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1) How did seeing how Scar and the Homunculi use alchemy shape Ed's view of alchemy?
There are many people who shaped and changed Edward's view of alchemy. When he was a child, he was an arrogant fool when it came to alchemy, believing himself better than most adults when it came to their failed theories of human transmutation. Although Izumi Curtis tried to dissuade him on the matter, subtly, he stubbornly paid her no mind, and as a result, he paid the price.
Meeting Scar affected his view of alchemy because prior to that it had not occurred to him that the three processes - Understanding, Deconstruction and Reconstruction - could be split up. Edward noticed that Scar was using alchemy, particularly the deconstruction process alone, and he found this to be somewhat inspiring in a time of need, in Laboratory Five when he was facing 48, he used Scar's deconstruction alchemy to split up the brothers and win a fight he had been desperately losing. 
Despite this, his relationship with Scar is tenuous at best. Ideologically, they disagree over a great deal of topics, such as religion, and the fact that Scar chooses murder over better options, something Edward does not and cannot endorse. At their meeting, Scar was trying to kill him, and he was found to be the man who killed Winry's parents, however over time as they changed their focus to a larger goal, he found himself entrusting Scar with Winry's safety. It was Scar, May and Al that figured out the reverse transmutation circle, that would free the alchemists from the restrictions they were under with the Father's plans, and it was Scar that activated it. Edward benefited a great deal from this for the brief amount of time that he still had alchemy for the battle. 
The seven Homunculi do not use alchemy themselves, but are very involved not only in the Father's plan, but they are involved in manipulating alchemists into doing their bidding. Part of what they did was leak information about human transmutation, dangling the carrot to those in despair with any amount skill. In this regard, Edward was very influenced. He was one of the few who committed this sin, he fell into temptation and despair and this was how he made himself become a precious sacrifice. It was this that was the most altering to his life, because if it weren't for that initial transmutation, the rest of his story would not happen.

The Homunculi were also responsible for ensuring the bloody conflicts happened in the right places - such as Ishbal, Liore and Briggs. They are creatures made from alchemy and the Philosopher's Stone and Edward finds their existence to be disgusting. They were made by injecting the Philosopher's Stone into a living human being, and the part of the Father's personality that he wished to rid himself of, takes over, sacrificing not only that person, but the hundreds of lives taken to make the Philosopher's Stone. The thought of the trapped souls is enough to make Edward feel ill, although there is one Homunculus he got along well with - Greed. It was likely possible due to Ling not completely being gone within him. 
Despite his anger and reprehension for everything they had done, he still didn't wish them dead, just incapacitated. When Kimblee was going to make certain of Pride's demise, it was Edward who pushed through and saved the core being that Pride was. If anything, the most Edward took away from the Homunculi was a stronger belief that killing people was not the answer.
Of course, none of them could have anything to do with alchemy without the original Homunculus, the Father. It was the Father who created Amestris from the beginning, essentially staking out land and absorbing every small community until he had a perfectly round country. He orchestrated the largest transmutation circle, all for the goal of creating a large amount of Philosopher's Stone, so he could then become God. Until the Promised Day, he ensures that Edward is watched over, not just his movements, but because he couldn't afford to have him die, needing him as a vessel. This alchemy that he did, and pretty much all movements influenced Ed in the sense that learning of this malevolent plan, he needed to fight against it. There was not one thing he liked about the Father's alchemy, and nothing he would replicate for himself. He had no interest in taking lives. 
But the Father's alchemy is intricate and detailed beyond imagination and when Ed was out in Xerxes, he found some ruins. Though they were damaged, he surmised that they had something to do with the Philosopher's Stone. When he was swallowed by Gluttony, he found the rest of the remnants, which allowed him to realize the Gate could be passed through without actually creating a fake human being. Edward used this knowledge to escape Gluttony's stomach, and later to seal off a wound of his own by using his life force. 
1a) Does Nina tie into this, particularly as he thought of her while making his "endgame" decision?
Nina was a girl that Ed knew and met when he was studying the results of Shou Tucker's research. She does not tie into any of the above influencing his alchemy, but rather what Shou Tucker did to influence his alchemy, and more to the point, Edward's world view.
Edward was naive. He went into the military with a sense of naivete that he had no idea about, until he began to come across certain people, and the pivotal example is Shou Tucker. While he didn't consider his research to be particularly despicable at first, he might even find it interesting, as long as it wasn't something he was doing himself, where he failed Nina more than alchemically, was as a human being. 
He did not clue in that the chimera Shou Tucker had made two years prior could only speak if a human component was introduced. He did not pay Shou Tucker himself any mind at all while he was there, only interested in his research materials, and when he said he'd spend the day with Nina, he thought nothing of it.
The transformation of Nina and Alexander into a talking chimera forever changed his view of Alchemy - tainting it with something so evil and sinister, it had been beyond his young imagination. The guilt he felt at not noticing was almost as bad as the guilt he felt when he realized he could not save her. It was this lesson that he carried with him in his heart, alongside the one that human transmutation could not bring back the dead, neither could alchemy solve everything.
Most of all, he realized he was not a God, nor a demon, he was just a regular human being - one that couldn't save the life of a little girl. It was with this thought that he gave up his alchemy at the end. Alphonse was worth the sacrifice because he would be fine. Alchemy didn't make him special, he wasn't better than anyone else, and his friends and family would carry him through.

