This page contains lore theories by Rakuyo. Please understand these are musings and interpretations by a player, and are not to be taken as official or representative of other's views. Warning this page contains depictions of extreme graphic violence.
From Berserk to Bloodborne
Launched in 1990, Berserk is a dark fantasy manga that may be considered one of the most profound sources of inspiration behind the Souls Series.
Berserk is centered around a cursed swordsman by the name of Guts. Marked as a demonic sacrifice, Guts is locked into an eternal war with the dark.
Among the many traits assimilated by Souls series are: "giant swords", "crazy armor", "crazy monsters", "undead", "the dark" and an extremely grim worldview.
A growing list of commonalities lies below, discussing among other things the origin of Yharnam, various Souls enemies, NPC's and otherwise enigmatic tidbits.
The Great Ones
Undead in Wheels
The Asylum Demon
The Mad King
The Collapsing Pupil
Smough - The Executioner
Yharnam as The Demon City "Windham"
One of the most recognizable features of the Souls franchise is its lineup of surreal armor designs , many of which were imagined after Berserk.
Like Souls, Berserk is a series that distinguished itself by its wide variety of demons , warlords and goon knights in over-the-top outfits.
From Software merrily adopted the art style and created counterparts , with some looking more alike than others - - .
One particular band of knights wore helmets with greatly exaggerated visors, like noses , much like a template for the knights of Demon's Souls
"The Berserker Armor " is the attire of Berserk's hero Guts, and is an enchanted construct that numbs pain, spurs violent emotions, and refits bones .
The armor may be skull faced or wolf headed, and makes its wearer fight like an undying. It's speculated to have inspired the wolf armor of Artorias .
"The Kushans" are an imaginary race of Hindu/Ottomans, and their appearance in Berserk did much to generate and form the oriental armors of Dark Souls.
Their assassin like style of fighting, use of turbans and face masks did much towards creating the Brigand Set and DS' Dagger Combat .
The Kushan armors included the spiked helmets with garnished, padded armor which in turn inspired the Eastern Set and Sir Alonne .
Characters like King Gaiseric and Zondark likely contributed to From Software's fancy for gaudy, face embedded armor .
"The Skull Knight " is popularly regarded as having inspired The Dark Set . His rose crest may also have inspired Kirk, Knight of Thorns .
The Skull Knight's secret weapon is called "The Sword of Resonance ", which may be why in DS2, high level dark magic was named "resonant ".
"Grunbeld " likely influenced From's crystal creature designs . In DS3, The Dragonslayer Armour may be a salutation to Grunbeld.
He may very well be the idea behind "Flame God Flann", owing to Grunbeld being a "fire dragon ", while "Flann" is Gaelic, referring to "red hair" .
The maniacal cleric - and torturer - "Mozgus " served as the archetype for DS3's "Cathedral Evangelist ", and similarly for DS3's Cleric Set .
DS3's Pale Shade Set , is based on Mozgus. A long line of From Software BDSM characters was heavily inspired by his executioners .
That art style lives on in Bloodborne and in The Executioners , whose name and wheels ultimately came from the Berserk manga .
The Great Ones
"The Great Ones" are beings that may be described as gods, in Japanese they are “Jöishi”: “Superior Ones” or "Superior Beings".
They are the lords and masters of the Pthumerian race, the hidden tyrants of Yharnam, the entities controlling The Healing Church.
The Great Ones can function on transcendental planes of thought, a trait that was likely inspired by The Great Old One "Cthulhu".
The imprisoned Cthulhu is apparently the source of constant anxiety for mankind at a subconscious level, and also the subject of worship by a number of human religions – Wikipedia discussing Cthulhu in "The Call of Cthulhu"
Unbeknownst to many - the term "Great One" has been used in the Souls universe before, in DS2, to refer to four god beings .
These beings were slain by Vendrick, in the manner of The Chosen Undead slaying Nito, Seath, Four Kings and The Bed of Chaos.
The same entities are called "The Old Ones" - "those whose names are inuterrable" - by The Emerald Herald and Sweet Shalquoir.
That creates a parallel with Lovecraft who varied between "Old Ones" and "Great Old Ones" when he referred to the same beings.
They worshipped, so they said, the Great Old Ones who lived ages before there were any men, and who came to the young world out of the sky. Those Old Ones were gone now, inside the earth and under the sea; but their dead bodies had told their secrets in dreams to the first men, who formed a cult which had never died. - H. P. Lovecraft in The Call of Cthulhu
Enigmatically, Lovecraft himself used the term "Great Ones" to refer to old Earth deities, which were banished to The Dreamlands.
Great Ones rank beneath Great Old Ones and they are only rarely mentioned, though they are protected by Nyarlathotep .
But the term "Great One" is also used in Berserk to refer to members of God Hand , which I believe inspired the Souls pentad.
The God Hand are executors of the Idea of Evil's will, and they greatly resemble H. P. Lovecraft's Great Old Ones and Outer Gods.
Locked outside the material world, they rely on maniacal mortals, which they turn into their slaves, to fulfill their god's evil designs.
As Higher Beings , their bodies remain in The Abyss , which in Berserk is described as an ocean of human consciousness.
The Idea of Evil, the giant demon incubator which lives at its core, may have inspired DeS' own cosmic horror "The Old One ".
Described as a bottomless pit of Nothingness, The Old One is the root of all fog in Souls and conceivably of The Abyssal Cosmos.
The cosmic Old One is the source of all Magic in Demon's Souls, for Magic is devilry , which it also is in Bloodborne .
Arcane is tied to blackness , like Messengers once were , before the colors shifted and it became Nightmare Fog .
Messengers were designed after imps of The Abyss , and they're interrelated with Hollows and Londor .
In the internal data, Great Ones are given demon names: LesserDemon_Death_And_Darkness, FalseGod, HalfBakedDevil, EvilEye.
"Eyes", so intrinsic to Bloodborne , were inspired by Berserk , where they represented The Idea of Evil .
But eyes have always been part of Souls , in evident forms and subtle ones, which I've named "False Eyes ".
False Eyes also come from Berserk , where Apostles often have several eyes , something also linked to Dragons .
This theme used all over in connection to Dragons , also showed up on Bloodborne's Keepers of The Old Lords .
To compare - "Great One Beast" is a Dragon like boss , cut from the game, which was perhaps tied to Dragon blood .
It's possible that eyes as understood by Master Willem, refers (in)directly to a notion of Dragon ascension described in Dark Souls.
