Farnese de Vandimion is a noblewoman from the Vandimion family who led the Holy See's ceremonial guard, the Holy Iron Chain Knights. She later becomes a member of Guts' traveling party and learns the art of magic under Schierke's mentorship.

Personality[edit | edit source]

As a child, Farnese was neglected by her parents and overwhelmed with fear of the heretic burnings of the time. One night, she mustered the courage to partake in the burning of a heretic, whereupon she felt a "marvelous burning in her underbelly" in enjoyment of the act. Indulging her pyrophilia as commander of the Holy Iron Chain Knights, Farnese began hunting down and burning supposed heretics at the stake, cultivating a sadistic pleasure which she comes to be in denial of.[4] She shows little affection for others and expresses even greater delight at burning heretics. Though she does question the righteousness of her acts, she convinces herself that she is justified in them.[4] Furthermore, upon meeting Mozgus, she takes heart in the inquisitor's affirmation that their acts are because of their faith in God.[5]

Meeting Guts serves as the impetus for a significant transformation of Farnese's worldview. Upon being kidnapped by the Black Swordsman and experiencing the terrors of his night, her faith is compromised, and she consequently develops of fear of him as the catalyst for her growing disillusionment.[6] After witnessing Guts fight in the face of a seemingly hopeless situation during the Incarnation Ceremony, Farnese is compelled to secularize herself and follow Guts in pursuit of learning how to "survive in a world where the light of [the Holy See] does not reach".[7]

Traveling alongside Guts, Farnese becomes self-conscious of her own useless and powerlessness relative to her companions; in such self-reflection, she comes to understand why a "small" person such as herself would endeavor to appear majestic and oppress others as she has before.[8] Over time, she develops genuine care for Casca as the woman's caretaker, as well as a measure of selflessness in doing so. The courage she is overcome with upon wielding a magical silver dagger to protect Casca in Qliphoth sparks in her an interest in magic, to which she becomes Schierke's student and commits fervently to studying the art.[1]

After much time traveling alongside Guts, Farnese becomes particularly fond of him, harboring a deep admiration for the swordsman, and partly driven to hone her magic as a means of being of further use to him; to any reassurance or expression of gratitude from Guts, Farnese finds herself overcome with joy.[9] Consequently, in spite of her caring and motherly nature toward Casca, she is bothered by Casca having Guts' undying affection.

Background[edit | edit source]

Farnese's childhood was marked by neglect, with her father, Federico III, dedicated to his work and her mother opting to indulge various sensual pleasures. Left to her own devices in the expansive Vandimion mansion, over time, Farnese's behavior became increasingly erratic, instilling dread in her caretakers.[10] To cope with fears she was left to confront alone, she immersed herself in the sources of them, so as to "become" them; particularly, she participates in the nighttime burnings of heretics in the plaza overlooked by her bedroom which so greatly frightened her initially, in doing so developing a fondness for such burnings.[4] In time, she came to find comfort in burning many things she did not like.[10]

On one night, Farnese discovered an incapacitated Serpico lying in the snow and had him taken to her family estate where she attended to his wounds. As compensation for saving him, she made the boy her page to have at her beck and call. She and Serpico bonded over their shared neglect, and much of her erratic behavior was abated with Serpico serving as her attendant.[10] When a sixteen-year-old Farnese was placed in an arranged marriage by her father, she voiced her refusal by setting fire to the family estate, to which Federico responded by sending her to a convent, where she earned a place in the Holy Iron Chain Knights as the order's leader.[11]

A year after the end of the Hundred-Year War, Farnese is sent by the Holy See to investigate a prophecy along the border of Midland that foretells the birth of an angel when the sun dies a fifth time, and that a "red lake" will be the site of his birth. After the solar eclipse, Farnese and her forces find the "red lake" of prophecy: A considerable pool of blood dyed red with the blood and remains of countless dismembered men and horses. Upon seeing this, Farnese deems the angel of prophecy to be the "Falcon of Darkness" that will bring about an age of darkness.[12] Soon after, Farnese is given the task of investigating the "Black Swordsman" who the Holy See believe to have some connection to the "Falcon of Darkness".

Story[edit | edit source]

Conviction Arc[edit | edit source]

The Holy Iron Chain Knights surround Guts, with the intention of detaining him.

