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Thread: Fate/Reclamation (IC)

  1. #21
    焼け尽きた感情も Reiu's Avatar
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    Arwyn Cadfael Penrith
    15th of December, 2004
    Morning (Phase 1-1)
    Westminster Cathedral


    We are taught many things as children.

    That God is fair.
    That reward lies at the end of the road for those who are kind and just.
    That ultimately, doing the right thing will have been worth it somehow.
    Not everyone can keep believing in such ideals in the face of grim reality.

    ...And that is exactly why I had to.
    As someone who could, to do my part, even just a little;
    to convey to others, even just a fragment of this promise---

    ---That hope should not have to be the price one must pay to advance forward in this grey world.

    Yes, hope was what drove Arwyn onward, even now.

    Where another man would have resigned himself to what he saw, he chose to press on.

    He himself had long since strayed from the path deserving of reward, into that deserving of retribution. And thus, it was not hope for his own reward that brought him this far.

    ---It was the hope for others.

    For that, he needed his
    answer
    judgment
    .




    And it was on this quest that he walked through the streets of Westminster seeking his destination, to prepare his mind. The feeling of uncanniness as he processed the ordinary sights before him was not completely new to him, and yet it did not make it any more easy to bear.

    Every morning since that day--the day he had first taken a life---he had obsessively perused the newspapers, for any report, any sign. And yet, there was nothing. No matter how many times, how many repetitions, how many dead, the news reported no strange murder, no unsolved homicide, nothing. Nothing…almost...

    ...Almost though there had been no murders at all.

    He felt his chest tighten painfully at the memories. What he had done was unforgivable. His victims were dead, while he was alive, and well, and walked free. How long has it been now?

    The idea of a just world, watched over by a God who righted the injustice of human society, who punished the wicked and rewarded the good. All his life, he held this belief close to his heart.

    If the former was not true...then what became of the latter?

    What became of those people, who were just, and kind, and dedicated, they whom society nonetheless did not reward? What was there for them?
    Was the only salvation that God could offer them in death, and not in life?

    He...didn't want to believe that. But he must ascertain for himself the answer.

    He would give anything for it...

    --"If you truly desire the answer to the question that burns within your soul, then obtain the Holy Grail."




    Lost in thought, he opened the doors of the church.

    It was not until that he was spoken to, from behind, that he was startled out of his internal questioning. Arwyn turns to see the priest whose calm voice had brought him back to the present. His was a familiar face, to Arwyn, though he did not know his name.

    ...For just a moment, Arwyn's mind flashes to the confessional.

    But no---those who confessed did so to lighten the burden of their heart. To seek forgiveness.

    ...And it was not forgiveness Arwyn sought, but the opposite.


    "Good day, Father. I had found myself in want of attending worship, but it seems I was too late for Mass."


    Arwyn speaks in even tones. He does his best to similarly marshal his expression into that of calm, despite the turmoil he felt. He could not tell how successful he was.

    Half-unconsciously, he adjusts his gloves. A nervous tic. He had been rather thankful for these gloves in the cold---

    His mind stops dead as his mind makes a connection that had not occurred to him until then. Perhaps it was only natural, to do so in a house of God.

    The marks on the back of his right hand...

    But...no, how could that be? It made no sense. It couldn't be. And yet, what other explanation was there for this strange pattern?


    "There was also...something on my mind, Father.
    ...Would you be so kind as to tell me what you know of stigmata?"
    Last edited by Reiu; February 6th, 2018 at 06:32 AM.


  2. #22
    ⚠ Trouble Sei's Avatar
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    Aila Einzbern
    15th of December, 2004
    Morning (Phase 1-1)
    Oxford Street


    It's a sudden shift, but one I understand to have been inevitable.

    Once Lady Irisviel placed her hand on my back, I knew immediately what it was that troubled her. I can feel it. My own magical energy reacting to hers. It etches a definitive pattern and practically carves itself into my flesh. So, even if it's not within my sight, I can see it clearly. That burning red mark that appeared on me suddenly.


    I'm having a hard time determining why, but the mere sight of this marking has created something of an awkward moment. To my understanding, we came out today to have fun. To enjoy ourselves and develop our own individualities. But now, I'm standing here, being embraced by a woman I respect, and the only thing I can think of is sadness.

    I don't like it... I don't like it one bit. But in spite of this feeling, I can't help relish the warm embrace of another. To feel someone secure me in their arms and draw me into their own warmth... It's an odd feeling of security that I feel starkly contrasts the road ahead of me.

    I don't know what to say. I don't know what I can say. But I just know that this is not how I want this moment to go.

    "Lady Irisviel," I peek over my shoulder. Placing my hands over Irisviel's arms so as to tell her not to let me go, "... It's okay. These kinds of things are a bit complicated... And I'm really not entirely sure I understand it all yet, but... In a way, I'm glad things are the way they are."

    I attempt to sort out all these complicated feelings and thoughts while being concise. It's hard. Challenging even. But I owe it to Lady Irisviel to try and convey myself the best I can.

    "I've... read in books that people go their entire lives in search of a purpose. So, I kind of consider myself fortunate that I was born with one. Even if it's not of my own making."

    Briefly clutching Lady Irisviel's hand, I consider these words I let slip without thinking. What they mean to me. What they will mean to her. And why it sounds like I'm trying to convince myself of something. Ultimately, I have no answer. Only rampant thoughts. And in the midst of it all, Lady Irisviel's words become intermixed and constantly fight their way to the top.

    There was something else I wished to say, but now it's lost. There is doubt in me, but I understand this is the purpose I am to serve. So I guess I'll leave it at that...

    "Um... Anyway... I would like to try on that dress you picked out now."

    My time is already short. If anything, I'd rather not spend it on troubling matters.
    Sei "Kanra" Slayers
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  3. #23
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six Mellon's Avatar
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    Alexandra Chimeragenos, Michael Blackmore, Kanzaki Erika
    15th of December, 2004
    Clock Tower (Main Campus) - Saggitarius Hall
    Morning (Phase 1-1)




    “Is that a… Command Seal? Impossible. The Fuyuki Grail was taken by the…”

    Luviagelita Edelfelt’s slightly shocked voice was the first to break the silence present in the room.

