Carim


A New Phase


Of all the surviving Old World nations, Carim has seen the most radical change. If Irithyll is the new Anor Londo, then Carim is the new Thorolund. With the sol land’s implicit collapse following Lloyd’s downfall, Carim is now the country of clergymen, and this is reflected in its face option. The Carim Novice is in actuality a “priest face of Carim”. (カリムの坊主顔) In other words, clerics are apparently so common there now that anyone looking to be from Carim is assumed to also be a priest, specifically of the Way of White. A voluminous braille tome filled with Carim scriptures includes the church’s high-level miracles while featuring Gwyn on the cover. Likewise, Irina originates from Carim and dresses in the same traveling uniform as Way of White holy women in the original Dark Souls. (DS1) In fact, Carim clergywomen are famous as storytellers, memorizing tons of scripture to beautifully recite.

The country thus serves as a center for church culture and politics in the world of man, supplanting Thorolund in every way save for perhaps its militant orthodoxy. While miracles demanding immense faith like Great Heal still exist and remain exclusive to the most learned of clerics, Heal Aid demonstrates the Way of White’s tolerance for those with little faith by simplifying the standard healing spell. This grants even non-clergymen access to the power of the gods and their teachings, making it so that only the most skeptical of nonbelievers can’t take advantage of the church’s charity. This miracle didn’t exist in previous games, and reflects the Way of White’s shift away from its most stringent yet fundamental practice: demanding more faith from adherents in order to obtain exclusive boons.

On that note, the loss of Thorolund hasn’t heavily affected the church’s arsenal, with many of its old miracles still seeing use — including the Replenishment spell employed by Lloyd’s famously resilient cleric knights. Many of the former chief god’s magic tools have also been retained. Some have been stripped of his name, like his talismans, but others remain as they were. Lloyd’s Sword and Shield Rings still embody the two spheres his high priests once preserved in Thorolund; it is only the practices themselves which have died out with his faith. No longer do the church’s knights fear Lloyd exercising his Sword of Law. No longer is rigid hierarchy safeguarded by his Shield of Caste. Even the high priests’ rings were simply repurposed for Carim holy women. The Way of White has, by and large, reformed for the better, and this is no small part thanks to Carim turning over a new leaf.

Miracle once beloved by clergy knights. Gradually recovers HP.

It is a remnant of the old Lloyd faith, and it is said that the clergy knights showed no collapse in battle.


Tool of Undead hunts. Prohibits recovery via Est within the effective range for a fixed time.

The legacy of the Lloyd knights, who once led Undead hunts. The Way of White’s faith for Chief God Lloyd has long since died out. Only the works of those hunts have been inherited. For they seal only the Undead’s recovery and fight fair-and-square.


Ring given to holy women of Carim. Increases memory slots.

In Carim, holy women are storytellers. They memorize many massive scriptures and recite them in a nice voice. In that respect, they are famous.

Among the curses sealed in the Undead Settlement’s Greatwood is Arstor’s Spear, a weapon of Carim’s earl from DS1. While the spear’s description fails to elaborate on the man’s ultimate fate, it does illuminate current perceptions of him. He was always ill-rumored, but now he is known as the Impaler, or “Impale Lord”, (串刺し公) in reference to the similarly infamous Vlad Dracula. One can only imagine the implications for his spear, enwreathed in a repulsive “vine” of rotten meat which, naturally, poisons the enemy before ultimately transferring some of the life power released upon death to the wielder; considering the earl’s other inventions, that cursed flesh may well be one of the spear’s victims. For the world, this leaves no doubt that all the rumors about him were true, hence manufacture of his ominous magic works has become taboo. Carim culture’s public silence on someone who was once so influential in its government demonstrates its own shift away from such heresy.

One of the curses stored in the belly of a great tree. The repulsive weapon of Impale Lord Alster.

The spear coiled with a vine of rotten meat possesses strong poison attribute and also recovers HP when defeating enemies.


One of the bite rings handed down in Carim. Boosts death-by-curse resistance.

