and herself, to the darkroom of a tower. Upon her death, she cries out she will never forgive our lowly kind. Her stance is the result of manipulation at the hands of the gods. Believing the fire to be her salvation, and the dark to be a vestige of evil. The very same beliefs humans once had, when embarking on the pilgrimage. Despite being a human herself, she refers to the Ashen One, as being a member of a “lowly kind”. Displaying her disregard for humans, who are in support of the dark. At last, it is time for the Champion of Ash to confront Gael. To put an end to the quest for the Dark Soul. Crossing the ashen dunes, we bear witness to the massacre of the pygmy lords. Their corpses litter the ground, as their thrones lay absent. Gael is found, hunched over the corpse of a deceased pygmy. Feasting on the body, absorbing as much of the blood as possible. Interrupted by the presence of the Ashen One, Gael turns his gaze to the final shard of the Dark Soul. The sprite of humanity, which lies within the Champion of Ash. At this point, Gael’s power had increased astronomically, as he had united many shards of the Dark Soul. Corrupted by his newfound power, Gael fails to recall the Ashen One. The fragments of the Dark Soul have coalesced at this single point. Its immense power elevated Gael. Evident by his form, which has acutely increased in size since his arrival at the Cathedral of the Deep. A burrowing chasm of weeping blood has formed in his chest, a malformed Darksign perhaps. And so… a slave knight and a nameless undead, clash sword in a forgotten land. Gael’s quest had culminated in this fateful encounter. As he was the one to guide the Champion of Ash to the Painted World, and eventually, through the use of phantom signs to himself. Scraps of Gael’s cloak are tethered to various parts of the environment, as well as some bonfires throughout the Ringed City, a further means of direction for the Ashen One. Red skulls permeated the messages he left behind. The same apparitions, which emanated from his cloak. Be that as it may, Gael’s mission mmeets an abrupt end. The Ashen One with a strike of their sword, brings down the colossal knight, ending his torturous pursuit of the Dark Soul. With his death, the sun sets, and a dark cloud consumes the horizon. “The red-hooded, wandering slave knight Gael sought the blood of the dark soul as pigment for the Painted World. But Gael knew he was no Champion, that the dark soul would likely ruin him and that he had little hope of a safe return.” This information displays Gael’s valiant character. For he was prepared to sacrifice all, for the sake of a better world. Unlike the Ashen One, he knew he was no champion. As with each shard of the Dark Soul he consumed, the closer it led him to ruin. Accounting for this, Gael had the foresight to ensure the Ashen One would find him. Allowing the Blood of the Dark Soul to fall into their hands. Were it not for Gael, the task of acquiring the blood would be impossible. Upon encountering the Pygmy Lords, Gael ...discovered that their blood had long ago dried, and so consumed the dark soul.” Acting as a vessel, Gael ensured the Dark Soul would lie within his own body. Resulting in an ample supply of blood for his lady’s painting. Still drawing breath, the Champion of Ash returns to the Painter. To recap, Gael, granted the Unkindled One, passage to the Painted World. Who in turn, would burn the rot away. Allowing the girl to then illustrate a painting, using the pigment derived from the blood of the Dark Soul. Gael’s objective was to deliver the blood, by any means necessary. Knowing it would cost him his life. As the blood passes from the Ashen One to the hands of the Painter, she remarks: “I wonder when Uncle Gael intends his return. I hope the new painting will be to him a gentle home. My thanks, Ashen One. I will assuredly finish the painting. Of a cold, dark, and very gentle place. One day, it will make someone a goodly home.” Clinging to the hope that Gael will return, the Painter sets out to create a world humanity can call home. Prior to the Ashen One’s involvement in Gael and the Painter’s quest. Several options were laid