Rustal Elion is the main antagonist of the Mobile Suit Gundam IRON-BLOODED ORPHANS television series. He is the head of the Elion family, one of the Seven Stars of Gjallarhorn, and the commander of the Arianrhod Fleet.
As the commander of the Arianrhod Fleet, Rustal has a calm and commanding presence. He is capable of generating great loyalty from his subordinates with Julieta Juris devoting her entire being to be his "sword" and Galan Mossa who threw away everything he had in order to better serve Rustal in more illegal channels as prime examples. He has an eye for talent, taking in Julieta for her piloting skills, Iok Kujan for his influence over his many subordinates, and Vidar who has a deep understanding of McGillis who Rustal appears to see as a threat to Gjallarhorn. Rustal can be quite blunt when he is admonishing his subordinates if it benefits their personal development, pointedly calling Iok a fool for his reckless actions and his failure to live up to his subordinate's expectations.
Unlike many of his contemporaries, Rustal is not a power hungry man but rather someone who work with the goal of establishing order and peace in Gjallarhorn's domain. However he is absolutely willing to use force and underhanded tactics to destroy anyone who threatens his interpretation of order and peace.
Skills & Abilities
Rustal is an able and highly competent battle commander. He is a skilled strategist who is well versed in ship-based tactics. Similar to his approach to politics, Rustal is extremely pragmatic in battle. Even when he possesses a superior and more numerous force than his opponents, he values patience and strategic thinking over brute force.
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Following the Battle of Edmonton, Rustal's forces retrieve an injured Gaelio Bauduin from the wreckage of his mobile suit. After Gaelio reveals that McGillis Fareed had orchestrated Kudelia and Tekkadan's appearance at Arbrau as part of a larger scheme to increase his own power within Gjallarhorn, Rustal decides to oppose McGillis and offers the wounded pilot protection and a postion in the Arianrhod Fleet.
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Two years later, Rustal begins to actively oppose McGillis' movements. Following the advice of Vidar, secretly Gaelio in disguise, he sent some of subordinates, including Julietta Juris and Iok Kujan, to capture the leader of the Dawn Horizon Cops in hopes of denying McGillis official influence in the Martian sphere. After the mission fails, he arranges via proxy a war between Arbrau and the SAU in hopes of discrediting McGillis and weakening Tekkadan. He has subordinate Galan Mossa infiltrate the Arbrau military and work to prolong the war. His plan is a success, though Galan is killed in the fighting.
When a rebellion occurs in the Oceanian Federation's space colonies, Rustal dispatches his forces, including Vidar, Julietta, and Iok to suppress the rebels. Later, Iok, acting on information from a mole within Teiwaz, informs Rustal that McGillis is traveling to Mars in order to inspect what is believed to be a mobile armor discovered by Tekkadan. After consulting with his troops, Rustal sends Iok and his team to investigate. After they fail to report in, he dispatches Julietta and Vidar.
After the awakening and subsequent rampage of a mobile armor on Mars, Rustal returns to Earth and attends a Seven Stars meeting. He is forced to accept McGillis' story due to the blunders of Iok during the battle, whom he later scolds. When Julietta requests to be the test pilot for the fleet's new mobile suit, he agrees but also states that she does not need excessive strength in order to help him, as he has more important plans for her.
Rustal later strikes a deal with McMurdo Barristan after discovering that Iok had attacked the Turbines with Dainsleif without his permission. Despite this, McGillis uses the opportunity to launch a coup d'etat.
Wanting to know McGillis' true intentions, Vidar requests that he be allowed to return to Earth, which Rustal agrees to. Due to being stationed in Lunar orbit, Rustal and his forces are forced to watch as McGillis seize control of Gjallahorn's Earth HQ with help from Tekkadan and took control of Gundam Bael. He then begins to gather his forces for battle, and remarked that McGillis was nothing more than a child unable to grow up. After Gaelio decided to unmask himself and agrees to serve under him, a triumphant Rustal has Gaelio broadcast to all of Earth that he intends to defeat McGillis himself. Afterwards, Rustal makes his own broadcast explaining Gaelio's survival, McGillis' crimes, and states that he intends to oppose the traitorous faction no matter what.
Despite possessing a larger fleet, Rustal approaches the battle with McGillis strategically. He orders Julietta to stall the Gundam Barbatos Lupus while Gaelio engages McGillis. He also sends one of his own soldiers to infilitrate the enemy forces, who proceeds to use a Dainsleif on Rustal's forces. This gave Rustal the justification to use the illegal weapon in mass, decimating McGillis' forces. He is later caught off-guard by Tekkadan's trojan horse strategy and nearly killed by the Gundam Flauros, but saved at the last minute by Julietta.
Following the battle, Rustal rallies Gjallahorn against McGillis after learning that he is only the adopted son of Iznario Fareed and thus not a noble himself. When Tekkadan leader Orga Itsuka offers to surrender himself in return for the survival of his comrades, Rustal coldly refuses. He explains that Gjallarhorn's authority has been greatly eroded due to the civil war, and that a scapegoat is required. He then colludes with Nobliss Gordon and makes final preparations for Tekkadan and McGillis' defeats. When McGillis eventually launched a one man assault on Rustal's fleet and was intercepted by Gaelio, Rustal declines to send reinforcements, wanting to see the true outcome of the battle. After McGillis' death, Rustal comments that he will be remembered in history as the miserable end of a man obsessed with power. He then orders the final ground assault on Tekkadan to commence, and as a final blow, permitted a Dainsleif orbital barrage.
Following the end of the "McGillis Fareed Incident" and with the loss of the Issue, Kujan, and Fareed families, Gjallarhorn repelled the Seven Stars council system and was restructured as a more democratic organization, with Rustal becoming its first new leader. He also greatly downsizes the Gjallarhorn Mars Branch, leading to the independence of Mars from the economic blocs. He then enters into the Human Debris Abolishment Treaty with the Martian Union, the new government of Mars. The hope being to prevent further conflict and the exploitation of children as soldiers. He meets with Chairwoman Kudelia Aina Bernstein and promises to support her endeavors. When she makes reference to the destruction of Tekkadan and the noble deaths of Tekkadan members as motivation for her goals, an amused Rustal comments on how impressive she is.
- Rustal is one of the few main antagonists to survive a mainline Gundam entry, as well as one of the only antagonists to secure a decisive victory over the protagonists in the franchise.