5856/FateParadox: New Beginnings

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FateParadox: New Beginnings
Date of Scene: 26 May 2018
Location: The Quilt
Synopsis: The new Grail War begins with a battle on a big bridge
Cast of Characters: Sir Gawain, Karian Icefang, 1161, 6381, 1142, Staren, Maya, Reiji Arisu, Tanya Degurechaff, Eithne Sullivan, Xiaomu, Priscilla, 1143, Eryl Fairfax


Sir Gawain has posed:
    The moon hangs low over the river that cuts through the Quilt, a silvery, gibbous fruit. It's grimy reflection in the muddied waters sits beneath a dull gray bridge for vehicles to pass over it. Here in the Quilt, traffic would consist of cars going bumper to rear axle with wagons, whose beasts of burdens would sniff at the jet fuel of hovercraft.

    But on this night, the bridge is mostly empty, with multiple abandoned vehicles dotting its eight lanes. The reason for this is the sudden, abrupt battle that broke out upon it. Not just on the road, but atop its curved arches and among its supporting pylons. The air is literally hot and electric, gunshots ring out and mix with the clash of steel, the shouts and the taunts.

    A new Grail War is beginning.

    In the middle of the northbound lanes a tall, wizened man battles with a hulking monstrosity. The old man stands at least 10 feet tall, clad in faded robes and armor and wears a tarnished crown atop his gray head. He swings his sword, wreathed in intense flames, and scores a hit on the brute he faces. Embers dance through the air, mixing with the stench of burning dead flesh, the giant's mottled skin charred and oozing. But his pursuit continues, an arm like a tree trunk grabbing the old man by the face. "Saber..." snarls out from between the monster's ever-bared teeth before he hurls the swordsman at an abandoned car. He impacts hard against the chassis, crumpling it and causing the anti-theft alarm to start squealing. But the old man rises, seemingly unhurt.

    Atop the arches, two other figures are engaged in battle. One figure wears a hooded cloak that conceals their features, but keeps their complicated five-part sheathe exposed. The other a woman with the lower body of a snake laughs in a haughty manner as she sends lightning flying from her staff. The air fills with ozone as her opponent ducks behind a giant rivet, the lightning striking it, making it burn cherry red and begin to melt. "Ooohohohohoho~!" she crows as she slithers over towards his hiding place. "Is this all you have to offer, Archer?!" she asks, before leaping around the molten hunk of metal to see... nothing. It is at that moment that Archer loops around from under the arch to land a firm dropkick to the woman's back. A satisfying 'oomph' comes as all the air is driven from her lungs. She nearly plummets, but her tail snags a pylon, allowing her to coil around it and halt her fall, her face a rictus of fury. "Not at all, Berserker," the man under the hood says. "I just didn't want to show you up too badly."

Sir Gawain has posed:
    A figure soars overhead, riding upon some manner of skis linked to a backpack. This might seem ridiculous, but the man riding them is clad in a gray military uniform. His face is haggard, an eyepatch covers one eye, the exposed one looking frenzied. He swoops low, strafing the bridge as he draws a Thompson sub-machine gun and fires at all the combatants. Bullets impact, and then explode violently upon impact in a flash of magical light, forcing everyone to take cover (save the gruesome monster, who just takes the hit). Retaliations ensue, as the old man hurls a lightning bolt, the monster fires a rocket launcher, the hooded figure fires with a golden shotgun, and the snake woman conjures a fireball. The military man weaves through the attacks before rapidly ascending to the same height as the figure who observes all this.

    He too wears a hooded cloak, but his is golden brown to oppose 'Archer's' dark grey. He stands atop a wooden staff with a crooked head, arms folded. The military man reaches his level, and seems to be gauging his options. The man on the staff looks to the other, just as an M1 Garand rifle appears in their hands, a single shot unleashed at the observer. But his hand comes up, and flicks the bullet away like it were a gnat, sending it spiralling away before exploding.

    The face under the hood crooks into a smirk as the military man goes back down for another strafe. Sirens are heard in the distance as responders rush to the scene...

Karian Icefang has posed:
    Somehow, Karian of the Space Wolves had found himself drawn to the currently battle. Letting his wolk-skin cloak catch in the wing, he simply points his hand forth. "Go forward, and show our enemies who is destined to win. Bring the Emperor's Wrath down upon any who stand against you, Sanguinius." He says, his order given to this war's Rider-Class Servant.

Ryu (1161) has posed:
    Ryu arrives to the battle in progress. His wings glow in the night sky, an array of dragonfly veins that seem too angular to be natural. The silvery dragon comes to a stop atop one of the bridge spires to perch and look down into the battle. His gold eyes flick to and fro, the dragon's nature only familiar to one of the participants of this fight. His tail coils around the bridge as he leans side to side, following the violence. His head rises as the flying one makes a fly-by shot at everyone at once.

    Ryu frowns to himself in thought, and scouts for any bystandards that might be caught in the fray, maybe people recently injured or killed. He flies down and lands, moving with a darting pace to avoid the bulk of the fighting, his head jerking as he focuses on halted or smashed vehicles here and there, prying open doors or peering through windows one at a time. He has no time to get into a protracted conflict with a bunch of strangers. Not when innocent people might be getting hurt in the crossfire.

Nova Terra (6381) has posed:
    Standing atop the roof of a building near the bridge is... Nothing. Well, nothing obvious. There's a brief ripple in the air of something invisible, but it doesn't last long.

    Reports from operatives in this area had indicated a battle starting up. One hell of a battle at that. Definitely the kind warranting a response of some sort from elites. Which is why Nova is now standing upon a roof in the area, her cloaking field active as she looks out upon the bridge. She's some distance away, so uses the zoom feature in her visor to get a closer look...

    An old man with a sword. A large monster. A snake-woman. Some hooded fellow. A guy flying through the air... On skis? Okay, that's a little odd. And a second figure in a cloak.

    Welp, Nova isn't sure where to begin. She gets the feeling she's seen some weird stuff before. But this is certainly high up there on the weirdness scale. For the moment though, Nova simply observes from her hiding spot. Now is not quite the time to act yet, not without more information.

Ice King (1142) has posed:
    Swords clash, bullets fly, lightning and fireballs scorch the air and cast light upon the walls in jagged, nightmarish outlines to match the creatures they belong to. And a wizard is peeking over a cement barrier alongside the road, fingers, nose, eyes, and Crown the only visible parts, giving a 'Kilroy Was Here' look to him.

    "Maaaan, this is inTENSE." he mutters. Then bullets begin exploding in huge bursts of magic light, and Ice King lets out a strangled cry as he turns and drops down behind the barrier, putting his back to it to avoid the shockwaves as he claps his sharp-fingered hands to his ears. "HEY, BUDDY, ARE YOU SURE WE SHOULD BE HERE!? I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm definitely getting to see some amazing magic like you promised, but you and me... We're survivors! If we get caught up in all that, we're in deeeep doo-doo. Maybe we should just let them duke it out a little longer."

    He then rolls over and peeks above the barricade again. "Besides, I don't even see any princesses out there." His eyes alight on the snake woman. "Well, HELL-oooo~! Scratch that, maybe she'll be interested in joining up with us! She's obviously some kind of... Snake Wizard. More the merrier, am I right?" he calls up to someone or other.

    Who is he talking to? Why he's talking to...

Staren has posed:
    SOMETHING unusual is happening here. The question is... what? It's not like a monster attacked and is threatening civilians. It's more like a couple of elites who are enemies with eachother suddenly spotted eachother, started fighting, and everyone around them ran. Except there's a whole bunch of them, so clearly some kind of Shenanigans are going on, because this many people who know eachother and want to fight in one place is not chance.

    This does mean that there's no clear 'side' for Staren to jump in on. Well, he COULD take the side of 'You're all endangering the peace', but antagonizing this many unknowns, especially when they don't seem particularly hostile to civilians, seems unwise.

    So it is that he beams down off to one side of the bridge. Armored up for combat in heavier than usual power armor, but instead of approaching the combatants or attacking them, he deploys several hand-size quadrotor drones to surround the fight from various angles and get him a good view of what's going on.

