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Verg Avesta
February 11th, 2015, 12:18 AM
http://i.imgur.com/5zI5ZBQ.png

---------------- When I came to, I was in a freezing field. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytuLTw2tIj8)

I guess the island had been finally swallowed by the blizzard. I could not see anything but white in every direction my eyes turned to. It was as if the snow had blinded me, once and for all. The familiar city had been swept away completely, leaving nothing but a husk of truth behind for us two. Serene, morbid silence that held no peace for anyone listening; just echoes of thousands and thousands of people killed, screaming out their justified anger.

---------------- But that didn’t last long either.

The screams would die by the time sun would rise again. As long as it would take, there would be an end to their torment. Still, as long as the cursed, pale moon watched us from the thick, black sky, dotted by stars, we were cursed to wait in this hell that I had once called home.

… I would have been lying if I didn’t feel it to be oddly exhilarating. To be the only living thing still retaining its form, its mind, its soul… it was almost as if I had been chosen. Of course, fate had nothing to do with this. The outcome of this event was decided by our wits alone. Therefore, despite feeling like I was the prophesied victory… I was naught but the humiliated loser.

The fact that I was still alive was mere mockery on his part.

There was no mercy to be found in this snowy wasteland. Emotions as feeble as that had no place in here. As I crawled across the white banks, leaving behind a red trail like stroke of a brush on a canvas, I came to understand it very clearly: everything was over. There would be no more bloodshed, apart from my own fatal wounds. Pain was irrelevant, too, as it simply made me lose focus from my actual goal.

Over and above everything else, I simply wanted to live for a while longer. Just minute more, just a second more, to gaze at this desolate landscape that we had brought upon this world.

But hope had died along with the island.

These were my very last moments, few rebellious breaths before the embrace of awaiting darkness took over me. I knew it just by looking around, etching the landscape of devastation into my mind. The pure white hell, the absolute oblivion that patiently waited for me.

Eventuality came as promised. My strength left me, and thus I slumped against the cold ground. The wounds I had suffered had already killed me, and I had already lost too much blood. With meager smile, I turned around to gaze at the moon and stars above.

The storm had died out. That was the only relief given to me.

Black clouds, like burnt snow, travelled across the sky, as if to block the great observer that judged this last bout of ours.

“It’s over, Iota. You’ve lost this time.”

I hear his voice. He announces his victory just like that, without any fanfare or gloating. Had he grown tired of it all in the end? Had he became bored despite my best efforts? Had he found no joy in this game we played? Or, perhaps…

… Did his blackened heart feel a tinge of sympathy for this poor loser?

A blade cuts the air, and strikes deep into my heart. I hear a squelching sound my red center is pierced. It was a move devoid of anything unnecessary. There was simply the elegance of killing, the art that mankind had yet to truly master. Being killed in such a way… even I could not find anything to complain about it. Thus, I offered my last smile before the world around me faded away.

And so, the game draws to a conclusion. Black Queen checkmates the White King, and the curtain falls. My heart was dead long before my body was.



There was nothing simple in this story.

And yet it keeps happening.

Because it is an endless loop.




100%






I remember them all. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cikD4AvGuH4) How could I forget even after all these years? The stars that dot the sky, and the patterns they create. Watching them, always so far away from me, out of my hands reach… they were my guardians even if we were forever apart. It was a distance that could not be crossed with something as meager as my feet. Therefore, I had to imagine, and I had to make that imagination come true.

Inside my mind, I can still see the patterns I created to fill those lonely days.

The brave sisters. The protective brother. The old teacher. The young student. The listening ear and the comforting hand. Mother’s warmth and father’s guidance. A promise of first love.

It was all that I had, and it was everything I ever needed. Inside my own head, I created a family to love me, and one to love back. Here, under the snow, in the white mansion with nothing but a room and a bed, no boundaries existed. I could create everything with my own imagination. It was a perfect world made true only with simplest of wishes.

---------------- I was happy.

Of course, all things have an end. So did my perfect little world. There were no places to hide from the reality outside that white mansion where I had hidden myself. Years went by so fast that I could not even begin to count them. I learned again of the painful things that fill this world… yet I also learned of the things that make one smile.

I wanted to smile more than anything.

Yet through every moment of joy, every moment of hardship, I kept those stars and their patterns hidden away in my heart. They were there, safely locked with a golden key; something I could always return to whenever reality seemed too much to bear. It was the family that was waiting for me with open arms, despite the things that I had done. Unconditional love was no flight of fancy or a mere fantasy as long as it existed solely within the realms of my mind.

… Sound paradoxical, does it not?

Yes. It was a paradox I could not escape forever. The whiteness was eventually stained by black. A song in my head that would not go away, no matter how hard I tried. It was a call to face the reality before me, and the responsibility of things I had done to get there.

It was the song taught to be by that man, and for that, I will forever curse his name.

It is the song that denies all that the child in me wished for.

In other words…

… It is the song that denies my self.


Kagome, Kagome...

The bird within the cage...

When, oh when, will you come out?

In the evening lit by the dawn...

The crane and the turtle slipped and fell...

Who's that behind you?

...

Who's that behind you? (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nFX4Li4Zp-E)




100%

http://i.imgur.com/8Rs9qRM.png




100%




http://i.imgur.com/XTIQN0D.png


Location: HAL Flight 29
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 14:02
Day: January 12th
Average Temperature: -26 C
Weather: Partly Cloudy

"This is Captain Motohara speaking. We have now entered the air-space of Tengetsu island, and we are preparing for the landing shortly." (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJq7KCY7ttw)

The announcement came from the crackling speakers of the phone, reaching both ends of the plane with dubious certainty. Still, those who heard the muffled announcement began slowly putting their trays up and zipping up their bags. The hustle and bustle started spreading throughout the plane’s interiors like wildfire, and soon there was no passenger who would not have gotten the message.

And indeed, if one looked out from the window, one could see their destination already.


http://i.imgur.com/9fH3QpK.png

There, far below the Hokkaido Airlines plane that currently soared through the sky, was the island of Tengetsu. Perhaps the most northernmost inhabited area belonging to Japan, though only for 40 years or so. Before that, it had been owned by Germany. Nowadays, it had become something of a shining beacon of hope when it came to modernization of rural areas of Japan.

Still, not everyone was happy about it. Many were the voices who called for restoration of old values and ways that the island had upheld before the war. Add into that a considerable foreign population still living on the island, and you got yourself a powder-keg of freezing temperatures. Especially now, during the winter, as the Great Blizzard approached the island, drawing in even more tourists from across the globe.


http://i.imgur.com/d7q5U79.jpg

Yes, the “Great Blizzard”, which had made into the headlines of a local newspaper. It was an annual event that happened every year during January. For the duration of three or four weeks the island was almost completely cut off from the rest of the world by a violent sea wind that brought in a blizzard from the snowy wastes of Siberia. While it had been a test for the locals in ancient times when food was scarce, now it was simply a display of nature’s ruthless grandeur. Just like the island, the Great Blizzard had to learn to adapt to these changing times. Still, it did mean that no planes could land on the island during this time, and even ships were advised not to test their luck. Having had enough experience with the phenomena during the centuries, the islanders knew how to prepare for it.


http://i.imgur.com/pwhny2h.png

Still, things were not completely flawless. Just below the article about the blizzard one could see something that would have definitely scared away a couple of tourists. Apparently, a foreign clergyman had been murdered few days ago, and because of that, the local members of Church were furious like ants of an attacked nest. A group of pissed-off priests did not really please local believers of Shinto, and thus, one could only imagine the tension brewing in the air. But for a hapless tourist who did not bother reading anything but the front-page, such things were inconsequential.

… Of course, anyone who had come to Tengetsu in other business might find this alarming.

Still, the weather looked gorgeous, and judging by the lights that lit up above everyone’s heads, along with the tugging feeling in their stomachs, the plane had begun its descend. It would not be long now before they touched down on the airport.





100%





http://i.imgur.com/qOJw8jx.jpg

Location: Sayoshigure High School – Class 2-B
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 14:02
Day: January 12th
Average Temperature: -26 C
Weather: Partly Cloudy

“Okay, everyone! Quiet down!”

The strict voice of Miss Fukui was enough to momentarily quiet down the murmur that had spread throughout the classroom. Students of class 2-B had been waiting for this moment most of the day, their curious eyes occasionally shooting glances towards the door, which was slightly ajar. It only took Miss Fukui one annoyed grunt and narrowing of eyes to snap the students into attention once more.

Once the classroom was deathly quiet, the black-haired teacher adjusted her glasses and put the file in her hands to the table in front of her. She looked over the classroom, all 26 students in it, and started speaking with somewhat warmer voice.

“I know you have been restless because of this, but I still expect you to remember your manners. Remember that first impressions are everything,” Miss Fukui said. “Having said that, I think there is someone out there who is ready to make his first impression on us.”

Upon hearing the term “him” used, some of the boys in the class groaned audibly. This was quickly silenced by glare from the bespectacled teacher. Having regained the control of the room once more, Miss Fukui turned towards the door with a slight smile, nodding to the shadow waiting on the other side.

“You may enter, Kirisaki-kun.”

Kuroyuki
February 11th, 2015, 01:16 AM
Kiyoko Miyamoto
Location: HAL Flight 29
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 14:02
Day: January 12th

Ah it's been so long since I've been to Tengetsu for training! I wonder how Sourokurou-san, Onii-san, and Sen-chan have been! It has been about ten years since I've last seen them after all. I can't wait to meet them again! Being sent to watch the Miyamoto shrine in Tengetsu and this "Holy Grail War" even gives me a reason to visit them!

And speaking of this war, I don't like the sound of someone calling war a "game." It just isn't right! War is bad and people get hurt in them! Why can't we share the Grail or give it to the person who has the noblest wish? And if someone is being bad, I'll stop them and give them a lecture!

However, I should clean up my new shrine before I do anything else! I think the previous miko left... a month ago? So I'll probably be busy cleaning till the sun goes down. I would like to visit everyone today, but I'm sure everyone at the Yamaichi Shrine would appreciate me showing up tomorrow instead of tonight. So hopefully this plane will land soon!

Katie
February 11th, 2015, 01:50 AM
Shimamura Mirai
Location: HAL Flight 29
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 14:02
Day: January 12th

To be honest, this is my first time flying. A-at least it’s going really smoothly. It’s a bit scary—I’m not really a heights person… Looking down just makes my legs quiver. I remember when Nii-san would drag me on the roller coaster and then laugh at me when I could barely stand up straight when it was all over.

The thought of Nii-san brings a sigh to my lips, and I stare out the window, into the cloudy sky. It’s hard to think there’ll be a blizzard, huh? I’m going to miss an entire month of school without repercussions. Papa really knows how to pull strings, hehe, but I can’t even make up for lost time.

After all, I won’t have any time to study. I’m busy today… There’s a lot I have to do. First and foremost, I have to get… hmm, but maybe if I… No, I definitely have to do that first.

I open the pack of peanuts they gave me earlier and start munching. There’s still a bit of time before I have to think about all of that!

Spinach
February 11th, 2015, 01:55 AM
Ryougi Kirame
Location: HAL Flight 29
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 14:02
Day: January 12th

"This is Captain Motohara speaking. We have now entered the air-space of Tengetsu island, and we are preparing for the landing shortly."

“Finally.” Stretching, I say the first word I’ve said since I boarded this plane. It wasn’t a long fight, but knowing that I was going to a place for the purpose of battle has left me more impatient than usual. Spending the entire flight on my own didn’t help either. I was almost bored enough to consider dozing off to pass the time.

I must be getting too accustomed to traveling with company. Traveling by myself like this wouldn’t have been any problem a year ago. I guess in at least one way I’ve changed recently, but not too much. I still managed to keep myself in check despite my boredom. The time I’ve been spending with that shrimp hasn’t dulled me completely.

Still, I wish this flight would just be done and over with.

Looking out my window I see the island further ahead. Tengetsu looks like a giant white rock surrounded by the sea from up here. My expectations were low to begin with, but it really is a dull looking place. People speak of the island as a beacon of hope in the nationwide efforts to modernize the rural parts of Japan. I even heard someone call it a white jewel, but all I see is coal. A single city surrounded by a wasteland of snow.

Hardly that ‘shining beacon’ when I see it myself.

Not that it matters. I’m not here for sightseeing, so there’s no reason to linger on my disappointment. I’ve seen plenty of backwater villages in the last few years, this one’s just surrounded by water and covered in snow. If I think of it like that, it isn’t very different. The only thing I need to worry about right now is that blizzard that I read about. I don’t like the idea of getting stuck on a frozen rock for longer than I need to be.

I feel a slight tugging feeling in my stomach. I guess that means we’re starting our descent. I’ll wait a little longer then. I’m sure I’ll be busy day and night once this starts, so I should take it easy while I can. Even if relaxing is boring.

Rafflesiac
February 11th, 2015, 02:39 AM
Xander Stone
Location: HAL Flight 29
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 14:02
Day: January 12th

It was so pretty.

Like a single diamond floating in the stormy waves, the shining island of white snow floated below. Whether you looked at the mountain jutting from the island’s center as an earthen crown, the thick forest that held uncountable secrets or the the sparkling fireflies of the city, the island was clad in an endless expanse of pure white.

“An island that is always cold, huh?”

It really was pretty.


"This is Captain Motohara speaking. We have now entered the air-space of Tengetsu island, and we are preparing for the landing shortly."

Erk...I lost track of myself again. Breath in. Breath out.

Below me is Tengetsu, the site for the Holy Grail War. The place where I can be freed. What was it that the letter had said? To contact a supervisor at the Yamaichi Temple; yes, that had been it.

Alright then. I have my winter clothes, and I’ll pick up my bags once we land. I didn’t forget anything, right? No, no, everything should be fine.

I just hope I don’t get lost...

hero
February 11th, 2015, 08:27 AM
Azama Tae
Location: HAL Flight 29
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 14:02
Day: January 12th


"..."

The Holy Grail War.

Rather than a curse or a blessing, it's another obstacle blocking my road. These markings engraved in my right hand, now concealed under my gloves, are the proof I've been invited to participate as a Master in a deadly ritual I never wanted to be a part of. A coward I am not but, had I been granted the chance, I would have abandoned any thoughts of ever coming to this island. However, it just happens I've got some unfinished business to take care of there. A matter that my heart cannot afford to put off for a month, when the 'Great Blizzard' leaves Tengetsu in peace. I cannot lose sight of this trail, which tells me to go back to the beginning.

Trapped inside with eight killers, each of them worthy of being 'Master'... There is no doubt in my mind that among them are powerful individuals whose might and wits surpass my own, but I can't say I am afraid. I will gain nothing from being scared, and thus I discard that emotion entirely. No, that's wrong. I am still human... There is no way for me to erase things like fear or ignore how nervous I am. But I can hide them under the mask that is my demeanor and push forward.

I can only move forward now.

As the pilot announces our descent, I finish skimming over the local news. To the other Masters, most of what happens in Tengetsu that's unrelated to their 'game' must be of no concern to them. But for me... Even the smallest piece of information could spell salvation. Folding the newspaper after I find my time for reading is running out, I unzip my bag and place it inside. I will look at it more thoroughly later.

"..."

Last I remember, the cold temperatures in this island are merciless and should be even more so during this time of the year.

I hate the cold...

Why she would stay to live here of all places is still beyond me...

... But I feel I'll find my answers soon.

I3uster
February 11th, 2015, 10:38 AM
Mister Delacroix
Location: HAL Flight 29
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 14:02
Day: January 12th

He was, without a doubt, in hell.

This was it. Finally his misdeeds had caught up to him. Divine retribution had taken shape in this flying box he would usually avoid at all costs. Ignoring any safety instructions the man loosened the seatbelt as much as he could. He was shifting in his seat. Slightly, but rapidly, as if trying to lull himself into a trance that would, if not make it all stop, at least make it so that he would no longer have to perceive any of it.

There wasn't a single element that truly defined this place of torment. The permanent, unshakable feeling of falling into a bottomless abyss. The knowledge that, below there was only water, water he would not be able to navigate in this getup for too long. A two piece suit that had seen better days, coming apart at the shoulders and fraying at the legs, a simple white shirt with the bottom button missing and dress shoes.

Of course, the thought that he might be able to shake those clothes off, or that his strength and endurance might give him a way to survive regardless, did not cross his mind. Maybe the fear of water was instinctual for his kind, even if he managed to cross it.

Not that he particularly wanted to. Or to be more clear, not that he wanted to in this moment. On the ground he was quite sure that he wanted to. But no plan survives contact with the enemy, be it an intricate weave of tactical actions or the simple, almost whimsical decision to go for a little island vacation.

Not that that was the real reason to come here either. But the man had problems being honest, and those that had a tendency to "embellish the truth", as he liked to call it, also tended to have a tendency to lie to themselves. In fact, he must be the man he lies to the most, by virtue of being stuck with himself all day.

Another compounding factor to this nightmare was the smell. Not his own, it was uncommon for him to sweat. He had deadened his temperature sensibility quite a bit, and it might have something to do with the fact that his body was not strictly...well, alive. But the smell surrounding him. He had a "drink" not too long ago, a cute flight attendant before his connecting flight who probably pictured his advances ending in a different way. More face-to-face separation, less head-from-neck separation. But in a strange subversion of usual fight-or-flight responses he felt he could really go for another.

Right now.

It was different from a bus ride where the open windows would allow at least some circulation of the smell. Here, locked up in the air the salty, almost rotten aroma of sweat only kept compounding into an irresistible cloud. It almost took him back to his time on that other island and his mother's modest but excellent cooking. But any action of his in this regard would most certainly spell doom for him. Even if he managed to make the pilot land this plane, god knows how, there was still that story.

In Freelancer circles legends circulated about some Japanese national who was so greedy for reward money he straight up shot a plane with one of his kind, and his own mother of all things, out of the sky. No, this was not something he could risk. He did not think a second about how unlikely such a thing would be. In this hell, everything that might go wrong, would go wrong.

Locked in what he perceived to be a permanently falling bus full of tasty-smelling spiced grilled chicken, he hoped the descent would be over soon.

Dranes
February 11th, 2015, 02:03 PM
Kirisaki Homura
Location: Sayoshigure High School – Class 2-B
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 14:02
Day: January 12th

...Cold.

I can't feel anything.

I should have known with my luck that the school would have some sort of weird heating system, after all it seems to be a recurring theme with my stay already and I only arrived yesterday. From that ballistic first meeting with Tetora-san to that restless first night...not that she believed me when I said it was a ghost. Maybe I was just seeing things, I'm not really used to this type of cold, Fuyuki had snow sure but it never really got this bad.

Well I guess the small bright side is that I can't feel the pain in my right hand anymore either. Ah there's always a bright side isn't there?

...I really am too optimistic sometimes.

Sighing, I look at the wooden door in front of me, a placard with 'Class 2-B' a bit above it and a shadow in the window.

This would be my class for the next year then, as curious as I am about it I have to admit the only thing I want to know is if the room is heated...

I can hear my soon-to-be homeroom teacher talking to the class, time to make myself as presentable as a frosted student can.

A motion by the shadow and I hear my name called.

“You may enter, Kirisaki-kun.”

Time to get going!

I push open the door, the first thing that I notice is that my prayers indeed have been answered. Warmth assaults me as I enter the room, they probably use some old type of heating system that only reaches the classrooms or something...well I guess in that case it makes sense why the hallway was so cold. My first look of the classroom is pretty much what I expected it to be, that and all the students looking sorta expectantly at me, well some of them like that redhead, most of the guys seemed to be goofing off by now.

I'm sort of disappointed though, I mean it was a long shot but she's definitely not here.

But it's really not the time for that. A new school life awaits.

"Good morning everyone, I'm Kirisaki Homura."

Eyes on me now, even some of the guys got out of the stupor.

I give them a smile before grabbing the chalk, I don't really know how it came about but new students normally write their name on the board, probably just so others don't make a mistake. It doesn't take me long to write my own name down and end it with a dash. With a nod I turn back to the class again.

"From Fuyuki and here for the next year, I hope we'll all get along."

A bit cliche but I'm not about to make an idiot of myself.

Not yet anyways. Got a year ahead of me after all.

Leftovers
February 11th, 2015, 02:20 PM
When it finally came, detaching itself from the darkness to step onto the dusty hardwood flooring of the room, she was already waiting for it. In fact, she was leisurely working her way through her second drink.

"Ah, you're here just in time. Please, grab a seat and make yourself comfortable." At the sound of her voice, a single light came alive, illuminating the room from its hanging perch directly over her chair.

To its credit, the faceless shadow did not flinch, nor show any other indication of surprise, but it did not acquiesce to her request either.

"I'm afraid this is entirely unavoidable; surely you can sense that much," she said with an airy gesture, and the ice cubes in her glass clinked against their container softly. "Besides, have you ever seen a movie where the final confrontation —the climax— is cancelled because the villain ran away?"

Without a motion of protest to its unconsented casting, the shadow slunk to a chair at the far corner of the room, where it sat, silent. Pleased with its cooperativeness, she briefly returned her attention back to the drink she was nursing. For a while, the air hang motionless, soundless, with even the dust having settled on the lacquered planks.

She was the first to speak, again. Blindly fishing a lighter and a slightly crumbled pack of cigarettes from the pocket of her trenchcoat, which was draped over the back of her seat, its tails brushing against the floor despite being folded twice, she flashed the room's other occupant the universally understood gesture of requesting tolerance to their vaporous vices. Its lack of response was gladly interpreted as permission, and she swiftly lit a Chesterfield, taking in its strong and vaguely sweet flavour with relish.

"You've been very obliging to someone as accosting as myself. That's a rare thing these days — it's something I really can appreciate." Shifting from her laid-back pose, almost sprawled on the chair as she were, she propped herself up for a better view at the shadow occupying the corner of the room, in all its formed formlessness. A thing that existed to be not known.

"As I said before, you are here just in time. To be a bit more specific, that time belongs to you. Of course, that does not refer to your lifespan, or something equally trite. It's the time you've been counting since you can remember counting it, from the moment that you first became aware that there is, somewhere, a great ticking clock keeping time for something, and that this something has to do with you."

She leaned forward from her chair, and the ashes of her cigarette crumbled from its tip, spiraling to the floor.

"Its gears creak in a low grind as they turn, and the cycling of its hands ticks away at the edge of your consciousness, ever-slowly inching towards a definite point in the future. It's as vague as the whisper of a coming storm in clear skies, but you are certain it will come; you do not know what it is, but you can feel it lurking at the end of the line. Your line." A long drag from the cigarette punctuated the foreboding statement, but the shadow did not as much as twitch. From afar, beyond this windowless room of long shadows and smoke hanging in the impossibly still air, a rumble echoed like distant thunder.

"To end this detour, and return to the original statement, the punctuality of your arrival pertains to the fact that time —your time— is up. It's all used up. And at the end of the line, in the final chapter, we must now play out our preordained roles."

The rumble came again, closer than before, and its tremors made the empty glass resting on the counter shift precariously.

"The build-up of a thousand pages is behind us, but that, too, is finished. Inconsequential. Who I am, who you are, why I am the hero and you are the villain; all these things are as distant to the 'us' in this room as the sun and the moon."

The rumble was now right outside the room, a violent storm besieging this closed world from all sides. The light over her was flickering wildly, from the faintest glimmer to a shine much brighter than it should have been able to produce. The light swam on the floor, driving the shadows back with its every pulse into the darkest point of the room, the corner, and its seat.

"The endgame has already been carried out. This is merely the victor claiming the prize. Truth."

If she could trust her eyes to not play tricks on her, she'd say that she saw the shadow tauntingly incline its 'head'.

Then, three great pulses, three flashes of light, a deep roar to herald the revelation--!

In the first flash, she saw the green-clad woman, her mocking red eyes gleaming like finely cut gems, and behind her was a golden halo that wreathed her form.

In the second flash, she saw Death, perched on her mighty castle, and behind her was a stone with inscriptions as old as the forests and the hills of her homeland.

In the third flash, she saw a distant form in the heart of a howling blizzard, silently challenging her to follow him beyond the veil, and behind him she saw looming an immense, impossibly beautiful overhanging moon.

And she......

.

.

.

.


Astrid Hildebrandt
Location: HAL Flight 29
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 14:02
Day: January 12th

She had fallen asleep. Her legs tucked under her own seat, head resting against a wholly uncomfortable window pane, with a newspaper folded in half and resting on her lap. Blinking the sleep out of her eyes, she picks the newspaper up with one hand, the other blindly groping for her hat, evidently misplaced during her slumber. An awkward stretch did net her the hat, but also an unsettling creaking of her joints, and she plops the wayward habiliment on her head with a resigned tiredness only a long flight can produce.

The page she had been reading before she fell asleep was the article on the murder of the clergyman, but she had already wringed all she could out of the newspaper long before she had settled for rereading it. Still, if one were to consider this murder to have been committed in order to agitate the Church, at this point in time...

Cloudy, with a chance of murder. Now where have I put my coat...

The rumble of the plane as it gradually descends to the winter wonderland of Tengetsu feels to her like an echo from an old, half-forgotten dream.

Verg Avesta
February 11th, 2015, 03:48 PM
Location: HAL Flight 29
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 14:12
Day: January 12th
Average Temperature: -26 C
Weather: Partly Cloudy

The tugging feeling eventually turned into a slightly tumultuous lurch forward as the wheels of the plane hit against the ground and began skipping forward, rubber screeching against the heated surface of the runway. This far up north ice was always a problem on airports, but thanks to the generous donation by the Tennou Corporation, the flight connections from mainland to the island of Tengetsu were always running in good condition. Well, other than during the Great Blizzard. There was only so much you could do with underground heating units and, admittedly, high-powered de-icers and snowcats. At the end of January the temperature could drop as low as -40 Celsius, and on airports, this was no laughing matter.

Still, nothing went wrong today. After some shaking and rumbling coming from the landing gear taking a grip on the surface of the runway, the plane eventually begun slowing down, before decelerating to a pleasant hum and calm stroll across the lane. As was the case with most small airports, there were only few docking ports for the airplane itself, and thus, it took about twenty minutes for Hokkaido Airlines Flight 29 to eventually make it to Terminal 2. The rest of terminals, 1 and 3, were currently loading up passengers, who were mostly locals wishing to get out of the way of the incoming winter.

As the passengers of the flight started heading towards the exit, and the fresh air that awaited beyond that, they were eventually greeted with two grand sights. One was the clear blue sky that stubbornly made its way through the shreds of grey sky here and there. The other sight was the old-looking airport of Tengetsu itself, built during Second World War by German hands. Thus, it differed from local architecture greatly, being firmly western-looking building of stone and concrete. However, at the same time, it was clearly a building that could take anything the winter of this island could throw at it.


http://i.imgur.com/PiIZRWl.jpg


Outside, people headed either towards the railway station that had a direct line to the centrum of Tengetsu, or simply hailed a cab if they had to get somewhere specific. And judging from the amount of people with big piles of luggage lining up on the walkway next to the taxi-stops, most of the tourists preferred this way. Still, there were also people who simply chose to loiter around a bit, enjoying the breezy and brisk, if a bit chilly, winter air.



Location: Sayoshigure High School – Class 2-B
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 14:09
Day: January 12th
Average Temperature: -26 C
Weather: Partly Cloudy

As could be expected, the introduction of a transfer student caused a wave of curiosity to sweep across the classroom. The moment Kirisaki had finished his introductions, dozens of hands flew up in the air in the hopes of prodding him for information. Most of them were normal, such as his hobbies, former school, favorite bands and books, if he did any sports... it seemed that the Sayoshigure High School Baseball Team was especially interested in recruiting some new blood, as judged by the twin siblings who kept eyeing Kirisaki up with hungry eyes.

Then, of course, there were some weird questions, too.

"Okay, transfer-student! Who's the best-looking girl in this classroo-UGAH!"

The black-haired boy that had asked that question had his face promptly smashed against his desk by the red-haired girl behind him. Said girl grimaced at the sight and shook her head in disbelief, as if to say that she had expected better of the boy... but judging by the disinterested expressions around the classroom, there was nothing new about this spectacle that unfolded before Kirisaki's eyes.

"Well, I think that's enough of questions," Miss Fukui said and nodded to Kirisaki. "There's not much of the day left, but please, take your seat. You'll be able to get used to the class's atmosphere. You can take the seat... let's see... hm, yes. You can sit there, next to Kichiro-kun."

And by "Kichiro-kun" Miss Fukui apparently meant the boy who was still twitching silently against the surface of his desk.

Spinach
February 11th, 2015, 05:06 PM
Ryougi Kirame
Location: Tengetsu International Airport
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 14:12
Day: January 12th

Ryougi Kirame walked out of the airport and into the cold outside, shivering once as he felt the Tengetsu January cold for the first time. Setting down his traveling bag, a medium sized one that only carried more clothes, the only belongings of his that he had brought on the flight, Kirame buttoned up his shirt and the coat worn over it. Neither were heavy winter garments, and the protection they offered from the cool air wasn’t much, but it was better than leaving his body totally exposed to the cold.

A cloud of smoke-like air left his lips as Kirame let out a long breath, looking upwards toward the blue sky overhead, peeking through the grey of winter. Holding himself there, Kirame idly watched the sky overhead as he began to more seriously think about the Tengetsu winter. He hadn’t packed the heaviest of winter clothing, and while it wasn’t so cold that what he was already wearing wouldn’t manage for the current cold, he knew it could get much colder than this. It wouldn’t be unlikely that he would have to go shop for something heavier. With the infamy surrounding the island’s cold winters it wouldn’t be a problem finding something better suited to the weather, but rather the problem was that he himself wasn’t suited for that kind of errand.

“Maybe I’ll send the shrimp to pick something out.” More clouds of steamy white floated out over the cold air as he spoke to himself.

The image of Kirame wearing a thick winter jacket with questionable print written on the back passed through his mind as he wondered what she would pick out. A chill ran down his spine at the thought of going out wearing something suited to her taste.

“I’ll just do it myself.” It didn’t take long to change his mind about the matter.

The sound of other passengers walking out of the airport, which he had been standing in the entrance of for too long already, pulled Kirame back to earth. Picking up his bag he spotted the taxi stops where other passengers that weren’t taking the train to the city were converging at. Maneuvering past the tourists and their luggage Kirame took a single step out toward the taxis. Seeing one pull up, Kirame shot out of the crowd, moving toward the cab before anyone else could take it. He knew how competitive people could get over taxis, and that the early bird gets the worm.

Giving the driver a wave Kirame opened the back passenger side door, setting his bag in the seat behind on the driver’s side as he seated himself. Reaching into his jacket pocket Kirame pulled out and unfolded a piece of paper full of hastily written down notes and an address written at the bottom. Instructions to reach the place he would be living at during his stay at Tengetsu, given to him over phone from his traveling companion. Reaching up toward the front of the cab Kirame handed the paper to the driver.

“Take me to the place written down at the bottom.”

Taking the paper the driver answered with a “sure thing,” and began the drive toward the written destination. As the tourists and the airport behind them began to fade in the distance the driver made a few attempts at small talk, asking where Kirame was from, why he was visiting Tengetsu, how long he planned to be on the island for, and other such minor topics to open a conversation. All of which Kirame replied to with short, dismissive answers that left it obvious that he wasn’t interested in a conversation.

Seeing that his passenger wasn’t interested in talking the driver asked if it was okay to play music, to which Kirame answered “no problem.”

The rest of the drive passed uneventfully as Kirame watched the snow fields passing through his window.

Location: Base
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 14:46
Day: January 12th

“This the place?” Coming to a stop the driver looked into the back of the cab as he asked Kirame to confirm the destination. A tiny little place that even with written directions was still a hassle to find, and even the cab driver, despite being a local, wasn’t totally sure if it was the right place.

Looking out the window Kirame checked to see if it matched the description. A modest old style Japanese home with a tiny lawn, surrounded by an old wooden fence that looked ready to fall apart at any moment. Patches of grey, lifeless grass were spread out over the lawn, struggling under the winter weather, and from somewhere behind the house grey smoke was rising up into the air, likely from a fireplace.

Rolling down the window Kirame tilted his head to point his ear toward the house. Under the cold wind sailing over the dying grass Kirame picked up a faint ‘plink’ sound repeating over and over from somewhere inside the house. The walls were dampening the noise and quieting it, but even still it was unmistakable to his ears

“Looks like it.” Kirame said, rolling the window back up. Handing the driver the fare, obviously without a trip, Kirame grabbed his bag and left his seat, stepping back out into the cold air of Tengetsu. With one hand holding his bag and his other buried in his pocket Kirame walked toward the fence, the cab behind him shifting out of park and droving off as Kirame shoved the fence’s wooden gate open with his foot. The metal hinges creaked in agony as the force of the shove swung the gate open wide, and at least one screw came loose.

“Oh man.” Kirame groaned, looking back at the gate, now hanging even less steadily than before. “She seriously couldn’t find something better than this?”

Sighing, Kirame complained to himself as he crossed the lawn. At some point there must have been a stone pathway from the gate to the front door, but over time most of the stones must have simply disappeared, leaving only dead grass and lifeless, cold dirt to walk on.

As Kirame approached the door the repeating ‘plink’ from inside the house became louder. Pulling his hand out of the warmth of his jacket pocket Kirame opened the door, at which point the ‘plinks’ grew louder still, and walked in. Taking off his shoes in the entryway and kicking them aside Kirame made his way to the living room over the creaky wooden floorboards.

The living room, surprisingly, managed to beat his expectations. Kirame nearly gasped when he turned the flicked the lights on and they actually worked, revealing a decently sized living space with a blue kotatsu set up in the middle of the room. At the back end of the room was a counter and a small kitchen space with an old, worn out looking fridge.

“Guess it is livable after all.” Dropping his bag beside the wall Kirame moved into the tiny kitchen space, opening the fridge to check what he had to work with. “Water, water, water, juice, water, juice…” Voice trailing off as he listed the contents of the fridge, Kirame slammed the door shut as he finished his inspection. “Does she expect to live without eating?”

Looking over the sink and stovetop Kirame sighed again at the barrenness of the kitchen space. Leaving the issue of food for later Kirame went to the center of the room, seating himself at the kotatsu. Only then did he notice the half-eaten, half-peeled mandarin sitting atop the kotatsu, a tiny fruit knife with a bit of orange on the edge of its blade sitting beside it.

“Oooh.” Taking the mandarin and the knife Kirame began finishing the half-done job of peeling it. As he popped a slice of mandarin into his mouth Kirame leaned back, resting his back against the cold floor as he listened to the much louder than before ‘plinks’ coming from somewhere in the house.

With a frown Kirame looked in the direction the sound was coming from. There was a limit to obliviousness. He had made more than enough noise when he entered, so why was she still back there?

“Oi, shrimp! Get a clue, I’m here already!” Raising his voice Kirame yelled toward the sound, which immediately ceased as soon as he had said the word ‘shrimp.’

A moment later the door in the direction from which the noise was coming from slid open. Or rather, was thrown to the side as the one who had been making the noise burst into the living room, a smudged, slender finger pointing accusingly at Kirame.

“Don’ call me shrimp!” The voice of a young girl that sounded like it was imitating the accent of an old man you’d find living way out in the countryside, or an isolated mountain village, rang out as a short girl (http://i.imgur.com/dfLcPUV.png) with long brown hair tied in a ponytail behind her head, likely not even out of middle school, passed through the door and rushed over toward Kirame. The same smudge that was on her fingers also covered most of her face, save for a clean area around her eyes shaped like goggles, as well as the clothes she was wearing, which appeared to only be the upper half of a jersey.

“What welcome is that?” Kirame asked, popping another slice of mandarin into his mouth, ignoring the girl’s order. “No ‘how was the flight?’, ‘did you have trouble finding the place?’, ‘how was the weather?’”

“Wha- I’s saving that fer later, stop eatin’ it.” Saying so the girl made an attempt to snatch the mandarin away from Kirame, who easily avoided her grabs.

“Come on, share.” He said as he avoided another attempt from her. “You already had half.”

“No! It’s mine. Give it here.” Making another lunge, the girl grabbed at empty space again as Kirame dodged her once again.

“No way.” Kirame said, throwing another slice into his mouth as he avoided her again. “Besides,” he began, chewing as he spoke, “your hands are all dirty.”

“My hands are dirty ‘cause I was doin’ work for yer sake, and tha’s my snack!” Another failed lunge accompanied her explanation. “Ya gotta lotta nerve takin’ my mandarin right after callin’ me a shrimp!”

“A shrimp is a shrimp.” Kirame answered, eating another slice of the mandarin. “You don’t need a whole mandarin anyway, being so small and all.”

“Yooouuuuuu…” Building her strength and all of her agility, the girl lunged one last time, managing to snag a single slice of the mandarin.

“Oh, you got one.” Impressed, Kirame tossed the last bite of the mandarin into his mouth. “Good job.”

Taking her slice the girl bit into it immediately, not even hesitating at how dirty her hands were.

“So, come all this way and didn’ even bring a girl with ya?” She asked, looking down at Kirame who was still resting against the floor, from where he had managed to dodge almost all of her grabs.

A dash of red appeared on the cheeks of Kirame as he sat up surprisingly quickly, coughing and half choking on the mandarin slice he was eating before being struck through the chest like that.

“Wh-what business of yours is that, shrimp?” He quickly shot back. “B-besides,” clearing his throat and getting over the initial stroke of his own inability to handle these kinds of topics, Kirame looked away a bit as he spoke, “I came straight here after the flight. There was no chance of picking up any gir… guests.”

“Hey hey young’n, this’ why yer always alone at night.” Shaking her head the young girl seated herself at the kotatsu, clearly not wanting to stay standing in the cold living room anymore now that she had gotten back what little she could of her mandarin. “’S cold on this island, y’know. Ya should find a pretty lady to cuddle up with when it gets dark.”

“C-cu…” More than one image came to Kirame’s mind, and dash of red turned into a full flush. “I’ll be warm enough on my own!”

The girl silently shook her head at Kirame’s response.

“Wait,” the disapproving head shaking stopped as the more reasonable gears in her head began to turn, “ya came straight here? Not even introducin’ yerself to the city’s bigshots?”

“H-huh?” Off guard at the sudden shift of topic, Kirame looked back toward the girl. “Why would I?”

“Ya numbskull, yer gon’ be makin’ a mess with all yer fightin’, aren’ja.” The girl said, frowning as she answered Kirame’s question. “Ya better go an’ introduce yerself to the people in charge.”

Kirame started to reply, but the girl cut him off before he could say a word.

“Yer gonna need to meet ‘em sooner or later. Better sooner.”

“Can’t it wai-“

“Do it today.” Cutting Kirame off again, the girl ended his protest before it could even begin in a ‘final’ tone.

“… Fine.” After a brief silence at the kotatsu Kirame relented, standing up and leaving the kotatsu’s warmth. “This is your idea, so you had better have an idea of who I should go to.”

With a ‘hmph’ the girl grinned at Kirame’s demand, crossing her arms and closing her eyes as she prepared herself to deliver a matter-of-fact explanation.

“Naturally. Ya should go talk to the mayor first of all, he’s the one runnin’ this city.” The girl explained, throwing in directions on how to get to the villa where he could meet the mayor as Kirame nodded his head at her instructions. “Then there’s this one I heard of when I’s searchin’ for the place, real important lady…”

“Lady?” Kirame interrupted.

“Real important lady, she an’ her group’re in charge of this part of the city.”

“Lady?” Kirame interrupted again.

“Lotsa tension between people livin’ here, or so I heard when I’s findin’ the place.” The explanation continued, ignoring Kirame’s attempt to interject. “What was her name again… Saishuki? Tha’s it. Gyoku Saishuki. See about findin’ her and introducin’ yerself to her while yer at it. Yer gon’ be makin’ all sortsa messes on her land’n all.”

“Uhh, on second thought this really can wait.” Kirame protested, starting to lower himself back down to get under the kotatsu.

“No ya don’t.” An open, grimy palm shot up to his face and cut him off. “Yer goin’ out, like it or not.”

“…” A tense staredown followed as Kirame looked through the girl’s smudgy fingers and met her eyes, which weren’t going to let him back down even an inch. A full moment passed before Kirame let out a sigh and stood back up again as he headed toward the entry. “Alright. Then fetch me my-“

“No.” Cut off again, Kirame turned back to the girl, who was now peeling another mandarin that had seemingly appeared from nowhere. “Yer goin’ to introduce yerself politely, no weapons.”

Kirame didn’t argue back. She was right about that one, so instead he made his way down the creaking hallway and began putting on his shoes. As he opened the door and felt the cold wind hit his face Kirame turned his head to the side and shouted back into the house.

“Oi, Nozomi, wash up before you mess around under the kotatsu!”

The girl, Nozomi, yelled something back in response, but Kirame shut the door and walked out into the cold before he could hear what it was. Passing through the ruinous gate Kirame set off with the directions the girl had given him to the Senketsurinri Villa in the hopes that he might get lost and spend too much time finding his way to be able to visit the other person Nozomi had told him to meet.

Location: Outside Senketsurinri Villa
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 15:54
Day: January 12th

Shivering, and with his hands buried in his pockets, Kirame walked across the bridge connecting the old town to the Senketsurinri Villa. He had, much like he had hoped, gotten rather lost in his search, but wasn’t particularly happy about the fact. He hadn’t given the cold the respect it deserved. He had managed to keep his arms and fingers warm by burying them in his pockets but his ears and the tip of his nose had no such protection from the chilly breeze.

With another shiver Kirame looked up toward the villa and a thought passed through his head.

It was…

A cold wind swept across the bridge, blowing Kirame’s hair wildly with it. Lowering his face to avoid the full brunt of the wind, Kirame stared at the villa.

… Strangely familiar.

The thought that he had seen the villa before passed his mind, but as the wind subsided Kirame shook his head, pushing the thought away.

“Ridiculous.” Speaking to himself, Kirame completed the trek across the bridge.

Having reached the villa walls it became painfully apparent that Kirame had no clue what to do from there.

Looking around like a duckling separated from its mother, Kirame pondered how exactly he was meant to do this.

“How do you even introduce yourself to a mayor, anyway?” Kirame complained under his breath, looking at the various rooftops he could see past the wall. “…” A moment passed, and without coming to any answer Kirame just frowned and started walking toward the gate. “I’m not getting anything done at this rate.”

“To hell with it.” Proper introductions weren’t Kirame. Asking permission to enter private property wasn’t Kirame either. If the gate was unlocked he would just go in and search around.

Rafflesiac
February 11th, 2015, 06:43 PM
Xander Stone
Location: Tengetsu International Airport
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 14:12
Day: January 12th

The plane landing was surprisingly bumpy. Were they normally supposed to make your stomach skip like a stone across a lake? At least it stopped soon, and was nice and gentle at the end.

God, my legs are killing me. How do people like me sit still this long? And did the person in front of me really need to lean back so much? It’s all over now, at least. Folding into the flow of passengers gushing out of the plane, I shuffle out of the terminal and into the airport.

Oh, there’s the baggage claim! I stride toward the loop of bags, quickly pulling my dingy suitcases from the conveyor belt. I’d hate to lose all of my clothes, after all! Brushing past people with muttered apologies, I step out of the doors and freeze.

In front of me stands a mountain of gray stone. Oppressively huge and impressively imposing,

That dour building made of stone is where I should go? That imposing mountain of concrete and rock, grayer and colder than the Tengetsu sky?

No way. No way in Hell.

Sorry, Mr. Hendricks. I can’t follow your advice for this. I tear my eyes away to gaze around me at the flow of travelers. Well, it's more like a trickle now. Just how long have I been standing here? Even with my parka, I'm freezing; even worse than I was earlier!

Tucking gloved hands into the pockets of my parka, I shuffle toward the nearest taxi, my breath shooting out in staccato gasps of wispy fog. It takes a few tries - people keep beating me to them - but I finally get to one and put my bags in the backseat next to me, shuddering at the chill of the worn leather. I fumble for my map - why did I fold it up like this - and hold it in front of the driver.

“Can you uh, take me here please?”

~~~~~~~~~~

Xander Stone
Location: The Quarry
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 15:07
Day: January 12th

The taxi driver speeds away, leaving a storm of dust and snow in his wake.

“He certainly wasn’t that fast while taking me here.” A deep sigh, the kind that pulls the air out your lungs and shoves your shoulders and head down with it, escapes me. “I’ve been had, haven’t I?”

I roll my shoulders, working out the kinks from far too much time spent sitting. “Still, I suppose I can’t blame him for wanting to leave.”

Around me are buildings of dingy wood and stone, doing their utmost to blend in with the sleet and snow. I recline on a nearby wall, elbows sinking into its white coat, and relax, letting my breath flow in and out. The houses are relics of a bygone time; nothing like the towers of glass and steel I saw out of the car window. Aged angular roofs clad in snow feebly reach toward the sky, or perhaps the occasional bird that soars freely above them, mocking reminders of heights they cannot reach.

I take another breath, savoring the light and pleasant air as it slides down my throat. Despite its age and despite its failures, this place is trying its best as well.

“Hahh...time to get moving! I can’t afford to freeze here, after all!”

I walk to one of the houses - a simple, two-floor affair - and step onto the porch. With a series of clicks and a loud creak, I open the door and step inside my house here. There’s a small foyer, a kitchen, a bathroom and a living room on the first floor; and also a lot of cobwebs.

“I can’t say I expected having so many roommates.”

The top floor has two bedrooms, a bathroom, a study and a hatch in the ceiling that leads to the attic. I guess I’ll take the bedroom by the back wall then, away from the stairs. Just gotta open this door, set down my suitcases by the bed and air out the closet-

“GAAAAAH!”

A river of rats shot out of the closet and streamed down the hallway, leaving piercing squeaks and dried balls of fur and... other stuff... in their wake.

No wonder I got this place for so cheap.

“Okay. I’ll set up the fields, and then I’ll deal with the rat infesta-”

A loud growl roared through the room as a dull ache asserted itself in my stomach. The last thing I’d eaten had been the complimentary biscotti on the plane. I’ll just check the fridge, and - nope. Empty as the night sky in a city.

I checked my budget for the day. Food... was not happening.

With a sigh, I set myself to work.

hero
February 11th, 2015, 07:12 PM
Azama Tae
Location: Snow Wastes - Airport
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 14:12
Day: January 12th


"..."

As soon as my feet hit the ground, my body switches to automatic. It knows the clock is ticking and there are a lot of things to do. I need to keep up with my own schedule as well with that of the Holy Grail War. So, it simply moves on its own, taking me step by step to the place I should logically visit yet. Meanwhile, my mind wonders about those tasks... Everything that awaits me in the nearby future. It's like two processes are being run at once, separate, but ultimately heading towards the same destination.

The next thing I know I am standing inside the underground parking lot that the airport has.

The reason why I am here should already be obvious: I don't plan to walk my way through the city. I'll most likely be on constant movement during my stay at Tengetsu, so a vehicle will save me a lot of trouble. And while there are the cabs and the train, I'd rather use something I am more familiar with. Something that I own, and that wouldn't betray me. My BMW 1200RT fits the bill just fine, and I ordered to have it tuned to work in optimum conditions even during the merciless weather conditions that the Grand Blizzard has to offer. I had to bribe a few local officials to get it to be here, but money is something that I have in excess. So long as its something that can be bought with money, there is little that stands outside my reach. That said, lately I've been spending quite a lot of money on this particular quest of mine...

The staff offered to send the vehicle to my address but I turned down the offer. I rather pick it myself... Besides, one can never be too careful with this kind of thing. My mission involves dangerous people on top of the eight Masters who'll be after my head soon... Making mistakes here spells my doom later on. After thanking the one in charge for looking after my bike, I walk over my vehicle and insert the key, ready to get out of here. The system does a check up as I turn the key to the right, and after its done I start the engine with the push of a button. I might be a girl, but I've always had a passion for vehicles. Naturally, having learned from a very young age, I am proficient when it comes to driving them. For someone daring as I am, the conditions the island threatens its citizens with hardly intimidates me.

Once I've waited a few moments for the engine to warm up, I rev up the engine and finally accelerate, making my way out of the parking lot with both speed and ease.

I pity those who don't have one of these.

--------

Azama Tae
Location: Old Town - Shushin Koushi
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 14:56
Day: January 12th


To think that the first place I visit would be a brothel...

Normally I wouldn't even come close to this sort of place, but the person I am looking for is waiting inside, so I don't have much of a choice. I can at least take comfort that it's still early, so there shouldn't be much movement inside at the moment. At least, I hope so. Swallowing my doubts and part of my pride, I steel myself and make my way inside.

"Excuse me, I am looking for Otsue-Taiyu." Walking up to the receptionist, I quickly cut to the chase. "Tell her Tae is looking for her."

Katie
February 11th, 2015, 08:27 PM
Shimamura Mirai
Location: HAL Flight 29
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 14:12
Day: January 12th

Well, I’m off! Got my luggage and everything. Everything has been surprisingly routine so far, without any major mishaps. Well, not that there would be, I think. There isn’t really a reason to make a noticeable move so early, since everyone else is just as unequally prepared as you are.

As I’m about to leave, my phone rings (http://idolmaster-music.tumblr.com/post/91783367196/song-moonlight-densetsu-artist-haruka-amami).

http://i.imgur.com/NE2ZhNC.jpg

“Hello? Papa? No, I’m fine, I just got off the plane. Yes, yes, I’m doing as Grandpa said. I mean, I’m going to. Yes, yes. I promise I won’t spend too much. Oh, Nii-san wants to talk to me? Let him on. Oh, Nii-san! Hi. Huh? Are you serious? They don’t leave corpses, you heard what Grandpa… I can’t get you a sample! It hasn’t even started yet! Besides, if you wanted me to perform spiritual stabilization, how about you give me the family crest? I can’t do it on my own. What do you mean, ‘whose fault is that’? It’s yours. Geez, let Papa back on the phone. Papa? Sorry about Nii-san. Eh, I mean, I can’t do what he says, I don’t have the right… I mean, it’s too late. Sorry. No, it’s fine. I promise everything will be just fine. Bye, Papa.”

I glance at the phone in my hands and snap it shut. My family… is something special, I’m sure. But first, I have do everything Grandpa told me I needed to do… I miss him. And that’s why I’m here, to be his second chance. I owe him a lot.

“Taxi!”

I hitch a ride on a taxi and head towards the harbor.

Location: Harbor District
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 14:25
Day: January 12th

I make my way to the warehouse where Papa kindly decided to pay for and deliver to me the only hand-me-down I ever got from him. Because Grandpa requested it, actually, which I guess doesn’t really make it a gift but more something done out of forced obligation? Well, whatever the case it is, it’s mine now.

I glance at the RV with a surprising amount of pride in my chest and twirl the keys around my finger.

It’s not really that special, but it was really expensive back when Papa bought it. I remember growing up in this, watching Papa get all sorts of requests from Yakuza members and having to help him with his job in real time. You really learn the trade if you do it that way, haha.

I open it up and go inside. Before it was shipped off, Papa let me redecorate it, so it looks really comfortable and inviting. There are some really nice pillows on the bed, and I think the stereo in the corner is really nice. On the side there’s the microwave above the fridge, then the “kitchen,” then a small table for dining. It might be a bit cramped, but I find it really comfy.

And then there’s the operating table. I turn to the panel next to it, the way to open it embedded into my heart. Hit that spot twice with your elbow, tap there, and kick it he—

I fall over, the panel hitting me squarely in the face. Ugh, I forgot about that. I turn to check for the medical supplies—gauze, defibrillator, EKG, x-ray machine, all that. Nice to know all of it is still here. I might have to weasel a bit from the clinics and hospital, but I can always use my own blood for a donation…’

It takes me only a few minutes to check if everything’s here. All I have to do is set up the bounded field and I’m good to go.

It takes me a bit (not very long) and I go up to the driver’s seat and pin a map on the dashboard, figuring out a route. The place where I need to go is a bit far from here, but it’s fine.

Time to drive.

Location: Jiboujiki Clinic
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 15:19
Day: January 12th

The van is parked right outside where I need to be. It’s probably… really out of place, but nothing I can do about that, I guess. Anyway, there’s a person I need to see here. A distant relative of mine, in fact! I should have guessed he’d be a person who lives really far away from the city, but still in a place where he can treat people.

I take a good deep look at the clinic, how it blends in with the other buildings with the archaic architecture, before I go inside and ask what’s really on my mind.

“Sensei, are you here?”

Kuroyuki
February 11th, 2015, 11:27 PM
Kiyoko Miyamoto
Location: HAL Flight 29
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 14:15
Day: January 12th

Ah it feels so nice to be out of the airplane! I would normally walk to the Shrine to stretch myself off, but I don't think lugging my luggage for three hours in the snow would be a good idea. Walking there would also be a hindrance to my plan of cleaning the shrine too. So let's get a taxi to drop me off in Old Town and I'll walk the remainder of the way. I wave a taxi down and get inside.

"Could drop me off at the Old Town?"


Location: Miyamoto Shrine
Phase Day 2/3
Time: 15:00

Ah it feels so good to have walked a little bit after the taxi ride! Now then let's see, I need to shovel the snow, empty any potential offerings in the box, and probably restock the refrigerator with food. I can probably pick up food after cleaning everything. So let's get to cleaning! And surprisingly there isn't much to do besides that.

Maybe I will go surprise everyone at the main Shrine around dinnertime! It would probably be better than tomorrow since the weather is going to get progressively worse as the week gets closer and closer to the "Great Blizzard." So let's knock everything out and meet everyone today!


Location: Winding Path
Phase Day 3/3
Time: 18:15

Okay, everything is good! I got everyone's favorite sweets from the local store. Now, all I have to do is walk up to the Shrine! At the very worst, it'll take me about thirty minutes. So let's go!

Mormarth
February 12th, 2015, 02:57 AM
Francis York Morgan
Location: ???
Phase: ???
Time: ???
Day: January 12th

"..."

"Z-...ach...Zach, can you hear me? It's me, York. If you can hear my voice, could you respond?"

"...!"

"Good, I thought you went to sleep."

These words echoed out through a seemingly endless void until there was a spark. First came the stove, then the lamp nearby, then the television set on the other side, and finally the large chandelier on the 'ceiling.' These lights illuminated a large room covered in red leaves. At the center of this room, Francis York Morgan reclined on a comfortable-looking couch as he held a blood-stained folder above his head. He furrowed his brow in deep thought as he stared at the bloody file.

"Zach, don't be surprised. Spookhouse is sending us back to that island."

"..."

"Yes, I know our mission is the Holy Grail War, but we can't just forget about her. Our friends at Spookhouse won't complain about a little side-job as long as I complete the objective."

"...!"

"Don't worry, Zach. Let's take it slow. You can handle the trip to Tengetsu PD, right? We gotta visit Meiji, and you need to start stretching your legs again."

"..."

The lights dimmed slowly, and the room swathed in crimson faded from sight.

Francis York(?) Morgan
Location: HAL Flight 29
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 14:02
Day: January 12th

"This is Captain Motohara speaking. We have now entered the air-space of Tengetsu island, and we are preparing for the landing shortly."

The man stirred out of his light doze, blinking and sweeping his gaze around the plane slowly, his face scrunched up into a grimace, last time he was on a plane it got pretty gnarly, improvised weapons, lightning striking the plane, even an impromptu batting session.

"Yeah, it got pretty crazy, but we got the guy in the, didn't we..."

He shook his head slightly, shifting in his coat for a moment, pulling out a badge, 'FBI Special Agent', he supposed that was accurate, that was who he was supposed to be, after all, Francis York Morgan.

"Call me York." He muttered quietly.

He nodded, and noted the slight shuddering of the plane, Tengetsu Island, supposed to be a real dust-up waiting to happen, people set in their ways, don't like how the real world's forcing them to accept reality, but guess it hurts to have people shoving their flushable toilets in your face.

He shuffled around in his seat, feeling awkward and out of place, he grasped the newspaper sticking up out of his seat, 'Great Blizzard on its way', nasty winter storm shutting off the whole island for weeks, nobody in, nobody out.

Yeesh, with this whole scenario they've got going, should be pretty nasty.

He flicked through the newspaper as the plane descended, noting small details to freshen up on the island.
=========
The plane's landing worried him for a moment, but went smoothly after a bit of moaning from the landing gear, he departed from the plane quickly and precisely, heading straight for baggage, he hefted a few briefcases, one noticeably heavier than the other, and after a short period of time where he wrestled with his belongings, produced the necessary funds to pay his way to the business district of Tengetsu proper.

No time to dily-dally, places to go, people to see.

As he exited the train and observed the map of the city he'd brought with him, he found himself at a literal crossroads.

'York' looked around for a moment, arguing with himself, they'd agreed to go see the Police as soon as possible, but...

He eyed the heavier briefcase.

Maybe it'd be a bit better to drop his things at the room...

"Oi! Hey!" He waved down a cab.

As he entered, he smiled at the cabby, "Hi, mind taking me to the, ah," He checked his papers, "Gongujoudo? I'll be staying there for a few weeks while I'm working with the police."
===========
Location - Gongujoudo
Phase - Day 2/3
Time - 14:45

As he stepped out of the cab, paying his fare through the window, 'York' observed the inn, whistling, "Looks pretty traditional, huh? Makes me feel like I'm in some old samurai flick," He caught his reflection, "Heh, don't look too much like Tom Cruise."

He walked towards the door, paused for a moment, then removed his shoes, could never be too careful, "Er, hello? I'm Francis York Morgan, I made a reservation?"

I3uster
February 12th, 2015, 12:29 PM
Mister Delacroix
Location: Tengetsu International Airport
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 14:02
Day: January 12th

After surviving the landing through what he presumed to be a miracle, it was time to take care of the first order of business.

The man had arrived without luggage.

Sure, there was the hand luggage he carried around, a small suitcase full of the most important things. Or rather the most important things he could fit in a suitcase. While he would be able to survive fine with the signed contract for the housing, a bit of cash money and a little flask full of rum, he was in possession of certain items that could not be fitted into such a small little compartment.

Which is why he had the rest of the belongings he needed delivered here, declared as cargo. The weight would have driven the price up too hard, and it wasn't like him to waste money, not in this economy anyway. There would of course be no reason to be stingy once this little adventure was over, but it was necessary to conserve money in business so that there would be more left in private.

After a bit of uncomfortable interaction with customs, and frequent reassurance that the imported goods were delivered totally legal (presenting the paperwork was, due to his limitations in Japanese business jargon quite an ordeal), he could finally lay his hands on what was rightfully his.

It was a brown leather suitcase. Maybe the word suitcase wasn't quite fitting. It was more like somebody wrapped a smaller-sized cupboard in leather and put wheels on it, then dared to sell this curiosity to the first sucker who thought some flight company would actually let this object in their cargo hatch. Small patches had already been torn away from it, and the sturdy but quite obviously too small wheels creaked at every little movement. To round off the visual image with a little "pop" it was also wrapped in yellow tape that informed careless cargo-throwers that its contents were fragile and would have to be handled with utmost care.

Not like anybody could throw this thing in the first place.

Slowly and steadily, and under nerve-tearing creaking, the man moved towards the airport exit, in one hand a leash which with he pulled the suitcase, in the other a map with a small red circle on it. And before the shock of the opened door had silenced him, one could even hear him whistle a cheerful tune.

------

Mister Delacroix
Location: Old Town - Delacroix's Place
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 18:32
Day: January 12th


It took a while to get here.

No airport taxi he found had the space for his luggage so he was forced into becoming a bit creative. Some of the cargo loaded off just had to be delivered somewhere near his destination, and there had to be a way to find an arrangement. But these people weren't quite as cooperative as he would have hoped. They were polite, sure, but nobody he encountered was quite ready to break regulations and schedule to take along some black man talking heavily accented Japanese with a giant suitcase of unidentifiable, potentially illegal contents around.

The cold didn't make it any better. Yes, it wasn't like he was able to enjoy the sun like he would in his youth. Beach days were certainly over. But even so, the old skin-drying, power-sapping, death-dealing bastard was preferable to the horror that was the cold. Real, true cold was something he experienced only way too late in his life to get used to it.

Luckily, he had a way of persuading hard cases.


After a bit of initial difficulty finding the exact place of the key deposit box, it was finally time to enter. From the front the house he chose was quite obviously intended as a store. The shopping window had been crudely made nontransparent by a simple application of packing tape and thin cardboard. The sign at the top still had not been switched out and proudly proclaimed the place as "KISARAGI'S FINE MEATS", as proud as a washed out sign could do so anyway. The remainder of the pretty narrow two-story building made the glass pane and its floor-fitted locks almost seem anachronistic. Its roof, like most of old town, was classically Japanese and its walls seemed almost dangerously thin.

It was a last minute deal. A pretty good one. It was not like he had particularly high standards when it came to housing anyway, just one of the things a life as mobile worker taught him.

It seemed that prior history of handling dead animals had made this place quite a hard sell to the people of Old Town, so even a black foreigner who left only the minimal amount of information necessary would be able to get the former shop for cheap rent.

He had to hurry up now. Getting comfortable could wait.

After dragging the suitcase into the entry hall, which still was mostly occupied by a counter and a small bench for older customers to sit down, he first removed all the yellow wrapping from it. Now it was in skillful hands after all, there was no need to remind him to be careful. Inside, it was further compartmentalized. He took out various smaller wooden boards, some bolts, feathers, paper, red silk with small black accents, a handsaw, crosses, a small bag of powder, two red apples, a flask of rum and last but not least, a single shotgun shell.

It was time to truly make this house his.

While the first floor was still just a shop and a medium-sized refrigeration room, the second floor had the actual housing. In the central room where all the imaginary paths from one room to the other would cross, the man began assembling something that looked like a table. It was quickly adorned by the seemingly random objects he had taken out of his suitcase before, and it was time for the finishing touches. On the red velvet he distributed the small bag of powder (a mixture of ground eggshells, talc, salt and just a pinch of sulfur) and began to draw a rather intricate cross-shaped pattern on it. Then, as the last act of home improvement he opened the flask of rum and put it on the altar, before slowly fiddling with the shotgun shell and a handsaw. Slowly, steadily he cracked and undid the contents of the small package of lead balls, propellant, metal and plastic until only the propellant powder remained in his hand. He carefully poured all of it in the rum flask, shook its contents and poured just a tiny amount over the altar.

Always glad to work with you again.

It was now time to leave the house.

As he went down on the first floor again, he checked his suit pocket for the letters. Taking the smaller suitcase out of his pseudo-cupboard he was almost out of the door before remembering to reassure himself that he had the right ones.

To: Michael de los Santos

Yes.

To: Michael de los Santos

Of course.

To: Olga Nowak

Most importantly.

Content with what he saw, he was almost tempted to whistle another tune, before remembering the weather.

------

Mister Delacroix
Location: Old Town - Vollmond Theater
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 19:04
Day: January 12th

He was not a fan of the theater. It was a place that was supposed to reflect and show life in all its facets, but all it managed in the end was a pale imitation. Or worse, something completely alien and, what was the word, experimental. Disgusting. If he wanted to reflect on human nature there was nothing better than a party. It might sound unsophisticated, especially by a gentleman who had lived as long as him, but it was the truth. The full spectrum of human emotion and its condition is best perceived live as it happens.

Regardless, there was somebody who he had to meet before considering any further steps in this town. A simple courtesy visit, nothing more. The problem was that he was not quite sure of the contact's address. All he really had to go on was a name, and the theater. Maybe somebody would be able to direct him.

For now he just waited outside with his smaller, but still imposing suitcase.

Verg Avesta
February 12th, 2015, 01:06 PM
http://i.imgur.com/TR7QiSI.png

Location: Outside Senketsurinri Villa
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 15:56
Day: January 12th

"Now... what would possibly explain this sight before me? Are you a tourist, wandering about unknowing? Or perhaps a vermin, here to sniff secrets of ours? Depending on your answer, I may have to draw my sword, stranger." (http://tindeck.com/listen/xntpy)

A sudden sing-song voice called out for Kirame's attention from the corner of the gate. There, dressed in clothing that made him look antiquated even by the standards of this city, was a young man with short black hair. His tender eyes held a quiet promise of sharp steel as he watched Kirame's movements from his vantage point. It seems he had been resting under the alcove of the gate, thus being in the blind spot of the approaching young man. Now that Kirame had announced his intentions of getting inside, however, this fair-featured samurai saw it best to step in.

"Or, mayhaps, you are of different breed altogether?" the young man asked, his gaze slowly travelling up and down of Kirame's body. "I admit, you do not seem a tourist, yet to do not carry the air of a rogue here to plunder our mansion... but, yes. I can feel the danger in you. I am afraid that unless you give me a reason, I cannot allow such a dangerous man to meet with the mayor."

The samurai took a step forward, putting his hand slowly to the handle of the sword he was carrying on his waist. It was somewhat absurd to see something like that on this day and age, but out here, in the vicinity of the villa, it seemed as if time had slowly started moving backwards. Everything seemed as if it was from centuries ago, both the island and the air they breathed.

The young man narrowed his eyes momentarily. It seemed that the visage of Kirisame somehow troubled him, but for a different reason than what he had spoken aloud. It looked almost like someone trying to piece together a puzzle of memories in his head.

"So... what say you? A tourist? Or a rogue?" the man asked, his peaceful voice taking a stronger edge. "Or something far different?"




http://i.imgur.com/g8NjTby.png

Location: Old Town - Shushin Koushi
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 15:01
Day: January 12th

After some time had passed, the pitter-patter of hurried footsteps approached Tae in the lobby of the building. The sound came from one of the many corridors that seemed to zigzag in the sensually crimson building. Looking at the direction of the approaching sound revealed a rather strange sight: a woman in her late twenties with beautiful black hair and expensive looking clothes, wearing some pretty heavy make-up. Not only that, but she was grinning from ear to ear and waved to the younger girl as she approached, her bare feet thumping against the wooden floors of the brothel.

"Aah, sorry, sorry! I got a lil' caught up with a customer!" the girl said, bopping her head back and forth in some form of apologetic bow. "Did y'all wait fer long? Well, ne'ermind that, come on! Otsue is waitin' fer ya!" (http://tindeck.com/listen/cdkxm)


http://i.imgur.com/SISweBN.png

Catching Tae by the arm, the older woman began dragging her deeper into the building, towards the stairs that took people to the top floor. Despite what one might have thought when they heard the word, "brothel", Sushin Koushi was actually rather large building. It sat alone in the old town, taking up most of the space on the hill it was on. Not only that, but it rose up a whole five floors, making it seem almost like a temple of some sort, thanks to its unique design. As for what the people inside it prayed for, well...

"Ah, don't let it bother yer pretty lil' head," the older woman said and patted Tae's shoulder as they walked past some rooms were... passionate... voices could be heard coming from. "Girls' are just doin' their work, nothing else. Nyaha, 'doin'. Ahah~"

Giggling at her own joke, the older woman continued leading Tae to the top floor. As they made their way towards the room where the head of this establishment was waiting, Tae's companion eventually couldn't contain her curiosity. It was at the top of the stairs in the fourth floor where she finally cornered the younger girl, and with eyes like those of a particularly excited cat, she purred a question for her.

"Soooo? Who are ye? Y'all don't look like ya were from around 'ere," the woman asked, before a light-bulb seemed to light up above her head. "Wait! Are ya Otsue's new recruit? Oooh, ya are, ain'cha? Oh, just look at 'em cheeks on ya, lil' darlin'! I'll train ya to become a star here, I will! Ya can just call me Mika-nee, everybody does! D'ya have a stage name chosen, already? What should I call ye, darlin'?"

It seemed that her own thought process had taken the older woman, "Mika-nee" as she called herself, to a happier place. She kept squishing Tae's cheeks with an cheerful expression on her face, like she had found a new sister after turning around the corner.



http://i.imgur.com/NtJajde.jpg

Location: Outskirts - Jiboujiki Clinic
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 15:22
Day: January 12th


“Sensei, are you here?”

As if to answer the question spoken aloud, a loud crash could be heard from inside the clinic, like glass breaking. (http://tindeck.com/listen/ksacj) The sound was almost magnified by the fact that other than that, it was almost eerily quiet here at the outskirts of Tengetsu City. The few houses near the clinic, namely a closed-down small store and a shed that looked like it had seen better days, were devoid of any life, and the only light one could see came from inside the western house where the resident doctor resided. The untold amounts of snow covering the landscape didn't help it, as it seemed to swallow everything in sight.

Finally, after a set of tumbling noises, a loud curse, and another glass breaking, the door to the clinic finally opened, slowly. As the wooden door swung ajar, music drifted outside. Judging from the words and the melancholic melody it was some song by Tom Waits, as the raspy, whiskey-colored voice was hard to mistake. Not only that, but the same wind from house brought out a distinct smell of tobacco and antiseptic, creating a rather stinging smell to anyone who was not used to such things.

"Huh? What is it?" a hoarse voice asked.

There, in the doorway, stood now a tall and lithe man with features that clearly told he was not originally from around here. His looks weren't helped by the white hair or the scars on his skin left by some violent disease. Two tired eyes stared at Mirai with a hint of annoyance in them. It seemed that this interruption to whatever was going on inside was not welcome.

After quickly glancing at the girl standing there, the man let out a frustrated sigh and shooed her away with his hand.

"In 90% of cases, whatever you think is ailing you isn't. It's all in your head," he bluntly said, giving her no time to get a word in edgewise. "Unless you're not having your period. Then, yes, you're pregnant. And no, I'm not doing abortions. Not get lost, kid, and take responsibility for whatever midnight tryst you were in."

And without waiting for an answer he slammed the door shut right in front of Mirai's face.




http://i.imgur.com/2SFC2VS.jpg

Location: Outskirts - Winding Path
Phase Day 3/3
Time: 18:25
Day: January 12th

The climb up to the mountain where Yamaichi Shrine waited was not an easy one. (http://tindeck.com/listen/xntpy) Though the stone steps did help, the path up had been made to slither from one side to another, easing the climb but making the journey far longer than it should have. Still, there weren't many options other than using the path, as everywhere else the snow had piled up to drifts that could have easily swallowed up a child. Still, here, far away from the hustle and bustle of Tengetsu City, spending some time surrounded by nature was not the worst of ideas. Despite the chilling winter some birds were still singing loudly in the trees, and one could even see a hare or two bouncing about in the white wilderness. And most of all, it was peaceful. Unbelievably peaceful, with no loud noises or unnecessary cacophony.

It was almost as if there was no impending war for supremacy in the horizon at all.

As Kiyoko walked the familiar steps ever upwards, she eventually came to the half-way point of the journey. There, just like on the root of the mountain where she had started the climb, was a bright red torii. Or, well, there had used to be a bright red torii here. Now the paint had faded, making it seem almost like old, dried up blood. Still, among the snow and the whiteness, it was a welcome change of color for anyone heading to the Yamaichi Shrine above.

"..."

Perhaps it was the fact that the small girl up ahead was so quiet, or perhaps it was because she wore all-white clothes, but until Kiyoko got to the torii, it was almost as if the girl waiting there had not existed at all. However, now that she was near, she could clearly see the small shape of the girl wearing a blindfold, patiently waiting for her to get where she was. From afar, one could have mistaken her for a snowman, but from this distance, it was clear she was alive. There was a faint cloud of fog rising from her mouth, a clear sign that she was breathing.

As Kiyoko got to where the girl in white was, this blindfolded enigma gave her a deep bow, as if welcoming her. And then, with a quiet voice that almost got lost in the snow, she spoke.

"Welcome, first Master. To the Yamaichi Shrine."




http://i.imgur.com/vE9jIEo.jpg

Location: Park District - Gongujoudo
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 14:47
Day: January 12th


"Er, hello? I'm Francis York Morgan, I made a reservation?"

"Hmm? A customer?" (http://tindeck.com/listen/cdkxm)

A drowsy voice could be heard coming form behind the counter, where thin tail of smoke rose towards the ceiling. The distinct smell of a pipe-tobacco was clear here in the reception. As York got closer to the source of the sound, something seemed to slowly inch its way to an upright position once more. First, the distinct head of a kiseru popped in sight from behind the counter. This was followed by a green felt hat, and finally, a curly bush of hair and pair of round glasses with brown eyes peering from behind them. Like a large raccoon of some sort, lazy and with witty smile on its lips, a middle-aged woman finally emerged and plopped herself on the counter, eyeing the foreign man before her up and down.


http://i.imgur.com/qaSpVpb.jpg

"Reservation, you say? Are you sure? I hope you are, because I lost my reservations book yesterday, and I can't make heads or tails who's supposed to be lodging here and who's not," she said before chuckling, sounding a bit like husky-toned bear grunting. "What did you say your name was again, boy? Morgan? How do you spell that? Mo-ru-gan? 模流丸? Huhu, you foreigners always have such funny names... gan... ahaha... Now I'm in the mood for some nikuman... *sigh*... so hungry..."



It seemed that the woman had completely forgotten that York was even there anymore, and was now simply muttering about food with dreamy eyes.





http://i.imgur.com/VlLHf8K.png




Location: Old Town - Vollmond Theater
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 19:06
Day: January 12th

"Umm... Excuse me? Are you, perhaps, looking for someone?" (http://tindeck.com/listen/xntpy)

A beautiful voice, like a bell. From Delacroix's peripheral vision, a distinct splash of bright blue and golden could be seen against the whiteness of the snowy drifts that surrounded the theater. It was like a splotch of paint on an otherwise empty canvas. That truly eye-catching sight was a young blonde woman, dressed in rather elegant clothing, quietly sweeping the yard with a bamboo broom. In all honesty, it seemed almost a hopeless task, as there was no way a broom could really match up to the snow on the ground. Still, judging from how the main pathway and most of the yard of the theater were in far neater condition than the way here, she must have been stubbornly at work for quite some time.

After getting Delacroix's attention, the young woman smiled and nodded her head in a greeting. She made last few sweeps on the snow before setting the broom against the stone wall of the theater. Then she dusted off her clothes and calmly walked to where the man was waiting. There was slight curiosity in her eyes as she approached, but mostly it was simply the warmth of a friendly person wanting to be a good host for someone new.

"Or, are you perhaps here to for the play? Unfortunately the opening night is still few days away... or was there a mishap with the newspaper coverage? Did they accidentally print out the wrong dates? Oh, I'm terribly sorry if that's the case, umm..." It seemed that the young woman herself realized that she was rambling on. With a slightly embarrassed laughter that could have melted ice, she blushed faintly. "Forgive me, rambling on like that. That was most unbecoming of me."

Then, with an elegant curtsy, the woman introduced herself.

"Annabelle McKlennington, at your service," she said, turning her bright blue eyes at Delacroix. "How may I help you Mister..."

She left the question hanging in the air, unsure how to address the man before her.

Katie
February 12th, 2015, 01:47 PM
Shimamura Mirai
Location: Outskirts - Jiboujiki Clinic
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 15:22
Day: January 12th

I blink. What did he just say? Did he just say what I think he said? Was Grandpa the only nice man in our family? Am I going to have to deal with guys cut from the same cloth as these three for the rest of my life?

I sit there for a minute, pondering, boiling at being rejected so thoroughly. But Grandpa told me to come here, and of all people, I’m not letting him down. There has to be...

No, without a doubt, to counter brute force requires more brute force. It’s so quiet that any sort of ruckus might annoy the people around. And I know that Sensei definitely doesn’t want that. In fact, he hates it. He’ll let me in or else.

“Hey! What kind of uncle leaves his niece outside in the cold! Let me in, Sensei! It’s Shimamura Mirai, you know, your cousin’s daughter? Granddaughter of Shimamura Tetsuya? I swear I’ll yell your name out loud for everyone to here if you don’t let me in.”

I bang on the door as I do so, but really, the last line cinches it. I know what Sensei wants and I’m doing what Grandpa wants. And I need to talk to Sensei. Grandpa left him some stuff, first of all, and second, he’s the only family I got here. Family is family, regardless of whether or not you are a huge jerk.

If he really doesn’t let me in, I guess I could always get in the RV and honk the horn really loudly?

Verg Avesta
February 12th, 2015, 02:27 PM
Location: Outskirts - Jiboujiki Clinic
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 15:23
Day: January 12th

There was a long moment of silence after Mirai's outburst. Even inside the clinic, it seemed that all other sounds par the record had stopped. While it lasted only a mere minute, it felt much longer than that. Finally, footsteps could be heard coming from inside the house, and once more, the door was pushed ajar. The scarred face of the unfriendly doctor peeked out, but this time, there was no annoyance in his eyes; it had been replaced with quiet disbelief as he stared at the fuming young girl at his lawn.

"... Tetsu-jii's granddaughter? You're... you're that shrimp from way back then?" Sensei asked, looking like he had hard time believing it. For a brief moment, his eyes seemed to analyze Mirai from head to toe, before he finally succumbed with a sigh. "... Looks like it. I'd remember that bopped head from anywhere."

After another moment of uncomfortable silence (much shorter, thankfully), Sensei finally pushed the door open completely, making a vague gesture for Mirai to follow him.

"Fine. Get it. Can't have you freezing to death out there, I suppose."

Having said that, he pushed his way through the small entrance hall, which seemed to be full of garbage bags and shoes, as if none of them had made their way quite outside. The hallway leading to the examination room, where Sensei was heading, wasn't any better. The air inside the clinic was stuffy to say the least, and everywhere one could smell the various chemicals used for treatments, as well as the stains of tobacco that permeated the atmosphere.


http://i.imgur.com/hSKNknb.jpg

The only place that could be called even vaguely clean was the examination room itself. There the only thing that marred the professional atmosphere was the cigarette stump hedgehog on the table that had grown to quite the size. Sensei sat down to the chair next to the table, and while waiting for Mirai to put away her jacket, lit up another cigarette for himself. Smoke slowly drifted ever upwards as the pale-looking doctor waited for the girl to follow him.

"So?" Sensei asked, now that Mirai was in the room with him. "Why are you here? I don't remember owing anything to that old fart anymore. The last debt was paid the summer before the last. And I really hope it's not about those aching legs of his, as I've tried just about every ointment available to man, and the answer's still the same: nothing will work. It's his age catching up to him, nothing more."

It seemed that while he had been waiting, Sensei had been wracking his brains, trying to come up with a reasonable reason for the daughter of his cousin to have appeared on his doorstep. Suddenly he took a long draft from his cigarette, and his eyes narrowed. With slightly worried look, he swiftly stole a glance at Mirai's stomach.

"... Don't tell me you're really..."

He awkwardly left the sentence unfinished, not wanting to put the possibility into words, lest it came true.

I3uster
February 12th, 2015, 02:48 PM
Mister Delacroix
Location: Old Town - Vollmond Theater
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 19:06
Day: January 12th


"Umm... Excuse me? Are you, perhaps, looking for someone?" (http://tindeck.com/listen/xntpy)

"It seems that I have found someone." He made a small bow. It wasn't possible to give her the courtesy of a kiss on the hand, but in a state without a snack since the flight that probably was not a good idea right now in any case. "Delacroix is the name. It's French." A courteous smile was on his face as he decreased the distance between him and her until it was almost uncomfortable. To him anyway, to her it most likely already was.

"And I am sorry to disappoint, but I am also not here for the play. Though I am quite sure it will be a success, at least if the director works with the same diligence and care as you do." His smile was accompanied by a hoarse-sounding, almost silent laugh.

"I am in fact looking for somebody. He is, literally, a friend of a friend, or rather, a friend of a co-worker. A man called..." He fiddled with the letters, pulling the right one out, folding it so that only one line would be visible and then presented the name to the woman, almost pressing the piece of paper to her face. "Matthias Loch."

"I was informed he was involved in the management, but sadly I am at a loss when it comes to his address. I would be grateful if you could help me here Miss..."
His face was maybe 30 centimeters from hers as he continued to speak. "...McKlennington?"

hero
February 12th, 2015, 02:50 PM
Azama Tae
Location: Old Town - Shushin Koushi
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 15:01
Day: January 12th


"Ah... No, it's okay. You don't have to apologize, I've only just arrived."

I came prepared to deal with the devil in the most formal of ways. I knew beforehand I would fall prey to a joke or two while inside Otsue-san's domain, situation I am convinced I could handle with a fair amount of ease but... What I never expected, what managed to completely escape my calculations is the girl bowing in front of me. The sheer amount of energy in this person makes me lower my guard instinctively... And the moment I do, I realize I've been caught in a trap it won't be easy to get out. I do not want to make a show out of my arrival or draw any attention to myself, so I surrender and let the lady drag me by the arm, pulling me deeper into the temple-like brothel that is Shushin Koushi.

"..."

As we make our way towards the top floor where, supposedly, I am to meet Otsue, I can't help but to slow down the pace a little bit as we pass through certain rooms. Naturally I am aware of what should be going on inside, but my body reacts to the noise instinctively anyways. I've been on edge lately, and for this dangerous game I am playing, it's better that way. Unfortunately, being alert has played against me this time, because as subtle as I managed to be with my reaction, it couldn't escape the sharp eyes of my guide. With a soft pat and an awkward joke on her own, the 'friendly' girl tells me not to be bothered by what's going on at the other side.

"Ha ha..."

I fake a laugh although I am not convinced I pulled it off the right way. Her smile being so contagious helps a bit, but I can't say that kind of humor works on someone like me.

When we reach the fourth floor, the girl suddenly corners me and for some reason the surprise makes me hold my breath in. She quickly makes her inquiries, wondering who I am and what is my reason for being here. Naturally, I have come up with a bunch of excuses to handle this situation without raising any suspicion. Sadly, it does not seem like I'll ever get a say in the matter. In the blink of an eye, the self-proclaimed older sister Mika reaches the conclusion that I must be a new recruit, encourages me and offers to show me the ropes. I can feel my own expression darken and my face go purple as I wonder exactly how she arrived at that answer.

However, not even then I am given quarter, the devilish cat squishes my cheeks with her hands -which, I sincerely hope she washed- and without mercy as her eyes project some sort of fantasy I am not really sure I want to take a peek into. It would seem that she's very happy with the news... But I am afraid it is time to clear this miss understanding.

"No, I don't have a stage name..." Before that reply makes things even worse, I gently break away from her. Then, I cover my mouth with my fist and make a polite cough. "I am not a recruit. I am simply here to visit Otsue-san. I am a... Businesswoman."

You didn't expect me to say more than that, did you...?

"I'm sorry for the misunderstanding, Mika-nee."

I apologize with a small bow, in case she feels a little disheartened.

Katie
February 12th, 2015, 03:10 PM
Shimamura Mirai
Location: Outskirts - Jiboujiki Clinic
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 15:23
Day: January 12th


"... Tetsu-jii's granddaughter? You're... you're that shrimp from way back then?" Sensei asked, looking like he had hard time believing it. For a brief moment, his eyes seemed to analyze Mirai from head to toe, before he finally succumbed with a sigh. "... Looks like it. I'd remember that bopped head from anywhere."

It’s not like I’m that… Okay, I am that short. But still, bopped head? I’m perfectly fine! Nii-san and everyone else in the family are the weird ones, I can tell you that. Dissecting Servants… They can’t be serious, how am I supposed to take apart a spiritual being that has a facsimile of organs and flesh? Besides, I highly doubt there’s a way to stabilize it long enough for any meaningful experimentation…

But, right. Sensei finally lets me inside, and as I walk into the clinic, I notice the (tragically familiar) smell of tobacco and his inability to take care of himself. Just like Sensei, I suppose, to be like that. We make it to the examination room, which, thankfully, is clean, but as I put away my coat, he decides to light another cigar. He’s a doctor, he should know what smoking does to your lungs. And to smoke in the examination room, no less… He’s callously trying to kill asthmatics, jeez.


"So?" Sensei asked, now that Mirai was in the room with him. "Why are you here? I don't remember owing anything to that old fart anymore. The last debt was paid the summer before the last. And I really hope it's not about those aching legs of his, as I've tried just about every ointment available to man, and the answer's still the same: nothing will work. It's his age catching up to him, nothing more."

“Well, about that…” He didn’t know? I could have sworn we told everyone we knew about what happened, but I guess Grandpa wanted me to tell Sensei. That’s why he sent me here, I guess, other than the main reason.


"... Don't tell me you're really..."

“Grandpa left me his will,” I say, pulling down my sleeve, revealing the Command Seals on my wrist. “He grafted these on to me before he died. As for why I’m talking to you, he had some money to give you and he was curious about a few of your patients. I’ve got a letter in my pocket—if you want to give out the information, I can always send it to Papa now, since he’s the new head.”

I don’t reach for the letter. Rather, my arm is transfixed, showing him the real reason why I’m here.

To kill.

Rafflesiac
February 12th, 2015, 04:19 PM
Xander Stone
Location: The Quarry
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 18:52
Day: January 12th

I wish the sofa wasn’t so lumpy. I mean seriously, are there dead bodies in this thing, elbowing me from beyond the grave?

No no no no no, you are not ripping up the cushions to make sure.

Still, the sofa at the least offered comfort, and comfort was something I gravely needed. God, why were rats so fast? The stupid squeaking furballs went everywhere! Still, I finally did catch them all and shut them away in a box in the attic... I think.

The shower I took after I finished sweeping was the second-best one I’ve ever had.

Still, I can’t sit here forever. I’ve finished my preparations, and I can’t afford to dally; I have eight other opponents, all of which are undoubtedly stronger than me. I need to do this, so I don’t fall behind!

