Fate/Reborn: The Sealed Grail War (Private)

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  1. The Holy Grail War.

    A competition that decides the owner of the relic known as the Holy Grail through an intense battle royale. Using powerful familiars known as Servants, competitors would fight until only one remained to claim the ultimate prize…the all-powerful, wish-granting device. He who held the Holy Grail could achieve any wish in his heart, whether for good or for ill.

    Hundreds of Grail Wars had been fought throughout the world over the centuries, traditionally orchestrated by the machinations of the Clocktower, a secret society of mages, and the Holy Church. In Japan, five of these Wars had been fought, with questionable victors. The Fuyuki Grail Wars were, in the Clocktower’s estimate, the prototype for successful implementation of the Grail System.

    That was why this particular mage, a short and lanky man with greasy hair and unkempt clothes, absconded with the key component to create a new Grail.

    The great fallacy behind the Grail Wars was the idea that it was the true religious artifact being won. In truth, it was a mana-storage device that converted energy into a singular spell no normal human mage could accomplish unaided. Thus, it had parameters. It had components. It had a System.

    This mage, Lucius Gray, had done his research. He studied the Clocktower’s records of the disastrous Fourth Holy Grail War in Fuyuki, as well as what few reports were left from the Third, Second, and First. The other locations in the world had been a matter of academic review, necessary for completeness but nowhere near as comprehensive as what came out of Fuyuki. Gray spent the last thirty years studying the Grail System.

    And he believed he could replicate it.

    He had to believe, otherwise he would never had gathered the courage to steal a priceless artifact from the Clocktower’s vaults – the one item he needed to spawn his own Grail.

    It took time, research, effort, patience. But he knew what he had to do. He knew where the ley-lines would best feed into the artifact and spawn the cup of the Grail. He had everything he needed.

    Everything, that is, except for competitors.
    #1 Razilin, Dec 18, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2015
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  2. Marie stood stoically at her grandmother's funal. Only a handful of friends and family had been invited, and they appeared to be saddened by the passing of this old woman. She had lived well into the years, and it was just her time to go.

    Although, Marie's thoughts were not on the woman who bore her mother, but on the work that wa laid out before her. As the next in line of the family, it was her obligation to inheirit the manor and all of its contents. The money had been doled out evenly among the other heirs, and many were glad to not get the spacious French estate with all of its responsibilities.

    With the funeral now over, she was taken to her new home, a place that she had only been to a few times as a child, to sort through everything before she sells it. It was a daunting task, but from the looks of things, she felt that most would find better homes in museums than in this dusty old relic of a house.

    She spent the first few nights exploring the place, familiarizing herself with the layout and some of the items. Much were strange contraptions that she had never seen before and would likely throw it in the trash as she saw that there would be no value in selling them. Finally going through the books, she found a curious, thick tome wrapped in a strange leather. She traced her finger over the binding, and wondered if what she was holding was bound in human skin. The book appeared to be hundreds of years old, and it certainly was likely.

    She opened the book, careful not to crack or break any of the stiff pages that were yellowed with age. She turned to a page where a part of a radiant, red plume fell out onto the gound. She picked it up and studied it before noticing the page was of a magic circle with an incantation on the opposite page. She was curious and flipped back a few pages and began reading. She saw that she would need blood to make the circle, and the plume seemed to be a key point in the ritual.

    Her curiosity was piqued and she simply had to know more, but the problem was obtaining enough blood to complete the ritual, and she had some ideas of where to get it...

    * * *​

    She had spent a few days gathering enough rats to get the blood needed for the ritual and spread it out in the pattern shown in the book on the cellar floor. The light from the ceiling was just enough to illuminate her gory work. With the circle done, she placed the plume in the center before stepping out. She held the book in one hand and began the incantation.

