—Zephiel, to Roy in The Binding Blade.
Fire Emblem: The Blazing BladeEdit
Zephiel is the heir to the Bern throne, and was born to King Desmond and Queen Hellene, a noblewoman of Etruria. However, Zephiel's parents did not have a normal loving marriage, their marriage had been arranged against the couple's wishes, with Desmond having been already in love with a commoner woman. As a result of this, Zephiel's parents loathed each other and tragically Zephiel would be caught on this feud.
Zephiel is a very gifted child and a student of falconry. He is loved by his subjects, and it is obvious that he will become a fine ruler of Bern. Zephiel stays with his mother at the Royal Manse. During the game, it is suggested that Desmond believes the Queen was unfaithful, and begat Zephiel from another man. King Desmond refers to Zephiel as his "exact opposite," stating "It is hard to believe that he is my son."
Zephiel's spiteful and paranoid father tries to stop him from taking the throne. Desmond desired the throne to go to the future husband of his favored daughter (and illegitimate child), Guinivere, the daughter of him and the commoner woman he loved. Desmond believed that Zephiel and Hellene were plotting against him and Guinevere, which wasn't helped by Hellene taunting him about Zephiel's success and Guinevere's illegitimate status.
Despite Desmond's preferences, Zephiel and his half-sister Guinivere love each other dearly. Desmond also wants to bring an end to their contact, drawing the conclusion Zephiel was trying to steal Guinevere from him, resulting in him hiding Guinivere from Zephiel in the Royal Palace, under the pretext that she is ill.
On his way to visit Guinivere, Zephiel stops to hunt, and captures a baby fox. He discovers Guinivere healthy in the palace grounds, and he presents the fox to Guinivere to keep as a pet. She loves it. Desmond chastises Zephiel and accuses him of coming to the palace only to learn if Guinivere would die. He orders Zephiel to leave, and then demands that his servants kill the baby fox.
The full scope of Desmond's resentment for Zephiel quickly reveals itself. Under Bern custom, Queen Hellene's claim to the throne takes priority over Zephiel's, until Zephiel comes of age. The Fire Emblem, the prized gem of Bern, is used during Zephiel's coming of age ceremony. Desmond secretly arranges for the Black Fang to steal the Fire Emblem. With the Fire Emblem missing, Desmond attempts to cancel Zephiel's coming of age ceremony. Simultaneously, Desmond arranges with Sonia for the Black Fang to assassinate Zephiel on the eve of the ceremony.
Sonia delegates the mission to kill the young prince to Nino. Nino accepts the mission over the objections of her father, in part because Nino, believing Sonia is her mother, is eager to win Sonia's affections. Sonia doubts Nino's resolve, and instructs Jaffar to accompany Nino and kill Zephiel if Nino shows any sign of weakness. Privately, in a conversation between Sonia and Jaffar, Sonia expresses her dislike for Nino, referring to her as "trash" and "human refuse." Sonia believes a scapegoat will be needed to quell civil unrest in the wake of Zephiel's murder. For this reason, Sonia instructs Jaffar to kill Nino as well, and leave Nino at the scene in such a way to clearly demonstrate her guilt for the assassination.
While Desmond is plotting with the Black Fang, Louise requests a meeting with Queen Hellene to ask for safe passage to the Shrine of Seals. The Queen agrees to meet because of their blood relation. While treating with Louise, the Queen requests that Louise, Eliwood, Hector, and Lyn locate and recover the Fire Emblem so that Zephiel's coming of age ceremony can continue. When the group recovers the Fire Emblem from the Black Fang, they also learn of the plot against Zephiel's life. The group rushes to the Royal Manse.
Late at night in the Manse, Zephiel is almost murdered by Jaffar and Nino. Before attempting to kill Zephiel, Nino hears him praying, asking for his father and mother to reconcile, for his father's acceptance, and for them to live happily together with his half-sister. Nino relates with him, due to her own desire to be accepted and loved by Sonia, whom she believes to be her mother. Nino is overcome with remorse, and states to Jaffar that she would rather die than kill the prince—which Nino correctly perceives would be the price of failure. Jaffar feels compassion for Nino because she saved his life in the earlier chapter, "Four-Fanged Offense". As a result, Jaffar disregards Sonia's orders. He strikes Zephiel but leaves him only unconscious. Jaffar and Nino attempt to flee.
