So guys, this meant as an announcement as well as an update.
I have absolutely no inspiration to write Avenger of Swords anymore. Most of it is due to school, where I couldn't write as much since I was very focused on my education and getting grades to get into university. Now that I have, I have a lot more free time but all the same; Avenger of Swords is discontinued.
That said, I have recently gained the inspiration, thanks to the advice and help of a good friend of mine called 00Altair, to write a story that has elements of my plans for both Avenger of Swords and its sequel stories in some places.
However, this new story is more of a mix between Fate/kaleid liner: Prisma Illya and Apocrypha, similar to 00Altair's own story; Fate Magnus Bellum. I'd highly recommend it to you guys also since it's really well-written.
Anyway, thanks to him I've gotten the muse back to write this rewritten version of the AoS verse I was going to build and as an apology here's a preview of what will happen in it.
I really hope you enjoy it, and I am sincerely sorry for not updating you more. All the same, when I post the real first chapter of the story, around the end of October, review that story like you have Avenger of Swords.
Thank you for your support, and enjoy this preview.
Fate Liner: Red Knight
It was dark, inside the ever-continuing and crude tunnel. Though it was completely natural, there was a sense of uneasiness about it. It dissuaded anyone from coming near it seemingly by just a presence being exuded.
No light could be seen except for brief shafts of it filtering in from the outside, and water could be heard dripping from the deep caverns obscured by the deep darkness. If one wanted to walk through it despite these attributes, they had to be some of great personal resolution, else they would turn coward and walk back into the comfort of the night filled with snow.
However, there were two people that dared brave the cavern that night, seeking a goal they had made their mission to accomplish no matter what happened to them. Even if they died, they would continue down this descending tunnetl to hell for the sake of that goal.
They proceeded in absolute silence; there was no need to share words between themselves, since that time had already passed. Besides, when it came down to important things the two companions only focused on that thing with laser-like precision; they were uncannily alike in some ways, and different in others.
A boy of seventeen years, with red hair and amber eyes was walking in front of his companion, and was wearing a black-white jacket along with a shirt underneath, along with some pants and good trainers. He could be described as average, but that was far from the truth.
Despite his youth, he walked with the stance and appearance of someone who had undergone a great personal resolution, and never strayed from his path. His steps echoed in the darkness, but his hands were clenched as an example of this resolution.
Behind him walked a far greater figure, in the sense that he was powerful.
The man had a similar build to the boy himself, but a little more bulkier due to being older than him. He had lightly-tanned skin, silver-grey hair and eyes the colour of steel. Over a black shirt that would remind one of the early 5th to 6th centuries, he wore ornate silver armour that while lined with gold, was still practical and unrecognizable to anyone else but the boy.
It would be clear to any other person, that this man was indeed an example of the pinnacle of humanity's strongest warriors.
They continued the journey in silence, but they eventually reached a better-lit cavern, big enough for a battle. Upon doing so, the red-haired boy cast his eyes upon the only other figure there. Behind that figure, he could see light shining in the rest of the tunnel. But for now, he focused on the black-haired boy wearing the Japanese school uniform, with his back to him.
Beside the black-haired boy stood a woman of great and unparalleled beauty. She had long teal-white hair and wore purple-pink mithril armour of a similar style to the man accompanying the red-haired boy. But what distinguished her was the weapon she held; it was a great and menacing spear, twisted metal that was somehow beautiful, ending in a strange heart-shaped tip.
She stared at the man, blushing at him and in turn the man acknowledged her with his own look. They had personal history after all, and that business would be settled here and now.
When the red-haired boy spoke, it was with a tone of maturity but also mixed in with understanding and familiarity towards the other opposing him.
"It's been a long time." The red-haired boy called out, knowing the other could hear him. "But I finally caught up to you,"
At this, the other boy-Julian- turned around and gave his opponent a severe glare that always seemed to be present on his face.
"Shirou Emiya." Julian acknowledged, but not politely: rather, he was grudgingly acknowledging Shirou, with his tone full of displeasure. "It took you long enough. I've already sent Angelica to secure the Grail for the final phase. I've been waiting for you."
At the mention of that certain girl, Shirou's gaze turned into a hard glare towards Julian which in turn was returned with a scowl. It would be clear to outsiders that the mentioned girl was a hot topic between them, a source of conflict and the second cause of the conflict between them.
Shirou gritted his teeth at the memory of before, of what he learned and what Julian had done. That knowledge had reiterated to Shirou that even if he wanted to, Julian had gone beyond the pale. There was no chance of them becoming friends once more like they used to be.
Though the conversation was civil, there was an air of tenseness even from the calm and stoic Julian. The boy himself made no move yet, allowing Shirou to talk first. The two other beings stood silently, looking at each other and allowing their Masters to talk.
"I'm only going to say this once," Shirou warned, stepping forward. "Give Miyu back to me."
"I refuse." Julian returned, his clear enmity growing but turning fully to face Shirou. "She is necessary for saving this world from dying. If you think I'll give up the world's salvation, the Holy Grail, to you based on your pleading, you're wrong."
