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Thread: Reforged: The Twin Blade

  1. #41
    Vigilant. Relied Upon. Vigilantia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kieran View Post
    Given her current strength level, this is probably a bad idea - but I can't shake the idea of her using a Walther (P88, given the current timeline, which is why it's probably a bad idea). Then again, if Kiritsugu can get his hands on a P88 Compact prototype, it might not be so bad . . .

    *Shrugs* I blame her nationality, and a childhood composed of James Bond movies.
    I dunno, the P88 seems like a heavier gun. On the other hand, a smaller gun would seem weaker if it was a smaller cartridge or have heavier recoil if 9mm. Also, just because she's British doesn't mean she needs to wear a suit, speak in a Scottish accent or wear a tux and and hold a PPK.

  2. #42
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vigilantia View Post
    I dunno, the P88 seems like a heavier gun.
    I know - that's why I said, it probably wouldn't work.


    On the other hand, a smaller gun would seem weaker if it was a smaller cartridge or have heavier recoil if 9mm.
    That's why I said the P88 Compact might work - it's the same size, but constructed of lighter materials - but historically speaking, it should be two years away from being released. On the other hand, if you plan to advance the timeline, it's a possibility.


    Also, just because she's British doesn't mean she needs to wear a suit, speak in a Scottish accent or wear a tux and and hold a PPK.
    Yes, but to the Japanese and the (presumably) Americans, she already has an accent - and Irisviel proved that Arturia looks good in a suit. Why not go for the complete package?
    “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




  3. #43
    Wings of the Sunlit Sky Hermitfold's Avatar
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    Can't believe I'm just now, finding out about this excellent story. I really need to come by here more, I've been slacking off...

    In any case, this is a truly great fic, and I look forward to seeing more.

  4. #44
    Vigilant. Relied Upon. Vigilantia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kieran View Post
    Yes, but to the Japanese and the (presumably) Americans, she already has an accent - and Irisviel proved that Arturia looks good in a suit. Why not go for the complete package?
    Hmm, that is true. I hadn't thought that hard about Arturia's accent and language. I guess the Grail would give her both Japanese and English as learned languages... Of course, what accent/regional dialect she has... I've always imagined a neutral with a hint of British accent.

    Lynn's from a certain location in Britain, I'll let you guys guess it.

    Nathan... He travels and works in enough geographic locations that he doesn't have a locatable accent.

    As for her sidearm, I'm thinking something with a decent amount of safeties.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hermitfold View Post
    Can't believe I'm just now, finding out about this excellent story. I really need to come by here more, I've been slacking off...

    In any case, this is a truly great fic, and I look forward to seeing more.
    I hope to live up to your expectation. Next chapter should be up hopefully faster than last time.

  5. #45
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vigilantia View Post
    Hmm, that is true. I hadn't thought that hard about Arturia's accent and language.
    It's not something you'd tend to think about, because no one's ever bothered giving her one in any of the Fate media, even if they should've. The only reason I think of it is an encounter I had with Elf, RoadBuster and Nerroth - all of them have distinctive accents, and to them, I did too. So it got me thinking about how "normal" English sounds to other dialect-speakers.


    I guess the Grail would give her both Japanese and English as learned languages... Of course, what accent/regional dialect she has... I've always imagined a neutral with a hint of British accent.
    At least it is likely to be British, rather than Roman - since Arturia's life is based on the 12th-century literary Arthur, rather than the 5th-century historical one. (Then again, it could be French, too, since they invented the whole "love triangle" part of the story . . .)


    Lynn's from a certain location in Britain, I'll let you guys guess it.
    OK - I'll think about it.


    Nathan... He travels and works in enough geographic locations that he doesn't have a locatable accent.
    Fair enough.


    As for her sidearm, I'm thinking something with a decent amount of safeties.
    I'll see what I can find out for you - no promises, though. It's a fairly obscure criterion.
    Last edited by Kieran; July 7th, 2014 at 07:31 AM.
    “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




  6. #46
    Vigilant. Relied Upon. Vigilantia's Avatar
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    Reforged: The Twin Blade

    - Reforged: The Twin Blade -
    - Chapter 4 -


    - Weaving a Lie -

    “Assassin. Murderer. Coward. Magus Killer... And now father. Quite an interesting portfolio you’ve acquired, Emiya Kiritsugu,” said the man across from him, putting down the folder he’d been looking at.

    Kiritsugu sat down at the old oak table, its history written in faint coffee mug stains.

    The coffee shop they were in was located on the Miyama side of Fuyuki, nestled in the divide between two residential municipalities. Despite the numerous locals filling up the booths and tables, the crowd was oddly muted and hushed perhaps due to the fire. Even now, search crews were still finding the ashen remains of bodies even two weeks after the fire.

    Kiritusugu scrutinized the man sitting across from him. He epitomized the term “G-man,” wearing a tailored midnight black suit with matching black tie and white dress shirt. The fresh pressed clothes put him at odds with the local attire yet despite that there was something unsettling about him. He’d dealt with law enforcement before and this man wasn’t a simple cop or detective. There

    His sources hadn’t been able to provide him much more information on the elusive Shin’i agency except that money from the Japanese government financed it. However, he knew how these organizations worked. Like the Association or Church, their cloak and dagger secrecy meant dark skeletons in their closet.

    “Can a man not change? Is it a sin to have family, Agent McNab?” replied Kiritsugu.

    “No. But most men in your profession normally expire before they reach that last step,” replied McNab.

    “Hoping for a light at the end of the tunnel?” he said.

    The man’s mouth rose to a grin. “There’s no paradise at the end of the line for men like me,” replied McNab. “Our work consumes us like a ship circling Charybdis. So tell me, what would change a man like you then?”

    A memory flashed across Kiritsugu’s mind. Brilliant long white hair, piercing crimson eyes with an enchanting smile. Bringing the mug of tea up, he hid his grin behind the cup.

    “A woman,” he replied.

    “Ah, yes,” said the Agent, leaning back against the wooden chair. He picked up his mug of coffee and took a sip. “There’s always a woman.”

    “And a girl,” Kiritsugu said.

    “Arturia,” answered McNab. Kiritsugu simply sipped his coffee. He wouldn’t correct the agent’s mistake for him.

    The agent continued talking, “you mentioned taking care of her after finding her, but you never did say how or where you found her.

    “You’re right. I didn’t,” he said. His tone made it clear that was the end of that topic.

    “Of course,” said the man dryly. He looked back down at the folder he’d been reading. “So the famed Magus Killer disappears for nearly ten years and finally reappears after the Grail War and the deaths of hundreds of people. Can’t blame me for finding it funny.”

    “I’m not that man anymore,” he said. His eyes narrowed in irritation. He’d already told him this the last time they’d met.

    “I’m aware. I just find it amazing someone such as yourself could change so rapidly and yet…” he said.

    “Yet?” Kiritsugu replied. The man’s statement had piqued his curiosity.

    “You came here last and unarmed without checking the exterior of the building. When you walked in, you missed checking the old pensioner in the corner and that young lady behind the booth, and your back is facing the door when you sat down leaving an obvious blindspot. You’re either a different man or the most incompetent or cocksure assassin I’ve ever met,” McNab said.

