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Thread: [Quest] Lost Singularity - Fimbulwinter

  1. #1221
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six Bird of Hermes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leftovers View Post
    Count my vote towards the option most likely to get Seigi killed kthx

  2. #1222
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six SpoonyViking's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SleepMode View Post
    +1 to Hermes' 4
    Same.
    My fanfics:
    The Gift (F/SN): The last duel between Cú Chulainn and Scáthach.
    Passion Acknowledged (F/SN): Shinji X Shirou lemon
    He Was a Good King (F/SN): Was Beowulf a good king?
    A Fairy Tale of Love and Death (F/SN): A meeting between Scáthach and King Hassan.
    Palingenetic Descension (Tsukihime): The origin of the Tohno family's hybrid nature.

  3. #1223
    Time to burn some dread Daneel Rush's Avatar
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    Aquiles Reed Street, Cerro Cárcel, Valparaíso
    Day 04
    Morning Phase – 10
    Sheer cold (-31°C/-24°F – Thermal Sensation 37°C/98.6°C)



    (BGM)

    “Oh, what am I even thinking? This was a mistake, was it not?”

    The Caster of the Black Sun regrets her choices inside a frozen house, caught in a very normal conundrum: to move forward or to turn back. She would pace around the dead building’s cold floor if she did not deem it risky. Caster was gazing at the marks left by Saver and Lancer’s first exchange down Atahualpa Avenue when she realized the recklessness of her initiative. Her desire to help Liria and the others is real, but she lacks reliable stealth abilities so enemy Servants will notice her the moment she gets close. Not being a martial-focused Servant, announcing herself like that is just asking to get killed or worse. Furthermore, realistically speaking, even if Berserker only sent soldiers to the church, can she really expect the people left behind to handle it?

    “Aaah, I really should have stayed! Bu-but, they’re facing a Servant here! A-and furthermore, young Javier is…”

    Thusly Caster further wraps herself in the bindings of indecision. It is to her fortune that somebody else will make the choice for her.

    A chill strikes her when something fast and powerful strikes the ground in front of the house like a fallen meteor, believing her end is at hand. A gasp and a half-hearted attempt at preparing a conjuration die in her lips when that same something rushes into the building faster than her eyes can track.

    “You! You are Caster, right!?” An urgent, unfamiliar voice. Feminine but rough, as if her throat were afflicted somehow. The ancient priestess needs a moment to see past the onrush of floating snow and dust.

    “Oh, you are…the Herald.”



    “Not me, please take care of her!”

    Indeed, it makes Caster wonder why she did not notice right away, the person in the Servant’s arms. The visual awareness seems to activate the rest of her senses, filling her nostrils with the scent of pooled blood and her ears with the faintest, roughest breathing.

    For the second time this morning, Hexensoldaten V “Senta” stands at the precipice of death.

    “…oh. Oh, girl, you really went and…”

    Both Servants drop to their knees, the Herald to let her new Master rest on the cold, hard floor. Caster hardens her heart to bear the sight of a chest completely caved in, the bloody scene of Senta’s torso sprinkled with fragments of bone as brutal as it is surreal. There is no way an ordinary human, or even a magus, could be alive in such a state. It is almost as if these girls were designed with the expectation of such punishment.



    “Got…” A weak voice from lungs that cannot properly inflate. “Got her twice…that…”

    “Be quiet; let me get to work.”

    Like that, Caster forgets about the two loci of conflict outside those walls, focusing on summoning the primordial knowledge of sages of an age long before her own, seeking for the strongest magecraft beyond the reach of even the magic users of her time. She can only thank her successors for making her legend into letting her do such a thing.

    Senta manages to turn her head to look at Servant Shielder.

    “Go.”

    Garmr’s lips tremble, but she nods and inches away. Only the briefest “what?” can leave Caster’s lips before the Herald explains.

    “Something bad is approaching the holy building; we could tell on the way here. There are people there; I’m going to help them.”

    “Go,” insists the homunculus girl. The conflict is clear in the Servant’s single working eye, but she obeys without a word and walks away, only intending to accelerate when well away from the house. Caster is already invoking the ancient magic, and Senta grunts at the unnatural feeling of tissue slowly stitching itself back together as if time flowed backwards for her body only.

    “Isolde…” she murmurs. “I…won, but…”

    Catser nods. Isolde probably can heal whatever Senta may have done to Brünnhilde. Once the eldest of the “siblings” heals and rests, she will be on the warpath. Senta’s despondent smile reveals she is well aware of this.

    “Better me…than…”

    She says no more, and Caster has nothing to say to it. The Servant works in silence, while the one who longs for life quietly comes to terms with the awful burden she has taken upon herself. For what reason? Only Senta knows.


    *** ***


    Plaza Sotomayor, Valparaíso
    Severe cold (-30°C/-22°F – Thermal Sensation 31°C/87.8°C)



    (BGM)

    The ground trembles. The air swirls and dances. Magical energy gathers along the twirling lance, its rotation over Lancer’s head like a fan drawing the world’s breath to itself, funneling it towards the sky as if to reach out to a distant planet of a distant era. There is no point in trying to stop the buildup; rather, it feels like she will receive divine punishment if she even tries.

    It reeks of molten slush, of her own sweat and of distant traces of Sulphur. A distant groan of breaking ice as the heat reaches the frozen sea and unravels its solidity. There is a vibration inside Maria’s body, for the attribute now impregnating Lancer’s magical energy calls out to the fundamental antagonism inherent to Saver’s existence. Her Servant is looking forward to this way too much.

    The rising magical energy grows into a veil that paints the sky vivid gold. It is definitely visible across the entire city. It is more than a pretty visual effect; it is more than a massive outpour of magical energy. It carries a faint, yet certain otherness that Saver’s unique synesthesia converts into a strange, wonderful musk. It is an enticing, fascinating scent, yet it elicits instinctive rejection. It is unmistakably divine, but it is not just any divine. It is almost alive, as if unabashedly demanding of attention. Subtle as it is, it is flaunting itself.




    “Behold My presence and know awe. Behold My might and know death.”


    Where did those words come from? Did Lancer speak them? Did they come from her heavens? Or from within herself? Does it matter? She is everywhere.

    Lancer traps the thick shaft of his lance between both hands, gritting his teeth before bringing the weapon down to stab the ground in front of him. When the lance becomes a pole, standing straight and firm amidst the storm of golden power, the World obeys and allows the enactment of ancient Mystery.

    Tupšenna Pitēma
    Faith-Rewarding Light of Divine Venus
    .”

    The world hums, like some massive, ancient machine coming to life. A ring of light appears around Lancer and his weapon, no wider than a single step. Then, with a sound like a horn’s call, a second ring begins to spread out from the first one at a sedate pace. Naram-Sin stands still, his posture and mien as firm as the weapon stabbing the ground, his stare an unflinching challenge, wordlessly daring her to step forward.

    Maria instead retreats, putting more distance between herself and the slowly expanding ring.

    “So there it is,” she murmurs. A spark of thought races across her mind; Maria recognizes her Servant’s input.

    “The inner ring represents the walls of Akkad, therefore, right now he is inside a ‘fortification’. I need an Anti-Fortress attack to break through that. The expanding ring represents Ishtar’s promise to take care of his enemies if he proves his loyalty by staying his hand and staying inside the city’s walls.”

    The expanding circle is an unspoken warning. Its slowness is the extent of its mercy.

    “That means, the moment we step inside, we’ll be attacked by Ishtar.”

