Part 27: - Lothric Castle Part 1
Dancer of the Boreal Valley
The Dancer of the Boreal Valley has been alluded to by the game ever since we acquired Vordt's Soul in which she was mentioned for the first time as that fleeting Dancer that is never far from Vordt. In Irithyll we could see the phantoms of two outrider knights, one of them wearing the Dancer's crown, walking towards the exit of Irithyll, presumably to leave for the High Wall of Lothric where both of them would eventually assume more beast-like features and become what we've seen when we fought Vordt and the Dancer.
But who exactly is this Dancer? The descriptions of her soul and the items we can make of them answer some questions, but then raise some more. Let's first read the descriptions.
Soul of the Dancer
The Pontiff Sulyvahn bestowed a double-slashing sword upon a distant daughter of the formal royal family, ordering her to serve first as a dancer, and then as an outrider knight, the equivalent to exile.
Dancer's Enchanted Swords
Paired enchanted swords that Pontiff Sulyvahn bestowed upon the Dancer of the Boreal Valley. These blades, symbolic of the Dancer's vows, are enchanted with dark magic in the right hand, and fire in the left, mirroring the Pontiff.
Special miracle granted to the maidens of the Princess of Sunlight.
Restores a large amount of HP for self and those in the general area.
The miracles of Gwynevere, the princess cherished by all, bestow their blessing on a great many warriors.
First up we learn that she's royalty, and that in becoming an Outrider Knight she got exiled, which would lead me to believe that she'd not be too happy about it and only begrudgingly fulfill her Duty, or, which I found more likely, she switched sides and is working for a different party. But then the swords imply that she was close enough to the Pontiff to have her swords be imbued with the same magic as the Sulyvahn's swords.
Lastly, the miracle Soothing Sunlight implies a connection to Gwynevere, Princess of Sunlight. Who was present in the first game only as an illusion, so we have no clue as to what she actually looks like. this led a lot of people to assume the Dancer is Gwynevere, however, it was a miracle mainly given to her handmaids, of which there were plenty (The tentacle monsters from the first game were Gwynevere's handmaidens before being transformed into, well, tentacle faced monsters). Now Royalty wouldn't become a haindmaid, but it can't be Gwynevere because she's not some distant daughter, but an actual goddess and princess. So the actual identity of the Dancer is still up to debate, but I also don't think it's very important.
As for Gwynevere herself? While it is speculation many people seem to think she's accounted for in Dark Souls III. But this is something we might come back to at a later time. Let's actually, finally, talk about fighting the Dancer of the Boreal valley.
She moves slowly, circling around you at almost all times. Her sword swings are simple enough to dodge if you made it this far (this is assuming you do not fight her as your first boss, which is possible if you kill Emma and take the Basin of Vows to the statue behind her). What really makes her dangerous is her grab. And it has one of the more questionable hitboxes in the game. Mostly when there's whining about hitboxes I just chuckle a bit and unironically think "git gud, scrub" but I've been caught by this grab when being nowhere near where it looks like it should get me. Most of her other attacks are just swings, notable exceptions are a thrust that shoots flames at a medium range as well as an fire AoE.
In the second phase she pulls out a second sword, meaning her grab is now gone completely. She'll have a different variety of swings now, one of which is the twirl she usually does as one of her first attacks after initiating the second phase. She also has multiple attacks with an AoE now. She can thrust one of her swords into the ground to create two small explosions, she can also perform a jump attack with a minor AoE. The overall frequency of attacks also increases in the second phase but as long as you are confident in dodging her most common attacks, the swings, you should be fine. She is also very weak to bleed in both phases.