This page contains lore theories by Rakuyo. Please understand these are musings and interpretations by a player, and are not to be taken as official or representative of other's views.
The Mysteries of Cainhurst Garb & Architecture
Varying between decadent and menacing, Cainhurst offers some of the most interesting dress in the game.
Summed up, the pieces that relate to Cainhurst are The Cainhurst Set, The Knight's Set, Maria's Hunter Set, The Noble Dress and The Crown of Illusions.
Excluding the crown, all sets are typified by art nouveau depictions of flowers and plants. Such art is found all over Cainhurst as well.
Another quirk specific to Cainhurst is the use of symbolic salamanders .
Salamanders - or Flame Lizards -were powerful enemies who appeared in DS2. They were most likely designed after the prehistoric amphibian "Koolasuchus "
The word "salamander" most commonly refers to a kind of amphibian but it's also used to denote fire elementals.
Other such elementals include sylphs (wind), undines (water) and gnomes (earth). These casts were originally formulated by the 16th century philosopher Paracelsus.
Three salamanders can be found on the Knight's Garb: Here's one on the front - Here's one on the back. . They also appear on the female version .
One can be found on Maria's Hunter Cap . Two can be found above the entrance to Annalise's throneroom .
Smooth skinned lizards adorn the wooden bookstands of the Cainhurst library. I believe these to be salamanders as well.
It's important to note that salamanders aren't necessarily symbols of The Vilebloods. They may simply be traditional symbols of House Cainhurst.
Besides fire, salamanders are strongly related to poison. One legend tells of salamanders being so poisonous, that any tree they touch will bear poisoned fruit.
They are also revered for their immunity to fire. Salamander blood is said to immunize one against fire, so is clothing made from (spiritual) salamander hair.
Salamanders were said to feed on flames, or exude substances that immunified them against the flames. The pyromancy "Flash Sweat" may derive from such legends.
In DS3, The Great Swamp Ring, chiseled from a salamander bone, states that salamanders are the descendants of the demons, born from the Chaos Flame .
The presence of salamanders in Cainhurst, does not only indicate demons, but perhaps also the Vileblood desire to immunize against the flames of judgement.
As to the legend of the poisoned fruit, Cainhurst attire also displays fruit , most likely pomegranates, since these have particular significance in Tarot.
Plant Art of Castle Cainhurst
Plant patterns appear in such places as the Pthumerian Labyrinth, Research Hall, The Cathedral District, Central Yharnam and Mergo's Loft.
There is significant overlap as well divergence in what is depicted. It's not always clear if the art is inspired by gothic , , , or art nouveau , , .
Healing Church garbs such as Church Garb and Executioner Garb do not depict such patterns at all. Cainhurst has them on almost every piece of armor.
Aside from plants textures, Cainhurst can be linked to "flowers", which may symbolize Lumenflowers: .
This red gemmed flower looks just like the mutated flowers found atop the Research Hall .
Other flowers display tentacular curls , which echo the way The Moon Presence is depicted in art .
Flowers compose a distinguished theme. They're found throughout Yharnam , from The Healing Church , to The Pthumerian Labyrinth .
In the age of The Old Hunters, House Cainhurst was a house of nobles allied with The Healing Church. It was this age that Lady Maria lived and died in.
Maria's Hunter Cap contains a salamander , while her garb displays plants and flowers . As the item descriptions state, the attire came from Cainhurst.
What this means is that both salamanders and plant art have been part of House Cainhurst since the time of The Old Hunters.
As far as is known, House Cainhurst only became "The Vilebloods" after a scholar stole "forbidden blood" and brought it with him to Cainhurst Castle.
"Ah, there's something I want to tell you. A bit of wisdom from the eminent Master !"
"Once, a scholar betrayed his fellows at Byrgenwerth...and brought forbidden blood back with him to Cainhurst Castle."
"It was there that the first of the inhuman Vilebloods was born." - Alfred
Before the first Vileblood could appear, Cainhurst had to betray Byrgenwerth, and with it the whole scientific enterprise of The Healing Church.
It seems unlikely that Maria would be allowed to work at The Research Hall after the scholars were betrayed by House Cainhurst.
It's even less likely that the style of her attire, and the golden salamander, were designed after this betrayal, and thus after the creation of the first Vileblood.
I conclude therefore, that plant art and salamanders were intially symbols of House Cainhurst, and only subsequently became the style of The Vilebloods.
Plant art suggest connections to Lumenflowers, or perhaps to growth. But in the broader Souls universe, plant symbolism connects to much broader themes.
It all began with The Old One , a giant demon tree that devoured human Souls. The Old One is the beast that sires all Demons, often from the souls of men.
In Dark Souls, the narrator describes a primordial world full of Archtrees . Such giant trees reappear in Ash Lake , in the Demon Ruins and Lost Izalith .
The giant roots of Izalith were likely based on the trees that cover Angkor Wat, like Tetrameles , the Strangler Fig and the Silk Cotton Tree .
Besides looking alien, these trees may have been chosen for their tendency to grow "hollow" root systems , thus relating them to the Undead Curse.
At the core of these great roots lies the Bed of Chaos , the origin of The Chaos Flame and Izalith's Demons, some of which have plant traits .
In DS2, trees were linked to the race of Giants . The Giants constituted a race of warriors and pyromancers, some of which became trees after dying .
The DS2 Dragon Aerie displayed pillars very similar to the stone Archtrees . The Ancient Dragon atop these structures had plant traits as well .
Tree Giants returned in DS3 , which added the Pilgrim Butterfly and the Curse-rotted Greatwood : a demon incubator , worshipped by undead villagers.
DS3's Smouldering Lake is home to great smouldering trees . Roots swarm across Lothric Castle , while some of its undead are sprouting branches .
Bloodborne is home to prominent and unusual vegetation. Like Izalith, or Things Betwixt, The Labyrinth is overrun by a myriad of roots .
Labyrinth "dungeon pits " exhibit razor-sharp roots sticking out of the walls , smeared with blood . In Cathedral Ward, a giant root envelops a tower.
Giant tombstones in The Nightmare Frontier display embedded roots . At the same time, giant roots extend from underneath Amygdala's arena .
Bloodborne also accommodates some very alien looking flowers, and herbs , almost like Yharnam's on another planet.
Tomb Mold is a growth of some importance, as it's required to access The Labyrinth. The same function is served by the vampiric Coldblood Flower .
Lumenflowers serve an important, but enigmatic function. They appear in Upper Cathedral Ward , The Research Hall and The Nightmare Frontier .
Based on its role in DS1, vegetation, especially "petrified vegetation", carries ties to fire and chaos, and to the "primordial world" of "fog" and "archtrees".
Pthumerians are adept users of Fire magic , while roots pervade The Labyrinth. So Pthumerian plant art could be a real link to fire & chaos.
One example of Pthumerian plant art is a recurring pattern of embedded flowers , and it seems to hail directly from The Demon Ruins .
Pthumerians favor weapons that are coated with fire , or poison. And as it happens, "poison magic" is the other side of of Dark Souls pyromancy.
The Pthumerian Elder , The Keeper of The Old Lords and The Ritekeeper , are capable pyromancers. The red Chime Maidens also use pyromancy .
The Watchdog of The Old Lords is a flaming Pthumerian guardian , akin to a Keeper's Hunting Dog , while Pthumerian daggers have a flame like design .
The Pthumerian dagger was most likely designed after the DS1 Drake Sword , which further strengthens the connection to The Primordial World and "Fire".
The importance of Archtrees and great roots extends beyond the confines of From Software's franchise, to Berserk, and its demonic world tree .
Berserk's world tree is the ascended form of The Kushan Emperor , one of Berserk's major villains, a demon king so powerful that he rivals Griffith.
As it goes, The Kushan Emperor lowers himself into an "Apostle Womb ". When he emerges - he claims to have possessed "Hell's Abyss ".
In this form, The Emperor loses his self and has trouble recognizing his subordinates . He also gains the ability to breath fire, and rain it down upon the world .
In the end, he becomes enthralled by Griffith, and struck by The Sword of Resonance, he becomes Yggdrasil , the tree that holds up Griffith's new world.
The principle symbol of The Kushan Emperor is The Eye . Eyes play an incredibly important role in Bloodborne, but they've appeared before .
Yggdrasil, the colossal world tree of Norse mythology, is linked to "Eihwaz ", which is the symbol of the Berserker Armor and The Demon Wolf .
In Dark Souls, Eihwaz became the symbol of Titanite Chunks , establishing it as a symbol of grave physical strength.
Yggdrasil and protagonist Gutts are thematically connected. Yggdrasil is a tree gnawed at by serpents and dragons, which holds up and connects the nine worlds.
Gutts describes the space around him as an "interstice", a point upon which the "world of the living" meets the "world of the dead ".
He himself is a symbol of strength, a spire around which these dimensions twist and turn. Forced to bear both worlds, his existence is a living hell.
This has been his fate ever since he was branded with the Mark of Sacrifice . This Mark served as the precursor of the Darksign, and The Hunter Rune.
Because of these ties, the plant art spread throughout Yharnam may refer to "Strength", "Communion With The Spirit World", "Hell", "Chaos" and "Dragons".
The presence of salamanders in Cainhurst art adds particular credence to the fierier aspects of these associations, Chaos, Dragons and Hell.
Symbolic fire also is contained within the woodcarvings of Cainhurst Castle, which get increasingly ominous, evoking images of hell and the apocalypse.
One carvings displays a strange face engulfed in flame. Such faces can also be found in burnt Old Yharnam , near a crucified Blood-starved Beast.
A second carving resembles a fireplace. The flames surround a crowd of people, gathered around a cage. It could be a portrayal of hell or an auto-da-fé.
The third scene is quite complex. In the center there appears to be a mountain vanishing into the clouds. Skeletal figures emerge from these clouds.
An angel seems caught up in the tumoil in the center, and from the bottom appears a grim skeleton, hanging upside down. It seems to portray the end of the world.
Fire and Cainhurst
Inside Castle Cainhurst, there's a dining hall filled with portraits. Among the most interesting ones is a painting of a middle-aged woman .
On her upper chest appear bell like adornments, which appear elsewhere, they appear on Chime Maidens , also called Bell-ringing Women.
The portrayed woman may very well be a Chime Maiden, shown in an earlier stage of her life. Chime Maidens also wear Cainhurst style - Art Nouveau attire .
In Yahar'gul, the Chime Maidens accompanying The One Reborn have pyromancing abilities, with which they can heal The One Reborn and attack the player .
They wear red, which is a popular color in Cainhurst and in The Labyrinth . Red can point to blood, and it can point to fire.
The DS2 Firekeepers wore red . Chime Maidens are similar to Firekeepers. They can resurrect undead indefinitely , like Bonfires.
While this is not certain, it's possible that this tradition of red cloth, with connections to blood and/or fire, traces back to DS2 - to The Drakeblood Knights.
The Drakeblood Knights were a mysterious order of knights, that worshipped dragon's blood. They appeared in the Crown of the Sunking King DLC.
They believed that by obtaining dragon's blood, they could achieve a true understanding of life, and transcend their own banal existence.
The Drakeblood Knights wore dark armor adorned with a red cape . The red cape was said to symbolize the sacred blood of dragons.
When the armor returned in DS3. The red cape was stated to symbolize their "yearning for blood", giving them a more vampiric quality.
The Drakeblood Knights were among first Souls characters to have an important connection to blood. They are not to be confused with The Brotherhood of Blood.
Led by Sir Yorgh, The Drakeblood Knights led a raid on The Slumbering Dragon of Shulva. The plan backfired, and all the knights sunk into the Eternal Sanctum.
