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Elden Ring's Runes Are Just Slices Of The Erdtree

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Runes are perhaps the single most important item in all of Elden Ring. Not only are they the universal currency accepted by all merchants across the Lands Between, but they're also given to Melina in order to level up at a Site of Grace. You'll spend hundreds of thousands of runes in a single playthrough, so you're certain to see lots and lots of runes.

On a casual inspection, runes might appear to be like the iris of an eye. Certainly, there are plenty of eye themes to be found in Elden Ring, but Reddit user freetrolley42 has revealed a simpler and seemingly far more likely theory: runes are all just slices of wood from the Erdtree.

Related: Elden Ring's Shadow Of The Erdtree Can’t Get Carried Away With Its Own Lore

You can look at the images freetrolley42 provided for a pretty good argument, but for an even better comparison, check out the image for Hero's Rune (4) and this MRI of a tree trunk. If we changed the MRI image from blue to yellow, the two would look almost exactly the same. Following this logic, the smaller Golden Runes are likely just slices of Erdtree branches, while Numen's Runes, Hero's Runes, and Lord's Runes are all slices of the Erdtree’s trunk taken at various points along its length.

Not everyone in the comments agrees, however. The prevailing theory prior to today was that runes are associated with eyes. This is supported by the fact some enemies can spawn with glowing golden eyes that grant extra runes when slain. There's also the fact that many of Elden Ring's NPCs have eye colors that reflect their allegiance to certain gods, such as Mohg's red eyes and Ranni's blue ones.

Both are just theories as there’s no definitive description of runes in Elden Ring and nobody at FromSoftware has come forward to offer an explanation. I’m personally a fan of the sliced tree explanation, and maybe we’ll even get some proof in the upcoming Shadow of the Erdtree DLC.

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