Elden Ring: The Untold Story
If you are wondering what is actually happening on the Lands Between, this might give you some enlightenment.
From Software backed up by Bandai Namco have been doing really great job. Their recently released Souls-game Elden Ring has been praised with perfect score by many game critics (i.e. IGN, GameSpot, VG247, etc), while the rest is giving at least 9 out of 10. Not without reasons, this action RPG game offers you gigantic world to explore with no less than 235 bosses (you read it right!) to defeat, and variety of classes (astrologer, prophet, samurai, assassin, etc.) to pick up from, and support for online multiplayer in PvP and PvE. This game is made for everybody who wants real challenges, it welcomes both the old Dark Souls fans as well new players trying this genre.
Entering the vast world of Elden Ring, the player is riddled with a lot of questions: what the hell are we doing in here ? What is Elden Ring ? Who is Queen Marika ? Who are these gods we are fighting ? What is our purpose fighting them ?
Moving forward, this article will reveal many spoilers. You have been warned. Some of these are based on facts stated in the game (written from dialogues, descriptions from weapons, items, bosses, environments etc), while some part of them are not really explained in game and personally collected from people’s opinions on the internet. I tried to stitch them together to get the complete picture of what’s happening.
In order to begin our untold story, we need to start from the source on how it all began.
The game told that Marika was an Empyrian. Means she was born from pure god (means either she comes from single god, or both her parents are gods). Marika came from place outside of Lands Between, called Numen. (Unclear where Numen is). Upon coming to Lands Between, an outer greater God called Greater Will chose Marika as a God that will lead the Lands Between. The Greater Will created Elden Ring as symbol of ultimate power to control the land and installed this into Marika’s body. The power is channeled to whole land through a huge tree called ErdTree. This tree is so huge that you can see from wherever you are on the Lands Between.
Trivia: God or Demigod in Elden Ring has different physical appearance compared with normal human. They are taller and bigger, just like god representation in ancient Egypt.
This is Elden Ring. It consists of many symbols, each representing different power and order. Apparently it can be separated and shattered too.
Although having status of God (or Goddess), Marika was not eternal. Any God or creature in Lands Between could die. If they die, the body becomes runes and the soul goes back to the ErdTree to be reborn. Marika then had a ingenious idea. She took out one part of Elden Ring called Great Rune of Death.
This great rune controls death on Lands Between. Now without it, nobody can actually “die”, and the souls can’t come back to the ErdTree. This includes Marika. She has become Eternal. The Greater Will was not so happy with this incident. This is against their will.
When great rune of death was separated from Elden Ring, Marika hid it under her half-brother’s — Maliketh’s blade to safely guard. We will be back to Maliketh later on.
Marika had a consort, probably one of the strongest man in Lands Between at that time, named Godfrey. As the consort of the God who wields Elden Ring, Godfrey became Elden Lord.
In Elden Ring, the society holds matriarchy. The head of family is a female, and the consort (wife) is the male.
Marika is revered and worshiped on entire lands. Her churches and statues are everywhere. Except on certain areas where the people are worshiping Moon and stars, and on other place (snowy mountains) where the giants are worshiping their Fire Giant God. Marika was not happy. She wanted to be the only one revered.
Marika sent out Godfrey to invade the giants territory and successfully killed their god. One threat to the ErdTree, the Flame of Ruin on top of giant mountain, unfortunately cannot be tamed. Because of this, Marika cursed the giants to be forever guarding the flame from any intruder.
Marika imprisoned Hewg, the best blacksmith to craft god slaying weapons. These are not planned to only kill other “rival” gods, but Marika also planned to use them to kill Elden Beast, the ultimate being which controls Elden Ring inside herself. Elden Beast is put inside Marika together with Elden Ring by the Greater Will, to keep Marika under control if something were to happen.
Marika x Godfrey
After incident with the giants, Marika and Godfrey had a little bit of peace so they can be busy with themselves and begetting some children.
Godwyn was the first child and also Marika’s favorite. He was a handsome and a strong demigod without any flaws. He had golden hair just like Marika. Being so strong, Godwyn not only beat a ferocious thunder dragon Fortissax, but able to make Fortissax to obey him. Perfect is just the perfect word for Godwyn, except for one thing. Godwyn could never be Marika’s successor as a God because he is not an empyrian. Godwyn was not born from pure god, but also from human, Godfrey.
