Despite how closely Velstadt shadowed King Vendrick, he wasn’t the only knight to stand so near. That honor was shared with Raime, the other of the king’s “Twin Arms” (双腕) as his greatshield calls them both in its description. Aside from the obvious reference to King Allant’s Twin Fangs in Demon’s Souls, this title reveals much about Raime’s role when compared to Velstadt. If the knight in gold armor was the king’s shield, then the knight in black armor was most likely the king’s sword, both titles also used in association with knights of King Allant. Simply put, Raime was probably called upon to be an assassin, striking down select targets per royal edict; while Velstadt would stand back to protect the king, Raime would charge forward to dispatch those threatening him. This would certainly explain why he made his symbol the crow.

Raime’s shield and ring both feature the “bird of ill omen”, (凶鳥) augurs of death as the former’s description highlights. Typically, this refers to crows, carrion birds so often seen at sites of much death. Indeed, the official contest entry from which the shield design originates explicitly ties the image to crows, the shield’s name additionally relating them to a “raven goddess”. The Goddess of Sin Velka was closely associated with crows in the original Dark Souls, not to mention the color black. Whether or not Raime was one of her adherents, he clearly felt similar affinity with that black-feathered bird. Besides deciding the hue to his equipment, its image decorated his shield defending him as well as the ring which allowed that defense to endure for even longer, as if the ominous bird was providing him divine protection. With the embodiment of misfortune “driving” his fate, Raime truly immersed himself in the persona of Death’s agent, bringing the demise of who knows how many on his king’s behalf.

Shield of the traitor Raime.

Raime and Vestaldt, who were known as the king’s Twin Arms, nevertheless eventually confronted one another, and Raime was called a traitor.

The black bird is loathed as a thing that signals death, but it is said that Raime dared to like it.

The true driver, of course, was his skill. Raime preferred the deft of hand over strength of muscle. This is reflected in the emphasis on dexterity for his Fume Sword. The blade looks like your typical knight’s sword as acknowledged by the boss’ combat designer Shin Ou in the Dark Souls II Design Works interview. Some of the weapon’s attacks also involve thrusting like a rapier, a sword which similarly revolves around dexterity. This is undoubtedly the sword Raime originally paired with his greatshield, which does require solely impressive strength to wield. In other words, the black knight wasn’t necessarily physically weak, he simply fought in a manner more conducive to an agile assailant. He focused on where and how to strike the opponent most effectively, his existing strength more than sufficient for those foes he faced.

If nothing else, Raime did make a name for himself as one of the Twin Arms. But in the end, the Royal Saber couldn’t pierce the Royal Aegis. The black knight lost a duel with Velstadt and was labeled a traitor, thereupon banished from the kingdom. This begs the question as to why Raime found himself at odds with his counterpart. In fairness, it was more likely his quarrel was with the king whom the gold knight protected. Raime’s shield can be acquired from a corpse in the Forest of Fallen Giants, implying his presence there at one point. To be specific, the corpse is near the king’s residence at the seaside fortress. If the king’s Arms were present, then the king himself must have been too, naturally. And the only time the black knight would leave behind his shield is in the course of his exile. In short, this was Raime’s last location as a faithful knight of Drangleic. Something there involving his king led the man to treason.

In all likelihood, King Vendrick shared his plans to counter his Queen. Although a warrior’s man like the monarch might simply visit the troops, the only events of note at the fort is related to the war with the giants. Moreover, Vendrick would certainly be present at the kingdom’s last stand against their foe under normal circumstances. Yet instead, the king was suddenly absent for the final battle, and he would have needed to tell at least the knights around him beforehand — they would be the ones asked to follow their lord up to the Undead Crypt. Both the Twin Arms thus heard Vendrick’s intentions to prevent Nashandra from obtaining ultimate power. But this would mean abandoning his kingdom to its destruction. Raime looked up to Vendrick as a father according to the description to his armor set. It was his paternity which inspired his loyalty to be a killer. How could a king be so irresponsible? How could his father figure be so callous? Was the solution not to slay Nashandra? Was it not the black knight’s role to eliminate all threats to his Majesty? But Vendrick refused to call upon his Royal Saber.

