chapter one: the masters
A/N: Thank you so much for the reviews. My love for all of you cannot be contained in words XD.
Some things I thought I should clarify: Though I have put in Byakuran and Shouichi as the two main characters of the fic, the story is not going to always revolve around them. This is a story about a Holy Grail War involving 7 Masters and their Servants, and so it's going to have quite the number of main characters whom are all going to be depicted and have parts of the story revolving around them. So I'm just warning you, you might not actually see Byakuran and Shouichi for the next few chapters. But I promise you, they ARE the main characters. It's just going to take some time for the story to get back to them ^-^;;
So yeah. Boring introduction chapter this time, sorry. It gets more exciting later on P:
EK12: Lol yeah Gilgamesh. To be honest I was listening to his theme whilst I was writing this…I like to think it spurs on imagination and creativity with its pure badassery. XD About Tsuna...you'll find out this chapter :D
Chocolate and caramel: Yay, there are other people who love Fate Stay Night :D You have no idea how much courage I had to muster up before attempting to even write this. T.T Ehehehe, three of the characters you've mentioned will be in this fic, but what roles they will play…well you'll just have to see.
IdyllicCritic: Lol. Considering its Byakuran we're talking about, you're most likely right. Mukuro and Gokudera….no comment. *cough*wink*choke*
Link no Sou: Another Fate Stay Night and 10051 fan? I AM NOT ALONE XD. Ooohh Enma huh. No comment on him. XD
RR: Oh gosh, you're read Peripheral Hindsight? I feel embarrassed .. I abandoned that story after rewriting once, and only after two chapters – that's how bad of a writer I am T.T. I promise I won't abandon this one though .. Btw, can you still guess who the people in the chatroom were? :D
"Greed is the epitome of human nature. The Holy Grail War is ultimate proof of that. So tell me, what is it you're so greedy about? What is it you're willing to risk your life for? What is it…your ultimate wish?"
The sky rumbled, the promise of a thunderstorm glinting in the darkness of the night above. Ryohei could not help but think how he would love to be outside, waiting for the eventual storm and the wildness it would bring. It would better than here, inside this dark, unlit room and the suffocating silence of the dying.
Anywhere was better than here.
The young white-haired man quickly moved towards the ailing figure lying in the bed, dropping to his knees as he took the frail, sickly hand in his. "Yes…father?"
The ailing older man did not answer immediately, stalling a few moments to gather enough breath to gasp his next words. "Three years…I will…not last…three years." Ryohei gripped the weak, motionless hand in his, closing his eyes to finally hear what he had known for so long and yet denied viciously. "It is…the duty…of the Sasagawa family…to act as…overseer-". Coughs burst from his cracked and dry lips, but the man desperately went on. "As overseer…from the Church to the…Holy Grail War." A slight pause to gather breath again, and his next words were nearly inaudible. "The Fourth Holy Grail War is in…three years…Ryohei. I will not….I will not last three years." The father gazed at his son, a sudden resolution and firmness appearing the frail husk of a man wracked by illness and the promise of death. "I pass this duty…onto you."
Ryohei gazed back solemnly, his expression unreadable.
"I accept this duty."
What is the greatest wish of all magi? Power beyond all imagination? Universal love and acceptance? The limitless ability to create and destroy as you please? No. The greatest wish of all magi is the same as any researcher, any scientist.
To pinpoint the beginning of all things. That, is the dearest wish of all magi, the "Root". The Akashic Records – the records of the beginning and the end of all things that creates everything in this world – also known as the "Place of God". And, as implied by such a name, ultimately unattainable by human hands.
However, such a desire only remains as an unattainable wish in the hands of people without motivation, desperation, and greed.
Vongola. Millefiore. Simon. These were the three magi families of the beginning. Two hundred years ago, together they designed the reproduction of the "Holy Grail". Believing that the summoning of the Grail would result in the granting of any wish, the three families each offered their secret arts to finally manifest the 'omnipotent container'.
However, the Grail can only grant the wish of a single person. And as soon as that truth was realized, the bonds of cooperation were washed away by the blood of conflict.
That is the beginning of the "War of the Holy Grail', otherwise known as "Heaven's Feel."
