Disclaimer: I don't own Fate/Zero.
A/N: I've been looking forward to posting this one for a while. I've been having so much fun writing it and the ideas just keep coming. Hope it's well recieved. Enjoy.
Servants They Need
The Holy Grail War, a competition that takes place once every sixty years in Fuyuki City. It is a contest between seven Masters and their Servants to determine who is worthy to bear the Holy Grail and wish upon the artifact, and it is assumed that the Grail can grant any desire the wish maker has, even if said wish should normally be outside the scope of reality.
There are many other nuances and information about the War, the system, and the Grail itself, but the bit about being capable of granting any wish makes any other details trivial in the eyes of many.
However, there are many that do question the War and ask about the Grail. The list of questions is infinitely long, but there is one that stands out among them, and that question is this:
How does the Grail choose a Master?
Among the infinite questions more inquisitive ones have asked, but this particular question has the most answers.
But before getting into that one should be aware, as the question would imply, that yes, the Grail is indeed responsible for choosing a Master, the individuals who bear Command Seals and those with the power to command Servants. There is no human alive that can command such a great power. Influence, maybe, but to choose for it? Never.
Anyway, the short version to the question is that the Grail chooses Masters based on who most need its power.
It's about as vague as it sounds.
More detailed and specific answers include the belief that all Masters chosen are magi. Others say that only those with a strong desire for the Grail can become Masters. Running with that same line of thought, it is assumed only the strongest and most gifted magus can become a Master. Those who devoted their time to doing a little research may say that the three families who created the Grail Wars and its system get guaranteed spots while the remaining four participants are chosen by the Grail at random.
Of course, there have been cases where those with no desire for the Grail have been chosen, the renowned and experienced are ignored, the inexperienced have taken part, and even those who are not even magi have had participated in previous wars. Answers that contradict themselves are given, and those answers lead to more questions which contradict the contradicted answers.
In the end, no one can say for sure how the Grail chooses the Masters. It's confusing, but that's only the beginning.
The most important fact overall that one should know about the Holy Grail is that it has a will. It lives. It thinks. It knows.
It's also corrupted, but nobody knows that and that isn't what's being discussed right now.
Now, for a similar question. A question that is almost as frequently asked as the one presented above.
How does the Grail choose the Servants?
Now, Masters are chosen before Servants and they are the ones who summon the Heroic Spirits to serve them. Despite this, the Grail is what chooses the Servants from the Throne of Heroes to serve the Masters. Like a stranger pulling a card out from a magician's deck, the person would have no idea what card was drawn without a little knowledge in magic.
It's why those with knowledge of the War, mostly magi, have the advantage because they know more than a little about magic.
If one prepares there is a better chance at getting the card, or in this case the Servant, they desire. To summon a specific hero, the Master would acquire an artifact or tool that influenced or once belonged to a specific hero during his or her life and use it as a catalyst during the summoning ritual in hopes of summoning the hero as their Servant.
...It certainly increases one's chances, but nobody ever said it was a guarantee.
Besides, in the end, it's the Grail that has the final say. Even if the Master tries to tip the odds in their favor, it amounts to nothing more than a child asking a parent for permission for something they can't get themselves. Even if they're polite when asking, it doesn't always mean they'll get what they want. And though a child may contest to the contrary, a parent knows what's best for their child. There is a difference between want and need.
And all poor metaphors aside, the Grail is fully aware of what a Master may want, but knows what they need.
It just knows. How else would it choose Masters and Servants?
And it is a wish machine, so it knows more than a little bit about the desires of man.
And that may just be the most important thing. The Grail is aware of what Masters may want, but it knows what they need.
Remember that. It's a fact that will determine what card certain Masters of the Fourth Holy Grail War will end up drawing during their campaign in Fuyuki City in the year of 1994.
-Nine Years Ago-
Emiya Kiritsugu didn't mind the title he had earned, given to him by the Mage's Association in light of his reputation. The title expressed their disgust for the young man who even at a young age had been responsible for a number of deaths within the association due to what could be called a conflict of interests, or rather ideals. Most magi would do anything to hone and improve their craft, to build upon their art for their family and generations to come, and didn't mind use people as tools or test subjects to improve their magecraft. This conflicted with Kiritsugu's ideal, and while these magi felt such measures were justified, the infamous Magus Killer saw them as nothing more than villains using innocent people as fodder for their twisted experiments.
