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The Faust Incident
BerserkCollage
"In this world, is the destiny of mankind controlled by some transcendental entity or law? Is it like the hand of God, hovering above?"
Game Number XXI
Status Canon
Preceded by... A Night in Terror Town
Followed by... Prisoners of Hogwarts

Calamitous Reprise

Brand of the Hawk began on December 26, 2017, and ended on January 27, 2018. It is based on Berserk, Castlevania, and elements of DC Comics.

When a collective of malevolent, godlike figures known as the God Hand brands a group of unrelated individuals from across the multiverse for sacrifice, the group must survive the monsters hunting after them and their own inner demons, all the while seeking a source of evil worthy enough to be sacrificed in their stead.

It was hosted by Ver and can be found here.

Participants Edit

Other Characters Edit

Chapter Details Edit

Prologue - "Conviction" Edit

As a group of individuals from across the multiverse are whisked away from their home dimensions, they wake up in a world of horror known as the Eclipse. Their bodies are branded and they are chosen as sacrifices by a mysterious, seemingly omnipotent collective known as the God Hand, but before they can be sacrificed, in the nick of time, two figures, John Constantine and the Skull Knight, appear and rescue the group from the Eclipse, teleporting them all into an isolated forest.

There, Constantine explains to the group the full gravity of the situation, as well as why they were chosen as sacrifices; since because they were human, if not in body then in spirit and self-determination, they held a degree of evil that was inherent to their being, and that Constantine held the ability to mark others with the brand utilizing dark magic. He continues that if the group wishes to avoid being sacrificed to the God Hand, who are on the hunt for their souls, they must set out on a journey to find a great evil that equals the entire group combined.

Chapter 1 - "Hawk" Edit

After saving the group of unwilling survivors from the God Hand's Eclipse, the mysterious Skull Knight directs them to find a man known as the Black Swordsman, who believes that they will help them on their quest. Afterwards, he departs, leaving only Constantine to lead the group. Eventually, they come across an active town, in which Constantine believes they will find the Black Swordsman, and encourages everyone to split up to look for him.

Constantine, along with a few others, head to the town center, where a large crowd is present. There, a woman (named Casca) with the same brand on her body as the others is seen, about to be burned at the stake, believed by the townspeople to be either a witch, or cursed by one, as seen by her mind-broken status. When the group attempts to intervene, the crowd turns on them and begins to perceive them as witch sympathizers.

At the same time this happens, as another part of the group splits off into the market, they run into a shopkeeper chewing out a boy, claiming that he had stolen some fruit. The confrontation quickly escalates when the man threatens to kill the boy, but is stopped by the group, before fleeing in fear. During the exchange, it is noticed that the crowd does not seem to notice or even acknowledge the group's antics very much. The boy, later revealed to be named Isidro, claims that he is stealing the fruit, not to eat, but rather, to throw at people at the town center in hopes of distracting and interrupting the public execution of Casca in order to buy time for his "friend" to free the Black Swordsman from the penitentiary. With that, the group makes their way to the town center.

Just as they arrive at the center, the crowd starts to begin attacking everyone, but after Astolfo uses his ability, La Black Luna, to disorient and incapacitate the crowd, what instead happens is something far from what one expects; the entire town population had been possessed by an army of slug monsters, and intended to burn Casca in order to "cook" her. From there, the groups engaged in a grand fight against a seemingly endless swarm of the slugs.

All the while, another part of the group, drawn to the crowd outside the penitentiary, makes their way there, and spots the royal guards dragging in a man with the familiar brand on the back of his neck. While there, the group takes notice of a strange orb of light, later revealed to be a pixie-like elf named Puck, who is attempting to free the man from captivity. Eventually, they manage to infiltrate the building by tricking a guard into having him believe them to be members of the local church, and speak to the man, revealed to be the Black Swordsman himself, Guts. Persuading him to work with them to seek out and vanquish a greater evil, they manage to free him and re-equip him with his belongings, just in time to join the fight in the center against the slug monsters.

The supernatural characteristics of Guts's Dragon Slayer allow the slug monsters to subside, severing their connection to the sorcerer controlling them in spirit from an undisclosed location, Felix Faust, who happens to be an arch-enemy of Constantine's, taunting him before disappearing. With that, reuniting with his crew, Guts urges the group to come with him and skip town while all the townspeople were unconscious, stating that he had an idea of where to go next on their quest for great evil.

That night, at the camp site, Constantine reveals to Kokichi, Ciel, and Ben how he had come to end up in this world, stating Faust had recently somehow managed to unlock the secrets to traveling between worlds, and has now come to work under a new, mysterious master, whom Constantine suspects to be the ideal source of greater evil that they would be able to transfer the curse to, and implies that Faust himself holds captive "something important" to Constantine, but does not elaborate on it.

Chapter 2 - "Retribution" Edit

As the group moved to the next location by Guts, a small village that he later said he'd heard rumors of a movement of evil there, in search of a possible great evil, they split up in order to learn more about the ins and outs of the place.

