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This page details the Bearer of the Curse, the Emerald Herald and King Vendrick. Head back through here for other character pages. Unmarked spoilers ahead.

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    Bearer of the Curse 

The Bearer of the Curse

The protagonist of the game. The Bearer of the Curse was just a random person who seeks a means to break the curse of the Darksign, and hopes an answer will be found in the kingdom of Drangleic.

  • Action Survivor: Much like their predecessor, the Chosen Undead, the Bearer of the Curse will have to fight across a kingdom of monsters and zombies, all of which are out for their blood.
  • Been There, Shaped History: Late in the game, you acquire an item which allows you to peer into the memories of various key objects, specifically Giant corpses that turned into trees; Vendrick's garb in the Undead Crypt; a peculiar rock overlooked by an Ancient Dragon's hollowed-out corpse; and Sir Alonne's armour on display.
    • Later return to the Forest of Fallen Giants reveals that the Bearer of the Curse actually went all the way back to the Giant War and killed the Giant Lord, which stopped the Giants' invasion of Drangleic in their tracks.
    • You meet Sir Alonne at the peak of the Old Iron King's rule, and end up dueling him. Within the lore, he was said to have left the kingdom around the same time period, implying that you were the cause of his departure.
    • Following the completion of the Lost Crowns Trilogy, talking to King Vendrick in the King's memories will make you realize that he entrusted you with a treatment for the Undead Curse.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Can play this role by joining the Blue Sentinels, and be summoned to the worlds of members of the Way of the Blue when they are attacked.
  • Blood Knight:
    • Can become one by joining the Brotherhood of Blood and setting out to battle anyone and everyone. In fact, Brotherhood of Blood members can actually attack all other types of phantoms, even other Brotherhood of Blood members.
    • Dragon Remnants are a covenant that is all about fighting other players for its own sake.
  • Draconic Humanoid: If the Bearer of the Curse joins the Dragon Remnants covenant, they can turn into an anthropomorphic dragon whose head is reminiscent of Kalameet. Just like the first game, the transformation items are obtained through joining and ranking your way up in the covenant, and the shouting / breathing abilities require some stamina to perform, albeit not as quick to drain the bar. Unlike Dark Souls, however, the body transformation instead trades your current armour in favour of the Black Dragon Armour, which can only be unequipped upon death.
  • Dual Wielding: Now a viable combat style, due to the animation changes, and any weapon can be paired together. Certain compatible weapons, however, will let you use a power stance where you attack with both weapons at once.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Well, happy being relative. If Cursed Undead completes all three Downloadable Content packs and collects all three crowns They visit Vendrick one last time, who gives the Player his blessing. The power of these 4 kings together merge through the crowns and grant you immunity from hollowing. The Bearer of the Curse isn't exactly cured, but they 'have' broken the power of the curse, which they set out to do in the beginning. That makes you the only Undead in the world who has successfully removed themselves from the Cycle, while still maintaining their physical human form.
  • Fragile Speedster: The Swordsman. He starts with the lowest health, meaning that he relies more on dodging than other classes.
  • Harder Than Hard: The Covenant of Champions basically allows the Bearer of the Curse to take on even greater, smarter, and more difficult foes than normal. It's also good for farming souls and drops.
  • Iconic Outfit: As shown above, the Faraam Set has been used to represent the Bearer in most promotional material. It even got to the point where Bandi Namco commissioned a master blacksmith to make the armor in real life.
  • The Idealist: Can be played as such if they answer, "yes," to Aldia's first question and, "no," to Aldia's second question.
  • Immortality: Thanks to the Darksign, The Undead that is The Ageless with Resurrective Immortality. If you collect all the lost crowns and take them to Vendrick, wearing any of them will make you completely immune to hollowing, and thus grant Complete Immortality.
  • Macguffin Delivery Service: Queen Nashandra will try to make the Bearer of the Curse "one with the Dark" after they have obtained the Giant's Kinship which activates the golems that grant access to the Throne of Want.
