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 Tying Up Loose Ends, [Closed] - Hawwah, EMIYA
EMIYA
 Posted: Dec 5 2013, 12:16 AM
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The Nameless Hero
On The Endless Horizon, A Regained Ideal
I made it - I am far enough away from the Fuyuki Bridge now, that Saber will be unable to sense me. Even if he remains on the bridge, he can not see me - not even as a Saber class Servant. As Archer, my eyes are the ones meant for farsight. Additionally, now that I am on my guard, it is impossible for him to get nearly as close to me without my noticing. Lastly, enough time has passed that even the Servants who had made this small clearing their battlefield have gone home. I always prefer to look upon a battlefield before setting foot on it, and I have done that. Even if my brief encounter with Saber distracted me somewhat - The Shield of the Gods is a useful addition to my store, and that familiar shield of petals has given away Lancer's identity to anyone with half-a-brain. I did not recognize him in his cloak, and with his armor his face was concealed... But there is no doubt in my mind who Lancer is this time around.

Well, that should be the case, but something troubles me. Something Saber was too hot-blooded to notice, even though it was what shocked me in the first place. Gilgamesh is in this Holy Grail War, and there is only one container he fits. But it is the same container I inhabit. My mind's eye flashes back to the time when Rin first summoned me by name. She did not mean to do so, but there was no other outcome considering the circumstances. My own words replay in my head, in a voice that is not my own: "This is the first time I've been summoned so roughly."

Among all the half-truths and genuine amnesia, that much was fact. But to say I have not been summoned by forces other than Alaya would be inaccurate as well. Even so, most of my experiences come from either the life I lived as an Ally of Justice or during my time with the Counter Force. I am well aware that usually most Heroic Spirits cannot "Update" or change past their recorded prime. But then again, even as a Servant of the Grail, nothing about my existence is "Usual". That much remains true even in death. Another scene plays out before me: A mighty man clad in bronze armor, leaping from ship-to-burning-ship. He mercilessly slaughters his enemies, and with his spear could rival the might of Achilles himself. A hero who made his own way, in a time when the gods sprinkled their favor upon their favorite chess piece of the day. I will never forget the name of Ajax, and those other heroes I saw that day. It is only thanks to the fickleness of the gods back then that humanity's existence could be called "At risk." And it is only thanks to Ajax's shield of seven hides that I survived the last Holy Grail War long enough to be saved by myself.

Tch. I'm as sentimental as that idiot now, aren't I? I ask myself dryly, knowing I am not truly. I merely did not expect to learn the identity of a Servant so soon, and of all Servants it happened to be one whose ultimate defense allowed my salvation to be possible. But my train of thought returns to what troubled me before: There are two Archers in this Holy Grail War. And the man in pearl plate fought with ferocity and style I've only seen matched by a few. A man in all black armor. A dragonkind king with golden hair. The abominable creation of that Once and Future King. A Chinese warlord with a shifting halberd. Achilles himself, the demon of the battlefield. Countless others, for countless experiences, all across history and time and space have been as strong as him. Too many heroes of his caliber exist to know that man's identity, but if I had to make an educated guess as to his class, then I would say there were two Saber class containers as well. , This deduction hinges of his performance and is a matter of ability rather than strength. The White Knight, whose sword was copied into my Inner World, and the Saber on the bridge. Two Archers, and two Sabers.

Three.

Right. Three Sabers, if one knows about the Servant currently posing as Rin Tohsaka's actual Servant. But for the other classes, does that mean there are two of each? At the very least, the Saber that attacked should know this as well - but we are the only two that should, as far as I know. And the only reason I question his knowledge is that he tried to stop me from attacking Gilgamesh's Master. Even if Hrunting had succeeded and struck its mark: Archer's Master, it would not have killed Archer. The "Deal" he offered me was a risky affair, but had he agreed to prove his words with something other than that damned pride heroes all seem to have, it would still have worked out between us. Killing Archer's Master would not have made Archer disappear, and any Servant knows that. Especially Archer. At best, Saber might think Gilgamesh is a different class since he had already correctly (and a tad miraculously, since my bow was not yet at hand) called me Archer. I shrug off all the unanswered questions. I put the deal out of my mind.