Twin: Morgott and Mohg
Unlike the perfect Godwyn — Morgot and Mohg, Marika’s second twin children did not get the same fate. They were born with horns and look ugly. This was considered as bad omen. Morgott and Mohg then were hidden (read: imprisoned) in a dungeon under the capital city, Lyndell. But the twins survived, later on during the power stale, Morgott took Lyndell as his own, while Mohg erected his own dynasty under ground called Moghwyn.
After served his purpose to take down other God rival, and after the bad omen with the twins, Marika did not feel like having Godfrey beside her anymore. She banished Godfrey out of Lands Between, and took out his grace. This means, Godfrey does not receive power anymore from the ErdTree, and not immortal. Godfrey became the first Tarnished, followed by many other warriors who once followed Godfrey.
If a dead tarnished is given a light of ErdTree grace, they could come back to life again.
In order to fill the emptiness of Marika’s former right hand, Godfrey, Marika needs to find out another strong warrior. But Marika never trusted anybody but herself. She had another ingenious idea, and separating Rune of Order from Elden Ring inside her body.
Great Rune as fragment of Elden Ring, in certain situation can evolve into own living being, with their own mind.
The great rune of order then manifested into a physical being — Radagon, who looks like Marika herself, but the male version.
Radagon’s main task was to lead Marika’s army to conquest another threat, the Carians, who was led by their Queen Rennala from Academy of Raya Lucaria, who all worshiped Moon and stars, instead of Marika. Although lacking in numbers, the sorcerers of Raya Lucaria proved to be a good match for Radagon’s army. In the middle of stalemate, Radagon went himself to fight the Queen Rennala.
In unexpected turn of event, Radagon fell in love with Rennala on the spot, stopped the war and proposed to become Rennala’s husband. Lucky to him, he was accepted.
Queen Rennala and Radagon
While Marika is the expert of incantations, Rennala and her army specialized in sorcery. While spending times with Rennala, Radagon spent his time in learning and perfecting sorcery. At this point, Marika did not have anybody to lead the army to attack back, so she did not do anything.
Radagon and Rennala had children: Radahn and Rykard. And finally, Ranni.
Just like Godwyn, Radahn can be said, a perfect child. Radahn grew to become a very huge and very powerful army leader. He took Godfrey figure as his idol. More about Radahn later on.
Trivia: Radahn mastered gravitational sorcery so that he can sit on top of his small steed that he loves a lot, despite of Radahn’s growing weight.
Unlike Radahn who learns gravity magic, or his mother who learns moon and stars magic, Rykard chose to learn dark magic from Mountain Gelmir. Rykard was a very charismatic leader who had a lot of followers. More about him later on.
Due to the unexpected event, Marika was so surprised that even her fragment, Radagon, could produce offspring. Marika called Radagon back to her castle with an offer that Radagon could not refuse, and he actually agreed.
Even if Radagon still loves Rennala by heart, he could not put aside his true nature as the great rune of Elden Ring, and his fate as the split out of Marika, so he had to come back to Marika. But not wanting to let down Rennala, Radagon left her with a huge present. Radagon splits Great Rune from himself and created Rune of Unborn Child. He gave this to Rennala.
Rennala took care the rune, which soon a baby was born from it: Ranni. Rennala loves Ranni very much and they spent times together until Ranni entered adulthood.
The main event in Elden Ring is not only caused by Marika, but by Ranni. Here comes why.
Unsatisfied with Marika’s recent behaviors, the Greater Will had been assigning Two Fingers to search for Marika’s replacement. When Ranni was born, Greater Will decided that Ranni will be the successor. Unlike her brothers or Marika’s sons, Ranni was born from single god, Radagon, therefore she is an Empyrian fitting to rule the world. The Greater Will assigned Ranni her own Two Finger as advisor. Two Finger then assigned Blaidd as Ranni’s shadow (just like Maliketh is Marika’s shadow).
But Ranni decided differently. She did not ask to be born as Empyrian, or to be a god. She just wants free life without any order, without anybody telling her what to do. Ranni wants a complete freedom, out of two fingers, out of greater will, out of elden ring.
Ranni set out a plan to outweigh Marika’s plans. She decided to kill two fingers, get the power of Elden Ring and put stop the Greater Will from ruling the Lands Between. A very grand ambition indeed. So how Ranni could do this?
