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2017-04-27 10:20 am

“Lock of Fate” Chapter Five Commentary

 Overview

While the previous chapter was the true beginning of the story, this chapter is the start of what I call the “tutorial” chapters- where Fusa gets to learn how to not only fight using the Keyblade, but also how to defend herself, what her powers are, etc. Not only that, but this is also when Yen Sid makes a reappearance and the rest of the Three Good Fairies (Flora and Fauna) from Sleeping Beauty (as Merryweather made a small cameo in the Prologue) make their proper debut. Having Yen Sid, a retired Keyblade master from his prime, be Fusa’s mentor for the story is important as he is, in canon of the Kingdom Hearts series, wise and strict but still compassionate. The way that both he and the Three Good Fairies treat Fusa is also important as well- in the Prologue Chapters, Fusa had been in an artificial world and interacting with artificial life until she was ripped out of it by someone that was willing to cause harm to her. In the Tutorial Chapters, however, this changes- now she’s in an organic world and interacting with organic life while under the protection of those that are on the side of Light. However, this is also the first time where we learn as to what Newborn Nobodies are, exactly.

About This Chapter

The chapter starts with Fusa, fresh off of the train (which disappeared at the end of the last chapter), arriving in front of the doors of the Mysterious Tower and thus greeted by the Three Good Fairies before being escorted to meet with Yen Sid. In Yen Sid’s study, he provides exposition to her about the Heartless, Nobodies, Newborn Nobodies, the Keyblade, and the element of Heart with the intention to be her teacher. It is here that Fusa (and to an extent, the readers) learns that there used to be many Newborn Nobodies in the past, but she is the only one to evade the eye of Organization XIII. Once she is ready, Fusa is then escorted by Merryweather to her temporary quarters in the Star Chamber, where she comes across a strange journal on the desk and puts it into her backpack, before being brought out by Flora into the Courtyard to get started on her fighting with the Keyblade. Yen Sid reveals to Fusa about the Health Orbs and Munny that are dropped with each defeat of an enemy as well as himself that he is a retired Keyblade master. Fusa also learns that her own Keyblade has a name- “Gentle Heart”- before wrapping up for now and returning into the Tower to having tea with the Three Good Fairies.
Elsewhere, in the real Twilight Town, DiZ receives news that Fusa made it to the care of Yen Sid.

Fusa’s Sacrificial Outfit

Okay, I must apologize for not talking about this one for the last chapter commentary, but I am going to anyway. In the last chapter, Fusa starts wearing her default outfit for the first time, which is called the “Sacrificial Outfit”. One of the most important things that I wanted to keep in mind when it came time to develop her character was to make her stand out from the usual Kingdom Hearts OC in fanfic, which happens to be what she wears. I had no intentions of putting her in a Black Cloak whatsoever, so I decided to design a new outfit for her. However, I had to tell myself to make the outfit practical and simple by Kingdom Hearts standards but nothing too stale. That meant that I had to avoid the overuse of belts and zippers that Nomura is famously fond of, but still reflective of the series. So I went with the Sacrificial Outfit- consisting only of a zipped-up hooded vest, capri pants, shoes, and a pair of cross-belts on the chest and two sets of bands on the wrists and above the elbows. The design of Fusa’s Sacrificial Outfit is reminescent of a Dusk Nobody’s design (making her a specific type of Newborn Nobody) and it’s also unisex, meaning that this type of design was worn by both male and female Newborn Nobodies of the past. Honestly, I’m proud of the design.

Little Touches

  • I’ve always imagined the Keyblade Star Seeker having been Yen Sid’s Keyblade first before he passed it down to King Mickey. Personal headcanon of mine, though I’m not sure if I am the only one that thought of it this way.
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2017-04-27 10:19 am

“Lock of Fate” Chapter Four Commentary

 I should really keep this updated whenever I have a brain fart, accidental or not. Oh, right! On with this, then.

