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

  1. #641
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arbitrarity View Post
    Emiya seems essentially out of the fight, then. Between Rin being out of the area, and the Grail missing, he would be relying entirely on Independent Action normally, and as a non-Servant, that might be worse. Since he's semi-stably incarnated though, he'd likely be a good assist for other smithing things later. I guess that's a good reason why we couldn't use him for crafting, since he'd be gone otherwise.
    Really? I'd have considered him akin to Kotomine Shirou - Servant made flesh, and all. At the very least, no worse off than he actually was before he became a Servant; which is fairly ludicrous in and of itself . . .


    I'm actually a bit shocked we ALSO got Fiore/Godafrid here. Combination of Kieran usually handling Godafrid things, and just how much there already is in this chapter.
    Surprise . . .


    It's definitely useful getting the 6 p.m. timer for the Grail vanishing to synchronize all of these perspectives at once. Of course, no one knows that this isn't actually in Kotomine Shirou's plans at all, but presumably it's not going to hurt to be concerned. Godafrid probably knows what's going on, but it wouldn't be good operational security to reveal that to Fiore, Roche, or Gordes.
    No, no way in Hell. The kid might not care, but the latter would probably try to kill him (not to mention all the others who could or would overhear), and Fiore . . . He's done enough damage where Fiore's concerned, even if she doesn't know it.


    Also, I just realized Siegfried hasn't technically been killed yet. That feels strange, since we've seen Gordes around so often, but haven't seen a hint of Siegfried. I remember Astolfo explicitly going out, but Siegfried has just been quietly... there. Chiron has considerably more presence. That... hm. Considering Erik's relation with Fafnir, that's probably not coincidental.
    For my part, it's more to do with wanting to avoid dealing with his Master, and largely not being used to the fact that he's not dead at this stage of things - RB might have other reasons, of course.

    Still, we have been ignoring him, haven't we? Maybe we ought to fix that . . .
    “Love will be cruel to who it entices — love will have its sacrifices.”

    — Carmilla Theme




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

    ―Jim Butcher, Vignette

  2. #642
    吸血鬼 Vampire
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    For the upgrades? In order... I was one step. ONE STEP from dropping Morgan le Fey into things, just to make things more interesting. She succeeded in dice rolls, and everything, for the series of coin flips. Then Kieran pointed out that Mordred would have nothing to do with anything Morgan did, or made, I agreed, and threw it out. Even though she would have been the equivalent of a book starved bibliophile after being stuck with her sister for so long, ranting about how Erik's runes were better than hers, and she could only give it a tap to Avalon's power.
    I ALSO wanted nothing from what she'd do. She might seem less malicious here, since she keeps being busy tending to Artoria, but I trust none of it.

    As for the hidden synergies? Yes. Yes it is. I had a couple extra synergies for if you went all "copying Erik's old abilities" that would have been pretty effective, but you didn't trigger them. Legendary, and Dimensional, to be precise
    Oh great, now I have to think about what those combinations would be. I feel like Dimensional would have something to do with Uller's bloodline, given the "erased from history" thing. Alternatively, something about Space Stations and/or Limit Break summons. Legendary... Dragon's Blood, Fenris Blood, AND Uller Blood, with no Great Welsh Red, maybe? Maximizing the old blood choices seems like how you'd get that.

    Half-switching to Kieran, though I'm interleaving related comments.

    Emiya is now no longer a Counter Guardian. That also means he's now closer to Unlimited Blade Works Shirou. Few more years of knowledge, better magical circuits... etc.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kieran View Post
    Really? I'd have considered him akin to Kotomine Shirou - Servant made flesh, and all. At the very least, no worse off than he actually was before he became a Servant; which is fairly ludicrous in and of itself . . .
    Or Gilgamesh in F/SN. I do recall hearing Gilgamesh had quite limited mana available even then, given some of the things we saw in the Fate route. I may have been reading that spiritual core damage as more immediately crippling than it actually was. If he's just normally incarnated, then he's not too badly off.
    No, no way in Hell. The kid might not care, but the latter would probably try to kill him (not to mention all the others who could or would overhear), and Fiore . . . He's done enough damage where Fiore's concerned, even if she doesn't know it.
    Quite. Loose lips sink ships.
    For my part, it's more to do with wanting to avoid dealing with his Master, and largely not being used to the fact that he's not dead at this stage of things - RB might have other reasons, of course.

    Still, we have been ignoring him, haven't we? Maybe we ought to fix that . . .
    And yes, Siegfried has been waiting in case he had to shank Erik. *Chuckles* Or destroy some of Erik's creations, etc. Watching, biding his time, and ensuring he'll step in if necessary.
    *suspicion* Good choice for an aside or interlude, if he's not about to do something annoying.

  3. #643
    死徒 Dead Apostle RanmaBushiko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arbitrarity View Post
    I ALSO wanted nothing from what she'd do. She might seem less malicious here, since she keeps being busy tending to Artoria, but I trust none of it.


    Oh great, now I have to think about what those combinations would be. I feel like Dimensional would have something to do with Uller's bloodline, given the "erased from history" thing. Alternatively, something about Space Stations and/or Limit Break summons. Legendary... Dragon's Blood, Fenris Blood, AND Uller Blood, with no Great Welsh Red, maybe? Maximizing the old blood choices seems like how you'd get that.

    Half-switching to Kieran, though I'm interleaving related comments.



    Or Gilgamesh in F/SN. I do recall hearing Gilgamesh had quite limited mana available even then, given some of the things we saw in the Fate route. I may have been reading that spiritual core damage as more immediately crippling than it actually was. If he's just normally incarnated, then he's not too badly off.

    Quite. Loose lips sink ships.


    *suspicion* Good choice for an aside or interlude, if he's not about to do something annoying.
    And Kieran convinced me that Morgan would be that way.

    Let's see now, as for those combinations? Dimensional would have outright tapped into his ability to make dimensional gear for eventual faux-kaleidoscope shenanigans several years later. Also more protection against seeing what's going on between universes, and not going batshit insane as a result.

    With Uller's bloodline, it would've made him a bit like Schrodinger in Helllsing, able to pull himself out of phase and back into phase with reality so long as he wore the armor, and so long as he doesn't know what happened to his divine parent. If he ever got answers... things would shift.

    As for Legendary, on the other hand, Erik, much like his teacher, has forged and crafted a lot of neat shit. Including a Mech with Pykrete armor that wouldn't melt, using metal instead of wood pulp. This would have enhanced the results of making such things later drastically. It would have also enhanced bloodline traits further from Fenris, Fafnir, and Uller, at the cost of enhancing side effects...

    Yeah. Emiya is now going to be having issues. He's incarnated, but without the spiritual core, he's about the same as a normal Shirou Emiya, if with more skill. Of course, without someone supplying him prana... he's more limited than Fate/Stay Night Gilgamesh is.

    I'm already 4 pages into chapter 69, by the way, and I had some plans for him chatting with Erik during what's to come... but Kieran and I are still discussing specifics.
    I'm starting to suspect that talking with Kieran influences my rolls on Fate/Grand Order Heavily. How else can you explain me talking with him, then rolling for 30, only to get 3 Archer of Shinjuku on my second ten roll?

    I write like Douglas Adams. Proof: http://iwl.me/s/696f37bd

  4. #644
    死徒 Dead Apostle RanmaBushiko's Avatar
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    Chapter 69: The Wolfen Versus The Hanging Gardens



    6:40
    The Wolfen
    Main Bridge



    “In place, Erik?” Nestor asks, carefully studying the controls.

    “Yup. I picked up that armor. Doesn’t seem like it’s giving me better aim, and it looks like quite a few runes are simply not functioning yet… or I don’t know how to use the abilities of them yet, but I’m in it, and seated at the manual controls for the Spinal Railgun.” Erik states, glancing over things. “In position, and ready.”

    “Good to hear Boss. We’ve got the enhanced cloaking ready, and we’re ready to drop slowly over the next few minutes, to cloak as we get near. With the cloud bank they’re trying to hide in we’ll be able to use the enhanced cloak right before firing, and they shouldn’t notice our presence until we hit them.” Scylla admits.

    “Can you give me manual control to the front of the ship, so I can fire the railgun?” Erik asks, musing. “Well, except for evasive maneuvers, at least.”

    “Not a problem, Erik.” Nestor smiles. “Finally time to show them what we can do, am I right? It’s been far too long since we last got to use the Wolfen except on the occasional Svartalfar rebellion against your friend. Should work well to show the world how terrifying we genuinely are…

    Indeed. And with that in mind, take us down slowly, Nestor. It’s time to finish this.” Erik admits. “I think I’ll be taking some out of General Chang’s playbook.”

    “General...Chang, sir?” Nestor pauses. “I don’t quite remember any chinese general with cloaking…”

    “Star Trek 6. The Undiscovered Country.” Erik retorts.

    “Ahh. The Klingon Shakespere fan! Oh, and we’ve got a superior cloaking device, just like him, too! NOW I get it...” Nestor admits, with a bit of a laugh. “Do as the Klingons do, and be a mouthy ass to our mutual foe to irritate him, hmm?”

    Laughter from Erik is the only reply.




    7:00 PM
    The Hanging Gardens




    Shirou pulls his binoculars down, silently, then glances at Semiramis beside him. “That Servant got away, and we’re closing in on the Carpathian Mountains, or at least one of them. How are you faring?”

    “Poorly, I’ll admit.” Semiramis admits quietly. “If it wasn’t for the prana restoratives you had packed for an emergency, as well as the train’s melted remains we’ve been draining dry of power? I suspect we’d have lost already, and would have to send in our surrender.”

    Shirou nods, quietly. “Any sign of them? I can’t find that armor wearing Servant anywhere, nor Erik’s Wolfen. Considering it’s been an hour since the Greater Grail was stolen...”

    Semiramis slowly shakes her head. “My doves haven’t found anything yet. No sign of her, wherever she may have gone, or Erik’s Wolfen. The moment the Greater Grail was stolen, he activated something new and his ship simply disappeared…

    “Considering he thanked us for letting him know about the issues with his cloaking device, I’m worried about that as well.” Shirou admits, quietly.

    Semiramis quietly pulls him in for a hug, then sighs. “Are you sure we shouldn’t simply surrender?”

    “He said he’d give us 5 hours before acting against us…” Semiramis admits, then pauses.

    “Not that his guests would have the same limitation?” Shirou retorts, quietly. At his retort, Semiramis only nods, pensively.

    Shirou thinks, silently. “Try to keep us in the clouds, where we’re at. Hopefully the water will influence the radar enough that we’ll have misses when they fire.”