“An art of the transcendent apostles who pray to the ancient dragons.
To be alive is to be vulnerable, and the fiery Gods are no exception.
The apostles seek another plane of existence, which transcends life.” - Dragon Eye DS1
Eye symbolizes the truth Master Willem sought in his research.
Disillusioned by the limits of human intellect,
Master Willem looked to beings from higher planes for guidance,
and sought to line his brain with eyes in order to elevate his thoughts. - Eye Rune
At Byrgenwerth, Master Willem had an epiphany:
"We are thinking on the basest of planes. What we need, are more eyes." - Great One's Wisdom
Dragons are also associated with meditation , Buddhism, self perfection, schools and esoteric forms of seeking of insight.
The Cord of The Eye - which every infant Great One possesses - may have developed from Berserk's vortex / The Abyss .
If true, the aligning of one's brain with eyes refers to accepting the presence of God, and transforming into his Demon, his Apostle.
Older versions of The Umbilical Cord happen to conjure up Berserk's concepts, like The Demon Child , and evil contracts .
Long ago, in an encounter with the Great Ones,
a contract was established , establishing the hunters
and the Hunter's Dream. - One Third Umbilical Cord V1.00 (Abandoned Old Workshop)
A great relic, also known as the Cord of the Eye.
Every infant Great One has this precursor to the umbilical cord.
Keep one to fend off foul spirits , or use it to obtain great Insight. - One Third Umbilical Cord V1.00 (Iosefka)
The Demon Child is the most likely inspiration for The Celestial Child , a creature also linked to Byrgenwerth and Ebrietas.
Unused dialogue of Master Willem references strange "sacrifices" which corroborates the idea that Berserk inspired his ascension.
There you are, finally. You are most welcome, my precious sacrifice... Now, now, over here, quick... Go on, give me your eyes…
…Yes, yes, a pleasure to have you… - Master Willem
He could also be entangled with the idea of a Behelit , eyed stone of ascension which inspired Eye Stones and Eye Orbs.
Behelits summon The Abyss, the Souls form of which could be a reiteration of The Bottomless Pit of Nothingness: "The Old One".
The Dark Chasm of Old is the remnant of
some ancient, dissipated being. - Darklurker Soul
The Abyss once had form, but then dissipated.
And yet, traces of its existence endured.
Each fragment, thirsting for power, spread Dark, with no relent. - Vendrick
What once was a great void of darkness became but fragments.
But slowly, the scattered fragments grew, absorbing all things.
It is we who will be pilgrims to these sacred sites. - Darkdiver Grandahl
The Hunter is sent after something called "Paleblood", which is a rewritten name for Blood of a Sage: or "Blood of an Old One".
This reiterates the hunting of ancient beings in Dark Souls, in service of The Primordial Serpents, who may be The Messengers.
The blood of Great Ones contains "cosmically nightmarish Blood Echoes", an expression likely related to The Abyssal Cosmos.
Reminiscent cosmic characteristics were present on The God Hand , and they were also present on The Old One .
From the very beginning Souls has been about Demon ascension, producing Demons that either defend the world or destroy it.
Bloodborne too is about becoming a Great One , or rather kill The Great Ones, akin to the vendetta of the human Guts .
In the end the reincarnating gods of Dark Souls share much with Lovecraft's evil gods, beings who could never die, only sleep.
But when the stars were wrong, they could not live. although They no longer lived, They would never really die . - Lovecraft
For God Hand was like that, and from them came The Archdemons , the Souls pentad , and the eclipse .
As a result, Bloodborne is a game of dream/night related motifs , and Moons have been used alongside vortexes .
This is why there's some kind of tree related to a First Flame , and why some Age of Dark is proclaimed .
At the proper time, the secret priests would take great Cthulhu from his tomb to revive His subjects and resume his rule of earth.
Then mankind would have become as the Great Old Ones; free and wild and beyond good and evil, with laws and morals thrown
aside and all men shouting and killing and reveling in joy. Then the liberated Old Ones would teach them new ways to shout and
kill and revel and enjoy themselves, and all the earth would flame with a holocaust of ecstasy and freedom. - The Call of Cthulhu
With this kind of DNA, it was only logical that FromSoftware would make a full blooded game that involved The Cthulhu Mythos.
In Berserk, Guts upgrades his sword to what is frequently referred to as "more a massive slab of iron than a sword ".
Called Dragonslayer, it is forged by an especially talented blacksmith , not long after the Demon Eclipse.
At the same time, Guts starts to wear the black armor that would make him notorious as "The Black Swordsman".
His left arm, which was lost during the Demon Eclipse, is replaced by a prosthetic. This iron arm can be outfitted with a crossbow and a cannon .
The Dragonslayer's first reincarnation into the Souls series is named "The Dragon Bone Smasher " - A bladeless, thick mass of iron used for smashing.
In DS1, it became part of a unique class of weapons known as "Ultra Greatswords", the Greatsword and Dragon Sword being notable particulars.
The Greatsword would return another two times in DS2 and DS3, always paying reverence to the inhuman strength required to wield it.
Other slab-like weapons include the Fume Ultra Greatsword , the Crypt Blacksword and the King's Ultra Greatsword .
Bloodborne has no lack of oversized weapons, and it's Church Weapons in particular that adhere to being blunt and oversized .
Item descriptions found on Church Weapons reveal that the Church began creating gargantuan weapons for the purpose of facing gargantuan beasts.
"It exhibits several departures from the workshop's design, suggesting that the Church anticipated much larger inhuman beasts." - Ludwig's Holy Blade
This creates a parallel with Guts, who upgrades his weapons knowing it's required for slaying Apostles , despite the overkill against ordinary men.
Undead in Wheels
Skeleton Wheels are among most characterizing enemies of the Dark Souls universe, but they're not as unique as you may think.
Early into the St. Albion arc, Guts encounters very similar undead enemies, all of them wrenched into large wagon wheels .
These bodies once belonged to victims of the Holy See Religious Order. They've since become possessed by angry spirits and attack outsiders.
The Holy See Religious Order is led by Father Mozgus. He's assisted in this holy task by a loyal band of executioners .
They handle most of Mozgus' dirty work. They practice various forms of torture and make a habit of breaking people's limbs with a giant wheel .
Afterwards, the victims are affixed to large wagon wheels , those are then attached to poles and raised to the sky, producing large fields of corpses .
This scenery reappears in DS3, in the second part of the Undead Settlement . This is not far from Mozgus' lookalikes, The Cathedral Evangelists .
