The Paleblood Hunt
While trying to be as factual as possible, this chapter contains speculation.
The Moon Presence, the secret Final Boss of Bloodborne. Of all significant beings and events in Bloodborne, this is the most mysterious. The Moon Presence has caused many players to leave Bloodborne with a feeling of discomfort, as if they came so close to the Truth and yet were still so far away. The Hunter encounters the Moon Presence if they refuse Gehrman's offer of mercy, and defeat him. The Moon Presence descends from the Blood Moon itself, even its name implies a deep connection to the Blood Moon. As we know, the Blood Moon rises whenever the line between man and beast is blurred. When humans succumb to the Scourge of the Beast, the Blood Moon rises… or perhaps it's the other way around. Perhaps it's that the Blood Moon rises, causing those infected with the Scourge to transform into Beasts. At the beginning of the game, we find a note in the back of the Hunter's Dream, presumably left for the Hunter: "To escape this dreadful Hunter's Dream, halt the source of the spreading scourge of beasts, lest the night carry on forever." Now recall Gehrman's words to the Hunter after the defeat of Father Gascoigne: "The moon is close. It will be a long hunt tonight." The Blood Moon, or rather the Moon Presence, is the source of the Scourge.
The Beast exists within Humanity, it always has. The Byrgenwerth Scholar Carryl was the first to discover this during her commune with the Great Ones. According to the Clawmark Rune: "The "Clawmark" is an impulse to seek the warmth of blood like a beast. It strengthens visceral attacks, one of the darker hunter techniques. Although the difference is subtle, Runesmith Caryll describes the "Beast" as a horrific and unwelcome instinct deep within the hearts of men, while "Clawmark" is an alluring invitation to accept this very nature." But it wouldn't be until the work of a mysterious figure known as the Irreverent Izzy that Carryl's theories would be put into practice. His weapon of choice, the Beast Claw, states: "As flesh is flayed and blood is sprayed, the beast within awakens, and in time, the wielder of this weapon surges with both strength and feverish reverie." But while Izzy's claw is telling, it is the tool he designed known as the Beast Roar which is the most haunting: "Borrow the strength of the terrible undead darkbeasts, if only for a moment, to blast surrounding foes back with the force of a roaring beast. The indescribable sound is broadcast with the caster's own vocal cords, which begs the question, what terrible things lurk deep within the frames of men?"
The potential for evolution exists within humanity. But whether they will ascend to Gods or descend to Beasts is unclear. If the Moon Presence, the Blood Moon made Flesh, is indeed the source of the Scourge, than it can mean one of two things. The first possibility is likely the most outlandish and controversial, that being that the Moon Presence is the source of humanity, which in itself contains the Scourge of the Beast. The second, and I believe more likely scenario, is that while the Beast lies within all of humanity, it is not unless they are tainted by the Old Blood that they become susceptible to corruption and the Beast takes over. It is when the Blood Moon draws closer that those who have been infected with the Scourge will succumb to their inner, terrible nature and become monsters. But why? What does the Moon Presence want? Let's take a brief moment to look at the very bare bones of Bloodborne, the bare minimum that the player can accomplish in order to beat the game. Let's strip out absolutely everything optional and give only the basic, necessary conditions in order to complete the hunt.
First, the Hunter awakens at Iosefka's clinic and travels to the Healing Church. Along the way they defeat Father Gascoigne, a Hunter who has succumb to the Scourge. Once at the Grand Cathedral of the Healing Church, the Hunter defeats Vicar Amelia, the former head of the Cathedral. Once Amelia is defeated the Hunter learns the password which will grant access to Byrgenwerth, the source of the Old Blood's discovery. With the password in hand, the Hunter travels to Byrgenwerth, along the way defeating the Shadows of Yharnam. Once at Byrgenwerth the Hunter discovers Rom, the Vacuous Spider, and slays her. With Rom's death, the gate to Yahar'gul is pried open and the Hunter travels into the Unseen Village. The Hunter defeats the One Reborn and locates the corpse of Micolash, using his body as a gateway to access the Nightmare.
