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Dark Souls, being a game in which the lore is built mostly on Story Bread Crumbs, is very prone to having WMGs.

Prepare to Why.

The final boss isn't really Gwyn.
The entity you face in the Kiln isn't really Gwyn, but the "spirit" of the First Flame, using Gwyn (as its first sacrifice) as an avatar. Taking on his skills and abilities, while Gwyn's consciousness is gone. His charred looking body only makes him appear to be hollowed, even tho DS3 says that the curse of the Undead only affects humans. He blindly attacks you, not because he's desperately trying to defend the dying flame, but the flame itself is trying to A. Protect itself from being snuffed out, B. Testing the Chosen Undead to see if he is strong enough to be used as fuel (as if the Chosen Undead can indeed defeat its avatar, then they are probably strong enough to keep the fire burning awhile longer). This is shown more clearly in DS3, where the "Soul of Cinder" is an amalgamation of everyone who has ever Linked the Fire. The First Flame has added the appearance and abilities of the other sacrifices to its avatar, while maintaining its own conciousness (as the Soul of Cinder attacks you just as furiously as "Gwyn" did in DS 1). It reverts to using Gwyn's attacks as its last stage as its other, primary options have failed.

Gwyn, his relatives, and Allies are all false deities. Velka is the only true god.
It would explain why Velka is conveniently left out of the opening cinematic and why the Giants are all afraid of her and the concept of the fire going out. She's the constant, even without the flame, she will still be and they will be powerless to defy her.
  • Dark Souls III does mention that Allfather Lloyd was seen as a derivative fraud by Carim, and even the Way of the White stopped worshipping him.
  • It would seem that "gods" in the dark souls world are refered to as such because they're associated with a certain concept, rather than govern over it. Gwyn is a sun god because he primarily used, and possibly created miracles (which I believe are stated to be powered by the sun), Nito is the god of death because, well, it's obvious. Velka is stated to be a sort of black sheep among the lords, so that's probably why she's associated with sin.

Relatedly, Velka is the narrator in the opening cinematic.
The narrator has a female voice and she seems to know the gods well enough to use their names without honorifics like "Lord Gwyn" or "Lord Nito," and her narration continues right when the crow snatches you from the Undead Asylum (see the below WMG about her being the crow). The narrator does not appear in the game otherwise, and it would explain why Velka wasn't mentioned in the opening; she would be talking about herself.

Velka is manipulating everyone in order to punish the gods.
Lets consider some facts for a second.

Velka is a rogue deity, and a true god. She does not have, nor does she need, a Lord Soul.She is only concerned with punishing anyone who sins, regardless of who. Because of this, the gods are hesitant to get on her bad side.Gwyndolin is the only god left in Anor Londo, and manages a covenant that actively hunts down sinners, putting him clearly in league with Velka. He has committed no sins himself, only staying in his father's tomb to protect it.Kaathe points out that the Age of Fire ending is the natural order, and extending it is unnatural and preventing humanity from rising up.

Now, lets assume that Velka thinks that preventing the Age of Dark is a sin. When Gwyn goes to link the fire, she becomes furious. This causes all the other gods to flee Anor Londo to stay away from her wrath, except Gwyndolin, who is mourning the loss of his father. Velka contacts Gwyndolin and asks him to create a rumor of a Chosen Undead, by passing the idea to Frampt.

She helps undead escape the Asylum, so they can be in Lordran. From there, they naturally seek out the Bells of Awakening, and Frampt wakes up. Frampt, eager to continue his power, tells the undead exactly what to do. Gwyndolin creates a false sun and an image of Gwynevere, in order to trick the undead into believing the gods are still in power and that they can replace Gwyn.

From here, it splits. Either the Chosen Undead follows Frampt, or they find Kaathe. Frampt leads them along with the lie, but Kaathe tells them what he believes is the truth. Kaathe also is only interested in his own power, and hopes an Age of Dark will make him stronger.

Either way, the Chosen Undead ends up hunting down the gods. All of the Lord Soul-holding bosses have commited some form of sin. The Four Kings have ruined New Londo and become power-hungry demons. The Witch of Izalith tried to create another flame and became the mother of all demons, killing her city. Nito is allowing undead to run rampant, creating black phantoms, and trying to steal humanity from other undead. Seath has been conducting experiments with living test subjects, kidnapping undead and using them for his own needs. All are killed for their sins, much like how Darkmoons kill players for theirs.

Eventually, the Chosen Undead ends up at the Kiln. They kill Gwyn, and are presented a choice. They could Link the Fire, or walk away and become the Lord of Dark.

If they Link the Fire, the cycle continues. Velka eventually finds another pawn to find the Chosen Undead and kill him.If they walk away, the cycle of sin is broken. The Chosen Undead rules the Age of Dark, but is still Velka's pawn unknowingly.

Gwyndolin gains nothing either way. He either continues to fool undead, or ends up alone and mourning his family. The gods never return to Anor Londo either way, because now they know not only is Velka hunting, but one of her most loyal has remained there and could easily set them up.

Ultimately, Velka is the winner. She loses nothing, she gains sinners dead, no matter what. If Gwyndolin is killed, she condems the Chosen Undead to be hunted forever, but they are still stuck on the path she placed them on.

Nobody but her wins.

Dark Souls takes place in the same world as Lost Kingdoms, only on the world's other continent.
Why? Because.
  • That actually sounds like it would apply more to Demon's Souls, where a colorless fog is explicitly mentioned, just like in Lost Kingdoms.

Dark Souls takes place in the Land of the Giants from Demon's Souls.
This explains all the enormous animals.Alternately, Lordran is known as the Land of the Giants because it's ruled by the giants of Anor Londo - even the smallest of the people/gods living there are a lot bigger than an ordinary human.

The Maiden Astraea is related to the The Maiden Reah.
Ast[raea] <==> Reah. They're pretty much pronounced the same way.

The Furtive Pygmy isn't actually in the game.

There have been no screen shots, the very comprehensive Future Press guide doesn't mention anything about him and all the claims about players finding him have yet to be backed up with evidence. The pendent and the Pygmy are just a wild goose chase.

  • It's true that the furtive pigmy isn't in the game in person, but he does come up in a major way. He was your ancestor and that fourth Lord Soul he found was the Dark Soul. The Dark Soul is destined to bring about an end to the Age of Fire and is passed through the bloodline, meaning your player character now possesses it. In truth the furtive pygmy himself, unlike Gwyn, Nito and the Witch of Izalith, did not matter. What mattered was what he found.
    • The final boss of the Prepare to Die Edition's new content is Manus Father of the Abyss. Manus is described as an "ancient primeval human." It's humanity went mad desperately looking for its broken pendant and turned him into a monster, where he then created the Abyss. The pygmy is confirmed by Word of God to be the ancestor of humanity, meaning Manus's status as a primeval human hints heavily towards him being the Furtive Pygmy.
      • Although he could simply be one of the first humans created by the Pygmy.

Knight Solaire of Astora is the dethroned and humanized first-born of Gwyn and founder of the Warriors of Sunlight.
He has a good knowledge of the time ripples of Lordran, has the ability to induct you into the Warriors of Sunlight, likens the Sun to a father, came to Lordran (Gwyn's domain) in order to find his Sun, and the Sunlight Medals he loves to give out refer to the first-born as alive and still watching over his warriors.
  • If you find a way to save him, he'll also help you kill Gwyn. This doesn't makes sense from a story perspective, as Gwyn is the living embodiment of the sun even more so than his firstborn, unless one sees it as him taking vengeance against his father.
    • That may be because you're fighting alongside his phantom and not Solaire himself. Or maybe Solaire knows the situation.
    • It may be that, in this instance, Solaire either knew or found out about the plan to make an Undead patsy into the new Cinder, allowing Gwyndolin to take over. As the nice guy that he is, I doubt he'd be on board for that bit of JOLLY CO-OPERATION, so he helps the Undead to fight Gwyn to let him become the Dark Lord. Or, in another way of looking at it, Gwyn is in constant burning pain, immortal unless killed and insane. Solaire may be helping the Undead to mercy kill his father.
    • Word of God states that when you kill Gwyn with Solaire he links the fire in his own world. This would mean that phantom Solaire is the real Solaire, and that when he assists you as a phantom he is taking action in his own continuity and yours simultaneously. It would seem that Solaire believed taking Gwyn's place would grant him his own sun.
  • Jossed by Dark Souls III.

Alternatively, Andre of Astora is Gwyn's firstborn.
Granted, this is based on dummied-out content, and a possible Development Gag. During the design stages of the game, Andre was supposed to reside near where the Lordvessel is placed outside of the Kiln of the First Flame and would have explicitly been referred to as Gwyn's son. He would take the Lord Souls from the player and pull a statue out of the way so the doors could be opened. However, this part of the story was trimmed down to avoid adding another character so close to the end of the game and, rather than waste the character, was relocated to the Undead Parish as the first blacksmith the player normally encounters.

The main evidence supporting this is that an otherwise unassuming blacksmith has possession of the Crest of Artorias, which is required to get to the boss holding the key to The Four Kings. In the final version of the game, the firstborn's true name was taken from him and he was cast out of Anor Londo, stripped of his deity status. Why would a simple blacksmith be holding onto such an important item, if not because it is the last piece of his birthright? It's possible that it was simply passed to him, but also seems likely that he took it with him when he left. That way, he could give it to someone strong enough to get the items needed to face Gwyn.

  • Jossed by Dark Souls III.

