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Divine providence cannot be thwarted... by man's efforts.
– The Count[1]

The Count was an apostle nobleman presiding over a territory which Guts visited during the swordsman's two-year war against demonkind. He ultimately died in a bout with the Black Swordsman, dragged into the Vortex of Souls after being unable to sacrifice his daughter, Theresia, in exchange for new life.[1]

Personality and Ideology[]

As an apostle, the Count was an extremely cruel man, killing supposed heretics and their families for perceived slights, and taking those not immediately executed to be eaten after his experiments.[2] He was also a gluttonous apostle; unable to quell his hunger before the Eclipse, he, along with other apostles including Rosine, feasted on an encampment of injured Band of the Falcon mercenaries.[3] Years later, the Count enjoyed taunting Guts while thrashing the swordsman during their fight, but panicked and became hysterical when it became clear Guts had won.[4]

There is not much insight into his life as a human. Vargas mentioned that although the baron was still cruel, he was not sadistic.[2] Theresia additionally indicated that though her father was harsh, he genuinely cared about his kingdom.[1] He was notably susceptible to blind rage; when he found his wife participating in a pagan orgy, he was devastated, and slew everyone except for her. He wanted to kill her as well, but could not, instead opting to take his own life.[5] Later, after being mortally wounded by Guts, he spared Theresia from being a sacrifice to the God Hand, knowing full well that by not sacrificing her, he will be sucked into the Abyss for all eternity.[6]

Background[]

The Count, as a human, with his wife and daughter.

Roughly seven years before the fifth Eclipse, the human who would become the Count served as ruler of a hold, during a period in which his land was overrun by pagans. After a lengthy pagan-hunting campaign, he returned to his castle, only to find his beloved wife willingly participating in a heretical orgy. In a fit of blind rage, the man killed all of the heretical participants until only his wife was left, whom he could not bring himself to kill. He was driven to despair upon seeing his wife's knowing, triumphant smile, and almost ended his own life before his beherit responded to his despair. Granted an audience with the God Hand, the man sacrificed his wife in order to transcend his humanity and end his suffering; reborn as an apostle, he devoured his branded wife.[5]

Soon after his reincarnation, the Count began spreading a lie that his wife was taken hostage by a group of heretics and killed during a sacrificial ritual. He later placed his daughter, Theresia, under house arrest.[1] From then on, the Count hunted heretics with unnatural enthusiasm; these inquisitions served only as a false pretense for the Count to acquire more bodies, which he vivisected, further mutilated, and devoured. When his physician Vargas discovered his secret and attempted to run away, the Count captured the man, mutilated him, and forced him to watch as his wife and two sons were eaten alive. Nevertheless, Vargas eventually managed to escape with the Count's beherit.[2]

Story[]

Golden Age Arc[]

The Count during the fifth Eclipse.

On his way to the site of the fifth Eclipse, during the night prior to the event, the Count, along with Rosine and other apostles, feasts on a group of injured Band of the Falcon members, fleeing only after the Skull Knight appears and leaving only Rickert alive.[3] Once the Eclipse goes under way, and Griffith offers his comrades as sacrifices to join the God Hand, the Count takes part in the banquet[7] and is among the apostles who manages to take down Pippin.[8] By the time Guts finds himself before the torn remains of his allies, the Count has hollowed Pippin's corpse and uses it as a lure to ambush the swordsman, though Guts manages to elude his grasp.[9]

Black Swordsman Arc[]

For the next two years after his involvement in the Eclipse, the Count resumes his heretic executions, until Guts arrives in his land and disfigures his captain of the guard, Zondark, before escaping with the aid of Vargas.[10] The Count remembers the swordsman, and later infuses Zondark with a fraction of his being to not only endow his vengeful henchman with supernatural powers, but possess him as well.[2]

Guts uses Theresia to mortally wound the Count.

