Malenia may have been cursed by the Outer God of Scarlet Rot, but she may have also been gifted with an alternative path to becoming a goddess.
Of all of Elden Ring‘s demigods, Malenia is the one that feels as if she has already ascended to godhood. The Scarlet Rot-infected Empyrean is by far the most difficult opponent in the Lands Between with her Waterfowl Dance being nearly impossible to avoid. But for those Tarnished who managed to evade Malenia’s sword and felled the Blade of Miquella, they may have very well assisted her in becoming a full-fledged goddess.
This may sound strange to those familiar with how the cycle of power functions in Elden Ring. Only a demigod whose consort is Elden Lord can become a god or goddess because doing so allows said demigod to become a vassal of the Elden Ring. However, this accession to godhood appears to be ordained by the Outer Gods of the Elden Ring universe, and the final fight of the game makes it semi-clear that the most popular one in the Lands Between, the Greater Will, is currently calling the shots regarding power and the Elden Ring. Thus, other Outer Gods may try to manipulate the happenings of the Lands Between by trying to pick their own demigods to ascend to godhood.
Indeed, other Outer Gods do this throughout the game; most notably, the Formless Mother who guides Mogh, the Omen, compels him to make Miquella a god by obtaining the Elden Ring. But one other Outer God sidesteps this trodden path to godhood and has instead made its own prophecy with Malenia. This deity is Elden Ring‘s God of Scarlet Rot, who has both cursed Malenia with the Scarlet Rot and gifted her its power and an alternative method to becoming a goddess.
Malenia’s Curse And Her Response In Elden Ring
To understand how this path to godhood works, one first has to learn of Malenia’s affliction and her treatment of it. Both Malenia and her twin brother Miquella were cursed at birth, the former with Scarlet Rot and the latter with eternal youth. These curses appear to be the doings of Outer Gods who perhaps desired to hold influence over the Lands Between and targeted the twins because they are Empyreans. This is explicit in Malenia’s case and possible in Miquella’s when considering Mogh’s plan to make him his consort while doing the biddings of the Formless Mother (similar to Elden Ring‘s first NPC White Mask Varré). Nevertheless, these curses birthed a resentment for Outer Gods in both Malenia and Miquella, which led to Miquella using his wits to cure his sister and Malenia her talents to protect her brother.
Additionally, Malenia uses her talents as a battler to fight against the Scarlet Rot’s influence over her. This is confirmed by the Prosthesis-Wearer Heirloom description, which reads “Though born into the accursed rot, when the young girl encountered her mentor and his flowing blade, she gained wings of unparalleled strength.” Though ambiguous, the young girl here must be Malenia, as being born into Rot, having a prosthetic arm, and bearing powerful wings all describe her and her alone. As for her teacher, this must be the elusive blind swordsman of legend who sealed away the Outer God of Scarlet Rot before Elden Ring. See, the Blue Dancer Charm explains that a fairy once “bestowed a flowing sword upon a blind swordsman. Blade in hand, the swordsman sealed away an ancient god – a god that was Rot itself.” That Malenia chose to learn her skills from the person who sealed the god who cursed her confirms her wish to control her Scarlet Rot, something she is proven to be capable of when comparing her to Starscourge Radahn post-infection.
Servants Of Rot And The Prophecy In Elden Ring
Despite Malenia’s hatred for the Outer God of Scarlet Rot, others in the Lands Between worship both its power and the Empyrean. These people are servants of Rot, a group of which the NPC Gowry is a member. Gowry proves to have an even better understanding of the Outer God of Scarlet Rot than Malenia, perhaps because he can appreciate its powers and because of his relationship with Elden Ring‘s one-armed valkyrie Millicent. Nevertheless, Gowry explains that Malenia is fulfilling a prophecy to become the Goddess of Rot by cyclically destroying herself. See, Gowry believes Scarlet Rot works in a cycle of death and rebirth, much like a phoenix does; however, rather than bursting into flames, those cursed by the Outer God blossom into a flower, which in Malenia’s case is called the Scarlet Aeonia. This is the flower she bloomed into during her fight with Radahn that put her into a comatose state in the time of Elden Ring. According to the Scarlet Aeonia description, Malenia has done this twice before, and her third time doing so will see her ascend to godhood.
This last note suggests that her fight with Elden Ring‘s lowly Tarnished results in her ascendance to godhood. Not only does she use the Scarlet Aeonia in the second phase of her fight, but afterward, she appears to permanently take the form of this flower. While this may lead one to believe she is dead – especially because players obtain the Remembrance of the Rot Goddess after defeating her – the parallel story of Millicent shows that this floral form is merely a part of the cycle of life and death in the Outer God of Scarlet Rot’s lore. Millicent is one of the mysterious descendants of Malenia birthed in Caelid after the blooming of the Scarlet Aeonia. Near the end of her questline, players have the option to betray and kill her. Gowry, Millicent’s adoptive father in Elden Ring, encourages players to do this because doing so will allow her to blossom into a flower of Scarlet Rot, a flower from which she will be reborn as a valkyrie of Malenia. Indeed, the flower she transforms into after betraying her is but a smaller version of the one Malenia turns into after her own defeat. Thus, it is highly likely that Malenia will return from her floral form as the Goddess of Scarlet Rot.
This creates the possibility for future DLC content with Malenia in Elden Ring. Such a prospect would be welcome, as her and the Haligtree’s story have some of the most untapped potential of all characters and locations in Elden Ring‘s world, the Lands Between. But this could also mean facing her again as a goddess, a frightening prospect considering she was already difficult enough.
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