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Tear Jerker / Dark Souls

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As a Moments subpage, all spoilers are unmarked. You Have Been Warned.
"Quelaag? Please, sister, do not cry—I am happy, truly. I have you, don't I?"
Prepare To Cry.

  • Long story short, any time you kill a non-hostile NPC will probably be this. From Software really likes making those kinds of players feel horrible.
    • If the player kills the Giant Blacksmith, his final words are "Nighty-night...".
    • Killing Dusk of Oolacile also prompts a heartbreaking line:
      Farewell... my rescuer...
    • Killing Quelaag's sister will make you feel like a monster.
      Quelaag... But, why...?
    • Likewise, Siegmeyer's dying words (should the player opt to kill him) have him calling for his daughter. Try not to feel terrible about that.
  • Pretty much the entire Izalith storyline is a Tear Jerker:
    • Let's start with the Witch of Izalith herself. One of the primordial Lords of the Age of Fire, she and her daughters attempted to recreate the First Flame to preserve the old order of things and prevent the exact state of the world you find in the game. They failed, however, and the entirety of Izalith was swallowed by magical madness and fire. The Witch herself and two of her daughters turned into an Eldritch Abomination that began spawning demons.
    • Those ugly demons you slaughter in Lost Izalith? Yeah, those are all strongly implied to be former Izalith citizens transformed and driven mad by the Witch's spell.
    • The Witch's eldest daughter escaped relatively unharmed and spent her life defending the abomination her mother has become — until you come along and murder her. Granted, it was in self-defense, but you did have to kill her sister to get that far, as well as potentially murdering two more of her sisters, her only brother, and desecrating the grave of another sister. As she dies at your hands, her last thoughts must be the realization that next, you will kill her remaining family, too.
    • Quelana, Mother of Pyromancy, escaped relatively unharmed but suffered horrific PTSD as a result that even time seems unable to heal. After you kill Bed of Chaos, Quelana begins to warm up to you, even admitting that you've outgrown the title "fool". But after you've learned all of her pyromancy and fully upgraded your Flame, she says her goodbyes, remarking that since she has nothing more to teach you, your time together is over. She refuses to speak to you, and once she leaves, is never seen again.
    • Quelaag, the Chaos Witch, seems like an evil monster worthy of being valiantly vanquished by you—and then you discover, after her death, that she was merely using the second Bell of Awakening to lure in wannabe Chosen Undeads and harvest humanity from them, all so she could ease her blind and crippled sister's pain. That's on top of having to live for centuries with a giant chaos spider for legs as a result of the Izalith ritual going awry.
    • And of course, Quelaag's sister herself takes the proverbial cake. Every single line spoken by the Daughter of Chaos is absolutely heart-rending, made worse by the fact that the Old Witch's Ring makes you sound like Quelaag. So you're kinda exploiting the Daughter of Chaos and giving her false hope. What more, the Fair Lady tells who she thinks is Quelaag to not cry. Since she's talking to the Chosen Undead, even the most evil of chosen undead is canonically crying over what they have done.
      Quelaag? Please, sister, do not cry. I'm happy, truly. I have you, don't I?
    • Ceaseless Discharge seems like a one-off, gruesome monster that plays no point but to guard Lost Izalith and a decent armor set, set? Well, according to some hints in game and also outright stated in an interview with one of the creators, there is actually a brother of the Sisters of Chaos, who was born covered in sores that constantly poured out lava. The Witch of Izalith and her daughters made the Orange Charred Ring to help him with the pain, but he dropped it and the ring grew into the Centipede Demon. In the interview, the director stated that now he's become a sad, twisted giant whose only form of solace is watching over his sister's grave and ignoring the pain from the lava ceaselessly discharging from his warped body. Bet you feel bad for chuckling at his name now, huh?
      • Knowing this, you suddenly understand why he attacks when you claim that armor set. You just robbed his sister's grave in front of him.
