Guts (ガッツ, Gattsu) is a wandering mercenary who has known war and death since he was born from a hanged corpse and saved by his adopted mother, who died from the plague when he was only three years old. He was raised and trained as a mercenary by his adopted father, Gambino, but Gambino blamed Guts for his wife's death, selling access to the boy to a rapist amongst the mercenaries and later, attempts to murder Guts in a drunken rage. Guts flees after killing his adoptive father in self-defense, eventually growing into a young mercenary who earned a fearsome reputation while fighting. Guts eventually catches the attention of Griffith, the angelically charismatic leader of the mercenary group, "Band of the Hawk" (鷹の団, Taka no Dan). Griffith forces Guts into joining his forces upon defeating him in battle. Guts quickly rises through the ranks of the mercenary group, eventually becoming the Hawks' renowned raid leader and Griffith's deadliest subordinate. They are hired by the kingdom of Midland to help win the Hundred Year War against the Tudor empire. During this time, Guts bonds with the Band of the Hawk and learns of Griffith's mysterious pendant, the Crimson Behelit, along with Griffith's dream to rule a kingdom of his own. When the Hawks encounter a monstrous immortal being known as Nosferatu Zodd, it adds further mystery to the Behelit as Zodd spares Guts and Griffith upon seeing it, warning the former of his impending death should he be a true friend of Griffith's.