These are those refashioned by causality and extraordinary obsession. These are apostles. [...] Beasts to be simply shunned, feared, and detested.
– Locus on apostlehood
Apostles (使徒) are inhumans who, typically having acquired and activated a beherit in a moment of anguish, summoned the God Hand and joined the ranks of demonkind in exchange for a precious sacrifice. The sacrifice required is always a thing that defines their humanity – something which, when relinquished, is as if abandoning a part of one's soul. Apostles have only one absolute law decreed on them by the God Hand: "Do as thou wilt," allowing them to act with free will in how they use their ascended status of being. However, this law does not protect them from one another, allowing apostles loyal to the God Hand to eliminate those who interfere with their designs. While apostles are free to do as they please, most heed the call of the God Hand when they are needed and possess a "maddening" instinct which compels them in the presence of a God Hand member.
Each apostle is unique in their true form – a spiritual reflection of themselves made flesh. Their appearance varies greatly, from warped versions of animals to demonic and hellish monstrosities, many of which bear remnants of their human features. Conversely, the features of an apostle's true form are often reflected in their human form, ranging from the obvious like Wyald's ape-like face to the more human features of Locus, Irvine and Grunbeld.
When an apostle is killed, their spirit is dragged into the Abyss, and their physical body reverts back to its original human form with all injuries remaining on their bodies analogous to the injured parts of their previous apostle form.
Most apostles are defined by their lack of empathy and insatiable desire for bloodshed, though there are exceptionally disciplined apostles such as Grunbeld, Irvine and Locus who are able to suppress their ravenous tendencies. Following the Incarnation Ceremony, numerous apostles flock to Griffith and pledge their allegiance to him. In doing so, they are finally granted a place in the world of man, fighting alongside humanity as the White Falcon's metaphorical beaks and talons.
Despite their transformation into demonic beings, several apostles are able to retain at least one shred of their former humanity; an example of such is the Count, who after being mortally wounded was unable to sacrifice his daughter in exchange for new life.
All apostles – save the Egg of the Perfect World – bear an initial humanoid form, but are capable of assuming their true forms at any time. Even in human form, they boast strength and reflexes far beyond that of typical humans. Wyald was completely untrained in combat, but with his monstrous strength, easily mutilates challengers like Barbo and keeps up with a trained swordsman like Guts. In their true forms, most apostles are extremely powerful and boast powers and strength greatly exceeding that of most humans.
Size is no guarantee of power, and while many apostles are incredibly terrifying for their monstrous appearances, ones that utilize abilities not immediately evident are particularly lethal. Examples include Rosine, who is capable of flying at speeds high enough to break the sound barrier and create sonic booms, and Irvine, whose very specific and refined usage of self-fashioned arrows makes him as of yet untouched. The Count's body, already very slippery and malleable, is able to sustain numerous injuries from Guts and still properly function, until he is decapitated. Rakshas boasts a similar power, having an amorphous body and only being deterred by the destruction of his mask.
Some apostles are able to create spawn called pseudo-apostles, usually by some method of transforming humans, though the method varies as can the effects. The Count creates a spawn from Zondark by forcing him to ingest a parasitic slug, allowing the Count to speak and monitor through him, and granting Zondark his regenerative abilities. Rosine's elves are spawn created from hundreds of kidnapped children, while adults are turned into monstrous insectoid guardians that can shift between human and insect forms at will. The Egg of the Perfect World uses its tendrils to "sting" and infect humans, granting them forms reflecting their beliefs: the Great Goat is transformed into a goat-headed stereotype of a demon, while Mozgus and his disciples are transformed into stereotypically angelic beings bearing wings.
Though more of a biological quality rather than a commonly used ability, apostles have Abyss-fueled evil power flowing through their bodies; as such, they can have various effects on contacted subjects. Ganishka's Man-Made Beherit is a vat filled with amniotic fluid and made from stitched-together apostles that, since their interiors are linked to the beyond, are used to turn embryos of pregnant women into rapidly-developing daka as they're infused with evil power, and by the emperor himself to initiate a second, artificial reincarnation. By raping Casca, Femto was able to taint her two-week-old embryo into a mutated fetus that was born in under a month. Guts has been using the Dragon Slayer to kill apostles for such an extended time that their blood and malice have tempered the sword, imbuing it with astral properties suitable for inflicting damage on astral beings.
List of Apostles
(† indicates the apostle has died)
- Egg of the Perfect World†
- Slug Count†
- Snake Lord†
- Unidentified female apostle†
- Unidentified roaming apostle†
- Vlad Tepes, Charles and Baron Balzac are non-canon apostles. Vlad Tepes appears in Berserk: The Prototype whilst Charles and Balzac appear in Berserk: Millennium Falcon Hen Seima Senki no Shō and Sword of the Berserk: Guts' Rage, respectively.
- ^ a b c Berserk, Volume 38, "Pandemonium"
- ^ a b Berserk, Volume 12, "All the Inhuman Monsters"
- ^ Berserk, Volume 3, "Guardian Angels of Desire (5)"
- ^ a b c Berserk, Volume 11, "Immortal One, Again"
- ^ a b Berserk, Volume 22, "War Cry of the Wind (2)"
- ^ Berserk, Volume 32, "Torn Battlefield"
- ^ a b Berserk, Volume 3, "Guardian Angels of Desire (6)"
- ^ Berserk, Volume 16, "Bloody Night Sky"
- ^ Berserk, Volume 3, "Guardian Angels of Desire (4)"
- ^ Berserk, Volume 38, "Bridge of Parting"
- ^ Berserk, Volume 2, "Guardian Angels of Desire (2)"
- ^ Berserk, Volume 15, "Queen"
- ^ Berserk, Volume 15, "Guardian (1)"
- ^ Berserk, Volume 19, "Monsters' Cave"
- ^ Berserk, Volume 20, "Spider's Thread"
- ^ Berserk, Volume 27, "Demon Knight"
- ^ Berserk, Volume 33, "Fog of Death"
- ^ Berserk, Volume 14, "Demon Child"
- ^ Berserk, Volume 26, "Whore Princess of the Uterine Sea"