The word "sunk", found on the DS2 Drakeblood Set, is of particular interest, as it implies that the knights vanished underground, and may have survived.
Beneath the surface, they may have found some way to continue their line, transferring their beliefs to what would become the Pthumerian race.
In DS2, remnant Drakeblood Knights use the Spirit Tree Shield. It's linked to a spirit tree, and makes mention of a "god of dream", named "Quella".
This is interesting, as spirit tree could refer to The Old One , a DS , or a Berserk "world tree ", and Quella could have been a prototype god for Bloodborne.
The Drakeblood Knights aren't the only DS2 elements that bear some likeness to Bloodborne's themes. Eleum Loyce contains a number of traces as well.
Its "Vessel Shield " depicts a pregnant woman holding her protruding, orange belly. She is surrounded on all sides, by what appear to be plant motifs.
Not only does the theme of pregnancy relate strongly to Bloodborne, the orange colored belly is exactly like the throat, of a fire breathing Salamander .
Aldia, The Scholar of The First Sin, had his servants wear "Dragon Acolyte Masks ". These masks greatly resemble the Vessel Shield's orange belly.
The servants of Aldia performed ritual sacrifices, and these egg shaped masks were said to deflect the terror and indignation of their victims.
The Vessel Shield depicts a priestess, who devoted herself to appeasing "the ancient flame". This ancient flame may have been part of Aldia's research as well
The Vessel Shield was created in Eleum Loyce, and Eleum Loyce was built upon a raging flame, a mouth of chaos , much resembling the chaos of Izalith.
The "ancient chaos" grew beyond what the kingdom could handle. The Ivory King and his knights were consumed, becoming mindless servants of the flame .
"The land of Eleum Loyce was a vast rampart built to contain the ancient chaos.
The Ivory King placed his throne upon the very mouth of chaos and served as the first line of defense." - Armor of The Ivory King
Eleum Loyce had some strange customs. For one, priestesses would cut out one of their eyes, and replace it with a replica , which could see "The Unseen".
Priestesses devoted themselves to appeasing the raging flame, and according to The Retainer's Short Sword, the priestesses had all vanished from Eleum Loyce.
"Long ago, the retainers attended to the priestesses, but with their disappearance, the retainers were left to wander frigid Eleum Loyce without purpose"
It's possible that priestesses were once sacrificed to the ancient chaos, becoming pregnant in the process. It could have taken the priestesses underground.
This idea of an underground race, worshipping Dragons or Chaos, could have developed to become The Pthumerians in Bloodborne.
Which could explain coincidences like the Eleum Loyce Sword resembling the Blade of Mercy , a variant of which is used by the Pthumerian Descendant.
The Eleum Loyce is a vampiric blade, while The Ivory King's Armor consumes life from fallen enemies, in the manner of the Ring of The Evil Eye.
The design of The Ivory King's Armor , with its golden hue and strange face, echoes the design of Smough's Armor .
"Lifesteal" is a property of Smough's Hammer, and also of Maneater Mildred's "Butcher Knife", meaning lifesteal is correlated with man-eating.
Smough's incarnation in Bloodborne is the Merciless Watcher , an overweight Pthumerian with a fancy for using instruments of torture.
As champion of Anor Londo, Smough is linked to Fire, and Maneater Mildred was part of the heretical culture of Blighttown, which embraced pyromancy.
Lady Maria is another shackle linking Cainhurst to fire. The huntress is able to set her own blood alight .
When discovered, Maria has committed sucide by drinking an unknown substance , a poison, or some variety of blood from the Research Hall.
Her blazing blood could be linked to her Pthumerian heritage, butit may also have come from the contents of the cup, or from some synergy between the two.
Besides having blazing blood, Maria is able to go into a state of levitation , while her blood can manifest in ways that are remarkably bizzare.
During one of Maria's airborn strikes, a chimerical feline materializes within her blood . When she goes into phase 3, something materializes above her, a face .
This face is quite similar to one found in Cainhurst , and on the backs of Beast Patients . It may also be the face found in Old Yharnam .
No known Great One has fire abilities, which makes this power all the stranger, and all the more likely to be related to the Pthumerians.
It's possible that the chimerical creature in her blood is a qilin , a mythological creature with connections to fire.
A qilin is antlered. A rare artwork displaying an antlered creature is found in Oedon Chapel and The Nightmare of Mensis .
Besides this mysterious entity, Cleric Beasts are also antlered . Laurence The First Vicar is a Cleric Beast that's also on fire.
From Software is known to be ambiguous, and to attribute many strange qualities to "fire". Some forms are considered benevolent, others are considered wicked.
Early into DS1 you learn that pyromancy is heresy and that clerics despise it. Clerics do worship Fire, but in the form of Miracles, The Gods and their Light.
In Bloodborne, the Vilebloods are considered heretical, and they're despised by members of The Healing Church. Yet both are worshippers of Blood.
Nito, Lord of The Dead and the sorcerer dragon, Seath, were Lords of Fire. These Lords don't practice pyromancy, and their relation to fire is at times quite vague.
Lightning , made from the rays of The Sun, is considered to the most virtuous form of Fire. Lightning has healing powers, and is tied to Miracles and Faith.
Yet Lightning may not be that innocuous. Monsters like The Sanctuary Guardian use Lightning as well . The enemies of Gwyn, The Drakes , breath Lightning.
In DS3, abominations like The Carthus Sandworm , The Sulyvahn's Beasts and Winged Knights , all use Lightning attacks.
"God's Wrath", the precursor of the Miracle "Wrath of The Gods", is derived from the Soul of The Dragon God, who is described as "The Sultan of Chaos".
The Soul of The Dragon God was also used to create the first "Fireball" and the first "Firestorm", suggesting that Lighting and Pyromancy could have a common root.
The First Flame, the progenitor of the Souls of Lords, may have been something like The Dragon God, a beast at the root of both Lightning and Pyromancy.
The heretical adherents of Fire, The Witch of Izalith and her Daughters of Chaos, once attempted to revive The First Flame. The result was The Chaos Flame.
The Chaos Flame engulfed the witches, and formed The Bed of Chaos . The Bed of Chaos then became the birth bed of all chaos demons .
The Bed is a demonic tree, harboring an evil insect at its core . The invasive roots, spread throughout Izalith and The Demon Ruins , likely stem from this tree.
Laurence, The First Vicar may actually be part of this relationship between trees and fire, for he has his own unique "blood effect", one akin to burning wood.
There are times when Laurence bleeds lava, but at other times, hitting him yields cinders, like those of burning wood. This could be related to "Ash" and Yggdrasil.
In DS3, the Curse-Rotted Greatwood, a pregnant, humanoid tree, is worshipped above the hall of "The Mound Makers Covenant".
The Greatwood is locked in a birthing position and is covered in eggs . These attributes make the tree quite similar to The Bed of Chaos.
The demon inside of it is largely concealed, and only becomes visible as a gigantic pale arm , perhaps inferring something about the meaning of "paleness".
The Mound Makers have in their possession: the pyromancy "Warmth" and the katana "Bloodlust" which causes heavy bleeding, a reflection of the covenant's motives.
Outside, there's an Undead Settlement. A large congregation around a sacrificial pyre , led by pyromancing "Evangelists ", suggests that they are Fire worshippers.
In the tunnels under the village, walking skeletons have roots sprouting from their abdomen , and remains have become infested as well .
It's quite likely that these sights are akin to what happened in Izalith, and both areas draw connections between roots, Fire and pregnancy.
In returning to Izalith, the site is abound with demonic insects, no doubt linked to the parasite inside The Bed of Chaos .
Within Izalith/Demon Ruins you can find Chaos Bugs , Burrowing Rockworms , Vile Maggots , Egg Carriers and The Centipede Demon .
Above Izalith lies Blighttown, home to Cragspiders , Giant Leeches , Giant Mosquitoes and The Parasitic Wall Hugger .
Many of these creatures are parasites and/or vampiric. Chaos Bugs - Sunlight Maggots - are head parasites, which take over a person's mind .
The Children of Chaos, tarnished by the Chaos Flame, also exhibit insect traits . The Egg Carriers were likely created by Quelaag and Quelaan.
From Software's decision to fill Izalith and Blighttown with insects, wasn't made frivolously. Connecting insects to fire and defilement is something they typically do.
It all began in Demon's Souls. From the Nexus the player has access to five different areas, among them are The Valley of Defilement, and Stonefang Tunnel.
Within the Valley of Defilement (the first great swamp) you can find Giant Mosquitoes and Giant Ticks bursting with blood.
The Valley is populated by The Depraved Ones . The Depraved Ones worship Maiden Astraea , who delivers evil, bloodred babies .
Stonefang Tunnel is the "fire themed area" of Demon's Souls. It's home to blazing hot insects, called Bearbugs . It's also home to Rock Worms .
The Tower of Latria, another Demon's Souls area, is also related to insects. It's a foul place, infested by poisonous Man Centipedes .
The centipedes are produced by a giant, parasitic heart . This monstrous, chained up lump of flesh, is the non-aggressive forerunner of the Brain of Mensis .
This heart was likely modelled after Berserk's "Idea of Evil ", a malicious, heart shaped god, which manipulates destiny and creates high demons.
The Tower of Latria belongs to the queen of the Yormedar family , but the queen was deposed by the yellow garbed "Old Monk ".
"Latria" could be a reshaping of the word "latrine", which if true, creates a parallel with Cainhurst, where the queen of filth was deposed by "old cleric" Logarius.
The Old Monk also wears a crown of thorns , which is in accordance with "Martyr" Logarius, who also happens to wear a dulled yellow garb .
In the Souls universe, "insects" have been repeatedly linked to fire and/or defilement, with Latria being at least one instance where they've been linked to a queen.
Cainhurst is clearly linked to defilement and a queen, it's also connected to Salamanders, and therefore to fire. It also has a courtyard filled with insectoids.
Hateful Maggots and Bloodlickers make Cainhurst their home, they are rare elsewhere, yet both species appear in The Pthumerian Labyrinth.
These insects may be a legacy, hailing from The Labyrinth, where their pyromancing ancestors may have existed alongside a demonic chaos.
Hateful Maggots are very close to Vile Maggots , produced by "Daughters of Chaos", heretical witches that rule over the defiled "Blighttown".
Cainhurst plant art might just represent something like The Bed of Chaos , which is linked to conception , like Annalise.
In The Pthumerian Labyrinth, Hateful Maggots appear inside Bloodletting Beasts, where they can reach epic proportions .
This matured Hateful Maggot actually reproduces inside its host, generating small larvae which attack their enemies . They inflict Rapid Poisoning.
Another Labyrinth enemy that inflicts Rapid Poisoning is Queen Yharnam herself , who uses her corrupted blood in the form of a weapon.
Queen Annalise, ruler of The Vilebloods, confesses that her blood is rotted, and that it engenders corruption. Rapid Poisoning could be this "rottenness".
Queen Yharnam uses a sword that's coiled , like Corruption , and also resembles The Coiled Sword of a Bonfire , further establishing a connection to Fire.
Hateful Maggots are also found near Mergo's Loft , perhaps because of the corrupting influence of "mensis", or because Queen Yharnam's there
The Bloodlicker insectoids are also found within The Pthumerian Labyrinth, where they must be lured with Visceral Attacks. They will not appear otherwise.
Bloodlickers are based on pretas , also called "gakis" (credit - JSF). These are ghosts cursed to eternal hunger and a neverending craving for putrid nourishment.
Typically these ghosts have a craving for either feces or corpses. According to Shinto teachings, contact with either one of these substance inflicts impurity.
