mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
Y'know, after some of the WTF DLC for FE13, it took a while to get back in a positive mindset about the thing.

I was there in the happy zone for about a week, because Est was pretty cute in a derpy kind of way (appropriate) and the presentation was basically true to her character.

I ain't in the happy zone no more. )

And the less said about the new official art for the FE13 originals, the better.
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
OK.  I was going to throw up a little bit of cracky headcanon regarding Minerva for today's meta contribution, but I went and made a 'fic out of it instead.

Because we all know why noblewomen suddenly retire to convents, right?  ;P
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
I left work early today, crawled home, and slept.  Sometimes there's just no other sensible option.


Anyway, after all the positive response to that fragmentary dump of "When Mila Walked the Land" (<3 <3 <3), I uploaded chapters 2 and 3.  That 'fic had not been updated since December of 2009, and the master file hadn't been touched since June of 2010.  That's a record for time between updates for me, heh.  

The project actually dates back even early, to the pre-LJ says when I was bopping around on DevArt talking to [ profile] shimizu_hitomi  and almost nobody else.  I was only a couple of chapters into playing FE8 when the crossover potential smacked me between the eyes, and Hitomi's translation of the FE2 script cemented my belief that something Needed to be Done with the pretty obvious links between Archanea/Valencia and Magvel.  But at the time, I was really averse to the crackiness of a crossover that would, say, feature Marth and Eirika chillin' together and maybe hooking up for something.  Didn't like the idea.  Thought it would be lamesauce.

[Point and laugh, Raphi.  Go ahead.]

So, instead, I dreamed up a generation-gap scenario wherein the playable casts of FE2 and FE3 are twenty years older than we see them in the games, and then Eirika falls through a rabbit hole into Archanea along with bucketloads of dark critters.  Of course, she doesn't speak a word of the common language, so the chaos that ensues isn't exactly cute.

The other gimmick was a pair of OCs as the initial POV characters-- Lara (the daughter of Marth and Caeda) and Rudolf (son of Alm and Cellica).  These kids are closer in age to Eirika and thus relate to her on a different level than the adults.  Original explanation of story here.

Read more... )

Dunno when Chapter Four will go up, because it's more fragmentary than the other unfinished chapters and my schedule sucks right now.
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
 All right!  Here is my response to [ profile] sacae 's second request-- "Catria/Frey, French Revolution."  It's the canon world of Archanea, filtered through the French Revolution, with a side of Napoleon!Michalis.

Note: If y'all think this is a happy fun story, you're not up on your history.  

Spoilery details )
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
 Just a little Cain 'n' Catria thing I've been fooling around with since last winter.  Originally there was a plot attached.  Uh, this takes place during Shin Monshou no Nazo during the whole Temple of the Ice Dragons dealie.  The red knight and the middle peg sister are out on patrol.

I do not own Fire Emblem or any of its characters.

Not cut for length. It's short. )

I'm trying to get over my "issues" with FE12.  That's all.
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
So, way back when in this post, I outlined for a massive Archanea fic-project dubbed "Tales of the Unified Kingdom," a good-faith effort at showing a positive, if complicated, outcome for the continent after the War of Heroes.  The idea first arose from the 'fic "Homecomings," an Abel-centric story that takes place a whopping four decades after the gameplay conclusion of FE3 and which consequently required rather a lot of effort on the world-building front.

I rather liked that world.  So, inspired by [ profile] shimizu_hitomi 's series of interconnected Elibe stories, I decided it wasn't a unforgivable self-indulgence to write a series of 'fics in the same continuity-- though these were primarily post-game 'fics rather than "between the games" stories (though I wrote a couple of those as well).  Writing it was a blast, especially when Valencian elements from FE2 got into the mix-- and, ultimately, some cross-references to Jugdral once we had confirmation they were all on the same planet.  As far as the characterization went, it was a challenging and frustrating project of grafting two unevenly matched halves-- the characterization from FE11 with the plot of Book Two of FE3-- and I had to make my "best effort" at extrapolating what these characters were and what they ought to become.  [And, in light of FE12, apparently I was way off.  Oh well.]  

Anyway, Abel's misadventures started the ball rolling, but the character I was most interested in pretty quickly became Cain.  So while "Homecomings" was one key part of the series, "Another Piece of Blue," which featured Cain struggling to adapt to the post-war era and its realities, was its bookend.  I sketched out a whole character arc for him to span a series of three or possibly four stories, though my interest in the later multi-part stories has flagged thanks to OCs and FE12.  But APoB, which took more than a year to write, is finally done... and at about 26K words, is about four times the length it ought to have been.  Oops.

