Dark Souls III lore: Deception and deceit

Frans van Berendonk # Video Games # Dark Souls III lore: Deception and deceit

The true nature of things

Each of the Dark Souls games have a way of slowly uncovering the true nature of the protagonist. In Dark Souls, we are told the myth of the Chosen Undead linking the fire, and are tasked with the details by the primordial serpent Kingseeker Frampt. Should the player meet the criteria to meet his darker twin, Darkstalker Kaathe, we learn that linking the fire actually perpetuates the Undead Curse along with the Age of Fire, and are asked to allow the flame to die, ushering in the Age of Dark. In Dark Souls II, the protagonist is also cursed, and drawn to Drangleic like a moth to a flame. In the opening scenes we see his actual family as they fade from his memories, as he eventually stands before it's decrepit gate. Once the player takes control, we are soon asked whether or not we are the next Monarch. Again the player is presented with the option of becoming a Lord or King, slowly forgetting what brought him to Drangleic in the first place.

Deception and conspiracies are a recurring theme in the Dark Souls series. In the first game, we learn of Gwyn's victory over the dragons that ushered in the Age of Fire, but also that his actions led to the downfall of Lordran, and the Undead Curse. A perceptive player is able to discern that the gods we interact with in the game, are in fact illusions spun by the one god left in Anor Londo. In actuality, the place is abandoned, even the sun is a fake, and the gods are desperately clinging to their Age of Fire. The second game tells us the story of King Vendric who refused to link the fire because he saw through the deception, locked himself up and went Hollow instead, much to the dismay of his power-hungry queen Nashandra.

Dark Souls III

Starting Dark Souls III, we see our protagonist arise in a graveyard, in perfect (albeit dirty) human condition. We are told that we are Unkindled Ash, unfit even to be cinder. Right after the tutorial we are tasked with killing a boss named Iudex Gundyr, who in no uncertain terms acts as a litmus test for Unkindled Ashes seeking entry to Firelink Shrine. We start out with the Darksign as well. From Dark Souls we know that this brands us as Undead, we are fated to turn Hollow as we lose our Humanity. However, in the first game Humanity is a tangible resource item, one used to reverse Hollowing and increase a few stats. Our actual Humanity is not even questioned this time around, nor is it tied to our stats. However, we are lured into accepting a few free level ups from a character named Yoel of Londor, which will brand us with a Dark Sigil. Suddenly, our Hollowing statistic starts rising (0-99) after subsequent deaths, and after a while we lose our human appearance. Accept five levels, and Yoel dies. His replacement Yuria has an inproved inventory and applauds your actions allowing Yoel to redeem himself and die well. She also sells a purging stone allowing you to lower your Hollowing. The same can be done by praying to a statue of Velka, a godess associated with absolution. However, while you are still branded with the Dark Sigil and accumulate Hollowing as you die over and over... the only way to fix this permanently is to give the Firekeeper Soul to the Firekeeper, and pay a hefty sum of Souls based in your current level.

It took me a while to figure out the specifics of this questline blindly. I'm now level 54 and curing the Dark Sigil will cost me over 90.000 souls, a lot more then what I saved using Yoel of Londors services. Again, Dark Souls tricked me into becoming a Dark Lord, stripped me of my humanity and made me look like a raisonfaced meth addict. And I haven't beaten half of it's bosses yet! 

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