Henceforth, the Grail was summoned every 60 years in the far-east city of Namimori. The summoned Grail then selected seven magi and distributed a huge amount of prana among them, rendering possible the summoning of Heroic Spirits called "Servants". The conclusion of the battle to the death between those seven magi and their Servants, would reveal whom among the seven was most suitable to receive the Grail.
...Putting it simply, this was what Ryohei Sasagawa was about to be involved in.
"So the old man is finally dying. Took him a while, the old bastard."
Ryohei turned, exasperated, to face his younger sister. Despite the general aura of innocence and purity her smiles and appearance exuded, Kyoko had quite the dirty mouth. Not to mention vicious. "He's our father, Kyoko. Not to mention dying. Pay some measure of respect."
The young woman simply snorted, and turned away to face the darkness of the night outside. Curled up on the windowsill and facing away from him, she was the perfect picture of a sulking child. "I don't want, nor need, to respect a useless father like that." Her voice took on a sneering tone. "Admit it, you don't either. The only reason you've accepted the duty of overseer isn't because it's his request, but because-"
She turned to him them, and they stared at each other silently; one a challenging gaze, the other resolute and sad.
"…Fine. Go ahead. Do whatever you want in this stupid battle royale." Kyoko averted her eyes, uncurling her body from the windowsill to leave the suddenly unbearable aura of the room. "You know my feelings on the Holy Grail War, but let me give you one last warning."
She paused in the doorway. "…This isn't a game Ryohei. This is a War. Nothing can guarantee your survival in this, overseer or not. Especially with what I suspect you're planning to do. Even…even I can't guarantee your protection."
Ryohei's smile was sad and empty. "Yeah. I know."
"The patterns that have appeared on the back of your right hand are 'Command Seals'. It is the proof that you have been chosen by the Grail, and the holy mark that grants you the right to control a Servant." Tsunayoshi simply stared a bit longer at the crimson mark on his outstretched hand, before sighing and running it through his uncontrollable hair.
"…I suppose you all think it's an honor, and that I should feel overjoyed for this…development." His tone was dry, with a hint of anger.
Basil paused, his next words uncertain. "…Master Tsunayoshi..?"
Reclining casually on the ornate windowsill, the Japanese boy sighed and turned away to stare out the window at the fading crimson light of the sunset. "…Just carry on."
"...Very well. Information from the Church has arrived about the other participants of the Holy Grail War. Even though there's still three more years until it begins, it appears that three Masters, including you, have already been chosen."
"Well…one of them appears to be…Reborn, the 'Magus-killer', sir."
Tsunayoshi froze. Reborn. It was a name feared and despised by magi worldwide. Known as the notorious freelancing assassin whose specialty was killing magi, his methods of murder and disposal were efficient, and yet utterly despicable to other magi and their pride. Ambush and assassination were only part of the tip of the very large iceberg.
Magi antagonizing each other to the point of mutual destruction, those scenarios were common in the world of Magi. However, those cases were usually purely competitions of magecraft and decided through series of processes which abided certain combat regulations. The 'War' of the Holy Grail could be considered one of them; though it was called a 'war', it wasn't a chaotic death match, but more of a competition with a series of strict rules and regulations.
The planting of a bomb in public areas to draw the attention of the target, the striking down of a commercial airplane in order to destroy one magi within the countless passengers within, numerous cases of kidnapping of non-magi for use in blackmail to draw in the designated magi victim. It seemed that Reborn was neither bound by such regulations, nor held the pride and honor of the magi who abided by them. Truly, the title of "Assassin', 'Magus-Killer' was befitting of the man who would nonchalantly use such despicable measures.
Tsunayoshi sighed. There was still three more years until the war, and he already had a ridiculously dangerous opponent.
"Information regarding the Magus-killer is scarce, but they all seem to state that he has retired as an assassin recently. Our sources reveal that the Millefiore family has taken him in." Basil paused. "My guess would be that he will participate in the Holy Grail War for them."
Tsunayoshi raised an eyebrow. This was news. Very dangerous news. He sighed again. "And the other Master? Who is it?"
"The church has informed that it is a non-magus, named Shouichi Irie".
"Who is he?"
"…About that sir, he appears to be…well, no-one." Tsunayoshi frowned, prompting further explanation with a raised eyebrow.
