How to complete the Hornsent quest in Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree

Elden Ring Hornsent quest
(Image credit: FromSoftware)

The Elden Ring Hornsent quest is one of the darker ones in the Shadow of the Erdtree expansion, and that's saying a lot. If it isn't clear from all of the burnt towns and impaled bodies, Messmer's army weren't exactly kind to the Hornsent who lived here. This quest is all about helping the worm-masked Miquella companion avenge his slaughtered people.

It also intersects with the Leda quest to some extent, as well as with Ansbach's, since Hornsent gives you the maps that show you where to find more Miquella Crosses. I'll explain how the Hornsent quest works step-by-step below, plus include a little summary so you can decide up front if you want to follow it. This guide will, of course, contain spoilers for Hornsent's questline.

Elden Ring Hornsent quest steps

The Hornsent's quest of vengeance lasts for most of the main story. Not all of these steps are necessary, but you should take them if you want to experience everything:

  • Find the Hornsent alongside Redmane Freyja at the Three-Path Cross site of grace in Gravesite Plain
  • Talk to the Hornsent to get the Cross Map
  • Defeat the Divine Beast Dancing Lion boss in Belurat, Tower Settlement
  • Enter Scadu Altus by defeating Rellana, Twin Moon Knight in Castle Ensis, or jumping up behind the Fort of Reprimand in east Gravesite Plain
  • Talk to the Hornsent at the Highroad Cross site of grace in Scadu Altus to get the New Cross Map
  • Travel to the entrance to the Shadow Keep to shatter the great rune and break the charm
  • Return to Highroad Cross and talk to the Hornsent, resolve Lady Leda's choice, then talk to the Hornsent again
  • Summon the Hornsent to fight the Golden Hippopotamus
  • Use the summon sign to aid the Hornsent in Shadow Keep (do not aid Leda, or the quest will end here)
  • Summon the Hornsent while fighting Messmer the Impaler and defeat the boss
  • Talk to the Hornsent in Messmer's Dark Chamber
  • Meet the Hornsent in the Ancient Ruins of Rauh to complete the quest

This quest can also end earlier if you choose to help Leda instead of him, but if you want to maximise the rewards and get all his dialogue, that isn't the best option.

Where to find Hornsent

You can first find the Hornsent at the Three-Path Cross site of grace in the Gravesite Plain. He and Redmane Freyja are almost impossible to miss, especially as they're standing right by the first Miquella Cross. Speak to both Redmane Freyja and the Hornsent to get the first Cross Map from him, marking Miquella Crosses in the immediate area. 

The Hornsent will be a bit frosty at first, explaining he hates Tarnished and denizens of the Erdtree, but that he'll ally with you as long as you're willing to help him get vengeance for the suffering of his people, the Hornsent. He'll stick around here for a while until you hit the next main progression steps.


Erdtree map fragments: Uncover the Land of Shadow
Scadutree fragments: How to level up in Erdtree
Erdtree bosses: A full hit list for the DLC
Leda quest: Track the Erdtree main quest
Sir Ansbach quest: Help the former servant of Mohg
Hornsent quest: Complete the quest for vengeance

Meeting Hornsent again at Highroad Cross

Once you defeat the Divine Beast Dancing Lion boss in Belurat, Tower Settlement and gain entry to Scadu Altus—either by defeating Rellana in Castle Ensis or jumping up behind the Fort of Reprimand—you'll find the Hornsent at the Highroad Cross site of grace. He'll talk about Miquella some more and give some very ominous predictions about you spilling the blood of your fellows further down the line. He'll also pass you the New Cross Map for even more Miquella Cross locations.

When you ride towards the entrance to the Shadow Keep, you'll get a message saying the great rune has been shattered and the charm dispelled, which indicates that the charm Miquella placed on all the companions has been broken. Hornsent will have new dialogue explaining that it doesn't make a difference to him whether he's charmed—he's going to the Shadow Keep to kill Messmer and get vengeance.

If you speak to Lady Leda at this point, she'll explain that she's suspicious of the other companions and will ask you to choose between Thiollier and Hornsent. Luckily, it doesn't matter who you choose; after a rest she'll decide to kill Hornsent, but will explain that he got away and she's going to catch him at the Shadow Keep.

It's worth noting that if you don't talk to Hornsent at either Three-Path Cross or Highroad Cross you'll find both cross maps left at Highroad Cross. It's currently unclear how this changes Hornsent's quest.

Where to find Hornsent in the Shadow Keep

Via the main entrance to the Shadow Keep, you'll come to the Golden Hippopotamus boss, which you can summon both Redmane Frejya and the Hornsent for. After it's beaten, continue on the main path through the area until you reach the courtyard with the flaming boats. Here you'll find a gold and a red summon sign for summoning to help Hornsent or Leda respectively.

The most lucrative option here is to help Hornsent, since Leda won't die, and you'll get two items that are otherwise inaccessible, Ash of War: Swift Slash for backhand blades and Leda's Rune, which has some lore attached to it and you can use to get 40,000 runes. That said, if you're tired of helping Hornsent, you can conclude his quest here by aiding Leda. You'll kill him and get his Falx curved swords and his armour set.

Defeating Messmer the Impaler

If you helped Hornsent, you can now summon him during the Messmer the Impaler boss fight. His summon sign appears just to the right of the entrance inside the arena. The annoying part of this is that you've got to be extremely fast if you want to start summoning him before Messmer charges and stabs you with his spear. 

Once you do manage to get him up, you'll have to defeat Messmer so the Hornsent can have his vengeance. Activate the Messmer's Dark Chamber site of grace after the battle, rest, and you'll find Hornsent standing in front of the chair Messmer was sitting in. He'll thank for helping him get revenge, but things take an unsettling turn as he describes that now it's time to kill all Erdtree denizens. Uh oh.

Meeting Hornsent in the Ancient Ruins of Rauh

After you defeat Messmer, the main quest will take you to the Ancient Ruins of Rauh, accessible via the western rampart of the Shadow Keep. It's well worth grabbing the map fragment for this area separately, since you can't easily access it from the upper level where you exit the Shadow Keep. 

Make your way through the region until you find the Rauh Ancient Ruins, West site of grace. While traveling into the scarlet rot area, infested with pests, Hornsent will invade on a flight of stairs en route to the Church of the Bud. The good news is this invasion is impossible to miss on the main track. The bad news is that, well, you're going to have to kill the Hornsent. 

As you may have gathered from the Messmer boss fight, the Hornsent isn't an especially fearsome combatant. Once dispatched, he'll drop his Falx set of  curved swords that do bleed, and his Braided armor set that buffs projectiles from Omen Bairn items and the watcher spell you get from the Hornsent Grandam. It's essentially the same items he would've dropped if you killed him back in Shadow Keep. With Hornsent's death, that's the quest all wrapped up. 

Sean Martin
Guides Writer

Sean's first PC games were Full Throttle and Total Annihilation and his taste has stayed much the same since. When not scouring games for secrets or bashing his head against puzzles, you'll find him revisiting old Total War campaigns, agonizing over his Destiny 2 fit, or still trying to finish the Horus Heresy. Sean has also written for EDGE, Eurogamer, PCGamesN, Wireframe, EGMNOW, and Inverse.

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