The world of Yharnam is filled with many secrets that many Hunters can miss in their first playthrough. One of the most significant secrets of the game happens to be the Moon Presence, and only the most observant and keen of Hunters will be able to battle this monstrosity.
What is the Moon Presence?
The Moon Presence is an Eldritch being that created and facilitates the ever-waking Dream that we are stuck in as Hunters. Throughout about ninety percent of the base game, we will have no interactions with the Moon Presence itself, utterly unaware of its existence. It is not until we have fully completed our journey do we encounter this abomination face to face.
The Moon Presence is a vile being, and the character design reflects this greatly. Standing much taller than the Hunter, its grotesque figure is undoubtedly something that players will marvel at. Its body is made up of human flesh and bone, as seen by its exposed ribcage and bony structure. The head lacks a face, as there is just a hole where the face would be. Slithering off of the black body is a whole bunch of tentacles, making the already frightening Moon Presence that much more intimidating to square off with.
It is believed that the Moon Presence is the ringleader of the Dream, having been conjured to the waking world thanks to Laurence. With its summoning, the Moon Presence tethered Gherman to the Dream, ensuring his life would be one of duty and sacrifice rather than joy.
Encountering the Moon Presence
We will first encounter this God-like creature after our final battle with Gherman. In arguably the most stunning cutscene in the Soulsborne series, the Moon Presence will descend to the Workshop from his lodgings in the Moon. Our Hunter looks up in the air to find the Moon Presence illuminated by the light coming from the MoonMoon itself, with its tentacles extended out in all their glory.
As the Moon Presence descends onto our position, it will attempt to consume us. This will be the end of the game for most players if all the proper steps are not followed, as the Hunter will be consumed by the Moon Presence, forcing us to take Ghermans position as Hunter’s mentor for the foreseeable future. However, if the propeller steps are taken beforehand, the Moon Presence will be unable to consume the Hunter, prompting an epic final duel.
How to Battle the Moon Presence
Hunters with a knack for exploration may be able to complete the steps required to fight Moon Presence before the first encounter. However, many of us will miss these steps without proper guidance. To combat the Moon Presence, the Hunter must consume three One-Third Umbilical Cords found scattered across Yharnam. There are only four of these items throughout the game, so Hunters must be highly observant to see them all.
First Cord: Hunters Workshop (Waking World)
This is one of the easiest Umbilical Cords to grab, but it will take much traversal and skill to reach. This can only be accessed after opening the Upper Cathedral Ward with the key found in Yahar’gul, Unseen Village. Once unlocked, start at the Cathedral Ward lamp and head right through the door and up the elevator.
At the top of the elevator, you will see a small doorway. Be careful, though, as an enemy with a Gatling Gun in a wheelchair awaits your arrival. I recommend sprinting to the other end of the room to avoid the bullets and then punishing him when he stops to reload. Next, take a left and sprint across the narrow path leading to the main area of Upper Cathedral Ward.
Here is the hardest part of getting this Umbilical Cord, as you will need to traverse about halfway to the ground. Once across the bridge, take a sharp right and follow the path to the platforms below. Once you have made it all the way around, you will enter a dark room with thin, wooden railings to stand on. Looking down from the first platform, you will see a lone door in the middle of the descent, and that is where we need to go.
This will certainly take some practice, which can be frustrating due to the annoying runbacks and long loading times. What I like to do to ensure I get there fast reads as follows;
- Walk about three-quarters of the way across the wooden railing as you enter the room
- Turn around, look for a small plank extending out of the right side of the wooden railing
- Go to the end of the plank, and roll off to another small protruding platform below
- Heal up and drop down the slight fall to the platform with the Healing Workshop door
Once you have reached the door, you are free to open it and head inside. Walking through the door will reveal a replica of the Hunters Dream found in the Waking World. There are many essential items to collect here, however the most important one would be the Umbilical Cord.
Head inside the Workshop to where the Rune Workbench usually is. The item on top of the Rune Workbench is the One-Third Umbilical Cord, so be sure to grab it and consume it immediately in case you forget later.
When picking up the Umbilical Cord, reading the item description will reveal some insight into the Moon Presence, however it is rather hard to interpret. The item description reads;
“Every Great One loses its child and then yearns for a surrogate. The Third Umbilical Cord precipitated the encounter with the pale MoonMoon, which beckoned the hunters and conceived the Hunter’s Dream.”
While it does not explicitly state the existence of the Moon Presence and its role in the world, we can begin to understand what the Umbilical Cords are used for.
Second Cord: Ariana
An interesting mechanic that was added into Bloodborne that some could miss will be the Cathedral Ward hub building, where the Hunter can locate civilians in Yharnam, and direct them back to the safety of the Oedon Chapel.
