A Hidden Dungeon
A hidden dungeon that you can completely miss if you're not headed down the correct path, Nokstella, Eternal City is one of many enigmas in Elden Ring. Buried deep underground and patrolled by enormous riding ants, Nokstella is an optional dungeon that is nevertheless critical to an important NPC's storyline. If you want to see her full quest through, you'll wind up down here eventually.
This guide will take you through Nokstella, Eternal City in Elden Ring. First, though, we need to get you there, which requires allying yourself with Ranni the Witch.
Nokstella is buried deep in Elden Ring, and you won't find it through simple exploration. To reach it you'll need to aid Ranni in her quest, which in and of itself takes quite a while. Here are the steps you'll need to take to get to Nokstella:
- Meet Ranni at Ranni's Rise, in the Three Sisters sub-region of Liurnia of the Lakes. To get to Three Sisters you'll need to get through Caria Manor, in the northwest of Liurnia. You'll also need to either completely avoid, or defeat, Starscourge Radahn at Redmane Castle in Caelid. If you've been to the castle then you have no choice but to kill Radahn to proceed.
- Agree to be Ranni's servant, then meet her other servants and exhaust their dialogue. They're all in Ranni's Rise. Go back and talk to Ranni again.
- Defeat Radahn. This will open up Nokron, Eternal City in the southeast of Limgrave.
- Make your way through Nokron to the Ancestral Forest Site of Grace, then hop to a nearby building. You're now in the Night's Sacred Ground sub-region. At the end of this straightforward path, you'll find the Fingerslayer Blade. You must get this to advance into Nokstella.
- Take the blade to Ranni in Ranni's Rise. She'll give you the Carian Inverted Statue.
- Head to the Carian Study Hall on the eastern shores of Liurnia on the Lakes. Place the statue on the altar in the entry hall, then proceed through the inverted dungeon to the Divine Tower of Liurnia. Check the corpse at the top for the Cursemark of Death.
- Head back to Three Sisters and check Renna's Rise. It is now open, and the teleporter inside will take you to Ainsel River Main. Proceed down the river to find the path to Nokstella.
Nokstella, Eternal City
Upon entering the grounds you'll find the Nokstella, Eternal City Site of Grace. Check the ruins to your left for three Magic Greases and the summoning pool, then look to the right of the area. Down on your right is the base of a waterfall, and you'll get an idea of what you're dealing with in this area thanks to the Nox Monk riding on the back of a Giant Ant that's patrolling the water. Target the ant to knock the Monk down, then go for the kill. There's a Ghost Glovewort  by the water's edge.
Ignore the buildings on the left for now and continue along the rocky shoreline to the right. They will carry you into some ruins containing two Drawstring Holy Greases and a Smithing Stone , the latter of which is guarded by two Swordstresses. They have a surprisingly long reach with their seemingly-rubber weapons, so kill them from behind before they can become a nuisance. Check around the base of the large building beyond the ruins for three Silver Tear Husks.
Carry on along the left side of this same wall to find a side area with a Celestial Dew guarded by three angry snails. There are several more ahead if you continue down the wall, behind a line of pillars, and if you try for the Smithing Stone  dead ahead yet more snails will drop onto you from above. They're all poisonous, and dangerous in a group.
Carry on down the river. It will become glutted with Silver Tears, most of them sparking with electricity, and more will be on the cliffs to your right, firing lances down at you. Start by killing the Swordstress on the ant patrolling down here, then rush onto the cliffs on the right and kill the Silver Tears. These ones have shields, so swing around them and hit their backsides to do serious damage. You can then either snipe or just slug the Silver Tears down in the water. The electricity these creatures spread upon death will kill long lines of them, so take out one and watch the rest fall like dominoes. (Though, uh, get out of the way before they die.) There's a Golden Rune  and two Ghost Gloveworts  in the water, though grabbing the Glovewort on the left will bring a Swordstress down on your head, so be ready.
Continue along the north side of the river and you'll find some idling ants ahead. You can probably kill at least one before the others react. Take them all out, then check along the cliff's edge for a Stonesword Key. Return to the water and continue west to fight another Swordstress on an ant and some Silver Rears, grabbing the Ghost Glovewort  from the opposite bank. In the northwest corner, up against the wall, are two thick-headed ants; they're very tough to beat and aren't protecting anything, so you're best off just leaving them alone.
South of here the river turns into a waterfall, upon which sits an arched tower. Kill one of the Silver Tears within to zap them all to death. Go inside once everything's gone to find a Celestial Dew. You can't go any further in this direction, so it's time to check out the opposite bank.
Head back north. There's an elevator on your right, protected by another ant rider, that leads down to the Nokstella Waterfall Basin. Ignore it for now and you'll find another arched tower with more Silver Tears inside as you carry on north. Kill one or two for roughly the same electrifying results as last time. On the edge of the cliff near this enclosure is a Somber Smithing Stone .
