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Thread: [FF] Grail Works, Ltd.: Fate/Anarchy (Type-Moon/Scion crossover)

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    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    Chapter 35 – Of Tea and Skulduggery

    DISCLAIMER: Lunar Legend Tsukihime, Fate/Stay Night, and all related characters and concepts are the creation and property of Kinoko Nasu and TYPE-MOON, along with whomever they’ve happened to license them to, such as Geneon, Funimation, A-1 Pictures and Netflix.
    This is a not-for-profit, just-for-fun project.




    Rin’s Room
    Battleship
    Wolfen
    Outside Sighișoara, Romania








    OK, Rin, the Japanese magus asked herself, how exactly are you going to go about stealing the Greater Grail?

    Realistically, it was her best option: it would both fulfill her master’s mission and remove the potential threat both Shirou Kotomine and the Yggdmillennia family posed. It was also, at least theoretically, a hell of a lot easier than taking down thirteen Servants in a battle royale . . . Theoretically, because she had to do so while escaping the notice of said thirteen Servants and their Masters—and screwing up might lead to that battle royale occurring, after all.

    Frid—still an annoying name to get used to, but at least I can pronounce it, she thought—had sketched the physical Grail for her, and included human figures to give her a general sense of scale. The thing was massive; he’d said that it had needed either heavy chains or outright thaumaturgy to be lifted in the past.

    Frankly, that didn’t really worry her—so far as they knew, Ilya could open Doors as big as they needed to be. All Rin needed to do was get close enough for the Grail to be within her range. The problem lay in exactly how to arrange that—and, again, do so in such a way that the others didn’t know she had. And it was hard to plot, when doing so aloud meant that the walls themselves would overhear you, and report it to their master.

    Not that she thought the Norse deity would do anything about it, necessarily—but he was already more aware of the Works’ operations than she’d like. And just because he wouldn’t interfere, it didn’t rule out someone more invested in the Grail overhearing the report . . .

    Frustrated, she returned to the sketch—and paused to note its artistry. A “borrowed skill,” Frid had called it, asserting that he’d never had such in life; his original, or as the druid. But apparently, as a magus, he did.

    That makes sense, she supposed. Like any magus, he’d need some ability to draw symbols properly—and as a bloodline focussed on improving their Mystic Eyes the ability to draw what they see can only be helpful . . .

    On a professional level, she was itching to dissect him; not literally, of course, but considering what she might be able to achieve in understanding the Kaleidoscope through studying him . . . Was “Godafrid” a created persona to the mind operating his body, as the druid had been, or a true analogue: the Kaleidoscope’s reflection of him in this facet? If the latter, why was Godafrid not present in her own facet—and was this another fusion, or some other means of manifestation entirely?

    But sadly, her curiosity would have to go unsatisfied until after this Holy Grail War, or at least until after she managed to figure out how to steal the Greater Grail . . . Unfortunately, she didn’t really have much information to work with; mainly because for once, Godafrid didn’t—not when she’d asked, at least.

    “Sorry, Rin, but I’ve never seen the setup—I came in just hours before all this started, remember? Besides, they wouldn’t have shown me everything, anyway; I’m Fiore’s fiancé, yeah, but I’m not family yet, and Darnic’s arrogant, but hardly an idiot. So I can tell you where it is if you’re digging straight down, going by the anime, but I’ve no idea of its actual position in the castle, or what protections they’ve got over it. All I can say with certainty is that they can’t stand up to an Anti-World Noble Phantasm—but then again, what can?

    It just figured, Rin thought sourly, that the font of endless knowledge would run dry right when she needed it. That was just her luck . . .

    In any case, trying to plan to steal it from Yggdmillennia’s castle meant she’d be going in blind; but the same applied to trying to take it from the Hanging Gardens, if Kotomine got his hands on it. That, Godafrid had been a little more forthcoming about, and the only advantage she could see was that it was more-or-less in the open, then, as opposed to cloistered behind uncounted numbers of traps set up over seventy years. Sure, she’d have to break the Gardens’ defences, and kill Kotomine and Semiramis to get to it—but she was going to do those things anyway, and she’d have the rest of the Red Faction to help her with that part.

    Of course, then she ran into the issue of trying to pull a fast one on the Red and Black Factions while they were right there . . .

    Rin sighed. All these complications meant that, essentially, she was going to have to “wing it,” as she’d heard it put—and while associating with Shirou had improved her ability to adapt to the unexpected, she didn’t like having to do so. She much preferred to meticulously plan out her actions, and take the care to account for every possible variable . . .

    And she scrupulously ignored the doubting voice in the back of her mind—sounding all-too-much like a certain Servant—pointing out that she hadn’t managed to make that approach work out yet . . .








    Millennia Fortress
    Trifas, Romania








    “How go our preparations for the incoming attack?” Darnic demanded of the Masters of Yggdmillennia. “And how much knowledge of it do we have?”

    “I’ve alerted our agents of the Hanging Gardens’ existence and imminent arrival,” Fiore reported. “They’re tracking it as we speak, and undertaking measures to implement mass memory erasure and cover stories as necessary. By all accounts, we likely have no more than an hour, but no less than thirty minutes; it’s large, but not fast. Arguably,” she added thoughtfully, “our greatest disadvantage will be altitude: there’s not much in our arsenal that can reach it, before we even consider the idea of breaching its defences.”

    “In that regard,” Darnic said dryly, “I’m certain we can rely upon our allies of the Red Faction . . .” He turned to Caules. “How stand our present defences?”

    “All Bounded Fields are active, and familiars are seeded in place,” the youth reported. “We have approximately sixty percent of our homunculi forces, all armed—but with the workshop sealed, our access to the homunculi prana batteries—

    “Are reduced to barely half of their original number, with the rest behind the barrier,” Darnic finished. “I am aware. I’ve already adjusted the connective spells accordingly: it will allow our remaining Servants to operate as they were intended to, able to use their Noble Phantasms without restraint.”

    Which galled him, because that was only possible given that Caster and Rider had been eliminated, and Assassin had never been connected at all . . . But in point of fact, he’d gone a bit further than even that, arranging the connections so that, as Servants were defeated, the prana flows would reorient on the remainder.

