- For the Anime adaption, see Berserk (2017 Anime).
Falcon of the Millennium Empire (千年王国の鷹編 Mireniamu Farukon?) is the fourth story arc of Berserk, serialized in Young Animal between 2001 and 2010. The arc is preceded by Conviction and spans 130 chapters, making it the longest arc to date.
The story follows Guts and his comrades dealing with the aftermath of Griffith's resurrection. Guts has a new threat to face however, Emperor Ganishka of the Kushans. Along the way, he encounters a new friend in the form of Schierke the witch and discovers the fabled Berserker Armor, which threatens his very sanity. Meanwhile, Griffith plots on his own as he embarks on his dream to conquer the world.
The Holy Evil War Chapter
The Prologue to War
After escaping from the ruins of St. Albion, Guts returns with Casca to Godo's hut. But they learn from Erica that the blacksmith had passed away. Guts decides to stay, troubled by lingering guilt, and finds that Griffith arrived ahead of him and is with Rickert at the Hill of Swords. He sprints towards Griffith, who is now adorned in new armor, and is restrained by Rickert from striking at Griffith. Griffith explains that their previous encounter was a poor place for reunion, and that he wanted to visit the Hill of Swords to see if he could feel any remorse for his former, deceased comrades. However, he felt no traces of guilt whatsoever.
Griffith's indifference provokes Guts, who forces Rickert away and then faces Nosferatu Zodd. Zodd expresses joy at Guts' survival of the Eclipse, and proceeds to battle him. Zodd compliments Guts' fighting skill and tells him that he'd have to defeat him to get to Griffith. The battle resumes, Zodd assuming his true form, as Rickert recognizes him as the same monster the Band of Hawk fought years ago. Throughout the fight, Griffith begins to feel a sense of longing for Guts, believing it to be because of the matter used to create his new body.
As Casca arrives, sensing Griffith's presence by her brand, Guts' battle with Zodd destroys the elven ore mine sending large chunks of stone flying through the air which threaten to crush Casca. Luckily, Casca was saved by Griffith, acting out the will of the Demon Child, before he tells Zodd they are leaving. Griffith tells Guts he will fulfill his dream of a kingdom by any means as Zodd starts to take flight. Guts attempts to shoot Griffith down when Rickert, confused of Griffith's parting words to him, stops Guts as he and Griffith have a last exchange of words.
Once Zodd is out of sight, Guts decides to finally explain what really happened during the Eclipse with Rickert falling to his knees upon learning the horrors Griffith allowed to be inflicted upon their group. As Puck is also hearing the story for the first time, he realizes that is the painful sensation he feels from Casca. Rickert insists to join Guts, who refuses the boy would never be able to being himself to fully hate Griffith. The two were overheard by Erica, who runs off in tears. After Puck sends Rickert after her, he convinces Guts consider taking Casca with them to safest place he knows: his homeland. Deciding it is best to leave now rather than be ambushed by spirits, Guts decides to take Puck on his offer and depart for the elf's mysterious home.
Meanwhile, Griffith arrives to a city that has been conquered by the Kushans and kills the conquering general as he was visited by Silat. The soldiers find their arrow have missed their mark prior to being slaughtered by Zodd while Griffith gains more followers guided by destiny to him: a horseman named Locus, an assassin named Raksas, and a a brute in dragon-themed armor. Among the captives relieved to see Griffith after all this years, a girl named Sonia is affected by Griffith to the point of ignoring everything else around her. The carnage was witnesses by a strange young green-haired girl projecting her consciousness through a small bird, telling the elf sitting on the brim of her hat that Griffith is not the savior.
Later joined by an skilled archer and several others, Griffith forms a new Band of the Hawk and makes his army known in the southern fiefdom of Lumias, coming to the aid of young noble named Mule Wolflame when attacks a Kushan convoy. Though many of some of the Kushans escape into the forest after their leader died, the rest killed or enslaved until they join the New Hawks, they are brutally killed by four inhuman members. Mule is later introduced to the "war demons" and the rest of the forces while guided by Sonia to Griffith. Griffith proceeds to induct Mule into his band after his very presence stirs emotions in the noble to the point of swearing undying loyalty.
The War Begins
When Windham fell under Kushan control, corpses now littering the city, it became covered in fog as strange and unnatural creatures appeared on the streets. Furthermore, not all the residents were able to escape like those who made it to St. Albion: only the youth and elderly were left alone while the men made into war slaves and women taken to the castle for unknown reasons. However, there was still resistance as Foss awaits Laban and reveals to him Charlotte is still alive and held on the highest floor of the Tower of Rebirth. But when Foss asks where Griffith is, Laban's men are attacked by a crocodile-like creature before they are surrounded by it and an elephantine beast. But the group is saved when Irvine shoots the crocodile while Locus kills the elephant before Locus learns the news of Charlotte's survival.
Within Windham's castle, Silat and two of his Tapasa appear before the Kushan emperor, Ganishka. Having sensed Locus' presence in the fog, Ganishka chastises Silat for failing to carry out his mission to capture Griffith at St. Albion and orders to now report any move he makes. While his guards express worry of their use, also noting the rumors of monsters prowling the fog-ridden streets, Silat assures them that he will restore the honor of their clan while agreeing that Ganishka is nothing more that an unforgiving tyrant. The three then realize they are not alone as Rakshas appears before Locus returns to Windham with a cavalry. Raksha proceeds to have Silat chase after him, leading them to a temple where Silat learns the horrific fate of the women: watching a pregnant woman being dropped into a vat made of flesh and dies while her baby turns into a creature that rips out of her body. Raksha, having hid himself away from Silat until he witnessed it, explains that the vat is made of apostles and is used by Ganishka to breed an army of monsters called the Daka. After Raksha leaves while telling him that Ganishka is also an apostle, Silat resolves to learn of his ruler's true intentions.
