Future Press game guide description: " Eileen is an assassin whose sworn duty is to dispose of other hunters that have been corrupted by their lust for blood. Like the player, she hails from outside Yharnam and is a foreigner to the region, but her presence in the city is driven by an entirely different set of motives; she makes a point of keeping a low profile and operating in the shadows, you may never meet her in the first place if you don't go out of your way to explore."
Eileen is a Hunter of Hunters. The first Hunter of hunters came from a foreign land, and this tradition has been continued. The badge of the hunter of hunters is quietly passed down from generation to generation, usually to an outsider from the hinterlands, an area that is beyond what is visible or known. The first hunter of hunters gave the dead a virtuous native funeral ritual, rather than impose a “blasphemous Yharnam burial service” upon them, with the hope that former compatriots might be returned to the skies, and find rest in a hunter’s dream. This virtuous native funeral ritual mentioned is evidently “sky burial”, in reality this is a process by which a dead body is laid to rest in an elevated and exposed position then left to the elements and carrion birds to feed upon. The hunters of hunters dress as crows to suggest this sky burial, by doing so they emphasise that they are the carrion that will ‘cleanse’ the body. By preying upon a hunter who is on the edge of beasthood, the hunter of hunters allows this hunter to die with their dignity intact, without transforming into a horrific beast and turning upon their compatriots. A Yharnam burial service then would be allowing the hunter to become a beast before they are killed, and this is of course, what we see throughout Yharnam anywhere we see beasts.
The hunters of hunters have existed since the beginnings of the workshop, likely even before the Healing Church rose to prominence. The Blade of Mercy, which can be split in two, is a special trick weapon passed down among hunters of hunters. It is one of the oldest weapons of the workshop. The weapons warped blades are forged with siderite, “a rare mineral of the heavens, said to have fallen from the heavens”. It is one of only two weapons forged out of siderite. The other is the Burial Blade. The Burial Blade is wielded by Gehrman, the First Hunter, and actually looks very similar to the Blade of Mercy, excepting it can be attached to a staff. The Burial Blade is called a masterpiece that defined the entire array of weapons crafted at the workshop. Interestingly, both blades seem to be used as a means of granting mercy to the hunters. Gehrman will say to you:
"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…"
When he is planning to use his Burial Blade to end your existence in the dream.
Gehrman saw the “hunt” (in this case, of the hunter he is about to separate from the Hunter’s Dream) as a dirge of farewell, wishing only that his prey might rest in peace, never again to awaken to another harrowing “nightmare”. So both these weapons appear to be used for a similar purpose, one to end the life of a Hunter drunk with blood, and another to separate the Hunter from the Hunter’s Dream. This is very significant.
There are two possible fates for Eileen, and they depend upon the player’s decisions. The first we will discuss is what happens if the player follows Eileen’s quest line to the end.
Eileen used to dwell in the Hunter’s Dream. When killed by her she will gloat over the player saying:
"You still have dreams? Tell the little doll I said hello."
Referring to the Plain Doll. But she will tell us that she no longer dreams, Gehrman has separated her from the Hunter’s Dream, perhaps because she fulfilled her purpose. Eileen is an old woman, how old is unclear, but she admits herself that she doesn’t seem to be apt for this life (the life of a hunter of hunters) anymore and that her glory days were long ago. This may be the reason Eileen no longer dreams, she served her duty as a hunter of hunters and Gehrman offered her mercy, which she may have taken or had forced upon her.
So why does she continue? Eileen is most certainly stubborn and reckless. She insists that we leave Henryk to her, that he is her “mark” but if we hadn’t intervened she would likely have lost to him. Later on she will also tell us to stay away from the Bloody Crow of Cainhurst insisting that the crow is her prey and that she has a score to settle, despite the fact that she is close to death. She consistently believes in her abilities despite what the evidence tells her, until it’s too late. Lying on the Grand Cathedral steps in a pool of her own blood she finally admits:
“I’m afraid I've made a bit of a blunder
This is my last chance. What a fool I am. I'll have to tread carefully.”