~~~~~~~~~~

Xander Stone
Location: Winding Path
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 19:11
Day: January 12th

“It’s w-w-way too cold!”

I thought my parka would be enough, but I’ll need to buy underlayers if the nights will all be this cold! Still, the number of trees here is unreal. There was plenty of forest back... there... but it was nothing like this! They’re practically skyscrapers; these sentinels could put even the Business District to shame. But what’s really impressive is the snow. There aren’t even gaps between the trees; that’s how high the piled snow is along the sides of the path.

Oww... my stomach really hurts.
I need to get a move on. I don’t have time to waste.

I have a long path ahead of me, so I need to take the first step.

Antary
February 12th, 2015, 05:01 PM
Anna Bernhart
Location: Tengetsu International Airport
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 14:12
Day: January 12th

Anna spent the flight napping, mumbling to herself, or looking out the window. The excitement of air-travel wore off in the first couple of hours, so by the end of it, she was glad to be off the plane.

As soon as she was out of the airport, carrying her luggage in a bulky sports-bag, she deeply inhaled the cold, winter air, and slowly exhaled it out through her mouth, forming as big of a steam cloud as she could manage. It briefly covered her vision; Anna smiled, as if finding satisfaction in the act. She went about it in a loud, unabashed way, earning a few strange glances from some of the locals.

"It's so cold that I feel like I'm going to die!" She mumbled, shivering. Anna squeezed her nose with her glove-covered fingers, trying to protect it from the freezing weather. She lifted up a free arm to stop a cab, and curled up into a ball in its backseat. She told the driver her destination, and really hoped that the trip would take a while, and only because it was much warmer inside car.

While on the way, she curiously observed the city and its inhabitants.

Location: Harbor District
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 14:43
Day: January 12th

Anna wanted the ride to go on for a little bit longer. After paying the driver, she moved out into the winter city landscape, the soles of her boots forcing a creak out of the snow with each step.

Location: Cross & Grace
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 14:47
Day: January 12th

"Hellooo!" Anna yelled out upon approaching the docked warship, as if to announce her arrival, and made her way aboard. Her face was numb from the cold, but she was beaming with a warm smile, looking forward to meeting the crew again.

Kuroyuki
February 12th, 2015, 07:46 PM
Kiyoko Miyamoto
Location: Outskirts - Winding Path
Phase Day 3/3
Time: 18:25
Day: January 12th

I forgot it took so long to get to the top of the Winding Path. Good thing I decided to wear a red jacket here. The birds were happily singing, the snow tranquilly fell, and the serene silence. It was so peaceful here that I almost forgot that there was a war about to happen here at Tengetsu. I reached the halfway point of the Winding Path, the torii. I thought it was odd that the torii was off-color because when I was here for a year, it was painted bright red like it should be. I wonder if the Shrine isn't receiving any donations for upkeep?

If it wasn't for the fact that I was examining the torii extensively, I would've missed the small girl standing there in the snow due to the fact that she was wearing a modified miko uniform.

"Welcome, first Master. To the Yamaichi Shrine."

First Master? Is she talking about the Holy Grail War? How does she know about it? Did Sourokurou-san tell her to greet people here in this weather?

"Thank you little one, but shouldn't you be inside at this time? It's a little cold out here. It'll be fine if you greet everyone at the entrance of the shrine right?"

I motioned for her to follow me further into the shrine.

Spinach
February 12th, 2015, 08:38 PM
Ryougi Kirame
Location: Outside Senketsurinri Villa
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 15:56
Day: January 12th

"Now... what would possibly explain this sight before me? Are you a tourist, wandering about unknowing? Or perhaps a vermin, here to sniff secrets of ours? Depending on your answer, I may have to draw my sword, stranger."

“A samurai?” Observing the dress and composure of the gatekeeper. The unnamed swordsman, standing watch over the gate on a snowy evening was picturesque. The solemnity of his voice and the tender, yet sharp eyes he cast over Kirame delivered the image of the elegant samurai romanticized in stories.

"Or, mayhaps, you are of different breed altogether? I admit, you do not seem a tourist, yet to do not carry the air of a rogue here to plunder our mansion... but, yes. I can feel the danger in you. I am afraid that unless you give me a reason, I cannot allow such a dangerous man to meet with the mayor."

Standing amidst the cold air, surrounded by fallen snow, the swordsman took a step forward. As the samurai placed his hand over the handle of his sword Kirame’s own eyes sharpened, losing the aimless dullness they had been possessed by. Less tender than those of the samurai, Kirame’s eyes carried no air of refinement, no elegance. Harsh and undisciplined, simply the eyes of a killer.

Reacting on reflex to the samurai’s gesture, Kirame brought his hand to his own waist, but rested it against cold, empty air.

"So... what say you? A tourist? Or a rogue? Or something far different?”

“…” The Ryougi held himself in silence for a moment. The accusations that he was a rogue, that he was vermin, were clear provocation. There was no hiding his annoyance at the samurai’s words in the glare he offered him. Were he carrying a weapon it would already be drawn to challenge the gatekeeper, but today he was unarmed.

“Watch your mouth, samurai.” Kirame finally said, taking his sword arm away from his waist. Instead he gripped the left sleeve of his coat and pulled it back, showing three red, tattoo-like brands on his forearm. Whether the gesture meant anything to the samurai, Kirame didn’t know. If he didn’t, it was no concern, and if he did it would make his purpose clearer than any words. “I came to introduce myself to the mayor, not to fight.” Kirame’s eyes drifted to the samurai’s sword as he explained himself. “But if you go any further I’ll stain this snow red with your blood.”

Not a threat, but a promise. Having said his purpose Kirame pushed his sleeve back down, covering his arm again.

Leftovers
February 13th, 2015, 12:16 AM
Astrid Hildebrandt
Location: Tengetsu International Airport
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 14:12
Day: January 12th

The ever-present cold of Tengetsu seemed to have seeped through the walls of the concrete monolith that was the International Airport, giving the newcomers a small taste of what awaited them beyond the doors of the building. The human wave of passengers emerged from the terminal in a hurry, eager to rest their weary bones in a place more hospitable than the aptly-named Snow Wastes; some rushed towards the side exit to the airport's parking, probably to be picked up by friends or relatives, while others made their way to the main gate, either to take a taxi from the cabstand right outside, or the train from the nearby station to the city proper. At the same time, there were also people rushing into the airport to catch an outgoing flight, dragging behind them rolling suitcases, screaming children, the whole works.

As for Astrid, she was content to take a moment at the airport's smoking lounge, watching the frantic comings-and-goings with considerably more leisure, her leather duffle bag that contained her belongings resting on the seat next to her. Her inaction wasn't due to the temperature —that could hardly be the case for any northerner— but the lethargy brought on by the long flight had yet to be flushed from her system.

But, she was finally here. In this island at the edge of the world, where the long winters had buried countless secrets from recollection, with another mystery soon to unfold.

And she just couldn't wait.

Crushing the cigarette in the glass ashtray on the table, Astrid exited the lounge, her right arm carrying her bag by the handles. Following the direction signs more due to their use of recognisable symbols than her passable knowledge of Japanese, she made her way to the waiting place of her final possession.

------

Location: Tengetsu International Airport - Vehicle Storage
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 14:21
Day: January 12th

The screeching of tires and the roar of an engine filled the underground space, reverberating to an almost deafening level due to the enclosed nature of the storage. Making her way to the stall, Astrid smiled sympathetically at the disgruntled attendant, who was visibly wincing, not at all appreciative of the spike in volume.

"I'm here to pick up a vehicle under the name Hildebrandt." With a distinctive name by remote Japanese island standards, it was a brief affair to pick out the name, fill the appropriate paperwork, and have the keys in her hand. As the attendant led her to the parking space, she made a mental note to keep the noise down until she was out of the accommodating man's earshot.

Ah, but there it was, without a single bump or wayward scratch to be found on it. It seemed that when money was involved, people were capable of working miracles; and delivering a vehicle to an infamously wind-battered island by air seemed like one such miracle to Astrid, whose experience with handling fragile deliveries in much less hazardous conditions had been the source of much merriment and frustration to the various parties involved — with this very vehicle, no less!

A 1950 Triumph 6T Thunderbird, a vintage model she had gone to great lengths to acquire, and even greater ones to keep for the duration of her employment; a a possession she valued above all but very few things in the world. With her hands on the handlebars, hat tucked safely in the bag that was slung across her chest, Astrid felt, for the first time since boarding the plane, ready to confront anything Tengetsu could throw at her.


75%

Location: School District - Ichifuji Hotel
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 14:49
Day: January 12th

If there was a speed limit in the distance between the Airport and the fringes of the city, she didn't see any signs to indicate it. As such, the first section of Astrid's ride towards the School District was one continuous roar of the straight-twin engine, as she passed by vast fields thickly blanketed with snow, overtaking the occasional car like a ghostly rider, wreathed in vapour and the trail of cold winter winds. Upon reaching the borders of the city, she eased into a slower pace, not really eager to have a run-in with the wrong side of the traffic code, and she trudged along at that speed all the way across the School District, taking in the sights of busy streets filled with busy people, until she had finally reached her humble abode for the duration of her stay in Tengetsu.

At first sight, it was nothing to write home about, or even pay much attention to; which, incidentally, was very much the point. On second look, the small parking space —barely three parking slots in all— which was situated next to the hotel's outdoor stairs that led up to the studios, provided a much better alternative than parking her motorcycle on some sidewalk, to be impounded and manhandled by some inconsiderate brute. Praising her prudent choice in housing, Astrid brought the Thunderbird to a stop at the slot nearest to the hotel's entrance, which was separated from the parking space by a row of tastefully trimmed camellia shrubs in defiant bloom despite the biting cold.

Though it could not in good faith be called a lobby, the hotel's front desk was decorated in an unassuming manner, which nevertheless exuded an air of hospitality and tradition befitting what appeared by all indications to be a family business. While Astrid cast her eyes about the room, a shuffling sound could be heard in the room beyond the counter, from which soon emerged a fresh-faced, plainly-dressed girl, who seemed too young to be holding the hotel on her own. Perhaps she was filling in time for an older relative?

"Good day, and welcome to Ichifuji Hotel! Can I help you with anything?" she said in a practiced tone.

"Yes. I've made a reservation for a room, under 'Astrid Hildebrandt'," the suited woman replied, hoisting her back on her shoulder. "Two installments of the rent have been paid in advance." The young receptionist accepted that information with a nod, head almost buried in what seemed to be a traditional ledger. But after a short period of frantic page-turning and squinting, she lifted her head from the heavy book with a sheepish look on her face.

"Is there a problem?" Astrid inquired, for the girl to literally wave off her concerns with exaggerated motions and an embarrassed smile.

"A-Ah— no, no, your reservation is right here! It's just that...umm," she fidgeted with the sleeves of her cardigan, "h-how do you spell your name?"

Astrid wasn't sure whether to smile or sigh.


75%

Location: Old Industrial District - Tengetsu Police Station
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 16:18
Day: January 12th

It took longer than she would have liked to settle her affairs at the hotel, but at least she was done unpacking and setting up before the sun was down, taking with him the modicum of warmth that kept the temperature from plummeting to truly frigid depths. Her belongings now secured in a small but cozy hotel room, Astrid had set out to the nearby Old Industrial District, driving down streets worn by many years of use, no thanks to the traffic brought about by the numerous factories which once dotted the area. A good number of them crossed into history with the great fire some decades ago, but some of those old buildings still haunted the streets Astrid passed — desolate giants of brick and mortar.

The building she was now facing was also a giant, though this one stood almost proudly, imposingly, the weight of years only having served to dig its roots so deep that even the Great Blizzard's relentlessness could not bring it down. Of course, that was as much a romantic concept as it was a concrete reality: the seat of Tengetsu's police commissioner was protected by much more than the able officers of the station.

In this island, he was one of the people who, for better or for worse, one should very much want to be if not in good terms with, then at least on the same page. And for Astrid, who was now making her way into the station, her motorcycle left at the parking lot, this was the continuation of a story that begun years ago; once lived through letters from the other side of the world, and now about to be revisited in the flesh.

Dranes
February 13th, 2015, 11:37 AM
Kirisaki Homura
Location: Sayoshigure High School – Class 2-B
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 14:02
Day: January 12th

What...just happened?

One moment I'm getting thrown questions, both the expected and unexpected, and then the next a resonating smash, though it seems the only one caught off-guard by it was me. Everyone else kept on as usual, the questions dying down as the teacher calmed the class down, myself I looked to where that sound had come from. Twitching on the table was the poor victim, the redhead behind him from before looked on at him with a disgusted look...

Well now it all made sense.

"There's not much of the day left, but please, take your seat. You'll be able to get used to the class's atmosphere. You can take the seat... let's see... hm, yes. You can sit there, next to Kichiro-kun."

Ah, 'Kichiro-kun', so that was his name. Well, thank you for the valuable lesson.

With a nod I move to my desk, I guess it makes sense that it was empty beforehand.

Taking my seat however I feel a bit uneasy what with the downed guy next to me.

...He still seems to be twitching over the desk and not coming up any time soon.

I guess I feel somewhat bad for him. I may as well check on him, I'm probably going to how crazy this class can get but right now I'd feel wrong if I just left him like this.

"Hey, you alright there uh...Kichiro?"

Verg Avesta
February 13th, 2015, 02:04 PM
Location: Old Town - Vollmond Theater
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 19:08
Day: January 12th


"I was informed he was involved in the management, but sadly I am at a loss when it comes to his address. I would be grateful if you could help me here Miss... McKlennington?"

For a moment, it seemed that Annabelle was completely at a loss due to the relatively unknown man she had just met getting way too close into her comfort zone. She stared at him, and the paper her presented, with wide-eyed confusion. There was no knee-jerk reaction of some invading her privacy in this manner, but there was no doubt that Delacroix had made her surprised. That much was clear from how her mouth hung slightly ajar as her eyes jumped from his face to the name on the paper in front of her.

... However, just as quickly, her confused expression melted into a smile that rivaled the sun above their heads.

"Woooow, you are friends of Matthias? How quaint! He truly does know the most interesting people!" she said with gentle voice. Then, without any warning or indication she was about to do so, she put her tiny (and rather cold) hands on Delacroix's cheeks and started massaging them like dough. "You are such a handsome fellow as well! Oh, I wish I had the same knack for social interactions as he does. I would love to have friends like you as well."

Giggling to herself, Annabelle continued kneading Delacroix's cheeks without any care in the world, her face still a beam of sunshine. If it had been just the action, then it could have, perhaps, be taken even as hostile sort. However, when it was combined with her tone and expression, and her choice of words, the truth of the matter became rather clear:

What was before Delacroix was a true, honest-to-god, airhead.

"I think Matthias is still inside. He was checking on the props the last I saw him," Annabelle continued. "Did you know, he truly loves this theater like his own child. He always has to double-check everything, even after the stage-hands have gone through with inspections. It is such inspiring dedication to his work~"

Still, despite informing the man before her where his sought-after acquaintance was, Annabelle showed no signs of relenting. Truly, it seemed that if allowed, she would have continued this strange warming-ritual as long as she pleased.




Location: Old Town - Shushin Koushi
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 15:13
Day: January 12th


"No, I don't have a stage name... I am not a recruit. I am simply here to visit Otsue-san. I am a... Businesswoman. I'm sorry for the misunderstanding, Mika-nee."

The change in Mika's attitude was like night-and-day. After hearing Tae's words, she blinked once, before suddenly retreating a bit, allowing the younger girl some room to breathe. However, that didn't last long, because just as soon, the black-haired prostitute had latched herself onto Tae's like she had been a sexual leech of some sort. With a rather... suggestive... smile on her face, Mika began something that could be only described as "purring."

"Ooh, businesswoman, ya say? Whaaaat, mistress, ya should've told lil' ol' me faster~" Mika said, as she brushed herself against the smaller girl. "Here I went and made fool of myself, ahahaha~! Ya should've said ya were a customer from the beginnin'~"

Having taken a completely different approach to the girl now, Mika began leading her towards the highest floor, where Otsue was apparently waiting. All the while she did this, she pushed herself gently against Tae so that her "assets" lodged Tae's arm firmly between them. The smile on her face was nothing to sneeze at either. It was the type that could have melted any heart, and made one's blood start pumping like rapids.

"I've gotta say, ya have great taste, mistress~" Tae purred as they approached the only door in the small fifth floor. "Ya won't find better company than Lady Otsue, I tell ya. She don't care whether ya pee up or standin', she'll take ya to heaven and back all the same. Ya really know yer stuff, mistress."

Using her foot, Mika opened the door before them swiftly, without waiting for any confirmation from inside.


http://i.imgur.com/QPNf6IT.png


What was revealed on the other side was a room rather unfitting for a brothel. Instead of the sensual red or the dim lighting that was there to get the customers in the mood, the room had only single normal light-bulb on the ceiling. Not only that, it was surrounded on all sides by bookshelves, each of them packed full with books and files that almost sprawled out of their confinements. The only acknowledgment of the place the room was in was the small Japanese-style armrest on the floor, typical of a high class courtesan. And using that armrest right now was beautiful-looking woman wearing an expensive black kimono. Her free arm was holding a kiseru, the local variation of a pipe. Seeing the arrival of Mika and Tae, this older woman cocked an eyebrow.

"Oh? Who have you brought before me, Mika?" the woman who, judging by the aura of authority around her, could only be Otsue-taiyu asked.

"Oh, Boss, like ya don't know~" Mika giggled, looking affectionately at Tae. "This young mistress here has come to see ya. Ya, and not me. How is it fair that ya steal the most handsome ones from us girls, Boss?"




Location: Outskirts - Jiboujiki Clinic
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 15:24
Day: January 12th


“Grandpa left me his will. He grafted these on to me before he died. As for why I’m talking to you, he had some money to give you and he was curious about a few of your patients. I’ve got a letter in my pocket—if you want to give out the information, I can always send it to Papa now, since he’s the new head.”

For a moment, it seemed that Sensei's expression froze. It seemed that whatever he had expected to hear coming from Mirai's mouth wasn't certainly this. Then, after few seconds of silence, he leaned back in his chair and allowed the smoke to shoot up from his lungs, towards the ceiling. He looked almost like an old dragon as he did so. However, perhaps most surprising was the look on his face. While Sensei's face was still as impassive as ever, his eyes belied the truth. The held deep melancholy within them.

"So the old fart went and died..." Sensei softly said. His words were almost inaudible mumble, most likely meant for no one else but himself. "Figures. Just like him to take the great big leap before anyone else. Damn show-off. This is why I never liked you, Tetsu-jii. You old fool. If you had just given me couple more years..."

With a great big sigh, Sensei fixed his gaze back to Mirai, and the red brands she was presenting. There was no real surprise in his eyes, but his expression did harden considerably as he saw them in girl's flesh. Taking another drag from his cigarette, Sensei leaned closer, narrowing his eyes as he studied the markings.

"Are those what I think they are?" Sensei asked, shooting a glare at Mirai. "Never mind the letter now... if what I see right now are what I believe they are, then I should probably dig up that old fart from his grave and slap him across his smug old face. Sending his granddaughter to die in this god-forsaken place... what the hell was he thinking?"

It seemed that despite his apparent hatred for anyone who called themselves "human", Sensei had become rather agitated as Mirai's situation dawned upon him. Well, "rather agitated" in his case meant that he was smoking faster than normal, and his eyes had narrowed considerably more than they usually were. Still, he continued to stare at Mirai as if he expected the girl to offer some explanation, though he clearly thought it would be beyond naive.

hero
February 13th, 2015, 04:13 PM
Azama Tae
Location: Old Town - Shushin Koushi
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 15:13
Day: January 12th


"... Huff."

As Mika releases me, I am finally able to breathe out in relief. Though my demeanor is professional most of the time, I do not think there is a single woman out there who would not be embarrassed to be confused with a prostitute. In fact, I should be a little bit angry, but since this girl seems to be a pretty nice person despite her field of work, I think I'll let it slip just this once. The misunderstanding has been cleared and she seems even more willing to take me to her boss now, so I will offer no complains and let her lead the way.

"Wait..."

I instinctively take a step back as I feel danger approach a second time, making a plea to the girl that has been possessed by the soul of a predator, half-aware that it will never reach her ears. I retreat again but it's useless: We were too close to each other to being with... There was never a chance for me to dodge with the stairs behind me. And although I am caught at a disadvantage here, a part of me fears no amount of space would allow anyone escape from this woman's technique.

"N-No, you misunderstand. I am not a customer, either."

But any and all attempts to fight back prove to be useless. As if drawing enough strength to talk wasn't hard enough already with a stranger practically rubbing her body against mine, it seems she is convinced that rather than a busineswoman, I am a shy customer using that title as a cover. In other words, no matter what I say, the only responses I get are encouragement and praise from the enthusiastic girl. It seems that my poor choice of words have led me to an even more difficult ordeal.

"..."

But perhaps something good can be gained from this misunderstanding: If pretending to be a customer makes Maki less aware of my real reason for being here, then I could play the role of one. I'd then make the situation clear to Otsue-san and spare myself of any more sexual predators.

That's easier said than done.

Although it's my will to keep my head up, my gaze has fixed itself on my feet and I can feel warmth gathering on my cheeks. Naturally, there is also the fear of being seen under this circumstances, with a prostitute wrapped up around me...

The door that leads to our destination slides to the side swiftly, as if to put me out of my misery. Inside...

"..."

The sheer difference between inside and outside the room brings me back to my senses and allows me to collect myself. This is a sight I am more used to and, to an extent, it helps me relax. Straightening up, I muster strength to show no weakness, even as Mika gazes at me affectively, calling me 'handsome' and never leaving my personal space. The prostitute and the woman in the room, who I have no doubts is Otsue-san, quickly exchange greetings before their attention is once more drawn to myself.

... And it doesn't look like Mika has any intention of leaving us alone, at least not immediately.

"My name is Azama Tae."

Facing Otsue, I introduce myself and give her a polite bow. I can only hope that she remembers who I am.

"We talked a while back."

Katie
February 13th, 2015, 04:20 PM
Shimamura Mirai
Location: Outskirts - Jiboujiki Clinic
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 15:24
Day: January 12th

Sensei looks at me, the smell of smoke filling the room. I cough. I cough in Tokyo too—Papa was very serious about clean air, so the house was always spic and span. But I can see those eyes. He isn’t as uncaring as he wants to imply, but it’s clear that he disapproves of what I’m doing. Of what Grandpa wants me to do.

“I... Yeah, they’re Command Seals. Grandpa called me back home a week ago and told me about the Holy Grail War and handed me the catalyst he used... in the Thirties. I asked him why Papa or Nii-san couldn’t do it, but he went off, saying a whole bunch of things and using names for genitalia that I’d rather not say right now. The point is, he thought they were too yellow-bellied to fight.” But that doesn’t address anything, does it? No, no. It’s why I’m fighting. Our family doesn’t specialize in combat magecraft. In a battle between magi, we would lose, ten times out of ten. There isn’t really a point. After all, a Servant getting someone like me would be getting a dead draw.

But... Grandpa is stubborn. He doesn’t like losing.

“He wants me to... make the same wish he wanted. The family dream. A world of perfect human beings, who doesn’t suffer from age or illness or injury. A world where everyone can see the Root at the very end. I know, I know, it’s just a dream, a paradise, but Grandpa told me to do it. I haven’t done anything for him... I’m just the second child of a magus family. In comparison to say, Nii-san or Papa, from the mage point of view, I’m more expendable. If I’m gone, the family doesn’t lose anything, and if I win, the family gets everything. Low risk, high reward.” Even as I say this, my voice trembles. But from the mage point of view, what I’m doing is perfectly right. I am taking a risk to benefit the family, the greatest any second-rate magus like me can do.

But from a human perspective, like the way Sensei views, it’s written all over his face, it’s wrong. I’m being sent to die for the slimmest of chances. But, even if it is wrong...

It’s what I have to do. As a mage. As someone who wants to help others.

I cover up the Command Seals and stare absentmindedly at the floor. I readjust my glasses. There’s no excuse, but... I just have to try. For someone.

But, there’s something else I’m curious about.

“What were you working on? The thing that needed a few more years. I probably can’t help, but I want to know.”

I3uster
February 13th, 2015, 09:24 PM
Mister Delacroix
Location: Old Town - Vollmond Theater
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 19:08
Day: January 12th


"Woooow, you are friends of Matthias? How quaint! He truly does know the most interesting people! You are such a handsome fellow as well! Oh, I wish I had the same knack for social interactions as he does. I would love to have friends like you as well."

It was a surprise, pleasant but nonetheless. The girl had randomly decided that the best way to great him was kneading his face. Maybe it was some form of greeting where she came from? There were always new things to be learned about this world. If it wasn't so awfully cold he would probably have found it quite charming but as it was it was discomforting more than anything.

But for now he could leave her be if she felt like it. "We're...yes, yes, we're friends."

There was that smell though. Something about her was, even in the snow, unmistakeably sweet. A good scent, not from a perfume or anything, no, her natural one. With her hands so close to his nose he might not be able to control himself for much longer...

But it was important to not leave a negative impression for now. This Matthias individual should not get any wrong impressions of him. On the other hand it was quite a long and uncomfortable fight, and just a small, little taste...


"I think Matthias is still inside. He was checking on the props the last I saw him," Annabelle continued. "Did you know, he truly loves this theater like his own child. He always has to double-check everything, even after the stage-hands have gone through with inspections. It is such inspiring dedication to his work~"

It seems that some more intellectually fulfilling talk was impossible with this one. He had urgent business to attend to anyway. And yet, there was something strangely cute about her. It would probably be for the best to sustain a good image in the eyes of the townspeople, after all the man did seem like a bit of a suspicious character. A bit of smalltalk, and maybe a walk around town would be nice. Yes, social integration was incredibly important from a professional standpoint. Absolutely imperative. Professional. Neutral.

"Mmmrphfrgh"

The fact that her fingertips had now landed in his mouth slightly increased the difficulty of this though. It was just a light nibble, he was able to stop himself before he actually bit down on her fingers. Slowly and awkwardly he pulled her hand away from his face, slightly stained with his saliva.

"I uh, thank you. Very much. I'll go visit him then." He made a small bow before awkwardly moving on and entering the theater.

That was closer than he had intended.

Mormarth
February 16th, 2015, 01:00 PM
Francis York(?) Morgan
Location: Park District - Gongujoudo
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 14:47
Day: January 12th

As my voice carried into the quiet, drowsy room, a sleepy-sounding voice floated up from behind the countertop.

"Hmm? a customer?"

The acrid scent of tobacco floated into my nostrils, I moved forward a bit, cautiously, the scent's source clearly behind the counter.

The head of a pipe rose up, followed by a hat, an untidy mop of brown hair, a pair of glasses, and finally, the middle-aged woman they were all attached to. Lazy-looking, but with hints of guile around the edges, what was before me was probably the Innkeeper.

"Reservation, you say? Are you sure? I hope you are, because I lost my reservations book yesterday, and I can't make heads or tails who's supposed to be lodging here and who's not," she said before chuckling, sounding a bit like husky-toned bear grunting.

"What did you say your name was again, boy? Morgan? How do you spell that? Mo-ru-gan? 模流丸? Huhu, you foreigners always have such funny names... gan... ahaha... Now I'm in the mood for some nikuman... *sigh*... so hungry..."

Her voice faded slightly, eyes distant, clearly focused on some meat-bun filled paradise.

I smiled, clearing my throat slightly, "Yeah, that's probably close enough, and I can sympathize, could go with a nice toasted sub myself, but, no rest for the wicked just yet."

I strode up to the counter proper, "As for the reservations, apparently the police department took care of things, was real decent of them to set me up here, looks real nice."

I grimaced slightly, "I really need to kick back once in a while, get off the plane barely an hour ago and already back at work," I sighed ruefully, "I'd really appreciate it if I could at least set my stuff down, it's never a good thing to keep people like Heads of Police waiting very long, and I'd rather not have my head bitten off this early into our working relationship."

Verg Avesta
February 16th, 2015, 03:22 PM
Location: Outskirts - Winding Path
Phase Day 3/3
Time: 18:27
Day: January 12th


"Thank you little one, but shouldn't you be inside at this time? It's a little cold out here. It'll be fine if you greet everyone at the entrance of the shrine right?"

Hearing those words, the blindfolded young girl tilted her head, as if she had not quite understood what Kiyoko said. (http://tindeck.com/listen/xntpy) And, judging by how her small body did not shiver a bit despite the chilly weather, perhaps she truly did not feel cold. At least she didn't show any signs of discomfort, standing there in the snow in her traditional clothing that would have much better served a slightly warmer weather.

".... It's fine. I'm used to it," she answered stoically, her tiny voice hiding behind it surprising resilience.

Still, despite what she had said, she still began moving after Kiyoko, her short legs quickly catching up to the older girl. Whether it was because she had been told to accompany Masters all the way to the shrine, or because she actually just wanted to get somewhere warm, she had opted to follow Kiyoko. As the two continued to climb the stone-path towards the Yamaichi Shrine, however, it quickly became apparent that the blindfolded young girl was not much of a talker. During the time, she never said anything unless asked a question, and even then, her answers were brief and to the point, said with as little unnecessary flourish as possible.

"... Almost there," the girl finally spoke of her own volition, and nodded ahead.

There, one could already see the spot where the suddenly steepening path seemed to dip over a hill into white nothingness. Truthfully, however, the hill only gave away to the plateau where the Yamaichi Shrine was located.


Later That Day... (19:25)



It took Xander some time to reach the dark-red torii that stood at the exact halfway point of the long climb up to the Yamaichi Shrine. By the time he got there, the clouds had began to gather up above, and already some errant flakes of snow had begun falling from the sky. Still, it was nothing out of the ordinary on this island, at least during the winter. Some snow was expected every day. Otherwise Tengetsu would not have gathered the vast drifts of snow that covered every street and especially the wilderness.

However, as Xander approached the torii, his eyes eventually noticed something waiting for him at its base. Dressed in white clothing and with a blindfold covering her eyes, a young girl braved this terribly cold weather without moving a muscle. The only thing that made it clear she hadn't frozen solid on that spot was the small amount of vapor exhaling from her mouth with every breath.

As the boy got closer, this statue-like young girl turned her "eyes" towards him, and then, with a voice as small as the flakes of snow falling from the sky, she greeted him.

"Welcome, second Master. To the Yamaichi Shrine."




http://i.imgur.com/onURSof.png

Location: Harbor - Cross & Grace Dock
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 14:49
Day: January 12th

The docks of Tengetsu were bustling with people despite the cold that covered the whole island. (http://tindeck.com/listen/ksacj)Or, perhaps, it was exactly because of that cold that so many people were up and about, preparing ships to head out to the sea so they could get out of the way of the Great Blizzard that could hit any day now. A ban on travelling had not been issued yet, as it seemed there was no immediate danger, but those who had lived on the island for more than a year knew how quickly the vicious meteorological phenomena could strike. Thus, any local ship that didn't want to be stuck on these grey concrete piers for few weeks was now heading out, like it had been the last call in a pub.

The only real exception to this rule was the large battleship that was moored on the northernmost pier. It was a large vessel, even for its intended purpose, and judging from how it looked, it must've been a prototype of some sort, thanks to its sleek lines and unique appearance. Therefore, it was no surprise that the local fishermen and sailors avoided that particular pier that Anna was now approaching.


"Hellooo!"

Anna's yell pierced the crispy winter air momentarily as she tried to get the attention of the few people walking on the deck of Cross & Grace. While most of them seemed to pay her call no heed, one particular individual looked up from the ropes he was working with, and grinned at the sight. After a quick exchange of words with another sailor (and apparently switching of jobs, as the spoken-to person moved on to work with the ropes), the person in question hurried down the steps that ran at the side of the ship, before nimbly jumping on to the pier.

As he approached Anna, the golden-haired man gave her a friendly wave.

"Well, ahoy there, little lady!" The young man said with a grin. "Judging by what you're wearing, you're here on some official business. You couldn't be the replacement of poor Benedict, could you? I thought you weren't supposed to arrive until after the Blizzard. Still, it's a breath of fresh air to have you here so quickly."

As he finally reached Anna, the young man offered his hand for a shake, and winked an eye to the girl. It was clear that he was trying to be as charming as he could.

"Rain Fereshgical, at your service," he introduced himself. "And what might your name be, young lady?"




http://i.imgur.com/zClO3dx.jpg

Location: Outside Senketsurinri Villa
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 15:59
Day: January 12th


“Watch your mouth, samurai. I came to introduce myself to the mayor, not to fight. But if you go any further I’ll stain this snow red with your blood.”
"My, how bloodthirsty," the samurai commented. However, he did not seem to be offended by Kirame's attitude. Instead, it seemed that he almost found it... pleasing.

Then, suddenly, with a flourish of his hands, the samurai let go of his sword and instead performed a deep bow in front of the Ryougi, showing him his respect. As he raised his head, the steel in his eyes had changed to slight warmth, which was a welcome change in this climate. Not only that, but a small smile played on his lips as he continued talking.

"I apologize if I have offended you, that was not my intention. Truly, it is the duty of a gatekeeper to protect his lord. Therefore, as you may understand, I have to gauge the mettle of every person that seeks to enter this villa. There was nothing personal in my little jest. Thus, sheath your killing instinct and relax. I have no desire to fight you, either," the samurai explained. "I am called Hakushima Munechika, and I am the retainer of my lord, Kameyama-dono. A pleasure to meet you, stranger."

Then, his eyes narrowing ever so slightly, Munechika's gaze focused on the red brands on Kirame's left hand, even though they were hidden by his sleeve.

"... As for what comes to those crimson markings, I am sorry to say that I do not know their meaning. However, I can sense that they are of great importance, and thus, most likely something my lord would like to discuss. Therefore, please: follow me, stranger. I shall take you to him," Munechika said.

Turning around in a flurry of ancient clothing, Munechika walked over to the sturdy-looking wooden gate, and the smaller door that had been embedded to its surface. After fishing out a large looking key in an iron ring from within his sleeve, the samurai inserted this key into the lock, and with a simple click, the smaller door in the gate came slightly ajar.

"This way."

Thus, the two of them entered the walled-off area of Senketsurinri Villa, with Munechika locking the door behind them. He then, as courteously as the best butler, led Kirame deeper into the area. As with the rest of the city, snow had piled up in here too, as icicles were growing from just about every gutter in sight. Still, it did nothing but enhance the beauty of the ancestral area, showcasing just how prepared even the people of olden times had been for Tengetsu's cold winters. The many buildings were made out of thick wood, and the large roofs were like peaks of mountains, making sure that the snow would fall quickly to the sides instead of piling up. The main building especially, large and imposing manor of darkened wood, seemed almost like a mythical beast of some sort, sleeping under a blanket of snow.

"So, what have you thought about our island so far, stranger?" Munechika asked as he led Kirame down the path leading to the main house. "Has it been up to your expectations?"

Then, as if it was an after thought, he scratched his cheek sheepishly.

"Oh, and pardon me: I never did get your name. Unless you want me to address you this brusquely, may I hear it?"




http://i.imgur.com/xlzWr0j.jpg

Location: Old Industrial District - Tengetsu Police Station
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 16:20
Day: January 12th

The Tengetsu Police Station, as usual, stood far away from the rest of the populace thanks to its location. (http://tindeck.com/listen/xntpy) It was at the very edge of the Old Industrial District, almost acting like it was holding up the dividing line between the old city and the new city. However, it also shied away from both, preferring to be its own unconquerable castle that watched over the city along with the talented men and women who worked inside it. In that sense, the building gave off a perfect aura for its intended purpose. The whole building was large and imposing, almost like it was to scare anyone who walked by it. Whether that had been the original intent of the German occupiers who had built it as their headquarters during the wartime, or if it had only gained it after the re-purposing, nobody knew anymore. However, it suited the men and women of Tengetsu Police Department just fine.

Outside the station, one could see multiple large patrol cars (more like jeeps with chained tires) ready to spring to action at a moment's notice. Even better, one could also see multiple snowmobiles, which were most likely the fastest way to get anywhere in Tengetsu. Vehicles like Astrid's motorcycle were faster in the city proper, but outside, in the wilderness, there was no better choice for a vehicle than a high-powered snowmobile.

And speaking of "things" that were outside the police station, waiting for something...

"Oooooooooi!"

There was a young woman right at the entrance, energetically waving at Astrid.

As Astrid got closer, the form of the young woman got clearer. She had a vibrant amber-colored hair and almost pink eyes that seemed to radiate with infinite energy. She was dressed in somewhat western clothing, though the black yukata she had wrapped around herself to keep warm was, of course, Japanese design. And despite her hair-color, judging by the features of this person, she, too, was Japanese. If not local, at least she was from the mainland.

As Astrid finally reached the girl, she seemed to straight up unconsciously, adopting (poorly) a more serious expression.

"We have been waiting for you," the girl said. At the same time, she was hastily rubbing her hands together to keep warm. The reason why she hadn't dressed more warmly even though she had been, apparently, waiting out here in the cold was anyone's guess.

"Thank goodness. You're so late I was beginning to worry you had gotten lost. I was thinking about going out to meet you at the airport if you hadn't arrived by sunset." The girl in the anachronistic clothing smiled warmly.




Location: Sayoshigure High School – Class 2-B
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 14:05
Day: January 12th


"Hey, you alright there uh...Kichiro?"

The girl sitting behind Kichiro snorted derisively.

"Ugh, he'll be fine. Slugs like him will never die," she said, shooting a scornful gaze at the downed boy. Then the red-head turned her attention to Kirisaki, adopting more friendly expression. "So never mind about him! You'll find that we ain't got other idiots like him in this school, so don't worry. The rest of us are perfectly normal."

"I resent that notion," Kichiro groaned, finally regaining some life. "For example, we have violent bastards like you, Kato, who'll beat---GAH!"

That was as far as Kichiro got. With a judo chop that would have made Steven Seagal green with envy the red-head drove his face back to surface of his desk. Of course, this wasn't exactly the most covert option, and the loud bang earned the trio a scrutinizing glare from Miss Fukui. However, by the time the teacher had snapped her eyes towards the red-head, she had retreated back to her desk and was gazing out of the window with an innocent look on her face. Thus, with no direct evidence to see, Miss Fukui turned back to the blackboard.

"You see what I have to take every day?" Kichiro groaned out another whisper to Kirisari. "This girl's crazy!"

"Oh, shut it, you worthless bum," the red-head, apparently named "Kato", shot back at the boy. "Don't instill your delusions on the transfer student."




Location: Old Town - Shushin Koushi
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 15:15
Day: January 12th


"My name is Azama Tae. We talked a while back."

Hearing that name, Otsue gave Tae an understanding nod and took a long drag from her pipe. She let out a cloud of smoke that drifted towards the ceiling, allowing the silence in the room to grow a little longer. Or, perhaps, silence was the wrong word. After all, Mika was still firmly latched on Tae's arm, and clearly had no intention of letting go of her supposed "prey". Perhaps it was just shrewd business sense, perhaps it was something else, but the woman rubbing herself against Tae was a threat in her own way.

"Ah, yes. Terribly sorry about that. I almost did not recognize you. I have to say your voice is much more... masculine, in the phone. I had to take a moment to connect it with how you look," Otsue said and chuckled, as if she had told a joke of some sort. "Still, it is pleasure to see you, Tae-kun. Please, sit down. We have plenty to discuss, I pres--"

Otsue-taiyu stopped herself mid-sentence, and suddenly shot a somewhat annoyed glance at Mika. The latter returned it with expression that was too innocent to be true.

"Mika. Could you stop it already? I think you have taken that joke far enough already," Otsue said, admonishing the black-haired woman. "You're starting to make Tae-kun extremely uncomfortable."

As if those words had been magical command of some sort, Mika suddenly let go of Tae, and laughed in her rambunctious way. Gone was the sensual, alluring aura of a highly-trained courtesan, trying to bed a rich client. It was more or less replaced with the energetic fervor of an older sister that she had previously displayed. Still laughing and grinning like an idiot, Mika patted Tae firmly on the shoulder.

"Aah, sorry 'bout that, love! Couldn't resist! Nyahaha, ya just had the 'em perfect expression, so I had to tease ya some," she said and winked at the young girl. "Don't hold it against me or Boss, would ya? Just a lil' gallows humor, as they say. Plus, yer rosy cheeks blossomin' look tots cute! Ya should try bein' embarrassed more often."

Giving Tae another series of pats (which were more like open-palm strikes than anything else), Mika descended into another giggle-fit. Only a glare from Otsue was enough to make this hyperactive cat get the hint, and with short nod of goodbye, she skipped over to the door. Before closing it completely behind her, however, Mika gave Tae one last grin.

"Oh, and ya can still call me, Mika-nee, love!" she said to the younger girl. "Everyone does. But if yer still angry, look tomorrow morning. I'll buy ya a drink or two! As an apology, nyahahaa~"

And with that cat-like laughter, she shut the sliding door and disappeared back into the staircase. Otsue could only shake her head at the sight, before looking apologetically at Tae.

"Forgive her. Mika is one of my best workers here, but her habits are... eccentric to say the least," Otsue said. "Still, she never means anything bad with what she does. That is just the way she bonds with people."




Location: Outskirts - Jiboujiki Clinic
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 15:26
Day: January 12th


“He wants me to... make the same wish he wanted. The family dream. A world of perfect human beings, who doesn’t suffer from age or illness or injury. A world where everyone can see the Root at the very end. I know, I know, it’s just a dream, a paradise, but Grandpa told me to do it. I haven’t done anything for him... I’m just the second child of a magus family. In comparison to say, Nii-san or Papa, from the mage point of view, I’m more expendable. If I’m gone, the family doesn’t lose anything, and if I win, the family gets everything. Low risk, high reward.”

Hearing those words, Sensei couldn't help but to adopt a slightly bitter expression, as if his cigarette had suddenly started tasting like lemon. He glared at the snow outside, but it was clear he was seeing something else with those pale eyes of his. Something that was enough to lit a slight burning flame of anger even within such unfriendly person.

"What a naive wish-upon-a-star..." Sensei muttered under his breath. "If you've got time to dream about perfect world, why not use it protect the people you're actually responsible for? Instead of having them die for nothing. As if something like that could bring forth perfection..."

The tone of Sensei's voice made it clear that he wasn't exactly happy with what he was hearing. For a person who had already gathered so much hatred towards the normal people, it was no wonder that he also felt disgust towards magi and their way. In that sense, the man before Mirai was the true epitome of a hermit. He hated everyone equally, both normal people and magi. It wasn't simply about rejecting the mundane or rejecting the supernatural; it was rejecting all those things around them, because at the end of day, he could not stand the sight of either of them.

Still, this time, there was slight shift in the direction of his hatred. It was not "just because." It was because of what he had been told. And thus, for the first time in a long while, Sensei wasn't glaring the person standing in the examination room with great annoyance.


“What were you working on? The thing that needed a few more years. I probably can’t help, but I want to know.”

"Now? Now it's nothing more than collection of unnecessary papers and files and research tests. Not much use in digging it up," Sensei said and glanced at one of the cabinets in the room. "And I think you've got more pressing issues to occupy your bopped head with than the files and books that gather dust here. Like how a shrimp like you could even begin to hope to win a Holy Grail War."

Then, with a rather self-derisive grin, Sensei added:

"Then again, I suppose you have the advantage of knowing one of the few people on the island who have actually researched the Heaven's Moon ritual."




http://i.imgur.com/I4RvNUS.png

Location: Old Town - Vollmond Theater
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 19:12
Day: January 12th

Stepping from the open white world outside into the warm, closed one of the old theater was like moving between night and day. It was not exactly dark inside, as the windows let the sunlight through and even some of the graceful lamps had been turned on, but there was a certain sense of a "closed space" within the building. The whole floor had been carpeted, and everywhere one looked, it seemed as if there was always a wall or a staircase blocking the view. Truly, the mismatched western architecture of the interior collided harshly with the eastern exterior, creating something like a hidden world. Of course, the true reason for this was the simple fact that the shrine itself was in no way large enough to hold an actual theater. Therefore, the back wall had been broken down, connecting the building with the western one behind it.

However, that was not all. For anyone who knew even a little bit about supernatural, the odd feeling one felt when entering the theater was familiar: it was the sense of a Bounded Field. Not just one or two, but dozen fields, all interlocked within themselves, superimposed upon each other so that they created a cohesive whole. Their purpose was unknown, but as of now, none of them seemed to be truly active. There was simply the feather-like weight of them pushing down on the shoulders of people visiting the theater.

"Ah, welcome, welcome!" a sudden voice, bright and clear, called out to Delacroix. "Sorry, I was a bit preoccupied with the inventory check."

Coming down one set of stairs was a black-haired man in his late twenties, yet with a face that looked like that of a teenager. He had eyes that shone with intelligence and smile that could have scared off any gloomy cloud. Truly, the man in the black suit was like a model in a way; beautiful to look at, but not too much that he would have felt threatening. If anything, this man gave off the atmosphere of someone with only noble intentions.

"I guess Annabelle must have directed you inside. Sorry if she said something strange. That girl can be a handful at times," the man said and chuckled as he descended to the ground floor. "Matthias Loch, the proprietor of Vollmond Theater. Now, how can I be of service?"

As he approached Delacroix, the man offered his hand for a firm shake.

Katie
February 16th, 2015, 04:01 PM
Shimamura Mirai
Location: Outskirts - Jiboujiki Clinic
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 15:26
Day: January 12th


"What a naive wish-upon-a-star..." Sensei muttered under his breath. "If you've got time to dream about perfect world, why not use it protect the people you're actually responsible for? Instead of having them die for nothing. As if something like that could bring forth perfection..."

No, the question is definitely directed at Grandpa, but… Who am I trying to protect? Take care of? Not myself… Everyone else? But that’s so nebulous and vague… Even if it is the only answer I can come up with. I try to hide my frown as I think about it. Certainly… certainly there has to be a reason more than generic altruism, isn’t there? I mean, that may be a motivation in of itself, but with the way Sensei put it…

It seems really “empty,” to say the least.


"Now? Now it's nothing more than collection of unnecessary papers and files and research tests. Not much use in digging it up," Sensei said and glanced at one of the cabinets in the room. "And I think you've got more pressing issues to occupy your bopped head with than the files and books that gather dust here. Like how a shrimp like you could even begin to hope to win a Holy Grail War."

“My head. Is not. Bopped.” I swear, it isn’t! There isn’t anything wrong with it! I mean, Papa may have eccentric ways about taking care of children, but I’m sure he had our best health in mind. Fairly certain, at any rate… “But, even so, research is always important to be made available, right? The more people who can chip in, the more likely progress will be made…”

That’s true, isn’t i—


"Then again, I suppose you have the advantage of knowing one of the few people on the island who have actually researched the Heaven's Moon ritual."

…Wait a minute.



“Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeh?”

When I assumed Sensei had recognized my Command Seals, I thought it was because Grandpa had told him of his old war stories. Not that he knew about the Heaven’s Moon ritual. Even so, this is great! I know Sensei wouldn’t leave me out in the dust… I think. Any information would really help out. And he’s right, in the fact I’m not exactly confident in how I’m going to achieve victory...

“Well, when Grandpa was babbling, he mentioned that there were Grail Wars in Fuyuki… Is the Heaven’s Moon ritual simply a copy of the same ritual moved to a different part of the country, or is it something different, with this Holy Grail War tacked on…?”

To be honest, the idea of this war is nebulous as best. If Grandpa didn’t vouch for its veracity, I would have never believed it. A wish? Nothing in life even compares to the value of a wish… And there is no way someone would simply organize a war to have a wish for free. There’s got to be some ulterior motive that Sensei knows.

I3uster
February 16th, 2015, 04:55 PM
Mister Delacroix
Location: Old Town - Vollmond Theater
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 19:12
Day: January 12th

Compared to the airport and his own housing the theater felt almost regal. Sure, a bit of an architectural mismatch was obvious even to somebody like Delacroix who only had a passing interest in interior decoration, but it still had an undeniable air of class to it.

And with the creation of something beautiful and precious like this, naturally the need for a bit of security arose. He had invaded the space of a magus. Conditioned like a good dog, Delacroix immediatly started checking the corners and dimensions of the room and tried to peer behind every larger object he could find by performing strange leaning upper body movements, movements that would probably have made it seem like he was practicing for the stage.


"Sorry, I was a bit preoccupied with the inventory check."
"Please, please. I am sorry. I thought about notifying you before I really do pay you a visit, but I had to rush..."

There was something here that required the extra protection, and it wasn't the expensive furnishing. But for now this was not the matter that concerned him.

It seemed that the trend of attractive theater employees continued with the other owner. For a moment he wondered if they both were stage performers, imagining them in a dramatic act of confession involving a balcony...it seemed almost too fitting.


"I guess Annabelle must have directed you inside. Sorry if she said something strange. That girl can be a handful at times,"

"She certainly is interesting. And open. A good trait to have, if you ask me, it signifies honesty, and that really has become rarer and rarer these days." He looked backwards over his shoulder towards the exit, hoping that girl wouldn't think badly of him about that little incident. For now the focus had to be put elsewhere.


"Matthias Loch, the proprietor of Vollmond Theater. Now, how can I be of service?"

"Delacroix. I am a contractor for various interest groups, mostly working in human resource-related freelance work." He said as he reciprocated the man's firm handshake. "But I am actually here because of a friend of mine. A woman you know. A certain...Olga Nowak?"

His facial expression lost its welcoming touch and he let go of the mans hand. He raised his hand, index finger extended to the mans eye level and grabbed it with his other.

Accompanied by an almost silent grunt and an expression of severe discomfort the room was filled with a cracking sound for just a second. Holding his now visibly broken finger in front of the mans eyes he started to smile again.

Almost impossible to notice at first, but gradually the finger seemed to settle back into its old position.

"It seems we share a thing or two, Mister Loch. Is there a place where we can discuss this matter more private, or will this suffice?"

Rafflesiac
February 16th, 2015, 06:31 PM
Xander Stone
Location: Outskirts - Winding Path
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 19:25
Day: January 12th

Snow wafts down from the heavens, swallowing my footsteps, swallowing my breath and swallowing everything in my sight. Yet it cannot consume the sturdy gate that stands in front of me, jutting from the white landscape with a familiar dull red.


"Welcome, second Master. To the Yamaichi Shrine."

And it cannot consume the slight girl standing at the gate’s base, whose words ring out despite their soft tone befitting the falling snow.

“Err...thanks. I mean, thank you.”

I need to be more certain, more self-assured. If even a mere greeting flusters me, then how am I supposed to survive an attack on my life? So I need to be colder. I need to be harder. I need to be stronger.

Still...she seems quite inconvenienced. A blindfold, and traditional clothes in the middle of this deep snow? Maybe I should...no, I have nothing to spare. Still...

Yeah, that’s something I’ll do later.

“I guess you have to wait for other people, huh? Actually, now that I think about it... who are you? I thought the supervisor was in the temple farther along, but was I wrong?”

hero
February 16th, 2015, 06:52 PM
Azama Tae
Location: Old Town - Shushin Koushi
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 15:15
Day: January 12th


"Don't worry about it."

Between Maki's teasing and Otsue-san's 'joke', I am not sure which felt more uncomfortable, but that's already a part of the past. So as I take a seat, I allow myself draw a rather nostalgic smile. There is no reason for me to be offended when I am certain that neither of them meant to do wrong, so why should I...? If anything, I am sure it will make for a funny memory some time in the future.

Needless to say, I do not let this display of pleasantness last for more than a few moments. As much as I long for a friend to share a conversation and a few drinks with, the truth of the matter is that I came here to discuss a serious topic. I have no time to waste on distractions... If there is a remote chance that the person inside this room with me holds the answers to the questions I have, then I won't hesitate to ask.

"I hope you don't mind if I go straight to the point, Otsue-san."

I realize that I know nothing about the owner of the brothel. Granted, to be standing where she is today, she must be someone powerful and with influence, perhaps even more than I was told. From her clothing, she's most likely rich or has lots of money to spare like me. But asides from that, I am in the dark. Information doesn't come for free and I could be dealing with the devil itself. If she's not interested in money, which is what I can offer with the most ease, who knows in what sort of thing I could get involved to repay the favor...? Regardless, I am not afraid. I am determined to keep moving forward.

Placing my bag on my lap, I open it and take a picture from within. I let Otsue borrow it and give her a few seconds in silence for her to examine it in detail and see if she can remember anything. The photo contains the object of my search, the main reason why I decided to fly to Tengetsu, even before those three brands that appeared one day on my right hand... Before receiving that letter which spoke of a war I never wanted to be involved with in the first place.

"Her name is Yomi. She's the one I'm looking for."

I came here searching for a clue that would lead me to this person.

Verg Avesta
February 16th, 2015, 08:31 PM
Location: Outskirts - Jiboujiki Clinic
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 15:28
Day: January 12th


“Well, when Grandpa was babbling, he mentioned that there were Grail Wars in Fuyuki… Is the Heaven’s Moon ritual simply a copy of the same ritual moved to a different part of the country, or is it something different, with this Holy Grail War tacked on…?”

Sensei took a drag off his cigarette, and his brow furrowed. (http://tindeck.com/listen/tlrag) For a moment, he stared at the snow outside, as if he was gathering his thoughts. A minute passed before he finally looked back at Mirai. With his right hand, he opened one of the drawers on the desk he was leaning to, and fished out some papers. Most of them had been written in what seemed like German, but judging from how Sensei's eyes ran all over their surface, he could read them with ease. He did not hand over the papers to the girl, however, instead keeping them to himself as he began talking.


http://i.imgur.com/QZ5eD9k.jpg

"According to my research, this is the second Holy Grail War ever to happen on this island... a ritual that has been dubbed as 'Heaven's Moon' by the selected few who know about it," Sensei began. "The first one occurred at the tail-end of 1914, during the stormy year that saw the beginning of World War I. Most likely the ritual occurred at December, as some eyewitness accounts from the mainland talk about "great northern lights" tearing up the sky in the direction where Tengetsu was. ... As expected, that was probably something that was created by Servant battles."

Taking another drag from his cigarette, Sensei leaned back on his chair and turned away some papers, revealing what seemed like extremely blurry and grainy black-and-white photographs. They seemed to show charred corpses on a beach, having been washed there by the tides. His lips tightened a little at the pictures, but he continued anyway.

"Considering the name, it would make sense that Heaven's Moon is a by-product of Fuyuki's Heaven's Feel. After all, that ritual had already seen two iterations before the first Heaven's Moon. However, I am not sure how much it can be connected to the ones responsible for the ritual on the mainland. You see, it was only couple of months into 1915 that the island fell under the rule of Imperial Germany. Most of the invaders were survivors of the Siege of Tsingtao, and they were hungry for revenge against the Japanese," Sensei explained. "They would have never let some local backwater occultists mess around with supernatural forces. Therefore, I think it's safe to say that no intentional transference or imitation happened between the two rituals."

At this point, Sensei frowned, as if the papers before him had given him a heart-burns.

"The problem lies elsewhere, however. When you think about it, the name, the Command Spells, the Servant system... they are all identical, at least from what I can tell, with the Grail War of Fuyuki. I doubt the Einzberns would have let someone just up and steal their grand work like that," Sensei said, tapping the papers with his finger. "So, it leaves us with a question: just how can these two rituals be nigh identical?"



Location: Old Town - Vollmond Theater
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 19:15
Day: January 12th


"It seems we share a thing or two, Mister Loch. Is there a place where we can discuss this matter more private, or will this suffice?"

Matthias Loch flashed another handsome smile at the display before him, as if Delacroix had just told him a brilliant, yet witty, joke. (http://tindeck.com/listen/ksacj)Chuckling a bit, he gestured towards one of the smaller doors in the lobby.

"Ah, I see, I see. So you are an acquaintance of Miss Nowak. It is great to meet you finally in-person, Mister Delacroix," Matthias said. "Please, follow me. I have a small side-room here that will be perfectly suitable for our needs. We can enjoy some tea while we discuss this situation of ours."

Having said that, Matthias walked over to the door he had pointed earlier, and put his hand on the handle. In that moment, something like a small spark of prana seemed to run through the wall, and there was a hollow, grinding sound so low you could barely hear it. It was almost as if something muffled had been moving behind the wall, where the door led. After waiting for couple of seconds Matthias then opened the door, revealing a dimly lit, yet extravagantly-decorated, room beyond it. He motioned Delacroix to follow him and closer the door behind them, and headed inside himself.


http://i.imgur.com/NB3xvnL.png


As the two men entered the room, the slightly overbearing watch of the Bounded Fields seemed to lift a tiny bit. Perhaps not all of the Bounded Fields were laid over this particular room. That did not mean their presence was gone, however. There were still some defenses in place. It could be that to reach this room in the first place, the duo had to walk through some of the spells.

After pulling one antique chair for Delacroix to sit on, Matthias walked over to one of the cabinets in the room. He pulled the door open, and strangely enough, something appeared immediately from within the furniture, as if it had been waiting for him.

... There was no other way to describe it. It seemed like a slightly greyish, oddly scaly-looking humanoid hand.

And strangest of all, it was carrying a full tea set and a pot of freshly-brewed British tea. Along with a small cup filled with jelly cookies.

"Cute, are they not?" Matthias asked, chuckling to himself as he closed the cabinet door, the hand disappearing back inside. "I named them 'Stagehands'. A bit corny, I know, but sometimes it is best to not be so serious."

After bringing the tea set to the table and pouring Delacroix and himself some of the fine drink, Matthias himself sat down. He crossed his legs and fingers, leaning back on the extravagant chair. It was clear that the young-looking man was at complete ease, and there was no hint of hostility in his smile as he gazed at Delacroix.

"So... it seems you got my letter. I am glad. I thought I'd have to resort to some more... absurd... means to get you here, but thankfully, it did not have come to that," Matthias said and chuckled. "So why not take this chance to relax a little? I am sure your journey was long and tiring. Feel free to drink as much tea as you can, and... well, you simply have to try the biscuits. Recently I've taken up the hobby of baking, and I must say, I am satisfied with the results. The jelly, especially, was a masterpiece."

With an elegant move, Matthias moved the cup of biscuits closer to Delacroix. And indeed, the sparkling-red jelly in the center of the cookies looked absolutely delicious.



Location: Outskirts - Winding Path
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 19:26
Day: January 12th


“I guess you have to wait for other people, huh? Actually, now that I think about it... who are you? I thought the supervisor was in the temple farther along, but was I wrong?”

"No."

The blindfolded girl shook her head ever so slightly as she walked over to Xander, and then took her spot besides her like she had been a particularly well-trained guardian dog. Of course, this 'guardian dog' was about 133cm tall and looked like she would loose in a fight against a particularly ferocious flake of snow, but still, it was the image that counted. Tilting her head slightly, the white-haired girl continued to 'look' at Xander, as she began speaking again.

"Izumi," she bluntly stated, pointing at herself. It was most likely some sort of introduction.

"Supervisor... waits. At the top," she continued. "I wait here. To show the way."

Then the impassive face of the girl shifted ever-so-slightly, producing something that must have counted as a "frown" to the ice-like little girl.

"Also... burned it. Breakfast," she added, a bit more silently this time. "This is punishment."

Having said that, the girl began walking forward, towards the temple that awaited at the top of the stairs.




Location: Old Town - Shushin Koushi
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 15:17
Day: January 12th


"I hope you don't mind if I go straight to the point, Otsue-san."

"Well, ain't you a serious one?" (http://tindeck.com/listen/tlrag) Otsue said and chuckled, taking a drag from her pipe. "Well, I don't mind straight-laced young ones. It makes a difference compared to Mika's company."


"Her name is Yomi. She's the one I'm looking for."

Otsue received the faded Polaroid picture from Tae, taking a hold of it with her long nails. She brought it before herself, letting her eyes memorize every part of the girl that was the focus of the photo. It seemed to have been taken on a festival of some sort, perhaps a photo-booth, with a fancy Japanese-style backdrop behind the black-haired girl. The girl herself, though, was most likely not even in her teens by the time the picture had been taken. She had a warm smile on her face, and seemed to be dressed in Japanese way. The latter fact, combined with her Asian features, made clear that the girl was from this country.


http://i.imgur.com/zVBvR1o.png

Otsue's face showed no emotion as she studied the picture, occasionally taking a drag from her kiseru and letting out a cloud of smoke into the air. It wasn't just that she was trying to decipher whether or not she had seen the face of the girl somewhere. For someone like Otsue, it was most likely more akin to searching through data-banks, comparing the girl in the photo to every person she had ever met. Even to an untrained eye it was clear that Otsue was no slouch when it came to memorization, as she had almost immediately imprinted the girl in the photo to her brain.

"Yomi?" Otsue finally said, breaking the silence. "Yes... I remember her. She used to live her, somewhere near the southern edge of the Residential District. I think she was even born here. Used to run around with other kids from the neighborhood, bothering people... including me. Though... I think you already know that. I thought your face seemed somewhat familiar, if a bit more grown-up, Tae-kun."

For a moment, a flash of a warm smile passed on Otsue's face. However, it was quickly replaced by a more serious expression.

"She disappeared about four years ago, along with four other girls. Strange series of events. One even became a police case as it became apparent that girl had been murdered in a hospital under police watch. But Yomi... what was her fate...?" Otsue muttered, rubbing her temples with her free hand. "Let's see... four years ago... four years ago..."

Then, suddenly, as if an arc of lightning had passed through her spine, Otsue's eyes jolted open.

"That's right. On the day she disappeared, there was a shooting incident at the Fujimura Estate. Official record says that it was merely a firework accident with a faulty rocket, but everyone here knows that the police do not press charges against that family. Although I am not sure if it was connected... it might have something to do with this," Otsue said. "And... that's not all. It is also the day that Yamabe Tennou's wife passed away from her illness. It was all over the news, and overshadowed almost all other incidents. Figures. Let's see... what else..."

Knitting her brows together, Otsue finally arrived to one more memory she had regarding the time Yomi had disappeared.

"Just before that, the new mayor of Tengetsu was elected. In other words, it was the day that Kameyama Taruhito came in power. It is a long shot, but... it might have something to do with this," Otsue said.

After a moment of silence, she handed the photo back to Tae, while taking a third drag from her pipe. After she was finished, the older woman turned her attention back to the one before her.

"Is there any specific information you would want to know? It would help me narrow down what I need to remember."

Katie
February 16th, 2015, 09:03 PM
Shimamura Mirai
Location: Outskirts - Jiboujiki Clinic
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 15:28
Day: January 12th


“Hmmm…”

It’s a lot to take in. But I’ve already grasped the gist of it. Cramming in pre-med teaches one how to do that. I review the facts, one by one in my head. But at the same time, much of the information is unclear. No doubt this is an oddity due to the fact the previous war happened almost a century ago, but still.

Time to get the gears in my brain moving.

“Well, first of all, the Imperial occupation wasn’t until 1915, correct? That doesn’t really disavow the idea of Japanese influence, since I assume you would need to prepare the ritual beforehand and rig all the leylines and such. This easily could have been done in the previous five years before 1914.”

Well, isn’t it true? It’s only post-1914 that the Germans really did anything, so I feel that Japanese influence must be considered. Think Sensei will chew me out, though.

“Not only that, but aren’t the Einzberns a German family? Even if the Germans got here before 1914, perhaps the Einzberns came with them and attempted to recreate a second Holy Grail War? Presumably they still have the knowledge of how the ritual works, and that while Fuyuki was an ideal spot for the creation, Tengetsu could have worked as well. And the Einzberns worked with two other Japanese families for the Fuyuki Grail, if Grandpa was correct. I’m not sure if they would be as pretentious to prevent ‘local backwater occultists’ from being unable to help. It could just as easily speed up the process and be more convenient for all…”

So far, I don’t think the answer is clear cut. I, myself am making assumptions I’m not sure are true. But even so, there has to be a reason as to why the war was replicated over here. Perhaps the Einzberns were impatient with the growing time gaps between wars?

Well, no, that’s wrong, because it’s been nearly a century since the last one, and the last thing I heard was that the Fuyuki wars had shorter intervals…

“So, I think it was possible for the ritual to be ported. Perhaps it was an Einzbern branch family or something. It would take a skilled magus to reverse engineer the entire system, and I’m not sure if that is humanly feasible, even with a team of say five experts. Otherwise, wouldn’t we have Grail Wars across the globe?”

That’s a good question… In the case of my theory, the Einzberns would only be limited by magical hotspots and could basically set up a Grail War whenever they feel like. Why choose Tengetsu of all places? The German Occupation? No, that happened after.

Dang it! I’m not getting anywhere. I feel like I’m poking away at a concrete wall, hoping it breaks.

“Other than that… Sensei, why do you know so much about the ritual? You find the idea of me participating distasteful, and I doubt you want to participate yourself. What drove you to acquire all of this information?”

I3uster
February 16th, 2015, 09:26 PM
Mister Delacroix
Location: Old Town - Vollmond Theater
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 19:15
Day: January 12th

"Oh, a careful man. Lovely!" Delacroix's previously tense standing pose relaxed until he was almost hunched over, then proceeded to drag his suitcase with him as he followed the man through the door, careful not to scratch the expensive-looking floor.

As he made himself comfortable on the chair he more closely inspected the interior in here. As far as safe rooms go this was definitely a luxury version. He was almost tempted to ask for some details to improve the sparse one he had back in Miami but refrained. A bit of smalltalk was fine but prying for secrets, now that was just disrespectful.

But as he laid eyes on the man's peculiar familiars he couldn't control himself.



"Cute, are they not?" Matthias asked, chuckling to himself as he closed the cabinet door, the hand disappearing back inside. "I named them 'Stagehands'. A bit corny, I know, but sometimes it is best to not be so serious."

"Now this...I am amazed, Mister Loch, I really have to say." Poking the wandering hand as it brought over the trays, carefully to not throw it off balance. "Are these antique? Phantasmal perhaps? Or is your passion for interior design second only to make-up artistry?"


"Cute, are they not? I named them 'Stagehands'. A bit corny, I know, but sometimes it is best to not be so serious."

"I could not agree more. It's good to have a sense of humor about things." He said as he started slurping down the still-hot tea. "The lack of it should be reserved for our ideologically challenged adversaries. By the way I know you have called me, but I want to apologize in advance if my presence might increase their vigilance."

It was rare to be welcomed like this in the presence of another vampire. Small frys were often quite paranoid about every factor that would draw attention to their lairs or even existence, and Delacroix had never met a vampire that could be called truly powerful, not to speak of meeting an Ancestor. If he was honest, he himself didn't like "visitors of the lunar persuasion", especially amateurs that didn't know how to throw off trails.


"So... it seems you got my letter. I am glad. I thought I'd have to resort to some more... absurd... means to get you here, but thankfully, it did not have come to that,So why not take this chance to relax a little? I am sure your journey was long and tiring. Feel free to drink as much tea as you can, and... well, you simply have to try the biscuits. Recently I've taken up the hobby of baking, and I must say, I am satisfied with the results. The jelly, especially, was a masterpiece."

"Don't mind if I do." There was a quite familiar taste to the products the man consumed, and it lead to a sensible chuckle. "Quite creative. I usually like more zesty preparation. Or the raw product of course."

After flushing the biscuit down with another small slurp of tea the man continued to talk.

"I of course have some questions for you regarding the possibility of...acquisition of a few familiars, you see, I like having a few sets of additional eyes where I work. But let's put that off for a bit. I wouldn't want to first abuse your hospitality and then immediately try to further load you with my needs, would I? Tell me Mr. Loch, what exactly would you like for me, and my currently, sadly, unavailable partner to do?"

As he reached for another biscuit he continued.

"And as unpleasant as it is to ask, what would my compensation be?"

Verg Avesta
February 16th, 2015, 09:41 PM
Location: Outskirts - Jiboujiki Clinic
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 15:30
Day: January 12th


“Well, first of all, the Imperial occupation wasn’t until 1915, correct? That doesn’t really disavow the idea of Japanese influence, since I assume you would need to prepare the ritual beforehand and rig all the leylines and such. This easily could have been done in the previous five years before 1914.”

Sensei frowned.

"But by whom? As far as I have been able to piece together, Einzberns are the only ones capable of creating such as system in the full. I know that the two other magi families involved were there to provide the suitable land, as well as help for the Servant system, but as for the Holy Grail itself... that is something only the puppet-masters of Europe know about," he said, scratching his chin. "During that time, Japan had already started gravitating towards an alliance with the British Imperium. They would not have so easily worked together with German magi."


“Not only that, but aren’t the Einzberns a German family? Even if the Germans got here before 1914, perhaps the Einzberns came with them and attempted to recreate a second Holy Grail War? Presumably they still have the knowledge of how the ritual works, and that while Fuyuki was an ideal spot for the creation, Tengetsu could have worked as well. And the Einzberns worked with two other Japanese families for the Fuyuki Grail, if Grandpa was correct. I’m not sure if they would be as pretentious to prevent ‘local backwater occultists’ from being unable to help. It could just as easily speed up the process and be more convenient for all…”

"You have a point there, shrimp," Sensei said and nodded. "I do not have any knowledge of the Einzberns being directly involved in the war, but some sort of under-hand deal has to be considered as a possibility. What I do know is that before 1914, no foreign people had stepped on Tengetsu's soil, however. This place was considered the boonies even by Japan's standards, which was why the Ainu culture thrived so strongly here."


“So, I think it was possible for the ritual to be ported. Perhaps it was an Einzbern branch family or something. It would take a skilled magus to reverse engineer the entire system, and I’m not sure if that is humanly feasible, even with a team of say five experts. Otherwise, wouldn’t we have Grail Wars across the globe?”

Sensei took a drag off his cigarette, finally finishing it. He stumped it into the overflowing ash tray at the table, and heaved a heavy sigh.

"It would not just take a skilled magus. A mere branch family member could have hardly recreated the ritual system, especially in this environment. Tengetsu's magical capabilities are nowhere near Fuyuki or the Aozaki lands. It is just about capable of supporting the current ritual. If what I heard from one of my sources is correct, and the ritual in Fuyuki is actually part of something even bigger... well, it makes me feel almost as if Tengetsu's ritual was doomed to fail from the start," Sensei said, sounding a bit annoyed at himself. "Then again, we still know that the system in place here is capable of summoning nine Servants. So it cannot be said that Tengetsu's ritual cannot succeed. What is strange about is the island. Fuyuki is a far more optimal spot for something like Holy Grail War. Here, it is just like running a car with an engine with far too little power to properly make the vehicle function properly. For Einzberns, there is no real reason to create another ritual on Tengetsu. You noticed it, right? How big the gap between these two rituals has been. It's simply a waste of magical energy gathered."


“Other than that… Sensei, why do you know so much about the ritual? You find the idea of me participating distasteful, and I doubt you want to participate yourself. What drove you to acquire all of this information?”

This question seemed to take Sensei momentarily by surprise. However, his surprise soon melted into a self-derisive chuckle, as he played with his cheap lighter. He stared at the object, as if seeing the reflection of years gone by in its surface.

"Idle curiosity, mostly. After arriving here, I came to notice something strange about this island. Or rather, a friend of mine who practices necromancy noticed it," he said. "The amount of people who have died here violently is far too vast even considering this island's history. So, I set out to find a possible reason for these deaths to keep myself occupied during the long winters. One thing led to another, and finally, I came face-to-face with the story of this ritual. Still... I never thought I would see it come back to fruition during my lifetime..."

Spinach
February 16th, 2015, 09:43 PM
Ryougi Kirame
Location: Senketsurinri Villa
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 16:01
Day: January 12th

"My, how bloodthirsty,"

A small smile crept onto the lips of the Ryougi. Somewhere in him he felt the samurai appreciated his response. Maybe as one who dedicated himself to the sword the gatekeeper was the type that relished settling matters with steel rather than words, or perhaps the composed swordsman simply put high stock in honesty, and could see that the one who had come to visit his lord was an honest man.

Ryougi watched and listened intently as the samurai suddenly lowered his head in a bow.

“Thus, sheath your killing instinct and relax. I have no desire to fight you, either. I am called Hakushima Munechika, and I am the retainer of my lord, Kameyama-dono. A pleasure to meet you, stranger.”

“... As for what comes to those crimson markings, I am sorry to say that I do not know their meaning. However, I can sense that they are of great importance, and thus, most likely something my lord would like to discuss. Therefore, please: follow me, stranger. I shall take you to him."

“That’s good.” That smile vanished as quickly as it had appeared. It was fortunate that his peaceful visit wouldn’t turn violent immediately, but the samurai had misunderstood Kirame. It wasn’t odd for the Ryougi to be misunderstood. His values and desires weren’t suited for understanding others, so it was natural that others could misunderstand them in turn.

As the samurai turned to the gate, digging out a key hung on an old style key ring, Kirame cooled his head. For now there wouldn’t be any fighting, to both his relief and annoyance.

"This way."

Kirame held back on immediately correcting the gatekeeper’s misunderstanding. Instead he followed silently behind Munechika as he led him through the property, taking in the sights that would normally belong in the history books. Old style Japanese villas like the one on Tengetsu were fewer and fewer in these days, but Kirame had visited a few in his time. Rarely did he go out of his own volition, instead simply visiting with his family when he still lived under them.

Still, he enjoyed such old style places. The air was always refreshing and had a sweet, nostalgic taste to it in places like these. Kirame wasn’t one to enjoy leisure and relaxation, basking in moments of peace amidst Japanese manors, but even he found such places pleasant in his own way. The more antiquated they were the more such places comforted him, making him feel at ease. The kind of peace of mind that even he could get lost in.

Kirame’s eyes wandered over the snowy ground, past the samurai’s back and to a batch of trees peeking their snow-covered peaks over the rooftops. One tree, standing taller than the others, drew his attention especially. The crunching of snow under shoes halved as Kirame stopped in place.

A view from the treetop came to mind, staring down at the rooftops, blanketed in snow. Laughter, and a smaller voice calling down to him from the ground, telling him to come down. A familiar scene that he had no recollection of. Dragged out by the villa.

"So, what have you thought about our island so far, stranger? Has it been up to your expectations?"

The elegant voice of Munechika cut through Kirame’s lost thoughts, and he pulled himself back to the present as the samurai spoke to him. Looking back to the samurai’s back Kirame set behind the retainer, the crunching of snow quickening as he caught up with his guide.

"Oh, and pardon me: I never did get your name. Unless you want me to address you this brusquely, may I hear it?"

“My name is Ryougi Kirame.” He brusquely introduced himself, eyes wandering around the grounds even as he spoke to Munechika. “It’s colder than I would like it to be. I’m well suited for humid summers. This is a little much for me, even if I knew it would be cold.”

Kirame dug his hands into his jacket’s outer pockets as if to demonstrate his discomfort with the cold.

“In that sense it only managed to meet my expectations. But,” Kirame said, eyes finally wandering to the back of Munechika’s head. “A samurai blocking my path was a surprise. If only a welcome like this had been waiting for me at the airport.”

He smiled as he spoke, thinking of the battle that might have been if he had come armed.

“I should tell you something, Munechika.” Not hesitating to call the man he had just met by his given name, Kirame addressed the samurai by name for the first time. “You misunderstood something before. It isn’t that I don’t desire to fight you, it’s that I didn’t come here to fight you. My companion would be upset if I returned in pieces without even speaking to the mayor, even if that is how I would prefer to return.”

Katie
February 16th, 2015, 10:13 PM
Shimamura Mirai
Location: Outskirts - Jiboujiki Clinic
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 15:30
Day: January 12th

“Ah, I see. The Einzberns are the only people truly competent enough to recreate their own ritual, but among them, only the main family. And even then, no foreigners have set on Tengetsu before the war… But you really can’t be saying that we, the Japanese, known for being backwater practitioners of onmyodo in the West, managed to replicate a Western ritual on some island full of poor leylines.”

This doesn’t add up. It’s an absurd mystery. Without any sort of foreign aid, there would be no way for anyone to recreate the Heaven’s Feel on Tengetsu. If we talk about magic practitioners in Japan at that time, only Chinese traditions and onmyoodo were still more popular and established compared to western practices. The modern, Western magecraft system was only beginning to flourish back then, due to the forced internationalism of the Meiji period…

“Some Westerner had to have gotten here before the Germans. I can’t imagine the alternative. It’s too… impossible to be true. Even if the land here is utter garbage, I don’t think there would have been any Japanese magus at the time who could have been that much of a prodigy to recreate the entire system, as you said. Well, whatever the case is, there’s not much information to go on. Nothing to exploit, other than idle speculation.”

This is frustrating. Dead ends are a part of life, certainly, but there’s so much at stake. Not having any useful information would just put me at a disadvantage, and I’m already a magus with no combat skill…

“But since we don’t know much, I’ll be hesitant to make the wish, if the chance is ever provided. The land here is worse compared to Fuyuki, so I doubt it could really grant what… Grandfather wanted.” It definitely sounds too good to be true. Perhaps the Fuyuki war could have granted the wish. But here, in Tengetsu? I have to be sure I’m not being conned. “I’ll make sure to be careful and try to find more about it myself.”

There’s something else that comes to mind, now that I think about it.

“Hmmm… Do you think there’s a reason why Heaven’s Moon has nine Servants and Heaven’s Feel only has seven? Fuyuki is far better land than Tengetsu, so why add more Servants which will only use more mana?”

Well, there’s not much to say after that, really. Sensei’s knowledge is too limited, but I have a better understanding of what I’m getting into. It… doesn’t really look all that bright, haha.


"Idle curiosity, mostly. After arriving here, I came to notice something strange about this island. Or rather, a friend of mine who practices necromancy noticed it," he said. "The amount of people who have died here violently is far too vast even considering this island's history. So, I set out to find a possible reason for these deaths to keep myself occupied during the long winters. One thing led to another, and finally, I came face-to-face with the story of this ritual. Still... I never thought I would see it come back to fruition during my lifetime..."“You know, Sensei…” I pause and a smile comes to my lips. “You’re a really nice person deep down, aren’t you? You just cover it up with your gruff attitude and your smoking and all.”

I laugh. I guess this is why Grandpa liked him so much. Sure, Sensei might be a jerk sometimes, but I think he’s soft on the inside, like a teddy bear. He’s not someone who’d toss someone out in the streets if they really needed help.

Rafflesiac
February 16th, 2015, 10:56 PM
Xander Stone
Location: Outskirts - Winding Path
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 19:26
Day: January 12th


”Izumi.”

“It’s nice to meet you, Izumi. I’m Xander; Xander Stone.”


"Supervisor... waits. At the top."

So he hadn’t been mistaken; his destination was farther ahead. I flick my gaze downward toward the noticeably smaller girl. Perhaps she was an assistant at the shrine? She was certainly dressed the part, after all. If so, her dedication to guiding people to the shrine was admirable; only the most resolute would stand in this cold for hours without a guarantee of visitors to make the wait worthwhile.


"Also... burned it. Breakfast. This is punishment."

Hold it in, don’t move a muscle, definitely do not laugh---!

Despite her involvement in this arcane ritual, she’s still a girl, it seems. Ah, I can’t get left behind here! With light steps, I follow the girl toward the temple.

Kuroyuki
February 17th, 2015, 01:05 AM
Kiyoko Miyamoto
Location: Outskirts - Winding Path
Phase Day 3/3
Time: 18:27
Day: January 12th


".... It's fine. I'm used to it,"

"Just because you're used to it doesn't mean it's okay!"

After that remark, I tried to hand her my jacket, but she wouldn't grab a hold of it. So I had to be more aggressive then I would like, by dropping the jacket on her and then walking away. She tried to hand it back, but I kept walking and asked her some questions instead. Eventually, she gave up and just burrowed into my jacket like a cute little squirrel. I wanted to give her a hug right then and there, but I don't want to scare her off.

So instead, I asked Izumi several things about the events around here. She answered my questions quickly and concisely. But I managed to learn a few things about the last time I was here. Her name was Izumi. She was sent here to replace Sen-chan a few years ago. Her favorite food was baumkuchen (to be honest, it took me a moment to remember what it was).


"... Almost there,"

"Oh you're right. Just over the hill and here we are!"

I climb over the hill to be greeted with the Yamaichi Shrine. Ah it's been awhile!

"Let's go inside Izumi-chan!"

hero
February 17th, 2015, 08:45 AM
Azama Tae
Location: Old Town - Shushin Koushi
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 15:17
Day: January 12th


I was shocked; out of words.

I came here in desperate need for a new lead, a vague hint that could put me back on the right track, but I got a lot more than that. In little over a minute, Otsue-san gave me more information that I could ever hope to gather in a year's time. It's hard to connect most of the events to Yomi's disappearance but now I know for certain that it wasn't an ordinary day when it happened. Fujimura, Kameyama, Tennou... Those names don't exactly belong to run of the mill individuals. The local Yakuza gang, the mayor and the owner of the most influential corporation here in Tengetsu. All of them could be related to this incident, just as none of them could.

I take the picture back from Otsue-Taiyu and return it to where it was before, inside my bag. It's too early to worry about who did it... First, I must find my friend and for that, I must focus on those events related to her. If there is a connection between Yomi and any of these people, I am bound to find it somewhere along the way. The truth is, Yomi and I haven't really been in touch the years before her disappearance, so I don't have a clue as to what's she been up to since the last time I spoke to her proper. In other words, I don't have a motive... No idea why she would disappear like this... Or why would anyone make her disappear.

"Do you know if Yomi was involved in any particular activity here in the island...?"

I should start by placing myself on her shoes, become familiar with her schedule four years ago. Naturally, I can't expect Otsue-san to know such thing but... If her memory was good enough to recall these things as well as recognizing me, I have faith that she will remember something. With that aside, there are two other things that interest me, one of them obvious. As simple as it is, it's a vital clue I require to finally start my investigation.

"Which day was this...? The day Yomi went missing."

Truth to be told, I could probably find that piece of information myself. After all, with so many events going on, it wouldn't be hard to figure out. However, it's best if I save my time for better questions, if I can have it answered here, right now. The other thing that interests me is well, the four other girls that went missing that day. That is something I simply cannot overlook...

"The four other girls... Do you know who they are...? Do you recall any of their names...?"

A shooting related to the Yakuza, the death of the wife of the most influential man in the island and the Mayor's rise to power. All of them could have been mere coincidence... As of now, and until I dig more into them, I can only regard them as such. But four other disappearances the same day...?

That's got to be something else.

Antary
February 17th, 2015, 03:38 PM
Anna Bernhart
Location: Cross & Grace
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 14:50
Day: January 12th

"Good day, good day!" Anna said, accepting the offered handshake with unabashed enthusiasm and a big smile to match Rain's own. "And no, no, I'm not here to replace Benedict (whoever that may be), and I'm not here to settle down for any other job, either." She looked over towards her luggage, which was still hauled on her shoulder, just barely not forgotten on the backseat of a taxi. She smiled at it sheepishly, thinking that the bulky bag was the reason for such an assumption.

"Anna Bernhart," She added, putting her hands on her sides, elbows perked out. She turned to look at the battleship, an elbow unintentionally pointed at the young man. The girl stared at the metallic giant in a childish kind of awe, a reminiscent grin almost proudly plastered across her face. The sort of grin that seemed to quietly brag about how 'she's been up there before'; it didn't really matter to her that she was speaking with someone who was probably constantly up there, and for far, far longer than her.

"It's just as grand as I remember! And all fixed up, too - I can't seem to find any of the dents from before... unless they're on the other side. Well, I guess it doesn't matter. A few scratches wouldn't keep this hulk down!" She gave the ship an approving nod and a relieved sigh.

After a nostalgic pause, she turned back to the blond man, her smile receding, but not quite fading completely.

"I would like to speak with the Bishop," Anna glanced towards the ship again. "Is he onboard? It's quite important. Please lead the way if you don't mind, Rain. Is it okay if I call you 'Rain'?"

Verg Avesta
February 17th, 2015, 11:47 PM
Location: Old Town - Vollmond Theater
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 19:17
Day: January 12th


"Now this...I am amazed, Mister Loch, I really have to say. Are these antique? Phantasmal perhaps? Or is your passion for interior design second only to make-up artistry?"

Matthias smiled as one Stagehand suddenly reached out from behind the chair he was sitting in, handing him a neatly folded napkin which to use to wipe his mouth. The same happened with Delacroix. It seemed that whatever these things were, they had been trained to be very effective butlers, in a sense.