    Judging from her inquisitive tone, it was clear that the noblewoman dressed in azure had at least some inkling as to the meaning of the strange markings that you had suddenly found adorning your body. Taking a second to compose herself after her sudden outburst, the Edelfelt heir regained her normal composure and lowered her head in a slightly repenting gesture. At the very least it was obvious that whatever Luvia had expected to be the cause behind your sudden meeting, this was not it.

    “My apologies, Mr. Velvet. I did not mean to interrupt. Do continue.”

    A wry smile appeared on Waver’s face.



    It's fine. Considering the circumstances, I understand your reaction, Ms. Edelfelt.”

    The coated administrator gave a slight cough before continuing.

    “As I can tell from your reactions, you have found them then. These, as Ms. Edelfelt mentioned earlier, are what are known as Command Seals.” You could feel the magical energy flowing out of Waver’s body die down, causing the glow surrounding the strange markings to fade. “They are sigils that mark one as a participant, a Master, in a very specific kind of grand ritual, known as the Holy Grail War.”

    “This ritual originally took in a Japanese city called Fuyuki and was contingent on the summoning of seven Heroic Spirits, known as Servants. These Masters and Servants would then fight until only one pair was remaining and the winners would then be granted a “wish”.

    “Fundamentally, it was a ritual to manifest and obtain an omnipotent wish-granter. Ergo, why it was called the Holy Grail. Granted, using that name was probably a mistake in hindsight, considering that it got the Church involved, but...”

    Waver Velvet let out an irritated sigh.

    “In the end, the Grail was placed under a Sealing Designation sixty-five years ago after it had been stolen by one of the participants of the War. It would seem that because incorporated some aspects of the Third it was somewhat of a curiosity for members of the Observatory, but… well, it was pretty much an inert rock when it was brought to the Clock Tower. So they just threw it into the Second Vault and left it to rot.”

    “While the three families that were responsible petitioned numerous times to have the Sealing Designation revoked…”

    Marisbury suddenly let out a snort of amusement.



    “Let me guess, they didn’t want to admit that they just took it out of plain greed? Or was it embarrassment due to the fact that they couldn’t even manage so much as activate it?”

    Waver let out another rather flustered cough.

    “In any case, that should have been the case closed and the Fuyuki Grail should have simply rotted away in the Vaults until the end of time.”

    “Or at least that would have been the case, had the bloody thing not activated out of nowhere last night and nearly blown up the entire warding lattice of the Second Vault.”


    Arwyn Cadfael Penrith
    15th of December, 2004
    Morning (Phase 1-1)
    Westminster Cathedral

    "There was also...something on my mind, Father.”

    “...Would you be so kind as to tell me what you know of stigmata?"
    The chestnut-haired priest's eyes were completely inscrutable as he gazed at Arwyn, with nary a flicker of emotion on his stony face. With a simple wave, the priest prompted towards one of the simple wooden doors on the side of the main cathedral. While the main cathedral hall was the part of Westminster Cathedral most typically seen by supplicants and other visitors, the orange-white cathedral possessed many other rooms typically not available to the public, usually the living quarters and offices of the priests, nuns, and other officials of faith that commonly visited the gigantic church.

    After a small walk through the rather elaborately decorated hallways of the cathedral, you reached what was, most likely, the office of the priest in question. Unlike the rather elaborately draped hallways, the office of the priest was almost uncannily ascetic. A simple wooden desk stood in the middle of the room, along with two chairs and a couple of shelves. You could make out nothing that could be considered an object of comfort or amusement, with the possible exception of some kind bizarre-looking boardgame that you couldn’t quite place that sat on the shelves. Perhaps the man was a member of one of the monastic orders, like the Franciscans?

    Either way, you could tell the tall priest was a man who had resolutely set aside all pleasures of this world.

    Taking a seat behind the simple desk, the priest beckoned Arwyn to sit.



    “Numerous are those who would claim to bear the marks of the Lord on their flesh. And while there are many who would seek to lead men astray through their deceit, the God has also provided means by which to verify those who have been blessed by His hand.”

    “Tell me. Which of the Holy Wounds has manifested on your flesh?

  4. #24
    焼け尽きた感情も Reiu's Avatar
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    Arwyn Cadfael Penrith
    15th of December, 2004
    Morning (Phase 1-1)
    Westminster Cathedral

    Uncertain what to expect, Arwyn compliantly follows the priest. He had intended it to be a simple question, an innocuous one that could be addressed easily enough. And yet the priest appeared to take his question with a greater gravity that Arwyn had expected, at least if this invitation was any indication. After all, he could've just given answer there in the nave of the cathedral. A simple question and answer.

    The feeling of anxiety that Arwyn felt...it has been long since Arwyn has been in a situation like this, conversing in private in a non-work related context. Over a concern of his own, no less. It was a strangely vulnerable feeling---one he was unused to.

    "Tell me. Which of the Holy Wounds has manifested on your flesh?"

    So the priest had somehow already determined the reason for his question. Arwyn starts slightly, but deep down, it was reassuring to him that a man of god would be insightful thus...and even more so that this would be the one who could address this pressing question of his.

    The red marks. It could not be. If anything, his should be the brand of a sinner. And yet, the location...the back of hand, a site of the crucifixion of Christ...the bleeding...all this corresponded to what Arwyn had been taught long ago to be the traits of stigmata, the recreation of a Holy Wound.


    How could it be---after all he had done----


    At the thought, cracks threatened to shatter through the calm exterior he had been been mustering all his effort to maintain.

    Hesitantly, still standing, Arwyn makes his decision.

    He slowly removes his right glove.



    He prayed it wasn't.
    Last edited by Reiu; January 29th, 2018 at 01:50 AM.


  5. #25
    地獄待ち Spinach's Avatar
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    Alexandra Chimeragenos
    15th of December, 2004
    Clock Tower (Main Campus) - Sagittarius Hall
    Morning (Phase 1-1)


    The mark of the ram faded, Alexandra’s conscious display of the red sigils coming to an end as she ceased the circulation of magical energy within her body.

    “Then the appearance of these ‘Command Seals’ means the ritual has begun anew. Summoning Heroic Spirits, and not only one, but seven. Such a feat is unprecedented. The magical energy required cannot be understated.”