    Semiramis nods, gently moving back towards her throne room, still holding Shirou’s hand as she does so.

    Then pauses, mid-step as something catches her eye in the distance.

    “More of those drones, Shirou. Not sure where they’re coming from, but I can see them in the distance.” Semiramis narrows her eyes, leading Shirou off just a bit faster.

    It takes a bit for them to get to the throne room. As they do so, they can see the hallways with more and more cloaked stealth drones in them.

    For a long moment, Semiramis just sits in her throne, using magecraft to scan every inch of the Hanging Gardens that she can. “Where is Erik at…?

    In response, Erik’s voice echoes through the Hanging Gardens. “I can see you, Shirou. Can you see me?

    They both still, cameras rapidly working in a struggle to find the location of the Wolfen.

    “Erik! Where is he?!” Shirou whispers, quietly. “Where on earth did he go?!

    Moments after Shirou whispers that, the first strike hits

    “We just lost one of the plates!” Semiramis yelps in shock, as the Hanging Gardens shake from the impact.

    Then, all they can hear is music that starts playing, pounding through the Hanging Gardens.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_HSwo_rTXMU (And the Story Ends ~ Blind Guardian, Imaginations From The Other Side) (Probably the best soundtrack for this scene you'll find, too. So please, listen.)


    “Come now! This is how it was meant to be, Shirou! There was never going to be peace between us!” Erik’s voice echoes, as another resounding thump slams into the Hanging Gardens.


    “Where is he?!” Shirou snarls.

    “I can’t see where he’s coming from! I can’t see where the shots are hitting us from!” Semiramis almost screams, as she desperately forms a trio of plates, and starts shooting prana out at random, hoping she’ll hit something as she fires.

    “Don’t burn Prana like that, we’re already low! We have to wait them out, until they reveal a flaw!” Shirou shakes his head, then flinches outright at the sound of a nearby explosion, before continuing. “Is there any way we can see how they’re hitting us from outside? Maybe if we watch how they hit, we’ll be able to triangulate where it’s coming from!”

    Semiramis nods, adjusting the screens showing the sky.

    “Nothing yet. Nothing yet…” Semiramis half whispers, before her eyes widen as another round slams home, plowing through large amounts of stone in another plate.

    “Thirteen seconds! They’re firing every thirteen seconds, and somehow keeping themselves cloaked during the entire thing!” Semiramis narrows her eyes, watching carefully.

    “Pull us down further into the clouds! They’re thinning out, but if we stick to the big ones, we might be able to lose them!” Shirou narrows his eyes as he speaks, watching carefully.

    Another blow finishes off the already damaged plate, sending wreckage flying through the Hanging Gardens. Shirou flinches as one large piece thumps as it slams into the central structure, leading to a loud “BANG” before it slides off and falls downwards to the earth below.

    “How is he doing this?” Shirou half whispers, as he watches carefully. “It’s… wait. Semiramis. Pull up the method you’re using to see, so we look down the holes. I need to check something.”

    Semiramis nods, adjusting things. For a moment, she stares confused at the situation before them. Then Shirou takes her hand in his. “He’s moving every time he shoots.”

    “Oh? Then if we can somehow subdue some of those firing arcs, we might have a chance.” Semiramis admits.

    “Come now. Warrior to Warrior, Shirou. You never wanted peace in the first place, not between us! It was always going to be this way! No peace between us in our time!” Erik’s voice echoes through the Hanging Gardens, before a massive thump ripples through the Hanging Gardens.

    Semiramis flinches outright, as the Hanging Gardens wobble from the latest hit. “I’ve lost one of the outer sections for the Hanging Gardens. Nothing important was inside, but we’ve still taken major damage!”

    “Start firing in arcs upwards. See if we can’t force them down into the clouds with us.” Shirou orders. “We’ll try to ensure we fight more equally in the cloud.”

    Semiramis nods, doing her best to do just that.



    The Wolfen
    Spinal Railgun Manual Control System




    On top of the massive railgun, Erik sits on a chair in his new armor, the only thing slightly blocking his view is the small piece of metal, on the far end of the barrel, meant to help aim.

    Quietly, under Erik’s breath, he mutters “I always wanted to sound like General Chang while firing cloaked!”, before he narrows his eyes in his armor, focusing.

    Not a line so much there as a dot, but either seems to work well enough.

    The CRACK sound from the railgun below his feet is the only hint that the railgun has fired. As a large plate ripples from the attack, Erik frowns, muttering under his breath. “They moved a touch bit too fast for me to finish off that next plate. Ah well, until next time.”

    13 seconds pass, before another bomb shoots out at stupidly high velocities, plowing into, then detonating within the lines of another plate.

    Erik grins as this one outright shatters, then smirks at the other plates aiming skywards, spiraling sprays of tiny lines of prana in huge streams as it struggles to shoot the Wolfen out of the sky.

    “So slow, Shirou! Are you really even trying to fight me, or have you just decided to burn away your Prana before surrendering?!” Erik broadcasts, smirking before firing once more.

    The newest plate being attacked cracks, but doesn’t fall apart, much to Erik’s irritation. Erik’s eyes glance over rapidly studying what little he can see, before smirking and firing once more, plowing through a large chunk of stone blocking the way to the central tower and throne room Semiramis was in last time.

    “Now, let’s see if I can’t break your little throne, hmm?” Erik smirks as he broadcasts, then fires at one of the major supports connecting it to the rest of the massive stone chunks surrounding it.

    The ship flinches, as a stream of smaller prana blasts slams into part of it, before the Wolfen responds. Erik’s body shifts as the Wolfen rapidly moves up, dodging the worst of it.

    “No Damage, Boss! Not even to the clipped railgun.” Erik distantly hears, as he adjusts for the new place he's in to fire once more at one of the nearby plates.

    This one outright detonates as his Mystic Goggles of Weakness Perception does the job, sending shrapnel flying everywhere.

    For a moment, Erik’s eyes widen as one of the pieces slams into the Wolfen, before another lurch moves the ship.

    “Did they spot the shrapnel that hit us?” Erik half whispers, then smirks as the massive engines buried within the Wolfen do their work, pulling the Wolfen away from where the rocks were, just as several blasts of prana hit where the Wolfen was seconds before.

    “Pull us around to the other side, Scylla.” Erik orders.

    “Come now, was that supposed to hit me? Please, just give up, lay down your arms, counter whatever you did with the Greater Grail, and surrender, Shirou!” Erik broadcasts, then fires once more when they’re in position.

    The massive tower at the center almost slumps as something within it strains, before slowly righting itself back up. Then Erik grins wider at the sight of another plate, huge lines and dots of weakness spread through it’s back.

    For a few seconds, Erik adjusts the Wolfen, trying to get the aim perfect. But as he’s about to fire, he flinches to a whisper in his mind from Mordred, leaving the shot just off. “Erik?

    Yes, Mordred? What’s going on?” He sends back, adjusting the Wolfen for a different shot, as Scylla moves to counteract the near miss. Seconds later, the Hanging Gardens fires at where the Wolfen had just been.

    “Damn.” Erik mutters. “They saw the trajectory of the shot, and used it to try and get us. They’re wising up a bit.”

    Another CRACK echoes through the room, as another shot is taken, sending another plate breaking apart and spinning through the air into the clouds.

    The Hanging Gardens aren’t idle, as the remaining plates all form into several triangles once more. Then another barrage, rapidly spraying thousands of small spears of prana, attempts to root out where the Wolfen is at. Aimed upwards, it slowly sprays down lower, attempting to force the Wolfen out of hiding, or into the clouds along with.

    I… ah… well, I nearly finished with the simulator! But… towards the end, I was having this really difficult spot, and…” Mordred trails off, quietly.

    Erik’s eyes narrow, as he works the shot, takes in a deep breath, then aims, relying on years of training to make this next shot.

    The CRACK this time is heralded by another plate breaking apart, and the rapidly circling triangles ramming into the debris of the plate itself, sending several violently off course.

    A flinch as Erik sees part narrowly misses the underside of the Wolfen, before he focuses carefully. “Go on.” Erik sends, as he focuses, watching for if they’ll continue their tactic.

    Moments later, Semiramis and Shirou restart it, trying to force the Wolfen down once more.

    I got irritated, I suppose. How I couldn’t replicate Amaterasu's special move. As I grew more irritated, I felt some sort of... warmth drain something from me into the ring. Then it came back out, and I felt… stronger” Mordred admits, quietly. “Like everything was amplified, or boosted somehow. Not sure how to describe it besides that, though. I kind of ripped the entire machine in half with it.


    Erik nods, firing once more, trying to repeat the same tactic against the Hanging Gardens lowered numbers of plates. This time, however, it fails, leaving the Wolfen to slowly fall into the clouds… and for one long moment, Erik leans back into his chair, letting the railgun simply charge again. Then he unfolds the helmet, slides the sunglasses into the compartment meant for holding relics meant for the eyes, and watches as there’s a subtle change.


    Sounds like you unlocked something to do with the ring, then?” Erik responds, as he carefully watches the change to the helmet he’s seeing this in.

    The sunglasses let him see the Legend signatures within the clouds, as well as vague hints of lines in them. There’s no dots. He’s not seeing it clearly. But there’s just enough for him to still damage things, if not break them quite as fast.

    Another shot leaves Erik smiling, however, as he can see the legend and energies in one plate shatter from the line being hit.

    “So, this is where you are.” Erik glances back, eyes widening in surprise to see Siegfried near him.

    “I’d offer you a seat, but…” Erik trails off, watching carefully, then fires once more.

    “You’re in the only one? I’ve noticed.” Siegfried admits.

    Mordred. Get down here, will you? Siegfried’s come to talk, and I’d like you for backup, just in case.” Erik sends, watching through the clouds, before sighing softly. “Well, at least I know that my goggles are hindered by the water…”

    Siegfried blinks, then stares at Erik intently for a moment. “Would you be willing to tell me more about the Mecha Fafnir line?”

    Erik half nods, before adjusting his neck a bit, then fires again. “What would you like to know?” In the distance, the mass of energy he can see which looks like Legend shuddering, shaking from the not so distant explosion.

    “How, exactly did you run into Fafnir? Considering what happened between him and I…” Siegfried trails off.

    “I’m starting to think that Fafnir set it up so anyone that bathed in his blood could be possessed by him. Legends both speak of you and Sigurd killing him, and from how the Norse Pantheon hinted that he’d dodged his death before…” Erik admits aloud.

    “And you built mecha based on him, why?!” Siegfried continues, glaring.

