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Elden Ring is a massive game. You don’t need to beat all 165 bosses to know that FromSoftware’s epic fantasy tale is almost oversaturated with things to do and places to see. The biggest part of it, though? That’s the lore, my friends.
Game creator Hidetaka Miyazaki is known for his style of storytelling in games. He doesn’t like to be blunt about what’s really going on, instead choosing to leave useful information in NPC dialogue or item descriptions. This means that while the answers are there, the player is required to put the pieces together on their own.
One big mystery I’ve been pondering lately is just who are the merchants in Elden Ring? Sure, we know they’re “nomadic” and can be found at numerous points on the map, offering various wares, but who are they? Why are they isolated? Why are they surprised - sometimes even frightened - by the player’s presence? Why are there loads of them lying dead in the sewers beneath the capital?
If that last question comes as a surprise to you, allow me to explain. If you enter the sewers of Leyndell, you’ll come across a labyrinth of deadly enemies and twisting turns. The further you delve, the creepier things get, eventually leading you to a mass grave. These poor souls appear to have all died around the same time, that is until you notice one of them playing a musical instrument.
See this creepy musician here:
I know what you’re thinking because I thought the same thing: what the hell is going on here?! Well, we appear to have the answer.
This wretched blindspot is the resting place of the merchants who once formed the Great Caravan. They were branded heretics, and their punishment was to be rounded up and buried alive. How do I know this? From an item description of course.
This grizzly catacomb contains the Nomadic Merchant’s Set; an armour befitting a wealthy trader. This throwback to days gone by explains how the merchants were adjudged to be criminals, and their grim fate was set in stone. So, this explains why the merchants we find are always isolated and cautious.
The few traders we meet are fugitives, hiding from those who wish to punish them for heresy. They live in squalor, in dangerous locations in an effort to avoid punishment for a crime they clearly committed. How can I be so sure, you ask? Because of this line from the item description above.
These merchants possessed the power to commune with the Three Fingers - or more specifically, the deity they represent. To put it simply, the Three Fingers serve a conflicting purpose to the Two Fingers we meet in Elden Ring, who serve the Greater Will. This means the merchants - directly or indirectly - oppose the Erdtree and all those who believe in it. For this reason, the merchants were shunned and left to die by those who rule over Leyndell.
However, some of them escaped this death sentence, but their heretical ways are still with them. If you attack one of these merchants, they’ll likely fight back with the Flame of Frenzy, an incantation that spews madness-inflicting fire from their eyes. This spell originates from the Three Fingers, and is therefore considered taboo by the Golden Order.
So there you have it, the dark secret of the merchants. But that’s only one mystery down, ye Tarnished. Elden Ring has still so much more to tell us, if we’re prepared to look. What’s the deal with all these fingers? Why did Marika shatter the Elden Ring? What the hell is an Albinauric anyway? Excuse me while I go figure this all out.
Featured Image Credit: BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment / The Author
Topics: Elden Ring
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