Maya has posed:
Maya sensed powerful magic, the old elite was drawn to it, for reasons she didn't know why. Yet the blue-haired woman clad in leather and metal does arrive alone. Soon it becomes clear, there are Servants here. This means something that Maya greatly fears is occurring there may be a grail war on and rarely do good things ever come from such things in her experience. Memories of a plan to build a light of the dawn to deal with such a war come into her mind and she shoves it away. She won't let it get that, far the Junke can not.

Maya is quick to respond, Maya gives off a hell of a lot of magical energy herself she can't hide it and anyone who can sense it will easily be able to see that she has arrived.

She does not jump in yet, but it is clear. Maya is ready for a fight, and her rifle is at the ready along with her deck of fate cards.

Reiji Arisu has posed:
A Holy Grail War. To say that there's a certain infamy associated with these events isn't particularly a surprise. Even with the multiverse now stitching together so many different worlds with so many different avenues to power, it's difficult for anyone to overlook access to a magical wish-granting engine like the Holy Grail. For good or for ill, its effects are well known by many in this joined world.

Those dedicated to keeping the peace are particularly challenged by the emergence of another grail war. It must, after all, be ensured that the power of the Grail be used wisely, and not to imperil the public at large.

And so, the Paladins have arrived.

A thin plume of smoke rises from a cigarette tucked between a man's lips at the far end of the bridge. Reiji Arisu, an agent of the Shinra organization, makes his way steadily and intently towards the heart of the confict.

His goal...

To end it, if at all possible. To contain the Holy Grail-- or at the very least, to ensure it doesn't fall into foul-intentioned hands. "Xiaomu," Reiji says to the night air. "You all ready? Everything loaded up?"

Tanya Degurechaff has posed:
    The bridge is easy to see even at a distance. The unfolding battle's lights and explosions even more apparent. A small blonde girl approaches in the air, floating with the assistance of an armored boot and waist mechanism. An Imperial flight unit, as befits an Imperial Major-- Tanya von Degurechaff lifts her free hand, shading her glowing blue eyes. When explosions ripple along the bridge, incited by obvious small arms fire from an aerial target, Tanya's eyes narrow.

    She halts herself, swiping her hand to one side to produce a magical screen. Reticles appear, encircling the aerial target and then zooming in. Her eyes widen. No, he should be dead. She watched him explode. Tanya bares her teeth, expression growing tense as she un-slings her rifle.

    "Time to earn our pay," she mutters, racking a round into the chamber.

Eithne Sullivan has posed:
    Eithne has an awful lot of experience with Servants, as she's been living with some for a couple of years now. If she's careful, and at full strength, she knows she's capable of going toe-to-toe with a weaker Servant for a short while. Too bad none of it prepared her for an actual Grail War.

    They've got no reason to listen to her if she asks them to stop fighting long enough to ask some questions. For starters, she's not even a Magus!!

    She'll just have to make do and hope the Servants and their Masters don't get too out of hand.

    The Scion arrives on horseback, saddle-less and holding on to the beast's mane as the kelpie charges up the length of the lane divider, bounding over the occasional deserted car as he charges directly into the middle of the fray.

Xiaomu has posed:
"As ready as I ever am," Xiaomu replies, only a hint of grousing in her tone. She *had* been all settled in for a relaxing evening of demon-busting, and then the call came through about a bunch of wacky weirdoes tearing up downtown in the course of a seven-way battle royale. Or something roughly akin to one.

But when duty calls, the sage fox usually answers - especially when Reiji plucked the controller out of her hands, saved her game for her, and shut down the entertainment center. That pretty much put the kibosh on any further protests Xiaomu might have mustered.

At the moment, Xiaomu's perched on the roof of a building overlooking the river and the bridge; her gaze moves from one probable Servant to the next, trying to sort out who's wearing which hat, so to speak. The Archer in the cloak gets a double-take from the sage fox, as if she's not quite sure what she saw, but she finishes her sweep before rising from her perch. Her monk's staff is slung across her back at the moment; her right hand holds a short, technological-looking baton ... and as she jumps off the roof's edge, the baton activates -

- and her lightcycle manifests on the way down, taking full shape and solidity underneath her before it lands, next to Reiji, with Xiaomu already astride it. "This is gonna be a pretty big mess, put out your cigarette and climb on if you want a ride!" She revs the cycle's engine, ready to charge into the fray. Besides her staff and her lightcycle, she's got several clips of ammunition and a full load of 'Shinra Special' grenades, so she wasn't kidding about being as ready as she gets for this.

Priscilla has posed:
    Despite the absolute chaos on display, it only takes Priscilla a few seconds to figure out the barest basics of it. Battle banter is something she is rarely prone to, and listens to carefully, and it only takes the words 'Saber', 'Berserker', and 'Archer', to put two and two together. Just about everyone with a year in the Multiverse Elite Forces has heard of a Grail War, and yet very few have heard of them ever ending well.

    As the First of the Concord here, at the head of several hours, her place isn't to sit back and 'get ready'. Despite the ongoing clusterfuck of high-octane mass combat, wrecking scenery and turning the night air into an open firing zone, Priscilla steps out onto the bridge on full display, Lifehunt Scythe at her side with her grip all the way up to the blade. She may have to duck a few lightning bolts and gunshots to get there, and potentially move fast, but she makes a show of deliberately intruding into the middle of the firefight.

    "Servants of the Grail, I presumeth." she says, taking and holding a position, and starting to look over each Servant she can pick out one by one, slowly assessing each one individually for details in sequence. "Dost thine masters knoweth no better than to conduct their battle within the borders of their own territory? This is heavily traveled fully-Multiversal territory, thou of the Holy Grail's war. Rather than simply involving bystandares, thou bringeth on thineselves the involvement of more substantial entities concerned with maintaining these routes. I shalt hardly bar thee from pursuing the wishes that drive thee, however this is the place to do so not." Rather than going for a regally commanding tone, she falls back on her much more traditional, and somehow more sincere tone: soft, even-tempered, slightly stilted, and oddly carrying. There is no political bent to it, nor official weight of the Concord behind it.

    The flying figure seems to be one Tanya is familiar with, she thinks to herself, and bears too many resemblances in equipment and magic to dismiss. The snake-woman is such a popular fixture that there is nowhere she could begin in identifying her. The behemoth reminds her more of Number Nine than anything else, but chasing this particular thread of comparing them to people she might know of isn't turning up much so far.

Sir Gawain has posed:
The cars are, thankfully, empty, and there doesn't seem to have been any casualties whatsoever. There's the signs of a clear rush, with left-behind objects such as teddy bears and technology inside of cars, but everyone got out safely, beasts were have been cut off their chains, and similar. As he gets close to the battle, a car suddenly goes flying in Ryu's direction, chucked by the rotting monstrosity fighting the swordsman. He doesn't say anything, simply trying to bat Ryu out of the way of their fight.

Ryu (1161) has posed:
    "WOAH!"

    Ryu reacts quickly. And when we say quickly, we mean so fast that other living things would probably shatter their bones in the attempt. He leaps up, and twirls in the air to avoid the brunt of the car's mass, but it still clips him enough to send him flying off the bridge quite a distance and barely catch himself before landing in the water below. His wings flutter as he gets up, and when he's hovering back within view, he's popping his arm back into place noisily, his wounds visibly repairing themselves and a puff of white fire rolling from his nose.

    "Fuck you too."

    Ryu hovers over to land on the bridge's edge, fluttering his wings rapidly. Air buffets behind him, and his legs curl up underneath him like tensing springs. Then he blasts himself toward the vicious, gross monster as hard as he can, his claws extended to try and dig into the thing and spear it off the side of the bridge with him in a very reckless move. His claws and teeth have anti-undead properties, as a matter of coincidence, and he hopes this guy is as susceptible to them as he looks. Not all undead fall under the same umbrella.

Touta Konoe (1143) has posed:
The news occurring in the Quilt blasts through the comms and even reaches Touta of all people. Having come across so many Servants, some to which he has the pleasure to call friends did always wonder what the Grail Wars they were a part of were like. He had gotten the basic jist of how they usually went. A battle to the death for a single wish. While Touta can't say that he agreed with that sort of risk and reward outcome he felt like he should see for his own eyes what kind of battlefield the Holy Grail War was.

Though from just what he was told alone he could never have expected such a scene. Creatures and warriors of all kind looked as though they had arrived at one point in more of a free for all than some sort of organized war. The air's tense in more ways than one and the sounds of gunfire and battlecries make it difficult to pinpoint any sort of dialogue that was going on. Yet even in all of this mess he can see that others Elites have already arrived. Some more familiar than others but all looking as though they are ready to help intervene in some way in this war that seemed to have spontaneously occured from nowhere.

