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Thread: A Touch of Heaven

  1. #21
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six
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    I always sort of felt my problem with the HF True Ending was that the way it sort of brushes over any guilt or grief or nightmares about what Sakura went through is irritating. I wish there was some acknowledgement about all the victims from Shirou or Sakura, or about how Shirou forced himself to, because he had to, kill Saber. I always felt the fact he felt so much grief he had to essentially repress and erase that memory to be alot more acknowledging of what he went through than how Sakura, in the True Ending, just says she's getting over what she went through with a small smile.

  2. #22
    Lay beside you and pulled you close, and the two of us went up in smoke. Prix with a Silent X's Avatar
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    Yeah, it's just sort of baffling and confusing as a narrative to me. I feel both defensive of and frustrated with Sakura as a character, so I figured that was something to work with.

    All heroes are broken beyond repair. And all villains are just heroes who chose truth over dare.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Snow View Post
    Let Sakura say fuck and eat junkfood you weirdos.


  3. #23
    Dead Apostle Eater Historia's Avatar
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    All this pain and suffering is why pro-wrestling Sakura = best Sakura.

  4. #24
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six
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    Quote Originally Posted by Historia View Post
    All this pain and suffering is why pro-wrestling Sakura = best Sakura.
    It helps she has big sis Luvia as a partner as well.

  5. #25
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    II. Through the Looking Glass




    For a long time now, Sakura has been able to find some normalcy, even if it is make-believe. Shirou’s house is open, and the silence that flows through it isn’t deafening or cruel. He does not live in a cage. She knows that she has neither right nor claim to such a place, but she has held onto it even more fiercely, knowing that.


    Then the day comes when she knows she has to let it go, for now. If she can survive, if she can somehow win, then she hopes that she might be able to return to spending hours at his house. Those hours are the only light left in the darkness, but a magus’s place is in the dark. Shirou may have the capacity for a little magecraft, if one could call it that, but he will never know what it is like to belong to night and shadow and death. She likes that about him.

    When she gathers her courage to tell him, she lets it out all at once, hoping that she doesn’t say anything too strange. He doesn’t know what she really is, but she lives in fear that he will one day find out. She cannot think about that as she apologizes for not being able to help him with dinner in the coming days, though. She simply has to tell him the truth. She doesn’t want to lie to him more than she already must, every time she sees him.

    He accepts her apology so easily. He even tries to suggest that she ought to be doing something more fun with her time. She knows she ought to feel relief, but sour notes of anger and fear overwhelm it all. She doesn’t want him to think that she has anyone else she would rather spend time with, that she has anything better to do. She insists that she doesn’t intend to be lazy, promises that she will attend to her regular duties as much as possible, and finally that he can find her at the archery dojo in the mornings, should he need anything.

    She hopes that he will listen, that it might even occur to him to come to her.

    If nothing else, her urgency seems to move him. He tries to placate her, and she lets him. Then she sees it.

    It is just a small, delicate pattern of bruises on the back of his left hand.

    She hopes that’s all it is.

    And yet, she knows better in the pit of her stomach. She is silenced from much further argument, no matter what he says now, because she sees it and hopes that it isn’t true. She knows that it could be, though, and that if her life has shown her anything, it is that the worst outcome is something she has to accept.

    She cannot accept this. Emiya Shirou is a Master. And there is nothing she can do about it.


    ⧞⧞⧞



    When Sakura returns home this time, the familiar coil of fear in her stomach twists a bit differently. She walks up the bricked path, school bag in hand. If any of their neighbors were to see her walking to the door, fiddling with her key until it unlocks, disappearing inside, and gently closing the heavy, wooden thing behind her, she knows that it would all look the same as any other winter afternoon.

    This time, however, what she fears is not what she might endure from Shinji. It isn’t her grandfather’s training, either. Instead, it is her own resolve to achieve the culmination of that training, at least for now. There is a war coming to Fuyuki, the same war that took the lives of Uncle Kariya and the man who used to be her father. She supposes there were more lives lost, though they would all be meaningless names to her. If she cannot succeed in this task set before her as heir of the Matou, the Makiri – Zolgen – then she will die.

    Even after everything she has been through, she does not think she wants to die.

    Closing her eyes for a brief moment, she grips the handle of her school bag tighter. When she exhales, she opens her eyes and looks back, just once, at the faint outline of the nearest window, obscured by heavy drapes. When she walks away, she has the faint impression of orange and red sunlight in a lingering arc, lighting her way and obscuring her vision. She thinks about his hair and his smile. She ascends the stairs, puts her things away, and doesn’t bother changing out of her uniform.

    She wants to get it over with. If she is to survive, she must push all thought of anything that may cause her regret or pause from her mind. She knows that she is not cut out for fighting back, but as the heir of the Matou, she has no choice but to try and strike first.

    She does not go to the wretched underground mausoleum right away. Instead, she slips through the great mansion slowly. Even it seems almost pleasantly familiar compared to that place.

    She goes into the kitchen, drinks a glass of water, and stands there for a moment, feeling her own presence as a human being. Magical energy flows through her, life force itself, but she does not use it for anything as she simply stands still and breathes. She knows that she is lined throughout her body, as if with explosives, with magic circuits that will change her into something else in a short time. She already knows what that is like, losing all sense of time, self, and sensation. She hates it, but it is what she lives for, in a way.

    She glances over at a clock on the wall and tunes her ears to its soft, steady ticking. Judging by the hour, it is only barely twilight. She knows her grandfather will likely want her to wait until it is dark. When the mundane world is sleeping and the only safe living things are nature’s hunters, magi are at their peak. She knows that her grandfather will not allow her to waste herself on anything but her best for this, even if it has never once been required of her before.

    There is no practicing for this, but everything has been practice for this. She thinks even her grandfather’s blind eye to her suffering at the hands of her brother has been practice for this. His toying with Kariya and allowing her to see him be consumed, in the end, was practice for this.

    She wanders into the dark, long dining room. It has a table with chairs that should seat more people than she can recall ever being inside the house. While she is waiting for the interminable hours to pass, she wonders if they were ever fully occupied. She extends her hand and rubs along the form of one of the chairs. It is at the head of the table, but she only chooses it because it is closest to her. After a moment, she pulls the chair out and sits down, pulling her skirt neatly beneath her. She slides in a bit, sitting up with hands gently folded in front of her. She stares down the table’s length, reaching for some daydream in her mind that will not quite take shape.

    She doesn’t know how much time has passed when she hears something familiar and she senses his presence, already close enough to reach out his wrinkled hand to touch her shoulder. A chill runs down her spine.

    “There you are,” he says, as if he does not always, always know.

    “Hello, Grandfather,” she says, meek and automatic as she lowers her gaze.

    “You came home right away this evening,” he says.

    Sakura swallows, the only outward sign of her racing thoughts. She wonders if he is trying to entrap her even more, to provoke a confession that will make this war only the beginning of her greater captivity – of being kept away from him. Her hands spread out and relax against the surface of the table. She notices the delicate bones’ movement in her own skin.

    It reminds her of talk of elegance she’d heard once, such a long time ago.

    “I knew you wanted me to… perform the ritual as soon as the Grail chose me,” she explains. Her eyes cast down toward the telltale bruising of the back of her hand which seems to become more orderly and visible by the hour.

    “I have such a sweet granddaughter,” Zouken says, reaching out and patting the back of her nearest shoulder. Her silky hair slides against the skin of her neck. Sakura breathes through it. She doesn’t flinch. It wouldn’t do any good to note the sickly scent in the air or the way she can never tell affection from calculated manipulation. She sighs softly, relieved, when his hand drops away. “Come with me,” he says. He turns from her, expecting her to follow.