"Ever heard of Hands of Glory? You could call these distant cousins of those Mystic Codes," Matthias said, nodding to the hands before they disappeared back behind the chairs. "However, I hope you will forgive me if I do not reveal all their secrets. As you know, we have to keep a close eye on the methods of our craft, lest some outsider snoops it up and uses it against us."


"Don't mind if I do. Quite creative. I usually like more zesty preparation. Or the raw product of course."

Matthias gave Delacroix a sly wink.

"Blame my Scottish roots. If you're from the isles, you just have to know your way around tea and biscuits."


"I of course have some questions for you regarding the possibility of...acquisition of a few familiars, you see, I like having a few sets of additional eyes where I work. But let's put that off for a bit. I wouldn't want to first abuse your hospitality and then immediately try to further load you with my needs, would I? Tell me Mr. Loch, what exactly would you like for me, and my currently, sadly, unavailable partner to do? And as unpleasant as it is to ask, what would my compensation be?"

Matthias leaned forward in his luxurious chair, and for a moment, his eyes turned a little more serious. Still, he did not lose that charming attitude of his, staying a pleasant host even if the two of them were about to talk business. He set aside his cup of tea, steam rising from the dark surface of the liquid towards the ceiling. After a moment of silence, Matthias began talking, explaining the situation that had led to this meeting.

"Some years ago, as I understand, your partner was involved in an incident off the shore of Los Angeles, on a freighter named Sawa Maru. This incident in question happened to involve traditionalists extremists from Tengetsu, and whatever they were carrying on that freighter. You could say that the situation did not end well. In any event, if that was the end of that, I would not have bothered you by calling you here," Matthias spoke slowly, gauging Delacroix's expressions. "However, some time ago, a rather... uncivilized bunch arrived from across the sea on that uncouth ship of theirs. You most likely saw the news on the papers, right? Well, after their arrival, it seems that these gentlemen have been hard at work trying to uncover everything they can about Sawa Maru and the incident that happened on it, as well as the fate of a certain other ship. Whatever went on during that trip has these people searching every nook and cranny of Tengetsu, and, well... you can imagine how troublesome that makes things for me."

Matthias sighed softly and took a sip of his tea. He leaned back on his chair, and made a vague gesture with his hand, as if apologizing to Delacroix in some way.

"I have been forced to hole up in this theater for good few weeks now. Were it not for darling Annabelle, I most like would have been found out by now," he continued. "But the fact of the matter is that these gentlemen are far too interested in this incident to give up now, and I am afraid that things will turn sour if they continue as it were. Therefore, I have no choice but to turn to outside help, preferably one that already has great deal of information about what happened on Sawa Maru. And one that cannot be tracked back to me."

Matthias smiled slightly, swiping some of his black hair away from his forehead.

"As for what comes to your payment, well... if I have understood correctly, you are one of the participants of the ritual about to happen on this island, are you not?" he asked. "I would gladly assist you in some form or another, if you can deal with the threat presented by those hooligans. In other words, if you'll scratch my back, I shall scratch yours."




Location: Senketsurinri Villa
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 16:06
Day: January 12th


“My name is Ryougi Kirame. It’s colder than I would like it to be. I’m well suited for humid summers. This is a little much for me, even if I knew it would be cold. In that sense it only managed to meet my expectations. But... a samurai blocking my path was a surprise. If only a welcome like this had been waiting for me at the airport.””

An oddly frozen expression momentarily overtook Munechika's face, but as soon as it had appeared, it was melted away by a friendly smile. For some reason, the warrior's tension that was hanging on the samurai's shoulders disappeared, and he seemed to relax his gait a bit more as he led Kirame deeper into the compound.

"I see," Munechika simply answered. "You should definitely visit our island at summer, then. Thanks to us being this north, we are not troubled by extreme waves of heat. For few months, this island turns into a surprisingly suitable summer resort. As for what comes to my, I admit, outdated attire, well... let us just say that as modernized as most of Tengetsu City is, there are still people who like to hold on to old values. Some, like myself, do it simply to honor the ways of the past. Others... well, there are those who find an odd zeal to their way of life."

There was no mistaking as to what Munechika was referring to. It was no real secret that the city was, ideologically, divided into two side. The loyalists and the traditionalists. However, clearly that did not mean that there was not some overlap. Just walking through the Senketsurinri Villa proved that as welcoming as the mayor was to new ideas, he still enjoyed the more natural, traditional aspect of Japanese life.

As the two of them arrived to the doors of the main building, Munechika was once again stopped by Kirame's words.


“I should tell you something, Munechika. You misunderstood something before. It isn’t that I don’t desire to fight you, it’s that I didn’t come here to fight you. My companion would be upset if I returned in pieces without even speaking to the mayor, even if that is how I would prefer to return.”

For a moment, the samurai stared at Kirame in completely silence with an unreadable expression on his face. The only sound that permeated the compound was the distant sounds of the city on the other side of the walls. However, surprisingly enough, it seemed that Munechika was not insulted by Kirame's words. Instead, he nodded in understanding, as if he was thankful of the younger man clearing up this misunderstanding.

"I understand. Duty before personal vices, as they say," Munechika said. "In that case, I will gladly cross my sword with yours when the appropriate time comes, if that is what you desire. Turning such an earnest desire down would be rude of me."

Then, giving another smile to the boy, Munechika opened the doors to the main villa, leading them inside.


http://i.imgur.com/55fWIdT.jpg

The entrance hall of the villa was as impressive as its exterior. The large hallway ended into a glass window which seemed to hold a small shrine of some sort, perhaps meant for the ancestors of the Kameyama family. This hall itself, however, branched into multiple corridors and doors that led to the other parts of the villa, meaning that the entrance hall itself had only one purpose: impress those who were invited to meet the lords of this house. In that sense, it was a very effective, and very ancient, way of intimidation. Even to this day such things were practiced by corporations and offices around the world, like animals trying to appear bigger than they actually were.

Munechika led Kirame to one of the side-corridors which seemed to lead towards north. The actual layout of the building seemed to be slightly confusing, mostly stemming from making it as hard as possible to assault by enemy soldiers. However, for people like the samurai guiding Kirame, there seemed to be no danger of getting lost. Indeed, just five minutes later, they had arrived before a rather grand set of sliding doors. Munechika knelt down and softly cleared his throat, announcing his arrival.

"Oh? Munechika, is that you?" a male voice full of strength asked from the inside. "What is it?"

"Kameyama-dono. I have brought a guest for you," Munechika stated.

"Really? Oh, sure, come on in, come on in! No need to stand dazing out there in the hallway!" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sj6MKDhsx7Q) the male voice answered, and with his permission, Munechika opened the sliding doors.

What was revealed from behind the doors was a rather amazing sight. The doors on the other end of the room had been opened, revealing a brilliant scenery straight to the snowy garden beyond it. There, despite it being this cold, a small pond still refused to ice over, most likely thanks to the warm underground water that was being pumped into it. And despite the doors being open on both sides, the room itself was not cold. There were some bright orange coals in the heating base at the center of the room, and it seemed that some rather ingenious usage of air conditioning was in play, as the cold air was heated up the moment it entered inside.


http://i.imgur.com/6ugVvzM.jpg

Leaning against one of the pillars that separated the room from the garden was a man in his early thirties. Much like Munechika, he was dressed in traditional clothing, though much more expensive ones. He also sported an eye-patch, and held a beautiful sword in his hand. The expression on the man's face was a friendly smile directed straight at Kirame. If anything, he radiated an aura of honesty. There was no doubt about it. This was the mayor of Tengetsu, Kameyama Taruhito.

Next to this man was another bodyguard, this one much younger than Munechika. He was dressed in rather antiquated clothing as well, though much more western-influenced than those of compatriot. Unlike the mayor, he eyed Kirame up and down with cold expression, as if the mere sight of him had displeased the youngster. In his hand he carried what looked like a small tea-set, most likely in case Kameyama felt like drinking.

"Kameyama-dono, allow me to introduce Ryougi Kirame. A man who wishes to speak with you about a matter of some importance," Munechika introduced Kirame.

"-----------!"

However, before either the mayor or Kirame managed to say anything, their voices were cut off by a loud clinking sound by a tea-set almost falling over. The young bodyguard standing in attention had nearly dropped what he was carrying after hearing the introduction, and now he stared at the young man before them with disbelief and shock in his eyes.

"... K... Kirame-kun?" the young bodyguard whispered, as if unable to believe his eyes.




Location: Outskirts - Jiboujiki Clinic
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 15:33
Day: January 12th


“Hmmm… Do you think there’s a reason why Heaven’s Moon has nine Servants and Heaven’s Feel only has seven? Fuyuki is far better land than Tengetsu, so why add more Servants which will only use more mana?”

"There would have to be some reason," Sensei answered and nodded. "But for the life of me, I can't think of anything that'd make sense..."

Sighing in frustration, Sensei put away the stack of papers that he had been holding, as if pushing away the matter completely. It was clear that all these questions did nothing to improve his mood. Just like Mirai, he was annoyed by how many dead ends and seemingly illogical facts were involved in the whole deal with Heaven's Moon. As a ritual, not much of it made sense. And in the larger scale of things, the mysteries only deepened. It was like some sort of logical puzzle with no real answer, at least in direct sight.

With a huff, Sensei brought another cigarette to his lips, and was about to light it, when...


“You know, Sensei… You’re a really nice person deep down, aren’t you? You just cover it up with your gruff attitude and your smoking and all.”

"Wha--!"

With a grunt of surprise devolving into a fit of hacking cough, Sensei nearly swallowed his cigarette out of surprise. He coughed for a moment, hitting his chest with his fist in order to calm it down. When he could, he shot an occasional glare at Mirai, as if the whole thing had been her fault. As it mostly was. Eventually, Sensei managed to calm down enough to continue what he was doing. Grumbling, he lit his cigarette and turned his back to the girl while wearing a sullen face.

"Unbelievable... I'm helping your bopped head only because that old fart once helped me out...!" Sensei grumbled. "Don't go jumping to conclusions, you shrimp. This ain't a charity or anything like that! If you think I won't throw your ass out in the snow just because you're my niece, you've got another thing coming. Idiotic, good for nothing..."

The litany of annoyed murmuring continued, but it could not hide the slight pink flush on Sensei's cheeks.




http://i.imgur.com/YIDCDhY.jpg

Location: Yamaichi Shrine
Phase Day 3/3
Time: 18:46
Day: January 12th

After that long walk, they had finally reached it. (http://tindeck.com/listen/sirue)Yamaichi Shrine. The building that proudly stood at the slopes of Mt. Tenkiri, gazing over all of Tengetsu City like some sort of ancient guardian. At this height, it was higher than any of the buildings down on the city, and thus, the view from the plateau was breath-taking. Mt. Tenkiri, of course, continued ever upwards, eventually making way for the crater lake that awaited at the top. However, looking at any other direction, one could see the island of Tengetsu stretching out before them until it gave way to the sea that seemed to continued for all eternity. Somewhere out there was the main land of Japan, but even up here, one could not see it.

Instead, one had to gaze upon the ancient temple that had, most likely, withstood more winters than any other building in Tengetsu. Outwards it looked silent, almost empty, despite its large size. However, it also had a type of hallow tranquility that surrounded it that made people instantly straighten their backs. Despite not reaching for the skies, the sight of the shrine was still compelling, as if it had towered upon anyone who approached the building.

For just about anyone approaching the place, the first time was always an experience.

"Here we are," Izumi finally said, gesturing Kiyoko towards the shrine. "... Supervisor waits inside."

Her words clearly indicated that she had done her part, and that the girl should proceed alone.


Later That Day... (19:39)


After the rather uneventful journey up the path leading to the shrine, Xander and Izumi finally arrived to the plateau. Sun was almost below the horizon, and the last golden rays were giving a way to the darkness of the night. Still, Izumi simply nodded the boy towards the main building of the shrine, as if sending him on his way. She clearly had no intention of following him further, and judging from how she had been waiting for him down below, she would most likely head back to the torii.

"Unless you need... something," Izumi said with her quiet voice. "My work... is done. Supervisor awaits inside."





Location: Park District - Gongujoudo
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 14:49
Day: January 12th


"As for the reservations, apparently the police department took care of things, was real decent of them to set me up here, looks real nice. I really need to kick back once in a while, get off the plane barely an hour ago and already back at work. I'd really appreciate it if I could at least set my stuff down, it's never a good thing to keep people like Heads of Police waiting very long, and I'd rather not have my head bitten off this early into our working relationship."

A light-bulb seemed to light up above the owner's head, and she smiled lazily.

"Ah, you're Meiji-kun's reservation, right? He told me some foreign hunk would stop by," she said and chuckled again. She turned around, peering a the multiple hooks on the wall behind her with keys hanging from them. "In that case it's all worked out, yeah. See, I happen to know Meiji-kun from the waaaay back, when he was naught but a mischievous teenager trying to peep into the women's bath. Can't remember how many times I had to drive him away with a broom. He was like a tom cat, huhuhu~"

After a moment of searching, the owner finally spotted the right key, and fished it out of the hook. She handed it over to York with a smile, before sliding a paper in front of him. It quickly turned out that it was simply the receipt that he had, indeed, received the room as agreed to.

"Sign that, and the room is yours," the owner said. "You know how those boys at the police station are with paperwork, after all."




Location: Old Town - Shushin Koushi
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 15:18
Day: January 12th


"Do you know if Yomi was involved in any particular activity here in the island...?"

"Well, I am not sure about her hobbies and the like. She turned rather reclusive during the years before her disappearance," Otsue said and frowned at the thin air before hair. "But I do remember she attended Sayoshigure High School. That's at the northern part of the city. There still might be a teacher or an old friend from that time period that remembers her."


"Which day was this...? The day Yomi went missing."

Otsue tapped her chin, thinking back to the day that they had talked about.

"If I am not completely mistaken, it was 22nd of November. At least that was the day the shooting happened at the Fujimura estate. I am not completely sure if she did not disappear before that, as I wouldn't have heard from it until it had already happened. From what I gather, at that time, there weren't many people who were in contact with the girl," Otsue explained, looking a bit grim. "If I had to throw a guess, however, I'd say she disappeared during that week."


"The four other girls... Do you know who they are...? Do you recall any of their names...?"

"Not much of the information was made public because of the situations, and what I know is only hearsay, but..." Otsue took a drag from her pipe and blew out a cloud of smoke. "There was one servant of the previous mayor. Another was an orphan girl living at the Yamaichi Shrine, apparently. The third one I don't know much about, other than that she used to work as a helper in the museum. And the final one... was, from what I heard, a relatively important member of the Fujimura family itself."

Otsue tapped away the ash in her pipe to a small little cup waiting at her side.

"However, do not mistake what I said. It was not as if all these girls disappeared simultaneously. It was during the same time-frame, yes, but not within the same day. I'd say the disappearances happened over the course of few weeks," she added.



Location: Cross & Grace
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 14:52
Day: January 12th


"Anna Bernhart!"

For a moment, Rain Fereshgical looked somewhat surprised, as if the name had rung a bell somewhere within his head. Then, with a slightly arched eyebrow, he spoke up.

"Bernhart? Are you famous or something? I'm sure I've heard that name somewhere before, young lady..." he said and grinned cheerfully.


"It's just as grand as I remember! And all fixed up, too - I can't seem to find any of the dents from before... unless they're on the other side. Well, I guess it doesn't matter. A few scratches wouldn't keep this hulk down!"

Hearing those words was like somebody had lit up a match inside Rain. He suddenly clasped his hands together in realization, before laughing loudly and patting Anna on the shoulder with quite the force. It was the look of a man who had put together two and two and, strangely enough, gotten "Four" as an answer. In other words, he finally connected all the dots in his head, and realized why the girl before him seemed so familiar.

"Oh, right, Bernhart!" Rain exclaimed happily. "You were with us that night, right? Man, it's been some time. Good to see you're still alive and kicking. Lord knows our job ain't always the easiest, eh? Eh?"

He chuckled and nudged the girl playfully with his elbow.


"I would like to speak with the Bishop. Is he onboard? It's quite important. Please lead the way if you don't mind, Rain. Is it okay if I call you 'Rain'?"

"Sure! Everyone else calls me that, so go ahead. Though only if I can call you 'Anna'," Rain said and wiggled his eyebrows. However, afterwards, his expression faltered a bit. "And... unfortunately, Bishop ain't on the ship at the moment. He's checking out what I was talking before. You know, the whole deal with Father Benedict. I dunno if you happened to read today's papers but... well, let's just say it hasn't been a good week for any of us. We're currently trying to deal with the aftermath, and it's keeping poor Bishop busy."

Katie
February 17th, 2015, 11:58 PM
Shimamura Mirai
Location: Outskirts - Jiboujiki Clinic
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 15:33
Day: January 12th


"Unbelievable... I'm helping your bopped head only because that old fart once helped me out...!" Sensei grumbled. "Don't go jumping to conclusions, you shrimp. This ain't a charity or anything like that! If you think I won't throw your ass out in the snow just because you're my niece, you've got another thing coming. Idiotic, good for nothing..."

I laugh and try to stifle the wide grin on my face. Sensei sure has some bark. I mean, no doubt he’d probably treat me like he did earlier if I weren’t family, but I think he really is a nice person all around. A doctor that doesn’t want to help anyone definitely can’t hold a job. Even Papa and Nii-san have an earnest desire to help people… even if they don’t care about who it is or what they’ll do to accomplish it. I’m just a bit more restrained, that’s all.

But with the end of the mystery, there’s not much for me to do here now. I just have a few more simple questions, and that’s all I need to do. Then I’m off to summon my Servant.

“Thanks for the help, Sensei, I really appreciate it.” It’s an earnest expression of gratitude, and I would hug him or something, but I get the feeling me might kick me and I’ll smell like cigarettes for the rest of the day. “If you don’t mind me asking, do you know who runs the hospital in town? I might wanna work part time. A cover up job, I guess. And your number, if cell phones still work during the blizzard. I can update you if I find any clues.”

Well, that’s not exactly true. Sensei’s clinic looks barebones as is—if I want to get some of the good stuff, I need to be in that hospital. There’s definitely going to be a stockpile of supplies due to the incoming blizzard. Any hospital would hoard to their heart’s content if something like that happened every year.

“Oh, and do you know of a relatively good leyline close by? I… Well, you know what I want to do.”

I just need a good spot. The rest, I can take care of. And then I’ll be all set.

Kuroyuki
February 18th, 2015, 12:05 AM
Kiyoko Miyamoto
Location: Yamaichi Shrine
Phase Day 3/3
Time: 18:46
Day: January 12th


"Here we are.... Supervisor waits inside."

Izumi-chan made a gesture indicating that she wasn't going to go further into the shrine. It isn't right that she has to stay outside during this cold storm! As much as she denies it, I think she would have gotten frostbite. Even if Sourokurou-san can heal it up afterwards, isn't that a little mean to stick her outside like that!

"Wait Izumi-chan! Before I go have these dango! I know it isn't anything like baumkuchen, but I'm sure you'll like it."

I originally got these for Sen-chan, but if she isn't there then I'm sure Sen-chan won't mind me giving them to Izumi-chan. I handed them to her and rejected any attempts of hers to return it.

"One more thing before I go, Izumi-chan. Can you promise me that you'll go inside if you get cold? I promise that I'll try to convince Sourokurou-san to at least have you greet everyone inside."

Spinach
February 18th, 2015, 01:08 AM
Ryougi Kirame
Location: Senketsurinri Villa
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 16:06
Day: January 12th

"I understand. Duty before personal vices, as they say. In that case, I will gladly cross my sword with yours when the appropriate time comes, if that is what you desire. Turning such an earnest desire down would be rude of me."

The outsider smiled at the samurai’s generosity. Rare in these times would one be so willing to accept such a challenge, and few were the times Kirame had fought with such an agreeable man. He spoke of honoring the old times in his choice of dress, and it would appear that Munechika was a man of his word.

“I’ll be waiting for that time then.” Answered Kirame as Munechika led him inside.

Following Munechika into the entrance hall Kirame paused for a moment at the sight of the shrine separated from the rest of the entrance by a barrier of glass. Such sights weren’t uncommon in the residence of rich, older families. There were similar shrines owned by his own family, and he had always liked them. Shrines honoring the family’s ancestors, revering the family’s past, to see them was to see his own ideals given form.

Of course some families that wished to appear aged and prestigious would simply outfit their mansions with shrines of their own. Hollow eyesores devoid of meaning or purpose, meant only to bloat the ego of the family’s master. From the atmosphere of Senketsurinri Villa, the feeling as though simply by being here one had traveled back in time, to the composure of the man serving the lord of the home, Kirame didn’t doubt the shrine here was genuine in its purpose.

Giving the shrine his silent regards Kirame followed after Munechika once again as the samurai led him through the halls. The Ryougi for his part paid as much attention to the winding pathways of the manor, trying to memorize what he could, in case he was to visit once more during his stay. Likely such efforts were for naught, as the design of the manor would have failed in its purpose if a man could memorize the layout in a single visit.

Arriving at a notable set of doors that stood out compared to the others so far, Kirame stood and silently waited as Munechika announced his arrival to the ones waiting beyond the doors.

"Oh? Munechika, is that you? What is it?"

"Kameyama-dono. I have brought a guest for you."

"Really? Oh, sure, come on in, come on in! No need to stand dazing out there in the hallway!"

Kirame met the eye of the man resting beyond the doors straight on. Wearing an eye patch and with a sword in hand, Kirame naturally answered such a sight with a smile of his own, one that matched the mayor’s own friendliness, which might in fact be an infectious case. A feeling of openness seemed to radiate off the older man. Despite greeting the Ryougi with sword in hand the sight of the mayor, combined with the crystal blue pond at his back, made Kirame feel at ease. All of the anxiousness he had over the idea of formally introducing himself vanished in the mayor’s presence.

“Looks like everyone carries a sword around these parts.” Kirame paid no mind to the idea that he was speaking out of line, before even naming himself or being introduced by his guide. It was rare that he felt so natural in such an environment, but being greeted by men carrying swords brought a pleasant sense of belonging to him. Ever since he had passed through the gates that separates Senketsurinri Villa from the rest of Tengetsu he had felt at ease, and being greeted in such a way only made him feel even more at ease.

The smile began to fade as Kirame turned his attention to the other one in the room, dressed more western-style and seeming close to the Ryougi in age. With the tea set in his hands and his more western dress he almost appeared like a butler or some other form of servant rather than a bodyguard. Most notably though was the look in his eyes as he regarded the Ryougi. A silent greeting that Kirame reciprocated, the smile on his face losing its warmth as he answered the second bodyguard’s cold stare with his own.

"Kameyama-dono, allow me to introduce Ryougi Kirame. A man who wishes to speak with you about a matter of some importance."

"-----------!"

"... K... Kirame-kun?"

A short fumble with the tea accessories in his hands tore apart the brewing atmosphere between the two. The challenging glare Kirame had sent the bodyguard simply turned to one of confusion at the guard’s reaction to him. He acted as if he knew the outsider from somewhere, even repeating Kirame’s name.

“Do you know me from somewhere, tea-guard?” An idea that was possible. He had been traveling for quite some years now. He didn’t remember ever meeting the man, but certainly seeing him now and thinking about it, he didn’t seem like a complete stranger to Kirame’s eyes. “I don’t think we’ve met before."

Raising his hand to his head Kirame scratched his scalp, pondering.

Dranes
February 18th, 2015, 03:18 AM
Kirisaki Homura
Location: Sayoshigure High School – Class 2-B
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 14:05
Day: January 12th

Ah, there they go again...I'm not sure what's more surprising, the fact that Kichiro is still conscious or that the desk didn't break under that chop. That last attack however didn't come without a consequence, the loud crashed rung through the classroom, silencing the class for a moment. A few of the students glanced to us, others just snickered silently like this was some sort of comedy...not far off the mark really.

It also got Fukui-sensei's attention.

Great start to my first day!

While I was ready to be yelled at for disturbing the class but that never came.

Damn, she's fast.

In no time, Kato had erased any evidence that would make it seem like she made the noise, the only telltale sign was the floored Kichiro and nobody seemed to care enough about the guy. If I looked hard enough I swear I could see his spirit going up to heaven now, maybe that run in earlier let me see ghosts or something? Of course not, that's just plain crazy and regardless he's still breathing, I'm not sure how but he is.

"You see what I have to take every day? This girl's crazy!"

"Oh, shut it, you worthless bum. Don't instill your delusions on the transfer student."

While they whisper, I can only give a low nervous chuckle, if by the low chance I was sent here to be some sort of peacekeeper I doubt I'll be doing a good job. Well at least it wasn't going to get boring around here anytime soon.

"Don't worry about that," I could make a sound enough judgment already about both of these two, "Is there anything I should know as the new guy here?"

Maybe this change of subject will calm them down.

Or maybe I've just made it worse now.

Verg Avesta
February 18th, 2015, 07:13 AM
Location: Outskirts - Jiboujiki Clinic
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 15:35
Day: January 12th


“Thanks for the help, Sensei, I really appreciate it. If you don’t mind me asking, do you know who runs the hospital in town? I might wanna work part time. A cover up job, I guess. And your number, if cell phones still work during the blizzard. I can update you if I find any clues.”

"Ugh. Just try to keep your wits about you. We already had one unnatural death this week," Sensei grumbled, still refusing to look Mirai in the eyes. However, before continuing, his face turned oddly stiff, as if the girl's question had somehow made him think of unpleasant things. "The head of Tengetsu's hospital... that's Tsukuda Setsuko. An annoying little twerp who recently got promoted."

Having said that, Sensei took a little time to snatch a post-it note from the desk and wrote quickly down his number, before handing it over to Mirai. Or rather, shoving it in her hands. It seemed that his foul mood was quickly returning.


“Oh, and do you know of a relatively good leyline close by? I… Well, you know what I want to do.”

For a moment, Sensei stayed silent, letting his cigarette burn on his lips without touching it.

"... The graveyard's southern edge, just few kilometers from here, is well-suited area. It's somewhat unguarded, though, so be careful."

[Basic History of Heaven's Moon]
The basic history of the Holy Grail War ritual held on Tengetsu, as gathered by Sensei. While it does not go to specifics, it still contains the most relevant information and can be used for further deductions.



Location: Yamaichi Shrine
Phase Day 3/3
Time: 18:48
Day: January 12th

"One more thing before I go, Izumi-chan. Can you promise me that you'll go inside if you get cold? I promise that I'll try to convince Sourokurou-san to at least have you greet everyone inside."Izumi stared at the dango in her hands for a good few seconds in complete silence. Then, slowly, she let her fingers find the edge of the small paper bag they were in, before opening the bag and fishing one stick of dango out. Gently, she brought it to her lips, before snatching one of the sweet spheres into her small mouth. Then, while munching on the said sweet, she turned to look into Kiyoko's general direction.

"Not easy. To get cold," she bluntly answered, as if rejecting the older girl's advice.

However, after another bout of silence...

"... But okay."

And having said that, she began walking back to the stairs that led down to the path.




Location: Senketsurinri Villa
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 16:08
Day: January 12th


“Do you know me from somewhere, tea-guard?”

The younger bodyguard looked at Kirame as if his words had been a slap to his face. He put down the tea-set he was carrying, his whole body visible shaking as he was trying to suppress something. Judging by how the corners of his eyes had tightened, it was most likely an emotional outburst of some sort. The silence as the two of them stared at each other grew uncomfortably long. Both Munechika and the mayor quietly looked from the bodyguard to Kirame, and back again, clearly dreading what might have been coming next.

... The result was a tea-cup thrown surprisingly weakly at Kirame's chest, which it hit before dropping to the floor and breaking loudly.

"I-idiot!" cried out the bodyguard.

Then, before any of the men could stop him, he jumped down to the snowy garden and rushed away, looking like he was about to burst into tears. Only few seconds, and he was completely out of sight. Munechika looked after the receding back of his comrade, and scratched his chin with a troubled smile on his lips.

"Well... I suppose that was natural," he said, before glancing at Kirame. "The... situation being what it is, it seems."

Then, the samurai turned to look at the mayor.

"Kameyama-dono, if you'll allow it, I'll see that Sayokuni calms down", he said. His lord nodded with a stern look, urging him to go after the other bodyguard.

"Sure. Me and Ryougi-kun here can handle ourselves."

Thus, the mayor and Kirame were left alone in the garden room, with a somewhat awkward silence still lingering between them. Munechika slowly but surely walked after this "Sayokuni", his steps taking him out of view quite quickly. What was left behind was just two men and a broken tea cup, which the mayor eyed quite sadly.

"Aah~", he grunted, scratching his head. "I really liked that tea cup..."

Having said that, Taruhito looked at Kirame, and gestured him to sit down where the shards weren't.

"Well, let's not let that bother us. Sayokuni is still rather young, after all," he said, looking a bit apologetic. "Why don't you sit down, Ryougi-kun, and tell me what brings you to my humble island?"




Location: Sayoshigure High School – Class 2-B
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 14:07
Day: January 12th


"Don't worry about that. Is there anything I should know as the new guy here?"

"Yeah. That this guy's the worst," the red-head called Kato whispered. Then, flashing a bright grin at Kirisaki, she continued. "And that my name's Kato. Kato Kairi. Nice to meet you, umm... Homura-kun, was it?"

"Watch out. She likes to act all innocent with the people who don't know her," Kichiro grunted, having recovered once more. From what it seemed, he had amazing tenacity, at the very least. "In truth, she's the most violent thing on Tengetsu aside from the Great Blizzard."

"Oh, shut up!" Kairi retorted, looking angry. "You're ruining my maidenly image in front of the transfer student!"

"Maidenly image? You ever had one?" Kichiro asked with a wicked grin.

Kairi answered with what could be only described as an animal-like growl, baring teeth and all.

"Ugh, you're even more fearsome than usual," Kichiro said, looking at the reaction. "Don't tell my you have 'that time of the month' again? Better keep your distance, Homura-kun, we're with a wild beast here."

"Okay, I take it back. You're not the worst. You're utterly despicable to the point you should just be tied to a heavy object and dropped to the ocean. That way we could regain some dignity as a class," Kairi answered, leaning back in her chair as if recoiling in disgust.
While it was clear that these two were hurling some rather heavy insults at each other, the odd thing was that there was no real edge to it. Or rather, no matter how horrible things the two of them said, it was as if they had no deeper meaning. It was almost like other people had small-talk when there was nothing else to talk about. But when it came to Kairi and Kichiro, they simply tried to out-insult each other.

"Aren't you a little more snappy than usual?" Kichiro asked, arching an eyebrow at the red-head. "It's not like you to reveal your true colors in front of someone new... at least this quickly."

"Blame it on me being stuck here. If I got to choose, I'd have skipped these last few lessons already," Kairi commented, sighing in annoyance. "Not only do I have to stay inside the whole night, I also have to head straight home from school. It's ridiculous."

"Aah, right, right," Kichiro said, hitting his hand softly with his fist. "There was that freakish murder in that church near you, wasn't there? What was that all about? Was it some serial killing or something?"

"It's just one victim, so it can't be called a serial killing," Kairi answered. "Still, the local priest was cut up like a Christmas turkey, and all sorts of weird messages were left with his blood... or so they say. Ritual murder or something like that. I dunno, though. The police is not letting much information out, but I hear the local nun had seen the whole thing when she went to open the doors that morning. They say she... aaaaaand we're probably freaking you out, right, Homura-kun?"

Kairi grimaced and looked apologetically into Kirisaki's direction.

"This probably isn't what you wanna hear just after moving here, right? I mean, murders are a pretty nasty subject."

Spinach
February 18th, 2015, 07:44 AM
Ryougi Kirame
Location: Senketsurinri Villa
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 16:09
Day: January 12th

"Well, let's not let that bother us. Sayokuni is still rather young, after all. Why don't you sit down, Ryougi-kun, and tell me what brings you to my humble island?"

“A-ah, right…” Still confused over the sudden outburst of the bodyguard Kirame answered the mayor. With his eyes glued to the outside garden the Ryougi moved to seat himself where Kaneyama had gestured at.

Lowering himself to the floor Kirame sat down, his right leg folded like if he were to sit cross-legged, with his left leg stretched forward with its foot planted on the floor. With his right arm at his side Kirame brought his left up, resting it over his raised left knee.

“Uh, sorry about your teacup.” He sheepishly offered his condolences as he looked down at his chest where the cup had modestly struck him. “I’m not sure what that was about… but I guess it was my fault. Somehow.”

Still looking quite puzzled at the events that had transpired Kirame offered a questioning apology.

“Munechika seems to be taking care of it, but somehow I feel as though I should be the one in his place.” Saying so, Kirame leaned a little bit to look further out into the garden, trying to see where the trail of footsteps disappeared to.

Scratching his head, Kirame sighed.

“Tch,” giving up on the mystery of the one called Sayokuni, Kirame returned to the business at hand. He could apologize (?) another time, once this matter is resolved. “I guess I’ll try to save us some time.”

Much like he had before with Munechika the Ryougi pulled back the sleeve of his left arm, revealing the three red marks on his skin to the mayor.

“Do you understand the meaning of these brands?” Kirame asked, returning to his more composed mindset. “They’re the reason I’ve come to Tengetsu, as well as why I’m here to meet you.”

hero
February 18th, 2015, 08:49 AM
Azama Tae
Location: Old Town - Shushin Koushi
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 15:18
Day: January 12th


"I understand."

After speaking some more and clearing some misunderstandings, I've got all the information I need to start digging for clues. If I had a team, I could probably cover much more possibilities at once, but being alone and used to working solo when it comes to this specific matter, I'll have to tackle one lead at a time. With the date, the school and the four girls who disappeared... I've got plenty to keep myself busy for a couple of days at the very least. Yes, it's unlikely that I'll reach the answer I seek any time soon. But for this task I've got all the time in the world, and I am not going to let anyone take that time away from me.

"That should do for now, please contact me if you find anything that could possibly help me in my search."

We've already talked on the phone once, and I know where to find her. If I stumble upon a dead end, I know who I'll come here to visit. Now that I've collected the leads I needed, I am afraid it's time for me to leave. Besides this investigation, I need to keep up with a certain war. If I allow myself to fall behind there, things might get ugly. Granted, I could probably ask Otsue-san to help me with this as well, but I don't want to see her get too involved in my own business, for her own sake, so I'll keep my participation in the war a secret for now.

"And thank you. I've found more hope here than I expected to."

I bow my head, showing sincere respect.

I was a little cautious around the owner of the brothel at first, but now I feel the weight of a debt I must repay in some way or form. From the very beginning, this information wasn't supposed to come for free so, before I head out, I'd like to hear what this person wants from me in compensation.

"What would you like for me to do in return...?"

Antary
February 18th, 2015, 09:00 AM
Anna Bernhart
Location: Cross & Grace
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 14:53
Day: January 12th

"Haha, I don't remember this guy at all!" Anna thought, enduring the onslaught of Rain's backpats and elbow nudges with a friendly smile.


"And... unfortunately, Bishop ain't on the ship at the moment. He's checking out what I was talking before. You know, the whole deal with Father Benedict. I dunno if you happened to read today's papers but... well, let's just say it hasn't been a good week for any of us. We're currently trying to deal with the aftermath, and it's keeping poor Bishop busy."

She looked at Rain with some concern. "Ah, really, he's not here? That's a shame. I remember reading about the incident, now that you mention it, but it wasn't much to go on," Anna hid her gloved hands under her sleeves, feeling them getting a little too cold for comfort. "Though, Rain, what's going on here? What happened to Father Benedict?" She briefly paused, looking away, and her eyes widened a bit, as if she came upon a realization of her own. "I'm not really here for work, but I'll be staying in Tengetsu; not even far from the pier. If you ever need my help, Lord knows I'll be happy to."

She smiled again. It was a polite and firm smile, one with which she tried to paint herself as a reliable, responsible person. Her almost childish features were causing a bit of a contrast, though.

"Well, Bishop or no, I would still like to greet the rest of the team. But if everyone's too busy for me, I guess I'll have to visit another time..." She frowned, her expression gradually turning into an over-exaggerated pout. The girl then exhaled, breaking out into a short chuckle, as if to say 'I'm kidding'.

I3uster
February 18th, 2015, 11:49 AM
Mister Delacroix
Location: Old Town - Vollmond Theater
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 19:17
Day: January 12th

"Ah, yes. I've been informed about the incident." said the vampire, wiping the few crumbs he had in his face off in the tissue that the familiar had so carefully brought.

"I'll be frank with you, Mister Loch. This is pure insanity. The most I meddle with the Church is tapping them for information then doing my best to run in the other direction." He leaned forward, resting his elbows on the table and resting his head on top off his hands. "If this were any other situation, I would have started laughing now, and I wouldn't have stopped until I left your theater, went through the city, to the airport, and into a plane back to Miami. But..."

He grabbed one of the cookies, waving it in his hand as if it were the baton of a conductor, hoping that Loch would follow his tempo.

"...but. This is not any other situation. I have already chosen to involve myself in lunacy, a upping the quotient a bit will not hurt. However, before we proceed, I have to make conditions regardless of any of your compensation. Four is the number."

Raising the finger of his cookie free hand to count the man continued on in a monotone, staring into the distance as if racking his brains.

"One. Everything you know, I know too. The moment the slightest change occurs in the unseen climate of this island, you give me a call, or send a messenger, or whatever else is possible at the moment. To intrude on the Church's affairs means I am out-gunned and outnumbered, so I have to make up in the intelligence department. And of course any information regarding the ritual also significantly improves my survival chances. I understand that there might be reservations regarding more sensible information but I'd imagine it'd be significantly better for you to tie up a loose end after an accomplished mission than it is to compromise an ongoing one and be left with nothing but a crew of habit wearers asking themselves why a vampire suddenly took so much interest in them." Pausing for a second the man looked Loch into his eyes. "You can make good on this one by telling me if you have any concrete plans regarding our friends."

Another finger.

"Two. I want control over your assets. Don't get me wrong, Mister Loch, I know that there are business you have to attend to, and that your disguise here should not be compromised. But anytime your precious little friend here is free to do a favor, or any other contacts you have, you will notify me. By my very nature I attract suspicion by the Church so any additional asset involved in this little game that is not of our kin or associated with us will allow me to work angles that would otherwise be impossible. You fear being tracked back so I will be careful, but to not have this option will spell death."

Third finger.

"Three. I want you to notify me of choice targets for personal use in this war. Bums, jobless teens locked up in their homes, whores, elderly, jetting businessmen, I could not care less. People that can disappear for a week without raising eyebrows. I know you must have some kind of source. Any of our kin has one. So let us talk sources."

Fourth finger

"And finally..."

The smile finally returned to Delacroix's face.

"You have to send me more biscuits whenever you make them. I would never have had second thoughts about coming here had I known about these in advance."

Leftovers
February 18th, 2015, 12:09 PM
Astrid Hildebrandt
Location: Old Industrial District - Tengetsu Police Station
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 16:20
Day: January 12th

To be so energetic while dressed lightly in this kind of temperatures, the auburn-haired girl that was beckoning Astrid to come closer must truly be blessed with an inexhaustible drive; that, or extraordinary resistance to cold. When the suited woman walked up to her, the girl smiled warmly, and...


"Thank goodness. You're so late I was beginning to worry you had gotten lost. I was thinking about going out to meet you at the airport if you hadn't arrived by sunset."

...yes, definitely indefatigable. Astrid returned the smile with an apologetic tinge, one hand raised as if to admit a mistake.

"Oh, sorry, sorry. I wanted to make a stop at my lodging to leave my luggage, but the whole thing took longer than I thought it would. However you see it, it was my fault, especially since I was expected; doubly so to have made you wait in this cold," she added, and as if on cue a breeze picked up, making the girl's shoulders shiver.

Ah, the injustices piled upon novices and interns never really change. It's just that some can take it better than others.

Like this girl, who looked poised to hold a conversation right on the spot, if not for Astrid's timely interjection.

"Though, this isn't the time or place to talk at all, is it? Lead the way, officer." Placing her hat back on its perch, she impelled the energetic girl to move into the building before she put the old proverb of kind words and winter months to the literal test.

Kuroyuki
February 18th, 2015, 02:16 PM
Kiyoko Miyamoto
Location: Yamaichi Shrine
Phase Day 3/3
Time: 18:48
Day: January 12th


"Not easy. To get cold. ... But okay."

And here I was worried that she was going to foolishly follow Sourokurou-san's orders even if it was detrimental to her health. Hopefully, she'll be fine with my jacket...

And after Izumi-chan left, I went inside to find Sourokuro-san.

Rafflesiac
February 18th, 2015, 03:27 PM
Xander Stone
Location: Yamaichi Shrine
Phase Day 3/3
Time: 19:39
Day: January 12th

It was enormous.

Wood. Stone. Snow. The being that stood before him was only that, and yet was much more. Just how long had that building stood there? How long had it been, for this shrine to have amassed such presence, such weight?


"Unless you need... something, my work... is done. Supervisor awaits inside."

I turn toward the girl, shaking myself free from the magnificent shrine’s hold.

“Thank you, Izumi. Take care.”

With a deep breath, I turn once more and step into the shrine.

Dranes
February 18th, 2015, 07:34 PM
Kirisaki Homura
Location: Sayoshigure High School – Class 2-B
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 14:07
Day: January 12th

Before I can even answer her the next round had begun, I looked between Kichiro and Kato as they begin trading blows again but not before Kichiro nearly got me into it, though just as quickly as it had begun the two calmed down again. As bad as these two got it didn't seem like either of them really took the other too seriously, it seemed more like it was habit for these two to act like they hated one another and yet in the next moment talk as if nothing happened.

It sort of reminded me of an old couple.

...

I'm going to keep that to myself. Kato would kill me if I said that out loud.

Right, what were we talking about now? Kichiro mentioned something about a strange murder.

"It's just one victim, so it can't be called a serial killing. Still, the local priest was cut up like a Christmas turkey, and all sorts of weird messages were left with his blood... or so they say. Ritual murder or something like that. I dunno, though. The police is not letting much information out, but I hear the local nun had seen the whole thing when she went to open the doors that morning. They say she... aaaaaand we're probably freaking you out, right, Homura-kun?"

She stopped for a moment before looking to me. I mean it wasn't the cheeriest topic but it's not really that weird...or Fuyuki has just desensitized me to weird stories by now. Random murders, gas explosions and other weird stuff just kept happening in that one month, there was even talk about an entire student body getting hit by well...nobody has really figured that one out yet either, it seemed they all fainted apparently.

"This probably isn't what you wanna hear just after moving here, right? I mean, murders are a pretty nasty subject."

"Eh, I was going to hear about it sooner or later."

I give a light shrug to it. Am I scared of it though? Well the idea of a crazy guy stalking the dead of night and jumping people...well, yeah that's actually pretty damn scary considering we're also on a frozen island that's about to be hit by a snowstorm.

But I'd rather know about it then.

"Back home in Fuyuki, some really weird stuff happened too. It'll take a bit more then that to get to me so don't worry about it."

I give 'em both a confident grin, I'm not going to let the conversation switch that easily (most likely to more fighting) and I'm not about to act scared over just another story.

Verg Avesta
February 19th, 2015, 01:57 AM
Location: Senketsurinri Villa
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 16:11
Day: January 12th


“Do you understand the meaning of these brands? They’re the reason I’ve come to Tengetsu, as well as why I’m here to meet you.”

For a moment, Yamahito froze up at the sight of the red brands glowing in Kirame's skin. (http://tindeck.com/listen/tlrag) His single eye seemed to be studying the markings very carefully, as if to ascertain him of their authenticity. Finally, he let out a soft sigh, rubbing his neck with his free hand. It was clear that whatever he had expected Kirame to come discuss with him, this was not it. In fact, his previously open and friendly expression had changed into a rather troubled one.

"Yeah... I think I have a pretty good guess what those are, even if I haven't seen them before," Taruhito finally said. "I got a letter from the head priestess of Yamaichi Shrine about how a certain ritual would begin this month. I suppose the time has come at last..."

Glancing at the garden outside, the walls on the other end, and the city beyond it, Yamahito frowned to the scenery. He was not showing hostility towards Kirame himself, but it was clear that he did not like this development in the conversation. And as he opened his mouth again, the reason for it became very apparent.

"As a mayor of this island, it falls upon me to ensure that its citizen are always safe. If I had personal choice in the matter, I would have never let something like this occur under my watch... but apparently, things are out of my control. It's not like I can demand anyone to stop this thing... it's like asking the Great Blizzard to stop," he said, sounding rather tired. "There's just no arguing with natural phenomena that have no discernible reason."

The single, steel-like eye turned to look at Kirame once again.

"And I do not fault you for partaking in it. The call of the ritual, from what I understand, cannot be resisted," he said. "But you must understand that as a mayor... I cannot condone something that puts my citizen in danger like this."



Location: Old Town - Shushin Koushi
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 15:25
Day: January 12th


"What would you like for me to do in return...?"

For a moment, silence reigned in the room. Otsue stared at Tae with unreadable expression, her pipe letting out a thin trail of smoke that eventually headed out towards the slightly ajar window. The weight of the younger girl's question was almost palpable, and for a good reason. The information she had requested was not something to be taken lightly. It contained subjects that might have taken days to dig out from the general populace of Tengetsu, but thanks to the brothel owner, it all had been practically gift-wrapped for Tae.

Therefore, it was no surprise that Otsue took her time to answer. Whatever she had had in mind before the younger girl's arrival was most likely being reconsidered at the moment. For someone like Otsue, information was her greatest ace in the hole, a way that even a single woman like her could rise to an influential position on an island like this.

Which was why Otsue's eventual answer might have been more surprising that anything else.

"Nothing right now," (http://tindeck.com/listen/jfrij) Otsue said gently, and for a moment, her expression melted into a warm smile. "I'll charge you for further questions you have, but... think of this as a 'Welcome Back' present, Tae-kun."

The older woman chuckled to herself, and took a drag out of her pipe.

"But if I had to name a price, then... let's see..." she pretended to ponder for a moment. "I guess the price was seeing that you were still healthy and fine after all these years. That was enough for now."

[Otsue's Information]
Otsue's information regarding the disappearance of a girl named Yomi, as well as the events possibly connected with it. Can be used to deduction of further Clues.





Location: Cross & Grace
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 14:55
Day: January 12th


"Though, Rain, what's going on here? What happened to Father Benedict? I'm not really here for work, but I'll be staying in Tengetsu; not even far from the pier. If you ever need my help, Lord knows I'll be happy to."

For a moment, Rain looked a little troubled, as if Anna had asked about something he didn't want to go into too much detail about.

"Well... If you didn't read today's paper, then I guess I should explain it to you," he said. "You see, the local priest, one Father Benedict, was murdered two days ago. Nasty business. Bishop's taking care of the investigation from our side, but it doesn't help that the local police are sticking their noses into the event. Whatever went down in that church wasn't natural, let me tell you that. So suffice to say, it'd be easier for everyone if they just left the investigation for us."


"Well, Bishop or no, I would still like to greet the rest of the team. But if everyone's too busy for me, I guess I'll have to visit another time..."

Rain grinned at the question, nodding energetically. (http://tindeck.com/listen/hffiv)

"Well, most of the crew is busy with preparing the ship for the Great Blizzard, but I think I can get some of the fools to come down here..." he said, before turning around to face the ship. "Hey, numskulls! We've got a visitor! Get your asses down here!"

Most of the people on the deck seemed to try to ignore Rain's enthusiastic yell, but couple of heads turned at the call. These two, rather different, people headed down the same way Rain had, using the stairs at the side of the ship. It only took them a couple of minutes to get to the pier, where they headed straight to where Anna and widely-grinning Rain were waiting.

The first to arrive was another man, slightly older than Rain from the looks of it. He had a serious face and blue hair, and was dressed rather formally, as opposed to the usual religious vestments that their kind donned. After him came a brightly-smiling young girl with bubblegum-pink hair, decked out in the unique uniform belonging to the Cross & Grace crew. She seemed to be absolutely bursting with energy, barely able to contain herself.

"Guys, this is Anna Bernhart. Dunno if you remember, but she was part of the forces that came to help us during that one mission few years ago," Rain began introductions. "And Anna, this boring gentleman here is Muire Gullivan, and the girl who looks like she's about to gobble you up is Chelsea Mackeroch."

Muire Gullivan shot an annoyed glare at Rain before walking up to Anna and offering his hand to a courteous handshake.

"Pleasure to meet you, Ann--"

His calm introduction was quickly cut off as the pink-haired girl rammed to his side, grasped Anna's hand and began shaking it up and down like a particularly excited Energizer Bunny.

"Hiyoo~! Nice to meet'cha, Anna!" Chelsea giggled, grinning like a kid on a sugar-rush.




Location: Old Town - Vollmond Theater
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 19:20
Day: January 12th


"You have to send me more biscuits whenever you make them. I would never have had second thoughts about coming here had I known about these in advance."

Matthias chuckled heartily at the last condition, spreading his hands slightly to the side as if to say "It cannot be helped." He then took a slightly more comfortable position on the chair and leaned back, putting his hands back together. He tapped his chin with his index fingers, seemingly deep in thought, before beginning to speak again.

"You drive a hard bargain, Mister Delacroix. Slaving around the stove is still quite a new experience to me," he said with dry, humorous tone, which soon turned a bit more serious. "But yes... your conditions are not out of question, considering I am asking quite a favor from you. I accept them, though I do have to notify you of some things that... are best to be taken in consideration when discussing the help I can offer you."

The black eyes of the fellow vampire turned upon Delacroix.

"Firstly, I do not mind sharing my information with you. I have one finger on the pulse of this island, so I will find out sooner or later if something strange occurs. While I do not yet have any concrete plans regarding our habit-wearing friends... indeed, you were my first plan, I do know that there is something out there that might be helpful to us, were we to find the culprit," Matthias started speaking. "I do not know if you saw today's newspaper, but few days ago, someone murdered a local priest. Of course, our friends at that blasted ship on the docks are now angrier than ever, like a beehive that's been poked with a stick. But... that murder... well, let's just say that it was ghastly business, even for someone of our... nature. Whoever did it clearly has even more hatred for clergymen than we do."

Taking a hold of his teacup, Matthias brought it to his lips, only to discover the liquid inside had become stale and lukewarm. With a tired sigh, he put it back on the table. Another Stagehand reached out from under the table, and took the cup into the shadows where it apparently disappeared.

"Second, while I do not mind giving you access to my assets, you must keep in mind that I am all but under house-arrest in this theater," he spoke. "There are... some individuals... around Tengetsu that might be of use to you as informants and the like, but it should be good to keep in mind that these days, this island is like a powder keg. Poke the wrong individual, and everything explodes. For now, your best bet would be to contact Georgie Summerstar. That person might not be the most... agreeable sort, but as you probably already know, vile people have their uses."

Linking his fingers, Matthias now stared straight at Delacroix, like they were businessmen about to seal a deal... which they pretty much were.

"As for what comes to a source you can use, I suggest either Old Industrial District or the Business District. The former has vast amount of homeless people squatting in the half-demolished old brick-and-mortar buildings, while the latter sees business-people come and go on a daily basis. One or two disappearing from their hotel rooms is not that uncommon... as long as no signs of struggle are found," Matthias explained. "Foreign District used to be a great source, too, but thanks to it falling under the influence of the Holy Church, you should steer clear of it. Oh, and one other thing... do not attack the whores and courtesans of this city. They are led by a woman whose influence should never be underestimated. You know the old proverb of "Information is power", right? Well, she... she is the epitome of this saying. If one of her workers disappears, she will know it. And she will find out who did it. And she will make them pay. We do not need any additional enemies at the moment."

Having said that, Matthias extended his hand. Another Stagehand appeared from under the table, reaching out and handing him a brand new cup of tea. As he took it, suddenly, there was an odd sense of weight on Delacroix shoulders. At some point, two Stagehands had appeared from behind his chair and took a gentle hold of him. Not in a threatening way, but like someone who wanted to make something very clear.

"And one last thing to remember..." Matthias spoke, his voice sounding unnaturally serious now. "Whatever we end up doing... there is one thing we must be clear about. We do not alert Annabelle McKlennington to anything we do. While the clergymen at the docks are a clear enemy for us, that woman... well, let us just say that she, by her very nature, is something of a natural threat to us. She might be an airhead, but... if we were to make her our enemy, or alert her to what is going on, she'd be more dangerous than any agent of Church they could send after us."

It sounded almost like a joke, coming out of Matthias' mouth. However, his eyes were not laughing one bit. He was dead serious.



Location: Old Industrial District - Tengetsu Police Station
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 16:22
Day: January 12th


"Though, this isn't the time or place to talk at all, is it? Lead the way, officer."

"Gladly!" (http://tindeck.com/listen/mafwl)

Having said that, the energetic young woman took the reins of the situation, and led Astrid inside the large concrete building where the police forces of Tengetsu had made their headquarters.


http://i.imgur.com/njChUlF.jpg

As expected, inside the police station things were quite different from the peaceful scenery outside. People running here and there, carrying files and discussing with loud voices. It seemed that the stuffy interior of the building was even more packed than usual, thanks to the clear hurry everyone was in. Whatever was happening at the moment, everyone was in the middle of something, with not even one slacking officer or an intern in sight. As the young woman led Astrid deeper into the building, she had to jump out of the way of a rushing officer every now and a then. The amber-haired girl could only laugh in slight embarrassment at the sight, and shrug her shoulders at Astrid.

"It's been a busy couple of days," she said, as if that explained everything.

Eventually the two of them arrived to the office of the police chief. Without even knocking on the door, the guide of Astrid burst in, slamming the door wide open like it was the most natural thing to do. The man sitting behind the desk nearly dropped his pipe (which he had been lighting) in a shock. He cursed under his breath, shot an annoyed glare at the young woman and continued what he was doing.

"Knock, Ms. Farfield. How many times do I have to tell you that?" he asked grumpily, but the auburn-haired girl only giggled.

"Oh, but chief. I have to make sure you are not up to any mischief in here," she said. However, judging from her expression, the creator mischief on this police station was more likely the woman herself.

The man behind the desk was in his late thirties, judging from his body, but his face was almost like that of a teenager, clean-shaved and with no visible signs of aging. It made an odd contrast to his being, to say the least. However, even odder was his attire, which could be only described as... Sherlock-like. He had everything, deerstalker and a Briar pipe included. However, instead of making him look corny, it actually fit the police chief very well.

"So, what is this about?" the chief asked, still clearly annoyed.

"Oh, I brought the second guest to meet you, chief," Ms. Farfield answered. "Ms. Hildebrandt here just arrived."

The police chief looked at Astrid for a moment in surprise, before something seemed to click inside his head, and his mouth turned into a smile.

"Ah, right. Almost did not recognize you, Ms. Hildebrandt," he said, offering his hand to a firm shake. "It's been quite a while, hasn't it?"




Location: Yamaichi Shrine
Phase Day 3/3
Time: 18:51 and 19:43
Day: January 12th

As imposing and foreboding as the Yamaichi Shrine was on the outside, it was nothing compared to the interior of the building. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3K8tne5v3o) There was barely any light, and anyone who entered was left wandering the seemingly endless empty hallways in dim darkness that was occasionally broken by a lantern or two. The layout started simple, with the entrance hall being there venerate the kami enshrined within. However, heading further than that, one had to battle with environment that was there almost as if to invite claustrophobia. It was also made confusing by the fact that sometimes the corridors seemed to lead absolutely nowhere, or end up in empty rooms that only revealed more corridors.

There was no question about it. Whatever foul play was in use, the shrine itself was much bigger on the inside than it was outside. There was no way the maze in question would have fitted within even that grand structure.

However, as one traveled further, another fact also became apparent. Despite the confusing way the interior had been built, one could always feel that they were advancing forth. Unlike a regular maze, this one was not meant to make the one trapped within exhausted and lose hope. This was more akin to a pilgrimage, a long walk and a test of strength. While the climb up to the Yamaichi Shrine had been one physically, this was more a mental challenge, most likely imposed upon prospective Masters so that the supervisor could gauge them accordingly.

And eventually, after much walking and stubbornness to push through, the one walking found him or herself outside a room where a gentle glow of a burning fire could be seen. And beyond it...


http://i.imgur.com/wjJseeu.jpg

Music. Haunting music like from the ages past, echoing in the deceivingly large chamber, coming from the shadows where one could not see. A gohei, dancing in the air to the rhythm of that music, warding of evil spirits that may have tried to interrupt the ritual happening. It was a sacred dance, there was no doubt about it. The fire burning in the large pit at the center of the chamber was a clear sign of that, as it seemed to climb up towards the ceiling to venerate something. However, there was also something gentle about it. Something that welcome the person arriving to the main chamber.

And finally, there was the priestess.

The single white priestess, beautiful like first snow of winter, who interrupted her dance the moment someone stepped into the chamber.


http://i.imgur.com/zZmjDNy.jpg

"Welcome, o' Chosen Master," the priestess said with a deep tone. Her moonlit lake-like eyes gazing at the person who had arrived. "I welcome you to Yamaichi Shrine."




Location: Sayoshigure High School – Class 2-B
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 14:07
Day: January 12th


"Back home in Fuyuki, some really weird stuff happened too. It'll take a bit more then that to get to me so don't worry about it."

"Ooh, so you're used to it, huh?" Kairi said and grinned widely. "I suppose I'll have to dig up more juicy details to get you shivering, then. Look forward to it~"

Kichiro grunted and shot a look at Kirisaki that pretty much told he had just began digging his own grave.

"Just watch out. That weirdo's a sort of maniac who has unhealthy love for all sorts of sick stuff like this," the boy warned Kirisaki. "Instead of gossiping like a normal girl, she watches all those midnight specials at serial killers and unsolved mysteries, filling her head with all sorts of garbage."

"Hey, it's not garbage!" Kairi protested. "Just because I like to tackle those cases that police are too squeamish to touch doesn't mean I---"

Kairi's words were cut off by a loud clearing of throat. As the trio looked to the source of the sound, they saw Miss Fukui glaring daggers into their direction. Kichiro hurriedly hid his face behind his text book, while Kairi looked like she wanted to sink beneath her desk and never come out.

"Aaa, crap..." the red-head whispered. "Best to save this for later, I suppose..."

Spinach
February 19th, 2015, 02:50 AM
Ryougi Kirame
Location: Senketsurinri Villa
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 16:13
Day: January 12th

“Coming to meet you was a good choice.” Rolling his sleeve back down Kirame answered the lone eye of Taruhito with a calm, relaxed tone. The mayor’s reaction to the sight of the Command Seals had taken a turn away from the openness he had before, but the response he gave was genuine and well meant, even if admonishing. “As you know, I’m here for this ritual. Though, it seems to be more of a contest between murderers than any ritual.”

At his use of the word murderers Kirame briefly smiled at the thought of what was to come.

“This will be easier if the man in charge, you,” the smile faded as Kirame addressed the mayor directly. “Are aware of what’s happening, as well as who’s involved.”

He looked past the mayor for a short moment, at the blue pond outside. At the gate, and the city beyond it, where the mayor had looked toward before.

“I received a letter along with these brands. It told me what little I know about this ritual, but that little is enough.” He recalled the words written in the letter as he spoke. ‘Nine magi,’ ‘Mocking Grail,’ as well as the name for the brands, ‘Command Spells.’ “From how it was written I think this is a ritual for magi, which makes me suspect my own eligibility to participate. Still,”

He rubbed his left arm, where his Command Spells were covered by his sleeve.

“Still, there’s no denying these brands that mark me as a Master. I don’t know much of magi or their ways, but of what I know they are heartless.” The relaxation vanished, the eyes he had cast out toward the city sharpened, as if the city beyond those walls was the very eight enemies he had come to kill. “If the victor in this contest of arms really does receive a miracle then there’s no telling what length the other Masters may go to.”

He looked back to the mayor with the same eyes he planned to show his enemies. Eyes that told no lies, eyes that only knew strife. Eyes that had seen a lot of blood.

“I’m a warrior, not a murderer, and I have my own reasons for wanting to see if this miracle is real, and will do what I must. However,” Kirame didn’t bat an eye as he plainly admitted his intent to eliminate the other Masters for his own sake. He simply met the eyes of the mayor, speaking calmly in a straight tone. “My business here is only with those Masters, and I will do what I can to make sure the people of Tengetsu are not troubled or harmed by my battles.”

Kuroyuki
February 19th, 2015, 02:58 AM
Kiyoko Miyamoto
Location: Yamaichi Shrine
Phase Day 3/3
Time: 18:51
Day: January 12th

I walked the familiar hallways of the Yamaichi Shrine. The randomly ending hallways and the rooms that led into more rooms. Walking these hallways made me a little reminiscent of my time here, like those times Sen-chan and our friends tried to play hide and seek here. Memorization of the shrine was the difference between sneaking away from the seeker and running into a dead end. I think we eventually stopped once we learned that Sourokurou-san disapproved of us playing in here.

And eventually, I reached the end of the shrine to find Sourokurou-san doing an unfamiliar kagura dance. However, she stopped once she noticed that I entered the room.


"Welcome, o' Chosen Master. I welcome you to Yamaichi Shrine."

"I've returned Sourokurou-san. It's been ten years since I've last seen you. Can we talk about what has happened since we last met? I even brought Onii-san and your favorite sweets for us to talk over with."

I hesitated on talking about the other reason why I came here.

"And... what is this Holy Grail War?"

Dranes
February 19th, 2015, 04:23 AM
Kirisaki Homura
Location: Sayoshigure High School – Class 2-B
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 14:07
Day: January 12th

I think from just this first conversation, my non-existent reputation here has already started to sink. My grin quickly disappears as I look to Fukui-sensei, quickly I move to the book that I had left on my desk...still unopened, if anything I should have at least left it open to give the impression I was following whatever she was saying. Right, it was page...39 I think, yeah this looks like the right stuff, at least she didn't ask for one of us a question about...well whatever she was talking about, like some teachers do.

"Aaa, crap. Best to save this for later, I suppose..."

I hear the whisper behind me, as grave as Kichiro's warning was I can't say I wasn't interested.

"Yeah, can talk about it after class."

I whisper back to her before finally getting back to what I was supposed to be doing: listening to sensei and following in the textbook.

Ah, I can tell these last 20 minutes are gonna be long...

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Kirisaki Homura
Location: Fujimura Estate
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 15:00
Day: January 12th

"I'm home!"

Closing the door behind me I let out a sigh, even with all this clothing the cold still gets to me...is winter always this unrelenting here? Whatever, at least I'm finally back after that trek through the snow though something feels off. Zenko-san is as cold as the snow outside but I expected at least something from Tetora. Hanging my coat and the rest of this extra clothing I move down the hallway, the inside of the estate is just like you'd expect from an outside glance: big and fancy, I guess if there's one silver lining to this island it's that I'm staying here. Not really sure where she got all the money for all this, she never really mentioned what her job was but considering this place it has to pay well. Gotta ask about that some time.

Maybe she's in the kitchen?

...

A lavish kitchen this is, many a chef would grow green with envy of it but alas I'm not much of a cook and more importantly she isn't here.

Where did that bengal tiger get to now...wait, what's that? A note?

"Out until tomorrow - Tetora."

Well that's the mystery of the disappearing tiger solved, good job Homura. Your reward is that you're eating alone tonight.

Taking a seat I glance out the nearby window, well I'm going to have to keep myself occupied somehow but I doubt Zenko-san is going to let me make a mess and going outside isn't really an option, what with the cold and the chance of some crazy stalking the city apparently. Well just relaxing like this ain't bad either, hell just lazing around like this could be nice though just watching the snow fall is hardly interesting, everything is just a plain white outside even the trees look like their leaves have been replaced by the snow.

Huh, this snow is making me feel oddly nostalgic.

I'm sure this is the first time I've been at this place so it can't be the house.

What is this feeling?

I close my eyes and lay back on the chair.

A field of pure-white snow and trees surround us, it's cold but not like today. Someone's there, I can't make out their face but it feels like someone I know, I reach out my hand but...

...

I can't remember a damn thing. I swear I'd remember something like this or is this weather just getting to me. Haaah, now this is bugging me and after I got myself nice and cozy too.

Guess it's time to be productive, maybe Zenko-san needs some help.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Kirisaki Homura
Location: Fujimura Estate - Guest Room/Kirisaki's Sanctuary
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 22:00
Day: January 12th

Dinner was as expected, boring and lonesome. Zenko-san really fits the weather here...well maybe she'll warm up to me in time.

I lie down on my bed, comfy as a bed should be, the one place that all my troubles can be put to rest. Well other than the one about the ghostly visage from the other day, still no sign of that specter. Maybe I really was just imaging things, I mean I think I would've seen it by now if it by now...then again ghosts can go invisible right? Maybe it's right here, looking at me as I'm lying down and...okay now I'm just creeping myself out. I glance around the darkened room, nothing out of the ordinary that I can make out in the dark, still the nice and homely room that I made outta it just yesterday.

"Hey, you there...?"

...What am I saying, of course there's no one here.

Maybe instead of dreaming about ghosts, I'll dream about that snow field. At least that would be something that doesn't scare me half to death.

Ah well, good night figment of my imagination.

I3uster
February 19th, 2015, 05:29 AM
Mister Delacroix
Location: Old Town - Vollmond Theater
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 19:20
Day: January 12th


"But yes... your conditions are not out of question, considering I am asking quite a favor from you. I accept them, though I do have to notify you of some things that... are best to be taken in consideration when discussing the help I can offer you."

Delacroix relaxed his tense body posture a bit. This was a good start at least. For now he did not speak a word and proceeded to listen.


"I do not know if you saw today's newspaper, but few days ago, someone murdered a local priest. Of course, our friends at that blasted ship on the docks are now angrier than ever, like a beehive that's been poked with a stick. But... that murder... well, let's just say that it was ghastly business, even for someone of our... nature. Whoever did it clearly has even more hatred for clergymen than we do."

"I read about that. It sounds like a risk factor in either case, so me looking into it had to happen sooner or later." Whoever did that, he thought, was probably not interested in keeping a low profile as much as he was. Which could be an advantage too, even if it put the Church on high alert. A distraction from the real threat, perhaps.


"There are... some individuals... around Tengetsu that might be of use to you as informants and the like, but it should be good to keep in mind that these days, this island is like a powder keg. Poke the wrong individual, and everything explodes. For now, your best bet would be to contact Georgie Summerstar. That person might not be the most... agreeable sort, but as you probably already know, vile people have their uses."

"I will try my best to exercise caution." Snooping around was always a risk but the smaller and tighter knit the community was, the greater the danger to be exposed became.


"As for what comes to a source you can use, I suggest either Old Industrial District or the Business District. The former has vast amount of homeless people squatting in the half-demolished old brick-and-mortar buildings, while the latter sees business-people come and go on a daily basis. One or two disappearing from their hotel rooms is not that uncommon... as long as no signs of struggle are found," Matthias explained. "Foreign District used to be a great source, too, but thanks to it falling under the influence of the Holy Church, you should steer clear of it. Oh, and one other thing... do not attack the whores and courtesans of this city. They are led by a woman whose influence should never be underestimated. You know the old proverb of "Information is power", right? Well, she... she is the epitome of this saying. If one of her workers disappears, she will know it. And she will find out who did it. And she will make them pay. We do not need any additional enemies at the moment."

"I shall keep this in mind. Does that mean she might be willing to pass along information to us? As in, is she trustworthy enough to keep requests from strange foreigners to herself?" The way he spoke of her made it seem more like she was another risk rather than an asset, but it was worth a try.


"Whatever we end up doing... there is one thing we must be clear about. We do not alert Annabelle McKlennington to anything we do. While the clergymen at the docks are a clear enemy for us, that woman... well, let us just say that she, by her very nature, is something of a natural threat to us. She might be an airhead, but... if we were to make her our enemy, or alert her to what is going on, she'd be more dangerous than any agent of Church they could send after us."

He didn't know whether to laugh or be shocked in silence. "Wait, that girl? A danger? You might want to tell me this a bit sooner next time before I almost...never mind, I'll keep her in mind."

Standing up from his chair he turned around to his suitcase, swinging it so that Loch could not see the insides, then rummaged around it for only a second, then closing it again.

"It seems that we have come to an agreement. Let's shake on it then."

If one would only see his right hand one would think this were a completely regular gentlemen's agreement. It was his left hand that seemed a bit out of place, holding a severed, heavily tattooed right arm of pale complexion. At its end were fingerless gloves and its stump seemed dried out, reminding him a bit of the meat market he used to visit as a small child. Though this was not the aroma he would remember, rather it was a stinging combination of mothballs and preservation fluid.

"I'll have to insist on both shakes, I hope you don't mind."

Verg Avesta
February 19th, 2015, 12:17 PM
Location: Senketsurinri Villa
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 16:15
Day: January 12th


“I’m a warrior, not a murderer, and I have my own reasons for wanting to see if this miracle is real, and will do what I must. However... My business here is only with those Masters, and I will do what I can to make sure the people of Tengetsu are not troubled or harmed by my battles.”

Taruhito nodded, his mood improving a little after he heard what Kirame had to say.

"I appreciate that. I understand that the call of the ritual pits you against other Masters and Servants in a battle for supremacy, and that cannot be avoided. However, if you aim to avoid civilian casualties... well, that is all I can ask from you," he said, nodding to himself. "As much as I hate to admit it, I am not the owner of the magical properties of this island, and thus, it does not fall under my jurisdiction what rituals are performed me. As I said before, my interest lies solely on the safety of my people. Therefore, you have my thanks."

However, having said that, a troubled cloud once again passed over the mayor's face. He seemed hesitant to speak at first, staring at the floor before him deep in thought. After opening his mouth a few times as if to test the waters, he finally began speaking, this time with a rather stern tone. It was clear that something was troubling him in what Kirame had said, after all.

"However... something you just said sounds... odd," he spoke. "You said you received letters. What do you mean by that? From the information I got from the head priestess of Yamaichi Shrine, the call of the ritual would only manifest as the red brands, and those who received would know what to do. In other words, nothing else would be needed."

Taruhito stared at Kirame with slightly worried look.

"So... who sent that letter to you"?




Location: Yamaichi Shrine
Phase Day 3/3
Time: 18:53
Day: January 12th


"I've returned Sourokurou-san. It's been ten years since I've last seen you. Can we talk about what has happened since we last met? I even brought Onii-san and your favorite sweets for us to talk over with. And... what is this Holy Grail War?"

For a moment, the frighteningly tall woman with black hair, known as Mochizuki Sourokurou, stared at Kiyoko with an unreadable expression. Standing there, in the shadows thrown by the fire pit at the center of the chamber, she almost seemed like some sort of youkai of legends, a demi-human who had taken over the shrine. It was not that Sourokurou was scary or intimidating, no. She did not emit any hostility aimed at the younger girl in front of her. However, the mere sight of this tall priestess made the air feel heavy, as if it was pushing down on anyone in her presence.

She slowly turned to face Kiyoko, and her shadow moved in the flickering flame of the pit, throwing itself over the younger girl.

"... Miyamoto... Kiyoko," Sourokurou slowly said, as if tasting the name. Her voice, reverberating with deep bass in the darkness, sounded almost pleased. "To think that you are a Master... truly, the fates play interesting game with us, do they not?"

Putting her hands behind her back, Sourokurou slowly walked past the fire pit, closer to where Kiyoko was. As she got closer, her apparent height got even clearer. Even after all these years, she still towered over Kiyoko, gazing down at the younger girl with that mysterious smile of hers. It wasn't exactly happy smile, but there was some warmth in it. However, as usual, it was still... unnerving.

"Unfortunately, Miyamoto-san, we do not have the luxury of exchanging stories tonight. As you should be well aware, tonight something important is supposed to start, and I am expecting many visitors during the course of this evening. It would be... unwise of you to linger too long," she said, her words carrying clear meaning. "There is no hurry, after all. We can always have our discussion at a better time."

Laughing softly, Sourokurou stared into the deep shadows that gathered to the corners of the chamber. A small moment of silence stretched between the two, until she finally looked back at the young girl before her, and began speaking once more.

"However, you said that you do not know what this 'Holy Grail War' is that you have been called to partake in. That is... surprising. As I had been led to believe, those participating would know enough to support themselves during. It seems I have to rectify this mistake," she said, nodding to herself in affirmation. "First of all, let me ask you, Miyamoto-san. Have you learned that this ritual is an all out war between nine Masters using nine Servants? A war for the sake of one and only Mocking Grail?"




Location: Old Town - Vollmond Theater
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 19:23
Day: January 12th


"I'll have to insist on both shakes, I hope you don't mind."

For a moment, Matthias' eyes lingered on the tattooed, severed hand that Delacroix was offering. A hint of a spark of understanding lingered in his eyes, but his face did not show any other expression than slight amusement. Then, with a soft smile, he extended his own hands, crossed them, and thus grabbed the hands offered to him, giving them a firm shake.

"Understandable, I think. It is an agreement between all parties, after all," he said, chuckling slightly. "I'd have you shake hands with my familiars as well, but... ah, I do not think I have enough tea prepared for such long and arduous task. Not to mention you'd be here the whole night if you attempted something like that."

Matthias laughed like it had been a good joke.

hero
February 19th, 2015, 12:27 PM
Azama Tae
Location: Old Town - Shushin Koushi
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 15:25
Day: January 12th


"..."

Nothing. She's saying she wants nothing in return for sharing this precious information with me. Naturally, even if I could get away with it scot-free, I disagree with that sort of deal. It's an unfair, selfish and imbalanced exchange... No, it can't be called an exchange if I don't give anything as well. Even if I am supposed to be a special case because we happened to meet in the past when I was little, it does not justify this kind of treatment. If anything, I should be providing a generous reward as well.

"..."

However... The moment I open my mouth to speak I realize it's no use. I find myself unable to argue against her proposal, maybe because I can now see a part of Otsue-Taiyu that I couldn't see before, when she wore a mask. I immediately understand how she feels and how glad she is to see me after all these years even before she spells it out loud. In turn, she's also able to read me like an open book and even suggests that the price I paid for all those clues was paid when I decided to meet her in person. It's not something I really want to agree with, but...

"... Hah."

I guess a part of me really longed for that warmth and kindness. Within this unpredictably cruel world, which takes and gives suddenly and offering no explanation, this sort of things are the ones one must treasure the most. They are quick, ephemeral, but they are also the things we remember when it matters the most. Unable to stop my eyes from watering from hearing those words, I at least make an effort to wipe them before they become tears. As much as I'd like a shoulder to cry on, I must show no weakness and soldier on. When I get Yomi back. Only then will I allow myself to cry to my heart's content.

"Thank you once again. I won't forget this."

I bow my head once more, before getting back on my feet, slowly.

"I must be going now. Please take care of yourself, Otsue-san."

After a polite 'excuse me', and assuming Otsue has nothing to add, I slide the door open and head out of her room.

Rafflesiac
February 19th, 2015, 12:55 PM
Xander Stone
Location: Yamaichi Shrine
Phase Day 3/3
Time: 19:43
Day: January 12th

I’d definitely made a mistake. Any assumption I’d had that this temple would be less heavy, less complex, less meaningful was a foolish vagary of hope. Whether through magecraft, architecture or mere fact, the Yamaichi Shrine was much more than it seemed.

Still, this was less of a temple and more of a labyrinth; an eternity of darkened hallways with only the faintest of light, and caverns leading everywhere but where you expected at each turn. The uniform chambers and corridors, the darkness hanging as a black sheet from the ceilings, the twists and turns of endless paths - each compressed and hung on the mind, forming a trial much unlike the pilgrimage up the mountain. Even so, I step forward with as much confidence as I can muster, body quivering and senses straining from experience.

I am used to caverns, after all.

Soon enough, I see light, and hear a lilting melody woven in the air. I step forward, and behold two things. The first is a large fire, the source of the light and warmth I had sought.

The second is a priestess, carved from history to dance even now.

She stops, and turns to me, her eyes meeting mine.


"Welcome, o' Chosen Master. I welcome you to Yamaichi Shrine."

I hold up my right arm and pull down the sleeve, revealing my Command Seals.

“I am Xander Stone, Master in this war for the Mocking Grail. As requested by your summons, I have come.”

Spinach
February 19th, 2015, 01:00 PM
Ryougi Kirame
Location: Senketsurinri Villa
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 16:17
Day: January 12th

“Your guess is as good as mine.” Kirame answered Taruhito’s question immediately, plainly stating the truth of the matter. “The brands appeared just before I received a letter with a short explanation of what they were. The ticket for my flight here also came in the letter. There was a second letter too…”

The young man stopped and dryly chuckled to himself, remembering the contents of the second letter. Kirame remembered quite clearly the contents of that second letter. It was no laughing matter what was written there, and he wasn’t laughing at the letter itself, but rather at how he was going to repay the sender once he found them.

“It was all nonsense, full of insults. I don’t even think it was personally written with me in mind, but rather everyone involved with this ritual. There was one interesting part in it though,” Kirame leaned forward, reaching behind him and pulling two twice-folded slips of paper stacked on top of each other out of his pocket. “If you’re so curious, you can read them yourself. Let’s see.”

Unfolding the top letter, Kirame read how the letter was addressed.

Dear Candidate,

“This is the first one.” Saying so Kirame pressed the sheet of paper against the wood floor and slid it toward Taruhito with a flick of his wrist. As the letter reached the mayor Kirame repeated the action with the second, still folded letter. “That’s the second. The part written near the end: ‘You’re trapped here. Forever. With me.; I took that to mean whoever sent it is here. Aside from that there’s a lot of other nonsense written there, thousands of corpses, lies as cold as snow, opening my eyes and facing the truth.”

Kirame clicked his tongue in annoyance. Just repeating the contents in that letter reminded him of all the insults written in there. He didn’t take well to insults.

“Whoever wrote that has a few screws loose.”

Leftovers
February 19th, 2015, 08:41 PM
Astrid Hildebrandt
Location: Old Industrial District - Tengetsu Police Station
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 16:22
Day: January 12th

It had been quite some time since she had last had contact with him, but the impression imparted by official missives and a brief conversation over a very unstable connection was nothing compared to that of meeting the commissioner himself in the flesh. Physically imposing by nature, his broad shoulders were adorned with a wide lapel coat, and the combination of pipe and deerstalker complete the ensemble with echoes of the Great Detective.

Meiji Myoujingata was truly a man after her own heart.

"It certainly has, Commissioner," she replied, meeting his proffered hand in a firm handshake. "But then again, this technically is our first actual meeting."

And so it was. Though she had become acquainted with the police chief over the investigation of a case that had crossed into his territory, their actual interactions had been limited to the official business of coordinating the cooperation between the Clock Tower and second parties; not enough to glean more than a superficial understanding of the man's character. Still, that precedent was enough to grant her a contact in Tengetsu, when fate decreed her to become a part of the game that was about to unfold on this remote land.

Fate; or rather, the hand that penned that letter, not too long ago.

"It is a pleasure to finally meet, then, even though it finds us both at a quite turbulent time. But by the same token," and here her voice took on a wry tone, "was it not this imminent upheaval that made this meeting possible?"

With the handshake mutually ended, Astrid shrugged, and lifted a hand to adjust her hat.

"All the more, I must thank you for taking the time to see me. Especially since I'm apparently not the first guest you've entertained today."

Mormarth
February 19th, 2015, 09:10 PM
Francis York(?) Morgan
Location: Park District - Gongujoudo
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 14:49
Day: January 12th

I looked on with some approval as my words seemed to jog something in the presumed-innkeep's thoughts, a lazy smile stretching across her face, "Ah, you're Meiji-kun's reservation, right? He told me some foreign hunk would stop by. In that case it's all worked out, yeah. See, I happen to know Meiji-kun from the waaaay back, when he was naught but a mischievous teenager trying to peep into the women's bath. Can't remember how many times I had to drive him away with a broom. He was like a tom cat, huhuhu~"

This 'Meiji-kun', wonder if he's the Chief, never been very good with names.

I waited patiently as she bustled about with the keys hanging on the wall, and smiled in thanks when one was presented to me, along with a receipt stating that, yes, I had obtained the room.

"Sign that, and the room is yours. You know how those boys at the police station are with paperwork, after all."

"Sure thing, law enforcement's a bit stiff sometimes, but they mean well."

I dashed off a signature that wasn't mine, and took the key, "Thanks, can't stay and chat, though, need to get everything squared away."

I nodded a farewell and strode off to the room, twisting the key in the lock and entering smoothly, setting the bags by the wall. Got out the things smoothly, setting the clothes at the wall, and my belongings either on the bedside table, or in my jacket.

Stretching slightly, I adjusted the jacket, straightened the tie, and set out for the Police Station, pausing at the door to hand a 'Do Not Disturb' sign.

Saves trouble later.

Kuroyuki
February 19th, 2015, 11:41 PM
Kiyoko Miyamoto
Location: Yamaichi Shrine
Phase Day 3/3
Time: 18:53
Day: January 12th

Sourokurou's expression turned from a serene expression to an unreadable one. I was surprised because this wasn't what I was expecting when I imagined our meeting.


"... Miyamoto... Kiyoko. To think that you are a Master... truly, the fates play interesting game with us, do they not?"

"Y-yes!"

I accidentally stammered as I responded to Sourokurou's question.


"Unfortunately, Miyamoto-san, we do not have the luxury of exchanging stories tonight. As you should be well aware, tonight something important is supposed to start, and I am expecting many visitors during the course of this evening. It would be... unwise of you to linger too long. There is no hurry, after all. We can always have our discussion at a better time.

"I understand... I'll come over tomorrow."

I couldn't keep that small sliver of sadness out of my voice. I was hoping that I could catch up on old times and find out why Sen-chan.


However, you said that you do not know what this 'Holy Grail War' is that you have been called to partake in. That is... surprising. As I had been led to believe, those participating would know enough to support themselves during. It seems I have to rectify this mistake. First of all, let me ask you, Miyamoto-san. Have you learned that this ritual is an all out war between nine Masters using nine Servants? A war for the sake of one and only Mocking Grail?"

"What are these servants? What is this Mocking Grail? And why must we fight for it? Can't we share the grail?

Verg Avesta
February 20th, 2015, 06:02 AM
Location: Senketsurinri Villa
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 16:19
Day: January 12th


“Whoever wrote that has a few screws loose.”

"... Yes, that much is very apparent," Yamahito said, frowning at the second letter like it had spat in his face. "However... the way that this second letter is written is almost as if the writer had seen this... which probably means Heaven's Moon ritual itself... happen before. In other words, almost as if he or she had a personal connection to the whole thing. I wonder..."

For a moment, the mayor kept staring at the second letter. Then he took a glance at the first letter, comparing the two to each other. Whatever he wanted to find, however, clearly did not appear, as after a few seconds, he sighed and put them both away. Then he turned his attention back to Kirame.

"Judging from the handwriting, these two letters were not made by the same person. The contents also suggest the same conclusion. In other words, that would mean there are two parties involved in this ritual... one who wants you to participate in it, and another one who... well, to be honest, I can't imagine what the intention of the second letter is. It insults the recipient as if say they are unneeded, and yet... it also talks as if you'd still arrive. I mean, you did, but that's besides the point. It's almost as if the writer of the second letter thought you'd have no choice but to come," Yamahito said, scratching his chin. "Plus the way the writer talks... it's almost as if they were personally responsible for the ritual. No, in a way, both letters indicate that to varying degrees. Unless... unless the 'game' the second letter talks about is something completely else. But what could it be...?"

The mayor frowned in frustration, clearly not happy that these letters had only generated more questions. He slid them back to Kirame, folding his hands afterwards.

"I must say, I don't like it. Whatever is going on here, it makes me afraid that the Heaven's Moon is not the only thing we have to worry about," he said. "I'd suggest you keep your eyes open, Ryougi-kun, and be cautious of the people you meet in Tengetsu. Like you said, there's a good chance that the writer is on this island, which means that he or she may try to contact you again."




Location: Old Industrial District - Tengetsu Police Station
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 15:15
Day: January 12th

As York arrived to the police station, he was greeted by the familiar sight of the imposing building sternly sitting against the backdrop of a snowy city. There weren't that many people on the streets, but that much was to be expected. This was the old industrial district, after all, and not many people lived in this part of the town. Indeed, many who came here only had business to attend at either the hospital or the police station. That or loiterers with nothing but too much time in their hands.

And speaking of people with too much time on their hands...

"Achoo!" the auburn-haired girl standing at the police station entrance, wearing rather light and anachronistic clothing, sneezed loudly. "Oh dear, I'll end up catching a cold if I have to stand here much longer..."

The said girl was standing alone in the snow, with her back turned towards the direction where York was arriving. In other words, she was completely oblivious to his presence.

"Now where is that man? I wonder if I should have headed out to the airport after all..."


Later That Day... (16:25)


"All the more, I must thank you for taking the time to see me. Especially since I'm apparently not the first guest you've entertained today."

