|“||It is pointless to marvel over one's power. That is not the kind of strength I seek.||”|
— Karel to Fir, in Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade
Karel (Japanese: カレル Karel) is a recruitable swordmaster in Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade and Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade. Acting as among the few characters that are playable in both The Binding Blade and The Blazing Blade, Karel undergoes a radical shift in personality between games, going from a murderous warrior to a calm, indirect mentor. In both games, he is more well-known by his nickname (either The Sword Saint or the Sword Demon), and he is considered one of the best swordsmen in all of Elibe.
- 1 Biography
- 2 Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade
- 3 Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade
- 4 Fire Emblem Awakening
- 5 Fire Emblem Heroes
- 6 Personality and character
- 7 Supports
- 8 Endings
- 9 Quotes
- 10 Other appearances
- 11 Trivia
- 12 Etymology and other languages
- 13 Gallery
- 14 References
Karel hails from Sacae; his specific tribe is never disclosed, though in supports with Karla, it is made clear he comes from a family of swordmasters of six members. In addition, the craft of Karel's sword is, to him, meant to be held by "only one". As such, he murdered all members of his family as to keep the secret of the sword to himself only; the sole survivor of this killing spree was Karla, as she refused to wield "a skill that could only be used to kill". Prior to this event, however, it is suggested that Karel's blood-lust was not with him initially; Karla recalls an event where Karel carried an exhausted and crying Karla back home after she lost her way, an event Karel denies remembering.
Directly after his massacre, Karel begins to travel across all of Elibe seeking worthy opponents and killing all of them in duels; among his victims include a giant three times taller than ordinary men, a mage in Ilia that could freeze the blood in his opponent's veins, and even an entire army of knights. These escapades eventually lead him receiving the nickname "Sword Demon", as well as becoming a legend in Elibe; Dart, for instance, asks Karel about the swords he supposedly owns from all of his defeated enemies, to the confusion of Karel.
Conflict with Nergal
Around the year 980 Karel, in his wanderings, encounteres Eliwood's party in the Bern mountains. Karel appeared during the conflict with either Jerme or Kenneth. Upon noticing a supple supply of enemies for him to train his swordplay on, he elects to attack Black Fang members of his own accord. Upon being spoken to by Hector, Eliwood, or Lyn, however, he decides to join them, not out of interest of their goals, but rather as a way to find more worthy opponents.
In his travels with Eliwood's group they eventually encounter his sister Karla. Karel informs Karla of the death of the rest of her family by his hands and declares her a now worthy opponent. Karel finds himself hesitating on dueling his sister when she tells them memories of when they were young. This appears to have been the last time the pair met while Karla was alive, and Karel and Karla part ways after the death of Nergal.
The Disturbance of Bern
During the twenty year interim between Eliwood's battle with Nergal and the Disturbance of Bern an unelaborated event caused Karel's blood-lust to fade away almost completely. Karel states he experienced a great loss, though it is never explicitly stated what it was, but is possibly in reference to his sister's death from illness in his absence. Metaphorically, Karel references how he had grown sick of training his swordsplay; in supports with his niece, Fir, he says that his blade "never gained any power" and that true power comes from within.
Karel does not participate in the Disturbance of Bern until very near to its conclusion. He only joins Roy's forces if convinced to do so by Bartre or Fir. As such, most characters who visit the village that Karel resides in will cause Karel to not join the army and lock down the village, under the claim that there is no one who can fight.
After Idunn is defeated, Karel elects to continue living in Bern in peace; his ending also says that he refuses to directly teach prospective students in the way of the blade, and instead, indirectly teaches them by having them train by his side. In addition, Karel's previous title of "Sword Saint" is also passed along to his niece Fir.
Karel is the last recruited playable character in Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade, joining in Chapter 23: The Ghosts of Bern. He appears in the sole village on the map. If the player fails to obtain all of the Eight Legends' weapons and the game ends at Chapter 22: An Undying Dream, Karel is never encountered at all.
