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Lore of Dark Souls III as interpreted by the community. This page houses facts and interpretations relating to the game, but you may also visit the newly launched Dark Souls III Lore Forums

Warning: Massive spoilers ahead, don't keep reading if you want to deduce things by yourself or haven't beaten the game yet.
Everything that is speculation will be tagged under theory or written with words that express uncertainty. If you have your own theory regarding a specific matter, please write it down next to the others. 

 

1. Introduction

Dark Souls 3 takes place in a transitory place, revolving around the first flame and the cycle of fire and dark. You play as a protagonist whose goal is to find and return the five Lords of Cinder to their thrones at Firelink Shrine in order to link the flame again. The protagonist is known as an "Unkindled," a being considered less of a being than an Undead who is made from the remains of an Undead warrior who failed to link the flame and, as a result, burned their bodies into ash.

The five Lords of Cinder are Ludleth the Exiled; Aldrich, Saint of the Deep; Holy King Lothric; Farron's Undead Legion, the Abyss Watchers; and the lord of the Profaned Capital, Yhorm the Giant. Lords of Cinder are past beings who were successful in linking the flame.

Like in its predecessors, the story and lore of Dark Souls 3 can be pieced together through its introductory cinematic, item descriptions, dialogues, and enviroments. The following is a transcription of the intro:


Yes, indeed, it is called Lothric, Where the transitory lands of the Lords of Cinder converge. In venturing north,  pilgrims discover the truth of the old words. The fire fades and the lords go without thrones. When the link of fire is threatened, the bell tolls, Unearthing the old Lords of Cinder from their graves: Aldrich Saint of the Deep Farron’s Undead Legion, The Abyss Watchers and the reclusive lord of the profaned capital, Yhorm The GiantOnly in truth the lords will abandon their thrones and the Unkindled will rise Nameless accursed undead, Unfit even to be cinder. And so it is, That ash seeketh embers.

2. Dark Souls I & II

The Age of Ancients

     "In the Age of Ancients, the world was unformed, shrouded by fog. A land of gray crags, Archtrees and Everlasting Dragons."   

In the beginning there was no such thing as life or death. The land was a constant drab gray, ruled by immortal dragons. It is unknown whether or not the primordial serpents existed in this epoch. 

The Discovery Of The First Flame 

     "But then there was fire, and with fire came disparity. Heat and cold, life and death, and of course, light and dark. Then from the dark, they came, and found the Souls of Lords within the flame".  

With fire came the first forms of life. Some of these living beings evolved and probably built their own civilizations under the ground, explaining why ruins can be found beneath Lordran's surface. Three of them found the Souls of Lords within the flame. They gained inmense amounts of power, making them capable of defeating the dragons, and so they fought to change the order of the world.

One Soul was taken by the Gravelord Nito, first of the dead. The second Soul was found by the Witch of Izalith and her daughters of Chaos. The last was taken by Gwyn, the Lord of Sunlight, and his faithful knights. However, there was a peculiar Soul known as the Dark Soul, found by the easily forgotten Furtive Pigmy.

The War Against The Dragons

     "With the strength of Lords, they challenged the Dragons. Gwyn's mighty bolts peeled apart their stone scales. The Witches weaved great firestorms. Nito unleashed a miasma of death and disease. And Seath the Scaleless betrayed his own, and the Dragons were no more."

Nito, the Witch of Izalith, and Gwyn became Lords with the power of the flame, and waged war on the dragons. To aid in their battle, Gwyn used the power of the sun to spawn the first miracles, and the Witch of Izalith created the first pyromancies. The Lords, with the help of the dragon Seath the Scaleless, defeated the dragons and won the war.

Seath was the first mortal dragon, born without scales, which were the dragons' source of immortality. He became fearful of death, and sided with Gwyn. Seath was a brilliant academic, and focused on research, which spawned the first Sorceries.

The Age of Fire

With the Dragons defeated, the Lords settled their own kingdoms.  Nito ventured deep into the Catacombs where he rewarded his servants and created the Finito and Milfinito.  The Witch of Izalith and her daughters returned to Izalith in order to study their Flame Sorceries. Gwyn settled at the pinnacle of all of their kingdoms in the golden city, Anor Londo,  where he and his brethren proclaimed themselves Gods. At this time, Gwyn gives Seath the title of Duke and grants him the Archives for his research.

Little is heard or known about the Pygmy, only that he is the forebearer of all of humanity. After his descendants reproduced, through many generations, a large number of human kingdoms arose, and humans began learning sorceries, miracles and pyromancies. It is speculated that the human's affinity for magic is attested to the power of the Dark Soul fragments scattered within all mankind. Examples of the kingdoms of mankind are:  Baldur, Astora, Vinheim (known for its Dragon School of magic tracing back to the Creator of Sorcery, Seath), New Londo (a human city large enough to be ruled by 4 kings),  Oolacile,  Thorolund, the Far East, Carim, and Catarina. 

Because the race of Gods was far more powerful than humans, humanity considered them true gods and started to worship them forming religions. These Gods also saw the humans as their subjects. 

Gywn plays a fundamentally important role in many future events, and it is important to know about him and those to whom he is related. He had four elite knights at his command, Dragonslayer Ornstein, Hawkeye Gough, Lord's Blade Ciaran, and Artorias of The Abyss, who will play an important role in the events of Oolacile. He also bequeathed fragments of his own soul to Seath and The Four Kings of New Londo for their contributions.  Gwyn had 3 children, Gwyndolin, Gwynevere, and an unknown son who was exiled and demoted from his deific status. 

The Fading of the Flame and The Birth of Demons

    Eventually, something that no one expected happened, the fire began to Fade. The Lords noticed that their power diminishing and became worried. The Witch of Izalith decided to try and recreate the First Flame in Izalith.  This went horribly wrong, and the Chaos Flame and Bed Of Chaos were born, both of which were a twisted mockery of the First flame that transformed everyone into demons. The Witch of Izalith's failure births pyromancy as it exists in the games, and destroys Izalith. Only ruins, chaos and fire remain where Izalith once stood. The only survivor of this event is Quelana, who passes the knowledge of pyromancy to her first pupil and it extends to the Great Swamp.

Gwyn, in order to avoid the end of the Age of Fire, decided to offer his own body and power as sacrifice to the First Flame. Upon relinking the First Flame, Gwyn becomes cindered. This offered a temporary solution, but the fire again began to fade. Gwyn's actions were influenced by the primordial serpent Frampt. An important dialogue on this matter is given by Kaathe:

"Hmm… You are astonishing. The truth I shall share without sentiment. After the advent of fire, the ancient lords found the three souls. But your progenitor found a fourth, unique soul. The Dark Soul. Your ancestor claimed the Dark Soul and waited for Fire to subside. And soon, the flames did fade, and only Dark remained. Thus began the age of men, the Age of Dark. However… Lord Gwyn trembled at the Dark. Clinging to his Age of Fire, and in dire fear of humans,
and the Dark Lord who would one day be born amongst them, Lord Gwyn resisted the course of nature, by sacrificing himself to link the fire, and commanding his children to shepherd the humans, Gwyn has blurred your past, to prevent the birth of the Dark Lord.

I am the primordial serpent. I seek to right the wrongs of the past to discover our true Lord. But the other serpent, Frampt, lost his sense, and befriended Lord Gwyn. Undead warrior, we stand at the crossroad. Only I know the truth about your fate. You must destroy the fading Lord Gwyn, who has coddled Fire and resisted nature, and become the Fourth Lord, so that you may usher in the Age of Dark!"

Gwyn's faithful  Knights followed him to the Kiln of the First Flame and were incinerated when the fire was linked. This changed their silver armors to charred black, creating the Black Knights.  

Oolacile, The Abyss and New Londo

    The Furtive Pigmy took the Dark Soul and gave birth to mankind. When the Flame started to fade, the Lord Souls taken by the gods started to lose power, while the humans born from the Dark Soul started becoming stronger. Gwyn feared that some day humans would take over and annhilate the Gods, just as Gods killed the Everlasting Dragons, which would lead to another change in the order of the world's leading race. Without linking the fire, the world would descend into an age of darkness--an age of men--where the Dark Soul rules. Gwyn, fearing this religation of Gods, chose to link the fire to prevent this age of darkness.

Speculation*: The Dark Sign is a curse Gwyn casted to humanity when he linked the fire for the first time. This is believed because the curse did not show up the first time the fire was fading, and started only after the fire was kindled by Gwyn and fading again.

