Explaining Elden Ring’s Cryptic Terminology

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Explaining Elden Ring’s Cryptic Terminology

Explaining Elden Ring's Terminology is a big undertaking. So we've compiled some key explainers here.

The Lands Between is a cryptic place. Filled with all kinds of words that make no sense to a freshly awoken tarnished. So here are a few of the important ones so they make at least some sense to you.


You are tarnished and maidenless, haha, funny joke. But what is a tarnished? In short, a tarnished is a person without the blessing of the Erdtree. That makes you unworthy in the eyes of others that roam these lands. Now there is a reason for that, but that would go into heavy spoiler territory. Tarnished initially got banished from the Lands Between. After everything there went south you are finally blessed with the grace of the Erdtree. This is also what allows you to rise from death over and over again. Why that is now the case, is for you to seek out. But it is a secret worth debating over.

The Erdtree, the Elden Ring and the Golden Order

Now, these seem like three random terms that just sound really cool together. But they are tightly connected in the story of Elden Ring, you could even go as far as to claim that they are largely the same thing. But in order, the Elden Ring is comprised of many great runes, imagine them as concepts. Such as Life and Death, the natural order of things. It dictates how everything in the Lands Between works.

The Elden Ring is or rather was the physical representation of those concepts. Those concepts together are called the Golden Order. Which is the idea of what the Elden Ring represents. The way things should be. And the Erdtree is a means to spread it, it's visual from every place in the Land's Between and will sometimes rain its golden grace to bless the people. Incidentally, that also means you get a little bonus in runes.

Queen Marika and the Elden Lord

From the get-go, you are charged with becoming Elden Lord. Being Elden Lord does not make you the king of the lands between. The power holds Queen Marika, who was in possession of the Elden Ring. She's also the one who made the current iteration of the Elden Ring and forged the Golden Order. The first Elden Lord was Godfrey, he was her sword and shield. Her ‘consort'. A protector of sorts that also executes her will, all in line with the Golden Order of course.

The Demigods

Queen Marika is referred to as the goddess of this world, the Demigods on the other hand are her immortal offspring. Kind of at least, this all makes sense when you dig into it further. But in the world of Elden Ring, a Demigod is a person related in some shape or form to the Royal Family. They are in some way related to Queen Marika, either through marriage or their bloodline. Those Demigods are now in possession of pieces of the Elden Ring called great runes. And it is your mission to slay them.

Elden Ring Screenshot CG
On a night of win'try fog…

The Night of the Black Knives

This event is more or less the ground zero for what happens in Elden Ring, we're told that it happened an age ago. So that could mean a while, after all, lots of the major players in Elden Ring are immortal. In one night, a band of assassins stole death. Which Queen Marika had removed from the Elden Ring and given to a loyal servant. With death stolen, we know of two Demigods that were killed that night. Godwyn, the Golden who's Queen Marika's and Elden Lord Godfrey's son and the Lunar Princess.

The Shattering

By means unknown to us, the Elden Ring was shattered and its pieces scattered. Those pieces would eventually find their way to the Demigods who now fought a brutal war of succession. One of its scars are still seen today in Caelid where the war ended. General Radahn clashed there with Malenia the Severed but neither could claim victory. Now the Lands between are divided between the Demigods, all protecting their territory. With non going on the offensive until an opportunity presents itself. Many of their servants still work in secret, attempting another piece of the Elden Ring to get an edge. That is where you come in.

Elden Ring Screenshot CG 6
But What Could the Demigods Ever Hope by Warring?

So what now?

All these are just the basics. You'll soon find that some pieces will not click together and I hope there are just enough hints in here for you to start making connections. Lots of Elden Rings's story is conveyed through its world. And that's not just item descriptions, it's the way some enemies behave. The weird things you'll encounter and cryptic cutscenes that throw you for a loop. Sometimes it's really just finding a corpse with an item that twists the entire story on its head. So go out there and be somebody, become Elden Lord. But beware lowly tarnished, this tale is a game of chess. Identify the pieces on the board and decide if you wish to be a player or a pawn. And do remember, the pawn is always sacrificed to save the Queen.

More Elden Ring, here on ESTNN.com

Explaining Elden Ring’s Cryptic Terminology
Timo Reinecke
Has once claimed that FSH is the only job in FFXIV worth playing and stands by that firmly. Top Guy, Smart Guy, Educated Speaker. (sometimes) Writer of all things FFXIV, FGC, News, Reviews and More