    Instead of taking her to the familiar doorway leading down into the damp mausoleum beneath their feet, Zouken leads her toward a room in the back of the house. She knows that it is unlikely he ever sleeps, but for appearances’ sake, it might be called his bedroom. She doesn’t want to go there, and – thankfully – just before they pass through into the dimly lit room, he leads her to yet another door. He touches it, and the lock gives way.

    The door frame itself is dusty, and as it creaks open, Sakura finds that what is held inside seems a bit anticlimactic. It is a closet. Long and just wide enough to walk between the shelves single file. She swallows hard as Zouken dawdles his way inside. She steps in after him, getting her bearings in the dim, closed space.

    Abruptly, Zouken makes a thick, bubbling sound that might be a cough. If he were an ordinary human being at all, she might believe that the dust had made him splutter. As she breathes shallowly and sometimes through her teeth, she knows that it must all be an elaborate game of pretend, even if she doesn’t quite see what goes on behind his closed doors.

    “I have a gift for you,” Zouken tells her. He reaches up to one of the shelves and hoists down a box, wrapped in a dirty old shroud. His wizened hand grasps the cloth and tugs it away. He lets go of it, unceremoniously allowing it to fall to the floor.

    Sakura presses her lips into a tight line, watching the box rather than the ancient magus. She does not know what the “gift” might be and regards it as if it might be made of poison.

    After a moment, Zouken lifts the lid and she looks inside the rectangular shape, lacing her fingers together in front of her to protect herself a little.

    “My gift to you is to choose the catalyst that seems… right to you,” he says with a sly, proud smile that makes his black eyes nearly disappear.

    The box is lined in a rich purple, not quite black, untouched by time and damaging sunlight. There is a musty, old smell that is less unpleasant than the basement or even the air around Grandfather. It is more similar to the old books that Shinji had shown her proudly when they were little. Inside, several objects rest in crisscrossed array on the cushioned surface. They emanate history and blood – each of them of its own kind and depth.

    Curious enough to allow her fear to subside a little, Sakura reaches out with delicately parted fingertips to the edge of the case.

    She feels her grandfather’s presence retreat a little. He steps back, further into the dark space.

    “Take your time,” he encourages her. She would wonder why, but a second later she wonders if he would even be there if she were to glance in the direction of his voice. Instead, she focuses on this choice that has been made hers, taking it as a gift even though she is so rarely offered any.

    She traces her finger along as she examines the various catalysts in her grandfather’s collection. In the gloom, an old, yellowed cloth, lovingly folded stands out. It appears stained with droplets of blood and perhaps the tracks of tears. It looks ancient but as if it may have only been used for a short while before being kept away from use forever. Despite the fact that the stained, pale cloth catches her eye, Sakura feels herself decide against it. It feels remote and intimate, and for some reason, she resents it.

    The case has enough blades in it to make reaching in carelessly treacherous. Some are daggers while others are short swords. None of them are particularly large or heavy. They are arranged so their blades do not touch or dull one another. There is even an old pistol that seems to rest against the cushion with a tired and spent countenance. Her gaze narrows as sour disappointment deepens within her as she tentatively rules out each one. She does not like any of them. Sakura has never wanted a weapon.

    Eyes scanning to another corner of the case with some weary resignation, something catches her attention with a little bright sparkle in the dark. She frowns at it curiously. For a moment, she thinks of being a little girl, almost so small that she can hardly remember anything but images. Black hair – mother, father, sister, and her own reflection. Ribbons and green grass and gemstones she may look at but must never touch.

    Suddenly defiant, her fingers reach out and brush over the circular object which appears to have broken hooks and tethers at certain angles as if it might have once been part of something greater. She furrows her brow a bit deeper and reaches out, at last, to pick something up. As she lifts it, she feels its weight and watches the rhinestones and pearls and metallic sheen rotate around the circular thing. She gets the impression that it must have once been part of a garment as she feels the way the broken bits rest softly over fingers and wrist. Her eyes widen a bit as she realizes the only piece of a garment it ever could have been as she examines it from another angle, seeing the way it is softly conical in shape, its central point surrounded by six large pearls.

    She hears her grandfather’s voice. He chuckles.

    “Has something finally caught Sakura’s eye?”

    She does not look for the form to match the voice. She stares at the object that is half-breastplate and half-costume jewelry. She blinks a few times but cannot quite lessen the aperture of her eyes. She opens her mouth to try and answer her grandfather. She nearly shakes her head to say that it still isn’t right, but even as her face flushes just a little at both the awareness of what it is and the way it makes her feel, she realizes that – so far – it is the nearest to something she can bring herself to take as her grandfather’s collection has offered her.

    “I—” she says softly. Only then does her look of scandal start to give way to a somewhat harder expression of bitterness. She glares at the object in her hand. Of course the only thing she can find in this entire gallery of ancient and beautiful objects is the costume of a whore. After all, in the end, it is the only armor her grandfather has ever given her.

    She feels hollow – so hollow for a moment that she cannot find the breath to speak. Her eyes search desperately to find a focal point, to avoid the wave of dizziness, nausea, and familiar revulsion that threatens to sweep over her.

    Then she sees it.

    She hears the rattling pieces of the fragment of an antique bustier as she sets it down next to the space it had once occupied. While the weapons are near one another without quite touching, she notices that this corner is less neatly arranged. In the spot that she had cleared, she sees… her own eyes.

    She recognizes them but it takes a moment to fully make sense to her. She reaches out for the edges of the tarnished, greenish surface. She carefully extricates it from where it had lain in the case. It occurs to her that it seems as if it had been buried carelessly but, maybe, in a way to protect it, too. The frame is mostly intact, but there are a few cracks snaking out from the edge and back again, leaving the edges of the mirror imperfect and fragile. When she has it held carefully in both hands, Sakura touches it with her thumb as she looks at herself in the ancient mirror.

    “This one,” she says after she has gazed into her own reflection for a moment. Her voice is calm, nearly devoid of any emotion. The only thing she can quite decide that she feels, as she sees herself reflected back from its depths, is solace. For a moment, it is as if her own reflection might keep her company in a way it never has before. She wonders at it silently.

    She wonders if – in spite of what Servants are summoned to do – whatever will be called forth to see itself in this mirror might be kind.


    ⧞⧞⧞



    After Sakura has chosen her catalyst, there is still a while before the opportune time of night to perform the ritual. However, it seems as if it is not too soon the descend into the basement of the Matou mansion. Sakura follows a couple of steps behind Zouken’s form, holding the mirror close to her chest, still with both hands. She keeps the reflective side held to her body as if it might somehow absorb any further reflection into its essence, breaking the strange connection she had felt with it moments before.

    Her feet feel heavy, though. She has never learned to like going downstairs, no matter how much a fact of her existence it is. That’s why she is a little relieved when she hears him approaching, all indignation and arrogance in his step.

    “What are you doing?” Shinji demands. He directs his question at her over Zouken’s shoulder, but Zouken steps into his line of sight and – as diminutive as the old magus is before him – he shrinks back just a little. She notices his hands ball into tight fists in spite of it.

    “Sakura is about to begin to fulfil her purpose as the heir of Matou,” Zouken says. She can hear the bright pride in his tone, but it doesn’t bring her any enjoyment. She knows that it serves no other purpose than to hurt him. Than to drive a deeper wedge between them when she wishes there were something that could make them allies again, if nothing else.

    “She is nothing to us, Grandfather,” Shinji pleads angrily. She wishes that it were even possible for Zouken to hear his argument with any genuine consideration. If anything about their world were fair, he would. “Teach me how, and I’ll bring our family back to power without using her at all.”

    Sakura narrows her eyes at Shinji a little without looking away from him. It isn’t quite a glare, but his words sting enough to make her own fingers tighten a bit around the mirror’s frame. She wonders if it might crumble, letting the glass cut her.