Yes, that was the crux of the battle between them; the girl known as Miyu Sakatsuki-Emiya, the one who was for all intents and purposes Shirou's younger sister, was a captive of Julian's. Meant to be used in a desperate bid to save the world from dying out and killing everyone still living on Earth; the reason she was meant for that role was due to piece of information regarding her identity.
For Miyu was the Holy Grail incarnate.
A legendary item in mythology, the concept being that a certain item would be able to grant the single wish of anyone who obtained it, without any limit. The Sakatsuki Clan for generations had served as 'Holy Grails' in the previous Wars before this one, but had died out on the last night of the Fourth Holy Grail War.
Julian and Shirou both knew that this was the last battle in the final Holy Grail War; what happened next would depend on the victor. And yet, neither of them had any intention of losing, not since they were both fighting for things they considered precious to them and worth killing for.
He told me once that if he had to choose, he would save his sister over the world.
That thought crossed Shirou's mind briefly. Yes, that was just before everything had started up and Shirou had tried to think through his resolution with Miyu: to use her to save the world like his father intended or to protect her, and damn the world in the process. It had taken Julina a little while to answer, but he had definitely said if he could, he would save his sister above everything.
But...he also said that about lies. Was he lying about that?
For some reason, despite Julian's recent actions and his attitude, Shirou actually believed that Julian hadn't been lying then. But there was no point in thinking about it now, not when they were about to fight. Such things were meaningless right now. With that thought...
The two other beings stepped forward. Lancer's face gained an element to it that made her look unstable; she very much was, especially whenever she confronted this man, her opponent, all during this War.
From the sheath at his hip, Saber drew his sword, the embodiment of his legend. Though it was just a longsword with little ornament to it, even someone without any knowledge would be able to say that it was a blade of the utmost quality.
Gram: The Sword of the Sun, and the weapon of Saber of Red, one of the most famous Dragon-Slayers in mythology.
With Gram drawn, Saber of Red got into a stance, pointing it directly at his opponent. In turn, Lancer of Black hefted her mighty spear into a stance similar to Saber's, but ready to strike Saber's heart at a moment's notice.
Saber of Red. The King of Noble Warriors, Sigurd.
Lancer of Black. The Love-Burdened Valkyrie, Brynhild.
It could be considered fate that the two of them, so intristic to each other's legends, would meet as opponents in this Holy Grail War. It could be considered especially tragic, that Sigurd would be facing the woman he loved who had also taken his life, as well as Brynhild meeting the man that had captured her heart and betrayed her unknowingly.
They stood ready to fight; at the command of their Masters, they would duel to the death. They, along with their two Masters, knew that neither of them would survive this bout. It was only natural that they end each other's lives. This was just a formality.
For a brief moment, before he knew that Sigurd and Brynhild would clash, Shirou closed his eyes, recalling that encounter just an hour or so before.
The last time he had met that man, the one who had given him the powers necessary for this final moment.
Inside the great castle, there was silence. Absolutely nothing made a sound.
The foyer had almost been completely destroyed in the previous volley from their enemy, and it had taken everything of the three to survive that storm of blades. Even then, each of them could tell the Golden King was merely playing with them like a cat played with their food; using just enough force to see how they'd react, but also enough to make them know their place in the food chain.
The lights were barely working, and the air was still due to the tension. On one side of the room stood the three allies, weapons primed for the next attack. On a golden throne, with his head in his hand, sat their opponent.
Shirou had already crossed Kanshou and Bakuya in front of him in a defensive stance, and already in his mind he had blueprints for weapons ready for Projection-all he had to do was call them forth and use them to match the King of Heroes' inevitable assault, that he could already see coming.
But...he knew he wouldn't be able to counter all of them. Shirou was still inexperienced at using Projection at this level-even compared to a week ago, he couldn't have hoped to be this proficient. In the end, the cold truth was that he was only surviving thanks to the man in front of him. Even Shirou's Projections right now were shoddy work compared to that man's.
The knight in red stood tall and proud, his coat fluttering in the brief wind along with his slicked back white hair. Tanned hands were poised, ready to grasp weapons that did not yet exist in the world. His stance was strong, and if Shirou could describe him in one work it would be that: strong.
"Shirou, we should go. We know where the ritual is taking place; with all haste, we can prevent it." Saber cautioned Shirou, Gram held in a stance, once more being the voice of reason. "It's useless to fight this battle when we can get there in time."
"Saber! But..." Shirou replied, looking at his Servant.
"That's the correct course of action. As expected of the King of Noble Warriors." The clinical tone of Archer sounded, drowning Shirou's own unfinished sentence and drawing his attention. "You two are needed to take care of Julian and his Servant: leave this one to me."
"Archer..." Shirou's eyes softened with understanding, before nodding and looking to his Servant. "Alright, let's go Saber. We still have time."
The Golden King's features contorted into a furious and ugly picture at what he saw as disrespect to his glorious self, before countless Noble Phantasms shot from his Gate as a result of his rage at this perceived slight.
"Mongrels, you dare turn your back on me?!" His tone was scathing, insulted at their ignorance of him. "I shall teach you some manners before you die!"
