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It's... An evil omen! An incredible calamity is about to occur...
~ A fortune teller seeing the eclipse when she attempts to look into Rickert's future

The Invocation of Doom (in Japanese: 降魔の意識) is a bloody ritual in the universe of the dark fantasy manga and anime Berserk. This event is triggered when owners of Behelits are cornered into total despair and begin to yearn for abilities beyond human. Through this event Apostles and members of God Hand are born.

Summary

There are 2 kinds of Invocations of Doom: one event gives birth to a member of God Hand and the other event gives birth to Apostles, a group of man-eating monsters. But both invocations require Behelits when owners of their Behelit experience absolute despair/crisis/dismay with no way out and are practically on the verge of death. Their Behelits, then create a dimensional tear between the human world and part of the astral dimension where the members of the God Hand reside, granting their owners an audience with the said supernatural entities. Behelits belong to predestined owners through the law of causality and therefore, no matter what the circumstances that befall to their owners, will always find their ways to them when should their owners' desire becomes great enough.

When the ritual is triggered, people who are in close proximity are forcibly transported, including those who activated their Behelits, into an interstice of realms that has grounds and hills made full of distorting human faces. Then the God Hand asks the owner of Behelits, in cruelest and the most primal form of either/or play, whether he/she would sacrifice someone(s) who is/are most precious to them. If the candidate accepts their offer and say yes, then Void, the leader of God Hand, marks the chosen victim(s) with supernatural brand (an extremely powerful curse that cannot be removed by ordinary means), and the branded victim(s) gets devoured by the reincarnated Apostle. Invocation of Doom occurs in a dimension where it is completely isolated from human world, so it is impossible for branded victims to escape. So at this point chosen sacrifices are fated to die whether they attempt to run, fight or give up. Only someone who has the ability of reality-warping can enter and exit the Invocation of Doom.

No offerings are meant to survive Invocation of Doom. However, should victims, if they ever manage to escape the cursed ritual through some incredible miracle (or curse according to Zodd the Immortal, as in Guts and Casca), another whole new ordeal awaits them: the brand that is carved onto their fleshes, stays on survivors' bodies even after crossing onto human world and forcing survivors to stay interstice between human world and astral dimension. Every night after night, the evil emitting from brands will attract malicious spirits from astral dimension and rapacious Apostles who all come after branded survivors to devour them. From that point on, survivors will spend their remaining lives fending off in a neverending nocturnal battle against evil. Everywhere branded survivors go they will never know peace, and they can never settle in one place for too long.

Involving God Hand Members

This particular type of Invocation of Doom occurs once in every 216 years and requires Crimson Behelit (or Egg of the King); the owner of Crimson Behelit is said to offer his/her the world, including the owner's flesh and blood, to the evil in exchange for becoming the member of God Hand. This event is also called The Eclipse because when this rite occurs eclipse happens. During this event Apostles who are reborn through their own rituals get to gather, drink, eat and celebrate the new advent of their new guardian angel. But of course, this is only the POV from Apostles, as for those who are about to be sacrificed to God Hand, the ritual is nothing more/less than hell itself. Should there be God Hand members for once in every 216 years without absence the first God Hand to be born is speculated to be born during the era of Emperor Kaiseric.

When Griffith was undergoing transformation as Femto he felt as if his own blood is being frozen as he felt horrible deaths of his army.

It is hinted that the amount of required sacrifices in order to become a God Hand greatly transcends sacrifices of typical Apostles. (Griffith offered his entire army, Void might have had sacrificed an entire populace of a city)

Involved in Making Apostles

Apostles are once humans but turned into man-eating monsters through the Invocation of Doom, using their Behelits. When they, as humans, were faced with overwhelming predicament and they strongly yearned for powers beyond. It is then their Behelits, trigger the ritual and are taken to otherworldly realm where they get to meet God Hand. God Hand then ask owners of Behelits if they want to be reincarnated as Apostles by sacrificing those who are most precious to them or not. If Behelit owners choose yes, they are reborn as Apostles granted of superhuman abilities, regeneration, eternity and regain their prime physical condition. Once the deal between God Hand and the Apostle-candidate is successfully made, Void brands the chosen victims. Candidates who become Apostles then get to kill the very people they offered for sacrifice. At that point factors that put them in great despair is solved immediately.

Only by sacrificing their most precious, offerers can gain Apostleship that serves as 'a necessary skin to withstand the power of evil'. If Behelit owners refuse to offer their loved ones to be sacrificed, then evil claims them instead. So it is either their loved ones or themselves once they activate Behelits. After their final choice of no return, Apostles realize that they are no longer human beings and lose their humanity altogether, living their new lives as Apostles.

But once a man becomes an Apostle, they are still able to perform another Invocation of Doom, should they still possess his Behelit, should his desire be strong enough, and is fated to do so by the law of causality: for example, The Slug Count, even after becoming an Apostle, was able to have another Invocation of Doom, but gave up and sacrificed himself instead when he refused to undergo another reincarnation when God Hand demanded him his daughter as the price for him to pay. So far no one with Behelit have refused the deal on their first tries.


Trivia

  • Invocation of Doom for God Hand, occurs in 216 years. 216 is 6 X 6 X 6, the Mark of the Beast (666) in Christianity.
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