It was quiet on the beach near Corinth, the waves lapping the shore as the sky turned brilliant shades of gold and orange as the sun set against the distant horizon. A trireme sat beached on the shore, sailors in loose tunics carrying supplies from a stockpile further up on the shore down to stock it. The captain sat on a nearby piece of driftwood, watching them load their supplies and nervously glancing at the woman next to him.
Dressing in long flowing purple robe, adorned with small trimmings of gold with a black and purple hooded shawl over top of it, the woman sat with her legs crossed as she watched the sailors. Leaning against her shoulder was a long staff, top adorned with two silver circles of varying sizes. Glancing at the captain, she smirked in slight amusement at his nervousness before speaking. "Nicon, how long until the ship is ready to leave?"
Tugging on the collar of his tunic, Nicon looked at the sailors and frowned as a few stopped to look at him. He quickly shooed them onward, letting out concerned chuckle. "W-Well, the men will finish getting all the supplies onto the ship in about an hour or so your grace. After that, we can set sail for Thebes. Should only take a couple days to get there."
Nodding, she turned back to watch the sailors, ignoring the almost silent sigh of relief that escaped Nicon. Their lives were spared for now, simply because the dragonbone warriors couldn't sail the vessel themselves, and it would take too long for her to acquire anything else. They would die before they reached their destination, to preserve the secret of her being in Thebes. Jason could never find out where she went, less he hunt her across all of Greece…
Her ear shifted as she heard… something, a voice drifting across the beach. Turning ever so slightly to glance at the captain, she waited for him to take notice and handle it. Even as the voice grew louder, becoming more defined as the voice of a young girl, he did not move. A small frown came over her face, and she made a coughing noise to grab his attention. He jumped and turned to look at her in apprehension. "Are you going to deal with that?"
He just gave her a confused look as he turned to look over his shoulder and all around, even as the voice started to grow more defined. No words were able to be understood, but the tone was obvious despite that. Desperate, and panicked. "D-Deal with what, your grace?"
She pursed her lips and looked at him for a few moments. He really didn't hear that, did he? That was odd, and odd meant things not going to plan. Taking her staff into her hand, she smoothly rose to stand and made a dismissive gesture towards the sailors. "I want all the supplies to be on the ship by the time I return, anything not on board shall be left behind."
Ignoring the sharp intake of breath from Nicon and the sudden orders he was shouting to his crew as he sprinted over to help, she turned and started calmly striding across the sands. The voice grew more prominent, and words grew clear as she went, along with the 'thuds' that came from flesh striking metal.. "LET ME OUT! Please, someone, anyone, HELP ME! Let me OUT!"
At the crest of a dune, she stopped to survey the area. The voice was still screaming, though the words and the thuds were growing fainter. Not in the sense of an increase in distance, but more in the sense of the girl growing weaker. Was it some kind of spirit perhaps, one that required magic circuits to be able to hear? Her eyes found the source of the voice, and an eyebrow rose at the… distortion in the air.
"You should go back to the ship." Whirling, her staff was pointed directly towards the woman that appeared behind her. Despite the glowing purple circle of runes floating around the head, the completely mundane looking woman simply stared at her. Long brown wavy locks, a clean white dress, and sandals. Completely and utterly mundane, if not for the sheer weight of presence that seemed to press down on everything around her. Greater than even Aphrodite, all those years ago.
"Alaya. Why does the Will of Humanity stand before me now?" Her glare remained strong, despite knowing that any second could be the last she ever breathed. If Alaya wanted her death, she would have dispatched a Counter Guardian. If there was some task she commanded of her, then she would have simply spoken directly into her mine. To take a physical form and appear like this was… strange.
"To tell you to go back to the ship. Your place is here in the Throne of Heroes. That girl does not need your help." She froze as she heard those monotone words, the spell ignited at the end of her staff simply vanishing as her concentration was broken. What in the world...
"...Here, in the Throne of Heroes? This is a beach near Corinth, not the place of legends. Do not fool with me, Alaya." The growl escaped her throat even as the spell reignited at the end of her staff, even as Alaya tilted her head and stared at her.
"Yes, and no. This is a beach near Corinth, but it is not truly. This is your memory, your mind. You know that is an entirely true possibility." The monotone caused her to grind her teeth, even as her mind went whirling. She knew the Throne of Heroes was most likely not a physical place, but the idea that she could already be dead… Alaya wouldn't lie, Alaya would have no reason to lie.
