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Rogue Saber, Higashiyama Ward

As his vision slowed once more, Tokimune watched as Berserker slipped past his attack, before going in for another attack with his own blade. Tokimune took note of the blade.

A short sword or a dagger with an asymmetrical wavy blade. A Kris. It was a very distinctive weapon. Tokimune had heard that it originated in a nation down South. It was a start, but he could not specify which Heroic Spirit this was just yet. A Kris-wielding warrior who was famous for invulnerability...that should narrow down the search quite a bit, however.

Tokimune's mind then turned to how best to deal with Berserker's attack. Judging from the speed by which he moved just now, Tokimune would estimate that it was roughly equivalent to his own natural agility. It was not bad, but then again, while agile, Tokimune was not among the most least as far as his natural agility went. But in his territory, it was not Tokimune's natural agility which Berserker had to contend with. As was the case with Tokimune's strength and fortitude his legend of being the undefeated Shikken who had driven the seemingly invincible Mongols away in a defensive battle meant that within his territory, his speed, too, was increased.

And based on Tokimune's calculation, he was currently about twice as fast as Berserker.

Moving at top speed, Tokimune sidestepped Berserker's swing, before flanking the opposing Servant, his lightning-imbued katana swung at Berserker's back.

@King Cosmos

Lorenzo turned towards Caster as she left and said, "I know who you are, and to be honest with you, you did legitimately beat Athena herself and her behavior was unbecoming of someone of her 'Wisdom'. I admire you for that greatly, but not enough to refrain from outing you."

'Arachne?' Gajah Mada thought. While Arachne was the most famous figure associated with spiders, there were others...What prompted her Master to declare it with such certainty?

It was then, a train of thought passed through Gajah Mada's head. Perhaps it was a bluff, to take advantage of her own Moksha skill to gauge the reaction of this new servant so they could either confirm or cross Arachne from their list of possible identities. Arachne was a reasonable guess, considering the spider, she supposed.

Gajah Mada was not sure if this was what her Master intended, but nevertheless, it seemed worth a try.

She turned her head at the Servant in question, gauging her reaction. It did not take long for her to sense that the Servant was angry—no, livid, at Gajah Mada's Master.

So she was Arachne. That would explain why she was somewhat fixated on Gajah Mada. It was probably her divinity.

Gajah Mada gripped her Kris, just in case Arachne's anger led to a confrontation. Suddenly, Lorenzo spoke again,

"Now, please stay away from my Saber."


Of course, through her Moksha skill, Gajah Mada had determined that her Master only meant it in the technical sense as in a familiar contracted to him rather than anything more. However, the Palapa Oath she made included abstaining from worldly pleasure, which meant that she had little to no experience with such a thing, leading to the Saber-class Servant flustered for a split second before composing herself.

Stepping forward in front of Lorenzo, she spoke "Master, please refrain from challenging a possibly hostile Servant yourself, if you would. It is my duty to protect you, not the other way around."

Then, in an attempt to divert Arachne's ire from her Master to herself, she turned to Arachne, "A word of advice, Arachne, you should temper your emotion more. The anger I've observed from you all but confirmed that my Master's deduction was correct. You are Arachne, it seems. Well, then, Arachne...would you be able to find anything out regarding these two anomalous Ghost Liner through your familiars?"

@Letter Bee@Digmata

The Caster gave her question genuine thought, she deserves that at the very least. And not because she didn’t know how her perception works.

“What I truly wish was to live in this world once again, I can accept living as a servant if that’s what was necessary.” she started. “Which means I would eventually need my own source of mana, the Holy Grail was not the only way to achieve that to be honest.”

She then walks at the building’s ledge, clearly not bothered that a misstep can cause her to fall.

“It would be a lie to say that I won’t be tempted to use it regardless but I believe that I would find an alternative by the time we reached the Grail.” she concluded.

She is the world’s greatest weaver after all, if the Holy Grail won’t solve her problems, she will weave her way out of it then

From what Gajah Mada could glimpse, it was seemingly the truth. The Caster saw the grail as a means to an end, and though she doubted she wouldn't use it if she could without incurring any repercussions, she would also readily give it up if she deemed the circumstances made it impossible to use, such as going up against a gigantic servants alliance.

