I was always pretty interested in what exactly is worshipped by the Way of the White. Clearly, they worship the gods and seek to serve them by kindling the flames that sustain their gods. But how do members see themselves?
Rhea was a very interesting character in Dark Souls, because she didn't say much. Her life definitely took a turn for the worst after becoming undead, and she clearly hates her mission and despairs on her purpose in life. But I was always interested in her "farewell" to you when you talk to her. She says "Vereor Nox".
Google searches would turn this into "I fear the night" or "The night is feared", or something along those lines. Unfortunately, this phrase actually has some ambiguous latin in it. Vereor is a deponent verb, i.e., it looks like it's passive but is actually active. It is the verb for "to fear". For those who know latin, though, understand that latin verbs are conjugated to fit their subject. Vereor is the first person conjugation of the verb, translating to "I fear". This always confused me, because Nox is in the nominative form. While linking sentences spout two nominative objects, the verb for fearing cannot be part of a linking sentence. This means one thing! The subjects are the same, and the reflexive direct object is gapped, a common latin practice. This would mean the translation would be "I, the Night/Darkness, fear myself". I would like to point out this may still not be the case, as medieval and church latin don't always correspond to true latin, and it could also be a bad translation. However, I like this version best :)
This would be such a cool revelation to the way we understand the Way of the White, that they understand that humanity harbors the Dark Soul and fears it, feeding the fires in order to stave off the percieved evil within every human. This also explains their undead hunts, as they would percieve the undead that weren't serving the church to be the heathens who would disrupt the order between light and dark, as the purpose of the undead is to feed the bonfires. This would correspond to Vaati's theory which paints Nito as an important aspect of the Undead Curse and the Way of the White, where Nito robs humans of permanent death so that the undead have to continually feed their humanity to the bonfires. Vaati also explains that this is why Paladin Leeroy helps you to get the Right of Kindling that Pinwheel stole but tries to kill you when you approach Nito. It also explains why Nito's covenat is about spreading as much death as possible.
Whew! Glad I got that out! What do you people think? Dark Souls 2 will no doubt elaborate on this somewhat, but I figured I'd clear up some of the confusion on the phrase "Vereor Nox".
Also since the way of white seek to kindle the flames thus prolonging the age of fire and delaying the age of humanity. Since humanity is derived from the dark soul the age of humanity could very well also be the age of darkness. Personally I beleive that "Vereor Nox" means something like "I fear the dark" or "the dark is feared". Which would fit being that the way of white seeks to delay the age of humanity/darkness may do so because they fear it and thats why they use the phrase Vereor Nox
might mean nothing. but there is also a phrase (looked it up since i heard it wrong) called veneor nox. which means "to hunt the darkness". which also fits. considering it is only a tiny line away, it could be a tiny joke.
Never bothered to say anything on a wiki before...
As a writer (albeit currently unpublished...) I think it is quite possible that the use of Vereor Nox is meant to have multiple related meanings for the Way of White--and perhaps it's enemies as well, in an ironic sense. Writers commonly prefer to have more than merely a single reason for something--if a detail can multitask, then the layers of meaning in one's text become both more intertwined and filled with meaning. Since it's a single detail tying multiple concepts together, it also allows the text to become more relevent to itself and the concepts it echoes. To summarize the comments I've seen in this thread (and my own brief research into the phrase; which brought me here).
I fear the night. I, the dark, fear myself. I revere the night. I, the dark, respect myself.
The Way of White--including it's Undead members--fear the Undead and the Age of Dark, but others such as the Darkwraiths embrace them. The PC himself also gets to choose his path between them--does he seek to preserve the Age of Fire, or usher in the Dark? If the PC were to speak the phrase "Vereor Nox," what would he mean?
Of course, it's up to each player to decide who they agree with and what they want to do. Fight to preserve what's left, or to renew its form? To serve the interests of others, or his own? Maybe these things are only ever implied, but that is part of the beauty of such an austere storyline--and the appeal of the silent protagonist, who allows us to insert our own feelings and desires into the story.
Now, one can easily (and with legitimacy) argue that this phrase only applies to the Way of White--especially since they are the ones who use it. Therefore, the implication that the Darkwraiths could use it too is easily nullified--in theory. But I do want to point out that this is a game of Disparity in opposing forces--and in such situations, one gains form only through the existence of the other. That is this world's creation story, after all. And there is a curious phenomenon to which I'd love to know the name if it has one: to deny something is also to reaffirm it. If not its literal existence, then at least the concept. The Way of White made the phrase Vereor Nox a trademark of their covenant, but it's dual nature of fear and reverence firmly establishes a link with the enemies of the Way of White even if they themselves do not use it.
This has probably gone on too long already, but the last thing I wanted to mention was in response to fear and worship possessing the same root--while the idea of worshipping something in order to be spared its horror is a valid and probably accurate idea in some cases, I suspect there's more to it than that. For example, in some cultures, fear is also related to wisdom--either its product or its root. Regretably, no matter what the original meaning was of philosophies combining fear, worship and wisdom, any doctrine containing these attributes is twisted easily enough to serve the ends of those who wish to control other people. It doesn't mean the doctrine itself is bad--merely that someone who desires power over others will take advantage of any opening they can find.
Ah, I wrote such a long message and forgot the most important part!
