This fic took much planning before I could start, folks, I really hope you like it. This is the tale of the Sixth Grail War, a war that was supposed to never happen after the original Grail's destruction in the Fifth War. Alas, Fate has different plans and a whole world away from the former battlefield, someone instigates another War. The major mage city of the west, Hartcroft, is thrown in chaos as the various factions try to minimize the damage and keep up the masquerade, the Association from Europe tries to use the War to spread their influence to the west, the Church interferes with the hidden agenda to retrieve the new Grail for themselves if it really is a Biblical one, Waver Velvet arrives in Hartcroft to investigate why there is a War when the Grail should be gone and seven new Masters fight for their dreams in an all-out battle that may not even have a winner...
Without further ado, we begin!
Fate shall wait no more, oh mere mortal,
The time is nigh to make a choice.
Will he doomed to drown in endless sorrow
Forsake all future and retrace the flow
Or maybe he of darkness spawned
Will choose the light and be reborn?
Perhaps the one created to destroy
Shall tip the scales and recreate
an angel from the devil's ploy?
Choose wisely, mortal,
Hope and pray,
By Fate's decree
This War is underway.
Epilogue to a Beginning:
Feeling Heaven's Sorrow
Five more minutes to midnight…
But how many have passed since the end of this world?
Was it yesterday that the flames of the Sun were snuffed out like a mere candle left at the mercy of the autumn wind? Did a month pass since this blackest night descended? Or maybe it has been a year already, a year since all the stars in the night sky went out one by one?
A part of me doesn't want to know. That tiny, hidden part, embodying the crying boy from wars long gone, just keeps on struggling, refusing to acknowledge this world. Because, frankly, doesn't acknowledging it mean admitting how much at fault I am for all this? Who would've thought, the route to Hell really was paved with good intentions.
Although I never imagined a Hell so lifeless, that even the flames have a color no more. Or maybe it's just me? Tc, there I go again, asking and asking and asking… just hoping for someone to answer. And since, yet again, no reply comes from the cold semi-corporeal mist that surrounds me, I answer myself.
One color remains. The deepest crimson, like a blossoming rose, still lingers in this wretched world. And each night it announces mankind's fall again and again, with a blood-red full moon that refuses to be swept away. And casting down its majestic light, it colors the silent ocean. Or maybe that much blood has been spilled already?
Four more minutes to midnight…
Coldly announces the pocket watch clutched in my shivering hand as the wind chooses that exact moment to remind my sorry self of its existence. But even its unholy chill seems somewhat hollow now… or maybe it's me that's just an empty doll lingering behind after that untimely end. And yet I know I'm still alive. The pain is long gone but I can still feel it- the crimson, the last color left in this world, slowly trickling down between the half-frozen fingers clutching my side.
And the ashes keep on falling, just like snow. Or is it the snow itself that's so gray?
Three more minutes to midnight…
Who would've thought that this time the Grail would be the real deal? Or, rather, who would've thought that the Heavens themselves would deny for it to be sullied by a mere human being?
Denied any company, I yet again am forced to answer my own questions. Or rather, the crying boy who still dreams of wars long gone does it instead of me.
It was never the Grail that was at fault… perhaps. But we, who claimed the titles of Masters, should have known better than to think that the Heavens would answer to someone like us. Murderers, betrayers, usurpers, liars all!
It was our rage that ignited the flames of this Hell.
It was our greed that called forth this blackest night.
It was our gluttony that poisoned the air itself.
It was our lust that turned us against each other.
It was our sloth that made us trample our beliefs.
It was our envy that spilled first blood.
It was our pride that led to the fall.
Looking back, truly we embodied all the evils in this world. Then how come no one noticed, how come none of us stopped and tried to think it through for a minute? Was it Fate's decree that the end should be like this?
Two more minutes to midnight…
The scarlet caress of the moon gently washes over the old watch. The ornate chain attached to it looks like a tiny snake just waiting to slither away through the gray snow if only given the chance. But I keep on holding tightly and my muddled brain can't help but ask himself again why did I even keep it.
I'm no magician. Dear God, how much I wish I was but… reality is reality. Even if only a fantasy is capable of overcoming another fantasy, none of mine is strong enough to overcome this fantasy called reality. Indeed, the hastily engraved words on the watch's lid- 'The Fifth'- they mean nothing to me.
I am thankful to whoever it was that took his time to put those fateful words there, but it's too late already. Not when I need to go back almost two months- unless the golden watch is lying, it is the eve of the 24th. And in this lonely December evening, I can't help but wonder, will I live long enough to wait for Christmas?
One last minute to midnight…
It seems it's going to be a lonely Christmas this year. And yet, as the fleeting scarlet drains me from my last colors, I swear I can see him if I just squint a bit. Unwavering, he just braves the harshness of this dead world like it's nothing and keeps on struggling onwards. Does he really expect me to follow? Hah, not in my current condition. But when has he listened when I've told him to stop and wait for me anyway?
Funny thing, though. No matter how far he goes he still seems so… close. Must be that damned height of his. Man like a mountain, he was. Next to him it's as if I haven't grown a bit during all those years.
What did we promise each other back then? A King and a follower and a journey to the ends of the world itself.
I guess it's too late now. Is there even such a place anymore? No ocean was left untainted.
This servant has failed his King. A pity, and here I thought this was going to be my greatest victory.
But, I wonder, what would he do in my place? It's not like there is-
-A way. Another route has to be taken.
Whether it's going to be the right one chosen from all the possibilities outstretching from those crossroads of infinity-
-Whether those second chances are going to make any difference at all-
-It doesn't matter. It never has. But that promise is one I never intend to break.
So, as long as there is another route to be taken, as long as there is the slightest glimmer of hope… all I have to do to alter Fate is retrace it. Retrace my steps, my mistakes, their deaths. Indeed, there's only one way I can fight Fate now.
"Hey, World… if it isn't such a bother and if you are still alive somewhere out there… I would like to make a contract."