Gajah Mada also had the feeling that if Caster could get what she wanted by her own hands, it was the preferable method for her. But that was neither here nor there. What mattered was, for the time being, Caster was reasonable enough to work with, it seemed. Though it was probably wise to keep an eye on her just in case.

Caster then inquired on the reason why the rest of them sought the grail.

Gajah Mada could tell that her true intention was to find out their true identity, no doubt expecting them to reveal it due to being honour-bound, or something along those lines.

Gajah Mada was not sure about the others, but, well, Caster was about to be sorely disappointed on her account.

"My wish is not one that can be achieved without the grail. However...I swear that should it be corrupted by evil, my first priority will be to cleanse it, or if impossible, to destroy it."

Though, truthfully, Gajah Mada had no idea how to even begin destroying the grail should it come to that. She did have an anti-fortress Noble Phantasm, but smashing a corrupted wish-granter with reckless abandon did not seem to be the wisest course of action. Hopefully, her Master of some of the other magi could come up with something.

She continued, "That is all I will say on that matter. I am under no obligation to reveal the details of my wish at the risk of outing my true name. My inquiry was merely about your intention with a corrupted grail. That you went and described your own wish in such detail was done on your own accord. We have no such agreement in place. Unless, of course, you wish to make that a prerequisite to secure your cooperation?"

Then, suddenly, a voice rang out in her head, announcing a ceasefire between participants and for them to focus on eliminating two anomalies that had been summoned.

...Well, at least they had confirmation of the Grail's corruption.

Turning to the others, she spoke again, "I assume that all of you also heard that? It would appear that for any of us to safely use the grail, we must first purge it of its corruption by eliminating the two anomalies. Let us do just that, shall we? We can return to fighting each other for the grail after."

@GubGar@Letter Bee@ManyThings@Digmata

Cadmus Laenas arrived in Anderfels along with his fellow Tevinter wardens in high spirits. For a few months, since the Venatori exiled them from Tevinter, they had scattered to the winds. It was decided by the Warden-Commander that the Tevinter wardens split up to bolster the ranks of Grey Wardens in various nations. Cadmus had been part of the wardens who had been sent to Orlais, as they had need of more experienced warden mages, still had not fully recovered from many experienced mages among their ranks who ended up dead or became abominations after the reckless blood magic ritual they attempted back in 9:41 Dragon under Corypheus' influence. Needless to say, mages were reluctant to join the Orlesian Grey Warden after the entire fiasco. Of course, in turn, the Orlesian wardens were also reluctant to trust the Tevinter wardens, which led to a less-than-stellar experience that soured the mood of the Tevinter wardens further.

It was, to Cadmus, a perfect exemplification of how backwater the Southerners were. Truly, to think that many still thought of the Imperium as a monolith, and not just any monolith, but a monolith of whom the template was the Venatori. Had they not realized they were exiled by the Venatori? No, of course, not rather than trusting and giving the benefit of the doubt to their fellow wardens, much easier to believe in the baseless conspiracy of the Venatori exiling the Tevinter wardens as a plot to corrupt the wardens from the inside as they join other Grey Warden chapters.

Absurd. Completely absurd. Within the Grey Wardens, no one hated the Venatori more than the Tevinter wardens, having been unceremoniously exiled from their home. Though Cadmus in particular was more disappointed in the Tevinter ruling class. The Venatori acting delusional and stupid was to be expected, it was the Venatori, no sane lot among those people, Cadmus reckoned. But the ruling class who folded to the Venatori? Cadmus' expectations of them were already low in the first place, but he supposed there was no limit to the stupidity of those in power in Tevinter. The Qun was a threat, but was having the Venatori delusional philosophy the best the Imperium could do?

