Spoiler warning: This page contains spoilers for all works within the Nasuverse.
Functional Magic in the Nasuverse
This is a dissection of the Functional Magic tropes used within the Nasuverse.
The Akashic Records (The Origin)
The Akashic Records serves as a repository of all information within existence. It is fundamentally the source of all magic within the Nasuverse and encompasses the following phenomena as well:
- Evil Eye: The Mystic Eyes of Death Perception of Shiki Ryougi derives its power from knowing the perceived "death" of an object, manifesting itself in the form of lines and dots. By cutting through those lines and dots, Shiki can actualize the death of any object. Extending this, Shiki's connection to the Akashic Records allows her to actually reshape the world by cutting through its lines.
- The Nothing After Death: Once a person dies, their soul is returned to the Origin to be recycled as "raw materials".
- Genetic Memory: The Origin is a "chaotic impulse" which drives the force of one's existence, nothing more than the basest instinct of a living being. This chaotic impulse accumulates through several reincarnations, existing as an instinct inherent to the person, but it's not necessarily something to be followed.
By being awakened to one's origin, the person becomes overtaken by this chaotic impulse, causing the person to constantly follow this Origin. This also causes the person to gain powers close to their own Origin. Lio Shirazumi of Kara no Kyoukai is an example of this—after being awakened to his Origin of "consumption", he gains a weak Healing Factor and gives him skills that only a predator can have.
- Gaia's Vengeance, Sentient Cosmic Force: The Counter Force. Of course, something as powerful as the Akashic Records needs something to protect it. This also encompasses the Throne of Heroes where all legendary heroes are stored once they die in order for them to return when humanity needs them. The Counter Force swings in alignment to two forces: "Gaia", the will of the planet, and "Alaya", the collective will of humanity. If either one is threatened, the Counter Force will attempt to destroy anything which does not conform to this.
- Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: A person can make a contract with The World to become a Counter Guardian, essentially allowing one to ascend to the Throne of Heroes in order to be able to protect humanity. This isn't as pretty as it sounds, as evidenced by Archer and Saber in Fate/stay night, since this involves being called into all instances where humanity and/or the world is close to destruction, and essentially destroying all forces involved with the destruction, including humans themselves.
The Akashic Records itself is a MacGuffin for all magi. It is the goal which all magi seek. Some have actually reached it, but are overtaken by the void itself and can never return. There are various ways of reaching the Origin; most of them involving the concept of Aristotle's hierarchy of things, being that a person can reach the "entelechy (end goal)" by moving higher up the hierarchy.
It is said that reaching Akasha allows one to use the True Magic. It is unclear whether this means actually entering the Akasha or examining its contents.
True Magic (Sorcery)
The Nasuverse differentiates between the regular Functional Magic and "true" Magic or Sorcery. The former is what is essentially producing miracles which are now possible through science - bending the rules of the world in order to achieve results which are normally possible. True Magic is close to warping reality itself, allowing a person to achieve the impossible. As science advances, more and more miracles are possible without resorting to magic, which essentially destroys much of the capabilities of magic. True Magic encompasses the impossible; knowledge of true magic will theoretically allow impossibilities such as resurrection (the third and fifth magic), time travel (the fifth magic), creation (the first magic), etc.
Only five forms of the True Magic currently exist. True Magic in the Nasuverse encompasses the following:
- The First Magic - <Uncertain, said to be related to "Denial of Nothingness">: This seemingly means the creation of objects from nothing. The user of the First Magic is long dead, so there is little to be said.
- The Second Magic - Operation of Parallel Worlds: The only known users of this are Zelretch and Rin Tohsaka in the Heaven's Feel True End. The Second Magic is exactly what it says: the operation of parallel worlds. Specifically, through the Jewel Sword of Zelretch, one can access a theoretically limitless amount of Prana by accessing parallel worlds.
- The Third Magic - Materialization of the Soul: The Third Magic is the one we know most about, as we see it in action in Fate/stay night, specifically in Heaven's Feel. The Holy Grail itself uses parts of the Third Magic in order to operate.
