Shirou saw it, just barely. His eyes, Reinforced to the degree that he could see better than a hawk, detected the faint wavering of color in the Dead Apostle Ancestor's gaze. He could not make out what the shift was, exactly—his magic could not make him see beyond the visible light spectrum, and it was still twilight out—but it was just the barest of hints that told him something he had learned to trust:
His life was at stake, right now.
Without any thought, he grabbed Caren around the waist with his free arm and hurdled them both over the side of their boat.
Air and sea distorted. The ship spun in a barrel roll impossible over the otherwise smooth sea surface and plowed headlong into the depths. Had a person still been on board, they would have been crushed between surf and ship.
Shirou pulled Caren below the surface, kept them swimming even beyond getting away from the initial attack—
A current, sudden and swift, hit them from behind and carried them back up to the surface. The surf that should have been calm swirled around until it rose like a tsunami, carrying both magi and executor meters into the air.
Through the surge, Shirou managed to keep his attention on the ship, caught sight of the Dead Apostle Ancestor that was to be their target. The gaze he found was a swirl of red unnatural when compared to even an albino or any creature he could remember from the animal kingdom. Despite the pressure crashing into his chest and the desire to inhale increasingly impossible to resist, he clamped down on what his body wanted to do and let out the last remaining air in his lungs—
"Trace, on!" he said, though it came out as little more than a choked gurgle.
The crimson spear that formed in his hand cut through the water like a harpoon, and Shirou thrust it between himself and the vision of the Apostle—
Nothing. The torrent continued to churn him around like a turbine.
The Red Rose of Exorcism could cut through the prana supply fueling the abnormal action of the waves—but only if there was prana being fed to it from the beginning.
This was not just some Mystic Eyes manipulating the external world—
That was because his power was not such a simple thing.
All things in existence had a will, whether alive or not. Either the will of the planet or the will of mankind gave things shape, and thus will is inherent to the nature of these things. If the Mystic Eyes of Death Perception could see that all things had a flaw and could end—then it followed that all things had a purpose, too. The other side to the coin of "error" was "correctness."
Rochus' eyes could see that other side. His eyes could distort what that purpose was.
It could be used for what magi termed "Reinforcement." If the purpose of a wheel was to roll, he could make the wheel roll faster than any other. If the purpose of a sword was to cut, he could make the blade sharper than monofilament. If the purpose of armor was to protect something from harm, he could make the plating nigh-impenetrable.
On the other hand, he could do the exact opposite. He could make a wheel halt on a slope. He could make a sword unable to pierce paper. He could make armor turn upon its bearer and hurt them by wearing it.
The Japanese believed that there were an endless number of gods that resided in all things, dictated their purpose. Rochus, the Dead Apostle Ancestor, was one who stood above those gods.
The purpose—the will behind all things—were at his command.
Rochus could feel the gaze that turned on him before it had cleared the lip of the deck behind him.
The Dead Apostle spun around, the tails of his coat flinging up into the air. Three cross-shaped blades hit the fabric and embedded there, somehow caught yet not even a millimeter deep into the material; he had distorted his own clothing to provide protection greater than might otherwise be obvious. He smiled down at the weapons as they gave him a sense of nostalgia. "An Executor of the Church. How wonderful."
Without pause, Ciel charged up along the ship railing, throwing a handful of Keys with each step. The cross-shaped weapons slammed into the Apostle like bullets, though the distorted clothing he wore acted like a strange shield or set of armor that halted each blade. If Ciel's Keys were strong enough to punch through a concrete wall, then the millimeters of cloth Rochus wore were like iron. The psychic merely raised his arms to protect exposed skin and made sure to put his back up to the opposite side of the ship where no moon-cast shadows could be struck.
"Nothing but a distraction," Rochus said. The moment he gazed upon the next set of Keys Ciel prepared to throw, the distortion caused by his eyes bent their will to his command—and instead of flying toward his body, they came up to one side as he held out a hand. The Apostle neatly fielded the trio of blades, catching them between his knuckles in the same manner Ciel had thrown them, and spun once more in place to lash out over the edge of the deck.
Arcueid twisted her body in mid-air as she came up from the opposite side of the ship, curving up and over Rochus' thrust. The True Ancestor came down with her own attack in the process, her hand jabbing right through Rochus' sleeve and into his arm, pulling him as she flipped up onto the ship's deck. She smiled, teeth clear even in the pale light. "Shiki!"