I want to thank the original poster for such an informative and thought provoking message! It reminds me of why I began to like Dark Souls in the first place, and answers a question that's gnawed at me since nearly the beginning when Petrus first spoke it.
First of all, how lazy of me to have missed that, being a Latin enthusiast. Having said that, I would like to point out a few things - for those uninterested in TLDR, just see last paragraph.
First of all, it should be noted that there is no possible direct object in the sentence "Veneor nox". As already noted above, "vereor" is a deponent verb, and, having already excluded normal transitivity, it can be either used intransitively (cannot have direct object) or absolutely (transitively, yet with no object or else required). The absence of additional structures (gen.; de + abl.; indirect interrocative clause) that would be mandatory in the former case allows us to infer the correctness of the latter.
An exception to this would be the presence of a hypothetical implicit reflexive pronoun "me", yet dictionaries (true, paper ones, not wishy-washy things like Google Translate) do not report usage of reflexive structures with vereor, i.e. se vereri; let alone implied reflexive structures, i.e. (se) vereri. The most similar thing one could find in them would be acc.+ inf., which is clearly not the case unless we hypothesize ulterior implied elements and so on - a thing quite contrary to normal logic, at least according to me.
Due to all this, I argue that in this sentence "vereor" is used in an absolute manner, which restricts its meaning to either "to show respect/reverece/awe" or "to fear, to feel apprehension" (Oxford Latin Dictionary) - not that there were many other meanings to start with, just that the others always require some form of complement.
On a side note, I would like to point out that the "veneor" spoken of above does not exist, and that the closest things to it would be "veneo" (to come) and "venor" (to hunt), both of which present nothing like "veneor" in their conjugation. I checked out of thoroughness by means of books first and by use of a conjugating program on a CD of a dictionary later.
Next, "nox, noctis" as a noun can have lots of meanings, covering the semantic field of night and darkness, even with more poetic meanings like "underworld" and "death". Its declined form "nox" can only be nominative or vocative, as there is no reference of "nox" having a rarer, case-specific alternate declension. In other words, "nox" is not used as an alternative to normal genitive singular noctis, accusative singular noctem and so on. Hence the sentence would translate as "I, the night, fear" or "Oh night, I fear".
In the first case, the translation sounds quite awkward, at least to me, due to a different usage of implied subjects between English and Latin. A solution to this would be further expanding the appositive nominative to mean "in the role of/as the night" - a thing which is perfectly compatible with Latin grammar.
Still, "nox" can also be an adverb, meaning "during the night/nighttime, overnight..." and so on. The ensuing translation would then be "during the night, I fear" or whatever else comes to one's mind. It should be noted, though, that in this case poetic usages such as "in death" or "in the darkness/underworld" are less likely, at least according to Latin dictionaries covering Latin until early Christian Latin literature.
To sum it up, I suggest that a translation striving to be grammaticaly correct would be something along the lines of:
Spanish comes from latin, and the equivalent would be "venero la noche". Venero is the inflection of the verb "venerar" which has the implicit pronoun "I". So you could say "(Yo) venero la noche" "I revere the night). Also as someone said already the verb venerar stems from the fear to that which is revered. When you want to revere something you dont fear, you "adore".
So i see it quite simply as "I revere the night". Im not an expert in latin but I would dare to say that to make a sentence such as "I, the night, fear myself" you'd need much more than "veneor nox" as in spanish something like that would be "Yo, la noche, me venero"
I'm the Latinist TLDR poster from above, though using a different computer.
I'd like to point out to the Spanish speaker right above that veReor and veNeRor are two different verbs, and that they do not have an Indo-European etymology in common. Despite all this, they share one of their meanings (to revere sb/sthg) and one of their sentence constructions (verb + accusative). Therefore, such a mistake is not that grave - though vereor chiefly means "to fear sb/sthg", and can equate to "to revere sb/sthg" only when intended as "to show reverence to sb/sthg out of fear".
Next, it should be noted that a translation such as "I revere the night" is sintactically impossible, as "nox" is not an accusative (direct object), but instead a nominative (subject), or a vocative at most (o night). As of today, I have found no irregular Latin declension of "nox" as regards the accusative case, so the consideration above can be viewed as valid unless the DS staff admit to using sloppy Latin.
Finally, light can be shed on the "fear myself / me venero" controversy by understanding that Latin and the Romance languages (at least as regards the three I can speak) are not that similar in sentence construction, in fact in Latin:
_Articles do not exist (though a similar effect can be obtained by means of some pronouns, especially in Vulgar Latin);
_An explicit subject is almost never needed as long as the subject can be understood from the context;
_More accurately, almost every part of the sentence can be implied (a potent headache maker for translators): this is the case for reflexive pronouns with some verbs (which is generally indicated in the vocabulary and, yes, "vereor" can be one of these verbs);
Therefore, were the same valid for Spanish too, "I, the night, fear myself" could be translated as "Noche, venero".
I think the members of the Way of the Night revered the giants as gods, being that most of them weren't "Giants" at all, more so the first undead to claim their souls, since souls obviously correspond with size (Vendrick is fucking huge) which also explains why Gwyn could hollow, but with that being said, since he and his fellow giants were the first hollows given life, he would've had first hand experience with how horrifying the dark age is, so he would probably do all he can to subvert it, including making a way for later humans to fear it, making it harder for the chosen undead who would one day bring about the age of dark to accomplish his goal.