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Fate/Lunaterra ~ RP Thread

Discussion in 'Freeform Roleplays' started by Shadow, May 9, 2017.

  1. [​IMG]

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


    Today was a bad day.

    Of course, this realization was perfectly natural now that he knew for certain, but he almost wished he had remained blissfully unaware of the incident, at least until after the ritual had begun. He thought that would have made the situation at least a little more tolerable, for some reason. He frowned automatically as he had this reflection, adding a second layer to his usually collected expression. This, of all days, and this, of all times, was definitely not the moment to spend pondering on unrealized possibilities.

    After all, there were only but a few scant minutes before midnight—before the Holy Grail War officially began.

    The overseer sighed, as if exhaling his aggravation away, to be lost within the air of the chapel. It was a quaint building, almost tactically located in the less metropolitan, residential areas of Calescen, where the city ended and the quiet suburbs began. Still, it stood in stark, nearly bizarre anachronism to the buildings in the area (there were relatively few, but there was a comparison to be made), fashioned with painted brick and overall having seen little modernization in the past few years, as if grasping the status quo of appearing old and belonging to an age before this one.

    The reality of the little church, though, was much different than that of a peculiar building that had escaped the advance of civilization: it was a well-maintained location owned by the Thaumaturgic Church, to be primarily used to house the overseer of the Holy Grail War. Nobody was certain when this tradition began, but the building had already seen its fair share of mediators sent by the Church to monitor and record the development of prior instances of the Grail War. The building itself paid no heed to its own history, however: its details were preserved in its structure, in the stained glasses embedded in the walls, in the dark wood framing the lower edges of the chapel.

    It was a quaint building indeed, and the overseer supposed that his predecessors were content with its almost innocent discreetness. He had no complaints, either.

    The overseer was a young man, all things considered, appearing to be in his early twenties. His hair was a dusty, faded gray that somehow accentuated the almost silvery, pale hue of his eyes. His expression was mild: calm, even, if not collected, and he gave the immediate impression of someone who would put analysis and rationale before absurdity—a rather valuable trait, being a mediator sent by the Thaumaturgic Church. His attire consisted of something that looked more of a uniform than anything worn by a priest, with a sleek, jacket and monochrome trousers with matched, dark gray colors; beneath the jacket, he wore a nondescript, slightly lighter dress shirt. A small, red aiguillette hung from the jacket's left pocket and terminated in the right.

    Still, there was one very important problem that needed to be solved in a matter of ten minutes. As if prompted by the notion of diminishing time, the overseer opted to check his watch again—a small and unsuspecting silvery device concealed beneath his left sleeve—and stared at the display for a few seconds. Rather than numbers, however, intricate, tripartite patterns adorned the perimeter of the dial, all seven of them engraved in glowing red... except one, which was dark and moreover appeared to be faded and discolored, as if in the process of eroding away into an indistinct mark. Whatever kind of understanding he gained from looking at the strange watch, he seemed to be at least moderately content with it as he flicked his hand to the side causing the "watch" to become hidden again.

    As he stood directly opposite to the wooden double doors leading outside the chapel, he could not help but wonder aloud,

    "The visitor should be coming soon, I pray."
     
    #1 Shadow, May 9, 2017
    Last edited: May 9, 2017
    Keileon likes this.
  2. A cat hisses at the man who glances briefly at the animal before going about his business.

    Lucas Vitalis examines the circle and lines he'd etched into the loamy soil before him. An arrangement of candles, as yet unlit, dots the area around the outermost circle, creating a strangely occult and almost eerie scene before him. It looks like something most people would only expect to see in a movie, occult bookstore, or a schizophrenic's house. Nearby, beside a tree, a cage holds a pair of stray cats- one meowing plaintively and nervously, the other glaring daggers at the man with bristling fur and hissing every time Lucas so much as looks at them. The bottom of the cage is curved, almost bowl-like, a reflective solid surface that bears no holes or gaps whatsoever.

    Picking up a walking stick he'd placed nearby, Lucas deepens the furrows of the summoning circle slightly. At the town's outskirts, and at nearly midnight, there is nobody around to be an unwelcome audience. He pulls out a lighter and, one by one, lights the candles. The firelight flickers as he walks past, towards the cats. The nervous one shrinks away from him while the aggressive one hisses again.

    click

    A swift motion and a loud bang and the hissing cat is the first to die.

    The other cat yowls in fear, frantically trying to escape the cage as Lucas reloads the gun and the dead cat's blood pools in the concave bottom of the cage. Another bang and the struggling ceases.

    "Two fewer strays." Lucas goes back to work, opening the latch atop the cage and pulling out the cats. He pulls out a knife and opens cuts aside from the bullet wounds, letting the blood pool more deeply in the cage. He's going to need a lot of it.

    After a few moments of "draining" to unfortunate felines, Lucas appears satisfied and tosses them aside for scavengers to pick at. Lifting the cage, he pours the blood into the carved circle, the furrows filling with the blood and a strange sensation coming to the mage as he works.

    And... it's time.

    Setting the bloody cage aside, Lucas takes a step back- observes his work with grim satisfaction- and holds out his right hand toward the circle. Time to do this. As he begins speaking, the strange sensation seems to focus into a tingling in his outstretched hand. He gives a tired smirk as he can almost already see his Command Spells form.

    "Hear me, Servant- come forth this night so that we may partake in victory together. Let us eliminate our enemies at each others' sides, let us take the Grail as one. You are my Servant: I shall be your Master. Hear and obey my words, and come before me, let the war begin!"
     
  3. (I'll come back and put font coloring for Malden rip me)
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

    “Sir, the summoning chamber is ready for your work.”


    James Malden turned his head with a smirk. Piercing eyes struck the facility worker with a bit of discomfort. The gleam in his eye wasn’t of harmless excitement; to the worker, it felt as though it reflected something he couldn’t see, something perhaps he didn’t want to know of.


    “W-We await your arrival for the testing,” he pipes up again.


    “Perfect.”


    Rising from a large, oak desk, Malden turns from the tinted view of the nighted city before him. Taking in a deep breath, he calmed his mind.


    “Should I prepare--”


    “Everything is fine,” Malden interrupts, holding up a gloved hand to silence the facility worker. “Let’s move.”


    Turning from the black-leather chair he was sitting in, Malden signaled with his finger, to which the room responded with dimming the lights and closing away file cabinets that lined a few columns on the wall. James Malden stood and walked to the entrance of the room where the facility worker awaited anxiously. With only a curt nod,


    -----


    Standing silently near one another, the facility worker nervously shifted as floors passed one after the other in front of them. The elevator felt sickeningly slow. He didn’t know why he felt so nervous around James Malden, but something felt off and almost frightening about him. Who would have thought that wearing gloves might make one more intimidating? No, it wasn’t that…


    “So,” Malden says with a smirk still on his face, “You have a family at home?”


    “Y-yes,” the worker responds, the comment having sliced the air and his mind like a knife and shaking a small jolt out of him.


    “Any children?”


    “Two, two girls.”


    “Ah. Precious ones, are they?”


    “They’re precious gems to my wife and I.”


    The elevator slowed to a halt. As the doors smoothly parted, a walkway ahead of them would lead them to a lobby-like area.