Cadmus understood that the Qunari was a threat, a big threat, Cadmus would rather support just about everyone over the Qunari. Heck, if the rumour of intelligent Darkspawns that was spread by his fellow wardens were true, and he had to choose between them and the Qun, Cadmus have to think about it. But accepting the Venatori in lieu of the Imperium's military failures during the Antaam rebellion was ridiculous. For one, for all their bluster had they ever done anything at all without the presence of the ancient Magister-turned-Darkspawn Corypheus? No, they had not. Not a shred of accomplishment to their name without the anomaly that was Corypheus, no proof of their competence whatsoever. Second, the Imperium had spent years trying to warn the rest of Thedas of the danger the Qun posed in the hope they could join together to put an end to them once and for all, finishing the job of the Exalted Marches against the Qunari. From a pragmatic standpoint, did we want to burn bridges by embracing Tevinter Supremacist now? Exactly when we were losing against the Qunari?

The Tevinter wardens, including Cadmus, when seeing the Venatori rising to power once more, thought it nothing more than some political manoeuvre. Surely, they were just a tool being used by the opposition to the Magister Pavus-backed reformist faction, the Lucerni. Surely, the Archon was still in control. But no, it turned out they were not in control. Perhaps that was how it started but it ended with the Venatori subverting that entire conservative faction among the Magisterium, with many among its members actually believing in the Venatori delusion to the point the Lucerni faction was struggling just to maintain some semblance of power.

It was the height of lunacy. An absurd marriage between peak idiocy and delusional nationalism.

And so, when the news came that the First Warden and the rest of Anderfel wardens overthrew the King of Hossberg and assumed control, it was news welcomed by the Tevinter wardens, including Cadmus. To them, who had been screwed over by corrupt rulers of the nation they were based in, what happened in Anderfel felt cathartic, many even hoped for the Tevinter rulership that was now under the Venatori's influence to be the next one toppled. Of course, Cadmus was realistic enough to know that it was unlikely that would happen, considering the political fallout and the amount of force needed to topple the Imperium. Not unless it was absolutely necessary. Anderfels was the home base of the Grey Warden, and thus, Cadmus could see how the First Warden came to the conclusion that it needed to be done. Tevinter Imperium, while a major player in Thedas was not heavily tied to the wardens or their duty for the most part, and until that change, Cadmus saw no chance of the First Warden taking the fight to the Imperium, nor would Cadmus advocate for it.

Still...the fact that the wardens now assumed leadership meant that, contrary to tradition, possibly the wardens were about to take a more active role in Thedas' politics. Directly taking the fight to the Imperium was out of the question, but exerting political pressure for their exile of the wardens? Very feasible. Cadmus had always thought that the wardens should take a more active role in politics because whether they liked it or not, they held some influence. An influence that those in the upper echelon of political elites would attempt to either mitigate or use for their own means. Look no further than the politically motivated opposition to Grey Warden forces by Ferelden during the Fifth Blight. Therefore, if politics were coming to them anyway, might as well be a player rather than a pawn. And so, like the rest of the Tevinter wardens, Cadmus answered the call to Weisshaupt gladly, seeing it as a promising new direction for the wardens. A sentiment that seemed to be proven correct, as upon arrival, they were greeted with the sight of Griffons, flying up high, the gleaming jewel of the reforms made by the First Warden.

Once settled, like many warden mages, Cadmus was invited to the workshop for a demonstration of new magic developed by the wardens to counteract the effect of the Blight. Cadmus had heard rumours of the development of such magic to mitigate the Darkspawn taint through the grapevine, but since he had only joined 4 years ago, he had not been able to offer his—that he thought to be, at least—valuable expertise. Nevertheless, when Cadmus saw the demonstration made on a blighted plant, he had to admit he was impressed. It was clearly still quite early in its development, or at least that was the extent they were showing, but Cadmus was sure that this was a very promising avenue to be pursued. The applications were numerous if they were able to remove the taint from a plant, what about animals? And most of all, what about humans? The Darkspawn taint was incurable except for the joining...was the conventional wisdom, until now. Even outside the Blight, Darkspawn taint still posed a danger, and the fact that the wardens might be the ones who had the cure—one that did not involve joining—could make for a decent leverage. Especially for the Dwarves who now might be able to more aggressively retook the Deep Roads with less fear of dying from the taint.

