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Arkanian
September 13th, 2011, 06:48 PM
Disclaimer: I do not own Fate/Stay Night.


This Fic is the story of a grail war that takes place under very different circumstances, in a universe with very different magic. The Servant system is largely the same, with a few small differences in mechanics to allow for a different magic system, though since this is the first Grail War and not the fifth it's still the "Beta Version" and thus much cruder than what we see in canon. Also, Rider and Berserker have been replaced, largely due to Butterfly Effect.

Lastly, this will be a CYOA type of Fic. There will be bad ends (which will take you back to the previous choice, so don't worry too much), and there will also be three separate routes. I'll give you details on that at the end of this chapter.





End/Silent Dream











“So the ritual is almost ready, then? This ‘Heaven’s Feel.’”


“Almost, yes. There are some... complications, though.”


“More complications? It has been ten years since you told me that the main framework was done. What could be the delay? The command gauntlets and the connections are all ready, aren’t they?”


“That’s, ah, part of the problem, sir. All seven gauntlets were indeed prepared... But one of them is missing.”


“Missing!? How?”


“Well, you remember how they were distributed, yes? An extra gauntlet was given to each of the three who helped make the ritual, to give to one that they deemed worthy of it... But the gauntlet we gave to Ebon--”


“Ah, yes. Ebon was killed, wasn’t he? And we never knew his real identity, so we don’t know where he might have left it. Is that what you’re saying?”


“Ah, yes sir. I’m afraid so, sir.”


“...Can you make a new gauntlet?”


“Without Ebon’s assistance? Yes, but it will be... Imperfect.”


“How imperfect?”


“I can’t say. I don’t know enough about it to say what the effects might be. I’m already a bit nervous about the Assassin gauntlet -- you know that he hadn’t finished it before he died, I still don’t know if we completed it correctly--”


“Yes, yes, I’ve heard your concerns on this matter often enough. Just do your best. In the worst case... Well, the ritual requires only six servants to die. The last master can simply order his servant to suicide to complete the ritual. Is the missing gauntlet the only problem?”


“...More or less.”


“Very well. The ritual will be beginning in two weeks, whether the new gauntlet is ready or not. We have waited long enough.”


******


For me, it all started about six years ago. Most twelve-year-old orphans would have stayed at an orphanage or some such, but not me. No, I spent my days wandering the picturesque state of Virginia and dodging social services.


What really changed my life, though, was finding that house. I was just looking for a place to stay, really -- and that dingy little building in Selton, quite obviously abandoned for some time, was like the call of a siren to one such as myself.


I stayed there for quite a while, much longer than I had stayed anywhere else. Unlike many other places, nothing really happened to make me leave. No one really cared what happened in that little home.


It was after a week and a half of tooling around in that little place that I found it: A secret door in the living room heading down into a basement. Naturally, I was curious. And what I found there astounded me.


It didn’t seem like much, at first. Just a safe, a couple old books, random bits of stuff, and a computer that was old even then. But then I started looking at the stuff.


The books, as well as many of the files on the computer, were notes on something called “The Art.” It talked about how every living thing possessed both corporeal and etherial energy, that when a creature died its etherial energy dispersed...


...And that once the ethereal was gone, a human could manipulate the corporeal energy that was left behind.


I was skeptical at first, but he had put so much effort into it... And the idea seemed cool, even if it wasn’t real.


And much to my surprise, it actually worked.


The basics of manipulation are simple. So long as you have ethereal energy in your body, the amount of corporeal energy that you can store is very limited. If the body’s natural processes aren’t keeping the two energies in balance like it’s supposed to -- if you inject unexpected energies into the system -- the ethereal energy will burn away the corporeal energy on contact. So in order to use it, you need to store it outside of your body until you use it, and use it up as quickly as possible once it’s in your system.


Corporeal energy can only be used through matter that was once alive. Wood is the most efficient, as trees apparently have massive amounts of energy overall, most of which is ethereal. Once a tree is dead, the ethereal energy leaves, leaving behind a large gap that can be filled with corporeal energy. Once certain modifications are made to it, you can store corporeal energy in the wood without having to worry about any of it leaking out.


Of course, in order to access that energy, you have to stab yourself with the wood so that the energy can flow out of it and into you, but no system’s perfect.


******


It was a bright and beautiful day as I trudged back home, groceries in hand. That ramshackle house was really home now; I kept the fridge fully stocked and everything.


This town was my home now, really. I had gotten to know the locals, made friends...


“Hey Kilroy, fancy seein’ you here! How are things?”


Case in point.


The one who had just called out to me was a tall teenager -- about six foot four -- with short silver hair, Italian features, and a small grin. Nero Savelle wasn’t a friend per say. In fact, he had always been a bit of a jerk to me until his friends got him to mellow out.


And those friends were with him now. There was Raphael Salazar, a short Greek-looking guy with dirty orange hair; Jordan Quilt, a guy with shaggy brown hair who was always smiling for some inscrutable reason; Christopher Kirk, a tall, wiry guy with super-short black hair and glasses; and Jessica Alister, a cute girl with cherry red hair tied up to either side into to super-short bushy not-quite ponytails.


I didn’t get along to great with any of them -- except maybe Jessica, who I chatted with sometimes when I saw her at her part time job. I sometimes made small talk with them, but that was it.


“Me? I’m doing fine. Just getting groceries.”


Nero nodded back at me. “Cool, cool. See you around, then?”


I nodded back as I passed. “Yeah, sure. Are you still going to that paintball thing tomorrow?”


Nero looked away and rubbed the back of his head, a sheepish look crossing his face. “Er, no. Something kind of... came up.”


I shrugged. “Sorry to here that. I was looking forward to getting to shoot you in the face.”


He grinned at me. “Like hell! I was the one who was gonna do that!”


I grinned back. We used to actually mean what we said with this sort of banter, but not anymore. “Well, bye now.”


******


I was putting the groceries away when Noriko arrived. She showed up in the usual way -- through the window. I nearly dropped a jug of milk when I saw her crouching on the windowsill, wrapped up as always in her blue hoodie.


“Jeez Noriko! I’ve told you hundreds of times not to do that!”


Noriko tilted her head, a catlike smile gleaming out at me from under her hood. “And yet you keep leaving that window open for me anyway.”


I stared at her for a moment before turning to put the milk in the fridge. “True.”


Noriko was like me -- an orphan. We met a few months after I had moved in, when she broke into the house to sleep there. Turns out the tent she was sleeping in had gotten blown away by a storm, and she had heard that the house was empty. We were a bit hostile to one-another at first, but we eventually became friends. She still sleeps over in one of my extra rooms from time to time, but she got her hands on a new tent a few days after we met and insisted on moving out.


Unlike me, she makes her living by stealing. I kind of doubt that she actually broke into my place just to sleep there, but that’s her story, and we’re friends now anyway.


Noriko hopped down from the windowsill and pulled her hood down, revealing her long, jet-black hair and her deep blue eyes. She looked... nervous, for some reason. “Kilroy...”


I turned to face Noriko. Uncertainty... wasn’t like her. “Yeah? Something wrong?”


“I just wanted to tell you this: for the next few weeks, don’t go out at night.”


Before I could ask her what she meant, she had leaped out the window and darted off.


******


I spent the evening the way that I always had, in the basement. I had just finished practicing the Art for about an hour and was doing what I always did when I needed to think: Inputting random combinations into the safe. I had never managed to get the thing open; I had always wondered what was inside of it.


Noriko had been acting very strangely. What was going on that I couldn’t go out at night? Why was she so uncharacteristically anxious about telling me?


Why had she been covering up something on her left hand?


Well, thinking about it wasn’t going anywhere--


*Click*


All thoughts of Noriko instantly vanished as the safe door swung slighty in my hand. For a moment I simply stared in disbelief before a wide grin crossed my face. I had always wondered what was in that safe. Now I would know.


I swung it open the rest of the way.


Inside the safe was some sort of gauntlet. It was made of some dark green metal I didn’t recognize. It had no fingers, and mostly only covered the top of the hand; there was barely any metal on the sides or bottom, just barely enough to keep the gauntlet firmly on.


What really stood out though were the stones. There was one pure white sphere embedded near the wrist portion of the gauntlet, and on the back of the palm...


On the back of the palm were three white stones. Together, they made a design. It appeared to be the head of some sort of pole-arm, with one stone forming a spear, another forming an axe blade “attached” to the left side of the shaft, and the third stone in the shape of a short scythe blade on the other side. There were also two small buttons on either side of the gauntlet itself. Weird.


After examining the gauntlet, I noticed something else in the safe as well: A CD. Smiling even more broadly, I took it out and headed over to the computer.


******


Unfortunately, most of the data was corrupted, but some of the files were still readable. The gauntlet was a part of something the house’s owner had been working on before he died, something called “Heaven’s Feel.” There wasn’t much pristine information on what Heaven’s feel was, but I could piece a lot of it together from what was there.


Heaven’s Feel involved using the gauntlets to summon a creature of the Art referred to as a “Servant.” It was a being formed from pure corporeal energy, with no physical framework. Such a thing would be unable to take solid form under ordinary conditions, but he and whoever he was working on it with had figured out a way around that. I couldn’t really understand the “how” of it -- I don’t think that he fully did either, actually -- but they had found a way to give it physical form, provided that a living human use a “Command Gauntlet” to provide it with ethereal energy to stabilize it. Also, a small switch on the gauntlet could be pressed to constrict the flow of ethereal energy, forcing the Servant to “Astralize,” making it invisible and intangible. Neat.


What I had found in the safe was, of course, a Command Gauntlet. Servants were apparently sentient somehow, so they were hard to control using normal methods of the Art. The stones on the gauntlet could be used up to give an absolute command to a servant -- though it could also be used to force a servant to push its limits. The first three stones could be used without penalty, but the fourth one, the sphere, could not. In fact, it wasn’t intended as a “Command Stone” at all. It was the focus that was used top supply the servant with ethereal energy, that it could be used as a Command Stone was merely incidental.


Of course, that meant that using it would sever the connection between the servant and its master, so it was for emergencies only.


Contrary to my initial assumptions, it seemed that each Servant was different. Each gauntlet was coded to bring forth a different “class” of Servant, each with different abilities. Each servant was ranked in strength, agility, endurance, capacity, luck (bizarrely enough), and “Noble Phantasm,” which was apparently some sort of powerful weapon unique to that servant.


Whenever the gauntlet came into range of a Servant, it would form a minor “connection” with that Servant, indicated by an LED lighting up on the base of the gauntlet. Whenever a Servant it had a connection with did something that displayed one of its stats or skills, it would be recorded. The gauntlet could then be connected to a computer to display this information. For example, if you were attacked by a Servant and the Gauntlet detected it lifting a car with one hand, it would use that to record that Servant’s strength ranking. And since the gauntlet had a much stronger connection with the Servant it was maintaining, it would automatically know that Servant’s stats and skills.


The files stated that there were seven different Servants: Saber, Lancer, Archer, Caster, Executioner, Striker, and one other that apparently hadn't been completed by the time the file was made. Each gauntlet called forth a different one, displayed by the shape of its command nodes. Fortunately, most of the details on which shape corresponded to which Servant were still there, so I could tell that this gauntlet corresponded to Servant Executioner.


That was all that I could deduce, unfortunately. The rest of the files were too far gone for me to figure out anything else. But still, what I knew was awesome. I still had difficulty controlling creatures of the Art, but since a Servant was sentient, that wouldn’t be a problem. And Servant’s were super-powerful, and not too difficult to maintain. The only difficulty was the initial expenditure to call them forth, and I had a way to handle that.


I went over to the workbench, and grabbed the “heart” that I had left there earlier. It was a wooden sphere that was cleverly carved so that twisting it would cause a wooden needle to extend from the top. The house’s previous owner had used these to store corporeal energy, and this one still contained massive amounts.


Pocketing it for the moment, I picked up the gauntlet and put it on my left hand. Bracing myself, I pushed the buttons on the back, causing small spikes on the inside of the gauntlet to pierce my hand, digging deeply and holding on with barbs. WIth the spikes in place, the gauntlet had access to my power, and would also be very difficult to remove without destroying my hand completely.


I almost immediately felt the gauntlet collecting my corporeal energy, and quickly twisted the heart and jabbed it into the back of my wrist. I felt the massive reserve of corporeal energy flow out of the heart, into my hand, and then into the gauntlet. From there, I could see the power flowing out of the gauntlet, a black mist hanging in the air, coalescing in front of me.


The power that I was providing was... a far smaller amount than I was expecting, nowhere near the amount that the files said would be needed. And the amount of energy gathering in front of me was far larger than the amount I was contributing. Where was the extra power coming from?


Thoughts of that vanished from my mind as the gauntlet ceased draining my corporeal energy and began draining the ethereal. I pulled out the heart and twisted it back. I had no way of supplementing this flow, and from the feel of it the amount of ethereal energy needed was exactly the amount that the files had said. Fortunately, that amount was far less, but by the time it was done I only had about a sixth of my ethereal energy remaining, if that.


After a few more moments, the Servant finally came fully into being. It was... rather impressive.


The Servant stood over eight feet tall, with a thick black cloak hanging over its shoulders. It was male, with massive muscles that I could make out even under the jet-black segmented armor that it was wearing. Its head was covered by a helmet made of black wood, carved into the shape of a wolf’s head. On it’s back was a Halberd, in the same shape as my Command Stones. The scythe blade was a dull grey, and the axe blade a gleaming silver, but the spear and the weapon’s shaft seemed to be made from the same wood as the helmet.


I simply stared for a moment or two before I finally remembered myself. “You-- you are Servant Executioner, right?”


Apparently the Servant had had its eyes closed, because I saw two small yellow lights suddenly appear in the depths of the helmets eye sockets. A deep voice rumbled forth. “...Yes.”


The effect was a bit frightening. Which only made it more imperative that I check to see whether my main concern was valid. “A--and you... you will serve me?”


The Servant took in a deep breath. When he spoke once more, his voice sounded... weary. “If I must, then I shall.”


I nodded. The files had said that some servants wouldn’t obey unless forced to with a Command Stone, and some might even try to kill their masters. It seemed that Executioner was not one of those.


“Good. Alright, stay there for a moment, I have to look at the info I have on you.”


I went over to the computer and plugged the gauntlet in. After a stupidly long loading time, I finally had the rankings.




Servant Executioner
Strength: B
Agility: D
Endurance: A
Capacity: A
Luck: E
Noble Phantasm: B+++


Riding: C
Battle Continuation: A
Corporeal Arts: CMonstrous Strength: D
Corporeal Burst: A
Divinity: E


There was no explanation of what the things other than the stats were, unfortunately. He could guess at some of them. But the stats themselves were pretty good. Sure, luck was low, but he wasn’t sure what that was good for anyway. And his other stats made up for the low agility. As for the plusses and minuses, the files had said that they indicated power modifiers that could activate under certain conditions.


Overflowing with glee, I flicked the switch to astralize Executioner and decided to celebrate with a night on the town. But what should I do first...
Stop by Jessica’s part-time job.
Look for Noriko.
Go somewhere to test my Servant’s capabilities.






On the subject of routes: This Fic has three separate routes, each with a different plotline, and a different love interest. If I finish the Fic, I'll be going back to the beginning to do a new route (Alternatively, I've considered posting this Fic on SpaceBattles as well, and letting them choose a different route...). In any case the above decision will determine which route we take.

The routes are "Light and Darkness" (Option 1), "Umbrae" (Option 2), and "Silent Dream" (Option 3). They're meant to be "played" in that order, but you can choose to act differently if you'd like.

Opinions and suggestions are welcome!

Arkanian
September 21st, 2011, 05:59 PM
A/N: SInce no one voted, I’m just going to go with choice one. I’ll keep doing this until people start commenting.


You’ll notice that there are inconsistencies and imbalances in this version of the Servant system. This is intentional; the system is still in Beta. One notable issue is that the Servant’s are a bit less powerful then the rankings would suggest; having never summoned Servants before, the makers underestimated how powerful they would be, and created a Ranking system that was scaled for beings weaker then what they were actually summoning. ANother error was the “Magic Resistance” skill. Due to the presence of two very different types of magic which are resisted via very different methods, it really should be two skills, not one, and thus is a very poor way to estimate a Servant’s actual resistance.


Also, for those wondering about the details of the magic system or the protagonist’s backstory: Those will be revealed over time.






1: Stop by Jessica’s part-time job.






I decided to head to Jessica’s part-time job. It may seem like an odd place to go to celebrate, but there was a reason I went there often enough to strike up a friendship with her. Darque and Sovereign Curiosities is a very interesting little store, just as mysterious as the name suggests. I have my suspicions about the owners, to be honest. The amount of Practitioner’s materials they have in stock is just a bit too high to be coincidence.


I walked through the door, and sure enough there was Jessica Alister, sitting at the register.


As the bell on the door rang to announce my arrival, Jessica looked up from her cell phone and smiled a little. “Hey Kilroy, come to buy some stuff again?”


I nodded. “Yeah. Anything cool come in?”


Jessica thought for a moment. “Hmmm.... Well, there was this neat snowglobe in... It’s over there, on shelf three.”


“Thanks!” I stepped over to the third shelf. The snowglobe there was indeed “neat.” There were little clockwork figures moving around in it. “So, how have things been going for you?”


“Pretty well, I suppose, but... Kilroy, are you sure it’s safe for you to be out at night right now?”


I stopped, setting the snowglobe back down on the shelf. I turned to look in Jessica’s direction. “You know, you’re the second person to tell me that. What’s going on that I shouldn’t be out at night?”


“What’s... Kilroy, don’t you watch the news!?”


I shook my head. “I don’t have a TV, and I don’t get newspapers.”


“Well, there’s been a bunch of murders! They’re saying that all the victims were torn apart!”


I stared. “Seriously?” That was... brutal. Sick and wrong.


Jessica nodded nervously. “Yeah. And the weird thing is, they’re saying that even though they were dismembered, there wasn’t any blood at any of the crime scenes! Not even in the bodies!”


“Jesus. No wonder I keep getting told to stay indoors.”


“Yes, please do be careful. I would hate to see you get hurt or anything.” She paused, and her eyes widened as she realized something. “Wait! How are you going to get home? I mean, you got here fine, but even that was risky... I can’t let you go home by yourself!”


I nearly snorted at that. I would be safe. I was a practitioner, if an amateur one, and even then I still had Executioner to guard me. I just needed to de-astralize my Servant and I’d be fine. Jessica, on the other hand...


I shook my head. “I could say the same for you, Jess. Your house is in an entirely different part of town, isn’t it?”


She looked away sheepishly, a blush appearing on her face. “Well... I’ll be fine... I’ll just have Dad send me a limo...”


Oh. Right. Rich.


“So anyway, it’s not safe out there!” She rubbed her chin thoughtfully. “I know! You can stay here! Then, when my shift ends, I can give you a ride back home!”


The bell on the door rang, but I ignored it. “No, I’ll be fine. I can take care of myself.”


I waited for Jessica to make a protest, but it never came. Instead, she was staring at something behind me. I whirled around.


There, standing at the door, was a man. He was on the tall side, with Asian features. He had brown, uncombed hair with very large sideburns, and had a streak of white in it just above his left eye. He wore a Chinese “Kung Fu” sort of outfit, gold in color and made out of some sort of metallic cloth. It had designs of what looked like clouds upon it. He wore a belt made of some sort of brown bristled cloth, and a pair of golden slippers. By his side he held a black staff, capped at either end with a golden band. All in all, it made for a rather strange picture.


“Why greetings, fellow strangers,” He said in a playful, strangely melodious voice. “How are you this fin evening?” When Jessica and I continued staring, not having gotten over our confusion at his strange appearance, he continued. “Come now, don’t look at me like that. Who do you think I am, some murderer bent on taking your life? Well I assure you that I am not.”


I shook myself out of my stupor. “ Ah, I apologize. I didn’t mean to be rude, it’s just that you appeared so suddenly...”


Jessica shook herself as well. Unlike me, she was still rather nervous. “Y-yes... Me as well... A-are you here t-to buy something?”


Surprisingly, the man shook his head. “No, I fear that I am here for the two of you.” He took a grandiose bow. “Servant Striker, at your service.”


What!? Servant Striker? And he was here for us? Why?


Before I could think any further, Striker casually readied his staff, and moved to lunge towards us. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see Jessica raising her arms to defend herself, finally lifting her left hand high enough to reveal the Command Gauntlet attached to it.


I ignored it. I only had a split second to think; less than that. What should I do?





He’s headed at Jessica! Block him somehow!
If he’s a Servant, then I’ll need another Servant to stop him! De-astralize Executioner!
[Reader’s Choice]








A/N: For those wondering, “Reader’s Choice” is essentially “Give an order directly to the protagonist.” If you suggest an action for the protagonist to do, and it gets votes, then I will implement it (So long as it’s not something stupid). SInce I only have a rather loose outline of the plot, you’ll have a lot of leeway.

Larekko12
September 21st, 2011, 08:30 PM
Executioner EXecute! Command Seal into a Fatal Blow from Astralization with The speed to boost success to approaching a hundred while he's attacking.

WarShipper
September 21st, 2011, 10:52 PM
I vote that we immediately de-astralize Executioner and hold ourselves firm; for now, hold the defensive, and make sure that Jessica is most certainly not at our back, though if we can get a position that allows us to see both her and Striker at the same time.

If he seems to be going for total death blow to anyone, do what Larrekko said.

Larekko12
September 21st, 2011, 11:17 PM
No when one attacks the defense is at thier weakest. A single anhilating blow to back from Astralization which they apparently can't sense or he would have attacked without warning works best.

Bloble
September 21st, 2011, 11:54 PM
Take the blow yourself. If you get stabbed and survive she'll have fallen for you forever.

WarShipper
September 22nd, 2011, 12:13 AM
No when one attacks the defense is at thier weakest. A single anhilating blow to back from Astralization which they apparently can't sense or he would have attacked without warning works best.

Right, so sneak-attack from behind, but our personal body should be taking up defensive position. And not a defensive position that tries to take on damage; one that tries to divert it.


Take the blow yourself. If you get stabbed and survive she'll have fallen for you forever.

I disagree with this strategy. To a huge degree.

Bloble
September 22nd, 2011, 12:17 AM
Guys, we're not getting killed off this early in the story, so the obvious choice is the one that best establishes us as the hero. The heroic thing to do would be to take it yourself, not do some shady sneaky backstabbing plan thingy.

Larekko12
September 22nd, 2011, 12:54 AM
Then Do something Heoically cold like Catching the Blow on your Gaunlet and going invoke Executioner?

Arkanian
September 22nd, 2011, 01:11 AM
A/N: I wasn’t expecting this much feedback, so I started writing as soon as I got WarShipper’s reply. Sorry! I'll wait longer next time (And announce when I start writing...)

And incidentally, Bloble, Taking that option actually would have gotten you killed. I just would have taken you back to the previous choice... After writing a Tiger Dojo-esque sequence.





3: Immediately de-astralize Executioner and hold ourselves firm; for now, hold the defensive, and make sure that Jessica is most certainly not at our back, though if we can get a position that allows us to see both her and Striker at the same time.




I immediately whipped my hand over to the switch on my gauntlet as Striker darted past me with blinding speed. As I flicked the switch, I jumped back a few feet so that I could keep both Jessica and Striker in view. Because of that, I got a good view of Striker’s staff lashing out to crush her gauntlet’s Core Stone. I almost winced at that; that would completely sever her connection to whatever Servant was linked to it, likely dispersing it.


That done, Striker instantly launched himself at me, displaying speeds that I could barely follow... But just as his staff darted straight at me, Executioner’s Halberd came down, just barely knocking it aside before it reached my gauntlet.


His attack blocked, Striker jumped back to the opposite end of the store. He gazed at Executioner and myself with a pensive expression, casually twirling his staff.


“So that’s your Servant, huh? I was wondering what he’d look like. What’s his class, I wonder? He’s certainly not Saber with that weapon, but he’s a bit too slow for Lancer... Going by that appearance, I’d say... Executioner?” That last word was said with the slightest touch of surprise, as if it was something unexpected.


Right now I was confused, angry, and a bit scared. Anger won out. “What the hell was that?! What are you attacking us for?!”


Striker tilted his head for a moment before rearing back and laughing his head off. I covered my ears and grimaced; his screeching laughter was one of the most annoying things I’d ever heard. And then, it stopped just as suddenly as it began.


“You genuinely don’t know?” Striker asked, an impossibly wide grin marring his face. “If so, then I’ll let you in. Taking up that gauntlet has registered you as a participant in a... secret war, of sorts. A war between Servants.”


Oh. Oh crap. That sounded dangerous. That sounded really dangerous. And also baffling. “A war? Why?”


Striker laughed again. “Once six servants have been destroyed, something wonderful will happen! The one who is there to take it can seize the power of the gods themselves!” His look suddenly became dead serious. I unconsciously took a step back. “And don’t even think of getting in my way. That prize rightfully belongs to my glorious self!”


The... power of the gods? What the hell was that supposed to mean?


It sounded... interesting, though. Hell, on second thought, all of this seemed kind of exciting, even if it was dangerous.


“And if I do stand in your way?”


Striker frowned. “Then I’ll remove you.” With that, he darted forward once again.


Executioner was ready for Striker, just like last time. Unlike last time, however, he lacked the element of surprise. I ran back further into the store as Striker’s staff swept down... only for it to immediately be pulled back as Executioner’s halberd swung down straight through the space his staff had occupied a split second earlier. It seemed that while Executioner wasn’t very fast, he had made up for it by predicting his opponent’s actions and striking where he knew where his opponent’s attack was going to be.


Striker jumped back and examined Executioner carefully. “Hmmm... I could get past you with little difficulty with my speed... But I think I won’t. I must admit, I’m interested in how I would measure up against another Servant.”


His posture shifted. Gone was his casual posture; even I could tell that this was a stance. Strikers were supposed to be supreme masters of martial arts, so the only surprise for me was that he hadn’t done this sooner.


And in a flash Striker was on him, launching an exploratory strike with his staff, only for him to dodge his left as the glancing blow bounced off of Executioner’s armor and Executioner’s Halberd came down. Striker’s next attack launched for the gap in the armor between the base of Executioner’s helmet and the collar. To my great surprise, not only did the hit connect... But it went straight through.


I stared in horror at the end of the staff poking out of the back of my Servant’s neck. Was... was this it? Was that all that my Servant could manage?


But just as terror was starting to creep in, they moved again. Both of them. Executioner suddenly jerked himself back, yanking the staff out of Striker’s hands while simultaneously bringing his Halberd down for a killing blow. Striker, on the other hand, leapt back and away, starting to move before Executioner’s blow began, some instinct warning him of the impending blow.


Striker landed near the door. He looked a little more concerned this time. “Hrrrm... Now that’s interesting.”


Executioner pulled the staff out of his throat and held it out to the side before snapping it in two with one hand. “Applaudable, but futile.” He rumbled. “A purely physical weapon can do little against me.”


Striker smirked. “Well--”


Striker leaped to the side as a crescent of pulsating black energy whizzed past him, narrowly missing to crash through the wall and gouge out a massive line upon the street beyond, accompanied by a strong tug upon my reserves of ethereal energy. I glanced at Executioner. He was holding his weapon with both hands, having swung it downwards, but he was holding it in such a way as to strike with the scythe blade instead of the axe. Huh.


Meanwhile, Striker was looking more than a little peeved. “Why--! That was rude! Never interrupt me when I’m bantering!”


He was answered by another tearing crescent of power, which he dodged just as easily. He growled in reply.


“Fine!” Striker barked. “You want to fight me? Then so be it!” He hesitated. “But not now,” He said grudgingly. “I could destroy you with my Noble Phantasm, but I can’t use it at the moment, not in this state. I will kill you properly later.” With that, he turned and prepared to leap out into the night.


I was so focused on Striker that I almost missed my Servant stretching his hand out in front of him, his palm open and fingers splayed. When he spoke, his voice hummed with power.


“Ignoble Execution.”


At those words, wooden stakes engraved with strange patterns shot out of the ground, impaling Striker through his wrists, causing him to shriek in pain. From the way his body moved, it was apparent to me that his feet had been similarly impaled as well. Executioner began to walk over to Striker.


“None may flee from me once battle has been declared. Those who stand and face me earn an honorable demise but those who flee their deaths deserve little more than to be slaughtered.”


Throwing caution to the wind, I allowed myself to move closer as Executioner moved in for the final blow. Striker strained at the stakes, but it seemed that he wasn’t quite strong enough to free himself from them.


Strangely, I also felt the pull on my ethereal reserves lessen slightly, instead of increasing like it should now that Executioner had used what was presumably his Noble Phantasm.


However, as Executioner prepared to bring his Halberd down, Striker began to glow, his entire body emitting a soft golden light. Executioner jumped back, covering his face, as Striker’s entire body suddenly became that light, before the light suddenly shivered and began to change shape. It wobbled about, becoming smaller and smaller, until it became something that I could barely see.


And then, it was gone. And all that remained were four wooden stakes... And a single brown hair, drifting towards the ground.


Okay, that was not what a Servant dispersing was supposed to look like. Hopefully it was just differences in the model of the Command Gauntlet he was linked to -- Jessica’s was noticeably different from mine -- but that was probably too much to hope. Crap.


Speaking of Jessica...


I rushed back into the store. Jessica was nowhere in sight. In fact, I hadn’t seen a sign of her since Striker had started attacking me. Hopefully she was safe. I took in a breath to call for her... Only to hesitate. Striker had said that this was a war between Servants. Jessica was a Master, strange as it was, and thus a potential enemy. On the other hand, she had lost her Servant just now, so she might not even have a reason to fight...


What should I do?
See if she’s okay, and get some answers.
Get to the safety of your home.
Go out into the town.
[Reader’s Choice]




A/N: Just so you know, “Reader’s Choice” will always be an option, even if I forget to put it in.

Incidentally, the Servants here are Heroic Spirits; it may be unclear due to Kilroy being unaware of this fact. Three of the Servants are in fact Canon Servants, modified to fit the settings different backstory and magic system. And yes, all of them will be figures that you’ll have heard of, even Executioner. Incidentally, that class is called that because they have Noble Phantasms intended to disable their opponent to go in for a killing blow, which means that Gilgamesh would actually qualify thanks to Enkidu.

Also, this chapter was originally going to be longer, with Kilroy deciding to check on Jessica without consulting the readers first, but I decided against it.

[Edit]: Also, this post didn't quite follow WarShipper's suggestion as closely as it should have. I sort of got carried away during the writing. That said, I like to think it's in character; Kilroy was so distracted by seeing his first Servant fight that he forgot to keep an eye on Jessica or ready something to defend himself in case Striker got past Executioner (Or to support Executioner, for that matter). Although, Kilroy's not the sort to get into melee if he can help it, and he's very limited in the ranged department.

Incidentally, Executioner comes off as far more broken in this chapter than he actually is, to my chagrin. Striker, fighting seriously and not through one of his rather weak clones, could easily give Executioner a run for his money.

WarShipper
September 22nd, 2011, 02:42 AM
Heh, sorry for pretty much one-handedly taking the decision. Check for Jessica, but be cautious.

Aggresivesnakes
September 22nd, 2011, 06:58 AM
Check on her, but be wary of further attacks.

nick012000
September 22nd, 2011, 07:25 AM
You must have pasted your post twice, dude, because you've got the same post posted twice in a single post.

Also, [X] See if she’s okay, and get some answers.

Larekko12
September 22nd, 2011, 12:39 PM
X See if She's Okay. Why did he get the Decision? Do you have me ignored?

Arkanian
September 22nd, 2011, 01:31 PM
Nick: Thanks. Fixed.

Larekko: No, I don't have you ignored. There were various reasons why I chose his over yours, but I don't feel like writing a paragraph to elaborate right after waking up in the morning. (It wouldn't have worked anyway; Kilroy can't control where Executioner De-Astralizes, and Executioner hates doing sneaky stuff)

Larekko12
September 22nd, 2011, 02:01 PM
Is Executioner death. Is Striker Sun Wukong? I wanted him to gank him before he could hurt our friend. See she got her jewel Destroyed now either her spirit and body guard is dead or just Rouge.

Arkanian
September 22nd, 2011, 02:37 PM
Is Executioner death. Is Striker Sun Wukong? I wanted him to gank him before he could hurt our friend. See she got her jewel Destroyed now either her spirit and body guard is dead or just Rouge.

No, Executioner is not Death. He's a figure whose name you'll recognize, but he is vastly different from what you'd expect -- Much like Medusa, his legend is much more in-depth in this setting; in the original myth he didn't do much beyond getting himself killed.

Striker is Sun Wukong, yes. Should be pretty obvious at this point, I think.

Larekko12
September 22nd, 2011, 04:53 PM
Vlad the Impaler?

Arkanian
September 22nd, 2011, 05:59 PM
Vlad the Impaler?

Nope. If it were him, I'd use his design from Apocrypha.

I'll be honest -- you don't really have enough info to guess. His personality, appearance, and abilities that you've seen so far are almost completely unconnected to our world's version of the myth. This will make more sense later on, but for now the only real hints you have are his helmet and his armor (Though the latter is because his armor indicates what time period he's from, which is why I was vague whenever I described it).

On an unrelated note, I'm considering adding BGM links to the previous chapters. Thoughts?

Larekko12
September 22nd, 2011, 06:03 PM
Richard Brandon,Fernando Alvarez , Giovanni Battiste Bugatti, Charles Henri Sanson, or Grover Cleveland?

Bloble
September 22nd, 2011, 06:07 PM
Thanatos?

WarShipper
September 22nd, 2011, 06:47 PM
If we guess his identity now, does that mean we can figure out his identity in-game? Otherwise, guessing at his name doesn't really matter.

Arkanian
September 22nd, 2011, 07:11 PM
Richard Brandon,Fernando Alvarez , Giovanni Battiste Bugatti, Charles Henri Sanson, or Grover Cleveland?

I don't know who half of those people are...

Bloble: Larekko already guessed Death.

Warshipper: No. Remember, Kilroy doesn't know that Servants are Heroic Spirits, so he's unaware that Executioner even has an identity to guess.

Anyway, next chapter! Not much action in this one, I'm afraid. And maybe a touch rushed, but whatever.







[X] See if she’s okay, and get some answers.




Ah, screw it. She was one of the few people in this town that I considered a friend. I wasn’t about to start doubting her now. I cupped my hands to my mouth. “Jessica? Are you alright?”


A moment later, her voice responded from up the set of stairs behind the shop counter “Y-yeah. I’m fine. Is it safe?”


“Yeah.”


So assured, Jessica came down the steps, wincing when she saw the damage done to the storefront. She winced again when she saw Executioner standing at my back. “S-so... You’re a master?” She asked.


I nodded. “Yeah. You too, I notice. Does this mean that you’re a Practitioner?”


Her eyes widened in surprise and she started making defensive gestures. “What? No! I’m not a Necromancer, I’m a Versipilis! Why did you think...” She trailed off, apparently realizing something.


I, meanwhile, focused on something else she had said. “Practitioners are not Necromancers! Those two things are completely different!”


She looked down and away shyly. “So you are a Necromancer, then...” She said softly. “I should have realized sooner... I mean, you were always buying necromantic tools from here...”


I rubbed my eyes in exasperation. “Look, I’m not a Necromancer. There’s no such thing.”


She blinked in confusion. “What?”


“‘Necromancer’ means ‘one who tells the future by communicating with the dead.’ I don’t do that. No one does that. The name just got associated with something different over the years. And what the hell is a Versipilis, anyway?”


She looked affronted at that. “You don’t even know what a Versipilis is? What kind of Necromancer are you?”


I opened my mouth to protest her second usage of that term, but decided against it. I sighed. “Apparently not a very well-informed one. What say we go somewhere where we can discuss this, at length.”


She grimaced before looking away again. “I can’t... Leaving the store like this...”


“It’s fine, go.” A new voice suddenly chimed in. “You can even use one of the rooms upstairs for it. I’ll fix the damage.”


I turned to face the newcomer. It was a pale, thin teenager with short orange hair that stood on end, and a pair of glasses. He wore all white and was carrying a book underneath his arm.


“M-mister Sovereign!” Jessica squeaked in surprise. “I-- that is-- but my shift--”


He adjusted his glasses. “You can consider your shift over, Jessica. We haven’t been getting many night-time customers since the murders started, anyway. And how many times have I told you? Call me Randall.”


Jessica nodded. “Thank you very much Mis-- Randall!”


******


Ten minutes later, we were situated across from each other at a table in a small room in the shop’s second floor. It had only taken so long because Randall had insisted that he make tea for us before we started talking.


I had just finished explaining to Jessica the story of how I became a Practitioner. She wasn’t too surprised by it -- according to her, many Practitioners got their start in the same way.


Which led to her side of the story.


“The Versipilis... Well, you’re familiar with ‘werewolves,’ correct?”


I nodded. “Yeah.”


“Well stories about werewolves were inspired by the Versipilis. Versipilis are humans born with an ethereal power that allows them to turn into an animal. They’re born with this power because when a woman transforms while pregnant, her child will transform too, causing her child’s body to ‘learn’ the transformation.”


I nodded again, a bit shakily. It was a bit bizarre, but it fit with what little I knew about ethereal theory. “So what animal can you turn into?”


She blushed and looked away. “I’m one of the ‘Noble Transformations’ -- a Phoenix.”


I blinked at that. “Wait, what?” I paused for a moment. “Can you show me?”


She blushed deeper. “Phoenixes... we know they’re birds of some sort but... well... Phoenixes have massive amounts of ethereal power. Harmful amounts. Which makes us supposedly ‘above’ those that turn into mundane animals. But it’s so much that transforming too much during pregnancy will kill the child before it has a chance to fully ‘learn’ the transformation. So I can only transform partially. There hasn’t been a phoenix capable of a full transformation in centuries.”


I took a sip of my tea. “I see.” So she had a lot of ethereal power? That was good to know. “But I suppose we can get to that later. Tell me about this war.”


“Right. Basically, this whole thing is organized by the American Concilium -- you see, the Concilium is a group that oversees the Versipilis and Necromancers across the globe, maintaining secrecy and such. You probably don’t know about them because of how you’ve been shut off from Necromantic culture. The world is separated into sections, each with its own representative Concilium. The Concilium always has a head representative who represents that Concilium on the international level, lesser members who represent districts in the Concilium’s area, and the Sella Umbrae to represent the Necromancers.”


“Wait, so Practitioners only get one representative? That doesn’t seem fair.”


Jessica looked a bit miffed in response. “I don’t see how. It’s none of their business anyway; they just forced their way in. Now if you’d let me continue?”


I held back a sigh. “Fine.”


“Right. So the International representative on the American Concilium -- my father -- and the local representative, Cassius Savelle, started setting this whole thing up eighteen years ago with this guy Ebon, who was the Sella Umbrae at the time. Basically, seven Servants are summoned, and then fight it out. The corporeal power of the Servants is supported by a massive collection of corporeal energy called the ‘Grail,’ and whenever a Servant is dispersed, it gets taken into the Grail and some sort of ‘connection’ is formed. Before you ask, no, I don’t know what that connection is -- Daddy said that I didn’t need to concern myself with it -- but six Servants need to be destroyed for that connection to form.”


“And Striker called that connection ‘the power of the gods.’ And if it’s as powerful as the name suggests, then that would give people incentive to go after it.”


“Yeah.” Jessica sipped her tea thoughtfully. “Anyway, seven Gauntlets were made, and six were finished, but then Ebon got assassinated. It was unconnected to the Grail, by the way. But Ebon had held onto one of the Gauntlets, and the Sella Umbrae have always kept their true identities secret from the Concilium So they couldn’t find it. And one of the Gauntlets hadn’t been finished; it didn’t even have a Class created for it.


“Ultimately, they decided to make do with what they had, and the Gauntlets were distributed.The Savelle and Alister families were each given two Gauntlets, one to give to their family’s heir -- myself and Nero, in case that wasn’t clear -- and were told to give the other to someone they thought to be ‘deserving.’ But our second Gauntlet was stolen before we could find someone.


“One was also given to a representative of the Church, to keep them from butting in, and the current Sella Umbrae managed to convince my Father to hand one over to be given to a Necromancer, so that the Necromancers could have a shot at it.


“Anyway, it’s kind of frowned on to kill one of the heirs, or the representative from the Church, but...” She frowned into her tea. “Any other Masters are fair game. And killing a Master is much easier than killing a Servant.”


“I see,” I replied. “So you’re concerned about me.”


“Frankly? Yes, I am. I’m safe in this war, mostly. You’re not.”


“And what exactly do you suggest I do about it? Because I’m not going to back out if one of my only friends is involved.” I paused. “Wait a minute, you aren’t involved any more. Right?”


She looked at her Command Gauntlet. The Core Stone had crumbled and fallen out, and two of the Command Stones were gone, only leaving an upwards pointed chevron. “The man who finished the Gauntlets works for my Dad. He can replace the Core Stone. If a Gauntlet doesn’t have a contract with a Servant, and a Servant lacks a Contract with a Master, then I can make a new Contract.”


“But surely your Servant should be gone by now, right? With the Core Stone destroyed...”


She shook her head. “He has Independent Action. It’s a skill that lets him stick around for a while after his Contract is nulled. If I can find him I can redo the Contract.” She paused, thoughtful. “Or for that matter, we could have him switch your Command Stone onto my Gauntlet. I have more ethereal power, so I’m probably better suited to be its Master then you.”


I rubbed my chin thoughtfully. “There’s a skill like that? Interesting... I wonder what other Skills Servants might have...” I paused. “For that matter, don’t we have data from Striker?”


Jessica perked up. “Oh yeah! Here, show me your hand. My phone is modified to hook up with it.”


Soon enough, Striker’s data was there on the screen.




Servant Striker
Strength: C
Agility: C
Endurance: D


Ethereal Transformation: A
Disengage: D
Instinct: B
Staff Combat: B
Magic Resistance: E






The data wasn’t necessarily accurate, as I recalled. It would only record the highest level that they showed in a given stat or skill. It was entirely possible that Striker’s Agility, for example, was higher than C and he simply wasn’t going all out.


“Ethereal Transformation,” however, was troubling. There was only one thing I had seen Striker do that could possibly fall under that.


And then Jessica shut the phone off. “Alright, so what do you say?”


Go get her Core Stone replaced, then look for her Servant.
Get your Core Stone switched onto her Gauntlet.
Go out on your own.
Go out, but with Jessica.
Go home.
Ask Jessica more questions (List off what questions you want to ask her, the more the better).
[Reader’s Choice]

Larekko12
September 22nd, 2011, 07:31 PM
What are the Servant Really? What is your Pheonix Transformation Like? What is you Servant Name? Do you have a method of Contacting you Servant? (If we find out the Def of an EiRei) Could Striker be Sun Wu kong?

Why are practioneers called Necros? What do you mean Necro's forced their way in? Will giving you my core stone kill my servant? I know if I lend you my core stone you'll give it back when we find your Servant after getting yours replaced, right? How come the desigined the gauntlets with such an obvious weakpoint?

Can Gauntlets sense one another? Can servants sense astralized servants?

Is your servant and Archer that would be cool? Won't Archer assasins and Strikers and lancer have an unfair advantage for nonlethal takedown cuase fo blitz speed and sniping?

What do pheonixes look like? I bet you transformations ethereal, almost as beautiful as you are. Your dad won't get snippy with me about the gauntlet will he?
Go get Stone replaced after answers.

WarShipper
September 22nd, 2011, 07:43 PM
Main questions: Necromancers in general, Servants, the Gauntlets.

Peripreal/'Sneaky' Questions: Her stance in the War, her magic other than the phoenix, how much she trusts us.

Ask these questions or try to lead her into answering these questions while leading her to get a stone from her father. Try not to reveal the contents of our fight(primarily regarding our servant), and remain friendly.

Larekko12
September 22nd, 2011, 07:55 PM
Nix the How much she trusts us. Also just because she ran does not mean she didn't watch. The Auther wants a list of Questions.

Arkanian
September 22nd, 2011, 09:42 PM
Larekko: She calls Practitioners Necromancers because they draw power from the dead, and can manipulate dead matter. Kilroy is well aware of this, and in fact hates the misconception.


Gauntlets can’t detect other Gauntlets, only Servants. The Gauntlets are the only automatic detection system for Servants; Servants themselves have to use their own senses, but the Gauntlets can pick up on Astralized Servants (Though not always). Kilroy knows this; I just forgot to mention it when he was reviewing the capabilities of the Gauntlet.







6: Ask Jessica more questions.


“I say that I have a few more questions, actually.”


“Oh? What do you want to know?”


“Well, for starters, wouldn’t removing my Core Stone dissipate my Servant before you could transplant it?”


She shook her head. “The link stays intact even if the core is removed. It’s just much harder to provide it with power -- well, that and you can’t use command stones. So long as I keep my hand on the Core Stone, I can keep supplying your Servant with power even while it’s disconnected. It takes exponentially more energy, but I have plenty to spare. And anyway, even Servants without Independent Action can usually stick around for about ten minutes or so, if they push themselves.”


I nodded. “Okay. What Servant do you have?”


“Archer.”


“Okay, could be useful... Long range abilities would be a good complement to Executioner’s abilities as a frontline fighter... If he is a frontline fighter, he did have some range attacks... What exactly are your capabilities? I’m not too familiar with what ethereal powers are capable of.”


