Dedicated to digging into the game's lore. Bring your thinking caps.
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ElCazador

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#1
One thing struck me. When we defeat Velstadt , the Royal Aegis, we encounter King Vendrick - hollowed, circling in the dark, harmless. Why?
After we meet the Ancient Dragon, it gives us the Ashen Mist Heart, which possess some sort of a time-travelling (to the past) properties.
We head towards the Forest of the Fallen Giants - a place a war had taken place a long time ago. The war of men again the giants. We find out that this peculiar Ashen Mist Heart allows us to delve into the memories of the Giants. Apparently before his eventual demise, one of the giants witnesses the defeat of his lord by our hand.
With the introduction of the DLCs (and Scholar if the First Sin version), we are allowed to delve deep into King Vendrick's memories.
At this point, we realize that we had talked to the king before he becomes the husk we'd seen before.
In this memory, he tells us about the crowns of the kings from different places across the world. The crowns of Ivory King, Old Iron King, the Sunken King, and his own crown.
Vendrick seemed to had understood the cycles of life - the Age of Fire and the Age of Dark. He knew the Fire would fade, and then Humans become hollow, their true form. The Souls of Old become apparent (New Game+ souls of the four old ones).
When we have all the four crowns, he blesses the crowns - a blessing that prevents the process of hollowing. And yet, he refused to take one. He knew he was no heir of fire, and he didn't want to wander for an eternity, as a husk. An accursed. And yet, the Fire fades, and with it, strengthens the curse. The Darksign. He passed his knowledge to a Bearer of the Curse. The one who was erased from the history.
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dn1nd

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#2
A Sentiment That Has Struck Me Thinking Of Vendrick. He Was A Coward Who Could Not Face His Destiny. When His Wife Pushed Him To Link The Fire He Instead Hid, In His Dialogues He Realizes Her True Nature, But Could Not Bring Himself To Face Her. He Instead Laid Bread Crumbs For The Cursed Undead To Follow Allowing Them To Depose Nashandra. Even Vendrick's Blessing Could Be Seen As Him Giving His Brother A Way Of Observing What A True Monarch Might Seek Out. Maybe Vendrick Shied Away From His Destiny Upon Seeing Aldia Failing To Shed The Yoke Of Fate.

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ElCazador

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#3
I now highly believe that Neshandra wanted the king to usurp the flame. Think about it. She's a child of the Abyss, and the Age of the Deep Sea (I'm convinced that Deep is the Abyss) is after the Age of Dark. The reason Abyss wants mankind gone could be the rage Manus felt when Humans tormented him. Hate is a great motivation.
But the Cycle of Ages had Vendrick confused. He eventually gave up when he realized he is just a coal to keep the flame kindled, to the point that he calls himself a jester. No light is allowed in the Undead Crypt. A fitting place to run to, to keep away from anything related to Fire.
When the Bearer of the Curse gains the Giant Kinship, Neshandra may gain it by killing us (Giant Kinship acts like the Alpha title of a wolf pack, as I have witnessed), so she challenges us, to make the world as she sees fit.
Now, King Vendrick. He can never sit on the throne, for he is not a kin of Giants. Bearer of the Curse slayed him before he had a chance. He even imprisoned the Giant Lord for his Kinship... but to no avail.
Went a little wild, but this was what I understood.
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