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2023.05.15 23:33 Dryadversity Interpreting the Witchbane Ruins, and speculations on Lusat's role in Sellen's quest
2023.05.15 06:29 JankAllDay [Excerpt: Betrayer] ADB's Sublime Description of a Chaos Ritual
Khârn expected chanting, candles and all the cringeworthy trappings of superstition. In this, he was not disappointed.
Erebus maintained personal quarters aboard the Fidelitas Lex, despite commanding his own warship, Destiny’s Hand. It was here that he brought Argel Tal and Khârn, and it was here that he prepared to commit blasphemy against the natural order.
Erebus had gathered a coven of slaves in his quarters, seventeen of them in all, each one chained by the throat to the central altar. The oldest was a crone who would never see eighty again. The youngest was a boy who couldn’t be long into double figures. Quite how they managed to chant from their parchments while breathing in the stench of the Blessed Lady’s bones was beyond Khârn. He’d seen unaugmented humans vomit at much less provocation, yet these murmuring worthies stared with dead eyes into the parchments clutched loosely in their dirt-stained hands. They chanted, but he wasn’t sure they were even reading.
Candles lined the chamber’s iron walls, each one marked with a meticulously etched Colchisian rune in its red wax. Shrieking angels and serene gargoyles formed of the same metal as the walls looked down from their perches sculpted into the ceiling. Several of the statues were reaching in motionless need, warped hands striving to touch the room’s inhabitants – perhaps to bestow a blessing, perhaps to mutilate them on devilry’s whim.
Most legionaries kept their arming chambers as places of meditation and training, filled with mementos of victories stored alongside their personal armouries. Erebus had made his haven into a heathen temple. The altar was a central table of filigreed black steel, complete with manacles for reasons Khârn didn’t care to know but had no trouble imagining. Blood channels were cut into the table’s surface: deep grooves that would funnel gore and whatever else into a shallow bronze bowl beneath the altar.
‘What’s the bowl for?’ he’d asked upon entering.
‘Scrying,’ Erebus had answered. ‘Now be silent and show some respect.’
Khârn had complied with the former. He wasn’t certain he could convincingly feign the latter.
Argel Tal remained at Khârn’s side, arms crossed over his breastplate. If his features were brightened by hope or darkened by distrust, his helm blocked all insight. Crystal blue eye lenses fixed on Erebus and the mouldering, disconnected bones resting on the burial shroud. The Word Bearer watched everything and revealed nothing.
‘Brother.’ Khârn spoke softly, so as not to interrupt the vileness taking place before him. He could hear drumming on the deck above, and weeping from another chamber nearby. A plague on this wretched vessel; this ship of the faithful damned. Argel Tal turned with a low thrum of active armour joints. His twin voices were pitched low, leaving his human voice almost as soft as the daemon’s whisper.
Khârn inclined his crested helm to the chanting beggars. ‘Will they survive this ritual?’ he asked, his tone edged.
The Word Bearer looked back to the muttering choir. ‘I don’t know.’
‘You don’t know or you don’t care?’
‘I don’t care,’ Argel Tal admitted.
As for the Blessed Lady herself, she was a year on the wrong side of the grave. With no real experience in how religious cultures preserved the remains of their ‘saints’ as relics, Khârn had expected her bones to be bleached and polished, or for her wounded body to be preserved in stasis at the moment of her death.
The reality was altogether more macabre. Full decay hadn’t yet left her entirely fleshless – her initial interment in the mausoleum’s hermetically-sealed casket had protected her at least a little – but it was clear that the worshippers who stole her body had been praying to a decomposing corpse for almost a year. All that remained of the XVII Legion’s Confessor of the Word was a ragged skeleton, with a touch of ripped-parchment skin and rotted grey-green strings of tendon clinging to her joints. Her eyeless, jawless skull stared blindly at the gargoyles carved into the left wall. Skinless hands were nothing more than fragments of bone scattered on the black shroud. The last bits of organic matter she possessed gave off a cloying, musty reek as they broke down through the slow, slow process of inevitability. It was the befouled burial shroud that gave off the stench more than the pathetic remnants of her corpse.
The breeze came from nowhere. Just gently at first, tugging at the parchments bound to Erebus’s and Argel Tal’s armour; curling the edges of the scrolls held in the slaves’ hands. The temperature gauge on Khârn’s retinal display flickered, telling him it was too cold in the chamber to sustain human life, then scrambling with static a second time and reporting that it was hotter than the surface of a weak sun.
