Before we get very far into this, I want to acknowledge a point that you might be thinking right now: "But MegaBearsFan, Yorshka tells us who her parents are!" Or at least, she tells us that her father is Gwyn and her sister is Gwynevere and her "brother" is Gwyndolin. Seems pretty cut-and-dry right? OK, blog post over. If I keep writing on topics like this, I'm going to become very prolific!
... Well, maybe it's not quite that simple. This all seems rather fishy, and I'm not so sure if I'm willing to take Yorshka's words at face value. We still have the Ringed City DLC coming out for Dark Souls III at the end of this month, so it's entirely possible that DLC will settle the questions raised in this post. But until then, please humor me as I take a dive down a bit of a rabbit hole.
Yorshka directly states that Dark Sun Gwyndolin is her brother.
Before we go any further, let's take a look at what Yorshka actually says - her full dialogue can be conveniently read on fextralife (among other Souls wikis). When you meet Yorshka and perform the Darkmoon loyalty, she mentions:
"If thou shalt swear by the Covenant, to become a shadow of Father Gwyn and Sister Gwynevere,
A blade that shall hunt the foes of our lords;
Then I place thee under the aegis, and the power, of the Darkmoon."
If you level up in the covenant, she'll go on to talk about her relation to Dark Sun Gwyndolin:
"The Darkmoon Knights were once led by my elder brother, the Dark Sun Gwyndolin.
But he was stricken by illness, and leadership of the knights fell to me.
Then Sulyvahn wrongfully proclaimed himself Pontiff, and took me prisoner.
Oh where could my dear brother be?"
If you take this all at face value, then it seems pretty cut-and-dry, but take another look at the actual subtitle text. When she talks about Gwyn and Gwynevere, she uses the words "Father" and "Sister" (respectively), implying that Yorshka may be the daughter of Gwyn and blood sister to both Gwynevere and Gwyndolin. However, notice that, unlike when speaking of her brother, the words "Father" and "Sister" are capitalized, as if they are proper nouns or - more likely - titles.
She may be talking about Gwyn being a "Father" in the priestly or divine sense of the word, as in "Father McKenzie, writing the words of a sermon that no one will hear" or as in "Our Father, who art in Heaven". Similarly, referring to Gwynevere as a "Sister" (capital "S") also implies a religious relation, as when referring to a Catholic nun as "Sister".
Yorshka may be using "Father" and "Sister" as titles - possibly in a religious sense.
Unfortunately, this interpretation is complicated by the inconsistency of the subtitles, as Yorshka also says "Long ago, our father Gwyn, lamenting the waning of the fire, became cinder of his own will." Here, the word "father" is not capitalized, but the language is still reminiscent of religious talk. She isn't saying "our father" in the context of herself and Gwyndolin, because this bit of dialogue has no reference to Gwyndolin. Again, the use of the phrase "our father" is similar to how Catholic prayers refer to God.
What if Yorshka is a blood sister to Gwyndolin?
So whether or not Yorshka is a daughter of Gwyn is open to debate. Let's explore the possibilities.
Let's start by assuming that Yorshka is a blood sister of Gwyndolin. This creates two possibilities. The first is that she is being literal when she refers to "Father Gwyn", and she is Gwyn's blood daughter. This would mean that she is either a full, blood sister to Gwyndolin, or a half sister. Either she had both the same parents as Gwyndolin and resembles a half-dragon due to some [for lack of a better word] freak mutation, or she and Gwyndolin have the same father and different mothers. Could Gwyn have possibly had a daughter with a dragon? This seems unlikely considering Gwyn's deep resentment towards the dragons. After all, he cast his own firstborn son out of Anor Londo for simply being sympathetic to dragons. But, as they say, "he who casts the first stone" Besides, Gwyndolin has snakes for feet, so we can't rule out the possibility that Yorshka just has a tail.
The identity of Gwyn's wife (and mother to his children) is yet to be revealed in the games.