    “…that’s about it, yes.”

    “Oh, you are talking again?”

    “Just wondering why you are not in there, beating him.”

    “God, I’m running on fumes here, ya know!?” Maria whispers harshly. Saver does not reply, but Maria can all but hear the harrumph in the depths of her mind. The young American can guess the Servant’s thoughts unvoiced. After all, magical energy she can get in spades. However…

    “Is it even safe, reaching out to Javier right now? I mean, right now we’re just getting the bare minimum, and I can feel it’s…”

    Its otherness may be the best way to describe it.

    “Actually, doesn’t it feel like it’s been blocked somehow?”

    “Well, it’s only natural a local divine spirit would not want to share its breath of life with a foreign archdemon. The more reason to take advantage of it, in case it figures out how to break the connection.”

    “We don’t even know if it’s safe to fully tap into that!”

    The expanding ring has claimed about half the area of Sotomayor Square. Maria further retreats to the very edge of the open space.

    “…girl. I didn’t think I had to remind of this, but…you wield the Art, do you not?”

    Maria makes a face at that.

    “You…are not implying I use knot magic to contain the divine aspect like some sort of filter, are you? No way I can do that, I—no, you’re trying to make me use my bracelet, aren’t ya!?”

    “No trust whatsoever, huh. Idiot girl, you think I fear the power of any god?”

    Maria can only click her tongue.

    “…fine, whatever. I’m going all out, alright!”

    “You keep saying that; I have yet to see it.”

    “I’m opening the conduit to Javier full throttle; I won’t answer for whatever happens to ya!”

    “Yeah, yeah…”

    After a sigh, Maria “changes” herself for the preparation and execution of magecraft. This mental readjustment is the bare minimum any user of magecraft must be capable of, from the lowliest spellcaster to the Clock Tower’s highest Lord.

    “Bind. Bind. Bind. Tighten. Hold.”

    Rather than wholly contain, to restrain the flow. To prevent it from outright spreading across her circuits, instead driving it straight into the core of her Saint Graph. Whether such a plan may or may not actually work remains to be seen. It is not as if she has time to think of anything else. Her Servant feeds, and the “weight” of her presence intensifies. An urge fills Maria’s mind and makes her body tingle and vibrate. Saver is a dancer—she is incomplete when she is not dancing. Just like money is meaningless unless it is in circulation, this energy they are receiving is pointless if not spent.

    Maria grits her teeth. It does not change; anything. She is still scared: of dying, of losing either or both the battle and herself. However, the facts are clear in her mind: she accepted the bond with Saver to put an end to the singularity, and she is not aiming for that end for the sake of some reward afterwards.

    She is very fond of being alive, but her life was never a necessary condition for success.

    “Mah, I can’t die before I beat the crap out of that maid, so I guess I have to make it through this in one piece.”

    “That depends solely on you.”

    “Well aren’t you helpful.”

    With a firm grip on her blade, Maria at long last takes a step forward towards the ring of light. Towards the inevitable.

    “Alright then, let’s dance.”

    From the Servant, no answer, for no answer is needed.

    Only the dance.


    *** ***


    Parque Cultural de Valparaíso, Cárcel 471, Cerro Cárcel, Valparaíso
    Sheer cold (-31°C/-24°F – Thermal Sensation 42°C/107.6°C)



    (BGM)

    Seigi Nomikata is pressed against a metaphorical wall. This time there is no Servant he can beckon to protect him. He is but a single human mage, surrounded by absurd, inhuman powers. Therefore, there is only but go all out, “guns akimbo” as they say. What exactly is he expecting? That somehow they can take out Berserker through force of numbers? That might be overestimating that divine flame or whatever.

    Really, by this point there is no tactic left besides “do your best”.

    There is a small wall of soldiers between himself and the Sovereign of the Black Sun, and Seigi Nomikata remains as susceptible to bullets as ever. Before he an even try to seize Berserker’s attention, the first step is doing something about those; he can only hope Berserker will not erase Javier from the face of the earth in the meantime.

    Therefore, Seigi jumps into the fray, with no real plan beyond “get in there and see what happens”. Will this be enough to allow Liria some breathing room? Will she escape? Unlikely, but he would not mind.

    Dashing forward, he calls upon the Wind Element, in the form of the simplest conjuration. However, he pumps up the output, for he wants more than a simple breeze. The snow long banished by divine heat, the ground disturbed and made uneven by unnatural tectonics; the setup is ready for a scouring gale and a cloud of dust and gravel to engulf the remaining soldiers.

    “Worthless,” murmurs Berserker, and his puppets ready their weapons, for there is no need for sight with enough gunfire.

    And this is when the ground shakes yet again, because expecting the ngen to play along with Seigi would be the epitome of foolishness.

    The shaking and quaking is brutal for it is concentrated to the area in front of the ball of flame. Seigi does not get the chance to think of a reaction; he just loses his balance and falls flat on his face, right as serpentine cracks stretch out around him to split the ground below the soldiers’ feet. The unloving soldiers nonetheless fire, even as gravity grabs them and pulls them into the fissures; a reckless barrage of automatic fire that meets a wall of stone raised by divine power. It is only fortune and coincidence that keep Seigi alive, for the wall stretches long enough to hide him as well.

    The redhead gasps, not because of his embarrassing fall. Something like a growl escapes from the ball of flames.

    “This…thing is getting even hotter!”



    *** ***




    A ways away stands one Liria Colhuán, who cannot for all that is holy figure out what Seigi Nomikata is doing. She stands as silent witness to what to any reasonable eyes seems a suicidal charge, followed by a pitiful loss of balance and fall to the ground, and then a wall of packed soil rising to withstand a hail of bullets. Suddenly, their battleground is split into two, with the Sovereign alone on one side.

    She cannot tell what Seigi was aiming for, but she knows the roaring flame is intensifying, that the Sovereign probably will not remain passive now that his soldiers have been removed from the field, and that this temporary isolation is an opportunity.

    “Seigi!” she cries out. “If you can do something about the flame, it’s now or never!”


    *** ***





    “Might as well,” Seigi murmurs with a bit more spite than he usually allows himself. Stress does that to a man. His body is asking him to take it easy, but that is not an option, so he has to bear with his muscles screaming when he leaps to his feet, arcane spear in hand.

    “Alright, let’s see if we can do this!”

    He wastes not a moment to strike, the spear swung in a wide vertical arc to part the flames like Moses the Red Sea.

    The result surprises him. Even if it is entirely as he desires, even if he explicitly had a discussion with his former Master on the hypothetical effectiveness of this magecraft against divine works, the fact that the spear indeed removes the flames like a mystical eraser still surprises him.

    “Whoa…” he murmurs in a way that might make others think he is showing off.

    “MOVE!”

    Seigi does not need the warning. If anything, this divine flame or whatever, aren’t its moves a little too telegraphed? Everything it does follows a sickening blast of inhuman hostility that all but screams “I’m about to do something!”

    In any case, Seigi calls upon the wind to pull him backwards and away from a tiger-sized gout of flames that would have charred the top half of his body. The jump is a little haphazard, but he finds unexpected help in Liria who is charging forward, supporting himself on his back with a single hand to vault himself over her. The girl, covering her face with her two demonic limbs, leaps into the gap in the flames left by Seigi’s attack.

    “Guys normally have to pay extra for this, so you better be grateful!” she declares before reaching out for the very center of the bonfire, seizing the one within into a deep kiss.