2) What canon examples can you give of Ed's use of tactics, as well as his creative applications of alchemy that earned him the title of Fullmetal?

His title was given to him by the Fuhrer King Bradley. He entered the examination with his automail arm exposed and followed that up with the creation of a spear. In a turn of events, he charged at the man, stopping with the spear just before his throat, despite the fact that MPs had their guns trained on him, he didn't even flinch. The Fuhrer though he had nerves of steel for doing that, and thus the name originated from this altercation. 
Most of Ed's tactical decisions are done on the fly, by the seat of his pants. In Youswell, he transformed coal into bars of gold long enough to trick Yoki and then he changed them back. He had made sure to get him to sign over the mine rights for free, in writing.  Another example of his tactics at work, was in Briggs mountains when he was knocked into the mineshaft by the chimeras and using their strong sense of smell against them, he pulled the amonia from the TNT he found there and knocked them out briefly. He has a knack for having things come to mind very quickly, and he's not too bad at execution, although not all of his tactics pay off. 
Edward has a sense of creativity that perhaps exceeds beyond a normal person's. Aside from the interesting tactics he comes up with, he has a distinct gothic aesthetic to most of what he produces. Most of his taste is extremely gaudy and awful, such as when he transformed the car they were driving into something akin to a monster mobile, or doors with a devilish appearance. His work is intricate and detailed, even too detailed. His favoured spear actually has fancy markings on the handle as well as the hilt, although incredibly unnecessary for a weapon created in the heat of the moment to be thrown away. He uses his automail frequently as a blade, although he has used it in a few other ways such as a little puppet to entertain Nina or a large jagged looking knife in Liore. He seldom creates anything that is plain and boring. 
He also uses life alchemy a few times, and in applications that it would appear only he can think of, such as getting out of Gluttony's stomach, or using his own life force to repair the damage sustained by an I-beam in the mines under Briggs. His dislike for life alchemy is strong however, and it is only used in the most dire of circumstances.

3) How did Ed's travels, experiences, and time as a soldier during war shape his growth and development of morals from the start of the series to the end, if at all?