Starting stats and growth rates
While lacking in some common character traits of the archetype, Karel acts in his gameplay role as the "Gotoh" of Binding Blade. In addition to having very high base stats for his class and level, to the point of potentially even surpassing both Fir and Rutger, Karel also appears near the end of the game as a character that the player can use to improve their power against the last few enemies of the game. Karel also comes with the Wo Dao, which the player can get only three of in the game, and this weapon compliments any of the three swordmasters the player may have. Karel joins with a S-Rank in swords, making him a last hour candidate for the Durandal, as his +30 critical chance and high speed make him able to double Manaketes, even potentialy one-rounding them thanks to the +5 Strength bonus of the Durandal.
Karel has the Light Affinity, giving attack, defense, accuracy and critical, making his affinity mostly offensive. Karel's seemingly best support is with Fir, as her Fire Affinity is even better for the offensive boosts, and it is also his fastest support, needing only 10 turns for reaching C Rank. His support with Bartre is also fast, taking them 20 turns for reaching C Rank, though Bartre may not be in the party if the player took the other route in the Western Isles. His other supports are incredibly slow, needing him 59 turns together for reaching C Rank.
Among Karel's most notable traits are his growth rates; in all Fire Emblem games, Karel's average stat growth remains the highest of all characters in the series. In addition to boasting growths that are either at or above 100%, some of these stats have a chance to increase by 2, and his HP has the slim potential to increase by 3. However, Karel can only take advantage of these growths once, due to being level 19, and as such, the player must hope that Karel can take good advantage of these growths. Despite this, players need to take note of Karel's low HP; even with a +3 potential, Karel's starting HP of 44 is below-average of what would be expected at his level.
Even though Karel may seems like a good unit, he is very lackluster for that point in the game, as you are prone to have a Durandal user already. He joins very late, not being able to contribute much.
Karel initially appears as an NPC unit during either version of Chapter 25E/27H: Pale Flower of Darkness. Karel only appears if certain conditions are met; in the Jerme variant of the chapter four doors must be opened before the end of turn 9, while the Kenneth version requires three or more of the enemy promoted units be killed by the end of turn 9.
Starting stats and growth rates
Karel is one of the later joining prepromotes in the game. His speed and skill bases and growths are remarkably high, while his other stats are mostly servicable without being overwhelming. Exceptions are his low defense and HP, making him rather frail for a prepromote. Luckily his avoid is quite high thanks to his high innate speed, which helps his survivability since most enemies tend to be rather unprecise until very late in the game. In addition, Karel has a base A sword rank, allowing him to use all swords which are available at his jointime.
As Swordmaster, Karel's primary advantage is the natural 15% addition to his critical rate; in tandem with his Wo Dao, high skill and non-existing enemy luck, Karel can exceed 50% critical chances in battle with ease. Sadly that also means Karel is weak against the Swordslayer and locked to swords and infantry movement, which makes it hard for him to keep up with the rest of your army. Furthermore, the swordlock results in Karel facing weapon triangle disadvantage against the vast amount of lance-wielding enemies (such as Wyvern Riders and Generals) and being almost completely incapable of counter-attacking ranged enemies, since the only sword with 2 range is the Light Brand—a limited weapon which halves strength at range and barely does damage to magic enemies with high resistance.
All in all, Karel is a rather underwhelming for a promoted unit that joins so late in the game. On playerphase, his high speed and critrate gives him a niche as fast attacker with good chances to kill most enemies in one round, but you'll get Jaffar soon who fills this niche much better. Aside from that, Karel lacks mobility and 1-2-range in order to be able to compete against your mounted units, magic users and even most other promoted infantry classes.