Ceaseless Discharge is another daughter of chaos, more ghoulishly transformed than her sisters.
The shrine that you take the gold-hemmed robes from is the shrine to the Witch of Izalith. The clothes state in their description that they once belonged to the witch. Ceaseless Discharge watches over the shrine and will only attack you if you hit her or violate the shrine by stealing the robes. When you do this she will attack you in such a rage that she won't even notice the gaping hole in the floor that she can fall into.
  • The two spheres on either side of the Bed of Chaos are two of her daughters. If we assume Ceaseless Discharge is a daughter for the reasons above, all seven daughters from the prologue are accounted for: The two half-spiders, Quelana, the eldest daughter defending the Bed of Chaos (this pyromancer uses a spell specifically stated by Quelana to be the specialty of her eldest sister), the Bed's spheres, and the Ceaseless Discharge.
  • Ultimately Jossed. The Ceaseless Discharge is actually the Witch of Izalith's only known son, who was afflicted with lava-spewing sores. However, the seventh daughter of chaos is still accounted for, because the tomb where you get the Gold-Hemmed armor set is hers.

The main events of the game and the fire ending are all a plot set up by Gwyndolin to succeed his father.
Various item descriptions and such outline how Gwyndolin, due to being born under moonlight, was considered feminine and weaker than most of his family and thus was raised as a daughter. Thus as Gwyn's power was waning and the world seemed ripe for change he arranged for the release of undead to be sent on a mission to ultimate defeat Gwyn. It's implied that Gwynevere actually left Anor Londo long ago due to marriage, and so the Gwynevere in game is just a fabrication of Gwyndolin's to push him towards using the Lordvessel to relight the fire, sacrifice himself and leave things open for Gwyndolin to take over.
  • I thought this was confirmed anyway by putting together all the various bits and pieces of information in the game?
    • Not exactly confirmed. As with EVERYTHING in Dark Souls, it's left to interpretation. that Gwynevere is fake and had left Anor Londo is, but it simply being a plot headed by Gwyndolin isn't. It's possible Gwyndolin is being manipulated by Frampt, or that the Ancient Serpents have been running the show the whole time.

Dark Souls is the prequel to Demon's Souls
Ultimately doesn't work, but it's fun to think about.

The PC becomes King Allant after the Dark Lord ending. Boletaria is Anor Londo. Without the bonfires, the Undead deteriorate until becoming Hollow becomes turning into Ghosts. Blighttown is converted into the Valley of Defilement, after the Undead Burg is razed and abandoned. The Tower of Latria is where the PC from Dark Souls locks the Hollows he thinks he can still revert back to sanity. Shrine of Storms is where he seals the Dragon weapons, knowing that their power could be too much; the Drake sword grows weak and becomes the Stormruler. Drakes, fearful of the new Lord, run to the underground where they are worshipped; eventually, they die out save for one who becomes the 'Dragon' God after infusing itself with the power of Chaos, possibly stolen from Quelaag's sister or the remnants of the Bed of Chaos. Knowing that said Dragon God will flee if he shows up, the Dark Souls PC sets up the ballista there to ensure that the Dragon God can be put down. The Dragon God could also be the Everlasting Dragon, who was infused with the massive burst of energy the death of Quelaag, Ceaseless Discharge, and Bed of Chaos released; the process was slow, but the Everlasting Dragon eventually distorted. Maiden Astraea is one of the last priestesses of the Sun, though their true worship has long since been lost. The Giants die out, until only a few remain; the Tower Knight, who made a deal with the PC/Allant in order to survive, and the Last Hero who probably saved the PCs life sometime after Dark Souls during the whole 'establishing power' phase. The Penetrator is possible a relative of Ornstein, or a descendant of a relative. The Painted World is lost or preserved, depending on what the PC decides. Darkroot Garden is lost after the Valley of Defilement expands or Boletaria/Anor Londo expands to fit the population increase. Or, the wilderness in the Garden itself expands violently and becomes the Land of Giants.

Of course, we all know how Demon's Souls ends up...

  • This could work, but the player character won't be King Allant. In that case, he/she would rather be Old King Doran, the founder of Boletaria.
Conversely, Demon's Souls is the Prequel to Dark Souls.
From the Bad Ending of Demon's Souls The Maiden in Black is slain, and the player character becomes the new Demon. The Legion of Demons, under the leadership of The Player Character, spread colorless fog across the world sucking out the souls of every living being reducing it to the grey crags and nothingness of the beginning of Dark Souls. After this, the Old One, his purpose fulfilled departs from the world becomes the engine of its rebirth by using the combined power of all of the world's souls to become the Fires (it DID look like a big old tree). If departed, then the fire is what the opening said, something that came into the world to divide things from the grey. The lands may or may not be different but given the effects of the Colorless Fog has(makes the places vanish when the Old One sleeps) and the time frame all of this would need it would not be out of the question that everything is different. The Dark Soul would be the Lord Soul of The Player Character from Demon's Souls(if all other life was extinguished I would imagine the Old One would eat him/her too). I think it fits.

You go back in time to kill Lord Gwyn.

Posted on 4chan, but has been paraphrased for obvious reasons. If this theory is correct, soapstones aren't just a handwave.

As you enter the Kiln of the First Flame, it's unlike anything you've ever experienced. Same atmosphere from the intro sequence. Notice the Black Knights come out of fog gates just like you. You can even summon Solaire for the final battle if he hasn't gone insane, even though the last time you meet him he's ready to keel over. And if you link the fire, Gwyndolin has his plan come to fruition. Gwyndolin and Frampt tricked you into causing a Stable Time Loop, so the demigods of Anor Londo can keep having the shinier grass. If you leave the fire, though, you can declare the Age of Man and enter mankind through a renaissance age.

Ornstein was trying to stop Gwyndolin's plan to rekindle the First Flame.

Why are Ornstein and Smough trying to kill you when you enter the cathedral? Ornstein was probably just talking to Gwynevere a minute ago; he jumps down from the balcony before the fight. He probably knows the score, so why would he try to kill the patsy undead if he's working for Gwyndolin? He knows that the Undead would have to kill Lord Gwyn in order to do it. Ornstein, being supremely loyal to his Lord, balked at this and tries to stop anyone from reaching Gwynevere and obtaining the Lordvessel. Ths is also why the Knights and most of the giants throughout the level are hostile; they are Ornstein's unit (with the remnants of Gough's archers) and he's going behind Gywndolin's back. The only non-hostile giants are withing a few hundred meters of the Darkmoon Firekeeper- this is so she doesn't cotton on if they start attacking some random guy unprovoked. He then bribed Smough with Astorias' vacated position on the Knights to get him to go along with it.

  • I just thought they were illusions created by Gwyndolin.
    • Alternatively, it may be that Ornstein would view the death of Lord Gwyn as a Mercy Kill, but want to insure that the Chosen Undead was indeed strong enough to kill him quickly.
      • With what appears to be the reveal in Dark Souls II that Ornstein is still alive and kicking dragon arse in Drangleic, and that Smough is most likely dead due to the discovery of his cannibalistic tendencies, we can safely assume that the Ornstein and Smough in Anor Londo are illusions, just like everything else there. We could also theorise that because they were more complex and powerful illusions, they required their own souls to function.

Priscilla is Seath's Daughter.

There's no real hard evidence, but a good deal of clues and interesting similarities.

1. Same coloration: both are white dragonoids with lizard-like scales as opposed to the stone scales of the Ancient Dragons. Their tails are the same shape as well.

2. Both have ice-related powers, although Seath's have been warped by the Primordial Crystal to become more mineral-based.

3. Seath is established as an amoral monster who routinely kidnaps and experiments on people, and specifically human women. Whose to say one of his experiments wasn't creating a human/dragon hybrid child just to see what happens? This doesn't mean Priscilla is a "natural" child, for obvious logistical reasons, but considering Seath is directly stated as being capable of creating life from scratch magically, creating a hybrid should be easy for him.

4. That she's alive at all implies that she's related to a member of Gwyn's court, as if she wasn't, Gwyn/Gwyndolin would have just had her killed outright for being part dragon- especially because of the Lifehunt. Seath, being Seath, managed to convince Gwyn/Gwyndolin to keep her alive but in exile, either out of genuine caring (not likely, as he's a bastard who doesn't care about anyone but himself even before he went mad), so he can run more experiments on her when he thinks of something, or just to avoid the political shitstorm her creation would have caused. The environment of the painting also suits her and complements her abilities perfectly; if Gwyn/Gwyndolin wanted to be a dick, he could have made her prison painting a river of lava, but he gives her something that she actually seems to like.

  • Someone on GameFAQs theorized that Gwynevere is Priscilla's mother. This would establish a relationship between her and Gwyn's court.
    • The main reason for that speculation is the apparent size compatibility between Seath and Ms. Ginormous Gozangas, but let's remember that while the illusory Gwynevere is effing huge, there's no evidence pointing to the real one being the same way, or evidence pointing to her being the only woman that huge.
    • Comparing statues of Gwenevere with others in Anor Londo imply she may have actually been that gigantic.
  • Dark Souls 3 heavily implies that her non-dragon parent is the Nameless King, who is also implied to be Gwyn's firstborn, who sided with the dragons during the war, as opposed to Seath who betrayed them. Long story short, Seath is in fact the least likely dragon to be her parent.

Priscilla's parentage, redux
It's heavily implied in Dark Souls III who Priscilla's father is, namely, the Nameless King. Who her mother is, on the other hand, is not mentioned in writing at any point. There are some hints, however small, that seem to point to a possibility: Velka, the rogue deity of sin.