The second possibility is that Yorshka is a blood relative of Gwyndolin, but is using "Father Gwyn" in a figurative, religious sense. In this case, Yorshka and Gwyndolin would share the same mother, but have different fathers. The tricky thing here is that we have no idea who was the mother of Gwyndolin and Gwynovere. It could be Caitha, Goddess of Tears. It could be Fina, Goddess of Beauty. It might even be Velka, Goddess of Sin. Or Gwyn's wife could be wholly unknown to us so far. Whoever the mother is, it is possible that she had an affair with a dragon - perhaps Seath. Yorshka does have strange tendrils coming out of the sides of her head that maybe slightly resemble the tendrils that come off of the sides of Seath's face. She also has some pinkish/purple-ish patches of skin and scales that are a similar color to Seath's wings.
So it could be that Gwyn's wife had an affair with Seath, and that affair resulted in the birth of Yorshka. Her birth may have been hidden from Gwyn, which is why Gwyndolin takes her in and raises her as a sister. However, it doesn't necessarily have to be an illicit love affair. Perhaps, after Gwyn left to link the fire, his wife found a new suitor who happened to be draconic.
There is also a third possibility: that Yorshka and Gwyndolin are not blood relatives at all. Yorshka could be an adopted sister, of sorts. She could be a dragon cross-breed with completely different parents. Or maybe Yorshka is the result of one of Seath's experiments on maidens, and has no biological parents at all!
Seath conducted experiments to learn the secret of the dragons' immortality and created the serpent men.
Some more speculative possibilities...
There are also a handful of more speculative possibilities that make Yorshka not a true sibling of Gwyndolin. Each of these possibilities has its own degree of believability, but they are all entirely circumstantial, with very little direct evidence to back them up.
Is Yorshka the reason for the firstborn's exile?
One possibility is that Yorshka is related to Gwyndolin, but just not in the way that she thinks she is. Perhaps Yorshka isn't Gwyndolin's sister, but rather Gwyndolin's niece.
In this case, Yorshka's true father may be Faraam / the firstborn / the God of War / the Nameless King. After all, since Dark Souls III, we now know that the God of War's crime was some sort of collusion with dragons. Perhaps that collusion took the form of a love affair that resulted in the birth of Yorshka. Gwyndolin, recognizing Yorshka as a fellow outcast may have been sympathetic to a forsaken niece and secretly took her in and protected her from Gwyn (assuming Gwyn had not already left to kindle the First Flame).
The foresaken Firstborn God of War colluded with dragons. Could Yorshka or Priscilla be his bastard children?
It could also be that Priscilla may be Yorshka's mother. Perhaps Faraam found Priscilla in the painting and fell in love with her, creating a quarter-dragon cross-breed. Or perhaps Faraam was already colluding with the dragons, was forelorn enough to find his way into the painting, and then met Priscilla. Yorshka's dragon features do seem to be somewhat more diminished than Priscilla's, which could suggest that Yorshka may only be one-quarter dragon. Or perhaps Faraam fathered both Yorshka and Priscilla with another, unknown draconic being.
Is Yorshka related to Priscilla, and who are Priscilla's parents?
So now this brings up the question of whether or not Yorshka is related to Priscilla. There are a lot of parallels between the two, as well as some notable differences. In fact, soon after Dark Souls III's release, some fans started speculating that Yorshka may be Priscilla in hiding. I don't buy into this idea because the physical differences between the two seem so great. But they are both dragon cross-breeds, have tails, scales, dress somewhat similarly, and Yorshka's tower is located almost exactly where the original Painting of Ariamis was located in the first game.
So let's look at Priscilla's parentage. Dark Souls gives us a solid clue to start with. Priscilla is possibly a daughter of Velka. Almost everything found in The Painted World of Ariamis is related to Velka in some way. The rotating statue that leads to Priscilla's chamber is that of a mother with child. The mother does not look like Gwynevere or the mother statue near the Sunlight Altar. Instead, the statue depicts a hooded woman who is generally assumed to be Velka. The statue in Ariamis isn't a dead ringer for the Statue of Velka found in the Undead Settlement of Dark Souls III, though, as the DSIII Velka statue has long, flowing hair falling from the hood. So while this statue in Ariamis is generally assumed to depict Velka, it's possible that it could be somebody else.
The rotating mother statue in the Painting and the statue of Velka depict a hooded woman.