  • Mighty Glacier: In contrast with the previous game, combat is slower than the first one, and the Bearer of the Curse has less i-frames when rolling than in the first game unless they raise their agility. In order to compensate for this, however, they have the lowest Vigor and Endurance softcap in the Dark Souls series, and have access to more healing options than the Chosen Undead, along with having the ability to infuse natural element weapons with elemental infusions and still manage to put a elemental buff into it for further damage. They also have 6 weapons slots and 4 ring slots in contrast to the Chosen Undead's 4 weapon slots and 2 ring slots, though rings now actually have equip load.
  • Multi-Melee Master/Multi-Ranged Master/Bow and Sword, in Accord/Magic Knight/Etc: Any can apply depending on the player's choices.
  • Screw Destiny: Possibly. If one obtains all the lost crowns from the DLC and brings them to Vendrick, who will use his magic to make so that wearing them makes you completely immune hollowing and thus grant Complete Immortality, and chooses to walk away from the Throne after defeating Aldia, the argument could be made that, as the only Undead now removed from the cycle of Light and Dark, you have the potential to finally find a way to end the cycle once and for all, something that no other being before you had the means or will to do.
  • Southpaw Advantage: Being able to use weapons in one's left hand certainly allows for more opportunities in combat!
  • Squishy Wizard: The Sorcerer. Despite their lower survivability in close quarters, their use of Soul Arrow lets them get the jump on enemies from afar.
  • Protagonist Without a Past: The introductory cutscene does provide a bit of background information, but nothing else. All you really know for sure is that the Bearer was just an everyday person who got the Undead Curse and sought out a way to cure it, but somewhere on their long journey the curse took away most of the memories of their life.
    • Lampshaded by the Fire Keepers.
    "Ah. So you remember your name. There is that."
  • The Unchosen One: In contrast to the previous game's protagonist, no one really thinks the protagonist has any chance of success. The Fire Keepers mock the Bearer of the Curse's chances in the beginning, and even the Emerald Herald doesn't think the hero will succeed at first since she's seen so many Undead try and fail in the past. And yet, this hapless Undead who has forgotten everything but their name defies the odds and eventually defeats the true evil that brought down Drangleic and claims the Throne of Want.
  • The Undead: Is afflicted with the curse of the Darksign, and becomes increasingly necrotic and desiccated the more they die.
  • Unwitting Pawn: The Emerald Herald has been using the Bearer of the Curse from the very beginning as a piece in her own plot to free Drangleic from Nashandra and to find someone worthy of the Throne of Want.
  • Walking Armory: Inventory options have greatly expanded since Dark Souls, allowing players to carry up to three weapons for each hand (up from two), as well as up to four rings (up from two), not to mention various throwing knives, bombs, and even urns of holy water. Movement speed is also unhindered by equip load up to 100% (whereas before going over 50% would cause the player to slow to a jog), and fat-rolling doesn't occur until going over 70% (up from 50%). All this, on top of multiple rings being available to increase maximum equip load, means that the Bearer of the Curse can carry and wield more and heavier equipment than the Chosen Undead, and still be agile enough to avoid the same types of attacks from foes.
  • We Help the Helpless: The Blue Sentinels and Heirs of the Sun covenants, in their particular ways. Blue Sentinels help those being preyed upon by other players, by either being summoned to help them when invaded or punishing the guilty by invading their worlds. Heirs to the Sun are all about being summoned to help out and protect other players.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: It's revealed in the 'Scholar of the First Sin' that the cycle of Light and Dark will continue regardless of whether or not the Bearer decides to take the Throne of Want, just like the Chosen Undead's choice to Link the First Flame or become the Dark Lord, as humanity is forever bound to the cycle unless it seeks to destroy itself. However, the DLC offers at least one solution that Vendrick or Aldia didn't have...
  • You Shall Not Pass!: The whole schtick of the Rat Covenant and the Bell Guardians. Joining them allows you to invade - or pull into your world - intruders to specific geographic locations to prevent them from intruding.
  • Your Soul is Mine!: Like the previous Souls series playable characters, the Bearer of the Curse absorbs the souls of their enemies to become stronger.


    The Emerald Herald 

Shanalotte, The Emerald Herald
"Proceed, bearer of the curse. It is the only choice left to you."

Voiced by: Ruth Negga (adult) and Amy Nolan (child)

A mysterious woman encountered in Majula. She is the last active Fire Keeper left in Drangleic and watches over the Far Fire.

