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Caster (キャスター, Kyasutā?) is a Caster-class Servant able to be summoned by Ritsuka Fujimaru in the Grand Orders of Fate/Grand Order. He takes up the position of Grand Caster (グランドキャスター, Gurando Kyasutā?) after Solomon utilizes Ars Nova.

ProfileEdit

IdentityEdit

Caster's True Name is Merlin, the Magus of Flowers (花の魔術師, Hana no Majutsu-shi?). The vagrant of the paradise.[2] A prophet and advisor who made his entry into Arthurian Legends as the court magus. He would at times guide, at times torment, and at times help King Arthur as a king so that she could overcome many enemies and hardships. Still, even as a wise man, he is fundamentally inhuman. For as one can see, he is a mixed-blood of an incubus and a human.[2][1] With illusions as his forte, he can transform into various shapes——there was a case where he had changed into the shape of a beast whose insides are not human——and his true form is not certain.[1]

LegendEdit

Merlin's life is steeped with mystery.[1] It is said that his mother was a princess of Wales, but it is also said that his father was supposedly a supernatural incubus who lived in the gap between the Earth and the moon.[2][1][3]

It has been said that Merlin had performed many prophecies at a young age. Among the many prophecies that caused Merlin's name to become widely known, there was one in which, after correctly guessing about the existence of two dragons, one red and one white, sleeping beneath Mount Emrys, he spoke of how, at the time of having that vision, those red and white dragons would fight against each other upon waking up. Merlin's words, which were transmitted in posterity as prophecies, indicated the red dragon as Britain and the white dragon as the Saxons, and under a great king would Britain finally gather their forces and surely reign over both Gaul and Rome. He also left behind many other prophecies, and amongst them were those concerning wars and even the king's death.[2][1]

Merlin served King Uther Pendragon.[4] Uther loved Igraine, the wife of Duke Cornwall, so he secured Merlin's assistance in winning her love at the price of leaving his child in Merlin's care.[5] Thus, after he rised up as a magus, Merlin helped arrange the marriage between King Arthur’s father - Uther Pendragon - and princess Igraine, and watched over King Arthur since before her birth.[2][1] Merlin told Uther a prophecy about his child, who would become his appointed successor during their war-torn times.[6] Under an arrangement from Uther, Merlin helped produce an heir bearing the "essence of a dragon", so Artoria was born as a human infused with a dragon's magical energy.[7] Although the child was a girl who could not officially become the successor, Merlin was delighted all the same, believing that her sex never mattered. Confident that having her separated from the castle until the prophecy was fulfilled was proof that she would become king, he entrusted her to the king's vassal, Sir Ector, and had her raised as the child of a knight. Merlin visited at some point during Artoria's upbringing and swore Sir Kay to secrecy about the matter of her gender.[8] According to anecdotes, Merlin taught many things to the young Arthur and ascertained the child's growth akin to that of a foster father-like existence.[2][1]

Merlin prepared Caliburn for the selection of the next king, but none could pull it out of the stone. As the other participants prepared a jousting match to decide the kingship, Artoria neared the sword and prepared to pull it without hesitation. Merlin appeared before her then, telling her she should think it through and described that to become "king" is to no longer be "human". Warning her that she should stop because she is fated to die a miserable death while resented by all of humanity, he showed her the end she would face.[9] Having prepared for that day since her birth and firmly believing in the smiling people she saw in Merlin's vision, Artoria pulled it without hesitation and became king.[6][9] As he left her, Merlin said that in exchange for that miracle, she will lose that which is most important to her.[9]

Due to Artoria having issues with discussing her gender and producing an heir, Merlin's magecraft was used to solve those issues by making her a pseudo-male for some duration of time, which allowed for the creation of Mordred from her sperm.[7] Artoria lost Caliburn at a later point and obtained Excalibur and Avalon from the Lady of the Lake. It is said that in legends, Merlin asked Artoria about which implement was better, chiding her for choosing the sword since the sheath will protect her.[4]