The sorcerers of Oolacile were tricked by the Primordial Serpent Kaathe into disturbing the Primeval Human Manus. Upon awakening him, Manus' humananity went wild and began to consume Oolacile, thus creating the Abyss. Manus also took Princess Dusk captive. Gwyn's Knight Artorias tried to defeat Manus but he was overpowered and corrupted by the Abyss. Manus is eventually defeated and his Soul Shatters creating Humanity Sprites for the Undead as well as birthing his Daughter/Shards.

The Abyss did not exist until the events that took place in Oolacile,  born only after Manus' humanity went wild due to torture. Humanity is described as something warm as well as dangerous, and when it was disturbed it created the Abyss. Artorias travelled to Oolacile in order to stop the spread of the Abyss. It is stated in Artorias' ring that he made a pact with the creatures of the abyss not to be corrupted and killed. This is key because we are told that humanity is born from the dark soul, which implies darkness. However, the darkness--whether of the Dark Soul or Humanity--is shown not to be inneherntly evil, but rather torture and maltreatment of the darkness created the Abyss. The Abyss corrupts everything and kills everyone, but it seems that some creatures inhabit this peculiar place.  It appears as though the disruption of the Lord Souls (or fragments of it) create monstruosities. The Witch of Izalith tried to create a First Flame with her own Lord Soul and it lead to the creation of Chaos. Oolacile's people disrupted a fragment of the Dark Soul ( Manus) and formed the Abyss.

Once the Abyss came into being, Kaathe seduced the Kings of New Londo into becoming Dark Wraiths and learn the Art of Lifedrain, so that they may gather humanities to rebuild the Dark Soul. Some Kaathe dialogue:

Ahh… If you wish, I shall grant the art of Lifedrain, the legendary power of the Dark Lord. It can preserve your humanity while Undead, and cast off the shackles placed upon your brethren.

After realizing the threat that the four Kings carried over to the entire world, Gwyn ordered to flood New Londo, leaving countless humans dead under the water. 

The Chosen Undead 

     "Only, in the ancient legends it is stated, that one day an undead shall be chosen to leave the undead asylum, in pilgrimage, to the land of ancient lords, Lordran."

Years pass since Gwyn has Linked the First Flame and it has once again begun to fade.  Legends state that a Chosen Undead will rise up and succeed Gwyn to Relink the Flame.  One such Undead Succeeds where many have failed.  The Chosen Undead collects the 3 Lord Souls and their Shards and journey's to the Kiln of the First Flame defeating a hollowed Gwyn.  It is uncertain if the Flame was relinked or not, but many others have ventured forth to do so.

This legend of the chosen undead could have been created by the Gods themselves, in order to extend their age of fire. 

The Curse and The Cycle

     "As flame rises, so does it fade. Such is the way of things."

All Undead will eventually hollow.  For souls to flourish once more the fire must be relinked.  Some complete their task becoming Sublime Bonedust.  Some refuse to be sacrificed and carve out Kingdoms instead.  Even when the Flame sputters and Dies, it will rise up and burn once more.  This is the Cycle of Perpetual Fire and Twilight.

The Attempts of Aldia

     "There is no path.Beyond the scope of light, beyond the reach of Dark......what could possibly await us?And yet, we seek it, insatiably...Such is our fate."

Aldia studied the Sin of Linking the fire and wished to end the cycle.  He research Giants, Dragons, bonfires and humans all for a way to break the Cycle.  Even with reviving Dragons, Creating a Human Dragon Hybrid, Creating the Forlorn, and Finding a way to exist in Bonfires Aldia failed to find an end to the cycle.

Aldia meets the Cursed undead on their journey and encouages the Cursed Undead to seek out Vendrick after he has questioned the Undead's motives.

    "No one has come this far, not for a very long while. Young Hollow do you wish to shed this curse? Then accept the fate of your ilk, and face the trials that await you. Unless, you have already joined the crestfallen."

    "Young Hollow, there are but two paths. Inherit the order of this world, or destroy it. But only a true monarch can make such a choice.Very few, indeed, have come even this far.  And yet, your journey is far from over. Half-grown Hollow, have you what it takes, truly?" 

    "Young Hollow, seek after Vendrick. He who almost became a true monarch. Vendrick is certain to guide your way. Fledgeling Hollow, may we meet again."


    "Young Hollow, conqueror of fear.  What drives you so, to overcome this supposed curse?"


    "Vendrick, the near-true monarch, is here, and not far off.  But what is a king? You, neither born with greatness, nor granted it by the fates.
What is it that you seek? You cannot even say yourself. We shall meet again, young Hollow."

Aldia's brother Vendrick had a different plan to utilize the remnant power from other kings crowns to stave off hollowing. 

    "Do you intend to link the fire? Then you must first take the throne. Prove your worth. Find the ancient crowns. Seek adversity, and they will be yours. And your wishes, granted."

   "Seeker of fire, deliverer of crowns. What do you see in the flames? Find the crowns, and your own answers. The crowns hold the strength of lords from time long past. Seek adversity. As befits you, seeker of fire, coveter of the throne."

The Cursed Undead collects 4 kings crowns and receives Vendricks blessing on these crowns to pause hollowing.  This is just a brief respite nothing more.

    "One day, fire will fade, and Dark will become a curse. Men will be free from death, left to wander eternally. Dark will again be ours, and in our true shape... We can bury the false legends of yore... Only... Is this our only choice? Seeker of fire, coveter of the throne. Seek strength. The rest will follow..."

 

Once the Cursed Undead has encountered a Hollowed Vendrick, Aldia questions the Undead once more beforefinallyintroducing himself in the Dragon Shrine.

    "Young Hollow. How you grapple, without falter, with this dreadfully twisted world. Peace grants men the illusion of life. Shackled by falsehoods, they yearn for love, unaware of its grand illusion. Until, the curse touches their flesh. We are bound by this yoke. As true as the Dark that churns within men. All men trust fully the illusion of life. But is this so wrong? A construction, a facade, and yet... A world full of warmth and resplendence. Young Hollow, are you intent on shattering the yoke, spoiling this wonderful falsehood?"

    "I am Aldia.  I sought to shed the yoke of fate, but failed. Now, I only await an answer. Seek the throne. Seek light, Dark and what lies beyond... "

As can be seen by both Aldia and Vendrick's dialogues they seek to end the curse. Once the Cursed Undead receives Vendrick's blessing and defeats Nashandra, Aldia confronts them to see what path they will choose.

Many monarchs have come and gone. One drowned in poison, another succumbed to flame. Still another slumbers in a realm of ice. Not one of them stood here, as you do now. You, conqueror of adversities. Give us your answer.

If the Cursed Undead defeats him and decides to walk away from the Throne Aldia mentions a third option to be looked into.  It is uncertain if this option is found.

The Daughters of Manus

    "One of the Father of the Abyss' spawn, that confounded quintessence of humanity. The Abyss once had form, but then dissipated. And yet, traces of its existence endured. Each fragment, thirsting for power, spread Dark, with no relent."

"Light and Dark are two sides of the same coin, much like the soul and the curse. The beings who presented themselves to those in search of kinghood were drawn to their awesome strength."

The Daughters of Manus sought out Kings with Wonderous Souls, Ones who would Link the Fire, their thirst for power drew them to these kings. The Daughters of Manus had a plan to gain power by preying on these Kings, stealing their power before they could relink the flame and perpetuating an age of Dark.

NPCs that are Historically Significant for DS3

Gwyn

"Since Lord Gwyn, the first Lord of Cinder, many exalted lords have linked the First Flame, and it is their very souls that have manifested themselves as defender of the flame."

Even after countless years Gwyn's influence still affects the World.  Not only is he the Progenitor of Relinking the Flame, his path and even title has been emulated countless times.  Gwyn's Influence is so great that the Soul Of Cinder still uses and remembers Gwyn's Fighting Style.

 
Seathe

"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. "

Seathe has been Deified and he is Worshipped.  This is a step up from being the creator of Sorcery, especially since this worship leads to the same madness Seathe Suffered.

Big Hat Logan

"The court sorcerers used this scroll to claim heirship to Logan's legacy, though how that claim stands up to closer scrutiny is another story."

Logan is said to not only Emulate Seath but to have met him.  Logan is reknowned for his contribution to Sorceries and a number of Crystal Sage's emulate him.


Artorias and Sif

" The blood was spread amongst the Abyss Watchers, and their souls are one with the soul of the wolf blood master."

Numerous Items reference or hint at Artorias and Sif by different names, Abysswalker Artorias, or the wolf knight was the first Abyss Watcher.  The Knights of Farron emulate Artorias' unbending will to take on the Abyss.


Kaathe 

"Kaathe, I have failed thee..."

