|“||Jealousy. Hatred. Greed. Friends and family are driven to murder one another by these petty emotions. Such emotions spawn fathers who would even kill their own brood. As long as humans control, as long as humans dictate, as long as humans exist, this madness will never end.||”|
— Zephiel, to Roy
Zephiel (Japanese: ゼフィール Zefhyr) was the King of Bern, the son of the late King Desmond and his estranged wife Hellene, and the half-brother of Princess Guinivere. As a child, his jealous father sought to assassinate him by hiring the Black Fang, then later almost killed him personally, with Zephiel surviving barely only through the care of his most loyal attendant, General Murdock. These experiences deeply embittered Zephiel, convincing him of the weakness and monstrosity inherent in humanity and the need to end humanity's grip on Elibe. This led him to unseal and awaken the Demon Dragon Idenn and, in alliance with Jahn, engage the rest of Elibe in a full-scale war, the Disturbance of Bern, with the intent of wiping out humanity and restoring Elibe to the rule of dragons.
- 1 Biography
- 2 Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade
- 3 Fire Emblem
- 4 Fire Emblem: Awakening
- 5 Personality and character
- 6 Quotes
- 7 Other appearances
- 8 Trivia
- 9 Gallery
- 10 Etymology and other languages
- 11 References
Zephiel's great talent even in his youth embittered Desmond from the very beginning, and since becoming estranged from Hellene, Desmond sought to invalidate Zephiel's claim to the throne of Bern by any means necessary. In his first attempt, he arranged for the Fire Emblem to be stolen by the Black Fang, as the item would be crucial to Zephiel's impending coming-of-age ceremony. On the day Eliwood, Hector and Lyn came to the Bern palace to investigate the disappearance of the Emblem, Zephiel and Murdock had also come to the palace on a visit to Guinivere, having heard she was ill, and presented her with a pet baby fox he caught on a hunt. There, he encountered his father, and attempted to be courteous and kind in the face of Desmond's thinly-veiled contempt. At Desmond's "request", Zephiel departed to return to his mother's manse.
The Emblem was retrieved from the Black Fang by Eliwood's company, and so several nights later, on the eve of his coming of age, Zephiel's manse was invaded by Jaffar and Nino of the Black Fang, again hired by Desmond. He gave a prayer hoping for his family to become happy and untroubled again, and shortly after was assaulted by Jaffar, who stunned him; however, moved by his prayer, Nino refused to go through with killing Zephiel, and the two fled. Zephiel woke up some time later to find the manse invaded by a larger Black Fang force intending to finish the job, with the turncoat Jaffar as his only protection. Meanwhile, Eliwood and Hector's band worked its way through the manse to come to his aid; though initially skeptical of their honesty and their refusal to identify themselves, he nonetheless trusted them with assisting him, believing that he would already be dead were they assassins.
Some time afterward, Desmond made the announcement that the heir to Bern's throne would be Guinivere's eventual husband. Zephiel didn't mind at all, but the people of Bern - hopeful in the light of Zephiel's undeniable talent and wisdom - were outraged at the news and put much pressure on Desmond. In response, he personally attempted to kill Zephiel by, at a banquet, handing him a spiked drink. This nearly killed Zephiel, saved only by the care of Murdock.
Upon recovering, Zephiel learned of Desmond's intentions to have his mother and Murdock branded as traitors and murdered, and in response Zephiel faked his own death with Murdock's assistance. A false funeral was arranged, and when Desmond came to observe his dead son, Zephiel rose from the casket and, sword in hand, slew Desmond. These events were related many years later to Roy by Guinivere, as the Etrurian army prepared to enter Bern and end the war; Guinivere commented that, though as a child she could not fully grasp was what going on beyond her father's death, she did notice a distinct shift in Zephiel himself, and that he never smiled again.
Adulthood and the Disturbance of Bern
Fifteen years after Nergal's defeat, Zephiel travelled to the Dragon Temple and used the Fire Emblem to unlock the seal, releasing Idenn. Shortly thereafter, he was visited by a projection of Jahn, who asked him why he had freed Idenn; in response, Zephiel declared his intent to give the world back to dragons.
