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Villain Overview

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 confronting Roy in Bern.

Zephiel is the main antagonist of Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade and a minor character in its prequel Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade. As the Crown Prince of Bern, Zephiel was a prodigiously gifted child beloved by his people. However, thanks to the actions of his jealous father King Desmond, he was twisted into a bitter misanthrope dedicated to ending humanity's rule in Elibe.

In Japanese, he is voiced by Kenichirō Matsuda, who also voices Lloyd Reed. In English, he is voiced by Jamieson Price, who also voices Rudolf and Nemesis.

Appearance

As a boy, Zephiel had short blond hair and wore a thin golden circlet, a blue-purple shirt with gold accents over white tights, and matching boots. By the time of the Disturbance of Bern, Zephiel grew into an angular, solidly built man. As King of Bern, he wears a more elaborate gold circlet and a dark purple cape with white trim over a suit of purple armor with gold accents.

Personality

Prince Zephiel was a compassionate youth. Burdened with a dysfunctional family, Zephiel's greatest wish was for them to overcome their resentment of each other and come together in happiness. Zephiel loved his younger half-sister Guinivere in particular. Desmond forbidding Zephiel to see her was the most devastating of his myriad abuses.

Prince Zephiel was also wise beyond his years. Whether it be the art of fighting, politics, or letters, Zephiel excelled in all his studies. Recognizing his skills, the people of Bern saw him as their best hope for a bright future, as did many members of Bern's army such as the Wyvern Generals Murdock and Brunnya. This talent and mass adoration fueled Desmond's hatred for his son, Zephiel only tried harder to meet what he perceived to be his father's high expectations.

However, Desmond's cruelty ultimately changed Zephiel for the worse, his attempting poisoning of his son serving as the final straw. Upon killing Desmond in retaliation, Zephiel descended into a grim state, never again experiencing joy. Concluding that his father's behavior was due to an innate evil in humanity, King Zephiel decided that mankind's rule would only doom the world. He also came to believe that the outcome of The Scouring, in which humanity drove most dragons from Elibe, was histories greatest mistake, and orchestrated the Disturbance of Bern to restore the continent to dragon rule. During the war, Zephiel had no sympathy for those who died, for to him, all lives were sacrificed in service of the greater good.

Biography

Zephiel's Youth

From the beginning, Desmond loathed Zephiel for being the product of his loveless marriage to Queen Hellene. Once he successfully separated from Hellene and married the woman he loved, Desmond exiled both her and Zephiel to a private manse, and his new queen gave birth to a daughter, Guinivere. Desmond barred his former family from visiting Bern Keep, but Zephiel loved his half-sister, and young Guinivere formed a deeper bond with him than her father. As Zephiel grew, revealed his superior talents, and gained the adoration of his half-sister and Bern as a whole, Desmond's hatred only festered. Determined to prevent Zephiel from obtaining the throne, Desmond conspired with the Black Fang to hide the Fire Emblem, an important artifact for Zephiel's coming-of-age ceremony. While the ceremony was delayed, the Fang was to secretly assassinate Zephiel.

Hellene was determined for her son to inherit Bern, and tasked Eliwood, Hector, and Lyn with recovering the Emblem. On the day the three arrived at Bern Keep, investigating the Emblem's disappearance, Zephiel again disregarded Desmond's orders and visited a sickly Guinivere. To lift her spirits, Zephiel presented her with a fox kit to keep as a pet. However, Desmond interrupted the two, and despite Zephiel treating him courteously, contemptuously requested he return to Hellene's manse. Eventually, Eliwood's party recovered the Fire Emblem, but on the eve of Zephiel's ceremony, Fang members Jaffar and Nino infiltrated the manse. In his room, Zephiel promised to be a better son for Desmond, and prayed that his divided family would eventually mend their differences and live together, only for Jaffar to incapacitate him. Jaffar left Zephiel's death in Nino's hands, but she sympathized with Zephiel and Desmond's strained relationship and could not do the deed. She offered her life to Jaffar so he could avoid the Fang's judgment, but he refused and planned to escape the manse with Nino in tow. However, a larger squad of Fangs led by Ursula and Maxime was dispatched to monitor the two; with the mission rapidly deteriorating, Ursula ordered all lights in the manse put out, and the three's execution. In the ensuing chaos, Eliwood's army arrived and successfully defended Zephiel, Nino, and Jaffar in spite of the darkness.