The Third Magic encompasses the ability to prevent souls from dispersing once a person dies. Although incomplete, the Holy Grail uses this system in order to materialize Servants during the Grail War. The core of the Grail uses the "Dress of Heaven" to achieve materialization of the soul even if it's only for several seconds, while a "container" prevents the Servant from returning to the Throne of Heroes, pooling the energy of six Servants until the Grail can use the pooled energy to grant a wish. Upon the entry of the seventh Servant, there will be enough energy to open the gate to Akasha. This was Einzbern's theory on how to reach Akasha.
Other than that, Illya's incomplete operation of the Third Magic allowed her to anchor Shirou's dispersing soul to the world in Heaven's Feel. Since it's an imperfect version of the Third Magic, Shirou's body cannot be fully reproduced, putting him in a body which is so small that it can be "plucked" out of a river. It required Touko Aozaki's intervention in order to give Shirou a full body once more.
Note the resemblance of the Third Magic's theory to alchemical concepts. The Einzberns themselves are alchemists, which explains why they use homunculi to reach the Root.
- The Fourth Magic - <Uncertain, no information about it exists>: Details about the Fourth Magic are almost completely unknown except that there is "certainly" an existent user of it.
- The Fifth Magic - <Uncertain, possibly related to time>: Aoko Aozaki is the only known user of the Fifth Magic. Details are sparse, but it is said to be able to perform Time Travel.
In addition, there exists magecraft and other properties which come close to True Magic, but aren't, since they are still bound to the laws of the world (i.e, the Counter Force will actively prevent its materialization, since it's an "impossibility").
- Equivalent Exchange: A fundamental theory. To be able to cast a spell, or to create something, you must sacrifice something in return. True creation is the domain of the First Magic.
- Prana: The basic magic force required to cast spells. Divided into two: mana, the energy in the surroundings, created by the world, and odic force, which is produced by living beings. There is practically no difference between the two except the available quantity.
It is a colorless force, which means it can be tainted by elemental alignments.
- Magic Circuits: A very important factor in magecraft. It can be considered a secondary nervous system akin to an electrical circuit. By infusing prana into the system, it allows power to flow freely and allows magecraft to occur. Generally, the more circuits you have, the more energy you can channel, but there are also other factors to consider such as the quality of the circuits or the skill of the magus in channeling energy.
- Magic Crests. A materialized Magic Circuit engraved with the knowledge and inheritance of a magus's lineage. Once a form of magecraft is mastered by a magus, he/she can engrave the knowledge gained into the Magic Crest and pass it down to their offspring/heirs.
- Spell Construction:
- Generally, spells require a Magical Incantation to be used. The easiest spells are those which require only infusing energy and launching it (instant). One-line spells fixate the effect on oneself. High-ranking spells (Rank-A or higher, already considered a simple form of ritual magic) require verses which are at least 10 lines long. A highly-trained magus can take up to one minute to cast a spell (thirty seconds at high speed casting). Mythological figures such as Medea can cast such spells nearly instantly due to the existence of Divine Language (which can only be used by mythological figures, generally).
- Elemental Powers: There are two forms; the first is a regular elemental alignment - water, earth, fire, air; or water, wood, metal, fire, ground. There are two other elements - "colorless/void/ether", and "imaginary" (prana-based). It's also possible to have more than one element, or a compound element. Generally, magi will have one of these.
Ether is rather unique - it is formless and colorless, but without it, magecraft itself wouldn't work, since it's the medium through which magecraft is performed (like the theory on how light travels through a medium called ether). It is thought that only divine beings can make use of this, as well as humans during the Age of the Gods.
- Older Is Better; Super Prototype - The Nasuverse generally makes use of these ideas—older objects have more acquired history within them and thus are more powerful, and the original is always more powerful than the copies. The prototype aspect was Touko Aozaki's theory on how to reach the Origin - by producing the original template for human beings, she would be able to discover the Origin.
