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With Our Dying Breath [Worm/Fate]

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Tamzar, Dec 21, 2019.

  1. Threadmarks: Chapter 1

    Tamzar Not too sore, are you?

    Jan 11, 2016
    Likes Received:
    AN: A little side-project that I've done snippets for over the last year. Finally decided I should just start tidying them up and post them in a vaguely coherent story. A word of warning for serious Fate fans, this isn't going to entirely line up with every single Word of God ever made, and I don't intend on throwing around terms like Od and Prana like they belong in America. A few characterisations and head-canons might be different, but overall the rest should be familiar.

    I would like for any minor gripes with the Fate mechanics to be swept under the rug of "AU" or "Author Fiat" because there will undoubtedly be arguments about it. I have a few more chapters to post once I tidy them up, but once those are posted this won't update fast by any means - so there's some advance warning on that.


    My muscles burned. I flex an arm experimentally and wince in pain as my aching body protests the rash movement. The locker incident had taken its toll. It was better than the sheer agony that I felt upon waking up in the hospital, but I wasn’t keen to restart my morning jogging sessions anytime soon.

    “Nobody even wants her here. I’m surprised she even came back-” There goes Emma again, blithely chatting away to Julia – utterly uncaring of the fact that I was in hearing range. No, that was wrong. She had chosen me as the subject matter precisely because I could hear her, I don’t think that I was so prevalent in her thoughts that I would warrant a place in their regular conversations – but if it was just a continuation of their regular hazing, then it was rather tame by their standards. “It would be better for everyone if she just crawled off into some dark corner and died.”

    Mr Gladly drones on in the background, an unimportant lecture to a class that only pretends to be interested. Any dedicated students would either be in the very top set of classes or have transferred to another school once it became apparent just how much of a hellhole Winslow was. This was where the no-hopers of the world ended up. A good half of the class belonged to a gang, and most of the others united into vast social cliques that functioned as a gang of their own when it came to school dynamics. And then there was me. Just me.

    “Worthless, ugly freak. Probably spreading her legs to-“ I flip the page of my notebook over, obediently copying down the figure on the whiteboard. “-at that stupid expression on her face. I don’t think she even knows how to smile, not that anyone wants to see that.”

    Emma turns and smiles at me spitefully. “She isn’t always like that. I remember when her mother died, she cried herself to sleep for a week straight!” The girls on her table let out ‘oohs’ of appreciation, as if she had just destroyed me in a debate and dropped the mic on her way out.

    Control. I eye her placidly, and the triumphant grin slips from her face. “Freak.” She spits, before turning back around to the front of the class.

    I maintain my steady gaze. She’s… so small. In the end. Irrelevant. A case of bullying in a run-down high school. What happened to me here didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. It was frustrating, in its own way.

    Five years. Four months. Twelve days. Two hours. I glance at my watch. And twenty-two minutes exactly.

    Until we all died.

    Not that anyone knew about that except me. They couldn’t do anything about it if they did – I had looked at studies after being discharged from hospitals. The steady decline of civilisation showed no signs of stopping. If anything, it was accelerating – blowing past the most pessimistic guesses of the worlds academic minds thanks to the efforts of the Endbringers. If anyone could do anything, then they would already be doing it.

    Five years.

    That was how long humanity had left if nothing was done. And I’m just sitting here, listening to Emma. Humanity is dying, and she’s investing this much effort into getting a rise out of me. A flash of annoyance that didn’t belong to me stirs at the back of my mind, and I repress my power until I feel the watcher’s attention drift away. Not here.

    I glance around. Come to think of it, why was I even here? I had come back for the first day of school out of pure habit, but what was I attending school for when I had the ability and power to try and save the world? If I simply stayed here and studied, what was I going to learn that would actually help change anything? I have power, I need to use it. I can make a difference.

    More importantly than any of that, I knew the price of failure.

    Five years. The world ends in five years. That’s what my power told me. Gone. Pruned.

    I wanted to cry.

    And what would it take for everyone and everything that I knew not be snipped away like unwanted weeds? A world, a collection of worlds even, that was not only resilient to current and future threats but actively thriving. The downward spiral of Earth-Bet and it’s dimensional neighbours not only had to be stopped, but actively reversed. To thrive. Flourishing with potential and the will to survive.

    An almost impossible task. There’s a stirring at the back of my mind at the thought, as if a dozen people had heard the thought and taken it as a personal challenge. Which was almost exactly what had happened, in fairness. Not now. I aim the thought at the back of my mind. I don’t need you now.

    A few listen and move away. One doesn’t. I only get a moment of warning to brace myself mentally before a foreign voice thunders into my thoughts. “Beat them up girlie! Or let me out, I’ll do it for you!” I drew a blank on the name of the speaker. I couldn’t curl up and concentrate to truly get all the details of the spirit that I needed to identify them. From the feeling that I did get… this was a Viking of some description. Norse, or some Germanic barbarian variant. I didn’t know enough famous figures to guess at his name without help. I mentally shush the man, warily maintaining my grip on the mental window between us – in case he tried to shove his way through.

    Let me handle this.” I direct the thought at him, with a tad more venom than necessary.

    Bah. It’s your fight if you want it lass.” He settles down, swigging back his drink which almost entirely misses his mouth. A fact which only bolsters his spirits even higher. “She would hardly be worth the effort anyway. I’ve got better things to do, and so do you.” I turn my attention away as the pressure recedes.

    He wasn’t wrong though. I needed to get out of school and improve my control over my power. As it is, I’m one lapse of control away from the birdcage – and I can’t save humanity from there. Simply ditching class wasn’t enough, I would get dragged back eventually when the school noticed my absence. I had to earn my time off.

    I need to leave.

    A spitball impacts my forehead as I muse. A murderous scowl crosses my face as Emma quickly turns back around in her seat to face forward, the very picture of innocence. I feel the presence of another voice tuning in. “Cave her skull in! You let one person disrespect you, and all of the rest will feel they can do the same. Set an example!

    And I need my powers to let me deal with my problems in my way. I shove back harder at the mental door as a spirit presses against them again. “She’s mine.” I hiss the thought. I was getting angry, and I was not entirely sure how much of the anger was genuinely mine. I nod to myself distractedly, returning my papers to my bag and slipping my pens back into my pencil case. I pull my coat off the back of my seat and stand, pulling my school-bag up with me in the same motion. Get out. Stay out.

    “Taylor? Are you going somewhere?” Mr Gladly’s voice, probably slightly annoyed at the interruption to his lecture.

    Calm. I’m calm. Stay calm. I want to do this. This wasn’t a rash, heat-of-the-moment decision, this was the product of icy, cold logic. Get out of school. Get stronger. Save the world. “The principal’s office, Sir.” I inform him politely, walking up between a row of desks as a bunch of drunks and mass-murderers roar out advice on the best way to kill everyone in this room.

    “Might I ask why?” He replies, slightly mollified by my tone of respect – but seemingly unwilling to pass on the opportunity to appear like he cared about my existence for once.

    Calm. I need to calm myself down. Only then, act. "No."

    Another few steps forward are all it takes to carry me to Emma’s chair, she juts her leg out in front of me in an attempted trip – but I’ve already come to a stop behind her. She’s looking forward innocently, so she doesn’t realise anything is off until my hand seizes the bulk of her red hair at the back of her skull tightly before I slam her face forward into her desk as hard as I can manage.

    A series of gasps and whistles reverberate around the room, but nobody moves to stop me fast enough to stop me from pulling the dazed girl’s head back up into the air and slamming it back down a second and third time. I hear something break as she struggles in my grip, trying to shield her face and screaming like a banshee.

    A hand shoves me away, one of Emma’s friends. I move with the motion and resume my walk to the classroom exit, leaving the bloodied face of my one-time friend to be tended to by her cronies. Behind me, the class explodes into a mix of whooping cheers and screams depending on whether or not they were in Emma’s social circle or not.

    Everyone loves to watch a fight in action, no matter how one-sided it might have been. Especially the watchers in my head. I can almost sense the metaphorical popcorn being passed around by the battle-junkies peering through my eyes from the other side. They would be disappointed this time. The show’s over for now.

    A smile crosses my face as I exit the room. It wasn’t a particularly smart move to gain friends, but if it got me a few weeks off of school, then it would have served it’s intended purpose. The fact that it was the most satisfying thing that I had done all year was a nice bonus as well. Well, the satisfaction wasn’t entirely mine – I could sense a mixed flood of approval and disapproval from the peanut gallery. Some of the more noble spirits must have been passing through – but as long as nobody was so annoyed with my actions that they would be trying to burst through into this world without my permission, then I would take that as a win.

    I quicken my pace to the principal’s office. It would be best to hurry up and get suspended quickly – the last thing I wanted was to still be in school when the lesson bell rang. Sophia probably wouldn’t take her friend’s beating well, and she was certainly my superior when it came to a fair fight. I didn’t want to know what would happen if she started to beat me in a fight, it takes enough focus to hold back the tide against biting words trips in the corridor – even if they are a bit sated for now. Best to be already on the bus home by the time somebody gets around to telling her.

    Blackwell’s reaction was predictably apoplectic. Three weeks out of school, an unusually harsh punishment for the crime. One gang member stabbing another could easily earn the same amount of time off, though perhaps it was precisely because I wasn’t affiliated with a gang that she felt comfortable with the longer suspension.

    Dad’s reaction was also somewhat predictable, but after a few minutes of shouting, he reverted to his usual self and dully extracted a promise not to do it again before announcing that he had to go back to work for an emergency. I was grounded for the next few days, but that didn’t pose an issue for me – there were plenty of times when he wouldn’t be around to enforce it, and I didn’t necessarily need to go anywhere to practice anyway.

