The Lords Of Cinder: Dark Souls 3 Poetry in Motion

The Lords Of Cinder: Dark Souls 3 Poetry in Motion

It’s a funny thing when a game can inspire you to create something in another medium. The idea that a game can leave such a profound impression on a person that they want to spend time focusing their creative energies is something that has always impressed and intrigued me.

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The Souls series has been a ripe source of inspiration for many people. There are countless artists, cosplayers, writers and musicians out there who create wonderful works of art based on these games. The process by which these come about owe a lot to the quiet nature of the game’s lore and the game’s presentation. Stories are told in this world with the flourish of an attack, a wrinkle in architecture or a tear in a cape. With so much laid in the quiet details, every individual experiencing it is bound to have their own unique impression on these presented images.

Until now I wasn’t one of them, but Dark Souls III inspired me to not only create something, but to write a poem, something I’ve not done in many, many years. So I give to you, The Lords Of Cinder. Be aware, this poem contains lore and story spoilers, as well as one of the endings to the game.

 

The Lords Of Cinder

Rise from your grave
Oh, being of ash
Your destiny awaits
The one true call
The cycle repeats
The cinders you hunt
To link the flames and
Cure the unkindled

The Lords Of Cinder
Once proud on their thrones
Betrayed their own cause
Corrupted their souls
Return their ashes
Accept their mantle
Repair this world or
See darkness reign down

Soldiers of the wolf
In constant battle
Reach within themselves
To fight the abyss
But their legion will
Makes them one and all
They lost sight of
What they were meant to fight

The giant Lord hides
Deep under the ground
The grief consumed
Left an insane shell
Forsaken his shield
He wills his own death
At the hand of a friend
Ruler of storms

Devourer Of Gods
Leader of the Deep
Sits high in sunlight
By a princess throne
He casts the darkness
Consumed the Darkmoon
Imbibe the last screams
Taste the end of life

Cursed Prince Lothric
With his wounded kin
Bred for perfection
Born sick weak and frail
Refused the mantle
Eschewed his fate
Lothric dreamed of death
Welcomed it with arms

The dark eyes will show
The grand betrayal
Give sight to the blind
O’things I should not see
The sliver of light
A frightful image
A world without fire
A world plunged dark

Ashen One seek cinders
The soul in the Kiln
Five souls converge and
Create a beast true
Burning the first flame
In Gwyn’s memory
Cast the Soul down and
Relink the flames

But what is your goal
To betray the world?
The darkness is coming
The world becomes cold
Ashen one, I see
You have made your choice
Farewell, mayst thou
Thy peace discov’r

A Poetic Analysis

I wrote this from the perspective of the Fire Keeper. I liked to think of her as not just a mechanic to level up your character, but as a guide, as someone who knew the world better than you and would steer you in the right direction. Of course, in reality, that role is filled by the various denizens of Firelink Shrine, but I decided to make the Fire Keeper the sole person for that role as she as an obvious nexus for focusing the energies and motivations of the game.

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The prose is a mix of lines found in the game world, either in dialogue or descriptions, made to fit with my own concepts. I wanted to describe the journey that the player goes on, so we start with the rise from the coffin in Cemetery Of Ash, through reaching Firelink to learn of our quest, then a description of the four Lords Of Cinder you need to defeat.

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I decided to bring in the ending I achieved in the game, giving the Fire Keeper the Eyes and ridding the world of flame. Without digressing too much into a discussion of the various endings, I felt like this was the “good” ending, so to speak. Linking the fire results in the cycle beginning anew, whilst the alternative ending seemed almost too much to consider in the poem. Letting the flame fade, ushering in the age of dark (again) seemed more apt. It also allowed for a poignancy in the ending, as without the fire, the Fire Keeper has no purpose, so the line almost seems like a proper goodbye.

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The different trajectories you can take in this game create a diversity of experience that makes it unique for every player. Every playthrough leaves an impression, that when reflected into another artistic medium, would result in a kaleidoscope of experiences. I’m not so certain the same breadth of interpretation and inspiration is possible in other game franchises, as they typically feature a heavy handed dispersal of story. When the concepts and feelings are laid bare for you, there is not much more to build off of.

In a way, the Souls series is like nature; always moving and unfolding according to its own functions but never telling us anything explicitly. Perhaps that is where the parallel lies, as the natural world has always been a primary muse for creators through time. It has its own designs but like water, allows itself to permeate every possibility. I haven’t written poetry in over a decade, but Dark Souls III just inspired me in a way I haven’t felt in a long time. The game is a true masterpiece and I cannot wait to see the other great works it inspires as the long years roll on.


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