This mix of sentiments, both personal and professional, is what probably outraged the knight, enough to openly push back against this plan. It is doubtful that Raime intended to harm his father figure, but if the king’s sword was that riled up in their disagreement, it is natural for the king’s shield to step in between them; it was his duty to ensure nothing got out of hand. Raime likely took great insult to Velstadt’s interference, however, which escalated into the two coming to blows. In the end, Velstadt walked away the victor, while Raime’s temper proved that he couldn’t be trusted going forward. As a small mercy, the erstwhile loyal knight was allowed to leave with his life, but Raime nonetheless took the dishonor poorly. He failed to make his point and, worse, prove his ability. The king found his sword unnecessary. And for that, the knight immediately began looking to restore his honor.

Soul of the Smoke Knight who protects the furnace at the bottom of the Tower of Black Fog.

The knight who once made a name for himself as Raime came down to this land and fell in love with the Bride of Soot.

The special soul this knight possesses is used to acquire a vast amount of souls or create a great power.

Chief among Raime’s concerns was his shortcomings as a fighter, to which Velstadt made him painfully aware. The man discarded his shield at the fort, and the complementary ring can similarly be found with another corpse at the top of Brume Tower. There was no point in a sword wielding a shield. Raime could never compete with Velstadt in defense, and the split made him incapable of mounting a successful offense. If he wanted to rectify this embarrassing stain on his honor, he needed to become stronger. No longer did he care for finesse; now he sought the physical might to crush any shield. The resulting training made Raime a brawny warrior, though the sword he would later pick up has only an ever-so-slightly higher strength requirement compared to his old greatshield. Nevertheless, the knight wasn’t simply exercising out in the wild during his exile — his departure had purpose, direction.

Ring of the traitor Raime. Suppresses stamina loss when shield defending.

It is said that Raime, who served Vanclad, was a swordsman who excelled with finesse but took a hard look at his current state and transformed himself into a brawny warrior after resigning from his post.

Heading south, Raime reached Brume Tower in his search for greater power. There he confronted Nadalia. In the interview, Ou confirms that the knight went there with that intention from the start, and it is obvious why. Defeating the child of Dark would serve as an excellent barometer for his chances against Nashandra. If he improved any, he should at least be able to handle the spirit haunting this land all by himself. As to why he chose her specifically, it was likely top of mind. His shield is located in the main tower’s river water reserve, which has since clogged up and made a fiery burrow for giant salamanders — presumably brought along with the pieces of the Iron Keep recycled for that part of the fort. In that case, the apostle of loneliness would first come to mind when Raime left his post in disgrace. If he could claim defeat of the monster that his king failed to stop with an entire party, then surely his father figure would welcome him back with open arms. Together, they could then slay the evil queen and restore peace to the kingdom — if only things went as planned.

Helmet that the Smoke Knight wore.

The traitor Raime, who was beaten in a quarrel with Velstadt, arrived at the Tower of Black Fog in search of greater power.

Then he found a new power there. Maternity that inspires him, not paternity of a king.

We begin the boss encounter with Raime rising from the ashes of the furnace at the bottom of Brume Tower, shrouded in the black fog. Once he gains his bearings, the knight grasps the ultra greatsword stuck in the soot before him with his free hand and wields both blades in battle. The four idols of Nadalia just outside the arena constantly heal him, with any damage we do deal causing him to “bleed” ash. Altogether, it is clear that Nadalia’s black flames reduced Raime to ash, the Dark’s dominion over space reconstituting his original form as her puppet like so many others enslaved at the tower. Indeed, defeating him provides us both his corrupted soul and one of Nadalia’s own, while both of his weapon’s descriptions claim that she inhabits them; he also shakily reaches for his head as he collapses, as if feeling her influence leaving him. Without a doubt, the black fog is manipulating him, a point Ou reiterates.