She put a finger to her lips thoughtfully. “Well, I can heal people. It’s not true healing though, more like ‘returning something to how its natural state.’ It’s sort of like forcibly shapeshifting someone, only the form they’re shifted into is uninjured, and I can only turn them into a form that they already have. And it doesn’t work on things like viruses or poisons, unfortunately, just purely physical injuries.”


“Does that mean that you can force other Versipilis to change forms?”


“Yeah, but I need to get super-close to do it, within a few inches. I can also radiate ethereal power... any Necromantic creatures’ll get burned real bad by that, but I can concentrate it enough to hurt stuff that isn’t entirely corporeal in nature, like ordinary humans. It takes quite a bit out of me, though. Your turn. What exactly can you do?”


“Well, I have a bunch of charged ‘Hearts’ back at my house... I also have these glass spheres that the old guy left behind. You charge them with corporeal power, and once you do, the moment something knocks into ‘em they explode and send shards of supercharged glass everywhere. I can’t charge them up very much without a Heart, though. I can use my corporeal energy to increase my speed and strength a bit, and I can also externalize it to cloak myself with it to increase how much damage I can dish out. I could also probably drains something of its corporeal energy by stabbing it and myself with a wooden stake, to connect us. I do that with corpses and the like to stock up on corporeal energy, but I suppose that I could use it on something alive... And that’s pretty much it.”


She nodded, though she looked a bit uncomfortable. “Yeah, I think we can work with that.”


“Glad you think so. By the way, what does your Phoenix transformation look like?”


“Blinding.”


I looked at her expectantly for a moment, but it looked like there wasn’t going to be more of an answer forthcoming. Oh well.


“Ah, about fixing the Gauntlets... Would they try to take my Gauntlet from me or something? I mean I’m not an official participant...”


“That’s... a good question. I don’t know.”


“We should probably keep your Dad from finding out about it then. You don’t need me there to get your Core Stone replaced. Though if we transplant my Core, that would be another story.”


“Well... I could probably manage a transplant without any help. They’re designed for making that easy. It’s only getting a new stone that’s a problem.”


“That’s good to know. Now, you mentioned that the Practitioners ‘forced their way in’ to the Concilium? What does that mean, exactly?”


“Well, they started a war with the Versipilis, and it escalated so far that we agreed to give them representation on the Concilium in exchange for a ceasefire. Of course, they also agreed to let us monitor them more. They asked for us to abolish the office of the Carnifex, too, but no one had held that position for years anyway so that wasn’t much.”


“What’s the Carnifex?”


“Oh, that’s a position the Concilium used to have. It’s a person whose job is to eradicate practitioners through their own methods. The Executioner class exists because of it, actually.”


“Through their own methods? Wouldn’t it be more efficient to use ethereal techniques, seeing how they’re like, super effective against the Art?”


“They... didn’t want to dirty their hands with it. ‘Keep Necromancer business amongst Necromancers’ was the general philosophy behind it, I think.”


I nodded. That kind of made sense.


Then something occurred to me. “Do you have any idea where your Servant is right now?”


“Well, I think he was fighting a battle when you showed up... He was using up my reserves, you see. Other than that, I don’t really know. He didn’t care much for having me around, really. He was kind of an asshole, really.”


Great. Well, it was something, at least. Though his personality would have to be very disagreeable for her to have already used up two command stones...


“Right... He’s not astralized, right?”


She shook her head. “No.”


“Good. So at the very least, we can sweep the city until our gauntlets light up. That would be kind of risky, though. Can you tell me any notable characteristics that would help me spot him?”


She snorted. “Trust me, when you see him, you’ll know. That narcissist likes being seen. Just look for a Servant who’s a jackass with blonde hair and you’ll be fine.”


I blinked. “Narcissist? Is every Servant except mine full of themselves?”


“Well you can’t exactly blame them. I mean, they are famous heroes, after all.”


“Wait, what? I thought the Servants were something new!”


“They are, why -- wait, you don’t know?”


“Apparently not.”


“Well, you see, Servants aren’t created by the Gauntlets -- or at least, not entirely. They call forth the corporeal energy mixed with ethereal energy taken from a deceased person.”


“But dead people don’t have ethereal energy, only corporeal...”


“True... normally. But ethereal energy is strongly affected by the minds of people. If someone’s fame grows enough, ethereal energy will gather around them, even in death. And that means that something of their soul remains behind to be called forth.”


“So Servants...”


“Are resurrected heroes of myth and legend, yes.”


I looked over at Executioner. Hmmm... “Hey, Executioner. What’s your real name?”


He was silent.


I rolled my eyes. “C’mon, Executioner, don’t make me use a Command Stone. What did they call you when you were alive?”


He was silent for a moment more, before he finally spoke.


“Carnifex.”


I blinked. That was unexpected.


“Oh, I see.” Jessica said. “Most of the candidates for the Executioner class are the people who have held the title of Carnifex over the years. Not all of them have legends, but they all qualify -- when a Carnifex died, they’d seal the corpse with ethereal power, just to make sure that they weren’t faking it. So they would technically have ethereal and corporeal power in their bodies, too.”


I nodded. “I see. So my Servant is just some Practitioner who worked for the Concilium that I’ve never heard of. Pity. I was hoping for someone famous.”


“Well, a handful of them became famous for their exploits. Though I can’t actually think of any offhand...”


I shrugged. “Whatever. Who’s your Servant?”


“I’d... rather not say.”


I raised an eyebrow. “Really? Why not?”


“Well, a Servant’s identity is supposed to be kept secret at all costs! If you know a Servant’s identity, you can find out what their abilities are! Daddy said that I shouldn’t tell anyone my Servant’s identity no matter what!”


I stared. She was seriously starting to freak out for some reason. “Well... what about Striker? Can we figure out his identity?”


She perked up. “Yeah! Now what legends do we know of that fit him...”


“Hrrm, let’s see... Chinese clothing, uses a staff, turned into a hair when he was defeated... I’d say the Monkey King.”


Jessica stared at me for a moment before slamming her head down onto the table, barely missing her tea. “Crap,” She muttered. “We’re screwed.”


Okay, that was unexpected. “Why?”


“You probably don’t know, but Sun Wukong was one of the foremost pioneers of ethereal ability. His technical skill with the transformative aspects of it was second to none, and his powers and other areas weren’t shabby either.”


“So? Executioner still did pretty well against him.”


“Because he wasn’t using ethereal power. Which Executioner is extremely weak against.”


I nearly gulped. “Oh yeah. That could be a problem.”


Jessica lifted her head off the table and stood up. “I think it just became more important for us to find Archer. You’d better make your choice, now.”





Transplant the Core Stone.
Get a new stone for Jessica.
Go home and hope this blows over.
Get the stone later and sweep the city now.
[Reader’s Choice]




Yeah, you don’t get any points for guessing the identity of Jessica’s Servant...

WarShipper
September 22nd, 2011, 10:22 PM
Get new stone, sweep city for Archer, establish alliance. If 'Carnifex' is weak against Ethereal energy, we've got about three choices. One, get a powerful gun and hope to hell this universes' magic doesn't automatically invalidate weapons or something. Two, get an extreme advantage + hopefully an ambush against MK. three, get someone not weak against Ethereal energy and double-team the guy.

nick012000
September 22nd, 2011, 11:46 PM
I wonder if Archer is Gilgamesh or Emiya.

Larekko12
September 23rd, 2011, 12:55 AM
Gold and BLonde is GIlgamesh. Is it Faust our Servant. Ask our Servant about what he thinks about lending our girl the Stone. We have to fight Holy paladin lighting bruiser Goku with a Dark Khight Mighty Glaicer. The we have to Tame Gilgamesh. We should get her stone replaced so we can call him.

[x] Ask Servant for opinion on transfer temp. Get Replacement Stone. Find Gilgamesh and Friend after getteing replacement hide while she gets replacement.

Arkanian
September 23rd, 2011, 02:08 AM
Since "Get Jessica a new stone" seems to be the prevailing opinion, I wrote this brief interlude showing the results of that choice. You still have to decide what to do next. Writing that part will most likely wait until tomorrow, however.




Interlude


“Um, Daddy?”


Aloysius Alister turned away from Merovitch’s desk to look at his daughter. “Sweetie? What’s wrong? Something to do with the war?”


She nodded hesitantly. “Yes, it’s... well it’s my Gauntlet. Striker showed up, and... crushed my Core Stone.”


Aloysius rubbed his temples. It figured that things would go wrong for him this early in the war. “Striker... Merovitch, that was the secondary Gauntlet we gave to the Savelle’s correct?”


“Yes sir.”


“And have any Servants been defeated tonight?”


“Yes sir.”


“Well, I suppose that we must hope that it wasn’t Archer, then. Jessica, go down to Merovitch’s workshop. I will send him down after you momentarily.”


Jessica looked very relieved that he wasn’t angry. WIth a hurried “thank you,” she dashed off. Aloysius turned back to Merovitch.


“Merovitch... Is the new Executioner Gauntlet ready?”


“Ah... Yes sir. I’m not entirely confident in how reliable it may be, but it should work.”


Aloysius rubbed his temples once more. “Then that will have to do. Once you have repaired my daughter’s gauntlet, I want you to summon Executioner, and send it to support her until she re-contracts with Archer... If she gets hurt, it’s on your head, understand?”


“Yes sir.”


“Good. Now go.”


Aloysius watched Merovitch dash off down the hallway, waiting until the bald little man was out of sight before stepping back into Merovitch’s office and shutting the door. He sighed and picked up the phone, dialing a number.


It rang twice before it was answered. “Aloysius? Is something wrong?”


“Cassius... You still have the Sword of Cut Heaven, don’t you?”


“Yes, I do. Why?”


“I wish to borrow it.”


“What!? Why? WHat could you possibly need it for?”


“I believe that there is a chance that my life may be in significant danger otherwise.” Yes, Archer had shown a rather... belligerent attitude from the moment he had been summoned. It would not surprise Aloysius in the slightest if the first thing the Servant did upon being freed was come to kill him. It was an unlikely eventuality, but also an unsurprising one.”


There was a sigh on the other end of the line. “Very well, old friend. But if I find out this is some sort of ruse, then just see if I do you another favor ever again.”


“Thank you. I will see you shortly, then.”


Aloysius hung up the phone. He needed to make plans.

Arkanian
September 23rd, 2011, 05:49 PM
Never mind, next update! Rather short, but eh.



[x] Ask Servant for opinion on transfer temp. Get Replacement Stone. Find Gilgamesh and Friend after getteing replacement hide while she gets replacement.




I sat in the upstairs room of Darque and Sovereign, sipping my now-cold tea and staring out the window. Randall had insisted that the place would be safe now that he had “Put up the barriers,” and I couldn’t think of anywhere else I could use as a hideout beside my house on the other side of town so I decided to believe him.


Jessica had called up a limo to take her home, promising to return once she had replaced her core stone. After she left, on a whim I decided to ask Executioner whether or not he thought I should hand control of his contract over to Jessica. He insisted that it didn’t matter to him at first, but I eventually got him to admit that he preferred having me as a Master, though I couldn’t get him to admit why.


I had also asked his opinion on what we should do about Striker, and as it turns out he just wanted to track down Striker’s lair and face him in single combat. Apparently he’s a big fan of it.


Once I got him talking, he told me the details of his Noble Phantasm, “Ignoble Execution.” It could only be activated against an opponent who was fleeing combat, and even then only when either Executioner or his opponent had declared an intent to defeat the other in that battle. The stakes would drain corporeal energy from whoever was impaled upon them, and required Strength of B or a B Rank attack to break free of them, but they could only extend sixteen feet from whatever surface they erupted from -- they would be useless against a flying opponent, in other words.


I also got him to admit that he had a total of four Noble Phantasms -- a rather impressive number -- but he refused to talk about any of the others. Apparently, Ignoble Execution was his only Noble Phantasm that he didn’t see as a mark of shame.


He refused to say anything else, after that.


By that point, Jessica had already been gone for about half an hour. Considering how far away her house was, I suppose it was only to be expected.


It was then that I saw a massive flare of light shooting up from somewhere a mile or two away. It was like staring at the sun; I couldn’t even tell what form it took.


It took a moment for my eyes to clear. That... Could have been Archer. If it was, I should probably head there now, as he’d probably leave pretty quickly after presumably winning his fight. On the other hand, it could have been someone else, and Jessica wasn’t back yet.


What should I do...




Take Executioner and check it out.
Wait for Jessica to get back before doing anything.
[Reader’s Choice]

Larekko12
September 23rd, 2011, 06:28 PM
Can we get a color? If redish is Archer if Not Arturia or another. Call jessica's Cell Phone.

Arkanian
September 23rd, 2011, 06:33 PM
Let's just say that "Like the sun" is a very accurate descriptor. Ever stared straight at the sun? It's like that.

Larekko12
September 23rd, 2011, 07:13 PM
Arturia or another Saber then.

WarShipper
September 23rd, 2011, 11:27 PM
Take Executioner and check it out. Would now be a good time to review the exact combat capabilities we have?

Arkanian
September 23rd, 2011, 11:48 PM
Take Executioner and check it out. Would now be a good time to review the exact combat capabilities we have?

If you mean Executioner's combat abilities, then you could put that in as a command... But keep in mind that he's being rather tight-lipped at the moment...

If you mean Kilroy's, then he did give a brief overview of them a while back. Right now he has a heart and some wooden stakes on him, if that's what you mean.

[Edit]: And that sort of makes the decision vote a tie...

Larekko12
September 24th, 2011, 02:16 AM
Rush ahead reckless and you will alone in a ditch as a fool. Omega Vote: Call Jessica on the Cell Phone to Synchronize prupose. Getting Gilgamesh if that is Gil will only get us kill like dogs with out her at our side.

Arkanian
September 24th, 2011, 04:49 PM
Rush ahead reckless and you will alone in a ditch as a fool. Omega Vote: Call Jessica on the Cell Phone to Synchronize prupose. Getting Gilgamesh if that is Gil will only get us kill like dogs with out her at our side.

SInce that seems to be the closest I'll get to a tiebreaker, I'll go with that.



[X] Call Jessica.










I decided that I should probably consult Jessica on it first. She’d be able to tell if it was her Sevant. I poked my head out the door.


“Hey, Randall? Do you have Jessica’s Cell number?”


“555-8493.”


“Thanks.”


Jessica picked up on the second ring. “Hello?”


“Jessica? It’s me. Have you gotten the new Core yet?”


“Er... No. Actually, I’m not at my house yet...”


“What? Does it seriously take forty minutes to drive from your job to your house?”


“It does when someone puts a Claymore in the road.”


“What!? Was anyone hurt? Are you okay?”


“I’m fine, I’m fine. Since he thought I might be a target, Daddy took precautions. The Limo’s armored against that sort of thing. But we won’t be going anywhere for a while, and I’m not going to be walking home without any sort of protection... I’ll have to wait until another car gets sent...”


“Good to see you have everything under control.”


“Yeah. Anyway, is that the only reason you called? Impatience?”


“No. I just saw a Noble Phantasm go off about a mile from here. It was a massive burst of light. Does that sound like Archer to you?”


There was a pause. “...I don’t know,” Jessica said eventually. “I don’t know anything about his Noble Phantasms. He just left on his own pretty quickly after I summoned him. So it could be him I suppose. But if it’s not...”


“Yeah. That could be bad.”


“I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t go. With me stuck here, I’m probably not going anywhere for quite a while. I’m not sure that we can really accomplish anything more tonight.”


I considered what she said. What course of action would be best?







Call it a night.
Check out the Noble Phantasm on your own.
Find Jessica and escort her home.
Go looking for Archer elsewhere.
[Reader’s Choice]




Incidentally, what is your guys' opinions on me maybe putting this up on SpaceBattles and doing a different route there?

Larekko12
September 24th, 2011, 06:28 PM
FInd JEssica nad escort her home. Leaving her alone out there even in an armored car is asking for toruble. ARcher won't get himself killed.

Spacebattles is kind a full of assholes.

Arkanian
September 24th, 2011, 06:55 PM
FInd JEssica nad escort her home. Leaving her alone out there even in an armored car is asking for toruble. ARcher won't get himself killed.

Spacebattles is kind a full of assholes.

Really? I've read through a lot of the threads on their Creative Writing Board, and I haven't really noticed. But then, I'm not a very observant person.

Since you're the only person who votes on this with any sort of consistency, I'll probably end up going with your suggestion.

And because I'm bored, here's a hint to Executioner's identity: He showed up as a Servant in another Fic in this board​.

Arkanian
September 24th, 2011, 07:58 PM
Find Jessica and escort her home. Leaving her alone out there even in an armored car is asking for trouble. Archer won't get himself killed.






“Jessica... Even if that’s true, I’m not leaving you out there alone. Woever planted that bomb is probably lurking somewhere. I’ll bring Executioner, and walk you home. where are you?”


Silence.


“Jessica? Are you still there?”


“Ah? Oh. Right. Vine and Holister.”


Vine and Holister. That was about a twenty minute walk away... But Executioner could run faster than me, and had a lot more stamina. “Okay. Sit tight, I’ll be right there.”


With that, I hung up and left.


******


I felt kind of stupid, gripping Executioner’s back as we ran down Holister avenue. But even if his D Rank agility made him slow by Servant standards, by the standards of ordinary humans he was freaking fast. It had only been nine minutes and we were already most of the way there. The corner of Vine and Holister was only one more block...


And that was when I felt it: An agonizing pain shooting through my teeth. That certainly puzzled me. The pain itself wasn’t something new; I had felt it before. But it had always been whenever I tried to use ethereal power, or tried to use powerful corporeal skills without an outside aid such as a heart. Right now, I was doing neither.


I didn’t know what it meant, but it couldn’t be good.


Fortunately, Jessica’s car was already in sight. Someone, probably the chauffeur, was lying on his back examining the bottom of the car. I hopped off of Executioner’s back and tapped on the window.


A moment later, it opened, and Jessica looked at me from inside. “Kilroy! You’re here! That was fast!”


I jerked a thumb over my shoulder. “I had Executioner take me. You ready to go?”


“Y-yes.” She got to her feet and began to step carefully out of the car. “Ragden? Kilroy is going to escort me home. Good luck.”


“Likewise.” The man under the car replied. “Be careful.”


“Of course. Goodbye!”


As we turned and began to walk away, I leaned over and whispered to Jessica. “Keep an eye out. I don’t know what, but something is seriously wrong.”


Jessica grimaced. “Oh dear. That’s bad.”


“Yeah.”


We walked in silence for a moment longer.


Silence that was broken by the sound of a falling trash can lid.

[BGM (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YoCmZgK02nw&feature=related)]

We both whirled around to face the source of the sound. Narrowing my eyes, I spotted someone stumbling out of a nearby side-yard. He looked like a normal human, as far as I could tell. But then, I couldn’t tell much in this light.


“Jessica?’ I asked. “Would you mind lighting up this area a bit?”


“Eh? Oh, sure.”


A moment later a soft glow began to emanate from behind me... A soft glow that quickly became a very strong one, like a floodlight.


The man still looked like a normal human, save for his vacant expression and the fact that he was stumbling towards us.


And then I noticed the others. About five more men and women, stumbling out of nearby hiding places. And that was just the ones that I could see in that direction. But still, I couldn’t see Executioner having any difficulty dealing with them, if it came down to it...


Suddenly, Jessica gripped my arm. “Kilroy...” She hissed. “The rooftops... Look at the roofs!”


I did.


Oh.


Shit.


On nearly every rooftop nearby there were more people, at least forty that I could see. And unlike the ones on the ground, they weren’t stumbling. They were on all fours...


And something was wrong with their faces. What was wrong with their faces?


And then I saw ones mouth open.


And open.


And open.


Its mouth had opened to feet in diameter, seemingly a part of its chest cavity. A gaping mouth, ringed not with teeth but with tongues.


What.


And then the others opened their mouths as well. I turned to look at the rooftops around us. Shit. We were surrounded. There were at least a hundred. And I spotted about eight more on the ground, though these ones seemed more... normal.


Jessica gripped my arm tighter. “Harvesters...” She whispered.


My eyes widened with shock. Harvesters? That’s what these things were?


Naturally I knew what a Harvester was. They were one of the most basic creatures of the Art. You took a human corpse and implanted a wooden tablet in its chest cavity engraved with “programming.” It would then follow the instructions on the tablet, the tablet telling it how to respond to any given stimuli, and it would usually be sent to take blood from humans. In a living human, most of their corporeal energy is in their blood. A Harvester would take a humans blood and consume it, absorbing the corporeal energy and storing it in the tablet.


Jessica had said that the people murdered... Had lost all of their blood...


But whoever this was had resources. Lots of resources. You couldn’t get a hundred plus human corpses in Selton Virginia. And that wasn’t counting however many corpses this guy had to desecrate to get all those tongues, or how much corporeal power he must have spent to animate them all...


And that still didn’t take into account the ones on the ground.


Or the fact that the pain in my teeth was getting stronger...


And then, without warning, the ones on the ground... Changed.


[BGM (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1c1UXyYiTI&feature=related)]


“▂▂▃▃▄▄▅▅” They screamed, as if in agony, orange light pouring out of their eyes and mouths like fire. Bright orange lines burned their way across their body, tracing out a design like a circuit-board, the skin in-between burning black like charcoal. And their demeanor changed with it. Gone was the zombie-esque stumbling; now they were balanced, looking less like humans and more like some humanoid predator.


And then they charged at us from every direction, at a speed that I wouldn’t have thought possible for something that wasn’t a Sevant. And behind them, the Harvesters jumped off the rooftops and moved in for the kill.


Shit.


Jessica immediately moved into action, sending out pulses of ethereal power that made the Harvesters stop in their tracks. It was unfortunate that the Harvesters were too far away for it to do more, but it helped. The ones on the ground, however, weren’t even slowed down.


Fortunately, Executioner reacted as well. As soon as they charged, he slammed the scythe end of his weapon into the ground. For a split second, nothing happened, but then geysers of pitch-black energy burst out of the ground, hitting most of them. A few, however, managed to dodge.


I only had a split second before the remaining ones reached me. What could I do?



Get Jessica between Executioner and yourself, and prepare to enter the fray personally.
Have Executioner use a Noble Phantasm.
Have Executioner use his Monstrous Strength skill.
A combination of the above.
[Reader’s Choice]

I think I did a poor job with the BGM, but whatever.

Larekko12
September 24th, 2011, 10:15 PM
Either we are sensing the Corporeal energy being used out here or there is a spell being cast.

If we have Jessica Light it up and Transform that should increase her Output right and Buff Execuioner a fair bit? If That would work. Ask Jessica to Charge up to power Executioner. While we fight to move to the most opurtune area for Ex's NP. As a Carnifex he liable has something keyed to killing zombies. Monstrous strength is a waste of time power and sanity. You use that against a few powerful enemies or one very powerful enemy. Against mob it is a waste. However an NP devestator would be useful.

WarShipper
September 24th, 2011, 11:07 PM
What Larreko said.

However; SBers aren't A-holes! We're simply insane wannabe dictators!

Larekko12
September 24th, 2011, 11:26 PM
Which tend to be Aholes, moral myopics, dicks, complete monsters, armchair generals, and intorlerants. And meanies. I know.

Arkanian
September 24th, 2011, 11:29 PM
Either we are sensing the Corporeal energy being used out here or there is a spell being cast.

If we have Jessica Light it up and Transform that should increase her Output right and Buff Execuioner a fair bit? If That would work. Ask Jessica to Charge up to power Executioner. While we fight to move to the most opurtune area for Ex's NP. As a Carnifex he liable has something keyed to killing zombies. Monstrous strength is a waste of time power and sanity. You use that against a few powerful enemies or one very powerful enemy. Against mob it is a waste. However an NP devestator would be useful.

Actually, it would weaken executioner if Jessica powered up. He's weak to ethereal energy, remember, and Jessica radiates massive amounts of it when "fully" transformed.

As for Noble Phantasms, his Halberd's innate power allows him to pretty much one-shot anything necromantic, and he can use the scythe blade to wreck the Harvesters in large numbers. However, neither of these is particularly more useful against the fast ones than any other tool, as they aren't Necromantic in the usual sense.

Incidentally, Executioner has a Noble Phantasm that he could use that would, due to a quirk in universe mechanics, instantly fry the fast ones. On the other hand, it would power up the Harvesters and weaken Jessica. On the other other hand, it's Executioner's only NP that originates from our universe's version of his myth, and thus the best clue to his identity.

Larekko12
September 24th, 2011, 11:42 PM
However as a Servant doesn't Ex ecutioner Run off of Ethereal Energy from the Stone and as such would have allied EE power him up? Also if it is an Attack that will boost the harvester on the Ground it must give off oodles of Corporeal Energy right? Could we grab that and turn it into a follow up assault.

Also if Practiioners do shit like this why in Gods name are the trying to deny the name Necromancer?

So Hit the Mob and try to kill the Speedsters or nuke the speedster and deal with Elite mobs. God damn Archer.

Can we Go Pheonix and get flown outta here?

Can we pull the Np use the overflow of Energy to charge our body real quick then have Jessica to Pheonen and then grab the Anhilation energy from the Clash to blast the rest of the mobs?

Arkanian
September 24th, 2011, 11:49 PM
However as a Servant doesn't Ex ecutioner Run off of Ethereal Energy from the Stone and as such would have allied EE power him up? Also if it is an Attack that will boost the harvester on the Ground it must give off oodles of Corporeal Energy right? Could we grab that and turn it into a follow up assault.

Also if Practiioners do shit like this why in Gods name are the trying to deny the name Necromancer?

So Hit the Mob and try to kill the Speedsters or nuke the speedster and deal with Elite mobs. God damn Archer.

Can we Go Pheonix and get flown outta here?

Can we pull the Np use the overflow of Energy to charge our body real quick then have Jessica to Pheonen and then grab the Anhilation energy from the Clash to blast the rest of the mobs?


That NP is based off of "Overturning Fate" rather than any physical thing. It doesn't radiate power at all, it alters the way that the magic system works. As such, it can't really be used that way.

Kilroy's denial of the name Necromancer largely comes from the fact that, as he points out, the word technically means something completely different from what they're actually capable of. Most other practitioners deny the name because of the stigma attached to it; "Practitioner" sounds more dignified. The use of it is fairly recent, anyway.

Jessica can't do a full transformation, so she can't actually fly.

Larekko12
September 25th, 2011, 12:08 AM
If a Pyromancer and PyroKinetic manipulate flame then a Necromancer manipulates bodies and the dead, and zombie.

You shouldn't need a full transform to fly as a Pheonix. A Harpy flow plus a boatload of energy should do. How will it affect our use of Corporeal Energy and will the Scythe still work?

Arkanian
September 25th, 2011, 12:24 AM
If a Pyromancer and PyroKinetic manipulate flame then a Necromancer manipulates bodies and the dead, and zombie.

You shouldn't need a full transform to fly as a Pheonix. A Harpy flow plus a boatload of energy should do. How will it affect our use of Corporeal Energy and will the Scythe still work?

It's a very incomplete transformation. Even as far transformed as she can go, she's too heavy and not bird-shaped enough to fly.

As Kilroy points out, "Necromancer" technically refers to someone who predicts the future by speaking with the dead, just as "Pyromancer" technically refers to someone who reads the future in flames. Control of the dead would technically be called "Necrourgy." It's a really small thing to get worked up about, but Kilroy's kind of anal about it. Other practitioners avoid it because if someone is introduced as a Necromancer then you automatically form a negative opinion of them, even though in many cases this opinion would be correct.

In any case, "The Art" doesn't necessitate desecrating human corpses at all, and "Creatures of the Art" can be made out of wood instead of flesh (Which is what Kilroy tried before discovering that he had no talent for that part of the Art).

A full transformation on Jessica's part would deal massive damage to the Harvesters and Executioner, but Executioner can take quite a bit more punishment then the Harvesters can; the damage inflicted is based on the targets corporeal energy capacity, which in Executioner's case is A rank. Jessica's own power is rather large though, so it will still do a large amount of damage. The speedy guys will be mostly unaffected by it; their power levels will go down a little, but they can make up for it by overclocking. The biggest effect on them will be the fact that her power when fully transformed creates blinding amounts of light; unlike most necromantic creations, the fast ones rely primarily on their sense of sight.

Larekko12
September 25th, 2011, 12:41 AM
Could we quick Store Ex flash light, turn it off, and then have Ex smack em down while night blind.

Arkanian
September 25th, 2011, 12:44 AM
Could we quick Store Ex flash light, turn it off, and then have Ex smack em down while night blind.

Hmmm... Yeah, you could Astralize Executioner, fry the Harvesters, and let him out again... You'd leave yourself open for a minute, but considering how many are attacking you it probably won't make much difference. Are you going with that, then?

Bloble
September 25th, 2011, 01:10 AM
So using Jessica as a flashbang grenade of sorts? Sweet.

Larekko12
September 25th, 2011, 01:18 AM
Go for it and keep moving.

Arkanian
September 25th, 2011, 02:31 AM
Hey Bloble! Glad to see you commenting again. I’m a big fan of your work.


Feel free to ask any questions you like about the story. I’ll probably answer them.


Incidentally, Larekko, no, Executioner isn’t Faust. Faust is a rather excellent fit for the role of Carnifex, though. A pity I don’t have anywhere I could fit him in...








[X]Quick Store Ex flash light, turn it off, and then have Ex smack em down while night blind.




Well, there was one tactic that always worked against creatures of the Art -- as beings with only corporeal energy, a blast of ethereal energy would wipe them out. Of course, it would damage Executioner, too, and he was closer. If only there was some way to --


Oh. Duh.


I quickly flicked the Astralization switch on my Gauntlet and covered my eyes. “Jessica! Hit ‘em with everything you’ve got!”


I was answered by a massive flare of light that blinded even through my hands. I quickly flicked the switch again once it had died down. I tried to clear my eyes. “Did that get them? I can’t see!”


“Kilroy! Look out!”


“What?” My vision cleared just enough for me to see one of those burning creatures right in my face, fist pulled back.


Crap.


I managed to cloak myself in corporeal power just in time to shield myself from the blow. It still hurt a lot, but even accounting for my shroud it didn’t hurt as much as it should have. I was, however, sent flying.


I hit the ground, skidding across pavement. That had hurt. It hurt, but not as much as my teeth did. The pain was quickly approaching the level of “agonizing.” Something was seriously wrong.


But I was puzzled by another thing. Judging by how fast they were moving, they should have been able to hit me much harder than that. So why...


Then I noticed where I was: About a hundred feet away from the fight.


It made sense. There was no way that I was the target here; this was obviously meant as an ambush for Jessica. Which in retrospect explained why those burning things hadn’t gone down when she let off her burst: Whoever had sent them was expecting to deal with a powerful ethereal user.


I staggered to my feet and checked my pockets. It seemed that I hadn’t lost anything important in my short flight. I quickly compressed my internal corporeal energy so that my body would use it up faster, increasing my speed and strength. I pulled out one of the wooden stakes that I carried with me before rushing back into the fight, passing a few twitching Harvesters on my way.


As powerful as these things seemed to be, they were no match for Executioner. His D-Rank speed only made him slightly faster then them, but aside from speed he was vastly superior in every way. The only problems were that there had been about fifteen of them, and that Executioner wasn’t their target. Jessica was.


As I compressed my corporeal power further, I felt the pain in my teeth increase even further, reaching the level of “agonizing.”


░▒▓█a███r███h██g██l▓▒░░▒▓█a█e███r██li████▓▒░


I shook myself as I approached. It felt like something in me was about to snap, that something was about to reach its breaking point... Better not to think about it.


I lashed out at one of them with my stake, and to my surprise I successfully impaled it through the side of its stomach. I quickly impaled my own hand on one of the wooden spines sticking out of the stake’s side.


When two beings are both pierced by the same piece of Practitioner’s wood, it forms a connection of sorts between their flows of corporeal energy. Either side can pull their enemy’s corporeal energy into the wood, and then into themselves. Essentially, what I was doing was creating a metaphysical game of tug-of-war between us.


I had guessed that these creatures weren’t very strong-willed, and I was right. It put up almost no resistance to my attempts to drain it dry.


The feeling of “something about to break” increased. I ignored it.


I looked for more targets, and to my surprise, there weren’t that many. Only five were left.


I shifted the spine on my stake back into position and prepared to launch myself at another one. I was probably only able to hit the one that I had because it, like most creatures of the Art, was very limited in its ability to detect an ambush or react to unexpected events. Now that they were aware of me, a wooden stake that was only a foot-and-a-half long wasn’t going to be as much use.


I quickly compressed my power again and wrapped myself in my shroud. I normally wouldn’t do both at once, but the power I had just drained would prevent it from becoming a crippling expenditure.


I rushed at one of the remaining creatures and... it dodged. Crap. I barely managed to dodge its counterattack, but my clumsy follow-up strike missed by a mile. Now that they knew I was here, these things were too damn fast for me to hit. My eyes widened as I saw the thing pull back its fist for what this time was most likely a more lethal strike.

[BGM -- Off]


Fortunately Executioner came in, cutting the one I was fighting in half with a single blow.


Well.


That was great.


Almost anticlimactic, really.


Looking about to see all of our hundred plus opponents lying on the ground either dead or incapacitated, I decided that the same could likely be said for the entire fight.


Which was a good thing, really. And hey, my teeth had stopped hurting, too. That was a plus. Though I still wasn’t sure what had caused it in the first place.


Then I realized that I couldn’t see Jessica.


“Jessica? Are you alright?” They hadn’t managed to get her, had they?


“I’m-- I’m fine.”


I stepped over to the side so that I could see behind Executioner, and sure enough, there she was, picking herself up off the ground. She was covered with cuts, scrapes, and bruises, and her clothes were an absolute mess, but other than that she was fine.


I winced sympathetically. “That looks like it’ll hurt in the morning.”


She shrugged. “Not really. Give me a moment.” She closed her eyes and was suddenly surrounded by a soft glow. And then, her outline started to blur. It was as if there were hundreds of semi-transparent copies of herself occupying the same area of space, overlapping. When the effect stopped, her injuries were gone, though her clothes were still torn.


Oh, right. She could heal. That was a neat trick.


I turned to look at the bodies on the ground. Whatever those things had been, they had gone back to looking human. “Which just leaves the matter of these things. What are they? If they were of the Art, that blast of yours should have taken them out.” I paused blinking. “For that matter, how did you take them out so quickly? There’s no way you should have been able to beat them so fast.”


Jessica shrugged. “Maybe I just blinded them. They certainly acted like it.”


I rolled my eyes. “Creatures of the Art generally don’t use sight, Jessica. They aren’t animated creatures so much as puppets. The only part of them that can react to anything is the corporeal energy that’s animating them, meaning that they navigate either through touch or by detecting sources of ethereal or corporeal energy. Giving a creature of the Art the ability to see is a very complicated process, so most Practitioners don’t even bother. And even if they did use sight, I doubt that creatures of this high a level wouldn’t be designed without being able to fall back on those other senses I mentioned. There must be another reason.”


Jessica just gave me a blank look. “Kilroy, you just expressed doubt that they were Necromantic at all. What if they just plain aren’t? And don’t you think we should get going? In case more show up?”


I crouched down to look at one of the bodies more closely. “That’s doubtful. What they already sent at us was overkill; even if they didn’t burn through their entire arsenal with that attack -- which I doubt --then they probably wouldn’t launch an attack with a no doubt lesser force when we’re in top fighting condition.”


“I’m not really in top fighting condition, though. I barely have any reserves left.”


“They don’t know that. And to answer your other question, while many of their characteristics were not ones that I’d associate with the Art, many of their other attributes were unmistakably -- Wait a minute, what’s this? Jessica, could you give me some light here?”


“So I’m a glorified flashlight now, is that it?” I heard Jessica grumble. She still complied, though.


Now with enough light to see by, I was able to confirm my suspicions. “This thing... This person... Until a moment ago, he was alive.”


Jessica rolled her eyes and extinguished her light. “I guess that explains the whole ‘moving around’ thing, huh?”


I stood up. “Jessica, you can’t control living things with the art. You just can’t. Their natural ethereal energy would have interfered with the attempts to control them. Not to mention their own will-power... And yet, someone did it...”


If anything, Jessica looked more uncomfortable. “Kilroy... Just... Take me home, okay? I want to go home now.”


“Oh, right. Sorry.”


We started walking again, once more in silence. Eventually, I spoke up.


“So what do we do from here?”


Jessica sighed. “I’ll get a new stone from Merovitch -- er, that’s the guy Daddy has working on the Gauntlets. I’ll get a new Core Stone from him, and I’ll ask him to pass word along to the Sella Umbrae about the attack.”


I paused at that, remembering something that Jessica had said earlier. “Jessica, didn’t you say that the Sella Umbrae was given a Gauntlet to give to a Practitioner? What if the guy who sent those after us is the one that the Umbrae chose as a Master?”


“It would still be highly illegal. The Sella Umbrae would have to do something about it. He’s obligated to.”


I shrugged. “If you say so. And after that?”


“It’s four in the morning, Kilroy. As much as I’d like to find Archer, we need to get some rest.”


“Yeah, that makes sense. Is this the place?”


We had stopped in front of a pair of wrought iron gates, barring a driveway leading to a old-fashioned mansion. A man who looked like a guard was coming down the drive.


“Yeah, this is it. I’ll see you tomorrow night then, I suppose.”


I turned to walk away, raising my hand in a wave as I did so. “Yeah. See ya.”


“Oh, and Kilroy?”


I looked over my shoulder at her. “Yeah?”


“Thank you.”




[B]End of Day 1

Larekko12
September 25th, 2011, 02:57 AM
Um Jessica Route Open?

Bloble
September 25th, 2011, 11:44 AM
Oh yeah, she definitely likes him. And I'm guessing that since those zombie-things were alive we're dealing with either some type of stuff Kilroy has no knowledge about, or a Servant might've been able to do something like that.

Arkanian
September 25th, 2011, 09:24 PM
Yup, Jessica is this Route's love interest. The second route would have been Noriko. And yes, there's a reason that I can have a "make most of it up as I go" story with multiple routes.

Regarding the "Wise Up!" Section: I think I'm going to start doing these now and again. Let me know what you think. Also, the anecdote presented below is not a part of our Universe's legend. Executioner's real name is blocked out because we don't know it yet. Antimachus' name was pulled out of a hat because it was appropriate for that time period. I was going to do the Wise Up on the Monkey King, but ultimately decided to go with this instead. I could do that next, if you'd like.




Wise Up!: Ignoble Execution


The second of █████’s four Noble Phantasms. According to Versipilis myth, when he was ordered to kill his greatest disciple, Antimachus. Antimachus had long ago promised that, if █████ were sent to kill him, then he would face █████ head on, so that █████ would not have to feel the guilt of stabbing his beloved student in the back as he fled. When the time came, however, Antimachus broke his promise and ran.


Enraged, █████ ran long wooden stakes through Antimachus’ hands and feet, immobilizing him, and then cut off his head while standing face to face. But this was not sufficient to kill Antimachus, so █████ drained Antimachus’ power from his body through the stakes.


In accordance with this myth, this Phantasm may be activated when an opponent tries to flee the battle after declaring his intent to defeat Executioner, or if Executioner declares his intent to defeat his opponent. Its effect is stronger with the former, however. Once the opponent tries to flee, the stakes shoot up from the ground to impale the hands and feet of the opponent, and begin draining their corporeal energy, though this draining may be negated by sufficient Magic Resistance. Once impaled, only strength of B Rank or higher is sufficient to pull free from the stakes, and only an attack of B Rank or above may break them. The required ranks are lower if Executioner is the one to declare intent.






Day 2 Start




I woke up at ten O’clock, ready to go. Last night was hardly the first time I had gone with little sleep. I had, however moved my bed into the basement, just in case. It seemed safest.


The first thing that I did, naturally, was call Jessica. She answered after the fourth ring.


“Kilroy?”


“That’s me. How you feeling?”


“Fine, thanks to you. I’m a little low on power, but otherwise I’m fine. What about you? I saw you get hit last night. Are you okay?”


“Yeah, I’m good. They weren’t really all that concerned about me, so they only hit me hard enough to send me flying. I managed to stop most of the damage.”


“That’s good to hear. I’d like to meet you at Darque and Sovereign to discuss our next move. Does that work for you?”


“Yeah. When?”


“Say... forty-five minutes?”


“Yeah, that’ll work. See you then.”


******


When I arrived at Darque and Sovereign, I was surprised to see that not only was Jessica waiting at the door, but Nero, Jordan, and Christopher were there too. They were talking, but they quieted down when they saw me coming.


Nero walked over to me. “So, this is who you were meeting?” He looked me up and down, only for his eyes to rest on the gauntlet on my left hand and widen slightly in surprise.


I couldn’t help but notice that he was wearing gloves. And that his left hand was bulkier then it should have been.


Crap.


Nero’s eyes narrowed. “I see. You sure that you want to team up with Kilroy? I could provide much better support.”


Jessica looked away. “No, I’m sure.”


Nero closed his eyes and leaned back slightly, breathing in deeply. “I see. So that’s how it is. I can see when I’m not wanted.” He gestured towards the door to the shop. “Go ahead and have your little meeting. See what I care. Come on guys, let’s go.”


“Okay. C’mon, Kilroy, I got us that room upstairs.” Having said that, Jessica entered the shop. I moved to follow, but Nero grabbed my shoulder.


“Listen here, Kilroy.” Nero hissed. “You may think you’re hot stuff, but one of these nights I am going to prove that I’m the better of us. And if something happens to hurt her, I swear with God as my witness that I will end you. You got that?”


“I hear you, yeah. Now if you’d please let go of me?”


Nero shoved me back and started walking away. “Just keep that in mind!”


******


Alright, so here’s the plan. Fighting isn’t allowed during the day, so it should be safe for us to split up. If we get near a Servant, the LEDs on our gauntlets will light up. When that happens, we’ll call the other to come over and help search the area. So I think we should pick where to search and go from there. What do you think?”




Three Choices!


We should split up.
We should stick together.
[Reader’s Choice]



We should prioritize looking for Archer.
We should prioritize looking for Striker.
We should prioritize looking for whoever sent the Harvesters.
[Reader’s Choice]



If you chose to split up, clarify which one you think Jessica should search and which one Kilroy should search.


Check out where we were attacked.
Check out the source of last night’s Noble Phantasm.
Check out the parks.
Check out the Upper Class Residential areas.
Check out downtown.
Check out the forests in the town outskirts.
Check out my neighborhood.
[Reader’s Choice]

Larekko12
September 26th, 2011, 10:51 AM
Stick Together and Find Archer. Finding Equips us for both dealing with the Necrourge and Striker. Also while fighting is not allowed we were assaulted with a zombie apocalypse. Dude must have loads of resources. More than enough to press gang either of us to go with him if isolated in mid day. The secondary priority would Mr Harvestor. If Gil cleaeved to some one else it is likely to be the dude with resources. Let check out the Sight of the blast and from there the upper class residential areas.


Also Research Atimachus and Carnifex in game later.

Arkanian
September 26th, 2011, 02:46 PM
Wise Up!: The Sword of Cutting Heaven

A great holy sword forged in ancient times. “Sword of Cutting Heaven” is how it is called amongst the Versipilis in the current version of its legend; the more accurate translation of its original title would be “Sword of Severed Elysium.” It should be noted that this is a descriptor, not the sword’s actual name.

According to legend, this sword and its sister blade “Split Hell” were used together to cut apart the ethereal and the corporeal. The legend states that the two powers were once equal in all respects, until the blades separated them and made the ethereal superior. As such, it possesses the power to “cut the ethereal from the corporeal.”

In modern times, the sword is an heirloom of the Savelle family, who claim to be descendants of its original owner. It was used by Nero Savelle as a catalyst for summoning his Servant.



[X] Stick Together and Find Archer. Finding Equips us for both dealing with the Necrourge and Striker. Also while fighting is not allowed we were assaulted with a zombie apocalypse. Dude must have loads of resources. More than enough to press gang either of us to go with him if isolated in mid day. The secondary priority would Mr Harvestor. If Gil cleaeved to some one else it is likely to be the dude with resources. Let check out the Sight of the blast and from there the upper class residential areas.


“Actually, I think splitting up is a bad idea. Yeah, it’s against the rules to fight during the day, but you also said that it was an unofficial rule that you weren’t to be harmed. People are going to ignore that rule if they think that it will help them win.”

Jessica frowned. “True...” She admitted. “Fine. It’ll take longer, but I suppose it would be smarter to stick together. Where do you think we should go first?”

I thought for a moment. “I say we check out the place that I saw that Noble Phantasm last night. It’s not too far from here, so it shouldn’t take too much time.”

Jessica nodded. “Yeah, that sounds like a good idea.”

******

The site of the blast turned out to be a nearby warehouse -- or rather, what was left of it. The Noble Phantasm had struck at the center of the warehouse, making a crater. Disturbingly, the ground in the crater had been turned to glass. Around the edges of the crater were the remains of the warehouse -- a pile of rubble.

The police had cordoned the area off, but there weren’t very many there, only enough to keep people from getting past their cordon. None of them were investigating. Likely the people running the grail war had paid off the police to ignore it.

Jessica and I looked around. At first we just found rubble, until we went to the end of the warehouse that was furthest from the street. There, there was a trail of blood leading out of the rubble. It looked like something big, about the size of a small car, had been severely injured there... And judging by the pattern of the blood, dragged off afterwards.

Okay. That couldn’t be good.

As we walked around the edges of the warehouse, the LEDs on our Gauntlets still not lighting up, we noticed someone speaking with one of the police.

It was a man, probably in his fifties or sixties, with short grey hair and a set of brown priest robes. He looked... worried.