    He thought about the younger man’s words for several seconds before finally smiling.

    “I suppose,” he said, “I just got tired playing that game. Too much time dealing with magi. Lost too many things close to me.”

    McNab leaned back in his chair, the frame squeaking against the shift in pressure. “The woman?” he finally said.

    “The woman,” Kiritsugu said with a nod.

    He gave a bitter smile as he thought about the war. Ten years all lost. His beautiful Irisviel now gone. Ilya held prisoner. Maiya gone. Everything burnt on a twisted grail. The only thing he had left was Shirou… and Arturia. It was an odd coincidence, they had both been at their strongest during the war and now they’d both fallen; both connected to one another through circumstance.

    “Now then, you called me here. To what do I owe the pleasure of this visit?” said McNab, crossing his legs as he relaxed in his leather seat.

    “I thought we had a deal. I would answer your questions and you guaranteed me you wouldn’t involve Arturia in this investigate,” he said. There was no hostility in his voice, just a search for answers.

    “You seem to have me at a disadvantage,” replied McNab.

    “This afternoon, your partner interrogated my daughter as she returned from work. I would like to know why,” said Kiritsugu.

    The man looked back at Kiritsugu before giving a knowing smile.

    “Agent Linden is a force all of her own,” he said before taking a sip of coffee, “you have a daughter, Mr. Emiya. Does she do everything you ask her to do?”

    Ilya popped into his mind. He recalled numerous incidents working with mismatched pink and black socks or playing unintentional hide-and-seek with Ilya as he called to her for dinner in the massive Einzbern castle. ‘Ordered’ wouldn’t be a word he’d use to described Ilya.

    “No. She does not,” he said.

    “Then you understand my frustration. Rest assured, my partner was not in fact interrogating your foster daughter. You kept your end of the deal, I have no reason to renege on my side. In any case, I did not order my partner to talk with your daughter, nor did she inform me about it and I have serious doubts Linden would have the malice or motivation to do it of her own accord.”

    “So you’re saying their meeting was purely accidental?” Kiritsugu asked.

    “I believe the word fits my colleague quite well, amongst other things,” McNab replied, downing the rest of his mug.

    His eyes narrowed at McNab. He knew the man was dangerous, but he had also met Agent Linden before. She had been… considerably different from the man before him. The girl was as aloof as Ilya and as bright and perky as Iris.

    “That is all, Mr. Emiya?” asked McNab.

    He mulled over his thoughts before finally nodding. Pushing off the table, he began to rise before the agent slapped a thick folder on the table.

    “There is one last thing,” said McNab.

    “What’s is this?” Kiritsugu asked. He turned the folder towards him and opened the cover. The handwritten notes, full-page photos and forensic reports in the folder were familiar to him. Three preliminary investigation reports for three murders. Oddly, the third report seemed largely incomplete along with missing an autopsy report. Which meant the third must have occurred recently enough for the coroner not to be finished his work.

    “Authorities are trying to keep it quiet, but it’d only be a matter of time before it leaks out. You will notice, however, a pattern?” said McNab, tapping one of the photos.

    Kiritsugu nodded. All of the victims were young women with bright blonde hair.

    =====

    Crime Scene: Nicole Anderson

    Earlier that afternoon...

    The weather had changed into a light rain by the time Lynn had finally reached Nate’s location. Luckily, her green winter coat let her weather most of the rain and wind. She approached the two uniformed policeman at the mouth of the alley, yellow tape barring the path behind him. Beyond, she could see crime scene personnel in white scrubs examining the crime scene for any kind of evidence. She had a hunch they wouldn’t be finding much.

    The younger of the men raised his hand toward her as the senior one stood behind. “I’m sorry, ma’am. There’s been a terrible crime committed here. I can’t let you through.”

    Lynn raised an eyebrow at the man’s words. He must have been very new given the way he spoke. She reached into her pocket and pulled out her ID. “I'm with the NPA, Criminal Investigation Bureau. My partner’s already on the scene.”

    “Another? I didn’t know the NPA recruited outside Japan?” the senior officer said gruffly, lifting the tape to let her pass.

    “There’s a lot you don’t know,” replied Lynn with a knowing smile. Slipping under the tape, she headed towards Nate who stood outside of a neon yellow tent waiting for her. As usual, he wore his ‘secret service standard‘ suit. Somedays, she wondered if that was all he had in his wardrobe; a closet filled with copy and pasted suits.

    “Agent Linden,” Nate said with a nod.

    “Nate,” she replied. Even though his eyes were hidden by the dark shades, he could feel his annoyance at the name. He’d always prefered the uptight term Agent McNab which she’d always thought was silly. They weren’t automatons, they both had first names.

    “What’ve we got?” she said, getting right to business. The way he’d been talking earlier, it must have been urgent.

    “Victim’s a twenty-eighty year old caucasian female,” he replied. He lifted the tent flap, motioning her forward. She entered the enclosed tent, almost blinded from the amount of lights in the tent, although at least rather happy at least to be out of the rain. She was aware of the irony of the statement given her elemental affinity.

    Laying in the middle of the protective tent was the victim’s body, protected from the outside wind and rain. The victim seemed to be in her early twenties and lay on her chest, her eyes open staring at Lynn’s shoes. The woman’s white blouse was drenched in blood, several large wounds leaving streaks of red down her shirt and trailing outside the tent. She lay in a small pool of her own blood.

    “Swab tested positive for trace amounts of prana, so it looks like our killer from five days ago. Not unless we have two killers on the loose,” announced Nate. “Her name’s Nicole Anderson. Works for Sanita Studios as a junior accountant. Transferred from the US branch to here for a change in scenery a little over a year ago. Bad career decision. Kitchen cook found her in the alley while taking out the garbage late this morning. From the blood trail our victim left, it looks like she ran from the killer down this alley before finally expiring here.”

    “She’s blonde. Young too, early twenties.” Lynn said, kneeling down to examine the girl. “Just like our other victims. Might be an MO for our killer.”

    “Facts first, conjecture later, Linden,” said Nate.

    “Always with the facts, Nate,” she thought to herself. Lynn uttered a minor chant, pulling a stream of glowing mist from the victim’s chest.

    “What have you got?” Nate asked.

    “There’s still foreign prana residue in the victim’s heart,” announced Lynn.

    Much like modern forensic science, there was a certain science behind the power magi wielded. There were rules a magus had to follow and even the smallest spells required power to be cast and maintained. Magic had rules. In this case, spells always left residual prana on the environment after use much like blood splatter or gunpowder residue. If there was a spell cast on a body, any residual prana would collect at the cores of the body, like water collecting in a depression, before eventually releasing back into the air.

    “Time of death around 1000, today,” Lynn reported before looking at the rest of the victim’s body. “Doesn’t look like there’s any bite marks in the usual places and the body’s too intact for the Dead’s handiwork. Hold on.”

    Looking around the tent, she made sure they were alone before starting another spell. This one was longer, nearly five lines in length. It was a long spell, but then again most magi weren’t searching for forensic evidence in the heat of battle. Finishing the spell, she closed her eyes and then opened them once more.

