Crystal Sages

The Crystal Sages are a curious pair of twins, possibly fraternal twins in particular. Although their faces and body types are obscured, the Sage encountered in Farron is bald while the one encountered at the Grand Archives has long brown hair, potentially hinting that the former is male while the latter is female. Regardless, the two are described as “descendants” (末裔) of the sorceries that Logan created after attaining enlightenment from witnessing Seath’s power in Dark Souls. (DS1) And being Big Hat’s successors, the two naturally wear similarly oversized headwear to symbolize their inheritance. If they are trying to obscure their face like Logan had, then perhaps they additionally wear plague doctor-like masks to help protect them from breathing in the magic crystals that the both of them regularly worked with.

Giant hat which completely hides the face of the twin monks known as the Crystal Elders.

It is said that the Elders are the successors of the great wise man Logan and that this “big hat” is a symbol of that.

The twins have apparently acquired their in-depth knowledge of Logan by way of the Crystal Scroll. These texts looks nothing like the Sage’s Scroll, which resembles simple rolled-up parchment more akin to the Logan’s Scroll. Rather, it appears to be surprisingly white and intricately bordered parchment written in glowing blue ink and wrapped in equally elaborate silver rollers — overall rather fancy despite the partial crystallization. Moreover, it details all of the sorceries that Logan invented after combing through Seath’s research in the original Dark Souls. (DS1) It was therefore not penned by the Sages themselves but by Logan during his time at the Duke’s Archives, using the high-quality materials from the gods’ library. However the twins came into possession of these scrolls, it became the basis for their studies going forward and made them one of the two great sects claiming to inherit Logan’s legacy.

Crystal Scroll (left) compared to Logan’s Scroll (center) and Sage’s Scroll (right)

Perhaps the twins had already studying sorcery together from a young age when they came across the crystal scrolls. The descriptions for their cut equipment set confirms that their clothes have absorbed a large amount of magic power over their many years of study, much like Logan’s robes in DS1. Both also wield rapiers for self-defense, which have apparently gained the power to improve one’s chance with finding items due to their lifetime researching things. The two have undoubtedly been conducting lifelong studies as a pair, so they likewise shared the discovery of the scrolls detailing Logan’s knowledge. Alternatively, it was the discovery of these crystal scrolls that set the pair on the path to sorcery. Either way, their rapiers being covered in crystals shows where their research ended up.

Robe that an Elder who mastered sorcery wore.

The garments which walked along with the diligent studies spanning the Elder’s many years continually absorb magic power and have now turned into superior sorcery formal wear.

Thrusting sword that the Crystal Elders utilized for self-defense. Small crystals are spread along the blade.

It possesses magic power attack power due to the crystals’ magic power and boosts the equipper’s item finding power. That is probably proof that the Elders were lifetime researchers.

In pursuing sorcery together for most of their lives, these Crystal Sages have both mastered the art of crystallization. Rather than a magic staff, their sorcery catalyst is a crystal ball, which fittingly resembles the Prism Stones created at the Duke’s Archives in DS1. And true to their name, the twins employ crystal sorceries, some of which are their own unique invention. Aside from Crystal Hail, at least one has mastered teleportation and cloning spells through the power of crystals. It might seem odd that their crystal magic mimics the flame arts performed by Pinwheel in DS1, but it is not that unusual upon closer inspection.

The Sage’s Coal is a white magic flame compatible with gems of both the crystal and blessed variety. Such source flames were previously used in the creation of the gods’ holy weapons by the Way of White in DS1, so the Crystal Sages are using similar forging fires for their crystal magic. This makes the magic power they crystallize a derivative of the Anor Londo’s divine power, which is consistent with the implications behind the Crystal Ember that Seath created in DS1. Since the Sages’ power originates from the white dragon’s research, it is no surprise that they also crystallize the same derivative of sunlight magic along with moonlight magic. And thanks to the light of fire’s dominion over time and thus space, their crystals too are able to manipulate those aspects of the universe. The end result is a collection of spells that function identically to past holy or fire magics.

Sage’s Coal (left) compared to Crystal Ember (right)

Considering that the twins are “elders” (古老) with a lifetime of research behind them, they have been alive for at least the better half of a century. And unlike the Hollows they both currently themselves with, neither Crystal Sage is affected by the Hollowslayer Greatsword, so they may not even be Undead. In that case, all of their actions can be limited to within recent decades. This makes sense since Undead were unlikely to ever be accepted as guests in the Kingdom of Lothric, let alone its Grand Archives. Their crystal scrolls are a “secret treasure” of the Lothric library, meaning that the twins have since shared their discoveries with the country’s wise men. They weren’t simply archiving the knowledge, either.

Crystal scrolls, secret treasure texts of the Lothric Great Archives.

Can learn crystal sorceries by giving it to a sorcerer.

Those are powers of the scaleless white dragon Seath and sorceries of Logan, who saw it and attained enlightenment. The Crystal Elders are most certainly descendants of that.

