In Elden Ring, The Lands Between are host to all kinds of secrets and traps for players to explore. Some of these secrets are quite rewarding, blessing you with great gear and materials just for satisfying your curiosity. Other times these secrets feel like they’re a lot of effort for very little payoff, but damn if the journey there isn’t satisfying. Such was the case with the Divine Bridge Golem at Leyndell, Royal Capital.
Almost 10 hours into my playthrough, I encountered a lone tower in the distance, which was nothing too unusual for the Weeping Peninsula. (I was greeted to the area by a flaming ballista to the face from one of these towers, after all.) Towers tend to have some interesting goods perched at the top, so I naturally climbed up it expecting treasure. While I did find a treasure chest, I definitely can’t say I appreciated what was inside. Upon opening the chest, a puff of smoke enveloped me with the text blaring that I had fallen victim to a transporter trap.
This wasn’t the first time I encountered a transporter trap, mind you. But when the smoke cleared this time, I knew it wasn’t going to be a simple horse ride back.
The text on screen declared that I was at Leyndell, Royal Capital. At this point, I was only familiar with Limgrave, the Weeping Peninsula, and Stormhill. I had no idea where this place was, so I opened my map. My character icon was located in a sea of unknown land, and upon zooming out I saw that I was teleported completely across the world. I was originally at the southmost point of The Lands Between, but now I was all the way up north in a kingdom adorned with golden archways and beautiful skylines. On the surface, it seemed opulent and wonderful.
I turned around to get my bearings and saw a massive hole behind me. If I dropped down it, it would be instant death. To the other direction was a site of grace, so I quickly went to it and rested up, certain that there was a boss up ahead. After all, there was a staircase leading up to a wide-open area with something lying on the ground. I wasn’t taking any chances. And sure, I could have just warped away and went back to my business at the Weeping Peninsula, but the game brought me here for a specific reason and I wanted to know what it was. So after saving and redistributing my flasks, I approached the open plateau and saw something I hadn’t yet seen in this game: a gargantuan golem.
This wasn’t my first encounter with giants in a FromSoftware game. I remember being wowed by the sheer scale of Yhorm the Giant in Dark Souls 3, but that was a major boss featured in marketing. This Elden Ring golem was just a common enemy. No dramatic music, no lofty boss title, just an innocuous red bar and an enemy with an absurdly huge pool of HP and attacks that almost depleted my entire health bar in a single hit. I knew I was probably under-leveled to face him, but there had to be something for beating him — and I wanted it.
With my strength build, it wasn’t too difficult to break his stance and send him crashing to the ground to lay down the pain with a good critical hit. Normally a single critical hit would drain an enemy’s health to only a sliver remaining, but the health bar of the Divine Bridge Golem barely budged. It didn’t even go down a fourth of the way. To beat him I would need to land multiple critical hits and hope to God not to be hit a single time.
The wide-open nature of the area did help me at times, but it also made several attempts frustrating. The plateau was elevated at its edges, so if the golem decided to lumber over there and stand on the edge, one of his legs would be on the side of the cliff, impossible to reach, while the other one was left dangling in the area, only able to be hit by jump attacks. If the Divine Bridge Golem ever went into the corner, it was either a guaranteed death if I tried to attack him or a waiting game until he decided to leave his perch and try to smash me with his giant ax. I can handle a death when it’s my own skill and impulse control beating me down, but when a massive golem is titled at a 45-degree angle, that’s when I get mad. And after half a dozen deaths, it was a matter of pride. I had to beat him.
But after multiple attempts of baiting, stance breaking, critical hits, and a lot of luck, the Divine Bridge Golem did fall. I beat my first golem at this late-game area, and I was desperate to see what my reward was. All of that stress and pressure had to amount to something — and off in the corner was a single chest.
I ran over to it and opened it up to reveal an item called a Blessed Dew Talisman. I had never heard of this item before, but I was excited to see what it was. Could this be a major upgrade to my battle gear? Well, it turned out that the Blessed Dew Talisman is an item that, when equipped, heals two HP every second. In a game where bosses will deal hundreds of damage in two seconds.
All of that effort for an item that would go right into my inventory to rot. Sure, it would be useful if I play extremely defensively or if I want to heal while running around The Lands Between, but it’s an item that I’m probably never going to use in my Elden Ring playthrough. Still, I get this excited feeling now whenever I encounter a golem in the world, like the three in Stormveil Castle. They seem tough and imposing, but after taking down one that has probably quadruple the health that they have, I feel pretty optimistic about my odds against them.