The enigmatic necromancer from DS1 - Pinwheel has a Berserk precursor known as Rakshas .
Like Pinwheel, Rakshas is defined as a floating, black shroud wearing a mask. The difference being that Pinwheel has three masks and six arms .
One particularly suspicious quote is Rakshas' prophesizing to cut of his commander's head and "making it his own" .
Seeing as that commander is Griffith, the design choices behind the silver Mask of The Child could be pretty eerie.
Peculiarly, Rakshas acquires a new, more effeminate mask in 2016, a possible wink at The Mask of The Mother.
In terms of talents, Rakshas is more of an assassin than a necromancer, though he demonstrates more macabre abilities in 2016.
This vampire is plausibly one of the reasons Bloodborne was ever made, establishing a prototype of vampires being ferocious beasts .
A recurring antagonist, Zodd lives to fight. He's a challenge seeker, and desires only to face a worthy opponent.
It's this thrill seeking, suicidally high risk mentality that really articulates the main idea behind the Souls series.
Whichever form he assumes, Zodd fights like a beast and epitomizes bloodlust , and a stubborn mindset, bent on doing the impossible.
At his first appearence, Zodd wields a giant, bloodstained machete and fans of DS2 may recognize the form of Vengarl .
Vengarl's Helmet - "Helmet worn by the ferocious Vengarl of Forossa. As Vengarl's helmet suggests, he was not unlike a mad beast on the battlefield."
"Behelits" are eyed stones, shaped like an egg . They are described in Berserk as eminent spirits which control destiny .
Left in the world by The Idea Of Evil, the stones link the material world to the spiritual realm, potentially distorting reality .
Behelits are preordained to end up with "weak humans longing for power ", and make them an offer of demonic power .
The Archstones of Demon's Souls were most likely inspired by Behelits , along with the Eye Stones of the same game.
Archstones were entrusted to elders, rulers of their respective realms, and can preserve the fabric of reality, sealing The Old One.
Yet Archstones might serve the opposite function as well, freeing The Old One, thus granting great power to the summoner .
If the player chooses to join The Old One, he/she will be awarded The Red Eye Stone, a clear stand-in for the Scarlet Behelit .
The Scarlet Behelit is the Behelit of Griffith , the DS1 substitute for which would turn into the Darkwraiths' "Red Eye Orb ".
Therefore, red eyed stones are tied to the Beast's Demon Soul, The Primordial Serpent Kaathe and Berserk's antichrist .
The most likely crux of a Souls Behelit is reality warping, which explains the function of both Eye Orbs and Archstone spawning.
When Behelits distort reality , sacrifices are required in order to ascend a demon, these victims are branded with a mark .
Similar marks are seen in Bloodborne , along with egg patterns , potentially indicating a demonic birth.
Berserk's Eclipse is the greatest form of a Behelit reality distortion . This could have been substituted by a lunar eclipse .
Such distortions assume the form of a vortex , like the one shown at the start of DS2 alongside a Blood Moon .
All over Bloodborne appear sights that can be explained as "reality distortions ", which would agree with DeS lore.
Bloodborne distortions may come from "The Nightmare ", or "Inherit The Nightmare", another name for The Moon Presence.
The Moon Presence was in fact once staged to show up in an area , reiterating the distortions of The Old One .
With her Behelit eyes , The Doll exists to help the ascent of The Hunter , perpetuating an age old cycle of transformation.
But with her eyes modeled after tools of evil, she's not be trusted. She also sheds crystalline, strangely quicksilver like tears .
"A doll sheds neither blood nor tears and thus its nature remains unknown.
Whoever thinks this is precious must be troubled by severe naivete." - Tear Stone
"The Crystal Tear Girl" is actually a well known hoax, and The Doll shares characteristics with the Demon "Fool's Idol" from DeS.
Both have an invincibility mechanic, and they are puppets made in the image of another, Queen Yormedar, and Maria respectively.
Crystal tears are emblematic of the ambiguous DS goddess Caitha , while "crying" is associated with Berserk's Behelits .
"Caitha, the goddess of tears, is known as a compassionate being that is with us in times of tragedy,
but some believe that she is a demoness that guides us toward misfortune" - Caitha's Chime DS2
Crying is also associated with Messengers, and beings that bring forth Great Ones like Kos and Yharnam, The Pthumerian Queen.
The Umbilical Cord may actually be what ties a Great One to The Abyss , and thus to God, marking the nature of a God Hand.
The Luck stat of DS3, shaped like an egg , raises Hollow, Poison and Bleed attributes, and further links Souls Behelits to evil.
Behelits manipulate destiny, serving the machinations of The Idea Of Evil , like generating eclipses, or raising "Item Discovery".
This stat is tied to the Primordial Serpents of The Watchdragon Parma, the dark Humanity stat of DS1, and eyes in pentacles .
It's sound to assume The Hunter being part of such an engineered eclipse , possessing a Behelit of his/her own.
The Asylum Demon
Also know as the Stray Demon, or the Demon Firesage, The Asylum Demon is another one of Dark Souls' most recognizable enemies.
One of the big reasons he's so memorable, is that he has an absolutely humongous rump, which might as well have been cloned from Berserk .
The Apostle Demon in question is fairly low ranking, and arrives at Guts' hideout after sniffing and licking the trail he left after the Demon Eclipse .
The Berserk version of it actually has two faces, one human, one beastly. It's still recognizable how the Asylum Demon's face is a composite of both faces .
Early into the series, Guts faces off againts a tyrannical maneater who wears snake themed armor .
The monsters turns out to be an apostle, which assumes the form of a giant man-cobra .
When the fight is over Guts tortures the fiend for information, then lets him burn to death.
The imagery, particularly the apostle form, is likely to have inspired Dark Souls' enigmatic "Man-Serpents".
Man-Serpents appear in Sen's Fortress (DS1), The Duke's Archives (DS1) and Archdragon Peak (DS3).
The Mad King
In the Souls universe, The Mad King is among its most tenacious themes.
It all started with Demon's Souls' King Allant. Who - overcome by melancholy - fed his own kingdom to the Demons.
"Surely you have seen for yourself… the pain and suffering that fills this world!
But fight poison with poison. God is merciful, and so, created the Old One.
The Old One will feed upon our souls, and put an end to our tragic realm of existence!" - Old King Allant
"I have had enough of this rotten world. No one wishes to go on…" - Old King Allant
In DS1, the protagonist embarks on a journey through the land of lords, Lordran. But the lords have lost their minds, and madness rules the kingdom.
