Guts has decided to depart Godot's home later in the day, not spending the night lest he and Casca attract spirits. This time, Casca is accompanying him on his quest. With only his ammunition replenished, a satchel of food and some thick clothes for Casca to wear, the two lovers and Puck depart for the elf's mysterious home.
As Guts, Casca and Puck walk along the snowy ground, a blizzard begins to crop up. Guts thinks back on the day he and Griffith dueled just outside Wyndham and how it similarly snowed that day. The only difference now is that Guts was the one abandoned, and not Griffith. He recalls Griffith's parting words only a few hours before. He then thinks back on how Griffith had wrapped his cape around Casca, protecting her from the falling rocks, and how Casca would have reached up to touch his face had her Brand not pained her. Guts wraps his own cloak around Casca protectively, vowing not to lose her again.
A distant city is under siege by the Kushan. After a hard battle, the invaders manage to break through its walls and invade it. The men they find are executed by beheading, arrows, or being burned alive. The women are partially stripped and taken prisoner. They presume that they'll either be taken as slaves to the Kushan homeland or else raped to produce Kushan children. One of the women recounts a rumor that the Kushan ritualistically sacrifice women to their gods.
The women remember the days that the Band of the Falcon would come to rescue them from such tribulations and wish for Griffith, who they believe is either disappeared or dead, to come rescue them. A young girl who hasn't yet spoken suddenly utters some cryptic words: she can hear the wind heralding the arrival of the Falcon of Light. The other women dismiss her as still traumatized by the death of her parents.
The Kushan general responsible for the invasion sits in an extravagant chair in the city center, guarded by a regiment of footsoldiers. Silat and two Tapasa are kneeling before him. The general chastises Silat for being unable to capture Griffith, a single man, while he himself was able to capture many fortresses and settlements in the same amount of time. Silat has explained that Griffith had escaped by flying off on the back of a giant beast, but the general is disbelieving. Silat tries once more to explain the situation, but the general interrupts by forcing his foot down on the unflinching Silat's forehead. He says that even though the Kushan Emperor might hold the Bakiraka warrior clan in high regard, the general himself does not.
Suddenly, Silat draws himself up to his full height, knocking the general off-balance. Never even taking his eyes off the general's Silat, extends his arm out horizontally and catches an arrow meant to strike the general's face. His two Tapasa guards run towards the source of the arrow: a small group of armored rebels who survived the initial invasion. As they mercilessly massacre the soldiers, the two Tapasa's tunics shift across their bodies, revealing the gigantic callouses on their knuckles and joints, which derive from their presumably harsh and dedicated training.
Silat excuses himself and his guards from the amazed general's presence, saying that they will continue the search for Griffith. A moment later, this becomes unnecessary: Griffith has somehow infiltrated the city on a large white horse, completely alone.
Characters in Order of Appearance
|Falcon of the Millennium Empire Arc|