Another Black Fang member, Ursula, arrives at the Royal Manse. When Ursula sees that Nino and Jaffar are fleeing, she deduces that they have failed to kill their target. Ursula brands them both as traitors to the Fang, and pledges to assassinate Zephiel herself. Zephiel wakes up and hears a commotion outside his bedroom. Realizing that he is trapped, he arms himself with a sword, and lays waiting in his bedroom to defend himself from assailants. Eliwood, Hector, and Lyn ultimately rescue Zephiel from Ursula's Black Fang troops. If Eliwood enters Zephiel's bedroom and approaches him during the chapter, Eliwood will conceal his identity for fear that his presence in Bern will cause Bern to invade Lycia. Zephiel expresses skepticism for Eliwood's intentions. However, Zephiel quickly comes to trust Eliwood with his life after coming to the conclusion that he would already be dead if Eliwood desired to do him harm.
Following Zephiel's rescue, Eliwood, Hector, and Lyn meet with Queen Hellene. She demands the Fire Emblem, which Eliwood delivers. When Eliwood tries to inform her of the attack on her son, she interrupts him and refuses to listen. She dismisses the rumor of assassins as a trifling matter. Eliwood rebukes her, and accuses her of using Zephiel as a tool to secure power over Bern, and to keep power from her husband and Guinivere. Eliwood leaves. Hellene learns about the attack on her son immediately afterwards, when Murdock approaches her and delivers the news. Hellene rushes out to the group and offers her apology, giving them a parting gift. Afterwards, she blames herself for putting Zephiel's life in danger, and expresses her love for Zephiel, promising him that she will bring their family together, including Guinivere.
Fire Emblem: The Binding BladeEdit
Zephiel, now king of Bern, is the main antagonist of Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade. In this title, Zephiel's sanity is slipping away from him, and he seeks to rid the land of Elibe of humanity by allying himself with dragons, believing they would not repeat humanity's mistakes.
Many years after the events of Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade, Desmond attempted a second assassination by handing his son a goblet of poisoned wine; Zephiel took it under the belief that his father had finally accepted him. Zephiel fell ill from the poison, but did not die. However, with the help of his close ally Murdock, he stayed in hiding and had a false funeral arranged. When Desmond stepped up to the casket to view Zephiel's body at the funeral, Zephiel, now in a lust for revenge, rose and stabbed his father to death.
A few days later, Zephiel used the Fire Emblem to awaken the Demon Dragon Idunn. Shortly afterwards, the dragon Jahn sends an illusion of himself to confront Zephiel about his motives, and when it is revealed that they have similar goals, the two started working together. Five years after this, Zephiel ordered his army to take over the continent of Elibe.
The nomadic nation of Sacae was attacked by a force led by Brunnya and the first to fall. Next was the frigid nation of Ilia, with the Bern forces led by Murdock. Then he personally came to the nation of Lycia after Narcian's attack on the Lycian League and spoke to the fatally wounded marquess of Ostia, Hector, who would die shortly after Roy and the Pheraen Army came to save him.
Zephiel later forged an alliance with the corrupted nobles of the Kingdom of Etruria, Roartz, and Arcard, and caused a rebellion there. Shortly after, Zephiel, along with Narcian, Flaer, and a reluctant Perceval, arrived at Castle Missur, where Etruria's General Cecilia, leader of the Loyalists' rebellion against the Etrurian coup d'etat, was resisting the forces of Bern in their efforts to seize the castle while protecting Princess Guinivere, who had earlier fled Bern in order to stop Zephiel. Due to the failure of his army in seizing the castle, Zephiel chose to personally give Cecilia the "honor" of fighting him in a one-on-one duel, easily defeating and severely wounding her. With Cecilia's defeat, his 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 then ordered Melady 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 rumored hidden dragon village, he departed.
