| Spoiler Alert: This page contains minor spoilers from the events of the games. |
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|“||Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee!||”|
—Bernard Seramite, announcing his signature fighting technique.
|Ht. / Wt.||190cm / 105kg|
|Affiliation||Free Cities Alliance, Keith Guild, Zeth, Ice Flame|
|Skill levels||Sword Combat Lv0 (?), Conversation Lv1 (?)|
|Appeared in||Rance 03, Rance VI, Rance Quest, Rance X|
|Mentioned in||Rance 01, Rance IX|
Bernard Seramite is a somewhat strange and mysterious mercenary of questionable ability who has, through various circumstances, been involved with several major national conflicts across The Continent.
While almost nothing is known of Bernard's background, he is known to have traveled the world as a mercenary since he was a young man. He makes frequent references to a woman known as Francesca when speaking, and seems to be interested in finding her. Though this implies that she is an important woman from his past, there is no definite evidence to confirm this, or even enough to confirm if Francesca exists at all.
During the events of Rance 01, Bernard competed in the Leazas coliseum under the alias "Burning B!" (バーニング・Ｂ!, Bāningu B!). Prior to encountering the warrior Rance, who was also competing in the arena in hopes of fighting the mysterious ninja who had attempted to assassinate him earlier, however, Bernard was shot in the knee by one of his opponents' arrows and seriously injured, forcing him to retire from the competition.
Following his knee injury, Bernard became a registered member of the Keith Guild in order to continue making money, once again using the alias Burning B!. Perhaps as a result of his injury and strange personality, Bernard was fairly incompetent as a mercenary, and quickly became the lowest-ranking member of the guild. During the events of Rance 03, Keith Gold, guildmaster of the Keith Guild, gave Bernard to Rance after the latter found a mercenary contract for the guild in the mayor of the Free City of L'Zile's mansion. While Rance was incredibly unhappy with being given a male ally, Keith, who desired for Bernard to perform more jobs for him, refused to listen to his complaints, forcing Rance to accept him onto his team.
Almost immediately after the Leazas Liberation Army successfully removed the Helman Army from its occupation of Leazas Castle, Bernard resigned from his position in the Keith Guild. The only explanation that he gave to Keith for his resignation was that he desired to "search for the land of death to the west".
Sometime following his adventure in Leazas, Bernard traveled to the Magic Kingdom of Zeth and became a member of the non-magic user rights group Ice Flame for an unknown reason. It is unclear if Zeth was the "land of death" which Bernard spoke to Keith of, or if he had simply stopped there while on his way to either the Kinani Desert or the Monster Realm, both of which border Zeth and are much more closely associated with death.
During the events of Rance VI, Bernard was assigned to Rance's personal squad the Green Corps after the outrageous warrior was recruited into Ice Flame and completely destroyed the White Corps that he was initially made a member of. After briefly introducing himself to his new commander, Bernard was promptly ignored by Rance due to being a man, and continued to be ignored for the remainder of Rance's adventure in Zeth. Somewhat strangely, Bernard remained a part of Ice Flame and the Green Corps even after Rance commanded Ice Flame's leader Urza Pranaice to remove almost all of the group's male members. While it is unknown why this happened, it is possible that Rance had simply forgotten about Bernard's existence entirely by that point, allowing him to avoid getting fired.
After the successful eradication of the division of the Monster Army led by the Dark Lord Camilla following the deactivation of Zeth's primary defensive weapon the Maginot Line, Bernard remained with Ice Flame for a period of time to help in the effort to restore the fallen country's power before returning to the Free Cities Alliance to continue working as a mercenary.
During the events of Rance Quest, Bernard traveled to the newly-formed Free City of CITY after hearing rumors of an adventurer that defeated a group of Squidmen who had their power tripled by fighting to protect the love of a Kraken. Asking for information at McCart Bar, he learned that the person he was searching for was none other than Rance. Declaring it to be fate for them to continue crossing paths with each other, Bernard resolved to fight at Rance's side once more, and placed himself into the other man's party without asking for his permission.