But furthermore, what it represented for the wardens themselves was massive. Cadmus was sure that the elephant in the room was 'Can the Calling be forestalled or even cured?'. While the Darkspawn taint was a valuable tool as a warden, it came with the daunting reality of the Calling, but with this new magic...would it be possible, then, to have the taint be removed from Wardens whose body could no longer endure it? To simply retire instead of going to the Deep Roads to die? If it was possible, then Cadmus was of the opinion that it should definitely be pursued. While having the inevitability of the Calling looming over the wardens was not without merit, resulting in soldiers who were more willing to sacrifice themselves in the line of duty, such fatalism also came with its demerit, namely wardens being too susceptible to reckless self-sacrificing schemes in a massive waste of resources. Again, Cadmus would point to the entire Orlesian Warden debacle under Corypheus. Not to mention several other issues such as poor recruitment prospects and whatnot. To Cadmus, the demerit outweighed the merits, and so if that tradition could be eradicated, it would be for the better.

As the demonstration finally ended, Cadmus refrained himself from simply giving his own remark of what he thought was faulty or could do with some improvement. He might not be able to resist when he was younger, but with age, came wisdom. Namely, the wisdom that generally, no one liked to be lectured in their own lecture. So it would be best to save his critique and remarks later on private where they might be more receptive. And so, Cadmus clapped politely and congratulated the mage giving the demonstration before leaving the room. He would seek an audience later, with permission from the senior wardens here. For now, he had an address from the High Constable to attend in the courtyard.

While Cadmus was walking to the courtyard, admiring the historied halls of Weisshaupt Fortress, his mind turned to the meetings he had heard the First Warden was holding with diplomats from various nations. He was nowhere near the position of those who would be privy to the content of said meeting, but he could surmise a guess. No doubt it was about the Grey Warden assuming leadership of Anderfels. There had been a precedent in Ferelden's Amaranthine, but that was that and this was this. It was one thing to give land to a celebrated hero who ended a blight, it was another thing to let the Grey Warden control an entire nation. He hoped the First Warden could navigate the political landmines gracefully and not rush for short-term gain. While Cadmus thought that taking a hard stance and acquiescing little to none of their demands was possible, he did not think that was ideal in the long term. It would make too many enemies. And, as someone who also had rushed too quickly and made too many enemies in his own political career, Cadmus could speak from first-hand experience that such an approach was unsustainable and would backfire.

'I hope the First Warden is wise enough to tread lightly here,' Cadmus thought as he joined the rest of the wardens in the courtyard to hear what the High Constable had to say.

Rogue Saber, Higashiyama Ward

Tokimune watched as the young Master drew his own sword, sending some sort of lightning slash against his wind blade. Admirable attempt, but ultimately futile. Though he did have good observation to infer some sort of territory skill. Simply knowing it won't secure their path to victory, but it was a good observation, nonetheless.

While his wind blade was not the full release of his Noble Phantasm, it was still a Noble Phantasm, a crystalised mystery, in this case, that of his miraculous victory against the Mongols brought by a thunderstorm, a thunderstorm that had gone down in legends as being the wrath of the lightning God Raijin in the form of a Divine Wind, a Kamikaze, forever etching the concept of 'Kamikaze' into the world. It was not something that could be matched easily by modern magecraft.

He doubted the lightning slash would do much to slow down his attack. Which was why when Tokimune found that Berserker emerged from the attack only suffering minor wounds, he concluded that Berserker's Endurance Parameter must be remarkable. Compared to whatever defensive skill or noble phantasm he was displaying, they made Berserker very durable, indeed.

Tokimune side-stepped the overhead strike, only to find himself suddenly facing an incoming roundhouse kick. His vision slowed once more as he judged the best course of action.

Berserker was already too close for Tokimune to dodge properly even with his superior agility, even were he able to dodge, that would expose an opening for a follow-up attack. He also did not fancy blocking with his katana, it was well made, but it was not his noble phantasm, he did not want to strain the blade unless he had to.

That left...

Berserker did not have a monopoly on endurance, while Tokimune was under no illusion that his Endurance was better than Berserker in normal circumstances, this was not normal circumstances. In this territory, just like his agility and strength, his endurance parameter had been enhanced, perhaps even to the point it was better than Berserker's in pure stats, his special defence notwithstanding.

And so, Tokimune planted his feet firmly on the ground, bracing himself to take the roundhouse kick with his torso. A tactic that would have been utterly reckless had they not been fighting in his territory.