Meanwhile, after paying a visit to Charlotte, attempting to force her to bear his child before realizing her relationship with Griffith, Ganishka is alerted of Locus' assault. Ganishka knew his men were no match for the apostles within the attack force and decides to unleash fully matured Daka on them. Upon seeing Ganishka as the Daka emerge from Windham's castle, Locus realizes the emperor is an apostle and demands while he is acting against Griffith. While Ganishka knows Griffith of the God Hand, he considers himself the rightful heir of the world itself, and he will oppose God personally to have it. This infuriates Locus as he assumes his true form while absorbing his steed while the other apostles under him follow suit. Ganishka orders several elephantine Pishaca to join the fray, just as Silat emerges from the temple to witness. When Irvine attempted to snipe Ganishka, he assumes his true form and proceeds to overpower the weaker apostles.
But Locus refuses to surrender as he orders his forces to withdraw. Ganishka is baffled on their retreat until he realizes too late the attack was a diversion. During the fight, Zodd manages to get Griffith to the Tower of Rebirth where Charlotte has been making embroideries of her love. Tearfully happy to see her love again, Charlotte requests Anna so she can escape with them. Griffith instructs them to stay on the bed, while Zodd breaks into the room and flies off with the bed.
Reunion in the Wilderness
After leaving the Holy Iron Chain Knights, Farnese and Serpico spend a night in the ruins of an old rural house with the latter attempting to convince Farnese to not find Guts and return to the holy city. Serpico proceeds to remember his childhood of how he first met Farnese and served the House Vandimion. He learned many things from being the illegitimate son of Farnese's father Federico de Vandimion III to the hypocrisy of the Holy See to name the less fortunate like his mother a heretic.
Elsewhere, Guts finds himself in a difficult predicament in caring for Casca while fighting off the spirits. The matter is made worst when the darkness within him appears in a dream, convincing him to sacrifice the girl as means for Guts to get his revenge Griffith. Though Guts came too while refusing to do such a thing, he ends up being controlled by the beast during another spirit attack and was almost made to strangle her to death. Guts manages to stop himself, but the damage is done as Casca had lost her trust in him. This forces Guts to put her on a leash to keep her from wandering off, not caring if she resents him as long as he can take her to a safe place. But as Guts has another horrific vision of raping Casca in the same manner as Griffith, Puck comes across Isidro who had just stolen food from Serpico and Farnese.
Puck brings the three to Guts, who ignores Isidro's insistence to learn from him as Farnese explains she and Serpico wish to join him on his journey. Though Farnese explains that she became disillusioned with the Holy See since St. Albion and wants to travel with Guts to understand the truth of the world, cutting her hair while vowing to make amends towards her past actions against him, Guts allows her to come but will not be responsible for her wellbeing. While Puck expected Guts to turn the three travelers down, Guts sees that traveling in numbers would be beneficial in protecting Casca.
The Witch and the Spirit Tree
After a few days of traveling, getting used to his new traveling companions, Guts comes across an old shepherd who gives themdirections to the holy city of Vritannis while warning them that the mountain trail that would be the quickest for them is infested with trolls. After the former learned a dual-wielding fighting style with Guts encouraging him to hone his way of fighting, Isidro and Puck came to the aid of Casca and Farnese when they were being carried off by a ape-like creature that he recognizes as a troll. Attempting to save the girls, Isdiro finds himself outmatched and attempts to outrun the troll before a voice tells him to stand still while revealing that he, Puck, and the women are surrounded by trolls. The source of the voice, the young witch who observed Griffith from afar, orders everybody present to huddle together in the middle of the clearing to create a barrier to keep the trolls from attack before driving them off. After she and her elf companion advise the group to leave, Guts and Serpico arriving too late, the witch noticed something off about Guts and Casca as the former deduces her appearance and that of the trolls is the work of an Apostle.
They later find an old man named Morgan who came from Enoch Village with other men who were attacked by trolls. With Serpico putting on the old man on his back while the group travel through the woods, Morgan explains that he is looking for a manor where a witch lives to beseech her help in saving their village from the invading trolls. When the group find this mansion with a tree growing from it, they find themselves attacked by a large group of golems under the young witch's orders before they learn how to defeat the regenerative beings. The young witch was about to launch another defense when ordered by her mistress to cease. With the group noticing her, the young witch introduces herself as Schierke while she and her elf companion Ivalera bring the group to her mentor: the witch Flora who has been long expecting Guts and Casca. After learning of the troll attacking Morgan's village, revealing that trolls normally do not appear in this realm, Flora apologizes for being too weak to help while offering Schierke to act in her stead. Flora also requests Guts and his friends to aid Schierke in her task, offering the former a talisman that would seal Casca's Brand of Sacrifice for his help.
Later during dinner, Flora revealing that a friend of hers told her to expect Guts and Casca while their Brands of Sacrifices have allowed their human companions to see supernatural beings, she and Schierke reveal that there are three realities: the mortal plane where they are on, the Astral realm where fantastic beings like trolls and elves come from, and the World of Ideas from which all existence is derived from. Schierke elaborates all humans once consciously knew beings originating from the Astral realm exist until the Holy See's doctrine altered people's beliefs. Flora also explains that the Interstice is a overlap between the mortal and Astral realms where the spirits of the dead reside until they accept their deaths and gradually fade into the World of Ideas. While others bathe after dinner, Guts presents Flora with the Count's Behelit to learn more about it. Flora explains that it is a portal from their world to the darkest recesses of the Astral realm where the God Hand reside, revealing all were once human and serve a higher power. Knowing Guts' intent while telling him that it cannot be forced open easily, Flora concludes by explaining the Behelit acts on the higher power's will and will eventually reach of its destined owner no matter what, returning the item to Guts while hoping would not be destined to use it.
Having eavesdropped on Guts' conversation with Flora as he leaves her to bathe himself, Schierke notices Guts' brand and deems him foolish for thinking he can defy the will of higher beings before Flora advices her to not depend heavily on her lessons to predict the future. Flora asks Schierke to cherish her upcoming journey with Guts, as it may yield experiences that will be of great value to the young witch. The next day, Schierke prepares the group for battles against trolls with enchantments and items designed for combat against Astral beings. While Schierke draws a rune over Guts' brand to seal it for a few days, Guts turns down the Axe of the Gnomes she presents him in favor of his sword. Leaving Flora's manor, revealed to be existing on a deep layer of the Interstice, the group heads off. Once they left, Flora finds the Skull Knight waiting for her as he requests a favor as he sees the role Guts is to play in the world.