    “Have you ever thought of the miracle of life,” Malden asked, turning his head to glance at the worker, “and what energy fuels life?”


    Not knowing whether the comment was rhetorical, the worker hesitated until Malden walked determinedly forward. The facility worker stared in bewilderment and followed in pace after him.


    The hallway was circular in structure, or a rounded-square shape, with silver framing and dull blue paneling with lighting that tiled the walls and ceiling in its curvature in an aesthetically-pleasing design. As seen from the elevator, the hallway opened into a large, lobby-like area, with two lab-coated individuals stood to greet them. One of them appeared to be older, with greyed hair and thick spectacles. He had a lanky physique, but held himself strongly and completely erect. The facility worker didn’t recognize him at all.


    “Mr. Malden,” the man spoke with a deep, raspy voice, “Everything is prepared. We imitated the designs perfectly as provided in the diagrams. We’ve also collected a sufficient amount of subjects for your rejuvenation.”


    “Excellent, as usual, Professor,” Malden chirped, his calm and almost laid-back demeanor becoming a little unsettling to the standby facility worker, although it did give a more curious prospect to what lay ahead.. It was then that Malden turned to him, sharp eyes softening with a guise of cheer.


    “You need not worry,” Malden spoke softly, “You are about to witness a true spectacle of science being transcended.”


    “..transcended?” the facility worker echoed, realizing how hoarse he sounded and cleared his throat before repeating.


    “Come this way,” the one Malden claimed as “professor” spoke. Without further word, Malden followed suit through a similar hallway to the former, angled diagonally to the left of the room, with the nervous facility work just behind them. Looking back, he met the eyes of what would be considered the secretary that managed the door, a frightening glazed reflection staring back at him. The individual then turned without word back behind the silver counter that had been the only furniture of such a lobby.


    A large, circular door parted with a sharp hiss, revealing a larger expanse of a room with a ceiling height twice that of what they were just under. A set of stairs traveled down to a walkway ending in a circular platform surrounded by a slightly lower floor filled with workers, all unfamiliar to the facility worker. Some of them looked concentrated on whatever piece of technology they were given instruction to maintain; others were walking to and fro with data to compare and calculate, almost with a nervous pacing. The facility worker reached up and loosened his collar a bit.


    Malden walked down with the professor, the latter using a secondary set of steps that allowed one to walk to the slightly lower floor and tending to some of those that had some data to provide for him. Malden turned and looked at the facility worker.


    “You ought to go down there with the rest of them,” he advised. The facility worker nodded nervously, walking down and skipping a few steps to plant his feet on the lower floor. Taking a glance to the platform-like end to the walkway, he noticed strange hieroglyphic markings creating a sort of pentagram. Among the markings were pieces of material unfamiliar to him. He walked a distance out of the way until he was somewhat near the back corner behind Malden’s view where he observed silently.


    Malden looked about the room carefully, an observant squint that only lasted a second. With a satisfied smirk, he clapped his hands. The room directed its attention to him.


    “Fellow scientists,” James Malden began as he paced slowly up the walkway, “we are about to breach the threshold of understanding and delve into the arbitrary and abstract. We are going to pioneer the meaning of life.”


    Malden loosened the fingers to the glove of one hand.


    “I want you all to know how much I appreciate your work, and you have showed me your potential, and the value your life brings to the company. Some of you have worked hard to be in the position you are in within our corporation, and you are commemorated. Some of you have especially worked hard to bring data on this specific project, which I know wasn’t easy considering some of the projects we’ve had to tackle. May I not mention the many lives we’ve lost in pursuit of understanding those things that seem impossible to understand.”


    Malden removed the glove fully, revealing a dark, veiny hand that seemed alien to the appendage it was attached to. It hardly looked healthy, and yet its veins throbbed. The facility worker gawked.


    Malden worked on removing the other glove.


    “Your lives have worth to the company. Your lives have worth to this world. Your lives have worth to your families and friends. You are filled with such energy and such potential. That is an energy I need from you to complete this project.”


    Many of those around the room looked to one another with curiosity. Little of it made sense to the facility worker, but a sudden aura of anticipation gripped his chest.


    Malden removed the other glove, gripping the two gloves in his hand as he sighed. “You are all going to help start the greatest cause of our corporation.”


    Malden’s gloves bounced ever slightly on the ground before folding into one another.


    With outstretched hands, Malden began to speak quickly and quietly. His hands wavered as a mist rose from his skin, expanding and swirling without wind current. The facility worker felt the hair on his neck stand on end. Without warning, the black mist jerked from Malden’s hands, snagging a worker and flowing into their nostrils and mouth in a violently intrusive manner. The worker’s body raised in the air, jerking from side to side every few moments as the worker choked for words. Tears fell from her face; her black hair dangled like the rest of her body.


    Within seconds, the woman was no more. Everyone could feel the transitionary state of life and death as the woman’s body went limp. The mist retreated and dropped the body onto the ground. Glowing essence, like electricity, surged up the black misty tendril until it struck Malden’s hand and pumped into his bulging veins.


    More misty tendrils expanded and grabbed for workers, mercilessly entering into and sapping the life out of them. The facility worker’s body went numb with horror as he slid his way to the corner and trying to shrink himself into the floor. The room started to spin around him. The choking screams of innocents flooded his senses.


    One by one, bodies dropped to the ground until there were only two left in the room with Malden - him and the professor. Malden stretched out his fingers in an ecstatic manner as the tendrils calmed into black mist once more.


    “Thank you for your contributions,” Malden spoke as he broke into a manic laugh of sorts. He stopped almost immediately and whispered a few things to himself. His head turned slightly, a wicked smirk on his face.


    The facility worker now stared at what was underneath those excited eyes he had first seen; a bloodthirsty mania that chilled him to the bone. Those eyes stared back at him.


    “I thought I was missing one.”


    The facility worker gripped the sides of the facility’s walls, pulling himself into a half stand. His legs lost just about all strength out of panic. “N-No,” the words escaped his lips, “You can’t… Sir, I have a family! Please, you can’t! I have been faithful, I-I-”


    Malden’s smirk disappeared. “So you do.” He interrupted. He shook his head. “... what was your name again?”


    The facility worker hesitated as he saw Malden retreat his intent. “M-My name is Joseph Sias,” he piped up, feeling his heart rate calming.


    “And you said you had two girls?” He asked.


    “Yes, I have two girls-” he stopped. The word “had” caught him off-guard. The question itself was so out of the blue--


    Dark tendrils gripped his body and pulled him high into the air, striking him against the wall. The facility worker let out a panicked scream before it was muffled with an overwhelming essence. It built up within him with an increasingly painful feeling of pressure an overwhelming stench of stale emptiness. His feeling of panic soon dwarfed to a blanket of hatred, wrapping around him and filling him. The hatred wasn’t his own, but instead coursed through him and stabbing him like millions of needles throughout his body and through his mind. Within moments his vision decreased, along with his grip on the walls he was pinned against. His feet went limp and soon his head as well.


    The tendrils let the body of Joseph Sias hit the floor with an empty thud.


    “Perhaps your little girls will spawn more potential. Perhaps they will spawn more energy for the future.”