    As such, it rendered each Servant who fell in battle merely a means to strengthen their allies; a nasty surprise for the Red Faction when the War resumed, and a trump card to grant the last Servant of Black standing a level of power beyond imagining . . . And, in truth, it was a strategy Darnic had never believed he would need to implement—at least, not until nearly half his forces were eliminated before and during the first major skirmish of the War.

    Of course, Darnic didn’t feel the need to share this detail with the others; while he’d selected them carefully for their talent and general lack of ambition, it wouldn’t do to tempt them, nonetheless. Likewise, while he was reasonably certain that none of their Servants save his own might kill the others for a strategic advantage, their reactions to knowing the possibility existed were somewhat less predictable . . .

    “If our magecraft, Servants and homunculi are thus prepared,” he announced, “that leaves only the golems.” He turned his gaze again, and prompted, “Roche?”

    The boy jumped in his seat at being singled out; but to his credit, his voice was even as he answered.

    “B - Between what was destroyed in the attack, and the workshop being sealed off,” the youngest magus replied, “we’re at only thirty percent of our original golem army. I’m trying to salvage by combining bits from some of the destroyed ones, but I’m just not as good as Teacher . . .”

    His tone was dejected, and the emotion was plainly visible upon his face. Some of the reason for that was attributable to youth, no doubt, but its presence being explicable did not make it acceptable—though Darnic found that watching the boy pale at his disapproving gaze was minutely gratifying.

    “Restore all that you can,” he said, choosing not to comment directly, “and we will make the best use possible of your labours. Neither the Red Faction nor the traitorous priest has snatched victory from our hands yet, and I will not act as though the deed is already done! Our most powerful Servants yet remain within our arsenal—”

    Saber and Lancer, primarily, though to discount the centaur renowned for both his wisdom and his prowess was probably a mistake . . . And Berserker, while young as a Heroic Spirit, was nevertheless far more suited to this modern era than most of her counterparts; it might be that the battlefield would grant her advantages other Servants lacked.

    “—and we know what it is we face, now! We have the talent, the power, and the will—AND WE SHALL MAKE CERTAIN THAT ALL SHALL REMEMBER THE NAME OF YGGDMILLENNIA!

    One way or another, Darnic thought to himself








    Tamamo’s Tearoom
    Battleship
    Wolfen
    Outside Sighișoara, Romania








    She heard him, because of course she did; even leaving aside the fact that most deities were attuned to their names—handling prayers would be quite difficult, otherwise—Tamamo-no-Mae, as she’d been conceived in Scion, had maxed-out Epic Perception. Over a distance as relatively small as the size of the Wolfen, there was basically no way she couldn’t hear him. It was why he’d called to her that way in the first place.

    Of course, the fact that she responded to his call by opening up a hole in the floor and dropping him into a chair in a cozy, Western-style tearoom was something Frid hadn’t predicted, and therefore had him crying out in alarm—but he really should have expected that, too. She was a kitsune, after all; pranks were first, second and third nature.

    “Goodness me,” she said earnestly, though there was a sly narrowness to her eyes. “You look rather startled—would you perhaps care for some tea, to soothe your nerves?”

    “. . . I’m rather fond of green tea with lemon,” Frid allowed, “if you wouldn’t mind, please.”

    She smiled, but it didn’t reach her eyes. Nevertheless, she reached for the teapot, while he looked around the room. The Western design puzzled him, initially; yes, at the end of the chronicle he’d run, Tamamo had joined her husband in the Norse pantheon, but she’d maintained some of her Japanese nature, even so. Then he noticed the size of the room, and concluded it was a space for public events—presumably, her private tearoom would more suit her personal tastes . . .

    The delicate porcelain cup, which very much was Japanese, and etched with foxes, was passed his way.

    “Thank you,” the magus continued, “Now, as we’re pressed for time, forgive me for getting directly to the point. Would I be correct in assuming that since you’ve gotten here, in addition to Gaia’s efforts to stymie your powers, you’ve noticed other odd effects? Your ichor turning gold, perhaps, or maybe hearing prayers whispered in time with your heartbeats?”

    The images he’d seen of the Sword of Atli, shifting from xiphos to rainbow-bladed broadsword, had indicated that Gaia—or whatever power oversaw the Nasuverse at large—wasn’t having an easy time of dealing with simple artefacts, after all . . . And while Tamamo was impossible to read when she chose to be, she’d proven remarkably open, in-game, when she was surprised.

    She had an obvious tell: her tail tended to poof up.

    “Ironically, it’s probably the reason your powers—unstable or unreliable as they are—have lasted this long,” Frid continued, not noticing the “fluffy tail” go even more so. “You see, in the reality I came from, the game based on our lives was undergoing a rules revision—and the updated back story at least partially implied that it was following a universal reset.”

    Such as the sort of thing that might occur when the Titans collectively devour the World, he didn’t add. Nor did he really have to; the idea of things occurring in cycles undoubtedly came naturally to her, given the kitsune’s background—and while unlike her husband, she might be more heavily invested in Epic Wits rather than Intelligence, that hardly meant that she was stupid.

    He took a sip of the tea, and smiled. As expected, this was pretty much the best cup of green tea he’d ever had, with just enough lemon tang not to overpower its taste.

    “. . . I see,” Tamamo said at last, sipping her own cup of tea thoughtfully. “And what, precisely, would these changed rules imply?”

    “There are a number of changes, in terms of the system mechanics, organisation and overall effects,” Frid admitted. “The most immediate issues, however . . . Well, on the positive side, your nature will integrate much more easily, because the Second Edition rules now allow for the creation of nonhuman Scions—kitsune are one of the examples used, in fact. But there are two primary factors that are important so far as things are concerned for you and your husband. First, at present, the rules only cover the Heroic tier of power . . .”

    Which would render them more than mortal, but a far cry from a God; at a guess, a Hero’s abilities were largely on par with what Frid had seen of most magi, or spellcasters. There were exceptions, of course—Shirou Emiya, for example—but it was a semi-decent baseline. Demigod-tier, on the other hand, was a good benchmark for Heroic Spirits, with the same caveat about exceptions.

    “The second problem,” Frid concluded, “is that the pantheons have been reorganised—and Erik’s father is not counted among them.”

    On a personal level, the magus knew, this was pretty much a non-issue; Uller, Norse God of Hunters, Skiing, and Justice had been a largely crappy parent to Erik in the game—and among the Aesir, that was saying something—but on the level of metaphysics, it was a problem. Being more mortal than divine, Scions at the Heroic tier drew the majority of their power from their godly parent, and if that source no longer existed . . .