    “There would be no time even if you had an ounce of value or power in those useless limbs of yours, boy,” Zouken admonishes him. His voice has that strange, unreadable quality to it. He is angry, but he sounds like he might almost have some human feeling in his tone that seems at odds with the detached callousness of what he is saying.

    It is almost as if he cares whether Matou Shinji survives. Sakura feels the heaviness inside her of knowing that he doesn’t.

    Shinji is pale with rage. There is an ugly expression on his handsome features, and it is the way Zouken and his father and even she have twisted him into something other than what he might have been for years. She feels responsible. She will feel responsible, too, when Shinji’s insolence gets him beaten, punished, or killed.

    She does not shrink away from the venom in his gaze as he stares at her.

    She knows she deserves it, and she’ll drink it in however she must.

    She knows that he is rehearsing in his mind the reminders of what she is – that no matter what their grandfather says that she is beneath him in every way. She is his – except in any way that might save either of them in this place. Then he turns away and stamps off to his bedroom, letting out an undignified squeal of anger. His humiliation before Zouken is complete yet again, and her fate is sealed in turn.


    ⧞⧞⧞



    Sakura tries to push Shinji from her mind. She will have plenty of time now – every day, every afternoon, every night – to appease him. Her stomach turns and tightens. She takes a deep breath and lets it go, closing her eyes for a moment as they descend the stairs onto the nearly clear basement floor. If she disappoints Zouken, there will be a far worse price to pay.

    Zouken walks confidently to the far side of the chamber. Sakura waits several paces behind him as she looks down at the space that she knows was used for the summoning ritual ten years earlier. She looks at it, eyes wide again as she tries to retrace her fallen uncle’s steps in her mind.

    Zouken picks up his cane and points with it for a moment toward the mirror she still has clutched to her chest.

    “You’ll put that over there,” he says, indicating the place he has deemed suitable for it.

    Sakura moves quickly and quietly to obey him, aware of how close she is to the source of her terrible education. She takes a few quick steps backward from the low, unimpressive display – it could hardly be called an altar – the mirror rests upon. She looks at Zouken to see if she has missed something.

    “Good,” he says. She relaxes her shoulders a little and backs away a bit more. “Now…” he says pleasantly. He gives her the instructions to paint the summoning circle on the floor patiently. She uses blood he provides for her to do it. The scent stings her nose. Of course the Matou would use blood for this. Of course she would need to use blood for this. She doesn’t ask questions.

    When Zouken is satisfied with the outcome, Sakura finally takes a moment to look at the circle in its entirety. She thinks it is beautiful for a moment. She is nearly proud for a moment, but the awareness that the blood had likely come from strangers no one would ever miss dulls any satisfaction she might have shared.

    “What are you looking so forlorn for?” Zouken asks her, approaching in a quick shuffle. He reaches up with an affectionate push to her chin. “You are a magus with rarely equaled potential. You are just too afraid to live up to anything you could be,” he says. The insult mingled with the compliment isn’t lost on her. “... And that could end today,” he says, dangling the prospect in front of her.

    He steps back and nods to her. He looks up at something. For a moment, Sakura watches him without his watching her. She notices how hideous he is, how unlike a real human he looks, but it is a fleeting thought.

    “It is time,” he announces when he looks at her. She looks down, the shame of being caught in such a cruel thought subduing her again.

    “How do I—” she starts to ask without looking up.

    “You know this, Sakura,” Zouken chides. “Or have you forgotten?”

    The crackle of a threat rides beneath his tone then. There is nothing like dread to make Sakura’s heart beat quicker and her mind move faster.

    She focuses her energy. She is silent. She breathes. She prepares to stop remembering how to breathe.

    In the center of the summoning circle painted in blood, Sakura focuses on her own circulation.

    She feels her blood, her breath, and the conscious sensation of being alive run through each sensate part of her. Her beating heart, her lungs as they expand and contract, her feet on the floor, her closed eyelids, the damp of her mouth going dry. She feels awareness and tingling energy along her spine. It runs down her legs, into the pit of her stomach, and down from there. Her skin flushes with heat. She marshals control of her mind, knowing that in just a second she will have to let it go.

    Matou magecraft is foreign to Tohsaka Sakura’s body.

    She has not thought of herself by that name in many years. It seems to betray her right in this moment of greatest importance. No matter what Matou has done to her, at least it has not cast her aside, abandoned her, and ignored her suffering.

    Matou magecraft has been entwined with her body.

    Wrapped around her heart, inserted into her spine, inside her in entrails and womb and mind, the Matou magecraft has become hers. She has become… its.

    As she gives herself over to it, knowing there is no choice for her but let go, her nerves become alive with an electric impulse. It is hard to stand, but then she is a statue. Her head arcs back, her chin lifting high as her body breathes with nothing more than the demanding order nestled in her brain stem. She cannot do anything voluntarily except speak

    She is a conduit for the Matou magecraft. Nothing more. And so, in this way, she pleads their case before the Grail:

    For the elements, silver and iron…” she recites. Sakura seems to listen to herself from afar off. There is blood here – not metal, precious or crude. But it is what she promises, even if she lies…

    “... For the foundation, stone and the Archduke of Pacts,” she says – words Master Zolgen himself as fed to her since he had known of this use for her, “And as for the Ancestor, my great Master Zolgen…

    Standing in this chamber with her, clinging to life from this ritual’s beginning…

    ... Close the gates of the four directions,” she continues. She is trapped here in this place, and what she summons will be too. “Come forth from the Crown and follow the forked road leading to the Kingdom…

    Fill, fill, fill, fill, fill,” she says with even, deadened cadence. Every time, it feels as if something presses her stomach up toward her throat while the magical energy, dreadful and cursed as it might be, courses through her and gives her power she could never hope to hold as a mere human being – as someone like Shinji. “Repeat five times. But when each is filled, destroy it.

    When her body is something else’s, when she can no longer feel anything but the mind-numbing energy she has been taught to endure, it is at last time to reach out to something – someone – beyond this world.

    Heed my words,” her voice demands. “My will creates your body, and your sword creates my destiny.” She had passed up so many swords, but she knows that no matter what she wishes for, her Servant will be forced to and be willing to fight. It will be stronger than she has ever been. “If you heed the Grail's call and obey my will and reason, then answer me!

    I hereby swear that I shall be all the good in the world,” she promises – another lie. She knows that she has never been good. She does not know if she if she ever could have been, “that I shall defeat all evil in the world.” Lies, lies, lies… “Thou Seventh Heaven, clad in the three great words of power, come forth from the ring of deterrence, Guardian of the Scales!

    At last, the gathered energy dispels from her, and there is a great whirlwind before her that roars in her ears. Its cool, clear breath must come from somewhere other than this place, and its icy fingers seem to blow the feeling back into her body. She feels her muscles quiver, but she keeps standing, remembering how to blink her own eyes and trying to make sense of being able to see again.

    She hears another laugh from Zouken. This one seems gleeful, but of course it is not without derision.

    “Oh my…” he says. And she knows that there is a barb in it meant for her as well when he continues. “It is a good thing I did not select this one for your idiot, precious Kariya…” he says. “He would not have been able to cope.”

    When Sakura looks upon the Servant the Grail has selected for her, the first thing she notices are the long, flowing strands of hair that blow softly in the dissipating wind. They are almost the same color as her own. Self-consciously, she reaches up and clutches at the bottom of the length of her own hair, fingers threading shyly through it.

    She can feel the link between herself and this woman who is not a creature because she is less than a person but because she is too terribly more than one. The woman is tall and clad in black clothing that is enough to make her blush almost as much as the piece of a bustier had. She frowns, wondering if it’s somehow her fault.

    Before she can think of one thing to say to stop or encourage such an action, the Servant kneels down before her, taking one knee. She bows her head, too, but Sakura can see her face still and realizes that the cover over her eyes ought to leave her blind. She does not move like a blind person, though.

    “Master,” says the woman, “what are your orders?”