Comparison to Harken
While Karel's class may make comparisons to both Guy and Karla inevitable, a more practical comparison takes place between Karel and Harken; as only one can be recruited, there exists a decision that the player must make. Both come at level 8, and both come with among the rarest weapons in the game: Harken has the only obtainable Brave Sword and Karel has one of only two Wo Daos. Statwise, Karel has superior skill, speed, luck, and resistance, as well as superior growths in skill, speed, and luck, leading to an ease in criticalling enemies, but potential difficulty in surviving attacks and dealing high raw damage. Karel's constitution of 9 is also lower than Harken's constitution of 11, leading to Karel potentially taking speed reductions with heavier swords. Karel's Swordmaster class comes with an extra 15% boost to criticals, wheras Harken's Hero class allows him to wield both swords and axes, allowing him to potentially negate or take advantage of the weapon triangle. Also, Harken can wield Hand Axes for a 1-2 range option, while Karel can only use the Light Brand, which—as implied earlier—is very rare, expensive and weak, or the Runesword, which is even rarer than the Light Brand (it is only obtainable in a Gaiden chapter extremely late in the game) and cannot be used to inflict critical hits.
Complicating the comparison further, however, is that Karel has potential of being outclassed by characters that can be recruited earlier (Guy and Raven); in this regard, Harken is considered the superior unit, as he has a better chance of being equal to Raven, wheras Karel will have difficulty matching Guy. Adding further to the rift between the two is Hard Mode boost; Harken gains additions in many of his stats in Hard Mode due to starting off as an enemy, whereas Karel receives no such benefit due to appearing as an NPC.
Overall, Karel is worse than Harken. Lack of 1-2 range really hurts, and his offensive stats are not that great, mainly on Hard Mode, where Harken really has the lead against Karel.
Starting stats and growth rates
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, Karel has access to all base class and advanced class skills available to standard male units.
Karel is one of the characters added to the game in the Blazing Shadows update, and became available for summoning by players on March 14, 2017. Only one variation of Karel is currently available in Heroes, based on his The Blazing Blade incarnation.
- Karel: Sword Demon is only available at 5★ rarity.
|Nameless Blade||★★★★★||400 SP|
|A||Defiant Atk 1||★★★★★||40 SP|
|A||Defiant Atk 2||★★★★★||80 SP|
|A||Defiant Atk 3||★★★★★||160 SP|
|B||Desperation 1||★★★★★||50 SP|
|B||Desperation 2||★★★★★||100 SP|
|B||Desperation 3||★★★★★||200 SP|
Personality and character
Karel's personality shifts radically between The Blazing Blade and The Binding Blade. In the first game, Karel is depicted as callous, detached, and perhaps crazed; when Guy asks for his assistance in teaching him the way of the sword, Karel initially flatly refuses and asks Guy to leave him, with the warning that if Guy were stronger than him, he would kill him right "where [he] stands", and when speaking with Lucius, he constantly belittles and insults the monk for his faith in St. Elimine. Karel himself is aware of his temperament, and when asked why he acts this way, he says that both he and his sword crave blood; in addition to this, Karel tells Lucius that he "never had the luxury even to imagine fatigue", only aiding his "hunger".
Another significant part of Karel's personality in the game is his secrecy; in his C and B supports with Dart, he doesn't state his name at all and instead chooses to listen to the supposed legends about him, and upon being confronted on how he didn't say his name, he hurriedly says "You didn't ask". In addition, Geitz's attempts to try and understand Karel fail to work, with Karel refusing to speak often, and when asked if he was sneaking up on Geitz for a sneak attack, his only reponse is "Pfah". In supports with his younger sister, Karel also claims to have no memories of Karla, including one where he carried her home after she got lost.
In Binding Blade, however, Karel is a considerably calmer force than seen in Fire Emblem. Most notable of these changes is perhaps his general refusal to use his sword; if the player doesn't visit the village with Fir or Bartre, he elects to simply not fight with the player's army, and when confronted by Rutger, who acts similar to the younger Karel with his blade being meant for death, Karel refuses to teach the young swordsman the way of the sword, claiming that Rutger's path for vengeance will only lead him down the same path he himself took. Even when he chooses to join Roy's army, his reasons are not due to wanting to fight or to otherwise uphold the peace of the area; rather, he is only interested in fighting alongside his family after learning his sister passed away while he was gone.