Sense something ominous in the malleable stone? Its method of manufacturing is said to be a taboo. Only clergymen will do it at their leisure.

This shift coincided with the appearance of the God of Tears, escorted by a man fittingly named Morne or Mourn. (モーン) Based on his later association with the Carim Knights, Morne was originally one of them. However, this empathetic warrior sought the power to comfort the weak — as the description for his ring implies, he found it in miracles. Caitha is known for shedding tears of compassion and mourning for others, and tales of the death and grief surrounding the goddess can cure status ailments and even briefly deny death. Through her, humans might still survive an early grave, or at least have the chance to say their goodbyes to loved ones before they expire. Such kindness moved Morne, convincing him to serve as her attendant and learn her holy magic, his “grotesque” rage unleashing an explosion of power matching Wrath of the Gods. He apparently also adopted armor fashioned to emulate similarly “grotesque” stone gargoyles, perhaps due to their association with warding off evil like curses. He would be her defender, her faithful knight, the one person whom this tragic goddess could rely on.

Grotesque helmet given to knights of Carim.

It is modeled on the Archbishop’s apostle, Morne, and the helmet in particular is the very head of the stone statues that line the cathedral.

It is said that a knight of Carim serves one holy woman alone in their lifetime. Like how Morne once served a certain goddess.


Grotesque ring given to knights of Carim. Boosts the might of miracles.

It is said that Morne was an attendant of the goddess Quato, and later became the Archbishop’s apostle. For the power to comfort all of the weak.

From there, Morne seems to have approached the local Archbishop to impart Caitha’s miracles on her behalf. The result was wildly successful. In becoming the Archbishop’s apostle, Morne gained a platform to propagate his goddess’ cult. The result is the nation’s “Great Temple” (大神殿) becoming adorned with gargoyles reminiscent of his armor and ring. Now that the Way of White defines Carim, its knights receive recreations of that equipment plus assignment to protect one holy woman for life, essentially reenacting Morne’s lifelong devotion to Caitha. In fact, the great hammer incorporating the temple’s gargoyles into its design also matches the apostle’s rage, hence only knights with particularly excellent strength and faith are gifted it. Through him, the goddess became known to them all, and the country pays him its due respects. However, the figure to worship is still Caitha, and we can see that the Tearstone rings originally associated with Carim or Catarina now exclusively relate to the God of Tears. She has completely overtaken the culture.

Great hammer given to persons who excelled particularly in physical strength and faith even among knights of Carim.

It was made in the shape of amulets of the Carim Great Temple and keeps the grotesque rage of Apostle Morne.

Battle art is “Wrath of Morne”. Stick the weapon in the ground and generate a strong shock wave. Similar to the Perseverance battle art, tenacity temporarily increases and damage taken is reduced.

While all of this primed Carim to become a new church leader, it came at the implicit expense of its old resident deity, Velka. Whether it be characters or items, the Goddess of Sin currently leaves no mark on Carim culture, a stark contrast to DS1. She has evidently lost her grip over the country since the events of the original game, replaced by a more sympathetic and less controversial deity. Indeed, as we can see from her forgotten statue in the Undead Settlement, Velka’s cult has seen a sharp decline, with no signs of even a single priest dedicated to her in the present era. This isn’t too surprising. With people like Arstor making a racket that reached across the Old World, the witch’s already niche popularity was bound to decline, both at home and abroad — though in all fairness, hindsight proves that the earl wasn’t solely to blame for the “gloomy” features of Carim’s people. And that unwanted attention would be especially relevant to then Allfather Lloyd over in Thorolund.

For all her sway among the gods, Velka was still the heresy to Lloyd’s orthodoxy, total antitheses. One can only imagine the friction generated from their oppugnant dispositions over the years, Lloyd’s sheer frustration over the Goddess of Sin’s continued independent streak. If he was given a good enough reason to, he would have almost certainly treated the maverick like the rest. In truth, it may not have been very long after the events of DS1 before Lloyd used this opportunity with Arstor to erode Velka’s influence. After all, if she couldn’t keep her house in order, it was only fair that he step up the Way of White’s presence in her territory where there was none, at least expressed, before. That was a dangerous position for a goddess of her nature to be in, in many ways. But as the gods’ ostensible ally, she had no means to fight such an infringement upon her domain — directly.