Two years after beginning her search for Guts, Farnese and her knights eventually find the swordsman, believing he has slaughtered village children and men, who were in fact the apostle Rosine's transformed agents reverted to their natural forms in death. When Farnese finds Guts as he is about to kill Rosine, she believes he is aiming to kill an ordinary girl along with Jill, and so orders her men to attack the swordsman, causing Guts to flee. When Farnese and the Holy Iron Chain Knights manage to catch up to and surround Guts, the exhausted swordsman lunges at a frightened Farnese, but is subdued by Serpico in a manner causing Guts to fall into Farnese's rapier, appearing as if Farnese felled the Black Swordsman herself.[13]

After having Guts brought to the Holy Iron Chain Knights' encampment, Farnese interrogates Guts about his intentions, but Guts refuses to answer her questions, instead chastising her faith and misguided sense of authority as a commander. After whipping the swordsman repeatedly to no avail, she orders for him to be returned to his cell and prays before a Holy See idol in reaffirmation of her faith.[14] At sunset, she is knocked unconscious and taken hostage by the escaped swordsman, with Serpico in pursuit of them. In the swordsman's capture, Farnese witnesses the supernatural terrors of his night; when she tries to mount their horse to flee, the horse is discovered to be possessed and attempts to rape her before being decapitated by Guts. Witnessing Farnese having almost been raped triggers in Guts a rage which drives him to combat the wave of possessed animals ambushing them for the entire night.[15] Before dawn, Farnese briefly falls under possession by a spirit, which compels her to give into her lust and force herself upon Guts until the sunrise drives the spirit out of her. Farnese breaks down in shame as Serpico arrives, and she orders the attendant to kill Guts to salvage her honor. Serpico reminds her that their mission is only to apprehend Guts, and instead gives Guts a reprieve, much to Farnese's dismay as she is taken back to camp harboring a profound sadness.[16]

Returning to the Holy City, Farnese is scolded by the Holy See Court Supreme for her failures in pursuing the Black Swordsman and her mission of capturing the man is terminated; she is instead assigned the new mission of escorting the Holy See inquisitor Mozgus to Albion to restore order to the refugee-flooded holy city.[17] On her first day in Albion, Farnese witnesses a group of starved refugees stealing the food that the church is stocking for rations. Though she expects Mozgus to show mercy after he guides the beggars into the Tower of Conviction, she instead bears witness to the inquisitor subjecting them to horrific acts of torture for having sinned in the eyes of their faith. Soon after, Farnese assists in Mozgus' atrocities by taking those who are charged with heresy, regardless of their innocence or not, to the Tower of Conviction. She seeks out Mozgus' counsel on what she perceives as the vain endeavor of arresting and trying heretic suspects to prevent priest murders. The inquisitor reminds Farnese that it is for God and God alone that they act, and that they are to do so while bearing no antipathy toward their duties, from which Farnese takes heart.[5]

In Albion, Farnese learns of a pagan cult's cave hideout, as well as the Black Swordsman's presence in the city. When her vice-commander, Azan, argues for pursuing the Black Swordsman, Farnese reminds him that their current objective is to cooperate with Mozgus in the eradication of heretics; though, her true reason for avoiding the pursuit of the Black Swordsman is her fear of the man from having lived through his night of terrors with him.[6] At the heretics' cave hideout, the Holy Iron Chain Knights engage in all-out combat with possessed heretics and witness the Black Swordsman arrive to rescue a branded woman.[18] Returning to the Tower of Conviction, Farnese learns of her father's request for her to return to the Holy See,[19] and soon after finds herself, along with her colleagues, overwhelmed by the restless spirits of the Holy See's unjust victims in the monastery's basement.[20]

While escaping the tower with her colleagues, Farnese is abducted by Guts and coerced into leading him to the last location of a supposed "witch" he calls companion.[20] Bearing witness again to the undeniably supernatural in the accursed spirits sweeping through the Tower of Conviction, as well as Guts battle with a transformed Mozgus and his disciples shatters the veil of faith she clings to.[21] When a torrent of Albion's cumulative malice manifests, she is awe-inspired by the swordsman's resolve to take his life into his own hands and surive the night as opposed to clinging to some hope of miraculous salvation;[22] after urging from Guts, rather than defer to her faith by way of prayer, she musters the courage to help fend off the swarming torrent of malice alongside Serpico and Isidro at Guts and Jerome's rear.[23]

At dawn, having survived the night, Farnese is forced to part ways with Guts and Casca after the Kushan army arrives at the ruins of Albion. Outside of the city's ruins, she reflects on the fragility of her faith, and has the epiphany that she clung to such out of a persistent fear stemming from witnessing nighttime heretic burnings as a neglected child. After removing all the plates from her armor in resignation as commander of the Holy Iron Chain Knights, Farnese resolves to find and follow the Black Swordsman, with Serpico at her side.[24]

Millennium Falcon Arc[edit | edit source]

Farnese kneels before Guts and asks to accompany him in his journey.

