"Something came from above. It changed those it touched."

— A Spiderling in Mouldwood Depths

The Decay is a dangerous force known throughout Niwen and Nibel. It spreads throughout lands unprotected by a Spirit Tree.

The Decay has an unknown origin, and immediately infects a region as soon as the Light of its Spirit Tree fades. It is similar to a plague, infecting Lightless beings in the vicinity of decayed areas. It saps their life and energy, leaving them to become skeletons or stone statues, this effect being mostly visible in Ori and the Will of the Wisps. Any essence of Decay, such as a tree branch from the Silent Woods, can infect others and cause its surroundings to wither and die. It also seems to be able to take over inanimate objects such as the terrain or rocks through a thick layer of mycelium.

Its most fearsome attribute is that it is able to corrupt beings into grotesque, dark representations of themselves. This effect is directly visible with Shriek, who is the same species of owl as Kuro. Her appearance has been horribly mangled well beyond the image of an Owl, rendering her incredibly different than her kin. An alternative to physical corruption causes the Decay to blind those it infects with rage (as shown with Mora).

Effects on Nibel[edit | edit source]

When Kuro removed Sein from the Spirit Tree, the land fell into disorder, the three elements maintaining it (see Ginso Tree, Forlorn Ruins, and Mount Horu) stopped working. Decay quickly infiltrated the Ginso Tree, though the other two locations seem to be inactive due to lack of maintenance and a crumbling environment.

  • The Ginso Tree's failure caused the waters in Nibel to become toxic and incredibly dangerous.
  • The Forlorn Ruins's failure caused most air circulation through the Valley of the Wind to completely stop, causing the ruins to freeze and become what they are seen as in the game today. Under normal circumstances, the ruins would be a relatively warm location.
  • Mount Horu's failure, in tandem with the Ruins, caused warmth to not circulate through Nibel. It is part of why the Ruins froze.

Effects on Niwen[edit | edit source]

When the Spirit Willow died and was rendered unable to hold Seir, Seir's fragmentation into the five Wisps opened a window for Decay to infiltrate. Decay quickly infected the Spirit Willow, and used the already dead tree as the epicenter of its spread across Niwen.

This had a number of effects on the world:

  • The Silent Woods are the most decayed area of Niwen and display the most deadly effects of the Decay, as well as its destructive power.
  • Mouldwood Depths became incredibly dangerous, the darkness within it killing anything that remained in it for too long. A Moki warns the player of this by stating that the darkness bites.
  • Baur's Reach was locked into an endless winter.
  • The Wellspring was stalled because a Foul Presence settled within it, causing the water to stop circulating from the Luma Pools and become toxic in the process.
  • The Windswept Wastes were abandoned by the native Gorleks, who retreated into the Gorlek Mines.

Notes[edit | edit source]

  • In a Q&A session with Moon Studios, Lead Designer Chris McEntee states, "the willow in its decrepit state was the source of the decay".[1] The underlying meaning of this statement was very quickly disputed among the fan-writing community. Presumably, McEntee's response was purposely left ambiguous, as Moon Studios founder Thomas Mahler has made it amply clear fans should interpret things as they want. "We generally don't answer story questions, it's for you guys to interpret it. I think all the answers are there, you just need to look closely."[2]
    • Two notable interpretations of this statement are incredibly prominent in the fan-writing community. They are as follows:
      • The first common interpretation takes the statement figuratively, believing that the Decay was merely opportunistic, taking over the Willow at the first chance that became available. This is the more common interpretation.
      • The second common interpretation takes the statement literally, painting Light as both good and evil in that it keeps the Decay at bay, but upon its death, becomes the inherent cause of Decay.


References[edit | edit source]

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