846/The Killing Fields

From Multiverse Crisis MUSH
Jump to: navigation, search
The Killing Fields
Date of Scene: 24 October 2014
Location: Asian Plains
Synopsis: A murdering magus in a small town gets taken down by a combination of Union and Confederate participants... As well as one face that no one expected to see again.
Cast of Characters: Maya, 346, 482, 560, 603, 604

Emiya Kiritsugu (603) has posed:
There is a local autumn festival going on in a small town. Ordinarily, there would be, at least. But recently, there have been multiple murders in this town. Gruesome ones, in which the entire body is gutted, the organs removed, the skin peeled off... Every part of the party seperated from the others, and then left in grotesquely organized piles around some sort of ritual-looking circle. How it was accomplished is unknown, as there does not appear to be any distinct weapon involved. It is more like the body was just... 'Unwrapped'. In each instance, the heads of the victims were missing-presumably collected by the killer or killers as a trophy.

For a town that has had precisely two homicides in its entire 80 year history, this sudden rash of extreme violence is absolutely terrifying. Local police are tearing their hair out and working almost non-stop to solve these crimes, but they are at a loss. No witnesses, no forensic evidence to indicate how the victims were killed, who was responsible, or even what the purpose of any of this might be. The ritual circles are unrecognized, and specialists in the occult have been called in from out of town to examine them.

The killer is a masked mage from another world entirely, named Arume Matsuno. As frightened-looking reporters on the news speak of his most recent exploits in the background, he laughs at the stupidity of mere mortals. He is in his sanctum, which is magically camouflaged and sitting in the middle of a field on the outskirts of this rural community. The heads were the only important parts. The circles were just there to mark where the land had become saturated with blood.

Even if the circles were erased, the essence of death would remain. The organized remains of the dead served no purpose other than to make people guess. Well, it was also fun for Arume to use his magic to just seperate people into their individual parts with a spell - to watch their horror and incomprehension as their bodies 'unzipped' and emptied themselves until all that was left was for him to pick up their heads and walk off. It was the heads he was really after. The death stains were simply there for when his research was done, so that he could clean up after himself. He doubted the Mage Association back home cared what he was up to - especially not in another world entirely. But even so, erasing all sign that he had been working magic would be best.

In the meantime, all he had to do was keeping opening up these precious heads, and finding the secrets buried whithin. The secrets of a magic passed down through this town's residents for generations in bits and pieces, encoded into their very DNA and manifested in their brains. It was messy work, but the answer had to be found.

After all, is there anything more true to being a mage than the pursuit of knowledge and truth? To bring one ever closer to the swirl of the Root?

Unknown to Arume Matsuno, not all the people of this town were ignorant of the secrets they kept. At least one was a mage himself, though not a very good one. He was, however, good enough to be able to reach out for help through methods and means of communication known only to magic-wielders.

And so, help has come.

It is a gloomy, overcast day. It has been raining on and off, and the full chill of autumn is upon this small town. There is a sensation in the air of danger - of threat, and the unnatural. Under other circumstances, normal people might associate it with the same general feel of October as other years. The days approaching Halloween are often filled with the giddy excitement and slight fear of killers waiting in the dark. But that is usually make-believe. It is not usually what is really happening.

And the smell of fear is all too real. The streets are practically deserted.

Raine Arland (604) has posed:
     "Eesh. Gotta wonder what the hell happened here..." The voice of a young man rang out through the deserted streets. Clad in black, he casually ambled along, shoes clacking along the ground below rather audibly. His arms were crossed behind his head in a careless manner. He had no weapons holstered and looked to be unarmed. Eyes slowly sweeping from side to side, he soon whistled in a appeciative manner. "It takes some real skill to empty out the streets like this."

     He grinned upon saying so, not really believing what he was saying himself. "Whoever's responsible for this, I've got to hand it to them. They certainly know how to kill a party." A pause followed. "Or maybe start one, is the right saying for this situation, huh?" Now that one thinks about it...who /is/ he talking to?

     The air behind the man in black shimmered a bit, giving notice to the presence of another being besides himself. Who or what it was, remained imperceptible to naked eye for now. "Ever the fool you are." A young woman's voice echoed out through the air quietly, though no one was to be seen. "I would highly recommend against getting involved. You may not have paid attention, but I have heard passing rumblings over the past few days. Inexplicable and senseless murders abound. Keep your head low, lest you join the departed."

     The voice went silent after that, and the man smirked. "Murders, huh...? But then, when have I ever listened to you?"

     A faint chuckle echoed through the air and the voice replied "Never."

     "We agree on something. Revolutionary." And then he proceeded on his way. "Now, let's see just who or what has turned up..."

Emiya Shirou (560) has posed:
    Magical methods aren't good for reaching Shirou, but it does reach the Union, and the Union knew who was in the area.

    And Shirou is nothing if not heroic. Or suicidal, however you want to define it.

    The redhead literally is dashing out of the nearest warp gate as fast as his legs can propel him - which, well, is quite good for some random guy, without any magic involved. But he runs so long that by the time he arrives he's a little short of breath and ends up taking a minute to catch his breath on the outskirts of town. He does, however, arrive not too long after Saber... so upon spotting the business-suited king, he exhales in relief. If she's here, this should go well, right?


    "S-saber!" Shirou rushes over to her, having caught his breath quite quickly. "...Sir Bedivere." The latter is acknowledged too. Shirou seems rattled, but not nearly enough that his eyes aren't alert and his stance isn't sturdy. He's here to deal with a murderer, not be scared by gruesome scenes and panicked people.

Saber (346) has posed:
     The report had hinted at a very familiar sort of horror, a gruesome mass murder which the King of Knights had seen before, as a participant of the Holy Grail War. Servant Caster -- Gilles de Rais -- along with his equally sadistic, insane Master had terrorised Fuyuki City in many ways. 'Bluebeard' had been completely without morals, even using innocent children to tap into the netherworld for the sake of fighting both her and Lancer. But the pair's murderous spree more often than not had been out of a sick sense of mere aesthetics. Even the disgusting and offencive Archer had not repulsed her so; Caster's actions had been the exact opposite of the chivalric virtue she held dear.

     But this...there seemed to be some sort of twisted reason behind it. As a being of pure magic, Saber could feel the natural ebb and flow of prana in the environment, and most certainly could sense when such energies were tapped for the use of magecraft. Even as she arrived on the scene by way of warpgates and her Yamaha V-Max, she could feel the very /wrongness/ of it.

     Reducing her speed smoothly, Saber halted the motorbike even as her foot set down on the asphalt. Dressed in her three-piece suit, she scanned the empty streets with alert jade eyes, a frown marring her girlish face. The /wrongness/ of it all was not entirely due to a small town's terror.

     /Are you able to sense it?/ she asked her companion without so much as speaking, simply by glancing over her shoulder. She did not need to; the two were so alike of mind they had formed a nonverbal method of communication. /It is not simply terror./

     And he would also sense her grim determination, and even share it. It was an affront to every single chivalric virtue the two held dear. Although...it might be difficult for him to detect, given his own unease over riding on the back of a motorbike.

Sir Bedivere (482) has posed:
Saber's motorcycle has a second passenger; a tall, pale-haired man with violet eyes, wearing a three-piece suit not unlike the one Saber herself wears. He has a longsword scabbarded over his shoulder, which seems a curiously archaic touch to an otherwise modern ensemble, and he has his arms around the Servant's waist as though he were holding on for dear life.

He looks a little pale even for his naturally pale complexion, come to think of it.

Sir Bedivere of Dun Realtai narrows his eyes as they slow, picking up on her unspoken question without any need for words. /I sense it./ He gives his assent with faint gestures, even as his eyes sweep the abandoned streets. /Something terrible has hapened here/.

Somewhat gingerly he lets go of her, sliding off the motorcycle, though he doesn't draw his sword. He's a little shaky after that ride, but he seems to be recovering well enough.

He wears no gloves; there is a red mark on his left hand -- a command seal, a stylised sword of intricate, Celtic-style knotwork. He pauses to rub at his left hand, as though that mark were somehow bothering him, or perhaps just unconscious gesture.

His violet eyes flick back to Saber. /Doubtless they're still here./ Then, his gaze turns to Shirou. "Master Shirou," he murmurs quietly; voice gentle, but tone tense. "It would perhaps be better if you remained with us while we search the area."

Maya has posed:
Maya has got the call for help and there was a supernatural killer on the lose. That was enough to get her to grab her tarrot like fate deck, change into some clothing that would stand out a hell of a lot less and go see what she could do to help. A magic user, was comitting murders and she might for all the world look like prey.

"I don't like this."

As Maya takes a moment to get used to her surroundings she's hit by the wrongless of this place. It feels like the cursed grounds of shell three, where the dead could not across over trapped in the thrall of the Necromancer Draxx. Maya on visual inspection looks for all the world like a toursier or college girl of some sort out for whatever reason.

"The local cops are way in over thier head."

Maya's from a world where magic is everywhere to the point science and it are mixed like milk in coffee. Here not so much...

She catches up a bit after Saber and company arrive and comments.

"We should keep in contact, yes."

For those who could sense magic however Maya's kinda like a super nova going off almost a mobile ley line or nexus as it were.

Emiya Kiritsugu (603) has posed:
The intrusion of people into the town does not go unnoticed. Carrion birds are clustered on the rooftops of the various houses, and they turn their heads this way and that in the twitching, jerky manner that birds do. Several of them take off, cawing raucously. But dozens stay right where they are, watching silently, with beady black eyes, like they have no fear at all. They watch Raine as he walks through the empty streets. The ones that flew off when Saber and Bedivere arrived were acting like normal birds. All the dozens and dozens of others... Not so much.

There are also a couple bats hanging under the eaves of houses... Possibly asleep. Oddly each has a tiny box tied to one of their legs... They remain more or less out of sight, and just snooze.

In his sanctum, Arume Matsuno becomes aware of the intruders via his familiars, and for a moment scowls. The masked man sets down his needles and pliers on a blood-stained metal tray, and turns away from the exposed brain of an elementary school teacher. Are these the specialists in the occult that were called in by the local authorities? A strange lot, if so. Maybe they are tourists come for the festival, unaware that the festivities have been all but called off.

His combination of camouflaging bounded field and suggestion magic should be keeping any nosy interlopers away from his sanctum, but maybe it would be best to do something about these fools. A woman and a man on a motorbike in suits, one with a sword... Two youths... A woman with blue hair... This is what he sees through the eyes of his familiars. They must be more people from other worlds, like himself. His work here is not done, but he has to avoid drawing any more attention to himself. He is so close to finishing. He only has maybe four or five more brains to go through and he will know the secret of this ancient magic.

For now, he leaves them be. His focus must be on his work.