Possessing outstanding Clairvoyance, in spite of having foreseen all about the collapse of the Round Table and the crises within Britain, Merlin left Britain without telling anything to King Arthur.[2] Merlin had left King Arthur before her last battle with Mordred due to his love affairs problem. He claims that the cold-mannered woman had been trying to murder him so he has taken refuge in the Reverse Side of the World where he'd crossed the boundary and stumbled into a foreign land known as Avalon.[2][3] Merlin had thought that the evil witch could not reach him anymore. But he encountered a gate that was built with rough stones, resembling the stone circles. The gate was inscribed with "Only the innocent may pass." Merlin realized that the gate was a trap and he was imprisoned when he had walked into it. Massive walls of stone emerged from the ground in front of him. The walls seem to vertically extend forever, effectively trapping the visiting magus inside. The place is like a tower without a roof.[3]

There are many theories as for why Merlin never told King Arthur about the fate that awaits her, but it is often said that it was because he is not biased towards individuals, instead caring only about fate, or so the story goes. Afterwards, Merlin went to the utopia Avalon and then confined himself within a prison “tower”, called the Garden of Avalon, for all eternity, having transcended death. To ascertain the world of humans until the end of the universe, without being able to even die... as if to say that this is the fate of a foolish man, who playfully meddled with the fate of a single girl.[2][1]

This also means that there is no possibility of him becoming a Heroic Spirit even if he is worshipped by the masses since he is unable to die in order to have his soul recorded in the Throne of Heroes.

The one who declared Arthur, who pulled out the Sword of Selection, Caliburn, as the "mark of the King of Britain", and later on guided him to the lake and gave him Excalibur as a substitute for the lost Caliburn, is none other than Merlin. He guided, helped, and numerously prophesized for Arthur, who started walking on the path of a king who dreamt of ideals—————[1]

However, Merlin himself cannot continue on walking side by side with his beloved king. Due to the dreadful magic of Vivian, the Fairy of the Lake——some said that it was Merlin himself who had taught Vivian——Merlin was caught within the "tower". And so, even Merlin, who possesses the powerful ability of foresight, in spite of having foreseen all about the collapse of the Round Table and the dangers within Britain, was unable to convey his regrets as King Arthur had approached "that moment." It is said that Merlin, just like that, lost his life as he was trapped within the "tower". A life born in mystery, and died in mystery. However, there is an anecdote that says he is still alive even now, watching over the people... Accordingly, it is said that as Merlin stepped down from the era of King Arthur, he then helped the twelve heroes of the era of King Charlemagne, known as the Paladins.[1]

A hunk of a magus, no matter how one puts it. Just by being there, Merlin exudes a fresh aura, as if flowers fills the surroundings. He was not a really major character in the legend, but all the Knights of the Round Table agrees on this: "Good grief. There's no helping it." He is that kind of character. Even Saber (Artoria) ended up behaving just like a girl her own age. A girl who is at lost when facing his mischievous father.[1]

Merlin's role is the same as Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings, no matter how one cuts it. Add that with a feeling of a fresh young prince. Now we have the gallant entry of a pretty boy of Middle Earth![1]

AppearanceEdit

Merlin wears a robe woven with the finest fabrics, though he still looks modest, his long hair appearing with the colours of the rainbow under sunlight.[3]


PersonalityEdit

“I like the world of humans very much, but when it comes to each of them individually, I’m relatively, look, well, yeah! Very well, I suddenly feel that some things are better left unsaid!”

—Merlin

Just like this, it is not like he is an ally of humans.[2]

A young man who is like a wind blowing on the grasslands. Before him, anyone would end up letting the tension out of their shoulders - a refreshingly righteous person. Still, due to seemingly being quite lacking in terms of seriousness and such together with a lack of the sense of responsibility, one can see that Merlin may also appear as a shady con man. A rhetorician who, even while perceiving things in an objective manner and accepting the cruelty of the world of humans, turns it into something bright by saying things like: “But, it wouldn’t be fun otherwise, right?[2][1]

Despite being a hybrid being, Merlin has never hated humans. Rather, he is fond of them to such a degree that it is beyond natural.[3] He loves the world of humans, loves mischief, and loves girls. Generally, he is the Magus of Flowers who retorts at most things with a refreshing smile and a calm expression such as “now, now.[2][1]

