Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 23

Thread: Revolution #9

  1. #1
    Hair of the Dog Five_X's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Ontariariario
    Age
    28
    Posts
    24,732
    JP Friend Code
    BN: FiveX#1720
    Blog Entries
    36

    Revolution #9

    August 21st, 1963.

    Failure tasted like Irish whiskey, and it was a flavour Jacqueline knew well.

    She sat sat alone in the deep back of a recliner, her legs tucked up onto the seat, knees up to her chest; a worn copy of Camus’ L’Etranger acted as both a coaster for her glass and a rest for her hand even as it balanced precariously on one arm of the chair. It was late enough into the night that reading made her drowsy and unfocused, but she had to wait until the call came from overseas, and nothing helped better than the drink.

    A hotel in America was far away from home, but it was as welcome as anywhere could be now. Every time she glanced at the telephone hanging on the wall, its cord dangling like a loose rope, her heart was struck with palpitations she couldn’t rationalise away: when it rang, that was the end for her, sooner or later.

    Her great-uncle, that optimiste par excellence, would have told her to pray and seek absolution before God and in doing so ease her clouded mind and fallen spirit. But the world Jacqueline was born into was a dilapidated one, pragmatic and self-assuredly wiser for it and above all assured of the inevitability of death and the intangibility of the past. It was the malaise of her generation, which unlike their American counterparts were not energised by the infinite possibility of the future but left anxious and enervated.

    All that was meaningless anyway, she thought. The world she existed in was one which heeded neither the will of God nor the spirit of the cosmos. What she was was a mage, and all those who she knew and pretended to care about were mages, too. Now she had failed them, the pretending would stop, and she would be a pariah among outcasts.

    All that, and it was such a simple thing that did her in: she was late.

    Like some young university graduate unapologetically late for a big city interview, she was cast down and cast out. All she had to do was investigate and intervene, but events passed by her. She was too late to intervene and even had she tried to investigate, nearly all those who had taken part in this continental farce were dead. By some standards, she’d succeeded - but not those of the Mages Association. She had left a dangerous ritual of untold potential play out, or so it looked to those on high, and a once-in-a-century chance vanished into the ether.

    The atom bomb had changed everything. The old world was disappearing day by day into the far distance, left behind by the rampaging advance of modern technology. Now the fabric of reality was subject to the experimentations and examinations of scientists and engineers, and along with it the fate and future of humanity, well outside the direction of mages and their ilk. Some had voiced their concerns already in 1919 when one man’s theory unravelled the mysteries of the workings of the universe, along with the potentiality of its beginning and end. But mages, in their old seats of power so long held, never imagined the tinkerers below them would put those ideas into practise. The pawn had become the queen.

    Jacqueline, in a perfect world, was supposed to have been the bridge between. The memo telegrammed to her was still on the nightstand by her chair, fading in the lamplight, all but a relic now as it spoke of communion between the Mages Association and the United Nations, issued by some Director-General of some soon-to-be-defunct agency.

    That line of hope broke one night in the spring of 1963 and like a childhood memory could be recalled but never recreated.

    The call finally came at a few minutes after 4 am. Europe had woken up, Jacqueline mused, as her fingers brushed against the telephone receiver. A splinter of instinct in the back of her mind told her to let it go, toss it all aside, and escape.

    But there was no escape, that was what everything she had known and lived had told her. She picked up the phone and heard an English accent apologise before telling her a UN man would be waiting for her a few blocks down from her hotel, across the river. He would drive her to the airport and then that would be that. The caller left the impression that the future was open, but Jacqueline of course knew it wasn’t, it never was. No God would sweep her up and away or inspire pity in the hearts of those she betrayed.

    Sometimes there comes a moment when you are speaking to someone and you feel, deep down in your heart, that of all the words there are to say, you chose the worst ones. Jacqueline felt that deeply, an understanding welling in her heart that only a few small choices she made had damned her. No fate or circumstance had conspired to lead her here: she was responsible for it all.

    She sighed, let the last half ounce of whiskey burn her throat, and dropped Camus into her suitcase before heading for the door. The hotel staff would be so happy to have had such a neat and tidy guest, she imagined as she left. Besides the empty glass, it was as if she was never there.

    A couple hours remained before sunrise, and the city streets were as dark as they could get. In the shadowy hue of her dress she would have been hard to spot if she made the snap decision to run off into the warm summer darkness, but she knew better from mages. There was only one way out, and that wasn’t her road. She crossed an old stone bridge instead, devoid of traffic, melting away into the river below. The rising crowns of the trees on the opposite shore gave an almost wild quality to the place, as though nature was just waiting to burst through like floodwaters and retake the city, concrete and steel be damned.

    All was still, save for one figure across the road, under the glimmering orange of a streetlamp. Another wanderer, Jacqueline thought, hopefully less aware of their doom than she was. They seemed to be staring out at the water, wistful as a poet trying to find the perfect phrase, as though the answer was carried on the flow of the water and the cool north wind.

    “You’re late,” they called out. The river was never the object of their interest. Jacqueline craned her neck around, wondering where the other person they must’ve been shouting to was headed.

    The dawn-seeking speaker was a woman, about as tall as Jacqueline herself, her hair reddish under the light. Her stern eyes stared hard at Jacqueline, the pressure of that gaze weighty even with the road between them. This wasn’t the UN man; she had no car, and her attire looked almost bestial, of furs and feathers, not the staid three-piece of a continental bureaucrat.

    She stepped onto the road, her pace as slow as it was inevitable. Like death, Jacqueline pictured her: never rushing, never needing to. Her heart felt tight like a hand within her was gripping it, crushing it, holding her life in pale fingertips.The unknown figure walked on.

    “I expected you closer to midnight,” she intoned, her voice casual. It was a far cry from the speaker on the phone and their faux-apology, their feigned pity for Jacqueline’s own failure. “Something kept you? It’s not a problem, though… what’s a few more hours after how long we’ve waited for this, anyway?”

    Jacqueline made a subtle glance towards the shore where her intended meeting was, searching for a moment to break and run, but the woman gave her no such option. She was so close now, ten feet, nine - and in the shadow of the lamplight her arm concealed something sharp and pointed. Now Jacqueline could only imagine this enigmatic character as personified death, her doom made whole and real before her - an effect of the late night, the alcohol, or something more? It was a mysterious hour at which she walked these dark streets, and under the ire of mages anything could be possible, and above all dangerous.

    “I don’t know you,” Jacqueline replied, standing her ground now. A kaleidoscope of colours danced in her irises like little stars in constellations. Carefully, slowly, as slow as the corporeal Death before her, she raised her hand to her face.

    The woman sighed, not masking her disappointment as Jacqueline would expect of a mage. “You have to remember, then. That was part of our deal: none of this works if you forget.”

    “If you’ve come to kill me, then get it over with. Selfish as it may be for someone in my position, but I’d rather it quick and painless than… whatever it is they have planned back in Belgium.”

    The figure stopped for a few moments, her brow knitted. “Selfish? Mm, you really might not remember, after all…”

    “What am I supposed to remember?” Jacqueline’s fingers brushed her eyelids, and the colours that gathered on the canvas of her eyes came to life in the air around her. She would not go gentle into that good night, that velvet glove of the Mages Association and their bureaucratic jurisprudence. It was time to force the issue at hand, whatever this experiment or delusion might be.