Go back up the river to the east. If you follow the river towards the entrance you can find a Ghost Glovewort  near an ant rider. Past this is the base of the stairs leading upward, as well as the Site of Grace. Refresh yourself, then begin the climb.
At the top of the first flight of stairs and on your left is a small room with a Swordstress. If you engage her another one coming down the next flight of stairs may interrupt. Kill the one outside first, then the one inside. The stone box on the right side of this small room contains an Ant's Skull Plate.
Go up the next flight of stairs. There are Fan Daggers on the corpse to your right as you ascend. Also up here is a long line of Silver Tears, and they'll start oozing down toward you as soon as they see you. Kill the first and you'll trigger a chain reaction that should kill most, if not all, of the other Silver Tears in the group. Destroy any survivors.
Climb the stairs to the top and you'll find more of the shielded Silver Tears in a room on your left. Kill them off, then check a heavy stone chest inside the room for the Ghost-Glovewort Picker's Bell Bearing . Take a right next to find a hallway with pills on your right. There's a Golden Rune  between two of them, though watch out for a shielded Silver Tear that drops down from above. Next to this on your left is a window leading to a chest containing a Somber Smithing Stone , though again, watch out for a Silver Tear on the ceiling.
At the end of the pathway is a Golden Rune  and stairs. Go up, then walk straight forward until you're forced to take a left. There's an imp statue requiring a Stonesword Key. Open the fog door up and you'll find a room with two Swordstresses inside. Fighting both at once is a bit much, but you can lure one out with a ranged weapon, then kill the other. Inside the room is a chest containing the Nightmaiden and Swordstress Puppets.
Head back outside and cross the bridge to the buildings on the other side of the river. There's a Golden Rune  on the other side. There's also a huge, seemingly-sentient ball that comes rolling down the stairs toward you. These things hurt a lot if you get hit, but you can also use your weapon to smack them. Smack just before the ball reaches you, and keep hitting until it's destroyed. If you start to run short on Stamina, turn and run before it catches up with you. The ball drops a Larval Tear when destroyed.
Ignore the stairs ahead for a moment and check the building on your right. Inside is a chest containing a Great Ghost Glovewort, but you'll also be ambushed by another enormous ball. Smack it continuously to stop it from slowly flattening you. It, too, drops a Larval Tear when destroyed.
Go up the long stairs back outside to find a Golden Rune , about halfway up. Take a right at the top to find a Smithing Stone , then head back to the stairs and enter the building right in front of you. If you look at the ceiling you'll see a ton of Silver Tears, as well as another ball, and they will all start to fall down on you. Run in, grab the Somber Smithing Stone  from the chest at the far end, then run back out the way you came. If the ball doesn't fall down and flatten the Silver Tears then use a ranged weapon to goad it down. It will damage the Silver Tears as it rolls towards you, getting stuck at the front door. Smack it from the doorway, then systematically destroy the Silver Tears once the ball is gone. Attack electrical Tears to thin their numbers more quickly.
(Unsurprisingly, this room is amazing for leveling your character. You earn tons of Runes very quickly.)
Take a left at the end of the hallway to find another bridge leading to stairs. Climb the stairs and you'll find a Scarab holding a Somber Smithing Stone  partway up. At the top is a doorway into a long hall, and the fact that you can now summon things should give you pause. Inside the hall, you'll find two Silver Tears and a Swordstress, and the Silver Tears will turn into humanoids with weapons. The Swordstress is still the most dangerous of the three, and with the least health to boot, she should be the first to go. Summoning help to deal with the two Silver Tears is advisable, but not compulsory if you move around the area strategically.
Behind the group is a small shrine that contains a chest. Inside the chest is the Moon of Nokstella, a very handy Talisman if you use any form of magic. Grab it, then check the left side of the hall for an exit. The elevator in the next building over will take you down closer to ground level where you can grab a Golden Seed from a nearby golden tree.
You'll be right across the street from the building with the elevator down to the Nokstella Waterfall Basin. Hop down and descend into the depths.
Nokstella Waterfall Basin
At the bottom of the elevator, you'll find a wide cave with a very obvious tunnel leading deeper right in front of you. There's a Ghost Glovewort  back and to your left, but aside from a few other minor crafting materials the larger cave is empty.
Head deeper. Dead ahead you'll see a Basilisk lurking in the water, and there are two more near it. A quick rush against one will allow you more space against the other two. The trio is guarding a Smithing Stone  and a Smithing Stone .
At the other end of the tunnel, you'll come to a large structure and a rather ominous burgundy haze. If you're here to help Ranni, you can speak to her doll - found at the Ainsel River Main - via the previous Site of Grace multiple times to make a Baleful Shadow appear in this area. This thing is vicious, not staggering easily, and using a greatsword to maul you with strong attacks. Give it a wide berth, and wait about half a second before rolling to avoid its slower sword swings. You'll receive a Discarded Palace Key for defeating the Baleful Shadow.
Otherwise, there's an entrance on the right side of the structure that leads to an elevator. At the bottom of the elevator you'll find the Lake of Rot, bringing this article to a close.