Author's intro

Quite a bit of reaction for a prologue, thank you for the reviews and the kind words. I thought I would get the first serious chapter before Christmas as a small early present to the fans of Fate/Stay Night who stop by and rid this fic.

Fonts used:

"Speech."

Thoughts.

"Arias and other Mysteries."

"Higher beings speaking, overpowered Mysteries."

As always, I apologize for wonky Slavic-style punctuation.

Enjoy, full notes at the end of the chapter.

A Father's Responsibility

School confused him. Teachers and other children were just too weird: not kind and brooding like his father, not hyperactive to the point of manic like Taiga or aloof and kind of aggressive like old man Fujimura's people. All the important people in his life had some sort of goals or overarching ambitions which children and teachers in the first grade decidedly lacked.

Of course, Shirou had no way of knowing that human beings usually get their act together in their late teens and not right after learning how to read hiragana. Kiritsugu tried to explain but it was met with limited success as his son had quite a bit of trouble with understanding people who were not like him. Which meant, pretty much, anybody who wasn't forged in the fiery hell of war.

Not like the boy was isolated, no: he enjoyed helping others with lessons and other stuff way too much for that. But it was precisely because of his overwhelming desire to be helpful to others that Shirou couldn't get any true friends.  He was strong and smart for his age and other kids either idolized him a bit or were suspicious of him. Ironically, it was the latter half that Shirou could probably benefit most from socializing with, as they were the children who have known some sort of hardship in their short lives to be naturally wary of him.

The Emiya family sat in the living room of their Japanese-style mansion. The father was enjoying one the clear October weather, sitting just outside and soaking up the autumn sun while chilly morning air dulled his pain somewhat. Shirou was practicing Structural Analysis.

"Trace on."

Hearing the words for the hundredth time the former Magus Killer shook his head: he couldn't really be surprised that his son would pick a personal mantra that let him become even more empty: Shirou explained to him once that as he worked Mysteries he imagined himself as a black blade, across which green lines of energy were being traced.

"Father?.."

Outwardly the boy looked completely focused on the cup but from his tone it was clear that Shirou had been bothered by something for a while.

"Yes, Shirou? You've improved, I see."

"Why do people hurt? Themselves and each other? It's simple not to hurt, so why do they?"

Kiritsugu pinched the bridge of his nose, collecting his thoughts. His son was bound to start asking these types of questions sooner or later but he was hoping Shirou would start with something other than human nature and the perpetuation of suffering:

"Well… I'm not really an expert but I think it's because humans simply want too many limited things. When you and another person both want something only one can have, there is conflict, - he paused, - Even if it starts this way… We are emotional creatures, Shirou. Somebody hurts you and it takes willpower not to hurt them back."

"I don't really understand: but why hurt them back? Why not just stop them from hurting you more or let them have what they want if it's so important to them?"

"Sometimes you need to hurt people in order to stop them from hurting others. Even if all you want to do is stop the pain around you."

Kiritsugu could only smile bitterly as this phrase pretty much summed up all his life up to the Holy Grail War. And look where it had led him to – dying of a curse, trying to truly save just one tiny soul.

The boy tilted his head in that peculiar thinking motion of his which, thankfully, became less robotic after two years. Finally he nodded to himself:

"I sort of sort of get it. If somebody wanted to hurt you, I'd hit them with my bokken. Hard."

Seeing Shirou's dead-serious expression Kiritsugu couldn't help but laugh:

"Yes, you would. Protecting what's important to you is… important. Even if it also hurts others."

"But having to hurt others for something you want? That's just stupid: you can simply want something else instead."

This time Kiritsugu didn't laugh. It had become clear to him long before that Shirou's only real desire was to find a way to be as useful as possible to the world around him and it wasn't like said world would actively resist a desire like that. The wishes of most people: things and power over others, - were empty to the boy. No wonder he didn't really understand conflict. It just didn't make sense for anyone to want something else except living and cooking in peace and helping each other.

The cursed Magus could appreciate the irony, though: as incompetent as he was as a father, he was almost uniquely suited to raising Shirou. The boy was forged by the horrors of war he had no business getting involved with and war and suffering were two things Kiritsugu understood much better than he would have liked.