    Back in the privacy of my room, my focus turned entirely inwards. Nobody was paying attention to me right now. Nobody was watching that was likely to try and bust through my mental doorway without asking, that let me relax a little bit. I could sense my power constantly, the link that I had to that other place. Ever since the locker, I had… stowaways in my head. Perhaps ‘stowaways’ wasn’t the right term. A door. A gateway to another place. The Throne of Heroes, as my first lucid summon had informed me. Legends of the past and future. Fact and fantasy. Servants.

    And now I needed to summon one. Deliberately this time.

    Lying back in my bed, I raise a hand to the ceiling. With a brief focus of effort, red lines streak across the exposed skin – that was the second thing that the locker had changed. I had some form of energy flowing through my body now, and with a bit of focus, I could manipulate it to… give myself a temporary tattoo. Command Seals. They had steadily filled into a brighter shade of red at some stage since the hospital, but even if they did refill – they were my only trump cards when it came to dealing with the rowdier spirits if my only informant was to be believed.

    Time to get moving. Practice getting my power under control. Be a real hero. Or at least send a real hero out in my place.

    I idly sift through those that I innately sensed would be too difficult to handle in my current state. Age, strength and fantasy seemed to be the three main factors that limited me here, the hazy image of the black knight that had rescued me from the locker flickers through my mind – I was hasty then, not fully understanding what I was doing. I had overreached my limits, and my body was still paying the price for it now.

    Another of the servants had enlightened me during my stay in the hospital that the door could be pushed from the other side as well. If there was something that roused the spirit enough, such as her case of seeing me hospitalised and apparently on the brink of death from magical exhaustion of all things, then they could burst through on their own accord. Almost everything that I knew about my power, I knew from her.

    Including the fact that I could slam the door shut in their faces if they stepped out of line. Forcibly un-summoning the woman after she had finished with me was unpleasant, but not as unpleasant as the idea of the PRT coming around to ask me why Florence Nightingale was walking around amputating patients in Brockton General.

    Back to the topic at hand. I wanted to summon someone to go out and do… something. Anything, really. I needed to focus on more recent people, who undeniably existed and certainly didn’t do any fantastical dragon-slaying with magic swords that shoot rainbow beams or something equally silly. That should keep the drain on my body to manageable levels, at least until I get better at it.

    The list narrows in my mind. I didn’t want someone likely to get pushy or violent. Or someone who was spoiling for a fight. Just a practice run. No heroics, just a small little test to find my limits and push at the edge of them. Walk around the block without collapsing. Go shopping.

    My muscles twinge at the mere thought. Still sore, even after all of this time.

    Assassin. Archer. Apparently they were usually easier to supply as a class, even if many exceptions to that existed. I flash the tattoo on my hand at the air in front of me. “Come.” I focus, tugging my target through the connection. She wasn’t close to my window, so my probe takes some time to find my target and establish a connection. It takes a moment, but I can feel her sluggish response becoming clearer and clearer as I maintain the summoning.

    And then she is through the door in my mind, flashing into existence in front of me between one split-second and the next.

    After a second of silence, she stands. My first thought is one of bitter jealousy, as the servant continues to move and jiggle long after pulling themselves up from the kneeling position that she started in. Of course, she was prettier than me. Why wouldn’t she be?

    I cut that thought off, mostly to make room for my second thought. Which was pain. The quietened aches of my body return to voice their complaints in full force, liquid fire racing through veins that weren’t there. Constantly. Not in a single blast, a constant stream of energy being channelled through me and then into my new servant.

    “You-“ I begin, teeth gritting slightly. “Your name is Mata Hari. Right?”

    She curtsies at me, flashing skin in the process. A lot of skin. I boggle slightly at her choice of costume. It made sense, in hindsight – but still. That was… definitely a costume. I mentally slap myself for the wandering eyes. Focus. “That’s right, Master. I am-”

    I try to take a step forward and stumble as another flash of searing pain makes itself known to me, a low, miserable sound escaping my throat before I can stifle it.

    “Master?” The woman scoops me up, my bleary eyes focusing on a concerned face. “Are you alright?”

    “Don’t worry about me.” I gasp, making motions for her to drop me. “Put me down. I just need to get used to it for a moment.”

    It’s like a muscle. Strengthening when pushed. Or a raging river, wearing down the banks and slowly widening. I need to push now, to make it easier later. I can’t let myself be coddled. Can’t afford to hold back.

    I can’t afford to take it slowly. I don’t have the time.

    A few minutes later, I’m back on my feet – standing on my own power save for a single-arm thrown over my servant's shoulder. She doesn’t offer any other comment or question, seemingly more than happy to be used as a prop to keep me upright.

    “I summoned you for practice.” I rasp at her before clearing my throat and speaking in a normal voice. “A test run. I need you to stay around. We’re going to go out and walk. Help me get used to the strain.” I retrieve my arm from her shoulder and walk stiffly towards the door. Dad wasn’t back yet, so there was nothing to be concerned about.

    “I see.” A sympathetic edge crosses her face. “I hadn’t realised, but you aren’t used to magic at all – are you?” She’s underestimating me. I can shut the connection off if she tries anything, if nothing else- “Does this help at all?”

    The rush of energy flooding towards her diminishes rapidly as she says the words. Two-thirds of the output, maybe a little bit less.

    “That did help.” I begrudgingly admit, flexing an arm experimentally as it settles down to a mere pulsing ache. “What did you do?” I ask. I felt like I could maintain this if I had to, a simple walk wouldn’t even be more than mildly painful. I could attempt a jog instead.

    She places a hand over her heart and making an earnest expression. “I’m not the best at giving the technical details of things like that, you would probably want a Caster for specifics, but I'll give it my best. A servant’s strength can vary depending on the quality of energy it gets from the master. You could think of it like life force, fuel, mana, or any number of equivalents. The more we get, the more our parameters increase and the better we can employ our skills and Noble Phantasm.” More terminology that Nightingale had dumped on me in those small moments when she had seemed inclined to listen to me at all. As if the summoning and magic wasn’t unbelievable enough. “-simply decreasing the rate at which I consume it will drop my abilities and parameters down to a lower-level, but make it easier on you to handle. I’m sure you could limit it yourself if you gave it some practice.”

    “I see.” I take a moment to experiment with the connection myself – imagining that I was squeezing that flow of power, leaving the valve slightly ajar instead of slamming it shut.

    She smiles kindly at me and my fumbling efforts, a smile that is quickly replaced by a slightly panicked expression as she goes slightly transparent. “Too much! I’m going to disappear!”

    “Sorry.” I reflexively apologise to the woman. I ease off, letting the flow re-establish itself as I turn back to her.

    She already seems to have forgiven the error, sending a bright and sunny smile towards me. “Not to worry. I’m only sorry that I couldn’t dematerialise entirely – that would make it even easier to manage. I’m not sure if it’s something that’s wrong with our connection, the environment or if it’s just the lack of a Holy Grail to handle things.” She gives a helpless, ditzy little giggle that somehow makes me feel a little bit better at the lack of solid information. At least she’s nicer than the regular people I get poking their noses into my life.

    “Dematerialise?” I ask, as yet another unfamiliar term surfaces.

    “Ah, that would be where a servant such as myself switch to our spiritual body entirely instead of a physical one. It renders us invisible to most, lets us ignore physical barriers and greatly reduces our energy consumption – at the cost of being unable to interact with the physical world while in that state.” She shrugs, an apologetic look on her face. “We basically turn into ghosts that need less energy to stick around. I can’t seem to do it here, so I’ll have to stay in this form.”

    “It’s fine.” I sigh. Turning invisible would have been useful. It might have helped us to not attract so much attention as well. Her outfit was... eye-catching. At best. “The whole point of this is to train my ability anyway. There’s no point lightening the load too much. We’ll just go out for a walk together, see how well I can maintain the connection. Experiment somewhere that isn’t my house.”

    I am answered with a wink and a salute. “Understood. Leave it to me!” Mata Hari let’s out a celebratory cheer. “Even if my parameters are even lower than usual, I’ll keep you safe!” She bounces into a pose that was probably ripped straight from a cheerleading routine. And bounces. And bounces. She must have caught a glimpse of my annoyed expression. “Hm? Did I say something wrong?”

    “Nothing.” I turn away, thankful for the limited amount of light in the room. “Let’s go for a walk.”

    The obnoxiously cheery reply follows me down the stairs. “Coming!”

    One step at a time. My first deliberate summon. I wasn’t half-mad and being carried out of school by a dark knight this time. I wasn’t being forcibly ‘fixed’ by the dubious medical expertise of a woman who’s knowledge is decades out of date, even if it did admittedly work out. I was in control. In pain, but in control.

    Five years to change the world. I can do this.

    Brockton Bay. Earth-Bet.

    Here I come.

    Taylor gets a direct line from her brain to the Throne of Heroes, as well as advance notice of the upcoming Timeline pruning by the Human Order.
  2. Prince Charon

    Prince Charon Just zis guy, you know?

    Feb 20, 2014
    Likes Received:
    Well, you've made an interesting start, certainly.
  3. alethiophile

    alethiophile Shadowed Philosopher Administrator

    Apr 26, 2013
    Likes Received:
    Taylor's attitude toward the heroes is interesting to read. Looking forward to more of that dynamic.
  4. Akuma-Heika

    Akuma-Heika The Devil Exists Within

    Nov 7, 2016
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    A fan of Essence of Steel I am guessing.
  5. Tamzar

    Tamzar Not too sore, are you?

    Jan 11, 2016
    Likes Received:
    The writing quality of that fic is really good, but every other chapter makes me want to strangle Taylor. So much power, and yet so... indecisive. Causing so many problems by just being obstinate. A bit of drama for the sake of drama.