    For a single moment, Erik glances over, to look eye to eye with Siegfried. Then he turns back to resume his firing. “Come now, Shirou. You have to do better than this!” He broadcasts, before speaking up for Siegfried. “Mostly, because I didn’t have time for making much better, and it would make the Norse Demigods more interested in buying my stuff. Making mechanical dragons based on one I slew? It got a nice set of customers for me. Besides, the Svartalfar that my friend had taken the throne from, all enjoyed my designs as their country’s loyal armor compartment.”

    For one moment, Siegfried stares at Erik with a “WHAT THE FUCK?!” look on his face, before he has to eventually speak up. “You… do know the danger of giving them such things, and selling such things to them anyways, right?” Siegfried stares at Erik, simply nonplussed.

    Another round fired, before Erik nods. “It’s why I put in safeguards for all my gear, so anything I build doesn’t shoot at me or my allies. Furthermore, I weakened the models compared to my personal units, so that even if they tried to rebel, I’d win.”

    For a moment, Siegfried just stares at Erik, before slowly nodding. “Thus, why they’re so weak compared to your own…” Siegfried half mutters under his breath, before the cannon fires yet again below their feet.

    “Yeah. They’re still fun to ride, though.” Mordred speaks up, behind them both.

    “Ah, my fellow Sabe- what in Brynhildr’s name happened to you?” Siegfried half yelps, staring at Mordred.

    She looks like a wreck, using her sword to limp over. “Nothing that won’t heal with a bit of time, but I thought I’d come down and ask for you to handle Semiramis with Shielder for me, while I do aerial oversight in one of the mechs.”

    Another CRACK from the cannon has Erik grinning as one of the plates falls apart in the distance.

    “That doesn’t explain what happened, though…” Siegfried pushes, attempting to get answers.

    “Mordred went up against Dracula, possessing Darnic. A Dracula who knew exactly what he was doing in his fight, and empowered himself as much as possible. The ring I made to help him heal may have given him the prana he needs…” Another fire of the cannon interrupts them, before Erik continues. “But I forged it with some unique traits, and I think he activated one, making Mordred’s situation worse…

    Mordred nods, ignoring the CRACK of the cannon yet again.

    “Scylla! Get us up higher! Half a second to that device you made, and hurry!” Erik half shouts, the sight of prana charging directly in front of him leaving his eyes narrowed.

    The flicker of blue around the ship and the beginning of the deep sound erupts, before the ship shakes, and stops.

    “I don’t think I can do that again, Erik! We nearly damaged it from using it for just a moment!” Scylla’s voice erupts over the speakers.

    “Got it! Keep us up here, and don’t let us get pushed down again!” Erik retorts.

    With another firing of the cannon, of course. Can’t forget that.

    “Damn. We just nearly had major damage from that, didn’t we?” Mordred half whispers.

    “Siegfried? I want you to escort Mordred to the fighter he’ll be using, then meet up with Mash, Shielder of Red, okay? You two are about the best team up that we’ve got for handling Semiramis. We can send Chiron and Lancer of Red against Shirou Kotomine. Godafrid’s servant, if she’s still around, as well.”

    “Do tell me. I'm curious as to why you think I should go against Assassin?” Siegfried asks, now curious. "Would Shirou Kotomine not be a better match against me and my blade?"

    “I’ve faced off with her in a prior Grail War… and she’s capable of making chains out of poison, as well as a trick where she can turn the air into poison in a sphere around her. Mash can shield against most poisons, we’ve got an antidote for Jormungandr’s venom, and between yourself and Mash, I think we’ve got things in the bag against her. Mash’s Noble Phantasm can shield against plenty of things, even the Wolfen dropping on it, while you’re likely a perfect counter to Semiramis’ air or liquids, or whatever to poison trick.” Mordred admits.

    Another CRACK resounds in the air, and Erik grins as another plate falls to dust.

    “Now, Shirou! Will you surrender? You’re running out of plates to defend yourself with, or shoot with!” Erik broadcasts, before glancing over to Mordred. Then, Erik half leaves his chair, pulls Mordred close, and hugs her for a moment.

    “I… you… that…! Just focus and finish them off already, Erik!” Mordred half growls at Erik, blushing under her helmet.

    “I’m trying already, Mordred! Unfortunately, with how massive it is, it’s hard to hit the right spots to get them! On top of that, I have no clue where the hell Shirou might be in there. His Servant, yes, but it’s hard to get an angle to hit the building she’s in with all those stone chunks around it, with how we’re moving.” Erik takes another shot, blinks then glances around, before breathing out. “Just get out of here. This thing’s a tough nut to crack, and if I can’t break enough of the stuff it has to make it fall in time, we’ll have to duke it out with them being able to see us once the 15 minutes of enhanced cloaking is up.”

    A wince from Mordred is all the reply Erik needs, as she turns to run. Siegfried gets up to follow, half carrying Mordred out.

    Another glance back follows them out the door, as Erik takes a deep sniff, before breathing out, listening to the door slam shut.

    Then, Erik takes another shot, before leaning back a bit. “It’s safe to come out now, little student of mine from the future. And Scylla, ensure no one else can hear in here, okay?”

    For a moment, silence reigns, before MHXX comes out of hiding. Her armor, more than somewhat battered, walking with a limp, but she comes out to stare at Erik.

    “Come for the blood? I put in some systems in my armor for blood transfusions, and injections, by the way.” Erik asks, taking another careful shot. Another plate falls into pieces as Erik momentarily grins, before breathing out.

    “Indeed. Sorry for taking so long, it took me a while to get my flight systems back to normal after Rin grabbed the Greater Grail, and left the universe on me, leaving me to the former Ruler’s not so tender mercies.” Mysterious Heroine XX admits. “And I see you got the Mark 1 Wolfson Armor built, too! You never did make a Mark 2, as far as I noticed...”

    “No mystical blood from the Great Red Welsh, I suppose. Speaking of which, I happened to bathe in the stuff. Will that influence the blood you need from me?” Erik asks, as he takes another shot.

    Right as another section of the Hanging Gardens explodes, the plates shift patterns, attempting to spin around the hanging gardens too fast for Erik to target them.

    “Not at all! I was expecting you to have the armor to be finished before you got me the blood, and the Great Red Welsh Dragon is a better choice than Fafnir…” MHXX pauses speaking, before sighing softly. “Speaking of, you’ll want to purge the blood currently in your armor, and get it replaced with your altered blood, as well as whatever you have left over, then store the rest of the blood you get. These Cosmoreactors tend to burn through blood if overloaded.”

    “Think yours can power my armor while I get the blood exchanged, then? And could you get me a guide on how to use the damned thing, or turn it on with less help?” Erik asks, glancing at her to look her in the eye.

    “Hang on…” MHXX murmurs, as she pulls out several plugs, before plugging her armor into his. For a moment, several screens flicker on and off, leaving Erik blinking. “That should do it, for the basic knowledge database on it. But for the very basics, they’re semi-sentient, and work on the concept of the more heroic and outgunned you are, the more power it’ll give you to counter the situation, for what energies you choose to use.”

    Erik slowly nods, taking another shot as he finishes. “Got it. If I fail to shoot the Hanging Gardens down, and we finish off their attack abilities, will you help with the Prototype Cosmoreactor, while the others finish things off?”

    “Not a problem, Sensei!” MHXX admits, her voice almost chipper under the armor, before she continues on, sounding more weary. “Anyways, between the lack of sleep, not much food, and other stuff, I need sleep, and a hot meal…”

    At that, Erik nods. “There should be some food in the cafeteria. I’ll ask the Legion of Coal to get you some food delivered to my workshop, and you can use the cot in there until I get up there. Okay?”

    Mysterious Heroine XX nods, before disappearing with a shouted “Thank you Sensei!” At her words, Erik smiles briefly before returning to focus on firing on the Hanging Gardens with a passion.

    “I’ll have them send some food to her, Boss.” The Scylla states in his ears.

    “Glad to hear it.” Erik replies, his focus on destroying the Hanging Gardens, or at least it’s defenses, never wavering.




    7:14 PM
    The Hanging Gardens
    Throne Room




    “I am as constant as the Northern Star! Or at least my explosives are!” Erik’s voice resounds through the Hanging Gardens, right before a shockwave resounds even more loudly. Another explosion tears through several buildings like a hot knife through powder.

    “I’m starting to really hate his speeches.” Semiramis growls to herself.

    “Not to mention how he’s tearing through the plates like powder? What are those even for?” Shirou admits, holding her hand in his.

    “They’re amplifiers and spellcasting tools, meant for defense and offense at once…” Semiramis admits, then pulls Shirou close as part of the throne room almost caves in from an explosion above their heads.

    For one moment, the ceiling cracks above them, as they look up in horror, before Semiramis sighs with relief. “Thank goodness it didn’t fall. I would hate to lose you.”

    “Do you want me to surrender? I still have that damned phone…” Shirou asks, eyes narrowed.

    “I’m starting to see the tactics behind his movements, though. At this rate, we’ll have a perfect shot!” Semiramis almost smiles, before flinching to the feeling of yet another plate being destroyed. “Of course now that we’re down to two plates left, this is going to be rough on us both. However, the moment we spot him is the moment of our victory!”

    “Do you have the prana for that?” Shirou asks, carefully looking at Semiramis.

    “With the lessened weight of the Hanging Gardens? I do.” Semiramis replies, before pulling Shirou in for a gentle kiss. “And with that kiss, I’m willing to do anything it takes for us to live…

    A flinch from them both, as the Hanging Gardens shudders, the roof exploding above them as Semiramis’ eyes go wide in shock and no little horror. Desperately, she flings up one hand, and a Basmu flickers into existence above, taking the shrapnel meant for them.

    But as it moves off, her eyes widen with glee, as she spots the air starting to ripple.

    For one moment, she stares at it, before her grin widens, as she forces the Horde of Dragons-tooth Skeletons to launch for the Wolfen, now with the cloak no longer enhanced.




    7:15 PM
    The Wolfen
    Spinal Railgun Manual Control System



    For one single moment, Erik stares at Semiramis, his eyes almost meeting hers. Then, as he watches the horde of skeletons fly towards him, he snarls.

    In one ear, he can hear Scylla reporting to him that the enhanced cloak just failed.

    Then his eyes catch the sight of a rapidly growing ball of prana forming.

    There’s only one thing left that Erik can do, as he manually activates the intercom for the ship. And as he does so, he shouts the words that signify the next stage of the battle. “FIRE EVERYTHING!”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Io0OQ2zPS4 (pretty much the perfect scene to reflect Erik’s shout here…)


    With those words, the Plasma Cannon erupts, firing at the ball of prana as it turns into the Hanging Garden’s first retaliatory shot, right before the Legion of Coal all kick into action. Moments later, a stream of explosives, railgun rounds and lasers launch at the Hanging Gardens, as the Wolfen does it’s best to shoot down the Hanging Gardens, and everything it has left.