‘What are they chanting?’ Khârn asked. He spoke Colchisian close to fluently, yet struggled to make out a single word leaving the slaves’ lips.
Argel Tal’s answer was several seconds in coming. ‘Names,’ he said in Raum’s slithering voice. ‘Thousands of names.’
Khârn’s Nails gave an irritated tick-tick pulse, sending pain dancing down his spinal column. ‘What names?’
‘The names of Neverborn,’ Raum replied, his tone in the velvet border between caution and unease. ‘Daemon-names, rendered crudely by human tongues. Erebus is drawing their eyes to him, asking the denizens of the warp if they have seen Cyrene’s soul.’
‘Captured it. Immolated it. Flayed it. Flensed it. Devoured it.’
Khârn grunted, watching as the wind from nowhere clawed at the slaves’ rags. The candles cast cavorting shadows of long-limbed things that weren’t present in the chamber. The drums grew louder – the ship’s own heartbeat pounding against the walls.
He was reaching for his weapon, whether the gesture was futile or not, when the first of the murmuring choir died.
The woman, clad in beggar’s robes, tore the parchment in her hands, crying out as she ran towards Khârn. Revelation was a sick sunrise behind her eyes.
‘Betrayer!’ she screamed. ‘Khârn the betrayer! Khârn the betrayer!’ The chain leash around her throat pulled tight when she reached the end of its slack – the sound of a splitting tree trunk cut right through the drumbeat – and the woman tumbled to the ground, her neck snapped.
Khârn’s skin prickled beneath his armour. Argel Tal – or was it Raum? – turned to regard him. Liquid mercury coalesced and clashed in the Word Bearer’s eye lenses. Neither warrior said a word. The drums intensified, furious now, mimicking a dozen hearts beating in opposition.
Across the chamber, Erebus watched the bones and only the bones. Khârn saw the Chaplain’s mouth moving, but he read from no parchment or tome. Whatever he whispered, he did so from inspiration or memory.
A dishevelled man was next. He cried out in ugly, staccato shrieks as he smashed his face repeatedly into the altar, spattering the Blessed Lady’s thigh bones with dark cranial blood and brain matter. It took him eleven impacts to kill himself; on the last, he slumped to the deck, twitching.
Khârn felt fingers scraping and scratching faintly at his armour. Uncertain target locks kept trying to track half-formed shapes of things that weren’t really there. He drew his blade and rested a hand on Argel Tal’s shoulder guard. ‘Brother, nothing is worth this foulness.’
Argel Tal never had a chance to reply. The moment Khârn finished speaking, Erebus voiced a single word: an unknowable command in that jagged, alien tongue. The skeleton on the altar rattled, shivered. And then, with no lungs or vocal chords, it started screaming.
In the tormented years to come, on the rare days Khârn possessed enough self-control to speak – let alone tell the tale of that night’s events – one of the few things he remembered with clarity was the way the choir died.
Fifteen men and women, raking at their own flesh with dirty fingernails and ritual knives, came apart where they stood. They burst as if shattered by the invisible hands of gods. Some of their ruined flesh was contained by their clothes, the rest slopped across the chamber. The sound of their sanctified demise was somehow porcine – a squeal of piggish panic coupled with the fatty splash of wet meat falling to the floor. Their innards rained over the altar, bathing the writhing skeleton in the viscera it so utterly lacked.
As if in sympathy, the iron drums slowed to one gigantic heartbeat, rather than battering mercilessly to represent many.
Dappled in gore, both Khârn and Argel Tal stepped back from the grotesque performance – the World Eater wiping his gauntleted fingers over his faceplate to clear his eye lenses; the latter staring at the resurrecting corpse through blood-streaked vision.
Erebus ignored the howling aetheric wind and the lamenting of souls caught in its grip. He raised his voice, aiming his crozius maul at the revenant on the altar, commanding it to reclaim its place in the world of flesh and blood and bone and steel.
Khârn saw the still-screaming corpse lift a hand – a claw of bone now articulated by fresh, bloody meat – before the chamber plunged into absolute darkness. The blackness was an entity itself, too deep and true to be the mere absence of light. His thermal vision cycled live, showing nothing. His echolocation sight clicked active, showing the same. No matter what his retinal display did to compensate for the sudden blindness, he was left in the dark.
