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  • "The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown"

  • -H.P. Lovecraft

  • Our eyes are yet to open...

  • Fear the old blood.

  • These were the words spoken between Master Willem and Laurence.

  • From the cautious teacher to the ambitious student

  • Fear what you do not understand. Love the cuts and voice over

  • Fear the old blood.

  • And so our story begins,

  • as you might have guessed, with blood, ancient blood.

  • Deep below the city of Yharnam lies the ancient underground labyrinth

  • of Pthumeru. You know it as the Chalice Dungeons.

  • The old labyrinth was carved out by the Pthumerians,

  • superhuman beings that are said to have discovered a sinister truth.

  • The hunters had another name for the labyrinth; they called it "The Tomb of the Gods,"

  • for below, they found traces of godlike beings named "The Great Ones."

  • The Great Ones could function on transcendental planes of thought,

  • meaning they had elevated their consciousness beyond the physical realm.

  • The benefits of operating on this plane are unclear.

  • Perhaps it was in the name of immortality, or perhaps power,

  • as even beyond, the Great Ones could interfere with beings and events in the waking world.

  • Whatever the case, it is clear that some sort of ascension took place,

  • as there are numerous references to some Great Ones being left behind.

  • Of all the strange life forms that reside in the nooks and crannies of the old labyrinth,

  • the slugs are clear signs of the left-behind Great Ones.

  • One such Great One appears to be abandoned Ebrietas,

  • a left-behind being who apparently did not ascend with her brethren.

  • One day, Ebrietas would be discovered by the humans above,

  • in a crusade that begins with a character named Willem.

  • Master Willem presided over a prestigious place of learning,

  • Byrgenwerth. Situated by a tranquil lake and secluded within a gigantic forest,

  • Byrgenwerth housed the minds that would change the world.

  • In fact, everything sacred in Yharnam came to be traced back to Byrgnwerth,

  • including the most influential characters within our story.

  • Bloodborne's lore is very character-driven and there are five who I'm going to help

  • you become familiar with.

  • There was Master Willem, Runesmith Caryll, Laurence,

  • Micolash, and Gherman. I'll introduce them to you in the order that they become

  • relevant in the story.

  • As I said Master Willem was the head of the school

  • at Byrgenwerth. The man was obsessed with the truth

  • and believed in pushing the limits of humanity.

  • in almost every dialogue and description, Willem is referred to

  • as Master or Provost, clearly deserving of a great deal of respect.

  • Many would eventually diverge from his tutorage but few can say

  • that they didn't owe everything to his research, for while Willem presided

  • over Byrgenwerth,

  • the scholars there discovered terrific things in the tombs

  • below the city of Yharnam.

  • Once a group of young Byrgenwerth scholars discovered a holy medium

  • deep within the tomb. This led to the founding of the Healing Church

  • and the establishment of Blood Healing.

  • It's hard to be sure exactly what was found, but we do know it was related to

  • the Great Ones.

  • On the ground floor of Byrgenwerth College we find the Pearl Slugs,

  • remnants of the great ones and at the very top of the college

  • we find the Empty Phantasm Shell - an empty invertebrate shell

  • that is said to be the familiar of a Great One.

  • After this discovery, whatever it was that showed them that the Great Ones

  • existed,

  • the Byrgenwerth scholars launched an inquiry into the great ones

  • and the old blood; for from this point onwards

  • there is an explosion of lore and history and references

  • to what the scholars found in the tombs below Yharnam.

  • Many of these references come from Runesmith Caryll, the second character of our

  • story.

  • Caryll transcribed the inhuman utterings of the great ones

  • into what we now call Caryll Runes. In true

  • Lovecraftian fashion, it is really likely that it's impossible for humans

  • to comprehend the speech of the great ones but Caryll

  • apparently had a knack, a talent for creating a visual representation

  • of the Great One's words. The hunter who receives this workshop tool

  • can edge Caryll runes into their mind to attain their wondrous

  • strength. Provost Willem would have been proud of Caryll's runes,

  • as they do not rely upon blood in any measure.

  • This statement is curious; it tells us three things:

  • first, Provost Willem and Caryll were close,

  • as Willem would have been proud of him. And second, Willem

  • didn't have a chance to be proud, so it's possible that the two lost contact.

  • And thirdly and most importantly, Willem

  • would have been proud BECAUSE the runes did not rely on blood.

