An elemental spirit of humanity that is considered a natural phenomenon in itself, Heroic Spirits (英霊, Eirei?, "Legendary Souls" in the English version of Fate/Extra) are beings that accomplished great achievements such as saving the world and, after their death, became the object of worship and lore. As a result, they are placed outside the cycle of transmigration of the soul and ascend to an existence closer to a Divine Spirit in order to become a power that protects humanity. Note that despite the origins of the term, they are not bound to the common understanding of the word “hero”, thus even Heroic Spirits of evil alignment exist.
Just as Elementals are able to adopt a physical form based on the image of humans, Heroic Spirits create a container that allows them to materialize in the present era out of their own legends. Regardless of the authenticity, as long as the information about an individual is widespread enough among humans of any given age, a Heroic Spirit can be materialized into any era. Since heroes are known through their stories, information available about them is always composed by what is actually true, what was fictionally created in legends and what was omitted and is now forgotten. Hence, Heroic Spirits can be influenced to a degree by what is known about them in the modern world. Heroic Spirits that aren't Counter Guardians are simply treated as traditions that lend power to the later people.
Despite being an existence close to the gods, Heroic Spirits are still fundamentally human, thus they cannot contend against the greater mysteries with their powers alone. However, all Heroic Spirits possess Noble Phantasms, which are unique relics or anecdotes that are connected to their legends. Noble Phantasms are used as catalysts to reenact legendary feats and can pose a threat to even high-ranking Spirits. As Human Spirits, they are able to consume the souls and minds of people and convert them into energy. Their basic abilities do not change from such nourishment, but they become tougher as their magical energy capacity increases.
The majority of those who became Heroic Spirits are individuals ranging from the most ancient times of humanity to the end of the 19th Century. Each Heroic Spirit is a unique existence; they are those who stood out from the others of their time by performing deeds and possessing qualities that nobody else could have. It is almost impossible for someone of the present era to become a Heroic Spirit, for the great feats of the past can now be everyday occurrences. In an age when the destruction of the planet can be prevented all the time by simply preserving the Amazon forest from being plundered by industries, saving the world is not a big deal. Additionally, because modern firearms are widespread and gives instant power to anyone who wields them, it is hard for a hero who uses today’s firearms to be recognized as a unique being. Even the most outstanding modern gunslinger will be seen by the world as “an expert that everybody can become through training”, not as a “unique existence”. These people might turn to be legendary in a way, but not so legendary that they would appear in myths and legends to be told to future generations. If the conditions for the creation of a hero are met for a user of modern armaments, what will ascend to the rank of Heroic Spirit will be the gun instead, under the terms of “the best weapon of its time” and only if it has a soul bounded to it. Furthermore, the Heroic Spirit must be a mythical, incredibly legendary or even a historical figure that his/her adventures has become a lore or tale and figure of reverence or fear, not someone that is entirely fictional. For example, a Master cannot summon completely fictional heroes because the figures' exploits considered a miracle.
Once an individual is recognized as a Heroic Spirit, his soul will be removed from the cycle of transmigration and stored in the Throne of Heroes (英霊の座, Eirei no za?), a spiritual location that is part of Akasha. He is left isolated there so to guarantee that no alteration that might compromise what is now considered a complete and perfect existence occurs. This is important since if a contradiction or existential paradox involving the hero is detected, the records of his existence might have to be erased so to preserve the stability of the world, though depending of the level of the distortion there might not be a need for such a drastic measure. The Throne itself, just like Akasha, is a place that is outside any parallel world or timeframe, which is also a factor that makes it possible for them to be summoned into any age. Should their legends disappear, they will become nameless Heroes that are simply considered Guardians. For the Heroic Spirits of the Moon Cell, they are recorded from humanity's history, but they are identical to those on the Throne of Heroes.
Because they are a type of phenomenon, most humans are unable to perceive the actions of Heroic Spirits for what they are. Rather, their actions are seen as a natural occurrence and they themselves as nothing but pure power. When they come to the world, they are usually in the form when their powers were at their prime, but this is not an unbreakable rule and cases where their shape was changed by external forces are known. Examples of this include one in which the Heroic Spirit appeared just as he was moments before his death-breath due a powerful curse imposed onto him and also the case of the two Sabers that were summoned by the Edelfelt sisters in the Heaven’s Feel 3, in which each Saber was in the form that best represented one of the aspects of his legend. On that account, it is also possible that the form that the hero takes is influenced somewhat by how his legend is known. It is also possible for Heroic Spirits to influence the world in response to the direct summoning of humans, but that happens through an indirect medium (such as relaying messages to an oracle or lending their power to a living person). Servants are a different case that will be studied separately ahead.