    The last clear thing Semiramis sees of the Wolfen through the hole in the roof, is her prana cannon being completely stopped by the Plasma cannon, before the sheer number of explosions leaves the air too bright lit to easily see.




    Author’s Notes:

    So. I’ve been planning this stage of the fight out, to this song, since we first realized that this would likely be the most eagerly awaited fight. I’m hoping I did it justice for you all.

    Now, if there was a lightning storm in Romania, around this time? Perhaps we could have had a Wrath of Khan Mutara Nebula style fight.

    But alas, with no lightning storm to short out electronics, you instead get the curbstomp of the Wolfen, with Enhanced Cloaking and Cloaked rounds, versus the Hanging Gardens.

    Not enough to kill Shirou and Semiramis, but considering it’s made out of solid rock rather than a hollow shell made of prana? What easily would?

    Also? Yes, you get to see what’s going on with poor Train-kun’s remains. Bit of a Chekov’s gun, huh?
    Last edited by RanmaBushiko; October 8th, 2020 at 11:02 PM.
    I'm starting to suspect that talking with Kieran influences my rolls on Fate/Grand Order Heavily. How else can you explain me talking with him, then rolling for 30, only to get 3 Archer of Shinjuku on my second ten roll?

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    吸血鬼 Vampire
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    How dare you desecrate poor Train-kun's remains. HOW DARE YOU.

    I feel like Erik might have benefitted from varying his fire rate slightly for stealth reasons, but since he's on a timer, I can see why he wants to maximimze damage. The trash talk is amusing.

    I'm a bit shocked he carried on manually firing while conversing with Mordred and Siegfried AND trash-talking, but just having him destroy the Hanging Gardens as an entire chapter would be monotonous, so breaking it up with conversation works well. I might have expected him to turn over control, but since he's making use of Death's Reflection to optimize his shots, he's still the better choice for aiming.

    How I couldn’t replicate her special move.
    I have no idea who "her" is in this context from Mordred's conversation. Amaterasu? Erik said the simulator was built for Amaterasu. Looks like choosing Juggernaut Driver... was perhaps not the best choice right now, since Mordred apparently has crippled herself temporarily.

    “Do tell me why I should go against Assassin?” Siegfried asks, now curious.
    I read this as a "what motivation do I have", while Erik answered "what tactical reason makes this a good matchup". It's a bit unclear to me if Siegfried was asking that from this question wording. If he was asking the former, I think Erik should be more concerned.

    Chiron and Scathach against Shirou sounds... not conclusive, but also not like a bad matchup. Using Siegfried's durability against Semiramis sounds good, though his back is still vulnerable. Lord Camelot also is a solid protection, though it feels like a lot of Semiramis's tricks come out faster than Lord Camelot usually gets deployed. More likely to be "not a loss". I suspect Siegfried does well against Basmu, of course.

    I'm seeing the user manual setting up with MHXX, there? Stealing your own manual via stable time loops... fiendish.

    Language Nitpicking
    “That doesn’t explain what happened, though…” Siegfried admits.
    Admits is the wrong verb here, but I'm having trouble figuring out what's better. You need a concession for "admit" to work, like "'that may be true', he admits, 'but that doesn't explain...'". "Counters" could work, but usually implies a bit more forcefulness than Sumanai would usually muster. "Presses" or "inquires" with an adjective might work, like "inquires gingerly"?

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    死徒 Dead Apostle RanmaBushiko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arbitrarity View Post
    How dare you desecrate poor Train-kun's remains. HOW DARE YOU.
    Because you already had a hint that Semiramis was melting the train down, and never got to realize why until now? I try to be accurate with this, if nothing else...

    Quote Originally Posted by Arbitrarity View Post
    I feel like Erik might have benefitted from varying his fire rate slightly for stealth reasons, but since he's on a timer, I can see why he wants to maximize damage. The trash talk is amusing.
    Yeah, Erik could have, but with a 15 minute time limit, he was wanting to do as much damage as possible, more than varying the firing rate. As for the trash talk, paraphrasing General Chang for some of the lines was going to be fun. Plus the fight he's paraphrasing lines from is good, as well.

    Let's be honest, though. Erik has a lot of pent up issues with the Wolfen not doing nearly as much damage as it's been designed to do, up until now. Of course he's going to trash talk Shirou when he has the advantage.

    Quote Originally Posted by Arbitrarity View Post
    I'm a bit shocked he carried on manually firing while conversing with Mordred and Siegfried AND trash-talking, but just having him destroy the Hanging Gardens as an entire chapter would be monotonous, so breaking it up with conversation works well. I might have expected him to turn over control, but since he's making use of Death's Reflection to optimize his shots, he's still the better choice for aiming.
    THIS is exactly why I put in talk, rather than just Erik being an arrogant, talkative asshole while shooting at the Hanging Gardens.

    I want it to be interesting. Engaging. Not just bland "Erik shoots at the Hanging Gardens a lot". But for each character in this to be genuinely entertaining and engaging.

    Quote Originally Posted by Arbitrarity View Post
    I have no idea who "her" is in this context from Mordred's conversation. Amaterasu? Erik said the simulator was built for Amaterasu. Looks like choosing Juggernaut Driver... was perhaps not the best choice right now, since Mordred apparently has crippled herself temporarily.
    Yeah, it's Amaterasu. After I finish writing this, I'll change it. And Juggernaut Driver is good in the long run, Mordred just doesn't know what the hell she accidentally turned on. And since, once she unlocks it properly, she'll realize that Boosting works with stamina to enhance strength at the cost of pain and exhaustion, for now, until she's used to it like she is with Clarent Blood Arthur? It's going to be interesting.

    Not to mention what Clarent will do to that sort of enhancement...

    Quote Originally Posted by Arbitrarity View Post
    I read this as a "what motivation do I have", while Erik answered "what tactical reason makes this a good matchup". It's a bit unclear to me if Siegfried was asking that from this question wording. If he was asking the former, I think Erik should be more concerned.
    Meant to be the second one, to be honest.

    Quote Originally Posted by Arbitrarity View Post
    Chiron and Scathach against Shirou sounds... not conclusive, but also not like a bad matchup. Using Siegfried's durability against Semiramis sounds good, though his back is still vulnerable. Lord Camelot also is a solid protection, though it feels like a lot of Semiramis's tricks come out faster than Lord Camelot usually gets deployed. More likely to be "not a loss". I suspect Siegfried does well against Basmu, of course.
    Tactically, since Mordred and MHXX are both out of the direct fighting, this is probably the best matchup for being able to fight to them and see a decent fight. Plus, Scathach hasn't had much time to fight for the story, so her getting extra time to shine is nice here.

    Mordred's still injured from accidentally boosting. MHXX is literally exhausted and hungry, needing sleep. Side effects for everyone! No magical super cure-alls!

    Quote Originally Posted by Arbitrarity View Post
    I'm seeing the user manual setting up with MHXX, there? Stealing your own manual via stable time loops... fiendish.
    Not so much the user manual for the other abilities... just for the Cosmoreactor to know how the hell to turn it on more reliably, or give it a switch... Erik's been wondering why it turns itself on randomly, and now he gets to know.

    Quote Originally Posted by Arbitrarity View Post
    Language Nitpicking

    Admits is the wrong verb here, but I'm having trouble figuring out what's better. You need a concession for "admit" to work, like "'that may be true', he admits, 'but that doesn't explain...'". "Counters" could work, but usually implies a bit more forcefulness than Sumanai would usually muster. "Presses" or "inquires" with an adjective might work, like "inquires gingerly"?
    I'll try to fix that up, and the other spelling/phrasing mistakes up, next. Ironically, as I told Kieran? Google Documents showed there was NOTHING WRONG with any grammar, for what I wrote. Ugh. Irritating, right?

    Edit: Should read better now, for those spots.
    Last edited by RanmaBushiko; October 8th, 2020 at 11:11 PM.
    I'm starting to suspect that talking with Kieran influences my rolls on Fate/Grand Order Heavily. How else can you explain me talking with him, then rolling for 30, only to get 3 Archer of Shinjuku on my second ten roll?

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    Sorry for the lack of talking on my end in this thread... I have nothing I can say about what's been said right now. -_- Sorry.
    Xamusel's Fanfiction Profile

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




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

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




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    Chapter 70 – Conversations and Cleanup

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




    The Hanging Gardens of Babylon
    July 4, 2004









    As a member of the Holy Church—to say nothing of a former Ruler—Shirou was well aware of the necessity of the Greater Grail to performing the Holy Grail War Ritual. Not simply as the end prize, but as the primary anchor which made maintaining the presence of Servants possible. Even weakened as they were compared to true Heroic Spirits (which, when utilised as Counter Guardians, were generally manifested as natural disasters), the sheer amount of prana required generally put it beyond the reach of all but the most exceptionally powerful magi, otherwise. It was, after all, such that sustaining more than one was impossible for any magus even with the Grail’s active participation in the process . . .

    And on the whole, he briefly reflected, that was probably for the best; otherwise, every magus would insist on having one as a familiar.

    Regardless, that knowledge only gave him an understanding of what was happening as the metaphorical bottom dropped out of his world—no, wait, that was the Garden itself . . .

    Against the sudden insistence of gravity, and the metaphysical millstone that Semiramis and the Hanging Gardens had unexpectedly become, Shirou found himself hurtling towards the ceiling of the chamber, unable to resist as he otherwise might have. As an incarnated Servant, he had prana reserves far surpassing those of most magi; but at the same time, he was not eligible to be a Caster, and it wasn’t simply Semiramis demanding his energy, but an Anti-World Noble Phantasm. The fact that it was at least partially constructed of actual physical elements rather than wholly of prana was some relief, but it was hardly a minor cost, all the same—as it was, he would be almost totally reliant on his physical capabilities, rather than his magical ones, as a result.

    He retained the presence of mind to twist in mid-fall (if that was the correct term when one was propelled upwards, at least) and land feet-first on the ceiling, but was forced to roll out of the way as another barrage of beams lashed out in all directions from the other Servant—and once again, the beams arced in mid-flight, homing towards him like a particularly persistent swarm of wasps.

    (As previously noted, Shirou was not particularly given to taking the Lord’s name in vain, for obvious reasons—but in this circumstance, he spared a brief instant to at least ask why He felt so intent on besetting him with such trials?)