The Evil Horde
Guts and company are led by Morgan to Enoch Village, whose people have just been through a troll attack that resulted in Hannah being raped and taken after her husband Ted was killed with her brother Horace died attempting to save her. When Schierke reveals she is the witch sent to help them, the people voice disbelief while a Holy See priest dismisses her and the others as traveling performers, and choose not to interfere in what he considers to be God's test on the villagers' faith. Guts manages to convince the priest to let them spend the night by claiming Casca as a pilgrim praying for her sanity restored while allowing Schierke to call the shots with a displeased Isidro storming off to practice. While scouting for the most likely place for the trolls to attack, Schierke is joined by Guts as she revealed to him that every church of the Holy See was built on what used to be the homes of Astral beings while revealing that Flora used to live among people until the Holy See's influence drove her off. By extension of her mentor no longer living in society, Schierke cannot bring herself to forgive humans and gets offended by Guts suggested she leave the villagers to suffer to stay by her dying mentor.
Eventually, the trolls begin their raid and the party regroups at the church. On the way, Isidro and Serpico sees a woman with a small child has been caught by the trolls as the latter, putting his faith in the elemental spirits within it, uses his sylph sword to completely disembowel the trolls with a spiritually-induced wind. Serpico comes to like his new weapon and his cloak. While Isidro wanted to test his salamander dagger against a troll, he decides to fall back to the others when more appear while using the consecrated berries to slow his pursuers down. However, he, Serpico, Farnese, Casca are surrounded yet fortunate that the trolls are not advancing because of the women's silver tunics.
After villagers make it to the chruch, though the priest saw his companions to be lost causes, Guts casually walks towards the sea of trolls and carves a bloody path to the villagers and Schierke's shock as she wondered if his strength is from existing in the interstice or his church. Schierke stands atop the church to enact her plan, with Farnese attempting to reason with the priest as he tries to stop her while Guts deals with the trolls. Sent to help Farnese as she attempts to protect Casca from the trolls while the priest looked on, Serpico and Isidro find more have got into the church and focus on protecting the villagers. Isidro decides to test his new sword skills, only to lose his sword and leave himself open before being saved by Morgan who inspired the villagers to fight back.
Eventually, Schierke establishes an invisible barrier around the church with the trolls inside it have spontaneously combust while Morgan is healed. The priest demands Schierke what she has done as she explains that she performed a ritual that created an evil-warding barrier which is maintained by her mind for the four great beings, who she revealed are the same beings from Holy See scripture, to act through. However, the victory is short-lived when a larger monster that Schierke identifies as an ogre appears and tells Guts to hold it off as she performs another spell. Guts battles the ogre until another creature that Schierke recognizes as a kelpie appears. Serpico offers to deal with the kelpie so Guts can focus on the ogre, the men fighting their respective monster while Schierke managed to commune with a river spirit known as the Lady of the Depths whose shrine the church was built on. Schierke manages to convince the spirit to help her by creating a wash way everything outside her barrier with Guts and Serpico killing the monstrous opponents while the trolls are carried off by the current. However, Schierke dove too deep into the Astral world to regain control of herself to cancel the spell with Ivalera guiding Farnese a method to help guide Schierke back to her body. But as Schierke is safely returned to her body, Farnese and Casca accidently fell into the water and are carried off by the current with Schierke manipulating a log towards them to hold on too. After a few of hours of searching, after Guts assured her that it not her fault, Schierke uses her power to find the women through their life force. But though Schierke are unharmed, she regrets to tell Guts that Farnese and Casca have been captured by the trolls.
As villagers swarm around Schierke in awe at the powers before she requests the priest to make a small shrine for the Lady of the Depths, Isidro is found by Morgan who presents him shortsword that has been passed down his family with the boy accepting his present. As Serpico is injured, he needs to remain behind as Guts and the others embark on a rescue mission to save Casa and Farnese from the trolls.
The Harlot Princess
Guts and his party wander through the forest outside Enoch Village with Schierke tracks the trolls through their residual thoughts as Farnese and Casca are unconscious yet safe because of their tunics. Eventually, the group venture deeper into the forest where it was so dark that Schierke needed to light with her staff. But as they notice their surrounding looking surreal while strange creatures with human faces, Schierke deduces that they've followed the trolls into a part of the Astral realm known as Qliphoth. By then, Farnese comes to and Schierke proceeds to lead the group to the cave that is trolls' lair.
At the trolls' den, Farnese manages to rouse Casca to escape from scavengers feasting on corpses and hide until they are found. However, the women ended up in a chamber of the trolls' den where they rape the women they capture with one of them noticing Farnese and pleading for her help before she curls into a fetal position as a little of baby trolls burst from her stomach. The horrific sight was too much for Farnese to bear as she screams in terror. This attracts more of the trolls as they surround them with only the silver dagger Farnese has keeping the monsters from giving them an antagonizing death. Luckily, Guts arrived in time and covers her group as they get the captive women and children back to Enoch Village while he hold off the trolls. The group fight their way through any pursuers and Qliphoth's predators, only to be surrounded by the trolls until the Skull Knight opens an escape path for them while riding towards Guts. But as the group proceed to get out of the cave, Casca keels over in pain and clutches at her Brand. Sensing the change in Guts' emotions, Schierke decides to give him a few minutes to get out of the cave before she starts to summon a spirit to stop the trolls for good.
At the same time, Guts experiences pain from his brand while seeing his Behelit's face arranged as Slan emerges from the rippling water while using the guts of the trolls killed by Guts to manifest herself. Guts tries to cut Slan down, but she uses her wings to force him to stop his attack before she warps her arms around him. Slan explains that she has been interested in Guts since the Eclipse and watched his every move. She proceeds to taunt him into giving into his rage and activate the behelit so he can become an Apostle. Luckily, the Skull Knight appears in time to stop Guts and questions Slan on why only she is summoned here. But Slan reveals that Griffith's corporeal restoration caused a greater overlapping of the planes of existence that separated her from the other God Hand and that she came to cave of her own will to see Guts. Slan then summons a quartet of ogres and then trolls to deal with the Skull Knight, failing to realize that Guys managed to point his prosthetic arm at her stomach and fired it. But Slan is aroused by the pain as her wound heals while telling Guts it would take more than that to kill her. The Skull Knight tells Guts to use the Dragonslayer as it now exists within the Interstice from killing Apostles. Guts heeds the Skull Knight's words and stabs Slan, who screams in ecstasy before giving Guts a farewell kiss. As he body reverts troll intestines, Slan tells the shocked swordsman that she hopes they'll meet again.