Zephiel's Fall

Some time after the collapse of the Black Fang, Desmond announced that his successor would be Guinivere's eventual husband. Zephiel did not mind being passed over, but the people of Bern were outraged. As public pressure mounted against Desmond, he snapped and personally attempted to kill Zephiel by offering him a poisoned drink at a banquet. Zephiel fell very ill, and for ten days he lingered on the edge of death. The loyal General Murdock tirelessly nursed Zephiel, and through his efforts, the young prince physically recovered. However, the poison and Desmond's corrosive hatred permanently damaged his mind, which further declined when he learned Desmond intended to have Murdock and Hellene executed as traitors. Together, Zephiel and Murdock pretended the poisoning was successful, and arranged a mock funeral. When Desmond arrived to observe his son's corpse, Zephiel rose, sword in hand, and murdered his father. From that moment, Zephiel began to detest humanity as a whole.

The Disturbance of Bern

Fifteen years after Zephiel's crowning, he traveled to the Dragon Sanctuary, where his ancestor Hartmut sealed the Demon Dragon Idunn nearly a millennium ago. With the power of the Fire Emblem, Zephiel broke Idunn's seal. The last natural dragon in Elibe, Jahn, sensed Idunn's release and projected himself before Zephiel, asking why a human would do such a thing. Zephiel declared his intention of restoring the dragons' dominion over the world, and the two entered a tenuous alliance.

As the first phase of his plan, Zephiel ordered the Wyvern Generals Narcian and Brunnya to subjugate Ilia and Sacae, beginning the Disturbance of Bern. With the subjugation of both countries, Zephiel called the two generals back to assist him an assault of Castle Araphen, where the leaders of the Lycian League were holding a war council about Bern's sudden attacks. Together, Brunnya and Narcian decimated the League's army and grievously wounded it's leader, Lord Hector of Ostia. Zephiel requested Brunnya bring Hector before him, notified Hector that Bern and Lycia's strong relationship was meaningless when measured against his goal of liberating the world, and threw him into the castle dungeon. The business with Hector concluded, Brunnya informed Zephiel that she would return to Sacae, but inquired about his association with the Dark Priestess Idunn. Zephiel replied bluntly that a subordinate like her had a duty to follow orders, not question her leader's judgement.

Other Media

Fire Emblem Awakening

Zephiel is available as a downloadable bonus unit through SpotPass in Fire Emblem Awakening. He is also an enemy unit in the second and third Smash Brethren and first and third Rogues & Redeemers DLC xenologues and ally in the first Smash Brethren and second Rogues & Redeemers DLC xenologues.

Fire Emblem Heroes

Zephiel is a playable character in the gacha mobile game Fire Emblem Heroes. He was added on April 20, 2017 as the sixth grand hero battle and his winter variation was added on December 16, 2019 under the "Glorious Gifts" banner.

Quotes

My coming-of-age ceremony is tomorrow. 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.
~ A young Zephiel praying at night.
......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.
~ A young Zephiel finishing his prayer.
A few worthless lives are a fair trade for the change I desire.
~ Zephiel to Guinivere.
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?
~ Zephiel questioning Guinivere's concern for the deaths of innocent people.
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 explaining his worldview to Roy.
It was history's greatest mistake. Mankind should not have won. After the humans' ill-gotten victory, they perverted this world into an odorous cesspool of madness and evil. All through their illogical and contemptible emotions!
~ Zephiel's opinion on the Scouring's outcome.
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 justifying himself to Roy.
You shall not bar my path!
~ Zephiel battling the Lycian League.
...I am defeated... But remember this... My will shall never die... As long as humans retain control, madness will reign...
~ Zephiel's last words.

Trivia

  • In addition to Zephiel, Rudolf, and Nemesis, Jamieson Price also provides the voices of Fire Emblem heroes Hawkeye and Virion.