    Azure tinged her view and she gasped as she felt the rush of information flow in. It was as if she’d been colorblind and only now found the joy of color. A plethora of information filled her mind wherever she looked: the density of dust and smog in the air, Nate’s body temperature, height and weight. Looking at the ground, she could identify the different shoeprints on the ground and their individual paths. It was both exhilarating and euphoric at the same time, like taking that first breath of air after nearly drowning. Adrenaline shot through her body as her heartbeat raced to a new tempo. Lynn placed her hand on the pavement to steady herself as she let the new sensations wash over her senses.

    “You alright?” asked Nate, looked down at her.

    “Yes,” she said breathlessly. “Just… made some... modifications to the spell recently. Didn’t expect to take in so… much.”

    It had been a natural development given the rise of modern forensic science and human laziness. Why bother the forensic team when she could use a ‘little’ magecraft to reconstruct a vase from all its fragments or compare two fingerprints or blood samples right at the scene. There was no need for a four hour wait period and an infrared spectrometer or mass spectrometer when a five-line spell would accomplish the equivalent analysis.

    The spell was different for each magus, individually comprised of numerous spells to help find and identify evidence or patterns at the crime scene. Sometimes a spell was added for weapon ballistics or another removed for glass fragment analysis if it wasn’t needed for the case. Some of the techs had given it an alphabet soup name, EPA, Evidence Pattern Analysis spell. She just preferred calling it Magic.

    Of course, all of this was made up by the fact she’d need a second lunch to simply make up for the energy she spent here. Nate might have complained about the amount she ate, but there was a cost for having such a nifty spell. Of course, it didn’t help Nate had interrupted her meal today.

    “The victim, Linden?” said Nate.

    Lynn looked at the body, neon crimson highlighting the wounds Nicole had received moments before her death. She let Magic do it’s work as she examined the wounds. “Numerous wounds lay on her back, most likely received as she was running away. One penetrated her lung and another cut the aorta. With that blood loss, she would have went into shock in less than a minute followed by death soon after. She also has cuts on both arms... mostly around the forearms and wrists as well, cutting through the fabric on her shirt. There’s something odd, however…” said Lynn.

    Turning back to the girl, Lynn looked back at Nicole’s wounds. Lynn’s brow creased as she tried to identify the weapons that caused each the wounds. She estimated there were six weapons in total, not counting the lacerations on her arms.

    “What’s odd?” asked Nate.

    “Given what I’ve discovered from the body’s wounds, the killer used an amorphous weapon or a spell to kill our victim. However, if it were a spell there should have been heavier traces of prana on the body. Meaning… unless our kill was lugging six different blades together, our killer’s weapon changes shape on command. There’s also something odd with the depth of the incised wounds on her back,” Lynn said, opening one of the long slashes on the back.

    “Relatively shallow for knife wounds,” said Nate, leaning down to take a look. “less than an inch in depth.”

    “Exactly. Nicole’s puncture wounds were the most severe. The slashing damage, quite frankly, seems superficial,,” reported Lynn.

    The flaps of the tent lifted up and the young officer from before poked his head in. “Agent McNab, Inspector Kurosawa wants to talk with you. Something about jurisdiction?”

    Nate sighed and glared at the officer, forcing the man to shirk back nervously. “I’ll deal with this, Linden. Keep looking,” With an irritated grunt, he followed the officer out of the tent.

    Looking around the tent, she wished she’d had time to bring her own forensic tool case from the apartment. However, with the current downpour, she might miss evidence if she went back to get it. She opened up several silver forensic cases in the tent before finally taking out a blank sheet of laminated paper.

    “This’ll have to do,” said Lynn. Donning a pair of latex gloves from the nearby case, she gently placed her hand on Nicole’s head.

    Uttering another slew of incantations, she felt her heart flutter as her spell finished. If there’d be anyone looking, they may have attributed the sudden breeze that buffered the tent to the wind outside. Opening her eyes, she looked at the image now imprinted on the sheet of photo paper.

    It was a ground view of the alley, Nicole’s final vision before the last of her life came to an end as she lay bleeding. Alone. The poor girl probably scared out of her mind wishing for help as she felt the life draining from her. However, the last two victims she and Nate had investigated had been drained dry like a husk. The killer had been successful and yet something had chased him off before he could drain Nicole like the others…

    Lynn pondered the scene. She was missing something.

    She brought the picture closer and examined the image. There was something in the shadows behind the shipping containers, but she couldn’t quite make it out; like ice over water. Lynn grumbled once more she wished she had her own forensic tools with her. She’d have to take a closer look later. Right now, she had to see what else she could find on the scene. Placing the photo into her jacket pocket, she opened the tent flap and stepped outside into the now pouring rain.

    There were more forensic personnel on site now, combing the crime scene for additional evidence. McNab and someone who Lynn assumed was Inspector Kurosawa were arguing at the entrance of the alley, the older of the two closing in; a somewhat comical sight given Nate’s height. Behind his shades, she could see him roll his eyes in frustration.

    “...don’t care who’s authority you’re under, I ain’t heard of you. Unless I hear my Captain authorize it, I want you out of here. This is a local matter and we don’t need anyone outside interfering. Now I want you and your friend off our crime scene now!” Inspector Kurosawa said. The inspector’s baritone voice was easily distinguishable above the wind and rain. She could see from Magic that the dear inspector had already had at least a drink within the last hour.

    “Detective Izumi autho…” Nate said.

    “Isn’t here,” finished Kurosawa.

    It looked as if Nate was going to argue back, but he simply gave a tired sigh. “Agent Linden, let’s go,” he said to her.

    “But…” said Lynn.

    However, he was already gone, crouching under the police tape and headed to the main street. She gave the inspector a smoldering glare before she ran to catch up with Nate. As she left, she could hear the gruff inspector yelling at his men.

    “What are you looking at! This killer won’t catch himself,” Kurosawa said.

    This was utter bullshit. It was bad enough when she and Nate had to follow rogue Magi outside Japan, but this legal red tape was ridiculous considering they were in their actual jurisdiction here. She caught up with her partner as he waited for her under a store awning, the light of his cell phone reflecting off his shades.

    “Nate,” said Lynn, her brow knotted, “our evidence is flushing down the drain along with this rain! We can’t just leave it to that incompetent drunk!”

    Her partner shook his head. “I know that type of man. We’d have better luck arguing with a wall. No use getting into a fight with the local authorities here, especially if we’ll need their manpower. I’ll get this mess sorted out and we’ll have a look see in the morning. You find anything else back there?”

    Lynn huffed before forcing herself to calm down. Damned bureaucracy. “I got the victim’s last moment,” she said pulling the photo from her jacket, “There’s something there but I’ll need my tools from the apartment to get a better look.”

    “Alright. You take a look at that for tonight. I’m going to see if I can get in contact with the Association’s administrator in Fuyuki again. Could you visit the church representative? Tell him what’s going on?

    “The… church…?” Lynn mouthed the words as if they were filthy. “You know who’s working there, right? That guy gives me the creeps. What’s he even doing here. He’s not even a minister, he’s an Executor!”

