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You are a superb warrior. [...] But my mission lies ahead... for my master. As an apostle of the Hawk of Light... I shall finish you!!!
– Grunbeld

Grunbeld (グルンベルド Gurunberudo?) the "Great Flame Dragon" is an apostle who serves together with Zodd, Locus, Irvine and Rakshas under the reborn Griffith in his Band of the Falcon.

Grunbeld is the leader of the Band of the Falcon giants. Before he joined the band, he became famous during the Hundred-Year War, defending against Tudor's invasion with only his personal force of 3000 soldiers. His backstory is revealed in the novel Berserk: The Flame Dragon Knight.

Personality[]

A prideful apostle, he is a serious man who does not like jokes and fooling around. He has also shown a honorable side: at the Mansion of the Spirit Tree he questions the orders given to him, telling Guts that it is not honorable to attack an old woman with so many troops. Guts calls him out on his supposed "ethics", stating that monsters should not pretend to have such a thing as a warrior's code or pride. Once he realizes how formidable Guts is while in battle against him, he begins to use craftier means of fighting and transforms into his apostle form. Grunbeld congratulates Guts for winning that encounter, then states that from then on, he will carry out his duties as an apostle to defeat him.

Abilities[]

Physical Abilities[]

Supernatural Strength/Speed: as a giant apostle Grunbeld possesses incredible strength as displayed when he tore through ranks of armored Kushan soldiers with a single swing of his hammer. He is a quick fighter with great speed, and when he transforms into his apostle form, his strength increases dramatically.

Corundum Skin: In his apostle form, Grunbeld's skin transforms into corundum, a crystalline form of aluminium oxide that is immensely durable and stronger than steel. Although it is damaged in the fight with Guts, Grunbeld does not have a scar the next time he is seen

Flame Breath: In his apostle form, Grunbeld is capable of spitting fire.

Equipment[]

Greathammer: in battle, Grunbeld uses a greathammer. The hammer has a flat surface for smashing opponents and breaking armor, as well as a large spike on the opposite end that can be used for grappling armor and shields, along with piercing through wooden and steel barricades.

Greatshield Cannon: he also wields a large shield which is sturdy enough to repel cannonball fire. The shield bears the face of a monster and is able to shoot cannon balls. The shield also conceals two blades which can be quickly withdrawn and utilized during a fight.

Background[]

Grunbeld as a human

Grunbeld as he originally was.

As Mule Wolflame revealed when first meeting him, Grunbeld was a human being during the time of the Hundred-Year War and fought for over a decade.

Berserk: The Flame Dragon Knight[]

Grunbeld was born in an island nation in the northern frontier known as the Grand Duchy of Grant. He belonged to the declined aristocratic clan of Ahlqvist. Grunbeld grew up without a father, who had died in battle, and was solely raised by his mother, who always reminded the child of who he was and instilled in him the notion that only by dying bravely in battle would he be allowed to reach Gods' Manor in the afterlife.

Because he was bigger than the other children, he was always picked on and had constant brawls with them. One day, he was ganged upon by multiple bullies, got beaten up severely, and was left for dead. Due to the intense pain, Grunbeld was unable to move his body for a while. It was then that he encountered a strange girl named Benedikte. Although Benedikte was blind, she was able to 'see with her heart', and through this talent, she was able to perceive what others normally could not: for example, from Benedikte's perspective, Grunbeld appeared as a large red object. Under her assistance and guidance, Grunbeld was able to reach a well that had healing properties. Grunbeld immersed himself in the well and healed himself of his injuries. As he began to spend time with Benedikte, he felt his heart soothe. The girl told the young man that he would one day become a mighty dragon, capable of burning down enemies and breaking blades with hard scales.

Soon after, Grunbeld's village was invaded and occupied by military sent by Tudor. His servant was killed and his mother was raped and murdered. Grunbeld and other Grant children were then abducted and imprisoned in Tudor's occupational fortress of Chester. There, the children were subjected to conversion education with the intent of making them faithful to Tudor, as well as military training, by a cruel, callous officer named Abecassis. In Chester, Grunbeld met Edvard, the bastard son of Archduke Haakon, and Sigur, a noble girl, eventually befriending them. As time passed, Grunbeld continued to resist pledging loyalty to Tudor and adopting the empire's Holy See religious doctrine. After his resistance was noticed, he was forced to duel an officer as punishment. Grunbeld emerged victorious and murdered the officer, who happened to be the same soldier who raped and killed his mother. For Grunbeld's misconduct, Sigur was punished in his stead.