Later on, the Etrurian Army, now under the command of General Roy, arrived at Bern Keep, and Zephiel received the news of Murdock's death. Zephiel, knowing that he may die, ordered Brunnya to take Idunn and flee, lest they lose Idunn and the entire war be rendered pointless; he also instructed Idunn to continue their work even if he falls in the upcoming battle. Roy's army soon fights its way into the throne room, unlocked by two switches and the Fire Emblem, and Roy himself confronts Zephiel.
During the confrontation, Zephiel again explains his motivation in full, stating his disgust with the treachery and immorality of humanity, his intent to give the world back to the dragons, and that the defeat of the dragons in the Scouring was a mistake he intends to correct. Roy rejects his claims, pointing out that the rule of dragons will differ little from the rule of mankind, and that he, with his faith in mankind, refuses to give in to one with no faith in his people or in himself. The two then battle each other and Zephiel is defeated. With his dying breath, he tells Roy that his will shall live on, still believing that mankind will lead themselves to ruin. Following his death and the end of the war, Guinevere becomes the queen of Bern.
He can be unlocked as a playable character in the trial maps after the game is completed 7 times.
Starting out as an idealistic and talented youth wanting nothing more than his parents to reconcile and peace in the world, Zephiel saw no reason for the feud between Hellene and Desmond, attempting to impress Desmond by bettering himself and to befriend Guinevere. Tragically, Desmond would misunderstand all these attempts.
From his father's abuse and his mother's unintentional mistreatment of him, Zephiel would later be driven to madness, with Guinivere declaring that the catalyst for Zephiel' change came after his father's attempted poisoning of him and subsequent death by the former's hands. This caused him to view most humans as malevolent beings, believing that the Fire Dragons would not perform the same mistakes as humanity. Zephiel desired to use Idunn's War Dragons to create a new society that would be free of humanity's failings.
From youth, Zephiel was considered gifted, skilled with the blade, and well-loved by the citizens of Bern. These traits would be misused later on, as he became a competent ruler, but a ruthless one. His skills also became greater, as he was able to take down the Mage-General of Etruria in only one strike.
Description: The crown prince of Bern. Both clever and wise.
|Sword - A||Silver Sword|
Description: The mighty king of Bern. A talented and gifted genius.
|Lance - A|
Axe - B
*Enemy only, joins unequipped
- The Liberator
- King of Bern. Once a kindhearted boy who became disillusioned with humanity. Wants his world to be ruled by dragons. Appears in Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade.
| Silver Sword|
Subjective: The following part of this article is based upon the editor's personal experiences and opinions, and therefore may not be applicable for all readers.
As one of the earliest Grand Hero Battle units, Zephiel remains one of the few to start off strong and remain a powerful unit long after. Zephiel is a powerful juggernaut as was the strongest Sword Armor unit upon his release. His most noticeable stat is his monstrous 55 HP which was the highest HP at the time of release, but it was later usurped by Arden. His Atk and Def are respectably high, giving him a decent damage output and high physical bulk respectively. Unfortunately, his Spd is atrociously low and he cannot take magical hits well thanks to his low Res. Despite these shortcomings, Armor units are easily able to amend these issues thanks to their exclusive set of skills and thus, Zephiel can take full advantage of this.
Eckesachs initial effect is rather lackluster as it merely inflicts a Threaten Defense 2 effect, reducing the Def enemies within two spaces him by 4. With the introduction of Weapon Refinery, he gained a significant boost. A refined Eckesachs instead applies a Threaten Def 4 equivalent effect, reducing a minus 6 Def penalty except for dragon units, a reference to his in-game goals. Its refined effect also grants him a Distant Def 3 effect, increasing his Def/Res by 6 when a ranged opponent initiates combat on him. Unfortunately, he does not have Distant Counter in his base kit to take full advantage of the effect, but this can be inherited.