    Lightning began to erupt from the edges of the circle and the center began to glow the more she continued reading. She added in the hand written parts, ostensibly intending to summon a specific warrior from this item. As she finished, the center glowed bright, forcing her to shield herself from the light with her arm. She noticed three runes that looked like wounds appear on the back of her hand. They must be the commandseals used to control this servant, she thought.

    When the light from the circle dimmed down, whe lowered her arm to find a tall, imposing warrior standing before her. The plume used to summon him was gone, and she saw the ful plumage coming from his helment. The look on his face was stern and furious as he lifted the spear he was wielding and lightly grazed the sharp point at her throat, drawing a drop of blood from the tender flesh.

    "Who are you to control me?" His voice boomed in the dark, enclosed space. "Are you worthy of my servitude in this war?"

    Marie did not know how to respond and stammared before him. The light had faded and disappeared, leaving only the light behind her to remain as the lightsource of the room.
  3. The tall and burly spearman cut an intimidating figure in lamellar armor, helm, and bladed polearm. His voice boomed and carried, as if he were used to barking commands and instilling fear with his presence alone. He towered over Marie by a good foot and easily outweighed her by at least forty pounds, all of it muscle. It was odd, his dimensions and build, given that he had the angular features, narrow eyes, and thin facial hair of a man of Chinese descent.

    At Marie's silence and stammering, the warrior boomed, "Girl! I asked you a question!"

    He took her in with a studying and critical eye. He had fought countless battles, slain hundreds with his deadly blade. He was a man unconquered, a man none dared to pursue. The Grail System had given him knowledge of modern vernacular and mannerisms, of devices and technology, a dozen libraries' worth of information shoved into his brain. However, none of that had prepared him for the little slip of a girl before him.

    She seemed tiny to him, but then again, all people seemed small compared to him - whether in stature or in presence. She was far too bony in his eyes; he could probably snap her like a twig. His pride burned at the thought of being subjected to servitude to what was seemingly a weakling. Objectively, she had to have some power - only mages could summon Servants, after all - but he had little use for the trickery and rituals of sorcery.

    Yes, give him a good bloody fight any day, and he would wield his massive spear with glee on his face and a song in his heart.

    Annoyed with his would-be Master's silence, he said one last time: "I ask you again: Are you worthy of my servitude in this war?"
  4. The summoning worked! It worked... And now, this man was standing before her with his weapon brandished upon her. The success must also mean that a war has started according to the book, and that she has been chosen. She took a step back from the uncomfortable point and cleared her throat. She could feel herself quivering still as she tried to remain standing tall.

    "I..." she stammered before him. "I am Marie Benoit." As she spoke, her nerves calmed a little bit and her shaking subsided slightly. She lifted her hand up in a fist, showing him the back of it with the seals etched into her skin. "I take it that I am your Master by proof of these seals." She honestly did not know what to say. She honestly did not know what to want from the Holy Grail, but she dragged herself in to this war by her act of curiosity.

    "I have no idea what it would take to be your master, to be quite honest, but it seems that some part of you have been passed down through the generations of my family with the intent of bringing you in. I just happen to try..."
  5. The burly Servant sneered arrogantly at the proffered hand and the symbols they held. This was indeed his Master, but surely she could not be more than a child? She was too tiny. He had his doubts about her worthiness, but the Command Seals were proof enough of her right to her title. He knelt before her, however reluctantly.

    "Then I, Servant Lancer, will obey your commands, Master," he said, if not reverently, than at least respectfully. "Command me. What battle calls?"
  6. Marie watched as Lancer knelt, and her face heated up. She has never had anyone kneel before her except in rehersals. To have something so spontaneous as this happen to her was unprecidented. He spoke his words of fealty to her and wished to do battle. Her face turned to a bright crimson as she blushed in embarrassment. She was not prepared for this. She did not know what other "Masters" and "Servants" may be out there or how they were like, but she did know one thing; there were six others, and they were likely much more experienced than her. If I want to be a player in this game, I will need to see what other secrets these books have to offer, she thought.