Fic notes and obvious references )
Well, that was fun.  Now what?

mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
 Today wasn't terrible by any means but it did leave me drained and frustrated.  Basically, I spent the day immersed in corporate politics (the CEO came to visit), navigating rival cliques whilst trying not to offend any of them, naming guilty men, and fretting over how to save people who are their own worst enemies.  Also one of my former supervisors just got sidelined with Stage Two cancer, but I feel really weird and conflicted over it and not upset so much.  She's a complicated person to deal with and this, from my limited perspective, is one more complication.  

The final work-related phone call of the night was especially soul-crushing.  A friend of mine who is now in management is in an HR disaster up to her eyeballs and the best and most honest advice I could give her was something that runs against the grain of both her conscience and mine.  Unfortunately, when threats of legal action come into play, being nice and compassionate to the wounded party may only make things worse.

Anyway, here's the fifth and final chapter of "Another Piece of Blue."  I'll write notes later.  Right now, I'm just too tired.
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
 Inspired by [ profile] shining_valor 's musings on Peg Knights and their... articles of dress.  I also got pix from [ profile] kittykatloren 's gallery to illustrate this.  If I were clever, I'd do in-line pictures like [ profile] penandpaper71 , but instead you get this:

Very short and sour story under the cut. )

Because, seriously... while on the one hand I was happy to get a cheesecake picture of Catria, given what they've done to her in the game, it does appear to say something.

mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
 So, according to this guy on Serenes Forest, if you go to Fire Emblem World and enter data on the MyUnit creation page, you can get this wallpaper of Catria.  I dunno why MyUnit creation = sexy Catria pix and I maybe don't want to know the logic behind it, but it's already on MY desktop.  Shoot, this is the first official full-body art of Cat since the card game stopped, isn't it?

Now, for 'fic.  [ profile] samuraiter , this one is for you.  I'll remove the dedication if you don't like the shout-out, but your line of thinking definitely inspired this one.

Anyway, while I've been utterly stalled out on continuing any "serious" stories for Archanea thanks to FE12 and its overall wtf-ery, a little while ago I did embark on an appropriately wtf 'fic project, the first installations of which can be found here and here.  I figured that, since I objected to a lot of the frothiness of FE12 (especially since most of the bleak character endings are totally unchanged), I would try to appease the 'fic demons with something appropriately frothy.  Soapy.  Soap-opera-y.  

And this turns out to be the portentously titled "Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal," in which Lena has visions, Melissa pops back out of obscurity, and Michalis decides to take advantage of some dangling plot threads by tying them up to his satisfaction.  It's crack and it's weird, but it's kind of fun to write.  I've never explored Lena before, so writing her is different for me; she has a great and complex backstory but I've never had the compulsion to deal with her much until now.  Melissa is... Melissa, and Michalis is a scheming, self-centered, but not completely heartless bastard, and Caeda turns up in Chapter Four in full-on politician mode.  No, Chapter Four isn't out yet.  I dunno when it will be as I appear to have closed without saving at some point and lost big chunks of the text.  :/

Notes and Spoilers for Prologue ) 

Notes and Spoilers for Chapter 1 )

This is actually a prequel to one of my other 'fics.  See if you can figure out which one (it'll be clear by Chapter Eight... whenever that comes out).  
mark_asphodel: (Adult Fin)
 So, I got a tentative agreement (ie, an agreement with the company) on the second of my two contracts today and consequently went on a White Russian spree before stumbling home.  I walked, btw-- picked a drinking hole within walking distance for that reason.  Yay.  Now I just have to sell all the hardliners and malcontents on the merits of both contracts.

Anyway, so I posted my latest entry into [ profile] fe_contest  on this weekend.  The inspiration for it came from "The Stranger Song" by Leonard Cohen, which features lyrics that wormed into my brain sometime last spring.  I tried to make use of the song somehow in original 'fic, but that stalled out, and the whole gambling theme ("dealing," rather) seemed suitable enough to weave into a 'fic I already wanted to write for Abel and Palla.  Said 'fic being a post-war encounter between them, set after any sort of youthful romanticism is long faded.

A friend from my college years who sported literary ambitions decried a genre of fiction and film that consists of "nothing happens but you still feel bad at the end," and that derisive phrase would sort of apply here.  Certainly nothing really changes in the lives of Abel and Palla, and Palla is no more happy at the end than she is at the beginning of the story.  Palla is perhaps a little wiser for the experience, but knowledge of your situation doesn't always equate to action, much less a change in your circumstances.  But knowledge of how you got to where you currently are is, at least, something worth reflecting upon.