Openly like this, he tends to appear as having a perfectly happy personality, a perfectly happy guy, without a single worry, but since Merlin himself is self-aware about the fact that he is a foreign body in regards to human society, he never crosses that last step... the wall called friendship. Ultimately, (just like a child who enjoys tasty food,) he is always watching over and protecting the world so that mankind can reach a happy outcome.[2][1]

... So, if one is looking only at the end result, Merlin is a good man, and a wise one. But inside, he is an incubus, a being very far apart from humans. He, a being that consume dreams, can essentially understand human emotions, but cannot truly sympathize with it. He is an alien-like, inhuman being, who only rationally excuses himself inside a dream (dream = a human mind activity) and consumes it, and then leaves just like an insect. Due to this macroscopic evaluation criteria, perhaps he just cannot understand the human heart, unable to even know the actions of a person or to sympathize with it. Normally, he would be an identical being with the Beasts, an adolescent life form of a higher order that is certified as an enemy of humanity.[1]

Merlin is very boastful about his abilities as a mage, claiming that he inflicts jealousy and envy on all other Servants, especially Casters, since they are second-rate to him.

It's a given that Merlin could see through the identity of the ringleader behind the Grand Orders incident. It's also a given that he stays silent about it. The human protagonist must struggle with his own power; it is only fate, for otherwise, they would only perceive their enemy as one they cannot defeat. Not even Merlin can surpass the last boss (the King of Magic) this time. Actually, on this basis, no Heroic Spirit can surpass him. The one who is destined to be able to surpass him is not a Heroic Spirit, but only a human who lives (now) in the present. Therefore, he shall watch over the Master, just as he had once watched over many kings in the past.[1]

Merlin shall believe in the Master, the hope of human history; he shall lend his power to the utmost; and then he shall entertain himself relaxingly. Merlin's desire is to carve open a path for the protagonist's own destiny, to watch him off as he walks towards the future, to gaze at that kind of "beautiful view".[1]

"After that, I'll just do as I always do; disappearing completely from everybody's memory. Most other things, I can do without much of a fuss. But this alone, I can never get used to."[1]

RelationshipsEdit

Artoria Pendragon

Merlin boasts of her, his prided girl (king), Artoria, to everybody. However, since he essentially brought misfortune upon her, he is feeling a sense of responsibility now.[1]

To Artoria: "Until the very end, you did nothing but endure and persevere. I should think that it's fine for you to be rewarded now, no?" he said in an obvious tone.[1]

Knights of the Round Table

To the group of troublesome oddballs: "Hahahaha. Really, you guys just never change! Until when were you all planning to keep on troubling Artoria? Well, I can't really stop it either because it's so amusing to watch, so I guess I'm not one to talk either!"[1]

Solomon

Merlin is antagonistic to Solomon, a "magus of the crown position who gazed at both past and future" on the same level as him. If Solomon is the King of Magic who regards a high importance of the past, then Merlin is a magus who dreams of the future.[1]

Magi☆Mari

A net idol who, even as the Incineration of the Human Order proceeded and the Earth's network system was gone, is still active for some reason. She supports Solomon, who had turned into a human, from the Internet. Solomon was like "Hey, is Merlin in the backstage or something? I don't feel like helping but I do feel a lot of complaining. Get a ride over here too" as he started a lonesome conversation with Magi☆Mari, although this had become a daily therapy for him. Solomon had never thought that perhaps it was Merlin himself who played as Magi☆Mari.[1]

RoleEdit

Fate/stay nightEdit

In the Fate route, Merlin was mentioned when Shirou Emiya was dreaming about Saber's past.[6][9][10] Rin Tohsaka briefly mentions Merlin when they discuss about King Arthur's legend.[4]

In the Unlimited Blade Works route, Saber describes Merlin as being still active in the present times even when she is summoned as a Servant. Saber reveals that she shares a common trait with Shirou as they were fond of an immature magus. Saber describes Merlin to Shirou, that he has the bearing of someone unlike a magus, much to the point where it would be hard to believe him when he claimed to be one. Noted to be a "troublesome adult", he is spaced out and clumsy, freely enjoying his pastimes and playing around like a child. More immature than Artoria, he was somebody she "couldn't leave alone", but she respected him greatly as a magus. Despite that, she describes him as the cause of every trouble and mentions that the age would have been better off had he been less mischievous. Agreeing with Shirou that he could be described as a "real bad guy", she describes his worst trait as being "weak against love affairs", or more aptly, "full of love." Although it led to his downfall, she believes he is "still casually talking about love."[11]

