Navlaan

Based on how he is named in-game, Royal Sorcerer Navlaan, originally Navarran, (ナヴァーラン) is a court sorcerer for Drangleic. “Royal” refers specifically to a royal court, (宮廷) and his presence in Aldia’s manor suggests that court to be at Drangleic Castle. The man sells various items related to sorcery and dragons at the mansion and had tried creating new sorceries there, striving to create spells that none had seen before. He is also in possession of Forbidden Sun and Unleash Magic, spells created in the manor’s secret ceremonies. All of this implies him to be a court magician of Drangleic who took part in Aldia’s magical experiments. But as we are told in the description for that pyromancy, these sorcerer “madmen” likely didn’t consider the unnecessity of the excessive power they were creating. The description for the sorcery further notes that these horrific tests gave birth to some warped byproducts. This court sorcerer is no exception, for the magic he unleashed accidentally created an amoral second personality within him.

This supposed magic with a personality is likely the reason that his equipment is dubbed the “chaos” set and references him as a “chaos” sorcerer. The fact that the man possesses the text for Forbidden Sun suggests that is at least familiar with pyromancy, and his attire does bear incredibly resistance to both the Dark and fire — the latter slightly more than the former. At the same time, he only uses hexes in battle and bears no obvious signs of ever using chaos pyromancies. But, konton (混沌) refers to chaos as well as confusion, disorder, or disarray, making it an appropriate descriptor for a court sorcerer suffering from a split personality. Dark Souls also portrays Chaos as parasitic, one soul coexisting with another in a single body, which is especially meaningful in this case. The set’s description acknowledges the fact that magic with a will of its own is unheard of since a will undergirds life, and life comes from a soul. Thus, the “special” power imbuing Navlaan’s equipment with Dark and fire resistance is probably the result of the soul possessing him. That is, assuming that equipment belongs to Navlaan.

Hood of a sorcerer in chaos.

The man says that he confined himself, but magic possessing a personality and the like is unheard of. How much is there to his words, really? Difficult to say. But this hood is tinged with some special power.

The Japanese description for the Chaos Robe clarifies that the man is said to be Navlaan but questions whose name it truly belongs to. This casts doubt on the body of the court sorcerer before us originally being named Navlaan. Rather, it Is the name of the personality currently possessing him. And several hex descriptions do speak of a Navlaan, a heretical sorcerer still remembered in legend. This Navlaan had apparently dabbled in the Dark arts to create both the Dark Storm and Scraps of Life spells. These were the sorcerer’s “secret arts” for good reason. Mankind generally carries on the teachings of the Anor Londo pantheon, which include rejecting the practice of Dark magic. It should come as no surprise then that his heresy was discovered, leading to him being executed. And not just him, but also his entire clan, not necessarily his “village” as the localization claims. This can refer to anything from his immediate family to his broader tribe, but the underlying meaning is clear.

Religious parties wanted to completely stamp out Navlaan’s heresy and took no chances with any of his associates who might have known or witnessed his Dark arts, killing all of them and even forbidding the sorcerer’s name. Navlaan and his works were to be forgotten, but the fact that legends of him remain prove that these efforts failed. Before his death, he managed to preserve his secret arts for later Dark arts users’ discovery. And rumor has it that Navlaan had been pursuing the taboo secret art of reincarnation, not “resurrection” as stated in the localization. This more than explains his dabbling in Dark magic. Tensei (転生) refers to the transmigration of a soul into another body, and one of the taboos of the Dark is its ability to spontaneously generate life and defy the end of such life. Moreover, Scraps of Life proves that the heretic was studying ways to awaken and manipulate dark souls of the dead slumbering beneath the earth, so trying to move such souls into a new vessel isn’t unimaginable. In other words, Navlaan was seeking a means to achieve immortality by extending his life across multiple bodies, which explains the curious case of a royal court sorcerer’s split personality.

Secret art of Navarran, who remains in legend as sorcerer heresy. Call and awaken souls of old dead which sleep in the ground.

Heretic Navarran was executed along with his entire clan, and his name became something forbidden. One rumor says that he pursued the secret art of reincarnation, which is taboo.

Navlaan succeeded in formulating a reincarnation art and used it during his execution. The Dark does have dominion over space, so warping it to a body in another location is feasible. However, he is unlikely to have tested it beforehand, so complications are to be expected. At the same time, one of Drangleic’s court sorcerers was experimenting with magic, likely Dark magic if Aldia’s wandering arts-users are any indication. This Dark drew Navlaan’s soul to that place specifically, perhaps by necessity. The result was Navlaan’s soul sharing a body with the court sorcerer rather than simply taking it over entirely. Furthermore, the magic power of the heretic’s soul imbued the body’s attire with the power of Dark and fire, both of which he employed in Dark Storm. This leaves no doubt that the split personality is the same Navlaan who was executed for heresy. He doesn’t seem to know it, though.

