Alex Mann was sent to preview Dark Souls II, but upon entering the fog gate, disappeared. The following was recovered from his smartphone, days later…
Oh, How My Soul Darkened, that fateful day, I shredded my corporeal being and entered the world of Dark Souls 2.
Oh, How My Soul Darkened, as I watch, wrapped in cloth, a faceless warrior stumble toward a lone cottage. Am I this warrior? Am I even human?
Oh, How My Soul Darkened, there, inside that cottage, where I met four hags. Ex-fire keepers all, tongues regrown to spit scathing words. There they remind me my form, my class, my gender, even the cut of my face.
Oh, How My Soul Darkened, stepping into the unknown. Away from the warmth of my first bonfire, my identity reclaimed. Into a darkness that would be my first death. Not a mighty death, mind you, but a shameful one. Rolling off the edge into the blackness of a simple hole. Death makes a fool of me.
Oh, How My Soul Darkened, as I cut down my foes, mere food for my dual swords. Ducking aside, I strike one after the other, my left just as capable as my right. A life gem I spy, on a corpse newly slain, a droppable item to restore some health…
Oh, How My Soul Darkened, as I entered Majula, sun soaked in the gold of dawn or dusk. But it is not a sun to be praised, this cold, still light. Golden though it is, it is a light that reeks of death. There I met the Emerald Herald, who gave me my quest, who armed me with Estus, who took gathered souls in exchange for a higher level. No longer would I report to the bonires of old.
Oh, How My Soul Darkened, as I found my first shard, a piece of Estus, lost down a well. The Emerald Herald links it to mine, allowing me not one, but two sips of life. But the sips taste the same. To make them taste stronger, I’ll need something more.
Oh, How My Soul Darkened, as I venture abroad. Through rivers and canyons, through ruins and castles. A white knight gives me trouble, a steel behemoth makes me pay. A room full of glowing prizes tricks me, leading to death by a circle of ballistae. As I rise from my grave, by a previous fire, my hair has receded, my skin lost its colour. The hardest to bare, is not physical at all, but with each foolish death, my health bar grows small. With each foolish death, I grow ever weaker. With each gruelling death, I grow hollow.
Oh, How My Soul Darkened, when I reversed these effects. Using witchcraft, a Human Effigy found on a corpse long slain. Raising it up, I find shreds of humanity. My hair, my face, my health bar, restored. Only to die again. And die again, And die again. And die again.
Oh, How My Soul Rejoices! What a prize I have found. I knew they were wrong, those hags and their tongues. I am not a swordsman, I am a knight, and from here on out I would dictate my own stats. The Soul Vessel in my hands allows me to switch, to change what I am, and then I will face this cruel world with a new vengeance. They will feel the darkness of my soul, and I will show them all. I will defeat every last one of them.
And So My Soul Darkened.