The once great king of this realm - Gwyn - has been reduced to a mindless hollow. The whole world in fact, is doggedly going to hell.
In DS2, the great king Vendrick falls under the influence of Nashandra, a fragment of the Dark Soul, devising a war between Giants and humans.
As events unfold, he and his kingdom end up cursed. Vendrick finally retreats to the Undead Crypt, to forever wander as a mindless giant.
There are many other fallen kings: The Four Kings, The Sunken King, The Iron King, The Ivory King, The Nameless King, Oceiros, Lothric, ...
Logarius is a king, in theory. He is warden to Queen Annalise, usurper of her throne and wearer of the Crown of Illusions.
In Berserk, the King of Midland is an important antagonist.
Originally he was a patron of Griffith and his Band of the Hawk, but this changed after Griffith kills his wife and seduces his daughter.
The King lusted after his daughter himself, and tried to ravage her. This led his daughter, Charlotte, to run away with the Band of the Hawk.
In the years following, the king became mad and decrepit . He had Griffith endlessly tortured, and sent many an enemy after the Band of the Hawk .
Eventually, the King dies while suffering one of Griffith's illusions . This leads to Charlotte becoming the queen of Midland.
Griffith, who's since become a demon king, later returns to Charlotte and marries her, substantially increasing Griffith's power.
Griffith is the conqueror and androgynous youth that may have inspired Gwyndolin as well as his father Lord Gwyn .
Like Gwyn, Griffith is known as an heroic champion of light , but one with a dark side , the sacrificing of Humans .
Sacrificing humans to the fire is a theme of Berserk , as is undead being drawn to the fire , and clerics worshipping it .
Griffith's dream was to sacrifice countless to achieve his own kingdom , a dream that would assume the form of Falconia .
Griffith is often referred to as a bonfire or a flame , symbolism which would foreshadow his demonic magnetism .
To accomplish this Griffith required The Mark of Sacrifice , a symbol which reappeared in Gwyndolin's Moonlight Arrows .
That very mark is intimately entangled with the notion of an eclipse, a Dark Sun , and Griffith's ambition to possess Guts .
Revealed to have a "caduceus pattern" , the arrows are part of a set of ideas that pertain to forming Souls universes .
Such patterns were derived from The Symbol of God , of The Idea of Evil, a granter of wishes , and appear in many titles.
In Berserk, the realization of a demon dream is likened to the rising of a flame , an important parallel with Souls titles .
This flame is no mere symbolism, evidence of which is found in the volcanic basalt at the base of DS3 capitals .
Clues suggest that there's a phenomenon, of using people as construction material , in Bloodborne as well .
The purpose of this is a dream realm, to rule over supremely. The only prerequisite, is to bring Souls to the Kiln of The First Flame.
This may explain correspondences between Lothric and Yharnam, like bizarre statues and identical alien grass .
Such realms are at times referred to as "churning ", a word which is otherwise also used in connection to The Nightmare .
Fact is that "Nightmare Realms " contain the same basalt formations seen in DS3 , suggesting a common root.
One particularly important theme is "molten environment", which is part of several titles - - - .
Realms like like Anor Londo may actually be Dream/Nightmare realms, created in a manner reflecting Griffith's Falconia .
To realize that dream, a new lord needs the help of an ancient , tree like god , who may or may not be "The Old One ".
In a place called Heide , a reiteration of Anor Londo, appeared Bird headed statues , potentially linking it to Griffith.
Heide Knights deal Lightning Damage, Old Knights mirror Giant Sentinels and the city keeps a copy of Ornstein .
Ornstein's special, as his internal ID name in DS1 was "Griffith", an homage that could link the whole of Anor Londo to Griffith.
These statues are quite clearly depictions of Gwyn, due to the pose , the footwear and the Great Lord Greatsword .
Why are they bird headed? Some have argued that it's because of the Sun god Ra , and that's probably part of the truth.
But Griffith - The White Hawk - is probably part of it as well , a lord that decorated his Falconia with birds and griffins .
The Blue Sentinels that inhabit the ruin are a reiteration of The Blades of The Darkmoon, the covenant of Dark Sun Gwyndolin.
In addition to Heide, the Band of The Hawk inspired Falconers , dropping Sunlight Medals, may unite Griffith with the Sun.
While not identical to Griffith, Gwyn is set up to be an aggregate of Griffith, The Kushan Emperor and Old King Allant.
Griffith's legacy traces onwards to DS3's Lothric , the pale prince falsely heralded as the savior of the world .
Like Griffith he's connected to an eclipse , and is precariously entangled with a larger, darker (blood) brother .
The eclipse, or Dark Sun is ultimately entangled with the ascent of a new demon , and the auguring in of its kingdom .
As a consequence such kingdoms are abound with caduceus patterns , vestiges of The Symbol of God .
The pattern indicates the Primordial Serpents, seen in Lothric , and The Idea Of Evil which sought to empower Griffith .
Eclipses pertain to the Moon, which is tied to bloodletting , to rebirth, to The Brotherhood of Blood, and to Gwyndolin .
(about Gwyndolin) The skirt-like garment he wears on his lower half, for example, represents female menstruation - Nakamura
Berserk's demonic rebirth could explain the importance of the Moon , of eyes and the appearance of Beasts .
Griffith may have inspired the newborn Mergo , while other scenes suggest he inspired The Moon Presence .
The reborn Griffith is a corruptor of minds , which can explain how The Moon Presence could enthrall The Hunter .
The rebirth of a Griffith is a process connected to "a dream ", while tricks and illusions are Gwyndolin's game .
Deception , and madness , is at times associated with light, and light is the craft of Gwyndolin and Lothric .
Such vile beguilement of the senses is integral to Bloodborne as well , and to Berserk , and alluded to by Aldia .
Light manipulating Sorcery is associated with Oolacile, and could explain the unique Sorcery of Gwyndolin and Lothric .
The Xanthous Ashes unlocking Lightning buffs in DS3 corroborates the idea that Oolacile is about linking Lightning and Sorcery.
The princes mingle Faith with Sorcery in several ways , share a voice actor, and have got very similar attacks .
They've also got entangled names: Lothric "veiled ruler ", Gwen "fair/white" dolen "ring/loop " - Gruffud "lord ".
"Lord" is a key word used by Lothric's wet nurse Emma, and "wet nursing" is also connected to Gwyndolin and Mergo .