***

Another few months passed and winter came. Kiritsugu had been gone for a while, spending his time in Europe and nearly freezing to death while trying to get through the wards around Einzbern's ancestral home yet again. It was a futile effort, of course, as even in his prime he would have had trouble with dismantling the defenses of one of the most powerful family of Magi in existence, and even if he somehow succeeded at that there was still the matter of dealing with homunculi.

By the time he came back the former assassin found out that his son had memorized most of the books he had on conceptual-based Mysteries, even if Shirou didn't understand half of the material yet. At their first Thaumaturgy session, after some brief Structural Grasping, the boy attempted something else. Furrowing his brow, he extended his right hand as if expecting something to appear in it and whispered:

"Trace on."

There was a brief flash of Prana and a crack of electricity and then Shirou was kneeling on the floor, grasping his head with both hands.

"Why doesn't it work?.."

Kiritsugu had seen him try something similar before but for the first time he understood that his son was attempting some specific form of Thaumaturgy and wasn't just messing around with magical energies. He walked up to Shirou and offered a hand to help him get up, smiling kindly, if a little tiredly:

"Maybe I can help? Tell me, what are you trying here?"

The boy hesitated for a few moments, looking decidedly embarrassed before sighing and answering. Kiritsugu couldn't help but smile at how funny it was to hear a child mimic an old man irritated with the exasperating ways of life.

"I'm trying to pull it out?"

"Pardon?"

Shirou looked at him as if his father suddenly turned into an idiot:

"The kitchen knife. I don't know, there is like this place. In my head. There are all sorts of things there: knives and scalpels, and swords from the museum you took me for my birthday to. They seem kind of real but I just can't draw them out. It's annoying."

Only years spent on the battlefield kept the Magus Killer from freezing: Shirou's choice of words was awfully specific and reminded him of things that the boy simply couldn't come across in the entry-level books he had access too. After all, Kiritsugu checked those for anything truly troubling before handing them over:

"Shirou, this is important," he looked at his son gravely, "tell me, what exactly are you trying to do?"

Well, I sort of fill a Circuit in my arm with Od and they I reach into my head…

"Okay, okay," Kiritsugu started rubbing the back of his head absent-mindedly, trying to stave off an oncoming migraine. "I want you to do it again, just don't try to pull. Look at what you have in mind and then fill the air in front of your palm with energy. Try to shape the Mana you control into the shape of what you are imagining. Don't touch the image, just re-create it in the air. You should imagine the object as clearly as you can, materials, shape, everything you can, at once."

It was how he had Projection explained to him years ago and it was pure luck that he still remembered it. Creating copies that shattered from the slightest impact to reveal nothing but emptiness inside… At best it could prove a distraction but illusions were more useful for that. Not like you could create something large like a wall with Projection without expending huge amounts of Mana.

Shirou frowned again, stretching his arm forward, supporting it with his other hand and spreading his fingers. The boy focused, this time enunciating the words forcefully:

"Trace ON!"

He muttered something else under his breath but Kiritsugu couldn't quite make out the words.

If what was seen at his previous attempt could only be described as Mana manifesting and sizzling, now it seemed to connect. A flash of blue light briefly blinded Kiritsugu before he heard multiple clangs of something metal hitting the floor. As his eyes re-adjusted he first saw a panting Shirou grinning widely at something and then – the floor.

The entire kitchen knife set lay there in a heap, looking as real as can be. Holding his breath, the Magus crouched and picked one up. It looked solid enough and even weighed as much as a real knife this size would. Kiritsugu grasped the handle firmly and hit the floor with the blade. He wasn't as strong as he was in the past, of course, but still enough to shatter a Projection.

Only it didn't shatter: the blade rang triumphantly through the shed they used for practice and vibrated in his hand, the illusion of a real knife complete.

Can you make them disappear? You should feel energy going from you to them, try to cut it off.

Shirou looked confused for a moment as if he couldn't find the Mana stream, which also didn't make much sense. The drain should have been considerable, unless his Element or Origin had something to do with metals or blades or, perhaps, kitchenware? The migraine was in full swing now, having overwhelmed Emiya's puny attempts at fighting it.