    Even from a distance, Seigi can figure out what she is doing. He can guess that her saliva carries her magical energy, now entering Javier’s body, but how will that help—

    No time for pondering—the flames surges out explosively, blasting a screaming Liria away, but fortunately in the right direction for Seigi to catch her. The impact seems more painful to the Servant than to himself, and Seigi struggles not to make a face at the sight of the burns wracking the front side of her body. However, Liria’s kiss definitely did something. The great fireball is gone, dispersed with explosive power, leaving instead a vaguely Javier-shaped figure still enveloped in flame. The burning man promptly plops down as if wholly inert, lying prone and unmoving and immolating.

    (BGM STOP)

    “I did my part,” Liria murmurs before Seigi can think of asking. “Now we can only hope.”

    “What did you—”

    (BGM)




    Aithar in the left hand. Yr in the right hand.
    Destroy the driving spirit. Render the matter lifeless.”


    Indeed, the apparent end of the threat posed by the divine flame in no way means the conclusion of their troubles. If anything, their situation might have turned to the worse. This seems to be the case made by the sight of the earthen wall breaking down and collapsing, as if surrendering to eons of erosion in mere moments. However, Seigi’s attention, if only for a moment, goes in a slightly different direction.

    Those names, those were…?

    Seigi feels a pang of self-loathing when Liria slowly gets off him to stand protectively, for only a Servant can match a Servant. The “Sovereign of the Fourth Reich” at last stands on his own feet, the palanquin and its carriers swallowed by the earth.

    “I still need to get used to this…Saint Graph. It should only take the assembly of the runes,” says the Servant, clenching and unclenching his gloved hands while examining them as if not his own.

    Seigi Nomikata will not allow himself to be protected, so he stands right by Liria’s side, black spear poised for anything. An idle glance in “Javier’s” direction shows the burning figure remains inert, so the British magus decides then and there to put all his attention on Berserker’s smug mug. It just seems the more prudent thing to do.

    Again, the Sovereign glances at the Projected weapon in Seigi’s hands. With the awareness of the Servant being in fact a magus, Seigi can only guess that Berserker has some idea of its foundation; a possibility disturbing enough. Of course, the Servant seems in no way wary of it.

    “Well, I guess I should not try any strange experiments just yet,” the Sovereign seemingly concludes (?). “Better to use the foundational attribute for now.”

    It does not seem he is talking to them after all. It does not seem he is truly looking at them—

    “M-Miss Liria!” Seigi calls out when the woman grabs him without apparent effort, lugging him over her shoulder as if preparing for a hammer throw.

    “If it’s the least I can do, at least I’ll get you out of—”

    Put him down, Assassin.”

    (BGM)

    Liria carefully puts Seigi back on solid ground, because why would she do anything else? He said it, so it is only natural it has to be done. It is the reasonable thing, really.

    Look at me, you two.”

    There is a strange ache, a tinging in the chest that seems to pull them away. Seigi’s lips tremble, hesitating to do as told even as he wonders why he hesitates to do what He is saying. Why is he not moving? Oh, but Liria seems to be resisting as well; she is making such an ugly face; only natural for one who rejects the word of the Great Master and King. Why would anybody deny themselves of His greatness?

    Do you not wish to hear my words?

    Yes, indeed, as a magus, as a human being, the right thing to do is to bow before the King and partake of His wisdom. Why hesitate, then? To waste a second of His time is no less than blasphemy. Oh, the things He could achieve in the time He is wasting on their lowly, ignorant, disobedient selves! Truly, Seigi Nomikata, a thousand of your lifetimes would not be enough to atone for this.

    Rejoice, then, for the King is as a generous as He is wise. The only thing you have to do is to face Him with the proper respect, present your devotion and bask in His glory.

    Their feet rustle and grind the uneven ground beneath as the two slowly, slowly, dismiss their earlier, unreasonable hesitation and turn to face their one and only Sovereign…






















































































    Stop.

    (BGM STOP)

    Seigi’s body lurches as in the onset of a seizure, yet it stops before his eyes can meet the other man’s. A voice in his mind stopped him.

    (BGM)

    His own, but also that of his long-gone Servant, Lancer. And Lestari, and fucking Reiner of all people and Marco and Yorkie and Lukas and Pussett and the Tohsakas and Risa and Sakura and Miss Kiara and even his own goddamned father.

    And his departed Master. And that Master’s now orphaned daughter.

    And Aoi.

    And his own daughter.

    The voices in unison of humanity—no, the piece of mankind that belongs solely to Seigi Nomikata—seize him with a binding force seemingly stronger than that of the Sovereign’s words, clearing his mind just long enough for it to gather the single, most obvious idea and bring it to the forefront: “wait, this is not quite right, is it?

    Like a well-trained reflex, Seigi forces magical energy to circulate throughout his body to wash away any foreign mental interference, but it has no effect. Rather, he is already well in control of himself without this additional step. He worries for Liria, but this too is a needless thing; she is already staring firmly at the other Servant, as her eyes show the very opposite of worshipful devotion. It is with perhaps a little fear that he does the same and confronts Berserker eye to eye. A part of him idly wonders what pulled Liria back from the edge of the abyss.

    The uniformed Servant, of course, appears in no way bothered by their defiance. If anything, he chuckles.

    “Really, what a useless Skill. After all, those who defy me should just die.”

    (BGM)

    This time they can tell the threat directed right at them, and they know diplomacy was never a possibility—not that they ever considered it, though.

    While the man slowly, almost tauntingly, spreads his open hands along with his growing smirk, Liria and Seigi wonder what to expect at all. Well, Seigi does. Liria’s plan of action has not changed.

    “We’re getting out of here,” she declares while reaching for Seigi’s waist with her monstrous hand.

    “No, you are not,” refutes the Sovereign, right before a wall of black flames quickly deploys to encircle the whole battlefield. Seigi feels his heart stop for a moment. Liria is about to reply with a taunt, but the words get stuck in her throat when her hateful glare meets the Sovereign’s arrogant certainty. He knows Liria cannot fly over the wall while carrying Seigi, not in her current state.

    It would be plain to see by any witnesses: there is a cat playing with his prey. It is right there, in his poise and his smile; the simple, vile enjoyment of crushing others with one’s superior power.

    “Fucking asshole, if I had some familiars…” Assassin murmurs, but Seigi is still looking around at the flames of impossible color. This seems to please Berserker substantially.

    “Indeed, it is as you see, magus,” gloats the man in dark uniform. “These are the flames of Santur, the long frozen sun of a mythical era. These is the principle standing as the core of this Servant’s signature magecraft: the ‘Black Sun’ of destruction as a prelude to creation.”

    Every single word is a stab of fright in the heart, an accusation, a taunt and an insult. Seigi Nomikata feels his throat dry up, his lips tremble and his eyes itch. His heartbeat accelerates until it becomes painful and his mind goes blank.

    The Sovereign of the Black Sun calmly extends a hand in their general direction. It only takes a second, in which Seigi grits his teeth in remembrance of texts he much derided, to the chagrin of the Master who insisted in him studying them.

    Even if she claimed to have never divined his future, is it not only natural of her to have taken precautions against every potential eventuality? Is it not only obvious that, the moment he decided to follow her to this austral city, she considered the possibility of this very thing happening?

    Seigi’s bloodshot eyes glare at the man, who responds with a smile dripping utter contempt and mockery. He loves every second of this.

    “I believe it is something like this?”

    Liria feels the movement of magical energy and raises her left hand in one last desperate show of resistance. Seigi feels like he has received the ultimate insult.