In the Nightmare, the Hunter ascends Mergo's Loft, defeating Micolash's consciousness along the way, before coming to the Final Boss of the game: Mergo's Wet Nurse. A fully formed Great One, the Wet Nurse is a vicious enemy who rules over the Loft, and has claimed this section of the Dreamlands as her own. Upon the defeat of the Wet Nurse and the silence of the nightmare newborn’s harrowing cry, the haunting words NIGHTMARE SLAIN blanket the screen. With the Wet Nurse's defeat, the Hunter returns to the Hunter's Dream to find the workshop burned to the ground. The Doll instructs the Hunter to meet with Gehrman, who meets them underneath an ancient tree. There, Gehrman congratulates the Hunter on a job well done: "Good hunter, you've done well. The night is near its end. Now, I will show you mercy. You will die, forget the dream, and awake under the morning sun. You will be freed… from this terrible hunter's dream." The Hunter turns and kneels before Gehrman, who rises from his chair for the first time and executes the Hunter. The Hunter awakens from their terrible Dream, weary and weakened, as the sun rises over Yharnam. The credits roll.
When described in this way Bloodborne seems to be a very linear, very simple game, doesn't it? Gehrman tasks the Hunter with killing Mergo. In order to do this, they must get to the Nightmare. In order to get to the Nightmare, they need to get to Yahar'gul. In order to get to Yahar'gul, they need to get to Byrgenwerth. In order to get to Byrgenwerth, they need to get to the Healing Church. Getting to the Healing Church is the first objective the Hunter makes for themselves upon their initial meeting with Gilbert. What does the Moon Presence want? It's quite simple really: it wants to kill Mergo, and uses Gehrman to guide the Hunter into doing it. The Moon Presence, the Orphan, and the Wet Nurse are the only three fully formed Great Ones that the Hunter encounters. While the Hunter encounters the Amygdalae, as we've discussed previously it's not entirely clear if the Hunter ever truly fights or experiences the Amygdalae as they, or rather it, truly is. The Great Ones, beings of the Dreamlands, have their own motivations and their own goals. They are not allied with one another, just as all humans are not allied with one another.
"When the red moon hangs low, the line between man and beast is blurred. And when the Great Ones descend, a womb will be blessed with child.” -Note found in the Byrgenwerth Mansion
Found in Byrgenwerth, this note is our first real indication that there is something far, far greater than just a hunt at stake in Yharnam. The phrasing of the note, is interesting however, as it describes a correlation. The red moon hangs low, and the line between man and beast is blurred. The Great Ones descend, and a womb is blessed with child. The order of the sentences make it seem as if first the Blood Moon rises, and then the Great Ones descend. But the note doesn’t explicitly state that causality. Instead, what if it’s the other way around? What if the Great Ones descend, and a womb is blessed with child, and in response the Blood Moon rises and the line between man and beast is blurred. For what purpose does the Blood Moon rise? Why is a Hunter chosen to be bound to the dream?
“Seek the nightmare newborn.” -Unknown
This message appears rather strikingly, directly after Rom has died and the Blood Moon has risen. There is no source for the message; it is not spoken aloud nor is it given in the form of a note. It simply appears in the mind of the Hunter. A message and an instruction. Every Great One loses its child. But… why does every Great One lose its child? Perhaps this is what the Moon Presence desires, the death of infant Great Ones, using the Paleblood Hunters to accomplish this feat.