At some point during their travels, Bernard told Rance of a mysterious fungus known as the matsutakeko mushroom that possessed great healing power. Believing that it could potentially free him from the effects of the Morurun Curse, Rance demanded Bernard to guide him to the mushroom's location. The unlikely combination ventured up a tall mountain along the outskirts of CITY, where they finally found some matsutakeko mushrooms growing within a nest of wild Kumas. Bernard attempted to sacrifice himself to the kumas to buy Rance time to take the mushroom and escape, but Rance was forced to stay with him after realizing that only Bernard knew the way back. Eventually, the pair managed to wear down the kumas and escape with the mushroom, only for Bernard to reveal that consuming it would instantly kill a person in addition to curing their ailments, rendering it worthless for Rance and the entire trip a waste of time.
Sometime later, Bernard took on a request to protect the Zeth Royal Museum from being robbed by a group of bandits. By coincidence, Alexander, another man who had been traveling with Rance, also accepted the request, placing them into an unexpected partnership. When the bandits attacked the museum, Bernard and Alexander proved to be incapable of fighting them off all at once, and were forced to surrender and get taken in as hostages as the building was seized in a hostile take over. The two warriors spent the next three days imprisoned beneath the museum before eventually managing to knock out their jailer and escape, freeing various other captured people in the process. After reaching the ground floor, they were cornered by the leader of the bandits and several powerful bodyguards. Believing victory to be impossible, Bernard tried to give his own life to allow Alexander to escape, but was refused by his companion, who resolved to die fighting by his side. After an intense battle, the duo succeeded in defeating the bandits and saving the museum, forming an unbreakable bond of friendship in the process.
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Bernard is briefly mentioned during the events of Rance IX, where Rance mistook Hubert Lipton for him after reuniting for the first time in several years. Notably, Rance also referenced Bernard's frequent declarations of "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee", revealing that he had remembered a surprising amount about the other man despite always ignoring him while working together.
During the events of Rance X, Bernard was recruited to fight for the Free Cities in the 2nd Dark Lord War as a member of the United Human Army's elite Dark Lord Extermination Squad after answering an ad asking for elite mercenaries posted in McCart Bar. It is unclear how he was able to join the group, as neither Rance, the Human Army's president, nor Copandon Dott, the Free Cities' acting representative, recalled ever recruiting him. While Bernard was made nostalgic from getting to fight alongside many of the same people he had in previous adventures, he was largely forgotten about by his former allies, who responded with confusion when he attempted to speak to them with familiarity.
Bernard was eventually fired from the Dark Lord Extermination Squad after Rance was made aware of his mediocre fighting ability. Depressed, he wandered the outskirts of Rance Castle unsure of what he would do next with his life. Before leaving the area, he was approached by Sanakia Drelshkaf, the captain of the Rance Castle Guard and his former comrade from his time in Ice Flame. Sanakia remembered Bernard and, unaware that he had been fired, expressed happiness at getting to fight with him again. Sanakia also encouraged Bernard to speak up more, as he had never said much about himself while serving in Ice Flame.
Inspired by Sanakia's words, Bernard returned to Rance Castle. Using his former Burning B! alias, he approached Rance claiming to be a different person at the very high Level of 50, and asked to join the Dark Lord Extermination Squad. Not remembering Bernard despite having fired him moments before, Rance rehired him into the group, stating that he would serve as a decent meat shield.
Sometime following the end of the war, Bernard returned to adventuring, but was forced to retire after losing a leg. He spent the remainder of his days after this hanging around taverns, where he told anyone willing to listen stories of his adventures with Rance. In these stories, Bernard claimed that he was a close friend and ally of Rance's, and that he always knew the brutal warrior was destined for greatness.
Personality and Appearance
Bernard is a tall man with a muscular build and a hard-lined, intense-looking face. He has dark red hair and large, bushy eyebrows. Throughout most of his appearances, his hair is styled into several upward-pointing spikes, though it is much shorter and parted downward onto either side of his face during his appearance in Rance 03. Bernard's clothing is a standard Ice Flame uniform, and consists of a light green vest, a darker green undershirt, a large silver shoulder guard and white pants. During his appearance in Rance VI, his shoulder guard is emblemized with the Ice Flame logo, while it features a stylized letter "B" surrounded by flames during his appearance in Rance 03 and is blank during his appearance in Rance X.
