My first death was excruciating; the pain of the thief’s blade was sharp, and blood flowed freely from my throat. However, the pain of the knife paled in comparison to the sign burning itself into my back. This, I feared more than death. The curse has claimed me, doomed me to an eternity of death and rebirth, of darkness and fire. I laughed at the absurdity of it. Eternal hell over a coin purse. In my dying breaths I saw the fear in thief's eyes, and the weakness of his miniscule soul. My body grew limp, then I finally died.

The fire was impossibly hot. I moaned and writhed in the heat, yet the same flame filled me with ecstasy and life. The flames consumed me with its infernal maw. The pain was indescribable, not even the pain of my own death was this intense. It didn’t burn, no. It tore. It ripped my flesh into its composite parts, it broke me down until nothing but ash and bone remained. Then I was born again. The pain was replaced with comfort. The light was replaced with darkness. I was reborn, but I knew this would not be the last time. The bones of the undead; now my brethren, fueled this unnatural fire. In life I knew little of the undead curse, simply that it was something to be feared, something that turned the strongest willed of men into shambling corpses, with only two things in mind: souls and fire. I heard rumors of these bonfires, lit by the first flame, all those millennia ago; and fueled by the humanity of those afflicted.

I can no longer remember the faces of those I loved. It seems eons ago, but I have no way of knowing. I have not spoken to another human; undead or not in an eternity. Maybe they have listened to the call of the curse, listened to the call of the powerful souls and the intense fire infinitely far away. I am so lonely now. Not even the cawing of Velka’s crows keep me company, they left when the bones were picked clean years ago. What if I am the only one to still have my sanity? Even so, the urge is strong, I can not resist it for much longer.

This rusty and broken sword is all that protects me from the hollows. I can no longer remember where I had found it. Perhaps I have always had it. Was I once a proud knight? No, that doesn’t seem right. I must have pillaged it in in my journey; my journey without end. No no no… I must be close. There are more undead, more hollows, than I have ever seen. I pointlessly cut crippled being down. It isn’t even a mercy to kill them. Death is all they know. The one constant since the gods abandoned us.

I have lost count of how many times I have died a long time ago. Death is just a minor obstacle for those afflicted. Souls are all that matter now. Souls; and the fire. Sometimes I stare into the fire, and I remember a face. A face unmarred by the effects of hollowing. Not an undead, a human face. A beautiful woman's face. A face with no name, but one that seems so familiar. My tears sizzle and evaporate in the fire.

For the first time on my journey, I came across a decrepit man with a loose grasp on his sanity. He told stories of a place of legend, a place with many great and powerful souls, a city of kings and gods and heroes. He explains that his land’s time is twisted and broken, great warriors known only in legend, grand long dead kings known for their wisdom and kindness, and even the everlasting dragons of the oldest and most ancient legends are all common sights in this land. Perhaps this is where the curse intends to lead me? Or maybe they are just children’s tales.

Writing is the only thing that keeps me sane. Sometimes I pretend that this tattered bundle of paper is a person. It feels almost like I’m telling someone about my quest. I used to tell someone stories I think. Stories of the gallant knights of the god of sunlight. A brave warrior who sacrificed himself to hold off the abyss. The sun’s elegant blade in the darkness, her gold and silver daggers tracing light where none shined. A legendary archer, who despite his blindness, cast aside the foul bigotry of giants being dumb useless brutes. And the captain of these proud and kind warriors, who single handedly slew dragons with his great spear. Oh how his face would glow at such stories, but now I can not even remember what it looked like.

The city that surrounds me is in ruins. The cursed own this land now. Great towers are green with ivy, the homes of families are nothing but scattered rubble, and I can no longer hear the screams of the hollow’s victims. I think this was once a grandiose center of trade, exotic goods and people coming from strange lands. A city where the poor would come to get rich, and the rich would come to get poor. Now the only goods here are death and rot, neither of which are exotic. Could it be that the land itself is cursed?

The darksign is an ancient evil thing. It would corrupt great kings and peasants alike. There are even obscure stories that even the eternal dragons that ruled before the Lord Souls were discovered could not escape its grasp. It was told of in old and terrible tales, used more to scare errant children to bed than to be taken seriously by the scholars of Vinheim. After all, they were just old wive’s tales, weren’t they?

The hollows are cruel imitations of life. The husks pretend to be human, but all they are is puppets now. They even act human, sometimes, acting out their old lives in macabre plays. They cling to their ancient habits, so they can still hope in their shriveled hearts that they are still human. I know this. I know this because I do the same.

Each death I feel my sanity slip. my memory fails me and i become more and more a beast of instinct is this what it means to become hollow?

I write less and less. it has been months since the last time. it is hard to write now. Every word is a struggle to grasp. Writing isnot important anyway. all I need is souls.

The souls fuel me, they are the only thing that feed my lifeless body. The bigger the soul the more it powers me. every soul I consume fills my body with ecstasy. souls I need more souls

souls of undead no longer fuel me. I need bigger souls. the brand burns me, punishs me for not feeding it. It is too much to stand. I must reach this land of legend, I must find more souls

the souls are good here. did I make it? the souls are so tasty mmm this must be it i made it im ade it i made it

hehe i found a good soul. this soul is nice. more souls . more. more moremoremoremore I NEED MORE

what was my name?

wat was it?!?


i ned soul souls givme soul whydont u givme soul where is souls

(unintelligible scribbles)

The hollow wandered, but not aimlessly. He searched for something: something that everyone had; but was so, so rare. His desire would never be sated however. His desire for souls was too great, and his desire to be human was even greater. His bony, decrepit body creaked and shuffled, the darksign glowing faintly beneath his papery skin. he was barely able to support his miniscule weight. He was dressed in tattered rags that might have once been fine clothing, and dragged a broken sword behind him. In his left hand he clutched a small ruined notebook close to his body. It was not rare for a hollow to hang tightly to habits they had in life. He traveled thousands of miles from his homeland, yet his quest was still not over. For this was the nature of the curse; a journey without end.

For those interested, this takes place in the universe of From Software's Dark Souls series. I seriously recommend any one interested in gaming to check these masterpieces out. I will also link VaatiVidya's youtube channel, he has some great videos about the lore and background. More