If Saber's own lack of foresight and diplomacy did not ruin our alliance, then my attack on his bloodied arm probably did. Most warriors do not fancy being injured, least of all by a prideless warrior like myself. I know this much from Lancer and Saber (Arturia) both. Still, if there are two of every class container in this war, it could be troublesome. That means every risk factor is at least doubled - alliances, betrayals, surprise attacks. I will need to tell Rin everything I've learned this night. That is the best course of action. But first, I plan to inspect this now abandoned battlefield. I see the craters which were made by Gilgamesh's rain of Noble Phantasms. They form pockmarks on the previously flat asphalt, while freight containers are blown apart or turned aside from the force of both Gate of Babylon and Hrunting, respectively. The corpse of the old man Assassin possessed (almost meaninglessly, in my opinion) is before me, a ruined mess thanks to a couple of stray shots from Archer. Saber(?)'s Master was destroyed by that second tide of divine mysteries, and that saw to their retreat.

It is then I hear the sudden sound. A faint melody, of modern day Music. I frown, realizing the reason for its mute nature is not distance, but cover. The noise is being subjected to natural distortion, as if contained within a tunnel. Well, more like a cargo container. My natural senses identify the correct container to my back. I walked right by it, and never once realized there was someone inside. Perhaps it is a curious bystander who heard all the commotion. Or maybe it is an Agent of the Church, here to perform clean-up. I wonder to myself if such a person would hide from me. I do not know who is hiding within the rectangular box, but whoever they are they must be trying to remain hidden. And they must also be cursing their stupidity for not turning off their phone. The music stops as abruptly as it began, but it is far too late for that. I try not to curse my opponent's idiocy, but their bad luck. I hesitate, but only for a second.

I cannot allow my personal experience with this matter to interfere with my Master's will. Witnesses are not allowed, but... This is truly a cruel joke. To think I would have to take the life of a potentially innocent bystander. This is an unlucky day for us both.

My target will not hear my thoughts, and as soon as the song ends, I turn towards the cargo crate and focus intently. And that's when I realize the trap I am caught in. If I were a human, then this trick might have worked. No human could perceive the shadow of what is above them on the ground, when it is now so dark and unlit. But I do, and I roll forward as the cargo crate slams onto ground heavily. Its metal frame buckles and twists under its own weight, and my eyes immediately move towards the crane that had been holding the container there. That is my target, then. I project the sword that will kill this witness and destroy the crane in its entirety. Mhíle Sciathán: The Long Finger of the Silver Hand, a sword that was once used by King Airgetlám. Descended from the god Lugh's own sword of light, it parallel's another certain tale's version called "Cruaidín". But this sword is neither of those two weapons, though it would easily match the latter. This sword will be more than enough for what I need it to do. The sword is in my hand, and just before I can level the blade's tip towards the crane... She jumps from the debris behind me.

Ka-chink!

Like that, the true enemy is drawn out of the shadows - the rubble of the bent and twisted container the crane tried to drop on me.

I turn just in time to see my attacker and react. "React" is the wrong word in this situation, in fact. I lazily tilt the blade so that it lies nearly horizontally in front of my face and intercepts the knife. The smaller blade slides along my sword's edge, creating a shower of sparks that fly between us. The attack itself was about what I expected, but it is delivered with much more physical force than I had anticipated. I take a step back to keep my balance. I am not surprised the ambush came from Assassin - I guessed that it was her since I sense no spiritual presence around. But her Master must be in the crane, and so this Servant wants to protect her Master from my response. I could see through both layers of the trap easily - or rather, once I noticed the first, it is foolish to not expect the second. No Master would engage a Servant on their own, but Assassin's attack isn't the issue at hand. Her physical strength is more than my own, even if that first knife strike was avoided.

"Tch! Assassin. I see you two felt the need to stick around. Very risky. But is attacking me the wisest course of action?"

My words are - of course - a calmly spoken bluff. I can tell that this Assassin can physically overpower me in the long haul, and while my victory is possible - I'd really rather not create another scene like Ajax. My hope is that speaking to the Servant and ignoring the Master will calm her down and give me a chance to think about what to do next. My words should not seem too desperate, but I am reluctant to engage this enemy.

"I don't care how quickly you move. You will not be able to escape from this blade. I am giving you fair warning, Assassin."

