|Brand of Sacrifice|
You have now been marked with the Brand of Sacrifice. The lives of those who bear the Brand, from the last drop of blood, to the last moment of your agonizing death, will feed life to the new Child of Darkness.
– Void, to the branded Band of the Falcon
The Brand of Sacrifice (生贄の焼印 Ikenie no Yakīn?) marks those anointed for the Invocation of Doom, a sacrificial ceremony in which those consecrated by the laws of causality transcend their humanity, resulting in the creation of an apostle or a God Hand member, as well as severing an apostle's last ties to humanity.
The lives of the sacrificed, someone close and important to the summoner, are then offered to creatures of the darkness and ritualistically murdered. At least in the case of God Hand members, the deceased's life force is used to complete the summoner's transition.
Branded humans who survive these ceremonies reside in the Interstice between the physical and astral worlds, forced to fend for themselves against creatures of darkness and the nightly attacks by the restless souls of the dead who desire flesh. In response to these fell entities, the brand will bleed and cause pain. Around ordinary evil spirits or apostles, the blood will only trickle out, and the pain will be relatively minimal. Around a member of the God Hand, the brand will shoot blood out in huge gushes, and the pain inflicted will be agonizing. If the evil is too great, it can supposedly kill the Branded.
In the case of a human being reborn as an apostle, the sacrifice required is determined by its importance to the ascending. These are usually family members or other loved ones, and the number of apostles present to feast is unknown. However, in the special case of the Eclipse, the sacrifice demanded could be much greater, and apostles are drawn to arrive, closing in even before the ceremony begins.
However, the sacrifice need not necessarily be someone that the ascending loves, nor must it necessarily even be a specific living human or humans. Griffith, whose camaraderie with them was questionable, sacrificed the Band of the Falcon to become Femto. The Egg of the Perfect World sacrificed his "world"; interestingly, his own body seems to have become branded. In addition, a Brand presents itself in the form of fires as the Egg's wishes come true. What matters is the value or importance of the sacrificed to the apostle-to-be.
Two factors can cause an intended sacrifice to be refused: Guts was refused as the Count's sacrifice on both of these, the first being that his importance to the God Hand was irrelevant; it was his importance to the Count that could have made him a viable sacrifice, and Guts was merely an enemy who sought his destruction. Second, Guts had already been branded in a previous ceremony and could not be sacrificed a second time.
Guts and Casca are the only known branded survivors to date. When the two traveled together, they attracted an unusual amount of evil spirits, causing catastrophe to every human settlement that they passed by. The witches Flora and Schierke are able to mitigate the effects of the Brands by inscribing temporary seals over them.
- Guts' Brand is on the right side of his neck near his jugular vein.
- Casca's Brand is on the upper-middle part of her left breast.
- Judeau's Brand is on the palm of his left hand.
- Corkus' Brand is on his forehead.
- Pippin's Brand is on his right arm.
- The Egg of the Perfect World's Brand is on his tongue.
- Gaston's Brand is on his left shoulder.
- The Count's wife had her Brand on her upper chest, above and between her breasts.
- The corpses under the Tower of Rebirth all possess Brands on their foreheads.
- The Lady Priestess of the Cherry Blossoms Brand was on her right shoulder.
- It is unknown if a Brand placed on an extremity, like in Judeau or Pippin's cases, can be effectively removed by severing the limb.
- Given the Brand is consecrated on an individual's astral body, this seems unlikely, as the Brand would continue to exist in all planes of existence.
- ^ a b c d e f g h i Berserk, Volume 3, "Guardian Angels of Desire (5)"
- ^ a b c d e f g h Berserk, Volume 12, "Separation"
- ^ a b c Berserk, Volume 12, "Feast"
- ^ a b Berserk, Volume 13, "Vow of Retaliation"
- ^ Berserk, Volume 10, "The Eve (2)"
- ^ Berserk, Volume 12, "Eclipse"
- ^ Berserk, Volume 20, "Unknown One at the Bottom of the Deep"
- ^ Berserk, Volume 20, "Shadow of Idea (1)"
- ^ Berserk, Volume 13, "Escape"
- ^ Berserk, Volume 23, "Winter Journey (1)"
- ^ Berserk, Volume 24, "Astral World"
- ^ Berserk, Volume 20, "The Frightened"
- ^ Berserk, Volume 13, "Fresh Blood"
- ^ Berserk, Volume 10, "Thousand-Year Fiefdom"
- ^ Berserk, Volume TBA, "Illusive Death"