Reprisal takes 30% of his current lost HP and adds it as true damage to his attack when it activates. With his high HP, he can reach astounding levels of damage, but the inconsistency of it means that it can inflict massive damage or add nothing. Life and Death sacrifices 5 Def/Res and adds it to his Atk/Spd. Unfortunately the Spd addition will hardly affect anything, though the Atk boost is decent. Wary Fighter completely prevents his enemies from performing a follow-up attack so long as his HP is over 50%, addressing his low Spd as a result.
Zephiel's Spd means that he is likely to be doubled by nearly everyone but the slowest of units. While Wary Fighter helps prevent this and slows down his opponents, he can be easily brought down to this especially by magical units if he is not running Distant Counter. Micaiah is an especially potent counter as Thani easily can destroy him in a single shot thanks to targeting his much lower Res and dealing armor effective damage, even rendering the Distant Def effect useless in its wake. Dragon units ironically serve as powerful counters as they target his lower res and are completely unaffected by a refined Eckesachs. Staff users running Dazzling Staff/Wrathful Staff combo will easily ignore his attempts to counter attack and slowly inflict damage on him. Null Follow-Up will also render Wary Fighter useless.
Zephiel greatly enjoys an Armor Skill kit starting with Pivot or Swap for mobility and Bonfire or Ignis to take advantage of his excellent Def for high special damage. Distant Counter is an excellent choice for his A Skill as it combos well with a refined Eckesachs and even if it is not. Taking Vengeful Fighter will increase his enemy turn retaliation as a result and make him nigh unstoppable against most ranged units or Bold Fighter to give him mixed phase power. Armor March helps amend his and his armor allies movement issues, though any Armor unit Skill C works well. As the second highest HP holder in the game, he is an excellent Panic Ploy user as well as literally the only unit who can resist it without merges and skills is Arden.
- Winter's Crown
- The wise prince of Bern. Attending the winter festival to expand his horizons. Appears in Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade.
Subjective: The following part of this article is based upon the editor's personal experiences and opinions, and therefore may not be applicable for all readers.
Winter Zephiel is more in line with a standard Armor unit in the current Heroes meta than his original form, but shares the same low Spd and high Atk. While his HP is nowhere near his original's, the loss is put into his Res, giving him fantastic mixed bulk. Unfortunately, he faces stiff competition, most notably his original form as well as the Black Knight and Arden, three existing Sword Armor units who are already in the game and can be invested into without having to expend orbs. Nonetheless, he is well put into consideration given that unlike them, he has access to Boons and Banes to help adjust his stats.
Bellringer heals him 5 HP after battle so long as he hits his opponent during a battle. Even if he deals 0 damage, he still will recover the health afterwards. This gives him some level of recovery, though it is at best a 10% heal.
Glacies deals 80% of his Res as bonus damage, which is a solid stat, but his Def is slightly higher unless he either has a boon in Res and or chooses Res as his stat refine for Bellringer. Vengeful Fighter accelerates his Special Cooldown per hit and guarantees a follow-up attack when his opponent initiates combat on him. Def/Res Gap increases the Def/Res of the ally on his team that has the highest total combined Def/Res. Depending on his partners, and especially on armor teams, he can give ludicrous bulk to already bulky allies, making them nigh unkillable.
Winter Zephiel is mainly hindered by his low speed, but his access to armor skills helps address this, but a high Def opponent with at least 24 Spd can easily take his two attacks and retaliate. Armor shredding units like Oboro and Est can pierce through him with effective damage and color advantage. Micaiah is also still a strong counter, but he has better Res than his base form so she is not quite as dangerous.
As an Armor unit, Swap or Pivot are excellent supportive skills for positioning himself and his armor allies due to their low mobility. Ignis is a better option given that his natural Def without factoring boons and banes is higher than his Res. Distant Counter grants him the ability to counterattack from range, though Steady Stance and Death Blow are worthy budget alternatives as the former increases his physical bulk when attacked, which syncs well with Vengeful Fighter, while the latter increases his player turn offense. The latter pairs well with Bold Fighter which is a better overall option for hyper focusing on the players turn. Special Fighter can also be considered. A Skill C focused on Armor teams are a better option with Armor March being a standout while Hone Armor/Ward Armor being easy alternatives.
