Unused Elden Ring quest would have tied an early NPC to the game's darkest secrets

Continuing a banner week of investigating unused content left in Elden Ring's files, dataminer Sekiro Dubi has successfully reimplemented a game-spanning, multi-part quest involving the early game merchant, Kalé.

In the released game, Kalé never moves from Limgrave's Church of Elleh. He sells some essential early game gear like the spyglass and crafting kit, and will also direct you toward Blaidd the Half-Wolf. Kalé is the only named member of the nomadic merchants in the game, and the group's lore and connection to the sinister Three Fingers is only implied.

Sekiro Dubi dug up and reimplemented the various steps in Kalé's questline, beginning with some extra dialogue outlining the merchants' outcast status and mythic origin point in the Grand Caravan. After defeating Godrick at Stormveil, Kalé would move from the Church of Elleh, commencing a search for the Grand Caravan's resting place.

Kalé would next be found in Liurnia and then Leyndell, with his shifts corresponding to the discovery of missives from the Grand Caravan carried by birds and helping Kalé hone in on its location. This would culminate with Kalé discovering the Subterranean Shunning Grounds under Leyndell, the location of the otherworldly Three Fingers.

In the released game, there's little to no context supplied to the final area of the Shunning Grounds, a vast pit ringed with galleries, filled with the desiccated corpses of Nomadic Merchants with a few wizened members still alive, filling the tomb with a haunting melody on their stringed instruments.

At the bottom of the pit, before the door to the Three Fingers, Kalé would have made explicit something that was only hinted at in the final game: the Grand Caravan was buried alive under Leyndell alongside the Three Fingers on suspicion of worshipping the sinister force, and the pit of corpses you traversed on the way down were all that remains of Kalé's people. The merchant curses the Golden Order that committed this atrocity against his ancestors, and unsuccessfully tries to embrace the Flame of Frenzy.

With unused content, you always want to be careful putting it on too much of a pedestal. Story beats are just as often cut for artistic reasons as they are for lack of time or resources, after all. That being said, I love everything about this quest.

(Image credit: FromSoftware)

It would have been redundant with Hyetta's NPC quest pointing to the Three Fingers, but I honestly prefer the writing and presentation of Kalé's story as an introduction to the entity. His sympathetic search for his roots, culminating in the discovery of an unspeakable historical crime and his impotent raging against the order of the world is haunting, and it also manages to cast embracing the Frenzied Flame, the path to Elden Ring's most "evil" ending, in a sympathetic light. In the released game, choosing omnicide in this way feels like a frivolous decision, while Kalé's quest gives it more a feel of righteous, Luciferan rebellion. I think it would have made for a powerful scene to contrast Melina's horrified pleading with you to turn away from the flame, which remains in the final game, with Kalé's righteous fury encouraging you to damn the world.

This is certainly one of the most substantial and exciting things Sekiro Dubi and the other Elden Ring dataminers have found so far, and the mind boggles at what else may lie buried in the game's files.

Associate Editor

Ted has been thinking about PC games and bothering anyone who would listen with his thoughts on them ever since he booted up his sister's copy of Neverwinter Nights on the family computer. He is obsessed with all things CRPG and CRPG-adjacent, but has also covered esports, modding, and rare game collecting. When he's not playing or writing about games, you can find Ted lifting weights on his back porch.