One of these characters is named Ariana, who plays a significant role in Hunter’s ability to meet the Moon Presence. Ariana is a prostitute living in Cathedral Ward, past the Main Gate. Once opened, head forward until you reach another gateway, then turn left.
Kill the two church doctors patrolling the area, and continue down the narrow staircase. Once down the stairs, take a left and then another left to reveal a door tucked away in the back. Here is where we find Ariana, and knocking on the door will allow us to speak to her.
The first time we meet her will likely be before we have killed any boss in either Old Yharnam, Cathedral Ward, Yahar’gul, or Hemwick Charnel Lane. Due to this, Ariana will tell us to come back later. After taking down any of these bosses and returning to her, she will finally ask if we know any safe places.
Send her to the Odeon Chapel, and here she will take asylum from all the dangers Yharnam poses. Talking to her here will prompt her to give you the Blood of Ariana, a blood vial that fills up a massive portion of your health bar upon use. This is a great item, however, we will want to keep Ariana around for a while to get the Umbilical Cord.
As time progresses and the Hunter takes more bosses down, Ariana becomes pregnant. After defeating Micolash, Host of the Nightmare, and returning to the chapel, we will see that Ariana is no longer in her chair. To find her, head directly backward from the Cathedral Ward lamp and down the tight spiral staircase.
This will take you to an office of sorts, and in the back of this room, we can find a doorway in the ground opened up. Take the ladder down below to where we can discover Ariana. She sits in a chair in the corner of this sewer, looking somewhat horrified and embarrassed. At her feet lies a baby Great One, which has driven her mad. Talking with her will reveal this dialogue;
“It can’t be…This is a nightmare!”
She is initially sobbing, but as she realizes her situation, she releases a maniacal, frightening laugh. Sadly, we must take out her ‘child,’ which will, in turn, kill her. Killing her will drop Arianas’ shoes, and killing the baby will drop the One-Third Umbilical Cord. Again, consume this immediately to ensure you don’t forget later.
It is vitally important that you send the right people to the Odeon Chapel hub because a few individuals threaten her safety. First, the Bloody Man found in the Forbidden Woods is actually a beast that will kill Ariana after we defeat Rom. I recommend not sending him here entirely, ignoring him, or killing him on the first encounter.
The next threat to Ariana happens to be Adella, the Church girl we can invite to the Odeon Chapel. She certainly disapproves of Ariana’s profession as a prostitute, but more importantly, she is seething with jealousy. If you are to take too many Blood Vials from Ariana, Adella will become enraged with envy and will kill Ariana.
These events will end the Ariana questline, leaving the Hunter without an Umbilical Cord, further complicating the playthrough. Take care and precaution when building this hub, and try to notice when NPC’s attitudes shift, as that could be a sign of impending danger.
Third Cord: Losefka’s Cord
Iosefka is a doctor in Yharnam, looking to assist those who have not succumbed to beasthood just yet. Her Clinic is the first area of the game that we will be able to access, but once past the first cutscene, the Hunter will not be able to go back through the doors into the Clinic. Instead, we will have to wait until we reach the Forbidden Woods to find a back entrance.
Iosefka sadly doesn’t last long in your playthrough, and instead will be replaced with an Imposter Iosefka. This Imposter poses as her and beckons you to send NPCs to her Clinic for ‘help.’ However, this Imposter will turn these humans into Celestial Beings as part of her experiments.
The Hunter must use their exploration skills to the fullest to find the Clinic. Once you reach the area of the Forbidden Woods with the dogs in cages, continue down into the small cave ahead. After making your way down, you will enter a giant cavern filled with a poison swamp and a bunch of giant enemies. Get your antidotes ready because the Hunter will need to traverse this swamp to find the Clinic.
Run straight from where you are standing, and you should shortly make your way across the poison swamp to a small piece of land across the way. You will climb the giant ladder in the game back out of the cave. Once at the top, you will see that we are back in the area where we started the game; only now can we pull a lever to open an inaccessible door.
Open the door, and head past the door that we already opened to start the game. There will be a small staircase leading down, so follow that below. Here we will encounter a brainsucker, however he is much easier to take out as opposed to the one in Byrgenwerth. Kill the Brainsucker and continue up the ladder in front of you.
This will put you on top of a roof; from here, we want to head straight across it. There will be a few crows, but ignore them and head into the door at the end, which is the back entrance to Iosefka’s Clinic. Once inside, take a right and open the door. Inside this room, we can find a Celestial Emissary, a result of the Imposter’s experiments, and the Cainhurst Summons, an essential item in Bloodborne.
