After having a vision of Casca being burned at the stake, Guts returns to Godot's hut to check in on her. After he arrives, he receives the terrible news of Casca's disappearance. Guts struggles with his past demons along with the growing evil within his soul as he fears Casca is the only remainder of his sanity left. After talking with Rickert at the Hill of Swords, Guts resolves himself. Godot arms Guts with new armor and a reforged Dragon Slayer to prepare him for his new journey. Meanwhile, the Holy Iron Chain Knights accompany the Grand Inquisitor's caravan as an escort. They are soon attacked by rebels who seek revenge against the Holy See, but are swiftly captured by masked inquisitors. The Grand Inquisitor himself, Mozgus, steps outside to lecture the rebels before having the survivors executed on breaking wheels. Unbeknownst to everyone, Casca is cluelessly traveling with the Holy Iron Chain Knights.
Weeks after escaping the Holy Iron Chain Knights, Midland having been consumed in a plague sweeping the land, Guts arrives to a deserted village with the bodies of the diseased dead piled up inside a church. Guts is fearful to take a brief rest out of concern that the spirits may be bold enough to attack him in daylight. However, Puck directs Guts to a large monument composed of giant slabs of stones, which was made by the villagers' ancestors as an elf shrine. Guts starts resting among the slabs of stone, but soon finds himself having a nightmare of Casca being burned at the stake by an angry mob, the stake being is decorated with the insignia of the Holy See.
Guts wakes from his nightmare, finding it to be caused by the Demon Child that has followed him since he began his journey to hunt down Griffith. Guts asks the Demon Child if it caused his dream; the entity answers by briefly assuming Casca's inflamed face before fading away, while telling the swordsman to go to the holy city where the blind sheep gather to erect a pyre. Confused at first, Guts realizes that the Demon Child is warning him that something has happened to Casca.
This prompts Guts return to Godot's hut to check in on her, coming across Erica as she was gathering wood for Rickert, who has become Godot's apprentice. After the formalities, Guts is upset to learn from Rickert that Casca wandered off a month ago when Erica let her out of the ore cave for fresh air. Erica adds that Rickert made attempts to find Casca, but could not leave the mill for long as Godot has been ill. Guts climbs the stairs to see the bedridden Godot, letting the blacksmith inspect his prosthetic arm and the Dragon Slayer. After Godot realizes how worn the swordsman's gear has got since the last time they met two years ago, the blacksmith explains to Guts that he will find ruin if he refuse to let go of the past and continue his quest for revenge.
Guts is later led by Rickert to the top of a snowy hill near Godot's house, the swordsman learning that the youth has used Godot's teachings to create a memorial for their fallen comrades. Contemplating that he and Rickert took different paths to cope with their lost and apologizing to the youth as he proceeds to make repairs on the swordsman's gear, Guts spends the night in the ore cave as the residual elvish magic keeps the spirits out. Though Guts thinks seriously about Godot's warning, he cannot let go of his quest for revenge, as the horrors he saw during the Eclipse are burned in his mind. This causes a festered manifestation of his inner darkness to appear on the cave wall, whispering to Guts to keep killing. Spinning around to find only nothing, Guts realizes that he never had a right to avenge the Falcons, as he had left them and, in the end, has only given in to his hate to escape his sorrow. He also realizes that his love for Casca has been the only thing that kept him from fully abandoning his humanity, resolving to save her at any cost.
As morning draws near, Rickert having worked through the night, Godot musters the last of his strength to take over tempering the Dragon Slayer while asking the youth to look after Erica in his stead. After sunrise, Guts equips himself with his freshly mended equipment, finding his armor now lighter in weight and receiving a new model of repeater crossbow and a new concept weapon that uses gunpowder. When Guts asks him if he knows of a holy place to begin his search, Rickert recons a city in the north-east three days away called Albion where the refugees have been amassing to escape the plague. Realizing Albion is the sight from his dream, Guts departs while Godot muses to himself that he and the swordsman have met for the last time.
A few days prior to Guts reaching Godot, reeling from her supernatural ordeal and then scolded by the Holy See council over Guts' escape, Farnese, along with the Iron Chain Knights, have been given a new task to escort Grand Inquisitor Mozgus to Albion along with refugees from Wyndham, who have escaped when their city was conquered by an army from the nation of Kushan. But as the caravan is halfway there, they are ambushed by a rebel faction out for Mozgus' head. While Farnese's men keep most of them at bay, the rest of the rebels reach Mozgus' carriage before being slaughtered by Mozgus' masked disciples.
Mozgus himself steps outside, expressing relief that Farnese's men did not suffer casualties as he has the surviving rebels lined up to give them a lecture. One of the rebels yells at Mozgus that he slaughtered their families and friends because they decided to skip one tribute to the Holy See to focus on replenishing their food supply. While Mozgus counters by explaining that he only acts on Holy See's doctrine and that the rebels have only themselves to blame for their "heresy", he is consumed by rage when the rebel vows that God will punish him for his murderous act. The furious Mozgus denounces the rebel as a blasphemer and personally kills him by smashing his bible down the restrained man's skull. Mozgus regains his composure as quickly before asking Farnese the ideal death penalty for the remaining rebels.
Finding Farnese's choice between burning and the breaking wheel ideal, Mozgus selects the latter; his disciples break every limb on the remaining rebels' bodies before mounting them on wheels. Everyone besides Mozgus look on the execution with mixed expressions of horror and disgust, save a black-haired woman who one of the fleeing rebels ran into. A nearby brown-haired woman manages to keep her slightly-off friend from being labeled a rebel sympathizer and drags her away once the dying rebels have been mounted on poles for the crows to feed on.
Next Episode Preview Edit
Guts walks through an abandoned village, remarking that his unexpected encounter with enemies is a chance to test his new blade. Guts then runs his prosthetic arm against Isidro's face, who tells him he isn't a fan of being mocked. A brown-haired woman explains something in a hut to an unseen person, who remarks that they're afraid of everything. A group of masked-warriors then draw blades and leap into the air, shouting that the Kushans have no mercy, not even for kids. Finally, Casca appears in a hut with a bandaged face, only saying one word: heretics.
Characters in Order of Appearance Edit
- Casca (Reintroduction after Golden Age Arc III: Descent)
- Demon Child
- Erica (Reintroduction after Golden Age Arc III: Descent)
- Rickert (Reintroduction after Golden Age Arc III: Descent)
- Godot (First appearance)
- Judeau (Appears in flashback(s))
- Pippin (Appears in flashback(s))
- Corkus (Appears in flashback(s))
- Void (Appears in flashback(s)) (Glimpse)
- Ubik (Appears in flashback(s)) (Glimpse)
- Slan (Appears in flashback(s)) (Glimpse)
- Conrad (Appears in flashback(s)) (Glimpse)
- Femto (Appears in flashback(s)) (Glimpse)
- Beast of Darkness (First appearance)
- Griffith (Appears in flashback(s))
- Mozgus' Disciples (First appearance)
- Mozgus (First appearance)
- Luca (First appearance)
Manga/Anime Differences Edit
- Conrad and most of the beginning of Chapter 128 is cut.
- The execution scene by Mozgus' Disciples is slightly prolonged in the anime.
|The Golden Age Arc Trilogy|