    And then all his attention was taken up with rolling, dodging, and mentally asking Semiramis to please do something before they hit the ground . . .!

    By the time he’d finished dodging the virtual cat’s-cradle of lethal light, his imperial Assassin had reasserted the Hanging Gardens’ defiance of gravity, he’d landed on the floor—and naturally, the armoured Servant was gone, along with the Greater Grail.

    “. . . So,” he noted aloud, almost surprised by the echo of his own voice in that cavernous chamber, “that was ‘Foreigner . . .’

    It was, much to Shirou’s own surprise, not a Class he was familiar with. Had he been the War’s actual Ruler, the Grail doubtless would’ve informed him as to its specifics; as it was, he could only see the Class’s title, with no details as to what it entailed. The Servant’s True Name was of little help, either—“Artoria Pendragon” implied a connection to the legends of King Arthur, certainly, but it was definitely feminine; he didn’t see offhand how that might relate to arguably the most legendary monarch in Europe (short of the King he served, at least) . . .

    A problem for another time, he decided at last. For now, get back to Semiramis—because I need to know just how much of her strength she has access to, while relying solely on me for support.

    Because no matter Erik’s proclamations and assurances, it appeared that the Red Faction had managed to betray his trust, after all—and while vengeance might be the province of the Lord, Shirou had no intention of letting the theft of the Greater Grail go unanswered . . .








    Battleship Wolfen
    July 4, 2004








    Despite technically having a built-in reactor, Arturia Pendragon was a notably high-maintenance Servant when it came to prana consumption.

    Granted, the cost was worth it when she was paired with someone who actually could meet her fuel demands, but eighty percent of Rin’s total output was about four times what the proverbial “average magus” could manage. At least, so far as Frid was aware, anyway; for one thing, math was not his strong suit (though the magus identity was better at it). And it wasn’t like magi really advertised their exact capabilities and limits if at all possible, anyway, so even if he was right, he wasn’t necessarily working with the correct percentages and figures in the first place.

    (And even aside from all that, “the average magus,” in his experience, was an apocryphal being to the point of bordering on being an outright oxymoron . . .)

    All that being said, it meant that Frid had largely been prepared for his own Servant to be the same; but even so, despite actually having a built-in reactor to her name, Artoria Pendragon was surprisingly voracious to his energy reserves.

    It’s got to be because she’s from another universe—since not only is she alive and corporeal, there’s the fact that everyone in her universe is effectively a “stray Servant.” There’s no damned reason whatsoever for her to actually be costing me prana to this degree, unless Gaia, Alaya, or both of them are constantly going “Nope—this is not happening, GET OUT of here . . .”

    Which, on reflection, made her designation as “Foreigner” make a lot more sense; after all, it wasn’t as though the game’s lore (to his knowledge, anyway) ever made it clear what Outer God XX was supposed to have had contact with.

    Or maybe in her case, it’s an Elder God? They were supposed to be the human-aligned ones . . .

    Frid shook his head—and immediately regretted the action, as it caused the corridor to spin a bit, his vision darkening around the edges.

    Right—don’t do that again. And while you’re at it, stop speculating on stuff that doesn’t matter; especially since with your luck, you’ll end up catching the attention of whoever-it-is by thinking about it . . .

    Frid leaned against the wall and sighed, while he waited for things to stop spinning. He really wanted to find a dark place to nap (was this what his sister’s migraines had been like?), but since he was anticipating somebody coming for his head as soon as XX returned, he wanted to be as ready to respond as possible. Especially since, given the nature of the ship and its owners (specifically, “wired for sight and sound along with supernatural senses that had to be witnessed to be believed”), he didn’t dare call out to Ilya to confirm anything; ignorance was his best defence right now, however flimsy it was.

    Still, that Rin had succeeded in absconding with the Greater Grail was a moot question, after the sudden sensation of having the entirety of his internal organs pulled out through his nasal cavity had sprung itself on him—and everyone else. Being smarter (or at least, more pragmatic) than say, Shirou or Shiki, she’d undoubtedly lie low back at headquarters for a while, if not calling it a day entirely; she’d gotten what she came for, after all. And that, of course, meant that when XX returned from the Gardens by herself, there were going to be questions asked, by at least one person . . .

    And while he was better at lying than he’d like to be, Frid doubted that his answers would wholly satisfy everyone.

    “Indeed, that is my experience,”
    said an unexpected voice in his head; and the first word, despite being in English, carried a Japanese echo of “Umu.”

    It said something that, despite how hollowed out Frid felt, he could still stiffen in surprise—and only the absolute locking of his muscles prevented him from face-planting in the deck plating at the action. If there was a better measure of his exhaustion, however, than the fact that he’d completely forgotten the sword strapped to his back, he was afraid to know what it might consist of.

    “Alas, dissatisfaction is the natural state,” she continued. “Yet how else are we to yearn, to strive, to triumph, if we are not driven to do so?”

    Frid blinked. While not quite what he’d meant, that was . . . Well, rather philosophical for Nero, and not delivered nearly as bombastically as he might have expected of her.

    “An Emperor is prone to making proclamations,” she agreed. “It is—what is the phrase again . . .? Ah, yes—‘part of the job description.’ However, as Emperor, I am neither uneducated nor uncivilised; philosophy and rhetoric were much admired in Rome, after all, and it would reflect poorly upon my reign if I was incapable of engaging in such.”

    And she was reading his mind—well, that was terrifying . . .

    “I have never understood your propensity for shame, Praetor,” Nero sighed.

    Wait—WHAT?!

    “The title does not suit you?” she inquired in a slyly playful tone. “Then another, perhaps—I have used many, over time. ‘Master’ is the obvious one, of course, but as we have not entered such a contract, it hardly seems appropriate. ‘Performer’ is perhaps the most accurate, but you are fond of neither it nor the circumstances in which I’ve used it . . . Ah, of course—‘Maestro’ it shall be, then!”

    By this point, the wall was the only thing holding Frid up—and the loss of the Greater Grail had nothing to do with it. What the hell was going on . . .?

    “The explanation is simple, Maestro,” Nero responded casually. “This sword contains not simply a shadow of me, shaped through a Class Container, but myself entire; perforce, I am naturally aware of all instances and circumstances in which I have been summoned.”

    Which explained why she knew about the titles she’d gifted to Hakuno Kishinami in various translations across multiple mediums—and he owed XX an apology, if this was what getting nailed with meta-knowledge was like—wait, was Nero saying she’d escaped the Throne?!

    . . . Why
    had Gaia and Alaya not buried Trifas wholesale by now? Or reality had a Blue Screen of Death or something . . .? EMIYA’s planned scenario involved retroactively erasing himself via paradox—but even Shirou wasn’t dumb enough to do that if actually escaping had even been considered possible . . .

    “I did not
    ‘escape,’ she informed him loftily. “I took a vacation. They were quite fun, back when I was working with Chaldea—as I’m certain you’re well aware.”

    Her emphasis on that particular word brought back an incongruity about one of her earlier statements—specifically, Nero’s use of “have never understood” instead of “do not understand,” which implied prior experience . . .

    Frid closed his eyes. “You’re not telling me that you’re part of XX’s predestination time loop, are you . . .?”

    “After her various attempts on my life, claiming me as some form of plague? Ha! No, Maestro—for the sake of Chaldea’s mission and the Human Order, we have been allies, but I would otherwise hardly involve myself in the affairs of an unruly child who cannot even correctly name her enemy . . . After all, as I clearly predate the King of Knights by several centuries, it should properly be known as the ‘Nero species,’ should it not?”

    A chuckle escaped his throat involuntarily at the audible pout in Nero’s voice.

    “I am pleased to be considered so amusing,” Nero said dryly. “You are fortunate indeed that I am both well-acquainted with your sense of humour and magnanimous with my forgiveness. Were I a lesser soul, and as inclined to the barbarities attributed to me as history proclaims, I would remind you of a phrase you once used in my hearing—‘lion chow.’

    That did sound like a joke or smart remark he’d make—but if she wasn’t running on some kind of future knowledge . . .?

    “While I cannot speak to this time or place, no longer being in a position to accurately gauge its future, we have met before—in various incarnations, across many worlds. You have proven yourself to be a man of excellent taste and discerning judgement in your choice of Servants.”

    The smugness in her voice—leaving no doubt as to whom she was referring to—faded, and Frid could practically picture her reluctant expression as she added, “Mostly.”

    “Look, so far, XX has done exemplary work in anything I’ve asked of her—”

    “. . . Ah. Yes, of course, Maestro.”

    Nero’s failure to elaborate gave Frid the sinking feeling that she was not, in fact, referring to any flavour of Mysterious Heroine; what kind of twisted version of himself would it take to have to summon someone she’d sound reluctant to name?

    You do recall that you actually summoned Mecha Eli-chan when operating purely on the basis of compatibility, right . . .?

    Ignoring that snarky voice in the back of his mind (something he had far too many decades’ worth of practice at), and deciding not to push further, Frid sighed, gathered his strength, and continued on his way.

    If all hell was going to break loose soon (again), and he was liable to end up dead (again) or forced to abandon this particular universe, then there were a few things he ought to look into getting done before he lost the opportunity entirely . . .








    Avalon Castle, Phantasmagoria Island (Grail Works, Ltd. Headquarters)
    Outside the boundaries of time and space









    Shirou blinked, confused. “We got a package?

    Ilya neglected to mention that it had arrived via being tossed through a doorway with the words, “Ilya, catch—she was still a little miffed about that—and simply nodded.

    “What’s in it?” he prompted.

    “According to the note,” Rin muttered, having snatched it from Ilya, “a Hydra venom sample, a sample of the anti-venom developed by the Red side, and—something involving you and Shiki. Or you or Shiki, or . . .” She trailed off, scowling. “Did he have to write this in English?

    “It was probably faster for him than writing in Japanese,” Ilya said smugly. “All those brush strokes . . .” Turning to Shirou, she said serenely, “Anyways, Onii-chan, the samples are for us to try and develop an improved antidote to cure Laeticia-san with; I don’t know if he’s forgotten about her being turned to stone, or if he already has a way around it, but clearly, he’s concerned about the venom.

    “As to the other thing he sent,” she continued, “it says that you or Shiki might be able to make use of it as a ‘holdout weapon,’ if you run out of prana or he overuses his Mystic Eyes—and not to try to Analyse it unless you absolutely have to.”

    Because of course Ilya could read English, as well as any other known language on Earth. How else could the Grail translate for the Servants who didn’t?

    “All right,” Shirou said uneasily, even as he leaned over the open box. “What on earth could—?”