At the beginning of the story, Ed didn't care much for the military at all. He didn't know much about life and death, and didn't think that much about right and wrong. After they were sent to the island in Dublith, they were forced to face questions of life and death, what did living mean? Even then, Edward didn't care for killing the animals, but it became necessary to survive. He came to hold the mantra 'All is one, One is all' from that point onward, gifted to him by Izumi Curtis. What they did both mattered and didn't in the world. Despite this however, they stubbornly attempted to bring Trisha back to life and in doing so he realized just how wrong he was. Life was something sacred because the dead never came back to life. 
Contradicting this knowledge, he and Al set out to restore what they had lost, no matter what. He had interesting views on things like the military, such as when he took his test to prove the point that leaving the Fuhrer somewhere out in the open was a stupid idea. In his younger times in the military, it's shown that smaller, lesser crimes bear no importance on his morals at all. Breaking an entering, light theft...etc. He has no problems transmuting gold to trick Yoki and essentially steal the mine from him, nor does he see a moral problem with breaking into the abandoned Lab Five, against all advice. He very much held a world view that the ends would justify the means.
That was perhaps the view that took the most time to turn around. First it was Shou Tucker and making his talking chimeras, then it was the discovery of just how one makes a Philosopher's Stone, and finally it was the knowledge that the Father was going to be using him to kill every person in Amestris to make a large Philosopher's Stone. Each put a dent in that to the point where he put getting Al's body back temporarily on the back burner. Saving the country, the innocent people became more important to him then just saving their skins. It was at this point he became truly altruistic. 
Prior to this, his helping people was only connected to what he felt like doing at the time. Yes, the followers in Liore were being deceived, but he exposed Cornello in order to get the stone, which turned out to be fake anyway, however it was completely half-assed. He took no responsibility for the outbreak of civil war with the military that followed, although when he learned of it, he did feel a strong sense of guilt. He had been careless in the beginning and as he got older, it became necessary to rein it in, to think of the consequences to his actions, because what he was doing was much bigger than just himself. 
He came away from the Promised Day with a strong sense of accomplishment and he felt much more kinship to his fellow man. Knowing about the circle like he did, they could have fled, but instead he faced it, knowing that all those innocent lives would have been gone if it weren't for their teamwork. Aside from the Father's plan, he's warmed up to the military considerably, having a lot of friends there. They did accomplish their goal, mostly, and he takes pride in the fact they didn't sacrifice anyone unnecessarily, and although he misses his alchemy, it is something that he can live without. Because what he does affects others, even his views on minor crimes have been changed. He is not likely going to be breaking in anywhere again, nor would he be breaking any other laws, because his place in society is just as important as it is as part of the human race. He has a strong desire to help others, in a broad sense, not just one at a time and although the memory of Nina is a jumping off point, he wants to help all of the people who wind up in her situation against their will. She wasn't the only chimera he knew after all. 


[Voice post]
[At first there's nothing but the sound of wind and then an explosion. There's the sound of feet pounding and panicked cries.]
Everyone! Everyone STOP!
[Some of the background seems to cease.]
Listen to me for a minute. Nobody panic. It's not helping. We need to figure out what the damage is. I know some of us are missing, I know they've been taken, but we can't very well go after these bastards until we've figured out what our ship's condition is like! So first of all, we need to make sure this ship isn't going to end up at the bottom of the ocean! Then we're going to pursue them and get the Captain back!
[There's a pause.]
Hey! Bastards! If you're listening to this, and you probably are, you better be ready. I'm coming to kick your fucking ass into next week. If you so much as harm a single member of this crew..[A small pause] or the Captain, I'm going to make you sorry you ever lived.
Guys...if you're listening to me. Don't give up hope. We're coming to get you. No matter what.
[With that, Ed signs off.]

fullmetal_heart: (Default)

[Name]: Aki
[Age]: 29
♦ DW: Akichan.dreamwidth.org
♦ AIM: Graceful Otaku
♦ Plurk: Ammeschan
[Timezone]: EST
[Other Characters]: Natsuno Yuuki/Koide

[Name]: Edward Elric
[Canon]: Fullmetal Alchemist (Brotherhood/Manga)
[Age]: 18
[Gender]: Male
[Canon Point]: Pulling him from the end of the series, when he is still in Risembool and before he leaves on his new adventure.

[History]: http://fma.wikia.com/wiki/Edward_Elric

[Personality]: From the time he is a young child, Edward has a very determined personality. He pairs it with a stubborn belief that just because things are a certain way, doesn't mean they have to remain that way. Although this is sometimes misguided, like attempting to revive his mother, it's this determination and strength of this belief that allows him to press forward to change not only his brother's fate, his own fate, and the fate of all of Amestris.

Initially it may appear that he believes the ends justify the means, such as joining the military to get the research allowances and the ability to travel all over the place in search of the Philosopher's Stone, however this is proven not the case as he learned what that really means because there are some not so nice people in the world. In some ways, at the outset of his adventure, he's a little naive, something that gets crushed very quickly. Alchemists are not all moral beings, and some of them do some horrific things to the human race.

