Discuss lore and secrets of Dark Souls 3
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Dragonscholar

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#1
It's time for a long post!

Now that the series has come to an end, I still feel like we know very little about Velka, who might be the most important figure in the events that would follow Gwyn's Age of Fire (along with Manus and his children).

I'd love to hear your theories as to her motives, her plans, her ennemies, her allies and her link to the painted worlds.

Chronologically, the first event where she had an influence seems to be the Occult War, which meant to overthrow the gods (Gwyn and co.).
• Velka's Rapier is an occult weapon, i.e. a weapon imbued with the strength to fell gods.
• The Dark Ember clearly states "Occult weapons were used to hunt the gods, and are effective against their following and kin."
• The Vow of Silence miracle describes Velka as a rogue deity : "Velka, the Goddess of Sin, is a rogue deity, but she is versed in arts both new and old, and is considered to have a great range of influence even as gods are concerned."
• There is no direct evidence of this "Occult War", but many things hint that the gods had to use the Painted World of Ariamis as a prison for ennemies they feared (see Priscilla's lore).

This leaves me to wonder if Velka wanted to topple Gwyn's Age of Fire, acquire the Lord Souls or bring upon the Age of Dark (or a new Age entirely). Would she want the Pygmy's Dark Soul or ally with him? Would she dominate mankind in a new age, or does she wish to rid the world of gods - including herself - to allow mankind to flourish?

The second event seems to be the imprisonment of her followers in the Painted World of Ariamis.
• I think Velka would be a much more logical candidate to be Priscilla's mother than Gwynevere.
• In Dark Souls 3, we come upon a second Painted World named after Father Ariandel, probably constructed on Ariamis' own, and once again, it is inhabited by crow people, who seem lost and forlorn.
• I think Velka could very well be the Painter's mother, as she mentions : ""Those who aren't ken to fire cannot paint a world. Those absorbed by fire, must not paint a world. Don't worry, I haven't forgotten, Mother..."

The third event occurs during the first game : she brings the Chosen Undead to Lordran, where he would either kill the gods and bring a new Age of Fire, of become a Dark Lord. We encounter Oswald of Carim, one of her followers, who absolves us from our sins. The pardoners seem to encourage reflection and betterment of oneself :
• Their set says "The pardoners listen to the confessions of sinners, urging reflection and salvation. Their masks symbolize separation from worldly desires."
• I also find it important that they hunt those who do not seek that salvation. See the lore associated with the Book of the Guilty.
• We see yet another pardoner in Dark Souls 2, which I think is the only reference to her in that game, if not the fact they develop the very important notion of "First Sin", which can easily be considered in accordance with Velka's role and desire to overthrow Gwyn and actually explain why she sends the Chosen to Lordran in the first place.

Lastly, in Dark Souls 3, her statue now offers to eliminate hollowing, which would indicate a certain opposition to the Church of Londor (and thus, Kaathe), Yuria feeling betrayed if you "cure" your darksign. Considering this with all other elements, I feel like Velka might be a benevolent deity towards mankind - the opposite of Gwyn - who wants to annihilate the First Sin linking humanity to the fire and finally allow manking to make their own decision, as their age must come. Velka and her pardoners seem to give you tools to destroy the current order of things, while allowing you to make your own choices.

Considering how the painted worlds are described as gentle places that shelter the forlorn, and how Velka's followers seem to end up there, I think it corroborates the fact that she could be well intentioned and actually quite selfless, knowing destroying the gods includes her own end.
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Thaloss

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#2
I don't think Velka is on opposition to Londor, in fact, she might support them. Or Londorians themselves are the worshipper of velka. Yuria's set is called Black Set, Just like the one that Oswald wear in the first game. Londor uses Velka miracles, Yuria herself sell purging stone, which acts identical to the Velka statue.

If anything, Velka offer that as a mask for hollow to blend in the society. While deeply, embracing the true nature of mankind.

Yuria only get angered if you cure hollowing by Firekeeper, which means you are permanently not hollow, Not having Dark Sigils anymore. While the statue only clean hollowing count, which you still keep the sigil.
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Dragonscholar

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#3
Very good point, although I wonder why Yoel sees hollowing as drawing out your true power only to have Yuria sell purging stones when he dies. Isn't this contradictory?
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#4
Not really. Yoel just wanted to get you a high Sigil count.
Purging stones don't remove that. Just the hollowing.
So it's not really counterproductive to anything.
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Dragonscholar

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#5
Thanks for the clarification, that makes sense.