Basil cleared his throat, gripping the papers in front of him. "16 years old. Father is an average salary man, Mother an average housewife. Has an older sister 2 years his senior. Top of his year academically, but has less than average grades in P.E." He tapped the paper with a finger. "Unrelated to any known magus family, descended from no known magus bloodline, and does not appear to have ever been involved in any magical incidents. He is…a normal person."
"…well I suppose that wouldn't make him much of a threat in the War then…but…" Tsunayoshi's lip twitched.
"..why did the Holy Grail choose him in the first place?"
Despite the perception the majority of the Vongola family held of him, Basil wasn't a fool. Having been appointed as the constant assistant/companion of the heir to the Vongola Bloodline, Tsunayoshi Sawada, for twelve years now, he knew…many things.
He knew that the Japanese boy before him had been cruelly taken away from his mother at the young age of six to be privately trained in magecraft by the Vongola private tutors.
He knew he had hated his training sessions, despised them with all his heart. He knew that he had cried himself to sleep in the early days. He knew that when he had first successfully used his fire magecraft and manifested his flames, he had been afraid of them devouring him whole.
He knew that when the elders of the Vongola family realized his prodigious talent and promising potential, and made preparations to train the boy further and teach him the deepest secrets of the Vongola Flame Magecraft, the eight year old boy had simply closed his eyes in resignation and dull, quiet hatred. He knew that look would remain in the boy's eyes always.
He knew that when the boy was appointed the Heir to the Vongola Bloodline at the age of sixteen, Tsunayoshi had gone into a bar and ordered his first shot of alcohol to begin the process of drinking himself into oblivion. He knew that it hadn't been for congratulatory purposes.
He knew Tsunayoshi wished a life of a non-magus, a normal life with normal occurrences.
He knew he missed his mother still, and had written letters to her everyday despite the lack of responses, until he realized that none of the countless letters had ever reached her. He knew that the nineteen year old boy-no, man- still wished to meet, or at very least see the caring figure of his mother again, despite sometimes wondering whether she was part of a long lost dream from his long ago childhood.
He knew that though the majority Vongola Family respected and adored Tsunayoshi and his prodigious talent and power, the Japanese boy hated them all with an unforgivable vengeance. He knew he hated his father most of all, the reason he had been 'scouted' by the Vongola in the first place.
And he suspected, that if Tsunayoshi really did win the Holy Grail War, that if he really did manage to get the Holy Grail to grant one wish, he wouldn't use it to open the Gate of Akasha as the Vongola wished.
He would use it to completely destroy the existence of the Vongola Bloodline.
Basil let out a breath he hadn't known he had been holding, and sighed. There was no use pondering over the danger of his boss being a participant in the War, not anymore. He was here to assist his boss in the upcoming Holy Grail War to the best of his ability. Nothing more.
His loyalty had been sealed long ago.
Once upon a time, there was a powerful and distinguished family who ruled the northern coasts of Italy. 'Giglio Nero', the "Family of Knights', they were known as, regarded as one of the most powerful and oldest magical lineages of magi and magus warriors.
However, such good fortunes did not hold forever.
There were legends even then, in those long ago times. One of them involved the elusive and mystical forest of "Silence" – the "Foresta Silenziosa". A forest of magic they called it, for it was believed that those who could find the disappearing forest of no known location, maneuver themselves through its maze and illusion filled depths which would trigger madness, would be rewarded with power and wisdom beyond imagination. "But beware!" they warned, "for an evil witch dwells amongst the woods. Beware for she will destroy and curse any who dare cross her path!"
However such warnings would not deter bright-eyed, proud and confident young men from their quests. And so many sought the forest. Many could not even find it. Some turned back from their quests, turned mad and insane from the illusions and confusion the forest brought them. Some never returned at all, eventually believed dead by their mourning families.
And then, one day a young lord from the great family of Giglio Nero decided to pursue the quest. Bringing with him only a small pack, his sword, and his trusted steed, he ventured out to search for the elusive "Forest of Silence".
For weeks he wandered the map-less plains and forests beyond the lands of his home. His supply of gold and food slowly but surely running out, he struggled on.