Forms of Magecraft
- "Noble Colors" or "Mystic Eyes": They are special eyes that one is born with, allowing them to affect the world around them. More akin to psychic abilities than actual magecraft. Mystic Eyes are something that one is born with, but there are some forms which can be acquired artificially. Individual types of Mystic Eyes are listed on the Evil Eye page in the Nasuverse folder.
- Formalcraft: The ability to infuse elemental alignments into objects, or "elemental conversion".
- Alchemy: Practiced by the Einzberns and the mages of Atlas. Alchemy deals with the conversion of matter into other forms, but the Atlas mages are researching into the conversion of phenomena.
- Summon Magic: There's a form called "summoning" and "spiritual evocation" which are apparently two different things. The theurgy used in the Holy Grail War is on a completely different level, which already makes use of the Third Magic.
Items, artifacts, etc
- Magic Wand: Mystic Codes. It is something used to augment one's magic or support it. They are either a prana supplement or something that will enhance the effectiveness of one's spells.
- Conceptual Weapons: They are weapons which aren't limited to physical damage, but also allows the "overwriting of concepts". For example, with a Conceptual Weapon with the property of "unaging", you can overwrite the concept of "limited existence".
- Familiars: They are creatures which are miniature copies of a magus (usually hewn out of a corpse and a piece of a soul). They are attuned to the thoughts of the master, which allows orders to be transmitted to them. The perfect familiar is said to be one that will follow the master's orders without question. They also have No Ontological Inertia when the master dies.
- Puppets: Touko Aozaki's specialty. Her theory on reaching the Origin was replicating the original template of the human body through puppets. Her masterpiece seems to be a perfect copy of herself which activates once she dies.
- Heroic Spirits: The class in which Servants fall under. They are on a different level from familiars. They are essentially heroes who died and ascended to the Throne of Heroes by accomplishing great deeds in life.
- Counter Guardians: A specific form of Heroic Spirit which is used by the planet to exterminate factors which threaten the ruin of humanity. They are a mindless force commanded by the planet to exterminate anything and anyone that is perceived by Gaia as a threat to humans. As humans are known to tend towards self-destruction, these factors are usually humans themselves.
- Vampires: See the next section on vampires.
- Ultimate Ones: The most powerful beings on each planet. There are nine of them in the present, but some of them get destroyed in the apocalyptic future of Angel Notes.
- Spirits and Ghosts: There are different levels and ranks of spirits. The most common ones are elementals, which are formless spirits. Ghosts in the common sense are known as "wraiths".
- Mythical/Phantasm Beasts: Creatures which have existed in the mythical period. Naturally, they are one of the most powerful creatures, since they are "originals" which have existed in the time of gods.
Marble Phantasms, Reality Marbles, Bounded Fields
Bounded Fields are a specific form of magecraft which expands over an area and affects those caught within it. Prana is spread over an area and separates the area inside the field from the outside.
These terms come from a metaphor involving differently colored marbles. If one has a jar filled with 99 black marbles and one white marble, a Marble Phantasm is akin to the ability to always pick the white marble no matter what. A Reality Marble is, metaphorically speaking, the ability to turn all the black marbles white - an ability which is unnatural without interference.
Marble Phantasms are a form of bounded field which allows one to interfere with nature and achieve a result while still abiding by the laws of nature. Arcueid's Marble Phantasm allows her to do such a thing.
Reality Marbles are closer to True Magic than to magecraft, since it's the unnatural ability to overwrite reality itself with one's Mental World. Following the World Egg theory, it allows for the birth of a new world constructed from one's own mind by switching the world inside the egg with the world outside.
The World itself will attempt to crush Reality Marbles, since they are unnatural existences. A person needs an incredible amount of prana just to keep a Reality Marble materialized even for a few minutes.
The Holy Grail War's Mechanism
The Holy Grail of Fuyuki is divided into two mechanisms - the Greater Grail and the Lesser Grail. The Greater Grail is a magic circle located beneath Mount Enzou, consisting of a series of seals surrounding Justica von Einzbern, the core of the Holy Grail.
The Greater Grail is the gate to the Akashic Records. The mechanism of the Greater Grail picks seven Heroic Spirits and seven Masters who desire the Holy Grail (one from the three families, Makiri, Tohsaka and Einzbern, and possibly at least one from the Mage's Association).