Note that the soul of the hero never leaves the Throne of Heroes, and what really descends upon the earth when the services of the Heroic Spirit is needed is merely a copy of him/her created based on the information stored on the Throne. This copy will lack the ego of the original and, when there is no longer a need for the hero’s presence, it will just disappear without relaying any knowledge acquired back to the “main body” in the Throne. However, it is possible for this main body to become aware to some extent of what happened by accessing the records of Akasha. Altria, however, is a special case. Although she is considered as a Heroic Spirit, her soul is not inside the Throne for she is not technically dead yet. Instead, in accordance with her contract with the world, her body is frozen in a state between life and death while her soul is partially detached from it so she can fulfill her role as a hero. The reason why she is able to remember the events of the 4th Grail War during the Heaven's Feel 5 is because the mind of her original body receives the memories of what she experiences each time that she is summoned in the form of dreams.
Heroic Spirits will most often take the form that represents their golden age at the prime of their lives, but effects like those of a strong curse or a personal attachment to the form can change that to even their selves from just before death. Skills like Mad Enhancement, Mental Pollution, and Innocent Monster can influence their forms and personalities when summoned as Servants, changing them drastically depending on how they were perceived in life or after death. The preference of the Master and suitability for certain Servant classes may also affect them. It also may be the case that how history recorded them became distorted, such as Astolfo appearing feminine when history calls him the "most handsome" of his peers, Alexander the Great being very tall when history recorded him as shorter than average, and those of an opposite gender from their legends.
- Elizabeth Bathory - Elizabeth is summoned as the unwed daughter of house Bathory, and Innocent Monster brings out the qualities of her dragon blood.
- Hans Christian Andersen - Summoned in the form of a young boy for an unknown reason, he attributes it to either being the point where he was "most overflowing with sensitivity" or possibly the preference of his Master, Kiara Sessyoin. Innocent Monster causes him to take on a number of attributes from his stories.
- Jack the Ripper - Having never been revealed to the public, this form of Jack the Ripper can take on the forms any of the multitude of theories behind the murders.
- King Arthur - King Arthur is a special case in that she is not yet deceased as of her summoning. Taken directly from when she makes the Contract with the World, she is different from regular true Heroic Spirits.
- Li Shuwen - Normally older after having discovered in life that his true strength was that of his convictions, his Master wishing for a stealthy Servant brings forth his younger self with traits more suited to his Assassin class.
- Medusa - While she appears in the human state from before her decent as a monster, she is just the Gorgon in human form. Sides of herself can become those of a monster at any time, mirrored by her Monstrous Strength skill.
- Nursery Rhyme takes on the form of its Master's projected feelings.
- The Hundred-Faced Hassan - While a single being in life, his Noble Phantasm Zabaniya: Delusional Illusion has separated him into many different entities that wish to have a unified personality.
- Vlad III - Strongly influenced by both his heroic deeds in Romania and the attribution of Dracula to his legend, he has been shown in two different states. Innocent Monster greatly applies the status of Dracula to him, while being summoned in Romania greatly emphasizes his heroic aspects.
As stated before, for the sake of preserving an existence that is already seen as complete, a Heroic Spirit is kept isolated in the Throne of Heroes; what is called forth to the world is merely a disposable clone based on the original “main body” inside the Throne. However, due to its connections to the Third Magic, Servants called by the Great Grail can temporary retrieve their lost human life by being summoned completely, including their ego that should be but a part of the main body. Furthermore, as is it known that Servants are eventually returned to the Throne after being defeated, it is possible that the summoned Heroic Spirits are able to retain the memories of when they were Servants. Finally, while in normal cases Heroic Spirits simply disappear when they are no longer needed, Servants can remain in the world as long as they still have a valid contract with a Master that can supply him/her with enough prana.