before them. They could link the fire, and prolong the lifespan of the ailing flame, just as Gwyn intended. Or, they could choose to take the fire for themselves, with or without the Fire Keeper. Lastly, an accord could be formed with Yuria of Londor. To usurp the flame, and become the Lord of Hollows. Theories suggest that Londor, and the Sable Church was founded at the close of the Age of Fire. Witnessing the collapse of the known world, perhaps Yuria, Liliane and the pilgrims travelled back through time, to groom the Ashen One, into becoming the Lord of Hollows. Leading humanity towards salvation. Neither the residents of Lothric or items found throughout the land make note of this nation. Londor is mentioned only by the people or items that originated from there. Suggesting this kingdom is of another time or world entirely. Regardless, every outcome has led to this point. After countless cycles, the world was on the brink. The natural order could no longer grant humanity the Age of Dark, and so there was no choice but to use the blood of the dark soul, to transcend humanity above the cycle. The boundless paranoia of Gwyn, led the world on a ruinous path. Constructing the Ringed City, under the guise of an alliance with humanity. Unbeknownst to them, that this grand city would be their prison. Humanity aided the gods in the war with the Everlasting Dragons, and their reward was to be branded with the Darksign. Judicator Giants, locusts, devout humans and even his own daughter were stationed, to conceal the presence of the Pygmy Lords. The Lord of Sunlight, abandoned his kin, promising to return one day. Her death ensured the eternal isolation of the descendants of the Furtive Pygmy. As a final measure of defence, Gwyn even allied with the dragon Midir. Instructing him to battle the dark until he could no longer. In addition, the Witch of Izalith, attempted to conjure a flame of her own. Something which was supposed to prolong the Age of Fire, but instead, gave rise to demons. For the remaining humans, Gwyn fabricated the tale of the Chosen Undead. Employing mankind to link the fire, as if it were their righteous duty. Kingseeker Frampt, would act as a shepherd, the guiding hand invoking man to embark on the pilgrimage. Devoted to Gwyn, the Way of White, led by Gwyn’s Uncle - Allfather Lloyd, encouraged the undead to kindle bonfires, strengthening his dominion over them. The church deepened the people’s faith, establishing a long lineage of ardent followers, who would link the flame for ages. Further solidifying Gwyn’s image as a god. Although Gwyn was worshipped as a deity, he was flawed just like any other. As a last resort, the Lord of Sunlight offered his soul to the First Flame, sustaining it for many years. Evidently, Gwyn denied humanity their rightful place, prolonging the Age of Fire at their expense. After millenia, due to the continual linking of the First Flame, only embers remained. A sickly world, devoid of life. Even the kiln itself was reduced to dust. If humanity only knew the sins of their gods. Perhaps they would have united against the dying of the light, earlier in their existence. When the Chosen Undead visited the Kiln of the First Flame. They could choose to link the fire or embrace the dark. Linking the flame was a meaningless endeavour, as it would inevitably lead to the ashen wasteland we see today. Walking away, and trying to establish the Age of Dark, appears to have failed. As humanity continued to link the fire. Many cycles later, Vendrick and Aldia attempted to find answers beyond the scope of light and reach of dark, but even they were chained to the cycle. Instead, Vendrick granted his crown, and Aldia his knowledge, to the Bearer of the Curse. Allowing them to walk the path of the unknown. But what of the rest of humanity? Gael, the Painter and the Champion of Ash, achieved what their forebears could not. The undefiable willpower of humanity, enabled them to break the cycle. To overcome adversity, and stand in the face of their destiny. In the eyes of gods, since their birth, humanity was deemed feeble. Surely fate would win, and crush the inferior species. Humanity