    Well, the simplest solution for all the forces struggling to redefine him would be that Erik would cease to exist altogether.

    Which, Frid admitted, would be bad on several levels—not the least of which is here and now . . .

    “. . . What can be done about the process?” Tamamo asked at last. Not how it could be stopped, or reversed—which, really, might be even trickier to manage for them than it would for the Works members, given that Fate was a real and binding force in the paradigm of Scion.

    Not that it would be easy to undo Frid’s becoming a magus with Mystic Eyes, either; really, preventing this sort of thing was why exactly Ilya enclosed them in paradigm shields whenever they travelled off-plane to begin with.

    “. . . Assuming that he doesn’t simply wink out of existence, or revert to being purely mortal,” Frid said speculatively, “I assume that Erik’s inherent divinity will twist to match whichever deity suits him best—”

    Yes,” the fox-goddess said dryly. “I seem to recall a great deal of that happening around you . . .”

    Frid shrugged, though he wasn’t able to completely stop himself from blushing. What had eventually become Krampus had been, essentially, an NPC he’d controlled to bolster the two players he’d had at the time; and ultimately, a trickster who’d switched pantheons as the situation—and storyline—had called for it.

    “Given his association with you, it’s possible he’ll join the Kami—what were, to you, the Amatsukami,” the magus admitted, “but he’s so intrinsically attached to the Aesir, I don’t think that will change.”

    Had they been dealing with the player behind Erik, it might’ve been a different story; his attachment to Tamamo might’ve outweighed his loyalties. It actually had been an in-game struggle to decide which way it was going to go, at the end—and that was when Tamamo wasn’t a flesh-and-blood woman (well, ichor masquerading as flesh and blood, but semantics). But in this case . . .

    “Ultimately, I think it’s going to come down to what becomes his defining attribute,” Frid mused. “Scions in this new edition of the rules are only allowed access to one of their parent’s Purviews naturally—the rest have to come through Relics. And as before, that puts him in a tricky position, because I can think of only three candidates, offhand.

    “The Beasts Purview is, as before, essentially vacant; the Aesir have no specific gods of animals like the other pantheons. Odin might be argued to be the god of wolves and ravens, but given Erik’s associations, the Fenris Wolf is more likely.” Frid’s tone turned serious, and he added grimly, “And while the Titans of this new World don’t seem as overtly hostile, neither is the Fenris Wolf likely to be anything other than as myth portrays him.”

    After all, as the Storyteller, he’d allowed Erik’s player’s vision of the Fenris Wolf to be imposed on the game’s version—and there was no such guarantee here.

    “The Frost Purview,” Frid continued, “is linked to both Skadi and Hel. Skadi is possible, because she’s a hunter by Calling—which is what Erik began as, and adopting one of their divine parents’ intrinsic natures is also something a Scion does, so the compatibility is higher, I think . . .

    “The problem is that Hel is also the only source of the Forge Purview—the power of creation and innovation.”

    He glanced around the room leadingly, and the kitsune’s ears flattened.

    “. . . In essence, my husband is most likely to become the son of the Norse Izanami-ni-Mikoto,” Tamamo muttered sourly. “And that is if he survives at all.”

    “I’m afraid so,” Frid said gently, knowing that was pretty much abhorrent to her innate Japanese aesthetic. “I’m sorry.”

    As he took a sip of tea to moisten his dried-out throat, Tamamo closed her eyes, and sighed heavily, processing all she’d been told. And then, her ears perked up, her eyes opened wide, and a bright smile pasted itself on her face as she bowed respectfully.

    “Well, in the event that such a thing happens,” she said in a too-chipper voice, “then I’ll be in your care, honoured Father-in-Law!”

    Frid choked.
    “Love will be cruel to who it entices — love will have its sacrifices.”

    — Carmilla Theme




    "Evil isn't the real threat to the world. Stupid is just as destructive as Evil, maybe more so, and it's a hell of a lot more common. What we really need is a crusade against Stupid. That might actually make a difference."

    ―Jim Butcher, Vignette

  2. #242
    Kamen Rider fan-writer Xamusel's Avatar
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    ...why am I up at this time of night? It's almost 0230 over here. (/)_-)

    So! Reviewing the chapter comes first. Honestly, I have to wonder, why did Frid choke on his tea? Is it possible... wait, hold up, she knows​?!
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  3. #243
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xamusel View Post
    ...why am I up at this time of night? It's almost 0230 over here. (/)_-)
    Insomnia appears to be infectious . . . Hm.


    So! Reviewing the chapter comes first. Honestly, I have to wonder, why did Frid choke on his tea?
    Because the idea of being Erik's stepfather never occurred to him.


    Is it possible... wait, hold up, she knows​?!
    *Shrugs* She knows that Krampus, which is who they see Frid as being (or having been), was Hel's consort in their home universe. Ergo . . .
    “Love will be cruel to who it entices — love will have its sacrifices.”

    — Carmilla Theme




    "Evil isn't the real threat to the world. Stupid is just as destructive as Evil, maybe more so, and it's a hell of a lot more common. What we really need is a crusade against Stupid. That might actually make a difference."

    ―Jim Butcher, Vignette

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    Kamen Rider fan-writer Xamusel's Avatar
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    In order:

    A) Actually, I went to bed at roughly 1930 my time, and woke up at roughly 0130. It just happened like that.
    B) Okay, valid point, and one I never considered.
    C) ...what I meant was, she knows he's not really from this universe? Or that, and here's the kicker... he's from a realm where they're fictional? However, since you outright said he's not, it's my mistake.

    Thanks for reading this.
    Xamusel's Fanfiction Profile

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    Hmm... this is a bit of a surprise these days.

    An archive of my works on the forum that's pretty accurate.




    Note that I don't wish to be seen as an idiot any longer. I can't always promise better works than before, but I can sure as hell try, alright?

  5. #245
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xamusel View Post
    In order:

    A) Actually, I went to bed at roughly 1930 my time, and woke up at roughly 0130. It just happened like that.
    I hate when that happens - especially since, if you're crashing that early, you're doing it because you need to sleep.


    B) Okay, valid point, and one I never considered.
    Gives you a bit of mental whiplash, doesn't it?