Is Related to the Sable church and bears some significance to Yuria of Londor.

Gwyndolin

"Darkmoon Gwyndolin, who was gradually devoured by Aldrich."

This Once Proud God was captured by Pontiff Sulyvahn and is now being devoured by the Lord of Cinder Aldrich.

 

Dark Souls III & Main Story

The Unkindled

     "Only in truth the lords will abandon their thrones and the unkindled will rise. Nameless accursed undead, unfit even to be cinder. And so it is, that ash seeketh embers."

"They say these are the remains of a saint who cast himself into the bonfire. But we will never know for sure, for soot and ashes tell no story."

As the intro says, the Unkindled are beings of ash, unworthy to ascend to become Lords of Cinder. They are awakened by the tolling of a Bell that rings when the First Flame is in danger of fading. They awaken in the Cemetery of Ash and seek the embers of the First Flame. During the whole game the protagonist is called Unkindled, Champion of Ash or Ashen One all of which harken back to the origins of the unkindled.

There are some speculations about what it means to be Unkindled. First of all, upon killing certain unkindled NPCs they drop ashes, meaning they were burned at some point before reviving.  Thus Unkindled are  perhaps either related to the bornfire creation process, or they are nameless Accursed undead who linked the First Flame but died in the process. The Lords of Cinder, on the other hand, were beings so powerful they did survive the linking and turned into Cinder instead of mere Ash.

The first hint supporting this theory is a play between the words Cinder and Ash. The latter  refers to what remains after a material has been burnt completely while  Cinder means that it has not been consumed completely. The Undead throw themselves in the bonfire and fuel the Flame but they are entirely consumed in the process, leaving only ashes that need embers to ignite. These ashes are found numerous times throughout the journey of the game, implying the cyclical nature of Dark and Flame. The intro sentence "Ash seeketh embers" takes shape now. Embers in the game are defined as:

"No Unkindled can ever truly claim the embers that burn within a champion’s bosom, which is precisely what makes their yearning for warmth so keen. Gain the strength of flame and increase max HP until death. With the strength of fire, the summoning signs of Unkindled become visible, and seekers of embers can be summoned to join in co-operation. But beware the embers may also attract invaders."

From DSII we know that many generations passed and many indivuals sacrified themselves to link the Flame and rekindle the fire. Lords of Cinder, came many generations after, and it is rare for someone to survive the fire. It seems one must be powerful in a unique way to survive and even then their form changes. Gwyn was a Lord of Cinder, but it is clear that his form was changed by the linking and it was a great sacrifice even for one as great as him.  A vast amount of generations passed, we would obviously have many of unkindled and, of course, many amount of tombs in the Cemetery of Ash. We also fight against a manifestation of all Undead who linked the fire, that is, the Soul of Cinder, who seems to be good all fighting styles. 

Another hint supporting that Lords of Cinder did not burn completely and stayed alive after linking the fire is the fact that all unkindled resurrect with their human forms. All Lords of Cinder wake up with their charred corpses, like Ludleth, and they all seem to have gained certain amount of fire power, juding by their boss fights.  Aldrich did not died either, he had a vision of an upcoming age of the Deep Sea, so he started devouring Gods. 

The last detail relating the Unkindled to all of the previous Undead who sacrified themselves for the Flame is found in a song.  The name of this song is mentioned  in the intro of DSIII. when you beat DSI you see your character burning in the kiln and then The Nameless Song starts to play.  This sad tone is played at the end of your quest and it is what defines your character.  Our characters did everything and died a thousand of times just to be a sacrifice to extend the age of the gods. It happened many times, and they are nameless, no one is going to remember their names or write poems about them.  

Whatever unkindled are, their task is clear. They have  to seek out the Lords Of Cinderin order to reenact relinking the First Flame and preserve the age of fire. They  are also undead who are not fully bound by the hollowing process we saw in past games,  needing to acquire Dark Sigils in order to go Hollow. 

The Lords of Cinder

"If the lords will not return to their thrones themselves, let them return as cinders." 

One becomes a Lord of Cinder by relinking the First Flame in the Kiln and Surviving. There are currently 5 Lords of Cinder, all 5 of their ashes are needed to reenact the Linking of the First Flame.  The 5 Lords are Aldrich Saint of the Deep, Ludleth the Exiled, Yhorm the Giant, Farron's Undead Legion, and Lothric, the Last hope of his line.

 Ludleth the Exiled linked the First Flame long ago by willing himself to. Aldrich was once a cleric that devoured men. He became so powerful that he was used to relink the Flame. Upon ascension to a Lord of Cinder, Aldrich sought to devour gods and even gained a cult around him that formed the Sable Church of the Deep. 

Farron's Undead Legion of Abyss Watchers partook of the blood of an ancient wolf, the Wolf's blood linked the Abyss watchers to their master, the legendary Artorias of the Abyss. Emulating Artorias, the Abyss Wachers guard against creatures from the Abyss. The Abyss Watchers swore on their share Wolf's blood to relink the Flame.

Yhorm the Giant sought to end the Profaned flame by relinking the First Flame. Instead of Eliminating the Profaned Flame, the capital burned killing all except Yhorm.  Pontif Sulyvahn travelled to the Profaned Capital and saw the Profaned Flame. This hints that Yhorm linked the Flame before Aldrich.

Lothric refused to relink the Flame, choosing instead to allow the Flame to fade as he watched it from a distance with his brother.

 

The Deep

     "The deep was originally a peaceful and sacred place, but became the final rest for many abhorrent things. This tale of the Deep offers protection for those who worship amidst those horrors."

"These insects which lurk in the Deep have tiny jaws lined with fangs to tear open the skin and burrow into the flesh in the blink of an eye, causing intense bleeding."

"Souls which swell from the deep pursue their target, drawn towards life."

"A gem of infused titanite. Found in the dregs of the Cathedral of the deep. Used in infusion to create deep weapons. Deep weapons inflict dark damage, but lose scaling effects. There is a darkness that lies beyond human ken."

As stated in the Dark Souls summary, the Abyss was not created until the events that took place in Oolacile, and it was born after Manus humanity went wild due to torture. Humanity is described as something warm but at the same time dangerous, so when disturbed it created the Abyss. Artorias travelled here in order to stop it and it is stated, in his ring, that he made a pact with the creatures of the abyss not to be corrupted and killed.This part is key because we are told that humanity is born from the dark soul, which implies darkness. But this darkness is not inneherntly evil, until it got disturbed, and created the Abyss. The Abyss corrupts everything and kills everyone but it seems that some creatures inhabit this peculiar place. 

From the descriptions above we can see that  the Deep was initially calm but it became a place for abhorrent creatures. There is insects in the Deep that basically kill all life. The Deep is Dark, but a Dark that lies beyond humanity, which is also dark. The Deep could be the Abyss. When Lord Souls are disrupted you create monstruosities. The Witch of Izalith tried to create a First Flame with her own Lord Soul and she just created Chaos. Oolacile people disrupted a fragment of the Dark Soul ( Manus) and they created the Abyss.

A last hint about the nature of the Deep is given by the Farron's Undead Legion boss soul weapons, the Wolf Knight's Greatsword and the Farron Greatsword,  since both swords deal a bonus damage against Aldrich and the Deacons of the Deep.  These weapons are designed to fight against the abyss, and deal more damage to abyssal foes, hence Aldrich and the Deacons are related to the Abyss. 

Aldrich, Saint of the Deep

Aldrich is another Lord of Cinder that neglected his duties, having his own ambitions after the linking of the fire. He was a cleric in the past but at some point he started eating human flesh, and he sure enjoyed it, as can be seen from Aldrich Ruby or Saphire:

"Infamous for his appetite for flesh apparently had the desire to share with others his joy of imbibing the final shudders of life while luxuriating in his victim's screams"

He is probably the founder of the Cathedral of the Deep,where he got some followers for his cult, maybe due to fear. His victims were transported from the Undead Settlement to the Cathedral through the Road of Sacrifices.  This is inferred from the Evangelist Set:

"These teachers, all women, came to enlighten inhabitants of the Undead Settlement and sent carriers on the path of sacrifice."

It is also stated that Horace did evade being devoured alive and survived, along with other children, hinted to be Anri. This hint comes mainly from the fixation of Anri to kill Aldrich ever since our first encounter, being even a summon. Horace Exceutioner's Armor also tells us something:

"Steel armor of Horace the Hushed, who took a liking to its cold, bulky insides. The original owner was said to be a corrupt executioner, who was killed and stripped of his armor. Horace is one of only two children to escape Aldrich's clutches."

