|Lady Maria of the Astral Clocktower|
|Affiliation||Annalise, Queen of the Vilebloods,|
Gehrman, The First Hunter
- Astral Clocktower:
According to both her equipment and her weapon, Lady Maria of the Astral Clocktower was a citizen of Cainhurst, and is a distant relative to Queen Annalise. However, she was one of the first hunters to join the nightly hunt. She studied under Gehrman, the First Hunter, whom Maria had admired, though she was unaware of her teacher's curious mania towards her. Despite being a citizen of Cainhurst, who relished in their extravagant uses of blood, she favored her Rakuyo, which required dexterity and skill rather than blood to wield effectively.
At some point during her time as a hunter, Maria partook in the excursion by Byrgenwerth scholars to the Fishing Hamlet, having learned of the mutations the villagers have undergone due to the presence of Kos, a Great One whose corpse had washed ashore near the village. The mission would take its toll on Maria's morals, as she, alongside the scholars and other hunters, had participated in the hunting and mutilation of the villagers, and the violation of Kos's body.
It is unclear what exactly Maria and the other old hunters had done to Kos's body, but it can be inferred that it was done to harvest the Great One's eldritch blood. Nonetheless, it was a sacrilegious action that would see to Maria, and other old hunters who violated Kos's body, being sent into the Hunter's Nightmare to suffer eternally once they've died. At some point, likely out of guilt for her actions at the Fishing Hamlet, Maria forfeited her beloved weapon, tossing it down a well when she could "no longer stomach it" whilst seemingly killing herself. Her spirit was then pulled into the Hunter's Nightmare.
Even after she disappeared, Gehrman had still retained his obsession towards her. To keep himself company, Gehrman created a Doll to Maria's likeness, faithful to the latter's appearance down to her tall height and facial features. However, Gehrman grew to be indifferent towards the Doll, likely due to her lacking Maria's personality.
Now, Maria resides in the Astral Clocktower, looking after the disfigured patients that reside there, and guarding the secret of the Nightmare, the Fishing Hamlet, where the Orphan of Kos can be found. She is seen sitting on a richly decorated chair, with blood pooling from her neck and wrist onto the floor. She is seemingly dead, but upon inspecting her, Maria grabs the Hunter's hand, then rises from her chair to fight them.
Lady Maria begins the battle using her Rakuyo and Evelyn. She can also transform her weapon for moveset changes and fluid combo weaving.
When her health is at two thirds, she will back away quickly, then plunge her blades into her chest. Not only does this cause a large burst of damaging blood, but she also unlocks powerful new moves. Using her own blood, Maria enhances both the katana and dagger halves of her Rakuyo, as the blood seems to have solidified on the blade. This will not only increase her damage, but also her attack range.
When Lady Maria has one third of health left, she levitates off the ground, causing another blood explosion. She has enhanced her Rakuyo again. This time with fire damage being added to her attacks. Her blades do not change whatsoever, and still remain how they were transformed in her second phase. The change can be seen in her attacks, as every arc of blood left behind by her slashes bursts into a plume of fire. Now it is possible to get hit a maximum of two times at once, taking both Blood and Fire damage.
Most of Maria's attacks can be avoided by dodging to her right side at the last second. Many of her moves require her to line up her attack first, giving the Hunter time to move or prepare. If not, a well timed dodge during one of her common attack windups can be a little more risky, but will still avoid the Hunter getting hit.
Maria can be staggered and knocked down like other hunters. The Augur of Ebrietas is useful for knocking her down briefly. Thus providing breathing room for the player.
In the first phase, stay far away from Maria. When she charges in to attack, take one of two actions. Either try to parry her, or dodge forward and slightly to the side. When parrying, note her weapons have a massive phantom hit box, and can stagger the player even if they parry correctly. Also, her attacks are fast, but have a large parry window. When dodging, note that dodging straight on will almost always result in being stun locked to death, especially in the later phases. After every dodge, attack once or twice, then create distance. On every successful parry, close in as fast as possible for either a combo or visceral. Her downed state is relatively quick, but even if the player misses, they may still get a four to five hit combo in. Try to keep a balance of normal attacks and parry attempts. She is not too dangerous in this phase, so it's best to save vials and bullets for the next phases.
Phase two will start when she stabs herself, imbuing her weapons with blood. When she stabs herself, don't try to attack. The buff animation ends with a massive AoE that hits hard. Instead, use the time to heal and buff. From now on, stay very close to her. All of her attacks now have a massive blood extension that has a massive range, capable of spanning half the length of the room. Dodge forward and sideways, giving her extra space. She will be more aggressive in this stage. Parrying is more difficult now, because her attacks are sharper. It is still very possible. Keep trying to parry, as she throws long combos which are parry farms. There won't be many opportunities to heal, so prioritize staying alive over offense. Note, she will use charge attacks in this phase more frequently. When she does, get behind her and punish. Don't try to use a charged attack, because there won't be enough time. Also note that her charged attacks have a very wide reach in terms of distance and behind her, even in the first phase.
