The Blade of Calling refers to Melina as “the one who walks alongside flame”. But what happens, if she sits alongside flame? What happens... if you kill her, at the very beginning of the game?
1. The One Who Sits Alongside Flame
With Fire’s Deadly Sin and the Bloodflame glitch, this is possible. Now don’t worry, she doesn’t stay dead, and it doesn’t ruin your game. But it does get us an extremely close look at her extremely unique death animation.
With her dying breath, Melina casts one last incantation. A golden erdtree erupts, and remains a while - healing you in an AOE from all that burn damage you took, for a small amount, over time.
Melina can actually cast this unique incantation if you summon her for the fight with Morgott, and she can rarely cast it during the fight as well - not just when she dies.
Gameplay, and lore-wise as well, this is very similar to the spell “Blessing of the Erdtree”, which also heals you with the Erdtree’s warmth and grace, over time.
And Melina, who was born at the foot of the Erdtree, certainly has a good claim on this powerful manifestation of its power. Even if she does feel compelled to burn it all away.
2. Stick A Needle In Your Eye
Once we talked a lot about Miquella’s unalloyed gold needles, which can be used to repel the influence of outer gods. Of course, you can give a needle to Millicent, who inserts it into her body to fight off the Scarlet Rot of the Rot God. But you can also use the final version of this needle to repel the influence of the outer god of frenzy and remove the frenzy from your eyes.
But, what you might not have known, is that the original item description for this needle originally said that “to repel the interference of the outer god... you should pierce this needle into your eyes”.
I wonder if they changed this detail so that they wouldn’t have to create a specific animation for it? Can you imagine?
3. The Winged Hussars
Did you know that the armour of the winged hussars, who were the Polish cavalry between 1503 and 1702 clearly inspired the winged design of the Mausoleum?
u/FaithlessnessLucky55 shared a side-by-side comparison of the two on Reddit and it’s incredible to see just how similar their armor design is. And it’s a grand excuse to talk about why Elden Ring and Poland decided on such extravagant designs.
In Elden Ring, the winged ornamentation of the Mausoleum Knights is intended to evoke the Deathbird, acting as a “self-inflicted curse that ties their spirits to the land”, so that they might better serve their masters in death.
And for the polish cavalry, the rear wings were intended to demoralize enemies during their charge, as the hussars were the elite of Polish cavalry, and not a force you would want to see charging your way.
They assembled their wings from the feathers of raptors, birds of prey who also provide their feathers for the Ravenmount assassins in Elden Ring, who also evoke the death bird and have a chest piece called the “Raptor’s Black Feathers”, which states that it is “a ritual implement for transforming into a Deathbird, if only by imitation”.
4. Radagon’s Cuckoo Knights
This secret is something that I decided not to include in my article on Elden Ring’s cosmic sorcerers. And it’s that Radagon shares a very compelling connection with Raya Lucaria’s Knights of the Cuckoo, who bears the twinned cuckoo bird as their coat of arms.
So, a cuckoo is a bird that lays eggs in foreign nests so that other birds can raise its children instead. This is something called “Brood Parasitism,” which is a kind of messed up when you think about it.
Cuckoo birds even go so far as to push eggs and other baby birds out of the foreign nest, so that there’s less competition for their own offspring. And Radagon kind of exhibits this cuckoo behaviour with Rennala. He uses her to birth three demigod children, only to eventually leave her with a parting gift of a giant golden egg, which Rennala would then treasure, seemingly at the neglect of all else.
And you could even take this theory further, and argue that Radagon/Marika might have helped to establish the Knights of the Cuckoo. For one, their crest is the twinned cuckoo, which could represent the twinned body of Radagon and Marika.
Second, the Cuckoo Surcoat item description even says that the Cuckoo knows the insignificance as there is a legendary black moon of Nokstella talisman that features that signature twin-cuckoo design.
So, you have to decide: Did Radagon/Marika simply co-opt this ancient icon for their own purposes? Or is the cuckoo its own thing, and just coincidentally similar to the whole situation with Radagon and Rennala’s golden egg?
Whatever the case, you have to admit that it is a very interesting theory, and offers a great bit of characterisation for Radagon. This being, who only really appeared during the war with Liurnia, as if his sole purpose was to get close to Rennala, and undo her from within.
