Edit 10/4/22: It would appear that a link to this post has been included in an article about both Malenia’s story and Fromsoft’s treatment of women characters that is currently making the rounds. For the record, I strongly disagree with the points that the author of that piece presents, and ask that anyone who clicks through from that article to at least think about the goal that Fromsoft is attempting to achieve with their settings, storytelling, and world building. And while I too wish that there were fewer gendered insults flying around about characters like Malenia, in this particular instance I don’t feel that there need to be fingers pointed at anyone other than the gaming community themselves.
Elden Ring has already been out for five weeks now (how time flies!), but when it was first released, enterprising dataminers spent their time combing through the game’s files, searching for cut and hidden content. A significant amount of attention in the community was focused on looking for the ‘seventh ending’, the so-called Age of Absolute–an ending that, it was believed, was to contain an unused speech that was found mixed in with the text for the rest of the game’s endings. This speech was theorized to be spoken by none other than the game’s central figure, the mysterious Eternal Queen Marika:
Young seedling, young seedling.
Return to the bosom of earth.
But remember well,
So shall I give of myself. This is for thee.
Mine abundance, my drop of dew.
Quench thy thirst, throughout thy frame.
Blossom and burgeon, time and again.
Grow larger, stronger.
Until the day cometh.
When thou canst share in my dream.
Elden Ring, O Elden Ring.
Beget Order most elegant, from my tender reverie.
If thou covetest the throne,
Impress my vision upon thine heart.
In the new world of thy making,
all things will flourish,
whether graceful, or malign.
This theory might seem sound when looking at the above speech, especially considering what else was known about the Age of Absolute ending: it was, presumably, another variation on the Elden Lord endings, where the tarnished player character becomes Lord Consort to Queen Marika, marrying her and thus becoming Elden Lord. The above speech was, presumably, the reward for doing something in-game that resulted in Queen Marika acknowledging your existence and not, well, sitting there as a broken stone statue like in the other variations of the standard Elden Lord ending.
A wrench was thrown in the works when matching dialogue was found to be cut from the Malenia, Blade of Miquella boss fight:
Did you not heed my warning?
Your greed knows no end.
You would steal the last drop of warmth from his empty frame?
After all you’ve taken, you still want more?
Then you will have to kill me.
I am Malenia, Sword of Miquella.
And I have never known defeat.
My dear twin, accept this gift.
A gift of abundance, my last drop of dew.
Let all things flourish,
whether graceful, or malign.
Since there is no way to access this dialogue in the game, it can be inferred that there was, at some point, intended to be a questline relating to Malenia in which the player character could meet and interact with her earlier in the game, culminating in the above speech from Malenia ahead of the confrontation in the heart of the Haligtree that players are now familiar with. But why would Malenia have dialogue that matches some of Queen Marika’s speech so closely? Malenia and her twin, Miquella, are the children of Queen Marika and Second Elden Lord Radagon’s union; could that be the connection? Why is Malenia addressing Miquella mid-fight?
It is at this point that I will admit that I am writing this piece in order to prove all of the above theories and assumptions incorrect, and to shed light on the truth of these dialogue lines, as well as the associated ending, in the hopes that we as a community can attain a better understanding of Elden Ring’s lore–and move forward knowing the truth of some of this humongous game’s cut content.
Who is Miquella?
Miquella, Malenia’s twin brother and Queen Marika and Radagon’s only son, is far and away the most mysterious and enigmatic demigod in Elden Ring, causing no end of consternation to those of us who would seek a fuller picture of the game’s story. As it stands now he only appears as a hand limply falling from the crack in the cocoon his body is cradled in ahead of the Mohg, Lord of Blood hidden boss fight, or in item descriptions; Malenia calls him “the most fearsome Empyrean of all”; Mohg is referred to as having abducted him in the hopes of raising him to god status and becoming his Lord Consort; he is referred to as being “loved by many people”, and having “learned very well how to compel such affection”. But what else do we know about him?
To start with, Miquella is, as noted above, the twin brother of Malenia, and the two were the offspring of Queen Marika and Second Elden Lord Radagon’s union, who, as is revealed in the game, are in fact one and the same; Miquella and Malenia are the offspring of a single god. Because of this, they both cary physical defects, referred to in the English as “curses”–Malenia carries the scarlet rot within her, and Miquella is eternally young, unable to age. He is also well-known as being the progenitor of the Haligtree, a giant holy tree in the far north that was originally intended to not only compete with the Erdtree, but which he hoped would present an answer to the scarlet rot that plagued his sister. In order to help his Haligtree grow, he embedded himself inside of it, nourishing its growth with his blood; before it could finish its growth, however, Mohg cut the Haligtree open and “absconded with Miquella’s infant form”, which leads to the only interaction in the game that players now have, with his cocoon in Mohgwyn’s Dynasty Mausoleum.
