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What’s Up Guys, I’m Dave Klein. I wanted to make a video talking about the general
story of Dark Souls 2, and clearing up some questions that I get. I think it goes without
saying that there will be massive spoilers in this video, and I don’t recommend watching
until you’ve completed the game. I’ll also be referencing Dark Souls 1. You’ve
been warned. So, let’s get started!
-- Part 1 – The Great Souls
“You, who link the fire, you, who bear the curse…
Once the fire is linked, souls will flourish anew,
And all of this will play out again. It is your choice…To embrace, or renounce
this…”
In the end of Dark Souls 1, player s are given a choice to link the fire or not. Regardless
of which choice the character makes, at the time of Dark Souls 2, it’s safe to say that
someone, be it the chosen undead from Dark Souls 1, or another hero, at some point has
linked the fire. “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.”
Once this happens, everything that happened before plays out again. A cursed cycle. History
doomed to repeat itself over and over again. Straid of Olaphis informs us:
“Many kingdoms rose and fell on this tract of earth; mine was by no means the first.
Anything that has a beginning also has an end.
No flame, however brilliant, does not one day splutter and fade.
But then, from the ashes, the flames reignites, And a new kingdom is born, sporting a new
face. It is all a curse! Heh heh heh!
And it is your cursed flesh that will inherit the flame.
Heh heh…”
One such kingdom that resided where Drangleic once did was Olaphis. But, like all kingdoms
before, it has fallen by the time of Dark Souls 2, likely during another cycle.
“Once the fire is linked, souls will flourish anew.”
When a powerful Undead links the flame, it causes this rebirth, and the cycle continues.
Great and powerful souls fly reborn, and inhabit new bodies.
We see this through the major bosses of Dark Souls 2.
During the Lost Sinner fight, you’ll see a familiar creature…
(Lost Sinner scene) One that looks just like The Witch of Izalith
from Dark Souls 1. For defeating The Lost Sinner in New Game
+, you’ll receive The Old Witch Soul, which you can trade to Ornifex for The Chaos Blade.
For defeating the Old Iron King, you’ll receive the Old King Soul,
For the Duke’s Dear Freja, The Old Paledrake Soul,
And for The Rotten, the Old Dead One Soul.
The implication being that many of the great souls from Dark Souls 1 have been reborn,
and spread into new beings. Those beings then pick up similar properties as their former
selves.
In Dark Souls 1, The Witch of Izalith created the Chaos Flame, and thus all demons in its
wake. Quelana, her daughter, views this as a sin, and something to attone for. We see
The Lost Sinner “eternally punishes herself for the sins of her past.” Her sword tells
us: “Its blade saps the life of its wielder. The true nature of this sword is unknown,
even to the Lost Sinner herself. Those who choose this sword will share the Lost Sinner’s
misdeeds.” While it’s possible she’s attoning for
her sins of The Witch of Izalith, as her Penal Set tells us “The tattered skirt is worn
in shame by the guilty. By now, no one knows who this was used to punish, or for what reason.”
I actually don’t think this is the case. I think this character, like The Witch of
Izalith, has sinned in some great way, but is atoning for some new great sin.
“ The Lost Sinner lives deep within the Bastille.
The fool, trying to light the first flame. “
While The Witch of Izalith attempted to duplicate the First Flame, it seems the Lost Sinner
tried to light first flame.
The actions of the other old ones speak onto the same theme of being related to the great
lords of the past, but not exactly the same.
The soul of “The Old Dead One”, or Nito, from Dark Souls 1, has been reborn into The
Rotten, who takes on similar properties. Like Nito, who is comprised of what he watched
over – The Dead, The Rotten is comprised of what he watches – The undead and forgotten.
He is has turned The Black Gulch into his domain, and “embraces all, in his sanctuary
for all things unwanted or tossed away.”
The Iron King, who held “Undead hunts during his reign” and “in the heyday of his land,
fancied entertaining dubious and eccentric guests from faraway lands,” also carries
a great soul. His being the “Old King soul”
“It reminds me of someone who lived long ago.
A vainglorious liar who ended up hurling himself into the flames.
Now he’s Icarous earth if I’m not mistaken.”
By trading the Old King’s soul to Ornifex, you’ll receive the Dragonslayer Greatbow,
and for trading the Old King Soul to Straid, you can receive the miracle Blinding Bolt,
“Crafted in ancient times by the God of Sun, but later forbidden by the same deity.
