Lorestones are totems hidden throughout the world of Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice. They contain the memories of Druth's stories, told to Senua during her self-imposed isolation in the wilds. There are 44 Lorestones to find in the game and each area's Lorestones tell a different story of Norse legend.
When approaching a Lorestone, a ring of runes will appear around the outside, representing the 44 total that can be discovered. The runes on the ring are divided by small dots which signify different areas of the game. Any runes marked as red mean that the particular Lorestone hasn't been found. Focusing on a Lorestone will trigger Druth to speak his tales, marking it as found and turning its associated rune white.
"Do not forget my stories, Senua, because your darkness comes from Hel and your fate lies there. They say the burning of a corpse will take you straight to Hela's gate. But Gods and the living will follow this path.
You must leave the isles of Orkney across the Eastern sea and find a road that leads North and down through deep dark valleys. After nine nights of riding, you will follow a great river and will find a bridge covered in gold. The path to Helheim goes from there, across the river of knives that flows from the dark world of Niflheim."
"The Northmen speak of nine worlds: The world of men, they call Midgard. The sky gods dwell in Asgard. The gods of earth, harvest, wind and sea dwell in Vanaheim. The good elves dwell in Alfheim. The evil ones dwell in Svartalfaheim. The mountain giants dwell in Jotunheim. The fire-giants dwell in Muspellsheim. Niflheim is the world of ice and darkness.
Only the dead dwell in Helheim - and that is where you must travel."
"The world of the dead is ruled by the giantess, Hela, daughter of Loki. The gods feared her bloodline - bad on her mother's side and yet much worse on her father's. So, as a child, the All-father cast her down into Helheim and gave her power over those who die of sickness, age, hardship and selfslaughter.
In all of the nine worlds, only Hela can resurrect the dead. To Hela, your Dillion was sacrificed, and with her you must bargain."
"The Northmen say that in the beginning, there was nothing but darkness. Bitter cold to the north, fiery hot to the south. They say the cold formed ice, which melted from the sparks from the south. The power of the darkness gave life to the dripping ice and the first giant was born and was named Ymir. The ice continued to drip, and the power of the void gave life to it, and it became a cow whose milk fed the giant.
That's right, a cow. Bet you weren't expecting that..."
Chapter 1 (Trial of Valravn)
"Ymir was a frost-giant, a being of darkness, and all his sons and grandsons were dark after him. Of his daughters and granddaughters some were monstrous but others, fair. But there was another who came from the ice, Burri, in shape he was like a man, big and powerful. His son, Borr, took a fair giant to be his wife, and they had three sons. Odin was the eldest and the Northmen hold him to be the foremost of the gods, the Allfather."
"The Northmen say that Odin and his brothers killed Ymir and that the world of men was formed from his corpse. They made his bones into stones and his flesh into earth and his blood into the salt sea. They set his skull to be the bowl of the sky, with his brains for clouds. Odin and his brothers caught the sparks flying from Muspell and made them into stars, and to protect the new world from the giants, they used Ymir's great curving eyebrows as walls."
"The Northmen say you must sacrifice in order to receive. They tell how the runes were revealed to Odin only in sacrifice. He hung himself from the world tree, and he stabbed himself with a spear, and he dedicated the sacrifice to himself. For nine nights he hung on the tree without food or drink, and at last he saw the runes below him. He gave a cry and gathered them in his mind and learnt them, then he fell from the tree."
"The Northmen say that Odin is always in search of knowledge and wisdom and magic. There was a very wise being named Mimir who guarded the waters of wisdom, which flow from the roots of the world tree. Odin wished to drink from this spring, but he had to pay a price - so he gouged out his own eye as offering to Mimir. He drank from the well and traded one way of seeing for another."
"The Northmen say that Odin has two ravens - their names are Thought and Memory - and each day he sends them out to fly all across the world. Upon their return, they perch on his shoulders and tell him everything they have seen and heard. In this way, he learns of things far and wide, and for this reason he is called the Raven God.
Senua, like Odin, you must seek wisdom through Thought and Memory if you are to succeed in your quest."
Chapter 2 (Trial of Surt)
"The Northmen tell this story. Before the earth was created, there was a world called Muspell. Because it was in the south, it was bright and hot, flaming, burning. Sparks that flew out from Muspell became the stars; other sparks melted ice in the frozen world of Niflheim, creating the body of the first giant, Ymir.
