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Thread: [Quest] Lost Singularity - Fimbulwinter

  1. #1381
    So Many Ideas, So Little Time SleepMode's Avatar
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    The Act of dozing off in the afternoon is a luxury indeed.
    Coffee would be nice, though.

    [Collection of my Servant Sheets]
    Now Revamped!

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    The Long-Forgotten Sight Rafflesiac's Avatar
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    “I’m Garmr. I’m hungry.”
    o7

    And another salute for Liria, I approve.

    2, 7, B

    Finally, have fun with your travels and good luck with your endeavors.
    Quote Originally Posted by Arashi_Leonhart View Post
    canon finish apo vol 3

  3. #1383
    Wow, it's been a year since this thread was updated. Is it dead or is it still planned to continue?

  4. #1384
    Time to burn some dread Daneel Rush's Avatar
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    Throne of the Human God
    Somewhere in Eternity

    (BGM)

    Somewhere out time and space, beyond human perception and comprehension, a Human God exists. For the sake of convenience, let us call it a “She.”

    She does not slumber, for She is infinite devoid of physical form, and thus beyond physiological functions. She merely exists, and solely by choice, for She has accepted that inaction is Her due. She merely exists, for She does not allow herself to do anything else. She does not watch the cosmos, for that very cosmos is governed by Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, therefore observation is in itself interaction, and that is the one thing She does not allow Herself to do. That is also why She turns her back to the Root of Origin—if one such as She even gazed into Akasha, that would be sufficient to transmute the universe in one fell swoop. Thus, it is by own choice that the Root remains forever denied to Her. However, Her throne is also Herself, therefore to such a being, existence is in itself introspection, and introspection is the seed of growth. It is in this way that Her infinity grows even further with every passing moment.

    Being both human and divine, She perceives everything and is perpetually embroiled in a battle against Her base nature driving Her to direct Her attention towards things other than Herself. To Her fortune, She did not achieve this pinnacle without learning self-control, patience and serenity. Remaining isolated is therefore a simple endeavor. Even those isolated pockets of spacetime—what modern era mages would call singularities—are easily ignored, for they are not of Her concern.

    Except for one.

    A specific singularity that is actively aiming to reach Her.

    Naturally, this transcendent being is beyond frustration and anger. It is with both simple human curiosity and solemn divine disdain that the Human God turns Her attention to this pocket of reality. For an infinitesimal instant She becomes a thing of time, allowing herself to take in the singularity with supernal eyes that see through everything—the sublime perfection of the divination she once developed as a mere human adopting the shape of divinity.

    She promptly realizes this is the consequence of the last time she set her gaze away from herself, when a woman got too close to her throne. There is no lamentation, merely acceptance, and the confirmation of the correctness of her choice to leave the world.

    Her lesser emanation aims beyond her means, and may damn the world in the process. She will be defeated by striking at the humanity beneath her assumption of divinity. Soon, her opponents will learn the exalted Word that began this entire story.

    The dancer born at the dawn of existence stands in opposition, using a girl as its vessel. Nothing to worry about. In the end, no matter the result, the right person will do the right thing; of this she is certain.

    Far more worrisome is the disruption and twisting of the local ley lines, that will persist even after the singularity is resolved. The corrective agent begat by the local spirits might not be sufficient, or even aware of his duty. Instructed by her lesser self, he walks a path of assimilation by the divine principle, which could not be further from sublimation as a Human God. Ideally, he should stop reaching out for his engraved divinity until he undergoes a lifetime of personal cultivation and comprehension of both the human and the divine, but the danger looming upon him pressures him to tap further into it. It all comes to his final choice between the mundane and the numinous.

    The so-called “Holy Grail”…her lesser materialization created wonderful things with it, both beautiful and ephemeral. Her heart hurts for those brilliant, pitiful children, and hopes they will know the joy of life before their light inevitably fades. As ever, the greatest enemy of things like that Grail is the greed of man, this time in the form of a third party: one of the cosmogenic emanations of the usurper god, now twisted by the colors of an incomplete, chimeric soul.

    It is a truly inauspicious merging: the primordial murmur, the broken half-soul, and the soul amalgamate too close to Akasha for his own good. All paths leading to separation also lead to death…or rather, they did.

    She resists the temptation to look outside the singularity, instead detaching herself from time. She has already seen enough, and therefore bathed the world in the radiance of Her infinite will. The singularity has already been inexorably changed, adjusted so as to prevent the one result that absolutely must never come to pass. That is enough—the rest is up to the actors on the stage. If anything, She has already intervened too much.

    Once again, the Human God isolates Herself in the depths of Her own existence, turning Her eyes away from everything. She must, otherwise Her sheer presence will warp the world She very much loves.

    Every human has the privilege to decide the shape of their own perfection. This is something that cannot be taught, nor can it be forced upon anybody. That is Her answer and Her conviction. Until they reach for the pinnacle as a species, She must turn Her eyes from them.

    And this is how the Human God exists.

    Meanwhile, the storm that defines the borders of the singularity circulates the metaphysical torrents of human will and divine authority emanated by the Human God, inevitably allowing them to permeate the spacetime isolate. The ritual site developed by Alter Ego Enheduanna, now painted in the colors of one infinitely greater, begins to change.


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    Club Alemán – Sala Hamburgo, Salvador Donoso 1337, Valparaíso
    Day 04
    Evening Phase – 05
    Temperate (25°C/77°F)

    (BGM)

    Seating Arrangement
    For whatever reason, the Hound of Hel freezes half-way to flicking another mersu in his mouth. His head and eyes tilt upwards, as if wishing he could see through the roof, and he sniffs the air unabashedly.

    “Puppy? Is something wrong?”

    Somewhat surprisingly, Shielder takes his time to reply. When he does so, however, he seems to have returned to his usual placid self.

    “No, nothing at all, after all.”

    He smiles, but his choice of words is strange and anybody can see that. It is awkward to ask any further because he is already stuffing himself yet again.

    “We can be at ease,” declares Enheduanna. “I do not perceive any threats in the vicinity, including any possible elements with Presence Concealment. We can focus on enjoying the food and drink, and discuss whatever it may please you to discuss.”

    “Let’s talk about Maria, then,” is what comes out of my mouth when I summon my immediate worries. A disinterested-looking Liria to my right flings another mersu in her mouth. In front of me, Caster and Senta wear smiles in the opposite sides of the spectrum between kindness and wickedness.

