"The Black Swordsman" is the 1st of sixteen nonnumerical episodes of the Berserk manga, written and illustrated by Kentarou Miura.

Synopsis Edit

The Black Swordsman enters the town of Koka in search of the Snake Lord apostle, immediately making his presence known by attacking a group of thugs in a tavern. Upon receiving word of the swordsman's arrival, the bloodlusted Snake Lord dons his battle armor and resolves to burn Koka down while killing all townsfolk in his path. The Black Swordsman intercepts the fiend, and after an arduous battle with the transformed apostle, incapacitates the Snake Lord, thereafter leaving him for dead.

Story Edit

E0A-Female Apostle Death-Manga

The one-armed man, hardly fazed by a monster.

Late at night, a man with a perpetually-closed right eye and prosthetic left arm is having sex with a blonde woman next to a campfire. The woman transforms into a monster and proclaims that the man has fallen into her trap. He then rams his prosthetic arm into her mouth, and the sound of cannon fire rings throughout the night air. He clothes himself and departs, leaving the charred body of the monster behind. In the morning, he makes his way into the nearby town of Koka.

E0A-Koka Thugs-Manga

Koka thugs toying with a captured elf.

Entering a town tavern, the man attacks a group of thugs who are toying with a caged elf. After dispatching several men with his repeater crossbow, he gives one of them a message to deliver to their boss in Koka Castle: "The Black Swordsman has come." When another thug attempts to ambush him, the man brandishes his enormous sword and bisects his attacker, afterwards leaving the tavern and entering the streets. He is then met by the elf from earlier, who introduces himself as Puck, explains the town's dire state, and the mayor's pact with the thugs. When the two are surrounded by town guards, however, the elf flees with haste and the Black Swordsman is taken to Koka Castle, where he is tortured.

Just as the torturer is about to resume torturing the swordsman, the Mayor of Koka enters, dismisses him, and proceeds to accuse the swordsman of having doomed the town by killing the town ruler's men. After the mayor discloses the ruler's inhuman nature, the Black Swordsman, familiar with such monsters, surmises that the town ruler eats flesh, provided by the mayor out of self-preservation. Offended by the notion, the mayor orders the continued torture of the swordsman.

E0A-Snake Lord Glare-Manga

The Snake Lord turns his rancor towards the town.

In his castle chambers, the Snake Lord is informed by the surviving thug of the Black Swordsman's attack in the tavern. Another thug enters and ushers in the mayor, who begs forgiveness from the Snake Lord for the thugs' deaths. In return, he offers the Snake Lord extra daily quantities of gold and human cattle. The Snake Lord accuses the mayor of fearing for his own life more than those of the townsfolk, and flicks a morsel of human ear at him, petrifying the mayor. He then claims he does not truly care for gold or human cattle, ultimately desiring to see them die in a fiery apocalypse and hear their bones crunch beneath horse hooves. As the mayor is dragged away by two thugs, the Snake Lord sets his sights on the town.

Waking face-down to the sight of a deformed fetus-like creature, the Black Swordsman wriggles in agitation as it approaches, causing the creature to vanish; in his fit, he accidentally headbutts a newly-arrived, key-toting Puck. Puck looks over the Black Swordsman's wounds, explaining that he has returned to free the man, as thanks for the swordsman's indirect rescuing of him earlier. Despite the Black Swordsman's orders not to be touched, the elf moves closer and releases healing dust from his wings onto the man's wounds, immediately dulling the pain. The swordsman thereafter reveals his name – Guts – and expresses his complete lack of concern for the lives of the townsfolk, and of the weak in general. Offended by Guts' display of apathy, Puck flies away, just as the swordsman's brand begins bleeding in response to the Snake Lord's approach.

E0A-Snake Lord Defeated-Manga

Guts defeats the Snake Lord.

The Snake Lord rides through Koka in search of his aggressor, burning down everything in his path and leaving a trail of corpses in his wake. Guts intercepts and battles his target, forcing the Snake Lord to assume a large humanoid cobra form, and after an arduous bout, incapacitates the fiend. He interrogates the Snake Lord for the whereabouts of the "God Hand", but to no avail, before leaving the demon to burn to cinders. As Puck looks on at the chaotic scene from afar, he can only find it within himself to utter one word: "Berserk..."

Characters in Order of Appearance Edit

Arc Navigation Edit

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