It was only after he decided to give up and return to his home, that he caught his first glimpse of the trees on the edges of the forest. With cries of joy he stumbled towards them, finally entering the forest he had search for for so long.
But finding the forest was only half the test. Try as he might, he could not reach the centre of the forest. Trapped for days in the endless depths of the directionless and maze-like woods he felt his mind slowly fall apart as desperation began clawing at him to leave the hellish forest of madness and confusion.
But he could not leave, nor could he reach the centre, where true wisdom lay.
And then, once again, luck struck the young lord's path. As he felt himself slowly giving in to madness, he noticed a great tree in the distance. Stumbling deliriously towards it, he cried out in joy again as he realized what it was.
A rune-tree. A tree that bore the powers of runes instead of fruit; runes that granted power beyond imagination.
With a quickened pace he reached out to pick one of the runes from a nearby branch and bit into it, wincing as it's bitter taste slithered down his throat. 'Understanding', he had eaten, and the madness and confusion that had threatened to overtake him only minutes before washed off him like harmless rain. Gasping in delight, he moved to take another-
Only to be blown away by a sudden strike of rune-magic from behind.
The young lord staggered to his feet, his body in pain as the rune changed him. He turned to face his attacker as his rune of understanding rapidly informed him of the situation. The one who had attacked him was the infamed witch of the legend who had cast the spell over the forest to induce confusion and madness – all to protect that which she had hoarded all to herself for years – the rune-tree. No-one had managed to overcome the maze-like depths of the forest before to reach this golden treasure, and to find someone who had, had both enraged her and made her afraid. And lastly, the rune she had cast over him was-
He screamed in pain and agony as her rune overcame his own, as it began eating away at his mind. The angered witch simply looked on as her curse took effect, leaving the man a screaming, blubbering mess of what was once a great mind.
For the rune she had cast upon him was 'True Madness.'
But the witch's anger was still not sated. Recognizing the five pointed yellow birthmark below the man's left eye, she laid upon another curse. "Hear me!" she cried. "Hear me and despair, for I lay upon you this creed, this order, this curse! From here on, every first born child tainted with the blood your lineage, the blood of the Giglio Nero, shall suffer my retribution, for they shall die with certainty the moment they experience happiness!"
Henceforth, the great branches of the large and widespread family of Giglio Nero began to die and fade. The great family floundered with confusion and grief, for initially they knew not the reason for their sudden reversal of fortunes. Their first-borns suddenly began to die in their cradles, just moments after their first smiles and cries of laughter. The family was wrought with mourning mothers, crying tears, loss, and occasionally madness. When the reasons for the deaths of their babes, when the stories of the mad kinsman lost in the forest and the enraged witch reached the ears of the family, it was already too late. The forest had disappeared once again, taking with it the lost relative cursed to wallow in his insanity, and the witch who could dispel the curse she had cast. Inevitably, the great family of Giglio Nero began to wane in both numbers and power.
That is when the legend ends, with despair, loss, and the fall of a great family.
But history does not end there.
The family of Giglio Nero was of an old and ancient magus bloodline, to which the few surviving offspring had inherited it's power and magecraft abilities. Despite the curse it carried, many benefits still existed in marrying into the family. And so, 300 years later, a new, weak, but emerging magus family offered the scattered and powerless remnants of the once great family a bargain. "May the families of Gesso and Giglio Nero join in union, and we shall dispel your curse to the best of our abilities."
It was an offer they could not even consider refusing.
The magus family of Gesso, though weak and young, held a special ability: the ability to modify curses. What they offered was not the complete dispelling of the curse – that was beyond even them. What they could do, however, was force the curse onto just one person. That one person would carry the curse of the Giglio Nero for the whole family. Magically modified to be incapable of feeling happiness, they would pass on the curse to their children as they pass away to time. The curse carrier. The sacrificial lamb.
And the families Gesso and Giglio Nero joined in union to form the family of Millefiore, later becoming one of the most powerful of the magus families. The role of the Giglio Nero curse carrier was passed down from generation to generation, until…
Until now, resting tiredly on the cushions stacked on the bed, the current curse carrier smiled at him reassuringly as he gripped her frail hand in his.
"Why are you crying…Reborn?"