    Nigredo.

    Liria and Javier lose all relevance; there is only a single magus and the rising torrent of black flame about to engulf him.

    With a heart ardent like the divine fireball, Seigi Nomikata yells his defiant roar against the one Servant he absolutely must oppose.

    What follows, of course, is merely destruction.

    Spoiler:

    Wise Up! (Berserker of the Black Sun)
    Ascendant Sovereign – A
    This Skill allows the Sovereign to lead others with charm and personal charisma that are nothing short of supernatural. Several testimonies from those who met the Sovereign in life narrate how people seemed to trust him and follow him with almost reverential devotion for no real, apparent reason, as if his sheer presence instilled in others the urge to do so. Perhaps it was just insane luck, or perhaps he carefully (or fortuitously) surrounded himself with terrible judges of people. Whatever it was, it worked out for him most of the times it mattered—this Skill is disabled whenever Mad Enhancement is active.

    As a Servant Skill, it has become a supernatural power to instill favor and loyalty in others. He exudes the presence of a king, and his words carry the weight of law. However, it only works ideally on those who would naturally be predisposed favorably towards him. The more a target's personality would conflict with the Sovereign's, the easier it is to resist it, particularly upon leaving the Sovereign's sight. Naturally, Berserker is not aware of the workings of this Skill, and expects any and everybody to shower him with the utmost loyalty and adoration the Sovereign deserves.

    The true name of this Skill is Delusional Charisma.


    Primordial Rune (False) – A
    The possession of and knowledge about Runes that came from an older era. Those with possession and knowledge of Primordial Runes can also make use of the classic Rune Magic.

    Berserker’s “true” primordial runes appear to be loosely based on Guido von List’s Armanenrunen. On average they are noticeably more powerful than any other existing rune system, but they are also unstable and prone to mishaps.

    (Additional information locked behind True Name)
    Servant Deduction
    * At certain points throughout the Quest, whenever the Main Characters discuss the issue of Servants, participants in the Quest can influence this discussion by presenting their own speculations on the identities of the Servants in Fimbulwinter.
    * Naturally, correctly deducing an unknown Servant’s identity is a boon to our protagonists, regardless of whether they wish to befriend the Servant, or defeat them, even if the nature of that boon is unclear at first glance.

    Present your deduction on the identity of the Berserker of the Black Sun.
    Last edited by Daneel Rush; March 20th, 2020 at 10:20 AM.

  4. #1224
    uh, Hitler?

  5. #1225
    吸血鬼 Vampire Ayr's Avatar
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    Karl Wiligut. Still haven't the foggiest idea who's possessing him tho.

  6. #1226
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six Bird of Hermes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ayr View Post
    Karl Wiligut. Still haven't the foggiest idea who's possessing him tho.
    Karl Wiligut
    Here's my musing (joint with a few others):
    1).
    He thought of himself as a king; he was diagnosed with megalomania & schizophrenia. The guy was known for his medical records erratic behaviour, delusions of grandeur and incidences of domestic violence.

    This explains the delusional charisma skill and revealed bout of misogyny during his actions with the maid.

    2).
    His ancestors were supposedly descending from a union of Aesir and Vanir. They founded the city of Vilna as the centre of their Germanic empire and always remained true to their Irminic faith. Wrote the book 'The Secret King: Karl Maria Wiligut, Himmler's Lords of the Runes' He himself was an occultist who used the runic set and developed a few of his own. Santur is interpreted as a burnt-out sun that was still visible at the time of Homer. Rüdiger speculates that this was the center of the solar system hundreds of millennia ago, and he imagines a fight between the new and the old Suns that was decided 330,000 years ago. Santur is seen as the source of power of the Hyperboreans.

    This explains the usage of his runes that he and the Hexadolstaten use

    3).
    His death is recorded as dying of a stroke in 1946 which is after the 3rd holy grail war which the nazi's were involved with due to darnic, if he did summon the maid then she could have kept him alive till now.

    tl;dr

    Self proclaimed nazi overlord is an insecure, delusional, misogynistic, woman-beating, self-obsessed little bitch who needs a good smacking.

  7. #1227
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six SpoonyViking's Avatar
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    I'm going with Willigut, too.
    My fanfics:
    The Gift (F/SN): The last duel between Cú Chulainn and Scáthach.
    Passion Acknowledged (F/SN): Shinji X Shirou lemon
    He Was a Good King (F/SN): Was Beowulf a good king?
    A Fairy Tale of Love and Death (F/SN): A meeting between Scáthach and King Hassan.
    Palingenetic Descension (Tsukihime): The origin of the Tohno family's hybrid nature.

  8. #1228
    Beats By Matthew ft. Dr. Para Rafflesiac's Avatar
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    And his own daughter.
    uhhhhhh since when did seigi knock someone up

    Also as a long-standing TM fan, this question has only one answer.

    The Man Inside Berserker is SEIGI, a magus who after his clusterfuck of a Holy Grail War traveled back in time to Nazi Germany and became a psychopath driven by a collective's lust for power.
    Supports:


    Quote Originally Posted by Arashi_Leonhart View Post
    canon finish apo vol 3

  9. #1229
    Evil of Humanity Half-Blood Master's Avatar
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    Jumping on the Willigut train and adding that his diagnosed mental illness could well be both his qualification for the Berserker class and the reason he's able to actualise Irminist mysteries (since they are only able to be accessed by his irregular common sense, not unlike Helena's schtick)

    Quote Originally Posted by Rafflesiac View Post
    uhhhhhh since when did seigi knock someone up
    That's classified
    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!

  10. #1230
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six Bird of Hermes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rafflesiac View Post
    uhhhhhh since when did seigi knock someone up
    Spoilers

  11. #1231
    Time to burn some dread Daneel Rush's Avatar
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    Parque Cultural de Valparaíso, Cárcel 471, Cerro Cárcel, Valparaíso
    Day 04
    Morning Phase – 11a
    Sheer cold (-31°C/-24°F)



    Spoiler:
    Berserker—rather, the one currently in control of Berserker’s Saint Graph—grins overtly at the result of their usurped magecraft. The look and poise of utmost satisfaction is interrupted by the urge to examine their current body.

    “This height…” they murmur, unable to wholly hide a degree of discomfort.

    Their attention drifts from the golden sky to the west, where the might of the liminal goddess descends as a thousand spears of light, to someway closer, from where clouds of dust can be seen and distant roars can be heard. This is when they note Archer’s apparent absence from any battle stage.

    “Well, if Archer and that so-called maid take each other out, that would work out as well. But I still don’t know where she hid the Grail.”

    The Sovereign examines their hands yet another time before regarding the dome of black flame unleashed to annihilate the traitorous Assassin and her pathetic magus ally. Well, it is no small joy to let him experience it before death: the meaninglessness of his life’s efforts as a magus in the presence of one much greater than himself. Petty as it may be, that kind of pleasure is still allowed, is it not?

    The Sovereign posits that it is about time to recall the flames—there should be nothing left of the three fools. The next step should be reuniting with Ugallu and—

    “Hmm?”

    Spoiler:
    It takes no time for their face to become incensed, for it is not them who caused the spell to recede.

    “I cannot stand those who cannot follow simple instructions,” says the irate Sovereign, looking down at the feeble figures standing in the center of the crater of what once was Valparaíso’s House of Culture.



    (BGM)

    “Following Nazis…has never been good for anybody.”

