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Guide to the Shaded Castle in "Elden Ring"

Matt Bird writes all sorts of nonsense, but he dedicates a large chunk of his time to writing game walkthroughs.

A swampy, gloomy place on the border of two regions, Shaded Castle is not the friendliest location in Elden Ring. Full of weird specters and knights who seem like they should be in Caelid, the Shaded Castle is a daunting place for newcomers to roam. Proceed with caution.

This guide will show you how to get through Shaded Castle in Elden Ring. It's not a terribly long dungeon, but there's still lots of stuff to see - and you'd be surprised how easily you can get lost trying to navigate the place.

All images copyright FromSoftware.

All images copyright FromSoftware.

Finding the Shaded Castle

The Shaded Castle is located on the border between the Altus Plateau and Mt. Gelmir, in a festering bog. Look north of the Grand Lift of Dectus and you'll find a Site of Grace called Erdtree-Gazing Hill. Near the Site of Grace is a long, northern-cut valley that's full of trees and water. Shaded Castle is its terminus point, an unfortunate end to a rather pleasant stretch of woodland.

Despite the amount of territory surrounding the fort there's not a ton to see if you check the eastern edges. Go west and you'll find some Poison Grease and a Golden Rune [3] along the walls. Check the rear of the fort and you'll find some Starlight Shards. You'll also find a long field full of broken statues, within which is a huge Golem. Surprisingly, however, the Golem masks the real threat: Maleigh Marais, Shaded Castle Castellan. Marais is a dangerous opponent, and will switch between magic and a rapier to bring you down. Draw them away from the Golem and take them down before tackling the giant. You'll receive the Antspur Rapier, the Marais Mask, and the Marais Robe for defeating Marais.

There are several ways to enter the Shaded Castle. We'll go with the most obvious, as it takes you to a Site of Grace. Check the right side of the front wall to find a slanted rock that will get you onto the ramparts. Aside from some zombies there are four Poisonblooms on your left and the Shaded Castle Ramparts Site of Grace on your right. We'll start there.


Shaded Castle Ramparts

Now we have some options. Activate the nearby summoning pool, then head back the way you came. To your left is a stretch of ramparts with a hooded enemy called a Depraved Perfumer. These guys are quick with a blade, and will hurl powder at you that quickly turns to bursts of fire. You can roll through the fire and hit the enemy without harm, so long as you do so immediately after the powder starts flying. Perfumers can also heal themselves with flasks, so watch out for tougher battles.

Past the Perfumer you'll find stairs on your right. These lead to a small platform with another Perfumer, his back to you. This of course means it's am ambush, and if you approach him a zombie will rush out of hiding on the right and try to grab you. Ranged weapons will pull both enemies out of their trap and into a fairer fight. They're guarding a Golden Rune [6].

On your left along the ramparts is a hunk of stone leading into the poisonous bog that surrounds and permeates the Shaded Castle. At the bottom you'll find a Glass Shard and five Poisonbone Darts. When you go down zombies will rise out of the mire, and slugs will peel off of the back wall. Seems like a good time to flee...

... though instead, you should drop down between the wooden structure on your right and the rock, as there's a "Champion's Song" Painting inside the wooden structure. If you can't fall into it you'll find stairs under the structure that will take you up to the painting. This is best gotten after you've dealt with at least the zombies.

Before you head back to the Site of Grace, use the gap in the ramparts to jump onto the inner brickwork. You can walk along the ramparts to a wall of brown rock on your right. This brown rock has a series of small ledges you can jump to. Hop your way up the rock as far as you can, then look on the right side of the rock for another ledge straight ahead. Perform a small run-jump to reach it. From here you can jump up to one more ledge - it's finicky, but you can do it - then drop down to find a Stonesword Key. Another drop takes you down into the bog, as well as to a trio of slugs.

(Given how annoying it can be to do this part properly, you may want to use the ladder to the left of the Site of Grace, go down into the bog, take a right, and kill everything along the path to the tree and the Stonesword Key's landing spot. The drop down to the Stonesword Key is a bit slippery, and you may just fall into the bog trying to get it.)

Use the small, rocky islands to hop your way northwest. This area is filled with Wraith Callers, and they will hit you with spells from a range if you don't kill them quickly. Make your way from island to island, killing Wraith Callers, until you see stairs on your right. Go up them and into the wooden structure above to find a Smithing Stone [4]. Head back down and continue through the bog.