Constantine and a number of others traversed into the tavern in order to gauge the word of the locals within the village (Constantine moreso just needing a drink). From there, the group learns about mass plagues and madness sweeping the village, as well as rumors of the presence of evil in the shape of demons and dark sorcerers terrorizing the village. However, these demonstrations of evil influence did not create the malevolence seen in the village, as it had always been present, as seen when the group later intervenes upon seeing a customer at the tavern harass a barmaid, only to realize that their actions had done more harm than good when the barmaid explains that the man will go on to refocus all his anger on his own daughter, the barmaid's friend, a situation that she had deliberately been trying to avoid.

Guts, Isidro, Puck, and Casca made their way to the brothel in the meantime, along with a handful of others who follows along, reuniting with an old friend from before named Luca, who had since moved to this new village since the last time they had met for a temporary amount of time. Guts requests that Isidro, Puck, and Casca be put under Luca's care while he plans to temporarily move on with the rest of the group, believing this to be a dangerous detour that leads him no closer to his true goal, but a path he must follow regardless. Luca accepts, and in return, the group tends to the girls in the brothel, who are all stricken with the aforementioned mystery plague. Luca also elaborates on the happenings around the village, explaining the situation with the rumors of demons and sorcerers just like at the tavern. All the while, the Hollow Knight interacts with Casca, realizing her infantile mannerisms as "incomplete" of a person, and later on, Libra appears and uses his healing spells to cure the girls of their afflicted plague. Luca laments on how, while she is glad that the girls are healed, this means that they must return to the disheartening work of being an escort of a brothel, an occupation she believes no girl should ever be employed in.

All the while, most of the rest of the group ventures into the inn in order to acquire rooms, where they witness a number of guests hastily leaving the village, as well as the innkeeper himself, who is all but ready to close up shop, believing that it was only a matter of time before this barren village is abandoned. However, through Virginia's coaxing and the claims that the group are "demon hunters" who will save the village from its pestilence, the innkeeper relents and allows them all rooms to rest in. Things take a sharp turn around though as some of them check out their rooms. Virginia initially has trouble entering her own room, prompting Ben and Sebastian to help open the door. Inside, the room is covered in bloody words painted all over, citing nursery rhymes, and a corpse hanging from the ceiling that suddenly reanimates and looks back at them, before Guts, having finished his business at the brothel earlier, appears before them, and it is revealed that they had witnessed a strange shared hallucination.

Paired with that and Kokichi finding a curious necklace with a red "jewel" on it, which Guts recognizes as a Behelit (albeit, a fake) and a symbol of his cursed past, he theorizes that the enemy (Faust and whoever he serves) have been alerted to the group's presence in the village and are likely on their way to attack now, prompting everyone to come together and talk about the best course of action.

Chapter 3 - "Symphony" Edit

Before the group could get very far in their discussion, an army of demons invaded the village, killing and kidnapping civilians at their own whim.

Some of the group traversed back to the brothel, where screaming was heard, to find Luca and the others inside being terrorized by the men from the tavern earlier that day, evidently possessed by some of the demons. After easily dispatching them, the rumored rhyming goblin finally made his appearance, attacking the group and identifying himself as Etrigan. After a brief skirmish, Etrigan is forced to flee by an unknown force compelling him to retreat back to where he'd come from. Arriving on the scene too late, Constantine reveals that Etrigan is an ally of his who is no doubt being controlled in some manner by Faust's magic, and believes that Faust himself is in the village now. With that, he and the rest of the group travel deeper into the village, where a number of others already were at, fighting off invading demons, who also decided to retreat at the same time as Etrigan did.

From there, Faust himself appeared, offering the group to join him, claiming that he will be able to give them whatever they are seeking faster than Constantine ever could promise, but they decline, and a small battle ensues between them and the sorcerer. He is overwhelmed by the group's efforts, and under duress, reveals the name of his master, called "Dracula." Faust dares them to track him down, believing that they will fall to his power, before disappearing into the air with his magic, making his escape. At the same time, the red clouds in the sky part, revealing the giant castle in the distance from the village's rumors, where Constantine concludes that they must go there in order to accomplish their unwilling quest.

Chapter 4 - "Castlevania" Edit

As the group ventured into the castle of Felix Faust's master, Dracula, who appears before them to warn them of their grisly fate should they venture any further, they are quickly met later on with hordes of demons out to get them. Guts stays behind in order to buy them time, holding the monsters off while the group pushes onward. Making their way up the castle floors, they bump into Morrigan, a prominent member of the M.E.U., and an acquaintance of Constantine, who joins up with the group.