    Seigi Nomikata is a wreck. He bleeds profusely, not because of any harm inflicted by Berserker, but because overuse of his circuits ruptured his capillaries and his pores pour out the vital fluid. His Projected spear is gone, spent in whatever effort was necessary to prevent utter annihilation. Liria stands behind him, her right hand already resting on his shoulder to make Seigi’s suffering her own. Some steps away from the two, Javier’s body still lies prone

    “Why do you still live, magus?” the Sovereign asks not, but rather demands to know. It makes Seigi want to laugh, but it feels like it would hurt, so he stops himself.

    “My unreasonable Master made me read it, you know. ‘Whispering of Gotos’.”

    Berserker twitches.

    “You made it look like grand esoteric knowledge, but the basic formulation is boringly simple, because you are a two-bit hack who didn’t want to put any effort. Your so-called ‘secret history’ is just an Aryan-centric reimagination of Blavatsky’s, and your runic system is just different enough from von List’s for you to call it original.”

    To Liria’s surprise, Berserker does not seem much ignited by Seigi’s mockery. This is the kind of thing she would expect to trigger his Mad Enhancement.

    “The problem is that, even if you and your followers engraved your Irminist system into the Planet as a proper thaumaturgical system, it shouldn’t be strong enough to allow you to use nigredo in this way, not as a single-action spell.”

    Servants wielding orthodox magecraft follow the same rules as flesh-and-blood mages. Berserker is not some legendary spellcaster from the distant era before the King of Magic.

    “It’s…too niche a system. Can such a system claim to possess any recognition, or even any mystery, outside Germany? In a post-Nazi world?”

    Seigi sounds angrier after every word.

    “It makes no sense. Your magecraft makes no sense, Wiligut.”

    Again, Liria is surprised by the restraint their enemy shows. Berserker only tilts their head from side to side.

    “…I take it you are going to tell us why it is nonetheless possible, magus.”

    Seigi ponders. He would prefer it if the Servant were a little more bothered by his dissection of their magecraft. However, Berserker remains impeccably confident of his final victory. Seigi guesses he should be grateful the Servant is indulging him with this exchange instead of just going for the kill.

    “This frozen city, this ‘singularity’, is an environment in which you can use the nigredo attribute. In other words, ‘a land favorable to the Irminist system, centered on the Black Sun motif’. Which also means you probably have the Territory Creation Skill at a high rank.”

    Seigi is not making time for anything or anybody. What or who is there to expect? No, he speaks because he wants this Servant to know that he, Seigi Nomikata, looks down on his mediocrity—no, his everything. The very thought of dying at the hands of this man disgusts him.

    “But that’s not enough! Your system still lacks a foundation of mystery venerated by mankind! So there must be something beyond the foundation you made up. Something—no, somebody has granted your Irminism mystery it has no right to have! The same one who allowed you to exist in the first place!”

    Berserker makes a point of examining his nails.

    “You’re not even a real Servant!” Seigi loudly and angrily declares. “You’re just a fake! A simulacrum created by that maid!”

    (BGM STOP)

    Silence.

    Liria and Seigi feel the attack will come at any moment and brace themselves for the worst. Berserker’s expression remains unfriendly and arrogant, the picture of one who believes himself in absolute control of the situation, unchallenged and almighty, looking down at and on them from the edge of a crater of his own creation.

    Several seconds of cold, tense silence pass before the “Servant” speaks again.

    “I guess you are feeling rather smart now, magus. Good for you.”

    There is nary a hint of praise in those words. A moment later, the Sovereign is leaping mightily into the crater and towards them.

    (BGM)

    “Seigi!” Liria is quick to throw herself at the enemy Servant.

    “As if the likes of you could touch me!” roars the Servant of madness. The British magus sees Berserker drawing his rune, but it is too fast for him to give any warnings. Assassin is blasted away by a bolt of lightning to her gut. There is no room for lamentation—Seigi makes his move the moment Berserker touches the ground.

    Nigre—bugh!”

    A broken nose, dizzying vibration—the feeling of everything inside his head being shaken. A punch to the face from any Servant should be enough to kill most people, Seigi included. The only reason his brain is not spilling out of his ears is because Berserker does not will it so. Thusly does Seigi come to know Berserker’s anger: Seigi refused to die by the first attack, so now he will die only when Berserker decides he is done with the mage.

    Seigi gets no chance to react before he feels a strong hand closing around his head; pulling him, lifting him and holding him without effort. His attempt at performing magecraft is received with an electric shock that wrecks his physiology and makes him scream on Berserker’s hand.

    “Please, try again!” taunts Berserker amidst laughter. There is no longer any of the regal poise of a ruler. There is only a person who enjoys looking down on others all too much.

    “I can use the practice with this Saint Graph.”

    With that, Berserker turns their attention to the slumping, feeble figure of Liria Colhuán standing up some distance away.

    “You…are you really Berserker!?”

    The man in question seems thoroughly amused by Liria’s words. Emphasis on “seems”, for Seigi sees something else through the gaps between Berserker’s fingers.

    “I am me. I am everything I need to be,” declares the Sovereign in a voice that is a self-assurance as much as it is an accusation.

    The background music for Berserker and Assassin’s very brief battle is the staccato of divine light falling like rain to the west. Assassin glides almost caressing the ground, and Berserker unleashes a trail of black flames that hunts down the girl with serpentine movements. Liria dodges easily and closes in at superhuman speed, but she has to move her dire left arm before it accidentally strikes the impromptu shield, Seigi Nomikata. Liria tries to move around Berserker, but his hand is already aiming in the same direction, and Berserker’s smirk tells her that she has moved exactly in every single way he intended.

    And then Berserker’s next spell, a great ball of (normal-colored) flames, explodes on his face and blasts everybody in different directions.

    Seigi Nomikata, whining on the ground he has struck like a truck just ran over him, can barely muse that it makes sense for Karl Maria Wiligut’s haphazard magecraft system to be inherently unstable. If anything, it is impressive that it works at all. The intellectual in him regrets he will not be able to discuss the matter with Lily’s prodigious mind.

    Unfortunately, while Assassin has the higher Constitution parameter, she has also taken more damage, and Berserker‘s Magic Resistance protected him from his own spell. Therefore, it is Berserker who stands first, and it is Berserker who seizes the heads of the other two and holds them aloft. Liria too discovers the feeling of electrocution when she tries her Right Arm of Destruction against him.

    (BGM)

    “I don’t think I need to tell you it would not be wise to try your Noble Phantasm,” warns the uniformed Servant, vaguely gesturing against the haplessly struggling redhead. “Unless you want to kill him yourself, that is.”

    Assassin can only glare at the man holding her head. She would not subject Seigi to her Noble Phantasm even if they had no other choice.

    “Now, here I see a most fortuitous opportunity,” continues the Sovereign of the Fourth Reich. “You see, I seem to have superhuman strength in this body, but I really do not understand what ‘D-rank Strength´ really means.”

    The following words come out with perkiness clashing most horrifically with Berserker’s appearance.

    “So I’ll bash your heads until I figure out how much strength it takes to make a human skull break like a watermelon!”

    Promptly, Berserker does as he says; two heads meeting like an ape trying to break open a pair of coconuts. However, this time the impact is well within “the range of human strength”, so the consequence is solely pain. Seigi grits his teeth to deny Berserker to sounds of his pain, squinting as if that would dispel the rattling inside his skull.

    “Alright, let’s call that the baseline,” states the suddenly all-too-enthusiastic Sovereign. “Let’s make it gradually stronger and stronger and see where that takes us! Ha!”

