Pretentious Self-Important Ramblings, GO: Author Commentary
Well, its been a ride hasn't it? I can't finish this story without including my own personal commentary on everything I wrote, so I might as well spew for a while. Stand by for some disjointed thoughts and commentary here.
Where did Chimera come from?
It came from the insane combination of 24, Guilty Gear, Metal Gear Solid, a little bit of Hellsing, some R.A. Salvatore, a dash of Vampire Hunter D, a smattering of Bleach, a hefty infusion of Advent Children, whole lot of Halo, and a helping of Black Hawk Down to finish it off. That's where Chimera came from; it's a mish-mash of a dozen and more different stories I've read, seen, or listened to, and I crafted a story over four years that ultimately became this fic.
The original version and vision started on a basic premise I developed a long time ago: Garden, plus Galbadia, would be at war with Esthar. I also developed the idea of a character who hated Squall with all her heart, named Illarra, though originally she was just a disgruntled SeeD expelled from Garden's first SeeD class. Nash didn't exist, Hyne didn't exist, and Serra didn't exist.
As I wrote Gunblade, however, I also developed aside story. I was really inspired by Daz Shier's "The Omega" and I moved to follow in his footsteps with a truly epic story.
In many ways, Chimera evolved as it was written, modified and changing constantly. In the original draft, instead of the final battle of Blood being between Gardens, it was an invasion of Dollet. Squall and Illarra would kill each other fighting on the bridge in Dollet, and Seifer would have delivered the final message to Rinoa. Illarra's corpse would have been recovered by Crell and revived using the Requiem, but then she would have killed him and used the aerosol bombs to infect Esthar and lead a massive Elemental army on a war of genocide that only Squall, returning half a decade later from Nash's intervention, would be able to stop.
Hyne wasn't even included in the original idea, but I wanted to make the story seem even more epic, so I developed Hyne, Alucard, and Hades as Unbound Guardian Forces. From there came the concept of Carpasia and Zurvan, and I knew that this would be their ultimate goal. Serra came right after this as the means by which Hyne would achieve her ends, and I made her into Squall and Rinoa's daughter shortly after I came up with the concept. At first she was intended to be a character who would facilitate a love triangle with Irvine and Selphie ( I even toyed with the idea of her not yet fully grasping the idea of "only" being attracted to the opposite sex, which would have made the triangle that much more awkward . . . But that's just my inner Hades :P ) In fact, one idea I was toying with was having Serra be the illegitimate love-child of Seifer and Rinoa, and then turning it around and having Squall fall in love with Serra while undergoing his self-imposed exile. That would have resulted in one fucked-up storyline . . . And now I ownder how it would have played out if I kept it that way . . . .
And while we're on the subject, Hades. Originally, Hades wasn't the paragon of fuck-win that he became; however, the idea of someone who exists partially to cause humor precisely through random commentary, utter laziness and laid-back attitude, and by breaking the fourth wall into a trillion tiny pieces was very appealing. In many ways, Hades is almost a self-insert character; he voiced some random thoughts I myself had during the story, and he has a sense of humor very similar to my own. And even more importantly, Hades was both the tension release valve and the reminder that it is, after all, just a story. An author should never forget that, and Hades was my reminder that I was in this to have fun writing a good story. I think too many authors (myself included!) get too caught up in their work. One must always take everything with a smile and a laugh, that's my belief, and so I tend to poke fun at myself most of all while writing.
One thing that has always dogged my writing, and from which my tendency to poke fun at myself stems, is that I'm overly self-critical. Perhaps its just me, but when I look back at my work, I can't help but think of mistakes or opportunities missed. With Chimera, I keep wondering whether I did enough with Serra, or whether I should have developed Squall's self-imposed exile a bit more thoroughly. I always worry that I never write enough per chapter, or if I do enough characterization, or if a scene isn't long enough. In many ways, I think I'm my own worst critic. In "The Final Fantasy", for example, I was a little bothered by the abruptness and shortness of Carpasia's presence, and how Alucard suddenly revealed to Quistis that she could join with him. I wondered if I could have expanded that more. I don't think there's a chapter I've put out that I was absolutely satisfied with, in reflection.
Okay, so I've spewed long enough. Let's answer a few questions. First, one of the more common ones: why change the title of the story?
The simple reason is this: Blood was the entire set-up for Legacy. Everything that happened in Blood led up to the events of Legacy, so once Blood finished, and the final pieces were ready to move, Legacy was set in motion. Additionally, the story is primarily divided into four specific arcs: the terrorism in Fisherman's Horizon, the battle in Trabia/Iceblood, the battle between the Gardens and Fortresses, and the events of Legacy. Legacy was not intended to be a stand-alone story, and instead was the ultimate conclusion of the entire plotline. Thus, the title of the story became Legacy of the Chimera.
Some other questions have also been raised, which is understandable; the story is so convoluted even I was having to check to keep the facts straight.
