Dark Souls 2 Lore Discussion/Speculation Thread (spoilers)

#1 Posted by SunBroZak (1114 posts) -

The other thread that wasn't meant for lore or spoilers has been taken over by said talk, so I figured we needed a place to air out all our theories, questions and answers. As stated in the title, the spoilers will be explicit, so be warned. Once/if the discussion kicks off a little, I may begin the start collecting the facts and theories in this first post, as I think it'd be cool to have a database of sorts. But I'll wait and see what the interest is like.

I'll kick things off. The 4 Lord Souls of the first game can be acquired from the 4 new bosses (Duke's Dear Freja, Lost Sinner, The Rotten, Old Iron King) in NG+. How do you think they acquired said souls? I've seen some interesting theories about reincarnation being passed around, but I'd like to hear what you guys think.

#2 Edited by Garr123 (14 posts) -

Things I picked up on my play through:

The Queen is Manus, or a piece of Manus.

Solaire may have been the one who linked the fire, since it says a saint did it and he seems to be regarded as a saint in other flavor text. In DS1 you see him link the fire in his world if you summon him for the fight with Gwyn regardless of what you decide to do.

The little bug that crawls into The Lost Sinner is the Witch Of Izalith/Bed of Chaos.

Manscorpion Tark might be Black Iron Tarkus?

Drangleic is already consumed by the Abyss according to Rosabeth, and you fall into the Abyss to get there in the intro.

#3 Posted by development (2315 posts) -

So... a lot of things.

I think the Ancient Dragon was merely a creation of Aldia (possibly even Aldia himself), created from the soul of a giant (you only get a Giant Soul from it, instead of the appropriate Ancient Dragon soul). It isn't made clear if the giant dragon in Brightstone Cove's boss room is the same dragon (what the hell are those rocks supposed to be, anyway? Looks like vomit). Seems it could go either way. I suspect it's merely a different ancient dragon, petrified underground. The memory you delve into is that particular dragon's memory of the time before Gwyn, as is backed up by the Ancient Dragon soul's description and by what we know and have seen of that time from DS1 and its intro cinematic.

Nashandra calls the dragon "a prop; a false deity" if you speak to her after meeting with the dragon. It's unclear if that is merely her opinion and hatred or if she knows something we don't. I suspect this is supposed to be true in one way or another.

What is the "great prize" Vendrick and Nashandra pillaged from the "Northern Land?" I suspect it was the First Flame itself. I also think the much-feared Northern land is Lordran itself, with Dangleic's land only becoming the "new" Lordran after the flame was moved there, distorting time along with it (and allowing for a multiplayer video game to occur!).

Big question: why the hell did Vendrick (or anyone else?) want to build a kingdom in a land that no one could get to? Is this land actually isolated, or is it just like "the edge of the world," in that you can move towards it but never find it by conventional means (hence the whirlpool in the intro). It's just confusing to me. Were the citizens of this particular kingdom always undead? If so, then why did the Old Iron King "round up the undead?" That would mean rounding up everyone. Doesn't make sense. If everyone at one time or another was not undead, then how the hell did they get there in the first place? Are black whirlpools common transportation nowadays?

I haven't even found the Dark covenant, or whatever the name is (though I know how, and will do so pretty shortly), so perhaps some of this will be answered there, like in the last game.

#4 Posted by Shirogane (3573 posts) -

We can assume the Priscilla found a way to get out of the painting because of the existence of Ornifex, and some of the things she says.

The Heide Tower area has a lot of architecture that is very similar to Anor Londo, whether this is Anor Londo or just another city created to look like it is unknown though. If it is the latter, was it created by the people who left Anor Londo, like Gwynevere etc? And if that is true does this mean that that was the real Ornstein we fought and that the one in the original game was an illusion or fake somehow?

Notice that when you kill 'Vendrick' you don't get his soul, you find it in the Shrine of Amana behind a locked door in a chair. A small human sized chair. Does this mean that that giant you fought isn't the real Vendrick?

Also in the Shrine of Amana are the...what are they called? Those singing ladies. A lot of what they speak about if you talk to them seems very much to have to do with Nito or something similar.

I've mentioned this part before as well but i'll just say it again here. In the first game the giant blacksmith and Gough were referred to as giants. We never saw what they actually looked like, but the giants in this game are...to put it simply, freaky. Is this what those two also looked like or are these something different? These giants seem a lot more primitive than those two, and maybe less intelligent?

#5 Posted by development (2315 posts) -

@shirogane: Like the gods and the environments and a lot of other things in the game, I think the similar areas are "reincarnations" of the areas that stood before them. For some reason the land that was once Anor Londo sunk into the ocean (simple erosion? Nah... not in this universe), and the people there just kept rebuilding after each "cycle" (the flame dying, a chosen undead relighting it, repeat) in reverence for the old architecture, much as people do in the real world. Seems it actually sunk really recently, as Heide's blue buildings are the ones sitting there, and the Blue Sentinels are seemingly a fairly modern thing in this world (the armor merchant mentions his homeland's businesses being bullied by mafia-like Blue Sentinels), alongside the covenant's clear prevalence in the game.

I think it is assumed that Nashandra gradually tightened Vendrick's leash and sucked him dry of his souls until she ultimately took his soul. I haven't killed him yet, though, so I don't really know what the room you find his soul in looks like.

The Melifinitos are -- I think -- trying to say they were created and tutored by Nito himself (The Great Dead One), to comfort the dead (Nito's realm). Seeing as this is a land of a recurring cycle, it's also possible The Great Dead One is merely the 'last' "Nito," but I tend to think From is telling us it's the real deal.

As per your last point... that's interesting. Gough's helmet says the creators made a mistake with it because giants were typically known to be blind... and I'm pretty sure those club-wielding giants in the Black Gulch do the exact same "where'd he go?" thing that Gough does if you fight him. Could have also been because I lit a torch, though, as I don't think the giants in any of the dream sequences acted blind and I definitely didn't have a torch in those. But ultimately I personally think the Giants are supposed to be some hybrid of humanity-infused archtree stuff... hence them becoming trees, as well as coveting the thing Nashandra stole (a Dark-seeking reincarnation of Manus)... and I donno their faces remind me of the humanity sprites.

#6 Edited by Oni (2098 posts) -

Okay, here's my theories/musings on some of this stuff.

Drangleic is huge, much bigger than the Lordran we explore in Dark Souls. I think parts of it may or may not overlap with lands mentioned in Dark Souls, particularly Vinnheim, as found in the description of the dragon crest ring, I believe. I don't think it's built on Lordran, though I initially did. It might still. I think Heide's Tower of Flame isn't Anor Londo, I think it's where Gwynevere and her husband Flann, the god of Flame(!) went when they left Anor Londo, hence the similar architecture and the presence of Ornstein, who I think is actually the real deal. Note the statues in the Cathedral that bear Gwyn's sword and armor. Gwyn is deified, but his visage has been forgotten with time. On the other hand, I was fairly convinced the Throne of Want is built on the Kiln of the First Flame. It just makes a lot of thematic sense. But it's hard to say, so I'm really not certain. But remember the ending: The maiden talks about linking the flame, but there is no flame in sight. You walk into a dark room, sit on a throne and the doors close. It's super weird. But it's suggested that the throne shapes the world according to the wishes of whoever sits on it. Link the flame, don't link the flame - it doesn't matter. That's what I like about the ending, because the game suggests both DkS1 endings can be canon, as the cycle repeats itself anyway.

