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Heartwarming / Dark Souls III

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Even at the end of the world, there are still warm moments to be found in the ashes.

Unmarked spoilers ahead.

  • On a meta level, the Soul of Cinder's first phase. You walk into the Final Boss fight, unsure what to expect. At first, they attack you with a sword and it seems like just another big, armored enemy. Then they transform their weapon. It's likely only when they take up their curved sword moveset and does a Dark Wood Grain Ring backflip that you realise: they're the Chosen Undead. But not just one Chosen Undead, they're all of them. Every Chosen Undead who ever linked the First Flame, embodied in the Final Boss of the Grand Finale. It's a beautiful nod to the fandom.
    • Their use of spells from Dark Souls II indicates that they might also be incarnations of Bearers of the Curse who took the throne and linked the fire.
    • The second/last phase of the fight is a rematch with Gwyn himself. Almost as if he came back to say "Hey! Remember cheesing me out last time, you cheeky little upstart? Let's fight again, the right way this time!", and boy does he give the players a proper final showdown. Strangely heartwarming, and a beautiful way to end the series.
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    • Many players describe hearing the piano chords from Gwyn's theme when the Soul enters phase 2 and tearing up in nostalgia.
  • In the ruins in the Smouldering Lake, you can find the body of a demon spider, with a corpse embracing its head. The Fair Lady died at some point during the countless millennia since the first game, but either Eingyi or Quelana was there with her, ensuring she didn't die alone.
  • The Abyss Watchers in general. They're a Band of Brothers who fight in the shadows against the horrors of the Abyss, and when they were called upon to link the Fire, they didn't appoint one of their number to become a Lord of Cinder. They all marched into the Kiln together, burning as brothers rather than let one be abandoned. Too bad that also means that you have more on your plate when you're going to fight them.
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  • The Promise made between Yhorm the Giant and Siegward of Catarina. Yhorm, in ages long past, was a Royal Who Actually Did Something, famed for leading his armies from the front in defense of his lands. He also used to possess two Storm Rulers, but gifted one of them to the humans of his kingdom so that they could feel safer about his rule. When the time came for him to Link the Fire, he gave the other sword to Siegward so that, when Yhorm would come back as a mad Lord of Cinder, Siegward would be able to put him down.
  • Yorshka is adorkable, and despite the bleakness of her imprisonment, she still holds hope. She gets excited by the idea of you and her brother meeting, of him seeing the hope you are bringing to the revival of the covenant, and talks about him more fondly than she does of Gwyn or Gwynvere. Unfortunately, she'll never have that chance...
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  • A minor thing, but there's something nice about how the Ashen One can have a lot (for a Soulsborne hero, anyway) of genuine friends backing them up. There's Greirat, Anri, Siegward, Sirris, Cornyx, and Patches (if you can forgive him for trying to kill you). And these are just the ones who won't go insane on you. Compare that to every other protagonist of this series, who had a hell of a job sorting out who was friend or foe.
  • A retroactive one to Dark Souls 2: While the description of the Mirrah Set does not indicate who wore it, the mask does give us a name: Lucatiel. The Bearer of the Curse kept their promise and more: they didn't just remember her name. — they made sure the world would.
  • As heart-rending as it is, there's something oddly sweet about the relationship that Lorian and Lothric have. They both sacrificed so much when Lothric Linked the Fire and Lorian took the brunt of its might for his younger brother, but despite Lothric being Maddened Into Misanthropy he still deeply cares for his older brother. Its interesting to see two characters who in any other FromSoftware game would either hate each other or be too insane to care have this level of affection for each other, especially given the circumstances that they have been put through.
    • As soon as Lorian falls, Lothric immediately teleports himself to his brother's side, despite his own frailty and the Ashen One still being an imminent threat. He cares so much about Lorian that he's willing to expose himself to danger to cast the revival spell.
    • Lothric's "This spot marks our grave. But you may rest here too, if you like." line can seem like he's snarking over your death, but think about what he's actually saying. At the start of the fight, he says that the Ashen One may 'have [their] rest', as though he sees slaying them as a Mercy Kill. He's not taunting you, he's genuinely inviting the Ashen One to rest in peace, free of the horror and brutality of the world at last.