This he would not allow.
The fact that they had even given him a title expressed both fear and respect, but few would admit to that. That title was also how the mercenary who was barely an adult found most of his work, and why so many magi were after his neck.
That's why Kiritsugu found it ironic when the esteemed Einzbern family of magus had hired his services to take part in a war that sounded like something out of a storybook.
When Justacheit von Einzbern had explained the Holy Grail War to him, Kiritsugu was skeptical. It wasn't until Justacheit explained the properties of the Grail and what it was capable of had Kiritsugu agreed to take on the job. There had been no need for questions, he had quite the number of years before the war started and he'd have plenty of time to prepare and research. The reason he had agreed so readily after hearing of the chance at a wish, as abstract as it sounded, was because it was a hope he had no choice but to cling onto. After all, years of following his own disillusioned ideal had made the young man desperate and he was willing to do anything to accomplish his dream.
He had left his equipment with Maiya and headed to the winter lands where the Einzberns resided. Only after he arrived had Kiritsugu found out that he'd not only be fighting to win the Grail, but to also protect its vessel. The young man had been expecting some sort of object he'd have to keep intact, not a human being. Or homunculus if you want to get technical. Regardless, when he saw for himself that the vessel was a woman who Acht had grown in a tank Kiritsugu had been surprised even if he didn't show it. The Magus Killer then opted to tell the old magus that the female homunculi would be useless in battle during the war seeing as she had no survival or defensive skills to speak of.
Apparently old man Acht was not fond of someone simply stating facts, as he had taken the statement as an insult and chose to throw the girl into a raging blizzard naked to showcase her durability, or so he later claimed. Disgusted and surprised by the reaction, Kiritsugu had stormed outside to save the woman from the blistering cold and cutting winter gales.
And that is the story of how Kiritsugu Emiya and Irisviel von Einzbern met.
Romantic, isn't it?
Through out the years, Kiritsugu and Irisviel were never very far apart. Other than the occasional errand or when Kiritsugu had something to take care of, he would keep Irisviel company and teach her about the world outside the manor she was never allowed out of until the time of the Fourth Holy Grail War. Despite his hesitation, against his better judgment, and even though he tried his best to avoid such a thing, Kiritsugu fell in love with the woman. She had already fallen for him long before he accepted that his feelings were mutual. He confided in her, told her things he never told anyone else, and she smiled, listened, and took on the same ideals as he did.
And after they were husband and wife, he told her.
"I want to be a superhero."
Kiritsugu had gazed into his wife's eyes as he said this. Irisviel had smiled sadly in response, noting the way he had confessed to his dream like it was a curse.
"Iri, you're going to die because of my dream…"
Irisviel stroked the contours of her husband's face lovingly as he told her what she already knew. She knew it when she was born.
But she could accept that now.
Irisviel's comforting whisper sounded like a mother's lullaby. She was not afraid, because she had already taken his ideals to heart. It was part of what made her the woman she was today. It was more than what she could have ever hoped to become on her own.
She didn't mind dying for such a dream. Not when it was his.
"Don't cry Kiritsugu…"
Was he crying? He couldn't tell. His time with the woman he loved was making him soft…
"No matter what happens, I'll always be a part of you…"
The woman had moved closer, pressing against the man's lips with her own as Kiritsugu's arms circled around her to hold her tight. Suddenly the time he had with her seemed so short, and that only encouraged him to hold the woman more tightly.
It was painful for him.
A year later, Ilyasviel von Einzbern was born. On the same day, three Command Seals appeared on Kiritsugu's right hand.
-Three Years Ago-
"I'm surprised he agreed so readily." Tokiomi Tohsaka mused as he watched Kirei Kotomine walk away from the manor. "It's almost anticlimactic in a way."
Tokiomi tuned out Risei Kotomine's praise of his son as he gazed down at the Grail's unexpected and interesting participant. Kirei seemed like an earnest young man to him, and one with as much potential as him had the Tohsaka family head actually looking forward to teaching him. While the man had no reason to fight the coming war for himself, Tokiomi was grateful that he was willing to fight for the Grail for him instead.
"This is what Kirei needs, I think." Risei said, regaining Tokiomi's attention. "It's been mere days since he lost his wife. He has had to bear many burdens over the course of the past few years."
