"A long time ago, I used to be quite the dreary person... but then, I wound up with these guys. Life works in some mysterious ways... and it also reminds me why life is worth living."
Zeref Dragneel (ゼレフ・ドラグニル Zerefu Doraguniru) is considered to be the strongest, most evil Mage of all time, who possesses extremely dangerous, and powerful Magic. In reality, he is a reclusive, self-hating youth who cannot control his powers. He is the unnamed eighth member of the Seven Deadly Sins, under the alias of Spriggan (スプリガン Supurigan), the Reaper's Sin of Judgment, and the older brother of Natsu Dragneel.
Despite being hundreds of years old, Zeref has the appearance of a young man. He wears high-collared black and tan robes with gold trim, along with a large, flowing white toga draped around his torso. He has short black hair, dark eyes, and abnormally sharp canines. He also wears a circle-shaped necklace. When angered, Zeref's irises become red and gain a black ring around the pupil, giving him a much more menacing appearance.
While a member of the Seven Deadly Sins, he was adorned in azure blue armor, bearing a horned helmet and sharpened claw-like gauntlets. His Symbol of the Beast mark resides on the back of his left hand, bearing a coffin partially open, with a scythe's blade curved around it, held by a robed figure bearing a skull. The Magic Binding marks placed over his body to keep his magic from going out of control are designed similarly to tribal markings, located all along his body, but are only seen when he activates his magic at will.
Zeref is said to have been the darkest, most evil Mage in the history of the Magic World, mastering the Black Arts and creating many Demons, some of which still wreak havoc in the present.
In the modern era, Zeref seeks to isolate himself and is very calm, sincere, and conflicted. He wishes to die to atone for all the sins he has committed, and may commit in the future. He shows concern for others when he warns them not to come near him, knowing that they would die if they did. He is also somewhat emotionally fragile, as when he realizes that Natsu is not ready to kill him yet, he breaks down in tears. Zeref often kills with no prior incentive or knowledge. In spite of all this, Zeref is very vindictive, and will punish those who he believes to be evil. This was shown when he ruthlessly killed Hades, whom he thinks has committed a number of unforgivable sins. As a result of his immortal life, Zeref has developed a misanthropic loathing for humanity and its repeated idiosyncrasies of hatred, evil, and conflict.
In present day, however, after meeting Meliodas and the other Sins, he has changed significantly. He has become slightly more caring of others, a bit more lively, and has even adopted a gentle mindset, preferring to not hurt others if at all possible. He also believes that, perhaps, humans are redeemable, if granted the correct incentive. He still harbors a wish to die, sadly, despite the fact that he remembers that life is worth living. He also retains his peaceful nature most of the time, but can be provoked when pushed to a certain degree. According to Diane, he as rarely smiled genuinely up until he became fully integrated into the Deadly Sins' numbers. Like King, he also prefers not to destroy his surroundings, and when he does destroy them, he often adopts a goofy grin and scratches his cheek. He himself stated that he developed this habit from hanging around Meliodas too much. He has also stated by his own admission that he ever truly felt happy about living for once when he was at Mavis' side.
Orphaned after Dragons killed his parents and his little brother, Natsu, an extremely young Zeref became a student at the Mildian Magic Academy, where he researched the connections between life, death and Magic to revive his brother. After creating things such as the R-System and the Eclipse Gate, he was expelled from the academy for breaching the sacred teachings of Ankhseram, however he was cursed by Ankhseram and then killed everyone around him with his newfound, unwanted Curse of Contradiction. After this, Zeref wished to die and wandered around, creating the Etherious in the hopes that they would kill him, but instead turned to reviving his dead brother, having preserved his body, as an Etherious, thus fulfilling his goal of bringing his brother back and creating something that could kill him: E.N.D.; Etherious Natsu Dragneel. One day while out gathering herbs, Zeref stumbled across the Fire Dragon King Igneel, who unlike many other Dragons at the time was not opposed to associating with humans, and after acquainting with one another, the Dragon agreed to teach Natsu Dragon Slayer Magic and raise him. Zeref then became aware of the plan hatched by Igneel, Metalicana, Grandeeney, Weisslogia and Skiadrum to use the Dragon Soul Technique to seal their damaged souls inside young Dragon Slayers that they have raised and travel to the future, where the Ethernano-dense air would help them recover enough to kill Acnologia. Zeref helped them do so, and had the Celestial Spirit Mage Anna open the Eclipse Gate to the future, while also four hundred years later having Layla Heartfilia open another version of the Gate to connect the two time periods, allowing the Dragon Slayers chosen (Natsu, Gajeel, Wendy, Sting and Rogue) to arrive in the future on July 7, X777.
