Light Novel: Fate/Apocrypha

Her dream would end, and reality would show itself. However, it had not yet ended. Indeed, the girl's dream had come to an end, but that of La Pucelle would start from then. note 
In the name of Jeanne d'Arc, I command thee, fourteen Servants.

Fate/Apocrypha is a Light Novel written by Yuichiro Higashide and illustrated by Konoe Ototsugu set in the Fate/stay night universe. It was originally conceived as a joint-project MMORPG by Type-Moon, with the help of several other authors and artists like Gen Urobuchi, but has since been canceled. The concept has been revived as a five-part Light Novel, with two previews published in the Type-Moon Ace magazine. The full first novel was released at Comiket on 29 December 2012. The second novel was released on the 15th of August, 2013. The third volume was released on December 29, 2013. The fourth volume was released on May 30, 2014. The fifth and final volume was released on December 30, 2014.

The story takes place in an Alternate Timeline where the Grail System was stolen and rebuilt in Trifas, Transylvania. This Holy Grail War is fundamentally different from the Fuyuki original as seen in Fate/zero and Fate/stay night. For one, there are now fourteen Servants summoned by the Grail on two teams, Red and Black, with seven Servants each. The war is now also being presided over by a Servant, Jeanne d'Arc, a Ruler-class Servant. And finally, each Master seems to need their own vessel to summon the Holy Grail.

Fate/Apocrypha provides examples of:

  • Abnormal Ammo: Kairi has a shotgun that fires human fingers. Justified, since he's a necromancer.
  • The Alliance: Yggdmillennia is actually a collection of new, dying, and weak clans taken in under one banner, with the middle name indicating which clan that member originally descended from. Even their crest isn't unified.
  • All Myths Are True: Mostly played straight, although there are a few deviations. For example, Vlad III was most certainly not an actual vampire during his lifetime.
  • All There in the Manual: A lot of the information about the Servants will come from the Fate/Complete Material IV guidebook rather than the actual novel.
  • Alternate Timeline: In this story, after the Holy Grail was stolen from Fuyuki following the third Holy Grail War by the Yggdmillennia it could no longer be held there, but in Transylvania. So the events of Fate/Zero and Fate/stay night never occurred as they should have. However, In Spite of a Nail, Waver is Lord El-Melloi II.
    • In addition there are numerous Holy Grail Wars fought over the world since the theft of the original grail, the only difference being that the Romania Leyline is better than most, allowing the summoning of 14 Servants rather than less than 7, and capable of reaching the Root.
    • And the original summon catalysts for the usual Fate/stay night and Fate/Zero have been lost since once the information of the war spread they were stolen and passed around until no one knew where they were.
  • Anyone Can Die: There is little doubt that we will be seeing a lot of Servants die, now that there are 15 of them in total. (And probably some of the Masters will kick the bucket too)
    • As of the third volume: Black Saber, Black Lancer, Black Berserker, Black Caster and Red Berserker have all fallen, and on the Masters' side of things, Roche, Darnic and Celenike. There is a slight chance for Black Berserker to respawn through Blasted Tree's secondary effect. In addition, although Siegfried had been Killed Off for Real, the Homunculus can take on his form for three minutes each time a Command Seal is used.
  • Artifact of Doom: The Holy Grail, naturally.
  • Artistic License: Abused to the highest degree with the Servant designs, but most obviously, Jack the Ripper is a young, skimpily-dressed teenage girl.
  • Badass: Essentially everyone, really. However, a few Servants are noted within the story to be particularly stronger than the rest:
    • Red Lancer is one of the two Servants within the Red Faction that Shirou Kotomine considers above the rest. And it's not hard to see why, really. Being covered by an armour of invincibility, having an Anti-Army and Anti-Country Noble Phantasm that can never miss, and having access to what could be the strongest Noble Phantasm in the franchise, Vasavi Shakti. In addition, he is physically incapable of being fooled or deceived.
    • Red Rider is the other of the two Servants that Shirou Kotomine considers above the rest. Although not much is known about him, his parameters are above the standard, and he has an extremely broken ability that makes him effectively immune to any Servant that does not possess a Divine attribute. In theory, if not for the presence of Chiron, he could literally defeat the entire Black Faction on his own.
    • Black Lancer is considered the strongest Servant in the Black Faction, having received a massive power boost due to the fact that the Holy Grail War is taking place at where his legend originated from. He is also capable of adding another layer of Home Field Advantage through the Demonic Defender of the State, boosting his parameters even further. As if those two power boosts weren't enough, he even has the ability to change his form into a vampire, boosting his already high parameters to truly absurd heights.
    • Black Saber is considered to be the second strongest Servant in the Black Faction, being a renowned warrior during his lifetime and having defeated a rather powerful dragon. He is completely immune to any form of attack that isn't of at least A-Rank power, and even A-Rank strikes can end up as mere scratches on him. In addition, his Noble Phantasm Balmung is implied to be extremely powerful, as a weakened version of it, used by the Homunculus, was able to nearly defeat Mordred's Clarent Blood Arthur.
    • By the second volume, Shirou Kotomine firmly plants himself within this territory, both feat-wise and intellectually. Despite Masters not being expected to have the strength or magical prowess to ever take on Servants, Shirou completely wiped the floor with Black Lancer and obliterated him. This was done through forcing Lancer off his Home Field Advantage and exploiting Legend of Dracula's heightened weakness to holy symbols. It also later turns out that "Shirou Kotomine" is actually Amakusa Shiro Tokisada, the Ruler Servant of the third Holy Grail War.
  • Badass Cape: Siegfried, Shirou Kotomine, Astolfo and Karna. Darnic may also count.
  • Badass Family: The Yggdmillenia, although they aren't actually related by blood, except for Fiore and Caules.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: The Yggdmillenia are all dressed in Renaissance-ish white military uniforms.
  • Big Bad: Shirou Kotomine.
  • Black and Gray Morality: Neither Shirou Kotomine nor Darnic Yggdmillenia seem particularly moral.
  • Blood Knight: A lot of heroes happen to enjoy fighting, which is partly why they are so good at it. Of note are the two Nigh Invulnerable Servants, Rider of Red and Saber of Black, who get excited when fighting someone who can injure them due to being bored of never being in danger.
  • The Cameo: Waver Velvet of Fate/Zero makes a brief appearance.