"My sympathies are with him." Tokiomi said with a sad smile. He glanced as Kirei's retreating figure as he said this, eyes slowly moving to the small figure walking next to him. "I can't imagine the pain of losing a loved one."
"A tragic event indeed." Risei agreed, nodding solemnly. "My daughter-in-law was a compassionate woman who loved my son dearly. Her death was actually an attempt to bring my son comfort."
"I'm… not sure I understand." Tokiomi replied with a puzzled look, not sure how to respond to that.
"I don't expect you to." Risei sighed. "Still, Kirei has accepted it and he seems to have come to terms with what happened remarkably fast. At least he still has his daughter."
"I must admit I'm a little worried for him. Are you certain he is fit to participate in the war?"
"After training with you, I'm sure he will be." The old priest replied wryly. The man frowned as he glanced down at Tokiomi's hands. "It certainly is a wonder though…"
Tokiomi smiled softly as he looked down at the back of his hands, neither of which bore the Command Seals of a Master. It was something of a surprise for a man with no goals or knowledge of the Grail Wars to be chosen before one of the descendants of the creators of the War was.
"…Well, three years is plenty of time. I'm actually surprised the seals have already appeared this early." Tokiomi remarked good-naturedly. "I was shocked when I read your letter about them appearing on your son's hand, Risei-san."
"I can imagine. And I want to thank you again for giving my son this opportunity, Tokiomi-kun."
"Think nothing of it, my friend. After all, this is for our mutual benefit. We mustn't let the Grail fall into the wrong hands, after all."
Kirei was ignorant of the two men that observed him as he walked along the dust trail that cut through the meadows that lead up to the Tohsaka's manor. His mind was in a whirl, processing what the head of the Tohsaka family had just finished telling him a few minutes ago.
The Holy Grail War…
The most frequently asked question was buzzing in his head. How did the Grail choose him? Why did it choose him? Kirei couldn't imagine what made him stand out. If the Grail chose Masters to be people who needed it most like Tohsaka-san had said, why would it choose someone like him who had no sense of purpose…?
Kirei shook his head. As much as the How and Why bothered him, he wouldn't waste time thinking about it. Perhaps his training with Tohsaka-san would give him the answer. Maybe he would find out during the war. All he could do for now was be patient and wait for the answers to come to him.
Unfortunately, Kirei Kotomine was not a particularly patient person.
Kirei looked down at the child who had addressed him, and was reminded of other questions he had pushed to the back of his mind.
His wife… she had been a quiet, reserved woman. Despite her nature, she was devoted and loving towards him, listening to his woes and had blessed him with a beautiful daughter. Yet, in the face of all that, Kirei felt the same about her the same way he felt about everything else.
He wished he could've loved her. He really did. For a man who sought to find his own happiness, Kirei found that a loving family could not fill the void in his heart. He was a prodigy in every sense of the word, and if it were anyone else they would be proud to say if they accomplished half of what Kirei had done. Yet Kirei did not feel pride in his accomplishments, he couldn't find salvation when he joined in his father's work, and after marrying his wife and having their daughter, most people would consider themselves a lucky man to be in his shoes.
But he couldn't love his wife. He couldn't be proud of his deeds. No, when his wife had committed suicide in an attempt to prove to him he could feel compassion for others, only one thought had come to his mind.
He wished he could have been the one to kill her.
Kirei had been horrified with himself.
The man knelt down so he could look his daughter in the eyes. He stared into Caren's golden eyes as she addressed him. Though the toddler's expression didn't convey it, her tone implied she was curious.
"Father is making a sad face."
Kirei stared at her for a moment before glancing down at the Command Seals on his hand.
He had surprised himself when he decided to keep custody of his daughter after all that had happened. Family had led to nothing and he had been nothing short of disgusted with himself after what he thought of his wife's death. He had been on his way to hand his daughter over to his wife's parents, as such a sinful man as he was unfit to raise Caren as his daughter.
...But as he took his child's hand to walk her up the front steps of his wife's parents' home to hand her over to the Ortensia family, the second Kirei had wrapped her tiny hand in his had been when the Command Seals had appeared on his right hand, the hand his daughter was tightly holding onto.
It may seem like a silly, trivial matter to most, but Kirei couldn't help but see the moment as something of great significance. So in that moment, not knowing if it was attachment, love, curiosity, or just a sudden whim or impulse, Kirei had decided to try and be a father. To give family another try. He never let his daughter out of his sight. Watching her, raising her, teaching her… perhaps he could finally feel some fulfillment…
Kirei pulled the corners of his mouth up as he smiled at his daughter.
