“The vice-minister says he hears the will of the goddess, yet I’ve heard nothing of the kind in my ears. Why would the goddess choose Lekain and me? We are the ones with the most to atone for...”
—Hetzel in Part 4: Chapter 3
Hetzel (ヘッツェル Hettseru) is a boss character from Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn. He is the duke of Asmin, and a senior member of the Begnion Senate who appears as a faint-hearted old man that, despite his opposition to the Empress Sanaki, does not appear to be an entirely antagonistic character. Though he never condoned the senate's malicious actions towards the herons or the apostle, his lack of initiative and inability to oppose the other senators is ultimately what allowed them to continue their actions. If Tibarn is used to fight him in the endgame, Tibarn acknowledges Hetzel and promises to make his death quick and painless. As the purchaser of the heron prince Rafiel, Hetzel pays an exorbitant price only to return the heron to Serenes Forest following the recovery of his health.
His appearance between games also changes. In Path of Radiance he wears a cap like the other senators, and sports a robe with a green outline, while in Radiant Dawn he wears no cap and wears a white robe with a blue outline. Also, in Radiant Dawn he comes off as more timid, while in Path of Radiance he shows more youthful vigor.
In Path of Radiance, he appears in the court game of "wit and words" that the Apostle plays with Ike upon his arrival in the Mainal Cathedral of Sienne. He makes no further appearance, though secretly he saves Oliver following his defeat at the hands of the Greil Mercenaries at the end of chapter 17-4.
In Radiant Dawn, he is first seen shortly after Ashera has cast her judgment on the world. Sensing that Yune and her army are heading towards the Tower of Guidance, Ashera frees some of the people she petrified, including Hetzel and Lekain, to fight for her as the Disciples of Order. After Yune's army has managed to defeat the soldiers sent to defeat them and entered Begnion, he is seen when Lekain announces that they must personally lead the Disciples against Yune. While this is happening, Hetzel silently wonders why Ashera would choose him and Lekain, since both have done so much that they need to atone for.
He is later seen at Duke Tanas' mansion, ordering Oliver to combat Ike and his allies as they journey to the Tower of Guidance. He later reappears and discovers that Ike's forces have defeated the Disciples of Order stationed there and Oliver has joined the enemy. While there, he discovers, to his joy, that Rafiel is alive and tries to approach him, only to be blocked by Ike and Nailah. When Rafiel refuses to speak to him, Hetzel realizes that he knows about the Serenes Massacre and that the senators were the ones responsible for it. Hetzel tells him that what he and the other senators did was unforgivable and that he was against the massacre from the very beginning, but then says that he is beyond forgiveness. Before leaving, he tells Rafiel that he is glad that he is alive and begs him to stay away from the Tower of Guidance.
Hetzel makes his final appearance as a secondary boss of the first part of the endgame. He does not move often if at all and usually will just use his offensive staves, so Hetzel is considered an easy boss especially for this point in the game.
His battle quotes are somewhat strange in that he seems to have several very contrasting personalities, depending on who he speaks to, he will either make excuses for his actions (Or lack thereof), berate them for not obeying the goddess Ashera, attempt to absolve himself of guilt by bringing up former good deeds he had worked, or desperately seeking forgiveness for his deeds. This leads to a strange juxtaposition of battle quotes where he'll acknowledge something he did as wrong with one person and then turn around and berate someone else for not agreeing with that same action. Ultimately, Hetzel is a coward, unable to stand against his colleagues in the senate nor willing to reject Ashera. He is content to take the path of least resistance and in general only does the right thing when such actions don't threaten his sense of personal security.
Hetzel: There can be no forgiveness for my hand in these evil deeds. Salvation is denied me and my stained soul. My torment will be eternal.
Hetzel: It is not too late, child, to surrender and accept Ashera's grace. You can win favor in her eyes by abandoning her enemies.
Micaiah: Surrender? I wouldn't dare "accept the grace" of a goddess that turns her worshipers to stone!
Hetzel: Some things simply can't be helped. You and I are alive, and we should be thankful for that.
