The Lore of Maliketh: The Black Blade of Elden Ring

Maliketh holding the Black Blade

If you happen to be a demigod, there is nobody that you should fear more in the whole Elden Ring Lore than Maliketh, The Black Blade.  

This Shadowbound Beast possesses the Rune of Death and with it, the power to inflict true death upon the inhabitants of the Lands Between.  
He played a key role in the establishment of the Golden Order, but his carelessness also contributed to its eventual downfall. 

In this article I am going to talk about Maliketh, Marika’s Black Blade. Together we are going to explore his origins, feats, and his role in the death of Godwyn the Golden and the sudden appearance of Those Who Live in Death.  
Enjoy!  

Serving the Eternal Queen: Maliketh’s Origins and Role in the Golden Order

Maliketh was a Shadowbound Beast in the service of Queen Marika, The Eternal. His sole purpose was to be Marika’s guardian, but the Goddess of the Golden Order had only one purpose for Maliketh, as stated in the Remembrance of the Black Blade:  

During the establishment of the Golden Order and its crusade to crush the enemies of the Greater Will, Marika’s priority was to acquire and consequently seal Destined Death. She tasked Maliketh to retrieve Destined Death, at that time wielded by the Empyrean and leader of the Godskin Apostoles, the Gloam-Eyed Queen

Maliketh successfully defeated the Gloam-Eyed Queen, and bound the power of Destined Death into his blade. After the removal of the Death Rune from the Elden Ring, the Golden Order was finally founded.  

Is Maliketh really Marika’s Half-Brother?

I would like to talk about another item’s description, which gives additional insight into the relationship between Maliketh and Queen Marika. I am talking about Maliketh’s Helm, which says: 

Wait, what? Maliketh is Marika’s half-brother? When I did read that part, I had two choices:  

  1. Accept the idea that a Shadowbound Beast is the half-brother of a numen via some weird FromSoftware convoluted lore mess. 
  1. Dig into the Japanese item description and look for discrepancy, even though I don’t speak Japanese. 

First, I took the Japanese description and fed it to Google Translate, Copilot, Gemini, and ChatGPT 3.5, which returned very similar results: Maliketh is either Marika’s Half Brother or her Brother-in-law.  

But my quest for the truth about Maliketh’s lore was not over. 
I contacted an acquaintance of mine who has a master’s in foreign languages with specialization in Japanese language, has lived in Japan for years and he is married to a Japanese woman. Literally the best specialist in the field I have access to. 

He has played other FromSoftware titles, but he did not play Elden Ring, so I was absolutely sure of him being completely unbiased. 

At the beginning he told me that after his research, both Half-brother and brother-in-law were fitting the description. I was crushed: I was still far away from pin-pointing a translation. 
An hour later he sends me another message and says that he found another definition for the word: 

While this still does not help me to find the perfect translation, it opens a new path: Could Maliketh be Marika’s Sworn Brother? The concept of Loyalty perfectly fits the idea of a Shadowbound Beast and their Empyrean. 
While I can’t tell the absolute true translation, my opinion leans towards this last one. 

If you wonder what a Sworn Brother is, here’s the definition provided by Urban Dictionary

A Shadow Betrayed Part 1: The Night of The Black Knives

Godwyn is killed by Black Knives Assassins

Back to Maliketh’s Lore, he was now serving Marika in her Golden Order as keeper of Destined Death and commander of the Black Blade Kindred, gargoyles with blades treated with corpse wax. Yuck.  

One day, tragedy struck the Golden Order, as Godwyn the Golden, one of Marika’s children, dies in what was called “The Night of the Black Knives”. Only somebody with the power of Destined Death could have killed a demi-god, and it wasn’t Maliketh.  
Somebody managed to steal a fragment of Destined Death from Maliketh’s blade and used it to commit deicide. 

Turns out that it was a plan orchestrated by Ranni the Witch, an empyrean who wanted freedom from her destiny as a successor to Queen Marika to become a vessel for the Elden Ring. If you want more information about Ranni, here’s an article I wrote about her complete lore
If you are wondering, instead, what exactly is the Elden Ring, here’s my explanation

After the Night of the Black Knives, Maliketh bound his black blade infused with the rest of the Death Rune to his own flesh. Unfortunately, it was too late: after Godwyn’s death, Marika did the unthinkable. 

A Shadow Betrayed Part 2: The Shattering 

Marika shatters the Elden Ring, thus betraying the precepts of the Golden Order and Maliketh, her Shadowbound beast. It is imperative to remember that Maliketh’s loyalty to Marika is not done so willingly. A Shadowbound beast MUST serve an empyrean up until they become a vessel for the Elden Ring. While sad to say, their fate is sealed this way.  

After the Shattering, Maliketh had to face another problem for which he was the direct cause: Godwyn, now adressed as “The Prince of Death”, was releasing a substance called Deathroot from his grave at the roots of the Erdtree. Deathroot coming in contact with living entities gave way to the phenomenon of Those Who Live in Death. 

Those Who Live in Death are individuals who are not following the cycle of rebirth through the Erdtree, according to the Golden Order principles. This heretical practice was now Maliketh’s first item of his eradication list. 

Gurranq, Beast Clergyman: Maliketh’s Persona

In our time as the Tarnished in the Lands Between, we may meet a NPC called D, Hunter of the Dead. He will fill us in on the existence of Those Who Live in Death, and introduce us to a bestial individual named Gurranq.  

Gurranq, Beast Clergymen has the sole objective to consume deathroot, even though he seems to not ever be sated.  

Once the Tarnished reaches the Crumbling Farum Azula in their quest to find the Rune of Death, they will be confronted by Gurranq. Even though the Beast Clergymen gives his best, he will be forced to reveal his true identity. 

With these words, the tattered cloak covering Gurranq fades away, and reveals an armored Maliketh wielding a black blade with the power of Destined Death.  
He will eventually fell to the turnished relentless attack, and will wonder what the Tarnished wants to kill with the Rune of Death.

If the Tarnished has given Gurranq all the Deathroot in the game before this encounter, Maliketh’s last words will instead be a plea for Marika’s forgiveness: 

Conclusion 

Here you have it: everything I know about Maliketh, the Black Blade! One fun thing that I want to add is that I found phase 1 of Maliketh’s boss fight much more difficult than phase 2.  
Not going to lie, even phase 2 killed me enough times to give me nightmares in my first playthrough.  

I really hope you enjoyed this article, my dear reader, and don’t hesitate to leave a comment or contact me for any questions you have on this big badass wolf! 
I’ll see you on the next article! 

1 thought on “The Lore of Maliketh: The Black Blade of Elden Ring”

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