    The professor seemed completely unfazed as he looked back to Malden after the small spectacle. “Sir, you must stop playing and proceed with the ritual. All of our equipment is ready to record the event.”


    Looking down at the circular pattern before him, Malden took in another deep breath. To the observant eye of the professor, his hysteric demeanor turned into that of deep, meditative calm. It was then that Malden began the incantation:


    “From the iron of blood and the marrow of bones,

    I forge a portal transcending time.

    Founded with the souls of many I establish my cause.

    From the harbinger’s grasp I spread the strength of mine arm.

    From the ethereal throne of heaven and hell I part and entrust a threshold of power

    The power of my hands that will cover Terra in justice.



    I summon you, one of mystic strength-- great Caster!


    I pledge to you with grail as vision

    A victory of the ancient war,

    That the future of the world beyond

    Shall be in our grasp.”
     
    #3 crazE, May 10, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2017
  4. "A little more to the left."

    Just mere minutes from midnight. Not much time left to finish the preparations. Fortunately for the man overseeing such actions, there was only one thing remaining before the final act. The war was on the verge of beginning, and he was about to start his path toward realizing his vision.

    He was a relatively young, white haired man. A spectrum of eight bangs descended from it, arranged from the rightmost red to the leftmost violet and becoming shorter the closer they were to the middle. His orange eyes expressed a rather manic look, complimented by a wide grin. He wore a black long-sleeved shirt and dark gray pants. A black cloth was held around his waist by a dark brown belt, open at his front and torn at the bottom. Upon it were ten red patterns, representative of various creatures. Some more recognizable than others, especially one of what appeared to be the head of a screaming, snake-haired woman. Another in particular was repeated on the back of his right hand in a more vibrant red: the head of a lion beneath a pair of bat-like wings encircled by the tail of a scorpion.

    "A little more."

    Llerse Vasto looked upon two small, grotesque creatures, instructing them as they pushed what appeared to be a stone statue of another human. One of six statues placed in the middle of the room, a candle in front of each of them. Each of them intentionally placed to face the object within their sight, a rather complex circle painted onto the floor in blood. Though honestly, what was more concerning than that was the half-empty barrel of blood placed in the corner of the room.

    "Per- Wait no, stop!" Llerse groaned as he watched the creatures appeared to have pushed the statue a bit too far. "No, you imbeciles. Bring it back to the right a bit." They pushed it several centimeters to the right before stopping again. "There. Perfect." He then let out a brief, manic laugh. "At last, the summoning circle is complete! All my hard work is about to pay off."

    Llerse looked around at his statues, observing each of their faces. All of them appeared to be screaming in horror in response to something. "It's sad, though," he said. "You're all here, but you won't be able to see what I'm about to unleash." He chuckled. "I may not be able to summon a complete Gorgon yet, but at least I can muster the most important part of it." He paused. "That- however- ends tonight. And with just enough time to spare."

    Llerse glanced at the two creatures, now ogling one of the statues. "You two have fulfilled your purposes. Get the hell out of my sight." With a snap of his fingers, the two of them then suddenly glowed a brilliant cyan. The two of them appeared to realize their fate, and let out agonizing screams. Screams that only lasted a brief moment as they seemed to have dissipated almost as quickly as the process started. With the two of them gone, Llerse then faced the summoning circle stretched his right hand towards it. It was now time.

    "My Servant, it is time for you to fulfill your purpose! Appear before me!"
     
  5. It should have worked. All the signs suggested it. The grail is made of magic, magic can be harnessed, harnessed energy can be controlled.

    The young woman had been trudging for what seemed like an eternity. Her pony-tailed dark chestnut hair bounced with each step, and amber eyes scrutinized everything they took in. A sour mood indeed. Her options no longer existed but one. She glanced at her hand for the thousandth time, examining the intricate tattoo that made up her command seals. If only they failed like the ritual, then this whole mess could pass on like a bad dream.

    From the moment Kalonia Ralston's command seals appeared, she planned her counter attack. The Holy Grail war had been apart of her heritage for as long as recorded time, or so it seemed. A epic battle over a wish-granting cup. And a total waste of her time. Honestly what was the point of fighting to the death for one chance at unattainable power? Of course, the reality of the war never truly set in until the red tattoo burned itself into her hand.

    But then came the idea.

    Why fight in some war when the grail is simply a source of power? Theoretically, it could be harnessed or even channeled. Being a Ralston, a family of magi-tech enthusiasts, her curiosity could not be quenched. The grail powered the summoning ritual, a perfect channel to exploit. Some long nights and a very complicated production later, and Kalonia was eagerly, nervously producing her ritual circle--surrounded by steel rods, wires and whirring machines.

    Those devices no longer existed. Sliding one of her mechanized gauntlets back onto her tattooed hand, Kalonia tapped a display proffering very flat information: "82%". It was all that remained of her disastrous attempt at harnessing the grail. In all her theorizing, she could not have predicted the ritual would collapse upon itself as the grail seemingly rejected the magi-tech rod control units. Perhaps there was more to the grail than just energy?

    Sighing, the young woman approached the old-time church building, pausing at the doors. Part of her wanted the persistent command seals removed so she could move on. Yet she could not deny that she also had a burning curiosity about the grail... and how compelling that wish was becoming. Shoving inside, it took her no time to spot the man she was after. Removing her gauntlet and displaying her command seals, she called out to him.

    "I think I broke the ritual."
     
    Keileon likes this.
  6. It was less than a minute later than the doors practically burst open and a young woman barged inside.

    "Ah, there you are. Almost untimely for a visit." the overseer spoke smoothly, evidently having already expected her presence. The Master who was not a Master.

    The internal arrangement of the chapel was typical, and could almost be considered dull. There were only approximately ten to twelve meters between Kalonia and the waiting overseer, who was standing across the length of the nave. Rows and rows of empty pews flanked their distance from both sides, like inanimate witnesses, and a wooden altar judged them from behind the overseer's position. An open book, black but otherwise nondescript, laid on top of it, its pages facing the ornate vaults of the ceiling. Stained glasses somewhat abstractly depicting various religious events and figures intermittently adorned the lateral walls, their colors almost seeming to glow as the overall illumination rebounded off them.

    He ignored—or at least postponed answering—the girl's pressing statement, opting to approach her first. He did neglect to address a sudden, growing urge to check the watch at least once more before this particular topic was pursued, but priorities were priorities.

    "Kalonia... Ralston, was it?" the overseer said, recalling her name. It was at a time like this that the overseer could appreciate the rigor of the Church's archival methodologies, as he was required to learn the names and summarized backgrounds of all prospective Masters who had been preemptively selected by the Grail, branded by the opaque red markings of inactive Command Spells. Who could have known a situation like this would happen this close to the beginning of the War?

    "It may be quite evident at this point, but allow me the formalities: I am Overseer Crux, and this is the designated neutral ground for Masters in this coming Grail War." Crux announced with what amounted to a good-natured smirk, making a small indicative motion towards himself. It was best to make this fact clear, that the Thaumaturgic Church offered a hand to any and all Masters asking for one, and that this location may as well be the only nonaligned property in the entire city. Outside, once the clock struck twelve, there would be war. "I would ask you what troubles you today, but I'm quite aware of the basics of the situation."

