“Let us test your stronger arm then. Come, Son of Gawain, show me your strength.”
—The Black Knight to Ike, before their duel at Nados castle in Path of Radiance.
“I trust you know who you face. Zelgius, commander of this army. If you are not worthy of fighting me, then you are only wasting my time.”
—Zelgius to Ranulf, before their duel at Ribahn River in Radiant Dawn.
Zelgius (ゼルギウス, Zerugiusu), better known as the Black Knight (漆黒の騎士, Shikkoku no Kishi lit. Jet-Black Knight), is a boss character in both Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance and Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, though he is also playable in the latter. He was Daein's most powerful general during The Mad King's War, and a member of Daein's Four Riders. However, he is first seen as Zelgius when he is sent, along with reinforcements, to Ike and his Crimean Liberation Army after their conquest of Nevassa. The Black Knight's true identity was unknown in Path of Radiance, save for the fact that the Black Knight was once a student of General Gawain. In Radiant Dawn, his identity was revealed to be General Zelgius, Earl of Kadohl, the greatest general of Begnion, and the right-hand man to Prime Minister Sephiran. He was also one of the Branded, which he revealed to Sephiran, who provided him with the blessed sword Alondite and the blessed black armor. It is implied that he is the general of Prime Minister Sephiran, Duke of Persis' personal army.
Zelgius was born in Daein. However, while growing up, he had a miserable childhood because he was a Branded, with the mark being on his back (according to him, someone on his father's side was with a laguz). Because of this, he was looked down on and hated by his own family. This prompted him to leave home and join the Daein army in order to escape his suffering. While in the army, he served under General Gawain, one of the Four Riders of Daein, who he respected and wanted to fight one day. Even during his time in the army, he was afraid of becoming close to people out of fear that they would discover his secret. Because of this, he was always alone.
One day, he met Sephiran, who was in Daein at the time. Knowing that he could trust him, Zelgius showed him the mark on his back, hoping that he would be able to get rid of it, and told him about his past. While saddened to hear about his suffering, Sephiran sadly told him that he did not know how to get rid of the mark. Zelgius immediately apologized to him for thinking that he would be able to get rid of the mark. Zelgius then told Sephiran that due to him being a branded, his body aged slower than his fellow soldiers, which is why he always wore his armor, even when indoors. However, he knows that he cannot keep this up forever and that in a few years, he will have to leave the army, with his only regret being that he will not be able to fight under Gawain. Sephiran then told Zelgius that when he does leave the army, to seek him out, saying that, with his help, his plan will succeed and, at the very least, he will not be alone. Hearing this, Zelgius takes him up on his offer and agrees to look for him when he leaves the army.
After leaving the Daein army, he reunited with Sephiran and worked for him. During this, he enlisted in the Begnion army and rose through the ranks, eventually becoming the commander of the Begnion army.
A few years before the events of Path of Radiance, Sephiran and Zelgius head to Gallia to find and retrieve Lehran's Medallion, which was at the time, in the possession of Gawain, now known as Greil after he fled Daein, and his wife, Elena. When they arrived at the village where Greil and Elena lived, they were horrified at the sight of the soldiers and villagers who had been killed by Greil after he touched the medallion. Going deeper into the village, Zelgius was relieved to see his former commander alive, but was saddened to see Elena's dead body. While this was going, he met Greil's children, Ike, who had seen what had happened, and Mist. When Mist asked what had happened, Sephiran lied and said that Greil and Elena were asleep. Zelgius then agreed to carry Greil and Elena into their house. He later watched as Sephiran sealed Ike's memories of what had happened. When Zelgius asked about what they were going to do about the medallion, Sephiran said that they would leave it with Mist for the time being, since she was able to touch the medallion without being affected by it.