At some point the flame started to fade and the Undead curse arose again, so he probably ate undead humans too. What points this out is the high amount of weak undead bodies outside the cathedral, bodies that  Aldrich did not finish, as the grave warden set seems to suggest:

"Rotting, tattered skirt, robe, hood and wrap. Attire of grave wardens at the Cathedral of the Deep. Grave wardens were tasked with disposing of the ever rising corpses that plagued the cathedral. Their clothes are utterly putrid, drenched in the blood and mucilage of their undertaking."

We said before that Aldrich started being a cleric, but then he got corrupted. It is unknown wether the corruption took place before eating so many humans but he grew (pun intended) fond of the Abyss. It could be that, after killing so many humans and enjoying the suffering from his victims while they were being eaten alive, he disrupted a significant amount of the dark soul, turning himself into an abyss like creature.

After some time,  whoever ruled the kingdom made him link the flame, not for saint but for might, as Hawkwood tells us. He then had visions of the upcoming age of the Deep Sea so he started devouring Gods instead. This might have two possible explanations. The age of fire means the age of Gods, so he would try to get rid of all the gods for one day ruling in an age of dark. Second, he would need to become something more powerful to survive if the Abyss spreads. Cinders of a Lord and Soul of Aldrich respectively read:

" Aldrich became a lord by devouring men, but was disillusioned with his throne, and so took to devouring gods instead."

"When Aldrich 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."

In any case, he devoured some Gods and linked the fire, then his body of cinder was took to the tomb. When he awakened he marched from the Cathedral to Anor Londo to have a gift from Sullyvan, Gwyndolin. It is possible that when we fight him he is still devouring the god of the darkmoon, since we still see part of him. If this is right the it means that Priscilla is alive, since he had a dream about her while devouring Gwyndolin. Darkmoon Longbow and Lifehunt Scythe:

"Longbow of Darkmoon Gwyndolin, who was gradually devoured by Aldrich.This golden bow is imbued with powerful magic and is most impressive with Moonlight Arrows."

"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."

The Profaned Flame

Profaned Flame wielded by the Irithyllian witches. Lonely Yhorm became a Lord of Cinder to put the Profaned Flame to rest, knowing full well that those who spoke of him as lord were quite insincere.  The Profaned Capital was consumed by fire after Yhorm the Giant became a Lord of Cinder. The fire, born of the sky, is said to have incinerated naught but human flesh. The Profaned Flame was triggered by the curse of these women, relatives of a certain oracle, but despite their culpability, they went on living, without any cares.

Coal used for weapon infusion. Remnants of the fire that burned down the Profaned Capital, preserved in an icy skull. Give to the blacksmith in the shrine to allow the use of gems for dark, blood, and Hollow infusion.

The Dark Sign and the Eclipse

The dark sign is a symbol of the undead. Those cursed with it are reborn after death and eventually lose their minds and turn hollow. This is a reason why undead are driven from their homes as they eventually go mad. Horace is a sample of this as he later loses it and tries to isolate himself from his friend.

The eclipse is present in Lothric castle and in the final area. I think its a sign called by the fading flame, it looks like a dark sigil in a way, as dark sigil is an orange fiery circle. Maybe its calling undead to link it and prolong its life. Maybe its symbolizing that the fire is fading and the age of fire is ending.

Multiple Firelink Shrines

 

"Sword missing from the shrine bonfire. Thrust into the shrine bonfire to restore its power and enable travel between bonfires.  This sword is only bequeathed to chosen ash, as judged by the Iudex, who awaits the arrival of ash as a scabbard"

When you start the Game you find yourself in the Cemetery of Ash and Venture to Firelink Shrine.  In this Firelink Shrine you must inter the Coiled Sword into the bone and ash pile of the bonfire to be able to use it.  When you use the Firelink bonfire to warp to Lothric for the first time you are warped to an altar with a basin and a broken coiled sword.

Fragment of the coiled sword of a bonfire which served its purpose long ago. Returns caster to last bonfire used for resting, or to the bonfire in Firelink Shrine. Can be used repeatedly. Bonfires are linked to one another irreversibly, retaining their affinity long after their purpose is exhausted

Later on in the game you come across an area identical to Firelink called Untended Graves.  Here you find a Dark Shrine with a Fragment of the Coiled Sword in it.

Towards the End of the Game on your journey to the Kiln, you are warped to one more copy of Firelink called the Flameless Shrine.  The Flameless Shrine is in even worse condition than Untended Graves and it is here you find a bonfire that warps you to the Kiln.

 

 

THEORY 1

There are three versions of firelink shrine. The first is where we appear, good old fire link, its filled with friendly npcs, Andre, handmaid, firekeeper...the rest of those lovable guys. Once the consumed king is defeated, we are given access to an illusory wall that leads us to untended graves. Suprisingly, this area is a mimic of firelink. Except its consumed by the abyss, no sky, all blackness. Is this a similar building? No its not. Messages you leave in firelink will match messages found in the "dark" firelink accessed through untended graves. As well as items brought over by npcs, like the scrolls of Orbeck, or the pots and goods of Greirat. It is the same building. But how? Speculation time!

Time travel. This may sound odd, but forces in souls game have enabled time travel, like the memory areas in dark souls 2. This dark version is firelink of the present. This is also why you have to warp to Lothric, or time travel to Lothric by the bonfire as the actualy current state of the bonfire is well, its dead, consumed by the abyss. Im going to speculate harder by suggesting that time power is how the bonfire heals and why armor is "repaired" when you rest as well as enemies being resetted. It can reset certain aspects of the world. But its not exactly reversing everything, as certain things remain changed. This theory has holes as well, activated levers stay activated, and certain enemies stay killed if killed...etc.

Anyway, back on topic, still w time travel. So the dark shrine may be our shrine, but in the future. Ive tried skipping Orbeck and Greirat, just murdering Emma and getting there, and the scrolls and pots in my previous play through were not there. When I found them, the items they left stayed there. We even have a corpse of a fire keeper that drops the eyes of a fire keeper, which is hidden in an illusory wall where the nun would stay. So basically the firelink from the past is trying to save itself and prevent its current, dark shrine state. As to why the handmaid is still alive, I have no idea. Maybe she hid with an item, maybe she killed them all.  Maybe she was spared as she is just an old lady.

Then we have the next flame. The one that takes us to the final boss. Its a ruined version of firelink, this one is damaged with up with many collapsed pathways. Upon exiting it we find lothric and a strange dark, sort of night atmosphere. We seem to have a crazy eclipse going on, and it looks like part of the earth was torn off or ripped out and sent somewhere else. The Lothric castle has parts of it collapsed and sloped, like some crazy earthquake or event occured. This could be firelink of the future. Please note that while the dark firelink shrine is covered in an abyss, the rest of Lothric is fine. This is because the firelink shrine, birthplace of the powerful fire, is a special ground. Its paranormal. As the fire weakens and dies, its surrounding area goes to hell. It is swallowed in an abyss and seems to be separated from the world(dark shrine). This gets worse in the future as now the firelink and its surrounding area seems to be caught in a crazy cataclysm(final area). Its become some vortex that sucks its surroundings to where ever it came from, though very slowly. More speculation! this vortex converges the surrounding lands into the source of the flame. The thing we actually link. Think of it like this, the fire is hurting and its trying to pull back to safety because of the pain. as everything converges, the source is revealed, and the champion of ash may fullfill his duty, link it, prolong its life in our world of plane, and change the future, extending the age of fire.

THEORY2

That was wild and filled with speculation, sorry bout that, here is a shorter theory!Another possibility, is a parallel world, an alternate universe of sorts. We know that undead keep reviving. Hawkwood says it himself that they " cant die properly". But why does Hawkwood die properly when we kill him? Why does killing Aldrich with Anri, have no influence on the Aldrich of our world. ( Killing him w Anri will not mean that the one we have to face will be dead, you have to kill the one in your world, regardless if you helped Anri slay him ). I think to each undead, the fire presents a "parallel world". Killing an npc will revive them in their world, but in our world, they will have lost "connection" and appear "dead". Npcs very connected to our world, like the firekeeper, will revive just like monsters, if killed. All the others are like other players, with a weaker, sort of temporary connection.

Anyway, theory two is that the first flame is fading, so fire from other "worlds" all connected to it, help it out. The first one is the fire that called our particular character from the cemetary. Hawkwood and Anri were possibly called by different flames from different parallel worlds. This first flame needs attention as its like the heart of all the other flames, they need it and stuff. The dark version of firelink shrine is a fire that faded, a possible fate awaiting the fires of other worlds if the main one isnt fixed. The third one, the "kiln of the first flame". Is a parallel world that serves as a "doorway" or entrance to the main flame. Its the world where the power of fire is strongest, and whe whole place is falling apart as the main one is weakening. We travel there to fix the thing.