  • Artificial Human: She and a number of items imply she was created from the blood of dragons by the mystics of Aldia's Keep.
  • The Chessmaster: Lures Undead to Drangleic with rumors of a cure for the Undead Curse so that she can find someone capable of destroying Nashandra and claiming the Throne of Want.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: As you progress through the game, she becomes more hopeful that her mission to break the cycle might not be in vain after all. When you finally reach the endgame, she will even go so far as to reveal her name.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Has pale skin and brown hair, though it's usually covered by her hood.
  • Gameplay Ally Immortality: Averted. You can kill her in order to gain an item that warps you back to the last bonfire you rested at, but doing so prevents you from leveling up unless you pray to her grave for 2,500 souls. This state of undeath persists until New Game+.
  • In the Hood: Wears an emerald green hooded cape.
  • Known Only by Their Nickname: She's only ever referred to as the Emerald Herald. She does have a name, though. It's Shanalotte, and it was given to her by the dragons.
  • Last of Their Kind: Explicitly stated to be the last Fire Keeper left in Drangleic, though you meet a few former Fire Keepers beforehand. Navlaan suggests that she may not be exactly what people think she is however.
  • Mysterious Waif: Precisely who she is and why she is assisting you is unclear at first. Since she was created to break the curse, she's striving to get you to defeat Nashandra and take over as the new king and Link the Fire.
  • Mythology Gag: Based on the Maiden in Black from Demon's Souls (which FromSoftware loves to take elements from and put them into its successor series, Dark Souls), as the lynch-pin of the main hub area that gives you access to leveling up. She also takes Kingseeker Frampt's manipulative streak from Dark Souls, carefully leading the Bearer of the Curse into Linking the Fire.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Will magically appear behind locked doors and in areas with unlit bonfires before you've even gotten there. May be due to the fact that she was created by Vendrick and Aldia and is allowed access that undead aren't without the King's Ring. In the Undead Crypt, she actually teleports on-screen if you angle the camera right when picking up the King's Ring, though it's unclear if this was actual teleportation or just an oversight.
  • Peek-a-Bangs: Her right eye is covered to hide the fact that its purple. Her left eye is brown.
  • Raised by Wolves: It's eventually revealed that she was born and raised in the Dragon Aerie, and that her ultimate purpose was to break the undead curse.
  • Self-Duplication: In the Japanese text, when encountered at the Dragon Aerie she states that her "bunshin" has been leading the Chosen Undead... which could explain how she can access sealed-of locations.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: She was created by the residents of Aldia's Keep in hopes of breaking the cycle caused by the undead curse. Unfortunately, it didn't work, and she ends up simply perpetuating the cycle with your undead instead.

    King Vendrick (spoilers) 

King Vendrick

"Drangleic will fall, the fire will fade, and the souls of old will reemerge. With Dark unshackled, a curse will be upon us... And men will take their true shape."

Voiced by: William Houston (Lost Crowns trilogy)

The founder of Drangleic, alongside his elder brother Aldia. Vendrick led a campaign against the Giants, bringing prosperity to his kingdom. However, he felt something was amiss, and ventured off for one last journey. The former King of Drangleic has been reduced to a mindless Hollow, but still clutches something dear. While killing him is not necessary, putting this poor soul to rest could only be considered a final courtesy to the man who used every means within his reach and made unimaginable sacrifices to halt the spread of the Undead curse. A dignified and honorable death in single combat... Vendrick would have wanted it.