    Still, Sakura’s words fail her. She knows that she has not failed to summon a Servant, and she can tell by the woman’s movements that she is strong and agile after seconds with her. Strong and agile or not, Sakura scowls a little at the fact that she immediately kneels before her when she could not be more unworthy. The first thing she does is reach out and place her hand over the woman’s bare shoulder, wondering what good it will do.

    Nervously, Sakura looks over at Zouken. She knows that he will be amused even if she makes a mess of things now and that the wrath will come later. She tries to think as quickly as she can, and it occurs to her that this Servant cannot stay in this place any longer. She does not want her to.

    “Please… get up,” she manages to say. “And we will… make plans for you,” she says, still haltingly. She hopes that this, at least, will appease Zouken enough to know that she has not decided to resist him now. She knows that she cannot do this on her own.









    - - -
    Please leave feedback if you like. I hope that this was enjoyable to read, but I also hope to accurately assure you that every chapter won't be taken up by really well-trod Grail War mechanics we all know to death. Many thanks to You for lore and other help and SpoonyViking for feedback on parts I've asked him to look at.
    Last edited by Prix with a Silent X; April 12th, 2019 at 12:28 AM.

    All heroes are broken beyond repair. And all villains are just heroes who chose truth over dare.


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    Spoiler:
    Quote Originally Posted by Snow View Post
    Let Sakura say fuck and eat junkfood you weirdos.


  6. #26
    and Tylwyth, tw Walnut Sparks's Avatar
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    Very much enjoyed this. I like how you write Sakura's observations and thought processes.
    I found out long ago
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  7. #27
    Lay beside you and pulled you close, and the two of us went up in smoke. Prix with a Silent X's Avatar
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    Thank you very much for reading and taking the time to say this! This feels fairly uncharted for me.

    All heroes are broken beyond repair. And all villains are just heroes who chose truth over dare.


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    Spoiler:
    Quote Originally Posted by Snow View Post
    Let Sakura say fuck and eat junkfood you weirdos.


  8. #28
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six SpoonyViking's Avatar
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    As usual, Prix, your writing is a delight! I only have one question: I hadn't noticed it the first time, but doesn't Sakura notice the markings on Shirou's hand before he goes to ask her not to come over for a while?
    My fanfics:
    The Gift (a Fate/Stay Night one-shot)
    - A duel between Cú Chulainn and Scáthach.
    Passion Acknowledged (a Fate/Stay Night one-shot) (Lemon) - Shirou and Shinji finally acknowledge their feelings.
    He Was a Good King (a Fate/Stay Night one-shot) - A short exploration of Beowulf's character as a hero and a king.
    A Fairy Tale of Love and Death (a Fate/Stay Night one-shot) - A meeting between Scáthach and King Hassan in the distant past.

  9. #29
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    I'm not sure I understand the question. I'm not sure how present it is in the VN or if it was different, and in HF I'm pretty sure in both film and VN it is kind of irrelevant? But in the UBW anime prologue episode that is Shirou's point of view, there is one scene where Shirou notices the bruising on Sakura's hand and assumes that Shinji hurt her, but by the viewer it is best understood as evidence of her command spells. Then, a short amount of screen time after that, Sakura explains that she can't come over in the evenings for a while and during that conversation she notices the bruising on Shirou's hand with no small look of horror. The implication, in my understanding, was that she was being called upon to do her own summoning fairly close to the deadline, too, and then she saw the bruising and thought "Oh no," because she recognized it.

    There is an interlude scene in HF that is a flashback of her speaking to Zouken about whether or not all the Masters must be killed, presumably because she has realized that Shirou is a Master. He tells her that while it is the most efficient way of going about things that if they are able to win that he wouldn't mind to indulge her keeping one or two as "pets," and tries to use it as some kind of teachable moment about how she has the power to just take stuff she wants. Sakura internally is ambivalent about whether he actually means this lesson or is just trying to manipulate her. In this scene, she decides to "give Rider to Shinji" because she cannot bear the thought of fighting Shirou directly, but in terms of HF stuff, it plants the seeds of her being unsure about that decision because Zouken dangles Rin being better than her in front of her.

    I hope that this kind of clarifies my thought process in terms of the basis in canon. However, this is intended to be a canon divergent fic in time anyway.

    All heroes are broken beyond repair. And all villains are just heroes who chose truth over dare.


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    Spoiler:
    Quote Originally Posted by Snow View Post
    Let Sakura say fuck and eat junkfood you weirdos.


  10. #30
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    Ah, in that case, never mind. But while I'm not 100% sure, I believe the events happened a bit differently in the novel: first Sakura notices Shirou's marks, before he's even aware of the War, and later, after he's already summoned Saber, talked to Kotomine, the whole shebang, is that he goes over to ask her to stop coming to his house for a while.
    My fanfics:
    The Gift (a Fate/Stay Night one-shot)
    - A duel between Cú Chulainn and Scáthach.
    Passion Acknowledged (a Fate/Stay Night one-shot) (Lemon) - Shirou and Shinji finally acknowledge their feelings.
    He Was a Good King (a Fate/Stay Night one-shot) - A short exploration of Beowulf's character as a hero and a king.
    A Fairy Tale of Love and Death (a Fate/Stay Night one-shot) - A meeting between Scáthach and King Hassan in the distant past.

  11. #31
    Lay beside you and pulled you close, and the two of us went up in smoke. Prix with a Silent X's Avatar
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    Isn't that specifically Fate route? At least the part where he asks her not to come over for a while. And there's some... thing where Rin is involved with it at least in the anime?

    But yeah, this is preliminary stuff but at some point Different Things will happen.

    All heroes are broken beyond repair. And all villains are just heroes who chose truth over dare.


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    Spoiler:
    Quote Originally Posted by Snow View Post
    Let Sakura say fuck and eat junkfood you weirdos.


  12. #32
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six SpoonyViking's Avatar
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    I remember it being like that in UBW too, at least.
    My fanfics:
    The Gift (a Fate/Stay Night one-shot)
    - A duel between Cú Chulainn and Scáthach.
    Passion Acknowledged (a Fate/Stay Night one-shot) (Lemon) - Shirou and Shinji finally acknowledge their feelings.
    He Was a Good King (a Fate/Stay Night one-shot) - A short exploration of Beowulf's character as a hero and a king.
    A Fairy Tale of Love and Death (a Fate/Stay Night one-shot) - A meeting between Scáthach and King Hassan in the distant past.

  13. #33
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six
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    I really enjoy seeing these perspectives from Sakura's side. It's really good. I really like the bit where she remembers herself as "Tohsaka Sakura."

    It's also amazing how Shinji, who literally saw what was being done in the basement, genuinely wants to be "taught" magecraft, especially when he knows exactly what the Matou style of magecraft involves.

    I also really enjoy at the beginning what Sakura is thinking when she interacts with Shirou, like how she feels some anger that he thinks she might think her time with him to be boring and not enjoyable for her.

    Even the scene of her choosing her catalyst was really good, like her realization and anger that one of the things he was offering was a garment made for prostitutes.

    Incidentally, were the catalysts she was looking and feeling at, before picking Medusa's, references to any Servants in other settings we've seen in the Fate franchise?
    Last edited by warellis; April 13th, 2019 at 01:47 AM.

  14. #34
    Lay beside you and pulled you close, and the two of us went up in smoke. Prix with a Silent X's Avatar
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    @Spoony - I'm not sure, but I know that in the anime at least it seems moderately "voluntary" on Sakura's part that she isn't around as often due to the situationin her own family.

    @warellis - Thank you so much for this detailed comment. It is what gives me motivation to keep writing fic - occasional in-depth engagement like this.

    I really like it when things that just sort of flowed out while I was writing - the Tohsaka Sakura bit - strike people as good. Somehow, it feels a bit better than even when planned stuff hits.