At the onset of the Disturbance of Bern, after Narcian and Brunnya successfully subdued the leaders of the Lycian League at Araphen, Zephiel arrived and had their wounded leader, Hector, brought before him. Hector attempted to ask him why he had launched the war in light of the friendship between their nations, a notion dismissed by Zephiel as a triviality in the face of his goal to liberate the world by placing it under his sole rule. Brunnya then informed him of her intent to return to Sacae, but first questioned his work with Idenn, a figure subject to suspicion and superstition among the Bern forces; Zephiel dismissed her concerns by stating that one with her level of faith in him should follow his path without question, then expressed some amusement with his dramatic approach to her concerns after the fact.
Later, Zephiel arrived at the site of a siege of a Missur castle led by Narcian and Flaer. Etruria's General Cecilia, leader of the Loyalists' rebellion against the Etrurian coup d'etat, was its occupant, resisting the Bern forces in their efforts to seize the castle and protecting Guinivere. In the face of the Bern army's failure to seize the castle, Zephiel chose to personally give Cecilia the "honour" of fighting him in a one-on-one duel, easily defeating and severely wounding her. With Cecilia's defeat, Bern's forces moved in and occupied the castle, and Guinivere was brought before Zephiel. Guinivere tried to reason with Zephiel, who in response explained his motives to free the world from the destructive nature of man and attempted to justify the slaughter of countless innocents his process entailed. Zephiel ordered Milady to escort Guinivere back to Bern and to ensure that the Fire Emblem she carried was returned to the Shrine of Seals, and after telling Narcian to send some of his forces into the Nabata Desert to find the rumoured hidden dragon village, he departed.
Eventually, the Etrurian army under General Roy arrived at Bern Keep, and Zephiel received the news of Murdock's death. Zephiel tasked Brunnya with taking Idenn and fleeing Bern Keep, lest they lose Idenn and the entire war be rendered pointless; he also instructed Idenn to continue their work in the event of his death. Roy's army soon worked its way into the throne room, unlocked by two switches and the Fire Emblem, and Roy himself confronted Zephiel.
Zephiel again explained his motivation in full, explaining his disgust with the treachery and immorality of humanity, his intent to restore the world to dragon rule, and that the defeat of the dragons in the Scouring was a mistake he intended to correct as soon as possible. Roy rejected his claims, pointing out that the rule of dragons would differ little from the rule of mankind, and that he, with his faith in mankind, refused to give in to one with no faith in his people or in himself. The two then duelled and Zephiel was slain.
Zephiel is the boss of Chapter 22, and thus the final boss of The Binding Blade in its bad ending. He also appears in Chapter 13, where he defeats Cecilia and leaves after a few turns; under normal circumstances, Zephiel cannot be fought by the player's army in this chapter.
Zephiel is also available as a bonus playable character in the Trial Map mode, unlocked by clearing the game seven times.
Boss Ch. 22 NM Boss Ch. 22 H Playable (Trial Map)
Zephiel appears as a NPC unit in Chapter 26E/28H, wherein the objective is to protect Zephiel for 15 turns. Zephiel's death is an automatic Game Over. For the first turn of the chapter, Zephiel is collapsed and cannot move or defend himself, but he awakens and starts being able to move and defend himself from the second turn onward.
Zephiel is playable as a SpotPass character, released in the The Binding Blade character set. He also appears as an enemy in four downloadable content chapters and as an NPC in a further two DLC chapters.
Starting stats and growth rates
Playable (SpotPass) NPC (DLC SB 1) Enemy (DLC SB 2&3) Enemy (DLC R&R 1&3) NPC (DLC R&R 2)
Growth rates when reclassed
Promotion stat gains
Archer Barbarian Cavalier Dark Mage Fighter Knight Mage Mercenary Myrmidon Priest Tactician Thief Wyvern Rider
Like all male bonus units in Awakening, Zephiel has access to all base class and advanced class skills available to standard male units.