    Liria hears in that single bark of laughter the same something Seigi earlier saw in Berserker’s eyes: a simmering madness wholly unrelated to the Sovereign’s Servant class. The next thing she hears is the second impact of head against head.

    “What, this is all it takes to make you whine?” spits out Berserker in response to the feel of Seigi’s moaning on his hand. “You’re pathetic, magus. Pathetic!” Berserker says, and their voice is merry laughter.

    However, the sounds out of Seigi’s throat are not an expression of pain, for he cares little for it. What he does feel is the subtle touch of Liria’s inhuman right hand on his own hand, and the girl again taking his wounds onto herself. Thusly this situation perpetuates—their heads meet violently, they both feel pain, but Liria immediately claims whatever damage Seigi may suffer along with her own. With his face covered by Berserker’s strong hand, Seigi cannot ask her to stop. He can only wonder how long before Berserker notices, and worry about his sister’s utter absence.

    But the big sister will not intervene, for she knows that should she do so, an even more dangerous one will act. One even the powerful big sister cannot overcome. It is a stalemate of sorts: Aoi Nomikata could probably defeat Berserker, but she would be defeated by The Maid, who herself apparently has a conceptual disadvantage against Berserker. It is a stalemate that Seigi Nomikata cannot break, and most certainly not Liria Colhuán, either.

    Breaking stalemates is the role of a protagonist, after all.

    (BGM)

    The three can feel it before they can see it.

    Heat.

    It rises impossibly quickly, engulfing them all in its miasma-like, exhausting presence, like the feeling of opening the door to a sauna room or a burning bedroom, but so much more abrupt and stronger. Hot to an absurd degree, making Seigi feel he is more sweat than man in a split instant. It is powerful, it is terrible, and it saves three existences, for Berserker immediately decides to let go of their playthings and leap away right before a snake devours their arms and most of their torso.


    It is not like the Sovereign’s black flame, which moves in a serpentine manner. This is flame given the shape of an actual snake—more precisely, a Chilean short-tailed snake (Tachymenis chilensis).

    Denied their enjoyment, Berserker clicks their tongue in irritation.

    “Right, there was another piece of trash.”

    Indeed, Javier Lucero is standing up again. Seigi Nomikata and Liria Colhuán, now prone and nigh-powerless on the ground, can only watch. Of course they cannot take their eyes off this man, for now that he no longer wears flames like a second skin, he reveals that the divine flame has inevitably changed him.



    “…”
    Last edited by Daneel Rush; March 30th, 2020 at 11:51 AM.

  12. #1232
    Beats By Matthew ft. Dr. Para Rafflesiac's Avatar
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    I wonder if Javier will poof out of existence once the singularity ends.

    Also BERSERKER's a fun guy, I like him.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arashi_Leonhart View Post
    canon finish apo vol 3

  13. #1233
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six SpoonyViking's Avatar
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    "Berserker", really.
    My fanfics:
    The Gift (F/SN): The last duel between Cú Chulainn and Scáthach.
    Passion Acknowledged (F/SN): Shinji X Shirou lemon
    He Was a Good King (F/SN): Was Beowulf a good king?
    A Fairy Tale of Love and Death (F/SN): A meeting between Scáthach and King Hassan.
    Palingenetic Descension (Tsukihime): The origin of the Tohno family's hybrid nature.

  14. #1234
    Beats By Matthew ft. Dr. Para Rafflesiac's Avatar
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    That's what I said
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arashi_Leonhart View Post
    canon finish apo vol 3

  15. #1235
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six SpoonyViking's Avatar
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    Ooooh! Sorry, missed the Shiki/SHIKI reference.
    My fanfics:
    The Gift (F/SN): The last duel between Cú Chulainn and Scáthach.
    Passion Acknowledged (F/SN): Shinji X Shirou lemon
    He Was a Good King (F/SN): Was Beowulf a good king?
    A Fairy Tale of Love and Death (F/SN): A meeting between Scáthach and King Hassan.
    Palingenetic Descension (Tsukihime): The origin of the Tohno family's hybrid nature.

  16. #1236
    Persona rajvir's Avatar
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    An interesting chapter to be sure, it'll be interesting to see Javier's mental state after the divine flame has changed him.

    Rafflesiac also has an interesting point, Javier's now been changed enough that he may no longer be able to live outside the singularity. Although the fact that he doesn't have an anchor here and still counts as a "master" suggests he'll probably be fine. Or at least survive as long as he stays near his Volcano.

  17. #1237
    Time to burn some dread Daneel Rush's Avatar
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    Plaza Sotomayor, Valparaíso
    Day 04
    Morning Phase – 11b
    Severe cold (-30°C/-22°F – Thermal Sensation 31°C/87.8°C)




    (BGM)

    One step.

    Maria Westinghouse takes air. Her body feels light, but it might be herself feeling faint rather than agile.

    Two steps.

    Magical energy circulates freely and unrestrained. Magic circuits are not physical structures, but it does feel like molten lead is flowing through vessels inside her body. Javier’s energy feels different and her body simply does not like it. However, pain is and will always be a mage’s companion. This is nothing new, Maria tells herself.

    Three steps.

    Maria is out of tactics. The only thing left is to entrust herself to the dance; she needs an anti-fortress attack, so she can only hope the dance will lead her to an anti-fortress attack, even if she has no idea how that could happen. It is also a race against time, both because there are others who need her help and because Naram-Sin’s blessings will make him stronger the longer the fight extends. Maria cannot hesitate, and that is the most terrifying thing, because right now there is only hesitation in her heart. She fears not Naram-Sin’s power, but her own Servant’s.

    Nonetheless, she steps forward. Because she has plenty of reasons to do so.

    Last step. Without ceremony, she walks over the ever-expanding ring of golden light.

    She howls; rage, desperation, frustration, conviction and sheer terror all released together in a ferocious war cry. The sky gleams as if approving of it and her melam flares and unfurls like a cape draped over her shoulders, propelling her forward. When her other foot leaves the ground, it does it with an explosion of concrete and defrosted slush.

    If she is to be attacked with light, then she becomes light as well: a single shooting star, with all the might of a meteor’s impact. Crossing the length of Sotomayor Square in an instant, her sword strikes a wall of divine radiance.

    Everything around them explodes.

    The sole witness of their battle, the statue of the national hero, Arturo Prat, is humbled by a shockwave and ripped off its pedestal. Maria and Lancer look at each other eye to eye, a translucent wall of light the only thing separating them. Maria looks scared. Lancer looks a bit proud. He points a single finger upwards, but the warning is not necessary.

    The might of Ishtar descends upon this battlefield, and an ordinary girl dances the demon’s dance.


    A torrent of golden rain in which any single drop can and will kill. Maria circles the fortress of light, slicing and dicing twelve more times without success before pulling away. The sheer density of beams aiming at her makes it impossible to remain in place for more than an instant. She has to dodge; the only action available to her is to dodge. The dance is a dance of evasion, movements both sinuous and rough, some lascivious and some inelegant, some acrobatic and some so clumsy they seem imprudent at best and suicidal at worst.

    “As expected…” murmurs the ancient king, taking in the indescribable dance from the apparent safety of his fortress wall of light.

    The light that falls in the dozens and hundreds does not harm a single of Maria’s hairs. She dodges everything. Everything fails to strike her. The effectiveness of her evasive actions is on a whole new level compared to her earlier battle against Avenger, and the reason is obvious. It goes beyond the Servant’s restored parameters outside Avenger’s bounded field, and it goes beyond the Servant’s inhuman martial skill.