Ultimately, the true tale of events became distorted with time, resulting in legends surrounding the now-dubbed Black Wizard. The stories stated that at some point in the distant past, around 400 years ago, Zeref witnessed the deaths of many people. Around this time, he also became cursed, and unintentionally took the lives of all those around him. Zeref was described as having alighted in an ancient land, mastered Black Magic, given birth to tens of thousands of Demons, and thrown the world into chaos. At some point in time, he once considered creating an empire to pass the time, but ultimately dismissed the idea.
In X686, Zeref walked through Hargeon Town and brushed past Mavis Vermilion and Precht Gaebolg. Sometime later, Zeref is found taking a bath in Western Forest near Magnolia by Mavis Vermilion. He was surprised that someone would want to leave, noting it was a "bad habit" of his own, and unwillingly used his Magic, which robbed the forest of its life force, which Mavis quickly recognized as Ankhseram Black Magic. Zeref was surprised and commended Mavis' knowledge, and told her to not feel bad for him. Nevertheless, he felt joy about his conversation with the girl, but was also worried about himself unwittingly killing her, which he never wanted to do to anyone. Mavis then cast an illusion of wildlife, which initially startled Zeref, because of his lack of control over his powers, but after Mavis explained to him the nature of her Magic, he was happy at the notion and thanked her sincerely. After this, Zeref agreed to teach Mavis and her companions Magic (while keeping a safe distance much to Warrod's chagrin), having noted to Precht in particular that he had an affinity for several different kinds of Magic. After having taught them Magic, Zeref left to seclude himself once more, happy that he made friends.
Six years later, in X696, Zeref happened upon Mavis one more time. In spite of his attempts to remind the girl of his Curse, she ran to Zeref to give him a hug, thanking him for what he had done for them. Zeref then revealed his true identity, shocking Mavis, however, she was unable to believe the rumors surrounding the Black Wizard's name. After a short discussion, Zeref learnt that Mavis had used Law, soon realizing that she had stopped growing. He identified that as the Curse of Ankhseram and when Mavis argued against this, Zeref noted that there had been no casualties yet because of the war era. As Mavis ran away, in tears, Zeref thought to himself that she had the potential to "walk alongside him."
Zeref then undertook a search for Mavis; after one year he found her alone and starving, but remarked that no matter what she did, she would not die. He was then begged to kill her, but refused on the grounds that he couldn't even if he wanted to. He explained that in the beginning, immortality drove him mad and that even now he wants to die, but tried to comfort her by saying that they have time to do whatever they feel, citing his creation of the Etherious to kill himself, and had even considered the idea of building an empire to pass the time. When Mavis questioned him about what it's purpose would have been, he claims it would have been for war, which he hates, though he added that he only lives to die and that he wants to see his brother, though such thoughts began to hurt his head. Zeref was then embraced by Mavis, finding solace in her ability to understand him and her words about trying to break the Curse of Contradiction. He then began to shed tears when exclaimed that they would find a way together, and realizing that he fell in love with Mavis, he kissed her, but Ankhseram's Curse stole away just about all of Mavis' life force while she was in his arms.
Zeref then brought Mavis back to Magnolia and threw her on the ground in front of the onlooking Precht, claiming that he only came to return her body. Over the top of Precht's exclamation, Zeref merely stated that Mavis, whom he referred to as a "thing", no longer moved, even adding to Precht's worry by saying that she will never wake up. As he walked away and bade her goodnight, Precht asked who he was, and he answered that he was the Black Wizard Zeref. He then rebutted his statement, claiming that if Mavis was a fairy, then he was a spriggan. Broken, he returned to isolation, regretting that he ever fell in love.
However, only six months later, Zeref was discovered by a young boy with blonde hair, carrying a broken sword. When Zeref demanded that he leave, the boy stated that he didn't want to, saying that the wind felt nice there. Annoyed, Zeref tried to coax him into leaving, but at that moment, his magic went awry, and exploded. To his shock, the boy unsheathed his sword and swung, sending the death magic back at him, causing Zeref to go flying. Stunned, and curious, Zeref asked him if he was really a child. The boy merely smirked, and told him to find out for himself. Afterwards, the two began to battle one another, with Zeref immediately noticing that his magic had no effect on the boy.