Battle Quotes Edit
—Zephiel's battle quote in The Binding Blade.
—Zephiel's death quote in The Binding Blade.
—Zephiel's death quote in The Blazing Blade.
Zephiel makes his first appearance in person in Volume 6 after defeating Cecilia, where he engages Al in a duel. Al is nearly defeated, until he touches the Fire Emblem and promotes to a Dragon Lord, and nearly defeats Zephiel until the Fire Emblem leaves his possession. After the battle Zephiel regains the Fire Emblem and figures out that Al is the son of Hartmut and Militha, a Dragon, who, along with Al, was sealed by Hartmut to hide that fact. Zephiel later appears at the final battle with Roy. This battle is slightly different, as Zephiel starts with the Eckesachs and Sword of Seals, which he uses to seal Al again. Al then partially escapes and distracts Zephiel enough for Roy to get the Sword of Seals and kill him.
Several times in the manga, Guinivere remembers Zephiel as a kindhearted boy, and even remembers a scene that took place in The Blazing Blade, when Zephiel gave her a baby fox.
Zephiel is illustrated in the trading card game with the following cards:
Zephiel is named after 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
- On the official Japanese website for Nintendo, Zephiel won 29th place out of 80 in the character popularity poll for Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade. The male-female vote ratio is 5:1. The voter comments seem to generally focus on him being a powerful antagonist the player must face and his traumatic backstory.
- The "Choose Your Legends" event of Fire Emblem Heroes revealed that his Binding Blade incarnation was 274th place, while his Blazing Blade incarnation was 627th place out of 791, with 808 and 104 votes respectively. This makes his latter self the lowest scoring character of the Blazing Blade portion.
- Like many characters in Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade, Zephiel seems to be a revisitation of a character from Archanea, in this case, Book 2 Hardin. Both start out as wise and benevolent allies to the protagonist who seem to have a bright future ahead as a ruler, yet turn out to be brutal tyrants because they were unloved (Hardin by his wife, Zephiel by his father), their loved ones even fooling them at one point (Nyna by proposing to Hardin due to Boah's advice and Desmond pretending to reconcile with Zephiel before his murder attempt). Hardin and Zephiel both seem to be the same age (Late 20s or early 30s) when encountered as bosses, are connected to the Nyna Archetype, have the same gold streak in their armor, are in the game's best class, Zephiel even had glowing red eyes in some pictures like corrupted Hardin, and both finally die in a chapter with hordes of Hero reinforcements. Additionally, they both wield Legendary Weapons that at least appear to be Lances and are closely associated with their kingdom (Gradivus, one of house Archanea's Three Regalia and Eckesachs, a blade that can only be wielded by Bern's King)
- However, there are prominent differences; Even in death, Zephiel was steadfast in his belief that humans would lead themselves to ruin, while Hardin returned to his old self before dying. Hardin has a connection to Marth, the main character of his respective game, while Zephiel's connections are to Eliwood, the father of the main character of his respective game, and Hardin uses Lances while Zephiel prefers swords (Although Eckesachs does appear to be a Gradivus-like lance before mechanically morphing into a sword)
- Zephiel is shown in Hasha no Tsurugi  as having the Anima affinity, unlike the game, where he shows no affinity.
- In Hasha no Tsurugi, the special attack that Zephiel uses together with his sword Eckesachs is named Vassilios Dione (王者の劫渦), with the name of the attack meaning "Kingdom of the Goddess"; and the kanji of the name meaning the "Coercing Vortex of the King".
- Zephiel shares his English voice actor in Fire Emblem Heroes, Jamieson Price, with Hawkeye and Virion.
- In Fire Emblem Heroes, Zephiel's Grand Hero Battle map in based on a portion of The Binding Blade Chapter 22.
- Zephiel's artwork in The Binding Blade and Heroes depict him in the King Class, while his artwork in The Blazing Blade depicts his younger self in the Prince Class.
- See main article: Zephiel/Gallery.