The former 'Magus-Killer' looked on in dull shock at the single drop of seemingly alien clear liquid falling from his right eye and falling onto the blankets.
"…I'm not crying."
Luche let out a quiet laugh. "Right, of course you're not." But she stroked his cold hands in her's anyway. She turned to lie completely on the bed, staring up at the dark ceiling of the ill-illuminated room with a thoughtful gaze.
"…Don't blame yourself, Reborn."
Reborn let out a self-depreciating laugh. "I caused your curse to awaken. How is this not my fault? How can I not blame myself?"
"Don't say it like that. You…you made me feel something…something amazing." She turned to stare him in the eyes. "I don't think you understand the enormity of what you've done to me." Reborn flinched, moving to pull away his hand, but she gripped it towards her. "No, I don't mean it like that. What I mean is…"
Her smile grew, and the glistening beginnings of tears formed in her blue eyes, one already moving to drip down onto her yellow, five-pointed birthmark. "I've lived the first 26 years of my life not knowing what joy was, Reborn. I couldn't even understand the concept of it. When you came into my life…it was as if you…as if you painted the grey monotones of my life with rainbows and lit fireworks."
Reborn scrunched his eyebrows at the imagery, and Luche chuckled, before pausing as she looked on at her lover with a soft gaze. "It was…amazing. The foods I ate suddenly had taste, flavor. I now have things I like and dislike. I have hobbies now, things I enjoy doing. Look at me now! Smiling, laughing, crying…" She paused. "I also know…I understand how I feel about people now. I know that…" She raised her frail hand to cup Reborn's cheek. "…that I love you."
Reborn gently raised his hands to support her frail, pale one that was threatening to drop down from his cheek.
"I don't regret this, Reborn." Her gaze was steady on him, almost a little challenging. "If I had a chance to live my life again, I would do the exact same thing. I would trade my life for this mysterious thing called 'happiness' again. For the ability to feel joy…and love." She smiled again. "So don't regret this, Reborn. Don't regret this, and never blame yourself for this."
Reborn said nothing, and only inclined his head, the fedora tipping forward to hide his eyes.
"…What about Uni?"
Luche's smile took on a painful tint. "It is Millefiore custom for every Giglio Nero curse bearer to be raised by the elders. Even if I was to live on, I wouldn't have been allowed to even see my daughter. Though, I wouldn't have cared…back then."
"But you do now."
"Isn't it human nature to care for your children?" She gripped his hands again, covering the blood red patterns on his right hand with hers. "Promise me, Reborn. Promise me that you'll take care of her. Stay with her. Make sure she is treated well, make sure that-"
Reborn's voice took on a disturbed tone. "You would risk your daughter going through the same thing as you? You would risk her curse awakening?"
Luche shook her head. "That…that's entirely your own choice." She stared calmly into his eyes. "And I will not judge you for whichever choice you choose."
A silence descended upon the room, the man frozen by her words.
"…I am a killer, Luche. I know how many countless lives have been lost because of me, and understand the meaning of it. But…I…" He trailed off, unable to continue his words. Silently, he gripped her hands as if he was taking an oath.
"I will win this Holy Grail War. I will win it, and I will change the world so that there's no need for people to be in pain, to be killed, to be denied and punished for feeling happiness." His voice broke as another alien tear began to fall. "I will win it, definitely."
~…3 years later…~
"Shouldn't you at least say goodbye to your family before you leave?"
The young, silver haired boy turned in the ornate and grand doorway of the mansion's main entrance. One hand rested on the large suitcase beside him, whilst the other fiddled with the cufflinks of his pressed suit. His green eyes widened in surprise, before an awkward smile broke out on his lips.
"Bianchi…I think you're the only one in this mansion who even considers us as family."
The red haired woman frowned at her half-younger brother and raised an eyebrow. Dressed casually in a blouse and slacks, she leaned elegantly against the staircase of the grand foyer. "I wasn't aware familial relations had deteriorated over the years."
"It hasn't. It's always been this way, Bianchi."
"Well, whatever they say, Hayato," Bianchi stepped forward to grasp the boy's shoulders and stare into his eyes. "You're my little brother. Always have been, always will be. So…" Hayato looked on impassively as his older sister bit her lip. His left hand twitched; the crimson command seals blatant on them as he debated on embracing his older sister, one of two of his only allies in this family of backstabbing opportunists, one last time.