    She tentatively walked to Lancerand put her hands on his shoulders, urging him to stand. She needs to quickly come up with a plan for the moment. And he required magic... how she would be able to give it to him, she knew not, but she could find out in the human skin bound book.

    "None, at the moment," she replied finally, looking bashfully away. "I am sure it will start soon, and this place will become a target. I wouldn't suppose you would be the type to be the first to attack, would you?" This man was truly imposing to her, and she felt like a child standing in front of him. She was curious as to who he was and what he wanted, but that was moot for her to know. Whatever it was, it must be important to him.
  7. Lancer let out a loud guffaw. "Indeed, I am!" he bellowed. He gave her a once-over from head to toe and back up again, sizing her up, his gaze causing her to redden further. "You seem a little out of sorts, Master. Could it be that you know not of the particulars of this Grail War?" Seeing her discomfiture, he sighed and sat upon a nearby box. The wood creaked under his weight.

    "The Holy Grail War," he began in a resonant tone, "is a secret battle royale between seven mages and their seven Servants for control of the Holy Grail, an omnipotent wish-granting device. The last pair standing gets their wish granted. Every Master and every Servant has one. The Servant classes include Saber, Archer, Rider, Caster, Assassin, and Berserker. And, of course, Lancer, like myself. I imagine our greatest opponents will be the Saber and the Berserker. Sabers are known for their Magic Resistance and all-around power, while Berserkers possess strength far in excess of any other Servant. Lancers, such as myself, are known for our swiftness and speed - I am a little unusual as I also qualify for the Berserker class due to my ferocity and strength. You are most lucky, Master! I possess both the speed of a Lancer and the strength of a Berserker! With me at your side, your wish will surely be granted!"

    Suddenly, he picked the girl up in his arms bridal-style, seemingly ignoring her squeak of surprise. "Now!" he boomed, "Let us go and find our foes!"

    He leaped up the stairs of the cellar and exploded out into the streets, taking to the rooftops with mighty leaps. The cool night air swept by Marie's features and danced through her hair, at once exhilarating and terrifying, as her Servant bounded from roof to roof and giving her an eagle-eye view of the city below.

    At last, Lancer perched upon the concrete roof of one of the taller office buildings in the city, giving them both a beautiful view. Cars and lights twinkled below, matching the sparkle of white stars in the black night sky.

    "I may not have the eyesight of an Archer," Lancer said, "but I imagine we will find our foes well enough from here." He pointed with the tip of his spear. "There seems to be a battle brewing already." Far below, in a park about a mile away, were the sparks of steel on steel. It must have been a titanic battle indeed if the blows could be seen this far away. And only Servants could produce that kind of power.

    "What is your command, Master?"
  8. Much of what Lancer had relayed to her she found in the book that she held. She did not protest him explaining it to her, for it allowed her to know that he had a better grasp of the implications of her foolish actions. He was fast and strong, and his description gave her an inkling of who he was, if the red plumage was not enough. In a sudden motion, he had swept her up in his arms and deftly left the cellar. He was leaping in a manner that was not possible for an ordinary person. Being unaccostumed to this method of travel, she clung to his armor while peering to where they were going. She knew the city, but not from above, not like this.

    They had reached a tall building where he set her down. She tried to run her fingers through her shoulder length curly blond hair, only to find that the swiftness of their travel had tangled it. She let her hand fall to her side as she looked down from the roof top of the building. Everything seemed so small at this height. She glanced to him as he relayed that his sight was not as powerful as another Servant class. Her gaze followed the point of his spear to where she could see bright flashes in the distance.

    He had asked for her command. She turned to look at him with her pale blue eyes, unsure of what to do. She knew that he was powerful, but she did not wish to possibly lose her powerful ally this early in the game. "Let's take the safe route for now. I do not have any means of spying at the moment, so I do not know who could be fighting who. I am new to this world, so I believe that we should study our opponents for the time being. You are a fighter, and I am sure that you can get a sense of their fighting style better than I. Let us observe them, but aat a closer distance than this. When you feel that you have seen enough of their methods, you may join in."