How convenient that just as Velka was about to face real repercussions, Gwyndolin finally made a stand and cut off Lloyd’s support at the knees. And then right on cue, another goddess appeared in Carim to quickly replace the witch, a God of Tears who Dark Souls II (DS2) implied to simply be her alter ego. In fact, Caitha’s administration of Carim has only strengthened that suspicion. Knowing how to make Arstor’s ominous bite rings is taboo, yet clergy and clergy alone produce them freely. Caitha’s Chime is perversely prohibited to all but a small number of clerics even in Carim, all because its Archbishop wants to hide the fact that their god’s divine protection makes the holy bell scale with intelligence and compatible with Dark miracles. This far outclasses any corruption that Lloyd permitted. Caitha isn’t as pure as publicly portrayed. Indeed, tears may be beautiful when death approaches as the Tearstone ring descriptions claim, but the question remains: to who? The person dying, or the person watching the mutual suffering?

Holy bell that received the divine protection of the goddess Quato. Only a few clergymen possess it even in Carim.

It has unusual intelligence scaling for a miracle catalyst, and has surprisingly good affinity with miracles close to the Dark. That is hidden in the name of the Archbishop, and it is also strictly prohibited.

This problem within the Carim church is widespread. Saying you have a “priest” face from Carim has become derogatory because bouzu (坊主) doubles as slang for young boys, especially those with shaved heads. Shaving one’s hair is used to signify punishment or repentance in Japan as well as the first step to self-discipline on the path to enlightenment in Buddhism. Therefore, saying that Carim priests are specifically bouzu can speak not just to their inexperience concerning religiosity, but to their history with piety, period. What did these clerics do to get their heads proverbially shaved? Was it just to an honest mistake for men freshly on the path to the gods? Or are they not as holy as you would otherwise expect? Revelers in vice who nonetheless portray themselves as free of worldly desires — doesn’t it bring to mind certain priests to a certain goddess? Carim hasn’t changed at all, it merely rebranded itself. “Caitha” didn’t come from nowhere, she just created a new handle. And if her identity and following were deliberately manufactured, then we must suspect the timing as well.

Velka was charged with handling the logistics that Gwyndolin’s covenant relied upon to judge sinners with extreme prejudice. Add to that their personal relationship, and one has to at least wonder if the Goddess of Sin was subtly nudging the Darkmoon deity into making his power play. Suddenly, Lloyd found himself on the defensive, with everything he had ever done now viewed through the lens of a liar and pretender. All but his most ardent followers would turn against him, and this schism would inevitably lead to violence. The fact that we can find members of the Lloyd faith in Ariandel suggests that there was persecution if not an outright purge of the old guard — ironic considering the church’s relation with the painting world during Lloyd’s day, not to mention Velka’s own connection. But while this remnant held out hope for their chief god and his white aureole’s return, the reality hasn’t panned out.

Thorolund’s god is gone, and to the fill the vacuum, Carim’s goddess reintroduced herself as someone more palatable, giving the perfect cover for her followers to escape public persecution and continue their old practices unabated. They may have needed to leave some like Earl Arstor out to dry, but the net gain for “Caitha” was renewed popularity amongst mankind. Is it any coincidence that priests of Carim are the ones “loudly” asserting the facts underpinning Lloyd’s illegitimacy? They were the kill shot which put their heretic on top. Gwyndolin may be Allfather, but Caitha and Carim are undeniably the number two, and their combined influence over the Way of White has been greater than ever. Velka had masterfully swiped Lloyd’s power right from under him, using his own offense against her to take over without missing a beat. Of course, it might all just be a coincidence —  as is always the case with the Goddess of Sin.