"Please save his soul. Tell him what he must be... a Lord." A Lord, he must be... My dear Prince...Lothric..." - Priestess Emma
Entanglement of Faith and Sorcery was further confirmed by the item descriptions of Sunlight Spear and Blinding Bolt in DS2.
Both Miracles, which are deeply connected to Gwyn and the line of Gwyn, refer to their lightning bolts as created from "Souls".
It was suspicious as well that the "Dragon Chime ", the greatest Miracle catalyst, was being offered by Darkdiver Grandahl.
The best way to explain all this ambiguity, could be that Griffith modeled for both The Lord of Light and The Dark Lord .
Once, Griffith was tortured for a whole year in a dungeon, the descending path of which mirrors the path to The Abyss .
The offshoots of which reveal themselves in the DS3 Dark Lord ending up going through the Darkmoon Tomb of Gwyndolin .
And Aldrich, a corrupted form of Gwyndolin, ends up firing Moonlight Arrows that remind of Griffith's eclipse ritual .
The accompanying drowning of New Londo and its Abyss, could well have led to the sea theme of Londor and Aldrich .
This sea theme, seems at other points to hail from Bloodborne , which involved Mergo, whose name means "drowner".
Bloodborne's own child of the Moon , mixed up in trident symbolism , is at times reminiscent of the maimed Griffith .
The other symbols could personify the crescent moon, or man catchers, signature weapons of both Souls and Berserk .
Tridents could symbolize about two things: "water" like in "the sea" or "blood", and they might symbolize Shiva and Parvati .
Shiva is an androgynous, Hindu god of destruction, who's at times conjoined with his wife in a deity called Ardhanarishvara .
Also associated with the crescent moon, Shiva forms a strong tie with The Moon Presence, and simultaneously matches Griffith.
That same notion of an androgynous destroyer ties back to The Devil, who's at times referred to as the Hermaphroditic Goat .
This Satan is tied to the caduceus pattern , which is tied to Magic , to Moonlight , to Mercury and thus to Oedon .
This is why so many androgynous characters trace to a common root, the legacy of this earlier, cross-sexual framework .
Wolves are big in Bloodborne, but it all started with Guts and his Beast of Darkness , in turn the inspiration for DS1's Artorias.
The Demon Wolf, or "Beast of Darkness" is a manifestation of the darkness surrounding Guts , his demon and alter ego .
In this sense, The Beast of Darkness is true to its own inspiration: Venom , the evil alien parasite and alter ego of Spider Man.
The Cinematic Scourge Beast is a reference to the Demon Wolf of Berserk, an enticing Beast which must be set aflame .
When DS introduced its own accursed warrior: The Wolf Knight Artorias , his soul was entangled with that of the wolf Sif .
The parallels with Guts are many: emphasis on Humanity , high poise, and a Berserker Armor like fighting technique .
Artorias' beaked helmet , refers to The Band of Hawk, and he fights to save Dusk, a stand-in for Casca, from The Abyss .
Artorias eventually fell to The Abyss, possessed by dark energy similar to the transformation mist of certain Beasts .
This ring symbolizes Knight Artorias's covenant with the beasts of The Abyss.
Its wearer, like Artorias himself can traverse The Abyss. - Covenant of Artorias
Artorias and his beaked helmet also appear to be connected to Griffith, because he evokes his dialogue lines in cut content .
"Whoever thou art, stay away. Soon, I will be consumed. By the... by the dark."
"You are strong, human. Surely, mankind are more than pure dark."
"I beg of you, the spread of the abyss..... must be stopped."
"Ah, Sif. Then you are.... *cough* all of you... forgive me."
For I have availed nothing." - Artorias Unused Dialogue Lines
It is also Griffith who's the human to "walk The Abyss ", and the human to "make a covenant" with the beasts inside of it .
Artorias brought forth "The Abyss Watchers ", who inhabited the successor of Darkroot Garden , The Farron Woods .
These undead warriors vowed to partake of wolf blood. They acted in the dark, seeking out any sign of the Abyss,
fighting a constant war with its abominations. This pointed steel helm was a distinct symbol of the Legion,
shirked as a sinister omen by the masses. - Undead legion Set
The Farron Woods are Darkroot because of the Pharis Bow, the dead Mushroom Men , Crown of Dusk and Stone Greatshield.
In Darkroot Garden, The Forest Hunters, Sif included, defended the grave of Artorias , as homaged by The Wolf Of Farron .
Abyss Watchers greatly resemble Hunters. They also hunt down Lycanthropes , and live in a swamp overrun by eyes .
They were trained by the Crystal Sage twins , plague beaked scholars whose magic emphasizes Bloodborne like speed.
The forrest is filled with chimerical Ghru beastmen , and crucified victims that much remind of Bloodborne .
The Farron Coal emphasizes Bloodborne attributes like Strength, Dexterity and Poison, and Watchers swear by their parry wedge.
Their Road of Sacrifices, a name that may refer to The Hanged Man, "The Hunter", is full of crucifixes that portray the Moon .
All Abyss Watchers are imbued with The Blood Of The Wolf, which gives them their strength, and ultimately came from Artorias.
The development of "blunt horned Ghru" likely began in Bloodborne , explaining why Elders resemble Cleric Beasts .
Abyss Watchers fight against The Abyss and its abominations, which may be interpreted as a fight against primordial Humanity.
Not animal, but "man" is wolf to man: "homo homini lupus ". That is consistent with traits from both Berserk and Souls.
The Father of The Abyss may have been the first "Beast", passing on his "rupturing" to varied ensuing enemies .
Beasts could actually be Humanity , the form of which shows the crocodile/Venom like jaws of The Demon Wolf .
This also explains the more devilish Beasts of Bloodborne , as Beasts are simply representations of humanity's inner evil.
Based on Berserk, the path of Fire is ultimately about changing that darkness into something: "alive " and protective .
The Collapsing Pupil
The Eye of a Blood-drunk Hunter is a key made available after Amelia's death, which provides access to The Hunter's Nightmare.
"The eye of a Blood-Drunk Hunter. Its pupil is collapsed and turned to mush, indicating the onset of the scourge of beasts.
A hunter who goes drunk with blood is said to be taken by the Nightmare,
destined to wander forever, in an endless hunt." - Eye of a Blood-drunk Hunter
This eye has a "collapsed pupil ", a dramatic rendering of a real medical condition, involving a pupil failing to respond to light.
A collapsed pupil is symptomatic of the Scourge of Beasts , and could thus reveal something about the nature of Beasthood.