    “The Dancer’s current host,” specifies the Maid—no, Servant Enheduanna.

    “Maria Oršic’s granddaughter,” adds Senta.

    “Is that so?” Nobody in their right mind would believe the Maid is surprised by this information. Their hostess reaches for her glass, looking for something in the depths of the clear liquid that only she can see. I have yet to touch the white wine myself, for I would rather keep myself at my best in these circumstances. I cannot imagine Sakura or Fiore going for the wine eith—what is that woman doing?

    “Sparkly,” idly comments Miss Forvedge after taking a long sip. Isn’t she having a little too much fun? In front of her, Ortrud seems to have seized the bottle the moment the radiant servant was done filling Fiore’s glass. Well, somebody seems ready to let herself go. On the other hand, Archer remains his stoic, intimidating self. Why did he even come here, really?

    “The girl damned herself the moment she accepted the demon,” Enheduanna declares without a hint of compassion. “It is only natural taking that power onto herself leads to nothing but self-destruction.”

    “Because it’s a demon,” Sakura adds, stating something that seems obvious.

    “Because it is the Dancer,” clarifies Enheduanna. “Know that the word ‘demon’ in my era did not solely refer to what you know as such. Bothersome as it is, that thing is closer to humanity’s understanding of a god: an intelligent embodiment of a concept. The difference between the Dancer and the gods is that she was not a natural emanation from the World. She was built by a god, to fight a god.”



    *** ***



    Vestermarie Church, Bornholm, Denmark
    September 14, 1943

    “Humans, as a product of the World, follow its same behavioral patterns.”



    The Ghost Liner clad in the robes of a nun begins her impromptu lecture for a single reluctant student.

    Bornhold is Denmark’s easternmost island, closer to Poland, Germany and Sweden than to the country to which it belongs. Its position made it natural target for Nazi occupation, becoming a port for German interference in Baltic navigation and a listening station. The presence of a ley nexus in the island naturally captured the attention of Heinrich Himmler and his little army of occultists. Ahnenerbe expelled the priests of the church from the small village of Vestermarie, turning the holy building into their base in the island to facilitate the study of the runestones in the churchyard and the nearby Bjergebakken menhirs. However, the old Norse artifacts are a secondary issue. The real purpose of Bornhold’s Ahnenerbe team is to research ancient aircrafts. Naturally, Enheduanna has her own plans, wholly unrelated to Himmler’s dream of Nazi flying saucers.

    “Both humans and the World strive to establish order and structure in defiance of their own principles encouraging disorder. It is the strange irony of existence.”

    The false nun’s audience is a tired, defeated woman, whose morose expression makes it clear she would rather be anywhere else.

    Maria Oršic
    “The existence of more than one thing also begat the possibility for conflict between different things. Thus began the eternal dance of strife that wraps all things in its maddening rhythm.”

    The world’s greatest medium, Maria Oršic, knows better than to open her mouth. Better to let the monster indulge herself. It is a lot easier if she just pretends that she is not there.

    “Humans are naturally driven to conflict and even revel in it, for conflict is the primary catalyst for innovation and growth. Yet, at the same time, they long for a life without conflict; a desire to indulge in their wants without having to fight for the privilege to do so. Furthermore, it is difficult to grow as a species if the endless spiral of conflict unravels more than it begets. Therefore, humans engage in endless conflict for the pursuit of the end of conflict.”

    The woman currently goes by the name “Sigrun.” Not even Maria knows who or what she truly is, only that she is ancient and mind-shatteringly powerful.

    “In ancient Mesopotamia, the goddess Ishtar had both order and conflict as part of her vast purview. This was normal, for Ishtar was the liminal goddess, who embodied all the contradictions of the human experience. Just like kings would pray to her name to legitimize their position, her devotees would engage in ecstatic dances to quell her thirst for conflict.”



    *** ***


    Club Alemán – Sala Hamburgo, Salvador Donoso 1337, Valparaíso
    Present Time

    “In my time, trained performers would attempt to reproduce the demon’s chaotic dance to keep Ishtar from dancing it herself, thus generating additional discord, conflict and destruction in the world. It was an ecstatic dance, often assisted by the use of psychotropic substances. The guštum, rather, the entirety of the festival, represented the abandonment of restraint and social mores. A temporary detachment from the ways of ‘civilized humanity’.”

    Letting the glass of white wine rest on the table, Enheduanna turns her gaze to me, her expression unexpectedly mellow. The wine could not have gotten to her already.

    “Humanity is incompatible with that demon. Not by nature, but by choice,” she declares with calm finality. “Do not be mistaken: The Dancer is not evil, certainly not by the conceptualizations of this modern era. She does not wish to destroy her hostess. However, she cannot prevent it, just like fire cannot make itself stop burning.”

    She pauses, seemingly to correct herself.

    “She could if she willingly left the girl, but she cannot do that. Not because it is her World-given mission, but because her fundamental nature, the very purpose for which she was created, is to oppose Ishtar. As long as she needs the girl to fulfill her God-given purpose, she will not let go of her willingly.”

    “So, the solution you are proposing is for Maria to relinquish the power and break the connection from her end,” Fiore posits, and the Maid nods.

    “And then there’s nobody who can stop you,” Liria quips. “Bet you’d love that.”

    The hostess shrugs, not denying nor acknowledging anything. Instead, with a vague gesture of the hand, the servants of light swarm all around us, removing plates and placing new ones with robotic precision; an uncanny choreography that leaves me a little dizzy.


    Now that’s a lot of cilantro.

    “And this is…?” Sakura cannot hide her interest in the next element of this meal. It is clearly not mere hunger or gluttony. Hers are the eyes and words of a professional examiner. She is a reviewer.

    Pašrūtum,” answered the hostess. “It was my era’s equivalent of what—”

    Naturally, expecting the Herald of Fimbulwinter to wait even a second longer was an exercise in futility. Enheduanna, fortunately, seems more amused than anything else, and leaves the hound to its enjoyment.

    “—this modern era calls ‘comfort food’. Mothers would prepare them for their sick children…or so I heard.”

    “Mom never made one for you, huh,” Liria retorted in a tone far more scornful than teasing.