The storm of blades shot towards the three. Within a moment, Shirou knew, they would all be killed-
In the blink of an eye, a light-red shield made of seven petals interrupted the storm of blades, halting the assault briefly. Shirou looked; Archer had his hand outstreched towards the onslaught, which was surely and steadily destroying the ultimate shield he possessed.
Even Rho Aias, the best shield either of them had, would be overwhelmed in just a few seconds.
"Shirou! Let's go." Saber called, and began running out of the castle, sheathing Gram.
Shirou gritted his teeth and made to follow his Servant, his Projections fading into blue light. He easily kept pace with Saber thanks to Reinforcing his legs, but even then he knew that in a contest of speed his Servant would definitely defeat him. They neared the door, still hearing the massive clash behind them. Shirou's breathing was laboured, but he was finally at a safe place from the storm of blades when he laid a tired hand on the great door so as to recuperate his strength for a moment.
He began to step forward into the evening, with Saber already outside, until his action was interrupted.
That voice made him pause, his body freeze. Almost unconsciously, Shirou turned back and looked. The red knight was still standing strong, even as Shirou saw two petals of Rho Aias shatter. And even though he couldn't see his face, Shirou somehow knew that Archer was looking at him with those hawk-like eyes that had always, ever since they first met, penetrated Shirou's mind.
"I've done my best to impart you with my skills, giving you enough power for this moment. But remember this: you are a creator, not a fighter. You seem to already understand this principle, but I'll reiterate it-the ultimate magecraft that only you can use follows that rule completely."
Another petal destroyed. Archer's stance weakened a little, but he still talked to Shirou, giving him a few last pieces of knowledge.
"You have a goal that you will need that ultimate weapon for. The one thing you've fought in this War for, and the one thing I've been fighting for all my life."
Yes, that was right. Inside Shirou's head, inhibited by static, was a single picture of a ten year old girl. Smiling, she reached out a hand to him, with her amber eyes matching his own clearly enjoying the moment.
He had to save Miyu.
He had to save his sister at any costs. Even if the world would be damned, Shirou was going to save her!
"Cast aside all doubt you have. Any other things distracting you from fulfilling that goal, erase them. The only way you will succeed in saving her is by completely dedicating your existence to it. Even your own life is forfeit if it means saving that girl; saving them both."
Shirou knew what he was talking about. Yes, there was a person besides Miyu he wanted to save from Julian, someone else important to him.
Two more petals were erased by the onslaught. Archer's form bent, but he still had one more thing to say. One more piece of knowledge to impart to his younger self, so that he could succeed where he himself had failed.
Static filled his head, causing Shirou to gasp in pain and grasp the side of his head.
For a moment, through the painful static, Shirou saw an image.
It wasn't well defined, but he could definitely see the insides of a cave, with an altar in the middle. It was glowing blue with ruins, energy gathering above it. Upon that altar, clad in a black dress with her life slipping away-
"Any other obstacles, cut them down. If it is your own weakness holding you back, imagine yourself at the absolute pinnacle of power you can imagine yourself holding in front of you, barring the way. Then, surpass that image: that's how you will succeed. Never give up striding towards that goal."
Shirou's veins heated and he groaned slightly; that bastard, even in this situation he kept giving cryptic advice! But all the same, Shirou, or at least some part of him understood what Archer was saying. After all, they had a unique connection, didn't they?
Counter Guardian EMIYA...though he gave up his afterlife to become a Beast of Alaya, in the end that first deal he made was still built on the foundations of what motivated the person known as 'Shirou Emiya'-the one reason he had decided to fight in this War wasn't for himself, but for the sake of their sister.
With that thought, as well as remembering their shared purpose as a result, Shirou ran out the door into the night, with the image of Miyu inside his head serving to spur him on. Instinctively, he looked back at the knight in red, who acted as their guardian until the very last moment he could.
This goal...yes, this was something both of them wanted. But this wasn't Archer's fate to succeed in that goal: it was up to Shirou to fulfill their dreams of saving his sister. Archer was merely a guardian, a guide towards this outcome. A fate he had devised for himself ever since he was summoned into this time.
It was incredibly sad, that Archer wouldn't know if they succeeded or not. From what Shirou saw of his final moments, Archer didn't even know if he had been successful even then. But in the end, despite the Counter Guardian's misfortunes, he was trusting Shirou to do it. And Shirou couldn't let himself down, not when they were so close!
This was the last time he was seeing the red knight, they both knew. They wouldn't meet again in this life. But all the same, Archer was filled with the same determination as his past self and wouldn't give up without a fight. That was how they had lived, after all.
Shirou continued running, towards his destination. Archer stayed behind, sacrificing himself to help them get there.
One ran forward and the other stayed behind. It was ironic to the point of hilarity.
With those two gone, Archer focused on the Golden King in front of him; the person who would be his final opponent in this War. With resolve, he spoke the words that echoed inside the soul of Shirou Emiya, the words that he and he alone knew the meaning of and the words that allowed him to fight for this very purpose.
So for now guys, goodbye. I will be back soon, as I said, with the first chapter of Fate/kaleid liner: Red Knight around the end of October/early November, so please look out for that.
I'll see you guys soon again.