    Mere feet away, the pale woman came into clear view: her skin was pallid and her hair was the same, pale with an underlying darkness. Her eyes, too, were an unnatural yellow, but what stood out most of all was how her whole body seemed an intricate illustration, etched with tattoos of diverse colours, interrupted only by her clothing which in itself seemed alive on her flesh. Feathers woven into fabric rustled in the wind as though she could take flight at any moment, contributing to a whole portrait of her which seemed so far beyond human. Something about her very existence told Jacqueline that her presence here was wrong, impossible. Yet she reached out and with cold fingers touched Jacqueline’s warm, living hand.

    Yet the woman smiled, as though everything was right. “That’s it… the eyes. They’re all that matters. I should have known that you’d forget everything - you don’t even know it yet by now. Everything’s going as we hoped, madame.”

    Curiosity overtook Jacqueline in that last moment and she stepped back, pressing against the railing of the bridge, her balance failing but her eyes never leaving the strange sight before her. A spark of familiarity awoke in her, and she opened her mouth to demand an answer, her eyes glittering ever brighter with the energy of her magic - but then all colour disappeared.

    The moon vanished from the sky, and reality was gradually replaced by an all-consuming darkness that emanated from the figure’s outstretched hand. All Jacqueline could hear now as lightless shadows overtook her body was the woman’s calm, whispered voice.

    “Yes, it’ll be painless and quick. I’ll handle everything from here… thank you.”




    It's been ten years to the day since I started writing a story called The Manhattan Project II, which a few people read and liked. For a long time during that, I teased that I would follow up with a side-story, or sequel, or prequel, but none of that materialised.

    A lot of things have changed between 2015, when I finished that story, and now. As a person I'm completely different from who I was back then; this forum is different, in ways I probably won't even know since I've been gone for so long. And Type-Moon is different, too, having undergone probably the greatest transformation in that span of time. The kind of stories Type-Moon is telling, and the way they're telling them, is completely different from 2015, and after a lot of thought, that's part of why I decided to start writing this new project based on The Manhattan Project. To me, Type-Moon now feels like a space much more open to new, original stories, all using the same framework but with different characters, different writers, and different settings. Most importantly, though, it's the tenth anniversary of my old story, and I wanted to show my respects not only to it, but also to a community which shaped my life so profoundly.

    For this story, you won't have had to read the original Manhattan Project II in order to understand what's going on or enjoy it. It uses the same characters (and some new), but they're all presented as fresh new people in very different circumstances, the reasons for which will soon become apparent. This is because I don't want to make people read 820,000 words, that'd be insane. To this day I'm shocked (but glad!) people managed to keep up with that unwieldy behemoth, especially when it hit its lows.

    Manhattan Project also had its old, soon-abandoned quirk of being something of a choose-your-own-adventure type of story. Back then, we were all writing those kinds of stories because we wanted to imitate Fate/stay night and its style badly. It was cool and engaging. I think that was a pretty good idea, ultimately, and so I'm going to be bringing it back for this story. Because I want to set your expectations (and my deadlines) properly, I'll outline that below.

    After every chapter except the next one which will properly introduce the story, I'll post a map, indicating day or night. On the map I'll have several locations highlighted with icons, and in some cases the icons will have a character's portrait beside them, indicating who's there. If you've played Fate/Hollow ataraxia, you'll recognise this as a blatant copy. Yes, it is. You get to choose where the next chapter is set, alternating between daytime (typically downtime activities, or intrigue) and nighttime (almost invariably violence and secret deeds). In a way, this can let you choose who the protagonist is, who the story centres on, if you keep seeking out their scenes. The freedom is completely yours. I'll strive to have a chapter written every 1-2 weeks depending on my real-life schedule, so choose quickly!

    If you enjoy a story with character drama, intrigue, triumph, turns of fortune, introspection, and high-stakes fights between heroes of history of myth, then I think you'll enjoy this story. Please give it a read, leave a comment, and I hope I will play my part as storyteller well so that you may applaud come the end.

    Chapter Index
    Last edited by Five_X; October 23rd, 2021 at 06:03 PM.
    <NEW FIC!> Revolution #9: Somewhere out there, there's a universe in which your mistakes and failures never happened, and all you wished for is true. How hard would you fight to make that real?

    [11:20:46 AM] GlowStiks: lucina is supes attractive
    [12:40] Lace: lucina is amazing
    [12:40] Neir: lucina is pretty much flawless

  2. #2
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six SpoonyViking's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Rio de Janeiro, RJ - Brasil
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    7,844
    This seems interesting and I'll be sure to follow it!
    My fanfics:
    The Gift (F/SN): The last duel between Cú Chulainn and Scáthach.
    Passion Acknowledged (F/SN): Shinji X Shirou lemon. (NSFW)
    A Fairy Tale of Love and Death (F/SN): A meeting between Scáthach and King Hassan.
    Palingenetic Descension (Tsukihime): The origin of the Tohno family's hybrid nature. (CW: sexual assault, violent birth scene)

  3. #3
    Imaginatio vera et non phantastica Leftovers's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    6,672
    After one thousand years, I am here

    FOR ELEANOR CUTES

  4. #4
    Hair of the Dog Five_X's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Ontariariario
    Age
    28
    Posts
    24,732
    JP Friend Code
    BN: FiveX#1720
    Blog Entries
    36
    As it so happens, you'll be seeing her very soon! She has quite the unique role to play...

    I wanted to include them in the first post but they didn't really fit with everything else, so now here's the map I'll be using at the end of each chapter, along with a preview of a few choice icons:
    Daytime Map

    Nighttime Map (literally just the day map but with a blue filter over it)

    Icons... who might these represent?


    RIP to those using the dark theme trying to see the icons properly btw, just right click them and open in new tab. I really adore the map: finding it a while back is one thing that influenced me to start this series, because I knew as soon as I saw it that it'd be perfect for this.
    <NEW FIC!> Revolution #9: Somewhere out there, there's a universe in which your mistakes and failures never happened, and all you wished for is true. How hard would you fight to make that real?

    [11:20:46 AM] GlowStiks: lucina is supes attractive
    [12:40] Lace: lucina is amazing
    [12:40] Neir: lucina is pretty much flawless

  5. #5
    死徒(下級)Lesser Dead Apostle
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    363
    The fanfic forum is a quieter place than it once was. But if anyone can bring it back to life, it would be Five.
    It makes me so happy that you have returned, and with such an ambitious project.

  6. #6
    Hair of the Dog Five_X's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Ontariariario
    Age
    28
    Posts
    24,732
    JP Friend Code
    BN: FiveX#1720
    Blog Entries
    36
    Chacho! Highwayman! The legend come to life! Now that the MPII oldies are gathering once more, I'm getting extra motivated to work hard on this!
    <NEW FIC!> Revolution #9: Somewhere out there, there's a universe in which your mistakes and failures never happened, and all you wished for is true. How hard would you fight to make that real?

    [11:20:46 AM] GlowStiks: lucina is supes attractive
    [12:40] Lace: lucina is amazing
    [12:40] Neir: lucina is pretty much flawless

  7. #7
    Hair of the Dog Five_X's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Ontariariario
    Age
    28
    Posts
    24,732
    JP Friend Code
    BN: FiveX#1720
    Blog Entries
    36
    In the boxing ring they knew him only as Rodrigo, and he was unlike any fighter the club had seen and it had made champions. Tonight had been hectic; many of those who came to see him fight saw him sweat for the first time against some Polish newcomer who’d just come to the city, but after ten aching rounds Rodrigo was still undefeated. There was some satisfaction in the Polish boxer’s heart despite the disappointment of defeat. No one knew exactly where he came from, but he got exactly what he came for.

