Author's Note/Foreword

I'm including this "foreword" here to provide the background on the story and my approach with it. If you don't care about that stuff, you can just click over to the next/first chapter now and save yourself some reading :-) I very sparingly use author notes on individual chapters throughout the story, so the vast majority of my own commentary on the story is contained within this chapter/foreword.

This is a Suikoden Tierkreis story that is a loose novelization. By "loose" I mean it mostly follows the plot of the game, though I've taken liberties with it in some areas as it suits my interests. I don't believe I ever cross over into AU though, I've tried to keep the characters in character while at the same time adding a lot more depth than they get in the game. Some of my "taking liberties" is in having romantic pairings of characters, some is just the fact that I've written tons of day-to-day conversations and interactions that fit within the context/plot of the story but aren't things you see in the game itself. Basically I've put much more emphasis on relationships (both romantic and non-romantic) and character interactions within the context of the story. Whereas a lot of RPC fans prefer to solo the hero and only pay as much attention to their companions as they are forced to, what I like best about RPGs is the story driven nature and the growth/development of the hero, companions, and allies/enemies as the story progresses. So if you're the type that clicks through the dialogue sequences as fast as you can in order to get back to the killing, this story may seem a bit slow paced for you :-) There *are* long detailed action scenes, but also a lot of conversational scenes with extended dialogue between characters. Needless to say, there are tons of spoilers for the game if you haven't finished it, though I'm not really sure why anyone would want to read a fanfic of a game they haven't finished and expect not to have it spoiled.

The title "A Future without a Future" comes from a key sequence late in the game regarding the real implications of a predetermined future.

My hero in the story is named 'Fret'. That's what I almost always use for the first name of the hero when a game let's you choose one. I don't remember when I started using that name because it's been maybe 15 years? I want to say that it came from the random name generator on an RPG from the early to mid-'90s.

Company and castle names... I named my company 'Cherem Company' (the 'ch' is pronounced like a 'k'). That's a transliteration of the Hebrew word in the Old Testament that meant "kill 'em all" – the concept of killing your enemy down to the last woman, child, and farm animal (leave nothing alive). At the time I had to come up with a company name in ST I was of the mindset of completely laying waste to the Order of the One True Way. Obviously I found out as I played through the game that while you can choose to be a jerk at times, your character is "predetermined" to be a good guy :-) I named the castle 'Starcache', which is an extremely lame play on the idea of collecting/caching Starbearers to join your company. I should've spent more than 30 seconds thinking about a name, but then later I laughed about it because that's pretty much what the ADHD hero of ST would've done.

I decided to start the story about halfway through the game and fill in the front half of the story through a combination of character memories/stories and basic plot summarization. I somewhat arbitrarily refer to the timeline as being about a year after the start of the game, but admittedly that's rather compressed when you look at how much time actually elapses in the game on some of those long runs to places like Salsabil or the Coastal Caves. But it seems less reasonable to be more literal and suggest that we're more like 4-5 years into the Citro gang's war with the Order, so we're condensing it to where the entire game takes place in about 18 seasons (ST equivalent of months).

I know the snow fairy sidequest I start with can be done much earlier in the game, however, stupid me glossed over the hint to ask Dogha about the snow fairy after getting plowed by her the first time. I took it to mean I had to bring Dogha with me. Of course she doesn't show up if you've got Dogha in your party, so then I confused myself into thinking she must only appear during certain seasons, and that led to a simple quest becoming very frustrating! I generally avoid walkthroughs unless I'm completely stuck, but this was one of the few times I hit up a walkthrough while playing the game. And then I felt like a complete idiot because I didn't read the hint the game gave correctly. All RPGs should have journals! Another mission I didn't complete until much later than I could have was "Find Icas," because initially I failed it a couple of times from not having enough of the right party members available, and then I just didn't go back to it for a long time. So if it seems out of place in my story, that's why.

I'm not one of those idiotic authors who will threaten to pull their story or stop updating if they don't get reviews. Seeing author notes like that is a sure fire way to get me to hit the 'back' button and move on to another story. However, constructive feedback is appreciated if you're so inclined to leave it, because I'm using this fanfic as practice before tackling an original work I have in mind. I recognize some weaknesses in my writing that I'm trying to improve, but it's always helpful getting unbiased feedback. Hopefully you enjoy the story regardless…