  • Achilles' Heel: Having Giant Souls in your inventory (up to a total of five) will lessen his massive defense value.
  • Abdicate the Throne: How his unwillingness to sacrifice himself to the Throne of Want (and therefore the Kiln of the First Flame) is viewed by other characters, and ultimately, history.
  • A.I. Breaker: The easiest way to deal with him is to keep close and to his left, forcing him to only perform horizontal slashes that'll often miss outright and double vertical ones that leave him very vulnerable.
  • Badass Beard: Vendrick has quite the thick beard, though its grey colour is toned down when you meet him through the DLC, and his depressed speeches turn it into a Beard of Sorrow.
  • Badass Cape: His kingly garb sports a large, black cape. However, when you find him in the Undead Crypt, he already stripped down to a loincloth, the rest of his armour lying on the ground. Said armour can be examined with the Ashen Mist Heart to encounter him before he became Hollow.
  • BFS: Wields one longer than he is tall, which is saying something since he is huge. His soul can be used to forge either his signature Ruler's Sword or a massive stone slab that has a statue of Nashandra engraved in it.
  • Big Bad: Is set up as being the one who brought his own kingdom to ruin. The truth however...
  • Bonus Boss: Fighting him is an entirely optional encounter; fighting him properly, that is. You'll need to gather several Souls of a Giant in order to even stand a chance against him, which takes a long while to do considering how said items are scattered in different locations, one of which is another Bonus Boss.
  • Brought Down to Badass: Can only be fought after he's stripped himself of all his clothing and armor, cast aside his shield, and has Hollowed out into a completely unresponsive state. He's still one of the hardest-hitting bosses in the game, almost invulnerable without at least a few Giant Souls, and in possession of a massive health pool that takes forever to chip away at even when he's being debuffed.
  • Casting a Shadow: If the player keeps their distance, Vendrick will rarely cast an orb of darkness that can instantly curse them.
  • Continuity Nod: One of his dialogues after clearing the Crown of the Old Iron King has him spout one of Dark Souls's opening narration lines:
    Vendrick: "Fire came to be, and with it, Disparity. Heat and cold, life and death, Light and Dark."
  • Contractual Boss Immunity:
    • He is completely immune to poison, presumably so people can't use poison to bypass his damage resistance ability without collecting Giant Souls.
    • Soul Appease does work on Vendrick but it is ineffective, needing a ton of buffs until it does significant damage despite him being one of the most hollowed people in the series.
  • Contrasting Sequel Antagonist: To Gwyn from the first game: both are old, powerful kings of a ruined kingdom, who are both encountered in a ruined hollowed out state. However, while Gwyn is a primordial God-Emperor with power over sunlight and lightning, Vendrick is just a really powerful human being. While Gwyn was firmly on the side of the Age of Fire, having created it himself, Vendrick tried to Take a Third Option on the Vicious Cycle, to no avail. Gwyn can be interpreted as the Greater-Scope Villain of the series as a whole, with many negative things in the games connecting back to him, while Vendrick, especially in the DLC, has a much more supportive role fitting a Big Good, and whose biggest sin, the invasion of the Giants' homeland and dragging his kingdom in a Forever War, was due to being manipulated by Nashandra.
  • Crazy-Prepared: He apparently went through a lot of effort to prevent his queen Nashandra from taking the Throne of Want. At some point before his final departure, he went to the Shrine of Amana, where the King left his soul behind a sealed door that would only open for un-Hollowed people. Vendrick then left his castle with his best men, while leaving the Looking Glass Knight to guard his escape. They went to the Undead Crypt, a place completely inaccessible except from the castle, and set up patrol routes while cooperating with the Graveguards to some degree. Vendrick went to the very end of the Crypt, leaving his absolute best man to guard him as he succumbed to the Undead Curse. Vendrick did all this to keep his ring safe, and left enough hints for a worthy Undead to follow the trail.
  • Dare to Be Badass: He knows that he's too far gone to be able to ascend the Throne of Want by the time you encounter him with the Ashen Mist Heart, but that doesn't stop him from using the last of his strength to gift you with the power to stop Hollowing and commission you to succeed where he couldn't with his last words; "Seek Strength. The rest will follow." Anyone who didn't get a renewed sense of drive from these six simple words probably didn't understand their meaning; seek out challenges and trials to improve yourself, for you will overcome them and after you've defeated them the rest of your purpose and destiny will come to you.