The similarities to Dark Souls are more to do with the story's themes, I think, than the actual plot. It's stated many times in many ways that the cycle repeats - kingdoms fall and rise again on the same spots. The fire dies out and eventually kindles again, and a new undead curse rears its head. The stronger the fire, the stronger the curse. We have four Great Souls that are strongly influenced by the original Great Souls, those of Gwyn, Seath, the Witch of Izalith and Nito. In their descriptions it says that even though the Souls are fragments of their former selves, they continue to exert a powerful influence (paraphrasing here). So the Lost Sinner, who somehow ended up with the Old Witch's soul, tried to do the exact same thing, recreate the first flame, and failed. The Lord of Brightstone (Seath's soul) conducted terrible experiments and transformed his people. Note the room he is in is very reminiscent of the Archives. He imbued a spider with the old Paledrake soul and it grew terribly out of proportion. The Old Iron King was consumed by fire, like Gwyn. And finally, the Rotten is just a twisted monstrosity made of corpses that tries to make living stone dolls, it seems, but he cannot create life, which seems to frustrate him, looking at his intro cinematic. Whether they got these souls from Vendrick, or if the mere existence of the Old Souls influenced beings in the land and attracted certain characters, I don't know. It's possible that the Old Souls are what Vendrick took from the Giants. I think if we solve this mystery, a lot of things will fall into place.

Whatever Vendrick took from the Giants, I think he used it on himself to try and make himself stronger, but he had to abandon his soul in the process. We're told several times that he "peered into the essence of the soul", and I'm guessing his own, because he left it behind, probably when running from the Queen. Then again, his throne in the castle is a lot larger than the chair we find his soul on, so just as likely he did it earlier. In fact yeah, let's go with that. Again, huge question marks here for me is what did he take from the Giants, what did he do to make himself huge and rim himself of his own soul. And it also says that in the end, "he still held onto something dear", and "what was he trying to protect?". The King's Ring is the only thing in the room with him, which leads us to the Throne of Want, the Giant King memory and Aldia's Keep.

I straight-up have no idea what the Ancient Dragon's deal is. But interesting to note that he has a giant soul and is apparently "a prop; a false deity", I missed that dialogue. Created by whom, for what purpose? What interest could a dragon have in mortal affair to begin with? The curse doesn't affect them. Similarly, I'm baffled by Shanalotte. She doesn't say much of anything about herself until her very last dialogue, and that was so cryptic. "Created by dragons, contrived by men", I believe. Possibly the result of one of Aldia's experiments? Note that her right eye, the one you cannot see, is a different color, purple-ish. I don't know the significance of her feather either. It says "she imagined a world of endless possibilities". hmm.

A final note, with all the themes of reincarnation/history repeating, Dark Souls 2 has a very purgatorial feeling, to me. There are also strong suggestions that the Throne of Want has the power to change the world/history. I believe the history we get from Wellager is different than what we see in the Memories, but I'm fuzzy on the details. This complicates matters further. Perhaps Vendrick used the Throne to change the history with the giants. Perhaps he never got to use it. But the intro, immersing the player in water, which has very religious connotations, eg baptism, death in Hinduism, is very dreamlike. We then come to Things Betwixt, a limbo. Then we emerge in Drangleic, with no past memory. Seems like everyone in this world is either being punished for something, or is a mirror for something/someone in Dark Souls. Some of the area transitions are also completely impossible, like from Earthen Peak to Iron Keep. Maybe a lot of the plot isn't literally happening. Maybe Drangleic isn't even real. I know people are going to hate that idea, and I kind of do too. But I found the purgatorial tone, like everything is kind of a half-remembered dream, interesting. Especially with the prevalence of Memories, sins of the past coming back to roost, all the parallels to Dark Souls, history repeating, it all ties in together. Thematically and tonally anyway, Dark Souls 2 is consistent as hell, even though visually it isn't always.

If you read all this crap, congratulations. Sorry for wasting your time with my ramblings.

#7 Edited by Steadying (1212 posts) -

So I have a question that someone might be able to clear up for me......Drangleic is what was previously known as Lordran, right? Some NPC's heavily imply this, particularly the blacksmith's daughter, but I'm not sure if anyone ever actually flat out says this is the case.

Or, let me rephrase that: it stands where Lordran used to?

Online
#8 Edited by Shirogane (3573 posts) -

@steadyingmeat: @oni: @development: Many NPCs do state that there were kingdoms before Drangleic on the spot, but nobody ever specifically states that it was Anor Londo/Lordran that the area is. Straid mentions something along the lines of 'so this place is called Drangleic now', meaning that even when he was active it wasn't Drangleic, but it probably wasn't Lordran/Anor Londo either. The only thing we really have is the Heide area, and even then that's not enough to say whether it's Anor Londo or a replica, and even if we do answer that we dont' know if the replica was built on top of Anor Londo or in a totally different land, as mentioined above.

Can't believe i didnt' notice that melfanito thing, or milfanito, or...you get the idea, it ends with nito i'm pretty sure about that part. That seems like a very obvious clue.

Does anybody know more about Aldia? Knowing more about this person might give us some more info to go on about other things, considering they seem related to the dragons.

#9 Posted by Oni (2098 posts) -

Can't believe i didnt' notice that melfanito thing, or milfanito, or...you get the idea, it ends with nito i'm pretty sure about that part. That seems like a very obvious clue.

Does anybody know more about Aldia? Knowing more about this person might give us some more info to go on about other things, considering they seem related to the dragons.

The Milfanito's clearly reference Nito, The First Dead One, yes. Also, Agdayne in the Crypt mentions he's a Fenito, keeper of the Dead. Nito's influence is still around.

Aldia was Vendrick's brother. At first, they worked together to try to solve the mysteries of the Soul, but eventually their methods caused them to split. Likely because Aldia was doing horrible experiments and Vendrick wasn't having any of that. Aldia tried to recreate dragons, but something went wrong, possibly, as we see from the animated Dragon skeleton in the hall. However! Note the Ancient Dragon has a Giant's Soul, when you kill him. I just made this link, but with Nashandra saying the Ancient Dragon is a fake, as mentioned above, and the Aerie's connection to Aldia's Keep, it seems plausible that Aldia used the soul of a Giant to recreate an ancient Dragon. Perhaps the Dragon still has some memories of his past existence, which is why he gives you the Ashen Mist Heart, so you can see the memories of his comrades. The only Ancient Dragon Soul we get is from the Memory in the Duke's place, which is possibly the final resting place of the last Ancient Dragon (the drakes and even Kalameet are just derivatives. Even the Dragon in Ash Lake is teensy compared to the Ancient ones).

#10 Posted by DrMechano (43 posts) -

So far nobody actually knows, there is a debate as to whether Drangleic stands where Lordran use to be or whether it stands where Vinheim use to be, the developers have said it took place on a different continent.

With regards the discussion of the Lords Souls, I'm interested Oni did you happen to get that theory off of youtube comments on a Vaatividya video or come to conclusion seperately because rather oddly I posted the exact same theory on that video. I'm not saying you stole it, infact it is kind of nice that a theory has more than one mind coming to the same conclusion seperate from one another.