    I am also appreciative about the comment on Shinji. I think that I was thinking these thoughts before as Shinji-sympathizers have at least made me consider how, while I want him to suffer for the awful things he's done, he and Sakura are both a part of a very tight, long-running cycle of abuse. It doesn't excuse his actions, but if one considers it it offers insight into how his relationship to magecraft and his "family" is so twisted and bordering on insane. Shinji, even moreso than Sakura in my opinion, doesn't have a family. His father seems to have been emotionally absent and useless from what little we know about him, and he even favored Sakura over Shinji given the chance. It would seem to follow that he probably faced similar emotional abuse on the part of Zouken as did his parent generation before him and so on. I don't know that we have any real information about that, but it seems easy to extrapolate that whichever children belonged to Zouken and all their subsequent generations were essentially abused out of existence in the pursuit of Zouken's goal, so you have this child who's like five generations down the line who has no family and is entrapped but doesn't even have a "purpose" according to that terrible environment.

    Again, I don't excuse his treatment of Sakura at all, but it seems that Sakura's rationalization of what they have gone through together and separately seems to be that Shinji, essentially, has no one but her. And it would seem in his private moments, per the HF movies, that even though he rages about it that he is also grieved in a way about not "having" Sakura and that there is some fucked up stuff going on about the fact that, in some ways, they perceive it differently but both of them see it as a symbiotic existence sort of. Sort of...?

    Sakura's view of Shirou and his obliviousness to when people actually care about him both are such bittersweet things, and I hope to keep addressing them.

    And thank you, again. I put a lot of thought into the catalyst scene! I'm glad you asked about it. I talked it over with user You and it was determined that it might be reasonable that as old and wealthy as Zouken is that he might have a small, private collection of various catalysts to trade in. I'm glad you asked, because I did decide on a couple of them:

    The handkerchief was supposed to have belonged to Guinevere and was a catalyst for Lancelot.

    The antique gun was supposed to have ties to the Bolshevik Revolution since, you know, Russia. I don't know if we have a named Servant from that era other than Anastasia weird waifu but there's that.

    And finally, the piece of a bejeweled bustier was supposed to be for Mata Hari. I do not know if FGO has ever indicated who might have a catalyst for her under normal circumstances, but we know that she's a Servant, and she's one of the ones I use when I play and I figured it kind of fit the theme I was going for here.

    All heroes are broken beyond repair. And all villains are just heroes who chose truth over dare.


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    Spoiler:
    Quote Originally Posted by Snow View Post
    Let Sakura say fuck and eat junkfood you weirdos.


  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prix with a Silent X View Post
    Sakura's view of Shirou and his obliviousness to when people actually care about him both are such bittersweet things, and I hope to keep addressing them.
    He accepts her apology so easily. He even tries to suggest that she ought to be doing something more fun with her time. She knows she ought to feel relief, but sour notes of anger and fear overwhelm it all. She doesn’t want him to think that she has anyone else she would rather spend time with, that she has anything better to do.
    I just realized, when reading this comment, that she might not actually get Shirou, in a way. In fact for all the fact all three heroines care for him, I really wonder if any of them truly understand the reasoning behind why the way he is. It's almost funny how Kotomine probably truly understands Shirou more than anyone else, that emptiness and feeling of guilt he suffers from.

    Puts into perspective that one of the lines from EMIYA & Shirou's UBW's aria:
    He was always alone, intoxicated with victory in a hill of swords.
    Thus, his life has no meaning.
    The bearer lies here alone, forging iron in a hill of swords.
    Thus, my life needs no meaning.
    Someone nobody understands.

    EDIT: Actually probably none of the 3-4 heroines (if we include Rider) probably quite understand that aspect of Shirou I think.
    Quote Originally Posted by Prix with a Silent X View Post
    I am also appreciative about the comment on Shinji. I think that I was thinking these thoughts before as Shinji-sympathizers have at least made me consider how, while I want him to suffer for the awful things he's done, he and Sakura are both a part of a very tight, long-running cycle of abuse. It doesn't excuse his actions, but if one considers it it offers insight into how his relationship to magecraft and his "family" is so twisted and bordering on insane. Shinji, even moreso than Sakura in my opinion, doesn't have a family. His father seems to have been emotionally absent and useless from what little we know about him, and he even favored Sakura over Shinji given the chance. It would seem to follow that he probably faced similar emotional abuse on the part of Zouken as did his parent generation before him and so on. I don't know that we have any real information about that, but it seems easy to extrapolate that whichever children belonged to Zouken and all their subsequent generations were essentially abused out of existence in the pursuit of Zouken's goal, so you have this child who's like five generations down the line who has no family and is entrapped but doesn't even have a "purpose" according to that terrible environment.

    Again, I don't excuse his treatment of Sakura at all, but it seems that Sakura's rationalization of what they have gone through together and separately seems to be that Shinji, essentially, has no one but her. And it would seem in his private moments, per the HF movies, that even though he rages about it that he is also grieved in a way about not "having" Sakura and that there is some fucked up stuff going on about the fact that, in some ways, they perceive it differently but both of them see it as a symbiotic existence sort of. Sort of...?
    It strikes me as sad, when I read both the first chapter and this chapter that there are times we can see the old Shinji that Sakura and, presumably, Shirou once knew. That he wasn't always a nasty rapist who was more than willing to murder every last man, woman, and child in the school as a complete, utter deranged being.

    It makes me wonder if Rin's comments to Shinji in HF, about how he's like a balloon, are a comment of nature or nurture, considering the how the Matou seem to have obsession as a trait of theirs in their lives:
    "Shinji. You're a good example of someone who nurtures a needless inferiority complex by despising others. You love yourself so much that you believe everyone else is below you, even when they are superior in every way.
    …You're empty inside. The only one who thinks you're full is you, and you're just like a balloon. Your destination changes depending on the wind."
    Quote Originally Posted by Prix with a Silent X View Post
    She has not thought of herself by that name in many years. It seems to betray her right in this moment of greatest importance. No matter what Matou has done to her, at least it has not cast her aside, abandoned her, and ignored her suffering.
    I really like this upon rereading it again. There is something sad when, in a sense even the Matou here are better because whatever the case, Zouken didn't dump Sakura out in the cold.

    One of the reasons why I find it hard to condemn Tokiomi is ultimately because I feel people condemn him not for the fact he gave away his daughter but because he gave her away to a family that turned out to be abusive.

    And to me there is something hypocritical about that. In timelines like Fate/Apocryoha's, where Sakura is sent to the Edelfelts, the same issue still applies. Yes she is given to a family that cares for her and treats her kindly and well (as well as any magus family can be, complete with a big sis), but the same actions still apply. She was given away, cast out, abandoned by her old family in a way.

    I get the feeling if the Matou had been shown to treat Sakura kindly and she was a happy Matou magus, we would be hearing all those people who say Tokiomi is terrible for giving her up for adoption to e a great guy.
    Last edited by warellis; April 13th, 2019 at 11:06 PM.

  16. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prix with a Silent X View Post
    The antique gun was supposed to have ties to the Bolshevik Revolution since, you know, Russia. I don't know if we have a named Servant from that era other than Anastasia weird waifu but there's that.
    Archer Strelnikov, maybe?
    I found out long ago
    It's a long way down Avalon Road


  17. #37
    Lay beside you and pulled you close, and the two of us went up in smoke. Prix with a Silent X's Avatar
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    First, I should say that I really appreciate your thoughtful reply again!

    Quote Originally Posted by warellis View Post
    I just realized, when reading this comment, that she might not actually get Shirou, in a way. In fact for all the fact all three heroines care for him, I really wonder if any of them truly understand the reasoning behind why the way he is. It's almost funny how Kotomine probably truly understands Shirou more than anyone else, that emptiness and feeling of guilt he suffers from.