The short and skinny version of how precisely the Chimera (Randolph) and his legacy (Seifer, Squall, Illarra, Serra) came to be: Nash was originally Squall Leonhart, in the timeline where Ultimecia arose. In this timeline, Hyne corrupted Rinoa to make her into an evil abomination, and Squall witnessed this first-hand. This Squall, intent on destroying Hyne and Ultimecia, used a new Estharian genetic modification that killed the gene that induced the end of cellular mitosis, effectively guaranteeing that he wouldn't die of old age. When Time Compression occurred, the Squall from the alternate timeline and the Squall from the "real" timeline (the one in the game) merged, as they were, at the core, the same person. When Ultimecia died, and time was uncompressed, the two Squall were scattered across time. The one who would become Nash ended up in Centra, roughly a hundred years before FFVIII began. There, he decided to continue his hunt for Hyne, and deliberately engaged the research into the Chimera project, which resulted in Randolph's transformation into the original Chimera. He also identified his unborn mother, and subjected both her and her twin brother, Virago, to the Chimera treatments. These genetic treatments were passed down the family line to Seifer, Squall, Illarra, and Serra.
phew You got it all now?
Another question: why is Rinoa using Squall's gunblade? That's because, as pointed out in the beginning of Blood, Squall has an almost spiritual connection to the Revolver. It is as much a part of him as any limb, and that is why Rinoa took it and used it after he died, to carry on his legacy and carry a part of him, even when she doesn't have his body.
What about the awesometastic power Rinoa had? Why doesn't Hyne use it? Simple: look what happened to Rinoa when she flexed that much power. Hyne's not stupid; she's not going to unleash tremendous power that could possibly hurt herself, especially when far more precise expenditures of that power work just as easily. Despite her annoyance at her enemies' tendencies to keep coming, she's pretty much just toying with them, just like she toyed with Nash in their battle. Hyne's got a power trip going on, and she has no qualms with leaving a living opponent behind, especially when they've been beaten to the point where they can't stop her . . . Which ultimately proved her downfall, as Nash had just enough strength left to surge in and deliver the final blow to her corporeal body.
Why didn't Squall recognize Irvine? Irvine was clad in the uniform of one of Steele's bodyguards, and Squall automatically assumed that he was one of those guards. He didn't bother checking closely to see his face until he noticed Irvine was junctioned.
Actually, just to add this in, Squall's Chimera costume design was a concept I'd been developing for a while. Originally it was a pretty complex outfit, consisting of a large black cloak over his back, a black trenchcoat, and gray pants and armor beneath the trenchcoat, and the wide-brimmed hat. I cut back on the design, and after Advent Children I had this idea to have Squall wear a belt around his waist over the coat to keep the coat under control, and kind of like Cloud's outfit. The actual concept was a mish-mash of ideas, based around the costumes of Aragorn, Van Helsing, and Vampire Hunter D.
Also, way back in Blood I made a passing reference to "Holy Order Seifer", back when I was still using the plan to have Illarra take over the world with her army and humanity struggle to survive. Seifer would lead a new special forces agency called The Order, and was supposed to wear a refined, buttoned up white robe and coat with a high collar, a mix of Ky Kiske's robes in Guilty Gear and Anderson's coat in Hellsing. This was, obviously, never implemented.
Now, for posterity's sake, and to get rid of the giant chunk of space in my profile, here's the soundtrack listing. As I've said, direct links to the OCRemix tracks are available on the forum, accessible from my profile page.