    The giantess stood still as an ancient tree as she spoke. Her tone began to finally take on character, showing both disapproval at those who had failed to prevent this ‘Grail’ from activating its ritual, as well as the scholarly side of her that could be seen in those few lectures Alexandra presided over. Though even that erudite bearing of hers found itself looking down upon the sealed relic.

    “The families that founded this ritual could have any number of more efficient methods to craft this ritual. Gathering enough energy to summon Heroic Spirits, only to pit them against each other to the last left standing.”

    The Lord’s pale red eyes continued to stare ahead, yet the pressure of her gaze began to sharpen upon Waver. For the rest of the room the sensation of being watched began to lighten, the sensation growing dull. The near palpable scrutiny of Lord Chimeragenos bore down onto the man who held the answers she wanted.

    There was nothing threatening in the gesture. It wouldn’t be the first time all of Lord Chimeragenos’ attention had befallen Waver Velvet, and it would likely not be the last.

    “Senior Administrator of the Directorate, you said this ritual originates in Japan, and that there were three families involved in the ritual’s creation, correct? Being of Far Eastern origin, they must be of little note. Still. Who are these families?”
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  6. #26
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Michael Blackmore
    15th of December, 2004
    Morning (Phase 1-1)
    Sagittarius Hall

    Michael had been planning to say something.

    He'd been meaning to, but Lord Alexandra Chimeragenos wasn't the sort of person that was often interrupted.

    So Michael straightened his back, faced forward, and kept his mouth shut, no doubt to Bazett's relief. Instead of speaking up he let the stern-faced Lord do the talking. No doubt she was much more qualified to inquire about such things than him, a lowly Enforcer with little knowledge of magical rituals.

    Little knowledge. Michael had to correct himself. A more accurate description would be 'no knowledge at all'.

    Fuyuki. For a moment the name felt familiar, but he passed it off as déjà vu. Michael was positive he'd never heard of the place, or if he had it was in a half-remembered conversation from years prior. Ditto for terms like Holy Grail War, Heroic Spirit, and Command Seal. Some meanings could be inferred in conjunction with the information Waver was handing out, but it still made for a blurry painting of the situation, that of a sort of battle royal meant to gather energy for some inscrutable ritual.

    Sealing Designation, however, was more than familiar. It was a word that, in Michael Blackmore's experience, had a strong association with violence and death.

    Sixty-five years old. Sudden reactivation. A war, and a wish.

    Michael glanced at Bazett. He didn't know why at first, but the realization came as Waver Velvet delivered the news of the strange artifact's reactivation.

    Michael was glad. Glad he'd gotten a chance to goof off and let off steam when he did, to make a friend exasperated and share a present of no consequence. Because some part of him knew, instinctively, that he wouldn't be able to innocently smile like that for quite some time.

  7. #27
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six Mellon's Avatar
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    Gendou Matou
    15th of December, 2004
    Morning (Phase 1-1)
    Sutton Lane

    "So I suggest not opening that jar."

    "Unless you're interested in an early grave of course."
    The shopkeeper took out the lollipop from his mouth only to give Gendou one of the most deadpan looks the young man had seen during his life.



    “Kid, do you expect me to just take your word for it then? That is quite a naive way to do business in these parts, y’know?”

    “If I was that gullible, Jollenbeck’s goons would have already milked me for all I was worth.”

    The old man let out a sigh as he popped the sweet treat back into his mouth.

    “...Haa… Just drop it on the counter, I suppose.”

    A moment later, you could feel the dark-haired proprietor’s Magic Circuit open, as Od filled his body. He wasn’t the most accomplished magi you had ever met, that was for sure. His overall capacity was a somewhat below you, that was for sure. Judging from the rather long-winded chant, he wasn’t that accomplished as a magus either. Not that such a thing was really that telling, considering the locale you were in. Seedy places were filled with seedy folks, after all. People who couldn’t adapt and scrounge up every advantage they could don’t live for long in this kind of business.

    Heck, the man could be purposefully extending his chants for all you knew.



    A second later, the spell activated, and a web of thin purple strands emitted from the hands of the shopkeeper. The thin strands of light bound themselves around the jar, almost as if probing it some peculiar manner. And then, suddenly, they were gone, almost as if they hadn’t existed in the first place. It was kind of underwhelming, honestly. Not that you expected anything more dramatic. No, considering your earlier warning, it was exceedingly unlikely that man in front of you would risk playing around exceedingly overt spells like that.

    If you had to put your finger on it though… Divination? Psychometry of some sort? Perhaps a curse of contagion?

    Satisfied with whatever he had read out of the strange spell, the shopkeeper gave a slight nod of approval and placed the jar containing the kishi fangs in front of Gendou.



    “Well, your offer is credible enough, I suppose. They’re yours if you want them.”


  8. #28
    すきだ Katie's Avatar
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    Kanzaki Erika
    15th of December, 2004
    Clock Tower (Main Campus) - Saggitarius Hall
    Morning (Phase 1-1)

    The idea doesn’t quite sink in, even as I think about it. A battle royale where the victor gets a wish. Something that belongs in a book or a movie, but not real life.

    Then again, I suppose being a magus means that what should be considered impossibilities, are, in fact, the opposite, and that it’s the limits in my perception that deserve to be shaken. Even so, that doesn’t change the fact that ultimately, only one of us seven are supposed to survive, capable of getting whatever they want.

    Which leads us to the point of this meeting.

    Is it to get us to all summon a Heroic Spirit so that a wish can be granted in a rare example of magus fair play? Or, was this meeting was arranged so that a peaceful solution could be found? Judging by the looks on everyone’s faces, nobody is too pleased to hear this news, so perhaps such an idea is quite possible.

    Either way, I get the feeling I’m at a disadvantage if I don’t clarify anything. As someone with relatively little experience at being a magus in the first place, aren’t I just easy pickings?

    …Well, there’s no point in pondering over my survival when it isn’t even confirmed if we’re actually going to be performing the ritual. Worry when it is a problem, not when it has yet to be.

    Take a deep breath, Erika, and focus.