  • Annastacia's death at Lautrec's hands, in no small part due to how sudden it is. When the player gets back from ringing the second Bell of Awakening, they can go to the place she would normally be, only to find her items there, stained with blood. Inspecting her little cave just produces a dialogue box stating "dead", and any attempts to use the bonfire in the shrine fail. It's not even immediately obvious that Lautrec did the deed (aside from the fact that he's nowhere to be found), so it looks like she tragically died of natural causes at first.
  • Solaire becoming possessed is bad enough, but is made undeniably worse by the fact that he's become delusional and believes that he's managed to finally find his own personal sun...
    • What's worse is the fact that even if he survives that, there's still the fact of what happens to any who would accept the fate of the Chosen Undead within the Kiln of the First Flame. Solaire can indeed become the new sun of his world if he's summoned for the fight against Gwyn, but it's doubtful it was at all what he was expecting... See his tale here for the full extent of it...
    • In general, slowly watching Solaire get more and more depressed each time you meet him over the course of your journey is pretty upsetting. Even if he doesn't get Driven to Madness, finding him sitting dejectedly on the floor in Lost Izalith instead is pretty saddening when you remember how much of a motivated and chipper Nice Guy he was when you first met him.
    • The last words of a man who wanted nothing more than to find his sun.
      It's over... my sun is setting. It's dark. So dark.
  • The conclusion to the Siegmeyer and Sieglinde sidequest. When the former goes Hollow, the latter is forced to kill him. Siegmeyer is already dead by the time the player reaches them, with a grief-stricken Sieglinde standing over her father's corpse. For extra Player Punch, it's highly likely that he only went Hollow because you kept helping him. He prided himself on being a great adventurer, and anytime he encountered an obstacle he found difficult, you came along and bulldozed through it like it was nothing, making him lose faith in his own abilities.
    • An alternate conclusion to the sidequest is no happier. Should Siegmeyer take too much damage during the fight with the Chaos Eaters in Lost Izalith, and survive the fight, he will die from his injuries. To make matters worse, he dies utterly miserable that he's "failed" the player character and his last words have him calling for his daughter, similar to if the player kills him.
    • The entire premise of the Chaos Eaters choice. He has been losing faith in himself ever since you came along and is getting ever closer to going fully hollow (the equivalent of death). When he gets to have his epic last stand, he finally seems to be in his element. Very likely a Self-Sacrifice Scheme, but can the hero let him die knowing they could have saved him?
  • There's a very subtle one involving Witch Beatrice. So you beat the Four Kings, quite possibly with the help of phantom Beatrice, and you're exulting and also wondering just when you're going to meet Beatrice for real, since she's helped you out via phantom sign twice now. And then you go beyond the Kings, and you see... a body with all of Beatrice's stuff on it. The item descriptions make it clear Beatrice lived centuries before you did and could help you due to Lordran's convoluted flow of time, but for your purposes, she's dead. She may have even tried challenging the Kings again after helping you.
  • Another phantom you owe a lot to is Iron Tarkus. In his timeline, he was the first and only man to make it past the Iron Golem, and after doing so, he left behind his summon signature so he could help anyone who came after him in their world. Later on in Anor Londo, when you're trying to access the cathedral, you find that once again, Tarkus has been there before you and broken a window, allowing you to reach the bridge controls and make progress. Many players would have been excited to meet the man who helped them get so far at this point; sadly, it was not to be. Most likely no one gave the painting room much thought when they enter it, fighting painting guardians on some narrow rafters. It's only when you reach the floor that you find a corpse wearing Tarkus' armour. It's not difficult to figure out what happened, a man encumbered by heavy armour, wielding a greatshield and greatsword. For all his strength and courage Tarkus, the man who did so much for you just met a challenge he wasn't suited for.
  • When you get Great Gray Wolf Sif's HP down far enough, he starts limping and his attacks become slower. Given that he's a Punch-Clock Villain at worst and one of the most beautifully animated creatures in the game, it's hard to score the final blow. Is it any wonder there are so many rumors stating you can spare him at this stage?
    • New hopes were given in a released DLC, where you travel back into the past. If you find an optional hidden area, you encounter Sif as a puppy and can save him from a group of enemies. He'll even help you out in return by being summonable for the boss. Except it's all ultimately false hope and you still have to kill him in the present. In fact, it's even worse if you do the DLC first, because he actually recognizes you from the past and lets out a long Howl of Sorrow before drawing Artorias's sword. He doesn't want to fight his friend and rescuer, but his oath to his master demands it.
