Ainsel River is one of Elden Ring’s alternative subsurface zones. It’s in the upper west region of the world map, beneath Liurnia of the Lakes, and can be reached by the Ainsel River Well in that zone. The Ainsel River Well is just one of the many places where you can reach the Ainsel River, however the layout of this zone might be complicated. It is divided into south and a north side, neither of which can be reached directly until you leap from the north to the south side in the Uhl Palace Ruins, which are located above the Hermit Merchant.

There are a few key areas to grasp, such as the Nokstella, Eternal City subregion and its connection to Ranni’s questline, which is required to reveal Ranni’s hidden ending. To go to the Ainsel River Main site of grace, you’ll need to find the Fingerslayer Blade and complete Ranni’s quest until you reach Renna’s Rise, which holds the Waygate that teleports you to the Ainsel River Main site of grace. There is significant treasure on both sides of the zone, however only one merchant is located on the south side.

Ainsel River (South Side)

Taking the Ainsel River Well elevator down to Ainsel River will dump you off near Ainsel River Well Depths, a scene of grace. From here, enter the chamber of enormous ants and hang a left until you reach the Ainsel River Sluice Gate. Hang right up the side ramp and onto the rampart once you reach the area with the sluice. On the other side of the path, there is a place of grace. The armored ants can quickly rush you if you aren’t paying attention; your best bet is to take them out one at a time with magic or ranged attacks to their back end, which they will expose if you dodge-roll away from their rush attempts.

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The major section of Uhl Palace Ruins may now be seen from the top of the sluice. You must utilize the neighboring elevator to get down to the Uhl Palace Ruins from the sluice gate, or you will fall and perish. Prepare to confront a swarm of claymen once you arrive.

One of the Hermit Merchants of Elden Ring may be found beyond the Uhl Palace Ruins. He’s in a massive ornate structure on the far side of the “room,” which also has a large number of claymen and a Malformed Star who can snipe you if you’re not careful. The Malformed Star, as well as any claymen who try to break your cover by charging you at close range, can be defeated using magic and ranged assaults.

Elden Ring Ainsel River Guide

Note on the Ainsel River Map: Near the Hermit Merchant, there is a corpse carrying the Ainsel River Map Fragment.

The Ainsel River Downstream point of grace is reached by heading somewhat southwest from the Hermit Merchant’s position. Following the river west from there will take you to a vantage point overlooking the grotesque Lake of Rot, but following the river north will take you directly to the Dragonkin Soldier of Nokstella fight and a good look at what to expect from Nokstella, Eternal City, which is not accessible from here.

Frozen Lightning Spear

To obtain the Frozen Lightning Spear incantation (which requires Fai 34 to use), you must slay the Dragonkin Soldier of Nokstella, who also drops 12,000 runes when killed. If you try to fight the Dragonkin Soldier of Nokstella with more than one melee character at once, you’ll find that his attacks are far more predictable when he’s focused on only one person; the best strategy here is to keep his focus on one melee fighter while ensuring that your ranged fighters have plenty of room to stand back and hit the boss with everything they’ve got. He doesn’t start using gap closers until he’s down to about half his health, which gives the party plenty of time to wear him down.

Ainsel River Main (North Side)

After you open the Waygate in Renna’s Rise during Ranni’s questline, or after you ride the coffin in the northwestern portion of Deeproot Depths, the Ainsel River Main region is accessed. Once you’ve unlocked the Ainsel River Main point of grace, speak to Miniature Ranni a few times while resting so she may advance the quest and warn you about her hunter, the Baleful Shadow, who will invade your game once you’ve passed through Nokstella, Eternal City.

As you travel south from the Ainsel Rivel Main site of grace, you’ll come across a swarm of claymen and a Malformed Star guarding the gate to the southwest canal, which is where you’ll need to head now to follow the river’s current to Nokstella. You’ll come to a fork in the road in the ant cave ahead, where one way will veer left and the other will turn right. Following the river to the right will lead you closer to Nokstella. Meanwhile, if you walk the path to the left, you’ll find some hidden riches.

Wing of Astel

Fight (or escape past) the armored ant and proceed left along the tunnel to an exit where two gravity magic users protect a cliff overlooking the ruins where the Hermit Merchant can be found. Follow the cliff’s edge and leap down to the rock platform below, then continue hugging the wall from there until you can jump down to the ruins with the treasure chest on top. The Wing of Astel, a magical curved sword with the powerful Nebula special move and scales to Int, Dex, and Str, is found in the treasure chest.

Nokstella, Eternal City

Nokstella, like Nokron, is a subterranean city inhabited by silver tears and nox swordstresses. The city area is divided into levels, and the way you choose to travel influences the type of experience you’ll have. It is not necessary to climb the staircase and travel through the actual city to advance the Ranni quest at this point; instead, you must travel across the river basin on the city floor, fighting silver tears and other enemies, including giant snails, until you reach an elevator on the west side of the basin that takes you down to the Nokstella Waterfall Basin point of grace.

Moon of Nokstella

The first of three tiers that make up the subterranean metropolis is reached by ascending the stairs from the Nokstella, Eternal City point of grace. The swarms of silver tears that explode into lightning when they approach too close make each layer dangerous to struggle through. Ranged spells and weaponry (especially those enchanted with lightning) are your best bet for fending off these swarms from afar before they close the gap. You’ll also come across huge marbles that require the use of hefty weaponry or spells to defeat. This book does not go into depth on each of the various treasures and smithing stones hidden throughout the city; that is up to you to discover.

The first and second tiers are joined by a bridge, but you’ll have to fight your way past the enormous marble to get to the second tier’s stairway, which leads to a chamber with a marble and several silver tears falling from the ceiling. When you exit the chamber, turn left and you’ll come to another set of stairs. After that, you’ll face two humanoid Silver Tear bosses and one last nox swordstress in the third and final tier. Because they’re difficult to fight as a bunch, you should use an ashes summon of your choice to even the odds. Finally, sprint to the room’s opposite end and open the treasure chest, revealing the Moon of Nokstella. A path leading down to a neighboring Erdtree sprout with a Golden Seed is also nearby.

Baleful Shadow Fight And Ranni’s Quest

Ranni’s Quest

Back at the Nokstella Waterfall Basin region, conversing with Ranni and exhausting all of her dialogue will inform you of the danger posed by the Baleful Shadow that waits ahead. Following the passage downstream will lead you straight into a fight with the Baleful Shadow, a very swift and aggressive warrior who looks a much like Blaidd.

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Because poison weakens Baleful Shadow, it’s a good idea to attack him with poison arrows and skills (or poison throwing darts if your Dex is high enough) to fill his poison meter. Otherwise, keep as far away as possible from his strikes, which have an extraordinarily large range as well as brutal damage and speed. It’s a good idea to enlist the help of several pals for this battle.

Ranni will determine you’ve served your duty once you’ve defeated the Baleful Shadow, but not before handing you a mystery key. You can now choose whether to continue the story into the Lake of Rot or return to the Raya Lucaria Grand Library to open the chest next to Rennala. Apart from that, congrats on making it through Ainsel River!

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