  • Cliff Hanger: During the battle between Red Saber (Mordred) and the Homunculus, we never actually see Mordred dealing the final blow. (Only moving in to do so) This leaves a slight chance that something might happen to save the Homunculus from his near-inevitable execution.
    • And it turns out that the Homunculus managed to survive that encounter when we finally catch up in the second volume.
  • Crazy-Prepared: The Yggdmillenia, although Darnic Prestone in particular really counts. Rather justified, considering that he's been preparing ever since the Third Holy Grail War. That's 70 years worth of preparation, folks.
    • Despite all that planning, "Shirou Kotomine" manages to outsmart and murder Darnic by the end of the second volume. It helps that Shirou had been around for almost as long as Darnic, and was probably even more prepared than him.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: By the end of the second volume, the Red Faction is in an overwhelmingly favorable position: The Black Faction had lost their two strongest Servants (Siegfried and Vlad III) as well as their Berserker (Frankenstein). They only have four Servants left, although Black Assassin had essentially defected after being attacked by Fiore Yggdmillenia. On the other hand, although the Red Faction has lost their Berserker, all of their other Servants are in perfect condition and they even have a bonus Ruler Servant (In the form of Amakusa Shirou) on their side. This means that the Red Faction is sitting at seven total Servants, compared to the four (Or three, if you don't count Black Assassin) that the Black Faction has.
    • Rider of Red wipes the floor with Berserker and Saber of Black, since they can't even actually hurt him.
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap: Caster of Red can One-Hit KO anyone who's parameters are lower than his, which would a lot more useful if his parameters weren't abysmal.
  • Expy:
    • As with most of the franchise, Fate/Apocrypha features a Saber that references Arturia. In this case, Mordred, Arturia's son (actually daughter) makes an appearance as one of the Sabers. Jeanne d'Arc, who Arturia was compared to in both Fate/stay night and Fate/Zero, is also present.
    • One of the Masters is called Shirou, has white hair and somewhat tan skin, and wears a red shroud similar to that of stay night Archer's.
  • Flash Forward: The novel begins with a battle between Red Saber (Mordred) and Black Saber (Siegfried), something that has yet to actually happen by the end of the book. It later turns out that the Homunculus was the one fighting Mordred, and that the real Siegfried had died by that point.
  • Functional Magic: The novel makes use of the traditional Nasuverse-style magic rules.
  • Gender Flip: As per the Fate series' tradition, some of the Servants are gender swapped versions of mythological and historical figures. In this case we have Frankenstein's Monster and Mordred, Arturia's "son", with Jack the Ripper being a borderline case since even now the real Jack the Ripper's gender is occasionally called into question. Astolfo, on the other hand, isn't gender-flipped despite what you might think.
  • Halfway Plot Switch: At first, the story seems set for a great struggle between Yggdmillenia and the Magus Association. By the end of Volume 2 and essentially confirmed in Volume 3, the true struggle is in fact between the Servants who have sided with either of the two Ruler-class Servants, Jeanne d'Arc and Shirou Kotomine.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Kairi uses human fingers as bullets and hearts filled with teeth as grenades. We're not kidding.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Let's see... We have 14 Masters, 15 Servants, several named characters at the Magus Association, and the Homunculus that the Yggdmillenia keeps. This is all only within the first book, mind you. Getting the number of characters down to a manageable number is a likely out-of-universe reason for Shirou Kotomine's plot to brainwash the other Red masters into handing over their Servants.
  • Logical Weakness: As Archer of Black lampshades, no matter the measures a Servant takes, it's pretty much impossible to hide your true identity from someone who knew you in life.
  • Mundane Utility: In addition to all his amazing talents, Black Caster can also make the equivalent of a magical television from the flame of a brazier, from which the Black Team observes Kairi and Mordred's fight with one of their patrols.
  • Nigh Invulnerable: All over the place, really. To list the three most major cases:
    • First, we have Siegfried, who bathed in the blood of a dragon, and is completely invulnerable to any attack that isn't of at least A-Rank power. (And even A-Rank skills usually end up being nothing to him) The only way to get around this is to aim for the small leaf-shaped mark on his back.
    • Next, we have Achilles, who cannot be harmed by any Servant that doesn't possess a Divine attribute. This is extremely broken, as there is no guarantee that a Servant with a Divine attribute will be summoned in the Holy Grail War. Luckily for the Black Faction, they have Chiron within their ranks. (And if they didn't, there is basically nothing the Black Faction can do to stop Achilles from wiping all of their Servants out)
    • Then, we have Karna, who possesses an invincible armor that even gods would have difficulty in destroying. It reduces any damage (physical or conceptual) to a tenth of its original value. In addition, in the original myth, it granted complete immortality to Karna, although it is unknown if this feature is carried over into the Fate/Apocrypha continuity. If it does, Karna is Story-Breaker Power incarnate. And considering that the armor was best known for granting immortality, the odds are in Karna's favour.