    It’s “familiarity”.

    Saver is gifted not with clairvoyance or any other form of future sight, yet her body flows amidst the torrent of light as if she knows the onset and direction of every single arrow of light. It is not a beautiful dance, but its purpose has never been artistic value. What it does is seize and direct the flow of battle, and that it does without flaw. Or it would, if it weren’t for…

    Maria only has the time to click her tongue when a successful parry of an incoming beam of light results in her taking six whole shots to her torso and thighs. Against such a merciless barrage, a single error inevitably results in a cascade of hurt. What follows is all clumsiness; desperately rolling on the ground, pulling herself back up and leaping back outside the outer ring, her breathing suddenly a mess. The girl falls to her knees, struck by a wave of sheer exhaustion and muscle pains.

    (BGM)

    “Girl…”

    “I know! I know…” Maria gasps out. “That was all me. I messed up.”

    That parry was not part of the dance.

    Silence once again descends upon the ruined square, for there are no targets for Ishtar’s might inside the outer ring. Instead, that same ring which had stopped its expansion the moment an enemy set foot inside, once again begins to spread outwards, reminding Maria that there is no running away anymore. Lancer stands unharmed on the center of the concentric circles, his silent stare a wordless question.

    “Now you have to start from the beginning.”

    “Yeah…I know,” tiredly murmurs the girl as she stands up.

    How to put it into words, the experience that is the dance? What she feels when she lets her mind shut off and abandons herself to the currents of battle? That ever-growing crescendo pushing her further and further, faster and faster, a voiceless whisper in her ear that urges her to dance even more? To lose herself in the eldritch rhythm until her own existence wavers as if being replaced with the dance itself?

    She feels that, if she fully and wholly lets herself go, she will never be able to stop. That she will be trapped in the dance, fighting anything and everything within reach until her body falls apart.

    “But, I don’t want to become a rampaging demon…” she finally says, voicing that very powerful fear. The only reply she gets is a sigh deep within her mind. Saver offers no succor and no answers.

    (BGM)

    A great surge of magical energy draws their attention eastward. Many structures stand on the way, but Maria can see the top of a great dome of flame-like blackness in the distance, the evidence of another terrible battle taking place, and a sign that urges her to be there, to help those who most certainly need her.

    “…fuck!” she gasps out. She sounds like she is about to cry.

    What is there left for me, grandma?

    It is only then she realizes it is getting colder again, the foreign heat accompanying Javier’s magical energy also departed. In a way, it is relieving. In another, it is worrying despite the certainty that Javier still lives. It feels…strangely lonesome, and it makes her worry for whatever fate afflicting him now. She has a sudden craving for the simple warmth of that hostel’s public dining room, and that plate of chili con carne. Unfortunately, there is no place for longings in frozen Valparaíso.

    “Saver.”

    “…hmm?”

    “I can’t disappear here. I don’t want to disappear here.”

    The Servant’s reply takes a moment.

    “…girl, I have to deal with that big idiot. It’s the reason I’m here. I just need you alive for that.”

    Again, looking to Saver for succor or consolation is a mistake. A piece of the puzzle is missing before magus girl and demon Servant can begin to hope to understand each other.

    “…right,” she murmurs, her voice tired but conclusive. “Let’s finish this.”

    Whatever happens, happens.

    What matters is that everything is resolved at the end. In that regard, it might be easier to just let go.

    Then she wouldn’t feel anything, even if she has to kill Javier at the end.

  18. #1238
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six SpoonyViking's Avatar
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    Don't kill your fart sibling, Maria!
    My fanfics:
    The Gift (F/SN): The last duel between Cú Chulainn and Scáthach.
    Passion Acknowledged (F/SN): Shinji X Shirou lemon
    He Was a Good King (F/SN): Was Beowulf a good king?
    A Fairy Tale of Love and Death (F/SN): A meeting between Scáthach and King Hassan.
    Palingenetic Descension (Tsukihime): The origin of the Tohno family's hybrid nature.

  19. #1239
    Time to burn some dread Daneel Rush's Avatar
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    (BGM)


    Everything is flames.

    The resolution to overcome the unsightly creature, to subjugate its unworthy flame and claim it for himself was the invitation to unleash even more of the inner flame’s mysteries, to invite it to the surface and allow it to manifest its authority. The result of the invitation is inversion: the flame rising to the forefront, turning things inside out. It is now Javier Lucero who is enveloped by the flame. Uncontained and unrestrained, the flame disregards its vessel, which becomes nothing but more kindling.

    Thus, everything is flames. Thus, he burns.

    Javier feels his everything unravel, his life consumed and his soul claimed by something uncaring, unfeeling and ungrateful. Saver was a monster, but she looked down on him, which means she looked at him, and communicated with him. The divine flame cares not for individual humans, and distinguishes not between them. The name of its vessel, the life of its vessel, and the fate of its vessel are none of its concern. From the very beginning, Javier Lucero was a mere container, a mere instrument. The only thing that matters to the flame is its purpose.

    Where did he go wrong? What was his mistake? What he wished from the very beginning was always the same thing: to have something unique, something that would distinguish him from everybody else. Something that would pull him out of the nameless mass called “humanity”. Something special.

    His magecraft was his pride. Something nobody else had. Of course, he always considered the possibility of others capable of using magical powers. For it to be a power exclusive to him simply defied his suspension of disbelief. However, the madness at Valparaíso went beyond all his (admittedly baseless) assumptions about magic and what it can do.

    He was trapped in a frigid horror in which his puny magics could only keep him from starving or dehydrating. He still had to struggle against the horrendous cold, to say nothing of the absurd things out for his life. What does his life amount to in a world where such things can happen, where such absurdity can dwell?

    From ice to fire; nonetheless, he is undone. Really, what was his mistake? He tried to usurp the flame from the Cherufe…why? Because it bothered him. Why? Why did the magma thing bother him more than, let’s say, the Nazi soldiers or the zombies? Why did it fill him with a sickening sense of rejection?

    Those…were not his own feelings. Those, too, were born of the influence of the divine flame. It is the flame that rejects the Cherufe and seeks to castigate it for its rebellion against the rightful volcano ruler. Really, was there truly a moment in which Javier was truly in control of himself? Was there really a way to avoid this end? Was it really wrong to reach out for the flame the very first time? Was he supposed to ignore the ardent power simmering within himself for the rest of his days?

    I really wanted to help.

    Javier Lucero seeks not adulation, nor throngs of ardent fans draped at his feet. He does not even care much for fame and fortune. Truly, he cares not for the recognition of others. Self-centered to the core, Javier longs for the approval of nobody else but himself.

    In the end, I really amounted to nothing. I really wasn’t meant for anything. I really was never supposed to be anything but another of the faceless billions.

    Like that, Javier Lucero burns, along with all his shining virtues and fundamental flaws. Along with his untapped talents, along with his dreams. Along with the unappreciated achievements and the many failures along the way. He burns; full of regrets, but those regrets will too become less than ashes.

    He burns, until suddenly he does not.

