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The Holy Iron Chain Knights was an army of the Holy See.[1] In truth, their existence as a symbol of the Holy See was highly ceremonial.[2] Known as the "Pretty Boy Knights", the army was mainly formed by the inexperienced heirs of noble families from several countries, having enrolled for safety and status due to their families not wishing them taken in conflict.[3][2] The only exceptions were Azan, a former legendary knight turned cleric;[4] and Serpico, Farnese's half-brother, who is a skilled swordsman and tactician.

By tradition, the ornamental leader of the Holy Iron Chain Knights was a woman.[2][5] During Farnese's leadership, she tried to enact a more active role, even if backed up by the more experienced Azan,[4][6] and the army was forced to face a serious adversary in the Black Swordsman first,[4] and the events at the Tower of Conviction next.

The last incarnation of the Holy Iron Chain Knights came to its end during the Incarnation Ceremony at the Tower of Rebirth, in which most of its forces were killed during the ceremony. The only surviving knights were Farnese, Serpico, Jerome, and Azan. Farnese and Serpico refused to go back to the Holy See to report, leaving Azan with the responsibility. As Farnese, Serpico and Azan now travel with Guts, the fate of the Holy Iron Chain Knights as an order is uncertain at best.

Story[]

Conviction Arc[]

Lost Children Chapter[]

HICKS

The Holy Iron Chain Knights find the site of the Eclipse.

They are first seen by Midland's border right after the Eclipse. Soon after, a messenger on horseback intercepts their march, bearing a message. The messenger has discovered the prophesized "red lake" that the Holy Iron Chain Knights have been searching for. The Holy Iron Chain Knights arrive at the lake, which is really the site of the Eclipse, but remain unaware of the events that truly transpired. Two years later,[1] they arrive in Jill's village, to the surprise of the parish's priest, Father Hobbes. After finding him, their leader, a young woman named Farnese, claims that the Holy Iron Chain Knights have been by the Holy See sent on a miracle recognition mission. After asking what brings them there, Hobbes invites her into his church, and she accepts, ordering Azan and Serpico to accompany her while the other Iron Chain Knights get to work helping the villagers bury their dead. In the church, Hobbes tells them of a passing "black swordsman" and the elf who accompanied him. While Farnese finds the story hard to believe, she explains that she has been sent by the Holy See specifically to follow the Black Swordsman. In an era of repeated incidents of plague and poor harvests, rumours have been cropping up in all the land, each of them involving spirits and monsters attacking small villages. In those stories, a single common link stands out: the presence of a Black Swordsman. Hobbes tells her that the Black Swordsman had been heading to the Misty Valley, but due to the dangers associated with the place, he cannot provide a guide for the Holy Iron Chain Knights. Just then, Zepek, who had been eavesdropping, enters the church and volunteers for the job.[7]

Zepek leads them to the alleged location of the Misty Valley. At one point, Farnese orders the Knights to dismount, telling them that they will proceed on foot while the squires tend to the horses. Their attention are drawn by the screams of a knight, who has noticed the naked bodies of many men strewn about in the forest, only a short way. Unbeknownst to them, the bodies are those of the adult pseudo-apostles that Guts killed, having reverted back to their human forms in death.[8]

Binding Chain Chapter[]

Shortly after Guts leaves the Misty Valley, the Knights track him down and Farnese orders them to capture Guts. As they all attack together, Farnese orders that Guts isn't to be killed. Thus, Guts is backed into a tree and surrounded by five men. Mustering all of his strength, he kills all five men in one blow of his Dragon Slayer, and Azan asks for permission to join the fight.[3] After he sends a flurry of attacks, the injured Guts jumps straight over Azan, kills two knights and sprints in Farnese's direction despite being struck in the leg by a well-aimed crossbow bolt. Trembling, Farnese raises her sword and points it toward Guts and thrusts. Though Guts raises his metal arm to deflect it, he is struck by a piece of wood thrown by Serpico near his arrow wound. Guts' attempt at deflecting Farnese's sword fails when he stumbles due to the pain in his leg, and he impales his shoulder on Farnese's blade. The Knights cheer for their captain, who seemingly managed to take the Falcon of Darkness down in one hit. Several knights whose friends were just killed by Guts attempt to force him to his feet so that they may kill him. They are stopped by Azan, who proclaims that their actions are shameful. The knight then turns to Farnese, who is reeling after having drawn drawn an opponent's blood for the first time. Regaining her composure, Farnese orders the Holy Iron Chain Knights back to camp, taking Guts along with them.[4]

