The Ashen One is the playable character and main protagonist of Dark Souls III.
By the events of Dark Souls III, the Ashen One rose from their grave and started a journey to defeat all other Lords of Cinder and return them to their thrones, thus putting an end to the cycle of the First Flame and the curse of the undead once and for all.
At some point in time, The Ashen One had attempted to link the fire. They were not powerful enough however, and were instead burnt to ash by the flames. Some time later, the Ashen One was awakened by the toll of the bells, signifying that the link of the fire was threatened. The Ashen One emerged from their grave and set out to leave their tomb. Finding the Coiled Sword lodged inside Iudex Gundyr, the Ashen One pulls it out, awakening Gundyr and beginning a fight. Halfway through, Gundyr is seemingly consumed by the Pus of Man, but the Ashen one defeats him and finds Firelink Shrine.
Inside the shrine, they encounter the Fire Keeper, who tells the Ashen One that the Lords of Cinder; Aldrich, Saint of the Deep, Yhorm the Giant, the Abyss Watchers and Lothric, Younger Prince, have abandoned their thrones, and charges them with bringing the lords back. The Fire Keeper also offers to channel souls in order to increase the Ashen One's strength. Also in the shrine are Andre of Astora, a smith from the Age of Gods, the Shrine Handmaid who offers an expanding store of goods in exchange for ash. The shrine is also home to Hawkwood, a crestfallen warrior, Leonhard, a servant of the goddess Rosaria, Mother of Rebirth who urges the Ashen One to invade the worlds of others to take their embers, and finally Ludleth of Courland, the last remaining Lord of Cinder who offers the Ashen One sage advice and the art of soul transposition, provided the Ashen One can provide him with a Transposing Kiln.
The Ashen One places the Coiled Sword in the center of the shrine, creating a bonfire, and proceeds to travel to the High Wall of Lothric to begin their quest.
High Wall of LothricEdit
The Ashen One progresses through the High Wall of Lothric Castle, now home to mindless undead soldiers and a fire-breathing wyvern. Fighting their way to a church, they encounter the high priestess of Lothric Castle, Emma. Emma provides them with a banner that will allow them safe passage to the Undead Settlement, but warns them that their path is guarded by Vordt of the Boreal Valley. Also in the High Wall is Greirat of the Undead Settlement, a thief that will swear himself to the Ashen One if the Ashen One rescues him from his cell.
After finding and defeating Vordt, the Ashen One raises the banner on a ledge, and are given transport to the Undead Settlement, a dilapidated town inhabited by the undead.
Once arriving at the Undead Settlement, the Ashen One finds Yoel of Londor praying for death at a ledge. Upon encountering the Ashen One, Yoel offers his services, providing rudimentary sorceries and offering to draw out the Ashen One's "true strength", not telling them that doing so will burden the Ashen One with the Dark Sigil which will make them hollow upon death.
Inside the Settlement, the Ashen One is accosted by the inhabitants of the town and pelted with massive arrows by a Giant atop a tower. After fighting and killing the Curse-rotted Greatwood, the Ashen One will find a Transposing Kiln that will allow Ludleth to provide great spells and weapons from the souls of powerful creatures.
The Ashen One may also rescue Cornyx of the Great Swamp, a master of pyromancy that will share his arts with the Ashen One. Upon finding the church in the center of the settlement, the Ashen One encounters Eygon of Carim, a disdainful knight of Carim. If the Ashen One purchases a key from the handmaiden, they may free Eygon's ward, a blind nun by the name of Irina, who will offer to tell the Ashen One stories of miracles. After freeing her, Eygon will offer an alliance to the Ashen One, for as long as Irina's safety is guaranteed.
Inside the church, the Ashen One encounters Siegward of Catarina, a Catarina knight who is perplexed by a lift that will only take him down, rather than up where he wishes to speak to the Giant. If the Ashen One solves the riddle of the lift, they may make peace with the Giant, who will offer his help.
Road of Sacrifices and Crucifixion WoodsEdit
Following the road leads the Ashen One to the Crucifixion Woods, where they encounter Anri of Astora and their faithful follower Horace the Hushed. Anri seeks Aldrich, and thinks to find him in the Cathedral of the Deep. They offer their help to the Ashen One, should the Ashen One need it.
Making their way through the Crucifixion Woods leads the Ashen One to a crossroads. One path leads to Farron Keep, home of the Abyss Watchers, whereas the other one, guarded by one of the Crystal Sages leads to the Cathedral of the Deep, home of Aldrich. Here the Ashen One may also find Orbeck of Vinheim, a sorcerer who will offer to share his knowledge if the Ashen One brings him magic scrolls.