    (BGM STOP)


    As abruptly as the flame swallowed him, Javier finds himself underwater, now enveloped by cold wetness both refreshing and terrifying. His skin celebrates the relief from the flames at the same time his lungs scream at the unexpected flooding. His body, once inert and at the mercy of the divine flame, springs to life in a desperate struggle for fresh air. Charred arms reach out and desperately push the waters of death aside, hoping to pull the mass less man than charcoal towards safety. His mind has not a moment to ponder the very feasibility of such a blackened body being capable of any movement whatsoever; the desire to live is stronger than any wish for rationality or common sense. Therefore, the black thing that once was Javier Lucero shakes and shudders and struggles towards what it believes is “above”—


    *** ***




    I feel my body jerk upwards, rising to a seated position. My gasp is the first and last gasp. It is the one true breath of life—the intake of air that spells the banishment of the spirit of death. It is the moment of absolute, perfect desperation followed by the authentic relief of newfound safety.

    I…am whole again, no longer threatened by flame or asphyxiation. I’m a little dizzy, and I won’t deny the tears of relief in the corners of my eyes; let’s wipe those off for now.

    The smell of wet soil. The sounds of birds, the rustling of leaves and a smooth flow of water. A cool breeze, and faint trails of sunlight sneaking through the gaps between vast greenery. It is all too familiar. I am, indeed, in that most nostalgic place.


    “Before you do or say anything, allow me to clarify something.”

    Oh. Oh, that voice. That voice.

    It is is more crystalline than the waters of the nearby stream, born of Villarrica Volcano’s snowy slopes. It dispels the mists of forgetfulness and stirs the coals of longing. That precious voice from those fanciful days…how could I ever confuse her with anybody else?


    (BGM)

    “This is a dream—oneiromancy crafted with the last of my magical energy and held contingent inside Liria.”

    Her eyes gleam with a regal glow, just as I remember. She is what princesses dream they could be.

    “I am looking in your direction because I arranged it for you to be there, but I cannot really see you, touch you or hear your voice. Think of it as a prerecorded message.”

    I catch myself before anything comes out of my mouth. Indeed, her face is turned in my direction, but she is not really looking at me or at anything really.

    “Now, the truth of the matter is that I am dead.” She pauses, seemingly to frown at her choice of words. That single action bears the weight of untold ages, and speaks of a thousand tales never told. “Well, I have been dead for well over four thousand years. What I mean is that I no longer exist as a Servant. The last of my power was used for this complicated bit of spellwork, and I am now indebted to a goddess who made it possible in the first place, so the least you can do is remain quiet and be grateful for what I tell you from now on.”

    Now that is the Lily I remember more and more with every passing second: offhandedly and half-heartedly telling others what they should feel. And she is a Servant after all. Really, that is not much of a surprise. Lily was always different. It was more than the hopeless enrapture of a young kid gazing at his first love.

    To me, she was simply radiant.

    To tell me that she is dead and gone now…isn’t that just too sad? Why couldn’t we meet again…no, that’s because I forgot about her, but…?

    It is hard to think when faced with her face worn out by sadness like that. Of course, I am now an adult and she still looks like a child, but she is nonetheless beautiful.

    “I have to start with an apology. It is my insolence to appear before you like this, in these circumstances, after sealing your memories and disappearing from your life. That day I did what I believed was the best for you, but it was nevertheless an unforgivable intrusion in your memories and your freedom, which lamented every day afterwards.”

    Her eyes narrow. Her lips tremble into a half-smile. The me half my age would have kissed her right then and there. And then gotten my ass kicked.

    “I would have loved to spend many more days in this forest, with Liria and with you.”

    I feel myself frowning. Where does she enter this equation? I remember Lily all too vividly now, but Liria…?

    “You are probably confused now,” she says, because of course she can guess as much. “While I still believe it best if you could have lived the rest of your life in ignorance, it is a matter of time before your divine flame consumes the ancient magic sealing your memories. I pray you are now better equipped to face those memories than you were at such a young age. For yours and for Liria’s sakes.”

    “I also hope you can understand why I did not appear before you again. It is no comfort to you, but do know I considered it every single day and night after I left Villarrica. You never left my thoughts, and I always made the effort to track you and know where you were and what you were doing.”

    It makes me feel both happy and sad. It is elating to know that I mattered to this girl, that there was a place for me in this girl’s immense heart, but it only makes it more painful that we never met again. The more I remember, the more I see her right there, mere steps away from me, the more I miss her. Perhaps this is the reason people are never supposed to forget their first love. To suddenly remember her after years of absence, to recall the innocent feelings of that time…

    “Lily…” I sigh, and I feel a part of my soul leave with that breath. Of course, she notices not.

    “It took everything I had to stop myself from appearing before you when you discovered magecraft and began to study it.”

    The first tear leaves her right eye and I forget myself. It is useless, however: my arms cannot embrace her. Now I just stand right in front of her, and she stares straight at my chest, strengthening the fact that this is only a vision. That she is not really here anymore.

    “Oh, how I wanted to be the one to instruct you!” she moans, her beautiful cheeks constricting into the sheer, honest ache that makes me want to hold her even more, for I cannot accept the fact that I made her feel like this. However, Lily does not need me.

    Regarding herself, Lily hurries to wipe her tears. Oddly, she chuckles now of all times.

    “Really, you still have the uncanny ability to make me forget myself. A bothersome runt until the very end, Javier.”

    I snort. Of course I am, Lily; riling you up was my hobby and my joy.

    “But I will no waste further time in what was and what was not. Even if time works different in here than in the tangible world, there is only so much I can stretch out this dream with the power I have left.”

    She changes in an instant. She becomes a person I never met in my life. She ceases to be Lily, the girl from my childhood, and becomes a Servant. The difference made by her expression and her overall poise is amazing; it almost brings a smile to my face. The child me didn’t see an iota of your true radiance, did he, Lily?

    “I am here to make up for precisely that. To help the you who forced Liria to use this spell, and to indulge the me who could not become your teacher.”

    Ah, and I notice it, of course. The ages are different, the words and their nuance are different, but I am not so stupid as to not notice when I have the evidence thrown on my face like this.

    It is a fact that Lily and The Maid are the same person. More precisely, they are two distinct people with different personalities, but they definitely come from the same mold. Their true name is the same; two separate incarnations of the same legendary soul.

    “Javier,” she says, and her smile somehow manages to express enthusiasm and severity at the same time. “I would like to have more time for the proper thing, but I would have to relinquish my place in the Throne if I could not manage to work something out.”

    There is a difference. The nuance is different. The Maid possesses the overwhelming presence that makes you think she would get all the votes if she ran for president. If she started a cult, millions would unhesitatingly kill and die for her sake. She makes me feel like she has me on the palm of her hand. That everything I do or think is part of her plan. That she is untouchable and unfathomable, to an inhuman degree. It is the reason I feel no attraction towards her, even as I acknowledge that she is probably the most beautiful woman I know and will ever meet.

    Lily’s presence is one-step short of that, yet it does not feel any less. Only different. Only human.

    It is amazing. Lily is amazing. And I am about to become the last witness to that amazingness.

    “Let us make this our first and final lesson, Javier.”


    Quest Master's Warning
    I suggest you start your mental warmups, for the choices will return in the next update.

  20. #1240
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six SpoonyViking's Avatar
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    Nov 2015
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    "I really wanted to help."
    Good! Now let's focus on that, ok?
    My fanfics:
    The Gift (F/SN): The last duel between Cú Chulainn and Scáthach.
    Passion Acknowledged (F/SN): Shinji X Shirou lemon
    He Was a Good King (F/SN): Was Beowulf a good king?
    A Fairy Tale of Love and Death (F/SN): A meeting between Scáthach and King Hassan.
    Palingenetic Descension (Tsukihime): The origin of the Tohno family's hybrid nature.

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