The Idea that the holders of each of the Lords souls are doomed to repeat their actions, the holder of the Witch's soul will always try to recreate the first flame when it begins to fade as the Witch did. Infact from the cutscene which shows the 'thing' crawling into her mask and seemingly possessing her body, it suggests that she IS what was actually the Bed of Chaos, she still is the thing the Witch of Izalith became since it is identical to the creature you 'kill' in Dark Souls 1 in order to complete the Bed of Chaos fight all be it much smaller. This may be because the Lost Sinner was stopped before she could go the whole hog and bring about birthing demons into the world (supported by the fact that there are no true 'demons' in Dark Souls 2. The Smelter Demon seems to be more of a construct). There are many types of undead, mutated creatures, ugly wildlife, constructs and golems but no Demons in the same way as Dark Souls which had its little family of them (The Demon trio, Capra and Tarus).

As you said, the Old Iron King was obsessed by and then consumed by flame, such is the fate of all holders of Gwyn's soul. Now the Paledrake soul is a rather odd one since in the original game Seathe didn't have his own Lord Soul, he was granted a fragment of Gwyn's soul. One would assume that if Vendrick really did steal the Lord Vessel from Lordran (which there is hints and evidence of) that the fragments would have rejoined the whole. Why is there not a fifth Lord Soul, the Old Soul of the Dark Kings as it were to represent the Four Kings?

I'm assuming that Seathe's fragment took on a part all of its own, his experimentation in the hunt for immortality and madness this caused changed the very nature of the fragment of the Lord Soul he had, making it turn into something greater. and just as powerful as the other Lord Souls.

The Queen is all but confirmed to be a fragment of Manus (which explains why she is nowhere near as powerful as Manus was, lets face it, while the character levels are higher in Dark Souls 2, the DLC bosses of Dark Souls 1 would probably give them a massive thrashing, the original 'chosen undead' is a lot hardier and I have the feeling, more skilled, than the Undead of Dark Souls 2 time, don't ask me why but characters in the original game were just less fragile IMO). The Throne of Want seems to be a cross between the Kiln of the First Flame and the Abyss in which Manus originally resided. She despises the flame, wishing to hurry and bring about an Age of Dark once more.

We have no idea how far into the future Dark Souls 2 is but there are suggestions that many cycles of Fire and Dark have taken place since the original game, with time enough for things to past down the stages of knowledge. Which imo goes from 'known' to 'historical' to 'myth', where a previous civilisation is so far into the past and thanks to this constant birth and death cycle technology never gets any better than atypical fantasy level things which means studies like Archology never gets out of the 'tomb raiding for 'magical artifacts' and gold' phase. Dark Souls 1 was merely the end to the first age of fire, how many times have the Lord Souls been taken by someone new and had them suffer the cursed fate to hold such power?..

#11 Posted by SunBroZak (1114 posts) -

So... a lot of things.

I think the Ancient Dragon was merely a creation of Aldia (possibly even Aldia himself), created from the soul of a giant (you only get a Giant Soul from it, instead of the appropriate Ancient Dragon soul). It isn't made clear if the giant dragon in Brightstone Cove's boss room is the same dragon (what the hell are those rocks supposed to be, anyway? Looks like vomit). Seems it could go either way. I suspect it's merely a different ancient dragon, petrified underground. The memory you delve into is that particular dragon's memory of the time before Gwyn, as is backed up by the Ancient Dragon soul's description and by what we know and have seen of that time from DS1 and its intro cinematic.

I believe that the petrified dragon is from the dragon war. I initially thought it was the stone dragon from the first game's covenant, but I don't think the stone dragon could have grown to that size, died, and become petrified in the time span between Dark Souls and Dark Souls 2. Aldia's Keep seemed to be all about weird experimentation, and while it's not in the game, the art book depicts the dragonriders (the boss with the big shield and halbred), riding what looks like a deformed dragon. I think even the Emerald Herald was created from these experimentation, as a way of curing the curse. So I would hazard a guess that even those wyverns you face before meeting the dragon were created from giants. Also, I think those rocks are crystals. Seath is somewhat present in that area, due to you receiving his soul in NG+ when you defeat Duke's Dear Freja. Whether or not he is sentient, I don't know. Though the two-headed spider raises some questions.

Big question: why the hell did Vendrick (or anyone else?) want to build a kingdom in a land that no one could get to? Is this land actually isolated, or is it just like "the edge of the world," in that you can move towards it but never find it by conventional means (hence the whirlpool in the intro). It's just confusing to me. Were the citizens of this particular kingdom always undead? If so, then why did the Old Iron King "round up the undead?" That would mean rounding up everyone. Doesn't make sense. If everyone at one time or another was not undead, then how the hell did they get there in the first place? Are black whirlpools common transportation nowadays?

This is my big sticking point too. Supposedly Vendrick has ruled for a long time, and he built the kingdom of Drangleic on the remains of the "Four Great Ones", whom he defeated. Immediately, some people would assume that's referring to the Chosen Undead from the first game, but I'm not so sure. The game is pretty explicit about the kingdom of Drangleic having existed under many different names, with all the wars that have been fought upon it. And I think a lot of time would had to have passed for many of the relics of the original game to become displaced and withered. It's hard to tell what Drangleic was like before Nashandra appeared. Speaking of, I believe her appearance might be why it's so obtuse to get to Drangleic these days. She brought of peace that "was like the Dark", described by a few NPCs, so perhaps the land was consumed by the Abyss - to an extent?

Also, in regards to Vendrick no longer having his soul on him: I think once he grew weary of Nashandra's plans, he fled from her and hid away his soul. For the fire to be rekindled, great souls are required, so maybe he saw it as a back-up plan since he was incapable of defeating Nashandra? And without his soul, I'd imagine he was no longer able to fight off the curse, and eventually became the mindless hollow we see.

Also, I think the Melfinitos and the Fenitos (the blue guys in the Undead Crypt) are the offspring of Nito. Existing purely to cater to the dead.

#12 Posted by Sammo21 (3276 posts) -

So, how do we "know" that the bug that enters the Lost Sinner has anything to do with Izalith? I figured we are in an alternate reality to that of Dark Souls/Demons Souls and that the actions ripple out and deal with tons of different undead...hence the multiplayer.

#13 Edited by Oni (2098 posts) -

@drmechano: Ha, I did read some of the comments on that video (and Vaati sold me on Heide's=Flann), but I've read so many lore threads it all got mixed up. Possibly I've read it, but that's my read on the Old Souls. Great comment btw, agree with everything you said. I also think the "Vendrick=Chosen Undead!" theory is ludicrous, as the CU can be male or female and FROM wouldn't prescribe the story like that, as well as it's clear that many, many cycles have occurred between DS1 and 2 I think. Someone, I think Shalquoir, says that every time the flame dies out, it eventually rekindles, so it's implied to have happened several times. I also don't know why there IS a Seath soul, but no Four Kings' soul, considering they're both bequeathed parts of Gwyn's soul. As you say, Seath being a dragon and powerful in his own right to begin with probably means his own soul was sufficiently powerful to continue to exist, while the Four Kings' fragment went back into Gwyn's. Speaking of Abyss and Souls, what about Darklurker? If Manus was the Pygmy, and Manus' soul split into fragments, do you think it's possible that Darklurker is another small fragment of Manus' Soul? Or is Manus not the Pygmy and could Darklurker be the Pygmy?

@sunbrozak: "Speaking of, I believe her appearance might be why it's so obtuse to get to Drangleic these days. She brought of peace that "was like the Dark", described by a few NPCs, so perhaps the land was consumed by the Abyss - to an extent?

Also, in regards to Vendrick no longer having his soul on him: I think once he grew weary of Nashandra's plans, he fled from her and hid away his soul. For the fire to be rekindled, great souls are required, so maybe he saw it as a back-up plan since he was incapable of defeating Nashandra? And without his soul, I'd imagine he was no longer able to fight off the curse, and eventually became the mindless hollow we see."