Outside the cave, Schierke established a barrier for herself and another for her comrades and the women and children of Enoch Village as the trolls emerge. As the trolls are armed with farm tools, Isidro leaves the barrier to ward off the trolls while using his dagger and Morgan's short sword to defeat their leader. As Isdiro finds himself surrounded, Schierke succeeds in reaching the swamp spirit known as the Rotting Root Lord to help her wipe out the remaining trolls. Schierke regains control of her body and telepathically urges Guts to escape the cave before she allows the Rotting Root Lord to do his work, only for Guts to reply that he has got his hands full.
As Skull Knight believed, Slan's influence within the troll den have caused the trolls and ogres she summoned to start mutating while budding more of their kind at a rapid rate. Seeing the creatures' numbers would cause a cave-in, the Skull Knight resorts to his trump card: infusing his sword with melted remains of the behelits he consumed to create the Sword of Actuation. He then cuts open a portal leading to the Abyss to exile the fell creatures as he and Guts escape being sucked in by opening another portal to another layer of the Astral realm to escape through before emerging from the cave. The Skull Knight takes his leave once more as Schierke seems to recognize him.
The party then escort the women and children of Enoch Village out of Qliphoth and back to the village with Serpico greeting Farnese while the men of Enoch greet their women and children. As he watches the cheery scene before him, Guts has an epiphany: he now has companions again. Back at the Spirit Tree, Flora has the task the Skull Knight requests of her of preparing a suit of armor that the latter considers to be a risky gambit on his part to give to Guts. But as Flora assures him that the mistakes he made would not be easily repeated, Flora learns that hostile intruders have entered her domain. By the time Guts and his group arrive to the Spirit Tree, leaving Farnese and Casca behind when danger was sensed, they find that it set on fire.
The Berserker Armor
As a distressed Schierke runs into the burning mansion to find her mentor, with Isidro and Serpico after her, Guts realizes it to be the work of Apostles and seeing the Skull Knight who reveals his relation to Flora while the Apostles are revealed to be in league with Griffith and burned the tree on his orders. Inside the tree, Serpico and Isidro urge the girl to escape the blaze while she still can, Schierke receives a telepathic message from Flora who asks her to bring the armor she prepared for Guts who is outnumbered by the fiends responsible for setting the tree on fire. Flora also explains that her time has time while Schierke fears how lonely she will be with her mentor gone and the mansion burned.
Outside, Zodd reveals himself before his fellow apostle Grunbeld, who felt the task of killing Flora beneath him, expresses a desire to fight Guts after he loses it when his opponent reveals that Griffith have formed a new Band of the Hawk. But due to the ethereal damage done to his body by Slan, Guts is greatly overpowered by Grunbeld as Zodd decides to hold the Skull Knight at bay so his underlings can enter the mansion and complete their task. But the intruding apostles are killed by Serpico and Isidro as they and Schierke reach the room where the armor is located. As Grunbeld was about to kill Guts, deeming him unworthy to die by his hammer, the golems combine to protect Guts and hold the apostle off while Guts is telepathically told by Schierke to reach her.
With an apostle notice the side entrance Guts used, the monster attempts to break it down as Schierke, Serpico and Isidro manage to get the armor on Guts. Once the armor is on him, noting he no longer feels pain, Guts kills the fleeing apostle as it runs towards Grunbeld for help. Zodd recognizes the armor and realizes that the Skull Knight give Guts a powerful weapon that may ultimately destroy him. After the armor remodeled itself in the image of the Beast of Darkness, Guts overpowers a shocked Grunbeld. Deeming Guts to truly be finer warrior than himself, Grunbeld concedes defeat before starting a new battle after assuming his true form. But when in that state, Guts continues to be the more superior opponent due to the armor's ability to realign and brace shattered bones.
As Isidro and Serpico watch the battle in awe, attempting to reach their now maddened ally, Schierke reveals that Guts is wearing a suit of dwavish armor known as the Berserker Armor and while it allows the user to fight with greatly increased strength, limitless pain threshold, and bone repair, it can cause potential insanity. But the greater damage is that it keep the user fighting until they ultimately bleed to death. Isidro berates Schierke for giving Guts such a thing in his wounded state, the young witch fretting on what to do before Flora contacts Schierke that only she can save Guts from the power he now possesses.
While Guts gradually becomes animalistic in his way of fighting the other minor apostles join the fray, Schierke manages too make contact with the "soul" of the Berserker Armor and finds the Beast of Darkness, entering it to find Guts' ego while seeing Guts' memories that include a compelte recollection of the Eclipse. Schierke finds Guts' ego in that memory, still intact by the rune Flora imprinted on the armor yet muttering negative things. Though Guts was too consumed in his anguish to notice her as she pleas him to regain his sanity and body, Schierke manages to reach him with images of his current companions and then Casca to enable Guts to fully regain himself. Guts proceeds to kill the apostles attacking Serpico and Isidro and then one that found Farnese and Casca. When Farnese demands his identity, Guts removes his helmet, a patch of white hair appearing above his eye as a consequence of overusing the armor. Isidro, Serpico, Schierke soon follow with Grunbeld following as he attempts to wipe them out. But Flora, now a construct of flame and appearing as a giant youthful version of her, saves Guts' group and telling them to leave the now burning forest as she holds their pursuers off while telling Schierke to find her own path.