The real question was...Where did one even start and try to stop this mess. Fights were going on all over the place. On the ground, in the air, it was difficult to keep one's attention in a single place without missing something that may be occurring only a few feet away. That apparently doesn't stop others from entering the fray directly, though for the moment Touta stands at one of the edges of the bridge not sure where it is that he's needed.

"Touta...Look up..."

Kurobo's voice comes from Touta's blade and with it brings his attention towards the sky, unsure of what exactly he was suppose to be looking at.

Sir Gawain has posed:
Standing beside Karian is a shining armored knight with great white wings, who is holding a great sword with a red jewel in the hilt. The Servant standing next to him tall and proud nods, as his wings lift him up. "Understood, Master. I will bring glory to you!" Sanguinius soars over several cars, raising his voice so he can be heard. "I am Rider! If there is a grand battle to be had here, I will partake in it. Let us begin!"

And then, the Rider-class Servant lifts up to the arches, once he has gotten the attention of the hooded man and the snake woman. Deftly moving forward with his blade, he moves to slash the man in the hood, who quickly draws a sword out of that strange sheath and moves to slash him, impacting against his armor. "Hey, can't you tell three's a bit of a crowd, buddy?"

The snake-woman takes this chance to actually disengage from the fight, moving down the arch towards the greater bridge. As more and more people come forward, including some actually riding a motorcycle across the bridge, she leaps down, spiralling fire through her fingers until it leads into several miniature firebolts. They surge forward at anyone who crosses onto the bridge, several moving to aim for Eithne as she charges straight into the battle, with a haughty laugh emerging from the woman. "Stay out of the way, you brats. I'm busy here, and there's far too many of you to care about."

Karian Icefang has posed:
    With a returned nod towards Sanguinius, Karian makes his way into the city. He held little fear of the war around him, but rather wanted a better view. He made his way towards where the rest of the elites had started to gather, but on his face a knowing grin, made wider only as he drew into sight of the others.

Sir Gawain has posed:
Standing next to the Ice King is an ancient elemental with beaked feet and a white beard, who sighs at the crowned man. Caster sounds a tiny bit frustrated as he speaks, but he's dealing with it. "We need to know what they're capable of if we're going to be fighting them, of course." His own magical signature draws attention to him, as the military man moves to fire a shot at him, pointing visibly enough for both Caster and Ice King to see. The bullet surges forward, impacting cleanly, and causing a retaliation of a ray of ice back at the flying man. "Besides! They're obviously a bunch of troublemakers who need to be dealt with." Hopefully, his Master will agree, as ice starts to form from his hands again, hoping to get a clear shot...and there's shortly a salvo of barrages back and forth between them. That's probably going to be a problem for Ice King, who is right in the middle of it!

Eryl Fairfax has posed:
    Priscilla's soft voice carries across the bridge, drawing the looks of the Servants presents. They had become tacitly aware of the mounting Elite forces, but she is the first to approach. The old man grabs the car he was thrown into, and swings it at the hulking brute as he began to lash out with a tentacle that emerged from the sleeve of his coat. The vehicle hits hard, and actually sends the monster sliding, buried under it.

    "We hath been bid by our own Masters to do battle here upon this day," he says in a strong voice that belies his age, the tone of a stern but caring father. "We know not of the landscape of this 'Multiverse,' nor of its people or political climate. Their wills are our only reason. Rest assured however, that I, and Archer up above, saw to it that those contained in these strange carriages got away."

    It's a voice that likely stirs old memories within the First. The man before her is both older and younger than she remembers. Older than the one who banished her to the Painted World. Younger than the corpse she met at the Kiln of the First Flame. But it is undeniably Gwyn, Lord of Sunlight that stands before her, now know as Saber.

Eithne Sullivan has posed:
    It's not a great idea to engage with a Servant. Clearly, it's not even a good idea to get too close to one, as bolts of fire rain down on Eithne and her steed. Daisy (the man-eating bog monster that looks like a pretty pony) snorts and ducks her head, skittering away to the side in a very un-horselike manner, with Eithne hanging on for dear life as the flames miss them by inches.

    "Break it up, all've yeh!" she calls out in the most commanding voice she can muster. Her sword is drawn from Somewhere Else - not the tactical, modern one that Yang made for her, but the ancient pitted iron one older than some of the Servants present. Held out to one side like a much lighter blade, Eithne charges /right for/ the snake woman with a sweeping blow that she hopes will knock Berserker into the water and out of the fight.

Nova Terra (6381) has posed:
    More elites are beginning to filter into the area, showing up on Nova's visor as she looks out from her hiding spot. A couple she recognises, technically, as her HUD reports them as friendlies. Nova was intending to simply observe the battle, gathering information on the so-called Servants and assess them as threats. After all, there wasn't reason to do much more than that. But then Nova notices one of her allies charging the bridge on horseback. And thus subseqently attacked by fireballs. The car sent flying at Ryu doesn't go unnoticed either.

    Tch... She can't sit around now.

    Nova drops down to one knee, raising the canister rifle in her hands. Tilting her head, she looks into the electronic scope and sights in on her first target... The snake-woman. An attempt to cover Eithne's approach. Crosshairs lined up on the woman's head, Nova pulls the trigger. The rifle is supressed, so the shot is unlikely to be heard in the chaos of the battle. But the 25mm anti-personnel round zips through the air, Nova's intent to go for the headshot even if she has to tweak the bullet's path after firing to account for her target's movement.

    As Nova fires her cloak shimmers again, briefly revealing her position.

Reiji Arisu has posed:
"This a no-smoking motorcycle?" Reiji deadpans, flicking his cigarette onto the asphalt, the stub crumbling slowly into a mound of grey ash. "If those are the rules, then I guess I'll have to oblige. Looks like there's some fireworks tonight. You handle the ride, I'll keep the flames at bay."

The exorcist slings himself up and onto the motorcycle, anchoring his feet into the seat behind his partner-driver like some kind of amazing street-surfer. Reiji readies his own rack of weapons, an unusual parallel to that of the distant Archer. He leans forward ever so slightly, a subtle, electric crackle-pop sizzles through the air as a bare sliver of his shortblade is drawn from its sheath.

As Xiaomu rides onto the bridge, her partner springs into action, sweeping chirai into incoming fireballs, the wakizashi's elemental essence drinking deep of the swirling flames.

That should give them abundant opportunity to close in...!

Tanya Degurechaff has posed:
    "Believers, have faith in the Lord's blessings," A young girl's voice announces over local band radio. The static in the transmission suggests she's far away. Or that the technology she uses is very old-fashioned.

    A few present, Servant or otherwise, may recognize the voice: Major Tanya von Degurechaff.

    "For the Lord will not abandon us," At her distant, hovering position, the young Major raises her weapon to a ready position. The projected holographic screen fills her vision, tracking the flight path of that Ski-riding military man.

    "Give me the power..." Eyes narrow, motes of golden light drifting away from her, "...to destroy the enemies of the Fatherland." Her eyes snap open wide, the blue glow washing out immediately to a bright, golden color. She squeezes a single round out of her weapon, a bullet accelerated by magic which traces a streak of blue across the darkening sky.

Ice King (1142) has posed:
    "Uhhh..." The wheels in his head turn. Then Ice King says, "...Riiiight. Which is why I said we should keep watching! I mean look at them out there," Ice King says, gesturing indicatively at the other Servants while talking out the side of his mouth. "They're not even trying to hide what they can do. It's total crazy town around here. But hey, as long as they aren't attacking us too, why not chill and keep OUR magic hidden too. Right? Right."

    Ice King props his hands on his hips and nods, satisfied at his reasoning, but then bullets start flying and exploding and Caster is shooting back with ice at their attackers, and Ice King ducks and covers. To get further away from the fire/ice fight, he crawls on hands and knees until he's out of the danger zone (relatively), then he begins flapping his beard and takes off into the air. "Whoop!"

    Once he's up there, he holds his hands above his head, and yells, "Hey, Cloud Skiife!" Then he begins blasting a wave of snow at the military man, thinking maybe he can knock him out of the air or blind him or at least distract him. After all, the natural enemy of a skiing enthusiast who skiis on air instead of snow is obviously snow!