  • Obvious Beta: Looking over the various half-finished and hilariously broken Servants listed, it's clear that this was a project that was abandoned halfway through development. The Light Novel has taken some steps to remove this by replacing or altering characters or skills.
  • One-Hit Kill: Black Assassin's Maria the Ripper is capable of this, although only under some rather specific circumstances. First, the target must be female. Second, the skill must be activated during night time. Third, there needs to be a dense enough mist covering the vicinity.
    • Red Caster is also capable of this through First Folio, although it only works against opponents that are weaker than him. Considering that his stats are rather abysmal compared to other Servants, it is unlikely that this would work against any of the Servants from the Black Faction.
    • Red Lancer possesses an Anti-God Phantasm that will most certainly kill any Servant that becomes a target of it. However, it can only be used once, and he must permanently sacrifice his armour of invincibility in order to activate it.
  • Our Homunculi Are Different: The Black Faction has a noteworthy amount of Homunculi in their ranks. They serve as a mana source for the Servants, and also act as sentries alongside the Golems made by Black Caster.
    • Red Saber (Mordred) herself is a Homunculus, albeit a rather special one that's more like a Designer Baby. She was noticeably unnerved when she first saw some of the Black Faction's Homunculi.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Gordes ordered Siegfried to never speak, to conceal his identity, and Siegfried nodded in agreement. Gordes saw the nod as "your will be done, master" while Siegfried meant it more as "sure, why not?". The narration notes that this misunderstanding is going to become a big factor in the future.
    • It does, Gordes arrogantly assumes that Siegfried is merely a tool at his disposal, and this arrogance causes him to not only waste two command spells and nearly expose Siegfried's Noble Phantasm so early in the war, but it causes Siegfried to act on his own to save the Homunculus's life at the cost of his own.
  • Power Trio: Shirou Kotomine, Shakespeare and Semiramis
  • Quality Over Quantity: Inverted for the Yggdmillennia. They are stated to favor quantity over quality in terms of their magi and their homunculi.
  • Quantity vs. Quality: The Yggdmillennia are Quantity while the group gathered by the Clocktower are Quality.
  • Red Baron: Fate/complete material gives one to each of the planned game's original 14 Servants. Whether or not they will show up in the novel is unclear, but until that point Chiron, Avicebron, Mordred, and Achilles have no badass titles.
  • Superpower Lottery: Even for Servant standards, Karna, Achilles, Siegfried, Vlad III and Shakespeare have absolutely absurd abilities and Noble Phantasms. Atalanta may also fit under this considering her staggering number of Noble Phantasms and skills, but she has yet to take center stage.
  • Story-Breaker Power: In the second volume, we see the true extent of just how overpowered Karna can be: Despite the story going to great lengths to describe just how powerful Vlad III had become thanks to the Holy Grail War's location and the Demonic Defender of the State, Karna was still able to overpower Vlad III for the majority of their match without bothering to use Brahmastra or Vasavi Shakti. Even when Vlad III bypassed the effects of Karna's legendary armour by skewering him from the inside of his body, Karna merely shrugged it off and incinerated the stakes that were within his body.
    • Vlad III's vampire form also demonstrates this trope, where it is shown that he is able to take on six Servants at the same time without showing signs of losing. This is despite the fact that Vlad III had just lost his double-layered Home Field Advantage and that the six Servants were empowered by Jeanne herself. One can only imagine how powerful Vlad III's vampire form might have been had he retained both layers of his Home Field Advantage.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Mordred demonstrates this in at least one instance, during the fight against the sentry golems and homunculi just outside Yggdmillenia territory.
  • White Hair, Black Heart: Black Assassin (Jack the Ripper) and Shirou Kotomine both certainly count as this.
    • Subverted with Black Saber (Siegfried) and Red Lancer (Karna) in that while both of them are certainly noble characters, they have the unfortunate luck to serve a morally ambiguous Master. (Gordes Yggdmillenia and Shirou Kotomine respectively).
  • The Worf Effect: Despite the unfathomable power that Black Lancer wields, and the fact that he was the Black Faction's trump card, he is taken out relatively early in the story by Amakusa Shirou. It wasn't even a decent battle: He was attempting to reach the Grail and prematurely activate it after Shirou deliberately cut the mana connection to the other Red Servants to make Darnic!Vlad make a break for the Grail, only for Shirou to annihilate him with Black Keys and the Bastismal Sacrament.
  • World of Badass: This is the Nasuverse we're talking about.
  • Worthy Opponent: After their first encounter, Red Lancer (Karna) and Black Saber (Siegfried) consider each other as this. They hope to a have a rematch in the future, which is rather tragic as Siegfried would later go on to perform a Heroic Sacrifice and thus miss any opportunity to battle Karna again. On the other hand, said result of that sacrifice, Sieg, eventually does do battle with Karna one last time.

Alternative Title(s):

Fate Apocrypha