The River Ainsel is one of the optional underground areas in Elden Ring. It lies below the Liurnia of the Lakes in the upper western part of the world map and can be accessed from its source in the Ainsel River in this area. The Ainsel River Well is just one of the places from which you can access the Ainsel River, but the way this area is organized can be confusing. It’s divided into a south side and a north side, which aren’t directly connected unless you jump north-south at the ruins of Uhl Palace, above where the merchant’s hermit is.
There are a few key sections to understand, including the Nokstella sub-region, Eternal City, and the connection to Ranni’s quest, needed to unlock Ranni’s secret ending. You must enter the north side of the map by finding the Fingerslayer blade and continuing through Ranni’s quest until you can access Renna’s Rise, which contains the passage door that teleports you to the site of the River Ainsel’s main grace. Both sides of the area contain valuable treasures and there is only one merchant on the south side of the area.
Ainsel river (south side)
If you take the elevator from the Ainsel River Well to the Ainsel River, you will be near a beautiful place called Ainsel River Well Depths. From there you will want to enter the cave full of giant ants and hang left until you reach the sluice gate of the River Ainsel. Once you reach the room with the lock, hang up the side ramp to the right and up the rampart. The Grace Site is on the other side of the walkway. Most ants you come across can be knocked out by punch attacks and magic, but armored ants can attack you quickly if you’re not careful; it’s best to take them out one at a time with magic or ranged attacks from behind, which will expose them if you dodge their rush attacks.
From the top of the lock you can now see the main body of the Uhl Palace Ruins. To descend from the airlock door to the ruins of Uhl’s Palace, you must take the nearby elevator or else you will fall and die. Once there, get ready to fight against a swarm of clay men.
Beyond the ruins of Uhl’s Palace is one of the Hermit Merchants of the Ring of Elden. It’s in a large ornate structure at the far end of the “hall” with a bunch of clay men and a misshapen star that can snipe you if you’re not careful. Magic and ranged attacks are key to defeating the Malformed Star and the Clay Men who try to break through your cover by attacking you at close range.
Ainsel River Map Note: Near the Hermit Trader is a corpse clinging to the Ainsel River Map Fragment.
Heading southwest from the Hermit Merchant site will take you to the downstream Ainsel Grace Point. If you follow the river west from this point you will have a view of the grotesque Lake of Rot, but if you follow the river north you will come to the battle of Dragonkin Soldier of Nokstella and have a good overview of what awaits you in Nokstella, the Eternal City, which is not directly accessible from here.
Frozen Lightning Spear
To get the Frozen Lightning Spear incantation (minimum W34 to use it), you must defeat the Nokstella Dragon Soldier, who also drops 12,000 runes on death. Nokstella’s Dragon Soldier can be a tough boss if you’re trying to fight him with more than one melee character at a time, but his attacks are usually much more predictable when he focuses on one person; the best strategy here is to keep your focus on a melee fighter while making sure your ranged fighters have plenty of room to sit back and take charge of everything they’ve got. He won’t start using scabs until he’s lost about 50% of his health, giving the party plenty of time to wear him out.
Main Ainsel river (north side)
The main area of Ainsel River is only unlocked after accessing the Passage Gate in Renna’s Rise during Ranni’s quest, or after riding the chest in the northwestern part of Deeproot Depths. This section of the Ainsel River contains Nokstella, Eternal City – the location you saw earlier when you defeated the Nokstella Dragon Soldier battle and got the Ainsel River Grace Point. Once you unlock the main Ainsel River Grace Point, talk to Miniature Ranni a few times while you rest so she can continue the quest and notify you of her fighter, the Evil Shade, who will invade your game after you have passed through Nokstella, Eternal City.
If you head south from the main location of Ainsel Rivel’s Grace, you’ll encounter a swarm of clay men and a misshapen star that presides over the gateway to the Southwest Channel, which you should head to at this point. from the river towards Nokstella. In the ant cave in front of you you reach a fork where one path goes to the left and the other to the right. If you follow the river to the right you will continue towards Nokstella. Meanwhile, if you follow the path to the left, you will come to a treasure.
The Wing of Astel
Fight (or run past) the armored ant and head left through the tunnel to reach an opening where two gravity magicians guard a cliff opposite the ruins where the Hermit Merchant is. From there, follow the side of the cliff and jump to the rocky platform below, then keep going along the wall until you can jump to the ruins with the treasure chest on top. This treasure chest contains the Wing of Astel, a curved magic sword with the powerful special Nebula move and scales to both Int and Dex and Str.
Nokstella, Eternal City
Nokstella is an underground city, much like Nokron, which is occupied by silver tears and nox swordsmen. The city is made up of many layers and the direction you choose will determine the kind of experience you will have. It is *not* necessary to go up the stairs and through the city to continue the Ranni quest at this point, but you do need to cross the city-level river basin fighting silver tears and other enemies including giant snails, until you reach an elevator on the west side of the pool that takes you to the pool’s ornamental point Nokstella Waterfall.
If you follow the stairs that rise from the Nokstella, the ornamental point of the Eternal City, you arrive at the first of the three levels that make up the underground city. Each level is dangerous to fight, mainly because of the swarms of silver tears that explode in lightning if they get too close. However, using magic and ranged weapons (especially lightning-infused weapons) is your best chance at repelling these ranged swarms before they get closer. You will also encounter gigantic balls that you have to knock down with heavy weapons or magic. Note that this guide does not detail each of the many treasures and wrought stones to be found in the city itself; it’s up to you to find and discover them.
The first and second levels are connected by a bridge, but you have to make your way past the giant marble to access the second level staircase that takes you to a room where a marble and several silver tears fall from the ceiling . Exit the bedroom on the left and you will find yourself facing another staircase. Follow him to the third and final level, where you must fight against two humanoid bosses in the form of silver tears and a final nox swordsman. They can be difficult to fight in a group, so you’ll need to equalize the odds with an Axis subpoena of your choice. Finally, run to the other side of the room from the entrance and open the treasure chest, revealing Nokstella’s moon. You will also find a path nearby to an Erdtree sprout with a golden seed attached.
Evil Shadow Fight & Ranni’s Quest
Back in the Nokstella Waterfall Basin area we mentioned earlier, talk to Ranni again and exhaust all his dialogue to inform you of the danger of the evil Shadow lurking behind you. If you follow the corridor downstream, you will immediately find yourself in combat against the Evil Shadow, an incredibly fast and aggressive fighter who resembles Baidd in appearance.
The Evil Shade is weak against poison, so it’s worth attacking it with poison arrows and skills (or poison darts, if your Dex is high enough) to increase its poison meter. Otherwise, stay away as long as possible, as his attacks have an incredibly high range on top of their brutal damage and speed. It would be wise to call up friends for this fight.
Once you’ve defeated the Evil Shadow, Ranni will decide you’ve accomplished your mission and go ahead, but not before he gives you a Mysterious Key. At this point, you can decide to continue the story in Lake Rot or return to the Great Library in Raya Lucaria to unlock the chest next to Rennala. But otherwise, congratulations on crossing the river Ainsel!
Source – Translation via Gamespot
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