    “Never made one for anybody; she was a queen. Also, I never got sick,” replies the woman impervious to vitriol. “As a recipe, it is nothing special, but I am fond of it nonetheless. I hope you enjoy it.”

    “What’s all this stuff on top? Not sure I like how it looks,” Senta says. I look at the Maid, but she is already looking at Sakura.

    “Ah, sorry,” says the Japanese woman somewhat sheepishly. I guess she was going to answer but caught herself when she noticed the Maid looking at her.

    “Please, go ahead,” instead says the blonde Servant. Sakura smiles at the allowance and nods her gratitude. Aren’t you two getting along.

    “It’s dried sourdough, pounded up and scattered.”

    “After sifting it, of course.”

    “Of course.”

    Getting along too well, indeed. I get that silly smile on your face, Fiore, but I’m not sure we should be so relaxed.

    “I personally favor my food with little salt and pepper, so please season it to your tastes,” then adds the Maid, gesturing towards the shakers. Might as well.

    “Tastes a bit like chicken soup,” Fiore is the first to express her thoughts on the taste.

    “This doesn’t have meat, but it tastes good!” declares Garmr, who is already getting a refill from one of the golden figures.

    Enheduanna reveals a slightly guilty-looking expression to mine and probably everybody’s surprise.

    “I…did not follow the original recipe faithfully. In my time, it was prepared with water and animal fat.”

    “Instead, you used chicken consommé and olive oil.”

    “Full marks, Miss Edelfelt. The rest is kurrat, cilantro, leek and garlic, plus salt to taste.”

    Sakura and The Maid share notes on soup preparation, while Fiore the story of her disastrous attempt at cooking chicken soup for her brother. After that, the event enters a quiet lull. The four on the opposite side seem more invested in eating—or sulking, in the case of Caster and Ortrud. Just when I think this is my cue to bring up another important matter, however, Fiore takes the initiative from me.

    “Miss Enheduanna, just to confirm, you are the Akkadian priestess, daughter of the great emperor Sargon, right?”

    (BGM)

    “Yes, I said as much,” the Servant replies, patiently waiting to see where Fiore was getting to.

    “You were appointed to the position of High Priestess of the temple of the Moon god in the city of Ur, and spent your entire life on that role.”

    Almost my entire life, yes. Children joined the work force at a very early age in my era, and I was no exception. If anything, I began rather late.”

    Her slight chuckle sounds somewhat self-deprecating.

    “I do not remember much of the first half of my life, however. Those memories are, of course, the purview of my younger self.”

    “What does that—”

    “She means Lily,” Liria spat out, apparently displeased by the current topic. The Maid nods.

    “Like all Servants, I am but a fragment, a limited emanation of the greater whole recorded in the Throne of Heroes as ‘Heroic Spirit Enheduanna’. When summed as a Servant, you may summon Enheduanna in the first half of her life, in her aspect as ‘the Highest of Priestesses’ and the embodiment of the concept she pioneered. Using the Fuyuki categorization, she belongs to the Caster class.”

    “The concept she pioneered…?” I hear myself repeat. The Maid’s smile suddenly fades, the mildest of frowns now adorning her beautiful face.

    “…if you did not come to realize it in your time with her, then it is not my place to speak of it,” is all she says on the matter before continuing her explanation. “On the other hand, you have me: the Enheduanna in the second half of her life. Again, using the Fuyuki system, I am most compatible with the Archer class, but I could be summoned in any class other than Assassin and Berserker.”

    “You cannot be forced into the Berserker class?” Fiore ponders. The Servant shakes her head.

    “Not precisely. Summoning Enheduanna as a Berserker beckons a third, distinct aspect of the Heroic Spirit: the ‘Enheduanna at the threshold’.”

    “Then why ‘Alter Ego’.”

    This is Archer, speaking for the first time in a while. Enheduanna shrugs.

    “It is a placeholder class name at best, representing that my summoning was nonstandard. I was summoned by no Grail, for no Grail War.”

    She says nothing more, the whimsical, matter-of-factly tone of her speech filling me with the suspicion that she will say no more on this matter. On the other hand, my teacher likes to talk. Perhaps it is a matter of directing the conversation in the right direction. However, Fiore has more to say right now.

    “If I have the chronology right, then, you are the Enheduanna who wrote ‘The Exaltation’?”

    “You speak of my primary Noble Phantasm, Ninmešara Udalaeda.”

    Fiore’s eyes glow; you can almost see the metaphorical light bulb coming to life above her.

    “So it really became like that; divine assumption! Then, your rank in that skill…”

    “EX, of course,” Alter Ego replies, apparently able to read Fiore’s thoughts.

    The retired mage leans back on her chair, head hung low and looking a little overwhelmed.

    “That…that’s unbelievable; no, that is amazing.” She shakes her head, allowing her smile to return to her face. “I studied a lot when preparing for the Great Holy Grail War, that is when I read about you. Maybe I should have gone with you as my Archer after all,” she says, not sounding like she means it in the slightest. Enheduanna merely nods at the false compliment.

    “The Sage of Mount Pelion taught you the lessons you needed to learn. It is good you show him the gratitude he deserves.” At Fiore’s obvious surprise, Alter Ego shakes her head. “I was not present at Trifas, but I am well informed of the events of that Grail War. However, I think you are under a slight misunderstanding, Miss Forvedge. I am not like this because of the configuration of abilities granted upon me as a Ghost Liner.”

    Fiore flinches as if she had just taken a punch in the gut. Needless to say, the smile is gone, replaced with a haunted look that does not try to conceal burgeoning fear. Perhaps unconsciously, she makes herself smaller.

    “What did you do?” Liria all but hisses at the woman at the end of the table. Enheduanna’s serene presence in no way falters. In front of me, Caster looks at Fiore with unbridled compassion. Clearly, they understand whatever is going on here.

    “Fiore, perhaps if you shared things with the rest of us…?” Sakura next to her proposes, resting a hand on the haunted girl’s shoulder. I nod at that, but Fiore shakes her head instead.

    “No, no, I…this…is better if we discuss this along with Maria and the others.”

    “Yes, that would be wise,” Alter Ego posits before taking another spoonful of her soup.

    (BGM)

    Another lull in the conversation ensues, as Fiore seems to have lost the desire to speak and submerges herself in thought, Sakura watching over her worriedly. Archer maintains its pressuring silence, while the two Hexensoldaten eat in silence, an almost visible, vibrant tension simmering between them.