Counter Guardian (カウンターガーディアン, Kauntā Gādian?), also called the Protectors of Balance (抑止の守護者, Yokushi no Shugosha?) or the Beast of Alaya, is a special category found within the group of existences known as Heroic Spirits. If a regular Heroic Spirit is someone who became a hero by his own power and is admired for that, then a Guardian is an unknown person who has achieved a great feat due to the assistance of an external force. They are the ones who have made a pact with the World (Alaya) and offers his services as a Heroic Spirit after death in exchange for a miracle during his lifetime. While normal Heroic Spirits are a natural phenomenon that just happen to be beneficial to humanity, Counter Guardians are a strictly human phenomenon. Thus, unlike regular Heroic Spirits, Counter Guardians are not inducted into the Throne of Heroes and as such, they are not recognized by regular Heroic Spirits.
Due to their contract with Alaya, these heroes are incorporated as part of humanity’s Counter Force (hence the name Counter Guardians) and are summoned whenever a factor in the extinction of mankind is detected. They are the ones who appear on the site of great disasters in order to eliminate the source of that disaster and all those involved, even if the target of elimination are humans themselves. Not bounded by moral values such as good and evil, they exterminate guilty and innocent alike in order to protect those completely unrelated.
Those who became heroes by their own power are beyond the reach of Alaya, for they are pseudo-deities whose existence is closer to the level of a planet. Therefore, the Counter Force is limited to only Heroic Spirits who made use of its powers during their lifetime. Also, while a Guardian may become free of the control of the Counter Force by having his legend known and being revered for that, a true Heroic Spirit will not become part of the Counter Force even if his legend is forgotten.
Anti-Heroes (反英雄, Haneiyuu?) are contradictory beings that do not entirely fall under the concept of Heroic Spirits, but still exist due to certain factors. They are people who are hated, yet ultimately saved others as the result of their atrocities. They are those who define "good" with "evil", and although they are the target of curses, they are still worshipped as messiahs. That is the nature of Anti-Heroes, but such a thing as a true anti-hero does not exist. They ultimately only reach the level of "individuals who did good while carrying out evil", stopping short of being classified as a true anti-hero.
These people are those whose atrocious acts were ultimately beneficial to mankind, and the great majority of those who fall into this category are simply “accidental heroes” who performed good deeds despite having an evil nature. There are also the unwilling saviors, whose own demises served to save those around them. They are that which was born from humans but developed without the interference of humans, the contradiction created from that becomes something exempt of the pressure of the Counter Force: an enemy of the world. Assassin, Archer, and Avenger fall under this category. Rider and Caster, while not true Heroic Spirits, are also not true Anti-Heroes.
 Fate/complete material III: World material - FAQ with Nasu: Servants, p.132
Q: What kind of role does the World give to Heroic Spirits that aren't Guardians (Counter Guardians) ? Also, what do magi call people with high divinity or are closer to the planet?
English | Japanese
Q: What kind of role does the World give to Heroic Spirits that aren't Guardians (Counter Guardians)? Also, what do magi call people with high divinity or are closer to the planet?
A: Heroic Spirits that aren't Guardians are simply treated as traditions that lend power to the later people. Those that became closer to the planet don't mix well with people so they fall into the categories of Divine Spirits and Elementals.
 Fate/side material - Encyclopedia: Heroic Spirits [Circumstances], p.056 English | Japanese
Heroic Spirits [Circumstances]
The Heroes who achieved great deeds and were worshiped after death became Heroic Spirits.
They were the greatest existences amongst the forces that safeguarded humanity. In terms of classification, they were not Wrath, but closer to Faeries.
Faeries were materialized forces using the imagination of humans as framework, while Heroic Spirits were woven purely from the ideals of humans through and through.
Amongst Heroic Spirits, there were ones who existed in legends, ones who actually lived, and ones who were never observed. Those who were rarely worshiped were included in the classification of "Counter Guardians", and were utilized as an unconscious Counter Force.
In the Heroic Spirits in this story, only Archer functioned as a Counter Guardian.
Other Heroic Spirits were aligned with the planet rather than humanity, due to their high divinity. Counter Guardians were not within this category.
Fate/Extra Sound Drama 2 English | Japanese
Basically the Moon Cell takes the Servants from its records of history, but the recorded heroes are identical to the ones in the Throne of Heroes anyway.
 Fate/Extra CCC - Elizabeth Secret Garden
Name: Elizabeth “The torture idol of the dragon family, Elizabeth Báthory! I’ll break your heart to pieces too!”
Height: 154cm “No, 172cm! What do you think of this incredible supermodel-esque stature? My horns are quite tall.”