    Nate gave a sigh. “Just do it Lynn.”

    “Fine! But you’re paying for dinner tonight and I get to choose where,” said Lynn jamming her finger into his chest.

    Nate rubbed the arch of his nose before sighing once more.

    ===

    - Teach me, Mahou-sensei! -

    The Present...

    Arturia picked up the screeching kettle off the element and quickly poured the piping hot water into the dark blue teapot before bring it over to the living room table. She poured the fresh tea into mugs before taking a seat next to Lynn.

    Picking up one of the mugs, Lynn blew on the hot tea before taking a sip.

    “Lynn? You said you could fix that prana problem?” she asked.

    “Ah, of course,” she said putting down the mug. “So… I assume by the fact you’re asking me for help that your father never really taught you how to use utilize your magic talent.”

    Arturia raised a brow in confusion before finally nodded her head. She was no fool. Arturia knew a ploy when she saw one. It was obvious she’d have to talk to her ‘father’ Kiritsugu once he got back. As for her magic talent, Merlin had tried to teach her the basics but between her time training for combat, battling Camelot’s foes and ruling the kingdom, Arturia had never had the time or patience take up Merlin’s tutelage.

    “Right-o. Shouldn’t be too hard in any case,” Lynn said, rubbing her hands nervously together. “First things first, I’ll need to do a diagnostic on your magic circuits just to get a feel on your magic potential and make sure there’s nothing to worry about. I’ll just run a little bit of my prana into you first. Should feel a little tingly but do tell me if anything feels wrong.”

    Lynn raised on of her hands in the air before pausing.

    “I… uhh… could you remove your shirt? The connection works best with skin-to-skin contact… ugh that sounded dirty,” said Lynn. The redhead gave an awkward smile, trying to hide her nervousness.

    Arturia nodded before casually lifting her shirt off; feeling a slight chill from the air.

    Lynn an uncomfortable cough before placing her hand gently on Arturia’s chest, whispering incantations under her breath. Slowly she could see a sky blue light glow from Lynn’s hand as a warmth grew from her chest and spread across her body. She waited, trying to remain still as the tingling in her chest began to tickle.

    Arturia looked back up at Lynn whose eyes seemed distant and glazed over, as if staring through Arturia and peering into her soul. The redhead traced a path down from Arturia’s neck down to the center of her chest, following an invisible path on her skin.

    “A dduw… mae'n brydferth…” said Lynn. She stared at her in amazement and, for a moment, Arturia thought she saw her eyes glimmer like sapphires. A hungry smile grew on Lynn’s face and she could see the edge of Lynn’s canine peeking past her lips. She looked ravenous, like a wild beast eyeing fresh prey… eyeing her…

    “Lynn?” said Arturia. She could feel her a growing knot in her stomach. Had her instincts guessed wrong about the girl?

    Lynn opened her mouth to speak, before her eyes rolled back and she collapsed to the tatami floor.

    “Lynn!” cried Arturia. She kneeled over her, trying to rouse her by shaking her shoulders.

    Lynn blinked, trying to refocus her eyes. “Eh? Ria? What are you doing up… there?” said Lynn as she regained her bearings. Arturia raised a brow at her words.

    “I’m leaning over you. You collapsed while performing your diagnostic,” said Arturia.

    “Did I? I don’t remember that,” said Lynn, a little perplexed.

    Arturia nodded to confirm her confusion.

    “Huh, how odd,” she said. “I’ve never had that happen before.”

    Lynn scratched her head, confused at the situation, before finally shrugging her shoulders. “I’ll have to ask my colleagues about that at the Association. Weird… Anyways, I said I would fix that problem of yours. Let me bring up the the scan results.”

    Lynn muttered a simple spell before materializing an ethereal diagram of her body; the bright blue of her body contrasted by the flashing layer of crimson that covered her arms. Countless numbers and tags marked her translucent body representing some statistic that probably made sense to a real magus.

    “Ach! Ria, did you do this to yourself?” Lynn said, poked at the red on the hovering body.

    “What do you mean?” Arturia asked. She could feel the heat of shame rise to her face even as she tried to ignore the soreness coming from her arms.

    “What do I mean?! You’ve damaged nearly all the nerves in your arms, not to mention your circuits. If you’d fried them any worse they’d fit well with chips and a pint. I’m amazed you can even move them at all. Damn it, lass. When you said you were inexperienced I didn’t think it was this bad. How’d this happen?” said Lynn.

    Arturia could feel the heat rise to her face. She looked away from the Lynn’s worried eyes.

    “I… I tried to reinforce my body while training. I’ve been trying to summon my prana to do it but it fails every time and… I... It’s why I asked for your help,” said Arturia.

    “And you’ve done it multiple times?! Did you think all that searing pain was a good sign?“ Lynn said incredulously

    “No! Of course not!” said Arturia, her voice at the edge of screaming. Lynn’s eyes shot wide open and she reflexively back away.

    There was a quiet crack and Arturia looked down to see the handle of the mug she’d been holding, her knuckles white in fury. The room was silent as Arturia simply stared at what her anger had done. She sighed as a wave of fatigue crash over her and Arturia slumped towards the table. She felt absolutely tired. With extra care, she placed the ceramic handle down next to the now broken mug.

    “I just…” she paused, thinking about her next words.

    What did she want? To be king again? To be a warrior once more? To save Shirou, Rin and Sakura? To fix her past mistakes? All of that and more. But right now…

    “I don’t want to be useless. I can’t really do anything with my prana and… I don’t want to be stuck like... this. Forever,” her voice nearly cracked as she pointed at the ethereal diagram in the air. She pulled her legs up and hugged them, simply staring at the table. She shut her eyes, lest she let any tears show through..

    She could barely even swing a metal bat, how exactly would she use a sword in her current state?

    Arturia felt Lynn’s arms wrap around her chest as she hugged her from behind, the faint yet pleasant smell of her perfume tickling her nose as she came close. She could felt the warmth rise to her face again although this time for an entirely different reason.

    “L… Lynn?” she said.

    Lynn didn’t say anything for a moment, before finally speaking. “Just wait a bit,” she asked.

    Lynn was close enough to her that she could see the thin strands of burgundy hair in her peripheral vision. The redhead held the hug and, Arturia had to admit, the embrace of Lynn’s warm body against hers felt… reassuring. Slowly, she felt the tension and stress drain from her shoulders and slowly slumped into Lynn’s embrace. It seemed like forever since the last time she’d simply been held. All the responsibilities of war and keeping up appearances to appear strong...

    After another moment, Lynn broke the silence.

    “Feeling better, Ria?” she asked.

    Arturia nodded her head.

    “Look. Things will work out. Don’t worry your head about it, aight?” continued Lynn, picking up the broken pieces of the mug. There was a blink of light, and Lynn held up the repaired cup towards her; a small cut on her finger for her troubles.

    “There you are then, good as new. No need for crying, alright?” said Lynn. Arturia could practically hear Lynn’s smile from her voice.

    “I’m not crying,” said Arturia definitely. Her face and the quiver in her voice betrayed her lie.