Luckily, the boy's face finally lighted up, he made a dismissing gesture and the knives vanished in sparks of blue Mana. Kiritsugu sighed in relief, not seeing what the 7-year-old unqualified Magus had done in front of his eyes made it easier to distance himself from the sheer ridiculousness of it. Plus, it helped that Shirou looked happier than he probably had ever seen the boy:

All right, all right… Let's go to the living room. I want you to tell me exactly what that place in your mind is like and how and what types of objects end up there.

***

It took Kiritsugu a week to get all the materials he needed, double-check everything and to make sure Shirou told him everything he knew. Now it was finally time to stop denying the truth: his son had a Reality Marble. His seven-year-old son was screwed up enough to have something similar to what centuries old Vampires possessed.

How many known cases of a Magus having that sort of power where there during the whole history of mankind? Five? Six? How many more might have been hidden from the Association? Another ten or so?

In any case, the phenomenon was rare enough for the one who had it to get slapped with a Sealing Designation faster than you could say ‘Thaumaturgy' and, best case scenario, spend their life being experimented upon in the Tower… Unfortunately, with Shirou's propensity to helping anyone getting hurt in front of him in some sort of a misguided attempt to be useful, the boy was bound to attract attention sooner, rather than later. So avoiding the magical world completely was out of the question.

This meant Kiritsugu had to be smart, had to somehow set his son on a path where the budding Magus would either be able to conceal the extent of his abilities or be more valuable free rather than in a cell somewhere. And thinking of the kind of situations where he might give the Association a better pay-off than being locked up within some research department left an unpleasant state in the former Magus Killer's mouth. He knew what those people were like, what they were capable of. And he knew that the only reason he himself stayed safe all those years was because his own abilities were really nothing special. Time manipulation was simply peculiar. Curious. An opportunity to study a Reality Marble was potentially groundbreaking.

All those dark thoughts found Kiritsugu sitting in his room and drinking. Normally, he wasn't one to believe that alcohol could improve one's thought process but this was a special occasion: he simply wasn't sure he could handle his results with a clear head.

"And if that weren't enough…"

He was quite sure that both Shirou's Element and Origin had something to do with blades: the boy was able to improve the projection process minutes after learning it, for Root's sake. Starting with the intentions of the creator, continuing with materials, manufacturing and going all the way to experiences and skills of the ones who held the blades before… And the sheer quality of his knife projections was absurd: they were nothing like the empty shells were supposed to be.

More than once now Kiritsugu had to remind Shirou of the need to do homework and eat as the boy was spending more time than was healthy with a katana he recreated from another museum visit. He wondered just how deeply was the kinship between the blades and the one storing them in his own mind? Would Shirou be influenced by them? What if he saw something like one of Muramasa's legendary bloodthirsty katanas or, Root forbid, a true demonic weapon?

The conclusion that Kiritsugu reached after a few more days of debating with himself about his future course of action was two-fold. First, he needed to refocus his attention away from the Einzbern castle, at least for a while. He had believed Shirou could live what passed for a safe life for a Magus (which wasn't much with the whole ‘he who walks with death' thing) but now… He needed to be sure that the Grail War didn't leave anything behind but that scarred park. Checking the energy levels around the Greater Grail would take a week or two and alleviate most of his worries.

The other problem was far more profound: he couldn't leave Shirou to grow up alone like he had intended. The Fujimura family would take care of the boy but they couldn't provide him with the necessary education… The Tower was out of the question for obvious reasons, so that left a private teacher. Preferably, somebody who could instruct the boy on combat and Mystic Codes…

The former assassin had to pause in his numerations and jump to his feet as a cry suddenly rang out from outside. A cry in a voice that sounded suspiciously like Shirou's.

He had thought that after the revelations of the previous couple of weeks nothing could really surprise him anymore. He was obviously wrong as what he found inside the shed made his thoughts screech to a halt and his body – freeze. Shirou was lying flat on his back inside the shed, appearing to be in troubled sleep, his breath shallow, wheezing, ragged. The boy looked pale too but that wasn't what captured his attention. On his chest, grasped firmly by both arms lay a golden sheath that radiated calm, soothing power. Avalon.

