Among all the Crystal Sages’ apprentices, Kriemhild was their favorite. Having learned all of their advanced sorceries, the “crystal maiden” (結晶の娘) undoubtedly became the elders’ star pupil. It is because of this exceptional intelligence and concentration that they gifted her a unique staff formed from part of a tree growing around one of their crystal balls. What sets this sorcery catalyst apart from the average wooden staff is how the added ball “devours” the will of its user, making it function similar to the will-consuming crystalized staff that Logan created in the original Dark Souls — another example of the Sages’ closely studying Big Hat’s later works. All staves can have their power supplemented with an “additional chant” (追加詠唱) briefly drawing out the magic, but the Sage’s Crystal Staff draws out even more power; the downside, of course, is the crystal ball taxing the caster’s focus all the more. It is an exceptionally strong but difficult to handle catalyst for sorcery, yet they trusted in Kriemhild’s abilities.

Crystal staff that the twin gurus known as the Crystal Elders gave to their favorite pupil Kriemhild.

The crystal ball is said to devour the user’s will, so further enhances the might of sorceries in exchange for more greatly increasing the battle art’s FP consumption.

With it she received another gift. Aside from the staff and a parrying dagger, Kriemhild also wields the Crystal Sage’s Rapier. Although it is possible for her to have duplicated their handiwork, it was more likely another present from her masters, the Sage still at the Grand Archives using a mundane estoc in its place. Indeed, although the staff and, presumably, rapier were collective gifts, each Sage would have probably wanted to share something of their own. The twin in Farron who exhibits more spell variety with a crystal ball contributed the crystal ball staff. Meanwhile, the twin in Lothric who continues research from archives contributed the discovery-improving sword. The result was the pair providing Kriemhild with two gifts tailored to their individual preferences. The enthusiasm is to be expected. She was a natural-born talent whom the elders were all too happy to cultivate.

And yet, Kriemhild is dressed in the robes of a Fire Keeper. This requires her soul already be converted into a Fire Keeper soul, complete with humanity biting away beneath the skin. But while she proved her love for that wriggling darkness, she isn’t blind, meaning that she hadn’t yet completed her training when she came under the Sages’ tutelage. Residence at Firelink Shrine would explain how she got ahold of an Estus Flask despite her lengthy time at the castle, which wouldn’t have granted her access if she was Undead. Her name is also shared with the sister of Gundyr’s inspiration. And what do you know, Kriemhild just so happens to invade us in the Untended Graves, specifically where the bonfire before Gundyr would be located in the Cemetery of Ash. This hints at the prospective Keeper abandoning the holy path to study under the twins, trading faith for reason.

Indeed, the implication that she owns a red eye orb suggests that the crystal maiden has long discarded the tenants of the local church. And where did she acquire this heretical work? More than likely, the Grand Archives. Recall the Darkwraith imprisoned in the High Wall of Lothric for presumably attempting to invade, in one sense or the other. He has managed to hold onto his red eye orb, but it is unlikely that he was acting alone — would he have really expected to lay waste to a holy kingdom single-handed? If he had comrades, then an assault on Lothric would at least have been feasible, and the Darkwraiths in Farron show that New Londo’s stragglers did keep to small bands. In that case, the dungeon dweller is simply the only one taken prisoner, the rest slain and their still-functional eye orbs collected for the scholars to study — the wise men already show varied interests, and understanding possible threats was their role in part. Kriemhild has simply taken one of their specimens for some “field testing” in the current chaos. In short, she dropped all morality after coming to the sorcerers’ domain.

Kriemhild has embraced a new religion preached by the Crystal Sages, a faith of reason she was more suited to. Her conversion to their heretical sorcery is especially notable considering that the elders would be in the castle’s Grand Archives while she would be at Firelink Shrine. How did the two parties cross paths? There isn’t any overlap between the Pillars of faith and reason, nor any obvious interactions between the two areas. And with the Sages operating largely behind closed doors, it is hard to imagine Kriemhild simply hearing about their heresy second-hand, at a shrine, and choosing to just up and abandon her calling as a Fire Keeper. In other words, there would have to be some extenuating circumstances which first brought her or the elders to the other’s location — and one known event does allow for this possibility.

The Ashen Estus Ring was first brought to the Queen of Lothric before the grave where we can acquire it. Brought to her where, and by who? It is possible that the ring was presented to the Queen when she was hiding her holy water blessings with the unkindled in the cemetery. But if this ring’s ash crystallization was so important as to require her input, then it is more likely to have been brought to her attention during an official audience at the castle. Unless the Queen was making a rather timely visit, it was better to visit her than wait — assuming that she even would come in person and not just deliver the blessings through proxies. As for the bringer, it would be the ring’s owner in all likelihood. And as the normal Estus Ring shows, these cobbled-together products of broken Estus flasks are typically entrusted to Fire Keepers for their firelinkers. And as it just so happens, Kriemhild was on her way to becoming a Fire Keeper sometime during this last queen’s reign.

Given that she still looks unaged in the present day, the future crystal maiden was likely a young cleric when she began her Keeper training. She didn’t have that much experience with the church before she was expected to take on an onerous duty. Perhaps it was her choice, but that still didn’t prepare her for the ring dirty with a little ash going cold with crystals under her care. Confused, the young woman would naturally want to report this, explain herself, and receive new directives. But even after the Queen took it off her hands without incident, Kriemhild didn’t feel closure. With her intelligence, she would have undoubtedly been curious about the process behind the ring’s crystallization. And since she was at the castle, why not stop by the Grand Archives to try finding some answers? There she would come across the Crystal Sages, and the rest was history. Ever since staying to hear her enthusiastic new teachers, she has been too engrossed with sorcery to bother changing out of her old uniform — a true descendant of Logan.

Now that Lothric is falling apart, Kriemhild guards the way to the Twin Princes behind Albert and Kamui, leaving the dangerous fighting to the big boys with their big blades while she rains down crystal sorcery from the back. While another example of her smarts, it demonstrates both her and the other heretical sorcerers’ position in this ongoing civil war. Prince Lothric promises an end to firelinking, and with it an end to the religious persecution of sorcerers in Lothric. No longer will they have to hide their so-called heresy. The kingdom to come will let them study all things openly and without condemnation. Whether or not they know the prince’s full intentions, he is still their best shot at creating a country where the Grand Archives is its singular Pillar. Therefore, his survival by conflict’s end is paramount. Kriemhild simply plays her part for her remaining master, glad to see her old faith go.