It took a lot of effort on his part.
"No, I was just lost in thought. I'm not sad."
"Are you happy? About being in the War?"
A simple enough question from a child, but it was a difficult one for Kirei to answer.
"…It will prove to be quite the experience, I'm sure." Kirei replied neutrally after a moment.
Caren simply nodded and turned away from him, having assumed his answer meant the end of their conversation. They resumed their walk.
His child was interesting, Kirei admitted to himself. She didn't act like most young girls, had a vacant expression most of the time, and was content to follow her father around wherever he brought her. Her indifference was a bit of a relief for Kirei, since he had no doubt handling a "normal" child would be impossible for him.
To find his child interesting was another relief to Kirei. For a man who found most things dull and lost interest quite easily, there was something to by gained watching Caren grow and behave. She hadn't shown any reaction at all when his father and Tokiomi were explaining the Grail War. She had just stood next to him the whole time, quietly holding his hand.
Kirei held his daughter's hand tighter as they walked. He could only hope the war held the answers he sought, and would offer him some satisfaction.
To find his purpose…
That was Kirei's desperate hope.
-One Year Ago-
Kariya's body shook as if a tremor had just swept through his body. He tried his best to conquer his fears, to move his body, but for the moment he couldn't move. The stench of rotting meat made him gag and the green, murky atmosphere of the basement pressed down on him. He could practically taste the stink on his tongue. Kariya Matou let out a shaky breath and looked down into the pit.
He felt his insides twist up when he eyes came to rest upon Sakura's motionless form. No matter how much he wished what he was seeing was all a dream, the worms, the basement, and the horror of the reality in front of him would not go away.
Keeping his eyes on Sakura, the man took one step down. Then another. And another. He made it down three more stone steps before stopping.
Only six steps between him and the sea of filth and corruption that squirmed, hissed, and swarmed beneath him.
Kariya looked away from Sakura. He couldn't stand to see her as she was. She was like a corpse with a thousand maggots crawling over and inside her body.
When Kariya remembered that was closer to fact than not he almost threw up.
His disgust and fear was pushed aside by anger and fury as his emotions flared within him. Those emotions had once been solely focused on his father, but now the man found himself hating another even more than that immortal vampire that was his father.
Kariya desperately and furiously wanted to know why the man had thought it was a good idea to hand Sakura over to the Matou family. Wasn't he aware of what kind of monster Matou Zouken was? What he would subject his daughter to if he got his hands on her?
"Dammit…! Dammit… Tohsaka, damn you! Sakura, she… how could you do this to her?!"
Kariya had always felt resentment for the head of the Tohsaka family. He had taken away his childhood friend, the woman he loved, and married Aoi. Still, Kariya had not hated the man for marrying the woman he loved, and was happy for Aoi who had been overjoyed to marry Tokiomi. Kariya was content to be a friend of the family and a beloved uncle to Rin and Sakura. He didn't mind so long as Tokiomi made Aoi and her daughters happy. For many years, Kariya had been confident in that.
But, as he should've been well aware as a son of the Matou, magus families had a very skewed sense of morals and ideals.
When he had heard the news of Sakura's adoption from Aoi, he hadn't believed her at first. She had been sad, but she accepted it. Even Rin, who loved her younger sister more than life itself, seemed to quietly accept it and neither had raised any objections to the issue at all, even when he voiced his own worries and complaints.
...Then Aoi had told him he had no place saying such things as he had abandoned the world of magus years ago, and if Zouken saw a potential heir in Sakura, then her current position was the fault of Kariya who had rejected the role.
That accusation had cut him deeply.
Kariya slowly turned back to look at Sakura. Eyes that had once been so full of life and laughter were dead and hollow. She only moved with the worms as they shifted and twitched when the worms inside-
Kariya quickly banished that thought.
Suddenly, his expression slackened as his face turned expressionless. Without a word he turned, with his back to the horde of worms. On the outside he seemed dead to the world, but on the inside there was only resolute determination. An iron will that would not be broken, even after he succumbed to the horrors in the pit.
His bastard of a father had already given him an ultimatum. A way to save Sakura. If he could give her back her happiness, put an end to her horror and torment, if he could return her to her family, if he had to give his life for hers…
...Then so be it.
