Saber of "Black" ("黒"のセイバー, "Kuro" no Seibā?) is the Saber-class Servant of Gordes Musik Yggdmillennia of the Black Faction in the Great Holy Grail War of Fate/Apocrypha. He is one of the Servants summoned by Ritsuka Fujimaru in the Grand Orders of Fate/Grand Order.
Saber's True Name is Siegfried (ジークフリート, Jīkufurīto?), the Dragon-Blooded Knight (竜血の騎士, Ryūketsu no Kishi?) and the "Dragon Slayer" who defeated the evil dragon Fafnir with the holy sword Balmung in hand. He is a great national hero of Germany that has many different depictions in the various legends attributed to him. His most famous role is his introductory appearance in the German epic poem of the Middle Ages, the "Nibelungenlied", portrayed as its main character. He is a character in a tragedy that had spread throughout Europe concerning dragon slaying and the Rhinegold, and his character became established with the ancient epic "Nibelungenlied". However, Siegfried is actually not the main character of the "Nibelungenlied". The real main character is his wife Kriemhild, and this epic is the tale of the most terrible revenge brought upon by her despair and hatred.
Siegfried's legend came into existence around the 5~6th Century and had spread to many lands. At nearly the same time as the "Nibelungenlied", the story of the hero Sigurd, the "Völsunga saga", came into existence. Wagner's opera "Der Ring des Nibelungen" is a masterpiece work that compiles these legends together. Although Siegfried and Sigurd possesses the same origin, they are two different existences.
Siegfried was born a prince of a noble lineage in The Netherlands. He wields the precious sword Balmung which he received from the Nibelungen family, and has been in battles ever since he was a young man, having faced and fought in many campaigns and several adventures.
After the accumulation of the endings of his many adventures, where in the process, he obtained the demonic sword Balmung and an overcoat that makes one disappear and hides one's figure, Siegfried's most well known feat was being crowned a "Dragon Slayer" by battling the evil dragon Fafnir for the treasure of the Nibelungen family and finally defeating and killing him with his holy sword. He then bathed and drank drops of the Dragon Kind's blood, and Siegfried became an invulnerable existence by obtaining an invincible body from his victory over Fafnir where he would no longer receive even a single wound on the battlefield. But when he bathed in the dragon's blood, a single linden tree leaf happened to stick to his back, making it his one weak point that would bring about his irrevocable death.
However, most of those heroic battles went untold... As such, the details of Siegfried's adventures, including the felling of the evil dragon Fafnir and the obtaining of the demonic sword Balmung, are just told of as hearsay by the characters, and were not actually shown.
Adding to the growing ranks of the Burgundians, Siegfried brought them many victories and married Kriemhild, sister of the Burgundian king, accessing the throne of The Netherlands. However, a shadow was cast on such flamboyant glory around the time he got married with Kriemhild. His brother-in-law, the Burgundian king, loved a certain woman, the queen of Iceland, Brünnhilde. He requested Siegfried to help him to seek her affection and so, it was settled by having the hero embrace that woman as his proxy. It may not have been a crime, but it wasn't a behavior that should be praised either and it was a request that ended up coming back to him as punishment.
After the trickery, the Burgundian king was able to marry the queen of Iceland, Brünnhilde. Due to knowledge of this trickery spreading around, the hero wounded the woman's honor and pride. And she wasn't an ordinary woman, but the queen of a country. As a result of granting the wishes of his brother-in-law, Kriemhild and the wife of his brother-in-law, Brünnhilde, got into a conflict and wounded each other's honor, a collision between them becoming inevitable. Siegfried was cornered into a situation where he had no choice but to die in order to prevent a fight, and he once more granted everyone's wish. He had always answered to people's expectation, but what was wished from him in the end was his own death. He thought that it would be resolved if he, the cause of it all, died. As a result, he sensed that it would cause a terrible conflict, so he spoke to Hagen who was once called a friend and in the past exchanged cups of brotherhood with.