Weight: 44kg “An idol’s age and weight ought to be kept secret, but, hey, do you really want to hear it? No matter what? Well then I suppose I’ll have to say…I’m a lovely 44kg.”
3Size: B77/W56/H80 “There are, er, various things one can do disguise this. I-I’m not wearing slimming clothes!”
Home: House Báthory “The ancient dragons. The noble bloodline that bears their fangs. The House of Báthory in Hungary. The place that was everything to me.”
Birthday: May 17th “Could you leave the presents with my manager?”
Weak Point: If you expose my noble wrath I’ll never forgive you “Unfortunately I’ll have to cut you up, crush you, wring you dry, and then, you have to marry me!!”
Fetishism: Torture…? “No, that’s a duty of the nobility, so that’s different. So, then…wh, I, with the opposite sex? I don’t know anything about that, but, uh, fingers are certainly lovely aren’t they?”
What do you look for in a partner? There are a lot of things, but really… “Starting with a house, they need wealth, work, hobbies…there are a lot of things, but ignoring all that nonsense, it’s definitely ‘destiny’ in the end.”
What’s your favorite color of underwear? Always what’s most fashionable in show business “And a top idol most definitely has stripes!”
How do you spend your free time? Recovering from fatigue with a relaxing bath “It’s not that easy, keeping up this beauty.”
Fond of Cooking (Wish to be a Beloved Wife):
Elizabeth’s second SG.
Though Elizabeth herself says she likes cooking, this is not a simple fondness for the act of preparing food, like that of the red-mantled Archer. Elizabeth’s fondness for cooking comes from a desire to be praised by or to monopolize the person she likes. Essentially it amounts to nothing but a desire to be beloved as a wife. Her skill in cooking is utterly lacking.
We can infer that as the fondness for cooking appears as the apex of Elizabeth’s wish to be a wife, she then stresses meals. Or perhaps it’s part of her draconic instincts.
Though Elizabeth shares her love of song with Saber and her wish to be a beloved wife with Caster, what lies at the bottom of those wishes is completely different.
To confirm her beloved’s love — preparing food as a method keep a husband’s attention does not come from an “equal relationship.” She would “bestow meals” to her husband as a noble. It’s no different from feeding an animal. It contains none of the “romance” she longs for. The controlling disposition hard-wired into her devours even her meagre dreams.
Elizabeth’s third SG. We would like to leave just what constitutes “purity” to the reader’s imagination.
Servants are revived in the form that represents golden age of their lives. So Elizabeth appears as an unwed daughter of house Báthory, a young girl in love with love…one assumes.
An idol must be pure as snow. Forget romance, the moment she comes to know love her shine is lost. As long as she immerses herself in the idol business, this SG will be eternally indestructible.
 Fate/Extra - Assassin Matrix
Master: Julius Harway
True Name: Li Shuwen
Noble Phantasm: No Second Strike
Keyword: A second strike isn't needed, Obfuscation
Strength: B, Defense: C, Agility: A, Magic: E, Luck: E
Obfuscation: -, Liuhe Quan: A+++, Concealment: A
Kewords English | Japanese
01 - No Second Strike
Li Shuwen's blows are almost always fatal, whether he throws a hard blow designed to kill or a simple feint to draw his opponent into an attack. A saying that has managed to survive the passing of years is, "For Li Shuwen, a second strike is needless." It is this saying from which his Noble Phantasm get its name.
To be accurate, this isn't a Noble Phantasm in the traditional sense of term. Rather, it is the ultimate expressions of the true power possible by mastering the martial arts. Li Shuwen is considered to be one of the very few to have gained total mastery over his style, and in fact was believed to have transcended the need for physical attacks, instead defeating his opponents by engulfing them in Chi.
There is much debate as to whether Li Shuwen actually uses his Chi to defeat his opponents, although the very few who have managed to survive a confrontation with him report suffering all of the effects associated with this attack, such as obscured senses, heightened state of paranoia, and the feeling that their nervous system was under almost unendurable strain.
02 - A second strike isn't needed
This was the second name given to one of the strongest practitioners of kung fu in Bajiquan history. Considered to be the ultimate master of Bajiquan, it is said that this person was able to take the life of his opponents with a single gentle touch.
03 - Obfuscation
A skill used to completely conceal one's presence.
Although this ability allows the user to become almost completely invisible, the sheer amount of magical energy required almost screams out that some form of thaumaturgy is being used. Should this person's opponent be a skilled magus, their presence would be noticeable in some extrasensory fashion.
