In the trailers, artwork, and promotional artwork for Dark Souls II, the Bearer of the Curse is depicted wearing the Faraam Set as well as using the Longsword and Spear (dual-wielding) along with the Golden Wing Shield as their main weapons. In the intro video of Dark Souls II, the Bearer of the Curse is seen wearing the Imported Set.
In-game, like the Chosen Undead from Dark Souls, the Bearer of the Curse's appearance and attributes are determined by the player, including their face/body, sex, origin, starting class and equipment.
Also, like the Chosen Undead, the character's personality is portrayed as an archetypal "silent character" who doesn't have any sort of spoken dialogue during the game (aside from making some grunts or cries whenever they are hurt or killed).
The Bearer of the Curse became undead at some point, hollowing until they had no recollection of their former life. Desperate to find a cure, they were drawn to the walled off kingdom of Drangleic, where a cure to the undead curse was rumored to exist. Journeying through a portal and guided by a Fire Keeper, the Bearer of the Curse found themselves in the Things Betwixt. Finding there a hut with the remaining Fire Keepers, the Bearer of the Curse is made to remember more of their past and is cured of their hollowing through a Human Effigy. The Bearer is then guided towards Majula to seek the Emerald Herald.
The Herald, in turn, tells the Bearer of the Curse to seek the king, Vendrick, to find their answers and claim the throne, but warns that the Bearer will never find the king with a soul so pallid, instructing them to seek out the four Great Ones and to claim their power.
Four Great Ones
The Bearer of the Curse sets out to find the Four Great Ones.
Through the rotunda in Majula, the Bearer of the Curse makes their way to the ancient domain of the Old Iron King, whose hubris led to his death beneath the molten iron, where he was possessed by the soul of one whose name must not be repeated. Making their way through the king's old hunting grounds and the now poison-filled valley surrounding the castle, the Bearer of the Curse finds and slays the Old Iron King, claiming his soul for their own.
By way of ship or on the wings of an eagle, the Bearer of the Curse makes their way to The Lost Bastille, a forgotten prison where the Lost Sinner is held. The Lost Sinner was imprisoned for the sin of attempting to relight the First Flame. The Bearer of the Curse fights their way down into the very bottom of the prison, where they face the Sinner and take her soul for their own.
At the bottom of the gaping hole in Majula lurks things long forgotten. Here, The Rotten, a hideous amalgamation of corpses awaits. After making their way through The Gutter, a place where unwanted things have been discarded, the Bearer of the Curse faces down the Rotten itself in its lair, slaying it and claiming its soul for their own.
After freeing Rosabeth of Melfia from her petrification, the path is now open from Majula to Brightstone Cove Tseldora. The Brightstone Cove Tseldora once housed a prosperous town, grown rich after its founder, the Duke Tseldora, discovered its massive crystal deposits. The Duke was always a peculiar figure however, obsessed with spiders, and one day, a massive spider known as The Duke's Dear Freja and her countless children overran the town, and the Duke was never seen again. Fighting their way to the spider's lair, the Bearer of the Curse slays the beast and finds the final Great Soul hidden in her lair.
When about to light the last primal bonfire, the Bearer of the Curse is surprised by the Scholar of the First Sin, who emerges from the bonfire. The Scholar asks if they want to "shed the curse", unless they have already joined the crestfallen, he tells them that there are two paths: to inherit the order of the world, or destroy it. He admits that very few have come this far, and yet the Bearer's journey is far from over. The Scholar asks of the Bearer to seek Vendrick, "he who almost became a true monarch", for he will guide their way. After this, the Scholar will disappear, letting the Bearer of the Curse light the primal bonfire.
Now with the strength of the four Great Ones, the Bearer of the Curse may pass through the Shrine of Winter to reach Drangleic Castle, the stronghold of Vendrick himself. The Emerald Herald awaits outside, directing the Bearer of the Curse to enter the castle. There is no trace of the King inside the castle however, instead the Bearer of the Curse finds his Queen, Nashandra. Nashandra tells the Bearer of the Curse that Vendrick was less of a king than one might imagine, and that he never took the true throne. She will direct the Bearer of the Curse to the Undead Crypt, to put an end to Vendrick.
After traveling through the Shrine of Amana, the Bearer of the Curse will come upon the Undead Crypt, a place that has stood since the dawn of time, and where men and gods alike have been interred. Here, Vendrick came along with his loyal knights and his right hand, Velstadt, the Royal Aegis. Many servants of Vendrick have come to find the King, only to meet their end at the hands of the Royal Aegis and the King's knights.
Upon descending from the elevator, the Bearer of the Curse will stumble upon the Scholar once more if met at the last primal bonfire. The Scholar will ask the Bearer if they still desire peace, if answered yes, he will tell them that Vendrick is here and not far off. He will state that the player was neither born with greatness nor granted it by the fates, before once again disappearing into the flames.
The Bearer of the Curse fights their way through the knights and defeats Velstadt, finding Vendrick at last. The King, however, has been reduced to a hollow, wandering the grounds aimlessly. The Bearer may choose to put the king out of misery, or leave him to wander endlessly. Here, the Bearer of the Curse finds the King's Ring, and the Emerald Herald, who tells them that the ring will open the way to the far east, where the Bearer of the Curse must journey next. She proceeds to warn the Bearer that if they continue on this path, they too will one day walk these grounds without really remembering why.
Should the Bearer of the Curse seek her council, Nashandra too will direct the Bearer of the Curse to follow the symbol of the King.