However, the descriptions for his weapons and soul paint a different picture. From them, Raime fell in love with the apostle of loneliness and chose to be with her when he was perfectly capable of laying that wandering spirit low. It is possible that there was a miscommunication among the developers. The Fume Sword description claims that it received Nadalia’s power, but it demonstrates none of it in the hands of either Raime or us. Only the Fume Ultra Greatsword exhibits black flames, and only after Raime “heats up” during the boss battle. Before this point, the sword merely becomes temporarily embered after being slammed on the ash, slightly boosting the boss’ attacks. Given the unique-shaped sword is sloppily melted, it is probably another weapon for the Old Iron King’s collection left in the furnace for too long. It is therefore hard to determine if that fire power even comes from Nadalia. Still, the heat up mechanic itself highlights complications in Nadalia’s “control” over him.

Straight sword created from the soul of the Smoke Knight. Given the power of Dark of Nadola.

Despite having the power to drive away the black fog, the exiled swordsman Raime chose to be with Nadola. With the child of Dark inhabiting this sword.

Ultra greatsword created from the soul of the Smoke Knight. Possesses a unique appearance that can be called a board.

Despite having the power to drive away the black fog, the exiled swordsman Raime chose to be with Nadola. With the child of Dark inhabiting this sword.

Raime briefly glows fiery embers as he rises from the ashes, and concept art depicts his arms similarly embered to highlight her puppeteering according to Ou. He is a flame that has burned out, nothing but smoke and ash, a Fume Knight, but Nadalia rekindles that soul and gradually raises that flame. And yet, if we wear the helm of Velstadt, the Fume Knight will immediately drop his straight sword and draw out Nadalia’s full power from the ultra greatsword. The gold knight’s appearance has no meaning to the child of Dark, so this reaction can only be coming from Raime, especially when it involves relying on his newfound power with a strength-focused weapon. Whether out of rage or excitement, the sight ignites his fiery passion for a rematch. In other words, Nadalia isn’t just manipulating him as her mindless puppet — Raime is still acting with some degree of his own volition. The Japanese description for his armor further clarifies her influence as a maternal figure cheering him on. The flames of her Dark spirit are an inspirational warmth instigating his fighting spirit.

In short, Nadalia’s control goes only so far as to reconstitute his body and egg him on; everything else before and after has come from Raime. Ou acknowledges that his defeat, death, and subsequent control by Nadalia is a “complicated” scenario, and both he and fellow concept artist Kota Tonaki speak imprecisely in referring to Nadalia as the “queen” when the so-called bride never even met her desired king. The game’s director Yui Tanimura doesn’t step in to comment during this portion of the interview, so we can assume that nothing they said was so grossly inaccurate as to warrant correction. Raime is being puppeteered, but he chose to become her slave. The question then is what brought on this infatuation with the enemy. Why was he so enthralled that he would abandon duty to the king he considered a father?

The answer is easy to imagine. Clashing with the black fog, Raime might have received a glimpse of that maternal affection he would receive if he accepted her. Nadalia’s various idols also address “us” directly, so the knight would no doubt hear her speak to him as well. And what would she say? How the “bride” was “abandoned” by her king? How she is so lonely and distraught? How she wishes for more power? These are all things Raime can empathize with. He, fittingly, saw the humanity in the monster. And Nadalia’s will to embrace him, along with the promise to provide the power he seeks, does present a seductive case. At his lowest point, why was he trying so hard for the father who put him in this position? There he could have a mother who wasn’t stern but encouraging. Duty, honor, self-worth; just let it all go and let the flames consume him. Perhaps in those moments Raime finally realized why his king failed to give the order: that beautiful darkness moves men to their very core.