Dark Souls: The Age Of Ancients, Explained (2023)

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  • When The World Was Grey
  • The Key Players
  • The Discovery Of The First Flame
  • The Dark Soul
  • The End Of Ancients, And The Birth of Fire

Though FromSoftware has been making dark and unsettling games for decades, it wasn't until the release of Dark Souls that it gained mainstream appeal internationally. Since its release, Dark Souls has become unavoidable just as much for its gameplay as for its world-building.

RELATED: The Origin Of Dark Souls

As with all things Dark Souls, many things can seem abstract at first until you manage to piece together the various pieces of lore to give yourself a greater picture. In what is undeniably an active choice in lore, much of the Age of Ancients is seen only in the opening cinematic, but there is plenty more to it once it's all been stitched together.


When The World Was Grey

Dark Souls: The Age Of Ancients, Explained (1)

During the events of Dark Souls, the world is already in the Age of Fire, though it is on its last legs as the simmering embers of the First Flame are fading. The world did not always have Flame, however, and this is what the opening cinematic depicts. In fact, the world was a dramatically different place altogether before the fire.

For one, the world was inhabited only by dragons, though not the dragons we see in most of the game. Those dragons are paltry remains of what once ruled the world. The Everlasting Dragons called the planet their dominion, with no other beings in existence to defy them. Though almost every Everlasting Dragon was defeated, the lone survivor can be found at the bottom of the fantastical Ash Lake. Even when cutting off its tail it does not react, a testament to the raw power that such a severance means nothing to them.

Ash Lake being its final domain makes sense, however. In the Age of Ancients, the world was grey, and as we see from the opening cinematic, covered in Arch Trees. Ash Lake is itself a remnant of what the world looked like before flame, where Arch Trees were the only notable flora to be found.

(Video) Dark Souls Timeline - Part 1 [The Age of Ancients]

Though not initially depicted, it is implied that Seath the Scaleless was essential in defeating the Everlasting Dragons. This was achieved through his theft of the Primordial Crystal, which granted him immortality. As such, one can assume this same crystal, or others like it, is what granted the Everlasting Dragons their immense power alongside their immortal scales.

A final, and deeply important point, is that the Age of Ancients was not dark, nor light. It truly was grey, a place of pure neutrality. It is the First Flame that brought light to this realm, and dark with it.

The Key Players

Dark Souls: The Age Of Ancients, Explained (2)

The Age of Ancients can occur only once. Dark Souls functions cyclically, though ever since the discovery of the First Flame, the world instead shifts between light and dark, rather than descending into grey once again. Once the light was birthed, it could never be forgotten. It took multiple people to bring this drastic change into existence.

The first was Gravelore Nito, Lord of the Dead. He was the first to be granted a soul from the First Flame. With it, he could manifest death and used this power in the battle against the Everlasting Dragons. As such, he came to symbolise death in the world that came afterwards, and used this power to administer death in the world he helped create.

(Video) Dark Souls Lore: The Age of Ancients and the Primordials

The next was the Witch of Izalith and her daughters. She came to directly use the fire of the First Flame, creating raging firestorms to defeat the Everlasting Dragons. In the new world of light, she and her daughters returned to their home of Izalith, though became consumed by the flame. When it first started to fade, they sought to create a new flame, though instead created the volatile Bed of Chaos, something that only spurred the world's destruction on even faster.

Then came Gwyn. Like a miracle, he used bolts of lightning from the very sky to shave the Everlasting Dragons to dust. Afterwards, he ruled in the world of light from his throne in Anor Londo as a being treated as a god. However, when the fire began to dwindle, he spent his remaining time by its side in hopes of reigniting it, ultimately losing the very soul the First Flame gave him, loving his beloved capital in darkness.

Finally, and most limitedly, was the Furtive Pygmy. As the name implies, there is next to nought known of them. They never once appear in the game and are only given scant fragments of lore throughout the series. However, of the three Lord Souls discovered their counterparts, the Furtive Pygmy found the Dark Soul. Rather than keeping this power for themselves, they instead chose to split it to become the vestiges of Humanity, that which would birth the Soul of man.

However, it was not just those who discovered the First Flame that rebelled against the Everlasting Dragons. Seath was a fellow dragon, though was born Scaleless. As a result, he lacked the immortality of his fellow Everlasting Dragons and envied them greatly. As a result, he betrayed them to the followers of the First Flame and was granted great rewards in the Age of Fire. Chief amongst them was endless resources to study crystals, including the very Primordial Crystal that granted him his own immortality.