"...I'll save you."
Kariya closed his eyes and fell backwards.
As the worms rushed to meet him and dive into the new piece of meat, up at the top of the stone stairs Matou Zouken let out an amused chuckle.
-Two Weeks Ago-
Waver Velvet was the only one currently in the Clock Tower Library, pouring over books and finding out what he could about the Holy Grail War that his blockhead of a professor, Kayneth Archibald El-Melloi, was apparently taking part in. A tournament consisting of seven Masters and seven Servants who would fight for possession of the Holy Grail…
One Master would get one Servant, and each of the seven summoned would have strengths based on what class they were summoned as.
Saber, Lancer, Archer, Rider, Caster, Assassin, Berserker… all had strengths and weaknesses, but each were powerful heroes from forgotten ages, brought back to fight a battle as epic as the legends that made them heroes.
"The Holy Grail War…" Waver murmured quietly to himself.
Only the most talented had any hope of surviving the War…
"...I'm the perfect candidate for this!" Waver proclaimed as a confident grin rose to his face.
The boy's grin faltered when he glanced at the package that was addressed to the professor that had ripped up his thesis in the middle of the lecture earlier that afternoon. Waver frowned as he remembered Professor Archibald's words in the lecture hall.
"Ugh…! Stupid, stupid, stupid!" Waver seethed to himself as he furiously read through the text.
Kayneth had mocked him in front of the entire class, in front of his peers, just because he was jealous! Waver knew he was in the right, the stupid man just refused to see the truth of the matter! It was more than possible for even lesser families to become skilled magus if they devoted time, effort, and research into their magecraft. For all his talk about how families with a higher pedigree were more powerful, wasn't it focused research and effort that had made those families great in the first place? The ancestors were famous because they had done exactly what Waver had described in his thesis! Who was stronger, a family with twelve generations who constantly made careless errors and mistakes in their magecraft while barely progressing at all, or a family with only four generations but had developed their magecraft by leaps and bounds due to careful steps and hard effort? Heck, some of the lesser families had twice the magic circuits the older families did!
The answer was obvious! Anyone could be great so long as they tried!
Waver glanced at the package that sat on the side of his desk again. His recalled the entry he read about how a Master could summon a specific Servant if they had an artifact from the Heroic Spirit's past life to use as a catalyst during the summoning. Based on the address, Waver could confidently assume that this package held some sort of artifact Kayneth planned to use to summon a powerful Servant to fight for him in the Holy Grail War.
A devious idea formed in Waver's mind, but he shook the thought away. The boy sighed, closed his books, returned them to the shelves and picked up the package to deliver to his professor.
For a moment, Waver had entertained the idea of taking whatever artifact Kayneth was planning to use and use it to summon something for himself, if only to spite his teacher. But that was just it. It would be an action done out of spite, and while Waver was sure the Servant Kayneth picked would be powerful, it wasn't something he wanted to do.
Why wouldn't he take the opportunity that had presented itself so conveniently? Because it would be no different than if Waver had ripped up his essay instead of Kayneth. What he stressed most in his essay, "How Wizardry Should Be in the New Century" was how research and effort could make someone a great magus, not status or pedigree. Stealing an artifact that Kayneth had probably used his family and status to obtain, and something Waver had put in no effort at all in obtaining would be like spitting on the shreds of his essay professor Archibald had tossed into the trash. Still…
"No!" Waver shook his head, clenching the package tighter in his arms as he marched down the hallway. "I have my pride as a magus and I won't toss my beliefs aside! Even without a catalyst, I can still summon a strong servant! The Grail should recognize my talent and I'm sure I'll summon someone even more heroic than whoever Kayneth plans to summon!"
Waver nodded confidently to himself. He would research and prepare, he would go to Fuyuki City, he would summon a Servant, he would take part in the War, and he would show his stupid professor that Waver Velvet was not someone who could be underestimated or looked down upon!
Kiritsugu and Irisviel gazed at Avalon's blue and golden design as luminescent light filtered through the windows onto it. Kiritsugu's expression was stoic as usual while Irisviel looked eager.
Other than allowing Kiritsugu to meet Irisviel, acquiring Avalon to use as a summoning catalyst was probably the only thing Kiritsugu was truly grateful to old man Acht for.
