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Cursed by Fortuna

Assassin Locusta Additional Information

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Dev Notes

I will admit that after Hassan this was a refreshing experience to write, and I had a lot of fun with it. I first had the idea on the direction to take her based on reading her character and that resonating with the information (that I canít recall where exactly I came across it, but I do remember it) that Semiramis from typemoon being a poisoner is possibly based more on Semiramis (a tragedy) by Voltarie rather than historical fact. I can confirm that most of what I read didnít mention sorcery at all [except some later legends, and an Armeian tale which mentioned she tried to rise Ara from the dead (although the bit about her mother derketo and the doves do seem accurate to bits of her mythology]), I found no mention of poison in the original legends (the closest I came to that is Ninus fell near instantly in live with her, Onnes who feared the king, yet still loved his wife went mad and hung himself), so thatís probably an addition by later writers or Voltaire himself.

In fact arguably if you wanted to compare Semiramis (real historical basis: Shammuramat) with anybody I would compare her with Ur-Nammu, a great conqueror, who built many monuments and architectural works, was associated with a first (Ur-nammu has the first recorded example of law; Semiramis the first recorded example of a person being castrated (according to Roman historian Ammianus Marcellinus) in order to become an eunch, she was associated with Ishtar and Astarte (and may have made a temple at Hieraplous Bambcye). All this is to say that while I love Semiramis as a character, she isnít really historically accurate to the majority of her legends or deeds.

This lead me to see Locusta, a famous historical poisoner, and possible practitioner of witchcraft and decide to make her a tribute to Semiramis (although I do wonder if Locustaís legend and use of poison (potentially also being a witch as I have seen her called that once or twice) may have influenced Voltaireís work). I mainly designed her character to be the kind of person who is highly relatable in her motivations, she wants fame, fortune, and power, things most people either want or understand the appeal of. But I also wanted to make her a villain while not evil for her motives (which are surprisingly mundane), and is infinitely detestable for just how far she is willing to go to get what she wants. In that respect I suppose Locusta could be called a reflection of the perils of being consumed by greed and desire, and the lengths people will go to obtain what they want.

To me Locusta is the kind of villain where you would see her walk in and just eagerly await her downfall, she a ďyou love to hate herĒ kind of character and the true horror behind her is in how much she can sometimes reflect about humanity as a whole (you are what you hate kind of thing) and the slippery slope of recklessly pursuing a goal. She didnít start out poisoning a kid, but the chance at getting an Emperor she could use to her heartís content and her goal being close at hand corrupted her to even more morally bankrupt behavior.

I then added in a bit later the final bits of humanizing character where in spite of everything she still did somewhat love Nero, and did, even if only slightly, regret her actions towards her (as perhaps she started to see herself as child in Nero, or how the Clock tower may have been using her, or even seeing her as another soul doomed to be hated for their choices, yet was fully honest with themselves [perhaps even seeing her as a daughter in some ways]) In regards to her skill at witchcraft, she actually more specializes in poison creation and botany, and her others skills in it are mere inconveniences to most (although when boosted by her first noble phantasm, her magical ability can become a legitimate threat).

After this I then tailored her backstory a little bit more to add in my interpretation of Neroís characterization. She isnít necessarily a bad person, just a very patriotic one and one who loves their country, unfortunately her ways of expressing this love at times are destructive and make her dangerous. To be clear she wasn't involved willingly in everything Locusta did, and Locusta did manipulate Nero, but Nero also was at fault due to her at times allowing for it and her own twisted mentality and beliefs. As such Nero was someone who loved Rome, yet made others suffer because of that love for Rome, almost like a sort of curse.

If Locusta were in the second singularity I can easily see her as playing to both sides of the war, manipulating both, and eventually getting her comeuppance by Chaldea and a heartbroken Nero, raging that what she did is hardly all the different from what a lot of others only wished to do, the difference is that they would have others get the dirty work done for them, but she does it herself. Upon her last breath maybe she would finally be able to admit that she did care for Nero however little, and ask forgiveness for ruining her life and legend.

After this likely Nero and Chaldea would have a bit of a discussion about human nature and mankindís pursuit of personal gain, the fact that even some of the most amoral of humans may tend to empathize or bond with those they have been around for years. Mash would have a bit of an inner monologue about the evil and cruelty which lies within the human heart, and how bad magi can be (arguably even worse than Locusta at times). After this Ritsuka/Gudako would likely look at the roman senate and nobility and with hindsight say ďYou know you guys werenít all that much betterĒ and everyone would kinda bemoan the whole situation (basically Locusta was honest about who she was and what she wanted at her core, however her means were horrible (even if they werenít all too different from other magi or nobles)) and even then she wasnít totally evil as there was a small bit of her which loved Nero, but that was overruled by the much larger chunk which loved her own prosperity and wanted to keep it no matter what (although due to her ties to Nero, she couldnít fully betray her).

To be a little clear with Assassinís second noble phantasm, it isnít actually a feather of a fallen angel (although it is likely it was possibly a feather of a Zhenniao (a monstrous or phantasmal species from chinese myth whose feathers were highly poisonous)), it is just that itís mystery and nature is symbolic and has partly overlapped with the legend of the fallen one. Thus the whole fallen angel vibe it give off, itís because Lucifer / Samaelís legend and her noble phantasm happened to overlap due to later connotations of witches and her potential role in giving rise to those (kind of like an innocent monster skill, except that it hasnít manifested as a skill, but merely as something which has altered one of her noble phantasms).

As for the bit about her maybe being part of the inspiration behind the later beliefs about witches, poisons, and the devil. I will say thatís just my speculation, it may have had much more to do with Circe (known for poisons) and Medea (known for her spells), both known ďwitchesĒ that Locusta, but given her actions, I think it well within possibility that given how hated Nero was by Christains his personal poisoner may have also influenced their beliefs those who use poisons and/or those who practice spells. If you were to give Assassin the grail, I genuinely think that a lot of what she would wish for would depend on the circumstances, but considering as a spirit, she has no use for fame or riches, perhaps she may finally indulge that last bit of her traitorous heart, that which caused her to choose almost certain death over exile and betrayal, and wish if not to undo her acts towards Nero, than to be reunited with her once again.