Berserk: The Flame Dragon Knight is a novelization of the manga Berserk illustrated by Kentarou Miura and written by Makoto Fukami, director and screenwriter for the Berserk 2016 anime. The original Japanese version was released on June 23, 2017, and the English version by Dark Horse Comics on April 17, 2019.
General Kirsten of the Grand Dukedom of Grant arrives at a guard tower where a pile of corpses lies. In recent times, beautiful noblewomen have been gratuitously murdered. Kirsten wants to investigate the murders as discreetly as possible.
Chapter 1 Edit
Grant is a kingdom situated on a volcanic island to the northeast of the continental mainland, which has been under threat of invasion by the Tudor Empire for the past 14 years. In the kingdom, there persists a legend of a vicious dragon and a virgin who sacrificed herself to the dragon for the country's sake. At the Fire Dragon's Nest – Grant's most preeminent fortress – Grunbeld Arkvist has been serving as the commander for ten years. Grunbeld's father died in battle long ago, and his mother was killed by Tudor soldiers 14 years ago.
Receding 14 years into the past, Grunbeld is shown to already be huge for his age. His mother, hailing from destitute nobility, schools him in swordsmanship. Despised, he gets beaten up by some kids, who leave him in a forest after presuming him to be dead. While laying in the forest, a blind girl named Benedikte, accompanied by a gray wolf named Ludwig, approaches him. Benedikte says that though her eyes cannot see, her heart does, and that from her perspective, Grunbeld appears as a big, red object; as such, she calls him a dragon. Benedikte brings Grunbeld to a hot spring, which heals his wounds, and tells the young man he will one day become a powerful dragon, capable of burning everything down and enduring any blow.
Soon after, Tudor mounts an attack on Grant, in which Grunbeld's family servant is killed, and his mother is raped and murdered. Grunbeld and other Grant children are abducted and imprisoned in Tudor's occupational fortress of Chester. There, they are subjected to conversion education with the intent of making them faithful to Tudor, as well as military training, by a cruel, callous officer named Abecassis. In Chester, Grunbeld meets Edvard, a potential successor to the throne of Grant, and Sigur, a noble girl, eventually befriending them. As time passes, Grunbeld continues to resist pledging loyalty to Tudor and adopting the empire's Holy See religious doctrine. After his resistance is observed, he is forced to duel an officer as punishment. Grunbeld emerges victorious and murders the officer, who had been the soldier who raped and killed his mother. For Grunbeld's misconduct, Sigur is punished in his stead, consequently raped and tortured.
Four years later, Grunbeld becomes viewed as problematic. Abecassis arranges for Grunbeld, Edvard, and Sigur to fight a tiger in an old coliseum. Edvard comes up with a plan and asks Abecassis to hold the fight at night. They are each issued a wooden sword, and an exceptionally large war hammer is placed near the tiger cage, with Abecassis eagerly hoping for the youths to try and fail to wield the weapon in despair. The trio uses torches to illuminate the arena, and Grunbeld manages to wield the war hammer. While his friends distract the tiger with their torches, Grunbeld drops the war hammer on the feline and slaughters the beast. Afterwards, Grunbeld finds a beherit in the pool of the tiger's blood, taking the fetish to later fashion a bracelet with it. Just as Abecassis orders the youths to be shot, Grant soldiers flood into the coliseum. Abecassis escapes and the man leading the raid, General Kirsten, explains that they required permission from the Grant royalty to finally attack.
Later, Kirsten takes Grunbeld under his wing as his protégé. During a victory celebration, Grand Duke Haakon appears, but does not say much, which angers Edvard, his son. It is discovered that Benedikte is Grant's high priestess. After the celebration, Grunbeld and Benedikte converse at the spring.
Chapter 2 Edit
Fourteen years later, Grunbeld has become a knight and the leader of the 3000 strong Flame Dragon Knights, as well as the army of Grant's most reputed leader. Edvard is his second-in-command, while Sigur leads the heavy infantry. During a battle against Tudor, Grunbeld joins the fray in a chariot drawn by eight horses, despite it being an obsolete tool of war, due to his great weight while armored. He decimates the enemy force with his war hammer – now his signature weapon. Afterwards, he goes to a temple where Benedikte is and they discuss his beherit.