"So…don't die, Hayato."
He hugged her then, crushing into her like the emotional little brother he was. Bianchi simply smiled and patted his head absently as she ignored the damp patch on the collar of her shirt that was slowly spreading. And the sniffling sounds. Hayato would never admit it so it was best to just let it be.
"Don't." His voice was muffled against her collarbone. "I might just lose my resolve if you do."
The red-haired woman's expression softened, and they pulled away, the silver-haired boy furiously wiping his eyes and nose they did so.
"Got your plane ticket?"
"Brushed your teeth?"
"..What do you think I am, a grade-schooler?"
Bianchi smiled at his scowl. "Just checking. Ah…what about the relic*?"
Hayato sniffed and adjusted his collar. "It's in Japan. It would be faster for me to go to it rather than getting it sent to me."
"I see…" An awkward silence descended between the two. The silver-haired boy fidgeted, before returning to his luggage and turning to face the main entrance.
"Well…I guess I'll be going now...Bianchi."
Bianchi smiled sadly. She watched with a pain in her chest as he turned away, grabbing his suitcase to descend the stairs to the waiting chauffer and car. He did not turn back again.
'I don't care whether you win this Holy Grail War or not, Hayato. Just…come back alive. Come back to our stupid, loveless family alive. Come back to me and Lavina…alive.'
"As the magi representative of the Magus Association* in the 4th Holy Grail War, we expect your performance in this battle to be perfect. Though winning the War itself is indeed the ultimate goal for us, the task we have set for you require you to survive for the duration of the War by all means necessary. That means that you may have to forfeit the War if it impedes your mission. The mission must be completed by any means necessary.
Do not fail us, Haru Miura."
"…the hell do they think of me as, their dog?"
The brown-haired, Asian young woman sighed as she gripped the letters from the Clock Tower*, not caring as she scrunched the expensive, official looking documents, and stretched, trying to adjust herself comfortably to the best of her ability in her small, cramped economy class plane seat. Looking out the tiny window next to her, she could just catch glimpses of the clouds and the lights of cities beneath them in the darkness of night.
'I wonder what time it is in Namimori? Eight? Nine?'
Haru's next sigh morphed into a yawn which she covered with her right hand, on which the red mark of a Master glistened in the darkness. Her other hand came to rest possessively upon the small safe on her lap - the precious object which she had not even trusted anyone but herself handle.
It did, after all, contain the relic needed to summon her Servant: for nestled safely in the steel box was the remnants of what was once an elaborate feather decoration.
A small smile tinged her lips. Mission or not, she would be the victor of this Holy Grail War. Her Servant would ensure it.
'And then my wish…' Her smile dulled. "My wish will come true."
Hayato Gokudera. Male. Age: 16. 11th Generation magus* of the Scorpione Bloodline*. Unaffiliated with the Magus Association. Specialty unknown.
Haru Miura. Female. Age: 24. 6th Generation magus of the Miura Bloodline*. Affiliated with the Magus Association. Specializes in Alchemy, but also well-rounded in other areas of Magecraft.
Reborn smirked at the files in his hand, his black fedora tipped to shadow his eyes. With these two, the Holy Grail War had five of its seven participants had been chosen, leaving two more to be selected. But looking at their files…
'None of them are any real threats.' He cast a cold, emotionless gaze over their files once more. 'It would be risky to underestimate them without further investigation however, and the Servants they summon would also influence their overall threat in this War-'
The man turned to face the little, black haired girl in the doorway. Despite her age, her blue eyes were emotionless, and her small, yellow birthmark adorned face expressed nothing. It was like seeing an old woman tired with life in the body of a young girl. Reborn's lips tightened as he pasted on a hesitant smile for her. "Yes, Uni?"
Uni stepped closer and took a small vial out of her dress pocket, its contents gleaming red in the sunlight streaming in from the lounge windows. Wordlessly, she handed it towards the fedora-wearing man sitting on the work-desk.
