Dark Souls 3 Lore ► The Slave Knight & The Painter

There are fascinating questions in this video… For example, is Gael kneeling to the statue behind the altar? Who is his merciful Goddess of the Forlorn? And what is the white-haired woman’s “Dark Soul of Man”? Let’s see. The painted world has always been a safe haven, in the age of the gods, it was the work of the painter Ariamis, hung in Anor Londo, and home to beings like Priscilla, whose abilities the gods feared. At some point, though, we know that this painting fell, for Father Ariandel restored the painted world, and the cycle of paintings began anew. Of course, there could have been many paintings and painters in between these two worlds of Ariamis and Ariandel because the residents of this painting clearly understand that eventually their world must burn, lest their painting stagnate and rot. That’s a line of thought that only really comes about if they’ve had generations go through this. (BREATHE, VAATI) And yet, Ariandel decided to eschew tradition, he embraced rot. Buried the flame. And decided instead to satiate the flame with his blood. And so, the next painter had to be tucked away, in the depths of the painting. Never to paint the next world, never to see flame. Tasked with concealing this secret child of the painting, is Vilhelm, loyal knight of Friede, who is the tyrant of Ariandel. “I’ve seen your kind, time and time again,” “Every fleeing man must be caught, every secret must be unearthed,” “Such is the is conceit of the self-proclaimed ‘Seeker of Truth’,” “But in the end, you lack the stomach,” “For the agony that you’ll bring upon yourself.” Friede was the first ash to enter the painting, yet instead of seeking flame, she embraced the rot— along with the Good Father—and she entrusted Vilhelm with the key to this library. And within this place are what seem to be secrets of the painting. As a tyrant, as Friede, you want to hide history, you want to hide origins, and I think this place—this library—is where a lot of that is hidden. Perhaps these books hold the histories of the world? Maybe the destroyed statues hide an important identity? And, certainly, Vilhelm guards the white-haired child who is the key to the future of the next world. “Forgive me, my lady… “I swore an oath… “But I have failed you… “Lady Elfriede…” The white-haired woman shares no name, so we call her “Aria” in keeping with the tradition of painters named this way. “I believe… “I feel the scent of ash upon thee… “Thou art the one of whom Uncle Gael spoke… “The one to show me flame… “‘Tis good… I’ll head off to paint… “I promised Uncle Gael I would…” Uncle Gael. The Japanese text actually confirms that she doesn’t mean “uncle” in the literal sense, rather she means “uncle” in the familiar-old-man sense. This is important because the parentage of Aria is something worth going into a bit later. But for now, let’s tackle Gael’s curiosities, and he has a ton of them. “Gael was once a “Slave Knight”, which was a warrior used as fodder in the bleakest of battles. And perhaps he still is one, because that same description mentions that slave knights were never relieved from duty. Despite their twisted bones and blackened skin. And, bizarrely, we never actually get a clue as to what a slave knight’s duty could be. Nor what entity they were beholden to for this duty, as it’s called. Additionally, slave knights were clearly downtrodden, yet they were given lavish red armaments, its fine craftsmanship a symbol of honor. So, I think all of this serves to make us feel like Gael is from a long-lost time, and one of the oldest undead in the series. And this is a thought that’s reinforced by the miracle that he alone wields. The Way of White Corona is a lost Way of White miracle, a white discus which slices though foes and is SO SHIT that it’s no wonder people forgot about it. (No, really, it sucks.) Long ago, when the imprints left by the gods were still deep, miracles of the Way of White existed alongside “orioles”. These were the white discs that existed in Dark Souls I at the age of the gods, that appeared in other people’s worlds whenever you cast a miracle. The description goes on to say: “Those who yearned for the long-lost orioles fully believed that they would return one day.” You find this Way of White miracle in the Corvian Settlement in front of their church altar. And this is an altar that looks stunningly similar to one on the outside in the Cathedral of the Deep, which was a church of the Way of White. And it’s this same place where Gael, the ancient, duty-bound knight says his next curious line of dialogue: “Merciful Goddess… “Mother of the Forlorn… “who have no place to call their own… “Please, bear witness to our resolve… “Fire for Ariandel… “Fire for Ariandel…” “And the ash to kindle flame…” So who is this “merciful Goddess”? This “Mother of the Forlorn” who Gael still believes is watching over them. Perhaps she’s the clue to understanding Gael’s motivations? I’ll list three strong candidates, so let me know which one you think is correct. First: Caitha, the Goddess of Tears. I came across this suggestion in the comments of a missing dialogue video, and I love the theory. It drew my attention to the fact that Gael may well be kneeling to the figure behind the altar in the Cleansing Chapel, which is a statue that’s repeated all throughout the Cathedral of the Deep. The woman is clutching her face, almost as if weeping. And this ties in nicely with Caitha, who is the Goddess of Tears, and who is mentioned in the Blue and Red Tearstone rings as a “mourner of loved ones and of the undeserving dead.” We don’t know too much about her motivations as a goddess, but we know that she was famously worshiped by Morne and his archbishop, both of whom hail from Carim. And that’s pretty much everything we know. But additionally, as StellarElite points out in the comments, the Cathedral is a former Way of White church, and the Way of White now has a home in Carim. And Gael is related to the Way of White, soo you can see the connections here. But the real question is: Can she classify as a “merciful Goddess”? As a “Mother of the Forlorn”? Well, followers of Caithe, they provide comfort to the suffering, and a Goddess of Tears certainly qualifies her to be a merciful Mother of the Forlorn, don’t’cha think? But the links do stop there. And we’ve never really had a clue as to Caitha’s motivations, and she certainly doesn’t have a relationship with anything in the painted world. So, our second candidate: Velka, Goddess of Sin, does have a connection. Instead of a claim through the Way of White, Velka instead is more directly related to the painted world. For example, in Dark Souls I there was a Black Pardoner set, that was found within and the crows were originally envisioned as servants of Velka in the design works, though it is possible that part of their design has changed. But, at any rate, Velka certainly has a relationship with the Sable Church, and it makes a degree of sense for Velka to be invested in the opposite of what Friede wants. Since Friede was a member of the Sable Church, who abandoned the Church. There are also destroyed female statues that have loose-fitting robes and one hand outheld. Which is quite similar to the statue of Velka in the settlement. So does Velka fit as a “merciful Goddess”? As a “Mother of the Forlorn”? I think you could see her that way, uh, absolving sin is a mercy, and she has a statue for just that, tucked away in the Undead Settlement. For absolving sin, can you go so far as to call her a Mother of the Forlorn? That’s more of a stretch, but we really know so little about Velka that you can’t rule it out. As for the last candidate: Priscilla She’s certainly not quite classified as a goddess, but she’s very much a mother figure, and is based in the first painted world. As such, she likely wouldn’t tie in with Gael’s hollow-slave duties, but at the very least, we should discuss Priscilla’s relationship with the child, Aria. Most notably, Aria’s scaled skin… and her red, slitted eyes… like Priscilla’s green ones, and this quote: “Those who aren’t kin to fire, cannot paint a world… “Those absorbed by fire… “Must not… paint a world… “Don’t worry… “I haven’t forgotten, mother…” Admittedly, there have certainly been a lot of paintings between this one and Ariamis, so, like so many other things in this video, it’s up to you to decide if we can even guess at Aria’s parentage, or the identity of the so-called “merciful Goddess, Mother of the Forlorn,” so what do you think? “My thanks, Ashen One… “I can almost see the flame… “Soon, “Uncle Gael will bring me the pigment… “I wonder if he has found it?” “The Dark Soul of Man…” The most curious and tantalizing quote at the end of the DLC, I feel like it’s only fitting that we end the video in the same way. Similar to how man can usurp the first flame, Aria is also looking to paint the Dark Soul of Man upon her canvas as the pigment, though she doesn’t have it just yet. Gael is out there searching for it. Maybe it’s the final piece of his duty? But where does he intend on finding this? What shape does the Dark Soul of Man take? Is it as little as a simple humanity fragment, or as large as a soul of man akin to the Soul of Cinder? As usual we’re left with more questions than answers, and at the end of the DLC, no less. And From aren’t exactly known for making sequential DLC’s, since you can purchase these separately, so I have a feeling we’re going to be left to figure this out for quite a while to come. So, what will the final DLC hold?