Well, I guess now we know whether his ability can reproduce Mysteries the object was imbued with, - inside his own mind, Kiritusugu's voice seemed to have hysterical notes to it.

***

"So there was a war."

"Yes."

That you joined."

"Yes."

"You thought it could end all the violence in the world."

"Yes."

"But instead it could end the world."

"Yes."

"So you tried to stop it, the fire happened, my home burned and you got cursed."

"That pretty much sums it up."

They were sitting in the living room, Shirou was cooking all the time through Kiritsugu's story while the Magus Killer himself toyed with the Avalon replica in his hands. He found it helped dull the pain from his sickness even though the copy wasn't perfect and without Arturia its full power remained locked. The idea that his son achieved in a week what most Magi would gladly give their entire lifetimes for would normally fill him with a sense of pride but now he mostly felt tired and afraid of the outburst that was bound to follow any second.

Shirou returned with a huge bowl of some sort of very complicated boiled egg-based salad that was practically swimming in mayonnaise: the boy was going through a Russian cuisine phase and it didn't bode well for anyone concerned about calories or cholesterol. Lucky for Kiritsugu, he was already dying way faster than lack of a proper diet would kill him.

"Okay."

"Okay?" – with the way the older Magus's eyes bulged, you would think there was some sort of Mystery involved. To put it mildly, he expected more than one-word as a response.

Shirou just shrugged:

"Well… I don't remember anything before the fire, right? So I can't be really upset about losing it. And you just wanted to do good, to save the entire city from whatever that Grail thing is. So, okay. Does that golden thing… What did you call it… Does Avalon help?"

"Yeah, a bit."

"But it doesn't work properly without that Saber guy, right? Are there healing swords? Maybe I can make something better? Maybe… if something is strong enough?.."

Being completely honest with himself, Kiritsugu had to admit that it wasn't as much that the curse of the Grail couldn't be resisted in any way but rather that he believed he deserved to die for the life he had led. Sure, all the killing seemed justified at the moment but what sort of impact had it made? The world seemed the same and that fact hung over his soul like an executioner's axe.

Still, even if he himself couldn't be saved, maybe it was possible to delay the symptoms enough to do what he could for Shirou's future.

"Like living with AIDS…"

"What's that?"

"An incurable sickness that makes other illnesses worse, they'll teach you about it in school."

Not like he was going to live long enough to have the dreaded ‘talk' with his son.

"Okay, but what does the curse make worse? Isn't it bad on its own?"

"Well… I admit, bad comparison. But I promise to think of something that might help me stay alive for a little while longer."

Shirou nodded silently and they went back to eating mayonnaise, boiled eggs, meat and vegetables that crazy people across the sea called a salad.

***

It was winter and London was as dark, dank and drab in the evening as Kiritsugu remembered. It was a façade, of course, one that he could easily see through. With the amount of Mysteries being performed in the city, the only thing that kept it from being regularly infested by Dead Apostles and escaped experiments was the impressive amount of Enforcers going in and out of the Tower on a daily basis.

Still, the city was in a permanent state of clean-up, memory wipes and daily renegotiated compromise between different factions and families. All in all, the fact that it still stood was a testament to human ability to persevere through any sort of chaos. Persevere and move forward.

The Magus Killer found himself entering a small café, hidden in an obscure off-shoot of a gloomy alley that itself spawned from a rarely-used street. As he crossed the threshold there was the familiar tingle of a bounded field activating and a more obvious metal detector at the entrance.

No matter, not like I can use much of anything that would trigger these in my state.

The proprietor was an old acquaintance, a bald Irish man called Rob: in his forties with small, deep, dark eyes and lanky constitution.

Nobody reacted much as Kiritsugu entered the establishment. People didn't come here to be approached without invitation and extended the same courtesy to others through unspoken agreement. When the Magus got close to the bar Rob poured a half-full glass of whiskey and put it in front of Emiya with a clank.

"Good to see you alive and kicking. When I didn't hear from you, I assumed the job got to you."

It did.

"Well, I'm more sturdy than I look.