Reborn stared at it for a few moments, before his eyes narrowed ever so slightly. "I see. It's been done." He stood up, taking the black jacket draped on the back of the chair as he moved to leave the room. A single black lily in a glass lay on the desk in the sunlight, a small memorial for someone long dead.
"All the preparations are complete. Come, Uni. We have a summoning to do."
Tsunayoshi thoughtfully reached out to touch the relic, feeling the cold smoothness of the metal beneath his fingertips as he ran them down the intricate gold patterns decorating the metal shoulder-piece. "What is this?" he quietly asked.
Basil, his ever-present aide, spoke up behind him. "It is the relic required for the Servant summoning ritual, Master Tsunayoshi. It took the elders of the Vongola almost three years, but they have acquired the best possible relic for this War." He paused to read the stack of letters in his hands. "It appears to have been the shoulder piece of an armor set of the famed 'Flame-King', the demi-god son of the Vedic God Agni."
The Japanese boy raised an eyebrow. "Isn't he just a legend?"
"All legends, are based on some truth or another," Basil gestured to the armor, "some more than others. This would be physical proof of the existence of the so called 'legend', I suppose."
Tsunayoshi continued in his tactile appreciation of the relic. "I'm amazed at the state it's in. Isn't this supposed to be more than 3000 years old? It looks brand new."
"…that intrigues me as well, to tell the truth."
"Well…" Tsunayoshi clapped his hands. "The relic's here. The preparations for the summoning have all been ready since days ago." A grin grew on his lips. "What are we waiting for?"
The tall, black haired man held a deep breath and let go. It was time.
"Uni, please place the vial on the raised pedestal in front of the summoning circle." The small girl nodded emotionlessly and carefully stepped around the elaborate circular design drawn on the marble floor of the Millefiore mansion basement. With steady hands, she laid the small vial filled with red liquid on the smooth stone surface of the pedestal, and silently stepped back. Reborn stared silently at the figure of his daughter, before averting his gaze with a hint of guilt. Letting out another breath, he stepped forward towards the circle and raised his right arm forward. He opened his mouth to speak, his voice steady despite the quickening thuds of his heart.
"Ye first, O silver, O iron-"
Uni flinched as the room suddenly began to tense with magical energy. Reborn focused on the incantation.
"O stone of the foundation, O Archduke of the Contract
Hear me in the name of our great teacher, the Archmagus Schweinorg
Let the descending winds be as a wall-"
"-Let the gates in all directions be shut, rising above the crown, and let the three-forked roads to the Kingdom revolve.
Shut. Shut. Shut. Shut. Shut."
His heartbeat was accelerating, childish excitement of what was happening overcoming him as he incanted the words carefully. He was doing something only a few people in the world had ever done – summoning a Servant.
"Five perfections for each repetition."
The summoning circle before him, painted with chicken blood on the wooden floor of his hotel room's lounge, glowed ferociously, the metal on the katana scabbard resting on the relic pedestal gleaming its reflected light. The whole room seemed to pulse and thrum with magical energy, and Hayato felt a bead of sweat running down his forehead as he bit his teeth, continuing his chant.
"And now, let the filled sigils be annihilated in my stead!"
Let thy body rest under my dominion, let my fate rest in thy blade."
Haru felt a grin overtake her lips. This was it. Finally, after years of vigorous magus training, months of searching for the perfect relic for the summoning, and days spent making the summoning ritual ready, the moment had come. Her figure trembled under the pressure of the enormous amount of magical energy pulsing from the summoning circle before her, but she ignored it. She opened her mouth to recite the next words.
"If thou submittest to the call of the Holy Grail and if thou wilt obey this mind, this reason, then thou shalt respond.
I make my oath here-"
"I am that person who is to become the virtue of all Heavens.
I am that person who is covered with the evil of all Hades.
Thou seven heavens, clad in a trinity of words,"
Tsunayoshi paused, his breath coming as pants as he struggled to maintain his fox under the pressure of magical energy that thrummed in the room. Shaking it off, he opened his mouth to continue.
"Come past thy restraining rings, and be thou the hands that protect the balance!"
It was all so sudden.
Thunder and lightning roared, accompanied by rolling clouds born by a might wind. In the pressure of the gale, the patterns of the summoning circle suddenly shone a brilliant, blinding white. And from the dazzling light that endless shone forth…
Tsunayoshi fell back, his legs staggering from fatigue and awe.
