"Perhaps you've seen it, maybe in a dream. A murky, forgotten land…
A place where souls may mend your ailing mind.
You will lose everything, once branded. The symbol of the curse, an
auger of darkness. Your past, your future, your very light.
None will have meaning, and you won't even care. By then, you will be
something other than human. A thing that feeds on souls; A hollow."
The story revolves around a cursed undead character trying to find a cure for their curse. The game's director has mentioned that the sequel is not directly linked to its predecessor story-wise, although they are set in the same world. The director also stated that the concept of time will factor into the story. The story takes place in the land of Drangleic, full of souls to help undead maintain their humanity while fighting the curse of the undead.
The general story follows the cursed Undead, who is drawn to Drangleic by a compulsion. Within, he meets various characters who've also been drawn to Drangleic to collect souls to hold off the curse, which slowly erases the cursed's memories. Upon arriving in Drangleic by a portal of souls, the Undead meets the Fire Keepers, who give vague information about the curse the player is suffering. The player then arrives in Majula, and meets a herald who urges the player to collect souls to save himself from the curse, including the Four Grand Souls. The reasons for this are slowly revealed, with the implication that the curse, the Kindling of the Flame, and the ascension of Drangleic are part of a cycle. The kingdom of Drangleic rose, under the rule of King Vendrick, who slew the four Great Old Ones, and used their souls to build the kingdom. Afterwards, a woman appeared with threats of an invasion from the Giants across the sea. King Vendrick traveled there and slew the Giants, and made the woman his Queen, using the defeated Giants to build Drangleic Castle. However, his new Queen Regent, Nashandra, was born of a shard of the Father of the Abyss (implied to be Manus, the Father of the Abyss from Dark Souls), and she tricked Vendrick into continuing his experiments with controlling souls, eventually leading to his death.
After defeating the Four Grand Souls, the player gains access to Drangleic Castle, finding King Vendrick, now an Undead, and collects his Kings Ring, gaining access to the Dragon Shrine and the last living Dragon, who again gives vague information about the continuation of the cycle, due to fate and want, and gives the player the ability to access the memory of the dead Giants. Within the memories, the player relives some of the events of the war with the Giants, gaining access to the Throne of Want. Within the Throne, the player finds the Emerald Herald, who tells the player she was created by both man and Dragons to escape the cycle, but that the plan failed, and that Nashandra is within the Throne, attempting to corrupt the Shrine of the First Flame to gain the power of the primal flame. After defeating Nashandra, the player sits down on the Throne, while the Herald describes that it is up to the player to either link the Fire once more and continue the cycle, or abandon it.
"You, who link the fire
You, who bear the curse
Once the fire is linked, souls will flourish anew
and all of this will play out again.
It is your choice to embrace or renounce this.
Great sovereign, take your throne.
What lies ahead, only you can see."