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So I have been watching some playthroughs lately of the Souls Games, and the one thing that has stood out to me was the way that the Firekeepers are treated throughout the different games.

For example, in DS1, there are 3 "active" Firekeepers:

  • Anastacia of Astora
  • Daughter of Chaos (Queelag's Sister)
  • Darkmoon Knightess

There is also several Firekeeper souls found throughout the game, like the one in the Undead Parish, found on an Altar that Rhea of Thorolund eventually visits; whom is also attemtpting to become a Firekeeper.

The Firekeepers are responsible for their associated Fires - Firelink Shrine, Quelaag's Domain, and Anor Londo; as well as assisting with upgrading your Estus Flask, for which you use Firekeeper Souls to reinforce.


In DS2, the "Firekeeper" Role is significantly changed. Not only does the player need to reinforce the Estus flask with Shards, instead of using the Rite of Kindling (as they do in DS1), but to reinforce the Flask uses "Sublime Bone Dust" instead of the Firekeeper Souls, which can only be done in the Fire at Majula.

Additionally, the actual "Firekeepers" do not attend any fires at all, (not the Emerald Herald, as she does not "attend" to the fire at Majula, as is the case for the Firekeeprs in DS1) and killing any of them does not affect any fires in the game, and only rewards the player with Human Effigys/Aged Feather.


In DS3, everything revolves around the Firekeeper. She attends to the "oldest" Fire - in Firelink Shrine, and the endings are determined by interacting with her through the items "Eyes of a Firekeeper", and the "Firekeeper Soul". These items are key items, and reinforcing the Estus Flask happens the same way as it does in DS2.

And again like in DS2, killing her does not extinguish the Fire in Firelink Shrine.


So all in all, in DS1, Firekeepers are established to be important to the Age of Fire. While they are Undead; they are specifically linked to fires throughout Lordran, and all appear to be in favor of Linking the Fire.

In DS2, the Firekeepers have all but abandoned their role and been forgotten, and an unrelated Herald exists in their stead, simply acting as a tool for others - unrelated to the Firekeepers and the Fire itself, but again, seeking to Link the Fire.

Then in DS3, the only remaining Firekeeper serves only the Fire, and the one linked to it. She is all important and central to the plot of the game, and held in the highest regard by any who are involved in the main plot of the game. Her interactions involving the "End of fire" plotline also reflect Anastacia's responses to reviving her after she is killed by Lautrec, and then revived, returning her speech (emphasis mine):

Anastacia: Forgive me… I am impure, my tongue never intended for restoration. Please, if you have any heart… Leave me be… I wish not to speak…

Fire Keeper: Ashen one, my thanks for the eyes thou'st given. But Fire Keepers are not meant to have eyes. It is forbidden. These will reveal, through a sliver of light, frightful images of betrayal. A world without fire. Ashen one, is this truly thy wish?

In DS2 the Firekeepers are also apparently blind, but do not speak of their lack of eyesight.


So, after collecting all of this, it appears that the Firekeepers are initially revered, then "decommissioned", and potentially forgotten altogether, going from simply serving as maintainers of the Fire for others; to serving the fire itself.

So what was/is the Firekeeper's role in the Dark Souls lore? Who do they serve (The Fire? The Cycle? The Lord Souls?) how are they linked to the Fire (are they a variation of the Undead that simply has a stronger bond to the Fire itself?) and what is it about the "Impurity" of the sense of sight or the ability of speech?

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Without much to go on, at this point I can do little more than speculate.

What we do know is this: the Fire is fundamental. Everything revolves around the fire - the Gods, the Undead, the Unkindled, The Lords of Cinder, Linking the Fire and Usurping it. Everything is based around the Fire.

As for the Firekeepers; well, here is where the speculation starts.

In DS1 and 3, you can find the item "Firekeeper Soul". Specifically in DS1 a specific soul is tied to a specific Firekeeper (as seen by way of the Anastacia sidequest - you can only restore her with the same one gained after killing Lautrec). In DS3 this is slightly different - when you give the Firekeeper soul to the Firekeeper, it is made clear that it belonged to someone else (emphasis mine):

…Ashen one, this is …much like what lies within me… Then let it find its own place, within my bosom. She will understand. We are both Fire Keepers, after all.

Source

So, instead of empowering the Estus flask with the Firekeeper Soul, you are also able to empower a Firekeeper with an additional Soul (this grants her the ability to "heal" the Dark Sigil), much like you would yourself.

This item does show a fundamental difference between you; the Undead or the Unkindled, and the Firekeeper(s). Your souls are different in one way or another, implying how they are connected to the Fire. The other difference is that in DS3, the Firekeeper will respawn if killed by the player.

What this could imply is that the Fire itself is somewhat sentient? With the consumption of souls, and multiple "failed" attempts to link the fire, it has consumed enough knowledge and power to tie its survival to someone. In the first game, if the host died, the fire died. If it is not given fuel, it can be snuffed out. In the third, it wants to be Linked, to regrow. Since it has no way of communicating this, it uses its host; keeping it alive in order to maintain its will.

Working backwards; this might also explain the "forbidden" nature for speech and sight - being able to talk freely is to speak out against the Fire's will. To be able to see is to see things with your own eyes. In DS1, the Daughter of Chaos and the Darkmoon Knight have loyalties elsewhere; Anastacia is the only one who talks about her duties as a Firekeeper.

Ludleth also mentions this as does the Firekeeper when you have/give the eyes (emphasis mine):

Ludleth: Ahh. Found her, did we? And the black eyes that shimmer within, I see? Tis as if it were but yesterday. We did all we could to spare her from them. Much has happened since. Mayhap I should apprise thee... Of what the thin light of these eyes might reveal to the eyeless Firekeeper. Scenes of betrayal, things never intended for her ken, visions of... this age's end...

Source

Firekeeper: Ashen one, my thanks for the eyes thou'st given. But Fire Keepers are not meant to have eyes. It is forbidden. These will reveal, through a sliver of light, frightful images of betrayal. A world without fire. Ashen one, is this truly thy wish?

Source


In Dark Souls 2, there is a lot that is different. This has very little to support this theory, but I believe things are fundamentally different in this game.

Primarily; in place of Embers, or Humanity, you are given a Human Effigy. These items appear to be more "material", or physical than the aforementioned items. So, the theory I have here is:

It is not the end of the Age of Fire, but the beginning.

In Dark Souls 2; the Fire is new. The Firekeepers are old and useless - the Fire has not linked itself to them. In its stead, the Firekeepers have created the "Effigy" of humanity from the Dark Soul, instead of from the Flame. They are old, and (appear to have) gone mad.

Additionally, all the lore talks about "abandoning the cycle", through ancient memories, and Nashandra aims to stop you from taking the "throne", in order to maintain the Darkness.

Brave Undead, you have proven yourself to me. Now, be one, with the Dark…

Source

This explains why the Firekeepers behave in such stark contrast to the roles of the Firekeepers in 1 and 3.


So, ultimately, the role of the Firekeepers is to serve the Fire, willingly or not; as they are inherently tied to it. With the Fire, they are symbiotic. Without the Fire, they have nothing, and serve no purpose. All in all, they are the "human" representative of the Fire itself.

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