Overview

Unlike the “prologue” chapters, where they served to simply introduce Fusa and hint of her Heart powers (as well as reveal that she can wield the Keyblade- spoilers for those that were not yet acquainted with the third chapter yet), Chapter Four is where the story really gets started. Specifically, it’s the start of Fusa’s journey into becoming a full-fledged Keyblade wielder with the element of Heart and it’s the first chapter where she is wearing what I would like to call the “Sacrificial Outfit” as her new and current outfit. It’s also where she finally learns that she is a Newborn Nobody.

About This Chapter

This chapter opens up in an abandoned apartment building in the real Twilight Town just outside of the entrance to the Woods (and subsequently where the Old Mansion is located) where Fusa regains consciousness and properly meets Axel for the first time. She receives the news that she’s really a Newborn Nobody and destined to have no identity soon. Of course, as she still has that first real memory of having “friends” in the Digital Twilight Town- the one memory that the Dusks did not remove from her mind- Fusa refuses to believe this, but Axel gives her the harsh reality that the Twilight Town that she thought that she was living in was fake all along. Before he leaves to try and get Roxas from the Old Mansion, Axel tells Fusa that there’s an outfit for her to wear for when they leave to the World That Never Was. Fusa does get dressed in this outfit- the Sacrificial Outfit as mentioned in the Overview above- but rather than wait for Axel to return, she takes her backpack, breaks out of the apartment building, and makes a run for it while not looking back. She does make it to the Usual Spot… only to discover, much to her dismay, that Axel was right all along and that she never did have friends in there. So, not wanting to stay in Twilight Town any longer (and presumably get caught), Fusa tells the trio that she needs to go to the Train Station and they help escort her there. After a run-in with a few Dusks with one of them destroyed by the summoned Keyblade, Fusa gets a ticket to the closest train leaving the station- conveniently the one leaving for the Mysterious Tower as we would find out- and unhappily bids the trio farewell while they figure out what was up with her.
The end of the chapter brings Fusa to the Mysterious Tower as she arrives and disembarks off of the train before it disappears.

In the timeline for “Kingdom Hearts II”, this would be Day 3 in the prologue itself.

2nd Trace of the Earliest Attempt

Much like in the previous chapter, this also appeared in the earliest time as the poorly disguised self-insert, but not in the way that you think. Just like at the start, the main female Nobody did wake up in an apartment building with Axel waiting in the room and later on, he left to get Roxas back. However, it proceeded very differently:

  • Whereas Fusa reacted with shock, even denial, that she doesn’t really have friends and would have to become a Lesser Nobody, the main female Nobody just cries over this sudden revelation.
  • In this story, Axel reacted rather coldly and a tad bit hostile towards Fusa. In the earliest attempts, he hugs the female Nobody- either out of pity that he “felt” the same way or because… honestly, I can’t recall.
  • Whereas Fusa gets dressed and escapes without looking back, the main female Nobody stays in the room even after Axel returned. Upon learning that he would be punished himself by becoming a Dusk if he didn’t get Roxas back, the female Nobody gives Axel a hug in return… only to find out that he has no heartbeat. (Okay, I must admit that the timeline is very wonky in hindsight. Changing this from Day 6 in the Prologue to Day 3 was the best thing to do, honestly).

Characters Introduced

  • Axel: Okay, technically not the chapter where he’s not introduced in, but this is the first time where Fusa (and the readers) is properly introduced to him. While he has the usual characteristics that fans have grown to love about him, I had to add in a little layer to him. As we come to find out later on in the story, Organization XIII have a bit of a prejudice towards Newborn Nobodies, looking down on them as “inferior” and nothing worth noting anything. So for Axel to become rather cold towards Fusa is because of this. But even then, he still has that character development brought over from “358/2 Days”, hence why he’s also a little laid-back towards her as well.

 

Little Touches

  • Personal favorite of mine, but still worth mentioning: Fusa copying Axel’s gesture when he did his iconic “Got it memorized?” while introducing himself to her. This was one detail that I actually liked from the earliest attempt and decided to carry it over to here.
  • In the earliest attempt, I had given the implication that Axel had been residing in the apartment building for quite a while, presumably planning out what to do when trying to capture Roxas for the organization. On the desk where the picture frame was (the one that Fusa used to break the window and bust out of here) would have been a framed photo of himself and Roxas- with a curiously large space in between them- as well as the “Winner” stick.
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2017-04-27 10:17 am

“Lock of Fate” Chapter Three Commentary

 Overview

Although this is a rather short chapter, something that I am not very proud of, this chapter is where things go off the rails very quickly. Because I wanted to spare my readers the boredom that is the tutorial prologue nonsense in the original “Kingdom Hearts II” game, I chose to cut the amount of days spent in the Digital Twilight Town in half just to get to the point. As a result, the previous two chapters and this chapter itself ended up as being the unofficial “prologue” chapters version 2.0 following the actual prologue chapter.