"Visceral" can refer to a number of things: instinct, fear, the noxious, the senseless, and the "viscera", the internal organs located inside the abdomen.
Visceral Attacks, eviscerate enemies, scattering their insides about the place. While gakis are not drawn to blood, they may be drawn to the disembodied excrement.
This fits into The Vileblood context, as their knights are sent to look for something called Blood Dregs . "Dreg" literally means "waste product".
The word refers to sediment, leftovers and undesired elements. It may also be used to accuse someone of being socially inferior, a criminal, or a loser.
To look for dregs in blood likely means "to extract the filthy and the undesired from blood". These elements are then ingested by The Vileblood Queen.
Blood Dregs have a sperm like appearance, which has led to the idea that they serve to impregnate the queen, like in the manner of a sperm and an egg.
I don't believe this to be the case. If the queen does not conceive from large doses of Blood Dregs, having her ingest endless amounts of them is folly.
Rather, it makes sense that Dregs are harvested to serve as components, not seed, and that The Child of Blood is something to be formed out of Dregs.
A similar thing happens in Berserk. Humans are sacrificed by the dozens, and a new child of dark is forged out of dark blood .
Another fact supporting this theory is that sperm shapes have appeared in Souls before, and they've always represented darkness , or souls .
Based on the striking similarity between "Human Dregs " and dark "Humanities ", there's reason to think that Dregs are akin to "The Dark"
The item description of a Human Dregs states that dregs are "heavy" and that they will "sink to the lowest depths imaginable", like a villain.
This corroborates the idea that "dreg" is derogatory, and "like sediment", and it fits into the theory that Bloodlickers are attracted to excrement.
In the DLC, Bloodlickers crowd around the river of blood , not around feces, which might have indicated that they're just interested in blood.
But the river of blood is actually contaminated by droppings , most likely left by Ludwig, most likely after he ate people.
Similar droppings are found in the sewer leading up to Cathedral Ward , which does corroborate them as being feces. Ludwig's arena is also covered in them.
There may be a "Shinto" background to all of this. Shinto teaches that contact with death, feces, menstruation or childbirth afflicts one with spiritual impurity.
Shinto also associates impurity with stagnation. The analogy is that, when a river stops running normally, bacteria and diseases pile up, causing impurity.
In the Japanese version of DS3, Human Dregs are called Human Stagnation, further associating Dregs with impurity and feces. (Credit - JSF & Redgrave)
If contact with feces causes spiritual "corruption" in Shinto, then this could be why From Software's linked The Vilebloods, and their Corruption, to feces.
The word "outcast " is used in Berserk to describe Apostles of God, in this sense "monster" and "criminal" could be the equal to "dreg" and "dark" .
Adding to The Vilebloods' connection to impurity, insects and chaos are the centipede like Vermin , which Valtr calls the "root of man's impurity".
They're parasites, inhabiting bosses, and red-eyed Old Hunters. They're resented by members of The League, Bloodborne's cooperative covenant.
"Haven't you seen enough of these wretched beasts, freakish slugs, and mad doctors? Sentence these fiends to death. With the help of your League confederates.
What do you say? Why not join the League?"
"Now, there is one thing you must know. By the oath of the League, those who bear its rune will see vermin.
Vermin writhe deep within all filth, and are the root of man's impurity. All vermin are to be crushed.
The League exist to expunge all vermin, ridding us of any trace of human corruption.
And so, until we are rid of all vermin, you must continue to hunt and kill." - Valtr
Whatever Vermin really is, Valtr considers them to be the essence of evil, they infect humans and make them evil and "impure".
He doesn't specifically mention Cainhurst but seeing as The Vilebloods constitute the opposing invasion covenant, "Vermin" may be interchangeable with "Vileblood".
The Vilebloods have the reputation of being impure and vile. Item descriptions like those of Executioner Gloves describe them as decadent and sadistic.
The item description of "Blood Rapture" conjures up images of sex and blood, the desire for the queen and the raw euphoria of blood.
Such descriptions insinuate that The Vilebloods fancied feasts during which they gave in to vampirism and unrestrained hedonism.
(following contains sexual images)
Such images have often been connected to witches, man-eating women who invited Satan to depraved feasts , and sacrificed blood in his name .
It also invokes in me the idea that Vermin could be related to Chaos enemies, like The Centipede Demon or The Sunlight Maggot .
Thus Cainhurst may be linked to The Daughters of Chaos , insect witches, corrupted by chaos, and linked to the Corruption pattern
Vermin is found in the red eyed hunters of The Hunter's Nightmare . This could indicate 'red eyes' being connected to Vermin infections.
In DS3, The parasitic Pus of Man has red eyes . The Pus of Man possesses Undead, like Gundyr, and may also possess Dragons, like the Lothric Wyverns.
It's composed of a fluidic mass of black, wormlike segments, not unlike the maggots that make up the "Corpse Grub ", which can cause extreme bleeding.
Human Dregs , and Souls , have the same basic shape, which could mean the Pus of Man is actually composed of dark souls, or Human Dregs.
"Maggot like" traces back to Rosaria and her loyal "Man-Grubs ". Red eyes traced back to The Red Eye Orb , and Manus, Father of The Abyss .
Rosaria is the covenant leader of the DS3 invasion covenant - Rosaria's Fingers. The maggots she's connected to, could be kindred to the dark serpent, Pus of Man.
Annalise, leader of the Bloodborne invasion covenant - The Vilebloods - could be likewise connected to Vermin, which Valtr identifies with "the impurity of man".
If its true that maggots and grubs are akin to Human Dregs, then perhaps Vermin is too, and the "impurity of man" refers to the presence of Human Darkness.
Human Darkness is related to The Abyss , created by the red eyed Manus , indicated by Primordial Serpent Kaathe as the progenitor of humankind.
This is probably true, as "manu" is Sanskrit, literally meaning "progenitor of humanity" or "first man". While "manus" is Latin, meaning "hand ".
The Abyss he created became the dwelling of Primordial Serpents , among them it is Primordial Serpent Kaathe that has a connection to red eyes.
Kaathe leads The Darkwraiths, the DS1 invasion covenant. To invade, the player must use a Red Eye Orb , after that one gets to kill a host for Humanity.
There are no Red Eye Orbs in Bloodborne, but the principle of killing players for Blood Dregs is very similar to killing them for Humanities .
The creations of Manus can "frenzy", becoming stronger, red eyed ghouls . The grim knight "Gundyr " exhibits this red eyed frenzy as well.
Hunters of The Nightmare are "blood-drunk", meaning that they're insane and homicidal - "frenzied"- like primordial Manus, whose humanity "went wild".
My idea is that 'red eyes' are fundamentally indicative of bloodlust, and a surrender to the darkness, a state of mind that could be brought on by Vermin.
The dark miracle "Gnaw - DS3" speaks of a place called The Deep, filled with "insects", which tunnel into the flesh to cause violent hemorrhaging.
The Deep is either an alternate name for The Abyss, or some twin phenomenon. It is a source of darkness, worshipped at The Cathedral of The Deep .
There's a passage in Berserk that relates to the dark depths of an ocean , it is a darkness filled with gnawing teeth , which seek to devour the soul.
The Primordial Serpents in turn are being with very pronounced teeth, with which they can tear apart even Titanite. They also appear to be chewing incessantly.
In DS3's Irithyll, weapons like The Pontiff Knight's Curved Sword have been eaten away by insects , proving that these insects can chew through metal.
The Devil himself is described as a beast that grinds up souls , one image is from Dante's Inferno, in which he endlessly chews up Judas Iscariot.
Primordial Serpents may be related to Abaddon , the biblical angel of the bottomless pit who's said to command an army of locusts/insects.
The "gnawing darkness" spoken about by Irina of Carim, may thus refer to a body encompassing both toothy serpents and gnashing insects.
In The Bible, the expression "a gnashing of teeth" is used to describe hell itself, and also to describe the behavior of the wicked towards the righteous.
Matthew 8:12, while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Arguably, this passage does not refer to the act of chewing, but to expressions of pain - or expressions of anger - related to hell's torment.
In recap, from the dark perspective, insects are linked to bleeding and The Deep, and may be related to The Abyss and Primordial Serpents.
Insects could be related to red eyed "frenzies", relating them to The Dark, invaders, Manus, bloodlust and The Bloatheads of Oolacile.
"Dregs" could be like insects: bloodthirsty, invasive of the body, low, filthy, dangerous, perhaps with a connection to Abaddon and the Primordial Serpents.
Collecting Blood Dregs, could be similar to amassing Humanities, sacrificing them to Annalise could be a way of creating a more powerful dark entity.
From the fire perspective, insects are linked to Stonefang Tunnel, Sunlight Maggots, The Children of Chaos, heresy, defilement, parasitism and pyromancy.
Insects could be tied to Dragons, Archtrees and The Old One. This could explain Cainhurst's interest in plant art, and connect them to The Pthumerians.
Pyromancy is heretical, and connected to female powerfigures, which ties into why the more patriarchal, Gwyn-like, "Healing Church" hates The Vilebloods.
The Corruption Rune
The Corruption rune is comprised of two patterns - a pair of entwining, vertical lines - and three horizontal arches. I believe these to have separate origins.
The entwining lines have been with the Souls series for a long time and were most likely inspired by Berserk's "Symbol of God ".
In the real world, this symbol is known as a "caduceus" . It is a symbol of the Greek god Hermes , and of medicine, ancient and modern .
The caduceus is formed by a pair of snakes, wrapped around a staff, ending in a pair of wings. Hermes used it as a wand.
The Black Witch's Staff also depicts the two serpents , and it's easy to imagine this being related to the Primordial Serpents: Kaathe and Frampt.
This seems especially plausible, when twin serpents show up on items like The Caduceus Shield , even though the shield does not technically display a caduceus.
Berserk's god, The Idea of Evil, mirrors his own symbol, through the giant entwining veins sprouting from him , veins that could be related to the Third Cord .
The Idea of Evil is a mostly passive entity. It primarily serves to create high demons, an aspect that relates him to The Old One who functioned the same way.
The Idea of Evil is also known as The God of The Abyss, which creates a strong parallel with "The Abyss (DS1)" and the twin serpents sprouting from it.
The Old One is stated to be the source of magic in Demon's Souls. In Bloodborne, magical abilities require quicksilver, mercury. Mercury is the Roman name of Hermes.
Quicksilver is tied to Formless Oedon, the greatest Great One, who exists only in voice. It's quite likely that Corruption is a symbol of Formless Oedon.
Warning this section contains depictions of extreme, graphical violence and sex, and allusions to extreme sex and/or violence.
In the Berserk manga, The Symbol of God plays a double-sided role. It's a symbol used by The Holy See Religious Order, and evenly so by the heretics they persecute.
The defining characteristic of The Holy See Religious Order is its obsession with punishment .
Its leaders, Father Mozgus and General Farnese, are profound sadomasochists who sentence heretics to be burned alive , or face some other torturous demise .
The heretics on the other hand care not for punishment. They organize large orgies under the blessing of the satanic "Goat Head" .
The heretics are not innocent blaspemers, they're cannibalistic murderers. The Symbol of God manifests itself to them, as the phallus of Goat Head .
It's quite possible that the scenes surrounding Goat Head inspired The Vilebloods, and that Corruption is actually based on his phallic caduceus.
The three arches of Corruption could stem from The Devil Tarot card. Three arches are formed from The Devil's wings, The Devil's thighs and the iron chain.
The Devil being associated with Cainhurst is logical. He's the patron of the kind of decadent hedonism that took place at Cainhurst.
The sadistic undertones of Cainhurst, the fetid nature of The Bloodlickers, the satanic nature of Berserk's "heretics", all corroborate this conclusion.