Once the system has been set up, the Grail War begins. Usually, once a Heroic Spirit dies, they become a piece of energy which vanishes back into the void. The Lesser Grail is a mechanism which traps the soul temporarily and materializes it as energy through the Third Magic. Once all the Servants are collected, the gate to Akasha can be opened (although six Servants is enough energy to grant a wish).
The concept of Vampires in the Nasuverse
Crimson Moon Brunestud
Crimson Moon Brunestud (Type-Moon)
The original vampire, and the Ultimate One of the moon (see above). Long ago, humans have been determined by Gaia to be a threat to her existence, and so she made a plea to the other heavenly bodies to defend her from the humans. The Ultimate One of the Moon answered her call; in exchange for being able to live on Earth, Crimson Moon will protect Gaia from the humans.
With this, he created the True Ancestors in the humans' image, with the reasoning that the humans' protectors should look like humans themselves. Their structures, however, are fundamentally copies of Crimson Moon himself.
As previously mentioned, True Ancestors are structurally identical to the Crimson Moon, but physically and mentally resemble human beings. However, having been based on the template of Crimson Moon, they are detached from human society and have inherited the basic vampiric impulse from Type-Moon, or the impulse to suck the blood of humans.
The vampiric impulse is incurable, which is why the True Ancestors are made to sleep through childhood until they are mature enough to control their impulses. But since they accumulate over time, the vampiric impulse will eventually become too strong to control, so they will either fall into a deep slumber, or give in to the vampiric impulse and become Demon Lords - completely unhinged, but also completely unrestrained with their powers.
True Ancestors possess Marble Phantasms which will cause Crimson Moon to manifest once they attain power close to the original. More "perfect" versions of Crimson Moon were created - Arcueid and Altrouge Brunestud - who are closest to manifesting Crimson Moon himself. Arcueid possesses the Marble Phantasm "Millennium Castle Brunestud", which manifests the lair of Crimson Moon, while Altrouge is said to be able to manifest Crimson Moon himself. They are considered royalty among the True Ancestors.
Humans which have had their blood sucked by True Ancestors become "Dead Apostles".
These are humans which have become vampires either by being converted by True Ancestors (or in some cases, other Dead Apostles), or through the use of artificial means such as magecraft.
Originally, they were a sort of counter measure in case a True Ancestor fell into their bloodlust. In exchange for losing their will, they gain abilities and longevity similar to the True Ancestors, but they still need the blood of humans to survive. The servants of the True Ancestors eventually rebelled and became the Dead Apostles.
They have a complex society, ruled by the Twenty-Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors, consisted by those who were part of the original rebellion from the True Ancestors. However, most of them had already been killed or hunted down, and as such some seats are left empty or are filled with replacements.
The Twenty-Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors
- Primate Murder: the Beast of Gaia; a Magical Beast under Altrouge Brunestud's control. One of the most powerful beings on the planet, born with the sole purpose of killing humans. Requires seven Counter Guardians to restrain. Not actually a vampire, but has copied the mannerisms of them by having developed a taste for human blood.
- the dark six: A Dead Apostle Ancestor which is currently regenerating and is supposed to bring all the Dead Apostles together. Not actually a vampire, but a ritual which will bring all the Dead Apostles together.
- Crimson Moon Brunestud himself, due to being the original.
- Kischur Zelretch Schweinorg, the one who defeated Crimson Moon long ago using the Second Magic. He was turned into a Dead Apostle in the process of defeating him.
- ORT/Type-Mercury: Currently the most powerful being in the entire Nasuverse. He is on this spot after the Dead Apostle Ancestor who previously had the spot foolishly fought it, with predictable results. Currently in South America, being surrounded by his Reality Marble which produces an Eldritch Location.
- Black Knight Strout: One of Altrouge Brunestud's bodyguards and one of the oldest Ancestors. Cursed with immortality through a time curse.
