Rom, the Vacuous Spider


Rom the Vacuous Spider is a Kin or brethren to the Great Ones of the Cosmos. Rom's large grey, rock-hard head is pockmarked with dull seemingly sightless eyes that stare in all directions and a small round mouth filled with sharp teeth. Rom's body is overgrown with fluorescent flowers and additional dark eye-like shapes. Evidence indicates that Rom was the result of an experiment conducted at Byrgenwerth. When defeated she will drop a Kin Coldblood, the description of which reads:

Dare not to delve into the world beyond humanity, the
eldritch Truth touched upon long ago at Byrgenwerth.

And Micolash, member of the School of Mensis, and scholar of Byrgenwerth (who still wears the school uniform) gives a clearer picture of Rom's origins:

"Ahh, Kos, or some say Kosm… Do you hear our prayers?
As you once did for the vacuous Rom, grant us eyes, grant us eyes. Plant eyes on our brains, to cleanse our beastly idiocy."

Kin are humans who have ascended in one form or another. We see this throughout Bloodborne with enemies like the Celestial Emissaries, some of whom are created by Iosefka in the clinic as evidenced by the 'unfinished' emissary on the operating table with the human hand, and the correlation between survivors who are sent to the clinic and their Emissary counterparts. Living Failures as precursors to the Emissaries and clear products of the Research Patients, add further strength to this connection. Brainsuckers still retain much of their human form and appear to be humans who have been experimented on with phantasms. And the Garden of Eyes enemies are the clearest example of human experimentation, and specifically the approach of inquiry that began with Master Willem at Byrgenwerth.

At Byrgenwerth, Master Willem had an epiphany:
"We are thinking on the basest of planes. What we need, are more eyes.".
- Great Ones Wisdom description

Eyes symbolize the truth Master Willem sought in his research.
Disillusioned by the limits of human intellect, Master Willem looked
to beings from higher planes for guidance, and sought to line his brain with eyes in order to elevate his thoughts.
- Eye Rune description

The Garden of Eyes are students or research subjects of Byrgenwerth who have had their brain lined with eyes in order to elevate their being and thoughts. The process appears to have driven them insane and vastly altered their bodies. Their swollen heads pockmarked with eyes resemble Rom's. It's easy to draw the connection that Rom underwent a similar process, and yet the result was vastly different. Again, Micolash perhaps provides us with a clue:

"Ahh, Kos, or some say Kosm… Do you hear our prayers?
As you once did for the vacuous Rom, grant us eyes, grant us eyes. Plant eyes on our brains, to cleanse our beastly idiocy."

We know from this that Kos is somehow inextricably linked to Rom's origins and is even given credit for Rom's ascension.

Provost Willem sought the Cord in order to elevate his being and thoughts to those of a Great One, by lining his brain with eyes.
The only choice, he knew, if man were to ever match Their greatness.
- Third Umbilical Cord (Iosefka) description

Long ago in the Fishing Hamlet the Byrgenwerth scholars committed blasphemy. The body of the Great One Kos was discovered, and studied, along with its unborn baby. The Byrgenwerth scholars’ method of inquiry and experimentation is incredibly invasive, often to the detriment of the patient:

Skull of a local from the violated fishing village. The inside of the skull was forcibly searched for eyes, as evidenced by innumerable scratches and indentations.
- Accursed Brew description

It can be seen in the Hunter's Nightmare, that the Orphan of Kos has an umbilical cord, and even uses the attached placenta as a weapon. It is a small leap to theorize that in the Waking World Willem and the scholars of Byrgenwerth came into possession of the Orphan's umbilical cord, or a part of it, and used it for their experimentation. The cord belonged to Kos and if it allowed Rom to ascend, it would seem to Micolash and the scholar's that Rom had been reborn, vacuous (or empty) like a newborn, and that Kos was Rom's mother, with Rom now acting as a surrogate for the dead Great One.

Every Great One loses its child, and then yearns for a surrogate.
- Third Umbilical Cord descriptions

It's the umbilical cord(s) that allow a human to ascend - or be reborn, but it requires a full umbilical cord (three thirds) and more for the player hunter to ascend in the Childhood's Beginning ending. An umbilical cord is a bridge to a baby's mother, but it needs to be connected to a medium, something that can convey sustenance and in Bloodborne it's the blood that imbibes and sustains. All this seems to confirm that Rom was a result of experimentation at Byrgenwerth, having her brain lined with eyes and using the Orphan's umbilical cord to ascend. But it may be that Rom was considered somewhat of a failure. Instead of sharing the secrets attained by her enlightenment Rom is unable to communicate in any meaningful way:

