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Template:Chapter Gloomy Wastes is the three hundred forty-eighth chapter of the Berserk manga. It is also the forty-first chapter of Fantasia.

Summary

Schierke and Farnese survey the area, having arrived in an area of Casca's mind that strongly resembles the Eclipse. A blackened sun hangs over the sky, and the area is vast, barren, and bloodsoaked. Strange flag-like objects dot the landscape, sticks rising out of the mud with torn rags hanging from them and blowing in the wind. A black mountain looms in the distance. Schierke decides to head off immediately for whatever part of Casca's psyche awaits them in this land. Farnese questions how they will manage it when the area is so large and blank, but Schierke says that this is immaterial: this is a dreamscape, not reality, and what they are looking for will be found once they decide on it.

File:Guts Dog.png

True to her word, they immediately come across a strange sight. A black hound, chained to a coffin bearing a hawk crest, is dragging it through the mud. As they watch, the tattered black rags hanging from the sticks in the area transform, becoming batlike creatures which wield the sticks like spears. They make for the dog, who fights back, and Schierke directs Farnese to act in defense of the dog. Schierke and Farnese repel the creatures alongside it, using their fire magic and braided snakes, and succeed in fending off the ghouls. On closer inspection, Schierke's suspicions of the dog are proven right: it is representative of Guts, missing its front left foreleg and bearing a Brand of Sacrifice on the back of its neck. Feeling equally suspicious of the coffin it drags, Schierke makes to open it. The dog attempts to stop her, but relents when she insists it must be done. Opening the casket, they find a bizarre and unnerving sight.

Inside is a broken, weathered doll-like object. It is missing its limbs, broken and shattered, and its lower body is in the same state. Its upper body has been broken open along with its head, leaving just enough intact to identify the doll as female. Schierke searches the doll for distinctive marks and quickly locates another Brand of Sacrifice on its chest, and identifies the doll as representitive of Casca, or at least, what is left of her. Behind them, the hound howls to the sky.
File:Casca Shell.png

This is not all there is to be found; Schierke draws Farnese's attention to something else. Inside the doll, something small waits. It is a miniscule being, smaller than Puck and Ivalera, absent of any arms, and vaguely resembling the present-day Casca: innocent and defenseless, and with a childlike demeanor. Farnese takes to the creature, and it to her, with her laying her palm out and promising not to hurt it, and the creature investigating before settling itself there. Farnese marvels at its innocence, allowing it to roll around in her hands, before deciding that losing it would be disastrous and placing it back inside the doll, to its displeasure, but promising to play with it again soon. Farnese and Schierke wonder what to do and where to go next, promptly being directed by Danann in the form of cherry blossom petals floating on the wind. Schierke and Farnese resolve to follow her, and Schierke invites the hound behind them to follow, as it desires Casca's safety as well.

Characters in Order of Appearance

  • Schierke
  • Farnese
  • Guts (psyche form)
  • Casca (psyche form)
  • Hanafubuku (psyche form)

Trivia

  • This episode reinstated monthly serialization, with the next chapter due late April 2017.

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