The first major hint is in the Painted World, where a statue of a mother and daughter overlooks the main courtyard. It depicts a mother and daughter embracing, with the mother in a hooded cloak and the child in a loose cloak. The child appears to be a young Priscilla on closer inspection. The mother, on the other hand, looks similar to another statue seen later in the series: the Statue of Velka in Dark Souls III. The attire of the two statues is very similar, and both are carved in a pose that seems to offer comfort in some way. Priscilla's affinity for Occult powers, such as Lifehunt and her weapons' anti-divine powers, also suggest a connection. Velka is the only deity associated with using Occult weapons in the series, with her Rapier inflicting bonus damage to Divine creatures.

Her half-dragon traits would have two possible causes if Velka and the Nameless King are her parents. The first involves Seath, as stated in the theory above. He could have experimented on Priscilla's mother either before or during her pregnancy. The second could be because of her father. When the Nameless King is fought, he appears to have been altered in some way. It's possible he's simply Hollow, but his lucid state suggests he may have been changed because of his decision to side with the Dragons, who in all three games have a covenant that can alter the player character. In either case, she would then have inherited those traits. Furthering the connection between her possible parents is that the dragon he rides has crow-like features. All of this only paints the borders of a much bigger picture, but with enough details to possibly fill in the gaps.

  • Something else to keep in mind: Velka is always linked with crows. Which are descended from therepod dinosaurs aka they're miniature (or pygmy) flying terrible lizards aka... tiny dragons. Velka, if not a dragon, bird or serpent herself, is likely directly linked to them. And, always has been — right in front of our faces. Added to that... *looks at Gwyndolin's feet again* Are we sure he's Gwyn's son/daughter/poor bastard? Could be a grandson raised as the safe, not-got-Lifehunt daughter on the right side of the painting because Daddy got himself a bit exiled and Mummy got a bit miffed at her mate's side of the family for being gits to her kids, amongst other sins. That's possibly one horribly screwed-up Tangled Family Tree.
  • How exactly was that heavily implied? There's no correlation between Priscilla and the Firstborn except that they're both giants with white hair who are associated with dragons.

Sir Artorias isn't a Fallen Hero; he's a Defector from Decadence

Admittedly, there isn't much evidence one way or another to determine the character's moral outlook in-game, but it's possible that his experience mirrors that of many pro-Darkness players. For most of his tenure, it was easy for him to view the world as Black-and-White Morality: the Powers That Be in Anor Londo were good, and the monsters outside of Anor Londo, particularly the Darkwraiths and other dark servants against which his sword specializes, were evil. Then for one reason or another, Artorias arrives in New Londo where he discovers the lengths to which Gwyn and his forces are willing to go in order to hold onto their power. Artorias experiences a Heroic BSoD when Darkstalker Kaathe contacts him and convinces him that the right thing to do is to side with the creatures of the abyss and combat the rogue Darkwraiths wandering new Londo who betrayed Kaathe. The forces of light branded him a heretic who made a Deal with the Devil and struck him down, leaving the Great Grey Wolf Sif his only remaining ally in the material world.

  • Ultimately Jossed. Artorias was forcibly corrupted by the Abyss after being defeated by Manus, the Father of the Abyss.
    • Maybe, maybe not. Artorias still needed to make the covenant that would have allowed him to traverse the Abyss safely and we know he went to New Londo at some point to deal with the ghosts and Darkwraiths. It's possible he could have thrown his lot in with Kaathe before the events of Artorias of the Abyss. Just because he did so, however, doesn't mean he was going to abandon his knightly duties to the people (or perhaps the humans) of Oolacile when they were in danger.
Artorias is in someway control of his actions when you fight him

Even though he was consumed by the Abyss he made himself as a checkpoint of sorts. Testing anyone that tried to come in. When he calls on the Abyss in his fight he is seeing if you can handle the worst that the Abyss can bring. So people who are not prepared wont die needlessly to the Abyss.

The Covenant of Artorias isn't a covenant at all

When reading the description of the Cleansing Greatshield, it describes how Artorias drained his shield's blessing to form a barrier, protecting Sif against the Abyss. The effect of the Covenant is the ability to walk safely within the Abyss, and the ring is dropped by Sif when you fight him. It seems somewhat more likely than Artorias being given a ring after being forcibly corrupted.

Patches is in Lordran because he was murdered by Mephistopheles' operative.

It's relatively simple. Either Yurt took him out, the Demon's Souls character, or Mephistopheles herself. Barring that, he may have just been killed by clerics (which might help to explain why his hatred for clerics is a lot more intense in this game).

The First Flame has absolutely nothing to do with the Darksign and its curse of undeath.

The Crestfallen Warrior mentions New Londo as having once been an undead city. This likely means that New Londo was built by undead, specifically to house the undead on their own terms. Gwyn was still alive when the city was thriving and personally granted its leaders a portion of his own power. This means the curse of undeath has been around for over a thousand years and there has been no mention of it vanishing for a point and time when Gwyn sacrificed himself to rekindle the flame, which is very telling. Kindling the fire has absolutely nothing to do with the Darksign. Havel the rock is mentioned as having been an old friend of Gwyn. This means Havel has been around for at least 1000 years. His weapon, the Dragon Tooth, implies he has been around since the war against the everlasting dragons making him even older. An undead that has been around since the war against the dragons wouldn't make sense if the Dark Sign is caused by the fading of the First Flame.

  • If on payed very close attention, this is a pretty major inconsistency with Frampt claiming relinking the Flame would cure the Darksign- after all, the curse first appeared after the flame began to burn and the dragons were vanquished, but before Gwyn went to link the fire, and yet Gwyn's linking did nothing, and is a (very sneaky) clue that Frampt is lying.
  • [[Spoiler: Turns out, yes and no. The First Flame did cause the Darksign... because Gwyn drew on it to create the Seal of Fire, which in turn became the Darksign. The fire fading doesn't make the Darksign appear, but more undead show up when the fire fades because it's losing the ability to hold back the dark.]]

The animals in Lordran aren't giant. You're just very small.
Not only is almost every monster huge, a lot of the natural areas are scaled similarly. The Great Hollow is a good example of a place that makes more sense if you were simply mouse-sized.
  • Which makes sense, considering that human beings (and consequently the undead) are supposed to hail from the furtive pygmy. In real life, the word "pygmy" refers to ethnic groups whose members are known for their relatively small body size.

The "Old Fire Arts" are like Demon's Souls fire spells: cast from catalysts
  • Think about it: both Izalith Catalyst and Demon Catalyst mentions the old fire arts, which are distinct from pyromancy. Perhaps there may be a cut or dummied out content in which either (or both) of these catalysts can cast both spells and pyromancies (or at least Chaos ones).
    • Supported by the fact that the Demon Fire Sage is supposedly the last real practitioner of the original fire arts. It uses the Demon Catalyst to cast its fire spells much like a sorcerer would to cast magic spells.

The "Dark Soul" gained by the furtive pygmy IS the humanity the players consume and gain.
  • The Humanities are black sprites with mysterious properties. If the Dark Soul is as powerful as the Lord Souls, but split into billions of little pieces, then it might just be that Humanities are pieces of the Dark Soul that the Pygmy bestowed. From the opening, "they" came from the dark, which means that the natural state of humans/pygmies at the time were Hollow. The Dark Soul infuses these Hollows, becoming Humans. Now since Humans are different beings than the Giants (which is theorized to be Gwyn's race), the Giants are already sapient enough to form kingdoms and war capability while Humans are just being herded sheep. But while the Lord Soul is powerful, it is too overwhelming for any one individual to control, hence Seath's sanity slippage, Four Kings' descent to the darkness, the Witch of Izalith's failure to control her fire, and Nito's barely any grasp on his own powers of Death. In contrast, splitting the Dark Soul in millions of pieces enables Humans as a whole, to survive. Thus, the Dark Lord is simply the Lord that rules over those that possess the Dark Soul, Ruler of Humans.
    • Humanities even look like little black flames. Heck, their gameplay benefits are also evidence for this theory: they can be sacrificed to make the mystical bonfires stronger, and they enhance the power of the flames of chaos. It also explains why the title is "Dark Souls" instead of "Dark Soul".
    • It's been confirmed by Word of God (Check the trivia page) that the Furtive Pygmy is the ancestor of humans, and the humanity sprites are fragments of the Dark Soul that all humans inherited from it.

The warrior on the NA cover of the game is the Wolf Knight Artorias
The armor he wears bears a resemblance to the Elite Armor Set, and the sword and shield he wields look like the Greatsword and Greatshield of Artorias.
  • Possibly Jossed. In the recently released artbook, there is concept art of what appears to be a grey/silver colored wolf-themed Ornstein carrying the Greatsword of Artorias.

The Cragspiders in Blighttown are what the larva from Quelaag's eggs grow into

Why else would there be fire spewing spiders with some vaguely human features.

Many of the NPCs represent specific player archetypes in Dark Souls
  • Solaire, champion of Jolly Cooperation is a player who just wants to play with others. They don’t do it for the extra souls and humanity, they just enjoy the social aspect of the game. They’re always happy to help others navigate through the tougher areas, beat the hardest bosses, and fend off pesky invaders. Oftentimes, they’ll advertise their “services” on message boards so that other players will know when and where to find them.
  • Siegmeyer, on the other hand, is someone who’s always summoning help. These players lack skill and/or confidence, and don’t feel that they can beat the game on their own. Hence, they tend to spend a lot of time waiting around safe areas or bonfires for summon signs to appear. When signs don’t appear, as they sometimes won’t, well, like Siegmeyer, they’ll spend a lot of time waiting. And when help does arrive, the phantom usually ends up doing most of the work.
  • Sieglinde represents gamers who want to play with friends. It doesn’t matter whether they’re the summoner or the summonee, as long as they’re with people they like, they’re happy. Unfortunately for them, Dark Souls doesn’t support that kind of gameplay, so just how Sieglinde is blindly stumbling around Lordran in a fruitless bid to find her father, most of these players are trying and failing to hook up with their buddies. They may get in touch a few times, but like Sieglinde’s journey, it’s only a matter of time before at least one of the players moves on to another game.
  • Lautrec represents the more Jerkass playerbase. These people have decided that the best way to power level is not to proceed through the game as normal, but to go to any of the more popular PvP zones (like Anor Londo, the Kiln of the First Flame, or Darkroot Garden) in human form, and summon two phantoms. After that, they sit around, kill every invader effortlessly (using cheap tactics), and throw rude gestures around. In other words, they do exactly what Lautrec does in Anor Londo.
  • Knight Kirk represents the persistent invader. These players go to a zone and invade others' games, over and over and over again. They just love the thrill of the hunt. And inevitably, whether they win or lose their fights, they’ll end up invading the same few people repeatedly, much to the latter’s chagrin.
  • Havel the Rock stands in place and waits for you to come to him instead of chasing after you like your usual invader. He also has a connection to Ash Lake and the Everlasting Dragon there. He also has a strong dislike of magic, preferring to hammer things into submission with his massive Dragon Tooth club. Sounds like a typical duelist of the Dragon Covenant looking for an honorable fight.