“Are you certain nothing has been found?” He was asking.

“Other than whatever got dragged out? No. And whatever that was was far too big to be the kid you’re looking for. I’m sorry, Father. Are you certain that he was here?”

The priest licked his lips nervously. “I’m not certain where else he might have been.”

“... And why did you think that he might be here, anyway.”

“...No reason.”

The cop shrugged. “Well, I’m afraid that that’s all the help that I can give you Of course, if he was here he might have just gotten killed by whatever caused this...”

The priest shook his head. “No, he was not. I can assure you of that.”

“If you say so, Father. I hope you find him, I really do.”

The priest smiled sadly. “I hope so too. May God bless you.” With that, the priest walked over to a nearby car, got in, and drove off.

I had considered approaching him, but chances were that he was a Master -- Jessica had said that the Church had been given one of the Gauntlets, after all. Just listening to that conversation had given me a lot to think on, though.

I turned to Jessica. “ALright, I don’t think we’re going to find anything else here. What say we go over to where your mansion is? Archer might have headed there himself.”

“...I suppose that’s possible. Alright, let’s go!”

******

Half an hour later we were standing at the gates to Jessica’s mansion, the LEDs on our Gauntlets as dim as ever.

“Well, that was kind of a bust. He might still be in the area though; I’m not sure what the range on these Gauntlets is.”

Jessica looked at the ground sadly. “...Yeah...”

I looked up at Jessica’s mansion. “Pretty impressive house you’ve got there.”

Jessica brightened up a little. “Yeah. It’s been in our family for about seventy years now. I’ve lived there all my life.”

“Huh. I hope it’s safe staying there during the war. I mean, everybody knows where you are...”

Jessica rolled her eyes. “Did you think that Daddy hadn’t thought of that? He set up some really impressive Annti-Servant defenses.”

“Really? Like what?”

“Mainly it’s the Servant Suppression field. Any Servant that enters is severely weakened while it’s active. There’s also a thing that prevents Astralized Servants from de-Astralizing, but I think that’s actually a separate system... And for some reason Daddy was really annoyed about installing it...”

Well that was interesting. Note to self: Don’t get into a fight on Jessica’s property. Not that I was planning to anyway, but it was still a good thing to keep in mind.

“Why don’t we go by some of the other mansions, see if we pick up on anything?”

“Okay, worth a shot.”

A few minutes later we had stopped in front of another mansion, just as impressive as Jessica’s.

“This is the Savelle’s place. They’re participants in the war, too, as you know. It seems that their Servant isn’t here. Either that or it’s Astralized.”

“Considering that Nero is out on the town, I’d say the former.”

Jessica frowned. “Yeah... Anyway, let’s get going.”

A few minutes later we had stopped at one last mansion, near the outskirts of town. Just past it, at the edge of the forest outside of town, was a large cemetery.

“This is my friend Naomi’s place. She lives alone there -- well, actually, she has a butler, but other than that she’s alone. She’s a Versipilis -- an arctic fox, actually. She’s real shy, but real nice once you get to know her. I wonder if she’s in...” She trailed off.

Jessica shaded her eyes with her hand. “Hrrm, that’s odd, there’s a few cars parked in her driveway... She never has company, I wonder who it could be?”

Jessica glanced at her Gauntlet and shrugged. “Well, it seems that Archer isn’t in this part of town. We should check out someplace else. Where do you think we should go?”



1. Check out where we were attacked.
2. Check out the parks.
3. Check out downtown.
4. Check out the forests.
5. Check out Kilroy’s neighborhood.
6. Visit the Alister mansion.
7. Visit the Savelle mansion.
8. Visit Naomi’s mansion.
9. Check out the graveyard.
10. Find out what church that priest is at and talk to him.
11. [Reader’s Choice]

Larekko12
September 26th, 2011, 06:38 PM
Visit Naomi mansion I am getting the same Feeling I got when I considered not going for you last night. Strange occurrences during war are bad. If everythings cosher we should check out the Priest ,grave, and sight of our attack. Also mention what is to keep your house from being bombed mundanely.

Bloble
September 27th, 2011, 12:23 AM
Meh, since we're there, we might as well check out Naomi's place. We still have time to look for Archer later.

Arkanian
September 27th, 2011, 01:11 AM
Larekko: Regarding house bombings, keep in mind that most of the participants live in highly guarded mansions. Also, Kilroy’s house used to belong to the Sella Umbrae, someone who fully expected to get assassinated (And indeed, he eventually was). Furthermore, his basement, the one Kilroy is now sleeping in, was his personal workshop. You’d better believe that a few explosives aren’t going to do much to that.


Also, I hope you don’t mind, but I had Kilroy and Jessica visit the locations you listed in order of which ones were closest instead of the order you listed them. The graveyard is right there, and the site of their attack is about a fifteen minute walk away. I allotted a certain amount of time they had until nightfall, and each location has a certain amount of time it would take to check it out. If they looked for the priest second, they wouldn’t have time for any of the others after finding him.




Wise Up!: Noble Transformations


Amongst the Versipilis, there are three breeds of transformation that are considered to be superior to other types. Versipilis who have these often end up in positions of importance.


The first of these three are the phoenixes. Phoenixes generate massive amounts of ethereal energy in their transformed state, so much so that prolonged exposure is unsafe for unborn children. As a result, no living phoenixes has been exposed to enough of the transformation during development to possess a full transformation. However, the power of their alternate form is great enough that a partial transformation is often referred to as if it were a full transformation instead. Phoenixes have a greatly extended lifespan -- the eldest recorded at approximately 450 years -- but exceedingly low birthrates mean that there are still very few of them. The Alister family are examples of phoenixes.


The second noble transformation is the Greatwolves. This transformation turns the user into a wolf of massive size, sometimes reaching as large as a sizable building. They are considered to be the first type of Versipilis to have come into existence. It should be noted that there are other types of Versipilis that are abnormally large, but none of them reach the same size as a Greatwolf. The Savelle family are examples of Greatwolves.


The last breed are the Basilisks. A Basilisk is a small, grey blue snake with abnormally large eyes. If one looks into these eyes, the Basilisk may use them as a conduit for ethereal power to hypnotize a target. Usually this hypnosis comes in the form of paralysis; however, more skilled Basilisks can use it for other things. Due to their hypnotic abilities and the tiny size of their transformations, Basilisks usually work as spies. As they tend to keep the nature of their transformation a secret, no examples can be listed.






[X]Visit Naomi mansion I am getting the same Feeling I got when I considered not going for you last night. Strange occurrences during war are bad. If everything’s kosher we should check out the Priest ,grave, and sight of our attack.




“I think we should see who Naomi’s visitors are. In this war, ignoring something unusual could be fatal.”


“True... Well, it’d be nice to pay her a visit anyway.”


Jessica walked over and pushed the button on a buzzer to the side of the gate. “Hey, Jaskins? It’s Jessica. Is Naomi home?”


A few moments later a somewhat elderly voice answered. “Ah, Miss Alister! No, I’m afraid that she’s out at the moment. I’ll be sure to tell her that you came by, but I’m afraid that her instructions were to not allow any visitors while she was out.”


“I see...” Jessica started to turn away, but she caught my meaningful glance and pushed the button again. “Say, do you have visitors? I noticed some cars in the driveway...”


“Ah, yes. There are some gentleman from South Africa here for a visit. Why, I can’t say, but they seem to have some business with the mistress...”


“Thank you.”


Jessica let go of the button and walked over to me. “Well, that’s it. We won’t be let in until she gets back, and I’m certainly not going to break into a house that belongs to a friend. Where to next?”


“I think we should check out the graveyard. If our attacker from last night got his... resources... locally, then there might be signs of grave robbery.”


Jessica shuddered. “Urgh... How terrible...”


“Well, distasteful, at least.”


Jessica shot me a dirty look, but didn’t say anything. We walked over to the graveyard in silence.


The graveyard was pretty freaking big. We must have past hundreds of graves, crypts, and monuments, not seeing as ingle sign of grave robbery.


We did, however, see a person.


[BGM (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_XZC-8TbCNg&feature=related)]


She was tall, with dark skin and dark hair tied back in a ponytail. She wore all black clothes, and a pair of sunglasses covered her eyes. She was looking at a tombstone with a bizarrely infuriating smirk on her lips.


“I take it that you’re one of these ‘gentlemen visiting from South Africa?’” I asked as we approached.


She turned to face us at my words, a complete lack of surprise on her face. “No,” She said coolly, placing her hand on her chest in a self-indicative gesture. “As you can see, I am no gentleman. I am, however, from South Africa, and I am indeed visiting. May I ask how you knew of our presence?”


“We saw your cars and we asked at the front gate. It’s unusual for the mansion’s owner to have visitors, so we were curious.”


She gazed at me for a moment before shrugging and walking past us, towards the mansion. “It matters not, I suppose.” She stopped a few feet behind me. “Though I must admit I am a touch curious as well. Such an odd accoutrement for this day and age.” She paused. “That gauntlet, I mean.”


I didn’t turn to face her. “It’s a fashion statement.”


“I’m sure it is.” I heard her footsteps begin again. “But I would be careful, if I were you. Such statements can attract unwanted attention.”


[End BGM]


And then she was gone.


Well, that could have gone better.


I turned to Jessica. “I think we’re done here. I think we should check out the place where we were attacked next.”


Jessica did a double take, apparently shaken out of thought. “Y-yeah.”


[BGM (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uFatP3aAND0&feature=related)]


I noticed where she was looking. “Something special about that grave?” I asked. “That lady was looking at it too.”


“No... It’s just, that grave stone is usually covered by a tarp.” She walked a few feet closer to it. “It must have come off... It’s over there... You can see the stakes still attached to it...”


“Really? I wonder why it was covered.” I couldn’t quite make out the text where I was standing, so I started to move closer. Before I could take more than a few steps, Jessica walked over to me and grabbed my arm, pulling me in the opposite direction.”


“N-- no, Kilroy, let’s just go. The place where we were attacked, you said?”


“Yeah, but... The grave--”


“No buts, Kilroy! We’re going!”


Okay, what?


[End BGM]


******


[BGM (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QI0vQThXND0&feature=related)]


It only took us about fifteen minutes to get to where we were attacked. The whole way there Jessica was silent, biting her thumb and, unless I missed my guess, quietly freaking out. I desperately wanted to ask what it was -- it could be important -- but she looked like she was in a fragile enough emotional state already. It could wait.


I hoped.


When we arrived at the place where we were attacked, it was surprisingly pristine. Gone were the holes in the ground, the hundred plus corpses -- it was as if the battle last night had never happened.


What was there, however, was a girl.


Her skin and hair were all white, a far purer white then I would have thought possible even with albinism. Her hair was short, going down to her chin and fanning out at the bottom. She wore jeans, and a white t-shirt with a black skull on the front. She was standing there with her hands in her pockets and her eyes shut.


When we were about thirty feet away, Jessica stopped and took a few steps back, biting her thumb even harder. “Naomi...” I heard her whisper. She turned to me. “Kilroy... I don’t think I can talk to her right now. Can we please go?”


I shook my head. “No. We might miss something. If you don’t want to talk to her, I’ll do it by myself.” Without waiting for a response, I headed for the girl. Jessica didn’t follow.


As I approached, the girl -- Naomi, presumably -- spoke up, her eyes remaining shut. “Can I help you? I’m afraid I’m busy.”


“Busy with what?”


“That’s none of your business.” Her eyes shot open. They were yellow. “Say, do I know you from somewhere? You seem familiar.”


“No, I--”


“Everything’s over-- You can come out now--” Something being shoved aside, dark flames everywhere-- “If you’ll just breathe this in, the nice man will take care of you--” A gleaming silver blade--


I shook myself. Where had that come from?


And why did my teeth suddenly hurt?


And then, just as suddenly as it had appeared, the pain was gone. Now that I thought about it, she did look familiar, though I couldn’t place her.


“You look familiar, too.” I finally said. “Maybe we have met before, though I’ll be damned if I can think of when.”


Naomi shrugged. “Well, I’ve met a lot of people.” She paused. “You know, it’s rather annoying. When I came here this morning, there were a hundred and two Harvesters here, some of them dead, some of them hit with just enough power to disable them. Those last ones were still twitching. They might have even got back up if I had showed up an hour or two later. I had to spend my entire morning cleaning this place up.” She frowned at me and gave me a stern glare. “Next time, clean up your own messes, kay?”


Before I could respond to that, she walked off.


[End BGM]


This day just kept getting stranger and stranger.


“Jessica?” I called out.


A moment later Jessica stepped out from a nearby side yard. “Is--” She bit her lip. “So, where do we go next?”


I sighed. Hopefully she wouldn’t be like this all day. “Next we start checking the churches to see if we can find that priest from earlier today. I couldn’t tell if he was wearing a gauntlet, but I’m certain that he’s involved in the war somehow.”


Jessica bit her lip some more. “Okay...”


As it turned out, Selton had a lot of churches. We had checked about three-quarters of them with no luck before nightfall came. Our LEDs had lit up three times during our search, but we were ultimately unable to spot another Servant.


Then it was finally night, and time for the war to start up again in earnest.


What to do now?



Patrol near the parks.
Patrol near the warehouse district.
Patrol around Kilroy’s neighborhood
Patrol in the Northern District.
Patrol in the Western District.
Go to Naomi’s mansion*.
Keep looking for the priest.
[Reader’s Choice]


*If you pick this option, Jessica will refuse to go and you’ll go alone while she hides out at her place.






So, how did you think I did with the BGM? Too much?






Yes, my reordering meant that you didn’t get a chance to meet with the priest, but the other scenes presented here can only happen on day two. Meeting with the priest will be the same so long as you do it within the next few days.

[Edit]: Do you think that I'm updating too fast? I'm starting to think that that's the reason I get so few replies. Or maybe my story's just less interesting to the board because it doesn't take place in the Nasuverse?

Larekko12
September 27th, 2011, 09:28 AM
Centralize the locations where our Gauntlets lit up for us please. I would like a rough area to go by. I also want to see what's wrong with jessica and what has her so freaked. I don't like her being so distressed but dontress to hard. Also open your damn mouth and check for filling you dumbass Killroy. The enemy didn't clean up his harvesters weird.


Also this is a nice story I don't no why people are replying. have you tried sig advertising?

Also So the houses are hardened against milatary grade bombing then and Sarin Gas can't forget the sarin. And Sodium triflouride?

Arkanian
September 27th, 2011, 03:12 PM
Regarding the Harvesters not being cleaned up by the guy who sent them: Keep in mind that before Naomi sent them, the Harvesters were in the process of getting back on their feet. If Naomi hadn’t shown up, they would have cleaned themselves up by virtue of simply walking away...


The LEDs lighting up were all simply Striker scouting. I originally didn’t have the LEDs light up at all, but I decided that it was unlikely that they wouldn’t run into Striker at any point during the day.


Incidentally, I decided beforehand where Archer would be located in the daytime of day two. It was downtown. : )


No Wise Up! this time because it’s such a short snippet.


[X] Centralize the locations where our Gauntlets lit up for us please. I would like a rough area to go by. I also want to see what's wrong with jessica and what has her so freaked. I don't like her being so distressed but don’t press to hard. Also open your damn mouth and check for filling you dumbass Kilroy.




My teeth had been hurting a lot lately; maybe it was caused by something different than my use of the art? I ran my tongue along the inside of my mouth, trying to feel for something that might have caused it. I felt my teeth, the roof of my mouth, under my tongue, the lumps where my wisdom teeth were still under the gums... Nothing was unusual. I had never gotten much dental work done. No fillings, no cavities, not even something as simple as a retainer. Oh well, it was worth checking.


I turned to Jessica. She had calmed down from earlier, but she still looked a bit out of it. “Jessica...” I began. “What’s wrong? You know you can tell me about it...”


She shook her head. “No, I can’t. It’s... it’s none of your business. Honestly, I shouldn’t look any further into it, either. I... We should just forget about it. “ She straightened up and gritted her teeth. “We have more important things to focus on. We can’t afford to get distracted.”


I opened my mouth to reply... But closed it when I saw the determined look on her face. Right.


“Okay, right. You’re right. Let’s focus. Earlier today we picked up a signal three times. In my neighborhood, by the parks, and near the shopping district. I suppose we could start in one of those places. Or we could start somewhere else.”



Patrol near the parks.
Patrol near the shopping district.
Patrol around Kilroy’s neighborhood
Patrol in the Northern District.
Patrol in the Western District.
Go to Naomi’s mansion*.
Keep looking for the priest.
[Reader’s Choice]

Larekko12
September 27th, 2011, 03:22 PM
Shopping district. Dammit we missed archer!!!!!

Arkanian
September 27th, 2011, 06:17 PM
Wise Up!: Practitioner’s Wood.


Wood is one of the most basic tools in a Practitioner’s arsenal. Trees naturally have a massive capacity for energy, but while alive the vast majority of this energy is ethereal. Once the tree dies, the ethereal energy disperses, leaving only a few dregs of corporeal energy behind. Once this remaining energy is cleared, the wood will begin to suck in any corporeal energy that it comes in direct contact with. In most cases, “direct contact” requires that the wood pierce the surface of something containing corporeal energy.


This suction, however, is not very strong. If stabbed into a living thing, the suction is usually weak enough that the subconscious is capable of sufficient will power to resist the drain entirely. However, if another creature is attached to it and attempts to drain energy from the wood, the suction drastically increases, to a level equal to the “pull” exerted by the second creature. As a result, this method may be used to drain living or dead creatures of their corporeal energy. However, sufficient willpower can reverse the flow entirely.






[X]Shopping district.




“Hrrm... We’re already near the shopping district, so let’s head there.”


We ended up starting our search near the destroyed warehouse. The cops were gone by that point, though it was still cordoned off. I grimaced upon seeing the destruction. I’d rather not have to face someone who was capable of that, but chances were that we’d have to.


Since it was night, I de-Astralized my Servant. Executioner stood tall and motionless, Halberd gleaming even in the darkness--


A silver blade flashed through the darkness, clashing with a pitch black sword--


I shook myself, trying to assuage my sudden toothache. What the hell?


Now that I thought about it, that Halberd seemed oddly familiar. It hadn’t before. This was just weird.


“Alright, let’s get searching.”


It took a few minutes before our LEDs lit up.


Jessica and I immediately stood back to back, Executioner drawing his Halberd and scanning the area.


“Come on out!” I shouted. “We already know that you’re there, it’s no use hiding.”


I was answered by an annoying, screeching, and irritatingly familiar laugh. “You’re seriously demanding that a Servant who has expressed no interest in fighting you come and face you? You’ve got guts, kid.”


Striker jumped down from a nearby rooftop, staff at his side. Executioner immediately moved to stand between him and us, tensing in preparation to attack at a moments notice. Striker merely leaned back on his staff, making a dismissive gesture. “Oh, relax. I’m not here to fight you.”

[BGM (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3u_rD5NIYzA&feature=related)]


I raised an eyebrow. “Oh?”


Striker rolled his eyes, a smug expression on his face. “Yep. I’m just out doing reconnaissance. I know that I can’t beat your Executioner with a single clone. I found that out the hard way.”


“Just because Executioner can beat you, doesn’t mean that you aren’t a threat.” I pointed out.


“True. But what’s also true is that I’m not here to fight. Do I look like someone who would lie to you?”


I snorted. “Hell yes.”


He laughed again. “Fair enough, fair enough.”


“Well, if you aren’t here to fight, then why are you here?”


“Reconnaissance. Or did you not hear me the first time? I would have kept doing that, if someone hadn’t shouted at me and provided me with something more interesting to look at than just rubble.”


“Ah. Right.”


Striker suddenly stopped leaning on his staff, casually walking in my direction. Executioner tensed up even further. Striker eyed him while walking, finally coming to a stop about five steps later. There was still about fifteen feet between them.


“Tell you what. Since I’m in such a good mood, I’ll help you out a little. You are probably aware that there is a Necromancer preying on this town.”


“It’s not a Necromancer,” I growled. “‘Necromancy’ means the art of ‘divining the future by speaking with the dead.’ That’s one of the things that the Art explicitly can’t do. We prefer to be called Practitioners.” Eye eyed him as he started laughing again. “And why exactly would you help us out, anyway? We’re enemies.”


Striker stopped laughing and shrugged. “Well, I’m simply providing you with information on a mutual foe. Since it will help to take out someone that I also consider an enemy -- and a greater threat than you, I might add -- It’s ultimately in my benefit.”


“Because we do all the work and take all the risks for you.”


“Exactly.”


I sighed. “Fine. Tell us this information.”


Striker reached into his pocket and pulled out a small booklet, which he tossed to me. “Here. Turn to the page I marked.”


Indeed, the booklet had a fuzzy ribbon attached to it marking a page. I flipped it open.


“A town map?” I looked up at Striker. “What are these Xs?”


“Over the past few nights, my clones have been tracking Harvesters. I marked down the locations that I had seen them head to when I finished feeding.”


I looked at the map again. There were twelve locations marked down. That was a lot. “I see. Thank you.”


“Don’t mention it. Perhaps we shall meet again.”


With that, Striker leapt away.


“Jessica, do you have a map function on your phone?”


“Yes.”


I showed the map to her. “Could you mark these locations on it?”


“Sure, just a moment.” She fiddled with her phone for a bit. After a few minutes, she switched it off. “Done.”


“Good.” I closed the booklet, and tossed it in Executioner’s direction. His Halberd came down, slicing it in two in midair. There was a glow, and then a brown hair drifted down to the ground, neatly cut into two pieces.


I turned to Jessica. “I’ll admit that disguising his tail as a bookmark was pretty clever. If I didn’t know his identity, it might have even worked.” I shrugged. “It was a nice try, though.”


We looked around through the shopping district, but didn’t find much else. Oh well, we’d made some progress at least.


Where to next?



Patrol near the parks.
Track down one of the locations.
Patrol around Kilroy’s neighborhood
Patrol in the Northern District.
Patrol in the Western District.
Go to Naomi’s mansion*.
Resume looking for the priest.
[Reader’s Choice]


I’m sorry that Jessica doesn’t do much in this one. I have a bit of difficulty fitting characters into a scene sometimes.


I considered Kilroy not noticing Striker’s ruse and leaving it up to the reader’s to figure out, but I figured that it was so blatant there was no way you wouldn’t notice.


Also, I’m sorry that you guys haven’t directly run into any Servants other than Striker. To help with that:


Saber: Hangs out in the parks for the first few nights.
Archer: Wanders around
Lancer: In the Western District for the first few nights.
Caster: Dead; used to hang out in the warehouse that got glassed.
Executioner: With you.
Striker: A ton of different places, real one’s location unknown.
Assassin: The Upper Class Residential areas. Doesn’t survive past the second night in this route.

Larekko12
September 27th, 2011, 06:26 PM
No Choice made yet. Assasin's Naomi Servant isn't?

Arkanian
September 27th, 2011, 06:28 PM
No Choice made yet. Assasin's Naomi Servant isn't?

Not saying.

In any case, Kilroy would have mentioned seeing Naomi wearing a gauntlet. It's not exactly like she has anywhere to hide it, without outright taking it off her hand.

[Edit]: Not all of the major players in this war are Masters. This war has barely any measures in place to keep outsiders from interfering...

Larekko12
September 27th, 2011, 08:48 PM
Well let us hope she didn't get killed. Where are the locations on the Map? And what routes can we take that will takes us through locations and patrol districts. Oh how I wish Executioner had

Arkanian
September 27th, 2011, 09:38 PM
Well let us hope she didn't get killed. Where are the locations on the Map? And what routes can we take that will takes us through locations and patrol districts. Oh how I wish Executioner had

How you wish executioner had what?

My mental picture of the town isn't all that clear. It's kind of shaped like this:

2885

Where 1 is the northern district, 2 is the western district, 3 is the shopping district and downtown, 4 is the upper class residential district, 5 is the parks area, and 6 is the eastern district (AKA Kilroy's neighborhood). The xs are the locations marked on Striker's map, though keep in mind that the number he's found in a given area is largely dependent on how often he's patrolled there. Incidentally, Naomi's mansion is at the far northern end of section 4.

Larekko12
September 27th, 2011, 11:01 PM
Down through to five, then to 6 then to four.

Arkanian
September 28th, 2011, 05:49 PM
New update! Not entirely sure about the theme I picked for Nero and his Servant, but it was the best fit I could find. Let me know if you have any alternatives to suggest.




Wise Up!: Practitioner’s Ash


One of the more advanced tools in a Practitioner’s arsenal is ash from cremated biomass. As the ashes were once alive, they can contain corporeal energy; more importantly they retain this property when mixed with other substances.


An early practice was to mix these ashes with clay, and then fashion that clay into humanoid figures that could be controlled by the Art. This is in fact the source of legends about Golems. Other uses include things such as fashioning it into glass.


A more recent practice is using it with iron to create a form of carbon steel that can retain corporeal energy. This “Practitioner’s Steel” is one of the most powerful and versatile tools available to a modern Practitioner.




[X]Down through to five, then to 6 then to four.


“Right, so... going by this map, I’d say that a good route would be to dip down through the parks curve up through the Eastern District, and then head to the Upper Class Residences from there.”


“Um, wouldn’t it make sense to go through the Northern District? There’s three of them there in a straight line.”


“Yeah, but the ones in the East are uncomfortably close to my house. I want a route that takes us through there.”


“...Understandable.”


Getting to the parks didn’t take too long. A few minutes in, however, Executioner stopped and let out a low, rumbling growl.


Naturally, we stopped to. “Executioner... Something wrong?” I checked my Gauntlet. The LED hadn’t lit up, so what...


“Master...” Executioner rumbled. “We have entered a light field of ethereal energy. I believe it to be some sort of Noble Phantasm.”


I grimaced. “Great. Well, let’s keep an eye out. And for that matter, keep an eye on our Gauntlets.”


We kept heading for the lowermost X marked on the map. When we were about halfway there, the LEDs lit up.


“Heads up people, we’ve got company!”


We immediately sprung into a defensive triangle, what weapons we had held at the ready.


“I suppose that I should say something like ‘well met,’ but honestly, I can’t say it was. One swing from my Saber’s Noble Phantasm and you’d be crushed.” A voice called out. “You’re just lucky that I don’t want you guys dead. Yet, anyway.”


I recognized that voice. I could tell that Jessica did, too. Unlike me, though Jessica was actually surprised.


“Hello Nero. Fancy meeting you here.”

[BGM (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0twOZjBKJH4&feature=related)]


Sure enough, Nero stepped out of some nearby trees. If I squinted, I could make out the form of his Servant as well, a hulking figure just as large as Executioner, wearing some sort of cape.


Nero was being pretty confident stepping out into the open like this, but he had reason to be. While my Servant was an unknown factor, he had good reason to believe that neither Jessica nor myself would want him dead. And of course, the capabilities of his Servant might have given him confidence as well.


“Yeah, well this is where I hang out in the evenings.” Nero replied. “What brings you ‘round here, anyways? If you’re looking for a fight, Servant to Servant I mean, then I would be more than happy to oblige.” He looked over his shoulder at his Servant, grimacing slightly before turning back to me. “Judging by how he’s been acting since he laid eyes on you, I’d say that Saber wants to have a go, too.”



“Indeed, I do,” A deep melodious voice rang out. “Your alliance with Striker is one thing; that relationship is only proper, if somewhat murky. But there is no reason for you to even tolerate the existence of other Servants beyond that.”


I noticed out of the corner of my eye that Executioner was tensed up, quivering with barely constrained rage. Okay, that couldn’t be good. Saber’s words had struck a nerve, it seemed.


Saber himself stepped out of the shadows. His features bore a vague resemblance to Nero’s own, strangely enough. The two could have been distant relatives. What I had first taken for a cape was in fact a massive wolfskin draped over his shoulders. Beneath it he wore pure white armor in the style of Ancient Rome. Sheathed at his side was a long, curved sword, his hand resting upon its hilt. I could see the end of a massive sheath upon his back, but it seemed that it didn’t have a sword in it.


“Especially Servants such as this one,” Saber continued, disdain upon his face. “A soulless one such as he should not be allowed to walk upon this earth. It is an abomination unto the gods.”


I saw Jessica nodding in agreement, before she noticed me looking at her and turned away sheepishly. Geeze, really?


“Well, I don’t want a fight at the moment,” I replied to Nero. “Or at least, I don’t want a fight with you. Judging by what Saber just said about an alliance with Striker, I take it you’ve already heard about the Harvesters?”


Nero nodded. “Yeah. Someone’s been storing them in places all around the city, sending them out at night to feed. Saber and I have already wiped out four nests.”


So the locations on Striker’s map weren’t places where the Harvesters went underground to return to their base or some such, but rather separate bases of operation? Crap, there must be a lot more than I had previously assumed...


“Four? Which ones?”


“All four were here in the parks. Two of them were on Striker’s map last we checked, we found the other two on our own. It didn’t look like those two were actually active, though -- I’d wager that those Harvester’s hadn’t left storage for at least a week. They didn’t even fight back.” He looked aside, swallowed, and looked back at me. “ Kilroy... Whoever this guy is, he has massive resources. He could overturn this entire war. As much as I hate to admit it, stopping him should take higher priority, before this whole town is a wasteland. And my Father agrees. So i propose that we have a truce until whoever this is has been dealt with. And that goes for Striker, too. Agreed?”


I nodded. Agree nothing, that sounded great. “Agreed.”


Jessica nodded too. “Yeah, sounds good.”


Nero looked on expectantly. After a moment, he spoke up again. “That goes for your Servant, too. Do you agree to a truce?”


Executioner was silent, apparently still angry.


“Well?’


“...Yes. For as long as this lasts.”


“Good. Saber, do you agree to this as well?”


“If I must. I have used... such tools... in the past.”


Nero nodded. “Yes, I’m... well... aware...” He trailed off, staring at my Servant. His head whipped to Saber, then back to Executioner. His eyes narrowed. “Hrrrmm...”


It was an interesting reaction, but something else had been bothering me. “You said that you cleared out nests in the park.” I pointed out. “Shouldn’t you be prioritizing the area near your home, instead?”


Surprisingly, it wasn’t Nero who answered but Executioner. “The ethereal field,” He rumbled. “It makes him stronger.”


I nodded. “I see. Makes sense.” I turned back to Nero. “So, what do you propose we do? If this Practitioner is suddenly a priority...”


“I’ll stay here and keep clearing out the Parks. I can clear out the ones here faster than anyone else could. You should try working on the Eastern District. It’s near your home base, and it’s also borders the parks so that I can come to help you more quickly if you run into something you can’t handle. If Jessica won’t go home where it’s safe she can stay with me. My Servant can protect her better than yours can.”


Jessica gave him a flat look. “I beg to differ. Executioner’s done a good job so far. And even if I don’t have Archer, I’m not exactly incapable of defending myself. Especially against undead.” She turned to me. “I mean, Kilroy can tell you how well I did against those Harvesters last night, right?”




Clear out the East, leave Jessica with Nero.
Clear out the East, take Jessica with you.
Pick a fight with Saber.
Ignore the Harvesters and keep patrolling.
[Reader’s Choice]

Bloble
September 28th, 2011, 06:10 PM
No way we're letting Nero near Jessica. We're taking her and going East, away from Nero and Douche Saber.

Larekko12
September 28th, 2011, 06:32 PM
Clear the East. With Jessica. Give her her props. Girls got it going on and for all that ethereal Energy clashes with Ex we been able to work out a routine. I trust her with my life.

I say asshole Saber is an asshole. We hunt Asshole Necrourges, Good sir. We are practioners and moral people good sir. Practicing the Art and being moral are not mutually exclusive. Being a user of ethereal energy and moral are not directly mutually inclusive.

Edit: How dare you give such anawesome hily song dedicated to Arturia to this prick. He is unworthy.


Now what do we know about holy roman nights. He's not a Spearman So I don't think its Achilles. It could be a Saber Herc with attendant size changes if ethereal but he would be wearing a lion's pelt. Who wore wolf pelts famously?

Arkanian
September 28th, 2011, 07:59 PM
Clear the East. With Jessica. Give her her props. Girls got it going on and for all that ethereal Energy clashes with Ex we been able to work out a routine. I trust her with my life.

I say asshole Saber is an asshole. We hunt Asshole Necrourges, Good sir. We are practioners and moral people good sir. Practicing the Art and being moral are not mutually exclusive. Being a user of ethereal energy and moral are not directly mutually inclusive.

Edit: How dare you give such anawesome hily song dedicated to Arturia to this prick. He is unworthy.


Now what do we know about holy roman nights. He's not a Spearman So I don't think its Achilles. It could be a Saber Herc with attendant size changes if ethereal but he would be wearing a lion's pelt. Who wore wolf pelts famously?

I chose the song because it sounded imperious, and because his chief Noble Phantasm, Severed Elysium, has a lot in common with Excalibur (Although its effects upon activation are very different -- it's not even a ranged weapon). Like I said, I'm not all that happy with it; if you come up with something better, let me know.

Saber's legend is much expanded from our version to the massive role he plays in Versipilis mythology (But not the mythology of humans who aren't in the loop). The expansion of his myth, in this case, turns a rather different dispute into a dispute between the ethereal and the corporeal, with the dispute from our legend merely being what brought tensions to a head.

In other words, don't focus too much on the "Holy" part of his persona. It wasn't part of our original myth. For that matter, his myth didn't mention him wearing a wolf pelt (Or at least I don't think it does; it wouldn't surprise me if there were versions that did). However, in this case it wasn't an expansion of his myth, but rather that a wolfskin seemed like the most appropriate item to serve as a focus for one of his Noble Phantasms.

Larekko12
September 28th, 2011, 08:04 PM
Is he a roman empreror? Was he involved in a Civil war? Try something thing like a Catholic chant Sacred and Severe and possibly oppresive. Or the Beserker. But not Arturia.

Arkanian
September 28th, 2011, 08:11 PM
Is he a roman empreror? Was he involved in a Civil war? Try something thing like a Catholic chant Sacred and Severe and possibly oppresive. Or the Beserker. But not Arturia.

I'm trying to only use music from Type-Moon or remixes thereof.

Arkanian
September 28th, 2011, 08:55 PM
It should be noted that Nero isn’t really all that bad of a guy; he just doesn’t like Kilroy that much. Of course, he’s still willing to put that dislike on hold, if only because not doing so would probably endanger Jessica. That fact kind of pisses him off, though.




Wise Up!: Central Instructions


Any creature of the Art that is intended to be autonomous has a central set of instructions that they work off of. These instructions are engraved or otherwise recorded upon a piece of Practitioner’s material, which is then implanted inside the creature.


These central instructions can be considered to be like programs for a robot. Largely they specify a specific response to a specific stimulus. For example, instructing it to jump to the left when a weapon is thrust straight at it. As a result, autonomous creations are very inflexible and highly predictable. All creatures of the Art can be controlled directly if the Practitioner is present, however.


The practice of making these creatures took a major leap of progress with the advent of miniaturized computers and Practitioner’s Steel. A Practitioner was able to find a way to use these to make specialized miniature hard drives that were capable of serving as central instructions, allowing those instructions to have a much higher degree of complexity. As a result, most modern creatures of the Art are controlled by Artificial Intelligences.




[X]No way we're letting Nero near Jessica. We're taking her and going East, away from Nero and Douche Saber.




“She did great. Without her help, we might not have won.” I crossed my arms and stared straight at Nero. “Against Harvesters, Jessica pretty much has an ‘I win’ card. If you think that she can’t crush them, even without my help, you’re underestimating her.”


Nero gritted his teeth, before opening his mouth angrily... And then he closed it again.


“Fine. My number is 555-8355. At the first sign of any sort of trouble, call me and I’ll be there in a heartbeat. You got it?”


“Yeah.”


“Good. Now get out of -- get going.”


******


It didn’t take us long to get back to my neighborhood. We immediately started heading for one of the locations on the map, the one nearest to my house.


“Hey, Jessica? Would you mind hooking your Gauntlet up to your phone and telling me what shows up for Saber?”


“Okay.” Silence. “Let’s see... There’s something called ‘Claim of Divine Right.’ It’s rank A. That’s all that shows up.” She disconnected her phone and pocketed it. “I think that it’s that field he used. What do you think?”


“Makes sense. I don’t think it helps us that much, though.”


“Yeah...”


I stopped at a corner. “Wait just a moment. My house is right over there. I should probably grab some stuff from my workshop first.” I had taken a heart, a sphere, and some stakes, but it would be helpful to have more than one sphere at least. It wasn’t that big a deal, but so long as we were nearby it wouldn’t take that much of our time.


We walked inside the house, and I immediately headed for the living room. I looked across the floorboards for a certain knot in the wood and carefully inserted a paperclip into it, using that to turn it. There was probably an easier way to open it, but if there was I didn’t know it. The knot wasn’t the only security measure to keep people out -- it could hardly be considered a measure at all, really -- but all of the others had been deactivated when I found them. I had never turned them back on.


To my dismay, the knot didn’t turn. Someone had already opened it. Someone was here.





Enter and confront whoever’s down there alone.
Astralize Executioner and confront whoever’s down there alone.
Bring Jessica and Executioner to confront the intruder.
Bring Jessica to confront the intruder, but Astralize Executioner.
Send Executioner ahead to eliminate whoever’s inside, with you and Jessica bringing up the rear.
Send Executioner down to eliminate the intruder, and wait up top.
Go down, toss your sphere into the workshop before entering, metaphorical guns blazing.
Leave without confronting the intruder and hope they leave while you’re gone.
Wait at the entrance for the intruder to come out.
[Reader’s Choice]

Larekko12
September 28th, 2011, 09:15 PM
Can we astralize Excutioner, have him float in front of us, put our gauntlet behind our backs walk in with Jessica trailing a bit to be able to be told to hold back and then walk in on the balls of our feet? This should allow us to flash corporealize Ex in case of attack without doing somthing stupid like attacking some one who may not be an enemy, right? I mean it could be our friend who I really hope didn't have caster of Assasin or it could be a High tech Harvester or it could be a possible ally. If we can bring Ex to bear quickly do the above.

Bloble
September 28th, 2011, 09:18 PM
Astralize Executioner and confront whoever's down there alone. For some reason I don't think Jessica should be here, and it's Kilroys house, he knows more about it than anyone else.

Arkanian
September 28th, 2011, 09:37 PM
Alright.

The decision on whether or not to leave Jessica upstairs has a major impact, so here's hoping for a tiebreaker. If I don't have one when I get back from dinner around eight (About an hour and a half), I'll just go with Bloble's vote because Larekko's been getting all the votes lately.

Of course, except for Warshipper, you two are the only ones who have commented, so that's probably what's going to happen anyways.

Larekko12
September 28th, 2011, 09:46 PM
It has been realy stroking my ego and hurting it. I am winning votes. but only cause no one else is voting.

Arkanian
September 29th, 2011, 01:33 AM
[X]Astralize Executioner and confront whoever's down there alone. For some reason I don't think Jessica should be here, and it's Kilroys house, he knows more about it than anyone else.




[BGM (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YoCmZgK02nw&feature=related)]


I flipped up the hatch and started to go down the long ladder into the basement. As my hands were about to go past the lip, I flicked the switch to de-Astralize Executioner. “Jessica, someone else is in there. I want you to stay up here where it’s safe.”


“Ah, okay.”


I climbed down the ladder, leaving the hatch open, just in case. I reached the bottom, and turned around to see the door into the basement proper. It was ajar.


I carefully opened the door, one hand ready to flick the switch on my Gauntlet at a moment’s notice.


“I take it that you’re the new owner of this place?”


The speaker was a thin woman with blonde hair halfway to her waist, probably in her early twenties unless I missed my guess. She was dressed in a suit and tie. SHe had a pair of narrow white scars going straight up from the sides of her mouth, making her jaw look disturbingly like that of a ventriloquist’s dummy. She was seated on the swivel chair in front of the computer, lounging on it like she owned the place.


“Yes...” I said carefully, taking a few more steps into the room. I left the door open behind me in case I needed to make a getaway. “And you are?”


“Belladonna Revere. High Arbitrator for the continental United States.”


“High... Arbitrator?”


“You don’t know of the position? I suppose that’s to be expected, considering that you’re just a Hedge Practitioner. I...”


[BGM --End]


There was a soft thumping noise behind me. Belladonna leaned to look over my shoulder. “Oh. Well that’s never a good sign.”


[BGM (http://www.youtuberepeat.com/watch/?v=qQvX2L4YXmM&feature=related)]


I turned around. My jaw dropped in horror, and I stumbled backwards a few steps.


“Friend of yours?” Belladonna inquired dispassionately.


There, at the bottom of the ladder, Jessica’s severed head lay on the ground, rocking slightly back in forth. “Jessica...!”


In shock, I fumbled for the switch on my Gauntlet, but I was too late.


“Bone Root.”


A tiny dart shot forth from the shadows just beyond the door, striking me in the shoulder. I felt a massive amount of corporeal energy inject itself into my system, worming its way into my body until it settled into my bone structure.


And then my bones started to grow. Barbed wires of bone came forth, pushing out of my body before shooting out to anchor themselves into the ground. In under a second, I was wrapped in a lattice of still-growing bone, holding me in place. No matter how I tried, I couldn’t move at all, certainly not enough to flick the switch on my gauntlet. I couldn’t even move enough to look up from my hand.


Footsteps entered the room.


“So, do you plan to kill him, too?” I heard Belladonna’s voice ask.


“Keke... Yes, I do. He’s a danger after all.” A high-pitched, mocking male voice replied “Always so many.”


“A pity. He could have answered some questions for me.”


“You aren’t going to try and stop me?”


“My hands are tied in that regard, I fear.”


“Kekeke... Kekeke... Kyiah, hiah, hiah, hiaaaah!!!! Then this is going to be fun!!!”


The footsteps came closer, and a dark figure stepped into the corner of my vision. A hand grabbed my forearm; I could see that it was skeletal. “Are you afraid? Are you terrified?” The figure stepped around, and I found myself looking into blackness. Blackness, and two gleaming yellow lights. “I want to see the horror in your eyes before you die. Yes, that’s it...”


“Dead Bone.”


More corporeal energy entered my system, and I could feel it as it fractured my bones, grinding them away until they turned to dust and I flopped onto the floor like a sack of meat.


“Now, am I done? No, wait, I’m not. You’re here. And when there’s a person, there’s a danger... Bone -- g--”


CRACK.


“How...”


CRUNCH.


“In this regard, my hands are most definitely not tied, I assure you. I take it that they didn’t have High Arbitrators in your day?”


GRIND.


“Glrrgh...”


“I’m really quite disappointed. And I think that I’ll be taking it out on you...”


I continued to hear sickening sounds for the next few minutes, until I finally died.


[BGM -- End]


BAD END




[BGM (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Bm6o87Wpr0)]


*Isabelle leans back at the front counter of Darque and Sovereign Curiosities, blowing bubblegum and reading a magazine.*


Isabelle: “Oh, so you finally made it. Welcome to Darque and Sovereign, where people who get bad ends go to hit ‘reset.’” *Pops bubblegum*


Isabelle: “I’m not surprised that it took you this long to get here. ‘Light and Shadow’ is a pretty safe route early on -- at least, until that bone guy starts stalking Jessica. Crazy Bastard.”


Isabelle: “So, how did he die this time? Your first death is a special occasion, so we should celebrate in a way that’s appropriate. Randall?”


*Randall flips through a file, pulls out a sheet of paper headed by ‘Astralize Executioner and confront whoever’s down there alone.’*
Randall: “Here you go, Izzy. One Bad End.”


*Isabelle reads the sheet. As she reads further, her face darkens. When she reaches the bottom, she throws it to the ground and starts stomping on it.*


Isabelle: “WHAT IS THIS!?!?!”


Isabelle: “Look, leaving Jessica by herself in the daytime is all well and good, but when it’s dark out, never leave her completely unprotected!! Never ever ever ever ever!!! You got that!?”


Isabelle: “Now get your ass back out there and pick right this time!”










A/N: A bit lackluster for a Tiger Dojo equivalent, but eh, it’s late. I’ll go with Larekko’s choice tomorrow, unless he changes it or Bloble votes before then.

Larekko12
September 29th, 2011, 01:51 AM
YOu understand the Trailing mention is so that she's coming in right just kind of slowly so she's just out of sight but can move in if she learns something.. Maybe I should change it? Is that assasin? This bitch is the one with the resources isn't she? What have we done to deserve this ignoble death which was unescesary and may provoke war.

Well Save bloble leaving Jessica alone at night.

Bloble
September 29th, 2011, 07:20 AM
YOu understand the Trailing mention is so that she's coming in right just kind of slowly so she's just out of sight but can move in if she learns something.. Maybe I should change it? Is that assasin? This bitch is the one with the resources isn't she? What have we done to deserve this ignoble death which was unescesary and may provoke war.

Well Save bloble leaving Jessica alone at night.

Oops. Well, I figured, since it's Kilroy's house...

Larekko12
September 29th, 2011, 10:46 AM
Kilroy's invaded house. That was the Hideout of a Famous practioner that mysteriously died and made the Guantlet for Executioner. Also why didn't the fool key himself into the defense and fix them.

Arkanian
September 29th, 2011, 12:50 PM
Kilroy's invaded house. That was the Hideout of a Famous practioner that mysteriously died and made the Guantlet for Executioner. Also why didn't the fool key himself into the defense and fix them.

The nature of the defenses made it impossible for Kilroy to "key" them to himself. Ebon was a High Practitioner (How a high practitioner is different from a regular one will be explained later; the main difference is that High Practitioners have removed all the ethereal energy from their body, while still maintaining their consciousness, but the ramifications of this are huge), and High Practitioners are capable of many things that regular ones aren't. Opening the defenses is only possible for a High Practitioner.