Path of RadianceEdit
At the beginning of Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, he was the most powerful of Daein's Four Riders. He wore a special suit of full-body black armor that had been blessed by the goddess Ashera, making it impenetrable to all weapons except those that have been divinely blessed, such as Ragnell. He also had access to numerous other arcane items as well, such as the Warp Powder he used to travel, his sword Alondite, and the sword Ragnell, which he gave to Greil seemingly as an act of mercy, although he merely wanted to test his strength against Greil. After killing Greil, he became Ike's mortal enemy, despite Greil's wishes. After killing Greil, Zelgius realized that it was too easy, as if Greil was holding back. Because of this, Zelgius thought he would never be able to surpass his former teacher. The Black Knight spent much of the game aiding Ashnard and his plans, such as providing Ashnard with blessed armor similar to his own.
The only time he is not seen as the Black Knight in the game is when he and part of the Begnion army arrive at Nevassa. After introducing himself to Ike and the Greil Mercenaries, he then offers to have the Begnion army fight alongside the army. However, Ike refuses his offer, after hearing Soren talk about what would happen if they received help the army. Zelgius accepts Ike's decision and says that they will do what they can to support Ike's army.
Ultimately, Ike faces off against the Black Knight in a duel at Nados Castle where Ike, canonically, wins. However, the player does not have to defeat the Black Knight, as the castle collapses at the end of Turn 5. Regardless of whether or not the player is able to defeat the Black Knight, Ike and Mist were able to flee the castle, with the Black Knight becoming buried in the resulting ruins. It is during this battle that Zelgius finally learned why his fight with Gawain was too easy: after killing Elena while under the influence of Lehran's Medallion, Gawain severed the tendons in right arm and swore never to wield a sword again. He is relieved to hear this, knowing full well that someone like Greil would not have held back against him. Knowing that Gawain's techniques have been passed down to his son, Zelgius decides to wait for Ike to become stronger so that Zelgius can defeat Ike and finally surpass his former teacher.
It was revealed in Radiant Dawn that Bastian sent men to find the Black Knight's body sometime after the castle's collapse, but they were unable to locate any trace of him. One theory on how he survived is that he used his Warp Powder to escape. It is also explained in Radiant Dawn that it was Sephiran who sent Zelgius to Ashnard, so as to observe Ashnard and see if he could cause a continent-wide war to awaken the Goddesses Ashera and Yune.
As the Black Knight, he returned to protect Micaiah when General Jarod of the Begnion Occupational Army attempted to assassinate her as Begnion began cracking down on the Occupational Army's oppression of the Daein people. Thanks to the Black Knight, Jarod failed, and he continued to protect Micaiah in the war against the Begnion Occupational Army, though to Sothe's objection. He disappeared after the fall of Jarod's forces for unexplained reasons, though it could be assumed that it was that Zelgius was being recalled to Begnion because of the growing tensions between the Begnion Empire and the Laguz Alliance.
As Zelgius, he led the Begnion Central Army, the largest military force on the continent, against the invading Laguz Alliance in the Laguz-Begnion War. During this time, he meets Levail, the leader of Duke Lekain's personal army, who later becomes Zelgius' second-in-command. He first defeated Ranulf, and later Skrimir in single combat, forcing the Laguz Alliance to retreat. Despite not wanting to continue the fighting, he is ordered by the Begnion Senate, who had overthrown the Apostle Sanaki and Sephiran, to pursue and eliminate the Laguz Alliance. When Daein ambushed the Alliance at the Ribahn River, initiating their entry into the war, Zelgius reassumed his mantle as the Black Knight to aid Daein, specifically to protect Micaiah. He continued to remain at their side until the Greil Mercenaries began engaging Micaiah's forces.
After the Daein army returns home, Zelgius returns to the Begnion army and pursues the Laguz Alliance to the Serenes Forest. After the Laguz Alliance heads into the Kauku Caves, Zelgius decides to call off the pursuit, knowing that it would be suicide to continue pursuing them. However, he is stopped by Senator Valtome, who suddenly arrives and announces that he has been placed in charge of the Begnion Central Army. After ordering part of the army to go into the Kauku Caves, he warns Zelgius that he will be punished if he disobeys him again.
