|Brand of Sacrifice|
- "You have now been marked with the Brand of Sacrifice. The lives of those who bear the Brand, from the last drop of blood, to the last moment of your agonizing death, will feed life to the new Child of Darkness." — Void, to the branded Band of the Hawk
The Brand of Sacrifice (生贄の焼印 Ikenie no Yakīn?) marks those for a sacrificial ceremony in which an Apostle or God Hand is created. The sacrificed, usually someone close and dear to the summoner, is then ritualistically murdered, with the deceased's life force used to complete the summoner's transition into either an Apostle or a member of the God Hand.
Branded humans who are fortunate (or unfortunate) enough to survive reside in the Interstice between the Physical and Astral worlds, forced to fend themselves against creatures of darkness and the nightly attacks by the restless souls of the dead who desire flesh. In response to these fell entities, the brand will bleed and cause pain. Around ordinary evil spirits or apostles, the blood will only trickle out, and the pain will be relatively minimal. Around a member of the God Hand, the brand will shoot blood out in huge gushes, and the pain inflicted will be truly agonizing. If the evil is too great, it can supposedly kill the Branded.
Only the leader of the God Hand, Void, can administer a Brand of Sacrifice.
In the case of a human being reborn as an Apostle, the sacrifice required is determined by its importance to the ascending. These are usually family members or other loved ones, and the number of Apostles present to feast is unknown. However, what is known is that in the special case of the Eclipse, the sacrifice demanded is much greater, and every Apostle in the world is drawn to arrive, closing in even before the ceremony begins.
However, the sacrifice need not necessarily be someone that the ascending loves, nor must it necessarily even be a specific living human or humans. Griffith, whose camaraderie with them was questionable, sacrificed the Band of the Hawk to become Femto. The Egg of the Perfect World sacrificed his "world"; interestingly, his own body seems to have become branded. In addition, a Brand presents itself in the form of fires as the Egg's wishes come true. What matters is the value or importance of the sacrificed to the Apostle-to-be.
Two factors can cause an intended sacrifice to be refused. Guts was refused as the Count's sacrifice on both of these, the first being that his importance to the God Hand was irrelevant; it was his importance to the Count that could have made him a viable sacrifice. Second, Guts had already been branded in a previous ceremony and could not be sacrificed a second time.
Guts and Casca are the only known branded survivors to date. When the two traveled together, they attracted an unusual amount of evil spirits, causing catastrophe to every human settlement that they passed by. The witches Flora and Schierke are able to mitigate the effects of the Brands by inscribing temporary seals over them.
- Guts' Brand is on the right side of his neck near his jugular vein.
- Casca's Brand is on the upper-middle part of her left breast.
- Judeau's Brand is on the frontal side of his left hand.
- Corkus's Brand is on his forehead.
- Pippin's Brand is on his right arm.
- The Egg of the Perfect World's Brand is on his tongue.
- It is unknown if the Brand can be severed if on an extremity, like in Judeau or Pippin's case, or by severing the limb. Guts and Casca's Brands are located over vitals, however.
- Given the Brand is consecrated on an individual on the Astral plane, and it has been shown living creatures have an astral body, this seems unlikely, as the Brand would continue to exist in all planes of existence.