Muspell is one of the nine worlds and is now the land of the fire giants, and people from elsewhere cannot endure a journey there."
"The Northmen say that the defender of Muspell is called Surt, the foremost of the fire giants. His name means 'the black' one, because he is like something burnt. The Northmen believe that he sits at the border of Muspell with his flaming sword and at the end of the world he will leave his post, he will travel to Asgard and Midgard. Waging war against all the gods, he will be victorious and then burn the whole world with fire."
"The Northmen believe that the world will be destroyed someday. They call it Ragnarok, the destiny of the gods. Asgard will be attacked by Surt and the fire giants, a monstrous wolf will swallow the sun, and the gods will fight in vain against their enemies. There is nothing they can do to prevent it, but Odin ever seeks knowledge and magic, hoping, hoping to find a way to postpone that dark day..."
"The Northmen say that at Ragnarok the sons of Muspell will travel to battle in the ship called Naglfar, the corpse ship. And when the sons of Muspell leave the ship and ride to battle, it will be as though the sky had split open, and Surt will lead them. Wherever he goes, flame will erupt before him, and fires will burn behind him."
"The Northmen say that what we see as a rainbow is the bridge that goes from the world of men to the world of the gods. For now, they say, the frost giants and the mountain giants cannot cross it, but they say that when Ragnarok comes, not a thing in this world will be safe. The rainbow bridge will break under the onslaught of the fire giants riding on flaming steeds.
Senua, I have seen the fire of Surt spread far and wide, and to our lands! Ragnarok is coming!"
Chapter 3 (The Bridge to Helheim)
"However you come to the gold covered bridge that leads to Hel, you may find it guarded by a giantess. She will ask your name; she will ask your lineage; she will ask your business. The Northmen tell of the warrior woman Brynhild, who leaped into fire and rode to Hel to join her slain love, Sigurd, and is challenged by the giantess."
"Hela possesses large dwelling places in Helheim; tall are her walls, high are her gates. The name of her dish is Hunger; her knife is Famine; on her threshold all will stumble; her bed is called Sick-bed; and her bed hangings are called Flames-of-a-funeral-pyre. They say she is easy to recognize - half black and half the colour of flesh, and her face... menacing and grim."
Chapter 4 (Chasing Dillion)
"The Northmen tell of a great hero - his name is Sigmund. His father's hall was built around a great tree and, one day, Odin comes and thrusts a sword into the tree, a gift to whomever can release it. Many try, but the sword only comes out at Sigmund's touch. His brother-in-law, King Siggeir, wants it, but Sigmund refuses him, so King Siggeir plots revenge.
He invites Sigmund and his brother to a feast, but when they arrive, they are met with an army, not a warm welcome. King Siggeir capture Sigmund and his brothers, steals his coveted sword and readies them for execution."
"Death for Sigmund and his brothers seems certain. But the King's wife is Sigmund's sister and she begs for mercy, and implores the King to chain them up instead. He agrees, not for mercy though, but because he plans an even more cruel and lingering death. Chained to a tree in the forest, that night a she-wolf comes and devours one of Sigmund's brothers. She returns ravenous night after night, until only Sigmund is left.
The next day, Sigmund's sister sends a servant with honey to smear of Sigmund's face. But to what end? Well, that night, when the she-wolf appears again, you'll never guess what happens!"
"As the she-wolf licks the sweet honey from Sigmund's face, he bites the wolf's tongue! The she-wolf pulls away, but Sigmund holds on, the chains break, and he is free! After his escape, Sigmund lives like us, hidden in the forest. His enemy King Siggeir believing him dead, as his sister plots revenge.
And for vengeance to succeed, even the great Sigmund needs help so she sends her sons to him. But their blood is weak and corrupted and they are put to death by Sigmund. So his sister hatches a new plan, one that is cold of heart and pure of blood."
"Sigmund's sister trades shapes with a sorceress, and in disguise, she lies with her own brother. She gives birth to a son named Sinfjotli. After a time, she sends him to the forest to Sigmund. He tests the boy and finds him strong and fearless, and so they go to take their vengeance on King Siggeir. But luck is not on their side. They are captured, and Siggeir has them buried alive."
