The world of Elden Ring is stuffed with subplots and sidequests, normally given to you by fully missable NPCs who journey across the Lands Between, stopping at numerous landmarks alongside the way in which. A few of them are the keys to new weapons, armor, or spells, whereas others will unravel entire layers of lore and in-game mythology that may lead you to alternate endings and, possibly, change your understanding of your mission as a would-be Elden Lord altogether.
That is definitely the case with the Frenzied Flame, one in all Elden Ring’s most dense (and most simply missed) facet tales that may stroll you down a completely new path in your quest to the Erdtree–which will even make for some new enemies and a few ominous foreshadowing of the long run, do you have to select to see this quest via.
So what, precisely, is the Frenzied Flame and what does it must do with Elden Ring’s story? The reply is somewhat difficult, so strap in–and brace for lots (and we do imply quite a bit) of main recreation spoilers alongside the way in which.
The World, As It Is
One of many key elements of Elden Ring’s inner mythology is the thought of The Higher Will, which is what’s referred to as an “Outer God,” or an eldritch pressure that’s exerting its affect on the Lands Between through conduits–regular gods, like Marika. There’s numerous finer factors and ins-and-outs to being a god, outer or in any other case, in Elden Ring, however for now, its greatest to know the Outer Gods on this story as puppet masters making an attempt to tug the strings of the Lands Between whereas additionally current firmly outdoors of the conventional idea of actuality.
The Higher Will makes use of Marika as a conduit, but it surely additionally makes use of monstrous hand-like creatures referred to as the Two Fingers to speak. Sooner or later up to now, it established the thought of The Golden Order, a form of quasi-religious motion anchored by the communication of the Two Fingers and Marika’s reign, that believed in a divine plan or algorithm for all life. In truth, we even have the names of two of these guidelines in-game, as incantations referred to as the Legislation of Causality and the Legislation of Regression.
Put merely, The Higher Will has a really strict view of how issues work and the way life should function–and, unsurprisingly, not everyone seems to be tremendous wanting to go together with it, particularly if they do not fairly see eye-to-eye with these guidelines. One such dissenter is one other Outer God, popularly referred to as The Frenzied Flame.
The Frenzied Flame is, in essence, the precise reverse of The Higher Will. The place The Higher Will instills inflexible order and strict legal guidelines, The Frenzied Flame instills–well, frenzy. Absolute chaos, insanity, and within the phrases of a few of their devoted, a whole breakdown of every part that “divides and distinguishes.”
The Higher Will might have been the highest canine when it comes to affect within the Lands Between previous to the Shattering and subsequent decay, but it surely was by no means with out challengers. It is arduous to inform simply when or how The Frenzied Flame started to take root inside the inhabitants however proof suggests it has been round for a while–and, in actual fact, has been actively buried by The Higher Will’s loyalists in an effort to maintain it hidden and locked away. There’s just one piece of concrete textual content within the recreation pointing to any form of origin, discovered on the incarnation the Howl of Shabriri which reads: “it’s stated that the illness of the flame of frenzy started with Shabriri, essentially the most relieved man in all historical past.”
Extra on Shabriri in a second.
Now, whereas these two are removed from the one Outer Gods in Elden Ring’s mythology, they appear to be the 2 most intently associated to at least one one other. Whereas The Higher Will makes use of the Two Fingers as conduits, The Frenzied Flame makes use of a creature referred to as the Three Fingers for itself. This might doubtlessly recommend that the 2 of them are, in actual fact, one entity that was bifurcated in some way into two opposing forces.
That is additional implied by dialogue later within the recreation with an NPC, Hyetta, who explains: “All that there’s got here from the One Nice. Then got here fractures, and births, and souls. However the Higher Will made a mistake. Torment, despair, affliction… each sin, each curse. Each one, born of the error. And so, what was borrowed have to be returned. Soften all of it away, with the yellow chaos flame. Till all is One once more.” Although, the chance for unreliable narration definitely should not be discounted.
So, now that the Shattering has occurred, lots of the Fingers are lifeless, and the Lands Between is in a state of utmost decline, The Frenzied Flame is among the many many highly effective forces making an attempt to make a transfer. To do that, it, like the opposite Outer Gods, wants the assistance of some highly effective loyalists.
