Vargas is a doctor-turned-rebel who devotes the final seven years of his life to killing the Count.
Vargas is an aged, diminutive man. He has a large roundish head, despite his body being rather weak and frail. After being tortured at the Count's hands, Vargas is left with horrific injuries to his face and limbs, resulting in his nose, right eye, right ear, and legs being removed, along with the skin on the right side of his face. He hides his facial injuries under bandages and replaces his amputated legs with two wooden peg legs, using a cane to assist in balance. He wears a robe over the rest of his body, layered under a darker hooded cloak and a scarf.
Despite his disconcerting appearance, Vargas is a kindly man who wishes well to all he meets, with the exception of the Count. Meeting Guts during the latter's days as the Black Swordsman (wherein Guts is less mindful of other people's opinions or feelings), Vargas is subjected to humiliating abuse at Guts' hands, such as having his cane kicked out from under him and falling flat on his face. Despite this, Vargas never lashes out against Guts and instead seeks to ally with him, knowing that the Black Swordsman possesses the skills needed to defeat the Count.
Vargas also takes an active stance in the defense of innocents: when Zondark raids Vargas' laboratory in search of Guts, Vargas shields Puck with his own body from the falling debris caused by Zondark's whip-like attacks. Through his interactions with Puck, Vargas begins to entertain the idea of abandoning his revenge in favor of moving on with his life, but is captured and killed before he can ponder the thought further.
As the Count's former physician, Vargas possesses a wealth of knowledge in the field of medicine. This knowledge ultimately allows him to convincingly fake his own death and escape from captivity. He also apparently has knowledge in crafting smoke bombs, having used them to aid Guts in escaping a regiment of the Count's guards.
As the Count's court physician, Vargas becomes disgusted by his employer's barbarous inquisition—violating and eating supposed heretics—and promptly attempts to flee the Count's castle with his wife and children in tow. However, Vargas and his family are apprehended and returned to the Count, who keeps them locked in a dungeon. He is forced to watch as his family is dismembered and eaten, and is then mutilated himself. Before he too can be killed, Vargas manages to fake his own death and escapes the dungeon with the Count's Behelit. For the next seven years, Vargas despises the Count and wishes to see his demise, but lacks the physical ability to kill the Apostle himself.
Black Swordsman Arc
Vargas is introduced aiding Guts' escape from the Count's soldiers with the use of smoke bombs, having witnessed his duel with Zondark and realized that the swordsman's fighting prowess is more than capable of defeating the Count. He takes Guts and Puck to his underground laboratory, revealing the Behelit in his possession. When Guts demands to know the Behelit's origin, strangling the deformed man in the process, Vargas insists that the fetish is not his; he stole it from the Count. He then tells the travelers of his past leading up to their meeting in order to clear his name. After finishing his story, Vargas exclaims that he still does not understand the nature of the stolen fetish. In response, Guts explains that the object has manipulated the dark side of human history since ancient times, and that it acts as a key to summon the God Hand.
Vargas grabs hold of Guts' shoulder and pleads with him to kill the Count in his stead, and Guts, displaying an aversion to being touched, kicks the man back. While he takes Guts' bad attitude and abuse without complaint, he forms a more mutually well-meaning bond with Puck, who feels pity for him, and eventually shields the elf from the destruction caused by Zondark's second duel with Guts. Following Zondark's defeat, Vargas shows Guts a way out of the sewers and into the castle. Before departing with the swordsman, Puck advises Vargas to give up his pursuit of revenge and to instead live for the future, which the latter begins to consider. However, he is quickly captured by the Count and put up to be publicly executed in a ploy to draw out Guts. Puck frantically urges Guts to save him, and when Guts refuses, remarking that Vargas is weak, Puck points out the truth: Guts is afraid because he sees similarities between himself and Vargas. In the face of Guts' inaction, Puck attempts to save Vargas himself, failing miserably and being captured in the process. Vargas' final words curse the Count and promise retribution for his crimes, before an axe takes his head off.
Though dead, Vargas has an aftereffect on the swordsman and his elf companion, with Puck lamenting his inability to save an innocent life. Guts muses by himself on the similarities between them, though he denies it when Puck brings up the subject. The God Hand, Guts, Puck, and Theresia all witness the dead drag the Count into the Abyss when he refuses to sacrifice his daughter, and Vargas is one of the first souls to bind him, fulfilling his oath of vengeance.
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