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|“||What, still here? Hand it over. That thing, your dark soul. For my lady's painting.||„|
|~ A corrupted Gael confronting the Ashen One|
|“||Ahhh. Is this the blood? The blood of the Dark Soul?||„|
|~ Gael's last words as the Dark Soul's power flows through him.|
Slave Knight Gael, also known as Red Hood, is the main antagonist and final boss in Dark Souls III: The Ringed City and a major antagonist in the Dark Souls series. He is an Ancient Warrior and an incarnation of the Dark Soul and acts as the final boss of the Dark Souls videogame franchise.
He was voiced by Stephen Boxer.
Gael was formerly a Slave Knight during the Age of Fire, those of which lived in times where the gods were still prevalent. Possibly residing in the painting, he acted as some parental figure to The Painter, who calls him her uncle.
It is believed that he departed from the painting after she was locked away, taking the rotted remains of the exterior of the painting, acting as a key to the Painted World, with him, attempting to find another Ashen One that could complete the prophecy that would burn away the rotting world so that the Painter could replace it.
He later sought the blood of the Dark Soul as a pigment for the new world the Painter could create.
Ashes of Ariandel
After the Painter was locked away, Gael took the rotted remains of the physical painting with him, attempting to find another Ashen One to complete the prophecy that would burn away the rotted world so that The Painter could replace it. To this end, he travels to the Cathedral of the Deep, praying for divine aid in his mission to a presumed statue of Velka, Goddess of Sin, and "mother of the Forlorn". When he encounters the Ashen One, he is overjoyed to have completed his search, and requests the Ashen One to "show the (Painter girl) flame" that would burn the rot (of the painted world) away. Once they come into contact with the piece of the painting, the Ashen One is pulled into the painted world.
In the fight with Father Ariandel and Sister Friede, the flame in the former's lordvessel-shaped bowl reignites, and the Painter comments that she will wait until she can see it before beginning the painting. In order to do that, she needs to have the pigment that Gael ventures out to retrieve, that is "colored like the Dark Soul of man", and she wonders whether or not he has found it already.
The Ringed City
Gael's mission to find the Dark Soul leads him to the Ringed City where he finally meets the Pygmy Lords whose blood would serve as a suitable pigment, but their blood has dried out over the ages to his shock, and is therefore useless to him. Determined to complete his mission, Gael slaughters the Pygmies, cutting their throats and consuming their Dark Souls, or even a large amount of Humanity, in a desperate attempt to create his own Blood of the Dark Soul within himself. However, he acknowledges that he is no Champion of Ash, like the Ashen One, and that the Dark Soul would likely ruin him. In consuming the Dark Souls held by the Pygmy Lords, his body is mutated, causing him to grow in size and warp his mind, and leave a large hole in his side, akin to that of a Dark Sigil, one, unlike the Darksign, is not sealed by fire. When the Ashen One finally reunites with Gael, he has been corrupted by the Dark Soul, draining the portions from the surviving Pygmies. He spots the player and demands their portion of it, attacking them in a rage when they refuse. Using the power of the Dark Soul itself, Gael fights against the Ashen One and is ultimately defeated. With Gael finally struck down, the Ashen One obtains Gael's blood to use as a pigment for the Painter to create a new painting.
Gael was in his human days a wise and kind person who would go to great lengths to protect and help those he cared for, willing to put his life at risk in his quest to save the world of Ariandel, but over an unknown period of time of fruitless searching, Gael started to become increasingly desperate, resorting to pleading before an altar for salvation.
When the Ashen One meets him, Gael is overjoyed, stating he needs them to help him save Ariandel, and together with them, Gael may face down Sister Friede and Father Ariandel, showing he was more than willing to kill the two if it meant fulfilling his mission.
Later on, Gael and the Ashen One venture to the Ringed City in hopes of finding a suitable pigment for The Painter, standing together against the Demon Prince where he encounters the Pygmy Lords, whose blood would be perfect for creating a new Painted World, only to be shocked once he learns that over the centuries their blood has dried up, making it useless.
Running out of time and options, Gael resorts to slaughtering the mostly defenseless Pygmies, drinking what little was left of their Dark Soul tainted blood, despite being fully aware that the blood would ruin him, showing his dedication to his Lady.
Left horribly mutated, insane, and crippled, Gael attacks the Ashen One in a ravenous, bestial manner in an attempt to take their portion of the Dark Soul. When the first phase of the fight ends, Gael bleeds the blood of the Dark Soul, showing that his purpose has been fulfilled, as you will be able to take his blood to the Painter. Now lacking a purpose, Gael goes hollow, and stands tall, unaffected by his injuries, and completely under the influence of the Dark Soul. Upon delivering the Blood of the Dark Soul to the Painter, it is confirmed that it can be used as pigment. In death, Gael had succeeded in his mission, his sacrifice allowing a small part of the world to live on following the end of the Age of Fire.
- If the player instead enters the Ringed City through the Kiln of the First Flame bonfire, Gael leaves the Cathedral of the Deep, leaving the painting piece on the altar.
- Gael can be summoned for the boss fights against Sister Friede (only after the first phase) and the Demon Prince.
- Gael's summon sign for the Sister Friede boss fight is unique as the player is not required to be embered to summon him.
- Lightning that strikes the area during the third phase only damage Gael by a single hit point.
- Gael can be staggered for a visceral attack, but only if his head had been hit enough times.