    The actual inspiration to write this came from the beautiful mess that is That What Walks and a one-shot that I can't find with a very similar mental link in her head.
  6. Akuma-Heika

    Akuma-Heika The Devil Exists Within

    Nov 7, 2016
    Likes Received:
    Considering she had Khpleri bleed over at canon start, I can understand her trauma (I had family in Vietnam, and PTSD showed up decades later, and it was bad), so it doesn't bug me as much. Taylor at Worm start and Taylor at Worm end are two very different people. The fact she would have realized, "this is (possibly) me" leaves me a little surprised she didn't kill herself too be honest, not with the bleed over that is implied.

    Thanks for the link!
  7. Threadmarks: Chapter 2

    Tamzar Not too sore, are you?

    Jan 11, 2016
    Likes Received:
    The street is cold, chilly and utterly deserted. I shiver slightly, trying not to give my scantily-clad companion another glare of jealousy. Not bothered by temperature either, even when she’s dressed like… that.

    It didn’t matter. I keep up my pace, Mata Hari practically skipping along beside me. She flounces a few steps ahead, then starts walking backwards to face me. “Master?”

    “Hm?” Then I frown. “Call me Taylor out here. I don’t want people getting the wrong idea.”

    She bobs her head in affirmation. “Taylor. I must confess, I’m not too familiar with this world – we servants usually get relevant information directly from the grail, but what I have seems a bit more incomplete than I’m used to. I have enough to blend in, but not enough to fully understand why I am here. I don’t feel any support from a nearby grail either.” She spins on one foot as I catch up to her, walking by my side once again. “So if there isn’t a Holy Grail ready to fight over, why have I been summoned? Why is it even possible for me to be summoned?”

    “Holy Grail. Right.” I rub at my nose. My power had too much weirdness associated with it. “Nightingale mentioned that. As far as I know, no. There isn’t a Holy Grail or anything like it. Our world doesn’t have magic. We have superpowers. My superpower is to be able to interact with and summon people from your, uh, throne. Powers are pretty rare, but we have people that can fly, shoot lasers, see the future – that kind of thing.”

    “Hm.” I don’t miss the change in tone of my companion's voice. Her voice brightens up as she returns to normal. “That’s interesting. I don’t think I’ve heard of anything like that in my previous summons – not that anyone ever really intends to summon me.”

    I continue walking as she pouts to herself. “My power also came with a basic understanding of the Quantum time lock system. Earth-Bet and everything connected to it will be cut off from the Foundation of Humanity if nothing is done.” Sometimes I didn’t even know what I was saying, but the words just poured out regardless – like a speech I had performed a hundred times in advance. “We’re stuck in a negative feedback loop, and dragging down the worlds parallel to us by association. Supervillains. Endbringers. It’s too much to recover from at once.”

    “And you want to stop that?” The spy lowers her voice as a couple passes by in the opposite direction.

    A flash of vertigo overtakes me for a moment. I stop, clutching at my forehead and waiting for it to pass. I wave her off as she approaches. “I’m alright. Just give me a moment.” Breathe in. Breathe out. Control the mana flow again. Not too much. The street stabilises. “Right. Yes, I do. I have to, and I want you to help me.”

    “I would love to!” There’s a happy little flush to the woman’s cheeks. “Although I don’t think I would be of much help, I’ll do the best I can.” She pumps her fist in the air at the exclamation.

    Why is she so happy all the time?

    “It’s fine. I’m not expecting any miracles from you. We’ll just do what we can for as long as I can maintain you. As long as I’m constantly stretching my power, it doesn’t matter how strong the hero I have summoned is.” I needed other heroes for the big work. This wasn’t a permanent partnership. The Endbringers had to die. A whole batch of S-Class threats needed to disappear. Countries to stabilise and rebuild. Supervillainy in general needed to be reduced, but not eliminated – evil was just as necessary as good when it came to preventing stagnation.

    So much to do.

    So little time.

    This will all be over before I’m legally allowed to drink. That’s kind of funny, in a sad way.

    “Other heroes…” Mata Hari sighs. “I’m certain that they’ll answer the call to battle, there’s plenty that would jump at the chance for nothing more than the fun of it.” Her words drag on a tiny bit longer than needed.

    “I sense a ‘but’ coming.” I respond sourly, already knowing I wasn’t going to like her response. I take a seat on a nearby bench. I’m sore. Sore everywhere. A two-minute break. Then I’ll move again.

    “But there’s no Holy Grail.” She moves behind me and presses her hands into my back gently. “And that makes things harder for you.”

    I lean back into the massage, feeling oddly floaty. “That feels nice.” I murmur. “Why would not having a Holy Grail be a problem?”

    “It’s not the Grail itself, not really – although a wish-granting device would be useful for obvious reasons.” She leans forward slightly. Boing. “It’s a joint aim for both parties. A reason to work together. To require teamwork between the master and servant.”

    I close my eyes, taking her words in. “They don’t have any reason to follow me. No need to obey.”

    “That’s right.” She agrees with my assessment placidly. “Like I was saying though, you’ll have volunteers everywhere for any dangerous-looking fights. It would be a nice change of pace for many of them, and they would probably do it for the thrill of it alone.” Her hands move from my back and start threading through my hair. “But there’s no guarantee that they will stick around after the fact, or do things in the way that you want them to. Or revert back to the tendencies they had in life.”

    I let my eyes open again. Fantastic. I could summon Genghis Khan and watch him rampage across America with his armies shortly before I was thrown into the birdcage. “Couldn’t I just cut off the energy supplying them if they posed an issue?”

    “You could do that, and you have your command seals as well for anyone who needs stopping more urgently.” The woman stops fiddling with my hair and takes a seat next to me. I roll my shoulders experimentally. I feel surprisingly good. I guess she had some experience with that in life. Made sense. “But there is more than one way for a servant to sustain themselves.”

    I sit up straighter, suddenly paying far more attention than before. “There is?” If I could support servants from further back in history-

    “There is. They aren’t ideal by any stretch though. Servants can eat souls as fuel, which tends to be lethal for the victim.” I splutter at that. “We can consume regular food as energy as well, although it is terribly inefficient.” She ticks two fingers of her hand off. “And there’s also-“ She looks at me for a moment and pauses before pressing on. “-a few tantric rituals that can transfer mana to a servant from a willing or unwilling partner.”

    “…I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear that last one.” I’m fifteen, and fairly sure that nobody else has any amount of mana worth talking about. Mata Hari nods in sheepish understanding. “And eating souls is-“ Entirely out of the question. The words die in my mouth. Everyone dies in five years. Everyone. “-an absolute last resort. Moral issues aside, killing people regularly just to keep a Servant out here isn’t going to be an option. I can’t do anything from a prison cell.”

    She beams at me encouragingly, as if I was a dog that had just done a particularly impressive trick. “That’s a relief to hear, I don’t really know if I could bring myself to do that – but a few other heroic spirits wouldn’t be bothered at all. They don’t need your permission to go out and fuel themselves, even if you cut off your connection.”

    “I get it.” I stand, making a gesture for us to resume our walk. “I’ll have to work something out before summoning anyone likely to be evil. You said normal food worked too, right? Even if it isn’t as efficient?”

    “At my current level, I would have to eat almost constantly to survive if you were to stop supplying me mana.” She replies, helpfully. “And there isn’t even anything special about me – somebody stronger would easily require more. As I said, it’s terribly inefficient – a temporary solution or supplement at best.”

    There goes that idea. We walk along in silence for a moment. “How much weaker can you get?” At her quizzical look, I elaborate some more. “Your, uh, parameters. If you take in less energy, how much can you drop them and still stay here?”

    She flexes an arm experimentally. “Not much more, because they were already so low to begin with. I have a pretty normal body, so it doesn’t take up much on its own. No divinity, weird curses or magical things to worry about maintaining. Still, even if I dropped to my minimal possible power – I would be even more useless in a fight than I already am. Even if you were to restore my energy, it would take a while for me to get back to normal, if you see what I mean. It wouldn’t be instantaneous.”

    That shot down my plan of summoning a stronger hero and keeping them on life-support until their strength was needed. “Let’s start heading back.” I sigh. “It’s already dark, and I need to be home way before Dad, I would rather play it safe and not stay out.”

    I start moving after her nod of affirmation.

    We don’t even make it a full minute before the servant lightly pushes me behind her and keeps walking, making a silent gesture for me not to say anything.

    My unspoken question is answered only a few seconds later as a man stumbles into our path. “Well now.” A trio of huddled figures shuffles out of the darkness after him, reeking of alcohol and almost certainly under the influence of some drug or another. “What’s a pretty lady like yourself doing out here at this time of night?”

    I slow to a stop as Mata Hari moves forward to meet them, an earnest, clueless expression on her face as she faces the ragged bunch of merchants-in-the-making. It’s an odd disparity. The woman doesn’t fit into these streets. She’s cheerful, bright, colourful. Wearing a teasing outfit with the body to match. Ill-suited to the dull, grim reality that pervaded the back streets of Brockton Bay.

    “Hey! He shaid.” One of the men behind him slurs. “What’s a pretty lady like yourshelf doing at thish time of night?”

    “Oh.” Mata Hari makes an apologetic expression, clutching her hands to her chest as if she was too shy to speak. “I’m so sorry! I didn’t realise you were talking to me! I was just heading back home with my friend, don’t worry about me!” She giggles dizzily at the four of them. "Just a bit of shopping, nothing for you boys to trouble yourselves with."

    One of the men nods dumbly at that. I scowl at the four of them. Every one of them had their eyes glued to her chest, sliding down the rest of her body with matching leers. It may well be… right there. But that’s no reason for them not to look at her face once in a while. The first man to open his mouth gives off a bark of laughter. "Shopping at this time of night? Dressed like that? Call it whatever pretty name you want, but I know a whore when I see one. How about you keep us company for a little while, eh?"