The kick connected.

Tokimune felt the force of the kick, not to the point where it would be fatal or detrimental, but enough that he felt the impact. Still, this was Hojo Tokimune, someone whose mind was laser-focused on achieving victory, regardless of the circumstances. Shrugging the pain, he chanted "Come forth, O' lightning!"

The night's sky was clear, with not a thundercloud in sight, however...despite that, the moment the words were uttered by Tokimune a lightning bolt came down from the heavens above, lighting up Tokimune's katana. The samurai then swung his blade, connecting with Berserker's foot that was currently planted on his torso, as he attempted to channel the lightning through Berserker's body.

@King Cosmos@Iamme

"And the princess found me so easily to one's surprise." the Caster spoke as she revealed herself from the rooftop behind Rider, she then leaned forward contemplating if she should go down and join them.

Princess...? She supposed she technically was if only by being a descendant of King Kertanegara, but she was never formally declared as one. Well, she was not about to correct the misconception. Thanks to her adjutant's--that is, Gajah Enggon's--antics of carving his face into a piggybank, the surviving piggybank was mistakenly thought to be of herself, and thus history now remembered her differently than in life. Which was a boon in a Holy Grail War, she supposed, as it would be less likely of someone finding out her real identity.

She doubted there were many instances in history where a female was thought to be a male. So she considered herself rather lucky, in that regard.

The newcomer then proceeded to convey her wishes to join the alliance.

Her Moksha skill informed Gajah Mada that the intention was genuine, though rather than driven by concerns of the corrupted grail, it seemed to be more driven by the fact that she wasn't keen on taking on the three of them. Though for some reason, Gajah Mada had the feeling that this servant was somewhat fixated on her. She had little idea as to why specifically though, she was sure she had never met this woman when she was alive, at least.

Gajah Mada was about to convey her observation to the group present when Lorenzo brought up an accident and proposed to use it as proof of their intention.

Not a bad idea...

"I have to confess, it hardly feels sporting to the rest of the Grail War to have a collective such as this. But I suppose I ought not to prioritize my battle lust if there is a danger of corruptive forces at play. I've no objections on principle alone to you joining, I suppose. But I'm not so clueless as to join hands with a total stranger."

Gajah Mada turned to Jan, giving him a nod, "Your reluctance to trust her is a wise one. I can tell that she is less concerned with the corrupted grail than she is about fighting all three of us head-on."

Turning to Caster, she spoke again, "Well, far be it for me to condemn a sound tactical decision. For the most part, only a fool would fight three servants head-on on their lonesome. However...that does bring up a question of your trustworthiness. I assume you are the masters of those spider familiars? In that case, would you agree to send some of them to the location of the accident my Master spoke of as scouts, for starters?"

Of course, Gajah Mada intends to find out as much as she can from how exactly she commanded the spiders, looking for any clue to her identity.

She then continued, "Also, there is one question I wish to ask of you. A vital one, if we were indeed about to work together. Suppose the Grail was indeed corrupted, and there was no way to cleanse it of its corruption. What would you do with it?"

If Gajah Mada's Moksha skill discovered any signs that the servant would still be willing to use the corrupted grail, then...well, she would advocate for her to be eliminated here and now.

@GubGar@Letter Bee@ManyThings@Digmata

Gajah Mada watched as Rider smacked Shielder on the head as he reprimanded the young servant. Rider said he was not the wisest of men, but the veracity of that statement aside, even were he the dullest of man, it was clear that he was virtuous.

Gajah Mada respected that. 'To be a human is to seek righteousness and reject evil' she remembered one of her grandfather's lessons. A dullard could mitigate it by learning or having trusted confidants who were wise. An unrighteous man, however, was not a malady that could be mitigated as easily. A righteous man in a position of power, even more so.

Jan Sobieski...he lived centuries after her own time, but she had gathered he was a king. His men and people must have cherished such a ruler. Gajah Mada's lips turned upward, making a melancholic smile. Once, she too served under a righteous liege, before, well...her high idealism and narrowmindedness destroyed what they had been working towards.

Well, none of that mattered, especially if the grail was indeed corrupted. In any case, the first step was still to claim the grail to inspect it. This alliance was a good first step towards that goal.