Tag: Deneuve, Hawwah Words: 1,863 Outfit: The Usual Notes: Immediately after the The Armored Giant

This template was made by MEL THE MAGNIFICENT !? of Caution & SDS
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Hawwah
 Posted: Dec 5 2013, 09:15 PM
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The woman Assassin hid in the shadows, watching the ruined and quiet scene of the battle in which she herself had taken part not too long ago. Her Master, she learned, had been observing from high above the battlefield, and had gathered much of the same intelligence that she had. It had been thanks to his utterly mundane nature that he had gone undetected by both magus and Servant alike. Upon comparing with her knowledge, he had come to many of the same conclusions that she had, as well as potentially identified the combatant that she had only heard as Berserker. He had pointedly not spoken about the man who's corpse, which more resembled a piece of raw meat than a human being at this point, now rested in the remains of the harbor, but she could tell that he was not approving of her involvement of him or his fate. Since he had not brought it up, she had felt no need to defend her actions, but had she been forced she would have reasonably explained that she had not expected that the situation would devolve into combat so quickly. Her Master was an intelligent man, however, and had likely already come to a similar conclusion.

Whatever his opinion of her actions, they were not extreme enough to hinder his ability to work with his Servant. He had deduced that, as the message sent by Lancer and the subsequent combat had been, that the remaining two Servants which were unaccounted for may well arrive to inspect the area after the fact. With all the knight classes and Berserker accounted for, that left only Rider and Caster, two classes Assassin felt confident she could handle in close combat. With this in mind, Master and Servant quickly devised a plan. He would remain in the crane he had commandeered while she would plant a device that would lure any potential foe to the prime location for him to activate the mechanisms of the crane and catch them off guard. If this did not incapacitate the enemy (which Hawwah suspected and informed him was most likely the case), Hawwah would use it as a distraction to close the distance between herself and the enemy Servant and hopefully incapacitate them.

And so she waited in the shadows, gathering her strength for what would unfold. She was reasonably tired from having used her Noble Phantasm and being so roughly ejected from her vessel, and of course despite all the best efforts of her Master she was not quite up to top form, but she would doubtless be able to handle the less physically powerful Servants that may arrive to investigate. So long as she could reach them before they could activate a spell or Noble Phantasm of their own, that was.

While she was able to gather her strength in the time that she waited, she was not left waiting for long. Eventually a single figure appeared, which pleased the Servant Assassin. A large fight with several combatants such as what occurred before was survivable, but did not play to her strengths. She was much more comfortable with a single enemy, especially when she was the one who controlled how their confrontation would begin. This was her strength as an Assassin, and as a hunter.

As the man wandered about, not quite in the right position to begin arming the trap, she took the time to study him. Tall, dark skin, and white hair, the man was a distinctive figure that certainly would stand out among the masses of this modern day Japan. His red cloak blew gently in the slight breeze that seemed to be a constant presence in this place so close to the sea, revealing dark clothing underneath. Even if his unique attire did not announce it, his presence was doubtless that of a Servant, on that none but her could hide. He wore no obvious weapons, but from the lean muscles on his frame she would not assume that he was a Caster. That left Rider, then, which was a blessing and a curse. She would not have a plethora of spells to deal with, but Riders were known for their devastatingly powerful Noble Phantasms, which meant that she would need to strike quickly before he could bring his ultimate attack to bear.

The sound of her Master's device almost disrupted Hawwah's train of thought, but thankfully she was able to remain focused on the situation at hand with little more than an aside thought as to how she'd been expecting a simple noise rather than modern (and surprisingly catchy) music. She watched from her perch as the Servant turned towards the music and finally fell into place for the trap to be sprung. Hawwah tensed herself, ready for her part as soon as the plan was set in motion. When the crate came down she charged forward. Visual contact was momentarily lost as the wreckage of the metal crate came down, but she could still sense the Servants presence. He was likely unharmed, and even more likely to be preparing a counterattack against the source of the assault, namely her Master in the crane. She needed to move fast to ensure his safety and make the most use of the opening they had created.

It was perhaps her haste that made her opponent aware of her approach, as by the time she cleared the debris and closed the distance between them he had turned to face her. In his hand was now a weapon, a sword with an oddly designed handguard, and for a moment panicked worry filled the Assassin's mind. Had she made the wrong conclusions about her previous foes? Was this in fact Saber? She quickly shoved those concerns aside. She had seen what the silver knight had done, batting falling weapons from the sky with his own blade. Nothing but a Noble Phantasm could have accomplished that, and with the way he had wielded it there was no doubt that he had been Saber as he had claimed. When their weapons came into contact her fears were laid to rest. Their blades slid past eachother, and while it was painfully apparent that her own knife would not be well suited to direct blows with this sword, she was very quick to discover that this Servant's strength was nowhere near what should be expected from a Saber.