The blindfolded one came up atop the deck in Ciel's wake, though instead of moving along the boat lengthwise, he charged straight in at the Dead Apostle Ancestor. Resembling a beast more than a man, Shiki seemed to move on all fours, leaping from place to place rather than running foot-over-foot. He moved up on Rochus, bounded off the rocking floor, and leapt up at the Apostle, holding a gray bar before him—
—A blade sliding out of the end with a quiet rasp—
It was no use, however—be it superhuman fast or not. One moment, the Apostle has death charging him, the next he is on the opposite side of the ship, swinging his arm freely despite the fact that Arcueid's fanged hand is knuckle-deep into his flesh. Rochus slammed the vampire princess into the dark-haired Executor in a full body-check. "Sneak attacks are merely tricks—"
Shiki flew completely off the ship's edge and stabbed the gout of water imprisoning Shirou and Caren.
Liquid splashed about like an invisible container had suddenly been broken. Shirou stabbed Gae Dearg into the ship's hull with one hand and kept his other curled around Caren's waist. In turn, the girl, despite a desperate gasp for breath, waved her hand and the red cloth about her arms flew out and hooked itself around Shiki's ankle.
Shirou swung himself up with the spear as a fulcrum, pulling Caren, who pulled Shiki.
The Apostle had cleared himself from Arc and still had the stolen Black Keys—all three lined faintly with red. Three matching cuts to Ciel's waist mirrored Rochus' grip on the weapons, the signs of a close-call.
Shiki flung himself from Caren's cloth like a sling, though once again the Apostle seemed to disappear before him.
It wasn't a matter of speed or reflexes, but placement. This ship was Rochus' distorted domain, and with a single glance he could move within its boundaries at will. It was not unlike a Reality Marble like many other Apostle Ancestors had, though it was different in design. After all, sight was a matter of light reaching the eyes, and so he could move from one place to the next with the same speed. The only delay came from his own ability to process the thought. Still—faster than a mere human could move.
Though, even as fast as that was—
Shirou pulled himself and Caren up and planted himself onto the deck of the ship. "Trace, on!"
They could still hit all places at once.
Blades rained down from the sky, enough to blot a solid shadow onto the deck of the ship.
Rochus did not move like a mortal to avoid them, instead seeming to blink from place to place, between sword-strikes and spear-skewers, in the tiny gaps that even an expert contortionist would fail to move through. He would then appear elsewhere on the deck as those gaps were filled in by more blades, until the ship's deck stopped resembling a pin-cushion and began to look more like a strange field of tall grass.
"Boy, you err in the belief that this will do me more harm than good!" Once more like a blink, like a sudden difference in frame from one image to another, the deck was clear of weapons. Now they hung once more in the sky, while Rochus, standing atop the ship's main cabin, lowered his gaze from the hovering blades to the figures below. "Fly," he said.
"I am the bone of my sword—"
The Seven Ringed Shield intercepted the blades that flew toward Shirou and Caren, rebounding off the shield of Aias with a sound like steel raindrops. Though the protection continued to protect them, Shirou gasped louder than even the cacophony of metal could drown out. He braced the projection with both arms, digging his heels into the ground as hard as he could.
Rochus spared a smile, and his gaze drifted away. He turned to where the other member of the Church and the True Ancestor were, their forms dancing between blades, deflecting some aside and just barely avoiding others. The magus boy had presented him with enough to continue the current assault indefinitely—
Or bring them to their knees in one fell swoop.
"The fourth tail is my domain. Take the fire of my light into battle with beasts—"
The boy was chanting once more, and Rochus moved his gaze back to the magus. He distorted the flower-shaped shield and let fly with another volley—
"Sword of the storm god—Kusanagi!"
Another sword had formed in Shirou's right hand, but almost as soon as it had formed seemed to break apart from the inside-out. The blast outward from the weapon was less of an explosion and more of a tornado, throwing Caren backward and flinging Shirou forward.
The surge of wind threw the flying swords awry, the weapons grazing or completely missing their target. The boy instead flew straight up at the Dead Apostle Ancestor, a drill-shaped blade in his left hand. Rochus brought his gaze to the air before him, thickening the atmosphere until it was sturdier than a stone wall—
Space distorted, and not by Rochus' will. The blade passed through the distance between them as if the air were not twisted by Mystic Eyes. It pierced his armor-like clothing, then skewered the Apostle in place.
"You're not the only one that can twist things around," Shirou said through clenched teeth.