After intensive research, Ranni finally knew about Maliketh safeguarding the great rune of death, and about from where Marika originated (Numen). First phase, Ranni recruited some assassins from Numen to work under her, because she knows how powerful is the females from Numen.
Numen’s Female Assassins are tall but very agile. Up to this point it is unknown what kind of deal Ranni made to recruit them.
Second phase, the assassins had to stole fragments of Rune of Death from Maliketh. Only the fragments are needed, but in total, Ranni would need two fragments precisely.
One fragment was imbued into two knives (called the black knives). One knife has soul-killer attribute, and the other knife has body-killer attribute. Originally fragment of rune of death would kill both body and soul of its target, but Ranni managed to split them out.
Maliketh was ashamed that he could not properly guard the rune of death. He then inserted his blade into his own body (which still contains big chunk of death rune), which makes him crazy for death root to eat. Death root originally comes from the root of ErdTree.
Why Ranni needs to split them? It is because Ranni wants to be freed out of her immortal, empyrian flesh. Ranni wants to kill herself, but she does not want to die. She wants to live in eternity without having physical body. But then she needs only the knife with body-killer attribute right? Not exactly — both attributes are one entity and can’t just be separated. They have to be used at same time. This is the limitation Ranni is very aware of.
Therefore Ranni needs to use the other knife to kill other demigod like herself. She decided to kill Godwyn, to greatly show also to Marika about her disagreement with all of her doings.
During the so called Black Night, Ranni executed her plan perfectly. One assassin was tasked to kill herself, while other group of assassins ambushed Godwyn at his palace and use other knife to kill him. Ranni died, but her soul doesn’t. Ranni’s soul entered a doll that was crafted to look like her teacher she met during early life.
On the other hand, Godwyn’s soul is gone, but his body is still alive and growing, even until now. A terrifying soul-less body, a once perfect prince Godwyn now has become.
Is it done? No. Ranni was still powerless. Even in her ghost mode, Ranni knew she could not beat two fingers lurking on her, even more the Elden Beast. The other fragment of Rune of Death is the key.
In the game, Melina is known as a Maiden offering help to the player (Tarnished) in order to take down and burn the ErdTree. But nobody actually knows who Melina is. Coincidentally or not, Melina shares a lot of characteristics with Ranni:
- Their faces are similar
- How Ranni and Melina disappeared into thin air when leaving
- How Ranni and Melina both talk about Torrent, the horse given to Tarnished
But no, Melina is not Ranni.
The other Rune of Death fragment was not imbued into weapon. Instead, Ranni let it grow to become own entity which copied similar appearance. And her given name is, Melina. This is also backed up with fact that Melina talks about she came from root of ErdTree. While the root of ErdTree actually represents death.
Melina’s left eye is always closed, and is marked with a Crow-feet tattoo. Crow has been the symbol of death. And in many dialogues with Melina, she talked a lot about inevitable deaths. This is precisely what the Rune of Death wants to achieve. Everybody should die eventually.
And if the player chose to side with three fingers and bring flame of chaos to the world, Melina promised herself to hunt and bring death to the new Elden Lord. Her right eye who looks like Ranni’s gets blinded, and her left tattoed eye opens, illuminating death to everyone who sees it.
So what is the aligned and assigned task from Ranni to Melina? Melina needs to scout and recruit a potential Tarnished (that’s you!), and assist them so they can beat all of the Elden Ring shard bearers, and help Ranni’s ambition to use Elden Ring to get rid of Greater Will influence. Ranni also agreed that Death finally needs to be back into the world as it is supposed to.
Radagon x Marika
Let’s go back to Radagon and Marika and rewind the time a bit. After getting back to Marika, they seemed to be very busy in producing another offspring. Another twin was born: Malenia (female) and Miquella (male). Unfortunately the fate says differently, both are cursed since born.
Cursed with not able to grow up, Miquella is a forever young and infant. However this does not hinder his mind and power to grow up. Miquella has become a genius who created a lot of golden order incantations. However not a single incantation could cure his sister, Malenia, from the scarlet rot she suffers. Miquella and his followers then moved to north region to build another mimic of ErdTree (called Miquella’s Haligtree) to focus on research to defeat scarlet rot. Although not 100% successful, Miquella succeeded to create a Unalloyed Golden Needle that can prevent scarlet rot from rotting the flesh of its host.
