In Gwyn's Age of Fire, there were four knights who distinguished themselves above all others.
First, there was Hawkeye Gough, who fought in the first war against the Dragons.
He exalted in the thrill of the hunt,
Plucking dragons out of the sky with his enormous great bow.
Soon the only dragons left were in his memories which he revisited endlessly.
Fighting on the ground was Ornstein, the Dragon Slayer.
He wielded a long lightning cross spear that could be stamped deep into a Stone Dragon's hide.
Its curious design went on to remind many of an exiled God of War
Though none of them dared to speak his name
And then, there was Ciaran, whose talents differed considerably from the previous two, a stealthy assassin.
She would have been no match for dragons and so she must have killed for Gwyn in the Age of Fire to follow.
She dazzled her foes with streaks of gold in the night and then stung with the vicious poison of her silver tracer.
But in the Age of Man to come, none were as well-equipped as the Great Knight Artorias,
for nothing -not dragons, nor disunity, nor even his enemies- frightened Gwyn like the dark.
The Dark Soul of Man filled the Lord of Light with fear for one day, Gwyn knew, the fire would fade and
humanity would inherit the world.
So while he still had time and power, Gwyn began to rig the world in his favour.
Mankind had stood amongst those who set out to slay the ancient dragons
and, as if in thanks, Gwyn bestowed upon pygmies and men the Ringed City,
an enormous gilded city located at world's end.
The walls were as tall as mountains
and above them sorted Midir, an immortal archdragon that was raised by the gods.
Below slumbered Gwyn's youngest daughter, the Princess Filianore, a woman of enormous faith and power
who Gwyn gave up to protect the pygmies until the very end of the world.
At first glance, you might think these acts benevolent.
You might think they were kind, but in the end it was just a trick of the light.
The walls were not for protection.
The Dragon had an eternal duty to battle the dark.
And Gwyn's daughter, Filianore, would never see her father again.
The purpose of the Ringed City was not to protect the holders of the original Dark Soul.
It was to imprison them like a ring of fire that encircles the darkness of humanity.
And man was in fact branded with this very seal, the Dark Sign.
Despite clear evidence of their heroism in the war against the Dragons, the dark knights never were lauded for their service.
So it's no wonder then that in all of the spellcraft and the hexes that stem from humanity,
One thing remains constant. It craves a free will of its own and it writhes against its shackles
Perhaps the first example of this was the Mad King.
He was pygmy royalty and he rebelled against the light
We have no idea what crimes he committed
but they must have been terrible, for he was put to death by Shira, the knight of Filianore.
Only, the Mad King would not die and
Shira, with the Mad King impossibly entwined around her spear,
Had no choice but to hold him quietly in a dark room until the end of time.
There were of course other human cities outside of the Ring City.
One such example was the dark city of New Londo,
Which was governed by four human kings and protected by Knights of the Dark Blade.
The Kings were renowned for their foresight and they even had fragments of Gwyn's very own soul bestowed upon them
So that they could better govern their people.
Of course, this too was another trick of the light for what lies at the top of New Londo, but
Firelink Shrine, a place of undead sacrifice to Gwyn's Age of Fire.
So no human city was permitted to flourish without a clear benefit to the Age of Fire.
And there was no better example of this than another human city called Oolacile
Which was a golden land of light sorceries.
Light, it turns out, can be manipulated to foster illusions
It can hide your intentions. It can even mess with the fabric of time.
And spells of this nature would be of great value to the gods in the coming years so Oolacile flourished,
An exemplary city for Gwyn's pantheon because it was proof that humanity could be taught to serve their interests.
And so it was that a group of missionaries from Oolacile embarked upon the Ringed City,
Perhaps to preach and reinforce the power of the light in this dark city.
One of these missionaries was called Halflight
And he was a talented individual who was wielding the powerful artifacts of his homeland.
He would go on to earn the favour of Filianore.
And he would even earn the legendary dragon weapon of Midir.
