The world of Elden Ring is filled with subplots and sidequests, often given to you by utterly 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 complete layers of lore and in-game mythology that may lead you to alternate endings and, perhaps, change your understanding of your mission as a would-be Elden Lord altogether.
That is actually the case with the Frenzied Flame, one in all Elden Ring’s most dense (and most simply missed) aspect tales that may stroll you down a wholly new path in your quest to the Erdtree–which will even make for some new enemies and a few ominous foreshadowing of the longer term, do you have to select to see this quest via.
So what, precisely, is the Frenzied Flame and what does it need to do with Elden Ring’s story? The reply is a little bit sophisticated, so strap in–and brace for lots (and we do imply lots) of main recreation spoilers alongside the way in which.
The World, As It Is
One of many key elements of Elden Ring’s inside mythology is the concept of The Larger Will, which is what’s often known as an “Outer God,” or an eldritch power that’s exerting its affect on the Lands Between by way of conduits–regular gods, like Marika. There’s a whole lot of 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 exterior of the normal concept of reality.
The Larger Will makes use of Marika as a conduit, but it surely additionally makes use of monstrous hand-like creatures often known as the Two Fingers to speak. In some unspecified time in the future previously, it established the concept 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. The truth is, we even have the names of two of these guidelines in-game, as incantations often known as the Regulation of Causality and the Regulation of Regression.
Put merely, The Larger Will has a really strict view of how issues work and the way life should function–and, unsurprisingly, not everyone seems to be tremendous desperate 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 often known as The Frenzied Flame.
The Frenzied Flame is, in essence, the precise reverse of The Larger Will. The place The Larger 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 thing that “divides and distinguishes.”
The Larger 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 laborious 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, the truth is, has been actively buried by The Larger 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 mentioned that the illness of the flame of frenzy started with Shabriri, probably 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 carefully associated to at least one one other. Whereas The Larger Will makes use of the Two Fingers as conduits, The Frenzied Flame makes use of a creature known as the Three Fingers for itself. This might probably recommend that the 2 of them are, the truth is, one entity that was bifurcated someway 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 Larger Will made a mistake. Torment, despair, affliction… each sin, each curse. Each one, born of the error. And so, what was borrowed should be returned. Soften all of it away, with the yellow chaos flame. Till all is One once more.” Although, the chance for unreliable narration actually should not be discounted.
So, now that the Shattering has occurred, most of the Fingers are useless, and the Lands Between is in a state of maximum 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 Larger 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 prone to discover in your journey are an merchandise known as “Shabriri Grapes” which, regardless of the title, aren’t fruit in any respect however rotten eyeballs plucked from the sockets of (largely) keen donors trying to give their “grapes” to maidens. You will finally 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 gentle” that she will solely see as soon as she’s eaten a grape.
Oh, and, yeah–she does assume they’re literal grapes. Don’t fret, you finally get to inform her what she’s consuming. It would not go properly, however would not change her thoughts about it, both.
Hyetta begins her mission believing that she’s going to turn into a finger maiden as a servant of The Larger Will however, someplace alongside the way in which, decides that she’s truly higher suited to a unique energy. She makes this selection 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 gadgets with much more clues, speaking about how he was as soon as very near turning into Elden Lord however ventured “deep under the capital” the place he was burned by the flame, leaving finger print marks melted into his flesh and armor.
Vyke himself could 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 price noting that the church inside the village known as, paradoxically, the Church of Inhibition–which might suggest that the flames took root right here with some deliberate sense of irony, seeing as “inhibition” is outlined because the restraint towards expressing an intuition, or, you already know, the precise reverse of being “frenzied.” If that is so, it factors much more strongly to the potential for The Frenzied Flame and The Larger Will being, greater than another Outer Gods, diametrically opposed enemies or rivals. A form of eldritch Batman and The Joker, if you happen to will–as against the opposite huge highly effective forces across the Lands Between that appear fairly joyful to do their very own issues or pursue their very own targets.
The residents of the Frenzied Flame Village aren’t the one followers to be discovered, nevertheless. Ultimately, if you happen to 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.”
For those who could not inform, the attention theme is fairly distinguished right here.
Shabriri would not appear to have a bodily type 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 under the capital to discover a properly hidden secret. The inducement he provides you is the protection of Melina, explaining that if you happen to embrace The Frenzied Flame, she will not need to sacrifice herself to burn the Erdtree–you’ll have your personal hearth to get the job executed.