Emiya Shirou (560) has posed:
    A shiver runs up Shirou's spine upon hearing Bedivere's words. Well, he intended to team up with the Master and Servant to begin with the moment he spotted them, but words like that drive home how possibly outmatched Shirou might be. This situation is most serious indeed. "What do you think anyone doing this even wants?!" He blurts, only to force himself to calm a moment later. "Trace, on...!"

    With grim determination Shirou opens his Magic Circuits and circulates prana through them. Whoever's behind this is able to hoodwink the police, meaning they probably have foul magics at work. It's not much, but running prana through his circuits lowers the chance of anyone influencing him.

    Unfortunately, he's not especially alert and aware to the ways of magi. He is aware of familiars, sure, but isn't at all used to worrying about them. But he does know one thing...

    "If a Magus is behind this, they have to have a workshop somewhere! It'll have a boundary field of some kind keeping it safe from prying eyes, too. The police will never find it. Saber, can you sense magic or anything? What about you, Maya?"

    He's already pretty sure Bedivere won't be able to...

Saber (346) has posed:
     In the back of her mind, Saber was thankful that Bedivere had handled the ride reasonably well. After all, he was a man out of time, unaccustomed to such modern devices, particularly fast-moving ones. But if nothing else, her marshal was the consummate professional, and she trusted him to recover rapidly.

     Silently, she dismounted, yet she did not so much as summon her armour or sword.

     Sea-green eyes flicked to Shirou as he approached, her expression softening slightly as she nodded her acknowledgement. Maya, likewise, earned a nod of acknowledgement at her arrival. "It is as Sir Bedivere says, it would be wise to stay close by."

     Before she could ask Shirou to try to find a trail through his circuits, the red-haired magus was already in action. She nodded once; good. "I am able to sense the use of prana," she affirmed. "Should this be the work of a magus, opening his circuits should reveal his general presence."

     The flaxen-haired knight's face turned slightly upward as she observed the activity from the ravens; the ones *not* taking wing were more than a little curious. She cast a sidelong glance at her Master; doubtless he had found that behaviour odd, as well. /Familiars, possibly,/ she implied. Her eyes flicked then to the snoozing bats, observing the boxed tied to their legs. Quite obviously not for surveillance purposes...but what, exactly?

Raine Arland (604) has posed:
     Raine continued on his way, eventually turning a corner and moving down another street. As he did so however, he noticed that there were others outside. Others besides him that is. "....?" He arched a brow, spying several. They didn't look like locals. And one of them...had a /sweet/ looking bike. Shame now wasn't the time to nerd out.

     "Do be careful. I sense mana from several of them. As well as...Hrm. Interesting..." The accompanying voice warned the young man plainly before trailing off on her own.

     "Noted." And then he grinned and stepped forward. "Yo! What you geniuses doing out here instead of cowering inside like the rest of the town?" /That/ was his greeting. Waving an arm in an amicable manner, he approached. His tone was good natured, but his words were a bit backhanded. It seemed like it was typical of him though.

     "No one told me there was a party happening here. And yet here we have..." He looked between all present. "...A bunch of out of towners all showing up at the same time." His grin returned. "Come to sample the local spirits?" Spirits as in alcohol apparently. "Or maybe the cuisine? I heard they've got some /killer/ dishes at the restaurant around the corner!"

Maya has posed:
Maya pauses noticing all the local carrion feeders are lurking about. She knows they picked up on very easy meat being about, logical for an animal to do. She has no hate for them, no, why would she they are just trying to surive and don't get what's up. What Maya doesn't know is they are familiars. It's a school of magic alien to Maya's world and not one she thinks of too often in general.

"I haven't tried to just yet, it's an active ability if someone's watching they will likely sense it. What I can tell you this region is ... wrong it reeks of death. What I can guess is the killer likely thinks he can't be touched by, but if you like I can try a spell."

She pauses for a moment almost seeming trying to feel the wind,

She reaches for a cargo pant pocket and pulls out a deck of what looks like tarrot cards. She does hold off on the spell, should anyone have objections, however Saber seems on the job and she's not about to tip her hand so soon in this regard.

She does catch on about the birds however as Saber takes note and she starts to take a look at them more intently herself and wonders. Those thoughts go screaming off a cliff as she pause at Raine's arrival and she just kinda of gives them a look. Okay just /who/ is this she's not encounted them before or seen so much as a peep in the reports.

Sir Bedivere (482) has posed:
The violet-eyed knight glances up, where the carrion birds crouch over the spectacle, watching all who come into the area. Servants of death, but if he can help it, there won't be any more of that going on today. But why do they not flee? Are they familiars...? So too does he pick out the tiny forms of bats hanging from the eaves. Those shy little creatures wouldn't pick the eave of a roof to sleep under, not with this kind of commotion going on. The noise of the motorcycle alone should have frightened them away.

"Something isn't right," he says softly. "My king, look at the birds. And there are bats under the eaves."

/They may be familiars/, is the unspoken implication. /But whose?/

A roll of his shoulder brings his sword belt down from there, and he buckles it more securely at his hip; while he does not draw it, he does frown as he rests his hand on the hilt. It's a plain weapon, battered and unremarkable.

To Shirou, he only shakes his head mutely. He can't sense that kind of thing. Master he may be, but magus -- /filidh/ -- he is not. The only senses he has to rely on are his mundane ones, and though they may at times seem preternaturally keen, they are only mortal.

"Safety in numbers," he agrees softly, to Saber's advice that they stay together. "It would be wiser for us not to separate."

His eyes slide to Saber as she affirms that the magus would reveal himself, were he to open his circuits; something Bedivere himself has not yet learned how to do. He is safe from detection, then, though it would take an exceptional magus to sense him. His talents are not even good enough to be called 'fledgeling.'

Bedivere looks back to the ravens as Saber does, and his mouth thins.

"Servants of Morrigan," he murmurs softly. "And of someone else, as well."

His eyes slide over to Raine, and in the instant Raine shouts to them, his fingers tighten over the hilt of his sword, white-taut.

"Investigating," he counters, in a bland, soft tone. "Tell me, who are you? Are you here to investigate these murders, or are you here to waste our time?" He turns to face Raine more fully, narrowing his eyes. "Or perhaps you are the one who is guilty, come to admire your handiwork, and see what attention it has garnered...?"

Raine Arland (604) has posed:

     Raine shrugged and shook his head at Bedivere's guarded posture and his questions. "Who am I? A great question. And to that I answer...nobody." His grin remained as it has been and he brought a hand to his chin, looking vaguely upwards in feigned thought. "You want to know if I did this?"

     He lowered his gaze back to the knight, and then to the others. "What if I said I did? What would you do then?" Looking as cavalier as ever, Raine took a step back, spreading his arms as he looked over the town, his back to the others. "Gotta admit. This is a pretty grand display. You can just /feel/ the despair lingering in the air. The hopelessness of it all...It truly paints a picture of the true face of man."

     He didn't say whether or not he /did/ do this however.

Emiya Kiritsugu (603) has posed:
Some of the familiars walk around on the rooftops a bit in agitation as prana starts to be used by Shirou, but still, they do not fly. It is more like they are trying to get a better look. As Raine calls out, and garners attention from Bedivere, and as people discuss what is to be done next, and debate whether the very killer they seek stands before them, the familiars continue to arrange themselves, to gather and turn their heads and peer and observe. The next time anyone who may have looked away from the familiars looks back to them... Every rooftop within visual range is packed full of glossy, black-feathered birds. Right up to the very edges, they sit and stare silently. It is an incredibly eerie sight, made more eerie by the sensation in the air.

A small child is peeking out of a window at the people outside from a nearby house. Her mother comes rushing over, sees the gathering on the street, and pulls her daughter away while drawing the curtains closed.

Matsuno becomes aware that magic is being used via the reactions of his familiars, and though he still does not intend to get involved - especially as it seems these strangers might be about to fight amongst themselves based on body language - he does want to keep a closer eye on what is going on.

So, he makes the fateful decision to open his own magic circuits.

Matsuno feels the PULSE of the presence of a Servant. He has not felt anything like this before, but his heart lurches and his head pounds in such a way that he can not help but realize there is someone or something with major power out there. At first he thinks it is just one, at least, but then he realizes there is another large source of magical energy out there, and another, smaller source... Possibly even a fourth source!? Curses! Has he been designated to be Sealed!? Did the Association find out about his progress and his power and decide it was time to cut him up as he was doing to all these subjects!?

This is bad. He was so close... But he has gained enough information he can possibly figure out the rest with enough time. He needs to get OUT.

The fact he is now detectable to those who can sense his own magic circuits does not escape his notice, but he has back-ups and safeguards... Things he can do to buy time while he gathers what he can and destroys the rest.

Suddenly, all the ravens spring into action. Hundreds of them take to the air and dive-bomb those gathered together, prepared to peck and scratch with determination that ignores self-preservation.

The bats, on the other hand, wake up and take wing headed in a very different direction. Those tiny boxes slow their flight a bit, and something glints in the center of each... Glass? A lens of some kind?

Saber (346) has posed:
     The Servant was slightly surprised by Raine's abrupt greeting, and made it fairly obvious just what he was doing there. She doubted that he was responsible, though she did not order her marshal to stand down from his inquiries. In truth, his natural mistrust was an asset in this situation. "Ah...it is the time of year where the boundaries between the material and the spiritual are weakened, is it not?" she replied coolly. Perhaps not the most subtle of hints, she realised.

     Her head turned slightly to regard Maya. In truth, Shirou's activity had probably alerted the rogue magus to their presence, though the magecraft was so slight that the killer might consider it too trivial to make much of a bother over, especially if it would draw him out of the safety of his territory. More powerful magic, on the other hand, would certainly grab his attention. "Not quite yet," Saber advised. "I am certain his territory is concealed with a bounded field. However, strong magic might draw him out prematurely."

     As his own magic abilities were faint and untrained, Bedivere was reasonably protected. But if their mysterious killer should take a good look at the party, it wouldn't matter whether or not anyone used any kind of magic. Saber's very presence was a blinding beacon of magical energy, and while it might be difficult to detect just who among their band was the Servant, it would nevertheless alert the hostile magus to their collective presence. The advantage would be that he would alert her to his presence, in turn.

     As if to confirm that line of thought, more familiars settled on the rooftops, and by that point it was just a bit obvious as to what they were. /So it would appear.../ she had been in the process of conveying to her Master before a soft, sudden intake of breath alerted the party that she sensed the sudden opening of magic circuits. Their magus had found them...and alerted her to his presence.

     That involuntary signal from her might have been their only warning that something was about to go down. But even Saber had only seconds to react, summoning Excalibur to her hand and suddenly standing immediately in front of Bedivere and Shirou, interposing herself between them and the leading edge of the suddenly aggressive birds. The normal human eye might have a hard time following her graceful yet deadly movements as she cut down the dive-bombing ravens with a sword rendered invisible by its bounded field.