was to follow, not lead. Props on the stage of life. Yet, through the rise and fall of kingdoms, and countless cycles, humanity endured, until a new path unveiled itself. Why inherit a world, when you can paint another? Humanity’s strength lies not with their power, but in their resolve. Forevermore, the light of hope would burn within man. The Furtive Pygmy can find solace, knowing his descendants fought on, claiming their place amongst the living, birthing a world free from the cycle, a world, for the Dark Soul. Long ago, our father Gwyn, lamenting the waning of the fire, became cinder of his own will. Now, the fire is linked, by the champions who have come in his stead. Such is the will of father, and the gods. But the gods are no more, and the all-powerful fire deserveth a new heir. Our Lord of Hollows, it shall be, who weareth the true face of mankind. Youll face death, and it wont be pretty. Enough death to leave you broken, time after time. There is a darkness within man, and I am afraid you will peer into it. Hand it over, that thing, your Dark Soul, for my lady’s painting. Is this the blood? The blood of the dark soul? You are Ash, are you not? Is it not fire that you seek? I wish to paint a picture. Of a cold, dark, and very gentle place. One day, it will make someone a goodly home. So here we are after four hours and three videos, weve finally hit the end of the Dark Souls trilogy. We made it to the other side, I cant believe it we almost went hollow but, were back. Were all good. So, we just wanted to say thank you so much, especially to our Patrons, theyve gone above and beyond to support us, like not just on the channel but personally to help us do, you know what we love as a hobby, and just transform that into what it is today. Its really helped us get through those hard times and like just put the content out there you know, give us the motivation and so we just wanted to shout them out personally and youll see all their names in the credits of this video as well. Its just one of the many benefits to becoming a Patron. Now youre speaking about the Patrons helping us out personally and as you say that I think of Rush Garcia who has gone out of his way to compose some of the music that youve heard in this video. This includes the final song in a video that you just heard along, with some of the others hes absolutely amazing and hes done us proud in his video and we hope to work with you again in the future. Now, we are roughly around 60,000 subscribers as we speak, were not sure exactly where well be when youre watching this, but this is a fun little challenge that were trying to get to 100K subscribers before the end of the year. Now, will it be possible, I dont know this is completely down to you guys. If you want to help us get there please subscribe, not only will you be notified when we release videos like this, but youll be doing us a great favor. If youd like to further help us, please leave a like and a comment just letting us know what you thought about the video it will really push the video out there to be recommended to more people, as wed love to have more people be interested in Dark Souls lore just like we are, and that just about covers it for this video. We really hope youve enjoyed, it I know its a long video so please let us know in the comments what your thoughts are on this video, as we always love to read the comments as well as respond to you guys and engage as much as possible. Now, without giving away what our next project is, well, lets just tell them its going to be Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. Were sticking with the theme of FROMSOFTWARE games until theyre all done, and so you can expect Sekiro and hopefully its not a four hour video. It shouldnt be. And so you can look forward to that one, I know were looking forward to it after looking at Souls for so long and Sekiro is definitely the next one were going to be working on, so keep your eye on this channel, as he said before like, subscribe, and hit the bell and youll know as soon as its out and visit our Patreon if you want to see it any earlier than anyone else! And I promise we wont keep