So it was no surprise that Halflight elected to stay behind,
Becoming the last recorded Spear of the Church.
Just as Halflight visited the Ringed City and even stayed behind,
The reverse was also true of a certain pygmy from the Ringed City.
This pygmy's name was Manus.
While we know nothing about the nature of his visit to Oolacile,
We do know one thing. He died there.
And the body of primeval man of Manus was put to rest far far beneath the city itself.
Out of the light and out of mind.
We don't know much about Manus and a lot has left to the imagination.
What we do know is that he was a pygmy far from home.
He was a part of a race that Gwyn was doing everything in his power to suppress.
And when you think on Manus's fate, it's kind of hard to imagine that Gwyn didn't have a hand in it,
especially since Gwyn had an order of assassins, the Lord's Blades, in his employ.
The leader of the Lord's Blads was Ciaran the Hornet.
It's stated that she laid waste to Gwynn's enemies.
And of course, there's no proof that the Lord's Blades actually killed Manus,
But you could also argue that that's rather the point of assassins, isn't it?
Whatever the case, the tide was turning.
Mankind was struggling against the world order and even New Londo,
Which was once a haven for Undead, had turned into a hideous spawning ground for the Abyss and its Darkwraiths.
At the heart of this uprising was a serpent named Kaathe,
Who swayed the Four Kings and taught its undead knights how to pillage back their humanity.
Some descriptions even say the Darkwraiths became the most human of all.
But to others, "The Darkwraiths are the enemies of men
And any living thing that has a soul."
So as the Age of Man crept ever closer,
Yet another knight of Gwyn appeared perfectly equipped to face it.
The Great Knight Artorias.
With a great sword weighted to strike harder against servants of the dark,
A great wolf who defined their fighting style,
And the covenant with the beasts of the Abyss,
Knight Artorias and Sif defiantly faced the worst of mankind.
Yet, in the end, the terror that was the Darkwraiths could only be stifled with the sacrifice of their entire city.
Such was the power of their Four Kings and the resilience of their Abyss.
Luckily for Gwyn, such a safety measure had been put in place years ago
And so the sealers of New Londo watched stoically
As water rushed into the city and thousands of innocents died by their hand.
"The entire city was sacrificed to contain them… For that is how great a threat they were…"
But while Gwyn did manage to put the New Londo threat on hold, no one was prepared for the outbreak in Oolacile.
I imagine when they figured out that a primeval human was buried beneath their very city,
The temptation must have been too great to resist.
"Believe it or not, Oolacile has brought the Abyss upon itself."
"Fooled by that toothy serpent,"
"They upturned the grave of primeval man, and incited his ornery wrath."
"What could they have been thinking?"
Like the mad pygmy king before him, Manus rejected death,
an he was as far from peace as could be.
The raw emotion of humanity that we mentioned earlier billowed outwards,
Corrupting the townsfolk of Oolacile,
And Manus became the father of an unstoppable dark abyss.
Curiously though, it's almost as if he was searching for something,
Using his power to reach across time and space until he found it.
Instead, he found Dusk, princess of Oolacile.
"I still think on that creature from the Abyss that preyed upon me."
"My faculties were far from lucid, but I quite clearly sensed certain emotions."
"A wrenching nostalgia, a lost joy,"
"An object of obsession, and a sincere hope to reclaim it…"
"Could these thoughts belong to the beast from the Abyss?"
"But if that were true, then perhaps it is no beast after all?"
The object of his obsession was a pendant.
And with it in our possession, we're pulled back, back to a time where all is lost.
"Well, look at this one. From what far-away age hast thou come?"
"Thy Scent is very human, indeed… But, not intolerable…"
"I am Elizabeth, guardian of this sanctuary."
"Thou shalt see further on."
"An abyss was begat of the ancient beast,"
"and threatens to swallow the whole of Oolacile."
The city is lost. The abyss is spreading and mankind has succumbed to the worst parts of their nature.
When Gwyn heard of Manus and his Abyss, Artorias must have been the first one sent to deal with the threat.