The Discovery Of The First Flame

Dark Souls: The Age Of Ancients, Explained (3)

Tantamount to everything, however, is the First Flame itself. There is no knowledge as to precisely how or when the flame came into being. Did the dragons create it? Was it a natural phenomenon? Is it the natural result of an Arch Tree at the end of its life? Though unknown, it is irrelevant to its power.

When the First Flame came into existence, it brought with it Light and Dark, a heretofore unheard-of concept. And from that darkness, Hollows arose. 'Hollows' as a term is one frequently thrown around in Dark Souls, though can be hard to wrap your head around. In short, they are simply beings. Not Humans or even strictly undead, but a simple existence. Gwyn, Nito and the Witch of Izalith were all Hollows, and discovered the Lord Souls at the First Flame that transformed them into the godly beings they became.

(Video) Dark Souls: in Summary

RELATED: Dark Souls: The First Flame, Explained

This disparity between Light and Dark, Hollow and Soulful, is what gave the push to defeat the Everlasting Dragons and their world of grey. The Furtive Pygmy was different, however. Their Lord Soul was unusual, the Dark Soul. They chose not to take it all for themselves. They created something different altogether.

The Dark Soul

Dark Souls: The Age Of Ancients, Explained (4)

The Dark Soul is a complicated concept. Other Lord Souls are easier to understand. A single or small number of beings took them, and so were ascended beyond Hollows. That soul makes them immortal in a way and makes them who they are. The Dark Soul should have been no different, but the Furtive Pygmy chose to spread it among all the Hollows.

With it, he created the wispy black fragments of Humanity, that which gave Hollows true meaning, and spread his Lord Soul among his fellow pygmies to extend their lives. As such, the Dark Soul became splintered unlike any other Lord Soul, making it next to impossible to find in a complete way.

Though it goes largely unrecorded by his other Lords, these humans were essential in the war against the Everlasting Dragons, and are likely the only reason the world can truly keep on going. The Dark Soul gave Light to Hollows, uplifting them from the Dark. In an ironic twist, they are some of the only beings that can truly exist in the dark due to the gift of Humanity, a concept none of the fellow Lord Souls share. It is something even the Everlasting Dragons cannot surpass. True immortality comes in cycles.

(Video) The Age Of Ancients - Dark Souls Sundays (Lore)

A very important aspect here is that 'Humanity' and 'Souls' are very specific, literal things in the world of Dark Souls, and should be interpreted by their definitions, rather than real-world equivalents

The End Of Ancients, And The Birth of Fire

Dark Souls: The Age Of Ancients, Explained (5)

With the First Flame granting them clarity, the Four Lord Souls united in their mission. With an Everlasting Dragon on their side, and an army of Humans to bolster them, war was declared on the Everlasting Dragons. This war marked the beginning of the end of the Everlasting Dragons, though the Age of Ancients truly ended with the discovery of the First Flame.

It is unknown how long their war lasted, but the followers of Flame emerged victorious and built themselves a world fit for fire. In it, they each served a purpose. Nito represented Life and Death. From his tomb, he would preserve the natural flow of life in a world forced into existence. The Witches of Izalith came to harness Heat and Cold and came to manage the flame from Izalith, though it was quickly lost due to their own hubris in creating a new flame. Gwyn settled at Anor Londo and fashioned himself as a god, and built himself a royal family. Seath the Scaleless was even granted a portion of Gwyn's own Lord Soul as a show of respect.

The Furtive Pygmy disappeared from history. Either they were wiped from it by the fellow Lord Souls, or they simply faded into the masses of Humans. Humans were reviled in many regards by the Lords, lacking the power to be their equal but having perpetuity they lacked. The final followers of the Furtive Pygmy were granted the Ringed City, though the remainder of Humanity was cursed with the Darksign, likely by Gwyn.

This meant that upon death, they became Undead rather than simply passing on. Though this curse was asserted as a means to control Humans, it instead gave them the eternal means to challenge the Flame.

The world would never again know an Age of Ancients, as it was now locked in a cycle between Light and Dark eternally.

(Video) Dark Souls Story in 5 Minutes

NEXT: Dark Souls: Every Ending, Explained


What is the Age of Ancients? ›

The Age of Ancients can occur only once.