The Dark Lord ending is the good ending.

There are all sorts of unknown factors as to what consequences there will be in the aftermath of Dark Souls' two endings. What kind of future awaits? What changes will we see? And more than anything, which one is truly better for the world at large? Perhaps the answer can be found not by staring into the hazy future, but at what we know of the past and present.

Looking at what we can see of the Age of Fire…things are not looking good in the world. Entire kingdoms have been swarmed by undead that have gone hollow. And despite both Frampt and Gwyndolin's "claims" to the contrary, the curse of undeath will not go away; it's always existed in the world in one form or another. Worse yet, linking the Fire isn’t going to make the current hollows disappear either; they’ll still remain in those fallen kingdoms, and continue to build up in number in the countries that are still standing. If anything, prolonging the Age of Fire may in fact doom humanity.

So what does the Age of Dark entail? The First Flame is gone now, as are all Bonfires in the world. As we see in game, whenever someone bearing the Dark Sign dies, he or she ends up back at the nearest Bonfire. So what will happen to the undead now that there aren’t anymore Bonfires to revive at? Chances are, they will...stay dead. That may not be quite the magical cure everyone was hoping for, but without the Fire consuming Humanity and recycling humans who by all rights should have passed on, the undead effectively regain their mortality. Hence, they are now free to die as normal and not simply wait for their minds to crack. And the undead who have already gone hollow, and who have subsequently caused numerous kingdoms to fall via Zombie Apocalypse can finally be eliminated once and for all.

From the ashes of the Age of Fire, humanity can finally rebuild.

  • Ultimately though, the Chosen Undead couldn't possibly be part of that rebuilding, since if your theory is true, the first flame dying out will result in the undead all dropping dead, including the Chosen Undead. Of course, the Linking The Flame ending could possibly also lead to death (Though, since we assume Gwyn once linked the flame, other side effects may include, immortality, becoming a rotting husk, or Godhood).
    • Actually, the theory is sound, and exactly what I was thinking. It's not that the undead drop dead, its that they can no longer come back. As for Linking the Flame, its implied that you're replacing Gwyn, not simply killing him.

God of Harmony will be a new boss in the PC version
Why? Because your character is so awesome he feels the need to kick the ass of ANOTHER game's final boss.

Artorias the Abysswalker and Hawkeye Gough became bitter enemies after the former's defection to the darkness.
One has a wolf motif going for him, the other has a hawk theme. This would hardly be the first Shout-Out to Berserk that either Dark Souls or Demon's Souls have had.
  • Jossed Artorias was corrupted against his will after being defeated in the Chasm of the Abyss in Oolicile. When you encounter Artorias in game, he's nothing but a mindless raging beast almost demonic in nature. When you speak to Hawkeye Gough after defeating Artorias, Hawkeye Gough thanks you for helping preserve Artorias's honor and for putting him out of his misery. He still refers to him as an old friend.

The Always Night aspect of Darkroot forest is an illusion created by Artorias similar to what Gwyndolin is using in Anor Londo.
The PC trailer shows a forested area bathed in the evening sun. There isn't an area in game that meets those exact features, though there is a forest. If you look on the bridge the Black Dragon sits on in the trailer, it looks exactly like the one in Darkroot Basin that leads to the three Great Felines. They've also announced that parts of Oolacile are going to be included in the game, which was once located in the Darkroot Forest. The new content will involve stealing the fake sunlight the illusory Gwynevere provides, and using it to light Darkroot forest and open the way to Artorias. Doing so will radically change the zone, and you will fight the Chimera of the Tomb at Sif's boss arena to access the Tomb of Artorias.
  • Half Jossed. A daytime Darkroot Forest is featured which is where you'll encounter Artorias, but you are entering into the zone's past.
  • Also jossed in that Miyazaki said the reason Darkroot is always night is because they wanted to implement some kind of day/night system into the game but were unable to do with with the engine at the time (partially because the game was rushed), so they simply made it so that it's daytime in the Undead Burg/Parish and night in Darkroot to simulate the feeling of time passing.

Paladin Leeroy invades you because everyone has learned to not summon him.
The fight against Gravelord Nito is very similar to the situation in the Leeroy Jenkins Video; you have to move carefully, or else you'll stir up all sorts of powerful mooks (in this case, skeletal ones rather than dragon whelps) who will overwhelm you with numbers. Paladin Leeroy, being what he is, would make a habit of doing this each and every single time he faced Nito. He would do it alone, sometimes he would try and summon phantoms for help, and sometimes he would become a phantom himself, just so he could somehow defeat the Gravelord, and failed every single time for his reckless behavior. And after trying and failing so much while in the company of others, other Undead adventurers eventually learned that he's bad news and thus refuse to summon or assist him. Which leaves Leeroy, who never learned his lesson, in a bad situation; he lost so much humanity that he was in danger of going hollow. Thus his invasion of you is one last-ditch effort to try and get some humanity and keep his mind from cracking, since he could no longer get it by being summoned.
  • A good support for that theory is that his weapons are specifically equipped to counter reanimated skeletons, and that his equipment is also very heavily degraded. As for why his summon sign is so out of reach in the Catacombs, perhaps he's just...obtuse.

The Primordial Serpents were a race oppressed by the Everlasting Dragons during the Age of Ancients.
This would show parallels between the Age of Ancients and the Age of Fire. Serpents are meant to represent the Undead and are also coined as "imperfect" dragons. This would then provide back story to the divide between Frampt and Kaathe. The fact that the Gods and their allies defeated the oppressive dragons would paint them as saviours, leading Frampt to become good friends with Lord Gwyn. Kaathe, on the other hand, realises that the Gods are basically the next generation of abusive and power hungry rulers. He sides with the only other opposing force that could bring about a new era, the Furtive Pygmy and his eventual descendants. However, Kaathe is not without his own agenda, in that he secretly wants to usurp the humans/Undead once they come to power, all for the sake of a world where the Primordial Serpents finally reign supreme.
  • That certainly would explain how and why Frampt returns to the fold in the Dark Lord ending. He may not be entirely happy that Gwyn's legacy is over and the Age of Fire is ending, but knows he and his people will get something better.
  • The Primordial Serpents were responsible for the creation of the Abyss through the corruption of Manus, a primordial human. The Abyss was created as a hiding place - in the ultimate darkness the flame couldn't reach them. Kaathe became quite powerful and created the Darkwraiths because he was outside the influence of the gods. The Flame as wielded by dragons had oppressed them before, and initially Frampt and Kaathe are at odds because Frampt is the smart one and would rather be the power behind the throne than just oppressed. But if the Flame dies then he no longer has anything to fear, and can side with the player who still has the Lords' Souls.

The Witch of Izalith's real name is Queen.
Most fans have dubbed the Witch of Izalith as just Izalith, the place where she and her daughters come from and were they were probably born. Surely this would mean that if she was called Izalith, she named an entire city/civilization after her, which seems out of character in the world of Lordran. If you look at her named daughters, they have Que as a prefix. This is not uncommon in Dark Souls. Gwyn's named children also follow the example of starting with his name as a prefix. Perhaps then, calling her Queen would cement her as being a higher and wiser being than her daughters.
  • By that logic, her name would have more likely been "Quela". On an interesting tangent, two known names of her daughters are Quelana and Quelaag, and both "Na" and "Ag" are abbreviations for metals in the periodic table, sodium and silver, respectively.

The hand in the PC Version Trailer will transport you to a new area.
If you look closely at the part of the trailer with the hand, the area behind the hand looks like the nook on the lake behind the hydra where the golden crystal golem is. This section of the trailer is definitely a cutscene, as your character wouldn't have their sword sheathed unless it was a cut scene. Also, if you look between the pinky and ring finger, you see a dark void. The hand will grab you and pull you into a new area similar to the scene when you enter the painted world.
  • Confirmed, sort of. The hand pulls you into a new area, but it's Oolacile, the past version of the area you are currently in.