When looking at cut content, one of the first things dataminers noticed was the fact that a certain NPC, named Rhico, had been cut from the final version of the game. Rhico was a unique NPC whose lengthy quest would have revolved around brewing and serving other NPCs stupefying alcohol and then collecting ‘slumber fog’ floating around their sleeping bodies, which could then be distilled into ‘dreambrew’ and which would have given insight into various NPC backstories. (In fact, almost every NPC still has unused lines referring to the player character offering them alcohol.) According to his cut dialogue, Rhico was a self-professed servant of St. Trina, whose crystal ball the player would utilize to collect the slumber fog necessary for his quest; at the culmination of this quest, it would become clear that St. Trina was none other than Miquella himself:
Finally, I have found it!
St. Trina’s, no, Lord Miquella’s cadaver.
I have partaken of untold secrets.
Such that I might aid you, O Lord.
So please, I hope you can welcome your humble servant Rhico,
Into your dream, the world of your heart.
Indeed, I beg you grant my wish,
That when you transcend from empyrean to god, allow me a place by your side.
Plenty of information about St. Trina remains in the game as we know it in item descriptions, including some of the following:
Sword of St. Trina
Silver sword carried by clerics of St. Trina. Inflicts sleep ailment upon foes. St. Trina is an enigmatic figure. Some say she is a comely young girl, others are sure he is a boy. The only certainty is that their appearance was as sudden as their disappearance.
St. Trina’s Torch
Candlestand torch that burns with a light-purple flame. The carvings depict St. Trina, but in adult form, somewhat unnervingly. The light-purple flame induces sleep.
St. Trina’s Arrow
Arrow carved to resemble a withered water lily. Afflicts targets with a powerful sleep effect.Priests of St. Trina use these arrows to spread their teachings. The sweet oblivion of sleep can become quite the habit.
So we can infer that Miquella, before his abduction by Mohg, moonlighted in The Lands Between as a Saint of sleep, and his followers collected information about others via their dreams. This establishes that Miquella had a particular preoccupation with sleep, and presents the possibility that he is dreaming even now, within his cocoon. But why, exactly, does this matter?
Japanese First-Person Pronouns and the Source of the Speech
It was today that I thought to check the Japanese text for the above speech and dialogue lines; a (poorly made but still convincing enough for many) fake version of the Age of Absolute ending had been uploaded to YouTube for April Fools Day, and I was reminded of the mysterious Queen Marika speech that I had yet to see sufficiently explained. Only, I discovered that it was in no way Marika’s speech:
Now, I want you to understand something about the Japanese language: there are a tremendous number of first-person pronouns in the language; so many, in fact, that it inspires no end of memes about the vast variety available to Japanese speakers in comparison to English’s all-purpose “I”. Many of these pronouns are strictly coded by social standing and their usage dictated by circumstance and who the speaker is addressing, but what is important to stress here is two things: the speaker of the above passage, which is the Japanese version of the script of the very first speech I presented in this article, uses a specific pronoun (‘boku’) that is primarily used by young boys; further, there is only one character in the game who uses this first-person pronoun currently, and it is Jar-Bairn, the young jar that players interact with in the Jarburg questline. The writing style, too, feels in places young and boyish; a far cry from the voice Eternal Queen Marika uses (who, I will point out, uses the far more fitting ‘watashi’ and ‘ware’, personal feminine and royal ‘we’, respectively, as first-person pronouns), and there is specific dream imagery used that doesn’t fit what we know about Queen Marika. So are we to believe that there was a Jar-Bairn (never known to be much of a dreamer) ending cut from the game? No; it is clear that there was, in fact, an entire ending related to Miquella cut from the game, and the smoking gun is the following:
If there are any readers who know Japanese you will already understand my point, but the above is the Japanese script of the following:
My dear twin, accept this gift.
A gift of abundance, my last drop of dew.
Let all things flourish,
whether graceful, or malign.
Except, in the Japanese, it is again clear that this is Miquella speaking, not, in this case, Malenia–once again we have the usage of ‘boku’, but more importantly, in the place of “my dear twin” we have “my beloved sister” (imouto, literally ‘younger sister’). Yes, indeed: the clearly alive Miquella is here addresing Malenia directly, gifting her his abundance, his ‘last drop of dew’, likely in the middle of a cut version of Malenia’s boss fight that would have taken place after the player did her related quest and which would have been quite different from what we see in the final game (there are references in the text files to non-implemented weapons based around Miquella and Malenia, the Abundance and Decay Twinblade and the Abundance Twinblade, which make reference to Miquella being in possession of the Rune of Abundance and Malenia the Rune of Decay, and one or both of which I believe would have been used by Malenia against the player in this scenario).
Let’s go back to what most people thought was a speech given to the player in the cut (and, now, debunked as nothing more than another name for the implemented Goldmask ending) Age of Absolute by Queen Marika. Rereading it with the above details about Miquella in mind, the truth of it becomes clear: the frequent useage of botanical growth imagery ties in closely with his association with the Haligtree and the way he nurtured it, and the dream imagery fits perfectly with his alter-ego as St. Trina, the Saint of sleep; indeed, this is Miquella’s speech through and through.