The Boy in the Moonlight
A month escaping the destruction of Flora's domain, Guts and allies arrive to a beach. Though Schierke suggested Guts to refuse the armor out of worry, due to the damage he done to his body when he first used the armor, he refuses as the talismans he and Casca obtained would not be enough to contain their brands attracting fell creatures. Eventually the group decide to spend the night at an abandoned cabin on a nearby cliff. Eventually, the group learns that Elfhelm is located on the western island of Skellig which resides in the Interstice and is home to magic users. At that moment, influenced by her experience with the trolls, Farnese requests Schierke to teach her to use magic. Later, unable to sleep, Guts finds a wide-awake Schierke staring out into the sea while talking about Flora and what becomes of magic users like her after death. They are eventually joined by the Skull Knight, whom Guts sensed earlier and knew his appearance was no coincidence. The Skull Knight explains to Guts the detrimental effects of using the Berserker Armor should his inner darkness consumes him again while admitting to Schierke that he and Flora had a similar relationship like the young witch has to Guts. When Guts asks why the why Apostles attacked Flora's mansion, the Skull Knight reveals that only those of the Astral realm can harm Griffith now and that he has been sending his forces to remove any such threat to himself. After resisting the armor, Guts is told that he may once more be put in situation where he must decide between protecting Casca and killing Griffith. The Skull Knight leaves Guts with the hope that the Elf king Hanafubuku of Elfhelm can restore Casca's mind, but warns the swordsman that what he desires may not be the same as Casca's. As it turned out, Casca had left the cabin and wandered the beach before meeting a a small, naked boy with long black hair, the two found together by Farnese, Serpico, Puck, and Isidro. Guts sees the boy and the group decides to give the him shelter while Schierke has a strange feeling about the boy.
Despite Guts being put off by the mysterious boy, he notes Casca's affections towards the child to be similar to her maternal attachment to the Demon Child whose fate he is unaware of before noticing a fog rolling in from the beach as his brand acts up and the group are attacked by upright crocodilians that Schierke realizes are animals that have been infused with spirits and controlled by a magic user. As tonight is a full moon, she gains enough magical potency to summon the Four Kings to hinders the crocodiles for the others to fight them while she tracks down their masters. But as the others benefit from their weapons' effects intensified, it the opposite for Guts as he attempts to resist his darkness while Schierke finds the four Kushan monks for Serpico to kill so the beasts can revert to normal, But the victory is short-lived as another possessed animal emerges from the sea and overwhelms the group as its master is on a boat in the middle of the sea. Eventually, Guts loses himself completely to his inner darkness to defeat the monster. However, under the whim of the Beast of Darkness while trying to regain controls, Guts starts slaughtering the crocodiles before turning his attention towards his allies.
But before things got ugly, a child-sized being of flame appears before Guts to snap him out of his rage so Schierke can free him. While Guts feels guilty of losing control to the point of endangering his allies, he is perplexed by the being that saved him from making an grave error. He then realizes that the being may be the mysterious boy as he and the others realized he is no where to be seen. The group moves off despite, Casca's reluctance to leave the boy, towards the city of Vritannis. On the ship that Schierke sensed to be where makara is located, a harashada reports to his superior Daiba that they took control of the bay. After sending his subordinate to inform to generals of the Kushan land army to advance, Daiba is concerned over the group of pishaca that he sent failed to capture their target.
The Kite and the Owl
Arriving to Vritannis, Serpico explains that the masses of armed people surrounding the city are the armies of many nations under Holy See jurisdiction, Guts notices Schierke is nervous of them before is then nauseated by the cacophony of sounds and smells once in the city. When Serpico brings up Griffith, Guts remembers how his former friend had created a new Band of Hawks. When Schierke's feelings are hurt when Isidro causes her hat to be trampled while advising her to change her attire not to attract unwanted attention, her clothing all she has to remember Flora, she runs off with Ivalera flying after her. Eventually, the two stumble into an empty alley where they notice a human-like whisp whose words Schierke could not make out. It was only when Schierke follows the mysterious wisp that she ends up in the gallows and learns the whisp is the what remains of a hanged Kushan's Astral body, finding similar bodies floating around begging for their corpses to be cut loose. Hypnotizing guards who noticed her intrusion and learned the hanged Kushan are slaves who were executed as an example by the Holy See in light of the Kushan Empire declaring war, Schierke has the hanged Kushans taken down and cremated to free their souls. Meanwhile, on Guts' insistence, Isidro searches for Schierke before he is confronted by Mule when he overheard talking of a witch. But, pretending to know Mule's intent to capture the witch to be awarded by the Holy See, Isidro runs off and finds a man who reveals seeing Shierke at the harbor while warning that pirate slave traders are seen there during nighttime.
At the harbor, realizing she cannot sense other Astral beings due to the abundant amount of people while feeling out of place, Schierke crosses paths with Sonia who witnessed her giving the souls of the Kushan slaves peace. She perceives to tell an allegorical story about the New Band of Hawks and how she believes she and Schierke could be friends due to their similarities. Eventually, the two decide to return to their respective groups before finding dozens of Kushan children fleeing from being taken into slavery by pirates. Realizing the pirates' intent, Schierke picks a fight with them before Isidro arrives and fends off the pirates before he surrounded. Luckily, Mule shows up and helps Isidro fight the pirates before their captain Bonebeard appears who intends to teach the children manners. Though Bonebeard easily defeats Mule by using the instability ground like a floating ship to his advantage, considering to hold the young man hostage or sell him into slavery, he finds himself facing Isidro and commends the youth's skill before outwitting him. However, Isidro had unknowingly awaken a sleeping Azan who attacks the pirates while Mule, Sonia and Schierke gets the Kushan children out of Vritannis. The three are seen joined by Isidro who gets into a heated argument with Mule as Sonia offers Schierke a place among the New Hawks. But seeing Guts, who watched the events at the habor unfold, Schierke turns down Sonia's offer who accepts the girl's decision before their and respective male companions part ways while formally introduce themselves to each other. But as they part, Sonia telling her that she needs to leave Vritannis, Schierke has a vision of the city burning to the ground. Later returning to the others as they found lodging at a canteen, thanking Isidro for finding her after he apologized for hurting her feelings, Shierke changes to more appropriate attire while still feeling she is yet to get used to being among normal humans. As for Sonia, revealed to have feelings for Griffith, she and Mule return to the New Hawks with the Kushan children.