    Rodrigo was a quiet sensation for boxers and enthusiasts alike in the city, and whispers went around that he could go the distance in a match with Liston or Griffith. His most enthusiastic support, however, came from D.C.’s Hispanic community who had taken note of him ever since he put the gloves on back in January. Like the Pole no one knew where he came from, either, and regular debates were held over where his strange Spanish accent originated: to Colombians he was a Colombian, to Salvadorans he was Salvadoran, and to Cubans he was Cuban. When they learned he was living like a drifter in The Cairo they put him up in a small one-room place above a restaurant. He was popularly known in English as ‘The Spanish Hurricane,’ but in his native tongue they called him El Campeador.

    Both he and the Pole weren’t heavy, weighty fighters, but light on their feet, and with a speed and precision that seemed beyond human. Some speculated that he must have been an Olympic athlete who changed his name and his look, while others joked that he became so good with his fists after beating up communist revolutionaries in Cuba - something English commentators tried to capitalise on and get him recognised as ‘The Commie Bopper.’ It didn’t stick.

    With every match, however, he became increasingly interested in one name. He’d repeat it after each victory, shouting it out to the crowd as though they would somehow simply know. There was only one man Rodrigo let on to the meaning of this name, but he was a man who was quickly exhausted of it - Rodrigo had a better ring to it, as far as he was concerned.

    One late summer day, after the bout with the Pole, the topic came up again after a month’s drought, as unwelcome as ever.

    “I’m telling you, Rodrigo, if I had a dime for every Enrico who walked into that gym since you showed up, I’d be the proud owner of a penthouse in Manhattan. None of them know you, but all of them want to know you, and that’s the problem: you’re apparently the long-lost cousin of everyone from San Diego to Buenos Aires. Who do you expect me to believe?”

    Rodrigo sighed, tapping his fingers on his coach’s desk. He was a Frenchman named Fabrice who’d smuggled himself to America after the war as a boy, lying about his age to get a ticket on a boat alone. He’d had a promising career in the Fifties, even going as far as meeting Sugar Ray Robinson in person, but his career ended after he broke his right arm and learned quickly that only magic could make a one-handed fighter go very far in the boxing world. When he met Rodrigo, he found himself a protege.

    “He’s Castilian, like me,” Rodrigo explained yet again, as though the reminder would jog a memory Fabrice had stored deep down somewhere. “Perhaps ‘Enrico’ is not his real name, but he is a real man and I knew him, here in Washington.”

    With a growl Fabrice clapped his hands together, brown eyes staring up at Rodrigo from his low office chair. “He could be anyone, you’re saying! Back when you knew him he was Enrico, today he’s Alejandro, and tomorrow maybe Diego, eh?” Scowl etched on his face he snatched a cigarette from his shirt pocket, offered one to Rodrigo - who declined - and lit it up in the office, adding to the warm smell of smoke and cologne that permeated the cramped room. Newspapers and magazine articles had piles up everywhere; there was a time when Fabrice had thrown himself into finding this mystery Spaniard, but what was a white whale for Rodrigo was just another fish to Fabrice, and as with most things he quickly lost his patience, his interest, and with them his temper.

    “Then the only solution, as I see it, is for me to search on my own. I will be away from the gym a while, but let the people know El Campeador won’t be gone forever. Understand?”

    Fabrice took a long drag of his cigarette, his smouldering expression clearly wanting to start a fight. But, in here just as in the ring, he knew he couldn’t win against Rodrigo. The man had an inexplicable drive, as though everything he did was for the sake of finding this Enrico despite saying nothing else about who he was. He could be a brother or a lost lover, Fabrice neither guessed nor cared but only wanted the new rising star of the boxing club to be dependable.

    “If that’s what it takes, Rodrigo…” Fabrice uttered through clenched teeth, and then he waved the boxer off. Life would be boring for a while, he knew, but at least one recurring frustration would be gone.

    With a rare smile Rodrigo took off, putting on his hat and jacket and turning out the office door without another word. D.C. was a big city, but something about the twenty-first of August felt refreshing, like the end of summer would bring with it all that he was looking for.

    When it did - then the war could begin in earnest.

    -~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-

    She dreamed that she was in a garden by a lake, in the springtime with the smell of cooked fish wafting in from somewhere out of sight. Across a placid stretch of water magnificent pines grew tall and slender, their crowns blossoming in the high rays of the sun like arms upraised in reverence. Everything was still, and the scene instilled a deep longing in her, like a photograph of a place that no longer existed.

    But she did not remember the dream on waking - only later, amidst the elms.

    The house, or some would call a mansion, was empty. At the same time, it was impeccably well-kept: as she stepped out from her bedroom into the hall and the foyer she had to cover her eyes as the sun beamed in through clear windows; the maple floorboards, impeccably polished, glistened like the surface of a lake in the summertime. But the most suspicious surprise was when, on entering the dining room, she encountered nose-first a plate of fresh eggs and toast, their delicious scent beckoning to her from the doorway, still smelling of butter from the frying pan.

    At once encouraged to enter by the unsubtle growl of her stomach and alarmed by the presence of an unknown chef, she clutched the front of her nightgown and crept forward, her blue eyes casting piercing glances at every corner of the room. It was a clash of wills to self-preservation which could only allow one winner.

    Hunger, as primal a force as fear, took priority in her foggy mind, all while feeling more than a little like prey lured to a trap. Kneeling down beside the table she spoke a few soft words while running two fingers along the sleeve of her clothes - and out emerged a mouse, small even for its kind, which scurried forth and then turned at once to face its mistress. There was an intelligence in its strange blue eyes, as this was no mere rodent but a conjured familiar, its fur on closest inspection having the complexion of knitted yarn. She nodded to the creature, and at once it darted off along the walls, sticking to shadows.

    With that done, she hummed and sat neatly in the chair seemingly provided for her at the table. A knife and fork, too, were placed on either side of the white ceramic plate. She was as much curious as suspicious; nothing had crossed the magic boundary field of the property - not any of the eight of them - but she couldn’t recall her parents mentioning they were sending someone to her, or arriving themselves. It was well-established to her that the Rosemary-Richardsons would never greet their daughter so unceremoniously as this.

    When she nudged her fork to flip one of the fried eggs into its rightful place atop a piece of toast, the culprit decided to reveal himself.

    He was about as tall and dark as she was petite and pale, with finely-sewn clothing of diverse colours and patterns overlain with an abundance of gold jewelry hanging from his neck, clinging to his arms, and piercing his face. His whole appearance was utterly out of this world, and the girl nearly swallowed egg-and-toast as one with a cough and a sputter.

    He bowed with a taciturn smile, as though the two of them had some relationship of respect only one of them was aware of. “I understand this is the cuisine you are used to. I had hoped you would awake at your usual time and would taste it fresh - and I was right.”

    “My usual time?” She cocked her head to the side, trying to figure out this strange man. “And how did you know I like eggs and toast for breakfast?”

    He pointed to the kitchen with the long, muscled arm of a fighting man. “The recipe books in the high cupboards were enlightening. Certain pages are very used and worn from the touch of years of little fingers.”

    Like a child with her secret revealed, she blushed. “I take it you’re the servant of the house?”

    “And you are my Master. I am glad that you finally remembered,” he said as a look of satisfaction came across his face. What was it, exactly, that she was supposed to know already? She didn’t even remember forgetting.