Was it to protect the world from hatred, or sorrow?” – The implication being the Old
King is supposed to represent Gwyn, Lord of Sunlight and Cinder.
And finally, we have the Duke’s Dear Freja, whose soul is associated with the “Old Paledrake
Soul”. Trading this soul to Ornifex will net you the Moonlight Greatsword, “The blade
of this greatsword shines like the brilliant rays of the moon. In the oldest legends, rarely
spoken today, it is said the sword was born of a great white being.”
“Oh, it’s like that awful traitor long ago,
He coveted what he did not have, and it drove him mad.”
The clear implication being this is Seath.
All of these great souls are de scribed as: “Soul of the ineffable. The once-magnificent
soul continues to exert influence over the land, even after the eons have reduced it
to these remnants.”
“Once the fire is linked, souls will flourish anew.”
Gwyn, Seath, Nito, and The Witch of Izalith can all be accounted for, as well as Ornstein.
His souls seems to be reborn in the “Old Dragonslayer”, who inherits his Old Leo
ring.
Now, the most important of these souls is the Soul of Nashandra. “Nashandra was born
of the Dark with an insatiable lust for strength. Use the special soul of this prisoner of desire
to acquire numerous souls.” She is “The old one of the Abyss, [who] was reborn in
death, split into miniscule fragments, and spread across the land.” “The tiniest
of these pieces, precisely due to its size, was the first to restore its form,” “The
pieces began to coalesce once again, becoming human in shape.”
This soul, reborn, is the soul of Manus, and has a vital role in shaping the land of Drangleic.
Nashandra was “the smallest of pieces, [which], sensing its own fragility, yearned for what
it lacked.” This yearning seemed to be for power and strength. The soul manifested itself
into Nashandra, and the woman who would become the Queen of Drangleic.
-- Part 2 – The Founding of Drangleic
“What makes a king? Some say that it is birthright, while others call it destiny.
Perhaps it is not important, as long as the king’s name serves to unite his people.”
King Vendrick rose to power in the land of Drangleic before it was known as such. He
fought with warriors, prepared to die for him, whom he granted Royal Soldier Rings,
“These were granted to warriors who distinguished themselves in the service of King Vendrick.
The king favored simple warriors who staked their every battle on strength alone.”
He also utilized Dragonriders. These Dragonriders were “King Vendrick’s royal guard. According
to legend, the Dragonriders straddled not horses, but wyrms.”
“Together with the King, they crushed its former inhabitants and erected a magnificent
kingdom upon their graves.”
There to help Vendrick gain power over Drangleic was his brother, Aldia. “They say that Lord
Aldia was the King’s elder brother and helped found Drangleic, but he later lost interest
in the land’s fortunes.”
Aldia was known for his experiments, and it’s quite possible that the Wyrms the Dragonriders
rode on were actually creations of Aldia’s.
For, Aldia liked to experiment on various creatures. “The mysterious Lord Aldia secluded
himself inside a manor to conduct various experiments. Those invited to the manor disappeared,
replaced over time with malformed beasts that roamed its halls.”
While his halls are filled with mutated creatures found throughout the game, beyond the manor
lies the Guardian Dragon, as well as the Dragon Aerie.
King Vendrick was loved by his subjects, but something happened… something that would
change him. A curse spread throughout the land, one that desperately frightened him,
and one that he would be inflicted with himself. The curse of the Undead.
King Vendrick tried everything to rid himself of that which he feared. “Long ago, the
dungeons overflowed with the accursed, and the King commanded a contorted sentry to deliver
those who had no cells to a faraway and, and to make certain they were never heard from
again.” He tried to put the Undead out of sight, and out of mind, sending them far away
to the Lost Bastille.
He hired Mad Warriors from foreign lands as well as Shadow Knights from Mirrah to counter
the Undead. “In an attempt to stave off the curse, King Vendrick hired shadowmen to
put down the Hollows, but before long they were Hollowed themselves.”
I believe it likely the Pursuer was also a creation of King Vendrick’s, for “The
Pursuer hunts down those branded by the curse, as if each Undead soul that he claims will
atone for his sins.”
At some point, King Vendrick met his queen, Nashandra. It seems it was Nashandra’s doing
that caused him, in a desparate measure, to cross the sea and invade the land of the Giants.
“Soon, the Giants will descend upon this fort.
It is revenge, for the Kingdom’s misguided barbarism.”