    “We all cry. Some of us just do it inside,” replied Lynn. Slowly, she released her grip on Arturia before scooting beside her.

    “Here, drink the rest of your tea. It’ll make you feel better,” Lynn said, pushing the mug in front of her. “In the meantime, I’ll get some stuff from my bag and then we’ll see what we can do to start fixing that problem of yours, alright?”

    “Alright,” Arturia said muttered. With a bright smile, Lynn ruffled Arturia’s hair before quickly scooting off to retrieve her bag in the corner of the room.

    Arturia tried fixing her now disheveled hair but eventually huffing in defeat. She’d have to undo her hair if she wanted it to look remotely tidy. With nothing else to do, she sipped her tea and thought on watching as Lynn hummed a joyous melody while searching for items in her satchel.

    =====

    Author’s Notes: Big sister comforting sad younger sister. Not lesbians. Get your minds out of the gutter.

    Regarding updates: I've lost my IRL editor so things may be more rough around the edges than usual. I'll also be updating in smaller chunks (like this) to hopefully avoid such long writing droughts.
    Last edited by Vigilantia; November 6th, 2014 at 11:51 PM.

  7. #47
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    “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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  8. #48
    Vigilant. Relied Upon. Vigilantia's Avatar
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    Reforged: The Twin Blade

    - Reforged: The Twin Blade -
    - Chapter 5 -

    - Night School -

    Summoning an ethereal pointer into existence, Lynn quickly began pointing at the diagram of Arturia’s body in the air.

    Adopting the aura of a professor, Lynn began to speak, “As you can see here, your circuits are undeveloped. Even if you were a fully trained magus, your number of circuits isn’t that amazing. In fact, more than half of them are unopened and unused. I can’t believe your father didn’t train you better with your magic. This all ignores these bizarre striations you have across your body which I quite frankly have never seen before. All of this is beyond my experience as a field agent.”

    Professor Linden poked the diagram of Arturia’s arms, highlighting the muscles and circuits with her pointer. “Just as worrying, however, is your reinforcement technique. This is not how you reinforce your body. If you want to improve your strength you need to focus your prana. As a man once said, ‘you can’t fix a problem by blindly throwing more men at it. Reinforcement of your own body is a precise science, ignoring the irony of that statement. Do it wrong, and you’ll end up like Stephen Hawking.”

    “Who?” thought Arturia, tilting her head. Was that some music star she should know? Maybe one of Taiga’s pop idols she loved so much.

    Out loud, Arturia asked Lynn to explain.

    “Well, look at this,” Lynn said as she zoomed in further on the diagram, showing a close-up of one of the circuits in her arm. “You can see the scarring along your circuit walls where they burst and then healed back. Your circuits are young and frail, so when you tried suddenly to put all your prana into them they broke, which I assume would have left you in a horrific amount of pain.”

    Lynn leaned against the kitchen counter and she raised a hand to her chin as she pondered a thought.

    “I mean… I’ve heard rumors of Enforcers doing this... but it’d take years of physical and magical training for your body to even survive that method, and even then it’s a stupidly inefficient use of mana. It’d be like mounting a jet engine on a golf cart,” she said, thinking out loud. “Never mind that. Moving on.”

    The red-haired magus poked the diagram once more. “The second issue is your magic crest. To magi, a magic crest is essentially like their smartphone. It allows them access to spells and power their parents and ancestors learned themselves.”

    “What’s my problem then?” asked Arturia.

    “You don’t have one,” said Lynn. “In fact, if you had any worse circuit quality I would say you were a second generation magus. To be frank, I can’t figure out how you’re projecting such a strong aura of prana given your… limited magic ability. I’m sorry, Ria. Maybe that’s why your dad never tried to teach you?”

    Arturia took a sip of her tea, mulling over Lynn’s words while taking care not to break the mug once more. She could scarcely keep paying for new cups.

    There had been some ritual Merlin had done when she’d been young to help her better utilize her prana, but even before then she had been a capable match for any of her peers. Was this what Rin had once called ‘Fate’s cruel sense of humour?’ Taunting her with a glimpse of hope only to snatch it away? She gritted her teeth in anger at the thought.

    “Hello? Earth to Ria?” said Lynn, waving her hand at her.

    “I am sorry Lynn, I was simply thinking on what you said,” said Arturia. She looked into Lynn’s eyes. “What can I do from now on, then?”

    The redhead thought for a moment before finally saying, “Well, if I had my pick I’d have Doc Kento look you over first. But since it’s unlikely you’re going to join Shin’i and go through a physical, I guess that’s not an option. First things first, I’d need to open your circuits. That’ll let you have finer control and manipulation of them. You’ll broadcast a much stronger magical signature for a while until you learn how to mask your magic essence, but it’s a necessary step.”

    “Very well. Can you do that, Lynn?” asked Arturia.

    “Uh… yeah. Yeah… of course,” said Lynn, rubbing her hands together nervously. “It’s easy. I just need to provide enough prana into you to activate all your circuits, so to speak.”

    Arturia’s eyes stared at her. “Lynn….” she replied.

    “Alright!” Lynn admitted, “I’ve never done this on a person’s entire system before. Most of the time it was for helping Doc Ken with a patient for physiotherapy. I mean, in theory it should be the same but, like I said, I’ve never seen anyone with your circuits before.”

    Arturia nodded.. “I understand. If you feel comfortable with it, I’m willing to try.”

    “Uh, Right. I probably should have asked this first, but are you sure your dad’s good with this? I mean…” Lynn said.

    “I am not some puppet that always needs to constantly consult with Kiritsugu!“ she said, with a little more ire than she intended. She sighed.

    “Wow. I was asking just in case. Ya don’t have to get angry,” Lynn said waving her hands in front of her defensively.

    Raising both hands towards Arturia before stopping, Lynn’s green eyes looked into hers. Whispering flowing incantations, she placed both hands onto Arturia’s chest; her touch still pleasantly warm from the the heat of the tea, and waited several moments…

    “Lynn? What...” Arturia began to say.

    Her breath caught in her throat as she felt heat spread from across her body; as if someone had thrust a hot poker into her chest. Arturia forced herself to simply breathe as the pain blossomed in her chest. She closed her eyes, perspiration dripping across her brow as she struggled to breathe.

    “Ria!? I think I should maybe stop…” said Lynn. Arturia couldn’t see her, but she could hear the fear in her voice.

    Arturia shook her head.

    “No! Keep going… I can… handle it,” she gasped. Sweat drenched her hair and dripped down her back. It felt as if every muscle in her body was seizing in pain. She could endure this. She had to endure this.

    There was a click and the sound of ringing steel, before Arturia felt searing pain engulf her body like molten metal pouring into her chest and filling her body to the brim. Her throat let loose a painful roar, before she collapsed to the floor.

    ===

    Arturia slowly came back to her senses and felt the cooling embrace of water surrounding her body. Opening her eyes, she saw the white ceiling above her and raised a hand to her head, only to find her arms wrapped in a shining liquid sheath. Oddly, the liquid was cool yet not wet.

    Water?