Farnese and Serpico eventually find Guts again in the wilderness and Farnese asks to accompany him in his journey, explaining that she has secularized herself and abandoned the church, now seeing him as the only way to truly understand the world. When her sincerity is questioned by Isidro, she cuts off her twintails as proof of her new conviction, to which Guts tells her to do as she pleases.[7] From then on, Farnese takes on the role of Casca's caretaker, becoming self-conscious of her own powerlessness and uselessness relative to her companions.[8]

En route to Vritannis, Farnese and Casca are briefly abducted by a troll, and are saved by the intervention of Isidro[25] and ultimately a young witch when they are surrounded by a pack of the beasts.[26] When the party breaches an Interstice hiding a spirit tree mansion and meets a witch named Flora, Farnese is initially uneasy in Flora's presence, given her Holy Iron Chain Knights' previous burnings of supposed witches, though Flora assures Farnese that "witches" of her ilk were not their victims and that she bears no ill will toward the young woman either way.[27] When the group agrees to help the young witch, Schierke, in solving Enoch Village's troll problem, Farnese is gifted with magical fetishes including a silver surcoat and silver dagger for self-defense.[28] After Schierke purges the village of the trolls by way of a flood, Farnese and Casca are abducted by trolls and taken back to their den in the realm of Qliphoth. In the realm, Farnese wields her silver dagger in protection of Casca, and is overcome with a sense of empowerment and awe at the magic powers of the weapon.[1] For protecting Casca through the entire ordeal, Guts expresses his gratefulness and reassures her that the role she fulfills in the group is of big help, which brings Farnese to tears.[29] Five days later, while nearing Vritannis, Farnese asks Schierke to teach her to use magic, so she may be of better aid to her companions in their journey.[1]

Upon arriving to Vritannis, Farnese attempts to request for a ship from her father, but ends up confined to the Vandimion estate.[30] Her older brother, Magnifico, offers to provide her a ship[31] on the condition that she becomes the fiancée to Roderick of Schtauffen. Farnese accepts the offer and has Serpico return their traveling effects to the others, though she comes to question if the circumstances are truly what she desires. During a ball where Magnifico intends to officially announce the betrothal, the Kushan attack the city and the occasion is interrupted by the ambush of tiger pishacha, with Farnese joining the fray by using thorn snakes to defend Roderick. When Guts asks her if she intends to stay, she assures him that she only missed her previous life and wished to visit it one last time.[32]

Farnese and Schierke soaring around the Seahorse in their luminous bodies.

A day after setting sail for Skellig aboard Roderick's warship, the Seahorse, Farnese is trained by Schierke in manifesting her luminous body,[33] and while doing so overhears Guts explaining his relationship with Casca to Roderick. She suddenly finds herself returned to her physical body to her astonishment, and later tends to Casca when she is in need of a hot bath after she falls into the sea. When Casca pours a bucket of water on Farnese after accidentally getting soap in Farnese's eye, Farnese snaps at her for being ungrateful to the man who has constantly risked his life to save hers so many times. Farnese breaks down in tears before Casca cheers her up by dumping another pail of water on herself. Sometime after Roderick and his men drive off Bonebeard and his crew, Farnese is given some peace of mind when told that she has a vital role in her group despite her believing otherwise.

Fantasia Arc[edit | edit source]

When landing at Elfhelm it was learned through one of the witches that the Flower Storm Monarch can look into peoples' hearts and restore memory, meaning it is indeed possible to heal Casca. Upon hearing this news Guts smiled more deeply than he has in years, causing Farnese to look on jealously, the party discover the Flowerstorm king is in fact actually one of the witches who welcomed them: Danan

After sentencing Puck and Magnifico to a day of community service when the two's collaborative plot to overthrow her is brought into light, Danan asks Guts to remain while requesting Schierke, Ivalera, and Farnese to accompany her and Casca. Once in a mushroom filled chamber, Danan explains to Farnese and Schierke that the Corridor of Dreams ritual requires them to astral project themselves into the mind of Casca and travel through its recesses. But Danan warns them that the world of a person's mind is a more difficult place to move about in compared to the Astral Plane, Schierke and Farnese entering into Casca's dreamscape after being put to rest. The two women initially find Casca's dreamscape to be a series of childish scribbles with a shadowed silhouette meant to represent Guts, guided by Danan's petals to their destination: A mental recreation of the Eclipse.

