Picture this: you’ve just crawled out of the Elden Ring tutorial area. You’ve just taken down the first miniboss with your hide barely intact. Then out of absolutely nowhere, a stranger makes fun of you for not having a girlfriend. Or at least, that’s how many players have chosen to interpret one of the earliest NPC interactions in Elden Ring.

Here’s the full line: “You are maidenless. A bit player, fully divorced from the strength of runes.” What the NPC Varré actually means, though it’s not immediately clear to the player, is that you need a “Maiden” guide who will allow you to turn the runes you pick up into stat gains. But it’s a lot funnier to imagine that he was actually calling you out for playing Elden Ring on a Saturday night instead of meeting someone nice at a bar. This whole interaction is so much better if you started out playing as a Wretch, which is a class where you start out almost buck-naked. Forget maidens. Some of these Tarnished don’t even have any clothes.

Don’t worry; you’ll eventually meet the Maiden after finding three Sites of Grace aboveground. But it hasn’t stopped players from adopting “maidenless” as a community in-joke. While simply calling someone “Maidenless” gets the point across, some people have gone a step further with the memes. One of these meme formats involves Megamind due to a similar meme about not having any girlfriends.

At first, it doesn’t seem like Fia does a whole lot. She offers to hold you, a rare moment of warmth in the Souls genre, and provides you with Baldachin’s Blessing, a unique item that increases poise at the cost of some of your magical energy, before sending you back on your way. The whole scene, while touching, comes and goes without a second thought. But as it turns out, there’s a price to pay for proving to Varré once and for all that you’re not as maidenless as he thinks.

Think back to the first time Fia asks to hold you. Remember the part about sharing some of your “lifely vigour” and “stout-hardedness” in exchange for her embrace? That wasn’t just a flowery bit of dialogue on her part: Her hug literally decreases your maximum HP by 5%, a debuff indicated by the mysterious red square icon I mentioned before. It may not seem like a lot, but believe me, you’ll be wishing you had that 5% back at the tail-end of a tough boss fight no matter how useful the blessing she gives you in return happens to be.