Clearly, it is a manipulative tactic–Vyke’s armor set implies that the identical pitch was given to him, sooner or later previously. “Did he make his selection for his maiden, or did another power lure him with suggestion?”
For those who do make the lengthy trek down under Leyndell’s already subterranean system of jails, you will discover a form of mausoleum, crammed to the brim with the useless (and the practically useless). 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 all the time joyful to promote you helpful stuff. The handful that do nonetheless survive someway are enjoying the straightforward stringed instrument some retailers carry with them–a melody you will in all probability acknowledge.
A proof for this grisly mausoleum could 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 whole 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 “Great Caravan” and the retailers could be present in some lower 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 finally 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 properly, 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 historical service provider tribe himself, and that his crimes of slander have been punished so harshly due to the robust oral traditions shared by the nomadic retailers across the continent–but there’s concrete proof both means.
As Above, So Under
When you attain the very backside of the mausoleum, you will end up earlier than a large, fleshy door. For those who’ve additionally executed Hyetta’s quest up up to now, she’ll be, miraculously, ready so that you can clarify which you could solely be granted an viewers with the Three Fingers if you happen to take away all of your garments.
Doing so will help you enter and confront the monster–but don’t be concerned, it is not a struggle. As an alternative, the Three Fingers will embrace you and sear their fingerprints into your flesh, very like they did to Vyke earlier than you. This can immediate Hyetta to supply herself up as your new maiden as a result of Melina will promptly abandon you if you happen to determine to journey down this path. Sadly for Hyetta, nevertheless, 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 capability to body-snatch corpses and exist with out his authentic type, perhaps that is all a part of the plan, we won’t be sure a method or one other.)
So what was the purpose of all this, it’s possible you’ll ask?
Nicely, as soon as you have been anointed with the mark of the Three Fingers, you’re locked into a selected ending for the sport. It would not matter what number of potential mending runes you have collected or which different quests you have accomplished, if you happen to’ve received the fingerprints in your pores and skin, you are caught. That’s, except you collect Miquella’s needle from defeating Malenia, which can help you take away the mark of frenzy out of your physique. The needle’s merchandise description particularly notes that it was made to “keep off the meddling of outer gods” and that it permits one to “cheat destiny and keep away from turning into the Lord of Frenzied Flame.”
If you don’t use the needle, nevertheless, you’re going to get the Frenzied Flame ending, which is–well, fairly bleak. Not like the opposite endings, which embrace a voice-over saying the dawning of whichever age you picked, the Frenzied Flame ending consists of 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 a little bit cut-away scene the place she guarantees to hunt you down and ship your Destined Loss of life.
Now, Melina’s story, motivations, allegiances, and relationship to varied Outer Gods is an entire different can of worms, but it surely’s nonetheless price noting that her design has modified barely on this temporary scene. Her closed eye is now open–and visibly blind–and her hand is prominently scarred.
Melina’s presence on this ending would not inform us a lot, but it surely does verify that regardless of the completely apocalyptic look of the world, life in some type or one other nonetheless apparently is ready to persist within the Lands Between. That, or perhaps Melina is an awfully particular case. Nonetheless, there’s a whole lot of unanswered questions as to what precisely a world dominated by chaos incarnate truly means and the way issues would progress underneath this explicit model of rule.
Another Frenzied Flame adjoining gadgets within the recreation, such because the Eye of Yelough (a fairly disgusting wanting herb) appears to suggest that life is certainly doable in some type or one other in lands affected by frenzy. Its description reads “grown in lands bothered by frenzy, it is used for its pain-relieving properties…although it is also identified to be a harmful intoxicant.” The title Yelough additionally seems within the title of some ruins discovered within the Consecrated Snowfield, which can or will not be pointing towards the existence of an entity–either one other Outer God or one other Outer God-like creature, or maybe even one other title for the Frenzied Flame itself–that controls or thrives in frenzy. It is price 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 individuals bothered by frenzy have been discovering new methods and gadgets to make “in desperation,” and have been truly healed by frenzy-touched gadgets as soon as they themselves have been contaminated.
So what does all this truly imply within the larger image? It is troublesome 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 perhaps even one thing that picks up the threads of the Frenzied Flame ending and Melina’s quest for vengeance towards you.
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