A man of few words, Bernard rarely speaks to or interacts with others, making determining his personality initially somewhat difficult. Despite this, he is prone to monologuing extensively when in the company of his own thoughts, revealing him to have an incredibly hard-boiled disposition. He has a grim and world-weary outlook on life, describing himself as a lost soul who lives solely for vengeance and often alluding to having a troubled past and fallen comrades. When in battle, Bernard becomes much more vocal, and frequently shouts at his enemies to demoralize them. He is shown to be highly confident in himself as a fighter, describing his swordsmanship as a "beautiful dance" and constantly preaching his fighting philosophy of "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee" to his allies. Despite these qualities, Bernard is an entirely humorous character, as he is always totally ignored by the people around him and never does anything of importance. His severe and serious monologues have almost nothing to do with the actual context of the situations in which he is involved in, making them come across as much more ridiculous than he presumably intends.
Throughout his appearances, Bernard regularly mentions a mysterious woman known as Francesca, who he appears to be in search of. While the exact nature of his relationship with Francesca is unknown, he claims that she is the sole person to ever believe in his words, suggesting that she is very important to him. During the final battle of Rance VI, a generic female Pentagon member with the name Francesca strangely also participates in the fight. While it is possible that this Francesca and the Francesca that Bernard speaks of are one in the same, the character does not appear outside of the battle, making their relationship, if there is one at all, remain a mystery.
Whenever he engages in combat, Bernard utilizes several techniques with extremely grandiose names but average or even useless abilities, possibly suggesting that the majority of the dark and serious things he references during his monologues, including Francesca, are completely nonexistent and simply the product an overactive imagination. This is further supported by his possession of the Conversation Lv1 Skill Level, which would allow him to convincingly lie about having abilities far greater than the ones he actually does. Like the rest of Bernard's character, however, his limited screen time prevents this from being decisively proven, causing him to remain mostly shrouded in mystery.
Bernard appears to greatly overestimate his relationship with Rance. Despite very rarely speaking with each other during their adventures together, Bernard seems to believe that Rance views him as a trusted companion, claiming that they have a relationship that goes beyond words. Rance does not reciprocate this feeling at all, to the point of forgetting about Bernard's existence entirely only minutes after speaking to him. Though Rance never remembers Bernard himself, he appears to consistently be able to recall both his name and catchphrase of "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee", to the point of instinctively assuming that all male allies he can't recognize, such as Hubert Lipton and Kinkaid Brambla, are named Bernard.
Bernard has a strong friendship with the martial artist Alexander, who he first met during a mission to protect the Zeth Royal Museum they were both assigned to. While Bernard initially lacked faith in Alexander, assuming him to be too inexperienced to provide sufficient aid, he quickly came to understand the immense potential the younger man possessed and chose to act as a sort of mentor figure toward him. Though the two lost contact with each other sometime before the beginning of the 2nd Dark Lord War, Bernard remained confident in Alexander's strength and chose to believe that he was still alive after hearing rumors that he had been killed in the confusion of war. It is unknown if Bernard was able to reunite with Alexander after the latter reemerged into the public years later.
Bernard is an average warrior of generally unremarkable ability. He possesses an above-average Level Cap of 25 and his large and muscular body seems to grant him a particularly high level of durability when compared to most other Human beings, giving him a considerable amount of overall potential. Despite this, he is greatly overshadowed as a fighter by the elite of the Continent, causing him to quickly fall behind whenever he joins Rance on his adventures. Even outside of Rance's party, Bernard is suggested to be fairly incompetent, as he held a low rank in both the Leazas coliseum and the Keith Guild, though both of these may be attributed to the knee injury he sustained while working as a gladiator.
In combat, Bernard wields a scimitar with a decent amount of skill, relying heavily on speed and momentum to defeat his foes. His philosophy for battle is "dance like a butterfly, sting like a bee", meaning to be light on one's feet while also striking with power. When he recites this creed to himself in battle, Bernard is able to improve his focus, slightly increasing his attack in the process.
