The Lord Souls
‘A soul is a lot like a curse’
Why is this so? What is the soul? What are the Lord Souls? Are they connected? Are the Lord Souls eternally bound to the First Flame, destined to regenerate when this flame is kindled?
These are the questions that came to me most recently when playing through Dark Souls II. Firstly, I believe that all living things have a soul. The soul is the will to life, the most fundamental piece of our existence that sets all the other parts of our existence in motion. It does not die with our body but will fade over time – the more potent the soul, the longer it will take to fade. This why we come across souls of brave warriors, proud knights, nameless soldiers and those that are simply faded souls hovering still over a corpse or places where corpses once were. I do not believe that these souls are connected to the Lord Souls, rather that they are simply souls. I believe that even before the Lord Souls were found in the first flame, the beings that emerged and gravitated towards it had souls. The dragons above had souls. The serpents, the imperfect dragons, had souls. So long as there is any life, sentient or not, there are souls.
This is a simple assumption and could well be wrong and that all souls were in some way born when the first flame appeared. However, I am inclined to think that souls and Lord Souls are separate because humans have souls (we see them everywhere) as well as humanity (which deserves its own discussion) and if the flame were to go out entirely and the power of the Lord Souls with it, then humanity – the Age of Dark – would begin and in this age humans would still possess their own souls. It would just be the Lord Souls that lose power over the world.
These Lord Souls (without considering the Dark Soul, which deserves its own discussion) – taken by Gwyn, the Witch of Izalith and Nito – are born from the first flame and they remain connected to the flame until the flame is extinguished. When the flame fades, the power of the Lord Souls fades. When the flame is reinvigorated these Lord Souls are reinvigorated. This would explain a lot of the world we enter into in Dark Souls II. The Lord Souls still exist – The Lost Sinner has inherited the soul of the Witch of Izalith; The Rotten has inherited the soul of Nito; and Vendrick has inherited the Soul of Gwyn. The Soul of Seath, part of Gwyn’s Lord Soul, now writhes beneath Tseldora[cm1] where it cannot die and ‘seethes’ for all time (a simple look at the Old Witch Soul, the Old Dead One Soul, the Old Paledrake Soul and the Old King Soul all leave us with this impression). These Lord Souls find new hosts and still exert powerful influence over the world – see how the soul of Seath corrupted the Duke of Tseldora’s and his demesne. Their power continues to regenerate every time the flame is linked and the Age of Fire renewed. So when we think about embracing the dark and ending the order of the Age of Fire, we must think about how this would mean that the Lord Souls and all their fragments (which may well be the souls dropped form the bosses we encounter) will fade and the humanity that was fathered from the Dark Soul would have dominion over the world.
Then why is a soul much like a curse. I think it is simply because it is something we bear without choice and because it drives our existence – much like the curse is born by those with the Dark Sign and because this curse pulls them towards the bonfires in into the cyclical history of the Age of fire, without really knowing why. Also, so long as the flame continues so too will the curse and so too will the Lord Souls. I believe that this is the similarity.
This is of course speculation but it does get me thinking about how the Age of Lords is not the age of their bodies but the age of their souls. So long as the fire stays alive, so too will their souls and these will continue to exert tremendous power and influence over all the kingdoms that rise and fall in the Age of Fire.
What are your ideas about souls and the Lord Souls? Do you believe that they regenerate with the kindling of the flame? Do you believe that there is a connection between souls and Lord Souls?