    “Pardon, Mr. Velvet, but am I correct in assuming the goal of this meeting is to come to a peaceful conclusion about such a ritual… Or is there something else you have yet to tell us?”
    Last edited by Katie; January 24th, 2018 at 01:45 AM.
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  9. #29
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six Mellon's Avatar
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    Tohsaka Akechi & Mori Shiori
    15th of December, 2004
    Morning (Phase 1-1)
    ???? - Tokiomi's Study

    "Thank you Father for the gifts. Since we're on communication, do you happen to have contacts on the other members of the White Team? I know Gendou... But I'm afraid I don't have any means of contacting him. It would be useful if we can at least relay information to each other."
    The burgundy-suited patriarch’s eyes glimmered with a mysterious glint as he pondered on the question posed by Akechi.

    “Hmm…. The Einzberns are being as mysterious as usual. I have no idea who even holds the role of their master, not to mention where they have decided to set up their residence. There are avenues of contact, of course, but most of them would take time and would most likely have to go through Acht.”

    “If I am completely honest, it might be more productive for you to carry out your own investigations on the matter.”

    “As for the Matous…” Tokiomi stayed silent for a second, clearly pondering about something. “I’ll contact Kariya-kun. At the very least, I should have some method available to you by the evening, Akechi.”

    "Father, I'll attend as your daughter for one last night... Afterwards, I'm Kurebayashi Akechi the resident helper/healer of the Clock Tower who doesn't know about this war or the Tohsakas."

    “However… I’ll have to refuse your kind invitation.”

    “Although I appreciate your generosity, I believe this evening belongs to you and your daughters. It is not my place to intrude on your family’s affairs.”
    The Tohsaka patriarch simply gave Shiori a simple nod in acknowledgment, as the younger girl made her way out of the office of the Tohsaka head. Passing on the tickets to Akechi, Tokiomi placed the remaining pair of tickets into the drawers of his wooden table, just as the office door closed with a click behind the Amakusa Master. Raising from his chair, the older magus walked towards the window of his office, from where you could make out the disappearing form of the Japanese girl.



    “I appreciate her candor. It's remarkably refreshing considering the endless subterfuge of Association politics. All the scheming that was necessary to make this chance of ours an actuality.“

    A slight smirk played on Tokiomi’s lips.

    “Although that means that my teachings, at least in some aspects, weren’t quite taken to heart.”

    “Hopefully the experience will provide the weight that my words lack.”

    Having said that, the Tohsaka family head turned his gaze to his daughter.

    “In any case, I will not hold you any longer, my daughter. I am sure that you have your preparations to see as well, am I correct?”


  10. #30
    ...Seriously? Kuroyuki's Avatar
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    Tohsaka Akechi
    15th of December, 2004
    Morning (Phase 1-1)
    ???? - Tokiomi's Study

    Quote Originally Posted by Tokiomi
    “Hmm…. The Einzberns are being as mysterious as usual. I have no idea who even holds the role of their master, not to mention where they have decided to set up their residence. There are avenues of contact, of course, but most of them would take time and would most likely have to go through Acht.

    If I am completely honest, it might be more productive for you to carry out your own investigations on the matter.”
    "I see... I'll look into that then."

    I made a note to look for any recent German entrees into the United Kingdom. It should be reasonably documented or there should be a possible slip of their security measures at the airport or port they came into. Regardless, I have some work to do.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tokiomi
    “As for the Matous… I’ll contact Kariya-kun. At the very least, I should have some method available to you by the evening, Akechi.”
    d

    "Thanks Father, I'll be looking forward to it." g

    Shiori turned down Father's invitation. Part of me was irritated that she turned down Father's hard efforts to reward us one last time, but I was also kind of happy that she refused. While Father watched her slowly leave from the window, I remained sitting. 4

    Quote Originally Posted by Tokiomi
    "I appreciate her candor. It's remarkably refreshing considering the endless subterfuge of Association politics. All the scheming that was necessary to make this chance of ours an actuality.

    Although that means that my teachings, at least in some aspects, weren’t quite taken to heart.

    Hopefully the experience will provide the weight that my words lack.”
    N

    Indeed... It was nice to be candid with people versus watching your words. A mere jest on your end could be seen as a threat to another more paranoid person. Talking to one person can mean alienating you from another. Admitting your dislike closes many doors as well as opening other doors. Balancing everyone's likes, dislikes, and opinions so everyone views you favorably is mentally tiring. Placing a persona on appropriately and promptly to suit your needs. F

    To place it simply, I appreciated Shiori's candor whenever I saw her back home. Finally Father turned back around to me. u

    Quote Originally Posted by Tokiomi
    “In any case, I will not hold you any longer, my daughter. I am sure that you have your preparations to see as well, am I correct?”
    A

    "Thank you for meeting me Father, I believe I'll try and establish communications with the Einzberns first. Now have a day Father." 8
    Last edited by Kuroyuki; January 28th, 2018 at 12:57 AM. Reason: Forgot something~
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  11. #31
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six Mellon's Avatar
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    Aila Einzbern
    15th of December, 2004
    Morning (Phase 1-1)
    Oxford Street

    "I've... read in books that people go their entire lives in search of a purpose. So, I kind of consider myself fortunate that I was born with one. Even if it's not of my own making."

    "Um... Anyway... I would like to try on that dress you picked out now."
    Despite your objections, Irisviel’s hands did not pull back and remained locked around your shoulders for a moment longer. It was almost as if Irisviel could sense the hesitation and doubts nested deep within you. The white-haired homunculi’s voice was filled with an almost motherly warmth as she softly spoke to the green-haired homunculi in her hands.



    “If that is how you truly feel, so be it. But… even if you accept the goal that has been set for you, the path there is still yours to choose.”

    A note of melancholy ran through Iri’s voice.

    “Short does not mean worthless, Aila.”

    It was only after saying that that the arms of the normally excitable homunculus retreated, returning to their position on their shoulder. Almost as if banishing the serious atmosphere the ruby-eyed homunculi clapped down slightly with her hands on the younger girl’s shoulders.

    Umu! But enough of that, as you said, we came here to try out new clothes!”

    “Therefore..!”