From there, after some mild puzzle solving when it looks like they stumbled upon a dead end in an old library, they manage to make their way further up the castle, before also running into Zatanna, a woman held as a prisoner and bait. It is revealed here that Constantine's primary goal (as well as Morrigan's) was to rescue Zatanna from Faust, as he and Zatanna (along with Etrigan) were doing battle with Faust, before Constantine was separated from the others during the exchange, before leading him to meeting with the Skull Knight later on. Upon freeing Zatanna from her confines, they continue moving onward, hoping to get closer and closer to facing Faust and Dracula.

Chapter 5 - "Hellblazer" Edit

As the group draws deeper and deeper into the castle, they eventually fall victim to a trap door and end up in a mysterious cavern, surrounded by ravenous demons. After fighting their way through the cavern, they are soon met with a dead end, only for the barrier to open up like a hidden door, courtesy of Guts, who managed to reach them on the other side. With that, they continued to travel through Castlevania, overcoming a puzzle upon realizing that they had actually been flipped upside down in the castle unknowingly in the process.

Eventually, they reach Dracula's private study, where gathered notes provide insight into Dracula's character, his struggles, and his losses, as well as his atrocities and his encounter with Kirei Kotomine, who had bestowed him with the power of the Right Hand of the Crimson Moon, thus allowing him to freely travel across different worlds on a whim, though the man does not give a motive for why he gives Dracula this power, and disappears as abruptly as he appeared. Dracula sits on this information for a substantial amount of time, unsure of whether or not to use this power to escape this world that he exists in, before eventually deciding to make use of it after a long while, traveling into the next universe over. He recognizes it as a world similar to his, though different in its own ways. Shortly afterwards, it is then that he encounters Felix Faust, whom Dracula spares and allows to serve him, the sorcerer reminding him of his late servant, Shaft. With some coaxing from Faust, Dracula then makes the decision to take over this new world, confident that without anyone aware of his existence with an active intent to stop him, such as the Belmont clan of vampire killers, he will surely succeed.

From there, the group continues traveling, before coming across Felix Faust and the mind-controlled Etrigan as well. The group engages in a grand battle, ending with Faust's demise and Etrigan being released of his mind control. As Etrigan agrees to join with the group, Faust's body and soul are burned away by hellfire conjured by Dracula, who goads the group into venturing just a bit further and finally confront him.

Final Chapter - "Aria" Edit

As the group draws further, they finally reach the throne room, where Dracula waits for them in the deepest part of the castle. After engaging in a brief debate with them on the morals of their actions and the actions of their race, he begins to do battle with them, all the while his demon underlings battle with Guts, Etrigan, and Zatanna, rendering them to unable to help. Still, after a lengthy fight, they manage to overcome the vampire lord, afflicting him with the God Hand's Brand just as dawn rises.

With their objective finally fulfilled, the pack of strugglers begin to return home.

Epilogue Details Edit

The aftermath elaborates on the fates of the characters after the incident; Constantine returns to the House of Mystery along with Zatanna, Etrigan, and Morrigan, continuing to count down to the day where his cons and behaviors take a permanent toll on his relationships with them. Guts, upon reuniting with his crew from earlier, continues his journey of vengeance and sorrow, a slave to his own fate, struggling in vain to break from it. Luca continues her trek throughout the kingdom of Midland in order to help the less fortunate, rejecting the luxuries of love and comfort that would normally never be offered to a lowly escort of a woman like her when they had come their way.

It is also revealed that, behind the scenes, the group's journey that ultimately led them to sacrificing Dracula to the God Hand had been under false pretenses the entire time. While they believed that they were in danger of being sacrificed at any moment, in reality, the God Hand had orchestrated their arrival and entire journey upon becoming aware of Dracula's intrusion into their world and subsequent attempt to take it over, as they knew that they could not directly interfere with the real world overtly.

Trivia Edit

  • In-universe, the event is known as the "Faust Incident."
  • The event was originally supposed to feature a death system, similar to When the Corpses Cry, in which a given participant would be selected once per chapter and be forced to pick one fellow participant to be killed off, or they would be chosen to die themselves. This was ultimately scrapped.
  • In the early stages of the event's development, different characters were set to appear. Instead of Felix Faust, the intended DC villain was originally meant to be either Morgaine le Fey or Klarion the Witch Boy. Griffith, also known as Femto, the primary antagonist of Berserk, was also meant to make an appearance, notably a brief one at least in Chapter 2, but this never came to fruition.
  • Every chapter title, on top of having just one word (with the exception of the story updates), are a reference in some form to the utilized canons in the event:
    • Conviction, Hawk, Retribution, and Aria are all references to Berserk. Conviction refers to the Conviction Arc, with "Retribution" being an alternate name for the arc in question, while "Hawk" is a recurring image within the series. Aria is the name of the Golden Age Arc Trilogy's theme song, though it can also refer to the Castlevania entry, Aria of Sorrow.
    • Hellblazer is a reference to the name of Constantine's original comic run.
    • Symphony and Castlevania are references to Castlevania, with the latter being self-explanatory, while the former is named after the popular entry, Symphony of the Night.
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