|“||I guess there's room for a few improvements. And I'd better get ready, before he gets any stronger...||„|
Ernest is a mysterious zoologist in the game Shadow Hearts: Covenant. He is the organizer behind the Wolf Bouts that the hero Blanca must participate in to level his abilities. He is accompanied by his faithful companion Tetsu, a young wolf who he has been training for the competition. Though the Wolf-Bouts are portrayed as a harmless game at first to level up Blanca's abilities they very quickly take on a sinister nature.
Shadow Hearts: Covenant
Ernest is encountered early on in Shadow Hearts: Covenant when the party arrives in Paris. Ernest is encountered in Montmartre where he pulls Yuri to the side to have a look at Blanca. Ernest reveals that like Yuri, he can understand wolves and hounds, while Yuri possess this ability through a combination of his harmonixer blood and simplistic demeanor Ernest is just a normal zoologist who has taught himself to understand wolves through intense study. Ernest seems to understand that Blanca is not a pet but a traveling companion of Yuri's and after introductions to both Yuri and Blanca, Ernest mainly addresses Blanca specifically instead of Yuri. Ernest tells Blanca that he is a fine wolf but that his wolf, Tetsu, looks to be stronger. Tetsu quickly backs up the claim by bragging to Blanca about all the training Ernest and he had gone through. Blanca considers Tetsu to be far too smug for his own good and decides to show him what a real wolf can do, so Ernest and Yuri step aside and allow the two wolves to spar to resolve the issue. Once Blanca wins Tetsu admits defeat and Ernest gives Blanca a small sectioned card which Tetsu then marks with his paw print as proof that he was defeated by Blanca. With the mark Blanca receives a new power and inquires about the card and the new ability he seems to have acquired. Ernest states that Tetsu was a participant in a Wolf-Bout he had been organizing to find the wold's strongest wolves. Ernest tells Blanca to keep the card since by defeating Tetsu he had become a contestant himself. Ernest tells Blanca that if he finds any of the other contestants he can fight them and if he wins they will sign the card with their paw prints adding the power of their spirits to his. Aside from not wishing to become a target himself, Blanca is forced to go through with the contest as his wolves' pride demanded it. To provide further insensitive Ernest tells Blanca that aside from his wolves' spirit becoming more potent Ernest would grant him various prizes each time he returned with a paw-print proving his victory. As Blanca and Yuri leave, Ernest makes some cryptic talk with Tetsu about preparing for something.
Once Blanca has been indoctrinated by Ernest into the Wolf-bouts the player will encounter special wolves when revisiting old dungeons with Blanca in the party. Beating the wolf grants Blanca an upgrade to his spirit abilities, ranging from an increased number of hits per attack to healing, buffing and even resurrection moves. Beaten wolves are compelled by shear pride to bestow their mark to Blanca just as they were compelled by the same wolves' pride to participate in the contest. Returning to Ernest after each fight will earn Blanca a new item, all prizes are useful and far more then basic trinkets. Ernest will also give hints where to find the next opponent if Blanca is stumped on where to search.
Kelly is encountered when revisiting the wine cellar in LeHarve. Kelly is an American wolf who came to Europe to fight Blanca and the others to test his strength. Once beaten Kelly gives his paw-print and leaves for home, he will spend the rest of his life dreaming of a rematch with Blanca, one he will never receive.
Jerome is a fresh-graduate wolf of an Italian Dog Academy, who graduated valedictorian living in Florence. Jerome knows how to understand humans and various tricks and commands to preform for them. Jerome accuses Blanca of being low-class but when he sees that he is a participant of the Wolf-Bouts too he wishes to demonstrate to Blanca how inferior he is; Blanca in return is all too glad to fight the stuffy wolf to teach him what being a real wolf is. Jerome actually knows how to use some rudimentary magic he picked up and combo techniques. Once Jerome is beaten Blanca explains that Jerome has not become sophisticated, just submissive to humans. Jerome laments the lose but gives Blanca his paw-print and returns to his life becoming an advocate of wolves' rights.
Henri is encountered when revisiting Sapientes Gladio's Italian Branch Headquarters. Henri will be in the final room where the wall is broken. Henri reveals he is in-fact not a wolf but a human transformed into a wolf by a spell. Henri says he can reverse the spell by winning the Wolf-Bouts and asks Blanca if he will do him the honor of a fight. Blanca is more than happy to honor the old man's request but can not bring himself to go throw the fight, Henri seems to view this as a given anyway. Henri knows a fair array of spells and decent combo attack, as well as stat attacks added to his attacks. When beaten Henri will still thank Blanca for giving him a chance and gives him his paw-print. After the fight Henri goes off to look for alternate ways to undo the transformation.