    Irisviel brought her hands down in a burst of sudden motion

    In a single gesture that seemed more akin to magic rather than normal human motion, you were immediately stripped of all your remaining overclothes, accompanied by an almost gleeful giggle from the older woman. Grabbing the blue dress from the hook, Irisviel threw the garment over your hands and onto your body, immediately starting to adjust its position and look. Quite the manhandling, honestly. You could understand Lapis’s distress a bit more, honestly, now that you were undergoing such treatment yourself. And you could definitely see why Ilyasviel always hid in some nook or cranny when a shipment arrived from the mountain village below the Einzbern castle, forcing Kiritsugu to spend half the day looking for the girl.

    Indeed. When it came to clothes, Irisviel von Einzbern was a true demon, treating everyone like her personal Barbie dolls.

    A moment later, the curtain was pulled back, revealing your form to the rather surprised Lapis.



    "Milady….”



    “Hmm… Something feels like its missing…. an accessory? I know!”


    Irisviel stormed off towards the main hall of the shop, before returning a moment later. Suddenly you could feel something rather large placed on your head. A large-rimmed airy hat, one with an identical color to your dress, from the looks of it.

    Iri gave a slight self-satisfied nod.

    “Mhm! Perfect!”

    Last edited by Mellon; January 28th, 2018 at 07:51 AM.

  12. #32
    Gendou Matou
    15th of December, 2004
    Morning (Phase 1-1)
    Sutton Lane

    "And here I thought I came off as quite trustworthy, even if I am new."

    Gendou flicked his lighter as he said those words, he wasn't hurt by the man's suspicion but he'd act it out all the same. It was natural that in such a seedy environment extra checks were necessary to make sure one wasn't cheated, not that he had many tricks similar to what this man had just pulled. Being a first rate magus wasn't necessary in this business but a simple spell like that? Well, it made him rethink his own repertoire with what he had to work with in the past. Maybe he would get that trick out of him another time but for now he already managed to get one of the things he came for.

    "Still a neat trick, I'll have to ask you about it some time."

    Glancing one more at the jar of teeth, he had to admit one thing to himself...carrying these things around was still going to be a pain. Next time he'd have to bring a big briefcase, anything would be better than walking around in broad daylight with a large jar filled with the equivalent of cursed spears.

    "I'm sure I'll be seeing you around with the bit of work I've still gotta get done in London. Maybe I'll ask for an odd job next time."

    Once again he gave a shrug to the man as he lugged the jar under his arm, it was durable and heavier than expected.

    Or maybe that was his lack of real physical exercise catching up on him.

    Whatever. It was too early in the day to be complaining already.

    "Pleasure doing business with ya...well, never did get your name did I?

  13. #33
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six Mellon's Avatar
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    Alexandra Chimeragenos, Michael Blackmore, Kanzaki Erika
    15th of December, 2004
    Clock Tower (Main Campus) - Saggitarius Hall
    Morning (Phase 1-1)

    “Senior Administrator of the Directorate, you said this ritual originates in Japan, and that there were three families involved in the ritual’s creation, correct? Being of Far Eastern origin, they must be of little note. Still. Who are these families?”


    “You might be surprised, milady Chimeragenos.”

    The voice that answered Alexandra’s query was not that of the monologuing administrator, but rather the soft tone of Luviagelita Edelfelt. While the woman was still the perfect image of noble poise, her posture held a certain tenseness to it and a glint of excitement was evident in her eyes. And... a hint of vindication? The atmosphere put out by the magus heir was that of a wolf who had suddenly spotted the blood of a wounded deer.

    Perhaps calling the Edelfelts “hyenas” wasn’t that out of place.

    “While two of the families hail from the Orient, they are not the typical riff-raff of the East. Well, one of them at least. The fundamental core of the Ritual was created by the Einzbern family, based on, as mentioned by Mr. Velvet, on elements of the Third Magic. Apparently, the miracle-granting aspect of the Grail is also an elaboration of their Sorcery Trait. However, even with the structure of the ritual, the Einzberns needed a spiritual land sufficient enough to fuel the Grail.”

    “Which is why they turned to the Orient in the first place and the Tohsaka family that lived there.”


    And suddenly, the younger woman's change in character made perfect sense. Luviagelita Edelfelt and the two Tohsaka prodigies clashed on an almost permanent basis when the latter two had been enrolled in the Clock Tower. Things had died down lately since the Tohsaka heirs had left London for quite some time, but… In any case, the relationship the two families was notoriously bad, almost to the point where it was a widespread suspicion that there was something else beyond simple dislike that had taken place between the two parties. Magi feuds were not uncommon, of course, but…

    Let's just say they rarely took this long to solve.

    “In any case, Fuyuki, the spiritual land of the ritual, was under the authority of the Tohsaka family. There was also one more family… what was it again? Mako...Mari…” A number of seemingly incoherent syllables seemed to pour out of the blond's lips, as she tried to remember the name of the third family involved. “Mat...Aah, yes, it was the Matou family. They are riff-raff though. I only know that they were originally from Russia and had a role in creating these markings.”

    Luvia raised her Command Seal in an indicative gesture, giving everyone a clear idea of what precisely she was talking about.

    “Pardon, Mr. Velvet, but am I correct in assuming the goal of this meeting is to come to a peaceful conclusion about such a ritual… Or is there something else you have yet to tell us?”

    Waver let out a slightly sarcastic chuckle.



    “You are correct, Ms. Kanzaki. If this was simply a standard layout for this ritual than the approach of the Clock Tower would be to immediately to kill or extract the circuits of everyone in this room, with the exception of one who would be declared the “winner” of this little ritual.”



    “The kid is right.” Marisbury’s voice was as lackadaisical as always, seemingly at complete ease despite the relatively grim topic at hand. “Regardless of how big the prize, the Association will gain nothing from a miracle granted to a single person or family.

    “Whereas a magical war with Ghost Liners in the middle of one of the most populated cities in the world has the potential to not only destroy the Clock Tower but tear apart the very shroud of secrecy that protects magecraft itself.”

    “Which makes our current predicament rather interesting, no? Why didn’t we walk into twenty Enforcers, present company excluded… “Marisbury winked at the two Enforcers in the room. “...who would immediately take us down?”

    Waver subconsciously gritted his teeth as he looked at the glasses-wearing older man.

