This post covers everything relevant to Artorias as far as the localization is concerned. It is based on a series of reddit posts from February 2018. Quotes include the official English script, my translation, and the official Japanese script in that order.
Off to See the Knight
… Oh, and do not forget… The Darkwraiths reside in a dark void called the Abyss. But the Abyss is no place for ordinary mortals. Although long ago, the knight Artorias traversed the Abyss. If you can find him, and learn from him, the Abyss may prove surmountable.
… Ah, and one piece of advice. They reside in Dark called an Abyss. That place is not somewhere ordinary people can go, but… it is said that the knight Artorias alone walked an Abyss long ago. If you search him out and borrow his power, you just might be able to enter the Abyss…
The Four Kings, not Darkwraiths, are in the Abyss and the only person of note to have traversed one is this knight. Ingward is under the impression that he is alive and can teach us how he managed to traverse it safely. So, what is the scoop with this knight?
According to legend, the knight Artorias crossed the Abyss, and annihilated the atrocious Darkwraiths. If you can find him, and learn from him, the Abyss may prove surmountable.
Now I don’t know much about it… but it is said that the knight Artorias once walked an Abyss and hunted Darkwraiths. If you search him out and borrow his power, you just might be able to enter the Abyss…
Okay, so the knight’s abysswalking is connected to him hunting Darkwraiths. He didn’t annihilate them, or else Ingward wouldn’t be guarding the seal right now. But he hunted some that weren’t sealed. Kirk is around, so that is believable enough. But the old man sitting around a city ruin for centuries admits that he hasn’t heard all the details. What about someone more in touch with people and events in the outside world?
Oh, yes, and one other thing about the Darkroot Garden. It is said to house the grave of Sir Artorias the Abysswalker. Only, of those who ventured into the forest, none has returned.
Ah, that reminds me, there’s another story about the Garden of the Black Forest. I hear there’s the grave of “Abysswalker” Knight Artorias. Although, none of those guys who said that and headed into the forest ever came back…
Ah, reliable Andre. Just casually acknowledge Artorias is dead! And what’s more, there have apparently been tons of people also aware and planning to visit the grave! Sorry, Ingward. Guess we are just going to have to let the Darkwraiths reign free again! Unless there is a good reason nobody is coming back… Hey, Andre? What is that you got there?
This crest opens a door in the Darkroot Garden sealed by ancient magic.
This door leads to the grave of Sir Artorias the Abysswalker. Many adventurers have left for the grave, but none have returned for they make easy prey for local bandits.
With such dangers, the crest can do more harm than good in the hands of the uninitiated.
Crest that opens a door that was closed via old magic which is in the middle of the Garden of the Black Forest.
Beyond it is said to be the grave of “Abysswalker” Artorias, but there is a band of thieves who aim for warriors who aim for the grave in the forest, and no one has returned safely.
That is why it shouldn’t be handed over to the inexperienced who haven’t gathered the souls.
Looks like some sort of key. Did you just find this lying around in this old church, friend? This church and its related ruins, the stone knights, and various other items all point to being what is left of Oolacile. And it is also where Artorias was buried! Huh, odd…
But a Fairy Tale
One of the special rings granted to the four knights of Gwyn. The wolf ring belongs to Artorias the Abysswalker.
Artorias had an unbendable will of steel, and was unmatched with a greatsword.
Special ring that was given to the Four Knights of King Gwyn. The Wolf Ring is a thing of “Abysswalker” Artorias.
It is said that Artorias never faltered due to his strong will and was surely peerless if swinging a greatsword.
Oolacile is a human civilization since Dusk is from there, but Artorias was a knight in service to the gods, and a pretty amazing one according to the stories! Though stories may exaggerate…
Well, we patter along past some pesky bandits and come upon a talking cat:
Is it not so that thou art new. Thou fared well to find me. But cometh thee not for the grave of Sir Artorias? My advice true, forget this! The legend of Artorias art none but a fabrication… Traversing the dark? ‘Tis but a fairy tale. Have thine own respect, go not yonder knocking for nothing, I say!
Oh, you’re a new face, no? You managed to find me, did you? Well, perhaps you too heard about the grave of the knight Artorias? But, give up on it completely. The legend of Artorias is nothing like the reality… It’s just a fairy tale… If I say there’s a reward, you won’t defile the grave of a hero for such a thing. Am I right?
Well Alvina claims that the legend is a fairy tale, but not necessarily the traversing the dark part. Indeed, we face the knight’s best friend and confirm it ourselves.
This ring symbolizes Knight Artorias’s covenant with the beasts of the Abyss.
It’s wearer, like Artorias himself, can traverse the Abyss.
Ring of proof the knight Artorias once contracted with a fiend of the Abyss.
The equipper will be able to walk an Abyss just like Artorias.