"As Sigmund and Sinfjotli are being buried alive, Sigmund's sister throws an armful of straw into the grave-mound. Hidden in the straw is Sigmund's sword, the gift of Odin! They cut their way out of the grave-mound and set fire to Siggeir's hall. The King burns to death. Sigmund calls to his sister to come out; so that she may live and be honoured. She does come out, but only to tell him the truth: that she had slept with him, her brother, to beget a strong avenger. 'I am not fit to live,' she says, and walks back into the fire.
Strike vengeance from your heart, Senua, as there is always a heavy price to pay."
"And here is the end of Sigmund's story. He was a fierce and great warrior who fought many battles. But one day, an old man came onto the battlefield. Although shadowed by a hood, Sigmund saw that he only had one eye. The man raised his spear, and Sigmund struck at it with his sword, but the sword shattered into pieces. Sigmund then knew that this was Odin, and thus that victory could not be his. He bowed his head and accepted his end.
Dying, he tells his wife that she is with child and that her son will one day make a great weapon out of the fragments of his sword, the sword named Gramr."
Chapter 5 (The Labyrinth Shard)
"Senua, you remind me of a story that the Northmen tell about a young woman warrior. Her name is Hervor, the daughter of a berserker, born after he was killed. She's a wild, wilful child who teaches herself to fight with weapons. When she learns where her father is buried, her only desire is to reclaim the treasure buried with him, but above all, the sword Tyrfing."
"Hervor disguises herself as a man to join a band of warriors and soon becomes their leader. When they come to the island where her father is buried, her men do not want to go ashore; they say evil haunts the island and that it is a worse place by day than other places are by night. Fearless, she lands alone.
There are many grave mounds, and all have ghostly flames burning over them. She comes to the grave mound of her father after passing through these ghostly fires as though they were mist. The flames I passed through were real enough... damn the Northmen to Hel..."
"Within the burial mound, Hervor calls on her father to wake from death and bring her his sword; she says that it is not seemly for the dead in their grave mounds to bear valuable weapons. Her father answers with words of warning. 'You go to your doom! Baleful runes surround you! You have gone mad; you have lost your mind; your thoughts are confused. It is dangerous to wake the dead.'
Like I said, she reminds me of you. Heheh..."
"Hervor ignores her father's warnings. The grave mound opens, and it seems to be full of fire. Again, Hervor demands her inheritance, but her father warns her that the sword is cursed and would be the bane of her family. But he relents and brings her the sword. She leaves the island with it but the curse holds true, and death would follow in the years to come.
And so, Senua, the misdeeds of a father have cursed his daughter."
Chapter 6 (The Tower Shard)
"The Northmen tell this story about the death of Baldr. It begins with dark dreams - night after night, Baldr dreams of his own death and the gods fear for his life. So Baldr's mother makes every thing in the world -- fire, water, iron, stone, earth, wood, beasts, birds, serpents, poison, sickness -- swear an oath not to harm her son. One by one, they each make their vow. 'Neither weapons nor wood will injure him,' Baldr's mother boasts.
Only Loki, father of Hela, the mistress of death, is not amused."
"The gods feast and rejoice and amuse themselves by throwing spears and stones at Baldr, striking at him with sword and axe. But he comes to no harm, whatever they do. The gods never cease to wonder at this great marvel. But Loki shapes himself into a woman and asks Baldr's mother, 'Is it really true that all things promised to keep him safe?'
'I did not ask the mistletoe,' Baldr's mother confesses. 'I thought it was too young.'
"Loki makes a dart out of mistletoe and goes to the gods as they throw things at Baldr. The blind god Höth was there. Loki asks him why he wasn't taking part. Höth says, 'I cannot see where Baldr stands, and even if I could see him, I have no weapon.' Loki replies, 'Here is a wand; I will tell you where he stands.' And Höth throws the mistletoe at Balder. It pierces through him and, to everyone's horror, Baldr is killed. And for this, Höth is slain."
"The Northmen tell how the gods mourned Baldr. His body was to be burnt on his ship, but they could not manage to push it into the sea and sent for a giantess to do it. She comes riding a wolf and has vipers for her reins. She pushes Baldr's ship into the sea with such force that the ground shakes and the rollers burst into flames. When Baldr's wife sees his body carried onto the ship, her heart bursts with grief and she dies. She is put next to her husband and the pyre is lit, sending the dead to Hel. But even so, the gods cannot accept his death."