The Bell And Resurrection

When the Flame is about to burn out a bell is wrung awakening the Lords of Cinder and the Unkindled. 

 

 

4. Notable NPCs & Questlines

Fire Keeper

"Welcome to the bonfire, Unkindled One. I am a Fire Keeper. I tend to the flame, and tend to thee. The Lords have left their thrones, and must be deliver'd to them. To this end, I am at thy side."

The firekeeper tends to the bonfire of the firelink shrine and to the chosen undead, in dark souls 3, the champion of ash.

"Ashen one, to be unkindled is to be a vessel for souls"

As one of the unkindled, and with the fire keeper's help, we can effectively consume collected souls and become stronger. I think not all undead can absorb souls. It is the unkindled that can. Perhaps the unkindled are specially chosen undead who serve the bonfire so it may live on, by renacting the first fire linking, which involves returning Lords of cinder to their thrones.

"Touch the darkness within me"

Oh this line...\(OvO)/, anyway, lore wise, the firekeeper, though her name has "fire" on it, her powers actually come from dark. Long ago, back to dark souls one, the world was a dark place with giant trees that rose to the heavens, ruled by mighty dragons. Fire was discovered, and this wasnt simple flame. This flame allowed man to rise up, champions and lords sprouted and overthrew the dragons. However this empowering flame was of a dark nature. In the dark souls one intro, both lords of light and dark come into power with the help of the flame. Both light and dark are able to use its power because of  their humanity as deep within man is dark, and this is the catalyst that ignites this flame, bring about the age of fire.

Back to the fire keeper, because of this nature or connection of the flame to dark, firekeepers are trained in the ways of dark. Our firekeeper has a mask that covers her eyes because she has no eyes, she is blind as this somehow aids her connection to dark and helps her with her job. To help achieve a certain different ending, you can restore the sight of the fire keeper. This changes her view and tempts her to act differently at the end, suggesting that process of training firekeepers had grown beyond simply teaching them how to do it, and became a way of sort of controlling them or influencing their behaviour. The firekeeper of darksouls 2 had eyes and did not have to be blind.

The firekeeper is undying in the sense that if the player kills her, she will result in her revival once you reload or sit at a bonfire. Unlike many other npcs that stay dead, she is probably very connected to the player's world. Or perhaps the bonfire revives her. The fire of long ago is fading, and it will take a strong humanity, a strong kindling ( 5 Lords of Cinder,  ) to keep it alive. The firekeeper must assist and empower the champion of ash so the impossible becomes doable.

Later, the firekeeper will be able to heal the dark sign once you bring her the soul of a former fire keeper. She absorbs it most likely. Looking at her dialogue, trained firekeepers seem to lose their sense of self and become one in a way.

Andre of Astora

Coal used for weapon infusion.

It is said that the giant blacksmith of Anor Londo was once the blacksmith of the gods.

Give to the blacksmith in the shrine to allow the use of gems for lightning, simple, and chaos infusion.

 My, my. the coal of that peaceful giant...
Seems like ages past... I imagine his passing was long ago.
I miss the old bugger, I do.
My thanks. I'll be sure this coal is put to good use.
I'll be smithing weapons never afore seen by the likes of y'.
It's but a small service, to pay my humble respects"

 With Andre's dialogue upon receiving the Giant's Coal it can be inferred he is the Same Andre from Dark Souls 1.

Andre revives upon death. Like the firekeeper, he is bound by the flame to serve. I dont think he can leave firelink shrine.

Firelink Handmaid

By following Siris of the Sunless Realms Questline, one finds out the the handmaid is sirris' Grandmother while Hodrick is the Handmaids husband.

Cronyx of The Great Swamp and Orbeck of Vinheim

Cronyx is an old Pyromancer Who was somehow trapped in a cage.  Cronyx seemed to emulate legends in his attire, as shown by the raven feathers he wears that referred to the former messengers of Firelink Shrine and the Black Skirt he wears that references the Wiches of Izalith/Daughters of Chaos.

 

Orbeck is an assassin that decided to try and study sorcery upon undeath.  Aside from his studies on sorcery Orbeck is also mention to be in pursuit of becoming the Lord of Hollows.

Irina and Eygon of Carim

Irina is a saint from Carim and a failed Firekeeper.  She is protected by the Knight of Carim Eygon, upon releasing Irina, Eygon relinquishes her safety to the player.  Once Irina is in Firelink there are 2 paths she can take.  She can either be redeemed and become a firekeeper or she cane become more broken and sink into the dark.  If Irina sinks into Darkness Eygon takes her away and fights the player.

Karla, The Dark Sorceress

The spurned child of the Abyss never dies, but phases in and out of its fringes. Only, there is no one to search for her any longer.

 Karla was locked up in Irrithyl Dungeon by the Prisoner Chief who enjoyed to hoard all manner of things.  This is hinted by being able to get Karla's Set from the Prisoner Chief's Ashes.

 The prisoner chief used this clout to hoard all manner of things, but died without putting them to use.  On what grounds do they remain imprisoned, considering that by now they are mindless Hollows, or unrealized, gibbering fools?

 This stained  Coat is torn and odorous, telling of a long journey and even longer imprisonment. It would be madness to wear such a thing.

 It seems Karla's Jailers had their way with her.  As illustrated by her Dialogue and Affinity Spell.

 A forbidden dark sorcery. Casts a dark manifestation of humanity.

It appears to be an expression of envy, or perhaps love towards another, that will tenaciously pursue its target. Even if, like so many human desires, it amounts to nothing but misfortune.

 Oh, there you are."
"I thought you'd all but forgotten me. How sweet."
"Good to know that a skinny little heretic can still turn heads."
Hm? Oh...you're not one of them, are you?"
"Accept my apologies, for mistaking you for one of those leeches."
"So, what business have you here?"
"This is a land of monstrosities. And I am no exception."
"You're here to save me...?"
"But I am guilty. A wretched child of the Abyss."
"Is that something you can forgive?"

Greirat The Great Thief and Unbreakable Patches

Lets start with Patches. He is a reoccuring character in the soul games. He tricks the player, hoping to end our lives and asks for forgiveness if we survive. If we dont kill the bastard, he provides some assistance, often in the form of items, and we become his "friend".

Once upon a time, a bastard once lived. Life was tough for the bastard and in response, the bastard bit back at what life threw at him, resorting to tricks, thievery and murder. His Unbreakable title may come from this persistence. Eventually he died but even as a cursed undead, Patches is still up to mischief. Patches is a cunning rogue, liar and downright *****. He is first seen wearing Siegward's armor and attempts to trick the player. Siegward is his first victim and progressing through Siegwards quest will require meeting Patches. Having stolen Siegwards armor and trapped him down a well, Patches attempts to lure you to a bridge that he lowers, which brings you to a hostile enslaved giant.


Speculation

As to how he seems to know that you met Siegward ( he tries to disguise his voice to match Siegward ) and how he strips Siegward bare and tosses him into the well... Perhaps undead can get drunk, as Siegward seems to trusting and likes to drink and give away his brew, which suggests he has a lot of it. Patches may have noticed this, befriended him and drank with him, or spiked Siegwards brew. He may had passed out, then got stripped and tossed. Probably told Patches about the player while drunk, which is why Patches sets up a trap for us.

Our next encounter with Patches is outside the bed chamber of Rosaria. He tries to fool us with the old "It wasnt me", but proud Patches removes his helm as he lowers us in his first trap. He wants his victims to know who killed them. If forgiven, we can buy items from him and continue his questline. If you browse his wares but dont find anything, Patches says "Are you sure? You could look a little harder". Lines like this emphasize his greedy and shrewd nature.

We next find him trapping us in the upper areas of fire link shrine, accessed by the key from the handmaid. With out the door, we are forced to navigate through a potentially fatal fall. If we are able to avoid the full drop, we can find Patches inside firelink shrine. If we can resist the urge to pummel the bastard, he will sell us items and reward us with a gesture. We become "friends" again! Yay!

Speculation

Infuriated that we survived the giant, and intrigued by our skill, power and potential loot. Patches wants a rematch and targets us again. His second trap is at firelink shrine.  Maybe he realized we are unkindled undead chosen by the bonfire, and are bound to return to fire link shrine. Patches could had made a walk to the shrine, or maybe he can use bonfires to travel as well, either way Patches waits for us there. He hides somewhere and when we arrive, he uses his rogue-ish skills and stalks us from a distance, with lots of ninja hiding or maybe he just waits for us at the top, in some disguise or behind some column. He traps us again hoping to kill and loot the champion of ash. Upon foiling his attempt, Patches realizes that our patience is not eternal, and befriending us would be the safer and easier way of milking us for souls.