Artorias met a mamono, literally a “bad” or “evil thing” used for anything you’d label a generic monster. Were there more beasts? Maybe, but pluralization is vague without context in Japanese. We can confirm that there was at least one, but I digress.
Artorias did have the ability to traverse the Abyss, though that doesn’t necessarily mean he actually did it. But, it at least proves that he was prepared for such a scenario. Like while hunting Darkwraiths?
Sword born from the soul of the grey great wolf Sif, guardian of the grave of the Abysswalker Knight Artorias.
Sir Artorias hunted the Darkwraiths, and his sword strikes harder against dark servants.
Greatsword born from the soul of Ash-colored Great Wolf Sif, “Abysswalker” Knight Artorias’ gravekeeper.
Artorias was a Darkwraith hunter, and his sword also demonstrates great might against servants of the Dark.
Pretty straightforward. So what is Alvina on about? Well, Ingward implies that the legend involves him traversing an Abyss and hunting Darkwraiths. He was prepared to do the former and had been doing the latter. But Ingward also believes that he survived the event while the cat thinks we will be shooed away if told the story is a lie. And he is definitely buried at what remains of Oolacile:
Soul of Sif the Great Grey Wolf, who guards the grave of Artorias the Abysswalker.
Special beings have special souls. Use the soul of Sif, who inherited the divine knightsword, to acquire a huge amount of souls, or to create a unique weapon.
Soul of Ash-colored Great Wolf Sif who served “Abysswalker” Knight Artorias and protected his grave.
Special beings possess special souls. Use the soul of Sif who inherited the knight’s holy sword to acquire a vast amount of souls or create a unique weapon.
Wolfy’s his servant and now successor. The grave’s not for show.
Putting it all together, it seems like Artorias didn’t actually succeed, but died at Oolacile. Some Darkwraiths created an Abyss at Oolacile, he traversed it, but he failed to stop them. Explains the country’s destruction and why he is buried there so far from Anor Londo.
Still, for your Abysswalking legend to just claim you succeeded despite Oolacile’s destruction… Why? Seems a bit much when Darkwraiths were a known menace. Oh well, probably not significant. Unless… the two events weren’t really connected at all…
A Dark Turn
Thou shalt see further on. An abyss was begat of the ancient beast, and threatens to swallow the whole of Oolacile. Knight Artorias came to stop this, but such a hero has nary a murmur of Dark. Without doubt, he will be swallowed by the Abyss, overcome by its utter blackness.
If you too go beyond here, you will understand. Oolacile is right now about to be consumed by an Abyss born of a monster of ancient man. The knight Artorias went to stop it, but even if he is a hero, his body ultimately has no Dark. Sooner or later, he will be consumed by the Abyss and devoured by the Dark.
Elizabeth affirms that he attempted to hunt the Abyss created in Oolacile. He is not known for this though, which fits with how we are only told about him hunting Darkwraiths. Regardless, he was prepared.
Despite what the English may lead you to believe, Manus is not the same “beast” mentioned in Covenant of Artorias. He’s a bakemono, a different but equally generic term for a monster. Manus was driven mad and there is no actual covenant like the ones we join, just a contract.
Sword born from the soul of the great grey wolf Sif, guardian of the grave of the Abysswalker Knight Artorias.
The sword can damage ghosts, as it was cursed when Artorias joined a covenant with the creatures of the Abyss.
Greatsword born from the soul of the Ash-colored Great Wolf Sif, “Abysswalker” Knight Artorias’ gravekeeper.
It was cursed due to a contract Artorias once exchanged with a fiend of the Abyss and can deal damage to ghosts.
This was a formal agreement so he could have the power to walk Abysses safely. Artorias was well prepared in advance in case an abyss ever cropped up. It did in New Londo so who’s to say the Darkwraiths wouldn’t create another? This wasn’t his only tool either…
One of the ancient treasures of Anor Londo. Presented to Artorias for facing the Abyss.
Effectively deflects the Dark of the Abyss, especially in its magic forms.
Silver pendant engraved with the crest of Artorias.
It is one of the old treasures of Anor Londo and was specifically given to him to challenge an Abyss.
Has effect that wards off the Dark of the Abyss, particularly the magic kind, by using it.
He was ready to deal with whatever magic the Dark threw at him in particular. He has had it for a while too since he took the time to engrave his crest into it.
But Artorias should check his pockets more! We find it in a chest behind a uniquely light-based illusory wall. Looks like some upstanding citizen swiped it and took extra care to hide it. And right around where we find all those sorcerers too…
The end result of this treachery is obvious:
The steel greatshield used by the Knight who succumbed to the Abyss.
Artorias, deeply scarred by the abyss, used this to form a barrier to protect his compatriot Sif. Although this drained the shield, its magic defense remains high.