The spider hides all manner of rituals, certain to reveal nothing, for true enlightenment need not be shared.
- Byrgenwerth lore note

Willem and the scholars were seemingly no closer to ascension and it can be heard in Micolash's plea to the transcendent Kos (as we know from the Great Pthumeru Ihyll Chalice description that the death of a Great One's body is certainly not the end):

Kos, […] Do you hear our prayers?
- Micolash, Host of the Nightmare

But while Rom is unable to share her secrets, she does serve a critical purpose:

The Byrgenwerth spider hides all manner of rituals, and keeps our lost master from us. A terrible shame. It makes my head shudder uncontrollably.
- Oedon Chapel lore note

Rom is seemingly responsible for the concealment of the blood moon, for keeping the ritual to beckon the blood moon a secret. After defeating Rom the apparition of Yharnam, Pthumerian Queen of Blood is seen infiltrating the Moonside Lake. The Queen stands weeping before a blood moon that quickly descends amid the cries of baby Mergo.

Ritual secret broken.
Seek the nightmare newborn.
- Note seen after defeating Rom

The hunter receives these instructions, from the Moon Presence guiding them to the next phase of the Hunt. It would appear that everything up to this point has steered the hunter towards removing Rom who was proving a hinderance to the descent of the blood moon and its eldritch Truth.

Great volumes of water serve as a bulwark guarding sleep, and an augur of the eldritch Truth.
Overcome this hindrance, and seek what is yours.
- Lake Rune description

It's no coincidence that Rom is fought within the Moonside Lake, and that it is so closely tied to the moon. Willem and the scholars are seemingly obsessed with the moon, and the study of it. Byrgenwerth is littered with lunariums (devices for illustrating the motion and phases of the moon) and the most central and massive component of the Byrgenwerth building is a telescope for studying the skies. The scholars were clearly interested in the moon. They studied history and archaeology (Lecture Theatre Key description) and were aware of the moon's historical significance:

When the red moon hangs low, the line between man and beast is blurred.
And when the Great Ones descend, a womb will be blessed with child.
- Byrgenwerth lore note

The School of Mensis (a play on menses, referring to the menstrual cycle which was often colloquially tied to the phases of the moon, and 'lunacy' in the past), one of the main branches of the Healing Church which has its roots at Byrgenwerth sought to beckon the moon:

Madmen toil surreptitiously in rituals to beckon the moon.
- Yahar'gul, Unseen Village lore note

And it appears they succeeded, as long ago in Old Yharnam the red moon descended:

The red moon hangs low, and beasts rule the streets. Are we left no other choice, than to burn it all to cinders?
- Old Yharnam lore note

The School of Mensis appears to be one of the earliest branches of the Healing Church, based on the proximity of the Unseen Village's grounds to Old Yharnam, the ritual to beckon the moon must have happened long ago:

When the Hunt began, the Healing Church left us, blocking the great bridge to Cathedral Ward, as Old Yharnam burned to the ground that moonlit night.
- Central Yharnam lore note

The nameless moon presence beckoned by Laurence and his associates. Paleblood.
- Lecture Building lore note

Behold! A Paleblood sky!
- Yahar'gul, Unseen Village lore note

These notes tell us that the Hunt, as it is called, the cycle of hunters being imprisoned in the Hunter's Dream and undertaking the will of the Moon Presence or Paleblood, began on the night that Old Yharnam was burned to the ground beneath the blood red moon, and it was at this crucial moment that the Healing Church, and its leadership retreated into their Cathedral Ward, leaving the Yharnamites to turn into beasts and burn.

The Mensis ritual must be stopped, lest we all become beasts.
- Yahar'gul, Unseen Village lore note

With Yharnam burning and the red moon turning the blood drunk into beasts, the Church was in crisis. It was perhaps at this point that Laurence turned to his old Master for help. There are still mysteries to what unfolded next, but it would appear that Rom was able to be utilized to forestall the worst effects of the red moon and obscure the eldritch reality from the remaining citizens of Yharnam and some members of the Church. The college and the woods surrounding it became forbidden grounds and only those who knew the old adage of the Healing Church and Byrgenwerth 'Fear the old blood' (given new significance considering the events surrounding the red moon) could gain admittance - a curious display of co-operation between the two institutions, as the password keeper is a scholar of Byrgenwerth who perhaps knew the stakes, should Rom ever be destroyed by a being who sought the descent of the red moon once more.


Rom is the (surrogate) child of Ebrietas

Rom is the result of a successful ritual that was undertaken on the Research Patients



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