Maya has posed:
Maya pockets the card once more she's not goint to risk a spell jus tyet she thinks after spealing briefly on the factional band. She does however start looking about, trying to get a feel for things here she knew they had quite the issue on thier hands with this killer. And she keeps up with the group. Maya is still looking about she pauses she looks about and sees the birds coming for them she looks at them as they come for her. She narroes hewr eyes and that's when she goes for a another card. As the beasts in the air come for her Maya bleeds blue energy from her body into the card, no she does not care to hide her power or perhaps she cna't help it ither way the card glows green.

Then the bursts of flame start attempting to roast the creatures in the air. She drops and rolls it's doubtful she can get them all but the bursts of magical fire may very well roast a number of them while others do get past and start assaulting her.

Sir Bedivere (482) has posed:
Bedivere stares down the stranger impassively, letting that taunting wash over him with no apparent effect. Already he's considering what purpose there might be to that kind of verbal prodding. Is Raine trying to jab a group of already-nervous Elites into attacking him, or is he just arrogant, and given to taunting because he can?

Honestly, anybody else would have had that sword out and pointing at Raine, demanding an answer, but the pale-haired man in the suit seems quite calm.

"Yes, unless you did not hear me correctly." He cants his head to one side, one pale brow arching slightly. "I would like to know whether or not you did this, as you have not yet answered my question through your apparent grandstanding. Well, then; did you? Or have you also come to see who is responsible? I do not think you hail from this area, as you do not appear to be afraid despite the fact that everyone else--"

On a whim, sensing movement, his gaze slides past Raine and up to the roofs behind him.

Oh, snap. That's a lot of birds. Hundreds and hundreds of crows and ravens, all perched and watching the spectacle in eerie silence.

/Definitely familiars/, he asserts to Arturia, trying to ignore the sensation of his skin crawling.

To his credit he doesn't flinch when they suddenly take wing; Saber's sudden gasp had alerted him immediately. His sword leaps from his scabbard with a rasp of steel and leather, and he barrels... right for Shirou, actually. In fact, the red-headed spellcastser would find himself tackled to the ground with surprising force as the knight attempts to shield him from beaks and talons. Once the intial assault is through, it leaves him him scratched up and bleeding, suit somewhat tattered. The knight rolls to his feet and rushes to Saber's side, laying about with his own sword once he's protected Shirou from that initial salvo.

Although not as powerful as Saber, his movements are still a dance of deadly grace and flashing steel. Bedivere isn't a powerhouse like Lancelot; rather, his skill lies in his quickness and his lightness on his feet, which he puts to good use in attacking the storm of carrion-eaters. He is no Servant -- but he is a very well-trained knight, and an excellent swordsman.

Raine Arland (604) has posed:
     And then BIRDS CAME ALIVE. Looks like interrogation time would have to wait.

     "Heh..." Raine just crossed his arms, watching as the oncoming horde came for them all indiscriminately. "...Looks like /someone/ got a little too jumpy." He smirked and then eyed the total numbers, taking in their count. "This is gonna be a pain in the ass." A sigh followed after and he shook his head. "This one's yours, Fragarach."

     The air behind Raine shimmered as what looked to be a familiar faded into existence. A woman of average height floated in the air behind the young man, clad in a short, featureless, white dress. Her hair was the same colow, billowing out behind her at a lenth that seemed to equal her height. Her eyes were blue and the schlera were pitch black. The elongated ears and tail were clue enough that she was hardly human.

     She was silent, eyes narrowed as she eyed the horde. "...A waste of time." She muttered before raising an arm. Mana began to shift about her form before suddenly, a chain of magic spells went off. Clusters of ice rapidly formed, catching groups of familiars all about before exploding outwards into a shower of harmless snow.

     Raine himself still hadn't budged an inch and just watched as Fragarach worked her magic, a smirk ever present on his face.

Emiya Shirou (560) has posed:
    Who is this stranger? Shirou peers at Raine with obviously intense curosity, but there's no suspicion in his eyes at all. For whatever reason, Raine just isn't pinging as anyone to worry about, whoever they are. But they're deeeefinitely not normal. "We're just here to stop the murders... of course we're not local." He doesn't have time to answer questions like this. Not with all of those birds flocking unusually to the rooftops.

    It took him a while, but he finally realized something was wrong with those birds. "familiars?!"

    Yeah, Shirou. TOO LATE.

    BIRDS, BIRDS EVERYWHERE. "H-hwagh!" The magus turns the shove into a dive-rolls under the BIRD RUSH when Bedivere comes to aid him, and thus avoids any real harm. Through the motion, golden light - pure prana - surges from his palms with a great sizzle-crackle-*CLANK*, forming into a black metal longsword of ancient design. The strangely fierce and ALMOST sinister looking weapon commands the winds however, and despite appearances could be considered a holy sword.

    Shirou springs to his feet, Kusanagi held in his right hand. "Crap, he knows we're here already!"

    Wind visibly gathers around Kusanagi, misty air currents roiling and twisting. It's no Invisible Air, that's for sure. This is something different altogether.

    Shirou leaps to Bedivere's aid, brings the weapon up in a two-handed grip and SLASHES towards the birds. not into the birds, but TOWARDS the birds. Meaning, he's slashing up at the air for seemingly no reason.

    No reason, it would seem, except that this legendary weapon is the best thing he has for a situation like this. The Noble Phantasm's true power isn't being used, merely its ability to manipulate the wind, but that is enough. The wind screams and rages, unleashed as a pressurized cutting gale following the slash.

    The sheer prana strain for that's gonna knock the wind out of Shirou for a few seconds, but it should do even more to the ravens.

    Bedivere got bloodied. But if he's lucky, he can pay him back for all that pain... "Geeze-- Bedivere, I can handle a few birds!" He's frustrated indeed. This is all wrong. Bedivere shouldn't be using himself as a shield. Shirou'd rather be in that position than let someone else do it!

Emiya Kiritsugu (603) has posed:
Saber's sword cuts easily through the birds. Almost too easly. Some of them fall apart in pieces, splashing their blood upon the ground. Maya's flames set fire to others, causing the foul smell of burning feathers to mix with the more tasty smell of cooked meat. Raine's familiar spears and freezes others, impaling them with ice spikes. Other birds continue to rush on past, leaving no trace of their severed body parts, or indeed even an indication that they were injured at all. The birds who survive turn about to make a second pass, as do all the very illusory ones that seem to be operating in-tandem with the real ones. In some ways, that makes them easier to distinguish. They mimic the movements of the real birds, with only a few changes based on their supposed location in relation to other things in the environment to make them more convincing. These are not flat images. But they are also unable to do harm or to change direction on their own, unlike the real ones.

Those that drew blood from Bedivere are soon faced with the warrior's sword, slicing them apart. They fall readily before his skills and his blade. Shirou's winds smash them, send them spiralling out of control with broken wings, and otherwise disable them. Though there are dozens of real birds amongst the hundreds of illusory ones still, with the arsenal available here - when Saber alone could have eventually dispatched them with her skill and physical prowess - these cawing cretins are merely a distraction.

And of that, Matsuno is aware. He is panicking a bit at how powerful these intruders are, but he still tries to keep his cool in how he acts. To retain the distinguished air of a mage, by disconnecting his emotions from his actons. He is leaving anyway. So he might as well trigger the death stains he incorporated into his 'Clean Up Protocol'. The masked man, wild red hair extending out like the rays of the sun from his head, in his blood-stained butcher's clothes, snaps his fingers as he sets fire to his research notes. Anything important has been memorized. The rest will have to be reproduced. He channels his Prana and works his magic. "Shadows harken..." he intones. "Ravenous Craw."

The birds that fall on the second pass join the massed remains from the first attack upon the streets. And those handful that remain alive turn about seemingly for a third attack. But the illusions all vanish, and the living familiars drop out of the air dead. Their hearts burst. The feeling of death is even stronger now. A chill, painful sensation like needles pricking the flesh all over emanates from the very soil.

Muffled screams can be heard from inside the houses nearby, coming from a variety of throats. Old and young. Male and female. Human and house pet. The sounds are blood-curdling. But as that awful feeling does whatever it is doing... It fails to harm these Elites.

The screams eventually end, and the streets are silent again.

After several tense, long moments, there is a thump from a nearby door. Then another. Then a series of pounding blows on the door, and others all up and down the street. The wood splinters as bloody fists are forced through the closed portals. And then Ghouls begin spilling out onto the streets, each one with a partially dissolved skull, a hole in the side of their head, and the gleaming eye of a crow or raven nesting inside. The glowing-eyed monsters lurch spastically towards the assembled Elites.

But for all the theatrical presentation, there are not quite so many of them as might have been expected. What of the rest of the town's residents?

Raine Arland (604) has posed:
     Raine arched a brow as the attack ceased. But then the screams coming from inside the houses all about give him reason to turn his attention away. "That can't be good, can it?" He mumbled. Fragarach eyed the surroundings, looking entirely unimpressed as ghouls began to shamble out of houses, looking as grotesque as she would have expected them to be.

     A faint giggle escaped from her lips and she brought up a sleeve over her mouth. "Amusing tactics borne from desperation. Truly, truly entertaining." She took her eyes off the undead and then looked towards Saber, who she assumed was the authority figure of that little group. "I would highly suggest ignoring these abominations and finding the mage at the heart of it, lest he makes his escape."

     Raine shrugged after Fragarach's advice. "Not that matters either way. These people are screwed." A pause as he looked around, and then he added. "Plus, something's not adding up." He tapped the side of his head with a finger thoughtfully. "There are a lot less of these poor bastards than you'd figure. Where's everyone else?"

     Fragarach smirked and turned away. "Probably dead, or dying." She then began to float off, head turning upwards as her eyes closed and her magic senses expanded searching for the perpetrator. "Now, where is that fool? I would like to ask him a few...questions."

Saber (346) has posed:
     As they so often had before, the two knights fell into their familiar patterns of acting in concert without so much as a spoken or shouted word. Even as she had leapt in front of them, Bedivere was already in motion to protect the more vulnerable Shirou. As much as it was her duty to protect her Master, the silver-haired knight was still her marshal, and she would put her trust in him.

     "I felt him open his circuits," Saber called to Bedivere and Shirou over the din of battle. "That will make him easier to track, but first we must deal with these familiars!"

     Moving fast enough to mow down the onslaught of familiars was a simple enough matter, but there was a problem. "We need to eliminate them quickly, before the trail is lost!" Which, it didn't take much ability to deduce, was most likely the entire purpose of the attack. Their killer was panicking.

     The jade-eyed knight frowned; there appeared to be more of them than there actually were. Illusions, then....that would make their task somewhat simpler, but the worst was yet to come.

