Image of the Tarnished speaking to Hornsent for the first time in Elden Ring
Screenshots by The Escapist

How to Complete Hornsent’s Quest in Elden Ring

Elden Ring loves NPC quests, and it can be quite easy to miss a step in Hornsent’s. Here’s how to complete Hornsent’s quest in Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree.

Recommended Videos

How to Complete Hornsent’s Quest in Elden Ring

Hornsent is one of the very first NPCs you’ll meet in Shadow of the Erdtree. And if you happen to miss him, you can find him at the Three-Path Cross Site of Grace, just a few meters behind Redmane Freyja. He’s the thorny man who will offer you the map of Miquella’s crosses and tell you that he explicitly doesn’t trust Tarnished.

Hornsent and Balarut Tower in Elden Ring

Speaking to Hornsent at the Three-Path Cross is the first step in his quest. The second step will require you to beat the boss of Balarut Tower. This boss will then drop its head. It’s a pretty difficult boss fight, so make sure you’re prepared. Once you have its head, return to the Small Private Altar Site of Grace.

If you have the Storeroom Key, you can skip this paragraph. But if you don’t have it, you’ll need to leave the Small Private Altar and head right out of the building and up the stairs. There will be a horned knight you can opt to fight or simply sneak past.

Go left after leaving the stairs, and you’ll see an alley immediately to your right and in front of you. Go down it, past several shades that will try to ambush you. Keep going forward until you hit the sewer river, then follow it left towards the waterfall. You’ll see a door to your right, which you can enter. Here there will be more shades and a ladder. Climb up the ladder to find a corpse you can loot the Storeroom Key from.

With the Storeroom Key in hand, from the Small Private Altar Site of Grace, go through the door towards the two shades looking down over the ledge. Go past them, and you’ll find a door, which you can use the Storeroom Key on. Within this room, you’ll meet the Hornsent Grandam. But she won’t speak to you unless you have the boss’s head equipped.

Once you have the head equipped, Grandam will mistake you for the boss and give you the Watchful Spirit Incantation. Rest at a Site of Grace, then return to her again. She’ll give you Scorpion Stew.

With the Scorpion Stew in hand, return to Hornsent at the Three-Path Cross. The dish will remind him of home, but he’ll lament that things aren’t the same. Speak to him again, and he’ll give you three Furnace Visages.

Hornsent and Castle Ensis in Elden Ring

You won’t be able to do anything with Hornsent until you defeat the boss of Castle Ensis. But once you do, Hornsent will move from the Three-Path Cross Site of Grace and can be found with Leda at the Highroad Cross Site of Grace instead. Convenient, as this Site of Grace is just outside the castle to the north.

Speak to Hornsent, and he’ll expand your map of Miquella’s crosses. Then speak to him again, and he’ll tell you to go to the tree of Umbra. There you’ll need to spill the blood of both the Erdtree and your fellow Tarnished. You won’t be able to do anything else with Hornsent until you reach the Shadow Keep.

Related: How to Complete Moore’s Quest in Elden Ring

Hornsent and the Shadow Keep in Elden Ring

So, here’s where things really change for the NPCs you’ve met along the way. Once you reach the Shadow Keep, you’ll learn that a great rune has broken with it.

You’ll need to speak to Hornsent three times. The first time, he’ll tell you that the enchantment never mattered to him. The second time, he’ll tell you Messmer needs to pay for what he’s done. And, finally, he’ll tell you not to try and stop him. Once you’ve spoken to him three times, he’ll move from the site of grace.

You’ll encounter Hornsent at the Shadow Keep Main Gate Site of Grace … but only as a summon to fight against the boss there.

When you reach the Storehouse Front Site of Grace in the Shadow Keep, you’ll find two summon signs. You’ll have three choices here: You can let Leda summon you to help her defeat Hornsent, you can help Hornsent in his fight against Leda, or you can ignore both signs.

If you help Leda you’ll be rewarded with the following items:

  • Falx
  • Caterpillar Mask
  • Braided Cord Robe
  • Braided Arm Wraps
  • Soiled Loincloth
  • Speak to Leda after to receive the Lacerating Crossed-Tree Talisman

If you help Hornsent against Leda you’ll be rewarded with the following items:

  • Ash of War: Swift Slash
  • Leda’s Rune (40,000 runes)

Leda will then vanish from the Highroad Cross Site of Grace.

If you opt to skip the fight entirely, the quest will still progress. Leda will stop pursuing Hornsent if you summon Hornsent in the fight against Messmer. Once that happens, Leda will begin targeting Ansbach instead.

Hornsent’s Final Quest Step in Elden Ring

So, if you kept Horsent alive by either siding with him against Leda or by helping him in his fight against Messmer, you’ll still have one last step to complete. And that’s defeating Hornsent.

Hornsent will ambush you as an invader at the top of the stairs in the Ancient Ruins of Rauh, just before you reach the boss fight there. Killing him will cause him to drop his weapons and armor, which you would have otherwise gotten in the fight with Leda.

But it can be beneficial to have his help in the fight against Messmer, so the choice is really yours. Either way, Hornsent doesn’t get a happy ending.

Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree is available now.

The Escapist is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more about our Affiliate Policy
Image of Daphne Fama
Daphne Fama
An editor at The Escapist, Daphne Fama has been in the industry since 2022. She spends an inordinate amount playing games and has a soft spot for horror, FPS, and RPGs. When she’s not gaming, she’s a published author and member of the Horror Writers Association with a novel coming out in 2025. In a previous life, she was an attorney but realized she could be happy instead.