Seath is also a powerful contender for being Priscilla's father - mostly just because he's the only dragon character in the game. But there are also some cosmetic similarities. Both Priscilla and Seath have pale, white flesh. And both Priscilla and Seath have somewhat fuzzy tails.
Seath's Channelers kidnapped
maidens from distant lands.
The connection to Seath, however, does create another contender for Priscilla's mother. From the description of the Channeler's armor, we know that Seath sent the Channelers out to distant lands to kidnap maidens so that Seath may experiment on them. One such land was Oolacile. We find Dusk of Oolacile trapped in one of Seath's Crystal Golems, and if you have the Artorias of the Abyss DLC, then another Crystal Golem in the Archives will drop a magic pendant that will allow access to Oolacile. This creates the possibility that Priscilla may be a daughter of (or somehow derived from) a maiden kidnapped from Oolacile - maybe even Dusk herself! So Seath may not necessarily be a biological father of Priscilla, but he may have been the one who created her based on experiments on maidens from Oolacile.
Residents of the land of Oolacile were renown for their light-bending magic. The Oolacile connection may also explain Priscilla's ability to turn invisible, and experiments on the Oolacile maiden may have allowed Seath to discover how to turn the bridges in the Crystal Cave invisible.
Is Yorshka Ocelot?
There is one other noteworthy character in Dark Souls III who is actually missing a child - sort of. That person is the Consumed King, Oceiros, whose baby, Ocelot seems to be missing (or invisible). During the boss fight, Oceiros clutches either an invisible baby or an imaginary baby - it's unclear which. At the halfway point, when going into phase II of the fight, Oceiros discards the baby and possibly smashes it and kills it before going into a complete rage.
Oceiros either has an invisible dragon cross-breed baby,
or Ocelot was taken from him and his madness prevents him from accepting it.
Oceiros became obsessed with trying to replicate Seath's research into the immortality of the dragons and appears to have at least partially transformed himself into a dragon, along with concealing the entrance to the true Firelink Shrine. His child, Ocellote (whom he fathered with Gwynevere or a daughter of Gwynevere) may also be a dragon cross-breed.
There actually is an invisible skeleton model in Oceiros' hand, and hacks of the PC version's files have revealed textures for a living and dead baby model that are unused within the game. What were From Soft's original plan for Ocelot? We may never know. Censors in many countries prohibit depictions of killing children in video games, so From Soft may not have been legally able to fulfill its ghastly vision for this fight. Are we to assume that Oceiros does kill his infant son? Or is the child completely imaginary, as the king is supposedly mad?
During the boss fight, Oceiros believes that his baby is hiding from him.
Either way, it is possible that Yorshka may be a grown-up version of that baby. If the child that Oceiros is holding is imaginary, then it's possible that the child was taken from Oceiros at a young age and Oceiros' madness prevents him from accepting the disappearance of the child. It's also possible that Gwyndolin may have taken the child (for some reason) and projected an illusion of the baby to prevent Oceiros from coming after it. We know from Dark Souls 1 that Priscilla could turn invisible, so it's possible that other dragon cross-breeds might have the same ability. So Oceiros may simply believe that his child is invisible - hiding from him.
Oceiros does refer to Ocelot as "him" during the boss fight. However, since Gwyndolin was raised as a daughter, it's entirely possible that Gwyndolin may have also given Yorshka a female name and identity in order to protect her from her mad father.
"A sacred chime belonging to Yorshka. Her brother, the former knight captain, presented her with this medium together with another gift: her name.
The ringing of the chime must have done much to soothe her loneliness.
Skill: Gentle Prayer
Recovers HP for a period of time, albeit extremely slowly. Works while equipped in either hand."
That's a lot of options!
Phew! I just threw out a bunch of possibilities. Yorshka is definitely a very curious and confusing character in Dark Souls III, and it's hard to pin down exactly who (or what) she really is.
So what do you think? Do you take her claims of being Gwyn's daughter at face value? Do you think she's a bastard child that was hidden away? Is she the reason that Nameless King became nameless? Is she a child or creation of Seath? Is she Oceiros' beloved Ocelot? Perhaps The Ringed City will answer these questions. Or perhaps it will leave us with even more.