The Emerald Herald's real name is Shanalotte, a name given to her by the dragons. She was created specifically to break the undead curse, but her creators failed and she did not come out as intended. Despite this, she guides undead towards the Throne of Want, waiting for a powerful undead that might defeat the Four Old Ones, succeed Vendrick and end the undead curse.
She eventually finds this someone in the Bearer of the Curse, an undead with no memory of their origins from a far away land. Shanalotte guides the Bearer of the Curse in their quest, telling them to seek souls and to seek the king. She will guide the Bearer of the Curse to seek out the Four Old Ones in order to claim their powerful souls. Once the Bearer of the Curse has done this, the way to Drangleic Castle, the home of Vendrick, will be open. Shanalotte will wait outside the castle, directing the Bearer of the Curse to enter.
She will next appear in the Undead Crypt, where Vendrick now wanders aimlessly. After the Bearer of the Curse has claimed the king's ring, she will direct them to follow the mark of the king and journey east, and warn them that if they continue on this path, they too will one day walk these same grounds, without really knowing why.
Shanalotte will once again appear once the Bearer of the Curse has reached the Dragon Aerie. Here, she will reveal that it was her manifestations that led them here, and has been guiding them all along. She directs the Bearer to the top of the aerie, where the Ancient Dragon awaits them.
Shanalotte will appear one final time when the Bearer of the Curse is approaching the Throne of Want. She will tell the Bearer of her origins and her true name. She will warn them that Nashandra, desiring the power of the Flame and the Great Soul, will come after them, but that they must persist nonetheless.
Should the Bearer of the Curse choose to claim the throne, Shanalotte will narrate their ascent, explaining that linking the flame will cause souls to flourish anew but that the events that have transpired will play out all over again, and that it is the Bearer's choice whether to embrace or renounce this.
Royal Sorcerer Navlaan tells the player many people believe the Emerald Herald is the last firekeeper. Navlaan will also say she is sometimes known as the "Muse".
If the player lowers her health down to half, she will refuse to talk and will simply stand still. Resting at a bonfire will reset her health to normal, but she will still ignore the player until they have spoken with Cromwell the Pardoner.
Are you...the next monarch? Or... Merely a pawn of fate? Bearer of the curse... I will remain by your side. Till this frail hope shatters... Take this with you. May it ease your journey. Go on, and see the King. He who made Drangleic what it once was; he who peered at the essence of the soul. King Vendrick.
Bearer of the curse, seek misery. For misery will lead you to greater, stronger souls. You will never meet the King with a soul so frail and pallid.
Seek those whose names are unutterable, the four endowed with immense souls. Their souls will serve as beacons. Once you have found them, return here to me. So that hope will not fade away.
Bearer of the curse... Seek souls. Larger, more powerful souls. Seek the King, that is the only way. Lest this land swallow you whole... As it has so many others.
Greeting 5 (after goting to Drangleic Castle)
Bearer of the curse. I will always be at your side. Until hope has fully withered.
Greeting (holding an Estus Shard)
Is that a shard you've found? Here, let me see it. So that I may help you. To see light, to see hope… However faint it might be…
If that is your wish... or What are you…?
Over the hill and past the forest is the King's castle. Where a man peered straight into the essence of the soul. But what ever came of it…
Those who come to Drangleic seeking salvation soon lose hope, and turn Hollow. It happens to them all, sooner or later. That blue knight at the base of the tower… His spirit is already broken. Although he does offer sound advice. Perhaps he is a foreshadowing of your own future?
That tiny thing inside the ruins… An ancient being that will mock your very existence. She imparts sound wisdom. Provided you find her on a good day…
The sign you bear will drain your very souls… And without souls, you will turn Hollow. Stay strong, do not lose hope. Even when you have precious little time.
For when the Undead dies, it is never truly dead, but only one step closer to Hollowing. Not all Undead are Hollows, but all Hollows were once Undead.
If you find an Estus Shard, bring it to me. So that I may ease your burden.
Talk (after otainng one great soul)
You have acquired the soul of an Old One. That is more than most Undead can say.
Talk (after obtaining two great souls)
The soul and the curse are one and the same. Your soul has grown stronger still. I only hope it brings you what you wish.
Talk (after obtaining three great souls)
Proceed, bearer of the curse. It is the only choice left to you.
(after obtaining four great souls)
You are blessed with a myriad of souls. Bearer of the curse, make your way to the castle.
Talk (outside Drangleic Castle)
This castle is isolated. But nonetheless, you must forge on. To bring an end to your journey…and mine. End your journey…and mine.
Talk (outside Drangleic Castle, not obtaining four great souls)
Your soul is still frail and pallid… If you proceed regardless, your fate will be more terrible than mere life or death. But I will not stop you, if that is your heart's desire.
Talk (Undead Crypt)
This ring is the symbol of the King. Use it to gain passage, through the King's Gate… …and venture to the far east… Bearer of the curse, if you are to be the next monarch, Then, one day, you will walk those grounds… …without really knowing why.
Talk (Dragon Aerie)
Bearer of the curse. Long have I awaited one such as you, one who might shatter the shackles of fate. One who can set me free. Bearer of the curse, it was my own manifestation that led you here. The ancient dragon has watched over the world for aeons past. Take this. Do not resist. The dragon welcomes you.
Talk (Throne of Want)
My journey is already complete. My name is Shanalotte. The dragon gave me this name, for I was born with none. I was born of dragons, contrived by men. By ones who would cozen fate herself… They are the ones who created me. But they failed. I did not come out as intended. Fate would not be bested, and men were cursed once again. If you proceed, Nashandra will come after you. Knowing that you will take the throne, and link the fire. She covets the First Flame, and the Great Soul. Put Nashandra to rest.
Narration when choosing the throne ending
You, who link the fire, you, who bear the curse… Once the fire is linked, souls will flourish anew, and all of this will play out again. It is your choice…To embrace, or renounce this… Great Sovereign, take your throne. What lies ahead, only you can see.
The Emerald Herald was originally featured in the first trailer for Dark Souls II, where she is seen overlooking Drangleic and gives a feather to the Bearer of the Curse.
Her mixed and unusual heritage is evidenced by her eyes. She has complete heterochromia iridum: her left eye is brown, while her right eye, which is hidden by her hair, is purple. The only way to view this is to move so that the camera can clip through her model.
While a child model of the Emerald Herald does exist within the games files, there is no dialogue showing what purpose the child version would have served.