Yet the Apostle did not move. He gazed down at where the weapon had pierced him, smiled, gave an involuntary shrug. "This won't stop me." He ignored the boy and his sword, his eyes locked on Arcueid over Shirou's shoulder. The blades still in the sky flew about Rochus like a halo and angled toward the True Ancestor. "Though I thank you for the additional power. Even such things, once commanded by others, can be bent to my will. I can distort anything I see."
"No," Rochus laughed. "I'm not." Once more, like an error in a projected image between frames, the Apostle was suddenly beside the boy, no longer pierced by a blade—not even marked, as if the wound had never happened. "Though they may be facsimiles, I can understand a Noble Phantasm when I see one."
The blades flew through the air at both Arc and Ciel from multiple directions, more than before. The stream of weapons did what Shirou had attempted to earlier: they flew toward the duo at calculated intervals, in directions that forced the pair to drift apart, Ciel further away from the center of the ship and Arc closer to the middle. Meanwhile, blades resumed flight toward Shirou—some picking up from where they had been flung at he and Caren earlier, spinning up end-over-end back into the sky, buzzards to surround and cage in the blacksmithing magus.
Shirou brought another sword in hand, deflected the weapons as they spun in toward him. "It's not her you're underestimating."
The succession of blades grew, until, like Shirou's attack before, they could cast a solid shadow over where Arc stood. Though the True Ancestor moved faster than human perception could track, she did not have the speed to destroy so many weapons—
Somehow weaving in between blades no further apart than a handspan, Shiki moved along the deck like a scuttling arachnid, cutting weapons as they flew in lower than Arc's waist, picking up a short sword discarded nearby to deflect at twice the rate. Arc concentrated on batting the weapons out of the air coming at her head and torso, tearing them apart with her bare hands. Swords and spears came in from every angle except below the feet, and each blade in turn, destroyed as fast as they came.
Rochus made a sound somewhere between a cough and a snarl, briefly glancing to where the Church girls had gone, but finding that his assault had driven both to jump overboard. His attention returned to the blond vampiress and her strange guardian. "You move like a spider," the Apostle said to the blinded boy, "so I suppose your legs need to be cut out from beneath you."
The last volley of weapons blasted not toward Arc, nor to Shiki, but to the deck at their feet, more violently than before—until both blade and plating were decimated. The wreckage caused a plume of smoke, the steel of swords striking too harshly against the laminate and iron of ship body. When the dust blew away with the sea air, Ancestor and assassin had fallen through the rough hole formed beneath them.
Rochus gazed momentarily at the damage he had done, then returned the ship's deck to its original state—as if nothing had just happened—before returning his gaze back up over his shoulder at the boy magus.
Shirou stared back, the blades that had flown around him destroyed, twin scimitars now in hand.
"Give me more phantasms, young one," Rochus said. "Since they seem to be all you can do to defeat me. I will acknowledge your abilities—and use them to slay the others and help seal the True Ancestor's strength."
"You never said you were going to save that other boy and the creepy girl," Arc whined.
Shiki remained too busy to respond, cutting through the zombie-like chargers as they swarmed. The ship's crew, no longer human, and not even vampires—though Arc did not voice the discrepancy, she could tell that these were not the living dead. They were more distortions, reflections of this Apostle's own power. Rochus had apparently decided that making more Apostle progeny was not his current priority and mindless weapons were made in the place of scions.
The creatures continued to swarm from all sides, until a swath was pulled back to one side by a tendril of red and then held in place by a crucifixion of thin blades. Shiki took Arc by the hand and pulled her in that direction, and as they passed through a dark hallway, a door shut behind them.
Though his sight was once more sealed behind a curtain of magic, Shiki turned first toward the smaller Caren, and then to Ciel, as if appraising them by sight. He then said the first words he had vocalized since they had arrived at the harbor. "That sucked."
"He's more powerful than I would have thought after all that time sealed away," Ciel said.
"I meant the idiot whose strategy was 'throw more swords at the guy commandeering the last bunch.'"
Banging from the door Ciel had closed behind them sounded—the twisted crewmembers attempting to barge in once again. It was then drowned out by the clanging from above—another rain of phantasmal weapons.
Shiki seemed to appraise the part of the ship they had come into. The cargo hold would have been spacious if not for the crates stacked about. He thought of where they were in relation to the rest of the ship and decided it must be closer to the bow, the direction he and Arc had been toward the stern. "Between the moon phase and his power, I can't actually see anything from him," the boy admitted. "I took a glance and couldn't see anything. I have a feeling they're still there, unlike a True Ancestor at this time, but…" There was nothing else he could say. At this point, his power was sealed. If he truly focused, he felt he could see everything he needed, but…
There was little point in doing this if it meant he died right after.