In the Last Episode, Merlin explains to Saber that her dream to reunite Shirou is difficult and near impossible. He informs Saber that two miracles must occur in order for them to meet again as normal people. One must wait continuously, while the other must pursue endlessly. They must realize that it is impossible to succeed, yet at the same time, be capable of enduring patiently.[12]

Garden of AvalonEdit

Error creating thumbnail: Invalid thumbnail parameters One half of the story is narrated by Merlin as he was imprisoned in the stone tower within Avalon.[3] The other half resembles the conversations between Merlin and various Knights of the Round Table. The story tells the Fate version of King Arthur's legend from the day she pulls out Caliburn to her demise.

After Merlin witnesses Saber's last moments in the Fifth Holy Grail War, he is pleased with the outcome. He releases Cath Palug from the Garden of Avalon in the Reverse Side of the World. He insists Cath Palug to seek freedom and to play into something really beautiful.[13]

Fate/Grand OrderEdit

E Pluribus Unum: Grand Battle of Legends in North AmericaEdit

Merlin makes a brief appearance during the Grand Orders in the North America Singularity, wandering through as Cú Chulainn Alter prepares to destroy Ritsuka Fujimaru. Remarking that he cannot truly intervene due to him still daydreaming, he declares that he shall meet Ritsuka properly at the designated future, and requests that they take care of his familiar, Cath Palug, for him.

Babylonia: The Absolute Frontline in the War Against the Demonic BeastsEdit

Utilizing Independent Manifestation, Merlin arranged for Gilgamesh to summon him as an enfleshed Caster-class Servant, supporting Uruk in the war against the Three Goddess Alliance and Tiamat. However, a part of his existence was actually insinuated within the dreams of Tiamat, holding her in a state of slumber. When Tiamat's avatar, the Conglomerate Divinity Gorgon, was defeated, the awakening Tiamat destroyed Merlin's Servant iteration. Subsequently, Merlin temporarily escaped Avalon, appearing in Babylonia during the final confrontation with Tiamat and neutralizing the Divine Authority of the Sea of Life with his flowers.[14]

Other appearancesEdit

Merlin made a cameo in the Fate/Apocrypha anime along with the Knights of the Round Table in Kairi Sisigou's dream.[15] Merlin later appears in Mordred's dream of Artoria Pendragon pulling the sword out of the stone.[16]

In the Prototype Universe, Merlin's gender is female.

AbilitiesEdit

“Why I don’t use incantations, you ask?
Even though it’s faster to just hit them?”

—Merlin

Merlin is a Caster, but he fights using a sword too. Or rather, he thoughtlessly put up a Caliburn-like sword.[1]

Protagonist: "Wait, you're not using magic?!"

Merlin: "Depends on the time and place! I mean, you know. I tend to bite my tongue if I panic on the incantation. If you just need to beat up the enemy, a sword is enough, no?"[1]

Merlin is one among the top-ranking Casters, but he himself does not treat magecraft as his forte. The reason being that he stumbles during incantations.[2]

Merlin is a formidable magus, said to be the most feared in the country of Britain.[6][17] He qualifies to be a Grand Caster and he is a top tier Servant on the level of Solomon. Bolstered by his incubus heritage, Rin Tohsaka describes that being able to disguise Artoria's gender or "arrange for a child that should never have been born" should be extremely easy tasks.[4] The creation of Invisible Air is attributed to something he could have thought up for Artoria.[18]

Merlin is a half-blood born from the union of a human and an incubus, and he possesses the proof of the Highest Mage; Clairvoyance: "The Eyes Which See through the World". Eyes that are able to see beyond while the person stands in place. From time immemorial, it is the power entrusted to the lands by the gods and the power shamans needed to guard lives. However profound and capable one's magic circuits may be in performing the strongest forms of magecraft, a mage who does not possess these "Eyes" shall not be given the title of the most supreme.[3]

Merlin is proficient in swordplay and is allegedly Artoria's swordsmanship instructor. He was shown in possession of Excalibur, saying that he prefers using it in combat over magic because he bites his tongue during long incantations and that "it's a lot easier to smack things around with a Holy Sword, you know?"