Hollows and Undead actually ARE hollow
Well not litereally hollow. But it's a theory I came up with: Everytime the character makes a kill, we see that cloud of souls traveling from the 'source' to our character. We then see the 'count' of souls go up. So what if all undead are actually 'empty', and souls and Humanity fill that void? That would mean a 'standard' human has a set 'amount' of souls and one humanity, while the Undead lack those. This is why Hollows are mostly mindless husks that attack you on sight - they are looking for souls and humanity like animals prey for food. This would also explain why the souls are 'currency' in Lordran - if every merchant is Undead, they are seeking to fill themselves with souls - therefore trading their goods for souls from the character. That would mean sentient Undead can control the 'flow' of souls within their bodies. Now, this leads me to the assumption that 'leveling' means transferring the souls into the bonfire and permanently 'burning' them into the character's body, the same way we see the player using humanity to 'revive'. I know this is a shaky theory right now, and it might be 'obvious' to some.
  • This troper always thought that Lordran was some sort of surrogate of Heaven in the Souls universe, what with there being gods, a kingdom above the clouds and the fact that all Undead end up in Lordran. This could support the theory that Undead are merely humans who lost their physical body in their past life. This would then explain why certain Undead are so desperate to avoid becoming a mindless Hollow. Dying as an Undead/Hollow would mean they would forever dissipate from existence.

The whole game takes place in a hollow world

This explains the strong link between fire, magic, and the sun. There actually is no sun. Whatever sun that people see is just a big magical enchantment backed up by fire.

  • This would explain why the sun appears high in the sky in the Undead Burg, while it's the middle of the night in Darkroot.

King Jeremiah is the Legendary Exile from Demon's Souls.
  • Strange? Think not. The reason why the Painting is commissioned is as a place of exile. The petrified remains of the blacksmith that has the God-killing ember? Check. The so-called "Antithesis of Life", Priscilla? Check. If the Legendary Exile is, indeed a wanderer, armed only with his whip and his Chaos Pyromancies, he might have somehow ended up there after being caught and tossed there, as Chaos pyromancies, much like pyromancy itself, is hated across the world. There, he found solace with another "unwanted", Priscilla. The reason he invades your world is, of course, to protect Priscilla, and he takes his own life after you killed her. If he is dead after Priscilla's boss fight (with you gaining his armor), how could he return as the Exile to Latria, you say? Simply, he went Hollow and then returned, following his own instincts.

Paladin Leeroy is actually a Gravelord Servant.
Think about it. He comes to help you kill Pinwheel, which has been sapping up the power of Gravelord Nito, yet he invades you when you try to kill Nito yourself. While he was once a hero of Way of White, he can always change his Covenant, and probably was led to believe that the curse of Undeath can only be cured by Nito's aspect of True Death. While the background of why he converted into a Gravelord Servant may be muddy, his being in that covenant explains his decision to invade you.

The Crow that takes you from the Undead Asylum is either Velka, or a servant of Velka
I got this WMG from Epic Name Bro on youtube. People often wonder where the crow / raven that takes the player from the Undead Asylum comes from. It seems to appear out of nowhere and is never mentioned outside of the Crestfallen Warrior's hint at returning to the Undead Asylum. This is very weird because it seems like everything has significance in Dark Souls, so an extremely important creature such as this just being a plot device is really unusual.

Velka is closely related to crows in a variety of ways. First, the crow people in the Painted World are officially named the Crow People of Velka in the Japanese player artbook. Velka is also mentioned as having black hair. This might not seem important, but the Japanese version of the game uses rarely used spellings that use a term for crow when describing her hair. It's possible that the entire plot of the game was a plot by Velka to punish Gwyndolin. Perhaps for locking away so many of her servants and artifacts in the painted world, usurping her as the punisher of the guilty or his plot to lure the undead into unintentionally sacrificing themselves for the first flame.

The trader crows throughout the series are children or descendants of Velka
Being that they can talk, there's something supernatural about them. Having helpful items they trade for shiny, smooth, or pump-a-rum(?) trinkets that are otherwise of little use could be because she wants the undead player character to succeed in ending the conflict.

Tarkus was killed by Priscilla, not the painting guardians
After Balder fell, Tarkus, some regular Balder knights, and the last few knights Berenike left for Lordran. Most of them went Hollow in Sen's Fortress, but a handful (including Tarkus) made it through. In Anor Londo, Tarkus decided to fight Priscilla, along with the knight Berenike you find right before her. Unfortunately, he failed, and he only managed to escape the painting just before succumbing to Lifehunt-induced blood loss.

  • Or perhaps the knight Berenike betrayed him, seeing what he was doing as a pointless Kick the Dog. He was mortally wounded by Tarkus, and stayed in the Painted World until he went Hollow. The same could be said of the many Hollows in the area - they left Tarkus's journey out of fear for a "life draining abomination".

One of the Serpents, likely Kaathe, fooled an Oolicile prisoner into awakening Manus
Both Marvelous Chester and Hawkeye Gough state that the residents of Oolicile awoke Manus from his grave and drove him mad. There are a variety of reasons this could have happened, but the fact that the entrance to the Chasm of the Abyss is in Oolicile Township Dungeon is very interesting. Given how much inspiration Demon's Souls and Dark Souls take from Berserk, it's likely this is a reference to Griffith's imprisonment and him being visited by his future demonic servants and partners. It's possible Kaathe approached a desperate, despairing prisoner with possible escape and power should they awaken Manus.

Every Bonfire has a Fire Keeper, and Anastacia is one of the lucky ones...
There are 42 bonfires (excluding the Lordvessel bonfire in this case) in the game world, but only three of those have Fire Keepers (Firelink Shrine, Anor Londo, and Queelag's Domain), yet the souls of Fire Keepers turn up elsewhere in the world. Kill or otherwise anger a Fire Keeper, and her bonfire will be extinguished permanently or until the Keeper is placated.

But why are these three bonfires special? Why do these three bonfires need Keepers to keep them burning when every other one in the world seems to function autonomously? Perhaps they don't, perhaps every single one is fuelled by a Keeper nearby; the item description of the Fire Keeper Souls suggests this, whenever you offer humanity to reverse hollowing or kindle a bonfire further, that humanity joins with the Keeper's soul. You're not offering humanity to the Bonfire itself, but to the nearby keeper. The Fair Lady and Darkmoon Knightess apparently became Fire Keepers willingly, but Anastacia was apparently forced into it.

Now we know (or at least presume) two things: The Undead curse means that a person won't perish through starvation or anything short of being forcibly killed, since it's common practice for Undead to be locked up with zero care or supplies. We also know that Fire Keeper souls are extremely precious. Killing Fire Keepers for their souls is probably a big business or even a wise precaution for anyone wishing to stockpile humanity, and yet the bonfires keep burning.

Another thing we know is that few people willingly become Fire Keepers. If a Keeper is slain, then someone (possibly of the Order of White) has to replace them probably through force. From Anastacia's treatment it seems that it was somewhat common to cripple Keepers to prevent them from running away from their duty, but as Anastacia proved this leaves them open to attack. So whoever maintains the bonfires had to take things a little further.

We never see any "press-ganged" Keepers. Think why. Anastacia is lucky because she at least has fresh air and, if she should care to look up, a pretty nice view. Next time you rest at, for example, the first bonfire in Blighttown, try to figure out if its Keeper is entombed in the nearby bridge support or the bridge itself.

In fact, try and figure out where the keepers of the 39 other bonfires are buried. Better yet, don't.

  • However, the bonfires that have Fire Keepers give you 10 Estus without kindling. So why would all of the other bonfires only give you 5 if they have Fire Keepers too?
    • The fire keepers at those fires probably had someone giving them some care and humanity, strengthening them and their fires. The White Spider had Eingyi and Quelaag, Anastacia has whoever passes through the shrine, and the Darkmoon Knightess can probably fend for herself.
  • The fire keeper of the Anor Londo bonfire says that "the bonfires attended by the Keepers are special". Ergo, some bonfires are not attended and are ordinary.

Humanity is a finite resource and Undeath is result of species-wide withdrawal.

Basically, it's widely believed that Humanity consists of shards of the Dark Soul, which Furtive Pygmy shared to the primodial humans. But every time humans have children, their shard gets split into smaller and smaller pieces. When these pieces become too small, the Darksign ensues and Undeath happens. Humanity is like a drug that you need in your system after you've had a taste, no matter how small, and if you don't have enough, you will become a creature that has properties both of your human parents and the immortal Lord-kind that you would be like if there wasn't a hint of Darkness in your being (like the people of Oolacile, for example), but corrupt and inferior compared to both because of your addiction — an Undead. Worse, the Dark Soul is coming back together in the Abyss, meaning that the amount of Humanity to go around is constantly reducing in the human world, increasing the number of Undead constantly.

Humans in the world of Dark Souls are not human but Eldritch Abominations, and the Curse of the Undead is a powerful enchantment of the gods meant to stop the coming of the Age of Dark

The creatures you fight throughout Oolacile Township in the "Artorias of the Abyss" DLC are the former human residents of Oolacile whose humanity has run wild due to Manus's spreading of the Abyss. Manus's fathering of the Abyss itself is said to have been because his humanity ran wild, and he's now a giant multi-eyed multi-horned ape thing. The description of Fire Keeper souls, especially the Darkmoon Knightess's, mention that their physical forms are disfigured because of all the humanity running about beneath the skin ("A Fire Keeper's soul is a draw for humanity, and held within their bosoms, below just a thin layer of skin, are swarms of humanity that writhe and squirm"). Humans in the world of Dark Souls, like most fantasy settings, are considered the norm, the point of view the actual player will most empathize with. But the humans of Dark Souls are simply "contained" Eldritch Abominations. This puts Kaathe's line about "[Gwyn] commanding his children to shepherd the humans" into horrifying context, and rationalizes Gwyn's dire fear of humans and the coming Dark Lord.

Even better, while Oolacile awoke Manus, it is not said what caused his humanity to run wild in the first place. It could happen at any time. It's possible that the Curse of the Undead (represented by the Darksign, a black hole surrounded by flame) is a measure used by the gods to limit mankind's numbers: remember that entire nations of mighty humans, like Berenike with its giant knights and Black Iron Tarkus, have fallen to the Darksign.