"We're attacking him in his territory. We really should have brought a plan with us." Caren glanced up at the sound of more steel weapons clanging atop the ship's deck. "Though I trust at least one of us would never have stayed on said plan anyway." She gave a shrug.
Arc seemed to consider that. "Brought something with us…brought with us…hmm…"
"But looking at them," Ciel motioned back the way they had come, where the zombie-like crewmembers were still pounding at the door, "we really can't let the ship make landfall now. If his distortion spreads, even without his direct gaze, it would be the same thing as letting a demon out into the world. The terror would spread."
Shiki flipped Nanatsu-Yoru in one hand, hefted the short sword he had taken earlier in his other. "Just maneuver him toward me. Keep him occupied for a second. That's all I need."
Ciel shook her head. "Even your abilities aren't working, Tohno-kun. You said yourself that you can't see him like you need to, I'm assuming without—"
"It isn't him that I need to take." He reached up to loosen the wrappings around his eyes once more. "Just trust me on this."
Ciel sighed. "Then get ready." She raised the pile-bunker back up to her hip and bunched strength back into her legs, ready to spring back upwards.
"And bring me that Faker while you're at it!" Arc said. "If you want something that'll work before he makes landfall, I think this'll make people happy."
"Why does that not comfort me?" Ciel mumbled.
Now, it was like a game, and while Rochus was not concerned by the immediate actions, he still felt wary of the boy regardless.
Multiples of the same twin blades that the boy had produced spun around them both, moving both erratically and magnetically to and from one another. When Rochus had discerned what the scimitars did and what the boy tried to do—maneuver him into a striking position as the weapons flew back and forth—he had bent some of the weapons to his will, manipulated their purpose, until some no longer called out to their partner and others even repelled their other. It was a strange game, like a mix of othello and chess, until weapons were spinning at both magus and Apostle and neither could entirely predict the next motion.
Though Rochus was unafraid of the damage that could be done by these weapons in particular, his instincts told him not to let the boy place him in a predictable position. A Faker he may be, but imitation Noble Phantasms could still detract from his state—
And though he was far superior in power to even a magus, he was still not fully recovered from his imprisonment.
The sound was sharp and quick, irritating, like taking two separate sounds of nails on a chalkboard and combining them. Rochus glanced to his feet just in time to see the deck plating beneath him give way, and he fell into the ship's main hold through a manhole-shaped cut.
The noise of objects flying through the air surrounded him seemingly from every angle. As he distorted the haze of light from the hole, shapes took form—
Another dozen sacraments struck at his feet the moment he had cast enough light to see by. Rochus glanced their way, ready to command the Black Keys to fail, when he caught a flash of motion out of the corner of his eye. Turning back the other way, he caught sight of a dark red form slithering at him like a pouncing cobra and suddenly his entire head was engulfed in a smooth fabric.
"Hurry!" Ciel shouted.
Rochus distorted the cloth with a glare, tearing the fabric away from his body at once. The red material drifted from his body with a flutter, though he ignored the girl wielding it in favor of turning his attention at the most aggressive of the three.
Just in time to see a short sword flying in his direction, the one the boy in bandages had used. Though he could just as easily sidestep the weapon or let his armored clothing protect him, Rochus could not help but wrest the blade into his control instead, make it his, then turn it on the boy in turn. He twisted the weapon's sovereignty to be under his control, plucking it from the air and into his domain.
Movement caught his eye, and his gaze shot upward to the inverted figure flying over him, a dark fringe covering a loose bandage, and though he could have thought to move away or dominate the incoming weapon—
Somehow, his brain only processed the thought of a concept long-foreign to him.
Pale orbs like moonlight and the sudden glint of steel were the last things his eyes set their gaze upon—
His mind, however, settled on the idea of perceiving death.
The howl echoed through the ship, rebounding against bulkheads and steel plating and all manner of cargo containers and standard transportation equipment lining the main hold. Shiki neatly tumbled over the Apostle's raging form, then had to immediately spring up and twist over his shoulder to avoid being skewered by the sword he had thrown; it swirled up like caught in a breeze and tried to jab him through the heart. His feet found purchase on a steel bin, and he leapt from there, flying almost entirely horizontal, perpendicular to his enemy. He landed on all fours at Caren Ortensia's side, ducking his head when another crate soared his way.