    She gave a nonchalant shrug and poked at the soft eggs, letting the smooth orange yolk pour over the toast, mixing enticingly with the butter like an alchemical concoction that conjured her favourite flavour.

    “Mmm, but,” she pondered between bites, “I would remember if my parents hired you, but… well, I don’t remember meeting you before, not at all.”

    At that he let out a laugh, which melted into a pensive frown. “Master, when you open a window do you hire the wind to blow in?”

    Immediately she set down her fork, patted her lips with a napkin from the table, and snapped her glaring eyes upon him.

    “Are you saying you broke into my house?”

    He paused, and then sighed. “No, it was you who opened that window. Or - no, I apologise, let me not use imagery to explain, if that confuses you. You summoned me, Master. It was in winter, and I remember you saying yesterday that it felt like years ago already. I am sorry that the war took such a toll on you despite our victory.”

    “I won a war? Who...” Something about what he said, and how he said it, struck her like a knife to the heart; she could not put her finger on what, but it felt deeply, fundamentally wrong.

    “Oh.” The man went silent, looking out through a window as if, like the wind, the answers to this confusion would blow in and come to him. “Stay seated, Master; I see there is a lot to explain.”

    As he discovered, she was hearing about the trials and tribulations of the war months for the first time from him. Not only that, but her recollection faded entirely past some time in January, no matter what question he asked her. She knew of course that her parents had sent her to Washington in the name of her family and her country to take part in some competition between mages, but as far as she knew from memory she had only just arrived. Christmas mass back home was still warm and fresh to her, and the snow that she trudged through to church that morning still felt heavy on her boots. In other words, it was as though she had simply slept through the whole affair of the winter and spring only to awake in the summer of its aftermath.

    “Well, then,” she said at last after hearing the man through his lengthy retelling, having long since finished her breakfast and having gone through a whole kettle of tea in the meantime. “I suppose this must be the truth, since your judgment of my character is striking - even a paid investigator couldn’t have such insight. And you do not look like an investigator, even an eccentric one.”

    “By the way... what’s your name, and where are you from? You know I’m Eleanor, but you are…” He’d taken a seat close to her, and now she stood up, searching his face for the answer but no memory of his identity came to her.

    He looked her in the eyes, no lie to be found in them. Perhaps this was for the best, he thought.

    “I was the lord of a realm now lost to time, and my people called me Tlatoani. But you can call me Moctezuma.”


    Apologies for the later-than-expected chapter! My life fell to pieces this past week but I've picked it back up and have returned to writing. I couldn't quite figure out which of the two halves of this chapter I wanted to put first, but I prefer the Eleanor half so I decided to go for a stronger ending. It feels really good getting to write her again after so long; it feels very natural, as though she'd been living in my head this whole time and finally got a chance to express herself at long last. It's been a while since I wrote regularly, so I hope this doesn't feel too uncanny or stilted.

    Please let me know your thoughts and comments! Especially since now begins the exciting meat of the story: the audience participation aspect! It's very janky but I've put together this chapter's map with labelled choices; it's up to you to guess which choice features which characters! If you're an MPII reader you might have some idea of what these ones will lead to, and of course in time certain characters will become pretty solidly associated with certain locations. I really hope this style works out, and also let me know what I can improve with the map and labels! This is just the product of my childlike skills with paint.net and internet-available clip art, so if it's misshapen or hard to read then that's all on me.

    Map: August 21, 1963, Daytime

    I'm starting grad school this week so there will probably be a similar delay in getting the next chapter out, but that's not so bad since it'll give you folks plenty of time to read the chapter and vote on which choice you want to go with. The one with the most votes, of course, will be the subject of the next chapter. I'm also considering uploading this story as I write it to something like AO3, to get more readers and maybe make the voting more interesting - give me your suggestions!
    <NEW FIC!> Revolution #9: Somewhere out there, there's a universe in which your mistakes and failures never happened, and all you wished for is true. How hard would you fight to make that real?

    [11:20:46 AM] GlowStiks: lucina is supes attractive
    [12:40] Lace: lucina is amazing
    [12:40] Neir: lucina is pretty much flawless

  8. #8
    死徒(下級)Lesser Dead Apostle
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    363
    A very ominous opening chapter, and I loved that Jacqueline was reading L'Etranger. I will miss Bazette's viewpoint. But passive resignation to forces beyond one's control is a huge grail war death flag.

    The atom bomb had changed everything. The old world was disappearing day by day into the far distance, left behind by the rampaging advance of modern technology. Now the fabric of reality was subject to the experimentations and examinations of scientists and engineers, and along with it the fate and future of humanity, well outside the direction of mages and their ilk. Some had voiced their concerns already in 1919 when one manÂ’s theory unravelled the mysteries of the workings of the universe, along with the potentiality of its beginning and end. But mages, in their old seats of power so long held, never imagined the tinkerers below them would put those ideas into practise. The pawn had become the queen.
    Beautifully written. The unnatural and uncanny being inexorably driven to the margins by Progress. An essential aspect of the Nasuverse that always heightens the stakes. How could one find themselves indifferent to the last Nanaya, the last Fujou, the last True Ancestor, the last practitioner of rune magic?

    Like the Pole no one knew where he came from, either, and regular debates were held over where his strange Spanish accent originated: to Colombians he was a Colombian, to Salvadorans he was Salvadoran, and to Cubans he was Cuban...He was popularly known in English as ‘The Spanish Hurricane,’ but in his native tongue they called him El Campeador.
    My extended family has discussions like this all the time about Latin American athletes or actors. I'm sure it's not a topic exclusive to Spanish speakers, but if you can possibly claim a hero as belonging to your country or region, you'll convince yourself that it's true. Needless to say I'm hyped to see what you have in store for Rodrigo going forward.

    [the entire Eleanor section]
    I remember now why Leftovers would want Eleanor cutes. She's anime AF.

    [My vote]
    My preference is for Lion House. If for pacing reasons this choice poses an issue, I can change my vote to The Mall. Just let me know.
    Last edited by Highwayman; September 7th, 2021 at 09:14 PM.

  9. #9
    Hair of the Dog Five_X's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Ontariariario
    Age
    28
    Posts
    24,732
    JP Friend Code
    BN: FiveX#1720
    Blog Entries
    36
    Quote Originally Posted by Highwayman View Post
    Beautifully written. The unnatural and uncanny being inexorably driven to the margins by Progress. An essential aspect of the Nasuverse that always heightens the stakes. How could one find themselves indifferent to the last Nanaya, the last Fujou, the last True Ancestor, the last practitioner of rune magic?
    In writing this, I'm trying to squeeze the fantasy world of the Nasuverse into historical and cultural perspective: why is there such a fixation on the decline of magecraft, and the dwindling of mysteries in the world? I think maybe it's a mix of two things: the subjugation of the natural world to rationalism, and the homogenisation that comes with globalisation. Supernatural exceptions within the world of Type-Moon are marginalised, which you could interpret as the marginalisation of traditional lifeways and such - but in that same marginalisation, by becoming exceptions, they seem all the more powerful and notable and visible. Centuries ago a lute player might've been just part of the scenery, but today they would be out-of-place, even lost. And you regularly see in the news people in Europe who are the last practitioner of a particular trade or art, who are notable for the fact of their rarity in the modern world.