His blade came up en garde, revving and chewing air. Something smashed it from his fists; he hoped it was Argel Tal.
The screaming became more human, echoing around the chamber rather than through Khârn’s mind. Blessedly, it ceased tearing at the Nails in his head.
He heard bare feet on the hard deck, and a young woman’s hoarse shrieking finally falling into wet breathlessness. He heard, beneath all else, a rheumy dripping that conjured thoughts of carcasses hanging in an abattoir.
When his vision returned, it was almost with reluctance, more like emerging from an ink-cloud than merely opening his eyes. Shadows recoiled from each of them, dissolving away in the candlelight and leaving ripples through the pools of blood. Not a single candle had been extinguished by the wind, or in the blackness that followed it.
Erebus stood by the altar, his expression one of immortal patience. Indulgence, even.
Crouched in the corner, naked but for her burial shroud and the scraggly protection of her hazel hair now blood-darkened to black, Cyrene Valantion shivered and stared at Khârn and Argel Tal with wide eyes the colour of burnt auburn.
2023.05.14 19:17 Dryadversity Interpreting and speculating about the Witchbane Ruins, and Lusat's role in Sellen's quest
Witchbane Ruinssubmitted by Dryadversity to EldenRingLoreTalk [link] [comments]
The Witchbane Ruins are guarded by marionette soldiers and a graven mass. They might have been deployed here by the Carians (who wish to kill Sellen once she becomes mortal), but personally I think both types of enemy were placed by Sellen herself, and that the Witchbane Ruins were her original dwelling before relocating her other body (or soul) to the Waypoint Ruins.
Sellen is called the Graven Witch, so she's more likely to employ graven masses than the Carians. There are also stone chests in the ruins, alongside the much more common stone coffins. My guess is that the chests contain bodies for use in a graven mass. The only other places I've seen these chests are in the Gatefront Ruins, which likely contain bodies for Godrick's grafting, and in the Waypoint Ruins, where we know Sellen's activities have not been interrupted.
An additional piece of evidence to consider is the mythological trope of witches living in swamps. This can be seen, for example, in how Quelaag the chaos witch lives in the swamp in Blighttown. It's possible that the Witchbane Ruins were poisoned afterward by her captors, maybe to satisfy their suspicions of her being the Graven Witch; but since swamps are usually where the witches actually live, I like to think that Sellen occupied the Witchbane Ruins before being apprehended.
You can see one of the chests in the upper left.
Some counterarguments would include the following: that the Witchbane Ruins are just more witch-themed in general than the Waypoint Ruins; that putting a swamp in the Waypoint Ruins would spoil the reveal in Sellen's story by making her seem evil from the start; and that Sellen does technically live in Witchbane, since that's where she's held captive.
If we accept the ruins were Sellen's, it would have to be explained why she appears to be guarding herself. I think what happened is that the graven mass and marionettes were originally serving her, but have been repurposed by the Carians (or possibly Jerren) with the aim of keeping her captive. This is just speculation, but I had the idea that the graven masses could be reprogrammed like robots or AI; and we already know that puppets can turn on their masters, as seen in their betrayal of Pidia. Plus, out of anyone, the Carians are most likely to have knowledge of how to control the puppets.
The Witchbane Ruins are found in an area of the Weeping Peninsula called Tombsward. I think this name could be alluding to (in addition to a number of other things) the graven masses, since the term contains the word 'grave'. Witchbane Ruins are a tomb, not only for the dead in the coffins and chests, but also, in the Carians' designs, for Sellen. The ruins are made of stone, which would mean Sellen is entombed in a stony, graven mass, foreshadowing the conclusion of her quest if you choose to protect her from Jerren.
Since the ruins may have been Sellen's, along with the puppets and graven mass, it seems to me that everything in this area betrays her: her home has turned into a prison and tomb, and her subordinates have turned against her. My view is that Sellen is a character whose plans always end up backfiring. I also think this could be an example of characters being imprisoned in their own homes: the Omen live in the sewers, but are also imprisoned there. The Fire Giant is cursed to guard the forge, effectively turning the Mountaintops into a jail for him. And Marika is confined in the Erdtree, right next to her bedchamber.
Sellen has her hands shackled to the wall with colorless crystals, which are probably somber smithing stone. My guess is that this is meant to show how Sellen is powerless. If the glintstone was of a regular variety, perhaps she'd be able to conjure a sorcery and escape. There's also a possibility that the "somber" stone is meant to tie into the general theme of the "Weeping" Peninsula.