    But the prelude was over. Crux continued, his tone becoming slightly more serious and flat.

    "You're mistaken, Ms. Ralston. The ritual succeeded: the three Command Spells in your hand are proof enough that you're a Master. If there would be a problem to be found here, however..." he frowned slightly, hesitating for a moment. Surely that piece of information was rightfully hers to know now—if there was any last remaining evidence to quell any last remaining doubt, then the Command Spells he had just been shown was precisely that. He sighed. "...It would be that you did not summon your Servant, but found a Contract with a Servant with a severed one. The original Master of this Servant, you see, is deceased."
     
    #6 Shadow, May 11, 2017
    Last edited: May 11, 2017
  7. It was almost time.


    Eyes blinked while the screen viewed shifted in color. A bright flash quickly replaced with a colored scene. Another page searching another part of historical documents. Almost all of these photos were mundane, ordinary ruins with ancient text of little importance. Well, at least to Valerie.


    Another page flashes onto the screen. Valerie’s scrutinizing gaze scans the photo of an hieroglyphic depiction on a boulder. No, nothing was very special about this one either. Probably some information for someone to know. It made her wonder perhaps what others communicated. What if ancient peoples left notes like “I’ll be back, getting dinner”?


    Another page flashes as Valerie clicks to the next photo. She blinks. That looks familiar. Squinting, Valerie neared the screen as she looked over the etching found on an old pillar somewhere east. It definitely had evidence of magical influence; the etching was different than stone-etched or any other etching. In fact, if she managed to figure out the sequence of etching and the power needed, she could figure out--


    Suddenly, her door burst open. Jolting in her seat, Valerie turned to see who the intruder was. There, standing with lungs panting, was her cousin.


    “Valerie,” he exclaimed, "You're late!"


    Valerie raised her brows. “What?!” Looking back at the computer, she saw the digital clock ticking away, well past the time she was hoping to start the process. Crap!


    “Caedes, go and get everything ready, let’s go!” Valerie said as she launched herself from her seat.


    “Everything’s ready except you,” he retorted, although he left the room hastily regardless. Valerie stuck her tongue out after him as she pulled her jacket on. Stumbling over her shoes before managing to put them on around the same time of completing putting her jacket on, she takes a moment to brush her hair back and compose herself. This was it, her moment to shine. She approached the doorway until something stopped her. Biting her lip while standing at the door, she considered anything that she might need before she headed to the basement.


    “Ah, turning on her heel, Valerie grabbed a small box sitting on the desk by her computer. Without further hesitation she then flew out of her room and down the hallway to the stairs. Grabbing onto the post of the guard rail bordering the staircase, she used her momentum to swing herself down. Valerie flew over the first several steps before having to catch herself; from there, she skipped two or three steps at a time to speed to the doorway down below.


    “Hurry!” Caedes yelled back, only to see Valerie speed into view and come to a stop. She looked both nervous and exhilarated. Caedes stood up from a crouched position by the pentagram on the ground.


    “It’s all ready?” she asks.


    “Ready as it will ever be,” Caedes responds.


    Valerie walked over to the pentagram, opening the box she had taken with her. Crouching down, she noticed already a few small stones placed carefully at distinct parts of the symbol, each with small glyphs etched into them.


    Valerie pulled from the box a stone similar to the others, although this one looking quite different than the rest. She placed it at the center. For good measure, she thought.


    Caedes folded his arms. Despite it being quite dark down in the basement, his blonde hair stuck out strikingly so. His blue jacket was also easily visible, coupled with the darker punk skull as decoration for the article of clothing. He always seemed to wear that jacket. Now, he had resorted to tapping his foot in anticipation.


    “Would you stop that?” Valerie snapped, looking back at Caedes. Caedes paused. “Thank you,” she responded, “You’re getting more nervous than I have to be.”


    “Well I’m not calm either,” he replied, “I mean, what if it doesn’t work? What if we summon some horrible creature from hell or--”


    “That’s not how this works,” Valerie scorned.



    “How am I supposed to know?” Caedes retorted. “I’ve only known about this for only a few years after…” He grew silent.


    “Alright,” Valerie stopped the awful silence of remembrance as she tried to focus. “Let’s do this.”


    Raising a hand to the central rune stone, Valerie closed her eyes and concentrated.


    “Silver and iron to the origin;
    Glyph and Light to the cornerstone.
    Signs of truest light etched into the walls that surround thee
    Forming the bastions of Heaven, and the paths of greatest victory
    This is the ancestry of Knights
    That forged victories for centuries!

    Fill, Fill, Fill, Fill, Fill,
    Repeat every five times.
    Simply, Shatter once filled.


    I call to thee, Saber.


    I am the road of thy tread,
    The path of thy blades,
    And the turn of thy head.
    In accordance to the calling of the Grail, I summon thee to my aid.

    Here is my oath. I am one that comes of love from a world of hate, I am the one that seeketh the mercy to the good and the justice to the evil.

    I call thee to the cause of Right and to the claim of true good, mighty keeper of the balance!”



    As the words escaped from the figure’s lips, The circular diagram pulsed with energy. Valerie outstretched her hand, to which the stones in accordance beamed brightly from their etchings. Then, each etching dissipated into the circular pattern, flowing energy that soon brightened the pattern to immense light.


    It’s working! Valerie thought excitedly. Caedes nearby fell backward in shock. As time and space shifted, Valerie closed her eyes.


    I will right the wrongs done to our family, Brian. I will right the wrongs done to our family, father, mother. I will undo the suffering of the good.
     
    #7 crazE, May 11, 2017
    Last edited: May 11, 2017
  8. The light only intensified as time went on, as Valerie's summons connected with the Grail, and the Grail, in turn, retrieved a Servant from beyond the concept of time.

    At some point, the flowing energy that had been poured into the circle had risen exponentially, creating an outpouring of pure, unelementalized Mana that brimmed with such power that the space within the glyphs might as well have been filled with azure, magical plasma. The reaction was of such magnitude that the Mana at the epicenter—a region now impossible to discern, as the torrent of active Mana obscured the view of anything within the inner bounds of the circle—started fissioning into an unknown aetheric form, scattering wildly over the room like harmless, deeply-blue sparks.

    It was a well-known, documented fact that the summoning itself had a tendency to manifest in different ways according to the core characteristics of the Servant, even though the magiological principles behind the Greater Ritual were fundamentally identical for each and every Master performing the summon. Thus, in most presented cases, it was possible to roughly discern and, sometimes, even accurately determine some of the primary characteristics of the Servant that was being summoned, by merely observing the manifestation of the phenomenon directly: the elementalization of Mana could indicate some form of latent elemental alignment, for instance.

    But this? What other conclusion could one draw from a magical reaction so potent, that the very Fabric of reality wavered and shifted within the marked delimitation of the pentagram? This was no ordinary Servant.

    In reality, the spectacle only lasted for less than fifteen seconds, and it was over perhaps even more abruptly as it had commenced: as if a power switch—flipped "on" moments prior—had been turned back "off", almost instantaneously severing the flow of magical energy coursing through the geometry of the circle, and thus severing the power source of the brilliant light. As the last of the blue, aetheric lights dissipated in the air, the ritual terminated.