Any thoughts on whether Velka wanted to topple Gwyn's Age of Fire, acquire the Lord Souls or bring upon the Age of Dark (or a new Age entirely)? Would she want the Pygmy's Dark Soul or ally with him? Would she dominate mankind in a new age, or does she wish to rid the world of gods - including herself - to allow mankind to flourish?
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#6
If followers are any indication, then it would be expected she seeks to aid the rise of mankind as that's what Londor seems to be doing. Buuuut, there's a decent chance Londor derives from Velka but is not led by her, or a direct parallel.

Skipping back to the first game, it's stated in no uncertain terms that "sin" includes transgressions against Gods (from the book of the guilty description). Interestingly, it also defines sin as breaching one's covenant. In Dark Souls, the covenants have varying aims and not all are led by Gods. The Dragons worship something directly opposed to Gods. Forest Hunters are testing the worth of a successor to Artorias and/or protecting his legacy. Chaos Servants swear fealty to a Lord and her bloodline, but they're not considered Gods. Even the God ones have different aims. WoW worships a God that likely predates Gwyn.

What I'm getting at is that Velka defines sin in very NEUTRAL terms. She's essentially protecting the aims and interests of numerous entities, sometimes even ones that might have conflict with other ones.

Pair that with the concept of indictments, which are in essence the undead branding someone as a sinner. This is a recognized sin, per Velka. Note the description of Karmic Justice (which I'll come back to) indicates it's Velka's role to define sin. So we can surmise from that, she's the one who decided that people who don't like invaders can call them sinners and she'll honor that.

Karmic Justice is quite interesting in its wording and name. It's purpose is to have retribution for a transgression. It obviously draws on the concept of Karma as well. Note that the popular usage of Karma is that of cause and effect and balancing one's life choices. Or in other words, you do bad...bad happens to you. You do good...good will come to you.

My conclusion from all of this would be that Velka doesn't take "sides." She is intended to be a force of balance and be impartial. This fits cleanly with the allusion to being "rogue" in that she'd be expected to mete out justice to the Gods as well.

To weigh in on other aspects, a lot of speculation about what happened in the Painted World is people filling in quite large gaps. There is evidence for sure that "The Church" hid some stuff in there. The Dark Ember is explicitly stated. However, the exact ties to Velka are mostly gaps. I think it's reasonable to assume a connection between Velka and the Occult, but most of what's attribute to Occultists isn't actually tied to Velka for sure. There's a few degrees of separation. Also, it should be interesting to recall that, while there is a Pardoner's set of gear in there, Oswald is alive and well outside the painting. So it's not as if "everything Velka" ended up in the painting. I do think that Velka is being alluded to having a significant presence in there, but it's nearly impossible to weigh in on the exact extent.

Stemming from that, while the ember was hidden by "The Church," it's never mentioned which Church. The usage is generally tied to Way of White but that becomes a bit of a conflict when you consider the Painting is in Anor Londo which is not Way of the White.

I also tend to question the insistence that it became a prison of sorts. There's two reasons for this. First, guards face the source of the anticipated danger. In a prison that means they face in. The Painting Guardians face OUT. They're protecting the painting. This is also directly stated as a matter of fact. And if we want the complete story, the Painting Guardian set not only says they guard the painting (as opposed to guarding everyone else from what's in the painting), it also clearly ties them to Anor Londo. So the Anor Londo Gods seem more fearful of harm coming to the Painting than they do of what might come out. Secondly, there's absolutely nothing to prevent you from leaving. If it's a prison, it's a terrible prison. The Annex key calls the annex a "store house" and that seems closer to the truth.

If I were to speculate, I would guess that Velka isn't popular with all the Gods and might have come to a less than...pleasant end. Or perhaps she's in hiding, as her powers certainly retain much influence. If she's tied to the occult, there's no reason to think she's involved in what some rascals did with that power. The Effigy shield indicates it was used to attempt to steal Nito's power. This is completely contrary to Velka's stated nature of punishing sin. For the record, I think it's likely occult is tied to her. If she's delivering justice to all, one would need a counter to the other Gods. That's fitting with her other "dots."

If we rope in DS3 information, we can see that Velka's Vow of Silence miracle is now attributed to the Sable Church of Londor. Their other big miracle is Atonement, which is in line with Velka principles of atonement and retribution. However, their more focused aims on advancing men over Gods is not precisely Velka like. So either she's gone and her adherents changed over time, or whatever happened to her was enough to change her tune on Gods in general.
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Dragonscholar

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#7
skarekrow13 wrote:My conclusion from all of this would be that Velka doesn't take "sides." She is intended to be a force of balance and be impartial. This fits cleanly with the allusion to being "rogue" in that she'd be expected to mete out justice to the Gods as well.


This is very well thought. I'm quite convinced she would oppose Gwyn's action of linking humanity with the fire (which is probably the so-called First Sin), and thus it would be logical that Londor would bear similarities or affinities with Velka.