Sellen imprisoned in the ruins
One speculative idea I had is that the graven mass might have been inspired by the stone placed in front of Jesus's tomb in the Gospels. This stone is often depicted as round (or in more simplistic representations as a perfect circle), because it's described in the text as being "rolled away". If Witchbane Ruins are a tomb, I think the spherical graven mass could be the stone sealing it: a tombstone—or "headstone".
Now that I'm looking again, Sellen appears to have been bound into a Christlike position; the pose is in turn, of course, similar to Marika's. Sellen even has her hands pierced with metal rods. An additional parallel between Sellen and Christ is the emphasis on betrayal, which in the case of the Gospels was by Jesus's disciples, and by the Jewish authorities. In Sellen's case the betrayers could be pinned as the Carians, the Academy, or Sellen herself.
Another observation on Witchbane Ruins: in the poison you can find a great dragonfly head, which can be used to craft antitoxic items. Sinister Stromboli theorized that Astel might be like one of these great dragonflies, since they have very similar looking mandibles, and because Astel has 6 fingers, which is the same number of claws the ancient dragons have on their hands. Thus, Astel is analogous to a dragon-fly. So given the themes and aesthetics Astel shares with the Primeval Current (fear, stone, darkness, etc.), it makes sense that we'd find this item here.
I don't know why the caged corpses below the ruins are those of Erdtree worshippers. As far as I know, these enemies never use sorceries, and we know it's sorcerers who are targeted as ingredients for graven masses. Noble corpses would make more sense in the theory I'm proposing. On the other hand, I can't think of a reason for the Carians to kill Erdtree worshippers either. Rennala, Queen of the Carians, is still apparently obsessed with Radagon, who represents the house of the Erdtree. If the ruins were not Sellen's home, it's possible the Erdtree worshippers were tortured for the purpose of finding Sellen; but this seems unlikely, because non-sorcerers would be unlikely to know the whereabouts of a sorcerer. Likewise, if Sellen was torturing them for some other reason, this still wouldn't make sense, again because they're non-sorcerers.
Lusat and the Sellia Hideaway
Sellen tells us that Lusat is "imprisoned" in Sellia, but I don't think she is telling the full truth. Sellen seems to let the truth slip when she says to us, after mentioning Sellia: "It wouldn't be too much of a leap to suppose he's still cooped up nearby..." Being "cooped up" connotes something like voluntary isolation, as opposed to forcible imprisonment. In my view, this is what the name "Sellia Hideaway" is communicating; Lusat is hiding, not imprisoned. A counterargument could be that the "hide" part is just tying into Sellian magic, all of which is based on illusion and concealment.
Edit: One definition of the word 'coop' from Merriam-Webster is "jail".
Something I previously took as confirmation of this theory (Lusat hiding) is that the sorcerer in front of Lusat's chamber wears an Olivinus conspectus glintstone crown, and uses an Olivinus conspectus sorcery, Glintstone Stars. As a reminder, the Olivinus conspectus was founded by Lusat, so the scholar who's supposedly guarding him is basically a student of his. On the other hand: the entrance to the Hideaway is guarded by a battlemage using the Gavel of Haima, and Haima was the "adjudicator of the academy." Also, the Sellian evergaol contains another battlemage, Hughes, possibly hinting at a general animosity between the Sellians and battlemages.
Lusat's guard, using Olivinus conspectus attire and sorcery
Nonetheless, I think the Haima scholar guarding the hideaway could himself be a kind of illusion; their placement here gives a different impression than the Olivinus sorcerer in front of Lusat's cell, and I think the latter could be more significant, like it's showing the truth of Lusat's situation behind the illusion of imprisonment.
Sidenotes: (a) Sellen's use of the word 'leap' could have something to do with the spirit spring found next to the Sellia Hideaway; (b) A coop is where chickens and other farm birds are kept. They are sort of like the birds' home, but also a place of confinement. This choice of word could tie into the cuckoo imagery of the Academy, and the Church of the Cuckoo, which is likely associated with the Primeval sorcerers (credit to Lutana). If 'coop' was used for this reason, this could explain away the theory that Lusat's imprisonment is self-imposed.
What do I think Lusat hiding from? There are multiple theories I'd like to explore, but first I'd like to talk about why the Sellia Hideaway might have been chosen as a hideout, apart from it being near Lusat's home town.