5. Spurned Item Descriptions
Another lore topic that I just keep on talking about are the folk found all throughout Limgrave. Many of these wear the Guilty Hood, which has a description that reveals that it’s, “The garb of those accused of lesser crimes, indicated by the collar of sharpened branches.”
But back in version 1.0 of the game, the description read that it was the “Garb of spurned Tarnished who were forced into slavery in the Lands Between.”
It goes on to say, “The Tarnished have been wandering into the Lands Between from beyond the Sea of Fog in dribs and drabs since times of old. Most are killed on arrival, but the few unlucky survivors are taken as slaves.”
I wonder why this was changed? The 1.0 description seems so much better.
6. Chained Together
There are some interesting details to find in the Erdtree Sentinels as well. If you look close enough at them, you’ll notice that they’re chained to their horses.
u/Groomgrim pointed out on Reddit that if you have a look at their waist, you can see how an ornate chain wraps from around the Sentinel, down, and around the horse.
This helps to explain why, from a gameplay point of view, they can’t be dismounted like other larger enemies on horseback, such as the Night’s Cavalry. They’re truly a ride and die pair, and a difficult one at that.
7. Elden Ring Is Hard
One aspect of Elden Ring that isn’t talked about very often is the game’s Hardness stat. This dictates whether a weapon will bounce off an enemy when wielded with one hand.
But did you know that there’s one enemy in the game, that absolutely no weapon can match? All hail the crystal crab of Raya Lucaria. Not even the coded sword, the cipher pata, or a whip, are a match for the hardness of its shell.
Another lesser-known mechanic is called “Overkill”, and it’s something that you can use to massively boost the amount of runes you receive in-game.
So, this has been around in the Souls series for a while, but basically, if your first hit on an enemy does damage that exceeds 150% of their maximum HP, then you will receive 20% more Elden Ring Runes as a result.
In general, this helps the rewards for fighting to scale with the strength of your character a bit. But where this overkill really comes in handy is when you’re engaging in rune farming.
So, 20% more Elden Ring Runes is a lot when it comes to something like farming the Albinaurics at Mohgwyn palace, so if you’re currently not making use of this, consider ways to make your character just a little more powerful, and hit that threshold.
9. Guardian Golems
Everyone knows about the Dectus Medallion at this point, for having two halves of it allows for easy access to the Altus Plateau. But did you know that’s not all it does?
If you have this in your inventory, it also prevents the two guardian golems at the top from attacking you.
10. Bell Bearings
Have you ever wondered why certain enemies drop Bell Bearings? Like, what even is a bell bearing? It’s a term that, as far as I can tell, doesn’t actually exist in the real world.
When I first read it though, I thought it said “Ball-bearing”, which are little steel balls that go inside of an enclosure to serve a purpose, like rolling to reduce friction, or to apply ink from a pen.
So, if I had to guess, a bell bearing might be the little ball that goes inside a ball bell enclosure, so that it might function as a “clapper” and give a bell its ring.
This would make sense, as we do give these bell bearings to the Twin Maiden Husks, who are finger maidens that hold staffs that are full of such ball bells. But why do we do this?
Well, bells in the Elden Ring universe are a tool that can be used to summon, or call to spirits. The best example of this is the spirit-calling bell that the player uses, but this mechanic exists in other FromSoftware games as well, like the Bell-Ringing Women in Bloodborne, who also rings for spirits to fight on their behalf.
So, when the twin maiden husks receive an NPCs bell bearing, we [Special thanks to Quelaag for suggesting this theory] speculate that this enables us to interact with their spirit, to learn additional spells from them, or receive their items, as if they were still alive.
After all, many bell bearings seem to hold the essence of perished NPCs. They even might have been borne or held by these NPCs, as many appear to have a fingerprint design upon them.
So, after thinking about it, the word “bell bearing” is quite an impressively loaded phrase for these minor items. It suggests that it’s a part of a bell, that it’s been borne by an NPC, and that it provides a bearing, pointing one towards their spirit.
11. The Weeping Angel
Recently, twitter user Diddykolo shared this video. It seems like this statue in the shaded castle watches you whenever you have your back turned, only to turn away when you get closer. It’s extremely creepy until you figure out what’s actually going on here.