    The redheaded magus stopped, the words dying in his throat—or perhaps more accurately, slaughtered.

    The knife was curved, as was its hilt, albeit in opposing directions, the whole item nearly as long as his forearm. Its blade was serrated along its length the rear and tapered to a point on that half only, giving its tip the appearance classically associated with scimitars. Despite being brightly polished, its gleam was an icy one; combined with the sheer number of wicked edges it possessed, the knife looked menacing even lying quietly at the bottom of a cardboard box.

    “. . . Even without Analysis, that gives me an uneasy feeling,” he said at last.

    “It should,” Ilya said. “That’s Maria the Ripper—or at least, part of it.”

    “What the hell would we want with that?!” Rin exploded. “Why would he think we would?

    “Well,” Ilya answered, “it can be used as a summoning catalyst; even if we don’t, however, it is still a Noble Phantasm. And ‘given the general ambiguity of Jack the Ripper's identity, it’s likely that it can be activated by almost anyone, simply by channeling prana into it, even if it won’t be as effective as it is for her.’

    “And he’s right,” she added. “It’d be at roughly the same level as your Projected copies, Onii-chan—which means at least an E-Rank, with maybe one or two more, depending on how many of its conditions are met upon activation. And since it manifests as a curse rather than a physical attack, it would be effective against beings like Servants, Dead Apostles, and so on; maybe not very effective, but it would be.”

    Silence reigned for a moment, during which Shirou and Rin’s features twisted in discomfort—the former, because he disliked even the idea of using this thing, and the latter, because she found it hard to deny the logic of the argument—but . . .

    But,” Ilya concluded, “he says that he’s mostly sending it to us because he thinks that the world—whichever one you want to name—is safer with it being here than anywhere else.”

    Glances were traded around. Once again, the logic was hard to argue with—though much more palatable, in this case.

    ‘And aside from that,’” Ilya quoted directly, after seizing the letter back from Rin and holding it in front of her, “‘given the number of supernatural females that both you and Shiki seem to attract—not to mention, seem to want to kill you—I figured that you could use the protection.’”

    Ilya giggled. “Well, he’s not wrong, is he, Onii-chan?

    “Maybe I should go back, after all,” Rin mused aloud, her face a simmering red. “After all, if he dies there, I can’t punish him . . .”

    Shirou blinked. “Why are you upset, Tohsaka? I’d have thought he was referring more to people like Brunestud-san, Tohno-san, or Saber or Rider.”

    Not that he thought Saber would ever hurt him—and Rider had been very nice, outside of the Grail War—so it seemed more aimed at Tohno-kun than him . . .

    Shirou had a reflexive moment of panic upon seeing the expression that emerged on Rin’s face at that statement—because it never ended well for him when she wore that face . . . Then he realised it was wasn’t aimed at him, and simultaneously gave thanks to the gods and prayed for mercy upon her target.

    (It wasn’t likely to be forthcoming, he knew—but it was the polite thing to do.)

    “You’re right,” she remarked, baring her teeth in a way that the only the blind could call a smile. “I should go mention that to them—where is the White Princess, again . . .?”








    Arcueid’s Apartment
    Misaki Town, Japan
    Ten minutes later









    “He gave us something that will protect Shiki from other girls?” the blonde True Ancestor said in surprise, before smiling brightly. “That was really nice of him! I should thank him, right? That’s what you humans do in this sort of situation, isn’t it . . .?”

    Rin resisted the urge to bury her face in her hands, despite feeling the oncoming migraine.

    Clearly, she should have started with the Tohno heiress . . .







    Writer's Notes: Sorry for the delay - my work schedule means that every third week is brutal; even more so when coming off a holiday . . . Hope you enjoy, nevertheless.




    Quote Originally Posted by Xamusel View Post
    Sorry for the lack of talking on my end in this thread... I have nothing I can say about what's been said right now. -_- Sorry.
    As long as you're OK - we did wonder.
    Last edited by Kieran; October 20th, 2020 at 09:04 AM.
    “Love will be cruel to who it entices — love will have its sacrifices.”

    — Carmilla Theme




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

    ―Jim Butcher, Vignette

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    Kamen Rider fan-writer Xamusel's Avatar
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    Oh, I enjoyed it, Kieran. It was really something.

    Oh, right, did you know that someone made a final episode to the Dungeons and Dragons cartoon? Fan-made, but with the script from one of the old writers of the show, and has one of the voices from the show itself.
    Xamusel's Fanfiction Profile

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




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

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




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

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    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    The video, I knew about - I thought it was quite neat. I did not know about the production side of it, though; that's very cool. Thank you.
    “Love will be cruel to who it entices — love will have its sacrifices.”

    — Carmilla Theme




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

    ―Jim Butcher, Vignette

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    Kamen Rider fan-writer Xamusel's Avatar
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    Well, now you know, Kieran. You're welcome.

    So... hopefully we can see another update soon enough from either of you.
    Xamusel's Fanfiction Profile

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




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

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




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

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    I am very glad to see Nero, that sword was sitting as an unused Chekov's gun for me. Good to see you're keeping a handle on all of those divergent plot threads. Using Nero as more pseudo-predestination is also some fascinating hinting at future events, though I really don't know what I can speculate about it. Maestro is a title with some interesting implications, mostly around "orchestrating" things.

    Godafrid's strategy for sending stuff to Ilya is... quite amusing. Interesting choice of tool to send Shirou/Shiki, I would have expected that to fade with Jack squashed. Definitely an amusing tool for being "on the run from a harem". Looks like you've written it ambiguously enough that you can choose to go a few ways with it still.

    Nice characterization in this one. The mix of perspectives here, jumping between Kotomine Shirou, Godafrid, and the Works, provides a good overview of the situation, and a quieter counterpoint to Erik going into battle.

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    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xamusel View Post
    Well, now you know, Kieran. You're welcome.

    So... hopefully we can see another update soon enough from either of you.
    Quick as we can!



    Quote Originally Posted by Arbitrarity View Post
    I am very glad to see Nero, that sword was sitting as an unused Chekov's gun for me.
    Well, I kind of had to figure out what to do with her . . .


    Good to see you're keeping a handle on all of those divergent plot threads.
    I am trying. I don't want to leave anything dangling, but if I box myself in too much, I'll lose interest in trying to write it out further down the line - it's a delicate balance.


    Using Nero as more pseudo-predestination is also some fascinating hinting at future events, though I really don't know what I can speculate about it.
    While there is one future possibility involved (so I won't go into it here), it's more meant as a backhanded reference to the many, many (incomplete) fic snippets I've written over the years that involve her; and my experiences with the games themselves, of course.


    Maestro is a title with some interesting implications, mostly around "orchestrating" things.
    Quite - it was also my preferred title for Hakuno, when I heard it.


    Godafrid's strategy for sending stuff to Ilya is... quite amusing.
    I thought so.


    Interesting choice of tool to send Shirou/Shiki, I would have expected that to fade with Jack squashed.
    No, the knives were actually the catalyst to summon her; so like Avalon, they physically exist. It's part of why I thought to do this in the first place (aside from the joke being hilarious, of course. )


    Definitely an amusing tool for being "on the run from a harem".
    Yes - or just given the number of deadly women in the TYPE-MOON universe in the first place.


    Looks like you've written it ambiguously enough that you can choose to go a few ways with it still.
    That was the idea; partially in case someone else wants to use Jack, partially because it would be an interesting weapon for any of the cast to use (though I suspect Kohaku would find it easiest TO use) . . . I admit, the idea of Jack becoming a new member of the "Deadly Little Sisters Alliance" by adopting Frid as her "Big Brother" did occur to me (at the very least, Shiki and Shirou could feel vindicated for all the times he was amused at their suffering), but I think that's just a whim.

    . . . Then again, given Jack's wish for a mommy, watching her either attempt to matchmake Frid with someone, or matchmake one of the others (either Shirou with Sakura, as Sakura seems the most likely for her "mother," or Shiki with Kohaku, for the other side) could be hilarious. What do you think?


    Nice characterization in this one. The mix of perspectives here, jumping between Kotomine Shirou, Godafrid, and the Works, provides a good overview of the situation, and a quieter counterpoint to Erik going into battle.
    Thank you - that was what I was aiming for.
    “Love will be cruel to who it entices — love will have its sacrifices.”

    — Carmilla Theme




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

    ―Jim Butcher, Vignette

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    Interlude – Blood and Contracts

    Čachtice Castle, Slovakia
    June 29, 2004









    For the umpteenth time, Godafrid Úa Súilleabháin asked himself if this was really a good idea.

    And as in all the times before, the answer was “Oh, good God, no. . . But also yes.

    Actually getting into Victor Frankenstein’s workshop had been child’s play compared to the difficulties of pinning its location down in the first place. Given that the bloody novel had all but drawn him a map, once he’d taken the time to since down with some actual ones for comparisons, the fact that he’d still had to work that hard in order to do it . . . Well, it had set a certain level of expectation regarding exactly how hard breaking whatever protections the man had laid on his territory was going to be.

    Knowing magi, the challenge of gaining entry to a workshop was almost always an order of magnitude more—at least—compared to gaining knowledge of its whereabouts. After all, most magi didn’t like to wander too far from their workshops for extended periods, rather than picking somewhere distant that they had frequent reason to travel to, or by, without raising suspicions. Instead, they almost invariably chose to harden the defences of an easily-guessed location, if it wasn’t their outright home, rather than relying on obscurity as a protection.

    Granted, the Frankenstein of lore wasn’t a traditional magus—reading between the lines of the novel, he was a self-trained alchemist who applied modern (for the time) scientific principles and tools—but his ego would’ve demanded protecting his rights to his work. And failing that, his desire to avoid scrutiny until he could present the world with a fait accompli, lest the laws of man or God look unkindly on the means and methods he chose to experiment with . . . After all, Frankenstein had operated in a time period where medical students weren’t allowed to disturb the consecrated rest of the dead decreed by God and study actual cadavers; not without social backlash that, in an earlier age, would’ve seen them burned at the stake.

    And, if the novel held any degree of truth (which, knowing what he did now, he sincerely doubted), he’d have tried to have something on hand to protect himself from his creation . . .

    If so, however, the former medical student (his aristocratic title being an invention of the films; the novel’s Victor was the son of a diplomat, not a baron) had expended it, or it had long since been stolen, by either time or thieves. In truth, Godafrid had been surprised to find anything, after nearly two centuries, much less what he’d actually been looking for—between the opportunism of magi and their scorched-earth policies regarding the potential endangerment of Mystery, after all . . .