It might have to do with the Crystalians. The last part of the descriptions for the crystal sword and spear reads: "The inscrutable Crystalians have but one clear purpose; to safeguard their crystals unto the end." The Sellia Hideaway has what's likely the highest natural concentration of glintstone in the game. It is also of the purple variant, and thus probably associated with gravity; this might make them particularly valuable to the Crystalians, who are close to the Primeval Current, which I think could be gravity. Finally, there are more Crystalians in the Sellia Hideaway than the other caves and tunnels, suggesting it contains something of particularly great worth. (I think we're supposed to ignore how the Crystalians consistently occupy the last place you'd choose when trying to guard something: the boss rooms at the end of the tunnels.)
Thus, in addition to being in his home town, the Sellia Hideaway may have already been well-guarded by the Crystalians, who Lusat may have been allied with as a Primeval sorcerer.
Something to note, and which could be counterevidence for the view that Lusat is hiding, is that you can't warp inside the Sellia Hideaway. This is interesting because it's filled with gravity glintstone, and gravity magic is used in teleportation. But it makes sense if we think of the Sellia Hideaway as a jail.
Before continuing to the next section, I'll preface that the above paragraphs on the Crystalians guarding crystals could fully explain the word 'hideaway', and make it more likely that Lusat is really imprisoned there. On the other hand, I think it would still be odd for Lusat to be guarded by one of his own pupils, in a cave with a large amount of Crystalians, who would easily be able to overcome the one sorcerer if he and Lusat were opposed.
Theories on Lusat's reason for hiding
1): the Carians
Fort Faroth is directly above the Sellia Hideaway, and puppets can be found here. I believe they were placed by Rennala to guard Radagon's soreseal, since you can obtain the right half of the Dectus medallion without even approaching them. It's possible this is meant to suggest they're looking for Lusat, for the same reason they're hunting Sellen. However there's less evidence for Lusat being a Carian, which seems to be part of the reason they were hunting Sellen.
Lusat might be hiding from Radahn, who resists the stars and holds them in place. This sounds like the opposite of what the Primeval sorcerers want, which is a current of stars, i.e. the stars' movement.
3): the Greater Will
The second theory (this one is much more complicated) is that Lusat is hiding from those who oppose the presence of the Greater Will in the Lands Between. This interpretation draws heavily from Gideon the Half-Knowing's theory that the Stars of Ruin might be the same as those in the Founding Rain of Stars—and that by glimpsing into the Primeval Current, Lusat brought the Stars of Ruin to the Lands Between as the founding glintstone astrologer. This theory of hers seems to implicitly contain the other theory that the Founding Rain of Stars are the same as the Elden Stars, but viewed from different perspectives: heretical and orthodox.
Not too long ago I had a post that commented on the Stars of Ruin, and that I now believe contains central evidence for this line of thought. The post is called "Analyzing the light beams of the Erdtree and Moonlight Altar". In this post, I pointed out that of the ten moon beams viewable from the Moonlight Altar, two of these beams actually contact the altar itself.
two beams on the Moonlight Altar
My theory was that these two outlier beams represent Ranni's Two Fingers striking the altar. Another thing I noticed was that both shards of light contact the altar right next to ruins. The first beam indicates the Moonfolk Ruins, and the second points to the Lunar Estate Ruins. Thus, I compared these moon beams, which also resemble giant starlight shards, to "stars of ruin", noting that this might symbolize Ranni's feelings towards the stars that brought her Two Fingers. This is sort of intriguing because Ranni otherwise has an affinity with the stars; this seems clear enough from the Age of the Stars ending.
If the Stars of Ruin brought the Two Fingers to the Lands Between, and the Stars of Ruin are the Founding Rain of Stars, and the Founding Rain of Stars are the Elden Stars on which the Elden Beast entered the Lands Between, then the Stars of Ruin, and thus Lusat, would be responsible for the Elden Beast, and the transition of power from the hand of the Crucible into the two-fingered grasp of the Greater Will. There are a multitude of factions in the game that opposed this transition: I won't list them all, but some examples are the cult of the Frenzied Flame, Mohgwyn, the Misbegotten, Demi-humans, and so on. As such, in a world where the majority of people want you dead, hiding oneself away is an understandable response.
A different but related view is that Lusat is hiding out of guilt for corrupting the Lands Between, rather than simply trying to survive.