Edward has always had a defiant nature. He took his alchemy certification test in a manner that could have had him executed for treason, however, he was just proving a point. When he was told to just lie down and let the homunculi do what they wanted, there was no way in hell he was going to allow that, not at the expense of his friends and family.

He's well known for his prickly personality and short temper, particularly his bickering with his superior and his reaction to being called short, however these are things he eventually grows out of as the series progresses. For one thing, he does grow taller and the argument is moot, and his relationship with Roy Mustang is something closer to comaraderie as opposed to open hostility like it had been in his youth. He considered Roy and his staff to be close friends by the end of his adventure, on a growing list of people he cared about and had a desire to save.

In the beginning, Edward is not very altruistic. He helped people along the way, but only when it suited him or tied in with his own personal goals. However, he does demonstrate even then that he does care about people and even dislikes the military as much as they do. This selfish undertone lifts slowly as he matures, and when he decides that saving Ametris is as important as saving Al, it's a true turning point in his growth. He's always been the kind of person who can't leave well enough alone, but he finally takes steps to admit he wants to help people, and it's this revelation that will drive his future, beyond the end of the series.

Edward shows an ability to carry a grudge, and a nasty angry one at that. His relationship with Hohenheim is the prime example of this, as he has never forgiven his father for leaving, nor has he stopped holding him responsible for his mother's death. Regardless of how emotional and against logic that is, he was filled with anger. He only called Hohenheim father to his face once, and it was incredibly unflattering. Even with Hohenheim's hard work in the series, Edward was never going to forgive him for leaving, however like Al he does love him in a way, and his death likely shook him a little bit.

For much of his life, Edward has regarded Alchemy as something that was great, useful to him and in his naive child's eyes, something that can fix everything. The problem is that, Alchemy cannot fix everything, as he discovers and this realization is only made after a long hard road. His inability to save one little girl with Alchemy weighs heavily on his heart and his consciousness and it is Nina he thinks of when he destroys his Gate, destroying any chance of ever being able to use Alchemy again. It's a sacrifice he makes for Al, willingly, but he can't help but feel somewhat empty without its presence. Something he used to do every day, but now he cannot, it's a little painful to think of at first. Despite his inability in practice, all the knowledge he has, and his skills in research mean that he can continue to research alchemy to his heart's content.

On the same note, Edward is incredibly intelligent, more than most people and he likes sharing his knowledge with anyone who will listen to him. He has the potential to be a great tactician, and he has a research method that is downright chaotic, but it gets the job done in the end. He has an excellent memory and remembers much of what he reads. He has a knack for codes, not only creating them but breaking them. His own code is so intricate that his brother can't crack it. Whether these abilities came from the Gate or not, is debatable, however it is likely that his gift was there prior to their attempted resurrection of Trisha. He did research and come up with his own theory of human transmutation (with Al's help) when he was just a child of ten years of age.

He can be very rude and sometimes it is difficult to remember he has manners at all. This is something that happens less and less as the series progresses, however he's not adverse to throwing a curse word here or there. Despite this shortcoming, he seems to be quick to making friends, and if he's complaining about someone, you know they're close friends already. Not only Roy falls prey to this, but Ling Yao does as well. Edward can complain a good tirade about either one, but that doesn't change the fact he cares for them.

Ed is not openly affectionate with people. His own upbringing, after Trisha died, was very much one of keeping people at a bit of a distance, if only so they didn't find out their secret plan. He always allays Winry's worries with a pat on the head instead of something more intimate like a hug, or he shares a fistbump with Al or Ling when it comes to victories. He isn't the type of person to embrace everyone he meets.

There is an exception to every rule of course, and it's his relationship with Winry Rockbell that is perhaps one of his most complex and most evolving. Since they were young, he's liked her as a friend, teasing her and pushing her in the mud, things of that nature. As they got older, they tended to fight more and more, simply because her putting herself in danger is something that angers him to no end, much like it does for her. He is most affectionate with her, offering those awkward pats on the head when she needs it, most likely because he's at a loss of what to do. On the other side of things, Winry is his confidant - not for anything too important, but when it comes to his feelings about Alphonse and their fate, it's her he turns to. He feels like she won't judge him too harshly, at least. As he gets older, he doesn't help but notice how attractive she is, and despite having a big crush on her, he hasn't confessed anything to her. He's not entirely good at keeping it hidden, because Al seems to know everything. Their relationship at this stage of life is one very much of dancing around liking each other and bickering every moment of the day. She'll tell him to do something and with much complaining he will, because he wants her to be happy.