    Then again, someone had allowed a book to be published (as fiction, true, but still) about the events. That was unheard of, in his experience. It either meant that nobody involved was as powerful back then as they were now (which might explain the occult fixations of the Victorian era some decades later, come to think of it), which was highly unlikely, or . . .

    The young spellcaster sighed. Every now and then, he missed having access to Clock Tower’s resources; there was undoubtedly some file buried in their archives explaining the reasons (or lack thereof) behind things turning out as they had. Searching for it might be another Herculean task in itself, but it’d probably be more fun than reading the actual text, too.

    Maybe, when all’s said and done, I can bribe His Broodiness into at least summarizing it for me—I do have that DS coming to me . . .

    The thought made Godafrid sigh, because “when all’s said and done” was liable to be quite some time from now, if ever, assuming his suspicions were correct; and if he didn’t truly believe that they were, he’d hardly be here.

    Fiore had asked him to locate Victor Frankenstein’s blueprints of his creation, and on a surface level, the request and the reasoning behind it were both simple and easy to understand. After all, to some extent, this was what he did for a living; the kind of thing his Mystic Eyes and magecraft were made for. To another degree, this kind of treasure hunting was just fun; tracking down clues, putting together the pieces to locate answers, or parts of history—archaeology wasn’t anywhere near as lucrative an occupation as cryptography, but much more satisfying. Plus, the Frankenstein tale struck very close to elements of the Forvedge magecraft; it was possible that they thought studying them could lead to a breakthrough . . .

    Or she just wanted a neat gift for her brother. Caules wasn’t as brilliant an academic as Fiore, but he was more temperamentally suited to being a magus—the symbolism of the Frankenstein tale could serve as a cautionary warning, even as the blueprints themselves could help him advance his research.

    That was very much his firecracker‘s style: sentimental and practical in the same package. And no matter how she blushed (though that was a lot of the fun in using it), the nickname was accurate—she was brilliant, breathtaking to behold, and very dangerous if mishandled.

    But Fiore had asked him to look for them, rather than asking for his help; which meant it was neither a gift for surprising her baby brother with nor a fun bonding activity for the pair of them that she could justify to her family head as being potentially beneficial for her magecraft (a pity, that).

    Granted, the former might still be a possibility, and she was trying to maintain the surprise by staying out of it—but it was the sort of hunt she’d enjoy. And Caules helped her coordinate the family finances online; surely he would wonder at the payment from any of their accounts to his . . .?

    And that was the other issue: Fiore’s insistence that he be paid. He’d have done this for free, and she knew it—for the fun of it, never mind for her. If her pride needed soothing, she could always console herself with that; just sticking the idea in his mind would’ve have sent him looking, even if his beautiful fiancée hadn’t been the one asking for them.

    (The fact that she did ask, and had the sort-of wide-eyed, hopeful look that belonged on a begging kitten, didn’t hurt, mind you . . .)

    It made no sense, until you realised that she wanted a record of it to exist; something that he’d done the job as a contractor, and not as her fiancé, to anyone looking in on things from the outside. And for a split-second, that had hurt (because he’d thought they’d reached the point where the engagement’s being public knowledge wouldn’t matter to the magus community), but only that long. Because there was another very good reason for Fiore to want him isolated—or more accurately, insulated—from her family. A reason that would involve the blueprints, or something very like them, that would only make sense if you knew Clan Yggdmillennia’s history; but which was blindingly obvious once you did.

    The Holy Grail War Ritual.

    Whether Lord Darnic actually had stolen the Grail from Fuyuki almost three-quarters of a century ago, or it had simply taken the ritual’s sole survivor this long to recreate it, ultimately didn’t matter. What mattered was that the Holy Grail War was a death match that had ultimately killed everyone ever involved with it, save one, and his life was all he’d managed to escape with. Lord Darnic’s reputation—arguably the only thing he cared about as much as breathing—was only a rung or three above persona non grata; compared to his status pre-World War II, it was a near-meteoric fall.

    One way or another, the Holy Grail War destroyed its participants, without fail or exception. And Fiore and her brother were about to be thrown straight into it—because realistically, there was no way in Heaven, on Earth or in Hell that Fiore would let Caules get involved on his own. Godafrid understood the sentiment, and admired it; even shared it, when it came to certain people—Fiore herself first among them. And that fact left him with a quandary in this particular instance. She didn’t want him involved, and would’ve asked if she did—but at the same time, he couldn’t ignore it, either . . .

    Given how urgent she’d made this request sound, he didn’t have time to do the kind of major research and prep work he really wanted to—but he had studied what Clock Tower had on the ritual, back when they’d first met. Calling it to mind wasn’t hard; from there, he had an idea of a plan. It was a terrible idea—but it was all he could do, at this time and place.

    When reading up on the Holy Grail War so long ago, he’d come across a “rule” that had piqued his interest—specifically, one against the participants’ summoning of Japanese Heroic Spirits as Servants. It had struck him as particularly odd, given the War’s location . . .

    The reason given was that being summoned in their native land granted them a level of metaphysical support that permitted them to operate at a higher capacity than the Class Container would otherwise allow, which could “prove dangerous.” Now, whether or not said rule was ever actually followed, of course, Godafrid gave fifty-fifty odds. Any “true” magus would grab every ounce of power they could find, beg, borrow, or steal; but if the rule could be enforced, through a geas, maybe, then it might be worth giving up in exchange for denying it to their rivals . . .

    Besides, finding a way around the geas would give them another opportunity to show off their “superiority”—and there was nothing magi loved more.

    On the other hand, maybe it was followed, and for reasons of personal safety; after all, historically, the Japanese were noted for xenophobia. And for all the propaganda exhorting their warrior class, Godafrid couldn’t imagine many of them being pleased at the idea of their homeland being turned into a battleground for the power and glory of foreigners—particularly not while they themselves were being used as a puppet and proxy of the same.

    Knowing what he did of the egos of magi, however, the freelancer doubted that any of them had been that self-aware. After all, for a society that supposedly strove to leave the best possible opportunities for future generations to reach Akasha, they were remarkably preoccupied by personal gratification . . .

    Regardless of the truth, however, the rule had existed for an underlying reason: a way to boost the power of a summoned Heroic Spirit, if you were clever and careful about it. And barring people who would actually think to look for it (and had a trick or two to slip past levels of redaction that he really shouldn’t have access to), only one man still alive knew about it.

    Godafrid didn’t know precisely what Lord Darnic’s plans for the Holy Grail War Ritual might entail, but he doubted that the man would choose to share that particular advantage with anyone—even his on-paper heir. Perhaps especially not Fiore, depending on what he wanted from the Grail; hadn’t the Einzberns created the ritual to regain the Third Magic . . .?

    Immortals had no need of heirs—by definition.

    Regardless, while wracking his brain over what to do, Godafrid had managed to dredge up that small fact, which led to his current location. As defined by modern geographical borders, Čachtice Castle was in Slovakia, not Hungary, despite the Hungarian name of “Csejte” being somewhat better known. Nor was it in Romania, where the Yggdmillennia Clan held power . . . But the first and third regions had once been part of the kingdom of the second, and the castle’s most notorious resident had blood ties to Romania’s most famous (and also infamous, come to that) one, as well.

    Countess Ecsedi Báthory Erzsébet, more commonly known by the Western translation “Elizabeth Bathory,” was regarded as one of the most prolific serial killers in history, and the premier female one. The legendary “Blood Countess” was reputed to have tortured and murdered up to 650 young girls, bathing in their blood as a means of preserving her beauty—until she was caught, tried, convicted, and walled up in a room of her own castle for the remainder of her natural life.

    Her story was regarded as a major inspiration for Sheridan LeFanu’s Carmilla, much as Vlad Tepes was for Stoker’s Dracula, and she was far, far more suited to the Ice Bitch, Godafrid thought, than Fiore . . . But she would be powerful, in lands that once belonged to the kingdom of which she’d been nobility; in a country that earned tourism dollars off their legends of the vampires with which Báthory was popularly linked in her own—she was called “Countess Dracula” as often or more as “the Blood Countess.”

    And Fiore was not only pretty, the type Báthory loved, but clever, and more capable than she thought she was. Whatever Class she might be conjured into, Báthory would protect Fiore, if only to save her for herself—and Fiore would, he hoped, be cunning enough to both use her Servant to her best advantage, and fend off the creature’s advances in the process.

    Or maybe she’ll trade the catalyst to the Ice Bitch for protection, or neutrality in the coming fight—or, if worse comes to worst I’ll use it myself . . .

    But first, he had to find something suitable. Theoretically, the smallest chip of stone from the castle ought to be reasonably sufficient; but when his firecracker’s life was on the line, “reasonable” went out of the window, and “sufficient” was nowhere near enough. Of course, the whole plan made that obvious; almost any Heroic Spirit would be a better choice than Elizabeth fucking Báthory, after all—but if Fiore was gathering catalysts, like the blueprints of Frankenstein, then the War was set to happen soon; as in, immediately after his arrival in Romania, if it hadn’t already started. There simply wasn’t time for a better option, and Godafrid was limited to what materials he was able to reach within the span that he had.

    So, the countess it was—and if he had to figure out a way to dig microscopic fingernail shavings the better part of five centuries old out of a stone wall in order to make sure Fiore had her best shot at surviving whatever the hell Darnic was up to, so fucking be it.

    And if she doesn’t survive this . . .

    Yggdmillennia wasn’t the Nuada-Ri family. Despite its present social circumstances, its members had abilities, resources and experience that he couldn’t match. He might get one or two—the Ice Bitch was a sadist, and Gordolf was arrogant, which made them easy to bait—but quite probably not all, and maybe never Darnic. The man had survived seventy years, and looked thirty at the most; that kind of thing did not happen without undergoing some major metamorphosis that usually involved the elimination of most of what could be considered human.

    Then again, that’s what the Church is for—and Father Kotomine did say he owed me a favour . . .

    Godafrid shook his head. He’d seen and heard of weirder things than a priest and his daughter bonding over violent MMO games—and trolling the players thereof—but those phenomena, he could explain.

    Still, the man had seemed remarkably pleased at being introduced to such a simple (and scandalous, if not outright sinful) thing. He’d accepted the “debt” simply because he had the impression that Kotomine wasn’t the type to do such things (even allowing for the Japanese tendency towards courtesy), and that was the kind of gesture you just accepted in the spirit that it was meant.

    Godafrid had never expected to actually call in that marker. But if Darnic had gone down the road the spellcaster thought he had, then having a former Executor at his back (going by the calluses on his hands, at least—priests only got those particular marks one way, in his experience) seemed like a good idea.