“The venerable Lord build this kingdom To bring prosperity to His subjects.
What has transformed him so, I can not imagine.”
I believe Nashandra tempted the King, to steal a “prize” from the Giants, a great and
wondrous soul that would help temporarily “cure” him of his curse.
“A powerful soul is like a curse. And Vendrick, King of Drangleic, used a powerful soul to
keep the curse at bay. King Vendrick sought greater souls, and made the giants’ strength
his own, but even still, the curse overcame him.”
“Long ago, the King crossed the seas, pillaged the land of Giants, and brought back
a “prize.” It was then that the golems materialized.”
-- Part 3 – The Fall of a Kingdom
--
“Drangleic’s been a pile of rubble since the war fought long, long ago.
Since the giants crossed the sea. Seemed like the battles would never end.
Poor folk like myself had nary a place to sleep.”
The giants came to Drangleic with a vengeance. “The Giants landed on the northern shores,
and set siege to King Vendrick’s castle to claim an invaluable prize.”
King Vendrick sent his best men to fight off the Giants, but they were woefully unprepared.
“King Vendrick supplied his bravest men with the best armor available to face the
great giants, but very few returned alive.” “Sir Syan was widely known as the kingdom’s
most leal knight, and when the Giants invaded, he volunteered to lead the advance party,
but was slaughtered most dishonorably. The King commissioned replicas of Syan’s accouterments
and bestowed them to promising knights, but not long after they donned the armor did they
go thoroughly mad.”
For multiple generations, the giants laid siege upon Drangleic.
“My father, and his father, both fought the Giants on this very land.
The Giants have wills of steel. They cannot find it within themselves…
To forgive the misdeeds of our lord.”
Not only did Captain Drummond fight against the giants, but so too did his family. “Captain
Drummond’s ancestors have served Drangleic for generations, principally as defenders
of the great fort, but Captain Drummond is the last in this proud line. In his day, King
Vendrick was fair and just, and expected the same of his liegemen. This helm was proof
of King Vendrick’s trust, an honor, until his transfiguration…”
And, with the Cursed Undead traveling into the memories of the giants, “The Giants
were eventually defeated by an unnamed hero, but alas, victory came all too late.”
Even beyond death, the Giants were still enraged at King Vendrick. “Will the Giants’ resentment
for the King be pacified in death, or only emboldened?” It would seem their resentment
was emboldened, for the more Giant Souls the player acquires, the more they can damage
King Vendrick.
While the land was enveloped in war, King Vendrick and his brother, Lord Aldia, eventually
had a falling out.
Though King Vendrick wanted to do nothing but seal away the Undead Curse, his brother
Aldia was obsessed with discovering its cause. “The peculiar figure known as Lord Aldia
attempted to uncover the secrets of life itself, and viewed the Undead as a key to this mystery.”
“King Vendrick condemned his own elder brother to the mansion. They both sought the truth,
but through different means, and their fervor meant the eventual withering of their familial
ties.”
Aldia conducted horrific experiments, “To imagine what unspeakable deeds were performed
to create [the northern and southern ritual bands], one need only recall the cruel fate
of the residents of Aldia.” He invited acolytes and sages to help him
in his work. “Several of the greatest minds converged in Aldia to weave strange new rituals,
but rumors suggest that during the course of their work… their thoughts were not their
own.”
He utilized the Giants in Drangleic, and “The peculiar figure known as Lord Aldia kept Giants
in his manor, and attempted to recreate a dragon, but after some time, was not heard
from again.”
In fact, one such creation of his was… The Ancient Dragon.
“You’ll find a great creature far to the east.
A colossal thing, with the strength to match its size.
Or something playing the part, at least.”
“Brave Undead, You’ve met that dragon?
That living, breathing sham? A false deity, offering nothing.”
“In the far eastern outskirts of Drangleic lies an old manor that is now long forgotten.
As it should be, for the things that lurk there are better left unknown.”
It seems Aldia succeeded in creating Dragons. We also know the Ancient Dragon was, in fact,
created using a Giant’s Soul. For – after defeating the Ancient Dragon it drops just
that – indicating it isn’t a true dragon.
Lord Aldia disappeared at one point, and it’s also very possible (And note, this is a speculation)
that the Ancient Dragon is Lord Aldia transformed. “Ancient Dragon quote with us.”