Afterwards, Valtome decides to invade Gallia by going through Crimea. After reaching the border between Crimea and Gallia, another huge battle between the army and the Laguz Alliance seemed inevitable. However, they are stopped by the Crimean Royal Knights, led by Queen Elincia. Despite being warned by Valtome to not get in their way, Elincia orders both sides to not fight, even going as far as to fly into the middle of the battlefield and lay down her sword. While it does not stop the battle or the war, her actions manage to persuade most of the Laguz Alliance and most of the Begnion army, including Zelgius and Levail, to withdraw from the battlefield, with Zelgius telling Valtome that it is against his code to attack an unarmed foe. Because of his actions, Zelgius is labeled a traitor by Valtome and is sentenced to be executed, with Valtome planning to cover it up by telling everyone that Zelgius fell in battle after killing numerous laguz. However, he is saved at the last second by Sanaki, who had fled Begnion along with the Holy Guards. After she announces that she had been against the war from the very beginning, Valtome denounces her, claiming that she is a false apostle and that she and Sephiran are plotting to overthrow Begnion. Before he can say anymore, an angered Zelgius grabs Valtome by the throat and threatens to kill him if he says another insult about Sephiran. Later on, while the Begnion soldiers who support Sanaki stay behind in Crimea, Zelgius returns to Begnion to free Sephiran from prison. After doing so, Sephiran tells him that the time has come to awaken Ashera.
Later on, after Ashera casts her judgement on the world, Zelgius appears again in Grann Desert as the Black Knight, where he helps the Silver Army, led by Micaiah, defeat the Disciples of Order led by Senator Numida. After the battle, he asks Micaiah to come with him to the Tower of Guidance to meet his master and warns her that when the Tower of Guidance shines again, it will be all over. However, Micaiah refuses to go with him, after which he leaves.
Zelgius, as the Black Knight, is later confronted in the Tower of Guidance along with Levail and the remaining Disciples of Order after Ike, Micaiah, and Yune's army defeat Senator Lekain. After a brief skirmish between them, Ike reveals that he is aware that the Black Knight is actually Zelgius, having been told this by Ranulf. After removing his helmet Zelgius decides to begin their final duel. However, they are interrupted by Tibarn, who says that he has a score to settle with Zelgius. Zelgius then tells Tibarn that, while he understands why he wants to fight him, to wait until his battle with Ike with over. Zelgius then reveals that his ultimate goal was to face Gawain at the height of his power; his pursuit of this duel was the only action he undertook of his own accord after becoming Sephiran's follower. However, upon finding that Gawain was not at his true power, he sought out Gawain's son, Ike. After Tibarn leaves, Zelgius creates a barrier seperating him and Ike from the others. After a long battle, with Ike using Ragnell and Zelgius using Alondite, Ike defeats him. After the battle, Zelgius tells Ike that thanks to him, he felt he was fighting Gawain in his glory days. In addition, Ike tells Zelgius that he was his final teacher. Afterwards, Zelgius dies while telling Sephiran that he will be waiting for him.
He served Prime Minister Sephiran selflessly and viewed him as his master. All of his actions were guided by Sephiran's will, including his eventual return to Daein as the Black Knight.
If the player uses a hacking device, they may see Zelgius's in-game stats. He has a bond with Sephiran and is considered a Level 20 Marshall (which is considered closer to the Black Knight class than to other Marshalls) with Eclipse for a mastery skill. Eclipse negates all defense and resistance, and attacks with 5 times the strength, able to cause up to 255 unshielded damage with maxed strength and wielding Alondite. Most notably, Ashera would not be able to survive the attack without her Mantle skill. When facing Ranulf and Skrimir, he wields an Iron Sword, although his artwork suggests his default weapon is a Silver Blade.