Open the door that leads to the lantern below, and then head back up and push forward back through the Clinic. This time, we will run left to find Imposter Iosefka. After opening a series of doors and going up a few stairs, we can find her on all fours, mumbling at a table in the Clinic.
Killing her will drop the Umbilical Cord, but this has to be done after killing Rom and bringing on the Blood Moon, as, before this, she will not have turned, meaning that there will be no Umbilical Cord. She will also be hostile if found too early, and she is a great fighter, so it’s best to go after killing Rom. Eat the Umbilical Cord before you forget, and continue onward.
Fourth Cord: Mergo’s Wet Nurse
This cord is the most straightforward to acquire. The Hunter simply needs to beat the Mergo’s Wet Nurse boss in the Nightmare of Mensis area, near where we encounter Yharnam, the Pthumerian Queen. This battle is not the most difficult in the game, but it will take some practice to overcome.
Mergo wields six swords (one for each hand) and can punish those for being careless. The best tactic for this fight would be to stay on her backside, especially when she does the continuous sword assault moving forward. At a particular phase in the contest, she will drop down a cloud of darkness that fills the arena, and she will clone herself to launch attacks at you every second. In this phase, forget offense entirely and run counter-clockwise, dodging the many attacks she throws at you.
She will telegraph many of her sword swipes, most notably the 45-degree downward slash, which she will wind up for a few seconds before releasing. This is a punishing attack but can be easily avoided to create a window for counterattacks. Her spinning upward slash is a more brutal attack to dodge, but she still telegraphs this enough to leave herself open for punishment.
These strikes that Mergo throws at you have an insane range and stretch out very wide, meaning that if you don’t keep your distance, you will need to utilize those invincibility frames perfectly. It is important to stay behind her as much as possible because she is less likely to hit you with the swords here. After a few attempts, Mergo will eventually fall, and you will be given the One Third Umbilical Cord. Eat it as soon as you can, and if you have consumed three so far, you will be able to battle the Moon Presence.
Moon Presence Battle
As I mentioned before, the Moon Presence will only reveal itself after you have defeated Gherman in the Hunters Dream. Below, I will go over the strategy you will need if you are to come out of this battle victorious.
You will most likely die in your first battle with this beast because you will probably be out of blood vials after the fight with Gherman. That is okay because you will not lose progress upon death, meaning you won’t have to fight Gherman again to reach the Moon Presence.
The Moon Presence is fast. Many of the moves it uses seem like they aren’t telegraphed; instead of long windups, the Moon Presence will quickly twitch. It does not have the highest damage output, so these attacks shouldn’t be too stressful. The attacks will come in three-strike bursts, so keep that in mind when you are about to counterattack.
The real issue comes when the Moon Presence flashes red, as this attack will leave you on exactly 1hp regardless of where you are standing. This can be highly frightening at first because all of your health disappears in the snap of a finger. Although this seems like a death sentence, the Moon Presence will leave itself open for punishment for a considerable amount of time after the attack.
The move that hits the most has to be the spinning tail attack, as it comes at light speed. Also, this attack will be a way for the Moon Presence to create massive space between you two. However, don’t run right after it after one of these attacks, as the Moon Presence will quickly crawl back to you, dealing a decent amount of damage.
At around 50% health, the Moon Presence will use an AOE attack telegraphed by a white orb. If you are in range when this AOE goes off, the effect will be similar to Numbing Mist, which will not allow you to heal for some time. This can be the most detrimental attack to deal with because of the speed at the Moon Presence attacks.
The Moon Presence is not unlike many of the other bosses and enemies in Yharnam, as it is weak to bolt and fire. So, using fire or bolt paper on your weapon will shorten this fight significantly, and a Tonitrus upgraded to +8 will deal significant damage. However, this battle is relatively easy compared to Gherman, so if you manage to defeat him, you should have no issues with the Moon Presence.
Moon Presence Ending
This secret boss battle comes with its unique ending, but you may be a little confused about what just happened after seeing it. After beating the Moon Presence, the screen will cut to black. After a few seconds, we see the Doll below the steps leading up to the Workshop, bending down to pick something up. As the camera zooms, we see that she picks up a squid-like creature.
This creature is the Hunter, and we know this thanks to the dialogue given by the Doll. As she picks us up and holds us close, she says;
“Are you cold? Oh, good Hunter.”
This ending means that we are now taking the place of the Moon Presence and have been transformed into a baby Great One. This ending may not seem satisfying for many, as it doesn’t seem like a happy conclusion to our journey. The only real happy ending comes if we allow Gherman to kill us before the battle, allowing us to reenter the waking world as a civilian, with the memories of the Hunters Dream being just that; memories.