"With this, we'll be able to summon Arthur Pendragon, the King of Knights." Irisviel smiled.
Kiritsugu nodded silently, turning around and taking a seat and attempted to relax as various thoughts flew back and forth in his mind. He had spent years preparing for this day, when the Fourth Holy Grail War would start and when he would summon the most powerful of Servants. Even still, Kiritsugu could not help but wonder about the Hero Spirit he and Irisviel were going to summon. With Avalon as the catalyst, it was impossible for them to summon anyone but the King of Knights, no matter how mismatched Master and Servant may be.
"It'll be fine." Irisviel assured him with a smile when he voiced these thoughts. "I'm sure that once he hears of your ideals, he'll gladly fight for you."
"One can only hope." Kiritsugu gave a faint smile as he said this. He would have the Command Seals, but Irisviel would be supplying the Servant with prana. With this method, they could use the Servant's power to his fullest. "But things rarely work out exactly the way you want them to…"
"I believe in you." Irisviel smiled. "I'm confident you'll summon the Servant we want."
"But is the one I need…?" Kiritsugu suddenly asked. "I'd probably be better off with Caster or Assassin…"
The man sighed as he stood back up. There was no use worrying about things now after all this time. In order to fulfill his dream, King Arthur's power was needed. There could be no hesitation. He gave his wife a soft smile as he stepped up to the alter.
"Let's get started."
Kariya limped down the steps into the pit where most of his "training" had taken place over the past year. Or that's what Zouken called it, the monster.
He had barely made it. A few days ago his Command Seals had appeared on his right hand after a long, final session in the pit. It gave Kariya hope when he had been close to despair, even when he knew he had to stay strong for Sakura. It had been hard, but in the end he had been rewarded for his efforts thus far.
Whether it was all worth it remained to be seen.
He shook that thought away. He couldn't afford to think like that if he wanted to win this War and return Sakura to her family. He had tried to be with her as much as he could, spending as much time as he could with her out of the pit and sharing "training" sessions with her when he could, to try and give her some comfort.
In the end, he may have overtaxed himself. Sakura was stronger than he was and the only physical change she had after being implanted with the Crest Worms were the changes of eye and hair color. He, on the other hand…
Kariya winced as he made the final steps down. He could feel the Crest Worms shifting and scuttling underneath his skin. He had already lost the use of his left arm, and he could barely feel his left leg now…
"Ah, Kariya. It's rude to keep an old man waiting."
"Bastard." Kariya thought angrily, but steeled himself as he stepped forward.
He would save Sakura.
"I'm ready." Kariya told his father.
"I should hope so, otherwise that would've made all your training this past year a waste." Zouken chuckled.
Kariya frowned, trying to get a hold on his anger so as to not agitate the worms. He stepped closer to the center of the pit as Zouken gestured to the seal already drawn on the stone floor.
"As you can see, I've already taken the liberty of creating the summoning circle. Be grateful."
"Just tell me what to do." Kariya responded curtly.
"Of course, of course. Now, I'll assume you've memorized the summoning spell I gave you, but there's a line you must add to the incantation in order to summon a Servant who should make up for your shortcomings."
"Come now, you're fighting magus with years of experience and though your fortitude has been surprisingly formidable you can't hope to summon a Servant on the same caliber the other Masters will." Zouken laughed, as if thinking otherwise was a joke. "However, by summoning this class of Servant, it should have the strength to make up for your lack of it."
Kariya didn't care, just so long as the Servant he summoned would help him save Sakura. After memorizing the added line, Kariya began to recite the verses for the summoning…
Waver smiled as he finished drawing up the summoning circle. He had arrived in Fuyuki City a week ago and had taken up residence in the home of an old man and woman, Glen and Martha Mackenzie, whom he had hypnotized into thinking he was their grandson stopping by from his study abroad. After a few issues had been sorted out, Waver had left for the forest to summon his Servant.
The boy glanced down at his right hand with a proud smile. Not too long after he had arrived in Fuyuki the Command Seals had appeared on the back of his hand. The Grail had recognized and chosen him! As if he had expected anything less…
Of course, with the little time Waver had he wasn't able to procure an artifact to use as a catalyst to summon a specific Servant, but he was fine with that. He would leave it up to the Grail to choose what Heroic Spirit would serve him, and was confident that he would gain a Servant befitting of his talent.
