Lahftel
Lahftel
Lahftel, some guy with lots of lukewarm takes on video games. Mostly responsible for the FFXIV section and some verity content. Big Nerd. Top guy, smart guy, educated speaker.

What’s Going on in Elden Ring?

A bonfire blazes amongst the ruins in From Software's Elden Ring
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So what exactly is going on in Elden Ring? We take you on a deep dive through the game's lore.


While we've already covered all the wild terms Elden Ring likes to throw around. Now a month after release here is what actually went down in Elden Ring before you arrive. This article includes spoilers. You've been warned.

Prelude

This is not 100% spot on, but it's and attempt to give you a loose summary of Elden Ring's story. In the hope you might want to go out there after and chase down some of the finer details.

In the Before Times

Sadly, we know little about the genesis of all of this. We know that before queen Marika there was another age and possibly even another one before that. An age of dragons and great stags. All we know about this age is that it had its own Elden Lord and possibly a different kind of ‘Order' in place.

At some point before all this, a meteor had crashed in the lands between; bringing with it the Golden Order, the Elden Ring and the Elden Beast. These were sent by the Greater Will, an outer god from far, far away.

We know little of what life was like in that bygone age. We can only assume that something similar to what we now know as the Golden Order was put in place by the Greater Will; a god shrouded in mystery. And apparently part of a greater whole, but that's where what we know ends.

As a refresher, the Greater Will dictates the Golden Order. Which is upheld by the Elden Ring, manifested from the Elden Beast; the final boss of the game. Whatever order the Greater Will dictated to the dragons and stags is unknown.

But something prompted the Will to change course. The Fingerslaying Blade, a civilization robbed of the stars might hold the answer. But too many pieces are missing for us to make a clear connection here.

Regardless, by decree of the Greater Will, Queen Marika was was given the Elden Ring and installed what we now know as the Golden Order.

queen marika

Queen Marika's Rise

Thus the Erdtree was created. Not only a representation of the Elden Ring, but also a way to spread its influence, its grace and as a beacon or prayer. Of course Queen Marika had to establish herself firmly in the lands between. For that, she chose Godfrey; who'd become the first Elden Lord under the newly established Golden Order. He was her axe and shield. An insurance that her age, the Age of the Erdtree, would not come to an untimely end. His grand endeavor was to make sure nothing could unmake the Erdtree, for that Godfrey waged war with the Giants in the north, who held power over a flame that would never cease.

The Queen was unhappy with the prospect that the flame could not be smouldered. So she cursed the Fire Giant, who held power borrowed from a fell god, to tend to the flame till the end of time.

And Godfrey would continue to wage war in his queen's name. And, at an unknown point in time, queen Marika removed the Rune of Death from the Erdtree. Ensuring death would visit none blessed by the Erdtree's grace.

Godfrey and Marika would have three children together. Godwyn the Golden and the fell twins Morgott and Mogh. Afflicted with a terrible curse, the twins would be sealed away underneath the capital. Hidden where no one could see them.

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Elden Ring Screenshot CG 8

Of the Moon and the Erdtree

To the south of Marika's capital, lay the land of Liurnia. Although its two most powerful factions were once at odds; the Academy of Raya Lucaria and the Carian family joined forces to fight against the rising influence of the Erdtree. Under the leadership of their champion, Rennala who had brought the rival factions together. In the capital emerged a champion of queen Marika, Radagon. With his hair, red as fire he led the royal armies into battle against the forces of Liurnia. But while he at first came for conquest, the queen's champion found love with Rennala. So it was that Liurnia was brought under the grace of the Erdtree through marriage instead.

Rennala and Radagon would go on to have three children. Ranni the Princess of the Moon, the Starscourge Radahn, and then later Lord of Blasphemy Rykard.

Some unknown time after these events, Godrick found his final match in the Stormking. There was no more battle for him to win. It was said that grace had left him, and so his queen banished him and his warriors from the Lands Between. They would be known as the first Tarnished. Those who were abandoned by the Erdtree's blessing.

Upon request, Radagon left Rennala to return to his queen, becoming the second Elden Lord. He left Rennala with an ember egg, for her to obsess over, while his children joined him in the capital. They ascended to the status of demigods.