In addition, Zephiel can also receive the following as a personal skill:
Personality and character
In his youth, Zephiel was a kind and wise individual. He was devoted to his younger half-sister, and of all the trials Desmond placed before him it was only the difficulty seeing her which frustrated him; he didn't even mind upon Desmond's denial of his succession of the throne in favour of Guinivere's hypothetical future husband. In the face of the turmoil facing his family, his sole wish was for his family to overcome the bitterness and hatred, and come together to live in happiness. He was highly talented, excelling at all pursuits to which he tried his hand, as a warrior, a politician and a scholar. As a result, he quickly won over the love of the people of Bern; many figures of Bern's army also came to deeply trust him and see him as Bern's sole hope for the future, including Murdock, Brunnya and Vaida. It was these talents which embitted and evoked jealousy in the rather average Desmond, and yet ironically, Zephiel was determined to try harder to attempt to meet what he perceived to be the lofty expectations of his father.
However, ultimately his dealings with his envious and bitter father would come to shape Zephiel's personality for the worse, sparked by his father's attempt on his life. Following his killing of his father, he quickly descended into a state of grimness, never smiling again. He developed a strong misanthropic worldview, influenced by his father's attitude, believing that humans were inherently evil and devoted to causing misery in others, and that the world would only continue to suffer under the control of mankind. He also developed the belief that the loss of the dragons in the Scouring was bad for the world because of mankind's flaws, and that a world under dragon rule would be a better world. To this end, he initiated the Disturbance of Bern to free the world from humans, during which he expressed no interest in the endless torrent of lives taken in his war effort, including those of prisoners and the innocent, citing them all as necessary sacrifices to the greater good and claiming that because of human greed there is no such thing as an "innocent" person.
|“||You shall not bar my path!||”|
— Zephiel, in The Binding Blade.
|“||Are you mad? Challenging me is tantamount to suicide.||”|
— Zephiel, as an enemy in Smash Brethren 2 in Awakening.
|“||...I am defeated... But remember this... My will shall never die... As long as humans retain control, madness will reign...||”|
— Zephiel in, The Binding Blade.
— Zephiel, in Fire Emblem.
|“||I am done... Now those warriors from afar must prove their worth...||”|
— Zephiel, as a NPC in Smash Brethren 1 in Awakening.
|“||Nngh! If I am finished...then this battle may soon be, too...||”|
— Zephiel, as an enemy in Smash Brethren 2 in Awakening.
This section has been marked as a stub. Please help improve the page by adding information.
The final confrontation with Zephiel varies somewhat compared to the source material: in the battle, Zephiel instead wielded both the Eckesachs and Binding Blade, both of the weapons of his ancestor Hartmut. Using the Binding Blade, he re-sealed Al, which functioned as enough of a distraction to allow Roy to seize the Binding Blade and use it against Zephiel himself, killing him.
Artwork of Zephiel as an adult from The Binding Blade.
Zephiel's portrait as an adult in The Binding Blade.
Zephiel's portrait in his youth in Fire Emblem.
Zephiel's portrait in Awakening.
Etymology and other languages
|Names, etymology and in other regions|
|Language||Name||Definition, etymology and notes|
|English||Zephiel||From Ζέφυρος Zephyros, the Greek god of the west wind and one of the Anemoi, a group of four Greek wind gods each associated with a cardinal direction; his name is commonly rendered as "Zephyr". The "Zephiel" rendering of the name may be invoking the Hebrew suffix גַּ el, "of God", a common component of names of Biblical origin such as "Ariel" and "Gabriel".|
|Japanese||ゼフィール||Officially romanized as Zefhyr.|
- "Roy: You said King Zephiel was an outstanding pupil in everything he did... It sounds like he would have been an ideal heir to the throne.
Guinivere: Yes, I have no doubt.
Roy: But still your father never looked kindly at him.
Guinivere: In truth...our father began to despise Zephiel precisely because of his talent.
Roy: Why...would a father resent his own son's talent...?
Guinivere: Our father was a man of unextraordinary skill and intellect. Zephiel's outstanding talents made our father colder towards him.
Roy: He was envious...?
Guinivere: He went as far as to tell Zephiel that he would never inherit Bern. He said that instead, the throne would go to my future husband.
Roy: His own father told him that?! What a heartless man!
Guinivere: But Zephiel held strong. He always said he never cared about inheriting the throne. But the people of Bern knew of Zephiel's genius and wanted him king. Pressured by the public, our father lost his patience at last...