Dark Souls functions cyclically, though ever since the discovery of the First Flame, the world instead shifts between light and dark, rather than descending into grey once again. Once the light was birthed, it could never be forgotten.

Why did the first flame appear? ›

While it is unknown how the First Flame came about in the universe, it is theorized to be the equivalent of the big bang, seemingly coming out of nowhere without any warning. No lore explicitly states how the First Flame ignited, despite it being the very event that kicks off the events of Dark Souls.

Why did Gwyn link the Fire? ›

Desperate to ensure that their Age of Fire continued, and afraid of the coming Dark, Gwyn did everything to keep the flame lit. They linked the bonfires to humanity, and shepherded the humans to kindle the flames.

Where did the human come from in Dark Souls? ›

The Humans were created by the Furtive Pygmy, a forgotten Lord from the dawn of Fire, who claimed a small spark known as the Dark Soul. With this soul, the Pygmy raised up the Human race, binding their nature with the Dark.

Do the ancients still exist? ›

Though the Ancients are not physically present, their actions have visibly altered the efforts of SG-1, among others. The Atlantis expedition is living in the Ancients' advanced city, which they were forced to abandon when the Wraith attacked thousands of years ago.

Who are all the ancients? ›

Ancients are a race of elemental golems that first appeared as mini-bosses in God of War (2018).
Known Ancients
  • Fire Ancient.
  • Forest Ancient.
  • Frost Ancient.
  • Ice Ancient.
  • Lava Ancient.
  • Stone Ancient.

Why are flames the shape they are? ›

The pull of gravity draws colder, denser air down to the base of the flame, displacing the hot air, which rises. This convection process feeds fresh oxygen to the fire, which burns until it runs out of fuel. The upward flow of air is what gives a flame its teardrop shape and causes it to flicker.

What is the oldest eternal flame? ›

And the oldest known natural eternal flame is at Mount Wingen, Australia – otherwise known as the Burning Mountain. The fire began in a coal seam that was struck by lightning at the surface, some 6,000 years ago.

Why is a flame blue at the bottom and yellow at the top? ›

A blue color when gas is burning indicates a properly burning flame. This means that the gas is burning at the color it was designed to. You may see a yellow tip of color at the top of the flame, indicating that the temperature is dropping as the flame glows higher.

What sin did Gwyn commit? ›

A Roman Catholic during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I of England, Gwyn was martyred by being hanged, drawn and quartered for high treason at Wrexham in 1584.

Is Gwyn good or evil? ›

Type of Villain

Gwyn, also known as the Lord of Sunlight and the Lord of Cinder, is the main antagonist and final boss of the video game Dark Souls.

Is the Nameless King Gwyn's son? ›

Though not much lore is given about the character before the battle, it is heavily implied that the Nameless King is Gwyn's firstborn son after players defeat him and begin to explore his interesting backstory.

Who is the guy behind Dark Souls? ›

Hidetaka Miyazaki (宮崎 英高, Miyazaki Hidetaka, born c. 1974–1975) is a Japanese creative director, designer, scriptwriter, and executive for the video game company FromSoftware. He joined them in 2004 and was a designer for the Armored Core series before receiving wider recognition for creating the Dark Souls series.

Who is god in Dark Souls? ›

Gwyn, Lord of Sunlight and Cinder

During the start of the Age of Fire, Gwyn, Lord of Sunlight, discovered one of the four Lord Souls and became the king of Lordran, the world of Dark Souls. He ruled Lordran with a pantheon of gods in Anor Londo before leaving his kingdom to prolong the Age of Fire.

Does god exist in Dark Souls? ›

The Gods are a race in the Dark Souls series, and one of the primary 'races' in the story.

What killed the ancients? ›

A plague swept through the galaxy and killed many of the Ancients. A similar plague was created by the Ori Priors in modern times that prompted Daniel to believe that the Ori had been responsible for this older plague, but that was mere conjecture and has never been confirmed.

Who created the replicators? ›

Reese, a corrupt and childlike android, created the first insectoid Replicators to be her "toys," but they were also capable of defending her from threats. As their creator, she also passed on to them her own design flaw.

How did the Ancient era end? ›

Western scholars usually date the end of ancient history with the fall of the Western Roman Empire in CE 476, the death of the emperor Justinian I in CE 565, or the coming of Islam in CE 632 as the end of classical antiquity.