Larekko12
September 29th, 2011, 01:06 PM
Ah so he's just currently incompetent compared to the best. So does E-enrgy afeect morality and emotions? Are they now liches?

I am guessing high Practioners have a greater amount of C Energy by dint of it not being annihilated and still capable of Generating Physical Energy. They may be able bypass the draw ressitance normal being have. They can fight with body horror. Do they have no Soul?

Why didn't he get some mundane defenses like a lock?

Arkanian
September 29th, 2011, 01:40 PM
Ah so he's just currently incompetent compared to the best. So does E-enrgy afeect morality and emotions? Are they now liches?

I am guessing high Practioners have a greater amount of C Energy by dint of it not being annihilated and still capable of Generating Physical Energy. They may be able bypass the draw ressitance normal being have. They can fight with body horror. Do they have no Soul?

Why didn't he get some mundane defenses like a lock?

No, it doesn't effect morality. It can​ be used to effect emotions, but you need to make a conscious effort to do so. Whether or not they have souls is a topic of heated debate, but nothing conclusive has been determined. Beyond that, everything you said is pretty much correct.

And Kilroy did get locks, they were just bypassed.

Larekko12
September 29th, 2011, 02:39 PM
So it is not that we were incompetent(save Jessica) but that we are ignorant( and therefore suck) and the the Enemy has significantly greater ability.

Arkanian
September 29th, 2011, 02:51 PM
So it is not that we were incompetent(save Jessica) but that we are ignorant( and therefore suck) and the the Enemy has significantly greater ability.

Well, Kilroy wasn't expecting anyone to know about the place. In the years he's been there, no one had discovered it, and he didn't know that it belonged to someone important. With his rather limited funds, he didn't see much reason to invest in defenses beyond just a few locks.

And yeah, almost everyone in this war outclasses Kilroy in some way. But then, the same could be said of Shirou, and that ultimately turned out to be untrue...

Larekko12
September 29th, 2011, 03:11 PM
SO Kilroy has Hax talent and a futeure self to help drag it out?

Arkanian
September 29th, 2011, 03:22 PM
SO Kilroy has Hax talent and a futeure self to help drag it out?

I'm not saying anything. He's not Shirou; he isn't capable of some one in a billion talent.

And summoning someone from the future is impossible for this Grail War's mechanics.

Incidentally, I found a different theme for Saber, and replaced the one I used earlier. It's Araya Souren's theme from Battle Moon Wars. I think it kind of works.

His battle music will still be a Sword of Promised Victory remix, though. I found one that suits him perfectly.

Larekko12
September 29th, 2011, 06:11 PM
Is he capable of a one in a million talent? Is he a latent Verspilius? Does he Have lol Hax Advancement Rate with proper instrcution? Why could Ex sense the bitch down stares? Should the over abundance of Corporeal Energy in a body shaped package combined with a lack or vacuum of attendant Ethereal energy stand out?

Arkanian
September 29th, 2011, 06:18 PM
No Wise Up! because I’m lazy!






[X] Astralize Excutioner, have him float in front of us, put our gauntlet behind our backs walk in with Jessica trailing a bit to be able to be told to hold back and then walk in on the balls of our feet.




I flipped up the hatch and started to go down the long ladder into the basement. As my hands were about to go past the lip, I flicked the switch to de-Astralize Executioner. “Jessica, someone else is down there. I want you to stay behind me, and be ready to flash fry whoever it is on my say so.”


She nodded. “Right!”


She followed after me on the ladder closing the trapdoor behind us. When I got down to the bottom, I turned around to see the door into the basement proper. It was ajar.


I carefully opened the door, one hand ready to flick the switch on my Gauntlet at a moment’s notice.


“I take it that you’re the new owner of this place?”


[BGM (http://www.youtuberepeat.com/watch?v=AyJuzD8kHrY&feature=related)]


The speaker was a thin woman with blonde hair halfway to her waist, probably in her early twenties unless I missed my guess. She was dressed in a suit and tie. SHe had a pair of narrow white scars going straight up from the sides of her mouth, making her jaw look disturbingly like that of a ventriloquist’s dummy. She was seated on the swivel chair in front of the computer, lounging on it like she owned the place.


“Yes...” I replied carefully, taking a few more steps into the room. Jessica came in behind me, shutting the thick steel door behind us. “And you are?”


“Belladonna Revere. High Arbitrator for the continental United States.”


“High... Arbitrator?”


“You don’t know of the position? I suppose that’s to be expected, considering that you’re just a Hedge Practitioner.”




“Wait, you’re the High Arbitrator?” Jessica asked disbelievingly. “You?”


“Jessica, what’s a High Arbitrator?”


“It has to do with Necromancer politics...” Jessica began.


“When the Sella Umbrae dies, it’s my job to pick a new one.” Belladonna interrupted. “It’s not really all that complicated.” She picked up a pen and started twiddling it in her fingers, gazing at it like it was the most fascinating thing in the world.


“It’s... it’s more complicated than that.”


“Oh?” Belladonna asked dispassionately. “Do tell.”


“Wh-- when the Sella Umbrae dies, all the necromancers who want the position give their names to the High Arbitrator. In theory, the High Arbitrator is supposed to pick from amongst the candidates four months later. But it’s become common practice for the candidates to use blackmail and murder to force other candidates off the list until only one is left. So the High Arbitrator is really there to confirm the winner and serve as a tiebreaker. The High Arbitrator is also the only one to know the true identity of the one who is selected as the Sella Umbrae, because it’s tradition for the Sella Umbrae to conceal his identity.” She looked at Belladonna suspiciously. “But the High Arbitrator is usually restricted to a small area. Last I heard the High ARbitrator was supposed to be in Nevada. Who are you really?”


Belladonna leaned forward. “I am the High Arbitrator, child. I don’t care if you believe me or not, the fact remains that that is what I am. And there are many circumstances under which the High Arbitrator is allowed to depart her territory. The grail war seems to me like the type of event that should qualify for that.”


“...I’m still not sure I believe you,” Jessica said. “I mean, only Practitioners know who the High Arbitrator is... Since neither of us know, anyone could claim to be the High Arbitrator...”


“I already told you that I don’t care whether you believe me or not. In any case...” She leaned back on the swivel chair again and began slowly spinning. “I happen to know that Leeds was heavily involved in the creation of the grail war, so I decided that his place would probably be the first place to check for information. And now I have you, a Master, to answer questions for me. How wonderful.”


I moved my hand a little closer to the switch, just in case. “So, what exactly do you want to know?” I blinked. “And who is Leeds? You mean Ebon?”


“That was the name he used, yes. Since he’s dead now I can use his real one all I want.” She stopped spinning, and began to nibble on the end of the pen. “As for what I want to know, well, I already found Leeds’ notes... So I’d just like for you to tell me everything that’s happened to you so far in this war.”


I was uneasy. Should I do as she asked?



Tell her everything.
Refuse to tell her anything.
Attack her.
Tell her the stuff that you think is important.
Tell her as little as possible.
Leave.
[Reader’s Choice]

Bloble
September 29th, 2011, 06:30 PM
7. Tell her the stuff she wants to know. By that I mean the zombie thingies (can't remember the names) wandering around and attacking people.. Other than that tell her the War is going fine, although you haven't seen any casualties or defeated Servants yet. Perhaps recommend she see some of the other Masters instead of asking you. Leave out anything about Jessica or your friends.

Larekko12
September 29th, 2011, 06:51 PM
Can we Spirit talk to Ex Telpathically while he is Astralized? Hunh could skull boy rip through the Wall before Jessia could flash fry miss Liches ass? How exaclty was it known that Leeds if that is his name was dead? how come Killroy didn't re encrypt the notes? Or did he and she just hacked it? Can we non aggressively deastralize Executioner? Would Jessica's Dad be able to name the HA?

Tentative vote
"What exactly would be willing to do confirm your trustworthiness or in exchange for information? Information is not cheep and neither is my life nor Jessica's. Even if you are the High Arbitrator I don't know you from Adam, you susposedly oversee rather bloody and amoral Practioner politics, and you are currently in my home uninvited, in the middle of the night in this War." I doubt you are alone either should go unsaid but implied.

Arkanian
September 29th, 2011, 07:48 PM
Can we Spirit talk to Ex Telpathically while he is Astralized? Hunh could skull boy rip through the Wall before Jessia could flash fry miss Liches ass? How exaclty was it known that Leeds if that is his name was dead? how come Killroy didn't re encrypt the notes? Or did he and she just hacked it? Can we non aggressively deastralize Executioner? Would Jessica's Dad be able to name the HA?

Tentative vote
"What exactly would be willing to do confirm your trustworthiness or in exchange for information? Information is not cheep and neither is my life nor Jessica's. Even if you are the High Arbitrator I don't know you from Adam, you susposedly oversee rather bloody and amoral Practioner politics, and you are currently in my home uninvited, in the middle of the night in this War." I doubt you are alone either should go unsaid but implied.

No, no telepathy I'm afraid. "Skull Boy" can't rip through the wall -- now that the door's closed it would take A-Rank strength to get through. It's known that he died, because he stopped showing up at the concilium, and the High Arbitrator confirmed his death and started an election. The notes were never encrypted, just corrupted; Kilroy put them back in the safe, but she apparently got them out. And yes, as a member of the concilium Aloysius would know who the High Arbitrator is.

Larekko12
September 29th, 2011, 08:33 PM
Wait if she knew he was dead and where he lived and that he had the Gauntlet why was the Guantlet here to find wouldn't she have been through here already and why wasn't the place scrubbed clean or inhabited by her?

Also how effectively could Ex shut the HA bitch down?

Lets Ask her to call Aloysius to confirm her Identity and to put her presence down in her house so that if We turn up dead the Pheonix would have reason to light there fire. Or Secure our livleihood. Slide ths method on confirm into my Tentative now Firm Vote.

Arkanian
September 29th, 2011, 08:41 PM
Wait if she knew he was dead and where he lived and that he had the Gauntlet why was the Guantlet here to find wouldn't she have been through here already and why wasn't the place scrubbed clean or inhabited by her?

Also how effectively could Ex shut the HA bitch down?


There's some information about the High Arbitrators that hasn't been stated yet. Essentially, if she's the real deal, even if she knew the Gauntlet was there, she would be physically incapable of taking it unless not doing so would endanger her life. In fact, she would have been unable to do anything permanent to the place unless those conditions applied; she would have to leave everything exactly as she found it. Essentially, the High Arbitrators are all under a Geas of "Enforced Neutrality" that can only be broken in defense of their own life, or in a handful of exceptional circumstances.

In terms of power, a High Arbitrator is on the same level as a Servant. If she's the real deal, she'll be able to go toe to toe with Executioner no problem.

If​ she's the real deal...

Larekko12
September 29th, 2011, 08:59 PM
Wait then how could she kill us or have her stooge kill Jessica in the last turn? We were no threat to her life and this couldn't be termed exceptional circumstances unless she has confirmation on one the the participant trying to break the world in half or something. She should at least half to notify the Council or something in those kind of terms. SHE'S A FAKE!!!!!11

Arkanian
September 29th, 2011, 09:04 PM
Wait then how could she kill us or have her stooge kill Jessica in the last turn? We were no threat to her life and this couldn't be termed exceptional circumstances unless she has confirmation on one the the participant trying to break the world in half or something. She should at least half to notify the Council or something in those kind of terms. SHE'S A FAKE!!!!!11

She could be fake... But remember the sequence of events:

Skull guy kills Jessica
Skull guy kills Kilroy
Skull guy tries to kill Belladonna
Belladonna kills skull guy

Larekko12
September 29th, 2011, 09:15 PM
Oh I Thought it was Skull guy kills Jessica.
We Turn to head.
Queen bitch Backstabs us.
then Queen Bitch talks to Skull guy.
i though he was her automaton.

I misread that badly.

Now it seems she might be legit.
Still not trustworthy of dependable unless we can slap some perfect destiny bond on her.

Arkanian
September 29th, 2011, 09:22 PM
Oh I Thought it was Skull guy kills Jessica.
We Turn to head.
Queen bitch Backstabs us.
then Queen Bitch talks to Skull guy.
i though he was her automaton.

Er...

Excluding Jessica, there were three people in that scene: Kilroy, Belladonna, and someone described as having a high-pitched, but male voice. This last one's dialogue indicates that he is the one who kills Kilroy, after which he converses with Belladonna.

So if it is an automaton, it's not under Belladonna's control.

Not that it is. The bold speech is used to indicate a Noble Phantasm being activated, as you may recall.

Skull guy is a third party. In fact, his dialogue, combined with a conversation earlier and the fact that he is skull guy, should make it fairly clear who this guy's supposed to be, if you think about it.

Really, out of all the Servants, there's only two that it could be... And we already know that the Practitioner's got either Lancer or Assassin...

[Edit]: Also, the dart is stated to come from outside the door into the basement, not from behind. So there's that.


The point I'm trying to make here is that while Belladonna may or may not be the High Arbitrator, it's at least plausible that she could be.

Larekko12
September 29th, 2011, 09:39 PM
This was assassin and he was going to attack Belladona regardless tonight in addition to Stalking Jessica. Which was going to be how he dies tonight? Also Bold is only NP not spells super incantations or the like?

Arkanian
September 29th, 2011, 09:42 PM
This was assassin and he was going to attack Belladona regardless tonight in addition to Stalking Jessica. Which was going to be how he dies tonight? Also Bold is only NP not spells super incantations or the like?

Spells in this setting generally don't require incantations. At least, corporeal spells don't. Some ethereal spells do.

Larekko12
September 29th, 2011, 10:06 PM
So it more like straight wierd ki manipulation but silent. People don't go. Welcome to the land of the Dead, Eternal Bone Graveyard. For extremely OP Spells. They go *Tosses Steel genade into Ground* then *A field of bones rise up to inject all enemies with Corporeal energy causing our bad end effect.*

Arkanian
September 29th, 2011, 11:12 PM
So it more like straight wierd ki manipulation but silent. People don't go. Welcome to the land of the Dead, Eternal Bone Graveyard. For extremely OP Spells. They go *Tosses Steel genade into Ground* then *A field of bones rise up to inject all enemies with Corporeal energy causing our bad end effect.*

Yeah. If it weren't for their ludicrously crippling weakness to ethereal energy, High Practitioners would be really broken. Of course, doing that sort of thing requires massive amounts of corporeal energy, so most practitioners burn through their reserves pretty fast. But when all's said and done, there's a reason that High Arbitrators and the Sella Umbrae are considered Servant level fighters.

That said, the situation that you described is impossible; Practitioner's steel doesn't work that way. Corporeal energy can't be used to create something from nothing. Bone Root is an exception because it's a Noble Phantasm, and even then it's very limited in application (It takes the form of a dart, and only a dart, plus the dart's tip needs to make contact with bone). It's possible to convert corporeal energy into matter, but the conversion rate is comparable to atomic energy: You need to expend power equal in level to a nuclear blast to create something the size of your head.

Larekko12
September 30th, 2011, 01:30 AM
Okay what if they were in an Elephants Graveyard where a Practioner made there workshop like in the Lion King?

What were they Smoking when they made the Carnifex Position and Didn't Add a Palladin Position as a Partner. 'Cause the way thing seem ,beyond being Vastly more dependent on Bloodline and having some chanting, Ethereals Are Rape stomp on Practioners and immune, by dint of Anhilation at high levels, to direct target effects like bone snap's weaker cousin?

Arkanian
September 30th, 2011, 12:13 PM
Okay what if they were in an Elephants Graveyard where a Practioner made there workshop like in the Lion King?

What were they Smoking when they made the Carnifex Position and Didn't Add a Palladin Position as a Partner. 'Cause the way thing seem ,beyond being Vastly more dependent on Bloodline and having some chanting, Ethereals Are Rape stomp on Practioners and immune, by dint of Anhilation at high levels, to direct target effects like bone snap's weaker cousin?

Many of the more powerful High Practitioners did indeed do something like that, but workshops like that are in high demand. A large source of corporeal energy will usually be immediately claimed by the biggest baddest High Practitioner in the area, and then sucked dry. Combined with how slow it can be to collect corporeal energy without using something like Harvesters, and there aren't very many truly powerful High Practitioners -- currently there's only about six residents of the U.S. who are strong enough to be Sella Umbrae candidates. They also have a tendency to kill each other off competing over sources of corporeal energy.

Ethereal power isn't dependent on bloodlines, though. Being a Versipilis allows you to use ethereal energy to transform, and gives you larger natural reserves, but that's it. There are plenty of ethereal energy users who aren't Versipilis. That's why the Versipilis decided to keep the church happy by giving them a slot: Since power in the ethereal is largely mind over matter and believing that you can do something, faith makes for powerful ethereal users. And since ethereal energy isn't a limited resource, there are a hell of a lot more ethereal users then there are practitioners.

As for the Carnifex position, they never have a Carnifex if they don't have a method of keeping them in line. They used to have something that could control them perfectly, or any practitioner for that matter, but it was lost. Afterwards, they resorted to methods like blackmail, staying their execution, allowing them to kill with impunity so long as they targeted practitioners, etc.

Larekko12
September 30th, 2011, 01:33 PM
No I meant a Ethereal partner to the Carnifex to help him go kicking ass an taking name and head with the purifying light of the Soul. It starting to seem more and more like that to get pwoer as a Practioner you have to be Cutthroat and evil or just barely breaking neutral or heroic Sociopath or an adventurer who hunts the Always Evil Practioners and takes thier stuff. The belief seems to have more in line with Nasu verse magi but less physically dependent.

WOuld an Ethereal Healer Combatant say something like this for a Grand Faith healer zone or if they had RMs.


I am one who fights for life.
My cause is Righteous and My will is as Adamant.
My Body has Born many Scars.
My hands run red with the Blood of my failures.
Though I walk a path of Death,
As I seek eternally to preserve life.
I will never give in,
Welcome to my Realm, Sanctum of the Healer.

Arkanian
September 30th, 2011, 02:03 PM
No I meant a Ethereal partner to the Carnifex to help him go kicking ass an taking name and head with the purifying light of the Soul. It starting to seem more and more like that to get pwoer as a Practioner you have to be Cutthroat and evil or just barely breaking neutral or heroic Sociopath or an adventurer who hunts the Always Evil Practioners and takes thier stuff. The belief seems to have more in line with Nasu verse magi but less physically dependent.

WOuld an Ethereal Healer Combatant say something like this for a Grand Faith healer zone or if they had RMs.


I am one who fights for life.
My cause is Righteous and My will is as Adamant.
My Body has Born many Scars.
My hands run red with the Blood of my failures.
Though I walk a path of Death,
As I seek eternally to preserve life.
I will never give in,
Welcome to my Realm, Sanctum of the Healer.


They don't have Reality Marbles in this setting, but yeah, the principle is similar: you say something to evoke certain emotions in you. Either that, or you have a strong belief that an incantation is necessary for the spell, or even if you know you don't need it it still helps. And I suppose that it would be possible for an immensely powerful ethereal user to create something similar to a reality marble.

The Halberd that every Carnifex wields is an immensely powerful holy weapon, one that is designed so that if a High Practitioner wields it,they won't get hurt by its power. And more to the point, High Practitioners are the only ones who can safely wield it. Having the Carnifex serves multiple purposes; not only does it get rid of Practitioners without risking anyone that the Versipilis care about, but it reinforces their superiority over the Practitioners. It also gives them plausible deniability to the Versipilis at large; only the concilium are aware that the Carnifex isn't some random High Practitioner who decided to start knocking off their own kind. The position was disbanded when its existence was discovered by the public at large.

Arkanian
September 30th, 2011, 04:08 PM
Sorry this one's a little late. I didn't feel that much like writing last night.



Wise Up!: Blade of the Carnifex


An Anti-Personnel Phantasm. As the traditional weapon of the Carnifex, any Carnifex will possess it when summoned. It is a Halberd with three blades: A holy silver axe blade, a spearhead of Necromantic wood, and a short scythe-like blade of an unknown metal that is conducive to corporeal energy.


It was fashioned from a weapon wielded by the original Carnifex, with two of the three blades being added on afterwards. It is unknown which of the three is the original.


As a weapon designed against Necromancers whilst under orders, its power increases whenever it’s used against a creature Necromantic in nature, or used whilst under the effect of a Command Stone. Depending on the Servant, there may be other methods to increase its power.




7. Tell her the stuff she wants to know. By that I mean the zombie thingies (can't remember the names) wandering around and attacking people.. Other than that tell her the War is going fine, although you haven't seen any casualties or defeated Servants yet. Perhaps recommend she see some of the other Masters instead of asking you. Leave out anything about Jessica or your friends.





“Right...” Well, regardless of whether or not she was the real deal, there were at least some things I could tell her with impunity. “Well, last night we were attacked by a hordee of Harvesters, plus these weird burning things.”


“Burning things?”


“Yeah.”


I heard beeping from next to me. “Jessica, you aren’t going to get cell reception down here. Use that phone on the wall to the right of the door.”


“Okay.”


“So... Burning things?”


“They looked like people at first, albeit poorly coordinated, but...


[B][BGM -- End]


******


“C’mon Dad, pick up, pick up...”





*click* “Well, this is a number I never thought I’d hear from again. Who is this?”


“Daddy? It’s me.”


“Sweetie? How are you-- Where are you? Are you alright!?”


“Daddy, I’m fine. I’m at my friend Kilroy’s. Listen, there’s this woman here claiming to be the High Arbitrator...” She gave a brief description of the woman’s appearance and mannerisms. “Does that sound right?”


“Yes... Yes it does. But a High Practitioner could imitate her appearance. Ask her to confirm; she should be able to prove her identity.”


“We asked that. She said she didn’t care if we believed her or not.”


“You weren’t doing it right. Tell her to show you her code.”


Jessica put the phone aside. “Miss Revere? If you’re really the High Arbitrator, then show us your code.”


Belladonna blinked, before sighing and rolling her eyes. “Very well.”


Streaks of violet flames flared across her body, before vanishing and leaving her skin covered in burning violet script, in some language that looked like Arabic.


“There. You happy? Can I deactivate my code now?”


“Er, yes.”


“Good.” The script flared up, and then vanished. She turned back to Kilroy. “Now, you were saying?”


Jessica picked up the phone again. “Purple letters showed up on her skin. That mean it’s her?”


“If they were burning and covered her entire body, then yes.”


“It’s her, then. What was that?”


“High Arbitrators may be powerful, but they are essentially slaves that answer to no master. They have certain programming that they have to follow. One is that if you request that a High Arbitrator prove her identity by showing her code, she has to show you. There are others, too. They can’t tell a direct lie, and they can’t attack someone unless that person attacked them first. They aren’t allowed to steal from people or harm anyone, either. And they aren’t allowed to leave the city they’re stationed in except under specific circumstances. However, they’re allowed to break any of these rules if not doing so would endanger their life.


“Of course, that leaves the question of why she’s here instead of in Las Vegas...”


“She said she was here about the Grail War.”


“What? That can’t be right... What was her exact phrasing when she said that?”


“Um... she said that there were certain situations where she would be allowed to leave Nevada, and the Grail War was the sort of event that would allow that.”


“Hmmm... Yes, I suppose that the Grail War might eventually reach the point where she would be required, but right now it hasn’t gone that far. A Low Arbitrator would do just fine... It’s possible that she’s just being pre-emptive, but the fact that she didn’t explicitly say that the Grail War is why she’s here probably means that that isn’t the case. Jessica, please be careful. We can talk more when you get home tonight, and I’d like for that to be soon.”


“Okay Daddy. But it might be a while.”


“...If you---”


“...Daddy?”


“Something’s going on up here. Not at the Mansion, it’s a ways away. Probably a Servant battle. Just get home quickly, alright?”


“Fine.” *Click*


[B][BGM -- End]


******


“...So that’s pretty much the only useful things that I can tell you.”


[BGM (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AyJuzD8kHrY&feature=related)]


“I see... Yes, that is very helpful, I think.” She paused, biting her pen thoughtfully. “Do you feel that?”


“Feel what?”


“...Maybe it was my imagination.”


“If you say so...”


“So, can I see it?”


“See what?”


“Your Servant.”


Well, I had been trying to find a way to de-Astralize him without seeming hostile, so...


“Hmmm... Impressive. One of the Carnifex.” She walked over to Executioner and laid a hand on him. “One from before my time, too. And that mask... That’s the same sort of mask that the Umbrae wear. The same sort of cloak, too.”


She frowned, turning away from Executioner. “Alright, now I’m certain that I feel something up there. I’d love to stay and chat, but I really do need to investigate this.” She walked over to the door and opened it. As she was about to go through, she stopped and turned to me again. “By the way, You don’t mind if I stay here for the next few days, do you? I didn’t think so.”





Go with her.
Wait a bit, then follow her.
Stay here.
Leave and go somewhere else.
Try to keep her from leaving.
[Reader’s Choice]

Larekko12
September 30th, 2011, 08:40 PM
Follow her.
IF it something overly dangerous retreat behind her and let her kick its ass when it threatens her life. It could be her room and board. Practice our lawyer speak into tgetting a teacher.

Arkanian
October 1st, 2011, 06:30 PM
1. Follow her.
If it something overly dangerous retreat behind her and let her kick its ass when it threatens her life. It could be her room and board. Practice our lawyer speak into getting a teacher.




“Woah, hey, wait up. Whatever’s up there, I want to check it out, too.”


She started to climb the ladder. “I’m certainly not stopping you.”


Jessica clenched her fists. “Well I’m coming, too!”


I considered objecting, but decided that it was pointless to try. I didn’t have time to argue; Belladonna was almost to the trapdoor. I grabbed onto the ladder and started up. “Fine, but close the door behind you.”


When I got out, I quickly ran after Belladonna, Jessica not far behind me. We ran out into the street, not even locking the front door behind us. To my surprise, Belladonna had stopped in the middle of the road, looking to the north.


I looked, too. I couldn’t see anything unusual...





Then, Jessica spoke up. “Um... Wasn’t there a full moon tonight?”


BOOM.


I could feel the ground shake ever so slightly as I heard that massive noise. I looked up at the horizon, in the direction that Belladonna was gazing. Sure enough, the moon, which had been full before, was now gone. So were half of the stars in that direction.


And then it slowly began to appear again, darkness sliding down as if someone had drenched the moon in ink which was now flowing off of it. I realized that, if I looked closely, I could make out the outline of a massive pillar of darkness, one that was now receding.


No, it wasn’t a pillar of darkness. It was two, clashing against each other and pushing into the heavens. And one of them was starting to win out.


“What in the world...”


“Two High Practitioners are fighting.” Belladonna said. “I’m hoping that at least one of them is a Servant. Because the number of High Practitioners in the world with that level of power can be counted on one hand.”


“P...Practitioners can seriously get that strong?”


“Yes, they can.” Jessica piped up. “But Daddy says that it’s impossible for any Practitioner to use that level of power for more than a few minutes at a time, ‘cause going at it like that burns through corporeal energy super fast. Even the world’s strongest Practitioner could only fire off like, two attacks like that before running dry. At least, that’s what Daddy says.”


I nodded slowly. “So if one of them -- or neither of them -- is a Servant, then they’ll be useless for anything else for a while?”


“Yeah.”


“I hope you’re right.”


[B][BGM -- End]


“Bone Root.”





“What in the--”


“What.”


I couldn’t help but stare as cords of bone suddenly burst out of Belladonna’s skin, wrapping around her before barbs on the ends dug into the ground, holding her in place. I whirled around, searching desperately for whoever was responsible, when I just barely managed to spot a pitch black blur darting out of the door to my house.


The blur bounded across the street, heading straight for Jessica. I turned to run at her, but Executioner managed to get in place and block it. Whatever it was, it was much faster than Executioner, but he was able to block it regardless through sheer skill.


Executioner, naturally, responded in kind, bringing his Halberd down hard enough that I could feel the ground shake from where I stood.


He missed. The figure merely blurred to the side, easily avoiding it, the Halberd not even touching its ragged black cloak. Executioner struck again and again, but the blur merely danced aside, slowly but surely working its away around Executioner to where Jessica was.


“Jessica, run!” I screamed out, running towards Executioner and pulling out a stake and shrouding myself in corporeal energy as I did so. It probably wouldn’t be useful, but at least I could...


Wait, what the hell was I thinking?


Oh well, I’d gone too far to stop now.


The blur took a leap back, and then suddenly leapt over Executioner. Straight at me. As it descended, I saw something silvery headed towards my face.


A blade came down -- I screamed, “No, M--” A streak of black--


The blade was a foot away, coming down between my eyes --


Everything went black --


[B]BAD End




[BGM -- End]










CLANG!


I opened my eyes. I... was alive? And the blur was no longer above me. I looked down.


[BGM (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBYxsv2S1kU&feature=related)]


The blur was skittering across the street, facing me with its weapon at the ready. That weapon... It was the same Halberd that my Servant held.


Great.


The blur finally resolved. It was a skeleton, in a tattered cloak. Golden lights gleamed from out of its empty sockets. It adjusted its stance, preparing to charge again.


I heard a clattering noise from behind me. I spared a quick glance over my shoulder. Belladonna was shaking off the remnants of the cords that held her, the shattered pieces crumbling and falling to the ground. She looked at me and gave an apologetic shrug.


“Unfortunately, I am forced to interpret that as an attempt to keep me out of the fight and not an actual assault.” She said. “Unless he attacks me directly, I’m afraid that I can’t help you.”


Well, this was just wonderful.


My assailant was preparing to attack again. Myself, him, and Executioner were in a sort of triangular pattern on the street. What could I do...


Fight defensively until he leaves.
Have Executioner use his Noble Phantasm.
Have Executioner use Monstrous Strength.
Use Executioner and yourself to hit him with a pincer attack.
Have Jessica start blasting him with ethereal energy, then have Executioner hit him.
Try to bait him into attacking Belladonna.
[Reader’s Choice]
Incidentally, Executioner's version of Monstrous Strength increases his Agility as well as Strength. Not that I would recommend using that.

Larekko12
October 1st, 2011, 10:36 PM
Have jessica activate the axes failsafe as a pheonix descendant of the master clan line. It the carnifex axe so she should be able if that's how they controlled.
Please note ignore this if a pile of stupid.

Also what NPs work here and do the carnifexes have a defence against it?

That wasn't Gilgamesh?

Arkanian
October 1st, 2011, 11:10 PM
Have jessica activate the axes failsafe as a pheonix descendant of the master clan line. It the carnifex axe so she should be able if that's how they controlled.
Please note ignore this if a pile of stupid.

Also what NPs work here and do the carnifexes have a defence against it?

That wasn't Gilgamesh?

The blade has no such failsafe. Against a phoenix, it isn't much more effective than any other weapon, so they saw no need. The NP version is a somewhat different story, but they didn't know that such a thing could exist when they made it. The Carnifex were generally controlled by methods that only applied to the Carnifex themselves, not their weapon. In any case, the Carnifex was controlled by the Concilium, not the Phoenixes, who don't really have "clans" anyway.

Executioner's Noble Phantasms are the Blade, which gets boosted to A when invoked against purely corporeal beings, and even further if under a command stone. That and Ignoble Execution are his only non-support Noble Phantasms. Of his remaining Phantasms, one of them will, in this circumstance, only have negative effects. The other one is basically a version of God Hand that can only be activated with a Command Stone and carries massive penalties. That said, the Blade will most likely be a one-hit kill if it connects, so you should probably try to go with that one.

Who wasn't Gilgamesh? If you're talking about the people fighting off in the distance, we only know that they are both exceedingly powerful users of corporeal magic. They might be Servants, they might not be. It might even be Gilgamesh, though that's unlikely.

Larekko12
October 2nd, 2011, 12:27 AM
Gilgamesh(the Golden arrogant archer) a Necromancer? LOL Gil the son of two Gods whose soul outweighs 2/3 of humanity. Whose ego is vast enough to tame the blade representing the separtion of Chaos into heaven and earth. Gilgamesh who wrestled the bull of heaven. Gilgamesh who disdained his god of death. LOL


What would happen if we arranged a surekill so that if it missed it would hit Bella with the intention to do so, so that she in order to save her life bind him to the spot and we somehow indicate this to her?

What were the negative effects monstruos strength?

Arkanian
October 2nd, 2011, 12:38 AM
Gilgamesh(the Golden arrogant archer) a Necromancer? LOL Gil the son of two Gods whose soul outweighs 2/3 of humanity. Whose ego is vast enough to tame the blade representing the separtion of Chaos into heaven and earth. Gilgamesh who wrestled the bull of heaven. Gilgamesh who disdained his god of death. LOL


What would happen if we arranged a surekill so that if it missed it would hit Bella with the intention to do so, so that she in order to save her life bind him to the spot and we somehow indicate this to her?

What were the negative effects monstruos strength?

Well, it would be hard to line that up, and that's assuming that Belladonna isn't fast enough to dodge, or wouldn't survive and be forced by her programming to kill you.

His Monstrous strength triggers his God Hand-esque Phantasm once he stops using it... but since it activates without him being injured, it inflicts the penalties without any of the benefits. It would probably amp him up enough to win, however. But there are other ways...

And yeah, Gilgamesh isn't a necromancer. But you don't have to be one to use corporeal energy.

Larekko12
October 2nd, 2011, 01:11 AM
'What would the command Execute with an order to use his Axe does send his speed to the level necesary? I meant could she interpret her programming into 'saving her life by locking assasin down deliberately in order to help us like she did to get here in the first place?

What about declaring the intent to kill them then having him lay on the pressure with Jessica delivering covering fire from experience watching him fight earlier while we strafe and keep moving to see a place set up his heart bomb with long rage support shot? Ex would be under orders to invoke his axe at the most oppurtune time. Keeping mobile while he is pressed may keep us from being tagged like earlier. Jessica should be mostly immune to direct attack from energy while her E energy is so high on the assault. Assasin should not be able to break away on to the assault of either of us with distance between us and an insta kill at his back. It may read as a retreat allowing ignoble to pop up. If he runs from the heat IE pops up. Order Ex to pick up the pace if it can work no monlouging. how's that?

Arkanian
October 2nd, 2011, 01:18 AM
'What would the command Execute with an order to use his Axe does send his speed to the level necesary? I meant could she interpret her programming into 'saving her life by locking assasin down deliberately in order to help us like she did to get here in the first place?

What about declaring the intent to kill them then having him lay on the pressure with Jessica delivering covering fire from experience watching him fight earlier while we strafe and keep moving to see a place set up his heart bomb with long rage support shot? Ex would be under orders to invoke his axe at the most oppurtune time. Keeping mobile while he is pressed may keep us from being tagged like earlier. Jessica should be mostly immune to direct attack from energy while her E energy is so high on the assault. Assasin should not be able to break away on to the assault of either of us with distance between us and an insta kill at his back. It may read as a retreat allowing ignoble to pop up. If he runs from the heat IE pops up. Order Ex to pick up the pace if it can work no monlouging. how's that?

Just using a command stoned ordering him to get him with his NP would be enough -- even in Fate/Stay Night, command seals could be used to push a Servant past their limits. Plus, the abilities of Executioner's Phantasm, as explained in the "Wise Up" earlier, means that doing so would upgrade its power from "B" to "A+."

Also, Kilroy's glass bomb (I'm assuming that's what you're referring to) isn't very effective against Servants. He doesn't really have that many options here, really. Which isn't to say he would be ineffectual if he were to go into melee...

Beyond that, it's a workable plan... That what you're going with?

Larekko12
October 2nd, 2011, 01:42 PM
You see the way you are talking to me it sounds like the Axe is a wave beam axe and I am thinking its a really good melee and an A+ Melee weapon a D speed is Still at D speed versus what appear to be an assasin. Yeah go for it.

Arkanian
October 2nd, 2011, 10:03 PM
Just as a note, I’m aware that Executioner seems pretty flat so far as a character. Unfortunately, we don’t delve into his character until the second “arc” of this route, so just hold on until then.


Also, I changed the name of Executioner’s NP slightly. I think this name sounds a little better, IMO. What do you think?


Wise Up!: Split Hell


The counterpart blade to Cutting Heaven. Much like the latter, it is a dark blade that “cuts away the ethereal.” It is a jet black blade, which is curved, but has the edge on the inside of the curve instead of outside. It is commonly referred to as “Split Hell,” but a more accurate translation would be along the lines of “The Division of the Underworld.”


Intriguingly enough, there are in fact three versions of this blade in existence today. One is a sword, another an axe, and another a spear. It is unknown which of these is the original and which ones are copies. What is known is that all three are not the original form of the weapon, but merely the broken-off blade placed into a new framework.




[X]What about declaring the intent to kill them then having him lay on the pressure with Jessica delivering covering fire from experience watching him fight earlier while we strafe and keep moving to see a place set up his heart bomb with long rage support shot? Ex would be under orders to invoke his axe at the most oppurtune time. Keeping mobile while he is pressed may keep us from being tagged like earlier. Jessica should be mostly immune to direct attack from energy while her E energy is so high on the assault. Assasin should not be able to break away on to the assault of either of us with distance between us and an insta kill at his back. It may read as a retreat allowing ignoble to pop up. If he runs from the heat IE pops up. Order Ex to pick up the pace if it can work no monlouging.







Alright. Time to do this. “Jessica? Blast him!”


A massive orb of golden light flew over my shoulder, straight at the skeleton. He pirouetted off to the side, dodging it by a narrow margin. “My, that was dangerous,” the skeleton commented in a high pitched, but definitely male, voice.


“Dammit.” I hissed. “Jessica, keep on him! Just try not to hit Ex! Executioner?” I moved a hand onto one of my Command Stones, injecting it with the necessary energy to activate it. “[B]Crush him with your Noble Phantasm.”


The logic of that was simple. Executioner’s speed was D-Rank, while our opponent was much faster. However, if a Servant was trying to enact an order given via Command Stone, they could surpass their limits if it wouldn’t be possible for them to carry out the order under normal circumstances. This would allow Executioner to make up for the difference.


“You,” Executioner rumbled, leveling his Halberd at our opponent. “I will defeat you here.”


“So you claim, so you claim,” The skeleton replied. “You’re a rather dangerous fellow, aren’t you?”


Executioner charged at him, bringing his Halberd down, only for the skeleton to once again dance to the side. But Executioner had planned for that.


“But then, everything can be dangerous,” The skeleton said, his fluid movements gracefully dodging Executioner’s blade as it changed direction mid-swing, heading for him even as he dodged. “Just being alive is enough to put you in danger. Even being dead isn’t enough to save you from it. I mean, just look at me!”


Executioner’s Halberd moved in a complex pattern that I couldn’t even follow, but the skeleton’s movements seemed to just barely dodge all of them. His bizarrely graceful motions, resembling a dance, moved him in ways that should have been impossible, making him simply flow around Executioner’s attacks. It seemed that Even Executioner had difficulty following them.


But that suddenly changed. The skeleton danced to the side, only to suddenly find himself hemmed in, as the space he dodged into was suddenly occupied by Executioner’s fist, the Halberd held one-handed. But this was no ordinary punch. A massive swirl of corporeal energy surrounded it -- his “Corporeal Burst” skill.


He didn’t quite dodge it. It just barely clipped him, knocking him back, which was immediately followed up by Jessica sending another blast at him. He was clipped by that as well, just being scratched by Executioner’s A-Rank strike enough to leave him dizzy.


It was simple, I realized. While the skeleton’s movements were themselves unpredictable, Executioner rightly assumed that he would move in a direction that would give him a clear path to Jessica or myself. That in turn allowed him to predict what direction he would move in.


And now, weakened by those two strikes, he was immobilized enough for Executioner to unleash his Noble Phantasm. Executioner charged...


Only for his opponent to flip back, landing on a streetlight. Executioner cut it down, naturally, but he jumped aside again.


“You didn’t think it would be that easy, did you?” The skeleton asked mockingly. “I’m dangerous, too.”


Executioner attacked again, his movements faster, more complex. He was starting to get the hang of the skeleton’s movements, too; pieces of the skeleton’s cloak fell in the street from strikes that had cut close. Executioner was winning.


And then the skeleton’s movements changed. Instead of dodging, he blocked. Executioner’s complex movements couldn’t hit him with the same strength as a full on blow, but even deflecting it was enough to put a crack in the silvery blade. Which was strange, actually; if they were both the same blade, wouldn’t they both have cracked.


[BGM -- End]





The skeleton was clearly surprised too. He skittered back only to barely dodge another blast from Jessica. So distracted, he barely had time to notice Executioner bring his Halberd over his head.


Executioner had wound up the strike so much that he was almost leaning backwards, the Halberd behind his back. It was angled strangely, in such a way as to hit with the flat of the blade instead of edge. His voice rumbled forth.


“[B]Blade...”


The skeleton reacted instantly. He held his Halberd out to the side, winding back for a strike at Executioner’s left flank, the silver axe blade pointed at the ground. He replied in kind.


“Blade...”


“Of Execution!”


And then they both finished at once, their attacks swinging forward, Executioner’s speed increase from the command stone, combined with his head start, allowing the blows to strike at the same time.


As they said it, their blades flared to light. Where the axe, scythe, spear and haft intersected, a pure white cross appeared, glowing ever brighter as it came down.


And then the attacks collided, blinding me.


[BGM -- End]


When I cleared out my eyes, I saw destruction.


Executioner was on his knees. A massive chunk had been taken out of his side, but it didn’t seem to be life-threatening to him. That A-Rank Endurance and Battle Continuation weren’t just for show. The ground on either side of him was seared, a flat plane going off in the direction his enemy’s strike had gone.


On the other hand, where Executioner had struck there was merely a massive pit shaped like a four pointed star. I walked over to it. I couldn’t see the bottom. From point to point, the star was probably fifty feet across, at least.


“Master,” Executioner rumbled. “That strike... I fear that it will be difficult for me to battle any more this night. If my Phantasm had not knocked away much of the blast by striking slightly earlier than his, you would likely have needed to use the Chains.”


“The Chains?”


“One of my Noble Phantasms. It may bring me back from any injury, even death, but you must order me back with a Command Stone. And bearing the Chains takes a heavy toll.”


“Why didn’t you tell me this earlier? It’s the sort of thing that would be good to know.”


Executioner remained silent.


“Well, at least you’re still here. Jessica, are you okay?”


“Yeah, I’m fine.” She paused. “Belladonna’s gone, though.”


I looked around. Sure enough, she was absent.


“Great.” I shrugged. “Say, could you pull up what we recorded on that guy?” I paused. “For that matter, could you shine a light down this hole to make sure he’s really dead?”


Jessica walked over to the pit, muttering something about a flashlight. She shined a light down. “Well, there’s no sign of him, and there’s no way to get out of the hole without us seeing -- it doesn’t open into a sewer or anything -- so he’s almost certainly dispersed.”


I sighed. “No body, he’s not dead. It’s a pretty basic rule. Looks like we’ll have to keep an eye out.”


“If you say so...” Jessica pulled out her phone and jacked her Gauntlet into it. “Let’s see... Oh, that’s strange.”


“What is?”


“His class name’s garbled. I can’t read it.”


“What? What could cause that?”


“I don’t kn-- Wait, actually... It could be because he’s Assassin.”


“Why would him being Assassin class affect anything?”


“Well, the guy who made the classes died before starting on the last one, so Merovitch designed the Assassin class. He probably just didn’t program it into the system properly. In any case, this guy has Rank B Presence Concealment, so that’s probably right.”


“What else has he got?”


“Agility B, Strength D, Endurance C, Noble Phantasm B++, Dancing Movement B, Murderer of the Night C, and... an A rank in something called ‘Stronghold of Flesh.’ Don’t know what that is. Oh, and Mental Pollution Rank A.”


“Hmm. Interesting.”


So, what next?





Call it a night; Have Jessica stay at your place for safety.
Head towards where you saw the fighting earlier.
Try to track Belladonna.
[Reader’s Choice]
And yeah, I know that so far there hasn't been a fight that's been a real challenge. Don't worry, that'll change.

Larekko12
October 3rd, 2011, 02:10 PM
Tank down at our place and wait for Belladona Wait in the safe place. So Jessica couldn't get a Shot in while he was charging?

Arkanian
October 3rd, 2011, 02:22 PM
Tank down at our place and wait for Belladona Wait in the safe place. So Jessica couldn't get a Shot in while he was charging?

Executioner was between her and the enemy.

Larekko12
October 3rd, 2011, 04:08 PM
Aww cuase that would have been funny. Cause it like

Executioner: Blade

Assasin: Blade


Executioner: of Execution!!
Jessica: PARAGON INTERRUPT!!!
Assasin: of -urkk!!!(Oh Shit!)
Kilroy: Now that how its done.

Arkanian
October 3rd, 2011, 04:47 PM
Aww cuase that would have been funny. Cause it like

Executioner: Blade

Assasin: Blade


Executioner: of Execution!!
Jessica: PARAGON INTERRUPT!!!
Assasin: of -urkk!!!(Oh Shit!)
Kilroy: Now that how its done.

Oh my god that is hilarious.


Anyway, next chapter's almost done. Unfortunately, I won't be getting another chance to work on it until three O'clock or so.

Larekko12
October 3rd, 2011, 04:53 PM
So 3 in the morning?

Arkanian
October 3rd, 2011, 06:08 PM
So 3 in the morning?

Er, no. Three in the afternoon. Right now, actually. But it'll probably be late in coming anyway -- I'm sick, and I've been feeling progressively worse. I'm going to put off finishing it for a bit so I can relax, and maybe take a nap or something.