Cathedral of the DeepEdit
After defeating the Crystal Sage, the Ashen One follows the road to the Cathedral of the Deep. Once there, the Ashen One may encounter Unbreakable Patches, a thief and con-artist that will attempt to kill the Ashen One by luring them onto a narrow path with the promises of treasure, only to lower them below where a giant waits. If the Ashen One survives the trap, Patches will attempt to feign innocence, but if the Ashen One presses him on the matter, he will admit his wrongdoings and offer a gift in recompense, as well as selling the Ashen One his goods.
Deep inside the Cathedral, the Ashen One finds the Deacons of the Deep guarding Aldrich's tomb. After defeating them, the Ashen One finds that Aldrich has left the cathedral, finding instead a doll that will allow the Ashen One to enter Irithyll of the Boreal Valley.
After returning to Firelink Shrine, the Ashen One again encounters Anri and Horace, who tell the Ashen One that Aldrich supposedly hails from Irithyll and that he may have returned home. They will also find Sirris of the Sunless Realms, who shows little interest in the Ashen One, unless they provide the Handmaiden with a certain ash, prompting Sirris to offer the Ashen One their friendship. If the Ashen One chooses to allow Yoel of Londor to draw out their true strength a sufficient number of times, Yoel will eventually die, only to be replaced by Yuria of Londor, who attempts to sway the Ashen One into usurping the fire and becoming the Dark Lord of Hollows.
Returning to the Crucifixion Woods and progressing towards Farron Keep, the Ashen One finds a massive swamp. In order to make their way to the Abyss Watchers, the Ashen One must extinguish three flames. After doing so, the path to the Keep opens, allowing the Ashen One to face the Abyss Watchers.
The Abyss Watchers, reduced to fighting amongst themselves, are defeated by the Ashen One, who claims their ashes in order to restore them to their throne in Firelink Shrine. Killing the Watchers opens the way to the Catacombs of Carthus, an underground tomb filled with skeletons.
Catacombs of CarthusEdit
Progressing through the trap-ridden Catacombs, the Ashen One eventually finds a drawbridge that will lead them to Irithyll of the Boreal Valley. If the Ashen One should choose to descend the fallen drawbridge, they may find the Smouldering Lake, ruled by the Old Demon King and home to various demons and a great slithering worm.
Across the bridge, the Ashen One finds a strange goblet that pulls them into the Abyss. Here they encounter High Lord Wolnir, who attacks the Ashen One. By destroying his enchanted bracelets, Wolnir will lose his grip and fall into the Abyss, allowing the Ashen One to return to the regular world, where the path to Irithyl,l a frozen city guarded by an impenetrable barrier and ruled by Pontiff Sulyvahn in the name of Aldrich, is now open.
Irithyll of the Boreal ValleyEdit
The Ashen One is able to penetrate the barrier to Irithyll with the magic doll they found in the Cathedral of the Deep. Progressing through the frozen city, the Ashen One will again come to a crossroads. They may either descend through the dungeons of Irithyll to find the Profaned Capital, or progress further into the city, finding the ancient city of the gods, Anor Londo.
Descending through the dungeon of Irithyll brings the Ashen One to the Profaned Capital, home of the reclusive Yhorm the Giant, one of the missing lords. Fighting their way past the gargoyles and priestesses that guard the way to the giant, the Ashen One finds him atop his throne. The enormously strong and durable Yhorm initially seems insurmountable, but the Ashen One finds the magic blade Storm Ruler, a sword with the ability to fell giants, beside his throne. Using the power of the blade, the Ashen One is able to bring Yhorm to his knees and kill him, collecting his ashes.
Irithyll and Anor LondoEdit
Returning to the surface, the Ashen One fights their way to the grand church in Irithyll where they find Pontiff Sulyvahn. Killing Sulyvahn opens the way to Anor Londo, fabled city of the gods, where Aldrich awaits. Aldrich, having lost interest in the flame and having instead turned towards the Dark, sought out Anor Londo to devour the gods themselves. He found and devoured Dark Sun Gwyndolin in Anor Londo, who sacrificed himself to save Company Captain Yorshka.
Fighting their way past the archers protecting the city, the Ashen One finds Aldrich using Gwyndolin as a puppet of sorts, and kills him. After slaying the penultimate lord of cinder, the Ashen One is transported back to Emma, High Priestess of Lothric Castle in the High Wall of Lothric. A dying Emma begs the Ashen One to find Lothric, Younger Prince and tell him that he must be a lord of cinder, giving the Ashen One the Basin of Vows that will allow them access into Lothric Castle.