Philippe is a scavenger wolf living on the isles of Saint Marguerite Island, an old prison commandeered by Sapientes Gladio. Philippe is encountered in a small brier just outside the prison walls where he and the rest of the wild wolves of the isle meet. Blanca had climbed into the brier to retrieve the prison key from a rogue scavenger wolf, when revisiting the area to find a way into the prison after Yuri and his other friends are captured, Blanca is ambushed by the pack lead by Philippe. Philippe detests humans as they keep throwing out dangerous materials that injure his pack and dislikes Blanca for traveling with humans and trying to save them. Philippe's duty as pack leader demands he pay Blanca back for attacking his scavenger wolf. After the Bout Philippe reveals he is in-fact a Wolf-Bout participant too, gives Blanca his paw-print and shows him an alternate way into the prison to rescue his friends. Before Blanca goes Philippe mentions that Blanca looks just like a wolf he met years ago, a brave and powerful wolf named Lobo, who had earned the title "King of the Wolves". Philippe remains in the brier with his pack and even after releasing his friends Blanca can revisit the area at any time as the pack consider him a respectable wolf from that point on.
Necros is a Russian wolf zombie who outlived his own death by devouring the blood of the living wolves. Necros is met in The Gallery Of the Dead, a secret dungeon in Petrograd the party uses to sneak into the Tzar's Palace and fight Rasputin. Necros claims he is not a zombie but a glorious immortal, he is also a member of the Wolf-Bouts and more than happy to use competition as an excuse to eat his challenges. Blanca chooses to fight Necros to give his rabid soul peace. Necros will almost certainly be under-powered compared to Blanca at that point but he will have a potent black magic spell and high-accuracy paralysis attacks. Once beaten Necros's body begins to crumble into dust and Blanca wishes him a noble death. Necro's paw-print mysterious appears on Blanca's Wolf-Bout Card moments after he dies.
R-3 is a wolf-like alien who has landed in Petrograd with his owner Goztafssiki. R-3 speaks in emoticons and so Goztafssiki does the bulk of the talking for them. Goztafssiki says he and R-3 were sent to conquer earth and presumed Blanca was a representative of his planet. R-3 wishes to battle Blanca for the fate of the planet. R-3 mostly relies on physical attacks and though he has access to the holy spell, Nova, it is not particularly strong. R-3's attacks lower Sanity Points making speed important in the battle to prevent Blanca from going berserk. Once beaten Goztafssiki and R-3 assume they are no match for the forces of Earth, apparently greatly underestimating their reinsurance, and R-3 begrudgingly gives Blanca his Paw-Print. After the battle Goztafssiki phones his people to send a ship and the two wait in the Petrograd alley for their ride to retrieve them.
Carven is a small wooden toy wolf brought to life and conscripted into the Japanese military. Once returning to the battleship Mikasa Carven is encountered working as a guard for the Japanese military. Carven sees Blanca is a competitor in the Wolf-Bouts and realizes it is his duty to fight him. If Blanca accepts Carven will attack, using mostly physical combo attacks. After the fight Carven admits defeat and says being beaten makes him realize he should take some shore leave to go visit his mother (presumably his creator). Carven bestows Blanca with his mark and then leaves the ship. Alas Carven was attacked and set on fire on his way home burning to death before he could reunite with his mother.
Eleanor is a pink wolf who confronts Blanca at Nihonbashi park in Japan. Eleanor is a she-wolf who had heard of Blanca and become his adoring fan-girl. She traveled across he sea, followed his trail, stalked him and collected things like Blanca's old scraps and occasional fur-balls. Eleanor seems to be under the delusion that the two are soul-mates but Blanca sees her as an obsessed stalker. When Eleanor asks how he could treat his sweet-heart so Blanca tries to make her aware the two had only just met. Eleanor believes she must fight Blanca to earn his respect, which is why she signed up as a Wolf-Bout Competitor and demands Blanca and she fight. In battle Eleanor has decent HP and damage output of both physical and magical attacks but her defense is lacking, After being beaten Eleanor gives Blanca her Paw-Print and agrees to stop following him, saying instead she will wait for his return when he will sweep her off her feet and choose her as his mate. Blanca leaves the enamored wolf to her fantasies.
