“ My child, who through me carries the noble blood of Etruria in his veins, will in ten days be named as the right-born heir to the throne. Ha ha ha! No matter how you may dote on her, your illegitimate daughter, Guinivere, is destined to be nothing more than a baseborn shadow... It is my son who shall reign in Bern! My son, Zephiel! Ha ha ha ha ha! How it gives me such pleasure to say those words!”
—Hellene to Desmond, a few days before Zephiel's coming-of-age ceremony.
Hellene (ヘレーネ Herēne) is the wife of King Desmond of Bern and the biological mother of his successor, Zephiel. She is the Queen of Bern during the events of Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade, although she originally hails from Etruria.
Before meeting with Hellene in Chapter 23: Four-Fanged Offense, Louise states that she is actually a distant relative of hers. Later, Louise will remark on how "ill-matched" she and Desmond were, and states that Hellene used to be a very kind girl before getting married, but her long-time suffering as the Queen completely spoiled her formerly sweet disposition.
Hellene's marriage to the king of Bern was arranged for political ends, and is therefore evidently barren of love. As a result of this and his love for another woman, the relationship between them is rather turbulent. While the king and his lover reside at the palace with their illegitimate daughter, Guinivere; the queen must live away at the manse with Zephiel whom the king bears no love either. She, in turn, clearly begrudges Guinivere, stating that the girl is destined to be "nothing more than a baseborn shadow".
Though she does truly love Zephiel, she allows her obsession and ambition to eclipse her care for him. Prior to Zephiel's coming-of-age ceremony, she jeeringly reminds his father the king that it is her own son, a prince of noble Etrurian blood, who is going to ascend Bern's throne. When the prince's attempted assassination takes place shortly afterwards, she expresses concern only for the Fire Emblem that is needed for the ceremony, rather than the well-being of the boy himself. Eliwood, who initially seeks her help to access the Shrine of Seals in return for retrieving the emblem, is appalled by this and takes his leave of her. Once she realized that her obsession with securing the throne resulted in her failing to care for her own son, she realized the error of her ways and proceeds to help Eliwood for saving her Zephiel's life. She is able to reconcile with her son, and reluctantly accepts Guinivere as well.
In Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade, Guinivere mentions her briefly when recollecting Zephiel's tragic past. She reveals that King Desmond eventually wanted Hellene assassinated along with Zephiel and Murdock. It is known that his attempt on Zephiel's life had failed yet again, but whether or not he succeeded in killing Hellene is never mentioned.
Although a minor character with no more than a brief role in the game, Hellene has a very well-defined personality. She comes off as a superficial and possessive woman who appears to be obsessed with Zephiel's succession to the throne of Bern.
Before being told by Desmond that the Fire Emblem is gone, Hellene, in her confidence that the successor to the throne is already determined, vindictively taunts the king.
“We are here in this manse, while you live in the palace with... that woman. You must be so disappointed that she bore you not a prince but a princess.”
— Hellene on Guinivere's mother.
However, her proud facade immediately wears off as soon as she learns about the emblem's disappearance, at which point she starts begging the king to accept his son and eventually breaks down into tears.
After learning her son's life was threatened because of her ambitions, however, she does truly regret her actions, and is able to reconcile with her son, even reluctantly accepting Guinivere whom she saw as a threat to the throne.
Taking everything into account, it is possible to see her as a victim of social and political expectations; however, it is only reasonable to conclude that it is not Desmond alone who is responsible for Zephiel's ill-fated upbringing.
The name Hellene is a variant of Helen, 'light'. According to Greek Mythology, Helen was the reason behind the Trojan War after being taken from her husband, King Menelaus of Sparta by Paris of Troy. Ironically in the myth, Helen eloped with Paris, while in the game it is Desmond with someone else.
- Hellene actually has two portraits. After Eliwood criticizes her dismissal of Zephiel's assassins as mere trifles, Murdock will arrive and speak with her. In the next scene, there is a subtle difference in her eyebrows. They are now more rounded rather than the spiteful rigid angle from before. A tiny detail revealing her changed priorities.