     At the sound of screams from behind the doors of homes, Saber whirled around to stare in horror. Just as Caster had transformed innocent people into monstrosities to do his bidding, so too did this magus. The brief expression of horror quickly turned to righteous rage. A soft 'tch' escaped through gritted teeth. Another mere 'distraction' for their quarry to throw at them. And doubtless, there were more innocents in danger. But the longer they delayed, the chances increased that the magus would escape. They would have to spilt up; part of their group to hunt down the magus and the others to hold off the transformed townsfolk. Her eyes flicked to Fragrach; it seemed she was not the only one who had noticed. "Indeed. But there may be other townspeople still trapped. We cannot abandon them."

     "Lady Maya!" Saber bellowed. "If you can track the magus, do so! Shirou, assist her!"

     As for Bedivere, she need not so much as issue a command before she rand for the emerging Ghouls, summoning her armour in mid-run. He would know by their patterns that she would expect him at her side, already laying into the poor souls around them with deadly, eerily co-ordinated attacks.

Maya has posed:
Maya has made a lot of roast bird at this point she sees her allies and the mysterious stranger have endured things so far. No one's that hurt o so she thinks. She is a bit pckec but is otherwise okay. She pauses for a moment. She senses something dark happens she hears the screams, she hears them now and she sees the undead as they start to come after them she looks at them for a moment. She senses something she cringes as she sees the undead come and she damn well knows more have died. Maya says a word and it's dripping with ... fury towards it.


Necromancey the hated art that not even the forces of hell on her world would touch. Maya does not cast a combat spell she has the means to purge the undead, her world is adapt in combating them. It is also adapt at protecting people and living beings from them.

"With pleasure!"

She changed cards having faith in the most legandary of ruleers from earth's call and faith in her ability.

She changes card the scan fate card as it's more commonly known and she triggers it it glows blue as she reaches out for the mages' presence it's time to hunt.

"Let's go."

Sir Bedivere (482) has posed:
He may be bloodied, but the pale-haired knight has endured worse. For the moment, these wounds are little more than a minor distraction; one he barely focuses on. Of far more concern to him is making sure they don't get away from him. Shirou isn't wearing any armour, and the boy shows an alarming tendency to throw himself into harm's way. (Pot, kettle.)

"Then we cut them down!" Bedivere's voice carries over the din surprisingly well, in spite of how soft it is any other time.

He concentrates wholly on the flash of his sword as it rises and falls, lancing this way and that, completely in his control. He leaps this way, dodges that way; locked into a graceful death-dance that only he knows the steps to. As mortal beasts, the ravens stand no chance against him, and those who fly to him him are doomed.

Whirling at the sound of the screams, his violet eyes flick this way and that, and he frowns at the sounds of those people suffering. It makes his heart ache to know they're in some kind of pain, that he can't go to them and help them--

The screaming stops. Bedivere staggers; his expression, like Saber's, is one of horror and then cold, tightly-controlled anger.

Mutely, with a stricken expression, he falls in beside Saber with his sword upraised. Every instinct screams at him not to bare steel on the townsfolk, but they have no choice. Either they fight off the throng, or they'll be overwhelmed. His sword is whirled and raised high as he maintains his position at Saber's side, ever her stone of stability.

/So it is to be butchery, then./ Saber would no doubt sense the crackling anger from her marshal; frustration and despair at having to turn their weapons on these civilians. /Make their ends swift, then. Let them not suffer./

So too do king and marshal coordinate with an eerie precision -- wherever there seems to be a lapse in the sweep of Saber's invisible sword, Bedivere's notched blade is there to cover the difference. Eyes narrowed, mouth set in a hard line, he moves with the precision of a hunting wolf and the silence of a ghost as they set into their grim business. This time, there is no mercy in his swordplay -- a deadly, graceful dance of killing blows and mortal strikes, meant so these poor folk have minimal suffering.

But to go by the expression on his face, it costs him something of his spirit to do.

Emiya Shirou (560) has posed:
    Hordes of Ravens fall, and Shirou lowers Kusanagi for a moment to catch his breath. That blast had taken a full quarter of his prana - and it was indeed only even possible to use thanks to Iianor's aid in periodically refilling his stocks for training. But he's still unused to that level of strain, no matter how one looks at it, and using these abilities is extremely straining on his body. He wrings out the arm he used to swing Kusanagi a moment later, but right then...

    It's like an icy tidal wave struck him. He freezes in place... and is IMMENSELY grateful for the forethought to flood his circuits with prana beforehand. It fends off a foreign invasion of some kind.

    The townsfolk apparently aren't so lucky.

    He's broken out of that chill by the sound of the dead breaking out into the streets . The redhead, horrified, gasps and stammers a few nonsense noises out... then inhales sharply.

    He'd come here to save these people from the murderer.

    But... they might well have been doomed from the start.

    Hot rage wells up within him. It boils over and loops around into cold fury, his thoughts becoming clear as crystal and determination soaring.

    "My body is made of swords." The blacksmith magus intones harshly. With another sizzle of prana, a modern compound bow appears in his grasp and is quickly reinforced to the limit. The legendary weapon in his right hand warps and stretches into a much thinner and longer form, much like an arrow. Wind gathers around the 'arrow' tip as Shirou draws his projection back, bringing the synthetic string to its limits.


    And now, the results of all his practice for days at the 'sword archery' people were criticizing is on full display. Kusanagi howls, becoming a small tornado-drill that whips down the street at terrific speeds. The winds propel it and steady it, but also serve to drill through some of the densest gatherings.

    "A-assist her?! I can't even sense magic..." But he CAN cover Maya, at least.

    Focusing, he leaps over to her side and projects an arrowfied Estoc, far less grand than the Kusanagi-arrow was. But it's cheaper than making real arrows, and an Estoc to the anything at the speed this bow can manage is not to be taken lightly.

    "Whoever's behind this is disgusting...! What happened to the other people?!"

Raine Arland (604) has posed:
     "Wow, look at em go." Raine mumbled, seating himself upon a nearby merchant's cart as he watched Saber and Bedivere go to town on the ghouls...literally. It looked like he had zero intention of helping. He wasn't asked to stick his neck out. ...And besides, this was quite a show as it was. No need to interrupt them when they're having /so much fun/ being heroes, storming the castle, defending the powerless, etc.


     Fragarach had left Raine's side, joining Maya and Shirou. She casually glided through the air alongside the two of them, effortlessly swinging an arm outwards to destroy any ghoul foolish enough to get in her way with a quick burst of magic. A stream of flame here, a burst of ice there, a jolt of lightning over there. "Boy, I trust you know your limits, yes?" A question posed to Shirou in particular. She could sense a sharp dip in his mana supply from moments earlier...

Emiya Kiritsugu (603) has posed:
Saber and Bedivere work in tandem, despite the pain it causes them to cut down civilians, laying to waste enemy after enemy. The ghouls themselves make little noise behind the wet noises of muscles twisted into motion by some wicked bird manipulating the muscles from inside their own skulls. But when they are cut down, the birds try to make their escape. Probably without a great deal of luck due to Shirou's drill-arrow. Its winds suck the fleeing birds in on top of punching through some of their hosts and eliminatin THOSE birds before they can flee as well. The street is drenched in blood.

Maya and Shirou take off, searching for the magus. Tracking him by his magic circuits, and by the power of the Fate card.

About a block away from where this is all happening, a woman is observing through a second-floor window, using the scope on her rifle. She speaks into her headset, "It appears as though we did not purge all the seals."

A man's voice responds over the radio, "It couldn't be helped. Identifying all the hosts would have taken too much time. His familiars were probably creating new seals regardless. Do we know where his workshop is now?" "Yes," the woman answers. "The field on the outskirts to the north."

As Fragarach helps keep Ghouls off of Shirou's and Maya's backs, the three eventually run out of ghouls to fight. The frightened faces of normal humans occasionally peek out of windows, and some of them are even outside, trying to see what's going on... Unaware of the danger. The Fate card is leading Maya north, right towards what appears to be a field with corn and pumpkins and other autumnal plants growing there. Some are even loaded onto wagons that have been left abandoned. There's no sign of any secret mage base to the naked eye...

But in a matter of seconds, that changes, as the edge of the field ripples and wavers upon their approach. Suggestion magic is at work, but with a combination of Prana, inhuman nature, and being a focused magic-wielder, Shiro, Fragarach, and Maya are able to pierce through the deception and avoid turning around thinking there's nothing of importance there.

Just then, Arume Matsuno steps out of his workshop, confident that his Bounded Field will stall the three he sees coming until he is out of here. He spent months building it before putting his plan into action.

His very first step causes the ground to click under his foot. He does not react in time, as the momentum of his hurried departure carries his foot up off whatever he just stepped in even as his masked face turns to look down.

The landmine triggers and explodes, blowing Arume's legs off and sending pieces of shrapnel up through his hips and groin, essentially shredding his lower body. He is hurled through the air and lands roughly. The Bounded Field collapses... Having already been weakened by whoever set those landmines in the first place. Yep. LandmineS. Beause there's at least two more clicks when Arume hits the ground. He freezes, barely daring to breathe, his mouth opening and closing as he struggles to resist screaming. He knows pain. This is severe, agonizing, and the panick as he looks up and sees three people, at least two of them major sources of magical energy at the edge of the field. But he has to focus. He has to disable these traps, grow some wings, and get out of here!

If only he can focus...

The Ghouls back with Saber and Bedivere cease coming after the first two dozen. One of them was the little girl who had looked out the window. Another was her mother. Body parts, dead birds, even Ghoul dogs, all lie strewn across the street... But this is not the entire town's population.

And that explosion was all too audible, even from the middle of town.

Saber (346) has posed:
     It was a thankless task, but the fact was that the turned townspeople had already been dead, their brains supplanted by the sadistic magus's twisted bird-like creations. While Bedivere, due to his distrust and fear of Merlin made him suspicious of magic, Saber tended to hate it for the very reason they found before them. There were plenty of good magi out there, but there were enough bad ones lured by the promises of power and obsession with the Root. And some even treated human life as a disposable resource. She could never forgive such a thing.

     But unlike her battle with Caster, it seemed there was an end after knight and king had dispatched a fair number of the poor souls. Saber turned her head slightly upon catching a movement out of the corner of her eye, finding terrified eyes peering out at them from behind windows. She gave them the most reassuring smile she could manage, at least trying to tell them as best she could that it was all right. But before she could move to begin checking on those civilians which remained, the sudden detonation of landmines in the distance interrupted her, coming from the direction of Maya and Shirou.

     Her head whipped around suddenly at the sound of the explosion, and immediately, she hailed the other two Unionites over her radio. "Lady Maya! Shirou! Are you two all right?"

Maya has posed:
Maya is like a blood hound at this point she's trying to track it and is driven to find the being that they are after. Maya has ways to deal with the undead however being able to keep fopcusing on chaing the target is helping. She's heading north and is moving as quickly as she can as they head north. She looks about for a moment she sees as things start to change. She gets past the illusion and she's fuming Shirou can see it, there's mush fury in Maya at this moment.