While [ profile] fe_contest  sometimes offers me a chance to step outside "standard" characterization for characters, the three featured here-- Abel, Palla, and Catria-- are basically in line with what is IMO a reasonable extrapolation of canon.  So reasonable, in fact, that I don't even go the Catria/Marth route in this one.  It's not part of the Tales of the Unified Kingdom, but it could have been if I hadn't already established in "Forsaken" that Abel never encountered Palla again after the War of Heroes.  Here, he does... not that it likely makes a difference to him.
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
 So I'm browsing through the Spanish-language FE site, Fire Emblem Wars of Dragons, in part because their character-recommendation guides are amusing.  Del trio de Jinetes Inutiles is even catchier than "faildins" when it comes to describing Matthis, Vyland, and Roshea, you know?  Then I get to Catria's page and find the Spanish translation of her character ending:

"Su corazon quedo destrozado tras sufrir un amor no correspondido."

In other words, "Her heart was shattered after suffering an unrequited love."  Shattered?  Catria?  Man, I think I prefer the NoA translation on this one.  I don't care which unrequited pairing you support for her, that's just too cruel.  Doesn't really seem to fit her characterization, either.

PS: Spanish translation also claims that Palla's "pure heart" was broken but blames the war specifically.

PPS: I try to review every FE1/2/3/DS 'fic I see on ffnet except the prOn, but I think I have to draw the line at an undead St. Anri perving on Marth.  Just... no.  I'd take something featuring an undead Artemis as a succubus with a side order of Vampire Hunter!Caeda over the 'fic I saw tonight.
mark_asphodel: (Manga Marth)
 Over on my DA journal I keep an archive of TL;DR "Author's Notes," but I literally do not have time for this at present so I'll just natter a bit instead.  "Homecomings" is probably my favorite story to date, and if it had come out in 2009 I might have earmarked it as "most satisfying thing to have bashed out" for the year.  Having it complete also IMO justifies the whole "Unified Kingdom" project, since it is the genesis of the whole project as well as one of the cornerstone episodes.

Anyway, "Homecomings" is set in 647-648, or exactly forty years after the "War of Heroes" in FE3.  An entire postwar generation has come of age and started their own families, and the events of the Great Wars have already taken on a mythical quality for the citizens of Archanea.  The surviving war heroes (and there don't seem to be many) are all around the age of retirement-- the young blood of FE3 has reached the Jagen-Lorenz-Wendell tier of decrepitude (except for Tiki, duh).  Some are still active in public life, but their age is nearly over.  

[I use the "novelization" ages posted on Serenes Forest as my guidebook when it comes to character ages, so year 647 would place Abel as 64, and Catria at 58.  That is essentially the upper limit for playable characters in the Archanea-verse.  Sixty is not the "new forty" in Archanea (unless you're a Light Mage).  These people are old.]    

The 'fic itself relays plenty of details about everyday life and the economy of Altea, which is the primary setting for "Homecomings," but I'd like to mention a few points wrt the "big picture" backdrop of the Unified Kingdom.  
1) The place of women.  Sorry, it's still not a gender-neutral society.  If anything, the disastrous reigns of Nyna and Minerva likely convinced a good chunk of the populace that there are some things women can't do.  This ties into the public opinion of Catria, one of the most visible women in the government.  That said, the role of Elice and Linde in higher education has created an "upper middle class" of educated and cultured ladies, and some other signposts say that gender perceptions are changing for the better.
2) Culture-mixing.  War and upheaval has led to some areas becoming a real "melting pot," and contact with the neighboring continent of Valencia has mixed it up further.
3) Technology.  With the Orbs restored, and Gotoh granting humans access to the fabulous "dragon technology" described in the FE3 designers' notes, life in Archanea is easier than ever.  "Homecomings" shows the beginnings of a system of mass-transit via warp magic, and other 'fics will show more innovations.  Life in 647 is perhaps as far removed from life in 607 as our 1947 was from 1907.  OK, they don't have nuclear weapons yet, but still.... 

Also, one last thing about Abel.  I realize that in our world, knights did not come from the bourgeoisie unless a wealthy merchant was knighted for his services to the economy (or bought himself a knighthood).  I can't see Abel as anything but bourgeois, frankly.  In between his stint as a shop proprietor and his apparent loyalty to Altea as a nation rather than to the royal dynasty (x-ref FEDS script), he seems to be coming from a different place entirely than Cain and the rest of the Temple Knights.  That's how I see him, and that's how I write him.   

That's it for now.  More later.