    She looked around to see she’d been lying in a floating pool of water.

    “Lynn… what is this?” asked Arturia, more curious and amused than worried. She raised her hand and watched as water cascaded down her arm.

    “Oh, I was worried you were going to burst into flames so I made you a nice… water bed for you. It feels really nice during the summer actually,” said Lynn, as her head poked into view above her.

    Arturia pushed off the ground and rose to her feet, letting the water slide off her body and back into the floating puddle. With a minor utterance, Lynn banished the pool of water and it dissolved into the air.

    “Are you okay Ria? You had me worried sick. How do you feel?” said Lynn as she grabbed the smaller girl by the shoulders.

    The magus began to pace the room at a dizzying pace. “I thought you were dead for a moment but... but I saw you were still breathing and thought you might still die from what happened so I raided your fridge for ice and then I started worrying I might have messed up the spell and you might be stuck like that for a while and then I realized your dad might get home and…”

    Arturia had to hold back an amused smile. The poor girl looked like she was going to burst into tears.

    A tug of her arm stopped the babbling Lynn in her tracks. “Lynn, I feel fine. Truly…” said Arturia.

    “You sure?” asked Lynn, her large puppy dog eyes staring at her in concern.

    “Yes, Lynn. I am fine, you can stop worrying,” she said.

    “Oh, good! I was SO scared, Ria,” she said, surprising Arturia by latching onto her like a vice.

    “Lynn…” gasped Arturia.

    “Mmhmm?” she replied, ignoring her victim’s struggles.

    “You’re... crushing... me…” she said. Lynn let go and released her from her prison.

    “Oh, sorry,” said Lynn with a sheepish smile. “Well then? How do you feel? Anything different?”

    “I feel...” murmured Arturia.

    She carefully placed her hand upon Lynn’s arm and felt her skin tingle as her fingers traced the girl’s pale skin. Prana coursing through Lynn’s body, like water running through a pipe, which seemed to ebb and flow in intensity as she held her hand still. Closing her eyes, she could ‘sense’ Lynn’s presence in the room as if her body were a flame radiating heat.

    Her fingers continued to trace the flow of mana, following it up the magus’ shoulder before finally resting her hand over Lynn’s heart.

    Arturia recoiled back, suddenly realizing just how close she was to her.

    Lynn chuckled. “Don’t worry. It’s normal. For magi that haven’t dealt with it before, it’s like discovering sight,” she said with amusement.

    There was a clack, and the room was bathed in darkness as the lights went out.

    “I didn’t need an example, universe,” called out an irritated Lynn.

    Arturia’s brow furled in annoyance. Unfortunately, she too used to the faulty wiring here. She tried to remember if there were any nearby flashlights or perhaps one of Kiritsugu’s lighters in the room. There might have been a flashlight in the cupboard nearby.

    “I got it, don’t worry,” came Lynn’s voice in the darkness. A dim orb of azure light began to glow next to her; eventually growing bright enough to show Lynn’s face. Soon enough, several more orbs were floating around the now lit room; reminding Arturia vaguely of orbiting planets.

    The orbs were small and shimmered like water. Grasping one by its sides, Arturia was easily able to fit into the palm of her hand before it floated upwards once more. Oddly, she couldn’t discern any primary source of light from them. They lazily circled the room providing just enough light to now illuminate the room.

    “I don’t suppose you know where the power box is, Ria?” asked Lynn as she conjured another orb of light in place.

    Arturia nodded. “I believe so. There’s a panel on the other end of the house near the garage. I should be able to find it myself.” She rose from the table.

    “And what? Have you fumbling in the dark. Don’t be silly, girl. I’ll walk with you,” said Lynn as she rose with her.

    Sliding open the living room door, they walked down the wooden hall; the darkness seemingly stretching the distance of these familiar paths. They had just turned the first corner when she felt Lynn place something cool and wet on her head.

    “Here, have a light mote,” said Lynn.

    Grabbing the water orb from her head, Arturia tossed a quizzical look at Lynn. Softly squeezing the mote at first, she then tossed the orb upward and squashed it against the ceiling. It plopped down into her hand after a moment and she tried to hide an amused smile upon her face.

    “Hey!” Lynn turned towards her, eyes narrowing, “Toffee has feelings, y’know. Don’t throw him like that.”

    Arturia let the mote go, and it bobbed up and down once… twice… before staying in place slightly ahead of her.

    They rounded the corner and Arturia opened the sliding door, letting the faint moonlight filter into the darkness behind them. They were in the exterior hall near the edge of the house. Normally, the hall was open to the outside air, but Kiritsugu had closed the glass panes for the frigid winter nights. She shivered slightly, the cold winter air causing chills up her arms, before continuing down the creaky exterior hall.

    Arturia bypassed a bucket in the hall, one of several stopgap measures to alleviate hidden leaks in the old building. She’d already tripped over it once while moving several boxes around the house. Of course, that was just one of dozens of problems with the old house.

    “The floor has questionable structural integrity in this section of the house,” said Arturia. She looked at the flooring to double-check her own footing before continuing on. “I believe it would be prudent if we watched our step from here on.”

    Arturia glanced outward at the towers of light past the house’s wall. In the distance, she could make out the twin Imperial towers apartment complex.

    “That was odd,” Arturia thought. “If there was a power outage, wouldn’t it have also affected the nearby apartment block?”

    She brushed off that uncomfortable feeling. If there was any trouble, Kiritsugu’s boundary field should have detected any danger. Besides, odds were it was due to a faulty fuse or cable. She was sure Kiritsugu could find the problem when he got back.

    “Do you believe you can still help me with my prana problem?” she asked.

    “Well, I’m a little boggled about what happened when I activated your circuits. Most patients I’ve helped never had that type of reaction. I’d rather ask my mentor before continuing on, if that’s alright with you, Ria?” replied Lynn.

    Arturia stopped in her tracks before she could reply. She felt in the air like a sickly, oily miasma. For a moment she thought she recognized this feeling from somewhere.

    “Eh? What’s wrong?” Lynn said, stopping beside her.

    “Can’t you feel that?” Arturia replied.

    Lynn looked confused. “Feel what?”

    Arturia felt a tingle at the edge of her senses, something she’d learned to listen to when danger was nearby. She could never accurately describe the sensation: it was a phantom’s voice that told her where to look for an ambush, the sudden winter chill under a summer sun that told her to dodge an arrow, a ghost’s touch that told her where to parry the next strike.

    Grabbing Lynn, she threw them both to the floor as the wall exploded outward, sending wooden shrapnel into the air. Her body covering Lynn’s, she looked back to see a hole in the wall even Herakles could pass through with ease. She could see something writhing in the darkness beyond but it seemed to distort and shimmer like heat in the desert.

    “Lynn, we have to…” began Arturia.

    Lynn’s hand slammed into her shoulder with surprising force, shoving her aside. She had just enough time to see Lynn bring her gun up before opening fire. The hallway was lit up with flashes of gunfire with the shots so close Arturia could physically feel each shot fire.