Blew my mind there, those are great theories. Don't know why I didn't think of that.

Also interesting, makes the manor a lot more intriguing:

Another interesting note: Look at the intro footage again. The swirling darkness above the vortex you jump into looks like Darkness.

Also, in Things Betwixt where you wake up, the pillars and the platform you land on resemble the portals you go into to cross into the Abyss for the Pilgrims of Dark covenant. Lends credence to Drangleic being partially consumed by the Abyss already, and the portals for the covenant take you into a deeper plane of the Abyss.
Also also, many references to the Dark being strong in Drangleic, besides what the queen and Wellager say. Talk to the Hex trainer in the Copse, and Carhillion, they both mention a strong presence of Dark in the land. And of course Darkdiver Grandahl (what a great name). I am liking this theory more and more.

#14 Edited by SunBroZak (1114 posts) -

@sammo21 said:

So, how do we "know" that the bug that enters the Lost Sinner has anything to do with Izalith? I figured we are in an alternate reality to that of Dark Souls/Demons Souls and that the actions ripple out and deal with tons of different undead...hence the multiplayer.

She drops the Old Witch Soul in NG+, which belonged to Izaltih (or one of the daughters, at least). Personally I believe that the Lord Souls from the first game continued to exist throughout after the events of Dark Souls, and perhaps influenced whoever came into contact with them. Though I don't know where the bug is born from.

@oni I was actually thinking the Darklurker could be a creation from the souls of the Four Kings. The way it divides itself struck me as very similar to the Four Kings. Though how the soul fell back into the Abyss, I don't know. You're probably right suggesting that it rejoined with Gywn's soul.

Edit: Actually, now I'm leaning towards the Darklurker being related to the Four Kings. In the first game, it's explained that the serpent Kaathe taught the Four Kings the art of lifedrain. What can you create from the Darklurker's soul? A hex called "Lifedrain Patch".

#15 Posted by Oni (2098 posts) -

Edit: Actually, now I'm leaning towards the Darklurker being related to the Four Kings. In the first game, it's explained that the serpent Kaathe taught the Four Kings the art of lifedrain. What can you create from the Darklurker's soul? A hex called "Lifedrain Patch".

That's a good point. Now that I think about it, I think Darklurker also has a point-blank AoE explosion similar to the Four Kings. Also it splits into two, obviously not quite the same as Four Kings, but still somewhat reminiscent.

#16 Edited by Dragon4234 (133 posts) -
@oni said:

@sunbrozak said:

Edit: Actually, now I'm leaning towards the Darklurker being related to the Four Kings. In the first game, it's explained that the serpent Kaathe taught the Four Kings the art of lifedrain. What can you create from the Darklurker's soul? A hex called "Lifedrain Patch".

That's a good point. Now that I think about it, I think Darklurker also has a point-blank AoE explosion similar to the Four Kings. Also it splits into two, obviously not quite the same as Four Kings, but still somewhat reminiscent.

I did find it odd that although the Old Ones drop the Lord Souls, you never find the Four Kings' Soul...

#17 Posted by Karkarov (3102 posts) -

I still don't get why any of you think Nashandra is Manus. One Manus is a guy. Two his motivations were very specific and it wasn't about power so much as it was just him wanting to destroy the world. Nashandra is doing it for power and her own benefit. Manus was not subtle and doing things from the shadows and trying to play himself off as a good guy. Nashandra definitely went with guile and trickery and never actually out right fights anyone until she realizes it is down to you versus her and she can't just con you.

There are lots of npcs and people in both games who want to throw the world into darkness. Darkstalker Kaathe, the Darkwraiths, most of the Hex users in Dark Souls 2, Manus, to some extent Darkdiver Grandall probably does, there is just no reasonable reason to suspect Nashandra is Manus, a fragment of him, or anything else. She even looks more like Nito than she does Manus and attacks in a completely different style. Other than both of them wanting to throw the world into darkness they basically have nothing in common.

#18 Posted by SunBroZak (1114 posts) -

@karkarov said:

I still don't get why any of you think Nashandra is Manus. One Manus is a guy. Two his motivations were very specific and it wasn't about power so much as it was just him wanting to destroy the world. Nashandra is doing it for power and her own benefit. Manus was not subtle and doing things from the shadows and trying to play himself off as a good guy. Nashandra definitely went with guile and trickery and never actually out right fights anyone until she realizes it is down to you versus her and she can't just con you.

There are lots of npcs and people in both games who want to throw the world into darkness. Darkstalker Kaathe, the Darkwraiths, most of the Hex users in Dark Souls 2, Manus, to some extent Darkdiver Grandall probably does, there is just no reasonable reason to suspect Nashandra is Manus, a fragment of him, or anything else. She even looks more like Nito than she does Manus and attacks in a completely different style. Other than both of them wanting to throw the world into darkness they basically have nothing in common.

Desc. from the Scythe of Want, created from Nashandra's soul:

"The old one of the Abyss was reborn in death, split into minuscule fragments, and spread across the land. The pieces began to coalesce once again, becoming human in shape."

The other boss soul weapons you can create from her soul support the theory that she was born from a fragment of Manus. While her motives might be different, she too yearns for a world of dark. Whether or not this is influenced by her being born from Manus is unknown.

#19 Edited by Giefcookie (600 posts) -

@karkarov: Shamelessly quoting the wiki here but:

The queen, Nashandra, has a secret, Dark and ancient. She is the smallest piece of Manus, the Father of the Abyss.

Long ago, after his defeat in the lost land of Oolacile, he split into miniscule fragments. As the fragments recollected, they assumed a human form - Nashandra.

She convinced Vendrick to cross the sea and pilfer a mighty prize from the Giants. She brought a Dark-like peace to the Kingdom of Drangleic, but eventually Vendrick realized something was amiss. He fled and refused to take part in Nashandra's plans any longer. But now she has found you, the new Heir to the Throne of Want…

- From the Official Guide

Description of her soul:

Soul of Nashandra, Queen of Drangleic.

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, or to create something of great worth..

Description of the chime you can create with her soul:

Sacred chime created from the soul of

Nashandra. Greatly amplifies spells.

The old one of the Abyss 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.

#20 Posted by Oni (2098 posts) -

Yeah there is really no room for interpretation here. When From wants to be direct, they are direct, and this is as direct as From gets. Nashandra is a reincarnation of Manus, which plays into the game's theme of reincarnation and cycles repeating. Kingdoms rise where old ones fell, the flame is lit, dies, and is rekindled again, the curse returns time and again, the Old Ones fall to the same vices and follies like the original four Lord Soul holders...

#21 Posted by Karkarov (3102 posts) -

@karkarov: Shamelessly quoting the wiki here but:

The queen, Nashandra, has a secret, Dark and ancient. She is the smallest piece of Manus, the Father of the Abyss.

Fair enough, still magnificently stupid, makes no sense, and she would have better as her own character. In this case this is just From wanting to force a Dark Souls 1 reference.

#22 Posted by SunBroZak (1114 posts) -

@oni said:

Okay, here's my theories/musings on some of this stuff.