Chimera Saga Theme - The Lost Horizon (FFVIII Blue Fields remix) / Destructo / OCRemix
Squall's Theme - The Prisoner / Mothergoat
Rinoa's Theme - Everything Nothing (FFVIII Compression of Time remix) / Seifros / OCRemix
Seifer's Theme - Holy Orders (Ky Kiske's theme) / Guilty Gear XX soundtrack
Irvine's Theme -Liquor Bar and Drunkard (Johnny's theme) / Guilty Gear XX soundtrack
Selphie's Theme - Blue Water Blue Sky (May's theme) / Guilty Gear XX Soundtrack
Quistis' Theme - Writhe in Pain (Millia's theme) / Guilty Gear XX Soundtrack
Zell's Theme - Burly Heart (Potemkin's theme) / Guilty Gear XX soundtrack
Alucard's theme - The Vampire Saga (Slayer's theme) / Guilty Gear XX Korean soundtrack
Illarra's Theme - Bloodstained Lineage (Testament's theme) / Guilty Gear XX Soundtrack
Requiem's Theme - Ancient Machine / Martin O'Donnell / Halo 2 Soundtrack Vol. 1
Chimera's Theme - Atonement (Battle with Magus remix) / Darangen / OCRemix -
Nash's Theme - Keep Yourself Alive (Sol Badguy's theme) / Guilty Gear XX soundtrack
Hyne's Theme - The Dark Side of Phobos (Doom e1m5 remix) / Daniel Baronawsky / Dark Side of Phobos
Griever's Theme - The Glass Moon (Doom e1m8 remix)/ DJCarbunkle featuring Ryan8Bit / Dark Side of Phobos
Serra's Theme - Awe of She (Dizzy's theme) / Guilty Gear XX soundtrack
Randolph's Theme - Mahabharath Highlands (Halo MJOLNIR remix) / Freemind,Graylightning / OCRemix
Train Battle - Battle in the Forgotten City / Nobou Uematsu / Advent Children Soundtrack
Razor's Crash Landing- Air Force One is Down (Perfect Dark Crash Site: Confrontation remix) / Daniel Baranowsky / OCRemix
Squall assembles the Sniper Rifle - Anakin's Betrayal / John Williams / Star Wars Episode III soundtrack
Assault on the Warehouse - Sandman / Metallica /
Squall vs. Illarra (Warehouse) - No Mercy (Sol vs. Ky EX) / Guilty Gear XX soundtrack
Squall vs. Illarra (Castle) - Existence / Guilty Gear XX soundtrack
Nash vs. Hyne - Meet Again (Justice's theme) / Guilty Gear XX soundtrack
SeeD/Galbadia/Dollet vs. Esthar (defense)- Zenobia's Grave (Ogre Battle Impregnable Defense remix) /DJ-Kwix, Israfel / OCRemix
SeeD/Galbadia/Dollet vs. Esthar (Garden, assault) Insurrection (Halo MJOLNIR remix) / Krispy / OCRemix
Everyone vs. Alucard - Black Wind Rising (Battle with Magus remix) / Star Salzman / OCRemix
Squall vs. Illarra (Garden) - Noontide (Sol vs. Ky) / Guilty Gear XX soundtrack
Squall vs. Bahamut - Divinity Part II / Nobou Uematsu / Advent Children Soundtrack
Squall vs. Illarra (Final) - Advent: One Winged Angel / Nobou Uematsu / Advent Children Soundtrack
Seifer vs. Griever - Feel a Fear (Eddie's theme)/ Guilty Gear XX soundtrack
Squall's Sacrifice - Alone / Mothergoat
Rinoa's Theme (Legacy) - Mecharok (Mechwarriors 2: Mercenaries remix) / Scott Peeples / OCRemix
Battle with Odine - Perdition Hardcore (FFVIII A Plank Between One and Perdition remix) / Orkybash / OCRemix
The Chimera Tests Rinoa - Unyielding / Mothergoat
Trainyard Assault - Sara Ni Takatau Monotachi / Nobou Uematsu / Advent Children Soundtrack
Rinoa/Chimera vs. Requiem - Stricken / Disturbed / Ten Thousand Fists
Squall and Rinoa - Journey's End (FFX People of the North Pole remix)/ Gray Lightning, pixietricks, Sephfire / OCRemix
Martial Law - SeeD / Nobou Uematsu / FFVIII soundtrack
Dollet Warzone - A Plank Between One and Perdition / Nobou Uematsu / FFVIII soundtrack
Pursuit - Chase of the Highway / Nobou Uematsu / Advent Children soundtrack
Randolph Vs. Illarra - The Raven (Castlevania 2 remix) / Goat / OCRemix
Squall and Rinoa vs. Illarra - J-E-N-O-V-A / Nobou Uematsu / Advent Children soundtrack
Squall's Pissed - Bloody Hell (CastlevaniaBloody Tears remix)/ Alisean, Kaijin / OCRemix
Battle Against Hyne - Intense Color (Mario Paint remix) / Sephire, SGX / OCRemix
Carpasia - Eternal Abyss (Ecco Sega CD remix) / GrayLightning / OCRemix
Carpasian Street Battle - Dark Conflict (Perfect Dark remix) / Psychoprhyte / OCRemix
Hyne Approaches the Pool - Darkness Dawning (Doom remix)/ Elsa Persson, Larsec / Dark Side of Phobos
Squall, Nash and Quistis vs. Hyne, Diablos, and Phoenix - Advent: One Winged Angel /
Nobou Uematsu / Advent Children Soundtrack
The Last Stand - The Last Summoning / Jared Hudson / OCRemix
Final Sunset - To Far Away Times (Chrono Trigger remix)/ Pixietricks, Reuben Kee / OCRemix
. . . And that's about it. Kaiser's unavailable for giving me another interview like last time, and I'm feeling lazy. A chapter-by-chapter commentary isn't really necessary (unless you people clamor and wave torches for one) and I want to put some ultimate closure to this story.
The Chimera Saga is finished. But I'm certainly not, of course. There's plenty of more insane ideas percolating in this head of mine, waiting to burst free. What next? My long-postponed Metal Gear novelization? That Knights of the Old Republic novelization I was considering? Mako? Bittersweet Synthesis? Halo? No idea. I've got a lot of stuff to work on. So, without further ado . . . .
Until next story . . . .