Profaned Flame

The Profaned Flame is a work of the Dark sparked by the royal court sorcerers of the Profaned Capital. As their tall black headwear and formal gold-embroidered robes indicate, they doubled as oracles, or “priests”, (神官) who acted as servants of the gods like other clergy. Some have taken the localization’s use of “oracle” as a sign that they somehow derive from Alsanna — the so-called Silent Oracle — but she was actually a miko (巫女) the same as the other “priestesses” of Eleum Loyce, so there is no substance to the inference. The court sorcerers’ headwear may have been influenced by the similar hoods worn by priests in Drangleic, but this would be purely due to the country’s proximity to the region. Although sorcerers also serving a religious role isn’t unprecedented, it is mostly seen in the New World, making it far more likely for the Profaned Capital’s religion to have developed similar isolation from the Way of White and related Old World faiths.

Profaned Capital oracle (left) compared to Drangleic priest (right)

As we explore the metropolis, we can come across a church. The building’s religious purpose is evident by the court sorcerer encountered on the roof of the building — identified as Eamon (エーモン) in Japanese guidebooks — as well as the corpse of another within the actual building. This is further supported by another corpse carrying the Wrath of the Gods miracle, affirming their dedication to the Anor Londo pantheon despite their unorthodox practice of sorcery. These clergy were a priest caste that also played the role of court magician, hence their close association with the royalty. Thanks to their knowledge on matters of faith and magic, they likely advised the king in virtually all things and thus had a considerable influence on the nation’s politics — maybe even playing a key role in the actual crowning of a new monarch.

Regardless, the source of the court sorcerers’ expertise are the original scrolls of Logan. These scrolls cover the sage’s research at the Vinheim Dragon School before the famed Big Hat turned Undead and was banished to Lordran. The sorcerer left these scrolls behind to make one final attempt at reaching Anor Londo’s library and study Seath’s research in the original Dark Souls. (DS1) Dark Souls II further suggests that all of his sorceries were promulgated across Drangleic, albeit from obscure and often forgotten sources during the game’s main events. This fragmented knowledge of them is likely why many sorcerers claim to have inherited Big Hat’s sorceries. All that said, the description for Logan’s Scroll notes that the Profaned Capital is one of the two great sects. And despite the localization’s insinuation that the sorcerers’ claims were somehow fallacious, the Japanese text merely confirms that they had a legitimate basis to call themselves Logan’s successors given that the scroll indisputably details the sage’s arts.

Logan’s scrolls. Secret treasure texts of the Capital of Sin’s royal court sorcerers.

Can learn Logan’s sorceries by giving it to a sorcerer.

Those are certainly the sorceries of the “Big Hat”. It would seem that the royal court sorcerers who called themselves Logan’s successors also have their reasons.

Whenever and however they discovered Logan’s age-old research, these priests were proud to have preserved it. Besides hoarding the scrolls as a secret treasure, the court sorcerers also replicated Logan’s magic staff to be their standard sorcery catalyst as Eamon demonstrates. Another of these replicas can be acquired from a mimic within the church, so the priests were extremely concerned about securing them from outside hands. In all likelihood, the court sorcerers’ reverence for the gods went hand in hand with their reverence for Logan, which was where their problems began. The description for one of the scrolls’ sorceries, Homing Soulmass, notes that the spell’s nature to be attracted to life was later deemed to be closer to the Dark. Indeed, both Homing Soulmass and Affinity function identically the same. Even from a conceptual standpoint, their only difference is that one uses living dark souls for autonomous projectiles rather than standard souls acting on the principle of self-attraction. This makes the sorcery’s practitioners dangerously close to reaching the Dark arts.

One of the characteristic sorceries of “Big Hat” Logan, the great sorcerer who parted with the Dragon Academy long ago.

Floats soulmasses with high pursuing nature and fires them.

A sorcery which shows a fragment of Logan, who was a researcher, but regarding its nature which is attracted to life, later studies deem it to actually be close to the Dark.