    Considering that, I feel like it makes sense that the idea of Holy Grail Wars would arise somewhere, sometime in the mid-late 18th century. That's the era of the Industrial Revolution, and of the relentless categorisation of the world like in the work done by Linnaeus. Society was changing alarmingly quickly even for normal people, let alone for those whose livelihoods and power depended on the exclusive understanding of natural mysteries. If there's any fundamental difference between channelling magical energy from the planet and being able to observe and manipulate atoms, it's that the latter has much more universal applicability. My master's degree work is on how people, broadly, began to understand the future as a defined space in which human beings would travel to other planets with the aid of necessarily advanced technology; the era in which this story is set is the time when this idea began to become ubiquitous, even mundane. It's no wonder mages would start to get a bit antsy when they see atomic bombs going off and humans landing on the moon.

    Those are just my musings on it, though. I'm not as hyper-aware of Nasuverse mechanics as I was 10 years ago, so I'm not writing an especially canonical story. I definitely want the idea of magic, with a certain eggplant flavour, to play more of a role here than in MPII.

    My extended family has discussions like this all the time about Latin American athletes or actors. I'm sure it's not a topic exclusive to Spanish speakers, but if you can possibly claim a hero as belonging to your country or region, you'll convince yourself that it's true. Needless to say I'm hyped to see what you have in store for Rodrigo going forward.
    You see this with a lot of phenomena today, especially with questions of identity: in Canada we like to point out very insistently that Superman was co-created by a Canadian, and also basketball being a Canadian invention. You can look at historical characters that serve as the basis for Heroic Spirits and wonder who "owns" a figure like Catherine the Great, a German woman whose birthplace is in Poland and who is chiefly venerated in Russia. Type-Moon stories sometimes bring up the cultural contexts of Heroic Spirits, but only really when it comes to those from Japan. My favourite is probably Kojirou, because he's a pure fictionalisation, an invented fact as part of the history-myth of Musashi, which would be an amazing piece of historical interpretation if Nasu had taken it any farther. History is full of interpretations essentially baked out of thin air, but these become memorable enough to be accepted as historical fact even when we learn they have no real basis. How many heroes don't exist because their stories were never retold? Or are they only heroes in the first place because they have stories worth telling?

    [the entire Eleanor section]
    I remember now why Leftovers would want Eleanor cutes. She's anime AF.
    I really love writing her! She's very fun and very lively and the words just flow. Coming back to these characters I was so, so worried that I'd completely lost the dynamics of the different characters after so many years away, but it seems like they've got a hold on me yet.

    [My vote]
    My preference is for Lion House. If for pacing reasons this choice poses an issue, I can change my vote to The Mall. Just let me know.
    Don't worry about pacing at all! I'll write whatever people vote for, and if the pacing sucks then that's on me. I have a broad plan for everything, but the finer details are very flexible. Of course, there's also a meta-narrative in play: if you want Eleanor to be the main character, for example, then keep voting for choices that you think will feature her. If you really hate Rodrigo and want his storyline to disappear (how cruel!) then by the same token you can deliberately vote against choices that seem like they'll have him play a major role. That kind of uncertainty is really exciting to me, and hopefully will make a wonderfully dynamic story soon enough. It's a bit like being a DM kind of!

    And if you hadn't guessed it, yup, we're back to the classic Five style of long rambling responses to comments. It's one of my charm points I hope!
    <NEW FIC!> Revolution #9: Somewhere out there, there's a universe in which your mistakes and failures never happened, and all you wished for is true. How hard would you fight to make that real?

    [11:20:46 AM] GlowStiks: lucina is supes attractive
    [12:40] Lace: lucina is amazing
    [12:40] Neir: lucina is pretty much flawless

  10. #10
    死徒(下級)Lesser Dead Apostle
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    363
    In writing this, I'm trying to squeeze the fantasy world of the Nasuverse into historical and cultural perspective: why is there such a fixation on the decline of magecraft, and the dwindling of mysteries in the world? I think maybe it's a mix of two things: the subjugation of the natural world to rationalism, and the homogenisation that comes with globalisation...
    I'm excited that we're headed for "novel of ideas" territory. A mage who enters a grail war for "vanilla" reasons---for the sake of family, love, or prestige--can be a fine, interesting character. But a Nasuverse fic with historical and cultural perspective allows for a wider range of motivations. There will be clashes of worldviews, of value systems; there will be alliances of strange bedfellows, and reconciliations centuries in the making. And I'm sure there will be various answers to a favorite question of mine: what sort of future are mages, isolated from the mundane world but hardly indifferent to its trends and forces, working towards?

    You're one of a select few in any fandom who would even attempt a story like this (and while starting grad school no less), but I know that you have the talent to pull it off. That you have returned to this forum...I can hardly believe it.

    Type-Moon stories sometimes bring up the cultural contexts of Heroic Spirits, but only really when it comes to those from Japan. My favourite is probably Kojirou, because he's a pure fictionalisation, an invented fact as part of the history-myth of Musashi, which would be an amazing piece of historical interpretation if Nasu had taken it any farther...How many heroes don't exist because their stories were never retold? Or are they only heroes in the first place because they have stories worth telling?
    You've reminded me of Benkei! Perhaps the most interesting two-star FGO servant: he exists because of a story worth retelling, even if not his own. In any case, perhaps you can build on what Nasu started with a servant in Revolution #9. We shall see.

    I'm also considering uploading this story as I write it to something like AO3, to get more readers and maybe make the voting more interesting - give me your suggestions!
    I really do like AO3 and BL writers like Prix have used it for years. AO3's tagging system is interesting (and it's kind of amusing when authors--not anyone from this forum--turn it into a meta-commentary word salad).
    Last edited by Highwayman; September 11th, 2021 at 08:23 PM. Reason: I messed up the quotes again...

  11. #11
    Imaginatio vera et non phantastica Leftovers's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    6,672
    If reading the first post was a throwback then this one is deja vu. As you say, the ties with certain characters shake off years of dust and take hold of you with ease, and you smile the same when best girl appears or groan when That Spanish Fucker is mentioned. I am a bit surprised the Hollow day scene pretense is already being torn down, having assumed the premise would unravel in the same way, but awareness doesn't beget answers (for most characters) and this is, after all, a cycle awaiting its next....revolution.......right???

    Lion House seems fine. I do want to see more of the old cast rather than focus on any one pair. When the story calls for protagonist power, I'm sure Jacqueline and her night scene equivalents await.

    Oh, re: AO3, porting MPII over before its OC-laden spinoff seems the better tactic, judging from how readerships tend to shy away from OC fanfics that require more familiarity with original content than with the fandom source. You could update the FFN version too.

  12. #12
    Hair of the Dog Five_X's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Ontariariario
    Age
    28
    Posts
    24,732
    JP Friend Code
    BN: FiveX#1720
    Blog Entries
    36
    I'd hoped nobody would remember my attempt at putting MPII up on FFN ;_;

    The problem with that was that I, in all my brilliance, decided to write MPII all in one big document (sans Invocations, of course). As far as I know, most fanfic uploading sites expect you to attach a document for each chapter, which means I'd have to make individual files for each of the ~150 chapters of the story. And I'm lazy. I hope people can enjoy this without being familiar with MPII, but then again some people who read that did so in 2 weeks somehow so maybe I shouldn't underestimate its readability despite how rocky it is in parts. Revolution will be a much more consistent story at least, I promise that much! Absolutely 0 General Dialogues will be present in this narrative, that's a guarantee.