    • If you decided to put an end to the Age of Fire, you can honor their wish and end their sufferings once and for all.
  • Despite untold eons passing from the time of the first game, the only covenant still around exactly as they were before are the Warriors of Sunlight, still seeking out jolly cooperation and Praising the Sun all the way to the end of the world.
  • YMMV, but Smough stayed behind in Anor Londo and ultimately died protecting Gwyndolin. That's right: the sadistic cannibal Smough, of all people, had a Heel–Face Turn. As a bonus, he died defending Gwyndolin from Aldrich, who participated in cannibalism much in the same way as Smough had.
  • Irina Of Carim's quest line can end in two ways. If you purchase any Dark Miracles from her, she will descend into a deep depression and eventually beg to be killed. But if you buy every good Miracle from her and not ever buy the dark ones, she will eventually move to the tower behind Firelink Shrine, where she has become a Fire Keeper as she was supposed to be. Sadly, this also leads to Eygon killing himself, his purpose fulfilled.
  • On a meta level, the emotes. The Gestures are, in many ways, a kind of gimmick, and there's nothing requiring a player to give a gesture to anyone, player or otherwise. However, nearly every player performs gestures; some give them even to bosses! Ranging from mocking, to silly, to appreciative to respectful, they run the full gamut of emotions. Even if is an invader, they'll often do a bow in greetings before the fight begins. In a game where connections can be transitory at best, this show of respect and courtesy is touching, especially in situations where the two players are supposed to be adversaries. It's almost like saying, "I'm sorry for intruding, but this doesn't need to be a bad thing. We're playing a game, so let's both make this as fun as we possibly can."
    • Gestures are also quite touching in that so much meaning can be conveyed in a game where you most likely won't be playing with anyone you know and can't talk to them but you can still coordinate, celebrate, and mock each other through gestures alone. It's such a nice feeling to use a sit down gesture near someone you're playing with and then have them join you in a quiet rest, or to do a victory gesture after a particularly tough boss and have the other players you just co-opped with join in the revelry, or to start off a friendly duel with someone with a gesture of respect to let them know you are fighting them with honor. So much meaning in such simple emotes.
    • To piggy-back on this, Messages are always a great way to interact with others if you don't feel like doing the online stuff. Just walking through an area and seeing a friendly message that says "Enemy ahead" or one before a boss that says "Try circling around and then try stabbing in the back" can warm the cockles of one's heart since there's people who are actively looking out for you and trying to make your time in the game easier. Of course, this can turn into people leaving jokes (like putting "try finger, but hole" next to a corpse leaning over a railing) or purposefully misleading advice (like "try jumping, and then treasure ahead" next to an obvious Bottomless Pit), but it all comes across as a nice moment of interaction in what can be a very lonely game at times. It's also made better since you can add gestures to a message like in Bloodborne, which means that your "Praise the Sun!" can now actually show you Praising the Sun to someone else in there game. Plus, no matter if they rate your message good or bad, you get a re-filled health bar every time someone rates one of your messages if you happen to be online at the same time they rated it.
    • The way the Fire Keeper will react to your gestures. Some of the reactions are adorable such as, if you clap for her she will bow, and if you kneel at her feet or offer a toast, she will spin in a circle like she's dancing. Some of the sillier reactions even provoke some amusement, shown by her trying not to giggle.
  • If there's one awesome thing to come out of Irithyll of the Boreal Valley, it's the area just outside of Pontiff Sulyvahn's boss room after you beat him. There's a small area where you can slay two crystal lizards, but if you're online you've probably noticed a ton of invader summon signs in that one spot and a lot more bloodstains. As it would seem, that little grassy area makes for the perfect arena to hold PvP duels, and since it's so readily available (as there's a safe bonfire not twenty feet from it), most people opt to do their competitive play there, in spite of the recently introduced Hollow Arena. Not only does this cut down on random invasions hassling you, but it also allows players to host small tournaments in this area by summoning a bunch of invaders at the same time and letting them duke it out two at a time (or in a giant brawl) while everyone else watches from the sidelines and cheers them on. So, not only is there jolly cooperation in this game, there's now jolly competition from people who want to PvP with honor and for fun rather than being dicks with the Red Eye Orb and hassling people who want to do single player.