    Another man fishes a scrunched-up plastic bag out of his pocket, waving it in the air like a talisman. "Got some of the good stuff here as well. We know how to throw a party."

    She giggles in an airheaded fashion. "Oh, I couldn’t do that. I would get into so much trouble. You wouldn’t believe how strict my landlord is. He’s a real handful!”

    “I’ll bet.” The man swaggers forward. “But I wasn’t asking, bitch. Let’s have some fun.”

    “What?” She quails backwards. “I don’t want any trouble!” I can’t see her full expression from my angle, but I can see the response from two of the men at the looks being sent their way.

    The man at the back looks a bit discomforted, and turns to his companions in a pleading tone. "Come on guys, leave her alone. Be cool..."

    “Yeah.” Murmurs another, eyes firmly glued to Mata Hari’s bare thighs. “I don’t know about this one man.”

    "Fuck off faggot, afraid to get your dick wet?" He flicks a knife out and twirls it with practised ease, his companion fanning out to his side with an identical motion. "You just gotta learn that no doesn't really mean no, it just means they want to play rough." I say nothing. If my understanding of Servants is correct, then she shouldn’t be in any trouble here.

    The man on his left lets out a gap-toothed grin. "That's right, girlie. A bit of fun and you can be on your way, you don't want any trouble now do you?"

    A hand pulls him backwards, the fourth man finally speaking up. "Come on, we don't need the heat for this - Just let it go."

    She squirms away from a grasping hand, a light slap brushing it away. “Don’t touch me! Help! Please!” The cry for help is the last straw for the two men at the back, the man is blindsided with a sucker punch from behind – the two men dog-pile him as he reels from the blow, wrestling across the street in a drug-fuelled frenzy.

    “Whore! I’ll teach you your place.” The only man not fighting lunges at Mata Hari, who almost absently slips past the wild thrust of the knife. The momentum carries her around, culminating in a twirling kick in mid-air to send the man ungracefully crashing into the wall a few metres away.

    She settles back onto her feet gracefully, indecently short dress once more succumbing to gravity. Only a few metres away, the brief scuffle has already ended between the aggressor and her ‘saviours’. She sends them a warm smile, full of gratitude. "Thank you for helping out." She murmurs. "I'm not quite sure what I would have done if two big, strong men like yourself hadn't come along."

    He takes a dazed step towards her as the words filter through his slightly foggy mind. He straightens his shoulders unconsciously, trying to stand a little taller. "Yes, well. You know, that's just the kind of person I am."

    The other steps forward, brushing his companion aside. “She was talking to me, idiot. You didn’t do shit.”

    I stare blankly as the two dissolve into a blur of flying limbs and badly-aimed punches. “This isn’t quite what I was thinking when I was about to summon a hero for my first few steps of practice. Cleaning up a few druggies, sure. But I was thinking…” I mime a boxing stance for a moment as Mata Hari giggles at me.

    “I could have done that as well, but we’re trying to blend in aren’t we?” She tilts her head to the side. “And it’s way less suspicious for a few people to start fighting each other over me than for one girl to knock out four attackers with knives.”

    “That is true.” I sigh. “But you can’t tell me that people won’t find it strange that people are just ready to jump at their friends for your benefit at the drop of a hat – they aren’t likely to tell anyone, but the point remains.” A master rating was technically correct for me, but I didn’t need the connotations that went with it until people understood my power. Not that I would be advertising myself as the weak link of the team for as long as I could help it.

    She frowns. “What do you mean? This happened all the time when I was alive.”

    I take in the voluptuous woman’s form again, heaving with her every breath. “I’ll bet.” I mumble bitterly. I shake my head as she looks at me curiously. “It’s nothing. Forget it.” I glance up as both of us turn towards the final survivor of the three-way brawl as he starts to approach with a slightly-woozy grin on his face.

    The Assassin giggles vapidly, the action doing all sorts of interesting things to her chest that immediately draws the man’s eyes downwards. "Well, I think my hero needs a reward, don't you think?"

    He nods dumbly, eyes still firmly locked on her assets that look ready to burst out of her clothes at any moment. He takes a few stumbling steps closer to the radiant woman.

    He doesn't see the hairpin being pulled from her hair, and by the time he registers the delicate flash of pain in his neck - he has already collapsed to the floor next to his friends with a silly smile still plastered onto his face.

    She turns to me with a happy grin. “So, what should we do with them?”

    I frown. “If I had a phone, I would leave these guys for the police, but there’s only the landline back home. Let’s just leave them to sleep it off. I’ll be doing plenty more patrols in the future, and they’ll probably show up again when I’m a little better prepared.” I shake my head. These people didn’t matter. I could clean up a thousand of them, and nothing would change. They weren’t even organised in a proper gang, just leeching off of the merchants by the look of it. All they were useful for was to stretch my abilities and to find out what my servants could do. “Let’s go home already.”

    Twenty minutes later, I'm safely back in my room. I cough wetly into my pillow, eliciting a concerned look from my servant. "Master? You've done enough for tonight. You should rest."

    “It isn’t enough.” I shake my head. “I need to keep pushing myself. If I put it off, I’ll have to handle it tomorrow instead. I can keep this going for another hour or so.”

    An unhappy frown settles on the older woman's visage as she presses a glass of water into my hand. "Pushing yourself too fast will only slow you down when you entirely exhaust yourself. You've been doing too much - your body isn't ready to constantly handle even a weak servant like me. You need to rest."

    "I'm fine." I grouch at the servant, draining the glass in a single motion. "I'm going to try and summon another servant now."

    She shakes her head. "Master, this simply isn't safe - at least wait until morning."

    “Go back to the Throne. You’ve been helpful, more so than most of the people watching in my head.” Speaking of them, they had been oddly quiet ever since I had summoned the Assassin. Was it just that my activities hadn’t interested them? Or just some kind of sense that I couldn’t support another servant out at the same time? “I’ll summon you again when I’m a little better at support.” I cut off her supply of mana with a thought.

    A few seconds later, golden particles begin outlining the servant's form, and the woman in question looks... pleased? The room spins for a moment before righting itself. I glance down at the innocuous looking glass in my shaking hand as a wave of drowsiness flutters my eyes. She bites her lip as a light frown mars her expression. “For what it’s worth, I’m sorry about the deception. Please take care of yourself.” Her limbs dissolve into dust as I watch.

    Drugged? I scowl at the disappearing woman with a slightly betrayed look, somehow unable to hate her for the deception. “I told yoush.” I slur. “I dun’ need a resht.” She has the decency to look slightly guilty before she disappears entirely in a storm of golden sand.

    The room twirls again, and I fall backwards onto the bed. Without the constant flow of mana through my body, suddenly the sense of pain from my muscles was far more acute. When faced with the state of my body, I was forced to concede that Mata Hari may have had a point. If nothing else, it’s nice to have someone actually care again.

    …but that didn’t mean that I forgave her for tricking me. My eyes flutter short as I crawl up against my pillow. Tired…

    I wake up feeling surprisingly refreshed. Not entirely healed from the efforts of the day before, but enough to feel more than up to the task of doing it again.

    Not Mata Hari. I was still annoyed at her, no matter how nice she was. Someone recent. Non-mythical. Likely to want to help me patrol the streets of Brockton Bay.

    After a moment of blank thought, I settle on the easiest solution. I send a mental probe out to the window in my mind, a simple query to anyone who was listening. “Who wants to help beat up some nazis?”

    I get dozens of weak responses indicating interest within moments, while a few others return stronger and with far more passion. Probably the difference between those interested in beating up people in general and people who hate nazis personally. After a moment of perusal, I select one of the latter - they're likely to be a bit more focused on the task.

    A flex of mental effort and a pull on the already-eager spirit brings the man to life in my room. I take in the sight of him. A soldier, clad almost entirely in white. A large gun of some description supported lightly in one arm. He inclines his head. “Servant Archer. I look forward to working with you.” Calm. Softly-spoken.

    I sag against the bed, a familiar ache surfacing across my body. Greetings could wait, I had more important questions. “Why do you need so much mana?” The drain was notably larger than Mata Hari’s – even before she had dropped her parameters. I felt a bit stronger than I was yesterday, but not enough to keep this up forever. “You’re even more recent than Mata Hari, you should need less – not more!”

    “That would be my Noble Phantasm, Master.” He replies quietly. “It’s permanently active, but it should be cheaper for you to sustain once it’s fully set up.”

    “Noble Phantasm.” I nod to myself. “Where is it? I don’t see anything particularly odd.” My first thought was the gun, but I didn’t see anything strange happening there.

    The man flicks a white hood over his head and paces to the window, shoving it open. I’m entirely underdressed for the blast of cold-air that emerges through, but my shrill squeak of complaint is cut short at the slow drift of white powder that floats in through the open window. “Snow?” I push myself up and towards the window for a better look.

    Sure enough, a thin coating of snow is already on the ground and the windowsill. A gentle blizzard is stretching out into the distance as far as I can see, cutting down on visibility so much that I couldn’t even fully make out the details of our neighbours house.

    “Your Noble Phantasm is to change the weather?” I ask the man, shutting the window again and grabbing a thick hoodie for myself.

    “Something like that.” He shrugs. “I’ll explain more as we go.” His eyes take on a steely look. “We should get on with this Nazi problem of yours.”

    If nothing else, this guy looks like he can hold his own in a fight. I can do a proper patrol this time. It might be meaningless in the grand scheme of things, but I need to feel like I’m making an impact on some level. Gauge my servants level of strength to our opponents, so that I didn’t make miscalculations later. Mata Hari had toyed with those druggies effortlessly, but how would she have fared against bullets or a cape? I didn’t know – and I hoped that now, I could find out.