    Puts into perspective that one of the lines from EMIYA & Shirou's UBW's aria:


    Someone nobody understands.

    EDIT: Actually probably none of the 3-4 heroines (if we include Rider) probably quite understand that aspect of Shirou I think.
    I would probably easily get myself up on a soapbox about how I think that Shirou|EMIYA/Rin is kind of threaded throughout all three heroines' narratives not least of all because Rin understands the most, even if it strikes her as insane and she gets more and more upset the more she understands it. It's like even when she doesn't get real confirmation that Archer and Shirou are (rooted at least in) the same person, she kind of understands it, and that is one reason that a) she has a hard time prying herself away from an alliance with Shirou even when Archer is telling her it is stupid and b) every time Archer dies she runs to Shirou as a deeply emotional sort of response even if he has a tactical reason for it that Archer, at least in some ways, encourages.

    With Shirou and Sakura on the other hand, I think that a romantic escalation of their relationship is actually predicated on their trying not to understand each other completely. While we get moments of it seeming like there could almost be a balancing act such as when Shirou responds very well to Sakura finally admitting that she has been sexually abused and feels like she is unworthy of his affection or acceptance because of it, it is still very much the case that Shirou/Sakura almost requires a kind of break from reality. There is an irony to it because I think that their friendship before was a positive influenced for them, but something about the romantic relationship that is presented as salvific in Sakura's mind requires Shirou to completely ignore everything else that is going on around him. I think the movies depicted this really well in the scene where Shirou is coming home at the end of HF1 and is physically hurt and exhausted and his grieved by what just happened to Saber but he and Sakura are both putting on this strange "normal" "Honey-I'm-home" routine so as to hold onto a pretension that they can just find a way to have a "normal" relationship in the midst and in spite of everything that is happening around them.

    It strikes me as sad, when I read both the first chapter and this chapter that there are times we can see the old Shinji that Sakura and, presumably, Shirou once knew. That he wasn't always a nasty rapist who was more than willing to murder every last man, woman, and child in the school as a complete, utter deranged being.

    It makes me wonder if Rin's comments to Shinji in HF, about how he's like a balloon, are a comment of nature or nurture, considering the how the Matou seem to have obsession as a trait of theirs in their lives:
    Well, the Matou magecraft is based on absorption, right? So there's a reason they cannot do certain things otherwise it will come back on them. I think that this leads to the passive aggression that is a trait in Sakura, Zouken, and even Shinji who so much wants to be a part of the terror he was born into. It isn't as if he can easily escape it. Even though Zouken wouldn't likely stop him particularly, there is a possibility that he might out of spite or something. After all, Shinji knows things that he had no right to know, and his personality itself sees sabotage as a way of helping himself.

    One random thing I've been thinking about: apparently anyone can perform alchemy??? It seems like Shinji is depicted as using it, and Waver uses it, and it just seems like yeah alchemy and chemistry are the same thing but are there certain compounds created with alchemy that have magecraft-y properties not known to modern science a la the aphrodisiac he used to fuck up Sakura's senses?

    I really like this upon rereading it again. There is something sad when, in a sense even the Matou here are better because whatever the case, Zouken didn't dump Sakura out in the cold.
    Thank you! This is one of the things I have the hardest time wrapping my mind around for writing Sakura, but it is textually the case that she thinks this way in a lot of ways. Also, apparently this is a very realistic trait for some abuse victims: they find a way to rationalize their abusers' behaviors, particularly when their abusers were in a caregiver position in their lives, while they resent and hate the people who "should have" saved them whether they were aware of the abuse or not.

    One of the reasons why I find it hard to condemn Tokiomi is ultimately because I feel people condemn him not for the fact he gave away his daughter but because he gave her away to a family that turned out to be abusive.

    And to me there is something hypocritical about that. In timelines like Fate/Apocryoha's, where Sakura is sent to the Edelfelts, the same issue still applies. Yes she is given to a family that cares for her and treats her kindly and well (as well as any magus family can be, complete with a big sis), but the same actions still apply. She was given away, cast out, abandoned by her old family in a way.

    I get the feeling if the Matou had been shown to treat Sakura kindly and she was a happy Matou magus, we would be hearing all those people who say Tokiomi is terrible for giving her up for adoption to e a great guy.
    We can see from Rin's understanding of her own upbringing and also in her various departures from it as she develops as a character that there is a certain inhumanity inherent to being a particularly traditional magus. The disheartening and even disgusting thing about Tokiomi is that even though he didn't know that he was giving her over to abuse, he did know that he was giving her over to a family that was losing is magecraft due to some kind of intrinsic incompatibility with the land in which they were in. He must have known that he was effectively surrendering her to be breeding stock within the family, possibly in a dynamic that would be publicly and socially understood to be incestuous if Zouken didn't find someone to "marry into" the family a la Kiritsugu with the Einzberns. He knew that he was giving her to something that was going to be difficult and heartbreaking because he knew that she had a great capacity for magecraft. He could have just raised her in the dark about what he was teaching Rin, and it might have even been fairly easy as Aoi was not herself a magus. But instead, he chose the object of magecraft and its rote goal of seeking the Root and all of that traditional knowledge and improvement for its own sake business over the mental and physical health and safety of his child because his wife's womb was just-too-good at churning out product, which is why he married her. Even if he had humane feelings toward his family, he always chose the magus side of things, and that is why it's terrible.


    Quote Originally Posted by Walnut Sparks View Post
    Archer Strelnikov, maybe?
    I haven't heard of him, but thank you for mentioning!

    All heroes are broken beyond repair. And all villains are just heroes who chose truth over dare.


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    Spoiler:
    Quote Originally Posted by Snow View Post
    Let Sakura say fuck and eat junkfood you weirdos.


  18. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prix with a Silent X View Post
    I would probably easily get myself up on a soapbox about how I think that Shirou|EMIYA/Rin is kind of threaded throughout all three heroines' narratives not least of all because Rin understands the most, even if it strikes her as insane and she gets more and more upset the more she understands it. It's like even when she doesn't get real confirmation that Archer and Shirou are (rooted at least in) the same person, she kind of understands it, and that is one reason that a) she has a hard time prying herself away from an alliance with Shirou even when Archer is telling her it is stupid and b) every time Archer dies she runs to Shirou as a deeply emotional sort of response even if he has a tactical reason for it that Archer, at least in some ways, encourages.
    You mean here about how Rin realizes Shirou is sort of a broken wreck underneath his seemingly normal exterior?

    I found it rather nasty of her in the date in UBW to just tell him to get over his issues and guilt like that.

    I always did find it interesting how both Rin & Sakura fell for Shirou due to him being the kind of person to keep on striving toward a goal even if it may have been completely impossible. Kind of like a magus in a sense, Shirou is. I think Sakura and Rin both allude to that in HF when Sakura says how strong he is and how Rin tells Shinji that Shirou has far more of a mindset to be a magus than Shinji has.