After this, Patches stays in the shrine as a merchant and sells us various goods. Dialogue with Patches reveals that he is owes a debt to his friend, Greirat the thief, however, Patches sets up shop in the higher areas of the shrine, away from the others, unseen by Greirat. Eventually when Greirat is sent to his second pillage, you can talk to Patches, tell him of Greirats whereabouts, and, if you have not bought Siegwards armor from him yet, he will wear it and leave for a while to save Greirat. He pretty much just sits there in firelink after. He asks about Greirat the third time you send him, but he will not be able to save him.

Speculation

Patches, like Greirat, may have come from the undead settlement, as both rogues seem to have a history. Patches probably messed up an attempted robbery, or trickery and got jailed for it. Greirat may have been caught trying to free Patches. Patches may not want to show his face to Greirat because Patches may have used Greirat as a decoy so he could escape. He feels some obligation and regret for his actions, which leads him to trying to help out Greirat. He needs Siegwards armor because he doesnt want Greirat to know. Patches may have a soft side to him, but he doesnt want others to know. He takes pride in his reputation as a cunning trickster.

Yoel and Yuria of Londor , Anri of Astora and Horace

Yoel is found in the Undead Settlement despairing that he failed his mision.  He is among a number of dead pilgrims on a broken bridge facing Lothric.  When he is found he can be taken into service.  Yoel's service consists of Drawing out one's true strength by applying dark sigils.  

I am Yoel of Londor, a pilgrim as you can see, only…Somehow, I've failed to die as was ordained. 

Once Yoel has applied enough Sigils he dies and Yuria will thank you for taking him into your service.  

Umbral ash of a Hollow who faithfully served a woman, only to become separated from her.

With this, the shrine handmaid will prepare new items.It takes but a brief glance at this thing to easily envision Londor, the foreboding land of Hollows.

From Yoel's ashes it seems that he may have once served Yuria which might be why she comes upon his death.

...Oh, prithee...art thou good Yoel's master?
I am Yuria of Londor, a close friend of his.
Thanks to thee, Yoel's soul is redeem'd.
Allow me to express my gratitude, in his stead.

Following the introduction Yuria claims that you will become the Lord of Hollows and tasks you with seeking a spouse.

Our Lord and Liege.
Knowest thou of a youth/maid named Anri?
He/She is hollow, and will join thee in wedlock.
A fellow of mine guides him/her at this moment. When the time is ripe, thou mayst make thy salutations.
For what Lord taketh no spouse?"

From this it might be implied that Anri who is being led by Horace might be a hollow.

Oh, hello. How do you do. I am Anri of Astora. Unkindled, like you. This is Horace. A friend and travelling companion.

We learn in that Yuria had a traitorous sister named Elfriede. 

"Elfriede...A poor wench turned to Ash, who would abandon Londor..."

Siegward of Catarina

Greatsword with a broken blade, also known as the Giantslayer for the residual strength of storm that brings giants to their knees.

Yhorm the Giant once held two of these, but gave one to the humans that doubted him, and left the other to a dear friend before facing his fate as a Lord of Cinder

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 was a friend of Yhorms at one point and had made a promise with him. 

 

Emma, High Priestess

Emma is the one who tasks the player to seek out the Lords of Cinder and to make Prince Lothric a Lord as well.

 

Pontif Sulyvahn

 

"Sulyvahn was born and raised inside the painting yet had little use for his frigid homeland, since he had not yet experienced loss."

"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 jailers were among the few survivors inhabiting the Profaned Capital, later serving under Pontiff Sulyvahn. Perhaps the screams emanating from the cells help them forget their old home.

"Pontiff Sulyvahn of Irithyll imprisoned a god of the old royalty in the abandoned cathedral, to be fed to the devourer."

"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."

Sulyvahn seems to keep his homeland in his memory given that his Pontif Knights wield a Great Scythe akin to Sister Friede's.

"Great scythe wielded by the Pontiff's knights, frigid spirits that linger in Irithyll. "

"In the painting, the scythe is a symbol of a long-lost home, possibly explaining Elfriede's preference for it."

Sister Friede and Father Ariandel

"Friede was the first Ash to enter the painting, but together with the good Father, they chose rot over fire."

Sister Firede and Father Ariandel, reside in the Painted World.  Ariandel restored the Painted World from a destroyed state.  Sister Friede seeks to let everything in the Painting Rot to escape the Cycle.  Sister Friede was once a member of the Sable Church of Londor and is seen as a Deserter or Traitor.

 

5. Areas & Possible Connections

 

Cemetery of Ash and Firelink Shrine

     When the link of fire is threatened the bell tolls, awakening the Lords of Cinder from their graves, but they won't accomplish their mission and go away with their own ambitions.  Then unkindled will rise, nameless undead from past generations, in order to hunt down the Lords of Cinder and bring them to their thrones, so that fire can be linked again. One of these unkindled revives in the  Cemetery of Ash, an old cemetery with the purpose of stocking ashen bodies so that one day could be revived if anything goes wrong with the linking of the fire. 

The Undead Curse rises every time the fire starts to fade, and we are witnesses of this while having to survive the few inhabitants of this cemetery,  accursed guardians that have gone hollow.  Iudex Gundyr awaits in the entrance of the Firelink Shrine, juding new unkindled heroes of their worthiness of fulfilling the prophecy of rekindling the flame, as seen in the coiled sword:

"Sword missing from the shrine bonfire. Cannot be equipped as a weapon. Thrust into the shrine bonfire to restore its power and enable travel between bonfires. This sword is only bequeathed to chosen ash, as judged by the Iudex, who awaits the arrival of ash as a scabbard."

He was once an unkindled himself but arose too late to fulfill his duty, never meeting his Fire Keeper, who had been buried within the tower behind Firelink Shrine with the Estus Ring:

"This ring was entrusted to a certain Fire Keeper, but in the end she never met her champion, and the ensuing tragic farce became a favorite tale of the masses."

In the past he was strong and now he seems to be corrupted or infected by the Pus of Man. If we manage to defeat him we can acess the Firelink Shrine, a place built specifically for the act of linking the fire. Many epochs ago Lordran also had a Firelink Shrine, a place that played a crucial role because it allowed the Chosen Undead to travel to the Kiln of the First Flame.  It is hard to tell if this sanctuary is located in the same place as the old and it could be that the real shrine was lost (see Dark Firelink Shrine).

Even if you can see Lothric from here, the place looks as if it has some sort of disconnection from the real world, or as if it is in a parallel dimension, acting as a mere nexus for the unkindled, the Lords of Cinder and the First Flame. Evidence supporting this is the fact that you can see the Black Sun from any other part of the world (with the exception of Irithyll), while it remains the same in the shrine. 

Inside the shrine you can find the thrones of the Lords of Cinder, Ludleth the Exiled, the Firekeeper, the handmaid and Andre of Astora, aside from other persons that come later.  The most important character here is the Firekeeper, a blind woman able to channel your strength and tell you about your quest:

"Welcome to the bonfire, Unkindled One. I am a Fire Keeper. I tend to the flame, and tend to thee. The Lords have left their thrones, and must be deliver'd to them. To this end, I am at thy side."

"Let these souls withdraw from their vessels, Manisfestation of disparity, Illucidated by fire, ,Retreating to a darkness beyond the reach of flame. Let them assume a new master, Inhabiting ash, casting themselves upon new forms."

With Gundyr's coiled sword we can kindle the Shrine's bonfire, allowing as to travel to Lothric.

 

 

High Wall of Lothric

The High Wall of Lothric, a huge building surrounding Lothric castle,  is the first area outside the Shrine we can explore. The place is crowded with hollows and weak undead, who seem to be praying to something. It has been speculated that they are desperately praying for their prince to link the flame and end the curse.  

Among the enemies there are also two special kind of enemies. First, there are dragons, which seem to be in Lothric for an unknown reason.  The second type of enemies is the Pus of Man,  growing inside certain hollowed enemies. These enemies seem to be related to the abyss not only because its shape and colour but also because they are weak to the Undead's legion weapons, which deal more damage to abyssal creatures.