« Ah, the situation is beyond my control. Hagen, I am invincible and so have never once been wounded by you. But even so, if I don't have you kill me… »
|(Siegfried speaking to Hagen)|
Without spending in any significant degree the Rhinegold, Siegfried entrusted his best friend his only weakness. The man who was once his friend granted the hero's wish. He tenaciously searched and found out the hero's weak point, crafted a plan knowing fully well that it was a cowardly act, and aimed for the hero's back as he drank water. Even while knowing that, the hero stopped himself from resisting. He was assassinated by a vassal of the Burgundians who struck him on his weak point. Without leaving behind any unseemly figure or stupidity, the hero died as a tragic hero who received a sneak attack due to trickery. His former friend became widely known as a rare villain who had killed the hero through foul play. From Siegfried's point of view, it was the best way to solve the antagonism between Kriemhild and Brünnhilde, but he committed a fatal mistake.
Siegfried had surmounted every field of battle without a single defeat, until losing his life at the blade of betrayal striking him in his back. In the end, it called forth even more tragedy, so it seems the curse of the Rheingold took effect perfectly. This connects to the revenge tragedy of his wife Kriemhild for the murder of her husband in the later half of the tale. Kriemhild loved him so much that she didn't mind selling her own soul to the devil if it was to get revenge for her husband's death. Her hatred wasn't pointed only to the killer Hagen, but also to her own brother Gunther. And then, Kriemhild herself, trapped in her hatred, is defeated by a chivalrous attack. Furthermore, the sword Kriemhild used to kill Hagen was Siegfried's beloved Balmung, so there are people that said that after twists and turns, Siegfried could get his revenge. However, it is also certain that Siegfried and Hagen had been friends that shared their wine and dreams.
With him possessing the noble lineage of royalty, being known for his various adventures and heroic tales, and having met a tragic end, there are few heroes who are as heroic as him. But it is precisely because he is such a heroic hero that he was unconsciously burdened by binds. A hero acts out of the supplications of the people, and therefore should not act without being asked. This is because a hero is such a being. Because they possess overwhelmingly immense power, they must not act out of their own will and try to grant their own wish. A hero is a being that fulfills the wishes of others, and must not ever tread any further than that.
Siegfried is a tall man with silver-grey hair. His body was encased in radiant silver woven plate armor. He carries his Phantasmal Greatsword, Balmung, on his back. His exposing skin was dyed brown with the blood of a dragon. That skin was composed of dragon scales that wouldn't be wounded by any blade or spell... All except for a single part in the middle of his back. His tall stature, slender body and tanned-colored skin are proof of him having been soaked in the blood of a dragon.
« I lived and died as a hero. I have no regrets about that in itself. I can declare that there was not a single disagreeable thing in my life. Even so, I can't help but think. If I weren't a prince, if I were just an ordinary man... Wouldn't I have been able to earnestly pursue my own will? It doesn't matter if I'm not acknowledged by anyone. I don't mind if I'm not praised by anyone. I want to acknowledge myself. I want to have pride in myself. There lies what I sought. What I wished for. I want to stand on the side of what I believe in. If I could do that, then surely—I would be able to live with my chest puffed up proudly. I won't fight for the sake of someone else. I won't fight for my own sake either. For the sake of the benevolence that I believe in, the justice I believe in, the loyalty I believe in, and the love I believe in. I will take hold of this sword and fight with this body. That is my dream, my wish. I——want to be a hero of justice. »
|(Siegfried's last thoughts before death)|
Having turned into a Heroic Spirit, Siegfried looks back at his lifetime to his self as a "hero wished by others" and harbors a modest dream. Siegfried is known for the tales of his royalty and the way he led troops as a captain, but he was also a hero who answered the requests and calls of others. However, this selflessness opened a void in his heart. The more he helped others, the more confused he was about his own wish. Even though he loved humans and the world, he never managed to fill that emptiness no matter what he did. At his moment of death, he finally realized that in his next life, he wanted to fight not for "somebody else's sake" and other people, nor for himself, but only for the justice he himself believes; he wanted to be a true Hero of Justice. That is his dream. He had always made the wrong decisions at the most critical of moments. Bound to his own desires, he tried to overlook the weak who cowered before him. He did not seek salvation for himself, so he ignored the silent cries of those who had. Such meanness and wickedness were certainly not things he had striven for.