    ’tas bien, Javier? No has dicho nada.

    Liria’s language switch shakes up my mind a bit, but I only need a moment to switch brain gears.

    Eh? No, no pasa nada. Me han sacado las palabras de la boca; no tengo nada que decir.

    “My student is more the listening type in the first place,” says Enheduanna to my right. “It is not that unsurprising that the ladies here have taken the initiative thus far.”

    Seriously, nobody asked you.

    “Nobody asked for your opinion,” icily retorts Liria.

    “Child, if humans only gave their opinions when asked for them, culture and civilization would not have progressed nearly as far. More importantly, I think my student has more reason to worry about you that the other way.”

    “What the fuck you on? I’m fine.”

    “The dipteran wings on your back suggest otherwise,” retorts Enheduanna, and there is no counter to that. “The demon has engraved itself within you deeper than I expected you to allow it.”

    “Whose fault it is I have this demon in me in the first place!?” Liria raises her voice the loudest anybody has throughout this dinner.

    “Have you tried looking at your situation in a more positive light?” responds the Servant, effortlessly fueling Liria’s ever-growing rage. I do not know if this is a good thing, but I think I get what Enheduanna is trying to say.

    “And what!” Cutlery jumps when Liria smacks the table as she pushes herself to her feet. It is sheer fortune (?) that keeps anything from spilling. “Exactly! Is this ‘positive view’ you have in mind for me!?”

    It is just a moment, but Enheduanna glances at me out of the corner of her eye. Damn her.

    “You have the power to fight back.”

    When Liria looks at me, I can only offer her a resigned look.

    “Liria, there’s no point in provoking her; she won’t fall for that. And lashing out in anger will only make her look down on you. It’s a waste of effort.”

    I was ready for it, but it still stings to see her look so angry and betrayed.

    “Then how the fuck am I supposed to feel, Javier!?”

    Shaking my head, I reach out to her with a hand. For a moment, I think I am being a little too forward with a person with which, admittedly, I am not that close, but it nonetheless feels the right thing to do, so my hand closes around her right arm, squeezing it gently.

    “Nobody can tell you what to feel, Liria. I would never do that.” Really, how much of a hypocrite would I be if I went around telling people to be calm and reasonable? “But we came here for a reason, and this is not it. Do you really intend to fight her right here, right now?”

    Liria does not move for a moment. Out of the corner of my eye, I notice Archer has interrupted his partaking of the meal, his eyes like a tiger’s watching her calmly. Sakura is torn between glancing at a forlorn Fiore and a Liria all but vibrating as she stands, gripping the edge of the table until her knuckles become even whiter. Ortrud looks bored and half-drunk, while Senta and her Servant apparently do not care enough to stop eating. Caster is looking at Liria like she is some pitiful thing, which kinda pisses me off.

    “But…it’s just so frustrating!” Liria gasps out as she slumps back down on her seat, doing her darnedest to keep the tears inside.

    “Everything in this world has a reason and fulfills a purpose, even stochastic processes. Let me remind you of something.”

    Without command, a feminine effigy of light refills Enheduanna’s glass with more white wine poured out of a golden jar with blue highlights that seem to gleam under the lightbulbs. Isn’t this like, her third already?

    “The ‘Lily’ you cherish so much, she was only released from the spellcraft binding her to my will when she bathed in my student’s unrestricted flame. In other words, the ‘Lily’ who approached you and befriended the two of you was acting under my direct command.”

    Liria and I make likely identical frowns, frozen on our respective seats. We only move to glance at each other, as if trying to make sure we heard the same thing, and confirming that we felt the same. This…is just odd, isn’t it?

    “Uh…we know,” is the only thing I can say in the end. “I mean, when Liria told me it was my flame that released her, it’s obvious that until that moment she was under your control.”

    “Yeah, like, what’s the point of telling us that anyway? It doesn’t matter how it began, or whatever the fuck you were aiming for in our hometown; Lily’s love was real. I only met her a handful of times, but she was a better mother to me than the monster that carried me in her womb.” Liria snorts.

    “Is that so,” responds the ever-unflappable Servant, not even bothering to look at either of us, but looking and sounding awfully pleased with herself. “I guess working on a single flower for a change is good from time to time.”

    Caster is the one who looks the most surprised by the strange statement, but I cannot read the look on their face.

    “No, seriously, what the hell is wrong with you?” Liria Colhuán is on the warpath. “How the hell did that girl become something like you? It’s like, like, you hit your head and forgot the person you used to be. You don’t understand you own past self at all.”

    Oh, I didn’t miss that. Enheduanna sticks to her soup, saying nothing and acting like the conversation is over, but I saw the twitch on the corner of her eye. That did hit close to home, for whatever reason.



    *** ***


    Somewhere in the Mountains of Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan
    Thirteen Years Before Fimbulwinter

    (BGM)

    The child is the sole witness to a meeting that may only be described as “legendary.”


    Wrapped in a cocoon made of threads of light, woven together by symbols from a long dead language, she can only lay prone while the other two do their spellwork. Whether this is the prelude to her doom or her salvation is unknown to her, for the child ceased to worry, or even care, about such a thing. She who has forever lived in a cocoon, isolated from the rest of the world, thinks little of being enveloped in a new one of ancient magic. Afraid she is not, for these two mysterious ladies have been nothing but gentle in the few days they have been together. Furthermore, there is the undying curiosity of a child pulled by the incomprehensible dialogue of the other two.

    “We are truly two completely different people, are we not?” says the younger of the two, a girl only a few years older, yet possessing of a regal forbearance that stunned the child since the moment they met. “We are the same soul, but…”

    “You speak as if you pitied me, Lancer,” retorts the adult beauty, a stunning woman with eyes blood red.

    “As if I would do that.”

    The older one smiles for reasons the child cannot fathom. Did the girl say something funny?



    “It is, however, difficult to comprehend, how you seem so thoroughly unable to see into my own mind. How can there be such a thing as an adult who does not understand her younger self?”

    “Does it bother you?”

    “I would lie if I say it does not,” admits the younger one. “It speaks to how thoroughly you remade yourself during and after the banishment. It is both impressive and frightful.”

    “There might have been other possibilities, but this was the answer I found—that stream is too feeble.”