She is finally faced with the reality of her situation, that there is no going back, and that a hunter cannot hunt forever. But even while staring death in the face, she does not think about anything but her duty. It is only when the player defeats the Bloody Crow of Cainhurst in her place that she finally realises that you are to be her successor. The prerequisites for becoming a Hunter of Hunters appear to be that you are not a native to Yharnam, that you are strong, resilient to the seduction of blood and gracious when taking a comrade’s life. Through the player’s actions Eileen comes to recognise that all of those things are true in them, and entrusts them with the duty of a hunter of hunters by giving them the Crow Hunter Badge and teaching them the Hunter rune, possibly inscribed in her own blood:
“Hmm, I know… Here, for you. This too is hunters' work, but bears no honor.
A burden you may choose to carry. The decision is yours alone.”
A hunter of hunters acts in the shadows, and does not find fame in their deeds like those who hunt beasts. The work certainly bears no honor, and whether or not the player wishes to take it upon themselves to continue the tradition of the hunters of hunters is up to them. But is Eileen motivated by more than duty?
After this exchange Eileen will tell the player that her eyes grow heavy:
“Let me rest a while… …I'll be fine, just wait…"
And this is the last we see of Eileen. It may be that she recovered from this injury and moved on to retirement, but far more likely is that she went to sleep, and never woke up, left to dream under the skies. Perhaps a fitting end for a hunter.
But there is another fate for Eileen which gives us a window into her character, the state she is in and her motivations. If the player does not meet Eileen until the Blood Moon rises, they will find her in the Grand Cathedral, and she will be absolutely intent on ending the player’s life.
The hunters find blood intoxicating, as does everyone. Successive infusions of Yharnam blood recall the first and are all the more invigorating for it. We are born of the blood, made men by the blood, undone by the blood. Eileen is clearly affected by this blood, though she will never admit it. Her beak mask seems to be a unique item carved out of wood, likely by Eileen, and not necessarily a part of the Hunter of Hunters attire. The beak contains incense to mask the scents of blood and beast. While this may be a simple precaution, it is evidence that Eileen, like the rest, struggles against her baser instincts.
Eileen believes that she can resist the intoxication of the hunt, and as a hunter of hunters she is in a position to hunt down any remaining hunters. This is certainly going outside of her duty to hunt only those drunk with blood. Ironically she will remark that the hunt makes hunters mad when it is clear the hunt has made Eileen mad, because she no longer differentiates, and she no longer cares.
When severely hurt in the Grand Cathedral she will yell:
“your blood is mine! A hunter’s blood for me!”
This certainly implies that Eileen is drawn to the blood, but is it all that motivates her?
Eileen desires to end the hunt. By following this quest line, we can find out more about why Eileen continues to hunt despite the fact that she no longer dreams. While Eileen is certainly stubborn and reckless, she is reckless for a reason; Eileen believes that only she can stop the madness that has overtaken Yharnam. When fought in the Grand Cathedral she will say as much:
“The hunters must die… The nightmare must end..
Only I can stop this madness! heh heh heh"
But how will hunting down hunters end the nightmare? Eileen believes the beasts cannot be stopped, that the endless cycle of hunters hunting beasts and hunters becoming beasts to once again be hunted by hunters will never end, that the job of a hunter to hunt beasts is ultimately futile. So to remedy this, she will kill all the remaining hunters, and without hunters left the nightmare will end.
“Your punishment is death! Death to the hunters!
Enough of this terrible dream! Hah hah hah!”
Eileen’s use of the term “nightmare” and “terrible dream” echoes that of Gehrman. His Burial Blade calls the Hunter’s Dream a nightmare, and when he offers to kill you he says “You will be freed…from this terrible hunter’s dream…” So Eileen seems to believe that she can separate a hunter from the hunter’s dream, and perhaps she can. Both she and Gehrman wield weapons forged of siderite. We know little to nothing about this mysterious mineral, aside from the fact that it is a rare mineral of the heavens. This mysterious substance might be the key to allowing the Hunters a virtuous native funeral ritual, because it separates them from the dream that sustains them, meaning the hunters will be no more, if only Eileen can hunt down each one and end their lives. This idea gives new meaning to her belief that she is the only one who can stop the madness.
From this evidence we can conclude that Eileen is likely corrupted with blood, but that her primary motivation is to end the hunt. To do this she believes she must kill all of the hunters, and that only with the hunters gone, will the nightmare end. But she is stopped, whether by the Bloody Crow or the player, her journey ends in death, and the player ultimately inherits the burden of the hunter of hunters, whether they will carry out the necessary duties, is left to them to decide.
Title of theory.
- Eileen's attire resembles Ingward's from Dark Souls 1.