    C) ...what I meant was, she knows he's not really from this universe? Or that, and here's the kicker... he's from a realm where they're fictional? However, since you outright said he's not, it's my mistake.
    The Scionverse people are operating under the assumption that Krampus wound up in a different reality, since he actually stuck around for the Titans' Earth-consuming event - or at least, was closer to ground zero when it went off. I can't even say that they're wrong, necessarily - after all, how would I know if I was a god in a past life . . .?


    Thanks for reading this.
    No problem.
    “Love will be cruel to who it entices — love will have its sacrifices.”

    — Carmilla Theme




    "Evil isn't the real threat to the world. Stupid is just as destructive as Evil, maybe more so, and it's a hell of a lot more common. What we really need is a crusade against Stupid. That might actually make a difference."

    ―Jim Butcher, Vignette

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    Kamen Rider fan-writer Xamusel's Avatar
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    Kieran, thank you for taking the time to reply. I appreciate it a lot. Also, I think I'll be going to bed a half hour earlier tonight.

    As for the mental whiplash... ouch. That's the only word to describe it for me.

    Maybe you can't... but Zelretch can.

    ...failing Zelretch, you could always have the Elven Pantheon of Abir-Toril tell them. At least, if they feel up to telling their new next door neighbors the details... why, yes, of course​ Asgard is a Plane of Existence in D&D 5e.
    Xamusel's Fanfiction Profile

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    Hmm... this is a bit of a surprise these days.

    An archive of my works on the forum that's pretty accurate.




    Note that I don't wish to be seen as an idiot any longer. I can't always promise better works than before, but I can sure as hell try, alright?

  7. #247
    死徒 Dead Apostle RanmaBushiko's Avatar
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    Chapter 36: A Desperate Escape



    Unnamed Millennium Falcon Copy
    Bucharest, Romania
    7:15 PM



    "Get everyone strapped onto a bunk, or onto a seat, and use the seatbelts to ensure they stay down!" Erik's voice is loud over the internal speakers. "I don't know how long it'll be before we start having that damned flying castle start shooting at us, but once they do, it's going to be one hell of a nasty ride, folks!"



    Silence reigns in the cockpit, as Erik glances over navigation panels, as well as several computer screens. "Yeah, looks like they're picking people up with some sort of tractor beam. Doesn't mean they won't start pursuit any moment now, though. Damn it. Let's hope this thing holds together."



    "Holds together? What the hell do you mean by that?!" Rin glares at Erik, almost snarling the words.



    "I mean, this is a damned prototype! We never could figure out a power source strong enough to run it until Godafrid's Servant dropped into my lap and mentioned the one she learned how to build in SHOP CLASS, that somehow WORKS. Even still, I'm not sure how much power it's generating, either, but considering half the screens aren't on, I'd say we're running on low power mode at the moment. So we've likely lost some of the weapons until I can figure out how to fix that issue, or get something else as well. Thankfully, most of the power's being drawn towards the damned gravity generator system..." Erik pauses, and then snarls. "Damn it—looks like they're starting up pursuit."



    Rin rubs her forehead. "I really, really hope you know what you're doing... especially considering Archer dragged me on board this damned ship. More than that, your wife ensured Godafrid would come along for the ride by dropping him in front of this ship. He might not mind, but I definitely do."



    "Do me a favor, keep a watch on the cameras for what they're doing behind us." Rin blinks at Erik's words, before she glances back at Godafrid and Gordes both entering at the same time.



    "Gotten proof from Godafrid that the ceasefire's happening, big guy?" Erik glances back. "Or do I need to deal with your Servant in the middle of this. If you'd rather have him strike at that fucking giant floating castle, you're welcome to it, but I'm not saving your Servant if he wants to try riding on the hull on top."



    Gordes wipes sweat off his brow, as he buckles in, then glares at Erik. "You're quite a pain in the ass, for a God. Or whatever the hell you are. Are you sure you're not a Servant?"



    Godafrid shakes his head while buckling himself in. "He's the real deal. Trust me."



    "Hmph. Very well. I'll accept the ceasefire for now, but don't expect me to like it. Still, this is a marvel, to reproduce..."



    "The Millennium Falcon?" Erik smirks, adjusting the ship to narrowly pass around buildings. "Yeah. I was looking for something cheaper than my Wolfen to ship cargo, before shit happened. Unless you're willing to swear a Geas, or a Geas contract, to the effect that you can't talk about it, I won't be saying more, though. Pity this prototype cost over 200 billion US to build."



    "...Give me some time to think about it, then. Are your origins truly so spectacular?" Gordes narrows his eyes, studying Erik. Then again, considering your technology..."



    "Erik. They're finally moving towards us, and deploying a lot of... are those skeletons?" Rin narrows her eyes. "Dragontooth warriors, and a lot of them."



    For a long moment, Erik narrows his eyes. "Saber, you love this thing, don't you? Get on the top guns, Archer's got the bottom ones!"



    With those words, Erik narrows his eyes, flicking several switches, and then pulls the ship down lower. "Gotta keep the ship down low until we can get out of Bucharest, so they can't take too many potshots at us."



    "Call me by my name, Erik!" Mordred shouts back. "It shouldn't be that hard."



    "Even with Saber of Black's Master in the cockpit?" Erik calls out as he adjusts the ship, pulling it down low to skim low over a river running through the city, in an attempt to lose the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.



    "Yeah. If Master wants to be pissed, he can be pissed later. But considering I've decided to start worshipping you? Call me by my name already." Mordred shouts, as she pulls a headset on, and straps herself into the top gun compartment.



    "Hey, not quite the same as those movies, but pretty close. Neat!" Mordred grins, as she tests the weapons.



    "Keep in mind we're running on lower power than planned, Mordred, so I'm pretty sure we can't back up the quad-lasers with the railgun secondaries."



    Gordes’ eyes go wide in surprise, as he mouths "Mordred?!" while staring at Erik.



    Erik glances over, then flicks more switches. "You're settled in, then, Mordred? Archer? Grab the two hatch controls over your heads, and then pull the gold plated glass over, so no radiation can get in the windows. The ship's layout is a bit different, because the shielding prototype uses nuclear radiation."



    Two affirmatives reach his ears, before he pulls a massive lever to his left, then smirks. "Yup, looks like they work. Congratulations to me. I managed to build prototype shields!"



    "Mr. Erik! We're all strapped in!" Erik smiles at Olga's shout, before he flicks the button to let the ship know his next words. "All people on board the ship prepare for heavy maneuvers, then! Not sure how well the gravity'll hold up when we're trying to dodge through a city, so you've been warned!"



