The Darkwraiths have not had it easy. After the unexpected destruction of New Londo, the knights still out pillaging the world of man suddenly found themselves without a home to bring their spoils back to. Worse yet, they were now being hunted by a certain wolf knight of Anor Londo. It is perhaps only by the luck of their humanity that said knight died centuries later. However, their position was no less dire. The world of man wasn’t happy with their invasion, in every sense, and Anor Londo was happy to capitalize on that with propaganda. The catastrophic failure caused by their rapaciousness also irked their Dark master, Kaathe, who had since wanted nothing to do with them. This left the surviving knights isolated as well as scattered. They would have to always be on the run from men fearing their legend or gods wanting to throw them in a painting prison. Even the Chosen Undead later breaking the seal on their home was a short-lived opportunity to recover at best. They would have to survive all on their own.

Bone mask of a Darkwraith, survivor of an old small country that was destroyed by the Dark. It looks as if it is about to perish.

They are the oldest red eye orb invaders, and it is said that they had also been servants of a World Serpent.

As we see in our journey, some are still hanging on, their long lives steeped in the Dark leading to severe dendrification — even their hoods have been replaced by matted roots growing out of their masked heads. The descriptions to their equipment highlights how the armor looks as if it will fall apart and completely degrade at any moment. This has not hindered their fighting ability in any way; they can still swing their broad blades with the exact same peculiar swordplay. But it is hardly a glamorous life for Undead who once saw themselves at the precipice of world domination. It is also no accident that we see no sign of Darkwraiths in large numbers. They are still stragglers, keeping to what small groups they were with when they first began wandering the earth. At least one, unsurprisingly ended up in Ariandel, defeated in the Undead Matches going by the mask of the Champion’s Gravetender. But others didn’t seek refuge in the world of the unwanted. Those knights sought to challenge their own.

We can find a Darkwraith imprisoned in the High Wall of Lothric. He has been there for some time, likely since the kingdom’s early days considering his cell is the deepest dungeon. The fact that this dungeon is part of the wall defenses further indicates the knight’s capture in the course of infiltrating the city. Leonhard highlights just how astonishing this act is in cut dialogue, but what is more astonishing is his good behavior. Despite Dark Souls III continuing the tradition of prisoners keeping all their weapons and equipment — including a pristine red eye orb allowing the owner to cross space and time without consequence — the knight has done nothing but let abyssal corruption spread throughout his cell. If he had ill intentions, one might think that he or Lothric would be doing more in this scenario. That isn’t to say that he has been entirely cooperative either, though.

Key to the lift room leading to underground. It leads to the deepest dungeon in Lothric.

It is said that a Darkwraith, survivor of an old small country that was destroyed by the Dark, has been imprisoned there for a long time.

If you desire a perfect red eye orb, one uncracked, then kill the Darkwraith, survivor of an old small country that was destroyed by the Dark. The guy has been imprisoned for a long time. In the deepest dungeon of Lothric…

… Still, that guy in a place like this… Just how did he play nice so well? Keh heh heh…

We find many dead Lothric Knights in the cell with the Darkwraith. The dendrification for, mostly, only those farthest from the exit lift suggests that bodies have been piling up over a long while. Whether to interrogate the Darkwraith or simply test their mettle against an infamous legend, various knights throughout the generations had deigned to approach the ancient prisoner; they evidently always received his blade as their answer. These bodies are also all missing their heads, but this is likely a byproduct of reusing assets — the same remains are seen in the conflict still ongoing up top. Regardless, the Darkwraith is clearly not their friend, and so presumably aimed to take on the kingdom dedicated to the gods and their Age of Fire. This makes it difficult to imagine Lothric simply capturing such an apparently dangerous enemy, especially when it has largely forgotten about him since.

This might simply be due to revisions to the narrative. In the Network Test version of the game, the cell was instead occupied by an Outrider Knight, an enemy who could feasibly overpower Lothric’s elite yet still be trapped in prison with a little leading. Leonhard’s cut dialogue likewise proves at least one iteration on this plotline with the Darkwraith. It is possible then that plans for the dungeon changed in order to streamline the process for obtaining a red eye orb, with not enough time or care to consider the full ramifications. Indeed, after obtaining the orb, slaying the Darkwraith provides the same items as his fellow fallen knights out in the world. This works fine for their weapon and armor, but it also includes the pale tongues first acquired by the Fingers of Rosaria, a covenant far more recent than this ancient prisoner is member of. It would also be odd for Leonhard, a devoted finger, to task us with killing another of his goddess’ faithful servants as part of our recruitment. But since the narrative never brings us back to this out-of-the-way part of the area, the tongue would be an easy oversight by FromSoftware.

Proof that red eye invaders defeated a host of fire.

It is said that the practice of stealing tongues and making them proof was originally the way of a certain invader group. They apparently offer them up to a voiceless goddess.

Naturally, all this implies that the other Darkwraiths we encounter have sworn allegiance to the Mother of Rebirth. Besides the High Wall, we only cross paths with them in Farron Keep located below the Cathedral of the Deep. This leaves plenty of opportunity to have met Rosaria beforehand. One of her maggot-man sorcerers even carries the Red Sign Soapstone, originally used by Darkwraiths who wished to maintain their honor as knights — fittingly, the owner is completely passive. Kirk also invades us at the Cathedral as the “Longfinger”, a humorous title for his potentially frustrating fighting style and confirmation of the former Darkwraith’s affiliation with Rosaria; defeating his spirit also causes a corpse with his equipment to spawn near her. Considering that red eye invasions are so conducive to the covenant’s mission, the Darkwraiths are likely the ones who introduced the orbs to the covenant. As for their motives, they would certainly find common cause with the spiteful, corrupted goddess. For some, however, it probably went deeper.

Item for playing online. Invades other worlds any number of times.

If you defeat the host of fire in the invaded world, you can acquire the power of fire.

It is the work of an old small country that was destroyed by the Dark, and there are those who use it for other purposes. Serve Rosaria at the Church of the Deep.

When the Knight of Thorns was last seen in the original Dark Souls, he was a zealous member of the Chaos Servants, the corpse with his armor previously spawning near the ailing Daughter of Chaos. We can assume then that he joined his loving Fair Lady at Smouldering Lake like Eingyi and the rest in the covenant. But then the chaos demons were annihilated. Like Dunnel, Kirk probably saw no point in remaining there without the witch he loved and left, eventually finding his way to the Cathedral and Rosaria. In other words, Kirk has replaced the old goddess of Izalith with the new goddess of the Deep, her similar maternal aura filling the hole in his heart. The same might be said for the aforementioned honorable Darkwraith, choosing to become a grub out of personal devotion rather than ignorance. The Mother of Rebirth had something to provide these itinerant knights, whether they be with or without principles. Perhaps that is the best they can hope for, if they want to continue tormenting this horribly wretched world.