In the aftermath, Zeref was left exhausted while the boy looked taxed, sweating as he grinned, saying that he hadn't had that much fun in a while. With the battle over with, Zeref deduced that he was not an ordinary being, much less a human. The boy, introducing himself as Meliodas, confirms this, saying that he is a member of the Demon Clan, and the only one left running around. The black mage expressed surprised, and asked why Meliodas was here on a deserted island. He confessed to saying that he had heard rumors of there supposedly being a powerful mage on the abandoned isle, and came to see for himself. To Zeref's surprise, Meliodas recognizes him as the Black Mage, Zeref, who was cursed by a god of life and death. The two discussed each other's pasts, leaving Zeref in utter fascination. He explained that, after becoming cursed, he had managed to revive his brother as an artificial demon called E.N.D (Etherious Natsu Dragneel), in hopes that he would one day kill him. Meliodas seemed to understand, confessing that he had once lost the will to live after losing someone dear him, and wiping out the people he considered to be his family out of rage from the loss. Zeref also understands this, having being reminded of Mavis, and absent-mindedly recalls that they had promised to find a way to break the curse.
To his surprise, Meliodas said that he would find a way as well, but later added that, if there wasn't any way, and if Natsu were to fail, then he would be the one to kill Zeref. Recognizing Meliodas as someone who had the ability to do just that, Zeref, smiling, said that he would hold him to that promise. Meliodas smiled at this, and proclaimed, to his confusion, that he had found who he was looking for. Afterwards, he drags Zeref away, much to his dismay, voicing his concerns about killing more innocent people before Meliodas replied that he knew someone who could help keep his magic under check, seeing as how he would become a Holy Knight. Bewildered, Zeref demanded to know what he was talking about.
Meliodas replied back, with a grin, that as of today, he would become a member of the Seven Deadly Sins.
The Reaper's Sin of Judgment - Prologue Edit
Cerberus Firearm: A sacred treasure given to Zeref shortly after being instated as a member of the Seven Deadly SIns. The weapon takes on the form of a pair of dual black pistols, the first guns ever designed in this time period. Imprinted on each gun is a cross, being red and white respectively. The power of the weapons is solely dependent on the user's magical ability. In the hands of Zeref, who has been alive for over 400 years, the guns become a terrifying asset in all sense of the meaning. Because it relies on magic power, it has a limited number of bullets, but in Zeref's hands, it holds an infinite amount. The amount of power of each bullet is also dependent on the user's magic power, and can control it the amount of power each bullet holds.
- Rifle Mode: If Zeref desires it, he can combine both pistols into a gigantic rifle, which is easily bigger than him. Similar to before, the amount of bullets is dependent on the user's magic ability, though in this state, the amount of power behind each bullet is always destructive, no matter how little is poured into it. According to King, it requires a great deal of immense strength to wield in this state, thus leaving it little use while in actual combat. Therefore, Zeref prefers to snipe with it from a distance.
"Good grief... No matter where I go, I always end up in trouble. I wonder if Meliodas' penchant for trouble has rubbed off on me?"
"I'm sorry... but I'm afraid I do not have the time to waste on trash like you." -to Hades
"Natsu... I'm glad. You've really grown, haven't you? It's a shame, though... If...if that incident hadn't happened, you wouldn't have to endure this fate, would you? ...ah, I'd have forgotten. You have no idea what I'm talking about? Well, that's okay. It's better off if you live your own life from now on." -to Natsu
"I once told your predeccesor that I was a Spriggan...little more than an ugly fairy. That still remains true to this day. And yet, somehow...A few special people I know tell me otherwise." -to Makorav
"Same as ever, huh, Meliodas? Oh well, I guess I better help out."
"The thing about me, Acnologia...is that I've stopped holding back a long time ago. I should warn you, though... The captain doesn't know the meaning of the term 'holding back.'" -to Acnologia
"Oh boy...I've gone and done it again. *grins as he scratches his cheek* My bad?"
"Fairy Tail...they all remind me of you, Mavis. Perhaps its because they're all apart of the guild you founded so long ago... Or, maybe, it's because they're just like you: bright, shining, and brilliant, living their lives to the fullest. I wonder...do you think that we could have lived such a life as well, were it not for our contradiction?" -to Mavis
"The Eighth Deadly Sin, the Sin of Judgement. The Reaper's Sin, Spriggan." -introducing himself to Twigo