There is a way to achieve this state of being without the use of any kind of magical aid and using only the abilities inherent within one's own physical form, but the level of concentration required is far beyond what humans are capable of.
Skills English | Japanese
While a common skill of all Servants of the Assassin Class, the level to which he is able to almost completely obscure his presence goes far above the limits normally associated with this ability.
Liuhe Quan [A+++]
A Chinese meditiative ideal. It is a belief that true mastery of martial arts comes not through training, but acceptance. As this technique is extremely difficult to understand, let alone master, it is only when achieving the rank A that one is thought to have actually begun to learn. Those with ranks exceeding A are considered true masters of the arts.
A technique in which one uses their Chi to blend in with the whole of their surroundings. For masters of the ability, it is possible for them to truly become one with the world and have their very forms seem to become invisible.
Details English | Japanese
01 - Character Background
Li Shuwen (1864-1934)
A Chinese martial arts master from Yanshan County, Hebei-Cangzhou. One of the foremost practitioners of the style of the style known as Bajiquan, he was so powerful that many remarked that with him, "a second strike is needless as long a single blow will suffice."
In addition to his skills in hand-to-hand combat, he was also supremely talented in the use of the spear, so much so that he earned the name "Divine Spear Li." His occasional us of this weapon sometimes causes his opponents to mistakenly classify him as a Lancer. While this wouldn't normally be entirely incorrect, due to his Master's desire for a stealthy Servant capable of killing from the shadows, the traits more associated with the Assassin class have come to the fore.
On a final note, since his ability to become invisible is based on his natural abilities and not on any form of thaumaturgy, he is all but undetectable to the vast majority of magi or anyone dependent on magic.
02 - "Master of the Demonic Fist"
Li Shuwen, Master of the Demon Fist.
One of the few undisputed masters of martial arts, he maintains a delicate balance between the innate goodness and inherent evil found in all men. He fell victim to poison after earning the undying hatred of the countless families of those he had killed.
As a Servant, the balance he maintained in life has slipped slightly, but he still values rationality greatly. While he does not see much difference between good and evil, he will react with disgust and utter contempt for those who stray from rational thinking. And for those who allow what Christians call "The Seven Deadly Sins" to overwhelm their lives, he brings swift and inevitable death.
Although he was known as a deadly fighter throughout his life, in his later years he discovered that true power lay not in the strength of his fists, but in the strength of his convictions. He spent the remainder of his life following valor, not violence.
He freely acknowledge that in his current incarnation he is nothing more than a professional killer, but does so without bitterness or regret. And although he uses his power as Julius directs, could it be that...?
- ↑ Fate/hollow ataraxia - monster
 Kara no Kyoukai Special Pamphlet - Encyclopedia: Counter Force [Others] English | Japanese
Counter Force [Others]
The Counter Force here is the safety device formed by the collective unconsciousness.
The prayer to avert the demise of mankind, Alaya.
And the prayer to extend the life of the planet, Gaia.
These are the two aspect of the Counter Force.
Both aspects have the goal of extending the existence of the current World. They will eradicate the factors that threaten to destroy the World at the moment of their occurance.
Since the Counter Force is the unconscious, its appearance draws no attention, and no one will recognize it.
The Counter Force is a formless spiral of power. It adjusts its scale based on the target that needs to be obliterated. The Counter Force will always appear with a status above the target, enough to absolutely secure a victory.
Normally, the Counter Force empowers "a normal person" to remove the factor that can trigger destruction. As a result, these individuals are worshiped as "Heroes".
Individuals who became Heroes through the aspect of Alaya are said to be integrated into Alaya after death. However, the accuracy of this statement is uncertain.
These individuals are also called Counter Guardians. The emphasis here is "Counter", because they have no autonomy and will only activate in response to an event.
 Fate/side material - Encyclopedia: Anti-Heroes [Others], p.070 English | Japanese
People who are hated, yet the result of their atrocities ultimately saved others. They are the ones who define "good" with "evil".
Although they are the targets of curses, they are still worshiped as messiahs.
They are the anti-heroes.
However, true anti-heroes do not exist.
Ultimately they only reach the level of "individuals who did good while carrying out evil" (stopping short of being true anti-hero).
Assassin and Archer fall into this category.
Rider and Caster are not true Heroic Spirits, but they are not true anti-heroes either.
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