While the Great Ones’ motivations and reasons for acting are far too inhuman for us to understand, they do have a very understandable goal. The most apparent goal they, just as every living creature before them, have, is to reproduce. "Every Great One loses its child, and then yearns for a surrogate." The order of the sentence structure here is important. It is not as one would think, which is that the Great Ones yearn for a surrogate, that is to say a human mother to give birth to their child, and then lose their child as a result. This is most certainly what happens, but it is not their goal. Instead, every Great One loses its child, and then yearns for a surrogate. It is evidently very, very difficult for new Great Ones to be born. Mergo died in stillbirth, the Orphan never even had the chance to be born, and the Brain of Mensis was born deformed, rotten and helpless. Something always goes wrong with the birth of a Great One, and so the Great Ones find replacements for their lost children. We already know that this is not the first hunt, and that the Hunter is not the first in the Hunter's dream. There have been those before the Hunter who have come; the Blood Moon has risen in the past, and the Moon Presence has guided Hunters into completing its objectives through the use of Gehrman, its surrogate child. The two Hunters who we know went through this cycle were Djura the Retired Hunter and Eileen the Crow. Djura seems to remember little of the dream, only recalling it faintly: "I no longer dream, but I was once a hunter, too." Eileen however remembers much of it. If the Hunter attacks and dies to Eileen the Crow, she will chillingly ask the player: "You still have dreams? Tell the little Doll I said hello…" Think of how we experience dreams. Upon freshly waking up, we remember it vividly, especially if it was a nightmare. As the day progresses, details become fuzzier and eventually we can't remember the contents of the dream at all, only that we had a dream. Indeed, those who Gehrman executes in the Hunter's dream awaken and slowly forget the details of their terrible, terrible nightmare. But they don't have to accept it.
If the Hunter refuses Gehrman's offer of mercy, they do battle against Gehrman. It is the Master and the Student, the Parent and Child, battling so that the former can be freed and the latter can overcome. With Gehrman, the Moon Presence's surrogate child defeated, the Moon Presence descends. Look at the way it curls around the Hunter, almost protectively. It lovingly embraces the Hunter, as a parent would a child. The screen fades to black, and we find the Doll pushing Gehrman's wheelchair. It is not Gehrman sitting on the chair however, but the Hunter, and as the credits roll we hear the doll utter "And so the hunt begins again." The Hunter has taken Gehrman's place as the surrogate child, but this is not the only option. The cycle does not need to continue. The hunt can be transcended.
"Seek Paleblood to transcend the hunt."
It's a handwritten note found in the very first room in the game, the room in which the Hunter awakens in Iosefka's clinic. As evidenced by the Foreign Garb the Hunter is wearing upon their awakening, the Hunter remembers nothing prior to their transfusion: "Not typical clothing for Yharnam, perhaps it is of foreign origin. It is said, after all, the traveler came to Yharnam from afar. Without memory, who will ever know?" Without memory, the Hunter discovers this note and naturally the player forms a goal in their mind: Seek Paleblood to transcend the hunt. But what is Paleblood? The Hunter apparently asks Gilbert this very question, to which he responds: "Paleblood, you say? Hmm… Never heard of it. But if it's blood you're interested in, you should try the Healing Church." Gilbert himself admits he isn't very knowledgeable on Blood Ministration, and directs you to try the Church. The Healing Church, however, has absolutely no record anywhere of Paleblood. Other than the conversation with Gilbert there are only four references to Paleblood anywhere in the entire game. The first reference is the note found in the beginning of the game.
The second reference is a note by an unknown author, found in Yahar'gul: "Behold! A Paleblood Sky!" The note is pointed towards the moon, and if encountered prior to the death of Rom is fairly confusing. After Rom's death, when the Blood Moon rises and the sky twists into a Nightmare, the note makes much, much more sense. “The color of the sky after you defeat the Vacuous Spider and the Mensis secret ritual is revealed. The sky there is a very pale blue, like a body drained of blood.” This quote from Miyazaki discusses the sky that has been revealed once the veil between the Waking World and the Dreamlands has been torn apart.
The third reference to Paleblood is found in the Nightmare Lecture Hall, as part of a series of notes: "The nameless moon presence beckoned by Laurence and his associates. Paleblood."
In Miyazaki’s interview he murmurs that “Right, that’s another interpretation. ‘Paleblood’ is another name for the monster that comes from the moon.” The Moon Presence, the Paleblood Great One. But as Miyazaki notes, there is more than one interpretation for Paleblood. Paleblood is not a single concept, but an overarching theme of Bloodborne.