Siegfried as he was portrayed in the "Nibelungenlied" forms the basic essentials of his character, and he only knows about the Norse Valkyries from second-hand knowledge.
If he is summoned as a Servant, Siegfried will think of himself about how he is told of as a hero that killed a dragon, but in the end, the only thing he did was give birth to further tragedy. An absolute retribution, as if it was saying that "since you shed so much blood until now, you will also shed the blood of the people you protected." For this reason, his self-esteem is always negative, and he is constantly murmuring, "I'm sorry."
In the Great Holy Grail War, Siegfried obeys his cowardly Master, even if he is forced to unwillingly shackle himself and is forbidden to speak by necessity because no command will burden him if it leads to fulfilling his own wish that he couldn't fulfill during his lifetime. His personality is truly that of a noble knight, but it is unknown what he really thinks because of the command to never speak a word.
Just as the impression of his face gives off, he is reticent and modest, but his bearing, which overflows with dignity, makes him seem well-bred. He is the type to talk with a simple, unsophisticated tone and hold back his words to the absolute minimum needed. That is the foundation of his personality, and it deepened the antagonism between him and his Master Gordes. Although taciturn, his passions run deep.
Siegfried has a reserved attitude, but as a matter of fact, there is a side to him more stubborn than anyone else regarding his own personal principles that is demonstrated even to his own Master. Although he will normally listen to anything said no matter what it is, he has this one line of thought where he will not retreat even one step back even when a Command Spell is used. Because of that, there seems to be an occasional misunderstanding.
Siegfried's self-esteem tends to be negative because of the misfortune caused by the Rhinegold that continues to last, with him being unable to do anything but grant the wishes of anyone that crosses over into his lifetime, and it seems that his reason that once stirred the flow of his thoughts could not be found.
It is possible to say that he is extremely easy to handle as a Servant, Siegfried being able to make a Master that has a nature to retreat a single step in dangerous situations to stand up to the situation presented. However, as mentioned above, in situations where he is left to problems that will affect his principles, no matter how much a favorable relationship is built between himself and his Master, it seems he will stubbornly not listen to anything said by the Master. However, his principles are extremely humane and respectable, and if he has a good-willed Master, it is expected for one to be able to build up a relationship of mutual trust with him without any troubles to an extent.
However, no matter how much the relationship of mutual trust is built up, it is hard for one to ride on the relationship through flattery.
- Siegfried develops a mutual admiration with Karna. In their fight, they realized that they both shared many similarities. He was terrified of Karna's constant spear attacks but at the same time, he was overjoyed that he was able to feel the sensation of struggling against death ever since he defeated the dragon. After facing Karna, he broke his silence and hopes to fight Karna to their heart's content.
Beginning Stages of the WarEdit
Saber is summoned by Gordes Musik Yggdmillennia with a bloodstained leaf of a Sacred Fig tree as a catalyst in a multiple Servant summoning. Though it was agreed that all would share the names of their Servants, Gordes vehemently disagrees, claiming that revealing knowledge of his Servant's True Name to anyone but Darnic and Lancer of Black would be detrimental to their battle. He then leaves with his Master, returning to his quarters. Gordes commands him to never speak unless unveiling his Noble Phantasm in order to keep the possible hints towards his identity to a minimum. Though he is worried that acting as such to a great hero may be overstepping himself, Saber confirms with a nod that he will abide by the command. It may have changed his fate had he refused, forcing the use of Command Spells, but he chose to submit as a Servant of the Saber class, bringing about a fatal misunderstanding between them.
Sometime early on, Saber and Gordes helped Ruler from Lancer of Red's attack. Saber and Lancer both battle in a death match situation. They both find each other a worthy opponent in the Great Holy Grail War and was hoping to have a rematch before departing.