A rotten, defiled, sadistic queen, named "Annalise", makes referrence to sadistic sex, and may have been derived from DeS' "Queen Of Latria" / "Queen Of The Latrine".
Hateful Maggots could be another reference to the rectal, as these creatures, contrary to their Vile Maggot precursor, nest in the intestine , not the flesh .
Cainhurst Castle is littered with statues. Besides being a manifestation of excessive luxury, the statues are distinctly sexualized - .
Other Cainhurst art makes reference to Venus , the Roman goddess of love, which in turn could be a reference to Kos and Snail Women .
Snail Women appear on the Cainhurst Helmet , strengthening the connection of Cainhurst Castle to Kos. The helmet has a real life counterpart .
Kos' residence, The Fishing Hamlet is based on Lovecraft's Innsmouth, a derelict place, where humans were forced to copulate with deep sea creatures.
It's worth nothing that snails are detritivores, waste eaters, which could link them to the waste consuming Bloodlickers, and The Vilebloods.
Kos herself may be linked to Venus Cloacina, "the venus of the sewers", and the Aztec goddess Tlazolteotl, the lecherous "eater of filth".
On the back side of Logarius' throne , a moisture stain shows a naked woman, legs kept together, bending over, ready to be mounted.
Annalise's throne room has a rather unusually vaulted ceiling . It contains many more nodes and ridges than a realistic ceiling would require.
This makes the ceiling resemble a complex ropework, the kind once invented in Japan for the purpose of torture. It is now a form of decorative bondage or "Shibari".
Closer inspection of the Noble's Dress reveals a sexscene, of sorts. Here's a version without notes , here's one with notes .
These sights hint that Cainhurst was once a very sexual place, with indications of sadomasochism, osbscene rituals and decadent feasts.
Anagrams of "Cainhurst Castle" form interesting words, which add to this interpretation of Cainhurst. Understand that these are all partial anagrams.
Naturalism is a broad term, covering a very wide range of ideas, from variations on materialism to social and political ideologies.
Technically, a "naturalist" is a person involved in the study of life forms, though conceivably it can be used to denote a promoter of any form of naturalism.
Naturalism has strong ties to atheism and scientism, it's also related to those social and moral ideas that hinge on "natural law"
One natural law seems inherent to Cainhurst: the belief that one should accept the natural order of things. The idea has always been popular among aristocrats.
Nobles have often believed themselves to be natually superior to their subjects, and that all class distinction was supported by God himself.
The right of the strongest is inherent to this ideology, and the right of the strongest is the default reasoning of a sociopath.
Right of the strongest is an idea often attributed to vampires as well, predators, which are stronger and faster than humans.
Naturalism can also be interpreted as "giving in to natural urges" or "to do as in nature", the ideal reasoning for those who act as predators and live unbound by rules.
Autarchy means self-rule, the first principle of this form of government is that every individual rules himself.
It is related to anarchism - a form of government without government. "Anarchists" is another anagram of Cainhurst Castle.
These are complex terms, part of contemporary political philosophy. They exist in many different forms, from modest to radical.
They're related to The Vilebloods, in the sense that The Vilebloods offer emancipation, in the form of a sociopathic rejection of mores and empathy.
Joining the Vilebloods means discarding the rule of The Healing Church and conceivably, any sense of "morality higher than the self".
The question remains to what degree The Vilebloods are truly emancipated. They serve their queen, and whichever deity put her in place.
It's also a question if slavery to bloodthirst constitutes true freedom, or a diminishment of human consciousness.
The word "carnal" is predominantly used to denote sexual acts. Etymologically the word means "natural" and "of the flesh".
Carnal refers to wordly, material things and can therefore be connected to the anagram "naturalists", discussed earlier.
In medieval times people attributed the material to Satan. In fact, "satanist" is another anagram of Cainhurst Castle.
Another anagram is "Actualists", which refers to the philosophy that nothing exist but the actual world around us.
This can be interpreted as meaning: "morals do not exist", or as an invitation to embrace unrestricted materialism.
"Anti-cult" is an anagram and may refer to The Vilebloods being againsts religious congregations in all forms.
It may also mean that The Vilebloods are the cult that is the antithesis of other cults.
"Ultrachic" may be formed, a possible reference to decadent luxury.
Another word is "arcanists" which can refer to "the natural", "cults", "witchcraft" and The Renaissance.
Tantalus is mythological figure, a Greek king who offended the gods, by offering his own son as a sacrifice.
As punishment food would forever escape his grasp. Whenever he tried to drink water, the water would back away from him.
"Catharsis" is another anagram of Cainhurst Castle, it refers to the purging of emotions. A "cathartic" is an agent, stimulating the evacuation of feces
"Saccharins" are artificial sweeteners. They taste very sweet, but have almost no nutritional value.
These concept are highly compatible with the Bloodlickers' curse, as they cannot relieve their hunger, and are bound to worthless excrement.
"Sarcastic" is another anagram. Sarcasm is a form of humor that employs bitter comments and harsh criticism.
The trishula - which means "trident" in the Indian language - is a symbol of Shiva , god of destruction, and also of his wife - Parvati .
As a symbol it represents threefold destruction, and as a trident it relates to Neptune/Poseidon, water, fishing, and blood.
It's a symbol connected to The Moon Presence and Amygdala .
Farnese de Vandimion & The Lore of Cainhurst
Warning this section contains depictions of extreme, graphical violence and sex, and allusions to extreme sex and/or violence.
Farnese de Vandimion enters Berserk as the leader of The Holy Iron Chain Knights , a band of templars that carry out religious orders.
Traditionally, the leader of The Holy Iron Chain Knights is always a woman. Her noble name gave Farnese the position, though she's technically in exile .
She's actually quite mad. As a child, she once escaped the house, to where heretics where awaiting execution, and started setting the trapped people ablaze.
Otherwise she was a tyranical brat, bossing around her servant Serpico, who she eventually turned into her lover , despite having the same father.
Her strange behavior continued, and she went from ceremonially burning her stuffed rabbit , to burning her pets , to burning down her ancestral house .
This being the last straw, her father sends her away, and Farnese becomes the Holy Iron Chain Commander. At this point, Farnese discovers religion .
Under the counsil of Father Mozgus, Farnese becomes a zealot, burning heretics by the dozens , never abandoning her sadistic affections .
Eventually she forces Serpico, her lifeling companion, to burn his own mother, who had been falsely accused of heresy. To her, this was a vital show of loyalty.
After a failed attempt to detain Gutts, Farnese ends up at St. Albion and gets caught up in the events orchestrated by The Egg Shaped Apostle .
What happens then leaves her faith shaken, leading to her making a rather sudden turn-around and asking Shierke to teach her heretical sorcery .
There are a number of links between Farnese de Vandimion and Castle Cainhurst.
-links to fire
-blond hair (characteristic of Cainhurst descent, see Arianna and Maria)
-possible links between Serpico, The Cainhurst Helmet and The Reiterpallasch .
-The Symbol of God resembling Corruption
-The Holy Iron Chain Commander being traditionally a female,which is analogous to the Pthumerian Ihyll being traditionally a female.
A great number of resemblances link Farnese's Vandimion home to Blooborne's Cainhurst, starting with the omnipresence of nude sculptures .
The Vandimion estate is a massively oversized construction , much like Cainhurst and the typical Souls universe stronghold .
In the manga, the mansion comes into view after Farnese travels there, by chariot . At the time it was snowing , just like it's always snowing in Cainhurst .
The mansion itself is entered through a large lobby with a marble floor . Cainhurst is entered through a large hall with a marble floor .
The lobby has a balcony, similar to what is seen again in Cainhurst . The wings supporting the balcony resemble the ornamental wings of Cainhurst .
The empty mirror found in Cainhurst , is also found in the Vandimion lobby , in the form of an equally useless ornament.
The Vandimion library is nigh identical to the Cainhurst library . It's full of portraits , much like the excess of portraits found in Cainhurst .
The insignia of the Vandimion family is the clover , which made it into Cainhurst as well, as a telltale sign on the back of the stone king .
The gaudy ceiling of the Vandimion ballroom , with its row shaped extravagance, likely inspired the equally ostentatious ceiling of the Cainhurst library .
As for Farnese herself, she breaks with the church and starts studying witchcraft. The royal mistress is later referred to as "The White Lily In The Field "
This betrayal of the church, followed by heresy, reminds of Cainhurst. A "white lily" with a sadomasochistic temperament is reminiscent of the Vileblood Queen .
The cryptic damage bonus "Righteous", which typically affects Vileblood themed enemies, may actually be made clear through a passage from Berserk.
At one point, a monstrous tiger invades a feast. Farnese deduces that the beast "belongs to the astral world " and that it can be harmed by silver .
The weapons with the Righteous bonus typically have a silver hue. The Bound Widow is a ghost, and therefore astral, The Bloodlicker is a gaki, a hungry ghost.
Gargoyles aren't ghosts, but bats have a longstanding association with the paranormal, and have often been regarded as both spectral and physical in nature.
Another enemy affected by "Righteous" is the Labyrinth Spectre, again a ghost. That being said, ghost enemies like Mergo's Wet Nurse and Mad Ones are not affected.
Logarius' Wheel is a Righteous weapon that's not silver, and weapons like The Threaded Cane and The Kirkhammer only have Righteous in one mode.
Nonetheless, I believe that Righteous was at first based on silver being able to dispel paranormal entities, and afterwards assumed the form it's seen in today.
The Pthumerian Culture
"The old labyrinth was carved out by the Pthumerians, superhuman beings that are said to have unlocked the wisdom of the eldritch Truth." - Lower Pthumeru Chalice
The Pthumerians are a tall, white haired people, that live in a place called "the tomb of the gods", otherwise called the Pthumerian Labyrinth.
They are typically undead, they are servants of the slumbering Great Ones, and their leader is the Pthumerian Ihyll - also called The Pthumerian Queen.
The color red is a prominent Pthumerian color, seen throughout The Labyrinth , it's the color designating a Pthumerian Elder or a Descendant.
Red is also prominent in Cainhurst art, as seen on banners , carpets and clothing . Lions, the insignia of Cainhurst, are also seen in The Labyrinth .
Admittedly, lions constitute a complex theme, seen also in Cathedral Ward , on research tables and inside The Nightmare of Mensis .
Plant art is something spread throughout all of Bloodborne, but only Pthumerians and those of the Cainhurst faction adorn their clothing with it.
A very direct clue linking The Pthumerians to Cainhurst is the presence of Cainhurst's "flirtatious maiden " inside labyrinth treasure rooms .
Another such clue is the presence of labyrinth drinking horns at the Cainhurst Castle dinner table , along with gilded versions of the flirtatious maiden .
Furthermore, Cainhurst contains a scene of "pilgrims" making their way through a crawl space . It rather resembles another scene found in The Labyrinth .
The Cainhurst specific enemies: Gargoyles and Bloodlickers, appear inside The Labyrinth , indicating that these monsters are fundamentally Pthumerian.
Bloodlickers and Gargoyles are affected by "Righteous", a rare damage bonus that typically only affects enemies related to Cainhurst.
Righteous also affects the Labyrinth Spectre, an enemy that does not appear in Cainhurst, but may be a variant of the Bound Widow.
Both enemies are female. Both are ghosts. Both are extraordinarily tall. Both have pale hair and both are armed with a large silver knife .
The Bound Widow is capable of partial invisibility while The Labyrinth Spectre is capable of full invisibility . There are differences as well.
The Labyrinth Spectre is never beheaded, and has no Blood attacks. The Bound Widow cries, while The Labyrinth Spectre laughs.