Following the symbol of the King will lead the Bearer of the Curse to Aldia's Keep. Aldia was the King's brother, who sought to create dragons, and has long since disappeared. Journeying through the Keep, home to the results of Aldia's mad experiments, will eventually bring the Bearer to the Dragon Aerie, where they will find the Emerald Herald awaiting them. She directs the Bearer to the very top of the Aerie, the Dragon Shrine, to seek the Ancient Dragon. She claims that the dragon has been watching over the world for aeons, and awaits the Bearer of the Curse.
Once arriving at the Dragon Shrine bonfire, the Scholar arrives once more. He will reveal that he is in fact Aldia, the elder brother of Vendrick. Aldia says that he "sought to shed the yoke of fate, but failed" and that he now only awaits an answer. He asks of the Bearer of the Curse to "seek the Throne, seek light, dark and what lies beyond", for the last time, he'll vanish into the flames, allowing the Bearer of the Curse to light the bonfire.
The Ancient Dragon will give the Bearer the Ashen Mist Heart, which allows one to peer into the memories of things long withered. Should the Bearer of the Curse again seek out Nashandra's council, she will warn that the dragon is a false deity and is in fact no more than a prop. Still, she will direct the Bearer of the Curse to go to the Forest of Fallen Giants, to use the Ashen Mist Heart to peer into the Giants' memories.
The Three Crowns
Should the Bearer of the Curse choose to do so, they may use the Ashen Mist Heart on Vendrick's belongings in the Undead Crypt. Doing so will allow the Bearer to speak directly to the king as he was before he hollowed. Bitter and resigned to defeat, the king will council the Bearer of the Curse, warning them of the futility in seeking fire, of the dark that lies within them, and of the children of Manus, Father of the Abyss He will tell the Bearer to seek three crowns of power, belonging to fallen kings.
The Bearer of the Curse will journey through the Black Gulch to find the fallen kingdom of Shulva, Sanctum City, once ruled by the Sunken King. The king ruled the city, centred around the worship of a slumbering dragon known as Sinh, until his kingdom was invaded by the Drakeblood Knights lead by Sir Yorgh, who sought to claim the dragons blood. Sir Yorgh slew the king, and awoke the dragon, which proceeded to kill him and lay waste to the city with its poison. The Bearer of the Curse slays Elana, the Squalid Queen, a child of the Abyss, and the dragon Sinh to claim the Sunken King's crown.
Next, the Bearer of the Curse returns to the Old Iron Kingdom, to seek the Old Iron King's crown. Finding the kingdom under the sway of another child of the Abyss, Nadalia, Bride of Ash, the Bearer braves their way through the ruined towers to find the Fume Knight, who guards the crown of the Old Iron King.
Finally, the Bearer of the Curse travels to Frozen Eleum Loyce, once ruled by the Ivory King. Built to contain the Old Chaos, the city was abandoned and froze over when its king vanished into the chaos. Guided by the last child of the Abyss, Alsanna, Silent Oracle, the Bearer of the Curse seeks out the remaining knights of Eleum Loyce to gain their help in braving the Old Chaos. Finding the Burnt Ivory King there, the Bearer of the Curse defeats him and claims his crown.
Once the Bearer of the Curse has found all three crowns of old, along with Vendrick's own crown, the fallen king will create a new crown for the Bearer of the Curse that makes them immune to the hollowing effects of the curse. Bidding the Bearer to seek strength, and asking them whether allowing the flames to fade is truly their only choice, the king sends the Bearer of the Curse on their way.
Using the Ashen Mist Heart on the corpse of the giant Jeigh will allow the Bearer of the Curse to enter the giant's memories and fight the Giant Lord during the final days of the war between Drangleic and the Giants. Upon defeating the Giant Lord, they will acquire the Giant's Kinship which will allow them to claim the Throne of Want.
Throne of Want
Below Drangleic Castle, the Throne of Want awaits. Here the Emerald Herald will meet the Bearer of the Curse one final time, declaring her journey completed. She warns that if the Bearer of the Curse proceeds, Nashandra, knowing the Bearer of the Curse will link the fire, and coveting the power of the First Flame and the Great Soul, will come for them. She urges the Bearer of the Curse to put an end to Nashandra.
After defeating the Throne Watcher and Defender, the Bearer of the Curse will be greeted by Nashandra, now in her true form, as a child of Manus, Father of the Abyss. The Bearer of the Curse defeats Nashandra.
If Vendrick is defeated before Nashandra, and the Bearer of the Curse has spoken to Aldia in the three mentioned locations, answering yes to both questions asked by Aldia, after Nashandra's defeat, Aldia will appear saying that "many monarchs have come and gone" and requires the Bearer of the Curse's answer as "conqueror of adversities", Aldia will then test the Bearer of the Curse to see if they are truly worthy of receiving the throne by confronting the Bearer of the Curse himself. The Bearer of the Curse defeats Aldia. After Aldia, The Scholar of the First Sin is defeated, the Bearer of the Curse is given two endings.
- Proceed to the Throne: In this ending, the Bearer of the Curse will accept their part in the cycle of the world, and take the throne. Doing so means that they will either sacrifice themselves to link the flame, or allow the flame to continue fading and become the Dark Lord. Which the Bearer of the Curse chooses is unknown.
- Leave the Throne: In this ending, the Bearer of the Curse rejects the throne, and bitterly walks away, seemingly to seek another, more permanent way to end the curse.
The homeland of the Bearer of the Curse can be selected, depending of which class they choose.