The wolf, Matsunaga, as a trained guardian of the shrine in Inugami village. Upon revisiting the Fountain Of Sukune Matsunaga will be there and demand to fight Blanca. Matsunaaga feels Blanca is far too famous in the village after helping save Saki Inugami and wants to fight him to prove his family's honor as the true protectors of the village. Blanca cares little for Matsunaga's issues of honor seeing him as a blowhard but is happy to defend his good name. Matsunaga uses phsyical attacks and buff spells to keep himself in peek condition throughout the fight, but even with his psychical-defense-down attacks Blanca will almost certainly do around twice as much damage naturally at that point. With the lose Matsunaga gives his paw-print, complaining about the blow to his ego. Matsunaga later dies of his injuries, with no mate his family legacy ends with him.
Maya, Mash and Mortega
After travel back to Europe is available from Japan the party can return to Blanca's home of Domremy on the French/German boarder. Returning to the village will reveal the villagers were released from German captivity after the initial introduction to Sapientes Gladio and returned to their homes but the villagers say that they were still being victimized by a pack of wolves in the forest. Searching the wilds just outside the village will reveal three wolves, Maya, Mash and Mortega. The wolves were a gang calling themselves the Black Dog Stars, they had been stealing from the village with Blanca gone on his adventures. Blanca is outraged and fights the three for attacking his home. All three wolves fight at once and will try to surround Blanca, Mortega uses stat techniques and moderate magic attacks Mash will uses a handful of offensive spells and Maya will use the strongest physical attacks including a cumulative poison attack attached to each of his physical hits. Maya will be the biggest threat but Mortega's constant barrage of mental-break attacks can greatly slow up the fight, Mash will be the easiest to fell making him either the first or last priory of the fight. Once beaten the Black Dog stars swear to stop their attacks on the village and Maya gives his Paw-Print as representative of the group. Blanca further demands that the three guard the village for him while he is traveling, the three pledge to do so as a token of submission.
Lobo is met once the team revisits Mount Fuji and retraces their steps through the mystical checkpoints of the mountain. Lobo reveals he has been waiting for Blanca. Blanca sees that Lobo looks much like him and has questions about the family resemblance. Lobo refuses to answer any questions without being beaten and so the two must fight. Lobo is one of the strongest wolves, possessing both a powerful spell and an instant death effect added to his attacks which themselves are of decent damage even late in the game. Beating Lobo will reveal that he is in truth Blanca's grandfather, bound into service fighting his fellow wolves by his pride for Ernest similar to Blanca. Lobo says all the wolves thus far were manipulated the same as he and Blanca had been by Ernest. He tells Blanca that if he wants more answers he should confront Ernest, then dies. Going to meet Ernest again at that point will reveal the odd man has gone, though Tetsu is still there and gives Blanca his prize. Tetsu informs Blanca Ernest had some work to do but will make sure to show up again once Blanca has finished the competition. Blanca realizes Ernest was not some hapless zoologist but had been running cruel game for some time thinking of all those involved as mere pawns.
Henri is encountered again in the Tiffauges Castle, a place of some history to Yuri as it was the resting place of his old enemy, Albert and the site of the demon, Amon's summoning. The castle contains many magical mirrors, if making the way to the end of the palace then traveling the path in reverse through it's mirrors to an inverted version of the entrance Yuri and Blanca will find the old human-wolf Henri again. Henri warns Blanca away seconds before he is overcome with madness. Blanca sees Henri has become a feral mindless monster and opts to try to bring him out of it by knocking some sense into him. Henri's attacks will be less an issue than the stat-effects attached to them, wearing a Crucifix accessory to make Blanca immune to the effects will make the fight much easier. Once beaten Henri regains control of his mind. Henri tells that after their previous fight he continued to search for a method of undoing the spell on him, he heard about the Mirror of Truth in the castle and how it brought one's true-self out. Henri found the mirror but was ashamed to admit instead of curing him it just robbed him of his human mind completely. Henri thanks Blanca for stopping him before he hurt anyone and gladly gives him his paw-print. Since Henri transformed his alter-ego seemed to count as a second wolf entirely. This means Ernest was actually counting on Henri's inner-beast for his contest.