The Spectre is covered in white ectoplasm . Bound Widows all have their necks slashed and their hands bound , which is not true for The Spectre.
Pthumerians are strongly connected to fire, and fire magic is used by a large number of labyrinth bosses and enemies .
Pthumerians also make small sacrificial pyres , and they suspend sacrifical victims , which is a practice also seen in burnt Old Yharnam .
Cainhurst in turn is connected to Salamanders , fire spirits, who the DS3 "Great Swamp Ring" identifies as the descendants of Chaos Demons.
The Chaos Demons are evil beings connected to pyromancy, to witches, and at times to roots and plant life . They are all children of The Chaos Flame.
Roots and plantlife are at times associated with Dragons as well . Pthumerians use a dagger that's nigh identical to a dragon weapon from DS1 .
Dragons and Chaos Demons may not be all that different. In Demon's Souls, "The Sultan of Chaos" was an archdemon called "The Dragon God".
"A spell mimicking the raw power of the Dragon God, Sultan of Chaos. Its devastating flame is impossible to control." - Firestorm
In DS2, The Black Dragon Greatsword had insect features . Insect features are another trait associated with beings of chaos .
In Demon's Souls, and in medieval mythology, dragons where never that distinct from demons, they simply constituted a different type of malevolent chimera.
If Dragons are just another kind of Demon, then Chaos Demons, Chaos Insects and Everlasting Dragons may all be manifestations of a singular fiery chaos.
As discussed above, the great roots that creep into every inch of The Labyrinth may be the akin to the roots that covered Izalith, the tentacles of The Bed of Chaos .
Izalith's roots are likely related to The Stone Archtrees, once derived from Yggdrasil, the mythological world tree, whose roots are gnawed by dragons and serpents.
Another Yggdrasil, The Kushan Emperor of Berserk, possessed hell itself to become a fire breathing tree , until he turned into the foundation of a new world .
If not The Kushan Emperor, it could be the Demon's Souls "Old One " who's behind the giant root systems, and the connections to Chaos and insects.
Either way, living beneath the surface, the Pthumerians may have encountered some Old One - Yggdrasil - Kushan Emperor like entity and begun to worship it.
The Pthumerians themselves may stem from remnants of Eleum Loyce and the Dragon worshipping Drakeblood Knights , as discussed above.
Though this would explain a number of things, it isn't necessary that The Pthumerians stem from anything outside of Bloodborne, it's merely a supporting theory.
Sufficient to say is that The Pthumerians stand to worship something similar to the chaos of Izalith, and that they might be Dragon worshippers as well.
In this sense, the ingesting of insects could be related to this kind of chaos worship, to become one with the chaos, and perhaps even become a dragon.
That could in turn explain the fiery powers of Lady Maria , powers that old concept art suggests is directly related to her Pthumerian heritage .
The Chaos Flame, and Pthumerian women like Maria, may be rooted in an even deeper connection to fire, The Bonfire of The Dark Souls universe.
Held alight by invariably female Firekeepers , The Bonfire incorporates a sword , coiled like Corruption, like the sword of the undead queen .
Called the "Coiled Sword " or "Firelink Greatsword " in DS3, it allows the player to travel between Bonfires, a power once linked to the Lordvessel of DS1.
As mentioned above, the ability of Chime Maidens to indefinitely resurrect the undead , reminds of Dark Souls Firekeepers and Bonfires.
In DS2, Firekeepers had a distinctly witchlike demeanor, lived inside a tree, and wore the color red, like Pthumerians and the Chime Maidens of The One Reborn .
These red veiled Chime Maidens are pyromancers , that they summon The One Reborn further connects them to the theme of undead resurrection.
Firekeepers are blind, and often defenseless. Chime Maidens are mad, and trifling warriors. Like Firekeepers they traded strength for more spiritual talents.
Another element of the Pthumerian culture is "beheading". The Labyrinth is abound with statues of women, one veiled figure is often seen without a head .
In the Bloodborne Cinematic Trailer, the statue of a headless woman drips, what seems to be quicksilver , into the cracked skull of Laurence .
This statue appears in The Cathedral District , Hemwick , and The Research Hall . It could be connected to Bound Widows and Bloodletting Beasts .
In Cainhurst, the statue of the flirtatious maiden is frequently tipped over , decapitated, and always decapitated in exactly the same manner.
The flirtatious maiden is - curiously - always missing her right arm . The veiled woman of The Labyrinth is also - at times - missing her right arm .
Headlessness is also seen at The Research Hall, where Enlarged Head Patients are seen wandering without their heads , which have gained lifes of their own .
These sights could be related to Winter Lanterns and the Brain of Mensis . They could also be tied to the wooden skulls found in The Witch's Abode .
These sight are likely linked to an historical figure, a ritual, or a deity, and there's a number of real world goddesses that are known to have been beheaded.
Coyolxauhqui was an Aztec Moon goddess, who once led 400 Tzitzimimeh, or star demons, against the manifestation of the Sun - "Huitzilopochtli".
Coyolxauhqui and the Tzitzimimeh were the children of Coatlicue, they felt dishonored when she became pregnant with Huitzilopochtli, and plotted to kill her.
Before they could succeed, Huitzilopochtli burst from her womb, fully grown and clad in armor. He obliterated the demons and dismembered Coyolxauhqui.
As the legend goes, he threw her head into the sky to become the Moon, so that their mother would still be comforted by the likeness of Coyolxauhqui.
At dawn, Huitzilopochtli, as the Sun, repeats his victory over the stars. At dusk, Huitzilopochtli throws Coyolxauhqui's head into the sky, to become the Moon.
"Coyolxauhqui" means "Face painted with Bells", she is generally depicted as a dismembered corpse , with her limbs representing the revolution of the Moon.
Coatlicue - whose name means "skirt of snakes" - is an Aztec fertility goddess, the mother of Huitzilopochtli, Coyolxauhqui and the Tzitzimimeh.
She's also called "Teteoh innan" - mother of the gods - "Toci" - our grandmother - "Tlazolteotl" - goddess of dirt - and Cihuacoatl "snake woman".
She is represented as a woman wearing a skirt of writhing snakes and a necklace made of human hearts, hands, and skulls .
Her feet and hands are adorned with claws and her breasts are depicted as hanging flaccid from pregnancy. Her face is composed of two facing serpents.
The serpents represent blood surging from her neck, referring to the myth that she was sacrificed during the beginning of the present creation.
Coatlicue is a manifestation of the pimordial earth, a womb and grave, a loving mother and an insatiable monster, a reflection of the primordial "Cipactli".
In her headless state, Coatlicue can be seen as an embodiment of the caduceus, the Symbol of God, Corruption, The Devil and Oedon.
The Cinematic Trailer shows the headless lady pouring quicksilver, which is associated with Oedon, magic and the caduceus.
Coatlicue's horrific portrayal makes her identifiable with Lovecraftian abominations, like Shub-Niggurath , or Nyarlathotep's "Bloated Woman ".
Affiliated aspects, especially her "necklace made of human hearts, hands, and skulls", connect her to the Vedic goddess Kali , and her facet Chinnamasta .
These goddess are all earthly, lewd and fierce, worshipped as great mothers, ravenous and terrifying, bestowers and destroyers of life.
In her aspect of Tlazolteotl, Coatlicue is the lewd eater of waste, the patroness of adulterers, the goddess of filth, sin, and sexual misdeeds.
In this sense, Coatlicue follows into a Souls tradition of associating certain Demons with feculence, like Monstrosities of Sin and Primordial Serpents .
The former and the latter are consumers of Dung Pie , The Monstrosity of Sin lives in a "Profaned Capital", Primordial Serpents lives in something akin to "The Gutter".
The Gutter is a giant hole in the ground that consumes all manners of filth. It is the home of The Rotten , and is the offshoot of DS1's Blighttown.
Monstrosities of Sin are likely related to Manus' tentacular hand , which in turn stands to be related to gnawing serpents of The Abyss .
Other examples of fecal Demons are The Sewer Centipedes of DS3 , and The Gaping Dragon of DS1 , a giant corrupted glutton, living inside Lordran's sewer.
Standing to join such beings are The Moon Presence , but also The Great Kos, who as a slug is a detrivore, and could be related to "Venus Cloacina".
The Crawlers , who share many of Kos' traits , wallow inside the putrid fluids of The Nightmare Frontier, fluids which they can regurgitate at will.
In DS2, Mytha was a headless queen who wallowed in her own poison , and Shulva held a Child of Dark named "The Squalid Queen ", "the queen of dirt".
DS3's "Rosaria , Mother of Rebirth", is something akin to this "squalid queen", and Tlazolteotl is likewise depicting as both a mother and something unsavory.
This hookes up with Cthulhu Mythos deities like Shub-Niggurath and Ubbo-Sathla, who are said to "excrete" offspring in a manner that is revolting.
Chinnamasta - The self-decapitated Goddess - is one of the ten "Mahavidyas or "aspects of the goddess", which also incorporates Parvati and Kali.
Durga, The Goddess, the female aspect of spirituality, reveals itself in many forms, some beautiful and others terrifying, like Chinnamasta.
Chinnamasta is generally depicted as a red woman holding a flaying knife. Two servants join the goddesss, in drinking the blood from her severed neck.
Often a copulating couple is found beneath the goddess, or the goddess herself is copulating with her husband , both scenes identify her as sexual energy.
Her Tibetan equivalent is Vajrayoginī or Vajravārāhī, a "dākinī " - a malevolent and vengeful female spirit, akin to a goblin or a fairy.
Chinnamasta is "the all-awakened", achieving full enlightenment by offering herself to herself, simultaneously becoming sustenance and devourer.
She is is accompanied by two Mahasiddha "great perfected ones", Mekhala "Elder Mischievous Girl" - and Kanakhala "Younger Mischievous Girl".
According to legend, the sister were living an unhappy existence in their village, until a guru visited them and instructed them in the worship of Vajravārāhī.
For 12 years they studied, until the guru revisited the sisters. Insisting that they bring him an offering, he asked the sisters to offer their heads to him.
Compliant, the sisters severed their heads and placed them at his feet. Their bodies danced around the guru, while their heads sang in reverence of him.
The guru then rejoined their heads and the sisters became Mahasiddha. In the course of time, they bodily assumed Khechara, the Paradise of Dakinis.
While Chinnamasta offers an interesting way of explaining the headless woman, she can also help explain the three women found in Hemwick and Old Yharnam .
The abode of Chinnamasta is the cremation ground, which does mirror Old Yharnam . In Hemwick, the three women are found near a detached wooden skull .
Chinnamasta's red body is said to represent pure energy, parts of the three women mimic lava . The headless lady has hair that droops down like lava .
The mercury , which she pours in The Cinematic Trailer, is regarded as primordial energy in alchemy. Called "Azoth", it' the first principle of all other substances.
Mercury connects Chinnamasta to Oedon. Hemwick Witches, with their many eyes , may be related to Kos and the fishman witches of Fishing Hamlet .
The activities of Hemwick Charnel Lane may refer to the legend of Coatlicue grinding up the bones of previous ages , to make a new race of humans.
Another sign linking Chinnamasta to Oedon is Chinnamasta's astral sign "Rahu ", which represents The Darkness or Neptune, linking it to water and the trident.
Rahu is the head of the Svarbhānu, a great demon who split into a head and a trunk, both of which became possessed by a demon snake, siring "Rahu" and "Ketu".
Rahu and Ketu are the prime movers of the eclipse, and the devourers of the Sun . Rahu is the eclipse from above and Ketu is the eclipse from below.
Both are considered inauspicious, though Ketu can generate a surge of fame or creativity, but can also cause insanity and sociopathic detachment.
