As you play Dark Souls 3, you will most likely encounter the most hated character in the Dark Souls universe, Patches. Patches is a recurring character who is in every souls game From Software has made. In this game and world, you will meet “Unbreakable Patches” either in the Cathedral of the Deep or the Firelink Shrine, depending on how you have progressed his quest line. Patches’ quest line involves other NPCs like Siegward of Catarina and Greirat of the Undead Settlement. He still bears his hatred of clerics and nuns from previous iterations of this game; he will eventually become a vendor for you like he always been. Patches is a very ambivalent character; he saves Greirat’s life during the game, yet, pretends to be Siegward while deceiving and putting you in difficult situations. It is hard to say if he just doesn’t like you or his compassion is saved only for a select few. When you talk to him after getting out of those situations Patches lures you to, he is always asking for forgiveness. Your interactions with Patches have never been favorable; it’s up to you to be that benevolent or harsh soul to him. Caution, there will be spoilers for The Ringed City DLC in what follows.
Lapp and You
As time slips through your fingers, one day you will arrive at the Dreg Heap; there you will meet a familiar squatting hollow man that time hasn’t been kind to. He doesn’t know who he is (who really knows who they are anyway?), his name, or what he lived his life for. He, like us, is on a search for something; so perhaps we can work together and find some meaning in this absurd world. This man, under the name “Lapp“, tells you about his search for the Purging Monument that resides in the Fabled Ringed City inhabited by the pygmies. You two will travel the lands of Dreg Heap while sharing Siegbräus along the way until eventually reaching the Ringed City, home of the Purging Monument. Lapp will search high and low for it in vain which puts him on the path of despairing, questioning if the monument was even here. You have spent time with him, interacting with him, how can you leave a fellow hollow alone after he spilled his guts to you? Is he not your friend? And thus, the events are set. You being the person you are, searches for this Purging Monument which you only find after you have “shown your humanity”. You speed back to Lapp to inform him of your findings; he is quite astonished but looks forward to knowing everything about his past.
“I swear upon my birth name.
That I am your friend. No matter what might come out, no matter what I was.
If you would do me the honour, allow me to be a true friend, always.”
When you meet up with Lapp for the final time after passing Midir, he seems to remember who he was and wishes to thank you. Lapp tells you to look over the edge to see some treasure. BUT alas, as he takes off his helmet, it’s Patches. If you were paying attention to the words, voice and mannerisms of Lapp, they have been screaming Patches since you have met him. He speaks the following:
“Every age, it seems, is tainted by the greed of men.
Rubbish, to one such as I, devoid of all worldly wants! Hmmm, I dunno, maybe it’s just the way we are.
I’ll stick you in my prayers. A fine dark soul, to you.”
You stand there, confused, unsure what made him change so radically. He said he would be a true friend! Always. Look at your friend now! Kicking you like mere trash! Deceiving you like the Patches you always knew! What changed? Was this all fated to happen? Can we change our paths in life even when we remember our past? Can’t we ever transcend?
Eternal Recurrence, Amor Fati, and You
Your encounter and interactions with Patches and Lapp give rise to the theory of the eternal return. Eternal return or more commonly known as eternal recurrence, is a view that the universe, all existence, and energy has been recurring, and will continue to recur, in a self-similar form an infinite number of times across infinite time or space. This notion sounds very much like the universe of the Souls series with everything happening all over again without change, and the return of beings in the same bodies. Time is viewed as being not linear but cyclical akin to Dark Souls where everything will play out again. We are still seeking answers, linking the fire, losing our loved ones, and defeating those with power in order to change the world. Yet, what have we changed exactly since the first Dark Souls? Things all around us are changing form but they are the same in essence. How can we not despair in an unchanging environment where all things will happen again?
We must have Amor fati; Amor fati translates as “love of fate” or “love of one’s fate”. It describes an attitude in which one sees everything that happens in one’s life, including suffering and loss, as necessary. Amor fati is distinguished by an acceptance of the events or situations that occur in one’s life. If Lapp/Patches has taught us anything, it is that we must choose and love our actions regardless of how events progress and develop. Everything divides us eventually, our milieu, our thoughts, our goals, our dreams, and values. In order to be in love with our fate we must accept everything, and so, the hand will be extended.
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