Ring given to knights who serve the Way of White. It is modeled on Chief God Lloyd’s shield of class.

Temporarily boosts defense power when HP is full.

But the Way of White’s Lloyd faith has now long since died out. The priests of Carim loudly assert: “For Lloyd was no more than a collateral relation and assumed himself Chief God.”


Reformation


Contact between the Old and New Worlds put the Way of White in a unique position. The far north was rediscovering the lost origins of its religious culture, and the mainstream religion down south had an opportunity to bring these wayward believers back into the fold. But for a church which struggled with asserting its authority upon the fringes of its reach in DS1, extending it out even farther would be a huge undertaking. Lothric would certainly help facilitate the bridge, as would the church capital’s move to the Boreal Valley next door. But there was still the matter of personnel on the ground. The Way of White needed clerics willing to be missionaries to establish a foothold in the far-off region. And to keep that foothold firm, it would need the heralds.

Despite lacking the same depth of faith and knowledge of miracles as priests, these Way of White messengers are essential for communication, both between the church and nations and between individual churches. To secure their mandate, they are equipped like lightly-armored knights with white cloaks, making them easily identifiable but protected from threats without severely weighing down their long journeys. If their spears and shields can’t keep them safe on the road, they have a minor healing spell to cast with canvas talismans, though we are equipped with the basic talisman should we choose the herald as our background; from the shared item descriptions, this was likely changed for game balance. Coarse-cloth talismans were used by traveling clerics in DS1 to accommodate rough terrain, and the church must have always had someone fulfilling a messenger role. The only difference now is how far their missions with these talismans might take them.

Leather gloves that heralds of the Way of White are said to have worn. Heralds refer to those who are entrusted with conveying messages.

It is nothing out of the ordinary, but durable for long journeys.


Catalyst that performs miracles of the gods. Those of coarse cloth are modest things possessed by traveling heralds.

In order to use miracles, it is necessary to equip either a talisman or a holy bell and memorize miracles at a bonfire.


Talisman that performs miracles of the gods. It was very common in the old Way of White.

In order to use miracles, it is necessary to equip either a talisman or a holy bell and memorize miracles at a bonfire.

As a herald, we start with kite shield, unremarkable if not for the crest of Drangleic emblazoned on it. This makes it identical to the shield of the long lost kingdom’s fort captain Drummond, though ours is evidently an inferior copy — aside from the difference in stats, more can be bought from Greirat. In other words, remnants of Drangleic’s culture have been retrieved and passed around since the events of DS2, at least in the countries surrounding the ruined continent. This would explain why a Way of White herald would bear the shield, treating the emblem no different from some of the generic insignias on others. That likewise implies messengers like us have been to that far north. Indeed, the fact that a herald can potentially be unkindled proves passage through the midpoint in Lothric. The church has expanded its messaging network to help bridge the gap with its stray brothers of the faith, and the results speak for themselves.

As seen with items derived from the Paladin’s Ashes, many weapons from Lloyd’s era have remained, including the church’s old crescent axe and gory morning star. But new ones from DS2 have also been added to its repertoire, such as the red-handled halberd. The Cleric’s Sacred Chime has similarly been adopted as a basic miracle catalyst for Undead clergy, probably to make the cursed easier to identify from normal clerics wielding cloth talismans. This cultural exchange also led to the Way of White embedding itself into Lothric religion. Greirat provides a Blue Tearstone Ring he presumably stole after infiltrating the city walls, and can later sell Carim’s sniper bolts pillaged from the neighboring Undead Settlement. Lothric Castle is home to a Red Tearstone Ring, Caitha’s Chime, Sniper Crossbow, and Sacred Bloom Shield. A Fleshbite Ring can likewise be found in its Grand Archives. Together, all of this indicates that high-ranking clerics from Carim and their warrior entourage kept a presence as foreign ambassadors. Their role would be to help secure not just the link with the New World, but also the firelinking ritual.

Halberd possessing a crescent moon-shaped blade. Can be called a long-handed battle axe.

It is known as an old weapon of Way of White clergymen.