They can be linked to the theme of twin serpents, the caduceus, the eclipse, The Darksign, and the trident linked to The Moon Presence and also Amygdala.
The Knights of Hearts
In The Labyrinth, there lie the countless remains of ancient killing fields, dating from a bygone chivalrous age . Most of which are found in boss arenas.
These remnants are all adorned with hearts . While common in the Bloodborne decor, hearts are prominently featured on Sword Hunter Badges .
"One of the badges crafted by The Healing Church. The radiant sword indicates the heirs to the will of Ludwig.
These hunters, also known as Holy Blades, are what remains of an ancient line of heroes that date back to a very early age of honor and chivalry."
Hearts have appeared before in the Souls universe, on the Manikin Shields , used by the Manikins of Mytha, The Baneful Queen of The Harvest Valley.
Hearts are symbols of The Empress , the Tarot card connected to Annalise and Yharnam, Pthumerian Queen. The heart is also affiliated with Lady Maria .
The labyrinth armor matches a set seen in Cainhurst . The "diamonds " adorning the armors relate them to the Suit of Pentacles, "Earth" and Cainhurst .
A curious thing about the armor found in The Labyrinth, it all consists of completely solid pieces . There's no way for a human being to fit inside of it.
This suggests that the armor doesn't belong to human beings, but that the remains constitute golems, artificial warriors akin to the Manikins of The Harvest Valley.
"The peculiar art of puppetry is vestige of the two lost lands. The Queen, entranced by the poison, used it to beckon unknowing souls to the defiled valley."
"A queen breathed life into these dolls with the very miasma that afflicted her poison-drenched bosom, so that she would have slaves to serve her temperamental will."
Manikins are puppets, animated by a miasma. They once had heads , but lost them in the final version , making their visage similar to other golems .
"Golems" are replicated "Giants ". The power to form them was once stolen by Vendrick, and also came into the possession of The Ivory King and Mytha.
"Helm of the rampart golems, granted life by the Ivory King.
The golems were charged with the containment of the creatures of chaos whithin the boundaries of the wall.
When the doors of Eleum Loyce were flung open, the place turned frigid and lifeless, but the golems remained dutifully on guard."
- Rampart Golem Helmet
"My name is Melentia.
You a stranger to this land?
All we get is strangers these days. Everybody's gone and run off!
Drangleic's been a pile o' rubble since the war fought long, long ago.
When the Giants crossed the sea."
"They say these trees grew from the remains of the Giants.
From each carcass sprouted new life, growing into what you see now.
But you know what they also say. Don't believe what an old hag says!"
- Merchant Hag Melentia
"Long ago, the King crossed the seas, pillaged the land of Giants, and brought back a "prize".
It was then that the golems materialised.
The Giants are no ordinary barbarians. A singular rage burns within their hearts.
My father, and his father, both fought the Giants on this very land.
The Giants have wills of steel.
They cannot find it within themselves… To forgive the misdeeds of our lord."
"Soon, the Giants will descend upon this fort.
It is revenge, for the Kingdom's misguided barbarism.
The venerable Lord built this kingdom to bring prosperity to His subjects.
What has transformed him so, I can not imagine."
- Captain Drummond
"My Lord made magnificent findings on souls… An accomplishment for the ages…
He vanquished the Four Great Ones… And built this kingdom upon their souls.
Our King has watched over this land… Since ages long, long ago…
King Vendrick…We must fight back… Or the Giants will take Drangleic…"
"The King commandeered their power… And created the Golems.
With the Golems, the King created this castle.
To celebrate victory… And to show his love, his gratitude to his Queen…"
"The Queen… Brought peace… to this land, and to her King.
A peace so deep… it was like… The Dark… "
- Chancellor Wellager
The Giants were defiled by Vendrick's deed, what he stole from them was sacred, and he used it to create these slave children, all for power and wealth.
These newborns have no face, just a hole in their chest . They are in this sense identical to The Iron Golem of DS1 , who existed alongside slave Giants .
This absense of a true face, of a true head, could point to attempts at diminishing their intelligence, to make them helpless and thus easier to control.
The Golems built the giantly oversized castles of DS2, and Golems are even part of The Throne of Want . Their relation to Titanite Demons is unclear.
The knights of The Labyrinth may have been such golems, but it's also possible that they were "turned to stone" like the Stone Soldiers of Drangleic Castle .
These marionettes of stone were once human, but because of Nashandra's betrayal, they became "Cursed ", which in DS1 assumed the form of petrification .
If the labyrinth armors are like Manikins, then they may stem from a character similar to Mytha, who does thematically resemble The Vileblood Queen.
If the armors are like Stone Soldiers, then they may stem from a character similar to Nashandra, like Annalise, The Pthumerian Queen, or a Great One.
If the armors are like golems, they may stem from a character similar to Nashandra, or a character similar to King Vendrick, or any other "true king".
The Ivory King, discussed above, knew how to make golems, The Drakeblood Knights have ties with King Vendrick (see Vaatividya), so perhaps they kept golems.
Perhaps the Radiant Sword Hunter Badge quote: "an ancient line of heroes, dating back to a very early age of honor and chivalry." refers to a Dark Souls like era.
If that is so, there may exist potent parallels between Cainhurst, Annalise and The Pthumerian Queen, and Mytha, Nashandra and the royal line of a "true king".
Logarius as a "true king"
Many clues denote Logarius as a king, or at least a pretender king. For one, that he's suspiciously seated atop Cainhurst Castle while wearing a crown.
Logarius is linked to The Emperor, representative of a male ruler. The card couples him to The Empress, who's embodied by Annalise and/or The Pthumerian Queen.
Logarius once invaded the castle and subdued its residents, and though he appears to be a guardian of sorts, he may rather have only replaced its ruler.
In his capacity as guardian, Logarius let Vileblood monsters thrive within the castle, while terrified servants continue to maintain its luxury .
Meanwhile, his supposed compatriots, The Executioners, can't be found near the castle, unless you count the deranged monsters in Hemwick .
This notion of a usurper has a precedent in Demon's Souls, where "The Old Monk" had dethroned Queen Latria, and taken over the defiled "Tower of Latria" .
Logarius' himself wears the remnant of a once yellow garb , both of them wield staves, The Old Monk wears a crown of thorns , symbolizing martyrdom.
The Monk's yellow garb has a will of it's own, and shapes itself like an abyss . It may have been an early reference to Lovecraft's "The Yellow King ".
By his extraordinary length, Logarius shows himself to be of Pthumerian descent. His sword and staff, have Pthumerian designs , .
The undulatig design of his blade is typical of a flamberge, "a flame sword". His scythe/staff mirrors the flame manipulating rod of a Pthumerian Elder.
Furthermore, the sword mirrors the blade passed down through the Boletarian Royal Family , which manifests as Soulbrandt, Demonbrandt or The Northern Regalia.
His Executioners wear a "Gold Ardeo ", ārdeō means "to burn". Gold was also the color of Gwyn's foremost knights, Ornstein and Smough .
The Ardeo, and Radiance, are in accordance with the alchemical symbol of fire. Radiance itself may have been based on Koch's "The Dragon's Eye ".
The Ardeo has a shape that's distinctly phallical, a complex also observed in Anor Londo . This phallic theme could have a very grim explanation.
Radiance, and The Ardeo, may have been based on "the wooden horse", a device for torturing women, perhaps to reflect some strange travesty of chivalry.
Many clues relate Fire to punishment and self-chastisement . Perhaps these strange twists of morality point to the true nature of Executioners.
The statues of Cainhurst reveal that a king once lived inside the castle. This king clutches a staff , while his robe is inscribed with magical incantations .
Likewise, Logarius wields a magical staff , a staff similar to those used by the Pthumerian Elders . His robe is adorned with strange golden markings .
"Magical symbols" are another way to explain Logarius' strange jewelry . While tied to The Emperor, the sword wielding sorcerer also reflects "The Magician ".
Demon's Souls "Old Monk" is a sorcerer, and a king. At one point banished by the queen, The Old Monk returned in a golden garb, with foul Demons in tow.
"The Queen banished her depraved old husband from the land.
He returned in strange golden garb with foul Demons in tow.
They pillaged great Latria, land of the learned, and locked us in this dungeon.
Since then, they've been feeding off our souls…
Telling us over and over that if we go above, we will be granted redemption."
- Once Royal Mistress
The queen's husband was a depraved man, who returned as a "monk" to dethrone his former spouse. The king of Cainhurst may have been no different.
Statues in the Cainhurst dinner hall are specially arranged, in such a way that the king seems to grab butt , as both characters are royalty, this could signify incest.
Incest is the sort of depraved behavior that could get a husband banished. In regard to incest, there are parallels between Logarius and "The King of Midland".
The King of Midland is an archvillain of Berserk . He goes mad after raping his daughter, Charlotte, and being consequently rejected by her .
Eventually, he becomes completely delirious, clinging to a throne in the freezing cold , muttering on about "warmth" and "sitting on the throne".
In another scene, the king seems to merge with queen and child , mirroring the character "Pinwheel ", or perhaps it invokes the movie "The Fly".
Pinwheel was a necromancer, the master of The Rite of Kindling, and ruler of The Catacombs. For reasons unknown, he welded his wife and child to his body .
Logarius is a necromancer, able to command Vileblood spirits . The lingering Bound Widows may persist only because Logarius desires their eternal internment.
Of all armorpieces, the Cainhurst Helmet stands out as extraordinarily detailed and its embossments display numerous scenes related to the plot.
One of its most known features is the hidden "toothy grin" which is concealed by the helmet's unusual visor. It can be seen atop this page .
The helmet also contains a number of False Eyes. There's a particularly well developed one at the height of the ear . It's only present on the left side.
Very interesting is that the helmet displays Snail Women. This directly connects Cainhurst to Fishing Hamlet and the slug goddess Kos.
The Snail Women on the helmet show a different side of Snail Women. They have a mischievous smile and wield a mysterious staff.
Those in Fishing Hamlet have a much more dreary appearance . They're near blind, their slimy hair droops straight down and their back is covered in organs .
Cainhurst Castle contains another mysterious reference to slugs. A young girl tiptoes on a shell-like pedestal, appearing strikingly similar to the goddess Venus.
In her right hand she holds what could be a slug or a shell. This could also be One Third of Umbilical Cord, required for ascension.
The last part of the helmet is formed by "the locks ", these can be found drooping down the front of the helmet.
They look as if they belong to a good-looking youth. It may have been based on the visage of Serpico , a character of Berserk.
Serpico is the bodyguard and lover of General Farnese. He senses that Gutts might try to kill his royal blooded mistress, and draws his sword against him.
Knowing that Gutts is the greater warrior, he challenges him in an area full of pillars, so that they might encumber the swings of his massive sword .
Serpico's telltale weapon is the rapier, whose Bloodborne equivalent "the reiterpallasch ", is likewise linked to House Cainhurst and its devoted knights.
Go upward from the locks and you'll encounter "the idol ", a man-shaped chimerical creature. It holds up it's hand in the manner of a god or a lord .
It's identity is unknown, though it could be related to to the bill like nature of the helmet. By rotating the helmet a very different shape is revealed .
Which from further away looks like . I consider this to be some sort of parasite, a slug, slime,Vermin , or other centipede like creature .
A similar, but more slimelike growth can be found in the Research Hall, clawing around the piston powering the great elevator .
There's another grotesque image on the helmet, a face smothered by cloth , only the nose is visible. It may be related to Old Yharnam .
The Cainhurst Helmet is based on a real Italian helmet , and the face of the original mermaid is exactly where the smothered face would be.