Meiji chuckled and sat back to his leaning back at his chair. He took a moment to properly light his pipe, enjoying the first drag before turning his attention back to Astrid. Meanwhile, Ms. Farfield had taken this rare chance to begin watering the potted flowers in the chief's room. Some of them were looking rather withered, meaning that the Sherlock-esque man behind the desk did not really care for their well-being. Luckily there was at least one energetic officer always on the job.

"It's been something of a day of reunions for me, funnily enough. Never would have thought two people involved in the same mess of a situation from four years ago would show up at the same time, but as the old song goes, it's a small world after all," Meiji said, before suddenly shuddering and adding. "Not that I particularly like that song. Horrid little piece."

"You've always been more of a fan of violin, haven't you chief?" Ms. Farfield piped up from the sidelines, before giggling. "Though I suppose that's part of your 'hobby' now, isn't it?"

Myoujingata Meiji could only grunt in slight annoyance, throwing a warning glare at the officer, before looking back at Astrid.

"In any case, what can I do for you, Miss Hildebrandt? I apologize for the mess at the office, it's been hell of a few days. There was some nasty business with Father Benedict of the local church, and the... presence of some people near the docks does not help," Meiji said, choosing his words carefully. After all, they were in a presence of a 'mundane' person. "Still, if there's something I can do for you, just ask. I still owe you from before, after all."




Location: Yamaichi Shrine
Phase Day 3/3
Time: 18:55
Day: January 12th


"What are these servants? What is this Mocking Grail? And why must we fight for it? Can't we share the grail?

Sourokurou made a strange sound that sounded almost like a rumbling laugh. Her mouth was also curved into a ghost of a smile, but it was not aimed at Kiyoko. What was aimed at the young girl was the atmosphere around the tall woman which made one immediately straighten one's back. In this environment, it was easy to feel that the priestess was truly akin to a conduit of a kami, judging the person before her.

"So you are telling me that you have come all the way here without any prior knowledge or studying? Hmh. Truly, that sounds like you, Miyamoto-san. Now then... to answer your questions shortly: Servants are heroes of the past given bodies. They are beings surpassing humans, and resemble spirits in quite many ways. They are, in addition, a weapon granted to you by the Mocking Grail to partake in this battle for its ownership. For you, a Master, the task is to summon a Servant. The Mocking Grail will take care of the rest."

Letting out another low laughter, Sourokurou's eyes glinted in the darkness as she then added:

"Well, you will understand better once you summon yours."

Still keeping her hands clasped behind her back, Sourokurou turned away from Kiyoko and began walking in circle around the fire pit at the center of the chamber, her eyes staring deep into the quietly burning flames. The light threw dancing shadows on her face, and though the music that had accompanied her before was now quiet, one could still see shades of that in the movement of those dark forms.

"As for what comes to all the rest... the reason you must fight is simple. That is the true meaning of those red brands on your body. It means you have been... chosen. The Command Spell is a holy mark. Becoming a Master is a trial placed upon you, and you alone. You cannot escape from it, or circumvent it, simply because you feel it inconvenient, or find the ritual itself undesirable. Yes... you cannot be released from the pain of that trial until you obtain the Mocking Grail," Sourokurou spoke quietly, yet with absolute authority. "As for the Mocking Grail... yes, while the name may fool you, do not be deceived by the mere call of a bird. It is still a genuine Holy Grail. After all, its proof is the mere fact that the summoning of Servants has become possible. Summoning and controlling past heroes... No, a miracle close to resurrecting the dead is almost a Sorcery. A Holy Grail, a Mocking Grail, with this much power shall grant its owner unlimited power. The object's unreality is worthless in front of that truth. Now, are you starting to understand, Miyamoto-san? This same Mocking Grail is what the victor of this Holy Grail War shall receive... in other words, the power to turn their wishes, whatever it may be, into reality."

As her slow steps took her around the fire pit, Sourokurou eventually ended up where she had left, but this time, she was behind Kiyoko. Towering above the girl and with shadows cast on her face, she truly was like an image of Enma himself, staring down at the mortal who had appeared before her. With that mysterious smile still on her lips, she continued talking.

"And while your last point about sharing it is a fair argument, we do not have such freedom. Only one person can obtain the Mocking Grail," she spoke firmly, leaving no room for objections. "That is not something we chose, but what the Mocking Grail has decided. The Mocking Grail decides the nine Masters and summons the nine Servants. I told you that this is a ritual. The Mocking Grail chooses the people suitable to obtain it, and selects its appropriate owner by making them fight for it. That is the Holy Grail War, Heaven's Moon.... the ritual where those chosen by the Mocking Grail kill each other to obtain it."

Sourokurou spoke with a low tone, but with absolute firmness. There was no rebutting what she had said.


Later That Day... (19:45)



“I am Xander Stone, Master in this war for the Mocking Grail. As requested by your summons, I have come.”Letting out a mildly amused hum, Sourokurou nodded to Xander. She then clasped her hands behind her back, and begun approaching him, until there was not much room between the two. Up close, it quickly became apparent just how tall the priestess was, being well over two meters in height. Such a sight inside this dimly lit chamber was more than fitting, thanks to the shadows created by the burning fire pit at the center of the room. While most would have most likely taken the advantage of the situation to intimidate the new arrivals, the priestess did not. She simply had no need to. Her physical presence was enough to quiet down even the most energetic individual.

"-------- Well met, Xander Stone. I am Sourokurou Mochizuki, the head priestess of this shrine. As the supervisor of this Holy Grail War, I officially acknowledge you as a Master participating in this war," Sourokurou spoke, nodding slowly. "You have been sanctified to partake in this ritual under the rules governed by the Mocking Grail."

A smile that could not really be called a smile spread to Sourokurou's lips. There was no real happiness to it, and in a way, it was like watching a shark twist its mouth. It was simply something that happened on an instinct, not something affected by emotions. Still, it was an expression she directed at Xander, so something in his demeanor must have caused it.

"Judging by your tone, you understand the meaning of this ritual, as well as the importance of your chosen markings?" the priestess continued with a question. "That eases my task. However, while I may not have called you here specifically, you have still graced this shrine with your presence... thus, if you have any questions, I am more than happy to answer them."

Leftovers
February 20th, 2015, 07:41 AM
Astrid Hildebrandt
Location: Old Industrial District - Tengetsu Police Station
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 16:25
Day: January 12th

"A person involved in that case?"

Astrid's foot tapped a quick rhythm on the floor, an outlet for her inner excitement.

"Perhaps that song holds more truth than it's been given credit for. Although I can't say I came to Tengetsu solely for that, revisiting that case with a more, shall I say, hands-on approach is something I intend to do in my time here."

She said that, but it wasn't to say that the field team sent four years ago had not been thorough or competent enough; they were the best the Clock Tower had to offer, operating based as much on the information that Astrid had provided them as their own skills - if not more. In that sense, their failure on that day was also hers to share; a failure she was eager to, at the first chance, amend.

"But as it happens, it's not the one that got away, but another sort of case that brings me to your office. The gravity of the situation demands as much." Drawing a hand into her coat, she retrieves two folded letters from her inner pocket, placing them on the side of the desk closer to the commissioner.

"Truth be told, I can't say no to a mystery like this, especially since someone went through the trouble of personally seeking me out. But by the same token, a mystery has to be self-contained; if it encroaches on the lives of the unaware, the time is past for self-indulgent enquiries. Anything I could ask of you, you would have had to do yourself, sooner or later. It is one of those things that, as it's said in Japan, cannot be helped."

Gesturing towards the letters, Astrid's next words were gravely delivered.

"I come here to request your vigilance, to ensure this story doesn't turn into a tragedy." Then with a lighter tone, she added. "And to let you know I will do my best to get to the bottom of this."

Verg Avesta
February 20th, 2015, 08:40 AM
Location: Old Industrial District - Tengetsu Police Station
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 16:27
Day: January 12th

Meiji put aside his pipe for a moment, taking a look at the two letters placed in front of him. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-5pAmoR5AA)With experienced hands, he opened the drawer of his desk and fished out two single-use medical gloves, which he then promptly put on. Only after that did he pick up the letters, inspecting their exterior carefully. The rather old-looking envelopes they had been in were merely for show, as a simple sniff was enough to tell that the envelopes were almost brand new, most likely bought from a store. That much was also certain from the glue used to shut them.

Carefully opening the envelopes, Meiji spread both of the letters in front of him for inspection. Momentarily, his eyes seemed to widen slightly, but soon enough, they were back in their focused narrowness. Even when Ms. Farfield tried to sneak a peak at them, using her flower-watering as an excuse, a simple shoo of a hand from the police chief was enough to drive her away. Seconds ticked away as the commissioner stared at the letters, carefully reading and analyzing what was written on them. It looked almost as if he was trying to squeeze out some information locked away in his brain, but nothing seemed to come out.

Couple of minutes later, he had finally arrived to a conclusion of some sort.

"... I've seen this handwriting somewhere before," Meiji suddenly spoke up, tapping the first letter softly with his index finger. "I can't remember when or where, but... I've definitely seen those swirly S's, and that slightly bent dot on the i's somewhere before. Leaving the contents aside for a minute, I think it's pretty safe to say that whoever wrote the first letter is living on Tengetsu, and I've met them at some point during my life."

Those simple words were another testament to the great mental capacities of Myoujingata Meiji. The officers working under him often joked that he had a foolproof memory, capable of remembering every little detail he came across. And while he might not have been a savant with eidetic memory, he still had a knack for remembering the tiniest details he came across, even many years afterwards. Even Ms. Farfield, having heard what the chief said, flashed a quick but proud smile at him, as if she had not expected anything less of the man.

"As for what comes to their contents, I'm beginning to see the reason why you're here. And understand why you ask of our vigilance," Meiji said, putting the letters back in their envelopes, removing his gloves, and picking up his pipe again. "And you can be assured, Ms. Hildebrandt. As busy as we are with our murder investigation, I'm not going to allow any sort of tragedy befall this island or anyone living in here. We will be keeping an eye out on our own. However, as you understand... my men cannot keep track of everything."

There was definite pressure on the last word, signifying what Meiji meant. While he might have been on the know of the supernatural side of things, and something of an accomplished magus, the police force that he led was not. They reach was, unfortunately, limited in some aspects.

"However..." Meiji took a drag from his pipe, and after a moment, blew out the smoke. "... That's where you come in. I must say, I'm glad to have you here during this. At least I know I have people I can trust to investigate the other side of things."

Antary
February 20th, 2015, 09:09 AM
Location: Cross & Grace
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 14:58
Day: January 12th

Anna waved at the two as they approached, smiling warmly.

"Nice to meet y-" She reached out to accept Muire's handshake, but her hand was intercepted. The girl raised her brows in surprise, but kept her smile.

She tried to quite genuinely imitate Chelsea's cheeriness with her expression, but the effort fell a little bit short - there was just too much of it, the enthusiasm. Anna wanted to 'return' the handshake, but it seemed that the pink haired girl had both of them covered with her wild swinging.

"Ah, I remember her. She's the one, isn't she?" She waited until Chelsea stopped waving their arms, and finished the interrupted greeting with Muire by giving him a nod. "I'll have to ask her about it later. Now is probably not the best time."

"It's been a long time! It's good to see familiar faces again," Anna casually placed a hand on her side. "Well, the truth is, I mainly came here to greet you guys and make sure you know that I'm around, here, in Tengetsu. I wouldn't bother you without a reason, though! I know I'm not that important yet, haha."

Anna grabbed one of her hands, fiddling with the glove over it. "I'd like to speak with the Bishop, as I've told Rain here. Please relay that to him if you can. I'll probably come back tomorrow; I wouldn't want to keep you away from work by overstaying my welcome. I understand that he's a busy man, so if he asks what I want with him, well..."

She slid the glove off, baring her elegant hand and the red brand over its pale skin. Her smile remained, though it was firmly polite rather than cheerful.

"Just tell him about these."

The girl kept her hand out in the cold for a little while longer before putting the glove back on. "Oh, and as I've said before to Rain, if you ever have a need for me, please, don't hesitate to tell me. I'll do my best to help. And... it was nice meeting you. I hope we'll be getting along."

Leftovers
February 20th, 2015, 01:01 PM
Astrid Hildebrandt
Location: Old Industrial District - Tengetsu Police Station
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 16:27
Day: January 12th

Astrid met the man's words with a nod and a grateful smile. As she had first thought four years ago, Myoujingata Meiji's heart was truly in the right place.

"Truly, the feeling is mutual, commissioner. And while I cannot deny that certain elements of the situation are beyond my control, be assured that I will work on my side of the investigation with the same zeal as the capable officers of your department, so we may bring this case to a satisfactory conclusion."

When Meiji made to hand her the letters back, she politely held a hand up to stop him.

"Ah, please keep the letters for now, if you will. I have already memorised all there is to them, but you may yet recall something more upon further scrutiny."

For all she could remember the details of the letters' contour, and every word of their contents, it was the police chief's mental prowess and knowledge of the island and its people that would be best served by reexamining the letters; to spot some clue hitherto unseen, or perchance retrieve it from the depths of his memory.

"Any information that I come upon on my side," Astrid continued, "that pertains to your investigations, I will relay to you. In that regard, consider my eyes and ears to be yours as well. I hope that you will do the same, so that we may both deal with our issues with the optimal efficacy."

The words hung in the air for a moment; then, as if to end the weighty conversation on a light tone, Astrid's formal demeanour broke into an airy, sheepish mood.

"And in that spirit of cooperation, I have to ask: would you happen to have a pair of spare tire chains? Judging by the station's vehicles, the roads at night must be a nightmare."

Verg Avesta
February 20th, 2015, 02:36 PM
Location: Cross & Grace
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 15:00
Day: January 12th


"It's been a long time! It's good to see familiar faces again. Well, the truth is, I mainly came here to greet you guys and make sure you know that I'm around, here, in Tengetsu. I wouldn't bother you without a reason, though! I know I'm not that important yet, haha."

"Nonsense," Muire said, offering quiet but encouraging smile to Anna. "In these troubling times, it's good to see another friendly face. More so if it happens to be an old acquaintance. I wouldn't say there is anything unimportant about that. To the contrary, to know that we have an unexpected friend is important enough to--"

A high-pitched giggle and an echoing slap to the back interrupted Muire, almost sending him rocketing to a snow bank nearby. Though he shot an annoyed glare at the culprit (one hyperactive pink-haired girl), his expression soon turned into that confident smile once more. Meanwhile, Chelsea had caught Anna by the shoulder, being pretty much glued to her side like the two of them had been the greatest of friends already.

"What Mister Grumpy here wants to say is: 'Don't worry, be happy!'," Chelsea said and grinned widely. "We don't care if you're here to join the hoard of tourists sight-seeing a silly blizzard! What's important is more friends! Wahahaha~!"

Both Muire and Rain winced as Chelsea's ever-present giggle turned into strange sort of laugh. It was the type of guffaw one could imagine a tanned, ditzy teacher let out for some reason... but perhaps it was best not to think too deeply about it. The important fact was that it did not continue for too long.


"Just tell him about these. Oh, and as I've said before to Rain, if you ever have a need for me, please, don't hesitate to tell me. I'll do my best to help. And... it was nice meeting you. I hope we'll be getting along."

"Sure!" Rain said, nodding to Anna. It seemed that he, and neither of the other two, seemed to realize the importance of the brands on Anna's skin. "Same to you. We'll be here for quite a while, so if you ever run into trouble, don't hesitate to stop by. Oh, and, well, mind writing your phone number down? We'll give you a call when that old geezer decides to return to the ship."

Rain fished a piece of paper and a pen from his back-pocket, but before he could hand them to Anna, Chelsea had once more interrupted. This time by shoving a sickeningly pink notebook (adorned with innumerable stickers) almost straight to Anna's left nostril.

"Ooh, me too, me too!" Chelsea chimed in. "There's this cake shop I wanna hit with a fellow girl! Torque never goes anywhere with me..."




Location: Old Industrial District - Tengetsu Police Station
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 16:30
Day: January 12th


"Ah, please keep the letters for now, if you will. I have already memorised all there is to them, but you may yet recall something more upon further scrutiny."

For a moment, Meiji looked surprised. Just as quickly, however, he nodded understandingly and used one of the gloves to take the letters, before dropping them into the open drawer.

"Alright. I'll swing by the lab later today when it's free, and see if I can gleam something off of them," he said, glancing the letters once more before shutting the drawer. "I'm not hopeful for fingerprints or anything of the like, but that might not be the only thing we could find from them..."


"Any information that I come upon on my side that pertains to your investigations, I will relay to you. In that regard, consider my eyes and ears to be yours as well. I hope that you will do the same, so that we may both deal with our issues with the optimal efficacy."

"Alright," Meiji answered with a hint of a smile. He quickly took a piece of paper from the notebook next to him, and wrote down a cellphone number. "Use this to reach me if something does come up. I still have your old number, so unless you've changed it, I know how to reach you. Like you said, it's easier if we both keep in contact and exchange information we come across. I might be tied up in the murder investigation for most of the time, but I'll be looking into this whenever I can."


"And in that spirit of cooperation, I have to ask: would you happen to have a pair of spare tire chains? Judging by the station's vehicles, the roads at night must be a nightmare."

Meiji stared at Astrid as if the question presented to him had caught him completely off-guard. However, quickly his surprise melted into a smile, and he burst into a short, relaxed laughter.

"I think we can afford to part with some vehicular help, yes," he said, grinning slightly. "God knows the tourists manage to cause enough problems with ill-prepared rent-a-cars. We wouldn't want you to bother our good men at the traffic duty."

Meiji shot a glance towards Ms. Farfield, who realized this and made a playful salute that had nothing professional in it.

"Amber, could you show Miss Hildebrandt where we keep our tire chains? Oh, and help her install them?" he asked from the auburn-haired officer. "Take her vehicle to the garage to do that, though. I think your fiancee would kill me if I let you get sick under my watch."

"Aye-aye, sir!" Amber said and chuckled, before turning to Astrid. "Shall we? The garage is at the basement, so we'll need to drive your vehicle there by the ramp."

[Myoujingata's Information about Letters]
Myoujingata Meiji, the police chief of Tengetsu, has apparently seen the handwriting of the first letter at some point in his past. The exact time and place still elude him, however. Still, this Clue can be used to further deductions.

Leftovers
February 20th, 2015, 03:05 PM
Astrid Hildebrandt
Location: Old Industrial District - Tengetsu Police Station
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 16:30
Day: January 12th

Taking the slip of paper that Meiji offered with a grin, Astrid gave a corny doff of the hat, and then turned to follow Ms. Farfield out of the office. But before she passed the doorframe, she stopped on her tracks, as if she had abruptly remembered something important.

Looking over her shoulder, she posed a final question to Myoujingata Meiji.

"The other person that you met today, who was involved in the mess four years ago. What is his name?"


75%

The Thunderbird's engine purred as it cleared the ramp and entered the police station's garage. Bringing the vehicle to a stop near the grinning Amber, she took a look at mass of chains held in her hands, and sighed.

"It's embarrassing to say, but I never learned how to do this, despite having my bike for quite some time. London sees a lot of snow, but it's nothing compared to the conditions here; plus the roads there are regularly salted."

Rafflesiac
February 20th, 2015, 03:17 PM
Xander Stone
Location: Yamaichi Shrine
Phase Day 3/3
Time: 19:55
Day: January 12th

As could only be expected, the priestess of the shrine held an equal presence to the temple in which he stood. I’m no dwarf; however, even someone like me would be cowed by a woman who stood several inches higher than him with such force of being.


"-------- Well met, Xander Stone. I am Sourokurou Mochizuki, the head priestess of this shrine. As the supervisor of this Holy Grail War, I officially acknowledge you as a Master participating in this war. You have been sanctified to partake in this ritual under the rules governed by the Mocking Grail."

“Thank you, Ms. Sourokurou.” Should he have said that differently, or used the honorifics he’d tried to memorize from that guidebook? It was difficult to think in the bowels of this shrine, confined with roaring flame and oppressive shadow and confronted with the entirely unnatural smile of a predator serving tea to its hapless prey.


”However, while I may not have called you here specifically, you have still graced this shrine with your presence... thus, if you have any questions, I am more than happy to answer them."

“You didn’t?”

This was definitely disquieting.

“You weren’t the person who sent those letters?” I reach into my pocket, pull out two well-worn envelopes, the letters inside equally crinkled from many times of reading, and proffer them to the priestess.

Verg Avesta
February 20th, 2015, 03:22 PM
Location: Old Industrial District - Tengetsu Police Station
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 16:31
Day: January 12th


"The other person that you met today, who was involved in the mess four years ago. What is his name?"

Meiji, who was in the process of taking a drag from his pipe, stopped for a moment. His eyes stared somewhere behind Astrid, as if he was thinking back to something. Or, almost like he was weighing something in his mind. Finally, he let out the smoke in a big billowing trail, and leaned back in his chair. A small smile appeared on his lips, and he shrugged almost as if saying 'well, I suppose it's alright'.

"An old friend of mine," he said, staring out the window. "Morgan."


50%



"It's embarrassing to say, but I never learned how to do this, despite having my bike for quite some time. London sees a lot of snow, but it's nothing compared to the conditions here; plus the roads there are regularly salted."

"Oh, it's not that bad here in the city," Amber said, smiling. She was now wearing a thick-looking jacket, her head bopping out of it like she had been a young Emperor penguin. "They do keep a good care of the roads. It's just when anyone goes outside the main roads that the situation gets more difficult. Salt can only help so much, and the Great Blizzard does not make things easier."

The auburn-haired officer giggled and took a look at the bike, and the chain in her hands, before squatting down and beginning to size up the tire, as if to make sure she had picked the right length.

"The good thing is that we got all the surplus chains from old military vehicles that the Germans used," Amber spoke as she got to work. "So there's no shortage of these things. Now, just wait a moment, and I'll be done in a jiffy."

Having said that, Amber began the "operation."




Location: Yamaichi Shrine
Phase Day 3/3
Time: 18:57
Day: January 12th


“You weren’t the person who sent those letters?”

"..."

Quietly, without saying a word, Sourokurou reached out and took the letters offered to her by Xander. She easily flipped the first one open, and fished out the actual paper. For few moments, her black eyes darted on the lines, reading them with surprisingly fast pace. However, even if she was suprirsed, her face betrayed no emotion. Not even when she moved to the second letter (which was even stranger in its contents) did she raise an eyebrow.

Eventually the silence between the two ended, and with a flick of her wrist, the priestess handed the letters back to Xander. Her face was showing signs of that ghostly smile of hers once more, but there was steel in her eyes. That, perhaps, was the only sign that what she had read was not completely to her liking.

"... I must admit, this is unexpected. In my training as the supervisor of this Holy Grail War, it was never said that the call of the Mocking Grail required a written invitation, much less a taunting through words," she said, chuckling darkly. "But whatever. It seems that there simply is a person other than I who seeks to see this ritual come to fruition."

Looking back at Xander, Sourokurou switched her attention at the young man once more.

"Still, this is not something you as a Master should concern yourself with," she said. "This is a duty for myself, the supervisor of this Holy Grail War."

Rafflesiac
February 20th, 2015, 03:37 PM
Xander Stone
Location: Yamaichi Shrine
Phase Day 3/3
Time: 19:57
Day: January 12th


"... I must admit, this is unexpected. In my training as the supervisor of this Holy Grail War, it was never said that the call of the Mocking Grail required a written invitation, much less a taunting through words. But whatever. It seems that there simply is a person other than I who seeks to see this ritual come to fruition."

If the supervisor of the Holy Grail War hadn’t called him here, then who had? An unexpected occurrence so soon was greatly disquieting.


"Still, this is not something you as a Master should concern yourself with. This is a duty for myself, the supervisor of this Holy Grail War."

“Very well then,” I say, swallowing my doubts. “In that case, I have but one question. Where should I go at the war’s end, when only one remains? Do I return here?”

I3uster
February 20th, 2015, 04:09 PM
Mister Delacroix
Location: Old Town - Vollmond Theater
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 19:23
Day: January 12th

"Well, well, well, then it's a contract. I'm not a fan of paper signing so this will do it. It is also binding I might add." He quickly put the severed arm back in the suitcase. "You will hear from me, and I hope I will from you the moment you hear anything interesting."

Delacroix spent a second shoving up his sleeves to look at his watch. He raised his eyebrow.

"I think I should hurry up now, there's someone I just can't keep waiting. If you'd excuse me..." Standing up he straightened his suit and waited for the man to unlock the door.

-----END

Verg Avesta
February 20th, 2015, 04:38 PM
Location: Yamaichi Shrine
Phase Day 3/3
Time: 19:00
Day: January 12th


“Very well then. In that case, I have but one question. Where should I go at the war’s end, when only one remains? Do I return here?”

Sourokurou let out yet another contained, low laughter. It was like watching a great, old beast hum in amusement. She looked into the fire that burned next to them, her eyes seeing something beyond those flames.

"Well, that does depend. Are you the only one remaining at the end of the war? Are you the victor? Or are you, perhaps, a mere survivor who wishes to steal the Mocking Grail before its rightful owner manages to lay claim on it?" she said, though her tone made it unclear whether or not she thought this was a real possibility. "It is easy to just make the Mocking Grail appear. Once the nine Servants are present, the Mocking Grail will appear in time. In other words, there is no need to actually wage war against each other. However, that does not complete the Mocking Grail. That thing decides its own appropriate master. And for that reason, it cannot be obtained by anyone who avoids battles."

Turning back to face Xander, Sourokurou raised her right hand ever so slightly, as if mimicking the sight of the Grail lowering itself from the heavens. Her expression was unreadable, but as usual, her intent was clear. Each and every word she used was meant to test the Master in front of her.

"In short, the only ones qualified to obtain the Mocking Grail are those who have Servants. When there is only one of you left, the Mocking Grail should naturally appear in front of you. So, do not fret. You will know exactly where to go when the time is right."

Having said that, the tall priestess turned around and walked slowly towards the altar at the other end of the chamber. Even further away, her physical presence did not lessen in the least. Thanks to the garb she was dressed in, she commanded much authority even with her mere sight, and even to one un-itiated in the ways of Shinto, her importance was easy to see.

"If that is all, then I shall say one more thing to you, young Master," Sourokurou spoke, gazing into the shadows. "As you leave, you shall take the route that runs behind this shrine. That way, you are able to avoid anyone who might come up the mountain the same way as you previously did. We cannot have Masters do battle before the war has been declared to have officially begun, can we?"

Sourokurou raised her hand again, and this time, she snapped her fingers, as if announcing something to the shadows themselves... or, perhaps, something waiting within them.

"You shall have yourself a guide to show you the right path. However, he will merely guard you till the foot of the mountain. After that, young Master... you are on your own," Sourokurou said, before smiling eerily. "Now then... I will leave him up to you..."

Something red momentarily shined in the darkness.

"...Ruler." (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ki5WFWha0XU)

The air inside the chamber seemed to momentary freeze and then change direction. With a bright whistle, a gust of wind blew through the shrine, causing the flames to flicker momentarily even brighter. What followed that was the clear presence of massive amounts of prana, a condensed entity of pure magical power unlike any other. Even to the most amateurish of magi, the implications of a presence like this were very clear. And for anyone taking part in this ritual known as Heaven's Feel, the sudden sensation caused by what appeared from the shadows... could only be one thing.

Varying shades of blue that melted into the shadows of the chamber, contrasting the billowing flame. Eastern clothing that was ancient even by the standards of the temple they were in. Golden eyes that stared at Xander, unflinching and with almost bestial power inside them. It was as if a storm had taken a humanoid form, and now appeared from thin air, materialized by prana taking on a human form.

The man now standing in the light of the fire could only be one thing:

------------- A Servant.

And that Servant was announced by a smile on Sourokurou's face that could have sent a chill down anyone's spine.

"Rejoice, young man. Your wish will finally come true," she spoke, like a bell announcing fates.

Antary
February 20th, 2015, 04:49 PM
Anna Bernhart
Location: Cross & Grace
Phase: Day 2/3
Time: 15:01
Day: January 12th

"I guess they don't really get it. Ah, well. Maybe the Bishop will. If he doesn't, I still have this letter on me... probably. I hope I didn't forget it."

Anna wrote down her phone number in the pink notebook. "This is a pretty cute book!" She commented on it before handing it back to Chelsea. She offered to write it down for Rain as well, and did it even if he considered that to be redundant - it kind of made her feel like a celebrity, so she was strangely entertained by the act.


"There's this cake shop I wanna hit with a fellow girl! Torque never goes anywhere with me..."

"Of course, Chelsea! Any time. Just give me a call. Though, I won't keep you away from work any longer. I should go get settled in, too," She shivers. "Ahaha, I hope it's warmer in the houses or I'll probably die!"

Anna waved her farewells and left.

There was a lot of work to do past just unloading her things. She took a piece of paper out of her pocket, and there, with her pretty handwriting, was scribbled an address. Getting to it by going through unfamiliar streets would be a little difficult, but nothing to really worry about. Anna will probably find it... eventually.

The preparations would probably eat up the rest of the day. How unfortunate. It could have been a fun day, since, after all, Tengetsu was an entirely new place she has never been to before. New places to see, new people to meet, new things to discover...

But if such was His will, who was she to disobey?

...

Kuroyuki
February 20th, 2015, 05:14 PM
Kiyoko Miyamoto
Location: Yamaichi Shrine
Phase Day 3/3
Time: 18:55
Day: January 12th

I listened carefully to Sourokuro-san's explanation. It was full of info that the letter didn't have. However, I wasn't happy about being unable to avoid fighting in this War. I came here to watch this shrine for the DHO and to see everyone hear again. I was going to resign from the war as soon as I could. Must I fight?

"...I don't like this. I don't like this ceremony. Even if it's for a wish, I don't think killing people is worth a wish."

I resolve myself before I commit myself to saying my next words.

"If I have to enter this Holy Grail War, then I'm not going to enter to win. I'm going to enter this to stop people from killing... I know this is foolish, but I can't accept this."

Rafflesiac
February 20th, 2015, 05:19 PM
Xander Stone
Location: Yamaichi Shrine
Phase Day 3/3
Time: 20:00
Day: January 12th

So all that was required was my capacity to win and my will to fight. To be worthy of this wish, I must prove myself the greatest by trampling all others beneath me, discarding their hopes and dreams for the sake of my own. That is cruel. That is unpleasant.

And I have done so before.

Heh; this really is a contest of magi.


"In short, the only ones qualified to obtain the Mocking Grail are those who have Servants. When there is only one of you left, the Mocking Grail should naturally appear in front of you. So, do not fret. You will know exactly where to go when the time is right."

The location is only revealed to the winner, then? That makes a fair bit of sense, actually; it stops remaining Masters from ambushing you as the number of Servants begins to fall.


"If that is all, then I shall say one more thing to you, young Master. As you leave, you shall take the route that runs behind this shrine. That way, you are able to avoid anyone who might come up the mountain the same way as you previously did. We cannot have Masters do battle before the war has been declared to have officially begun, can we?"

Whew, that’s a relief. I’d hate to be attacked by someone on my way back, or controlled, or spied on, or...


"You shall have yourself a guide to show you the right path. However, he will merely guard you till the foot of the mountain. After that, young Master... you are on your own. Now then... I will leave him up to you..."

A guard? Will it be someone like Izumi? Another servant of the Shrine?


”...Ruler.”

The air is too hard to breathe.

The presence that was once bearable is now crushing; it takes all I have to even stand, let alone raise my head. The very earth is shaking, and the polished wood of the floor shimmers into a haze. No, that is incorrect.

It is my consciousness that is beginning to fail.

I clench my fist, feeling my fingernails stab my palms until they almost bleed, and raise my head.

Ancient garb of shadowy blue, like a stormy midnight sky. Prana so intense that it surpasses the World and bends its will, and an indomitable presence incomparable to all. Piercing golden eyes that scour my soul without a hint of hesitation.

This is a Servant; a being that soon I will chain to my side and be chained in kind.

And Sourokuro smiles with a feral grin colder than the sweat seeping down my spine.


"Rejoice, young man. Your wish will finally come true."

With a gulp, I step forward toward the door to the back route, and head toward my base.

In mere moments, I will make my true first step.



-----END

Spinach
February 20th, 2015, 05:33 PM
Ryougi Kirame
Location: Senketsurinri Villa
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 16:20
Day: January 12th

“Seems I might have more on my hands than eight Masters to deal with while I’m here. Just like you, I don’t like it.” Agreeing with the older man Kirame took the letters, returning them to his pocket. Standing up from the floor Kirame turned stared down to the mayor. “I appreciate the warning, Kaneyama, but it wasn’t needed. Since I came here I have no choice but to keep my eyes open. One more unknown piled on top of the enemies I have to kill changes little.”

“I’ve done what I came here for, so I’ll be going now,” He gave the lord of the house half of a smile, the right side of his mouth hooking upwards in a cocky, but friendly way. For the first time since he had arrived the look on his face drew out the unique charm that was his own, the half-grin solidifying and complimenting the natural handsomeness he was born with. “I’ll stop by again sometime. I like it here.”

Casually inviting himself back for another visit, Kirame turned his smile to the garden behind the mayor before turning his back to the mayor.

“I’ll see myself out.” Sliding the door he had entered from open, Kirame looked over his shoulder one last time. Messy, naturally spiky hair fell over his left eye as tilted his head toward Kaneyama. “I’ll come around supper next time, feel free to treat me.”

Leaving the room without hearing or waiting for the mayor’s answer Kirame made his way out of the manor, retracing the steps he had taken following Munechika, and set off back toward his lodging in the Old Town.

Mormarth
February 21st, 2015, 03:07 AM
Francis York Morgan(?)
Location: Old Industrial District - Tengetsu Police Station
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 15:15
Day: January 12th

I stepped out of the cab smoothly, followed the necessary arrangements and courtesies, and stepped out into the frosty northern air, drawing the jacket in around me. It'd been quite a while since I'd been here last, and I hadn't enjoyed the weather much then, either. But, business was business, no time to waste time complaining about the weather, places to go, people to see.

I turned to survey the building with a critical eye, certainly put up the front of Law and Order, if a bit hardline, but it wasn't my place to judge, sometimes you can get a lot done with just a stern look.

After the cab drove off, I was alone on the street, no lingering loiterers or otherwise people walking around, made everything a bit spooky, city's should have life and vibrancy, this part of town seemed more like a corpse that was still twitching.

As I completed my observation, I amended my early statement, I was not alone on the street at all, over towards the entrance, an auburn-haired young lady stood watching sharply in one direction, attention razor-sharp.

In that particular direction, that is, from the look of it, she hadn't even noticed my crunching footsteps in the snow. Although, I supposed I was particularly light-footed.

Helps with the whole government agent thing, you know.

I approached steadily, over-hearing her muttering to herself, "Now where is that man? I wonder if I should have headed out to the airport after all..."

Man, airport, presumably a bit tardy.

Perhaps it was just a coincidence, but I felt a bit awkward, was never very good to keep a lady waiting. And I spoke from, well, kind-of-experience.

I cleared my throat, "Er, looking for someone? If that someone is someone named "Francis York Morgan", then you're probably looking for me."

Verg Avesta
February 21st, 2015, 07:49 AM
Location: Yamaichi Shrine
Phase Day 3/3
Time: 18:57
Day: January 12th


"...I don't like this. I don't like this ceremony. Even if it's for a wish, I don't think killing people is worth a wish. If I have to enter this Holy Grail War, then I'm not going to enter to win. I'm going to enter this to stop people from killing... I know this is foolish, but I can't accept this."

"You will kill each other." (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wp8LZcFZ0mo)

There was no hesitation in Sourokurou's words. Standing there in the light of the flames, having spoken her judgment, it was like she had announced the end already. She did not doubt or waver even a single bit as she answered, clearly issuing that whatever Kiyoko's own goal, whatever Kiyoko's own mind-set, the only possible end for this ritual known as Heaven's Moon would be...

------ Slaughter.

"Even if you think you have found a way around the true meaning of this ritual, it is not so simple to escape. Indeed, the Mocking Grail in this town is in spirit form. It is not something with form, so it is something that must be called forth by a specialized ritual. In other words, it has to be materialized. As the chosen individuals, Masters can call for the Mocking Grail, but since it is in spirit form... only Servants are able to reach it," Sourokurou said, before laughing in a way that could be only described as mocking. "Naturally, this means that at the very least, you do not have to eliminate anything other but the Servants of your opponents... but as boring as it may be, let me ask you, Miyamoto Kiyoko: Do you think you can beat a Servant? Do you think you are superior to a Servant?"

Her lips curved into a smile that reflected the dance of the flames.

"No... right? Servants are hard to defeat even with a Servant. Thus, the simple solution is right in front of you. Servants can only exist with a Master. No matter how powerful the Servant is, the Servant will disappear if the Master dies," Sourokurou continued. "Any Master worth their salt will realize this. And thus, they will be coming after you... not stopping until you, Miyamoto-san, or they themselves, are destroyed."

Sourokurou's eyes looked up towards the ceiling, their dark surface reflecting the shadows.

"In other words, no matter what your intention... it shall be 'kill or be killed'. Unfortunately, you do not have a choice in this," she plainly informed the younger girl.




Location: Old Industrial District - Tengetsu Police Station
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 15:17
Day: January 12th


"Er, looking for someone? If that someone is someone named "Francis York Morgan", then you're probably looking for me."

"Hu-Gyaaah!" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6pZoACglkRA)

Apparently the sudden sound behind her was too unexpected, as the auburn-haired young woman spun around, hands thrown into odd martial arts(?) pose while her feet backpedaled quite furiously. Her face was a veritable mask of shock, her pink eyes having widened to their limits. For a moment, both she and Morgan could only stare at each other, the only sound accompanying them being the softly howling wind that only made the situation more awkward.

Perhaps even the girl realized this, as after a moment of silence, her face broke into a smile, and she began to giggle uncontrollably.

"M-my goodness you startled me!" the girl managed to say between her laughing fit. "I thought I was being approached by some sort of stalker!"

It took a moment for the auburn-haired girl to calm herself down. After all, she seemed to be the cheerful sort, and the odd relaxation of the atmosphere from awkward to hilarious had to happen in some way. However, once she had managed to steady her breathing and suspend the bouts of giggles that still seemed to threaten to come through, the young woman turned her attention to Morgan.

"Francis York Morgan, right? Welcome to Tengetsu Police Department, then!" She said with a smile, gesturing York to follow after her. I am Amber Farfield, and Meiji asked me to guide you to his office when you arrived."

And Amber did just as asked. She led York up the stairs to the third floor of the office, where most of the officers seemed to be in the middle of work. People hurrying up and down the corridors, shouting about paperwork which had not been completed, tired pleads for someone to finally refill the coffee machine (Amber looked rather guilty when she heard these)... it was the usual hustle and bustle of a police station on a busy day. Nimbly, Amber made her way through the crowds, eventually leading York straight to a door on the far end of the main room that read "Commissioner."

"Chief! I brought your guest~," Amber announced as she slammed the door open without even knocking.

Behind it, Myoujingata Meiji had been in the process of going through some rather official looking documents. Along with them was a collection of pictures on the table. These pictures seemed to depict a rather... unfortunate corpse, which was missing some vital parts of it. Therefore, it was no surprise that the police commissioner had a frown on his face as they entered the room.

... Though, after seeing York, that frown turned into a tired smile.

"York? Oh, come on in!" Meiji said, rising up from his chair. "Now ain't this a sight for the sore eyes?"

Mormarth
February 21st, 2015, 08:17 AM
Francis York(?) Morgan
Location: Old Industrial District - Tengetsu Police Station
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 15:17
Day: January 12th

The girl let out some sort of Bruce Lee-style kung fu yelp of alarm and spun around looking like she was about to Crane Kick me in the side of the head.

We both kind of stood there for a moment, the wind letting out a low howl as it blew past, I tilted my head to the side slightly, waiting for the answer to my question.

After a brief pause, the initial shock faded, and she giggled to herself, smiling in embarrassment, "M-my goodness you startled me! I thought I was being approached by some sort of stalker!"

Well, given my activites in the past, calling me 'some sort of stalker' might be accurate in some sense of the word.

Probably not what she wants to hear right this moment, however.

"Francis York Morgan, right? Welcome to Tengetsu Police Department, then! I am Amber Farfield, and Meiji asked me to guide you to his office when you arrived."

She gestured briskly, and we moved into the building with calm efficiency, climbing the stairs to the third floor, in some state of chaos not out of place in a police procedural, papers flying around, coffee machine empty, hustle and bustle.

Gotta say, despite the exterior putting on a doom 'n gloom face, they seem pretty lively.

We moved smoothly through the chaotic floor, and I was eventually lead down a hall to a stately wooden door titled simply 'Commissioner'.

Must be the place.

"Chief! I brought your guest~"

Amber abruptly slammed through the door with no warning or cease in her stride, she was a lady on a mission, remarkably single-minded, I've started to note.

Inside the room, a familiar-looking man stood frowning over a table, on the surface of the table were a series of pictures, from what I could tell as I approached, they were of the victim, lacerations, parts removed, mutilated, looked pretty bad.

As I approached, his eyes flicked upward and his frown twisted into a tired-looking smile, "York? Oh, come on in! Now ain't this a sight for the sore eyes?"

In the back of my mind, I felt awkward, but I pressed on anyway, drawing from memories that weren't mine with a lazy grin, "It's been too long, Meiji, still enjoying life on an iceberg?"

I offered a hand, "Sorry if I'm a bit late, like to get everything nice and squared away, keeps me focused on what's important."

Verg Avesta
February 21st, 2015, 08:49 AM
Location: Old Industrial District - Tengetsu Police Station
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 15:19
Day: January 12th


"It's been too long, Meiji, still enjoying life on an iceberg? Sorry if I'm a bit late, like to get everything nice and squared away, keeps me focused on what's important."

Meiji took the offered hand and shook it briskly, but with clear familiarity. It was not an official-type of a handshake, but more akin to old friends who once again met after many years. After they had thus reintroduced themselves, Meiji sent Amber to get some coffee for both of them. He also gestured York to sit down, while leaning back on his own quite luxurious leather chair. While York kept talking, Meiji took this chance to pick up his pipe and fill it with tobacco, preparing it for smoking.

"I know the feeling," Meiji said as he lit up the old-looking pipe. "I know I can barely focus on work if I know I left something undone back home. Switching gears is making sure you do not have to divide your focus between any two things, huh?"

Then, with a grin, he added.

"As for what comes to 'this iceberg'... Well, it's your own fault, York. You never visit us during the summer," he said and chuckled. "Surprising as it is, that season exists here, too."

As the two of them continued to talk, Amber eventually returned with two cups and a whole thermos of coffee. Humming a happy little tune to herself, she began pouring the coffee on the cups she put in front of the police commissioner and York. Meiji thanked her with a wordless, nod, before turning his attention back to the man in front of him.

"I got your message that you were coming here, and I prepared what you asked, but... you never went to any detail as to what's going on," he said, looking a bit more serious. "Is there something going on that I should know about?"

Mormarth
February 21st, 2015, 09:20 AM
Francis York(?) Morgan
Location: Old Industrial District - Tengetsu Police Station
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 15:19
Day: January 12th

We shook hands like old friends, firm, but with a jocular familiarity that spoke of a good relationship, after the brief introductions, we chatted a bit, catching up, Amber, apparently his assistant, was sent out for coffee(!), and we sat down to discuss in further detail.

Meiji filled up an old, well-used pipe and filled it, lighting it with a smooth motion that spoke of a long habit, though not to the point of addiction, "I know the feeling, I know I can barely focus on work if I know I left something undone back home. Switching gears is making sure you do not have to divide your focus between any two things, huh?"

"As for what comes to 'this iceberg'... Well, it's your own fault, York. You never visit us during the summer," he said and chuckled. "Surprising as it is, that season exists here, too."

"That so? Hm, well I'll be sure to bring my suntan lotion next time I'm in the area."

We bantered on for a bit, and I gradually familiarized myself with the man, Amber entered a short while later with a fresh cup of coffee(!) and we got down to business.

I picked up a convienient mug and, with a nod of thanks, promptly began guzzling away.

Hm, nutty, and a bit thick, too, nice flavor, clearly natural ingredients, no way this is instant, just the right amount of bitter.

Damn good.

As I luxuriated in my caffeinated euphoria, Meiji turned to me with a serious air, "I got your message that you were coming here, and I prepared what you asked, but... you never went to any detail as to what's going on. Is there something going on that I should know about?"

I sipped slowly at the coffee, looking at Amber, "This really is some damn good coffee, pretty good reason for coming around more often, I'd say," I turned to face Meiji, "Yeah, I've called in a few favors, and I suppose you need to know some of what's going on."

I paused for a moment, frowning into the mug, how should I put this in order to properly get across my point.

"There's going to be something of a gathering in the area, people of various nations, religions and opinions assembling here for some sort of, ah, meeting, you could say, some of them are pretty rough characters, so I got sent over here to keep an eye on things, my people have a bit of stake in their shin-dig too, so they sent me over here to try and ferret out what's the deal."

I shrugged, sipping more coffee, "Sorry if I'm playing the cards a bit close to my chest," I said, honestly, "It is your town and all, but if you've got any information on recent arrivals who might have any sort of property or stake in the area, I'd appreciate it. I'll answer any questions you've got, privately."

Verg Avesta
February 21st, 2015, 09:39 AM
Location: Old Industrial District - Tengetsu Police Station
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 15:22
Day: January 12th


"There's going to be something of a gathering in the area, people of various nations, religions and opinions assembling here for some sort of, ah, meeting, you could say, some of them are pretty rough characters, so I got sent over here to keep an eye on things, my people have a bit of stake in their shin-dig too, so they sent me over here to try and ferret out what's the deal. Sorry if I'm playing the cards a bit close to my chest. It is your town and all, but if you've got any information on recent arrivals who might have any sort of property or stake in the area, I'd appreciate it. I'll answer any questions you've got, privately."

For a moment, Meiji looked like he was about to drop his cup of coffee, staring at York with disbelief in his eyes. Then, with clear realization shining in his eyes, his face turned into a troubled frown as he put his cup down on the table and grabbed a hold of his pipe. Even Amber, who had been simply loitering after pouring the coffee, looked like she understood what was going on, at least to some extent.

"Chief, could it be that the problems from few days ago...?" Amber asked, biting her thumb. Meiji nodded sternly.

"Most likely. It would explain a great deal," he said, finally turning his attention back to York. "Just a few days ago, we experienced some... information problems here at the station. Something... or someone, broke in and deleted all the copies we had of property bought in Tengetsu during the last few months. At first it made no sense, but if what you say is true, then... I suppose things are beginning to clear up. Somebody didn't want the participants of this 'gathering' to be tracked down by police means."

Meiji took a drag off of his pipe and blew out a cloud of smoke, leaning back on his chair. He stared at the ceiling with a hard look in his eyes.

"What troubles me the most is that someone managed to sneak into this place to do that despite me... personally making sure that it wouldn't be that easy. Looks like whoever was responsible was a professional," he said, before looking back at York. "Still, I suppose it's not all bad. After all, I cannot think of a better man they could have sent help deal with this sort of situation. Though speaking of which... Ms. Farfield, could you leave us for a moment? I suppose we need to go over some details."

"Aw, boo~" Amber made a momentary sulking face, before giggling and winking at the two. "Oh, of course. Just call me if you need more coffee."

And with that, the auburn-haired officer left, leaving the two men alone in the office.

Mormarth
February 21st, 2015, 10:14 AM
Francis York(?) Morgan
Location: Old Industrial District - Tengetsu Police Station
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 15:22
Day: January 12th

After I finished my little spiel, Meiji looked like I'd just about punched him in the gut, disbelief twisted his face, then was smoothed by clear realization, spiraling into a troubled frown as he considered what I'd said, even Amber looked like she had some idea what we were talking about.

"Chief, could it be that the problems from a few days ago...?" Amber asked, biting her thumb.

I raised my eyebrows slightly, feeling a turn coming, of course it couldn't be that easy to just trace a couple of yahoos to their rundown shacks in the woods or wherever. It never was.

Meiji nodded, looking serious, "Most likely. It would explain a great deal. Just a few days ago, we experienced some... information problems here at the station. Something... or someone, broke in and deleted all the copies we had of property bought in Tengetsu during the last few months. At first it made no sense, but if what you say is true, then... I suppose things are beginning to clear up. Somebody didn't want the participants of this 'gathering' to be tracked down by police means."

I hummed in thought, filing that away for future reference, someone's covering up for the Masters, huh? Well, judging by the dossier on Grail Wars I skimmed through, might be the supervisor, or could be something else. Still, something to think about.

Meiji let out a long puff of smoke as he leaned back in his leather armchair and stared at the ceiling, "What troubles me the most is that someone managed to sneak into this place to do that despite me... personally making sure that it wouldn't be that easy. Looks like whoever was responsible was a professional," he said, before looking back at me.

"Still, I suppose it's not all bad. After all, I cannot think of a better man they could have sent help deal with this sort of situation. Though speaking of which... Ms. Farfield, could you leave us for a moment? I suppose we need to go over some details."

"Aw, boo~" Amber made a momentary sulking face, before giggling and winking at the two of us. "Oh, of course. Just call me if you need more coffee."

Then she left, the door closing behind her, "Well, she certainly enjoys her job, but I suppose it's pretty clear what this whole gathering is by now, and I suppose it's easier to say 'a couple of rough characters of varying backgrounds' then say, 'various individuals of varying magical power who are going to summon ancient spirits of legend to do battle for a Holy Grail'."

I set the now sadly empty mug down on a coaster, "My organization wants me to observe the phenomenon and, if possible, retrieve the Grail proper and bring it back for safekeeping, after which we'll probably throw it in a warehouse where it'll be 'studied' by 'top men', y'know, like the Ark of the Covenant."

Granted, that last one was half office joke, half serious rumor, but some people swore up and down we got it from some gonzo shenanigans with a bunch of Nazis back in the 30s.

I spread my hands, "Now that I've put some of my cards on the table as an opening statement, anything else you're interested in?"

Verg Avesta
February 21st, 2015, 10:31 AM
Location: Old Industrial District - Tengetsu Police Station
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 15:25
Day: January 12th


"Now that I've put some of my cards on the table as an opening statement, anything else you're interested in?"

Meiji nodded, tapping some ash off of his pipe to the ashtray that was waiting on his desk.

"To be honest, what mostly interests me are the details," Meiji said, now leaning forward and lowering his voice slightly. "I've lived on this island my whole life, but I cannot say I've ever heard of Holy Grail being hidden here. Frankly, it sounds ludicrous... but if a group of magi are here to fight for it, I suppose I cannot discount the truth of it. God knows magi do things for the strangest of reasons, and the results are the only thing that really matter... After all, this sounds like something that would put the citizens in danger."

After saying that, Meiji once more scratched another matchstick and lit his pipe again. He looked at York with studious eyes, though there was no actual suspicion in them. Mostly it seemed that he was trying to gauge York's personal opinion on this whole supposed "battle", as opposed to simply his organization's interest.

"If something like that truly exists on this island, I do not mind it being locked away in some warehouse far away from here. An old relic like that would just put our whole island in danger eventually again," Meiji said. "That being said, my number one priority will be keeping the people safe, as you can probably imagine. If this is an actual 'battle', then I can imagine there will be collateral damage... as is the case with magi. I hope that you agree with this sentiment, York."

Then, with a slightly worrying expression, Meiji continued, this time with much more personal tone.

"... And what about you? Do you have a plan? This whole thing sounds like something that could get you killed," he asked.

Mormarth
February 21st, 2015, 03:13 PM
Francis York(?) Morgan
Location: Old Industrial District - Tengetsu Police Station
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 15:25
Day: January 12th

As I opened the floor for Meiji's own questions, he nodded, leaning forward, "To be honest, what mostly interests me are the details. I've lived on this island my whole life, but I cannot say I've ever heard of Holy Grail being hidden here. Frankly, it sounds ludicrous... but if a group of magi are here to fight for it, I suppose I cannot discount the truth of it. God knows magi do things for the strangest of reasons, and the results are the only thing that really matter... After all, this sounds like something that would put the citizens in danger."

I frowned, nodding slightly, collateral damage, a logical concern for a man in his position, his nominal duty is to Protect and Serve, ancient spiritual superbeings kind of make that a bit difficult, I twisted my mouth a bit in distaste at the reminder of the typical magi 'ends justify means' outlook, it was not true for all of them, but some...

Even the Giant's Pit was not removed from that train of thought, it lead to all sorts of bad road.

Well, I certainly agreed that if deaths were going to happen, which was very probable, to minimize the amount of civilian casualties is something I am mostly certainly on-board with.

"If something like that truly exists on this island, I do not mind it being locked away in some warehouse far away from here. An old relic like that would just put our whole island in danger eventually again," Meiji said. "That being said, my number one priority will be keeping the people safe, as you can probably imagine. If this is an actual 'battle', then I can imagine there will be collateral damage... as is the case with magi. I hope that you agree with this sentiment, York."

I nodded seriously.

He looked a bit worried for a moment, and then he went on, speaking more as a friend, then as the head of police, "... And what about you? Do you have a plan? This whole thing sounds like something that could get you killed."

I smiled wryly, "It is certainly probably one of the more lethal things I could do in my life, yes, and, well, to be honest, I've got about 20% of a plan, it's not much, but with as little information as I have on my opponents and even my own resources..." I shrugged, "Don't really have much to work with, but I'm neck-deep in it now, and besides, someone's gotta look out for the little guy, huh?"

Silence hung in the air.

"I do appreciate your concern, though, really." I said, quietly.

Kuroyuki
February 21st, 2015, 03:16 PM
Kiyoko Miyamoto
Location: Yamaichi Shrine
Phase Day 3/3
Time: 18:57
Day: January 12th


"You will kill each other." (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wp8LZcFZ0mo)

The second that Sourokurou-san said these words, I knew that she honestly believed that we would end up killing each other. Even if I tried to stop them, others would still kill.

Then Sourokurou-san explained why it would end in bloodshed. If a human cannot match a servant in combat, then you kill the master supporting the servant. Namely, that would be me and the eight others involved with this are the first to be killed.


In other words, no matter what your intention... it shall be 'kill or be killed'. Unfortunately, you do not have a choice in this.

"...There's no way to avoid killing anything in this war is there? Even if I decide to end the war by defeating the servants, I would have to kill them to win wouldn't I?"

Verg Avesta
February 21st, 2015, 03:29 PM
Location: Old Industrial District - Tengetsu Police Station
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 15:27
Day: January 12th


"I do appreciate your concern, though, really."

"Don't mention it," Meiji with a hint of a grin. "You did help me in the past, and though things did not... go as we wished they would, that was out of our hands anyhow. I say I still owe you at least one."

Fiddling with his pipe, the police commissioner brought a finger to his chin, gazing outside the window. There, beyond the glass surface, was the snowy scenery of the small yet modern city, growing like a whole new type of flower on the ancient soil of Tengetsu. And in there, somewhere, were other Masters ready to wage war against York.

"... I'll throw out a net, see if I can catch anything," Meiji suddenly said, still staring out of the window. "If some more... unnatural guests have arrived on the island, they must have left some sort of trail of their arrival. It could take some time, but I might be able to fish out some identities. And once we have those, we should be able to find where they're hiding. That should give you some advantage."

With a smile, Meiji turned his attention back to York.

"I've also got another old acquaintance coming to meet me later," he said. "She's quite adept at finding people, so unless she's busy, I could try asking her for a favor."




Location: Yamaichi Shrine
Phase Day 3/3
Time: 18:59
Day: January 12th


"...There's no way to avoid killing anything in this war is there? Even if I decide to end the war by defeating the servants, I would have to kill them to win wouldn't I?"
"Exactly," Sourokurou's answer was short and blunt. That was because there was no way around that simple truth.

"That is the only way the hands worthy of touching the Mocking Grail are found," she added after a moment, still staring at the flames. "After all, it is a wish with no limit. A dream that you can make reality through the power of the Grail... it could not accept anything less."

Mormarth
February 21st, 2015, 03:42 PM
Francis York(?) Morgan
Location: Old Industrial District - Tengetsu Police Station
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 15:27
Day: January 12th

Meiji floated a ghost of a smile across his face, "Don't mention it, you did help me in the past, and though things did not... go as we wished they would, that was out of our hands anyhow. I say I still owe you at least one."

He fiddled with his pipe lightly, gazing out the window as he did so, I followed suit, out there were a bunch of potential enemies, people, monsters, monsters who just looked like people, I sighed, this was certainly a situation I'd gotten myself into. Then Meiji spoke up suddenly.

"... I'll throw out a net, see if I can catch anything. If some more... unnatural guests have arrived on the island, they must have left some sort of trail of their arrival. It could take some time, but I might be able to fish out some identities. And once we have those, we should be able to find where they're hiding. That should give you some advantage."

He turned to me with a more obvious smile, and I answered it.

He went on with, "I've also got another old acquaintance coming to meet me later," he said. "She's quite adept at finding people, so unless she's busy, I could try asking her for a favor."

I scratched my head, "If you feel like ya gotta go that far, sure. So long as it doesn't push too hard into what you're already doing," I nodded at the photos on the table, "Heck, gimme her name and I'll look her up myself."

I stretched lightly.

Verg Avesta
February 21st, 2015, 03:49 PM
Location: Old Industrial District - Tengetsu Police Station
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 15:29
Day: January 12th


"If you feel like ya gotta go that far, sure. So long as it doesn't push too hard into what you're already doing. Heck, gimme her name and I'll look her up myself."

Meiji grunted in light amusement.

"It's the least I can do," he said. "Though I'll try to steer clear of personal involvement. I'm not in any hurry to get in the way of... what did you say, legendary beings? In any case, it doesn't not sound like a place I'd like to be in."

He finally put his pipe aside, having noticed that the bowl had once again simmered down.

"In any event, her name is Hildebrandt. If she actually shows up, I'll see if I can arrange a meeting between you two," Meiji said, before chuckling to himself. "Maybe, instead of just help on your mission, you might actually get some developments in your love life."

Kuroyuki
February 21st, 2015, 03:53 PM
Kiyoko Miyamoto
Location: Yamaichi Shrine
Phase Day 3/3
Time: 18:59
Day: January 12th

There really is no avoiding this. To stay longer would potentially place myself in contact with another master. I don't want to fight another person if I can help it especially someone still living in this world. I could accept passing on evil spirits to the afterlife forcefully, because they're a shadow of themselves. A person's spirit fractured till all that remained was anger, resentment, and hate. However, every person living has some good in them, and I can't find it within myself to hurt that good.

"...I think I'll take my leave now Sourokurou-san. Please enjoy the sweets that I've brought for you and Onii-san."

Mormarth
February 21st, 2015, 04:01 PM
Francis York(?) Morgan
Location: Old Industrial District - Tengetsu Police Station
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 15:29
Day: January 12th

Meiji let out a light snort of amusement, "It's the least I can do. Though I'll try to steer clear of personal involvement. I'm not in any hurry to get in the way of... what did you say, legendary beings? In any case, it doesn't not sound like a place I'd like to be in."

He put his pipe aside for a moment and turned to face me fully, a hint of slyness in his face.

"In any event, her name is Hildebrandt. If she actually shows up, I'll see if I can arrange a meeting between you two. Maybe, instead of just help on your mission, you might actually get some developments in your love life."

"Bah," I complained, "What are you, my mother? Next you'll be telling me to settle down with a nice girl and raise a family," I chuckled, "Anyway, Hildebrandt, huh? Bit of a distinctive name, I'll see if I can look her up and we can go on a hot date or something so you'll get off my back."

I checked my watch, "Hm, would ask if you're free for lunch, but looked like you were in the middle of something, so I'll get out of your hair and go scrounge up some grub."

Verg Avesta
February 21st, 2015, 04:16 PM
Location: Yamaichi Shrine
Phase Day 3/3
Time: 19:01
Day: January 12th


"...I think I'll take my leave now Sourokurou-san. Please enjoy the sweets that I've brought for you and Onii-san."

"Oh? Sweets? That's thoughtful of you as always, Kiyoko-chan~"

A humored male voice called out to the girl from the shadows, were the music had previously echoed from. A twisting, turning wind blew through the chamber, making the flames momentarily flicker. Suddenly, the pressure of a new presence could be felt within the room, as well as the swirling of pure magical energy as something took physical form. Blue particles momentarily shone in the air, before condensing into a singular spot, making way for the appearance of whatever had been waiting for the two finish their conversation.

... And for Kiyoko, it was a familiar sight. One from many years ago, when she had been but a child.

A man in ancient looking clothes, clearly of eastern origin. The familiar smell of salty sea water. The storm-like appearance and the wild golden eyes, crowned with a grin that could almost be counted as bestial... if it wasn't considerably warmer as it fell upon Kiyoko. The swishing of silk and the clanking of metal could be heard as this tall spiritual presence walked forth from the shadows, revealing itself completely.

... There was no doubt about it. It was a Servant. And more importantly than that, it was the true form of the being that Kiyoko had met so long ago in this very same temple... the one she called "Onii-chan."

"Ruler," Sourokurou acknowledged the Servant who had appeared. "Take Miyamoto-san down the path behind the shrine. She should not meet the Master making his way here that way."

"Gotcha, Mochizuki," Ruler said, before shooting a grin at Kiyoko. "You coming, Kiyoko-chan? I could use some sweets and good company after playing music a whole day for that harpy. We can talk as we walk."

Making a gesture that they should leave, Ruler took the front and begun leading the two of them out of the chamber, heading to a different door than the one Kiyoko had used when she had arrived. Watching their receding backs, Sourokurou smiled in the darkness of the dancing flames, a smile that seemed far too fitting for her otherwise unreadable expression.

"------ Rejoice, girl. Your wish will finally come true."

And with that, both Kiyoko and Ruler left the chamber.




Location: Old Industrial District - Tengetsu Police Station
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 15:31
Day: January 12th


"Hm, would ask if you're free for lunch, but looked like you were in the middle of something, so I'll get out of your hair and go scrounge up some grub."

Meiji laughed.

"You go do that. After all, you do have a long journey just behind you. Get some food and settle in, I don't think this battle of yours will start within the very next hour, at least," he said with a grin on his face. "If you want, try the grill down foreign district. I hear they're got excellent steaks over there, or so Amber tells me."

As York was making his leave, Meiji turned his attention back to the papers in front of him. However, before he managed to get out, he said one more thing.

"Pop by tomorrow to see if I have found out anything," he said with a smile. "I'll see if I can't scrounge up some leads by then."

Katie
February 21st, 2015, 04:47 PM
Shimamura Mirai
Location: Outskirts - Jiboujiki Clinic
Phase: Day 3/3
Time: 15:35
Day: January 12th

“I’ll keep that warning in mind. And Setsuko-nee, huh? I’m sure I can haggle something out of her.” Honestly, maybe my family really is one-note after all. Everyone’s a doctor, fancy that. Maybe I should have pursued some other field… But then again, you do what you’re good at and makes you happy, I suppose. I can’t blame my family for wanting to help others, right? That would just be wrong.

I take Sensei’s number and stick into a pocket. I can put in on my cell later, and besides, he looks a bit grumpy. I guess I’m not enough to cheer him up all that much, even with all the mixed news. He was always like this back when I was a kid, now that I think about it… Maybe he’s just one of those types that run hot and cold…


"... The graveyard's southern edge, just few kilometers from here, is well-suited area. It's somewhat unguarded, though, so be careful."

“I’ll be fine. Good luck to you, Sensei.”

It sounds pretty confident, but mostly because I don’t think anyone has the audacity to summon in a graveyard other than, well, myself. I could always get inside the RV to do so, but graveyards are very unsociable places. Not many magi would decide to summon in one—too much pride at stake. But me? I’m a doctor. I’ve seen my fair share of… lost causes.

With a sigh I leave the clinic and get back into the RV. I take a look at the map and there it is. The graveyard. It’ll be really suspicious if I go there right away, so I’ll just go get myself a meal from a diner in the city or something before I go back there. There’s still plenty of daylight to kill, even with all the preparations I have to do.

Location: Outskirts - Graveyard
Phase: Night
Time: 22:48
Day: January 12th

It’s dark. And here I am, with my RV parked on the wayside, sitting in the middle of the graveyard, preparing to summon one of humanity’s greatest heroes. It’s... almost unimaginable that I’m in this position. Am I really ready to do so? Is this really something I’m capable of doing? These Command Seals were transferred to me, after all...

I slit my left arm with a scalpel, straight down for more blood. And I draw the circle, enriched in the scarlet liquid of life. The RV is too small to summon, so I do it here, in this patch of dirt and grass, lying next to these many tombstones in the dark. Caution thrown to the wind, really. But I can do this fast and leave as soon as possible.

The circle takes a bit too much for my liking, and I strain to focus on sealing the wound.

“The head, the arms, the legs, the body, the heart. Five parts, one whole. Let this be restored to the state of perfection once more.”

I trace out the star with my hand, five points. And the wound on my arm is mended. I feel a lot less dizzy too... I think some blood is restored. I’ll be fine.

I take a deep breath and place my catalyst, a blackened fingerbone inherited from my grandfather, the same catalyst he used to summon his Servant, into the circle.

And then I chant. All or nothing now.

“Ye first, O silver, O iron. O stone of the foundation, O Archduke of the Contract.
Hear me in the name of my great teacher, Ascelpius.
Let the descending winds be as a wall.
Let the gates in all directions be shut, rising above the crown, and let the three-forked roads to the Kingdom revolve.”

Prana flows outward like a river, swirling like a whirlpool, draining into the circle, trying to make a connection. I can feel it leak throughout all of my circuits, one steady, continuous flow.

“Shut. Shut. Shut. Shut. Shut.
Five perfections for each repetition. And now, let the filled sigils be annihilated in my stead.”

I look at the pentagram etched into the circles. Five points, resembling perfection.

“— I announce.
Let thy body rest under my dominion, let my fate rest in thy blade.
If thou submitteth to the call of our ritual, and if thou wilt obey this mind, this reason, then thou shalt respond!
—I make my oath here.
I am the person who is to become the virtue of all Heaven.
I am that person who is covered with the evil of all Hades.
Thou seven heavens, clad in a trinity of words, come past thy restraining rings! Guardian of the Heavenly Scales—!”

And in that moment, I pray.


http://i.imgur.com/eMjBUJL.gif

Kuroyuki
February 21st, 2015, 04:52 PM
Kiyoko Miyamoto
Location: Yamaichi Shrine
Phase Day 3/3
Time: 19:01
Day: January 12th



"Oh? Sweets? That's thoughtful of you as always, Kiyoko-chan~""Onii-san?"

I turned around to greet the man who I used to call Onii-chan when I was younger. However, I was surprised when I saw him. While Onii-san was always one to wear older looking clothes, his clothes were now an ancient eastern clothes. Something about his clothes... made him seem bigger than life. That's when I realized, Onii-san was a Servant and judging by Sourokurou-san's use of the title Ruler. He was Servant Ruler.


"You coming, Kiyoko-chan? I could use some sweets and good company after playing music a whole day for that harpy. We can talk as we walk."

"I would love to Ruler-Onii-san!"

We left through a different door than the one I entered, and I talked to Ruler-Oniisan about the past couple of years. How we've been, what I've been up, and reminiscing about ten years ago.


Location: Miyamoto Shrine
Phase: Night
Time: 21:30
Day: January 12th

Despite my distaste for this war, I can't do anything if I don't summon a servant. So I took out my catalyst, an old faded but well-preserved parchment, and placed it into the summoning circle. I did a kagura dance of fortune asking the gods for their blessings before I start the chant for summoning my servant.


Ye first, O silver, O iron. O stone of the foundation, O Archduke of the Contract.
Hear me in the name of my great teacher, Asakami.
Let the descending winds be as a wall.
Let the gates in all directions be shut, rising above the crown, and let the three-forked roads to the Kingdom revolve.
Shut. Shut. Shut. Shut. Shut.
Five perfections for each repetition. And now, let the filled sigils be annihilated in my stead.
— I announce.
Let thy body rest under my dominion, let my fate rest in thy blade.
It thou submitteth to the call of our ritual, and if thou wilt obey this mind, this reason, then thou shalt respond!
—I make my oath here.
I am the person who is to become the virtue of all Heaven.
I am that person who is covered with the evil of all Hades.
Thou seven heavens, clad in a trinity of words, come past thy restraining rings! Guardian of the Heavenly Scales—!

http://i.imgur.com/Sdt7vx5.gif


I was blinded by the light as I finished the summoning ritual.

Rafflesiac
February 21st, 2015, 04:56 PM
Xander Stone
Location: Base - The Quarry
Phase: Night 1/2
Time: 20:41
Day: January 12th

The door slams shut behind me, and I shamble upstairs to my room and crumple onto my bed.

Without a doubt, that was the tensest walk I have ever had. Still, I need to get up at some point. Clapping my hands to my cheeks, I stand up and open one of my two suitcases. Inside are the basic materials I need for my mother’s spell; however, they will be used for a different occasion today.

