"Thousand-Year Fiefdom" is episode 53 of the Berserk manga.
The prison beneath the Tower of Rebirth is built into an enormous, impossibly deep cylindrical hole. As Casca, Guts, Judeau, Pippin, Charlotte and Anna descend together, Charlotte is frightened by a prisoner as she peers into a cell. The shock is so great that her legs buckle, and she can no longer move. Determined to see Griffith, she accepts an offer from Guts to be carried on his back, to Casca's annoyance.
Guts asks how far down the hole stretches. Charlotte explains that while the prison and tower were built relatively recently, and are about the same vertical height only on opposite sides of the ground level, the hole itself is much older. A thousand years ago, Charlotte explains, the land that would become Midland was populated by many warring tribes. At some point, the conflicts were ceased by a man named Gaiseric, an emperor who had previously subjugated many other nations, and with Midland's annex had an empire stretching over the entire continent. It is unknown where he came from or how he raised his army, as all records of him tell of his life after his conquering of Midland. Charlotte says that Gaiseric often wore a skull-shaped helmet to battle, and the notion immediately conjures images of the Skull Knight in Guts' mind. He decides to make nothing of it.
Judeau has also heard the story, and continues from where Charlotte left off. Gaiseric ordered an extravagant capital city be built in Midland, from which he heavily taxed all his subjects. At some point, God sent five angels to end the tyrannical emperor's reign, and they destroyed his city all within a night. Casca corrects him, and says that there were only four angels.
Charlotte continues. Legends say that Gaiseric's city really did exist, and it was cast underground by the calamity caused by the angels. It exists to this day at the bottom of the hole beneath the Tower of Rebirth. The current Midland royal family are allegedly all that remains of Gaiseric's bloodline.
Stumbling on the stairs, Casca drops her torch into the depths below. It falls for several seconds, landing amongst the ruins of an enormous destroyed temple. Littered around the temple are countless bodies, each with an odd symbol engraved on their decayed foreheads.
Judeau notices Guts look back at the stairs from which they came. He asks Guts if everything's all right, and Guts replies that it is. Guts has momentarily perceived, but made nothing of, a small, round man hiding in the shadows further up the staircase from which the group currently descends.
Eventually, the group comes to a point where the staircase abruptly ends, despite the hole going much deeper. They've arrived at Griffith's cell. Charlotte bangs on the door and calls to Griffith, but there is no answer. Casca, who has the keys to the cell, is given a reassuring pat on the shoulder by Guts before she unlocks and opens the cell door.
Casca points her light into the cell, but it is still too dark to see anything. They venture further, little by little, until Guts notices a naked body lying face-down on the floor.
Characters in Order of Appearance Edit
|Golden Age Arc|