If you look at elfriedas past and her fear of a new cycle it makes since that she would want to continue this painting. This cycle of these worlds. If she knew of the painted world of ariamis then shed know about the mother figure or protector allowing her to set up her position of power. We dont know the cycle of the painted world compared to the cycles of fire. We do know that this is a later painting from the painters set.

It is my theory that Gael and the slave knights are not only among the first of the undead but also have themselves cursed with it willingly, perhaps with the aid of the gods(Nito maybe?). This made them the incredible warriors they were because they could no longer die. However this meant that they would be slaves to the undead curse. For the knight part of his name to me that indicates that these undead must always fulfill a goal/vow, this in part would keep them from going hollow since they will always serve a purpose regardless of what the purpose is or who it is that they vowed it too. Would kind of explain why Gale is now tied with the painted worlds and managed to never go fully hollow despite being cursed. Ironic that his end was after he consumed the dark soul en it drove him mad

I guess my reasoning behind this lies with the fact that Gael does not strike me as a slave in the normal sense of the word. This in part could tie in with how the undead curse and the darksign came to life at the point where the flame started to fade

Just my 2c 🙂

It is kinda late to say this, but after we fight slave knight gael in ringed city dlc we get "dark soul" along with his own soul for transposition and you can give that back to "aria" in the church of ariandel

Random thought: What if the world of Demon's Souls was a painted realm? Maiden Astrea's lore describes how she journeys to the Valley of Defilement to care for those who were cast out from society. These people had no place to call their own, and as such she could certainly qualify as the "Mother of the Forlorn."

