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|Band of the Hawk|
Taka no Dan
|Also known as|
Griffith initially establishes the Band of the Hawk as a young teenager, attracting several loyal members. Guts then joins the Hawks during their early years, not long after they start gaining fame in several pitched battles. The Band rises to prominence during Midland's One Hundred Year War against Chuder, and is integrated into Midland's regular army following Griffith's promotion to viscount. They are instrumental in several battles, most prominently in the retaking of the Chuder-held Midland fortress of Doldrey. Subsequently, the Band's commanders are allowed peerage in Midland's nobility.
However, after Guts departs from the Band and Griffith sleeps with Princess Charlotte in a moment of weakness, the mercenary leader is captured and tortured under the orders of the King of Midland, and the Hawks are forced to flee, exiled. Now a shell of its former self, the Band's remaining members are led by Casca, and one year later, Guts, having heard of his former comrades' plight, returns to rescue Griffith. They ultimately succeed; however, now crippled and maimed, Griffith activates his Crimson Behelit, triggering the Eclipse. After some deliberation, he sacrifices the Band of the Hawk; in exchange, he becomes Femto, the fifth member of the God Hand. While Guts, Casca and Rickert survive, most of the Hawks are devoured by Apostles and consequently the Band of the Hawk is informally disbanded. Afterwards, Rickert pays respect to the fallen by crafting the Hill of Swords in their memory.
Golden Age Arc
The Band of the Hawk is originally a very meager, admittedly "ragtag" gathering of thieves who are drawn to the then teen-aged genius swordsman Griffith. Its first principal members include the former coal miner Pippin, a gifted circus performer-turned soldier Judeau, and Corkus, who was once a leader of his own gang of thieves. After Griffith rescues Casca from an attempt of rape, they gradually become more distinguished, and in a matter of years are renowned as the "grim reapers of the battlefield". Their valor is said to be such that a three-months long skirmish is reduced to a mere three days by their intervention, and under Griffith's leadership their numbers grow to 500 by the time they happen to encounter the renegade mercenary Guts.
Griffith is impressed by the young swordsman's triumph over Bazuso and decides to challenge him to a duel. Defeating Guts twice with his sword's grace and ingenious strategy, Griffith formally inducts him as the captain of the Band's raiders, a position he occupies for over three years, by which time the Band's numbers have grown tenfold.
Most notably, their success in the Hundred Year War against the Empire of Chuder, succeeding where much larger armies had failed in claiming victory for Midland, allows their commanders, the young Rickert included, peerage in the nobility; Griffith is elevated to the rank of White Phoenix General. This does not last, however, as while Griffith's assassination plot allows him to eliminate all of his political enemies at once, including the queen, his first (and instantaneous) defeat at Guts' hands, as well as the swordsman's immediate defection, cause him to sink into depression and sneak into the princess's chambers to sleep with her. This act, deemed treasonous, results in Griffith's capture and subsequent torture under the orders of the King of Midland, and the Band of the Hawk is exiled.
Their leader now imprisoned, and their numbers dropped to less than a fifth in a single year, the Hawks are on the verge of collapse despite the near-equally capable Casca's attempts at keeping the Band alive. Only when Guts returns is the Band's morale restored. However, by the time they rescue Griffith, he has been tortured to such an extent during his imprisonment in the Tower of Rebirth that he is incapable of speaking, standing, or even holding a sword. To make matters worse, the apostle Wyald and his Black Dog Knights begin to pursue the Band, having been sent by the King of Midland to eliminate them once all other attempts to do so had come to naught. They manage to repel the forces, Guts pulling off a last-minute win against the apostle leader, but with Griffith now rendered an invalid, the Hawks cannot bring themselves to celebrate.
After escaping from the rest of the Band in an unattended horse-drawn carriage, the desperate, now inscrutably tormented Griffith activates his Crimson Behelit and summons the God Hand, instigating the Eclipse. The Hawks are branded for sacrifice, giving Griffith the means to transcend his humanity and be reborn as the final God Hand member: Femto. Only Guts and Casca are left after the bloodbath, though their suffering is prolonged as Griffith violates the latter in front of Guts, who loses his forearm and the use of his right eye attempting to save her. This results in the regression of Casca's mind to that of an infant and the mutation of her unborn child by Griffith's seed. Guts, furious over Griffith's act of betrayal, vows revenge on his former leader and declares a solitary war on the God Hand and their apostles. With every Hawk now dead excluding Guts, Casca, and Rickert, who was not present at the site of the Eclipse, the Band is informally disbanded. Rickert pays his respects to the fallen by crafting the Hill of Swords in their memory.
- Griffith: Leader of the Band of the Hawk
- Guts: Raiders Commander
- Casca: Unit Commander, acting leader in Griffith's absence
- Judeau †
- Pippin †
- Corkus †
- Gaston: † Raiders Executive Officer
- Dillos †
- Dante †
- Errol †
- Riguel †
- Sam †
- Nikol †
- Kim †
- The Band of the Hawk is possibly inspired by the real-life mercenary band, Compagnia Bianca del Falco, which in Italian translates to "Company of the White Falcon". The band was founded in the 14th century by John Hawkwood, whom Griffith himself may have been based on.