Larekko12
October 3rd, 2011, 07:57 PM
The nget better your health is more important than this.

Arkanian
October 3rd, 2011, 08:08 PM
Larekko: Yeah, I'm gonna be taking some Nyquil tonight. Hopefully I'll be feeling better tomorrow.

That said, I was in the mood to write some more, so...


Wise Up!: High Arbitrators


When the Practitioners gained a seat on the Concilium, they were forced to make the decision for who would take the seat a democratic process. Since the position gave whoever had it vast amounts of power over other Practitioners, this led to several problems, chief amongst these being who would count the votes. The Versipilis weren’t trusted with the task, as it was believed that they would rig it as well.


It was because of this that the High Arbitrators were created. The High Arbitrators are not true Practitioners. Instead, they are ordinary humans enhanced by the Art, and encoded with modified Central Instructions designed to control living creatures. As they are still alive, they possess both ethereal and corporeal energy; however, they are capable of using an unknown technique to force the two types of energy to work together, amplifying their corporeal powers immensely. This Heterodyning effect expresses itself as flaring purple script when active, a byproduct of the two energies self-annihilating. This process seems to violate the usual rules of corporeal-ethereal interaction.


The way to do this, like the method to create Arbitrators, is known only to the High Arbitrators themselves. The practice was deliberately lost, so that no one will know how to interfere with the workings of the Arbitrators. Part of the High Arbitrator’s job is to make sure that this knowledge stays lost.


In order to ensure neutrality, the High Arbitrators are encoded with highly complex instructions that they are forced to follow. However, they are allowed to ignore them when dealing with a threat to their life or neutrality.




[X]Tank down at our place and wait for Belladona Wait in the safe place.




“Right, since Executioner is in no condition to protect us, I say we call it a night.” I turned to Executioner. “How long do you think it’ll be until you’re in fighting condition?”


“I shall be back in full condition the day after tomorrow. However, I will still be able to fight at decreased capacity tomorrow night.”


I nodded. “Okay, that’ll have to do. Jessica?”


“Er, yeah?”


“It’s not really safe for you to go home right now. It’d probably be best if you just stayed the night in my workshop. It’s heavily armored, so you’ll be safe there.”


Jessica turned away. “O-- okay.” I couldn’t see her face clearly in the darkness, but she seemed embarrassed. I supposed it was understandable.


Pretty soon I had set up a bed for her in one of the basement’s side rooms. A few minutes after that, I was asleep.




End of Day 2






Day 3 Start




I woke up to the sound of typing. I blearily opened my eyes and turned over, to find Belladonna on my computer. I sat up.


“Good morning,” Belladonna said without turning around. “I was wondering when you would wake up. One can only look at so many pictures of cats before one gets bored. Especially with a connection as slow as yours.”


“Well, it’s an old computer.” I leaned over to see what she was looking at. “Those aren’t cat pictures. That’s an article on medical implants.”


“I know. I was looking through your search history.”


Joy. I checked my alarm clock. It was 9:30. Good enough.


I got out of bed and slipped on my shoes, having slept in my clothes. “So, what did you find last night?”


“That’s mostly private,” Belladonna replied. ‘But there’s one thing I’d like to ask you about.”


“Oh?”


“I spoke with Mister Caine last night. That’s the current Sella Umbrae,” She added, noting my confusion. “He said something rather interesting, though he couldn’t give me the full message. We didn’t have very long to talk. Which is why I was hoping that you might be able to fill in the gaps. What do you know about the Holy Grail?”


“Hmmm... Not much, really. I pretty much told you everything I know last night.” I rubbed my chin thoughtfully. “Jessica probably knows more, though. I’ll go wake her up.”


******


“Right, so, what I know about the Holy Grail? I’m afraid I can’t tell you too much. Daddy said that I didn’t need to know much about how it worked, just the parts that would help me win.”


“Oh. Well, that’s a pity.”


“I can tell you what it looks like, though.”


I perked up. “You can?”


“Yeah. I used it as a catalyst for summoning my Servant.”


“A catalyst? What’s that?”


“Oh, ah, it’s basically an object used during the summoning ritual to specify what Servant you get.”


“Interesting. So, what did it look like?”


“It was this... thing, suspended in the middle of a room by this really old chain. It... sort of... radiated this... pressure that probably would have crushed me if I hadn’t been transformed at the time.”


Crushing pressure, negated by ethereal energy? That probably meant... “So it has a lot of corporeal energy, then.”


“Yeah. The air was so thick with the stuff that I could barely see a foot in front of me until my Servant showed up. He cleared it away, but only enough for me to see him. Daddy made us leave right after that. He didn’t want us in the grail room any longer than necessary. I’m afraid I can’t really say what the Grail itself looked like, though. I never actually saw it through that fog.”


“And that’s it?”


“That’s all I can say.”


“‘All you can say’ isn’t the same as ‘all that I know,’” Belladonna cut in. “I would know. More specifically... Where is the Grail located? I want to look at it for myself.”


“Um, no. I’m not saying.”


“Listen, child, I--”


“Okay, okay, let’s not get hostile here.” I interrupted. “And anyway, it’s not like you’ve exactly been forthcoming either. What did ‘Mister Caine’ say to you? Why exaqctly are you here in Selton anyway?”


Belladonna looked on in silence. “Yeah, you’re right,” She finally said. “I’m in no position to push. I can guess where it is anyway. And at any rate, I have more important things to be doing than looking for the Grail.” She stood up from the table we were all sitting at. “We can talk again later.”


With that, she headed for the front door. Despite my desire to question her further, I decided it was probably better not to push it. I turned to Jessica.


“So,” I asked, somewhat rhetorically. “What shall we do today?”


Continue looking for the priest.
Check out the Western District.
Check out the Northern District.
Look around Kilroy’s neighborhood.
Check out the shopping District.
Check out downtown.
Check out the parks.
Check out the upper class residences.
Check out the graveyard.

Larekko12
October 3rd, 2011, 08:38 PM
Survey says Look for priest, Upperclass shopping.

Arkanian
October 4th, 2011, 09:03 PM
No Wise Up! today, sorry.




[X]Survey says Look for priest, Upperclass


“Personally, I think we should finish looking for that priest from yesterday. There’s only a few churches in the Western District left for us to check.”


Jessica nodded. “Sounds like a plan to me.”


******


It took us four more churches before we found who we were looking for. Or rather, he found us.


The church seemed empty at first.


“Hello?” I called out. “Is someone here?”


“Yes, in fact. Someone is.” A voice called from thin air. “Mind telling me what two Masters are doing in this Church?”


Well. Paydirt. I scanned the church for the source of the voice, and found it in short order. A speaker near the altar. Someone was paranoid.


“We’re just here to talk... I guess... We saw you at that warehouse yesterday. Just who is it you were looking for, anyway?”


“My Altar Boy. He’s gone missing.”


“Really?” A thought occurred to me. “Is he the Master, or you?”


“Do you really think that I would say?”


I shrugged. “It was worth a shot.” I paused. “Say, would you mind coming out where we can see you? I mean... Well, like I said, we’re only here to talk, probably. Unless you want to attack us.”


“Yeah! I mean, fighting during the day isn’t allowed, so we won’t be attacking you!” Jessica chimed in. “And my Dad’s one of the Administrators, so you know we won’t break that rule!”


“I don’t know... I do recognize you, Miss Alister, but this place is pretty secluded. You could get away with breaking that rule if you did it here.” There was a sharp intake of breath. “No, I think I’ll stay over here, where you can’t see me and I have a Sniper Rifle aimed at your heads.”


Oh crap. It just totally figured that the priest was a badass, didn’t it.


I slowly put my hands in the air. “Look, we don’t want trouble, and we certainly don’t want anyone to die. If you want us to, we can just leave, alright?”


There was no response.


“Fine then. C’mon Jessica, let’s go.” I turned to leave.


“His name is Benjamin.”


I turned around. The priest from before had just walked out of the confessional, a strange looking rifle casually pointed at us with one hand. Its muzzle was far too short to be a sniper rifle like he had claimed; it didn’t have a scope, either.


My eyebrows shot up. I honestly hadn’t expected him to be so close.


“He went missing the night before last. So did the Servant. That warehouse was the Servant’s handiwork.”


I noticed that he didn’t mention which Servant it was. For that matter, his hands were completely covered by his robes; I couldn’t tell if he was a Master or not.


“So you decided to talk with us after all?” I asked.


“He must have heard the truth in our words when we said we wouldn’t hurt him!” Jessica said happily.


“Actually, I just deduced that you weren’t a threat.”


“...”


“...Excuse me?”


He pointed to Jessica. “You’re a Phoenix, and more than that, you’re unarmed. Your control over ethereal energy almost certainly isn’t enough to hurt me, and your Gauntlet isn’t currently connected to a Servant.” He pointed to me. “You’re a Practitioner, but you don’t have any ranged implements that you can access easily -- you keep your stakes in your sleeves, so you probably favor fighting with them, but your other instruments are in less accessible locations such as your back pocket. I could easily take you down in the time that it would take you to either close the distance or reach one of your other implements. And your Servant is Executioner, meaning that it is almost certainly something weak to Ethereal energy and thus something I can handle.”


“And if it wasn’t?”


“Then I could likely handle it regardless. I have ways.”


“Ways like killing me before my Servant could make a move.”


“Among others.”


“For a priest, you’re pretty cold-blooded.”


The priest frowned. “I’m nicer then this, honest.” He said apologetically. “It’s just, well, old habits die hard. It wouldn’t come to that, in any case.”


“If you say so.”


The priest sighed. “Listen... I’m afraid that Benjamin might be in trouble. I’ve been looking, and... Well, I’m not certain that one of the Masters is responsible.”


“But... but who else could it possibly be?” Jessica asked in shock.


The priest sighed again. “This war... It’s something new, something with a power like nothing we’ve seen before. Just these Servants alone are more powerful than armies. Anyone who hears about it is going to want a piece, Master or not. This is supposed to be a war between Servants... But in all likelihood, it’s going to be a war over Servants.” He turned and started walking to a door near the back of the Church, keeping an eye on us via a mirror. “I just want you kids to keep that in mind.”


Well. That was certainly interesting.


******


The upper class residential area was where we headed next. Our first stop was Jessica’s house.


“Right, so, I’m going to talk to my Dad, and then I’m going to go talk to Merovitch.” She indicated a sizable shed off to the left of the house. “He was working on getting together replacements for my Command Stones. It’s kinda cheating I guess, but whatever. You wait here for me, okay?”


I nodded. “Right, sure.”


I waited at the front gate for a while. A few minutes later, someone grabbed my shoulder.


“Gah!”


I grabbed one of my stakes before I realized who it was.


“Oh, hi Raphael.”


Raphael Salazar had somehow managed to sneak up on me without me noticing. He was really good at that, actually.


He was a few inches shorter than me, with dirty red hair, Greek features, a narrow face and piercing blue eyes. His faced looked surprisingly blank; no emotions showed. He got like this sometimes, as I recalled; Jessica had said that it usually indicated that he was under stress.


“Hello Kilroy.” He glanced at my left hand. I didn’t even bother to cover up the Gauntlet. I couldn’t help but notice that both of his hands were bare. Well, that was something at least. “Are you holding up okay?”


“Er, yeah.”


“Glad to hear it. I’ve noticed you hanging around lately. Around Jessica’s place, I mean.”


I narrowed my eyes. “Yeah, what of it?”


“I’d just like to say that if the point of you waiting outside is to avoid the Alister’s knowing that you’re working with Jessica, it isn’t working. What with you standing where the cameras can see you and all.”


I turned around to look at the gate. Sure enough, I spotted a camera hidden behind some ivy, looking right at me. Great.


“Ah, thanks...”


When I turned around, Raphael was gone. He really needed to stop doing that.


I stepped out of the camera’s range and went back to looking at the house. That shed to the side was Merovitch’s workshop, was it?


Now that I thought about it, if Merovitch had taken over working on the Gauntlets after Ebon’s death, he probably had more complete notes on the Grail. That could be very useful...


Of course, there was the whole matter of getting past the cameras and such first...


Jessica would probably take a while, so I had some time to kill. So long as I stayed in the neighborhood, I could visit one place and be back before she was done.



Check out Merovitch’s workshop.
Visit the Savelle mansion.
Visit Naomi’s mansion.
Check out the graveyard.
The Alisters already know you’re here; just go inside.
[Reader’s Choice].

ItsaRandomUsername
October 4th, 2011, 09:45 PM
3

Larekko12
October 4th, 2011, 10:41 PM
3 lets make sure Naomi still exists and it is day time. Of course this could mean we could get ganked by her dad if were are in the plausible denaibility range of being outside thier sight.

Arkanian
October 5th, 2011, 12:15 AM
Yay! Someone new commenting!

I'm pretty sure there's some music I could have fit in here (Or into the previous update, for that matter), but at the moment I can't be bothered.


Wise Up!: Divine Armaments


The preferred weapon of high-ranking church agents. A Divine Armament is a weapon that serves as a focus for the world’s belief that a certain event happened. This is possible because belief in an “event” cannot find an anchor the way that belief in somethings existence can. Their nature essentially makes these weapons low grade Noble Phantasms. However, only events from ancient times can be used, as the energy created by belief needs time to build up.


These Armaments are usually named after a person who was central to the event in question. However, lower ranking Church agents will often use weapons that fit this naming scheme, but are merely blessed mundane weapons.




3. Visit Naomi’s Mansion


I decided to head over to the Mansion belonging to Jessica’s friend, Naomi. Something about her screamed “investigate this!” Her air of mysteriousness and her unknown guests were part of it, but one thing was bothering me even more.


Over the past day or so, I had been having episodes. Every now and again, I would lay eyes on something and sounds and images would flash through my head. None of what I saw was anything I had ever seen before.


And my first episode had triggered upon seeing Naomi’s eyes. It was as good a place to start as any, and right now I could do it without having to provide Jessica with a reason. I didn’t want her to know about it.


I arrived at the gates of the mansion, and... Huh.


The cemetery...


I couldn’t see more then about thirty square feet of it from where I was standing, but what I could see looked like it had been hit by a tornado. The cemetery’s entire front fence was just plain gone -- and the rest of its fencing, for that matter. There were gravestones everywhere, many of them broken into pieces. The ground was pretty torn up too; I could have sworn I saw part of a coffin lying around. A group of men were working on getting stuff out of the street.


I stared at it for a moment before shrugging and moving on. I had come here to call upon Naomi, and that was what I was going to do. I could always check out the cemetery with Jessica once she was done. I hit the buzzer.


I was answered by the same elderly voice as before. “May I ask who this is?”


“Yeah, um, I’m Kilroy. I’m a friend of Jessica’s. I met Naomi yesterday, and I wanted to talk to her. Is she in?” I peered through the gate; the cars were still there. “I mean I know that she didn’t want anyone in without her while her company was here...”


“No, those gentlemen departed last night. And I’m afraid that the Mistress is restricted to bed-rest at the moment. She was terribly injured last night.”


“Injured...” I paused. “Wait, they left? Then why are their cars still here?”


“They left all of the sudden, in the middle of the night. Ah, if it would please you Master, ah...” He trailed off. “I fear that I don’t know your last name.”


“Kilroy is fine.”


“QUite. If it would please you, Master Kilroy, if we are to discuss this at length -- as I suspect we will -- it would perhaps be better to discuss it inside, over tea. I am certain that the mistress will not mind.”


“Sounds good to me.”


******


Jaskins, as it turned out, was the very picture of a butler. In addition to his ambiguously british voice, he was a tall slim man with silver hair and a pair of round glasses. However, unlike, say, Alfred Pennyworth, he was noticeably wrinkled and stooped over slightly, having to walk with a cane. It was a wonder that anyone that old was still working, especially since I had yet to see any other staff. I refrained from asking, however.


“You see, those gentlemen... as I said before, they departed last night. They were in quite a hurry, and wouldn’t say why. They left most of their things as well. Not everything -- they took the bare essentials -- but they left everything else and said that I should not expect them back for some time.” He paused. “Do let me know if you see them, would you? I am quite curious where they got off to myself.”


“And you said that Naomi is injured... When did that happen? Shortly after those gentlemen left, I take it?”


“No, no, perish the thought! They were hardly picture-perfect guests, but they weren’t so rude as that! No, she was injured much later, when she went to see what the fuss was about down at the Cemetery.”


“The cemetery... What exactly happened down there?”


“Well, late last night there we were woken up by... well it sounded like explosions! And you might not believe this, but there were great big gouts of dark stuff flying everywhere! And there were these huge things -- I couldn’t tell what they were, really, but they were massive!” He took a sip of his tea. “It gave us quite a fright, that did. So naturally the Mistress decided to grab a rifle and look down there herself. I stayed behind -- Not out of fear, mind you. I don’t think that I would be of much use, is all. I’m sure you understand.”


I nodded slowly, taking a sip of my own tea. A man his age could hardly be expected to head into potential violence of that magnitude. Although...


“Why did Naomi go down there? That strikes me as rather unsafe, to say the least.”


Jaskins hung his head slightly. “I know. I tried to dissuade her, I really did, but... Well, that Cemetery’s the last part of her family’s business. With it destroyed, we’ve lost a good bit of income. Repairing the damages alone...” He took another sip of tea and shook his head. “We lost a fortune last night, let me tell you. Is it any wonder she tried to stop that from happening?”


He threw back the last of the cup, before grabbing the teapot and starting to fill it again. “I told her that she should just call the police, but she just wouldn’t have it. It wasn’t a job for them, she said. And she was right, but it was hardly a job for her, either. I truly regret not stopping her.”


He set the pot down, holding the cup in his hands. “It didn’t calm down for hours. By the time it stopped... well, I was right worried, you can believe that. I went down there myself, and found the place a mess. The whole graveyard, all of it, acres and acres. And the Mistress was there, unconscious.” He took a very deep gulp of tea, probably drinking half the cup. “She still hasn’t woken up.”


I looked down at my cup. “I see.” So much for talking to her. I looked back up at Jaskins. “What’s wrong with her?”


Jaskins bit his lip. “I don’t know. There’s not a mark on her. Not so much as a scratch.” He leaned forward. “I suspect it was something...” He looked around for a moment before leaning in even closer. “...not natural.” He leaned back into his chair again


Not natural? Yeah, I’d say that was pretty well established by this point. “Do you think I could see her?” I asked. Judging by what had happened last night, her injuries were likely somehow caused by Practitioners. I wasn’t that skilled, but if I could find out what was wrong with her...


“Most certainly not! I won’t have anyone poking around and disturbing her rest. I’m sure you’re well-intentioned, but I can’t see it doing any good. No, a few days rest it is, and if she doesn’t show improvement by then or if she starts getting worse, I’ll call in some specialists. And that is final, so don’t even try to argue.”


I sighed. So much for that. I didn’t really have time to argue, anyway. It had already been nearly half an hour. Jessica was almost certainly done by now.


“Thank you for your time, Mr. Jaskins.” I said, getting up. “I’m sorry, but I’m afraid I need to go. I have someone waiting for me.”


“Certainly, certainly. I would hate to hold you.”


******


When I got back to the gate, Jessica was waiting. “Where were you?”


“Off.” I searched around for an excuse. “I saw Raphael, so I ran after him to talk. It’s not like I had anything better to do while I waited.”


“Fair enough. So where to next? You haven’t led us wrong so far, oh glorious leader.”



The cemetery.
Western District.
Eastern District.
Northern District.
Shopping District.
Downtown.
Parks.
[Reader’s Choice]


Anyway, what do you guys think about the story so far? I'd really love to hear what you think, and constructive criticism is appreciated too.

And is there anyone who's been reading but just not commenting? I've been wondering that, too... I could hardly get this many views with only four or so people reading...

Larekko12
October 5th, 2011, 12:27 AM
I assume the Naomi got a Bad End becuase we didn't follow Belladonna. We didn't tell Jessica what happened?!?! Go to the west and Call Caesar and make sure he 's still kicking.
Where does our friend who lived with us normally hang out?

Arkanian
October 5th, 2011, 12:36 AM
I assume the Naomi got a Bad End becuase we didn't follow Belladonna. We didn't tell Jessica what happened?!?! Go to the west and Call Caesar and make sure he 's still kicking.
Where does our friend who lived with us normally hang out?

He didn't want Jessica to know where he was off to, because it would be awkward to explain, and he's certain she'll find out on her own soon enough. On the other hand, it could be because he doesn't want to give her another thing to stress out over.

Caesar? You mean Nero?

As for where Noriko hangs out... Eastern District, Shopping District, and Downtown are her usual hangouts. Which isn't to say that's where she is at the moment, those are just the places that Kilroy would check first. He hasn't really given much thought to her whereabouts, because she'll occasionally disappear for days or even weeks at a time. It hasn't quite clicked for him yet that she's involved...

Larekko12
October 5th, 2011, 12:45 AM
Then go east EAST I SAY and was Gilgamesh at the graveyard last night? if no where was he and where is he getting mana?

Arkanian
October 8th, 2011, 05:55 PM
Sorry this installment’s late! I’ve had a lot going on.


In case you haven’t noticed, this route is essentially the “easy mode” route. Jessica’s power makes plenty of threats easy to deal with, and your alliance with Jessica and her lack of a Servant makes most of the other Masters initially non-hostile.


If you’re wondering how Belladonna pulls her little trick: Belladonna’s backstory has her working as a Las Vegas stage magician’s lovely assistant for her current day job.


I finally picked a song to serve as Striker’s Leitmotif, though I’m too lazy to put any other songs in at the moment. Thoughts?




3: Eastern District


Ultimately we decided to go back to what we were going to do last night before we ran into Belladonna: Check out the Sites on the map. Even without a Servant, we could still probably clear out a nest of Harvesters. I was certain that Nero would have mentioned it if these “nests” had anything significantly more dangerous than harvesters in them.


We still stopped by my place first, however. When we got there, Belladonna was watching the news on my cheap television set.


“Ah. Back so soon? Did you find what you were looking for?”


I shrugged. “Sort of. The news tell you anything?”


“Not much that I didn’t already know.”


I unlocked the trapdoor. “Pity. Maybe if you told us what you were looking for, we could help.”


“That’s unlikely to happen.” She switched off the TV. “And what are you up to, exactly?”


I started climbing down the ladder. “We got our hands on a list of locations that the Harvesters have been seen going in and out of. We’re going to go check it out.”


Belladonna swung open the basement’s inner door and looked at me in surprise. “What? Why didn’t you tell me that you had something like that?”


I fell off the ladder in shock. “Wh-when did you-- how--” I pointed up the ladder. “You were just up there!”


She gave a coy smile. “A good magician never reveals her secrets.”


I stood up and dusted myself off. “Er, yeah...” I stepped past her and headed over to the shelves.


“So as I was saying... You have a map?”


I grabbed one of the emptier hearts and put it in my pocket. “Yeah.”


“May I see it?”


I grabbed a few glass spheres. “Sure. I marked that map over there on the wall. We’re checking out the closest one.”


“I see... You will let me know if you find anything?”


“I... guess?”


“Good.”


When I turned around, she was gone again.


That would probably get annoying after a while.


******


We had only gone a few blocks before the LEDs on our Gauntlets lit up. We immediately went back to back, and I reached for my stakes. Executioner most likely wasn’t in a condition to fight, so that was probably out.



“Ah, ready as always.” A familiar voice rang out. “One would hope you would at least bring out your Servant, but I suppose it is to be somewhat expected, it being daytime and all.”


“Striker,” I replied. This is something of a surprise. You feel like showing your glorious self any time soon?”


“Well, since you asked so politely...” Moments later, Striker’s form leaped out from behind a somewhat distant house, somersaulting almost a hundred feet through the air before landing practically on top of us, his face less than an inch from mine. I somehow managed not to flinch.


“Tell me...” I asked dryly. “Did they have a thing called ‘Personal Space’ in Ancient China, or did you just never find a use for it?”


Striker seemed uncertain whether to laugh or be offended. He did take a few steps back, though, so there was that.


“You just struck me as the type who would welcome it, is all.” Striker replied semi-smugly. “And I thought you could use a decent shock. A pity it didn’t take. Oh well.”


“So, hanging around spying again? I couldn’t help but notice all of the locations that you found in this District were relatively close to my house.”


“I see no sense in denying it. You are a person to watch, after all.”


I narrowed my eyes thoughtfully. “You know... So long as your here...”


Striker narrowed his eyes at me. “...Yes?”


“Well... we were going to check out one of those sites that you found. We could use some support if you’re up for it.”


Striker thought about it. “Hrrrmm... While hostilities may have been put on hold between us, we are still enemies. Just because I’m not ready to challenge you doesn’t mean that’s changed. And I still need to keep patrolling for anything suspicious.”


“So you’re refusing, then?”


“Was I not clear?”


I sighed.


Striker started to turn. “Well, if that’s all, I do believe that I will be going.” WIth that, he leapt off into the distance. The LEDs on our Gauntlets blinked out soon after that.


[B][BGM -- End]


******


The location turned out to be a house. It was locked, and all the windows had blinds covering them. We went around to the back door. There was a patio, awnings, and some hedges that were all positioned in such a way that you couldn’t actually see the back door from outside of the yard, so it seemed the best bet. I held my stakes at the ready, just in case, and I could tell that Jessica was ready to blast stuff if she needed to. The back door was unlocked.


Scratch that. The back door was missing. There was a curtain drawn across it -- it was a sliding glass door -- but the door itself was gone.


Looked like we were in the right place, then.


I carefully pushed the curtain aside. I didn’t see anything in there. The place was a mess, but other than that...


I barely managed to jump out of the way as a pair of Harvesters jumped at us from my left. Since I was only pushing the curtain aside, not actually going in, I hadn’t been able to see anything to my left. Fortunately, I was prepared. I managed to get one with a stake, and Jessica fried the other.


The thing about Harvesters is that they’re designed for preying on mundane humans armed with mundane weaponry. Any physical injury that doesn’t break the tablet near their heart will only slow them down, so someone who can’t use corporeal or ethereal magic is out of luck, unless they have a flamethrower. Against someone who does have one of those though, a Harvester is basically just a glorified attack dog, if that. For Harvesters to defeat someone who knows what they’re doing, you need a whole lot of them.


Unfortunately for us, there were a whole lot of them.


Fortunately, with Jessica there it didn’t make much of a difference. It took about twenty minutes for us to take them all down. There were only three directions they could come from, and they could only come one at a time. It was tough going, but we beat them.


There had been about seventy of them; so much for this guy being short on resources. The house was in between owners at the moment, from what I could tell. Someone had removed all of the “For Sale” signs and stashed them in a closet. The upstairs rooms and the basement had been jam packed with Harvesters. If the other stashes were anything like this, we might have a full scale zombie apocalypse on our hands.


I read the tablets on the Harvesters. The first thing I noticed was that the engravings were freaking tiny. Too small to read, even. It would take someone really good to get the writing that small. If it weren’t for the fact that I had a Servant, I probably would have been skipping town right about then instead figuring out how to fight him.


Of course, it was possible that this guy had a Servant too. But it was unlikely. Someone this powerful pretty much had to be a high practitioner, and high practitioners didn’t have any ethereal energy to maintain a Servant with.


In any case, we were pretty much done here. I had a microscope in my workshop; I could use that to find out more.


******


When we got back, Belladonna was gone. I grabbed a microscope and got to work.


It quickly became apparent that whoever had made these tablets was an expert. The combat instructions were different on each one. For example, one might be told to react to a given situation by dodging left, while another said to dodge right. If the tablets had all been identical, it would have made fighting them ridiculously easy, as each Harvester would always react identically to a given situation.


On the other hand, the location that was chosen to hide the the Harvesters was not what an expert would have done. A house that was technically owned by a third party possessed a high risk of being discovered. Which meant that while the person controlling them might be an expert with the Art, they weren’t an expert at tactics.


Of course, the person who made them and the person controlling them might be separate people, but that was likely irrelevant.


The tablets possessed instructions to remain dormant during the day, acting only in defense of the location in which they were holed up. However, there were plenty of subsets of instructions that could be activated at any time. There were enough that it would take me hours, even days, to go over them all.


Which left the question of what to do next.



Keep reading the tablets to see if you get anything useful.
Check out the Western District.
Check out the Northern District.
Check out the graveyard.
Check out the shopping district.
Go downtown.
Go to the parks.
[Reader’s choice]


Incidentally, this scene was originally going to have you check out the nest but not go inside, and then run into a certain someone whilst wandering around the Eastern District. I eventually cut it when I came up with some other stuff for Kilroy to do.

[Edit]: Just to clarify, the certain someone was not Archer. I still have his position decided, and you will run into him if you choose to go there.

Larekko12
October 8th, 2011, 10:58 PM
NO we missed Gilgamesh!!!!!! Down town leave a note for little miss badass and ask for her to mention things.

Arkanian
October 9th, 2011, 01:11 AM
NO we missed Gilgamesh!!!!!! Down town leave a note for little miss badass and ask for her to mention things.

You mean Belladonna, I take it?

What sort of things do you mean for her to mention?

Larekko12
October 9th, 2011, 01:17 AM
Gathering points. Hidden text.SHTF. Style. Anything that give overarching plot significance. yes Bella is little miss badass and Nuetral.

Arkanian
October 10th, 2011, 03:15 PM
Right, kind of a [email protected]$$ed update cause I'm kind of in a hurry. I might spruce it up a bit later if I get the chance.
Go Downtown



I put aside the microscope. “Alright, there’s way too much of this for me to get anywhere with this in any reasonable length of time. Let’s go somewhere.”


Jessica put down the magazine that she was reading and got out of her chair. “Finally. Where to?”


“Let’s head downtown. Archer could be hanging around there.”


Jessica nodded. “Okay. Let’s go.”


******


Downtown was, as always, a bit crowded. So far, our LEDs had yet to light up.


“Hey! Kilroy! Jessica!”


We turned around. Jordan Quilt and Christopher Kirk were jogging up to us. Well, Jordan was jogging, anyway. Chris was just leisurely strolling along. He never seemed to be in any sort of hurry at all.


I quickly looked over their hands. No gauntlets. So there was that.


“Jordan, Chris! What’s up?”


“Oh, not much,” Jordan replied. “Kinda boring round here with Nero and Raf always gone.”


I raised my eyebrows. “Gone?”


“Yeah. For the last few days they’ve just been busy all the time.”


Ah. The war, then.


Except Raphael wasn’t a Master. So why was he busy?


“Do you know what they’re up to?”


Jordan exchanged glances with Chris, who had finally caught up. “No, I can’t say I do.”


“Ah, well. So... What’re you guys up to?”


“Just hangin’ around downtown. I was thinkin’ about stopping at that ice cream place over there. You wanna come with?”


I looked at Jessica. “There’s only an hour or so until sunset. What do you think?”


“Sure! That sounds great!”


I turned back to Jordan. “Looks like we’re in.”


******


As it turned out, both Jordan and Chris were Versipilis. They didn’t seem to mind that I was an amateur Practitioner. Jordan had always been pretty chill about me, and Chris was pretty much apathetic about everything.


“Look, I’m not saying,that Japan is like, a world power or anything,” Jordan said, poking his coffee ice cream with his spoon for emphasis. “I’m just saying that if you use the ratio to square miles of land as a yardstick, it’s the most influential sector on Earth. Hell, except for Russia and the US, it’s the only country to have a representative on the international council that represents them and only them.”


“And If I heard you right, they’re the only sector that doesn’t have a Sella Umbrae.” I replied, taking a bite of mint chip. “WOuldn’t that make them significantly less influential?”


“They’re just Necromancers,” Jessica replied through a mouthful of orange sherbet. “That doesn’t really count as influence.” She glanced at me, swallowing her ice cream. “Er, not internationally, anyway.”


I gave her a flat look.”You can’t just discount an entire demographic. Versipilis aren’t the only ones that matter.”


“I think she means that it doesn’t matter because very few Sella Umbrae have much influence outside of their sector. Lord Africa is the only one outside of the global chair who has any international pull. Well, him and maybe Caine. But it’s way too early to say for sure whether Caine’s playing on the international stage or not.” He took another bite of ice cream. “And anyway, Japan doesn’t have a Sella Umbrae because they don’t have any Practitioners. At all. So having one would be kind of pointless.”


“But the fact that it’s pointless gives them less pull with the Practitioner community.”


“Maybe. But it gives them more pull with the ethereal community. And considering the reason why there aren’t any Practitioners in Japan, when Japan make a threat the entire Practitioner community listens. You can’t say the same for other sectors, now can you. Not many, at any rate.”


“True. But what about outside of this stuff? Like mundane politics, that sort of thing. Not much pull there.”


“You’d think so, but culturally speaking--”


Chris grabbed Jordan’s shoulder. “Jordan? It’s almost sundown. We should get home.”


Jordan looked at his watch and sighed.”Guess you’re right.” He picked up his ice cream. “It was fun debating with you, but I gotta get home. It’s kinda dangerous to be out after dark right now. You should consider doing the same.”


And with that, they left, leaving only me and Jessica at a table on the sidewalk.


Jessica swirled her ice cream with her spoon. “You know Kilroy...” She began. “We’ve chatted a lot, but... I don’t really know that much about you...” She looked me in the eyes. “I mean, I don’t even know your last name...”


“I don’t have one.” I replied. “Or at least, I’ve never been able to remember it...”


Except... that wasn’t true, was it?


I frowned.


“Really? You can’t... you don’t remember your last name? I mean, I know that you lost your parents, but...”


“Yeah. My memories from before my mom died are pretty hazy.” But they’ve become sharper of late, haven’t they? “It’s probably trauma or something. The house we lived in was destroyed. I can’t quite remember how,” Flames everywhere, a swinging blade, a splash of blood-- “But it was probably pretty traumatic. Or maybe I hit my head or something.” I paused. “My last name... Now that I think about it, I think it began with a ‘K’ sound...”


I looked down. My ice cream was all gone. So was Jessica’s. I stood up.


“Well, we should probably get going.”


“Yeah...”


End Day 3


Night 3, Start!


Where to?

1. Parks
2. Downtown
3. Shopping District
4. Eastern District
5. Western District
6. Northern District
7. Upper Class Residences
8. Graveyard
9. [Reader's Choice]





Incidentally, Archer? Was at the Parks.

Larekko12
October 10th, 2011, 10:56 PM
Damnit! Can you in one post put up the locations for archer since the game started?

Arkanian
October 10th, 2011, 11:14 PM
Damnit! Can you in one post put up the locations for archer since the game started?

He's only really "findable" outside of plot-mandated events during the day, and each day he's in the same location until nightfall. On day 2, he was downtown. On day 3, he was in the parks (And talked with Saber, incidentally. It... wasn't a very friendly chat). I suppose I could put a list of locations he's been in throughout the story at the end of each day or something.

Larekko12
October 11th, 2011, 12:20 AM
Thanks and west.

Arkanian
October 11th, 2011, 09:01 PM
Just as an aside, the Routes for End/Silent Dream are supposed to parallel the ones from Fate/Stay Night. This route is equivalent to the Fate route.






5. Western District


About twenty minutes later, we were in the Western District. It had been... pretty uneventful.


Well, until our LEDs lit up, at least.


Jessica and I immediately went back to back, me pulling a stake out of my sleeve. “Remind me why we’re out on patrol when Executioner’s out of commission?” Jessica asked.


“Um... Good question.”


[BGM (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YoCmZgK02nw&feature=related)]


It was about then that Striker’s lifeless body hit the pavement in front of me. I watched as it started dissolving into light.


Well, fuck.


KRA-KOOM.


The sound came not from in front, but from behind. And not just the sound -- the ground itself shook.


I whirled around.


A massive Silhouette stood in the street. It looked something like a massive gorilla, with a bizarrely warped head. It’s right arm was torn near the shoulder, the flesh barely attached, stuck on mainly by dint of a massive cylinder of some sort. Bone?


And then my teeth started to hurt.


Jessica nudged me. “Kilroy...”


I kept staring at the huge thing in the street. “I know.”


“No, Kilroy! To the sides!”


I looked. Something was shuffling in the shadows on either side of the street.


Well then.


[BGM -- End]


“Reusing old tricks, are we?” I called out. “Just because you threw in a giant creature doesn’t mean it’ll work any better this time around. I mean, that thing looks like it’s falling apart!”


A chuckle emanated from the darkness. “You think that, do you? Don’t flatter yourself. This is nothing like before. We aren’t throwing Burners at you while sending Harvesters as Cannon Fodder. We’re sending a Behemoth to bring you in, with Burners as support.”


That voice... It sounded familiar...


[BGM (http://www.youtuberepeat.com/watch/?v=_XZC-8TbCNg)]


“I’m giving you this one chance to surrender. Hand over the girl and I will allow you to leave in peace.”


“Hmm, let me think about hell no.”


“Don’t be a fool. This is no mere Creature. A Behemoth is capable of fighting even Servants.”


“Now that’s a boast I’d like to see you back up.” I shot back. In truth, I felt the opposite. While I supposed it was possible that this thing could fight Servants, I highly doubted that it could actually defeat on. However, even if it wasn’t in the weight class that this person claimed, for her to be slinging about such boasts meant that it was pretty freaking strong. Enough so that, with Executioner in his injured state, this “Behemoth” and the “Burners” that surrounded us could be quite a lot of trouble.


“...Perhaps you have a point. But even so. One Behemoth, as well as the Burners and myself, are fully capable of handling whatever tricks you have. Do us all a favor, and surrender.”


I snorted. “Do you really think that Jessica can’t trash this thing in five seconds flat?”


“Do you really think I hadn’t thought of that?”


The ground shook as the giant took several steps forward, into the light provided by a lamp post. It was covered in a dull black armor. There were a few holes in it in the shoulder that had been crudely -- and incompletely -- patched over, and it looked like the armor over its chest had been torn open and then welded back together, but... There weren’t that many holes.


She couldn’t mean...


“Are you saying... that you found a way to shield against Ethereal energy? You... you must be joking. I mean, you can’t just put armor on something and expect it to shield against something so immaterial...”


“I assure you that it is no joke. And we did much more than that. But please, do not keep me waiting much longer. Hand over the girl, unless you are not overly fond of your limbs.”


I gritted my teeth. I hated to say it, but this looked kind of bad...





Deploy Executioner, attack.
Keep Executioner Astralized, attack.
Surrender.
Run, try to get to safety.
Run, try to get help.
Use a lifeline! Call a friend! (You can choose who to call; Nero is the default, however)
Deploy Executioner, play Defense.
Leave Executioner, play Defense.
Deploy Executioner, try to pick out and take down the speaker.
Leave Executioner, try to pick out and take down the speaker.
[Reader’s Choice]

Larekko12
October 11th, 2011, 09:49 PM
Oh God What was I thinking?\ Jessica have more of a back bone to tell me when i am doing stupid shit.

Rhapsodic trio. call Executioner Activate Table turner Np that would over pawn burners while dialing up Nero and then fight defensively while picking out our target prime.

Arkanian
October 11th, 2011, 09:56 PM
Oh God What was I thinking?\ Jessica have more of a back bone to tell me when i am doing stupid shit.

Rhapsodic trio. call Executioner Activate Table turner Np that would over pawn burners while dialing up Nero and then fight defensively while picking out our target prime.

To be fair, heading home to hide out would have resulted in you being jumped before getting to the workshop. The only difference in the choice, with a few exceptions, is where you're located in relation to people who might be able to help you.

Also, keep in mind that activating that Noble Phantasm would cause the Behemoth to be even harder to kill. Of course, the difference isn't too notable considering how strong the Behemoth is, so it's still a valid strategy I suppose.

Larekko12
October 11th, 2011, 10:07 PM
So its Pure straight ART. Let me Guess the shielding is powered by forsaken children or the Flesh of Verspilis or charged plate of Corporeal Energy. The Damn thing is still a Giant ass Target to our one hitter Quitter Dark Paladin Axe. We just need to move.


And also wait for nero and Striker I refuse to accept that was the real one to get over here.

This is a load of bullshit with all the necromantic problems we ave been running into Kilroy owuld likely be a Boomerang bigot by now if Jessica wasn't her. Also how much is she smothers our development rate?

Arkanian
October 11th, 2011, 11:56 PM
Not sure what you mean by “Smothers our development rate.”


Yeah, that wasn’t the real Striker. I probably should have made that more clear.


Incidentally, one of the reasons that the NP in question makes the Behemoth harder to kill is because it causes Blade of Execution to be reduced in rank and lose its bonus against undead. : P


I decided on Midnight Rider as Executioner’s battle theme. Thoughts?





[X]Rhapsodic trio. call Executioner Activate Table turner Np that would over pawn burners while dialing up Nero and then fight defensively while picking out our target prime.




I reached into my pocket and flipped open my phone, holding down 4. When I had spoke with Nero, I had known that I would probably have to call upon his help at some point. Further, I knew that I would likely have to do so in the middle of battle. So I had taken the liberty of putting him on speed dial.


As for these “Burners”... Well, I had done some thinking, and I was pretty sure I had them figured out. Orange light wasn’t exactly a hallmark of corporeal energy. More to the point, if they were alive that meant that they had ethereal power. Which meant that
they were likely using that ethereal power to bolster themselves. Remove that...


“Get ready,” I hissed. I waited as I heard the phone ring. Once... Twice...


“Hello?”


“Now!” I flicked the switch on my Gauntlet, moving the phone up to my ear in one fluid motion. “Nero! We’re at Johnson and fifth, send help!”


I turned to Executioner. He didn’t look too good. There was still a massive chunk taken out of him, and the left side of his body looked like it had been partially melted. “Executioner, those guys attacking from the siders are ethereal! You got any anti-ethereal phantasms, use ‘em!” I whipped out my stakes. “Let’s go!”


[BGM (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FsJGDlL3GmM&feature=related)]


“So you have decide to die, then.” The voice called out. “So be it.”


I saw the Burners to either side light up. Time to go.


I saw Executioner sweep his arm up in the air, preparing to invoke his Noble Phantasm. At the same time, I saw the Behemoth lift its right arm in the air.


The Behemoth’s arm came down. The grey cylinder in its arm was some sort of giant steel piston -- as its arm connected with the ground, the piston fired, and a huge blast of corporeal energy came forth, streaking across the ground like a fissure, tearing apart the ground with a great crash that was nearly deafening so close.


A massive flare of light answered it. Jessica managed to block the strike, but... She looked tired already. That strike had had a lot of power behind it. Even I had been able to sense it, and my ability to detect corporeal power was utter crap.


I glanced at Executioner. It seemed his Noble Phantasm had just been invoked. Six massive birds were taking off from his shoulders, flying through the air. As they began to wheel through the sky above us, giant feathers began to drift down, breaking apart and causing tiny glittering strands to fall everywhere, strands that dissolved before they hit the ground. As the Burners entered the ever-growing area that the strands fell upon, the burning lights upon their skin extinguished and they fell to the ground, flopping about like they were having a seizure.


Well, that was certainly effective.


I turned back to the Behemoth. It was raising its arm for another blow, but had stopped, apparently in surprise. Good, that gave me a moment.


Jessica couldn’t block this time. Even if she had enough power for it, I suspected that Executioner’s Noble Phantasm would prevent her from fully using it.


“Executioner! That’s good, shut it off!”


“Master, I cannot.”


[BGM -- End]


“What?” Okay, that was bad. “Why not? What if I astralize you?”


“No, it would remain. It sustains itself once called forth. It will fade only when it is overcome, or when it extends its reign beyond what it is capable of holding.”


Oh. Joy. Well, I had only myself to blame for this, I supposed.


“A handy trick, but not one that will save you. Behemoth, crush the Servant. I will handle the others myself.”


Okay, now what?
Fight Defensively.
Focus on taking the speaker out of commission.
Target the Behemoth.
Get out of the NP’s radius.
Run like hell.
Surrender.
[Reader’s Choice]
SOrry it's short, but I've got stuff I need to get to...

Larekko12
October 12th, 2011, 01:02 AM
OrderSet fighting Retreat Analogue and Witdraw parallel towards parks Getting out of range, regrouping into a postition where the axe kicks ass and making Sure Nero doesn't have to walk into our backfiring killzone are the objective. Watch out for the vamp.

Arkanian
October 12th, 2011, 02:32 PM
Did you know? Multiple exclamation points are a sign of either a loose grip on sanity or massive amounts of stress!


Necromancer Lady's battle theme was originally "Severe Person," but I changed my mind.






[X]OrderSet fighting Retreat Analogue and Witdraw parallel towards parks Getting out of range, regrouping into a postition where the axe kicks ass and making Sure Nero doesn't have to walk into our backfiring killzone are the objective. Watch out for the vamp.


“Okay, we aren’t hemmed in, let’s run people!”


I grabbed Jessica’s sleeve and immediately made a beeline for some nearby houses. She ran with me, Executioner covering our backs.


It wasn’t even a few seconds before I heard the deafening crash of the Behemoth’s attack. Executioner went flying over our heads, landing on his feet in front of us before leaping back over us into the fray.


It was about then that the massive bats swooped in.


The things were huge, with about five foot wingspans. And there was approximately fifty bajillion of them. Or at least, too many for me to count. Floating in the middle of them without any support that I could make out through the horde was the woman we had seen a few days earlier in the graveyard.





“That is far enough.” She stated coldly. “I will not be leaving without the girl.”


“I guess you won’t be leaving then.”


Unfortunately for her, I had been ready for this. WHile we were running, I had prepped one of my glass spheres. Compressing the corporeal energy in my arm, I threw it at her at speeds that would have made a major-league pitcher envious.


It missed.


