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Fate/Vagabond ArdorThe sea of lights below looked to stretch on into infinity, the metropolitan sprawl edging up to the starless sky and blurring into the darkness at its dimly reflective boundary, a fabrication of smoke and night haze. The waves never moved, jagged gray sentinels propped up in undulated rows and decorated with collision lights and glowing office cells. Life, instead, pulsed beneath the surface, in the stop and go transit of traffic columns and the vaguely discernible haze of human bodies marching alongside the roads. São Paulo's radiance glared on the cabin windows even over the red-tone interior lighting. Frantic, faint shadows webbed through the helicopter's oscillating interior, distorting the locked faces of the two bodies sat face to face in its belly. The feverish, flashing lighting exaggerated the difference in silhouette between the two. One was draped in the finery of the holy church, those ubiquitous black clerical garments, in this case matched with enough ornaments around her neck and on her person to indicate either a ranking member or some kind of zealot. A crozier stood between her legs, angled to fit within the cramped metal interior. Her opponent brought no trappings of office, no indications of rank, no appearances of allegiance. Just a gaudy aloha shirt, glowing in the combat lighting. There wasn't a bottle to be seen, but the scent of alcohol seemed to permeate the surrounding air. Gaunt, angular features grimaced in contrast to his dress, his face scrunched at the bad news he'd just been given. The man leaned forward, cradling his chin as he angled for a better view of the city below.
Day One: The Shortest Night
December 21st, 2021
Day One: The Shortest Night
December 21st, 2021
"Well, it is my sincere hope that you change your design within the next... Day or so?"
"It is no more my design than that of the Church. Your assistance is no longer needed, and you may witness from the same distance the Association shall. What is wrong shall soon be made right in the world. Our vessel has chosen its champions. Meek, wretched heretics cursed to the path of the Magi. Who greater to save, who greater to bring salvation?"
The interior had been insulated in a hurry for its new life as a civilian transport, but even with the quality of life of a luxury helicopter it was difficult to hear the woman's voice over the engine. He didn't have an answer. The aloha shirt shifted, reaching his hand across his lap to the silent, unnoticed third in the cabin. Unnoticed, until a bottle of gin was pressed back into his palm.
"I'm starting to see why you do it," He conceded, before turning up the bottle and drinking deeply.
"Fuck yourself Boche."
"Gesundheit." He returned the bottle to his partner.
"It worries me to note that the years have not mellowed your kind's taste for insolence. You may choose not to acknowledge the significance of what comes, but I will pray on your behalf that your contribution will see you to Grace."
The cabin tilted softly before a gentle thud announced their arrival, the thump of the pilot's door followed quickly by the opening of the cabin's sliding side. Noise blasted in, both from the still rushing rotors and the roar of city life thirty stories below. Through the peaks and valleys of three blocks of São Paulo's interior, the graceful towers of the city's Metropolitan Cathedral stood apart from the old quarter buildings beside them in their darkness. Only the ghostly glow of the grounds' lights illuminated the aging structure, a calculated, rustic dimness that made the building more conspicuous than any spotlight could have. Both of them looked towards it, though only one was headed for the building. There was no other place for the Overseer to perch herself at; that building was where the turbulent leylines converged. Even as it secluded itself from the vibrance and energy of the city around it it hummed with a force beyond normal ken. Naturally, it was where the vessel had to reside, it did not take a phenomenal magus to sense the power thrashing in search of release around such a thing.
"Kindly remove yourself from the Archdiocese at once." Her head swung back inward, eyes narrowed in the dark.
"It is a certainty that the Magi of this harsh age will come only with gifts of violence, and as I imagine Earthly security is the only one such that concerns you, it is with heavy heart that I say I cannot assure it before such forces."
"It would not do for the nature of our partnership if you force the Church to remove you."
"This isn't my stop anyway. Feliz Navidad, Sister."
"Feliz Natal, Senhor."
The Overseer swung herself free of the helicopter, stepping down to the rubberized landing pad and marching towards the roof access. The sight of the black clad cleric disappeared behind glare as the door behind her slid shut. Rotor wash buffeted the roof, scenic plants tossing side to side as the gallant, sleek aircraft climbed its way back into the sky. Its running lights faded together into a single pinprick of brightness as it departed, joining the countless other domestic helicopters which formed São Paulo's own moving constellation. The midsummer night was warm, young, and already almost over, but its short time had been promised to herald the start of a battle like none other in the city's history: A struggle of the long dead and the soon to be, the only prize laid before them limitless, beautiful potential. The birth of a wish.