Explaining Elden Ring's Terminology

Empyreans, the Coming Age and the Secret

After Radagon became Marika's consort, they'd have two more children. Melania and Miquella, both afflicted with a terrible curse of their own. Miquella, never to grow out of infancy and Melania, who harbors a terrible rot within her. Both of them where said to be Marika's potential heirs, and carry the Golden Order in the coming age. Earning themselves the status of Empyrean. An Empyrean is a being born of a single god with the potential to become one themselves, like their mother before them.

Now, Marika and Radagon are in fact one and the same being. There is little detail on how this came to be, but they seem to share the same body. A body that alters depending on who is in charge.

But there was another Empyrean, the Lunar Princess Ranni who was chosen by her ‘own' two fingers. The fingers communicated the will of the Greater Will, and in some cases the will of the Outer Gods. But Ranni was displeased with the path set for her, so she began to travel the dark path to undermine the Golden Order.

Elden Ring's Rune of Destined Death on the back of the fallen Godwyn

The Rune of Death and the Night of the Black Knives

When Marika removed the Rune of Death, otherwise known as the Rune of Destined Death. She entrusted it to her half-brother Maliketh, who became her shadow when she claimed the throne. He hid death itself, and although there is reference to some kind of betrayal by Marika, we have yet to find out what that actually was.

The Lunar Princess Ranni charted a plot to steal death itself. With her conspirators, a part of the Rune of Death was stolen. Which they used to forge weapons to slay the gods. An unfortunate victim, for reasons unknown was Godwyn the Golden. Half of the Great Rune of Death was carved into his back on that fateful night, vanquishing his soul while his body lived on in death. Unknown to many, Ranni engraved the other half on her own back. Discarding her body, while her soul found its way into a doll fashioned by her followers. All this to free herself from the Greater Will, the Fingers and destiny itself.

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Whether intentional or not, Ranni ended the Age of the Erdtree. This gave way to The Shattering; the great war that pitted all the members of the Royal Family against each other.

Elden Ring Screenshot CG 5

The Shattering

To some, the Shattering was the most glorious war ever fought. To others it's the greatest tragedy to ever befall the Lands Between. After learning of Godwyn's death, Queen Marika was driven to the brink. In a fit of rage, she shattered the Elden Ring. Causing the Lands between to be abandoned by the Greater Will. She vanished soon after from the public eye and her children started to war with another. All of them collecting shards of the Elden Ring, but not one of them could gather enough shards to remake it.

Melania sought to put her infant brother Miquella on the throne, who had found a way to ward off the influence of the Outer Gods. Rykard abandoned the Golden Order and took in tarnished, and then fed himself to a great serpent to one day consume the gods themselves.

Godrick the Grafted, a relative of Godfrey, claimed enough power to be counted among them, but suffered terrible loses during the Shattering. The Academy of Raya Lucaria, now almost faded into obscurity, sealed their gates from the madness. They also sealed away Rennala, who had become a husk of her former self. Morgott fought to hold the capital, claiming the title of protector of the Erdtree.

The greatest battle ensued in Caelid, where general Radahn and his armies clashed with Melania and her cleanrot knights. No one knows over what the half-siblings fought, but neither would emerge victorious. In a desperate effort, Melania unleashed her scarlet rot onto Radahn and the land. Corrupting them with her curse, before she fled back north to join her twin. Shortly after, or during these events, Mogh would steal away Miquella to birth him anew and claim the title of Elden Lord under him.

The Shattering pitted the royal siblings against one another

Standstill and a Stir

An age has passed since, and the war for the crown has come to a standstill. No one can consolidate enough power to make a decisive move, the two mightiest to clash have yet to recover. Now the Erdtree would bless Tarnished once more, promising one to rise as Elden Lord. Some still conspire to give the throne to their masters, while both Queen Marika and Radagon have not been seen since the shattering. The player character, one Tarnished among many arises from death and is charged to bring down the demigods and join Queen Marika as consort.

Now things get considerably more messy, as its anyone and everyone's guess why Tarnished are suddenly allowed back in the Lands Between. Still, its up to the player to decide the fate of the Lands Between. Lots of Elden Rings secrets can only be glimpsed in the context of its world. So go and try to apply what you've learned her to what you see on your journey. Maybe you'll make a discovery that will turn the whole thing on its head!

Find more Elden Ring content here on ESTNN.

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