I pull out a syringe and tourniquet and begin my work.

~~~~~~~~~~

I stand in the living room, a bowl in my hand filled with blood. The dull scratching of my feet on the floorboards and my finger tracing crimson circles and glyphs onto the carpetless wood mixes with shuddering breaths, shaking the dusty air. The lights are on their lowest setting; while I have little need of illumination, this is a ceremony I cannot afford to fail.

With a final drop, I finish the circle, and place my catalyst in its center---

A single arrowhead stained blood-red.

Are the sigils correct? No, they have to be; this is the tenth time that I’ve checked them. I can’t afford to dally any longer. A single step brings me to the edge of the circle.

I raise my right arm, palm outstretched toward the circle’s center.


Ye first, O silver, O iron. O stone of the foundation, O Archduke of the Contract.


Prana circles and flows as if it had never stopped, joining the blood in my body and air in my lungs.

Hear me in the name of my great teacher, Stone.


This is a step I cannot take back.

Let the descending winds be as a wall.


This act is no mountain of devotion to be scaled.

Let the gates in all directions be shut, rising above the crown, and let the three-forked roads to the Kingdom revolve.


It is a chasm of despair I dove into in a mad quest.

Shut. Shut. Shut. Shut. Shut.


I am risking my life in something that I do not understand, for something that is not guaranteed.

Five perfections for each repetition. And now, let the filled sigils be annihilated in my stead.


Within mere seconds, a being greater than I could ever hope to be will step forth.

—I announce.
Let thy body rest under my dominion, let my fate rest in thy blade.


Even so, I must strive; not to be the greatest, or the strongest, but to be worthy of my own name.

If thou submitteth to the call of our ritual, and if thou wilt obey this mind, this reason, then thou shalt respond!


Once again, I will bind another.

—I make my oath here.
I am the person who is to become the virtue of all Heaven.


Once again, I will be bound.

I am that person who is covered with the evil of all Hades.


Here and now, I will shatter my chains!

Thou seven heavens, clad in a trinity of words, come past thy restraining rings! Guardian of the Heavenly Scales—!


http://i.imgur.com/8NJZ4xs.gif

Mormarth
February 21st, 2015, 05:13 PM
Francis York Morgan(?)
Location - Park District - Gongujoudo
Phase - Night
Time - 19:59

Meiji laughed as I got to my feet, "You go do that. After all, you do have a long journey just behind you. Get some food and settle in, I don't think this battle of yours will start within the very next hour, at least. If you want, try the grill down in foreign district. I hear they're got excellent steaks over there, or so Amber tells me."

"I'll keep that in mind, it's been a while since I've had really good steak."

I paced towards the door, turning slightly as Meiji cleared his throat one last time, "Pop by tomorrow to see if I have found out anything," he said with a smile. "I'll see if I can't scrounge up some leads by then."

"Sounds like a plan, see ya then, Meiji."

I grinned and waved a hand as I exited his office and made my way back to my current place of residence.
======

I grimaced at the cramps just now starting in my legs, I'd been maintaining this careful posture for the last hour or so, I'd showered, fasted, ritually cleansed myself, and set up my summoning circle, while it wasn't made up of the traditional salt or blood, the sheer modern context of police tape tended to work out just fine.

I knelt at the apex, the point of Mastery, and was surrounded at each of other points by various objects sensitive to my own psyche, a baseball glove, for physical, a charcoal picture of me and my closest friend, for emotional, dried coffee grains for mental, and a single red seed, darkened on one side, for spiritual.

The catalyst lay in the center of the circle, I'd removed it from it's specialized carrying case with utmost care, I'd had to go through about 10 different forms to even get close to it, and that's 10 forms, not 10 pages.

My hands ached just thinking about it, and it was just some old reed. Granted, I'd gotten it out of one of the Warehouses, so it was Probably a Big Deal.

I tried to ask where they got it from, and was promptly presented with 20 more forms.

I prudently decided to eschew the red tape and just take the damn thing.

I eyed the circle critically, it wasn't precisely orthodox, but this kind of set-up was reliable, if somewhat more esoteric then the more science-minded alchemists would prefer.

But I got the job done, and as I glanced at the clock on the wall, the precise moment of my peak, thaumaturgically speaking, was here, my voice was a bit hoarse, I'd been muttering a chant under my breath for about twenty minutes now, clearing the mind of all thought.

Right, here goes nothing.

I began:

"Ye first, O silver, O iron. O stone of the foundation, O Archduke of the Contract.
Hear me in the name of my great teacher, Atlasia.
Let the descending winds be as a wall.
Let the gates in all directions be shut, rising above the crown, and let the three-forked roads to the Kingdom revolve.
Five perfections for each repetition. And now, let the filled sigils be annihilated in my stead.



Fill
Shut.


Fill
Shut.


Fill
Shut.


Fill
Shut.


Fill
Shut.




— I announce.
Let thy body rest under my dominion, let my fate rest in thy blade.
It thou submitteth to the call of our ritual, and if thou wilt obey this mind, this reason, then thou shalt respond!
—I make my oath here.
I am the person who is to become the virtue of all Heaven.
I am that person who is covered with the evil of all Hades.
Thou seven heavens, clad in a trinity of words, come past thy restraining rings! Guardian of the Heavenly Scales—!"

http://i.imgur.com/y4JczO6.gif

The circle shone, my scar ached, my mouth went dry, a blinding flash of light shone out from the center of the circle and I shielded my eyes.

Spinach
February 21st, 2015, 05:31 PM
Ryougi Kirame
Location: Old Town – Base
Phase: Night
Time: 17:35
Day: January 12th

The return ‘home’ through the older town was uneventful and quiet, moreso than any city should be. As dark settled in and the streetlamps lit up Kirame found was left to his lonesome in the streets, traveling the confusing city’s streets and alleyways by memory. Occasionally he would pull out the slip of paper in his pocket to jog his memory or fill in the blanks. By the time he returned to the old house the route was firmly entrenched in his mind, enough so that he wouldn’t have problems making the trip again.

The familiar ding-like sound of metal striking metal from within the old house welcomed the Ryougi home.

“Keeping busy as always.” As he passed through the old gate to the house Kirame inspected the hinge that had given away at his kick when he had first arrived, now repaired and looking fresh from a department store. “Can’t resist a chance to fix something, can ya, squirt?”

Not even the squeal of old, rusted metal answered Kirame as he closed the gate, much gentler than he had opened it before. He smiled at her handiwork, latching the gate shut and moving across the dying grass spread out over the lawn, poking its way out of the snow here and there. Entering his temporary home Kirame kicked off his shoes and immediately made for the kotatsu.

Making himself comfortable the man laid his face down on the table and lazily called out to the other end of the house.

“Nozomiiiiii, I’m baaaack.” The repeated metal strikes cut off, quickly replaced by the sound of footsteps.

A pair of aged doors slid open, or more accurately were blown aside, as the blacksmith made her entrance to the living room. Still wearing the same upper half of a track suit from before, except now even more covered in soot, dirt, and with a few places that almost looked singed, Nozomi burst into the living room.

“Yo Kirame-nii, did’ja meet th’ mayor ‘n that Gyoku Saishuki?” She asked, grinning at Kirame as if to say she already knew the answer.

“Ahh, yeah, I met the mayor.” He answered, speaking with one side of his face pressed against the table. “You wouldn’t believe it, he has samurai guarding him. Samurai! And then someone threw a teacup at me.”

“Then’s good I didn’ let’ja bring any weapons, ain’t it?” She asked, still beaming a grin from her smudged up face down at him.

“Yeah, yeah, whatever you say.” Giving her a disagreeing agreement, Kirame raised a hand up and whisked it back and forth, as if to knock away her ‘I told you so’ attitude.’“Ahhh, I really want to fight a samurai. I’m gonna visit them again for sure. Next time I’ll bring my own sword too.”

“Well, s’not like I got a good reason to be makin’ ya go unarmed again if ya already introduced yerself ‘n whatnot…” Nozomi relented, rolling her eyes at Kirame’s one-track mind. “So, ya met the mayor, what’ve Gyoku Saishuki?”

“…” Holding his tongue for a minute, Kirame met the question with a hesitant silence. Rolling his face over on the table so that the girl was no longer staring directly at him he finally answered. “Didn’t meet her.”

“Yaaaaa….” A voice that promised a gift of pain hung in the air as Nozomi let out her annoyance. A tiny fist that packed a surprising amount of strength, given that it belonged to a girl not even old enough for highschool, struck him in the back of the head, pushing the side of his face resting against the table into it with a loud bang that was only outdone by the voice of Nozomi. “Numbskull!”

“I can’t help it, you didn’t tell me where she is.” Kirame quickly retorted, defending his complete inaction while rubbing his head consolingly.

“Ya better find ‘er tomorrow n’ do it, n’ do it right, too!” Crossing her arms the small girl scolded Kirame, like a mother would to a child. “I’ll be ‘n the back now.” She added, as Kirame chose to continue rubbing his head rather than answering. “It’ll be done t’night. Exactly like ya asked for it t’ be.”

Having said so Nozomi disappeared from the room. Hearing the doors slide shut behind him, as well as the retreating footsteps of the girl, Kirame smiled as he rubbed his head one last time.

“Time for a nap. It’s gonna be a long,” he looked up toward the clock, eyes closing as he read the time, “and fun night.”

The ticking of the clock, and the clash of metal from further in the house, sent Kirame off as he rested himself in preparation for the coming night.

Location: Old Town – Base
Phase: Night
Time: 22:48
Day: January 12th

“Is it ready?” Rubbing his eyes Ryougi Kirame walked into the forge at the other end of the house. The clink of metal against metal stopped as Nozomi turned to him from her seat, lifting up the pair of protective goggles covering her face.

“S’been ready, was just waitin’ for ya to wake up, ya bum.” She said, pointing to a large, square sheet of metal laid out over the floor. A large, heavily detailed magic circle was inscribed, or perhaps welded, into the metal’s surface. Intricate symbols and patterns, placed symmetrically in places and asymmetrically in others.

“Looks perfect.” Kirame commented, rubbing chin as he circled the steel sheet. “No less from Jirou Ossan’s granddaughter, taking those vague descriptions and making this.”

“Flattery gets ya nowhere, knucklehead.” She answered, still smiling proudly at the work she had done with so little information. The only thing Kirame had given her to go by was a scribble he threw onto a piece of paper, saying it was what he ‘felt he needed.’

“Got the other thing?” He asked her, and Nozomi answered by pointing to a table in the work area, completely clear except for a single wood and glass case sitting at the center of the table. Taking it in his hands Kirame looked down to the tiny object enshrined within the glass and wood, preserved with such care and veneration to be compared to an object of worship.

“No reason to wait,” Kirame said, setting the box down at the center of the circle using surprising gentleness. “Knife.”

Without a word the girl picked up one of many knives beside her, all made by her own hands, and tossed one to him. Catching the knife, Kirame walked to the edge of the circle and drew the blade from a leather sheath. Extending his right hand over the circle, Kirame took the knife in his left and stabbed it into the open palm of his right. As the blood from the wound fell down onto the metal circle Kirame moved his hand over the ornately inscribed work and symbols, tracing over them with his blood. As the last of the lines were traced he withdrew his hand, tightening it into a fist.

With blood trickling down to his knuckles and onto the floor, Kirame took a deep breath. Words came to mind, the correct ones to say for this ritual, the three red brands on his left arm lighting up in accord with the summoning he was about to begin, as if to tell him that they were the reason the incantation he needed was known to him.

Ye first, O silver, O iron. O stone of the foundation, O Archduke of the Contract.
Hear me in the name of my great teacher, Nanaya.
Let the descending winds be as a wall.
Let the gates in all directions be shut, rising above the crown, and let the three-forked roads to the Kingdom revolve.

A red light rose up from the circle, and the brands in his right arm came to life even more, matching the glow of the ritual in intensity.

Shut.Shut.Shut.Shut.Shut.
Five perfections for each repetition. And now, let the filled sigils be annihilated in my stead.
— I announce.
Let thy body rest under my dominion, let my fate rest in thy blade.
It thou submitteth to the call of our ritual, and if thou wilt obey this mind, this reason, then thou shalt respond!
—I make my oath here.
I am the person who is to become the virtue of all Heaven.
I am that person who is covered with the evil of all Hades.
Thou seven heavens, clad in a trinity of words, come past thy restraining rings! Guardian of the Heavenly Scales—!



http://i.imgur.com/puorjhU.gif

hero
February 21st, 2015, 05:54 PM
Azama Tae
Location: Upasmike Forest - Tae's Cabin
Phase: Night 1/3
Time: 21:20
Day: January 12th


"... It's late." (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vCOTWQexTjs)

After spending the afternoon at the forest to familiarize with it and hunt the materials I was missing for the summoning ritual, I am rather glad to have a place close-by to return to, where the fire will keep me warm. Unfortunately, I cannot allow myself to sit down and relax, not tonight at least. I am not sure if the other Masters have summoned their Servants yet or if I'll be the first one to do so, but the more time I spend without one, the more at risk I feel in this island. I don't have any intention of waiting until the sun rises.

"..."

I feel a foreboding chill run up my spine. It goes without saying that I find no enjoyment what I am about to do. There is no use in denying that I am somewhat afraid of this ritual. I have little knowledge when it comes to this sort of thing and a single mistake could bring about a completely different effect. Yes, rather than the 'thing' I will summon should I succeed, I am more scared of what could happen to me if I fail. Thankfully, to my understanding, it's a simple ritual even a complete beginner should be able to perform without difficulties. According to what I've dug on the matter, I will be merely acting as 'chord' to connect the Servant to the world I reside and provide the Mana necessary for it to materialize. In other words, the 'Mocking Grail' will take care of the hard work for me.

I turn towards the corpses of the otters I've hunted recently. I could have easily hunted a boar or a wolf instead, but I didn't feel like it was worth the risk. Otters are much more easy to carry for one, and it speaks of my skills as a hunter to have brought down more than one during the night time. Their blood is still warm, so I should make use of it right now.

. . .

After several minutes, the summoning circle is complete. It's rather complex -or at least it feels that way to me- with several encircling patterns. It certainly was not as easy as it claimed in the material I read, but I managed to pull it off perfectly nonetheless. As it is now, however, it's merely a fancy drawing in blood. If I understood correctly, then it should become active as I recite the specific chant.

"..."

But before that... I should place the catalyst within the circle. It takes me some time to unwrap it, as it's regarded as something precious, despite being incredibly mundane in terms of what it looks like. Regardless, I look after it as if it were a holy relic, merely out of caution. I deposit inside the circle without disturbing its composition. Only then do I step outside it's boundaries and begin with the ritual proper.

"Ye first, O silver, O iron. O stone of the foundation, O Archduke of the Contract."

I spell the words I learned by heart, but I go further and concentrate, thinking of the meaning behind each of them.

"Hear me in the name of my great teacher, Kimon."

As I call out the name of my ancestor, the blood acquires a purplish color and begins to glow radiantly.

"Let the descending winds be as a wall.
Let the gates in all directions be shut, rising above the crown, and let the three-forked roads to the Kingdom revolve.




"Fill
Shut.
Fill
Shut.
Fill
Shut.
Fill
Shut.
Fill
Shut."

Five perfections for each repetition. And now, let the filled sigils be annihilated in my stead.

The light shines brighter with each word I say. I feel I could go blind without even staring at it directly. And that's not all, even though I am inside the cabin and all the windows are closed, I feel a gentle breeze and the promise of a strong gale. However, I cannot allow to falter here... I must renew my resolve and press on.

"— I announce.
Let thy body rest under my dominion, let my fate rest in thy blade.
It thou submitteth to the call of our ritual, and if thou wilt obey this mind, this reason, then thou shalt respond!
—I make my oath here.
I am the person who is to become the virtue of all Heaven.
I am that person who is covered with the evil of all Hades."

Sparks of red light and floating light particles join the spectacle. If I was not the summoner, perhaps I could enjoy the sight a little bit more. But from my perspective, this all looks like...

"Thou seven heavens, clad in a trinity of words, come past thy restraining rings! Guardian of the Heavenly Scales—!"

The perfect formula for an explosion.



http://i.imgur.com/duBrilk.gif

Antary
February 21st, 2015, 06:04 PM
Anna Bernhart
Location: Harbor - Family House
Phase: Night
Time: 22:18
Day: January 12th

"Alright, now that I took care of unpacking my things..." Anna grabbed an already opened envelope, taking out the letter inside. Before actually reading it, she took a look around.

She was sitting down on a sofa in a comfortably sized living room. Though there was the option of turning on the lights, only a simple lamp was in use. The walls were adorned with religious crosses, icons, and portraits of saints; not something Anna had set up herself, but rather, the items left behind by the house's previous inhabitants. The house's lack of lighting should have served to make it seem eerie, but a strange tranquility was present in the air.

Anna looked back at the letter.

"I wonder if it'll work... it will work, right? You're right, no reason it wouldn't..." She murmured, letting the letter slide back into its envelope. She stood up, heading elsewhere.

...

Anna Bernhart
Location: Harbor - Family House - Basement
Phase: Night
Time: 22:22
Day: January 12th

The circle was drawn. A couple of old, withered pages lied in its centre. Anna extended her right arm towards the circle, baring the brands on her hand. She paused to ensure the readiness of her circuits.

She began the chant, her voice very nearly yelling out each word of the incantation.

"Ye first, O silver, O iron. O stone of the foundation, O Archduke of the Contract.
Hear me in the name of my great teacher, The Holy Spirit.
Let the descending winds be as a wall.
Let the gates in all directions be shut, rising above the crown, and let the three-forked roads to the Kingdom revolve.

Fill
Shut.



Fill
Shut.


Fill
Shut.



Fill
Shut.


Fill
Shut.



Five perfections for each repetition. And now, let the filled sigils be annihilated in my stead.
— I announce.
Let thy body rest under my dominion, let my fate rest in thy blade.
It thou submitteth to the call of our ritual, and if thou wilt obey this mind, this reason, then thou shalt respond!
—I make my oath here.
I am the person who is to become the virtue of all Heaven.
I am that person who is covered with the evil of all Hades.
Thou seven heavens, clad in a trinity of words, come past thy restraining rings! Guardian of the Heavenly Scales—!"


http://i.imgur.com/8Uks4cB.gif


The seal threatened to burn through her hand, so intense was the prana flowing in it. She closed an eye as blinding light surged out of the circle, the other one trying to make out the being that was emerging.

I3uster
February 21st, 2015, 06:28 PM
Mister Delacroix
Location: Old Town - Delacroix's Place
Phase: Night
Time: 23:55
Day: January 12th

It was ice-cold in the room he was most sure could stay barred and sound-proof in his humble home. The old freezer room would serve as ritual chamber, even if the temperatures forced him to wear a coat, the discomfort animating him to get this over with quick.

Salt that he poured on the slightly icy floor etched a circle in the frozen layer. It was time for the ritual to begin. His suitcase was placed before the door of the room, blocking entry.

He took a deep breath. A small vapor cloud escaped his mouth as he exhaled. He wasn't comfortable with waiting any longer. It was probably unnecessary anyway.

Under the protection of the darkness of the night the man spoke the words that would change his role on this island, from an observer to a participator in the ritual of the Mocking Grail.


Nou la a, premye, o argent, o pase fè. O wòch fondasyon, gouvènè o de kontra a.

Tande m' nan non M' moutre anpil, Kalfu.

Se pou ordre van ki te tankou yon miray lavil la.

Pou gates nan tout direksyon yo fèmen, monte pi wo pase kouwòn lan, ak pou twa Ross wout pou a vire nan peyi wa ki.


The room lit up, glistening as if the floor had been covered in jewels. The door had been opened.



Fèmen. Fèmen. Fèmen. Fèmen. Fèmen.



Senk perfections pou chak repetisyon. Apre sa, koulye a, tanpri rempli siy ki te fè toti nan Place m.

— M' ap anonse.

Se pou kò ou anba dominasyon m, se pou m' mouri mouri, yo nan lame ou.

Si ou soumèt pou apèl rituel nou, Et si n' ap obeyi lide sa a, se te rezon sa a, lè sa a ou dwe reponn!

— M' ap fè sèman m' isit la.

Mwen se moun ki va vin bon madanm nan tout syèl la.

Mwen se moun sa ki kouvri mal de tout Hades.


The man stopped for just a second. His grin grew wider even as his breath started to become heavy under the cold conditions. After a deep breath, he continued



Ou se lonbraj mwen, fòm ou pesonn p'ap janm wè. Kòm silans, Sera m' dwe fè droit ou. Yonn nan moun san non, kote yo pote yon mas blan mouri!

Ou menm syèl sèt, revèti nan yon trinity de mots, vini pase bag sispansyon tanporè ou! Responsab, gadyen de balans Céleste —!

http://i.imgur.com/qFGLLF2.gif

Leftovers
February 21st, 2015, 06:45 PM
Astrid Hildebrandt
Location: Upasmike Forest
Phase: Night
Time: 20:17
Day: January 12th

The cold wind wrapped around her like an ethereal cloak, snowflakes madly dancing in the air, as if fairies of an ancient time had passed into the mortal plane, playing hide-and-seek among the towering pines.

This was Upasmike Forest, a realm forgotten by time.

The silence that blanketed the snowy landscape when the motorcycle's engine died down was almost overwhelming, to the point that the mechanical steed's presence in the small clearing had an air of sacrilege; of intruding a holy place, and disturbing its ataraxia.

Perhaps it had held such mystery, once. In the fringes of the world, away from the works of man, the old order still held on to its last vestiges of its earthly authority. But regardless of whether or not this forest yet hid elements of the fantastical, the isolation it commanded made it the ideal locus for Astrid's purpose.

Freshly outfitted with the vehicular equipment needed to face the worst Tengetsu had to throw under her two wheels, Astrid had made a return trip to her base, to gather the materials necessary for the summoning ritual; in essence, the two bags of her blood, drawn in her preparations for the war in London, and preserved thanks to a combined application of citrate and a cooling spell.

Then, it was a game of misdirection. Jumping on her Thunderbird, Astrid spent the next two hours roaming the streets of the city, looking very much the part of a visitor or tourist taking in the sights of an unfamiliar city. From the Harbour District's piers, rife with people despite the dying sunlight, to the sky-reaching Tennou Tower, visible from afar and even more imposing up close, to the beautiful traditional buildings of Old Town, the distinctive irimoya roofs gently coated with snow.

When the sun had fully sunken in the turbulent depths of the northern sea, the darkness found Astrid entering the silent woods, on an almost unrecognisable road that seemed to have seen little use by conventional vehicles in the winter months. Inwardly, Astrid thanked the prophetic sight of the police station's outfitted vehicles, and the amber-haired angel that saved her prospects of an inconspicuous summoning.

The trail ended at a small clearing, where the snow caught the streaming moonlight in a breathtaking dance. In this holy winter place, she began her preparations.

Clearing out a patch of earth free of snow was swiftly accomplished; drawing the magic circle, on the other hand, was a task too important and too complex to afford something less that all of her mind's concentration, and her hand's delicate control. She knew the pattern by memory, having studied it in the Association, but bringing the image in her mind to the earthly canvas, with her own blood as paint, was a deceptively difficult task. The slightest imperfection could bring about any number of unforeseen outcomes; such was the nature of magecraft, in all things.

It did not help that her hand had begun to tremble, courtesy of the encroaching cold seeping into her motionless form.

Eventually, it was done. Taking a moment to stretch a few tense joints, still stiff from concentration, Astrid inspected her handiwork with a careful eye, mentally comparing it to the blueprint perfectly stored in her head.

Mm, that will do. She stretched to her full height, and the weight of the moment seemed to catch up with her. Perhaps it was the mystical mood of the forest, or the mindset she entered to draw the magic circle, but a haze had descended upon Astrid's mind, and anticipation bubbled in her chest. In her inner pocket, the small package felt unbelievably heavy.

She retrieved it from the pocket, and held it to the light of the moon, inspecting it as one would with a precious gem. Too important to not keep on her person, this would be the key to unlock the mystery of Heaven's Moon, the catalyst for the ritual of binding.

Strange. It was just too strange, no matter how many times she saw it. How such worn, weathered, derelict things could still hold so much power within them. How much mystery must have accumulated through countless eons, for such a small thing to draw a spirit from the stream of time, a Hero of the distant past brought to the future.

This was a fitting setting, then. Stripping away all the practical functionalities - of how the outburst of prana would occur far away from the city, away from the sensory perception of most magi, and lending little clue to those that could detect it - this winter scene, frozen in time, was the only place where this miracle would not look out of place, but like a natural phenomenon. As if it was meant to happen there.

Clutching the catalyst in her left hand, Astrid stands silent, unmoving, breathing in with the landscape — with the world. Then, the words come unbidden.



Ye first, O silver, O iron. O stone of the foundation, O Archduke of the Contract.
Hear me in the name of my great teacher, Frögärd.
Let the descending winds be as a wall.
Let the gates in all directions be shut, rising above the crown, and let the three-forked roads to the Kingdom revolve.


The snow is the clearing swirled in unison, as if a mighty wind had begun to stir.



Shut. Shut. Shut. Shut. Shut.

Five perfections for each repetition. And now, let the filled sigils be annihilated in my stead.


The trees groaned, the sound echoing far like an ancient song.



— I announce.
Let thy body rest under my dominion, let my fate rest in thy blade.
It thou submitteth to the call of our ritual, and if thou wilt obey this mind, this reason, then thou shalt respond!


In her grasp, the catalyst burned like a roaring fire.



—I make my oath here.
I am the person who is to become the virtue of all Heaven.
I am that person who is covered with the evil of all Hades.


A beat of silence. The clearing stood still.

Then.



Thou seven heavens, clad in a trinity of words, come past thy restraining rings! Guardian of the Heavenly Scales—!


The world became light. Her ears rang, and she could not see.



But she could feel everything.


http://i.imgur.com/yxyksD7.gif

Verg Avesta
February 21st, 2015, 06:48 PM
Location: Residential District - Old Park
Phase: Night
Time: 22:30
Day: January 12th


This time...


Sloppy footsteps hit the ground as the oddly swaying body entered the perimeter of the abandoned, overgrown park hidden within the back-alleys of the residential district. Cold snow covered the ground, but it was nothing compared to the freezing hand that had grabbed hold of the slowly approaching youth. Like a puppet barely hanging from his strings, he continued forward, urged by the invisible call that had taken a hold of him in the land of slumber. Somewhere, far away, one could hear something akin to the howling of a wolf. It was like a judgment call, an announcer for the great travesty that was unfolding in the darkness, beyond the sense of the people of this town.



This time... it shall be different...


A voiceless call full of anger, full of rage. Its time had finally come. For so long it had been held at bay, for so long it had waited, forgotten. But now, finally, its wait had been rewarded. Patience had given away to the monstrous obsession that still held the call to this mortal coil, in the form that was against anything that still lived. Like a recording, skipping to the beginning over and over again, as the surface had been scratched by a nail known as "regret." There was nothing more in it at this very moment than the sickening pleasure of being able to start over once more, taking advantage of this god-given chance during this one night...



This time... I will not lose...


The stolen body fell to the ground, on his knees. A simple call, a simple urging, a simple hostile takeover of the physical body had been enough so far. Now, what was needed was manifestation of more complex will. Raising his arm, the body in its control squeezed its hand into a fist and released something green and glowing from between its fingertips. It was the waste-product of mana, an otherwise useless substance that could still work as a conductor in a situation like this. In other words... ectoplasm. The only touch allowed to those that refused to part with their connection to this world.



This time... things shall be different...


She could still feel it, the connection that tugged momentarily at the circuits running through its wretched soul. It was no mere physical link that it had, but something supernatural, something unnatural. Even after her body had decayed, these unnatural veins were still there... and this connection had been etched to them. She could still feel that red glow, one that had once adorned her own wrist. She had lost its illuminating brilliance... but not in its entirety. This time, it would give help in creating something new; a new chance, a new beginning. A new loophole.



This time... I will not know mercy...

The borrowed hands tirelessly continued drawing a magic circle on the ground, utilizing her ectoplasm as the raw material. It was shoddy, it was barely functioning... but it was enough. This was all she needed. She still owned the right and she still had the connection... and thus, by borrowing this body, she could utilize it to bring forth her dream. This mind that had been so carelessly tossed into her old room now served her purpose. Unguarded and unaware, it had been a mere trick for her experienced existence to assault it during its slumber, and steal away the physical presence it had. And now, just as easily, she utilized it to finish what she had started almost hundred years ago...

In other words...

------------------- She would utilize it to once more draw a summoning circle.



"Ye first, O silver, O iron. O stone of the foundation, O Archduke of the Contract."



She chanted, but what came out was not her own voice. It was the voice of the young boy whose body she had stolen. She had no remorse about having done such a thing. Such pitiful humane feelings had disappeared long ago, and what was left was her simple obsession with what had been stolen from her so long ago: victory.



"Hear me in the name of my great teacher, Fujimura.
Let the descending winds be as a wall.
Let the gates in all directions be shut, rising above the crown, and let the three-forked roads to the Kingdom revolve."



She could feel blood clotting in the mouth of the body she was using. The boy was not meant for use like this. His Magic Circuits, underdeveloped and in deep sleep, were now being ripped apart by the prana driven through them by pure experience and knowledge. Most likely, he would feel like his nerves were on fire afterwards... though no lasting physical damage would be caused. Perhaps. However, at this point, she did not care. Her prized future was in front of her once more... and she was grasping it by the throat.



"Shut. Shut. Shut. Shut. Shut.
Five perfections for each repetition. And now, let the filled sigils be annihilated in my stead.
— I announce.
Let thy body rest under my dominion, let my fate rest in thy blade.
It thou submitteth to the call of our ritual, and if thou wilt obey this mind, this reason, then thou shalt respond!"



She could see through his eyes how the howling prana took form in the summoning circle and began waxing and waning. It converged into a singular point in the middle, drawing power from both her and the boy. This was the miracle of the Mocking Grail. Through it, such thing was possible even through a complete novice like this. No, a relatively normal human body like this. Her mind cheered at the sight, and the mouth of the body she was using turned into a sneer. It was finally coming true. Her dream.



"—I make my oath here.
I am the person who is to become the virtue of all Heaven.
I am that person who is covered with the evil of all Hades."



Even if the power of the borrowed body was not enough to draw forth a Servant, there was one thing that could. Her own self. The obsession-filled dream that was her whole existence. The ghost that had waited for so long, despairing in the side room of a forgotten building. Her unnatural existence could act as a catalyst to draw forth the strongest card, one that could win this war that once had so cruelly been her death. The one she could use to---!

"Ug... gha.... ugya...... aaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!"

Unimaginable pain. She could feel the cold hand of something ripping into her already fragile existence. Something, perhaps from the ritual, perhaps from what was appearing in front of them, or perhaps from the boy... something was trying to suppress her, destroy her. Something had gone wrong... or perhaps not. In her pain, she realized what was happening. It was not her that was received a second chance. Her contract, her connection... it was forcibly transferred to the boy's physical body through the ritual itself---!

Her rage felt no bounds as she separated herself from the body she had been using. She needed to escape, immediately. If she did not, she would be destroyed by this experience. The connection, the brands, were now gone, and if she did not flee, so would she.

However, in her mind, she realized that this was not the end. This was just the beginning. It did not matter if the boy was the one who acquired the Servant. When the time was right, she would take it all back---!

And as the final vestiges of the ghostly presence left the boy's mind, his mouth shouted out the final words needed, spurred by the obsession that had only moments ago spurred him to sneak out of his home, to draw this summoning circle on the snow, and to forcibly open his magic circuits for the purpose entering a war he had no knowledge about...!



"Thou seven heavens, clad in a trinity of words, come past thy restraining rings! Guardian of the Heavenly Scales—!"



Kirisaki Homura's voice echoed in the park as the light of the summoning circle engulfed him.



100%



Location: Location: Old Industrial District - Tengetsu Police Station
Phase: Night
Time: 20:02
Day: January 12th

"What the hell...?"

Myoujingata Meiji could hardly believe his eyes. Before him was a letter that he had received from Astrid earlier that day. Currently, he was alone in the crime lab of the police station, behind locked doors so nobody could peek into what he was doing. However, even though he had made sure no nosy officer would sneak in just out of curiosity, Meiji had not expected there to be any real need for it. He did not actually believe that he would find anything new from these parchments that had already been rather thoroughly inspected.

However after some fingerprint tests and other similar procedures, he had jokingly directed a black light lamp at the paper. He had not expected it to produce any results either, mostly because none of the other procedures had been of any help. But, there, before him on the paper... were words he had definitely not expected to find there.

Something in them sent a chill down his spine. Almost like something from the far reaches of his memory had slowly ran its bony fingers across his spine.

"It can't be..." he muttered to himself.

--------------!

Suddenly, he felt it. Odd jump in his heart, like a small pulse had run through the area. It reacted only in the honed senses of his body, which had been trained to find any supernatural occurrences in his vicinity. During the last three years, he had not felt anything with these senses of his, and sometimes he had wondered if something had dulled them over time. But now... now he felt those warning bells ring in his head again.

With a dark smile, Meiji turned his eyes to the window, from which he could see over most of Tengetsu City. Somewhere out there... something had just happened.

"So... it's beginning, huh?" Meiji whispered, understanding very well that there was no going back now. He momentarily glanced at the letter in front of him, before picking it up and folding it neatly away. "... Let's just hope I'm wrong about this."

The eyes of the police commissioner narrowed as he returned to gaze at the darkened city.

"Let's just hope these words were not meant to them."



100%





And just like the police commissioner had realized...

Just like the mayor had expected...

Just like the bishop had awaited...

Just like the Atlasia had anticipated...

Just like the captain had hoped...

And just like the priestess gazing from the mountain at the city below her had known...

During this one night, several flashes of light could be seen blooming around Tengetsu.


And in each and every location, a certain sentence, certain words full of promise, certain oath that meant everything this night, could be heard spoken aloud. Not only for the sake of one responsible for those lights... but for the sake of ones summoned by them.


At the graveyard in the outskirts... (http://i.imgur.com/zLTnvN7.gifv)

At the shrine in the park... (http://i.imgur.com/oQQ69fK.gifv)

At the house in the quarry... (http://i.imgur.com/Ny1i7IE.gifv)

At the room in the inn... (http://i.imgur.com/Y8uHPUS.gifv)

At the smithy in the old town... (http://i.imgur.com/4NVbnTv.gifv)

At the cabin in the forest... (http://i.imgur.com/Ygow2Vb.gifv)

At the home in the harbor... (http://i.imgur.com/FqhapEL.gifv)

At the butcher shop in the city corner... (http://i.imgur.com/3vCIqrK.gifv)

At the clearing in the woods... (http://i.imgur.com/PRExct9.gifv)

And at the park in the darkness... (http://i.imgur.com/bZGoAV8.gifv)


Everywhere around the city, the echo of those words could be heard clearly.

From ten speakers.

To ten listeners.

The question of oath was given.

"------ I ask of you. Are you my Master?"

http://i.imgur.com/rteL6uE.png

Tobias
February 21st, 2015, 07:44 PM
Servant Caster
Location: Outskirts - Graveyard
Phase: Night
Time: 22:48


The ground was damp. That was the first thing he felt, when the light faded. When once more the feeling of clean air filling his lungs, he tasted the crisp cold flavor of the earth, chilled by winter's touch. He was sitting down in his usual pose of meditation, and his eyes were closed. The powerful hands of the monk were relaxed, resting on his lap. Once more he had come to a foreign land, called because the inhabitants there were lost in the darkness.

It was their cry he came to heed. They cried not for food, or shelter, or to fill base human needs. No, it was for a hunger far deeper, a hunger not of the body, but of the soul.

"Send us a teacher!"

"We have lost the way!"

These prayers were heard in that which others called the Throne of Heroes, which he knew to be a small part of Nirvana. This cry for teaching was the only prayer The Monk at the Wall had ever considered worth hearing.

Servant Caster. That was the form the old monk had taken to fulfill a heartfelt wish. Any of the so called "Servant containers" would have been suitable for him, that was part of the Way. balance between the physical, the mystical, the spiritual. Only with all these things in concert was Unity created.

But Caster was who he was, and who he was, was Caster. face just barely began to leather with age, as had his body. Yet, that did nothing to the power that coursed through his old muscles. Caster's body was knotty and unhandsome, marked with many scars, each a lesson, each a story to tell. These scars criss-crossed his bulging biceps where his arms extended out of the old, faded red gi he wore. They traveled down the lengths of his muscles, down his forearms where they were momentarily hidden by the bronze bracer her wore at each wrist, then continued apace down the backs of his knuckles.

Those scars were the only thing that covered the tanned scalp of the Servant of mysteries, though a large, thick, black beard hung down from his chin, completely hiding his mouth. His eyes were blue, and watery. His greatest student had been just one of many to say that when you combine the way with his large forehead jutted out together with his dark, bushy eyebrows, Caster maintained a perpetual surly, brutish look.

Caster allowed himself one more moment of respite, on more breath of the air of the earth he had left behind after having gazed into its soul, and found truth.

Then he rose from his standard pose of meditation, and faced the one who would be his master for the first time. Her eyes, clouded with fear, yet strong with hope, met his own wide blue eyes that had once been his namesake.

This ritual he had allowed himself to become a part of had tenets, ones he was expected to adhere to. That brought a mocking grin to caster's thick lips.

"Well then..." Caster gritted out, rocky, gritted voice, hoarse with age.

"I ask of you....are you my master...whelp?"

"This Contract is complete." Caster grated. "Your wish is now granted. For I am Servant Caster, and it is my knowledge, and my power that shall protect you from harm, and guide you to the Truth. So prepare yourself girl...For with this contract, I accept you as my student. From this day forward, you will consider me your Shifu. And within you I shall evoke power, strength, and the ability to stare at the Truth with calm, unblinking eyes."



Keyword found: Shifu

MssrNeko
February 21st, 2015, 08:10 PM
Servant Assassin
Location: Old Town - Delacroix's Place
Phase: Night
Time: 00:00
Day: January 13th

-----?

The summoning circle was empty. The blood-red markings glowed sickly with nascent prana flowing through them and the ambient light sparkled off the ice in the freezer yet, there was no being standing in the circle. But something was present in the room. Hiding, observing, watching the Haitian vampire, the mortal that assumed its place as his Master. A hidden stare is felt around the room, the gaze searching the cold room. As the light from the ritual dimmed, darkness slowly took back its hold in the room. In the middle of the circle, a dark shadowy figure appears, its form blending into the darkness. The crimson glow from the summoning circle illuminates the borders of the shadow but does not hold it into a discernible shape.

A low chuckle murmurs from the darkness in the circle.

The stare that had spread around the room was now focused on the black male that stood before the circle.

"Sufficient precautions, young one," whispers a soft voice.




"Now tell me..."

The darkness stirs in the circle as a pale white mask takes shape.

http://i.imgur.com/5O8UnJq.jpg

"...are you my Master?"

A superfluous question but certain formalities had to be kept.

The Old Man of the Mountain would kill once more.

Ayakashi
February 21st, 2015, 08:23 PM
Character(s):
Miyamoto Kiyoko


Location:
Miyamoto Shrine - Basement


Phase:
Night


Time:
21:30


Day:
January 12th







“Five perfections for each repetition. And now, let the filled sigils be annihilated in my stead.
— I announce.
Let thy body rest under my dominion, let my fate rest in thy blade.
It thou submitteth to the call of our ritual, and if thou wilt obey this mind, this reason, then thou shalt respond!
—I make my oath here. “



Its might is palpable. The world is already changing in front of her: time, space and matter are all being distorted to realize a miracle on the level of True Magic. Kiyoko remains wrapped in this overwhelming white that turns the world into absolute formlessness, yet even as her sight and other senses die down, one clear feeling remains and does not betray Kiyoko's perception of her surroundings: her soul. It tells her that the beckoning is approaching completion.





“I am the person who is to become the virtue of all Heaven.
I am that person who is covered with the evil of all Hades.
Thou seven heavens, clad in a trinity of words, come past thy restraining rings! Guardian of the Heavenly Scales—!”


She finishes the chant. From the open box Kiyoko had diligently put in the middle of the Magical Circle, a link is formed. That link pulls to this side of the world an existence which has no right to be present here, the call of the Holy Grail allows such an outrage, such is the artifact which dictates rules of its own, standing its ground even in the face of the supreme overseer, Gaia.

As the ceremony has become complete... the overwhelming white subsides. Her sight and hearing slowly revert to their natural state, no more blinded by the intense magic.

However…


“Huh?”

There is no one to be seen. Kiyoko is all alone in the basement of the Shrine. Yet her prana has been spent and the box containing the catalyst for the summoning appears to have made its contribution…

...then what explains the reason that Kiyoko's Servant is nowhere in sight?


“Could I have messed up somewhere? Impossible, I--”

--CRASH

A thundering roar interrupts Kiyoko’s train of thoughts. It is an abrupt surprise, so sudden that Kiyoko who is already rather easy to startle feels her heart skip a beat and nearly faints -- however, that is not the time for such weakness, Kiyoko herself knows that. After having jumped and squeaked in terror, Kiyoko quickly looks around her to locate the source of that noise.


“Is it… above?!”
-
-
----------[-[]-]----------
--


Character(s):
Miyamoto Kiyoko, Invoker


Location:
Miyamoto Shrine - Kitchen


Phase:
Night


Time:
21:31


Day:
January 12th




Kiyoko has rushed to the shrine's kitchen as fast as possible. The young shrine maiden is certain that it is the origin of that huge startling crash -- on top of being right above the basement, Kiyoko can sense a certain 'presence' inside that room.

Has she unknowingly screwed up a certain part of the ritual, causing the summoning to go haywire? She begins to fear as she wonders what might've happened to her Servant with such a loud explosion occurring. At best, Kiyoko can only pray that they were safe.

The sight that greets Kiyoko as she enters the kitchen is quite different from what she had expected though: there is no sign of damage. The walls, the furniture, the cutlery that had been left there for future use - nothing is broken, everything remains intact and there is not one trace of what could have caused the huge crash from earlier.

The kitchen is idetical to the last time that Kiyoko had left it...

... except for these black wings. Wrapped up around ‘something’, they form the shape of a massive black egg taller than Kiyoko by a few heads. The latter can only stare at this ‘Egg’, wondering what on earth is going on. Before she can act or even think clearly though, the wings vanish without warning. The black feathers that they shed as they disappear fill the room, making it look like the black egg has ‘hatched’.

Before Kiyoko’s eyes, sitting on the chair with her back turned to her, is a beautiful, yet eerie woman. Her hair is of a pure black, so pure that it reflects light like a mirror and she wears a kimono that is just as black as her hair, with some minor golden designs decorating the fabric’s surface. In contrast to this blackness in which she is clad though, the women’s skin is pale, whiter than snow. One could think that they’re seeing a corpse rather than a living being.

There is no doubt though, this person is mostly alive, and if Kiyoko isn’t mistaken…



http://i.imgur.com/2h6aN3A.png
“A-are you my Servant?” she asks weakly, still standing at the kitchen’s entrance. She needs her time to take in everything that is happening after all -- everything leading up to now has been a little bit excessive for the young shrine maiden, and she’s also rather tired from having expanded so much prana during the Summoning Ritual.

For all her anticipation though, there is no immediate answer. The woman in black answers not and remains seated while… reading something? No, more than that, she’s also drinking? Kiyoko realizes that the drinks, magazines and snacks she has prepared to make the introductory chat she’d have with her Servant more pleasant… this person is already enjoying them?!

“W-wait, I was supposed to bake those!” Kiyoko shouts, rushing to the woman in black’s side as her face is filled with consternation noticing that this person is eating the rock-hard frozen pastries she had prepared. “And… w-wait, you’ve already drunk all of this!?” Kiyoko adds, rather helpless as she notices that the woman in black has also gulped down a rather sizeable portion of this extremely concentrated sake she has bought just for the occasion. “That’s no good, I haven’t even diluted it!”



http://i.imgur.com/haX7got.png
“Oh, so that is why all of this tastes so horrible,” the woman in black blankly states while turning her head to face Kiyoko, her tone rather blank but with an underlined feeling of realization.

“T-that’s it!” responds Kiyoko as she hurriedly puts the rest of the pastries in the oven and proceeds to dilute the sake and serve it to…

‘... wait, that’s not what I’m supposed to do!’ she notes to herself urgently as she serves another cup of sake to the ‘guest’, before shaking her head and gathering all of her courage, asking:

“M-more importantly... are you.. my Servant?”

The mysterious figure smiles lightly at that question. It’s a smile that wouldn’t be out of place from one of those evil antagonists in shows, and as thus, it sends quite the chill running down Kiyoko’s spine.


“Who knows? Are you my Master, young girl?”

“I, uh… I think so...”

Kiyoko is rather certain that it was a scoff that escaped from the woman in black, as light as it was. “Where is your proof?” she asks Kiyoko, eyeing the Shrine Maiden with prying, maybe even malicious eyes. It isn’t a gaze that one would appreciate being the target of, at the very least.

Kiyoko is at a loss for a moment, thinking on how she can prove her Mastership. There is no proof or evidence that this is truly her Servant, but with conjecture, Kiyoko believes that there is hardly any other identity possible for that person.


“Uhm… --waaahh!”

The flustered shrine maiden lets out a cry of distress as ‘something’ slips in the inside of her kimono, parting its top portion till a certain amount of flesh right above her left breast can be seen -- that is where Kiyoko’s Command Seal has imprinted itself. That ‘something’ was the woman in black’s hand, the latter is also shooting quite the malicious grimace at Kiyoko.


“Oh my, what a daring place to have your Command Seals, Master.”

“W-what are you doing!?” Kiyoko cries in outrage as she pushes the woman in black’s hand away and quickly covers up the part of her chest that had been exposed. “W-wait, did you just call me Master?”

“Indeed. I, the Servant Invoker, has come in response to your call. Fufufufu… such earnest and innocent eyes. These are the my favorite.”


http://i.imgur.com/ChCrADe.png (http://i.imgur.com/ChCrADe.png)

Katie
February 21st, 2015, 08:25 PM
Shimamura Mirai
Location: Outskirts - Graveyard
Phase: Night
Time: 23:04
Day: January 12th


"I ask of you....are you my master...whelp?"

"This Contract is complete." Caster grated. "Your wish is now granted. For I am Servant Caster, and it is my knowledge, and my power that shall protect you from harm, and guide you to the Truth. So prepare yourself girl...For with this contract, I accept you as my student. From this day forward, you will consider me your Shifu. And within you I shall evoke power, strength, and the ability to stare at the Truth with calm, unblinking eyes."

I sigh. No doubt, no doubt, there is, without question, the very same Servant Grandpa summoned sixty years back or so. Pulling out a photograph in my pocket, I compare the bearded old man in the picture with the bearded old man in front of me. I smile a half-hearted smile—glee at being capable of summoning, but a sort of despair at realizing what I’ve really gotten into.

If Grandpa is right, he should be, above all else, a huge pain in the rear.

“Yeah, I’m your Master, Ca-Shifu.” I bow in respect, although I’m not sure what I’m supposed to be doing. I was never really raised to be a fighter, after all, let alone the student of a Servant. Training sounds like something that might flay me alive, one way or another. “My grandfather summoned you in the Third Heaven’s Feel, and now I summon you for this Second Heaven’s Moon. For both our sakes, I hope we are successful this time.”

I hope I didn’t say the wrong thing. Grandfather and Caster didn’t fail because of their inadequacy. They failed for… other, more complex reasons.

“My base is right here.” I point at the RV, which doesn’t look too impressive, admittedly. It’s comfortable enough to live in, I guess, although if Caster wants, we’d have to get out and train elsewhere. At least it’s an off-road vehicle—we can probably wander around as we see fit. “I’m… not the most martial of Masters, but I hope you can mold me into something greater.”

I gently dust myself off and look at the much taller man. He’s certainly intimidating, that’s for sure. I’m not sure how to deal with him, considering he is so much wiser and… more aggressive.

“Is there anything you wish to do? I was thinking that we should patrol around for a bit, but if there is anything you wish to do now, you should say so.” I don’t try to sound commanding, I try to sound friendly. But in this convoluted relationship, I’m not sure who is really the master.

Mooncake
February 21st, 2015, 08:37 PM
Archer
Location: Base - The Quarry
Phase: Night
Time: 20:41
Day: January 12th



He stood alone, his fingers bleeding as he drew back arrow after arrow. The skies roared their hatred, the wind ripped the skin from his back as he fought his greatest enemy. Calling upon the name of the gods of old, eyes burning with the fervor of battle, he laughed into the wind, scorned the sky, cursed his foe. Everything he had given had been for this, everything he wanted would be gained from this. The earth cracked as he –

As I –

You need to wake up, boy.

I––

There is a battle to be fought.


The stone was cold underneath his bare feet, his toes grasping the earth, almost flinching at the chill. Eyes like slate opened to behold Xander, pinning him into place with their ferocity. He stood tall, shoulder-length white hair tumbling down his back as his eyes hardened even further, crushing Xander under their judgement.

Stepping forward, muscles contracting, Archer loomed over the redhead, his hand descending on his Master's shoulder like an iron bar. The scars on Archer's body, claw marks left by beasts that would destroy an ordinary man, had faded to a pale, silver color against his dark skin. The man did not speak for a full minute, his eyes mercilessly searching Xander's own, seeming to lay the younger man's soul bare.

Finally, Archer relented, and stepped back, the weight of the king's judgement receding as the ancient hero stood within the circle once more. Studying the boy before him, Archer let out a sigh. Opening his eyes once more, their gaze met, the Servant's eyes having lost some of their edge. Cracking his neck, he spoke to Xander with a clear, quiet voice that drew attention almost without thought.

"In response to your summons, I have come. I am Servant Archer, the Knight of the Bow."

It was a hard voice, a voice that had seen many things, the voice of a man who had ruled his land for many years. Still...

I relented after a moment, cracking my neck. It wouldn't do to frighten him off, but I needed to make sure he was willing to participate in this battle. From what I had grasped of his character, he was not the worst choice for me. And therefore, I spoke again.

"Listen well, boy. These battles, the heroes that have been drawn here, from the many paths of life are strong. Stronger than you. Possibly stronger than me. So, I need to know – and answer me with the truth – are you my master?"

Voice cracking like a whip, eyes harder than they had been before. His mettle will be tested, his sprit bent by outside forces. And that is why, when I asked again, I needed to make sure that his strength would match mine. If he was convicted, if he was ready...

I would support him with my power.

Siriel
February 21st, 2015, 09:49 PM
Enchanter
Location - Park District - Gongujoudo
Phase - Night
Time - 20:00

Aah, how nostalgic.

Humanity grew, expanded, covered the world, and sought ever more. And now, once more, it was time to stand on that stage. Or was it the first time? Dismissing the question, she fulfilled her part without hesitation, and once more took shape into the world.

The harsh light that had emerged from the summoning circle gathered, condensed, and by the time York's eyes had recovered a woman stood there. Of slim build, her pale hair elegantly matched the kimono she wore. The wind of the summoning that had already begun to abate caused ripples in both cloth and hair, making her seem as though she was merely a reflection in water.

She was beautiful, a strange, haunting beauty that appealed not to individual tastes but rather called back the very notion of beauty that existed in people's mind, as though she had been given form with that very intent. Yet, perhaps for the same reason, her features were nothing in particular; it was a beauty without individuality, that allowed no one to point to a single part of her that was greater than the rest.

The gaze that she turned toward York was filled with gentle indifference, as if it didn't matter what she would see.

"I am Enchanter, Servant. For the sake of the contract, I have answered my Master's summons. I ask of you, are you my Master?"

Tobias
February 21st, 2015, 09:56 PM
Servant Caster
Location: Outskirts - Graveyard
Phase: Night
Time: 23:06
Day: January 12th

“Yeah, I’m your Master, Ca-Shifu.” His new student said, bowing in an awkward fashion.

"Haaa...."

Such a person...

Caster sighed with annoyance. Just looking at her, he could see how weak people had become. A child of four in his time would have been more capable of learning the arts of meditation and combat then this frail half grown whelp. Well, a challenging student was the problem of the Shifu. But then she actually said something worth hearing. It seemed once before he had heeded the call for a teacher? Caster had no memory of such an event, but that was part of the rules of the war, and of Nirvana. The possibility existed. No, it was a certainty. The truth was plain in her eyes.

"Fought before did we? Your grandfather, I do not remember him." Caster said it plainly, without regret. "This world is still lacking in knowledge, else I would not have heeded you now, whelp. So we failed then? How...strange...Don't slouch!" Caster suddenly burst out in the middle of his thought. "Why are you lowering your eyes whelp, are you the cause of that defeat? You don't look sixty to me! Eyes up! if there was a failure it was your grandfather's. Or mine."

Caster caught a look of surprise at the prideful monk speaking of his own failure.

"Is it surprising I might wonder if my knowledge was insufficient? It seems....unlikely. But these eyes will never turn away from the Truth. That is something I will teach you as well."

“My base is right here.” the girl said rather doubtfully after Caster had finished, pointing at a large vehicle parked further away.

"..." Caster just stared in the direction the girl was pointing as if he couldn't believe it.

"You would...summon a Caster and then expect him to live in...such accommodations? ...Know this whelp, you prove the truth of your words more then you realize. Most Casters would be offended that their territory would look like this." At that, Caster let out a sardonic grin. "Well, lets just say I have some practice in staying in less then ideal circumstances. A roof and a cup of tea will suffice."

“Is there anything you wish to do? I was thinking that we should patrol around for a bit, but if there is anything you wish to do now, you should say so.” His Master said diffidently to him.

"There are a few things that need to be done. I see no reason to delay."

Caster pulled out from his gi several small slips of paper inscribed with text. A quick glance identified them as Sutra, small talismans with svadyaya, lines of teaching that were intended to denote the Way. The first went straight up to the sky. His master had done good work, his summoning location was a leyline, though not an especially potent one. Nevertheless, as a Caster, he could command the flow of prana, and as a result, claim it for his usage. The second Sutra flew off into the forest, its purpose unknown. The last Sutra hung in the air in front of his little Master.

"Take it." Caster intoned. "It is a sign of our contract. Used well, it will alleviate the burden of relying on your Command Seal. ...I suggest you avoid losing it, whelp." Caster added with an irritable note to his voice.

"Now, shall we see to these....fine accommodations you have arranged for us?"

Caster allowed his Master to lead him to the RV. A word he only understood due to the Mocking Grail's influence. The idea of knowledge gained that one had not worked for struck him as truly sinful. However, he himself had accepted the call to join this war.

When they arrived, Caster began his work. He carefully arranged 4 Daruma dolls at each corner of the RV facing outward. in the center of the RV's roof, he placed another sutra. With a snap of his fingers, the flow of prana began to shift up and around the vehicle, becoming something more then a simple mages abode, it was now that which was known as a "territory" The field and home of a Caster.

"Now hear this girl," Caster said has he worked "Patrolling? Tonight? I have no intention of wandering around with a newborn chick. Tonight, you and I will meditate, and you will begin to learn the art of centering yourself."

At that, he grinned a feral, ruthless look that did nothing to soften his brutish features.

"And on the morrow?... Your tutelage will begin. Earlier, you gave me a truth, that which occurred with your grandfather. In return, let me offer you the truth any master knows well..."

Caster's grin widened even further.

"A student's ears are located on his back and on his backside. He hears more, learns more when he is being beaten. You will not sleep tonight, due to your meditations, but I suggest you get whatever rest you can. Tomorrow I will demonstrate that truth in earnest."

Rafflesiac
February 21st, 2015, 09:58 PM
Xander Stone
Location: Base - The Quarry
Phase: Night
Time: 20:41
Day: January 12th

In a rush of wind and a swirl of prana, a man stands before me.

A powerful body, scarred with the memories of countless battles. A proud bearing, emanating strength and regality.

And eyes of cold and unforgiving steel.

Once again I am being judged, once again I am found wanting, once again I have failed---!

A single mighty arm slams against my shoulder. I am too paralyzed to move, to react, to even breathe as he studies me. Those eyes of stone are prising me open and assessing my very being.

Yet, this is not the same.

This is no cave. I am no boy. This is a beginning, not an end. I am Xander Stone, and I will not be found wanting here!

And just as suddenly, the man steps back into the circle, his eyes no longer so cold and his manner almost casual.


"In response to your summons, I have come. I am Servant Archer, the Knight of the Bow, and I ask of you – are you my master?"

That’s who he was, then. The Servant Archer, a Heroic Spirit called to my side. Somehow, even knowing this was - not quite refreshing, per se - but something to focus on, a bulwark of information to rely upon.


"Listen well, boy. These battles, the heroes that have been drawn here, from the many paths of life are strong. Stronger than you. Possibly stronger than me. So, I need to know – and answer me with the truth – are you my master?"

His voice bore down once more with the force of an avalanche, each word stronger than before, each syllable a weight meant to crush. Archer speaks the truth; my foes are undoubtedly stronger than I. To deny my fear would be the greatest falsehood.

Even so, I have to fight. I have chained myself to Archer, and thus I have a duty to fight by his side. And most of all...

...I must fight for myself.

I close my eyes and release a breath I hadn’t realized I’d held.

I raise my head to meet the eyes of Archer, as harsh and cold as stone.

“I am Xander Stone, your ally and Master in this Holy Grail War.”

Katie
February 21st, 2015, 10:15 PM
Shimamura Mirai
Location: Outskirts - Graveyard
Phase: Night
Time: 23:09
Day: January 12th


"Fought before did we? Your grandfather, I do not remember him." Caster said it plainly, without regret. "This world is still lacking in knowledge, else I would not have heeded you now, whelp. So we failed then? How...strange...Don't slouch!" Caster suddenly burst out in the middle of his thought. "Why are you lowering your eyes whelp, are you the cause of that defeat? You don't look sixty to me! Eyes up! if there was a failure it was your grandfather's. Or mine."

“Y-yes!” Honestly, I think my posture is fine… But whatever to please. In the end, I need a Servant to win the war, whether I like it or not. And someone I already know, at least somewhat, feels like a more comforting pick than digging into the abyss of the blind.

I’m rather grateful that he only chides me for the base… I mean, it’s all I have. A house with actual accommodations would just… irritate Papa. We have a lot of money, I suppose, but not as much as I need. Enough to get by, and for this month, I only need to get by.

Assuming I survive. At this point, isn’t it rather questionable?

I take the sutra from the air, admiring its arcane quality. Prana flows through it like a web, a strong, unimaginable web. Definitely something that most modern mages couldn’t pull off these days. And I know what the sutra is for. An explanation isn’t necessary, and I don’t feel the need to ask for one. At least… Grandfather did tell me enough about my Servant as to be… not completely dominated.

He labels the RV as his territory, something I can’t say isn’t unexpected. All mages, even this… tenuous example of a mage, need one. I’m sure I can get everything I need in the case of an emergency, although I feel that I need to clear some space for Caster and whatever he wants me to do. In fact, I should get to that right—


"Now hear this girl," Caster said has he worked "Patrolling? Tonight? I have no intention of wandering around with a newborn chick. Tonight, you and I will meditate, and you will begin to learn the art of centering yourself."

At that, he grinned a feral, ruthless look that did nothing to soften his brutish features.

"And on the morrow?... Your tutelage will begin. Earlier, you gave me a truth, that which occurred with your grandfather. In return, let me offer you the truth any master knows well..."

Caster's grin widened even further.

"A student's ears are located on his back and on his backside. He hears more, learns more when he is being beaten. You will not sleep tonight, due to your meditations, but I suggest you get whatever rest you can. Tomorrow I will demonstrate that truth in earnest."

“I understand, Shifu.”

It’s a response of acceptance. To work with Caster, I have to make myself stronger. If I lazed around and did nothing, he’d off my head in an instant. And, well, he has a point, I suppose. I’ve never been one for the spiritual so I should view this as an enlightening experience of sorts, even if I’m not getting any sleep toni—

No sleep. Oh no. That isn’t good in the slightest. If I fall asleep, just once, Caster is going to pummel me like there is no tomorrow, but I have to be meditating at the same time…

With a weary sigh, I spread out a small mat on the floor of the RV, next to the quaint wooden table, and assume a meditative pose.

“Correct me if I do anything wrong, please.”

Mooncake
February 21st, 2015, 10:56 PM
Archer
Location: Base - The Quarry
Phase: Night
Time: 20:41
Day: January 12th


“I am Xander Stone, your ally and Master in this Holy Grail War.”

Archer grinned with all of teeth, his eyes burning with all the intensity the warrior-king could bring to bear. He knelt before Xander, one dark-skinned hand on his chest, the pressure from before sharpening until it cut like a knife.

"Then... Master. I will be your Servant until this War comes to an end."

Rising, the pressure of the king faded into the air as the ancient king studied the magus before him. Archer carefully studied Xander, his eyes softening back to something more human than the sternness of the king.

"Speaking of the Grail, I will ask you this: what is your wish, Master? I have no intention of working for a man with a twisted purpose."

Archer's hand was propped under his mouth as he spoke, seeming to no longer feel the chill of the air or floor. He had always been quick to adapt; it had been what had saved him so many times on his journey.

"In addition, tell me what your abilities are. Even the protection of a Servant can only go so far, and our enemies will make a point to target you first. If you are lacking in certain areas, it falls to me to help you better yourself."

He waved a hand idly, looking around the room once more.

"A simple summary is fine. We can speak at length after the night is done, if you wish."

Tobias
February 21st, 2015, 11:32 PM
Servant Caster
Location: Outskirts - Graveyard
Phase: Night
Time: 23:15

“Correct me if I do anything wrong, please.” His student requested, entirely superfluously."...Heh. Rest easy whelp, I intend to. It may just be the most enjoyable part of this whole war." Caster growled.

"Now, get some tea ready girl. I will prepare a suitable local for your first lesson."

His new found master immediately set herself up in the somewhat cramped kitchenette. While the RV was a fine vehicle, there was no way to make something designed to fit on the road in such a way that two people cold maneuver inside without a certain amount of awkwardness. ...Well, no way without magic.

As Caster himself passed the threshold, he felt the minor buzz of a ward. It was a meager thing by his estimation, but it seems that the RV had guards outside the establishment of his sutras and his territory.

Further, there was a refreshing snap of prana in the air. The ley line's power was coming into control.

"If you know of a place to take this vehicle, I suggest you take us there whilst I work." Caster said absentmindedly. There was no need to stay and guard the ley line now. Thanks to Caster's ward, if someone else tried to co-opt it now...they would get an...unpleasant surprise.

With that thought to cheer him up Caster set to work. Near the end of the RV, Caster sat himself down calmly and began to stare at the wall, currently covered in a number of medical instruments even Caster was not completely familiar with. Caster frowned in disapproval and waved his hands. Prana flowed from the two Daruma on the nearside of the RV. After a moment, the wall seemed to fade into the background, then vanish entirely, to be replaced by a thick jagged surface of stone. With another odd motion of his hands, Caster called into function the other two Daruma. From behind, in a space occupied but parts of the RV...and somehow not, a quiet little fire sprung into existence. This cast Caster's shadow onto the stone wall in front of him.

Actually, in this case the RV was a beneficial choice. Though the symbol of his class, Caster's territory wasn't as large as the all consuming temple that some Caster's could form. As a result, manipulation of a vast base would have been difficult, even impossible. But the RV barely the size of a single room. Caster's territory had more then room to spare. as a result, his fine manipulation of the territory improved.

...Was there truly a cave in front of Caster or a fire's light and heat behind? It couldn't be said that this was true. But it was not a lie either. as Caster himself intoned "This is what it is."

When his pupil came to sit beside him, Caster Instructed her on the proper way to sit. legs folded comfortably, hands in lap, and supporting some of the weight of the upper body as you contemplated your shadow on the wall.

"First control your breathing. The way cycles with life. Your ki moves through your body, and outside as well. you could spend a lifetime listening to the simple beauty of your breath moving in and out, or staring at your form on the wall, and still not unearth even one of the great mysteries. yet therein is the beginnings of truth. ...There are three things that can not be long hidden child. The sun, the moon, and the truth. You prayed for the truth to be revealed, whether or not you understood that prayer. thus, begin focusing on the beginning, and I will instruct you in the Way."

And thus did Caster, the Monk at the Wall, sip tea and once more stare into the darkness created by the light, with unblinking blue eyes, pondering the way to find the truth.

Rafflesiac
February 21st, 2015, 11:39 PM
Xander Stone
Location: Base - The Quarry
Phase: Night
Time: 20:45
Day: January 12th

Archer grinned at my words, and the air groaned as it twisted under the pressure of the king. He fell to one knee, an arm held over his chest in deference.

Yet even in supplication, the man could never lose the unmistakable bearing of a king.


"Then... Master. I will be your Servant until this War comes to an end."

Relief and joy wash through me. Even if only for now, I have been accepted; in this small step I have succeeded. My shoulders roll back as my entire body begins to loosen and relax.


"Speaking of the Grail, I will ask you this: what is your wish, Master? I have no intention of working for a man with a twisted purpose."

I blink.

My wish is a simple thing, I suppose. And I have no need to conceal it; we are meant to be partners, right? Even so...


"In addition, tell me what your abilities are. Even the protection of a Servant can only go so far, and our enemies will make a point to target you first. If you are lacking in certain areas, it falls to me to help you better yourself.

My abilities as well? Archer certainly gets to the point quickly. Though in all honesty, this is for the best; I am a rank amateur in magical fights to the death, after all.


“A simple summary is fine. We can speak at length after the night is done, if you wish."

Meeting his eyes once more, I speak.

“I’ll start with my abilities. Unfortunately... I am not a strong magus in combat. My magecraft is simple, and best used for slight distractions or inconveniences. However, I can heal you or myself if necessary, though only to the extent of mending flesh and bone. Another spell I possess takes time to prepare, yet will aid in weakening enemies... provided it does not affect you as well. I do have one powerful spell, however; anyone struck by it without defense will die.”

I rub the back of my neck before continuing. “Except I can’t move while preparing to use it, or cast any other spells, and it takes a while to use.”

Pacing briefly, I sit on the couch lying against the living room wall. After a moment, I speak once more.

“In terms of combat, I am more of a liability than not. However, there may come a time when my life is at stake, and I choose to die instead of be killed.”

My hand is at my neck again, and I unzip my parka to fully expose my neck. For the briefest of moments, light shines, and silver chains coil around my throat before fading away.

“My wish is to be free, Archer. My wish is to shatter these chains.”

Satehi
February 21st, 2015, 11:46 PM
Servant Saver
Location: Residential District - Old Park
Phase: Night
Time: 22:31
Day: January 12th

A call.

A call to her, to her place beyond the mortal coil.

It did not matter who it was. Whether it was from an ordinary individual, or even if- no, especially if it was a heinous sinner, one whom could not possibly expect forgiveness for their sins from any man, woman or animal, Saver would answer their call and provide them with salvation. Even when there was no call, even if not a single creature lived and desired it, she would perform her task regardless. Even if the land were to be overrun with criminals, even if there existed not a single honest soul on earth. So long as humanity still had need of her existence, she would exist.

Such was the vow she had made to herself, a vow she would not break.

And as such, as the overwhelming light of the summoning circle faded and dimmed, she stood in the center, as Servant Saver. Her clothes, a neat and dark outfit, brought to one’s mind immediately the image of the clothes one would wear to a funeral procession, albeit a tinge too fancy. Her figure was modest, and her skin was pale, as if it had not seen the light of day in years, or perhaps belonged to a corpse. Although dark, her raven hair almost appeared to give off a soft light. In a commanding, but not harsh voice, she spoke.

“In response to your summons, I, Servant Saver, have come.
------ I ask of you. Are you my Master?"

Opening her eyes for the first time, she observed her surroundings with a warm gaze.

It was a fine park, as the Holy Grail’s knowledge told her, although clearly not very well taken care of. But what caught her attention immediately was the substance that surrounded her on the ground, the substance used to construct her summoning circle- ectoplasm. Together with the high spiritual presence in the area, it could only mean that spirits, still clinging to this realm for whatever reasons, had been involved in her summoning.

Moving onto other thoughts, Saver studied the boy in pain by the circle. Her Master, clearly, given the lack of any living things and spirits in the immediate vicinity. From the circumstances, his condition was likely the result of some malicious prank of a ghost. How distasteful, thought Saver, as a frown appeared on her face. Something would have to be done about such harmful spirits, assuming they were still around. Light immolation, perhaps.

Walking forward and kneeling down to face the boy, she adopted a softer tone of voice.

“Mmm, nevermind that earlier. More importantly, are you alright, boy? What’s your name? Can you stand? Or shall I carry you?”

Mellon
February 22nd, 2015, 12:25 AM
“Mother. What does it mean to be a ______?”

“They are ---ing, milady. Their num-er are --ply too large. _____ has a pl--, --- a ----le is n---”

“You must c---se! The realm will ___ torn as---er __ your i---------ess!”

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/iarhi55Had8oHyf-kOZGBoSfTbnglKd71U4TpaYpCFomXthBaP0CsBt_Qh6T9oO44g Nqq8ktxIz5HngALjX9i0Sx6ZLNMacl8XMRM8hD0ZTxt1tOAFMK LKHOnaeY06Zr5vg

“It holds no meaning, my dear. But it does hold responsibility.”

And so, with those words eternally etched in her heart, the small hand of the young girl never stopped grasping at the distance, no matter what befell upon her.

For it was her responsibility to do so, after all.




Maker
Location - Harbor - Family House - Basement
Phase - Night
Time - 22:22
Day - January 12

And as suddenly as it had begun, the vortex of light and wind had subsided.

Nothing but silence had accompanied the arrival of the female Servant, as her figure emerged from the magical circle in the room. The electrical light in the ceiling had shorted out by the intense magical energy that had raced through the room and most of the candles placed around the circle and further back had been extinguished by the gust of wind that had, for a brief moment, whipped throughout the room. However, not all light was lost. The softly glowing residual flakes of prana that floated down, coupled with the glow of the few remaining candles gave the figure of the Servant in front of Anna an almost sanctified image.

With calm steps the, clearly supernatural, woman stepped out of the magical circle that had drawn her back into the world of the living. Taking a deep breath, Maker closed her eyes. The rush of air through one’s lungs was something that only the dead could truly appreciate. Or perhaps in their case, it was something only they could learn. The information provided by the Grail told her that many things had changed over the ages. Perhaps nothing of what she sought to protect existed anymore? It was hard to tell. The data provided by the Grail was vauge and immaterial, covering many things, but nothing in sufficient detail. But such questions had a better time and a better place. Regardless of the answer, she would move on regardless.


Maker’s eyes, filled with a kind light, met with the young girl’s in front of her..

"As per thy call, I have arrived. So I ask of you, maiden of the cross. Are you my Master?"

With a soft smile, the Servant in the white extended her hand towards the nun in front of her.

Snax
February 22nd, 2015, 12:58 AM
Servant Trickster
Location: Upasmike Forest
Phase: Night
Time: 20:20
Day: January 12th

Fire. Fire and flame everywhere, consuming houses, people and land alike. A curse she held, the original sin of humanity, disbelief in heavens despite her own blessing -

As she opened her eyes, the golden-haired servant of beauty that could only be mentioned as ‘unspeakably divine’ slowly observed her surroundings. Her demeanor was as regal as that of royalty, and her eyes full of life and energy. Despite being clad in light dress and bare feet, she did not as much care for the chilly winds whispering through the trees.

Her eyes then reached her new ‘Master’s. A woman, and a boyish one at that. This reminded her of past acquaintances, a certain tribe associated with that woman, the only woman she noted to be a worthy adversary. Still, she would have to see if this new acquaintance was one worthy to control her, or would it be the other way around?

At least it wasn't a man - any normal man would have already gone heads over heels for her just by being graced with her presence. Of course, unless they were of deviant taste...but perhaps that would have been too easy.

“Aah, so I take it that you are my Master?”

Smiling seductively, Trickster slowly approached her Master, her charm oozing as might a star spread its radiant light. As she stood in front of the woman, she circled her, a finger slowly tracing the shoulders of her new acquaintance.

“Hmm, you could use some ointment for that cracked lip and any skin blemishes...I recommend not to smoke, even though that kind of luxury didn't exist in my time, it's ruining your beautiful face. Also, you’re getting split hairs...poor girl, how will you ever get a man to fall for you in that state, hmm?”

Hugging her new master from behind, she cradled the woman’s chin in her palm, whispering into her ear.

“But don’t worry, dear. As long as you have me as your pet, all your worldly desires may come true...one way or another. Ufufufufu…”

Finishing with a low chuckle, she lets go of her Master, smiling and studying her face.

Elyrin
February 22nd, 2015, 01:11 AM
Servant Saber
Location: Upasmike Forest - Tae's Cabin
Phase: Night
Time: 21:20
Day: January 12th


Those last days had been peaceful, but not enjoyable. Free of war and free of wandering beasts, with all the time in the world. I could have done anything. Traveled the world, conquered the world, become a master at any art one could choose. It was almost within reach... but not close enough.

Another demon in the hills? I thought you scared them all away...

Of course there was never a demon in the hills. One show of force was enough to send all the beasts running, their fabled strength be damned. They wouldn't dare step where I had commanded them not to, even a thousand years later.

Are you sure about that? If it's strong enough that you're the one going, won't you need your sword?

A sword could not cut disease out of the lungs. Even the greatest healers could only agitate the condition. But the children, and all the others under my protection... how could they go on knowing their hero had died to breathing troubles? To fall in combat was understandable, at least. Something unlikely but possible was preferable to something that would shatter their world.

The hills were less than a day's travel. It was no trouble to head there and tear apart the earth, make them think there was a fight.

Reinforcements could be here in two days. Do you really have to leave now?

Sitting there under the stars was the most painful night of my life. But even though I spat blood on the ground every few minutes, not one thought was of myself. Only his last words echoed, carried by the wind as I rushed out the door. The worry in his voice gnawed at me, deep down, and I could imagine the tears that would come. Maybe I was a monster for leaving him like that, but the little ones would not remember their champion as a weakling who died sleeping.

Every thought was of those last hours. How long it went on, no one could say, but it was no eternity. It changed. A strange feeling came, something like tugging on the heartstrings. I was called. Someone, somewhere, wanted - no, needed - my help. There was no more rational thought. Desperate for any way to vindicate myself for that day, any way to prove I tried, I answered. The world screamed as I stepped forward, and stood upon the Earth once more.

----

It was neither bright nor dark, and neither stifling nor empty, but it was warm. It felt almost like the home I so dearly missed. A little messy, perhaps - why were so many things knocked over, anyway? - but inviting all the same. It just felt right somehow, and I was content to breathe deeply for a moment, taking in the heat of the fire and the smell of home. Before saying a word, I took a second breath... and then I realized.

"Ah...?" I was whole. My lungs, real or not, did not give out as they once did. My body was young and strong again. I wore no armor, only a powerless white dress that would barely stop the wind, never mind an arrow, but there could be no doubt. Once more, I stood peerless in all the world. "Ahhh... ahahahahah!"

It was... a distressing length of time before I came to my senses. I would not be brought to life for some frivolous reason, after all. I was here to fight. A great war for a "Holy Grail" that could grant any wish. It was almost unthinkable for such a thing to exist, but my presence was all the proof that was needed. Nothing less could summon me, never mind eight other heroes besides, maybe thousands of years from beyond the grave.

Then, while considering the situation, my eyes fell upon a girl with violet hair. Ahhhh... how long had I been standing there, exactly?

There were no others around, so this girl was the one. My summoner to this War. A magus here to risk everything on some faint hope of having one wish granted. A faint hope that I would realize. In a test of might, no other hero could be my equal. My boundless confidence could be felt in the air as I finally spoke to the girl, taken over by a radiant smile with total disregard for the strange situation.

"I am Saber. The knight of the Sword stands before you, undiminished. And so, young one, tradition demands I ask you this. Are you my master?"

Katie
February 22nd, 2015, 01:19 AM
Shimamura Mirai
Location: Outskirts - Graveyard
Phase: Night
Time: 23:09
Day: January 12th

I’m quite thankful Caster isn’t picky about tea. This RV only has green tea, for its health benefits, and I’m afraid that might get stale after a while. I’ll make a note to get oolong sometime. I’ve never tried it, but it is a good change of pace. Well, if I’m not tired tomorrow, I’ll make the attempt.

I drive for a bit when he asks, a bit out in the wayside, next to an old, abandoned campsite. A place where I can actually park this thing legally. I stop soon enough—I don’t want to go that far, and I’m tired.

Caster has changed the layout of the RV quite a bit. I presume it is temporary, and it better be, because that’s thousands of dollars in medical equipment. He instructs me on how to sit properly and I am soon facing my shadow on a cave wall, carved out by the flickering flame behind me. And yet… I can’t tell if any of this is real or not. The wall. The flame. That very shadow.


"First control your breathing. The way cycles with life. Your ki moves through your body, and outside as well. You could spend a lifetime listening to the simple beauty of your breath moving in and out, or staring at your form on the wall, and still not unearth even one of the great mysteries. Yet therein is the beginnings of truth. ...There are three things that cannot be long hidden child. The sun, the moon, and the truth. You prayed for the truth to be revealed, whether or not you understood that prayer. Thus, begin focusing on the beginning, and I will instruct you in the Way."I breathe in and out, regularly, in a count of five. Inhale on one, exhale on five. Five is perfection. If there are four points, the fifth point must be centered as to provide balance. That is what my family has told me, and that is what I will still believe. Five is a number, despite its apparent imbalance, that is complete.

The truth. Something unobtainable, people say. What reality is really made of. Science posits that the truth may be found via equation and experimentation, that we may make eventually be able to create a model of our world with only numbers. And yet, the newly discovered nature of the world, random and unpredictable, is something scientists cannot explain. Truth does not lie there, despite the practicality of science.

All mages claim to find the Root, the source of all truth. And in that sense, this desire to know is the foundation of all magecraft, as we attempt to dissect the spiritual and with many paths, achieve one destination, the origin of all. With the way I think, I haven’t been considering such a thing in the slightest. Grandfather and I are concerned with more material, more human concerns. Any attempt to reach the Root on our part would be accidental at best.

I don’t let out a sigh as I think about these things, staring at my shadow. Caster would reprimand me, and I have to make the attempt to be his student.

Gazing at that shadow, I’m eerily reminded of the Allegory of the Cave. Is this also what Caster is trying to tell me? That the reality I see, the material reality where mankind suffers and is harmed, may not be the actual reality in front of me? If that’s the case, I refuse. But otherwise, I can understand, I think. The shadow is my own, and yet is lacking substance compared to myself. But if it were the only thing I saw, I would believe it had just as much substance as anything else. It’s only because I have looked away and seen its source that I know it isn’t real.

Is that the way reality is? I have to peel away what I see materially and view it on a higher plane? I wouldn’t know. Caster, however, seems to have found his answer, and his method was martially, alien from my academia. But it was successful, so regardless, this training does and will have a point. I’m not doing it for nothing.

I resist the urge to look back at the flame. Caster would hit me, and not like how Sensei would.

DAY 1 END

Mooncake
February 22nd, 2015, 02:25 AM
Archer
Location: Base - The Quarry
Phase: Night
Time: 20:45
Day: January 12th



“I’ll start with my abilities. Unfortunately... I am not a strong magus in combat. My magecraft is simple, and best used for slight distractions or inconveniences. However, I can heal you or myself if necessary, though only to the extent of mending flesh and bone. Another spell I possess takes time to prepare, yet will aid in weakening enemies... provided it does not affect you as well. I do have one powerful spell, however; anyone struck by it without defense will die.”

Archer rubbed his chin in thought. His master seemed to degrade himself a little, but humility was better than arrogance in his eyes. At least he was being honest.

"I see. In combat, a second's distraction can turn the battle's tide – it should be useful against those without Magic Resistance, like myself. Do not worry about your spells affecting me, although the healing spell should work well enough."

The king watched his master pace in discomfort, noting the state of the house around him. He had taken it in before, but as someone who had found himself in a palace where every thing he could need was ready at a moment's notice, it was a little disappointing. He had spent the night in worse places on his journey, and saw no reason to complain.

“Except I can’t move while preparing to use it, or cast any other spells, and it takes a while to use.”

Archer waved his hand again, brushing aside the flaws.

"That is fine. If you prepare to use it, let me know and I will provide cover. If the opposing Master can be struck, then it will not matter. Unlike the Archer class, other Servants will not last long without their Master, so their handlers should be our first priority."

Casually marking their opponents for death, Archer began to slowly walk back and forth as Xander took his seat on the couch. He had tried not to pace when he had first begun his reign, but many years of experience had eventually led him into the habit, and now the dark-skinned man slowly put one foot in front of the other, thinking things through. His rashness had cost him before, and he wouldn't make the same mistake twice.

“In terms of combat, I am more of a liability than not. However, there may come a time when my life is at stake, and I choose to die instead of be killed.”

Archer's pacing stopped.

"Good. A spineless fighter is almost worse than no fighter at all."

Having said such harsh words, Archer watched his master unzip his modern clothing, eyes narrowing at the chains wrapped around Xander's neck. Even magecraft like that could not hide itself from his eyes, and the king's gaze hardened at the silver coils that wrapped themselves around his neck.

“My wish is to be free, Archer. My wish is to shatter these chains.”

Archer nodded his head, once.

"I see. A wish like that is one to strive for. So be it; I will help you win the Holy Grail."

Archer's words were filled with that same heavy certainty, the confidence borne from experience, from fact, embedded in his voice. Looking at his Master's weary face and the clock next to the kitchen, Archer considered the situation.

"I see that you are tired, Master. I will not keep you from your rest, but is there anything you would like to ask of me?"

Bloble
February 22nd, 2015, 02:48 AM
Location: Old Town – Base
Phase: Night
Time: 22:53
Day: January 12th

The metal sizzles.

Air shifts. A draft of superheated smoke emerges from the ritual circle as it heats up from cold grey to violent orange. The once solid structure warps and shifts as it struggles to sustain the energy passing through it, but the designs etched into it do not lose their shape. The body of the Master is the body of the circle; as one changes, so too does the other.

Kirame Ryougi burns.

Veins become receptacles for power. Magma is poured through blood, scarring insides and forever preventing regrowth. His body is sacrificed to bring forth a miracle. As far as raw materials go, it is acceptable.

Space ruptures.

Light twists. Millions of tiny reactions occur above the circle, bringing atoms together and tearing them apart. The imaginary element interferes, reaching from beyond to meddle with physical laws. A gate is opened. Thousands of packets of information are requested and arrive, one at a time, using the unfortunate Master's body as transit to materialize in this world. He feels each and every one.

One forms.

The red death is followed by blue life. Heat is lost, taken before it can kill. Nurturing water rushes through the Ryougi's body and the circle both, bringing forth steam and undoing the damage caused by the summoning. Metal solidifies stronger than ever, capable of bearing twice the weight. Only the memory of pain remains to remind them of what they withstood.

That, and the man.

He kneels in the middle of the circle, bathing in the steam. As it rises, so too does he.

As he gets to his feet, the Servant's eyes open.

He opens his mouth and inhales through his nose. For a moment, it is as he is tasting the very world itself.

Smoke. Smoke and steam and soot.

A callused, worn hand emerges from his heavy garb, carrying a pipe. It is the complete opposite of his face, which is fair and blemished like that of a young man. He brings the pipe to his mouth and exhales, returning air laden with minerals to replace what he took. He has sampled this place and found it fitting.

The pipe is removed and vanishes into a long sleeve.

The man opens his mouth as he stares at Kirame Ryougi with eyes like coals.

"A place of creation. To come forth here... it is a strange rebirth."

Approval, from a man who thinks nothing of his own words. His voice, simultaneously young and old and capable of playing both roles, answers an unwritten obligation to speak. All the same, he gazes upon the one who summoned him, silently judging.

"Servant Artificer has answered summons tonight, young one. I would ask of you. Are you my Master?"

Dranes
February 22nd, 2015, 07:27 AM
Kirisaki Homura
Location: Residential District - Old Park
Phase: Night
Time: 22:45
Day: January 12th

What is this...?

Is this a dream?

All around me was a vast sea of white, the land covered by Winter's chill, the only reason I could even see anything was the gentle light of the moon. This place was unfamiliar and yet not to me, I know I've never been here and yet here I am, I guess I must really be dreaming. It wasn't what I had hoped but a simple dream like this was nice too. I guess this is what they called 'lucid dream', funny how even a slacker like me could remember that. Maybe this was connected to earlier today? It couldn't be a coincidence that I was dreaming about a white park after seeing something like that, or I can just knock this down as another weird thing due to Kirisaki Bad Luck.

I glanced up.

Hah, maybe it's because this is a dream but...the moon sure looks beautiful tonight.

Wait.

Who's that in front of me?

I've never seen-

--------!

Pain! Pain! Pain!

It HURTS!

My whole body is screaming at me, as if fire had been poured into my veins and going to every corner of my body. Only now do I realize the taste of something foreign in my mouth, as if my senses are all coming back to me and everything strikes at me at once, what is happening to me?! This unnatural pain continues to assault me even as I writhe in the snow, it's cold touch doing nothing for me. What type of dream is this? A nightmare? No, it can't be, this type of pain can't be! Just what has happened to me?! I grip at the snow, as if hoping that it would do something but no good, I cough as whatever that has filled my mouth becomes too much to bare.

Blood.

The pure white snow, now stained by a dark red.

And yet even with that, I'm not given a chance to even think about it.


Again the pain comes to me, the fiery pangs focusing on one point: my wrist. It's as if I'm being branded by some grand entity, as if enjoying my torment it feels to give one final gift. A broken circle, glowing an unnatural red begins to form, it's meaning an unknown to me.


http://i.imgur.com/oPGXA7H.gif

“In response to your summons, I, Servant Saver, have come.


------ I ask of you. Are you my Master?"



The voice that enters my ears is feminine but firm, yet not a world she says makes sense. Summons? Servant? Master? None of it made any sense at all and as much as I wanted to, this pain wouldn't let me pass out, to go back to sleep and forget all about this dream. My voice is barely a whisper, whether she hears me I can't tell but I try...



"Where did you come from? And what do you mean 'Master'...?!"


I grip my wrist as I try to push those words out, my throat still feeling like an utter mess, my breathing ragged and myself confused. The unnatural heat flowing through me begins to stop, the fire in my veins now being doused and yet that brought no comfort now, only another pain. The frigid winds buffet me as this person looks down at me, I probably look pitiful if anything to them. Only now do I notice the carvings on the ground as the chilling air permeates my body, my clothes: simple pajamas, offering no protection against this islands harsh weather. I can only manage to sit myself back and through the howling winds I hear something new, the sound of snow being crushed underfoot.

I look up and finally see the face of the one who addressed me and said such strange words.

She kneels down in front of me, a warm expression on her face regardless of the cold wind that was striking at us both. Without a doubt the person in front of me was a girl, dressed not for the occasion, what was she? To be in this weather and seem as if the cold didn't affect her at all? Was she some sort of yuki-onna? After everything that has happened now, dream or not, I think I'll believe anything that she says regarding just what she is.


“Mmm, nevermind that earlier. More importantly, are you alright, boy? What’s your name? Can you stand? Or shall I carry you?”

"Huh...?"


A much softer voice now comes from her, a new slew of questions to answer in my confusion.

I think my brain must have been the first to be hit by the cold, I swore I just heard she said she was going to carry me. After all that pain, the writhing and confusion, I don't think I can take another hit like being carried around by a girl, no older then me, wearing a gothic lolita outfit in a Tengetsu snowstorm. But I needed to get out of this snowstorm, real or not I don't want to die, just the thought of it spurred me on to try stand.


"I-I'm...Kirisaki Homura."


I answer her first question almost automatically now that I've managed to get a grip of myself if even slightly. I hug myself, though I know it's a futile attempt to stave off the cold that's now fully replaced the burning pain. A different kind of pain that I can only shiver to, truly some sort of ancient curse was placed on my family that granted me the worst luck. The temperature bits at my exposed skin even as I stand up, the only thing keeping me going is my masculinity, I won't be carried around even in the snow like this.


"I...I can stand..."

The cold once more attacks me, my speech stuttering, my longing for my bed back home strong and yet even as nature is against me, even when none of this makes sense, even if this could all just be a dream...in this park of white with the moon shining brightly, a single question burns within me, demanding to be answered.

"...Who are you?"

hero
February 22nd, 2015, 08:03 AM
Azama Tae
Location: Upasmike Forest - Tae's Cabin
Phase: Night
Time: 21:30
Day: January 12th


"...!"

It's like trying to breathe out while there is no air in your lungs. Like having your soul separated from your body in one swift, sudden motion. Not only does the Summoning Ritual claim a big part of my Prana Reserves, it also leaves me physically exhausted and even as the glow dies down, it takes me a moment to recover before I can finally make light of the situation.

"Ah..."

It's surreal. The person standing within the circle doesn't look more than a beautiful woman in a kimono. But she is... I am certain she's the Heroic Spirit I summoned. A powerful spirit who stands above me but will fight under me... My Servant. How long do we stay there, motionless, as if time itself had stopped? I can't tell for sure. However, what I know is that the feeling in my chest is not fear... But an inexplicable surge of admiration. I guess this experience brings back memories from the past, when I was a child, when I believed in real heroes. For reasons that escape me at this time, such thoughts cross my mind as we stare at each other.

---Saber.

She introduces herself as the Servant of the Sword. Though the material I've studied did not provide much information past the basics, the Saber-class is regarded as the strongest. I can't say I am not surprised to hear this... As I am not a proper Mage, the thought of summoning a powerful Servant did never occur to me. Well, this certainly makes things easier, but... Don't think I'll relax just because I got a Saber.

