|“||I am nothing more than a merciless killer. A demon whose only pleasure is found within death's shadow. Such a creature should not be allowed near you, dear sister. [...] I have come to bid you farewell. Today, I will leave the monastery for good. If I stay, it is only a matter of time before I hurt you. Just like I did those in House Bartels. [...] On the day I took his life, Father had just discovered that you and Mother were hiding at a church in the Kingdom. He was considering bringing both of you back home, but by then, Mother was past the age to bear children. And so he proclaimed that he would take the only other female of the Lamine bloodline... That he would take you as his wife. What happened after that... I remember nothing of it. How I killed him or what his final words were. [...] Regardless of reasons, a demon is a demon. I have said enough.||„|
|~ Jeritza to Mercedes about his Death Knight persona and his murder of House Bartels for the sake of his sister's safety|
The Death Knight, also known as the Reaper in Fire Emblem Heroes, is the second-in-command of the Flame Emperor's Army and a major antagonist of Fire Emblem: Three Houses. He is also the personal rival of Byleth and Caspar.
As the story progressed, his secret identity is first revealed to be Jeritza von Hrym, a teacher at the Officers Academy and a member of the Knights of Seiros. However, in a post-timeskip paralogue that requires Mercedes and Caspar's recruitment, the Death Knight/Jeritza's true name is revealed to be Emile von Bartels, who is the younger half-brother of Mercedes von Martritz.
He is voiced by Atsushi Imaruoka in Japanese version and by Patrick Seitz in English version, with the latter also having voiced Dio Brando in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure anime series.
Emile von Bartels was born to the head of House Bartels, a noble family of the Adrestian Empire, in the Imperial Year 1158. He grew up alongside his elder half-sister, Mercedes von Martritz, their mother having married into the family for financial security following the death of her first husband, whose death resulted in the dissolution of House Martritz. As Emile was born in possession of a Crest, he was to be the heir to House Bartels, but his mother and half-sister were subsequently treated as expendable, his mother having given to Count Bartels what he desired from her.
In 1167, Mercedes and her mother left House Bartels to live in the Holy Kingdom of Faerghus. The then nine year old Emile remained behind, fearing that his father would hunt them down and kill them if he joined them. Eventually, Count Bartels located Mercedes and her mother and planned to reclaim them; however, upon learning that the mother of his son was now past child bearing age, he altered his plans and intended to marry Mercedes instead, so that she would produce more Crest-bearing children for him.
Upon learning of his father's plans, Emile went insane with anger and slaughtered the entirety of House Bartels, determined to protect his sister from such a terrible fate. He had no memory of the massacre, having blacked out from sheer rage, and only remembered regaining consciousness in the aftermath. The incident had caused Emile to develop a psychotic split-personality; the ruthless and bloodthirsty Death Knight.
Although Emile was suspected causing the destruction of House Bartels, there was never enough evidence to convict him of the murders. He was eventually found and taken in by Edelgard von Hresvelg, princess of the Empire, who helped him erase his past. He was adopted into House Hrym as an heir and assumed the name Jeritza, satisfying his bloodlust through the use of hunting grounds given to him. From then on, Jertiza gave his unwavering loyalty to Edelgard and her ideals. On the recommendation of Edelgard's uncle, Lord Volkhard von Arundel, he was given a teaching position at the Officers Academy at Garreg Mach Monastary, serving as a fencing instructer. During this time, he donned a mask in order to conceal his true identity as the missing heir of House Bartels.
Although originally can be seen in Garreg Mach earlier in his normal persona, Jeritza's Death Knight persona first appeares during the Flame Emeoror Army's raid in the Holy Mausoleum. During this encounter, he remained uninterested in fighting Byleth and their party unless they approach or attack him. After he ended up fleeing, he started to consider Byleth as his personal rival. During Flayn's kidnapping, the Death Knight confronted Byleth in a secret dungeon, eager to fight them, but the Flame Emperor eventually ordered him to retreat to his dismay.
Afterward, Jeritza is no longer part of the Academy staff and can not be found in the monastery, eventually causing everyone to realize he is the Death Knight and a traitor to the Church of Seiros. Later, during Solon's actions in Remire Village, the Death Knight arrives with his army as reinforcements.
During Edelgard's expose as the Flame Emperor and her subsquent invasion of Garreg Mach, the Death Knight serves as the lead of the initial attack. If Byleth chooses to side with Edelgard in the Black Eagles route, the Death Knight will appear as a non-playable ally. His presence was a surprise to Byleth, but Edelgard assured them that the Death Knight is on their side.
Five years later after Edelgard started her war, Jeritza, under his Death Knight persona, was now a general of Adstrian Empire, fighting against the Church of Seiros.