  • Dark Souls 3 says: Confirmed! The Pygmies were able to safely utilize the Dark in the war against the Everlasting Dragons, but Gwyn feared the darkness so bad that he restricted their access to it with the Seal of Fire, which later became the Darksign- an act heavily implied to be the First Sin that Aldia was researching, and caused the Vicious Cycle of the Dark Souls universe.
Marvellous Chester is Sir Arstor, the Earl of Carim

The Carim face at character creation is called "Dubious Carim." The description for the Snickering Top Hat mentions that the wearer of the top hat cracks a permanent dubious grin. Chester's clothing is described as "aristocratic" and "exquisitely sewn." Chester's main weapon is the Sniper Crossbow, which is favored by Carim snipers. Chester sells quite a good deal of humanity sprites.

Nothing definite, but that's a lot of connections.

  • At the very least, he could be from Carim. Aristocratic accent, pale skin, prone to absolute dickishness; just like Lautrec and Oswald.

Frampt tricked Oolacile into awakening Manus.

We're told it was the work of a "toothy serpent" by Marvelous Chester. Although it's easy to suspect Kaathe, what with his affiliations to darkness, the Abyss, and Humanity, but what exactly would he stand to gain from it? The Chasm of the Abyss is a realm rife with Humanity. There are chunks of Humanity that are so large in fact, that they seemed to have gained some form of awareness and are dangerous to touch. It's safe to say that this is probably either where the Dark Soul itself was situated, where it was effectively being reassembled, or at least where a lot of Humanity was being stored for safekeeping. Kaathe himself collects Humanity from the Chosen Undead, implying that he wants as much of it to be gathered into one place as possible. Releasing such huge amounts of Humanity goes against that plan, and that's pretty much what happened when Manus was awakened.

Frampt, meanwhile, is in favor of prolonging the Age of Fire. He supports the plan to sacrifice Humanity to the First Flame in order to keep it burning. To do that, Humanity needs to be widespread, and it needs to be small enough for humans to carry safely. And when there's this huge glob of it going unchecked underground, you can bet he and his cohorts would want to address it. So by using that silver tongue of his (the same one he uses on the Chosen Undead), Frampt deceives Oolacile into awakening Manus and releases all the ripe Humanity he had within him in the process.

Velka, goddess of sin, is Gwyndolin.

Velka is the goddess of sin and Gwyndolin's covenant is the only one that deals with sin. Her priest Oswald sells indictments that place players in the Book of the Guilty, which is used by the Darkmoon Blades. Velka is also associated with crows; many people think the giant corvid that picks the player up from the Undead Asylum is an associate of Velka or even Velka herself. The crow is picking up "chosen undead" for pilgrimmage from the Asylum to Lordran, which plays into Frampt's and Gwyndolin's plan to have a chosen undead succeed Gwyn and link the fire.

We know that both Velka and Gwyndolin are concerned with punishing the guilty and with Frampt's plan to link the fire using the chosen undead. Legends and depictions of gods and deities can become changed over time, such as the different portrayal of the Roman Mars from the Greek Ares. It is possible that the people of Carim, so far away from Lordran and their hidden god Gwyndolin, came to reimagine him as Velka. Why would they reimagine him as female? Because Gwyndolin was raised by his father as a woman.

The non-hostile Hollows at the beginning of New Londo Ruins are the only "survivors" of the flooding.

Hollowed characters are generally found at the place where they lost the last of their humanity to despair. New Londo was flooded to prevent the spread of the Darkwraiths, but most of the residents were pretty clearly not turned yet, or else it wouldn't be described as the necessary evil that it was.

Now just imagine being someone branded with the Darksign during all this. The Darkwraiths are coming from below and sucking the humanity from everyone they find, the Four Kings who ruled your city have gone mad with evil, and the gods you could pray to for salvation have decided to sacrifice your home, family, and friends to save the rest of Lordran. The next thing you know, you wake up at a bonfire and return to New Londo, only to see nothing but a dead, drowned city in place of your home. It would be more than enough to break most people, and with their last human memories being that of the death of where they once lived, it makes sense that they wouldn't even notice someone walking right by them.

Seathe possessed Logan through his books.

This idea is used in a fanfiction called "Old Souls" and sounds very interesting. Basically, Seathe, in one of his bids for immortality, bound his insanity/mind to the books in the archives. When read, Seathe's personality slowly begins overwriting/influencing the mind of the reader, essentially making another Seathe. This may explained why Logan went insane as he continued reading the books and how he learned Seathe's breath attack. This would mean that even if his body and the Primordial Crystal was destroyed, he could return in a new body and, possibly, regain his strength. It certainly gives him a very Lovecraftian feel, along with his appearance.

"Humanity" is a huge misnomer.

A few noteworthy facts:

  • "Humanity", in large quantities, causes humans to be horribly scarred and physically twisted. See: the item description of the Firekeeper Soul gained by killing Lady of the Darkling.
  • "Humanity", in even larger quantities, causes humans to mutate into horrifying berserk monsters. See: Manus and the ex-human residents of Oolacile.
  • "Humanity", in large enough quantities to form a "Humanity Sprite", is so corrosive that it injures the Undead on contact. See: the Abyss under Oolacile.
  • Simply holding "Humanity" does nothing to keep you, or any other Undead, human. In order to reverse the hollowing process and regain the appearance of life, Undead must burn "Humanity" in a fire. See: game mechanics and animations.
    • Holding humanity does change one, however: increased drop rate and curse resistance, among other things. On the other hand, burning one only turns you back to human appearance and allow your timeline to be in contact with other undeads ones. Moreover, when you die as a human, you lose that status, requiring you to use humanity again. By killing another human, they lose their human status and you gain the humanity, implying that the consumed humanity is still in the character, not in the fire. If that was the case, the darkwraiths would be pointless.

From this, it becomes clear that "Humanity" has nothing to do with the state of being human - it's far more likely that humans thrive on the Flame's power just like everything else (once again, see basic game mechanics, specifically the act of burning "Humanity" in a fire). Statements to the contrary by NPCs are easily explained by pointing out the many ways in which humans have failed to understand fire in real world history (for example, "phlogiston"), and that there's no reason to believe Kaathe is any less of a massive toothy liar than Frampt.

  • I'm inclined to think the opposite; I believe that humanity is simply not a part of the natural order of things in the world of Dark Souls, so to speak. It's a huge mistake to assume that humanity or the world as humans know it is the "norm" in this universe. The Four Lords effectively destroyed the old world and built the new one in their own image for their Age of Fire. Humanity is the Furtive Pygmy's contribution to the whole affair. As such, it's natural that the pieces of the Dark Soul, i.e. the Humanity, which sets humans separate from the Lords, Dragons and other forms of life, are not any more balanced than any other part of the collapsing Creation and has side-effects that its sharer did not expect, such as the phenomenon of Undeath or the horrible transformation that Manus went through. In short, don't mistake the humanity in the Dark Souls' universe into humanity in real life.

Frampt and Kaathe are the two ends of one primordial serpent, and/or are split personalities

Also, it's all just a big scheme to eat humanity. If someone is in the First Flame then Frampt can go eat all of the humanity that gets attracted to him, or maybe institute human sacrifices & undead concentration camps (i.e. Lordran is one big undead concentration camp) to have a constant supply of humanity. No humanity or souls ever went to the First Flame directly.

As for Kaathe, he's the patron of the Dickwraith Covenant. So he has simply instituted a pyramid scheme of undead constantly taking each other's humanity, and Kaathe eating it all up at the end. The Age of Darkness would actually be an age of the Abyss encompassing everything, so that every living thing in the world could be corrupted into a dickwraith and make the pyramid scheme even bigger.

Everyone started as normal humans

The fog that blocked out the sun was totally natural. Or, it was a result of some extinction event that killed much of life.

The Souls of Lords, powered by the First Flame, gave the power to do actions like:

  • Use souls to make people more powerful and grow as large as giants.
  • Take humanity from people to put it into fire.
  • Clear away the fog to allow the sun in.
  • Transform creatures into half-human hybrids, like the Manserpents.

Eventually, they who held the Souls of Lords set up a strict caste society:

  • At the top were the gods, as large as what Gwynever appears to be.
  • Then there were the giants, such as the ones on top of Sen's Fortress
  • Third were the tall guys, like the Silver Knights, Black Knights, etc.
  • Finally there were normal humans, who were bred and farmed for their humanity.

The Furtive Pygmy was only the progenitor of those who would later develop the Darksign.

Manus is an evolutionary ancestor who somehow slept through the whole dragon-slaying and Age of Fire business, until he was awakened.

Frampt and Kaathe both just want Gywn dead and are working together to ensure you kill Gywn

Frampt goes out of his way to set you on the path to "succeed" Gywn and may have even perpetuated the "Thou who art Undead art chosen" prophecy. But what if the Chosen Undead was not interested in serving the lords and prolonging their Age of Fire? What if he hated Gywn and his ilk for oppressing and shepherding the undead? Frampt would not be able to manipulate you to kill Gywn. It would then fall to Kathe to motivate you to kill Gywn instead, by promising you that the Age of Dark would be an age where man may prosper. This is an obvious lie, the New Londo Ruins, the Four Kings, and Oolacile are all case studies for the effects of the Age of Dark.

If you get the Dark Lord ending, Frampt doesn't seem to care much that you pretty much did the exact opposite of what he told you to do. Linking the fire was never his goal, all he cares about is that Gywn dies. If Frampt is such a good friend of Gywn's and is doing him a favor by finding fuel for the flame, why does Gywn attack you on sight? Why isn't he relieved an undead has arrived to serve as fuel? Why does Gywn lock himself away in a place that only his trusted and powerful carriers of the Lord Souls can reach? Why does Gywn not grant Frampt a portion of his Lord Soul for his service to Gywn? Because Frampt does not serve Gywn, and Gywn knows the Primordial Serpents plot to take him out.