Powers and Abilities[edit | edit source]

Farnese is a prodigious mage, having attained a degree of skill in the art of magic unheard-of for one beginning as late as herself.[34] She already is skilled enough in the art to manifest the powerful Formation of the Four on her own without a magic circle.[9] She has also demonstrated the ability to perform od manipulation in the form of healing magic,[35] and is eager to learn more of such under Danan's tutelage. If necessary, she is skilled enough to fight alongside her mentor as a formidable magical force in her own right.

Equipment[edit | edit source]

  • Danan's old mage garbs: Gifted to her in celebration of her magical enrichment, Farnese wears the old garbs of the Flower Storm Monarch of legend.
  • Silver dagger: Gifted to her by Flora, Farnese uses the silver dagger to protect Casca in Qliphoth. The sense of empowerment she is overcome with while wielding the dagger piques her interest in the art of magic.
  • Silver surcoat: Made from the same silver as her dagger, the silver surcoat Farnese wears confers upon her protection from evil forces.
  • Thorn ring: The ring is braided with the same vines as Schierke's thorn snakes. By wearing the ring, Farnese can manifest and command the same thorn snakes herself.
  • Steel rapier: During her tenure as commander of the Holy Iron Chain Knights, Farnese wields a steel rapier, though with little to no efficacy. Since joining Guts in his journey, she has abandoned the weapon.

Notes[edit | edit source]

  • According to the Berserk Official Guidebook, circa the Fantasia Arc, Farnese is estimated to be 19 years old, 162 cm (5 ft, 4 in), and 48 kg (106 lb). ('NOTE: The Berserk Official Guidebook is highly questionable in its veracity.)
  • Farnese has a habit of covering her mouth with her hands when horrified.
  • While everyone saw the dream about the Falcon of Light coming to save them, Farnese did not.[17]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. ^ a b c d Berserk, Volume 27, "Sound of Waves"
  2. ^ a b Berserk, Volume 29, "White Lily in the Field"
  3. ^ Berserk, Volume 36, "Sea God (3)"
  4. ^ a b c Berserk, Volume 18, "Pillar of Flames"
  5. ^ a b Berserk, Volume 18, "Zealot"
  6. ^ a b Berserk, Volume 19, "Ambitious Boy"
  7. ^ a b Berserk, Volume 23, "Reunion in the Wilderness"
  8. ^ a b Berserk, Volume 23, "Like a Baby"
  9. ^ a b Berserk, Volume 36, "Beast Warrior"
  10. ^ a b c Berserk, Volume 22, "Snow, Flames, and ... (1)"
  11. ^ Berserk, Volume 22, "Snow, Flames, and ... (2)"
  12. ^ Berserk, Volume 23, "Night of Falling Stars"
  13. ^ Berserk, Volume 16, "Holy Iron Chain Knights (2)"
  14. ^ Berserk, Volume 16, "Hollow Idol"
  15. ^ Berserk, Volume 17, "Recurring"
  16. ^ Berserk, Volume 17, "Morning of Truth"
  17. ^ a b Berserk, Volume 17, "To the Holy Ground (1)"
  18. ^ Berserk, Volume 19, "Reunion"
  19. ^ Berserk, Volume 19, "Iron Maiden"
  20. ^ a b Berserk, Volume 19, "Blood Flow of the Dead (1)"
  21. ^ Berserk, Volume 20, "Omen"
  22. ^ Berserk, Volume 21, "Tsunami of Darkness (2)"
  23. ^ Berserk, Volume 21, "Resonance"
  24. ^ Berserk, Volume 21, "Starting a Journey With Resolve"
  25. ^ Berserk, Volume 24, "Trolls"
  26. ^ Berserk, Volume 24, "Witch"
  27. ^ Berserk, Volume 24, "Mansion of the Spirit Tree (2)"
  28. ^ Berserk, Volume 24, "Magic Stone"
  29. ^ Berserk, Volume 26, "Retribution"
  30. ^ Berserk, Volume 29, "Vandimion"
  31. ^ Berserk, Volume 29, "In the Garden"
  32. ^ Berserk, Volume 30, "Rusty Birdcage"
  33. ^ Berserk, Volume 32, "On Board"
  34. ^ Berserk, Volume 30, "Intrusion"
  35. ^ Berserk, Volume 37, "Shooting Star"
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