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Aldrich, also known as the "Saint of the Deep" and the "Devourer of Gods", is one of the two secondary antagonists (alongside Pontiff Sulyvahn) and boss in the videogame Dark Souls III. He is one of the four resurrected Lords of Cinder residing in Lothric, those who kindled the First Flame to prolong the Age of Fire.
Aldrich was once a holy cleric hailing from the city of Irithyll with a craving for human flesh. He gained much strength and was transformed into an aberration of black sludge and bones resembling ribcages. He became a Lord of Cinder and linked the First Flame, "not for virtue, but for might.
While this happened, he had visions of a "coming age of the deep sea", vowing to devour the gods themselves to achieve this. He formed the Church of the Deep, based around a source of dark magic known as "Deep" which was said to be darker than the humanity that resided in every living thing.
The Church was led by Aldrich, with Pontiff Sulyvahn and the Archdeacons Royce, McDonnell, and Klimt as his most trusted priests. They would provide sacrifices to their Lord in order to satiate his hunger.
Dark Souls III
Aldrich reemerged from his coffin in the depths of his cathedral, dreaming of the Old Gods and his ambition to devour them. With Sulyvahn as an escort, Aldrich was able to reach the old Anor Londo and slowly consumed the last god that resided there, Gwyndolin, who gave himself to Aldrich to save his sister Yorshka. Aldrich assimilated Gwyndolin to him and is able to use his magical abilities. While Aldrich devoured the Darkmoon God, he dreamed of a pale girl exiled and in hiding. This girl is heavily implied to be Crossbreed Priscilla from the first Dark Souls.
Aldritch was once an average-looking human male. However, after continuously devouring human flesh, he became morbidly obese and eventually degenerated to a writhing black mass of sludge. During his boss fight, Aldritch makes use of the corpse of Gwyndolin, attached to the mass of Aldrich by a tail made from the black sludge he has become.
Aldrich was said to be a "right and proper cleric", implying that at one point, Aldrich was an upstanding member of the Church. However, he developed cannibalistic tendencies at some point.
He seemed to take great pleasure in his cannibalism, taking to the process as like a religious experience, as not only did he take pleasure in his victim's screams, but he also wished to share this acquisitive gluttony with those around him.
Aldrich was also shown to be extremely ambitious and manipulative, as not only did he change the dogma that led the Cathedral of the Deep to worship him. However, he also took to devouring gods, succeeding with Gwyndolin.
Unlike the other Lords of Cinder, who had good intentions in mind, Aldrich is the only one who is overtly corrupt and apathetic to the plight of others.
Powers and Abilities
Formerly human, his cannibalism transformed him into a malleable and sludge-like form. In this form, Aldrich was believed to be more powerful than most, gaining the strength of those he devoured. In this form, he also received prophetic dreams, ones so accurate that he could recreate constructs of them in battle.
Following his resurrection, Aldrich consumes the God Gwyndolin, using his withered body, attached to the black sludge Aldrich had become to combat the Ashen One. Making use of a golden staff, Aldrich can launch blasts of purple energy, also being able to concentrate the power into a blade on the end of his staff.
He may also transform his staff into a bow, which is used to bring down a storm of Moonlight Arrows. As he takes damage, Aldrich will begin to imbue his attacks with fire, befitting of his status as a Lord of Cinder, also able to summon a massive scythe that heals him with each successful strike landed on the Ashen One.
- His name "Aldrich" ("エルドリッチ" in Japanese), which is read as "Eldritch", (a word meaning strange or sinister or supernatural), is an allusion to sci-fi/horror novelist H.P. Lovecraft and works.
- His name is also likely derived from Germanic name Aldric, formed from the elements "ald" ("old") and "ric" ("ruler, power"). Given his lore, he might be a reference to Saint Aldric, 9th-century bishop of Le Mans.
- Unlike every other Lord of Cinder who were portrayed as Anti-Villains and kindled the fire willingly, Aldrich is the only truly evil Lord of Cinder as well as the only one to have kindled the fire unwillingly.
- It is possible that he was chosen as a Lord of Cinder not as a precaution against Aldrich, nor out of respect, but because he absorbed so many souls from the men he devoured, making the prime candidate for kindling the fire.
- While it is believed that the Age of Dark came after the Age of Fire, Aldrich had a vision of an "Age of the Deep" in contrast to the Age of Dark. Given how his visions are so powerful that he can replicate spells and weapons with them, it is likely that Aldrich was truly correct on what he believed, or was at least more accurate than others.
- Aldrich's soul is massively different from most other souls, being wispy and black as opposed to like that of a flame, tinted a light blue.
- Aldrich, along with his Right-Hand, Pontiff Sulyvahn, Seath the Scaleless, and Nashandra are notable for being the evilest characters in the Souls series; which is known for its grey morality.
- Despite Aldrich's plural title, Gwyndolin is the only God confirmed to have been devoured.
- The blade on the end of his staff is the Gravelord Sword; this has led many to speculate that he may have devoured Gravelord Nito as well. However, there are no other lore implications to support this claim, as Nito was destroyed in Dark Souls.
- The Blade on the end of the staff appears to be a buff miracle, casting it at the start of combat. Entering the room and zooming in quickly allows one to see the staff itself, which is a Golden Ritual Spear.
- His theme lifts elements from both Dark Sun Gwyndolin/Moonlight Butterfly's theme.
- Examining the floor, note that the bones of the many hundreds, possibly thousands of beings that Aldrich has consumed may be seen floating within the sludge. Given his use of the Gravelord's sword and that his own body is, effectively, a mass grave; Aldrich may be considered the new Gravelord in replacement of Gravelord Nito, whose own body was also an aggregate collection of bones, rather than a reincarnation or corruption of Gwyndolin whom he merely manipulates as he would a puppet during this encounter.
- The hall that Aldrich fights the player is the same room that Dragonslayer Ornstein and Executioner Smough fought the Chosen Undead in Dark Souls.