  • Death Equals Redemption: Scholar of the First Sin more or less reveals this. Despite all of his horrid acts under the dark influence of Nashandra, in the end, Vendrick went out giving valuable advice to the Bearer of the Curse, and gave what was left of his power to cure his/her undeath.
  • Death Cry Echo: Once his health drops to zero, Hollow Vendrick will fall down to his knees and disintegrate, letting out a ghastly scream that's recycled from the Four Kings.
  • Defiant to the End: It's believed that all the measures and barriers standing between you and the Throne of Want, such as meeting the Ancient Dragon and needing to go inside the Memory of a Giant, were set up by Vendrick solely to make sure that Nashandra would not take the Throne for herself.
  • Dreamwalker: You actually meet Vendrick in the DLC through the Ashen Mist Heart, at an unspecified time before he turned completely Hollow.
  • Dub Name Change: In Japanese, Vendrick's name actually reads out as "Vankladt" instead (literally Vankuraddo).
  • Easy Level Trick: If only for fun's sake, tt is possible to kill him from outside the arena by dealing a ton of damage at once before the fog gate is up and then finishing him off with Soul Appease. A proper one hit kill is doable in the vanilla version of the game, also by stacking several powerups and with help from a glitch.
  • Empty Shell: By the time you reach him, he's a mindless, naked Hollow who doesn't even register your presence, walking in circles and dragging his sword around.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Long ago, Vendrick and his brother, Lord Aldia, started thinking out ways to best the Undead Curse. While the brothers experimented to find a means to stop it, Aldia's experiments escalated to such extremes that Vendrick had to confine his brother to his estate, sealing the front gate with a massive door tied to Vendrick's ring.
  • Fake Ultimate Hero: Dark Souls III marks him unfavorably in history, saying in the end, he was no true Lord.
    • This might be literal, as King Vendrick sought to find another path besides merely Linking the Fire, and thus never became a Lord of Cinder. History still seems to have remembered him unfavorably, however, and Nashandra's evil deeds have faded from memory.
  • Final Boss: No. The King is set up as one, and anyone familiar with fantasy role-playing games or the first Dark Souls would expect Vendrick to be the last fight before the credits roll. Finding him hollowed beyond the point of no-return after going through Velstadt is a shocking moment. What makes it worse is the revelation that the Bearer of the Curse is ultimately not there to help Vendrick or put him out of misery, he/she is there just to get his ring.
  • Foreshadowing: The third option he eventually came up with (Master the First Flame and the Dark Soul) ultimately comes into play hundreds or even thousands of years later in Dark Souls III, where in one of the endings, the Unkindled steals the last of the First Flame's embers and combines it with the power of Dark Sigil, mastering both powers to break the cycle entirely and become the Lord of Hollows and Humanity. Whether this counts as being the salvation Vendrick desired or not, however, is a matter of debate and how one interprets Light and Dark.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: In-Universe. The description of the Shield of Want from Dark Souls III reveals that, since most people in Drangleic had gone hollow or died before Nashandra revealed herself as a Child of Dark, their actions were ascribed to Vendrick instead, and he went down in history as a greed-consumed king who ruined his own land in his lust for power.
  • How the Mighty Have Fallen: Like Gwyn and Allant before him, he built a great kingdom, only to have it taken over by eldritch forces and descend into madness. He probably gets it worse than them, since Allant became a powerful Demon and Gwyn still put up a hell of a fight despite having burned in the Kiln for God-knows-how-long. By the time you happen upon Vendrick, he's just a listless, nearly-naked Hollow that can barely drag around his sword in his stupor and won't even attack you unless you provoke him. He didn't die a good death, he just... wasted away and was mercy killed. Not a very poetic way to go out.
    • The fact that, when fighting him as the Bonus Boss, he is simply called "Vendrick", as opposed to having a flowery or grandiose epithet like most bosses in the series have, is telling; it's as if his current form is so incomparably far gone, in contrast to the well-meaning and heroic king of Drangleic that he once was, that he doesn't deserve to be considered anything but.
  • Invulnerable Civilians: If you have the Downloadable Content, it is possible to meet King Vendrick before he went Hollow by examining his clothes through the Ashen Mist Heart in the Undead Crypt. He will be giving you a few words of warning about your endeavours, and encourages you to seek the lost crowns found in the DLC. He won't budge even if you hit him, only muttering a quiet "Foolish..." when you do so.