Lobo is again encountered, this time in Katsuragi, the Forest of the Wind just outside Inugami village. Confused by seeing Lobo even after he died right-in-front of him, Lobo explains he set aside his shame and hangs on to life to resolve his unfinished business with Blanca and the Wolf-Bouts. Lobo returns as a young wolf in his prime and wishes to fight Blanca to test the strength of his grandson. Blanca gladly agrees to Lobo's challenge and the two fight again. Lobo will use the same tactics as previously, a powerful fire magic attack combined with instant death physical attacks that themselves do decent damage even if the effect is resisted. The major difference in the fight is that Lobo's stats will be much higher than the previous Bout. Lobo will thank Blanca for giving him one last chance to die like a warrior and gives him his younger, Paw-Print. As he vanishes, Lobo tries to warn Blanca about something Ernest is planning but fades away. Blanca makes up his mind to pay Ernest back for using him, his grandfather and all the other wolves as a game.
Returning to Montmartre Blanca and Yuri will meet a man in a full-body wolf suit. The Wolfman seems to be playing the part of a happy-go-lucky tourist attracter. Yuri point's out that it is obviously Ernest but the Wolfman denies the claim. Blanca states he cares little for the particulars and he is the final competitor, as such Blanca is eager to fight him and put an end to the competition. The Wolfman happily fights Blanca claiming that once he defeats him he will have killed the world's strongest wolf and purge the world of wolves with his superior power-suit. Wolfman has higher stats even than Lobo's ghost, he is fond of physical attacks mainly, which all do high damage but by far his most impressive stat his his Health which can stretch the battle out for a while. The best ways to match Wolfman are to either level grind Blanca or equip him with one of the stat add-ons, giving each of Blanca's physical attacks a stat lowering ability, like Physical-Defense-Down or Delay. Once beaten the Wolfman removes his cartoonish Wolf-mask and reveals, sure enough, that he is Ernest.
King of the Wolves
Blanca asks why Ernest did it all; Ernest states that he was not always a zoologist and in his youth he was a hunter. Ernest met Lobo in his youth, hunted and killed him. The rush of killing Lobo made Ernest want to hunt even stronger wolves, but there were none so he decided he would make some. Ernest spent years gathering wolves for study, acquiring spells and using his accumulated knowledge to construct a suit that matched the strongest wolves in every way. Ernest wanted to have a worthy prey to hunt, he just used the competitors of his contest as models for his suit while he waited to see who would be able to win. Ernest then prepares to accept his fate for killing Blanca's grandfather and manipulating all the wolves for his game. Blanca spares Enrest's life, saying he did not want to have to deal with Tetsu swearing vengeance on him and starting the old grudge all over again. Ernest thanks Blanca for his mercy and gives him his Paw-Print. Ernest also bestows to Blanca his best weapon, an awards metal, one designed to bestow the Wolfman-Suit's enhancements to the wearer, making Blanca truly the world's strongest wolf.
If Blanca and Yuri decided to re-visit the mirror world of Tiffauges Castle they will find an old man waiting in Henri's place. The old man reveals that he is Henri, back to his normal form. Henri says it was Ernest who must have transformed him in the first place and upon Ernest's defeat Henri was returned to his true form. Henri thanks Blanca for beating Ernest and tells him he is planning on paying Ernest back with a little spell of his own. Henri then leaves but tells Blanca and Yuri the next time they are in Montmartre they may want to drop in to see Ernest pay for his crimes. Returning to Montmartre will reveal that both Ernest and Tetsu seem to be gone, waiting in their place is a young boy. Upon talking to the boy he informs Blanca and Yuri that he is really Tetsu and had been Ernest's human grandson all along, he was just wearing one of his grandfather's early model wolf-suits to help with the competition. Tetsu says that Ernest all of a sudden had transformed into a bug, but taking it in stride said he was off to organize some Bug-Bouts and become the world's strongest bug. Blanca cheerfully reflects on Henri's claim of making Ernest pay for his crimes and leaves Ernest to his future designs on the bugs of the world.
Ernest plays the part of a helpful NPC (Non Playable Character) but in truth is a calculating con man who's fascination with wolves is not some form of admiration for wolves but in fact a sign of his obsession as a hunter to kill them off. He is a loving grandfather but unable to focus on the little things in life with his ambitions still hanging over him.
Powers and Abilities
Ernest is a mechanical master, able to create a strength-suit based on the collected data from the Wolf Bouts with speed and strength that surpass the best of the contestants. Ernest has the power to curse others transforming other humans into wolves the source of this power is unknown but it is described as a curse so some form of magic is clearly responsible though how Ernest has access to such magic is unknown. Ernest was a gifted hunter in his youth and his experience combined with his current knowledge of zoology makes him a learned and nimble foe when finally encountered in battle.