Regardless, in his toils and attempts at creating Dragons, Lord Aldia also created Shanalot,
or… The Emerald Hera.d. “My name is Shanalotte
The dragon gave me this name, For I was born with none.
I was born of dragons, contrived by men. By ones who would cozen fate herself…
They are the ones who created me.”
Lord Aldia attempted to create Shanalotte in order to counter the curse,
“But they failed. I did not come out as intended.
Fate would not be bested, and men were cursed once again.”
“They say that she is the last firekeeper. But they say a lot of things.
(They say?) But she’s a gentle, lighting the way for you cursed fools.
Nonsense.”
Despite their falling out, King Vendrick did utilize his brothers research. His Looking
Glass Knight uses the “King’s Mirror”, a “Looking Glass at the castle [that] is
said to have been a passage to another world.” We find multiple looking glasses in Aldia’s
manor, indicating this was something he actually created.
Additionally, the Mastadons that guard Drangleic Castle were experiments of Aldia’s. “Whatever
was created by Lord Aldia was lost with his disappearance, but the King attempted to revivie
these things, even if only fragments remained.” King Vendrick utilized his brothers techniques
and “restored a forbidden, long-lost art to create these inhuman abominations.”
Eventually, the King grew steadily more hollow. While it’s not implicitly said, I believe
it’s possible he began to realize Nashandra’s intentions – her want to keep the world
in dark.
“If you proceed, Nashandra will come after you.
Knowing that you will take the throne and link the fire.
She covets the first flame and the great soul.”
“Fearing something wicked, the King fled the castle and never returned. But his warrior,
forever true to his command, stands ready to expunge those who would challenge him.”
King Vendrick fled to the Undead Crpyt, with his trusty royal aegis, Velstadt.
“The great king shut himself away, and was soon reduced to a mere shell. Just what was
it that he yearned to protect?” Here he remained in the Undead Crypt, where he withered
away and hollowed out. “The King was wasted away, a shadow of his former self, but still
held something dear.” The dear item that he protected and clutched onto being his King’s
Ring.
The King’s Ring is of vital importance, as it allows passage to Aldia’s Manor, where
the Ashen Mist Heart resides; The King’s Ring allows access to Jeigh, a fallen giant
whose memories contain the Giant’s Kinship. – A necessary item for reaching the Throne
of Want. And finally… the King’s Ring allows passage to the Throne of Want itself.
So, why flee to the Undead Crypt? It seems King Vendrick was trying to keep all of this
away from Nashandra. His image of her painted in Drangleic castle curses all who come near,
and “Only the King knows whether the depiction of the Queen is a resentful mockery, or an
affectionate exaltation.”
In order to reach the Undead Crpyt, first visitors must fight his guard The Looking
Glass Knight in order to gain passage to the Shrine of Amana. In the Shrine of Amana reside
the Milfanito. And, I have to give props to my buddy, and fellow Dark Souls uploader,
TerraMantis, for pointing the following out to me:
“When we sing, the little ones dance. The little ones grant comfort to those who
bear death and dark. This is what we were taught.”
While the Milfanito are singing, none of the cursed frog-like creatures will attack the
player, but they will agro against the player once the Milfanito stop singing. It’s possible
Nashandra, a being who’s very essence is the Dark, cannot pass through the Shrine of
Amana, as the song would affect her.
We find a captured Milfanito in Drangleic Castle, locked away, and I believe it likely
Nashandra captured her in order to discover a way into the Shrine.
Nashandra ends up waiting, and setting any Undead who approach her on various tasks in
order to open the way to the Throne of Want. She bides her time, waiting for someone to
clear the way for her, find the Giant’s Kinship, and kill the Throne Watcher and Defender
who protect the Throne of Want from one like her.
And here is where your tale, as the cursed undead begins.
Alright guys, that wraps up the story of Dark Souls 2. There are still mysteries to be solved,
and other storylines, but I hope you enjoyed my take on what happened in Drangleic. If
you have other interpretations, I’d love to hear, as this is still early on and as
a community we’re still discovering new details about the game. For another great
video on the story of Dark Souls 2, I highly recommend checking out Rachel, aka Quelaag’s
video on the story, as she does a fantastic job explaining what happened. And, for more
lore, you can check out my Location Guide videos on the surrounding lands of Drangleic.
I hope you guys enjoyed, and I’ll see you next time. Peace.
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Dark Souls 2 Lore - The Story

4332 Folder Collection
Tom Zen published on October 2, 2014
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