About This Chapter

In this chapter, whereas the previous two chapters introduced Fusa and what her personality is going to be like, we see that Fusa is still reeling from the previous day’s little “incident” but is looking forward to going to the beach with the Usual Spot gang (as well as inviting Vivi along for the ride). So while the trio is getting a loan from their parents (novel idea– the Usual Spot trio having parents! Who’da thunk it?), Fusa is getting some sea-salt ice cream for herself, her “friends”, and Vivi. But things do not go so well when Axel, here unnamed again, makes his appearance again and brings along Dusks and his Assassins to capture her. This is also where Fusa summons her Keyblade for the first time, but whereas your typical “Kingdom Hearts” character would immediately know what to do and fight about back, she doesn’t and thus turn tail and run. Nonetheless, she is captured and taken out of the Digital Twilight Town by Axel, leaving the rather shocked DiZ to change his plans for Roxas. Elsewhere, Max Goof and Gremlin Gus arrive to Traverse Town on the Gummi Excalibur.

In the timeline for “Kingdom Hearts II”, this would be during Day 2 in the prologue itself.

1st Trace of the Earliest Attempt

During its earliest time as the poorly disguised self-insert, there was going to be a moment where, while in the Digital Twilight Town, the main female Nobody was discovered by Axel and promptly knocked out before being removed from the recreation. While the details are vastly different, mostly because this happened during the 6th day, the core concept is unchanged.

The Cutting Room Floor

Originally, I was going to add a detail where Fusa’s outfit phases through the wall and cause her to get confused by this, tipping her off that there is something going on. However, this would have disrupted the flow of the scene, so it was scrapped.

Little Touches

  • The moment where Fusa gets sea salt ice cream (and drops it) is also based off the Kingdom Hearts II manga, though in this case, it’s out of fear than sadness.
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2017-04-27 10:15 am

“Lock of Fate” Chapter Two Commentary

 Overview

If there’s one thing that I wasn’t exactly sure about doing, it was making a recreation of a scene that fans have already witnessed. I was worried that some people would accuse me to being a hack, so I had to be very careful with what I had to recreate and what I had to change. Do I feel proud with the result? Honestly, I’m trying to figure that one as well. Am I relieved to get it out of the way as quickly as I could? Oh yes!

About This Chapter

Unlike Chapter 1, where it focused on introducing Fusa as a character and what her personality is like at the start, this is where we’re going to focus on how she handles odd jobs when given to her. What DiZ wanted to do was to test her skills now that the Dusk Nobodies are gone for now, something that’s going to come back later. These skills not only involve how she handles criticism, but also other people being nice to her as well. He even mentions this as “enrichment” for her, akin to zoos and how trainers will give animals activities for treats as part of enrichment. I would view this as a filler chapter, except there are a few concepts that are brought up: the first is that of the leak that Riku accidentally created when he took on Vivi’s form as a way to interact with Fusa, causing data of the Digital Twilight Town that Roxas is in to bleed into the one that Fusa is in as a glitch. This results in Fusa questioning as to who Roxas is despite never even meeting him. The second concept is that of what the Newborn Nobodies are like as DiZ described them as not too bright, but not too dim either.
This is also the first and only time where Fusa interacts with Riku (although she is unaware of this) as he was taking the form of Vivi in the world.
The end of the chapter also sought the first appearance of Axel as well, sent by Organization XIII to bring Roxas back to them. Of course, he’s also given an update about this Newborn Nobody as well.

This chapter takes place during Day 1 of Roxas’s time in his own Digital Twilight Town.