Navlaan actually believes that he is some magical creation of the court sorcerer and not the soul of a human who has apparently lost his memory. This is probably a side effect of the reincarnation. As the Undead curse demonstrates, shackled dark souls end up devouring the regular souls that form the basis of human consciousness, resulting in memory loss and eventually total madness. And since Navlaan employed Dark arts to transfer his being, his dark soul had more than likely absorbed his standard soul before the transfer. The result is a dark soul with a consciousness retaining only fragments of the standard soul’s memories. He may not even remember his name, as neither personality ever introduce himself as “Navlaan” — the game merely dubs their invading phantom as such along with the court sorcerer’s title. This also means that the personality of the current Navlaan may differ wildly from his original incarnation, though Dark art users do tend to exhibit malicious tendencies indifferent to life. And such traits certainly came out in full force in Navlaan’s amnesic state.

Maybe it’s because I’m not human, but good, bad, I don’t understand that stuff all too well. I just make use of my power. And is there something wrong with that?

Because his host sought strong power, Navlaan decided to demonstrate his by murdering people while the court sorcerer slept. Whether it be fellow sorcerers at Aldia’s manor, their test subjects, or innocent civilians outside the mansion, these killings horrified the body’s original owner in spite of the similar horrors that the sorcerers committed there. He had either never participated in the Aldia acolytes’ sacrificial rituals or was just scared of losing control over his own body to a consciousness that killed for sport. Navlaan makes it clear that he would continue to target people without anything physically stopping him, so his misdeeds go beyond trying to prove a point to his host without comprehending the immorality of it. And so in typical Jekyll and Hyde fashion, the court sorcerer set up a magic barrier controlled by a nearby lever to seal himself inside the mansion while the other personality was still dormant.

The fact that the two have survived their confinement to the present day can also be credited to the reincarnation. Their face has a blue complexion, which might be a sign of no blood flow similar to livor mortis. If so, then the fact that their body hasn’t decayed while their heart has stopped beating is a sign of some kind of immortality, similar to the Fenito. In that case, it may very well be a curse caused by Navlaan’s dark soul possessing the body, keeping the flesh “alive” even as it stops obtaining new nutrition and blood. But this does nothing to cure Navlaan’s boredom before our arrival. Therefore, he is glad to take over their body once he sees a Hollow who has maintained his sanity prowling about. From there, he requests we perform killings on his behalf to satiate him for the likely eternity in confinement, though this won’t stop him from targeting us if we only then decide to deactivate the barrier.

He is familiar with a number of targets we don’t encounter at the manor, implying that these individuals did encounter the trapped sorcerer at some point. Gilligan presumably visited the manor looking for a tidy profit, making his greed apparent to Navlaan. Cale was presumably there for his cartography and was curious enough about the sorcerer to not just share his craft with him but supposedly touched him without reservation — how Navlaan can claim this in the same breath as saying he was behind the magic barrier, who knows. As for the Emerald Herald, Navlaan may have known her origins with Aldia, but he seems to have only heard about her role as a “guide” for Undead and possession of a strange feather, probably from the other visitors. Otherwise, he seems to have only directly seen Felkin, a relationship which has debatable signs of going much deeper than just a passing acquaintance.

Felkin sells the Chaos Rapier and Shield, which not only share the name of Navlaan’s equipment but also originally shared a description. These descriptions were changed in the February 5, 2015 update to instead reference Felkin in preparation for him selling them in Scholar of the First Sin, but their connections to at least Aldia’s estate remains. The sword and shield can be dropped by some of the Undead experiments at the manor, so they are at least products of the sorcerers there if not specific to Navlaan himself. Furthermore, the shield’s crest depicts the same “strange” staff Navlaan requires we show as proof of his death. This Sunset Staff speaks of Aldia’s experiments in its description, implying that Felkin acquired this Dark-tinged sorcery staff from the mansion. The fire damage relating the sword and shield to “chaos” then might just be due to these tests, with Felkin taking them because he himself knows pyromancy. Navlaan is aware that Felkin took the staff and knows Dark arts, so they have made contact, but that seems to be the extent of their relationship, muddled by the game’s turbulent development.