Holy bell for performing the gods’ miracles. It is given to clergymen who have become Undead.

In order to use miracles, it is necessary to equip either a talisman or a holy bell and memorize miracles at a bonfire.

The Way of White now has its clerics who turn Undead dress in vibrant blue cloths which are impossible for others to mistake, complete with a large lid on their backs for fear of the Dark pus manifesting. Armed with a similarly blue shield, these Undead clergy have been typically sent out with a mission, the nature of which has yet to leak out to the public. However, this duty is probably just linking the fire. Our background as a cleric is specifically one of these Undead clerics, completely exhausted from our journey sometime prior to taking part in Lothric’s firelinking system. Indeed, the only other Undead cleric we come across is a corpse at the Undead Settlement, so this mission is bringing them to Lothric. Why travel so far and with such fervor to around that area unless that was the end goal? Why send Undead to this land unless their mission related to the curse’s primary use there? The church’s own Undead mission for the Rite of Kindling has clearly lost relevancy since the events of DS1, so the common duty is the only option left if it wants to excise cursed clergy from the holy ranks.

Traveling clergyman, a person who used up all their strength from their journey.

Of course, not every Undead was sent as a sacrifice to the First Flame. Irina headed to become a Fire Keeper, hence wearing the traditional white instead of blue. By all indications, the nun was previously just a dedicated storyteller, even learning how to read braille scripture while still able to see — certainly no fighter, befitting her Greek name meaning “peace”. In fact, the description for her ashes notes that such weakness suited her position in the church, thereby implying that fighting strength decides which clergywomen are made offerings versus guides. This explains why potential Fire Keepers are assigned an escort; they are incapable of protecting themselves. Another benefit to providing a bodyguard is having someone ensure their health doesn’t deteriorate midway through.

Ashen remains of Irina of Carim. The handmaid of the ritual place will have new items to offer.

Irina was a weak woman. For that weakness made her a Carim holy woman, and then she betrayed it all.

Irina is blind and suffering from Dark “insects” nibbling at her insides during our first meeting at the Undead Settlement. The locust preacher confirms that such bugs don’t actually exist, so she must be referring to the humanity that devour the bodies and souls of Fire Keepers beneath the skin — close examination of her ashes reveals scarring below the hand matching the damage by humanity described in DS1. This means that the church in Carim performs all the necessary rituals for becoming a Fire Keeper before the holy women even begin the trek to Lothric. It is better to validate the clergywomen’s capability to assume the duty before the Way of White dumps them on the kingdom. But as Irina shows, this can be incredibly taxing for the holy women themselves. In that regard, the Carim Knights are being tasked with delivering fragile cargo. They have to make sure it arrives at the destination, which can lead to a lot of friction between bodyguard and charge.

… Who’s there? There’s someone there, right? Ah, if you’re there, please touch me. It’s dark, I can’t see anything, the dark bites at me. Insects biting and tormenting me for so, so long. So please touch me.


A woman feared. The insects that lurk in the Dark and bit and ate away at her. But wait! Where in the Abyss are such things! So don’t fear the Dark, you, and it’s time for our meal.

As a knight, Eygon was conferred an award of his choice along with his status, oddly requesting a greatshield bearing the face of his elder sister of some years. Stranger still, this knightly decoration was made to moan by offering it a quiet prayer, which attracts enemy attention. But while everything about this “Moaning Shield” seems as grotesque as Eygon’s armor, it likely came from a place of affection. The image of a giant woman shielding him plus their relative age implies that Eygon’s sister protected him when he was very young and unable to protect himself — he could depend on her to take on every threat. If so, then it is odd for him to insinuate women on the battlefield are in as much danger as ordinary men in Undead land. Is the man simply a hypocrite, or does he speak from experience? The shield’s moan leaves ominous implications for his sister’s ultimate fate. Perhaps he wasn’t the first in his family to pursue knighthood, and suffered the loss of the sibling he admired because of it. In that case, the shield serves as both a memento and memento mori for the newly-appointed knight. As always, she would be the source of his strength going forward.