The pupil is the darkest, most shadowy segment of the human eye. Its enlargement could thus indicate a surge of inner darkness.
Often a collapsed pupil is evidence of death or brain death, but it can also signify adaptation to dark, or a fight-or-flight response.
Symbolism involving a dilating, or collapsing pupil, already existed in the previous DS2 , in which it signified "Hollowing".
Hollowing entailed a descent into a state of horrible madness, thus becoming a monster that would feed on Souls for all eternity.
In Berserk, the collapsing pupil belongs to a woman named Casca, where it symbolizes her recollection of Berserk's eclipse .
The dark figures, swirling in her eyes, are actually the silhouettes of abject demons, towering over her, about to violently rape her.
This backs up the theory that the swirling shadows depict The Dark, a theory that's corroborated by more clues from Dark Souls.
In DS3, dead Fire Keepers have darkness inside their eyes , and their eyes are found with Dark Sigils for pupils.
This darkness reminds of other dark viscous masses, like the Pus of Man , the Mass of Souls and Bloodborne Gels .
In addition, "Hollowing" is linked to the loss of eyes , which does fit the idea of darkness gradually eating away the eyes.
For Casca, the eclipse meant a descent into madness , so the pupil could symbolize the end of all rationality and speech.
Collapsed, dilated pupils appear in the NoM , but only near The Brain of Mensis, proving that the pupils symbolize madness.
Apart from Casca's tragedy, the imagery of a collapsing, abnormal eye or pupil has been used to portray the demon eclipse itself.
One particularly twisted shape of the "eclipse/eye" appears in a monologue by the Demon Wolf in which he emulates Fenrir.
It's the chains that bind him which distort the pupil, and the chains connect to The Wolf, itself a personification of Guts' demons.
Should the darkness in darkening eyes represents the eclipse, then there are strong links to draw to Dark Souls and Bloodborne.
The eclipse involves a birth of a new Demon King and branding victims with "The Mark of Sacrifice ".
The Hunter Rune, which represents The Hanged Man "the sacrifice", is a sight seen all over Bloodborne .
This brand replaced The Darksign , which had the same function, and which had in turn replaced The Mark of Sacrifice .
The DS2 branded met his/her own Blood Moon , and found a vortex , like in Berserk , leading into the darkness .
The eclipse is the basis for Bloodborne's infant Great One story, decoding the import of dreams and the Moon .
Smough - The Executioner
First appearing in DS1, Smough belongs to a long line of over-gluttonous, morbidly obese enemies created by From Software.
Smough is a repulsive maneater who attended Gwyn's divine family. Despite his strength, he was never raised to the rank of knight.
Not the first obese maneater created by From Software, Smough himself takes after DeS' Adjudicator , a yellow demon brandishing a massive Meat Cleaver.
The Adjudicator, along with The Fat Official , and The Vanguard Demon , would set the standard for enemies like Vordt and the Asylum Demon .
A Berserk precedent for those abominations may be found in "The Count ", an obese tyrant and torturing maneater, who's actually a gigantic slug demon .
The Count is a brutally cruel and perverse. He's an embodiment of the sin of gluttony and it pleasures him greatly, to devour his victims whole.
If you ever wondered why Smough has a large hanging phallus , and a suspicious head, well that phallus innuendo likely came from The Count .
Many of Executioner Smough's other qualities were likely inspired by the angel faced wheel executioner , a member of Mozgus' band of torturers .
The wheel executioner is the architect of Berserk's Undead Wheels , which inspired DS' Skeleton Wheels , and Bloodborne's Logarius' Wheel .
In accordance with the mission of Father Mozgus, the wheel executioner works to torture and terminate endless heretics in the name of the faith , .
In the end, he and his gang are turned into apostles. Mozgus became a fire breathing fiend , convinced he would purge the sinners with "God's Breath".
These apostles were modeled after angels. Despite their wickedness, Mozgus declared them proponents of God's fire, whose will is the only truth.
Beneath this facade, they were common demons, following the same evil god that all apostles follow, the evil being that dwells in The Abyss , .
It's possible that Kentaro Miura sought to crack people's presumptions by giving monsters angelic designs, thus accusing the value of appearances.
After all: that which looks like an angel, may just a demon with the animal traits of a bird , no different from a man with horns, goatlegs and a tail.
The face of the wheel executioner is that of a cherub , . Cherubs are a very pure sort of angels, often represented as chubby toddlers in art.
In this context, the childlike features represent a mockery of innocence, implying that stupidity and deformity explain the executioner's evil deeds.
Smough is a product of the same line of thinking: his fair, plump face, and small head insinuating a childlike, angelic nature, in spite of his actions.
Cherubs reappear in DS3 in the form of the Winged Knights . Plump and endowed with golden armor, they take much after the DS1 maneater.
Winged Knights exist as fledged angels, and as men whose wings are merely ornamental . The angelic forms are adept at using "Miracles ".
It's plausible that Smough is in the same sense, "an unfledged angel". Smough too gains the power of lightning , but only after consuming Ornstein.
What do these angelic traits mean? In Berserk, angelic men serve the god of evil, yet they're also radically opposed to "sin" and dark spirits .
This implied yet fraudulent opposition between "light" and "dark" traces back to The Old One of DeS, to Saint Urbain and the Talisman of Beasts.
"An old wooden amulet resembling the Old One.
It can utilize both miracles and spells.
The symbol of God was nothing more than the Image of the Old One." - Talisman of Beasts
"If you truly are a disciple, then you must have a talisman in God's image.
After the dark arts spread across the land, holy miracles were witnessed once again.
It is God's way of telling us we must stand up to the Demons." - Quotes from Saint Urbain
Saint Urbain is the NPC who turns Demon's Souls into Miracles, a hint pointing out their true commonality.
Urbain becomes confused near the end of the game. Not recognize the call of The Old One as anything demonic, he rather hears a child's crying .
"From where does that howl come?!
That is no Demon. It sounds more like a poor hungry child.
Do you have any idea what it might be?
Something about it sets me at great unease." - Saint Urbain
The god Urbain worshipped was nothing but the deceptive Old One, in close analogy with Mozgus who worshipped the equally deceptive Idea of Evil.
His faith proved to be mistaken, and his Miracles came from The Old One just like any other magic. This logic may have been inherited by Dark Souls.
Mozgus' executioners brought about Executioner Smough, who in turn inspired the angelic Winged Knights , which are presumably villains as well.
Using angels in this way is not uncommon for Japanese designers, who often use angels as "daemons", "kamis" or spirits.