I thought of a counterargument for this theory (Lusat summoning the GW) that went like this: the Founding Rain of Stars was discovered by an astrologer, not a sorcerer. Sinister Stromboli theorized that the reason Rennala is a giant has to do with her being descended from the astrologers. (That she is an astrologer is confirmed by her heirloom.) This is because, he explains, the astrologers lived next to the giants in the Mountaintops, and thus may have had similar traits to the giants themselves. I think he's correct, and this is supported by the other kinds of life in the Mountaintops being giant, such as the various animals, as well as humans like the fire monks and prelates.
If the one who unleashed the Founding Rain of Stars was an astrologer, and thus part-giant, this seems to preclude Lusat from being this astrologer, since Lusat is not a giant. But I realized this isn't a valid objection; this is because the Primeval sorcerers are known to swap bodies using primal glintstones and primal glintstone blades. Therefore, it's possible that the body we see Lusat inhabit is not his original body. He may have originally been a giant astrologer, like Rennala.
A second potential counterargument is that if Lusat regrets unleashing the Founding Rain of Stars, why would he give us a spell which resembles it? The only answer I have to this is that using the spell doesn't have the same cataclysmic effect as the original stellar event that inspired it.
Before concluding this subtopic, I'd like to add a bit more to the second theory on Lusat's imprisonment (that he's hiding from Radahn). The impact site of the star that falls upon defeating Radahn resembles Farum Azula; it's a spiraling cloud of floating rocks. And since Farum Azula drops ruins onto the Lands Between, and is itself a collection of ruins, this could provide support for the view that Radahn opposed Lusat for his efforts toward reviving the Primeval Current, because it would show directly how the movement of the stars leads to ruin.
4): the Primeval Current
Lusat might be hiding from the Primeval Current itself. Lusat seems to have suffered more intensely than Azur as a result of seeing the Current: Azur was left "bewitched and fearful", while Lusat was "shattered". (Then again, the description for Stars of Ruin says "he too was shattered" which all but confirms Azur suffered shattering as well.) More evidence that Lusat fared worse is that he's lying down in his cell, while Azur is meditating. Lusat has his hand over his heart like he's suffering or trying to calm himself; Azur's are in the normal meditative position.
Lusat in his cell
If Lusat had a more frightful encounter with the Primeval Current than Azur, this could explain why he decided to return home and embed himself in the earth, as opposed to Azur who remains on Mt. Gelmir, which, as a mountain and highly elevated area, would be a suitable place for stargazing. Since Lusat goes in the opposite direction, away from the sky and beneath the earth, it's reasonable to think the Primeval Current might be weakened there.
Continuing this line of thought, Kotoy77 recently showed that Azur is levitating off the ground slightly. So not only is he on a mountain, he's actually even higher than this. In terms of elevation he's the exact opposite of Lusat: Azur is using anti-gravity on a mountain, while Lusat descended into the earth, into a cave filled with gravity glintstone.
More evidence for this interpretation is that Lusat's head has turned into a third eye, which represents enlightenment. Azur's head however does not have a third eye, or resemble one. This in turn could be communicating that Lusat was somehow closer to the Primeval Current. Unless it just has to do with Azur not needing a third eye, since what he saw was darkness? (This reminds me of Event Horizon, which is like Hellraiser but in space. An event horizon, you might remember, is part of a black hole.)
This line of Sellen's, which she says after you find Lusat, stood out to me:
"Who could've guessed. What a place to find Master Lusat... You have my gratitude."
We already know, because Sellen tells us herself, that Sellia is his home. She says, earlier:
"After his expulsion from the academy, I heard that Master Lusat returned to his home. A place called Selllia, in the eastern Caelid Wilds. Thinking about it, I obtained the glintstone key I gave you from a Sellian sorcerer. It wouldn't be too much of a leap to suppose he's still cooped up nearby."
Lusat being cooped up in his own home shouldn't be surprising... as she tells us earlier. Sellen blatantly contradicts herself. It would make more sense if she instead said, "What a place for Master Lusat to be locked up", and maybe this was implied—except she tells us it wouldn't be surprising to find him there after saying he's imprisoned. So she knows he's imprisoned the whole time, and still says that it wouldn't be a great leap to find him there.
While I can't think of a reason for her to lie about this, it might be intended to prompt suspicions in the player. Something I should note is that this seems to oppose my previous theory, that Sellen is also imprisoned in her home (the Witchbane Ruins); if Sellen is also under house arrest, it should be even less noteworthy to her that Lusat is going through something similar. (More on this shortly.)