    Making such decisions was difficult. And she knew that she would have to make more. She prepared herself for his preferred mode of transportation. While she would have loved to take in the wonderous scenery of the city, looking down on the people below as they went about their business, she could not help but note that time was short. She would have loved to repremand him for the terrifying leaps, but that would have been moot. Everything seems to be rushing at full steam ahead, with nothing to stop them. Not even an iceberg if one lay ahead.
  9. Lancer nodded, picked up his Master again, and hopped down to the park below in a series of powerful leaps. They landed by a copse of trees, the sounds of battle like a roaring hurricane to their ears. Lancer stood protectively in front of Marie with a hand outstretched to her and peered behind the thick tree trunk at the battle before them.

    A tiny, lithe man in Chinese armor wielding both a straight-bladed sword and a spear fought from atop a proud black mare traded blows with a taller man in a uniform Marie recognized as World War II vintage. This latter, more modern, fellow wielded a broadsword of all things. And was keeping pace with his mounted foe despite the advantage of a horse.

    The Rider's ability to switch between weapons was impressive, and hinted that he could have been a Saber or a Lancer, but his skill with a mount was immediately evident by how easily he guided his mare with just a touch of his knees. Blade and spear screamed as the other man's broadsword flashed with mighty swings. The World War II soldier seemed to fight with a ferocity that belied his otherwise normal appearance.

    "If that's a Berserker," Lancer murmured quietly, "then he is a most unusual one. I see no madness in his eyes, just the joy of battle. Seems there is at least one other in this Grail War that is like myself."

    He pointed to the Rider. "That one seems to be from my country; I do not recognize him or his style. But look, Master. Equally skilled in blade and spear. That will prove a good challenge for me. If we ever engage that one, we should find a way to unseat him from his mount. On the ground, I am certain to win. That one, though," he pointed at the Berserker with a frown. "I do not recognize him, either. What realm would wear such attire?"
  10. Strangely enough, Marie was used to Lancer's preferred method of travel. It certainly was a lot quicker than a car, and cheaper than a helicopter... not to mention stealthier. He had set her down behind the tree and kept a protective stance in front of her, yet allowed her to see what was going on.

    The skill that the man on the horse had with his control over everything was astonishing to see, and she began to worry about Lancer if they were to fight. The other man, however, seemed strange to her, especially seeing a sword in the hands of someone who was wearing a WW2 uniform. Her curiosity was piqued and set aside a mental note for research when they returned to the Du Blanc Manor.

    She listened to what her Servant had to say about the two duelling opponents that they were watching. She could hear the confusion in his voice regarding the pair, especially regarding the Beserker. "It looks like a uniform in World War 2, a war that occured in the 1940's," Marie remarked. "It does not appear to be Nazi, so my only guess is that he must be from the Allied Forces, but why the sword..." Her voice trailed off in onfusion. While Lancer had spoken of his capabilities, she had some doubt about him as she continued to wath the pair in front of them fight and with great skill.
  11. Master and Servant watched the duel unfold before them. The Rider struck with precision while the Berserker returned with fury. Craters formed as missed blows struck the earth with enough force to shatter it. Gale-force winds from mighty swings of blades shattered nearby trees. Marie was getting a firsthand crash course in the titanic power of Servants. Lancer, on the other hand, was lighting up with anticipation and excitement at the prospect of eventually fighting these legendary warriors.

    The two Servants charged at one another, weapons crashing. A great explosion tore through the night air, casting dirt and grass this way and that. When the dust settled, the two Servants stared down one another at a distance.

    The Berserker made to attack again, but halted, obeying some unheard command. Lancer could tell by reading the mad warrior's visage that he did not enjoy being recalled from a fight, but the sword-wielding warrior diligently obeyed, bounding away from the battlefield. The Rider made to pursue, but also halted, also hearing an unhead voice. He slowly faded into the ether as he dematerialized.