    • It gets even worse. The player actually reaches out to pet Sif, only for Sif to pull away and howl. Neither one wants to fight, but they don't have any choice in the matter anymore.
    • If you're feeling excessively cruel, you can even wear Artorias' gear to the fight, making it look like Artorias is putting down one of his most loyal companions! You Bastard!
  • Logan's fate if you buy all his spells; he will continue his research for what made Seath immortal. After defeating Seath and going back to Logan, he has gone completely mad from the research and disappears the next time you rezone. Upon going back to where you first "fought" Seath, you can find a now violently insane Logan with nothing on besides his signature hat.
  • Several characters you speak to tend to finish conversations with something to the tune of "don't go Hollow". Just a farewell at first, until several of them start Hollowing one by one. How many of their friends did they lose?
  • Crossbreed Priscilla. Particularly, killing Crossbreed Priscilla. She's pretty much the only boss who, rather than preemptively striking, politely asks you to leave her alone. Even Sif just attacks on sight.
    • Even better: When you go into the Painted World and read up on the lore about a "life stealing abomination", you go in expecting to face a horrible monster that was once one of the greatest enemies of the gods. What you find instead is a depressed, lonely, and terrified young woman whose only "crime" was being born a half-breed, and practically begs you to just go away and leave her alone.
    • Seriously, you have to go out of your way, lore-wise, to meet and kill her. She even calls you out on this douchemanship.
  • Though many friendly characters will become Hollow, under the right circumstances, special mention goes to Laurentius of the Great Swamp. An all around Nice Guy, doesn't get offended if you decline to learn pyromancy or walk away while he talks, and has learned to shrug off any negative opinions on pyromancy; he's quite possibly the most genuinely kind NPC in the game. He's especially thankful to you for saving his life, and considers you to be a friend. However, if you show him either the Ascended Pyromancy Flame or any Chaos Pyromancy, he'll become excited and ask how you came across such powerful pyromancy. Opting to tell him rekindles the fervor he had when he first became undead, and he then leaves Firelink Shrine to track down Quelana so he can continue studying and mastering his art. The next time you encounter him, he's gone Hollow in Blighttown, mere paces away from where Quelana is located. He was right there, close to achieving his goal, and it slipped through his fingers. And even worse? The last thing he does before leaving is thank you for helping him once again.
    • And that knot in your guts will not go away easily, when you remember that unlike other NPCs who followed their personal quests and died, Laurentius is perfectly content to lodge in Firelink Shrine even after you have bought all of his spells or fully upgraded the Pyromancy Flame and doesn't stray off anywhere to hollow out. The reason he left for Blighttown is because of you, who just had to tell him about Quelana. You're just trying to help him, but you unknowingly sent your friend to his own doom.
      • Quelana comments when you first speak to her that it's very rare for a human to actually see her, which suggests that most people cannot see her at all. It's extremely likely that Laurentius had passed by her countless times in his search, never actually finding her even if he could have been close enough to trip over her as he went about his search. Undead become hollowed once they lose all sense of purpose, and the weight of failure crushed Laurentius like an egg; completely unable to find the subject of his search, who in all likeliness watched him stumble around the swamp like a blind drunk for hours.
      • Possibly the cruelest cut of all is thanks to Gameplay and Story Integration. Quelana is invisible to anyone who doesn't have a Pyromancy Flame upgraded to at least +10. Laurentius, who is proud of his pyromancy and has dedicated his life to it, actually only had a Flame at +8, which is why he can't see Quelana. He failed in his life's ambition and ultimately died for it because he wasn't good enough.
      • Consider the following dialogue:
        Laurentius: A pyromancer's flame is a part of his own body. The flame develops right along with his skill. When I gave you that flame, I gave you a part of myself. Please take good care of it.
    This implies that the reason Laurentius's Pyromancy Flame is below +10 is because he took some of its power to make your Pyromancy Flame. So you basically double-screwed him. You Bastard!.