The reason Lusat would be hiding from Sellen is that he knows she wants to use his body-mind in a graven mass. We aren't given much reason to think Lusat would oppose this practice, since the Primeval sorcerers were known to engage in it. However, it's possible there were ideological differences between Sellen and the other Primeval sorcerers who preceded her. We're never told why Lusat was exiled from Raya Lucaria; he is not explicitly accused of creating graven masses the way Sellen is. Azur's case is different, since his staff is found near a graven mass in Raya Lucaria.
So perhaps Lusat adhered to the Primeval Current, but differed from Sellen and Azur by not promoting the creation of graven masses. (Edit: the fact that the Olivinus glintstone crowns are part of the graven masses does probably suggest he had something to do with them.) Some other possibilities are that (a) Lusat did support their creation, but did not want to become part of one himself; or (b) that Lusat's encounter with the Primeval Current led to a revelation and change in philosophy, either out of moral concern, or fear of the Primeval Current.
Returning to Sellen's own imprisonment and her comment on Lusat: one explanation I had for this is that Sellen might be taunting him. If Sellen knows what it's like to be imprisoned in her home, this might explain why she feigns surprise at Lusat's whereabouts.
More counterevidence for this interpretation is that Lusat's staff is guarded by the Nox priestess and monk. If Lusat is confining himself to the Hideaway, wouldn't he want to be able to leave if he changes his mind? I suppose this might be unnecessary if he and the sorcerer guarding him are allied, but it still seems excessive. On the other hand, I've been contemplating the idea that Lusat may have had such a negative experience with the Primeval Current that he gave up on sorcery altogether, and locked away his staff for this reason.
Both this theory and the third could be true simultaneously; maybe Lusat wants nothing more to do with the Primeval Current, and is hiding from Sellen who wants to literally pull him back into it.
More evidence for the general theory that Lusat is hiding
Miirshroom commented that Sellen's use of the word 'coop' might be referring to chickens specifically, instead of cuckoos as I was thinking. They said this could be because Lusat is coward, i.e. a "chicken."
More recently, I noticed something else: the Olivinus glintstone crown is the one glintstone headpiece that has a frightened expression. The eyebrows are upturned, and the mouth is open; the face looks like it's terrified. This would support the theory that Lusat in particular has a strong association with fear, and that he might be hiding away in terror.
Returning to Witchbane Ruins
There is one other piece of evidence at this location that I'd like to discuss, which I believe supports the theory that Lusat is hiding from Sellen.
As mentioned, Sellen's room contains a number of dead bodies in cages; but there is one corpse that is not in a cage. It's of the scorched variety, i.e. the same you find on the crosses in Limgrave and the Weeping Peninsula. On this body you find the spell Ambush Shard. The description reads:
"Launches a projectile from a distance removed from the caster, so as to strike the enemy from behind. This sorcery can be cast repeatedly. The Sellian sorcerers were assassins, and it is said that they often hunted their fellows."
charred body is to the right of the text box
The last part of the description, about the Sellians hunting their own fellows, is present in all of the night sorceries, but I do think the placement of an item with this description in Sellen's prison is important.
Sellen has been theorized to be a Sellian, given the similar spellings. And if the description is true, the Sellians have a pattern of killing each other. So instead of implying an alliance, as we tend to assume when characters are related, the family connection may suggest instead that Sellen and Lusat oppose each other. I'm reminded not only of the demigods and the Shattering, but also of Sekiro, in which Wolf's (adoptive) shinobi family tries to kill him. So the idea occurred to me that the Sellians might be a similarly dysfunctional family of assassins. (The Zoldyck family from Hunter x Hunter also comes to mind... so this seems to be a trope.)
I think the Sellian assassin was sent by Lusat to kill Sellen.
It is potentially significant that the particular Sellian sorcery located here is called Ambush Shard. While prisoners can still be ambushed, I think it could tie into the theory that Sellen lived in these ruins. Also of note is how the spell works: as the description says, it attacks from behind. This suggests betrayal, for one thing; but also, it seems the spell wouldn't work if Sellen was already imprisoned, because Sellen's back is already to the wall. Additionally, Sellen would have no way of defending herself if she was already imprisoned when the assassin ambushed her; so if the assassin was after Sellen, they must have been killed before her imprisonment. Then again, if this is what occurred, it would be foolish for Sellen to stay in the ruins if the assassin knew where to find her; that's a valid objection to this theory.