    At the same time, I want to make things new for MPII readers as well! It'd be nice but kind of boring after a while to see the same characters doing the same things, so I've got plenty of plans to mess with existing characters - especially their motivations and relationships to one another. Not to mention a cohort of new characters (hi Jacqueline!).
    <NEW FIC!> Revolution #9: Somewhere out there, there's a universe in which your mistakes and failures never happened, and all you wished for is true. How hard would you fight to make that real?

    [11:20:46 AM] GlowStiks: lucina is supes attractive
    [12:40] Lace: lucina is amazing
    [12:40] Neir: lucina is pretty much flawless

  13. #13
    Imaginatio vera et non phantastica Leftovers's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    6,672
    It could still net you some new readers but I sympathise completely with not feeling like bothering ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  14. #14
    Hair of the Dog Five_X's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Ontariariario
    Age
    28
    Posts
    24,732
    JP Friend Code
    BN: FiveX#1720
    Blog Entries
    36
    If I were a big brain programmer maybe I could whip up some code to read through MPII.doc and split off every section bounded by "CHAPTER XYZ" into a new file, but instead I'm a historian.
    <NEW FIC!> Revolution #9: Somewhere out there, there's a universe in which your mistakes and failures never happened, and all you wished for is true. How hard would you fight to make that real?

    [11:20:46 AM] GlowStiks: lucina is supes attractive
    [12:40] Lace: lucina is amazing
    [12:40] Neir: lucina is pretty much flawless

  15. #15
    妣國 Tabris's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2020
    Location
    Philippines
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    64
    Blog Entries
    5
    Keeping tabs on this, for the time being.
    Noob here. Sorry about that.

  16. #16
    Hair of the Dog Five_X's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Ontariariario
    Age
    28
    Posts
    24,732
    JP Friend Code
    BN: FiveX#1720
    Blog Entries
    36
    “Blood on the wind, I can taste it… the river’s current draws it near. We must strike north!”

    Kneeling in the shadow of a bush, Francois couldn’t help but let out a sigh as he watched the red-haired woman conduct what she called ‘hunting’ but what he’d instead prefer be ‘scouting.’ She was up an oak, crouched on one of its branches, with a pair of binoculars dangling about her neck over a blue kerchief.

    He tried to hush her, but she wouldn’t have any of it - or perhaps didn’t even hear him, as she lifted the binoculars to her eyes and stared out at the far horizon, far beyond their target. Francois was utterly at her mercy, even as his goal was tantalisingly close: an old two-floor red brick house, healthy vines growing along its south wall making it seem a more mature piece of architecture than it was. In truth it was only built in the 1920s at the behest of some New English speculator, who proceeded to lose everything in the crash - allowing it to fall into the hands of the old English, particularly one Nigel Lancaster.

    It was anything but a serendipitous acquisition: Francois knew well that the other Masters in this war had almost all established themselves on the north side of the Potomac in whatever apartments and hotels they could snatch up last minute, while a house like this one was carefully situated away from the heat of the city proper. It blended into its surroundings with its neo-Federalist aesthetic, quaintly bare of most ornamentation save for a classical marble archway fronted by two Venetian lions at its front entryway, maybe the only aspect of its architecture that was to Nigel’s own taste. The only coincidence was the name its original owner had given it, appropriate for its new British resident: Lion House.

    Francois tugged his necktie and composed himself, drawing in a deep breath. “One more time… do you see anyone through the windows of that building? Is there a car parked in the garage, or better yet, a bicycle?”

    The woman gave an exaggerated shake of her head, and then she leapt down from the tree beside her exasperated French companion.

    “I don’t understand this nonsense about spying from afar. Storm the gates! Let fire and iron drive them out, I say!” She reached to her hip where a sword ought to be, but her fingers only touched the belt loop of her trousers, which soured her wild smile into a grimace.

    “If we want to win this war, we need to be concerned with the man in that house. He’s dangerous, do you understand? He’s clever and, what’s worse, he’s kind, right up until he puts a bullet in your back.” Still kneeling down in the grass, Francois dug his fingers around in the soil; the bush that shrouded the two from being seen from the street suddenly underwent a growth spurt, its leaves flourishing and its branches entwining more thickly to provide fuller cover.

    She spat on the dirt at his feet, staring him down with her flaming blue eyes. “So you’re a coward then, aye? Shaking there like the little leaves you love so much? Come now, get to your feet!”

    “Amelie- no, I mean…” Francois gritted his teeth. “Boudicca, if you think we can run in like madmen without regretting it, you’ll soon be proven wrong by his Servant. Nigel and Hannibal nearly won the war that I remember, regardless of your own memories.”

    After a long pause and a long contemplation Francois watched play out in Boudicca’s eyes, she relented with a huff. “Fine, then. But remember this: the druids I knew when I lived would go into battle gripping the heads of their foe’s loved ones by their bloody hair, screaming to the heavens with curses etched upon their breast. You may claim their power by your birthright, but you have yet to live up to their example.”

    With Francois leading the way, the two emerged from the foliage onto the street with the Lion House straight ahead. To anyone driving by them, they were simply tourists from abroad: Francois was dressed in navy blue slacks and a black button-down shirt with gold triskelion cufflinks, his scruffy blonde hair unadorned; Boudicca had begrudgingly set aside the conspicuous tunic and cloak and torc of her traditional attire and was instead conspicuously French, in a buttoned black blouse tucked into black trousers and covered in a light jacket, with a flowing blue kerchief almost like a cravat offering a splash of colour to her outfit; in a similar contrast, a black beret topped her striking red hair, which Francois had shown her how to tie into a low ponytail.

    A few minutes’ watch proved no one was around to pay them much attention, so Francois led his Servant toward the house’s back garden; Boudicca’s battle-honed arms heaved him easily over the wooden fence.

    “Now, for you…” Francois walked gingerly across the grass, noting patches of weeds dotting the untrimmed lawn and an all-but-abandoned vegetable patch amidst the floral disarray. Picking out a few that grew close to the edge of the building’s foundation, he scattered them near a set of steps that led up to a back patio. All at once they took root and sprouted as though a whole season had passed in a blink of an eye, emerging twisted and gnarled with fat flowers blooming from fresh bulbs.

    He turned to Boudicca as though for approval. “If he so much as sets one foot into his garden, within a minute his eyes will start watering and he’ll be blind; in five minutes his throat will close and sooner or later suffocation will be the end of him. It’s better this way.”

    “Better?” Boudicca snapped, clenching a fist as though to strike him. “Cowardice, again! If you cannot watch him bleed and die before your eyes, then you have no right to his life.”

    She didn’t hesitate before tearing Francois’ conjured weeds out to the roots. Her Master was stock stiff, only able to watch as she grabbed a shovel that had been left leaning against the brick wall and covered the noxious plants over until no trace remained. Francois’ heart leapt into his throat seeing her make a mess that’d be far easier to notice than a few loose flowers and vines, and far less lethal. A quick mind like Nigel’s wouldn’t take long to find some trace of their presence here, and now there were no safeguards to prevent him following up on these daylight intruders. Yet, Francois relented.

    Boudicca slapped her dirtied hands together and gave her Master a shove. Her piercing eyes directed him to the edge of the property, towards the river, and meekly he obeyed her unspoken command. Something about this felt unnerving in its familiarity to him, but the vagueness of the feeling was more like a dream than a memory. He supposed this was yet one more thing that he’d misremembered about his old Servant.

    “I’m sorry, I was only thinking of our chances in the war…” he began once they’d passed beyond the fence again.