    I nod, glancing at the time. Dad should already have left. “Let’s go.”
  8. Ryven Razgriz

    Ryven Razgriz Know what you're doing yet?

    Oct 30, 2016
    Likes Received:
    Simo Hayha?
    TRm, BlackCoat13, Trooper1021 and 7 others like this.
  9. Prince Charon

    Prince Charon Just zis guy, you know?

    Feb 20, 2014
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    Certainly seems to be.
  10. alethiophile

    alethiophile Shadowed Philosopher Administrator

    Apr 26, 2013
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    I actually wonder what Hayha's feelings about Nazis would be. He was most famous for killing Soviets in the Winter War, and afterward Finland was in a sort of unfriendly alliance with Germany against the USSR.

    I'll forgive much for Servant Hayha, though.
  11. ShadowMinion

    ShadowMinion Know what you're doing yet?

    Nov 3, 2017
    Likes Received:
    Here we have Simo the White Death preparing to defend his homeland.
    archangis, Hypervane, Enigma and 9 others like this.
  12. Blackenedthorn

    Blackenedthorn Too many ideas, so little time

    Feb 12, 2019
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    Looking forward to how this goes and seeing Simo face off against Victor is a sniper duel, a legendary sniper vs a skill thief.
  13. Threadmarks: Chapter 3

    Tamzar Not too sore, are you?

    Jan 11, 2016
    Likes Received:
    Donning three extra layers was not enough to deal with the snow. If my expression could be seen under the multiple layers of coats I was wearing, it would reveal a glare colder than the snow and ice around us. “Is there a need for the snowstorm? I feel like nobody is going to be outside in weather like this.”

    "This blizzard is an extension of myself, I have a limited sense of the movements of other people within it – and both my vision and mobility is unimpaired while inside it. It is not a whim of mine, but rather a core part of my skill set that I am greatly weakened without." He rattles off his explanation without a trace of emotion. A professional dismissal of my complaints. He trudges onwards through the snow. “And if the somewhat-limited information from my summoning is correct, we almost can’t help but run into our targets if we keep in this direction.”

    That’s true, at least, we’re heading straight into Empire territory. “To be clear. I don’t want this to be a bloodbath. We’re not killing every Nazi that we see, got it?”

    “I can restrain myself.” He replies clinically. “But I have no intention of returning to the Throne having accomplished nothing.”

    “That’s fine. I’m sure we’ll find someone if we keep an eye out.” I sneeze, tucking my red nose deeper under my layers of coats. “A random blizzard like this probably has them all worried about a new cape. The Protectorate will be patrolling, and the Empire will be on alert as well.”

    “Good.” He keeps walking, leaving us in a purposeful silence for a few moments. “It’s strange. Being in this body, off to hunt Nazis.”

    I frown. “How so?”

    “I barely fought with them when I was alive. I fought the Red Army, and was hospitalised days before they called for peace – not recovering until the entire war was over. My country shared a common goal with the Nazis in fighting the Soviet Union. I didn’t hate them at the time. They were useful. Not friends. We just had mutual enemies.” He ushers me down a side-street. “Even if I had been part of the offensive that chased the German’s out of Finland towards the end of the war, I would have taken no joy in it. They were soldiers, like me. Most of them simply fighting for their country.”

    I stay silent as he continues.

    “I didn’t learn to hate the Nazis until I was older than this form of mine. After the war, when people started to discern the truth from the propaganda. I hate the Nazi’s, as anyone who understands the depths of their crimes should.” He adjusts his cloak. “But to me, there is a distinction between someone fighting for Germany and someone fighting for the Nazi ideology. Duty to the homeland. Seeking glory in battle. I can understand that.” He gestures at the streets ahead of us. “But these are people who chose those ideals in all their hatred. For someone to look back, with the advantage of hindsight, at the crimes of that era and try to carry on that flag for themselves? I can’t forgive that.”

    “I’m not going to defend them.” I start. “But there are a lot of people who joined up purely to keep themselves safe from the other gangs. That’s why I don’t want a bloodbath of people wearing their colours. I just want to cripple their dominance over the city, let the heroes clean up their mess and then move on somewhere else.”

    “No matter the reasoning behind it, in the past, all of them were tried for the crimes they committed. Fear for their families, coercion, duty – these reasons did not justify murder, and the world agreed.” He grunts. “I died content. The Soviet Union was gone. The Nazi’s were gone. The world was starting to look like a brighter place. And then I get summoned here. Where the Nazis are alive and well, unashamed in their beliefs. Infesting the heart of America. Tolerated by the public and the heroes.” He lets out a long breath and turns to me. “And you want this world to survive at the expense of another.”

    “I live here.” I level my eyes at him. “And I’m no greater fan of the Nazis than you are. Simo Hayha, if you’re spoiling for a fight to help kick the Nazi’s out, then we’re on the same side. My goal isn’t going to get accomplished if I can’t do something as basic as clearing out a single gang in my city.”

    “Can you kill them, then?” His steely eyes meet mine. “Are you capable of that?”

    “I didn’t summon someone called the ‘White Death’ to hand out leaflets.” I adopt a grim look, helping to settle over the butterflies in my stomach. “I summoned you because out of all those wanting to fight the Nazis, you were the one who could be the most precise. The Empire is only a big deal because of the number of capes that they have. The gangsters aren’t the problem. If we can flip the balance of power back to the heroes, the city might just stabilise over time.”

    I had other options. People with a more personal axe to grind against the Nazis. Of those, only a few had a little something called subtlety. Driving down the main street in a tank and gunning down every skinhead in sight wasn’t subtle – and the Empire had some serious firepower in a straight fight as well. I didn’t want to get embroiled in a fair fight on the entire Empire on day two of my mission. I wanted to make a dent and walk away stronger. A dent that I could hammer away at over the next few days. Even a single cape would be a bigger blow than anything the heroes had done for months.

    He stops moving entirely, almost causing me to walk into his back. “I need to hear you say it.”

    I wince. “…Othala, Purity and Stormtiger have gone to Endbringer fights on a fairly regular basis. I don’t know how old Rune is, but she isn’t an adult. If possible, I would like you to avoid killing those four.” They’ve at least shown that they can put the interest of the world above the Empire, even if the cynical part of me told me it was only for PR reasons. I close my eyes. “The non-capes are just following their capes leadership. I don’t want you to kill them if you can help it – there’s so many of them that it would be pointless. They’ll just recruit more innocent people to fill the ranks. For the capes, I want you to try and capture the rest. But if that can’t be done-” I swallow drily. “-then you can kill them.”

    …dad would be disappointed to hear me say that. But I don’t have the time to waste gently dismantling only one of the destabilising factors in a single American city. I had to be fast, and get faster. I needed to get to a point where I could walk into a random city and have the gangs destroyed by sunset the next day. If it took me months to clean up the bay, then all of my efforts would be undone elsewhere in the world as the next Endbringer destroyed another city.

    Sure, I would be stronger than before after those few months – but I didn’t have years to work with to pull off my Dauntless impression. It wasn’t just about getting rid of the problems, but also recovering society to a level that would make it through the Time Lock without getting pruned.

    “You don’t sound sure about that.” He comments placidly.

    I raise one hand to ward off the snow and wind from getting into my eyes. “I’ve been thinking about this a lot over the past few weeks. Hard to think about anything else, really. Who needs to go. Who needs to stay. Not just here, all over the world. I don’t like it. I don’t enjoy it. I don’t want anyone to die, let alone for it to be my responsibility.” I shake my head. “But if I fail and I know that I could have done more if I was just a bit less stubborn, I won’t forgive myself.” Not that it would matter at that stage. Not that anything would matter.

    He holds my gaze for a moment and nods. “Very well. Let’s move.” He takes a step towards me, sweeps me off my feet and tucks me under his arm before bounding clear of the street and onto a nearby garage. I stifle my yelp of surprise as he jumps again onto a rooftop.

    I knew Servants had ridiculous feats of agility. I knew that even in my barely lucid escape from the locker. I expected it from some ninja out of the realms of fantasy, but I wasn’t expecting it from this unassuming guy. I’ve lost track of any sense of direction now, without visibility of the street the only thing I can see is the roof directly below me and the swirling snow in every direction around us.

    “Why are we up here?” I hiss, moments before the snow slightly clears as he presses me inside a broken door – leaving me in a surprisingly warm, but clearly abandoned rooftop hideaway.

    “This looks to be the safest spot to leave you that isn’t too far from me. In cover, easy for you to escape quickly once the blizzard dies down.” He replies casually. “There are some good angles over the rest of the city up there. I’ll go and attract some attention, then head over.” He points upwards into the snowstorm.

    “I can’t see what you’re pointing at, but I’m not letting you run off completely unsupervised.” I cross my arms. “We are a team. Do you even know what you are looking for?”

    “In vague terms.” He shrugs. “But a short distance isn’t a major issue. You can look through my eyes and let me know if there’s anything I need to know.”

    “I can?” I frown at him, not that he can see my expression.

    You can.” His mouth doesn’t move as his voice echoes in my head.

    I stare at him, somewhat flummoxed. “Are you a telepath on top of everything else?” Some of the spirits back at the throne did that now and then, but I didn’t realise that it could be done even when summoned.

    “As Master and Servant, we share a bond. We can communicate remotely, and you can see through my eyes – which is the only way you’ll see much of anything in this blizzard.” He huffs in amusement, sending up a plume of misty air. “I’ve never experienced it as a Master, so you’ll just have to experiment with it until you work it out. I’ll head out, and leave you to it.”

    “Wait-“ I cut myself off as he seems to vanish into the wall of snow beyond the door. “Great.” I don’t rate my chances of getting off of this roof safely while the blizzard is at full strength, which was probably part of his plan.