I suppose if we apply the information about the Sellians killing each other to Lusat's confinement, the possibility opens up that Lusat was imprisoned by the other Sellians, and that Sellen is trying to free him from them. Although the crest on the seal in front of Lusat is the regular glintstone crest with a cross-hatching background (the same one used by Raya Lucaria), it is unlocked using the Sellian Sealbreaker, which actually has a depiction of the Sellian chair crypt on it. This seems to confirm the seal was erected by a Sellian.
Actually... this is the only key that is referred to as a sealbreaker in its title, though its description does call it a key. It's possible it's a master key. Also, the word 'breaker' is joined with 'seal', not 'Sellian', so it could be a general sealbreaker or master key that was made in Sellia.
Personally I still think would still be strange for Lusat to be guarded by a sorcerer who is using his own sorceries (Even stranger is Sellen's dialogue, which still seems inexplicable to me.) Unless this is itself a representation of the passive-aggressive relationship Sellians have with each other? Or how Lusat's Primeval sorceries were pacified by Raya Lucaria into glintstone sorceries? There's also the fact that the Olivinus conspectus spells are said to attract sorcerers from Sellia, meaning there's a decent chance this guard is Sellian, which makes it more likely they would betray Lusat.
A thought I forgot to include in the section about Lusat hiding from the Primeval Current is that he might be "at war with himself". The Primeval Current is a psychological entity with psychological themes, which is something I discuss at length in my subsequent post on the Primeval Current. Psychological conflicts are often summarized as "man vs. himself". I think Lusat might be trying to hide from the Current, while unaware that what he's running from is inside his own giant, crystal head. He might be a "prisoner" of the "war" that's taking place within his own mind.
On Lusat being more affected by the Primeval Current: Lusat's crystallized head resembles a third eye, which represents enlightenment, and distinguishes him a bit from Azur. If Lusat reached a higher state of enlightenment than Azur, maybe this could explain his more fearful reaction to viewing the Primeval Current. An alternative explanation is that Azur simply didn't need a third eye, since what he saw was complete darkness.
Links and references:
-Sinister Stromboli's video: https://www.tiktok.com/@sinister_stromboli/video/7127737709224840491
-Kotoy77's post: https://www.reddit.com/Eldenring/comments/12zk25o/i_just_noticed_azur_is_not_sitting_down_he_is/
-My post on the moon beams at the Moonlight Altar: https://www.reddit.com/Eldenring/comments/11i8u3z/analyzing_the_light_beams_of_the_moonlight_alta
2023.05.11 13:41 Sad_Faithlessness_11 Ps4/ps5 I will give 4.95 million runes
2023.05.11 13:28 Sad_Faithlessness_11 Ps4/ps5 I will give 4.95 million runes
2023.05.11 13:26 Sad_Faithlessness_11 Ps4/ps5 I will give 4.95 million runes
2023.05.11 09:42 Blacklight8786 I need help
2023.05.10 21:27 Sad_Faithlessness_11 Ps4/ps5 I will give 4.95 million runes
2023.05.10 21:26 Sad_Faithlessness_11 Ps4/ps5 I will give 4.95 million runes
2023.05.10 13:31 Sad_Faithlessness_11 Ps4/ps5 I will give 4.95 million runes
2023.05.10 13:29 Sad_Faithlessness_11 Ps4/ps5 I will give 4.95 million runes
2023.05.10 05:25 Sad_Faithlessness_11 Ps4/ps5 I will give 4.95 million runes
2023.05.10 05:21 Sad_Faithlessness_11 Ps4/ps5 I will give 4.95 million runes
2023.05.10 00:45 Sad_Faithlessness_11 Ps4/ps5 I will give 4.95 million runes
2023.05.10 00:42 Sad_Faithlessness_11 (Psx) I will give 4.95 million runes
2023.05.08 19:47 Competitive_Bear_266 Ps4 second play through and I missed a lot of things
2023.05.06 11:30 ming-Q offhand weapon for guardian swordspear ?
I'm trying to create a swordspear build, and I have trouble deciding on an offhand weapon. Usually I just dual wield the same type of weapon, but I hate the halberd dual wield move set. I'm thinking of a claw weapon, but I'm not sure. What weapon goes well with this build for PVE ?submitted by ming-Q to EldenRingBuilds [link] [comments]