Xiaomu has posed:
As luck would have it, Xiaomu had kind of earmarked the snaky chick of a Berserker as her priority target anyway; the fact that the snaky chick in question is actively raining fireballs on anyone who tries to get close to the fighting just makes her even more important to take down. Whether that means 'killing her outright' or just pounding the fight out of her is pretty much up to the Berserker ... which likely means it's going to come down to the former, seeing as ... well, *Berserker*. The class presumably didn't get its name for a tendency towards level-headed tactical withdrawals.

So once Reiji's braced behind her, Xiaomu accelerates smoothly onto the bridge proper, swerving to dodge as many of those fireballs as she can when the snake lady starts tossing them around like T-shirts at a fandom event. She barely needs to look up to see Reiji's using Chirai, which is what she would have recommended against an apparent lamia or naga or something ... snakes are water-aspected animals, aren't they?

Although in *that* light, seeing one use *fire* so casually ... Xiaomu shakes her head briefly, then drives with one hand long enough to pull out the Roc's Icebrand. Elemental cycles notwithstanding, snakes *should* at least be slowed down by the cold -

And as she tries to drive past *underneath* the Berserker, Xiaomu squeezes off a single shot at the chick's big snaky lower body. "Getting the civvies out is one thing," Xiaomu calls out to the combatants - not just Berserker, not just Archer, but as many of the Servants as are inclined to pay attention, "and don't get me wrong, it's great - but you're still gonna rack up the collateral damage like this, and *that's* not gonna do your Masters any favors!"

Priscilla has posed:
    Even more faces and voices. Aren't Grail Wars supposed to have only seven participants? Priscilla has heard something of an eight class in highly aberrant situations, but not multiple kinds at the same time. If were to be a two-team war, that'd indicate fourteen Servants at te minimum, many of whom aren't here. Deciding that this situation is going to be large and long-running not to try and predict so many unknowns, Priscilla briefly sends Staren a signal to record as much as possible about each of the Servants possible and try to match any identifying characteristics. At least a couple of people make it easy, such as Karian walking out and shouting at a 'Sanguinarius'.

    "Am I to believeth this an entire Grail War made up of Masters about the Multiverse, rather than a sorry excuse for one to bumble into the possession of a Servant by serendipitous accent amidst one more legitimate?" she asks aloud, almost rhetorically. "I see precious few Masters, and none very wise if they wouldst bid thee do battle here." She squints at the other cloaked figure, the flying golden knight, and then turns back to the voice she hears a-

    "Grandfather?"

    Priscilla just blurts it out. There is no hesitant pause or expression of veiled uncertainty. The conclusion is so naturally obvious, looking upon him and hearing him, that she doesn't stop to consider it strange until it's already out of her mouth. The not-so-faint cast that comes over her face is in fact confusion that she'd even said it at all, where her memory had betrayed her and her feelings run ahead of her mouth.

    She had come here as the most powerful figure of the Concord to request, then demand, then possibly forcibly see to, a stop to this disruption. All of a sudden, she finds herself simply standing on a bridge in the middle of nowhere, one person in the crowd, and suddenly experiencing the strangest sensation of vertigo where she is abruptly no longer entirely certain of her age. Her posture relaxes in the strangest way, the haft of her scythe partially slipping through her grip, her eyes completely absorbed in the sight of the man before her, and even her tail batting swishing faintly at the dusty asphalt, suddenly as unassuming as she had been when she first emerged blinking into the Multiverse, her stare just as equally bright and wary as back then.

    "How is this- no, I knoweth that the Throne of Heroes calls upon the dead, but thou were no member of- thou art he, art thou not? What grail /is/ this? To which war dost it belongeth? Art all of these Servants of completely different places and times? Is there no origin and-" Priscilla's tail suddenly stiffens and bristles. Her knuckles go white around the Lifehunt Scythe again. Her pupils contract into slits against gold. "And who is it that wouldst be so presumptuous as to call themselves thine /Master/? Thou art above following the orders of a cowering Magus; especially one so unwise as this." The tense hiss that suddenly creeps into her voice is the least of it. Priscilla's breathe slips through her teeth as icy steam, and her shadow in the moonlight abruptly splits around her feet into four, wildly distorting in size and shape for the blink of an eye.

Staren has posed:
    Staren's eyes track Ryu getting clipped off the bridge, across the screens in his helmet. There's a split-second where he thinks about going after him, before remembering that Ryu can fly.

    Among all the other arriving elites, Priscilla commands special attention as First of the Concord. She's going to decide what to do about this situation, and it's... nicely asking them to leave, apparently. Makes sense. But what will their response be?

    To not leave, apparently.

    He's already recording all of it, Priscilla! But he does slightly adjust his strategy of drone placement to focus more on watching individuals than getting an overview of the battle.

    But wait, is that...

    'Grandfather', Priscilla says.

    It's strange to see HER so rapidly jumping from thought to thought, trying to theorize and hypothesize and make sense of the situation. Usually he's doing that. It does kind of detract from her commanding presence. Maybe there's a lesson for him to learn here.

    <"You know that's not how grail wars work."> He radios her, speaking softly. <"People like Nero and Nobunaga are summoned regardless of whether they would serve a master. Although... this is certainly unprecedented, all the same."> They can both clearly see that the Heroic Spirits are from across the Multiverse. But how?

Touta Konoe (1143) has posed:
"No way...Why the hell is he here?!"

A voice filled with surprise and panic arises from Touta as he looks at the skies above. For the man watching from above holds the staff of one he's all to familiar with. His attention is all but consumed by the visage of the hooded man in the sky. Yet when one of the fireballs aimed at the Elites is just about to collide with him without even looking in the direction of the attack lifts his blade to slice through the bolt of fire dispersing it upon impact.

From there his eyes turned back towards the direction of the attack of the snake-woman. In the next moment Touta's body becomes a blur as it heads in the direction of the snake like woman. He's going so fast he's probably speeded past Xiaomu and Reiji on their motorcycle and possible Eithne on her stead. The snake woman would be totally caught off guard by such a blinding attack!

Touta doesn't intend to attack her though. In fact, he intends to ignore her entirely using his speed to pass by her as a blur. Touta's main objective was in the sky. The hooded man upon the staff. Builded up momentum from his Shundo as he reached just below where he flew Touta jumped into the air. He had no ability to fly on his own, but with the use of his ki he was able to jump several stories into the air in a single bound. As he ascended into the air his sword raised above his head.

He doesn't know why this person is here. From what he knows the Grail shouldn't be able to summon those who were alive. So why the Hell was this person someone who was immortal here now?! He doesn't know if this person was a Servant, a Master, or any just another onlooker but Touta knows that who that staff belongs to, and if he's right then he can only imagine that this person may be one of the most problematic people here!

So as he finally gets into reach and his blade swings at the hooded figure he shouts above the noise of all that transpires below them.

"What the hell are you doing here Gramps?!"

Maya has posed:
Maya takes note that it seems these Servants have not gone out of their way to cut down bystanders as most have been allowed to flee if not all of them. That speaks well for at least some of the Servants here, that they thought to do that or just let the people run. She keeps going she's tailing after Reiji and Xiaomu at fairly high speed as she keeps at a high-speed run, out comes the fate cards.

Both of them are blue they rise up floating in the air after Maya even as she moves and blue fire drains into them, Reiji and Xaimu would find themselves warded from physical damage, not perfect protection but it is an extra layer of armour they also get a faint golden glow as Maya follows on their heels.

Sir Gawain has posed:
Ryu moves to retaliate against the monstrosity of dead flesh, launching himself straight into it. His fangs and claws rip into the mass, tearing apart chunks of dead flesh...but he's tough. As he makes a horrible grunt in pain, he suddenly launches a tentacle from his sleeve, moving to try and wrap around Ryu and slam him into the ground, before attempting to launch him towards the water again. His actual flight path, if it worked, would be in the direction of Berserker, who...

Well, isn't doing so great. Berserker is charged by the swordswoman Eithne, who sweeps a powerful blow into her, sending her to the water. At the same, a headshot is coming for her, which is diverted by a chant and a sudden magical shield appearing where her head would be, diverting the force to her torso, cracking skin and scales and getting a startled hiss and a look of hatred in the vague direction of Nova. That, and Xiaomu's SMG shot sends her careening into the water, trying to cast a manner of spells to stop her impact. It doesn't work. However, any attempts to retaliate on her in the water would find she's quickly gone, the water rippling briefly as she disappears underneath the bridge, coiling around the supports. Berserker's going to take a moment to readjust and get her bearings during all this fighting.