Then the mines go off, and she pauses. It's not a pretty sight but she seems to be able to keep it together she moves in keepin ane ye for what awaits her. She's got a card in hand, the air card time it crackles with magic. She's moving to finish the mage off at this point with a lightning bolt. There's no speach no words just the intent to end this before they can get away, and the lighting crackles about her fingers.

Saber's call over the radio cause her to pause for a moment to report.

"We are fine, it seems we are not the only hunters of the one behind this, he just took a landmine and lost a legs. I was about to finish them off before they could pull something. Unless you have an idea of how they could stand trial for their crimes."

She looks to the mage the look isn't a kind one either. Maya's barely keeping her Fury in check.

Sir Bedivere (482) has posed:
The knight's nameless blade spatters blood with every swing, running red with the blood of what are, effectively, innocents. Bedivere's sword whistles as he slashes and thrusts, jabbing at ghouls and parries where necessary... but eventually they stop coming.

Instead, he whips around at the sound of the explosion, automatically moving to cover Saber's back, gradually slumping.

"Lord God forgive me," he manages in a strangled whisper. "What have we done?"

His sword rings as it clatters to the ground, fallen from numb fingers; as Saber checks on their allies, the marshal takes a moment to try and recover himself. Necessary it might have been -- but that doesn't change the sick, cold feeling in the pit of his stomach as he stoops to retrieve his sword, shaking like a leaf in the wind as he cleans the blood off with a corner of his ruined suit-jacket, trying to sheathe it with shaking hands.

Emiya Shirou (560) has posed:
    Shirou isn't fazed by the boundary field. With prana running through his system, the suggestion just sort of slides off him rather than taking any hold. But he senses it when it's this close. Maya had to do all the guiding out to the field, and he did respond to Fragarach with a, "Well enough! I can keep going."

    yeah, he's not CARING about his limits right now, with so many people threatened... and so many more dead.

    He's so furious that he only barely notices the 'click' when their quarry emerges from his lab, and... "...Click?"


    Shirou's knocked flat on his tush, thrown backwards by the shockwave. Some shrapnel does reach him, scoring an arm and a leg, but at this distance it's mostly a nuisance to someone with Avalon backing him. This close to Saber, the piddly wounds stop bleeding almost instantly and do little more than stagger him a bit.

    "Landmines?" The magus grunts, bewildered and momentarily knocked for a loop. Who would've put anything that atrocious out here.. right THERE, even... "...a trap?"

    But not for them. For the guy who got gruesomely torn apart by it.

    Grunting, Shirou forces himself to stand again right as the radio ping comes in. "F-fine enough! I think we found the culprit... he just stepped on a landmine!" And boy does Shirou sound surprised.

    Surprised, but he's also glaring at the crippled magus. "If you have any more awful things in mind for the people here, stop them now." It's a demand. Not even a bargain of 'we'll kill you if you don't.'

    He's in a foul, mechanical mood right now...

Raine Arland (604) has posed:
     Raine's brow twitched at the sound of an explosion off in the distance. "...They couldn't have found the guy already." He hopped off the wagon he was perched on, looking a little more alert now. "Either he had something else up his sleeve, or..." He brought a hand to his chin, not minding the hurricane of swordplay that was Saber and Bedivere. "...Someone else was on the case before these guys." He didn't include himself. He was just here by chance really. But still, this was an entertaining show nonetheless.

     Deep down, he couldn't help but feel a sickening feeling bubbling in the pit of his stomach, but he shook his head and pushed the feeling away, donning a smirk to make it all better for himself. "You two finished playing heroes here? It looks to me like whoever was controlling those things lost the means. ...Either mentally, or physically. Or both." And all that it entailed. His eyelids lowered a tad, but Raine kept smiling all the same.


     Fragarach watched as the mine went off, unblinking at the utter ruthlessness of it all. "Quick. And efficient. ...Humans truly are merciless." She slowed to a stop, arms resting in her lap as she adopted a 'seated' position in mid-air. "...I suppose inquiring into the methods of a dying man would be rather cruel." The familiar smiled calmly and nodded.

     "Hurry and finish him off. He is worthless as it is now. Whatever knowledge he may hold is as meaningless as his life." This was their struggle, as far as she was concerned. Hardly a place for beings like her to step in. Let man dictate the results of man's actions. She would observe as much as possible.

Emiya Kiritsugu (603) has posed:
Breathing hard, Arume Matsuno turns his head, his mask a white porcelain thing with no features aside from a pair of slits for his eyes. Whatever expression he has on his face, it is hidden. He looks at Shirou, however. Shirou specifically. Maya is ready to destroy him. The magical being is urging the other two to do so. But it is Shirou he looks at. Not the most powerful of those gathered. Not the one who made his heart practically jump out of his chest with their mere presence. But he can sense Shirou's magic circuits, and knows he is from the same place he is. Or somplace LIKE it. "You... You understand, don't you? You understand that sometimes boundaries must be pushed to accomplish something great. You are a magus. If I am going to die here, then what matters is that you continue on my research. You can get the progress so far from my remains. The rest is in the heads of this town's people. A method of immortality! A way to live long enough to reach the swirl of the Root! Come closer, boy."

The red-haired boy may not be a truly suitable successor to him, but he may serve a purpose still. "When you kill me, destroy my mask and face. But leave the rest of my head intact." He is gradually weaving Prana into the ground beneath him, trying to disable the two landmines he is lying on, even as he speaks. "I will make it safe for you to reach me... Come along, now. You do not want to give up my research to those fools at the Clocktower, do you-"

There is a sound of a silenced rifle shot. The mask cracks in a spider-web pattern as a neat little hole appears in it, right over Arume's forehead. He jerks and lies still. Blood spills out of the hole. Where did that shot come from? Perhaps hard to determine for those who can not instantly analyze trajectories. But it came from a two-story building - from the only room with an open window.

The mask shifts and jerks a little. Arume's head seems to be making minute movements. Is he still alive, even after a headshot from a sniper rifle!? The mask cracks some more, from impacts... Coming from inside.

The mask cracks and crumbles, and something starts... Squirming... Its way... Out of Arume's half-eaten face.

It's a fat crow, smeared in blood and brains. The bullet seems to have wounded it, as it hops with great difficulty out of Arume's head, making small, deep noises of displeasure.

And then it flies straight at Shirou's face with supernatural speed, even with its injuries!

Another gunshot. This time from a different angle, tears the bird apart, sending its remains to the ground. Some of the blood might get on Shirou. But no birds will be hollowing out his skull in order to continue their twisted research.

Because a man with vacant eyes, in a black trenchcoat, is standing down near the end of the field, about 50 feet away from where the trio are gathered. The gun's barrel is smoking.

He reaches up and touches his headset radio.

"Target eliminated. Withdraw and wait for me back at the safehouse," Kiritsugu says quietly, without emotion. Maiya Hisau's voice comes through from the other end. "Understood."

And that is the scene that Saber and Bedivere and Raine (if he is headed that way too) would come across, after eliminating (or observing the elimination of) all those familiars and ghouls who would have only continued to spread and make more ghouls if they had been left to remain - distraction or no. Many have died, but most of the town is still alive, and hopefully safe.

And oh, look. Some guy with a gun pointed in the direction of Maya, Fragarach, and Shirou, as they stand before the mutilated corpse and a fat, dead bird.

Emiya Shirou (560) has posed:
    A combination of fear and disgust rise up in Shirou. A raging scowl crosses his face at the Magus' words. "No chance! I've no interest in the root, and less in the work of someone--" CRACK.

    Shirou doesn't even get to finish his rejection. The magus goes down from a shot from... nowhere.

    Shirou's mind has already hit overclock. He reacts to the strange crow by tumblingg backward and waving his bow ineffectually. It probably won't be enough to do more than delay the bird unless Maya does something!


    Looks like she doesn't have to.

    The boy's splashed with blood and other goo... he struggles to his feet, a bit disoriented, and only then does he try to track where the gunshot came from... while keeping a little low in case whoever's out there is still hostile...

    What he sees thanks to the Prana coursing through his reinforced eyes nearly knocks him over again.

    The boy gapes, going utterly wide-eyed. "N-No way, I'm seeing things...!?" Well, this Kiritsugu's face is a touch younger, but Shirou's not taking much note of these tiny differences.

    The boy looks like he's seen a ghost, really.

    Which, well, to him, he kind of is.

Saber (346) has posed:
     Saber relaxed that the two were all right for the moment, though she frowned at Maya's reply. "Another hunter?" Of course, that was the only rational explanation; none of the Union members had even known where the workshop was, much less had the time to plant mines. "There is a magus killer nearby, then..."

     That realisation left her cold. Assassins hired by the Association were hardly unheard of, but the last time she had been in the presence of one such assassin had been as his Servant. "The Clocktower is already involved, then," she noted darkly. "Do not approach him, lest there be more hidden mines. I would imagine our hunter will appear soon enough."

     Half of her very much wanted to make her way there and drive a sword through the magus's gullet herself. But she had violated chivalry in a similar fashion, long ago, and she had a responsibility as a knight to act in accordance with its virtues. "If he still lives, we should attempt to bring him to the station for questioning and trial."

     Turning her attention to her Master, Arturia gently placed a hand on Bedivere's shoulder. "My lord," she said softly. "I fear there was nothing we could have done for them...they were already dead."

     She nodded to one of the corpses. "Their bodies were being controlled by the familiars of the demon we hunt. All we could do for them was end their suffering."

     Not that this made it any easier. She too was distraught that they had not arrived in time to prevent the magus from his murderous spree, but she knew that it was far worse for the gentle-hearted knight. "We can, however, help the people who remain," she said, casting a brief sour look at Raine before turning back to Bedivere. "We must be strong...they have lost friends and family to this demon."

     Looking back over her shoulder, she noted that the people seemed to be safe for the moment. "However, she should..."

     The unmistakeable sound of a sniper rifle reached her ears. Cursing softly under her breath, the Servant ran towards where their allies were currently watching yet another horror unfold. She readied herself to defend her fellow Unionites, praying that the assassin hadn't decided on the fly that they were witnesses to be eliminated...

     ...Only to come to a sudden halt as the gunman came into view. A gunman she most certainly recognised.

     The Servant stared hard for a moment, sea-green eyes wide. "...Kiritsugu?"

Maya has posed:
Maya is moving to finish the job s she hears him speak.

"There was a man like that who sought to defeat Death to deny Thanatos his soul. He drowns countless souls in suffrering as an undead plague swept across two contients. Your work? Is going to die with you."

Maya is m moves but then comes the shot. The other hunters have made their apperance.


She knows if they Maya turns to launch the spell at the thing b ut it is not needed the magical power is not banished as she's got a gun at her she stares them down.

"So the other hunter, lower the gun all I wish is to burn this twisted thing's research before anyone else can contiune it. Such things should be left burried..."