    “And whose fault do you think that is!?” hisses the smaller blonde. The thread of light pouring out of her right hand becomes thicker, stronger-looking. They are like weavers working on a loom of light, their hands moving faster than their speaking mouths, drawing indecipherable symbols in front of them while working the threads those symbols generate. The child is dazzled by the canopy of light enveloping her, singular points across its surface scintillating vividly and candidly like diminutive stars. Indeed, rather than a loom, she might be admiring a miniature golden sky.

    “It is your stream, so it is plainly your fault,” replies the elder one, speaking as if she had been asked a thoroughly stupid question.

    “I am saying this would not happen if I was in my proper class!”

    There is a clear difference in skill between the two. While the older weaves light expertly and with elegance the child can only see as ‘womanly’, the younger one clearly is having a tougher time, her lovely face marred with a frown, sweat giving her skin a golden sheen under the light of her own making.

    “I did not take you for one who laments her condition.”

    “You are the last person in the world who gets to say something like that!”

    “I was not aware I needed permission to point out an unexpected quality.”

    The young one clicks her tongue in a most un-childlike way.

    “In any case,” continues the taller one. “Stop talking about unnecessary things and focus. Otherwise step aside.”

    “As if I would let you do this alone.”

    “Hmph.”

    For all they seem to argue with each other, the two blondes get along rather well, like two sisters who happen to disagree on everything.

    The child smiles when the younger beauty turns her gaze to her prone form.

    “Is everything alright, Kiara?”

    “You know everything is alright, and she is not under any pain or discomfort,” responds the older one before the child can say anything. “It is a pointless question.”

    “It is not. The fact you believe so is the core difference between you and me.”

    “Is that so.”



    The child giggles: young Kiara Sesshouin, her age a few months short of two digits. She does not know this yet, but her life is about to begin.



    *** ***



    Club Alemán – Sala Hamburgo, Salvador Donoso 1337, Valparaíso
    Present Time

    (BGM)

    Most of the attendants are done with their soup (and, in Shielder’s case, her multiple servings), and the luminous servitors promptly remove the dishes and tidy up the table. However, Enheduanna seems to be in no hurry to move on to the main dish. With Garmr at least somewhat sated with the soup, he no longer seems impatient and instead sets his attention on his new Master’s “sister.”

    “You smell like brimstone and ash,” he says to Ortrud. “You were underground when Javier released the power of the local god.”

    “Well aren’t you a smart little mutt,” the perpetually-moody woman grumbles, making herself even smaller in her chair as if that could spare her Garmr’s attention.

    …wait, what did that dog just say?

    “Ah, so that’s what happened,” a wincing Senta comments, turning to me upon likely noticing my confusion. “Come on, Javier; I wasn’t there, but you went all Volcano Boy this morning, didn’t ya? What with the lava and the earthquakes and stuff? Did you forget the part about the sprawling Nazi base under the hills of Valparaíso?”

    Ah. Right. Well, you can’t blame me for not putting much thought on the Nazis and their hideout.

    “Nothing of value was lost,” Liria quips. Ortrud rolls her eyes.

    “Yeah, the base was pointlessly large anyway. Like, seriously, it could have been half as large and we’d still have room to spare. What was the point of that?”

    “Appealing to the Sovereign’s ego, of course,” Enheduanna responds in her neutral tone. Ortrud and Senta scoff, their synchronicity such that it makes them look at each other in disgust. I think there is even a hint of a smirk on Archer’s face. Clearly nobody on this table is fond of this ‘sovereign’.

    “They mean Berserker, if you didn’t get it,” Liria clarifies. “So that mess of tunnels got wrecked, huh.”

    “Yeah, yeah,” a somewhat resigned-sounding Ortrud assents. “Well, the innermost chambers should be fine; I sealed the parts that could be sealed before I dashed the fuck out of there. Just in time before the magma flooded my layer.”

    “If anything, that’s probably the reason almost no lava made it to the surface,” Fiore points out. “All that room to be filled underground.”

    “So the Nazis saved the ruins of the city they first destroyed,” Liria declares with a snidely tone.

    “Um, I don’t think the infrastructure has been damaged to the extent that we should call this a ruin…” Sakura posits, but several heads shake at that.

    “Nah, the aqueduct and sewer network must be wrecked beyond repair,” Senta points out. “If the freezing didn’t do it, then Javier just finished the job this morning. Even if you end the singularity, this country’s gonna need a lot of help to make this city livable again.”

    How…how am I supposed to feel about that? I’ve contributed to the destruction of my home, and it’s not like I could do anything to fix this. I mean, I could definitely help in the rebuilding effort—I’ve done construction work before—, but that doesn’t even count as a drop in the ocean.

    “You might want to focus on the ‘ending the singularity’ part before thinking about what comes after,” Enheduanna has the gall to suggest.

    “You’re the one who wrecked the city in the first place!” Liria voices everyone’s thoughts.

    “Everything has a cost,” is the callous response from the ancient Servant. “One’s loss is another’s gain, and we all follow the path we believe to be right. And thus, we all partake in the same dance. It would take something like a Human God to change that never-ending rhythm.”

    Ah, there it is. It is almost as if she was waiting for the right segue to bring up the topic.

    “So I guess now’s when we talk about Human Gods,” I posit. Enheduanna turns to look at me, and suddenly I feel like I’m ten-years-old and my mother just caught me doing something naughty.

    “I think I’ve heard that stupid term somewhere, but…” Liria muses with the tone of one who is not the slightest bit interested. Rather, she is still fuming at the Maid’s disregard for everything outside her own vision, whatever it is.

    “What is there to talk about?” The Maid counters. “The matters of transcendence are the purview only of those willing to walk the path.”

    A snide chuckle from the opposite side of the table. Archer acts as the sound had not come from his throat, meeting our gazes with his stone-cold stare. The Maid ignores him.

    “Man upon overcoming the limits of mankind. God unbound by the rules of godkind. It is that kind of being. A perfect existence, within a distinct shape of perfection.”

    “With all due respect, Mother, that barely counts as a definition.” Of all people, it is Senta who voices the first retort. The smile she receives from Liria implies her agreement, as do Fiore’s brief nod. But it is Enheduanna’s reaction that draws the most attention.