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#8
It would appear Velka, like everyone else, is dead. Unfortunately we never got the chance to meet her or find out her motives beyond punishing sinners. The only connection to her in the dlc is the Purging Monument. It's quite possible that this was the source of inspiration behind the Purging Stone as they both appear to rely on transferring your curse to another that is somehow trapped.

This is the description of the purging stone from dark souls 1:

"Ash-colored stone encasing a skull. Secret treasure of Arstor, the Earl of Carim. Reduces curse build-up and breaks curse.
Humans are helpless against curses, and can only redirect their influence.
The Purging Stone does not dispel curses, but receives them as a surrogate. The stone itself was once a person or some other being."

and this is from dark souls 3:

"Ash-colored stone encasing a skull.
Reduces undead curse build-up and cures hollowing.
Inhabitants of Londor, the land of Hollows, use this secret treasure to feign normalcy.
Occasionally, a Hollow fools even himself, and turns on his own kind."

Ok so the first thing is that both descriptions describe it as a "secret treasure." This leads me to believe that not only did Londor manage to get it from Earl Arstor but that he also found it in the Ringed City at some point. Most likely he took inspiration from the Purging Monument and learned to mimic the effect.

We then have to wonder where the Purging Monument came from? Clearly it is made out of the corpses of the undead. What exactly happened though is unclear. Maybe originally it was a simple arch that they hoped would ward of the curse, then eventually the undead hollowed next to the arch as they prayed for salvation and were killed and attached to it. Or the pygmy kings needed a way to prevent hollowing and somehow found this method to work and started using their own subjects as a way to prolong their own life. I'm sure there are dozens and dozens of possible stories to explain it's existence.

To bring it back to Velka, her statue is the only other thing that appears to be able to reverse hollowing. Her and the Firekeeper heart. Now we know that a Firekeeper's heart/soul is made from humanity or the dark soul. It is then logical to conclude that the heart absorbs the humanity/curse from us much as the purging stone or monument absorb it from us. This then leads me to question how exactly does the statue absorb the curse or does Velka somehow know how to remove the curse completely. If she does then she really is worth the attention that everyone gives her. If she doesn't then we have to ask does she have a connection to the Ringed City/Purging Monument or did they actually originally learn from her somehow? Does this also mean that the statue of Velka actually has someone inside it that absorbs the curse? If so then how do they absorb it multiple times, perhaps the soul of a God lies within that could match all of the souls sacrificed to the Purging Monument?

Honestly I'm not sure this tells us anything about her motives. There's simply too much obscured about her past and her motivations. She's considered a God but somehow I doubt Gwyn gave her a piece of his Lord Soul. Therefore I can only speculate that she was one of the first pygmy's considering her natural affinity for humans and the dark. That would explain why she uses miracles as the first humans seemed to revere Gwyn. Then perhaps she learned the truth and became a rogue deity, I'm not sure. It does explain why Londor has connections to Velka and the Ringed City despite the two being seemingly unconnected.
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#9
CakeThiefPro wrote:Honestly I'm not sure this tells us anything about her motives. There's simply too much obscured about her past and her motivations. She's considered a God but somehow I doubt Gwyn gave her a piece of his Lord Soul. Therefore I can only speculate that she was one of the first pygmy's considering her natural affinity for humans and the dark. That would explain why she uses miracles as the first humans seemed to revere Gwyn. Then perhaps she learned the truth and became a rogue deity, I'm not sure. It does explain why Londor has connections to Velka and the Ringed City despite the two being seemingly unconnected.


It never occured to me that she could actually be one of the pygmies, but it is an interesting idea. The problem is that, from what I recall, almost all beings referred to as "gods" are linked to Anor Londo or Gwyn's kin, and I don't think any of the pygmies, the Furtive Pygmy included, were ever referred to as gods. As she is described as "rogue", I think she could have been close to Gwyn's kin, then something made her become dissociated from them.

My take on it was that she was initially a "god" of Anor Londo, but Gwyn's linking of the fire was seen as a great sin by Velka and she rebelled, punishing both gods and men who did not repent from their sins.

As for her statue, my only guess is that she is actually taking the curse herself (there is no one in the actual statue) as this is one of her many powers.
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#10
There are other Gods than Gwyn's lineage.

Allfather Lloyd is head of Way of White

Flan is Gwynevere's love I believe and is of unknown origin. Based on their connection, Gwyn lineage is unlikely

Fina is a goddess of Carim, and Lautrec's muse

I think I might be missing some. Regardless, Velka isn't the only deity outside of Anor Londo.

And with the latest DLC, I think it's safe to say that the DS2 lore shouldn't be ignored. Evlana's descriptions indicate that the concept of ”God” is rooted heavily in an entity's power and the perception of their feats
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