ETA: Oh, yeah.  I started writing this back in my original Altea-as-England phase and switched to the current Altea-as-Spain phase partway through writing it.  I think there's some traces of the Netherlands in there as well.
mark_asphodel: (Dead Heero)
Dear lord, I'm at it again.

WTF, Mark of the Asphodel?  You haven't even reviewed all your friends' new stuff yet!  Yeah, but I'm going on vacation in a week and expect to be busy thereafter, and I've been working on this since June.  Of 2009, mind you.

It's the story that ballooned into the whole "Tales of the Unified Kingdom" project.  It's also intended as the last in the narrative series-- though still meant as a stand-alone story.  Initially, I figured I'd quickly tire of writing for Fire Emblem, and that this would be my final contribution before signing off.  Well, that didn't happen.

Basically, after writing the dystopic one-shot "The Golden Age," I decided to write a positive projection of life on Archanea after FE3.  A story in which Marth and friends actually succeed in rebuilding their little continent instead of unintentionally causing further suffering to the people.  But this little utopia was merely the backdrop for the final reckoning of one of my very favorite, very screwed-up characters-- Abel, the traitorous Altean paladin.  I got so sucked into the world-building for this one that once I'd more or less finished with "Homecomings," I wanted to use that world-template again, and so the "Tales of the Unified Kingdom" was born.  Then I had to retcon "Homecomings" to accommodate its prequel ("Forsaken"), its side-stories (like "By Any Other Name") and everything else in the queue.

I filed this one under "Spiritual" for a reason, and have more emotional investment in it than possibly anything else I've written-- as much or more than the in would-be epics "To Freely Serve" and when "Mila Walked the Land."  So if people find it incomprehensible, or just plain "not FE anymore," it's entirely my own fault.

Anyway, this is Part One: Guilt.  And this is Part Two: Angel.  It's done!  It's done!

ETA to add that it's DONE!

mark_asphodel: (Ephraim!)
This is the point at which I go off the deep end. Some time back, I threatened to write an FE2/3/8 crossover.  

Well, it has arrived, or at least the first chapter (of ten + epilogue) has.  A word of explanation is perhaps warranted. Basically, I wanted to do something with the whole "dark critter" tie-in between FE2 and FE8.  I toyed around with a couple of ideas before hitting on something that seemed like it would actually work, even if it required a couple of second-generation OCs to be front and center.  Once I hit on a device, a lot of other things-- like the whole "sacred twins" business from FE8 and the dual god/goddess system in FE2-- fell into place from a narrative perspective.

In a nutshell, sixteen-year-old Lord Rudolf (younger son of Alm and Cellica) gets shipped off to Archanea to marry Princess Lara (only child of Marth and Caeda).  Rudolf, who like Mama Cellica has been educated as a Valencian warrior priest, brings with him a retinue that worships the dual gods of Valencia-- Doma the fearsome "Dark God" and his sister Mila the nurturing Earth Goddess.  Shortly thereafter, bizarre undead creatures start popping up in various places around Archanea-- creatures helpfully identified by Catria, a veteran of the great Valencian war, as Doma's trademark critters.  Suspicion of Rudolf and his posse abounds until a human girl who speaks no language known to any of them shows up in the midst of the creatures.  Is this the incarnation of Goddess Mila, returned to earth despite the promise at the end of FE2 that Mila and her sibling will no longer meddle in the affairs of men?  Or is the situation far more complicated and destructive than anyone wants to believe?

There are funny parts to the story, but it is most definitely intended as a serious work, including an examination of the Archanean religious system (such as it is) versus the Valencian one.  And I'll admit right now that the final chapter made me cry, and writing fanfic just doesn't DO that to me usually.  Usually I'm taking too much delight in crafting the scenario to be moved by it myself.

Anyway, give it a chance.  I promise it won't be your standard FE crossover hash.
mark_asphodel: (Dead Heero)
Since I am having a crappy day, here is a pointless list:

Five Signs You Are Reading a Mark of the Asphodel FanFic:

5) Everyone has normal-colored hair

4) Old people

3) Long-haired angst-ridden myrmidon types inexplicably absent

2) Frustrating open endings where nothing is completely resolved and Something Bad is imminent

1) Catria sings
mark_asphodel: (Manga Marth)
Seriously, why is my fanficcing OTP apparently Catria/Marth?  It doesn't happen.  It can't happen.  The amount of canon-warping to make this even possible is tremendous, confining it to the land of utter AUness or sometime well after the games.  And I don't have a problem with that, as I'd rather write about adults than teenagers anyway, but it still calls into question as to why I've latched onto what is, canonically, a teenager's unspoken crush on her superior.  Unspoken-- and unrequited.


mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)

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