The Beach Trip That Almost Was

Like in “KHII”, a beach trip was planned out but never came into fruition. Whereas the excuse in “KHII” being that DiZ didn’t want to open up a new area at the risk of creating an exposed entrance for the Nobodies to try and get Roxas, the beach area for Fusa was actually created as part of her “enrichment” inside of her Digital Twilight Town. This was intended for her to not only get used to the sight of what would be outside of the town, but also to help improve her interactions around other people. Models of Hayner, Pence, and Olette, as well as some exclusive characters created specifically for the beach area, would have made an appearance along with what would have been a beach outfit for Fusa, as DiZ designed the beach outfit to be an old-timey swimsuit akin to the 1920’s to make her feel comfortable. As she has failed to reach to 5000 munny in doing odd jobs in the simulation, DiZ decided to go with an alternative and give her what the group made.

Little Touches

  • This is the first time where Fusa’s Heart powers are mentioned, though not outright stated. It would not be until Chapter 5 where this power is revealed and explained.
  • The scene where Axel makes his first appearance on top of the Twilight Town clock tower is based off of the Kingdom Hearts II manga, where he makes an early appearance there.
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2017-04-27 10:14 am

“Lock of Fate” Chapter One Commentary

 Overview

With the prologue out of the way, the story starts off in Digital Twilight Town much like “Kingdom Hearts II” did with its prologue (don’t worry, I wasn’t planning on going to 6 days like in the game). It is with this start, however, that the protagonist of the story, the original character Fusa, is introduced here. The Digital Twilight Town that Fusa was in from this chapter to Chapter 3 is not the same as Roxas’s Digital Twilight Town from “KHII” despite otherwise. I say this because, in correspondence with “358/2 Days”, Roxas was in The World That Never Was fighting Riku so the Digital Twilight Town that he would be in had not been created yet.

About This Chapter

Chapter 1 opens with the Newborn Nobody, whose name we come to find out is named Fusa, waking up for the first time with implanted memories inside of her head created by DiZ and then meeting with her “friends”– digital recreations of Hayner, Pence, and Olette like in “KHII”. Although the scene plays out almost word-for-word like in the infamous prologue of “KHII”, it shifts to a different tone when Fusa refuses to combat Seifer when she was challenged to at the Sandlot. We get our first glimpse of the Dusk Nobodies as well, something that is going to be brought up again in future chapters. The chapter concludes with a return to Disney Castle, where Max Goof and Gremlin Gus board the Gummi Excalibur.

One thing to note is that this is takes place on the very tail end of “Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days” before Roxas is captured and taken to Twilight Town.

Characters Introduced

  • Fusa: Although the Prologue was the first time we get to see her, this is the first time that we’re properly introduced to Fusa herself, name and all. Although we the readers know that she is a Newborn Nobody, she herself does not so she is left completely in the dark about what she really is. This is going to play a major role in later chapters where, unlike the Fusa that is presented here, she would become aware as to what she is. I say this because Fusa, as evidenced in the chapter and up until she gets to Mysterious Tower, not only lacks the proper skills to combat, but also to defend herself. Now the justification in the story is that she is pacifist and doesn’t believe in fighting at all. That’s only half of the truth– in reality, it wasn’t just her pacifism that holds her back from combating Seifer, but it was also her severe inexperience as well. This is going to be a prime example of how far she’s come since her first appearance.

Development of Fusa

Fusa’s character, as best as I can describe it, did not come easily even after the original story was retooled. One of the extremely major changes had to come to the protagonist herself. Even after becoming more of a character and less of a self-insert, I needed to play around with concepts and ideas that would work of her. One such concept would be that of the usage of the protagonist using a video game controller as a way to control her enemies into fighting each other. While the concept itself was cool, I realized that some readers would take it the wrong way and accuse the female protagonist of not doing anything to actually fight and be active. So it was scrapped, but not entirely; while constructing Fusa, the concept of enemies being controlled was kept and tweaked so that it would be part of her Heart powers.
When it came time to design what Fusa would look like, I decided to try something different. Her beta appearance had shoulder-length light brown hair, but this was changed to a dark blonde hair in a ponytail and then to a platinum blonde in a single braid, which became the final hairstyle. Then I had to change her eye color. Rather than give her the usual blue eyes that are common with the “Kingdom Hearts” protagonists to signify that they were the heroes of the story (though with Riku and Kairi, their eyes are respectively blue-green and violet-blue, but you get the point, right?), I decided to give her light pink eyes to connect her to her Heart powers. Once we get to her outfit, then I’ll go into more detail about it.
Then there was her Heart powers, but I will get to that as we don’t see them yet.