And as Xiaomu drives by, someone up on the arch spots her. The Archer, who is in a sword duel with the knight Rider, breaks away rapidly, leaping down and in front of Xiaomu's bike. "Xiaomu! Long time no see!- Reiji, is that you?" He rapidly pulls down his hood. He bears a great resemblance to Reiji, except he's older, with jet black hair. This is Shogo Arisu. It's the only person it could be. If their bike comes to a stop, he'll move to suddenly wrap both of them in a hug, grinning. "Wow, you're big. Reiji, I mean. You're looking like your old man already!"

With a sigh as his fight is suddenly interrupted, Rider takes for the skies to get an overview of the battle. He avoids stabbing Archer in the back with the opening he gets.

Ryu (1161) has posed:
    HRK! CRUNCH!

    Ryu is grabbed and tossed around like a ragdoll, slamming into the pavement with a sickening CRACK and cartwheeling through the air with a roar of agony and startle. This is not a weak creature, its weight throwing him well off the bridge and toward Berserker. He lands in the water with a violent SPLASH! after Berserker has darted away, his wings having slowed his descent enough to not instantly get knocked out on impact. He bursts out of the water with a kick of his legs and snap of his tail, his wounds healing as quickly and violently as they were inflicted, but he lurches in the air, his gaze going hazy for a moment--

    He spots Berserker.

    "No. No no no."

    He moves with a burst of speed and halts near the snake woman. His wings snap to stop his approach, and he glances about from beneath cover, his tail whipping out to grab the same post she's coiled around. He gives her a serious look.

    "Deis!" he hisses as quietly as he can. "You need to LEAVE!" He makes an urgent gesture 'away' from here, pointing with one of his claws. He looks panicked. Why is he concerned for the safety of what he described earlier on the radio as a 'goddess of chaos'...?

Sir Gawain has posed:
The military man is having some problems. As Tanya announces over the radio her presence, he suddenly stops what he's doing, moving through the skies and attempting to find the source of the voice. He can't...and the bullet flies forward, impacting with his chest. There's a burst of blood, and normally, that should down a man. A man who isn't a Servant, anyways. Instead, though, there's a determined laugh and a rictus grin, as he turns in the direction of the shot. "I'm back from hell, Devil of the Rhine! They sent me to bring you home!" And then, he fires several retaliating shots from his rifle, highly accurate, at her apparent position, beginning to move to approach...

And then there's snow blasting him back, in his eyes. He moves to get it out of the way, allowing Tanya a few precious moments to retaliate, before materializing his submachine gun in his hands and sending a burst back at Ice King. Once that's done, though, he's darting forward in Tanya's direction, hoping that she hasn't gotten away in those precious few moments.

Maya has posed:
Maya is a bit behind Reiji and Xiaomu and just tare the Servant knows them? She stares for a long moment at the man who seems to know them for a moment. Maya kids to a halt there lowing her weapon given the man's reaction to Xiaomu and Reiji? She looks to them for a moment and simply says.

"You have my support."

Family or someone close enough? It's clear this Servant knows them both and the resemblance to Reiji is uncanny she has her theories on this and won't press for now but she does fall in ready to support the pain in whatever actions they take, she also take a moment to hold a pendant she wears, blue energy wings flare out from her back and they flex a few times as she gets ready to take to the skies.

Ice King (1142) has posed:
    Ice King was feeling pretty proud of himself. He actually got one in on this freaky flying ski guy! But then he sees a submachinegun come out.

    "Oh, snag."

    He brings both hands up and tries to make an ice shield, but the bullets tearing into the magical barrier send ice shards pelting into his face and torso, knocking him out of the air. "Ow ow ow ow ow!" he yells right before he plummets, face bruised from the high-speed impacts to land at Caster's feet in a jumbled heap. "Hey, uh, at least he's not attacking us anymore. Haha." He then sucks in a breath through his sharp teeth. "Hssss. Yeah. Laughing hurts. I shouldn't laugh anymore right now."

Karian Icefang has posed:
    KArian approaches everyone and nods towards Sanguinius. He was about to give the order to break off, but was glad to see the Angel's honor was still intact. He quietly watched, taking stock of the Servant landscape.

Staren has posed:
    Well, that's that then. One of the Servants has not only been identified by Tanya as an enemy, but has himself declared intent to kill her. The Concord can't have that, can they?

    Still, the Legandonian colonel can't possibly know Staren's an enemy yet, right? So hopefully he's not being watched. Staren pulls the sniper laser rifle from his back and takes careful aim. He won't get another chance at a shot like this! A burst of three high-power laser pulses, center of mass!

Nova Terra (6381) has posed:
    Nova watches through her scope as her bullet is forcefully redirect. Well, that's just a little annoying. However, her target soon goes into the water and out of sight. On the bright side, she's no longer flinging fireballs around. Nova counts that as a success.

    Nova stands once more, looking out at the increasing battle. The radio chatter is just making this even more absurd, though Nova is silently grateful that there's no one from her own past showing up to haunt her... Not that Nova's likely to know them if they did.

    Through her visor, Nova catches sight of the large dead thing throwing Ryu into the water. She's also notes the considerable wounds the creature has received and yet it is still fighting. Nova suspects for this one, one shot won't be enough.

    Nova takes a step forward and jumps off the edge of the roof. She plummets to the ground, her suit absorbing much of the impact as she lands and takes off in a rush towards the bridge. Initially she's just a barely visible ripple in the air as she runs, but then the blue of her cloaking field briefly lights up, spreading across her body as it fades. The time for stealth has passed.

    As she moves onto the bridge, Nova ducks down behind the hood of a car, leaning against it as she briefly pops her head up to look. Readying herself, Nova stands and brings her canister rifle around to aim at the hulking monstrosity. Pulling the trigger and holding it, the large rifle begins to spit its bullets out in rapid succession at the undead creature. Hopefully the large bullets will rip the creature up enough to reduce its capabilities.

Reiji Arisu has posed:
The sorts of snakes Reiji is familiar with aren't exactly the type to care for electricity, no. The naga and their offshoots are fundamentally spirits of the rivers and waters, after all. Chirai and Hollywood should both be quite effective at this particular job-- but Xiaomu's concern is Reiji's as well. What kind of river spirit flings fireballs around like confetti? Apparently, a Chaos Goddess.

But not just her. The spiritual pressure hits Reiji like a brick as they draw closer. He maintains his balance, but only just so, wincing as the scar across his forehead sends out pulse after pulse of pain across his skull. The cause quickly becomes clear, and Reiji's blood runs cold just about as quickly as Priscilla's.

'Grandfather.'

That's Gwyn.

Great Father Gwyn.

But the last time they saw him, he was little more than a withered husk. A hollow, burnt to ash in the kiln of the first flame-- but even that ember of a god was enough to tie down an entire squadron of some of the most skilled Elites in the multiverse.

And this is that same heavenly king in his full glory, shining brilliantly in his prime. Reiji grits his teeth as his hand goes to hover dangerously close to that ghostly blade racked along with the others.

And then something else happens that makes fighting amidst literal gods pale in comparison.

A voice calls his name. One he hasn't heard in years. One that he thought he'd never hear again.

Reiji's frigid expression shatters into one of confusion, incredulity and disbelief. It's all he can do to keep from being flung bodily from Xiaomu's bike as she abruptly skids to a stop, only to find himself being wrapped up in the arms of a man who should have been gone forever.

"--Dad?" Reiji asks, a trembling note in his voice. "Dad, is that... Really you?"

Who else could it be?

Who else looks like this, who could recognize them on sight like this?

"What... What are you doing here?" Reiji scrambles to collect himself, confused relief and raw emotion creeping into his expression, "I thought you were-- the seal, there shouldn't have been anything left. How?"

Sir Gawain has posed:
As Priscilla addresses Gwyn, her words are confusing, for a moment. Grandfather...there's a light in his eyes, one of recognition, as he slowly starts to approach her. "Priscilla...?" He doesn't seem to be hostile, as he steps forward with that sword aimed towards the ground...and loses sight of the battle.

