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Tearjerker / Dark Souls II

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This ain't a Souls game without that added tinge of sadness.

  • The game's opening starts with it, since once again it discusses the hollowing and the horrible effects it has on humanity...while your character is stumbling on their way to Drangleic. Flashes of what appears to be memory seems to imply that you may have had a family once, a wife and a child, but the figures and memory all shatters after a moment. What this means, who really knows, since part of the curse is forgetting your past, your loved ones, and who you even are yourself. Who are you, even? Is there anyone still alive who cares for you? You never know and never will find out.
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  • Those who have played through the first Dark Souls likely remember the beautiful credits music, the Nameless Song. Upon entering the Shrine of Amana area, players will faintly hear the song of the Milfanito, taking that nameless song and letting players hear it once again, as they walk alone in the Shrine. Veterans who hear that are likely to stop in their tracks, the first time that hauntingly beautiful, soothing voice sings out those notes.
  • Lucatiel's story, as told in Prepare to Cry. A young woman knight who hails from the land of Mirrah, she came from a very poor family but has decided to to stake her claim in the world by training in swordsmanship alongside her brother. She was successful in demonstrating her strength and capabilities in battle, and this allowed her to gain honor, prestige, and riches in her homeland. But some time passes, and she unknowingly became afflicted with the Undead curse. This in turn stripped her and her family of honor, and this made her brother leave the family in search of a cure for the curse. Not long after, Lucatiel herself leaves for Drangleic with two missions in mind: to search for a cure to the curse as well, and to find her brother who has not returned home for a long time. Along her quest, she discusses her history with the Player Character and their common affliction (2nd meeting), showing that her face has become rotten. She resolves to press on, and you can encounter her later, her condition severely worsening each time. The last time you see her is in a shack outside Aldia's Keep (5th meeting), and she is slowly losing her memories and almost forgets you. She begs you to remember her name, as she is losing her mind bit by bit to the curse. Entering the keep will cause a black phantom to appear - named Aslatiel of Mirrah. While it is not directly stated or mentioned, it is very likely that Aslatiel is Lucatiel's long-lost brother, judging from the armor that they wear to the weapons that they wield. This could mean one of two things: a) Aslatiel became afflicted with the curse as somewhere along the journey, and so he went mad and became Hollow; b) Aslatiel died along the way while searching for a cure for the curse. Poor family, indeed.
    • By the time you meet Lucatiel in Black Gulch (3rd meeting) you can tell just how hopeless she's starting to feel. "Maybe we're all cursed... from the moment we're born."
  • Leningrast seems awfully happy to have Chloanne around, and seems to think that she is his daughter. Understandable, given his condition, but after speaking with the two for a bit, it becomes apparent that Chloanne might actually be his daughter, and she doesn't recognize him due to the curse. Reinforced when she says that he actually looks like her father.
  • You've fought through armies of demons and hollows, felled the bearers of the Great Soul, struggled through Drangleic castle and slaying some of the most powerful warriors King Vendrick has at his disposal. Finally, it's time for an epic showdown with the king... Except, not really. After killing Velstadt, Vendrick's bodyguard, you enter the king's chamber to see King Vendrick... Naked, mindless, docile, and Hollow. It's strangely upsetting to see the man hyped up as the Big Bad in such a lowly state, and then you realize that all of the knights who gave their lives to guard the king (from you, no less) were doing so simply so that no one could see their king in such a wretched state. The somber music only amplifies the effect. At this point, death seems a mercy. The trophy earned for defeating him makes it worse, since it shows Vendrick in his prime instead of the shambling Hollow he has become.
    • King Vendrick becomes an even more tragic figure in The Crown of the Sunken King. By using the Ashen Mist Heart on his discarded armor you can visit him in memories and see him before he went Hollow. Vendrick, now a weary old man, greets you and offers some advice concerning the new crowns. All the while bemoaning his own failings, remarking that he's more a jester than a king. The saddest part is that he still seems to love Nashandra to some degree even though he knows she is an abomination that brought about his ruin.
  • If you don't see Nadalia as evil, her story of coming to the Old Iron King's land and finding no one there can count as this. The whispering idols make this a little bit worse if you can make out what they're saying; She seems to be mistaking you for her king and she's really happy that you've finally arrived.
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  • Sir Alonne is one of the few enemies you encounter in Dark Souls 2 that isn't hollow, corrupted, mindless, or simply evil by nature. You encounter him in a pristine version of the Iron Keep as it was at the height of its master's power. Alonne engages the player in honorable combat, rare enough in PVP and also unheard of in PVE, even bowing to you before his fight. Unlike the countless other knights in the series, whose arms and armor are worn, and who are far past their prime, everything about Sir Alonne from his Leitmotif to his boss arena radiates pride and honor. Especially given that the player confronts Alonne as (from his point of view) a mysterious intruder who has most likely been running around the area cutting down the soldiers he personally trained, it's hard not to feel bad about fighting Sir Alonne.
  • The plight of Alsanna, the Silent Oracle. In stark contrast to her sisters, she is a tragic figure. She sought a means to anchor herself to the world while calming the fears she embodied and found something better when the Ivory King offered her his love, only to lose it all to an evil even worse than the one that spawned her. In the end, she couldn't even grant her love a Mercy Kill and had no choice but to cover their kingdom in ice to seal the Old Chaos. See her and her king's story here.
  • The Milfinito locked up in the Drangleic Castle tower dies after you free her, but as you leave the room you can hear her voice singing. The other Milfinito in the Shrine of Amana thank you for freeing her.
