I bid thee welcome to this distant setting, this abstract time. Ye lambs of the ungodly God born of Man, enjoy this sacred nocturnal festival to the fullest. Thee, honorable child concentrated by the laws of causality. The Falcon. Thou art the Chosen One. At this time, in this place... The one chosen by the hand of the Great God. We art kinsmen... o blessed King of Longing.
– Void, to Griffith
The Eclipse (’蝕’, translates to 'feast') is a rare event in the world of Berserk, occurring once every 216 years to welcome a new member for the God Hand.
While the process is similar to the creation of Apostles, the ritual occurs during a solar eclipse once every 216 years and requires a crimson beherit, also called the 'Egg of the King' or 'Egg of the Conqueror', to trigger it. Seemingly, in comparison to what an Apostle-to-be needs to sacrifice, a future God Hand member needs to offer a larger sacrifice for the Apostles to feast on. When the ritual begins, the invoker, the offerings, and the Apostles that have gathered are taken to the Interstice known as the Nexus where the incorporeal God Hand manifest.
Once the offerings are consecrated by Void (if Griffith's induction is anything to go by) feeling the pain of their deaths, the chosen person descends through the levels of the Astral World into the realm of the Idea of Evil where they use the souls of the sacrificed to complete their transcendence. It is rare for a consecrated sacrifice to escape the Eclipse alive, the event resulting with them being forever hunted by restless spirits of the dead.
The Fifth Eclipse Edit
"On that day, a dying sun rose above the multitude of nations. As written in the Book of Revelations, when the sun has died five times, a red lake will emerge to the west of a city with a name both new and old. It will be a sign that the fifth angel has descended upon this world. The angel is the Falcon of Darkness. He is the master of the sinful black sheep and the king of the blind white sheep. He will usher in an age of darkness to cover the world.".
– Berserk Episode 1 (2016 Anime)
The fifth Eclipse is an instrumental plot device in the Golden Age storyline, a prophecy among the Holy See stating that an appearance of the red lake when the sun "dies a fifth time" heralds the birth of an angel whose appearance marks the beginning of the upcoming "age of darkness". Zodd recognizes the next God Hand member to be Griffith after noticicing he was sporting the Crimson Behelit after a fight, sparing him. The Eclipse begins a year after Griffith was imprisoned in the Tower of Rebirth, freed from his allies yet maimed and crippled from grueling torture. At that time, the apostles started to reach the location where the event is to take place while killing some people on the way. It was only when Griffith's shoulder was touched by Guts after the former's suicide attempt at lake where his crimson Beherit ended up with and the Falcon members following him that the preparations are complete.
The Beherit brings everyone into the Nexus where the God Hand manifest, Zodd seemingly being the only Apostle to remain outside the tornado-like portal to hold off the Skull Knight as he intended to interfere. After the God Hand separate Griffith from the rest of the band, they subject the youth to visions of his past and played on his mental state and desires to make his offering without a second thought. This results in the band members branded with the Apostles assuming their true forms as they proceed to slaughter and devour all but Guts and Casca, who witness Griffith's transcendence into Femto, the final member of the God Hand.Though the Skull Knight had fought his way through Zodd and saved Guts and Casca, the former lost his left arm and right eye while attempting to stop Griffith from violating Casca. While the Holy Iron Chain Knights find the "red lake" that remains of the fallen mercenaries, its leader seeing it as an omen of a rising darkness, the witch Flora also sensed the event and expressed concern for the world. Days later, Guts awakens and learns that Casca's mind was destroyed by what she went through and that the rest of the Band of the Falcon members except Rickert were massacred by the Apostles a day before the Eclipse. This event began Guts' journey of revenge on the monsters that slaughtered his friends and Griffith for betraying them all. But because he discarded his humanity to join the God Hand, Griffith became an incorporeal being before he regained physical form.
- It is implied that an Eclipse took place centuries ago in the ancient Midland kingdom ruled by Gaiseric, legend telling that the disaster that destroyed the city was caused by four or five angels. Only traces of the kingdom claimed by the event now buried under the land which Wyndham was built on remain. The ruins of the city and its littered dead, all bearing the Brand of Sacrifice on their foreheads, are seen in the bottom levels of the Tower of Rebirth.
- 216 is a lunar number. The 216-year time gap between every Eclipse may be a reference to the Number of the Beast in the Bible, 666, an allusion to the demonic nature of the event. The triple occurrence of 666 translates into 6 cubed, or 216, or double the number 108, a significant number in Buddhism.
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