The Cutting Room Floor

In the earliest form of the story, the 1st person POV romance crap (pardon my French), the two Digital Twilight Towns were going to be one with beta-Fusa is in it alongside of Roxas as a way for her to interact with another Nobody before he would be reunited with Sora again. As to what her fate would have been once Roxas is absorbed back into Sora, I really haven’t figured that out to be honest. Well, nevertheless, this was scrapped as a way to keep these two characters separate.

Also, there was going to be a scene between the Dusk Nobodies that chased after Fusa where they asked each other non-verbally if what they are doing is the right thing before concluding that it’s the only thing that they must do in order to remain alive. This was intended to foreshadow as to what they used to be, but then I realized that it would have disrupted the flow of the scene, so it had to be cut.

Little Touches

  • The drawings in Fusa’s room were recreated from scratch as part of the data in her Digital Twilight Town as Fusa doesn’t really draw. The cat toy she brings along, however, is real and is going to be used again. The justification for the cat toy, or at least in the digital recreation, is that she used to have a pet cat as a child and is keeping the cat toy as safekeeping.
  • At first, I realized that no one in Digital Twilight Town seem to realize that Fusa has light pink eyes. Then I realized that, since DiZ created the digital version of this world, it’s programmed that way. Huh.
  • The voice that says “Mere figments of the mind” twice at the beginning neither belong to DiZ nor Fusa. This is going to come into play later on.
  • This is the only time where the Dusk Nobodies “speak” to Fusa where they call her “sister” as opposed to “liege” when the Dusk Nobody encountered Roxas in “KHII”.
    Fusa’s physical age is noted to be 14 years old when her actual age mentally is more or less way younger than expected. This really makes her the younger member of the Usual Spot gang in the recreation.
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2017-04-27 10:12 am

“Lock of Fate” Prologue Commentary

 Overview

I’ve read somewhere that a prologue’s purpose is to bring in material that an author would use in the opening of the story as an out of time sequence with the rest of said story. However, it’s also a way to both establish the setting and the context as well. I know I could have made the prologue here simply “Chapter 1”, but that’s the thing: if there was anything that I didn’t want to do, it’s confuse the reader if I jumped in without looking in the water first. Believe it or not, the story had bit of a long history, so to speak.

Earliest Development & Retool

Believe it or not, I’ve had a hard time finding the right footing to make the story as believable as possible or at least told properly. In fact, earlier attempts at a “Kingdom Hearts” fanfiction were drastically different than the one that I came up with. The earliest attempt was that of a 1st person POV romance story where the protagonist, a Nobody version of a self-insert, falls in love with Axel of Organization XIII. Yes, I was a teenager at that time and well into my high school year. As you can imagine, I became (and still am, believe it or not) embarrassed by what could have been. Yet, in an odd way, it was also the first time where the concepts of Newborn Nobody, Heart powers, and the like came from. So when I returned to the story, I decided to retool it as an action-fantasy taking place in the 3rd person POV, but the concepts were preserved and eventually placed into the story with a bigger focus. The poorly disguised self-insert also went through major retooling as well, as she was originally a Newborn Nobody in Organization XIII in the earliest story itself that wield twin scimitars as her weapons (which tied into her original Element, which was Sand).

Then there was the development of the story itself. That’s when I decided to write down a few sentences as an idea of how to actually introduce the story properly. I tried doing a 1st person POV at the start, but then I realized that it doesn’t work well. So I figured that I would try a 3rd person POV instead, which actually worked better than I expected it.