    For the briefest moment, barely long enough for my brain to register it, she looks thoroughly and utterly floored. A moment afterwards, she catches herself and lowers her face, fixating on her own lap for a second before bringing herself back up to look at her “daughter” while wearing a pained smile. It is not fake, but it is certainly not happy either.

    “My apologies. I was…struck by a powerful déjà vu.”

    I do not need to look around to feel the strange atmosphere. The others do not know what to make of this, or perhaps they do not want to acknowledge this…ordinariness, in lack of a better word.

    Indeed, it would have been a lot easier if she had remained an untouchable goddess.


    *** ***


    Somewhere in the Mountains of Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan
    Thirteen Years Before Fimbulwinter



    (BGM)

    The forested slope is deserted save for the three. A ten score steps ahead of the two blondes, the child Kiara Sesshouin marvels at the night sky, standing on her own two feet outdoors for the first time in forever. The breeze is chilly, but the child could not possibly care less, reveling in the sights and scents of a world finally open for her.

    “It appears this will turn out a failure after all.”

    Enheduanna Lily scoffs.

    “Only you would call this a failure. Kiara is healed, and the world will now be blessed with the outpourings of her boundless potential. But I guess you are dissatisfied because she will not follow the Path of the Human God.”

    “I cannot guide her with you around. Even if you left right now, you have already planted a different seed in her mind. This time, it is my loss.”

    Lily scoffs again.

    “A plus for humanity will never be a loss for us.”

    Alter Ego turns to look at her younger counterpart for the first time in this exchange.

    “You must see it as well; the darkness engraved in her soul by her very ancestry.” The grimace on Lily’s face tells the Maid she is right. “She is a child of heresy. Even if Shingon Tachikawa Eiten sees itself as a righteous path, rejection has tainted them. She has grown in a twisted world, listening to twisted words, and the lessons engraved on a child’s mind never fully go away.”

    “Every human lives an incessant battle against the temptation to do evil,” Lily counters. “Hers has higher stakes, but it is otherwise no different. We can only pray she lives in wisdom and righteousness.”

    “I could have guided her towards a better path,” retorts the elder Enheduanna, sounding perhaps a little grouchy.

    “The Path of the Human God?” snidely says the younger one. “How is that any better?”

    “You cannot possibly be that daft,” scolds the Alter Ego. “You cannot be blind to this world’s need for a leader. Someone who may offer a paradigm shift to this humanity shackled by faithlessness and materialism.”

    Lily is utterly unimpressed by her elder self’s passion.

    “And you claim a Human God can do that.”

    “Is it not obvious? A Human God is a transcendent one who walks as a god without detaching themselves from the nature of man. It is the apex of excellence that mankind can look up to and follow.”

    The elder Servant does not expect to be answered with silence. Lily says nothing, only looking up at her counterpart with a sad smile and eyes filled with something Alter Ego cannot accept.

    “You dare look down on me.”

    The child like priestess shakes her head.

    “No, I am just…I guess ‘shocked’ would be the right word in the modern lingo.”

    Lily needs a few moments to gather her next words.

    “Morning Star, those words barely count as a definition. Truth is, you have absolutely no idea what a Human God actually is.”

    Needless to say, The Maid is not pleased by such a statement. Her frown says at least that much.

    “And I guess you know better?”

    “No!” is Lily’s fierce response. “That is the whole point! We do not know—we cannot possibly know what being a Human God actually entails! What a Human God can do, what it looks like, how it feels to be one! We have no way to know that, because we are not one!”

    “We became one.”

    “Yes! And our first and only act upon becoming one was leaving this world! Does that not tell you anything!?”

    “Obviously, we deemed that the world back then had no need for a Human God. It has been over four thousand years since,” retorts Alter Ego. “The world has changed.”

    Lily throws her arms to the air and most unchildlike manner. She looks like a manager frustrated by her employee’s incompetence.

    “Good gods! It’s like sucking Dumuzi’s cock has made that mouth of yours unable to say anything wise!”

    The corner of Alter Ego’s right eye twitches.

    “The child, Lancer.”

    Surprised by the divergence, Lily lets her eyes dart around, taking less than an instant to find Kiara’s own. The child not yet ten years old stands surprisingly close, watching them with a smile that does not quite reach her eyes; eyes bearing a haunting glow beneath the starlight.

    “You’re fighting again,” she says, a declaration of fact. She sounds neither sad nor disappointed, just…saying it as it is.

    Lily blinks, several times in fact, utterly taken by surprise by the child’s closeness, and by those eyes that reflect a mind and a soul ripe for wickedness. This is Kiara Sesshouin, the living heresy.

    “Um, since when have you been here?”

    “Since ‘that is the whole point’,” plainly reveals the little girl before going for the jugular. “What is a co—”

    “Ah, whatever, I’ll give you The Talk tomorrow,” declares Lily, clasping the crown of Kiara’s head with her small hand to ruffle her hair for a bit. Certainly, it takes a lot more than this to bring down High Priestess Enheduanna. As for the child, she whines but does not particularly resist it.

    “More importantly, can you go check if dinner is ready?”

    “Um.” Kiara nods, but does not move right away. Her unchanging stare and somewhat artificial smile linger a bit longer, as if her body needed a few moments to catch up with Lily’s instruction, before she finally, quietly, walks away from the two blondes. The Servants watch her departing back for a while.

    “Am I not be the most adept to teach sexuality to the child?”

    “You are the last person in the world to whom I would entrust anybody’s sexual education, Agušaya.”

    “This coming from the virginal High Priestess—”

    “We are the same person!”

    A brief silence. For a while, there is only the wind striking the forest leaves. The distant lights of civilization are like will-o'-wisps smothered amidst the shadows of Japanese conifers and the mantle of night.

    “The world has changed. Cultures and civilizations have come and gone, but what lies at the heart of humankind remains the same. There are more of them, which diminishes their potential to a degree, but they are the same people who struggled and endured back in our era.”

    Lily’s stare remains firm as she looks up at her elder self. She respects her, a part of her even admires her, but she will never fear her. She is the path she chose to take, She cannot take that back, and she cannot regret it.

    “We do not know what the original actually is, but she is nonetheless the culmination of our lifetime of experiences,” Lily eventually says, her voice much quieter, as if respectful of the peaceful silence around them. “Why do you question her wisdom?”

    Alter Ego Enheduanna says nothing to that, her face severe in front of Lily’s argument.