On their second playthrough, if the player attempts to recruit Lehran, Zelgius (as the Black Knight) must be used in Chapter 1-E, and Ike must engage him in battle without defeating him in Chapter 3-7.
Path of RadianceEdit
- Chapter 11
- Chapter 24
- Chapter 27
| Sword - S|
Lance - A
- Chapter 3-7
- Part 4: Endgame Area 2
- Chapter 1-9: Automatically from start, available in Chapter 9 and Endgame.
- Chapter 3-6: Automatically from Turn 6, only available in Chapter 6.
- Chapter 4-3: Appears as an Other Unit.
| Sword - SS|
Lance - S
*He does not have this skill as a boss in Easy Mode
**As a playable character only
| Sword - SS|
Lance - S
Bond Support (Zelgius)Edit
- Sephiran: 10%
| Defense +2|
| Lance - A|
Axe - B
*Enemy only; joins unequipped
Path of RadianceEdit
Black Knight: What an odd fate. This will be the third time I have defeated you. The first was in the forest of Gallia. The second at Delbray in Crimea.
Ike: We've met twice, and I've lost twice. But the third time will be different.
Black Knight: Oh?
Ike: My sword-fighting skills were given to me by my father. If I stay true to them, I cannot lose.
Black Knight: Did you never think that using your father's techniques on the man who killed him would be futile?
Ike: My father robbed himself of using his stronger arm. If he had, he would not have lost to the likes of you.
Black Knight: Hah... You think so? Let us test your stronger arm, then. Come, son of Gawain... show me your strength.
Black Knight: Do you tremble in fear, little daughter of Gawain? How...entertaining. But if you value your life, you will leave this place at once.
Mist: You...you took my brother and my father! My sword may not even scratch you, but I don't care. This one blow... will contain... all my anger... and all my pain... Rrrraaaaa! I'll kill you!
Ike: So, you are alive. Somehow, I knew it wasn't over yet.
Black Knight: Of course it wasn't over. You were a boy trying to live up to the memory of the greatest swordsman in history.
Ike: And yet, I was the one who walked out of the castle that day.
Black Knight: You have your father to thank for that. When you told me that he had crippled himself, I realized that I had never fought him at all, merely his shadow.
Ike: What are you getting at?
Black Knight: I saw immediately that you were not your father's equal, but that one day you might be. So I did the only thing I could to keep you alive... I let you win.
Ike: ...You did, didn't you? I've relived that fight so many times... How could I not have seen it before?
Black Knight: You were not yet capable of seeing it. But I had to let you live, so that you could continue to train and perhaps one day be worthy of Gawain's legacy. My armor's blessing is gone; let us see if that day is today.
Ike: I promise that it will be. Begin.
Ranulf: Oh, I thought I smelled you earlier. We just have stop meeting like this.
Black Knight: ...
Ranulf: Back in Gallia, in Crimea... We just ran into each other recently, too. I don't know about others, but I can tell who you are. You have one heck of a stench.
Black Knight: ...Enough talk. Prepare yourself.
Ranulf: Still won't own up, huh? Fine. If that's the case, I'll just tear your mask off and show everyone myself!
Vs Ike in Part 4 Endgame
Zelgius: Let's see how you handle this!
“Impressive! Most impressive!”
—Zelgius' Death quote
In the Wii game Super Smash Bros. Brawl, the Black Knight makes an appearance as a trophy. But, in his description, he was stated as the wielder of the sacred blade Ettard, instead of Alondite. However, this was a change made from the Japanese version to the English, on part of Intelligent System's translation team: the Black Knight's blade in the Japanese version was Ettard while Ike wielded Alondite. Also, his battle music, unchanged since Path of Radiance, was a possible music for the Castle Siege level, although the music was titled "Against the Dark Knight" instead of "Against the Black Knight" - although he is known as "The Dark Knight" in the Japanese version, probably just a localisation mistake - the same happened to Lyn in her trophy (they put her age as 15 - as it is the Japanese version, instead of writing 18 as she is in the localized version of Fire Emblem). He makes another appearance as a sticker.
In Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, one of Ike's pallete swaps is based on Zelgius' normal color palette and one is based on his Black Knight colors. The Black Knight was later made into a Mii Swordfighter outfit complete with the Alondite sword.
Brawl Trophy ProfileEdit
Wii U Trophy ProfileEdit
|Black Knight||Not even the other members of the Daein army know the truth behind this dark knight. He is Ike's rival in Path of Radiance and the sequel, Radiant Dawn. His mastery skill Eclipse is so incredibly powerful, it'd be understandable if you thought his defeat would bring peace to the war-torn land.|
|Name||Image||Artwork from||Effect in The Subspace Emissary|
|The Black Knight||Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance||Launch Power +40|
The Greek god 'Zelus' was one of the four children of Pallas and Styx, the others being Nike ("victory"), Cratos ("strength"), and Bia ("violence"). The modern word 'zeal' is derived from this name.
'Black Knights' are a common trope in Western literature. They are usually associated with antagonists, lawlessness, and death, and serve as a foil for the archetypical 'white knight.' However, the 'black knight' is not always associated with evil. In texts such as Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur, knights who wished to go unrecognized at tournaments would dress in black. Examples of these include Sir Gareth, Sir Lancelot, and Sir Tristram.
Because of his relationship with Gawain, the Black Knight could also be seen as a parallel to the Green Knight from the famous West Midlands Middle English alliterative poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. The clearest allusion is probably that both the Green Knight and Black Knight are somewhat mythical individuals that are brought into conflict with their respective Gawains. The Green Knight and the Black Knight also both appear to be immortal thanks to enchantments and magic, and they both rise from the dead; the Green Knight is beheaded by Gawain but seems unfazed as he picks his head up and reminds the knight of his promise to be subjected to the same in a year and a day, and the Black Knight is supposed killed by the collapse of Nados Castle but he escapes with warp power and, as far as Ike is concerned, returns to life. Furthermore, the Black Knight's relationship with Ike, Gawain's son, evolves into that of a mentor to a student as Ike pursues the Black Knight; when Ike finally defeats Zelgius in the Tower of Guidance, he says that Zelgius is his last teacher. Finally, although both the Green Knight and the Black Knight fit into the role of antagonists, neither of them is purely evil; the Green Knight is only a ploy sent by Morgan le Fay to test the Knights of the Round Table, and the Black Knight is regarded as an honorable and worthy commander by both his subordinates and enemies.
He has some similarities with Sir Lancelot as both are Black Knights (on some occasions Lancelot even wore black armor) and his sword Alondite has a similar name to Lancelot's Arondight and both have a knight named Gawain as an enemy knight, though unlike Lancelot, his Gawain betrayed his kingdom rather than the other way around.
Zelgius's title as the Duke of Kadohl, or Cador, depending on the translation, is similar to the title given to Macbeth in William Shakespeare's play Macbeth, where he is bestowed the title "Thane of Cawdor".
- In Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, Zelgius introduces himself as the Earl of Kadohl. However, in Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, Valtome addresses him as Zelgius of Cador. This is probably attributed to the translators leaving one of the two titles in un-Romanized form.
- Zelgius does not wield Alondite while wearing his General armor, most likely to hide his second identity as the Black Knight.
- In Radiant Dawn, since the Black Knight is playable in some levels, you can raise his lance weapon level from S to SS.
- In Radiant Dawn, if the Black Knight equips a lance, the lance is misplaced, going through his hand; this is most likely an oversight, due to the Black Knight having access to Alondite.
- In Awakening, since Spotpass characters are built from the Avatar creation system, his 3D model shows him as Zelgius (no helmet and dark-blue hair). However, his character card still brands him as The Black Knight.
- Due to his high speed for a knight, having similar physical characteristics to a Raven laguz, and the shape of his Brand, it is implied that he is a Branded of Raven Laguz blood.