Saber is deployed along with Berserker of Black to act as part of the plan to capture the rogue Berserker of Red. They encounter Rider of Red and Archer of Red as they act as Berserker of Red's backup. As Archer retreats into the forest, Rider taunts the two, causing them to become angered at the insult to their pride. As Rider challenges them, they both charge at him. Both Berserker and Saber's attack were ineffective against Rider, while Rider paid little attention to Berserker and clashed with Saber once again. The fight between Saber and Rider was equally balanced as there weren't any wounds on either of them, and both of their attacks were being nullified. Gordes impatiently orders Saber to use his Noble Phantasm, but Saber ignores his Master's urgings as he tries to figure out the mystery behind Rider's invulnerability. Saber wanted Gordes to understand his reasoning so he let the command go by unheeded.
Rider, tired of the fight as it isn't going anywhere, commented that Saber should try to laugh before his death before he was shot by Archer of Red's arrow, sending him backwards and crashing into several trees. Gordes, frustrated with Saber, used his Command Spell to order Saber to use his Noble Phantasm to defeat Rider. Saber was shocked with his Master's order, and he believed that relying on brute strength to force the issue without first solving this riddle was an act of an imbecile. He tried to resist the order with all his might, but as he was about to release his Noble Phantasm, Gordes used a Command Spell to retract his previous order due to Darnic's intervention. Saber retreats by changing into his Spirit Form as Archer of Black snipes on Rider on Red and Berserker of Black takes on Archer of Red.
Saber of Black's SacrificeEdit
When Darnic questions about Gordes' incompetence, he orders Saber to materialize and he appears next to Gordes. Saber knelt respectfully before Gordes and Darnic. Saber confirms that the possibility with the enemy knowing his True Name is low. Caster of Black informs Darnic about the Homunculus and Rider of Black's plan to escape. Darnic orders Gordes to pursue Rider with Saber and bring back the Homunculus. When Rider helps the nameless Homunculus escape during Berserker of Red's attack, Saber, along with Gordes, was blocking their path together. Gordes orders Saber to restrain Rider, and Saber stepped up to Rider in a single stride and grabbed his arm and neck. Saber pulled him away from the Homunculus and forced him to the ground. As the Homunculus was punched almost to death by Gordes, Rider starts questioning about Saber's pride as a hero. Saber's hand twitched as he reacted to Rider's words, and he decided to ignore Gordes' command to restrain Rider and tries to appeal to Gordes' good nature to spare the Homunculus. Saber urges Gordes to grant the Homunculus salvation by healing and releasing him but he was disappointed by his reply.
In an instant, Saber knocked out Gordes' consciousness by punching him in his abdomen. Saber then heads towards the Homunculus and Rider, dispelling his woven plates, sword and even armor, and bared his chest. The Homunculus is mortally wounded, and Rider begins to cry over his dying friend. Rider blames him for his delayed actions for he could have saved the Homunculuss life earlier. Saber is ashamed of himself for abandoning the Homunculus rather than trying to save him, realizing that he was about to repeat the same regret he had in his life. Saber tore out his heart, raising the Homunculus with one hand, and made him swallow the heart. He transplants his heart into the Homunculus and successfully resuscitates him as atonement. As he fades away, he smiled bitterly, content with how things works out.
In the initial plans of the Yggdmillennia team, Saber would go out to the front lines and receive the attacks of enemy Servants as Lancer's protector. Lancer would be positioned to control the battlefield with Kazikli Bey. Assassin of Black would kill the enemy Masters and cause chaos in the enemy's rear guard along with Berserker. Rider would guide the Golems and control the situation with Caster, while Archer would act as support by shooting at areas where a hole in the enemy lines could be made. It was truly a perfect formation as an academic theory, but they were forced to tearfully change tactics due to Siegfried unbelievably leaving the battlefield before the war actually began.