Retailers, Samurai, and Maidens
Whereas The Higher Will might depend on everybody from Tarnished fundamentalists to spurned demi-gods, The Frenzied Flame retains issues a bit extra lowkey when it comes to its followers and conduits. The primary hints of The Frenzied Flame you are more likely to discover in your journey are an merchandise referred to as “Shabriri Grapes” which, regardless of the identify, aren’t fruit in any respect however rotten eyeballs plucked from the sockets of (principally) prepared donors seeking to give their “grapes” to maidens. You may ultimately be capable of give these grapes to at least one such maiden, a blind lady named Hyetta who’s on a quest to observe the steering of “a distant mild” that she will be able to solely see as soon as she’s eaten a grape.
Oh, and, yeah–she does assume they’re literal grapes. Don’t be concerned, you ultimately get to inform her what she’s consuming. It does not go effectively, however does not change her thoughts about it, both.
Hyetta begins her mission believing that she’s going to grow to be a finger maiden as a servant of The Higher Will however, someplace alongside the way in which, decides that she’s truly higher suited to a distinct energy. She makes this alternative after you feed her a “fingerprint grape”–yes, one other eyeball–this time from an invading Tarnished warrior who was “scorched by the Flame of Frenzy.” This Tarnished, named Vyke, additionally drops some objects with much more clues, speaking about how he was as soon as very near changing into Elden Lord however ventured “deep beneath the capital” the place he was burned by the flame, leaving finger print marks melted into his flesh and armor.
Vyke himself will be discovered at an entire nook of the map dedicated to The Frenzied Flame, within the northern nook of Liurnia, the place a village has apparently succumbed to the Flame’s affect wholesale. They also have a guard tower that may inflict insanity on anybody approaching, presumably to each guard their little neighborhood and develop their numbers. It is also value noting that the church inside the village is named, sarcastically, the Church of Inhibition–which might indicate that the flames took root right here with some deliberate sense of irony, seeing as “inhibition” is outlined because the restraint in opposition to expressing an intuition, or, you already know, the precise reverse of being “frenzied.” If that is so, it factors much more strongly to the opportunity of The Frenzied Flame and The Higher Will being, greater than every other Outer Gods, diametrically opposed enemies or rivals. A form of eldritch Batman and The Joker, in the event you will–as against the opposite huge highly effective forces across the Lands Between that appear fairly blissful to do their very own issues or pursue their very own objectives.
The residents of the Frenzied Flame Village aren’t the one followers to be discovered, nonetheless. Finally, in the event you observe the questline given to you by Yura, a samurai and Bloody Finger hunter you first meet in Limgrave, you can meet Shabriri himself–the man who named the grapes, and apparently, began the Frenzied Flame fad. Along with the grapes and the incarnation, he additionally has a talisman named after him–Shabriri’s Woe–which states that he had his eyes gouged out as punishment for “the crime of slander and, with time, the intense flame of the frenzy got here to dwell within the empty sockets.”
In the event you could not inform, the attention theme is fairly distinguished right here.
Shabriri does not appear to have a bodily kind anymore, and as an alternative, manifests inside the corpse of Yura, which he is apparently reanimated to talk with you and as soon as once more impress upon you the significance of venturing beneath the capital to discover a effectively hidden secret. The inducement he affords you is the protection of Melina, explaining that in the event you embrace The Frenzied Flame, she will not must sacrifice herself to burn the Erdtree–you’ll have your individual hearth to get the job performed.
Clearly, it is a manipulative tactic–Vyke’s armor set implies that the identical pitch was given to him, in some unspecified time in the future up to now. “Did he make his alternative for his maiden, or did another pressure lure him with suggestion?”
In the event you do make the lengthy trek down beneath Leyndell’s already subterranean system of jails, you will discover a form of mausoleum, crammed to the brim with the lifeless (and the practically lifeless). One other factor you will probably acknowledge instantly is that the corpses littering (and we do imply littering, there’s hardly any area to stroll) this place are all retailers. Sure, retailers, the pleasant guys who you have little question been assembly alongside your travels, who’re at all times blissful to promote you helpful stuff. The handful that do nonetheless survive in some way are taking part in the easy stringed instrument some retailers carry with them–a melody you will most likely acknowledge.
A proof for this grisly mausoleum will be discovered within the description of the Nomadic Product owner’s Finery, which reads “these retailers as soon as thrived because the Nice Caravan, however after being accused of heretical beliefs, their complete clan was rounded up and buried alive far underground. Then, they chanted a curse of despair, and summoned the flame of frenzy.”
Extra context concerning the “Nice Caravan” and the retailers will be present in some reduce content material, datamined from earlier builds of the sport, the place Kale–the first service provider you meet–had a quest to uncover his personal roots, main him to ultimately succumb to the flames himself.
