The tale of Alva is a true romance in every sense. Wearing lightweight yet highly protective armor, the knight was suited to wandering the lands. As to which country he hailed from, however, it may be one of the many that rose and fell on Drangleic during the land’s long history. Maughlin adds Alva’s armor to his inventory after the success of his business, with another full set evidently looted by the so-called Afflicted Graverobber — “afflicted” (冒された) can also refer to being daring, defiant, or desecrating, which befits someone in her profession and apparent good health; her venturous digging is presumably why we find her Hollow down deep near Shulva. If the genuine knights can be looted around Drangleic, then their homeland may also rest there. One other option is that they originate from the same country as the berserkers King Vendrick hired, since the graverobber also dual wields their blades. Indeed, even if not mercenaries, the knights would have reason to come to this foreign land.
Alva became a wandering knight specifically in search of a cure for Saint Serreta. This “Sirrelta” (シレルタ) is a “holy woman” (聖女) and thus prominent female in the clergy, presumably some derivative of Anor Londo religion like the Way of Blue. The saintess’ illness was apparently rare and likely life-threatening, hence the urgency to find a solution out in the world. As a knight dedicated to gods and country, Alva embarked on an exploration far and wide, trekking across various lands. And if Serreta was so beloved by the faithful knight, then his fellows in the order were liable to commit to the same individual mission. That would explain why they perished in Drangleic as foreigners, Alva alone surviving the journey. And if so, it is a testament to his skill and will, since his adventure was certainly not without impediments.
Helmet worn by the wandering knight Alba. Possesses high defense power even though lightweight.
Alba trekked across various lands in search of the means to cure the holy woman Sirrelta’s disease, but ultimately never found it and forsook his knightly rank.
Alba was captured by feelings of regret and self-reproach, but found the way to live thanks to the witch who once tried to trick him.
Zullie, or “Jullie”, (ジャーリー) was a witch, a “magic woman” (魔女) often associated with evil or demonic forces. This puts her in stark contrast to a holy woman like Serreta, which is appropriate considering her likely choice of magic. The original Dark Souls (DS1) implicated human witches’ connection to the literal Dark arts, and Zullie does wear the “black” witch set when its actual color looks to be dark purple. Concept art further suggests that Zullie would sport a similar shade of hair, which matches the extinct tribe in DS1 likewise linked to witches. Whether Zullie was a descendant whose specific line was outside the Old World’s reach when the clan was wiped out or simply survived in secret until the drift brought it to the New World, she no doubt inherited unholy power from a long lineage of witches.
Therefore, like Beatrice in DS1, Zullie lived a lonely existence outside mainstream society, shunned by god-fearing men for heresy foisted upon her by a mother who suffered the same tradition. Theirs was a bitter existence passing down their forbidden magic from generation to generation, likely conceived through unseemly means, for no other reason than pride and spite. As her equipment’s description relates, Zullie had never known love and never loved anyone as a result. The text further insinuates that she didn’t understand the meaning of her continued existence, simply carrying on living as is the soul’s instinct. Why did she have to live with a legacy forcing her kind to hide out in forests, mountains, and caves? Why was she so attached to this identity despite that? Such habits are just how the witch was raised, clinging to the only thing she knew. But suffice to say, a life like that was dysfunctional. Zullie was filled with misery and loathing, both for herself and for others.
Such a bitter woman unsurprisingly became fixated on Alva. This supposedly noble man was bending over backwards for a woman? For some pampered elite of virtue for paying lip service to so-called gods, the exact opposite of her? An obvious farce. That knight was surely taken by her feminine charms and hoping to court her favor by becoming her savior. If some other woman came along and offered to sate his base appetite, he would forget all about that “chivalric duty” at the drop of a helm — that was probably Zullie’s thoughts when she first came across Alva and learned his story. Someone who had never known love like her couldn’t fathom a pure devotion to someone. A knight serving his lady with platonic sentiments was the foolish stuff imagined by bards and troubadours; it had no grounding in reality. The witch couldn’t stand pious hypocrites acting as if they were any better than her. Her one entertainment in this miserable life was exposing these liars, make them fall to her level.