  • Kick the Dog: While he was by all accounts a decent king, his army has a very disturbing tendency to, in the game's words, "mercilessly" kill anybody who tried to join them as anything other than an infantryman but were also unfit for a Knight's life. His main Lieutenant who reported only to him was even the one doing the executing. Those who managed to become knights but tried to later gain promotion to certain elite orders without sufficient training were killed in equally callous ways. Especially in the case of the Dragonriders, there must have been a certain pleasure from him and his leadership in killing those who aimed above their station, as presumably anyone who was even seriously considered for becoming a Dragonrider would have already been a greatly accomplished and loyal soldier and far more valuable alive.
  • Large and in Charge: He's so tall that your character, even with a big helmet or hat, will barely reach his knee.
  • Leitmotif: "King Vendrick", an eerie track that goes with the baffling atmosphere when you find what's left of Vendrick, mindlessly strolling around naked and Hollow. The song reflects the sheer confusion of looking at a shambling giant and realizing that this was King Vendrick, the same one that the Bearer of the Curse has been pursuing and hearing stories of since arriving in Drangleic.
  • Love Makes You Dumb: He admits this is true in his case, even implying he still has feelings for Nashandra despite knowing she's a Humanoid Abomination bent on drowning the world in the Dark.
  • The Mentor: This is what he becomes in the Lost Crowns Trilogy, being a fountain of exposition and directing you towards the DLC areas in hopes of recovering the titular crowns, with the promise that something exceptional will occur once all three are gathered.
  • Mercy Kill: While it's not necessary to kill him to finish the main storyline, this trope comes into play once you decide to fight him as a Bonus Boss.
  • Mighty Glacier: Vendrick is very slow, but he can often kill you in one hit if he manages to connect.
  • Mr. Exposition: Trying to talk to him through the Downloadable Content will have him expose several facts about the reality of the Throne of Want's purpose, the children of Dark, and what you should do if you want to follow in Vendrick's footsteps. He even outright references the Father of the Abyss when you talk to him after clearing the second DLC.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Taking Nashandra's counsel, he invaded the land of the Giants and captured many of them as experiment specimens for the cure of Undead curse. In vengeance, the Giant Lord and his army wrecked Vendrick's land and most of his royal force after decades of war. To add insult to injury, he disappeared at the peak of the war (implied to be due to his Hollowing) and left the people with no leader, until the Bearer of the Curse went back in time and slay the Giant Lord, tipping the scale in Drangleic's favor.
  • Obi-Wan Moment: Once you gather all three DLC crowns and talk to him again, the tone of his voice becomes more optimistic, and he imbues the crowns with his blessing, turning them, as well as his own crown, into practical immortality devices which prevent the user from ever going Hollow. The memory you're in then fades with no possibility of ever going back, with Vendrick giving you a final advice.
    Vendrick: Seek strength. The rest will follow.
  • Our Giants Are Bigger: He's a giant in the sense that he's similar to the lords of Anor Londo from Dark Souls, being significantly larger than the average human while preserving the same proportions; contrast the race of Giants introduced in this game, who are made of stone and have a hole for a face. He's also the largest Hollow you'll meet.
  • Passing the Torch: Once you give him all three DLC crowns, he blesses the crowns, as well as his own, and turns them into practical immortality devices to prevent Hollowing. His actions, as well as his following words, hint that he now places the hope of finding a true cure to the Undead curse in your hands.
  • Physical God: In his prime, Vendrick must have been a being of almost incomprehensible power. Even when naked and half-rotted by the Undead Curse, Vendrick is so tough that, if it weren't for the hatred of the Giant Souls weakening him, your most powerful blows would be lucky to even do double digit damage to him, while his attacks are so mighty they're pretty much guaranteed to kill you in three blows, no matter how tough you are. If you travel back into the past with the Ashen Mist Heart to meet him at full power and wearing his armour you literally cannot harm him at all and your efforts are so puny you don't even annoy him (at worst he's mildly disappointed by your foolishness).
  • Puzzle Boss: Can kind of be one. After you meet the Ancient Dragon, you get an item called the Ashen Mist Heart. Using it you can activate the Giant Statues, and take part in the Giant War in the past. By slaying the Giants, you obtain Giant Souls. Without any of these souls in your inventory (DO NOT USE THEM), your damage to him is cut by a factor of 32, making it essentially impossible. More impossible, if that's possible. Can also be a Guide Dang It!.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Possibly. Capt. Drummold mentions both his Father and Grandfather fought the giants, which means the war Vendrick started has been going on for decades by that point. The old woman says Dranlegic was created long ago, so unless time travel is involved during the opening cutscene, it could mean Vendrick was around for a very long time. And that's before he went hollow. There's no way of knowing how long he's been wandering aimlessly in the undead crypt since he went hollow.