- Forest of Einnashe: A living forest and an Eldritch Location created when Arcueid killed a Dead Apostle in a forest, spilling their blood into a bloodsucking tree and transforming the entire forest into a Phantasmal Beast.
- White Knight Svelten: One of Altrouge Brunestud's bodyguards.
- Altrouge Brunestud: Princess of the Dead Apostles and sister to Arcueid. A Dead Apostle-True Ancestor hybrid and also the other True Ancestor closest to manifesting Crimson Moon himself.
- Nrvnqsr Chaos: A magus/alchemist who had attained the Dead Apostle status by merging himself with other creatures and became a collective being. Replaced by "Louvre", a Dead Apostle in Norway.
- Stanrobe Calhin: The first Wraith. He still exists as a ghostly being after being destroyed by the Church. He still hasn't completely dissipated and still possesses powers from when he was still alive. It's said that it will take 200 years for him to completely dissipate.
- The Night of Wallachia/TATARI: A Dead Apostle whose nature is more of a phenomenon made real. He has the ability to manifest the fears of all those around him. The torrent of information created allows him to absorb blood in large quantities. Replaced by "The Dust of Osiris", a descendant of Wallachia who was successfully cured of their vampirism.
- Valery Fernand Vandelstam: One of the oldest Dead Apostles, and a Puppet Master who prefers being human to vampirism. Owns a casino.
- Rita Rozay-en: A high-class vampire who shares a special relationship with Sumire which involves a pact of killing each other.
- Gransurg Blackmore: A magus from Austria whose research involved the sanctification of birds. He pledged obedience to Crimson Moon after having nearly been defeated by the Ultimate One. Has a rivalry with Merem Solomon.
- Trhvmn Ortenrosse: A four-thousand year old Ancestor and the formal King of the Dead Apostles. His faction is a rival to that of Princess Altrouge's.
- Knight of Vengeance: A Dead Apostle Ancestor stripped of his rank soon after attaining it. His mission is to assassinate all the other Dead Apostles.
- Merem Solomon: A child revived by Crimson Moon as a Dead Apostle after he was killed from the strain of trying to materialize a beast that can defeat himself. A rival to Gransurg Blackmore. He is the fifth Executor of the Church.
- Sumire: A vampire who has overcome the weakness of not being able to cross water, but in exchange is weaker on land. Known to be a drunkard. Shares a special relationship with Rita Rozay-en which involves a pact of killing each other.
- El Nahat: A Dead Apostle currently imprisoned by the Church. His stomach has been turned by the Church into a weapon which kills other Dead Apostles.
- Caubac Alcatraz: A magus who became a vampire through his research and is friends with Zelretch. Currently trapped inside one of his own created labyrinths by accident and hasn't emerged for over a century.
Unnumbered - Michael Roa Valdamjong, the Serpent of Akasha: A heretic among Dead Apostles, and thus is unnumbered. Attained immortality through a form of reincarnation which transfers his soul into a host body that he selects in advance.
Their society is based on the elimination of boredom, which is the natural enemy of those who have attained immortality. Their form of amusement is either expanding their own territory by creating as many minions as possible, or hunting down other True Ancestors or Dead Apostles. They, however, deem it important that vampires are to be kept a secret to preserve the balance of society.
Vampires have a growth process in order to become Dead Apostles:
If a human doesn't initially die after their blood has been sucked, they become The Dead, mindless undead familiars. If they possess an above-average potential, i.e., strong Magic Circuits, they instead become Ghouls.
Humans whose brains are unable to fully die, allowing them to exist as corpse-eating demons. They will eat the flesh of other corpses in order to fully reconstruct their own body.
Ghouls which have fully reconstructed their body. They possess little intellect and are weaker than The Dead, but are generally better than just being mere puppets. They can restore their intellect by sucking the blood of humans.
A blood-sucking demon; a Living Dead which has fully regained its intellect. Once they have killed their Dead Apostle master, they ascend to the level of a Dead Apostle. Rarely, there are those who skip the previous steps entirely and ascend to the level of vampirism.
- No, I have no idea what this means; someone please explain
- Thaumaturgical, in some translations