The Apostle swung around violently and the objects he had bent to his will did the same, until he was a maelstrom of spinning blades and boxes, steel plates and iron rivets. His hands covered his face from view, however, though a flow of red gushed from between his fingertips like a bad horror movie.
"Tohno-kun!" Ciel shouted from the other side of the hold; Shiki could only barely make her out between the dim lighting and swirl of activity between them. "Are you alright?!"
The howling stopped, and the Dead Apostle Ancestor turned to face them once more.
Death had come, yet he was not dead.
"Your eyes perceive death," Rochus said, his voice hoarse.
"Something like that." The voice of the boy sounded from a few meters away.
Rochus shuddered. Though the powers of a vampire strengthened under the full moon—
His eyes were not one of the vampires, but an ability gained in life.
"So, in the end, you still cannot kill me." Rochus growled deep in his throat, words coming out like they tore at his throat. "Your eyes cannot kill what is within the realm of the Ancestors. We are, as you would say, at a stalemate."
"You said you had interest in a True Ancestor," Shiki said. "Then you should learn something about Arc: she hates ties."
Rochus charged the boy. His body, still that of an Apostle, was certainly faster than any mere human could move, and his hearing was such that he could still "see" all those around him.
But then those sacraments of the Church momentarily halted him in place, and though he almost as fast ripped his shadow right from their grasp—the ship was still his distortion, still bent to his will—it was the mere instant the boy and his compatriots needed to scurry through the hole they had made and back out onto the deck of the ship.
Like vermin attempting to flee a doomed vessel.
Rochus demanded that the ship move faster toward land, that anything not bolted down try to crush the rats as they ran.
The trio escaped as the cacophony grew, the terror of the sundered world contained within the ship readying to be deployed upon the world. As Ciel and Caren dropped down to where Ciel had tethered their boat earlier, Shiki moved to the ship's bow, the pale light of his eyes carefully examining the hull of the ship.
It was not something he could kill in one go. The vessel was no longer a singular entity, a singular purpose of transportation over the seas. Ships usually seemed in his eyes to be an entire whole despite being made up of various components, even "loose" objects like the cargo containers might have been for this ship. Instead, what he saw now resembled the light cast from a spinning prism, constantly wavering from one thing to another, everything broken apart to show the various differences in each individual part—enough to give Shiki a headache even if his Mystic Eyes weren't already killing him.
But he could still affect parts, little pieces, individual distortions…
And as well as he knew Arc, he knew what she was planning. It was devious, in as much as Arc could be devious—
Meaning, it was about as subtle as a nuclear weapon.
Shiki dove over the ship's edge and, as he made for the water, jabbed his knife once into the point he found, destroying that point until it formed an opening no wider than his fist.
He could see the tiny gap, the place where the murder demon had made an opening.
Shirou Emiya stood atop the dock loading crane that the True Ancestor had dragged him to, waiting for the moment to present itself. "Just destroy the thing," she had told him. "You ought to be able to do that much, right?"
"There were people on board, weren't there?" he had asked.
"Not really. They're long gone now, not human anymore." The roll of her eyes was, though, somehow very human. "I'm not going to explain it to you. I've already had so much trouble getting Shiki over that."
Shirou sighed. He was an ally of justice. The other, Shiki Tohno, was one capable of bringing death.
Yet somehow, the killer had become the one to defend loved ones, while the one who believed in justice was about to take life.
Even if it was the life of one who did evil, and the lives of those already irredeemable by twisted magic—
The Dead Apostle Ancestor had said, I can distort everything I see.
Shirou knew…his distortions were still greater. They existed beyond what could be seen.
He raised his hands, and two weapons formed within: a longbow in his left hand, a golden light in the other—
A false dream, to accompany the false dream-chaser. It would be far shy of the true weapon, hardly a speck compared to what the real one could have accomplished…
"May this light reach the king who can never be reached."
Even if this Apostle Ancestor still had his sight, even if his sight could distort things at the speed of light—
"Forever distant golden sword—"
His distortion was still to make what was fake into reality.
The glowing arrow shot right through the opening left on the ship.
For a brief moment, golden light eclipsed the pale white from the moon.
When it cleared, the ship was gone.
He still existed, just barely.
The damage was not something that could have been called the "Last Phantasm." For one who was undead beneath the moon, it still had not quite destroyed his existence, still could not claim to be a greater mystery.