So, after going to investigate, I realised that this is actually being caused by textures loading in, depending on how close your character is to them. When getting closer, it simply loads the assets that make it look like it’s looking towards you.
That’s not to say this isn’t creepy as hell - I remember something similar happening to me with the inanimate doll in the Hunter’s Dream of Bloodborne, and it scared the absolute hell out of me.
12. The Stranded Graveyard
One thing I’ve always wondered about is the sequence of events that leads to you ending up in the stranded graveyard at the beginning of the game.
Remember, when you were defeated by the grafted scion, and heard this? It’s as if you’re dragged..then thrown through the air, only to be submerged underwater… and then nothing, until you finally awaken in the Stranded Graveyard.
Now, what I always assumed this meant was that the Grafted Scion drags you, then throws you off the cliff, into the ocean below. Then, eventually, your body might wash up towards this beach at a sort of high tide, as this beach does have a cave that leads straight into the stranded graveyard, where Melina eventually finds you.
But another theory was recently proposed by ShieldScuff, in a YouTube short that reveals that the stranded graveyard is actually right below this crevasse in Limgrave. Falling into this crevasse usually kills you, but if you fly the camera down there, you do arrive pretty much directly where your character awakens.
So, as the theory goes, our character, and the many piled coffins nearby, might have been hurled down here, in years passed. There’s even a bunch of crucified bodies near the hole that lends credence to this theory.
The counter argument, however, is that there isn’t really a hole in the roof of the Stranded Graveyard that lines up with this crevasse. I mean, there is a tiny hole, but that’s not very convincing. There are a few caves like this with clear holes that don’t line up with the outer geography, and I think this is such a huge missed opportunity by FromSoftware.
I reckon it would be a great little experience to fall off a cliff only to survive, and be halfway into a dungeon.
13. Irregular Poise Event
So, for a long time, amongst the high-level PVP community, people were noticing instances where they would block an attack, and perfectly poise through it as well, without taking any knockback.
Now, in PVP, and PVE, this sort of technique could be extremely useful, because it enables the player to take no damage and poise through an attack in order to deliver a punishment, or even a backstab.
The only problem was that it wasn’t known how to replicate this seemingly random event. Or at least, it wasn’t, until now... Thanks to a discovery by discord user “CMG”, and thanks to videos showcasing it by Steelovsky and JeeNiNe, we now know that to replicate this “irregular poise event”, as it’s been called, what you have to do is sprinting, and take your finger off the sprint button, and on to the block button, in the exact frame where you would usually take damage.
This performs the perfect block with poise and allows you to deliver the punishing blow. I’ve always craved some sort of Sekiro-style parry system in Elden Ring, so I was really excited to learn about this. It’s difficult to perform, for sure, but it really heightens the skill ceiling of the game, and that’s usually a good thing. It must be hard to be a game developer and learn about things like this - do you remove the unintended effect, or do you embrace games having this random buggy complexity to them?
14. Tiring Work
Speaking of the developers, I think we should give the animators some credit. They’ve reused a lot of animations from previous games..but that’s not being lazy, that’s just being efficient. Because they clearly ton of effort into animating so many other things instead.
For example, have you considered that almost every single enemy has a specific animation for falling and remaining asleep? I know this isn’t really a secret, I but I feel like it still bears mentioning. Every animal, so many enemies, and bosses. All of them have sleep effects, even if it’s extremely unlikely that most players will even inflict sleep upon them.
And I bring this up, because we talked about (in the recent Miquella lore) how there used to be a mechanic where enemies could be found sleeping out in the world, requiring you to harvest their dream mist. So if we ever do get Miquella or St. Trina DLC...man, it would be so smart to make it so that enemies and animals could be randomly found sleeping around the world, so that these animations could be put to use.
15. The Wrong Side Of The Bed
Speaking of sleep - have you ever looked up during your fight with Rennala to see where the scholars are respawning from? It turns out that they’re all falling out of these hanging cribs.
We’ve talked before about how these beings are re-birthed through Rennala’s Great Rune of the Unborn, within “Rennala’s umbra”, or “Shadow of the Erdtree”...