    And there, at the center of the pentagram, stood a Servant.


    Outwardly, he was a male teenager, physically around eighteen years of age. His obsidian-black hair, if slightly long, was rather messy and perhaps even unkempt to a degree, and his build, though average for someone his age, suggested anything but ability for combat. But perhaps his most distinguishing feature were his eyes, colored a deep and honest blue that was strikingly similar, if not indistinguishable from the color of the energy of his own summoning. They were simply powerful, as if the act of observation could and would pierce into the very core of anything with all but a gaze.

    Strangely enough, his attire, although unusual, did not appear to be out of place for a Terran, or rather someone straight out of contemporary civilization. He was fashioned in the dichotomy of blacks and whites; jet-black jeans held by a white belt, a white shirt almost unnoticeable beneath a black, sleeveless jacket which compounded into an equally black cloak, hooded and open (although the hood was pulled down, at least for the moment). The cloak was probably the most unusual of his garments, appearing to be more ethereal and immaterial than physical in nature. It did not appear to move as much as flow into space to occupy it, but these inconsistencies became less and less noticeable as the last traces of residual spatial distortion faltered into nothingness, and the cloak became still.

    Other than that, he appeared to be completely unarmed—nothing in his appearance suggested even the vaguest hint of a Noble Phantasm, except maybe for the dark cloak.

    "Huh, impressive summoning." the Servant commented casually. He had minutely ran a hand through his hair, but had now settled for crossing his arms as he stood, his eyes scanning the details of the room with mild interest. "Not even a minute, and it looks like I'm at full strength. Usually there's a buffer time as the Servant is rec--"

    He cut himself short, as if realizing something, and then shook his head. "Ah, nevermind." Finally, his eyes focused on the two other people in the room. A girl and a boy: those were perhaps the most fitting words to describe them. They did not even look like they were more than fifteen, at most. "I'm presuming you two are my Master's assistants." the Servant said suddenly, his eyes flicking between the blond-haired boy and the brown-haired girl, and giving the fleeting impression that he judged the girl for a few fractions of a second longer than he did with the boy. "Where's he or she? I'd.. rather not stay here for longer than necessary."

    Even as he said this, the Servant did not move an inch from his position within the circle, despite being perfectly capable of doing so. This was perhaps out of implicit respect for his Master as a practitioner of Magic: traditional Familiars were usually bound within the confines of their summoning array before a Contract was properly established between the two parties. Although he was not bound to such rules, the gesture was indicative to a respectful nod to the fact that he had, in fact, recognized his Master as a capable magus, at least in the area of summoning.

    But still, that statement must have been quite confounding to the two. He must have either missed or entirely ignored the telltale mark on Valerie's hand.

    "Surely," the Servant pressed on with a small smile, for some reason maintaining eye contact with the girl, "two kids cannot understand the meaning of the weight of summoning a Servant."

    The more the Servant talked, the more apparent it was that he carried a certain type of confidence and self-certainty. It was neither the arrogance of the delusion of unmatched strength nor the entitlement of power used to subdue the weak; it was the kind of confidence borne out of personal experience, of someone perfectly aware of their limits and yet displaying no hesitation in overcoming even the most impossible of tasks. He was the kind of Servant fitting for the coveted Saber Class, even.

    Internally, however, one single, pervading thought was running through the Servant's mind.

    Fuck. Fuck.
     
    #8 Shadow, May 11, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2017
    Keileon likes this.
  9. There is an almost immediate reaction as Llerse finished speaking. From the summoning array, a cascade of violet-hued Mana bursts out, almost as if it is coming from the very blood that makes up the summoning circle. An almost explosion of energy which, while not damaging the surrounding area, giving off an acute sense of danger. The Mana swirls and twists in on itself, coagulating into a long, lean shape that rears up like a gigantic serpent, seeming almost to gaze down on the man. It holds this position for all but a few seconds, before the "head" of the serpent lunges down as if to swallow the rest of its body, hidden in the burst of energy.

    Whatever is being summoned, as the Mana slowly begins to flicker and fade into the air, the reaction of the summoning itself almost gives off the feeling that perhaps the Servant isn't the only entity being called upon. The violet-hued energy seems almost to have a mind of its own, wisps detaching from the initial burst seeming to almost strike harmlessly at the statues and even the summoner. The particles flit through the air like rapidly dissolving ribbons, and slowly the Servant is revealed.

    The man stands with eyes closed, arms crossed, a smirk on his slightly-bowed head. At a glance the man doesn't appear to be anything special, although his clothes are quite formal and perhaps indicative of wealth. The white collar of his undershirt poked out, barely visible, from a pinstripe overcoat of sorts, dark and dull in color but appearing to be made from high-quality fabric. The pinstripe patterning and colors extends down to his pants, ending over dark brown leather shoes that almost look brand new. A sparkling silver pocketwatch and chain dangles from a shirt pocket, and beneath it all an almost out-of-place orange tie is tucked neatly under the dull colors and pinstripes.

    "And so, another contract is forged."

    The man himself appears to be in his early twenties, with a lanky- almost gangly- build and skin that appears as if it is naturally fair, but slightly tanned from exposure to harsh sunlight. Unremarkable ash-gray hair covers one of his closed eyes for a brief moment, before he cocks his head slightly back and opens the other- watching Llerse with a single, snakelike, almost malevolently amused rose-gold eye.

    The Servant stands almost cockily before Llerse. He does not change his relaxed, amused position, nor does he step out from the summoning circle. Instead he looks his summoner over, ignoring the statues and the blood, and is quiet for a moment. After he seems satisfied with what he sees, he asks a single question:

    "Are you the one who would call himself my Master?"
     
  10. Kalonia accepted everything fairly readily--made sense, the grail was a power greater than she anticipated with more individual will than she originally thought possible. That is except... "Found a contract with... wait the grail partnered me with a known master killer!?" The gravity of the fact hit hard, but harder still as she realized further. A master from this war... Her free hand instinctively fidgets with her gauntlet-clad hand, which held the right-hand's gauntlet as well. "So I guess that leaves me with Berserker. Where is he-she-it?" She asks, slipping her sealed hand back into its gauntlet. She glanced around a little nervously as if the servant would come bursting through a wall at any moment. How destructive and intimidating this servant must be and she doesn't even know who it is!
     
  11. Crux chuckled slightly, a defeated and somehow simultaneously amused sort of laugh. It was implied through his own phrasing, but it seems she had figured out the situation quite well on her own. Clever.

    "Quite troublesome, is it not?" he said, somehow not seeming nearly as concerned as Kalonia was. It did not appear to be out of a lack of empathy for the young woman's situation; instead, it almost seemed as if though he knew exactly what sort of Servant was partnered with her. He crossed himself in a quick and practiced motion, in a way paying his respects to the late Master. "To be an unfortunate casualty before the Holy Grail War officially starts, may his soul rest in peace."

    Although, he made no attempt to correct her of her own assumption.

    "I will inform you that your Contract with this Servant is currently incomplete, however." Crux advised, his tone making it clear that this was an important piece of information. "You are a Master, but you don't hold the privileges of one—yet. I advice you to establish a proper Contract with the Servant at once: a simple oath or contractual aria will do. Although this is the first time I've heard of an improper Contract, I don't hold any hopes of it in it being beneficial in the long term."