    “Human Gods, whatever they are, are the highest of mysteries. A secret even those who touched the Root have yet to find. The original decided it must remain untouched, and I will not betray her will—”

    Lily’s body tenses as the pressure coming from the other woman increases by several orders of magnitude. The wind stops, and the stars above dim, surrendering to the sublime presence of divine Venus. For a moment, Lily worries a fight is about to take place, but soon enough she mentally scolds herself, for she really should know better.

    “I care not for such cowardice,” is Alter Ego’s response. “If there is such a thing as a pinnacle, then it is ours to reach it.”


    *** ***


    Club Alemán – Sala Hamburgo, Salvador Donoso 1337, Valparaíso
    Present Time

    (BGM)

    “Cowardice is unbecoming of humans,” Enheduanna says with conviction. “And it is weakness unbecoming of gods. I have grown tired of small-scale projects and meeting naught but disappointment. Perhaps it was a waste of time from the start.”

    She is the only absurd being that would call working with the Third Reich a “small-scale project.”

    “Therefore, I would rather just change the world in one fell swoop, so that it follows the proper direction.”

    “According to you,” Liria retorts scornfully.

    “No, not to me,” Enheduanna counters with utterly unexpected words. “And even if it were according to me, is that not how it always is? Different people carry different convictions and ideas, and strife is born from those differences. I intend to fix my garden in the way I deem best. Anybody who disagrees is welcome to oppose me.”

    There it is. Beyond her beauty, or even her combat prowess—of which we have not seen that much, to be honest—, it is that unflappable confidence that paralyzes and humbles. The absolute conviction of the undeniable fact that she can get away with whatever she wants. I guess many would call it arrogance or hubris. Both beautiful and terrible, it is something I wish I had…to a reasonable degree.

    As is her wont, Enheduanna unilaterally decides this discussion is over—if only for now—and the golden servants appear in droves. It appears the time has come for the main dish.


    Dinner Talk, Latter Part
    The dinner continues, and thus the opportunities to get anything out of Enheduanna.

    Choose TWO topics from the list below:

    1. Servant Assassin.
    2. Servant Caster.
    3. The Sovereign of the Fourth Reich.
    4. The singularity’s “Holy Grail.”
    5. The Maid’s summoning and her connection to the Third Reich.
    6. The Villarrica project.
    7. The “body snatcher” and the spawn of Tiamat.
    8. Write-in (a sentence not longer than the choices above).



    Quest Master's Words: I am not going to apologize for the delay, for it would be pointless. I have no excuses beyond "life", and even if I did, you don't need them. If, regardless, you are still willing to keep playing, I will strive to make this an interesting experience, and give you a memorable endgame.

    Let's finish this.

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    Welcome back. It's good to read your work again.
    Quote Originally Posted by Arashi_Leonhart View Post
    canon finish apo vol 3

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    love warrior <3 world-0 the god of world-0's Avatar
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    here is a list of my servant sheets(new and improved format for my servant sheets)

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    Last edited by SpoonyViking; December 4th, 2021 at 10:11 AM.

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    Welcome back, King.

    As for choices, 1 & 2 is a no. It's poor table manners to talk about people present at the dinner table in such a manner.

    3 & 4 are tempting. The Sovereign is an unknown with the body snatcher removed and with the stabilising presence removed will be a wildcard down the line. I personally want to see him get destroyed before the endgame fight because fuck that guy. The Holy Grail is intriguing, though not a pressing manner.

    5 & are incredibly tied to each other and we must all know the deep Javier/Enheduanna lore. however the bodysnatcher/spawn of tiamat in seigi's body might be the biggest threat to the party outside of this room.

    Therefore my votes are for 6 & 7

  10. #1390
    So Many Ideas, So Little Time SleepMode's Avatar
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    6 & 7

    The endgame is nearing on the horizon…
    The Act of dozing off in the afternoon is a luxury indeed.
    Coffee would be nice, though.

    [Collection of my Servant Sheets]
    Now Revamped!

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    Was a bit busy this last few days, so making my vote a bit late.

    Going with 6 & 7 myself.

    After some thought it's the one I'm personally most curious about, and I look forward to seeing the end game unfold.

    EDIT: Been a long time since I updated the EPUB, so I'll do that as well.

    Also in other news Daneel you forgot to put a link to the newest post in your Quest Progress.

    I titled them as following for the EPUB, and will change it to your version after you make one if it's different.
    Throne of the Human God

    Evening Phase – 05

    Last edited by rajvir; December 7th, 2021 at 03:20 PM. Reason: EPUB Info

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    Time to burn some dread Daneel Rush's Avatar
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    Club Alemán – Sala Hamburgo, Salvador Donoso 1337, Valparaíso
    Day 04
    Evening Phase – 06
    Temperate (25°C/77°F)

    (BGM)

    Seating Arrangement


    Our surroundings are a whirlwind of activity, Enheduanna’s servants like dancers, their delivery of the main dish a lively performance of inhuman precision and synchronization. They move spiritedly and with rich flourishes, never crashing with each other, trays and dishes never slipping off their hands. Their lively motions spread a plethora of scents throughout the room, Garmr’s excited reaction the most overt expression of enthusiasm the rest of us probably share, even Liria who probably does not want to. It does smell real good; we are about to enjoy the best meal we’ve had since our world froze.

    The Hound of Hel gasps, and I have never heard such an authentic, pristine display of joy out of a person’s mouth.

    “For the strictly carnivorous Shielder, I present roasted hen with an assortment of herbs.”


    “Meat!”

    “Indeed,” responds The Maid. “Please do not hesitate; I am well aware a single one will not sate you, so there are more waiting for you.”

    “Yay!”

    A beastly, ravenous growl comes out from the sweetest smiling face before the Herald all but shoves her face into her meal. It is…not pretty to watch, so I will turn my head in a different direction. At least it is not as loud as I’d expect it to be. Sakura’s cook spirit is ablaze, though, and she cannot keep her eyes off Garmr as if she could divine Enheduanna’s ancient Mesopotamian cooking secrets by staring hard enough.

    “As for the rest of us, the meat dish is significantly more…measured,” explains Alter Ego as her exquisitely shapely golden servants present our meals.


    Kanazu is a meat dish cooked with barley. In this particular case, lamb steak.”