Why do they want Gywn dead so badly? I can't really say, but I'd hazard to guess that killing Gywn will bring the Age of Dark much sooner regardless of whether you link the flame or not. You're just an undead after all, not a dragon-killing Lord, so how long will you really burn for? In the end, it matters not whether you kill Gywn, link the flame or abandon it. The true ending is in the prologue. "One day the flame will fade, and only dark will remain."

  • There is definitely something fishy about the whole Undead Prophecy, especially since we never get Gwyn's take on it from the man himself. In order to even get to Gwyn, the player needs to kill Nito, the Witch of Izalith, Seathe the Scaleless and the Four Kings to fill the Lordvessel. All of whom were/are Gwyn's old allies. That seems a rather dickish thing to do to your own friends if this was Gwyn's plan all along. The other gods besides Gwyndolin have all left Lordran, and you can even kill Gwyndolin yourself, leaving Lordran completely to its own devices. Whether you link the Fire or not, the Age of Fire as Gwyn knew it is already long gone. So really, what's the point of keeping it going, except that the alternative might be much worse?

  • If Frampt was lying about being on Gwyn's side, then it seems odd that Gwyndolin would play along with his "Chosen Undead" scam, even having his fake Gwynevere direct the Lordvessel's recipient to go ask Frampt for further instructions. Although given his apparent daddy issues, it's still possible he might conspire with Frampt against Gwyn, even if his motive is quite different from his co-conspirator's.

The Lord Souls come in pairs.

When you think about it, it seems that each of the four Primodial Lords seems to represent opposite concepts. Nito obviously represents death and Gwyn just as obviously represents light. Now, it would appear that Witch of Izalith represents life, as in her warped form she resembles a tree and spawns demons; most likely in her pure form she used to create what we consider the normal life into the world that originally only contained Everlasting Dragons and Archtrees. And the Furtive Pygmy, the possessor of the Dark Soul, naturally represents darkness, as his actions inevitably bring about the Age of Darkness.

How King's Field, Demon's Souls, and Dark Souls fit together

The Verdite trilogy is not real, but part of a controlled environment created by Seath as part of his experiments during the Age of Fire. Dark Souls comes next chronologically, and the two endings split into Demon's Souls and Dark Souls II. Demon's Souls continues from the Dark Lord ending, with the Chosen Undead being the Old One. Dark Souls II continues from the Link the Fire ending, after the First Flame burns out again. How King's Field 4, Eternal Ring and Shadow Tower enter into this is beyond me. Feel free to poke holes in this theory; i would love to see other viewpoints.

The Furtive Pygmy sabotaged the Witch of Izalith.

The Witch of Izalith attempted to re-create the First Flame using her own Lord's Soul, but instead of continuing the Age of Fire it ran wild and consumed her and many of her daughters as well as spawning the Bed of Chaos. Why? Was it some critical mistake she made? Was it a fool's errand to begin with? ..or, did the Witch of Izalith's 'Second Flame' get a push?

The event which saw the creation of the Bed of Chaos and the birth of demons also saw the creation of Chaos pyromancy, a pyromancy which has it's power augmented by Humanity which is known to be fragments of the Dark Soul of the Furtive Pygmy. Perhaps, the Furtive Pygmy snuck some fragments of the Dark Soul into the mix during a critical juncture enhancing the Second Flame's power in unpredictable ways? The Second Flame runs rampant and the Witch of Izalith's experiment is a horrific failure, and the way is open for the comming of the Age of Dark.

Nito created the Darksign at Gwyn's insistence

Lord Gwyn and the Furtive Pygmy have been engaged in a shadow war almost since the end of the war with the dragons. The Furtive Pygmy has been planning to usurp the Age of Fire with the Age of Dark while Gwyn has opposed him, only the nature of the conflict has not been one where strength of arms would be decisive. The Furtive Pygmy split his Dark Soul into many multitudes and seeded it among his creations, humanity. The Darksign and it's curse of Undeath acts as a humanity-sink, undead seek and hunt fragments of the Dark Soul to restore themselves and retain their sanity, feeding it back into the first flame.

  • The language used to describe the Darksign certainly makes it sound man-made. It's always referred to as a brand, implying some force is giving it to humans deliberately, and it would explain why its way of deciding who does and doesn't get branded is so arbitrary.
    • Jossed since Dark Souls 3's second extension: The dark sigil is indeed a brand, inflicted on the undead by Gwyn himself to keep them under his autority as he used them in his war against the dragons. Humans are restrained by the sigil as a curse and also literally, since the Pygmy nobility and the ringed knights are enclaved in the Ringed City. That city is by the way full of statues repreasenting pygmies ploying under a seemingly heavy ring. The sigil's purpose is to keep the undeads low as slaves and the gods ruling uncontested.

Kaathe's agenda and Chosen Undead's relation to the Furtive Pygmy

Humanities are shards of the Pygmy's Dark Soul, and their excessive consumption is capable of awekening the Dark Soul in a human. Kaathe, Frampt and other serpents made a pact with the Furtive Pygmy, according tow which the Pygmy's descendant, the Dark Lord, would end the Age of Fire and gods' reign and would help the serpents come to power instead. And they, in return, would guide his descendants towards that goal. Frampt betrayed his promise and sided with Gwyn, his traitorous nature further reinforced in the Dark Lord ending, where he bows before the player who has done exactly the opposite of what he allegedly wanted them to do. Kaathe, on the other hand, stayed true to the promise and everything he has done in Oolacile and New Londo, including establishing the Darkwraith covenant, was to awaken the Dark Soul and bring about the Dark Lord. Finaly, in the ending, the serpents say "Our Lord has returned", signifying that the Pygmy's soul has been reborn in the Chosen Undead.

The Hollows outside of the New Londo Ruins are the ones who made it out.

We know that the hollowing process can be accelerated or even immediately brought on by severe despair and/or a lack of purpose and reason to live. It may be that the Hollows outside the ruins were the adventurers who tried and failed to go through the city, but if so, wouldn't they have just died in the city rather than coming back out? My theory is that one of two situations occured-either people had been milling about near the elevator to Firelink Shrine on the day the city was flooded, or, if the Darkwraiths had started attacking at this point, they knew about the elevator and tried to escape. Then, suddenly, the city gets flooded. In an instant, right before their eyes, every single person these people ever knew is dead, and the city where they've spent their lives is completely ruined. Those who don't care about such things would have likely left through the Firelink elevator or Valley of Drakes shortcut and never come back, while for those who did, the elimination of everyone and everything you ever knew or cared about would be enough for them to sink into despair and become Hollow. Thus they sat there for years on end, until you come along and murder them for their souls.

The First Flame waned because of Gwyn's actions.

When Gwyn found the First Flame in the Kiln, the four Lord Souls were with it. He and his comrades split up the souls (except the Dark Soul, snatched by the Furtive Pygmy) and used the Flame to defeat the Ancient Dragons and put an end to the age of Ancients. But in doing so, he directly caused the Fire to begin to die out. Why were the Lord Souls with the First Flame to begin with? Think about how he tried to stave off the Flame's eventual burning out - by using his own soul as fuel. The one thing that could have revived the Flame and permanently prevent an end to his Age of Fire is the one thing he didn't think of, or otherwise rejected because it would mean giving up the power he fought so hard for. The Lord Souls were the original fuel used to keep the First Flame lit, and by taking the souls, the Flame no longer had a sufficient fuel source. Additionally, using his own soul was insufficient because it needed the Lord Souls - even Gwyn's soul isn't truly immortal, and he would eventually pass on from the world even without the Flame. The three Lord Souls that can be collected return in Dark Souls II, despite them being burned in the Lordvessel. All of this points to the Lord Souls being able to repair themselves or be reborn while most souls either linger as shades or pass on to the next world.

  • Gwyn didn't link the Flame with his own soul because he didn't have it anymore. He split it in two and gave one-half to the four kings of Anor Londo and the other one to Seath.

The purpose of the First Flame and Lord Souls
The First Flame and the Lord Souls were found in the Kiln by Gwyn and his followers, but their original purpose is never brought up. It's stated at several points that the Dark Soul is different than the other three due to its ability to grow and split apart, spreading and strengthening. There is one other thing that seems to have similar abilities, though: the First Flame.

As the Dark Soul grows, it consumes the light around it and leads to horrific things happening when left unfettered. The First Flame, on the other hand, has the ability to stave off the Dark and keep it under control. When Gwyn found the Lord Souls and the Flame, the Dark Soul was nothing more than a wisp, a tiny thing left on the edge of its existence only because the power that bound it had just been taken away. Taking the above theory into account, the other three Lord Souls were being used to power the First Flame in order to seal away the Dark Soul. As such, the Dark Soul is not itself a Lord Soul, but the counterpart to the Flame; it being called a Lord Soul is simply a mistake of its nature on the part of those who call it that.

What the Pygmy was Furtive about
Very little is mentioned of him, and the further into the series the less. What little is show begins to paint a picture of his intentions, especially combined with the two previous WMGs: the Pygmy KNEW of the Dark Soul's nature, and was waiting. He wanted the Dark Soul for himself so that he could create a legacy, being a tiny frail thing compared to the powerful Dragons and Lords that ruled over the world above. He couldn't touch the other Lord Souls, so he waited for someone who could to get them out of the way so that he could snatch the Dark Soul out of the Kiln. While other souls could be split (as evidenced with The Four Kings and Seeth having each part of the Soul of Light), only the Dark Soul's fragments could then grow and spread; others remained as fragments of a whole. Knowing he could do this, he broke it apart and created the race of humanity. Him having prior knowledge is evidenced by him knowing it was even possible, as his plan would simply fail if it worked the way the other souls did; the fragments would grow progressively weaker as they got smaller until the Lord Soul was used up.