The Binding Blade
- Main article: Karel/Supports (The Binding Blade)
The Blazing Blade
- Main article: Karel/Supports (The Blazing Blade)
The Binding Blade
Karel, Sword Saint
Short: Retired to a small village in Bern.
Long: Karel retired to a small village in the mountains of Bern and lived his life in peace. Although many swordsmen came to him seeking direction, he never did teach any of them directly. However, many said that they were able to seek out their path simply by training at his side.
Karel, Saint of Swords
Once, Karel was known as the Sword Demon. Now, he bears a new name. What prompted this change, he will not say.
— Karel in The Binding Blade.
|“||Death cannot be bested with a sword. My skills are not yet honed to such a level. I should take my leave of this battle.||”|
— Karel in Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade.
Post-battle conversation in Fire Emblem
Eliwood: How is Karel? I heard he suffered a grave wound.
Hector: It seems he just vanished...like the wind. I'm sure he's out there somewhere.
Final Chapter quotes
|“||Let's see just how powerful this dragon is.||”|
— In the final chapter of The Binding Blade.
|“||As long as there's someone to cut, you will have my aid.||”|
— In the final chapter of Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade.
Battle History quotes
|“||Hmph. I fear you may be my next opponent.||”|
— Karel, with S or A rank
|“||...Not bad. ......Hmph.||”|
— Karel, with B or C rank
|“||Could it be? Is my blade...not worthy?||”|
— Karel, with D or E rank
|“||Your name is Mark, correct? A tactician? I see. You use wisdom as your blade... Interesting... Mark, I will remember your name.||”|
— In Chapter 28 of Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade.
|“||I'm Karel. My sword is my life.||”|
— SpotPass parley
|“||Heh. This is no tea party.||”|
— SpotPass battle
|“||Very well, I will join you.||”|
— SpotPass recruitment
- Main article: Karel/Quotes (Heroes)
Karel has not made any appearances in official media, save for his appearance in Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance's official art gallery, and in Fire Emblem Heroes. As Hasha no Tsurugi follows the bad ending of The Binding Blade, Karel is among the only characters in the game to not appear in the manga.
Karel appears as a support spirit.
Fire Emblem Series
|Trait: Weapon Attack ↑
Slightly increases the power of swords, whips, hammers, etc.
Fire Emblem Cipher
Karel is currently featured on two cards in Fire Emblem Cipher. All of his cards to date depict his younger Fire Emblem self; he has yet to be depicted as his older The Bindng Blade self.
|Fire Emblem Cipher data for Karel|
|Man Feared as the Sword Demon, Karel|
||"Only one can wield the sword. Our clan lived for this sword, as they died by it."|
|Attack: 70||Support: 10||Range: 1||Deploy Cost: 4|
|Class: Swordmaster||Tier: Advanced||Class Change Cost: 3|
|Heavens-Reaching Edge: [Activate]  During your next turn, this unit's attacks cannot be evaded.|
Bloody Feast: [Trigger] When this unit's attack destroys your opponent's lord, choose 1 non-lord enemy, and destroy them.
|Card #B13-033R • Artist: Kaoru Hagiya|
|One Who Lives by the Sword, Karel|
|"Mm...a good wind. Appropiate to the feast about to begin."|
|Attack: 40||Support: 10||Range: 1||Deploy Cost: 1|
|Class: Myrmidon||Tier: Base||Class Change Cost: --|
|Solitary Roaming Sword: [Always] If this unit is attacking an enemy with a deployment cost of 2 or higher, this unit gains +10 attack.|
Attack Emblem: [Support] Until the end of this combat, your attacking unit gains +20 attack.
|Card #B13-034N • Artist: Tomohide Takaya|
|Some card information translation provided by Serenes Forest.|
For more detailed strategic information on these cards, see their TCG wiki article on Karel .