… Hmph, well, whatever. I warn you. If you’re sane, you should stay in your coffin. This place is a land of Undead, the likes of a sane person is like a woman on the battlefield…

With this in mind, his assignment to Irina was bound to get complicated. She was the type of person this strong man would hate most. Worse, she bears the Dark every devout man fears. As the locust preacher notes, shadows warp by fire’s side, and so the faithful but troubled knight of Carim treats his charge with mocking disdain, Irina implying that he promised to kill her if she couldn’t control the Dark — and a knight of Carim always keeps his promise. By the time they reached the Undead Settlement, Irina’s torment became too much to bear. She was too weak to even be a Fire Keeper. This was, of course, a betrayal for everything the nun stood for — and a knight of Carim never forgives betrayal. Eygon locked Irina in the local jail and left her to suffer. But as she implies, this was itself betraying his promise. Why allow her to live? Because Eygon’s apprehension includes one other ingredient: projection.

A man feared. Wearing his solid armor, a weak woman, just like a child. There are those whose shadows warp at the side of fire. There are no shadows in the Abyss. So don’t fear the Dark, you, and it’s time for our meal.


Ahh, you, touch me once more. And this time, you’ll kill me like you promised, right?


Ah, I knew it, a knight of Carim keeps his promise…

Wouldn’t frail Irina remind Eygon of a sister he thought so strong yet also turned out so weak? If so, then could he bear the thought of losing her again? With this added element, Eygon’s fear of Irina and her weakness gains a new dimension: she is the person he wished that he was strong enough to save the first time. If simply fulfilling duty, why make a promise to her? Because it gave her peace to know that she wouldn’t needlessly suffer. Why then let her suffer when the situation arose? Because she might still recover with time. At every turn, Eygon has tangled his personal duty with his personal feelings, leading to contradiction after contradiction in his behavior. But that is all he can do for someone he cares about, though he can’t admit it — might not even realize it. In the end, Irina needed a reassuring hand to save her from the darkness consuming her, in more ways than one. And with the heartbroken nun coming to serve as our miracle tutor after we be that savior, Eygon can only promise to assist a “wannabe hero” like us if we continue helping her.

But, if you say you’re an idiot wannabe hero the same as them, then you best proceed ahead from the abandoned church over there. And then you best die miserably. As many times as it takes for your heart to break. Keh heh heh…


Son of a, damned wannabe hero Hollow…

This scenario runs one of two ways. If we give Irina only holy books to teach, she gains enough resilience to the humanity inside her to complete her Fire Keeper training, moving to the shrine mausoleum. With his reason to help us gone, Eygon is next found dead in her old cell, presumably having committed suicide to atone for his dishonorable failure — he was the true wannabe hero. But if we have Irina teach heretical scriptures, it only agitates the humanity, the resulting pain breaking her completely. Eygon will then attempt to kill us for our betrayal, but not before trying his best to save her. The knight possesses an empty Estus flask during this encounter, indicating that he used it up just before we arrived via the bonfire. But the knight differentiates himself from Undead, so why does he even possess one of their treasures? Because it wasn’t given to him, but his charge, whose pain he tried to alleviate by making her drink the Estus. That affirms both her undeath as well as his desperation to keep her alive.

… Oh… you’re another of what they call a fireless ash, huh… These “shameless, nameless Undead,” did I miss anything?

If nothing else, Eygon and Irina demonstrate their homeland’s direct involvement in Lothric’s religious practices. This transfer of Undead from countries like Carim to the northern kingdom likewise explains some of the church’s more recent activities. Why have blessed gems become known as protective charms for holy women? Because their power to heal is useful for these weak women’s survival during their journey to become Fire Keepers. Why value blind believers enough to make braille holy books commonplace? Because it conditions clergywomen to think positively about being blinded if they become Fire Keeper candidates. Indeed, the blind make for an excellent cultural symbol. These are people who can rely on their visual faculties to understand the world even less than most, meaning that they must more heavily rely on faith for insight. Of course, cynics might instead infer that the church prefers its adherents having “blind” faith so that they are easier to manipulate — perhaps it is some combination of both. But in the end, it makes compliance from the church’s Undead all the easier.