Before my projectile could reach her, the bats dispersed, taking her with them and leaving behind the lamp post that she had apparently been standing on. The sphere sailed off into the night.


Goddammit.


The bats came at us from all sides. Jessica blasted at them with her power, but it didn’t seem to be doing anything, the light splitting against them like water on rocks. Some sort of defense? If it was, it was an incredibly advanced one. I had never even heard of something like this.


The woman started laughing hysterically as the bats began to grapple with us. “It’s no use!!!”


I tore a bat in two with my stakes. It fell to the ground, but the damn thing kept on attacking me. Goddammit, what was with these things?


I wreathed myself in corporeal energy, my arms becoming weapons that cut them right in half with a single blow. And they kept coming.


It wasn’t enough. It wasn’t near enough.


I could hear Jessica screaming.


The only thing going for me was that the pain in my teeth had stopped.


A bat slashed open my arm, my leg, my back. They were killing me, slowly but surely, a death of a thousand cuts.


And then there was the crash of the Behemoth’s weapon, and the bats scattered. I was knocked to the ground, and I saw Jessica flying over my head, the bats catching her and carrying her off.


Oh, hell no.


“Jessica!!!”


“Kilroy!!! Help!!!”


“Executioner! Grab her! Don’t let them take her!!!”


Executioner dashed past in a blink, leaping into the air, Halberd wound back to strike. An instant later, a massive blur swept past me, almost as fast as Executioner had.


Was that... The Behemoth?!


Okay, that was just not fair.


Executioner’s Halberd struck out, utterly destroying four of the five bats that held Jessica before he began falling back to earth, the fifth merely losing a wing. However, more bats grabbed her before she could fall more than a few feet.


As Executioner descended, the Behemoth was ready. Its left arm swept out, grabbing Executioner’s body in its massive fingers before slamming him into the ground. As it did so, a piston fired.


The result was not pretty. I could tell that even Executioner’s A Rank endurance was being strained by this point. He could probably take a few more blows like that, and he could probably keep fighting even so, but...


Oh. Of course. I flicked the switch on my Gauntlet, astralizing Executioner. I waited three seconds, then flicked it again. When Executioner reappeared, He was no longer in the Behemoth’s grasp.


The Behemoth had taken quite a bit of damage from Executioner earlier, at least. It’s right arm was missing, and there were gaping holes in it. But it was still standing.


I looked up. The sky was full of bats. Jessica was nowhere to be seen.

[BGM -- End]



No.


No.


[B]NO.


I gritted my teeth in rage. “You... You...”


“Oh, me, me. Is baby gonna cwy? pfft. You Americans, getting worked up over the silliest things.”


Okay, that is it.


[BGM (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGQ-kGm6sXk)]


Inside of me, something... cracked. A massive stab of pain shot through my teeth. My vision turned blurry.


“Wh--What?” She said. It was distant. Muted.


I leapt. I knew where she was. There, hidden. My leap went far, fast.


But she was faster. i felt her move, vaguely. Into the sky. I couldn’t follow.


This feeling... faded. My vision... cleared.


[BGM -- End]


I was alone.


The bats were gone, fading into the night sky. I caught a glimpse of them carrying pieces of the Behemoth, one group of bats holding a gigantic piston, another group holding sections of armor. Executioner was beside me, an utter wreck, having to lean on his Halberd.


I fell to my knees. How had this happened? Servants were supposed to be the best. Superior to everything. So how? What I had seen tonight was an impossibility. Nothing could match a Servant like that. I turned my head towards Executioner.


“You...” I said. “This... this is your fault.” If only he hadn’t been so weak. Strands of feather fell around me, mocking me. “How? Just... how? How did you lose?”


“From what I heard of that woman’s words, that creature was designed with fighting Servants in mind. Further, I did indeed defeat it. Its core was destroyed.”


So the Practitioner had assumed direct control of its remains to animate it like a puppet. Fine.


And Executioner was still recovering from getting hit by what was presumably an A Rank Anti-Undead Noble Phantasm. Fine.


And the Practitioner had been impossibly skilled, splitting her attention several hundred ways. Fine.


That still didn’t make me feel any better.


“Can you... can you track them?”


“In all probability... No. Her bats went in all directions. The trail will fade in a few hours. The likelihood of following the right one is... small.”


I punched the ground. “Dammit all!!” I grit my teeth. How had this happened?


I stood up. “Fine. Let’s hunt.”


Any chance was better than nothing.


Naturally, it was about then that Striker arrived.


There was about fifteen of him. That certainly would have been enough to turn the battle around.


A pity he hadn’t arrived five minutes earlier.


One of them leaped over to me. “What happened?”


I clenched my fist. “They captured Jessica. They got away.”


Striker looked away. “Damn.”


“There’s still time.” I pointed to the sky. “They left a trail. If we can follow it...”


Striker looked up and nodded. “Yeah, I can see it. Tracking’s not my specialty -- in about an hour I probably won’t be able to pick up on it -- but I’ll do what I can.”


“Thank you.”


Striker rolled his eyes. “I was ordered to make sure that that girl stayed alive. I’m not doing this for you.”


The Strikers scattered.


So. Time to wor--


“Kilroy!”


Oh. Right.


[BGM (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShM7OFla3fY)]


Saber and Nero had finally arrived, standing down the street, just at the edge of Executioner’s Noble Phantasm. Saber’s right hand held a sword.


It was different from the one he had had earlier. It was a two handed longsword of some sort, silver in color and engraved with swirling patterns. It was sized for a normal human, so he held it in one hand. From the edges of this sword came another blade, far larger, grey in color and covered with golden swirls that covered almost every inch.


Saber looked up at the birds with a sneer. “So you called it forth.” He said condescendingly. “How foolish.” He raised the sword over his head and brought it down. As it struck the edge of the field, the falling strands parted, fleeing from his blade. The strands began to vanish, the feathers too, until finally, moments later, the birds themselves crumbled away into nothing.


“So you failed,” Saber continued, strolling forward imperiously. “As expected of a worm such as yourself. Even in life you could never do anything right, could you? You never saw the signs.”


Wait, Saber and Executioner knew each other?

Now that I thought of it, their armor seemed similar, but...


No! Now was not the time for this!


I ran over to Nero. “Nero! They took Jessica! We have to--”


The moment I got close, Nero punched me in the face. It was like getting hit by a train. I should have seen it coming, really.


As I started to get to my feet, Nero grabbed me by the collar. “You idiot!!” He shouted. “I told you to do one thing. Keep. Her. Safe! And you couldn’t even do that!! And now they’re going to do who-knows-what to her, because of your incompetence!!”


“It was only a few minutes ago!” I managed. “We can still stop them! We can still save her!”


Nero dropped me. “You had better be right. Saber! Can you find her?”


Saber shook his head. “No. Normally I would be able to feel her ethereal signature, but that fool’s Noble Phantasm has muddled it. I can’t tell anything other than the fact that she was here.


“Damnit!” Nero swore. He turned to me. “This is all your fault, Kilroy! Once she’s safe, I will end you, do you hear me!” He spun on his heels and then... changed. He shifted forward, hands becoming paws, clothes vanishing. When he was done, in his place was a silver-furred wolf the size of a pickup truck. “Saber!” He barked, his voice heavily distorted. “If we can’t hunt her by power, we’ll try scent. Let’s go!”


He bounded off, Saber following behind.


Okay, now what.


Follow the trails West.
Follow the trails South.
Follow the trails SouthEast.
Follow the trails East.
Follow the trails NorthEast.
Follow the trails North.
[Reader’s Choice]

Larekko12
October 12th, 2011, 04:38 PM
DAmn. All but one of these are dead ends aren't they. Sink into that feeling and follow the trials towards where the majority seemed to go. Failing that head to the Mansion distirict. Kilroy is an Experiment in the ARt or an Unknown Verspilis experiment right? Damn I have just been working us into a hole.

Arkanian
October 14th, 2011, 07:00 PM
A familiar face or two in this chapter...


[X]Sink into that feeling and follow the trials towards where the majority seemed to go. Failing that head to the Mansion district.




“Executioner... Do any of the trails seem stronger to you? Did more bats go in one direction than others?”


Executioner nodded. “It seems that the largest group headed SouthEast. However, considering that they divided...”


I considered the competence that had been previously displayed. “Yes, it’s most likely a ruse...”


She most likely wouldn’t send them in the exact opposite direction either. Which meant that I could probably eliminate southeast and northwest as options...


“What about Northeast?”


“No more of them went that way than elsewhere.”


“How many?”


“I would say forty two.”

“...What the hell. It’s as good a shot as any.”


We set off.


******


forty minutes later, we had arrived at the edge of the Upper Class District... And Executioner stopped.


“Is there a problem?”


“They split up here. There are seven groups of six. They all went in different directions.” He paused. “None of the trails go into the upper class district.”


I grit my teeth. “Of course.”


“I thought I was picking up on you. How goes the war?”




I looked up. Belladonna was walking down the street towards us. Accompanying her, and looking thoroughly disinterested, was a man. He had short blonde hair and red eyes, and was wearing a black jacket with white stripes on the sleeves. He looked at Executioner and quirked an eyebrow, but didn’t say anything.


“It’s been pretty bad. Some Practitioner came out of nowhere and grabbed Jessica with a ton of bats. We’ve been trying to track her, but this bastard’s a clever one.” I looked up at the sky. “I hope she’s okay.”


Belladonna looked thoughtful. “Was this the same one who attacked you last time?”


“She had some of those burning things with her, so I’d say yes.”


“I see.” She bit her lip. “Let me help.”


My jaw dropped. “What? But what about your neutrality?”


“There are certain situations--”


“Our business is not done, Slave.” Her companion interrupted. “You may leave my presence when I allow it, and no sooner.”


“Hey, she’s nobody’s slave, asshole,” I shot back. “If she wants to help us, you can’t stop her.” Okay, none of that was entirely true, but still...


He tilted his head back so that he could look down at me. “Don’t speak such ways to your betters, Mongrel.” He said haughtily. “You speak of matters you have no knowledge of.” He took a few steps closer, and glared at Executioner. “And as for you...”


He snapped his fingers, and suddenly a chain shot out of nowhere, wrapping around Executioner and lifting him in the air. It was dark, so I couldn’t make out many details, but I could tell that the chain was pretty fancy.


But still... Arrogance, random chain... This guy was a Servant, wasn’t he. Damn it.


He walked over to Executioner, still glaring. “You are the one who held the other blade, aren’t you.” He stated. “I already spoke to the other, so I shall tell you what I told him: Soon, I shall be testing you to see if you are truly worthy of your accomplishment.” He bared his teeth at Executioner, and even though he wasn’t looking at me, I could feel killing intent rolling off of him in waves. I was only getting the edges of it, and it was nearly enough to force me to my knees!


“And my standards,” The man continued. “Are very,” The killing intent spiked. “Very,” It was unbearable; I was on the edge of passing out. “High.”


The chain unwrapped itself, vanishing into the night and dropping Executioner into the night. He turned around, and while he was no longer radiating killing intent, I could still feel irritation rolling off of him. He gestured at Belladonna dismissively. “Very well, Slave. Do what you wish. We will finish our conversation later. I will speak with that thief in the meantime.” And with that, he strolled off.

[BGM -- End]


For a few moments, Belladonna and I simply gazed off in the direction he had left in. Finally, Belladonna turned back to me.


“As I was saying, there are certain situations where I would be allowed to act. This is one of them.”


I furrowed my brow. “Why?”


Her face hardened. “That’s Arbitrator business.”


I reflexively took a step back. “Okaaay...”


“In any case, I have an idea where to start. Most of the Harvester nests are located in the Northern District. And most of them are inactive.”


I nodded. “That sounds like our best bet.”


We ran.


******

[BGM (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AyJuzD8kHrY&feature=related)]

“So, who was that guy? A Servant?”


“Yes. Gilgamesh of Uruk.”


“He told you his name?”


“He seemed proud of the fact.”


“...Who was the ‘thief’ that he was talking about?”


“He calls Mister Caine that. I don’t know why.”


“Mister Caine again... Why were the two of you meeting with him?”


“I needed intel on the town. Gilgamesh was already there when I arrived.”


“I see... Say, didn’t Caine receive one of the Gauntlets?”


“Yes.”


“So... Gilgamesh is most likely Caine’s Servant...”


“...”


“No, wait, that doesn’t make sense. You need ethereal energy to be a Master, and High Practitioners don’t have any. Is Gilgamesh’s Master one of Caine’s subordinates?”


“That is a possibility.”


“I can’t help but notice that that wasn’t a ‘yes.’”


“...”


“You know, you seem kind of... dead, at the moment.”


“It helps.”


“What?”


“We’re here.”


“What?”


“Looking at the overlay of corporeal patterns on the city, the lair of this Practitioner is most likely to be within an eight block radius of this location.”


“Good! So we find her kick her ass, and take Jessica back! With your help, this should be a bree--!”

[BGM -- End]

[B]BOOM.


******

[BGM (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQvX2L4YXmM&feature=related)]

When Jessica came to, she was being dragged along a dark hallway. There was something on her wrists...


Naturally the first thing she did was try to create a light...


The energy flowed from within her, preparing to burst forth only to be diverted at the last second.


Straight into the things on her wrists.


A door opened.


“Hey. Hey! Listen! This girl over here! I think she’s bleeding out!”


She was dragged forward, metal hinges creaked open...


“You’ve got to do something! I know you need her, you can’t just let her die!”


Chains, attached to the things on her wrists, were clipped to a wall...


“Please! I’m begging you! You can’t just leave her like this!”


The door swung shut.


“Listen to me! LISTEN TO ME!!!!”


A door boomed shut. Somehow, it sounded like a death knell.


The voice that had been shouting let out a sigh. “So... My name’s Benjamin. They got you too?”

[BGM -- End]


******

[BGM (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYXY6oLdvqk&feature=related)]

“So... You’d be Servant Lancer then?”


*Nod*


“That attack... You’re the one who destroyed the Servant at the warehouse.”


*Nod.* “Warning shot.”


“Well, I’ll be damned if I’m gonna let you frighten me.


“Let’s rock.”


Words said, I glared at the stone-faced albino in golden armor and prepared a plan of action.
Run away! Run away!
Executioner’s useless. Astralize him and fight alongside Belladonna.
Leave Executioner out and attack. He should be some use.
Heal Executioner with the Chains of Resurrection. You can deal with the penalties later.
[Reader’s Choice]
Incidentally, does anyone know how to change a thread title?

Larekko12
October 14th, 2011, 10:29 PM
So is he talking about how gil found a temporary master? Cause he should know now Gil was Jess's.

Also GODDAMNIT we found him now!!!!!!!!. And don't even recognize to get the the proud mofo to gostomp the yard on lancer..

I believe you change the title by calling a Mod.

What are the penalty's of the Chains again? Adn this is only the third night?

Arkanian
October 15th, 2011, 12:59 AM
So is he talking about how gil found a temporary master? Cause he should know now Gil was Jess's.

Also GODDAMNIT we found him now!!!!!!!!. And don't even recognize to get the the proud mofo to gostomp the yard on lancer..

I believe you change the title by calling a Mod.

What are the penalty's of the Chains again? Adn this is only the third night?

He didn't recognize Gil (The defining trait that Jessica gave him was golden armor, which Gil wasn't wearing), and his Class was never mentioned -- he doesn't know that Gil's Archer.

The penalty of the Chains haven't been listed yet. However, the penalty is one rank down in all stats. If the Chains are used to bring him back from the dead instead of healing him, he also loses his Bravery and gains a rank in Mental Pollution. However, one of the things that boosts Blade of Execution is the penalty from the Chains, meaning that using the chains on him, and then using a Command Stone, will result in an A++ Rank attack...

Larekko12
October 15th, 2011, 02:48 AM
Time limits on Chains is? Also She didn't describe his face of voice or manner or presecnece or ever other thing that defines a servant but armor which he can take off. The Eyes Man the Eyes. And ranged Weapon. did he even give his class name as well to Bella? We can't infer he's an Archer from his legend and the fact he doesn't fit a cAster and Lancer is in our face, and Saber is summoned?

Also do the Chains make him a rock by anihalting his Agi and Jinxed by killing Luck?

Arkanian
October 15th, 2011, 03:13 AM
Time limits on Chains is? Also She didn't describe his face of voice or manner or presecnece or ever other thing that defines a servant but armor which he can take off. The Eyes Man the Eyes. And ranged Weapon. did he even give his class name as well to Bella? We can't infer he's an Archer from his legend and the fact he doesn't fit a cAster and Lancer is in our face, and Saber is summoned?

Also do the Chains make him a rock by anihalting his Agi and Jinxed by killing Luck?

No time limit. Once they're used, they're on permanently. However, activating Monstrous Strength undoes the stat decreases for the duration it's active. He already has E-Rank Luck, so it can't go down any further. His speed would be even worse though, yes.

I looked back, and it seems that I misremembered how she described him. Her exact words were "A jackass with blonde hair." Oops. My bad. Beyond that, all she said was that he was an Archer. That was all she said though. Kilroy really should have pushed her a bit more.

But yeah, given that she used his hair as a descriptor and not his outfit, I guess there's no reason for Kilroy not to recognize him. I suppose I can just say that he forgot, or that he was too busy quietly flipping out to make the connection. Or I could just make a quiet retcon. He will make the connection in the next chapter, most likely. Now that he's seen that Gil is not Lancer, it won't be too difficult to figure out.

And no, he didn't give his Class to Belladonna. I originally had her actually saying so, but the line appears to be gone for some reason. Huh.

Larekko12
October 15th, 2011, 03:25 AM
Fucking A I have rewally fucked up if we need to be taking a perma power down on the third day to get him to fighting spec. Can we get the Chains broken? And what was the Penalties for MSTR again?

Arkanian
October 15th, 2011, 04:08 AM
Fucking A I have rewally fucked up if we need to be taking a perma power down on the third day to get him to fighting spec. Can we get the Chains broken? And what was the Penalties for MSTR again?

The penalty for Monstrous Strength is another layer of the chains, giving another rank down in everything. Essentially, overuse of the Chains or MSTR will make it so that MSTR is pretty much required for Executioner to do any fighting. And his D-Rank MSTR lasts for four minutes...

In any case, this fight's supposed to be pretty much unwinnable. Executioner couldn't beat Lancer even if he wasn't injured. This Lancer is one of the familiar faces that I mentioned...

Larekko12
October 15th, 2011, 04:49 AM
You you you you you you you!!!!!! Picked him one I would Send against Arturia while supported by Illya with Avalon and still have a hope of victory.

I will deny war in this instance.

I vote tentaviely Write-in. Though my arm are bared I come here seeking one thing above all. My friend, my comrade and loved one Jessica. She was kidnapped this night by (insert most accurate description here) and is in danger. I wish to save her regardless of state of her captor. If I need not fight I will not here. If I need fight I will. I ask you if she is here will you let me pass to save her. (Believe the words you say with your entire being if the fight breaks out support belladona)


Hopefully this is not that kind of unwinnable. effeing light armored naturalist demigod.

Arkanian
October 16th, 2011, 05:12 PM
Larekko: ALthough you did say to support Belladonna if a fight breaks out... there’s not really much that he could do here.


Fun note: If you read back, you’ll notice that this chapter is the first time that Kilroy has referred to Belladonna by her name with her present.



[X]I vote tentaviely Write-in. Though my arm are bared I come here seeking one thing above all. My friend, my comrade and loved one Jessica. She was kidnapped this night by (insert most accurate description here) and is in danger. I wish to save her regardless of state of her captor. If I need not fight I will not here. If I need fight I will. I ask you if she is here will you let me pass to save her. (Believe the words you say with your entire being if the fight breaks out support belladona)



[BGM (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYXY6oLdvqk)]


I looked at Lancer. He wore golden armor that seemed to shine with its own light, and had a massive golden earring on one ear. The armor left his chest open, and there was a red jewel embedded there. His skin and hair were bone white, and his eyes were grey. A red cloak of some sort whipped around him. His lance was a golden affair, very elaborate, with a sun design on it.


Despite my boast, I was in fact a little frightened. I honestly didn’t think that I could beat this guy. His attack before had shown that he had massive amounts of ethereal power, and wasn’t afraid to use it sparingly. Corporeal powers would be utterly useless here, and that was all that we had. Further, Lancer was supposed to be the fastest class, and I had already seen that speed gave a massive advantage in this war.


If we fought, we were toast.


“I would, however, prefer to avoid a fight. I don’t suppose you could let us through? I’m... trying to rescue someone important to me.”


Lancer shook his head. “No. Orders.”


“Orders?”


“Keep you away from new Master.”


Oh. Oh crap. They had a Servant.


They had a Servant.


I bit my lip. “Executioner, I don’t think you’ll be much use here. Just rest, and try to recover.” I flicked the switch on my Gauntlet, Astralizing him, before turning to Belladonna. “Belladonna, do you think you could take him? I know High Arbitrators are supposed to be strong...”


“That depends on how powerful he is.” She replied. “I could defeat a low-level Servant no problem, but there’s no guarantee that he’s low level.” She gave me an odd look. “And call me Revere. Only friends get to call me Belladonna.”


“Er, right. So we fight?”


“We won’t be getting anywhere with him here.”


“Well then--”


And then I noticed that Lancer was gone. No, he wasn’t gone, he was right next to Belladonna, and he was cutting her in half.


[BGM (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhPKJrL8uhg)]


Fast!


Being bisected didn’t seem to bother her that much, though. Even as her upper and lower halves separated, burning purple script appeared all over her body... and then a red cord shot out from her stomach, latching on to her other half.


She leaped back, twisting wildly as other parts of her disconnected, still attached by slick cords of red flesh. More cords shot out, lashing at Lancer, who handily dodged each one with his immense speed.


Belladonna’s body split even further, more cords coming out, shooting everywhere, trying to cut off Lancer’s routes of escape. Lancer didn’t even bother to dodge, looking at Belladonna with a dull expression while the attacks shot past him, the few actually aimed at him merely bouncing off.


Then the cords started to wrap around him. And then they twisted.


Lancer grunted in pain. It seemed like he had felt that, even through his armor. Belladonna was pretty freaking strong, it seemed.


Lancer finally made a move, whipping his spear about. Belladonna was trying to restrict his movements, but she wasn’t meeting with much success. His movements were slightly encumbered, but he merely cut off the cords that held him. The moment they were detached from BellaDonna’s body, the cords collapsed into red liquid, falling to the ground.


Belladonna’s body practically exploded, turning into a writhing mass of hundreds upon hundreds of tentacles, all of them trying to grab him. Lancer merely dodged, cutting them apart with ease.


And then a tentacle managed to grab the haft of his spear. He tried to wrest it from Belladonna’s grip, but about thirty more grasped it. He held on with both his arms, but as more and more grabbed it, even he was overwhelmed. It was torn away from him, and then Belladonna enveloped it completely.


Lancer held one hand out to his side... and then his eyes widened, ever so slightly. And then they narrowed.


It seemed that he was taking her seriously now.


He set himself into a martial arts stance, and then flames burst from him. They were nearly as bright as his Noble Phantasm had been, and the radius was huge. When the flames died down, his spear clattered to the street. Everything was covered with a substance that looked like dried blood.


The spear leapt into Lancer’s hand, and he turned to face me. I gulped, and took a few steps back.


Then Lancer turned again, looking at a nearby manhole cover.


No, not a cover; it was open. And, I realized, it was located at exactly where Belladonna’s center of mass had been.


Clever girl.


And then more tentacles burst out of the street, grabbing at Lancer’s legs, only for him to jump out of the way. More burst out from beneath him as he went, but he outpaced them with ease.


And then he raised his spear over his head, pointing it at the street below.


[BGM (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-oMw5ppBFk&feature=related)]


“Brahmastra.”


And then he threw it.


It veered off, zooming down the street at a speed I couldn’t even follow. The place it finally hit was several blocks away, and an instant after he threw it, I went blind.


It was the same Noble Phantasm that he had used before, but its power was much greater. This was not a warning shot. The radius was large enough that it almost reached me. As it was, my skin started burning from the heat. The pain was agonizing; it felt like I was being boiled alive. A diagnostic check on my own body revealed that I had developed second-degree burns in the split second after the Phantasm had gone off.


And I wasn’t even in the blast radius.


I immediately leapt back, trying as hard as I could to get as far away from it as possible. As the light from it faded, I collapsed in the street.


Consciousness bled away.


[BGM -- End]


End Night Three






Day Four -- Start!


I woke up. My body hurt all over; I was covered in bandages.


It was daytime.


“Urrgh... Where-- where am I?”


“You are in my church, Mister Coil.” A familiar voice replied. “You were in quite bad shape when you were brought here. You’re rather lucky to be alive.”


“Mister... Coil?”


“The gentleman who brought you here said that that was your name. Was that incorrect?”


“Er... Yes, it is.” I blinked, trying to unblur my vision. “My name’s Kilroy. Just Kilroy. Who exactly brought me here?”


“A certain ‘Mister Caine.’ It seemed that he had followed a friend of his, a certain Miss Revere, fearing her to be in danger. He found you in the street, nearly dead.”


“I... see.” I paused. “Actually, I can’t seem to see much of anything.”


“...”


“Why can’t I see more than blurs?”


“When you were brought in... Your eyes had melted. I’ve rarely seen burn injuries that severe.”


Jesus. “Then why can I see anything at all?”


“My healing skills are nothing to scoff at. You’re very lucky that Mister Caine knew to bring you to me.”


“...How long until I can get moving again?”


“...I’d say that you’ll be here for the rest of the day at least. It took a lot of my power just to get you healed up this far. I’m pretty good at what I do, but I’m just human. Right now I’m pretty much running on empty.”


“I see...” I hung my head. “Jessica...”


“You aren’t the only one worried about someone. That Servant was Benjamin’s. I just know it. Which means that they probably have him too.”


I smiled grimly. “So once I’m up and about, we’ll be teaming up?”


“Seems like.”


After that, I fell asleep.


End Day Four


******


Night 4 -- Start!


By nightfall, I could move around again, though I still hurt all over and was covered with bandages.


I put on the clothes that the priest had provided me with. Meanwhile, he strapped on some armor under his robes, and grabbed his rifle.


“Alright, so first we’ll drop by my place so that I can arm myself,” I said. “We can figure out what to do from there.”


I glanced down at my left hand. The Gauntlet had been fused on. The switch had been melted in place; I could no longer de-Astralize Berserker. The priest couldn’t fix that, unfortunately. That would probably be a priority.


Well. This was going to be a bit tough.


******


“I’m sorry, but could you please wait outside?”


The priest nodded. “Sure. I’ll keep watch.”


“Thanks.”


I quickly entered the basement and grabbed a pair of stakes. I grabbed a few glass spheres, and three hearts...


“Kilroy?”


I turned.


“Bel-- Revere? You’re alive?”


Belladonna grinned weakly from where she lay on the bed. She looked terrible. Her skin had turned red like blood, and she was covered in sweat. She looked like her skin had been stretched taut over her bones.


“Yeah...” She managed. “I have Mister Caine... To thank for that...” She fumbled with a bottle of water next to the bed. I rushed over and helpeed her with it.


“Thanks...” She took a few sips. “I’m sorry... But I don’t think I can be much more help...”


“Don’t apologize. If anything it’s my fault.”


She closed here eyes. “Maybe...”


Moments later, she was asleep.


This “Mister Caine” had probably brought her here, unless I missed my guess. Which meant that Mister Caine knew where my hideout was. Belladonna probably just told him, but it was still discomfiting. At least Mister Caine seemed friendly, even if his Servant...


Wait.


I knew that Gilgamesh wasn’t Saber, Lancer, Executioner, Striker, or Assassin. He didn’t strike me as a Caster, so...


Oh god dammit. Jessica’s Servant had been right in front of me and I hadn’t done anything about it!


Well, I could worry about that later.


It was time to go.


Go to Merovitch to get your Gauntlet fixed.
Contact Nero for assistance.
Find Mister Caine for assistance.
Track down Gilgamesh.
Contact Striker for assistance.
Go it alone.
[Reader’s Choice]



If you’re wondering how Belladonna survived... A Practitioner did it?

Larekko12
October 16th, 2011, 08:31 PM
We should have died for that. Really. We should died for that.


Call Striker and Nero. And go to Merovitch we need to gear up for WAR!!!!! As well as track down Gilgamesh with the new war party. Maybe if we are luckyMero can pull off some priate broadcast to call out Gil and make it look like a practical Joke.

Arkanian
October 17th, 2011, 08:22 PM
I left out the looking for Gilgamesh part, as you wouldn't be able to find him at the moment. He'll show up when the time comes, just wait.






[X]Call Striker and Nero. And go to Merovitch we need to gear up for WAR!!!!!





When I got back upstairs, I picked up the phone and dialed Nero’s cell phone.


He picked up on the first ring.


“Kilroy.” His voice growled.


“Look Nero, I know you want to chew me out some more, but now isn’t the time. I know where Jessica is.”


“...You do?”


“Well, I’ve it narrowed down to an area in the Northern District. But a Servant attacked me when I was investigating.”


“And you couldn’t handle it?”


“No. Lancer was strong. Real strong. And I can’t take him by myself. Not when I can’t even De-Astralize my Servant.”


I expected Nero to ask me why I couldn’t. I expected wrong.


“You too, huh.”


“Nero...” I asked, eyes widening. “What do you mean, you too?”


“You mean you don’t know?”


“Don’t know what? The only reason I can’t De-Astralize Executioner is because Lancer’s Noble Phantasm melted the switch in place.”


“Kilroy... Earlier today, someone put up some sort of energy field over the city. Any Servant that goes Astral, can’t materialize.”


“What?” Okay, this could be pretty bad. “Don’t tell me... that Saber...”


“No, Saber can still fight. Striker, though...”


“I see. So we won’t be able to count on him.”


“We’ll be able to use the clones that he had out, but that’s it.”


I rubbed my chin thoughtfully. “But that will definitely be a help. His clones will make finding Jessica much easier.”


“Right. Where’s this place you were talking about?”


“I’ll take you there myself. Meet me by Jessica’s mansion in half an hour.”


“Alright. I’ll see you there.”


******


[BGM (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SyQaOxUzB-U&feature=related)]


When the priest and I arrived in front of Jessica’s mansion, Nero and Saber weren’t the only ones waiting for us. Striker’s clones were there too of course, about fifty of them. But so was someone else.


“Jordan? What are you doing here?”


“I could ask the same thing?” Jordan shot back. “Who’s the old guy?”


“I’m not that old.” The priest replied.


“That’s Father Benedict.” Nero said, eyes narrowing. “He’s the representative the Church sent. What’s he doing here?”


“His altar boy got captured by the guys who took Jessica. We teamed up.”


“Er-hrm. Apprentice, actually.” The priest interjected. “Furthermore, that’s our Servant they’re using.”


Nero’s eyebrows rose. “Your Servant?”


“Yes. Benjamin wore the Gauntlet. His ethereal power is one of the largest on record -- for an ordinary human, at least. That’s why we were sent. Our Servant was strong enough that I couldn’t support it. He could.”


“And what is your Servant.”


“Lancer. We summoned him with Benjamin’s Divine Arm, Joshua. What was left of it anyway.” He dug out a smartphone. “Here are his statistics, as I read them. I don’t know his identity, unfortunately, but...”


Servant Lancer
Strength: B
Agility: A
Endurance: C
Capacity: B
Luck: D
Noble Phantasm: EX


Magic Resistance: C
Riding: B
Ethereal Burst, Flame: A
Divinity: B
Uncrowned Martial Arts: ~




I stared. “Rank... EX?” I looked the priest in the eye. “Is-- is that even a real rank!?”


He nodded grimly. “It means that it’s too powerful for the system to measure it properly.”


Nero grimaced. “Jesus...”


Jordan peered over my shoulder at the screen and whistled sharply. “His other stats are pretty good too. That is one tough cookie.”


“And here we only have one proper Servant between us.”


Ignoring Nero’s comment for the moment, I turned and gave Jordan a flat look. “Alright, what are you doing here?”


He smirked. “My family’s only been here in America for two generations. Before that, there’s a thousand plus years of Japanese heritage. And you know what they say about Japanese fox Versipilis.”


I blinked. I remembered what Jordan had said about Japan, but I hadn’t realized that he was Japanese himself. And he had said that...


“Japanese Versipilis have much more power than others.”


“Right! I don’t have as much raw strength as a Phoenix, but my skills are top of the line! I’ve got five, count ‘em five--”


“Enough of this nonsense!” Saber suddenly cut in. “Are we going to do something, or sit around talking the night away?”


“Saber’s got a point,” Nero said. “Where is this place?”


“Hold your horses.” I replied, holding my hands up placatingly. “There’s a reason I asked for us to meet here.”


“And that is...?”


“Merovitch. Can you get me in to see him, preferably without having to run into Jessica’s Dad? I need my Gauntlet fixed.”


“You won’t be able to bring out your Servant anyway, Kilroy. What’s the point?”


“One of our goals will be to destroy whatever’s preventing the Servants from De-Astralizing. Once we do...”


Nero sighed. “Fine. I can get you in. But let’s try to make things quick.”


[BGM -- End]


******


[BGM (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ad8cacyOkzI&feature=related)]


“So you have a problem with your Gauntlet? Yes, yes, I’d be happy to fix it. The ritual can’t be completed if one of the Servants can’t participate, now can it?”


Merovitch, as it turned out, was a little bald man in spectacles. He twitched a bit more than I was comfortable with, and his voice struck an unpleasant average between nervous and on the verge of cackling like a maniac.


I was starting to get a little disillusioned about Practitioners of late, to be honest.


His workshop was pretty big, and there were Gauntlets on the shelves in various stages of completion and disassembly. He examined mine.


“Yes, I see... We’ll have to replace it entirely. Now, if you’ll place the back of your hand into this machine here-- line up the Core Stone with that slot, there we go--”


There was a grinding noise, and the Core Stone came out, held in the grasp of a machine.


“There. That should keep your Servant around while I handle this next part-- Could be a bit tricky--”


All in all, it took about an hour. The new Gauntlet was a “Test Model” he had put together. He managed to put my the Command Stones from my original Gauntlet into it as well.


“So, you’re out to save Jessica, then?”


“Er, yeah. How’d--”


“Nero came in here earlier, trying to see if there was a way to track Jessica by her Gauntlet.” He shrugged. “Unfortunately, I couldn’t. Oh well.”


“Right...”


[BGM -- End]


******


[BGM (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SyQaOxUzB-U&feature=related)]


Twenty minutes later, we arrived at the massive crater in the Northern District.


“So... it’s here? Should have figured.”


“It’s kind of hard to miss, yeah.” I breathed in deeply through my teeth. “So, from what I’ve found... The guys who took Jessica are hiding out somewhere within an eight-block radius of that intersection there.”


“So, all we’ve got to do then is find it, right?”


“Yes.”


My eyes widened.


That hadn’t been me.


Or Jordan.


Or Saber.


Or Striker.


[BGM -- End]


[BGM (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYXY6oLdvqk&feature=related)]


I turned to see the figure standing on a rooftop behind us. “Lancer.”


He gave a small nod.


Nero and I exchanged glances. Now what?




Send everything at him. Take him down, now!
Have Saber fight him, everyone else search.
Have Saber and Striker attack, everyone else search.
[Reader’s Choice]

rajvir
December 20th, 2011, 09:15 AM
3

Fafnir
December 20th, 2011, 09:21 AM
I'm not sure how I feel about this.
On one hand, this is a necro. On the other, nobody really seems to care about this fic. It's kind of sad; I'll give you a pass out of pity.

Larekko12
December 20th, 2011, 05:25 PM
Wait I never voted for this?!!!?! 3 I just thought the author lost interest.

Arkanian
December 30th, 2011, 09:07 PM
I'm not sure how I feel about this.

On one hand, this is a necro. On the other, nobody really seems to care about this fic. It's kind of sad; I'll give you a pass out of pity.


Yeah. This was part of the reason I abandoned it: If no one cared enough about it enough to comment, then I had better, non fan-fiction projects to be working on. This was really just a writing exercise. I have a tendency to over-think things until I change the plot so much that I have to abandon it; I wanted to see what would happen if I were to just go with the first idea to pop into my head and then start writing.


In any case, I might as well try my hand at updating it a bit. My rule from now on is that if no one makes a choice, I don't continue.


To be honest, I was considering discontinuing it anyway. But Last night I met with a friend of mine who I hadn't seen in a while, and I mentioned that I had written this. Her response: "Oh, that was you?" We talked about it for a while, and she insisted that I finish it. So I will. And I guess if no one makes a choice, I could ask my friend or something.


Anyway, here’s the next part. I don’t think I have a very good grasp of the characters after not writing them for so long, but I’ll try anyway.








Wise Up!: The Arts of Sun Wu Kong


The being known as Sun Wu Kong, or the Monkey King as he is sometimes known, is considered to be the pioneer of the shapeshifting arts. The earliest records of Weres existing dates back to long before his time, but he was the first to take it beyond shifting between tow distinct forms.


Whether or not Sun WU Kong was born a were is unknown, as some versions of the myth state that he was an ordinary human who discovered the origins of the Weres and imitated it. Regardless of whether or not this was true, he was certainly a WereMonkey at some point. Even as he took the shapeshifting arts far beyond what was thought possible, creating many alternate forms for himself, the form of a monkey was still dominant in his arts, to the point where he was unable to prevent aspects of it from appearing in his transformations.


The arts that he developed became widespread throughout the orient. However, the large amount of power required to perform these transformations, combined with the overall decline of the power of Weres as a whole, means that few Weres born outside of Japan are capable of utilizing these arts in this day and age. It also bears noting that despite possessing enough power to use these arts, Phoenixes are incapable of actually performing them, as they are unable to complete any such transformation.




[3]: Have Saber and Striker attack, everyone else search.








Nero and I glanced at each other. “Right...” I managed. “This is a job for the Servants.”


Nero nodded. “Yeah.” He turned to Saber and the Strikers. “You guys think you can take him?”


Saber put his chin in the air. “Of course. No user of the Etheral can stand against me.”


Striker, on the other hand, looked a bit more grim. “I don’t agree. This guy has power. A lot of it. And I don’t like the looks of his gear either. I know my holy artifacts, and those things are top of the line.” He glanced at the priest. “Though I suppose we already knew that.”


“...Can you stall him, then?” Nero asked.


I nodded to that. It made sense. The enemy only had one Servant. If we could find their headquarters and get in... Well, if we could destroy whatever was blocking us from de-astralizing Servants, we could call out Executioner. Even injured, he was a force to be reckoned with. That would give us the edge we needed to stop the Practitioner--!


As one, the Striker’s grinned. “Now that,” one of them said. “Is much more my style. You can count on us!”


Nero nodded. “Good.” He turned around. “Alright, everyone got the plan? The Servants hold him off, we find where this necromancer’s holed himself up. Let’s go!”


We moved.


******


The two sides stared at each other. For a slight few seconds, neither moved.


And then... They blurred.


Lancer ran for the Masters immediately, of course. It seemed like that was it. Lancer’s agility was A Rank. Saber’s speed was C, and while Striker’s natural agility was A Rank, his clones were all a rank lower. It should have been a certain kill.


And if Striker were anyone but the Monkey King, it might have been.


The spear lashed out with A rank speed... and was stopped by C Rank strength.


Lancer merely looked dispassionately at the two Strikers that held the end of his spear in place. Many would have been surprised at seeing them spring out of nowhere to stop him, but if the golden spearman was even slightly surprised, he didn’t show it. And any expression he might have shown would have been erased as Saber struck him a split second later.


Saber’s attack was a terrifying sight to behold. He had put everything he had into striking Lancer down. He bore both of his blades now, his great holy blade held in his right hand as though it were a one-handed weapon. In his left was a far shorter sword, curved like a cavalry saber, with an ethereal blue blade so thin that it almost turned invisible when viewed head on. He was surrounded by whirlpools of golden light, his ethereal burst skill boosting his parameters to impressive heights.


Lancer was knocked back, sent flying down the street to land on his feet, apparently unharmed. His spear remained in his hand. For the second time in the battle, Lancer prepared to move, shifting the spear in his hands...


But before Lancer had even landed, Saber had prepared his next strike. The blue saber in his left hand came down...!


“Celer.”


... And a wave of blue energy came forth, as wide as the entire street. No, not a wave. For while its power rushed forth like a flash flood, its power took not the form of waves, but of men on horseback. As Lancer shifted his stance, five hundred ghostly riders were already bearing down upon him--!


But Lancer’s expression never wavered as the Riders reached him. They collided, and Lancer stumbled back... But then regained his footing and braced himself, as the wave of phantom horsemen parted against him like the tide on rocks.


Saber grit his teeth in rage. His “Celer” was a C Rank Noble Phantasm. For its attack to be weathered so easily... No, for his opponent to apparently consider it beneath him to even dodge!!


For an agonizing seven seconds, the onslaught continued. As it finally abated, Saber whipped the wolfskin cloak off of his shoulders. “Se--”


But Lancer moved first. Before Saber could finish his Noble Phantasm’s name, the spear went through Saber’s chest.


******


I grit my teeth and punched the wall of the alleyway that I was in. What exactly was I looking for? It could take forever to look through this entire area, even with all of us searching. And all that we knew was that they were hiding somewhere in this area. They could be anywhere, in any of the buildings. Worse, since it was secret, we could miss the entrance entirely, if it was in some basement or something--


I facepalmed. Of course. How had I missed it before? It wasn’t some nest of Harvesters, it was the main headquarters of a Practitioner with massive resources. Their workshop would have to take up a lot of space, more space than any of the buildings around here. Which meant that it would almost certainly have to be underground.


Normally this wouldn’t help me much, as the entrance would still be hidden, and thus hard to find. But right now... Right now, the entire street was massively torn up. If they had an underground headquarters, that might have opened up a passage...


I immediately dashed off towards the massive hole in the street.


******


One of Striker’s clones watched as Saber’s Noble Phantasm struck Lancer. As expected, it didn’t do much. He dashed over to Saber.


“Saber, this isn’t how you stall for time!”


Saber didn’t turn away from where he was watching his Phantasm. “What do you suggest, then? I refuse to bow to this upstart.”


Striker’s clone transformed himself into a copy of Saber. “You get somewhere where you can launch a sneak attack, and let me try my tricks.”


Saber glared at Striker -- but he zoomed off, disappearing from sight just as Celer faded. Lancer zoomed forward, impaling “Saber” upon his spear, and was once again unfazed as “Saber” reverted into Striker and grabbed the spear with both hands.


“Gonna have to try harder, pretty boy.”


And then another three Strikers grabbed him from behind, and eight more grabbed onto his spear, attempting to wrest it from his grasp. Lancer glanced at all of them in turn before breathing in deeply.


All of the Strikers jumped back just in time as tornado of golden flames sprang into being around Lancer’s person, incinerating the Striker impaled upon his spear.


It was about then that both of Saber’s swords struck Lancer on the back of the head.


Lancer fell forward, rolling before getting back up on his feet, facing Saber. A small amount of blood trickling down the back of his head. Striker’s eyes narrowed. Lancer’s head was unprotected. That strike should have killed him...


Striker noticed a fading unearthly light surrounding the massive earring on Lancer’s left ear. Ah. So that was it.


But knowing that wouldn’t be enough. Lancer, it seemed, was beginning to take them seriously.


This could be bad. The two of them had a plan, it was true. But it wouldn’t work. Striker had bought Saber enough time to activate the Noble Phantasm within his cloak -- telling by its absence -- but that Phantasm would be of little use. That Flame Burst ability of Lancer’s made it far less useful.


Saber’s Divinity should have allowed him to pierce Lancer’s armor far more easily than this. But it didn’t. Even Celer didn’t do much. And while Striker had about fifty copies in the wings, he couldn’t see them doing much damage. And the only ethereal arts that he could perform through them was transformation. That tended to be useful for getting past guards, not armor.


Striker’s eyes widened, and then he grinned. Now there was a thought.


Now he just needed to get Saber to go along with it...


******


I dropped down into the massive pit in the street and began walking around. The attack had opened up the sewers, but through here... I started to walk along. A pity that my sixth sense was so weak--


My teeth throbbed again--


--So I probably wouldn’t be able to tell if this was the right way through just that. And ethereal users didn’t have a sixth sense like that. The only reason Nero was able to track things the way he did was through sense of smell.


Now that I thought of it, why wasn’t Nero’s sense of smell helping here? Now that we had a relatively small area that we knew Jessica had been taken through, he should have picked up on her scent by now. Unless something was covering up the smell...


Like, say, the stench of an open sewer...


I started running now, heading through the pit towards a sewer tunnel that headed in the direction that I had seen Lancer come from. If this was the place...!


I dashed unto the tunnel--!


And about a hundred feet in, I stopped. My sixth sense wasn’t very strong, it was true. But right now it was screaming at me.


“A pity,” a familiar voice intoned, “That you had to insist on being such a pest.”


A figure stepped out of the shadows. “You.”


“Yes, me. Really, who else were you expecting?” She replied smugly. “Well, you found me.” I heard the fluttering of hundreds of wings as a wide grin split her face. “What are you going to do now?”



Call the others on your phone.
Try to get out of the tunnel and call for help.
Fight it out.
Try to kill her before she can sic her bats on you.
[Reader’s Choice]
No music this time. If you want me to add some, let me know.


I have most of the rest of the Servant fight written out already.

Larekko12
December 31st, 2011, 09:09 PM
5 Renegade interrupt her sentence with a charge. Maybe sorry i forgot to vote last time.