    Each shot revealed the creature’s silhouette. Its entire body seemed composed of shadows and darkness but its shape seemed reminiscent of an oversized version of Caster’s starfish familiars but with more limbs. Darkness like oil seemed to churn and drip to the floor before flowing back into the body. Inside its chest pulsed a crimson core, its red glow easily seen in the darkness. The sound of gunshots bounced and echoed in the hall, causing Arturia’s ears to ring painfully in the aftermath.

    The creature gave a guttural roar, seemingly sulking backwards before lunging forward. It slammed into a newly erected slab of ice; its numerous appendages stuck behind the wall of frozen water. Lynn gave a sigh of relief, the azure glow fading from her raised hand.

    “We have to move!” said Lynn grabbing her by the shirt.

    Half helping and half throwing Arturia to her feet, they rose from the rubble-strewn floor and ran back down the hall. Behind them, their assailant pounded against Lynn’s barrier; its inhumane shrieks painful against Arturia’s ears. She could already see cracks in the ice expanding to the edges.

    Golau glas, rhyfel,” muttered Lynn as they ran. Water sprung forth from her hands and travelled from up her arm before sheathing the magus’ torso and shoulders. It spread across her body like an amorphous blob, before solidifying into the shape of pauldrons and ornate plate mail; a roaring lion as the chest emblem.

    “Ria,” she said, “I’ll deal with this damned thing. Take my car keys and get to your dad.”

    “And leave you here with that creature?” said Arturia in disbelief.

    “Don’t be daft, girl. You can’t do anything here,” she replied.

    Arturia turned down the hall, sensing the creature’s presence approaching in the complete darkness. Lynn had left several orbs of light behind as they ran. They were quickly being snuffed out as the darkness approached them.

    “There’s no more time. Run!” said Lynn. She forced the keys into Arturia’s palm and pushed her towards the door.

    Once more, Lynn opened with her gun but the creature this time seemed unperturbed and rushed forward ignoring the impact of bullets. The hair on Arturia’s arms tingled as she felt the prana flowing from Lynn’s circuits. Even with the darkness and the noise, she could sense both the shadow and Lynn behind her as clear as day.

    She slid to a stop at the front doors, searching for keys in the dim lighting. While the front door wasn’t normally locked, she’d need them to unlock the main gate. Moonlight poured into the dark hall as she pried open the front doors. Turning back, she watched Lynn fight the creature.

    Lynn dodged to the side as the shadow struck downward with its serrated limbs, slamming with enough force to crack the wooden floorboard. The hall flashed as Lynn fired her gun at the creature. It was a continuous cycle as the cumbersome creature struck, and Lynn rolled away firing several more rounds into it. Her body seemed to weave and move with the elegance of an acrobat as if her body floated with half its weight.

    The style reminded her of an Irishman she’d met before.

    The shadow struck once more, lashing out hoping to catch her in two overlapping strikes. Arturia could feel a rush of prana from Lynn before the girl leapt into the air. She rose into the air, raising her legs just in time to arch her lithe body over the razor-sharp teeth of the tentacles, before bending her knees and landing gracefully back to the floor. The creature hastily swung towards her once more but Lynn was already gone.

    There was the ring of steel and Lynn drew a sword from some hidden depth of her coat. Its blade reflected a blue sheen in the darkness.

    Turning her attention back to the door, Arturia pulled open the main gates and headed into the open street ahead. She scanned the street for any threats on the empty road. She supposed she should be grateful Kiritsugu’s home was sequestered from other people or else there may have been more innocent bystanders around.

    Arturia looked down at the keys in her hand. Was she to flee like some damsel in distress? Her chest constricted and her grip tightened around the keys at the thought, digging them painfully into her palm. She looked back.

    Lynn crashed through a wall back into the hallway, the creature following close behind her. There was the sound of cracking wood and then Lynn’s leg fell into the hole in the floor below. The magus had just enough time to look up before a tentacle the size of a tree trunk slammed into her chest. Arturia heard the sickly wet impact before watching in horror as Lynn’s body flew down the remaining hall and landed with a thud at her feet in the street outside.

    “Lynn!” Arturia yelled.

    The magus lay unconscious, blood flowed from her nose and her chest armour lay cracked in a hundred pieces. The liquid armour maintained its shape for another moment, before melting and fading into air. There was a sticky wetness on the back of Lynn’s head and Arturia pulled her hand away to see blood.

    Still in the hall, the creature roared, its pulsing crimson heart the only light in the house’s dark depths. Her eyes moved from the shadow and then to the still open gates. There was a moment as she stared at the creature and it back towards her before they moved forward simultaneously. She slammed her shoulder into the wooden gate and shut it, hearing the bolt automatically click shut. A moment later the shadow slammed into the door, specks of wood flew in the air as the wood gate bent from the blow. The gate wouldn’t last for more than several seconds at this rate.

    Turning back to Lynn, she saw her sword laying on the road, its cobalt sheen fading in the darkness. Arturia looked at the sword, its blade fresh with scratches and nicks from the fighting but besides that it appeared almost pristine. She grabbed it and grasped Lynn’s small form by the chest before pulling her away further down the street.

    The redhead stirred as Arturia dragged her away. “Didn’t I tell you to run?” said Lynn moaning. Given Lynn’s dazed tone, she wasn’t sure if it was condemnation or just confusion at Arturia’s presence. She lay the girl beside what she presumed was her car, given it was the only vehicle on the street.

    The creature smashed apart the wooden gates, wooden tinder and shrapnel littering the asphalt, before stepped into the moonlit streets. This close against the pale moonlight, she could see its form in its entirety.

    Darkness like liquid smoke rose from its body, evaporating into the night sky. Skin as black as soot and rippling with muscles dripped oily darkness to the floor. It’s body was different from inside the house, transformed into a shape befitting a horrifically mutated gorrilla and, given its mercurial form, she doubted if it even had a real body. Within the shadow’s body pulsed a crimson core that almost seemed to stare at her like the cyclops of legend.

    Arturia looked down at the blade again. It wasn’t Excalibur, but she had trained with swords her entire life. She had fought for her entire life. This was what she lived to do, not wash dishes or wait tables while being ogled by some pre-pubescent boys. This was what she did best.

    “Let me protect you now,” said Arturia, placing a gently pat on Lynn’s shoulder, before dropping the car keys on her lap.

    She brought the sword up, the blade’s sheen now glowing pure white. The coarse asphalt was rough against her bare feet as she advanced. She swung the blade back and forth in a continuous figure eight motion, testing the blade’s balance and weight. Adrenaline coursed through her veins and a thousand thoughts and calculations flashed through her mind in a second. Dozens of tactics, details, options, and plans to defeat her foe. In a way, she enjoyed this simplicity. It was her and her enemy; victory or death.

    Her opponent charged forth with both its arms tensed tight behind it as its hammer-like arms readied to strike. With a jump, the shadow leapt forward and pounded downward turning asphalt into dust and forming a small crater on the street. The air rippled as the shockwave spread across the empty streets and shook the nearby trees.

    Arturia was no longer there. She stood behind the beast, black ichor splattered across her face and covering her clothes. On her longsword the black blood sizzled and boiled before evaporating off the blade.