The two Servants parted, and Rider(?) spoke. His words were words of warning, but Hawwah saw no need to heed them. This was war, and right now if she did not press the offensive than there was a risk that her Master would be in danger. She could not allow that, not for the man who had placed himself into this war for her benefit. She bared her teeth in a way that could not possibly be mistaken for a smile.

'Prey does not often lecture the predator,' she thought as she charged. While she darted forward with speed that would make the wind weep in envy, the key aspects of her assault formed in her mind. Noble Phantasm or not, his sword could easily stand up to and even potentially damage her own weapon should they clash directly. The key, then, would be to avoid the blade entirely. She would let him make the first move, and watch for how his weapon traveled, using every ounce of her agility to remain out of its path. If possible, she would get close enough to strike at him with her knife; with her strength, she would have the distinct advantage once within a distance at which he could no longer reasonably wield his longer weapon at her. If no opportunity would present itself, however, she would pass him by, circling around in hopes that an opening from another angle would become apparent.

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EMIYA
 Posted: Dec 8 2013, 02:41 PM
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The Nameless Hero
On The Endless Horizon, A Regained Ideal
The cursed status of one as a forever inferior opponent is something I know well. A human - Magus or no - should never be able to harm a Servant, much less take their life. There are very few exceptions to this rule, even in my limitless experience. Similarly, it is only by virtue of my current existence as a Counter Guardian and a Heroic Spirit that I can contend with these heroes of history. To set up false openings and utilize traps and tactics over raw battle potential; that is a fighting style I am all too familiar with, in both life and death. From the moment I hear that cell phone go off, I know exactly what it is. In more ways than one, even. I immediately recognize the suppressed melody as a "ringtone", but I also understand the nature of the trap before me. Granted, I only expected one layer of subterfuge; specifically, I expected that when I turned to face the planted distraction, I would be ambushed from either side. I was ready for that to happen, but it did not. Instead, the true trap was revealed, and the freight container held by the crane was dropped so that it would crush me.

An inexperienced Master, then. I think at once, understanding that if there is a Servant nearby, then it will be Assassin. After all, even a brave or stupid Master like the one inside the crane must have been told the truth: That he can not hope to harm a Heroic Spirit with such a mundane trick as this. Even so, I roll forward and immediately slide into a fighting stance - sword in hand. Mhíle Sciathán is descended from the sword wielded by Lugh, the God of Light of Ireland. In some mythos, it is even thought to be that sacred blade itself. But in truth, all that is known about the sword in my hand is the following: "Once drawn from its sheathe, none may escape from it - and none may resist it." So were its abilities recorded in the "Four Treasures of the Tuatha Dé Danann." It seems to glow with the promise of victory - a torch in the dimly lit harbor whose lights falter thanks to the temper tantrum thrown by Gilgamesh. But it lights the darkness well enough, and as I turn it illuminates the female form of my enemy.

Our blades clash, and a shower of sparks fly as steel kisses steel. But the quality of the two blades varies too greatly. My eyes glimpse the knife in her hand and even before the blades bite into one another, I store that modern-day weapon within the Hill of Swords. I recognize its history - or in this case, a lack thereof. It has a spiritual weight to its substance, but that only confirms the one wielding it is a Heroic Spirit. And since I cannot sense this enemy's presence with anything more than my five physical senses, I identify her right away. Of course, I already know who this enemy is. I saw her prowling around the battle field before Leo made his declaration - and confirmed her presence when she slipped into the body of the now deceased elderly man nearby. She is Assassin, that much is clear, and while I missed her performance thanks to Saber's interruption I am sure she believes the King of Heroes to be the Archer in this war. The weapon she wields now is nothing more than a knife from this modern era, and that both comforts me and makes me all the more anxious.

This is not the first time I have faced an enemy Servant using a non-Noble Phantasm as their weapon, I think to myself, seeing a small crack splinter on her knife's surface before I step back - rather, am pushed back by this Servant's brute physical strength. I take another step back, and then another, pretending to be that much off-balance. In reality, I am merely adjusting my center of gravity and creating an advantageous distance between my enemy and myself. There is now two-and-a-half yards between Assassin and myself, and she seems to be eying me like a simple quarry.

