Dogs are good, even if they happen to be shaped like a giant turtle. However, the Lands Between is an unforgiving place where boundaries are pushed, and sacrifices must be made in the pursuit of knowledge for Elden Ring players. Sadly that knowledge came at the heavy price of Miriel, the Pastor of Vows’ life. All because some people wanted the answer to the question, “What happens if you kill the Turtle Pope?”
Miriel, also known as the “Turtle Pope,” is a soft-spoken tortoise NPC who serves as a steward of the Church of Vows. While Miriel can’t move from the church ruins on account of his legs not being what they used to be, the mild-mannered tortoise is more than willing to serve as a guide for players by teaching them sorceries and incantations. Miriel also tells the player a little bit about the world’s lore, all the while emphasising his love of learning. He’s not the sort of character most people would attack. But folks do know that some NPCs in Elden Ring drop items, some of which would otherwise be impossible to gain through quest lines. So the curiosity exists, morbidly.
Youtuber Prizzaa, who’s posted a slew of “What happens if” Elden Ring videos, posted a minute-long video documenting their slaying of Miriel. To add insult to injury, they did so using Envoy’s Horn. Warning: the following video contains video game turtle snuffing. Viewer discretion is advised.
While this heinous act is morally bankrupt, killing Miriel leads to players obtaining Miriel’s Bell Bearing, an item players can use to gain items from the Twin Maiden Husks at the Roundtable Hold and –oh god, 12 turtleneck meats.
After taking the brunt of some brutal hits from a dastardly brass instrument, Miriel attempts to dissuade Prizzaa’s from violent ways by telling them that his attacks are futile because his flesh is akin to stone. His appeals don’t reach the YouTuber, causing the wise turtle to retreat into the safety of his shell before they continue their onslaught.
“I cannot die, but nor will I cause any harm unto you,” Miriel says. “Cease your futile efforts.”
But cease Prizzaa does not. The video then fast forwards through more vicious toots and bonks as Drowning Pool’s “Let the Bodies Hit the Floor” plays in the background. After delivering the killing blow, a hauntingly high-pitched wail escapes Miriel’s turtle lips (?) before he crosses over onto the rainbow bridge in the sky. After pocketing Miriel’s item drop, Prizzaa then saunters over to a shrine in hopes of gaining absolution, an act of forgiveness that, with the help of an additional item, sometimes leads to the revival of some dead NPCs who were attacked or killed. They gain none.
While some of their comment section was appreciative of the knowledge they gained from this little fucked up experiment, a majority of viewers were understandably in anguish and voiced their their disgust over the war crime they’d witnessed.
“Maidenless behaviour right here,” wrote Dazdrasen Konstantin.
“This was the most horrific thing I’ve seen in Elden Ring, and I’m a 130 hours in,” another commenter said, probably referencing the fact the game is full of terrible, unspeakable things. This is right up there with the Albinaurics, or anything done at Raya Lucaria for the sake of inquiry.
Prizzaa isn’t the only Elden Ring player to display morally bankrupt behaviour in unaliving the fan-favourite NPC. Really, killing NPCs is, for some, a time-honoured tradition–but what sets this apart is how beloved the character is among the wider fandom. Redditor VG_Crimson took to the r/EldenRing yesterday to confess their sin, with the aptly titled post “I killed Pope Turtle, so you don’t have to.” VG_Crimson not only recounted the final moments of the Turtle Pope, praise be unto him, in poignant detail but also expressed regret and shame for their “pointlessly” violent act.
Half-way through wailing on the poor sod, they posted that Miriel remained as “kind-hearted” as he was prior to being attacked. The tortoise even went so far as to promise that he won’t retaliate against VG_Crimson if he stops attacking him and that he won’t hold his demise against them.
“Bless his fucking soul, dogs really are man’s best friend,” they said.
VG_Crimson admitted that the only reason they killed Miriel out of their own morbid curiosity. A curiosity they now regret having.
“You gain a couple of turtle neck meats and his bell bearing to buy whatever was available in his shop, but never again will he ask that you learn together,” VG_Crimson wrote. “You don’t get anything special and you lose the best place to dump all your incantations / sorceries at.”
One detail from their turtle-murdering self-report that will haunt me for the rest of my days is interpretation of why they didn’t gain absolution after killing Meriel. According to VG_Crimson, absolution isn’t needed because Miriel has already forgiven you, and does so while you’re murdering him. That’s tough.
“I have to live with this on my soul now, don’t do this,” they said. “There is nothing to gain, and you lose not only the convenience of him, but you lose a part of yourself too.”