Navigation

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Fire Emblem Gaiden & Echoes: Shadows of Valentia

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Jugdral Series


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Loptr Church
Loptous | Manfroy | Julius | Arvis | Veld | Sandima | Kutuzov

Others
Vaha | Aida


Elibe Series

Bern
Zephiel | Desmond | Pereth | Rude | Slater | Flaer | Randy | Ohtz | Raeth | Teck | Martel | Jemmie | Zeed

Wyvern Generals
Murdock | Brunnya | Narcian | Galle

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Leygance | Devias | Georg

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Lundgren | Bool | Yogi | Eagler | Zagan

Laus
Erik | Bauker | Bernard

Sacae
Gel | Monke | Chan | Glass | Thoril | Brakul | Kudoka | Maral | Kabul

Dragons
Jahn | Idunn | Ain

Black Fang
Nergal | Sonia Reed | Ephidel | Limstella | Denning | Jaffar | Lloyd Reed | Linus Reed | Ursula | Pascal Grentzer | Brendan Reed | Darin | Uhai | Kenneth | Jerme | Aion | Boies | Teodor | Wire | Oleg | Maxime | Igor | Zoldam | Beyard | Cameron | Damian | Heintz

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Daein
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Kilvas
Nasala | Seeker

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Pain and Agony | Kezhda

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Levail | Septimus | Callum | Veyona | Silvano | Rommit | Roark | Zeffren

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Jarod | Alder | Zaitan | Burton | Laverton | Djur | Radmin | Isaiya | Wystan

Crimean Rebels
Ludveck | Yeardley | Maraj | Tashoria

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Others
Zawana | Ikanau | Havetti | Nedata | Gashilama | Peddler | Schaeffer | Pugo | Feral One


Fire Emblem Awakening

Plegian Army
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Others
Victor | Vincent | Roddick | Gecko | Xalbador | Cassius | Ruger | Morristan | Gyral | Dalen | Nombry | Ezra | Zanth

Einherjar
Camus | Gharnef | Legion | Hardin | Travant | Arvis | Julius | Ishtar | Raydrik | Narcian | Zephiel | Lloyd Reed | Linus Reed | Ursula | Nergal | Lyon | Oliver | Petrine | Black Knight | Ashnard | Sephiran


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Nohr
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Valla
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Others
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Fire Emblem: Three Houses

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Ten Elites
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Others
Lonato Gildas Gaspard | Miklan Anschutz Gautier | Acheron | Pallardó | Gwendal


Fire Emblem Heroes

Emblian Empire
Veronica | Bruno

Kingdom of Múspell
Múspell | Surtr | Laevatein | Laegjarn | Helbindi

Realm of Hel
Hel | Líf | Thrasir | Gustav

Dökkálfheimr
Freyja | Triandra | Plumeria

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Fáfnir | Ótr | Eitri

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Aelfric | Arete | Arvis | Ashera | Ashnard | Aversa | Berkut | Black Knight | Brunnya | Camus | Caellach | Clarisse | Death Knight | Dheginsea | Díthorba | Duma | Eldigan | Eremiya | Fernand | Flame Emperor | Galle | Gangrel | Garon | Gharnef | Grima | Hardin | Iago | Idunn | Ishtar | Jaffar | Julius | Kempf | Kronya | Legion | Linus Reed | Lloyd Reed | Lyon (Fomortiis) | Michalis | Mustafa | Narcian | Nemesis | Oliver | Orson | Petrine | Reinhardt | Rudolf | Seiros | Selena | Sephiran | Solon | Sonia Reed | Ursula | Travant | Valter | Veld | Walhart | Zephiel


Fire Emblem Warriors

Validar | Iago | Gharnef | King Oskar | Darios | Velezark


Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE

Garrick | Aversa | Gangrel | Lon'qu | Excellus | Lorenz | Dark Yashiro | Dolph | Linde | Macellan | Palla | Yatsufusa Hatanaka | Gharnef | Pheros | Cervantes | Medeus | M-DEUS

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