  • Savage Setpiece: Past the initial shock of seeing the man you sought after for the first half of the game in a Hollow state, there's not much for you to interact with him once the Herald instructs you to search for the memories of the Giants. Vendrick will simply keep aimlessly walking around the room... unless you strike him, at which point he'll turn hostile and start swinging his sword at you. Despite his Hollow state, he's still one of the most resilient and deadly bosses around, moreso if you have no Giant Souls to lower his defense.
  • Soul Power: His signature Ruler's Sword becomes more powerful the more souls are holding (it needs one million to do full damage).
  • Stone Wall: He's INCREDIBLY durable (to the point where you do less than chip damage) unless you have at least four of the five Giant Souls. Even after that, he's still so durable that a fully-powered Ultra Greatsword does barely anything to him.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Despite knowing that Nashandra is a Child of Dark, he still harbours some compassion for his queen (or "dear Shandra"), calling her "a feeble, tiny thing that thirsted for power more than any other".
  • Take a Third Option: Deconstructed - he's a walking (well, shambling) demonstration of how wasting your life looking for a way out can result in far worse than just picking one (bad) option and sticking with it. He tried to find a way to save Drangleic from the Undead Curse other than Linking the First Flame or becoming the next Dark Lord. His efforts were for naught because he was being manipulated from the start by Nashandra, who was using him all along so she could claim the First Flame's power for herself and he contracted the Undead Curse for his trouble. Nashandra claims that, for all of his strength, Vendrick being unwilling to give himself to the Flame proved that he was not a true sovereign. Crown of the Iron King reveals that the third option he discovered but could not implement himself was to master the First Flame and the Dark Soul... and then 'Scholar of the First Sin' reveals that this isn't actually an option at all, because the price is way too high, and humanity is stuck with the choice between Light and Dark unless it wants to essentially destroy itself. However, said third option does come up in Dark Souls III as the basis behind the final ending where the Unkindled takes in the last of the First Flame and combines it with their Dark Sigil to become the new Lord of Hollows, master of Light and Dark.
  • The Undead: In his attempts to stave off the Zombie Apocalypse with his brother Aldia, Vendrick ironically turns out to have been afflicted with the curse of the Undead, and he's fully Hollowed by the time you meet him.
  • Unfit for Greatness: In his memories, Vendrick laments that he was no king, but a jester.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: A particularly extreme example. He's a mindless Empty Shell who fights by waving his sword in your vague direction, and only does that after you've already smacked him around a fair bit. The only reason he presents even the remotest of threats is because of his size, strength, and durability... and thanks to those, he's one of the most dangerous bosses in the game.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Vendrick could have stopped the Undead Curse right from the get go if he had chosen to continue the cycle of linking the Fire. Instead, he chose to let his brother Aldia do horrible experiments to do everything possible to stop it and even used the "prize" of the Giants to find another way. As Aldia sadly notes in the Scholar of the First Sin ending, the third option he hoped for doesn't exist in any meaningful sense, and there's only the eternal choice between Light and Dark. However, that doesn't mean he can't pass the torch onto the Undead Hero to try in his stead.
    • Eventually the protagonist of Dark Souls III can succeed and take the third option Vendrick and Aldia had been looking for.
  • Walking Spoiler: His surprise appearance in the Undead Crypt, as a Hollow no less, is a terrifying revelation for the Undead Hero, who had been set up by the Emerald Herald all this time to confront him. Like Gwyn, he also did what he could to prevent the outbreak of the Undead Curse, only to be subtly sabotaged by the true Big Bad of the game, Queen Nashandra. Furthermore, the DLC adds the option of meeting him before he went Hollow, where he will give you prophetic warnings about the fall of Drangleic, and encourage you to succeed where he failed.

    The Scholar (spoilers)  

Aldia, Scholar of the First Sin

See The True Final Boss under Enemy NPCs and Bosses

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