Up ahead is what appears to be the remains of a courtyard, and there are a number of slugs in plain sight, near the sunken roof of a building. Kill the hidden Wraith Caller around the corner on your right, then take a left. This is a bit of an open area, so we'll explore the sections that are ultimately closed off first. If you want to skip it, the ladder out of here is immediately to your right when you enter the courtyard.

Get onto the tilted, sunken building ahead. Beyond it is another rooftop populated by Basilisks. Do your best to avoid their toxic clouds while killing them, and check the left side of the rooftop for two Drawstring Fire Greases, as well as another, hidden Basilisk. On your right is a corpse with an item at the top of a fallen wooden scaffolding; trying to grab the Golden Rune [6] will bring a fourth Basilisk out of hiding. You may be noticing a trend at this point. East of the sunken, red rooftop is a Smithing Stone [5] in plain sight. Grabbing it will bring out two more Basilisks to play. Kill them, grab the stone, and hightail it out of here.

Back to the main courtyard. The long, red rooftop ahead has another Depraved Perfumer hidden on its left side whom you should dispatch before he causes any trouble. Cross the wooden plank onto the ramparts. Look to your right first, as there's another Perfumer who will ambush you. Head left once he's dead and you'll find an open area full of zombies, including one to the immediate right that wants to hug you. Past here is another, smaller open area with yet another Perfumer, and for once you can safely sneak up and kill him. He's guarding a Smithing Stone [5].

Return to the courtyard. Cross the bog to the next red rooftop. There are three slugs at the bottom diligently watching a Beast Blood. A pair of zombies on the rooftop will try to harass you. Past them, in the corner of the courtyard, is a Somber Smithing Stone [5]... though if you try to grab it you'll summon a Revenant, a swift powerful, many-limbed creature that will fling itself at you and do a ton of damage if it connects. They're worth a lot of Runes if killed, but unless you can target this one from a distance it's probably not worth the hassle.

Jump from the rooftop to the ramparts. Go left to find two Neutralizing Boluses, then charge straight ahead and kill the zombies. Ahead and on your left is a landing where you can enter and leave the castle grounds. Good to know. On your right is a pit with a number of poisonous flowers and zombies, all guarding a Smithing Stone [5]. There's a lot of danger here, so it's best to run in, grab the Smithing Stone, and flee back to the ramparts.

All done. Return to the entrance of the courtyard and go up the ladder we skipped before. There's a zombie on the next landing, and two more will try to ambush you from both sides if you continue north, down the stairs. There's a dead end to your right, so go left and follow the path of the ramparts, killing zombies as you go. Watch out for two hidden zombies on your right, the second of which will try to shove you off the ramparts and down into the bog. The second zombie trying to bait you watches over a Glass Shard.

Beyond the zombies is a landing with a Cleanrot Knight. These are powerful melee opponents who can use Incantations to ruin your day. Strike when the knight is poised normally, and not when he raises his weapons into a crossed position. Be careful, too, of any zombies you didn't kill blundering their way into the fight. Beyond the Cleanrot Knight is a chest containing a Valkyrie's Prosthesis. You'll need this for an NPC quest.

Run back along the ramparts until you find a break in the wall. There's another courtyard beyond, this one more dangerous than the first. Start by hopping along the rooftops to your left to get to the big, lit gate on the other side of the bog. You'll find a Golden Rune [4] on your right when you reach the gate, and inside the gate is the Shaded Castle Inner Gate Site of Grace. Activate this before exploring any more of the courtyard. You can also carry on through the rest of Shaded Castle from here if you're not interested in the courtyard.

For the rest of us, turn around and return to the courtyard. Your first priority should be to destroy the Wraith Caller on the spectral horse. It patrols the area, and is a general nuisance for anything you try to do. If you're fighting at a range this is pretty easy; if you're fighting with a melee weapon, try to get the drop on the Wraith Caller and trap it in a corner. It often gets stuck when galloping around. Note that the bog here is thicker and will slow you down, building poison more quickly, so try to stay out of it.

With the Wraith Caller out of the way you're free to explore, aside from the zombies, and you're probably used to them by now. Check the base of the tree on the west side of the courtyard for a Golden Rune [6] - and watch out of the zombies that come for you when you grab it - then make your way to the east side of the courtyard. There are three Wraith Callers here, one skulking inside a wooden structure. Kill them all. Also inside the structure is a Smithing Stone [4].