    "Master," Lancer said once they were alone in the park, "it would seem this was just a scouting battle. Neither of their Masters wanted a prolonged battle this early on, without more information. It would seem a wise strategy, if clandestine." There was frustration in his tone. It was obviously that he longed to see and experience more combat, especially the kind of puissance that only a Heroic Spirit could emulate. "What is our next move?"
  12. The fighting continued uninhabited. Surely they were not the only ones in the cluster of trees, she figured. There surely should be others watching this duel. Marie glanced up at Lancer; his eyes were ablaze with desire to trade blows between these two would be foes. He is a fighter first... This must be entertaining to him, she thought as she stood behind her Servant's protective stance.

    From this safe distance, she still felt the rush of wind from the blows and misses, and she hid behind his form as the trees exploded from around the fighting Servants. She looked up to see them staring each other down before going on the attack once more. Only they halted and retreated from this battlefield.

    They were seemingly alone in the park when Lancer broke the silence. His frustration was palpable for want to join in, she surmised. This strategizing was new to her, but she had a hunger to know more about the potential foes that they would be facing. She leaned against the tree that they concealed themselves behind, deep in thought.

    "We have information, and likely more than enough, to identify who the one you called Beserker could be. The Rider... I don't have the faintest of clues besides what you have told me. We could have been watched as well, if you say that this was a scouting battle. The masters could have used this to draw others like us to the field to ascertain who they might be fighting as well." Marie felt like she was rambling on at this point. She left the rest of her thoughts remain unspoken until they returned. She gazed up to her Servant, fearing that her counsel would add to his frustration. "I say we retreat for now and use what information we have to use in finding out who the fighting pair are. I also need to study and practice so that I may be of more use and to put up defenses around the manor, along with supplying you with the mana you require."
  13. Lancer nodded obediently. He surprised the girl with how easily he went with her plan. "Knowing our enemies will only assure us of victory," he reasoned in agreement. "And," and here he released a feral grin across his face, "knowing who they are and what they can do will only make the battle sweeter."

    He lifted Marie into his arms and leaped away into the night.

    "Master, if I may ask," her burly Servant intoned, his voice clear even amongst the wind of flight, "what magecraft can you use? What mysteries are at your disposal? It would seem wise for us to know one another's skills, do you not agree?"

    He seemed to puff out his chest in pride as he began, "I, myself, was blessed with the qualifications to meet many other Servant Classes through my deeds in life. While I serve the best as either a Lancer or Rider, I am also powerful as a Berserker or an Archer. My Noble Phantasm allows me to access the abilities and other Noble Phantasms of all those classes at once. With me at your side, victory will be ours for sure!"
  14. Marie nodded in agreement and smiled in relief. She was glad to see that her battle lusty Servant agreed with her plans of caution. She allowed herself to be lifted into his arms to traverse the distance back to the manor. She perked up as she heard his voice in inquiring about her skills. She blushed in embarrassment. How would he react when he knows that his Master is not fit for this type of battle? Would he deem me unfit to be his Master? Thoughts like this flowed through her mind.

    She was glad that he started again before he responded, but was concerned about whether or not anyone else could hear them through magical means, and she could not halt his speech. His arrogance was showing as his chest swelled with pride as he was describing his skills. Maybe his abilities will make up for my incompetence, she thought. He certainly was strong, but so was Rider and Berserker. But could they harness the power of the other classes like her Lancer? She did not know, and she was fearful of finding out.

    "I would rather talk about my abilities -- or lack thereof -- when we return. There, I can see about a spell that could alert us to anyone encroaching on us..." Her voice trailed off, realizing that she was giving too much information out in the open, despite them being high in the air, bounding from rooftop to rooftop. But from what she read, a mage's power is formidable, and she truly knew not what limits there were to their power.
  15. A few minutes later found the pair within the safety of the Du Blanc family manor. They sat in the living room, though the massive Lancer seemed comically oversized sitting in a chair clearly designed for a normal man. He gave his Master a once-over. She seemed more comfortable here, behind the barrier field erected around the estate. He could feel the telltale tingle of mana and ancestral magic around the grounds. A long line of mages had lived here over the years.