    But then again, they seem to fall for him even in timelines where he never became an orphan and has his original more happy, genki personality so perhaps that extreme determination is always in him.
    Quote Originally Posted by Prix with a Silent X View Post
    With Shirou and Sakura on the other hand, I think that a romantic escalation of their relationship is actually predicated on their trying not to understand each other completely. While we get moments of it seeming like there could almost be a balancing act such as when Shirou responds very well to Sakura finally admitting that she has been sexually abused and feels like she is unworthy of his affection or acceptance because of it, it is still very much the case that Shirou/Sakura almost requires a kind of break from reality. There is an irony to it because I think that their friendship before was a positive influenced for them, but something about the romantic relationship that is presented as salvific in Sakura's mind requires Shirou to completely ignore everything else that is going on around him. I think the movies depicted this really well in the scene where Shirou is coming home at the end of HF1 and is physically hurt and exhausted and his grieved by what just happened to Saber but he and Sakura are both putting on this strange "normal" "Honey-I'm-home" routine so as to hold onto a pretension that they can just find a way to have a "normal" relationship in the midst and in spite of everything that is happening around them.
    Considering what you say here about Sakura & Shirou's relationship, how do you feel about Shirou & Saber's relationship and whether she understands him or he understands her?
    Quote Originally Posted by Prix with a Silent X View Post
    We can see from Rin's understanding of her own upbringing and also in her various departures from it as she develops as a character that there is a certain inhumanity inherent to being a particularly traditional magus. The disheartening and even disgusting thing about Tokiomi is that even though he didn't know that he was giving her over to abuse, he did know that he was giving her over to a family that was losing is magecraft due to some kind of intrinsic incompatibility with the land in which they were in. He must have known that he was effectively surrendering her to be breeding stock within the family, possibly in a dynamic that would be publicly and socially understood to be incestuous if Zouken didn't find someone to "marry into" the family a la Kiritsugu with the Einzberns. He knew that he was giving her to something that was going to be difficult and heartbreaking because he knew that she had a great capacity for magecraft. He could have just raised her in the dark about what he was teaching Rin, and it might have even been fairly easy as Aoi was not herself a magus. But instead, he chose the object of magecraft and its rote goal of seeking the Root and all of that traditional knowledge and improvement for its own sake business over the mental and physical health and safety of his child because his wife's womb was just-too-good at churning out product, which is why he married her. Even if he had humane feelings toward his family, he always chose the magus side of things, and that is why it's terrible.
    Tokiomi seemed utterly convinced if Sakura didn't become the head of some magus family she'd both become mediocre and waste her talents and, more importantly, have no protection from Sealing Designations or, even worse I imagine, being abducted some crazy magus and being experimented upon or some other horrible fate:
    For Rin and Sakura, there were no choices for them in the first place.One of them has all elements, having five multiple elements as her alignment. The other has no elemental alignments, having Imaginary Numbers only. Both sisters have a rare potential that can be equated to miracles. This had surpassed the limits of so-called natural talents or inborn skill; it is almost like a curse.A magical nature would equally gather magical powers to it. Prominent people who are far outside the rules inevitably ‘gather’ equally extraordinary experiences. This can not be controlled by the person’s own will. There is only one way to deal with this kind of a destiny – consciously walk away from the rules yourself.Apart from understanding and practicing the way of magecraft themselves, there are no other ways to deal with the magical powers hidden in the blood of Tokiomi’s daughters. Moreover, the protection of the Tōsaka house can only be endowed on one of them. This fact tormented Tokiomi for a long time. The one who did not become the inheritor would get mired in all kinds of odd evens due to her own blood, and trouble bound find her. If the Association found this kind of ‘ordinary humans’, those guys would definitely gladly put her in formaldehyde as a specimen in the name of ‘protection’.Precisely because of that, it was nothing better than a godsend for the Matō house to hope to have Sakura as their adopted daughter. He had obtained the way to have both his beloved daughters inherit first-class magecraft, unconstrained by their bloodline’s consequence, and carve out their own lives. At that time, Tokiomi could be said to be freed from the heavy burden of being a father.
    He just had the bad luck to live next to a crazy heretical magus who masqueraded as a model citizen and was remembered for his kickass feats like the creation of the Command Spell system.

    Considering how he felt bad about the fact he was essentially making decisions for their futures without giving them the chance to choose whether they wanted to or not, it kind of makes me wonder what Tokiomi would think of Shirou considering he chose his path despite the hardships he encounters.

    Or the fact both his daughters fall for this guy who is practically a 1st-gen magus who can summon up an RM within a relatively short amount of time.
    Tōsaka Tokiomi was definitely not a genius.Compared with the members of the Tōsakas through the generations, his talents are mediocre at best.The reason that the Tokiomi right now is a skilled and respected magus was largely due to the fact that he had always loyally obeyed the family creed.That was why he could always be confident and elegant –If he wanted to achieve a ten-fold result, then he must give out twenty-fold of practice. Elegantly and composedly pass all sorts of cruel training; that had become Tokiomi’s creed. If one has to find something about him that’s better than others, then maybe it would only come down to the two things of complete self-control and a will of self-restraint.His father, who was both his teacher and the previous head of the household, should already have fully foreseen just what a hard journey his son would embark upon if the son had the way of magecraft as his ambition. Therefore, when his forebear passed the Magic Crest onto Tokiomi, he had repeatedly asked his son – ‘will you inherit the family business?’These questions are merely very ritualistic, and it’s only for a show too. As the only son, what Tokiomi had been taught since childhood was an education of how to become a leader. This pride that was nurtured since his childhood made him have no other dreams in his life.Even so – this method of ‘asking’ was still used; that is, Tokiomi still has an incomplete ‘ability to choose’.Now that he thought back, for Tokiomi, this was the best gift that his father gave him as the previous head of the family.

    Tōsaka Tokiomi decided to enter the way of magecraft through his own will, and decided not to be swayed by fate.It was indeed this preparation that gave Tokiomi an iron will. What supported him through the days of merciless, strict practices ever since then was indeed this proud overconfidence of ‘this is the way of life I chose for myself’.If only he would be able to pass the treasure that he got from his father onto his daughter – Tokiomi thought sadly.
    Honestly, I think someone here put it best, is that Tokiomi is like those parents who see their kid has a talent in something and then imagines they'll become a professional sports star or Olympic athlete or professional musician/concert pianist or violinist and then relentless chooses their future for them because they think it'll make their kid happy.

    But then, the sad part is that he chose their paths for them. They didn't get a choice to choose it for themselves. Maybe they grew into choosing it for themselves, like Rin, but he still felt he had to take the choice away.

    EDIT: Honestly Tokiomi seemed to have this idea that the Matou would be so incredibly grateful about having a super heir that Zouken would teach Sakura everything and she'd be the head of the Matou, because she's so super valuable.

    The issue is that, when you think on it, you start to realize she's the head of a family that has pretty much fallen off the wagon magic-wise. Beyond Zouken, and the wealth she would have access to, there doesn't seem to be anyone else who could help if and when she would be producing an heir of her own.

    I mean the only people who can do magecraft are Zouken, Sakura, & Kariya. Three people. Two only if we ignore Kariya because he ran off.

    I mean there doesn't seem to be any real prestige to the family because I don't know if Zouken is even famous really. Makiri Zolgen is famous but Zouken seems to mostly just hide out in Japan.

    Hell even resources wise, while the Matou are loaded I really wonder if any of that can help because who the heck wants to marry into a family that is dying out is what I wonder.
    Quote Originally Posted by Prix with a Silent X View Post
    I haven't heard of him, but thank you for mentioning!
    I think he might be mentioning the fictional revolutionary from Doctor Zhivago?
    Last edited by warellis; April 14th, 2019 at 03:28 AM.

  19. #39
    Lay beside you and pulled you close, and the two of us went up in smoke. Prix with a Silent X's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by warellis View Post
    You mean here about how Rin realizes Shirou is sort of a broken wreck underneath his seemingly normal exterior?

    I found it rather nasty of her in the date in UBW to just tell him to get over his issues and guilt like that.
    I think Rin herself realizes that sometimes she is kind of mean or lacks immediate empathy. In the UBW anime when she is talking to Lancer just before he dies, they are talking about Archer but by that time she is completely sure that Archer and Shirou are iterations of the same person and Feelings, Etc. The gist of their conversation is basically about how Rin, in effect, plans to retrieve Archer and make him reconcile with her and forgive the fact that he deliberately did something unforgivable toward her multiple times to try and get her to stop doing so. That itself is not at all the kind of pragmatism she usually engages in, though it is on-par with the stubbornness. Anyway, she says that she cannot really help Archer with his self-hatred because (while she doesn't think he should hate himself for it) she doesn't really disagree with his assessment of the futility of his own worldview. She can't successfully argue with what she knows he thinks of himself because she can't see it as anything but true that what Archer-Shirou did was insane futility that no one should ever do to themselves. Shirou was the only person who could "save" Archer from the mental anguish of that for that reason, and she remarks that she is so "dispassionate" about these kinds of things that she even sometimes makes herself angry.