Roy: That's when he decided to kill Zephiel...?
Guinivere: Our father gave Zephiel a goblet full of a poisoned drink at a banquet. That was the first and last time Zephiel ever accepted a drink from our father. After returning to his room, Zephiel began to fall dreadfully ill. For ten days and nights, Zephiel lingered between life and death. But Murdock, Zephiel's teacher and loyal general, saved his life.
Roy: ...The old king made no further attempts on his life?
Guinivere: No. At least, not to completion... I have heard that he schemed to have Murdock and Zephiel's mother killed. He was scheming to murder everyone connected to Zephiel. Upon learning of our father's intentions, Zephiel feigned death. At his funeral service, our father leaned over the coffin to view Zephiel's body. It was at that moment that Zephiel sprung from the coffin and...sword in hand...
Guinivere: I was but a child then, so naturally I could not understand what was going on. All I knew at the time is that our father died, and Zephiel never smiled again. Before then, he was stern at times, but always a kind and loving brother. But after everything that happened..." - Roy and Guinivere, Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade
- "But Zephiel held strong. He always said he never cared about inheriting the throne. But the people of Bern knew of Zephiel's genius and wanted him king." - Guinivere, Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade
- "……Hear me: Tomorrow, I will be a man… So this is my last wish as a foolish child. It's the same one I've asked of you every night for all these years, but… Please, bring Father and Mother together again. Please, let the day come when Guinivere and I and her mother… When all of us can live together happily in the castle." - Zephiel, Fire Emblem: Blazing Sword
- "I have heard that Zephiel is… a gifted student, a stunning fighter, excelling in all he tries." - Desmond, Fire Emblem: Blazing Sword
- "Yes, my king. My life is yours." - Brunnya, Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade
- "Who swore fealty to any king? Not I! The lord to whom I swore... Was not that plain man, grasping at the coattails of power, but a man born with the presence and manner of a king. Should that man take the throne, a change of fortune would sure come to Bern." - Vaida, Fire Emblem: Blazing Sword
- "Yes, I will probably die. Is that what you mean to say? But Prince Zephiel’s life is worth the price. And so I will return to Bern. No matter what it takes." - Vaida, Fire Emblem: Blazing Sword
- "As the prince of Bern, I've tried… I've tried my best not to be an embarrassment to my father. I know I've not met with his expectations. But I will try harder. I will please him. I vow to do better. For him." - Zephiel, Fire Emblem: Blazing Sword
- "All I knew at the time is that our father died, and Zephiel never smiled again. Before then, he was stern at times, but always a kind and loving brother. But after everything that happened..." - Guinivere, Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade
- "Zephiel: Humans...are filthy and despicable creatures. They flock to the promise of power like hideous, hairless sheep, and they stab trusted allies while their backs are turned. I'm certain you have witnessed such acts in your travels.
Zephiel: Jealousy. Hatred. Greed. Friends and family are driven to murder one another by these petty emotions. Such emotions spawn fathers who would even kill their own brood. As long as humans control, as long as humans dictate, as long as humans exist, this madness will never end." - Zephiel and Roy, Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade
- "It was history's greatest mistake. Mankind should not have won. After the humans' ill-gotten victory, they perverted this world into an ordurous cesspool of madness and evil. All through their illogical and contemptible emotions!" - Zephiel, Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade
- "Mistakes cannot be left uncorrected. I will return the world to the dragons. I will liberate it from the gnarled grasp of man. The slate will be wiped clean. History will be rewritten. It is the only way to free the world from everlasting agony!" - Zephiel, Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade
- "Guinivere: But...so many people are being killed in the process.
Zephiel: A few worthless lives are a fair trade for the change I desire." - Guinivere and Zephiel, Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade
- "Guinivere: Zephiel, why? Why do you continue this war? So many innocent people have died...
Zephiel: Innocent, you say? Pah. Jealousy, vanity, greed... Men kill because of these petty emotions all across the realm. How can you say they are innocent?" - Guinivere and Zephiel, Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade
|This article is part of Project Characters, a project focused in writing articles for every character present in the Fire Emblem series.|
|Fire Emblem: Awakening|