There are several reasons to believe that Leonhard is from the Profaned Capital. His entire body, especially his face, was terribly burned at a young age, and the Profaned Capital is the only known nation where life-threatening fires have taken place. Leonhard has also been trained in both sorcery and swordplay. This wouldn’t be too peculiar if he was from Vinheim or one of the various countries in the Drangleic region, but the only sorceries he casts are Soul Greatsword and Homing Soulmass. The former is fairly generic, but the latter is one of the rare spells invented by Big Hat Logan. And in Dark Souls III’s era, Homing Soulmass is known solely by the royal court sorcerers of the Profaned Capital, who preserved Logan’s original scrolls on the subject. Leonhard knowing this spell strongly suggests that he was taught by these court sorcerers and thus is most likely a citizen of the Profaned Capital. Even the mask he wears to conceal his burns is consistent with the country’s culture, as the masks its women wore to make themselves more appealing to the aristocrats demonstrate.
The mask isn’t the only piece of equipment with a link to the city of sin. Leonhard’s shield of choice is the Eastern Iron Shield, named after the design specific to an eastern land decorating it. This eastern land is the same far East referenced in past games, hence why the shield is derived from the Easterner’s Ashes. The fact that we can only acquire this item from Shiva’s remains reinforces the notion that it isn’t easily available in Lothric. However, this very same shield, known as the Iron Parma, was common in the New World despite still being of unusual foreign design, meaning that it was relatively closer to the far East. This insinuates that Leonhard too either comes from that part of the world or somewhere of similar proximity to this eastern land. And the Profaned Capital is certainly one such country if the onislayer greatarrows found in the metropolis are to be believed. This is further supported by the city possessing the Greatshield of Glory originating from Drangleic, implying that the capital was originally situated somewhere between these two regions.
Then there is the aristocratic military tunic he wears, indicative of being a son of royalty according to is description. The Profaned Capital was ruled by a king, making it quite possible for him to be its prince. However, this would suggest that the man is the son of Yhorm, the lonely king of the Profaned Capital whose reign included the terror of the Profaned Flame that burnt all of his subjects. This would explain the giant’s decision to abdicate the throne in favor of linking the fire when it would have otherwise left a power vacuum. There was no reason to fear his country descending into political chaos since he had an heir to succeed him. However, if Yhorm is Leonhard’s father, then who is his mother? Leonhard is Undead as evidenced by the Estus he uses from our first encounter, so he is most definitely human. But a Queen of the Profaned Capital and wife to Yhorm, human or otherwise, is never once mentioned in item text. Even so, her absence from the record is itself quite telling.
Yhorm had stood as his country’s lone, unwavering vanguard armed with a machete and shield to protect his citizens. However, the description for his shield mentions him casting it aside once he lost the “one to protect”, opting instead for a purely aggressive fighting style. This doesn’t refer to the general citizenry, who he continued to fight on behalf of during his later years, but a particular person he cherished. Yhorm loved this person so much that losing him or her led the king to stop caring for his own safety, and by extension the safety of his other subjects. His later battles are described as “dreadful” with him using the new left-handed handle of his hatchet to get up-close, personal, and vicious with each cleave. Who better to drive this giant to such grief than a human he loved enough to sire a child with, likely the sole woman of the Profaned Capital to look at him without fear or reservation? The silence on Yhorm’s wife would be an admission to her ultimate fate.
Greatshield once utilized by Yhorm the Giant. Boosts the equipper’s tenacity.
It is said that Yhorm stood as the lone vanguard as the king and swung his great hatchet without ever wavering. “And then he who lost the one to protect cast aside his shield.”
The early loss of his mother would also explain Leonhard’s unhealthy obsession with Rosaria. After he grew up, the disfigured prince set out to meet the Mother of Rebirth and take advantage of her powers to cure his burns. But after finally coming face-to-face with the goddess, Leonhard chose to instead devote himself to her as her knight. The man was clearly deeply self-conscious about his burns, yet he forgoes any rebirth after becoming a Finger of Rosaria. Not only that, he goes to great lengths to please her, recruiting us in the hopes to improve her opinion of him. While his name and title are an obvious reference to Lautrec, his affection and mania toward safeguarding her from harm is still a radical shift from his original objective. However, if his love for Rosaria is a product of a mother complex, seeing in her the maternal figure he has subconsciously lacked and thus craved for the majority of his life, then his resulting fixation on the goddess is no surprise. The man has already suffered the tragic loss of a mother; he refuses to let anyone hurt his new one.
And so, Leonhard is in all likelihood the prince of the Profaned Capital and son of Yhorm. Humorously enough, even the Dark Souls III: Design Works has his Crescent Moon Sword placed on the same page as the Profaned Capital’s weapons, though it is probably coincidental. Regardless, his identity explains why we first encounter him at Firelink Shrine. Why would a Finger of Rosaria loiter around the holy site for the firelinking ritual? Certainly not just waiting for unkindled to take notice of him and maybe also take interest in joining his unholy covenant. He stands semi-secluded from the path and line of sight most ashes first waking from their long rests would have, hardly trying to stand out to recruit. Rather, Leonhard simply leans against the throne of Prince Lothric, another royal who has lived an unfortunate youth, and faces the side with Yhorm’s throne. Perhaps he heard the bell toll and thought to reunite with his father, left to gaze at an empty throne not knowing if he would return to the role he abandoned once again? If so, then us approaching him gives the neglected prince a much needed accomplishment for his visit.