    So it's a valid critique, but I think that it is addressed?

    I always did find it interesting how both Rin & Sakura fell for Shirou due to him being the kind of person to keep on striving toward a goal even if it may have been completely impossible. Kind of like a magus in a sense, Shirou is. I think Sakura and Rin both allude to that in HF when Sakura says how strong he is and how Rin tells Shinji that Shirou has far more of a mindset to be a magus than Shinji has.

    But then again, they seem to fall for him even in timelines where he never became an orphan and has his original more happy, genki personality so perhaps that extreme determination is always in him.
    I had better-articulated thoughts about this a few weeks ago after watching HF2 and reading some stuff, but I think that the specific reasons Sakura and Rin were drawn into taking note of Shirou in that same little fateful scene were different. Sakura was hoping that he would fail because she was traumatized, bitter, angry, and hopeless. For Sakura, the hopelessness thing and being resigned to it was very much a part of what started to change when she took note of the fact that Shirou wouldn't give up on an impossible task. She started to feel like maybe resigning oneself to inevitable doom wasn't the only way to think about life again. It's very... goth compared to Rin's point of view on it which was more about the fact that she understands herself and her motivations fairly well, and she doesn't push beyond her own limits that often. She knows that she is very capable and talented and she does what she can to improve in the areas where she believes it is possible, useful, or necessary. However, if she realizes that she cannot do something, she gives up and moves on to something she can do where she can see results or improvement. What struck her fancy and curiosity about Shirou was the fact that he didn't adjust his expectations based on repeated trials of the same effort. She would have just because it seemed like a waste of time to her, but because she is self-aware of that, it's sort of romantic to her that he can do that. So I dunno - same stimulus, different response?

    Considering what you say here about Sakura & Shirou's relationship, how do you feel about Shirou & Saber's relationship and whether she understands him or he understands her?
    I think their relationship is supposed to be about developing a mutual understanding of the other and in so doing developing a better understanding of themselves. There is a reason, I think, that Fate Route only has one true end and that it still involves separation in the end. You have to go to UBW Sunny Day to come up with a world in which Shirou and Saber can work longer-term, and it is polyamory with Rin ever after because UBW's narrative is about finding some kind of balance with what one has to work with. Fate Route can't have that resolution because it is about internalizing one's abilities and one's inabilities/shortcomings and moving forward with the knowledge gained. It has a melancholy, bittersweet quality to it.

    So to reiterate my answer, I think that Shirou and Saber do very deeply understand each other by the end of their relationship. I think it's easier to just look at how Saber treats Shirou as their relationship in Fate or UBW progresses. She starts seeing herself reflected in him, and I think that it sort of horrifies her at times, which is what allows the kind of self-reflection that she needs to engage in both in order to understand and to forgive herself. I know there are people who wank about Fate/Zero being considered a true prequel, but the UBW anime surely embraces it for obvious reasons, and I think in that way the UBW scene where Shirou is stating his case to Archer is also allowing Saber to figure out how in the world she can forgive herself, too. It starts to unravel the knot of despair she apparently left the Fourth War with - that thought process, at least, that being around Shirou and observing and knowing him allows her to have. Likewise, I think it's safe to say that Shirou understands Saber fairly well based on how Archer responds to Saber. He critiques her, but he also roots for and wants to protect her. He hates the kind of instillation of further idealism he sees her doing to him (complicated timeywimey), but at the same time he respects her. And according to what we know of Archer's worldline (to borrow a term), he did know Saber and have her as his Servant but he didn't "save her heart," or whatever, meaning that he likely didn't understand her until "too late," as it were, to do either of them any good.


    Tokiomi seemed utterly convinced if Sakura didn't become the head of some magus family she'd both become mediocre and waste her talents and, more importantly, have no protection from Sealing Designations or, even worse I imagine, being abducted some crazy magus and being experimented upon or some other horrible fate:He just had the bad luck to live next to a crazy heretical magus who masqueraded as a model citizen and was remembered for his kickass feats like the creation of the Command Spell system.

    Considering how he felt bad about the fact he was essentially making decisions for their futures without giving them the chance to choose whether they wanted to or not, it kind of makes me wonder what Tokiomi would think of Shirou considering he chose his path despite the hardships he encounters.

    Or the fact both his daughters fall for this guy who is practically a 1st-gen magus who can summon up an RM within a relatively short amount of time.Honestly, I think someone here put it best, is that Tokiomi is like those parents who see their kid has a talent in something and then imagines they'll become a professional sports star or Olympic athlete or professional musician/concert pianist or violinist and then relentless chooses their future for them because they think it'll make their kid happy.

    But then, the sad part is that he chose their paths for them. They didn't get a choice to choose it for themselves. Maybe they grew into choosing it for themselves, like Rin, but he still felt he had to take the choice away.

    EDIT: Honestly Tokiomi seemed to have this idea that the Matou would be so incredibly grateful about having a super heir that Zouken would teach Sakura everything and she'd be the head of the Matou, because she's so super valuable.

    The issue is that, when you think on it, you start to realize she's the head of a family that has pretty much fallen off the wagon magic-wise. Beyond Zouken, and the wealth she would have access to, there doesn't seem to be anyone else who could help if and when she would be producing an heir of her own.

    I mean the only people who can do magecraft are Zouken, Sakura, & Kariya. Three people. Two only if we ignore Kariya because he ran off.

    I mean there doesn't seem to be any real prestige to the family because I don't know if Zouken is even famous really. Makiri Zolgen is famous but Zouken seems to mostly just hide out in Japan.

    Hell even resources wise, while the Matou are loaded I really wonder if any of that can help because who the heck wants to marry into a family that is dying out is what I wonder.
    I agree with most of the thoughts rolling around about Tokiomi's mindset there. However, I might be out on a very weird limb here in saying that I think that it's very possible that it might not matter if Sakura procreated with an especially powerful magus or whatever. As mentioned, Aoi isn't a magus herself. She just had the latent ability to produce magic-circuit-rich babies. That said, I know it is a terribly dark and terrible thought, but I have thought that one reason Zouken ignores the whole coerced "incest" thing is that perhaps this was the failsafe all along. Sure, he'd kick Shinji out in a ditch the second he stopped being of any use to him, and if they found a willing, active magus to marry and impregnate Sakura had the actually producing an heir thing come along, Shinji would've probably been made to disappear. But otherwise, why the hell is Shinji even allowed to exist there except that "whoops, someone noticed a kid exists so now we can't just murder him"? There doesn't seem to be any practical upshot of it as Zouken's sadism is petty or incidental rather than primary like Kirei's. The reason Shinji was able to serve as a corrupt Grail vessel in a pinch in UBW was because he had "latent magic circuits" according to Rin, and the very fact that Shirou has useful magic circuits even if he didn't learn to properly activate most of them indicates that a lot of people in the Fuyuki area in general likely have at least some, but Shinji is literally the first generation without any true ability to perform magecraft. He has more than most. So... 1 + 1 = flesh vessel for Zouken to eventually inhabit. Because reading further into HF, you learn that he had kind of anticipated sort of just moving into any baby Sakura might conceive as a new human suit in a more organic format which might account for one of the many reasons that he put his Soul Worm inside her to wait.

    I'm sorry this is all very gross, but it's been on my mind.

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  20. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by warellis View Post
    I think he might be mentioning the fictional revolutionary from Doctor Zhivago?
    Er, yeah... I mean... a real person would probably be a more sensible match, but I just saw Bolshevik Revolution + handgun and that's where my mind went.
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