- Despite not appearing in ordinary gameplay, a swordmaster using Karel's palette appears in Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones's opening class roll for one of the "Swordmaster" vignettes.
- Karel has both the highest defense growth in The Binding Blade (110%) and the lowest defense growth in The Blazing Blade (10%). He also has the highest growth rates in the entire series, in The Binding Blade.
- Karel is the only character in the entire Fire Emblem series who is guaranteed to obtain a perfect Level Up. However, this only occurs in The Binding Blade and only once as Karel is already Level 19 when he is recruited.
- Karel shares his title, "Sword Saint", with the Crusader Od from Jugdral's backstory.
- Despite sharing a game with Karel, Guy's ending also states that he becomes known as the "Saint of Swords", though this was a minor error introduced in the localizations. In the Japanese version Guy is simply said to have become a person to rival the Sword Saint, with them being of similar strength.
Etymology and other languages
|Names, etymology and in other regions|
|Language||Name||Definition, etymology and notes|
|English||Karel||Karel is a Dutch and Czech name derived from a Germanic term for a free man (cognate to the English word churl).|
|Japanese||カレル||Officially romanized as Karel.|
- "Dart: Well, it's like this... Out on the Western Isles, there's a stone giant that men call Kelles. He's thrice the size of the tallest man, and he can swallow your whole, from your head to your–
Karel: He's dead." — Dart and Karel in a support conversation, Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade
- "Dart: Wait...I just remembered... There's a mage in Ilia who has the power to freeze your blood in its veins. He found an ancient ice tome that– Karel: Yeah, he's dead, too. About a month ago." — Dart and Karel in a support conversation, Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade
- "Yeah. You only hear the absolute worst thing about him... Like how he single-handedly wiped out an entire army of knights!" — Dart to Karel in a support conversation, Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade
- Dart: So if you're Karel, then... Hey! Do you really have a thousand swords from the men you've slain?
Karel: ...What are you talking about?
Dart: Don't hide it! I heard all about it! That you laugh on the battlefield as you gather dead men's swords!
Karel: ...... I guess the rumors have embellished the truth...|Dart and Karel in a support conversation|The Blazing Blade}}
- "You were not worth fighting at the time. But time changes... everything. Beautiful, Karla." — Karel to Karla, Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade
- "Bartre: Around that time was when we first met each other as well... You resembled my wife when we first met. You were inhumanly strong... Dangerous, and forbidding.
Karel: ...Yes. That time, I left you two without saying a word. You must have thought what a terrible brother I was." — Karel and Bartre in a support, Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade
- "...Some things you will realize only after you have lost something else. However, by the time my foolishness had left me...it was already too late." — Karel to Noah, Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade
- "Bartre: ...After she fell sick, my wife starting telling me about her family for the first time. She talked about her heritage, about you, and...about herself.
Karel: I'm sure my sister was happy to be with you when she left this world." — Bartre and Karel, Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade
- "Karel: There's no strength in this piece of metal. I have lived by the sword ever since I was born, but my blade never gained any power.
Karel: True strength is not the power of a weapon. It is something that cannot be seen. We all have it within us. Including you, Fir." — Karel to Fir, Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade
- "The Sacaen Swordsman followed his dream and continued his journey
to train with all his might. Afterward, his name would come to be known
as one that could rival the “Sword Saint” himself." — XKAN, Fire Emblem 7 – Did Guy become THE Sword Saint? Or LIKE the Sword Saint? [JPN/ENG], kantopia.wordpress.com, Published: June 16, 2016, Retrieved: May 4, 2017
|This article is part of Project Characters, a project focused in writing articles for every character present in the Fire Emblem series.|
|Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade|
|Fire Emblem Awakening|
|Fire Emblem Heroes|