After a night in their cramped room, while Isidro and Serpico search for a vessel willing to take their group to Skellig, Schierke begins to teach Farnese the basics of magic by conjuring the 'luminous body' of an apple she envisions in her mind. When Isidro and Serpico return empty handed, Farnese requests the others to use her familial connections to procure the ship they need from her father Federico de Vandimion III. But after arriving to her family's estate, nervous upon seeing him, Farnese is put down by her father for constantly tarnishing their family name while order her to remain in the mansion. Though Serpico gives Farnese the nerve to make her request, Federico walks off without a word. After almost losing her Silver Surcoat and dagger while bathing, Farnese is visited by her brother Manifico de Vandimion who sees his father to blame for how she turned out before asking of her adventures. After learning of Farnese's reasons, Manifico offers to get her a ship on one condition: That allows herself to be betrothed to his childhood friend Roderick of Iith.
Later, not revealing Farnese's reasons to them, a despondent Serpico returns to the canteen to tell the rest the news while giving them a sealed letter that will guarantee them passage on any ship so long as they present it to the captain. Explaining he must also remain, Serpico gives the group his gear and Farnese's and thanks them while promising that the Vandimion Bank will cover any expenses they may incur during their stay in Vritannis. After sending Puck and Ivalera to find out what's going on, Guts pieces everything while taking Casca accidently dropping the sealed letter in a fireplace as a sight to not part ways with Farnese and Serpico. Back at the manor, calling herself a coward for feeling useless among her friends, Farnese encounters her mother Lady Vandimion who has a private discussion over her arranged betrothal to Roderick. Lady Vandimion proceeds to explain to Farnese that her neglected childhood gives her capacity to become a very caring person before the two head to the a high-profile ball where a heated political debate occurs before Farnese arrives so Manifico can have the betrothal made public.
As Roderick invites Farnese to dance inside the banquet hall, Manifico is surprised to see Lady Vandimion as she warns him that Farnese is not the type of woman who serve as another's pawn. Lady Vandimion then catches sight of Serpico staring through the glass door, watching Farnese and Roderick dance. She remembers him from his days as her family's servant, and he says that he's remained by Farnese's side for as long as she had not been with the Vandimions. Based purely on this fact alone, Lady Vandimion comes to understand that he and Farnese have a special relationship, and that Serpico will always remain with her. With that, Lady Vandimion takes her leave. The side entrance to the banquet hall, after following Farnese's coach, Guts and his company make their way through thanks to Schierke hypnotizing the guards to allow them entry. But she and Guts sense a thick fog rising and realizes it the same as the fog from the beach. The group then see a creature that has just killed the guards that runs into the into the banquet hall. But as they arrive to the banquet hall's entrance, Schierke receives a telepathic message from Serpico to meet them at the side entrance. However, knowing their reasons for coming, Serpico decides to challenge Guts to a duel. Though Serpico's reasons are to ensure Farnese's safety due to the danger from Guts losing control, he accepts Guts' intentions after honoring their wordless agreement. With that settled, Guts refocuses on the task at hand as Schierke, remembering Sonia's parting words, reveals to Serpico that there is a monster like the ones they encountered prowling the banquet hall and Farnese may be endangered.
Back in the banquet hall, as Manifico attempts to announce the betrothal, Franese ends up leaving Roderick's side to find Serpico as the large tiger-like creature bursts into the room and mauls two of the nobles. The frantic nobles attempt to flee as Roderick draws his sword to confront the beast before Farnese uses a silver candelabrum to fight the tiger before it disarmed her due to her dress. Luckily, Farnese is saved by Serpico as Guts kills the tiger before more burst in. While Serpico runs off to finish their controls, Guts battles the tigers as more appear. After Schierke gives Farnese a ring to control thorn snakes she created for her, Serpico finds the harashada and kills them with the witch placing the restored tigers under hypnotic suggesting. With the threat deal with, Guts asks Farnese if truly intends to remain Vritannis. But she admits that she wishes to continue her journey. But as Federico deduces this to be a Kushan attack while attempting cover it up along with his daughter and her allied used sorcery to fend off the tiger pishacas, Guts senses the fog flowing from the dead tigers coalescing into the face of Ganishka who makes his official proclamation of war against the Holy See itself. As Guts realizes Ganishka is an Apostle, believing the Kushan invasion may be Griffith's doing, several ships on the harbor have been set on fire as the a pair of guards reveal the city is under attack by the Kushan Empire's army of possessed beasts and Dakas.
Miles from Vritannis, after being told by Grunbeld and Locus they must not appear in the city as they might provoke Ganishka to join the fray, Zodd sees Sonia as she tells him he would soon decide if he wants to fight the "blade that once cut his flesh" or use it as his weapon. While Sonia explains to Zodd that not even she understands her prophecy, she is called by Mule to act on their mission to meet the dying Pontiff of the Holy See as he and his convey are heading towards the city. Convincing his convoy to let him rest while overhearing them already discussing a potential successor to lead their faith, the Pontiff reflects on his life while expressing regret of not having made any contribution to his faith. However, as he drifts into death, the Pontiff receives a vision of white hawk and wakes up to find Sonia and Mule who reveal that their lord wishes to meet him. As the Pontiff agrees to his cardinals' shock, he takes a messenger's warning of the Kushan attack on Vritannis as a sign to accompany the young wards.
Attack of the Demon Army
Upon learning the Kushan Empire is attacking Vritannis, the Dakas ripping their way through Vritannian soldiers, Guts and his group fret over losing their means to Skellig before Roderick, wanting to prove himself a worthy suitor for Farnese, offers his warship which is anchored outside the harbor. The group proceed to make their way to Roderick's ship Sea Horse with Manifico accompanying them. While Farnese changes into more combat-orientated attire, Guts has a brief encounter with Owen who attempts to ask of Griffith's coming. Though Schierke expressed worry for him, Guts assures her that the Daka are physically demanding enough to lose himself to the Berserker Armor as he and the others fight the Daka before Guts kills the harashada controlling them.