Several details on the helmet may stem from Berserk. Gutts could have provided the evil grin , the snoutlike visor may stem from the berserker armor .
It certainly doesn't explain the whole thing, the armor doesn't have the wolflike traits , it's smooth and light, very unlike the Berserker Armor in that regard.
Berserk's antagonist - Griffith - wears smooth, silver armor and a beaked helmet. His Femto form is also birdlike , and even more odious in appearance .
As mentioned above, Serpico could be part of the helmet as well . It may be up to the player to envision which psyche is behind the helmet.
In The Hunter's Dream, all Cainhurst lamps must be accessed from the "Unseen" Headstone . This could disclose something important about Cainhurst.
The Unseen Headstone concerns Yahar'gul, The Abandoned Workshop and Cainhurst Castle. Which are areas with no physical connection between them.
The Nightmare Headstone concerns only Nightmare dimensions, The Yharnam Headstone concerns only Yharnam and the directly adjoined Cathedral District.
The Frontier Headstone covers the Forbidden Woods and Hemwick Charnel Lane, which means it concerns those areas extending from the Cathedral District.
So while the other Headstones all cover an organized set of areas, The Unseen Headstone covers areas with no immediate connection between them.
Upper Cathedral Ward, a high-level area is covered under the Yharnam Headstone. So the Headstones don't just sort areas by required level or difficulty.
Cainhurst physically extends from Hemwick, with a rather typical decor when compared to Yahar'gul, so there ought to be a reason it's under Unseen and not Frontier.
The answer may lie in how the areas of the Unseen Headstone are unlocked. In order to gain access to Cainhurst the player requires the "Cainhurst Summons".
With The Summons, a ghostly chariot shows up in Hemwick . Somehow it's able to take the player across the lake, and arrive at the broken bridge to Cainhurst Castle.
Upon arriving, the chariot is gone, the horses are all dead, and their corpses are already frozen over . Which does point to profound inconsistencies in time.
When Alfred talks about Cainhurst, he doesn't talk about Cainhurst like it's an area he could access from Hemwick with a small boat and some climbing gear.
He avidly seeks the path to Cainhurst, but he cannot find it. He never goes to Hemwick and will never reach Cainhurst without the Unopened Summons.
It's possible that Cainhurst simply isn't a normal place, but rather an occult realm, one that cannot be accessesed without the appropriate key, The Summons.
Another area on the Unseen Headstone, Yahar'gul, the Unseen Village, clearly isn't "normal", but an unhallowed domain concealed by the influence of Rom.
Yahar'gul can be accessed early on, in the form of The Hypogean Gaol, in which case it will be comprised of completely different enemies, and display no "Blood Moon".
By destroying Rom, the spider's web will be unraveled, Yharnam's true nature will be shown, and the player will gain access to The Unseen Village.
In this sense both Yahar'gul and Cainhurst are hidden areas that require special means in order to be "unveiled", justifying why they were classified as "Unseen"
Another such area, The Abandoned Workshop is, though not magically protected, clearly "hidden" and "a secret", only accessible through a special series of steps.
If Cainhurst is not a normal area, then what is it? Is Cainhurst Castle a Nightmare? Is it enchanted? Does being "unseen" make it distinct from a Nightmare?
One strikingly strange detail of Cainhurst is its white moon . This moon retains its pale color, even after the player kills Rom and unveils the Blood Moon.
Admittingly, this oddity is not unique to Cainhurst. After the death of Rom, The Forbidden Woods, Byrgenwerth and Hemwick, all retain white moons.
Cainhurst Castle displays unique "sky anomalies". Cainhurst's perpetual snow does not always fall, at times it will simply hang in the sky, as if ensnared by time.
Yet sky abnormalities are not unique to Cainhurst, from impossible lines , to evil eyes and painted on sky , Bloodborne's sky is full of such anomalies.
Remarkable patterns appear on the great bridge leading up to Cainhurst Castle , patterns formed by small black stones.
Their appearance is odd, as the bridge is made out of bricks, and these "pebbles" don't belong. Furthermore, wherever they appear bricks appear to have "melted ".
This "melting" created depressions in the bridge, along with these unusual patterns. These patterns appear elsewhere, they appear on the Unseen Headstone .
The same patterns appear in The Labyrinth . They even appear on Shark Giants . Perhaps because The Labyrinth, and The Fishing Hamlet, are "hidden" areas.
It could be that "the unseen" really is a category in and of itself, comprised of areas not defined by being "physical" or "Nightmare", but defined by being "concealed".
Connection to Mergo's Loft
The Nightmare of Mensis leads to the conclusion of Yharnam's horrific tale of reproduction, The Wet Nurse descending to feed Mergo, and complete his creation.
To which end, The Pthumerian Queen has pursued her child , servants in tow , she has absolutely no interest in letting The Wet Nurse claim her child.
Indications exist that Mergo's Loft was once linked to Cainhurst, The Nightmare's library for instance bears specific resemblances to that of Cainhurst .
The Loft is filled with chairs belonging to The School of Mensis. The motif found on these chairs is a motif found on the drapes in Annalise's throne room .
Identical chairs are found in Yahar'gul, and this isn't the only resemblance with The Unseen Village, the "opaque mirrors" from Yahar'gul also appear in The Loft.
"Opaque mirrors " are invariably cracked, black screens, some of which Micolash can use as teleportation devices , which is their most likely function.
The difference with Yahar'gul, is that Yahar'gul's mirrors tend to covered , or turned away . According to Lore&Lore, this may be related to funeral rites.
Beyond Yahar'gul and The Nightmare of Mensis, opaque mirrors also appear in The Research Hall , in the room with the delirious Enlarged Head Patients.
Opaque Mirrors are all identically cracked, and the cracking patterns eerily resemble the cracks shown by the picture lying next to Lady Maria .
Opaque mirrors are adorned with lions , as are Mensis chairs . Which suggests ties with Cainhurst , or at least ties to the Pthumerian line .
Lion ornaments also appear in Iosefka's Clinic and The Research Hall . As lions also appear in Cathedral Ward , they may be principally Pthumerian.
"Bats " constitute another symbol found at Mergo's Loft. Bats point to Cainhurst , but also to The Pthumerian Labyrinth .
All attendants of Mergo have small wings on the back of their armors . This further relates them to bats, but it could also indicate "Celestial Children ".
One theme that connects Mergo's Loft, not just to Cainhurst, but also to the Pthumerians, is the theme of the "flying reaper ".
There's distinct correlation between "wielding sickle like blades" and "flight". The Pthumerian Descendant is another sickle wielder , predictably capable of flight .
Other elements connecting the Descendants/Elders to The Wet Nurse are the presence of "cloth/feathers " and the presence of ostentatious jewelry .
Furthermore, the hair of Descendants/Elders mirrors bird wings . At the same time, gaudy jewelry is found on Martyr Logarius , another "flying reaper".
The item description on Gehrman's Burial Blade, states that the crescent blade was forged with "siderite", which is said to have "fallen from the heavens".
The Burial Blade itself much resembles the ornate blades of The Wet Nurse . It's quite possible that "fallen from the heavens" points to The Wet Nurse as its origin.
Another blade said to have been forged with "siderite" is the Blade of Mercy, whose design much resembles the weapon of The Pthumerian Descendant .
Such sickles may all have been created for the same reason, to harvest a victim's head , and give the head to something like "The Brain of Mensis ".
Connection to Research Hall
Strong architectural resemblances exist between Cainhurst and The Research Hall, the significance of which is not entirely clear.
The Cainhurst "Apocalypse Scene " appears in The Research Hall , as does "the strange face ", another woodcarving seen in Cainhurst.
The "unidentified pattern " is another embossment specific to these two areas. Lion table legs constitute another example of matching artistry.
The Cainhurst Helmet contains various images relating to The Research Hall, like Snail Women , Kos , and depictions of parasitism .
Initially, Cainhurst was allied with Byrgenwerth and The Healing Church, but their paths diverged after a Cainhurst scholar created The Vilebloods.
"Ah, there's something I want to tell you. A bit of wisdom from the eminent Master Logarius!"
"Once, a scholar betrayed his fellows at Byrgenwerth...and brought forbidden blood back with him to Cainhurst Castle."
"It was there that the first of the inhuman Vilebloods was born." - Alfred
The resemblances in architecture may date from this temporary alliance, or from Cainhurst's attempt to recreate The Research Hall after their initial betrayal.
Unique to The Research Hall is "the samurai ", which is often paired with the "strange face". It sometimes appears upside down , like in Maria's arena .
That the samurai appears upside down on all the walls within the Astral Clocktower, could mean the figure is tied to Lady Maria, and perhaps to Vilebloods.
Its meaning is unclear, but here's a list of possible meanings.
- Sir Alonne: Like Maria, the samurai knight from DS2 can be found sitting down with a large lightsource behind him . Both warriors use katana like weapons and Cainhurst Knights are themselves samurai themed.
- Grand Archives Scholars : The Scholars dip their head in wax to give themselves candlelike heads . These heads also resemble the traditional hairstyles of the samurai. In Japanese it is called the Chonmage, outside Japan it may be known as "samurai buns". The theme of the Grand Archives Scholar fits the Research Hall. Some of the Scholars' heads are lit like a candle. Why they do this is unclear, but it may be a form of sacrifice. This theme of fire/sacrifice may be connected to Lady Maria. The wax , a material that can be used to form lifelike imitations of people, could be related to Maria's imitation, The Plain Doll .
- Dragon God: The Dragon God is a giant man shaped dragon and one of the four archdemons in Demon's Souls. His soul was used to create the very first versions of Fireball, Firestorm and God's Wrath (Wrath of the Gods). The samurai has two great arrows emerging from his sides . The Dragon God had to be defeated by using two giant spearguns to immobilize his arms. When the Dragon God was speared the giant projectiles would stick out from his body in a kind of cross shape, like the arrows on the Samurai. This creature could be "the idol " on the Cainhurst Helmet. It's not uncommon for an animal god to be represented as a human or vice versa, so it's at least possible that the samurai is actually a monstrous god. What makes this more interesting is that the Dragon God resided in the realm of the "Burrowers ". The Burrowers were a race of people that mindlessly kept on carving out more underground tunnels. These creatures behaved very much like the Pthumerian Watcher's Gravedigger . This realm was also the greatest source of Crystal Lizards , which looked a lot more like actual lizards than their Dark Souls incarnations , who gained a more insect like appearance. With giant, mineral based insects "burrowing" within the Stonefang Tunnel, this may not have been a coincidence. Above, I discuss the possible connections between dragons, minerals, trees, insects and "Chaos". The "Burrowers" of Stonefang Tunnel somehow managed to fuse themselves to mineral . Dragons are said to be mineral based lifeforms, so the appearance of infused minerals on the Burrowers could relate them to dragons like Seath the Scaleless , or half-dragons like Crossbreed Priscilla . The "Scale Miners" may have been looking for mineral based "scales", to infuse into their bodies, which would make the scales similar to the "Dragon Scales", collectible in DS1 and DS2, such scales could be traded for magical "stones" or used to upgrade weapons of stone. Mineral scales like those seen on the Burrowers, resemble what is seen on the "scalemail" of the Pthumerian Tomb Guardian . The daggers used by the Pthumerians are close to identical to the DS1 Drake Sword . Connections like these add to the idea that Pthumerians worshipped "dragons", and perhaps demonic subsidiaries like Salamanders and insects .
Parallels between Queen Annalise and Maiden Astraea
Maiden Astraea is a boss in Demon's Souls. She's one of the four archdemons and acts as the final boss of the Valley of Defilement.