    “Ah, that familiar aroma of sprinkled mint,” Sakura notes with a big smile. Indeed, the minty aroma strikes the nostrils before the sight of the dish fills the eyes. “You really see this a lot in Islamic cuisine.”

    Enheduanna nods.

    “Indeed, the Prophet’s religion spread it from Afghanistan to the Maghreb, but it goes back all the way to my era. I hope you all enjoy it.”

    “This meat tastes weird!” Garmr’s happy voice makes it clear her words are not a complaint. “It makes my nose scrunch up, but it’s good!”

    “Ah, that is probably the pomegranate vinegar.”

    “Eh!?”

    Wow. Sakura is looking at the Herald’s roasted bird like it is the goddamn holy grail. There is obvious warm in Enheduanna’s eyes looking at the Japanese chef dying to study what people in the Age of Gods made for their dining tables.

    “Miss Edelfelt, would you like to try the roasted herb with herbs?”

    The hostess’ words are what Sakura needs to catch herself, her cheeks flushing in rapidly blossoming embarrassment. So that’s how it is to be passionate about something. She looks at us as if guilty for something. Yeah, I get it: Enheduanna is the enemy. It feels awkward to just accept her hospitality.

    “Just do whatever you want,” grumbles Liria, revealing a rather despondent smile. “This is important to you, right? As if I would get mad for something like that. Just because I don’t have dreams doesn’t mean I’m gonna get in the way of others.”

    “Please do not lie so blatantly on my table, Liria.”

    (BGM)

    Of course, Liria’s heart-chilling glare does nothing to the ancient priestess. She has probably seen worse.

    “Don’t talk as if you know me,” growls the girl to my left.

    “Do not speak as if you do not know yourself, then.”

    “Says the one who doesn’t get her younger self.”

    “The past is the past. I know very well what I am right now, and most importantly, what I want.”

    “And what is it that you want, Lady Enheduanna?” inquires Fiore, offering honey instead of Liria’s vitriol.

    “A better world.”

    Fiore nods.

    “I am sure we all want that. However, does it justify what is happening in this city, to its people?”

    “I will be rude and answer that with another question: why do you now care for the fate of people you do not know, you have never cared about, and, strictly speaking, feel truly nothing towards?”

    “It’s called ‘basic empathy’, you heartless bitch.”

    As usual, Enheduanna is thoroughly unimpressed by Liria’s hateful words.

    “Empathy, is it?” She counters. “Is that thing you call ‘empathy’ really something that convenient, that you can ignore it most of the time, until you can call upon it to grant you ‘moral superiority’?”

    “You cannot possibly say that you’re not the evil one here!” Liria argues back.

    “That is irrelevant,” retorts Enheduanna with firmly that almost feels like a physical blow, pushing all of us against the backs of our seats. However, her words ignite a question in my mind.

    “Wait, teacher, now I want to make something clear: do you not think what you’ve done here is evil?”

    “Oh, absolutely,” Alter Ego responds with serenity that leaves me utterly floored. “I have done unforgivable things for which I deserve a thousand million deaths. I made two points with my earlier words.” She raises a lovely finger. “First, that the value of an action is not defined by whether it is ‘good’ or ‘evil’ according to any single individual’s values. The worth of each and every single of our lives is to be decided by the consensus of future mankind.”

    A second finger joins the first.

    “Second: as a corollary to the first point, your condemnation of my actions is of no value to me. There is something I intend to achieve, and for that I have been willing, and indeed committed, the ultimate sin. What makes you believe mere accusations can sway one such as I?”

    It is impossible. We simply lack the argumentative power to fight back against this person. Liria only has disgust and anger, and none of those things will sway Enheduanna. Even the rest of us, who may offer more nuanced words and perspectives, could not hope to put a dent on this woman’s sheer sense of self-assurance and conviction. I don’t even know if I can call it hubris.

    “Liria, look at me properly and answer me this: why should I care for the judgement of a woman who uses her underage appearance to profit from the lusts of men?”

    …fuck.

    Liria does not answer. Or rather, her answer is slamming both hands on the table to push herself on her two feet. Standing, she glares vicious murder at the woman at the end of the table before turning her back to all of us and stomping out of the room, her patience meeting its utmost end. I feel her name rising up my throat, but it stays there.

    “Liria!” instead call out Sakura and Caster, the Servant looking like they are about to cry. Garmr looks up for a moment, looking perhaps a little confused. Only Archer and Ortrud seem not to care in the slightest, the voluptuous woman all but sprawled on her chair like a father of three in his fifties watching the football match with beer belly in full prominence, and the powerful man elegantly partaking of his meal like an island of severe serenity in an ocean of turmoil.

    “Beloved Goddess, was that really necessary?” Caster posits, worry for Liria clearly conflicting with their obvious devotion to the other Servant in front of him.

    “This, too, will become her strength,” declares Enheduanna with confidence I wish I could share. “Regardless…”

    …regardless what?

    Choice Time!
    Does someone go after Liria?


    1. Senta.
    2. Caster.
    3. Enheduanna.
    4. Javier.
    5. Fiore.
    6. Sakura.
    7. Nobody does.
    8. Write-in.

    Last edited by Daneel Rush; January 5th, 2022 at 04:08 PM.

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    The Long-Forgotten Sight Rafflesiac's Avatar
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    Bork.

    Also 3 is incredible bait. If save points were still a thing I'd go for it. 4 is terribly irrational and probably unwise, so I pick 4.
    Quote Originally Posted by Arashi_Leonhart View Post
    canon finish apo vol 3

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    I'll go with 3, it's obviously bait but I really want to see it anyways.

    Also thanks for updating the table of contents Daniel, I'll update with the corrected titles and add this new chapter as well.

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    Fate / White Memoria

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    2. We haven't seen much of Caster yet and I'm incredibly curious about her and besides, she does seem like she would have a good heart and mind to recomfort someone in need.

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    2 for the aforementioned reasons
    Quote Originally Posted by Faux, July 20th 2019
    We gave HBM, of all people, access to a morals loosening field
    Quote Originally Posted by Faux, December 25th 2019
    Senta deserves the right to a life where she gets to choose if she's actually a Nazi
    True Rider
    A wise and beautiful woman who exudes an aura of grace. She is a sly, cunning, manipulative person who always gets what she wants, whether through trickery or ruthlessness. Her own fighting abilities are low, but she should not be trifled with. What does she ride? Men, of course!

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