The group eventually runs into a makara that Guts fights, giving Schierke to enter his mind should he lose control, while the others deal with tiger-riding Daka. After Guts manages to kil the makara, proceeds to ruthlessly kill the Daka and convinces the others to follow his example. But when Schierke notices a new wave of Daka are emerging from a Kushan warship to lay waste to Vritannis, Guts tells the others to stand back he willing allows himself to be taken over the Beast of Darkness to destroy the Daka horde. But Schierke convinces Guts to let her a spell, having Guts draw the Daka away from her. As Guts nearly loses himself to his inner darkness, Schierke convinces the hellfire-based being known the Wheel of Flame to help her destroy the Daka. But the spell made Schierke too weak to move on her own as the group find their path impeded by a group of makara. Despite Schierke's pleas as she astral projects herself into him with a first-person view of what occurs next, Guts allows the Beast of Darkness to take over so he can wipe off the makara.
Once makara all killed, Serpico concerned that he may attack them knock, Guts notices a massive Kushan galleass sail into the harbor. Guts leaps onto its bowsprit, where he comes face-to-face with the floating Daiba. Daiba, who does not fear Guts' presence, displays an interest as he is about to battle Guts with waterspouts. As Guts fights Daiba, Schierke manages to restore Guts' mind while telling him remain level-headed as her presence allows him to use the Berserker Armor to its full ability without losing himself to his darkness. But as the others join him in facing Daiba, Guts finds himself facing a deadly opponent in the Kundalini that the Kushan sorcerer summons. Though the creature is god-like in power, Schierke explains that its true form is the small snake-like creature floating in it. Disregarding the impossible odds, Guts manages to disrupt the Kundalini's body after Schierke infuses his Dragonslayer with the Wheel of Fire while Serpico decapitates its exposed core.
But as Daiba evades his opponents on his Garuda, Schierke concerned her spellcasting may add to Guts' injuries, Ganishka makes his presence known and compliments Guts' group for defeating his forces while revealing himself to also be Griffith's enemy. Ganishka proceeds to attack Guts on the assumption that he is allied with Griffith, his lightning bolt forcing Schierke back into his body with Guts managing to avoid another by using his Dragonslayer as a lightning rod. Guts then explains he is not allied with Griffith as Ganishka realizes Guts speaks the truth upon seeing his brand, offering an alliance to wipe out their mutual enemy. While Guts is intrigued to meet an apostle who is willing to fight the God Hand, he turns down Ganishka's offer as the latter beckons his Daka to the harbor to wipe out Guts' group.
However, the Neo Band of the Hawk have arrived at Vritannis and are laying waste to Ganishka's forces while Zodd and flight-able apostles reach the harbor to face Ganishka himself. Telling Serpico to regroup with the others while assuring them he is safe and will join them once he regains his strength, Guts finds himself encountering Zodd as Schierke revealing that the Ganishka they are facing is actually an astral projection in a construct made from wind and water elementals. After Schierke adds that Ganishka is an Apostle that nothing of the physical world can harm, Guts and Zodd enter a momentarily truce to defeat their mutual enemy while Schierke directs them to fog construct's eyes. As Ganshika's fog construct dissolves, returning to his wounded his body in Windham, Daiba retreats to another Kushan warship while having what remained of their demonic army wipe itself out rather to wait for them to come aboard. Though considering truce nullified, Zodd decides to postpone his rematch with Guts while warning him not to go after Griffith who will be arriving in the city soon. At the insistence of Serpico, the barely conscious Guts decides to accepts Zodd's conditions as the others unknowingly use Azan's dinghy to reach Roderick's ship while the last thing Guts sees is Griffith on a far-away cliff staring back at him.
As Guts' group leave the city, Owen and the Vritannian soldiers perform a sweep of the city while finding the corpses of the Daka and the makara reverted to their natural states and questioning if there were even actual monsters in the city. But outside the city as day comes, the Holy See armies see a massive Kushan army coming their way with Ganishka personally leading it with Silat and his Tapasa in attendance despite their mixed feelings about the emperor. As Owen realizes the attack in the city was a preemptive strike to cause disarray, the Kushan send their elephant riders to trample most of the Holy See army for their cavalry to mow the survivors down. Things appeared hopeless until the new Band of the Hawk makes their presence known and utterly destroy the Kushan army and then surrounding the mobile palace where Ganshika holds himself in. As Griffith confronts Ganishka as Silat watches the events unfold incognito, seeing Ganishka assume his apostle form before he suddenly reverts to human form due to a sudden wind and finds himself inadvertently kneeling before Griffith. Griffith explains to Ganishka that the wind's presence has brought them to a stalemate: offering Ganishka a reprieve so they can settle things properly in Windham.
Soon after the Kushan army retreat, Griffith appears in Vritannis and meets with the nobles while explaining that he is the absolute leader of Midland's army while insisting all other armies to serve under him or leave the country. When some of the Midland nobles question Griffith's right, due to rumors they heard of him, Charlotte appears and reveals that she gave her betrothed Griffith command over the Midland regular army. Charlotte's appearance, along with her public announcement that she is marry Griffith, the foreign nobles to also voice their contempt as they had plan to take some Midland territory in return for their help. It was only when the Pontiff arrives that everyone concedes to the turn of events when their spiritual leader reveres Griffith as the Hawk of Light.
In time, word of "Kushan defeat" along with Charlotte's survival and betrothal to Griffith reached Laban and the resistance with only Foss not surprised. With Windham practically defenseless while other rebel factions have risen up across Midland to take back their homes, Laban decides to focus his group to save the captive women. But Foss' daughter Elize reveals that she and the other children have been having a dream about the Hawk of Light: A dream where on a moonlight night, the fog will take Kushan man and beast alike before appearing the next day as a shadow will rise with the sun. Upon hearing this revelation, explaining the other Midlanders to have the same dream like before and know to evacuate the country, Laban learns this shadow can only be defeated by the Hawk of Light. The next morning, the Band of the Hawk are making their way to Windham with the Pontiff accompanying them so he can coronate Griffith while personally marrying him to Charlotte. As Mule seeing the small contingent of nobles each exiled noble provided, he is told by Locus that the Holy See is unwilling to send their army to a doomed land while telling the youth that it does not matter as the 'true sun will shine upon the world' soon.