She'd shoot a look at Raine but she's got a gun pointed at her in a bit of a standoff then she takes a risk and banishes the power of her pending spell, followeed by lowering.

"...Shirou...I'm sorry you had to see ... something like this."

Sir Bedivere (482) has posed:
The pale-haired knight shudders at the arm laid on his shoulder, but he doesn't draw away, eyes locked on the dead and dying forms of the villagers who had once lived here. Even he can see that they aren't alive any more, not truly, but that's a cold comfort and does little to salve his raw conscience.

Slowly, deliberately, he folds his arms and turns his eyes to the magus responsible.

There is nothing of mercy in that violet gaze, but before he can say anything, a distant shot cracks the mask, and then another shot destroys the foul bird that had almost escaped.

He whirls, eyes flicking this way and that, and his sword is in his hand before he's even consciously aware of drawing the weapon; he's standing in a protective position in front of Saber in the time it takes him to draw in a sharp breath.

The sword raises, held in a defensive, two-handed grip; level with his shoulder and hands close together.

He says nothing, merely staring at the Magus-Killer with hard, violet eyes. Saber seems to recognise him, but Bedivere doesn't seem to trust him -- as he doesn't trust anyone, when it comes down to it, and he's jumpy enough to consider the assassin a threat to Saber.

...Those red command seals are probably plainly visible on his left hand.

Raine Arland (604) has posed:
     Raine shook his head, taking a quick glance around to note that the people were 'safe'. For now. Looks like the ghouls were out of the way. And so he broke out into a run after Saber. Only just realizing now that Fragarach had wandered off with the other group. He wasn't slow, he swore! "Tch...! If I'm guessing right, that's gotta be a sniper rifle." He mumbled under his breath as he ran through the streets and to the fields.

     He slowed down to a stop just in time to arrive at what appeared to be a standoff of sorts. "...Yo." Casually his eyes turned downward, taking note of the blast zone, as well as the mutilated body and the dead bird by Shirou's feet. "...Heh. Looks like he won't be experimenting anymore." That said, Raine looked towards the gunman, and then to Saber as she mentioned a name. "...Kiritsugu?" His gaze turned back to the man, arching a brow.

     Fragarach didn't move all the while, remaining where she was in midair. She watched as the magus spoke of passing on his work to Shirou, before a bullet put an end to his ambitions. "The passing of one's knowledge to a new host...another act of desperation." She sighed, disappointed in it all. Her blue eyes settled onto the dead bird on the ground. "......" And then to the gunman responsible.

     "You finished your work, yes?" She crossed her arms. "I believe you have no further reason to point that weapon."

Emiya Kiritsugu (603) has posed:
Kiritsugu does not seem to recognize Shirou - or Saber when his gaze turns in that direction. His magic circuits do not appear to be activated, so he is not detecting the heroic spirit as a Servant. But he is analyzing all that is before him, surely. The fact that she knows his name, has his eyes at least briefly turned upon Arturia, and her fierce-looking sword-bearing guardian. Maya dispels her gathered magic, which the dead-eyed man had determined to be significant. And as his only choices at the moment appear to be fleeing, which he is not sure he could get away with even using all the resources at his disposal in an open area like this, fighting (and he is sure he would lose), or lowering his weapon and talking... He decides to ere on the side of caution and lower the gun.

Best to figure out who the woman in armor is who seems to know him. And the red-haired boy who is staring at him in surprise that seems to have nothing to do with the violence he has just witnessed. The spirit-like being with the tail is a curiosity, but does not match any information he has gathered thus far.

Raine is likewise not recognized, nor Bedivere.

A whole lot of unknowns. Not a good situation to be in.

He lowers the gun, but he does not put it away. His finger is not on the trigger, at least. "The body should be burned," he calls out calmly. "If one can live inside of his body, there's no reason why there couldn't be others." He learned the hard way that maguses do twisted things like that sometimes. Just killing them is not enough. Safe-guards and revenge tactics are common among heretical mages like these.

He turns his attention back on Saber as he finally decides to put his weapon away. They would have killed him by now if that was their intent. Instead he pulls out a cigarette, sticks it between his lips, and starts reaching for his lighter in one of his other pockets. "Emiya Kiritsugu," he introduces himself. "And who are you, little girl?"

Sir Bedivere (482) has posed:
Kiritsugu lowers his gun, but that notched, battle-scarred sword never moves. It doesn't so much as twitch, held steady in spite of the knight's earlier horror. His violet eyes have gone terribly flat, and there is a preternatural quiet and calm about him.

The calm before the storm, maybe.

"Emiya Kiritsugu. You will not disrespect the king," Bedivere says, so softly that the words are almost a breath. "You stand before King Arthur of Camelot. You will address her with the respect due her station."

King? That girl? Surely he must be joking, but the knight seems to be absolutely dead serious. Only slowly and hesitantly does the blade lower, eventually returning to its scabbard. But Bedivere never moves, keeping himself placed unquestionably between the king and the assassin.

He exhales, very slowly, through his nose.

"I presume you were here to assassinate this magus." A gesture is given toward the dead crow-magus, or at least what's left of him. "Yes?"

Maya has posed:
Maya listens for a moment and nods to Emiya Kiritsugu. She reaches for a card, but does not power it.

"Please stand back, I'm going to turn the corpse to ash while we have a moment before anything hapens and my name is Maya."

She will focus upon the card keeping an intense but controlled pillar of flame to consume the body of the dead magus.

Emiya Shirou (560) has posed:
    Shirou, well, he's feeling more than a little down about this matter. He failed. Even if the situation is seemingly resolved - his brush with death apparently taken in stride - he didn't really do much to lead to that resolution. Worse, he couldn't prevent the disaster. He did calmly deal with a half-dozen hungry zombies (ugh) but now... now something before him has his feelings flipflopping.

    As usual, he just plain CHARGES.

    His rush isn't the practiced dash of a fighter however... or the mad rush of any hostile action. The bow he projected vanishes as he runs towards the distant gathering, without much thought. He ditches Maya and Fragarach in a heartbeat and just rushes over with every bit of speed he can manage. Yeah, his guard's completely down...

    The redheaded spellcaster arrives shortly, though his breath's a bit ragged. The stress has whim winded more than exertion, but he did do some pretty fantastic magic back there by most standards.

    Whoever heard of anyone projecting a Noble Phantasm? That's crazy.

    "Old man?" The boy, half-doubled over, gasps out. His tone's extremely familiar and informal, as if Kiritsugu were his family - for obvious reasons. He's surprised to say the last. SEriously, it really is like he's seeing a ghost here. But with a closer look he's even more sure... not that he needs to be, as he hears the name given...

    "Right, burn the body..." He mumbbles. It does make sense, he should do that...

    But then the boy blinks a few times, and looks up after getting his breath back.

    He's giving Kiritsugu an earnest but bewildered stare. Of course, the reason he called him old man is because old man, or 'jii-san' is what he always called him, rather than 'dad,' which never quite felt comfortable.

Saber (346) has posed:
     It did not take long for Saber to recover her wits; this was not Fuyuki City, and the Grail War she had been summoned to had ended roughly fifteen years ago. But though her surprise had been suppressed, she nevertheless remained wary. And with good reason; the magus killer before them was not an honourable person. Well-intentioned, but not honourable.

     "Agreed," she simply replied, noting the bodies. It was dirty work, but Kiritsugu was right. It would not be the first time she had seen something of that nature. And he would know that first hand...

     ...Or perhaps not. Once more she blinked in surprise for a moment before her expression resumed its usual impassive mask, flicking a glance at Shirou. Her former Master failed to recognise him, too. "I see. So, it is like this..."

     Before she had a chance to simply be as opaque as possible, her Master spoke instead. If there was one thing which always seemed to cause the otherwise dispassionate marshal to lose his cool, it was any perceived slight against his king. Even when it would have been preferable to give merely her class designation. But perhaps not...this was Kiritsugu before the Grail War. That made things much more complicated.

     "It is as my marshal had said. I am Arturia Pendragon. The matter of our presence is a rather complicated matter," she replied with a tone just slightly frostier than it was for most other people.

Raine Arland (604) has posed:


     "...Oh, wait, are we supposed to be giving out names now?" Raine asked, pointing to himself in an idiotic manner that screamed 'clueless'. "Ah, man, I'm never good at this whole 'introductions' thing." He groaned in feigned frustration, making jazz hands at introduction. "Well fine-"

     He brought both of his arms up to gesture to Fragach. "This is Fragach. She's pleased to make your acquaintance~"

     The entity in question's brow twitched momentarily, and then her tail reached out, wrapping around Raine's neck and squeezng. "HGuafhhhsdhfs--ai...r...!" He croaked, trying to get the tail off to no avail. Fragarach ignored him and smiled pleasantly despite what she was doing to her idiot partner.

     "My. It appears that today is a fated meeting, hm?" She rested a hand against her cheek in wonderment, blue gaze moving between Saber, Shirou, and Kiritsugu. And then a shrug followed. "I suggest that if you wish to know what exactly is happening here, you accompany these virtuous souls to wherever they came from. I imagine they are more than willing to talk at length elsewhere."

     She was still choking Raine.

Emiya Kiritsugu (603) has posed:
At Bedivere's admonishment and introduction, Kiritsugu's eyebrows come down and his eyes narrow just slightly. The emotion he shows is minimal, but from that and the noise of surprise in the back of his throat, he seems to be displeased with the information of the King's identity. Is this another aspect of the variations between universes? Or... He is fairly certain that what he saw the red-haired boy use was a Noble Phantasm. Does that make him a Servant? And if he is...

The gears of Kiritsugu's mind work quickly, coming up with multiple possibilities. For now, he does not know enough to come to a concrete conclusion. But based on the knowledge that this King Arthur knows his name already... And the man with the sword has Command Seals... And the boy who is charging towards him may have been using a-Wait, what? Kiritsugu pauses with his lighter in one hand, ready to flick it open, and watches cautiously. He does not feel he is being attacked. And if he were attacked, there is not much he could do while being watched by what he is sure is a Servant and her Master. And possibly this boy as well?

At least the blue-haired woman is using some unusual magic to set the corpse ablaze and reduce it to ash, so he does not have to worry about surprise ghoul-ification birds. The pocket dimension that served as Arume's workshop is still in this field somewhere, as he suspected - and had planned for. It remains a possible threat, though not the one he was hired to deal with.

He looks first at the red-haired boy, and then back to Bedivere, as he answers, "That's right." When the tailed woman - Fragach - starts strangling her companion, Kiritsugu finally flicks his lighter and applies to the flame to end of his cigarette. After he puts it away, still feeling anger inside at what he suspects... That King Arthur of his world was a young girl forced into the role of King by those around her... He puts away his emotions behind a mask as impassive as Arturia herself can muster, if not more so.