"Indeed, I am your Master."

I look at her in the eye without fear as I remove the glove on my right hand. My hand now balled into a fist, I show her the brands on its back.

"Proof of it are these Command Seals, as well as the link established between us. Servant Saber, you will prove your worth to me with your actions in this war."

I draw courage to command armies. Anything else would not suffice, anything below that would only be making a fool of myself. Though my knowledge is limited and my experience close to none, I speak firmly with a powerful voice that denotes I am aware of what I am talking about.

"In exchange I, Azama Tae, promise to share the Holy Grail with you when we emerge victorious, should I deem your intentions noble enough."

Elyrin
February 22nd, 2015, 08:51 AM
Servant Saber
Location: Upasmike Forest - Tae's Cabin
Phase: Night
Time: 21:30
Day: January 12th


When I finally got around to speaking, the girl before me responded quickly and firmly. If she felt any worry - or thought anything unusual about my strange introduction - it wasn't showing. Good. She seemed sincere, at least, but even false confidence could go a long way. Tell a man to believe enough times and he will, even if all reason tells him not to.

In exchange I, Azama Tae, promise to share the Holy Grail with you when we emerge victorious, should I deem your intentions noble enough.

Ahhh, very brave. But still, the girl could just be an overconfident fool. She had to have felt the waves of power released by the summoning, but a simple magus would not simply understand the power of a Hero. I would not deny her command so soon, but she would need to be tested.

"A daring assertion, Azama Tae. Few who know the power of a Servant would risk making such claims without knowing their partner beforehand. What, then, if you decide my cause is not just? What if I disagree with your wish, declare it to be folly that would bring more harm than good, and deny your authority? Command seals cannot fix such problems, and any solution using them would leave you servantless or worse. What is your wish, young one, and how will you defend its legitimacy?"

That smile that was so full of joy remained unwavering. Even as the air around us froze, as if holding us both in some unnatural embrace, I held eye contact with the girl before me. It was such a weak expression of power that could not even approach the pressures of combat, but a simple magus might find it hard to breathe. If she could neither answer my question nor withstand my mere presence, how would she last in battle?

Antary
February 22nd, 2015, 08:57 AM
Anna Bernhart
Location - Harbor - Family House - Basement
Phase - Night
Time - 22:23
Day - January 12

"You were right; no reason it wouldn't have worked." Anna murmured. Her closed eye opened, both of them curiously examining the emerged woman. Anna smiled; it was a polite, friendly smile. Though her heartbeat was frantic, she wasn't afraid. She felt awe and admiration, fully comprehending the glory and nigh-divine might of the Heroic Spirit without requiring even the smallest display of ability. It was all clear in just the Servant's mere presence. Without hesitation, Anna took her Servant's hand. Her smile began to swim in reverie, briefly dropping its firm politeness; it started turning into an expression of unabashed satisfaction and juvenile joy. Anna had to force herself to regain composure, and she managed to do so after several blinks.

"Ah, I... I summoned you, so that must make me your Master. I ask of you to fight for me in this Holy Grail War until it concludes with our victory." She said, the increasing confidence in her voice quite apparent and largely unintentional. After all, with someone like Maker before her, how could she possibly be lacking in confidence?

Anna let go of the woman's hand when she found herself holding onto it for longer than was probably appropriate. She was overcome by a very immature nervousness, like a child meeting her hero. Well, although she wasn't a child, she was indeed speaking to a hero.

"Well... I suppose we should determine what we shall be doing tonight. There is plenty of time before sunrise, which means that we have plenty of time to measure our competition. Not to mention that a lot of them will most likely be heading towards a very specific place..." Anna trailed off a bit in spoken contemplation. She glanced back at her Servant, still retaining a warm smile. "What do you say? Although I am your 'Master', your opinion is still highly valuable to me."

Her eyes widened slightly, as if she suddenly realized something.

"Ah, that's right! I am Anna Bernhart, an Executor of the Holy Church. How would you like me to refer to you, my Servant?"

Spinach
February 22nd, 2015, 09:54 AM
Ryougi Kirame
Location: Old Town – Base
Phase: Night
Time: 22:54
Day: January 12th

“Haaah… Haaah…”

Pained breathing, low and slow. His chest was on fire, inside and out. Every inch of his body had been burnt, run through with molten steel.

He clutched his chest, squeezing down the fabric of his shirt over his heart.

It was the core of his body, where every process had begun, where every process had ended. He had become the forge, his body itself serving as the smithy where this fine blade, his Servant, would be crafted.

His legs felt weak, and he focused what little strength remained in him to staying upright.

“Haah… Haah…” His breath began to return to him.

The crimson glow of the Command Seal mirrored the memory of red-hot pain as magma flooded his veins. He knew pain, but not from within. Only outward, the pain of battle. The sizzling memory lingering in his flesh, coursing through his blood, was a new pain, but it was still only that.

Pain. Something he can endure. Water had already ran him through, mending what had been burnt. The damage was already healed, now only a memory lingered. Telling himself that he took his hand away from his chest, releasing the grip over his heart and leaving a bloody stain.

"A place of creation. To come forth here... it is a strange rebirth."

Grey, metallic eyes met coal. An anxious, pained smile welcomed the Servant to the cold island of Tengetsu. He could feel it, the presence of the man within the circle. An undeniably greater being, a legend by all right.

"Servant Artificer has answered summons tonight, young one. I would ask of you. Are you my Master?"

“That’s right.” He rose his arm, showing the proof of the contract, his Command Seals. Three red katana, overlapping over each other to make a familiar shape. A straight forward pattern, not elaborate in the slightest. One that suited Ryougi Kirame in all ways.

He raised his other hand, stained with the blood he had shed for the summoning. The Command Seals on his left were his proof as a Master, the blood on his right was the pain he had endured in the summoning. His desire for a wish, and the will to spill blood for it.

“I am Ryougi Kirame. Side by side we will shed and spill blood together for the Holy Grail, Artificer.”

He answered with a smile, his steel eyes alight at the prospect of battle. Drained both mentally and physically by the summoning, only the spirit of battle still burnt at full strength in him.

Mellon
February 22nd, 2015, 10:11 AM
Maker
Location - Harbor - Family House - Basement
Phase - Night
Time - 22:23
Day - January 12


"Ah, I... I summoned you, so that must make me your Master. I ask of you to fight for me in this Holy Grail War until it concludes with our victory."


As their hands clasped one another, another understanding smile blossomed on Maker’s face.

“Then the contract between us is complete. From henceforth, my will shall craft thy victory and your fate will be with me.”


Waves of nervousness rushed out of the rather young nun in front of her, which brought out an almost uncharacteristic chuckle from her. It seems that despite hoping to be a participant in this “war”, her Master possessed a childlike innocence and exuberance, that was… uncharacteristic of one that would take up the role of a “Master”. It was an aspect that brought both sadness and relief to her in many ways. Relief in the sense that she herself, as a Servant, would probably not possess the highest compatibility with traditional Masters. There were many methods that might bring victory in a war such as this, but Maker was incompatible with many of them. Not because of what she was capable of, but rather due to what she believed in.


As a Servant, she should be the only one to ever suffer in this war.


A disposable being summoned for a slaughter of legends. If things turned out that way, then that would surely be the best possible result. No-one of this world, even if they were prepared to kill others for their dream and trample on their hopes and dreams, should be forced to die meaninglessly. They, irrelevant figments from a long lost age, should take the full brunt of the worlds anger, for daring to step outside the mists of time. Sacrificing herself was something that Maker had fully embraced, even in her life. In that regard, this undeath of her was no exception. And that was where her sadness came from.

An girl such as her Master should not be fighting for a dream built on blood. Those that hold honest innocence in their hearts, do not need a miracle such as this to change the world.


"Ah, that's right! I am Anna Bernhart, an Executor of the Holy Church. How would you like me to refer to you, my Servant?"



An unbidden murmur suddenly arose from Maker’s lips.

“So the Church never found its true path in the end...”


Giving an elegant shake of her head to banish the thought, the Servant in the elaborate dress let out another small chuckle at her Master’s exuberance and gave Anna a small, respectful bow. The young nun’s kind smile was reflected on Maker’s face, as she introduced herself to her Master.

“In the days of my life, I was called _________________. However, the class granted to me by the Holy Grail is that of Maker. While I personally, have no qualms with thy use of my maiden name, for the sake of practicality, I suggest that you refer to me with the name of my class, Master.”

“Handing an advantage to our enemies because of excessive confidence would be something I would like to avoid. However, should you truly desire it, I shall acquiesce on this matter.”


"Well... I suppose we should determine what we shall be doing tonight. There is plenty of time before sunrise, which means that we have plenty of time to measure our competition. Not to mention that a lot of them will most likely be heading towards a very specific place…

“There is no need to rush into things, Master. Even if what you say is true, I am not a Servant whose strengths truly lie in reconnaissance, such as Assassin or Caster. A haphazard approach could only leave us entwined ourselves.”

“For tonight however, I suggest we stay in your residence and prepare for the days to come. It would surely be of help to you to understand of my nature as a Servant and what I am capable of. And I myself would be very interested in talking about you, Master. As well as why you have chosen to take part in this War.”

Maker’s eyes briefly left Anna’s and glanced at the surrounding basement for a second, before returning.

“However, maybe perhaps we can continue this conversation upstairs? Unless there is a reason to remain in the basement, of course. Seeing the night sky once more would be of great enjoyment to me, Master.”

hero
February 22nd, 2015, 10:57 AM
Azama Tae
Location: Upasmike Forest - Tae's Cabin
Phase: Night
Time: 21:32
Day: January 12th


"..."

I am being tested. Her eyes and her smile tell me that much. Naturally, fear begins pouring out of my heart, as the trial I am facing is far from ordinary. One wrong answer and my life could very well end at this very moment. At the same time, there is no guarantee that silence will not bring about a similar outcome. From my understanding, there are several weapons I could use against a Servant as a Master. Certainly the Command Seals are not the only tool at my disposal. However, those will not do. This is not the kind of situation where I can make use of them without getting myself killed. If that's the case, then the only option left is to fight. Even against this oppressive aura, I have to fight to show I am the Master here.

"I have no wish." I announce, but quickly correct myself. "No, that's not entirely true. There might be people capable of denying their wishes or fooling themselves into thinking they have none, but a person without a wish... I do not think such thing exists."

I pause for a moment to collect myself. I must not delay my answer any further and deliver it clearly so no doubts are left in Saber's mind. To do that, I need to pick my words carefully.

"What I meant is that I have no wish to ask the Mocking Grail. I was chosen to participate in this war against my will, by fate perhaps, so I don't have any urgent need for a miracle. In other words, Servant Saber, I am offering you the chance to grant your wish in my stead."

But that's just the beginning. Though I have done my best to eliminate any misunderstandings during our first exchange, the truth of the matter is that I still haven't replied to any of Saber's questions. That is to say, I haven't answered her trial yet.

"I invite you to judge, through the course of this war, if my morals and objectives conflict with yours. Then, you may act as you see fit. Likewise, if I find your wish would bring harm to me or the things I care about, I will act accordingly. I believe I don't have to go into detail as to what that entails."

Yes, should it come to that point, even this spirit, this Servant who belongs to the strongest of classes, all of which dwarf my own powers, would become my enemy. It's not a matter of being able to defeat her or not, from the beginning that possibility was out of the question. I've never seen a Servant fight in my life, but I instinctively understand that I would not stand a chance against Saber, even if I was focusing entirely on staying alive. Regardless, if that day when I must defend myself against Saber arrives, I will oppose her without hesitation and show no fear.

Because, when it comes down to it, fighting for those things is what matters the most.

"If you have any more questions to ask, Saber, ask them. If you comply to these terms, then sign the contract."

Leftovers
February 22nd, 2015, 11:26 AM
Astrid Hildebrandt
Location: Upasmike Forest
Phase: Night
Time: 20:20
Day: January 12th

When her eyes adjusted, the first thing she saw were the brands, seared onto the back of her left hand. Glowing a vivid red, like coals revitalised by an onrush of oxygen, they radiated a throbbing pain that seemed to pulse through her body at the rhythm of her heartbeats. Having dispensed of her gloves to precisely draw the magic circle, the cold wind dulled the pain, but it was felt regardless. Through these seals, a link had been established.

Then, she heard it.


“Aah, so I take it that you are my Master?”

The languorous voice that seemed to have a physical presence, wrapping around her with the gentleness of a lover and the hidden intent of a prowling predator. Words like a playful caress filled the clearing, and Astrid lifted her gaze from the Command Seals to meet the voice's owner---

...and her breath hitched in her throat. How could it not, when confronted with such an overwhelming, sheer presence?

Fair hair cascading like a river of gold, a flowing dress fluttering in the winter chill, and a face of unspeakable splendour, the kind that would inspire the Old Masters to capture even a portion of it on the canvas, or a nation to march for war just for a single of her smiles. In the small clearing, framed by moonlight, this woman's — this Servant's — unearthly beauty was a sight that would stay with Astrid for the rest of her days.

A bare foot stepped on pure snow, hardly leaving a mark on its surface. Soon, it was followed by another, then another, as the the Servant slowly crossed the clearing to approach Astrid. She seemed to be studying her too, though she did not yet know what it could be that the woman was looking for. Was it the proof of the contract, the Command Seals? Or perhaps those eyes of hers were searching for a another sort of sign, one only she could detect?

Astrid was transfixed, rooted on the spot despite herself. The finger that was tracing her shoulders seemed to hold her entire body in place, despite the Servant exerting no pressure at all. Rather, she was content to circle her, running her eyes over the contours of her body, making remarks all the while in her almost drawling, yet lilted tone.


“Hmm, you could use some ointment for that cracked lip and any skin blemishes...I recommend not to smoke, even though that kind of luxury didn't exist in my time, it's ruining your beautiful face. Also, you’re getting split hairs...poor girl, how will you ever get a man to fall for you in that state, hmm?”

What could Astrid say to that? She had expected a formal introduction, to confirm and finalise the contract between Master and Servant, but this woman seemed to have no interest in such a thing. She knew that Servants could be difficult to deal with, and often defied the expectations of their Masters, but even El Melloi would have been given pause by this strange, otherworldly woman.

For the summon to have drawn her here, she surely was one of mankind's greatest. But why did it feel as if the Mocking Grail had summoned a mockery of a Hero?

Whatever response she might have prepared died before utterance when a pair of thin arms coiled themselves around her from the back, stroking her chin with long, tender fingers. What might have looked like an intimate embrace, infinitely gentle; but this, too, was a mockery. Snared in the beautiful woman's clutches, having honeyed words whispered in her ear, Astrid felt no warmth; rather, she felt like a constrictor snake had enveloped her, purring soft reassurances to its imminent victim.

Those words were not empty, but she could not discern their true depths. Everything about the woman was mesmerising, a mystery wrapped in an enigma, but the chill the hot breath that whispered in her ear brought running down her spine was all too real.


“But don’t worry, dear. As long as you have me as your pet, all your worldly desires may come true...one way or another. Ufufufufu…”

It was over in an instant, but the sensation stayed with her for a long time, a lingering afterimage. Suddenly Astrid felt impossibly cold, as if she had been abruptly deprived of something vital, something she could not live without. With a hazy mind, she regarded the enchanting woman, who had now retreated to conversation distance.

So, this is the influence a Servant can exert. Truly...fearsome.

It felt like an indeterminate amount of time had passed until Astrid finally regained her bearings. For the Servant, it made no difference if it had only been a few seconds or an eternity, for she stood at the same spot like an apparition, smiling, judging.

Straightening out her outfit was simple enough, but keeping her voice level was a struggle. But she was determined to not show weakness to her Servant; partly because of her pride, but she had a hunch that if this woman were to discover a chink in her armor, she would take great delight in prying it open, laughing all the while.

Her hand trembled slightly, but her words were delivered evenly, as if she had not been phased by the Servant's unexpected assault on her composure, although she knew the woman would hardly be fooled.

"Haaaaah, what a relief it is to hear that. It's good to see my partner taking such an active interest in my well-being already. Truly, I feel that I am in safe hands."

Her words oozed nonchalance, nothing in them hinting at an inflection of sarcasm, but the tone of their relationship had already been set. A game of dominance between Master and Servant, sparring with verbal blades concealed in assumed courtesy. Each pretending to be unaffected while chipping away at the other's mental armor, a covert power play. Such was the dynamic that was taking shape between the two women.

"But you know, whatever people may say, smoking is ultimately not about the taste, the addiction, or its chemical effects on the brain. At its core, smoking is an accessory, and also a tool with a specific purpose. Just like this suit and tie create a profile that befits my purposes, a cigarette ties the image together, creating an icon, a mask."

Retrieving said item as if to punctuate her point, she twirled it around her fingers like an expert drummer wielding his drumsticks.

"I say 'mask' because that is what it ultimately is: the image that society has of a certain kind of person, and to which they unconsciously compare the reality that surrounds them. To match that archetype means to fit in with that person's worldview - his common sense - and that gives him security and peace of mind. When one looks at me, he will see the world as it should be, something he can believe to be exactly what he thinks it is. In that comfort, he does not suspect; in that credence, he does not hesitate to confide. As with the corrective force of the World, so it is with human perception: they are not drawn to the vast sea of uniformity, but to the nail that sticks out of the whole."

With two quick flicks of the wrist, the cigarette was lit, the tip glowing in the twilight like a ruby.

"You must think it pretentious to justify a simple vice with such voluminous explications, and perhaps you are right. But make no mistake; though this is by function a mask, it is also unquestionably my true self."

Taking a step forward to close in on the Servant, Astrid took the initiative for the first time in their brief relationship. Towering over her by a good margin, Astrid met the Servant's smile with one of her own. On her left hand, extended for a handshake to seal their pact, the Command Seals gleamed.

"I ask of you then, my Servant. Will you stand beside my true self in this great battle, under the Heaven's Moon?"

From this distance, Astrid could clearly gaze into the depths of the woman's eyes.


And they were like unto a Demon's.

Bloble
February 22nd, 2015, 11:36 AM
Artificer
Location: Old Town – Base
Phase: Night
Time: 22:55
Day: January 12th

"Hmm."

Artificer nods at the boy's words. He sees the blood that has been shed and accepts it. His Master is one that possesses the needed qualities. The boy will kill and fight and shed blood, both his own and that of others, to see the Holy Grail in his hands. Such a Master is ideal.

"Then, with that resolve of yours, our contract has been forged. I shall shape your fate with these hands, so that you may reach victory with certainty."

However.

"However, before anything else is done, I prefer to establish the context of this relationship, and correct any misunderstandings that may have arisen."

His Master has erred in one aspect. Artificer, despite keeping his expression completely neutral during his introduction, is only too eager to point it out. As he does so, and the smoke clears away, one thing becomes abundantly clear:

This Servant is not battle-worn. He has not been blessed with a powerful body, nor does he possess a fine suit or armour to turn away enemy blades. His build is hidden under those voluminous clothes, but he could be hypothesized to be scrawny. In fact, he stands much shorter than his own Master. Yes, the only truly experienced part of this Servant would have to be his hands.

"Master," Artificer says flatly. "I will do a great many things for the Holy Grail. After all, I did accept your summoning. However, I will not shed blood by your side, for what use is a blade that cannot cut? Leave me be, Master. I will not destroy for you."

It is a flat declaration. This Servant wishes to be part of a War, but he will not fight. In one sentence, he rejects violence and turns his back on the sacred oath he swore to. What runs through Artificer's mind? What logic brought him to that conclusion? In a moment, it becomes abundantly clear. There is more than one way to fight a war.

"However..."

However.

There is a sheathed sword at Artificer's side, hanging awkwardly from his thin waist. He takes a free hand and pushes it up by the hilt, exposing the first few centimetres of its hilt with a sharp click.

For anyone that looks upon it and has even the tiniest knowledge of forgery, it is a masterpiece surpassing anything that can be seen in the world. Just that glimpse is enough to signify that he who created that sword has achieved the highest level of craftsmanship that Man can reach, and then gone further. It is beautiful. Too beautiful. One could almost get lost in those lines.

Then he releases it, and the blade is hidden once more.

"...I will create."

Snax
February 22nd, 2015, 12:10 PM
Trickster
Location: Upasmike Forest
Phase: Night
Time: 20:20
Day: January 12th


"Haaaaah, what a relief it is to hear that. It's good to see my partner taking such an active interest in my well-being already. Truly, I feel that I am in safe hands."

Trickster merely smiled, sensing how her Master was trying to set the tone. Better than expected from anyone hit with her charm for the first time, at least - this person wasn’t one who would bore her, it seemed. Truly, nothing was more fun than a verbal exchange where one’s wit was the main factor. However, that was not all to a woman’s arsenal...


"But you know, whatever people may say, smoking is ultimately not about the taste, the addiction, or its chemical effects on the brain. At its core, smoking is an accessory, and also a tool with a specific purpose. Just like this suit and tie create a profile that befits my purposes, a cigarette ties the image together, creating an icon, a mask."

Smiling as her Master took out a new cigarette, Trickster merely drew closer as the woman put on her so called ‘mask’. She eyed the stick of paper like a cat would, furtively but intently.

In fact, Trickster was somewhat interested in the luxury, as well. She had indulged in almost every luxury there was in her lifetime - nobody denied her everything, for the world was her oyster. However, all the new vices of this era were now open to her - and nobody to stop her from enjoying her new life.


"I say 'mask' because that is what it ultimately is: the image that society has of a certain kind of person, and to which they unconsciously compare the reality that surrounds them. To match that archetype means to fit in with that person's worldview - his common sense - and that gives him security and peace of mind. When one looks at me, he will see the world as it should be, something he can believe to be exactly what he thinks it is. In that comfort, he does not suspect; in that credence, he does not hesitate to confide. As with the corrective force of the World, so it is with human perception: they are not drawn to the vast sea of uniformity, but to the nail that sticks out of the whole."

The flame was lit. The smoke flew.


"I ask of you then, my Servant. Will you stand beside my true self in this great battle, under the Heaven's Moon?"

Trickster smiled, her eyes glinting in interest and humor. Of course, who was she to ever let go of this opportunity at a second life?

“My, my, ufufu... Quite the philosopher, aren't we? Only humans ever cared to complicate every simple fact upon this land in the name of wit and intelligence...And I must say, I do not dislike that part of you. I did always have a thing for storytellers and intelligent people..However...”

Giggling ever so slightly, Trickster paced around her new Master languidly, approaching slowly, at a slow pace, her body undulating and flowing, every inch of it showing off her radiance that nobody was able to take their eyes off.

“A mask, was it… Please, Master. Masks are my specialty, for I am Trickster, your new Servant. It will be a pleasure to serve you as your hands and feet. While I am not one for brutish violence or mindless clashes, this battle shall be ours to win, no doubt - .”

Smiling slyly, almost as if a fox, she took the hand of her master, and then quickly drew it towards herself, dragging her master into her embrace. Considering her Master was far taller, however, it was as if Trickster was looking up at a man of her era...Giggling ever so slightly at the thought, Trickster opened her mouth again.

“But first, you will promise me that we will enjoy this as much as possible. For what is life without a little merriment? Alas, nothing. After all, to live is to enjoy...”

Laughing clearly as if a bell’s chime, Trickster gently plucked the cigarette from her Master’s hand and took a brief drag on it. A small puff of smoke escaped her mouth as she exhaled ever so gently into the air, making smoke rings with ease.

“Hm.. not bad. Still, it’s lacking in taste…?”

Looking coyly at her Master, Trickster had an idea. Smiling even wider, she grabbed her Master’s tie, dragging her face down towards her own. Gently rising on her tiptoes, her face approached her new Master’s slowly, ever so slowly - and then took her mouth in her own, slowly pressing her tongue into her partner’s - like a snake would enter a small, moist orifice.

“~~~~~~”

A little bit of tongue twisting and acrobatics could do wonders to the atmosphere. When Trickster finally let go, her face was slightly flushed, smiling like a cat looking at a particularly tasty morsel. Although in the case of her Master...

Spinach
February 22nd, 2015, 12:17 PM
Ryougi Kirame
Location: Old Town – Base
Phase: Night
Time: 22:56
Day: January 12th

"Master," Artificer says flatly. "I will do a great many things for the Holy Grail. After all, I did accept your summoning. However, I will not shed blood by your side, for what use is a blade that cannot cut? Leave me be, Master. I will not destroy for you."

“Then…!” A voice of protest rose up to the Servant’s words. ‘What use is a blade that cannot cut?’ ‘I will not destroy for you.’ It was a preposterous, presumptuous statement. Kirame would not allow his Servant to not participate, he would correct the Servant, if not by words then by force, but before any further words could be uttered.

"However..."

The voice of the Servant cut down his protest. The words of Kirame were not violently slain, but instead his complaints were elegantly laid to rest. The sharp click of Artificer’s blade that he displayed cut down the voice of his Master in one single, masterful stroke.

He could see it clearly, that what was held by this Servant was a blade forged with skill that did not exist in this world any longer. A masterpiece that could not be reproduced by any living man.

As a swordsman, not as a smith, Kirame understood immediately what was before him. The man in front of him was no warrior. In spite of the vast presence the tiny Servant exuded, the overwhelming power that is contained in the spirit’s body, it was not a power that was deadly or forceful. The thin frame of the man lacked the strength that a battle-hardened warrior would possess. He did not carry himself as such either.

Kirame should have expected such a man to answer his summoning. The catalyst he had used, the one he had called for was not a warrior by any means.

"...I will create."

The man before him was the one that forges the heart and soul of every swordsman.

“… Nozomi. Sword.” With his eyes still locked with those of his Servant, Kirame issued a rare, direct order to the young girl.

Unlike before, the girl was standing. The sight of the Servant had drawn her to her feet, and her eyes were wide with both awe and admiration. As someone who possessed talent as a blacksmith, she could recognize the master before her for what he was. Kirame understood the skill of the one before him as a Servant, but what Nozomi felt was the intuition of a prodigy. That the one before her was in all aspects her superior, one she could learn much from.

Without a word the girl picked up a single sword adorned with a tiny charm hung from the hilt, resting against the wall alongside many others, and brought it to Kirame. The energetic girl, usually a loud, blabbermouth, was still struck silent, or rather left speechless, at the sight of the Servant Artificer.

“Then, Artificer.” Kirame held the sword before the Servant, drawing it from its sheath partially. The red steel of the blade exposed itself to the cold air of Tengetsu in the hands of its wielder for the first time, displaying its blood-craving visage to the master blacksmith.

“If you will craft for me swords that surpass this, blades that will cut down even legends,” Kirame sheathed the blade, the click of the hilt meeting the sheath echoing in the still air of the smithy, “then that will be enough.”

The man lowered the sheathed sword to his side.

“Your strength is to create, my strength is to kill.”

A cold, bloodthirsty smile spread upon his lips. The influence of the sword in his hands.

“One does what one is meant to do. Forge for me the finest swords. I’ll turn them against our enemies, until none are left, and bring back to you the Holy Grail.”

Mormarth
February 22nd, 2015, 12:29 PM
Francis York(?) Morgan
Location - Park District - Gongujoudo
Phase - Night
Time - 20:00

I inched my hand away from my eyes slowly, blinking away the dots that flickered through my vision, and gazed upon my Servant, standing amidst my admittedly hashed-together Circle.

She was beautiful.

But, in words that I'd cobble together later, not really in any specific, physical sense, it was the beauty of the Moon, the stars at night, the ocean. Like Beauty as a concept, nothing particularly stood out, it was a very generalized beauty, and while I would remember he presence and her shape, I would not remember the details, her face or appearance. A beautiful framework for a painting that lacked something important.

Slim, pale hair, eastern dress, yellow eyes.

These'd stand out on any, lesser person, but my Servant's sheer being overwhelmed them, it must be a bit sad, I thought, to be remembered as 'beautiful' but not as a person.

She spoke, her gaze gentle, but aloof, unapproachable, what a sad person, I thought.

"I am Enchanter, Servant. For the sake of the contract, I have answered my Master's summons. I ask of you, are you my Master?"

Oh, uh, right, got kind of carried away there for a second, I cleared my throat awkwardly, "Ah, yes. For the sake of the Contract, I have summoned you, I am Francis-" I paused, struggling with my words, "You can call me York, that's what everyone calls me, more or less, pleased to meet you, Enchanter, I'll be your Master in this War."

I inclined my head, the solemnity of the scene stood, immaculate for a brief second.

Then, like most art, it came crashing down when my damned stomach growled loud enough to wake the dead, I flushed, it turns out that fasting in order to purify the body for a proper summoning is a bit much when you haven't eaten anything all day.

Ugh.

Bloble
February 22nd, 2015, 12:57 PM
Artificer
Location: Old Town – Base
Phase: Night
Time: 22:58
Day: January 12th

Well.

This is an unexpected development.

"Master, I've not met the man who created that blade, nor its brothers," Artificer says. Despite the negative, he approaches, stepping out of the circle for the first time. In a moment, he is before his Master, and their height difference is emphasized. "In a sense, he met me. This is one of his finer works. To divide his attention during creation and ensure a completely even product... certainly, he was very skilled."

In an instant, the disconnect is realized. Rather than talking about the weapon, Artificer has skipped straight to speaking of the one who created them like a brother. Now he speaks of how they were forged, as if he was there himself.

"That red coloration is after my time, I think, but that's an interesting way of achieving it..." After a moment, the Servant realizes that he's come dangerously close to mumbling by himself, and backs off for a moment, forcing his eyes away.

"Yes, Master." He looks Kirame in the eyes and nods. There is no arrogance in his gaze, only confidence that has surpassed itself so often it is no longer confidence at all; merely fact. "I can do you one better than this. Though I would never be able to make a sword quite like Nanae, I can do what its creator couldn't."

He removes the pipe from his robes and takes another step back, this time lending his gaze to the place of his summoning. His eyes roam the wooden walls, the tools surrounding him, and even the young girl that has been standing there the whole time. For a moment Artificer blinks, as if he had only just then noticed her. His eyes roam across Nozomi, taking in her clothes, hands, and hair. Then he nods.

"Greetings to you as well," he says. "I assume you are an acquaintance of my Master. In that case, you may consider me at your service."

Then he turns back to Kirame. "I shall be blunt. A forge is needed. This place shall do. It has history and charm. Allow me to claim it, Master, and I can get to work this very minute."

Spinach
February 22nd, 2015, 01:16 PM
Ryougi Kirame
Location: Old Town – Base
Phase: Night
Time: 23:00
Day: January 12th

A look of disappointment answered the first of Artificer’s words. His speech confirmed that the catalyst had not summoned the specifically desired Heroic Spirit, but rather another.

It wasn’t something that needed to be said. The Servant before him did not possess the same aura as the Nanae did. The blood-craze embedded into the red blade was directly inherited from the one that had forged it, so long ago. Such a craze was nowhere to be found in the man of such small stature, weak yet strong.

Kirame had expected the blacksmith who he believed would perfectly suit his needs and purpose, but the disappointment at not summoning that man was quickly washed away. The one before him possessed skill that would not disappoint. That he felt, down to the core of him, and when Artificer confidently proclaimed that he would surpass the sword in his hands a glint of anticipation lit up in his eyes.

"Greetings to you as well," he says. "I assume you are an acquaintance of my Master. In that case, you may consider me at your service."

“Iya… yaya…” Unable to find the words, or rather the strength of heart to withstand such a master offering his service to her, Nozomi stuttered back in response, waving her hands in front of her with palms open to refuse the Servant in front of her ‘being at her service.’

"I shall be blunt. A forge is needed. This place shall do. It has history and charm. Allow me to claim it, Master, and I can get to work this very minute."

“Do what you must, Artificer.” Kirame answered, putting his hand on Nozomi’s head, which snapped the girl out of her frantic attempts to find words. “Nozomi, help him however you can. This is a good chance to get that ‘experience’ the old man asked me to help you find.”

“R-Right.” Finally finding words and calming down, if only a little, the girl answered. With eyes beaming she looked up to the master blacksmith and spoke with a voice full of admiration. “I’ll be helpin’ ya with anythin’ ya need, Artificer.”

“Nozomi here’s got a lotta talent.” Kirame added, ruffling her hair with his hand. “She’ll be useful. In exchange, teach her a few things if you can.”

Leftovers
February 22nd, 2015, 01:24 PM
Astrid Hildebrandt
Location: Upasmike Forest
Phase: Night
Time: 20:22
Day: January 12th

At that moment, she felt that the advantage had shifted, or at least struck a balance. Reflecting on it later, she could clearly see the foolishness of that notion, uncharacteristically hasty and irrational as it was, but the unique conditions of the moment always served as a credible - if convenient - excuse.

Perhaps there were things that Astrid was unwilling to admit even to herself.

Her lofty speech did not seem to faze the Servant; if anything, she looked positively delighted, her eyes crinkling in joy to bring out charming lines. But that smile...


“My, my, ufufu... Quite the philosopher, aren't we? Only humans ever cared to complicate every simple fact upon this land in the name of wit and intelligence...And I must say, I do not dislike that part of you. I did always have a thing for storytellers and intelligent people..However...”

...could not in good faith be described as beatific, any more than a lion licking its fangs in anticipation of a meal can be interpreted as affection for its prey.

Or better yet, this sashaying woman who was now closing into Astrid was a cat, still undecided on whether to play with her, or devour her. Coating her assault in languid words and velvet touches, laying siege to the mind and body with her target none the wiser; that was the game her Servant was capable of playing.

But even then, Astrid did not yet understand.


“A mask, was it… Please, Master. Masks are my specialty, for I am Trickster, your new Servant. It will be a pleasure to serve you as your hands and feet. While I am not one for brutish violence or mindless clashes, this battle shall be ours to win, no doubt-”

A hand wrapped around her own, the warmth of her skin warding off the chill of the winter night. All that Astrid managed to notice was that the woman's skin was perfectly smooth and soft like velvet. Then, she was swept off her feet by the much smaller woman, falling into her embrace like a doll with severed strings. Caught by surprise, she could only lay there inert, her body defenseless and pliable to the Servant's touch.

The warmth had returned again, sliding into place like a long-missing piece finally reunited with the whole. In the frigid night, her unresponsive body felt like it was suddenly thrust in a furnace.

She didn't even notice the cigarette being plucked from her fingers until the rings of smoke that left the woman's mouth caressed the side of her face. Unsteadily, she tried to lift her head and look at her — the alluring woman, the enticing demon, her partner in this holy night.

Her eyes were dancing like hidden flames. What was it that she had said...?

“But first, you will promise me that we will enjoy this as much as possible. For what is life without a little merriment? Alas, nothing. After all, to live is to enjoy...”

In her bleary eyes, the glow of the cigarette was the sole visible point in the darkness. Even though she could not move a muscle, her body was aware of every inch of the soft flesh that was pressed against it. Trailing through the air like the smoke of the cigarette, a voice cut through the haze of her senses like a knife.


“Hm.. not bad. Still, it’s lacking in taste…?”

Then, lips met lips, and the self of Astrid Hildebrandt was briefly, but utterly, taken over.


50%

When she came to, the moon was gone, hidden behind the rolling clouds that heralded fate.

Her head pounded, but there was no pain. It was merely the pulse of her own magical energy in her circuits, brought to a state of fervent overdrive. A charm, it had to be that. How had she been so careless as to not notice something so basic?

The answer to that question would not long remain a mystery. Turning her eyes to her, Astrid finally truly understood the might of her Servant. This woman whose visage could never be defined as merely 'beautiful', aglow with a flush of excitement, grinning like she had just stolen victory right under Astrid's nose.

And she had, hadn't she. It was her complete, decisive victory. Astrid had severely underestimated her Servant, and now her first battle of the Holy Grail War had been lost.

Fought in a battlefield as much mental as physical, this was a battle both with the Servant and against her own self. A battlefield she would have to learn how to fight in, lest she become lost in that illusionary haze again.

"Trickster, is it..."

Even if the first battle had ended at her loss, it had been a learning experience. Easing into the Servant's embrace, her words signed the contract that bound their fates together.

"If I did not intend to enjoy myself, I would not have come to this island in the first place."

Bloble
February 22nd, 2015, 01:44 PM
Artificer
Location: Old Town – Base
Phase: Night
Time: 23:04
Day: January 12th

"Talent, eh? That remains to be seen."

There was nothing insulting in Artificer's tone. He was simply one that doubted words and relied primarily on proof to confirm any suspicions. At the same time, he wasn't cruel enough to refuse an offer of aid. In fact, a certain spark lit up in the man's eyes at the mention of an aide.

"Well, since my Master said it, a chance will be given. It has been a while since I took an apprentice. Worry not, girl. You will most certainly learn something. However, your instructions will be brief, and the majority of your 'experience' will need to come via osmosis."

Artificer cracked his finger. His coal eyes shone with a deeper red, of embers with life still in them.

"This is, after all, a War. Time is not ours to waste."

His words had an effect, not on the occupants of the room, but the room itself. The tools seemed to shudder. The walls groaned. He weaved no magic, but symbolically, he claimed the house and everything in it as his Forge. From a being like a Servant, that gesture contained power.

Yes, this place, which had passed down through generations of blacksmiths, now hosted one greater than every one. It welcomed Artificer, and in return he made it his own.

"Yes," he repeated. "This place will do."

Spinach
February 22nd, 2015, 02:19 PM
Ryougi Kirame
Location: Old Town – Base
Phase: Night
Time: 23:06
Day: January 12th

The air in the old smithy felt a sudden change, fresher, crisp. The dust covering the old tools that permeated the inside of the aged wooden walls disappeared at the claim of ownership Artificer exerted. There was no miracle working or grand mystery in the action, it was simply the presence of the Heroic Spirit who had shaped legendary artifacts with his own hands that commanded such pristine conditions.

Nozomi’s eyes lit up even brighter than before at her apprenticeship, even knowing how short-lived it would be. The Servant’s mastery over the smithy showed her just how far apart the two were, the tools themselves answering his ownership so splendidly. Once they had seemed too aged and worn to be of practical use, but now they appeared pristine, ready for the craft.

“R-ri-… Yes, shishou! I won’ disappoint ya!”

Kirame let go of the girl’s head, walking over to the place where the other swords were kept. Lifting his coat and sweater he revealed his belt, and began placing each sword at his side, evenly distributing them to his right and left. The last sword, the one he had shown to Artificer, he held in his left hand.

“You’ll see what I meant when I said talent, don’t let her age fool you.” Kirame said, sliding open one of the doors that led into the house proper. Tilting his head he looked back into the room, at Artificer. “I’m going to meet the supervisor. The forge is yours, work it as much as you want, Artificer.”

He stepped out of the smithy and began sliding the door behind him shut.

“I expect to see a new masterpiece superior to the sword in my hand soon, blacksmith.”

Sliding the door shut with the last of his words, Kirame made for the entryway, putting his outdoor shoes back on. Stepping into the cold night air of Tengetsu, lit up by a few ancient streetlamps along the way, he turned his eyes to the sky in the distance, where he understood his destination to be. He pulled a letter out of his back pocket, he had completed the first step, now he must complete the second.

Returning the letter to his pocket he blew out a long breath that spread out into the night in a cloud of grey. Kirame ran his hand through his spiky hair with a second breath of resignation.

He had been at least half right. Considering the distance he needed to travel, it would certainly be a long night.

With the crunch of a shoe flattening snow, Kirame passed through the wooden gate of his new property and departed into the night city.

Location: Yamaichi Shrine – Winding Path
Phase: Night
Time: 0:41
Day: January 13th

In the dark of the cold, still night Ryougi Kirame approached the lengthy path toward the shrine. It had been a long, silent walk, boring and uneventful in every aspects, so much that the dullness couldn’t be understated. Arriving here meant he was near half-done with the last preparation he had as a Master before the beginning of the battle to come.

Telling himself that to combat the boredom, he continued putting one foot in front of the other as he pressed onward through the cold night.

Rafflesiac
February 22nd, 2015, 02:34 PM
Xander Stone
Location: Base - The Quarry
Phase: Night
Time: 20:50
Day: January 12th

Archer stood in contemplation, every motion a casual acceptance of my abilities, of my flaws. The haphazard spells at my disposal; if it with this man by my side, then even they can be of use? Even I?

Yet, I have not spoken of my full situation yet. How should I put the last ten years of my life? Words begin to flow, words that I realize for the first time are true as I speak them.


"Good. A spineless fighter is almost worse than no fighter at all."

Once again, Archer finds me satisfactory. Yet what of my goal, my desire, my wish?


"I see. A wish like that is one to strive for. So be it; I will help you win the Holy Grail."

With a slight hiss, my breath seeps out in relief. I sink deeper into the couch, muscles uncoiling and nerves calming. Even if in this one moment, I have been accepted in full.

For the first time, I am worthy.


"I see that you are tired, Master. I will not keep you from your rest, but is there anything you would like to ask of me?"

Tired?

A day’s exhaustions crash down on me in a second, rooting my legs to the floor. The food I hadn’t eaten since this morning, the lengthy trek up the mountain to the Yamaichi Shrine, the exhaustive toll taken on a body far too used to pain; each of these announced their presence at once.

There are many questions I want to ask: Who are you? What can you do? What is our best course of action?

But in the condition I am in, there is no way I could truly understand any answers.

“Thanks, Archer. I do have many questions, but I’ll have to leave them for tomorrow. Your room is the one by the steps on the second floor, if you require it. As for me,” I say, groaning as I rise from my seat, “my room is at the end of the hall on the second floor. I’ll be headed there to recover. Would you keep watch? There may be other enemies already in motion.”

I shudder a bit from cramped legs, and pause. Now that I think about it, there is an important thing I should mention.

“Furthermore, there is a supervisor of this War, who possesses the Servant Ruler.”

I move toward the steps, body groaning in ignored protest.

“Good night, Archer. I’ll be able to talk in more depth in the morning.”

Antary
February 22nd, 2015, 02:39 PM
Anna Bernhart
Location - Harbor - Family House - Basement
Phase - Night
Time - 22:25
Day - January 12


“In the days of my life, I was called _________________. However, the class granted to me by the Holy Grail is that of Maker. While I personally, have no qualms with thy use of my maiden name, for the sake of practicality, I suggest that you refer to me with the name of my class, Master.”

"Of course, then, Maker!" Anna exclaimed, though the truth was, her Servant's name told her very little. She recognized it, but to say that she understood what it meant in this particular context, the context of a Holy Grail War, would be wrong.


“There is no need to rush into things, Master. Even if what you say is true, I am not a Servant whose strengths truly lie in reconnaissance, such as Assassin or Caster. A haphazard approach could only leave us entwined ourselves.”

"Ah, that kind of scouting isn't really what I meant. But you're probably right; classes like those two would benefit more than us if we got careless," Anna placed a long sleeve-covered hand to her mouth, once again contemplating out loud. "Yes, you're right, Maker. We should make sure we're ready before we try anything."


“However, maybe perhaps we can continue this conversation upstairs? Unless there is a reason to remain in the basement, of course. Seeing the night sky once more would be of great enjoyment to me, Master.”

"Oh, of course, of course," Anna said, walking out of the basement. "Though, I warn you, the house above could use some cleaning; it's quite dusty. Unfortunately, I did not have the time for that yet - it was a busy day."

She lead her Servant up into the unlit rooms. After sliding her palm against the wall for a little bit, she flipped the lights on. They were inside a rather average family house. The walls and desks of every room were adorned with countless religious baubles, which was probably the only thing that made this house stand out from others like it, at least on the inside.

"Well, welcome to my humble abode for this Holy Grail War. It's in no way lavish, but it is quite secure and covert," The girl went into the house's kitchen, turning on the lights there as well. "Would you like some tea, Maker? We have a lot to discuss, I'm sure, and I would rather not come off as inhospitable. Sit wherever you like, by the way..."

The teakettle was warming up; Anna took a seat behind the kitchen table, hoping that her Servant wouldn't shy away or otherwise feel unhappy over her (perhaps overly) friendly attitude. It'd be inaccurate to say that Anna was fully composed - she was still anxious, especially after having heard Maker's true name, and doubted that her hospitality was enough to satisfy someone like her Servant. Of course, she tried to at least look calm, and held herself rather well.

"You asked me why I joined this War? Well, I'd be lying if I said that I took part in it of my own volition. I received an order to participate, and as such, I obviously could not disobey. But... after He had told me why it was necessary, I had no desire to refuse, either..." Anna mused, occasionally glancing over to the kettle. "But, Maker, your wish is your own, am I correct? Could you tell me about your reasons, too? Of course, if you don't wish to talk about them, that will be fine."

Bloble
February 22nd, 2015, 02:41 PM
Artificer
Location: Old Town – Base
Phase: Night
Time: 23:10
Day: January 12th

And so, as quickly as they had been introduced, Artificer's Master was gone, possibly to get himself killed. Such a quick meeting it had been, too.

Well, he was used to that sort of thing.

"He certainly is an impatient Master. I suppose it was inevitable. One who creates and one who destroys are two sides of the same coin," Artificer addressed Nozomi. Normally he would keep his thoughts silent, but having an apprentice necessitated a bit of talking. Well, it wasn't as if he hated that sort of thing. "They are doomed to be separate, but a certain symbiosis is necessary to keep the wheel turning and the fire burning." In a way, he and his Master stood opposite each other, staring across a river without a bridge.

What to do, now that he was alive?

For a moment, Artificer allowed himself to be overwhelmed by the new world.

There was just so much! So much information in his head! Stories, tales, and knowledge of a new world that he'd never possessed before. Techniques and ideas that hadn't even existed during his time now crowded for attention, each one promising progress and improvement. To integrate each one into his own style would be an impossibility for most. Artificer saw it as yet another simple challenge on the path to his Wish. Magi would weep at humanity's fall, but as a human himself, Artificer could only admire how far they had risen.

For now, he needed to focus. It was the first night, and a young one at that. To begin, he needed to ground himself. Where to start, when he could only create a limited amount before his time ran out again? What to do then?

That was a simple question. The answer was the same as it always was: Make weapons of war for a swordsman.

"You've repaired that sword before," Artificer addressed his apprentice. Just from seeing the weapon, he could tell that its wear and tear had been reversed many times by fairly skilled hands. "After being shown such art, it is time to mirror it. For such a bloodthirsty blade, we shall create one to oppose it as an exercise."

Yes, an exercise. Something familiar, so he could find a base for his abilities and work from there. The Servant container was imperfect, so Artificer would first need to test his skills to see if whether they had been perfectly retained.

"Get the fire going," he ordered his new apprentice. "And prepare some iron. First, I will need a moment to sample the night."

Yes. Before anything else, he needed to taste the world he'd left behind. How had it changed? How had it stagnated and grown? Artificer needed to experience that one thing with his own body, not just as context-less information.

And so he threw open the window, allowing the snow and cold air to blow inside and bless the house with its life.

"Now, before we forge..."

He turned to Nozomi, regarding her as a person rather than a faceless attendant. "You are my Master's companion. As such, you know what kind of a man he is. Tell me, then, what manner of warrior I am equipping, so that we may furnish this weapon to suit his hand."

Elyrin
February 22nd, 2015, 04:08 PM
Servant Saber
Location: Upasmike Forest - Tae's Cabin
Phase: Night
Time: 21:33
Day: January 12th


Understanding the gravity of the situation, the girl showed fear for the first time. Perhaps as a result, her answer was... less than satisfactory. No Servant would ever believe they served a Master with no wish, and the other Masters would descend upon her like vultures. Tae corrected herself shortly after, but still. In my eyes, the damage had been done.

"What I meant is that I have no wish to ask the Mocking Grail. I was chosen to participate in this war against my will, by fate perhaps, so I don't have any urgent need for a miracle. In other words, Servant Saber, I am offering you the chance to grant your wish in my stead."

Her assurance was not enough. I could not expect this girl to win a war with only half a reason to participate. The smile faded, and my expression darkened with every word. A pretty speech would no longer help her cause, but how exactly could I test her directly? As Saber, my options were limited. All I had were the clothes on my back and the sword that served me all those years ago.

It's not like I had another choice. As Azama Tae made her final statement, the weapon appeared in my hands. An old sword, so ancient it was nearly beyond measure, waited in its sheathe. A necessity for the knight of the Sword, the hero almost synonymous with their weapon. I did not expect anyone to recognize me by blade alone, but the chance was there.

If you have any more questions to ask, Saber, ask them. If you comply to these terms, then sign the contract.

"I do not yet believe in your resolve. I would serve willingly, but not for a Master who has only empty words to defend herself." So, I tossed her the sword. It looked simple while it had not been drawn. A long blade with a hand-and-a-half hilt, suitable for use with one hand or two, but maybe too awkward for the magus standing before me. While she examined the borrowed weapon, I could feel that smile creeping over me again.

"One blow each, to test your will to survive and to kill. Know that even with a great legend at your side, you cannot touch me, and other Servants will leave you just as helpless. Know that all your power is nothing against a Hero, and even if I allowed you to kill me with no resistance, you would fail. Know those truths... but still strike without mercy, and weather the storm that approaches."

Watching my Master's plight, I could not help but break into laughter. This time not a carefree laugh of happiness, but the laugh of a tyrant who had captured her last opposition. For just a few seconds, I was the White Queen who ruled over the island, deciding the fate of one last defiant foe. And then it passed, and I spread my arms to welcome my Master's last response.

"You first! Just, please, do no unsheathe the blade. It will allow itself to be carried, but might not permit the transgression of wielding it."

Satehi
February 22nd, 2015, 05:13 PM
Servant Saver
Location: Residential District - Old Park
Phase: Night
Time: 22: 46
Day: January 12th


"Where did you come from? And what do you mean 'Master'...?!"

Her frown deepened.

This is strange. This boy, by all logic, could only be the one to have called her forward- her Master.

Yet his first, almost deathly quiet words were most unbecoming of one- to ask a Servant, a being such as herself, questions that should have been trivial for any Master. Even if they were confused from whatever unusual circumstances that took place prior to or during the summon, to forget the simplest basics of what they were doing… seemed unlikely.

Furthermore, to greet ones Servant in their pajamas, outdoors in this weather…

How unusual.

It was not something she could imagine any Master doing on purpose, regardless of how deviant they were. Might her summoning have been an accident?



"I-I'm...Kirisaki Homura."


He says clearly, as he hugs himself in an attempt to keep warm. At the very least, his poor choice of winter clothes was not intentional. She personally did not have to worry, but it would be difficult to carry out a proper conversation with her unusual Master in this weather. It would be best to change locations quickly.



"I...I can stand..."


Given his earlier condition and this weather, it clearly would have been simpler to accept help. The shivers through his body, and the blood he coughed up earlier made it clear to Saver it was nothing more than a show of bravado- whatever pride he possessed made it impossible for him to willingly accept her aid.

She did not mind- it was a very cute gesture, to refuse help even under such circumstances. He had spirit, for sure. But it would have to be disregarded, in this case.




"...Who are you?"


Standing up with pride, she answered her Master’s question.

“As I said before, I am Servant Saver- the Servant you have called forth for this Holy Grail War. I see that you have little understanding of what this means at the moment,” At this point, Saver’s expression, which had been caught in a frown since the beginning of their conversation, promptly turned into a face wide grin. To give her such a clueless, stumbling individual as her Master- this Holy Grail had certainly given her quite a task.

As if to dispel any possible doubt, she proclaimed in a loud, confident voice.

“But! You need not worry, Kirisaki Homura! It is a matter of little concern, for you can rely on this Saver to be your shield, to guide you through this war. No, I insist that you do!”

Ignoring any possible protest, she knelt down and scooped Homura off of the ground, carrying him in her arms. It would be fastest this way, and time spent convincing him would be time wasted.

“I would explain further about your new situation, but this is not the place to talk. Simply know that you can trust me. If you have some residence or hospital nearby, I would ask that you tell me where it is immediately.”

hero
February 22nd, 2015, 05:21 PM
Azama Tae
Location: Upasmike Forest - Tae's Cabin
Phase: Night
Time: 21:33
Day: January 12th


"..."

Just what exactly is she asking of me now...? Even if I swing this sword with all my strength and hit Saber, I doubt it will of much use with the sheathe on. Though I am not experienced in the way of the sword, I can certainly play along and give her a piece of me if she wants one. What I am concerned about is what comes after that. According to the rules she created, we are supposed to exchange one blow each. One attack from me is of no consequence for her, much less with a sword I do not know how to use. Meanwhile, one attack from her could easily leave me with broken bones at the very least, assuming I managed to somehow reduce the force behind her attack and she also held back on purpose. If this is merely a way to prove that she's the superior being, it's a rather convenient way to do so.

"..."

I let myself familiarize with the weight of the sword as I tighten my grip around its handle. At this rate, it's more of a blunt weapon than a bladed one. Needless to say, if Saber was a human being, my choice would be very different. Yet, it remains true that this is the only weapon in my possession which can hurt Saber. For a moment, I close my eyes and concentrate... When I focus, I can feel the connection between Saber and I. That is my advantage.

"One blow each...? Fine by me."

---I open my eyes.

The Servant of the Sword is waiting there for me to strike, her arms open to the sides as if to offer a warm welcome. Though I can already foresee the outcome in my mind, I have no intentions of holding back. I carefully take a few steps forward until I can be sure that she is definitely within the range of the sword. Then, after lifting the weapon above my head, I let it descend with all my strength behind it using my two hands, aiming to hit the Servant's exposed head.

"Haaaaah-!"

Dranes
February 22nd, 2015, 05:51 PM
Kirisaki Homura
Location: Residential District - Old Park
Phase: Night
Time: 22: 46
Day: January 12th

“As I said before, I am Servant Saver- the Servant you have called forth for this Holy Grail War. I see that you have little understanding of what this means at the moment."

As she says those words, the frown that had adorned her face turned into something of a grin, obviously finding something amusing with the whole thing and the cold still having no affect on her. So the person in front of me is 'Servant Saver' and I called her somehow to participate in a 'Holy Grail War'. Right, now I get it, it all makes sense now...

I've gone insane.

“But! You need not worry, Kirisaki Homura! It is a matter of little concern, for you can rely on this Saver to be your shield, to guide you through this war. No, I insist that you do!”

Through the howling winds she loudly declares something something so crazy that simply reaffirms my belief, this island must have affected me so radically that I'm now both seeing and hearing the most ridiculous things. I'm pretty sure Saver wasn't a real name if nothing else and there's no way she couldn't feel the cold if she was something more than my imagination playing tricks on me. My parents took the best time for a business trip didn't they? In a few moments I'll be awake in bed...or fro-

“I would explain further about your new situation, but this is not the place to talk. Simply know that you can trust me. If you have some residence or hospital nearby, I would ask that you tell me where it is immediately.”

This goth loli picks me up as if I was nothing, easily carrying me like the groom does in the weddings.

"Ah, thank you, yeah it's right over that way. The big Japanese h-"

...

"WHAT THE HEEEEEEELL?!"

I shout out even though the frigid wind dampens the sound of my voice, my own body too frigid to even rest this what was happening. Just what is happening here? Am I really being carried around like this?! This cold is nothing to the new threat, something so unexpected, so underhanded, was this truly something I would imagine for myself?! My worth as a man is in danger here! Shouldn't I be the one carrying her if anything?! I gotta get outta this!

...

Nope, no good.

I think I've lost feeling in my limbs now. That or she's super strong.

Please let me wake up soon or let this imaginary(?) self just die, I think I've hit a new low.

Elyrin
February 22nd, 2015, 05:53 PM
Servant Saber
Location: Upasmike Forest - Tae's Cabin
Phase: Night
Time: 21:34
Day: January 12th


I kept the silence for a full minute after the hit. It was a solid blow by all accounts, and it showed Tae to be no weakling, nor lacking in spirit. It was all I could have asked for, and possibly more. When I took my sword back from the hands of my proven Master, I let my voice show some admiration.

"Well done. Was that the work of magecraft, or your natural physical prowess?" Either way, she had accomplished no small feat. To make one such as myself take notice of her ability she could only be a worthy Master. "Now, then, I believe it is my turn."

We were safe. Tucked away in this small cabin, who knows how far away from other Masters, we would not be seen. This one time at least I could reveal the sword. So, I drew forth the irregular blade, and stood still for a moment while it shone in the light of the fire. Then without warning, my arm fell. The sword that was my eternal companion tore the air asunder once more, the power to shatter mountains bearing directly towards Azama Tae--




Only to stop without drawing blood, the tip of the sword resting on her chest, barely heavy enough for the skin below the clothing to notice.

"I think that's enough, yes. Neither of us would benefit if this blow lands. Your point has already been made." Sword returned to sheathe, and the atmosphere to normal. The test was done, and the results spoke for themselves. I clasped my hands together at my waist and bowed deeply, formalizing the contract between myself and my Master.

"Azama Tae, you have shown yourself to be intelligent, skilled, and brave. At this time I cannot find you lacking in any area, and I shall be glad to show you the glory of victory. I am Saber, greatest hero of this Holy Grail War, and I am yours to command as you see fit."

hero
February 22nd, 2015, 07:59 PM
Azama Tae
Location: Upasmike Forest - Tae's Cabin
Phase: Night
Time: 21:34
Day: January 12th


"..."

Well, that was certainly a reckless way to approach things. I did not expect Saber to draw her sword; I thought she would keep it sheathed to make the match somewhat fair, but that was not the case. As I am her anchor to this world, it made little sense for her to kill me over something so trivial, so a part of me knew I would not be killed. However, when faced with danger, even a cornered rat fights back instinctively. With a Command Seal at the ready and a firm grasp over our 'Prana Paths', I was an instant away from raising a last-minute defense against the seemingly rebellious Servant.

"It wasn't the work of Magecraft." I say, to answer her earlier question. I was so focused on the counter-attack she'd soon deliver that I didn't spare a moment to open my mouth. "As a matter of fact, I am incapable of performing any Magecraft that doesn't involve you or this ritual."

Though I passed the test in the end, I can't say I am really with what my Servant put me through. So I take a moment to breathe, calm down and catch up with the situation. It seems the courage I displayed was enough to prove my worth as a Master and be accepted by Saber. As of now, however, I cannot determine how far does her loyalty extend. As I claimed at the beginning of my conversation, my Servant will have to show its worth through her actions during the war. So far, she has not left a good impression, but it's too soon to judge.

"We'll be staying here tonight. The place is barely enough to accommodate the two of us, but it will have to do for today. I wish to visit the supervisor in the morning. There're a few questions I want to ask that person myself."

With blood on the floor, two animal corpses on the side, and the furniture in places it does not belong, the inside of the cabin is a complete disorder. The only thing that remains untouched is the chimney, its fire keeping us warm from the cold. Fortunately, as there isn't much in here, it won't take very long to put everything back to its place.

"Saber, help me clean this mess."

If anything, it should be her punishment for daring to point her sword at me, but I've always been a fairly independent person, especially these past few years. So rather than let her handle anything on her own, provided she complies to my order, I do my piece as well. I guess I'm so used to working alone that I do it automatically.

. . .

A few minutes later, the room looks a lot more clean and tidy. However, it remains, for the most part, dull and uninteresting. There is little more than a table to share a meal, a bed to sleep and a bookshelf with works that belonged to the previous owner, the cabin doesn't have much to entertain oneself. There are no traces of magical or mundane defenses except my hunting equipment, leaving the lonely cabin pretty much exposed to outside threats asides from the cold. Naturally, I am not bothered by this setting, but Saber might hold a different opinion.

After all is said and done, I politely invite Saber to take a seat.

"It's a little early for me to go to sleep, so let us talk about our talents. I am not used to working as a team, but as we will be fighting together, we must be aware of each other's strengths and weaknesses. I can already understand a little of what you are capable of through the connection we share, but I rather hear you say it. Since you know nothing about me, I'll begin and then you'll follow."

It's time to tell Saber the truth. The truth of what I am capable of.

"As you can already tell, I am not a mage. I belong to a family of demon hybrids; the Azama..."

I explain my background in detail regarding all the relevant skills I learned during my upbringing and after that. I do not give any personal details like names or any data that would serve no purpose in Saber knowing. After I am done, I vaguely share the real reason I've come to Tengetsu, as I figure that she would find out sooner or later. Needless to say, I do not share more than what she needs to know.

With my part done, I throw the ball to the Servant's court.

Snax
February 22nd, 2015, 08:22 PM
Trickster
Location: Upasmike Forest
Phase: Night
Time: 20:22
Day: January 12th

Laughing lightly at her Master’s reaction, Trickster returned the cigarette to its rightful owner and pulled her master back up to her feet. That had been enough of an appetizer - now it would be time to move on to the main issue at hand. Enough merriment had been made for a single night.

“Well then Master - the pact is sealed. Now, shall we talk business?”

However, the location at hand wasn’t particularly the best place to be discussing plans and thoughts. Although nobles of the old times often would do secret talk in the middle of the woods, it was hardly fitting for this kind of situation.

“First of all, I think we should return to wherever you have set up camp at. Then we’ll continue with whatever business there is to be dealt with - you must be tired, no? Your very looks are that of a harried soldier who has not had enough time for break and rest.”

Smiling gently, Trickster erases herself into spirit form - otherwise, of course, she would be drawing attention from to and fro.

“Lead on, Master.”

Elyrin
February 22nd, 2015, 09:11 PM
Servant Saber
Location: Upasmike Forest - Tae's Cabin
Phase: Night
Time: 21:34
Day: January 12th


"It wasn't the work of Magecraft. As a matter of fact, I am incapable of performing any Magecraft that doesn't involve you or this ritual."

"I see. You obviously have power, but your true abilities lie elsewhere? I doubt that is normal for a ritual of this magnitude, but it should not be a problem for us." On the contrary, it might even be helpful. If Tae's focus was not on magecraft, I could use a greater supply of prana for my own battles. As for what she could do in the meantime, well, I could worry about that later. For now, there was work to do.

Saber, help me clean this mess.

Ahh, the joys of cleaning. Did I not clean enough when I was still alive? Was it so hard to deal with your own messes?

"Of course. It should hardly take a minute."

But of course I agreed with her. It was almost amazing that Tae suggested something so easy after I nearly - from her point of view, at least - stabbed her in the chest. She probably wouldn't be trusting me for a while.

. . .

A very short while later, I was sitting in a chair near the fire. A little blood and some knocked-over furniture were hardly a match for a Servant, and it was not long before the few things in the cabin were back in their places. It was a small place, hardly more than a large room with a table and a few chairs, but it was comfortable all the same. Too bad there was only one, small bed, though...

As you can already tell, I am not a mage. I belong to a family of demon hybrids; the Azama...

Oh, right. It was yet to be decided how we would approach combat, but what could we do without knowing each others' strengths and weaknesses? A few details of my past were a little sensitive, not really information my Master would need to know, and it seemed she thought the same of her own past. So I stuck to the basics, speaking of only my most important skills without delving into my own history. If Tae wanted to know more, she could ask.

"I am the knight of the Sword. It goes without saying that I am powerful, and while I hate to boast, it is a safe bet to call me the strongest Servant in this war. Of course, my primary strength is in my physical abilities. A battle between Servants is decided first and foremost by their Noble Phantasms, and I can make no safe guesses so early."

It would be a fairly brief explanation, free of embellishment and with no need for gloating. It would suffice until my might could speak for itself.

I3uster
February 22nd, 2015, 09:28 PM
Mister Delacroix
Location: Old Town - Delacroix's Place
Phase: Night
Time: 00:00
Day: January 13th

It was strange. The spirit he bound, the Servant, he seemed to fill the room with his voice and yet it felt a bit unreal...as if somebody played a recording made prior to the current happenings. An impressive presence in this room, visually at least. And yet no presence at all...

He had to make sure this was actually real.

Taking a step forward he made a fist and slowly raised it to the Servant's eye level. Then, once, twice, he softly knocked against the Servant's mask.

It made a deep thud.

"I suppose, unless there are other candidates waiting in this room..." He turned around bowing forward to show the Servant the nape of his neck. "This isn't a cross hair by the way. We will work together, and I hope our partnership will be fruitful."

With a quick spin he turned around, extending his hand to the Servant. His head, contrary to his completely motionless upper body seemed to bob back and forth, up and down, mustering the Servant like an expert tailor trying to make a stylish suit for an overweight, well-paying customer. "I am your Master. You can address me as Delacroix."

But after a second, as if somebody had flipped a switch the man started standing completely still, smiling at his newfound familiar. "...say, why don't we do something fun tonight?"

Mooncake
February 22nd, 2015, 09:35 PM
Archer
Location: Base - The Quarry
Phase: Night
Time: 20:50
Day: January 12th



“Thanks, Archer. I do have many questions, but I’ll have to leave them for tomorrow. Your room is the one by the steps on the second floor, if you require it. As for me, my room is at the end of the hall on the second floor. I’ll be headed there to recover. Would you keep watch? There may be other enemies already in motion.”

"Very well. Have a good night's rest, Master."

“Furthermore, there is a supervisor of this War, who possesses the Servant Ruler. Good night, Archer. I’ll be able to talk in more depth in the morning.”

Archer watched the redhead climb the stairs in quiet, staying still long after his master had gone to be. Eventually, the king turned and sat on the armrest of the leather couch, looking around the home again. He shook his head, white hair wildly flailing, and let his face relax into the smile that had graced it for almost every day of his life.

Flopping backwards, Archer looked up at the worn ceiling and stretched, seeing, for a moment, the walls and wonders of his palace once more. The moment passed, and Archer put one tanned hand over his face, his words escaping in a puff of air.

"...He's not so bad."

Archer looked at the backs of his hands, scarred from where the claws of his foes had struck too quickly to be dodged, and sighed. He had no urge to sleep, and in the next moment swung his feet off of the couch to land with a solid thud. The king stood, the harshness of his face having softened so much that he almost seemed like a different person.

Getting up, the ancient king watched as a rat scattered past his feet, tracking its path with ease until it disappeared into a hole in the wall. Bemused by its indifference, Archer walked over to the kitchen, his bare feet making only a soft noise as he peered inside the fridge. He made his way around the rest of the ground floor, noticing the bounded fields but not finding more than that.

After only ten minutes had passed Archer was back where he had started, surveying what had become an extension of his kingdom. He grinned, casting off all of the hardness, the iron of earlier, his blue eyes twinkling with an unrestrained glee.

"Ruler... that's fine by me."

His power was too great to be contained by the Archer class, or supported by the modern world, so the Grail had to downsize, cutting away his abilities one by one. He had his greatest skills, or some of them, even if he was no longer as strong or as fast as he had been in life. Even so, Archer was looking forward to the fight, in a strange sort of way. He had tried to maintain his kingdom in peace, but at heart he was always a warrior.

Turning his body insubstantial – another aspect of the Grail he could appreciate – Archer jumped up, flying through the house to land on the roof as a corporeal man once more. Looking through the darkness that could not hide the world from his eyes, the king settled into a comfortable spot, ignoring the cold with ease. He would keep watch until his Master rose once more.


DAY 1 END

Siriel
February 22nd, 2015, 09:41 PM
Francis York(?) Morgan
Location - Park District - Gongujoudo
Phase - Night
Time - 20:00

Enchanter
Location - Park District - Gongujoudo
Phase - Night
Time - 20:01

"Then I will pursue your wish by your side, as the contract demands."

It didn't really matter to her what that wish was, after all.

Bowing her head slightly, whatever she meant to say next was interrupted by his stomach growling, and for the first time she glanced around at her surroundings. It wasn't the isolated house of a magi that she would have expected, and there were far too many people in other rooms for it to be a private location.

Ah, so that's how it was; now it made sense. She smiled at his reaction to his own needs displaying themselves openly.

"There is no need to restrain yourself on my account. If you are hungry, other matters can wait until you are satisfied."

Spinach
February 22nd, 2015, 09:51 PM
Location: Old Town – Base
Phase: Night
Time: 23:12
Day: January 12th

At every order Artificer gave Nozomi met it with an immediate “yes.” It wasn’t her first apprenticeship, and she knew the relation between master and student. She couldn’t know if Artificer’s patience was as thin as her grandfather’s, but how patient a man he was didn’t matter. When a master gives his orders, the apprentice does.

The chance to apprentice under this man was something many would offer up lives for, yet she was receiving it for no cost. She would repay the Servant’s hospitable lessons by being the ideal apprentice.

"Now, before we forge..."

“Yes, shish-“ She responded by reflex, before stopping herself as she realized what was coming was not quite an order like before.

"You are my Master's companion. As such, you know what kind of a man he is. Tell me, then, what manner of warrior I am equipping, so that we may furnish this weapon to suit his hand."

“Ah, Kirame-nii?” The question took her by surprise, but even this she saw as another lesson. Artificer sought knowledge of the swordsman to better suit the sword to him. By understanding the man he could more easily craft a weapon that suited him, in more ways than one even.

“Hmm,” Nozomi closed her eyes and crossed her arms as she thought Artificer’s question through. How to answer, how much to say, how much not to say. “Well, th’ numbskull’s a bit’ve a special case.”

She nodded to herself at the choice of words, ‘special case,’ would be a good way to present him initially. In her thoughts Nozomi remembered something she once heard from the man that had serviced Kirame’s swords before her, her grandfather.

“Grandpa once said he’s ‘born wrong,’ not right fer this day’n’age.” She tilted her head to the side, opening her eyes again and staring upwards as she herself pondered the meaning of the words she repeated for the Servant to hear. “Th’ idjiot’ll never answer when I ask what Grandpa meant though… Not like he’s hidin’ somethin’, but.”

She ran the times she had asked Kirame any personal question that wasn’t about bringing girls back to whatever temporary lodging they were spending their nights in.

“But, he doesn’ know th’ answers fer himself. I reckon tha’s why he fights s’much. To learn ‘bout ‘imself. If ya ask him yerself, y’ll see.” She smiled as she thought about the one undeniable virtue Kirame had worth bragging about. “Kirame-nii’ll never tell a lie, he doesn’ even know how. Gets ‘im inta lotsa trouble, too.”

Kuroyuki
February 22nd, 2015, 10:30 PM
Kiyoko Miyamoto
Location: Miyamoto Shrine Kitchen
Time: 21:31
Day: January 12th

It was a great surprise when I didn't see my servant get summoned in front of me. They are supposed to be summoned in the circle instead of showing up half a building away and casually eating frozen food right?

Worst of all, Invoker didn't believe me to be her master! Then she groped me! This walking corpse nonchalantly revealed my Command Seals on my chest and accepted me as her master only after that. Then her line about liking innocent eyes then laughing evilly absolutely horrified me.

"W-why do you like innocent eyes Invoker?"

Invoker can't have a bad reason for liking them right? Despite her looks and actions, there could be a kind person in Invoker.

Bloble
February 22nd, 2015, 10:32 PM
Location: Old Town – Base
Phase: Night
Time: 23:15
Day: January 12th

An intriguing Master indeed.

"Simple and honest, then," Artificer said. "Truly, he is not fit for this time. But then, time is an ever-changing thing. I was told that I was born too early. My greatest accomplishments occurred after my own death. But even then, we are still here, are we not?"

The fire flared. The man observed it and shook his head. "It needs to be hotter. A few dozen degrees at least-"

He paused and squinted. Artificer whipped out a pair of archaic glasses and settled them on his nose. He peered more closely at the materials.

"Never mind, this is good enough. What wonderful steel this time has! Were it a few hundred years earlier, a whole night would be needed to create a sample half as pure. That, I shall not miss." He smiled, unexpectedly, like a young boy discovering a bar of forgotten candy in his own pocket.

"Then we shall move straight to the heating. I'll handle the tongs; iron needs to be warmed evenly, but the fire's antithesis is order. This is one beast few can fully tame." Artificer pushed back his sleeves and tied them with flat ropes, displaying lanky arms littered with tiny burn scars, proof that he'd worked the forge long enough to be marked by countless flying sparks. He beckoned Nozomi over with one hand and wielded the tools almost casually with the other. One of the most simple parts of the process of forging, and he'd already taken over. There were more advanced methods of ensuring even heating, but his was less diluted and would ensure a cleaner final product.

Already, the inside of the shack was full of crackling flames and the warm aroma of smoke and melting steel. The draft of cold air countered the heat, leaving a nice, even warmth that couldn't quite become uncomfortable. Later, it would strengthen.

"Watch closely girl - there we go. This is a meek one. The level of difficulty is rather low." It was almost scary how easily he settled into a familiar rhythm, shifting the sheet of metal minutely several times a second to ensure even coverage, dueling with the flame as he spoke idly. "Most of my apprentices were naught but clueless farm boys or spoiled princes. You've already got a head start, so it might be possible to grasp the process."

Actually, hadn't he started the same way, watching an old man's back as he yammered on about things that made no sense?

Bah, needless details.

"A sword of deceit is no good. It won't fit your man's hand. Neither, I suspect, would one of survival. If he seeks to find himself, then it must a blade that brings out what is already within. Yes, a blade of resonance. Amplifying a sharp resolve even further. I have not made one of those for quite some time."

Already it began to take shape in his mind. The sword would not be a masterwork; those came on their own, unbidden, on the rare occasions when Artificer had allowed himself to forge as if in a trance. But it would match the blade he saw, for sure. That much was all but certain.

"Now, girl... I don't believe I ever learned your full name. Nozomi is certainly a wonderful word, but on its own, it languishes. Can I assume that you learned the craft from that wise grandfather of yours?"

Ayakashi
February 22nd, 2015, 11:15 PM
Character(s)
Miyamoto Kiyoko, Invoker

Location
Miyamoto Shrine - Kitchen


Phase ----- Night
Time ------ 21:31
Day ------- January 12th

http://i.imgur.com/7B2cwvS.png







"W-why do you like innocent eyes Invoker?"


If she could show this girl what her her own sight showed her, then there seldom would be any reason for Invoker to explain herself. However, some things are better left unknown, and it is certain that doubt and uncertainty have a particularly strong effect on the human psyche. Additionally, not everyone has come to appreciate human emotions in the very same way that the Servant clad in black has... and this is still her Master that she is dealing with. While during this short exchange, she has profiled this young girl to be fairly harmless and lacking of an iron-will, Invoker is aware that any wrong step could cause the shrine maiden one to use a command seal.

But well, that question Kiyoko asked was like an open invitation to the devil.

A flurry of black feathers suddenly fills the room, blotting out all vision for the very short moment it lasts. To regular humans like Kiyoko, it would've all occurred in a flash: Invoker sitting for one second, the world shifting to black the next, and then out of nowhere...

... Invoker standing right in front of Kiyoko, inching forwards so that she is staring into the shrine maiden's scarlet irises with her own empty, pale and ghostly gaze; all within a hair's breadth.

If Invoker seems to be behaving herself in a particularly carefree or teasing way, Kiyoko should have noticed it by now, that whatever Invoker does, there is this inherently disturbing, one might say 'evil' aura that accompanies her everywhere. One cannot label it as a clear depiction of the concept known as 'evil', however, but the air surrounding Invoker does the very opposite of putting at ease and making people agreeable.

To stare directly into the Servant's eyes must've magnified that feeling to the extreme.


"These eyes of yours remind me of the pure, unstained surface of paper that has just been prepared for writing: white, without blemish, having yet to be worn down by the hands of both men and time... do you not think that while bland, that void purity is the paper's most beautiful, most immaculate state? If you agree with that perception, then you can understand why I appreciate innocent eyes, Master~"


Invoker's speech is like the sound of the sea shore. It is subtle, comforting, it puts those that hear it at ease, however, there is an undeniable might residing behind her ever so sweet words. Melding in with her smooth, daintily body language and the distorted atmosphere that surrounds her...

What feelings do the shrine maiden have as she experiences all this?

Invoker lets out a chuckle as she backs off, letting Kiyoko have her personal space.


"But we appear to have skipped the most important after all. I have been ignorant in believing that the most delectable meal of this house could be found in the kitchen... when in truth, the greatest existence to savour is before me -- it is you, my dear Master."


The an eerie laugh escapes Invoker's lips as she bows to her Master. What did her words possibly mean? Her acts are not exactly matching her words too, thus what this woman's true intentions? What did she even mean in that last sentence of hers?


"Then... what is your name?"

Spinach
February 22nd, 2015, 11:16 PM
Location: Old Town – Base
Phase: Night
Time: 23:18
Day: January 12th

Nozomi watched Artificer closely, memorizing every movement he made, from the shoulder down to the tips of his fingers. The subtle rise and fall of his chest as he inhaled, the tiniest movements of his eyes so that she would know what it was that he was looking at.

Not only Artificer, but his work as well. The tools in his hands, the steel he worked with, the heat of the fire. Her eyes swallowed everything, consuming every detail, no matter how minute. Even finding time to let out a short giggle at the man’s musings of the modern era without missing a single piece of information related to the Servant’s work.

"A sword of deceit is no good. It won't fit your man's hand. Neither, I suspect, would one of survival. If he seeks to find himself, then it must a blade that brings out what is already within. Yes, a blade of resonance. Amplifying a sharp resolve even further. I have not made one of those for quite some time."

She leaned in closer, watching the Servant’s work as he spoke. Every word was a lesson, each one he spoke carried a weight that she couldn’t quite place. Artificer was more talkative than the girl had expected him to be. Nozomi knew of the catalyst used to summon him, and so she had expected a man who matched what was written of him, but even knowing hadn’t prepared her for the openness with which he held himself.

“Somethin’ t’ help ‘im find whatever he’s lookin’ fer?” She sharpened her eyes, trying to see something in the steel that wasn’t readily visible. The art of forging blades wasn’t foreign to her. Every step Artificer took, though performed with technique that appeared as simple as breathing, as natural as leaves swaying in the wind, as smooth as water flowing through a crystal blue river, there was still something in his skills that she couldn’t grasp.

How he would take what he knew of Kirame, what Kirame was looking for, and he would create a blade that would assist him in that search. For all she could see, it was just blacksmithing. Pure and elevated even beyond perfection, so that the heat of the forge felt soothing and peaceful, yet strong and reliable. As if it had become a part of the lesson too, and was sharing with Nozomi its own wisdom.

"Now, girl... I don't believe I ever learned your full name. Nozomi is certainly a wonderful word, but on its own, it languishes. Can I assume that you learned the craft from that wise grandfather of yours?"

Her eyes that had been narrowed before shot open in embarrassment. She hadn’t forgotten to fully introduce herself, it was just that she had let Kirame do it, and Kirame wasn’t keen on proper introductions.

“Shizaki. Shizaki, Nozomi.” She stammered out hastily, eager to forget the blunder. “Tha’s right, Grandpa taught me. Grandpa took care’a Kirame-nii’s swords, weren’ fer him that numbskull’d be long in ‘is grave by now. All he does’s ‘fight this, travel ‘ere, duel ‘im,’ been doin’ it fer years now. Grandpa got ill with ‘im, tol’ ‘im to take me with ‘im, sayin’ it’d be good trainin’ fer me to service a real swordsman than sit at home’n the mountains fer years.”

She remembered sitting in the back and watching the old man dealing with Kirame whenever he stopped by, which became more and more frequent over the years. More than once the Ryougi would climb his way up to their tiny home, half-dead with his swords snapped in two or dulled from too much blood.

“Grandpa don’ have much patience, y’see. Couldn’ stomach Kirame-nii comin’ in so much with them nasty swords. I don’ like workin’ ‘em too much either, but Grandpa spent years maintainin’ those things.” She put extra emphasis on nasty and things. The Nanae were not pleasant weapons, and working with them was equally as undesirable. “I reckon sendin’ me off with Kirame-nii was t’ teach me somethin’, an’ I can tell those swords’re part’ve the message.”

She let her answer which had wound up mingling with her own thoughts and questions hang on the air for a moment, before she looked up toward Artificer, the shadows adorning his face shifting with the fires of the forge and the shifting of the steel.

“’N you, shishou? What was yer master like?”

Leftovers
February 22nd, 2015, 11:46 PM
Astrid Hildebrandt
Location: Upasmike Forest
Phase: Night
Time: 20:22
Day: January 12th

It seemed that Trickster did not feel the need to gloat. Whether it was mercy or a small reprieve, Astrid had no way of knowing, but their mutual separation found her staring into a pair of eyes that had taken a new, hitherto unseen light. Even this trickster knew that everything had its time and place.


“Well then Master - the pact is sealed. Now, shall we talk business?”

Taking on a more serious tone, the woman's voice had partly shed its alluring lilt to assume a certain note of solemnity; not clear and pure enough to be compared to a chime, but carrying the sonority of an ancient Bianzhong. Like the many faces of a die, the temptress had given her place to a new facet of the enigma that held the title of Trickster.


“First of all, I think we should return to wherever you have set up camp at. Then we’ll continue with whatever business there is to be dealt with - you must be tired, no? Your very looks are that of a harried soldier who has not had enough time for break and rest.”

As expected of a Servant. For all the brave front she put up, Astrid felt a deep weariness, as if hours of exhaustion had all at once caught up to her. She did not know if it had been the drain of the summoning or the multilevel spar with Trickster, but the Servant had seen through her all the same; and were she in any other mood, she might have lamented her lack of initiative due to her weakened state.

But at that moment, with the mystical forces that until recently at work having dissipated back into the dark forest and the rolling sky, all her plans and calculations were decisively shifted to the reassuringly vague timeslot of "later". Once she was back in her room, she could pick up the pieces of the puzzle once again, and consider her next move with unfaltering judgment.

Turning to address Trickster, her eyes met nothing but the pines and snowy peaks of Upasmike Forest, but the presence of a spiritual body was unmistakable. Then, the voice of her Servant reaches her more as a sensation rather than a sound, carried not through vibrations but the steady stream of prana that connected her circuits with Trickster's spiritual core.


“Lead on, Master.”

Shifting about snow with her foot to cover the signs of her magic circle, Astrid gave only a noncommittal hum in reply. When her cover-up was deemed satisfactory, she moved to the edge of the clearing, where her motorcycle - the one reminder of the modern world in this forest - was parked at the point that the faded trail ended — or in this case, where it begun.

It took a while to get the engine going, a testament to how bitterly cold Tengetsu's winter nights could be, but at last the mechanical steed purred in compliance to Astrid's coaxing. Boarding the vehicle with a flourish, she forwent the mental link and addressed her words to the empty air.

"Let us go, then. If you feel that you can keep up with me in spirit form, then feel free to do so, though I should warn you that it's quite a long journey, and this machine is deceptively fast. Oherwise," she patted the leather seat of the motorcycle, "there isn't too much room, but I feel that we can manage."

Kuroyuki
February 22nd, 2015, 11:54 PM
Kiyoko Miyamoto
Location: Miyamoto Shrine Kitchen
Time: 21:31
Day: January 12th

One second, I was looking at Invoker with curiosity. The next second, the world I was in became purely black. The second after that, Invoker was uncomfortably in my personal space. The air around her was disturbing, uncomfortable, and not human.



"These eyes of yours remind me of the pure, untainted surface of paper that has just been prepared for writing. White, without blemish, having yet to be worn down by the hands of time and men... don't you think that while bland, that void purity is a paper's most beautiful, most innocent state? If you agree with that, then you can understand why I appreciate innocent eyes, Master~"

What is the point of a blank piece of paper? The obvious answer would be to write on it, but after it's been written on... It can't be the same as the pristine sheet of paper. However, there was something off about the way Invoker talked about it.

"A blank paper isn't serving its purpose, but when it has received the kind writings and drawings of its writer. Isn't that when it is at its best?"


"But we appear to have skipped the most important after all. I have been ignorant in believing that the most delectable meal of this house could be found in the kitchen... when in truth, the greatest existence to savour is before me -- it is you, my dear Master."

That's when Invoker did something surprising in my opinion, she bowed to me while laughing. She was doing a sign of respect while speaking a disrespectful one. I was confused. Is it a sign of familiarity from Invoker?


"Then... what is your name?"

"Kiyoko Miyamoto. I am in your care Invoker."

I return her bow a fraction deeper. I want to get along with Invoker as we go through this Holy Grail War. She is my only hope for a bloodless war so it is the least I can do for her.

Mellon
February 23rd, 2015, 12:24 AM
Maker
Location - Harbor - Family House - Basement
Phase - Night
Time - 22:23
Day - January 12


"Would you like some tea, Maker? We have a lot to discuss, I'm sure, and I would rather not come off as inhospitable. Sit wherever you like, by the way…”



Maker simply responded with a gentle nod.

“I would very much appreciate that, Master.”

The rooms were filled with various baubles, and not only Christian ones, as she could just about make out framed image of a taijitu on one of the shelves further back in the living room. And then there was the full blown Srivatsa statue that… well took up a lot of space in the kitchen by the looks of it. It was strange to see one so tightly bound to the Catholic doctrine living in a location that was so religiously discordant, but the various symbols mixed together in a way that could only be called harmonious.

There was no overt magic involved, but a certain sense of peace was woven throughout the building. It was quite soothing, but not to the point was it a haze that dulled one’s sense and judgement. And while a bit dusty and messy, that sense of peace was far more valuable to Maker then any sort of opulence or gaudy trinkets.


"You asked me why I joined this War? Well, I'd be lying if I said that I took part in it of my own volition. I received an order to participate, and as such, I obviously could not disobey. But... after He had told me why it was necessary, I had no desire to refuse, either..."


“I see.. So the reason you are in this war is not of your own volition, but rather that of others.” Maker closed her eyes in thought. “I must be honest with you, Master. It is hard for me to accept such a reason for fighting.”

“Your desire for the Grail should come for thyself, for you are the one who is carrying the weight of fighting for it. No matter if it is an expression of your deepest self or if it is something handed over to you by another, as long as thy wish is something truly longed by yourself, it is something that holds true value. However, if it is merely something wished for by your superiors, then they should be here, fighting for their desires with their life on the line."

"To pass on one’s greed to another like that is the very greatest of follies.”

Maker’s voice was calm and perfectly at ease, but it carried with it an overwhelming sense of finality.

“If thy reason for taking part is truly simply because “you could not disobey” those who exist above you or “because you had no reason to say no”, then your role in this war should involve nothing more but ignoring it in all its forms. Stay within the confines of this building and do not take part in the Grail War in any way, Master.”

“I shall fight for the Grail, because as you say, I have a wish that it can fulfill. And should the grace of God be willing, I shall grasp the Grail as well. For you however, there is no reason to dirty your hands with the blood of others for something you do not even desire.”

"In fact, it is quite possibly the cruelest thing you could do, to both thyself and to those that take part in this War with honest dreams in their hearts."

Ayakashi
February 23rd, 2015, 12:31 AM
Character(s)
Miyamoto Kiyoko, Invoker

Location
Miyamoto Shrine - Kitchen


Phase ----- Night
Time ------ 21:32
Day ------- January 12th

http://i.imgur.com/7B2cwvS.png







Kiyoko Miyamoto. I am in your care Invoker."


"Miyamoto Kiyoko... Pure Child at the Base of the Shrine is it? Splendid, what a worthy name for my Master! Rest assure, I would not dare to think for a moment about letting such a wonderful person being stolen away from me."

Delight creeps across Invoker's visage as she lifts her head up from her bowing posture. That name has truly sparked 'something' within the Servant's heart - there can be no greater happiness than to know that one's Master stands at the very opposite of their own nature. More than aligning elements, what opposes themselves tend to attract each other the most; these feelings of joy that Invoker feels stem from nothing more than that simple fact.




"A blank paper isn't serving its purpose, but when it has received the kind writings and drawings of its writer. Isn't that when it is at its best?"

"But would you really call something beautiful when it has been marred by others? Never mind the fact that a paper can be used for many things, Master: an author can decide to write the most beautiful of poems about God, like what is written on that catalyst you used, or rather, they can choose to sign the death warrant for an unfortunate individual. It can be an elegy of human achievement, or a condemnation of its existence. What beauty is there in such an item that has been given sense by another, and not by itself?"