Drangleic is huge, much bigger than the Lordran we explore in Dark Souls. I think parts of it may or may not overlap with lands mentioned in Dark Souls, particularly Vinnheim, as found in the description of the dragon crest ring, I believe. I don't think it's built on Lordran, though I initially did. It might still. I think Heide's Tower of Flame isn't Anor Londo, I think it's where Gwynevere and her husband Flann, the god of Flame(!) went when they left Anor Londo, hence the similar architecture and the presence of Ornstein, who I think is actually the real deal. Note the statues in the Cathedral that bear Gwyn's sword and armor. Gwyn is deified, but his visage has been forgotten with time. On the other hand, I was fairly convinced the Throne of Want is built on the Kiln of the First Flame. It just makes a lot of thematic sense. But it's hard to say, so I'm really not certain. But remember the ending: The maiden talks about linking the flame, but there is no flame in sight. You walk into a dark room, sit on a throne and the doors close. It's super weird. But it's suggested that the throne shapes the world according to the wishes of whoever sits on it. Link the flame, don't link the flame - it doesn't matter. That's what I like about the ending, because the game suggests both DkS1 endings can be canon, as the cycle repeats itself anyway.

I completely missed this when I was going on about my own theories, sorry.

This is something I've been pondering lately. When Gwyn linked the first flame, he used his own body as fuel for the fire, to extend it's life and fend off the dark. Kaathe even suggests that this is reason the undead curse exists, because of Gwyn's "refusal" of the dark. When the Chosen Undead links the flame, he/she does so like Gwyn, using their body (and soul) as fuel. After Gwyn linked the flame, he was no more but a husk of his former self. So I would assume our character would also adhere to that fate.

So why is it that Vendrick comes away from linking the flame, seemingly unscathed? I think you're onto something with that Throne of Want. It must be somehow tied to rekindling the flame.

#23 Edited by Seikenfreak (422 posts) -

@karkarov: Because there is a couple things in the game that strongly suggests that is where she came from.

The first half of all the weapons of Want - "The old one of the Abyss was reborn in death, split into miniscule fragments, and spread across the land."

Scythe of Want - "The pieces began to coalese once again, becoming human in shape."

Chime of Want - "The tiniest of these pieces, precisely due to it's size, was the first to restore it's form."

Bow of Want - "The smallest of the pieces, sensing its own fragility, yearned for what it lacked."

Soul of Nashandra - "Nashandra was born of the Dark with an insatiable lust for strength."

So this suggests that Manus was split into fragments, the smallest took form first. It wanted to be as big and strong as the other fragments I guess. It took a human-esque form and became Nashandra. It sounds as though this is From's way of leaving the source of these bosses open ended; meaning Nashandra is just one of the fragments of Manus and the rest were "spread across the land." Nashandra was also the smallest and thus the first. This implies that as we progress into more sequels, they will be stronger.

On a different note, I find the plan or series of events with Nashandra particularly intriguing. I think that may be because it feels like there is the most bits of info about this in the game so it'd be the closest to making sense. Some of this other stuff sounds way out of thin air type stuff.

Vendrick is supposedly protecting something. The only thing in there is the King's Ring, his belongings and his soul are hidden in another small place (note that you must be alive to enter that door, something Nashandra is not I suppose), perhaps his "true" grave or something. The Ring opens the door to the Throne of Want (could be seen literally as the "key to the throne"). Chancellor Wellager says something (I just read it again last night and already forgot) specifically about her moving or taking the King someplace. This makes it sound as though he didn't run? But then why didn't she get the Ring then? If she put him there then why when you first speak to her at Drangleic Castle she seems to specifically want you to go find Vendrick. So you get the King's Ring, kick down the door to the Throne of Want, kill the people defending the throne (we still have no idea who these people are), and then Nashandra hovers in, seemingly all like "thanks for doing all this hard work for me you sexy beast. You have done well and met my expectations" but then tries to kill you? So I'd say she uses you to mass collect all these powerful souls so that then she could just kill you and take them. But why when you kill her and go up to the throne dome, she is like talking to you? Giving you the choice of doing it or not? Which seemed very much the same as DS1 but you don't actually get a choice as far as I can tell. And there is no fire you can see there. Just a dusty empty chair thing?

I don't know. The ending isn't fresh in my mind as that was almost a week ago.

Edit - As expected, everyone beat me to it. Took 50 mins to think and write this up I suppose.

#24 Posted by DrMechano (43 posts) -

I do suspect that the whole thing may be a setup by Nashandra to gain strength. Keep in mind that humans have 'something of the dark about them' while most other races in the game have 'nary a whisper of dark', it seems like Vendrick due to his size shares the same race as those of the 'gods' of Anor Londo.

Humans inhereted the fragments of the Dark Soul and perhaps Nashandra knows that only those with the strongest will, those that can reach the point of fighting her are holders of perhaps a large part of the Dark Soul, they are in effect, the holder of a fragment of Manus. She says "become one with the dark" suggesting that once she 'beats' you she will consume your humanity, your part of the fragment of Manus and become stronger by doing so.

Or Perhaps by getting you to collect all the great souls (and this comes more into NG+ territory when the Old ones drop the soul from the Lord Vessel) that if she can kill you and take them from you she is assuring that the flame will never become rekindled, that the cycle will stop endlessly repeating. and that at least the world of Drangleic will be forever in an age of dark where she will become more powerful.

The Dragons (or at least the ancient Dragon) seem pretty happy with the idea that you're killing off the Lord Soul holders, perhaps he/she/it figures that once you're done, once you've wiped out all the contenders and collected their souls (Nashandra included) that everything can once more be returned to the eternal grey fog, no lord vessels, no reincarnation of Manus, just you forever locked inside that room, keeping all the souls from ever being used by someone else again.

#25 Posted by Oni (2098 posts) -

@sunbrozak: I'm not convinced Vendrick did link the flame, unless it's mentioned and I forgot/missed it somehow. Perhaps he let the fire die out, and that's why Drangleic is steeped in dark and attracted Manus/Nashandra. After all, if the Throne is the Kiln, we see no fire there at all. But then that begs the question, why did Vendrick oppose Nashandra? Few of his actions are clear to me at this point. All I know is he's very old, he defeated Four Lords and took their Souls, he met Nashandra, she convinced him to invade the Giants and take something, then he made Golems and the Castle, then the giants came, and then Vendrick took off. At some point in all this he ditched his own Soul.

What's also tripping me up is that after you defeat the Giant Lord in the memory and talk to Wellager, he commends you for defeating said Lord. So we're possibly altering history when we go into these memories, which... oof. Throws off so much.

#26 Posted by development (2315 posts) -

@karkarov said:

@giefcookie said:

@karkarov: Shamelessly quoting the wiki here but:

The queen, Nashandra, has a secret, Dark and ancient. She is the smallest piece of Manus, the Father of the Abyss.

Fair enough, still magnificently stupid, makes no sense, and she would have better as her own character. In this case this is just From wanting to force a Dark Souls 1 reference.

Unfortunately, my thoughts on a lot of DS2 is wanting to force DS1 references. I mean... like half the damn item descriptions are "belonged to a long lost hero... no one even remembers their name!" Even for super ordinary weapons like the curved Murakumo. Whether it's because of fan-service or not, I still think it's gross and tacky.

#27 Edited by SunBroZak (1114 posts) -

@oni said:

@sunbrozak: I'm not convinced Vendrick did link the flame, unless it's mentioned and I forgot/missed it somehow. Perhaps he let the fire die out, and that's why Drangleic is steeped in dark and attracted Manus/Nashandra. After all, if the Throne is the Kiln, we see no fire there at all. But then that begs the question, why did Vendrick oppose Nashandra? Few of his actions are clear to me at this point. All I know is he's very old, he defeated Four Lords and took their Souls, he met Nashandra, she convinced him to invade the Giants and take something, then he made Golems and the Castle, then the giants came, and then Vendrick took off. At some point in all this he ditched his own Soul.