    “I was about to just discuss the matter before your impromptu explanation, Professor Animusphere.”

    The other man simply gave Waver an apologetic grin and raised his hands in apology, allowing the younger man to finally make his point.

    “While my understanding of the Grail itself is relatively superficial…. The Holy Grail has a supplementary auxiliary reserve system. When activated, this system allows for the further summoning of seven additional Servants. Now, this system was never activated during the Three Grail Wars that were conducted in Fuyuki. This is because this subsystem only activates in a very specific scenario.”

    “To be more precise, this system only meant to only activate in the unlikely circumstance when the seven selected Masters cooperate with each other. I assume that the Grail considers such an outcome a subversion of the overall selection process. To compensate, it marks seven additional individuals as Masters. In a way, these individuals are meant to serve as a counterweight to the original seven and to ensure the proper actualization of the Grail War.”

    Waver let out a sigh.

    “Now we reach the real gist of the matter. The markings on our bodies, the Command Seals, are that very counterweight. The people in this room are the additional seven Master chosen by the Grail.”

    “Which means….there are seven, fully cooperating, Masters already in London.”

    "And apparently, the Grail is of the opinion that any interaction between us and the original set of masters will inevitably end in the actualization of the Grail War."

  14. #34
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    Aila Einzbern
    15th of December, 2004
    Morning (Phase 1-1)
    Oxford Street


    The entire ordeal is a bit taxing, if I'm to speak honestly. Never before have I gone through such a wide array of emotions. From the pain of Lady Irisviel's sadness, to the panic and powerlessness of having my clothing effortlessly peeled off. And now... unconditional happiness.

    Once Lady Irisviel pulls back and gives me space, my mind has to catch up. The clothes I came here in are gone. Instead, I'm in something much lighter and far more easier to move in. It takes me a moment to realize I'm staring into a mirror; however, when I do, I can't take my eyes away. Not because of some newly discovered narcissism. I simply don't recognize myself at first. I'm in awe, truly... Because never before would I have thought I could look anything like this. Like a normal girl...

    "Pretty..."

    My thoughts slip out.

    As I continue to gaze, my eyes become enraptured by the dress Lady Irisviel picked out for me. Particularly, the color of the dress captivates me. It's such a deep and rich blue that I can't help but stare. But why? Why am I so enamored by something so simple? Is it because I think it looks good? Or maybe...maybe because its something Lady Irisviel herself picked out? Because it's a gift handpicked by someone I care about... The first gift I would ever receive from anyone...

    Thinking about it is starting to make my chest hurt.

    With Lady Irisviel's words still fresh in my mind, this happiness I'm feeling now is almost too much to bear. It's almost as if she's trying to make me cry... But I can't... Not just for my sake, but for her sake as well. I have to be strong. I have to keep moving forward. Because... If I could wish for one thing right now, it would be to never leave a sad memory of me.

    I pull the hat down to hide my face for a bit. I try to take a deep breath and collect myself, but I can feel that it's already too late. Small beads of water are already escaping out of the corners of my eyes and rolling down the sides of my face. I try my best to fight it, but the more I do, the more they seem intent on fighting me back.

    I grip the hat even tighter.

    I step past Lady Irisviel and Lapis, overly cautious of the face I must be making.

    I approach the man with dark skin, sitting on the side with his crossword puzzles. I call for his attention and I let him see my face.

    "Mr. Ushabti..."

    I speak, but my voice is a mess. It's strained and harsh, almost as if a stone has been lodged in my throat. Nevertheless, there is an apparent happiness riding each and every letter. And a smile to accompany them.

    "Do I... Do I look pretty?"
    Sei "Kanra" Slayers
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  15. #35
    すきだ Katie's Avatar
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    Kanzaki Erika
    15th of December, 2004
    Clock Tower (Main Campus) - Saggitarius Hall
    Morning (Phase 1-1)



    Of course the Clock Tower would arrive to such a solution had it occurred. That’s just easy to see in hindsight. But still, hearing those words, my heart pounds in my chest and it’s hard to keep my composure.

    I could have easily walked into this room knowing nothing better and be dealt with, just like that. Their methodology is fair and understandable from the magus perspective. If anything, aren’t I the weird one for finding this to be so disconcerting? Everything’s relative, after all…

    But I can’t really dwell on that. I probably look like a wreck… So, let’s put my brain to work and deal with the matter constructively instead of wasting time panicking.

    Since we’ve been selected as the “counterbalance” to the other seven Masters of this Holy Grail War, then…

    Isn’t every one of us in this room doomed to come into conflict with the other seven? There’s no way something like this would be easy as walking away, would it? If anything, it’s possible that the other seven knew this and are planning to force other summonings…

    “In other words, our participation isn’t something we can refuse… After all, even if we don’t summon, the other seven will seek us out regardless to ensure the ritual is performed?”

    The question escapes from my lips, but it’s rhetorical. Something like that has to be the case. Otherwise, we would have been offered some method to remove the Command Seals, or orders to just ignore them. But since our enemy clearly doesn’t care for the blatant chaos such a ritual, they probably don’t care about the rules of the Association, so acting like that is more a liability than anything else.

    It would be best to be prepared for the worst inevitability—that is, accepting our roles as Masters.
    [Feb/Wed/04|07:00:04] <Lianru> it's ok with each stalker call I feel like we get a little closer
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  16. #36
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    Michael Blackmore
    15th of December, 2004
    Clock Tower (Main Campus) - Saggitarius Hall
    Morning (Phase 1-1)

    One by one, questions were raised and answered. The fog filling Michael's mind lifted as new puzzle pieces were introduced, only to immediately slot into place.

    That was Waver Velvet for you. In an instant the legendary secretary had communicated the necessary information in a way that was understandable and clear, with some help from Edelfelt and Animusphere. Not that understanding brought any relief; on the contrary, Michael's heart sank the more he learned, the more words were uttered that he wished not to hear. His earlier estimate had been correct: things were getting more grim by the minute.

    Seven Masters. Seven enemies working together, in London. Seven combatants in a war for the Holy Grail, and, if Waver's words were to be believed, seven more. His beloved London was in danger, and he was part of that danger.