Bernard's signature technique is known as the "Multi-slash", in which he attacks his opponent multiple times at blistering speeds. This ability became weakened during Bernard's recovery from his knee injury during the events of Rance 03, where it was renamed the "1.5 times slash" due to his inability to fully perform it. By his appearance in Rance Quest, Bernard created an advanced form of the technique known as the "Burning Slash", in which he apparently lights his soul on fire in order to slash several times at speeds so great that it appears to be only a single attack to the untrained eye. However, as the attack is functionally identical to an ordinary sword strike, it is likely that Bernard is simply lying about its amazing speed to make himself sound more impressive.
In Rance 03, Bernard receives the skill "Wave of the Dark Flame" from ALICEMANLADY. While this technique cannot be used in battle, it will apparently randomly activate while Bernard is exploring a dungeon. Bernard claims that this technique is so powerful that it could potentially destroy the world when activated, causing him to struggle to suppress it whenever he feels it overtake his body. It is unknown whether or not Bernard actually possesses this ability, or if it possesses the obscene level of power he claims it to.
Bernard's character profile in Rance X reveals him to possess the Conversation Lv1 skill level, giving him a substantial amount of talent in speaking to and persuading others. His possession of this skill suggests that the majority of his grandiose claims about himself are merely exaggerations or outright lies that he is able to convincingly pass off as being genuine. Notably, Bernard was able to use this skill to persuade Rance to unknowingly rehire him into the Dark Lord Extermination Squad by claiming to be a new character.
For more in-depth gameplay information regarding this character's appearances refer to:
- Bernard came in 8th place in the "Males" category of the Rance Quest Popularity Poll and in 18th place in both the "Males and Others" category of the Rance 03 Popularity Poll and the "Males" category of the Rance X Popularity Poll.
- Bernard is voiced by Bullfrog Kitaro (牛蛙キタロウ) in Rance 03, who also provides the voices for the characters Isis, Eroyac ALV, and GOD.
- Bernard's strange behavior is likely meant to be an example of chuunibyou, a Japanese term roughly translating to "8th grade syndrome", in which a person behaves in an intentionally dark and mysterious manner, talks or acts in a pretentious and exaggerated style, or pretends to have magical powers despite being totally ordinary in order to appear to be cooler around others.
- Bernard's catchphrase of "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee" is a reference to one of the signature poems of the legendary American boxer Muhammad Ali: "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. The eyes can't hit what the eyes can't see."
- Bernard's crippling knee injury during the events of Rance 03 is a reference to the popular meme "I used to be an adventurer like you. Then I took an arrow to the knee." from the action RPG The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
- Bernard was initially intended to die of a heart attack following Patton Misnarge's recruitment in Rance VI in order to make room for the other man in the party, though he was eventually allowed to live after it was decided that secondary party members could be added and removed from the active party at will.
- In the original release of Rance VI, a programing error caused Bernard's "multi-slash" skill to only hit once rather than multiple times as it was intended to. While this mistake was fixed in later versions of the game, it became a defining aspect of Bernard's character in all of his following appearances, which consistently feature him using skills that are functionally identical to normal attacks despite claiming otherwise.
- During his first appearance in Rance VI, Bernard received close to no characterization and only a handful of lines. The staff became endeared to him throughout the debugging process due to his distinct appearance and comical ineffectiveness in combat, which resulted in him being given a short focus story known as "Bernard's Solitary Journey" in the Alice's Cottage 7 sub-game Rance VI: After, where he was provided the humorously "hard-boiled" characterization that would come to define him in all of his following appearances.
- Bernard was Alicesoft staff member Ittenchiroku's first choice to serve as the protagonist of the Rance Series sub-game that eventually became Three for the Slash! Thrust! Burn!. This idea was quickly abandoned after Ittenchiroku was told to choose a character from Sengoku Rance, which was the most recently released game in the series at the time. Elements of this unmade Bernard-centric sub-game were later incorporated into the quest "Two Flames' Blazing Journey" in Rance Quest Magnum.