After a possessed Zondark is presumed to be defeated following his ambush of Guts and Vargas, the Count goes out to personally abduct Vargas after the man parts ways with Guts. Following Vargas' capture, the Count sentences the revenge-driven man to death and sets up an ambush at the execution ground in case Guts arrives to save the man.[2] Aware of the trap, Guts stands back while Puck tries in vain to save Vargas and is captured. The Count later gives the captured elf to Theresia as a pet.[1]

After nightfall, Guts enters the Count's castle and faces him directly. The destruction caused by their battle breaks open the doors to Theresia's room, allowing Theresia to leave her room for the first time in years. Theresia wanders into the throne room and is grabbed by Guts, who uses her as a human shield to mortally injure the Count. Despite Puck's pleas to stop, Guts continues to sadistically stab the Count until the apostle's spilled blood flows toward his beherit (which Guts was carrying and dropped mid-battle). Not wanting to die, the Count begs for help and activates his beherit, transporting everyone present to the realm of the God Hand.[4]

The Count being dragged into the Abyss.

The God Hand appears, and while a brief encounter between Guts and Femto ensues, the Count insists on sacrificing Guts for the swordsman's killing of previous apostles. However, Void explains to the Count that the already sacrificed swordsman's life cannot be offered again, adding that the sacrifice needs to be someone dear to the apostle if he wants to continue living. Femto then points to the only person present that the Count may offer as sacrifice: his daughter, Theresia. Ubik then shows the girl the truth behind her mother's death. The Count is then pressed by Femto to make a decision between continuing his existence or having it absorbed and revert to nothingness, with the other God Hand members urging him to will the sacrifice. As he ponders on how he'll die as a wretched monster – only to be sucked into the Abyss for all eternity – his wish to live is weaker than the sight of Theresia suffering. When his body of flesh expires, his spirit is then dragged into the Abyss by a chain of souls of which Vargas' soul is a part. Once the temporal junction point ceases, the Count reverts to his human form, and his bifurcated, lifeless body is seen laying atop a pile of rubble.[6]

Powers and Abilities[]

Strength[]

Largely owing to his sheer size, the Count was capable of burrowing through the stone floor of his castle in his released form and could smash through stone pillars easily. His monstrous strength was capable of temporarily incapacitating Guts.

Durability and Regeneration[]

In the case of both his spawn and himself, the Count would not take damage and could simply regenerate his damaged parts. This did not apply to his head or heart, however, as the Count was unable to regenerate from injuries dealt to his head after Guts damaged it slightly, and he was later unable to reattach his head after Guts severed it from the rest of his transformed body. According to the Count himself, each time a limb of his was chopped off, he grew bigger as he regenerated, getting larger and stronger the more drawn out a battle became.

Pseudo-Apostle Siring[]

The Count becoming a part of Zondark

The Count was capable of infecting others with his spawn in order to amplify their strength, speed, and ability, as well as take possession of them.

Partial Transformation[]

Unusual for an apostle, the Count showed the ability to flexibly transform parts of himself to his slug-like released form from his normal form, shown both in Vargas' flashback and during his first in-person assault on Guts.

Notes[]

  • In the 1997 anime, the Snake Lord assumes the Count's role as the apostle whose beherit is taken by Guts upon defeat. The Count does however make two brief appearances first in episode 22 when he is seen with Rosine and the other apostles closing in on Rickert after slaughtering his fellow band members. The intervention of Skull Knight is however omitted from the anime. The Count would appear again in episode 25 to taunt Guts with Pippin's hollowed body as he did in the manga.

Explanations[]

  1. ^ Kentarou Miura refers to the Count as "Slug Baron" in an interview for the Berserk Official Guidebook, referring to the apostle as ナメクジ男爵, in which ナメクジ means "slug" and 男爵 means "baron".

References[]

  1. ^ a b c d e Berserk :: Volume 2, "Guardian Angels of Desire (3)"
  2. ^ a b c d e Berserk :: Volume 2, "Guardian Angels of Desire (2)"
  3. ^ a b Berserk :: Volume 10, "The Eve (2)"
  4. ^ a b Berserk :: Volume 3, "Guardian Angels of Desire (4)"
  5. ^ a b Berserk :: Volume 3, "Guardian Angels of Desire (5)"
  6. ^ a b Berserk :: Volume 3, "Guardian Angels of Desire (6)"
  7. ^ Berserk :: Volume 12, "Feast"
  8. ^ Berserk :: Volume 13, "Storm of Death (1)"
  9. ^ Berserk :: Volume 13, "Quickening"
  10. ^ Berserk :: Volume 1, "Guardian Angels of Desire (1)"
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