- "I am looking..."
- ―The possessed mercenary
Once inside a body, a skin dancer treats the host like a puppet. It has the ability to make the host body do anything it wishes without being able to resist, including inflicting wounds upon itself. The skin dancer dies when the host body dies. However, a skin dancer usually moves to a new body when its victim is too badly injured to serve its purpose. It will continually switch bodies until every single body in the surroundings has died. When leaving a body it resembles a dark shadow or smoke.
Unlike the use of iron against other Fae creatures, wearing iron will not help protect oneself from being possessed, making the skin dancers particularly dangerous. It is believed donning a crown of holly may repel the beasts from the uninhabited as well as render them incapable of leaving a form they occupy.
According to Bast, the skin dancers are believed to be extinct. The last of them were hunted down hundreds of years ago by the Sithe, whose members wore crowns woven of holly boughs on their heads.
In The Chronicle
The mercenary commander who had robbed Chronicler a few days earlier enters the Waystone Inn. Seeking justice, Chronicler confronts the man, subsequently injuring him with his own sword. However, the mercenary is unfazed by this and instead pursues a counterattack on the scribe, damaging his shoulder. A violent fight ensues, as Bast and the regulars in the inn attempt to kill the mercenary. During the brawl Shep is killed and Kote tries unsuccessfully to light the mercenary on fire using sympathy. Eventually, Aaron kills the mercenary with an iron rod, thus suggesting the creature is Fae.
After the incident most of the townsfolk in Newarre believe that the mercenary was high on denner resin, while Aaron thought it was a demon. However, Bast and Kote know it is neither and speculate as to what has occurred. Bast suggests that the creature was a skin dancer, although he is puzzled as to why it didn't move into a new body after the mercenary's was crippled. That combined with the belief that skin dancers are no longer in existence lead them bereft of a positive conclusion. Why the skin dancer came to the Waystone Inn in the first place is also unclear. Despite it being able to speak, it only did so in an archaic tongue unknown to all those present. It is surmised by Kote, however, that the creature came to the inn looking for him.
Wondering what they could do to make the inn safer, Kote mentions The White Riders' Hunt song about the Sithe to Bast and asks him to do the required work, which Bast enthousiastically hurries to do. Bast returns with an armload of holly boughs he has gathered in the proper way and weaves the branches together to make a holly crown. He has also brought grammarie to bear on it, so it will stay green and living longer. He gives the crown to Chronicler as a gift, which Chronicler accepts.