There are just two living we can find Greirat and Emma. Emma is the High Priestess of Lothric, one of the 3 pillars of the kingdom and wet nurse of the prince, as the High Priestess ring says:

"A ring engraved with a portrait of the High Priestess. Increases faith. In Lothric, the High Priestess has long been considered one of the Three Pillars of the king's rule. The High Priestess also served as the prince's wet nurse."

She finds hope in you, for Lothric to become a true Lord for his kingdoms. She also warns us about the vile dog that watches over the exit, Vordt.  This boss was once an outrider knight from Irithyll that turned into a beast like creature due to the effects of one of  the rings provided by Sullyvan.  He also seems to be related to the Dancer:

"Soul of Vordt of the Boreal Valley. One of the twisted souls, steeped in strength. Use to acquire many souls, or transpose to extract its true strength. Vordt served as an outrider knight, never far from the fleeting dancer."

 

Undead Settlement and Pit of Hollows

 

"Ever since its establishment, all manner of curses have managed to seep into the Undead Settlement. The worst of them were sealed away inside a spirit tree, but eventually the curses took their toll."

"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 lift curses."

"These teachers, all women, came to enlighten inhabitants of the Undead Settlement and sent carriers on the path of sacrifice."

"Well, what's happened here? This pit is for hollows, not for the likes of you sane folk. Or perhaps you are a Hollow, posing as otherwise?"

Road of Sacrifices and Crucifixion Woods

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The Cathedral of the Deep

Creepy dark Cathedral where Aldrich sleeps. He is awoken and influenced by his latest dream. A dream that inspires him to seek gods to consume. Even with out its Lord, the Cathedral of the deep is still quite the place of horrors. Outside is filled with inumerable dead corpses, possibly victims consumed by Aldrich, but being undead, they cant die. Inside, we have soldiers and guards who defend his resting place, and dark undead fire casting priests who serve Aldrich.

The Farron Keep

A Land of vagrants and home to the Abyss Watchers who guarded against Abyss Corruption.  Now guarded by the Watchdogs of Farron as they leave the Abyss Watchers to slumber.

Catacombs of Carthus

A Kingdom Buried by the Abyss Watchers to prevent the Spread of the Abyss.  Carthus was once ruled by a tyrannical High Lord Named Wolnir before he fell to the Abyss.

Smouldering Lake

What remains of Lost Izalith and its lakes of Lava.  The demon's that were once common in Dark Souls 1 have died out.  Now populated by Ghru and a new type of demon not seen before. 

Irithyll and Anor Londo

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Irithyll Dungeons and The Profaned Capital

Irithyll Dungeon was founded by Pontif Sulyvahn with the Survivors of the Profaned Capital.

Lothric Castle and Grand Archives

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Consumed King Gardens and The Untended Graves

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Dragon Peak

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Londor

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Dark Firelink Shrine

A dark version of fire link connected to the abyss. The place is shrouded in darkness despite nearby areas still being in day time. Lothric castle for example. You access the place by revealing an illusion after defeating the consumed king. You enter the untended graves and its a dark mirror of cemetary of ash. Filled with stronger hollows. You even fight Champion Gundyr, a stronger Gundyr that lacks the writhing growth of darkness on his back, instead his eyes glow a creepy red, as if that evil has fully merged with him. He is stronger and faster.

We also enter a mirror of firelink shrine guarded by black knights.Black knights are soldiers of Gwyn who followed him when he linked the flame. Their armour blackened by the flame, and they became ash, but they still wander. Their presence must mean that they may have tried to protect the fire here, but failed as when you enter, there is no fire, just a broken coiled sword fragment. This strange firelink shrine swallowed up in darkness is connected to the one we know because any messages we leave here will appear there. Andre's work station can be found as well. Only the handmaid is alive her, which is strange, considering that she looks weak. This maybe firelink in a different period in time, as items left behind by npcs like Greirat will appear in the dark as well, and traveling to dark fire link shrine early, skipping Greirat and Orbeck...etc killing Emma and rushing to Oceiros, will match the current firelink ( Greirats stuff wont be there, but will spawn once he actually moves in). It may also be a parallel world thing, like hunters dream from blood borne. Eitherway, the dark shrine and the real one are connected, they could be the same shrine.

 The Kiln of The First Flame

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6. ENDINGS

The Linking of The Fire

The Unkindled defeats the Soul of Cinder and relinks the Flame.  Only to Sit and wait for the next unkindled to perpetuate the Cycle. If we survive, we become a Lord of cinder.

The Age of Dark

First the Unkindled finds the Firekeeper Eyes and agrees to betray his duty.  The Unkindled defeats the Soul of Cinder and summons the Firekeeper.  The Firekeeper let's the Flame fade, reminding the Unkindled that his will all play out again.

Betrayal

First the Unkindled finds the Firekeeper Eyes and agrees to betray his duty.  The Unkindled defeats the Soul of Cinder and summons the Firekeeper.  The Firekeeper let's the Flame fade,  The Unkindle then strikes the Firekeeper and slays her as the Flame is stolen for himself.  The Unkindled is called Accursed for seeking fire for themselves.

The Usurper Of Fire

First the Unkindled must acquire the maximum number of Dark Sigils.  Then must undergo a ritual marrying Anri, The Unkindled defeats the Soul of Cinder and  Relinks the Flame.  Instead of relinknig the Flame the Unkindled steals the Power of the First Flame for himself and becomes the Lord of Hollows.

 

7. DLC

Painted World of Ariandel


"Ariandel, being the restorer of the Painted World, knew that it was painted with blood, and only blood could protect the secret."

The Painted World of Ariandel, is a restored version of the Painted World.  The Previous Painting was hinted to be destroyed by Flame.  Ariandel and Elfriede chose the Painted World as a refuge to escape the Cycle of relinking the Flame.




    • 21 Feb 2017 13:06  

      Theory 1 for the untended graves being the future of firelink shrine has a hole in it. If the untended graves were to be the future of firelink shrine (the entire tutorial), then any messages written by players in the untended graves (yourself in particular) would not appear in firelink, the cemetery in particular. As you cannot see player written messages in the cemetery because they cannot be written, you should not be able to see a message written. However, if you write a message in the untended graves, say, towards the duo crystal lizards, you are able to view it while in cemetery.

      • 11 Feb 2017 12:49  

        There's no objective evidence that shows that Yhorm was the first giant to be imprisoned in the jail. There's already a giant there and the cells are at his feet

        • 06 Feb 2017 08:11  

          Site is bugged, so i forced to write again

          01 Feb 2017 07:17
          I still can't understand why someone like Aldrich voluntarily decided to set himself on fire to enkindle the flame. It doesn't make any sense and contradict to all that is known about him.

          Anonymous
          02 Feb 2017 17:39
          That's because he didn't willingly link the flame. He was forced to do so. Did you even read the whole thing?

          Anonymous
          06 Feb 2017 16:08
          This doesn't make sense as well. If one can force someone to link the fire - it eliminates the whole plot of the series. Linking the fire always was a voluntary act of self-sacrifice. But if not, if you can just sacrifice somebody powerful enough to start a new cycle, it solves the main DS problem.
          Why Gwyn had to jump in fire by himself if he could just put someone else in it instead?

          • 01 Feb 2017 07:17  

            I still can't understand why someone like Aldrich voluntarily decided to set himself on fire to enkindle the flame. It doesn't make any sense and contradict to all that is known about him.

            • 21 Nov 2016 14:36  

              How was Ornstien able to set out to kill the nameless king if you kill him in DS1??? Orn's armour description says "..this knight, who long guarded the ruined cathedral, left the land in search of the nameless king"

              • Questions.13 Sep 2016 17:04  

                1. What is the "Age of the Deep Sea" (mentioned in Aldrich soul description) and how does it differ from the Age of Dark?<br/>2. If the "Darksign" is the sign of undeath possessed by all undead, what distinguishes it from the "Dark Sigil" present only in certain undead?

                • Why not age of greyness?03 Sep 2016 06:47  

                  If the dark soul came from the first flame and the flame fades why is there going to be a age of dark? The dark should fade alongside life, death, and light.

                  • Question of lore31 Aug 2016 12:33  

                    Answer me this dark souls experts... in this world, with its talk of kingdoms and kings, are there any regular people? Are there any people who aren't undead, or gods, or creatures? Or are they all long dead? Or are they still around, just not anywhere near Lothric? I don't understand the fantasy world kingdoms that have no subjects, or all the buildings with no workers to build them.