    Erik narrows his eyes, pulling the ship nearly horizontal, then winces as it dips lower towards the street as it does so. It's a moment's work to pull up, as the ship nearly grazes a bus in the street below. “Damn. Engines are barely running hard enough to keep us from falling if we go horizontal... I'm guessing that the fuel shunts are only half working, because we've got such low power.”



    Is that a bad thing? Wait... Erik, they're catching up. It's a bad thing, isn't it?” Rin narrows her eyes, staring at the cameras.



    Mordred, Archer! We're gonna have company coming over soon, and they plan on murdering us if they can get in range. Shoot their skeletons down, will you?!” Erik almost snarls it out, as he pulls the ship lower, pushing it down to nearly graze roofs.



    Erik. Can you switch some systems off? Do we need everything the ship’s trying to run right now?” Godafrid asks.
    Erik blinks, and then starts flipping switches. “Let's see now... air conditioning takes too much power, heating does as well... lighting should be fine for that, though, as well as the fans. The lasers draw too much power, but maybe if I turn off extra lights outside the ship too?” With those actions, he smiles at more screens lighting up on the ship. “Good thinking, Godafrid. Now, what would you suggest –speed, for getting further out, or bringing the spare weapons online?”



    I'd suggest going for speed, to be honest with you. It seems like the sane thing to do with an army of flying skeleton warriors following us.” Rin glares pointedly at Erik.



    Agreed, wholeheartedly,” Godafrid says, nodding. “They're gaining a little too fast for my tastes.”



    Roger that, speed it is.” With those words in mind, the ship rapidly accelerates. “Looks like we've got 2/3rds speed as it is. I'm not exactly in the mood to work on things until I can pull the damned reactor out and figure out why it's producing so little power, though. It'll keep us from dodging, for one thing.”



    Fair point.” Godafrid smirks. “Just get us out of here.”



    I should have enough divine power left to get us back, guests or no. It's just a matter of pulling ahead far enough to focus on where we're going, and to a proper spot that won't leave us splattering against the side of my Wolfen.” Erik shoots back, then focuses, rolling the ship. “Damn, those damned skeletons are getting closer. What is this, a rip off of that skeleton song, Spooky Scary Skeletons?”



    Gordes snorts back a laugh. “At least you can JOKE with the best of them. I'll give you that much. They appear to be Dragontooth warriors, though. Still, it's concerning how many she has...”



    You're telling me? That brings up a good point, though... after they're done, irregardless of if they get us or not, they're going to be targeting either your castle, or my Wolfen... shit. I'm going to have to back your side up, aren't I?” With those words, Erik narrows his eyes, pulling the ship up just enough to clear some final buildings, flips the ship, then pulls it down low to barely be flying over tree tops.



    Godafrid, can you work the phone, and dial the Wolfen for me?” Erik narrows his eyes, keeping one eye on the camera and the other on the Hanging Gardens behind.



    Hopefully not a problem.” Godafrid glances around, before poking at a monitor. “Touch screens, huh?”



    Yup.” Erik glances back. “Damn, they're still gaining.”



    A voice emerges from the speakers. “Boss? What's up?”
    Erik glances up, then nods. “Scylla. Get the Legion of Coal to set up every disassembled mech we have and start prepping them on the top deck if they won't fit in the garage. Start tethering them together, so the Mecha Fafnir Production Line can airlift the Metal Gear Rex Production Line to the castle we took on as a just in case measure. We've got a stupidly big flying castle flying behind us, trying to overtake us, and it's either going to hit the Wolfen, or that castle...”



    Millennia Castle, for the Yggdmillenia family that owns it.” Gordes speaks up.



    Erik gives Gordes a thumbs up, then continues. “Millennia Castle or Yggdmillennia castle, then. Either we're the target, or they're the target, and considering Ruler's called a truce, we'll need to guard them if they're target number one.”



    And if we're the target, boss?” Erik pauses, adjusting the ship. “Damn, that thing's gaining. If we're the target, the front reactors are fine?”



    Yeah, boss.” Erik smirks at that. “Then raise the front end, and fire the plasma cannon. That should make them reconsider.”



    Fair enough, boss! I'll let you go, since you're busy.”
    With those words, the call hangs up, leaving Erik sighing. “Man, I love having competent help.”



    So I can tell. You say that you'll tell me your origins if I swear a Geas, or sign a Geas contract?” Gordes looks over at Erik, studying him.



    Yup, full disclosure.” Erik glances outwards, and winces. “Welp, give me a moment. I'll Rainbow Bridge us out of here, now that we've got enough space to slow down, so we don't wind up making a permanent pancake impersonation.”



    With those words, the ship slows down, and Erik focuses.



    For a moment, rainbow light almost forms around the ship, flickering into view, before the Rainbow Bridge Boon fails, as a ker-klunk sound, followed by what sounds suspiciously like a failing hyperdrive noise emits from Erik's chest.



    ...Well. Fuck. That's not a good sign. Why would it even MAKE THAT NOISE in the first place?! Godafrid, your Servant is a damned troll, you know that right?!” Erik snarls.



    "No Hyperdrive? But you told me you fixed it - I trusted you to fix it! IT'S NOT MY FAULT!" Godafrid snarks, as Rin puts her face in her palms.



    "Never quote me the movie!" Erik shoots back, and then rubs his forehead with one hand, while pushing the ship back to full speed. “God damn it, did this thing get designed to make that sound if I don't have enough divine power to make a Boon work?! I'm pulling a HAN SOLO, here, and I'm not LIKING IT ONE BIT!”



    Wait, is the power source in your CHEST?!” Gordes stares at Erik in shock. “How the hell is that even supposed to work?!”



    It involves stable time loops involving this shit. Or at least ONE stable time loop.” Erik shoots back, and then sighs. “Mordred, Archer! Looks like the transit here was a one-way trip, I don't have the Legend to get us back easily, even though I'm not sure why. It's up to you two to deal with any skeletons that start getting too close, got it?”



    For a moment, Erik pauses, pulling up satellite pictures of the area, before narrowing his eyes. "The Carpathian Mountains, huh? Probably our best bet for escaping them in this, even if it isn't an asteroid field..."



    With those words, Erik pulls the ship into a tight turn, heading directly north, even as the ship's guns start sounding again, to the occupants within.