Soon enough, with Lorenzo and Jan's master's agreement, it would seem that the alliance would be formalized shortly.

"You drove her to suicide!? What is wrong with you!? You were sent there to finalize the marriage!"

The words of her king as he looked upon her with contempt echoed in Gajah Mada's head.

If this alliance were to work, she had best keep herself in check, so that she would not end up driving a wedge between them. No matter how righteous Jan Sobieski or Constantine were...they weren't perfect, and such a perfect king that she had sought did not exist...That was why with the grail, she had hoped...

Her train of thought halted, as she felt a sensation of unease, a premonition from her Moksha skill warned her of imminent arrival that was not necessarily friendly.

The sensation reminded her of the one she felt when dealing with the spiders. Their owner then.

Gajah Mada immediately drew her kris once more, before stepping closer to Lorenzo, who had uttered a similar sentiment of something coming—Gajah Mada noted he had good instincts—and standing on guard.

A moment later, something descended behind Jan, as Saber shouted, "Rider, behind you!"

Rogue Saber, Higashiyama Ward

As the Berserker charged at Tokimune, his keen vision took in his opponent in full, as well as the circumstances around them. It was the clarity of mind afforded to Tokimune due to his zen state of consciousness, allowing him to calmly assess the battle and deduce the best course of action. As they stood upon grounds Tokimune had claimed as his territory, this preternatural vision became even more sublime, with everything looking as if it was coming to him in slow motion.

With one hand extended, Berserker intended to grab for his katana, and the other—reaching for the hilt of his weapon—was poised to strike at his bowel.

His katana was sharp, of that there was no doubt, and yet Berserker was deliberately putting his arm in harm's way. Tokimune discarded the possibility that this was merely the madness of a Berserker class at work, a glance at Berserker's focused eyes told him that it was done with clear intent.

Was his opponent confident he could simply shrug off his blade sharpness, then? Tokimune discarded that hypothesis immediately as well, for though Berserker's face was resolute, it was not an expression of one steeling themselves to endure their hands being cut open. No, rather, there was no doubt in those eyes that the blade would not damage him.

Therefore, Tokimune concluded, possibly some sort of skill or noble phantasm that mitigated damage, Tokimune concluded. His first objective, then, would be to determine the true nature of that defensive skill.

The samurai began making his move, his movements were swift as he withdrew his blade, away from Berserker's reach. With one quick, graceful movement, he drew his katana away from Berserker's grasp, before swinging it sideways to deflect the kris. Had this fight occurred anywhere else, their speed and strength would have been a match and the foreign warrior might have been able to catch the sword even as Tokimune withdrew it, or prevent Tokimune from deflecting his weapon with brute strength, but Hojo Tokimune reigned absolute in his territory, eclipsing Berserker both in swiftness and strength of arms.

Using his previous assessment of the battle, Tokimune deflected the weapon expertly, striking it at the right angle to throw his enemy off-balance based on his. To Berserker, it would appear as if the nobleman knew exactly where he would strike. Tokimune's manoeuvre was not enough to completely have Berserker caught off-guard, but through the slight opening, Tokimune swung his blade upward, just enough to graze Berserker, before leaping backwards to gain some distance.

He found the spot where his swords had grazed Berserker to be unmarred, his blade unable to even leave a single blemish upon Berserker's skin.

Tokimune was certain he had struck with enough precision and power that it should have left a mark, therefore...

'I see, it would appear that I wouldn't be able to harm this one with mere steel,' he thought as he observed his opponent. He was starting to see why the young man had chosen the foreign warrior.

Of course, a katana was not the extent of Tokimune's offensive arsenal.

" O' wind...come!" Offering a small prayer, Tokimune swung his katana sideways, summoning a sharp blade of wind heading towards Berserker. A partial activation of his Noble Phantasm, not releasing its true name just yet to summon the heavenly fury of the Thunder God, but merely invoking the winds of the divine thunderstorm upon his blade.