The Way of White has warred with sorcerers over such risks, so it is no surprise that a nation outside of its influence fell prey to this temptation. The Profaned Coal is what remains of the fire that burned the populace of the Profaned Capital, a source flame flaring from within a cracked open cold skull. Yhorm became a Lord of Cinder in order to suppress this Profaned Flame. Why did Yhorm believe that revitalizing the First Flame would temper the Profaned Flame? Because the light of the original fire in part suppressed the Dark. This fire in a skull is compatible with dark, hollow, and blood gems, all of which bear some relation to the Dark. And after first receiving the fire, Andre notes it to be rather close to the Abyss, appropriate for a flame dubbed the “Fire of Sin” (罪の火) from a city called the “Capital of Sin”. (罪の都)

These is no doubt that the Profamed Flame derives from the Dark, but how? The power of the Dark has sparked flames before, but these are typically black flames bearing similar properties to their source. The Profaned Flame appears no different from your standard fire, and all weapons and spells relying on its power deal solely fire damage. If not for the Profaned Coal, one would be forgiven for thinking that the two had no relation. The only other quality associating this fire with the Dark is its apparent inability to be extinguished. No matter its kindling, the flames are as eternal as the Dark that they derive from, an inherently perverse concept. Just how did these sorcerers create such a peculiar flame?

According to the description for Eleonora, a curse afflicting women of one priest’s family was the trigger. A court sorcerer had apparently cursed the women of his own family — transforming them into grotesque monsters with charcoal skin, overweight frames, unkempt body hair, small tails, three-toed feet, more than two dozen eyes collected at the belly, and heads becoming a third hand. These three hands are gaping maws with teeth sloppily growing out across the palms and fingers, making them extremely reminiscent of the left hand of Manus. But unlike the dark sorcerer from DS1, these women don’t seem to be your typical product of the Abyss’ corruption, as the Wolf Knight’s Greatsword doesn’t affect them. Therefore, their transformation is the result of something slightly different from your standard Dark curse. The most likely cause then is Eleonora itself.

This “bizarre” weapon is apparently inside each of these women. Why would an elaborately crafted battle axe be inside the bodies of monstrosities? Given their ravenous appetite, maybe the women swallowed them along with their wielders, or maybe their transformation grew around the weapon? Aside from its intricate design, Eleonora is a unremarkable battle axe until the wielder uses its Skill to raise it up and wave it around as if ringing a bell. Amazingly, the sound of a solemn bell actually chimes as the axe head emits a yellow aura similar to that of advanced holy magic. This would normally implicate a weapon blessed by the power of the gods befitting priests, but the actual effect of Feasting Bell is to grant the weapon the ability to bleed enemies while recovering HP. This theme of life-eating associated with these women is a trait of the Dark. Perhaps Eleonora was a holy weapon created by the court sorcerers but later corrupted by the Dark soul within these women?

Bizarre weapon which was inside the residents of the Capital of Sin who were grotesquely transformed.

It is said that the women are family of a certain priest and that their curse became the start of the Fire of Sin. But said persons went on living, carefree.

A corrupted blessing would explain why Eleonora deals purely physical damage while bearing traits of both light and Dark power. A humanity connection is reinforced by the crow of Firelink Shrine providing a hollow gem in exchange for the weapon, implying some relation to the Undead curse. Were the priests experimenting with the Dark Soul within man in an attempt to understand undeath and perhaps even cure the curse? If so, then Elenora was probably the proverbial flint stone in this endeavor. Its name means “light” in Italian and Greek, appropriate for a weapon whose strike may well have sparked the Profaned Flame. In an attempt to cleanse or at least fiddle with humanity, they instead triggered a curse which consumed the women and the weapons with it. And at least one of these curses produced the Profaned Flame, fire born from an interaction and perhaps combination of light and Dark. This mixing of powers warped the axe, the women, and the resulting fire in a manner previously unseen with more conventional forms of the Abyss like the Dark or the Deep.

None of this seems to have been intentional. The women went on living “carefree” while being mostly sealed within the bottom floor of the church. We also find purging stones and a Cursebite Ring within this floor chamber or in the swamp surrounding it — they had tried to undo their mistake. However, this didn’t stop the court sorcerers from taking advantage of their discovery. The weapons of the city’s gargoyle double as torches for the Profaned Flame and can even produce lava like chaos fire. Besides being a testament to its heat, this effect suggests that the flame is melting minerals either from the weapon itself or fuel in the torch. Whichever it is, Eamon’s use of the weapon reaffirms its origin. We also see several residents conducting a ritual around a bowl of fire that shoots explosive fireballs at us, following the same principle as the Profaned Flame pyromancy that gathers fire at a distance location before exploding. And since this pyromancy requires no faith to cast, it was more than likely developed by the city’s sorcerers as they continued to experiment with their fire of sin.