A man is defined by his ambitions. Before the Iron Crown, all the young lord had was an iron will. Little known and unestablished, the lord held some power, but he wanted a kingdom to match his pride. So with ambition alone, he raised an army and threw his entire might against the kingdom of Venn. Venn was not a desirable region, but even so, the lord lost much to acquire it. He wrested this small throne from its previous ruler and became the king. This act left him enfeebled. He had sacrificed everything for this kingdom and was discovering that ambition without wisdom is like a bird without wings. How could he hope to hold this kingdom? Ambition had inspired his subjects to action, yes. But ambition alone cannot run a country, it cannot substitute the qualities a ruler needs. The king was short-sighted; he knew little, and his story likely would’ve ended here But then, from the east, a powerful warrior came. A man wielding a bewitched sword so powerful, it was unknown whether he controlled the blade or whether the blade controlled him. This man was Alonne. Sir Alonne stands apart from the other characters in our story. The others are defined by their wants and ambitions, but Alonne has none to speak of. Thus, it’s impossible to say why he came to this land, or what he saw in the kingdom. Perhaps he thought he was destined for great things or perhaps they became like brothers. Whatever his desires, Alonne decided to serve the short-sighted king. His wisdom was a light in the darkness and the king was reborn as a powerful ruler. With wisdom and pride, Alonne and the king did a great many things. Their rule was defined by their strength and the kingdom was shaped by their union. The king’s army was revolutionised under Alonne, with the men mastering great bows and slender blades, wielded in an eastern fashion. The king, as many kings before him, found himself enraptured with fire and all it represented. He appointed a master of pyromancy, a man named Eygil, who would go on to grant fire a will of its own. Eygil adored his bald-headed king and was awarded a great ornamental minotaur helm. The minotaur, half man, half bull, would come to symbolise the stubbornness and beastial strength of the king and his kingdom. For even with Alonne’s counsel, the king remained short-sighted and reckless. So, like a bull, he charged ahead, savouring his momentum. To sustain his country, the king sacrificed the land. Past the hunting grounds in the Copse, lay a place called ‘Harvest Valley’. The king exploited the land here so thoroughly that poison seeped from the earth, but it mattered not. The stubborn king persisted, adapting his workers and driving the slaves ever-harder. The bounty of ore found here was high, so the kingdom became wealthy and well-supplied. Within the valley, great relics of times long past were uncovered. Kingdoms from long ago, sunken and forgotten to time. A warning existed here, but the king was blind to it. He did not seek to learn from past kingdoms, buried beneath the earth. Rather, he intended to profit from their passing. And so when the scorching iron scepter was found, everything changed. With heat, you can fuel, create, destroy; it’s one of the simplest forms of energy and thus it’s one of the most useful. With this artefact, the King of Venn revolutionised his kingdom. Smelting iron became trivial, there were no bounds to what he could create. Iron melted, shifted and was brought under his control, as if he held sway over the forces of life and creation. The kingdom’s warrior’s were equipped in iron armament. Hulking great suits of armour were brought to life. The king curated a palace made entirely of iron. And some legends even say that he tried to create a dragon out of iron. Driven by the same-fated lunacy as the kings before him. Presiding over his great age, the Iron King knew unparalleled power; none could stand in his way and any who would try would be crushed under his might. Be that as it may, the Iron King still faced challenges. All the iron in the world could not cure the undead curse, but not for lack of trying on the king’s part. He sought to shackle and imprison all undead in iron, converting the Copse to a hunting ground and prison, where undead, not animals, were the prey. It seemed fruitless, however, and the hollowed undead continued to multiply even within the ranks of those hunting them. In his rage, the Iron King built a great circular colosseum to torture the undead. They were ritually let out of their cells to be run down by the executioner chariot. Unable to escape and unable to die, the punishment for offending the Iron King’s might was harsh, even if undeserved. These things became reflections of the king’s conceit; hallmarks of his reign. At this moment, a terrible women, who would be his ruinous queen, set course for the kingdom. And then, at the peak of the Iron Kingdom’s rule, his friend walked away. Alonne was gone; his distaste left unspoken. The king was alone. How had Alonne dared to leave him? The king’s might was iron, his right to rule unchallenged. He could not suffer the indignity. Would not. So he tracked his old friend to a far-off keep. He saw that Alonne had brought some of the king’s own men with him and had posted them as guards, knowing the king would come after him. But the Iron King had grown powerful and Alonne’s knights were no match for his might. At the top of the tower, Alonne waited for his king to meet him. Once, the question the king might’ve asked was, “Why?” “Why had Alonne left him?” But he had been king for a long time and his arrogance had grown. So when the two men clashed, their ties were forgotten. They had come far together, ever since the days when the Iron King was just a small lord, on a small throne. Alonne had helped him become the man he was today and he paid dearly for it. For, once Alonne would’ve avoided every blow, but now it was the king who overwhelmed the teacher. Alonne took his own life in the end, dying with honour instead of to the king’s hand. The memory we experience doesn’t end with Alonne’s death, as you would expect. When we step inside a memory, we see it through to the end. The king walked into the adjacent room after a long departed and what he saw there would steal this memory in his mind forever. In this room, Alonne had kept the king’s old throne, a reminder of the king’s humble origins. The keepsake from the time, he had travelled to the king’s land, offering his servitude and friendship to the man who would become the Iron King. The memory ends here. Nurtured properly, man’s ambition allows us to take flight. On ambition’s back, we reach greater heights and kingdoms are elevated alongside the man. But if man looks back and sees not where he has been, then on which path does he travel? The Iron King had lost his way and now he had lost a friend and mentor as well. From this point onwards, we see evidence that this event had broken the man. After a long departed, the Iron King named his knights after Sir Alonne, for they were loyal to him, more than the Iron King. He took Alonne’s armour back to his home, enshrining it and locking it below his current towering, iron throne. This bonfire, below the throne, came to be known as ‘Smelter Throne Bonfire’. His pyromancer, Eygil, had experimented with giving fire a will of its own. And the king had become adept at infusing suits of iron with souls. Now, towards the end of his rule, he crafted one more: a terrifying suit of black iron that would come to represent the demons he now held. It’s implied he infused it with Alonne’s soul, for the demon he created took on the combat style of his old friend, battling with inhuman leaps into the air and the ability to infuse its sword with fire, by plunging it into his belly, just like Alonne had done. The lore is unclear on what happens next. Some of it says that the earth spouted fire, with a smelter demon arising from the flames. It says the short-sighted king was incinerated by the creature in one swing and his castle devoured in a sea of flames. The other side of the lore says that the king hurled himself into the magma, perhaps in agony over what he had done to his friend. Though, in the end, the queen of ruin arrives at the kingdom and finds no king or country. The short-sighted king had sunk below the scorching iron and his iron rule sunk with him. If this video added a bit of depth to the experience you had with the game, then let me know. That’s my goal here on Youtube. 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