About This Chapter

In the prologue of the story, there are things that are established: first off would be Yen Sid’s involvement in the story as he would be assigned to teach the “Newborn Nobody” that Mickey mentions in a letter to him. Next is Max Goof, Goofy’s son and here a Royal Knight of Disney Castle, and Gremlin Gus (of the abandoned The Gremlins Disney project and eventually Epic Mickey), a multitasking leader of his fellow Gremlins, Gummi pilot, technician, and journal writer of Disney Castle as well as their motivations on going on the journey. Then we go to Twilight Town in the Old Mansion where DiZ (aka Ansem the Wise– spoilers!) and Riku discuss not only Roxas’s whereabouts, but also the status of the Newborn Nobody. Finally, we get our first sample of the Newborn Nobody: our protagonist Fusa. I say “sample” as, unlike the rest of the story, she doesn’t do anything in the prologue.

Now with all of this in mind, this story does take place within the majority of “Kingdom Hearts II”, but for the prologue and Chapter 1, it’s close to the end of “Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days”. I forgot which day, per say, but definitely to the end of “358/2 Days”.

Characters Introduced

  • Max Goof: While the idea for Max Goof making an appearance in fanworks of the series is nothing new, nor is the idea of him using a Shield like his father as well, the challenge of actually putting Max in the story is actually what drives him to be in the story. Late into development of the prologue, which was in the wake of my dad’s own passing in May 2013, I decided to give him a motivation: he wants to bring his dad back home to Disney Castle. The reason why was that, pre-2012 me would be embarrassed by my dad’s own antics but I still cared about him much like how Max would feel embarrassed by Goofy’s antics but still care about him no matter what. Now hypothetically speaking, if Max was in the actual game series, what would Max go through as his father was asleep for a year? I figured that not only would Max miss his father, but also feel worried for his well-being as well, so he decides to go out to find Goofy even if he has to accompany someone else in the same time.
  • Gremlin Gus: Unlike Max, who wants to bring his father home, Gus has a different motivation– he wants to repay a debt to the King for saving him and his fellow kind from the Darkness as well as provide them a new home in Disney Castle. I’ve always had this idea that where, as the Heartless Invasion happened, Mickey would not just practice his power as Keyblade Master, but also practice his power as a king as well. So when the Gremlins lost their home in the invasion, he gave them a new home in the form of Disney Castle with a near-perfect replica of their Gremlin village in a large area of the actual World as a way for them to both start over and pick up where they left off. As a result of this act, Gus is thankful of the King’s actions and feels that he must repay Mickey for his kindness by going on the journey with the Newborn Nobody.

The Cutting Room Floor

Originally, I was going to extend Fusa’s scene a little further by having her feature a difficult time attempting to stand on her legs and taking her first steps before she woke up in the Digital Twilight Town. However, I realized that it would drag a little too long for the readers to handle, so it was scrapped. Maybe one day, it’ll make an appearance, but I make no promises.

Also, the scene where DiZ makes an appearance in the chapter was originally going to be the first scene and was written differently. However, this was changed to build up the reveal of Fusa, so the scenes with Yen Sid and Disney Castle were written to provide the build up.

Little Touches

  • This is the only time where Fusa, unnamed and non-speaking here, has her hair completely down instead of her now usual single braid as featured in the story. It’s also the first and only time where her own Dive to the Heart is featured, but not the way that you think it looks like.
  • Riku makes an appearance in the prologue in his blindfolded state like in “358/2 Days”, making this the only time that we get to see him in this state.
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2017-04-27 10:10 am

"Kingdom Hearts: Lock of Fate" Commentary Introduction

 Almost four years ago, I started developing a Kingdom Hearts fanfiction at the tail end of my senior year in high school and while my dad was going through brain cancer. Although I was a fan of the game series and still am, I had never gotten around to make a proper story centered around it even as early as 2009. Cue June 28th, 2013 and I uploaded the first chapters of that fanfiction, officially called "Kingdom Hearts: Lock of Fate", onto Fanfiction.net.

Now four years later, I'm going to be nice and not only look into what went on for the chapters, but also reveal small tidbits and almost what could have been. I had originally done this on Livejournal, but stuff happened and I'm moving the commentary onto here due to the stuff that happened.

Keep in mind that there's only 19 chapters and a prologue, so the number is going to change over time. Not only that, but I am also going to be posting non-commentary stuff as well. With that out of the way, let's get started.