What happened in Blighttown
When the New Londo was flooded, most of its citizens were caught and killed inside, but some most likely escaped. Where did they go? Well, New Londo is best connected to the Valley of Drakes, which, in turn, connects to Darkroot Basin and Blighttown. What became known as "Blighttown" was most likely never intended to be habitable by the original builders of Lordran: instead, it was a waste drain, seeing how the sewage system in the Depths empties into it. However, the desperate refugees from New Londo didn't have much choice and had built a new town as far from the waste below as possible.

Then the Bed of Chaos incident happened in Lost Izalith, which was connected to the sewage drain by the tower housing a Bell of Awakening. Three daughters of the Witch of Izalith, now Daughters of Chaos (Quelana, Quelaag, and Quelaan) fled the madness that Izalith had become. Quelana moved on, taking Pyromancy out to the world, but eventually returning to Blighttown. Quelaag and Quelaan, however, stayed (which may have had something to do with them being half-spiders), and were taken in by the sympathetic New Londo refugees, who knew all too well what it meant to lose their homeland.

It was then, however, that the "blight" struck the settlement. Where did it come from? Well, the Lordran sewage system just so happens to be located (as visible in the composite 3D map of Lordran) above the mausoleum of Gravelord Nito—a being not described as nice by any account, but closely associated with "miasma of disease", whose Lord Soul (of Death) is in direct opposition to that of the Witch of Izalith (of Life/Birth). How easy would it be for him to infect the waste draining into what would soon become Blighttown, where two of his fallen antithesis' daughters have taken refuge?

The rest is history: against Quelaag's wishes, Quelaan attempted to consume the blight in a noble, but ultimately Senseless Sacrifice, as the disease eventually overtook Blighttown, anyway, and she lost her sight, mobility, and most of her health. Quelaag, as her responsible sister, secreted her away in a cave and made her a Fire Keeper to at least save her life. She then set up a hunting ground around the Bell of Awakening to prey on wannabe Chosen Undead for their humanities, which she then fed to Quelaan to ease her pain. The few uninfected (by the blight) residents, like Engyi, followed the sisters with an almost religious fervor, while the Blightdown became the nightmarish place it is in the game.

The nature of Hollows.
It's commonly known that souls persist beyond death. When someone dies, you get their souls, and particularly powerful beings have souls that can be reforged into weapons. This theory assumes that when you go Hollow, the inverse happens; your souls all burn up, but you don't actually die. Much like in Demon's Souls, humans that don't have any souls go mad and hunt down those who still have their souls like rabid animals. The Darksign, once branded upon you, causes your souls and Humanity to slowly burn up, though you can retain your souls and sanity by staying motivated. Even if you do go Hollow, if you were particularly strong in life, you can keep some of that strength and finesse even when you lose all sense of self, like Havel and the knights of Balder and Berenike, since they burned some of their souls into themselves, analogous to levelling up. Hollows still give you souls when put down because they're fighting over the scraps that are left and can take them in as a sort of comfort food, but they will eventually burn up in the presence of the Darksign.

Lordran stands on a chunk of rock somehow stuck in the tops of an Archtree grove
When you review the only clear aerial shot of Lordran in the opening cinematic, you should watch out for the subtle parallax effect between the outer wall of Lordran and the outside land: it betrays, in fact, that the former is really high above the latter. It appears that Lordran, in fact, is elevated hundreds of meters above the surrounding terrain, just like Anor Londo is elevated above it, in turn. If you descend deeper (physically) into Lordran, you first encounter caves and cave-like structures, like the Tomb of the Giants, the Lost Izalith, but the deepest parts of all are the Great Hollow and the Ash Lake, where we see that the Great Hollow is, in fact, the trunk of an Archtree, surrounded by dozens if not hundreds of more in every direction. Now, the first thing we need to acknowledge is that we actually can see the "crown" of the Great Hollow from Firelink Shrine, and it is, in fact, roughly on the level of said shrine, or the "ground level" of Lordran. Secondly, the other Archtrees we see in Ash Lake are visible near enough to be under Lordran, as well, with the fog/clouds conveniently obscuring the fact that they are actually propping it up, just like the Great Hollow. While we don't see what the "underbelly" of Lordran looks like exactly, the presence of stony caves and its ability to support gigantic structures like the outer walls and the palaces of Anor Londo means that it has to be an enormous bed of very hard rock that has somehow ended up propped on the tops of primordial Archtrees (which, as far as we can tell, are even more timeless than the "Everlasting" Dragons). Perhaps the Lords, at the height of their power, have lifted it up from the ground level to build their new home upon, perhaps as a symbol of their dominance over the old world (symbolized by Archtrees)?

Another connection that can be made is that the Kiln of the First Flame is also located in Lordran, accessible through a tunnel from the Firelink Shrine (in the first game). If the Lords had to choose any piece of bedrock, then better choose the one that originally contained the source of their power, right? However, this is muddied by the fact that the Kiln does not look anything like the underground cave of the First Flame shown in the intro (and we know it was underground, since intro has the camera descend from the foot of an Archtree deep down before the First Flame is glimpsed) — and, in fact, it appears to be an outdoor location, albeit probably still inside the outer walls of Lordran. Rather than ripping out a chunk of rock around the First Flame's original location, Gwyn and Co. could have probably just brought the Flame itself to a new chamber they built close to their own home. In this case, they might as well have simply found the chunk of rock already sitting on top of an Archtree grove (and it is unlikely that the entire world is covered with them, since we don't see any from the Asylum), perhaps by a process considered natural by them.

The Demonic Statues are baby Asylum/Stray/Firesage Demons, and possibly the entire demon race as well
I mean, just think about it. The statues and fat demons are way too similar for it to be a coincidence. They have the same belly with the same ripples, they have the same tail, they both have four fingers, and even their heads kinda look similar, don't they?The statues probably journeyed out of Lost Izalith, given that there are demons outside of it, so that's why the Stray and Asylum Demons are not fiery beings. The Demon Firesage, on the other hand, grew up in Lost Izalith itself, so that's why it's fiery.

While I admit part of the point is to Troll tropers who read this theory (Like you watching this screen), this idea, which suddenly came to me today could have some genuine credit. Let's put it this way: when you search for a romantic partner, what do you seek to find in them. I'd imagine it would be human qualities on every level, be it physical, mental, moral or emotional. Even if someone is erh... eccentric in this regard, they will at least seek something resembling human.

Now, with that said, the Dark Soul is stated to be everything that is fundamentally human about the human race and thanks to the Darksign there are people walking around with different amounts of if, the lack of it causing you to transform into rotting, Soul Eating zombies. We also know that all humans inherited fragments of the Dark Soul from the Furtive Pigmy.


Could it be possible that humans in this verse can sense Humanity in some abstract or subconcious way and see it as a desirable trait in a "mate"?

The Furtive Pigmy is the original bearer of Humanity and while it's possible that the first humans were simple Hollows that were gifted with darkness it wouldn't surprise if at least some of them were females that he kept as a harem using his newfound authority as the race progenitor. Many a Real Life human leader has been up to similar perverted antics, feudal first night rights, anyone? If this WMG is true and humans do feel Darwinist Desire for the Dark Soul then the girls would probably be willing, seeing him as a Mr. Fanservice Hot God.

For that matter, Manus, who may be the Furtive Pigmy himself is also(?) a God of Darkness. And he has been corrupted into a beastly state, along with practically everyone still alive at Oolacile, there's no doubt there were grown woman living there. What has been going on while neither the Player Character or anyone else was looking? What were Manus's REAL intentions and Evil Plan with the resident Damsel in Distress Dusk, that he was so willing to restrain himself from, even in such an Ax-Crazy state?

If you want to expand on this theory, ask for some Brain Bleach or add to the Black Comedy, please comment bellow. I'd really like to know.

  • This might explain why the Darkwraiths' Lifedrain (and that of the Four Kings) has a tendency to looks so... intimate.

The sequel to Dark Souls is... Real Life
After the fire failed in III and the Dark covered the land some people had a back up plan, they would gather a large ammount of colonist (Humans and non humans alike, including Undead, who drop dead shortly after after the curse fades and other races don't survive which is where Human "Evolutionary Ancestors" came from) and use a special kind of portal painting made using the centuries of accumulated knowledge to go to another universe, one much vaster than their own, they had discovered an Insignificant Blue Planet on that vast cosmos that was perfect to sustain them. A large group of local Gods took notice of the new arrival and for their own Good, Evil and Neutral-ish motivations began to reveal and interact with them, resulting in all religions. Not all results of the new arrivals were remotely good news though... The Dark Soul interacting badly with the new world's different set of physics, began to cause a new "Age of Dark" but instead it will cause The End of the World as We Know It due to incompatible laws of nature. Scientist of Present Day call it Heat Death.

Ornstein and Smough were inspired by a duo of villains from Inuyasha
Specifically, the Raijuu Brothers Hiten and Manten. In term of looks, the two Raijuu are brothers, with one being handsome, graceful and armed with a peculiar polearm he can wrap in lightning and the other being bigger, brutish and more reliant on strength than finesse. They fight the main heroes divided (just like Ornstein and Smough could easily end up with the help of Solaire or another summoned help) and when one of them is killed, the surviving one grieves his death and proceeds to devour his heart to grow stronger by absimilating his powers.

It's not much, but definitively there are enough similarities to be notable.

I see you got many theories, but remember, some mysteries are better left unilluminated.

Alternative Title(s): Dark Souls I