Also in the east is a ladder onto the ramparts. If you go left you'll run into no less than three Depraved Perfumers. The trio is extremely dangerous, so try to bait them to the right and hit them from a range. Fighting all three at once is suicidal. (Note that depending on their patrol, you may run into one of them on the right, not the left.) There's a Smithing Stone [5] near the two Perfumers on the left and a Perfume Bottle on the right. Check on the left side of the ramparts as you head towards the Perfume Bottle for a ladder shortcut to an earlier part of the Shaded Castle.

There's nothing else of interest along here, so jump back to the Shaded Castle Inner Gate Site of Grace. The last place to look is the raised, grassy area beside the gate. There's another mounted Wraith Caller here, and if you approach it a Revenant will warp in. Lure the Wraith Caller away with a ranged attack and deal with it before tackling the Revenant. They're guarding three Rot Greases.

Climb back to the Site of Grace. You're now done with the bog, so, congratulations. It only gets harder from here.


Shaded Castle Inner Gate

Within the gate you're facing a line of statues. Ahead and to your right is a hound that's watching over a spirit who will provide hints as to Shaded Castle's story. To the left is a ladder to climb. Go up and you'll find two more hounds on the landing. Kill them quickly before they can rise and menace you.

Enter the castle. There's a shambling sorcerer straight ahead, and on your immediate right as you enter is a soldier who will try to stab you. Kill them both, then proceed through this darkened room with caution, as there's a powerful Page around the corner on your left that's going to try and stab you. Behind you as you fight is another sorcerer, though he can be ignored until the Page is killed. Go up the ladder to find the Perfumer's Cookbook [2] on a corpse on the roof.

Head back down and go out the door, onto the castle walls. There's a hound on your right chewing on four Hefty Beef Bones, and to the right is a bridge. Another Cleanrot Knight patrols this bridge. This one loves to blast spinning discs at you from a distance. Try to lure him to your side of the bridge, then take him out.

Cross the bridge and enter the tower beyond. There's a two-floor room here that's filled with statues. A soldier hides behind the statues on the lower level, and a Page on the upper level will try to shoot you with a crossbow. Go for the Page first. You can then grab the two Golden Fireflies from the corpse on the lower level without much difficulty.

There's an open area ahead with more statues. On your right is your destination, guarded by the final Cleanrot Soldier. There are also three hounds hidden around the area that will rush you if you come out too quickly. Try to draw the hounds out of hiding and kill them in the previous room before engaging the Cleanrot Knight. Check around the area for a Smithing Stone [5], as well as a ladder leading back to the Site of Grace, before you enter the final tower.

In the tower is an elevator. Go up and you'll be staring down a creepy covered bridge. This leads to the Shaded Castle's boss fog. Get ready for some fun.


Elemer of the Briar

A brutal melee enemy with surprising range, Elemer of the Briar can quickly slaughter you if you're not careful. The lone occupant of the Shaded Castle's tallest tower, Elemer uses strong sword attacks, a thick shield, and telekinetic magic to cut you down to size. You'll need some careful planning and good reflexes to win this fight.

Here are some tips for defeating Elemer:

  • Don't roll immediately when Elemer begins to swing at you. His sword attacks all have about a second-long pause before they start in earnest. Roll too early and he'll just smack you.
  • Always wait for Elemer to attack before you go after him. He's too good at breaking through your combos. Don't try to get greedy, either - hit him once or twice, then back off before he can maim you.
  • Save your blocking for Elemer's ranged sword attacks. Each swipe does very little to drain your Stamina. If Elemer himself is swinging the sword, however, his combos will eat up your Stamina in a heartbeat. Roll to avoid Elemer's normal slashes.
  • Don't try to take advantage of Elemer's shield bash attack too often. Usually it's just a normal slam into the ground, but Elemer can charge it with his magic and unleash a small shockwave. If you're attacking him you'll be sent flying.
  • Don't assume that you're ever outside Elemer's reach. He can send his sword flying at you from quite a distance, and he has a charge attack that will instantly hurtle him across the room towards you. Keep on your toes at all times.
  • Summon help. This is a no-brainer for difficult bosses, but Elemer is quite susceptible to being staggered if you bring in a mob, and his attacks aren't quite sweeping enough most of the time to hit everybody. He'll also waste his grabbing attack trying to snag your summons, which won't work and gives you - and everyone else - a chance to hit him. This bridge is also a popular spot for normal human summons if you want some PC help.

You'll receive 24,000 Runes, the Marais Executioner's Sword, and the Briar Greatshield for defeating Elemer of the Briar. You'll also complete your journey through the Shaded Castle. Well done.