Greatshield of steel that was used by Artorias, knight of King Gwyn who was consumed by an Abyss.
He who was gravely injured and afflicted by the Abyss used this shield as provisions for a barrier to protect Sif, who was his friend. Because of this, the shield was damaged and became physically brittle but on the other hand possessed high defense efficacy to magic and the like.
He lost use of his left arm, his sword arm according to Sif’s left-to-right swings and existence of this shield. Whether Sif was injured or incapacitated, Artorias recognized he wasn’t physically fit to protect them indefinitely or mentally fit to remain an ally. So, he cast off his shield, took up his sword, hid him behind a barrier and illusory wall, and got as far away as possible before he completely lost it…
Helm of Artorias the Abysswalker, one of Gwyn’s four knights.
The death of the helm’s owner can be surmised from the corrosive Dark of the Abyss, and the musty azure-blue tassel, once a symbol of pride and glory.
Helmet of “Abysswalker” Artorias, one of the Four Knights of King Gwyn.
As if showing its owner’s final moments, it is corrupted by the Dark of the Abyss, and the proud, eminent ultramarine tassel is soaking wet without drying.
The Abyss often has this strangely watery connotation to it. We see an abyssal swamp in Oolacile and Artorias is soaked in Dark. Whether intended to emphasize fire and Dark’s polarized affinities or not, it is obvious that Artorias had no chance once afflicted.
And yet, he held out. Right up until we finally meet him, he’s still trying to take down as many of Oolacile’s corrupted citizens down with him. And would’ve even addressed us!
…Whatever thou art, stay away……Soon, I will be consumed……By them, by the Dark…
… I don’t know who, but do not approach…… I shall very soon be consumed… by Dark…… by man…
Humans are creatures of Dark at their very essence and so naturally are the underlying cause for his descent into madness. But this knight’s compassion extends to even the humans the gods despise. Artorias truly embodied the chivalric spirit.
… Thou art strong, human…… Surely thine kind are more than pure Dark…… I beg of thee… the spread of the Abyss…… it must be stopped… Cough!… Ah, Sif, there you are, all of you… Forgive me…… For I have availed you nothing…
… Commendable, strong human…… If the essence of you all isn’t just Dark…… please… do hold back, the Abyss… [cough]… Ah, sorry, you guys… Sif…… In the end, I couldn’t do anything…
He isn’t hallucinating, he is having his generic anime hero death and recall everyone he cares for in his final moments. A tragic end for a proud knight.
Personally, I’m glad this dialogue was cut. It is a bit too cliché for my taste, and undercuts the idea of him being wholly lost to the Dark. There is a lot more to be said about Artorias from his body language in what we ultimately get.
Ring granted to those bound by the Forest Hunter covenant. Answer Alvina’s summoning.
The white cat Alvina speaks a human tongue and has lived since the early Age of Fire. Alvina was a trusted friend of Knight Artorias and the Great Wolf Sif.
Ring given to those who have entered into the covenant “Forest Hunters”. Responds to the summons of White Cat Alvina.
It is said that the round white cat who speaks human speech Alvina has been in this land since the beginning of the Age of Fire and, after meeting the knight Artorias and the great wolf Sif, became one of their few friends.
Artorias was, befitting his symbol, the lone wolf type. He shouldered all the burdens himself and let few get close, a tragedy for Ciaran who clearly wished to bridge that gap. It wasn’t that he didn’t care for others, but rather that he cared too much. He took on too much for himself and yet was too trusting. And, fittingly, it is the one time he reaches out to us, to connect with someone else, that the Dark sweeps in to take hold. A moment of weakness that broke the unbendable.
Soul of Lord Gwyn’s Knight Artorias, who was consumed by the Abyss.
The legend that Artorias repelled the Abyss only told half the story.
It seems that he was defeated, and his honor preserved, by some unsung hero, who is the true victor of the Abyss.
Soul of Artorias, knight of King Gwyn who was consumed by the Abyss.
The legend of Artorias which says that he hunted the Abyss nonetheless finished half-way through.
Or perhaps, the one who defeated he who fell and preserved his honor will become the true owner of the legend and one to hunt the Abyss?
You may have noticed that the language has also shifted in the DLC. References to Abyss-hunting galore, but nothing about Darkwraith-hunting. He hunted them, and has failed to beat an Abyss, but there is no connection between the two events. However, now we know why the legend does link the two.
The Darkwraiths were scapegoats. No one would question Artorias getting involved in Oolacile’s Abyss. It was just another part of him hunting them. But the reality would be admitting that Oolacile, at its very foundation, was a country of dark sorcery. And humans must never know that. The truth would be buried with Artorias and Manus, neither body ever to be seen again. As far as the world of man needs to know, Artorias died quietly as an Abyss-hunting hero, not a miserable wreck and utter failure.