Some titles are well known for demonizing angels, like Devil May Cry or Bayonetta. The Final Fantasy series too has often depicted villains as angels.
It's a tradition that gave rise to characters like Sephiroth, FFXIII's Orphan and more abstract villains like FFX's "Sin".
One series stands out for creating worlds where angels and demons are pitted against each other, based on their opposing, but equally monstrous belief systems.
The Shin Megami Tensei series released its fourth installment in 2013, it's set in a post-apocalyptic world where Law (angels) are pitted against Chaos (demons).
As the plot unfolds, it is revealed that the creator - YHVH - is behind both sides, who created them to keep humanity in an endless cycle of despair.
To accomplish this, YHVH split God's Strongest Weapon "Satan " in two halves: The rebelious Lucifer - and the Throne of God, Merkabah .
Could the same apply to Dark Souls? Are the Primordial Serpents Frampt and Kaathe two sides of the same whole? This would certainly explain a great deal.
In Bloodborne "The Executioners" form an obscure band of church assassins. There're many things about them that are suspicious, like their peculiar hats.
It's awkward, triangular design was most likely inspired by the Spanish capirote (credit to Mitch L), which historically began as a medieval clown's hat.
Over time, it lost its innocuousness and it turned into a hat of shame instead. Criminals were made to wear it, after which they were spat on and humiliated.
Later still, the hats began to be associated with flagellants , who wore these hats as a means of atoning, through pain and humiliation .
A version of the capirote became part of the mass executions performed by The Spanish Inquisition , who forced them on those sentenced to death.
At present, the capirote is most identified with the Klu Klux Klan , a congregation of right wing extremists with a history of terrorism and racial murder.
The meaning of "Ardeo" is "to burn" (again thank you Mitch L), which does suggest that the Executioners worship something similar to Dark Souls "Fire".
All over Yharnam stand crucifixes that suspend burning beasts . They were hung up there by Huntsmen and the servants of the church .
"Purification of race and society" was the main theme of the first KKK, something that's also symbolized by their cross burnings, a ritual linked with blood.
"In olden times when the Chieftain of our people summoned the clan on an errand of life and death, the Fiery Cross, extinguished in sacrificial blood, was
sent by swift courier from village to village. This call was never made in vain, nor will it be to-night in the new world. Here, on this spot made holy ground
by the blood of those we hold dearer than life, I raise the ancient symbol of an unconquered race of men" - Thomas Dixon Jr. (Ku Klux Klan Advocate)
There's another quirk to the Gold Ardeo, in that it is shaped like a "candle snuffer ". "To snuff someone" is slang for murder.
"Snuff" refers to a morbid internet phenomenon, involving the torture, rape, and murder of a person, for the purpose of circulating the recorded material.
Bloodborne doesn't state much about The Executioners, only Logarius' seemingly tenderhearted motto:
"Acts of goodness are not always wise, and acts of evil are not always foolish, but regardless, we shall always strive to be good." - Executioner Garb
The hat also likely homages the occult monster "Pyramid Head" from the Silent Hill franchise , another clue suggesting that executioners are up to no good.
Beside that, there is Alfred, maniacally laughing as he's covered in Queen Annalise's blood and guts. He then commits suicide, for reasons not well understood.
Ludwig was an Executioner, as is evidenced by his garb matching that attire , , . He also admits to having had opponents, who thought him a mere brute.
"Oh, my, Just as I feared. Then a beast-possessed degenerate was I, as my detractors made eminently clear.
Does the nightmare never end?!" - Ludwig, The Holy Blade
Then there's Logarius, whose occupation of Cainhurst Castle, and apparent refusal to kill Queen Annalise, sheds doubt on his supposed motives.
From Software has used the term "executioner" in the past, the first example being "Executioner Miralda " of Demon's Souls, who was distinctly evil.
In DS1, Smough was the bearer of the title "executioner". In DS2, The Executioners were hunters of the undead, but they would go hollow themselves.
They became The Skeleton Lords , a band of pyromancing undead. The Executioner's Chariot , one of their best, rules the Undead Purgatory.
The Executioner's Chariot Soul has a peculiar description:
"Soul of the Executioner's Chariot, that holds control over the Undead Purgatory.
The chariot was created only to torment Undead, and it took the form of a horrendous mad steed, a window into the soul of its master."
The Executioner's Chariot, created only to torment Undead, took the form of a horrendous mad steed, a reflection into the soul of the executioner.
Ludwig is another such, horrendous, mad steed. An executioner, who torments a sea of undead without relent. Until the player stops him.
The Chariot Lance, which can be forged from The Executioner's Chariot Soul reads:
"Lance forged from the soul of the Executioner's Chariot. Its cross-shaped blade causes bleeding.
The perverse design of this spear mirrors the chariot from which it came, a merciless creation that endlessly tortured the Undead."
The Shield Crossbow which can be forged from the same soul reads:
The merciless chariot inflicted agony upon others with utter impunity,
and the crossbow created from its soul strives to protect from possible retribution.
Such descriptions don't bode well for the morality of "executioners". Perhaps the latest example of the same idea: "The Cathedral Evangelist" showed up in DS3.
That enemy erected bodies on wheels , in direct analogy with Mozgus . A fire worshipper, it preferred to set itself on fire and beat people with a bible .
That creates an interesting parallel because "wheel angels" are also called "thrones" and there's a big story in Dark Souls involving thrones and fire .
In DS3 certain runaway lords must be delivered to their thrones, which means setting them on fire, a grim reiteration of The Linking of the Fire that occurred in DS1.
In Bloodborne, The Grand Cathedral is devoted to an altar with a throne on it , which in The Nightmare is replaced by Laurence , a burning Blood Saint.
Placing one on a wheel, on a throne could be what the executioners are all about, thus creating these wheel angels pulling the chariot of god.
The Executioner's Chariot rider was a collector of heads , like Black Executioners , and both enemies may have been involved in the gathering of the dead.
The DS2 Executioners ended up becoming The Skeleton Lords , which are actually amalgams of the dead , something also seen in Bloodborne .
Black Executioners are probably involved in amassing the dead and taking the dead to Yahar'gul or The Labyrinth to an undead existence.
That final boss of SMTIV, "Merkabah, the Throne of God", which I mentioned previously, is a real mythological entity, and is also known as "the chariot of God".
Present in The Book of Ezekiel, Merkabah is a high celestial entity accompanied by so called "Ophanim", wheel-angels or "Thrones" .