    The overseer then looked around, almost in the same manner Kalonia did moments ago, although he appeared to be specifically looking for a sign or clue of something, or someone. Apparently without success (or maybe he was successful, and this was merely confirmation?), Crux flicked his left sleeve out of the way, and stared at the dial for good moment. He exhaled, a light and casual smirk appearing on his expression. The last symbol was no more—in its stead, the unmistakable pattern of Kalonia's Command Spells were engraved in the seventh and final position, glowing dimly but surely in red.

    "Ah, Rider?" Crux suddenly called out, letting his arm fall to the side, his voice echoing across the empty chapel. Or was it really empty? "You can appear now. I'd like you to meet your new Master."
     
    #11 Shadow, May 11, 2017
    Last edited: May 11, 2017
  12. BGM: Point Zero >>>
    For a moment it seems as if Overseer Crux is simply speaking into the open air to an entity which isn't there. After a few seconds, however, a shimmer of cobalt Mana appears near one of the walls, in front of a stained glass window. Though normally the Servant would just materialize from this shimmer, it seems that this one is intending to make a show of it, as it almost looks like a true summoning- the Mana flaring up into a swirling vortex of dark blue.

    It has no effect on its surroundings, but the Mana seems to light up the nearest stained glass window, one which appears to depict a medieval knight locked in combat with a fierce dragon, presumably meant to signify the devil or some other ambiguous evil. The energy quickly begins to dissipate though, and as it fades the Servant's form can be seen.

    At first glance, Rider appears neither imposing or destructive. On the contrary, he is a wiry young man appearing to be in his late teens, maybe early twenties. With surprisingly plain, casual clothing, he looks like he might fit in perfectly in modern Terran society... were it not for a strange, luminous quality to his sharp green eyes that makes him appear somewhat animalistic, bestial, almost feral. The young man leans against the wall below the depiction of the dragon, watching the Overseer and Master with an unreadable expression.

    But soon Rider's eyes trail to one of Kalonia's hands, either somehow sensing the Command Seal that lies there or having paid close enough attention to the proceedings when he was immaterial. After seeming satisfied with the girl, he gives a tired smirk and flicks his gaze toward Crux, almost as if asking "really?".
     
  13. Valerie stares in awe at the sudden form in front of her. It worked! It really worked! She felt herself quiver with excitement. Already things were looking well. Pulling her hand back from the summoning, she put her arms behind her back in anticipation.

    The servant looked about and looked quite impressed. His aura emitted confidence, his composure of complete control. What was quite intriguing was the striking color of his eyes as they looked right at her and Caedes.

    "I'm presuming you two are my Master's assistants."

    It was at that moment that Valerie's excitement came to a screeching halt. her eyes diverted to avoid a sudden emotional flame appearing in her irises.

    "Surely, two kids cannot understand the meaning of the weight of summoning a Servant."

    "Hey buddy, we're not kids!" Caedes shot back. "And for your information, we're not assistants."

    "Shutup Caedes!" Valerie yelled, stomping her foot. Caedes stopped, slightly taken aback. Valerie let out a puff of air from her nostrils before staring right at the servant before her.

    "Servant, I am your Master." Raising her left hand, she revealed a simplistic diamond pattern on the back. "The sooner you understand that, we'll make this work."

    Valerie took a few paces as she collected her thoughts. "You're right on one thing: the summoning was pretty instantaneous, mainly because I didn't have to use all my mana in one instance. I've been saving up mana for months in a single runestone just for this occasion. I need you to be at the top of your game as soon as possible. So..."

    Turning on her heel to face directly toward the Servant once more, she smirked. "Are you ready to fight with me, Saber?"
     
  14. Initially, Llerse seemed to be just as satisfied with the results of his actions as the Servant seemed to be with him in general. And to his credit, he found his entrance quite the impressive spectacle. From what he was expecting to summon, it wasn't that far off from what he was expecting. It was all too clear that his summon was a success. "That would be correct," he spoke, an answer to the man's question. He then raised his right hand up for a few seconds, showing the man his Command Spells to erase any remaining doubts. Not that it was truly necessary. "My name is Llerse Vasto." He looked at his work for a moment. However, his grin vanished with a blink as he looked closer upon the man he brought into this room. Even with the result, something still felt off about the whole thing. It was at this point that he inquired of the man. "Hang on... It's obvious between the two of us that I summoned you... But what exactly did I summon? Who are you?"

    ----------------------------------------------------------​

    Several seconds had passed since Malden had made his chant. Several seconds of eerie silence. During that time, it might have appeared to both him and the professor that it didn't seem to have any effect. Or it might have been possible that expected a delayed reaction. Regardless, the inactivity would soon be shattered as an expanse of Mana seemed to have pillared out of the summoning circle. Soon, the room was blanketed in a flash of vibrant violet light.

    A flash of light that was to be short-lived.

    From the source of the flash erupted a violent surge of black mist which then drowned out the light of the summoning circle within a matter of seconds. And at this point, it showed no signs of stopping as it then began to blanket the interior of the room. What little remaining light was gradually drowned out as the room gradually darkened, eventually reaching a point where seeing one's own hand in front of their face would be almost impossible. This darkness settled within the room for what seemed to be a minute. Then all at once, the dark mist pulled back towards the source, the room returning to its normal light level as a result. The dark mist violently swirled in an orb-like shape above the summoning circle, at this point finally stopping.

    The mass of dark mist remained as it was for several seconds, after which something seemed to emerge from within it... What appeared to be a black, clawed hand jut from within the orb, and then cut through it. As it made its slicing motion, something even more unusual could be seen on the back of it. A strange, half-opened eye with a gold pupil. After this hand had apparently finished its job of cutting through the orb, the hand retreated back into it. But almost immediately after, the swirling dark mist began to disperse and dissipate, as it had seemingly been quelled. In its place was a lone woman hovering above the blood circle on the floor. Based on her appearance alone, she seemed to be human, dressed in a black and dark violet dress. Her face was concealed by the hood of her cloak covering her dress. But her concealed gaze was seemingly fixed upon the two other humans within the room as she remained where she was, her arms crossed as she awaited reactions from these two. One of them more than the other.

    While it was difficult to see, she was already aware of who it was that summoned her.

    -------------------------------------------------------​

    Where it was nearly midnight in the Terran city, it was just about sunrise elsewhere. On another world.

    Rokans.

    Even with the light of the rising sun however, this particular Rokain forest remained partially blanketed in the shadows. Still, even in darkness, the forest was tranquil. As was the rest of its planet. The wars and crises that had plagued the planet for many centuries were finally over. Its residents- both native and off-world- would finally have their chance to rebuild. To find the time to enjoy the serenity for all the time they had it.

    It was here in this forest that even he could find the time to relax before the next possible major incident reared its head.

    ...

    The fair-skinned, muscular man sat on a large tree stump in a meditative state. His long, spiky, dark green hair reached down to his lower back. Under each of his closed eyes was a triangle pointed downward. He wore an open black and violet jacket, and black pants with a dark gray cloth wrapped around his waist. A crow was resting on his head. It was unclear whether or not he was aware of its presence.

    ...