Arkanian
January 1st, 2012, 10:40 PM
Don't worry about it.








[4]Renegade interrupt her sentence with a charge.


By the time she finished her sentence, I was already charging at her. But I had not yet drawn my stakes. I had taken the priest’s earlier words to heart; my ranged options weren’t as easily accessible as they should be. I whipped out a pair of glass orbs from my sleeves, jumping into the air and spinning briefly as I compressed my corporeal energy and threw one in each direction down the hall -- one towards whatever was behind me, the other towards the practitioner.


Only then, as I landed from my jump, did I pull the stakes out. I stumbled as I landed, but I managed to keep going. I dashed at her, preparing to attack with my stakes, only to desperately parry with them instead as my own glass orb was tossed back at me by a bat that had apparently snatched it out of the air.


The orb hit one of the stakes in my hand and shattered, sending inch thick chunks of glass everywhere. I had managed to knock it slightly aside, but the left side of my body was still cut open in about ten places, pieces of glass sticking out.


And then the other orb detonated against my back.


I fell forward, catching myself with one of my stakes. Barely even pausing I ran straight at her, charging myself with corporeal energy to boost my speed. I nearly collapsed when the shards of glass in my body exploded as the corporeal energy I was running through my body filled them beyond capacity. But I somehow managed to keep going.


I crossed my arms in front of my face as I tackled my way through the small swarm of bats between me and my opponent. As I got in range, I thrust out with the stakes, aiming one at her stomach, swing the other upward at her throat as I came in low.


There was a flash of steel. And suddenly the stakes in my hands were so much kindling.


She held a sword in her right hand. Its blade was about two feet long and paper thin, a soft black glow emanating from its edges. She jumped back, crossing about ten feet in the space of an instant, as bats swarmed me from both sides.


I tried to break through again, but my chief weapons were done for, little more than stumps of wood in my hands.


There was little I could do as the bats began to tear me to pieces.


As my vision faded, I heard snarling from the way I came, and suddenly the bats dispersed. But it was too late.


As I bled out on the floor, everything turned black.


BAD END






I’m going to forgo the Darque and Sovereign segment because I don’t feel that I’m very good at writing them. If there were one, however, its advice would be something to this effect: Don’t try to take on a vastly superior practitioner who is ready for you without some sort of backup.


Admittedly, part of this is my fault, as there were a few things that I didn’t make clear, the biggest one being how far away she was from Kilroy -- there was about twenty feet between them, and she’s a ranged specialist.

>New Choice? Y/N

Larekko12
January 2nd, 2012, 06:36 AM
NEW CHOICE Yes Y/N Call for help and run away.

Arkanian
January 2nd, 2012, 05:13 PM
[2] NEW CHOICE Yes Y/N Call for help and run away.



Okay, I couldn’t really see myself winning this one. Time to get the hell out and get some backup.


I immediately compressed my corporeal energy as much as I could and ran back the way I came. As expected, there was a horde of bats blocking the way. A lot of them. And I had about a hundred feet to the exit. Great.


I pulled out my stakes and lashed out at the first few bats I reached, intending to knock them out of the way. Despite the fact that they were in the air, they still resisted my strikes, barely moving at all. Those that didn’t manage to dodge it, anyway. Despite the large number of bats and the close quarters, they were still managing to maneuver with ease. And I could still hear more bats coming up behind me.


I several bats got through my defenses, cutting up my skin and clothes. I managed to impale on on a stake, and felt the suction trying to drain my energy. I focused, and managed to drain it instead, but...


The fact that it was resisting -- and fairly hard, to boot -- meant that it currently wasn’t running autonomously. The practitioner was controlling these bats directly, splitting her attention hundreds of ways. If I had needed confirmation that I was outclassed, I had it.


And then I noticed some new bats. Ones that had metal blades instead of claws. Joy.


I stopped compressing my corporeal energy, and sheathed myself in it instead. That seemed to do a better job of keeping the bats off of me. They drew back for a moment, regrouping in light of this change, and I took advantage of that pause to break through, getting about ten more feet down the tunnel before they were on me again. However, the burning power that enveloped me made it harder for them to slow me down.


I fought my way through. Half a foot. Another half. I had about sixty feet to go--!


*Vwiiisk.*


A noise. Pain. I fell to one knee. I looked down. A slim steel rod, about a foot and a half long, had just gone through my right leg, just above my ankle. I lost my concentration and my sheathe fell, giving one of the bats an opening to rip the rod out of my leg, knocking me flat on my face.


******


Lancer dashed forward at Saber, going so fast he nearly vanished. Saber barely managed to get the smaller of his swords up to block in time, the impact knocking it back. He swung his greater sword down, only for Lancer’s spear to turn it aside.


Saber’s teeth began to grind. Everything about his opponents technique seemed rough. Amateurish. His sword should not have been thwarted so easily!


This was not a fight that he wanted in the first place. When he was alive, Saber had only fought for two reasons: To strike down blighted fools who used the unholy arts, or to defend his city. Against one who used the ethereal arts, Saber would be more suited to fight on his own home ground, rather than his opponent’s here... Even with his opponents poor skills, Saber himself was clearly at a disadvantage.


Of course, unlike his opponent, he wasn’t alone. A pair of Strikers leapt over his shoulders, one landing on top of Lancer’s spear, the other ducking under it. They both went in to strike, a fact that Lancer ignored, instead focusing on launching a flurry of attacks on Saber that even he couldn’t block entirely, his right shoulder and left side being torn open as he desperately tried to protect his weak points from his opponent’s blinding speed.


It was then that the Striker who had ducked under the spear struck Lancer with a palm to the gut... along with three others who had snuck into position as well. The attack completely failed to penetrate Lancer’s armor of course, but it was enough to send him flying through the air. And as he reached the apex of his flight, another striker appeared with a flash of light, standing on his spear. Grabbing the spear with his bare feet, the Striker whirled about and flung Lancer towards the ground with all of his strength... where another three Strikers were waiting.


As Lancer landed, the three Strikers struck again, attempting to knock him forward again... but Lancer’s spear spun in a burning circle, rebuffing their attempts. Lancer stabbed forward with his spear, impaling a Striker. It disappeared in a flash of light...


...And from that light a staff zoomed forward, tip-first, attempting to use the momentary burst as a screen to prevent Lancer from seeing it.


But Lancer’s vision was unimpaired, and he blocked it with the great sun wheel at the base of his spear’s blade.


There was another flash of light, and the staff became another Striker, expertly lashing out with his foot to strike Lancer’s face. But Lancer swung his spear down, striking Striker into the ground and cutting him in half.


Lancer returned to a ready stance, preparing to attack the other Strikers, only to find them jumping away. One of them turned into a staff, and was grabbed by another who leapt high in the air, directly above Lancer’s head.


And then Saber’s Noble Phantasm swept in once more.


However, it was different this time. the Noble Phantasm Celer represented a force that Saber had commanded in his lifetime. As such, he could give it orders, and have it attack in ways other than just a blind charge. In this case, he had it separate, and attack from multiple directions.


Lancer saw phantasmal horseman coming in from either side. Unlike before, he wished to dodge, but as he was about to leap into the air...


Striker’s staff began to glow brightly as he lifted it high and threw it at Lancer like a javelin.


Spear of light struck spear of light as Lancer blocked Striker’s attack. The staff faded into nothingness as the Striker that composed it burned through the last of the ethereal of the ethereal power it possessed was used up. Lancer was unharmed. But the attack had done its job.


Celer was only C Rank in its power. But its strength was not its chief advantage. As its name suggested, Celer was fast. The more power Saber put into it, the faster it went, and right now it was moving at A Rank speed. The split second delay that Striker created was enough.


And what was more, having been focused on blocking an attack from above, Lancer was unprepared for the attack from all sides. His face was still expressionless, but the attack affected him this time, causing him to stumble as the phantasmal riders attempted to trample him.


And then some of the Riders began to glow, and became Strikers. Taking advantage of Lancer’s lowered defenses, they dog-piled him, pulling him to the ground where the riders were able to trample him.


As the riders faded, Lancer got to his feet. His armor was still unblemished, but his face was bruised. And there was blood.


Lancer shifted his gaze, seeing Saber less than three feet away and preparing to strike, and spoke his first words since the fight had begun.


“Your Cloak.”


What he had noticed was indeed Saber’s cloak... or rather, its absence. Lancer had likely concluded, correctly, that the cloak was a Noble Phantasm, and that Saber had activated it earlier whilst Lancer was busy with Striker.


But if Lancer was worried about having to handle yet another Noble Phantasm being thrown at his defenses, he would be wrong to do so.


They had found a better use for it.


******


The Bats tore at me.


“Foolish boy. Did you really think that your efforts would be anything but futile? When it comes to Practitioners, I am amongst the world’s elite. You... are just some hedge practitioner from the middle of nowhere, capable of only parlor tricks. I--”


*Snarl.*


A bestial growl echoed through the tunnel, and we froze. All of us, down to the bats. The noised evoked something primal in me, a bit in the back of my brain telling me to run.


The bats lifted off of me, and I felt as much as heard the torrent of bats rushing to rally around their master. Shaking, I got to my hands and knees and saw the source of the noise.


Thirty feet behind me, the way I came, was a wolf. It was big, big enough that its head would have come up to my chest if I were standing. Its fur was silver, with a soft blue sheen that I almost dismissed as a trick of the light. It was a primal creature, one that evoked an age where man huddled in caves for protection from the wild, instead of being its masters.


And then it howled.


I shivered, as I nearly lost consciousness. What was this thing?


And then another howl answered it. And another. And another. And then there was a great howl, louder than the others. If the others were the sound of a chainsaw, this one was a jet engine going off in your ear.


The howls stopped, and the wolf began to prowl forward. That was the only word that could describe the way it moved. Prowling.


But in spite of the cold careful way that it seemed to be moving, it crossed the space between us in moments, passing me by in a blur. I tried to get to my feet, but I slipped. My head hit concrete and I passed out.


******


Nero’s ears perked up as he heard the howling. That... that was Saber’s Noble Phantasm. But more important was where the howls were coming from. Instead of the site of the battle, the sounds were scattered, one being nearby.


Nero turned to look nearby, finally seeing the spectral wolf standing atop a nearby building. He grinned, or at least the closest approximation of a grin that a wolf could accomplish. Decided to send the wolves to help us track, huh? And then his eyes narrowed as he realized what the howling meant. Looks like they found something.


Nero shifted out of his wolf form and pulled out his phone as he began to run. If they had found something, everyone needed to get there.


******


The street practically exploded as Saber and Lancer collided. Saber had struck with all of his might, even triggering his Ethereal Burst ability. But Lancer had still blocked.


Even blocking though, an A Rank attack still hurts. Lancer grunted in pain as he was pushed back, barely managing to move his spear in to block Saber’s other sword as it sought his head.


Using his great speed, Lancer moved back... only to find that nearly thirty Strikers had formed a ring around the two combatants, many of them holding staves. Lancer’s eyes narrowed. If he were to attempt to jump over the Strikers, they would doubtlessly attempt to knock him out of the air. And if he paused to fight his way through, he would leave his back open to Saber.


Activating his own Ethereal burst, Lancer dashed at Saber with all the speed he could muster.


******


My eyes opened. Well, that was a start, at least.


I was lying on my back in the tunnel, and the priest was kneeling over me, his hand out and a rosary dangling in front of my face as he prayed softly to himself. A soft golden glow surrounded him, and I could feel my wounds knitting shut.


I decided to keep quiet so as not to interrupt him, and soon enough he was done. Shakily, I started to get to my feet. The priest grabbed my arm and helped me up.


“Try not to make a habit of needing this sort of healing, son,” he said with a smile. “I’ve only got so much left in me.”


I weakly smiled back. “I’ll keep that in mind, father.”


“You’re up on your feet?” Nero’s voice cut in. “Good. We don’t have much time.”


I looked over. Everyone was there in the tunnel... as well as the wolves.


There were eight of them, all alike. They were sitting on their haunches nearby.


“Alright. We know that the Necromancer’s base is probably down this way. They’re also ready for us. Saber’s still fighting Lancer; I can feel it draining my reserves. These wolves are part of his Noble Phantasm, so I need to maintain them too. I’ll need to conserve my power if we’re going to keep them near. We can kind of understand each other, too.”


Anyway, what we need now is a plan.”


Have the wolves lead the way, follow behind with Jordan and the priest covering the sides and Kilroy watching the back.
Have the wolves cover our sides, have the Priest take point, have Jordan cover our back.
Send the wolves back to help out against Lancer, have the Priest cover our backs, have Jordan take point, have Kilroy and Nero watch the sides.
Send the wolves back to help against Lancer, have Nero take point, have Jordan cover our sides, have the Priest watch our backs.
[Reader’s Choice]

Larekko12
January 2nd, 2012, 10:08 PM
5. Two wolves to every direction. Nero in center preist behind him and us in front of him.

How's that.

rajvir
January 3rd, 2012, 06:46 PM
I agree with Larekko we get hurt often enough that having the preist with us will be helpfull also with the wolfs spreading out we are garentied to find the bad guys.

Arkanian
January 5th, 2012, 04:01 PM
I’m sorry it took so long to get this up. I have a lot going on in my life right now.

[Edit]: Although, given that the longer wait resulted in a commenter other than Larekko, perhaps I should make a habit of longer waits between updates...


5. Two wolves to every direction. Nero in center priest behind him and us in front of him.




Nero spent some time “talking” to the wolves, and they soon spread out around us, two in every direction. Two of the wolves turned to look at me as they passed. It might have been my imagination, but I could have sworn that they were glaring at me.


The priest was a ranged specialist with that rifle of his, so he went to the back. Since Nero’s only use in helping us was keeping the wolves around, we put him in the middle. Jordan and I went to the front.


After a minute or so of walking, we came to some tunnels that definitely weren’t part of the sewers. They were much bigger for starters, about thirty feet by thirty feet. We were at a fork: left or right.


Nero sniffed the air at the left hand passage. “A lot of necromantic stuff got taken this way. A were, too. Not Jessica. Some sort of cat.” He sniffed to the right. “Here we go. Jessica’s this way.” He started to turn along that path.


“Hold up.” I cut in. “Jessica’s that way... what else?”


“I’m picking up on the cat were, but it’s older. There’s an even older scent, an ordinary human who smells like... nitrous?”


The priest nodded. “That’s Benjamin.”


“If you say so... But mostly, I’m smelling bats. A lot of them, and recent too.”


“See, that’s the stuff that you really need to say. Come on.”


We reassembled our formation and headed back down the tunnel.


******


It was a few minutes later that it happened. The earth shook from something outside. We all stopped walking and looked around.


“That...” I began. “That was probably Lancer’s Noble Phantasm.”


“Yeah...”


And then the bats dropped down from the ceiling.


The priest immediately opened fire on them with precise shots from his rifle, and Jordan sent out streamers of blue flame towards the ceiling. But it happened too fast to hit all of them. And every single bat was headed for Nero.


A voice rang out. “Let’s get rid of those wolves, shall we?”


About thirty bats made it through and piled on Nero. I immediately started using my stakes to clear them off, and Jordan helped as well, his fists alight with blue fire. The wolves leaped into action... but suddenly vanished.


The bats cleared away, stopping to hover about twenty feet above us. Nero cursed, and started flicking the switch on his gauntlet back and forth.


Well, crap.


We all prepared to fight, but we couldn’t see where our enemy was. The bats merely stayed where they were. We all shared glances, trying to figure out what to do.


“Brahmastra.”


Everything went white, then black.


BAD END






Alright, let’s start off with what you did right: Putting Nero in the middle, the sniper at the back, and Kilroy at the front.


I’ll admit, however, that what you were doing wrong wasn’t entirely obvious. In fact, I suppose that this Bad End was necessary to provide the hint for what the right choice was.

rajvir
January 8th, 2012, 03:56 PM
What if we keep all of the wolfs with us and go in the same formation.

Arkanian
January 8th, 2012, 07:53 PM
What if we keep all of the wolfs with us and go in the same formation.

You mean... do the exact same thing as last time?

Larekko12
January 9th, 2012, 03:43 AM
It was either placed to much confidence in the Servant ability to kill Motherfucking lance or spread out the wolves too thin.

Arkanian
January 9th, 2012, 03:31 PM
It was either placed to much confidence in the Servant ability to kill Motherfucking lance or spread out the wolves too thin.

It wasn't the first; I suppose I could have made it much more clear than I did: The bats flicked the switch on Nero's gauntlet, de-astralizing Saber.

rajvir
January 9th, 2012, 05:04 PM
Well fuck I cannot think of a way to prevent that from happening other than staying close to nero and protecting his gauntlent... Hey can we do that say we are worried someone will try to exploit that weakness and so we will try to protect him.

Arkanian
January 9th, 2012, 10:49 PM
Well fuck I cannot think of a way to prevent that from happening other than staying close to nero and protecting his gauntlent... Hey can we do that say we are worried someone will try to exploit that weakness and so we will try to protect him.

I'll admit, the solution to this one is a bit tough, even by my standards. It's also a choice that completely violates common sense given what we know... but does make some sense given what Kilroy knows (And would make sense to the reader too, if they knew of certain properties possessed by Saber's Noble Phantasm).

That said, the last entry was kind of rushed due to me wanting to get a dead end out of the way, and as a result I didn't drop as many hints as I could have.

Larekko12
January 10th, 2012, 01:46 AM
I'll admit, the solution to this one is a bit tough, even by my standards. It's also a choice that completely violates common sense given what we know... but does make some sense given what Kilroy knows (And would make sense to the reader too, if they knew of certain properties possessed by Saber's Noble Phantasm).

That said, the last entry was kind of rushed due to me wanting to get a dead end out of the way, and as a result I didn't drop as many hints as I could have.

Do the Wolves get stronger the closer they are to saber?

Do we grill Nero on the Phantasm. Do we Abort and go try to kill lancer. Do we just hang tight back babysitting nero while the Wolves go rampaging?

Arkanian
January 15th, 2012, 11:00 PM
I'm sorry it took so long to reply. For some reason my computer wasn't letting me access this site.

Anyway, the big hint that I should have put in but didn't is that the bat lady is completely confident that Lancer can beat Saber and Striker, and completely confident that she personally can defeat Kilroy and co., but does not believe that she herself is capable of defeating the wolves. As such, She will only confront Kilroy in the open if the wolves are not there.

Like I said, this is something of a tough one, largely due to me skimping on detail.

Incidentally, you can expect me to have a somewhat sporadic update schedule, as I have a lot going on at the moment.

rajvir
January 16th, 2012, 12:54 PM
I'm sorry it took so long to reply. For some reason my computer wasn't letting me access this site.


Its okay Beast lair was down for awhile also I guess I am now voting for sending all the wolfs off searching while keeping the other with us in the same formation.

Larekko12
January 17th, 2012, 09:18 AM
I'm sorry it took so long to reply. For some reason my computer wasn't letting me access this site.

Anyway, the big hint that I should have put in but didn't is that the bat lady is completely confident that Lancer can beat Saber and Striker, and completely confident that she personally can defeat Kilroy and co., but does not believe that she herself is capable of defeating the wolves. As such, She will only confront Kilroy in the open if the wolves are not there.

Like I said, this is something of a tough one, largely due to me skimping on detail.

Incidentally, you can expect me to have a somewhat sporadic update schedule, as I have a lot going on at the moment.So to win we have to send the wolves away and hoope she won't decide ot just dematerialize Saber anyway?!! that is just nasu enough to make sense.


Send the wolves to Saber Maintain last formation.

Arkanian
January 23rd, 2012, 09:47 PM
So to win we have to send the wolves away and hoope she won't decide ot just dematerialize Saber anyway?!! that is just nasu enough to make sense.


Send the wolves to Saber Maintain last formation.

Glad you thought so.

Incidentally, I've made a pseudo-Tvtropes page for this fic on my TVTropes user page. Just search for "Arkanian" and scroll to the bottom. Whatever you do though, do not open the folder labeled "Death's Chain." It contains massive spoilers for this fic.



[X] Send the wolves to Saber Maintain last formation.


"A plan... right. Nero... I think we should send the wolves back."

Nero whirled about to face me. "Kilroy..." He growled. "Are you seriously suggesting that we get rid of our best weapon here?"

I caught Nero's gaze and matched the glare he was giving me with a level stare. "Nero, you haven't seen Lancer fighting, haven't seen his Noble Phantasm. You have *no idea* just how strong he is. I do. Trust me, Saber and Striker are going to need the help."

After a small amount of arguing, Nero begrudgingly "talked" to the wolves, and they immediately darted off. "I hope you know what you're doing Kilroy..."

"I hope so too." I muttered back. We set off.

The priest was a ranged specialist with that rifle of his, so he went to the back. Since Nero’s only use in helping us was keeping the wolves around, we put him in the middle. Jordan and I went to the front.

Hopefully we would be ready for what was to come.

******

Spear and swords clashed, sending great walls of wind splashing across the street from the sheer force of their collision. Occasionally, a Striker would dart across the space, attacking Lancer in the hopes of creating an opening.

It wasn't working.

Saber was practically foaming at the mouth. How? How was someone with such an amateurish style confounding his swordsmanship at every turn? How was someone who was quite obviously some form of peasant so easily beating back the ruler of the entire Roman Empire? Even against another Servant, it shouldn't have been possible!!

Saber knew the plan, the one that Striker had made. He had kept his wits about him enough to still strive for it, that one attack that would turn the tide. Normally his immense luck would have been sufficient to create the opening he needed, especially against one whose own luck was merely D Rank. But it was not.

It was that filthy Umbral's fault somehow, he just knew it. Him and his "vision."

What he needed was something that would distract the peasant, something more than just Striker's attacks, something that would give him the opening he needed. What he needed was...

Ah. Of course.

Saber sent forth a mental command to his wolves. He could tell that the cubs were distant, still with his master, but the She-Wolf...

He gave the order.

For the slightest moment, Lancer gave a small twitch as all heard a deep, primal roar that echoed down to their very bones, a howl louder than a jet engine. As it faded, a massive, four-story tall wolf pounced out of the darkness, aiming itself at Lancer.

Lancer barely managed to catch the spectral beast's paw upon his spear, but he still fell to the ground, the she-wolf's vast strength trying to crush him. Saber smiled grimly and ran forward.

Finally.

His sword came down.

******

After a minute or so of walking, we came to some tunnels that definitely weren’t part of the sewers. They were much bigger for starters, about thirty feet by thirty feet. We were at a fork: left or right.

Nero sniffed the air at the left hand passage. “A lot of necromantic stuff got taken this way. A were, too. Not Jessica. Some sort of cat.” He sniffed to the right. “Here we go. Jessica’s this way.” He started to turn along that path.

“Hold up.” I cut in. “Jessica’s that way... what else?”

“I’m picking up on the cat were, but it’s older. There’s an even older scent, an ordinary human who smells like... nitrous?”

The priest nodded. “That’s Benjamin.”

“If you say so... But mostly, I’m smelling bats. A lot of them, and recent too.”

“See, that’s the stuff that you really need to say. Come on.”

We reassembled our formation and headed back down the tunnel.

******

Saber's sword came down, aiming straight at Lancer's face. Normally, Lancer would have ignored it, relying on the golden earring his mother had given him to protect him while he forced the fell beast off of him. But something in the other Servant's expression told him that this time was different. As the blade came down, Lancer removed one gauntleted hand from his spear and moved to catch the blade.

He was almost too late. The blade came down, and ignored the earring's protection to bite into his forehead, his hand the only thing keeping it from fully penetrating his skull. Keeping calm, Lancer shoved back with all of his might, moving his other hand to the blade, warring with Saber's strength as the gigantic wolf tried to crush him underfoot and snapped worthlessly at his armor.

In the end, it was Lancer who won out. The two of them were equal in strength, but while Karna had less leverage, Saber was only able to push back with a single hand. The blade came out, and Saber stumbled backwards. In that opening, Karna laid both of his hands back on his spear and called forth his flames, sending the beast sprawling. He stopped and closed his eyes, feeling for his earring's power to discover what had gone wrong, only to feel nothing.

His earring's power was gone.

He couldn't say for sure when it had happened. Saber had kept him off balance enough in their fight that he hadn't had time to notice his earring's apparent disempowerment. But it had been absent before then, he realized. So when...

Then. There it was. When Saber had used his Noble Phantasm for the second time. When he had been trampled. His earring's lesser protection had allowed some of the attacks to come through, to be felt... And he had felt a sharp pain on his ear...

It was about then that his earring turned into a monkey and punched him in the face.

******

It was less than a minute later when the fighting began.

The priest saw them first, pulling up his rifle and snapping off several shots into the darkness ahead of us. I was puzzled for a moment, until I saw gian bats bursting into flames not thirty feet ahead. Once we saw that we all jumped into it. Nero backed off, coming to a stop just behind the priest. Jordan leaped up into the air and flung out streamers of blue fire at the approaching bats. And then they were on us.

There were hundreds of them, filling up the tunnel so thickly that it was like a furry, biting, wave. I struck out with my stakes, taking down a handful of them, but it was a drop in the ocean.

And then Jordan threw a massive ball of blue flames at them, which promptly exploded.

I dropped to the ground and started rolling to put the flames out. When that was done, I jumped up and glared at Jordan. "Oi!"

He gave me an apologetic look. "Sorry. Just getting us some breathing room."

I swerved around to face the bats again. They were still there, but about forty feet away now, regrouping for another go after a hasty retreat. Much closer to use was a large pile of bats, wreathed in blue flames. "You couldn't invest in fireproofing?" I called out. "Guess you're not such hot stuff after all, heh." I paused for a moment. Had I really just made that pun? Did that even count as a pun, even? "I guess you're more of a quantity than a quality type, huh."

"Well, in Africa there's always plenty of materials. You can find something to work with just lying in pits off the side of the road." The bats parted to allow their master through. She gave us a condescending look. "And I can't help but notice that you are rather lacking in quality yourselves. I would have thought that you would have at least brought the wolves with you. As you are now... out of all of you, only the kitsune is even the slightest threat."

I tightened my grip on my stakes. She was right there. I was the closest. I could charge her...

No, I needed a plan. But what could I do? What could we do?



1. Just reader's choice at the moment. I might add some options later.


Incidentally, any guesses on Saber's identity? You have more than enough information now to figure it out...

Larekko12
January 23rd, 2012, 11:06 PM
What is romulus or Remus for 5000?

Also

Bait and switch charge then retreat to side so that the preist can fill her with or attempt while disrupt her assault and close evem more then fakeout past here while she get a load of fireball cause is would be insane for them to fire with us so close but he does it anyway?

Arkanian
January 24th, 2012, 04:13 PM
What is romulus or Remus for 5000?

Also

Bait and switch charge then retreat to side so that the preist can fill her with or attempt while disrupt her assault and close evem more then fakeout past here while she get a load of fireball cause is would be insane for them to fire with us so close but he does it anyway?





As she finished her words, I charged forward. She merely rolled her eyes and reached behind her to pull out a rather plain looking blade. But when I had crossed about three quarters of the distance between us, I jumped and rolled to the right. "Priest!!"

A shot rang out, and the woman was knocked to the ground, screaming in pain as golden light flowed out of an entry wound on her stomach. I had time to notice a ring of blue energy crackling merrily around it before I shouted again. "Jordan! Torch her, now!"

Jordan complied, sending a nearly blinding streak of blue light soaring towards her. She waved her hand weakly, and a cloud of bats swooped forward to block it. As they fell to the ground, a pair of bats lifted her to her feet, and the horde swooped in.

******

By his nature, Lancer was not prone to things like hatred or anger. As a point of fact, he was quite literally incapable of it. But if one did not know this, one could be forgiven for thinking that he seemed almost... irritated...

Quickly destroying the Striker that was gripping him, Lancer reached out for his earring with his mind... and was rather surprised to find nineteen of them instead of one. The signature for each one was... muffled. Striker had likely created eighteen fakes, and then used his ethereal powers to disguise the real one's signature to match the others. Lancer quickly marked in his mind which Striker clones were carrying an earring, and then discarded the thought. He could waste time trying to find the real one, it was true, but this battle had gone on long enough.

Lancer leaped high into the air. He raised his spear over his head, and said one word.

"Brahmastra."

******

The horde rolled in. But they weren't the only ones rolling. As quick as I could, I darted under the swarm, chasing the woman. She apparently hadn't noticed me; as I crawled through the space beneath them, none of the bats attacked me.

After a minute or so, the ground suddenly rumbled. I kept on, and moments later came across a clearing in the bats.

The woman was sitting against a wall, her eyes closed and fluttering. In front of her was a puddle of black liquid. Sitting in it was a bullet, silver with green and gold designs worked into it. WHatever the liquid was, it was boiling. I snuck up close...

I was about a foot away when she noticed me. Here eyes widened, and she lashed out with her sword. Fortunately, I was prepared. By the time her strike launched,my stakes were sheathed in corporeal energy and lashing out, one striking the flat of the blade, the other catching her wrist. The sword fell from her hands, and I struck at it with a stake, knocking it away...

Ad exposing my back to her. Oops.

Her hands came down, claws digging deeply into my back, twisting to cause as much damage as possible. She lifted me up over her head, and threw me across the tunnel to slam into the far wall. I scrambled to my feet, ignoring the burning I felt in my back, and saw her stepping back into the circle, sword in hand.

It was odd. She should have sent her bats in to attack me by now, and yet she hadn't. I glanced at the ground, where the bullet was. The puddle it had been in was tiny now, about the size of a quarter when it had previously been a foot across. I looked at the bats. They were circling us now in some sort of holding pattern. I could hear gunshots and bursts of flame from down the hallway, and each time it happened the swarm would pulse for a moment, and then more would flow into that direction. But from the sound of it, while my friends were fighting the bats, the bats were barely fighting back at all...

I glanced at the bullet again. The puddle was completely gone now, having apparently boiled away. So. That was how it was.

Whatever that bullet was, it packed some serious punch when used on practitioners. And even though she had pulled it out, the damage had to be wreaking havoc with her focus while she tried to repair her injuries manually. From the looks of it, at the moment she could only control a few of her bats at a time. The rest were moving in a preset pattern, defending her until she could fix herself enough to take back control.

If we were going to make it out of this, I had to defeat her before that happened.


1. Time for an epic sword duel! Let's take her down the old fashioned way!
2. If her focus is shot, her willpower should be too. Let's drain her dry.
3. Who knows how good she is with that sword. We should try ranged attacks.
4. We can't do this alone! Let's clear a path for our friends!
5. There's more to this than just me. If we use the terrain to our advantage...
6. [Reader's Choice]

rajvir
January 24th, 2012, 04:35 PM
4

Larekko12
January 24th, 2012, 05:56 PM
Can we slapshot that bullet at her then pounce in the distraction.

Arkanian
January 24th, 2012, 07:50 PM
Can we slapshot that bullet at her then pounce in the distraction.

That's part of what the "use the environment" option entails

Larekko12
January 24th, 2012, 09:57 PM
[x] Use you environment to distract her and beat like a read head step child and break a whole open for your friend.

Ex getting her stay any kind of still and spotting her for the sniper.

rajvir
January 25th, 2012, 04:59 PM
personaly I am leaning towards 4 as with our friends helping us we will more likely win plus we can take advantage of the environment after we clear the way for our friends.

Arkanian
January 27th, 2012, 10:30 PM
4.We can't do this alone! Let's clear a path for our friends!

Right. I didn't think that I could manage this without help. Injured or not, she was still a High Practitioner with possibly centuries of experience as an edge over me.

The problem was, how to get help. The bats were between me and my allies. From the looks of it, every time they took down a bat, more would rush in to fill the gap. And the practitioner seemed to have a nearly unlimited number of them. So i needed to figure out something that would clear a space extending from me to them, and keep it open long enough for them to get through. A rather difficult proposal.

I checked my equipment. I had my stakes, my glass grenades, and a pair of hearts. That was it.

I supposed, If I were to drain both hearts in one go...

I impaled the hearts on my right hand, and turned to face the wall of bats between myself and my allies. The books I had found had said that the trick I was about to pull was possible, but ill-advised. Well, desperate times...

I drew in all the power from both hearts. Immediately, pain wracked my entire body, and I fell to my knees. Focusing through the pain, I took all of that energy and sheathed it around my left arm. There was a lot more than I had thought there would be. My arm felt like it was about to explode. No, it felt like it actually was exploding, like something was pumping my arm full of air and it was about to burst. With a scream of pain, I sent all of that power barreling down the tunnel.

It hurt. It hurt a lot. I couldn't even hold myself upright any more, falling flat on my face. But from the looks of it, all of the bats in that direction were done for. What few bits remained were scattered in pieces, burning merrily with black flames.

Nearly a hundred feet away, I saw my allies. Jordan, obviously exhausted, lowered a shield of blue flame that looked like it was about to peter out anyway. I heard bats start to flutter overhead, and my allies immediately started rushing in my direction.

My left arm still hurt. I turned to look at it, and cringed. About halfway up my forearm, my flesh was burnt away, leaving only bone. To my surprise, despite lacking muscles to move them, my fingers on that hand were twitching.

******


Okay guys, author here. I'll be honest with you, I originally thought option four would be a dead end, as I didn't think that Kilroy had any method to break through the bats. Then I remembered the hearts. I'll be honest though, if we go forward from here it'll result in some fairly major plot changes. So I decided to leave it up to you guys to decide whether this is a dead end or not. To elaborate, here are the options:

1. Dead End. While he's weak and helpless on the floor, the enemy Practitioner runs Kilroy through with her sword. Return to last choice.
2. Keep going. Kilroy gets together enough willpower to keep moving and fight the practitioner. He survives, but he's in dire condition, his ethereal energy is going haywire and causing more damage. And he still needs to fight the practitioner in this state, and then rescue Jessica (And deal with what's waiting for him at the cells).

It's your call.

Larekko12
January 28th, 2012, 12:26 AM
How much pity can we milk this for? Also failing that can this lead to our hidden trait acting up becuase I favor dead environmental attact myself?

Arkanian
January 28th, 2012, 01:47 AM
How much pity can we milk this for? Also failing that can this lead to our hidden trait acting up becuase I favor dead environmental attact myself?

...Not sure I follow all of that.

ANd if you're referring to Kilroy's "Hell Mode" as I call it, no it won't trigger that. Only a very limited array of stimulus can do that.

rajvir
January 28th, 2012, 02:28 PM
I want to continue this it will be interesting to see what will happen with Kirllroy badly injured.

Larekko12
January 28th, 2012, 03:16 PM
I want environment usage.

I also would like to know why the kitsune couldn't Flame wheel fire fox by igniting his and running through the bats

Arkanian
January 28th, 2012, 03:52 PM
I want environment usage.

I also would like to know why the kitsune couldn't Flame wheel fire fox by igniting his and running through the bats

Jordan can create fire, but he isn't fireproof. If he tried that, he'd burn to death before he got there.

So I take it I can put you down for "Go back to previous choice?" Alright let's see if anyone else votes...

rajvir
January 28th, 2012, 03:56 PM
Jordan can create fire, but he isn't fireproof. If he tried that, he'd burn to death before he got there.

So I take it I can put you down for "Go back to previous choice?" Alright let's see if anyone else votes...
I honestly will be surprised if anyone else votes.

Arkanian
January 28th, 2012, 04:44 PM
I honestly will be surprised if anyone else votes.

Yeah, me too. : (

Larekko12
January 28th, 2012, 04:56 PM
But seriously loosing function in your arm having to bleed Corporaeal enrgy like a seive to fix it is not cool when you are about to fight a practioner who is recevering while one of your boys is exhausted. I would haverather lost the arm killing somehting important. Unless this can invoke the kind of reaction in our pheonix frined that can send her beyond the impossible in loving sorrow to ascend to pheonix form, heal us , and kick major ass.

Arkanian
January 28th, 2012, 06:05 PM
But seriously loosing function in your arm having to bleed Corporaeal enrgy like a seive to fix it is not cool when you are about to fight a practioner who is recevering while one of your boys is exhausted. I would haverather lost the arm killing somehting important. Unless this can invoke the kind of reaction in our pheonix frined that can send her beyond the impossible in loving sorrow to ascend to pheonix form, heal us , and kick major ass.


Um, no. No, that's not going to happen.

Larekko12
January 28th, 2012, 06:24 PM
Um, no. No, that's not going to happen.

so Retcon to using the environement.

Arkanian
January 31st, 2012, 01:31 AM
so Retcon to using the environement.

My situation was... problematic. The bats swirling around us were cutting me off from my friends -- it was pure luck that I had gotten through. Injured or not, the enemy was a High Practitioner with decades of experience on me, possibly centuries. She was a ranged specialist, and I was a melee specialist... But even that edge probably didn't help enormously. Any ranged specialist who knew what they were doing would have a melee option just in case.

I had another edge on her though. She was a High Practitioner... I wasn't. Which meant that she was the only one here hurt by ethereal energy. I spared a quick glance at the bullet on the floor. This could work. Everything was tilted in my favor. I just had to make it work.

I pulled my stakes out and lunged forward, aiming at both her and the bullet. They were right by each other, after all. When I was about ten feet away, her eyes shot open. A pair of bats swooped in and grabbed her shoulders, lifting her to her feet. Trembling slightly, she drew a sword, a two foot long blade of shining steel. The bats flapping away to keep her upright, she moved forward to meet me, her unsteady steps moving her between myself and the bullet.

Crap.

Deciding to risk it, I thrust out with the stakes, aiming one at her stomach, swinging the other upward at her throat as I came in low.

Her next move was only barely faster than my own. Her blade swept out, knocking away both of my stakes in a single swing. I dodged right, keeping myself facing her as I moved. If I could just get behind her...

She struck again, but her shaking arms gave away her move before she made it. My stakes formed an "X" formation as they caught the blade. They held, the sword inflicting only scratches upon their surface. It was a well made sword... but it was just steel. I didn't know what sort of wood my stakes were made from, but they could take a lot of punishment. Bracing myself against the concrete floor, I shoved her back.

She stumbled back, her bats steadying her before she could go more than three steps. But it was enough. Ducking low, I lunged for the bullet...

Only for her blade to lash out at an absolutel, knocking it into the darkness.

******

Lancer walked over to Saber's prone body. Mote of golden light licked away at his sides, one here, another there. He wasn't long for this world. In his time in this war, Lancer had yet to see any who could survive the Brahmastra. It was inevitable, really, once it had come to this. Lancer turned away. All that was left was to see if any of Saber's "assistants" remained. He had to be thorough...

Lancer stopped. Slowly, he turned his head to look at his fallen enemy. It was convenient. The might Saber, the strongest class, felled by his Noble Phantasm... Lancer turned around and walked over to Saber, raising his spear over his head. He had been fooled once...

******

I pushed my opponent back once more, her sword nicking my arm as I did so. Her strike earlier, had been fueled by desperation, far mightier than her current attacks. But I could tell that she was getting stronger. Steadier. Faster.

I didn't have much time.

We jumped back, I on my own power, her by her bats. We stopped, ten feet between us, and regarded each other coldly.

This wasn't working. I could tell that she was better than me, more skilled. The only thing offsetting that was her fatigue. She was less polished than she normally would have been, and I could read her moves. But it was getting harder. I needed a plan.

Something came to me. My stakes were hardly my only weapon, were they. I had other tools, other skills. In my eagerness to press my advantages, I had somehow let her dictate the terms of our battle. That ended here.

My hand darted into a pouch on my belt, and came out holding a glass orb. I had no doubt that my enemy recognized it for what it was. It was a fairly basic trick. She had to know that I would charge it with corporeal power, and throw it at her. She had to know that a heavy enough impact would fracture its structure, violently releasing whatever energy was stored inside. She probably had a counter to that sort of thing, and I had a good idea what that counter was, as it was the most effective tactic against something with that sort of trigger. And she would use that tactic, because she knew what I was doing. Because it was the only trick an amateur brawler of a Practitioner would use with that sort of tool.

Which was precisely why I wasn't doing that.

I held the orb in my hand, keeping it there for just the right amount of time for it to reach a full charge. And then, I threw it straight at her.

She reacted exactly as I expected. The orb would only trigger with an impact, so she couldn't deflect it; she couldn't dodge it, either, on the off chance that it hit something behind her and sent shards into her back. So she did the smart thing, and didn't let it get set off at all.

In other words, she caught it. And then she threw it right back at me.

At the speed it was going, even if I caught it, it would still be moving fast enough to detonate. And as a ranged specialist she was good with trajectories; if I dodged, it would no doubt detonate behind me and catch me in the back.

Which was why it was a good thing that I hadn't bothered to charge it up in the first place. For that matter, I hadn't stayed still when she was acting, either.

The moment the orb was in the air, I impaled my hand on one of the hearts in my pocket, taking its power to sheath my entire body in corporeal energy. At the same time, I charged at her. When she threw the orb at me, I caught it, the orb hitting my hand hard enough to hurt. It was empty, with no corporeal energy inside of it. But as I held it, the energy surrounding me began to seep in, filling it up. I let it.

Sheathing myself in corporeal energy was a pretty effective trick. It essentially turned my body into a living lightsaber -- albeit one that was significantly worse at cutting. But when I did it with my entire body, there was another effect. It made my movements unreadable.

When I had that much power out, it didn't cling to my body; there was too much of it for me to keep it there without difficulty. So instead of turning me into a black silhouette of myself, the energy just surrounded me with a large hollow sphere... effectively masking my movements from view.

Which was why she moved to block two stakes based on where she judged my arms to be, when I was really attacking with just one. My left hand wasn't holding a stake, but the orb. More to the point, It wasn't attacking from where she thought it was, either. Her sword swept through the air, knocking aside the stake in my right hand... that she thought was in my left.

In that split second when she was distracted, I had taken a risk. I had jumped... tilting my body in such a way that would certainly become painful if this didn't work. Had I been running normally, my left hand would be where my right hand was now. And my right hand would have occupied the space that was currently occupied... by my right leg.

WHile the orb of energy that surrounded me grazed the concrete, my entire body was in the air, almost parallel to the ground.

My right hand came down, the stake stabbing into the ground to catch me as I landed a foot in front of her. Using the stake as a pivot, I swung around on the ground with the momentum of my landing before planting my feet into the ground and pushing up, lunging upward at her face from her right side...

And slamming the glass orb in my left hand straight into the right side of her face.

As it detonated, I focused all the energy from my sheathe, using all of my concentration to form a small concussive blast in an attempt to keep myself from being hit by the fragments. It... wasn't something that was normally advisable, but I was desperate.

It hurt like hell, naturally. Not only did many of the shards dig into my hand, but the pain that shot up my left arm was agonizing. As the blast subsided, my left arm fell to my side, numb and limp.

But if I was bad, she was worse. A massive hole had been torn out of the right side of her face, a half circle going from just above her right eye, to her nose, to just under her mouth. The other side of her face... looked panicked.

She waved her left hand in a strange gesture, and suddenly the bats behind her began to rush forward in streams. It was a new pattern.

And it was headed straight for me.

******

A sharp yelp echoed through the night as Lancer batted another wolf aside. The eight creatures had arrived just as he was about to finish off their master. Once again, Saber had proven lucky.

But these wolves were not as powerful as their master. Not even the massive one that seemed to think that Lancer hadn't noticed it trying to sneak up on him. Even taking it easy like he was, he could defeat them.

It was only a matter of time.

******

I ducked under another stream of bats as my enemy ran away, somehow managing to stay facing me the entire time. Pleasantly enough, the bats weren't moving in an attack pattern. It was a preset pattern designed to shift the bats from forming a circle around their master to forming a singular wall between them and the enemy. While this did mean that the bats weren't flying at me specifically... it still meant that massive streams of them were flying at me in random patterns, and forming a wall of bats behind me. A wall that was closing in fast. And I had no doubt that getting caught in that wall would be bad.

And worse, she was getting her strength back. She was retreating almost as fast as I was advancing. But while she apparently had the current pattern memorized, I still had to slow down whenever a stream of bats unexpectedly shot out in my direction. And in the minute or so since this had started, she had built up a large gap between us.

And then, out of the blue, the bats stopped.

So. It seemed that they weren't endless after all.

Then I stared. Behind my enemy... Behind her...

Was a massive vault door.

It was the kind that you see in shows, a massive disc of steel with a large spoked wheel on it. On the left side was a large lock of some sort, with a combination on it. She was sliding the wheels, clicking them into place as I dashed at her. The lock came open. She went to turn the wheel... And my stake came down through the gap between them, forcing her to step back.

We stared at each other for a moment, uncertain. Then she started to laugh.

"Hahaha... That look... You are trying to look powerful. Determined. But you only look foolish. I was feeling afraid of you... But now I can't think of why. You only got lucky. You did nothing that I cannot fix." She held her sword in front of her and closed her remaining eye. After a moment, a soft black glow appeared around the blade. "Your stakes cannot harm me now, American. You fought well for a foreigner, but now that I have my breath back..." Her eye opened, meeting my own with a renewed vigor. "It's over!"

I grit my teeth and lunged forward with the stake in my right hand. Like hell I was giving up now...! The tip of my stake met the tip of her sword...

CRICK.

...And the stake gave way, splitting down the middle, almost down to the handle.

"Hmph." She twisted her blad violently, flinging me to the ground. "Please. Your weapons are well made, reinforced... but they cannot stand up to steel that has been strengthened by my power."

I crawled backward across the floor to put some space between us, only to slip as a pebble rolled underneath me, slamming my back into the concrete. She calmly began to limp towards me, sword raised and glowing.