    The Hanging Gardens of Babylon
    7:25 PM






    And you're certain your Master cannot help much with things, Assassin of Black?” Shirou asks, while watching things, viewing the magecraft made screen before them all.



    Mommy said repeatedly, that she has no magic circuits, or knowledge of how to use magecraft. I'm sorry, but I'm also nearly out. If it wasn't for the command seal, it...” Jack the Ripper trails off, silently.



    Could have killed you, I suppose? I'm sorry for asking. This ship in front of us just has many thorns in my side, ones that I'm rather irritated with.” Shirou Kotomine sits back, rubbing his forehead.



    The Prana drain you suffered before doesn't help, Master. We're making good time, but at this rate, we'll only be able to chase them for a couple more hours before you need to sit and rest. It's going to take time to recover the Prana from this, too, isn't it—maybe a day or two, perhaps? Especially if you'll be helping to support Assassin of Black as well as myself.” Semiramis smirks from her throne, her beautiful face showing a sly smile.



    For a long moment, Shirou Kotomine, formerly Amakusa Shirou Tokisada, studies the screen, before he simply nods. “I'd still rather see them dealt with. At least, let's deal with that first, my Servant.”



    Oh, don't worry about that. I'm fully certain that they won't be able to escape for long. Especially with what you told me of jet fuel, Master—that thing has to be a fuel hog, after all!” Semiramis giggles softly, before continuing, her voice turning malevolent. “Sooner or later, they're going to run out, and then this chase will be over. And when that happens, I'm going to make sure that God on board suffers.”



    How long until we're in firing range, then?” Shirou studies things carefully. “Your Dragontooth warriors are catching up, but we're lagging behind.”



    Maybe 40 minutes, give or take?” Semiramis muses. “Why? Is something coming up?”



    We're getting close to the Carpathian Mountain Range. They may try to lose us in there.” Shirou narrows his eyes. “Probably aiming for...”



    Shirou pauses, staring, as rainbow light appears around the Millennium Falcon copy, starting to form into some sort of tunnel, then shatters, leaving the ship before them.



    My Servant? Would you know what that would have been?” Shirou rubs his eyes.



    It appeared to be a Divine Construct failing to work. Perhaps he's low on Divine Power, then?” Semiramis pauses, and then smirks. “And with how they've turned to the left, now, we'll be within range in minutes.”



    I think I say, with all sincerity, that I'm going to enjoy what you do to them, my Servant.” Shirou smiles at Semiramis, leaving her almost blushing.



    I suspect I think exactly the same, my Master. Let's make their lives hell, shall we?”






    Millennium Falcon Copy
    7:27 PM



    Fuck, they ARE getting closer. The damned skeletons aren't helping, either.” Erik snarls, pulling the ship into an aileron roll.



    Did you have to just do a barrel roll?” Godafrid groaned, “I think I dropped my stomach back there.”
    Yeah, I did. And it's an Aileron roll, not a barrel roll. My wife and I may enjoy Star Fox 64, but they still got the damned name wrong.” Erik shoots back.



    Could you boys stop fighting for one minute, and fly this thing? Those Dragontooth warriors are trying to shoot us down with spears!” Rin glares at them, and then sighs. “I don't know how well this thing can take that sort of firepower, but they're throwing spears constantly.”



    Spears shouldn't be a problem; I'm more worried about them trying to get through the glass cockpit, or the gun cockpits.”



    Would this thing happen to have afterburners, by any chance? I've heard those can be useful in a pinch.” Gordes asks, while studying the controls carefully.



    After a moment's pause, Erik nods. “Technically, it does. But considering we had to keep it plugged into my Wolfen's reactors to test fly this thing, since it's too small for one of them, we couldn't test them without crashing it and breaking either this ship, or my Wolfen. And considering I live in the Wolfen, it's not a pleasant idea to break it.”



    I suspect you're going to need to try that soon, since that flying castle of theirs is getting suspiciously close.” Gordes studies things, before sighing. “What will I have to sign, in order to learn more about you?”



    It's effectively a magical non-disclosure agreement. You agree to not tell anyone anything about us that they don't already know while we live in this universe, and we allow you to know about things involving us.” Erik glances at a monitor, and winces. “Damn, they are close. And those platforms surrounding it are moving?”



    For a moment, Godafrid's eyes widen, as his eyes activate, turning purple with blue sparkles in them. “DODGE, ERIK!”



    Erik doesn't ask any questions, just desperately rolls the ship, as a massive beam slams past.



    What the fuck was that? WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT?!” Erik snaps out, as he stares at the beam still shooting past.



    Looks like some sort of super sized blast of magic... made of a lot of smaller ones.” Godafrid winces, and rubs his temples, as his eyes go back to normal. “Hurts like hell to see it, though. Overloaded my eyes a bit.”



    I'm thinking, perhaps those afterburners are going to be needed, tested or not.” Gordes rubs his forehead, wiping sweat off his face with a handkerchief.



    Aha—a distraction!” With those words, Godafrid hits play.



    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5TbWJJMdLsY (The Asteroid Field ~ The Empire Strikes Back)



    "Why the hell did you turn on 'The Empire Strikes Back's The Asteroid Field song?!" Erik glances at Godafrid, and continues adjusting the ship, as another massive blast shoots past.
    "Gee, we're being chased by HOW many flying fighters? And a giant fucking island half the size of a Star Destroyer, at LEAST—if this isn't worth the song, WHAT IS?!" Godafrid snaps back.



    Okay. Fair enough, I suppose.” With those words, he winces, as the entire ship slams down several feet. “Fuck, they hit us...? Glance back there, how far down is the ammunition for the rear Radiant Wave Surger Plating?”



    Glancing back, Rin blinks. “Ah... 47 out of 50, apparently?”



    Hell yes! Maybe we'll get through this without wrecking this ship, after all! If that stuff can stop that sort of firepower, we should make it until we can lose them!” Erik grins, then desperately jukes as another blast narrowly misses the top of the ship.



    You mean, if they can't simply out-shoot us with blasts that big?!” Godafrid shoots back.



    I guess we'll just have to outmaneuver them, won't we! And just in luck, we've just reached the mountains proper, too!” Erik shoots back, as the ship dives.