SkillsEdit

Independent ManifestationEdit

Merlin possesses Independent Manifestation, A Skill that permits unsupported manifestation into reality. Originally, Merlin should not be summonable in the capacity of a Heroic Spirit; for, irrelevant of the future that comes to pass, his death shall not occur. Ergo, to serve a Master in the capacity of a Servant is in essence a fulfillment of his personal desires. To put it in other words, he acts as a Servant merely as a part of his hobby. For the purpose of making his fantasies as reality, he has by personal effort obtained this Skill, even though it would be normally restricted to a certain unique Class (Beast)——making use of it to the end of pretending to be summoned as a Servant.[2][1]

By use of this Skill, Merlin was able to be summoned by Gilgamesh in the 7th Singularity of Fate/Grand Order as an irregular Caster. When questioned as to how this was possible when he wasn't yet deceased, he claimed that it may have something to do with his connection with the Singularity; or the fact that the era of the summoning lies prior to his birth——allowing for him to qualify as "not being alive."

In Chapter 16, after Merlin apparently dies following the defeat of the Conglomerate Divinity, Gorgon, Doctor Roman indicates that the Merlin that was travelling at your side was merely a projection, and that his primary manifestation within the era was occupied with the task of restraining the Goddess Tiamat within her slumber. He suggests that Merlin may have been killed in the process of Tiamat's awakening.[19]

However, as of the end of the 7th Singularity, Merlin is revealed to be still alive——taking advantage of the Incineration of the Human Order to bypass his confinement within Avalon and physically travelling to Babylonia to take part in the final battle against Tiamat.[14]

IllusionismEdit

Merlin excels in the thaumaturgical discipline of Illusionism (幻術, Genjutsu?), a Skill related to Mental Interference and a magecraft for the use of beguilement. It refers to interference with the psyche, and the projection of illusions into reality. At A Rank, the introduction of nightmares unto the realm of the psyche is a matter of course; and even within reality, an illusion on the scale of a single village may be manifested with ease, to the end of successfully beguiling humans.[2][1]

Hero CreationEdit

The techniques and arts to artificially give birth to and raise a "King". Merlin, who can be described as the true father of King Arthur, is known as the most prominent kingmaker in the world.[2][1]

DevelopmentEdit

Creation and ConceptionEdit

Taiki is the character illustrator for Merlin.[2][1] Kinoko Nasu is the scenario writer for his character.[1]

Comment from IllustratorEdit

"The feeling of a completely unknown age, and the impression of someone inhuman. For the sake of expressing that, I have him wear a white kimono. There is a sword set all hidden weapon-like in his staff, but the man himself doesn't really use it as a weapon, but more like playing it around as a toy-like gadget. That is what the image I'm going for."[1]

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.23 1.24 1.25 1.26 1.27 1.28 1.29 1.30 1.31 1.32 1.33 1.34 1.35 1.36 1.37 1.38 1.39 1.40 1.41 1.42 1.43 1.44 1.45 1.46 1.47 1.48 1.49 1.50 1.51 1.52 1.53 1.54 Fate/Grand Order material IV - Merlin, p.396-409, translated by castor212 at Beast's Lair.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 2.23 2.24 2.25 2.26 2.27 2.28 2.29 2.30 2.31 2.32 2.33 2.34 2.35 2.36 2.37 2.38
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Garden of Avalon - Chapter 00: In the Flower Garden, p.004-013
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Fate/stay night - Fate: Day 13 - Saber's contradiction
  5. Fate/stay night - Saber's Status Profile
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Fate/stay night - Fate: Day 11 - The king's memories
  7. 7.0 7.1
  8. Fate/hollow ataraxia - Sisters' crisis
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Fate/stay night - Fate: Day 13 - The king's memories
  10. Fate/stay night - Fate: Day 12 - The king's memories
  11. Fate/stay night - Unlimited Blade Works: Day 10 - Night training
  12. Fate/stay night - Last Episode
  13. Garden of Avalon - Chapter 06: In the Flower Garden, p.103
  14. 14.0 14.1
  15. Fate/Apocrypha - Episode 06: Knight of Rebellion
  16. Fate/Apocrypha - Episode 23: Going Beyond