Once there, they lead a restrained Guts inside Farnese's tent. She attempts to dismiss her soldiers, but they are hesitant to leave, fearing Guts may free himself and attack her. They finally leave when Farnese accuses them of believing she is an incapable leader. Afterwards, she interrogates a mocking Guts. Calmly, he asks if she believes in God and demons. The question confuses her, but Guts asks yet another: he asks if she's ever met one. Guts scoffs at her answer, with the remark earning him a whipping. Guts says that, like Azan's, her reputation will diminish should she remain so devoted to the Holy Iron Chain Knights. Azan enters the tent and asks her why she injured Guts, but she simply yells for Guts to be taken away.[4] Once free, Guts sneaks through the camp and into Farnese's tent to retrieve his gear. Before Farnese can say anything, he aims a chop at her neck, knocking her out. He quickly gears up and kills a knight who walks in to check on Farnese. Outside, the Holy Iron Chain Knights are surprised to see Farnese's tent is on fire. Azan, Serpico and several knights run over and find Guts in front of it, fully armed, with Farnese slung over his shoulder. Guts threatens to set her on fire if they do not let him pass unmolested, and so the Knights reluctantly allow him to. Guts makes his way to the horses and presses his torch into their hindquarters, sending them rampaging through the camp. Azan orders the rampaging horses be rounded up to pursue. He notices that Serpico is the first and only knight to have mounted and given chase, armed with a crossbow and rapier.[9] When the morning comes and Serpico rides over, finally finding Guts and Farnese, he reminds his commander that their mission is only to apprehend Guts, and if Serpico were to fight him, the Black Swordsman would surely emerge triumphant thanks to his much greater strength. Farnese will hear none of it, slapping Serpico and running off. Serpico turns to Guts and exasperatedly says that he caused her to cry. Their conversation ends in Serpico asking his pardon, allowing Guts to leave the custody of the Holy Iron Chain Knights. Guts thanks Serpico, saying that he now owes Serpico. He turns his back to leave.[10]

Birth Ceremony Chapter[]

Sometime later, Farnese leads the Holy Iron Chain Knights, along with several hundred refugees and a steel wagon, to Albion. Azan informs her and Serpico that some refugees are from lands that have been taken over by a nation known as the Kushan Empire. Serpico asks whether they should intervene in the situation, due to the facts that the Kushan Empire are enemies of the Holy See religion and that Albion is located very close to the border of Midland, which the Kushan now control. Azan silences him, saying that if they need to intervene, they'll receive orders from the Holy See to do so. Meanwhile, Farnese recalls a time between Guts' escape and the present, when she was relieved of arresting the Black Swordsman by the Holy See's Miracle Regonition Department, dismissing her with words of assigning her another job at a later time despite her words on how the Holy Iron Chain Knights are not yet suited to take on so mighty a foe as Guts.[2] As the convoy passes along the foot of a ridge, several men attack at the armored carriage from above before taking on the Holy Iron Chain Knights, who cannot return to the carriage due to the sea of refugees which lies between them and it. The attack comes to a halt with the apparance of Mozgus and his disciples. As a rebel tries to flee, he runs into the arms of a black-haired woman who caresses his face. One of the Holy Iron Chain Knights approaches and asks the black-haired woman if she is also involved in the attack. A brown-haired woman claims the black-haired one is innocent. The knight looks upon the woman and deems her innocent, though he is disturbed by her, dismissing her as insane.[11]

Already in Albion, some refugees notice a cart being driven by a knight. Hoping to receive donations from the cart that is presumably full of food, they approach him, but the knight tries to shoo them away. Their attention is drawn by more approaching knights, who round up the beggars. Farnese berates them for trying to steal on offerings, but her heart is torn when one of the refugees presents her with an emaciated child who is too weak to nurse. After a short talk, Mozgus personally leads the beggars and several Holy Iron Chain Knights into Albion proper. The mother, along with Farnese, Serpico and Azan, are brought to a torture chamber. Mozgus explains that many of the refugees around Albion are notorious sinners and must be punished, with some having been captured thanks to the Holy Iron Chain Knights.[12] Indeed, Farnese and several Holy Iron Chain Knights are later seen forcibly leading a man whom eyewitnesses identified as the murderer of yet another priest to the Tower of Conviction. Watching the entire scene from inside her tent is Luca, the brown-haired girl previously seen in Casca's company. She is working as a prostitute, and her client, Jerome, is a member of the Holy Iron Chain Knights. He says that no one likes Farnese's command, partly out of how she only speaks of faith or duties, and partly because she never seems grateful for their work and doesn't act like the ornamental figure she's meant to be.[5]

Members[]

References[]

  1. ^ a b c d e Berserk :: Volume 14, "Black Swordsman, Again"
  2. ^ a b c d Berserk :: Volume 17, "To the Holy Ground (1)"
  3. ^ a b Berserk :: Volume 16, "Holy Iron Chain Knights (1)"
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Berserk :: Volume 16, "Holy Iron Chain Knights (2)"
  5. ^ a b c Berserk :: Volume 18, "Tower of Shadows (2)"
  6. ^ Berserk :: Volume 16, "Hollow Idol"
  7. ^ a b Berserk :: Volume 15, "Pursuers"
  8. ^ Berserk :: Volume 16, "Monster"
  9. ^ Berserk :: Volume 17, "The Unseen"
  10. ^ Berserk :: Volume 17, "Morning of Truth"
  11. ^ Berserk :: Volume 17, "To the Holy Ground (2)"
  12. ^ Berserk :: Volume 18, "Tower of Shadows (1)"

Gallery[]

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