And so, Zullie tried luring Alva to bed by every means. To be more specific, she apparently attempted multiple disguises. We can acquire duplicate pieces of the black witch set from various foes, evidently worn by different witches who came to reside in places like the Iron Keep and the Gutter. Perhaps they were mimicking Zullie, the equipment empowering magic at the cost of HP indicating that she had been worthy of infamy among witches — or maybe it is because it is the only witch attire in the game. Nonetheless, all three unique headpieces remain associated with Zullie, suggesting that she did wear all three at some point. The pointed hat iconic to witches in DS1 (and later Dark Souls III) was presumably the woman’s typical headwear. And while it could obscure her hair and face in shadow, it would be nowhere near as effective as her domino mask or veil. Moreover, why would a witch already living away from people want to ever hide her face? Unless, she was repeatedly approaching a specific target who might actually recognize her.
In short, Zullie probably presented herself as a different woman in each subsequent encounter with Alva as he went from land to land. After all, once the knight knew the witch’s identity, he would be on guard against her trickery. Her intentions would be too obvious after the first invitation, so she concocted different scenarios under different identities. Even with her face obscured, Zullie was confident that she could seduce the man; if nothing else, her fashion sense shows that she took great care with her appearance. Indeed, what is more enticing than a little mystery to spark the imagination? If her costume caught the knight’s attention, all the better to lure him into taking it off. Of course, the fact that she went to such lengths proves how she never succeeded in any of these attempts. While the localization labels her the seducer of Alva, her set’s text more accurately says that she “tempted” (誘惑) him in the same vein as the desert pyromancers — in other words, the act of seduction rather than strictly the success of one. No matter her disguise, Alva always withstood her temptations.
Hat of the witch Jullie, who tempted the knight Alba. Raises magic attack power but lowers HP.
The witch learned of Alba’s loyal heart to the holy woman Sirrelta and tried to make him fall using every means, but in the end, she spent her life with him as his cooperator. The witch, who was loved by no one and loved no one, learned the meaning of living at the end of her misfortune.
In the end, it would not be Zullie’s escapades which forced Alva to admit defeat. According to the description for his armor, he forsook knighthood having failed to find a cure. Perhaps he knew he passed the time limit for Serreta’s illness, or perhaps word came from home to return on account of the saintess succumbing to her slow demise. Whatever the specifics, learning that he failed in his duty was the blow that broke Alva’s loyal heart. Wracked by guilt, the man condemned himself for her fate. He couldn’t go on calling himself a knight when he was unable to save the noblest among them — had he tried a little harder, moved a bit faster, trekked a little farther, he might have found the cure; instead, he forever stained his honor. The text to the Alva set indicates that this cage of dark thoughts brought him close to suicide. But he found the way to live with himself from the most unlikely of places.
Even after Alva failed in his mission, Zullie spent the rest of her life with him as an ally, her trickery done. Through all her harebrained schemes, the witch had closely observed the man’s character. Eventually, she would have to come to terms with reality: Alva was exactly the noble knight he appeared to be. True to his Latin name “Alba” (アルバ) meaning white, he was a pure soul. Met with that kind of honesty, the black witch must have reevaluated her worldview. While she was stewing in self-pity over her miserable fate and taking it out on others, genuinely good people were trying to help one another out of a simple yet profound love. That was the meaning of life Zullie had been missing out on, existing just for herself and a selfish desire to spite the godly past and present. And Alva was the man who showed that to her. For all her seductions, it appears the knight stole the witch’s heart. She finally found a love justifying all her misfortune.
With this change of heart, Zullie now couldn’t stand to see Alva so crestfallen. She knew better than anyone what it was like to turn hatred inward, and he was too kind to redirect that loathing at others. And so, she stayed with him, supported him, encouraged him through that heartbreak. She poured her love out onto him, and he could always trust that the witch would be there to rely upon. Despite everything they had gone through before, Alva apparently didn’t drive her away for her heresy, perhaps too consumed by his own self-prescribed lapse in proper devotion. However it started, he came to accept the profane woman as a core part of his life and chose to keep going alongside her. Whether or not their relationship could truly be defined as lovers, they had each other’s company through thick and thin. A faithful knight and a heretical witch were an unlikely pair, but such is the making of a true romance.