Story: The Sword and the Staff (chapter 3)

Authors: bleeding.blade

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Chapter 3

Title: Chapter 2

Thirty months after the end of the Fifth Holy Grail War...

He dreamt of meadows. In his dream, he felt the thunder of horses' hooves, smelt the fragrance of grass and hay, heard the silvery laugh of a blond and green-eyed child. He had loved that childhad raised and molded her as he would his own. But he had given her away, as the necessary sacrifice to a land that demanded only the noblest blood. She had become a king, perhaps the greatest of all. Somewhere in the distance, a door opened

"My Lord."

The old man opened his eyes. The faces before him were grim. He knew what they had come to tell him—had known it days, months, perhaps even eons in advance (it was becoming hard to tell). He knew all their faces: knew the care-worn and weather-beaten lines born from too much study, sorcery and strife. All the faces arrayed before him carried the same stony and implacable expression—all, that is, except one. At the sight of that face, the old man smiled.

"Speak, Novice Master."

"We have confirmed it, my Lord. Someone is gathering all the Weapons that have been used in the Holy Grail Wars."

"Their purpose?"

"Unknown, my Lord, but it cannot be permitted. The Grail has been destroyed, but if amassed together, the Weapons used in the War can almost approximate its power."

"Have they managed to retrieve them all?"

"All, my Lord. Except one."


The Novice Master nodded.

 "What harm can they cause without the Sword?"

"A considerable amount, though significantly less with its absence."

A young voice carried from the back of the room. "And what harm can they cause with the Sword?" At the sound of the voice, the old man smiled again.

The Novice Master, however, was irritated by the interruption. His voice was stony when he spoke.

"Theoretically, the world's annihilation. Practically, none, because in all of history, only one person of sufficiently noble blood has ever been born that can wield Excalibur. And that person no longer exists."

The young Mage spoke again. "And if that person were still alive?"

The Novice Master's eyes narrowed. "This is not the time for speculation, Novice."

The Mage responded quietly. "I do not speculate."

The old man interrupted gently.

"Speak, Novice."

The Mage hesitated briefly. "The one who bore Excalibur—the one who pulled Caliburn out of the stone—she lives still in this world. She lives in Japan."

The room exploded in murmurs. The Novice Master stood his ground. "Impossible. Arturia Pendragon dematerialized in the last Holy Grail War, as did all the other Heroic Spirits."

The Mage replied simply. "Yes she did. And then she returned five months later."

A gray-haired and steely-eyed woman spoke then. "If the Novice speaks rightly, my Lord, then our worst fears are possible."

The old man nodded. "Very well, then. We shall retrieve Arturia, and through her, the Sword." Then ignoring the fiercely imploring glances being directed towards him, the old man looked directly at the young Mage who had spoken.

"I entrust this mission to you, Novice Tohsaka Rin. Go—and do not fail."

The girl bowed deeply. "As you wish, my Lord." And with the briefest of nods toward the other Mages, Rin left.


Later, when all the other Mages had departed, the Novice Master accosted the old man.

"Was it wise to have sent her? She's far too young and far too inexperienced. As it is, the Mages are questioning her inclusion in the Council. In all our history, no one of her age has ever been granted a seat in the ruling body!"

The old man's expression remained untroubled. "It can't be helped. It's been centuries since a Mage has emerged with Novice Rin's potential. She may be young, but she's the only one with the power to do what needs to be done. Not that she or anyone else realizes that. But as the Novice Master, you know as well as I do what she's capable of."

The Novice Master nodded reluctantly. "Very well, then, my Lord. As you wish."

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