While I've been awaiting the Dark Souls 3 DLC, Ashes of Ariandel, to arrive I've been playing a lot of Dark Souls 2 and 3 in silly ways in addition to looking for things I may have missed in previous playthroughs.
Well, in my clubs character (and talisman for a little extra healing because I'm using no armors or other weapons) I came across this small thing behind the Cleansing Chapel bonfire at the Cathedral of the Deep.
Why I'm drawn to this is because in the Ashes of Ariandel trailer there's a couple shots of this area with someone offering up a torn piece of something. Could this be one of the ways into the DLC? I was initially thinking that it would be in the Irithyll room with the 4 paintings and the silver knights, but this is looking equally plausible now. On top of that, in the gameplay trailer at the 3:38 mark a lady comes in that looks an awful lot like this statue.
As I said though, it'll probably be nothing, but it's still a potential link.
THE PAINTED WORLD
Director Hidetaki Miyazaki told Polygon that, "It is taking place in the Painted World, but it’s taking place in a different Painted World. However, there are some connections between this Painted World and the one from the original Dark Souls. The reason I decided to return to the Painted World is because it matches with the theme I’m trying to describe in the first DLC. Players should be able to understand the reason as they play the DLC."
I would take this in a couple ways. One I believe to be is an alternate world- like the Dark Firelink Shrine. The reason I use that example is- and I have yet to see anyone else pose this idea- is that I believe the Firekeeper Champion Gundyr failed to protect was Irina of Carim, but in his own world. His soul reads, "Once, a Champion came late to the festivities and was greeted by a shrine without a fire, and a bell that would not toll." I don't believe Untended Graves is necessarily in our past. There are many worlds between the characters- as shown most notably with helping Anri kill Aldrich in her world, helping Sirris kill Creighton, or being invaded by Hodrick after his body is smashed beneath Curse-Rotted Greatwood. It's best explained by Solaire from Dark Souls 1, when he tells us how summoning works. He says, "The flow of time itself is convoluted, with heroes centuries old, phasing in and out. The very fabric wavers, and relations shift and obscure. There's no telling how much longer your world and mine will remain in contact. But, use this, to summon one another as spirits, cross the gaps between the worlds, and engage in jolly co-operation!"
Anyways, back to Untended Graves- you find the Firekeeper's eyes on a Firekeeper body in the same place Irina sits in the normal Firelink Shrine. It heavily suggests that in Gundyr's world she was the one that died. Backing this up is the fact she actually becomes a Firekeeper in our own world if we buy all her miracles and she moves to the tower of bodies behind the Firelink Shrine and sits in the dark.
So what if this Painted World is simply someone else's version, as the names are Ariamis and Ariandel. They're far too similar to be coincidence.
The second way I could think of this is what if we are changing time, as FromSoftware is known for messing with time. What if meddling with the shifting times has altered the paths and subsequently changing the names and properties of the world in the wake.
Maybe this Painted World is from a time before the Deep became corrupted? Such as if the events of this DLC will lead to the Deep becoming full of the dark and gnawing creatures. Perhaps it's an offshoot of that- in a world where the corruption didn't happen, but the flame was dying- leading to a world of cold, which could eventually lead to an era of the Deep.
I don't know, these are just some thoughts I wanted to toss out. I'll need to mull it over and consider some more possibilities for what we might be getting and the hints we got in the trailers are about. Like the Lothric connections in the trailers (the boss characters from the main game), they make me wonder if it could be from a time when the Deep began to spread and infect those from Lothric- thus serving as a bridge in the story.
ONE LAST THING
The attention to details and connections are so damn amazing in these games. Think about the body near the bonfire at the Profaned Capital, it took me forever to place it as Laddersmith Gilligan, and the only reason I recognized him is because I've been playing DS2 again. It makes sense because he's also surrounded by a ton of ladders. Seeing him again brings a really nice call back to the previous game. And what makes it better is it's something many people wouldn't bother to think about- it's just another body laying around. So I'm keeping my eyes peeled for more small touches like this.
And lastly, something that made me laugh.
Not sure how this happened, but it gave me a chuckle.