He was in the middle of an open patch of land in the forest with trees surrounding him on all sides. Waver had originally planned to used the blood of the chickens he'd stolen to draw the summoning circle, but their blood had attracted a few wolves that lived in the forest. Waver easily dispatched them with a few well placed spells, and then after deciding wolves were more fearsome than chickens, he felt that the blood of wolves was better suited for the summoning ritual. After all, since he had no specific catalyst, the smallest variable might influence what Servant he got. If he just used chicken blood, who knows how the Grail would interpret that and what Servant he'd wind up with…
Waver shook that thought away as he finished drawing the circle. Satisfied with his work and with an excited smile on his lips, he began the ritual…
Now, remember an important fact, one that was mentioned before. Well, many important facts were mentioned before, but this one is the most important at the moment.
The Grail knows. And while the Masters summoning the Servants had in mind what they wanted, the Grail knows who they needed.
I call to thee…
Three summonings were taking place at the same time. Three had already occurred. One had yet to be made. But for now, the Grail would focus most on these three.
It was well aware of the difference between a want and a need. A wish machine knows more than a bit about wishes, after all.
"Thy body, borne of my will. If thou shalt serve me, answer my call…"
A talented boy who wanted recognition and unknowingly sought companionship, but who also couldn't accept his own faults…
"Thine eyes, clouded by chaos…! Trapped in a cage of madness… I shall hold thy chains…!
A good man who shouldn't have fought in any kind of war, but saw it as his only way to give back a child's happiness…
"I shall become all that is good in the world, and I shall eradicate all that is evil…"
...And finally, the disillusioned man who wished to become a superhero, but was weighed down by his own ideals…
And as all of them cried out…
The Servants that they needed were summoned.
Waver fell backwards as the summoning concluded. He waved away the smoke in front of his face and stared wide eyed at what he had summoned.
Long, teal colored hair spilling down its back, a white tunic sinking down to the feet that made determining of any gender impossible, and a face that was, in Waver's honest opinion, far too perfect yet strangely inhuman at the same time.
After a few moments, and with a serene smile on its face, the Servant spoke.
"Hm… I ask of you, are you my Master?"
Kariya stared at the Servant he had summoned disbelievingly. A tall, muscled figure with black pants and a white shirt buttoned up halfway with gold accessories hanging off his neck, wrists and belt stood before Kariya. If he had been able to tear his eyes away from the man in front of him, he would have noticed a similar look on Zouken's face. The old man's face contorted as he frowned at his son.
"…Even now you disappoint me." Zouken hissed. "…What is this… this Servant?"
To his further shock, the Servant with golden hair turned, blew a raspberry at the old man, and turned towards who he recognized as his Master with a bright, childish smile on his face.
"Hi there, are you my Master?"
Emiya Kiritsugu dreamed of being a superhero. He wanted someone with great power to help accomplish his dream. The King of Knights had been who he wanted.
What he needed, however, was someone plagued by the same ideals he. A Servant who once had a similar dream, but had forgotten it. He needed a Servant he could understand.
As Kiritsugu stared and Irisviel gasped in shock, the Servant stood. The white haired man dressed in a red coat opened his eyes and addressed the man standing in front of him.
"…Are you my Master?"
The Grail's will is satisfied with this. Six summoned, one to go, the Holy Grail War is well on its way. It would watch these Masters and Servants interact in the coming war…
...And it would enjoy watching immensely, satisfied for now at having granted the unspoken wishes of these three Masters to summon those who would understand them.
Questions, too many to count, are obviously being thrown around now. Questions about the Grail, the War, its future, its Masters and Servants and how they were chosen…
Many, many answers could be given in response, but really, there is no time to give them. Take your questions and stuff them. Not satisfied? Fine. Here's the simple answer to all the questions that may or may not be answered during the course of this War. Details will come in time, but not now. It's fine to ask questions, but sometimes it's best to wait and accept the simplest answer for the time being. Especially in a world like this. Really, it's a perfectly sensible answer yet almost no one simply accepts it. Again, they have too many questions. Want the simple answer to all these questions? That's all you're getting for now.
Deal with it.
A/N: I've feel very satisfied right now.
I've already gotten this one up on Beast's Lair and I decided to post it here too. I wanted to know what the folks around here thought of it. Hope you all enjoyed it and more to come soon. Thanks for reading and I'd like to hear your opinions on the setup so far. Have a good one.