    "So, Master, you said something a little curious earlier," Lancer began, "something about a lack of abilities. What did you mean by that?"
  16. Marie paced the livingroom, keeping her path along the edge of an oriental rug pattern in the rug that lay sprawled out on the floor. She stopped and looked at Lancer. "I never was trained as a mage, but judging what I have seen here, there seems to be quite a bit of magic in my family. My mother never told me anything about my family history and pushed me to other endeavors. I discovered all this when my grandmother died. I found a book in the library in the cellar and decided to try out the summoning while reading on other things while I collected the blood needed to make the circle. I am a new mage. I never thought it would work. I thought there would not be a war. Forgive me, Lancer. I may cause you more problems in the end."

    She remained standing, her legs shaking slightly as she was unsure as to how her Servant would react. Is it likely that he would choose another master? She thought so. But better to be open about it now than later. Either way, her lack of knowledge would certainly be a hindrance.
  17. Lancer was stunned by Marie's revelation. He had expected a partner in this War, one who would lead him to victory. Instead, he was saddled with a novice. He frowned. "You mean to tell me you have no knowledge of how this War is to be conducted, or magecraft at your disposal, or even a strategy for this war?"

    He threw his hands up in the air. "Unbelievable! Should I then recommend you merely sit in the cellar while I win the War for you single-handedly?"
  18. She knew his reaction was not pleasant. His inquiry on keeping her in the "dungeon" was something she scoffed at. "I'll be down in there most of the time anyways, finding ways to keep us safe and to give you the mana you require to even stay in this world. I will not stand idly by as you try to bullrush this War. " She took a few paces towards him, stopping a few feet away from him. She kept her eyes focused on him, and she was determined not to be a wallflower. "I have cancelled my rehearsals. They can always find another dancer to take my place. I have nothing besides this at this moment. I want to see you fight. I want to see your skills."

    She took a couple more steps forward, stopping right in front of him. This imposing man was hers by magical rite, and she was determined to prove that, inexperience be damned. She leaned down, putting her hands on the arms of the chair to prop herself up. Her face was about a foot away from his. Her face did not resemble one who was naive and ignorant, but fierce and resolute. She was in this whether she wanted to be or not. She put herself there, and now she must follow through in this game of life and death. She said one final statement to him in her speech to seal her new intentions: "I want to see you win."
  19. So. There is indeed steel in my Master.

    Lancer was pleased by Marie's determination. It meant she may just have what it takes to lead him in this War, maybe even survive it. And how could he deny a heartfelt wish such as that?

    "I will endeavor to bring you victory," he boomed, standing. "You would speak this way to a Heroic Spirit, boldly and without a trace of fear. Ha! Girl, you may yet be a worthy Master!"

    He slapped her across the back, his great strength sending her tumbling into the nearby sofa.
  20. Marie stepped back as he stood and a smirk played on her lips. Now would come the more difficult part: proving that she was a woman of her words. She has a lot of work ahead of her, and while she would likely not be up to the skill of the other mages, she will likely be of use. She crossed her slender arms beneath her chest as Lancer voiced his approval. He smacked her across the back in a measure of good will, but the strike was too strong for her lithe frame, and her dancer's grace could not save her from falling into the couch. She pushed herself up and looked at her Servant in what appeared to be anger. "You asshole!" she yelled, her voice echoing off the tall ceiling before going into a chuckle.

    She stood, straightened herself, and approached Lancer for the first time without trepidation. "Now," she started, "it's time for us to dissect the information we gathered from the fight in the park. I'm sure that a lot has been revealed to us that was not otherwise directly apparent."
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