Shadow of the Erdtree Trailer Reveals That Marika’s Cheating (On Herself) is What Caused All This

Putting morality aside, cheating is an inherently destructive thing to do. It nearly always leads to chaos, heartbreak, and suffering down the line, and it has been the cause of more strife than most other marital issues combined. And the most destructive cheating scandal isn’t in west Hollywood or amongst any (earthly) royal family, but rather in the Lands Between.

Not only is Marika an agent of a controlling and possibly monstrous outer deity and usurped the old powers that be, destroying their civilization in the process, before one of her children unbound the Rune of Death (under Marika’s protection) from its keeper, resulting in the Lands Between’s bloodiest conflict, the Shattering.

She’s also a cheater, which — according to what we see in the new story trailer for Shadow of the Erdtree — is even worse. Or, at least, that her cheating is what caused the destruction we are sure to see Shadow of the Erdtree and what was the first cause for everything that went wrong in Elden Ring’s base game.

Don’t believe me? Well, let’s look at the evidence: first for Marika being a filthy cheater (but with herself), and then for that cheating being the root cause of… Like… Everything.

Starting with what we already know from just the base game (spoilers ahead):

First: When Marika established the Golden Order in the Erdtree, her first consort was Godfrey, also known as Hoarah Loux, making him the First Elden Lord. With him, she had several Demigod children: Morgott, Mohg, and Godwynn.

Second: Radagon of the Golden Order married Rennala, head of the Academy of Raya Lucaria and of the Carian Royal Family. Their marriage was seemingly blissful, for Renalla, until Radagon left her, leaving her in the wayward, near-catatonic state that players find her in the game. But not before the marriage yielded (less unfortunate) children: Radahn, Ranni, and Rykard.

Last: Marika exiled Godfrey and Radagon abandoned Renalla, and both of them came together. Now, it gets a little complicated, but Marika and Radagon are two halves of the same person that occupy the same body, but also are different people capable of acting independently, but also are both vestiges of the Golden Order. But all you really need to know is this: Marika is Radagon. Which is why it is a bit weird that, after divorcing their previous S.O.’s, they had children. Perhaps through mitosis. Namely, they have Malenia, Melina (most likely), and Miquella (who just so happens to be a primary character in the Shadow of the Erdtree DLC.

sote demigods
Image Courtesy of u/-Zhaeus on Reddit

So, we already have some things set up here: Marika/Radagon (however separate they are) clearly had prior relationships, before leaving those relationships to produce offspring themselves. Or with themselves. Something like that.

And you might think that that doesn’t necessarily indicate cheating. After all, it seems that both left their prior relationship before coming together. And besides, they are two halves of the same person, so does it really count as cheating? And even if this was all the case, and Marika cheated on Hoarah Loux with Radagon, who cheated on Rennala, how could that possibly be the first thing that went wrong? This was after all two-thirds of the demigods were born, and even longer after the Golden Order was established! Surely whatever wrongs Marika committed first happened long before her or Radagon cheated on their spouses with each other/themselves!

Well, very invested reader, you’d seem to be correct. Until this story trailer dropped.

We only need to focus on the very beginning of the trailer to see what I mean. Specifically, on the opening lines, which are as follows:

Miquella the Kind spoke of the beginning. The seduction. And the betrayal. An affair from which Gold arose. And so too was Shadow born. What followed was a war unseen.

-ELDEN RING Shadow of the Erdtree | Story Trailer
sote story trailer weird fist thing
I don’t fully know what’s happening here, but I’m sure it supports my theory

Alright. So, there we have it: Seduction, betrayal, affair, birth. That’s cheating. Contrasted with Marika withdrawing her hand from a bizarrely suggestive… thing… and then climbing up the most heavy-metal, gore-covered staircase you’ve seen since DOOM to stand in front of a golden passageway (presumably to the lands between), holding strands of gold above her topless form. Apart from being really sick imagery, this is the one part of the trailer that is really clear:

Marika seduces someone, betrayed them, had an affair, and from that affair birthed Gold, and also Shadow (capitalized in the transcript for the trailer). And then that lead to war.

Point one proven (that Marika is a cheater), now we have to ask: who did she cheat on, and who with? Because we still haven’t figured out how her cheating on Hoarah Loux/Godfrey — whom she already had children with — with Radagon could be called “the beginning.”

Maybe it clicked for you right there. It certainly did for me:

Marika didn’t cheat on the first Hoarah Loux with Radagon, she cheated on Radagon with the first Hoarah Loux.