To reiterate, this means that there was an entire ending related to Miquella cut from the game (or one that is yet to be implemented), and I’ve written this article to lay out the reasons for why this is true, without the possibility of a shadow of a doubt, in order for the Elden Ring lore community to move forward with a better understanding of some of the content that didn’t see the light of day–and, more importantly, to encourage discussion, along with maybe even encouraging some folks who may not have had any idea about any of this to join in. Since there is no name in the files to refer to this ending, I myself am calling it the Age of Abundance, after Miquella’s dialogue and the unimplemented Twinblades mentioned above, and I think this fits the mysterious demigod’s mysterious ending quite well. We can also speculate that the Age of Abundance ending almost certainly was meant to tie in with a cut quest with Malenia and a very different version of her fight–and that’s something that I think any fan of this game would be interested in discussing.
Thank you for reading! While I have laid out my argument for why the dialogue I’ve referenced here is Miquella’s, I haven’t touched almost at all on what they mean; this is because it would make an already verbose post exhausting to read, and I wanted to keep this relatively concise and to-the-point. Even more than that, I wanted to present the facts without undue interpretation so that different individuals could read different things into these lines, and perhaps come to different conclusions than me! Additionally, I’d like to thank those who provided all of us with the English and Japanese text dumps from the game files, which is where all of the cut dialogue referenced here is from; you have saved this community so many headaches.
Happy lore discussing. 🙂
to add to this, the dew medallion you get from the tower of return transporter trap makes reference to an earlier age of abundance, when the erdtree first blossomed and gave its dew freely. considering the references in miquella’s lines to his dew, the idea of an age of abundance is even more fitting; a restoration to the true, original state of the erdtree.
this is a great catch, thank you for pointing this out! it literally uses the same noun in japanese as miquella does, 豊穣, to describe that age, as does the icon shield–wonderful, excellent parallels!
Awesome post, thanks for laying it out! Now I want to read what it means….though a Miquella’s Dream DLC seems like a must at this point!
Thank you for the detailed writeup/outline!
I was hoping to find a summary of the Malenia/Miquella-related cut content, as there does seem to be a lot of it (with some of it being pretty interesting, particularly the concept of an actual questline involving interaction with Malenia outside of her boss fight), and as it stands now it definitely feels like they’re among the characters who got very little content in-game despite having a lot of potential.
Between the amount of content that seems to have been cut (with some of the alcohol-related lines even having equivalent voice data) and the potential for some interesting stuff related to Malenia and Miquella, I’m definitely hoping to see at least some of it restored in the form of a DLC or the like.
Seeing Miquella’s speech patterns in Japanese does make me wonder again whether the boy speaking in the description for the Golden Epitaph sword is meant to be him, too.
Also, if you don’t mind me asking, where might one be able to find the English and Japanese text dumps from the game files…?
I was looking through the voice files and trying to match them with lines from the text dump I have (which I think was from the network test), but there seem to be a few voice files which don’t seem to have any equivalent in the text dump, so I’m assuming that the full game text dump has more text… which would make sense, I suppose.
(I was also hoping to cross-reference some things with the Japanese text, but I haven’t managed to find a Japanese text dump yet).
hi! thank you for reading and for the comment. yes, i think that the golden epitaph indeed is referencing miquella, and it seems likely to me that he made the sword–if you use the sword’s ability in-game you will see that it shows the haligtree sigil, cross-referenceable with the sigil presented by miquella’s needle when you use that. (what this means for the timeline is another matter.)
you can find the english and japanese text dumps by googling ‘carian-archive github’; it’s the first result. but i will also say that there is a non-insignificant number of voice lines that do not have any corresponding text in the final game’s text either!
Thank you for the reply! I somehow missed that the sigil that appears when you use the Golden Epitaph in-game is the Haligtree symbol; it feels like it’s pretty safe to say that it was Miquella who created the Golden Epitaph as well, then. (I suppose it would have had to have been after Godwyn ‘died’ (or became undead, more accurately) but before Miquella cocooned himself, though, yeah…). It really does feel like there’s quite a bit more we could learn there.
Also thank you for directing me towards the English and Japanese text dumps! Having those will definitely help with cross-referencing the text/item text (and trying to figure out who’s talking in some of the voice lines; I don’t trust my ears much when it comes to differentiating voices). Interesting to hear that there are quite a few voice lines that don’t have any corresponding text even in the final game’s text, though… I wonder what that means when it comes to how far along certain concepts/questlines got in development before they were cut. (At least two of the cut characters having voice data makes it feel like some of them made it decently far, at any rate).
(On an unrelated note, I found it pretty funny that Rhico’s title in the Japanese is just straight-up 酒臭い, haha).
Thank you for sharing this information! I really wished I could have had that quest with Malenia and the other ending, and that’s how I found this fanfiction, Age of Unalloyed Gold (https://archiveofourown.org/works/40152567/chapters/100562928). The author actually used this cut content to open ways to a new ending and very likely it saw it from your page lol. It was pretty good, nonetheless. Worth taking a look, if you would like. (Can’t wait for more Miquella content in a DLC!!)