"Overcome with grief, the gods send Hermod to ride to Hel and ask Hela to let Baldr return home. 'All the gods are weeping!' he says. 'Are they?' asks Hela. 'We shall see if he is truly missed! If every thing in the world will weep for him, he shall go back to the gods. But if even one thing refuses, Baldr stays with me.'
The gods send messengers everywhere. 'Weep for Baldr! Weep him out of Hel!' And everything wept - men, beasts, earth, stone, trees, metal - every thing except for a giantess they found in a cave. 'Baldr was never my friend,' she says. 'Let Hel keep what she has.' The Northmen say that the giantess must have been Loki in disguise."
"The Northmen tell how the gods punished Loki for Baldr's death. They captured him and took him to a cave. They fetched his two sons and turned one into a wolf, and he ripped his brother apart. The gods used Loki's own son's entrails to tie him down, and turned these bonds to iron and dangled a poisonous serpent over his face, so that its venom would drip onto him. Each time the venom drips onto Loki's face, he writhes in agony. The Northmen say that is the cause of earthquakes.
A reminder perhaps that if even gods must accept death, then so must we."
Chapter 7 (The Swamp Shard)
"The Northmen speak of a 'death moon'. A light shaped like a half moon that appears inside a house and goes around the walls. I once saw the death moon appear at a farm, and first the shepard died, then a guest died, and then the farm-hands, and then the farmer and six of his men drowned at sea. But that is not the end of it, because the dead returned to haunt the living. If you see the death moon, then beware because there will be death in that house."
"There was a Northman called Grettir - big, red-haired, immensely strong - but he was afraid of the dark. It happened one night that an undead creature came to his house to drag him outside into darkness and kill him. He resisted with every ounce of his strength. He clung to the doorframe, but it gave way, and they spilled out of the house and the monster fell back and the moon shone down on its ghastly face.
Grettir, terrified, cuts off its head, but is cursed forever. From that moment on, wherever he was, he would see those hideous eyes staring back at him. Sometimes we allow our own fear to haunt us to our grave."
Chapter 8 (Helheim)
"I will tell you a great hero named Sigurd, son of Sigmund no less. Born after his father's death, Sigurd is cared for by the dwarf Regin. But Regin does not love the boy. Instead he plans to use him for his own ends. You see, Regin's father possessed a great treasure given to him by the gods. But Regin's brother Fafnir killed his father and took the gold all for himself. Fafnir hid the treasure out on a heath and could not leave it, and from the evil in his heart he turned into a dark creature, a dragon."
"Regin the dwarf's sole desire is to possess this dragon's accursed treasure and he uses Sigurd to reclaim it. He tells Sigurd the story of Fafnir's gold, and the good hearted hero promises to slay the dragon if Regin would forge a strong sword for him. Sigurd remembers that his father once possessed a sword given to him by Odin. Odin broke the sword to bring about Sigmund's death, but Sigurd's mother still has the pieces, and so Regin reforges the famous sword. Sigurd uses the sword first to avenge his father, and then he and Regin go in search of Fafnir."
"The dragon Fafnir is so large and deadly, that it would be impossible to kill him face to face. But each day, Fafnir crawls across the heath to find water, so Sigurd digs a pit in the dragon's path and lies in wait in it. When Fafnir slithers overhead, Sigurd sinks his sword into the dragon up to the hilt. Sigurd leaps from the pit and Fafnir sees his killer. He warns Sigurd that the treasure will lead to his death, as it led to the death of all who owned it. Sigurd replies that death comes to all men, and every man would want to be wealthy until that day. And he takes the treasure."
"Although Sigurd kills the dragon, Regin wants to keep Fafnir's gold all for himself. Regin also wants the strength and wisdom of the dragon, so he drinks its blood and asks Sigurd to roast Fafnir's heart for him. Sigurd does so, but when he touches the roasted heart to see if it is done, he burns his finger. Without thinking, he licks his finger and tastes the dragon's blood. In that moment, he understands the language of birds and hears them talk nearby."
"Sigurd's new found power lets him hear the bird-speak. And they say,
'Sigurd should eat the heart himself.'
'Regin wants Fafnir's gold.'
'Sigurd should kill Regin before Regin kills him.'
'Sigurd should find Brynhild, the Valkyrie who sleeps an enchanted sleep.'
Sigurd heeds the birds' advice. He kills Regin, eats Fafnir's roasted heart and takes Fafnir's treasure. And he embarks on a new quest. To ride to Hindarfell and find Brynhild, the Valkyrie."