What's also tripping me up is that after you defeat the Giant Lord in the memory and talk to Wellager, he commends you for defeating said Lord. So we're possibly altering history when we go into these memories, which... oof. Throws off so much.

Okay, so the description of Vendrick's soul is as follows:

"Soul of Vendrick, King of Drangleic.

The King was wasted away, a shadow of his former self, but still held something dear.

Use the soul of he who would link the flame to acquire numerous souls, or create something of great worth."

Note the word choice of "would". Did Vendrick intend on linking the flame, only for Nashandra to stop him? I might just be missing a detail what states that he actually did link the flame.

#28 Edited by DrMechano (43 posts) -

@oni:

Perhaps we create a stable timeloop which results in the invasion of the giants failing due to us killing the lord. This would at least explain why the Last Giant is so horribly pissed off at you when you walk in the room. It slowly looks up and stares at you for a moment, then it remembers who caused it to be captured, who stopped the invasion, it recognises you and thats when it gets all angry enough to shatter its bonds.

Of course it could just hate humans in general.

One thing I'm hoping they don't do for DLC is the whole 'Manus reborn' thing. That having bested the smallest fragment (which again suggests that the Undead in Dark Souls 2 are nowhere near as powerful as those from the time of Dark Souls 1. The original 'chosen undead' bested the real deal while the 'next monarchs' of Dark Souls 2 contend with the small fragment) the rest of the fragments coalesce and reform into an actual Manus bossfight and they do the whole "hey look its that boss again!".

It was pretty cool with the Old Dragonslayer but rehashes of old fan favorites is something you keep for a special occasion or a little surprise.

Though I will say if they changed the Ancient Dragon fight from the luck based fight it kind of is at the moment to something more akin to Kalameet I wouldn't object (because fuck that fight, no boss in the game should be able to oneshot you no matter your health, which is something dark souls got right. It was actually coded into the game that no boss could oneshot you from full health with a single attack, Kalameet could do this but only if you actively stood in his forward flamethrower type attack and took all the ticks of damage without dodging)

#29 Edited by Oni (2098 posts) -

@drmechano: This got me thinking... The Last Giant is the only Giant in-game who's as large as the Giant Lord. All the others, both in the memories and the ones in Black Gulch, are much smaller. Maybe The Last Giant is actually The Giant Lord, or what happened to him if you didn't go back in time and killed him? This of course is a classic time paradox, but hey, just throwing it out there.

@sunbrozak: So that pretty much confirms he did not link the flame, but wanted to, which at least explains why he was in direct opposition to Nashandra. I also find it peculiar that the room where we find his Soul has a small chair and human-sized version of his outfit, whereas his throne in the castle is definitely not human-sized, so he must've ditched his Soul quite a while ago - presumably, either what he took from the Giants, or the Souls of the four Lords he defeated, caused him to grow large. I'm also curious as to how long he'd been on the run from Nashandra. I feel like it's relatively recent, but idk.

#30 Posted by Branwulf (406 posts) -

@oni:

Perhaps we create a stable timeloop which results in the invasion of the giants failing due to us killing the lord. This would at least explain why the Last Giant is so horribly pissed off at you when you walk in the room. It slowly looks up and stares at you for a moment, then it remembers who caused it to be captured, who stopped the invasion, it recognises you and thats when it gets all angry enough to shatter its bonds.

Of course it could just hate humans in general.

Well firstly that is a memory, isn't Jeigh the one who would have beaten the Giant Lord technically? or is Jeigh the name of the giant, not sure really.

#31 Posted by Oni (2098 posts) -

@branwulf: We're going into the memory of the Tree Giant thing, so presumably that giant's name is Jeigh. Probably just one of the Giants fighting.

#32 Posted by development (2315 posts) -

Vendrick is supposedly protecting something. The only thing in there is the King's Ring, his belongings and his soul are hidden in another small place (note that you must be alive to enter that door, something Nashandra is not I suppose), perhaps his "true" grave or something. The Ring opens the door to the Throne of Want (could be seen literally as the "key to the throne"). Chancellor Wellager says something (I just read it again last night and already forgot) specifically about her moving or taking the King someplace. This makes it sound as though he didn't run? But then why didn't she get the Ring then? If she put him there then why when you first speak to her at Drangleic Castle she seems to specifically want you to go find Vendrick. So you get the King's Ring, kick down the door to the Throne of Want, kill the people defending the throne (we still have no idea who these people are), and then Nashandra hovers in, seemingly all like "thanks for doing all this hard work for me you sexy beast. You have done well and met my expectations" but then tries to kill you? So I'd say she uses you to mass collect all these powerful souls so that then she could just kill you and take them. But why when you kill her and go up to the throne dome, she is like talking to you? Giving you the choice of doing it or not? Which seemed very much the same as DS1 but you don't actually get a choice as far as I can tell. And there is no fire you can see there. Just a dusty empty chair thing?

Edit - As expected, everyone beat me to it. Took 50 mins to think and write this up I suppose.

Hah, it took me way too long to write my thing up above, too.

I think Vendrick stripped naked because he was a mindless idiot at that point, or maybe because he wanted to be "pure" when he became hollow. Velstadt is protecting him because Vendrick doesn't want to hurt anyone or wants the ring protected... but Velstadt himself doesn't know why; he just does it (game says he pretty much lost all sense of self while serving Vendrick). I know you aren't offering any counter-ideas to this, but it's something I wanted to throw out there.

I still don't understand the room with Vendrick's souls. Perhaps when I get there in-game I'll understand more (on my current playthrough I didn't use all my damn Giant souls!).

I don't think the throne Watcher and Defender are mentioned at all outside of the fight, and I actually thought the Watcher was the queen, because the Emerald Herald said to look out for her... until the credits rolled for a bit and I finally realized who that "Nashandra" thing was. I was happy when I realized it wasn't just a flat-out Deus-ex Machina.

As for Nashandra's motives... remember that she is (for all intents and purposes) Manus reborn. The game even states her main goal is strength, owing to her being the smallest, essentially most furtive piece of Manus, wanting most what it didn't have (there's your Furtive Pygmy analogue). This means devouring all souls... period. She wants it all. And she presumably wants access to the throne so she could do as you could do in DS1 and usher in an age of dark (but jeez she won't fit on that tiny throne). Seeing as how From made her out to be this pure evil character, it's hard to imagine she has good intent, unlike Darkstalker Kaathe, but not unlike Manus. She just seems totally ravenous for souls and power. I don't know what she'd get out of ushering in an age of Dark, in terms of power, but I suspect we're supposed to trust that she had already thought of that, whatever it is.

And lastly, this is purely my own personal speculation and not even something I believe really... just an idea:

What if the Majula bonfire is the fire in the center of the Kiln of the First Flame? Hence that being where all the undead "just seem to end up," and hence the Emerald Herald seemingly being the last functional firekeeper, and hence essentially "linking the fire" there to begin NG+. I'm not really too strongly in support of this idea, merely because the Majula bonfire being the gateway to NG+ is just the most sensible option from a gameplay perspective... and being able to play after sitting on the throne is likely just because they want to make the video game more fun. BUT it's an interesting thought.