Clearly. He is waiting for you in booth number two. Whatever you do, don't work into the third one. Family quarrel."

One of the reasons this particular watering hole was favored by Thaumaturgy practitioners seeking some degree of privacy was that it had six booths in a back room, fully sectioned off by one-way mirrors and sporting additional bounded fields that kept all sound inside. He knocked and one of the mirrors slid open.

Kiritsugu found himself staring at a seven-inch ceramic knife pointed at him. Prana seemed to radiate off the blade sporting several hastily scratched runes. Ignoring the blade completely, the former assassin looked into the eyes of the man holding it and walked inside:

"You've grown, Waiver."

Said Magus was clad in a lot more expensive (and obviously enchanted) clothes than the last time they met and looked quite different with his hair now falling below his shoulders. Velvet glowered at Kiritsugu for a moment before sighing, dissipating the Mana coating his blade and putting it away. He then sat down on a sofa on one side of the small table in the middle of the booth and gesturing Emiya to the other one.

"And you've looked better, Kiritsugu; since we are on a first-name basis now for some reason. While I appreciate that you didn't call me out here for an ambush, what was the reason? Grail-related doesn't exactly scream ‘specific'."

His former enemy took the invitation, settling comfortably on the soft sofa and taking a sip of his whiskey before giving his very blunt reply:

"The Grail War is returning to Fuyuki. In five to ten years, depending on how quickly it gathers energy. The whole system is out of whack so it's impossible to be more accurate."

Silence fell upon the booth as Velvet froze solid. After a few seconds the younger man reached into his inner pocket with a very precise, almost mechanical motion and took out a string of amber prayer beads. Soon slow, rhythmic clacking of tiny marbles hitting each other was the only sound as he fiddled with them. Finally Waiver spoke:

"You are sure."

It wasn't really a question but Kiritsugu decided to answer anyway:

"I checked the temple above the Greater Grail. There is enough Mana there to summon more than half the Servants already, I think. Probably, because no wish got fulfilled, the energy couldn't go anywhere. I hoped that Saber had taken out it all with Excalibur, but…"

Waiver shuddered:

"I heard there is a cursed park now in Fuyuki where the last battle took place."

"Yes… Let's just say that you don't want the Grail activating. Ever. Again. Anywhere. The system is corrupted beyond all hope of salvage.  Can tell you the whole story later."

"Why not destroy it, then? Or tell one of the founding families? Or the Association?"

"It is tied into Ley Lines that run below half the city. If it is destroyed… Optimistically speaking, it might cause those to turn into seismic fault lines and then bring everything down in a massive earthquake. Pessimistically… Imagine all the energies of all the Servants, corrupted, raining down on everything, turning everyone into Undead. Or just making one immense monster."

The younger Magus shuddered, recalling the Caster of their war and the thing that man had summoned. And the extreme force that was needed to put it down and that wouldn't be readily available, should it happen again as Archer was long gone. Not that he wanted to ever rely on the King of Heroes again.

"Not a pretty picture, right? As for sharing the information… The taint is pretty much impossible to detect while the Grail is passively gathering Mana: it manifests its nature only when the Mystery is actualized and then you already have seven super-powered entities running around a city making any clean-up at that point… difficult. Plus, some of the participants simply may not care about the sacrifice that the Grail requires now in order to be used. They may not care about humanity, just about their own wishes. No, this is not an option. What I am suggesting is preparing a contingency."

Waiver remembered the old Kiritsugu: the emotionless, perfectly efficient killer. The man before him was vastly different even if he tried to use the same words as that automaton-like assassin. This man was obviously broken, yet somehow stronger.

"Contingency?"

"Let me tell you about my son…"

Half an hour later Kiritsugu finished his story and Waiver got them a full bottle of cognac because discussing what they did while sober was simply impossible.

"So let me get this straight: by sheer goddamn coincidence you happened to save and adopt a natural first-generation Magus who is an Incarnation and has a Root-damn-it Reality Marble inside. One that is able to copy any weapons and, potentially, some other objects down to their Mysteries and skill they were wielded with in the past?"

"Pretty much."