In a mere second, I visualize the two enemies I recall using non-Noble Phantasm weapons. Rider, with her twin daggers held together by a length of chain. And Fake Assassin, who relied on a sure-kill technique rather than fighting ability. But even this situation is different from the one before me. Those two did not wield weapons from the modern day - their weapons were still spiritual constructs, empowered by their very existence as creations of a Servant. In truth, they were no less a weapon than Arturia's armor is a defensive armament. But this knife has none of that spiritual power, and its only true significance lies in the fact it was very recently plucked from the modern day and taken into the hands of this Servant before me. Thus, even as the weapon of a Servant it will not stand up to the sword of King Núadu. The knife already suffered one crack in that brief kiss of our blades, and it would not last for more than another one or two exchanges.

But in my experience, both Rider and Assassin made up for their lack of apparent Noble Phantasm weapons through some other means. The woman before me is still a Servant of the Grail, and must not be underestimated. The fact she uses a knife from this era with such deadly efficiency makes her the superior opponent, not to mention her physical strength and that blinding speed. I must assume my natural role as the weaker enemy - and only by doing that, will I have a chance at victory.

Twice in the same night I have been forced into close-quarters combat against undesirable opponents - first with Saber, and now with Assassin. Though, between those two enemies, I would pick Assassin nine times out of ten. I proceed to speak to her in order to discourage her efforts. I try to bluff her, and truthfully mention how unlikely it is that she will escape from this blade if it is used on her. Both of its known properties have manifested themselves within this crystallization of the Silver Hand's sword, and so too is this blade considered impossible to escape from and impossible to resist. But the look on Assassin's face tells me her reply: She has heard my words, but chooses not to heed them and not to listen. Should I have just told her how much I don't want to fight for my sake? I briefly wonder if that might have had a different result...

Doubtful. I decide, readying myself before she even kicks off the ground. I understand from that snarl alone that she intends to continue her assault, and consider that it is her Master's safety which she fears for. That makes this woman even more dangerous; she saw me ready an attack on her Master, and only turn to fend her off. She must surely think that a brief pause in our own skirmish will result in the death of her Master. She is not wrong to think so - or would not be, in most cases. But I am more interested in information than enemies, so I will humor her desire to fight. But her battle strategy will not be as effective against me. I am facing a superior opponent with an inferior weapon - so naturally, her body will be her favored weapon for the moment. The knife is little more than a red-herring, the mere tail of the scorpion before me - when her claws are the actual danger in front of me. She moves like lightning, and I react - but not by making the first move.

The distance I have created between us is something I must use not just for reading my opponent's intention but also to survive. I keep my blade held at an ideal, diagonal angle - knowing this blade's fairly short length makes it good for parrying in close-quarters. Most swords draw their strength from their size and sharpness, but this one is different. It is lightweight but made durable through its very origins as one of Ireland's four treasures - an heirloom of Lugh's own sword. It was made for taking on otherwise superior enemies at close proximity, and will easily fall into my style of creating false openings. I turn my wrist and let the blade twirl once towards Assassin - a blow designed to cut off her movement path. The most obvious courses of action will be to move inside the attack and finish me, duck or jump to avoid the "evaluating" stray sword slash, or to jump away from the blade before she runs right into it, which would widen the circle and create even more distance.

I make sure to carry through the slash, which will prove just as dangerous even if she moves inside of it and right into my personal space - this would enable her to get into ideal knife-fighting territory, but if she falls for this fake-opening, I can ready myself with another quick pivot of wrist and body. This is the course of action I hope she will take, as the intended outcome is to block a certainly lethal attack and counter when her knife is removed from my sword once again.

If she jumps over or under the attack, it will be more a stalemate than anything - I could probably defend against a high or low attack, but not as gracefully as one designed to get "Inside" my blade and the traditional sword-fighting range. And if she leaps away, well, we will both get to determine the next exchange in equal parts. I am fairly certain she is agile enough to not simply run onto my turned blade, and end the fight herself - which is why I believe widening her circle by leaping away is also a possible outcome. In the event she dodges by jumping, ducking, or distancing herself - I will turn my body, in hopes of reacting to her counter attack in time. Of course, with this blade - even a sword's length will be enough to activate the Noble Phantasm.

Tag: Deneuve, Hawwah Words: 1,732 Outfit: The Usual Notes: Immediately after the The Armored Giant

This template was made by MEL THE MAGNIFICENT !? of Caution & SDS
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