When Miquella created the golden needle, it was a bit late. Malenia had already lost her right hand, her eyes, and most of her body was already covered with scarlet rot. But this does not hinder her true talent as a warrior. Even in such state, Malenia was considered as the best sword wielder. She proudly says this herself. “I am Malenia, sword of Miquella, and I have never known defeat.”
When Ranni killed herself and Godwyn, two people suffered the most. Rennala went crazy due to Ranni’s death. She tried to use fragment of Rune of Unborn child to produce another Ranni, but never succeeded. The child produced was always a defect and short lived.
Marika? She is probably even worse. She got out of her mind and decided to break Elder Ring. Elden Ring was shattered into pieces. Because of this, Marika was shackled by Greater Will inside the ErdTree. Radagon became the Elden Lord in Marika’s absent and tries his best to follow the order of Greater Will.
It is unknown how the descendants of Marika and Radagon initially get a hold of the Great Rune Fragments of Elden Ring. These are the shard bearers who hold one fragment: Morgott, Mohg, Radahn, Rykard, Malenia and Godrick.
Not much information about Godrick, but he seems to be far descendant from Godwyn lineage. No info either who was Godwyn’s partner before he died.
Post The Shattering
The shard bearers except Rykard and Morgott, were busy to fight each other to collect Great Runes fragment. Rykard has the similar mind with Ranni, he wants to oppose Greater Will, but in his own way. Unfortunately Rykard merged himself with Giant Snake and was consumed by his own Rune. Rykard in his awful state of mind consumed a lot of his followers and merged their bodies into his own.
Morgott managed to defend his Rune and became the king of Lyndell, protecting entry to ErdTree. He also disguised as Margit, who will kill any Tarnished who is after the rune.
Mohg is probably the sickest in mind. Not only he fell in love with his half-brother, Miquella (which literally is a kid, or infant), but he wanted to kidnap Miquella and groom him into the next Elden Lord. It is Mohg’s dream to become Miquella’s consort.
Now only Radahn and Malenia are left. Malenia took her army to conquest Caelid, the region where Radahn had power. When Malenia said nobody could beat her, that is literally not true. Radahn was more powerful than Malenia, and she was almost died. On the brink of losing, Malenia swallowed up all of her prides and decided to do anything shameful to win the battle, knowing her fighting skill could not beat Radahn. She blew out the scarlet rot inside her body to infect Radahn. Unfortunately not only Radahn got infected, but also the surrounding area, generally Caelid that was once beautiful, now become swamp of scarlet rot and terrible place to live. One of her knight, Finlay, saved Malenia and brought her back to the root of Haligtree. Because exploding the scarlet rot, Malenia lost energy and entered deep slumber.
This chance was immediately taken by Mohg. While Malenia is unconscious, Mohg sneaked into root of Haligtree and kidnapped Miquella who was also in deep slumber. Mohg placed Miquella inside blood cocoon, where he shared his blood to Miquella, in order to try curing Miquella.
Until the game ends, it is presumed that Miquella is still alive inside the cocoon without knowing what has happened outside. He would be totally surprised when wakes up 😅
Depends on how we play the game, there are different endings:
Age of Fracture
This is the worst ending you will get, if you don’t do side quests and go straight to defeat the shard bearers and finally beat Radagon and Elden Beast. Basically you just become a new puppet of Greater Will, that someday, another Tarnished will kill you and take over the throne.
Age of Stars
If you completed Ranni questlines, you will get this ending. Ranni will take the elden ring power and bathes the world with light of moon and stars. Ranni and you as her consort then will leave the Lands Between, living in eternity in moon and stars, and people of the world will not have any God to obey and they are free to decide what they want to do.
Age of Order
Similar with Age of Fracture, but difference is, Golden Order is created and its rules are so perfect that prevents Greater Will or any other Outer Gods to not have influence over the Lands Between anymore.
Age of Duskborn
The Rune of Death got merged again into Elden Ring, then the cycle of life and death restarted again.
Blessing of Despair
Every being in Lands Between gets cursed. The curse turns everyone into Omens and absorbs their soul during death. This prevents the Greater Will or ErdTree to absorb their soul, thus cuts the influence of Greater Will.
Lord of the Frenzied Flame
Another outer God (aside of Greater Will) called Frenzied Flame takes over of your body, burns down ErdTree and literally will burn down the world to create new world and new order. In short, before creation, there is destruction.
So, which ending you like the most?
Thanks for reading. Cheers 🍻