It’s strange, but I find that I discover my most favorite fics while looking for horrendous ones. More-over than any anime or manga series, I take my video game characters seriously. Maybe it’s because I spend time actively watching them grow, getting annoyed at them, alchemizing their stupid weapons that take forever because that one item that it takes is incredibly rare so I have to grind for hours on end. Whatever the reason, if there’s one aspect of the character I find wrong, I will blast the shit out of that fic (this is why I’ve been trying to stay away from video game fics in ‘Fanfiction Follies’).
In my time, I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no series—other than the Bioware RPGs—that I love more than the Tales series and the atrocities I’ve seen against some of them make me cry. Most recently, I’ve finished a run through of Tales of Vesperia. There are several things I really like about this game, such as there being no explicit love interest and the enemies (though I’ll be the first to admit that the big bad is pretty lame), but what I love most are the characters. Each and every one of these characters ended up becoming my babies. Even the enemies. Even the thirty-five year old man.
Especially the thirty-five year old man.
The character of Raven is exceedingly complex as you never know what he’s thinking, and even once you think you have it he changes it on you. He’s a lackadaisical “old man”, then he’s a clever spy. Never once is his allegiance crystal clear. He’s a hard character to get down and most people just set him in the comic relief department and confine him to jokingly hitting on every girl he runs across with no real purpose.
This fic doesn’t do that. This fic is, dare I say it, perfect.
Even as a one shot, Cherry chain manages to delve into Raven so perfectly that I actually shed a tear for the tragic soldier. Okay, I shed more than one. The entire story is Raven struggling with his impending death after him and his guild—the guild is actually owned by a 10 year old boy and Raven’s not actually a member, but semantics—save the world from impending doom. In ridding the world of the objects imprisoning the spirits of their world, they also have destroyed the one thing keeping him alive. Of course, his friends aren’t exactly happy that he kept this from them and expend the length of the fic trying to find a way to keep him alive. However, the fic focuses on Raven reflecting on his past and coming to terms with what is, in the end, inevitable.
It’s sad, heartbreaking, but just so wonderful. I loved this fic so much that I actually left the author a comment. That’s saying something. What’s obvious from the moment you open the page is that not only does Cherry have just an amazing amount of respect for the characters, but that they also spent a lot of time researching every facet to make this story have that much more of an impact.
The story occurs post-game and assumes that you’ve played the game, so it may (aka: it will) be confusing if you know nothing of the verse. But the writing is amazing and if you ever feel the need to cry, just skim through this. Find it here at Fanfiction.net.