He was, after all, the best-equipped,
but fighting darkwraiths is considerably different to the power of primeval man.
So Artorias was bested and was forced to retreat.
Beset by the Abyss, the final act of Artorias was to protect his companion.
He shielded Sif with the divine power of his great shield.
After all his arm was broken and he could no longer bear the burden.
Then, Artorias himself was overcome.
"All of you, forgive me."
"For I have availed you nothing."
"Knight Artorias came to stop this,"
"but such a hero has nary a murmur of Dark."
"Without doubt, he will be swallowed by the Abyss, overcome by its utter blackness."
"Indeed, the Abyss may be unstoppable…"
All was lost. And yet strangely soon after the spread of the Abyss was actually halted and
and Princess Dusk of Oolacile miraculously wandered out of the Abyss,
Artorias' name henceforth passed into legend:
The Knight who gave his life to disperse the Abyss to rescue the princess of Oolacile.
This is a lie, of course
In reality, it is we who rescued the princess and we fulfilled the legacy of Artorias.
"This may strike thine ear as somewhat peculiar, but…"
"Long ago, in my homeland of Oolacile,
"I was beset by a creature from the Abyss."
"I would have perished then, were it not for the Great Knight Artorias."
"In truth, I saw little of what transpired, for mine senses were already fled."
"But even still, there was something about Artorias…"
"A certain balance of the humours…"
"That quite perfectly fits your semblance."
"Heavens, could it be that…"
With this, Manus' suffering has ended.
But Manus wasn't the only corruption of the abyss that we killed in Oolacile.
There was also Artorias.
The legend of Artorias is a lie. He did not vanquish the Father of the Abyss.
He did not eliminate the Darkwraiths of New Londo.
The abyss is unstoppable.
And yet, aeons later the legend of Artorias would inspire a legion of Abyss Watchers,
Who continue to rage against the dying of the light.
Yes, the Abyss is unstoppable, but they fight nonetheless.
Even in this state, notice that Artorias continues to seek out and kill corruptions of humanity,
He's still in there somewhere,
But his legend can only live on with his death.
Only his fellow Knights knew the truth, but they would take his soul and his secret to the grave.
And while Artorias' soul was currpted by the worst of humanity,
It was the best of humanity that redeemed.
And the hero of Oolacile would disappear without a trace,
Almost as if he didn't belong.
For in reality, he didn't.
And aeons later,
Deep within an enchanted wood behind two locked doors and a troop of forest protectors,
An ancient cat speaks the truth.
"The legend of Artorias art none but a fabrication."
"Traversing the dark?"
"'Tis but a fairy tale."
Alvina is keen to downplay the legend of Artorias because heroes and bandits have begun seeking out his grave.
They would desecrate his legacy for the secret of Abyss Walking,
And they may do harm to Sif,
Who in fact Alvina helped to rescue back when the world was still young.
Imagine what Sif is feeling when you cross paths again years later.
You're duty-bound to seek the Abyss and Sif is duty-bound to stop you.
One of you will have to die, because Sif cannot give you the covenant of Artorias willingly.
Maybe in death he can find his friend Artorias again.
Before I go, I just want to say a couple more things.
Firstly this video was made far far better by
The contributions of a guy called TheParryGod, who recorded footage for me this time.
It allowed me to sort of focus more on the script and the edit.
He's responsible for those fantastic slow-motion shots
Which I didn't know how to do but they fit really, really well with the pacing of the video.
So do me a favor and please go watch his cinematic short film on Dark Souls 3.
Because it's inspiring stuff,
he's just getting his channel started
and his upcoming work is really well worth your subscription in my opinion.
And, this is an appropriate video to shout out somebody else's channel in
Because all those years ago this video, Prepared to Cry ► Artorias,
This was the story I decided to tell for the first time and this is the video that got my channel started
So being able to work on this again after everything I've learnt was really special for me.
And I really appreciate that you watched it all the way through.
I hope you enjoyed it and I'll see you next time