This is also a bit of a stretch, but Gael's name is quite similar to Garl, Astrea's bodyguard, which would be a great way to explain his devotion to the "Mother of the Forlorn." It also ties in nicely with other theories that talk about how bloodborne is a painted world as well. Additionally, the presence of great old ones in both bloodborne and demon's souls might indicate another common thread between the painted worlds.

To stretch this a bit further, this link may also describe the shape of the Dark Soul, not as a soul of man, but one of demons. It's certainly powerful enough, and, given that Gael's attacks are very "bloodborne" in nature after his first phase, could provide another connection between demon's souls, bloodborne, and the painted worlds.

Further connecting (possibly) the two stories is the presence of "soul arts" in demon's souls, which awakened the old one. Byrgenwerth's quest for a higher understanding could very well have been an attempt to discover these soul arts, rather than relying on the blood of the old ones like his apprentice.

😛 It's a pretty weak theory, but I like it.

Burying the painter and not allowing a new world to burn away The Rot: Sounds like Gwyn who would not allow humanity to take over.

"A white disc that slices through foes and is so sh*t, that it's no wonder people forgot about it." I think that burn alone is enough to bring fire to Ariandel.

I felt almost cried when I knew the painter's uncle was Gael makes me think twice before killing an enemy

The snakes in the painting the little white ones that are stabbed and crushed also look like the snakes around gwndolin

I love it when Vaati segways into a joke in his serious calm voice. 'its so shit, that peope forgot about it'

The early Dark Souls 3 cover is similar to the "end of world" where you fight Slave Knight Gael.

The Painters a Pygmy Lord isn't she? One Gael couldn't bring himself to kill? So like he hid her in the Painting?

So why is Gael smaller at the cleansing chapel than he is in the boss fight..? I havent completed the dlc yet so i don't know

Mis = (spanish mine)
Del = (spanish his)
Aria mis -> mi aria -> my Aria -> my space/place
Ariandel -> aria de el (del=de el) -> his Aria -> his space/place
Ariadellos -> Aria de ellos -> Aria of them -> space/place of them
De ellos = of them
De ellos = from them
Space/place from them
The painter has no name for there the has no claim to Call this World hers and she crtainlly seems to do it for others and not for hrself
Also the pigmint is the dark soul of man the soul of others…the soul of them
Ps: ll is pronounced like an y or ji

I like Dark Souls and mainly look for monsters/armor sets to cosplay. So I like leaving the lore digging to you and the comments. Through you I understand how deep the story really is.

Velka and her people absolve sin but they also seem to revel in it… celebrate it even? For are we not all drenched in sin? Its a strange duality that makes Velka a complex character. Its almost a sado massochistic relationship where she both punishes sinners but also holds them as a reason for existing. Without any sin there would be no need for pardoners and no need for a goddess of sin and punishment.

Question…why did Friede hide away Arya? Why not kill her? She and the knight didn’t want another painting so why not kill the painter?

Funny how I saw this video, read most of the comments, lots of theories and good pinpoints, yet here I am going through all the levels and journeys to gain more souls just so I can amp up my character. And of course raging out

On Gael and Slave Knights – is it possible that the "slave knight" designation came before the curse of undeath? Before the gods won the war against the dragons, they had a "test subject" – some of the pigmies were conscripted into eternal servitude, which is why he makes it to the end of the world.

Rosaria = gertrude = Aria's mother

I would love it if they brought her canvas for a new title. Its "size" is probably bigger than the other paintings, and deeper from the pigments used.
I felt cursed and in agony irl when this game was my main distraction; somehow her dialogue about a "cold, dark, and very gentle place" sounded like such a nice solace. Maybe it's the way she said it with the context.

Well,im leaning more to Velka as the Godddess Gael pray to.
I believe Priscilla(and Gwyndolin) is a child of Goddess Velka and Seath the Scaleless.
And I believe Aria is a daughter of Priscilla.