Micaiah: I have a feeling that we're not going to be able to come to terms on this.
Sanaki: Hetzel... I had thought that you alone might be above Lekain's foul conspiracy! It saddens me to see you at his side.
Hetzel: N-no, Apostle Sanaki! I--
Sanaki: I didn't ask for excuses! You fight alongside Lekain. That's more proof than I'll ever need.
Hetzel: ...You are right I fight with him. I had no choice. But...please, understand that I've always done my best to honor and respect Your Majesty.
Sanaki: Then how do you explain my confinement in Mainal Cathedral?
Hetzel: I-I didn't do anything! It was all Lekain! I didn't know anything about it, and only heard later...
Sanaki: And when you did hear of it, why didn't you stop it?
Hetzel: I...couldn't. Actually, I could have, but I didn't say anything. It was the same with Misaha, and the Serenes Massacre... I...
Sanaki: ...Didn't say anything. In other words, you stood by as my grandmother and Serenes people were killed!
Hetzel: P-please forgive me...
Hetzel: Wait, please... I never wanted to fight... I'm here only because I was ordered.
Ike: Then surrender your weapon.
Hetzel: I-I cannot do that. I would fall into disgrace with Vice-Minister Lekain.
Nailah: So you're Hetzel, huh? Rafiel told me about you.
Hetzel: That's right... Yes... I'm... I'm the one who saved his life. He's still alive because of me!
Nailah: Ancient history doesn't change the fact that you're fighting against him now. And if you fight him, you fight me.
Sigrun: Senator Hetzel! Do I understand correctly that you oppose Apostle Sanaki alongside Vice-minister Lekain?
Hetzel: Th-that's absurd! Vice-minister Lekain opposed the apostle! I'm just... I'm just following orders!
Tanith: Senator Hetzel, Duke of Asmin! You are guilty of treason against our empress!
Hetzel: No! That's a lie! I never did anything wrong...
Hetzel: D-Duke Tanas! You've betrayed us? But why?
Oliver: You could never understand the depth of my commitment to beauty! Sometimes it simply overwhelms me. I can't stop the love welling up inside! I'd do anything to keep the hideous likes of you from my precious birds!
Hetzel: Wait... I remember you... You were one of the dracoknights that fled to Daein, defying the senators... You opposed the almighty Begnion and the word of the goddess... Why? Why would you defy such power?
Haar: You could live another lifetime, and you'd still never understand.
Hetzel: Oh! Oh my! A fair heron maiden. I thought they were all gone...
Hetzel: W-wait! Don't run away. Don't just run away!
Hetzel: Rafiel... Rafiel, I'm sorry.
Hetzel: I did a horrible thing. I have lived in the shadow of my regret for many years now. Please tell me that you can find it in yourself to forgive me! Please...
Hetzel: Rafiel... I was kind to you, was I not? I didn't treat you like a slave! I always watched over you so kindly. Be kind in return and forgive me, Rafiel.
Rafiel: ...I'm sorry, I... I don't have anything to say to you.
Hetzel: No! Rafiel...
Hetzel: You look so much like Rafiel... Is there anything in the world so beautiful as a Serenes heron?
Reyson: I was born this way, and mere birth is not praiseworthy. Praise me instead for my strength. What I look is irrelevant, so long as I have the power to protect my friends.
Hetzel: L...Lord Lekain! Help! Help me!
Tibarn: As payment for taking care of Rafiel when I couldn't, I'll make this quick.
Hetzel: Mortals cannot measure up to the gods. Any child knows as much. Why do you not kneel before her?
Astrid: That would be throwing my own beliefs to live a life of blind obedience. I stopped doing that three years ago, and I've never looked back.
Hetzel: I don't understand any of you. How can you opposed the goddess? It's only natural that people live to please the gods... the weak follow the strong.
Jill: Strong, weak... It doesn't matter. I fight on the side of my conscience, and have yet to regret my battles.
“Save me! My goddess... Help...”
—Hetzel's death quote
- Unused battle dialogue data suggests that Hetzel could be spared. For whatever reason, this was not included in the final version of the game.