Pulling her staff up and letting the spell die, she glared at the manifestation of humanity's unconscious and glanced back to the distortion. The girls voice had been reduced to quiet, wretched sobs, and the thudding had stopped. Her mind started connecting the dots, as she stared at the distortion. She said that she should stay here in the Throne of Heroes, meaning that entering the… portal would free her from it.
Meaning, someone was strong enough to try and summon her through the veil, just through sheer blind panic as far as she could tell. Not just a clone of her inside a vessel, but the real true her kept in the Throne itself. She was dead, and had lived her life in its entirety… but this was a chance at getting to live again. To be free from a cycle of living her life over and over again. "No, I think I shall not go back to the ship."
"You should. I cannot guarantee that you'll return to the Throne of Heroes if you go through that portal." The words carried to her as she strode towards the distortion. She ignored them, examining the shimmer in the air as she got closer. There was a faint shift in tone and color, as if the area was night while the rest of the area was not. A faint, sickly sweet stench of rot carried to her nose as the wind blew through it, making her scrunch her nose up. She never looked back as she stepped into it. If she had, she might have noticed the faint traces of a smile on Alaya's face, or the devious glint in her eye as everything vanished around her.
It was painful, stepping through that portal and crossing over. Her usual teleportation was quick, painless, the only sensation being that all sensation vanished. This felt like she was being forcibly broken down into chunks, having those chunks carried over, and reconstructed. All in the span of about a second or two, leaving her stumbling as she came out.
Pressing a hand against what felt like a metal wall to sturdy herself, she kept her eyes closed and breathed deeply through her nose. The first thing to hit her was stench of blood and rot, and she simply soaked it in for a moment. The second thing to come to her was the steady flow of prana of prana coming to her. Opening her eyes, she pushed herself upright and looked around the area she found herself in. A long school corridor, with lockers lining it on both sides. All the lights were out, and judging from the light coming through the windows it was late in the evening.
How she knew what everything was not important at the moment, it was a question that could be answered at another time. Her eyes were drawn to the source of the horrid scent and flow of prana. One of the lockers, with small dents lining it from the inside. Old, stale blood was oozing out from under the door and pooling on the ground in front of it. Taking a step forward and off the ground, she raised a hand and pressed it against the door's lock and quietly spoke a divine word. The combination entered itself with quick precise turns, and the latch lifted.
She had to take several quick steps back as the door opened and its contents spilled out onto the floor. Her nose wrinkled in disgust as she took it all in. Used femnine products, obviously left to literally rot for a fairly long time. Insects of various types skittered away in all directions, from the most important thing to come out of the locker. An unconscious wreck of a girl, hair messily sprayed across the ground as she laid on her side.
Kneeling in the air, she waved a hand and quietly spoke another divine word. The rot and filth on and around the girl disintegrated as the prana infused it, drifting up into the air as barely visible motes for a moment before vanishing. Reaching a hand out to press it against her neck, she felt a faint pulse and pursed her lips. It wouldn't do for the girl to die, she was providing a not insignificant amount of prana.
Lifting the girls hand, she eyed the curious sigil running along the back of her hand in red. At least part of whatever spell that allowed the girl's prana to flow into her was tied up there, and she could sense the condensed prana that made it up. Something to look into further at a later time. Taking the hand between her own, a muttered word brought a faint purple glow to the girls body. Bites and bruises faded, her ruined hands and fingernails restored themselves, and the venom and infections in her blood were burned away.
Straightening up, she watched the girl shift a bit in her sleep and mutter. She could wait for the girl awaken, but that might take hours and frankly… She didn't want the job of having to calm her down, nor was it worth a spell to force her to calm down. Looking up towards the ceiling, it was an easy guess as to how much distance it would be before open air. A muttered divine word was all it took for her to vanish into a swarm of purple butterfly shaped motes of energy, and reappear high above the cityscape. Her cloak spread wide as she surveyed the shithole that was to be her new home for the time being, and a giggle came to her. The giggle grew into a full bellied laugh as she floated there in the air above everything, a single thought passing through her head. This is going to be fun.
So… This is one of the ideas I had floating around my head for a fair bit. It kind of refused to die, mostly because it seems very different from your average Worm/Fate crossover fic. As far as I can tell, Caster has never made an appearance in one. Which is a damn shame in my opinion, because she honestly has a lot in common with Taylor and she just works really well in the setting. To any TYPE Moon fans, feel free to tell me if I got anything wrong. I tried to make sure it was all right, but the magic system is fairly complex.
To any curious about my other fics, they're still ongoing. I just had to get this little… thing out on paper.