Four years later, Grunbeld was still viewed as problematic. Abecassis arranged for Grunbeld, Edvard, and Sigur to fight a tiger in an old coliseum. Edvard came up with a plan and asked Abecassis to hold the fight at night. They were each issued a wooden training sword, and an exceptionally large war hammer was placed near the tiger cage, with Abecassis eagerly hoping for the youths to try and fail to wield the weapon in despair. The trio used torches to illuminate the arena, and Grunbeld managed to wield the war hammer. While his friends distracted the tiger with their torches, Grunbeld dropped the war hammer on the tiger and killed the beast. Afterward, Grunbeld discovered a mysterious face-like stone in the pool of the tiger's blood, taking the fetish to later fashion a bracelet with it. Just as Abecassis ordered the youths to be executed, Grant soldiers flooded into the coliseum. Abecassis escaped and the man leading the raid, General Kirsten, explained that they needed permission from the Grant royalty to finally attack. Later, Kirsten took Grunbeld under his wing as his protégé. It was then discovered that Benedikte was Kirsten's grandaugher as well as a priestess. After the celebration, Grunbeld and Benedikte conversed at the spring.

Fourteen years later, Grunbeld had become a knight and the leader of the Grunbeld Corps, a unit composed of three thousand strong Flame Dragon Knights, as well as the army of Grant's most reputed leader. Edvard was his second-in-command, while Sigur led the heavy infantry. During a battle against Tudor, Grunbeld joined the fray in a chariot drawn by eight horses, despite it being an obsolete tool of war, due to his great weight while armored. He destroyed the enemy force with his war hammer – now his signature weapon. Afterward, he went to the Temple of Extinguishment, where Benedikte was and they discussed his beherit.

Edvard's father, Grand Duke Haakon, was an extremely unstable and corrupt individual who became jealous of Grunbeld's fame and support, but his jealousy grew even worse when rumors were spread about how his wife, Grand Duchess Fulda, wished to bear Grunbeld's child. One day, Haakon got in contact with Abecassis, and the two men plotted to eliminate Grunbeld. Abecassis offered the archduke marriage to Tudor's royal family, and in return, Haakon would sell out his country to the Tudor Empire for annexation.

Haakon decided to exploit Edvard's jealousy toward Grunbeld, who, despite seeing Grunbeld as a friend, also yearned to be acknowledged and to escape from Grunbeld's shadow. The young man also suffered an unrequited love for Sigur, who in turn secretly loved Grunbeld. Haakon's scheme was to provoke his son by having Fulda, Edvard's mother, married to Grunbeld and arrange Sigur's marriage, taking Sigur away from Edvard. When this was announced, the people of Grant automatically assumed that Haakon chose Grunbeld as his successor over his son, which flamed Edvard's inferiority complex.

Meanwhile, there was an assassination attempt -engineered by Fulda- on Benedikte's life, which was thwarted by Sigur. Fulda then attempted to seduce Grunbeld, who fled before things escalated. After Grunbeld left, Edvard burst into the room to find his mother naked. Psychologically shattered, Edvard killed her. Haakon, who did not expect his son to resort to matricide, acknowledged Edvard as his son. Haakon then instructed Edvard to become his successor by conquering the Dragon's Lair.

Tricked by false information, Grunbeld led 1,000 men into battle, where 20,000 Tudor troops laid in wait. But even against such odds, Grunbeld and his men managed to score a victory and routed Tudor by wounding Abecassis. As Grunbeld was returning to his headquarter, he discovered Benedikte and Sigur gravely injured. Prior to going to battle, Grunbeld felt uneasy about leaving Benedikte unprotected in her temple, so he entrusted Benedikte's safety to Sigur. Edvard's troops barged into Benedikte's temple, raping and butchering all women. Benedikte and Sigur barely managed to escape and attempted to reach Grunbeld, but Edvard, who had intended to have them captured alive, suddenly changed his mind and ordered the two women to be shot dead. Sigur and Benedikpe made an attempt to flee, but were shot by arrows fired by Edvard's troops.