"And you," Kiritsugu says as his gaze finally drops to the youth before him. He tilts his head to the side slightly and a very faint, bitter, almost-not-even-there smile touches his lips as he asks sardonically. "And are you going to tell me your name is Merlin?"

Opinion of medieval times and what responsibilitis it foisted onto children: -50 points.

Without even waiting for an answer, he turns his attention back on Arturia, and calls out, "I would be most interested in hearing that explanation, as well as how you know me. Or rather, how you know someone like me." He has figured that much out already, yes. He has never seen these people before and they do not seem to know him by reputation alone, as some might. They recognized him on-sight. He still does not know how Fragach, her strangled companion, Maya, and Arturia's Master are involved in all this, but he imagines he is going to find out.

He will get a call to Maiya when he can to let her know of the complications.

But first, they should probably get out of the area before the authorities show up. "Is there anywhere more discrete we could talk about this?" he asks of Bedivere - not of Saber herself.

Sir Bedivere (482) has posed:
For his part, the knight simply ignores Raine and his disparaging commentary. It's no more than distracting noise; Bedivere's attention is fixed wholly on this assassin, whom he must surely perceive as a potential threat to Arturia. He doesn't so much as move, still positioned in front of her, with an unmistakably protective air about him.

Overprotective, perhaps. Isn't it the job of a Servant to protect the Master? Their relationship never worked that way, though... he had always been the king's protector, since the day he had sworn his life in service to her.

Those violet eyes remain fixed on Kiritsugu, though they flick momentarily sidelong to regard Shirou's arrival. The boy also has some kind of connection to this man? Well, well. All sorts of interesting coincidences. Even though Bedivere himself has put up his sword, he still looks tense and all too ready to draw the blade again, if he feels he must.

Nor did he miss that slight, shocked reaction from Kiritsugu, subtle as it was; it had always been Bedivere's role to observe, and observe he does. This man knows her, as well, and that seems all the more cause for him to remain on his guard.

"He is not," Bedivere snaps coldly, in response to Kiritsugu's question about Shirou.

For a long, long moment Bedivere considers the question posited to him; he seems to be struggling with an internal decision.

"Yes. Are you familiar with the Union?" he asks, canting his head slightly to one side and regarding Kiritsugu with open suspicion.

Emiya Shirou (560) has posed:
    Shirou openh sis mouth, about to say something. Is someone going to please do something about poor Raine over there?

    His gaping attention turns over their way. "Frag...a...?" No use trying to pronounce that. Worry is getting increasing. "Th-that's enough! That's more than enough!" Geeze, girls are scary. That one is especially scary.

    Scary enough that he's distracted from Kiritsugu for a moment. And the churning in his gut. That face. That smile. He's seen it before. It isn't a happy memory, so it doesn't fill him with glee. But it's a familiar one, enough that it helps him stay calm.

    Probably the last thing he should be right now.

    "..." Regardless, Kiritsugu is asking if he is Merlin. The gaping expression's replaced with a sour, disbelieving one as Shirou clamps his mouth shut and ponders instead of speaking. ... For about ten seconds, anyways.

    While Maya cooks up a lovely dish of roast magus, well done, Shirou finally works up the nerve to speak. "... sorry, there's no way you're the Kiritsugu who raised me... mistaking someone like me for any great magus." There's a bitter warmth to Shirou's tone, and he cracks a faint smile. Well, he's more disappointed over this development than anything else. But hey, his spirits aren't that soggy right now. And his tone's still familiar and friendly, though a taaaad less so now.

    "... This is too awkward... I'm Shirou."

    The redheaded youth exhales once, takes in another breath, and...

    "Emiya Shirou."

Raine Arland (604) has posed:
     "Boo. How boring." The spirit let go of Raine's neck finally, letting the young man gasp in much needed air. She thought he looked so much better when his skin was blue. Shame. "Alas."

     Raine rubbed his neck, glaring at his partner/familiar/weapon for a second, and then turned his attention back to the discussion at hand. Once he recovered enough to speak, he stepped forward. "Emiya Kiritsugu...Emiya Shirou..." he rubbed his chin with a hand. "...I'd assume you two are related, but..." He jerked a thumb towards Kiritsugu. "He has no idea who you are."

     Fragarach spoke up at this point, sighing to herself. "This must be the multiverse theory at work." She deduced calmly, eyes narrowing in the process. "The little girl, and the boy who doesn't know his limits know an Emiya Kiritsugu from another world. But this one..." She crossed her legs, adjusting her seating position in the air. "...Appears to be from the same world, but another time."

     A tilt of the head followed. "...Am I wrong now?"

     The mention of the Union went selectively ignored by the two. Talking about the Confederacy here would probably be a bad idea. They were all Unionites, weren't they?

Saber (346) has posed:
     So a standoff between stoic masks it was to be, then. Arturia remained as in the dark as always when it came to understanding Kiritsugu's inner workings. All she knew was that wish to end all wars and suffering...but was he currently at a point before he had made that wish and formed an alliance with the Einzbern family?

     That mask almost broke at the assassin's sardonic question for Shirou. One day, she really should let him know about his role in the Fifth War, and the fact that she would have been summoned as his Servant, had her reality not Unified immediately following the end of the Fourth. Now was not a good time, however.

     And she was not surprised in the slightest when she was ignored. Just like old times.

     Her stoic mask was not so much an impassive one now as a subtle glare at Kiritsugu, dismissing Excalibur and folding her arms. In theory she had forgiven him, but in practise, with him right before her again, she was finding it difficult. Particularly as this version of him hailed from before the War.

     At least Maya took care of the problem of the body, so there was that concern addressed, at least.

     "That would be correct," she informed Fragarach in a calm manner. "The multiverse has integrated our shared reality at multiple points...this would not be the first time."

Maya has posed:
Maya waits a moment longer after she's certain the corpse is ash and sh's dialed up the heat pretty well too as she finally baishes the flame the blue glow fades from her and the card, which she then pocket. she shakes her head a little bit.

"The saddest thing is I seen ones like him do far worse things."

She seems sad now her fury has abated at this point before she sees just what's going down with both Emiya's. The older one ... makes her think of a certain archer.

She now shakes her head and starts looking about.

"So we got his resarch to burn too don't we I'll focus on that and make my self useful that way."

Ya side stepping out she'd make things more complicated.

Emiya Kiritsugu (603) has posed:
"I am aware," the Magus-Killer answers Bedivere. "And of their opposition." He ponders momentarily how much to reveal and how much to keep in reserve. But if this man who has yet to introduce himself, and the girl-King he protects, are at all chivalrous... Well, he can not assume that. The stories were wrong about Arthur after all. But the Master seems to at least be the defend-the-lady's-honor sort. He eventually says, "I have been here for a few months so far." What he then goes on to NOT say is that he had considered approaching the Union, but he determined that he would run into its representatives sooner or later, and it was better to prepare himself until that happened rather than to force the encounter prematurely. The Union is a very powerful faction in the Multiverse. He can no more avoid them than avoid the Confederacy. How ironic he wound up running into both at the same time. Not the knows that yet, of course.

At Shirou's admission of his identity, Kiritsugu looks down at the red-haired boy with zero expression whatsoever for several long seconds, his burning cigarette hanging out of the corner of his mouth. Finally he takes in a pull of the lungs-ruining thing, and lets it out in an exasperated sigh as he removes the cigarette from his mouth and drops it on the dirt. With a slightly tired and marginally more relaxed tone to his voice, he says, "I suppose this is the part where I am 'invited' under no duress to come talk things over in Union territory." He raises his right hand, and turns it so the back is visible. And all three red Command Spells in the shape of a cross - or a sword. "Certainly," he agrees. "Give me a chance to place a call and I will hear what you have to say. It sounds like we all have stories to tell." When he looks upon Shirou again, there's a not-so-bitter smile tugging at the corner of his mouth this time. He does not know what connection he has to this youth... But he is both perturbed and gladdened by his presence, for reasons even he can not explain. It is almost like looking at someone he knew a long time ago. Or maybe their son.

"Some of the greatest maguses are some of the worst human beings. I wouldn't recommend aspiring to be like them." he advises Shirou. Kiritsugu is not one to talk. He does not need to be a great magus to do terrible things. But he does them to fix the world, not to serve himself. It might not make him a better person, but at least it does not make him Arume Matsuno, or one of the others he was researching before all THIS happened. Kayneth El-Melloi Archibald, Tokiomi Tohsaka... Or some others he has faced in the past. No, being powerful does not equate to being worthy of respect. And the humility that Shirou demonstrates is more endearing than any degree of power would be.

He addresses Raine and his magical familiar, and says, "That is the conclusion I reached as well. 'Multiverse Theory' appears to be a proven theory in this case. If you are new to the concept as well, I suspect you may learn something from coming along." He still needs to come back here and talk to the one who hired him when this is all done. The one who hired him, the local mage who was smart enough to seek help and keep his head down rather than trying to stop all this himself, has some information for him. "His workshop is likely in a pocket dimension. It may take some work to enter it. Keeping a watch on this field until a way to collapse it can be discovered would be wise. I would not recommend going inside."

Raine Arland (604) has posed:
     Raine just raised a hand and waved it in a dismissive manner. "Ahahaha, I don't think that's a good idea." He said on the matter of joining the group for a rousing discussion of various details in Union territory. He laughed and sounded amused about it, but he did mean it. At least this time.

     Fragarach changed to a bored looking laying position, as if she were laying front-first on a couch. "Indeed. I suspect all of you are from the aforementioned Union." She said this while examining her nails casually, and continued to do so while speaking. "However, the two of us come from the Confederacy. Therefore, I believe it would be in terrible taste for us to waltz into Union territory now."

     Raine shrugged, a wry smile on his face all the while. "You heard the talking swor--GUAH!" Fragarach's tail wrapped around his neck again. "--Girl! Girl! I meant girl!" And then it retracted. "Sheesh..." He grumbled, rubbing his neck. "But yes. You heard her. We're not as dumb as we look now."


     "....Wait no, that came out wrong."

     And now he was thinking about how to better say that.

Sir Bedivere (482) has posed:
Sir Bedivere has not moved so much as an inch out from in front of Saber, and he seems to have no intention of doing so at all. The tension in his shoulders suggests he still doesn't trust this Emiya Kiritsugu not to have some kind of ulterior motive, and he will suffer no threats to his king. He takes all his duties as a knight seriously, but the protection of the king -- that one will be the death of him, someday.

He's practically radiating animosity. His posture is not one of invitation or trust, acting as a literal shield between the stranger and the king.

Ah, so this stranger is no stranger at all to the multiverse. That makes things considerably easier, although it still says nothing about his loyalties or motivations. Those two things would make the situation that much easier to navigate, but it seems the knight will have to forego those, for the time being. This magus-killer doesn't seem the sort to part with such things easily...