However by far, the most important relationship in the series is between him and Al. Edward loves his brother with all his heart and he has a strong desire to protect him and save him from harm. He promised his mother this, after all. It is for this reason that he joined the military alone, to save Al the heartache of being mistreated by an unapologetic and distrustful populus as they travelled around together. They are very close, and since the start of their journey they have been almost inseparable, however this is something that eventually must come to pass. Ed and Al do work apart, and Edward holds full faith in his brother's ability to get the job done. Al is his only blood relative left, and they are incredibly close. When Al returns, Ed spends the time taking care of him before they go home, and it's in this two year recovery period that they finally start looking at a world without each other right there. Despite their physical distance, they will always be close.

Family is perhaps the thing Edward holds most sacred, simply because he doesn't have very much of it, but he would like a very big family. He's always felt bonded to his family, his mother and his brother, and the definition of family for him has widened quite a bit. He would do anything for family, and that includes the Rockbells, and the Curtises, and probably most of his friends as well.

The end of the series wasn't too kind to Edward. He doesn't have alchemy anymore, something that he was probably going to do for the rest of his life, and his goals have been met. He finds himself a little bit aimless as he tries to give consideration to a new goal. In the meantime, he just enjoys staying with Winry, Pinako and Al, but sooner or later wanderlust will creep in and the desire to leave Risembool will be very strong. Edward will find a new goal in traveling, and looking for a way to help people like Nina, even if he can't do it himself. At this point in canon, he hasn't decided on a new goal yet, and he is still in Risembool, spinning his wheels.

[Abilities / Strengths & Weaknesses]: Edward Elric is an accomplished martial artist. He has above average skills in hand to hand combat and the use of bladed weapons. He will not use a gun, he simply doesn't like them. He almost never covers his right side, that would be his weakness, as seen with the many times he's been struck there. His weapon of choice is his bladed automail arm, but since that is not an option any longer, his other weapon of choice is a bladed staff.

[Limited Powers]: No powers to limit.

[Other Important Facts]:

♦ Thread: http://reallybadeggs.dreamwidth.org/1584.html?thread=1856560#cmt1856560
♦ Post:
I've got to say, this place isn't Risembool, I can tell that much. It's a little cooler here, but that's probably due to the water. I walked down to the place with the boats and looked at the water. It's huge, I can't see across it, which means I'm not in Amestris at all. There's no way there's this much water anywhere in Amestris. The town is different too, and the people here aren't friendly or helpful. No one seems to know anything.

Then there was that thing that looked like a ghost. Nice trick, but if they expected me to believe it, they have another thing coming. Finding a gem to go home? What kind of gem exactly? Just how far away from home am I? It can't be that far, people are speaking Amestrian.

Maybe they aren't. That wouldn't make sense, would it? No. This must be some common language, one that I now know. Certainly sounds like Amestrian to me though. I think Xing has a body of water at the other side, however, this isn't anything like I think Xing would be like. The people aren't the right race, and the clothing is completly different to Ling's. I've heard Xingese, and that's not what these people are speaking, either. If it was, I'd know that.

How the fuck did I get here anyway? I was sleeping, at home, in bed. I know I'm a pretty heavy sleeper, but I didn't think someone could move me without my notice. Something isn't right here. I didn't see any circles, so I don't think alchemy is involved, and that ghost image was more like a magic trick than anything. I looked around the fountain, but I didn't see any switches or any other devices that someone could use to hide, so I haven't found the culprit yet, but the second I get my hands on them, I will beat the crap out of them! Then I will make them send me home.

I haven't seen Al or Winry yet, that could be a blessing in disguise. I don't know how dangerous this place is yet, and I think Al's had enough danger for awhile. This seems like a peaceful enough place for now, but I'm keeping my eyes open. For now, I think I will ask around and see if people know more then I do. If nothing else, I might be able to get a sense of how far away I am.

I was just thinking I needed to get out of the house and do something. Be careful what you wish for I guess. You'd think I know better.


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October 2013

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