  • In other words, Willem did not approve the use of the old blood,

  • the blood found in the Tomb of the Gods. The "Metamorphosis" rune states

  • "the discovery of blood made their dream of evolution a reality.

  • Metamorphosis, and the excesses and deviation that followed,

  • was only the beginning." Willem believed in a different path.

  • He believed in attaining more insight, for humanity's eyes

  • had yet to open. The "Eye" rune states that 'Master Willem looked to beings from higher

  • planes for guidance,

  • and sought to line his brain with eyes in order to elevate

  • his thoughts. And with these descriptions, you should have some idea of the scale

  • of ambition of these characters, with the discovery of beings greater

  • than them

  • came a desire to ascend into Godhood, to push humanity

  • into its next stage of evolution. The only question was

  • how? blood? Or insight? And this was a question that split the ranks of the

  • Byrgenwerth scholars.

  • It's how we arrived at the cutscene we started out earlier,

  • with Master Willem and Laurence parting ways. [LAURENCE]: "Master Willem,

  • I've come to bid you farewell."

  • [WILLEM]: "Oh I know, I know.

  • You think now to betray me"

  • From this cutscene, we can infer that Laurence was a high-ranking student of

  • Master Willem because, firstly, Laurence refers to Willem as

  • 'master', and secondly, Willem clearly regards Laurence highly enough

  • to call this 'departure' a betrayal. [LAURENCE]: "No,

  • but you will never listen." Laurence disagrees,

  • he does not see it as betrayal and here we come to the heart of what their

  • disagreement is

  • about. Essentially, it boils down to the difference

  • between the two resources in the game. Willem believes man requires

  • insight and knowledge to ascend, Laurence believes in the power of blood.

  • Laurence attempts to reassure Willem, telling him

  • he will always fear the old blood, but that this fear will not stop him using it

  • [LAURENCE]: "I tell you, I will not forget our adage."

  • [WILLEM]: "We are born of the blood,

  • made men by the blood,

  • undone by the blood.

  • Our eyes are yet to open."

  • [WILLEM and LAURENCE]: "Fear the Old Blood."

  • [LAURENCE]: "I must take my leave."

  • Laurence

  • leaves the Byrgenwerth scholars, presumably with a small group of rebels

  • and goes on to found the Healing Church. Willem

  • remains at Byrgenwerth and attempts to elevate his thoughts to a higher plane.

  • He will return to our story at a later time so, while I tell you of what Laurence

  • went on to do,

  • imagine Willem here, in Byrgenwerth, sitting in his rocking chair

  • over the lake, musing on how to acquire insight

  • and elevate his thoughts to a higher plane. Everything Laurence would come to

  • achieve

  • was based on the knowledge he had come by in Byrgenwerth. In retrospect, we

  • clearly see

  • why Willem saw Laurence's departure as a betrayal. Perhaps Willem himself even

  • planted these ideas in Laurence's mind.

  • A note in the lecture hall reads: "Master Willem was right.

  • Evolution without courage will be the ruin of our race."

  • Laurence had courage, but it is likely that his courage

  • bordered on arrogance. The Byrgenwerth student uniform states:

  • "the Healing Church has its roots in Byrgenwerth, and naturally borrows

  • heavily from its uniform design.

  • The focus, not on knowledge or thought, but on pure pretension

  • would surely bring Master Willem to despair, if only he knew."

  • So Laurence threw caution to the wind and put his faith

  • in the old blood. Think on human history;

  • imagine if, in any era, a church was founded that had access to a substance

  • that could cure any illness.

  • Imagine if this church gave it freely to a city,

  • how powerful that city would become and how powerful the church would become

  • within it.

  • This is exactly what happened in Yharnam. People came far and wide

  • to be treated with the miraculous Blood of the Gods and the people of Yharnam put

  • their faith in the Healing Church.

  • In fact what happened in Yharnam is eerily similar to what happened

  • in the tombs deep below, where the blood was originally found.

  • And as you know, many chalice dungeons, especially those of Loran

  • are now overrun

  • by horrific beasts. The Lower Loran Chalice states:

  • "there are trace remains of medical procedures in parts of ailing Loran.

  • Whether these were attempts to control the scourge of the beast,

  • or the cause of the outbreak, is unknown." The Ailing Loran Chalice states:

  • "the tragedy that struck this ailing land of Loran is said to have its root

  • in the scourge of the beast. Some have made the dreaded extrapolation

  • that Yharnam may be next." Yharnam WAS next.