With Saber's death, the nameless Homunculus names himself "Sieg" in honor of his sacrifice. Lancer of Black was furious with Rider of Black and blames him for his death; however, as noted by Archer, Lancer's anger towards Rider had cooled down due to how he understood Gordes's arrogant attitude had played a major factor towards Saber's demise. Rider regretted not being able to talk to him anymore. Rider wanted to believe Saber had been "victorious", who sacrificed himself to save the Homunculus without hesitation and smiled in satisfaction at the end. Ruler had a bad premonition; she sensed no Servants had been defeated yet something was amiss. She confirms that Saber of Black was on the verge of death yet he was still alive. She learnt the truth from the Black Faction and went looking for Sieg. Gordes had been shaken pitifully and was crushed by humiliation as he had lost Saber. He started to regret treating Saber as a tool rather than a hero with his own personality.
Rest of the WarEdit
Sieg, in his near death state, experienced Saber's memories and later has the ability to shapeshift into Saber of Black. Shirou Kotomine theorizes that Saber of Black return isn't a revival but more of a possession. Sieg was a shell that was able to wear the body of Saber of Black. Sieg's connection to Saber's heart and in combination with the abundant magical energy of a Command Spell has allowed Saber to descend from the Throne of Heroes into Sieg's flesh. Normally, a human soul wouldn’t be able to endure a Heroic Spirit's existence inside a body. The reason Sieg succeeded is because he is a homunculus, where their souls are very young and therefore pure, and as such, they won’t be dyed by anything, resulting in their bodies enduring any kind of transformation.
Orleans: The Wicked Dragon Hundred Years' WarEdit
Siegfried was the protector of Lyon when he was summoned into the Singularity. He was defeated and imprisoned in the town castle though when Jeanne d'Arc Alter and her Servants attacked. He was also afflicted with multiple cursed by Jeanne Alter.
Ritsuka's party eventually arrive in Lyon's ruins, needing Siegfried to slay Fafnir. They find him imprisoned in the castle and free him. Upon exiting the castle, the group are confronted Jeanne Alter and Fafnir, who is commanded to incinerate the group. Mash Kyrielight and Jeanne d'Arc protect everyone from the flames though. Siegfried then drives the evil dragon away, allowing the group to escape.
After escaping to a ruined fort, Siegfried's wounds are healed by Marie Antoinette but the curses afflicted on him prevent a full recovery. He recalls his role as Lyon's protector and his defeat at hands of Jeanne Alter's Servants. Jeanne says they'll need another Servant who can use Baptism Rites to remove the curses from Siegfried. Since she doesn't enough power, the group decide to look for a saint Servant to remove the curses on Siegfried as he's needed to slay Fafnir. The group split up to search, with Siegfried going with Ritsuka, Mash, and Mozart.
Siegfried and the others eventually arrive in Thiers, where they encounter Elizabeth Bathòry and Kiyohime bickering. After defending the town from an enemy assault, they're forced to fight Elizabeth and Kiyohime when Ritsuka insults them. After they're defeated, Ritsuka explains the situation to them. Kiyohime says she met Georgios before out west, so Mash contacts Jeanne and Marie who went out that way. The group learn the two just made contact with Georgios. However they lose contact when the town under his protection comes under attack by Jeanne Alter.
Jeanne eventually arrives in Thiers with Georgios, and tells the others of Marie's noble sacrifice. She and Georgios then remove the curses from Siegfried while Elizabeth and Kiyohime join the group. After defending Thiers from another attack, they leave and make camp in a nearby forest to prepare for their assault on Orleans. The next day, Siegfried says a frontal assault is the only viable option since the enemy already knows their location. He asks the others to protect him and Ritsuka while he goes to slay Fafnir.
As the group march towards Orleans, they confront and defeat Atalanta. Siegfried eventually fights Fafnir while the others defeat Vlad III, Chevalier d'Eon, and Carmilla. He then slays Fafnir with the help of his allies. He stays behind with Mozart and Georgios to deal with the wyverns while the rest proceed into the castle to fight Jeanne Alter. After the era is restored, he and Georgios express how honored they were to have fought alongside each other. Before disappearing though, they realize though it won't be the last time as they will summoned again to help Ritsuka.
