Having escaped the asylum a second time, I ventured in another direction this time in hopes of getting rid of this Darksign (cursed mark of the undead). I traveled for miles... losing all my gear and quite possibly most of my sanity as I willingly jumped into a whirlpool of certain death. Only I didn't die, instead I found myself transported to some odd cave and in a nearby tree met a small group of wrinkly old women laughing at how doomed I was.
What's wrong with my face!?
They were retired fire keepers, and they asked if I could even remember who I was. My name was no problem, my profession? I think I was a knight! They laughed, gave me a human effigy to help me resist hollowing, and sent me on my way like "all the others" that had been drawn here. Past a small "tutorial section" I found the small cliff side village of Majula, home to the meek armorer Maughlin, Shalquoir the talking cat, and the blacksmith Lenigrast who misplaces things (like the key to his smithy, his daughter, etc). Up near a shrine of world deaths is a broken warrior. Ser Sad is that you?
To be fair that IS pretty depressing. :P
At least he gives handy tips for newbies, and also offers that I join the Covenant - Way of the Blue. Basically the newbie guild whose members enjoy the protection of "the Blue Sentinels". Sure, why not. The last person here is "the Emerald Herald", who handles all leveling up tasks and the (re)powering of my Estus flask. She instructs me to seek the four great souls to begin my quest. Someone really likes the number four in this game series.