That’s, after all, the beginning. Hoarah Loux is the first Elden Lord. And it is from him that the lineage of Gold sprang — we know this because of Godrick the Golden‘s namesake and ramblings. And, because this would’ve happened before the births of any (known) demigods, that means it could happened concurrently with Marika’s arrival in the Lands Between or her covenant with the Elden Beast. In fact, I’d say that it must’ve.

queen marika the eternal

And with that… We got her, ladies and gents! Marika is a filthy adulterer who cheated on… erm… herself/her other half/Radagon… with Hoarah Loux, chieftain of the badlands, resulting in the birth of Godwyn, whose death at the hands of Ranni during the Night of the Black Knives would ultimately result in the Shattering. Bingo, right!

Except that isn’t the whole story. Because there is more to that. Other children (who come later), a whole war, the rune of death. Lots of moving pieces aside from Marika herself. Most of those moving pieces being named “Ranni”. And the title of this isn’t “Marika’s Cheating Birthed The Half-Sibling of the Person Who Caused All This”. After all, knowing that Godwyn was the offspring of an adulterous relationship changes nothing about what transpired.

So, let’s look back at the quote from the Story Trailer. Specifically, at the lines “And so too was Shadow born. What followed was a war unseen.”

Shadow born, huh? At the same time as Godwyn (the Gold which arose). And what followed was a war. Not “and what followed was like 8 other kids, 2 other marriages, and then a war because one of those other kids was a moon-loving opportunist.”

Remember, this is a trailer for the story of the DLC, Shadow of the Erdtree. It explains where the conflict in the upcoming DLC originates. And, while the trailer is very difficult to figure out, one thing that we know for sure is that the main antagonist (and likely final boss) of the DLC is Messmer the Impaler. Who wields black flame that could easily be called “shadowy”, and who is seen as a dark and tyrannical oppressor and warlord, and who must have demigod or similar status, and who shares some very notable appearance traits with a certain red-headed god of the Golden Order, Radagon.

sote radagon messmer 1
I can see the family resemblance

Now the story spells itself out, doesn’t it? Before the Shattered, before the many demigods borne of Marika and Radagon, before even the first Elden Lord, Marika and Radagon were together. And, out of this relationship, Marika birthed Messmer. But, probably before Messmer was born and using weird Greek-God-esque rules, Marika also became pregnant by her new beau, Hoarah Loux, with Godwyn the Golden.

She gave birth to them at the same time, and then Messmer turned out to be… well, the worst, and would go on to start a “war unseen” (in the Shadow Lands, where Marika likely came from before coming to the Lands Between), where he would commit “a purge without Grace or honour.”

Presumably, given the timeline, this war and purge would have to happen at the same time as Marika and Radagon are bouncing around the Lands Between, getting in on with Badlands Chieftains and Academy Deans, having abandoned their first lovechild in the Shadowlands to, you know, be without the Grace of the Erdtree and without the tutelage of his parent(s). Either that, or it happened under the watch of one or both parents, who used it to destroy the previous civilization getting in the way of the Golden Order/Elden Beast’s desires.

And now, years later, the demigod Miquella, split away from his flesh in Mohg’s Palace (yeah, demigods just do that sometimes), goes to these Shadow Lands to confront Messmer the Impaler, firstborn of Radagon and Marika, and stop his tyranny. And we, the Tarnished, must help him put down this abandoned, psychopathic lovechild.

Well, suddenly the trailer makes a lot more sense, doesn’t it? And, hopefully, so does the title of this article. Because, without a shadow of a doubt (get it), I am going to claim that, yet, the “affair” that the trailer discusses is literal, yes, Marika cheated on Radagon, and yes, the child born between them before that cheating is Messmer.

And, because Messmer’s actions in the Shadow Lands are almost certainly related too much of the rot that infests the Erdtree, and much of the destruction that it was grown from (just ask the Crucible Knights), I can very confidently say that, yes, all this started because Marika couldn’t resist cheating on herself with the hunky, lion-adorned chieftain of the badlands, Hoarah Loux (also known as Godfrey).

sote hoarah loux
I mean, I can see why. He’s ripped.

I swear this isn’t just the plot of Marika Jessica Parker in Sex and the Erdtree.

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Graves is an avid writer, web designer, and gamer, with more ideas than he could hope to achieve in a lifetime. But, armed with a mug of coffee and an overactive imagination, he'll try. When he isn't working on a creative project, he is painting miniatures, reading cheesy sci-fi novels, or making music.

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