  • Through overuse of the healing blood, the city would eventually succumb

  • to the scourge of the beast. Until then though, Laurence and the Healing Church

  • manage to grow in power, with the miraculous healing properties

  • of their special yet infected blood.

  • Yharnam grows to become a city of worship and fear.

  • As you explore throughout the city, you see the influence of the Church everywhere.

  • With Yharnam's resources, Laurence clearly had the power

  • to grow the Church beyond what would have been possible at Byrgenwerth

  • All the while he continued exploring the labyrinth below Yharnam

  • The tomb prospector set reads:

  • "Attire of the tomb prospectors who explore the old labyrinth on behalf of

  • the Healing Church

  • The Healing Church traces its roots to Byrgenwerth and is therefore aware

  • of the ruins' true importance. These ruins contain much more than hunter trinkets,

  • indeed, they hide the very secrets of the old Great Ones

  • sought-after by those with the insight to imagine greatness"

  • On top of this, Laurence split the Church into multiple branches, each with a different purpose.

  • There was the Choir, the School of Mensis and the Workshop.

  • We'll get to these branches as they become appropriate

  • but the main purpose of the Church, at least to the people of Yharnam

  • was the administration of blood healing

  • Within the Grand Cathedral itself lies a note that says:

  • "Heir to the ritual of blood, purveyor of ministration

  • Place your hand upon the altar's sacred covering and inscribe Master Laurence's

  • adage upon your flesh

  • Blood ministers would have been those who administered the blood healing

  • How else would the people of Yharnam be so obsessed with blood?

  • In Yharnam, they produced more blood than alcohol

  • as the former is more intoxicating

  • However, the ministration of blood was likely a means to an end,

  • for the Healing Church still intended

  • to commune with the Great Ones in hopes of ascending humanity

  • to a higher plane. This task was given to the Choir,

  • a group who were a part of the Healing Church. Members of the Choir

  • are both the highest-ranking clerics of the Healing Church and scholars

  • who continued the work that began at Byrgenwerth

  • The eye covering indicates their debt to the teachings of Master Willem,

  • even though their paths diverged.

  • The Choir, garbed in black and white with the familiar eye covering,

  • occupied the Upper Cathedral Ward

  • It seems to have been their job to research and make contact with the Great Ones

  • The Great Isz Chalice became the cornerstone of the Choir,

  • the elite delegation of the Healing Church

  • It was also the first Great Chalice brought back to the surface since the

  • time of Byrgenwerth

  • and allowed the Choir to have audience with Ebrietas.

  • Ebrietas was the left behind Great One who came to reside

  • below the Grand Cathedral.

  • We are told that the Grand Cathedral is the birthplace of

  • the Healing Church's special blood.

  • And if the church were indeed using the blood of the Great Ones,

  • then who's to say it wasn't Ebrietas' blood?

  • The augur of Ebrietas is one of the secret rights of the Choir, used by the high-ranking members

  • of the Healing Church.

  • "Use phantasms, the invertebrates known to be augurs of

  • the Great Ones to partially summon abandoned Ebrietas"

  • One of the few rights that allow one to directly utilize the power of the Great Ones

  • and evidence that the Choir had approached the Eldritch Truth.

  • The augur for Ebrietas is an arcane method of fighting

  • that was actually shared with the second subsection of the Healing Church,

  • the School of Mensis. The upper echelons of the Healing Church

  • are formed by the School of Mensis, based in the Unseen Village.

  • This brings us to our next important character Micolash

  • who was likely the head of the School of Mensis. The School of Mensis

  • was, as the name implies, a place of learning, research and experimentation

  • for the Healing Church. Their student set reads:

  • "The Healing Church has its roots in Byrgenwerth and naturally borrows heavily from

  • its uniform design"

  • The school was based below Yharnam in a place called Yahar'gul,

  • the Unseen Village. Clearly the work of Mensis was intended to be kept a secret

  • from the people of Yharnam

  • In fact, as time went on, the School increasingly seems to have been working alone,

  • even separately from the Healing Church itself. The Yahar'gul attire tells us

  • "the hunters if Yahar'gul answer to the Village's founders,

  • the School of Mensis. Hunters in name only, these kidnappers blend into the

  • night wearing this attire"

  • These were not true hunters.

  • That title was saved for the third subsection of the Healing Church

  • the hunters of the Workshop. These capable warriors of the church