Thoughts, Words, Works

Fate Crusade Side Story: Prologue @

In the grim dark present of roleplaying, there is Only Grail War. Stormshrug's Fate/Crusade is the second campaign following the events of Fate/stay night using rules adapted from Fantasy Flight's Warhammer 40k RPG systems. I'm not in this campaign, but I'm playing a role from the sidelines. His story starts here...

Ishmael's Command Seals

The young investigator had expected their meeting to be a bit more formal, but the senior Magus snuck up on him right after a job; he'd barely had time to confirm that the residual magics had been dispersed correctly. The young investigator was annoyed.

"This way. I told you you would be hearing from me." The senior Magus spoke no words of introduction, but the young investigator knew that red coat and that gravelly voice anywhere. He strode into an alley, and climbed what looked like fire escape stairs. Shockingly, they lead to a small café. The older Magus led the way inside, past the patrons to a private room, without drawing so much as a second glance. The young investigator wished he were so lucky, but dismissed the curious faces as the curtains sealed the private room decidedly, and magically, shut.

The Magus hung his red coat on a hook on the wall, and took a seat at the only table. The young investigator tentatively followed suit. The elder Magus reached into his vest pocket and withdrew several things: a cigar tin, a lighter, and some papers. He lit a cigar for himself and wordlessly offered one at the young investigator.

"No thanks. I quit."

"Suit yourself." The Magus returned the unused cigar to the tin and took a deep puff. The papers he thrust across the table at the younger mage.

"You depart tomorrow. These are your flights. Your rendezvous is with the Church commissioner, --"

"Before that, don't you have a few things to tell me? What is this sudden assignment about? Why did you choose me? What if I don't want to go?"

"We didn't need to ask to know that you would take the job. Given your past involvement, it was obvious." The old Magus took another long puff before continuing. "They've started appearing again. Command seals. The Association has four participants confirmed already."

"... Command seals? It's hardly been a year!"

"Indeed. The cycle continues to accelerate alarmingly. And furthermore, signs indicate that this Grail War will again take place in the Church's backyard. You can be assured that they are not happy about this development. For that matter, neither are we."

The young investigator stared at his hands. They remained smooth and unmarked, save the faint remnants of the Command Seals he had once borne. "So -- you're sending me there? Why? I don't have any command seals. I can't take part."

"Precisely. Suffice to say that we've ruled the Church's past mediatory role as unsatisfactory, and this time we decided to take additional steps. The rules must be maintained. Of course, the Church will still be mediating as before, but the Association is sending a consultant. It pains me to say this, but between you and the Emiya imbecile, you were our best option. You are to do whatever the Church is unable or unwilling to, and keep a lid on this affair."

The young investigator thought for a while. Memories, good and bad, and all too recent, flooded his consciousness. He wondered if perhaps she might return already, in service to someone else. Doubtful. Still, the old Magus was right. He hadn't spent the past year of his life in research of the Grail War so that he could let the next one wreak havoc, unchecked. "I'll do it."

"Of course you will. Now, as I was saying, upon landing in the region you will make contact with the Church comissioner. Furthermore, we have set up several contacts who can supply you with intelligence and get you in touch with the local authorities. This is a priority for us, so you'll have the utmost support, but ultimately it's up to you."

He stood, and began to don his red jacket again. Leaving the young investigator to his thoughts, he turned away and brushed open the curtain. As it swung shut behind him, the senior Magus waved a hand. "We're counting on you... Ishmael."

Continued in Chapter 1: Arrival


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