It was, however, enough to destroy his mobile "fortress."
The man that washed up onto the shore was little more than a writhing figure, vaguely resembling the shape of a person. It was burnt and melting and seemed held together with just enough that a light breeze might make it fall apart.
And beneath the moonlight, a golden-haired princess loomed over it.
"Huh, so you are still alive. Barely."
The Apostle's figure shuddered, clawed at the gravel where water met land. It made a sound, though it no longer resembled a vocalization. It sounded like what a single-celled organism might be called upon to say if given the capacity to communicate.
"But you know, here's the reality: distortions turn in on themselves." Arc cupped her chin in her hands as she crouched over his evaporating form. "Shiki, at least, understands that. He lives and loves life, but death is all he can see. It makes him a distortion, a paradox, one that really gets confused with how things are supposed to be. That Faker, too, seems to get it." A grin. "But you only thought you could twist everything around you, bend everything to your will. It doesn't work like that. Not without twisting yourself first."
She waddled up next to the form. "You wanted to escape the Church and the others of the Twenty-Seven, right? Well, sorry to say, escape really isn't an option." Her hand came up, poised to strike. "This is more and more a human world. Death and justice are something you just have to live beside."
They met back up some distance away, on a different pier than where they had initially set up. The original was still beneath cargo container debris.
Besides the errant scrapes and bruises, plus half of them now waterlogged, they were in otherwise good shape. Shirou was sweating and looked like he had just run a marathon while Ciel and Shiki both looked like their clothes had an unfortunate encounter with a cheese grater. Caren was still shivering from her near-drowning in the cold sea—
Arc, of course, looked entirely too fine. When the boat pulled up to the dock, the vampire princess flung herself at Shiki, physically leaving the ground as she did so, her arms hooking around his neck and her lips mashing up to his. Shiki hastily caught her in turn, his arms fumbling about for a moment until they decided to hold her body to him.
Ciel made a look of half-disgust, half-envy; a heavy sigh was all that the Burial Agent let fly from her lips, however. She decided there was no point in complaining. After all, they had done her a favor.
Caren eyed the couple briefly, then looked to Shirou. "I suppose you will be requiring such payment as well?"
Shirou stared down at Caren with a dull look. "No."
The white-haired girl's eyes widened. "Then you would require…more?"
"No, dammit!" Shirou tried desperately to keep his hand from smacking his face. He hated letting this one get to him. "I just need a bed." He rolled his right arm around, stretching his shoulder. "All that wore me out."
"A bed? How…pedestrian."
"Dunno why anyone is tired," Arc said. "Neither of you did him in at the end. What's the point in coming if you couldn't have beaten him?"
Shirou made to say something, but Shiki said first, "It all worked out in the end though. You weren't bored for at least a few moments, right?"
"It didn't 'work out in the end,'" Shirou said. "People still died. That ship's crew…don't tell me you've forgotten."
"Of course I haven't. Don't tell me you've forgotten that despite all your high-and-mighty talk, you're still the one that did them in."
"It isn't talk," Shirou said. He kept his hands in the pockets of his coat and seemed to be palming something there to hide his agitation. "And it's a better reason to fight than 'my girlfriend is bored and wanted something to do.' Your home life too boring?"
A thin-lipped smirk was the only change in expression that could be seen with the bandages back in place. "That make you feel big in front of your underage girlfriend?"
"Alright, enough!" Ciel shouted over them all. "No killing each other under my watch, got it?!"
Arc made a face, like she was ready to dispute that demand and start another round of arguing, but was halted by the sound of sirens. "Oh, right, big golden boom. We probably called a lot of attention out here…"
The others were already running for their escape.
"Strange humans and their backward morals…"
Rochus' power was inspired by the idea of "dominion over things," somewhat like Lelouch's Geass. It's somewhat foreign to a Western mode of thinking, but to the Japanese and many other cultures, all things have a sort of hierarchy of existence: not just humans and animals, but things and objects as well. Medieval Christianity would call it a "universal," and Rochus is in essence a person so warped that, as a Nominalist believer, he could dictate what things are based on how he views them. In Nasuverse, it would be like targeting anything in the world and marking it with a false origin. Which then turns into a sort of Mystic Eye meets Reality Marble. Somewhere between Fujino and Araya.
Excalibur Image from Fate/Extra CCC.
Thanks goes to eddyak and I3uster on the BL forums for listening to some of the ideas and kinks I had to work out for this.