After returning to Windham, knowing he is no match for Griffith as he is, Ganshika reaches the chamber where the Daka are created. There, despite Daiba's pleas, Ganshika intends to enter the Man-Made Behelit to assume a ideal form to battle one of the God Hand. Within moments of Ganshika entering the vat of Apostle flesh, Windham's inhabitants safe in their homes, the apostle's fog becomes acidic as it eats away the pishaca and Kushan soldiers patrolling the streets. Daiba, using his magic to protect himself from the mist, sees the fog sucked into the Man-Made Behelit and realizes that Ganshika is using the life force of those killed by the fog to undergo a ritual sacrifice to gain power from one of the deepest layers of the Astral world. At the same time after the fog retracts, finding clothes that remained of the sacrificed Kushan soldiers as the people leave the city through the waterway, Laban and his Arklow Knights find the imprisoned women who used their gowns to keep the fog from coming in their cell. With the number of prisoners making the escape route he planned ineffective, Laban decides to use the Kushan soldier garbs to sneak the rest of the populace unnoticed through the Kushan army now surrounding the city. Once getting everyone to safely with help from a Kushan loyal to Griffith, Silat allowing them to escape, Laban manages to get the Midlanders a safe distance away from Windham as he meets up with Owen and the Band of the Hawk. As the sun rises, Daiba fearfully stumbles out of the temple into the now empty city of Windham from seeing the multi-faced entity that Ganishka has become. Forcing his way out of the temple, Gansiska continues to grow in size as the entire city of Windham is destroyed while casting a shadow long enough to reach the new Band of Hawks. As Ganshika lumbers towards Griffith, crushing his own army under his feet, only Griffith maintains his calm at the approaching giant.
The Cradle of a New World
Though Daiba attempts to reach him to convince him not to kill their forces, it turns out that Ganishka is slowly losing his mind with only his drive to kill Griffith whose radiance is the only thing he can see from his height. Furthermore, the corpses of those crushed under Ganishka's feet are transformed into his familiars that devour the survivors before advancing ahead to slaughter the Midlanders. After telling Sonia, Mule, and Laban to protect the others, Griffith has his Apostle followers assume their true forms while charging into battle. The human Hawk members are left speechless of their comrades' true identities until Sonia telepathically addresses them that it does not matter as all of them are served Griffith. Sonia when attempts to charge towards out of Ganishka's familiars before it was killed by Irvine in his Apostle form to prove her point, giving Griffith unwavering support as he orders his men to lure the monsters that get past the war demons into a single area to wipe in cannon fire.
Daiba watches the entire scene from the sky atop his Garuda, astonished to find the Apostles, those both who rejected their humanity, aiding the humans as brothers in arms against Ganishka. The Pontiff is also marveled by the supernatural turn of events that have consider the various reasons religions came to be. When Ganishka finally reaches their location, Griffith rides Zodd to reach Ganishka's head and dismounts. Griffith then finds what remains of Ganishka's human body, the emperor too absorbed in his own thoughts before realizing that Griffith has found him while assuming his Femto form. But then the Skull Knight appears from behind Griffith at the last second and attempts to cut him with his Sword of Actuation. However, as Zodd holds the Skull Knight at bay, Griffith expected the figure is appear and used his power to redirect the slash from the Sword of Actuation at Ganshika. As Ganishka has underwent a second reincarnation, the Sword of Actuation's redirected wound has opened a portal into the deepest layers of the Astral world.
The light consuming the head of Ganshika's giant form, explodes outward and causing fantastic creatures of the Astral World to appear in the the physical world along with the God Hand. Once the light resolves, the new Band of the Hawk find Ganishka's body twisted into a white tree. The Hawks watch the scene in awe until one child gets his mother's attention and points to a nearby city that Foss recognizes as one that predates Windham itself while Pontiff, deeming it a place worthy of Griffith christens the city Falconia. The Hawks look up into the sky to see Griffith descending on Zodd while directing his forces to guide everyone into the city.
The Seaward Journey Towards Elfhelm
A day after the Sea Horse left Vritannis, Azan still keeping his identity hidden out of shame, Roderick is still getting used to the supernatural things he had witnessed while telling his navigator that Guts' group are to be treated with the utmost respect, especially the female members. Below deck, Schierke teaches Farnese the method of astral projecting herself. The two proceed to be lifted by sylphs into the air to fly above the Sea Horse, seeing Guts watching Casca as his vision was momentarily blurred. Farnese ends up returning to he body when Roderick asks Guts of his relationship to Casca. When Casca accidently falls into the sea while trying to avoid him, Guts saves her but starts to sink due to the weight of his prosthetic arm while losing consciousness. Luckily, Guts was saved by Roderick is relieved that Casca is alright before Schierke, who accepted that she could never replace Casca, asks the others to leave while she redraws Guts' erased sealing mark. When the ship comes under attack by three pirate ships under Bonebeard, Guts and his group were been taken to hold with Manifico with Guts having a fever-induced nightmare. Inside Guts' mind, trapped within the seal Schierke formed, the Beast of Darkness stirs while voicing his intentions to kill all of Guts' new friends before going after Griffith when the chance to take over his body comes. By the time Guts comes to, Bonebeard and his crew were driven off and he allows his group to join take part in the post-victory festivities. As Manifico manages to win Puck over when the Elf learns of his intent to sell his kin off to the nobility upon reaching Skellig, Farnese is given closure of her role in the group by Roderick while Guts stares out into the sea.
The following day, after a bit of elf mischief by Puck to use Guts' Behelit as bait, the group find the item's face rearranged. Guts also sees Casca clutching in pain at her brand while sensing an odd sensation emanating from his own, which coincides to Ganishka's transformation. Schierke and Farnese discuss the sensation that they also feel, the former comparing it to the very world being split apart. Within a few hours, in conjunction with the World Transformation caused by Ganshika's death, Guts and his company are also hit by the light that has engulfed the world and changed it.
- Guts accepts Ishidro, Farnese and Serpico to join him. Then his party increases in size.
- The fall of the Kushan Empire and the creation of Falconia from the ashes of Windham after Ganishka's death.
- The video game Berserk: Falcon of the Millennium Empire Arc: The Flowers of Oblivion Chapter is known to take place between episodes 182 and 187.
- In an interview with Young Animal, Miura revealed he was inspired to name the arc after the Millennium Falcon from the Star Wars series. 
|Falcon of the Millennium Empire Arc|
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