An explosion rocks into Gwyn's back, from the rocket launcher that the hulking beast is suddenly wielding in his hand. He's completely blindsided, blasted forwards, and has to catch himself on his blade. He's not going to be replying to Priscilla just yet, it seems, as another rocket is loaded and being prepared to be launched in Gwyn's direction while he's recovering. Gwyn, for his part, starts to channel a lightning bolt in his hands to throw back, but Priscilla is probably in the radius of the rocket launcher, and may want to assist!

Tanya Degurechaff has posed:
    Bulls-eye. Tanya lowers her rifle, squinting at the magical reticule's zoomed-in image when the shot strikes. The resultant fountain of blood. Her eyes narrow when he recovers and calls her out by the name bestowed on her by the enemies of the Empire. That's him all right. The Legandonian colonel from Norden, Osfjord, and Normandy. That face, thar voice, are burned into her memory.

    She's already moving when his rifle comes up, artillery spells bursting around her. One impacts her shield, briefly materializing the shimmering blue shape that protects her. Another bursts behind her, cracking the barrier from the other side. Golden eyes remain narrow, fixated on the Colonel. What a day to bring her Mauser instead of her Thompson, that rapid fire would be pretty useful once he closes in... But the Mauser should have better long range accuracy.

    That's a plan. The little girl racks her weapon's bolt, ejecting the spent casing and loading the next. If she maintains range, even volume of fire shouldn't overcome her precision advantage. Her position shifts, aiming 'down' between her own feet as she flies.

    "You should have stayed dead," she mutters, squeezing off a shot. At a carefully calculated range, it explodes in what should be the Colonel's face-- a flak artillery spell.

Sir Gawain has posed:
As Touta jumps forward blade first at the man on the staff, he smirks again from undernetah his cloak. Touta's going to make it up to him...

And then the man's going to stomp his head with a (very strong) kick of his boot, his tone annoyed at he looks down at him. "Who the hell you calling 'gramps'?! I'm not that old!" Regardless, though, he doesn't actually move to attack him otherwise, hanging in the sky. The staff-riding man instead just taps his fingers against it a bit impatiently. Looks like he's waiting for just the right moment to do...something.

Eithne Sullivan has posed:
    The impact is solid. It seems like Eithne wasn't the only one attacking Berserker, either, as a bullet and - oh, it's Xiaomu! And that exorcist guy! - rocket past her. Daisy wheels around, barely missing Touta as the vampire kid shoots past. Something about his grandpa? Who is immortal?

    "Just what the hell's goin' on here, anyhow?" she asks her kelpie, who just rolls its eyes at her.

    The scene's devolved into several kinds of chaos - reunions taking place mere yards from homicidal declarations. Daisy paws at the asphalt, opening its mouth to reveal rows of knife-sharp teeth and a grey tongue. "Right, right, I guess it doesn't really matter," Eithne mutters, resting her greatsword across her shoulders to watch Reiji and his father reunite. Awww, that's so nice!!

Priscilla has posed:
    He recognizes her. Gwyn, even as a Servant, honest to goodness remembers her. Priscilla hadn't really thought about her expectations one way or the other, but she had been tiny the last time she had ever laid eyes upon him, and it'd bee /millennia/ since. There were so many things she'd never known about him, either that day or thereafter. Things she'd never gotten to ask at that climactic confrontation at the day of Lordran's reckoning. The fact that he hadn't forgotten all about her, or even denied her existence, and instead recognizes her after centuries of age have grown her is . . . overwhelming. Priscilla even /looks/ like she doesn't know how to feel. Given a few more seconds, something really emotional and heartfelt might have burst its way out there.

    The one with the rocket launcher sees to it that it doesn't, and in doing so communicates that it isn't very clever.

    When the explosion throws Gwyn, Priscilla rushes forward to catch him, stopping him with her arms as much as he does with his sword. Still with one arm around him, Priscilla steps and turns around his side, and from the inside of her white sleeve, a flicker of silver and black jumps into her fingers, and then is launched like a streaking bullet at the rocket-wielding monstrosity. The dagger is far too long, wickedly curved, and strangely sculpted of heavy materials to really be ideal for throwing, approaching something better described as an 'elegant machete', so it speaks to the level of nastiness it entails when Priscilla exercises the manual dexterity and sheer force required to do it anyways. Furthermore, partway through the air, the dagger 'ignites' in the colours of ink and snow, leaving behind a streaky, semi-liquid trail of silent fire in its wake.

    The monster may be physically tough, but it's in for an astoundingly lethal and agonizingly painful surprise if it tanks the Lifehunt-charged heavy projectile. The extra level of undue viciousness Priscilla has put on the unthinkingly swift reprisal is sure to slick the bridge red.

Xiaomu has posed:
To be perfectly fair, Xiaomu's lightcycle would have come to a screeching halt at about that moment anyway - not just because of a badass who was suddenly in her way, but because of *exactly who that badass is*: Xiaomu couldn't have done anything *but* come to a complete stop, and stare. And stare she does.

Shogo Arisu. Maybe not technically 'in the flesh,' but - it looks just like him, sounds just like him; when he pulls her and Reiji into that big old hug, it *feels* like him, and - with a margin of error for not quite being a mortal human any more - even *smells* pretty much like him. (Taste doesn't enter into it; she wouldn't know that anyway and she's not about to try biting a Servant, and besides, smell is close enough to skip the fifth sense test.)

Even before that hug, Xiaomu was making a weird quiet sort of squawk, like she wasn't sure whether to squeal in glee, shriek in terror, or just stare silently in stunned surprise. The hug helps jolt her brain back into working again, and for a moment, the sage fox returns that hug, one ear briefly flicking up as she hears Maya's offer of support.

It's an offer which may be seriously needed in a little bit - just not the sort of support that entails buffs and supporting fire. "Shogo ... how in the Emperor's jewels ... seriously, a Grail War Servant? Who summoned you? How? This shouldn't be -"

At seven hundred sixty-five years, and then some, Xiaomu could probably make a more credible claim than most people to having legitimately seen just about everything ... but clearly, the Multiverse has *not* run out of tricks, to judge by the look on her face.

Sir Gawain has posed:
As Ryu coils around the bridgepost, Berserker finishes climbing up to a mostly-stable part of the bridge's support underneath, making it so she can be a few feet above him to look down on him. Her eyes scan his form briefly...and she doesn't appear to recognize him, even if she can tell he's a dragon. "Hmph! Who do you think you are to address me like that? I am Deis, the Endless, the greatest of all people! Even if you are a dragon, I don't do what a lesser person like YOU has to say. Get out of my sight, or I'll make you regret confronting me!" She moves to slowly continue climbing the bridge, trying to get back up to the top. If Ryu moves to stop her, she'll send out a burst of lightning from her staff to send him back into the water and hopefully fully out of her hair.

Ryu (1161) has posed:
    ...

    Ryu doesn't try to stop her. He's actually visibly aghast at her. His understanding of her from the story was a little more... rational and magnanimous. But that was after she was cast down by her sister. Is... is this Deis from before that happened...?

    Ryu dumbly watches her climb up to rejoin the battle, his mouth hanging open in shock at the way she spoke to him. It wasn't at all what he expected to come out of her mouth.

    "Why are you doing this?" he asks, in utter confusion, once he remembers his senses. "Why did you come back?"

    "What happened?"

    The weak, frightened tone in his voice comes from a primal fear of the unknown. Her return could end very badly, if she's the version he knows.

Touta Konoe (1143) has posed:
Touta gets to taste the underside of the hooded figure's boot. It tastes like crooked staff... Touta's sent flying downwards now as he crashes into the bridge from several stories in the air. It takes him a moment but he finds himself picking himself up trying to figure out what the Hell just happened.

He could swear that was his grandfather's staff, the staff of Negi Springfield. Though the agitated voice that came forth from under the hood seemed entirely different from what he remembered from his last encounter.

"So that's what happened...This Holy Grail is even able to accomplish such a feat..."

Touta raises an eyebrow at his blade confused at its words. "You've got something you want to share?"

"Touta, I don't think that's your grandfather."

That only raises more questions though as the boy looks back up into the sky at the man upon the staff. "Who the Hell's on grandpa's staff then?!"