  • The End of Fire ending is very depressing, but if there is a silver lining to be found, it's the fact that there is still hope that a new Age will come naturally, as the Fire Keeper envisioned. And at least you won't be riding out the end of the world alone.
  • While the Warriors of Sunlight are basically a covenant full of these, the greatest one comes from the fact that these guys, these hopelessly optimistic warriors that just want to help people and Praise the Sun, are the longest lasting and most enduring group in the entire series. Eons have passed since Solaire first founded them in service to Gwyn's firstborn, and they never went away despite the rise and fall of countless kingdoms and the destruction and founding of innumerable covenants for various purposes. In a setting as dark as that of the Souls series, it brings a tear to one's eye to know that the jolly co-operators are the ones that withstood the test of time.
  • Anri's and Horace's camaraderie. When they were little, they escaped from the cruel fate of being Eaten Alive by Aldrich as the only two survivors of his cannibalism, and have evidently stuck together since then. Their summon signs even appear together. Should the Ashen One slay the Hollowed Horace and tell Anri of his final resting place, they will have built a small shrine to Horace where he died using any available implements (including Prism Stones). Even after his death, Anri continues to leave Prism Stones at their summon signs. The most heart-warming part of their story is that after Anri fulfils their task of slaying Aldrich, they begin to Hollow, and they use the last ounces of sanity they had remaining to trudge themselves all the way back to Horace's resting place so they could die alongside their best friend.
  • The Ringed City DLC gives a largely Tear Jerker ending to the story of Alva the Wayfarer/Seeker of the Spurned and Zullie the Witch from Dark Souls II, one that is also surprisingly heartwarming, considering the original Happy Ending Override that the base game had going. While exploring the Ringed City, the player will be once again invaded by the Seeker of the Spurned. Only, instead of charging at you like most invaders, Alva will simply stand at the entrance of a short alley and will only start attacking if you approach said alley. After defeating him, the player can now go into it and loot the corpse that's there. The loot you get is the Black Witch Set, the armor set associated with Zullie in Dark Souls II. Alva was most likely already an Undead back in Dark Souls II and the fact that he survived, at the very least, several Linkings of the Fire, with only his search for his lover Zullie preventing him from Hollowing is amazing. It addition to that, Alva literally went to the end of the world to find Zullie. Then when he found her dead there, in the Ringed City, he didn't go Hollow. Alva instead resolved himself to prevent anyone from reaching Zullie's body for the rest of his life. If that doesn't count as heartwarming in a Dark Souls game, I don't know what is.
    • According to the first friendly Locust Preacher you encounter, the two were finally reunited in the Abyss.
    • The Golden Ending of the DLC also counts. Gael wanted to take your part of the Dark Soul, "for his lady's painting", while using the power of the Pygmy Lords' part of it to do it. After you kill him, you gain his soul, but also another item: the Blood of the Dark Soul, which you can then give to Gael's painter lady to fulfill his wish. Even after that grueling final fight, you still intended to grant Gael's final wish, remembering him for the Cool Old Guy he once was.
      • It also is Heartwarming for players to do it too. Giving the Blood of the Dark Soul to the Painter gives you nothing in return, your character just wanted to fulfill what Gael wanted and make the Painter happy.
    • The Hollow who asks you to call him Lapp in the final DLC, because he has forgotten his real name. The character is polite, friendly, encouraging and helpful and seeks the very thing all players do in the beginning of Dark Souls: a way to recover their memories of who they were. They believe the way to do this is by finding the Purging Monument, which you can find for him. If you tell him where to find it, he tells you that though he is afraid of what he may have been and who he may remember being but he wants you to know that he will always consider you his friend. When he remembers himself to be Patches he reverts to his Jerkass ways... but he also leaves you his armor, and his summoning sign will become available to the player to summon for the fight against Halflight.