Hair the colour of gold floated like gentle flames around the figure's regal head. A crimson fur cape billowed majestically around his armored body, which glinted gold and black in the candlelight. Tsunayoshi swallowed, trying to reign in his nervousness as he found himself unable look away from the hard, amber eyes blazing with power and regality.
The figure turned to face him fully, and opened his mouth to speak, his voice soft and yet simmering with might and overwhelming presence.
"I ask of thee, art thou my Master?"
Far, far away, in the distant city of Namimori, a young man perched on the top of a rooftop turned abruptly to the face the western winds. His white hair shone brilliantly in the moonlight, lighting his features as a single, terrible smile grew on his lips.
"Aha~ It's begun…"
A/N: The Servant summoning incantation was from Type-Moon wiki – I didn't make up any of it myself P:
Little cookies for those who can guess who Tsuna's Servant is. Regular cookies for those who can guess the identities of the other Masters' Servants. Big cookies for those who can guess the other two Masters and their Servants :D
So, boring introduction chapter of all the masters. The fun begins next chapter unfortunately. Btw, though the POV of this chapter was mostly of the other masters, from now on the story will mostly be told from the point of view of Shouichi. Because he IS the main character, despite what this first chapter implies.
*Notes for those who don't know Fate Stay Night or aren't as well-versed in Nasuverse:
Overseer/Supervisor: An authority sent by the Church to mediate the Holy Grail War. The church is given this duty as only a non-biased authority that has no interest in the Holy Grail itself is considered eligible as an overseer/supervisor. This immediately rules out anyone from the Magus Association.
Magus Association: An international, self-preservative organization created by western magi for the purpose of controlling, concealing and developing Magecraft. It has many laboratories and research bodies that seek to advance the progress of Magecraft, as well as institutions that transmit their secrets to the next generation. They are interested in the Holy Grail.
Clock Tower: London Big Ben. Currently the headquarters and main branch of the Magus Association.
6th/11th Generation magus: Generally the older the bloodline is, the stronger the magus is. So Hayato, who is an 11th Generation Magus, would be considered stronger than Haru, who is only a 6th Generation Magus. However these differences in power can be overcome by other factors such as experience and talent.
Relic: A relic is required to be used in the summoning ritual of a Servant – it can be anything from a fossil to an old piece of armor as long as it was once owned – preferably for a long time - by the Servant you are wishing to summon.
Servants: Seven 'Heroic Spirits' summoned by the Holy Grail. Once summoned, they can be classified as familiars as long as they are bound to a Master. They are legends from the past, present, or future. Heroic Spirits can be summoned into any "class" that reflects the abilities they had in life – Saber, Archer, Lancer, Rider, Assassin, Caster, Berserker.
Masters: Seven Magi chosen by the Holy Grail to participate in the Holy Grail War. Each Master summons one Servant in the War. Each are given three "Command Spells' which appear usually on the backs of their hands – this gives them the ability to give three absolute commands to their Servant. However, as there are only three, it is only used when the situation really calls for it. The Holy Grail War first selects magi from the three families Simon, Vongola and Millefiore, then magi who desire the Holy Grail – however there have been instances in which magi who do not desire the Holy Grail, or even non-magi, were chosen to participate in the War.
Holy Grail War: Pretty much explained earlier, but I thought I might as well explain why this is the 'Fourth' Holy Grail War. Putting it simply, the first three ended without victors, and so without a wish to fuel its purpose, the Holy Grail reappears again after 60 years each time – the time required for the Holy Grail to accumulate enough magical energy (prana) to reappear again.
Character ages at the beginning of the Holy Grail War (three years after beginning of the chapter):
Ryohei: 28 (25 at beginning)
Kyoko: 23 (20 at beginning)
Tsunayoshi: 22 (19 at beginning)
Reborn: 34 (31 at beginning)
Luche: Deceased (was 28 at beginning)
Uni: 8 (5 at beginning)
Hayato (calling him by his last name all the time seems silly): 16
Btw, there's going to be a bit of a hiatus between this chapter and the next (exams chyeah) so the next chapter will probably come in about a month at the soonest. Sorry about that. :P