    However, Even in the tranquility of it all, he could still find something to bother him. It was written all over his face. Something was especially wrong in the galaxy. At the moment though, he wasn't exactly sure what it was. Or where it was. As he scanned around, he slowly began picking up on a presence oozing of darkness. An off-world presence detectable even by him. The more he honed in on it, the more familiar it appeared to be. But each passing second, he felt he was getting close to fi-

    ...!

    The crow flew off of his head as he jolted out of his meditative state. His eyes opened wide, revealing his dull red right eye and his vibrant blue left eye. His face expressed an extremely shocked reaction to an image brief flashing in his mind. An ominously familiar, green-haired woman whose violet eyes seemed to gazed back at him in his mind. He shook his head for a moment, attempting to recompose himself. But that mental image served as a warning to the harsh reality of it.

    Damnit... why you again... He turned toward the forest canopy. Even if he couldn't see the sky- let alone the stars- he was able to pick up on her location. And of all places, why there... This is bad... He leapt off the tree stump, landing back onto the grass. He reached for a watch-like device on his left wrist. Its screen didn't display a time, but rather what seemed to be a list of names. Or at least some of them, as a number of them seemed to resemble nicknames rather than actual names. A list of contacts. Utilizing the device, he scrolled down to such an example of what appeared to be a nickname: "D. G. - Chains"

    After pressing another button on it, he waited a few more seconds before speaking. "Hey. I apologize if this is in any way inconvenient. But... I need you to meet me at Mt Volkyanon as soon as you can. I'll explain when I see you." He ended it there. I don't know why you're back... His entire being became inveiled in a black mist. But I'm gonna make sure you fall again. This I swear. The mist then dissipated, him having vanished from the area.
     
  15. The Servant only blinked, his expression momentarily blank as he stared at the diamond-shaped Command Spells. The proof of a Master.

    "Ahh... Damnit, I was hoping that wasn't the case." he finally sighed in resignation, looking away in what could be described as some sort of mild, neutral disappointment.

    Before the two could react, though, he seemed to regain interest as his expression lit up slightly, and as if deciding upon something, he began walking away from the center of the circle, stepping towards the girl with the Command Spells. He crossed most of the lines and layers of the pentagram, but stopped near its outermost edges. Whether this particular detail was intentional or not could not be determined, though, as he was now perfectly within conversational distance of the girl.

    The Servant nodded slightly with a light hum, a gesture that seemed more inwardly than anything else, and he smiled lightly but confidently as he looked at Valerie. Then, he—

    "Nope. I refuse." he said flatly, as if having had every intention of severing the excitement of the atmosphere in half. He waited only seconds to gauge their reactions before beginning a second, disconcerting statement, "I'm not Saber, nor interested in fighting this Holy Grail War with you two. This isn't a mere game or contest, and I refuse to be used to grant some inane whim. I'd look for another Servant if I were you... unless you mean to waste all of your Command Spells to make me do the simplest of tasks."

    He specially directed this last bit at the Master before him. She had tried to look away back then, but the Servant could not possibly miss that spark, that incipient ember flashing in her eyes. Only a little more.

    "Or," the Servant offered, "maybe you intend to convince me? We both know Command Spells are next to meaningless here, but what about your own words? It'd be unfair and selfish of me to not let you stand up for yourself right now, so I'll let you do just that."

    He narrowed his eyes. The Servant was expecting a response.

    "Tell me, "Master", why do you fight?"
     
  16. "Nope. I refuse."

    Valerie's determination halted once more at the servant's blunt, and quite shocking, response. I didn't summon Saber? She thought as he spoke. The thought was fleeting while the servant completely rejected the task - and his role - right to her face.

    Slowly, her face grew redder and redder.

    "maybe you intend to convince me? We both know Command Spells are next to meaningless here, but what about your own words? It'd be unfair and selfish of me to not let you stand up for yourself right now, so I'll let you do just that."

    Caedes took a few steps back, eyes completely on Valerie.

    "Tell me, "Master", why do you fight?"

    Valerie's head hung for a moment, strands of hair covering her eyes while a slightly twitching, teeth-grinding growl showed from her mouth. Then, after a few seconds, her tightly-wrung fists and clenched teeth relaxed.

    "Why do I fight?" She echoed.

    It was then that two intense hazel eyes stared directly into the icy gaze of the servant. Eyes that brought an immense weight and an immense fire. It brought passion stronger than swords as it split the distance between Valerie and the Servant.

    "I fight because I have to. I fight because my cousin had to. I fight because my parents had to. I fight because if I don't, more people will die. I fight because if I don't, my world comes to an end. So if you're going to disregard me as a master, then I'll just wish away your conscience and use your body as a meat shield for all I care!"

    Raising her left hand, she glares daggers at the Servant. "I don't care who you are at this point. If you want to make your choice, then I will make mine.You're going to fight for my cause in saving Terra, or you're going to block the shots for me while I do it myself."

    --------------------------------------

    Malden smiled widely as the summoning kicked in, a flurry of light before suddenly blackening. A sickening blackness that engulfed the entire room. The professor nearby let out a small yell as he backed away toward the wall in shock. Malden stood confidently, arms outstretched to the encompassing darkness. The excitement was exhilarating. The thrill was ecstatic.

    The darkness retracted to slowly and eventually reveal a woman standing amid the used seal on the ground. her hooded attire was quite ominous, but flooded with power. Malden felt driven to to bow before the being before him.

    "Caster," Malden spoke with lips of honey, "I am James Malden." Rising up and standing completely erect, he stared right into the hood of the servant before him.

    The professor slowly pulled from the wall he had backed into, in utter awe while he collected himself. Malden kept his eyes trained on Caster. "Please, do share your name. I would love to know whose presence I am graced with."
     
    #16 crazE, May 12, 2017
    Last edited: May 12, 2017
  17. The Servant steps out of his summoning circle, only now glancing about the room in which his Master had summoned him. Those serpentine eyes seem to flick to every detail, but somehow it's clear that he is being attentive to his Master's words and queries. He stops just outside the circle, taking a moment before he responds, seeming interested in the statues in particular.

    But then he gives a cocky grin to Llerse once more before bending into a sweeping bow. "I am Servant Assassin, at your service." He rises out of the bow, clasping his hands together- not in a particularly deferent way, but as if to punctuate his statement of identity. "In life I went by many titles. The Envoy of Souls, Contract of Ouroboros, the Serpent's Hand, the Proxy of Saaldyr. With formalities aside, however, my true identity is that of Nathair Kigyo.

    Assassin extends his right hand as if to shake that of his Master's, but instead a low hissing matches a subtle movement almost hidden by the looseness of the overcoat's sleeve. The red head of a serpent pokes out of the sleeve, coiling around Assassin's wrist and rearing her head back to flick her tongue at Llerse. But this isn't the only reveal, as now a gray-black-striped snake emerges from Assassin's left sleeve, also coiling around the Servant's wrist but paying little to no mind to the other man.

    The Servant keeps his right arm extended, however, and it seems that he does indeed intent to shake Llerse's hand. "Our contract is forged in Mana, Master," Assassin begins, a subtle note of gravity underneath the ease and cockiness, "but I am also a businessman, and I would rather the contract be reinforced by something more binding. Yes?"
     