Salomon: The Grand Time TempleEdit
Siegfried is an undisputed great hero admired in the "Nibelungenlied" and a famed "Dragon Slayer" that can match a thousand, seen as one of the vital cornerstones of the Black Faction's strategy during the Great Holy Grail War. Viewed as a great trump card for the Black Faction, he was originally to have acted as a frontline combatant and Lancer of Black's protector. His status as a Dragon Slayer, associated with the tales of "dragon extermination", makes him an extremely dangerous entity to all dragonkind, as well as any Servants with the dragon characteristics such as Artoria Pendragon. Due to possessing dragon blood as well, he is similarly weak to such attributes. He also has the qualifications to be summoned under the Rider class.
Highly praised as a spectacular and invincible hero by those like Lancer of Black and Lancer of Red, Siegfried is an excellent swordsman "whose swordsmanship has long since surpassed mankind." In addition, he wields the greatsword Balmung, able to unleash a wide-range attack that displays its true worth against an army. The blue jewel encased in the hilt of the sword contains mana from the Age of Gods, and it is possible to pull out the sword's power to the maximum with just a small quantity of it. His sword's accumulation of mana is overwhelmingly faster than that of an average Anti-Army Noble Phantasm, though still not as fast as Sieg who managed to use the Noble Phantasm so many times consecutively only because he continued to instantaneously pull out the sword's power while replenishing his mana with "Galvanism". The Servant version of Siegfried cannot instantly replenish the mana he expends.
In the battlefield, Siegfried is the type to constantly stand on the frontlines protecting his comrades. As a Servant, he is basically "hard, solid, and tough", described as being "effectively a moving fortress" when he goes all out in a defensive battle due to his Armor of Fafnir that blocks all regular attacks up to B Rank and all Noble Phantasm attacks up to B+ Rank. Opponents like Rider of Red are unable to damage him at all without resorting to Noble Phantasms. Even against those who can damage him like Lancer of Red, he can receive their attacks directly without much worry due to taking away a value of B from all such attacks, even taking attacks to seemingly vital areas with only resulting shallow wounds. Such wounds are shallow enough that his Master can quickly heal them without worry. He only possesses one weakness, a single spot that was covered by the leaf of a lime tree on the exposed portion of his back, where the effects of Armor of Fafnir does not apply to. The reason the weak point on his back is exposed is because of a "curse" that forces him to do so. It conceptually prevents him from protecting his back. Even if Siegfried were to be protected by something like a spherical barrier, a hole in it would definitely open facing his back. It becomes extremely difficult for him to be healed with healing magecraft if he is wounded there even once. As a result of his renowned legend, knowledge of his weakpoint will be known to all should his identity be exposed. Utilizing his Noble Phantasm around witnesses and even speaking could give critical details about him away, so Gordes Musik Yggdmillennia decides to go as far as forbidding him from speaking. Despite this worry however, there aren't many heroes who possess the skill to pull off the tricky feat of aiming for Siegfried's back while fighting him in the first place, so Assassin-class Servants with Presence Concealment are seen as his greatest threat.
As with many Sabers, Siegfried possesses proficiency in the Riding Skill. Due to Armor of Fafnir, his Magic Resistance Skill has been lost. He also possesses the Golden Rule Skill, which refers to how he attained the treasures of the Nibelungs, being promised a lifetime of wealth, but his Luck decreases due to the rank of this Skill. In life, Siegfried's kingdom was the wealthiest of all the surrounding regions, often throwing great feasts and tournaments and giving tributes so large that even an entire caravan would have trouble carrying them. The treasure manifests as the Noble Phantasm Das Rheingold, which can be accidentally summoned along with Fafnir.
Creation and ConceptionEdit
Siegfried was designed by KN and written by TYPE-MOON for the original cancelled online game project. Ototsugu Konoe later became the character illustrator for Siegfried in the Fate/Apocrypha novel and Fate/Grand Order. Yuuichirou Higashide and Kinoko Nasu are the scenario writers for his character in Fate/Grand Order.