Ezekiel's strange meeting with God, accompanied by beings with four heads and wheel beings, has been theorized to describe an extraterrestrial encounter .
"God approaches Ezekiel as the divine warrior, riding in his battle chariot. The chariot is drawn by four living creatures, each having four faces (those of a man, a lion, an ox, and an eagle) and four wings. Beside each "living creature" is a "wheel within a wheel", with "tall and awesome" rims full of eyes all around." - en.wikipedia.org
The chariot of god or throne of god also appears in The Book of Revelation and The Book of Daniel, where God is referred to as The Ancient of Days .
In SMT, both The Ancient of Days and Merkabah are radically religious seraphs, who follow only God's will and are cruel and indifferent to humanity .
"You still will not fall? You are truly the embodiment of filth. Nonetheless... just as darkness is pierced by light, your defeat is part of the natural order of things.
Now learn of the humans' filth and its powerlessness before my light!" - Monologue by the seraph Merkabah as he/she's depicted in Shin Megami Tensei IV
While esoteric thinkers have seen in Merkabah a symbol of man's ascension. In Bloodborne, it may rather be what comes down from "heaven" to crush "filth".
"Now, there is one thing you must know.
By the oath of the League, those who bear its rune will see vermin.
Vermin writhe deep within all filth, and are the root of man's impurity.
…All vermin are to be crushed.
The League exists to expunge all vermin,
ridding us of any trace of human corruption.
And so, until we are rid of all vermin,
you must continue to hunt and kill.
This bloody fate is ours alone.
Do not expect the world to grasp our work…
Members of The League cleanse the streets,
of all the filth that's spread about during the hunt.
Like any half-decent hunter ought to, you know?
Haven't you seen enough of these wretched beasts,
freakish slugs, and mad doctors?
Sentence these fiends to death.
Now you're all set to hunt and kill to your heart's content.
What do you say? Why not join the League?" - Valtr
An important and unexplained symbol of The Healing Church is the giant throne , first encountered in The Grand Cathedral.
Another version of this throne can be found near The Research Hall , and yet another is located in The Nightmare Grand Cathedral.
In The Nightmare Grand Cathedral, the throne is replaced by a shroud , which functions as a rest for the slumbering Laurence .
Throne symbolism can also be found in Yahar'gul, where it adorns gates with imagery of an older man sitting on a throne , ad infinitum.
"I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of Days did sit, whose garment was white as snow,
and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire." - Daniel 7:9
"And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal:
and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne,
were four beasts full of eyes before and behind." - Revelation 4:6
In the Book of Daniel, The Ancient of Days is a manifestation of God on a throne, who manifests to destroy monstrous giants coming from the sea .
In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream, and visions passed through his mind as he was lying in bed.
He wrote down the substance of his dream.
Daniel said: “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me were the four winds of heaven churning up the great sea.
Four great beasts, each different from the others, came up out of the sea. - Daniel 7
“As I looked, “thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat.
His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool.
His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze.
A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him.
Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him.
The court was seated, and the books were opened.
“Then I continued to watch because of the boastful words the horn was speaking.
I kept looking until the beast was slain and its body destroyed and thrown into the blazing fire. - Daniel 7
It is quite possible that all these thrones, and possessed wheels , symbolize Merkabah, and that the shroud is yet another rendering of the same thing.
Merkabah is associated with man's ascension, and in the Bloodborne universe it may also be an idol of extreme intolerance to what is considered "filth".
Even more reason to connect the throne of god to Bloodborne, is that in the Book of Daniel, God on his throne manifests to smite monsters from the sea.
Yharnam as The Demon City "Windham"
"Windham" is the capitol of Midland and a central location in Berserk. It starts out as the city of The Mad King, but is ultimately conquered by The Kushan Emperor.
Due to The Mad King's excessive spending on military expeditions, Windham falls victim to famine and disease , which litter the streets with corpses.
By parallel Yharnam is afflicted a polymorphous defilement, often nameless , at other times called "Ashen Blood Disease " or Scourge of Beasts.
Windham becomes even more grim after the Kushans invade, its citizens executed by the dozens and turned into displays , warnings of Kushan brutality.
Hung corpses are a big part of Windham's scenery . Abundant in Yharnam as well, they appear in Old Yharnam , The Labyrinth and also Hemwick .
The sea of dead attracts crows, while "man beasts " prowl the city. In response to the tragedy, Midland's Arklow Knights infiltrate Windham .
In Yharnam, crocodiles and elephants are replaced by werewolves and overgrown pigs and crows, and not Arklow Knights, but Hunters rush to the rescue.
Windham was home to a horror that endowed women with demonic children . strikingly, the women all had blond hair , mirroring the Pthumerian bloodline.
Another striking detail is that Windham's man beasts are associated with "fog" and also with "nightmare", which is a recurring word in the story arc .
"Fog", eternalized in the form of Fog Gates , is a trademark of the Souls series, though it has received far less storyline attention since Demon's Souls.
In Demon's Souls "colourless deep fog" was indicative of Demons, hence its connection to boss fights, which used to involve a Demon with a Demon's Soul.
It returned in Bloodborne, but in more a subtle role. Deep Fog became Nightmare Fog, and the colourless mist became associated with Messengers .
Another indicator to the importance of fog, is that it appears only marginally in waking world areas , but everywhere in Nightmare areas .
Fog is also connected to to some key elements, like The Hunter's Dream , Lamps and the boss arena of Micolash, Host of the Nightmare (Video).
It may be this grey, colourless fog that constitutes a Nightmare. Such mist may stem directly from anything resembling The Old One , or a DeS Demon .
If true, Nightmare Fog may be like a paranormal reality seeping into the world in the form of mist, an idea analogous to that of Stephen King's "The Mist ".
The Moon Presence is a summoner of Numbing Mist , is associated with the Scourge of Beasts, and is seen manifesting from clouds in concept art .
This fog may be identical to that of the abyssal vortex seen in DS2 . This vortex is composed of wraiths , much like The Abyss of Berserk .
It may in fact be one and the same as "The Dark" and "The Abyss". Like in Berserk this vortex may serve to transport the character to another reality .
In DS3, the cup of the abyssal High Lord Wolnir oozes a darkness - which was initially envisioned to be mist - that teleports players to The Abyss.
The fog that holds Messengers used to be a black cosmic gas , more like the cosmic warp of a Lesser Amygdala or the essence of The Old One .
Bold Hunter Marks - which teleport players back to lamps, utilize this analogous, murky gas , which also embraces those same players when they die .