At first, there was darkness. The world was unformed, covered by grey mists, barren wastes, and the endless, great arch-trees; dead and devoid of leaf. Then, in the heart of the darkness, there was fire. A brief spark in the endless dark, the great conflagration known as the first flame, birthed life, light, and warmth into the void. From the first flame, came the first souls, and the first beings, hollow and dead, came to claim them. Gwyn, the Lord of Sunlight, claimed the first, and raised men from the ash at the great depths of the world. Nito, the first of the dead, claimed the second, and gave movement to the dead things themselves. The witch of Izalith, claimed the third, and raised and spawned the race of demons to master the arts of fire. These three mighty lords, possessors of the ultimate souls, warred upon the everlasting stone dragons; the custodians of the bleak and timeless world around them. A dragon by the name of Seath the Scaleless betrayed his own kind and claimed a soul for himself, slaughtering his kin. Finally, as the world was taken from the dragons, marking the end of the Age of Dark and the dawn of the Age of Fire, a strange, dark soul; a mere flickering ember in the ashes of the first flame, was taken by the one known only as The Pygmy.
Now the fire has all but faded. The power of the lords wanes, and the empires they cling to, built atop the great arch-trees in the light of the sun, crumble around them. Among the races of men has appeared an omen. The accursed Darksign. Those branded with it are imprisoned within their own flesh, doomed to rise again and again without death, eventually driven mad and becoming "Hollow". As more and more men are afflicted with the Darksign, they are corralled and led to the North to await the end of the world. As the flame dies out, the darkness closes in, and the world threatens to return to the Age of Dark once more.