There is a little bit of a hen/egg dilemma taking place right here with the service provider tribe and Shabriri as effectively, each of which appear to be responsible of summoning the flame of frenzy in a method or one other. It is doable that Shabriri was a part of an historic service provider tribe himself, and that his crimes of slander had been punished so harshly due to the robust oral traditions shared by the nomadic retailers across the continent–but there’s concrete proof both method.
As Above, So Beneath
When you attain the very backside of the mausoleum, you will end up earlier than a large, fleshy door. In the event you’ve additionally performed Hyetta’s quest up up to now, she’ll be, miraculously, ready so that you can clarify that you may solely be granted an viewers with the Three Fingers in the event you take away all of your garments.
Doing so will help you enter and confront the monster–but don’t fret, it is not a combat. As an alternative, the Three Fingers will embrace you and sear their fingerprints into your flesh, very similar to they did to Vyke earlier than you. It will immediate Hyetta to supply herself up as your new maiden as a result of Melina will promptly abandon you in the event you resolve to journey down this path. Sadly for Hyetta, nonetheless, anointing her with the flames she appears to need a lot will in the end kill her–so a lot for Shabriri’s promise of saving a life, huh? (Although, given Shabriri’s personal skill to body-snatch corpses and exist with out his authentic kind, possibly that is all a part of the plan, we won’t make sure a method or one other.)
So what was the purpose of all this, it’s possible you’ll ask?
Properly, as soon as you have been anointed with the mark of the Three Fingers, you might be locked into a particular ending for the sport. It does not matter what number of potential mending runes you have collected or which different quests you have accomplished, in the event you’ve received the fingerprints in your pores and skin, you are caught. That’s, until you collect Miquella’s needle from defeating Malenia, which is able to help you take away the mark of frenzy out of your physique. The needle’s merchandise description particularly notes that it was made to “push back the meddling of outer gods” and that it permits one to “cheat destiny and keep away from changing into the Lord of Frenzied Flame.”
If you don’t use the needle, nonetheless, you’ll get the Frenzied Flame ending, which is–well, fairly bleak. In contrast to the opposite endings, which embody a voice-over asserting the dawning of whichever age you picked, the Frenzied Flame ending contains solely ominous silence and the world being engulfed in sickly yellow flames–which, oh yeah, have additionally changed your head. The roaring flames proceed uninterrupted till Melina, assuming she survived the sport, is given somewhat cut-away scene the place she guarantees to hunt you down and ship your Destined Demise.
Now, Melina’s story, motivations, allegiances, and relationship to varied Outer Gods is an entire different can of worms, but it surely’s nonetheless value noting that her design has modified barely on this transient scene. Her closed eye is now open–and visibly blind–and her hand is prominently scarred.
Melina’s presence on this ending does not inform us a lot, but it surely does verify that regardless of the completely apocalyptic look of the world, life in some kind or one other nonetheless apparently is ready to persist within the Lands Between. That, or possibly Melina is an awfully particular case. Nonetheless, there’s numerous unanswered questions as to what precisely a world dominated by chaos incarnate truly means and the way issues would progress beneath this explicit model of rule.
Another Frenzied Flame adjoining objects within the recreation, such because the Eye of Yelough (a fairly disgusting trying herb) appears to indicate that life is unquestionably doable in some kind or one other in lands affected by frenzy. Its description reads “grown in lands troubled by frenzy, it is used for its pain-relieving properties…although it is also identified to be a harmful intoxicant.” The identify Yelough additionally seems within the identify of some ruins discovered within the Consecrated Snowfield, which can or is probably not pointing towards the existence of an entity–either one other Outer God or one other Outer God-like creature, or maybe even one other identify for the Frenzied Flame itself–that controls or thrives in frenzy. It is value pointing this out if solely as a result of Melina will warn you, in no unsure phrases, that the flames of frenzy are mainly antithetical to life.
In the meantime the existence of crafting books such because the Frenzied’s Cookbook clarify that folks troubled by frenzy had been discovering new strategies and objects to make “in desperation,” and had been truly healed by frenzy-touched objects as soon as they themselves had been contaminated.
So what does all this truly imply within the greater image? It is tough to say–the greatest we are able to do is hope for a future DLC that may contact extra concerning the relationships between the outer gods, and possibly even one thing that picks up the threads of the Frenzied Flame ending and Melina’s quest for vengeance in opposition to you.
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