There's another reference to Paleblood in the game, one that some players probably forget about as it occurs so early in the game.
"Oh, yes… Paleblood… Well, you've come to the right place. Yharnam is the home of blood ministration. You need only unravel its mystery." -Blood Minister
It's the very first sentence uttered in the entire game, by the doctor who ministers the Hunter's first blood transfusion. This doctor is credited simply as the Blood Minister. Let's take a moment to pause in our analysis of Bloodborne and instead go over something very, very simple: What is blood?
I am not a doctor, nor will I pretend to be. As such I am likely vastly oversimplifying things, so take my explanation with a grain of salt. Blood consists of three distinct ingredients. First are Erythrocytes, typically referred to as Red Blood Cells. Red blood cells travel through the body of a human being and distribute oxygen to the body's tissues. Red blood cells are the primary means of life support and nutrition for the body's tissues. Second is Plasma. Approximately half of blood is plasma, a liquid that serves as means of transportation for the blood cells which carry out their task in supporting the human body. When blood is centrifuged to separate the ingredients, we find something very interesting about plasma. Plasma that has been separated from clotting proteins and blood cells is actually an amber, light yellow color. This liquid is referred to as Serum, or sometimes pure blood as it is the liquid blood in itself without any other ingredients. The third ingredient of blood are the Leukocytes, or White Blood Cells. White blood cells exist as part of the human body's immune system; they attack infectious invaders, foreign substances, and clean after old and dead cell structures.
Blood is such a central theme in Bloodborne, everything revolves around Blood, even the title. Especially the title. Bloodborne. A bloodborne pathogen, a disease of the blood, this is what the Scourge of the Beast is. It's an infection, a disease that spreads from person to person through the transfusion of blood. Master Willem sternly reminds Laurence that: "We are born of the blood. Made men by the blood. Undone by the blood." The scourge infects the victim by attacking and tainting their blood, corrupting them. Now look at the Kin, ascended mortals who have become Kin of the Cosmos. They have escaped the taint of the Scourge, moving past it. Indeed they bleed a clear, amber liquid; serum, to be exact. The Kin of the Cosmos have cleansed their blood of the tainted scourge, separating it from the other ingredients and becoming pure beings. And finally we have white blood cells, pale blood cells. The white blood cells are the body's immune system. They seek out the infection and destroy it. But it's the way they destroy infections that fascinates me so. White blood cells grow and consume the infection, bringing it within themselves and isolating it in such a matter. The parallels to to the PC Hunter are striking. "Seek Paleblood to transcend the hunt." Maybe this isn't a note for the player at all. Maybe it's a note for the Blood Minister.
Djura likely suffered from a terrible, incurable disease. It's possible that Djura suffered from a type of terminal anemia, meaning that he had a significant deficiency of iron in his bloodstream and that he had much less haemoglobin in his red blood cells. Anemia was a rather serious problem in the Victorian Era, typically affecting young women. It would become known as the Virgin's Disease, and would be associated with a terrible paleness of the skin. The lack of hemoglobin meant the red blood cells carried much less nutrients throughout the bloodstream; the blood was a pale, sickly color, and the skin followed suit. Those who suffered from anemia would be sickly, tired, and weak. And so Djura’s doctor discovered someone whose red blood was pale, who carried the antibodies and the potential to battle the Scourge of the Beast. He discovered a Paleblood. When the Paleblood was treated with the Old Blood, they were reborn as a Hunter, and not just any hunter but a special one. The Hunter’s Mark was branded in the mind of the Paleblood Hunter, connecting them to the Hunter’s Dream and forcing them into servitude. But Djura would not become strong enough to overcome the Moon Presence. He was executed by Gehrman, his connection to the Hunter's Dream severed. Later, Gehrman would find a new apprentice in a sick woman from the hinterlands, Eileen the Crow, but again the Paleblood would fail. Gehrman can be found muttering in his sleep, almost whimpering: "Oh Laurence… what's taking you so long… I've grown too old for this, or little use now, I'm afraid." An even more chilling message can be heard, though the trigger for the dialogue is currently unknown: "Oh Laurence… Master Willem… Somebody help me… Unshackle me please, anybody… I've had enough of this dream… The night blocks all sight… Oh, somebody, please." Gehrman is desperate for Laurence and the art of Blood Ministration to find someone who can put an end to the nightmare, who can find a Paleblood strong enough to become immune to the taint of the Great Ones. The PC arrives at Yharnam.