you waiting for five months this time. (Yeah) There will be a quicker turnaround for sure, and just to let you know we will be covering both Demons Souls and Elden Ring in the near future, once were done with Sekiro. And as always, thank you for watching. Yeah I think we did good. Itll do, itll do lad. Weve got a lot to edit. transfer games from epic to steam Install Raid for Free ✅ IOS/ANDROID/PC: and get a special starter pack 💥 Available only for the next 30 days.Want to support us on our journey? Take a look below: Patrons: Dain Bramage J e f f r e y Salem Mo Mai Max Hellwig Mechanical Dragonfly NamelessBandicoot Niklas Habik Rush Garcia Bryan D Darren Byrne Eppo Ganaar Jeremy Auerbach Larry E Jones Jr Lukáš Rarogiewicz M C Molly Anna Mystuhree Orfeas Tsavalos St. Lightbringer Tom Hallam Timestamps: 00:00:00 Introduction 00:02:51 Chapter I: Devil from Above 00:20:14 Chapter II: The Lords of Cinder 00:43:39 Chapter III: Ash Seeketh Embers 02:07:46 Chapter IV: Deliverers of the First Flame 02:48:12 Chapter V: For My Ladys Painting 04:03:01 Chapter VI: The Birth of a New World Music (In order of appearance): ES_Unspoken - Silver Maple ES_Ancestors - Gavin Luke ES_Discover - Hosini & Jones ES_Beyond Imagination - Gavin Luke ES_Leaf (Scaled Down Version) - Peter Sandberg ES_Mother of Light - Johannes Bornlöf ES_A Foreboding Presence - Martin Klem ES_Eaux - Franz Gordon ES_The Final Cut - Hampus Naeselius ES_Winds of Sorrow - Prozody ES_Negotiations - Edward Karl Hanson ES_Oh the Humanity - Gabriel Lewis ES_Threads - Ebb & Flod ES_Cry - Johannes Bornlof ES_Finding Melody - Gavin Luke ES_City of Silent Wishes - Hampus Naeselius ES_Tourbillon - Edward Karl Hanson ES_You Belong Here - Across The Great Valley ES_The Northern Cliff - Erasmus Talbot ES_Behind the Waterfall - Francis Wells ES_Beyond Reach - Ebb & Flod ES_Somber Fight - Jon Björk ES_Liberations - Johannes Bornlöf ES_First Moon - Cerulean Skies ES_Down the Stream - Francis Wells ES_Rivers End - Hampus Naeselius ES_Breathe With Me - Cerulean Skies ES_At Last Part II - Martin Landh ES_Hidden Path - Cerulean Skies ES_The Thin Line - Hampus Naeselius ES_Still Asleep - Emily Rubye ES_Moonlight Dreams - Megan Wofford ES_Big Passion - Christian Andersen ES_At the Break of Dawn - Jakob Ahlbom ES_Keep Asking Me - Francis Wells ES_Neither One of Us - Francis Wells ES_Longing for Home - Christoffer Moe Ditlevsen ES_Rest Upon the Edge - Trevor Kowalski ES_Dont Be Afraid - Jakob Ahlbom ES_Empty Promises - Trevor Kowalski ES_Fracture - Jakob Ahlbom ES_Owls - Ebb & Flod ES_When Hope Returns - Erasmus Talbot ES_Dissonant Love - Cerulean Skies ES_Sweet Despair (Instrumental Version) - Francis Wells ES_The Sky Above Us - Cerulean Skies ES_The League - Christoffer Moe Ditlevsen ES_Behind the Moon - Hampus Naeselius ES_The Soul - Johannes Bornlof ES_Three Days in Venice - Franz Gordon ES_Tree Shadow - Cerulean Skies ES_Nebular - Edgar Hopp ES_7 Days - Hampus Naeselius ES_Heart of the River of the Sun - Lama House ES_From the Ashes of a Previous Life - Lama House ES_The Merchants Prayer - Lama House ES_The Second Moon - Lama House ES_Etude Alone - Trevor Kowalski ES_By the Border - Lama House ES_Eon - Lama House ES_Secrets of the Earth - Lama House ES_Lupinas Dream - Lama House ES_Eon - Lama House ES_Prairie Song - Gavin Luke ES_In Shadow of the Stars - Hampus Naeselius ES_Cloaked Emotions - Lama House ES_Waves of Leafs - Lama House ES_The Voice of the Father - Lama House ES_A Sky Sparkling - Johannes Bornlof ES_Before the War - Lama House ES_Bring Them Home - Hampus Naeselius ES_Astral Roar - Lama House ES_Flight of the Ravens - Edgar Hopp ES_The Road to Odessa - Lama House ES_Where Legends Dwell - Lama House ES_Life in a Pond - Lama House ES_Slow Currents - Lama House ES_Himitsu - Lama House ES_Greater Than You or I - Gavin Luke ES_Never Let You Go - Ecovillage ES_Otherworld - Lama House Sketch 29 (Pigment) - Rush Garcia Sketch 28 (Promise Kept) - Rush Garcia ES_Repose - Ebb & Flod Sketch 27 (Meager Flame) - Rush Garcia bissell pet steam mop god of war ragnorak steam steam is stuck on connecting account darkest dungeon steam workshop best free clicker games on steam