      • The pathway he kicks you down to happens to be the only way forward through the area. Perhaps Patches is helping us continue our journey, in his own strange way?
      • His farewell has a bit of a meta-flavor to it, as if the developers themselves are saying goodbye.
    "I'll stick you in my prayers. A fine Dark Soul, to you."
  • A lot of the revelations in The Ringed City regarding the Pygmies and their place in history is largely a Tear Jerker, but carries a very heartwarming implication; the Abyss and the Dark Soul were never meant to be evil! The argument over the nature of the Dark has been made ever since the first game, but now we have conclusive evidence that, had Gwyn not been a Jerkass God by placing the Darksign on humanity to limit their access to the Abyss, mankind would've turned out just fine! They even participated in the war with the dragons, for crying out loud! All the Pygmy Lords wanted was to serve the world and the gods of Anor Londo, and the control they had over their dark souls would've allowed them to do so had Gwyn not interfered. It's refreshing to know that, after all the crap that mankind has been put through in this series, that ultimately humans were in the right about something.
    • Of course, the opposite interpretation also rang true. No matter how noble The Pygmy Lords' intention was (helping the gods and all), if Manus is any indication, them using the power of Abyss would end up with first of humanity perverted into creatures of madness, and Gwyn forbidding its use had actually prevented humanity from from killing themselves early. After all, in the game proper, all beings (except the Serpents) who ACTUALLY got into contact with the Abyss eventually had their mind corrupted. The Pygmy Lords might have some control over it, but who can say they can resist its corruption with continual use? In this light, while he wasby any means not nice going about it, Gwyn might have saved humanity from early demise.
  • The End of Fire. When you summon the Firekeeper, who cradles the First Flame as it flickers and fades, and everything goes dark, what would normally be a terrifying Primal Fear of endless darkness is instead comforting. At the end of the world, it comes down to not a sacrifice of souls to reignite the First Flame, nor the ascendance of a Dark Lord of Hollows, but instead simply two people, sitting alone in the dark, taking comfort in each other as the Fire goes out.
    • It gets even sweeter when you look at the world's state. Because of Gwyn's paranoia of the Dark, the world was slowly falling apart due to the Age of Fire taking so unnaturally long to finish up, leading to all the denizens suffering eternally, or self-sacrificing for nothing. By choosing to end the game by finally ending the First Flame, you've essentially relieved the entire world of its agony - even if you were to pull more questionable moves in the series, choosing this ending will certainly make your Player Character the most heroic out of them all: by finally giving the world the sweet release of death, and letting it be reborn in a new, normal cycle once again.
  • The description of the Sovereignless Soul starting gift reads: "The sovereignless soul of one who slept beside you." It could mean that after your passing, your spouse or someone else important to you came to spend his/her last moments besides you.
  • Rescuing Karla from her cell and learning spells from her. First you need to explicitely offer help. Then, after she tells you what she is, you must say you want to save her nonetheless. Back at Firelink, you get a third dialogue choice and you have to tell her you want to learn her sorceries even though she calls them detestable. Afterwards, her regular 'greeting' dialogue sounds like she's trying her best not to sound too happy/excited at seeing you again. It's hard to blame her: Lord knows how long she has been locked in that cell, and now she has found a pupil who accepts her and doesn't care who or what she is.
  • The Dreamchaser's ashes is either this or a tearjerker. The hand grasps the pendant, an item from Dark Souls I with no effect beyond providing pleasant memories to its owner. Even the Handmaid writes it of as the ashes of someone "most foolish". Yet even if they were foolish, they chased their dream until the very end.
  • The Hidden Blessing can be gotten as a burial gift. Its description says that the Queen of Lothric herself blessed it, and left it at a grave she used to visit, one no one else cared about. Apparently, the Queen herself saw something in the ash that would become the Unkindled.
    • The Hidden Blessing can also be sold by the Handmaid if you give her the Dreamchaser's Ashes. The Queen apparently made a habit of caring worthless graves.

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