The Crystal Sages are described as the scholars’ doushi, (導師) a term referring to spiritual guides; the same kanji are also used for “magicians”, or madoushi. (魔導師) Essentially, the Elders served as both magic teachers and gurus. They were as much monks as they were sages. This may be why Kriemhild was their favorite pupil. The woman is armed with their rapier along with a crystal staff that they had bestowed her. This staff appears to just be a part of a tree grown around one of their crystal balls and functions the same as the Tin Crystallization Catalyst that Logan created in DS1 — another link to the sages’ study of Big Hat’s crystal arts. However, Kriemhild is dressed in the robes of a Fire Keeper, implying that she had successfully trained to become one at Firelink Shrine before abandoning her holy path to study under the old twins — Undeath is typical for Way of White holy women who become Fire Keepers, and she does drink Estus. Her conversion to the Crystal Sage’s sorcery is therefore particularly notable.

Soul of a Crystal Elder. One of the atypical souls tinged with power.

Can either acquire a vast amount of souls by using it or extract its power via molding.

The Crystal Elders were the monks of the wise men of the Great Archives, and later one of the twins became an ally of the Undead Troop.

Logan invented crystal sorceries as part of his descent into the same mad delusions that consumed Seath, his naked “enlightenment” no more than learning the paledrake’s own research on the topic — filling a spiritual void in the heart of a godless man. All of it embodied a different form of dragon worship with Seath as his god, his research his gospel. What does that make the Crystal Sages then if not students of that gospel with Logan as their prophet? The Crystal Sages are not just propagating rare knowledge about a school of magic, but spreading a religion. Big Hat Logan wasn’t just respected, he was revered. Seath wasn’t just the inventor of scientific studies, he was a god of reason. The Crystal Sages are carrying on Logan’s perverse cult of reason surrounding Seath, having already brought it to Lothric’s Grand Archives.

The warped worship of Seath — perhaps the heretical faith itself only arose after the arrival of the Crystal Sages, but the risks seem to have long existed at the Grand Archives. As we pass by the countless bookshelves, many of the texts open to sprout long bony arms colored like soul sorcery, each inflicting a petrification curse on contact. It is these cursed claws that prompt the library’s scholars to cover their heads in hardened wax for protection. Ivory wax can be made of various substances from oils to animal fat to beeswax, but there is one consistent element: flame. The scholars dunk their heads in pools of melted wax located throughout the library, meaning that it had been directly affected by fire beforehand. This wax may be the product of some holy ritual that Lothric’s priests conduct, but it is imbued with the power of fire, regardless, and can thus counterbalance the effects of petrification. Even still, we see them occasionally attack the books they preserve whilst patrolling the hallowed halls, as if biting back at rabid beasts caged all around them.

From where did these cursed texts originate? The cut description for the Scholar’s Shed Skin notes that they contain “evil spirits”. (魔) This suggests that these arms are remnants of some resentful soul left in the text, most likely its writer. Said cut description also asserts that the wise men wear the wax so that they don’t come in contact with this evil and “cut loose wisdom’s shackles” while studying the texts. This wax was yet another part of the scholars’ efforts to self-regulate themselves and not become obsessed with the heretical knowledge that they read. Much like their candlestick blades, they themselves became wax lights to demonstrate their piety and serve as an example for one another, likely due to the possibility of the wise men coming to revere the power threatening them harm on a daily basis. Awed by what they feared, the scholars would become obsessed with understanding their fear and come to rely on that power, similar to the Cathedral of the Deep. That would make this knowledge in particular the heresy of the library.

Shed skin of a wise man of the Great Archives that is covered in ivory wax. The hardened wax masks the body.

The wise men putting on the wax is merely for the sake of their studies. Many of the books carry evil spirits, thus the wax becomes their protection. So as to not come in contact with the evil spirits and cut loose wisdom’s shackles.

There is only one character whose soul would manifest in this form with this effect: Seath. Ignoring their one extra digit, these claws are the white dragon’s hands manifesting with his power over moonlight and petrification curses. Furthermore, these evil spirits are internally named “snake spirits”. (蛇霊) Serpents are failures at becoming dragons, so it is appropriate for remnants of an archdragon’s soul be called such. It appears that the paledrake’s resentment has outlasted him, resulting in these soul dregs attempting to turn any flesh to stone. These cursed books are thus his research previously preserved at the gods’ library in Anor Londo and have since been made part of Lothric’s collection. Maybe it was because it was authored by an archdragon, or maybe it was because it belonged to the founder of sorcery. Whatever the case, Seath’s work was an extensive addition to Lothric’s archives, which is likely what attracted the Crystal Sages there to begin with.

The twin Elders’ incorporation into the Grand Archives seems to have been a private affair. Considering the heretical nature of their teachings, the Lothric priests would have raised a fuss about another Pillar’s open corruption. At the same time, the independent nature of the three Pillars makes it easy to create an echo chamber without the others necessarily learning about it. Moreover, the crystal scrolls are a secret treasure and so must have only been circulated among the scholars slowly and quietly so as to not alert suspicion. If the whole of the Pillar was taught about this heretical faith upfront, some pious sorcerers might blow the whistle on the Crystal Sage’s operation. But introducing those ideas to only a few at a time over a prolonged period? That acclimates them all eventually. Perhaps the Sages were first welcomed in for what knowledge they could contribute to the Grand Archives. But by the time we arrive, all of its remaining scholars had been converted to the elders’ teachings, and they had already brought about this pious kingdom’s undoing.