In the Dark Souls universe, stories are ever-present, shaping the world around you as you dive straight into madness and work to reset the clock for the First Flame with each passing attempt at the game. Every story in the universe branches off into its own line, developing itself with a cast of supporting characters and intimidating enemies. These stories are often pieced together like puzzles though, especially if they contain major pieces of lore within their narratives.
Like many video game worlds, Dark Souls is a franchise filled with epic tales of battle and betrayal – but what many might not realize is that many tales of sadness and sorrow punctuate Dark Souls gameplay. Many individuals within the world of Dark Souls have given everything in order to save another or something they hold dear, protecting it from the evil that surrounds them.
With that said, here are some of the saddest stories from the Dark Souls franchise.
The Legend of Artorias the Abyss Walker
Once Gwyn had claimed the above with the Witch of Izalith and Gravelord Nito with the power of their Lord Souls, Gwyn ushered in the Age of Fire and brought peace to the above. In order to defend his realm Lord Gwyn appointed four trusted knights: Dragonslayer Ornstein, Hawkeye Gough, Lord’s Blade Ciaran and Knight Artorias.
As time went on Darkstalker Kaarthe began to tempt the Four Kings who ruled over New Londo with the ability to drain humanity for their service. His ultimate goal? To return every fragment of humanity to the Abyss, as every piece of humanity in existence is a fragment of the Dark Soul. After seducing them with evil and turning their loyal knights into [Darkwraiths](http://darksouls.wikia.com/wiki/Darkwraith_(Enemy), the entirety of New Londo was flooded in order to contain the threat they posed to the realm.
Eventually Oolacile became threatened by the Abyss and Knight Artorias was sent to save the land as well as rescue Princess Dusk from the clutches of Manus, Father of the Abyss. When he arrived with his wolf companion Sif, the two were completely overwhelmed by the power of the Abyss and started to succumb to the darkness – but Artorias sacrificed himself to the Abyss in order to safe Sif by protecting him with his shield. Sif watched as his master was consumed by the darkness, halting the spread of the Abyss with his sacrifice and protecting his loyal companion.
During the events of the first Dark Souls DLC, the player character descends into the Abyss in order to finish the task Knight Artorias started. But in order to traverse the Abyss the player needs to obtain his ring located at his grave in Darkroot Garden.
Upon arriving at the grave the player character is approached by Sif, who has been guarding his masters grave ever since he was consumed by the Abyss…the player character reaches out in an effort befriend the Great Wolf, but it fails – Sif becomes hostile after letting out a loud howl, knowing that he must defend his masters grave so that nobody else will be consumed by the darkness of the Abyss.
If you wish to progress through the questline, you’ll have to kill the Great Grey Wolf Sif who fights you using his master’s sword knowing that he’s just trying to protect you from the same fate as Artorias. After defeating Sif and claiming his ring for yourself you’ll then be able to pass through part of Oolacile in the past where you will meet and slay Artorias himself before going on to rescue Princess Dusk and defeat Manus.
Sinh, The Slumbering Dragon
Sinh was a sleeping dragon present at some time during the Dark Souls universe, who was found by the people of Shulva, Sanctum City. The leader of this city, the Sunken King, order his people to build the city around Sinh’s resting place and build a sanctum to protect the sleeping dragon from intruders. The Sanctum Soldiers kept watch over the dragon while the Sanctum Priestesses sang to soothe Sinh while he slept.
As they continued this process, they appeared unaware that deep within him Sinh was harboring a dangerous poison – one which could have killed the dragon and all of those within Shulva.
But an organization known as the Drakeblood Knights came in force to kill Sinh and take his blood. The knights worshipped the blood of dragons and saw it as divine – believing that by obtaining it they could truly understand life, transcending their own existence. Led by Sir Yorgh, the Drakeblood Knights mounted an offensive against Shulva in order to kill Sinh. The Sunken King made an effort to defend Sinh while the priestesses sang to him in order to keep him asleep during the battle.
In the end however, they failed and Sir Yorgh attacked the dragon; piercing Sinh through his chest. The wound restored Sinh to his true self by expelling the poison that had built up inside of the dragon over the ages, but that same poison spread across the entire city killing everyone who inhabited it.
Centuries later the player character in Dark Souls 2 has the opportunity to visit Shulva in the first piece of downloadable content available for the game. While exploring the Sanctum City you’ll find the remnants of that which existed before the siege, still protected by the undead legions of the Sunken King. Each soldier is coated in the poison let loose from Sinh who now roams the city alone, attacking those who try to come close to his sanctum.
Siegward of Catarina
In the Dark Souls universe, Catarina is an area known for its festivity, drinks and the cheerfulness of its citizens. The area is also known for its loyal knights, who are proud individuals seeking adventure that wear very distinctive pieces of armor shaped like onions. In the first Dark Souls game we met Sieglende and her father Siegmeyer, but in Dark Souls 3 we get to meet another optimistic individual from Catarina: Siegward.
During Dark Souls 3 you’ll first encounter Siegward of Catarina in the Undead Settlement as he is trying to reach the top of a cathedral in order to speak with a giant. After ascending the tower, you’ll be able to speak with the giant and resolve Siegward’s problem – who will thank you once you meet him outside the back of the tower.
You’ll continue to encounter him throughout Dark Souls 3, helping him along his journey by recovering his armor and freeing him from a prison cell within the Profaned Capital. But throughout this entire questline you’ll notice that Siegward won’t tell you much about his journey…at least until you encounter Yhorm the Giant.
One of the Lords of Cinder, Yhorm is the descendant of an old conqueror who was once a great ruler of those whom he subjugated. As a skilled combatant and ruler Yhorm was asked to become a Lord of Cinder at some point in the past, linking the First Flame in order to keep the Age of Fire alive for those in the world around him. Before he became a Lord of Cinder however, he passed a part of a weapon which could kill him known as Stormruler to a loyal friend and forced him to make a promise.
If you’ve completed Siegward’s questline before reaching you’re the boss encounter with Yhorm you’ll discover that Yhorm’s loyal friend is Siegward of Catarina. During the opening cutscene of the boss encounter Siegward will step up next you and say:
“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.
Not only does this imply that Siegward and Yhorm were once great friends, but that also means he had to witness as Yhorm descended into madness after becoming a Lord of Cinder. Odds are that Yhorm handed Siegward Stormruler before becoming a Lord of Cinder, making his loyal friend promise that if he were to fall to madness, Seigward would find and kill him so that he might be free of his eternal curse.