"Oh, yes… Paleblood… Well, you've come to the right place. Yharnam is the home of blood ministration. You need only unravel its mystery." -Blood Minister
Here, they meet the Blood Minister. After the transfusion, the Paleblood has become a Hunter. Recall the very beginning of the game in which a Scourge Beast rises from the blood and closes towards the player. Upon touching the player, the Scourge Beast immediately bursts into flames. It can't touch you, because the very first transfusion is coursing through your veins and creating the antibodies required to battle the Scourge. And then, the Messengers come. This brings us to the last mystery, or rather, the last mystery we'll be talking about. Gehrman isn't the only denizen of the Hunter's Dream. There are others. The Messengers are strange, little creatures that venerate and worship the Hunters. The other denizen is the Doll.
It's funny really, when the player first starts playing Bloodborne they have no idea what rules the world works by. They don't know what is possible or impossible. Upon speaking with the Doll it simply becomes something accepted. "Oh, so there's a talking Doll, of course there is." They don't question it, nor do they consider how it came to be, it's just accepted as an occurrence of the world. But sit down to think about the Doll for a moment, and it becomes painfully clear she is so much more than a Doll. Magic doesn't exist in Bloodborne. There are no wizards, no sorcerers. There are humans, and there are Great Ones, godlike beings capable of acts which we can only consider to be magic as they are too complex for us to understand the workings; some humans have learned to use the power of the Great Ones in small and limited forms but they are not Wizards, they are Scholars and Madmen. To avoid beating around the bush, Gehrman cannot animate a Doll. So how did it come to life? We know that Gehrman had a deep love and care for the Doll, based upon the obsession for his student Maria. The Doll Clothes tell us: "A deep love for the doll can be surmised by the fine craftsmanship of this article, and the care with which it was kept." Let us again refer back to the Tear Blood Gem: "Created from a shining silver doll tear, this blood gem is a quiet but unfaltering friend that continually restores HP, the life essence of a hunter. Perhaps the doll's creator had wished for just such a friend, albeit in vain."
If the Hunter locates the Abandoned Old Workshop in the Waking World, they find a couple of things. They find the Old Hunter's Bone, the doll set… but most importantly, they find a Cord of the Eye. ""Every Great One loses its child, and then yearns for a surrogate. The Third Umbilical Cord precipitated the encounter with the pale moon, which beckoned the hunters and conceived the hunter's dream." The word conceived is very important here. The Oxford English Dictionary gives the word conceive two different meanings. The first is as follows: Form a mental representation of; imagine. This is the first definition the player infers from the context of the sentence. However the other definition is as follows: Become pregnant with. Considering how much of Bloodborne is centered around birth, rebirth, pregnancy, and motherhood, I find it very hard to believe that the use of the word 'conceive' in the Cord of the Eye is purely accidental. Gehrman was terribly alone and terribly miserable in his isolation. All of the Cords of the Eye are found from women; one from the Wet Nurse, one from Arianna, and one from Iosefka. The exception to this rule is the one found in the Workshop, until you consider that it's found directly next to a woman. Not a human woman perhaps, but a doll of one. Perhaps in Gehrman's madness and his love of the doll that was his only companion, the Great Ones took notice. After all, the Great Ones that inhabit the nightmare are sympathetic in spirit.