    Why had Michael been chosen, branded with those marks, while far stronger warriors and much more accomplished magi had not? That was the question that remained, and it would have to be shelved for later for lack of meaningful clues.

    Kanzaki gave voice to a question that would unfortunately prove rhetorical. She was clearly nervous, and had every right to be. She too was an outlier, a humble staff member among Lords and Dogs of the Association. She'd just been told that there were seven Magi gunning for her life, and that she would in all likelihood have to battle against them. Why had the Grail picked her, too?

    It aroused a bit of pity, or perhaps empathy, hearing her words. Against his better judgement, Michael threw his own hat into the pile as well.

    "Lord Velvet..." Michael spoke up, his voice now soft and nothing like the jovial greeting he'd issued to Bazett. It was the tone he'd grown used to using in the presence of his superiors, which was most of the Clock Tower staff: one of humility and subservience. "Is your opinion the same as the Grail's?"

    He would have gladly given up his circuits to prevent London becoming a battlefield, but that path was already closed off. With an entente having already been formed between the three families, war seemed all but inevitable. In that case, the reason he was here and alive was obvious.

    "If it is, could we locate the other seven the same way you found us, and have them neutralized before the ritual proceeds further?"

    An Enforcer squad seemed like the appropriate response. Michael had been summoned mere hours after landing in London. Somehow in that time Velvet had found him and intuited that a Command Seal was present, before even Michael himself could learn of it. Ditto for the others, unless they'd all reported themselves immediately. By far the most likely explanation was a spell to locate the presence of a Command Seal, or some hidden function of the Grail that the Sealing Department had exploited, which meant that the other seven Masters could be found in a similar way.

    He had a feeling it wouldn't work, though. That such a thing hadn't been mentioned as an option indicated it was impossible, or that it had already been tried and proved unsuccessful.

    War was not so easy to cool, once it had begun to boil.

  17. #37
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six Mellon's Avatar
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    Arwyn Cadfael Penrith
    15th of December, 2004
    Morning (Phase 1-1)
    Westminster Cathedral

    "Please tell me, Father. Is this truly---?"


    “Hoo…?”

    The priest’s response was not quite what you expected. If these sigils were stigmata, it would be one thing, but there was also the possibility that they were the mark of Cain. You had heard rumors that there was a secret branch of the Church that hunted down and eradicated those who perverted God’s laws but… Instead, there was no acknowledgment of your sins. No quick judgment passed, based on the sigils blazing with a crimson flare.

    In place of disdain and adjudication, a glimmer of interest flickered in the eyes of the impassive priest.

    The words that came out of his mouth were not the ones you were expecting.

    “You are thoroughly mistaken, my son. The signs on your flesh are neither a divine blessing nor a curse. While the Lord has his will in everything, the markings etched into your hand are a fully man-made miracle in nature.”

    “They are known as “Command Seals”, sigils that designate one as a participant and a Master in a magical ritual that is about to take place in the city of London.”

    “Sit.*

    The priest gestured to the chair a second time. There was no hint of coercion in the priest's voice, but it held a certain note of confidence, almost as if he was completely certain that the white-haired boy in front of him would do as he said. The priest’s eyes turned away from Arwyn for a brief moment, closing for a second in thought, and the young man could hear a slight mutter emitting from the robed man.

    “Hmm… Despite Tokiomi’s reassurances, it would seem that this War is destined to become an anomaly from the very start. Perhaps I should contact… no. It is too early.”

    Flickering back open, Kotomine Kirei’s eyes met Arwyn’s once more.

    “Tell me, what do you know of Magecraft and the Holy Grail War, my son?”

    The explanation that followed those words would change Arwyn Cadfael Penrith’s life forever.
    Last edited by Mellon; February 2nd, 2018 at 04:44 PM.

  18. #38
    焼け尽きた感情も Reiu's Avatar
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    Arwyn Cadfael Penrith
    15th of December, 2004
    Morning (Phase 1-1)
    Westminster Cathedral


    "You are thoroughly mistaken, my son."


    For a second, Arwyn's pulse skips a beat. If not stigmata, then---

    In truth, there was a possibility that he had not voiced. For the mere suggestion of the thought aloud would defeat the test, of whether his was a mark not of the Lord's blessing…but of one alike to Cain.

    His gaze flits to the strange board game on the office's shelves with a pensive expression, tentative hope rekindled, before the next words snap him back with wide eyes to the priest before him.

    The words were not a pronouncement of divine judgment, neither approval or condemnation, but something else entirely.

    A fully man-made miracle. The phrase immediately struck Arwyn as oxymoronic; man has accomplished many great things, but could any of them truly deserve the name of a miracle? No work of man was absolute. And what manner of miracle was one that could be sabotaged?

    For none but the Lord Himself were infallible. He, who must have His will in everything, as one omniscient and omnipotent...and yet...

    And yet.

    Along with the return of Arwyn's disquiet, the priest gives an explanation laden with unfamiliar terms. Command Seals, Magecraft. Neither phrase bore much meaning to Arwyn. But at the mention of the Holy Grail War, a single phrase flashes to his mind unbidden: a wildfire that consumed his thoughts,that had asserted itself in his mind so strongly since he saw the letter that morning.

    If you truly desire---

    Somewhat in a daze, Arwyn sits as he was directed to, and listened closely as the priest continued to speak. Of Masters and Servants, of the conflict and strife over the promise of a fulfilled wish. He absorbed every word, to comprehend as best he could a world hitherto unknown to him.


    "Only the victor is granted the right to behold the Grail?" he asks quietly, confirming, as the priest's explanation comes to a conclusion.


    Arwyn had no desire that could translate into a wish to be granted by the Grail itself. After all, his wish was not one of doing, but knowing. For that, he needed to ascertain with his own eyes, to see---

    ...That he knew not what manner of answer he wished for was yet another even thornier issue. Proof that God exists, but did not care to right injustice in this world? Proof that this was somehow an exception?


    "..."


    The mere thought of the former caused Arwyn to recoil strongly, as though seared by burning hot metal. To even entertain the thought was something he could hardly bear, distressing beyond words.