                    • Supposition about Dark souls world (it will be long. Very long)17 Aug 2016 11:55  

                      I've got a supposition about why this world is going that way and how it works.<br/>My supposition is that it's only a "game".<br/>All is about Original Snakes: As their name tell it, they are the Originals ones.<br/>So all my supposition is going in that way: The world of dark souls is like a great chess game, where the gameboard is the world and pieces are humans and gods.<br/><br/>We know that there is 2 sides between the original snakes: Those who want to link the fire, and those who want it to fade to dark.<br/>The first world was a world of nothing: The age of dragons, and with them Original snakes.<br/>But, what is fire? The representation of life? Of time? I think both.<br/>The world without fire, is a world of nothing, because there is nothing such as life or time.<br/>It was the real dark.<br/>Not the dark of the deep, not the dark the abyss: The original dark.<br/>Fire brought light, and with light appeared shadows: But shadows, the dark side of world that begin where the ligh end, is the dark souls: She was born with fire!<br/>So I think, the real dark was the one of the first age: The nothing.<br/>Why am I speaking about it?<br/>Because we have our first side of the gameboard: The real dark was the side of Kaathe (he maybe is it's "ruler", or maybe a simple original snake that serve it, I don't know).<br/>And to begin the game, you need an other side: Kaamp. Maybe they were both bored by immortality, and so they decided to start this game: Kaamp created the fire, and with it the first great souls, and his goal is to instaure an age of light and fire, where Kaathe, who lost his first dark when the dragons died by the light born, used the shadow of dark souls to spread darkness and come back to this first age.<br/>We now that he is behind of the dark events of the world: He created abyss, make Manus rise, and so he his the cause of Nashandra and her sisters, but he is also an important deity for Londor church, etc...<br/>And in his side, Fraamp do all what he can to protect the fire, he created the "gods", maybe the legend of the fire, maybe the cursed? <br/>In a way, the cursed make the undead, the born of dark and creature by their nature in the side of Kaathe, light the fire and protect it, even if it's against their nature!<br/><br/>So I said at the start that fire was the manifestation of life (and death) and time: For life and death, it's okay: People dies and leave, but now, what happens when fire fade?<br/>Humans became undeads. They can't die anymore, they don't live anymore, they are between: When darkness rise again, the original age come again.<br/>And for time?<br/>Well, there is something special about dark soul, it's that everything has a reason, even in it's gameplay: The hero don't become a hollow, because you become a hollow when you lost your will, and so for you, it's when you definitly rage quit the game (why not?).<br/>And for mob spawning?<br/>My theory about it: Resting to a bonfire restore the time for the undeads / unkindled / hollow / everything that live or lived. <br/>So that does not affect the wolrd itself, because the fire of the world is The First Flame (I will speak about it later).<br/>Why great ennemies doesn't respawn? <br/>Maybe because these ennemies are like you: Not simple monsters, simple hollow or unkindled: They became part of the world, part of the first flame, because their soul were stronger: Like the gods ones, like the boss ones. And so, they only respawn by "reloading the first flame".<br/>Because the first flame is a bonfire, as I said, but for the world: It restore the world itself, entirerly. Except for the one who rest to it.<br/>Reason why you're not effected by it.<br/>Yeah, I go far. But all my theory is around it:<br/>World are just board, and when the world end, it's just then end of "a game" for Kaathe and Fraamp.<br/>But the game was always won by Fraamp, because the fire was always linked.<br/><br/>Now, the endings:<br/>1) Linking the fire: Fraamp win, the fire is still here.<br/>2) Let the fire fade. Fraamp win. As said the Fire keeper, in the dark will rise other flames from the ashes of the world. Maybe, that's an other supposition, when you decided not to light the fire and it fade.. The world become the world of Dark souls 3: The world of cinders and ashes, the world that was born from the ashes of a world which fade into dark.<br/>And that make sense: Who was supposed to link the fire before you? The Younger Prince of Lothric. But he didn't and so the unkindled rised.<br/>So is your turn: You decide not to link the fire? Dark rise, but an other world of ash will born. And when you'll link the fire, you'll be back to the undead and the curse.<br/>3) Steal the fire. Honestly this one is pretty cool. If you link or not the fire, Fraamp will win because fire will continue. But.. What happen if you steal it? You come back to the first world.<br/>Yeah but why can we see people living in the end? Because they are human, remember, they are born of the dark souls, of the shadow which became the first dark when the light disapear. <br/>But why it will not become an other world of ashe? It will, maybe. In fact, while someone hold the fire, the world of the first age still exist: Because the fire is in you. Still you hold it, you can't make the world turn to ashes again, or to be linked. <br/>But if you get kill, it will turn to ashe again. So, for this ending, Kaathe win.<br/>Maybe the younger prince understood the real rules of the world, and what he called cycles where not simple the one of fire but the one of the gameboard, and the curse is not the curse of dark souls 1 and 2, but the curse of this world which is to be constantly destroyed, without hope of living forever: Stealing the fire make start the world at.. its start.<br/>A place of nothing, with nor life and death, nor time.<br/>Until someone take you the first flame and light the fire again. You have the story of Dark souls, at it's opposite: The goal is not to link the fire or make the world fade in dark, but it's to entertain the true dark or lit the fire.<br/><br/>In fact, as the principle of a game, there is no real "end". Kaamp can win, Kaathe can win, but it will start again, and again. <br/>And in fact, the 3 endings of dark souls 3 are the 3 real ending, whatever you're in a world of dark or a world of fire:<br/>1) Link the fire: Keep the fire world. Entertain the dark: Keep the dark world.<br/>2) Let the fire fade: In the dark, you will "die" as the fire "die" in fire world. From your cinders, an other king of dark can rule the dark world, or an other chosen undead can light the fire (steal the fire ending!). Into the fire world, start the world again under ashes, and give you the same choices.<br/>3) Steal the fire: Allow to make the world fade in real dark, or back to light.<br/><br/>Well, that was my supposition! If I said something wrong, tell me! I maybe didn't write it how I was thinking it, or maybe I didn't knew something that make everything turn wrong!

                      • Theory: Who Gwyn linked the 1st Flame to & who it affects...04 Aug 2016 11:18  

                        IMO I don't think there really are gods in Dark Souls. Before the Lord Souls were found, everyone and every species were the same shape, dirty black and hollow. The only difference that mattered between a god and a human was how powerful the soul was. If you had a powerful soul like the Royal Family of Gwyn, you were considered a god. If your soul power was puny, you were human, or some other race beneath a god. <br/><br/>I think it makes much more sense this way, because when Gwyn linked the 1st Flame, he wasn't actually linking it to humanity as a species specifically. He linked the 1st Flame to the fire of life that lingers in all living things and races. That fire inside has the signature or essence of life found in all souls, an essence also found in the pieces of the Dark Soul that humans inherited, which is why the Curse of the Undead spreads throughout all races and not just humans<br/><br/>Proof to this theory are the pilgrims and the giants. <br/><br/>Yhorm seems to be an giant that is not hollow, since we can observe that he is embered, has a humanoid face and the giants in DS2 and giant trees have hollowed faces. This seems to be their hollowed state. And for some reason we can see in DS2 a dead giant with a face. So if his species was a relative to Yhorm's race of giants, we can assume this was their species' unhollowed state. <br/><br/>As for the pilgrims, if their posture and long neck are anything to go by, Yoel and his fellow pilgrims are hollowed man-serpents. The only reason the Man-Serpents at Archdragon Peak weren't hollow was because they kept to themselves and as far away from the curse as possible. As for the Man-Serpent found after Oceiros' chamber, he was probably a messenger from the Nameless King sent to Oceiros to give him an invitation to come to Archdragon Peak, so they could talk about how to train your dragon.<br/><br/>Additional possible evidence to this would be the Nameless King, who has the same hollowed face as Gwyn after he linked the fire. If my theory is correct then that means the Nameless King was also affected by the Undead Curse, but having a such powerful soul he remained sane after all this time. Always.<br/><br/>So to recap the main points;<br/>1.) The only difference between gods and normal beings is how powerful your soul was.<br/>2.) Gwyn linked the 1st flame to life itself, which is why there are other races that can become hollow.

                        • Why no mention of crowns in DS3?09 Jul 2016 21:45  

                          The crowns in DS2 cured the curse or atleast treated it. why is it that this didn't play a role in darksouls 3? the only nod towards it that I can see is the crown the firekeeper wears and that doesn't tell me much. <br/>

                          • Why the four great ones in DS2?09 Jul 2016 21:41  

                            Why is it that you have to fight the four great ones in DS2 if it is clearly stated that vendrick already defeated them in this cycle?

                            • Dark Pus?08 Jul 2016 14:28  

                              Does anyone know where the dark pus that turns hollows into giant abyss creatures came from or started? Also why is it that hollowed people on the wall of Lothric are beginning to grow into trees.

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