In his desperation and longing for his beloved Maria, Gehrman was willing to give up anything in exchange to get her back. When a Great One promised to bring her to life, Gehrman signed away his life into servitude. But the Doll was not Maria. What is the Doll? What is it really? What manner of being is it, a thinking and feeling creature inhabiting an artificial body? And why, sitting in the altar at the Old Abandoned Workshop, the place where Gehrman signed away his life to servitude of the Great Ones, is there the umbilical cord of a Great One, a Cord of the Eye?
Let’s pause for a moment to take a look at what we now know as the Winter Lanterns. The Winter Lanterns are, as any player who has braved the Nightmare full well knows, one of, if not the, most absolute dangerous enemies to be found in Bloodborne. The Winter Lanterns are tall, lanky women singing out of tune, covered in bloody rags; they have no head, instead they have a large brain covered with eyes that blink and dart in a full circle around them. Extending from their brains are tentacles which they use to grab the Hunter and hold them still. On their own, the Winter Lanterns are not particularly hard to deal with. What makes them so dangerous is that making even the briefest eye contact with the Winter Lanterns causes an uncontrollable rise of Frenzy which quickly does massive damage to the Hunter. But what is Frenzy? Frenzy is a status effect that occurs whenever the Hunter comes into contact with the intense concept of the Great Ones. The Amygdalae cause Frenzy by grasping the Hunter and forcing them to look into their eyes. The Celestial Larvae, Ebrietas, and the Maneater Boars cause Frenzy by vomiting on the Hunter. The Gardens of Eyes cause Frenzy by leaping up and grasping the Hunter by their head, clinging to them and filling their ears with a mind-piercing, high pitched ringing noise. The Cathedral Watchers can inflict Frenzy by wielding a wooden cross twisted into a symbol of the Great Ones, which glows a dark crimson. The Winter Lanterns cause Frenzy simply by looking at the Hunter.
From this information we can gather that Frenzy is a condition which occurs when an individual is forcibly made to wrap their minds around the eldritch nature of the Cosmos and the Great Ones. To put it another way: Insight is what happens when an individual slowly learns, discovers, and processes the information of the Great Ones. Frenzy is what happens when an individual is forced to process the information.
The Winter Lanterns’ Frenzy attack is so powerful that many players do not even bother engaging them. They run past, desperately hiding from the Lanterns as they sing their song. Whatever you do, don’t look at them. The game even provides mechanics for this, providing ways around them or cliffs that the Hunter can slide along or sneak underneath to prevent having to look at the Winter Lanterns. Because of this, the majority of players never take a good look at the Winter Lanterns; they are an enemy that revolves around avoiding looking at them. The Winter Lanterns’ existence went relatively unexplained until a player with the username chim_cheree managed to snatch a hi-resolution screenshot of one of the Winter Lanterns close up. She came to a horrifying realization as she took a good, long look at the Winter Lanterns: They’re wearing the Doll’s clothes… The comparison between the Winter Lantern’s bloody rags and the Doll’s clothing is disturbing, to say the least. While the Lantern’s clothing is covered with blood and they are not wearing the shawl that the Doll has over her shoulders, every other piece of clothing matches. The sleeves, the ruffles, the skirt, the seams, they all match perfectly. This discovery was just the tip of the iceberg as players instantly began working to gather more screenshots of the Winter Lanterns and really take a good, close look at them. While it’s difficult to tell, many players point to the grooves in their clawed hands as being indicative of the Doll’s familiar jointed fingers. This discovery had me incredibly, incredibly excited. Just like everyone else, I was racing to get a picture of the Winter Lanterns for my own look. But when I took a picture of the brain lined with eyes that the Lanterns have instead of a head, I discovered something… well, something incredible. It may be shaped like a brain, but it’s not composed of the familiar grey matter which we associate with brains. It’s not composed of anything human at all. I, like a few other people, discovered that it’s not a brain at all. It’s the Messengers. "Ahh, the little ones, inhabitants of the dream… They find hunters like yourself, worship, and serve them. Speak words, they do not, but still, aren't they sweet?" The brains of the Winter Lanterns are comprised of Messenger corpses bound and meshed together into a single form.