    Fine. I’ll at least give it a try. I can feel the bond of mana that I’m sending him. Strong, sturdy and consistent. Could I try speaking into it? Somehow? I spend a minute or two prodding at the link to try and find a way to communicate. Feeling a little silly, I send out a tentative thought at it. “Hello?” No response. I imagine pressing the thought into the stream itself. “Hello?

    Master?” The smooth, cool voice of the Archer-class Servant echoes back to me.

    “Um. Nothing. Just testing.” I shake my head. Messed it up again. “Nothing. I was just testing what you were telling me a moment ago.” So, if that was how I talked – then perhaps if I did the same thing with the aim of sharing his sight?

    Very well.” My vision blurs as I make an attempt, two overlapping images giving me vertigo until I realise I should be closing my eyes. “I am still in the process of drawing attention to myself.” The image resolves just in time for me to see a trio of Empire thugs drop to the ground screaming as his secondary gun passes over them in his vision.

    I said, no killing the non-capes!” I realise my mistake as all three of the men double over to clutch at a limb or scream into a radio. Apparently, I was a bit too quick to judge.

    These ones are all going to live. I know what I’m doing. Though I won’t make any promises once the reinforcements show up.” His gaze turns sideways to one of the fallen men, the new direction also happening to highlight a further dozen men on the ground crawling into cover. “This is the only way to lure out our enemy – I doubt that their standard operations would continue in these conditions, unless freak snowstorms are common around here?”

    Smartass. I should have expected it, in hindsight. I watch him bound out of the area and scramble up and out onto the rooftops. His earlier words to me weren’t a lie, where my own visibility barely extended out a few metres, barely making out a hint of the buildings on the other side of the street – his own eyesight wasn’t touched at all. No, that wasn’t quite right either. His eyesight was unnaturally good. He glances back, several hundred metres down the road to what looked like a minivan full of reinforcements – his view somehow seeming to zoom in and make out the runny nose of the driver in incredible, disgusting clarity.

    I don’t even register the appearance of the gun in the bottom of his vision before he’s fired it. Another leaping bound and an upwards scramble taking him up to the next rooftop before he looks back to see the minivan skid to a halt as the destroyed left tire makes itself known.

    It’s easy to see the danger, when looking through his vision like this. He may have low parameters, and not be particularly strong in a fair fight – just like Mata Hari. If he was to be shot by the dozen-odd men in the last warehouse then I didn’t doubt he would come out the worse for it. But that wasn’t going to happen. Nobody can see him, let alone hit him at this distance. It’s easy to see why I could have summoned him as an Assassin instead.

    A rush of voices that Simo doesn’t respond to draws my attention, and I belatedly realise that they’re coming from the street below my position. I poke my head out of my hideaway, only just spotting what looks like the roof of a plain, armoured van as it trundles past. It was probably a good idea for me not to be at the street level. I doubted they would be interested in a regular white-girl at first, but I didn’t want any attention being brought to me at all.

    A hint of steam draws my eyes downwards, to where a clump of snow had fallen onto an exposed part of my wrist, melted and evaporated into steam in the space of a few seconds. Come to think of it, I hadn’t noticed the cold for a while now. I shrug out of my coats, raising my forearms for inspection.

    Deep red veins ran across my arms and the rest of my body, like a particularly intricate sunburn. It didn’t feel particularly tender to the touch, but it almost felt like I could fry an egg on myself. Oddly, I feel fine. Or at least, as fine as I have been ever since summoning the Finnish sniper. He was expensive to maintain compared to Mata Hari, but I could handle it for now. I wasn’t having dizzy spells yet. No bleeding anywhere. Not coughing blood. I was healthy. Sort of. I leave myself standing in the doorway for a moment, allowing the hail and snow to try and cool the rest of my body.

    Master.” I snap my mental gaze back to link with his vision. “I believe they have found me.” His vision fills my own, gazing down his gun with unnatural precision at three distant figures soaring through the sky on some makeshift debris – more of a particularly large and flat rock than anything else.

    That’s Rune.” I murmur through the link, thankful for having done some research on the Empire’s capes. “Telekinesis on large objects that she has marked with her power. I think the one next to her is Krieg. He’s a Brute who manipulates kinetic energy around him.” I frown at the next one, wearing a heavy coat that disguised his appearance. It would be hard to tell his identity if it wasn’t for the torrents of air dispersing the blizzard in front of them to allow their youngest member to guide their transport in. “It’s not his usual outfit, but looking at how the snow is moving – that might be Stormtiger. Powerful aerokinesis at all ranges. Those last two might be resistant to sniping.

    This was unlucky. Two of the three were targets I didn’t want to take out, and the group also contained two of the four Empire capes that I had little confidence in bullets doing anything to. Or perhaps it wasn’t luck at all, and it was a deliberate response from the Empire – when faced with a bullet-using cape, send a team that bullets shouldn’t touch.

    I don’t sense any other likely targets in the area, only more grunts. I’ll attract their attention, see if I can lure the others out.” It seems he appreciates that there is some urgency to our mission. I can’t sustain him forever and let him wait for his perfect moment. In his vision, I can see his gun rising up from the bottom of his sights to settle on Krieg’s head. The gun jerks briefly as the only indicator of being fired at all, his exceptional eyesight noticing the strange, almost-unnoticeable curve the bullet takes as it starts to near the trio – the imperceptible force of Krieg’s power unconsciously nudging it to the side. If it was allowed to continue untouched it would have sailed past Krieg’s ear – instead, it is blasted aside by a suddenly-alert Stormtiger. Rune jumps as the sound reaches her, but after a moment of chatter the debris picks up pace towards the still-unseen Finnish sniper – Stormtiger already sending indiscriminate blasts of air in his general direction to little effect.

    That confirms it. You won’t be able to hit any of them while they’re all together.” Simo drops down to the roof below and scrambles across the street to another line of buildings. I poke him through the link. “Stormtiger can detect air currents. You need to move.

    Have some faith.” I scowl into the snowstorm.

    Rune’s transport of choice slows as it nears the line of buildings he was previously occupying. His gun is already pointing at the empty air ahead of them, not even a brief puff of air from breathing to draw attention to himself. The rock moves past and over him, none of the Empire capes managing to detect him.

    I feel a small surge of mana on top of the usual torrent leave my body, and lean myself against the nearby wall as my legs buckle slightly. I don’t leave Simo’s vision for a minute as the barrel of his gun begins to glow.

    This time what emerges from his gun isn’t a bullet, but a solid, icy-blue beam as wide as my fist. It punches a clean hole through the rock and draws a pained cry from one of the men on the other side. “Even against that?” I hear Simo curse under his breath as he tucks away the weapon and unslings a secondary, shorter gun from his back before sprinting away through the snow and ice.

    “…why does your gun shoot beams?” Wasn’t he supposed to be a servant from the era of World War Two? Without Tinker-tech?

    It’s not technically a beam, it just looks like one.” He sounds oddly defensive about that. “It’s just a small technique I can do as a Servant. Knocks my gun out of action for a bit.” He responds, casually walking past as a dozen Empire thugs storm past him – barely more than a few metres away but apparently unable to spot the white-clad man among the snow and storm. “I wouldn’t get hung up on it. That’s on the low end of strangeness for heroic spirits.” He turns around, the trio of capes approaching him once again – this time sticking far lower to the ground as they shout into their radio’s. “More importantly, I’m being tracked somehow. How strong are their close-range abilities?”

    Rune’s are non-existent unless she has something ready to clobber you with.” I reply instantly. “Stormtiger is just as deadly up-close, if not more so. Krieg is the strongest of them all in a melee. His power is supposed to get stronger the closer to him you get. I’ve watched a video of him slamming Glory Girl through a wall like it was made of paper.” I frown. “I don’t think any of those three should be able to find you apart from Stormtiger. I would have thought the blizzard would overpower his senses, but maybe there’s some trace of the direction you went in?”

    I’ll take the girl then. They can’t keep up with me without her.” Before I can ask why he isn’t running away from the fast-approaching squad of capes, I notice the focus he has on the rock beneath their feet. A crack splinters and races its way across the platform from the circular hole towards either edge, giving only a split second of warning before it splinters entirely in half.

    Stormtiger is unfazed, simply levitating downwards in an extended glide as his ride crumbles beneath his feet. Krieg seems to be the one hit by the earlier shot, but fortunately for him – he is on the part of the platform marked by Rune, meaning his fall is relatively controlled – crashing gently into a large snowdrift.

    Rune is not so lucky. Left on the uncontrolled half of the platform, she tumbles through the air with a scream – legs landing awkwardly on the asphalt below with a decisive snap. Archer dashes forward, a white-wraith against the snow and indelicately plucks the crippled, pain-addled girl from the ground before sprinting away.

    He ducks and weaves around Stormtigers blasts before they are even fully formed, before turning and blasting at the Nazi with an awkwardly-loose, one-handed grip of his alternate gun. The storm of bullets isn’t intended to hit anything. Both remaining capes can shrug them off with relative ease, but Stormtiger can’t fully defend himself and attack at the same time – especially once he realises that Rune is bundled up in the Servant’s grip. In the brief second of distraction, the Archer has disappeared into the snow without leaving a trace behind.

    I let out a breath that I hadn’t realised I was holding. One captured. That was good. No deaths. I had accepted the possibility that there would be some, but a part of me was glad of that as well. I watch him take some particularly large hops across a variety of increasingly tall obstacles to recover his elevated position once again. “You can drop her off at a police station, or there are probably a few heroes around somewh-

    I think that I’ve found them.” I look through his eyes again and find him looking across the rooftops to a pair of distant heroes looking down at him from a taller apartment building. It’s easy to identify them at a glance. Armsmaster and Miss Militia. What was more concerning is that both of them were looking directly back at him. Miss Militia has a simple visor covering her eyes, which I could only assume is the reason why she can see over this distance in the current weather conditions.