  18. A full three seconds ticked by. One would have expected a Servant who had denied the very concept of a Master to react in some form of blatant defiance against Valerie.

    Instead, the Servant broke into a grin.

    "No, that'll be unnecessary. I've heard enough." he interjected, his voice softer.

    The Servant had been openly rebelling at the mere thought of having Valerie as a Master, but now he conveyed the opposite: he looked quite content about the present arrangement, his eyes not longer cold and judging, but radiating the same kind of decisive, certain confidence that had he predominantly carried with him when he was first summoned. But perhaps most importantly, he met Valerie's gaze like someone looking at an equal.

    And this time, he spoke for sure,

    "I won't allow you that choice, Master, because I'll be your shield, your sword, your lance." the Servant affirmed, never breaking eye contact, "You've just shown me your resolve to stand up against anything, so it's only natural that your Servant has to match your own. I'll be your weapon in winning the Holy Grail."

    If there was anything in their entire exchange that approached the level of a contractual oath between Master and Servant, then this was definitely it. The Servant's voice was absolutely honest: somehow, he gave the impression that he was speaking from nothing but his heart and soul.

    "I like the fire in those eyes." he commented with a light smirk, "Never lose it, because it'll always drive you forward. And if there's even the slightest possibility of defeat, of anything standing in the way of your wish, then... I'll gladly lend you all of my strength. Heh, truly... there is no better Master for me than someone with a will as strong as yours."

    With this, he knelt carefully—a warrior's kneel, a true acknowledgement of the Contract between the two.

    "I swear this as the Servant of the Lancer Class." he declared, then looked up to Valerie confidently, "After all, you've summoned the strongest Servant of this war."
     
  19. Valerie held her stern gaze until suddenly, without warning, the Servant dropped his guise. Staring back, she saw the veiled coldness from his eyes lift and saw instead a flood of emotion replace it. Was it happiness? Confidence? Respect? She couldn't tell, but it shined back at her.

    "I won't allow you that choice, Master, because I'll be your shield, your sword, your lance."

    Valerie smirked, her eyes turning onto those of determination. Her servant swiftly complied to the contractual agreement, her already feeling the confirming force between them. This is what Brian had gone through! This was a real thing, and actual event. Only now was it hitting her, although it was mixed emotions of exhilaration and nervousness.

    "I like the fire in those eyes. Never lose it, because it'll always drive you forward. And if there's even the slightest possibility of defeat, of anything standing in the way of your wish, then... I'll gladly lend you all of my strength. Heh, truly... there is no better Master for me than someone with a will as strong as yours."


    "I swear this as the Servant of the Lancer Class. After all, you've summoned the strongest Servant of this war."

    Valerie nodded. "Well, I'm glad I could have a confident serv--" She paused. ".... you said Lancer?"

    Caedes behind her broke into a wide smile. "Looks like you goofed. Shoulda started right on the dot!"

    Valerei scowled back at Caedes. "Quiet down! Just because I was meaning to summon Saber doesn't mean this can't still work!" She quickly mulled over each of the classes and their strengths in consideration while bringing her hand to her mouth to toy with her fingernail. After a few moments, she simply shrugged it off and pulled her hand back down.

    "Lancer," she started, "I have no doubts in your confidence as a powerful servant, but you should share with me your noble phantasm so I can work with your strengths. You're to be skilled at countering other servants, am I wrong?"

    Caedes kept his smile behind them.
     
  20. The Servant—Lancer—could practically see Valerie's fleeting disappointment over hearing what Class he was.

    "No, I'm pretty sure I'm not Saber." he repeated with a small chuckle accompanying the fact. He rose from his kneeling position, standing at full height again. Now that he was closer, one could approximate his height to be around 5'8''... not particularly tall, relatively speaking, but he was still taller than Valerie and Caedes at least by some visible margin. "Unless you've found a sword on me that I've somehow missed." he joked.

    "You're to be skilled at countering other Servants, am I wrong?"

    "You're absolutely correct." Lancer confirmed this with a nod, the confidence in his smile unbroken, "If Noble Phantasms can be considered the "trump cards" of a Servant, then you could call me something of a trump card against Servants. I believe... no, I'm certain that there are very little Noble Phantasms that I can't overcome. For starters, why don't you visualize my parameters? As a Master, and because of our Contract, you should be able to do that."

    A bold claim, but spoken with such certainty one could not help but stop and wonder. Lancer paused as if to let his Master process these details alongside the fact that she had not, in fact, summoned Saber. He looked especially pensive as his gaze scanned the room, his left hand almost automatically coming to rest at his chin in thought. For it to be a Servant's summoning location, the basement was actually quite ordinary, and it almost gave the impression that the Lesser Ritual had been conducted here on impulse.

    But Lancer knew that this was not actually the case: the pentagram had been strategically located in the middle of the room, avoiding meeting the sturdy-looking, stone-based brick pillars scattered throughout. There was a secondary power component adjacent to the circle, containing a much smaller diagram that was obscured by coarse rubble: presumably, the remains of the runestone Valerie had mentioned earlier. Its perimeter was dotted with small stones, intact and marked with simplistic runes. Channelers to the Spell, Lancer thought.

    Beyond that, however, the evidence of a magus stopped, and the hints of ordinary and everyday life began: the basement had old furniture here and there, lamps that were probably not operational, boxes and overall a wide miscellany of objects. Nothing he could exactly use without permission, but he had already found something suitable: his focus was on the powerless channeling stones.

    Lancer looked back to his Master.

    "Hmm... I'm sorry, but I can't fully comply to that request, Master." he replied to Valerie's earlier request to reveal his Noble Phantasm. "I'd prefer to keep the nature of my Noble Phantasm a secret for as long as I can manage. You see, my Noble Phantasm carries the burden of my identity... if I use it too carelessly, or if I make a mistake, this information can be used against me. I told you that I'm winning you the Grail, right? You can consider this as your Servant's way of decreasing the margin of error."

    But just as he looked like he was going to say nothing else about the matter, Lancer added, "...But that doesn't mean I can't do a short demonstration." With a small smirk, he pointed to the powering diagram that was positioned a small distance away from the circle. It was roughly four meters away from his current position.

    He allowed a few seconds of delay for both Valerie and Caedes to turn to watch before he began.

    Without warning, one of the rocks granulated into fine rubble, as if crushed from all sides by some kind of invisible force. A second began levitating, raised several feet into the air before it spontaneously broke apart from the middle into coarse fragments, to the same effect of something much larger than itself piercing its center of mass. A third and fourth followed, soon severed into segments so precisely and finely sliced that there were little to no imperfections in the pieces that fell to the ground. Like some kind of ethereal blade had just slashed them apart.

    The only visual cue, if it could be called one, was the fact that the air—the distance between Lancer and the stones—seemed to have some form of light, exceedingly minute distortion, indistinct and undefined. It was something like the vaguest hint of a shape, or shapes, but details were next to impossible to discern: it was as fruitless as trying to find an underlying pattern or form to heat haze, or vapor. For all intents and purposes, Lancer's Noble Phantasm was invisible to the eye.

    "Is that enough?" Lancer said once all stones had been subject to his mysterious Noble Phantasm one way or another.
     

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