Theres so much left unanswerd,like isnt it uncomftrable to wear 4 hudge rings under a armor that is so tight i whuldnt be suprised the ashen one has worse lungs than an avrage smoker

Now that the Ringed City is out, I wonder if Gael was praying to Fillianore.

also hello yes i am two years late shut up

I think Gael’s goddess is Gwynevere. She’s a mother. She’s Gwyn’s daughter and so associated with the Way of White.
She is mother of Priscilla, who was in the former Painted World. She was in both Anor Londo – home of Aramis’s painting and Lothric – home of Ariandals.

Her two daughters – Priscilla and Yorha are both identical to the painting girl. And Gwynevere is only seen via Gwyndolyn’s illusion of her, so it’s possible she looks nothing like that.

She has also spent the entirety of the series subtly undermining her father’s attempts to keep the world away from man – and using fire to create a new world made for man would be the ultimate repudiation of his ideals.

The forlorn cry, so makes sense Caitha. I'm partial to Velka since not much is known of her. Her mask is found in Painted World of 1- Could Priscilla be an unmasked Velka? Could Aria be a young Priscilla? Slave Knight Gael could be her real father instead of her familial uncle. Frieda could have left the church as her mother. I digress and gonna stop the wild tangents to watch more….

Fuck I’m confused

Did the Londor sisters get booted out of Londor ? If so, why not just hang out in the painting then ?

The way i see Gael's boss is it's like an after story. The "and then" after killing cinder
Ashen One: "And that's how I killed the soul of cinder….then I got bored and-"

If you want answers go to the ringed city

After you kill Gael you get these type of bones shards but instead of stating bone shards it says the dark soul pigment or otherwise.

Vaati is trying to imply that Solaire is the Nameless King. Notice that he combines helm of Solaire and the armor of the Nameless King?

Maybe Gwynevere as her mother. She is a child of Gwyn, so it fits with the way of white and being ken to fire. Also, we're unsure of the fate of Gwynevere, right? Idk, probably already said by someone else but whatever. Just a thought I had. Im no pro so I probably got something wrong

More than scales, that looks like an old painting. Whose paint has already dried and started cracking

I think its priscilla. Due to how she talks. Her mother could also be yorshka. (Though yorshka might be her sister)

I believe the mother of the forlorn definitely is Priscilla. She simply wanted those of the painting to live in peace and if the theories that she is a child of one of the gods. Wouldn't that make her a goddess?

2:25 – That statue, or a younger version of it, lines the hallway leading to the Duke's Archives in the first game, and in the Lost Bastille in the second game. The younger version of the statue is of a maiden offering fire. The older version, which also appears in the third game Grand Archives, has her right arm crossed over her chest, indicating defensiveness. I've taken to thinking of her as the First Scholar, maybe from Izalith. I think it's safe to assume that Friede had the heads removed.

Seath's weird obsession in the first game might track with the statues being in perfect condition in the first game, the crumbling one we find in the second game is next to a statue of Aldia (it appears all over in his Keep) indicating that he was content to let the statue crumble of its own accord, and the Lothric scholars took a 'sweep it under the rug' approach. Or on top of a bookshelf in the attic, as it were.

I just played through the dlc again and in the boss room where you fight the sister you can see a dead body witch is half snake witch chould be connected to the painter because you know scaly skin like a snake and so on. Just an interesting detail

What if the goddess is frieda and gael is asking Frieda on behalf of the corvan villagers as she helps ariandel who made the painting so in a way he created the world of ariandel like it's said got created this world so ariandel is the god and sister friede is the godess

When you say the Japanese confirms that he isn't her literal uncle, how do you mean? In Japanese, the word 'oji-san' is used to refer both uncles and to adult men, so how do we know which she means?


I still believe that Aria painted Yarnham and the dark soul successfully created a world where the age of dark had begun. After all she did not name the painting after herself like other painters, she asks you and the only dialogue option you have is Your Name… YourName… Yarnham.
I do realize that things such as the existence of the great ones poses a conflict in this theory but, there is a multitude of possibilities to explain this.

Also venhiem wears a darkhand to tie in velka a bit more. If velka is a rogue goddess, and fear by the others maybe it's because she is the one sending her envoys "crows" even I'm dark souls 1 to help the chosen undead get from place to place. She serves a point of virtuous fate/hand of God to end this age of God's? Since Gwyn had created this unending age of fire that doesn't yield to the next age of man, that this isn't right, velka wants to set it right? Which is why yuria, and the like are part of her church of salvation.

In the future, people who will live happily inside the painting will never know that it was thanks to a slave who risked everything until the last moment, that they live in a gentle world.

And all thanks to Gael and an nameless hero

Gael seeks the pigment for Aria so she can paint a new world for darksouls hopefully one that is happily ever after while ending the cycle of darksouls


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