Once she got to me, If I didn't do something, it really would be over. I glanced at the stake in my right hand. It had enough cohesion that you could hardly tell, but it was cracked straight through. I couldn't fight her hand to hand. Not any more.

******

Lancer spun his spear, knocking away all of the wolves that leapt at him. At most, the creatures could have made themselves an annoyance. They were mere beasts, unguided at that. They were nothing. But they were in the way.

Lancer had finally wearied of it. He walked over to Saber and wound back his arm, preparing to end it.

When the wolf bit down on his spear to prevent him from striking, Lancer's only reaction was a backward glance. Any lesser man would have rolled his eyes. He turned back to his prone foe and moved to strike, trying to shake off the wolf as it held him back.

But Saber had not been idle. Even as parts of him began to disappear, he was still alive. He reared up, sword in hand, using all his remaining strength for one great blow.

As the blow came, Lancer moved with immense speed, taking one step to the side. Lancer shifted his spear to meet the blow, slamming the wolf into Saber's blade.

******

By the time she was there, I was already on my feet, placing the stake back into my right hand. It would have to be my right; I hadn't regained all motor control to my left yet. As she came within a few feet, I readied myself.

My enemy rolled her eyes when she saw me thrusting forward once more with my stake. Her blade moved in to intercept it. She caught my stake's tip on the flat of her sword...

And the sword promptly shattered.

It had come to me then. It hadn't been a pebble I had slipped on. It was too smooth, too round. So it wasn't a pebble.

It was a bullet. A bullet that, in desperation, my enemy had knocked away with all the force that she could muster. Enough force to send it all the way down the tunnel, knocking it into the wall at the end.

By pure happenstance, I had found that bullet. I had taken it. And I had wedged it into the crack in my stake, tipping my weapon with mighty sanctified metal.

Her sword, charged as it was with corporeal energy, hadn't stood a chance. Yes, the energy reinforced it. But exposed to ethereal energy of that caliber, it had reacted violently. And Practitioner's steel was one of the least stable materials in a Practitioners arsenal. She managed to avoid the rest of my strike, but that was okay. She was weaponless now.

And my next attack went straight for her remaining eye.

******

Lancer quirked an eyebrow as he slipped into a ready stance. "I see... So your Noble Phantasm had such an ability all along..."

Saber rolled his shoulders, stretching them as vitality and prana flowed into his body. "Yes, it did. Lupercal represents the wolves that saved me as a child, and raised me. Naturally it has healing capabilities."

"And activated by killing them... You must have an odd legend."

"Well, I..."

"I care not. I need not learn your name. I have your measure, now.

"Let us end this."

******

She had caught it.

She. Had. Caught it.

I grit my teeth as I tried to force my stake to penetrate the last few centimeters of air between its tip and her skull, glaring at the two hands that feebly grasped it and held it back, even as their flesh boiled away. Didn't she know when to give up?

I tried to move my left arm. It flailed weakly, slapping at her hands without doing much else. I had strained it too much earlier, when I had pried apart the stake to place the bullet into its tip. All I had was my right arm.

I strengthened it with my power, managing to cover a centimeter and a half before she managed to stop it again. her face started melting, but she still hadn't let go.

"Just. Give. Up." I growled.

"Never." She hissed back. And then... she started pushing me back.

She was strong. Very strong. And getting stronger. More desperation, I suppose. I was slowing her down, but she was winning. Ever so slowly, she was pushing the stake...

Wait. She wasn't pushing it away any more. But she was still pushing it.

It took me a moment to figure out what she was doing. I glanced down at the stake. Because of the bullet making the stake useless for its usual purposes, I hadn't impaled my hand on it. The spine I usually did that with -- abnormally long on this specific model -- was uncovered. And pointing up.

And as of that moment, heading straight for my neck.

If she managed to push it the rest of the way, she could slice my throat open easily. I knew from experience that that spine was sharp enough to do the job.

The stake was still pointed at her head. But as the spine began to cross the few last inches between its tip and my carotid artery, I realized that it didn't matter.

Or at least, so I thought. Because just then, when the spine reached the final inch between its point and its final destination... the vault door swung open with an amazing force, slamming right into my enemy's back and flinging us into the wall.

My head met concrete. For a split second, I blacked out. As I blinked the spots out of my eyes, I saw my enemy's face inches from mine... My stake going straight through her forehead. Her entire head was beginning to simply... melt away. I tossed her body off of me, leaving the stake planted in it just in case. I got to my feet, and stumbled over to the door. It was wide open, as was the door behind it. Through there... were cells.

I glanced behind me. The massive wall of bats was still there. Maybe they still had enough corporeal energy stored in them to keep functioning autonomously for some time. Maybe their master just wasn't quite dead yet. But either way, my allies wouldn't be able to come help.

I turned back to the door. Just through it were the cells, and a small door to what appeared to be a closet on the right, just barely past the vault's opening. There was a note taped to it. I read it, and blinked in surprise.

In sloppy handwriting, the note read "Confiscated weapons & Shit."

I somehow doubted that the woman I had just fought had written it.

There was also the matter of who had opened the vault door. It was impossible for me to have missed someone being out in the tunnel with us while we fought. So it must have been opened from inside. But no one had come through...

I couldn't just rush in. I needed to think.

1. Rush in.
2. Check out the confiscated weapons, arm yourself.
3. Retrieve your holy weapon, then do one of the other options.
4. Call into the room to see who's there.
5. Reader's Choice.

Larekko12
January 31st, 2012, 01:31 PM
So I guess we can't rape her body of it energy as she dies in a non sexual way.
[x]Back to a wall shuffle in and grab something to fight with effectively in your functional hand.

Arkanian
January 31st, 2012, 03:26 PM
So I guess we can't rape her body of it energy as she dies in a non sexual way.


Er, no. You couldn't have phrased it some other way?

I'll be waiting to see if there are any other votes. In the mean time, since his identity's pretty much in the open now...



Class: Saber
True Identity: Romulus
Strength: B
Agility: C
Endurance: B
Capacity: A
Luck: A
Noble Phantasm: A

Skills:

Magic Resistance: B
Claim of Divine Right: B (Allows for the creation of an "Empire" territory by plunging his sword into the ground. The effects of this are currently unknown)
Conduit for the Ethereal: A (Any weapon he holds becomes a "sacred weapon." At this rank, even his bare fists are holy weapons of the highest order)
Ethereal Arts: B (Skill in working with the ethereal. As one of the first users of the craft in its current form, his techniques are not quite as complex as the ones of the modern day)
Riding: A
Divinity: C (He is a descendant of Venus. Furthermore, he was deified after his death)
Pioneer of the Stars: A (He founded the Roman Empire)
Animal Dialogue: C (As he was raised by wolves, he can understand their speech to a slight degree. While he cannot understand specific words, he can understand basic intent)
Charisma: A
Holy Burst: B

Noble Phantasms:

???: Saber's first Noble Phantasm. Its name and abilities are currently unknown.

Lupercal: C (Anti-Army, Support): A wolf-skin cape that calls forth the great wolves who raised him. The great she-wolf, Lupa, possesses stats of rank C In all save luck and mana; the lesser wolves have stats of D. As the wolves saved Romulus, only to be slain when he no longer needed them, he may kill one of the eight lesser wolves to heal all of his injuries.

Severed Elysium: A (Support, Anti-Personnel) Saber's chief Noble Phantasm. It is his preferred weapon in a fight, and its use is required for him to employ 'Claim of Divine Right.' However, its other abilities are unknown.

Celer: C (Anti-Personnel, Anti-Army): This sword is a representation of the Celeres, Romulus’ personal guard of 500 horsemen who enforced his rule. When used, swinging it calls forth the phantoms of the Celeres to sweep across his enemies at up to A Rank speed and crush them. As he would sometimes take personal command of them during life, he may give them orders using Severed Elysium, redirecting the phantom riders into military formations of his choosing. It has one other ability, but it is as of yet unknown.

rajvir
February 1st, 2012, 03:19 PM
3 and then 2

Arkanian
February 18th, 2012, 03:53 PM
3 and then 2

I hesitated. I was in pretty bad shape even before a massive vault door had slammed into me. If it was another High Practitioner in there, I was sunk. I stumbled past the vault door, nearly falling over as I grabbed the edge to look at what lay back outside, the stake sticking out of the corpse. Without that, and on my own, I wouldn't stand much chance against a High Practitioner. Shaking, I leaned up against the wall for support as I walked over. A few tugs freed the stake. I checked it to make sure that the bullet was still in it... and dropped it in surprise as I heard a loud crash coming from the cells.

Fumbling, I managed to pick it up and jogged over to the door. Going through, I stopped at the confiscated weapons and flung it open. It was full of all sorts of things -- crucifixes, canteens, a squirt gun, some odd-looking grenades, all sorts of knick-knacks... but what really stood out was the spear. It had a long black shaft, made out of some material that I couldn't identify. The blade was an odd red color, with wavy sides that were still sharp and a long groove running up the flat. One side of the blade was almost straight, the other more steeply angled, almost forming a right triangle. There was a small hole on the angled side, just behind the tip, going deep into the blade. As I grabbed it, I noticed a trigger on the shaft.

It was about then that there was another great crash... and a shriek.

"Jessica!"

Shouting out, I ran into the cells. There was a corpse slammed into a column in the center of the room, but I ignored it. Jessica was in one of the cells. "Jessica! Are you alright!"

She was panicking, her eyes wide. "Kilroy, get Executioner out here now! He's still around!"

"What?" I whirled about, coming face to face with...

Nothing. There was nothing behind me.

"Kilroy! Behind you!"

I tried to turn back around... only for everything to turn into pain. I looked down. A black spike was sticking out of my chest.

GOD.

DAMN.
it...


BAD END


Hey guys. Sorry about the hiatus. I took so long to get back to this because midterms.

Larekko12
February 19th, 2012, 08:59 PM
[x] rush and interrupt the murder.

Arkanian
February 19th, 2012, 10:16 PM
1. Rush In

Ah, screw it. Nearly tripping on the doorframe, I rushed into the room.

It was a set of jail cells, a row of them to the left and another to the right. There were a few columns down the middle of the room, dead ahead, and two more cells on the opposite end of the room. As I walked in, I could see that one of the cells on my left had had the bars cut out and flung aside, with a single strike from the looks of it. A loud clang emanated from inside. I stumbled over, my head starting to clear.

Moments later, a man jumped out of the cell, still facing it as he landed. he held out his hand, palm forward, and power flowed out of it, forming a wall of golden light in front of the cell, preventing whatever was inside from escaping.

The man himself was about in his twenties, with unkempt brown hair. He wore long grey pants and a black shirt with super-short sleeves that only went about an eighth of the way down his upper arm.

"Benjamin?" I called out.

He turned to look at me in surprise. Just as he opened his mouth to reply, something slammed against the wall of light that he had erected. He turned towards it, gritting his teeth and raising his other hand to reinforce it. "I don't care who you are," He shouted out. "If you're an ally, get me my weapons! There should be a pair of spears in that closet behind you! If you can get them, I can fight this guy!" The slamming against the shield was happening several times per second now. "Hurry!"

I turned around, having to lean against the wall as a wave of dizziness hit me. Shaking my head clear, I opened the door to the closet. There were various things in there, but only one spear. I stepped into the closet, turning around to see if it was to either side of the door. No luck. I grabbed the spear that was there, and turned around to find out that the door had swung shut on me. Just great. It took me about ten seconds of fumbling to get it back open.

I ran back out with the spear. "There was only one there!"

Benjamin was starting to turn pale. Actually, now that I had a good look at him, it looked like he had been in pretty bad shape even before he had been forced to maintain a shield that was apparently being attacked at super-speed. He turned his head to look at me. "The--"

The shield broke, and he stumbled back. A dark shape whipped out from the cell, slamming into his chest, tearing it open and sending him flying into one of the columns in the center of the room. And then, nothing. I ran over, stake out... But the cell was empty. I turned around and knelt down to look at Benjamin. He was bleeding out, but he was still alive. And he was mumbling something. I leaned in to hear.

"Be...hind... you..."

I tried to turn back around... only for everything to turn into pain. I looked down. A black spike was sticking out of my chest.

GOD.

DAMN.
it...


BAD END

Larekko12
February 19th, 2012, 10:23 PM
[x]Run and go grab a wepaon that can keep a superiror opponent at range NO GAWKING!

Last time before I say fuck it and try to get the guys while leaving foo to die,

Arkanian
February 21st, 2012, 10:18 PM
[x]Run and go grab a wepaon that can keep a superiror opponent at range NO GAWKING!

Last time before I say fuck it and try to get the guys while leaving foo to die,

Should I take that to mean option two, then?



In any case, there are two things that you should keep in mind. First, whenever I offer multiple options, at least one of those will lead to somewhere other than a dead end. While fill-ins can often lead to results that are superior to the preset options, you can always fall back on just trying the ones I supply if you get stuck.

The other thing is this: The solution to this puzzle has to do with time, and the amount of time spent. You have just barely enough time to accomplish what you need to stay alive, if you take into account the fact that Kilroy doesn't know how urgent things are. Too many unnecessary actions will expend the timeframe that Kilroy has. Also, Kilroy can perform unnecessary actions while trying to do necessary ones, due to not knowing that they are unnecessary; for example, since Benjamin told him to look for two spears, he wasted time looking for a spear that wasn't actually present.

Does that help at all?

rajvir
February 24th, 2012, 04:40 PM
Well I guess we can try 4 then.

Larekko12
February 24th, 2012, 06:04 PM
Lets talk this out. GEtting the weapon take to much time. X

Rushing in gets us sent back cuase Kilroy lacks the eyes of God X
Calling in would alert him to us get killjoy to finsih the fight, and for us to wander on in and get killed. liekly X

Checking the Weapons would get us close, armed, and have us go in with dudes spears if Kilroy isn't Gawking like a fool. supsoedly.

Now what kind of write in can we do to improve this.

anti vote Four.


Only way that's working is if that distracts the assasin in a critical moment. It is more likely to distract our boy.

Arkanian
February 26th, 2012, 03:25 PM
Lets talk this out. GEtting the weapon take to much time. X

Rushing in gets us sent back cuase Kilroy lacks the eyes of God X
Calling in would alert him to us get killjoy to finsih the fight, and for us to wander on in and get killed. liekly X

Checking the Weapons would get us close, armed, and have us go in with dudes spears if Kilroy isn't Gawking like a fool. supsoedly.

Now what kind of write in can we do to improve this.

anti vote Four.


Only way that's working is if that distracts the assasin in a critical moment. It is more likely to distract our boy.

Er, what exactly is this a vote for? Other than "not four."

You're right, by the way, four is a dead end (Normally I wouldn't reveal something like this, but three dead ends in a row is ridiculous).

Incidentally, there's another sort of vote I'm planning to hold. To make up for slipping up with my schedule, I was planning on doing a "special features" sort of extra, of your choice. It can be:

A. List of musical themes that I picked for characters and events (Including ones that haven't occurred yet)
B. Details on the Servant Classes created for this fic (Including ones other than Executioner and Striker, which I came up with but ultimately were not used for the Grail War Proper)
C. Details on Servants that were going to be in this fic, but I ultimately decided against including.

rajvir
February 26th, 2012, 03:27 PM
If we only did 3 would that work or not.

Arkanian
February 26th, 2012, 03:51 PM
If we only did 3 would that work or not.

First of all, only doing 3 would be picking up the holy weapon, and then sitting there and not going in. I'm not sure how that helps.

Also, remember that going back to get the weapon took long enough that Benjamin was dead by the time you got done checking the weapon closet. Kilroy doesn't have enough time for that.

rajvir
February 26th, 2012, 03:55 PM
First of all, only doing 3 would be picking up the holy weapon, and then sitting there and not going in. I'm not sure how that helps.

Also, remember that going back to get the weapon took long enough that Benjamin was dead by the time you got done checking the weapon closet. Kilroy doesn't have enough time for that.
damn it whats left then just 2?

Arkanian
February 26th, 2012, 04:11 PM
damn it whats left then just 2?

Yes.

Edit: Well, that and 3 then 1.

Larekko12
February 26th, 2012, 04:19 PM
[x]There is Danger in here. Go in Arm yourself no Gawking be smooth and efficient and move on. A polearm for defense would be ideal.

Would this work.

rajvir
February 26th, 2012, 04:19 PM
Yes.

Edit: Well, that and 3 then 1.

Alright than lets try 3 and then 1

Arkanian
February 26th, 2012, 04:55 PM
[x]There is Danger in here. Go in Arm yourself no Gawking be smooth and efficient and move on. A polearm for defense would be ideal.


Would this work.

Ignoring the stuff that Kilroy has no way of knowing, that's basically option 2.


Alright than lets try 3 and then 1

>_<


Perhaps a break down of the puzzle is in order.

From choice to finish, you have 6 turns to solve.

[-----][-----][-----][-----][-----][-----X

On turn 1, the assailant breaks into Benjamin's cell. On turn 2, Benjamin leaps out of the cell and blocks it off. On turns 3, 4, and 5, the assailant tries to break through. On turn 6, the assailant breaks the shield. As turn 6 Ends, the assailant kills Benjamin. On turn 7, the assailant attacks Kilroy. Kilroy has no means to defend himself, bad end.

Due to having just taken a blow to the head that he's only just starting to recover from, Kilroy's first action takes one extra turn. As such, your first go at things looked like this:

[-Going to weapon-][-Extra Turn-][-Pulling out weapon][Pulling out weapon-][-Going back to door-][-Checking Weapons Closet-]X[-Entering Cells-]

As you can see, picking up the holy weapon uses up five turns, and entering the cell takes one turn. As a result, picking option 3 results in an automatic failure, as it is impossible to get back and into the cells before Benjamin's death (Represented by the X).

Your second attempt looked like this:

[-Entering the cells-][-Extra Turn-][-Talking with Benjamin-][-Checking weapons closet-][-Searching for second spear-][-Exiting weapons closet-]X

As you can see, Kilroy uses up three whole turns looking through the weapons closet, as opposed to the one turn in the previous go. This is because he talked with Benjamin first, causing him to waste a turn looking for a spear that wasn't there, and another turn getting the door back open (If you spend more than one turn in the closet, the door swings shut).

You need to find an action that either ensures Benjamin's survival within 6 turns, or an acttion that extends how long he can stay alive (Such as giving him something to defend himself with -- remember, he's bad at unarmed combat).

Does that help?

rajvir
February 26th, 2012, 05:02 PM
How about we rush in tack to him and when he tacks about his lance's we tell him we only found one and ask if it is okay to bring him only one.

Arkanian
February 26th, 2012, 08:29 PM
How about we rush in tack to him and when he tacks about his lance's we tell him we only found one and ask if it is okay to bring him only one.

That... that's option 1, stated in more detail.

... Are you trolling me? Please tell me you're trolling.

Larekko12
February 26th, 2012, 08:32 PM
So the answer is two. We get the since it is the most obvious badass thing. Or the answer is call out so that Ben tells us to get the lance while we are at the closet?

rajvir
February 27th, 2012, 05:53 PM
That... that's option 1, stated in more detail.

... Are you trolling me? Please tell me you're trolling.
Unfortunely no even I was unsure of that as I felt we did that before but I did not want to go back and reread all the bad endings so I asked.

Arkanian
February 29th, 2012, 01:22 AM
So the answer is two. We get the since it is the most obvious badass thing. Or the answer is call out so that Ben tells us to get the lance while we are at the closet?

Urgh. Sorry if this is a bit late. I had the update mostly finished, and then I lost all of my progress thanks to my computer yanking me around. And my keyboard deciding that it doesn't like me, AS I AM WRITING THIS VERY MESSAGE.

Anyway, the point is, to alleviate the boredom of having to write the same exact scene twice, I decided to write the following scene from Benjamin's point of view instead of Kilroy's.

In case you're wondering, since it's not made clear, sequence of events is:

[-Open weapon's closet-][-Extra turn-][-Exit weapon closet-][-Enter Cells-][-Talk to Benjamin-][-Give Benjamin the spear-]

Wise Up!: Etheric Traits

As a traditional, human user of the ethereal surpasses the initial stages of their development and begins learning advanced techniques, their own beliefs about how the ethereal works will begin to effect how their abilities operate. These differences in ability are referred to as "Etheric Traits." An etheric trait usually manifests as a specific ethereal ability that they are able to use at a level beyond what they should be capable of with the power they have at hand. Someone with an etheric trait of "healing," for example, would use far less ethereal power to heal someone than someone who did not. Further, they would be able to do things with healing that would be outright impossible for someone lacking this trait, regardless of the amount of power available.

Some users of the ethereal, however, have what are known as "Outer Etheric Traits." Instead of being an "area of strength," these etheric traits are more along the lines of an entirely new ethereal technique, with no equivalent available to other users of the ethereal.''

It is worth noting that certain skills possessed by certain breeds of Versipilis, such as fox-fire and Basilisk hypnosis, are "Innate Etheric Traits," as they work along the same principles despite being uniform amongst the species that possess them

Due to the nature of ethereal traits, most people can only ever develop one. However, exceptions are common enough that a person with two etheric traits can be considered a "prodigy" rather than an "anomaly."


2. Check out the confiscated weapons, arm yourself.

Benjamin was running through his options again (There weren't many) when it happened. There was a sound, an enormous clattering, that drew his attention up, to the door to his cell.

Something had cut through the bars, a diagonal cut causing the upper halves to fall out of the slots in the ceiling that they went into, completely unsecured due to shoddy construction and faith in Ether draining shackles. No, something hadn't cut through the bars, someone had. A cloaked someone, with a gleaming Halberd held in its right hand. He barely had time to register this before that someone had leaped over the bars with the halberd held high.

Benjamin wasn't considered the Church's eighth best combatant for nothing. Even as his assailant struck, he was moving. When the blade came down, instead of Benjamin's head it found the thick cables that bound his shackles to the wall. Thus freed, Benjamin rolled forward, passing his assailant before jumping out of the cells and turning to face his enemy.

The first thing to do, naturally, was to stop repressing his spiritual power. As a human user of etheric magics, the amount of spiritual power in his body at any given time was determined largely by his desires and emotions. Reducing the level of power in his body to a minimal amount had been fairly easy; now that he was no longer hooked up to the ether batteries that they had, he could use his full power.

And he did, forming a wall of ethereal energy in front of the cells to keep it locked in there. Almost immediately, his assailant struck it with the spear end of his weapon, wreathing it in corporeal energy. Benjamin tsked in annoyance. If he had known that his enemy was a corporeal user, he would have risked just straight up blasting him with etheric energy. Of course, if his opponent was a Servant as he suspected, then it probably wouldn't be that easy. I need my weapons.

Benjamin winced as the strikes against his shield began to increase in speed and strength. While he had managed to keep his reserves almost completely intact throughout his imprisonment, it still didn't change the fact that he had been imprisoned for several days, having been captured little more than an hour after Lancer had defeated Caster in the shopping district. And once they had captured that red-haired girl -- who seemed to be a phoenix and thus probably the Alister Representative -- they had stopped giving him food, as the small amount of power they were getting from him apparently no longer outweighed the hassle of keeping him alive. In short, his physical condition was somewhat weaker than it would be in normal circumstances.

Not that it mattered. The Alister girl was still in the other cell. And he would fight to his last breath to keep her alive, just as he would for anyone.

But he wasn't sure how many breaths he had left in him.

"Benjamin!"

He turned to glance at the figure to his left that had just entered the cells, and then he did a double take. While he couldn't tell who it was in this light -- nor did he recognize the voice -- he had seen what was in the figure's hand: His new Divine Arm, Nebuchadnezzar. "That! My spear!" Sweat dripped down his face as his shield began to falter. "Quick, toss it here!"

[BGM] (http://www.youtuberepeat.com/watch?v=XpeMP7LA9hI&feature=related)

To Benjamin's great relief, the figure complied, throwing the spear to him. Benjamin caught it out of the air just as the Servant's power overwhelmed his shield. The tip of the Halberd lanced out to strike him in the chest, but Nebuchadnezzar replied in kind, knocking the weapon aside. Benjamin barely managed to keep his grip on the weapon, the strength of the blow nearly jarring it out of his hands. Definitely a Servant, then.

Before the Servant could launch another attack, Benjamin charged his power into his weapon, thrusting it forward to create a lance of light that extended far past his spear's actual reach. The Servant dodged it, but not as easily as Benjamin would have expected. As he watched it moved, he realized that its mobility was hindered; something was wrong with its left leg. Its left arm too, actually, seeing how the limb in question hadn't done anything other than hang limply for the entire fight. Alright then, he might be able to actually do this. But first...

"There's a girl!" He called out to his mysterious ally. "At the far end of the cells!" That was all it took, thankfully. As soon as that was said, the figure darted off, dashing towards the cells in question.

Benjamin, meanwhile, kept his eyes on the enemy, keeping the Servant at bay with a flurry of etheric strikes. But it wouldn't last much longer. He needed a new plan.

Neither of them was in good condition. As he had already noted, the Servant's entire left side was more or less out of action, not that it kept the Servant from making its bizarre, half dancing half stumbling movements. Its dodges looked like intentional accidents, tripping out of harm's way.

As for his opponent's weapon... It was a halberd, and one that he had seen before, when he had fought the Practitioner who eventually became Mister Caine. The Blade of the Carnifex. Which made his opponent Servant Executioner, without a doubt. Any Servant who had wielded that blade in life would only receive it as a Noble Phantasm if they were summoned into that class. Well, unless they had been given a piece of the actual weapon, in any case. But Executioner's weren't supposed to be this nimble; he had examined the classes stat spread before the war, and the Executioner class was marked by low Agility, among other things.

But such thoughts were pointless. He had to face the opponent in front of him.

He could tell by the weight of his weapon that there was a cartridge loaded. If he could use it on a vital point, it would end things. He just needed a way. Benjamin knew that he was in poor physical condition. He could still fight, but his low stamina essentially limited his options to using Nebuchadnezzar. His Outer Etheric Trait, Fifth Stigma, could be used against Servants, but wouldn't be guaranteed to work to its full potential against an opponent who had obviously been a High Practitioner in life. It would mess him up, to be sure, but it would inflict more damage upon Benjamin than his opponent, and he would likely incapacitate himself entirely. If it failed to finish the Servant off... No, that would be a last resort only.

It was then that his opponent managed to dance its way past Benjamin's screen of blows, its fall landing it less than a foot away from Benjamin himself. Benjamin immediately realized the situation. They were both using long-ranged melee weapons in close quarters. For most people this would be a disadvantage. And for his opponent, it was.

But Benjamin was trained in a style that used a spear in either hand. And while he lacked his second weapon to fight with, he could still strike with his free hand, while his opponent could not. Even as he knocked aside his opponent's attack, Benjamin's left hand struck out, wreathed in etheric power.

It missed, of course. But his enemy was forced to leap back. As he did so, Benjamin triggered his Divine Arm and swept it down.

As Nebuchadnezzar's blade began to glow white hot, Benjamin channeled power into it in a different way. One of the reasons that he had been given Nebuchadnezzar as a Divine Arm was because of the way it interacted with his second Outer Etheric Trait, Discernment of the Sheep. when he used both in unison...

...Crimson flames sprung forth.

They raged forward, seeming to consume his enemy as he landed from the jump. But Benjamin wasn't fooled. Even injured, a Servant wouldn't go down so easily.

As his assailant paused, however momentarily, he heard footsteps behind him. They stopped before exiting however. Benjamin cursed to himself. They were stopping for him...!

He sent out another wave of flame, forcing more and more fire to shoot forth from the flat of his spear. "Just leave!"

"We can't! The way out is blocked!"

He cursed again. This changed things. If they couldn't leave, that meant that he had to defeat this opponent, rather than stall him. Putting more power into his spear, Benjamin kept up the heat. "Check the place they put the weapons! There should be another spear there, one with a black blade!" Yes, Split Hell would give him a massive advantage in this fight, and would certainly give him a chance to win...

The sound of a door opening, then closing. And then opening again. "It's not there!"

More cursing. Think, think...

That was it!

"This place was turned into a jail, but it's still just a repurposed sewer! There should be some shaped charges in there -- blast your way out!"

"Roger!"

Benjamin started to sweat as he kept up the stream of flam-- Wait.

Why hadn't the Servant moved since he had started?

Benjamin stopped fueling Nebuchadnezzar, and his eyes widened in horror as the flames faded away to reveal just what he had feared they would: Nothing. His opponent was gone.

Hoping against hope that his opponent was using this chance to get the drop on him instead of going after the girl, Benjamin focused his power and released an omnidirectional burst of etheric power -- Just as the scythe end of the Blade of the Carnifex rocketed at his neck. It wasn't much, but it was enough. The blade was redirected ever so slightly, going into his right shoulder. Thinking quickly, Benjamin took Nebuchadnezzar into his left hand. At the same time, he wrapped his right arm around the Halberd's haft.

A Servant's strength, even at its weakest, far outstripped that of all but the strongest humans. But with proper leverage, that difference in strength could be overcome, if only for a few seconds.

And those seconds were all that Benjamin needed.

His enemy held in place and caught off guard in its moment of triumph, Nebuchadnezzer pierced his enemy's chest as an explosion echoed throughout the room.

But that wasn't where it ended. No, Benjamin triggered Nebuchadnezzar as he struck, and the blade, now as hot as the furnaces of the king himself, melted down the cartridge inside. And as the blade entered his opponents chest, Benjamin pulled the trigger on the haft, injecting his opponent with three cubic inches of molten, blessed silver.

[BGM -- End]

His foe collapsed, letting out a burbling scream before going silent. Benjamin leaned on his spear, panting from exhaustion. Had he done it? He'd done it!

As he turned to follow after the escaped prisoner, Benjamin remembered what he had forgotten in his exhaustion. When a Servant died, they faded. This one hadn't.

The thought was still on his mind when the spear went through his chest.


**-----

No.

No.

He wasn't going to stop here. He wasn't going to let this person, this thing, harm anyone else! WIth the last of his will, Benjamin grabbed the spear sticking out of his chest, and formed the connection. He couldn't feel it, but he knew it was there.

The Fifth Stigma. Longinus.

As he activated his Etheric Trait, he managed to turn to look at his attacker. His gaze were met by a skull, golden lights flickering in its sockets.

Those lights exploded as everything went black.

******

All things considered, the mission was going pretty well. I had retrieved Jessica, and had blasted a hole in the wall outside the vault door to make our escape, picking up the stake with the bullet in it on the way out. Now that we were out of there, we just needed to get somewhere safe. How to do that, though? And for that matter, where should I go to?


How:
1. The mission was to save Jessica and Benjamin. Go back for him!
2. Find Striker and Saber, enlist their help!
3. Loop around and regroup with the others from the other direction.
4. Just head straight back to the safe house.
5. [Reader's Choice]

Where:
1. Kilroy's workshop.
2. The Alister Mansion.
3. The Savelle Mansion.
4. The Church.
5. Darque and Sovereign.
6. [Reader's Choice]


Incidentally, it seems that people missed a certain vote I put up earlier, so here it is again:


Incidentally, there's another sort of vote I'm planning to hold. To make up for slipping up with my schedule, I was planning on doing a "special features" sort of extra, of your choice. It can be:

A. List of musical themes that I picked for characters and events (Including ones that haven't occurred yet)
B. Details on the Servant Classes created for this fic (Including ones other than Executioner and Striker, which I came up with but ultimately were not used for the Grail War Proper)
C. Details on Servants that were going to be in this fic, but I ultimately decided against including.

rajvir
February 29th, 2012, 06:23 PM
How about 2 we are likely going to need help.

Larekko12
February 29th, 2012, 08:40 PM
Fuck when did we seal Benjamin's fate?
[x]Go back
[x]C Servant list.


Even if that suicide didn't finish him and by go it should after all that he soul be somewhat crippled and the pheonix is with us, right?

Arkanian
February 29th, 2012, 09:31 PM
Fuck when did we seal Benjamin's fate?
[x]Go back
[x]C Servant list.


Even if that suicide didn't finish him and by go it should after all that he soul be somewhat crippled and the pheonix is with us, right?

Benjamin was always going to die in this route, regardless of what was done. He has a much bigger role in the second route, however.

Phoenixes aren't good enough to resurrect the dead. Their healing works by manipulating the subject's ethereal power as well as their own. After death (And Benjamin is dead, make no mistake), ethereal energy disperses in fairly short order (Unless you're a tree. Which Benjamin is not. I think.). So there's nothing that Jessica can do, even if she wasn't running on empty at the moment.

Fifth Stigma isn't a suicide move per se. It's a technique that damages Benjamin nearly as much as the target, but under ordinary circumstances it wouldn't be enough to kill him. If he hadn't had a spear through his chest, the worst it would have done was knock him out.

Unless someone else weighs in (Unlikely) you can expect Option C to go up later tonight, if not sooner.

Arkanian
February 29th, 2012, 10:33 PM
Previous Servants

When I started this fic, I had decided on all of the seven starting Servants beforehand. However, I decided partway through that I didn't like my choices for Caster or Assassin.

In Caster's case, this was because Caster was Solomon. In a Grail War focused on Necromancy, this was sort of a blatantly obvious pick; not only would people guess who it was early on, it was fairly uncreative as well. I still have the prototype of his character sheet, but keep in mind that it's not the finalized version:


Caster: Solomon
Strength: D
Agility: D
Endurance: D
Mana: B+
Luck: B
NP: A+


Skills:


Territory Creation: A+


Necromancy: A


Ethereal Arts: A


Charisma: B


Discernment of the Poor: B


Divinity: D


Protection of the Faith: C






Noble Phantasms:


Temple of Solomon: B: (Support) Calls forth the power of his temple, bathing the area in a holy light that will strike down those of the corporeal with ethereal power. Solomon himself is empowered by this; all stats are increased by one rank, and he gains Magic Resistance of Rank B.


Lemegeton: A+: (Anti-Army) Calls forth necromantic spirits of the air to fight for him. These spirits are selectively intangible, and have strength and Agility of C. A total of a thousand may be called forth; due to their nature, the power cost is almost negligible.


Key of Solomon: A: (Anti-Magic) A ring with the power to “Bind Demons.” Can be used to take control over any necromantic creature.

Yes, it says "Necromancy" in there. After all, that was what it would have been called in Solomon's time. Although, the simple phrase "in Solomon's time" also causes several major plot issues that will become apparent in time.

Incidentally, while I have decided that I'm not going to use Solomon as Caster, a replacement has not yet been decided. Several others were considered however. Scathach was considered simply because choosing her would mean that there would be at least one female Servant in the war (Currently, there are none). She was discarded because of my previous decision that if I were to use a character who appeared in Type Moon Canon, I would represent them the way they were in canon. Scathach's canon self was rejected as not really being compatible with the war. Houdini was also considered, but discarded for plot reasons -- by the time of the change, we had already passed the scene where Caster was killed, and if Caster were Houdini he would have no reason to be in the location he was in when he died.

As for Assassin... Funnily enough, in the original concept Assassin was supposed to be EMIYA! This was discarded the moment I figured out how the Servant system worked though, as EMIYA being summoned was an impossibility by this Grail War's mechanics. However, Assassin's death in the first two routes is a holdover form this -- Assassin being EMIYA was supposed to be the third route's first major plot twist.

As a replacement, I originally considered using Jack-chan. However, I ultimately discarded her as a candidate at around the same time I did Solomon, as I felt that I couldn't really do much with the character.

On the suggestion of a friend, I tried a heroic spirit based off of Spring-Heeled Jack (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spring_Heeled_Jack). The version I came up with had three Noble Phantasms. The first was a jacket that disguised him during the night. Everyone who looked at him at nighttime would see something different (Though it would always be a demonic or skeletal appearance, with flaming eyes). This Noble Phantasm would not work on someone who knew his true identity, or had seen him undisguised and made the connection that they were the same person. His second Noble Phantasm was his flaming eyes, which allowed him to manipulate fire -- but only while his first Noble Phantasm was active. His last Noble Phantasm was his spring-heeled boots, which boosted his speed by several ranks while jumping, as well as allowing him to jump massive distances and greatly increasing the strength of his kicks. The boots would be much more powerful while his first phantasm was active, and his first phantasm also hid them from view. The idea behind it was that he was a mild-mannered Victorian inventor, who invented the boots and made a variety of costumes so that he could act out his power fantasies. However, while he made an interesting character, he was discarded for several reasons. First, he was not actually a Serial Killer like my friend had claimed, being more of a prankster, thus making his qualifications for the Assassin class somewhat dubious. Secondly, he was a bit too similar in personality to another Servant.

After this I considered Judas, but the abilities that I developed for him (He wasn't a direct combatant, instead using his silver coins in battle) didn't really fit the role I developed for Assassin in the plot. Ultimately I decided on a final replacement, one that I am happy with, that you will be seeing eventually.

Another Servant that was replaced was Saber. Very early in development, Saber was not Romulus but Julius Caesar. His first Noble Phantasm, the Ides of March, allowed him to take 22 fatal blows before it was possible to kill him. His chief Noble Phantasm was the banner of his legion, which allowed him to manifest the will of his army in the form of various weapons and armor. I deleted his stats, unfortunately. It didn't take long for him to be replaced with Romulus, for plot reasons.

Lastly, Executioner. In the original version of this fic, the protagonist had Archer as his Servant (This idea was discarded before I could decide who this Archer would be). Servant Executioner was still present, however. The current version of Executioner was decided upon very late in the game. For a very large period of development, the true identity of Servant Executioner was... (Wait for it) Gilgamesh. Yes, really. Actually, the idea behind the Executioner class as a whole was inspired by the scene in Unlimited Blade Works where Gilgamesh holds Berserker down with Enkidu and then kills him with GoB. It was from that that I got the idea of a class focused on preventing their opponent from fighting back. In this regard, the current Executioner is actually a fairly poor (or at least abnormal) example of the class, as he only acts as his class is supposed to if Ignoble Execution is triggered.

Larekko12
February 29th, 2012, 10:55 PM
Wait jessica's drained? Damn I was hoping she had energy to nuke assasin if he was still alive. Also that we could loot the spear for the priest.

Arkanian
March 1st, 2012, 09:46 PM
Today's Wise Up! is unrelated to today's chapter. But I wrote it earlier, so I'm going to slot it in.

1. Go back to get Benjamin



Wise Up!: Divine Arm "David"


The primary Divine Arm wielded by the priest stationed as Benjamin's overseer. Its physical form is a rifle; through complex mechanisms, it can be assembled into either a battle or sniper rifle. It has been imbued with ethereal energies formed from faith that David's defeat of Goliath actually occurred. From this, it possesses unique powers. While most high practitioners will be able to reduce the damage taken from even a high class holy bullet by cushioning the blow with corporeal energy, bullets fired by David will still deal full damage after expending power to get past defenses. Further, the bullet will "fracture" the flows of corporeal energy in the area of the strike, making repair of the damaged area via corporeal means almost impossible without replacing the affected body parts entirely, even after the bullet has been removed.


Jessica was having trouble even walking right now. Whatever it was they had been using to drain her of ethereal energy had really done a number on her. My current condition wasn't much better. I could still walk or even run, but actual combat would probably push me over the edge if I wasn't careful. The fight with the bat lady had really strained my rather small reserves, so my ability to use the Art was rather limited at the moment. I would almost certainly have to rely on the bullet if I got into a fight -- or maybe the two shaped charges that I had left. If whoever had attacked at the cells managed to catch up to us, surviving without help would be... iffy.

Which didn't speak wonders for Benjamin's survival chances either. If Jessica was this bad, then Benjamin probably wasn't much better. Though he had seemed fine... If struggling to stay alive...

Oh, dammit, fine.

I dragged Jessica over to some nearby bushes and carefully set her down out of view.

"Kilroy... what...?"

"I can't just leave Benjamin behind to die. Just... stay hidden, alright? I'll be back for you."

She looked aside, biting her lip. "...Alright."

"Good." I stopped holding the bushes apart, letting them spring back together and hide her from view. It wasn't much of a protection, but it was the best I could manage at the moment.

I ran back for the cells.

******

I stepped through the hole to the sound of fluttering wings. I glanced at the bats in disbelief. Those things were still going? How the hell did she do that?

I spared a look at the puddle of goop on the floor that had once been a practitioner. Well, it wasn't like she was in a position to tell me.Shrugging it off, I turned and entered the cells.

Benjamin was dead. That alone was a bad sign. But even worse, it looked like the one who had done the deed was still here.

He was young, about twenty at the oldest. The most noticeable thing about him was the tattoos that covered the back and sides of his neck and crawled up the left side of his face. They were a random assortment of flaming skulls, barbed wire, chinese dragons and bragging catchphrases, kept from blending into each other by a pattern of Celtic knots. Everything about him screamed "gangbanger," and not just the ink; the left side of his scalp was shaved down to a quarter inch of hair, while the right side was super long, and so ruffled that it stood on end. He wore jeans and a leather jacket, all ragged, and a leather belt dotted by pitch black spheres attached by silver hoops. His left ear had a bunch of small rings in it. In his right hand, he casually held a spear. It had a black haft that seemed positively pale in comparison to its blade, a two and a half foot curve of midnight black metal. I thought it might be some sort of Naginata, until I realized that the edge was on the wrong side for that.

He was standing over Benjamin's body, examining it. He looked up as I approached, and quirked an eyebrow.

"The fuck are you?

I stopped myself right as I was about to slide the stakes into my hands. If he didn't know who I was, I could play that to my advantage. Or at the very least, take advantage of the fact that he wasn't immediately hostile. "I could ask you the same question."

"Look here, dickweed. I'm supposed to be here. You aint. I don't have to tell you shit."

Somehow, I suspected that this person was the one who wrote the note on the weapons closet.

"You're an intruder." He continued. "Actually you're an intruder, showing up right after a jailbreak." He readied that strange spear of his. "Mind telling me what happened here?"

"Well, um..."

"Ah, fuck it."

He dashed forward, his weapon held low. The blade was angled upward, coming in below my legs and sweeping upward as it came in range. I could tell from his speed alone that he was using corporeal energy to boost his strength and speed. If I had been fresh, I could have matched it easily, but as it was I had to push myself to dodge it in time. Even then, it managed to scrape my chest before I cou\/\/\/\/\The pain that shot through my head was agonizing. And unlike other times, it wasn't just a strong ache; it was like something in my jaw had been superheated and then shattered, embedding shards of red hot metal into my gums.

And then the blade came again. The pain was too much. I couldn't dodge. It came from the side, and went straight through the middle of my torso, cutting all the way through parallel with my ribs.

Something SPARKED.

[BGM] (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGQ-kGm6sXk)

The world had gone gray, some substance that I could only now see murking up the air. I was intact, somehow, but the pain I felt where the blade had cut through was immense in its own way, though not as bad as the pain in my teeth. It felt like something inside me had been cut, and the pieces were grinding against one another.

The enemy was stumbling back, off balance.

"What the shit?"

He swung the blade down at me again, aiming for my head this time. I interposed the stake in my left hand, the one without the blessing. The blade passed through it without even leaving a mark, not cutting at all. But when it hit my skin, it bounced off it, as if my skin were made of steel.

The pain in my chest was getting worse. I was starting to feel sick. I ran a diagnostic, and the results confused me. The corporeal energy in my body was freaking out where he had cut me, tearing my flesh apart. But that wasn't the confusing thing.

The confusing thing was that, in contradiction to everything I knew about the Art, the level of corporeal energy in my body was rising. Not steadily, by any account. More in fits and starts, jolts of power that had stopped as soon as I had calmed myself to do the diagnostic. What on earth--?

THWACK.

Something hard rebounded off of my head, knocking me to the floor. As I hit the ground, I saw one of the black spheres from the teen's belt bounce off the ground next to me, detached from its silver hoop. Without thinking, my hand shot out to grab it.

[BGM -- End]

I had only just managed to grab it when the grenade went off in my hand.

BAD END





Normally I would have disliked writing yet another bad end, but it let me show a bit more of Kilroy's "Hell Mode," foreshadowed a ton of plot stuff, and let me introduce a new character (Even if he is a bit foul-mouthed for my tastes).So yeah, meet Jackal. Not exactly the most pleasant person to be around. His style of fighting was designed to be very similar to Kilroy's, but that changed a bit when he decided to start using Benjamin's second spear. Before that though, he fought with stakes much like Kilroy, though they weren't made of wood. His grenades are his counterpart to Kilroy's glass spheres.

Larekko12
March 3rd, 2012, 08:54 PM
Huh three
and the church.

rajvir
April 16th, 2012, 04:01 PM
what larekko said also sorry I took so long to respond put the april fool's joke wiped out all my subscriptions.

Arkanian
April 16th, 2012, 06:03 PM
Rajvir, I'm going t cut the Mods off at the pass here and point out that this is Necro-ing.

The reason I haven't updated in so long is because, with only four people actually reading it, there hasn't been much motivation for me to work on it; about a week ago I decided to cancel it entirely.

I was planning on putting up a summary of the remaining plot + Servant Stats to provide closure, but I hadn't gotten around to it (See above Re: Lack of motivation). I could still put that up if anyone wants.

rajvir
April 16th, 2012, 06:38 PM
Rajvir, I'm going t cut the Mods off at the pass here and point out that this is Necro-ing.

The reason I haven't updated in so long is because, with only four people actually reading it, there hasn't been much motivation for me to work on it; about a week ago I decided to cancel it entirely.

I was planning on putting up a summary of the remaining plot + Servant Stats to provide closure, but I hadn't gotten around to it (See above Re: Lack of motivation). I could still put that up if anyone wants.
I would like to see the summery of the plot and servant stats. Also it's to bad that you are canceling the story. Finally sorry about necroing.