    Heroes. Both of them. The man has futuristic armour, weapons and gadgets. The woman can create any weapon she likes on the fly.” I relay what I know to the servant. “It’s better not to fight them at all, but do not kill them – no matter the cost.

    He drops Rune bodily onto the ground in front of him, sprinting away at a right angle as Miss Militia levels an elongated scope at him. He ducks into a roll to let it sail past him to impact the roof just past him, the bullet almost instantly expanding into a bundle of containment foam easily twice the size of the man.

    By the time he’s on the next building across, Armsmaster has found Rune and seems to be calling it in. A light smile comes to my face. Success. “You’ll need to get off the rooftops. As long as they can see you more reinforcements will only be moments away.” Armsmaster was bad enough, but Dauntless would end this chase instantly.

    That’s only important if I intend to get away.” He hums in amusement, continuing to sprint along the roof. “This isn’t a grail war. You can afford to lose your servant if it furthers your goals. Not to mention the fact that if I die, they’ll consider this a one-off incident and not think to go and look for any potential accomplice.

    Summoning a servant is way harder than maintaining one, and people will get suspicious if capes keep popping up and dying on their first day.” I try my best to project my annoyance through the link. “Get back here, drop the blizzard and we’ll look at another gang to make a start on. The heroes may be a little hesitant to follow you into Empire territory, but that goes double for Lung's domain.

    If you wanted me as an escape artist, you should have summoned me as an Assassin.” His gaze swivels across the streets. “Aside from those heroes, there’s two following me from the north, and another two waiting in an alley to the east – not moving. Stormtiger is still chasing me as well. A sniper in a window to the south.” He fans his view to each side, but I can’t make out the people he’s pointing out.

    Night and Fog in the alleyway.” I guess. “One can change into a deadly gas, the other one… I don’t really understand their power, but if you stay away they aren’t a danger. The one in the window could be someone normal, but the odds are good that it’s Victor. He’s a skill-thief. Touches people and absorbs their ability to do a certain thing. He usually supports the empire as a sniper.

    He leaps into a sideways roll, narrowly dodging a barrage of missiles that explode into more containment foam. Miss Militia again, well-hidden behind cover but providing artillery support. “I would go and try my luck against the people in the alleyway, but I don’t think your hero friends are inclined to let me get a position.” He glances behind, just in time to catch Armsmaster flying across the gap in the buildings with a mechanical grappling hook.

    “Unknown vigilante.” His voice bellows across the roof. “Cease the usage of your power and surrender to-“ The voice fades away as the Archer leaps to the next roof.

    The Servant twists in the air mid-jump, unnatural eyesight observing a bullet passing through where his head was a moment ago. His eyes focus on a seemingly-empty window across the street, then fanning across to see that it’s far from the only open window in the building. An entire building full of potential shooting positions. “I see.” He murmurs. “He’s a good shot. Good at hiding as well. Cautious. Knows I’m looking for him.

    Then get out of there.” I tap my feet, frustrated at being unable to act. “There’s no sense in leaving yourself exposed while being chased by Armsmaster of all people.

    It’s not just him.” He glances back, ducking under another bullet. “That guy has been circling me for a while now.” He focuses on a figure floating in the sky ahead of him that I hadn’t noticed.

    I grimace. “Dauntless. You can’t beat him, but he doesn’t know that – he’s just being cautious, or he’s been told to hang back because it’s Empire territory.” Armsmaster and Dauntless were almost certainly the strongest two parahumans in the city. I wasn’t going to beat either of them without digging far deeper into my pool of heroes. Ideally, I wouldn’t even need to, but still… “If you get captured, it will reveal my power too early. I’m going to summon you back.” I flex a command-seal, only to find the connection of mana slam itself shut.

    You’ll have to forgive my pride just this once.” His words float back through the remnants of the connection, just barely strong enough for me see him. “This power of his is a bit offensive to me.” He approaches the end of his roof, heavy footsteps moments behind him. “A sniper hones his skills across weeks, months and years of ceaseless practice. A battle between two of them is something sacred. A match of skill, cunning, patience and luck.”

    I attempt to nudge the connection back into life, but it remains inert save for what little is filtering from him to me. A one-way connection. I can hear him, share his vision – but I can’t interact with him. The fact that he didn’t instantly start to disappear without my mana reaching him was concerning, but he hasn’t made it out entirely unaffected by its loss. The blizzard outside dies down to nothing. I walk outside – aware enough that I needed to be off the roof by the time it vanished entirely. A convenient set of fire-stairs enables my easy escape, easy to see once the snow has stopped falling.

    This Victor of yours knows nothing of this.” In my minds eye, I see him dive off the roof towards the ground. “He shoots like a professional. He knows how to hide, how to wait, how to move.” He stabilises in the air, head pointing at the ground and gun upside down as he levels it at an empty building. “But despite all of that, he is not a true sniper. Because he does not understand the mind of his opponent.” The bullet is already fired when a focused, frowning face appears in the window – eyes scanning the rooftops for his target.

    I flinch away as his head explodes in a red mass of viscera, a full half of his skull blasted clear from the rest of his body by the Servant’s shot. The body slumps through the window and flops out of it into the street, landing only a few seconds after Simo himself.

    A vicious surge of satisfaction pours down the remnants of the link between us. “Amateur.

    I shudder my focus back to the present, trying to get my breathing under control as I notice people starting to poke their heads out of the windows and doors. I shove my coats back around me, I was starting to cool down now that my expenditure was lower – but I was still covered in red lines. I couldn’t attract attention to myself.

    I was fine. I knew people would die at some point. I was prepared for this to happen today. I’ll have to do it again. Maybe even tomorrow. This was fine. I was fine.

    Something lodges in my throat. Maybe I wasn’t entirely fine. A little bit ill. That should be expected. Into the cold, heating up and then back into the cold again. It couldn’t be good for me. It definitely wasn’t the sight of a man’s skull being blasted in half because he was in my way. It wasn’t the fact that I knew for a fact that he was married.

    It couldn’t be that, because I couldn’t allow it to be that. I had to do it again. A hundred times over. A thousand. Until Earth-Bet was fixed. Nobody else knew. Nobody else understood. There’s nobody else but me.

    So it can’t be that. Letting out a shaky breath, I start to walk home – tuning back into Simo’s vision to keep myself distracted.

    He’s on the ground. It looks like he’s covered in snow. The blizzard must be far smaller than before, but it’s no less intense. A foot plants itself in front of him as somebody walks past. Empire. Did the heroes lose track of him? Or did they just back off once the rest of the Empire closed in.

    “He’s around here somewhere.” A voice growls. “I can smell the rat.”

    Ten figures in his vision alone, possibly even more if was to turn his head to the side. He doesn’t move. He doesn’t breathe. He’s just hiding in the middle of the street, which seems to have confused the Empire capes and their cronies immensely – they’re rummaging through bins, searching buildings and looking inside cars, none of them realising that their enemy has blended into the very snow beneath their feet.

    He waits for so long that I start to wonder if he isn’t already dead, or has paralysed himself or something. I’m already back at my house when he finally moves, having waited for one man to split slightly too far away from the safety of the more bullet-resistant capes.

    Simo’s gun rises out of the ground, the top side still carrying snow with it. It’s the alternate gun he was using earlier – better suited for spraying out a barrage of shots at close range than the single-shot rifle. The Empire cape falls with a scream as a multitude of bullets crash into his frame with unerring accuracy. He erupts into a wall of smoke, before reverting momentarily as he falls to the floor. The damage is already done, apparently unable to maintain the transformation when injured so badly. He falls to the ground, bursting in and out of the breaker state with every breath he takes.

    That was Fog. Or Night. I wasn’t that concrete on their names, because they always worked as a pair. He’s a bit like Shadow Stalker – except his mist had less focus on movement and more on being toxic to anything inside it.

    There’s little time to mull over it, Simo’s vision swirls as he is bodily picked up by something and hurled into the air. I don’t share his pain, only what he can see and hear – but there isn’t a need for me to guess. Blood litters the snow. Something long and insectile emerges from the dark clutching at the man’s legs and tossing them aside – apparently torn from his body in an instant.

    Fog stops shifting and turns completely still. Everyone’s eyes are on the Archer as his body starts to splinter into golden motes. There’s a pause only long enough for the rest of his body to hit the ground before the rest of the Empire capes turn, as one, to finish him off.

    The connection winks shut. The last feeling I feel from him is not one of pain or regret – but of satisfaction.

    I reflexively pull on my connection to the Throne, as if to immediately resummon him – but the connection I make feels dormant, as if I was trying to wake a coma patient from their slumber by shaking their shoulder. His presence felt…weak compared to the spirits around him.

    Gone. For now, at least. Time would tell if he would become available again, but my gut told me it wouldn’t be quick or easy. Especially not for a modern servant. Their grip on the throne should be the most tenuous of all – only known and admired within the almost hundred years since the last timelock. How many alternate histories panned out the same way? Compare it to an older legend, like Alexander the Great. Every timeline and nearly every lostbelt, for millennia, had respected that man and contributed to his legend. His presence on the throne was unshakeable. Immutable.

    Simo Hayha and Mata Hari? Not so much. In a few hundred years, if these timelines where they lived and became famous persisted – they might have a stronger presence on the throne. As it stands, they both pale to their older peers.

    That probably applied to Earth-Bet’s heroes as well. Scion. Alexandria. Hero. Well known across the world, of course. Incredible deeds and power to their names. Larger than life figures that have become something more than a simple celebrity. I didn’t doubt they would be somewhere in the throne after their deaths, but whether I would be able to find such a weak presence on my own? Earth-Bet was a single timeline. There were no other parahumans aside from those worlds connected to it. A hero forged from only a single timeline, with nothing to link me to that person? That would take a mountain of blind luck to summon – and would barely be worth the effort given their relative weakness compared to the rest of my arsenal.