"I'll believe it when I see it… Is what I'd like to say but I guess it is simply impossible to make this shit up. Let's say I believe you, just for a minute. Why are you sure I won't run to one of Barthomeloi's dogs with this?"

"Wouldn't say I'm sure but I hope you are one of the people in here who would value the lives of a small city more than your career? And because if you help take care of Shirou after I'm gone you will have access to whatever Mysteries and theories you can develop with him."

"So, some access to some ephemeral Mysteries forty years in the future? Have you even heard of the concept of selling an offer?"

"No, not that long. I am dying, Velvet. Even with certain… methods for extension I'm looking into I won't be here for more than a couple years. I don' think it will be more than five, actually, three to four is something I hope for."

"You know, throwing the ‘dying wish' card on the table isn't really fair."

Kiritsugu simply shrugged and waited while Waiver thought.

"I really don't want to throw the kid under the bus after what he's been through; he is probably the best bet for ending the Grail War once and for all if we can only play the cards right… Yes, this could work… but…"

During the War Velvet has shown himself to be an overall decent Magus whose exceptional strength lay not in raw Mysteries but in analysis and planning. Now the brain that had once easily found the Caster's base was completely focused on preventing the atrocities he witnessed from happening again:

"Five to ten years… too little. Unless… Some sort of powerbase? Any weapon?" his eyes flashed to Kiritsugu, indicating that the last question wasn't rhetorical.

The older Magus nodded.

"Number of Circuits? Energy requirements?"

"Twenty seven. Still mastering their use but they will probably peak at twenty to twenty five units each."

Waiver whistled, impressed.

"As for requirements. He can project a non-weapons Noble Phantasm and not pass out now."

"That sounds awfully specific."

Kiritsugu sighed:

"Am I guessing right that you are in?"

"What does it look like, Kiritsugu, refusal? Now tell me what I need to know to formulate a proper plan here. Obviously you have thought to the ‘I die, he trains and kicks ass' point, let me try to flesh it out a bit, - the Magus sounded decidedly annoyed."

"Avalon. He can project Avalon. You can guess what the rank of the thing is. I'm not very good with analysis anymore but it seems like his version is about B-level right now. Weapons come easier to him. Blades are the easiest, I haven't seen him tire with those at all but it's not like there is something powerful enough lying around my house to really test his limits."

Again Waiver fell silent, lost in his own thoughts for what seemed to Kiritsugu like an hour. The younger man alternatively sipped his drink, clicked his prayer beads, rubbed his temples and, overall, seemed to almost physically push his thoughts into higher gear with every second. Finally, he let out a heavy sigh:

"Okay, this, as unbelievable as it sounds, this can work. Just… we need somebody else, - he looked at the other man, checking for his reaction."

"No one from the Tower. Better yet, no one actively involved with the Association and someone I can trust – that's a tall order if I've heard one, Waiver."

"You need somebody to take Shirou as an apprentice, preferably right now. Someone who can move into Fuyuki, who doesn't have close ties to any faction and someone like a warrior smith. Someone not on active duty and who would be more interesting in observing and… shaping your son than selling him out. And preferably someone who will be able to provide some extent of protection from the Magus society if the need arises. Do you see who I'm hinting here?

Kiritsugu's eyes widened somewhere around the middle of the speech:

"No, not him. I dealt with him once: the man can drive you insane! The only reason why he doesn't have a Sealing Designation is because he is far too eccentric to work with anybody and far too valuable to simply dissect in some lab somewhere."

"What choice do you have? Discretion, skill, experience? He has it, even if he is impossible to control."

Kiritsugu fell silent. He had a feeling this trip was bound to turn out horribly, now if only he had some other choice…

***

When the bell rang Shirou darted toward the door as if the house caught fire. Living in the huge home by himself was boring, the school didn't help much and Taiga was… well, Taiga. His father had been gone for two weeks after saying he was going to get some help with their sleuth of problems after saying it shouldn't take more than one. That was nothing new and Shirou wasn't exactly angry, he just wanted to show off: during the last two weeks he learned how to impose the basic Concept of Movement on the blades he projected, making them shoot through the air in some direction instead of just appearing and falling. It was so cool! Except when the knives and swords made holes in the walls which happened disturbingly often. Or when they near skewered him and he had to dismiss them on the fly. Still, when that didn't happen it was cool.