Is the master one of the Ancients? ›

Although the Master belongs to the New World Ancients, he was most active in Europe as evidenced by the creation of Quinlan who's existence was an accident of sorts.

Who is the father of the Ancients? ›

The Father is the Leader of the Order of Ancients in Assassin's Creed Valhalla (ACV). His identity is only revealed after defeating the 44 Order Members leading up to him. The Father is King Aelfred.

Who is the leader of the Order of the Ancients? ›

King Aelfred, The Father, is the Grand Maegester of the Order of the Ancients. Despite being the leader of the Order, his goal was to help The Hidden Ones and Eivor take them out from within.

Why is the bottom of fire blue? ›

A low-oxygen fire contains lots of uncombusted fuel particles and will give off a yellow glow. A high-oxygen fire burns blue. 8. So candle flames are blue at the bottom because that's where they take up fresh air, and yellow at the top because the rising fumes from below partly suffocate the upper part of the flame.

Why flames have no shadows? ›

Flames or fire are merely caused by the burning of gases (ignitable indeed! Duh) and therefore can cast a shadow only in the presence of another source of light, which is much brighter than the former.

Why did some flames appear the wrong color? ›

The exact sizes of the possible jumps in energy terms vary from one metal to another. That means that each different metal will have a different pattern of spectral lines, and so a different flame color. Flame colors are produced from the movement of the electrons in the metal ions present in the compounds.

What city has a never ending fire? ›

Centralia, Pennsylvania was once a bustling mining center, but a hidden, underground fire has turned it into a smoldering ghost town.

What stopped the Chicago fire? ›

Rain put out the fire more than a day later, but by then it had burned an area 4 miles long and 1 mile wide. The fire destroyed 17,500 buildings and 73 miles of street. Ninety thousand people—one in three Chicago residents—were left homeless by the fire.

What is the strongest flame? ›

Blue flames are the hottest, followed by white. After that, yellow, orange and red are the common colours you'll see in most fires. It's interesting to note that, despite the common use of blue as a cold colour, and red as a hot colour – as they are on taps, for instance – it's the opposite for fire.

What can't fire destroy? ›

Burning and other changes in matter do not destroy matter. The mass of matter is always the same before and after the changes occur. The law of conservation of mass states that matter cannot be created or destroyed.

Does purple fire exist? ›

The color of the flames is apart of temperature affected also by the type of fuel used (i.e. the material being burned) as some chemicals present in the material can taint flames by various colors. Blue-violet (purple) flames are one of the hottest visible parts of fire at more than 1400°C (2552°F).

Why is Azula's fire blue? ›

Azula's blue firebending was meant to symbolize that she was more powerful than Zuko as well as a firebending prodigy, and also to easily distinguish her attacks from his in their fights. She was initially intended to have an arranged marriage during the third season.

Where do the ancients live? ›

The Altera settle in the Milky Way Galaxy and become known as the Ancients: The Altera traveled for thousands of years until they reached a "belt of stars" and made a new home in the Milky Way Galaxy, which they called "Avalon", and built the network of Stargates, which they called "Astria Porta".

What is the age of darkness Dark Souls? ›

The Age of Dark is said to begin when the First Flame fades, thus ending the Age of Fire, the Age of the Gods. Despite the Age of Dark being a ubiquitous concept throughout the Dark Souls series, it is never the "current" state of the world in any of the existing games.

Who is the furtive pygmy Dark Souls? ›

The Furtive Pygmy was one of the Lords, those four beings who found the manifestations of disparity near the First Flame. The Pygmy found a unique soul, the Dark Soul and claimed it. Using this Lord Soul, they fragmented it in order to create the race known as Humanity.

What are the Lord souls in Dark Souls? ›

A Lord Soul is a unique soul item in Dark Souls. They are used to satiate the Lordvessel in the Firelink Altar, and gain access to the Kiln of the First Flame.


1. Dark Souls Lore | The Undead Curse
2. Dark Souls - Story Explained
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3. Dark Souls Lore ► Explained!
4. Dark Souls - Lore hidden behind Japanese: The Age of Ancients
(Dai the Wanderer)
5. The Entire Dark Souls Timeline Explained
6. Dark Souls Intro Movie HQ
(kevin majorca)


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