The sword stays quiet for a moment, "The Holy Grail is able to summon heroes of the past as spirits. If that's the case than there's only one person who this could be...The previous owner of that staff. The man who fought alongside my creator, Albireo Imma...The one that helped end the war on Inverse Mars and saved the world...The father of The Greatest Mage, the one who earned the title of the Thousand Master, Nagi Springfield."

Sir Gawain has posed:
"Beats me! But I'm really here. Old friend summoned me to fight for the Grail, can't just leave him hanging and say 'no thanks', right?" There's a mighty grin from Archer, Shogo Arisu, as he breaks away from the hug. "How are you doing these days? Never thought I'd be in this situation, but hey, what can I say? You seem more shocked than I am!" There's a playful tone from his voice as he just ignores the battle raging around them to take a moment to chatter. It's the type of moment he needs, after all.

Ice King's retaliation and success does get acknowledgement from Caster, who moves back to ducking behind cover. "Right, see, now that wasn't so bad. We know more about our opposition now, and he's not focusing on us anymore. I'd say that was a success!" Right after insisting they move to combat, Caster is now making it clear he wants to take cover, especially after what happens next.

The undead hulk keeps focusing on Gwyn, who is caught by Priscilla, where he turns his glance, which allows Nova the chance to get her shot off. The rifle tears through him, spilling greenish-yellow blood, and yet, it keeps moving. It grunts out some speech, as it moves to whip out that tendril. "Priscilla...!" The tendril moves as if it's about to lash at her...

And then that dagger slices forward, thrown at the monster. It tears through his already-weakened flesh, and is something he has trouble resisting, especially with Lifehunt causing him to roar in pain. However, he keeps standing. He moves to lunge again, in what would probably be fatal for him...if it wasn't for an echo of noise, unrecognizable, in his ear. Suddenly, the creature turns, and leaps with all of his strength as far away as he can, moving to retreat from the battle.

The military man is brought into a chasing battle with Tanya Degurechaff. He continues to fire his rifle in her direction, ignoring everything else around him with a grim silence. This leads to some more issues. Three lasers impact his back, ripping holes in him, which are furthered by the shot at his face. This one almost impacts directly, but he moves too fast, and it hits his shoulder instead, the flak ripping through it. The military man bites through his pain, and moves as if he's going to keep going, even when outnumbered...

Sir Gawain has posed:
And the man on the staff decides to change the situation. The staff rapidly lifts him up and in the military man's direction, who he grabs in a powerful headlock and moves to drag down to the bridge. The military man fights against it, but is incapable of breaking his grip, as the staff-rider speaks up. "Alright, alright, let's stop the fighting now. I thought I'd let you get a good few whacks at it, but one of you has already retreated, so I need to get my job over with."

Floating above everyone, he continues to speak as the fighting stops entirely. "I'm the Ruler-class Servant in charge of overseeing this war. Otherwise known as Nagi Springfield! You said you were created by Albireo, huh? Just who are you?" Touta gets that in his direction, before Nagi shakes his head and continues talking. "Before the fighting can continue, there's some ground rules that need to be laid down. Number one! 'Servants summoned to this Servants summoned to this Holy Grail War can only fight within the War. Interfering with events outside of it is forbidden.'"

"Number two! 'Non-Servants and non-Masters may contribute to the War, but any killing blows must be delivered by a Servant.'"

"Number three! 'If a Servant dies, the corresponding Master may still partake in the War.'"

"And finally, number four! 'The Holy Grail can only be claimed by a Master and a Servant.' If you break any of these rules, I personally will prevent you from continuing to partaking in the war." At this point, Nagi turns, specifically towards a cluster of buildings not far from the bridge. "For those watching, make sure to memorize these, alright? Write them down if you have to! I know you can hear me!"

All of the Servants, including Berserker, who has finally reached back to the bridge (and doesn't answer Ryu's questions, just huffing in his direction), are pretty silent at this point. It looks like they're all taking it in. Nagi's body, meanwhile, is holding the military man from getting retaliated on, it'd seem. "Any questions?"

Tanya Degurechaff has posed:
    Tanya weaves through incoming fire, magical flak bursting around her from the Colonel's submachine gun. She ejects the spent casing, loading another, and aims. Her finger touches the trigger. Then straightens again when a fourth party interjects and yanks the military Servant out of the fight. She slows to a halt, following both Servants with her eyes. After a moment, she dips down to pursue at a leisurely pace.

    The Safety is still off on her rifle. Just in case.

    Floating to a halt, the Major shifts her glowing golden gaze from the Colonel to the Ruler. Lifting her right hand, she turns it about to display the Command Seal on the back of her hand, her connection to the Berserker Asterios. "As a Master myself, I have only one question; how many Servants are involved in this Grail War?"

Eithne Sullivan has posed:
    At last, the mysterious-est of all the gathered Servants reveals himself. Eithne...

    ...has absolutely no idea who that is. Nudging Daisy with her heels, she guides the kelpie over nearer to Xiaomu, who she's met before, yet seems pretty reluctant to intrude on the reunion. It's just better to be near allies!

    "Looks like we're gonna be busy," she hums to herself. Just thinking about it...

    She's forgetting something, isn't she?

Staren has posed:
    Staren's eyes widen with surprise. It's been awhile since he's fought anything close enough to a normal human that lasers shot right through them! He wonders if this man has some kind of regeneration magic, or if being a Servant lets him keep going after taking wounds like that. Or maybe he's just that tough of a bastard, but shouldn't he be trying to heal himself?

    As he takes aim for a followup shot, though, Nagi Springfield intervenes. Staren holds his fire, not having sufficient reason to piss off an unknown.

    After Ruler lays down the rules, Staren actually raises a hand: "Isn't disrupting traffic and making this mess" he waves the rifle at the abandoned cars with his offhand "interfering in outside events? I mean, a lot of people's lives were disrupted. Jobs they can't get to, waiting for insurance claims on the cars, even if we move 'em all off the bridge the local authorities are gonna need to investigate and check that the bridge is safe, yadda yadda yadda... And that's assuming they were lucky and like that none of the commuters was a doctor on their way to save lives or something."

    Staren lifts his arm in front of him, palm-up in a questioning gesture. "Are you going to make sure that future fights happen somewhere uninhabited? It's not like there's any shortage of out-of-the-way places to fight, on the supercontinent or in space. Even if they wanna fight in a city, there's ruins."

Nova Terra (6381) has posed:
    Nova halts her automatic fire, pulling her finger off the trigger. Even after the damage it's taken, the monster creature is still capable of moving! Nova watches with some concern, but is relieved to see her target bound off into the distance. An unusual escape method, but Nova's not going to complain. She works on switching to a new target, raising her rifle to aim at the one flying on skiis, but just as she's about to pull the trigger, the stick guy intervenes, calling for a stop to the fighting.

    Nova is briefly confused... She's not used to people just up and asking for a battle to end. Even more confusing is that the rest of the Servants appear to follow that lead, the battle quickly winding down. Nova glances over the battlefield to check on her allies, noting that they appear to still be intact.

    But then the rules start to come in, Nova briefly snrking at the idea of a war with rules. Still, they're not much of a bother to her as she's not interested in the 'Holy Grail War' so much as the information she can gather.

    Nova stands up from behind her cover, shifting her rifle into one hand to rest against her shoulder. She eyes the others present through her visor as they converse with the 'Ruler'. She's been around long enough to have heard of this war in passing, but the details escape her. It's definitely becoming a learning experience!

Maya has posed:
Reiji's dad? It seems many elites have had people important to them brought back from the grail she has beheld one of the Emperors own sons a Priamch, Reiji's father. Priscilla's Grandfather as well. Maya keeps overwatch on Reiji's father though. She sees in him in some ways much of her own late father.

Then Negi shows up for a moment as she looks for a moment at Nagi. She gapes, he's far older but she stares at Nagi for a moment.

"Who is behind this grail being formed? Why is it being fought at all? The war tends to be a pretext for something else."

She bites her tongue as she wants to learn more but it's clear from the look of her face she does not like to see a grail war happening, clearly something really bad happened in one of the Grail Wars Maya was involved in at some point.

Ice King (1142) has posed:
    "Yeah, great. Let's go home so I can get patched up." He continues lying there in a pile, staring into space, blinking occasionally, waiting expectantly while some guy on a broom yells at everyone.