    • Though this is somewhat mitigated when you realize that the above logically wouldn't apply if the player started as the Pyromancer class, since then they would have had a Pyromancy Flame of their very own since the Undead Asylum, long before they ever met Laurentius in The Depths.
  • The final section of the game deserves a slot here as well. You spend the entire game working up to this moment, ringing the Bells of Awakening, braving the notorious Sen's Fortress, traversing the abandoned streets of Anor Londo, and overcoming all other obstacles to open up your final destination. What awaits you here? The Kiln of the First Flame. A wasteland desert made of ashes and partially melted architecture, completely quiet and devoid of life other than the few remaining Black Knights guarding the final area. After dispatching these final enemies, what is there as the final fight in this game? None other than Gwyn, Lord of Sunlight. Now reduced to the Lord of Cinder, having been BURNING in the Kiln ever since he first lit the First Flame. And to make matters worse? He gets no intro cinematic, no dialogue, you just have this once great man lunge at you as soon as you cross the fog, as a simple, elegant, and impossibly depressing piano piece plays as you fight this fallen hero. Both to accomplish your goals, and for this point it'd seem to be put him out of his misery.
    • The simple revelation that you're not fighting an Eldritch Abomination, a God of Evil, or a great Evil Overlord king of any sort. Instead, you're just fighting some old man. A husk of an old, terrified man who was not a pure god, but was simply just as flawed as anyone else. A humane god of the highest order, having sacrificed his own life just to prolong the world's existence for just a little longer. An Empty Shell that must simply be put to rest.
    • One YouTube comment described it as less an epic boss battle and more an execution of a frightened and lonely old man afraid of change.
    • The theme that plays while you fight Gwyn is also heartwrenching. The music sheet, which only focuses on the white keys, gives even more meaning to his character: an old man afraid of the Dark.
  • The PC edition piles it on regarding the backstory of Artorias the Abysswalker. Artorias was not involved with the Darkwraiths of New Londo at all. In reality, he was sent to Oolacile to destroy Manus, the father of the Abyss. Unfortunately, Artorias could not handle the pure blackness of the Abyss. He set up his blessed greatshield to form a magical barrier to protect his wolf companion, Sif, who at the time was an infant (though still the size of an adult wolf). Artorias was defeated by Manus and forcibly corrupted against his will. His companions, Gough and Ciaran, both thank you should you Mercy Kill him. See the full story here.
    • Even more haunting is his cut dialogue that is found by mining the files of the PC version. Through it, the player finds out that Artorias was not only aware of himself in his boss fight, but also tremendously terrified towards the Abyss, miserable about his failure, and desperate about his own corruption.
      Artorias: "All of you, forgive me...for I...have availed you...nothing..."
    • Encountering Lord's Blade Ciaran after you kill Artorias is a tearjerker in its own right. You find her kneeling in front of a makeshift grave, mourning the death of Artorias. If you happen to have the Soul of Artorias in your inventory, Ciaran will ask you to hand it over, so she can pay proper respects. She doesn't force you into giving her the soul and will only sadly say that she shouldn't have been presumptuous if you refuse. It's implied that Ciaran and Artorias were in a romantic relationship, or at the very least, that the two were extremely close friends. It's clear that Artorias's death has greatly affected Ciaran, so much so that if you attack and kill her, her last words are "My dear... Artorias..."
    • If you do decide to give her Artorias' soul, she trades you her weapons, saying that she "no longer has any need for them". Note that this is the leader of an elite group of assassins — her giving away her weapons essentially means she gave up the life she once had, and the rank she worked hard for, to spend the rest of her days guarding the grave of the man she loved. This may have well been the case, since you can find her Hornet Ring on a female corpse behind Artorias's gravestone in the present time.
    • At first when you meet Alvina, she sounds like a jerk, insisting that the legend of Artorias is "naught but a fabrication" and that his amazing feats were just fairy tales. But they were true, so why would she lie? To protect Sif.