    The creature had been so focused on pounding her to mush that it missed her when she’d slid underneath its attack. Thrusting upward, she’d let the shadow’s momentum do most of the work for her and disemboweled the creature from chest to groin. On the road lay a trail of its thick muddy blood

    It roared in pain, irate at its formerly easy prey, before collapsing to its knees from the wound. For a moment Arturia even believed the thing would die but then she watched as its wound slowly closed and the creature rose back on its feet.

    She sighed. Things were never that easy.

    It surveyed her, pacing back and forth on the road while its crimson core seemed to stare at her. She gripped her sword tightened and she watched for any signs of attack.

    The sound of rending flesh filled the street as its body began to change once more, its shadowy flesh sprouting more tentacles along its form. Each new limb ended with some form of razor sharp weapon: one was thin and ended in the shape of a spearhead, others at the side formed into the shape of a claymore or scimitar. From its back loomed even heavier weapons such as an Executioner’s axe or an oversized warhammer.

    An armoury’s worth of weapons…

    It knelt down, bladed tentacles rearing up to strike, before launching forward towards her.

    ===

    They had her surrounded, trapped in the remains of this burning village. Her escape blocked by fire, her escorts cut down by surprise attack and her knights cut off by a veritable flood of enemy reinforcements. She was trapped, outnumbered over a dozen to one, and tired.

    Her enemies wielded an armoury’s worth of weapons... mauls, warhammers, daggers, swords, spears and axes. Their weapons reflected the burning flames of the village against the dark sky. She lifted Excalibur once more as they advanced towards her.

    In an instant, her mind calculated their vectors of attack. All weapons had strengths and weaknesses; some were slow yet powerful, others fast yet lacked reach. She rolled forward, slipping underneath the axeman’s swing before she swung her blade and removed the man’s head from his helmet. His nearby companion, wielding a spear, couldn’t bring his weapon to bear at such short range buying her some time to recover.

    There was a tingle in the back of her mind, and Arturia swung Excalibur a full circle, cutting three men in half, before twisting her body to avoid a spear. Grasping the weapon’s wooden shaft, she pulled her target towards her before running her sword clean through his chest, the soldier exhaling his last breath. She pushed Excalibur forward, impaling the man behind him and pulling the sword free with a sickening squelch.

    Instinct raised her sword upward as she turned, parry the downward sword slash and knocking her assailant off balance. Arturia swung once more, shattering the weaker blade and staining Excalibur’s golden sheen crimson with another layer of blood. She rolled to her side as the mob of soldiers struck at her once more.

    Pain stung Arturia’s abdomen and she winced as she came out of her roll. Touching her side, her hand pulling away to see fresh blood. She looked up against the enemy, their visage covered by shadows from the firelight in the background. Some of them smiled as they cautiously approached her, self-assured of their victory.

    One of the men, emboldened by success, charged forward sword at the ready. He lost his hand and, shortly after, his head for the trouble.

    “Arrogant fool.” Arturia thought. She was injured, not dead.

    The rest of the soldiers came towards her, an unorganized mob. Gritting her teeth and cursing under her breath, Arturia seized the initiative and struck first literally disarming the final spearman in the group. She sensed, more than saw, the next attack approaching and swifty sidestepped to the right and watched as as a swordsman impaled his friend.

    The enemy was prepared this time, however, sacrificing two of their men to surround her against a building wall. She struck out and cut another soldier down before sprinting for the gap amongst the group, but this time she was too slow. As she ran from the mob Arturia felt something strike her exposed shoulder and then heard the sound of breaking bones. It took a moment before her mind registered the sharp pain as she fell. That was nothing, however, compared to near blinding pain when she fell to the ground and landed on her broken shoulder.

    Footsteps came from behind her and, as if subconsciously, she lashed out with Excalibur. There was the warm wet splatter of blood against her face, and she opened her eyes to see her sword embedded through another soldier’s sternum, his warhammer falling by the wayside.

    Gritting her teeth past the excruciating pain, she stood shakily to her feet with Excalibur raised; battered yet resolute. It was in this standoff that Arturia noticed one detail the men did not: it was snowing.

    Arturia felt a tingle in the air and she let out a grin.

    Ice formed under one of the soldier’s feet, and the man had enough time to look down in horror before a column of ice impaled him through his torso and lifted him into the air. More icicles, each the size of a man’s arm, fell from the heavens and shredded through armour and flesh alike.

    “Archers, Fire!” screamed a voice. Flaming arrows followed the summoned hailstorm, devastating the remaining enemy ranks. The men broke and fled, their panicked screams receding in the distance as they ran. With the threat gone, she collapsed to the ground in exhaustion.

    A figure approached her from behind, parting the layer of flaming debris with the snap of his fingers. He ran towards her with haste, his large cloak sweeping the ground behind him.

    “Arturia, are you alright?” her old friend asked, his hood concealing his features.

    “I shall survive, old friend,” she replied, holding her wound with her working arm.

    Around her, Arturia’s soldiers swarmed forward giving chase to the enemy.

    ===

    The night sky looked ever beautiful as Arturia lay on the asphalt road. At the edges of her vision she saw McNab and Kiritsugu moving and firing at the wounded creature.

    “Get her to the car, damn it,” ordered Nathaniel.

    Craning her head upwards, she saw the severed limbs of the creatures splayed against the ground, black blood was splattered across the ground like some macabre form of art. The walls of the street were shattered and marred as if a small tornado had struck the area. She watched as Nathaniel followed the creature, the staccato of rapid gunfire muffling as he rounded the corner.

    “Here, Arturia. This will help with the pain,” said Kiritsugu, leaning over her. There was a slight pinch on her arm, and then gratefully the pain began to ebb as drowsiness began to overtake her.

    “Kiritsugu, I...” Arturia tried to speak.

    “It’s alright. We can talk once you’re safe,” he said, patting her on the head. She relaxed her head against the ground just for a moment before falling asleep.

    =====
    Last edited by Vigilantia; November 6th, 2014 at 11:50 PM.

  9. #49
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    Wow, that seems a lot longer than I thought it was . . . And I see you stayed with the original concept.
    “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




  10. #50
    Vigilant. Relied Upon. Vigilantia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kieran View Post
    Wow, that seems a lot longer than I thought it was . . . And I see you stayed with the original concept.
    Yeah. I figured since this is the end of the "prologue" it might fit better. The scene before the cut to the title sequence and then commercials.

  11. #51
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    . . . That says scary things about the length of this story.
    “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




  12. #52
    Vigilant. Relied Upon. Vigilantia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kieran View Post
    . . . That says scary things about the length of this story.
    Well, I meant that in all the hooks and intro elements are introduced and we can go into the investigative elements with Saber. The flow is kinda wonky because I have to introduce and explain necessary elements before getting into the thick of the story or else things will seem weird.

    Also, I feel like Lantzblade where no one bothers to comment on his story. Was the buildup just too long?

  13. #53
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    Honestly, I'm no judge - but I wouldn't think so . . .

    Sometimes, I find, it's just bad timing - most of your usual readers aren't up and around when you post, so it can take a day or two.
    “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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