    Well. Some of those examples would be pretty strong based purely on the abilities they had when alive, but they would have to die first – and aside from Hero, that wasn’t going to happen anytime soon. Added to that was the fact that all three of them had already had a chance to save the world, and hadn’t managed it yet. We needed something else.

    I let myself through the front door of my house, letting out a sigh of relief that Dad hadn’t decided to take the day off after seeing the blizzard.

    I’m back. I’m safe. Rune is in PRT custody. V-Victor is dead. Very dead. I’m sure that Fog is dead as well. That’s fine. Good. Success.

    …Fog was supposed to be married to Night as well, right? The Empire propaganda used to talk all the time about Victor and Othala, Night and Fog. To show they were just like us. Two families broken up in the space of an hour. Did they have kids?

    Stop. I need to stop. Stop thinking. I’m not bothered by this. I can’t be bothered by this. I need to do something. Make dinner. Dad will be home soon. I’ll make him dinner, and we’ll eat together. As a family.

    While we still could.


    AN: My snippets take a big leap from this point to an approximate mid-point to the story, and then again all the way to its conclusion. That means I’m going to have to write the stuff in the middle now instead of just expanding what I already have – so updates will slow down a bit.

    Simo Hayha is a massive meme in the fate community as “Mr Modern Servant” who is often touted as the example of someone capable of becoming a servant despite Nasu’s statement of “No modern servants these days”. Despite the memery, he’s ideal for the stated limits of “Recent, famous, non-fantasy and not magical.” Which Taylor is currently working with until she gets stronger. I’ve never seen him in a story before, so I figured I would go ahead. I liked how he came out in the end, there were other modern people that I could have picked – especially ones who actually fought the Nazis, but very few of them both fit into this stage of the story and also carried the weight and gravitas that Simo’s name has. The White Death feels a bit larger than life compared to some of the stories of odd people in the war doing silly things ending up in the newspaper. I hope that makes a bit of sense.

    When writing from this perspective, it’s easy to get carried away. This guy is a huge badass right? Trails of blood! Destroy the Empire in a hail of bullets! Hoorah! I have to consciously hold back my writing because I can’t have a single modern servant turn the biggest batch of capes in the city into a bunch of chumps. The Empire makes a smart response to his abilities by sending a group to find him that isn’t just going to get gunned down. But it isn’t only about respecting both sides of a series in a “fair” crossover. Just as there needs to be respect for the characters of Worm, there also needs to be a difference between the different strengths of people in Fate. If Minimato-no-Raikou, Altera or Gilgamesh was summoned, sure – they would murk the Empire 1v12, and that should look appropriately awesome as a top-tier servant fighting should, as opposed to that being something that any servant could do in their sleep.

    I’ve probably got a bunch of things wrong in this update that people are going to poke me for, especially on the history front – I have the edit button to hand, I’ll fix it if you point it out! Honest! (Nasu mechanics on timelines and the Throne probably don’t count – Author Fiat to justify my writing!)

    I would write a proper sheet for Simo, but it’s all been done before. The broad strokes are: Eye of the Mind (True), Clairvoyance, Presence Concealment and a power-shot/mana-burst style thing on his rifle to simulate the 1shot-polykill feat he gets credited with. NP is not a reality marble as every other sheet seems to give him, it’s more in the line of a permanent Territory Creation centred on him thanks to the wide-ranging weather effect.

    TLDR: Updates slowing down. Simo is a meme boy but fun. Fair power levels hard to write but good to do. Show mercy.
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2019
  14. Xjado

    Xjado I trust you know where the happy button is?

    Nov 20, 2017
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    In most fanfics that have the main character kill people, they kind of just shrug it off. It is really nice to see that Taylor is so shaken, it makes her feel more human because she isn't going from innocent school girl to cold blooded killer in no time flat.
    McGraww, Hypervane, Rikallyn and 6 others like this.
  15. alethiophile

    alethiophile Shadowed Philosopher Administrator

    Apr 26, 2013
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    That was pretty cool.
    silentshot likes this.
  16. OldSpartan

    OldSpartan Not too sore, are you?

    May 5, 2015
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    Liked the sniper duel here, with Victor really having no chance against the servant. He had all those abilities but he really didn't know them in the end. Anyways, the Empire is down Victor, Fog, and Rune (for now) and I expect Taylor to keep hitting them. She really doesn't have time to slow down either. If she can't clear a city in one month then how can she hope to better the world enough in 5 years. Escalation is the name of the game. I imagine that someone looking at this from the outside would be alarmed by how forceful and active she will likely become. But they don't know what she does, that everything will end unless she starts changing things. Be interesting to see what happens next.
    TRm, silentshot, KenNM and 1 other person like this.
  17. KenNM

    KenNM Actually 19

    Jul 23, 2017
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    While I'm already following this over at SB I'm gonna comment here instead.

    The premise is very interesting. A summoner Taylor aware of the impending Quantum Time Lock pruning and her desperate and hurried attempts to stave it of I say stave of not stop cuz it's imposible to truly set in stone. In the far future Earth-Bet could become a stagnant dystopia-Never a Utopia because this is Worm and be pruned anyway so this is but a delaying action.

    So definitely looking forward to see where this goes.

    That being said I'm admitedly kinda skeptic over removing the Servant's immunity to mundane weaponry.

    While I'm all for parahuman powers being able to harm them since every alien shown in the Nasuverse from Velber to Types and the Alien God responsible for the Lost Belts have sufficient Mystery to interact with the supernatural.

    While parahumans are kinda like Magi they have supernatual powers from Mystery but as Kiritsugu has shown us aren't actually bullet proof...most of the time.

    It's against the really Top Tier beings like Dead Apostle Ancestors and Servants which by dint of Age and Nature are immune.

    And considering the Entities are at minumum several millenia old should have accumulated enough Mystery to be immune to mundane weapons.Kinda like how Thaumaturgic Awakening made Scion into some type of well Type or maybe an Alien God.

    I really hope this doesn't annoy you.
    silentshot likes this.
  18. Tamzar

    Tamzar Not too sore, are you?

    Jan 11, 2016
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    Yeah, I was aware that it would ruffle some feathers. In the Fate world it doesn't matter that they're immune to normal people because normal people functionally don't exist in the context of the story. There are only masters, servants, mages/executors and minions of one of those groups.

    In Worm it's a bit more awkward. Sure, there are capes, Endbringers and all of that - but the street-level stuff is far more important than it is in Fate. Being immune to guns (having a Brute rating) is actually extremely important compared to the throwaway ability in Fate (half the cast is already bullet-timing or has the endurance to shrug it off). All sorts of capes get dropped thanks to "normal" weaponry across the story. Sure, the Empire has a load of capes - but the mass of people behind it is just as significant. Having every servant instantly write-off that mass of people without thinking or trying doesn't (in my opinion) improve the story.

    Finally, I want to reserve that kind of ability to shrug off normal weaponry for Servants that really deserve it. Summoning someone like Achilles or Minimato-No-Yoshitsune should result in them not only shrugging off bullets thanks to their Endurance, but also because they are fast as heck. From a narrative standpoint, bullets bouncing and knives breaking on Heracles' skin should be a double-take moment for the in-story cast rather than an eye-rolling "Oh yeah, they all do this".

    In a way, this is a problem that fixes itself. Taylor isn't going to linger on the weaker servants for long - and stronger servants have the parameters to suit such an ability within the narrative. Mata Hari doesn't quite seem like she could take a blast of machinegun fire to the face. Contrast her to King Arthur, The Last Great King of Britain, Wielder of the Strongest Holy Sword, The King at the End of the Age of Gods, Slayer of Vortigern, Fuelled by the Core of a Dragon, Exterminator of Giants, Leader of the Knights of the Round Table... Yeah. That person has some weight behind them. They're not going to drop to a knife in the back, either in the context of the story or on a theoretical debate.
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2019
    TRm, Hypervane, Mithantrope and 10 others like this.
  19. silentshot

    silentshot Not too sore, are you?

    Oct 21, 2017
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    Will there be lewds?

    I hope their will be lewds.
  20. Tamzar

    Tamzar Not too sore, are you?

    Jan 11, 2016
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    Yes and no.

    This thread that we're talking in right now? No lewds. Playing it completely straight beginning to end.

    At some stage, when I'm a little bit further ahead - I will be making a separate thread in the NSFW section that has Taylor more reliant on "mana transfers" and a little less doom and gloom. Not happening yet, but at some point it will.
    Hypervane, linkjames24, kabs and 8 others like this.
  21. Xjado

    Xjado I trust you know where the happy button is?

    Nov 20, 2017
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    Huh, I completely missed that this wasn't in the NSFW section.
    TRm and silentshot like this.
  22. silentshot

    silentshot Not too sore, are you?

    Oct 21, 2017
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    Huh. That seems odd.

    *checks thread section*

    Yikes. I derped too lol.
    Xjado likes this.
  23. kabs

    kabs Well thought out cheerful stories turn me on

    May 27, 2017
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    This is a pretty great story.
    silentshot likes this.
  24. WhyCantWeAllJustBeGuests

    WhyCantWeAllJustBeGuests Not too sore, are you?

    Oct 12, 2018
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    Do you plan to continue updating this story here Tamzar ?
    I noticed that the next update is already posted on sb, and wanted to check.
  25. deadman2020

    deadman2020 Not too sore, are you?

    Feb 3, 2016
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    Word of advice: if you're gonna ask that kind of question, go to they're profile page. This counts as necromancy.
  26. WhyCantWeAllJustBeGuests

    WhyCantWeAllJustBeGuests Not too sore, are you?

    Oct 12, 2018
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    Thanks, I’ll remember that for next time.