Invoker pauses for a while, looking at Kiyoko's expression which already seems to be giving a good reaction to the words that the Servant in black utters. Shooting at the shrine maiden a tempting smile, Invoker then continues: "Or could it be that you are the kind of person that would rather write your own contents on everyone's slate, stealing them of their own choice, of their own destiny? Ufufufu, how cruel."

Invoker herself would know the most about writing - they themselves in the end had written, written and written endlessly... but that memory was nothing more than a far away blimp in their consciousness. What stood in the vessel of Invoker was a representation of a past monstrosity that had since long left humanity in its nature - even if in a paradoxical fashion, it continued to interact and shape mankind's outcome, or at least, Japan's.


"But we have a lot of time to discuss about you and I Master - this is but the first day of our new life after all. Are there any questions you would like to ask this insignificant Servant of yours?"

DB-L
February 23rd, 2015, 02:16 AM
Francis York Morgan
Location -???
Phase - Night
Time - 20:XX


"Z-...ach...Zach, can you hear me? It's York."

A great, thunderous rumbling stirred the lights back to life in that certain, intimate Red Room. Francis York Morgan now sat at a large table situated in the center. In front of him was a small pile of assorted folders, each with its unique exterior and contents. He set aside the blood-stained folder from before, and picked up an older-looking portfolio that appeared to have been stained yellow by smoke from a cigarette or tobacco pipe. On the front of the folder, in plain bold text, was the name "Myoujingata Meiji."

"Wish I was there to greet the chief, but that jet lag must've hit me harder than I thought. So, how's the day for you so far, Zach?"

"...!"

"Ok ok, I guess it was too soon to put you out there again. But I still think you're doing a great job. Remember, if you're ever in doubt, I'm always here with you."

"..."

"Right. It seems that our history with dangerous women will continue."

York now hefted a fresh folder from the pile in front of him. This one still felt warm to the touch, as if it was just recently made. Though every profile on the table had its own unique quality, this one had a certain 'weight' to it. From the overly ornate flower design that decorated the front, to the alluring fragrance that exuded from it, this folder could only allude to a presence that went beyond simple mortal standards. On its front, in exquisitely cursive handwriting read, "Enchanter."

"...!"

"I know. Women were never really our strong suit."

"..."

"Take a quick breather, Zach. I'll get us to the supervisor at the very least."


----------------------------------------------------------

Francis York Morgan
Location - Park District - Gongujoudo
Phase - Night
Time - 20:02

York suddenly stood a little taller, assuming a more alert and confident pose. He did his best to blink away his disorientation as a whole world of sensory assault came crashing down upon him. Neither the Association nor Spookhouse could have truly prepared him for the powerful 'presence' of Servants. Raising a hand to the scar on the side of his head in a meditative gesture, York quickly sized up his new partner while trying to avoid looking too directly at her.

"Hm, I see." York noted before turning aside.

'Easy on the eyes' would be an injustice for our new associate. I'll try and keep things professional. Never mix business with pleasure, right Zach?


"There is no need to restrain yourself on my account. If you are hungry, other matters can wait until you are satisfied."

"I'll be fine. First, we got business with the Supervisor. There's a few spare coats in the closet if you want something more than your kimono to wear outside. We'll get you something more permanent once we get the formalities out of the way." York added before making his preparations to leave.

Once outside, he reached into his coat pocket to retrieve a cigarette and a lighter that, ironically, had a No-Smoking sign on it. He enjoyed a few puffs while waiting for the taxi.

Let's hope she doesn't turn out like that Catwoman wannabe we took down back in the States. Wouldn't want another scar for our troubles. Seems like we keep running into dangerous, scary women. Don't you agree, Zach?

---------------------------------------------------

Francis York Morgan
Location - Outskirts - Winding Path
Phase - Night
Time - 20:40


"Well, I'm not against hiking, but it was never my sort of thing." York noted as he stared up at the long, winding climb to his destination.

I did say you needed to stretch your legs, right Zach?

Kuroyuki
February 23rd, 2015, 02:24 AM
Kiyoko Miyamoto
Location: Miyamoto Shrine Kitchen
Time: 21:31
Day: January 12th


"Miyamoto Kiyoko... Pure Child at the Base of the Shrine is it? Splendid, what a worthy name for my Master! Rest assure, I would not dare to think for a moment about letting such a wonderful person being stolen away from me."

"Thank you Invoker. I'm surprised that you found the meaning of my name that quickly."


"But would you really call something beautiful when it has been marred by others? Never mind the fact that a paper can be used for many things, Master: an author can decide to write the most beautiful of poems about God, like what is written on that catalyst you used, or rather, they can choose to sign the death warrant for an unfortunate individual. It can be an elegy of human achievement, or a condemnation of its existence. What beauty is there in such an item that has been given sense by another, and not by itself?"

"A person once told me, even if one thing was given birth to several wrong things. Instead you should proud of the things it did right. If it didn't exist, then everyone wouldn't have felt any of the happiness or pain. That's why I think a finished paper is the best."

However, I never expected Invoker's next words to strike me so deeply.



"Or could it be that you are the kind of person that would rather write your own contents on everyone's slate, stealing them of their own choice, of their own destiny? Ufufufu, how cruel."

A-am I just forcing my selfish thoughts onto everyone regardless of their wishes? Crushing it and then placing my own thoughts? If I crush an "evil" thought, and replace it with my own against their will. Am I doing "good" or "evil?" I couldn't say anything to Invoker's words. Thankfully, Invoker's next words dismissed her words. However, I could still feel a certain pressure on me.


"But we have a lot of time to discuss about you and I Master - this is but the first day of our new life after all. Are there any questions you'd like to ask?"

"I-I have lots of questions for you Invoker. Are you from Japan? I thought you might be since you're wearing a kimono. From what time period are you from? What does an Invoker do?"

Bloble
February 23rd, 2015, 02:30 AM
Artificer
Location: Old Town – Base
Phase: Night
Time: 23:24
Day: January 12th

Artificer paused. Was it from Nozomi's question, or because he sensed a change within the metal?

It didn't matter.

"Wait," he said. "Take two steps back and be silent. Now is the delicate part. Speed is a necessity."

And then he stopped speaking altogether. Mere seconds before, the man had been relaxed, divulging information and chatting with a complete stranger without any sort of shame or worry, but now he was rigid. Humanity faded, leaving behind only a machine with the ability to fulfill a single purpose.

With a flourish, he withdrew the sheet of metal and placed it upon the table that had somehow been cleared of all dust and tools. The tongs were discarded for another tool, one which he could not name. In this state, things like names did not matter. Metal was metal. Flesh was flesh. Air was air.

A blow rang out. Cold and clear, it was soon joined by its brother. Steel on steel, again and again, as the fire Artificer had captured was tamed and beaten into the metal. He brought down the thing in his hands, not even bothering to glance at it.

Strike once more, and then...

The iron sang as he folded it, creating and eliminating a seam within moments.

Strike.

Fold.

Strike, strike.

Fold.

Strike.

Stop.

He placed the unborn child into a pot of snow that had somehow been gathered from outside. Steam erupted, and as quickly as he'd submerged the metal, he withdrew it.

Artificer held up the sheet, letting the cool draft from the window caress it. He gazed at the sword-to-be with an expression that couldn't be understood except for those who truly loved their children.

"Master was poor," he whispered suddenly. "And petty. He was not a skilled man, nor was he particularly kind. He made tools for farmers by the dozens, day by day, in exchange for scraps of food and more materials. Every day was the same."

Once more, the metal went into the fire.

Artificer exhaled, allowing himself to relax again. He shot Nozomi a grin. "Horrible man. Horrible smith. Forced me to fix pots and pans for a year until I got fed up and started doing his work for him in secret. Two years of that and I got kicked out for stealing all the business. From there, it was just me."

When did he become so talkative? Artificer could hardly recall ever being so free with his apprentices so quickly. Certainly, a few of them he had come to regard as his own children, but never this quickly. Barely an hour into the world and he was divulging his life story without thinking twice. Had there been some error? Was this girl particularly charming? No, that couldn't be.

Artificer stared at the sheet of metal as if his feelings could be reflected in it.

Oh. He'd been lonely.

Years. The last years of his life, spent speaking not a word. He'd taken requests by paper, left the finished products outside his door in the evening, and woken to find food and supplies and more orders in the morning. That had been his life. And then, after a while, the requests vanished, and it had been him alone. He'd left to forage in the woods that now surrounded his home, returning with meager food that sustained his existence so that he could forge more blades that still disappeared in the morning. Not once had the man considered returning to society. Not once had he glimpsed another human being in those last days. Only steel. Only his children.

Artificer shook away the thoughts, lest they taint his newest creation.

"You mentioned disliking having to care for Master's sword." He changed the subject to the nearest thing he could think of. "I've seen that sentiment in more than one skilled smith. It isn't an uncommon one. The man who forged that blade had an excess of aggression. He poured his feelings into it, and they shine bright to this day. But if one does not possess such feelings themselves, it is difficult to handle them from others. Unpleasant, even."

An absolute form of empathy. To understand a weapon, one must love that weapon. And yet, how could a pacifist appreciate tools of war, let alone give birth to them?

The answer to that question was not a simple one.

"They are a perfect match, you could say. It is no wonder, with such unbridled blood-lust boiling inside him, that Kirame Ryougi is so willing to risk his life in this Grail War."

The implied query went unsaid. Kirame could be understood. Artificer hadn't felt the need to warn the boy of the War's terrors, or question his will to fight. That was not the place of a creator. However, to a fellow smith, he could have posed that question: Why would that girl throw herself into the center of a battle to the death? Why would she risk her life needlessly on a battlefield she had no place in?

MssrNeko
February 23rd, 2015, 05:02 AM
Location: Business District - Hotel Room 406
Phase: Night
Time: 01:55
Day: January 13th

Bleh, what a day, Taro thinks as he stumbles through the threshold of his dark hotel room. His disheveled suit reeks of alcohol and food stains spot his clothes, he would have to get it cleaned before tomorrow. He sheds his jacket onto the floor, kicks off his shoes, and jumps into the ignorant bliss of the mattress. His face buried in the pillow, the salaryman thinks of what happened and his life. He had wanted so much more, dreamed of greater things. Like being a hotshot CEO or a member of Diet.

But here he was: another cog in the lifeless machine of his company, his dreams and hopes stifled by his shackles of reality. A beer-soaked cog who spent the night drinking with his peers and the girl of his dream, a cute lady from Accounting and a well-off family. They shared a few laughs and jokes along with the rest of the group but Taro knew his place. There was no chance of landing a girl like that, not some guy like Taro. He was just another face in the crowd and nobody cared about him just like he didn't care about any of them except for that girl.

The salaryman turns on his back and gazes at the ceiling in the darkness.

His muddled gaze sees shapes in the ceiling as his mind fades into unconscious.

He dreams of tomorrow and maybe pulling up the courage to ask the lady out and getting out of that dead end job.

And why there was an odd white mask on his ceiling.

------------
Servant Assassin
Location: Old Town - Delacroix's Place
Phase: Night
Time: 03:10
Day: January 13th

"I apologize for my lateness, Master," the ebony Servant mutters as he deposits two bodies of sleeping men. One a haggard young man in worn clothes and patches and the other an alcohol smelling salary worker snoring. "I will ensure that the next retrieval will not take as long." The city had been bigger than Assassin had originally thought and carrying two bodies through unfamiliar paths had almost killed his packages.

"If I may, Master Delacroix," The word still felt unnatural on his tongue, like a foul tasting food. Master. "Blood is needed to quench your thirst but you mentioned another ritual?"

Satehi
February 23rd, 2015, 05:41 AM
Servant Saver
Location: Residential District - Old Park
Phase: Night
Time: 22: 48
Day: January 12th

Her master would remain a handful to deal with for quite some time, it seemed.

But it was no matter. Another might have viewed such circumstances as unfortunate, but not Saver. She had little desire for extravagant material possessions- her interest in obtaining the grail was merely a fleeting one, a mere trifle. It could not compare to the opportunity to help guide a lost soul through the perils of life, as she had just been given. Even a dozen grails would pale in comparison to the gift of compassion.

Rather, if there were a Servant who would feel displeasure at lowering their chances of obtaining some golden chalice in exchange for aiding a soul in need, than they could certainly not be a true hero of any sort. Or at least, Saver would not accept them as a hero.

She noticed that the boy- Homura, if she remembered correctly – had begun struggling free of her grip, but it was pointless. It would have been nice if he had given up his bravado act upon realizing its futility and accepted her gesture, but it mattered not. It was either his abode, or some more risky and draining options. She chose the former, for obvious reasons.

Noting the direction that he had pointed out to her, Saver leapt out of the park, moving at speeds that would’ve turned the world into a blur for her Master. The wind would have been harsh, but it would only last for a short while longer before they reached warmth. A few short seconds later, they had left the park and reached the villa that he had indicated earlier.

Pausing for only the briefest of moments to take in its appearance, she cleared its walls with another leap. Finding an entrance inside, she entered through and slackened her grip, allowing her Master to stand on his two feet if he so wished.

“This is your abode, correct, Homura-kun? It might be unpleasant if we had accidentally intruded upon the house of another, though I suppose it does not matter for the moment so long as it is sufficiently warm.” An individual of pure heart should be more than willing to accommodate strangers in this sort of weather, after all. Rather unconcerned with the subject, Saver moved onto the pressing questions.

“More importantly, before I begin explaining anything about your situation, I’d like to get a few answers from you. It’ll help. You, do you know anything of magic? Are your injuries alright? And can you tell me anything about what you remember before I appeared in that park?”

“Don’t hold back on any detail you might remember. After all,” Putting a hand over her chest for emphasis, she proclaimed again with confidence. “I am your ally- you can trust me with anything. Regardless of what happens, that will never change.”

Antary
February 23rd, 2015, 06:17 AM
Anna Bernhart
Location - Harbor - Family House - Basement
Phase - Night
Time - 22:24
Day - January 12


“If thy reason for taking part is truly simply because “you could not disobey” those who exist above you or “because you had no reason to say no”, then your role in this war should involve nothing more but ignoring it in all its forms. Stay within the confines of this building and do not take part in the Grail War in any way, Master.”

"No, no, Maker, you misunderstood!" Anna stood up, stepping closer to her Servant with a concerned look on her face. "My reasons for participating, although given to me by someone else, are still 'my own'. It's true that I saw no need to take part in this War at first. But He told me why it was necessary, and I agreed. The wish passed on to me in His order became my wish as well. But it isn't about 'loyalty', and please do not presume that I was deceived into this, either."

She sighed, calming down a bit. The girl then smiled sheepishly, and put a hand on the back of her head. "Maker, if you're worried that I might not have it in me to fight, that I might hold you back, then I urge you not to worry. I'm fully resolved to obtain the Holy Grail to fulfill mine and His wish."

Anna looked up at Maker, trying to gauge her thoughts. She planted her hands into her sides and looked away. The smile momentarily faded as the girl briefly broke out into silent contemplation, but then it returned with a new surge of childish naivete and infallibly genuine kindness.

"With the Holy Grail, I will turn the world into a better place. A place where sin isn't necessary, and where happiness is without limit," Anna turned back to her Servant. "I know what it must seem like - an impossible, nonsensical dream. And yet... it was an order from God, and I will not question nor judge His wisdom. And if it was Him who had told me to do this, then surely, it's possible? If the Holy Grail can indeed grant any wish, then surely, it can do even something like that?" The girl tilted her head. "Well, you don't need to answer that, Maker. If you do not desire to, you do not have to tell me about your wishes, either. I simply want you to be confident in my own resolve."

Dranes
February 23rd, 2015, 06:48 AM
Kirisaki Homura
Location: Residential District - Fujimura Estate
Phase: Night
Time: 22: 48
Day: January 12th

What's happening now?!

In an instant my entire world had turned into a blur, the only thing that seemed to stay the same were the petite hands still holding on to me. What happened? Well if I had to wager a guess, the girl had just turned into some sort of race car-goth loli hybrid...I know I can be creative at times but this is just plain ridiculous. Well, I can't really see anything from my sides, the only way I can look is forward, seems we're heading straight for the Estate, well at least even in my addled state I was right about that.

Though we should be taking a turn, the door is to the left, seeing as the place is surrounded by a wall.

We stopped for a moment and then were on the move again, Fujimura Estate our destination, now we just had to take that left.

...

But we keep going straight and it doesn't seem like we're slowing down...?

Hm, we're going to hit the wall.

WE'RE GOING TO HIT THE WALL!?

"STO-!"

And then I was flying.

I was definitely going up, higher and higher.

Not that it lasted for long.

FALLING!

I expected a crash, to strike the ground hard and that would be it but yet again I was surprised. As gracefully as I went up, I was down now and released from her grasp, shakily I got to my feet. I think I just shaved a good few years off whatever life I had left after all that. I looked to the culprit, still with a smile and still acting as that what just happened was normal as could be. You know, maybe she'd be a little cute if she didn't do these impossible things, dream or not.

This is your abode, correct, Homura-kun? It might be unpleasant if we had accidentally intruded upon the house of another, though I suppose it does not matter for the moment so long as it is sufficiently warm.”

I nod my head to her question, this was definitely the Estate and my room wouldn't be too far from here now and with it a bed to sleep off this nightmare.

“More importantly, before I begin explaining anything about your situation, I’d like to get a few answers from you. It’ll help. You, do you know anything of magic? Are your injuries alright? And can you tell me anything about what you remember before I appeared in that park?”

Am I being interrogated in a dream now too.

“Don’t hold back on any detail you might remember. After all, I am your ally- you can trust me with anything. Regardless of what happens, that will never change.”

Well, not like there's a lot to say but if she asks me like that I guess I can tell her what I know, it feels like this is all coming to an end anyways.

"...Magic? Well I guess I know a card trick or two but I don't understand why that's relevant."

This was one weird dream girl that's for sure.

"I still feel like crap if that's what you mean but I'll live and park... well I only remember my comfy room and a bed."

Ah, it would be nice to get back there, to my fortress of solitude, to the place where I can feel at peace and seeing as I'm already here that's exactly what I'm going to do, who knows maybe it's become some mad scientist's lab by now. Though I can't really leave her out here can I? I mean she's not real but I'd still feel bad afterwards...or I'll forget about this as soon as I wake up. I point towards another entrance, still feeling like a wreck but at least this is better than that park.

"We can talk more when we get to my room."

Ah, I guess this counts as inviting a girl to my room.

You know what, I'm just not going to think about this anymore. The next thing I'm going to see is that ghost pops up and offs us both or something!

Snax
February 23rd, 2015, 07:09 AM
Trickster
Location: Upasmike Forest
Phase: Night
Time: 20:22
Day: January 12th

Considering Trickster was not particularly feeling up to chasing an iron horse, she took up on her Master's offer and placed herself on the seat. Even as spirit form, perhaps the rush of speed might be exhilarating - for she had never ridden anything faster than perhaps a horse.

"Onward, then - I look forward to seeing what your quarters are like, Master. Fufu..."

While she did not expect the greatest of luxuries, hopefully it would be comfortable enough to relax in. A good hot bath would be nice too - even as a servant, she had not forgotten the pleasantries that soothed her flesh whilst her times of stress and exhaustion.

Verg Avesta
February 23rd, 2015, 07:31 AM
http://i.imgur.com/GYDktBS.jpg

Location: Yamaichi Shrine – Winding Path
Phase: Night
Time: 20:55 and 0:56
Day: January 13th

There (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3K8tne5v3o&index=26), in the darkness broken only by the heavy snowfall and the occasional sliver of moonlight peeking from through the clouds, a single torii stood in the middle of the path leading up to the venerated Yamaichi Shrine. It was like a lonely guardian, old and faded, who still stubbornly refused to move from the snow even though the blizzard was already approaching. A focused mindset with no unnecessary things to worry it... old soldier, or perhaps a tired warrior.

... And speaking of stubborn individuals braving the cold and the snow...

"... Welcome, Master. To the Yamaichi Shrine."

Both individuals approaching the shrine were greeted by this same phrase, and a sight of a ghost-like figured emerging from the darkness next to the torii. Cutting off their path momentarily, Izumi stood there to greet York, as she later did with Kirame. And for both men, she bowed slightly, her blindfolded face revealing no emotion, before gently gesturing for them to follow her.

Mellon
February 23rd, 2015, 10:27 AM
Maker
Location - Harbor - Family House - Basement
Phase - Night
Time - 22:25
Day - January 12


"My reasons for participating, although given to me by someone else, are still 'my own'. It's true that I saw no need to take part in this War at first. But He told me why it was necessary, and I agreed. The wish passed on to me in His order became my wish as well. But it isn't about 'loyalty', and please do not presume that I was deceived into this, either."

I know what it must seem like - an impossible, nonsensical dream. And yet... it was an order from God, and I will not question nor judge His wisdom. And if it was Him who had told me to do this, then surely, it's possible? If the Holy Grail can indeed grant any wish, then surely, it can do even something like that?"


Maker let out a slight sigh as she listened to the words spoken by her Master. It was quite clear from her demeanor that the enigmatic Servant still wasn't quite satisfied with Anna’s answer. However, neither was Maker willing to force the issue at this point. These things could wait for a more opportune time, and as such, Maker simply lowered her head in a gesture of respect.

“I see. If that is truly what you desire, then it is my duty as your Servant to help you realize that wish.” Maker paused for a second, almost as if uncertain whether to speak her mind. “However, I would simply like to ask you a question, Master. You need not answer it now, but I would like you to ponder on it nevertheless.”

“There are few who can be considered to be without sin in this world. Do you think thyself to be without sin, Master? And if so...”

“Do you truly dislike mankind so much that you remake it into something that it is not?”


Perhaps she was wrong and Anna’s wish was truly for the best of all. It might have truly been something that was within the ken of the Grail to achive. It was supposedly omnipotent, after all. But the issue was not in the world itself. Temptation was something that wasn't performed because it was necessary. Even Adam and Eve were not immune to the ancestral sin and it’s source came not from something that could be so easily erased by simply changing the world around them. Rather, it was a result of their very own nature. The only way for there to exist a “Kingdom without Sin” was there to be a “Mankind without Sin”. And Maker was sure of only one thing.


No man, as they were now, would pass through the gates of such a Kingdom.


Whether that meant that humans would become something else entirely or that mankind would be purged until such a state was achived, she was not sure. There were probably no human that could truly answer such a question. But such a discussion was better left for a later time. She had already troubled her Master enough from the looks of it. And most likely the summoning had already taken quite a toll on her mind and body.


“If you do not desire to, you do not have to tell me about your wishes, either. I simply want you to be confident in my own resolve.”


Maker gave a kind smile to her Master.

“Of course I have no reservations about sharing my wish, Master. My wish is simply to ensure the prosperity of my people. That is all I wish for, nothing more.” Calmly, the Servant in white sat down at the couch in the middle of the room with utmost elegance. “But enough about such heavy topics. I imagine you are feeling tired from the summoning ritual. A large-scale ritual magecraft such as that often leaves the user tired, both physically and mentally. If you so desire, you can leave the preparations to me. I should be finished by the morning and spiritual beings, such as myself, do not really need any rest.”


The Servant’s eyes crossed briefly over to the teapot, which had just started whistling, before letting out a silvery chuckle.

“I can take care of the tea as well, should you you so desire.”

Leftovers
February 23rd, 2015, 11:54 AM
Astrid Hildebrandt
Location: School District - Ichifuji Hotel
Phase: Night
Time: 21:15
Day: January 12th

Even at this relatively early hour of night, that part of the district was utterly silent, save for the occasional mewling cries of adventurous cats, defying the biting cold to follow their natural instincts. Needless to say, there was nary a soul in sight roaming the streets, and the dark houses hidden behind drawn curtains spoke of the locals' habits, in accordance to the early and long nightfall that shrouded Tengetsu in the winter months.

The still of the night did not last for long. From afar, a distant roar came ever closer to the sole illuminated building in the block, a sound that the nearby residents would soon come to identify as "those damn street-racing ruffians"; a rumour that would persist for quite a while among the gossipers of the neighborhood. Alas, if they had tried to catch a glimpse of the fabled speed demon, the sight of two women riding double on a vintage motorcycle would have provided the rumour mill with enough fuel to last for months.

As it were, Astrid took a circumventive path from the forest road's exit, mingling with the traffic of Old Town at a leisurely pace, then following the major road arteries between the Residential and Business districts to reach the much quieter School district, where the bustle of relative downtown Tengetsu seemed to lie a world away at that hour. It had been a silent ride, spent in contemplation on Astrid's part; Trickster had been content to hold on to her, lending no hints as to what she was thinking. Perhaps she was just enjoying the thrill of driving, if that woman could ever be content with such simple pleasures.

Lit by a pair of lanterns casting gentle light on the entrance, the hotel was like a solitary lighthouse under a starless sky. Ichifuji had that timeless quality that could only be found in seemingly ordinary buildings, which could nevertheless weather the passage of time with stoic grace, and retain their original form through hardships that would lay low much more extravagant ones. In that passage of time, the long presence of humans in their halls had accumulated history that had practically seeped into their walls and foundations; in their way, those too were traditions that lent power to the future generations.

Many tenants must have climbed these same stairs that she was ascending. From them, it was reasonable to assume that a number must have inevitably stayed in the same room that she was now unlocking. Perhaps, one or two of them might have even been magi.

But if she could be certain of one thing, Astrid could say with conviction that this was the first time her modest room had ever been graced with the presence of a Ghost Liner. It was lamentable that such a being would be forced to inhabit a living space that would surely be considered meager by her standards, but in a war the first sacrifice in the name of practicality was luxury.

"I'm sorry if my base doesn't match up to your expectations, Trickster. But as I'm sure you must have noticed, this location has several characteristics that make it suitable for our...hmm, purposes. So, get comfortable and then we can talk."

Shrugging off her heavy coat and loosening her tie, Astrid jerked a thumb towards the other door in the room other than the exit.

"It's not as bad as it looks, really. There's enough space to move, and even an actual bath. I'm told that this is actually quite the commodity in this country."

Then again, the man she had asked for information about Japan had not been the most unbiased of fellows.

Snax
February 23rd, 2015, 12:47 PM
Trickster
Location: School District - Ichifuji Hotel
Phase: Night
Time: 21:15
Day: January 12th

“Not quite a castle, is it? But still, you seem to have done quite some work with the protections - good job indeed, Master.”

Smiling, Trickster threw in a jest and a compliment at the same time, observing the hotel room with languid eyes.

“Ah, well, I shall make do with a nice warm bath first. It has been long since I’ve indulged in the guilty pleasures of the flesh, after all. However, a commodity, is it...I suppose I shall graciously accept this offering then.”

Chuckling mischievously, Trickster noted the normal sized bathtub which, honestly, wasn’t quite the type of bath for two people to enter together. Still, the small tubs had their benefits. Large pools of water were fine too, but she wasn’t going to ask for the impossible. Not yet, at any rate.

“Although, are you sure you’re happy enough with this, Master? If it was up to me, I could just rent the whole building with just a wink~”

Laughing, her clothing vanished away into nothingness as she undid the prana holding its form, and stepped into the bath. No reason to close the door, however - that way she could still converse over the sound of falling water.

“Hmm, so this is a modern bath and drain, ho...How well made. Turning this, hot water...this, cold water...quite a masterful technology, I must say - for baths are one of the greatest of vices a woman could ever ask for.”

Stretching her bare legs out in the tub, she turned off the water once the tub was filled to a satisfactory level. The relaxation from the warm water soothed her spiritual body as it would any physical one, having her feel as if she was truly alive. Tjhe relaxation, however, also brought upon her playful mood yet again.

“Are you sure you don’t want to join me, Master? The water is warm, and it won’t be every day you may look upon me in all my glory - or would it be, in modern terms, my birthday suit? Ufufu..”

Cutting it short, she merely giggled and without waiting for a response,proceeded to adopt a more serious tone.

“Well then Master - before anything else, I’m sure you must be bursting with curiosity about now. Do you have anything specific you’d like to ask me - “

With a small giggle, she adds -

“Like my bust size?”

Spinach
February 23rd, 2015, 01:21 PM
Ryougi Kirame
Location: Yamaichi Shrine – Winding Path
Phase: Night
Time: 0:56
Day: January 13th

"... Welcome, Master. To the Yamaichi Shrine."

A quiet voice crept through the falling snow. Not meek or weak, simply absent of presence. As the blindfolded one that had called out to him appeared from the darkness of the torii, Kirame felt that with just a small breeze the girl’s words would have been blown away. Or rather, the girl’s presence, rather than her voice, was so soft and uncommanding that the girl, dressed in white like the falling snow, would disappear on the wind, merging with the snow raining down, fading into the path like a winter ghost.

“A guard? No.” He answered her, questioning the purpose of the blindfolded girl. “A guide.”

Understanding the girl’s role on the path Kirame looked past her, up the dark path that she gestured him to follow her along. Nodding, he accepted her guidance, following the girl as she lead him up the path.

Neither side made conversation. The ghost-like girl guided Kirame in silence, never seeming to want for talk, and the man she led simply followed behind her, occasionally glancing away from her back to look out into the dark forest whenever he caught himself staring too much at her figure.

Coming upon the shrine the girl left Kirame to enter on his own with a few words in her quiet voice, after which she returned from where she had come. Seeing the girl’s white clothed back disappear into the night Kirame let out a sigh of relief, thanking his luck that she was the naturally quiet type. Those he could deal with.

With the girl gone and his head free of thoughts about her Kirame took a moment to take in the sight of the shrine. The ancient temple exuded an aura of tranquility, like an old wise-man that had found inner peace and true wisdom in his long years that compelled respect from the soul. Even the foul-tempered man standing in the falling snow found himself in a state of reverence for the hallowed place.

From the shrine’s height, despite the mountain’s peak still looming far overhead, Kirame could see the entire island of Tengetsu below, all the way out to the sea, as dark as the night sky. Only the moon’s light reflected off of the endless waves, which stretched beyond his sight all the way to the horizon. For the first time Kirame felt truly isolated from the rest of the world.

The feeling of isolation was oddly comforting.

Wordlessly he entered the temple. The comfort from before left him soon after. Dark halls lit up by sparsely placed lanterns that seemed to continue without end welcomed him to the shrine. Like a maze they turned and ended, though despite it all he never felt as though he was lost.

The sense that he was always drawing closer to his destination never left him. Despite not knowing that destination he understood that as long as he continued on he would reach it. It felt like it was a mockery of his own life, pushing forward without a goal in sight, yet knowing it was waiting for him inevitably, somewhere.

His entire life was wandering lost and without understanding his destination. Compared to that, the test of the temple was something he wouldn’t lose to.

It was as if the shrine was trying to comfort him. Even as he moved forward, lost as he was, there was never exhaustion or absence of hope. The further he went the more he felt it, that he was drawing closer, he need only press on without giving up. It was as if the temple was speaking to him, ‘don’t stop now,’ ‘just a little further,’ ‘almost,’ and he listened. It was what he wanted to hear, as lost as he was, as lost as he always had been. To know that there really was some sort of answer at the end.

Even as he was led to empty corridors, dead ends and hallways that he felt he had passed through before, he knew he was getting closer.

Location: Yamaichi Shrine
Phase: Night
Time: 1:31
Day: January 13th

Finally, the silent halls that had only spoken in the voice of his footsteps, spoke in another voice. Music, and the warm light of fire, fluttered into the dim halls through a large chamber he came upon. Inside danced a towering figure, lit up by the flame, as well as another one. A presence that could not be denied.

He had arrived.

He took a step into the chamber and his eyes shot toward the man in the chamber, brimming with the same superior aura that Artificer had, the same in nature, though different. Storm-like. If Artificer was a stream flowing down the mountainside, coursing through nature harmoniously, this man was a raging river that swallowed the forests and villages around it.

“Servant.” Kirame said, immediately acknowledging the one dressed in ancient garb with a challenging glint in his steel eyes, lit up by the billowing flame.

Ayakashi
February 23rd, 2015, 01:37 PM
Character(s)
Miyamoto Kiyoko, Invoker

Location
Miyamoto Shrine - Kitchen


Phase ----- Night
Time ------ 21:33
Day ------- January 12th

http://i.imgur.com/7B2cwvS.png








"Thank you Invoker. I'm surprised that you found the meaning of my name that quickly."



"I am an artist and a poet foremost, Master. The meaning and flow of names is something that I have to know -- besides you could say that it was a certain form of intuition: more then often, the name is either the exact reflection of its bearer or the very ironic opposite. In your case, well, only you can answer that question~"




"I-I have lots of questions for you Invoker. Are you from Japan? I thought you might be since you're wearing a kimono. From what time period are you from? What does an Invoker do?"





"My, already searching for my true name? Shouldn't you know it already after having seen the catalyst used to summon me? Or... could it be that you've acquired it in some random fashion? Ah... then this means..."


The teasing smile momentarily turns into a maniac grin. Seldom has Kiyoko noticed it though when black feather flood the room and a pair of wings wrap around Invoker, giving the imagery of a dark 'egg' once again. What follows is exactly the same as the first time Kiyoko witnessed Invoker's 'appearance': the wings unfold and reveal her Servant, who has--


http://i.imgur.com/uM3vFBu.png

"M-Master... do I really have to tell you who I am?"


The ominous air is gone. That unpleasant, pressure-filled atmosphere which surrounded Invoker, it is suddenly replaced by a radiating and soothing sensation. The frightening woman in black has been switched for a girl clad in absolute white, from her clothing to her hair, to her skin tone being snow-like. It was a different white from Invoker's corpse-like white: this seemed more like a pure, innocent and kind variation of the colour. It bode no ill-will.

Could it be that... what was happening? Had she been replaced because her identity wasn't known, or was that some kinda of abilities of hers--


"Please tell me Master..."

With helpless puppy eyes, the girl in white grabbed Kiyoko's hands and asked, no, pleaded for the shrine maiden's opinion. This was an absolute 180 degree reversal from Invoker's usual demeanour, it was like Kiyoko was handling a child. The Shrine Maiden surely would have been bewildered by all this nonsensical happenstance...

...but before she can answer these black wings come again, and the person before Kiyoko is once again switched for another one.


http://i.imgur.com/bKTmRmS.png
"Hah, I jest! Why would someone like me even tell you their name?! These goddamn Masters and their bad manners, ain't that quite the sore sight to see?!"

An imposing, sharp tongued teenager dressed in what clearly is a modern schoolgirl outfit. Her blonde hair and blue eyes denote her roots as Caucasian, and she even manages to emulate the accent of a foreigner quite well. Even her body language is entirely different - it isn't the refined yet domineering woman in black kimono, nor is it the docile and submissive girl in white's. This is a brash, harsh and proud character that one would expect of a spoiled tomboy.

The black wings and feather return, and so does a more familiar figure:



http://i.imgur.com/haX7got.png
"Mmmm, so what is it that you prefer, Master? I am no one, thus I can be anyone you desire me to be~"


Perhaps that Kiyoko would've preferred these two other girls... indeed, there can't possibly be any other sentiment that is closest to interacting with the devil than conversing with this form of her Servant. At any rate, it does not appear that Invoker has any intention of revealing their identity, but instead, fooling around and embrassing Kiyoko seems to be her top priority -- is she making a fool out of her Master?

Actually... these two forms that she took, why do they seem so familiar to Kiyoko? The magazine that Invoker was reading earlier...


"Whatever your answer is though, know that I can do many, many things. The only thing that you need to know, is that if you are truly a shrine maiden, then ironically, your kind is supposed to hunt me. Would you do that, oh dear Master?"


Invoker states vaguely. It isn't exactly an answer to Kiyoko's question, but it might possibly make her rest assured; or panic even more about the fact that her Servant is giving her absolutely no information, other than a reason for Kiyoko to be suspicious of Invoker even more - is this a provocation of some sort? What are lies, and what are truths?. She might have better chance going back down to the basement and check up on that catalyst...

Verg Avesta
February 23rd, 2015, 01:58 PM
Location: Yamaichi Shrine
Phase: Night
Time: 1:32
Day: January 13th


“Servant.”

The strings of the shamisen, previously plucked into the tune of a mysterious melody, halted as Kirame's words pierced the air. The golden-eyed Servant lifted his gaze at the young man, and a predatory smile fell upon his lips. It was clear that the entity before Kirame recognized his nature, as if he had immediately seen through him. Those eyes beheld a power to judge those who came before him, and immediately understand their true nature. It was no longer on the level of simple deduction, but an actual power, made worthy by the Grail itself. In other words, it was the very Skill granted to a single, and but a single, Class in a Holy Grail War.

There was no doubt about it. The blue-haired man sitting in the shadows was Ruler - The one to enforce the will of the Mocking Grail.

"Boy," Ruler finally greeted Kirame in similar, albeit more mocking, tone. There was no ill will in his voice, however. It was more akin to a wolf gazing upon a barking dog and scoffing in amusement.

Suddenly, a shadow, heavier than the ones governing most of the main chamber of the shrine, fell upon Kirame. A physical presence that had not been there before was like a cloak put upon his shoulders, and even without looking, the eyes that gazed upon him could be felt. It was the aura of a person who was like Yamaichi Shrine itself: imposing and veiled in mystery.

At some point during his staring contest with Ruler, Sourokurou Mochizuki had walked around the fire pit and positioned herself behind Kirame, hands clasped behind her back and with a ghost of a smile on her face.

"Welcome, o' Chosen Master," the priestess said with a deep tone. "I welcome you to Yamaichi Shrine."

Spinach
February 23rd, 2015, 02:22 PM
Ryougi Kirame
Location: Yamaichi Shrine
Phase: Night
Time: 1:33
Day: January 13th

The storm’s attention fell down onto Kirame, and in the eyes of the blue-haired Servant he saw that already he had been judged. In that moment Kirame was an open book, and the Servant Ruler was reading the text written over the pages.

"Boy,"

There was nothing concealed from those gold eyes, like a wolf looking down on a dog that it knew barked louder than it could bite. Condescending and secure in its feral superiority. In its perfect judgement of the pup meeting its eyes.

The swordsman’s eyes narrowed, unwilling to back down in the face of the storm, as a shadow fell upon him from behind.

A chill ran down his spine as he felt the weight of a third pair of eyes press against him. The shadow beneath him extended further than the shadow of a human should cast, and a single bead of sweat ran down his forehead as his instincts warned him.

"Welcome, o' Chosen Master,"

A deep voice, though undeniably feminine, addressed his back. He swallowed loudly.

"I welcome you to Yamaichi Shrine."

Kirame gathered his spirit, and turned to face the woman behind him. He could feel it from the tone of her voice, the way it carried through the chamber, that this was the type he couldn’t stand against.

What he saw behind his back was truly terrifying.

Her chest. Dressed in white haori. At his eye level.

He staggered backward, nearly tripping as he looked up toward the woman’s face, over a head taller than him. He, already taller than the average Japanese man, felt dwarfed by this miko, towering over him.

“D-don’t,” his cheeks were slightly red, and he bit his tongue stammering out the words, “sneak up on me, you giant miko!”

Kuroyuki
February 23rd, 2015, 02:37 PM
Kiyoko Miyamoto
Location: Miyamoto Shrine Kitchen
Time: 21:33
Day: January 12th

When I started asking Invoker about her true name, she deflected the question. However, she mentioned something about the catalyst was very key to her true name. I didn't look at it too closely, but I didn't notice a name on it. If anything it was one piece of parchment meant to be with several others. Maybe I can ask Sourokurou-san to help me identify it tomorrow?

My confusion only increased when Invoker wrapped herself in her black wings. I saw a single black feather fall before Invoker revealed herself to be a cute girl modeled after one of the protagonists in one of my Yuri mangas.


"M-Master... do I really have to tell you who I am? Please tell me Master..."

I blushed slightly as Invoker grabbed my hands and begged for my answer. She was just too cute. I-i don't know if I sho-

My thought was stopped in the middle as Invoker's wings covered her again and instead revealed what seemed to be a haughty foreigner in a school uniform.


"Hah, I jest! Why would someone like me even tell you their name?! These goddamn Masters and their bad manners, ain't that quite the sore sight to see?!"

"I'm sorry for being so rude, Invoker. I was curious about your life. I won't intrude on it again."

I was sucked so much into Invoker's pace that I immediately apologized to her despite her rude language towards me. I could've swore that I started blushing more. I always thought Western girls were cuter, but seeing one right in front of me holding my hands is another thing.

However when I finished my apology, Invoker switched back to her "default" form.


"Mmmm, so what is it that you prefer, Master? I am no one, thus I can be anyone you desire to be~"

"I like whatever form that makes you happy Invoker, I think that your happiness can also be my happiness. So please make yourself comfortable. "


"Whatever your answer is though, know that I can do many, many things. The only thing that you need to know, is that if you are truly a shrine maiden, then ironically, your kind is supposed to hunt me. Would you do that, oh dear Master?"

"The duty of the Demon Hunter Organization is to hunt down evil youkai. My job as a Shrine Maiden is to protect and promote the happiness of everyone."

Verg Avesta
February 23rd, 2015, 03:05 PM
Location: Yamaichi Shrine
Phase: Night
Time: 1:35
Day: January 13th


“D-don’t sneak up on me, you giant miko!”

A rumbling chuckle. It was almost like a deep baritone, if that was even possible, amplified by the apparent emptiness of the chamber. Watching Kirame stumble upon his tongue and nearly trip over his own legs seemed to amuse the tall priestess to a great degree. Her black eyes, reflecting the flames roaring in the fire pit, gazed upon him with a look that should have belonged to a viper.

"I apologize," she said, but nothing in her tone suggested that she was actually sorry. "I did not expect that a Master chosen to this Holy Grail War would be such a scaredy-cat. Surely the amount of blood to be shed, the deaths that will follow, are nothing compared to an appearance of a simple overseer, no?"

Sourokurou chuckled again with her eyes closed, putting her hand almost daintily before her mouth. "Almost" being the keyword, as nothing in her body language suggested actual need to follow such rules of etiquette. She was simply having fun at Kirame's expense at this point. It seemed that the supervisor enjoyed upsetting people.

"But very well. I shall refrain from behaving in such a manner that it would unnerve you, O' Master," she said, putting her hand again behind her back. "Instead, allow me to tell you this. I am Sourokurou Mochizuki, the supervisor of this Holy Grail War. And you..."

Her eyes momentarily drifted over to Ruler, who seemed to grin even wider.

"... You have been now recorded as an official Master of Heaven's Moon. In other words, Servant Ruler acknowledges your right to compete for the Mocking Grail," she said, or rather, announced. "Might you tell us your name, O' Frightful Master?"

Spinach
February 23rd, 2015, 03:24 PM
Ryougi Kirame
Location: Yamaichi Shrine
Phase: Night
Time: 1:37
Day: January 13th

“Sca-scaredy-cat…?” He went wide-eyed at the accusation, tripping over his words much like he had nearly tripped over his own feet. The red on his cheeks spread at the anaconda’s chuckling, reaching the tips of his ears.

“I’m not a scaredy-cat!” Kirame protested, looking like he was desperately trying to convince her as though everything was on the line. “And I wasn’t unnerved, you… mountain-size miko!”

He nervously chuckled back at her, trying to fight back in whatever way he could. It was too tough looking her straight in the eyes for long, and every few words he would shift his attention away from her, trying to escape the grip she was putting him in, before slipping his eyes back to her, then away again.

“And don’t call me frightful! You just surprised me, that’s all!” He continued covering himself, raising his hand to point up at her accusingly. “You-you triggered my battle instincts! You’re lucky I didn’t… didn’t…”

His voice trailed on, getting quieter as he lost sight of where he was going, or what to say in his defense. He could already tell in his heart that there was no recovery from here on. The damage was already done.

“Hah,” he would have to change tactics. “Remember my name, giant, it’s Ryougi Kirame, and I’ll…” His voice drifted again as he searched for a direction to go. “I’ll…” He repeated, still lost. “I’ll…”

Make you apologize for calling me frightful and a scaredy-cat.

He couldn’t say it.

Ayakashi
February 23rd, 2015, 03:29 PM
Character(s)
Miyamoto Kiyoko, Invoker

Location
Miyamoto Shrine - Kitchen

Phase ----- Night
Time ------ 21:34
Day ------- January 12th
http://i.imgur.com/7B2cwvS.png







"I like whatever form that makes you happy Invoker, I think that your happiness can also be my happiness. So please make yourself comfortable. "


For the first time since their meeting, there is another expression on Invoker's visage that is neither amusement nor teasing. Something about Kiyoko's words seems to have spurred disappointment across Invoker's visage. Her gaze is disapproving, and one could even say that she is looking at Kiyoko with scorn.



"The duty of the Demon Hunter Organization is to hunt down evil youkai. My job as a Shrine Maiden is to protect and promote the happiness of everyone."



"... so you have no happiness of your own, no desire that belongs to you? Ah, I understand now, I fully understand now why I was drawn to you..."

Invoker nods slowly as she believes to understand more about her Master. This isn't spoken like a realization however, but rather, that sentence sounds like a lament of sorts. Ultimately, Invoker does not dwell for long on that matter and her natural, dainty yet mocking spirit make its return quickly.


"Hmph, I shall chastise you later about that~"


A snicker escapes Invoker's lips. For now, Kiyoko's Servant appears to have dropped the subject. Perhaps that she's saving this for later, or as the saying of writers goes : perhaps would she rather show than tell. Indeed, experiencing something is the greatest way of being taught a lesson: to hear is a thing, to live is another. That very concept is all that Invoker needs for her eerie light smile to return, engraved on her lips like a constant mockery that never perishes.



"I assume that we should get started then if you wish to 'guarantee everyone's happiness', shouldn't we Master? Allow me to show you a few more tricks."



"[_____]"



A proclamation of might leaves Invoker's mouth. It should be a declaration that leaves no trace of doubt about her identity, but that chant is warped, unclear. It sounds like a forgery, or even, a fairy tale which claims ownership of a kingdom that exists not.

Black feathers similar to the ones thrown in the air when Invoker summons her wings fill the room, but this time, Invoker isn't their source: five shadows surround Invoker and Kiyoko, one appearing by Invoker's side, the other four standing at the North, West, East and South of the pair, encircling them them like dutiful guards.



http://i.imgur.com/9KrtL0S.png
"Did you call for us, boss?"



Invoker lifts the paper fan to hide her mouth, like these devious women of myth that are plotting something. Well, what else would she be doing with such a malicious smile? Kiyoko was right besides her Servant, so it would be easy for the Shrine Maiden to see the expression that lay behind Invoker's fan -- that is, if she could digest the fact that she right now is surrounded by five beings of the Phantasmal Class... and that she has just beheld at first hand what exactly the Invoker vessel is all about.


"Why would you be here if I had not, my beloved servants?" Invoker mentions sarcastically. Her tone is equally belittling to her own summons as it is towards Kiyoko - does she treat everyone the same way? The servant in black turns to address Kiyoko after having given a light tap on the head of the being that had asked that question. They did not budge, merely accepting their fate : "At any rate, about our plans for tonight..."


http://i.imgur.com/A8SR60o.png

Leftovers
February 23rd, 2015, 04:29 PM
Astrid Hildebrandt
Location: School District - Ichifuji Hotel
Phase: Night
Time: 21:18
Day: January 12th

Trickster entered the bath wearing a smirk and little more, and Astrid did her best to stare at the ceiling until the sound of running water could be heard from the adjacent room. Leaning back on the bed with her arms to support her, she mumbled a reply more as a distraction than anything else, certain that Trickster could perfectly hear her over the flow of the tap.

"The point of this spartan dwelling is to not draw undue attention. A lone traveler would hardly need more than a small hotel room, let alone an entire floor."

If Trickster had a reaction to her words, Astrid did not hear it. But soon the sound of flowing liquid subsided, to be replaced by the sloshing of a body lowering itself into the water-filled tub. The door to the bathroom was left open, and thick clouds of steam wafted from the doorway into the room proper, rising to the ceiling.

It made for an interesting sight for Astrid to watch while she weathered the rejuvenated Trickster's enticements, until the Servant had had her fill of levity and moved on to more profound matters - for the most part.


“Well then Master - before anything else, I’m sure you must be bursting with curiosity about now. Do you have anything specific you’d like to ask me - like my bust size?"

"Naturally, I do have questions. But they are of the sort that I doubt you'd be willing to answer up front, and would rather have me discover by myself, with hands-on experience."

Her eyes fixed on the vanishing point of the steam rising to the air, Astrid couldn't help a lopsided smile.

"As it happens, I love solving riddles so much that I made it my job. It's all part of the enjoyment, you could say."

A silence ensued, dragging on for a solid minute, with only the clear drip of intermittent droplets falling into water to mark the passage of time. From afar, the muted sound of the blowing winds crept into the room like the distant baying of a Kyrkogrim.

At no particular moment, Astrid had shifted from her relaxed position, now slouching over at the side of the bed, hands absently toying with her hat; but when she spoke, it was not with a vacant tone.

No, that was undoubtedly the voice of a magus.

"There is one thing I want to ask. Rather, it is something I need to know; something essential for this partnership to work."

Her eyes fixed on the hat in her lap, she waited for an interjection from the unseen Servant. No reply was forthcoming from the other room.

"For you to have answered my call - the Grail's call - then there must be something that you desire, a wish that can only be granted through this ritual. The prayers of mankind are seldom answered without a self-serving purpose. And that...is fine."

Testing the sound of the word, Astrid found it satisfactory. After all, these were merely the basic precepts of this ritual's purported nature.

"Yes, that is fine. I know that there exists the drive within every Servant to claim the Holy Grail, and that knowledge is assurance enough for me to not need to pry for the specifics. Ultimately, is this not a contract between two disciples of the arcane arts, to aid each other to their mutual benefit until their individual goals are achieved?"

Words utterly discordant with Astrid's previous disposition were delivered, to be sliced apart by a derisive laugh.

"Or that is what most magi would say; and of course, they wouldn't be wrong at all. For a ritual constructed on the core principles of magecraft, such notions would be completely, naturally true. But in the end, they are just that: axioms, maxims, codes of behaviour that permeate the world of mystery and strive to impose order on the ineffable. They are a system's directives, but not its rules."

The words came easily now, like hitting one's stride during a speech practice countless times before.

"In the code of a magus, morality is not even an inhibition, but an alien concept in and of itself. Left free to unleash their full arsenal in previous Grail Wars, there had been Masters and Servants that wreaked devastation upon the lands of the ritual and all those who inhabited it; and that is just what has been put into the records. With no hesitation, many lives were snuffed out like a candle's flame, spared no more consideration than one would afford an ant under his boot. In the end, that is simply the way magi think.

It is said that to be a magus is to walk with death, else you are merely a practitioner, a faker that could never attain the true mysteries of magecraft. And though I'm sorry to disappoint you, Trickster, your Master is one of those pitiable fools. That mindset, that heartlessness, I could never fathom nor accept. Whether you spare a life or take it, it is unforgivable to not recognise the true weight of your actions."

Taking a small pause, Astrid picked her words carefully, gathering herself for the first true test of the relationship with her Servant.

"You spoke of merriment and fancy, of entertainment being the essence of life. So, my question to you, o Servant of mine, both practical and theoretical, before the water in your tub gets any colder."

Her idle trifling had long ceased, the hat long abandoned on the bedsheets. From the bathroom, not even the slightest sound could be heard.

"What do your ancient eyes see, you who has lived more fully than anyone, when you gaze upon mankind, living, loving, and dying without ever knowing of the mystic world that lies just beyond their eyes? What is the measure of these men to a Hero; what is their value for one who has seen all? Are they but pawns to move about on a chessboard, playthings for the enjoyment of beings higher than they - to laugh or cry, to live or die at their leisure?"


...in that moment...


"Could a shepherd tire of tending to his flock?"


...in that shadowy room...


"Could the bastions of humanity turn on what they should protect?"


...that was what she thought.





With a voice decreeing judgment, a Master asks her Servant.


"Servant Trickster, would you see the world burn for your desires?"

I3uster
February 23rd, 2015, 04:43 PM
Mister Delacroix
Location: Old Town - Delacroix's Place
Phase: Night
Time: 03:10
Day: January 13th

"Am I seeing double?" The man smiled at the two unconscious people that his Servant had so courteously dragged through the city. "You really are a motivated worker, Assassin. I can give you that." Pointing at brown packing tape and two cable ties. "Now if you would just help me for a second, it really would make things faster..."

Kenichi Murasaki
Location: ???
Phase: Night
Time: Pretty late
Day: January 13th

"Hey. Hey. Hey." Heavily accented speech roused his from his dreams. That, and rythmic shaking of his shoulders. It took him a while to realize where he was since the room seemed to be completely dark. The sobering cell again? What was up with those goddamn island cops, nothing better to do in this shitty weather than to harass citizens minding their own business? No...this seemed cleaner. Almost sterile. The hospital? He picked a better shelter this time though. No way he was going to freeze there. Maybe somebody wanted to get some instant karma calling an ambulance. Assholes. All that happens in that shitty building is a free wash by the most uncomfortable-looking nurses and a swift kick in the ass and out the door as soon as possible.

"Listen..." He was about to say still groggy and not quite sure of his surroundings.

What came out of his mouth was however just muffled, garbled speech. Packing tape had covered his mouth.

"Shhhhh. Don't speak. Don't make a sound. Look over there..."

He could barely make out anything, only the finger of whoever was in that room. He moved his foot to slowly probe the room in the direction.

Maybe this was some shelter after all? Some guy picked him up and carried him there? There was a guy next to him, sleeping, but why would anybody drag a dude down on his luck through the cold, in the middle...

His eyes widened, but he followed the instructions of the voice. No sound.

"Yeah. That happens if you do. Let's not, okay?" He felt a touch on his shoulder and the sing-song voice ringing in his head. "I meant to choose between him and you but he made it easy. Congratulations, you are our lucky winner tonight!"

Was this some sort of game show? Some horror type of deal? Didn't people have to sign contracts for this stuff? Maybe it was a prank? Who cares about the homeless anyway, he thought, we're the perfect people to pull this shit on, aren't we? You're one funny guy, asshole. Just wait until I get my hands free

"I had some time until your arrival so I made an info graphic to walk you through the process tonight:"

The light turned on.

http://i.imgur.com/KCO7dh3.png

This guy is totally, absolutely, bat shit crazy, and I have to get out of here as fast as I can.

"This was a bit hard for me to figure out at first so promise me, you will appreciate that I did this when it happens!" Finally he could get a good glimpse of his captor. A black man, wearing a run-down suit, holding a piece of paper with what looked like kids drawings on it. And writing he could not decipher.

"I'm really sorry about the look of this, I had to rummage through everything to find a pen that didn't give out, and even this one was right at the end...don't even get me started on the red, really. It's horrible."

He was paralyzed, thinking of ways to escape this. First he had to get on his feet. Maybe if that guy kept talking he could bum-rush him the moment he didn't pay attention...only a slight daze and then it would be fine. Sure, there was a corpse in this room already, but the guy didn't seem to have a gun on him right now since he held the paper in one hand and his other pointed along his monologue.

"So this, sadly is the most likely stage. A "dead". It is what it sounds like, unfortunately, but don't worry, you can at least still walk. There's a lot of people that can not, so let us all be thankful for that, am I right? Thinking is out though." The psycho seemed genuinely invested in whatever mad gibberish he spouted at the young homeless man, making sure to keep eye contact and nodding along to everything he said.

"But, and I am not 100% on the statistics here, this might acutally happen to you!" He pointed at the second picture. Every time the captor looked down on the picture he scanned the room for something that would give him a slight edge. The door was unlocked it seemed. It was some kind of freezer room? Maybe there were other details he could make out, knowing his location would definitely be an advantage once he was out of here.

"This is a Ghoul. Thinking is still not quite there yet since your brain turns to mush and your soul, yeah that thing really exists, gets bound to your body. But you can evolve! Adapt and overcome! Isn't humanity great?" Again the captor looked him in the eye, this time with a questioning expression.

Does he want me to say something? I have tape over my mouth, god-damn it!

He just nodded.

"Riiight! That's good. Participation means you will memorize, you know that? So anyway, after eating a few corpses..."

What the fuck is this guys problem?

It seemed like the man had lost his train of thought just for a second. This was the moment.

He was so sure that he felt the tension in his legs. That he should be on his own two feet. That he should be running. But none of it happened.

All he felt was a stinging in his neck, and then paralysis.

He stumbled. Up felt like down, his feet seemed to have grabbed hold of a ground that did not exist, trapping him in a half-sitting position before stumbling sideways. He laid on the ground, facing the open wound in the back of the head of the other victim of this night.

"You know, if it really happens you are going to regret not having listened. But that's what happens to impolite people"

What happens, he thought. He felt light-headed. Had he been given some kind of drug injection. His neck still felt strange, almost disconnected. As if part of it had died off.

With the last bits of strength that were still left in his body he looked to his shoulder to see two small wounds that bled profusely.

All he could do now was sit and watch, unable to truly comprehend what happened. All he could was face the dead man, and his captor kneeling next to it, speaking words in a language he could not comprehend.


Mèt Kalfu
Mwen ofri ou sa, menm jan ou te ofri m' sa.
Yon siy pou sipòte kontra nou.
Yon kò pou peye pou pouvwa.
Mèt Kalfu.
Ak alokasyon ou, mwen pran de sa sèlman sa mwen se vre wi: Besoin.
Grant m' mande m' pou fòme l' sa m vle.
Kite m' sèlman a "ti bon ange"


The strange, meaningless words acted as a lullaby, taking him to eternal rest. Parts of him, anyway.


Moonlight Bargain, B Rank Spell

A spell that allows usage of corpses for various purposes. A hit at children's birthday parties.

Snax
February 23rd, 2015, 08:44 PM
Trickster
Location: School District - Ichifuji Hotel
Phase: Night
Time: 21:18
Day: January 12th

“.....”

There was not a single ripple in the warm bathtub of hers, as Trickster kept her silence for a few moments. A vital question indeed, in order for trust and cooperation - which, as far as Trickster thought, were rather important in a war. Knowing someone could stab you from the back while you fought was never a reassuring fact, after all. Trickster knew this all too well.

“This is quite the difficult question to ask, Master - although, considering you entertained me earlier, I guess I shall return a straight - or not so straight - answer. “

Trickster stood up from her bath, letting the water out and taking up a towel. Stepping out of the bathroom naked, she slowly walked towards a bed, sitting down on it while slowly wiping off the water from her long, golden hair which seemed to sparkle in the limelight.

“What indeed is merriment without a stage for it to spread? I would not be as foolish as to ruin what is to be mine, unless there is no other way.”

That indeed was her answer, if not a full one. However, Trickster’s following words would chill the marrow of most mortal men. Smiling with radiant beauty, she lightly spoke of words that totally did not fit her divine visage.

“However, if you truly are a pitiable fool that would not sacrifice anything for the sake of your greatest goal, you are but a mere dreaming child, still wandering in a fantasy of hope and happiness. And dreams, especially happy ones, are those to be woken from, usually in the most...disagreeable way.”

Her sweet smile, one might say, was even crueler than that of an executioner’s axe. As she spoke, a coldness wafted around the room, chilling the atmosphere with the true killing intent of a servant - However, that was but a fleeting vision - soon, Trickster returned to her usual lofty demeanor.

“Did I frighten you, Master? Nothing to worry of - at least, currently, there is no reason for me to act in such a way. As long as I admit you to be my Master, I will at least try to comply to your...methods. As for one, I am not a fan of killing people myself - although unfortunate accidents do occur, in any rate.”

Laughing clearly, the golden servant materialized her clothing again, hiding her divine flesh within. Even though, the chill of her last sentence lingered in the room despite the warm steam waffting out of the bathroom…

“Or perhaps, are you willing to use a command seal so early to bend my will to yours? While I don’t particularly mind slave play, you know...ufufufu…”

Smiling seductively, she crossed her legs and put a finger to her beautiful lips, glancing sideways at her master.

Spinach
February 23rd, 2015, 09:44 PM
Location: Old Town – Base
Phase: Night
Time: 23:27
Day: January 12th

"Master was poor,"

The way Artificer began to whisper when speaking of his own master caused a change in Nozomi. The beaming from before lessened, feeling that she might have asked about something unpleasant, yet despite that the raven-haired man continued talking, speaking of his master in a way that sounded pitying.

With a deep exhale Artificer placed the sword back in the fire, turning to her with a grin. As if trying to dispel the scene he had painted. Or maybe to take his mind off of such things.

"Horrible man. Horrible smith. Forced me to fix pots and pans for a year until I got fed up and started doing his work for him in secret. Two years of that and I got kicked out for stealing all the business. From there, it was just me."

Even though the Servant had turned joking in the way he spoke of the past, Nozomi still felt a profound sadness in his words. If not sadness, a longing, or even an awareness of a critical flaw. A mistake he had made in his life.

From there, it was just me.

She looked at him with the same eyes she would welcome Kirame back from a battle to the death with. She wanted to help with that loneliness that he felt. Both Artificer and Kirame.

Nozomi saw in that moment why Kirame’s summons had brought this man, rather than the other one. In a way, they were the same. Both parted from the people around them and secluded theirselves. Kirame found his isolation in violence, Artificer found it in his craft.

Artificer had lived his whole life alone, with only the company of the swords he made. Kirame was on the same path, with only violence to keep him company.

Even though she was there for him every day, Nozomi knew that eventually she would have to part with him. If not for her own reasons, then Kirame would leave her on his own. That was just the way he was. The way he would always be. He would stay alone searching for something until his end.

She shook her head strongly, the hair tied behind her back swinging side to side. Refusing the idea that these two would be lonely. Even if it was only temporary, she would be there for them.

Starting with changing the mood.

The frantic head shaking stopped, the dampened smile turning into a mischievous grin. Nozomi leaned in under Artificer’s arms, still at work over the fire. Certainly foolish, certainly something one would never do to a man working the forge. But she could tell, nothing would make this man blunder in his work.

“Then, shishou,” She playfully pushed her elbow into him, directing her wily, sly eyes up to the Servant’s own charcoal-black gaze. With an impish smile she jabbed him once more, “Any pretty ladies worth talkin’ ‘bout in ‘ny stories a’ yers? Got yerself ‘ny sweethearts t’ brag ‘bout?”

Kuroyuki
February 23rd, 2015, 10:07 PM
Kiyoko Miyamoto
Location: Miyamoto Shrine Kitchen
Time: 21:34
Day: January 12th

When I told Invoker to be comfortable in whatever form that would make her happy, Invoker made a face that was neither amusement or teasing. She was actually scorning me. What did I do wrong that Invoker is scorning me?


"... so you have no happiness of your own, no desire that belongs to you? Ah, I understand now, I fully understand now why I was drawn to you... Hmph, I shall chastise you later about that~"

No happiness of my own? But I enjoy reading, cleaning, and helping others. And what is wrong with being happy if someone else is happy? I don't get why Invoker is going to chastise me later either, but if she is willing to drop it for now. It should be fine right?



"I assume that we should get started then if you wish to 'guarantee everyone's happiness', shouldn't we Master? Allow me to show you a few more tricks."



"[_____]"



Earlier, I asked Invoker what she does and she just showed me what Invokers do. They summon like the Onyoumiji except Invoker went further than just two decent summons. She summoned five great youkai.

"Amazing Invoker! You managed to summon five youkai! I'm not even sure a person in the Demon Hunter's Organization could summon one yet you summoned five strong ones!"

I was too distracted by these five youkai to really notice Invoker's malicious smile. So I jumped in surprise when Invoker asked me about the plan for tonight.

"Um I was going to visit Sour- I mean the supervisor of the War tomorrow. You can feel free to do what you want? I don't think the war starts till tomorrow if I recall correctly?"

Bloble
February 23rd, 2015, 10:53 PM
Artificer
Location: Old Town – Base
Phase: Night
Time: 23:34
Day: January 12th

A single elbow was all it took to almost eliminate the work they'd done so far. A single elbow and a few words, and Artificer almost dropped the sheet of metal into the flames. At the last moment he deftly caught it before it could be ruined.

If he'd had a heart, it would be racing.

"Where did that come from!?" he exclaimed. Was it just the heat of the fire, or were his cheeks reddening on their own? "Children these days, you know not the meaning of restraint-!"

Artificer hadn't been asked such a question for a long time. Only once before, in fact. His second ever apprentice, a curious child with a mouth that never seemed to stay closed. He'd been so nosy that Artificer had eventually near-snapped and threatened to have the boy carry hot coals in his mouth, one for every unneeded word. That worked well enough, until his apprentice had realized it for the hollow bluff it was.

But he couldn't very well do such a thing now. The new generation was a talkative one, he told himself. And he'd been perhaps a bit too encouraging.

He sighed. "Apprentice," he said, slowly and carefully, paying special attention to make sure his sword wasn't warped from the silliness. "Two of my previous pupils were young girls. I raised them as if they were my own daughters." Neither one had been this... well, different. How had Nozomi's grandfather managed? For a moment, Artifier felt a sense of kinship for a man he'd never met.

Instead of steering around the subject as most would do, he instead dived directly into it with a bluntness that was, bizarrely enough, sharp enough to cut steel. "If you speak of romance, there was no time for such business after the teenage years where all boys are identical and fool around constantly." Artificer said as he withdrew the steel once more. "No, um, need. It was easily ignorable as yet another physical distraction. If one loves another more than their craft, how can they devote their entire being to it?"

Besides, he'd had a certain implement that aided in that regard. Alas, it hadn't been summoned with him. Perhaps Artificer would recreate it next. It could even help with the War...

He placed the sheet on the table. It had been folded many times and now resembled a half-painted picture.

"Here," he said, a tiny smirk pushing its way out of his mouth. Artificer straightened his crooked spectacles and took a step back from the red-hot steel. "A lesson in eliminating distractions. I shall assume you know the basics. Go ahead and demonstrate. At this stage, imperfections are easy to correct, but I still expect absolute focus. Perhaps if you put your own feelings into this sword, it will suit Master Ryougi even more."

Leftovers
February 23rd, 2015, 11:45 PM
Astrid Hildebrandt
Location: School District - Ichifuji Hotel
Phase: Night
Time: 21:19
Day: January 12th

Her body felt like it had been encased in ice. Neurons transmitted their electrochemical signals at a frantic rate, but her brain had already gone into a primal lockdown state. For the second time in two hours Astrid was rooted to the spot, but this time it was not Trickster's immaculate beauty at work; while the haze in the clearing held her body in place like a myriad of intertwined velvet ribbons, the pressure that the Servant was now exerted was steeped in undisguised malevolence.

This time the moment went by in an instant, but the deep breath that Astrid gasped for was cold as ice, and her mouth was filled with the acrid taste of dread. Even out of its alarmed state, the instincts hard-coded in her brain were still on edge for what they had indisputably identified as a lethal threat.


The second lesson of the night had been harshly taught: if Astrid kept baiting Trickster into unleashing her full spiritual force, the outcome would be as lopsided as a dog barking at the Crimson Moon, and it answering the challenge.


Immaculate as that shining moon, the devilish beauty gazed at Astrid intently, as if she wanted to inscribe every second of her shivering and gasping in primeval fear to her memory, for her to savour at her discretion. Even in the darkness her naked body seemed to exude a luminous aura, and Astrid might have been once again caught in her mental assault had she not trained her focus on something other than Trickster's form.

Her eyes, glowing like sapphires in the dark. In those blue pools of impossible depths, she thought she could catch a glimpse of the woman's true nature.


“Did I frighten you, Master? Nothing to worry of - at least, currently, there is no reason for me to act in such a way. As long as I admit you to be my Master, I will at least try to comply to your...methods. As for one, I am not a fan of killing people myself - although unfortunate accidents do occur, in any rate.”

This woman, the Mocking Servant of the Mocking Grail---!

Astrid tried to answer, but the moment spent finding the right words to say, to refute this laughing woman, passed as quickly as the domineering Servant's fancy ordained. Right now, she would not yield the initiative.


“Or perhaps, are you willing to use a command seal so early to bend my will to yours? While I don’t particularly mind slave play, you know...ufufufu…”

And just like that, the Servant had sent her mind scrambling, shifting the flow and direction of the conversation whichever way she pleased. But there was one thing that had stuck to Astrid's mind, a starting point on which she could build her tower, and slowly bring herself level to the menacing Servant again.

......'not sacrifice anything', was it? Perhaps you've slipped up in your arrogance, Servant.

"An understandable sentiment, that," she started, coughing a few times to clear the croakiness out of her voice. "Indeed, why would one poison the well from which they drink, or cut down the trees that provide shade in the garden where they rest, if there is nothing to be gained by inflicting harm to that which serves their needs? For such a person, the value of a thing only extends as far as it can be of service to them, therefore that which is useful is permitted to live. No matter how you see it, these are fine words, truly spoken like a magus."

Astrid's hand unconsciously reached for a pack of cigarettes that wasn't there, grasping for air for a moment before being lowered dejectedly. Having a smoke always helped her get in the mood, but she could make do without her eloquence being dependent on it.

"Thank you for your honest answer, Trickster. Addressing one's partner's flaws is essential for a team to improve their efficiency and cooperation, so I am thankful you didn't hesitate to speak your mind so early in our partnership. However, I would ask of you to let me return the favour, and attempt to address what seems to be a misconception on your part."

Mirroring the Servant's pose, Astrid crosses her right leg over her left, her eyes narrowed in a rare outward display of her sarcasm.

"Your Master really is a pitiable fool, because she will never cross the line that divides that which is human, and that which is not. But I implore you to have more faith in her than to paint her as a deontologist, for those are truly people that give even fools a bad name. 'Lying is wrong, even if you're protecting someone', 'stealing is wrong, even if you're trying to feed your family', 'killing is wrong, even if this murderer would kill again given the chance'; fantasies of hope by dreaming children, as you said, unaware of what the world is beyond their illusions, ever so fragile. In that regard you will be glad to hear that no, your Master may be a pitiable fool, but at least she isn't a lunatic."

As if to signify her verbal shift of gears, Astrid uncrossed her legs and stood from the bed, once again towering over Trickster. Turning her back to the Servant, she walked to the room's sole window, pushing the blinds aside to look out into the dark horizon.

"An easy misunderstanding to make, but if one were to take a cue from the aretaic ethicists, one that might be worth exploring not in regards to the comparison between the two concepts, but the very reason why that conclusion was drawn in the first place."

Out of the window, the sky and the city had blended in a solid precipice of aphoticity.

"I will not bore you with self-indulgent wit, Trickster. In the way you answered, and the assumption you made, I believe I caught a glimpse of your true face. When I spoke of intrinsic value, you who views all as a means to an end thought me a fool. In a way, it was as if a lion, who has only known to seize all that he desires with the imperative of his absolute dominion, had been told to acknowledge the water that he drinks, and the animals it feasts upon. As the vampire asks the disgusted hunter, "do you remember how many loafs of bread you've eaten in your life?", the lion shows very much the same confusion, because it never saw these things as anything more as food."

The same old story repeated countless times. A vampire sneaks into a settlement and enthralls its population as undead minions, a magus settles into a village and the nightly disappearances keep increasing, a Servant is let loose in a city, and gas leak incidents are mysteriously on the rise; not once recognising their actions as something other than the natural order of the world.

"I don't think it'll take a Command Seal for us to be on the same page, or for my 'methods' to reconcile with yours. Resorting to brute force means that one's convictions by themselves are lacking, and we both seem to prefer operating with a certain...finesse. My question was simply a force of habit - calling it an occupational precaution would be quite an apt description. But you should know, Trickster; acknowledging the value of a human being is an essential requirement - a categorical imperative - for one to hold command over another being's life or death."

She said so and turned her head slightly from the window, peering at her Servant out of the corner of her eye.

"Though my hands are not used to taking life, they have been the instruments that signed many a death warrant. For all intents and purposes, I have provided the weapons for many killers to claim their targets' lives. If the need arises I will not hesitate; for only he who knows the true weight of a life can properly weigh it on his scales."

It was possible that they would never see eye-to-eye on this, and there was no way of knowing how much that balance could be strained. But amidst the smoke and mirrors that seemed to shroud Trickster's true self, there was one thing Astrid could say with certainty.

This woman was definitely no hero.


50%

"In any case, the night is still young, and we can still make much of it to seize the initiative early in this conflict," Astrid said, and a wave of tension washed from her body in a great outrush, leaving her weary for the umpteenth time in recent recollection.

"One of the rules of the War is for the Master to contact the supervisor once their Servant has been summoned. As it happens, the supervisor is quite a distance from us, and the possibility of enemy Servants lurking to ambush the unwary shouldn't need to be mentioned. On the other hand, conversing with the supervisor in one way or the other is likely to yield us essential information, if not on our opposition.

Two possibilities that readily come to mind is sending a familiar to let them confirm the summoning, taking the risk of assuming that they are a neutral party, or meeting them ourselves at a more opportune time, utilising guile to slip past the notice of any potential watchers.

What is your opinion on this, Trickster?"

Ayakashi
February 24th, 2015, 12:18 AM
Character(s)
Miyamoto Kiyoko, Invoker

Location
Miyamoto Shrine - Kitchen


Phase ----- Night
Time ------ 21:34

Day ------- January 12th



http://i.imgur.com/7B2cwvS.png









"Amazing Invoker! You managed to summon five youkai! I'm not even sure a person in the Demon Hunter's Organization could summon one yet you summoned five strong ones!"


"Demon Hunter's Organization? Oh, you did mention them earlier... I see, so you either belong to a parent organization or are under their care... my, I am expecting you to use your Command Seals someday in order to force me to kill myself, Master."


These words seem like pure jest more than an actual prediction. In fact, it is most likely that Invoker was being her usual outrageous self... yet maybe that deep inside, Kiyoko could detect the underlines of a sincere expectation - something that might frighten the young shrine maiden, for who in their right mind would say such things?





"Um I was going to visit Sour- I mean the supervisor of the War tomorrow. You can feel free to do what you want? I don't think the war starts till tomorrow if I recall correctly?"


"Visit the supervisor? Then I shall accompany you on that journey of yours. I am curious myself to see what they look like-- plus there is a certain figure I desire to meet, who doubtlessly, will be at the shrine."

The curiosity extends beyond meeting these people though -- Invoker also has noticed that there was a hint of familiarity in Kiyoko's voice when she spoke of the Supervisor. She wasn't talking about a stranger, rather, her way of speech was more akin to the one shown by those who speak of siblings, of their family. If this girl is related to those who were meant to uphold neutrality in the Grail War... then things will certainly shape to become even more interesting than initially thought possible, concerning Miyamoto Kiyoko.


"But such a naive perception of when a war begins... ahahaha~"

Of course, Invoker being herself could not resist letting a mocking laugh escape her lips as Kiyoko clearly expressed her perception of this 'War'. She without doubt believed that this was a sports-like match where rules and the such were to be respected at their finest detail; truly, an immaculate, unstained conscience, that young one had.

Invoker does not have all her time to spend in mockery and amusement though: for a Servant like her, it is imperative that she takes a few steps of 'precaution'. While she has no interest in participating in this war in an orthodox fashion, it does not mean that conflict or even, individuals being actual threats would not show up eventually, forcing both her and Kiyoko into a confrontation where there would be no escape, only a fight to the death... in fact, the Servant in Black pretty much expects this to happen eventually.

That is why...


"Having been given free reign for tonight by my graceful liege, I suppose that I shall go tend to some business of mine. Foolish is the one who builds their house on sand, or so goes a certain saying... wouldn't you agree, my fellow vassals?"

Invoker addresses the five summons under her command, all of them having remained fairly silent and in place, awaiting orders. They seem to be getting slightly impatient from having to wait and watch as Invoker is the sole one to have 'fun' with Kiyoko. They do not respond, but merely acquiesce with a nod of their head.


"Well then..."


Asuka Ayumi
Miyamoto Shrine - Basement
23:00 PM

(BGM On) (http://listenonrepeat.com/watch/?v=6LVWNj9071Q)

Standing on the railings of one of the bridges that linked the Old Town to the Residential District, that is the last thing she remembers doing. Her current location seems to be a totally different place, judging from the silent and stale atmosphere that surrounds her. The sound of car engines in the distance and flowing water are nowhere to be found - in fact, this place is dead silent.

Is this Heaven? Hell? Purgatory? Where has she ended up after committing suicide? How will God punish her for having thrown her life away?

It's not like she could bear it any longer. Her life was a wreck. She had lost her job, been deceived by her boyfriend, and her parents now hated her for having lied to them and having hidden such an outrageous relationship from them. It had lasted five year, her deception of everyone around her, the maddening run after the illusive 'dream' that she believed she could reach should she work hard enough.

But she had no one to support her. It never had been the case in the past, nor is it the case now, for all doors are now closed. Was she a fool to not having aborted that child when she could have? To trusting a man whose only real expression of love was having sex with her, and nothing more, merely exploiting the carnal attractiveness that she possessed?

Yes, she was blind. She still is now, for she sees nothing. She cannot see wherever she is stepping in Hell, or in Heaven.


[Tap, tap.]


Footsteps. She hears them. Someone is approaching in this darkness, approaching slowly, every single one of the steps they take resonating as a piercing echo throughout this room.



[Chop.]


A brisk sensation of emptiness suddenly takes hold of the right part of her body, before an excruciating pain shoots through it. A scream ripping apart the silence of the darkness escapes the girls mouth as her arm falls off. Her blindfolded visage is contorted in agony as her nerves immediately recognize that part of her body has gone missing.

But strangely, nothing else happens. The girl is given a moment of respite, or well, good time to cry her lungs out as she convulses from the pain of the wound she' just received. The time that passes feels like an eternity, but is it a few seconds, a few minutes, or even an hour? Impossible, with so much blood loss, she would die in an instant. Yet... her notion of time might be distorted, but for some reason, her consciousness is still in a prime working condition -- shouldn't she at least feel dizzy, or worse, have fainted from the pain?



"T-this has to be hell..."




"Ara, Ara~ Finally speaking to yourself I see? I am afraid to inform you that this isn't hell, but merely my correctional facility. My duty here is to teach you to value your life a bit more, and reconsider what are the limits a human can endure when it comes to suffering..."

The feeling of cold steel applied to her other arm.

[ Saw, Saw, Saw.]

A massive pain that this time, is not instant, does not have a single stimulus. Her flesh is being violated as a serrated blade slowly works her way through the skin, then the fat, then the muscles, and eventually the bone. If the previous pain she felt was excruciating, then there is no possible description held by humankind that can encompass the burning, scorching, screaming sensations that are ripping her left arm apart by this point.

She screams.

Screams.

S c r e a m s.

But nothing can be heard. She can only hear herself.

This is nowhere the end, only the beginning of her punishment.

A lesson so that one values life.

"You will live my dear. Fear not."

"AaaaAAAaaAAaaaaaaaAAaaAAhhhHHhhhH!!!!"



Asuka Ayumi
Some Park in the Old Town
Very Early in the Morning of the 13th

A black bag is put by the side of a bench. The person that deposits appears to be a local worker on their way for a quick moment of respite on the nearby restroom, yet they do not return to pick the bag. People ignore the black item at first, but as time passes, and as the crowd grows larger and larger, curiosity cannot be withheld as the bag remains there, untouched and sculpted in the strange shape of its content.

But it is not garbage that lies inside that bag, as the contents eventually complain with a weak, desperate whimper.

She has no more legs. No more arms.

She is nothing more than a torso and a head.

The worst of all, her life has been spared... and yet she can recall nothing. Only the pain in the darkness. The agony. The fear.

Perhaps that she now truly fears the concept of death.






---DAY 1 END---

Invoker was preparing a Ritual of Some kind. More info disclosed soon.

Snax
February 24th, 2015, 12:33 AM
Astrid Hildebrandt
Location: School District - Ichifuji Hotel
Phase: Night
Time: 21:19
Day: January 12th

Trickster's mouth curled into a lopsided smile as her master noted her convictions. Good, at least this woman was not one of those bleeding hearts who didn't give into stooping down when it was required. Perfect, indeed, for herself - it wouldn't be fun otherwise. For a while she had been slightly worried if her Master would be a boring individual with straight-laced morals, and thus she had tested her with tongue and wit - but apparently that was not the case. Good, good - all was good for the time being. Inwardly, Trickster's grin just grew wider - even if her face betrayed no form of emotional change.

"My, my - at least it seems you won't be chaining me to a collar and make me beg for mercy, how disappointing. Ufufu.."

Reminiscing what a certain man had told her before, Trickster laughed and stood up from her bed, approaching the window as to look outwards towards the scenery.

"Contacting of the supervisor, is it. I assume we wouldn't be the first or the last to arrive there, Master. No, I think using a familiar would be the choice of action, for one cannot exercise enough caution at any point of time."

Nodding to her own words, Trickster spread her arms and twirled in a circle.

"Also, I'd rather not step out again without any precautions, considering my abilities may not be...on par with your usual brutish servants, if I may say. Fufu.. A woman needs more than just a little time to prepare, wouldn't you say, Master?"

Sweetly batting her eyelids, Trickster spun all the way back to her bed, plopping down on its plush covers.

"Information is key to this battle, and we lack the necessary requirements for reconnaissance, which being said, is to not have our identities known to the masses. Disguises are viable, yet I'd rather not provide a single clue to the enemy if possible, at any rate - "

Twirling a curl of her hair, Trickster pauses for a second, and then continues -

"Therefore, I recommend for you to send the familiar."

Concluding her sentence, Trickster turned her eyes back to her tall master, sizing her up.

"However, let me ask you one question of my own, Master."

The mischievous grin had returned to her face.

"What is your wish upon the Grail?"

Leftovers
February 24th, 2015, 02:33 AM
Astrid Hildebrandt
Location: School District - Ichifuji Hotel
Phase: Night
Time: 21:25
Day: January 12th

Caution was the name of the game; in other words, their first night as Master and Servant would be spent in wise consolidation of their forces, weaving contingent strategies and intricate fail-safes in the warmth and safety of their isolated room. Verily, this was a heart-pounding tale in the making!

Not that Astrid felt like arguing the point, looking utterly haggard and feeling even worse, if such a thing was possible. She may have flown to the other side of the globe to escape an indolent routine, but she could acquiesce to a single night of repose if her Servant wished so, despite the knowledge of the countless mysteries lying outside her door enticing her to no end. In a partnership, it was important to know when to make concessions.

Why yes, her pounding head and bone-deep weariness had absolutely no influence on said decision.

Willing herself shoulders to muster the last iotas of her willpower, Astrid moved to gather the raw materials for a simple, one-use familiar - a simple enough task even in her currently ragged state. While she rummaged through her bag, she could see Trickster plop on the bed in her peripheral vision, her steady stream of words almost tuned out by Astrid's tired mind.

But when she had finally gathered the materials needed in her hands and was moving towards the dresser, the only available working surface in the room if one didn't want to sit on the floor, Trickster's dulcet voice delivered the night's final question, a parting shot at the moment when she was most vulnerable.


"However, let me ask you one question of my own, Master. What is your wish upon the Grail?"

Pausing as she stood, back turned to the grinning Servant, Astrid took a few seconds before answering.

"Do you know that feeling when you reach the end of a mystery, and looking back you can see all the trials you've overcome and the enigmas you've unraveled, all to come as far as that one moment? And in that moment, when you pierce beyond the veil of deceit and misdirection to uncover the singular truth, the feeling of knowing that you have truly, utterly conquered it?"

Shrugging her shoulders, Astrid spoke unguardedly to her Servant for the very first time.

"My invitation to this War came with a warning of sorts. That the ritual is a mystery beyond anyone's true comprehension, and that this island hides as many secrets as unmarked graves, so unassailable as to drag any prospective investigator to an early and unfortunate demise. And while others may find that to be a deterrent, I chose to interpret it as a challenge.

I won't lie to you, Trickster: I do not yet have a wish I would have granted, but that does not diminish my determination. A challenge has been issued, and accepted in turn. Thus, I long for that feeling of triumph when the Mocking Grail's falsities are torn apart, and its true nature is revealed to the world by my hand."

Nothing more, nothing less. A great detective accepts the case stoically, but does not stop his work until he has shined light down to its utmost depths.

"After all, among the world's purported miracles that could bestow upon man a blessing beyond his reach, is an omnipotent wish-granter not the most trite?"


50%

Location: School District - Ichifuji Hotel
Phase: Night
Time: 22:11
Day: January 12th

Crafting a familiar was not the most complex or costly procedure, but those descriptors that applied to people in full possession of their physical and mental faculties; something that couldn't be said about the gaunt woman that was sliding the window shut, an enormous yawn telling of how worn out she was.

In that state, Astrid had somehow managed to botch one of the most basic applications of magecraft, twice. But what was one more indignity to add to this night's vexations; in the end, the small familiar took to the wing with rhythmic flaps, weathering the cold night to deliver its message to the old shrine, and its creator stumbled away from the window with unsteady feet, her mind already in the process of shutting down.

As she made to lie down and fall in a dreamless slumber, she noticed something that gave her pause.

Ichifuji Hotel may have had its fair share of renovations, but the services offered had hardly changed at all from the day it was built as an affordable abode for temporary, solitary visitors, who were looking for nothing more than a roof under their heads and a place to rest their weary bones.

In other words, there was only a single bed in the room, and it was currently occupied by the contently sprawled Trickster, whose mischievous grin seemed just a bit too wide for a sleeping expression.

...not that bad as far as leaps of faith go, but let it stand that I have no choice regardless.

Snax
February 24th, 2015, 02:42 AM
Trickster
Location: School District - Ichifuji Hotel
Phase: Night
Time: 22:15
Day: January 12th

Hearing her master's words, Trickster couldn't help but nod and laugh.

"Indeed, for it is the process that makes the conclusion even more interesting!! Who needs an omnipotent wish-granter when it is a cheat, a fraud that takes away all the fun? You are indeed my Master, oh, you make me even more interested in you by the minute."

Rolling on top of the bed while laughing, she then leaves her master to the job of dealing with her familiar.

------

And then she was done. After the familiar left the room in order to meet the 'supervisor' or whomever was to partake judge, her Master was approaching the single bed in the room.

Of course, there was no other option, was there?

Trickster pushed back the blankets and rolled over to a side, inviting her gaunt master to the side by patting the sheets.

"Now, while I cannot guarantee I might play a prank on you while you are asleep, might want to get in and rest for a bit, no? Ufufu..."

However, when her master proved a little unresponsive due to the fatigue she was feeling, Trickster thought it had come to actual pushes.

"Well then..."

Stepping out of bed and circling around her lanky master, she grabbed her and pushed her right on top of the bed - who fell on top of the bed with a nice sound. Following suit, Trickster climbed up on her back with a mischievous grin all over her face. As she he started undressing her master's topside, she might have drooled for a split second. After all, resistance was futile...

"Let's see how long you last..before you fall asleep, that is...mhmfm..."

Whispering into her ear and nibbling on the earlobe for a split second, Trickster then proceeded to give her Master the pleasure of heaven, one that any tired-out person would die to have.

A back massage. What else could it be, unless someone was imagining perverted things?

Although, if there were any eavesdroppers, perhaps the moans that came from the pleasure of a backrub may have been misinterpreted as some kind of tantric ritual.

Satehi
February 24th, 2015, 03:19 AM
Servant Saver
Location: Residential District - Fujimura Estate
Phase: Night
Time: 22:52
Day: January 12th

Saver could only resist the urge to laugh at his nonchalant dismissal of the arcane arts. It was in truth, not really a matter worth laughing about at all- rather, it was quite upsetting, to know that either on purpose or by some accident, her Master had been dragged into a magical death match he had no reason to be a part of- but the way he had put it fit her slowly building image of his character perfectly. His ineptitude was simply another challenge she would have to overcome.

An ordinary Samaritan had no need for knowledge of magic anyways- human knowledge and scientific progress had come an impressively long way from her time. Rather, the amorality with which typical magi pursued their goals and removed deviant practitioners indicated one would have been likely better off without knowing at all- truly regrettable, she thought, that such focus had not been applied to better things.