Maiden Astraea is a noble, who drops the "Pureblood" Demon's Soul. This soul can be forged into the Blueblood Sword.
"A white iron straight sword born from the soul of the demon Maiden Astraea.
The sword of true nobility, endowed with the essential power humans are born with, which increases its attack power." - Blueblood Sword
Before the start of the game, Astraea ventured into the grey fog that enveloped Boletaria. At the time, she was already famously known as The Sixth Saint.
Like many heroes, she failed to stop The Old One. Instead she settled down in a great swamp and became an idol of worship to the Depraved Ones.
Ever since that Demon witch came here, everything has turned foul. All the men worship her like she's the Virgin Mary.
The same men who would snatch my child away from me! This was a much better place before she came.
I was the apple of every mans eye. You’re here to rid us of her, aren't you? Well, don't show her any mercy! - Filthy Woman
Maiden Astraea became a demon long before the players meets her. Her soul can be formed into 3 different spells, each mentioning her corruption.
Spell from the Demon Maiden Astraea's Soul
Generates a cloud of plague.
It is natural that those who take in all that is impure are themselves the most impure of all.
Spell from the Demon Maiden Astraea's Soul
Fully recovers another by touching them.
Though Astraea is the most impure demon of all, her works are equal to those of divine beings.
Miracle from the Demon Maiden Astraea's Soul
Returns any Phantom near the caster back to their own world, granting them their living body.
This miracle is a countersign of the corrupted former Sixth Saint Astraea.
Unique about that Maiden Astraea boss battle is that you don't actually fight Astraea. Instead you fight Garl Vinland , her champion.
Astraea has also spawned so called Plague Babies , these creatures are bloodred and live in the filthy water of her den.
Astraea is the corrupted Sixth Saint, ruler of The Depraved. Annalise is one with "rotted blood", and ruler of The Vilebloods.
Astraea birthed the blood covered Plague Babies, Annalise seeks to give birth to a "Child of Blood", to which end she ingests "Blood Dregs".
The word "dreg" refers to "the lowest". The "dregs of society" are "the scum of society". Dregs mean "waste", filth" and things that are "unwanted".
It as if Annalise wants to to surround herself with "depraved", and soak herself in toxic filth, like Astraea did in The Valley of Defilement.
Both Astraea and Annalise are characterized as women of bewitching charm and beauty. Both women are guarded by a male champion.
Both Astraea and Annalise behave as helpless women, they only ever taunt the player, and will not turn hostile, even in the face of death.
There may be yet exist another connection between Astraea and Annalise, in the form of Elana , The "Squalid" Queen, who's the Child of Dark identified as "filthy".
Elana speaks in curses, and is able to summon the dark warrior "Velstadt ", whose protuberating helmet and strange mallet relate him to Garl Vinland .
What typifies a Child of Dark, is its ability to ensare "a king", or otherwise "a great male warrior", like Velstadt, or The Fume Knight, seduced by Nadalia.
It's quite possible that Annalise is continuing this history of temptation, and is trying to turn the player into another guardian, like Vinland or Velstadt.
Logarius' failure to end The Vilebloods may have been the victory of Annalise's magnetism, even if this victory led to her being defiled and imprisoned.
Significance of the Royal Line of Cainhurst
Annalise is a noble, defined by her Pthumerian blood. Astraea is a noble, who drops the "Pureblood" Demon's Soul, root of the "Blueblood" Sword.
The Blueblood Sword is "endowed with the essential power humans are born with", which in Dark Souls wording means "endowed with the dark".
In DS3, "the elusive, essential property unique to humans" - Anri's Straight Sword - is "Luck", a stat related to Hollowing, Bleeding, Curse and Poison.
This is no accidental rewording of the dark nature of humans. The idea is directly rooted in Berserk, Griffith and his benefactor "The Idea of Evil ".
The Idea of Evil is a manipulator of destiny. The Idea forged the bloodline that would produce the silver haired Griffith, who he has been gracing with success ever since.
The links with the Pthumerians are tangible. Griffith as the pale haired "Übermensch", The Pthumerians as a tall, white race, with undercurrents regarding "purity of blood".
Along these lines the Übermensch is to be regarded as a sociopath, hyper rational, narcissistic , with the desire to artistically control his environment.
If true, The Pthumerians are to be regarded as those humans cultivated by the god of darkness, a sociopathic master race, sanctified by god's divine favor.
There are ties between Cainhurst and Griffith, beyond the silver hair, the beaked armor , and a refinement of blood with aristocratic/nazi undertones.
The chariot that takes the player to Cainhurst, is ornamented with "griffins ", while the "Child of Blood" has thematic commonalities with Griffith .
Griffith's dream, the ones he sacrificed thousands lives for, was a country , and a castle ", respectively a dimension and a stronghold within it.
It's been suggested that Cainhurst's seclusion, and perpetual snow, relates it to The Painted World of Ariamis , a false world created to contain an abomination .
DS3's Ashes of Ariandel (Aryan - master race) expands upon the story of Ariamis, showing a world of forlorn (depraved) beings, harboring a white haired woman .
Besides Cainhurst's chariot exhibiting griffins, the throne of Annalise shows a mixture of bird and lion ornaments . A mishmash of a bird and a lion is a griffin.
The white haired woman of Ariandel exhibits scales , like Priscilla , implying that she's related to Dragons, a relation that Pthumerians might share.
This relation could include characters like the serpent tailed Gwyndolin , and Lothric, the crippled likeness of Griffith - .
Both Gwyndolin and Lothric are sorcerers, both are voiced by Harry Lister Smith, both have inhuman traits, in Lothric's case his nails and blood vessels .
Of Lothric, it is stated that his conception was forced, brought on by the dynasty's need for "worthy heir", which lead to an aberrant ploy to create it.
"The Lothric bloodline was obsessed with creating a worthy heir, and when this proved impossible, resorted to unspeakable means.
Suffice it to say, the path to linking the fire is a cursed one indeed." - Lothric's Cinders of a Lord
Lothric is also stated to have had a wet nurse, The High Priestess. "The High Priestess " is a Tarot card linked to Mergo's Wet Nurse and The Moon Presence.
"In Lothric, the High Priestess has long been considered one of the Three Pillars of the king's rule. The High Priestess also served as the prince's wet nurse ."
If Lothric's the product of a detestable conception, and he was suckled by an unusual wet nurse, then Lothric's like Mergo, while Griffith's also entwined with Mergo .
DS3 harbors another strange prince, called Ocelotte, stated to be a "child of dragons". He's the son of Oceiros , a likeness of The Paledrake. He's also invisible.
Gwyndolin hides himself behind a Fog Gate. Mergo is invisible. Lothric is a concealed prince, the secret of forbidden rituals, hidden behind multiple guards.
Priscilla is a dragon child, hidden away in a painting. She has the power of invisibility. It would seem that inhuman children are in some way related to the unseen.
The pale garments of Gwyndolin are called "The Moonlight Set", which reads: "The power of the moon was strong in Gwyndolin, and thus he was raised as a daughter."
Gwyndolin is related to The Moon and to androgynism. It's therefore conceivable that he's in some way entangled with the androgynous Moon Presence .
Another character that's distinctly androgynous, is Griffith , who's stated, and implied, to be so fair that he's approximate to a woman .
Griffith possesses a glamour, a supernatural ability to enthrall people. He's able to convince people that he's the messiah , thus transforming them into puppets.
The Moon Presence possesses a similar capacity, ensnaring the protagonist without a fight , unless he/she has used three One Third Umbilical Cords.
As The Moon Presence descends before the player , the scenery mirrors Michelangelo's "Creation of Adam ", which depicts a meeting with God.
A meeting with God, is a communion. "Communion ", a secret transcription, left by runesmith Caryll, is an ersatz of the face of The Moon Presence .
Griffith, who in Berserk incarnates The Antichrist, Satan, and The Devil's temptation, radiates "a meeting with God" during his appearance before the pope.
The snake tails of The Moon Presence may have been based on the nine-tailed fox , a mischievous spirit, which often masquerades as an attractive woman .
The same analogy may apply to the effiminate, snake-tailed Gwyndolin, whose role in Anor Londo may be similar to The Moon Presence's role in Yharnam.
The Moon Presence sires Hunters, who are sent to kill Beasts. The nature of "Beast" may be that of "lawless filth", upsetting The Moon Presence's plans for Yharnam.
Gwyndolin recruits warriors to hunt "those that tarnish the city of the gods", people who defame the gods, and don't follow path the gods have laid out for them.
The snake tailed Moon Presence, besides being some referrence to Gwyndolin or the kitsune, could be part of a relation between "serpents" and "dragon children".
The Painting Woman, showing the mineral taint of a dragon, has the eyes of a Primordial Serpent , like a Dragon Acolyte Mask mixed with Humanity .
This ties into strange item descriptions, like that of The Watchdragon Parma which states it portrays Dragons, though it clearly portrays Primordial Serpents.
Other indications of such a kinship include the serpentine Hydras , and The Imperfect , so akin to Primordial Serpents, dropping "Dragon Scales".
The distinction between Primordial Serpents, and Everlasting Dragons, could be overblown, even non-existent, and "dragon children" could easily be kin to snakes.
A Dragon ancestry may therefore involve more than some unique characteristics, it could tie a child to Primordial Serpents, perhaps even demons in general.
The Forked Pale Tongue , (forked like a reptile's), is a DS3 multiplayer reward for killing a blue phantom, a servant of a dragon child, Yorshka or Gwyndolin.
"Those who hunt dark spirits take the names of gods in ancient accord with the Way of Blue, a deception exemplified by their tongues." - Forked Pale Tongue
The forked nature of the tongue symbolizes deception, as stated on the item, suggesting that Blue Sentinels and Darkmoon Blades aren't as noble as they appear.
Blue phantoms began as Blades of The Darkmoon in DS1 , they were the servants of Gwyndolin and acted as Spirits of Vengeance , who punished "the guilty".
"Guilty", mostly meant Darkwraiths, but it also included anyone who threw a rock at Gwynevere's illusion or dared enter Gwyndolin's quarters.
As such, their moral aims have always been sketchy, and "blue" is best summarized as "executing the law of the king", in this case Gwyndolin's will.
These defender spirits, and their strange connection to The Darkmoon , and to blue , made it into Bloodborne in a most peculiar way, in the form of Blood Gems.
Some Blood Gems are blue , this blue color only appears in connection to specific themes: Blood ATK, Bloodtinge Scaling and Beasthunting.
Which means, that in Bloodborne, "blue" is connected to Bloodtinge, which mean "hue of blood", this almost certainly hints at "blue blood", the blood of nobility.
High Bloodtinge is indeed associated with aristocrats, as is indicated by The Chikage, The Noble Scion Backstory and the Blood resistant attire of Cainhurst.
Cainhurst Knights used to dispose of Beasts, which is consistent with Beasthunting Gems, and the traditional role of the noble/military class in disposing of public threats.
Blue hued blood would give one a pale complexion, which is consistent with the pale traits displayed by Annalise, Pthumerians and Dark Souls aristocrats like Gwyndolin.
The color blue and The Darkmoon are also linked to The Painted World of Ariamis , where the dragon child "Priscilla" is protected by Crow Demons .
These Crow Demons drop Souvenirs of Reprisal , the Darkmoon covenant items in DS1, and in DS3, were they also became the covenant items of the Blue Sentinels.
In DS3, blue eyed "Boreal Knights " are linked to "Frost", like that of Ariamis and Irithyll , a theme of cold that is also linked to Cainhurst Castle .
I believe that the common theme here is "dragon children", white haired Aryans, a master race that will engender a rule of law in harmony with "the gods".
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