@King Cosmos@Iamme

I don't mind any of the three but Shifting Sands sound interesting
I might be interested. CoC might actually translate well to post by play since combat is not a focus, so the pace is less liable to get bogged down by translating combat mechanic from tabletop to forum based RP

Rogue Saber, Higashiyama Ward

Tokimune nodded in approval as the Master recognised the Hojo Clan emblem embroidered on his cloth. While it narrowed down his identity quite a bit for the young Master, there were quite a bit of renowned members of their clan that his identity wouldn't be immediately apparent. He was, however, quite pleased that even in this modern age, it appeared that the legacy he, his predecessors, and his successors left behind managed to endure that this young man recognised the emblem of his clan.

'Smart move,' Tokimune then thought as the young man who conveyed his intent to back down and leave Tokimune alone.

His servant, on the other hand, while outwardly acquiescing to his Master's will, seemed to hold some sort of ill will towards him. He suppressed it well enough, and Tokimune did respect vassals who were willing to set aside their own wish for their lord, especially since his master referred to him as Berserker. But Tokimune was a practitioner of Zen Buddhism, a state of mind that granted him clarity in battle, as a Servant, it became a skill that allowed him to assess the state of a battlefield keenly. Even more so since they were now in his territory.

And so, Tokimune noticed how the Servant almost imperceptibly clenched his fist around the hilt of his blade, how Tokimune had seemingly earned the servant's ire with his handling of the situation.

Tokimune chuckled, as he turned to the enemy servant, "Haha...have I earned your ire, foreign warrior?" Pointing his katana at him as a challenge, he continued, "I am quite curious how capable you are, given that one of my countrymen contracted you, a foreign heroic spirit, rather than one of this nation...Berserker, out of respect for your willingness to put aside your own desire to fight in deference to your Master, I shall grant you this. Let us have a bout, worry not, I will allow you to leave with your life after we are done and I have satisfied my curiosity."

Tokimune issued the challenge with an air of absolute confidence, in his eyes there was no doubt that he would be the one who emerged victorious. It was not merely a self-assuredness borne from confidence, rather it was one that rose from his clarity of mind, focused only on seeking what he had decided needed to happen. The same sort of state of mind that had Tokimune answered with one singular word, when asked how he was planning to fight against the invading Mongol army whom everyone thought was unbeatable, that word was...'Victory.'

@King Cosmos@Iamme

Once more, Saber confirmed through her Moksha skill that Constantine appeared to be genuine, or at least he believed he was. She replied, "Do not get me wrong, Shielder. It is not my intent to cast aspersion on you, I was merely giving my assessment, which I do believe was perfectly reasonable. We have nothing else but your words at the moment, being cautious is only prudent. Let us set aside the possibility you are lying for the sake of argument. The only one who could confirm the true nature of these 'Fragments of purity' is you, but even if you truly believed what you are saying, who's to say that someone, say a powerful mage or a Caster-class servant did not tamper with your spirit origin and only made you think that way for their own ends? Until we have more concrete proof, I would say some reservations are warranted, no? As a counteroffer, frankly, I do not understand why you are insisting on having us fight, especially if what you say is correct. Rather..."

Turning to Jan, she continued, "I have a proposition. Both you and I must desire the grail, we are summoned into a Holy Grail War for a reason. While I do think that the Grail should be dismantled if what Shielder said is correct, but currently do you not agree that there are still so many unknown elements to be certain of that fact? I believe that the best course of action is to secure the grail first, and then we can examine it properly to determine the truth. To that end, why not work together to secure the grail for ourselves so we can determine the veracity of Shielder's claim? If it turns out the grail is indeed corrupted, we will destroy it, if not, then we can settle this Holy Grail War with a duel between us."

She then turned back to Shielder, "That extends to you as well, of course. As far as 'counteroffer' goes, this is my counteroffer. After all, corrupted it might be, it is still a wish-granter, I would not doubt it if some servants and masters still desire to use it even if it is corrupted. Fortunately for you, you ran into myself and Rider. I have already said that I intend to destroy the grail if it is corrupted, and I am a...good judge of character, shall we say. From what I can see, Rider is inclined to do the same.

That is, at least, what her Moksha skill could tell her about Rider. He appeared to be an honourable man.

"Of course, if that is all right with you, Master," she said toward Lorenzo, before turning to Jan, "...And yours."

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