There’s something just madly genius about it. The one enemy in the game who can give us the most horrible, terrifying Truth just by looking at it is the one enemy we want nothing more than to look away from. Of course the Winter Lanterns cause Frenzy. How could we not go insane by looking upon the twisted form of the one being in the entire world who can offer us comfort and warmth? How could our minds possibly comprehend the terrible realization that the Doll is linked so closely to these horrible creatures?
Have you ever attacked the Doll? I mean really, really attacked the Doll. I mean taking a Cleaver and hacking the Doll to pieces. Many players must be sick at the thought, how could you possibly attack the one being who provides you with comfort throughout the horror of Bloodborne? Well if you attack the Doll, you might notice that she bleeds. Her blood is not red, like the humans or the Great Ones. Her blood also isn't serum, like the Kin of the Cosmos. Her blood is white. Almost like bleach, the Doll bleeds a pale blood. Bizarrely enough, taking a close look at the Messengers will reveal something very similar. When the Messengers leave a note behind, did you know they actually rise up from blood? Of course you did. When it's a Specter, it's the familiar red bloodstain. But when it's a note… it's pure white, blood of the Messengers and blood of the Doll. If the Hunter kills the Doll, the next time the Hunter returns to the Dream they will find her standing there. "Hello, good hunter. I am a doll, here in this dream to look after you.” She doesn’t remember us…
"Over time, countless hunters have visited this dream. The graves here stand in their memory. It all seems so long ago now…"
Countless Hunters? That doesn't make sense at all. So long ago? It wasn't really all that long ago… Gehrman has only been imprisoned for at most possibly 100 years or so. As for the known Palebloods, I can count them on one hand: Djura, Eileen, and the Player. We do know however, that the Blood Moon has risen in the past. In ancient Pthumeru, the people succumbed to the Scourge of Beasts. What if there haven't been only four Blood Moons? What if there have been hundreds? What if over the past thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of years, the Blood Moon has risen and Hunters have entered the Dream, the Hunter’s Mark branded in their minds, before falling and succumbing to the Moon Presence? It's part of a cycle, and the Doll has been there.
Many players have encountered the Doll sleeping in the Dream. When they wake her she will gasp, apologize for having drifted off, and will return to offering her normal dialogue. But there’s another situation the Hunter can find the Doll in. Sometimes, very rarely, the Doll will be found kneeling before a grave.
“O Flora, of the moon, of the dream. O little ones, O fleeting will of the ancients… Let the hunter be safe, let him find comfort. And let this dream, his captor… foretell a pleasant awakening… be, one day, a fond, distant memory…"
If the Hunter interrupts her she will awaken, startled, and apologize for having drifted off into sleep. She will not remember the words she spoke.
Maybe she wasn't always a Doll; maybe she's had a hundred different shapes and forms, but she was there as the Palebloods struggled against the Moon Presence. Maybe, a long long time ago, she was even a Maiden in Black. Recall how we discussed the manner in which white blood cells destroy infections: they consume them. Upon first meeting the Hunter, she tells us: "You will hunt beasts… and I will be here for you, to embolden your sickly spirit." Sickly. Her white blood only further supports this metaphor, as she strengthens our immunity to the Scourge and grants us power.
The Paleblood Hunter defeats the Moon Presence by consuming the Cords of the Eye and the Ancient Blood Echoes, becoming too powerful and immune to its influence. The Great One that has haunted humanity since its conception falls.
We are left with the Doll, reaching down to grasp us in our new form. Remember that the Great Ones are not all of the same faction, of the same species, or even of the same ideology. The Great Ones are unique in their desires and their eldritch wishes, incomprehensible to us mere human beasts. Having consumed the Scourge and the Great Ones, we have ascended and been born anew, ready to bring Humanity into its next evolutionary stage. And it’s all thanks to the Doll. The Doll, who nurtured us, emboldened us, strengthened, and cared for us. The Doll cradles us in a motherly fashion, giggling.
"Are you cold? Oh, Good Hunter."
Perhaps not every Great One loses its child after all.