"Tower of Shadows (2)" is episode 136 of the Berserk manga.
Farnese and several Holy Iron Chain Knights forcibly lead a man whom eyewitnesses identified as the murderer of yet another priest to the Tower of Conviction. He claims that he is innocent, but she tells him that if his innocence is proven, he will be set free. He is doubtful, as no refugee who's ever gone up to the Tower has ever come out alive.
As they walk through a crowd of refugees, Farnese notices a beggar woman begging for alms, carrying a nearly-dead fly-covered baby in her arms, reminiscent of the woman Farnese had previously considered helping. She is brought back to reality by her prisoner, who is demanding from the onlookers that they confess to framing him for the crime he is accused of.
Watching the entire scene from inside her tent is Luca, the brown-haired girl previously seen in Casca's company. She is working as a prostitute, and is currently on the job. Her client, Jerome, is a member of the Holy Iron Chain Knights. He asks her to focus on their current activities, and she obliges. Thanks to her profession as a prostitute, Luca is able to learn several pieces of information from her clients during their pillow talk, and she is exercising this boon: she learns from Jerome (who has taken a special liking to her) that most of the Holy Iron Chain Knights do not respect Farnese's command, partly out of finding her annoying as she only speaks of her faith or duties, and partly because she never seems grateful for their work and doesn't act like a leader. Luca is able to empathize with Farnese, the female leader of a large group of men.
Their lovemaking is interrupted by Casca who, covered in bandages, peeks her head through the tent's flaps and startles Jerome. Luca claims that Casca (though calling her Elaine, as Casca's true name is unknown to Luca) is her sister, and the bandages are due to the fact that she suffers from syphilis. Jerome decides to end their work session prematurely and pays Luca the usual fee, along with a gift in the form of a pearl necklace. He tells Luca that he'll bring her and Casca home with him, Luca as his mistress and Casca to get good treatment for the syphilis she supposedly has.
After Jerome leaves, Luca is greeted by her "apprentices", other prostitutes under Luca's care: Pepe, Fouquet, Lucie, and the much less outgoing Nina. Luca divvies up the money she got from Jerome with them, and also gives each of them several pearls from the necklace she was given. The girls are all amazed that Luca is giving up the personal gift for their sake, but Luca tells them that, as prostitutes, as refugees, and as women, they must stand together and help each other during the troubled times they find themselves in.
Luca then turns to help Casca, whose bandages have come loose. She muses that despite making the other girls work as prostitutes to earn their keep, she can't bring herself to do the same with Casca, who obviously cannot make the decision of her own free will. Instead of keeping the symptoms of Casca's non-existent syphilis in check, the bandages serve the double purpose of warding off men around the campsites who may be looking to take advantage of a woman and to hide her Brand of Sacrifice, which Luca fears may be identified as a witch's mark that would get Casca burned at the stake.
Another of Luca's clients enters the tent, so she gives the responsibility of taking care of Casca to Nina. She also gives Nina medicine provided by one of Luca's other clients, a doctor.
Nina leaves with Casca to fetch water for their tents. As they wander through the campsites, they come across a man imprisoned in stocks being stoned by some refugees. A mother within their ranks urges her child to throw stones at the prisoner. Nina turns to leave, but the refugees all turn to her with deadly looks in their eyes. Nina reluctantly decides to pick up a small stone and throw it at the man.
A short while later, Nina and Casca pass by a man who preaches of a Goddess of Flame who sent the Falcon of Light as a sign that all nations will soon form into one. He is accused of being a heretic by the onlooking refugees.
Eventually reaching the river, Nina leaves Casca alone to play with stones on the shore while the former wades into the water. She hikes her dress up and notices blood and pus leaking from between her legs, and that the inside of her mouth is swollen, answering the question as to what Luca's medicine is for. Nina turns to Casca and speaks, though more to herself than the bandaged woman. Apparently, Nina's disease will one day lead to mental deterioration. Nina is scared of living with her sickness, of living in the shadow of the Tower of Conviction, and of living under the almighty influence of God.
Characters in Order of Appearance Edit