Phase three starts when she floats up in the air and seems to suck all the blood splattered on the floor and walls into a vortex. Again, back off, heal, and buff. There won't be many opportunities to heal, so getting blood bullets and healing is recommended. Her attacks now do blood and fire damage. Maria also gains a new attack as well. Sometimes she will momentarily cross her arms then lunge forward, staggering the player if they are too close. She will not hesitate to run up and perform her OWN visceral attack. Maria's is unique to any other parry animation in the game, as she appears to hug the player before ripping her arm out of their chest.
To finish the fight as fast as possible, use any remaining bullets. Keep close to her sides, and dodge frequently. This phase shouldn't last long as both participants will be attacking like crazy.
Overall, Maria fights like an experienced PvP fighter. Stay fast, parry often, and punish at every given opportunity.
|Click to see dialogue|
|Click to see dialogue|
- After defeating Lady Maria, the Maria Hunter Set becomes available at the Insight Bath Messenger.
- The weapon wielded by Maria, the Rakuyo, is hidden away at the bottom of a well in the Fishing Hamlet.
- Maria drops the Celestial Dial when slain in combat. It allows access to the secret hidden by the Astral Clocktower.
- With a sufficiently high Arcane build, she can be knocked down with Augur of Ebrietas repeatedly until she dies.
- Her voice actress is Evetta Muradasilova, who is the same woman that voices The Doll in the Hunter's Dream.
- Lady Maria bears a striking resemblance to The Doll, whom was presumably modelled after her by Gehrman. Interestingly enough, even the lumenflower brooch on her neck is present in the Doll's attire, as well as flowery patterns on the Doll's clothing, which makes it obvious that Maria had a taken a liking to the flower.
- Unlike other human bosses such as Gehrman, first-phase Gascoigne, and Micolash, she does not initiate dialogue during the battle despite doing so in her pre-fight cutscene.
- The animation of Lady Maria dying after she gets defeated is very similar to the animation for Gehrman. Both of them reach up toward the sky right before collapsing in a plume of white dust.
- The Maria Hunter Set worn by Lady Maria has the highest Blood Defense in the entire game, making it superior to the Cainhurst Set and Knight Set in that regard. This is only logical, as it was likely made in Cainhurst, just like both other sets.
- Another interesting thing that ties a link between Cainhurst and her set is that the trousers she wears have a pattern and overall look similar to the male version of the Knight's Trousers, and Maria wears a black tie on her hair in the same fashion as the male version of the Knight's Wig. Additionally, her garb dons a cape that only covers her left side, with a small chain around it, just like the Cainhurst Set and Knight Set.
- The massive internal clock in the arena of Lady Maria's battle holds familiar etches around the perimeter. On closer inspection, the symbols etched around the clock are Caryll Runes. Some are recognizable, while others are rune symbols that have never been seen before.
- The version of the Rakuyo wielded by Lady Maria is different from the one that is available to the player. The player can wield the original Rakuyo, one that focused on skill and not on the power of blood as Maria was not fond of Blood Blades despite being related to Annalise. However, it is implied she could not bear its sight at a certain point in time and cast it down a well, replacing it then with a Blood Bladed Rakuyo, which is the one the players face against. This decision is unclear regarding its motivations, but it is possible she craved for more power, whether or not her intentions were pure.
- Some theories also state that she was part of the slaughter in the Fishing Hamlet, and as the old hunters departed the scene of their killing, she cast the blade she used into the well out of disgust. Due to the implication that the village and inhabitants were pulled into the Nightmare when the curse was triggered, it could be that the blade acquired is the real blade, and the one she uses in the fight is a Nightmare variant.
- She has a special Visceral Attack animation, in which she will hug the player character and put them into a position that looks as though she is whispering something in their ear before removing her hand from their chest.
- It's heavily implied that the grave the Doll is seen praying at, which leads to the Hunter's Nightmare, is her grave, as even in the Abandoned Old Workshop one can find the Old Hunter Bone, which belonged to an apprentice of Gehrman.
- According to unused dialogue and internal names for her corpse, Maria was originally intended to be alive and able to be spoken to. If not killed the first time you meet her, Maria would be found dead (presumably from Simon) after reloading the area and the fight would continue as normal. This would also happen if the player killed Maria themselves, then inspected her corpse, which triggered a different line but continued the fight all the same.
- Though Maria could be spoken to and was non-hostile (beckoning the player to leave the Nightmare and continue their hunt), the player would not be able to proceed to the Fishing Hamlet without fighting her.
- The first scenario in which Simon kills Maria would explain how he got to the Fishing Hamlet before the player unlocks the clocktower door. In the current version it is assumed he somehow found his way around it before the player arrives, or Maria was already killed by him and the way was locked again.
- Unlike most characters the player encounters, who speak with English accents, Maria (as well as the Doll) has a Slavic accent.