Grand Duke Haakon becomes increasingly jealous of Grunbeld. It is in fact the Grand Duke himself who is responsible for the grisly murders of young noblewomen, being supported by a group of assassins. He holds a young girl captive in a secret room, who he rapes as a means of venting. The assassins are able to intercept an enemy spy, who reveals that Tudor is amassing a large force to crush Grant.
Chapter 3 Edit
General Kirsten comes to Fire Dragon's Nest to discuss the recent murders with Grunbeld, and to celebrate their recent victory together. At night, Haakon and Abecassis meet in secret on a ship at sea, off the island's shore. Tudor wants Haakon to sell them his country in exchange for wealth and an important position within the empire. Haakon decides to use his son, Edvard, in a ploy to eliminate Grunbeld – the biggest obstacle to Tudor's conquest of Grant. Later, news of the Grand Duke wanting to relinquish the throne of Grant to Grunbeld reaches Fire Dragon's Nest. Edvard becomes jealous of Grunbeld, feeling betrayed for having worked so hard only for Grunbeld to collect all the praise. Additionally, rumors begin spreading of Fulda – the Grand Duke's lover and Edvard's mother – desiring to make love with Grunbeld, which make Edvard anxious.
Later, an assassination attempt on Benedikte occurs, in which Sigur manages to defend her, killing all the attackers. Later, Fulda succeeds in seducing Grunbeld and has sex with him. Edvard discovers it was Fulda who ordered the attempt on Benedikte's life, and strangles her to death in a fit of rage. Sigur informs Grunbeld of the assassins, while Edvard tries to confront Grunbeld about Fulda, but is ignored, causing Edvard's resentment towards Grunbeld to come to a boil. Suddenly, assassins surround Edvard, to deliver him to the Grand Duke's room.
Haakon congratulates Edvard on killing his mother and interfering with Grunbeld's ascent to the throne. He deems his son a worthy heir, and urges him to eliminate his estranged friend and comrade.
Chapter 4 Edit
While Benedikte is foretelling Grunbeld's future, Sigur appears, bearing news of an envoy from Midland in the capital, to which Grunbeld sets off. Following Grunbeld's departure, the temple is attacked, with Sigur and Benedikte inside, by Edvard and Mateusz, leader of the Grant assassins. Inside, a fight breaks out, but the two girls manage to escape with the help of the wolf Ludwig.
Meanwhile, Grunbeld engages in battle against Tudor soldiers commanded by Abecassis, in which the latter is badly wounded and flees; without a commander, chaos ensues among the enemy's ranks. Traveling to Fire Dragon's Nest, Grunbeld finds Sigur and Benedikte, nearly dead, with arrows in their backs. Upon being told of Edvard's betrayal, it dawns on Grunbeld that both Tudor and Grant are attacking them, and he suspects it to be Haakon's doing. Edvard then appears and claims to be in command of the Fire Dragon's Nest, as General Kirsten committed suicide to avoid being taken hostage. Abecassis and his soldiers appear at Grunbeld's rear and surround him. Despite being surrounded and outnumbered, Grunbeld holds his own, but is dealt a heavy blow upon withstanding cannon fire initiated by Edvard. Close to death in Grunbeld's embrace, Benedikte utters her last words to the knight: "Search for the [Falcon]. Go on living." As Grunbeld too is about to succumb to his injuries, he voices his dying desire of wanting to continue fighting on, an exclamation which activates his beherit.
Black clouds suddenly gather, and a hurricane envelops Grunbeld. From within the vortex, the four members of the God Hand manifest, offering to grant the knight's wish. Grunbeld asks what price he must pay, to which the God Hand show through an opening in the vortex Edvard about to rape Sigur, and urge the knight to sacrifice what is most dear to him, noting Sigur and Benedikte. With Benedikte on the verge of death and accepting of her fate, and Sigur about to be raped, Grunbeld wills the sacrifice. As Sigur is about to be raped by Edvard, the latter feels the Brand of Sacrifice on his face, and so too do Sigur and Benedikte. Grunbeld resurfaces as a dragon apostle, eats Edvard, and burns Abecassis alive. He soon after storms the Grand Duke's room and kills Haakon.
A few years later, Grunbeld travels through Midland, set on finding the Falcon of Light Benedikte mentioned in her last words.