Meanwhile, Grunbeld was told of Edvard's treachery. Edvard then arrived, commanding 10,000 troops, and showed him the decapitated head of General Kirsten, who had chosen to commit suicide rather than becoming a hostage. Abecassis and his soldiers then appeared at Grunbeld's rear and surrounded the Great Flame Dragon Knight. Grunbeld refused to give in and fought back ferociously, inflicting appalling losses on his enemies. But Edvard's scheme, combined with the handicap of having to protect an injured Benedikte, severely limited Grunbeld's fighting capability, and this disadvantage eventually began to take its toll on him. His was then subjected to repeated cannon-fire. Although he withstood the first shot, he was unable to endure the multiple following shots. Grunbeld was still standing, but bloodied, broken, exhausted, and unable to go on. Seeing Grunbeld's life decreasing, Benedikte prophesied Grunbeld would survive by sacrificing her and Sigur, then would search for the Falcon of Light. As situation seemed hopeless, Grunbeld's blood smeared onto his beherit, which, after rearranging its face to proper form, activated.

Just then, a dark cloud enveloped Grunbeld. From within the swirling vortex, the four members of the God Hand, Void, Slan, Ubik, and Conrad, appeared and told Grunbeld they would give him an endless battle worthy of a dragon. Grunbeld then asked them what price he would have to pay, to which the God Hand responded. Through an opening in the vortex, Grunbeld saw Edvard about to rape Sigur, who was already on the verge of death, as well as Benedikte not far from the two of them, her body also barely holding on to life. Grunbeld, realizing that he too was not long for this world, declared that he was indeed a dragon, and would offer the ones dearest to him for sacrifice. No sooner than he said this, the Brand of Sacrifice was engraved onto the bodies of Sigur, Benedikte and Edvard. Immediately after being reborn as an apostle, Grunbeld devoured Edvard's lower body and killed him.

Beld

Grunbeld, in his last desperate moments as a human.

Grunbeld then focused his attention to the dying Benedikte and Sigur. Grunbeld told the women that he loved them too much to allow them to be violated at the hands of their enemies and added that they would live on inside of him. Both Sigur and Benedikte looked up as if accepting their fates before being consumed by Grunbeld's flames. Grunbeld, now in his released apostle form, proceeded to annihilate the Tudor army, slowly torturing Abecassis before burning him alive. Grunbeld then returned to the capital of Grant and killed Haakon. Afterward, Grunbeld destroyed every Tudor base in Grant.

Grunbeld became a legend for saving Grant from the Tudor Empire and his story was told among the people of Grant for generations. However, no one in Grant knew the truth behind Grunbeld and what really happened. A few years later, Grunbeld was seen traveling through Midland, set on finding the Falcon of Light Benedikte mentioned in her last words.

Story[]

Millennium Falcon Arc[]

Grunbeld slaughters foes

Grunbeld slaughtering Kushan soldiers.

Having aligned himself with Griffith as a member of the new Band of the Falcon, Grunbeld makes his presence known during the liberation of Shet after it was just conquered by the Kushan invaders. Grunbeld breaks down the gate the Kushan attempted to seal and incinerates several with his shield, proceeding to wipe out the army. After the battle is won, he kneels before Griffith alongside all of the other apostles.

GutsNewSpeed

Grunbeld overpowered by Guts.

Grunbeld is later sent with Zodd and a handful of war demons to destroy the Mansion of the Spirit Tree and its caretaker Flora. Deeming that killing an old woman is not honorable, Grunbeld eagerly takes on Guts as a chance to display his loyalty to Griffith. However, due to Guts' injuries by Slan, Grunbeld became disappointed before being held back by Flora's golems. After Guts dons the Berserker Armor, Grunbeld was taken off guard by Guts' new found strength and assumes his apostle form. Grunbeld attempts to keep Guts and his party from escaping, but he is blocked from pursuing them further by the wall of fire Flora conjured in her final moments.

Notes[]

  • According to the Berserk Official Guidebook, Grunbeld is estimated to be 270 cm and 303 kg in his normal form, and 600 cm and 1644 kg in his apostle form. (NOTE: The Berserk Official Guidebook is highly questionable in its veracity.)
  • While a secondary character in the main series, Grunbeld is the main protagonist in the novel Berserk: The Flame Dragon Knight.

This section requires expansion.

References[]


Appendices[]

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