    “No - you will have forgiveness once those hands of yours are red with blood, not green with poison. In war you may rage, you may burn all that stands before you, but you must look your foe in the eyes while you do it. Above all, you must be nobler than him by far. Otherwise… who do you become when the war ends?”

    Francois took the blow to his ego on the chin and looked aside, not giving an answer but simply trudging the long walk to the bank of the Potomac.

    The brown water rushed and churned, drowning out Francois’ idle thoughts. How many times had he seen this river before? It seemed to him like he was laying eyes on it for the first time, but he knew that wasn’t the case. Before, in some past present, he had watched bloodshed and tragedy unfold in this city on the river, a great vein pumping all the blood which spilled into it away to the sea, forgotten forever. If he closed his eyes and let the images in his mind play out, he could almost recall more than faces and names - countless conversations, warm smiles and cold tears, and out of the corner of his mind’s eye a young man fallen to his knees in a house of ash and rain. It brought to him nothing but a sense of loneliness, then a bolt of pain stuck his skull and he let out a gasp.

    Reality touched him on the cheek with a warm summer breeze, and he allowed his eyes to open.

    Ahead of the two lay the wild, wooded Theodore Roosevelt Island, infringed upon now by the vast, arching skeleton of a bridge under suspended construction. Under the cover of forest and the steel and concrete bones of that bridge… Francois thought for a moment, and stepped ankle-deep into the flowing river.

    “Boudicca…” he sighed, addressing her only reluctantly. He imagined that deep disappointment still lingering in her hard yet familiar gaze. “Could you carry me across? I have a hunch about that island, looking at it now in the daylight.”

    “Carry you? I could, in a sense.” Boudicca breathed in deeply as she stood by the river’s edge. Then she struck out her arm as though cracking a whip, and out from the rushing flow emerged a wooden chariot, its low edge skimming the water and its team of two horses stamping at the rocks, whinnying at their ancient queen. Boudicca gripped the reins as they seemed to rise in the air towards her, leapt onto her chariot, and grabbed Francois by the arm to set him straight beside her. Without warning she flicked her hand holding the reins and they shot across the river, wheels and hooves alike not dipping one inch below its dark surface, and before Francois could realise what was happening they were on the island in the shade of a stand of ash trees.

    Disoriented as he was, he was determined not to show it. He took a fumbling step off the chariot, which just as soon dematerialised into thin air, disappearing on the wind that fluttered downriver against his collar.

    There was a set trail, but Francois ignored it and set off into the thick of the woods, ignoring underbrush and tangled branches with the nimbleness of a fox. Boudicca followed after, more roughly, and Francois grimaced at every twig and root that snapped and groaned under her boots. Before long they came to a small, cramped clearing where someone had set up a tent camouflaged against the trees, barely visible to the average eye.

    Francois touched the bark of a small ash that stood near the tent. “Hmm… this is recent. The ground is disturbed, and no new leaves have fallen to cover it. And here… ah!”

    While Boudicca bent down and peered into the tent, Francois’ roving fingers found a tuft of matted grey fur. He brought it up to his nose and sniffed, recoiling at its musky scent. There was a tinge of blood to it, too, and he envisioned some kind of struggle between the owner of the tent and whatever had chunks of fur torn from it.

    “Are there wolves in these parts? Seems unusual, in the middle of a city.” Boudicca inquired.

    “Unusual it is, yes. I know more of flora than fauna, but this must be either a wolf or a very large wolflike dog… a wolfhound, I think they call it in English? If that’s the case, it might be the familiar of whoever lives here.”

    She shrugged in response, her own knowledge no deeper than his. “I can feel the connection between a Master and Servant strongly here, but they’ve been gone since before dawn as far as I can tell. Do you recognise them?”

    Francois shook his head, and looked down again at the grey fur. “No… I can’t think of anyone at all from the war. An intruder? I suspected there might be a few of those. But they could not have been here long: see, there’s no firepit, or anything for boiling water and cooking food.”

    “A wolf needs neither cooked food nor boiled water, you know.”

    “But their master is human… I can only assume. Or maybe their Servant can create food for them through some personal magecraft. The possibilities are endless, but this fur I think remains our best lead.”

    Boudicca patted her hip where her sword ought to be, were she in her battle attire. Her disappointment at that realisation showed again. “Wolves love the night, and so must this mage.” She looked to the west, where the sun, still high in the sky, inched ever closer to the horizon. “I only hope they are no coward.”

    Hearing those words, Francois let out a sigh which faded on the wind as it rustled through the trees. Summer days were long, and the nights were short and hot. Even now he couldn’t shake the memory of that last war, even as nothing about it seemed to be real. Yet, if that was the case, he asked himself silently as he looked on at the ever-flowing river - then, what had happened to his sister?

    “Amelie…” he whispered to the wind, like a prayer offered to an unknown god.

    -~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-

    “This isn’t a dream, you know. Open your eyes and it’ll all be real.”

    The voice echoed in her head as though it came from all directions. Unbidden she awoke, mind swirling and the surroundings she could see through bleary eyes indistinct and unformed. She opened them wider, and suddenly felt a pain in the back of her neck. Last night it seemed she hadn’t gone to bed, but fell asleep in her armchair. On the nightstand was a copy of Camus’ L’Etranger, dog-eared at a page halfway through the book.

    Right - the call! Her hand snapped to the telephone, raising it to her ear in reflex, but there was nothing. She knew no way to contact her agent back in Europe; indeed, unless they made contact with her, she was stranded. It was strange, though: shouldn’t the call have awoken her? She rolled her shoulders to get out the aches of a long, awkward sleep.

    Though no lights were on in her hotel room, she could see the clock on the wall read half past eight. No sunlight filtered in through the curtains, so she assumed it was night. Furtively peeking with one eye out the window, her judgement was found correct. For the sun to set so late, it must have been sometime in the summer, she mused. Why was she here in summer? The Mages Association had sent her in winter, so her memory told her. Somehow she found it unlikely that she’d slept for half a year, but nothing else explained the discrepancy. All she could do was slump back in her chair, exhausted at the unknowability of her place in the world.

    “Come on now, get up!” The voice was louder now, pounding in her skull like a hangover. She remembered having a glass of whiskey, but this was too much. “Nighttime is when everything interesting can happen, and the night is young.”

    Jacqueline massaged her temples, trying to soothe this hallucination away before she started thinking it, too, might be real.

    “That won’t work, old friend. How do I put it… our existences are tied together, not on the level of the soul, but more like, hmm… two images superimposed on one another. That’s a good enough explanation for now.”

    Old friend? Now Jacqueline closed her eyes, wishing for sleep or death to take her. Yet, something about that voice was familiar. It sounded like a woman, and on the backs of her eyelids she could very nearly conjure an image of her, like a photograph taken of a moving object, not detailed enough to give it a distinct identity, only the label of something-that-exists.

    It couldn’t hurt to try, then.

    She started in a whisper. “Where are you, and how do you know me?”

    A pause. “I’m wherever you are. And somewhere else, but even I haven’t figured that out yet. I know you because, of course, you’re my saviour. You’ve helped me so much so far that it’s really a shame you don’t remember me.” The voice was strangely casual and nonchalant, as if the speaker really was just floating around in Jacqueline’s mind.

    “So, you don’t know who you are, then?” Jacqueline inquired, grabbing a pencil and a notebook, jotting down the scraps of information she had. If she could piece this all together…

    “You know when you see someone across the street and you get this palpable sensation in your heart that they’re someone you know, but you can’t be exactly, one-hundred-percent sure, so you’re anxious that it might not be them in case you call their name? That’s the best way to describe my situation.”