Gem said to be altered bond stone. Known also as a holy woman’s protective charm.

Used in weapon alteration enhancement to make blessed weapons.

Blessed weapons are special, so slightly recover HP and also put down those that revive.


Braille scriptures of Carim. Contains superior miracles.

Become able to learn superior miracles of Carim by handing it to a storyteller.

It is a customary practice to value blind believers in the Way of White. Braille scriptures are by no means unusual.


Cloak and Talon


In more recent years, the Way of White has had a new crisis to contend with. Sulyvahn proclaimed himself Pontiff, but the church in Carim has seen through the paper-thin facade. Irina refers to herself as a former shuudoujo, (修道女) a term typically employed for nuns in the Roman Catholic Church. The Archbishop of Carim is similarly the daishikyou, (大司教) with the kanji used for Catholic archbishops. This contrasts the “bishops” and “archbishops” (大主教) of the Cathedral of the Deep, whose titles employ the kanji for various non-Catholic denominations of Christianity. In other words, there is a divide between the church in Carim and the church in Irithyll, which oversees the Cathedral. Sectarian splits with the Roman Catholic Church often resulted from disagreements with the papacy over the Bishop of Rome’s authority over the entire church, so the Way of White has probably also been fractured by Sulyvahn’s similar claim.

“Caitha” is an intelligent goddess, so seeing through Sulyvahn’s blatant deception isn’t a surprise, and there was no reason for her to recognize his authority. But even if we assume that every church outside of Irithyll’s sphere of influence stood with Carim and denounced the Pontiff’s claims to leadership over the Way of White, it is nothing more than an internal dispute among the clergy. Lothric has sidestepped the issue by dealing with both parties, and no one else seems willing to risk war. Irithyll’s suffering under the Pontiff’s heel wasn’t worth jeopardizing the existing system or the chief god’s life, and Velka is certainly in no position to lambast Sulyvahn for covert flirtations with the Dark — again, ironic that the setup she arranged ended up hijacked by a sorcerer so much like herself. But while everything may seem like business as usual save for Irithyll and Carim exchanging glares on the public stage, open maneuvering has never been the goddess’ fancy; she much prefers the more subtle approach.

Lying dead in the stream just outside Irithyll is a body with a Ring of Sacrifice, suggesting that one of Velka’s followers recently attempted to infiltrate the city — the surrounding sewage centipedes indicates how that turned out. Another seems to have had more success. In the sewers of Irithyll Dungeon, we find two chests. One hides the key to open the older prison cells; the other is a mimic carrying the Dark Clutch Ring. This location implies that the owner really didn’t want anyone in the dungeon to know about it. Why? The ring increases the power of Dark attacks at the expense of Dark defense, indicating the the owner employs such power. Moreover, it is shaped like the foot of a crow, a creature commonly associated with Velka. Taken together, and the owner of these chests is likely another servant to the Goddess of Sin. Whatever his plans for nabbing the Old Cell Key, his hiding place was evidently never discovered. Still, the corpse lying face down in the nearby sewage with the Soul of a Weary Warrior suggest that he too might have met his end at the hands of the local wildlife, namely the giant rats or basilisks.

From these two examples, we can infer Velka’s continued interest in the goings-on of Irithyll. Whether legitimately concerned about Gwyndolin or simply wanting to spite an unforeseen variable in her plans for meddling, the goddess would nonetheless benefit from having an accurate assessment of the situation — maybe even undermine Sulyvahn’s operations along the way. Carim can’t simply rally all the god-fearing nations in a crusade against the false pope, but subterfuge knows no borders. However, the Boreal Valley proves dangerous for even Velka’s agents, and recent developments in Irithyll prove their work unnecessary. As far as the goddess is concerned, this is likely for the best. She has her own nations to guide.