"Sigurd learns that Brynhild had once disobeyed Odin and so he had her punished, stuck her with a sleep-thorn and put her body within a rampart of burning shields. Only a man who knew no fear would ever reach her. But, like me, Sigurd is fearless and passes through the flames, just as I did, and wakes the sleeping warrior girl. She teaches him the secret wisdom of runes, namely victory runes, ship runes, runes for persuasion, runes for truth, runes for healing and help, runes for perception and power.
Like Sigurd, the greatest young warrior of the north, you must learn the secrets of the runes, to fight amongst the gods in Hel."
Chapter 9 (Hela's Sanctum)
"The Northmen say the world will come to an end - they call this Ragnarok, the destiny of the gods. First, there will be a terrible winter three years long. Then mankind will turn on itself. Brothers will fight each other to the death, and people will forget what they owe their kindred. Times will be hard; crimes will be great. It will be an age of axes and swords. The wind will blow through abandoned halls, wolves will walk where children played. The world will fall into ruin."
"The Northmen say the gods will fight their last battle at Ragnarok. Their watchman will blow the horn that can be heard through the whole world, and Odin will speak with the severed head of Mimir, which gives him good counsel. The land of the giant will thunder with the sound of their army on the move. The gods will assemble, the dwarves will leave their stones. The frost giants will come from the east, the Midgard Serpent will churn up the waves. Eagles will scream and tear at the corpses with their yellow beaks. The ship of the dead will set sail."
"The Northmen say that at Ragnarok the gods will face a ship full of their foes, which Loki has steered to Asgard. It carries the fire giants, the wolf that will eat the sun, and all kinds of dark creatures. Surt will join them with his sword of fire. The cliffs will crash, trolls will walk the land, men will tread the road to Hel, and the heavens will split open."
"The Northmen say that each god will do battle at Ragnarok. Odin will fight the monstrous wolf and be killed, but his son will avenge him and plunge his sword into the heart of the beast. Freyr will face Surt, but he had given his sword away for love, and without it he cannot defend himself against the flames. Thor will smite the Midgard Serpent to no avail. The sun will grow black, the earth will sink into the sea, the stars will disappear. Fire and water will meet, steam will shoot up, flames will play against the sky. The heavens and earth and all the world will be burned. All the gods will be dead, and the warriors of Valhalla and the people everywhere.
Senua, prepare yourself for Ragnarok for it is nigh."
If all 44 Lorestones are obtained, a short scene of Druth speaking to Senua about his role in the Northmen's conquest will play, just before passing the gateway to Hela.
"The man I was, before Druth, was a true coward, Senua. I was well traveled, I spoke both their tongue and ours, so they took me as a slave. I thought I could help to broker peace or at least stay their hands from slaughter. But under torture, I did no such thing. I led them to the treasures and slaves they sought.
But I wasn't the only one. Another came to the Northmen willingly, offering a bargain. A man in black from your lands. And he was offered safe passage for his treason. In the end, Senua, it isn't the gods who cause us so much suffering. But those closest to us."
Ninja Theory heavily researched Viking culture and mythology, and consulted Dr Elizabeth Ashman Rowe, a university lecturer of Scandinavian history, for more in-depth feedback. Rowe provided the team with information on Norse art, culture, and myth, including descriptions of popular legends. The dev team created the optional Lorestones for the player to find throughout Hellblade so they could learn about Norse mythology.
- Each one of Druth's stories is in some way linked to an aspect of Senua's life or a location of her quest. These can be seen in instances such as Hervor's father's actions damning his daughter (just as Zynbel's cruelty effected Senua) and the tales of Surtr hinting at his power during the journey to reach his pyre. Some of the stories also hint at advice that Senua must take to heart, such as accepting the death of a cherished one during the story of Baldr.
- When translating the runes on the Lorestones into the Latin alphabet, the inscription around the circle reads: SEEK / HELAS / TRUTH / IN / MIRROR / GODS / BETRAY / US / UNMASK / FEAR.
- The Lorestones are based on real-life runestones, which were carved by ancient Scandinavians and Anglo-Saxons. The Vikings erected runestones in many places they traveled. Runestones can be prominently found in Scandinavia, with the highest concentration in Denmark and Sweden, though there are some runestones scattered around the British Isles.