But when he opened the door, Shirou just stopped. Sure, his father was there but so was the strangest man he had ever seen.

Standing over six feet, wearing a formal grass-pattern kimono for some reason, with a freaking bright-red pin sticking out of a knot the man tied his hair into. And where those geta on his feet? Yeah, definitely geta: who the hell wore wooden sandals outside a culture festival?

The entire thing was exacerbated by the way the man moved: with jerking, rapid gestures, as if there was absolutely no filter between his thoughts and muscles.

He instantly focused on Shirou and bent down, bringing his face uncomfortably close to the boy, squinted his disturbingly dark-blue eyes and spoke in a clipped thick German accent:

"That him? The One Who Will Save Us All?"

Kiritsugu groaned:

"Come on, can you be serious for just one damn moment? Yes, that's Shirou. Shirou, this is... "

"Hi, Emiya-kun. My name is Dietrich Gladstone. When your father kicks the bucket, I'll be your dad and help you learn to fight and teach you about Mysteries and things. Now, where is my room?"

And with these words the man strode inside right past the boy. Shirou just stood there, gaping:

"What? What was that?"

Kiritsugu looked like he was thinking about and sincerely regretting all the choices he had made up to this point. All the damn choices that led to this incredibly frustrating moment. He, however, didn't answer: instead a lean man with long black hair stepped out from behind Kiritsugu.

"Hello, I'm Waiver Velvet, nice to meet you, Shirou. I believe your father told you about me? – there was barely a pause, - That was Dietrich, a Mystic Code crafter. He's really good but… difficult. Active for about twenty years now, mostly self-taught, positively brilliant. He has unique Circuits, pretty much restricting him to channeling any Mysteries through solid objects suited to conducting Mana. Crazy smart, emphasis on crazy. Learned Japanese by himself, though, and watched way too much historical drama, hence the weird speech."

Shirou simply blinked:

"I don't quite get it... Father? What's going on?"

Author's notes

Now that we have the first real chapter, a couple of words about this story.

I expect this to be about twelve chapters in total and not much more as I'd like to finish this fanfic in a year or sooner (the fairly optimistic estimation is half a year but we'll see). It might grow into something larger if I get really caught up in the story, though. Still, I want to have a finished story in a reasonable amount of time, rather than create a years-spanning monster.

The primary focus will be on Shirou's personal road to becoming awesome while staying sane-ish and me playing with the Nasuverse in order for said awesomeness to occur without making the protagonist ITSANELDERGODRUNFORYOURLIVESSS!!!!! or breaking Kinoko's metaphysics board across my knee. The main focus will be on Shirou basically being a weapon but trying to learn to be a decent person too.

Chapter credits.

Ideas I got from ThirdFang and used in this chapter: just as in ‘From Fake Dreams', Shirou needs a liaison with the Tower in this story. He is simply too interesting as a test subject to not get locked up as soon as he attracts the attention without a considerable amount of scheming and some political pull on somebody's part. As far as I know, the only morally decent Association Magus Kiritsugu knows in canon is Waiver. So I drafted him into looking out for the boy in exchange for being able to use the data the whole plan can provide for his own academic exploits and plain getting a chance to right some of the wrongs that he sort of helped occur by participating in the previous War.

Again, in order to prepare Shirou for the war (that Kiritsugu now knows is coming sooner rather than later), he needs to be trained in advance. Sirius McGinty is awesome but he belongs to ThirdFang, body and soul, plus I have my own designs on how best to handle Shirou's development up to First Night. This is where the Dietrich comes in, and I hope you will find him interesting to read.

Tohsaka and Sakura will be joining the fun in the next chapter (hopefully I will publish it in a couple weeks). Stay tuned and please review! It's feedback from readers that can stop a story from descending into complete boredom.

Также в разделе:

Eye of the Sword – First Day, Second Night (part 2)
Eye of the Sword – Falling Headfirst into Place (part 2)
Песочница драконов – четвертая глава (часть первая)

Опубликовано: 14.01.2016

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(c) Александр Кирко, 2016