    When all that's done, he calls out to Caster, "...A little help?" He gestures as limitedly as he can in the mangled state he's in, mostly just rotating his wrists and then letting his hands flop. "I hope you don't mind carrying me back. Heh! I know I flew us here, and I know you said you can't fly, but maybe you can, like, make us an ice slide or something, and rollercoaster us back!" His eyes get wide and sparkly for a moment as he flops his hands again. Then he thinks about that. "...Actually, wait, that sounds painful."

    Ice King hmmms to himself as he puffs his cheeks out. Then, brilliance (of a sort) strikes! "Oh, oh! I know! I could make a second ice castle! A home away from home! An H.Q. where we can plan our next move while I recover! Then we won't have to travel as far! And I think I saw a soupery in this place somewhere, so maybe we can grab some dinner on the way back too!"

    It is probably difficult to tell at this point whether Ice King is actually insane and incompetent or just insane. The latter is troublesome but not unworkable. The former does not bode well if he's the one calling the shots.

    But so far, at least, he hasn't been useless.

    "Also what's a Ruler? We're not getting bossed by a yard stick, are we?"

Reiji Arisu has posed:
Reiji is just as flabbergasted as Xiaomu is. How could he be anything but? A whirlwind of emotion blazes across the exorcist's brain as his father pulls away and looks... Happy? Cheerful? What is this? What's going on?

The Holy Grail War brought his father back, but...

Is this the father he remembers? Or is it some other one? Reiji winces, his hand going to the scar that still throbs across his scalp. "An old friend...? Do we know who it is, or--?" Reiji shakes his head as explosions rock the bridge. "...Dad, I just... After what happened, I didn't think I'd ever see you again. I tried, after you died, but there was nothing. It was like your spirit was just... gone. What happened?"

Something else blows up nearby. It casts Reiji's face aglow with firelight but he doesn't seem to even blink. He's used to walking away from explosions.

But then the Ruler makes his pronouncement-- and is, apparently, that one kid's great grandfather? Hnn. "...Killing blows have to be delivered by a servant, but what about a Master? Are they allowed to kill, too?" Reiji murmurs, his brow furrowing. "And that means a grail can't be claimed by an independent master or servant. But..."

"If a master dies, what happens to the servant? Can the servant be claimed by someone else?"

Touta Konoe (1143) has posed:
Touta honestly can't believe this. Forget the Holy Grail War, the person standing before him was Nagi Springfield. There's plenty of question that go through his mind. One being, 'What's a Ruler Servant?', 'Why are you here?', and plenty of others. Though the moment he declares his name to the group, there's something important he feels like he should be remembering...But what was it again?

As this so called Ruler descends and all the other servants cease their fighting. There's plenty that Touta wants to say but it's the sword that ends up starting the conversation.

"My name is Kurobo. There seems to be much that needs to be discussed about our current situations whether that be now or later is irrelev-"

Before the sword can finish speaking or Ruler can finish any of his explanations someone has the audacity to plant their shoe on Ruler's face! There's a grin very similar to Nagi's own as Touta plants that shoe on him. "Now I remember who you are. You're the jerk that broke Yukihime's heart! Forget this, you're coming with me!"

"...And this is Konoe Touta, your son's grandson. Making you his great grandfather..."

Truly this was a heartwarming family re-union to say the least. Clearly one that Touta felt took more precedence than explaining the rules of the Grail War to the others. To the onlookers it might be hard to see any relation among the two considering one looks completely European while the other looks completely of Japanese descent, though their personalities and way of talking definitely felt like they could be related at least...

Xiaomu has posed:
"An old friend, huh ..." Xiaomu repeats. Shogo *did* have a lot of friends, and plenty of them had at least *some* magical talent and power. But she's still processing when Ruler makes his pronouncement, laying down the rules for this Grail War.

She actually pulls her smartphone out to thumb in some notes about those rules. Reiji's questions seem pretty relevant, too, so she keeps an ear perked for those answers. But in the meantime -

"Shogo? Ask your ... 'Master' ... if it's okay for us to meet him. I've kept the same phone number all these years, took a little doing but I managed to swing it. So just give me a call, let us know where and when." And that'll double as a spot check for if this is really the same Shogo she knew, up until he died. Maybe not a perfect check, but it'll be something - and behind her shock and awe at seeing Shogo in front of her, a little crackle of suspicion is making itself known. This many Servants who are known to one Elite or another ... what kind of Grail has *this* mix in its Throne of Heroes? And who could happen to summon exactly *these* Servants for a Grail War?

If it were any one of them alone, it would be incredible enough. But four, maybe more Servants with ties to living Elites in the current Multiverse?

Even if it's all completely legitimate, this is one Grail which *HAS* to be attended to, and not allowed to fall into any hands who would abuse or misuse it.

Priscilla has posed:
    Hearing the raging monster even speak her name is a little bizarre for Priscilla, but the swift, vengeful hatred that reflexively freezes her features leaves little room to express it. Almost in same sense that someone more heroic would unthinkingly respond to an attack against the helpless, Priscilla's attempt to kill the creature is just as ideologically second nature, both for striking a Lord, and for striking family.

    When this apparently famous Nagi Springfield calls an end to it, she doesn't particularly bedgrudge it. She has things to find out and business to settle, and if this whole war wrapped up on this one bridge due to the bumbling intercession of a dozen random Elites, that would be exceedingly difficult. She only speaks rather than looking to him though, being more concerned for Gwyn than is reasonable to be towards the highest class of Saber.

    "I hope that thou overestimate thine powers not, Sir Springfield." she says mostly in reference to his promise of personal intervention. "Expecteth few who believeth themselves not somehow too clever by half to respect such traditions. Otherwise, thou understandeth how this hast becometh at very minimum a gross disturbance to both the Grail War and its surroundings, yes?"

Sir Gawain has posed:
As Tanya shows her command seals, Nagi quirks an eyebrow, but then begins to count on his fingers. Once he's done, he speaks up. "Looks like everyone's been accounted for tonight except for one. If my math's right, that means eight, excluding myself. Staren's response gets a sigh and a hand rubbing at his brows, as Nagi stares straight back at him. "By outside events, it means with the stuff like those big group, the Paladins and the Concord and stuff like that. If everyone decides to fight on a freeway, that's not my place to interfere."

Maya gets a glance, as Nagi moves to answer one of her questions "The winners get to wish on the grail for whatever their heart may desire. Sounds like something you'd fight for, doesn't it?"

"It doesn't work that way! A slide, that's...ugh. I'll just carry you if you really can't walk. Caster doesn't sound pleased about it, and IS going to use ice to slide across the ground quickly to get them back, but not before Ice King's question is answered by Nagi. "Ruler's a special job for mediating the Grail War. I make sure everyone doesn't break the rules, and deal with those who do. Simple enough!"

Reiji gets a soft response as Shogo listens to Ruler. "You wouldn't know him. That's...I'm not entirely sure. We'll talk about it another time, though, alright? A nod towards his son, before he moves to focus on the rules Q&A. Xiaomu does get a reply though, with a wink and a nod. "Haha, you did, didn't you? Sure, I'll call you.

Reiji gets a reply from Nagi soon after. The first question is simple enough. "Only Servants. It's in the wording, sheesh! The second question gets a smug look and a coy tone. "Maybe!

Touta's shoe plants onto Nagi's face. His expression is hard to read...and shows some confusion...but begins to brighten a bit as Kurobo identifies him. "I have no idea what you're talking about, but you're Negi's grandson, huh? That makes us family, awesome. Now get the heck out of my face." He moves to grab Touta's foot with his free hand and just sort of /throw/ him back with superhuman strength, before the staff raises him a bit in the air to not be in foot range. "Konoe, huh. Anyways, I'm not going back with you, sorry about that. Have my own things to be doing around here, you see.

Priscilla just gets a laugh from Nagi. "Just you wait and see, then. Make trouble and there'll be trouble, that's all I got to say."

Eventually, when all the questions are done, Nagi moves to ascend again. "Alright, question time's over. I'm heading off, you do you, and for the last time, don't break the rules! He finally releases the military man, throwing him forward, and the various Servants stand tall, before moving to retreat themselves. Shogo gives one last half-salute to Reiji and Xiaomu as he heads off. Gwyn does glance at Priscilla before he leaves, but he does so either way. Soon, the bridge is empty, and there's no one but the Elites. Oh, and sirens. It seems law enforcement is catching up.