  • One in the Duke's Archives. If you go down to the bottom of the prison area with the Pisacas and kill the others, you'll see that there will be two down there that didn't leave and won't attack you. As you approach them, you can hear the sound of two girls crying. They were most likely maidens like Rhea of Thorolund, kidnapped and experimented on until they became Pisacas like the rest.
  • For more obscure ones, look up "Prepare To Cry" on YouTube. The vid series talks in-depth about the lore behind each character, to the point that even Pinwheel becomes pitiable.
    • Speaking of which — do you want to know the true history of Pinwheel? The boss who is regarded as a joke to many players? Well, the lore and interviews paint a picture of a man who lost his son and wife and became desperate to get them back. He turned to necromancy and eventually managed to steal a part of Gravelord Nito's power. After many desperate attempts, he managed to bring them back...only it all went wrong. You ever wondered why he has three masks and six 'arms'? Well, it's because the bodies of his wife and son are FUSED to the body of the father at the waist, therefore making him literally carry the weight of his mistake. From Software just loves to make even the weakest bosses sad, huh?
    • Another theory behind Pinwheel is that he was once Nito's High Priest of sorts, and that he betrayed the Gravelord to get his power for some reason, possibly as part of a deal with Velka. But then again, who's to say these theories are mutually exclusive? What if Pinwheel was a loyal servant of Nito until death came for his family? What if his whole ordeal was an attempt to get revenge on the God who betrayed him first, while also desperately seeking a way to bring his wife and child back to life? And then you come in, the unwitting and indirect lackey of that same Gravelord and his allies, killing him and rendering his last act of defiance meaningless (possibly even taunting him with a "Well, what is it?" as he dies). Way to go, Chosen Undead...
    • Another thing about Pinwheel. He doesn't expect you. He does not speak or roar or make any other sound when you approach. That look on his face(s)? Not pride, not arrogance: fear. He knows he's no match for you, but fights you anyway in a desperate hope to keep what little progress he's made.
    • That very same YouTuber made two videos essentially summing up the backstory of the game up to the Chosen Undead finally entering the Kiln of the First Flame, telling of the rise and fall of the kingdom Gywn fought so hard to maintain, and of how fire warred with dark 'til the bitter end. *Note: Spoilers for a good portion of the game, including the DLC. Watch at your own risk.*
  • A rather small, easily missed example: If you enter the New Londo Ruins from Firelink Shrine, you'll run into a bunch of neutral Hollows standing around performing their usual repetitive tasks, except one of them appears to be mourning in front of a corpse.
  • Reah of Thorolund's story. Prone to Tears and a Shrinking Violet, Reah is uncomfortable around the player character at first and only wishes to carry out her mission of finding the Rite of Kindling. Later in the game, you find out that Petrus betrayed her and left her to die in the Tomb of the Giants, and her two bodyguards Vince and Nico had already gone Hollow and she needs to be rescued from them. She later moves to the Undead Parish and will teach you miracles, becoming much friendlier towards and growing fond of you each time you visit. Unfortunately, she still suffers from survivor's guilt and she will either die at the hands of Petrus or go Hollow in the Duke's Archives, where you yourself will be forced to kill her in self-defense.
  • If you happened to own the official art book and paid attention to Gwyndolin, he's mourning for his father Gwyn at the tomb, with a flower laid on the coffin alone. Instead of telling the truth to everyone, he chose to endure the pain on his own and shroud Anor Londo with his illusion. The seemly Jerkass God who manipulated you all the time might not be as Jerkass as one might think!
  • Several NPC deaths can be avoided by simply not exhausting their services. Was that last miracle really worth someone's life?
  • It's a small one, but the fact that Dragonslayer Ornstein is the last of Gwyn's four knights that is still alive. Artorias, Ciaran, and Gough are dead, and he's the last one left. You gotta give this man a hug. Though it also becomes a Moment of Awesome when one considers that it's heavily implied in Dark Souls 3 that he survived long enough to leave Anor Londo SHORTLY BEFORE THE EVENTS OF THE THIRD GAME.
  • The fate of the protagonist of the Age of Fire prequel comics, Akron the Silver Knight. He is ultimately unable to accomplish anything, suffers immensely, and ends up just another Black Knight slain by the Chosen Undead.