    In mere moments, the ship is dodging and weaving, passing through mountain peaks and valleys, moving in constant attempts to leave the Hanging Gardens of Babylon far behind. Efforts that prove less successful than was hoped for, as thousands of Dragontooth Warriors pursue.



    The only sound in the cockpit is the sound of the guns, the sound of the music, the engines, as well as a quiet swearing as Erik pilots. At least, until a skeletal hand reaches over the glass and a Dragontooth Warrior slowly pulls itself to look inwards. It grins, almost like out of a horror movie, as it slowly pulls a spear forwards, intending to introduce it to the cockpit windows.



    Smile, you ugly fuck!” With those words, Erik triggers the Radiant Wave Surger plating for the entire ship, grinning as the skeleton's eye sockets go somehow, impossibly wide as the hull glows red.



    Moments later, it dissolves into ash, much to the mute shock of everyone in the cockpit.



    What. What on earth was that?” Rin asks, in a shaky voice. “Seriously. What was that?! Was that some sort of super magecraft? Divine power?!”



    I can't tell what it was.” Gordes mutters, wiping sweat off his face. “I really can't. But I'll admit, I'm desperate to know.”



    Erik just smirks, while pulling the ship into another valley. “That was the shields when active. It started out as a melee nuke weapon; before I realized that the damned thing could catch bullets and melt them. There are SOME issues with the system, like the fact that I had to jury rig it to work with half the nuclear material as I'd like to have, but...”



    A melee. Nuke. Weapon. As in an atomic weapon? As in NUCLEAR?!” Rin glares at Erik.



    Oh, don't worry too much! The hull's perfectly thick enough to counter any radiation—that, and the specialized glass is tempered to counter the stuff. Considering it was made by my wife—oh fuck!” With those words, Erik twists the ship once more, curving it around a landslide sent down by a blast of power from the Hanging Gardens above. “They're getting fucking smarter with trying to corner us. Considering that both I and my wife are Gods? Even if she's weaker than me, due to things I'm not going to talk about without that Geas oath being signed, she still is stupidly good with crafting things, as long as it's something a traditional Shrine Maiden would make, or wear.”



    Oh? And why should I trust you with anything nuclear, Erik?” Rin growls.



    I haven't used my nukes yet, have I?! Seriously, calm the fuck down!” Erik shoots back, then snarls, twisting the ship and pushing it to follow the Carpathian Mountains in a north eastern direction.



    You... have nukes? You have nuclear weapons. You have ATOMIC BOMBS?!” Rin all but shrieks, as Gordes pales in realization of what Erik has just admitted to.



    Indeed, I do. I'd rather not USE them, either, unless the world's about to end. Fair warning, big guy—if that shit in your basement does go active and tries to start an apocalypse like that Zelretch fellow warned me, I WILL have second thoughts about nuking your castle. As of right now, though, I'd rather take the thing, ensure that it's sealed and not acting up like it's been, and then relax. Follow me?” Erik glances for a moment at Gordes.



    That's... fair. I'd rather not have my son get introduced to an atomic explosion, anyways...” Gordes sighs, before bracing himself. “Thank you for not using such weaponry with your first assault.”



    Erik, those plates form into a pyramid shape to fire, don't they?” Rin asks, her eyes narrowed.



    Yeah, from what little I've seen... why?” Erik glances over, and then flinches. “Oh. That's... 15 plates, all formed into triangles... 5 of those fucking beams at once?!”



    In desperation, Erik pulls the switch for the afterburners, then winces at it pushing the ship forwards past the sound barrier. After a moment, he grins. “Oh, HELL YEAH!”



    Erik, get us down lower! Lower, damn it!” Rin almost snarls. “They'll hit us if we don't stay low, with the speed we're going!”



    Erik obliges, clenching on the controls as the thrust pushes them into their seats. “Yeah, I've got it. Now let's see if we can't lose them with the extra speed, before we run out of fuel...”



    "Where's an asteroid slug when you need one?" Frid muttered.



    "I told you, don't quote me the movie!" Erik fired back.



    "In that tone, you should have said, 'Don't call me ‘Junior.’'" Godafrid shoots back at Erik with a smirk.
    "Or that one, either!" Erik snarls, and then sighs. “Damn it, I'm sorry. Just worried, and that floating castle of death lasers is getting to me. Giant floating things in the air is MY Schtick, and I don't appreciate plagiarism!



    Godafrid pauses, before he blinks suddenly, activating his Mystic Eyes once more. “I think I... Yeah, that way. Erik, that way—those two peaks on that mountain. It's thin, and tall. They'll have to move around it, while sending Dragontooth Warriors through.”



    Erik smirks, and then nods, adjusting the ship. “I'm really, REALLY glad I built the controls based on my mech design's own controls. Makes it so much damned easier to work with this...”



    Wait, isn't that too small, Erik?! How are you going to fit?!” Rin shouts, as Erik smirks and flips a switch on his controls.



    Moments later, Rin gets her answer as one of the missile launchers, hidden in the mandibles at the front, opens fire, sending a missile with the equivalent of 500 pounds of explosives straight into the rock between the two peaks on the mountain.



    Gordes, Rin and Godafrid can only stare at the massive peaks slowly falling towards each other as Erik pushes the massive ship through, rocks barely missing the ship as they fly through, leaving Dragontooth Warriors slamming into the landslide from behind.



    My Servant, if you're able to, cloak the damned ship! Make it look like we got buried in the landslide!” Erik shouts, while shutting down the afterburner, and going as slow as possible.



    Moments later, Erik sighs, a breath of relief, as the ship flickers, then goes opaque.



    I'm tired, Son in Law. Tired and hurt. Don't expect me to keep this up forever...” Amaterasu's words reach him through their link, before he simply nods.



    Godafrid pauses, before changing the song, as they slowly fly off, doing their best to not be seen, even as the Hanging Gardens of Babylon slow to a halt over the mountain and the landslide within.



    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCTJmXrgsFg (Top Gun Anthem ~ Top Gun)



    It's not long before they reach the outskirts of Trifas, slowing to a halt near the massive castle.



    You want to get dropped off here? Or...” Erik glances at Gordes, sighing softly.



    Close to here, yes. Perhaps... we could get that contract to sign, tomorrow? And again, thank you for not introducing our faction to a nuclear warhead, because we oppose you.” Gordes sighs.



    Yeah, they're likely going to be working all night, thinking we got buried there.” Erik stretches. “Fine, I'll take us down. Outside the castle, somewhere?”