Giving a small nod at Homura’s assessment of his personal health, she narrowed her eyes at his apparent memory gap. She followed his suggestion to move over to his room in silence, mulling over what to say.

As they arrived, she noted the soothing, simple atmosphere of the room. It lacked the extravagance she might’ve expected given the size of the villa, and rather possessed a simple, normal comfortable appearance- a place where it was easy to relax. It was no palace, but it would do, she thought, leaning on a desk and folding her arms.

“Let’s see… for someone as clueless as you, it’d have to be the very basics. I don’t mind repeating myself, but it’d make this Servant really happy if you listened well the first time, alright?” Beginning with a jovial tone, any trace of it promptly disappeared as Saver took on a more serious tone and posture.

“”Magic- it exists, and I don’t refer to mere card tricks. Mysteries, like throwing fireballs, summoning ghosts, or magical beasts that possess abilities beyond any normal living thing, that sort of thing. I’m an example of that. It’s probably a bit hard to swallow, given the life you’ve lived up until now, but it’s definitely true. Hmm…” Thinking for a moment, Saver unfolded her arms and made a motion, as if grasping some invisible object in the air.

And then, the air distorted, warped- leaving a clearly visible thin iron lance in its wake. Almost indistinguishable from a metal rod save for the finely honed point at the tip, the instrument glimmered with a cruel light, save for the blackened reside towards the end.

With a tinge of amusement on her face, she lightly swung and stopped the lance on a few inches from her Master’s face, letting him confirm with his own eyes that it was no mere parlor trick.

“That should be a fairly easy to understand demonstration, yes?” Dispelling the strange rod now that its purpose as fulfilled, she resumed her explanation.

“And now, on the Holy Grail War. It’s a magic ritual, where individuals are chosen- those are the Masters- and are given the right to summon legendary figures from the past as Servants. They- well, we- possess abilities surpassing humans, and are summoned for a chance to fight alongside their respective Masters for the possession of the Holy Grail- a night omnipotent device that can grant the wish of the winner. Basically, it’s an all-out death match, with a couple rules.

But you shouldn’t be a part of it. Without any knowledge of magic or even of the ritual, I can’t see how you could’ve become a Master. It may have just been an accident, although your memory gap is suspicious. I don’t know how it works, but there is definitely something irregular at work… It pains me to admit it, but we should probably see the supervisor of this war tomorrow and ask.”

Almost as if it were an afterthought, Saver added one more thing.

“And one more thing- since you have successfully summoned me, there should be some red sigils somewhere on your body. Those are called Command Seals…” Pausing in thought, she continued in a dismissive tone. “They’re not really all that important.

That should be about it for a brief introduction. You can probably bug the supervisor for more details, but you don’t really have to worry much about them.

Any questions?"

Dranes
February 24th, 2015, 04:05 AM
Kirisaki Homura
Location: Residential District - Homura's Room
Phase: Night
Time: 22: 48
Day: January 12th

Finally, I have returned to where all this started, well I guess technically I never left but that's besides the point. Shame though, I thought my room would have taken a turn for the more 'amazing' in my own dream, but no, it's still as always. Well, maybe my imagination has reached its limit with all the crazy stuff that's happened already. Right then, well at least 'Saver' doesn't seem to have any problems with my room and she isn't looking around for my stash either so dream me is safe.

“Let’s see… for someone as clueless as you, it’d have to be the very basics. I don’t mind repeating myself, but it’d make this Servant really happy if you listened well the first time, alright?”

Hey, hey, clueless is a bit harsh now. I mean none of this makes sense but that makes perfect sense for a dream so I'm not that bad.

Also what's up with the whole Servant thing anyway, I don't really have a fetish for that you know! Hell, you're not even a maid but a goth loli so this is really out of place. Oh this is going to be a bit longer then I expected isn't it? Well at least I have my couch, the bed can wait for now.

“Magic- it exists, and I don’t refer to mere card tricks. Mysteries, like throwing fireballs, summoning ghosts, or magical beasts that possess abilities beyond any normal living thing, that sort of thing. I’m an example of that. It’s probably a bit hard to swallow, given the life you’ve lived up until now, but it’s definitely true. Hmm…"

As if to illustrate her point she summons a...spear? At least I think it's a spear, it doesn't seem like anything e-

With a swish sound, the thing is pointed inches away from my face.

Imaginary or not, I don't feel like getting hurt any more in my own dream!

“That should be a fairly easy to understand demonstration, yes?”

You don't need to be so smug about it! Okay, okay, quick, think.

"Ok. Gotcha. You can put that thing away now."

I say it as calmly as possible, to no avail really and I'm sure my expression betrays what I'm thinking right now.

However, satisfied, she puts the simple spear away as for me, I lounge back after that and breathe a sigh of relief. Y'know, this couch is beginning to feel really comfy right about now. She talks more about some...grail war? Like the Christian Holy Grail I guess, not that it made much more sense than anything else tonight but by now I'm used to the madness. There was the whole 'Master' thing again, really Master? Servant? There was also something about red seals, probably the red things I saw earlier on my wrist...well if they're not that important than no point in asking about them right? I think that was it though, at least it sounds like there was nothing more to say...questions though? Is sleep maybe a question to ask?

Ah...I can't take this anymore, this whole talk has really gotten me sleepy.

Well, I guess she can take the bed, I'm just going to wake up in it anyways.

"Nah, just," I let out a yawn, my eyes are already half-closing, "You can take the bed, it's getting late anyways..."

I say those final words to her before my eyes finally shut.

Hm, is she saying something else or is it just my imagination. Well, I'm too far gone now...it was nice meeting you Saver but dunno if I'll be seeing you again.

Leftovers
February 24th, 2015, 04:21 AM
Astrid Hildebrandt
Location: School District - Ichifuji Hotel
Phase: Night
Time: 22:15
Day: January 12th

Tired in body and mind, teetering on the brink of collapse, she couldn't put up any resistance. Or perhaps he had already resigned to the idea that for tonight, the victor would inevitably claim her spoils.

She couldn't say she minded being pushed around. The bed was so soft and comfortable, and she could already feel herself loosening into its embrace, as if her suit was being slowly shrugged off, exposing her skin to the cool air. And would you look at that, the bed unexpectedly had a built-in massage function!

This was really a top-of-the-line hotel. She'd have to make a note to recommend this fine institution to all her acquaintances, and tip the girl at the reception extra, for the poor child to go attend a proper English course! It was only fair, considering their wonderful features and services.

Caught between the delirium at the threshold of consciousness and the mantra of half-sarcastic, half-nonsensical denial, the unlikely face that came to her mind through the haze of exhaustion and pleasure seemed entirely unsurprising, as if its dour expression and harsh drawl were just another normal part of the procedure.

"What you should keep in mind is that Heroic Spirits are essentially bullies. They are so beyond the conventional that however prepared you think you are to deal with them, they will still pull you screaming and kicking along for the ride, intentionally or unintentionally. Get used to being manhandled, and you might even get something out of it."

Somehow, she didn't think El-Melloi had this sort of thing in mind at all.


75%

Location: Yamaichi Shrine
Phase: Night
Time: (??:??)
Day: January 12th-13th (?)

It was a still, beautiful night. The winds that picked up at intervals, rushing in from the sea to bring with them the chill of the ocean and the smell of brine, had temporarily subsided, but not before clearing the sky of the multitudinous cumuli that had covered the night sky up to this hour. With nothing to obstruct its appearance, the full moon reigned upon the heavens like a great luminous eye, watching over the city of Tengetsu - and the magi that had made it their dwelling.

No battle was promised tonight; the overhanging orb was content to merely watch the Masters of this War scamper about in their preparations, like so many pawns moving to and fro on the checkered board in preparation of the oncoming conflict. It could afford to wait, for that moment would come as surely as the Great Blizzard, and with much the same ferocity.

It saw all there was to see, and thus it could not fail to see that too.

A misshapen, fledgling familiar, crafted from the most basic materials with the intent of lasting for only a single flight. Flapping its tiny wings with as much power as its size could afford, it soared from the lightless city like a ghostly hummingbird, each movement and gust of wind threatening to tear the fragile construct apart.

Yet, it did not break, nor did it falter, and the passing of time brought it ever closer to its preordained destination. When it caught the rare passing light, a symbol could be seen on the familiar's back, like a manufacturer's seal. With its help, the frail familiar would not fall apart until it had reached its destination, the end of its journey.

An indeterminable amount of time had passed until it finally reached the shrine, seemingly devoid of presence. Nearing the end of its functional lifespan, the familiar circled the courtyard of the shrine for a few time, before finding a tall perch to roost.

A moment later, the perch ever so slightly moved.

The supervisor of Heaven's Moon regarded the disintegrating familiar on her shoulder with a cool eye. Soon, there was only a paper left to be carried by the mountain breeze, which she caught between two fingers before it floated away. In a hard-pressed handwriting, it read:



SERVANT TRICKSTER HAS ENTERED THE HOLY GRAIL WAR

Verg Avesta
February 24th, 2015, 06:14 AM
Location: Yamaichi Shrine
Phase: Night
Time: 1:39
Day: January 13th

"Ryougi-------- Kirame."

Her voice momentarily catches itself, and the eyes of the tall priestess as she repeats the name said aloud. Slowly, like ice creeping up towards the sea, a smile rises to her lips. It was in no way a smile that could have eased the situation. To the contrary, the weight of her words, her presence, turned into a downright chill that was aimed at the Master in front of her. For a moment, the darkness that surrounded the chamber seemed to groan under the weight of something. The revealed teeth of the supervisor reflected the flames, and---

"Ha... hahahaha..." the laughter that emanated from deep within Sourokurou was not a pleasant thing to hear. "As divined, so it has happened... It seems that at this point, there is no reason to doubt the rest of the results."

"What are you saying, Master?" Ruler asked, grinning chillingly. "Your skills are top-notch. I acknowledged them. Thus, you should show some pride in them."

"Indeed," Sourokurou hummed ever so slightly, and turned her attention back to Kirame. "Now, Ryougi Kirame... are there any questions you wish to ask of me? If not, Ruler will guide you out through the route behind the shrine. Do note that the only time you should return here after that would be when seeking shelter after defeat. Thus..."

The dark eyes shone with the flames.

"... If you have questions, you should ask them now."

Antary
February 24th, 2015, 08:26 AM
Anna Bernhart
Location - Harbor - Family House
Phase - Night
Time - 22:26
Day - January 12

"Ah, that's not really what I'm trying to do, Maker..." Anna stepped back. She tried to think of a way to explain herself, but couldn't seem to solidify her jumbled up thoughts into coherent sentences. She went over this with herself before, at least in her head. The girl sighed, though it was interrupted by the shrieking of the kettle. Anna smiled again.

"No, no, I'm not tired at all, Maker!" She continued to step back, then almost accidentally plopped down on the chair she previously occupied. Sitting down felt strangely good. "Well, maybe just a bit..."

She nodded at her Servant's tea-related question, and let herself lean back on the wooden chair to relax. "If you don't mind."

Maker's overwhelming presence, the girl's anxiety over her Servant, the toll of the ritual on her body and circuits, and the punishingly fair arguments against her wish all formed up into a highly unpleasant, tiring headache. At the very least, Maker wasn't eager to continue arguing. Maybe she could tell that Anna was in no shape to do so.

"I wish we had some sweets to go with the tea..."

hero
February 24th, 2015, 09:00 AM
Azama Tae
Location: Upasmike Forest - Tae's Cabin
Phase: Night
Time: 21:55
Day: January 12th


"I see."

Saber and I have been talking for a good twenty minutes now. It has been a very professional talk all around, neither of us sharing more than what's absolutely necessary. We're co-workers rather than friends, so knowledge on intimate matters is unneeded. Her past, her identity, her wish, those things do not matter to me at the moment. What she is capable of is what's most important. So after hearing a description of her skills, I do not ask any further questions or remarks. If she's truly the most powerful Servant in this war, she will show it to me when the time comes.

"Let me make something clear... I have no intention of fighting alongside you, Saber. I will remain in the shadows and provide offensive support only If I ever deem it necessary. In other words, it's likely that you will have to deal with both Master and Servant on your own. I trust a hero of your caliber won't have a problem with a slightly heavier load."

The biggest advantage I have is the fact that other Masters do not know who I am or how I look like. I won't waste it by jumping headfirst into a fight or keeping Saber glued to me at all times. It might be a cowardly approach to the eyes of some, but no one ever promised honor in this war. Saber questioned my resolve earlier because I lack a wish to ask the Mocking Grail, but my ultimate goal is still survival. For that, I need to dispose of eight other Masters. Seeking shelter after defeat is not an option for me... Then, it goes without saying that I am in this to win. If that is the case, it should come as no surprise that I am saying this. Should it come down to it, I'll eliminate the other teams in the most cowardly way possible.

"However, do not misunderstand. I am not calling quits... I am fighting through this my own way. I'll do my part, and you will do yours."

I politely excuse myself, announcing the end of the conversation as I leave the table. It's still early, but I should catch some sleep nonetheless. There is a lot of things to be done tomorrow and the ritual has left me exhausted. So, without further ado, I change into pajamas.

"You Servants don't require sleep, do you? Convenient. You can keep watch tonight, Saber. There is food over there if you feel an urgent need to replenish lost energy."

Without waiting for an answer, I get into the bed and cover myself with blankets. Now glaring at my Servant, I deliver one final warning.

"Don't try anything stupid while I am asleep."

Spinach
February 24th, 2015, 01:33 PM
Ryougi Kirame
Location: Yamaichi Shrine
Phase: Night
Time: 1:41
Day: January 13th

"... If you have questions, you should ask them now."

“I have…” His voice caught in his throat again. Coughing, Kirame averted his eyes from the priestess. She was the absolute worst kind of woman in a different way from the others that knew to lock onto his weakness. “... No further business here.”

The red on his face was draining away. Turning his eyes away from her helped with his composure, even if only a little. He was a long way away from recovering after Sourokurou’s sneak attack on his character, but he would survive.

Any question he felt like asking, the letters, where to go once the War was concluded, why a Servant was with the supervisor, lost its importance over the desire to be rid of this woman as soon as possible. He wouldn’t need to hear any more words from her to know that she was dangerous to him.

“We won’t be seeing each other…” One last attempt at salvaging his pride, Kirame looked up to meet the priestess’ dark eyes, and he crumbled again. He turned his face to the Servant instead, Ruler, someone he could talk at normally. Staring into a storm was preferable to this enemy.

“Seeing each other again.” Eyes locked onto Ruler, he spoke to Sourokurou. “I won’t be defeated.”

Yes, a wolf is always easier to deal with than a monster. Being caught in a storm is always preferable to sinking into an abyss, like the one he saw in those eyes lit up by flame.

“I'm done here.” The words were meant for Ruler this time. “Show me the way, Servant.”

Elyrin
February 24th, 2015, 03:29 PM
Servant Saber
Location: Upasmike Forest - Tae's Cabin
Phase: Night
Time: 21:56
Day: January 12th


Let me make something clear... I have no intention of fighting alongside you, Saber. I will remain in the shadows and provide offensive support only If I ever deem it necessary. In other words, it's likely that you will have to deal with both Master and Servant on your own. I trust a hero of your caliber won't have a problem with a slightly heavier load.

"Oh, there's no need to worry about that. I expected as much after you explained your situation." A dismissive wave of my hand was all the consideration I had for her statement. After all, what kind of Master could hope to oppose a Servant? "Even a great demon beyond human comprehension would struggle to be more than a passing nuisance to me."

It was just a simple statement of fact. No master could hope to challenge a Hero alone, and only a dedicated support-type Servant could bring a mere human even to the level of a hopeless battle.

You Servants don't require sleep, do you? Convenient. You can keep watch tonight, Saber. There is food over there if you feel an urgent need to replenish lost energy.

Oh, too bad. I was hoping to get a night of peace before the War began in earnest, but really, that was a naïve wish at best. Even so early there was always a chance that another Servant was on the prowl. Nodding in agreement, I rose from my seat and moved to go outside. I was sure to give Tae her modesty as she prepared to sleep, but her last order turned my head towards an interesting sight.

Don't try anything stupid while I am asleep.

"...Ahah, Master, there's no point in giving orders while dressed like that. It's impossible to take you seriously when you seem to be no more than a little girl in her pajamas!" Giggling, I quickly turned around and left the cabin, shifting through the door in spirit form before Tae could offer a rebuttal. Oh, that ability was going to be useful. No more need for mundane methods of stealth or gaining entry, and more focus on the more important parts of information gathering.

Oh, but planning could wait a little while longer. In the meantime I had sword strokes to practice. The vessel I had been called in was mighty, but still sorely diminished from my best. It was going to take some getting used to.



--------------------------


DAY 1 END

Spinach
February 24th, 2015, 06:09 PM
Location: Old Town – Base
Phase: Night
Time: 23:35
Day: January 12th

The reaction she had squeezed out of Artificer was better than she had hopes for. Not as colorful as Kirame’s would have been, but fun in its own right. The lingering, downtrodden mood in the old smithy had been swept away by a breeze of fresh air.

Nozomi couldn’t help a smirk. Artificer and Kirame were even more alike than she had expected.

Artificer even thought to strike back by passing work her way, as a ‘test,’ or in his words a ‘lesson.’ But to her it was more of a challenge. Issued directly to both her own talent and her grandfather’s teachings.

“Underestimatin’ me aren’ja?” She asked, taking one of the lighter hammers laying on the old wooden rack. The first part of this test would be to begin it immediately, and she didn’t miss even a heartbeat. The metal would need to be worked before it cooled again. She also needed to examine the red-hot sheet to find what needed work.

It didn’t take her more than an instant to do so.

Nozomi brought the hammer down, the first strike of many. Tonight would be her first under her new master, a legend reborn. She wouldn’t disappoint him.

Once again by her own hands the aged smithy in the heart of the Old Town was filled with the music of hammer meeting steel, a song that played into the latest hours of the night. Now however, it was a duet.

And in the hours to come that duet would welcome Ryougi Kirame back from his long trip to the Yamaichi Shrine.



DAY 1 END

MssrNeko
February 24th, 2015, 06:20 PM
Servant Assassin
Location: Old Town - Delacroix's Place - Rooftop
Phase: Night
Time: 03:30
Day: January 13th

A long figure stands on the rooftop of a dilapidated butchery, his lean figure blending in with the dark night. The Servant Assassin gazes over the sleeping district, snow falling softly and gathering on the ground. As per request from his Master, he was keeping a sharp eye on the area and to alert if anything suspicious or unusual was occurring nearby. The slender ebony masked man chuckles sourly.

Master.

The word slithered from his mouth contemptuously like a poisonous serpent. He hated the word and connotations associated with it, the feeling of being shackled to another. If he had his way he would not hesitate to rip the head off his "Master" and claim his seals for his own. The freedom he would be granted... But alas, the seals prevented such actions so long as they remained. He would have to tolerate his Master's presence so long as he or Assassin still lived. Every tool had its purpose and he would use his Master to obtain the Grail of this war.

Assassin scoops a handful of snow, his spidery fingers clasping the cold precipitation. A low chuckle escapes his mask as he gazes at the lit skyline of the distant Business District.

"Nothing has changed," Assassin states as he throws the snow in his hand into the wind.





Arid winds and blistering heat of a sunlit mountain fortress filled with mindless soldiers in the desert.

Frigid blizzards and freezing snow of a moonlit butcher's shop filled with mindless ghouls in the tundra.

A brilliant city built with stone and mortar.

A glorious city built with steel and electricity.

http://i.imgur.com/omMrsKq.png?1

A shift of Assassin's jaw as if he were smiling.

"Nothing has changed at all."




--Day One End

Kuroyuki
February 24th, 2015, 11:00 PM
Kiyoko Miyamoto
Location: Miyamoto Shrine - Kiyoko's Room
Time: 22:00
Day: January 12th

As I laid on my bed, I thought about Invoker. Why did she want to hide her true name? I thought Heroic Spirits would be proud to tell their master their name. Yet Invoker deflected the question and changed into those two forms. But if she didn’t want me to find out her real name then why did she mention that the catalyst being linked to her? Perhaps she wants me to find the answer without directly telling me? But why won’t she tell me?

I started to look at Invoker’s catalyst. I couldn’t make head or tails of it save for the fact that it was one page of a religious text. I set it aside and started to thumb through my Yuri magazine. And I discovered why Invoker’s two forms earlier seemed to look familiar. Invoker copied the looks of Kosame-chan (Innocent Miko) and Eris-san (Haughty Westerner) from two of my favorite mangas.

Truthfully, when I told Invoker to choose the form that made her happy. I was hoping that she would choose one of those forms on her own initiative. I felt a small regret at not asking Invoker to be one of them especially since she got annoyed (?) at me. I think Invoker and I could get along better if she chose one of those forms because...

With Kosame-chan, I could take her on a tour of Old Town and introduce her to everyone at Yamaichi Shrine. All the while slightly leading her by the hand as we both try to keep blushes off of our face. Then at night, I can feed her my home cooked meals with a “Here Ah~” routine. Then in bed, we can cuddle with each other until we fall asleep.

With Eris-san, I can imagine her dragging me to the Business District and going to all of the normal stores. She’ll show me that side of Tengetsu and teach me about what normal people do. She’ll say that she isn’t teaching me because she want to or anything. “It’s because she doesn’t want me to make her look bad.” Then later, she’ll take me to an upper class restaurant and pay for the entire thing despite my complaints of wanting to split the bill.

Ah mou! Why didn’t I ask Invoker to use one of those forms? We would get along much bett-


"Or could it be that you are the kind of person that would rather write your own contents on everyone's slate, stealing them of their own choice, of their own destiny? Ufufufu, how cruel."


That’s when I remember one of the things Invoker said. Did I narrowly avoid a pitfall? But if that’s the case, then why was Invoker annoyed at me? Shouldn’t she be glad that I wanted her to be herself around me? Should I ask her to switch to one of them to appease her?

After calming myself down a little bit, I decided that I was going to ask Invoker tomorrow. I hope Invoker’s business is helping someone out right now.



DAY ONE END

Mormarth
February 24th, 2015, 11:33 PM
Francis York(?) Morgan
Location - Outskirts - Winding Path
Phase - Night
Time - 20:40

I stirred awake from the listless half-sleep I reside in when not awake, it is the feeling of knowing the world around you, acknowledging its being, but being completely unable to interact with it, locked in place.

If such an existence was yours, and one day, as you lay there, in misery, a voice came down from above and asked if you were alright, would you answer? Could you answer?

All I could do was think, but in the end, it seems that was enough.

What mattered was the moment.

I swept my eyes across the stairs, dusted with frost in the night's wintry air, the frigid pressure of the air settling in around my ears and embracing me with all the love and affection of a garrote.

I rubbed at my temples, I was already beginning to acquire a dull ache, as was the usual when awakening to find yourself in a body and identity that, no matter how hard you tried to fake yourself into believing, was not yours. It was his, and it would be rude to take it.

Figures, lazy jerk, finally pops up after I do all the work and let's me climb up all the stairs. After all I've done for him.

I grumbled under my breath, puffing my breath out in a short sigh of irritation, the exhalation visible in the night's air as a pale, wispy smoke.

I need to stop this internal monologue crap, got things to do.

"Right then, now that's over with, let's go see who's going to be our babysitter for this kill-fest."

I moved up the stairs with that last remark.

Satehi
February 25th, 2015, 02:41 AM
Servant Saver
Location: Residential District - Homura's Room
Phase: Night
Time: 22: 50
Day: January 12th


For a moment, Saver’s temper flared, a change of mood that was accompanied by a warm, sizzling sensation.

To have her explanation be dismissed like so… it could not be clearer that he had not paid the slightest attention to what she had been saying! Without a clue of what he had gotten into, he simply went to sleep. Either he was a dullard with a death wish, or had simply believed tonight to be some sort of dream or hallucination that would disappear in the morning.

“You…”

Irritated, she was halfway ready to wake him up through force and see if he would listen better if parts of his room were on fire or with some new implements in his body, but a second glance at his sleeping face convinced her against it.

He was but a lost child, caught up in a death match he had no part of. She did not know his age, but he couldn’t have been over 20- an unfortunate age to die, filled with endless regrets over that which could not have been accomplished in such a short life.

The lectures and reprimands could wait. Tonight would probably be the last with which he could sleep with such peace- She would grant him that, at least.

With a sigh, her temper evaporated, leaving only the peaceful and calm atmosphere of the room.

As… considerate as her Master’s offer had been, she had no need for sleep and no desire for it either, a benefit enjoyed by the spirits of the deceased. So tonight would have to be spent keeping watch.

A task she had little reservations against.

Attempting to de-materialize, she gave a frown. According to the knowledge she had been granted, it should have been possible- but perhaps this was just side-effect of her unusual Master. No matter.

Instead, she left the room silently, and made her way outside. With a small leap, she sat on top the snow-covered rooftops, and gazed out at the city in fascination. The spectacle was not an amazing sight- the walls of the estate and the sides of the other buildings cluttered up the view, with only the poor illumination of the moon to keep complete darkness at bay. There was nothing breathtaking about the sight at all- but Saver did not mind in the slightest.

It was too late for anyone to be scurrying about- the harsh weather had forced them to retire early into the safe, warm refuge of their shelters, but without a doubt, she knew they were out there.

Humans.

Many were wicked, engaging in all sorts of debauchery and heresy. Some could commit crimes as easy as breathing, lacking in even the slightest compassion for their fellows. Millennia had passed since she first started watching them, and little had changed. Yet, she had not tired of it in the slightest. It was part of the decision she had made a lifetime ago and she had not the slightest intention of going back on it.

And so, as the first night of the Grail War passed, and her Master slept peacefully unaware in his room-

---Saver gazed out ever vigilantly at the city, at the humanity which she loved.




Day One END-----

Verg Avesta
February 25th, 2015, 09:55 AM
Location: Yamaichi Shrine
Phase: Night
Time: 1:43
Day: January 13th


“I'm done here. Show me the way, Servant.”

Ruler cackled quietly in the darkness of the main chamber. He put aside the shamisen that he had been holding, his golden eyes momentarily floating over to Sourokurou, as if to ask her a confirmation. Quietly, the priestess nodded her head, allowing the Servant-in-blue to do as ordered. With a simple nod towards the back door of the chamber, Ruler invited Kirame to follow him.

"Let's go, boy," Ruler said. "You've got another long walk ahead of you, and I don't have all night."

With that, the Servant pushed open the sliding door and disappeared into the corridor that awaited behind it. He did not even look back, clearly expecting Kirame to follow him without a question. Or rather, he did not leave any chance for protests. What the young man left behind was a quietly roaring fire pit, dancing flames and shadows, and the darkness of the main chamber where only a single shrine maiden remained. The tall visage of Sourokurou Mochizuki gazed after Kirame, and a chilling smile spread to her face.

Just as Kirame left the chamber, he could hear the final words of the supervisor.

"------ Rejoice, boy. Your wish will finally come true."

Mellon
February 25th, 2015, 10:59 AM
Maker
Location - Harbor - Family House - Basement
Phase - Night
Time - 22:25
Day - January 12


"I wish we had some sweets to go with the tea..."

“Unfortunately, my talents in bakery are limited at best, Master. I was never much for cooking, I’m afraid.” The Servant’s amused eyes crossed with those her master. “I felt far more at home with a needle, than I ever did with a spatula or a spoon.”

By the time those word had reached Anna, Maker had already walked over to the whistling teapot, took it off the heater and was now reaching towards the tea box a bit further along the counter. The white Servants actions on the kitchen carried with it a certain sense of practised ease. It seemed that while she thought relatively little of her own talent in the area, she was, at the very least somewhat knowledgeable on the matter.

Setting the tea leaves in a smaller, ceramic teapot, she poured the hot water onto the leaves, before setting the entire teapot aside to brew. For her, this age was truly miraculous, far more so than the days of her life. Some might disagree, of course. Magecraft was still far more stronger in her day and the supernatural more tangible, but… for her none of that could compare. The slight smell of brewing black tea in the air, the way the street-lights outside illuminated the pavement with a soft glow, the heater that did not need an open fire to cook things. All of these things were truly a testament to the ingenuity of mankind, far more so then any grand ritual or wondrous supernatural miracle.

And perhaps that was the true failing of magecraft. A miracle for just a few. Something that could not be used by many, lest it lose its power, but neither could be allowed to fade into obscurity, lest it be forgotten.

It was obvious that such a fragile and limited thing could never stand up to the onslaught of science which touched and changed the lives of every person on this planet.



Her eyes glanced at the large, cross adorned, clock on the wall.

Four minutes. Perfect.


Taking the teapot and two nearby teacups into her hands, Maker headed back from the kitchen and into the living room, before placing the ceramic teapot on the teatable in front of the couch.

“Master, the tea is re….”

Maker’s voice faded into silence as she her eyes saw the sleeping form of her Master. It seems that she had taken tad too long with the tea. Though it was probably for the best that the young blue haired girl got some rest. There would be many trials to come and it was better to face them with a clear mind and a sound body. They would have plenty of time to talk in the morning, should it be required.

Clasping the teapot she had just taken seconds earlier, Maker poured herself a cup of tea, before distancing herself from her sleeping Master and entering what seemed, judging from the rather dusty writing table and shelves filled to the brim with thick tomes, to be a rather unused study. Well, that much was to be expected. Maker could already tell that her master was not the scholarly-type. Well, this was more convenient honestly.


She didn’t want to wake her Master, after all.

A golden glow of pulsing brilliant light erupted around Maker’s extended right hand, while she casually took a sip of tea with her left.

“Well then. No time to dally. After all, the devil makes work for idle hands.”





Day One END-----

Spinach
February 25th, 2015, 03:08 PM
Ryougi Kirame
Location: Yamaichi Shrine
Phase: Night
Time: 1:44
Day: January 13th

"Let's go, boy," Ruler said. "You've got another long walk ahead of you, and I don't have all night."

“Nothing but long walks since I came here.” Kirame complained to the Servant’s disappearing back, following after him.

A cold weight pressed against his back as he passed through the opened door. The warm air of the fire-lit chamber faded from his back, leaving only the chilling presence behind him. He knew what it was. The sensation of being watched.

He didn’t look back once, disappearing into the chamber. He wouldn’t acknowledge the eyes at his back.

"------ Rejoice, boy.”

The voice called out from the chamber behind him. For a reason he didn’t understand, he stood in place and listened to the last words of Sourokurou.

“Your wish will finally come true."

Kirame grinned into the dim corridor and began walking again.

The Command Seals hidden under his sleeve were taken by the grip of his right hand. He held the brands in his hand, the same way he would soon holy the Holy Grail.

“In a way,” he spoke quietly, only to himself, “it already has.”

Location: Old Town – Base
Phase: Night
Time: 3:22
Day: January 13th

As he was used to Kirame was welcomed back by the repeated clink of hammers hitting metal. From the other end of the house the sound carried through the property, now twice as fast, twice as numerous than before.

With his shoes kicked off of his feet Kirame went to the living room, settling himself under the kotatsu again. The swords he had went out with were scattered about in their sheaths, laying unceremoniously over the floor, all within an arm’s reach.

All the better to sleep beside.

Kirame laid back, half of his body stuffed under the kotatsu, the other sprawled out over the cold wooden floor. Staring at the ceiling, Kirame brought his arm up. Red brands revealed theirselves as his sleeve came down.

A purpose, right in front of his eyes. A reason to fight. One worth dying for.

“Yeah.” He smiled again, the three crimson swords reflecting in his steel eyes. The last words of Sourokurou echoed in his mind. “It already has.”



DAY 1 END

Mormarth
February 26th, 2015, 11:06 PM
Francis York(?) Morgan [does this even fucking matter anymore]
Location - Outskirts - Winding Path
Phase - Night
Time - 20:40

I walked up the mountain stairs, past some stuff that probably didn't matter all that much and into the main chamber.

Verg Avesta
February 27th, 2015, 04:55 AM
http://i.imgur.com/NAIKK3c.jpg

Francis York(?) Morgan
Location - Outskirts - Winding Path
Phase - Night
Time - 20:55

Following the young, blindfolded miko in white, York was eventually taken to the plateau at the top of the Winding Path where the Yamaichi Shrine waited like some sort of ancient beast, hibernating through the winter with nothing but the faith of the locals to keep it fed. The snowfall had picked up during the late hours on the island, and now the blackened sky was filled with white flecks slowly drifting to the ground. At this height, this removed from the main source of civilization on Tengetsu, and with an army of trees between them, it seemed almost as if the snow had been only source of light in the darkness. However, it was only the faint moonlight it reflected, nothing more.

"... The supervisor is waiting inside."

Saying those quiet words, the blindfolded girl bowed to York and headed back to the stairs, apparently determined head back to the torii where she had been initially waiting for the man. This left him with no choice but the head on forth, into the depths of the sleeping shrine where the darkness seemed, if possibly, only thicker.

One that you could cut through with a knife.

Inside, the confusing layout of the building quickly became apparent. It took some time to navigate through the empty corridors and rooms, which seemed to form a maze with only one purpose: have the journey to the main chamber continue even longer. It was like a pilgrimage, meant to test the patience of the ones traversing through it, driving them to their limits before bringing them to the salvation. This salvation, at least in this shrine, was the grand double doors, only ones of its kind in here, that announced that the main chamber was just beyond them.

There, York met face-to-face with two chilly black eyes, and the imposing figure of the tall priestess waiting for him.

"Welcome, o' Chosen Master," the priestess said with a deep tone. Her moonlit lake-like eyes gazing at the person who had arrived. "I welcome you to Yamaichi Shrine."

This was not a chance meeting. A Master and the supervisor of the Holy Grail War... it was fated that they would meet. Even the Servant hiding in the darkness at the edges of the room grinned. Ruler, the storm-eyed watcher of this war's rules, quietly observed as the two mortals begun talking. It was not a long talk, but not a short one either. Every Master had things they wanted to make sure, things they wanted to shine some light upon... and if anything, the supervisor Sourokurou Mochizuki had answers. How much of her knowledge she really shared, though, that was another tale altogether. Most of the times it seemed almost as if she went out of her way to make her answers more cryptic, most likely simply to frustrate the man before her.

... Which might have been the reason the discussion eventually came to a halt.

At this point, Ruler knew his time had come. With a shift in the authorative prana in the shrine maiden's body, the hidden path behind the shrine once again shimmered into existence, allowing another Master leave the mountain without having the danger of running into another one of his or her kind. Ruler gestured York to follow him. He knew that the walk back to the foot of the mountain would be just as long, and that unlike Ruler himself, these mortals could not keep up a considerable speed.

However, before the two of them had completely disappeared from the chamber, the husky voice of the shrine maiden called out to York one last time.

"------ Rejoice, boy. Your wish will finally come true."

Her announcement came with dark delight.

And so, the two of them, a Servant who observed the war, and the Master who participated in it, began their long descend back to the civilization.






Day 1: END

Verg Avesta
February 27th, 2015, 05:28 AM
http://i.imgur.com/RYCFHFD.png

100%





http://i.imgur.com/ubJhZ7R.jpg

Location: Residential District - Fujimura Estate
Phase: Day 1/3
Time: 06:30
Day: January 13th
Average Temperature: -22 C
Weather: Sunny

What broke the pleasant, quiet atmosphere of the crisp and cool Wednesday morning was something akin to a roar. A roar and the pounding of the wooden door that led to Kirisaki's room. It came with heavy hands, hands that sounded like they were ready to strangle the boy at any minute. Indeed, it was hard to imagine that it was anything human that was waiting for him beyond that flimsy sliding door without even a lock to protect it. No, out here, in the tundras of northernmost of Japan, the creature beyond that door could only be one thing...

-------- A fearsome Bengal Tiger!


http://i.imgur.com/QuIiMm9.png

"Get up Homura-kun, ya lazy bastard! How long do I have to wait for ya each morning!? If the breakfast gets cold while we wait for yer sorry ass, Aneja is gonna make you take a dip in the sea before heading to school!" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xKqxnjsvoK4&list=PLsMRrJWUFu1owM9SoIqfFOocGwYByNI_S&index=27)





Location: School District - Ichifuji Hotel
Phase: Day 1/3
Time: 07:00
Day: January 13th


At seven in the morning, the peace of the early morning at Astrid Hildebrandt's room was broken by the sudden sound of a cellphone's alarm. It was not that surprising, considering she was a person with many contacts... though the caller ID displayed on the screen of the cellphone might have been something of a surprise. For some reason, it seemed that the police commissioner of Tengetsu, Myoujingata Meiji, had taken it upon himself to call Astrid the first thing in the morning.

Leftovers
February 27th, 2015, 10:49 AM
Astrid Hildebrandt
Location: School District - Ichifuji Hotel
Phase: Day 1/3
Time: 07:00
Day: January 13th

She liked the dawn.

There was something in the clarity of an early morning, illuminated but not yet awash with the light of a new day, that appealed deeply to her inner sense of purpose. Like a seer seeking counsel in the elements, seeking hidden meaning in a birdsong or the pattern of a cloud, she sometimes took to gazing into the rose-tinted horizon as if within that vast expanse there could be found an omen bespeak, a sign bespeaking destiny yet to come.

Unfortunately, the winter nights in Tengetsu were long, yielding way to the sun far too late for any fairly busy person to indulge in celestial observation; none being more preoccupied than an investigator-turned-participant in a deathmatch between veritably monstrous opposition. If anything, unusual activities at unorthodox hours would inevitably draw attention, idly curious or otherwise.

Not that the ringtone shattering the silence in the hotel room had left any credence of probability in that scenario. Circumstances had a way of conspiring to ensure the weary never grew complacent of their rest.

A single eye cracked open blearily, directing an equally uncoordinated arm towards the source of the sounds to the best of both their abilities. Navigating the nightstand took a few blind gropes, until the occupant of the bed held the offending item in her hand, squinting slightly at the brightness of the screen. The name displayed there was enough to clear the fog of sleep from her mind in an instant, and she propped herself to a seated position off the side of the bed, sliding her finger on the touch screen to answer the call.

She didn't think that Meiji was the type to call before daylight just to chat. Something had urged the man to contact her at the earliest convenience, and the thought was enough to straighten her spine and temper her voice to a clipped tone.

"Tell me."

Dranes
February 27th, 2015, 02:15 PM
Kirisaki Homura
Location: Residential District - Fujimura Estate
Phase: Day 1/3
Time: 06:30
Day: January 13th

Hmmm...it's noisy.

...

...Oh come on it's too early to get up and I feel like I was just hit by a truck, can the noise just stop? I just want a day where I can sleep in. I haven't been able to sleep like this since-

Wait.

I think I've made a terrible mistake.

Another loud crash causes me to open my eyes wide, I'm on alert but it's already too late. No longer is my room the haven I've made of it, no...now it's simply another hunting ground for a monstrous predator, ready to strike if given the chance. Even with that simple door being all that stands between us I can already make out the black and white that I've begun to associate with her and with that she lets loose another roar, one that would send any simple student reeling with fear. There was no way I could go back now, the distant dream of another five minutes has just become ever more distant.


"Get up Homura-kun, ya lazy bastard! How long do I have to wait for ya each morning!? If the breakfast gets cold while we wait for yer sorry ass, Aneja is gonna make you take a dip in the sea before heading to school!" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xKqxnjsvoK4&list=PLsMRrJWUFu1owM9SoIqfFOocGwYByNI_S&index=27)


Into the sea?! Isn't that a bit extreme in this weather?!

"I'm up, I'm up!"

I yell to answer her as I almost leap out of bed, time was short and I had to act fast. I leave the blanket that kept me warm all this night to rest on the floor and look to my cupboard past my bed.

Wait, that doesn't seem right? I went to bed so why is my bed over there?

Glancing behind me I see my couch...

"Weird...I thought..."

I let those words leave me, thinking out loud about this current and somewhat creepy situation, all this is doing is reminding me of that weird dream with super girls who could run, fly and whatever else and some war. I guess I must have sleep walked to my couch, that's the only way I could make sense out of all this, after all it couldn't have been real...there's just no way that something like that could have happened.

BANG!!!

Damnit, I shouldn't be thinking about these things now! That door could break down at any minute! Weird dreams can wait, school uniform and breakfast now!

Shirt, pants, socks, jacket, all here. At this rate I think I'm going to set a new world record.

...

Okay, done. Room is tidy and I'm ready, Aneja hasn't broken down the door yet so I'll call this one a success.

I glance behind me to the window in my room, another cold day of course, expecting something else is plain dumb.

I move over to the door, even if I'm ready there's no chance that this couldn't end badly. A tiger is a fierce beast after all.

Time for a leap of faith.

I slide the door open, I ready myself for the visage of contrasting colors.

"Morning, I'm up so there's no need for a cold dip!"

But I can't stop there, I can't give her a chance for a counter attack.

"So lets get going, what's for breakfast anyways?"

Weird dreams, weird mornings, such is my life on this frozen island.

Bloble
February 27th, 2015, 09:15 PM
Location: Old Town - Base
Phase: Day 1/3
Time: 07:00
Day: January 13th

It was a fresh morning.

Not often did the winter pull back and allow those in its grasp to wake up gently, but this day, for whatever reason, opened peacefully. The storm swirling around the edges of the island abated, allowing the sun to shine for a brief period of time. Winds died down, and the only sound that entered through the window was that of a town slowly coming to life.

"Master."

The roaring of a fire counteracted the creeping cold. The inside of the shack had been a battleground all night, and only now did the flames finally eke out a majority. Yes, that fire had not stopped for a moment, and neither had the man standing before it. His upper body was bare and covered with a sheen of sweat, and his robes were tied around his waist. Every time he exhaled a cloud of vapour escaped his inhuman lungs.

"Master, it is time to wake."

Punctuating the sentence was the sound of metal creaking as Artificer closed the door of the oven, shutting the fledgeling sword inside. Most of the work had been done during the night, in a frantic haze that had consumed Artificer until the weak light of dawn chased it away. At some point his apprentice had wandered over to a chair and fallen asleep quietly, unable to take match her teacher's pace. He had paused only to drape a blanked over her shoulders before returning to his forge. Despite the noise, none of the other occupants of the building had been woken, nor had their sleep been disturbed. By contrast, the sound of metal on metal and of roaring flames was a lullaby that had quickly lured them to sleep.

Now, however, it was time to rise.

"Master, I bid you open those eyes, less I be forced to persuade with blade rather than tongue." Upon seeing no response, Artificer took a puff of his pipe, then blew it unceremoniously into Ryougi Kirame's face, drawing out a mighty sneeze from the snoring Master and causing him to flail wildly for a moment, inadvertently flipping over the kotatsu that had served as his blanket.

Artificer took a single look at the comical sight, nodded, and put the pipe back in his mouth.

"Hm. Quite vulnerable to assassins, you are."

Tobias
February 27th, 2015, 10:18 PM
Servant Caster
Location: Outskirts - Graveyard
Phase: Day 1/3
Time: 6:30
Day: January 13th

"...Eat, girl." It was the first words that passed the old monk's mouth since his instruction on the way the night before. Rising placidly to his feet, the walls and floor of the RV around him began to twist and contort. The damp cave wall once more became hard metal and tools, soft cloth and supplies for the practice of medicine. The light and warmth of a small hearth became the cold mechanical light fixture of this modern world. As if paying respect to the evoked image from times past, fading once more, Caster...almost...nodded his head in respect. At the very least, the large sigh that whistled out of his frame like a bellows fire being stoked by the smith had a definite feel of nostalgia.

"Stretch out your legs. Let the flow of energy move through your body and restore your vitality. Eat, drink." Caster's eyes gleamed with a trace of malicious amusement. "Take a piss if you need," he added. As his master began to get up and take care of her body which was surely aching from hours in an unfamiliar posture, Caster continued to lecture in his coarse voice.

"This night was to center your mind. Remember the three parts of Unity, child. The body, which is the well of strength that must be tempered so that you can focus your mind. Your mind, which must reach peace and truth in equal measure to tame the spirit, and the spirit, which when in balance, controls the urges of the body which can lead you from the path. This night you have trained your mind, in a moment, we will train your body. However, right now..."

Caster held out a well muscled, scarred hand, his palm idly up as if something rounded were resting within it. Though at first glance his hand held only air, there was a definite under current of prana in the air, subtly different then the mana gathering from the leyline, or even the threads of power from which he constructed his territory. No, what this magic was, was something unique to Caster. An essential and vital part of who he was. After a moment, another Daruma doll formed, starting from the wide, rounded base, to the red painted head with two white, unpainted eyes poking out from beneath a hood. Streaks of black around the frowning mouth indicated a stylized beard to complete the picture.

"This is my flesh." Caster intoned. "Take of my body, temper it, master it, and thus master your wavering spirit."


Keyword found: Daruma doll

Spinach
February 28th, 2015, 01:28 AM
Ryougi Kirame
Location: Old Town - Base
Phase: Day 1/3
Time: 07:03
Day: January 13th

Master… to wake… you open those eyes… persuade with blade...

An annoying voice called to him from somewhere. It probably didn’t have anything important to say, so he ignored it, mumbling something in his sleep. Whatever the man speaking to him had to say could wait. For now, he just needed sleep.

He wouldn’t admit it, but the ritual last night had taken more out of him than he initially thought. As soon as he had allowed himself to rest it became clear how tired the summoning left him. In the first place, it was a ritual he should never have been able to complete. He wasn’t a magus of any sort, it should have been impossible for him to ever summon a Servant. To summon one in spite of that and only get off with fatigue was almost cheating.

A wave of something soft touched his face. It wrapped around his nose and sunk into his throat.

There was a taste of something ash-like. Something smoky. The aroma of something burnt permeated his face.

It wasn’t an unpleasant smell. But.

The kotatsu flipped over as he lurched up, sneezing away the smoke that had snuck down his nose. The cold air of Tengetsu’s mornings hit him for the first time as he knocked the kotatsu away, eyes finally coming open to find what was burning.

The forge?

Had Nozomi and Artificer made some impossible mistake? It was unthinkable. The blacksmith Heroic Spirit could never make such a mistake. No, even Nozomi would never mess up in such a way.

Then was it an attack from an enemy? Smoking Kirame out of his shelter? But how had he been found on the morning following his summoning? Had he been trailed from the shrine? He had never sensed a presence, but it was possible that-

"Hm. Quite vulnerable to assassins, you are."

Standing in the living room, Artificer calmly observed the frantic awakening of the half-asleep Kirame.

He looked at the pipe in the Servant’s mouth.

“Artificer.” He regarded the Servant in a grumpy tone. With a frown Kirame put the kotatsu back in place, situating under it again to get back to its warmth, though this time with eyes wide open. Even with the warmth of the forge radiating from the other end of the house the cold air of Tengetsu’s retreating night managed to hold onto its place in the old smithy, like a cat with its claws dug into carpet refusing to budge.

He looked up at the Servant’s exposed body, glistening with sweat from working the forge. The sight of Artificer seeming unfazed by spending the entire night hard at work came as a reminder that the man was very much not a human, even if hundreds of years ago he had been one. What was standing over him was a spirit of the highest rank. A man immortalized in legend forevermore. An existence beyond anything he had ever seen before.

“You look like you’ve been hard at work over a hot stove.” Legend though he may be, with the awakening he had given him all Kirame felt was the need to strike back. “Did you make breakfast for me?”

He yawned, emphasizing how tired he was.

“You must have been worried it would get cold.” He added, staring up at the Servant, still frowning. “Bring it here then. My breakfast.”

Bloble
February 28th, 2015, 01:43 AM
Artificer
Location: Old Town - Base
Phase: Day 1/3
Time: 07:05
Day: January 13th

Artificer raised an eyebrow.

"I've not left the forge until just now," he said calmly. "Steel and food don't share well, and there's but one oven. Also, your fridge is empty. A marvelous invention, I might add, save for the fact that the local weather conditions have left it entirely redundant. The total food in this building amounts to a rather moldy loaf of bread, a half-bag of uncooked rice, and salt. Road salt, that is."

Having said that, Artificer picked up a chipped bowl full of hastily-cooked rice and placed it on the table before his Master. It was followed by a cup full of water that had been melted from the morning snow. Swords were one thing, but he'd never been a particularly good cook. Self-sufficiency could only take a man to the point of being able to keep himself alive, and this one had gone no further.

"Oh, and this."

Artificer reached into one of his sleeves and in a flash, whipped something towards Kirame.

Fast.

No time. None. In an instant, an attack faster than the human eye could perceive was launched. Fresh from a deep sleep, there was nothing the Ryougi could do to stop his own death-!

The object embedded itself into the table, an inch from the bowl. It quivered for a good five seconds before coming to a halt.

From the other side of the room, Nozomi's soft snoring came to a rather croaky halt as the sound pierced her dreams.

"That, Master, is a priceless artifact. What you see before you is a Phantasm that represents the height of its craft. None others like it have existed, and none will. Enjoy. 'Tis but a small gift, as your other blade cools."

It was a fork. A rather shiny fork, but still a fork.

Completely oblivious to that fact, Artificer took another, rather smug puff of his pipe and blew sharp shapes into the air. He stood before Kirame with his usual stoic expression, but there was something different. It was as if Artificer expected some kind of response.

Was... was he waiting to be praised?

Spinach
February 28th, 2015, 02:15 AM
Ryougi Kirame
Location: Old Town - Base
Phase: Day 1/3
Time: 07:07
Day: January 13th

Kirame took the fork in his hand, plucking it from the table like a flower made of fine steel.

“Incredible.” He remarked, inspecting the silverware. The deadly weapon that could have struck him down seconds before. “It’s well made,” Kirame twirled the fork around his fingers. “No. It’s perfection.” He corrected himself.

“You live up to your name, Artificer.” The Ryougi offered his heartfelt thoughts to the Heroic Spirit of small stature who stood over him, looking like a stoic hound waiting to receive the kind words of his master. “But…”

Kirame cut his words short, launching his own counterattack suddenly. A flash of steel shot like a bullet. The air was pierced three times over by the tines as the sure kill attack ripped through the cold morning to end Artificer’s short rebirth.

A sneak attack launched by his own Master. Not even the Heroic Spirit of the Forge could offer resistance as the silverware transformed into lightning...!

… And struck the ceiling. Vibrating as before, the fork embedded itself into the wood overhead.

“Mornin’…” From the other end of the room a sleepy Nozomi offered a quiet response to the battle, rubbing her eyes.

“No Japanese man eats rice with a fork.” Kirame said, lifting the bowl of rice as he complained. Pinching a few grains between his fingers he tasted the rice.

“And this rice is overcooked.” He raised the bowl up so that Artificer could see his blunder. “It looks like you tried to get it done fast and never lowered the flame.” Despite not being anything close to a capable cook himself, Kirame pushed the bowl upwards again as he complained about the Servant’s work.

As a matter of fact, had he done it himself the result would have been pitch black and utterly inedible.

“Well.” He set the bowl back down and took the cup of water. “I appreciate the effort.”

Saying so plainly the Ryougi took a sip of the water.

“The water’s good though.”

Bloble
February 28th, 2015, 02:33 AM
Artificer
Location: Old Town - Base
Phase: Day 1/3
Time: 07:10
Day: January 13th

Oh boy. His Master was a handful.

Artificer didn't even move as the projectile passed by his head.


“No Japanese man eats rice with a fork.”

Artificer shrugged. "According to the information I was summoned with, this piece of cutlery is an adequate replacement for chopsticks used world-wide. Being that metal is a poor material for traditional chopsticks, I assumed there would be no protest. Of course, if my Master's tastes are more strict, accommodations can be made."

And then the brat had the nerve to insult his cooking. It wasn't something Artificer had much pride in, but...

That was supposed to have been his own breakfast!

The Servant sighed. This was likely his fault, he supposed. Some samurai were like this. They immediately saw anyone other than direct commander as an inferior to be ordered around without question. With that boy's youth and arrogance, it wasn't a surprise that he would act like this.

"Good morning, Apprentice," he addressed Nozomi without moving from his spot. The pipe puffed, and this time a handful of red sparks joined the smoke it released into the air. "You performed admirably last night. I release you from any responsibilities until you feel prepared for further instruction."

"As for you, Master..."

Yes, it was time to make some things clear.

Artificer stared Kirame in the eyes as the latter sat picking through the rice with his fingers.

"I may be your Servant, but the terms of our contract are not such that I am beholden to obey each one of your commands with mind and soul. I will freely create for you. I will protect whatever place you choose with the full extent of my abilities. I will even lend my expertise to teach your allies what I know. All this I do in order to seek the Holy Grail."

And there was the problem. If he was to put it in simpler terms, there was something he was owed.

"If you want me to cook for you in addition to my actual duties... 'please' is a good place to start."

Spinach
February 28th, 2015, 04:22 AM
Ryougi Kirame
Location: Old Town - Base
Phase: Day 1/3
Time: 07:14
Day: January 13th

“Yes, shishou.”

As Nozomi answered Artificer, Kirame stood up from the kotatsu, reaching to the ceiling and grabbing the fork. Yanking it out of the wood Kirame looked at the tongs, not hiding how impressed he was at the tines’ durability and sharpness as he gave it another, closer inspection. With a nod of respect for the craftsmanship, he looked back to the Servant.

“No,” Kirame plainly said, meeting Artificer’s eyes as he seated himself again, gathering up a forkful of rice and eating it. “If you cook rice like this then I don’t want you cooking for the three of us.”

Without batting an eyelash Kirame delivered his verdict, having given the rice a second chance.

“What’re y’all bickerin’ ‘bout?” The girl asked, looking between the two as Kirame chewed. Without saying a word Kirame held the chipped bowl toward her, urging her to try it. Taking the fork, which she paused for a few seconds to admire the craftsmanship of, Nozomi took a bite of the rice.

“Dry ‘n overcooked.” A blunt, short response, but the truth. Crossing her arms the girl looked up to Artificer.

“Ya made this, shishou?” She asked.

“He did.” Kirame answered in place of the Servant. Taking the bowl back, Kirame took another bite, eating more of the rice despite his complaints.

“Well, s’not poisonous, unlike a certain someone’s cookin’, don’ let it get t’ ya.” The eyes of Nozomi fell down onto Kirame, narrowing as they found the person she was referring to. “Still, shishou, ya don’ need t’ be worryin’ ‘bout takin’ care’ve feedin’ this numbskull.”

Beneath her sharpened eyes a small smile began to bud.

“Y’see, he’ll eat anythin’ ya put in front’ve ‘im, then complain the whole time.” As if to illustrate her point Kirame gathered up another forkful of rice and ate it. “Ya get used t’ it n’time if ya really wanna, but yer best off jus’ lettin’ me handle it.”

She looked up to the Servant, a sympathetic smile on her face. She had run through the exact same thing Artificer was about to put himself through, so she knew exactly what he was feeling.

“N’ s’ not like he can even cook either.” Kirame silently nodded as he agreed with Nozomi’s statement, his mouth full of rice. “Ya might think I don’ look the part, but after a year with Kirame-nii I’m pretty confiden’ in my cookin’, so just leave it t’ me. Woulda died’a food poisonin’ a long time ago if I hadn’ learnt a thing’re two ‘bout cookin’, travelin’ with this musclebrain.”

“Exactly.” Kirame added, finishing off the bowl of rice. The entire serving had been mercilessly cut down by the man who had eaten only half a mandarin the previous day. Not even a single grain of rice remained in the barren bowl. “Our cooking is terrible.”

He looked up to Artificer. As someone who truly could not work in the kitchen, he could see that the Servant was like himself.

“Just let Nozomi take care of it.” Kirame concluded, placing the bowl back on the table without even a hint of appreciation for the food. “She doesn’t mind.”

Nozomi glared at the Ryougi like she wanted to say something about that last part, but held herself back, simply giving him the evil eye in silence.

Ayakashi
February 28th, 2015, 06:50 AM
Character(s)
Invoker

Location
Miyamoto Shrine - Garden

Phase ----- Morning
Time ------ 08:00
Day ------- January 13th
http://i.imgur.com/7B2cwvS.png




The occasional bird chirp and car engine punctuates the cold morning of the Old Town. The frigid air is however, not unwelcome at Miyamoto Shrine. Legs dangling off the ledge of the shrine's open veranda, this woman clad in a finely crafted yukata of black is the most cheerful of moods and could be taken for a usual resident of the shrine – none would think that this was a Servant, especially with such a laid back aura surrounding her.

But well, a lot of things have happened on the night before, a lot of things. Life is a very ephemeral thing – if one doesn't take a pause once in a while to appreciate its beauty, then it is quite the shame for them to be missing such ; or so Invoker believes.

'The ritual has been fine tuned, and I suppose that it is already doing its job, judging from the state of the link between us...' ponders Invoker as the Servant extends their paper fan to scoop up some of the falling snowflakes. It is a childish sentiment that has spurred this act, but then, looking at the crystallized white melt into nothingness and be absorbed into the fabric of the fan... it happens to be rather poetic. Perhaps a foreshadowing of what is to come.

Her eyes trail off towards the sky, in the direction of the clouds that shine brighter than the rest – namely, where the sun is. Even if it is blotted out by a rather thick mass of white, the Servant can easily guess the time based on its position. Her eyes are far more preceptive than a regular human's after all.

'My, it's already this late,' Invoker notes, realising that she might have spent a bit too long enjoying the scenery. Not only the view Miyamoto Shrine's snow-covered grounds, but the one of the entire Old Town and Tengetsu's cityscape marred in white.

She had many eyes all over the place in the end...

Snickering, Invoker snaps her fan close, brutally crushing the rest of the snowflakes that haven't melted yet on its surface. She knows that she should get going and check up on her Master, but the latter simply appears to not be waking up at all, even if it's already that late in the morning. While there were expectations of Kiyoko being the rather careless type, based on Invoker's 'sampling' of the shrine maiden's personality yesterday, this was simply going a bit past acceptable levels...



------

Miyamoto Shrine
Kiyoko's Room
Morhing Phase, 08:01


Hugging her pillow with affection and dreaming of fantasies that are most fit for a pure girl of her age, Kiyoko is like an adorable babe holding on to their mother. To the spirit that has phased through the wall though, such an endearing thing happens to be something that must be dealt with... alongside the Master themselves of course.

Kiyoko might have felt the cold sensation of steel pressing against her neck, and maybe even realize that something just pushed her down on the bed, locking Kiyoko in place and preventing her from moving--



http://i.imgur.com/be4PUEa.png
“Do you have any last words before I lop your head off, Master of Invoker?”



Hopefully Kiyoko would keep her head on her shoulders and make a good decision.

Bloble
February 28th, 2015, 12:24 PM
Artificer
Location: Old Town - Base
Phase: Day 1/3
Time: 07:15
Day: January 13th

Children.

Artificer sighed.

He'd been summoned by children. Well, no, that wasn't very fair. The girl was at least self-sufficient, but the boy was as blunt as they came. Certainly, he was a perfect fit for the Japan of hundreds of years ago, where it was completely suitable to waltz through one's fields in search of somebody to fight. A bunch of grown children, those samurai were.

"Master," Artificer said bluntly. "All tomfoolery aside, I do have a question for you. It should have been asked yesterday, but I was too preoccupied with acclimatizing myself to this place to voice it."

He removed the pipe and deposited it somewhere in his robes, which he shrugged back on upon seeing Nozomi walking about. The atmosphere was rather light. The heaviness of a War's burden had yet to descend upon his Master's shoulders. Indeed, perhaps the boy did not even understand the true scope of what he'd involved himself in. Not that Artificer minded. It wasn't as if he'd ever fought in a war himself.

"I'm not picky with the characteristics of my Master. A blacksmith does not choose who wields his weapons. You passed the few qualifications I demanded adequately enough that I have no complaints. All the same, since you plan to fight, I would like to know: What does 'sword' mean to you?"

Snax
February 28th, 2015, 12:30 PM
Trickster
Location: School District - Ichifuji Hotel, Bathroom
Phase: Day 1/3
Time: 06:50
Day: January 13th

Trickster was standing in the bathroom, naked, looking into the mirror in deep concentration - something near to a trance. As she continued to look on, she had to laugh - after all, she was no narcissist - but even she was blinded by her own beauty. Well, it was nothing new. She had always been something coveted - a trophy to be won. What worth was a trophy if it was not covetful?

Her face took on a more sardonic twist as she thought about her past, but well, it was nothing important. She had already taken her revenge during her life, and she had no real regrets - although that may have been a lie, for she had given up any hopes of happiness in order for her goal and her revenge. She, who had achieved everything, had also not achieved anything but the void…

She had wished to erase herself at some points. Was it this beauty of hers that was the cause of it? She was never to live a normal life because of it? If so, wasn’t it better just to do away with it?

Trickster chuckled, her face half-laughing, half frowning. That would indeed be a waste, although it wasn’t like she hadn’t tried before, although then she was too scared about after effects and whatnot.

Now, however, perhaps it was possible - without any drawbacks.

As she looked into the mirror and slowly murmured to herself, an interesting change came up around her…

--------------------------

Aisaka Sayo (http://i415.photobucket.com/albums/pp236/llednaroth/41067682_m_zps88fca7fb.jpg)
Location: School District - Ichifuji Hotel
Phase: Day 1/3
Time: 07:00
Day: January 13th

A few minutes later, a black-haired woman, or rather, girl, stepped out of the bathroom. If Astrid hadn’t been too busy with the phone, she might have just as well dropped it - for it was a completely different person without an ounce of the presence of a servant that stood there. Plain, but silky, black hair fell over her shoulders. No longer was there the flamboyant looks of the golden servant - all that remained was a silent, solemn air around her. Even her breasts had shrunk far in size, and what was left was flat as a washboard, one could say.

“....Hm, I see you’re quite busy, sir. Well then, I won’t bother you.”

Even her voice was different - not to mention her personality. There was no teasing, no batting of the eyelashes. A simple and brusque attitude, befitting that of a jaded individual who disliked waste of energy.

Sitting on a simple chair near the windowsill, the black haired girl looks outside of the windowsill, merely gazing into the horizon.

Somewhere, a jester was chuckling at the future events to come.

hero
February 28th, 2015, 02:38 PM
Azama Tae
Location: Upasmike Forest - Tae's Cabin
Phase: Morning
Time: 5:05 1/3
Day: January 13th


"..."

Lately I've grown anxious, restless... Insomniac to such extent that an event like this where I am able to sleep over six hours becomes an incredibly rare occurrence. It should be of no surprise, considering the things I had to go through these past three to four years and the poor decisions I've made during that time. Even so, the same decisions have been what's kept me alive for so long. There is no use in denying that.

This quest I pursue is one not meant for an individual like me, who never desired any sort of involvement with the supernatural world. Reality reminds me of this fact with every chance it gets. Its reasoning is not incorrect. I cannot take the path that belongs to those who have accepted themselves while denying myself. And yet I still do... It's the contradiction I face every day, for the sake of finding my friend who disappeared without a trace years ago.

It has become a harsh battle against despair, as hope wears thinner with every minute that goes by. I am certain that more than one believes my search to be hopeless at this point. After so much time... Finding Yomi alive would be nothing short of a miracle. Naturally, I am more than aware of this... But as her friend, the least I can do is firmly believe in that chance, no matter how slim it might be.

And so, I devote a big part of my days to looking for her. Today will be no different.

"..."

After double-checking that Saber is not inside the cabin, I get off the bed and quickly change into my usual attire. As I make myself some coffee, I ponder about my plans for the day and how I want to go about them. It goes without saying that I need to visit the shrine at some point, both to meet the supervisor of the war and to learn about the orphan girl who lived there. However, it would not be shocking to think that the other Masters could have their eyes glued to that location, as it seems to be one every participant must visit to receive the final blessing that will mark the start of the war. If my identity is found out this early on, my sole advantage will disappear.

I could send Saber in my stead, but can I really trust her with the task that really matters to me...?

"..."

I read yesterday's newspaper. As I've chosen not to involve Otsue-san with the Holy Grail War, this is one of the best sources of information I have at hand. It's not something to depend on entirely, but you'd be surprised just how much you can gather from glancing at a few pages every day. Naturally, it would make more sense for me to be reading today's newspaper instead but, as you might have guessed, I don't have access to it right now. I didn't have much time to read the last one carefully, so now is actually a good opportunity to catch up. There was some kind of murder last I recall...

I turned the pages on by one, reading at the light of a candle.

Elyrin
February 28th, 2015, 04:09 PM
Servant Saber
Location: Upasmike Forest - Tae's Cabin
Phase: Morning
Time: 4:50 1/3
Day: January 13th


Well before the sun began to rise, I heard a faint stirring from inside the cabin. It wasn't normal in the modern day to be awake this early, was it? Hopefully it was intentional and not an unforeseen problem, but I was in no position to guess. In a flash I gathered a handful of essentials from inside, leaving a small pot over the fire holding only snow, and was back out before Tae could even notice. Maybe she was expecting breakfast, or maybe not, but I was planning to eat and to only cook half of our food was a terrible waste.

The otter Tae had caught for the summoning ritual were still in good shape. I'd prepared them during the night and made sure the meat would stay safe from the frost, but still cool. It took just a few moments to slice the best parts of the meat into bite-sized chunks suitable for an dish. There wasn't much for seasoning the stew, but salt and pepper were enough for all but the greatest complainers.

The night had been cold, even for me, but I had been on guard duty. Rather than throw away the last of my dignity and sit in the snow - or worse, go back inside and risk being caught - I had gathered some spare firewood and made my own carefully hidden blaze a short distance from the cabin. A few more larger branches and a jab or two from my sword and it was roaring again. Perfect for quickly searing the otter before throwing it in the stewpot.

----

5:05

The meat was done, and the fire quelled with a wave of my impromptu fire poker. A handful of snow as well as a few nudges of nearby piles removed the evidence of the cooking fire, and I returned to the cabin and my now hopefully awake Master.

"Oh, Master~" I opened the door and called out with a cheery sing-song voice, loud enough to hear but not loud enough to wake. "I hope you weren't planning to let this otter go to waste!"

She was awake, thankfully. Sitting there with a cup of coffee and a... newspaper? With all the technology of the modern world, people relied on things like this to get their knowledge of the world? Maybe it was just because Tengetsu was an out of the way place. Surely the more advanced and populated areas would have better options?

"Good morning, Tae. I hope you're well-rested for all the work ahead of us. Before we get to business, though, we have breakfast! The water should be boiling by now... unless you would prefer some other method?"

hero
February 28th, 2015, 06:55 PM
Azama Tae
Location: Upasmike Forest - Tae's Cabin
Phase: Morning
Time: 5:10 1/3
Day: January 13th


"..."

I could feel Saber was nearby through our connection, so I didn't really pay much attention to her. I knew she'd barge inside the cabin sooner or later. However, now that she finally does, a part of me cannot help but feel dumbfounded for a moment at her proposal. It's not like sharing breakfast is that strange of a thing, but for some reason I didn't expect it to come out of her.

"Hmm..."

I glance at my Servant suspiciously, trying to decipher if there is any kind of ulterior motive behind her invitation. At first glance it doesn't look like that is the case, but... I cannot afford to lower my guard. Just last night her sword was pressed against my chest. Even if she claimed to have accepted me as her Master after that, there is no proof that it couldn't have been mere deception. If I allow myself to get caught within her pa---

At that moment, my train of thought is interrupted by a rather embarrassing noise.

That is, the sound of my stomach growling.

"..."

It's only natural, as I have not eaten anything since yesterday's afternoon. Usually skipping a meal is not much of an issue, but it looks like the summoning Ritual me really exhausted. Now, before I can even enjoy my coffee, my body reacts to Saber's words and warns me a cup is not going to be enough. Without a doubt I am hungry, and after what's just happened, I cannot hide it from the swordsman.

"A-ah, yes. T-That's surprisingly thoughtful of you, Saber."

Raising a hand as if to cover my mouth, I deliver a polite cough in order to regain my composure and address the matter with a professional attitude. Closing my eyes for a moment in an attempt to hide the fire hidden within them, I adopt a more matter-of-factly stance as I announce the conclusion I've arrived at in the past few moments:

"Then we'll have breakfast immediately."

Silently expressing my indifference as to whatever method she's employed, I let the Heroic Spirit carry on with her ploy.

See where that leads me.

Kuroyuki
February 28th, 2015, 07:51 PM
Kiyoko Miyamoto
Location: Miyamoto Shrine - Kiyoko's Room (?)
Time: ?
Day: ?

I never expected to get sick today so it was a surprise when Eris-san showed up and forced me into bed today. Shouldn't she be at school right now?

Eris-san you don't have to nurse me, I'll be fine if I just get some rest. You made porridge for me? T-thanks. I'll give it a tr-

Location: Miyamoto Shrine - Kiyoko's Room
Phase: Day 1/3
Time: 8:01
Day: January 13th


"...Master of Invoker?”

I woke up to find someone holding me to my bed. Normally I would freak out about this, but my base didn't pick up anyone with malicious intent attempting to enter my base. How does this person know that I'm the master of Invoker? Could this be one of Invoker's sumons sent to do a mean joke?

"D-did Invoker send you to p-play a joke?"

I tried to act strong, but having a blade at my throat and that scary face nearby my own was breaking down my feeble stoicism as I started to cry a little bit.

"And could you please move, you're scaring me."

Elyrin
February 28th, 2015, 07:57 PM
Servant Saber
Location: Upasmike Forest - Tae's Cabin
Phase: Morning
Time: 5:10 1/3
Day: January 13th


"Ah, don't look at me with those eyes, Master. It's just a simple breakfast for two. Do you think I've tampered with the food?" Not that I'd consider doing such a thing, of course. Even if Tae was a Master I well and truly could not work with, poisoning her was a poor strategy. Where would I get the mana to stay in the world with no preparations beforehand? "It's not healthy to trust people as soon as you meet them, but you don't need to make your disbelief so blatant."

If my comments had any effect on Tae, I would never know. Before she could respond she was swiftly interrupted by her own stomach, of all things. The sheer volume was actually quite impressive. Did she even eat the day before?

A-ah, yes. T-That's surprisingly thoughtful of you, Saber."

"Oh, it's just the natural thought process, Master. It's the height of rudeness to cook only for yourself, then sit and eat in front of someone you know is hungry." Truly, there had to be a special punishments for those who dared do such a thing intentionally. I'd known men who had been killed for lesser insults. "Anyway, time is wasting, and your stomach will no doubt complain again if it's not fed quickly enough. I was planning to make a stew, but that would be quite uninteresting with nothing but meat and broth. I suppose I could always make some rice. You do have rice, yes? What self-respecting Japanese woman wouldn't have rice?"

Even as I said that, I started to worry. You could say that rice was the most basic of all basics, on the same level as drinking water, but I was sure there were people who managed to ruin that as well. With all the speed I could reasonably use indoors, I moved towards Tae's practically embarrassing food stockpile to look. Thank the gods there was at least one bag of rice there among the various canned garbage. Without pause, I tore open the package and hurried back towards the pot on the fire. Before I could dump the rice into the pot, though, I halted. And frowned. It was a painfully long moment before I moved again.


----


I didn't realize at first, but the atmosphere was growing heavier and heavier with my disappointment. Actually standing there and looking at the rice left me... far from pleased. I took a few grains out of the bag and rolled them between my fingers. My frown deepened. Then the rice went to my mouth, to be rolled around a bit to check the texture, and swallowed. My judging gaze turned into a glare, directly a nearly visible amount of resentment at the bag in my hands that claimed to hold rice.

"...Hm. No matter how you look at things, this is quite poor quality, isn't it?" A few more seconds of silence followed my declaration, before the oppressive weight was thrown off by a sigh. I could hardly blame anyone but myself for this. I did have plenty of time to look at our options for breakfast during the night. "Well, I should have looked earlier, but it's too late now. There's no time to make good rice, but to make bad rice requires a truly skilled artist. My apologies, but you'll have to settle for average this morning, Tae."

Without further complaint, I dumped the contents of the bag into the hot water. With the meat, there would be a bit much for just two people, but Tae seemed to be quit hungry. Poor quality or not, there weren't likely to be any leftovers.

Spinach
February 28th, 2015, 09:53 PM
Ryougi Kirame
Location: Old Town - Base
Phase: Day 1/3
Time: 07:16
Day: January 13th

Kirame stared down at the table in silence. The question took him off guard. It wasn’t an inquiry he hadn’t received before. He had heard it from another, many times in fact. One of many questions he asked time and time again, but the lost Ryougi could never find a true answer.

It was an impossible question for him. From the beginning, he would never be able to answer it. There was no meaning in that word to him.

No matter how many times Ryougi Kirame asked himself, there was never an answer.

There may never be one. He knew why that was. The reason he raised the sword was to uphold the ideals of something he never had.

‘He’s born wrong.’

Seeing the silence that Kirame answered the question with, the words of Nozomi’s grandfather came to mind. In the first place, calling his silence an ‘answer’ was wrong. It was no answer at all. Sometimes saying nothing at all was a more poignant response than any words. Sometimes a cold stare, or a warm smile, said more than any words.

But Kirame’s silence wasn’t one like that. Silence wasn’t his answer.

It was just that. Silence. That's all it would ever be.

Because there was no answer.

“I don’t know.” The silence was still gripping his mind. Steel eyes, peeking out through the messy hair atop Kirame’s head, bangs falling down over his forehead and past his eyelashes, looked up to answer Artificer. Eyes that told no lies. Eyes incapable of telling lies, because just as he didn’t have what was required to find a reason to take up the sword, he lacked the same thing needed to lie.

These eyes were only meant to see one thing. Only meant to tell one thing.

“And I never will. Not without a miracle.”

Bloble
February 28th, 2015, 10:59 PM
Artificer
Location: Old Town - Base
Phase: Day 1/3
Time: 07:16
Day: January 13th

"You truly are an honest one."

The words were spoken with Artificer's neutral tone intact. He didn't smile, nor did he frown. Rather, he nodded. In a way, it was the first answer - or rather, non-answer - that had given him pause since being summoned. Kirame had spoken with sincerity, so as a Servant, he would return the favor.

"Master, I will not insult your quest by daring to substitute my own views as a form of truth," he says. "Nor will I attempt to dissuade you from it by claiming it is a worthless task. My blades were wielded by countless men and women searching for an answer to that question. They killed, died, and did all manner of things in pursuit of that answer. By seeking the Grail, the scope of your journey has already outclassed theirs." Kirame reminded Artificer of those poor fools, so this whim was made manifest. But with that, he was satisfied.

"But with certainty, those words mark you as the man who is fit to be called my Master."

Those words, once empty, were colored by a tinge of approval, and something... other.

After all, Artificer was still searching for a similar answer.

"What is your plan for today?" he asked, bluntly changing the topic. "The War has truly begun now. This city holds many enemies. How shall you do battle against them?"

Artificer paused.

"Also, will you buy more food? I wasn't joking about the fridge being empty."

Spinach
February 28th, 2015, 11:29 PM
Ryougi Kirame
Location: Old Town - Base
Phase: Day 1/3
Time: 07:17
Day: January 13th

He appreciated Artificer’s response. Others had tried to offer their own ideals. Hot air. Empty words. They never moved him. It was impossible for words to ever move him. It was enough to just have someone understand how meaningless, how pointless of a waste of time it would be to offer their own answer.

Those kinds of things had to be found on their own. You could pick it up from someone else, but to receive it, to simply have those kinds of notions gifted to you, was wrong. Empty and hollow.

The steel stare turned to the walls, like Kirame was trying to look past them at the city beyond. The battleground where his enemies were waiting. The place where they would die.

“The weaker Masters will hide. Some will scout and hunt at night alongside their Servants. Others may have approaches I can’t understand.” He spoke seriously. Talks of war were something he understood. When it came to this he felt whole, if only for a while. “When night comes I’ll go out and find the ones confident enough to patrol the streets, then I’ll kill them.”

Nozomi’s eyes visibly darkened at the conversation’s shift to violence. From the corner of his eye Kirame glanced at her face, expecting the reaction. He didn’t say a word to her after seeing it. He simply looked back to the wall. In his mind he pictured the streets outside that he had already been through, piecing together ideal places for ambushes, retreat, vantage points.

“It won’t be easy, but I can do it. The ones that hide are the real problem.” He had felt the strength of the Servant at the shrine, Ruler, the previous night. That storm in human clothing was completely unlike Artificer. The Servant called Ruler was powerful, and Kirame acknowledged it. If the other Servants were like him it would be troublesome.

But just that. Troublesome.

“I have to work out a way to find those ones.” It was fortunate that he met the mayor yesterday. The man was trustworthy, and seemed to be knowledgeable of the ritual. At least enough to understand the importance of it, especially in the eyes of the Masters. “I met the mayor yesterday. He seems to know much about the ritual, and he’s a good man. If it comes to it, I can ask him to side with me. He has the city’s best interests in mind. Having the ritual end quickly, before it burns the city down to ash, and seeing someone trustworthy taking the Grail should be things he wants.”

‘Someone trustworthy.’

It was a far cry from modesty, but Kirame knew enough about himself to judge himself as someone worth trusting. The mayor seemed to be a man of character, and likely could reach the same judgement.

“And you can take Nozomi shopping today if you want. She holds onto my money anyway.”

Rafflesiac
March 1st, 2015, 12:40 AM
Xander Stone
Location: Base - The Quarry
Phase: Day 1/3
Time: 05:42
Day: January 13th

Floating.

That is the first sensation that comes to mind. Floating in a dark ocean, drifting into the night. Everything is fuzzy, shadowy, undefined. There is no horizon, no sky, no earth, no light.

All there is is darkness.

Nothing is tasted, not even that which would try. Nothing is seen, not even those who would look. Nothing is felt, not even that which would touch. Nothing is heard, not even that which would seek.

Nothing exists, not even that which would be.

Into this void, light shines, and everything returns. It brings time, for something changes. It brings space, for something moves. It brings warmth, and joy, and hope, and determination.

For an instant, there is life.

The darkness floods in, smothering, submerging, burying. There is no heat, for nothing moves. There is no light, for nothing shines. There are no dreams, because nothing sleeps.

Yet there is something.

A thrum of power, once a blinding sun, ripples through the night. It is slight, weak, meaningless, powerless and cannot destroy a single thing. It cannot dispel darkness, it cannot fill emptiness and it cannot replace nothingness.

Yet it exists, and like calls like.

For the first time, I open my eyes.

Xander Stone
Location: Base - The Quarry
Phase: Day 1/3
Time: 09:17
Day: January 13th

It’s warm, and soft, and comfy. I really don’t want to leave; can’t I stay in here? I promise you won’t need to go to the bathroom, or get hungry, or need anything else. So can’t I just close my eyes and rest?

I drag my gaze toward the desk clock, but stop abruptly as it catches on three blood-red chains.

Groaning, I shove myself out of the bed. Six months is nowhere near enough time to enjoy sleeping in, but I cannot afford to indulge for now. I shamble down the hall toward the bathroom, brushing and washing and scrubbing the drowsiness from my body. A light-blue shirt replaces yesterday’s gray one, and I step down the stairs in socks and jeans, a hand futilely rubbing mussed red hair into a reasonable excuse for a hairstyle.

I’d need to do a few things today: go shopping for food, clothing and other supplies, familiarize myself with the island and more. There was also someone who I should visit, and something that I should definitely try.

My gaze flickers to the faded circle on the living room floor, once inscribed in blood and now etched with ash.

But most of all, I should talk with my comrade in this War.

“Archer? Good morning; I’d like to talk about our plans for the day.”

Satehi
March 1st, 2015, 06:34 AM
Servant Saver
Location: Residential District - Fujimura Estate
Phase: Day 1/3
Time: 06:30
Day: January 13th


Aaaah, how long had it been since she’d enjoyed the sight of a pleasant sunrise- to watch the diligent star begin to peak its visage over the earth, as people awoke to its reliable rhythm and began their day. Her memories were a little fuzzy in this regard, but she could certainly tell that it had been no small length of time. It was a bit of a shame that the sight would have to be cut short- but judging from the ruckus occurring below; it was also time for her Master to wake up.

With but a small hop, she descended onto the soft snow with a light crunch- inaudible in comparison to the vicious noise one would have experienced from inside of that room. With a light gait, Saver peeked through the window…

To find her Master in a light state of undress, hurrying to put on his school clothes.

Displeased, she made a light pout. It wasn’t his physical appearance she was dissatisfied with (he seemed merely above average, in that regard, nothing special), but it seemed as though he had treated last night as nothing more than a dream, and was now rushing for an ordinary day of school. If there was any indication he remembered her, he didn’t show it.

Leaving him to his business, she pondered on what to do next.

Certainly, his family would be an issue- if Homura had been any indication, they likely knew nothing of magic, and explaining to them as well would be a hassle. Some sort of lie might work, but she could not think of one given that she knew little of Homura’s background. It would have been simpler if she could de-materialize and talk with him in spirit form, but such an option was not available to her for whatever reasons (likely her Master’s incompetence, she assumed). All things considered, it would probably be best for her to simply wait outside of his house for him to finish his tasks, and talk with him afterwards.

That would be the best outcome for Homura, yes.

Unfortunately for him, she had not forgotten what transpired last night, as he ignored her words and went to bed. Her anger had largely dissipated by now, but a light punishment wouldn’t hurt. It would teach him better than to do disregard her in the future.

Moving with a light smile on her face, she positioned herself straight in front of the house’s entrance. Waiting a while for whatever events inside to settle, she clenched her hand into a fist, filled with enough power to smash concrete…

And gave several normal hard knocks on the entrance, before announcing her presence in a loud voice.

“Excuuuse me! May I speak to a 'Kirisaki Homura' from this household?”

She’d leave the explanation up to him.

Bloble
March 1st, 2015, 02:03 PM
Artificer
Location: Old Town - Base
Phase: Day 1/3
Time: 07:20
Day: January 13th

"That's as solid a plan as any. I approve."

Nothing more needed to be said. Sure, Kirame's plan was straightforward to a fault and completely lacking in any sort of fall-back options, but that was how people like him functioned best. Artificer knew that much from his talks with various warriors that had passed through his home. That sort of person was a charging bull that could only move forward and hope to push through anyone in his way. All Artificer could do was sharpen the bull's horns and hold on for dear life.

"I will accompany your patrol tonight."

For a moment Artificer's words even surprised himself. There was little time, and he needed to forge as many weapons as possible to strengthen Kirame enough to take on a Servant. It was the equivalent of losing out on time in order to do... what, exactly? Get himself killed by Servants that could actually fight with something resembling skill? But it was also necessary. There was a certain wish that needed to be fulfilled, and in order to do that, Artificer needed to baptize his blade with blood.

"To accurately gauge your fighting style and those of our opponents, it's a necessary experience."

Yes. Exactly. That had to be it.

"As for this 'shopping' you speak of..."

Artificer turned his head towards Nozomi. Though samurai of old had traditionally left thoughts of monetary matters to their wives, he didn't expect that tradition to have carried onto the present. Well, for an anachronistic Master, it was likely normal. Thoughts of all the new inventions of modern times crowded into Artificer's head. Exotic foods, new materials, and revolutionary forms of entertainment all competed for attention.

The Forge could be left alone for a while. He'd return later to see it through the end.

He smiled, just a tiny bit. For a man like Artificer, it was the equivalent of a shameless grin.

"A walk wouldn't hurt, I suppose."

Ayakashi
March 1st, 2015, 03:13 PM
Character
???

Location
Miyamoto Shrine - Kiyoko's Bedroom




Phase ----- Morning
Time ------ 08:02
Day ------- January 13th




____________________







"D-did Invoker send you to p-play a joke?"


An unexpected response. The skeletal monstrosity atop Kiyoko expected the terrified screams of a maiden or the despair-filled eyes of a victim muttering their last words, but that wasn't what it got -- this girl's reaction was a lot more milder than expected, and perhaps, rather underwhelming. Fear is certainly present in her body language and speech, but the right 'levels' to make a youkai satisfied are nowhere found. Most unfortunate for a kind that have not had the opportunity to terrorize a human in a very, very long time.




"And could you please move, y-you're scaring me."




"Foolishness."

The assailant is incredulous. Is it the shrine maiden's denial of the situation that caused these words to pop out? Something feels wrong here, but the youkai cannot exactly put its finger on what is out of place... just that this entire ordeal feels utterly underwhelming. Isn't this the end of a journey that has even yet begun? Shouldn't their be stronger emotions in play?

Whatever, there were more reasons behind this act than sampling an individual's psychology. In one swift movement the blade is--


http://i.imgur.com/zCfxmag.jpg
"Gu-uhhh...?!"

A sharp pain locks the youkai in place, freezing all of its movements and preventing its arm from bringing the blade down on Kiyoko. A malicious laugh resounds behind it - without doubt belonging to the very same person that just stabbed the cold tip of a katana through the youkai's brain. That is... definitely a bloodstained sword-tip that's protruding between eye orbits of the youkai...

"Ara, ara~ What wonderful efficiency. A little bit too much for my taste!"

"Y-you..."

The youkai does not have the time to finish its sentence, let alone begin it - they barely speak up when like a skewered piece of meat, the youkai is sent flying through the window, their lifeless body crashing into the snow-covered garden below.



------






Character(s)
Invoker

Location
Miyamoto Shrine - Kiyoko's Bedroom




Phase ----- Morning
Time ------ 08:02
Day ------- January 13th

http://i.imgur.com/7B2cwvS.png



"Hmm, well that was a close one, Master. Are you alright? Oh, look at that messy blood spread out all over you, ruining that soft and supple texture..."

It would be strongly possible to question the sanity of Kiyoko's rescuer by now, that is, her Servant Invoker. Draped in black as always, the beautiful corpse-like woman stands by Kiyoko's bed, wiping off the blood that has dripped onto the Shrine Maiden during the previous 'incident' with a handkerchief. Invoker appears to be pausing from time to time to appreciate the girl's fine complexion, as well as adding unnecessary pressure when hovering her hand over Kiyoko's bossom...

...that woman is in far too good spirits for the current situation: the aftermath of an assassination attempt on her Master. When she's done removing the blood from Kiyoko, she begins to do the same to the katana that she had used to stab the skeleton-like creature in the face.

Kiyoko would have reasons to worry.

When Invoker is done wiping the blood of the katana, it suddenly shifts back into a form that Kiyoko might be more familiar with - the seven-feathered fan that she's characteristically seen wielding at most times. It isn't only her sword that changes though - if the bladed katana has become a mundane, harmless if regal fan, then Invoker's behaviour could be said to have gone the other way, with the disturbingly pleasant character vanishing and giving place to crystallized, silent fury.


http://i.imgur.com/c6CvDmV.png
"... why did you not call out my name immediately?"

With the eyes of a demon that could send a full grown warrior cowering with their tail tucked between their legs, Invoker asks that one poignant question. That piercing, 'dead' glare would be on the level of the wrathful Izanami herself when she pursued her husband: it is a cold, harrowing, burning stare that can literally eat souls...

... but eventually, after having let that discontentment settle into Kiyoko's psyche clearly, Invoker reverts to her curiously merry demeanour she intially possessed. Like the raging sea whose waves are thrown wildly and aimlessly, is there even a way for any onlooker to understand what truly is going on behind the mind of this twisted existence?

She chuckles dismissively, before continuing:

"Dear me, did you think that this was a joke? Ah, perhaps that I should have informed you before... but well, now more than ever is good time to know that these people, while under my command, do not happen to be most loyal to me! I have trouble controlling them, unfortunately. Ahahaha~"

Invoker is acting like a carefree child that are trying but failing very badly to acknowledge their mistake. She continues laughing emptily for a few more seconds abruptly stopping and turning around to exit the room. As she stands by the doorway though, the woman in black pauses for a while, looking at Kiyoko from the corner of the eye, saying:

"Hmm, we should discuss the implications of what just happened. If you could please head down in the dining room for breakfast? The kotatsu is ready to warm you up, and I have prepared the right meal that'll give you all the energy you need~"

Without waiting for an answer, perhaps wanting to take the discussion at a proper place, Invoker vanishes from Kiyoko's bedroom.



------



Invoker
Miyamoto Shrine
Living Room
8:07



"Boss, was that really necessary?"

The voice of one of her summons resonates in her head.

"Hmmm, do you feel bad for your ilk?"

Invoker's voice is filled with derisiveness, much to the Tengu summon's displeasure.

"Well, even if we don't really die if we get killed after being summoned by you, I'd like you not to play with our feelings that much. You might be the Lord of Kurama, but it's not like you're anywhere near what you once were, are you?"

"Ohohoho... true, true. I am weak and feeble. But even if I am theoretically at a tenth of my original power, you would still require a hundred to even stand a chance of revolting against me."

"Well boss, just a small warning out there. We're doing whatever you want right now, but we might change our minds if you keep acting like that and someone who can unfortunately match you shows up..."

"I'll note that, my dear subject~ Good job on the cleaning up by the way!"

"Sigh. I really pity that poor miko... let's hope that she doesn't order you immediately to kill yourself."

"Well, we'll see about that~"


The footsteps coming from the staircase -- there is no doubt that Miyamoto Kiyoko has gathered her thoughts and is coming down into the kitchen. What is she coming as though, Invoker has to wonder? What will the results of this discussion be, after the outrageous awakening that Kiyoko has experienced? What does the future hold for a Master-Servant pair that has had such a messed up and tumultous beginning already?
The anticipation, the unknown varriables, the thrill of the insanity : it is all part of the fun for Invoker, and that is why there is a wide smile on her lips.
Well, part of that smile also comes from the fact that she is currently...



http://i.imgur.com/o8Czq5n.png
"W-e-l-c-o-m-e, Onee-san!"


... in the form of an innocent, and most sweet girl that seems to have barely entered her teenage years. What other form than the endearing and loving little sister to implore the big sister's pardon and gain once again her affection? It would be hard not to achieve such objectives, especially after having cooked these luxurious meals that now sit on the table, awaiting to be picked apart...