In the Crimson Flower chapter, the Death Knight (initially in the base game) remained absent. He was only mentioned once by Manuela, if she was ever recurited, that the Death Knight sincerely apologized to her about their conflict five years ago, and she decided to let it bygone.
Starting from DLC 3 update, Jeritza becomes a playable character and can be automatically recurited in Crimson Flower route. He serves under his Death Knight class, albeit without his skull mask and speaking normally. Like his sister Mercedes, Jeritza can have romantic S-Support scene with either gender of Byleth, meaning he is one of the few bisexual characters in the game. He also have supports with Mercedes had player recurited her into Black Eagles.
|“||Welcome back, Emile.||„|
|~ Mercedes to a returned Jeritza/Emile in their ending (Japanese version exclusive).|
In his sole ending and his ending with Byleth, Jeritza participated the final war against Those Who Slither in the Dark and ended up victorious. Afterwards, he vanished without a trace and was presumed to be on a journey, either alone or with Byleth by his side depending on the ending.
In his support with Mercedes, Jeritza reconciled with his sister and decided to vanquish his Death Knight personality once and for all. In his ending with Mercedes, Jeritza decided to accept his original persona as Emile and turned himself in to face punishment for his massacre of House Bartels. During his imprisonment, he sent a letter to Mercedes, who had opened up an orphanage with their mother, wishing her and her family well. Years later, Emile was released after serving his sentence and reunited with Mercedes. Seeing her brother returning, Mercedes tearfully welcomed him home.
Outside Crimson Flower
The Face Beneath
Note: "The Face Beneath" is a paralogue that can only unlocked if the player have Mercedes and Caspar in their house and if the player isn't on the Crimson Flower route.
|“||I will kill her. Until then, she must live...||„|
|~ Death Knight speaking about Mercedes before he left|
The Death Knight appears as the main antagonist of "The Face Beneath" paralogue. In the paralogue, Mercedes had deduced the true identity of the Death Knight, which was her long-losed younger half-brother Emile. After an unwilling confrontation, the Death Knight insisted that Mercedes should leave the monastery, otherwise she would face death. When she insisted on staying in the monastery, the Death Knight gave her the Rafail Gem and granted Caspar his Scythe of Sariel (if Caspar defeated him in gameplay) as a sign of respect. Before leaving, the Death Knight warned Mecedes, Caspar and Byleth that the next time they meet, he would kill them.
The Death Knight took command of the defence of Forth Merceus during the Kingdom army's attack. Despite his strength, he fell to the Kingdom's forces. If Mercedes and Caspar's paralogue is completed, the Death Knight dies in Mercedes' arms, as she apologizes for being such a terrible older sister. In his final words, he feebly says her name before breathing his last.
Silver Cloud & Verdant Wind
In these two routes, the Death Knight's role is relatively the same to the Azure Moon chapter, but no matter if the aforementioned prologue is clear, his final moment with Mercedes will not be presented in these two routes.
|“||I have a talent for murder that demands expression. How dare you constrict me? Know that my truest, deepest wish is to engage you in a mortal duel... and, in that duel, to die by your hand. You are capable of ending my life, are you not? I eagerly await that day. Meanwhile, I will sharpen my scythe and slay any weakling foolish enough to cross me.||„|
|~ The Death Knight to the Summoner in Fire Emblem Heroes.|
|“||Step back, Mercedes. (Mercedes: I won't. This is the path I have chosen. It's the same for you too, Emile. Is it not? Someday, we may meet again in another life. Whenever that happens, I hope that we'll remain side by side, always...) My dear sister... I am sorry.||„|
|~ Jeritza fighting Mercedes (if she wasn't recruited)|
|“||You... Was this meeting... preordained?||„|
|~ The Death Knight to Mercedes, implying his true identity.|
|~ The Death Knight's last words while dying in Mercedes' arms (a scene only unlockable in Azure Moon).|
- The paralogue of Mercedes and Caspar, that revealed the true secret identity of Death Knight, cannot be unlocked in Crimson Flower chapter due to him becoming an ally to Byleth and is only mentioned by this point of the main story.
- His English voice actor, Patrick Seitz, is the English voice director of Fire Emblem: Three Houses and also voiced King Lambert Egitte Blaiddyd in the same game.
- To keep his true identity secret, in his appearance in Fire Emblem Heroes, the name of the Death Knight's voice actors (in both versions) of the said spin-off remain uncredicted.
- The Death Knight is essentially based upon the Black Knight from Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance. They're both powerful opponents who must be avoided rather than fought as they can cut down the player's units with ease, they both develop a fixation on the child of a legendary mercenary as a worthy opponent, and they're both protectors to a white-haired female lord.
- The Death Knight made his first playable debut in Fire Emblem Heroes, whereas his Jeritza persona would be playable in the third pack of DLC in Fire Emblem: Three Heroes.