    But that was the worst-case scenario, and there was no need to start planning for it (yet, anyway). In the here and now, he needed something that could be used as a catalyst for summoning Báthory, preferably at her best (or more probably worst, to be accurate).

    And quickly—his flight left less than in four hours . . .








    Second and third ribs, right side, at a forty-degree angle, leading to internal bleeding; lungs will reach saturation point in ninety seconds—drowning will follow in twelve . . .

    While understandably intended for thaumaturgy, the Faerie Eye’s power had a myriad of other applications. Code-breaking was one, obviously, but diagnosis was another—it made patching up his injuries a little easier, most of the time . . . But in this case, it only underscored how screwed he was.

    The layers of irony here would’ve made him choke, if the hole in his lung that was filling it with blood wasn’t already (which was a layer in and of itself): he’d gotten the catalyst, and been done in by a weakened section of floor. One he would’ve spotted, if he hadn’t shut off his Mystic Eyes because he was satisfied that, contrary to rumours, no actual magic had been done in the castle—well, that and the fact that he was getting far too much information on what had been done. “To be a magus is to walk with death,” and Godafrid would freely admit that he could be outright vicious, but Báthory was just sick . . .

    And now, he was dying from impalement—Vlad Tepes’ signature execution technique.

    If I try to move off the stalagmite, the blood loss will kill me faster. I might have enough prana to rebuild everything, or at least patch things, but not enough knowledge of human anatomy to do it properly . . .

    Another layer of irony was that Fiore or Caules would, of course—but Godafrid was focussed on the fact that, despite having both catalysts he’d sought in hand, he’d failed her. Neither he nor the catalysts would ever make that plane . . .

    “And what would you give, if they could . . .?

    The voice might be real; it was probably a hallucination brought on by lack of oxygen to the brain, like the dazzling spots of light amidst his darkening vision; the fact that it sounded kind of like his—not to mention basic logic—argued the latter.

    “Anything,” he struggled to say, too out of it by now to fight the delusion.

    As last words went, they were fairly terrible—and as someone with knowledge of the wider world, saying things like it in situations such as these was even worse—but he didn’t care. He’d have bargained with the Lord of Blood and Contracts herself at this point, if it meant Fiore could be safe . . . And that his last actions on Earth weren’t a dismal failure . . .

    “Then we have an accord.

    Fire and ice gripped his wrists—body heat, he thought deliriously . . . And some kind of metal? What little detail Godafrid could still see outside of the rapidly-encroaching darkness gave him the impression of shining silver . . .

    “Your catalysts shall reach their plane, and I shall take my payment in exchange. I shall even go further than our bargain, and do my best to see they reach their intended destination beyond that—I require only one thing more to see it through. . .”








    (Frid’s) Guest Quarters
    Battleship
    Wolfen
    July 5, 2004









    He awoke with a start, as well as the taste of blood in his mouth.

    Stilling for a moment until his heartbeat settled, he eventually rolled over to check the bedside clock (and still marvelling at being able to read it without glasses in the back of his mind).

    “3:38 AM” glared back at him, and he stifled a sigh, turning onto his back again.

    He could still taste the blood—or the memory of it, at least; he’d needed it borrow the shape to get let onto the plane, since he wouldn’t actually earn it until he had . . .

    Frid blinked, as the memory-turned-nightmare scattered from his current perspective—and the pieces slotted into uncomfortable places.

    He’d known that his form, this life, was borrowed (stolen); it was what Lunars did. He’d managed to conceal that fact even from himself—or at least ignore it, for a while—as part of the act of taking on the magus’ identity. And it made sense, abstractly, that he could do that: on a purely intellectual level, it was simply a matter of acting; on a metaphysical one, he had a Charm that could fool Fate itself into thinking he was who he pretended to be.

    Even so, Frid had avoided even considering the mechanics of how he’d acquired it, much less remembering the events. He’d given up eating fowl—and any other meat with bones—based on a traumatic experience with baby chicks. Needless to say, the Lunar Exalted’s ritual hunting and devouring of a target’s “heart’s blood” in order to add to their library of shapes was not an aspect of the character concept that he found appealing . . .

    But that—that hadn’t been what that was. That had been bargaining; performing a service in order to acquire a shape, which was not what Lunars did . . . But it was a Charm, and he recognised it, nonetheless.

    It was “Debt of Borrowed Skin,” from the Third Edition Lunar Exalted sourcebook—the forthcoming Lunar Exalted sourcebook.

    Something the Seldarine did . . .? Or am I suffering from the same issues as Erik and Tamamo . . .?

    It shouldn’t be the latter. His “Exaltation,” however close or clever a replica, was just that—a replica. It should ultimately be neither bound by Creation’s rules, nor affected by changes to them, unlike the wellspring from which the two former Scions drew their power.

    Except . . .

    Except that he wasn’t wholly sure how he’d wound up here in the first place; and if he’d done it without a paradigm-shielding effect like Ilya usually provided—well, Lunars were adaptable, and a lot of the rules and concepts of Exalted could be easily translated, if not outright applied, to the Nasuverse . . .

    But that still shouldn’t change me from a Second Edition character equivalent to Third Edition—unless those rules are even closer to the basic metaphysics of the Nasuverse. If that’s the case, then maybe basic inertia would do it . . .?

    Frid didn’t know. Nor could he say for certain why it was only happening now, instead of at the beginning; Erik had shown much clearer signs, according to Tamamo. But then again, Erik was a God. His existence no doubt exerted more pressure on reality with his much higher power output (and general lack of restraint), and thus was subject to more pushback in return. By comparison, he was probably a lot easier to overlook—and Lunar Exalt powers were, again, adaptable. Hell, the moonsilver tattoos were designed to hold them in check, and hold back the reality-warping influence of the primordial chaos from which all Creation had been formed, lest it push his shape-shifting nature into making him a monster dredged up from the nightmares of a Lovecraftian horror . . .

    He really missed that character sheet that Ilya and Sakura put together; being able to see a representation of his stats was so handy.

    Look at it this way, Frid reasoned internally. Either it was an extra gift of the Seldarine’s, or your powers are just adapting—and while the Lunar book was still in production, remember what you saw of the core rulebook; compared to the differences in Scion between editions, Exalted was like D&D 3.5 Edition versus Third . . .!

    So even if it does change things, it’ll probably all be fine, he reassured himself.

    . . . Either that, his inner voice riposted, or you have an unstable primordial-concept-destroying superweapon grafted to your soul . . .

    His eyes shot open.

    “Oh, to hell with it—I’m not getting back to sleep after that thought,” he groaned. Rubbing his eyes and sighing, he pulled himself to a sitting position and called, “Ilya, are you up . . .?
    “Love will be cruel to who it entices — love will have its sacrifices.”

    — Carmilla Theme




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

    ―Jim Butcher, Vignette

  15. #655
    Kamen Rider fan-writer Xamusel's Avatar
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    Nice Interlude, Kieran, I really do appreciate it.

    Still... who's the Lord of Blood and Contracts?
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    吸血鬼 Vampire
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    I believe Altrouge Brunestud (Dead Apostle Ancestor) is considered the Lord of Blood and Contracts. You may also remember her as the reason Night of Wallachia is functionally immortal, hence the "contracts" part.

    That was a really interesting interlude, and I appreciate knowing more about how current Frid took on the identity. Previous Godafrid is remarkably similar to the current one, which I guess should not be too surprising. Knows more than he should, but not to quite the same extent. I can't really break down much more than that, it was just very satisfying to read.

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    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xamusel View Post
    Nice Interlude, Kieran, I really do appreciate it.
    Thank you, and you're quite welcome.

    As my birthday is Sunday, and I don't know what I may or may not be doing, I figured I'd try a little harder to get this out early - I'll still try to have something ready for then, of course, but at least I won't miss a week.


    Still... who's the Lord of Blood and Contracts?
    Quote Originally Posted by Arbitrarity View Post
    I believe Altrouge Brunestud (Dead Apostle Ancestor) is considered the Lord of Blood and Contracts. You may also remember her as the reason Night of Wallachia is functionally immortal, hence the "contracts" part.
    ^ What he said.

    As Fate worlds supposedly don't have the same setup as Tsukihime ones, but do have Dead Apostles (according to both the Lord El-Melloi II Case Files and Sion Eltnam Sokaris), I figured invoking her as a devil figure is a safe bet; I certainly can't see her having been killed.


    That was a really interesting interlude, and I appreciate knowing more about how current Frid took on the identity.
    I've been meaning to get to it for a while - as it turns out, I've waited so long that the Third Edition Lunar book is available. More on that below, but let me finish replying to your reply, first.


    Previous Godafrid is remarkably similar to the current one, which I guess should not be too surprising. Knows more than he should, but not to quite the same extent.
    And has made some very wrong conclusions, but we can hardly blame him for that, given the information at hand - sadly, I just couldn't find a way to work in a scene of his using the catalyst, and essentially expecting Carmilla - only to wind up meeting Eli-chan.


    I can't really break down much more than that, it was just very satisfying to read.
    Thank you - I do try not to leave plot threads dangling . . . Eventually.




    . . . Now, onto the rest. Yes, I've broken down and bought the Third Edition of Exalted, with the release of the Lunar book - though I've read the latter more thoroughly than the former at the moment. And as Frid notes, there's a lot less divergence in the system mechanics between it and the prior edition; much like Dungeons and Dragons 3rd to 3.5 edition (whereas Scion was more like 3.5 to 4th in terms of how different it seemed. In terms of how Lunars are handled, though - I like it more. Granted, certain Charms have disappeared (or been renamed so thoroughly I can't find them), and others have been reworked, but how it handles shapeshifting . . .

    The overall abilities are called "Heart's-Blood Charms," as is the Merit that covers the library of shapes a Lunar has access to - but the nature of the "sacred hunt" for a shape doesn't have to be literal. Depending on the Attribute invoked, in fact, it can be very different. "Debt of Borrowed Skin" is the Charisma-based Charm, and as Frid says, it involves convincing someone to pay their shape for a service. Other Heart's-Blood Charms can have the Lunar trick someone out of their shape, study someone for it, gamble for it - or just rip it right out of them (can you guess which of these is the Strength Charm? )

    . . . If I'm going to have my SI be a Lunar Exalt, I think I'm much more comfortable with this type, honestly. Though playing with Little Red Riding Hood also has its appeal . . .
    Last edited by Kieran; November 20th, 2020 at 11:01 PM.
    “Love will be cruel to who it entices — love will have its sacrifices.”

    — Carmilla Theme




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

    ―Jim Butcher, Vignette

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