#33 Posted by DrMechano (43 posts) -

@branwulf:

I have no idea on that front, nobody is sure if the memories are the names of people who we technically 'inhabit' while in the memory (kind of a quantum leap type scenario, we appear to the outside world as the person in the memory but we're obviously not) the name of the giants themselves or something else entirely.

#34 Edited by development (2315 posts) -

@branwulf said:

@drmechano said:

@oni:

Perhaps we create a stable timeloop which results in the invasion of the giants failing due to us killing the lord. This would at least explain why the Last Giant is so horribly pissed off at you when you walk in the room. It slowly looks up and stares at you for a moment, then it remembers who caused it to be captured, who stopped the invasion, it recognises you and thats when it gets all angry enough to shatter its bonds.

Of course it could just hate humans in general.

Well firstly that is a memory, isn't Jeigh the one who would have beaten the Giant Lord technically? or is Jeigh the name of the giant, not sure really.

Yeah, I think a misconception is to infer that interacting with the memories actually changes anything. Keep in mind this universe is totally magical and doesn't follow conventional sense, so while we might think, "well if Jeigh didn't interact with Drummond then how can I speak with him?" that actually doesn't factor in. The game is putting you in the memory of that time and place, using Jeigh as a conduit, allowing you to play around in the dream as if it were reality, even picking up objects like the Giant Lord's soul. But I don't think it's meant to infer that you went back in time and actually killed the Giant Lord. Someone else did that. Also... is The Last Giant just the Giant Lord? He's certainly big enough, right?

And I think it is very clear that "Jeigh" is the name of the tree-ified giant you interact with, and you are merely living out a memory of theirs. I really don't think there's any question about that one. Like someone else said: From will be obtuse, definitely, but when they suggest something there is no question about what they're trying to say. A suggestion is as good as fact, as far as From is concerned, and "Jeigh's Memory" is far clearer than any mere suggestion.

#35 Edited by Seikenfreak (422 posts) -

So I just talked to Nashandra in Drangleic Castle. She says that Vendrick "never took the true throne.." and tells you to "Visit Vendrick.." "We have no need for two rulers.."

So I guess Vendrick was supposed to land himself in the throne dome but did not. Chicken out? Did he know something we did not? Did he do the right or wrong thing?

So what purpose does this seating in the throne dome serve Nashandra? She sounds bitter or annoyed that Vendrick did not do it.

Just wtf is this Throne? Why is there a bridge of Golems to reach it? If those Golems were built by Vendrick and just require some souls to work like the other Golem in the castle, then why do you need the Giant's Kinship to cross it?

And why is it called the Throne of Want? "Want" seems to be a word to describe Nashandra's motivation. She was the smallest fragment and wanted strength. She wanted what she didn't have. Are these fragments going to represent Sins? Want being Greed or something? Did Nashandra's arrival consume Drangleic in greed? Did she whisper and coax Vendrick into wanting something that the Giant's had and it wasn't about defense of the kingdom? Notice all the Merchant's are assholes if you don't buy stuff from them. Many of them demanding more and more souls from you.

Just some random questions as I go through this and think more.

#36 Edited by SunBroZak (1114 posts) -

@development

You may be onto something with that theory. It would explain why the fragment of the Lordvessel is nearby. (in the mansion)

But also, consider this crazy theory. What does the Emerald Herald say to you when you finish the game?

"Once the fire is linked, souls will flourish anew, and all this will play out again. It is your choice... To embrace, or renounce this. Great Sovereign, take your throne. What lies ahead, only you can see".

What if the ending to Dark Souls 2 is actually a meta commentary on the player's choice to prolong the new game mode or continue the cycle and go into new game plus!?

#37 Posted by Seikenfreak (422 posts) -

@sunbrozak: Oh right the voice at the end is the Herald. I was thinking it was Nashandra somehow. Apparently the Herald was just outside the Throne of Want when you go to that area for the last fight? I did not see her so I missed whatever that dialogue was.

#38 Edited by development (2315 posts) -

@oni said:

Some of the area transitions are also completely impossible, like from Earthen Peak to Iron Keep. Maybe a lot of the plot isn't literally happening. Maybe Drangleic isn't even real. I know people are going to hate that idea, and I kind of do too. But I found the purgatorial tone, like everything is kind of a half-remembered dream, interesting. Especially with the prevalence of Memories, sins of the past coming back to roost, all the parallels to Dark Souls, history repeating, it all ties in together. Thematically and tonally anyway, Dark Souls 2 is consistent as hell, even though visually it isn't always.

I had to go back up to read this, because hey it's long, but I'm so glad someone else mentioned this. I personally think it is them just cutting their losses and pushing the game to store shelves before they could make it make more sense. I mean, you're standing there at the bottom of Earthen Keep, looking up, seeing the sky above the top of the tower where you probably fight the old Queen... and then somehow take an elevator up... even more? What? What you posited isn't much better, either, because it's basically story-justification for a magnificent cop-out. "Hey, none of this is happening... so... lava!"

Another area guilty of this is everyone's favorite: Dragon Aerie. You stand at the bottom where you fight the guardian drake, look up, and you see a single towering rock formation, not even that high, separated from the nearest rock formations by miles... yet once you get up there it is suddenly this network of rock formations tied together with ropes and bridges. I'm pretty sure you'd be able to see the dragons from the ground, too, but let's give From slack on that bit. I really think a lot of it is just game dev time constraints or possibly a lack of "tightness" pure and simple. You may even call it... undignified... to reference Miyazaki.

#39 Posted by development (2315 posts) -

Did she whisper and coax Vendrick into wanting something that the Giant's had and it wasn't about defense of the kingdom?

I think this is reasonable to take as fact. They talk about it fairly explicitly (though I forgot who). Nashandra arrived from some unknown land, possibly even the land of giants, and "warned of the threat of giants," when there probably was no threat if not for her fear-mongering influencing her husband into stealing their prize (know one seems to know what the prize was; possibly the throne or the first flame (or are those the same thing now?)).

#40 Edited by Karkarov (3102 posts) -

@oni said:

@sunbrozak: I'm not convinced Vendrick did link the flame, unless it's mentioned and I forgot/missed it somehow. Perhaps he let the fire die out, and that's why Drangleic is steeped in dark and attracted Manus/Nashandra. After all, if the Throne is the Kiln, we see no fire there at all. But then that begs the question, why did Vendrick oppose Nashandra? Few of his actions are clear to me at this point. All I know is he's very old, he defeated Four Lords and took their Souls, he met Nashandra, she convinced him to invade the Giants and take something, then he made Golems and the Castle, then the giants came, and then Vendrick took off. At some point in all this he ditched his own Soul.

What's also tripping me up is that after you defeat the Giant Lord in the memory and talk to Wellager, he commends you for defeating said Lord. So we're possibly altering history when we go into these memories, which... oof. Throws off so much.

I suggest not thinking about the timeline. Cause if you want to get down to it... after your final conversation with Bernhardt he moves to one final spot.... inside one of the giant memories. No, not even kidding. Yes, he also knows you already when you get there and calls you his "old friend". You tell me how he got there, and why he already knows you when you show up.

Also no, Vendrick did link the flame, pretty sure the Emerald Herald outright says he did in one of the late game talks. Also it makes no sense if he didn't, cause someone has to light it to start the cycle and he obviously is the big dog for the vast majority of recent history. Unless you want to play a theory that this IS the cycle after lordran and it was the DS1 MC who lit it and died in the process. Vendrick then just happened to take over after the fact.

#41 Posted by Seikenfreak (422 posts) -

@development: There was some dialogue from someone about a beautiful woman washing up on shore or something and the King took her in I believe? Can't remember where that was. Might have been the Wellager.