    But at the latter, he recalls the earlier words of the priest. An exception..."an anomaly from the very start." So the priest had muttered earlier of this war. The war that was described to Arwyn involved two teams, within whose members were in cooperation with one another. But what of him? Did he too belong to one of these, unknowingly?


    "Am I to participate as a Master of one of the two teams, Father?"


    A war, it was called. Bloodshed was inevitable in war, as was death. Arwyn knew the act of taking a life was viewed to be justifiable in certain circumstances, but...he could not imagine ever reconciling any acts of his own with this manner of thought.

    The question that burned at him had arisen from original sin, and he had only sinned further in his desperate search of its answer. There was nothing justifiable about this. It could not be permissible in any way.

    And that was why...that was why, if he must sin again...the more tainted his hands become, the more necessary it became to know. To determine why God allowed this to go unpunished.


    For if He was not just---wasn't there never any hope for those good and kind whom the world nonetheless could not, or would not save?
    Last edited by Reiu; February 16th, 2018 at 06:23 PM.


  19. #39
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six Mellon's Avatar
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    Aila Einzbern
    15th of December, 2004
    Morning (Phase 1-1)
    Oxford Street


    "Do I... Do I look pretty?"
    The dusky-skinned homunculi let out a deep sigh, clearly frustrated by Alia’s sudden interruption. With a gesture that oozed confidence and restraint, Ushabti neatly folded his newspaper in half and placed on top of the chair next to him, with the corner of the page precisely folded, most likely so that he could pick it immediately up again once the tiresome interruption had been dealt with. Standing up from his seat, your white-haired servant gave a quick couple pats to smooth out his own attire, as he responded to Aila.



    “Girl, considering your usual preference for tacky jackets and….”

    It was then that Ushabti actually turned around to look at Aila, briefly interrupting his train of speech.

    “...”

    A brief silence.

    “... You look fine, girl. Maybe you should wear this type of dress more often. They seem to fit you better.”


    A brief and blunt statement, perfectly in line with Ushabti’s normally acerbic character.

    And then the older man was kicked suddenly in the shins. Hard.



    “Now, now. I am sure what our dear Ushabti meant to say was “Yes, Aila. You look very pretty.”


    How Irisviel had suddenly quickly slipped past both Aila and Ushabti was a question all of its own. Perhaps she had already anticipated the type of response that would come from the older man and moved accordingly? Either way, an expression of intense pain suddenly flashed over the dark-skinned homunculi’s face as he was forced to take the sudden abuse piled on top of him.

    “Yes, yes... very pretty, very pretty. Will you… for god's sake... stop kicking my shins, woman!”

    Irisviel let out a slight huff, clearly filled with displeasure at the only male in the room.

    “I swear, what is it with unreasonable men in this family. Kiritsugu is also like this from time to time.” The woman in white let out a rather loud harumph. “Sometimes you are just meant to give a compliment and that is it.”

    Irisviel let out a final puff and kicked Ushabti’s legs for one last time.

    “Learn to read the mood from time to time, you insensitive oaf.”
    Last edited by Mellon; February 4th, 2018 at 04:47 PM.

  20. #40
    地獄待ち Spinach's Avatar
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    Alexandra Chimeragenos
    15th of December, 2004
    Clock Tower (Main Campus) - Sagittarius Hall
    Morning (Phase 1-1)

    “While two of the families hail from the Orient, they are not the typical riff-raff of the East."

    It was unexpected that the Edelfelt heiress would answer Alexandra. The question had been directly addressed at the dark-haired secretary, and most would have hesitated at the rude implications of answering a question from Lord Chimeragenos that was not meant for them. Yet, unlike other, more self-important peers of hers, the giantess showed no concern to have the question answered by another. An answer was an answer, and the pressure mounting from her focus on Waver Velvet began to dissipate into the surroundings, enveloping everyone equally once more.

    "Well, one of them at least. The fundamental core of the Ritual was created by the Einzbern family, based on, as mentioned..."

    There was a visible twitch in the chained woman's ears. Although her pupils stayed locked in position, the lord's neck turned slightly to face Luviagelita. In but a single word, one name, a matter of concern transformed into something else for the noble. Something timeless and unpleasant stirred within her, an unsettling crawling annoyance coded into her very genes.

    Yes, as a magus, to hear that name would inspire an instinctual reaction. Having been born as a 'realized magus' from her first second of life, her instincts were closer to a "magus'" than a "human's." Those instincts locked onto that name. Singled it out. The rest of Luviagelita's response reached Alexandra, and the knowledge was fully processed in another channel.

    Tohsaka, Matou. In her focused state she still fully absorbed every piece of relevant information, even if her brain was locked on another piece of information. Were it not for the first of the three names, Alexandra might have brought up the well known feud between Luviagelita and the Tohsaka daughters. Or perhaps she would have interjected to correct the young lady's remark that the ones that had made the Command Seals branding those gathered in this hall, were likely more than mere riff-raff. She had devoted enough of her night and morning to the markings to know that they were something more than "signs of participation." Almost like crystallized miracles.

    Yet the magus that appreciated such things was not present. The one standing, towering over her peers, was not a magus keen on the accomplishments and deeds of others. How many years had it been since someone had the courage to utter that name to her face?

    Even as the scorn began to consume her, a rare expression of emotion passed along Alexandra's face. Eyes softening, turning a more lively shade of red as they did so, the giantess corrected her gaze, returning her head to stare ahead once more.

    "Blackmore, your inquiry is hopeful at best." The lord spoke to her fellow... Master, the Enforcer. A strange man. At least twice she had heard it come up in conversations down distant halls, behind sealed doors. Three times she had spotted it in ill-placed paperwork, left out without thought. In matters regarding this 'Grail War,' he was her equal as a fellow participant chosen to counterbalance the other seven, with a name worth reaching her ears. She would at least speak to him as an equal. "It is likely the seven Masters we are meant to oppose have been preparing for this since their ritual's core was sealed. Under normal circumstances, such preparations would mean little to a team of Enforcers, as you well know."

    Occupying herself with the matter at hand assisted in suppression of the unpleasant impulse. The scorn began to recede as the giantess' normal self returned.

    "However, what if those seven have already prepared their Servants? One Heroic Spirit alone would be beyond a team of Enforcers. Seven? Simply impossible."
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