    Gordes leans forwards, past a napping Rin, to point out a clearing near the castle. “There, if you will. With the lights on, please, so they can see us?”



    Erik nods, pulling the ship down, while turning the massive spotlights in front on, so they can see the ship going down.



    May I ask... why you reacted so poorly to Lancer of Black, that day when you assaulted us?” Gordes speaks up, as the ship lands.



    ...To understand that... have you ever heard of the World Serpent, Jormungandr?” Erik glances over, studying Gordes, before returning his eyes to the controls.




    Indeed, I have. A massive serpent, capable of wrapping the entire world?” Gordes murmurs.



    I was the one to do the finishing blow to the damned thing, while breaking fate and prophecy.” Erik leans back, sighing. “He pissed me off by calling me a coward, when I was the one to do the finishing blow. More than that, the Radiant Wave Surger I mentioned before, that was adapted to be used as shields? It let one of my allies hit said serpent, hard enough that it knocked him out of a state that made the damned thing nearly impossible to hit. Even if he destroyed his own prototype with the blow, it still showed me the pure power of the design, that day.”




    Gordes stills, turning to stare at Erik. “Moreover, my wife was with me that day, and desperately helped us when things nearly broke, when Prophecy was countered in a rather permanent way.”



    I see. So when he called you a coward, afraid to fight...” Gordes trails off, then sighs.



    Admittedly, I'm not like most of the other Norse Gods. They’re jocks, all of them; muscle-headed jocks that don't care if they rush in to get an Axe to the head. Nearly all of them hated technology, hated thinking, and a great many of them thought that innovation was something foul to be spat on. For quite a while, I thought about seeking sanctuary with my wife's pantheon... but they wouldn't have supported my overall goal.” Erik sighs, shaking his head.



    He pissed off the one who slew Jormungandr. Little wonder you were furious.” Gordes sighs, stretching.



    Erik sighs, and then pulls himself up. “Well, time to meet your welcoming committee, am I right?”



    With those words, Erik moves to exit the ship, and as he walks down the ramp, he pauses, staring ahead.



    The Servants of Black have gathered on the castle walls, and are watching him carefully.
    I'm starting to suspect that talking with Kieran influences my rolls on Fate/Grand Order Heavily. How else can you explain me talking with him, then rolling for 30, only to get 3 Archer of Shinjuku on my second ten roll?

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  8. #248
    Kamen Rider fan-writer Xamusel's Avatar
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    Hoo boy... this doesn't bode well so far. Then again, I'm glad you got everyone out of there safely, somehow.
    Xamusel's Fanfiction Profile

    For those that don't necessarily care if my fics aren't all Type-Moon related.




    Hmm... this is a bit of a surprise these days.

    An archive of my works on the forum that's pretty accurate.




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    リビングデッド Living Dead
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    Ah, there's our first consequence for the resurrection earlier. I'm a bit surprised that Erik didn't fill up a bit more from the Gem, but I suppose he does like holding things in reserve.

    I strongly suspect Erik will need something nastier than the contract Kiritsugu signed back F/Z, given that Gordes, which he does care about living, might be convinced by the rest of his faction. He might just be curious, of course. Then again, Erik tends to be kinda cavalier about that, and we haven't seen any major consequences for it yet.

    On Kieran's segment:

    Interesting Kaleidoscope questions. Presumably, as Rin should expect, half the answer is "Zelretch did it". I suspect the rest is something like "Frid/Kurai/etc has a tendency to be a persona inhabiting analogues in different facets, so it's something of a fusion, but also what you'd expect for him showing up somewhere"

    That comment about prana battery redirection is likely to have consequences. I nominate Siegfried and/or Vlad as last men standing, for obvious reasons. I give moderate chance of the tanks getting blown up to counter that.

    I see that we are revealing some of the answer to guesses from before. I am very glad RanmaBushiko gave me that hint when I was guessing. I also was unaware about some of the contents of the rules changes, so those are certainly interesting to learn about. Since the Beasts purview is open, I suspect that's the source of Fenris getting stronger.

  10. #250
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arbitrarity View Post
    Ah, there's our first consequence for the resurrection earlier. I'm a bit surprised that Erik didn't fill up a bit more from the Gem, but I suppose he does like holding things in reserve.
    Yup - God of Paranoia, after all . . . Though it does tend to come back to bite him as often as it proves useful.


    I strongly suspect Erik will need something nastier than the contract Kiritsugu signed back F/Z, given that Gordes, which he does care about living, might be convinced by the rest of his faction. He might just be curious, of course. Then again, Erik tends to be kinda cavalier about that, and we haven't seen any major consequences for it yet.
    Yet.


    On Kieran's segment:

    Interesting Kaleidoscope questions. Presumably, as Rin should expect, half the answer is "Zelretch did it". I suspect the rest is something like "Frid/Kurai/etc has a tendency to be a persona inhabiting analogues in different facets, so it's something of a fusion, but also what you'd expect for him showing up somewhere"
    More or less . . .? It happens when you have a trolling vampire archmagus who specialises in reality-bending, and a faerie pantheon being led by the goddess of death, dreams, and magic working on one subject.


    That comment about prana battery redirection is likely to have consequences. I nominate Siegfried and/or Vlad as last men standing, for obvious reasons. I give moderate chance of the tanks getting blown up to counter that.
    Probably so.


    I see that we are revealing some of the answer to guesses from before. I am very glad RanmaBushiko gave me that hint when I was guessing. I also was unaware about some of the contents of the rules changes, so those are certainly interesting to learn about. Since the Beasts purview is open, I suspect that's the source of Fenris getting stronger.
    Oh, yeah - first-edition Fenris had that one maxed out, obviously, so it no doubt carries over. (Since Fenris as a character didn't show up until the later books were published, I've no idea yet, but it's a natural assumption.)

    And as far as I can tell, second-edition Scion is to the first edition what the "new World of Darkness" (Chronicles of Darkness, now) was to its original edition. In many ways, it's almost a different game . . . But I'm trying to give you enough information to follow along without dumping everything in your laps - hopefully, I'm succeeding.
    “Love will be cruel to who it entices — love will have its sacrifices.”

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    "Evil isn't the real threat to the world. Stupid is just as destructive as Evil, maybe more so, and it's a hell of a lot more common. What we really need is a crusade against Stupid. That might actually make a difference."

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