Bedivere cants his head slightly to one side. Place a call? The phrase isn't familiar, to go by his blank expression. His clothing (albeit slightly ruined) is definitely modern, but it looks like his mannerisms aren't; even his speech carries a little bit of an archaic touch to it. Modern devices are still well beyond his understanding; that he can use his radio without too much complication is probably a mark in his favour. Those sorts of things might as well be magic, given the time and place he hails from...

"If you should prefer not to discuss matters, then that is no concern of mine." Bedivere cants his head again, a slight motion almost indicative of a shrug--

And then his mind backpedals for amoment, to a detail he had very nearly overlooked. Those marks on Kiritsugu's hand. They're almost the same as the mark on the back of his own left hand.

Bedivere stares, violet eyes wide for a fleeting instant, before he resumes control of his own stoic mask... but Saber would sense that he's just a bit shaken. Another Master, here? Where is the Servant? And what manner of Servant does he control, with a mark like that?

If anything, he seems even more on the defensive, now, and certainly doesn't move from his position in front of Saber.

He'll let the king speak of multiverses and other worlds, though. After all, she's been in it for some five years, now, whereas he has only had a few short months to acclimate himself. Besides which, Servants are summoned with sufficient knowledge of the era they're summoned to... which means she's a lot more suited to the modern world than he is. Sometimes he wonders if he'll ever 'catch up,' as it were.

"There are likely traps." Bedivere glances aside at mention of the workshop, narrowing his eyes. Something dark flickers through those violet eyes, something almost angry. "If this magus was such a dishonourable and despicable creature as to resort to what was done to these villagers... I would not doubt it. It will be seen to."

Hopefully with /lots of fire/.

Maya has posed:
Maya Says "Most of the magus I known? I can't argue with that. I have ... seen too much in that regard."

She says as she's going to keep looking about and honesly she's going to summon the Ouroubours nad burn the lair down to the bedrock honestly if she needs to. She listens as the neogations go opnwards and she looks at them for a moment and nods. Then she recall the use of pocket dimenions and such.

"Corgan's never here when you need him."

The Holy Guard were trained to be able to breach such things, or sniff them out.

"It's likely a channel house full of traps but it does need to be cleaned out even if it's just open the door and toss in explosives."

Maya could ge the fire, she's got connections.

Emiya Shirou (560) has posed:
    Shirou makes a face. A very natural one, more open than he's shown... well, no, not more open than he's shown everyone else. But certainly a little looser than he's shown others. He snorts a bit. "I'm sure he wasn't too bad. ...Not like this." Shirou looks around at the town. There's corpses everywhere that will probably need to be burned... his eyes turn ba bit distant, and his teeth griiiiind together... audibly.

    There's no way Merlin could possibly be this bad. Saber would've flipped the Round Table.

    Still, the redhead nods. He's lowered his guard considerably - Kiritsugu's demeanor is just that familiar to him.

    He just also hasn't processed any of the other details yet. The town's been that traumatic, so having his inspirational figure of sorts around - alternate or not - is a really nice bit of comfort.

    "The path of a magus is caked in blood, huh..." He mutters. It's a thing Kiritsugu had told him... something like that, anyways.

    Still, he turns to regard Raine and Fragarach's predicament. "Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful for the help. Probably so is Maya. But if that's the case, is there much to talk about?"

Saber (346) has posed:
     Though Saber could be generally aloof at times, she managed not to convey a sense of mistrust, even to those who would be enemies. Yet for this magus, there seemed to be a current of it. Bedivere would certainly pick up on it, though Shirou might, as well. She wasn't managing to hide it very well, at least, not for the usually unflappable knight-king.

     She remained silent on the matter of magi, and she was hardly one to disagree, her own personal mistrust of the magus killer aside. It was one reason she had been reluctant to encourage Bedivere's training as a magus...Merlin had been one of the actual well-intentioned ones.

     Her marshal would certainly note how she froze, her eyes trained hard on the command seal on Kiritsugu's right hand. There was little she could convey to him at the moment -- not having told him in advance -- but her glance at the silver-haired knight told him just enough. /I will tell you of everything once we have returned to Dun Realtai./

     Her eyes flicked back at the elder magus. /But not in his presence./ Her caution, however, was likely unnecessary. The command seal was *exactly* the same...no doubt he already knew that the Einzberns had intended to summon her. Now, he had merely gotten his disappointment out of the way before the fact. That is, if the Holy Grail War had not been irreversibly interrupted by Unification as it always seemed to be. /This has become a most complicated matter,/ she implied to her lieutenant.

     The King of Knights did not bat an eye at Fragarach's admission the two were Confederates. There seemed to be quite a number of them showing up on their literal doorstep as of late. Even still, she was not about to encourage any more than necessary showing up.

     For the moment, there was the issue of the hidden workshop. And a very ugly thought occurred to her. "There may also be hostages in there, as unlikely as the possibility is. But it bears looking into."

Maya has posed:
Maya says "If there's other magus whose madness needs to be ended? I'm in. There was one once like him, he sought to cheat his death, he did. Unleahing a terrible power upon my world causing the dead of two contient to rise every night for decades afterwards. It's a story that plays it out self often."

She looks to the feds and shrugs.

"Whatever your aims you helped end this slaughter, for that I thank you. I also know there are Confederate commanders who have killed subornates for going after children like that magus did."

She doe not state some ended up with fates worse than death. Maya nods to Saber in agreement.

"We should put in for a containment team and yes if there's still anyone alive in tht place we need to pull them out, Lady Saber."

Raine Arland (604) has posed:
     Raine shrugged airily at Shirou's question and grinned. "Now we're asking the right questions!" He snapped his fingers and then made fingerguns towards him. "Is there anything to talk about at all? I don't think so!" And then he turned around. "That said, you guys have fun with your witch burning, magus murdering, corpse immolating party. I think I'll see myself out the door."

     What door? Either way, Raine had begun walking off at that. He'd seen enough for the one day anyhow.

     Fragarach remained where she lay in the air, eyes following Raine as he wandered off, totally dumping his share of the work onto the rest of them. "....Hmn." Changing position again, she adopted a normal floating posture, crossing her arms. "I believe I will see myself off as well." Fragarach smiled after. "But I imagine we will meet again sometime."

     Her gaze settled onto Shirou at that. "And you...I am interested in seeing how far along you can go." Bringing a sleeve up to cover what was probably an entertained smirk, she went on. "Try not to die before then, hm?" And with that, the spirit turned away, the air about her form shimmering until she became entirely invisible again. An illusion spell, or perhaps a boundary. Whatever it was, she had vanished.

     "Take care, heroes and knights, mhmhm~"

     And thus, the two of them excused themselves.

Emiya Kiritsugu (603) has posed:
Hostages are not Kiritsugu's problem. His mission is not to save a hostage, or even a dozen hostages. He eliminated this magus because doing so would get him information that would lead to better understanding the situation he finds himself in... And that, in turn, would get him a better grasp of how to proceed with the Holy Grail War. He has already advised against going inside the pocket dimension. If these others want to... That isn't his responsibility. At least Arthur's Master was able to determine the same thing he was and advise Maya. Traps were practically a given. The admission of Confederate allegiance from Raine and Fragarach DOES, however, have Kiritsugu's vacant-eyed gaze turning on the two. Possible enemies. He should find out more about them. He is not in a position to debate the goodness and badness of mages. One of the magi he respected more than any other taught him through her own experiences how to be an efficient killer.

He at least nods towards Shirou and says, "That's right." He isn't sure what else to say to him though. Not until he knows more of what their connection is. Or the connection Shirou has to another Kiritsugu at least. The more answers he gets, the more questions he has.

As if to prove that point, Maya calls Arthur 'Lady Saber'. It probably was obvious what her Class was, but that confirmation helps complete the mental picture for Kiritsugu. Another piece to the puzzle. A Servant who already knows him. A powerful knight like King Arthur. The Saber class. A boy who also already knows him... Individuals from the future. Or A future at least.

Yes, this is all coming together. He waits as Raine and Fragarach excuse themselves, and makes sure they are out of earshot. Or as sure as he can be when one of them can apparentl dematerialize like a Servant. Then... "Saber," he starts calmly, addressing Arturia. "Either a version of me already summoned you, or that other Kiritsugu faced you in combat with another Servant. Is that correct?" The sound of sirens - police, ambulance, and fire truck - can all be heard in the distance, growing louder and louder. It's a small town, so they'll likely be here sooner rather than later. Especially with the pall of fear and death abating gradually.

"I'll approach a Union base sometime soon. I look forward to hearing the answer." he says as he turns to start walking away. Apparently confident that no one is going to shoot him in the back. He actually has no such confidence given the hostility he could practically feel emanating from at least a couple people here. But Shirou is right there. And at least he seems to have some sort of feeling other than suspicious and animosity towards him.

He looks forward to finding out the answer to that too.

Sir Bedivere (482) has posed:
Half a glance is cast back to the village and its devastated streets, the slaughtered populace, and the horror that surrounds them. Bedivere screws his eyes shut and shakes his head, and when he straightens, he flicks a brief glance to Arturia. /Better to let another Union team handle the remainder of this./ No doubt a team could be requested to sanitise the area, and safely dismantle the workshop.

His eyes return to Kiritsugu, watching the man warily. No, he can't bring himself to trust this man, not quite yet. He has the sense that they're similar, at least in some ways. Kiritsugu is just as slow to extend his trust, and he's thought of things that easily mark him as a man with a tactical mind. That means he's a man who isn't going to tip his hand, or reveal his motives, very easily... and that, in turn, means Bedivere can't bring himself to trust.

Not that Bedivere is too quick to trust in any other situation, of course. It's a holdover from Camelot, and that caution and wariness have served him well in the multiverse.

Kiritsugu quickly manages to piece together the trifecta of identity, Servant class, and red-headed magus -- but that still leaves the identity of who the Master is. For all that he wears modern clothing, there are just too many details that mark Bedivere as an anachronism in the modern era. Who, then, is he...? And why does he bear command seals? Questions, no doubt, that Kiritsugu is eager to answer for himself...

He sure seems uninterested in giving his name, anyway. As Kiritsugu didn't /technically/ introduce himself, Bedivere isn't technically bound by honour to give his own name. He'll stick to that for as long as he can, too.

For now, though, he'll let Arturia answer that question... but he still hasn't moved from his clear position of defense. As the magus-killer turns to walk away, he frowns, as though puzzled.

Only once Kiritsugu's gone out of earshot does he half-turn, glancing back at Arturia. He seems worried and on edge. There are no implications, in that unspoken language of theirs; just simple confusion.

What a strange night.

"I suppose it best we call in a team to secure the remainder of this facility, then." He sighs, reaching up and rubbing at his face with both hands. His shoulders slump, slightly, once he no longer feels the urge to bristle; wearily trying to rub some life back into his face.

He can still see the empty eyes of the village folk he had cut down.

"Lord God preserve me," he murmurs quietly.