#42 Edited by development (2315 posts) -

@karkarov: I chalk that mostly up to eh... concessions. I mean, he's just chilling out there, but if you personally try to stay there you fade out into the real world. Concessions. 'From' thought it'd be neat to have him there. Also, every undead is driven by the need to accomplish the same mission, so he's probably just a Chosen Undead in his own world that has gotten as far as you. Kinda like Solaire (you may be familiar with people fairly reasonably assuming he was the "canon" chosen undead from DSI).

#43 Posted by Yummylee (21622 posts) -

Frankly all I want to know is where Jester Thomas fits into all this.

Online
#44 Posted by SunBroZak (1114 posts) -

@oni said:

Some of the area transitions are also completely impossible, like from Earthen Peak to Iron Keep. Maybe a lot of the plot isn't literally happening. Maybe Drangleic isn't even real. I know people are going to hate that idea, and I kind of do too. But I found the purgatorial tone, like everything is kind of a half-remembered dream, interesting. Especially with the prevalence of Memories, sins of the past coming back to roost, all the parallels to Dark Souls, history repeating, it all ties in together. Thematically and tonally anyway, Dark Souls 2 is consistent as hell, even though visually it isn't always.

I had to go back up to read this, because hey it's long, but I'm so glad someone else mentioned this. I personally think it is them just cutting their losses and pushing the game to store shelves before they could make it make more sense. I mean, you're standing there at the bottom of Earthen Keep, looking up, seeing the sky above the top of the tower where you probably fight the old Queen... and then somehow take an elevator up... even more? What? What you posited isn't much better, either, because it's basically story-justification for a magnificent cop-out. "Hey, none of this is happening... so... lava!"

Another area guilty of this is everyone's favorite: Dragon Aerie. You stand at the bottom where you fight the guardian drake, look up, and you see a single towering rock formation, not even that high, separated from the nearest rock formations by miles... yet once you get up there it is suddenly this network of rock formations tied together with ropes and bridges. I'm pretty sure you'd be able to see the dragons from the ground, too, but let's give From slack on that bit. I really think a lot of it is just game dev time constraints or possibly a lack of "tightness" pure and simple. You may even call it... undignified... to reference Miyazaki.

Oh man. That's going to eat away at me forever.

I'm going to be a whole lot less excited about this lore if it's all a dream.

#45 Edited by development (2315 posts) -

@sunbrozak: I'd honestly be much, much happier if they just said, "hey, we fucked up. The geography doesn't work out so much. Guess you just gotta pretend it isn't fucked." Kinda like how I wished Mass Effect never tried to justify being able to understand all the aliens and vice versa. Some things are better left ignored, in my mind.

Alright, I've been posting way too much. Gonna stop now.

#46 Posted by Karkarov (3102 posts) -

@sunbrozak: I'd honestly be much, much happier if they just said, "hey, we fucked up. The geography doesn't work out so much. Guess you just gotta pretend it isn't fucked." Kinda like how I wished Mass Effect never tried to justify being able to understand all the aliens and vice versa. Some things are better left ignored, in my mind.

Alright, I've been posting way too much. Gonna stop now.

To be honest they have only ever once worked their ass off to make the geography match in one of their RPG's. Dark Souls 1. Every other RPG they have ever made is just as guilty of these weird things as Dark Souls 2 is. Hell in King's Field 2 at one point you end up in something that looks like a crystalline space station. Bear in mind King's Field 2 is King's Field 1 in the US. King's 3 and the Eternal Ring's are far more guilty of this than Souls 2 is even. It is just a design choice, From likes to do some very weird stuff in their RPG's, most of it isn't even meant to make sense it is just there to make the Player think about it.

#47 Posted by SunBroZak (1114 posts) -

@sunbrozak: I'd honestly be much, much happier if they just said, "hey, we fucked up. The geography doesn't work out so much. Guess you just gotta pretend it isn't fucked." Kinda like how I wished Mass Effect never tried to justify being able to understand all the aliens and vice versa. Some things are better left ignored, in my mind.

Alright, I've been posting way too much. Gonna stop now.

Wandering around the map a little more, I'm going to agree with your stance. You can even see Majula from Heide's Tower of Flame, but it's miles away. In reality you barely trek any ground to get between the two. I think they made the conceit that they didn't have the budget/time/whatever to make the world play as large as it looks. So yeah, a bit of a bummer, but the same could be said for a few areas in the original Dark Souls as well. It's just more noticeable this time with the areas feeling more segmented.

Though that being said, I don't discount @oni's notion of Drangleic being an afterlife, or a purgatory of sorts. The theme of reincarnation is very much ingrained into a lot of Dark Souls 2, so it's conceivable that the world we came from is a different one all together.

#48 Posted by DrMechano (43 posts) -

I also think the whole 'geography not matching up thing' is what kind of numbs the sense of progression. That bridge with the Hellkite Drake and the placement of the Duke's Archives was a wonderful piece done by Fromsoft. With the bridge it was a reference point. You look back on it from the top of the belltower of beating the Gargoyles, it is 'behind you' as it were. From the depths of blighttown you can look up and see the bridge, showing just how deep in the earth you've gone. At the same time Duke's Archives were always 'there' you could always see it off in the distance towering above the land like some evil tyrants forboding castle.

You reaching it shows how far you've come, you've gone from always looking up at this place, always wondering whats there, if you're going to get to visit it to standing infront of its entrance, bracing yourself ready to take on the challenges within.

In Dark Souls 2 there is none of that, there is no landmark which I think might be because of the fast travel. The areas are more like the spokes of the hub like in Demon's Souls, seperate, each to their own world, not really connected to anything. It feels much more 'gamey' than the layout of Dark Souls 1 where everything connected in a way that kind of made sense. Heck the only reason the gargoyles fly you up to Anor Londo is because the original gateway behind the Iron Golem is now blocked (who I love to think of as a sort of passport officer for Anor Londo "Papers please" "oh come on I just navigated this deadly fortress filled with traps, can't I at least get into the city of the gods?" "Sorry sir but you'll need to fill out the correct papers, I suggest heading back to you home town, requesting Form 3B and 2D and putting in an application with your local goverment official.")

#49 Posted by SunBroZak (1114 posts) -

@drmechano: To me, the interwoven nature of Dark Souls' world would sometimes work against it. The sense of scale in Lordran was sometimes lacking, when you considered that it would only be a 5-10 minute jog between the gargoyles and the demon ruins.

Dark Souls 2 seems to favour an approach to level design that is not dissimilar to the end game of the original. It features many paths that lead to dead ends. Which helps the scale of the world, because when I'm sitting at the bottom of The Gutter, it feels like I'm very far away from the likes of the Iron Keep. It gives it a sense of vast exploration that I felt the original game would occasionally lack. But yes, you are right in that the way you could look off into the distance and see the likes of the Duke's Archives was an amazing feeling, and it is sorely missed in the sequel.

#50 Posted by DrMechano (43 posts) -

@sunbrozak: True once you knew what you were doing, the world felt pretty small and you could run from Duke's Archives to Lost Izalith in about 10 minutes but I think it makes a better impression when you first go through the game than Dark Sous 2, giving little discoveries like "oooh so that leads to that, I get it now.." kind of feeling. I suppose it is in a sense an example of short term exploration rewarding versus long term exploration rewarding that Dark Souls 2 goes for. As you said it goes for wide sense of scale rather than tigher interweaving paths.

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