  • The Lost Crowns trilogy ends with Vendrick passing on a blessing that prevents Hollowing as long as you wear one of the crowns. Immediately after he does this, he offers parting advice to keep searching for a means to break the cycle of Fire and Dark before you are booted out of his Memory. If you try returning to Vendrick's armor, it no longer responds to the Ashen Mist Heart. It becomes clear that Vendrick went Hollow immediately after he bestowed his blessings upon you, his successor. Even as the Curse consumed him, Vendrick refused to give in until he found someone who could succeed where he failed.
  • Once more, "Prepare To Cry" on YouTube continues its tradition of providing and expanding upon the lore offered in-game, and does it delight in making the tears flow even more.
    • Alonne and the Iron King: An interesting take on the story of Sir Alonne and the man whom he swore loyalty to, it talks at length about how the Old Iron King became what he is today, along with the inevitable split that occurred between the King and his most loyal of knights.
    • The Raven and the Royal Aegis: Ever wondered exactly why the Fume Knight, a.k.a Sir Raime of Drangelic, fought Sir Velstadt and left King Vendrick's service in disgrace? The lore paints him as a Defector from Decadence who recognized what was happening to the kingdom due to Nashandra and attempted to stop it by denouncing the King and Queen, but Velstadt, whose faith in the King was absolute and in turn blinded him, faced him in battle for daring to question the monarchy. Velstadt fought for his king, Raime his kingdom, both possessing Undying Loyalty and well-meaning, but also blind to the true threat that would doom them all. As the tagline to the video states:
    "We can be judged by the company we keep, and the company Vendrick kept was loyal indeed."
    • As for why Raime ended up in Brume Tower? After his exile, he went searching for other kingdoms that might have faced the same threat as Drangelic to find proof of the Queen's treachery, and so he came across the Old Iron Keep, and its new caretaker, Nadalia, the Ashen Maiden. Raime, while originally intending to kill her and bring back proof, rather found kinship with her: Both of them had no king or kingdom, so Raime swore his loyalty and life to her, allowing her essence to enter his sword and defending her from harm. This has extra weight if you're of the camp that Nadalia isn't evil, as the video asks why would he serve another Child of Dark if the one he already knew of was the reason he was exiled in the first place.
  • The Giants in the game. You might have been wondering: these massive, powerful behemoths are undoubtedly capable of laying siege on the kingdom of Drangleic, as is told in the game that they left most of it in ruins. But how on earth did they ultimately lose to such puny humans? Why did they manage to destroy only most of the kingdom, and not all? Surely they could have done that no problem, given their enormous size and strength, and their ability to shake the ground with their footsteps. In order to understand the situation, we need to look at the Last Giant. You encounter him as a broken, tortured, and horribly-injured shell of a once-magnificent being; his haunting, whale-like moans echoing through the air as he drags himself out of the pile of rubble trapping him, just to do battle with you. But why? Right from his intro, you can feel that there's something not quite right about here. Why would he fight you while in such a decrepit state? And why does he seem so angry upon seeing you, wherein fact it's just your "first time" seeing him? You definitely feel that he's not quite happy to see you; his rage is so overwhelming, that he immediately runs straight towards you without any second thought, and that he even rips off his own arm to smack you with it in a desperate attempt to kill you. That's tragic enough on its own, but then you get into his backstory. Later in the game, you can go back into the Forest of Fallen Giants and examine the trees scattered in the area that look like Giants. These are, in fact, dead Giants, and using the Ashen Mist Heart allows you to revisit their memories, shortly before their deaths. It's not until you get to the Memory of Jeigh, that you see a familiar face. You then realize that the Last Giant you defeated is actually the Giant Lord, a mighty king whose people were killed and their "keepsake" or "prize" stolen and exploited by King Vendrick and his people, all because Nashandra deceived him. There was no real threat from the far seas. In an effort to recapture the "prize" stolen from them and avenge their fallen kin, he led his fellow Giants across the seas and waged war against Drangleic, only to be defeated at the moment of his triumph, just as they were nearing their goal. The Giant Lord was captured, dragged beneath the stronghold and sealed for centuries as an example to others. The kicker? You were the one who denied him his revenge and left him to his fate, and he remembers it all too well. And so, going back to the whole story of the Giants, it wasn't King Vendrick and his men who managed to defeat the Giants and prevented them from re-claiming the "prize" that was rightfully theirs. You did. You bastard.
  • Aldia's obsession with the First Sin also claimed a large number of innocents. Even discounting the many aberrations created in his Keep, his experiments also tore a bunch of people from their worlds and reduced them to wandering spirits, transforming them into the Forlorn. Without a self, they were left to mindlessly wander worlds, with no beginning or end.
  • Velstadt himself qualifies in this category. He left Shulva before the attack on Sinh, allowing his home to be plunged into chaos. He befriended and aided the aforementioned Raime, only to follow his king's command and declare him a traitor. Besting his only real friend in combat and reaffirming his allegiance to his king, Velstadt stood eternal guard in front of Vendrick's tomb. Once you arrive, you kill him and claim the King's Ring. Most players write him off at first, until you realize he wasn't hollow. The light surrounding him has protected him from the Darkness, making him conscious and able to recognize the impending doom he faces. Sure he attacks you, but he is so furiously protective of the king he has served for so long you can't help but empathize with him.
  • Take a listen to Aldia during his boss fight. He routinely groans and growls. He sounds like he's in pain, almost as if existence itself is pain for him. Despite his horrible actions, you can't help but feel sorry for him. All he wanted was freedom from the Curse, and look where it got him.

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