The Duke’s Dear Freja is a giant parasitic spider with two heads on opposite ends of its body. It has made its home within the remains of an ancient dragon’s body in the lowermost section of Brighstone Cove Tseldora.
Freja is described as the Writhing Ruin’s Keeper. The Writhing Ruin is an ancient thing whose shadow remains cast over the land. It first took possession of a solitary insect (Freja), but grew its power by feasting on the wealth of twisted souls found in the land. The Writhing Ruin is the title given to the remnants of Seath the Scaleless’ lord soul. This once magnificent soul continues to exert influence over the land, even after the eons have reduced it to remnants. The soul seems to develop in those it affects; peculiar fascinations. These fascinations take control, till there’s very little left of the person or being they once were. Shalquoir tell us that the Writhing Ruin keeps searching as we speak, searching for its heart’s desire. Manscorpion Tark, a creation by an owner of the soul says that his master was born with a fatal flaw; he resented those who had what he lacked, and became fully mired in hatred. Eventually, he drove himself mad. It was at the peak of this madness that he conjured up Manscorpion Tark and Scorpioness Najka.
The conundrum of the Writhing Ruin is that it never seems to understand that which it truly lacks, and it will never stop searching. Tark says that his master never dies, only changes form so that he may seethe for all eternity. When we encounter this soul, it seems to have taken up residence in the remains of an Ancient Dragon. This dragon could be Seath, though there is little resemblance. Freja is the keeper of the soul, she takes care of it and protects it, she nurtures it and grows its power.
It seems that what the Writhing Ruin searches for changes depending on the soul it influences. For Seath the Scaleless, it was about obtaining scales of immortality; that which he lacked from his brethren. For Manscorpion Tark’s master, it seems to have been solitude which eroded his very reason and drove him to experiment on a betrothed couple. For the people of Tseldora it was the constant search for more wealth, despite having so much already. For Freja it may be the acquisition of power and strength. When Freja was first influenced by the soul, she was a solitary insect, likely one without much power. But in partnership they grew in power, till eventually Freja was able to overrun the town of Tseldora and feast on the twisted souls it contained, through her offspring.
Freja was also a pet of Duke/Lord Tseldora (known by both titles. Perhaps lord because he owned the land of Brightstone Cove and Duke because he was made a Duke in Drangleic). Lord Tseldora discovered the brightstone and with the wealth was able to establish a town named after himself. Many settlers came to the place and there was a brightstone “boom” (as in, a high demand for brightstone). Because of this Tseldora accrued a vast personal fortune. But supposedly, Tseldora was also an eccentric soul with a fascination for spiders. Within the Lord’s Private Chamber beside Freja’s den, we find a small cage with the door broken open. It is likely this cage contained Freja before she grew too large and broke out, indicating her growth in power was rapid. It may have been that Tseldora discovered the Ancient Dragon’s remains as well as Freja while mining the area for brightstone, thereby coming under the influence of the Writhing Ruin. Tseldora cared for Freja, and she eventually created an army of spiders that overran the town. On that day, Lord Tseldora only stood by and watched, eerily contented. His eventual fate is unclear. We find a hollow within the Lord’s Private Chamber wearing the Tseldora set and holding a key to the city (basically), which strongly indicates that this is Lord Tseldora now hollowed. The only thing casting doubt on this conclusion are repeated references to Lord Tseldora becoming something else. The Spider Fang and Spider’s Silk weapons say that supposedly the Duke himself, went on to take a form that was far from human. Shalquoir, when speaking about men developing the most peculiar fascinations says that these fascinations take control; “till there’s very little man left. Hee hee hee”, ending on a very ominous note. Manscorpion Tark has dialogue which reads:
“Long ago, there was a being with powers similar to ours.
The creature took the form of a spider.
But I don’t know where it disappeared to.
Perhaps it was seduced by madness.”
While this dialogue may refer to Quelaag, it may also be referring to Freja or another spider. Why does the game have all these hints that Lord Tseldora became something else when we find a hollow that fits the description within his very chamber? Could it be a red herring? Are we to dismiss the Spider Fang and Spider Silk item descriptions as mere rumor because they begin with “supposedly”? It’s unclear. But what seems to be implied, is that Tseldora himself somehow became a spider or fused with a spider like Manscorpion Tark and Scorpioness Najka have with scorpions. It may be that Tseldora’s fascination with spiders took over, and he sought to become one. Maybe this is the explanation of Freja’s second head. His attempts may have led him to fuse with the spider that he held so dear. Alternatively, and much more disturbingly, he may have become a separate spider himself. It is unclear who Freja’s mate was, and it is not uncommon for the female spider in reality to eat the male spider once they are… through. Though, Lord Tseldora is specifically said to have watched the spiders overrun the town, implying he was still human. It may be that From Software has a sick sense of humor, but we’ll never know for sure.