Before the Ashen One can place the basin, they are confronted by the Dancer of the Boreal Valley, who attacks them. After killing the Dancer, the Ashen One can place the basin and gain access to the castle.
Lothric Castle detoursEdit
The Castle, home to various knights and soldiers of Lothric along with fire-breathing dragons, holds the final lord of cinder. By now, the very sun itself has become a Darksign, and Pilgrim Butterflies are seen flying towards the castle. Fighting their way through the castle, the Ashen One may choose to make a detour to the Consumed King's Garden, home to the king of Lothric, Oceiros, the Consumed King. The king, having gone mad long ago and deformed himself into a dragon-like being, ferociously attacks the Ashen One.
After killing him the Ashen One may two secrets. One is a gesture that will allow passage to Archdragon Peak, and the other is a secret path to the Untended Graves, a dark version of Firelink Shrine. Here the Ashen One finds Champion Gundyr, and behind him, an abandoned Firelink Shrine home only to a Shrine Handmaiden. Here the Ashen One can find the Eyes of a Fire Keeper which if presented to the Firekeeper will allow her to see a dark vision of the future that the Ashen One may choose to fulfill.
Grand Archives and Prince LothricEdit
Progressing through Lothric Castle will bring the Ashen One face to face with a Dragonslayer Armour controlled by the Pilgrim Butterfly. Defeating the armour opens the way to the Grand Archives, home to ancient knowledge.
The Ashen One fights their way through the Archives, and find themselves close to the location of Prince Lothric, who hides at the very top of the castle. Lothric has no intention of returning as a lord of cinder however, preferring to watch the world end from afar with his brother Lorian. The brothers attack the Ashen One, who slays them both, and claims Lothric's ashes.
Soul of CinderEdit
After returning to the shrine, the Ashen One places the ashes of the lords on their thrones, and the Firekeeper channels their strength to the Ashen One. The Firekeeper bids the Ashen One travel to the First Flame. Accepting the strength of the lords, the Ashen One is transported to a copy of the Firelink shrine, standing amid the wreckage of kingdoms. From there, the Ashen One proceeds to the First Flame.
There they encounter the Soul of Cinder, a manifestation of the lords that had previously linked the flame. The Soul of Cinder takes on many forms and fighting styles, mimicking those who had linked the flames. Once the Ashen One weakens it, the Soul of Cinder assumes the style of Gwyn, Lord of Cinder and first one to link the flame. After defeating the Soul of Cinder, the Ashen One is presented with four options depending on the choices they made.
- Main article: Endings
- Link the Fire: In this ending, the Ashen One attempts to do as all the other lords had done before them and link the fire. The Ashen One stretches out a hand and begins to burn, but unlike in the past, the fire is not reborn. Instead, the Ashen One merely sits beside the flame, seemingly unable to prolong its life, as the sun remains a Darksign.
- The End of Fire: If the Ashen One gave the Eyes of a Fire Keeper to the Fire Keeper, they may summon her upon defeating the Soul of Cinder. The Fire Keeper will take the First Flame into her hands. She states that the fire quickly fades and that dark will soon settle, but predicts that one day, tiny flames will dance across the darkness, like embers linked by lords past, suggesting that the light will return one day. As the absolute darkness settles upon the world, the Fire Keeper asks if the Ashen One can still hear her.
- Ash Seeketh Embers: If the Ashen One gave the Eyes of a Fire Keeper to the Fire Keeper, they may summon her upon defeating the Soul of Cinder. The Fire Keeper will take the First Flame into her hands. Before the flames fade, the Ashen One may strike her down. The Ashen One steps over the limp body of the Fire Keeper and takes the First Flame into their own hands. Kneeling, the Ashen One raises the flame, offering it to the Darksign Sun.
- The Usurpation of Fire: If the Ashen One allowed Yoel to draw out their true strength a sufficient amount of times, followed Yuria's instructions and "married" Anri, the Ashen One may, instead of linking the fire, draw its strength into themselves. The Ashen One collapses from the strain and awakes to find an army of hollows, who greet their lord, praying for the Ashen One to make Londor whole.
- The Ashen One is often referred to as the "Champion of Ash" or the "Unkindled One" by other characters.
- Alternatively, if the player pursues the Usurpation of Fire ending, characters will refer to them as Sire.