    She nodded, writing a couple more lines on the page, then drawing a circle around them. “In other words, if instead of calling out you get closer…”

    The voice let out a happy laugh. “... I can figure out who’s me. Precisely! You’re catching on just as well as I’d hoped, now that you’ve got your gears turning. I knew I picked the right woman for the job.”

    “That implies there could be a wrong woman for the job. Am I somehow special?” Jacqueline stood up and walked to the bathroom, where she poured herself a glass of water from the sink and drank it all at once.

    “Believe me when I say this wouldn’t be possible without you. I won’t say anymore, though: you need to figure out some things on your own, after all, or else it doesn’t really have any meaning.”

    “Is that so?” She stared into the mirror, finding nothing unusual about herself besides a few unseemly wrinkles in her dress. “Could you at least tell me your name?”

    “My name? Hmm…” The voice seemed to be thinking for a while, leaving Jacqueline to wonder if they even remembered even that about themselves.

    And then: “You can call me whatever you’d like, really; names stopped meaning anything to me long ago. But if you insist… how about Clemence? I think I remember it from a book, and it’s appropriate. That’s the name of what this is all about, after all. Especially since I need to ask you for some help, which only you can provide.”

    Jacqueline downed another glass of water, expecting now that the night wouldn’t be so short after all.

    “Clemence… fine, then. If I can help you, that gives me a reason not to stay in that chair and fall asleep reading again. God knows, next time I might be unconscious for years or more, no?”

    “No,” Clemence answered flatly. “It would be a month at most, but we haven’t got that kind of time. As you guessed, what I need is for you to find me out there, somewhere. I’d give you a hint or something if I could, but all this didn’t go exactly as planned and I’ve got a lot of questions to be answered myself. Because of how this works, the more I figure out, the more answers you’ll have, too.”

    From the way Clemence spoke about everything, Jacqueline wondered just how much they were obscuring, and how weighted the scales of this partnership were in their favour. She knew from similarly weaselly people she’d dealt with in the Mages Association that, without a doubt, Clemence was hiding something: but was it a matter of malice, or to create a pretense of knowledge and certainty as a mask for confusion and doubt?

    “Only time will tell, Jacqueline,” said Clemence, then nothing more. That was the first time the voice in Jacqueline’s head called her by her name. How much did they really know?

    But that was a question the answer to which could only be blindly grasped at now. Proper dedication could wait until more evidence had been acquired. Jacqueline grabbed Camus and her notebook and pencil, dropped them in her purse, and set off for the door. It was nearly nine o’clock now, the moon hanging a thin crescent in a clear sky.

    As foreign as this city was to her, she nonetheless imagined there must be somewhere particularly ideal to begin her investigation. The hotel lobby had fold-out maps she could pick-up on her way out; consulting it, she’d orient herself in this strange place that seemed to lie between consciousness and dreams, a reality detached from reality where anything was possible.



    Hello everyone! Sorry about the late update - it turns out grad school is pretty hard. Thankfully now it's my term break so I can try to do some relaxing things for a change.

    I'm not entirely happy with the first half of this chapter, introducing Francois and a strangely familiar Servant. Something about the style of it feels incomplete, but it's one of those situations where you don't know what changes to make to improve it and not just double down on making it worse. I wrote most of it drunk. So, here it is. Writing Jacqueline and her "friend" was much easier, and by the time I got to their half I was sober and exhausted which is an entirely different combo for enabling productive writing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tabris View Post
    Keeping tabs on this, for the time being.
    Hello new reader!! Don't forget, you can vote after each chapter and choose the path the story takes! Speaking of... below is the map for the current night. I've gotten a bit fancier and added outlines and SUBTLE DROP SHADOW which I hope will make it both more legible and aesthetically pleasing. Also, this choice should be more straightforward than the last one given how this chapter ends. It's nightly adventures with Jacqueline time!

    Map: August 21, 1963, Nighttime
    <NEW FIC!> Revolution #9: Somewhere out there, there's a universe in which your mistakes and failures never happened, and all you wished for is true. How hard would you fight to make that real?

    [11:20:46 AM] GlowStiks: lucina is supes attractive
    [12:40] Lace: lucina is amazing
    [12:40] Neir: lucina is pretty much flawless

  17. #17
    Imaginatio vera et non phantastica Leftovers's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    6,672
    “Amelie- no, I mean…” Francois gritted his teeth. “Boudicca
    oi oi oi

    I'd completely forgotten about her, appropriately enough. I'm interested in her dynamic with Francois and hey, just the novelty of her not being the FGO meme version is enough for me. If I can pick at something in particular about that section, it's that the whole mission's gravity is very abstract and their respective discontent rings a bit hollow. But now, onwards, to the night phase at The Mall, where doomer nightwalks and disembodied voices await.          clemence..........................................

  18. #18
    Hair of the Dog Five_X's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Ontariariario
    Age
    28
    Posts
    24,732
    JP Friend Code
    BN: FiveX#1720
    Blog Entries
    36
    Poor Boudicca, unjustly OHKO'd at the very beginning of MPII and immediately replaced... surely now will be her time to shine! Maybe I should advertise this fic by telling people "it's got all your FGO faves, like Boudicca, Caesar, and Napoleon!"

    Quote Originally Posted by Leftovers View Post
    If I can pick at something in particular about that section, it's that the whole mission's gravity is very abstract and their respective discontent rings a bit hollow.
    Ahhh, that's it! You've put my vague feelings into words; that's definitely what was wrong about it. Everything is more or less fine in that part, it's just the framing of it is weird, it's a bit in media res but there's no res. I think establishing some frame for what's going on and why it's important would feel better. Meanwhile Jacqueline is just picking off kinda from where we last saw her, and now she's got a mysterious cranium companion.
    <NEW FIC!> Revolution #9: Somewhere out there, there's a universe in which your mistakes and failures never happened, and all you wished for is true. How hard would you fight to make that real?

    [11:20:46 AM] GlowStiks: lucina is supes attractive
    [12:40] Lace: lucina is amazing
    [12:40] Neir: lucina is pretty much flawless

  19. #19
    死徒(下級)Lesser Dead Apostle
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    363
    I've been without internet for the past few days, but Leftovers' opinion of the chapter's first half matches my own. I really liked Boudicca's dialogue. If only FGO Boudicca were like this!

    “No - you will have forgiveness once those hands of yours are red with blood, not green with poison. In war you may rage, you may burn all that stands before you, but you must look your foe in the eyes while you do it. Above all, you must be nobler than him by far. Otherwise… who do you become when the war ends?”
    I felt that this speech deserved a bit more of a response from Francois, whether verbal or merely in his own thoughts.

    Onward to The Mall.

  20. #20
    Hair of the Dog Five_X's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Ontariariario
    Age
    28
    Posts
    24,732
    JP Friend Code
    BN: FiveX#1720
    Blog Entries
    36
    I think I'll fix up some bits here and there in the post-posting editing before I get out the next update! Francois' inner monologue does come off kind of minimalistic in comparison to the Jacqueline half - though I guess that's technically inner dialogue?
    <NEW FIC!> Revolution #9: Somewhere out there, there's a universe in which your mistakes and failures never happened, and all you wished for is true. How hard would you fight to make that real?

    [11:20:46 AM] GlowStiks: lucina is supes attractive
    [12:40] Lace: lucina is amazing
    [12:40] Neir: lucina is pretty much flawless

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •