Every 60 years the Great Grail manifests itself in Fuyuki City and Seven Magi summon history's greatest heroes to fight for possession of the omnipotent wish granting device (Which sounds like something you'd hear on T.V Tropes but nope that's how it's referred to in universe). However the first three Grail Wars, well, let's just say they didn't exactly go to plan and nobody has actually successfully claimed the Grail in it's 200 year history. Corrupted by the death Angra Mainyu in the 3rd Holy Grail War and now a vassal for All the World's Evils the Grail no longer has faith in any Magus being able allow the destruction it so desires. What the Grail needs is a simpler processes without all the politics associated with the various founding families and their assortment of potential masters.
Bypassing the usual procedure for selecting participants for the Grail War, the Holy Grail has plucked seven of history's most famous warriors from the past and brought them to Fuyuki City to fight for it's power. An English King, a legendary Samuari, a Song General, the Asia conquering Khan, the Old Man of the Mountain, a Viking King and a Child-Murdering Knight have all been summoned for the ultimate historical battle royale. But which one, if any, will be able to claim the Grail for themselves and grant their deepest desire...
Let's meet the combatants
Saber: Richard the Lionheart
Richard I, also known as Richard the Lionheart, was a King of England during the 12th century. Richard was best known for being a leading figure for the christians in the Third Crusade where his battles against Saladin made him into a legendary figure. Spending rarely any time in England (he lived in France and barely spoke any English) nonetheless he was a beloved figure, so much so that he is known as "The Lionheart" due to his bravery and piety.
The favoured weapons of English knights at the time was the Arming Sword. Weighing in at 2.4 lbs with a length of 3 foot it has a double edged blade and could be used for cutting, slashing and stabbing as well as finding usage as both a one and two handed weapon.
Despite likely being trained in using a Longbow, Richard preferred the sheer power of a Crossbow. Weighing in at 4lbs it has an effective range of about 300 foot and could penetrate even the plate armour worn by knights of the period.
War Axes were popular in the middle ages with this particular type being 3 foot long and weighing in at 7 lbs. As well as the notable axe head it also has a spike at the back which can be used for piercing armour.
Lancer: Honda Tadakatsu
Honda Tadakatsu was a Japanese General/Daimyo during the 16th century. Widely considered one of the greatest Samurai of all time even the great Oda Nobunaga described him as a "Samurai among Samurai". He served under Tokugawa Leyasu and fought in over one hundred battles, allegedly never picking up a serious injury nor losing to another Samurai.
Honda's most famous and legendary weapon it is claimed that Tonbokiri is so sharp that a dragonfly once landed on it's blade and was instantly cut in half. Said to be up to 19 foot long (with a 3 foot long spear head) and weighing around about 4 lbs Tonbokiri is based on the Yari Spear. It has many uses both as a slashing and a piercing weapon and although certainly not as sharp as the legends suggest was probably much sharper and therefore deadlier than other spears of the period.
Honda's personal Katana was called Nakatsukasa Masamune after the famous swordsmith. Weighing about 3 pounds and with a length of 2 foot and was used to make short, quick strikes at weak points in armour. While poor at stabbing as a slashing weapon it's lightning fast swing speed and sharp blade made it a formidable sword.
A more aggressive version of the Kusarigama the Chigiriki had a two foot long pole and a 1 foot long chain with a metal ball head. It could be used to strike an opponent, disarm them of their weapon or entangle them in it's chain.
Archer: Yue Fei
Yue Fei was born to a poor family in China. He joined the military at a young age and quickly rose the rank of general after several successful battles against the Jin. As his military reputation grew so did his army and he defeated the Jin armies time and time again until he was outside the gates of Kaifeng, a former captial of the Song. However he was recalled, arrested and executed by a minister named Qin Hui, who feared the influence and respect Yue Fei had gained for himself
Yue Fei was an exceptional Archer and it has been claimed he was able to fire a bow with both hands and shoot a bulls-eye on a target nine out of ten times. While the exact bow he used is unknown I've based it off the famous Manchu Bow for the sake of analysis. With a length of 2.3 feet the Manchu Bow could fire up to ranges of up to 500 foot with a draw strength of 100lbs, enough to puncture through most armour.
The Jian was known as the Gentlemen of Weapons in ancient China. A multi-purpose doubled edged sword able to be used as a slashing or thrusting it weighed about 2lbs and was about 2.2 foot long.
Known as the King of Weapons the Qiang Spear weighs roughly 5.5 lbs and is 9 foot long. Used as both a thrusting and slashing weapon it also came with a red tassle to blur the vision of an opponent and make it harder to block the spear's attack.
Rider: Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan was the first great Khan of the Mongol Empire. Cast out of his tribe at an early age after his father's death, Genghis would go from simple raider to uniting all the tribes under one banner and leading them into war against their Chinese neighbours. Specialising in cavalry and quick strikes against unsuspecting enemies Genghis was the father of an empire that would at it's height controlled 16% of the world's total land area.
Genghis built his empire on the back of horseback archery and every mongol would've learnt to shoot a bow at a young age. 3 foot in length it could fire at ranges up to 500 foot and with a draw strength of 100lbs it was able to pierce even plate armour if at a close enough range.
When too close to use their bows, Genghis and his mongol horde would switch to their sabre's. It was a single edged, 4 foot long blade which weighed in at 2.5 lbs making it perfect for quick strikes. Designed to be used on horseback it was primarily used as a slashing weapon, using the momentum gained by the horse to inflict deep wounds.
Iron Flanged Mace
A powerful close range option, the Mace was especially effective against heavily armoured opponents due to it's blunt force trauma damage. It weighed 4.5 lbs and was 2 foot in length.
Assassin: Rashid ad-Din Sinan
Rashid ad-Din Sinan was the head of the Syrian sect of the Hashashin during the 12th century. Best known for his rivalry with Saladin, it is alleged that when Saladin lay siege to Masyaf (where the Hashashin resided) he snuck into his tent and left a poisoned dagger with a note warning him he would be killed if he did not withdraw his assault. This scared Saladin into ending his siege and reaffirmed the great fear Sinan and his sect had cultivated in the region.
The preferred assassination weapon of the Hashashin and what Sinan himself used to intimidate Saladin. About a foot in length and weighing only 1lb it would have been used as a stealth weapon, stabbing someone from behind while they are unsuspecting. It is also dipped in poison so even if the initial stab fails to kill it could still lead to the victim's death.
Also known as a Scimitar, the Saif was a popular weapon throughout the middle east at the time. Weighing 2lbs and 3 foot in length the curved shape of the sword made it perfect for slashing and cutting attacks but which also made it unsuitable for stabbing.
Used during the Seige of Masyaf by the Hashashin's, Sinan would have likely had access to a composite bow. It would have been 3 foot in length it could fire at ranges up to 500 metres with a draw strength of 100lbs.
Berserker: Harald Hardrada
Harald Hardrada was probably the most famous Viking king. A fearsome giant of a man, Harald was one of three main claimants for the English crown in 1066 alongside William the Conqueror and Harold Godwinson. Invading the north of England he expected little resistance but was met by Godwinson and his army and was defeated and killed. His death did help decide the succession however as the fatigued army of Godwinson was defeated by William a few weeks later.
The Vikings were famous for their use of War Axes and Harald would have often turned to one in battle. This particular axe would have been 5 foot long and weighed in at 7 lbs and while slow to swing would be devastating if hit, causing both cutting damage as well as blunt force damage from the sheer momentum of such a heavy object.
Despite being called "Viking Sword" this particular sword actually originated in the Frankish Empire. A short sword weighing in at 2.5 lbs and being 3 foot in length it was designed to be used one handed as a quick slashing and stabbing weapon.
A common weapon in Harald Hardrada's time a spear could be used for both ranged and melee combat. Weighing in at 5 lbs and 7 foot in length it had some serious penetration power when thrown or thrust.
Caster: Gilles de Rais
Gilles de Rais was a was a French knight and lord during the hundred years war. Serving a commander of the Royal Army he fought alongside Joan of Arc before retiring in 1934. However Rais is far better known for being one of history's first recorded serial killers and is said to have tortured and murdered hundreds of children and was also said to be involved in the occult. This has been disputed in recent years though and it is believed by some the crimes were made up by rival lords who wanted his land and wealth.
Barquemard Short Sword
This sword was allegedly de Rais' preferred murdering tool. 2 foot long and weighing in at 3 lbs it had a stout, double edged blade used mainly for hacking and chopping although it could also be used for stabbing.
When not murdering children, de Rais would have used the Longsword popular with other knights at the time. Weighing 2.6 lbs and with a length of 3.5 foot it was a straight, doubled edged sword which was very versatile in it's use, being able to thrust, slash and hacking.
Often credited as one of the first firearms used in western warfare. It was a one shot weapon which was fired by lighting a match to a touch hole with the ammo consisting of a round metal ball. It had great stopping and penetration power, easily able to smash through plate armour. However it was also notable unreliable and prone to misfires as well as having a very short range. It also came with a spiked grip on the bottom so it could be used as a club in melee combat.
Richard the Lionheart: Richard's only actually spent about a year fighting in the Crusades against Saladin as well as the conquest of Cyprus the year before. He also spent about five years fighting King Phillip of France but unlike the Crusades it was on an intermittent basis.
Honda Tadakatsu: Honda was said to have taken part in well over 100 battles spanning over 30 years during his lifetime and participated in nearly all of the Ieyasu dynasties battles as a general including famous battles such as Nagashino and Kuisegawa.
Yue Fei: Yue Fei joined the army at the age of 19 and spent his early military career helping surpassing rebellions around Kaifeng until it fell in 1129. He then spent the next 12 years leading counterattacks against the Jin and Jurchens, managing to fight his way to within view of Kaifeng before being recalled by Emperor Gaozong in 1141.
Genghis Khan: Genghis spent his early years in combat with rival mongol tribes in his quest to unite them under one banner. After this he the next 16 years almost constantly at war, first against the Jin empire and then against Khwarazmian empire until his death in 1227.
Rashid ad-Din Sinan: Little is known about Rashid's early life but according to his autobiography he was the son of a merchant and so likely had little combat experience before joining the Hashashin's. Again reports are sketchy over his role but he likely took part in many assassinations before rising to become head of the sect.
Harald Hardrada: Harald fought his first battle at the age of fifteen and spent his younger years as a member of the Varangian Guard where he natural fighting ability saw him quickly rise to commander. He spent his time as King constantly fighting in Denmark until his defeat by Harold Godwinson in York
Gilles de Rais: Gilles first taste of combat was during the Hundred Years War from 1427 to 1435 when he retired. He served in Joan of Arc's special guard fighting alongside her in many battles including the famous siege of Orleans.
Richard the Lionheart: Richard would've been covered from head to toe in chainmail which consisted of a long mail shirt, gauntlets, leggings and a coif. Richard would have also worn an iron helmet to cover his entire head with two small slits to see out of as well as carrying a 70x40cm knight's shield.
Honda Tadakatsu: As with other Samurai of the period Honda would've worn a steel breast plate, with steel and leather lamellar protecting the arms and legs. Underneath this there would be Kusari chainmail and padding for further protection. Honda was also famed for his helmet which had adorned with deer antlers so everyone knew who he was.
Yue Fei: As a high ranking member of the military Yue Fei would've likely worn mirror armour which consisted of a round metal disc across the front of the torso and mountain pattern armour (riveted iron scales) covering the shoulders and thighs for added protection.
Genghis Khan: Focused on quick cavalry strikes Genghis would've worn lamellar made from rawhide leather and iron plates with a silk vest underneath which reduces the damage caused by arrows as well as a iron helmet.
Rashid ad-Din Sinan: Since assassins rarely if ever had to actually fight their targets it is unlikely Sinan wore any armour at all.
Harald Hardrada: Harald would've worn a riveted mail shirt in combat as well as a rounded cap iron helmet with a "spectacle guard" around the eyes. He'd have also carried a 90x91cm Shield made of oak with an iron boss in the middle.
Gilles de Rais: Gilles, as with all Knights of his period, would have worn full plate armour which covered his entire body as well as a gambeson for further protection. He'd also have worn a bacinet helmet with a removable visor.
Richard the Lionheart: Despite many great victories against Saladin in the Middle-East, Richard was never able to complete his goal of reconquering the Holy Land. His wish therefore would be that Jerusalem be returned to Christian Rule.
Honda Tadakatsu: Honda lived a long and fulfilling life as Samurai and later a Daimyo and there is nothing in his life he would change even if he could. What Honda instead desires is true incarnation in his younger body, so that he could continue his legendary battle exploits once more.
Yue Fei: Yue Fei was betrayed by his emperor during his battle to retake Kaifeng from the Jin dynasty and died in prison, cowardly executed by a man who feared his influence. Yue Fei wishes nothing more than to reunite the two kingdoms of the Song and the Jin and return Emperor Qinzong to his rightful place.
Genghis Khan: Genghis Khan achieved many great things in his life, paving the way for the largest continuous land empire in history. The one thing Genghis was never able to do in his lifetime was subjugate and destroy the Jin/Song Empire and so his wish would be the extermination of what is now modern day China.
Rashid ad-Din Sinan: Sinan was the respected and feared leader of the Syrian branch of the Hashashin's and achieved great status in his lifetime. Learning of the destruction of the Sect at the hands of Hulagu in 1256 however saddens and angers him, so his wish would be for the sect to restored to it's former glory.
Harald Hardrada: Harald was unable to claim the English throne, being defeated by Harold Godwinson at Stamford Bridge. Harald's wish is to take what is rightfully his and be crowned King of England.
Gilles de Rais: His execution for murder, heresy and witchcraft put and end to Gilles' reign of terror. If he was to win the Grail War, Gilles would wish for a limitless supply of children to torture and kill, free from prosecution from the law.
Located on the outskirts of Fuyuki City sits a castle, in a forest, on a mountain range; the perfect location for a battle royale. The forest is enormous and is a literal sea of trees because of the Einzbern's refusal to develop it into a more accessible area. So unkempt is the forest that the trees block out most of the sunlight making it impossible to see more than 10 metres ahead. There is however a large clearing of about 40 metres diameter with ruins of old buildings scattered within, a rare area of high visibility, as well as a small abandoned house.
The castle itself is a four hour walk on foot from the entrance of the forest. Built to look like a "コ" from above it is a majestic and awe inspiring building and the only signs of civilisation within the vast forest. The interior is lavishly designed with gold adorning the walls, ceilings and floors and luxurious furniture everywhere. Sporting an attic, basement, dining room, numerous bedrooms all interconnected by dozens of winding corridors. The pièce de résistance is the courtyard with beautiful blue flowers surrounding a circular area with red markings drawn around it.
Scenario and Voting
As per usual Holy Grail Wars this is a fight to the death and only the last "servant" standing will be able to claim the Grail and have their wish granted. However this doesn't mean this is just a simple arena battle; the combatants are free to approach the war as they wish. They may choose to try and hunt down the other "servants", they might try and stay out of the fighting an observe, go in all Leroy Jenkins against everyone at once, pick of their opponents stealthily one by one or whatever other strategy they care to think up. All of the combatants have been informed that there are six other "servants" they have to defeat but will not be told of their identities, they'll have to figure that out for themselves if they can. Each combatant will be dropped at a random point in the forest or castle within about a mile radius so it isn't completely impossible to find each other.
When voting please rank the "servants" in order of who will survive the longest (aka seventh for the first to die, sixth for the second to die etc), giving at least two sentences explaining your choice. Ties are allowed if you think two or more warriors are equally likely to die at any given point. Votes will be counted by assigning a score based on the placement as follows;
If there is a tie then both warriors will be assigned the highest number of points they tied on (for example if there was a tie for first, both warriors would get 7 points etc). The warrior with the highest total will win.
Gilles de Rais could have never expected this. He had figured that surely God could not possibly support the choices he had made, the innocent lives he had taken. It never used to be this way, he was as pious as the most devout of Christians during his army days but that could never make up for the darkness that lay within his heart. As he looked into the crowd of angry faces, his titles stripped, his guilt unquestionable, the flames licking as his feet, the rope tight around his neck, he was sure he was destined for the fiery pits of hell...
But then the voice came to him.
A flash of light and Gilles was no longer dangling limply from a hangman's noose but instead inside a blank white expanse. He had been confused, frightened even but then the soothing voice had comforted him, made him feel at ease. Now stood in the expansive area of a castle banquet room he knew exactly what he had to do. There are six other souls like his, brought here to this place, to see whose heart was the most true, to see who was worthy of being granted their ultimate desire. But Gilles' burden was light and his mind was clear, he would be the one to win this battle.
After all, he'd already been saved once...
Meanwhile, inside a small decrepit looking building within the forest, the great Mongol Khan checks his weapons. Drawing the string of his bow back he smiles inwardly as it presses into his fingers firmly. His sword is sharp and his Mace is rock solid and as he eases the string back he could only have wished for a horse to make him feel complete. After all didn't that voice say he was the "Rider" class whatever that is supposed to mean? How the hell could he be a Rider class without a thing to ride. He'd feel much better about having his wish granted with a mount, after all he almost brought down the whole of China from the back of a horse, it'd only be right to destroy the rest of it in the same manner. Peering out of the window, Genghis checks around for any of the other enemy combatants and satisfied that he is alone, he exits from the front door. It is at this moment he hears a noise he recognised instantly, the whinney of a young mare. A horse is tied up by the wall right out side the entrance, saddle all ready and set for riding. This time Genghis let's a grin creep across his face.
Just let them try and win against him now.
Rashid ad-Din Sinan gazes in awe at the sheer number of books adorning the wall of the library of the great castle. The knowledge contained within these pages is more than any one man could know in his lifetime. Perhaps there might be something on the six other men he would have to face this day. Sinan frowns. Knowing your opponent is half the way to defeating him and being thrown in against a group of total strangers does not work in his favour and is not something he relishes, especially his with ageing bones. Sinan had no regrets in how his life was lived, he had humbled the great Saladin and garnered great respect and status for his sect. Tempting him with riches or promise of being reborn had meant nothing to him and the being who had brought him here had found little to offer the wizened old man it had selected. However learning of the destruction of his beloved Hashashin's by a brute of a man with no respect for the status and power of others was too much for him to bear. How could he not at least try to restore his sect back to power once more.
Knowing he is likely to find little usage in the library Sinan decides to explore the castle, checking for any possible ambush points and ways he can trick his opponents. Sinan hopes that this man Hulagu is one of the men brought to this arena today, then he could kill him and avenge his fallen brethren. The thought lightens his mood as he walks.
After almost an hour walking around this confounded forest, Richard I of England can feel the anger begin to rise inside of him. Lugging around all his gear and covered in heavy armour is surely no way for a King to go about his business he ponders. Could his Lord have not provided him with a horse or at the very least a young squire to help him carry his equipment when he brought him to this infernal place. After all surely he would want his wish granted, to bring the holy land back under the rule of God, not some grubby little heathens with false idols? The towering walls of the castle loom up in front of him and he instinctively heads for them, knowing that is likely to be where the other combatants are situated. As he finds himself staring up at the conical towers he gets a sudden feeling of unease, as if somebody is watching him. Spinning around he see nothing but darkness and empty forest. Drawing his arming sword he issues a challenge.
"Who dare goes there. Are you too afraid to face me? Are you are coward who slinks around in the shadows? Come out and face me for I am King Richard of England and I will smite you in the name of God!"
"Hmph. Not another false claimant to my rightful throne," a gruff voice answers. Richard pinpoints the sound to a thick grouping of shrubbery which parts to reveal the challenger. It is a giant of a man, almost half as high again as Richard himself, with wild red hair and a dangerous steel in his eyes. Harald Hadrada hefts his axe over his shoulder and examines the man before him. "You certainly have the arrogance of all the other pretenders to my kingdom. I will not be beaten again by one who claims what is mine." Richard suddenly remembers a tale told to him by his father, about a monster of a man who opposed his great great grandfather's own rule, a man of huge stature and fiery red hair.
"I believe I know of you King Harald of Norway." Richard says and Harald looks surprised at this making him chuckle. "Yes that's right I've heard stories of you from my father. You are nothing but a tiny spot of ink of the history of great men, a tiny inconvenience to a man my own ancestors defeated. Now I know who you are I have no reason to fear you." Harald clenches his fist in anger.
"I will show you the follow of your arrogance" he growls and hoists his spear up, ready to fight. He hurls the spear with all it's might and it sails through the air towards Richard, who raises his shield to block it. It cushions most of the impact but the sheer force with which it was thrown is still enough to drive him back a few paces. Harald grips his axe tightly with both hands and charges at Richard swinging it wildly. Even in full mail armour Richard is able to avoid the highly telegraphed attack but his viking opponent swings it again and again, forcing Richard on the back foot as he struggles to find an opening. He backs up further and further until he feels the solid mass of a tree behind him. Another swing which he is able to duck under sees the blade of axe embed itself in the tree. Harald tugs at the axe but to no avail, it is firmly stuck in the tree trunk. Richard swings his sword in an upwards arc which rakes across Harald's armour, not doing any real damage but forcing him to abandon his axe. Drawing his own sword he let's out a bellowing roar which sends a chill down Richard's spine...
Meanwhile even deeper into the forest, Yue Fei the great Chinese general pushes aside yet more low hanging branches in the thickness of the forest. There is allegedly a castle around here somewhere but he has yet see anything apart from layers upon layers of trees. "That's what you get I suppose for listening to a mysterious and vaguely threatening voice" he ponders to himself. His right arm suddenly feels no resistance and as he pushes his way through yet another patch of tree branches he finds himself in a large clearing, with the scattered foundations of long destroyed buildings dotted across it. "Finally a little change in scenery" he thinks as he steps out into the area. He becomes aware of the sound of movement, making him reach for his bow and notching an arrow in anticipation. The sound gets louder and louder, much louder in fact that seemingly one man could make by himself however the reason for this becomes quickly apparent as the head of a horse pokes its way through the trees on the other side of the clearing. It reveals it's rider as it enters fully into the clearing and Yue Fei recognises the features of the savage tribes that infest the regions far outside of the Sung empire. Even from this far distance he sees the man's face curl in distaste.
"So they send a Chin dog against the great Genghis Khan do they?" he says mockingly "and they arm him with a bow he cannot shoot? This is truly laughable"
Yue Fei grits his teeth at the nerve of this savage. "I am not of the Chin you flea-ridden dog, I am Yue Fei the greatest archer of the Sung empire!"
Genghis snorts. "I have yet to meet one of your kind who can fire as well as even a child of my people."
"Ha! Such arrogance verminous little savage," Yue Fei retorts. He lets loose the arrow he has been holding for the past few minutes and it arches through the air at the great Khan who is forced to manoeuvre his horse in order to avoid the shot.
"Hmph. Perhaps you are not as bad with a bow as the other Chin I have encountered," he says begrudgingly "But no matter, let's see how well you can do against a moving target." With a sharp "Chuh" he spurs his mount into action, snatching up his bow from where it dangles by his feet and notching an arrow in one swift movement. Firing back an arrow of his own with the same accuracy it narrowly misses Yue Fei by a hair but he feels it nick a disc on his armour. Another arrow swiftly follows it and this one connects properly, knocking Yue Fei flat on his back but not managing to puncture fully through the armour. Dusting himself off he narrowly sidesteps yet another arrow and finds himself only 20 metres from the charging Mongol. Acting quickly he looses an arrow of his own and this one hit's bullseye, right smack bang in the middle of Genghis' breast plate. It punches through the armour and almost unhorses him but he just about manages to hold his footing. The arrow itself is caught up by the silk undergarment and he easily yanks it out. Cursing to himself he spurs his horse on again to close the distance further, firing an arrow at almost point blank range.
Yue Fei drops into a roll to avoid it and finds himself stood right in the path of the charging horse. He throws himself to the side as the horses hooves come mere moments away from trampling him. As Genghis begins to turn his horse around he fires another arrow which thumps against the khan's armour but it doesn't quite have the same strength to it and the impact is once against absorbed by the silk garment. Undeterred another arrow soon follows and this one has more success as, despite missing Genghis himself it does manage to nick the string of his bow, snapping it and rendering it useless. He clenches his fist in anger at the loss of his most prized possession. "You cur!" he snarls, tilting his body to avoid another arrow "You will pay dearly for that you Chin bastard."
"I am Sung not Chin! Were you ignoring me earlier are you too stupid to understand me?" Yue Fei exclaims angrily.
"I don't care what you dogs like to call yourself, your people are all the same, pitting my people against each other for your own cowardly gains." The mongol leader unsheathes his sword and digs his heels into his mounts side to force a burst forward. Yue Fei fires off a number of quick fire shots but Genghis either swerves his body to avoid them or let's them thump harmlessly into his armour, judging the power of the shots to determine his response to the incoming projectiles. He is closing the distance between the two quicker and quicker and Yue Fei's shots becoming increasingly erratic as he tries to stop the charge. Just then, out of the corner of his eye, Yue Fei sees a flash of light from the darkness of the underbrush, right next to Genghis and his horse. Before he can even react to what is happening he is thrown from his mount and lands heavily, cursing loudly as he twists his ankle from the fall. Looking back over at his mount he is shocked to see that it has been almost completely decapitated, it's head hanging on by a slim thread of muscle.
"You said your name was Genghis Khan right?" comes a voice from the darkness as a figure steps out from where he has been hidden. Dressed in head to toe in traditional Tosei-Gosuku armour and carrying the biggest spear either Genghis or Yue Fei has ever seen the most striking thing about him however are the majestic deer antlers sprouting from his helmet.
"I did. Why do you ask stranger?" Genghis asks as he gets tentatively to his feet.
"I have heard about you and your people's failed invasion of my country. This tells me I have little to fear from you, if my ancestors bested you then I'm sure I can do the same. Especially now you don't have you precious horse to help you."
"And who are you to make such bold claims?" Genghis snaps incensed by the insult.
"Tadakatsu Honda of the Tokugawa shogunate."
"Well then Ta-da-cat-sue," Genghis says struggling with the pronunciation "I will show you what it means to be a conqueror born."
From one of the windows of the Einzbern Castle, Sinan watches the battle of the two kings with great interest, glad to see a face he recognises. Even from this height he can make out the physical features and personalised armour of Richard the Lionheart. He smiles as he remembers the letters the two exchanged while planning the assassination of Conrad of Montferrat and he secretly hopes that Richard is able win this battle. "As well as being a good man if he's the last one left I know enough about him to have the best chance of asassinating him," he ponders. He has no idea who the wild demon whom he is fighting with is but he's seen brutes like him before many times and they are quick to fall to those not intimidated by their strength. Right on cue a wild swipe with the sword gives Richard an opening to bash him with the pommel of his sword and sweep his legs out from under him. Sinan leans forward expectantly as Richard brings his sword down in a powerful downward chop but the blow is expertly blocked by his opponents shield, which is somehow still holding up under the onslaught.
Engrossed in watching the fight Sinan only just barely hears the creaking of the floorboards behind him. His Khanjar instantly leaps into his hand but even as he turns he is too slow to avoid the sword that slams into his stomach, piercing his left kidney and sticking out through the other side. Shuddering in agony his eyes meet that of his killer, Gilles de Rais, who is grinning gleefully. "You're a bit old for this sort of thing aren't you?" he says mockingly "And besides you're one of those Arab heathens with your false god. What ever made you think He would bless you with victory." Sinan stabs feebly with his knife in an attempt to take the Frenchman down with him but it is easily batted away. Gilles uses his spare hand to take out his Barquemard and draw it across Sinan's throat, ending any chance of a Hashashin revival.
Withdrawing he peers out of the window himself to see the battle unfolding. It's plain to see that the bigger man is beginning to tire and Gilles can sense the battle is almost at it's close. Leave the corpse of Rashid ad-Din Sinan to rot he climbs down the stairs to the castle entrance, ready to greet the victor.
Richard parries another attack from Harald as he circles around. The battle has been long and he tries to keep control of his breathing during the relative lull in the combat. He is pleased to see his opponent is suffering more than he is, his breathing is ragged, he has sweat dripping down his face, his shield lies broken at his feet and his latest attacks have been much slower than the earlier ones. There were moments when Richard feared the relentless ferocity of the attacks would overwhelm him but his confidence in his abilities and remembering his training had allowed him to weather the storm. Still he wasn't getting many openings himself with which to punish the viking king. As the sweat continues to pour down his face Harald blinks heavily as the liquid drips down into his eyes. This is the chance Richard has been waiting for and he draws his sword back to bring it up in an upwards slash. Harald raises his sword in anticipation but it is merely a feint to mask Richard's true intent and he instead swings it horizontally, slamming into Harald's arm. The blow cuts deeply into the Brachial Artery and blood spurts freely from the wound and releasing the grip on his sword which clatters to the ground. Already becoming weak from blood-loss there is nothing Harald can do as Richard stabs him several times in the heart, felling the gigantic warrior like a great oak tree.
"So much for your claim to the throne then" Richard says wryly. Taking a moment to regain his bearings a little he looks around to see if any of the other combatants have showed up. Disappointed not to see anyone he shrugs and continues on towards the castle, hoping to find an opponent there.
Yue Fei watches in fascination as a Mongol Khan and a Japanese Daimyo duke it out. Honda is making great use of the massive reach of his weapon and Genghis cannot seem to find a way past the spear head in order to get within striking distance of his sword. Using sweeping swings to keep the Mongol at bay he occasionally throws in a jab to try and catch him off guard but his opponents light armour makes avoid this fairly simple. Yue Fei has an arrow notched and ready to fire but can't really find an opening to hit either of them. An unusually sloppy stab from Honda gives Genghis the opportunity to step past the range of Tonbokiri's head. Immediately abandoning his beloved weapon he waits patiently for Genghis to lunge for him before unsheathing his sword straight into an attack. The swiftness of the blow almost works but Genghis is just about able to twist out of the way so that instead of slicing into his face it instead cuts off his ear. Grimacing at the pain briefly, he quickly adopts the cold face and swings with his own sword which rattles off the samurai's armour. The pair settle into a series of attacks and parries, with Honda focusing more on deflecting the attacks while Genghis relying on his lighter armour to dodge many of Honda's strikes. Yue Fei continues to watch carefully and let's loose and arrow when he thinks he sees a good opening. The arrow whistles over Honda's head, right between the two deer antlers.
Shooting him a glare Honda deflects another attack from Genghis and quick as a flash strikes out at Genghis' neck in an attempt to behead him. Amazingly Genghis somehow manages to turn his deflected attack into a defence by catching the blade with the pommel of his sword and drives a kick into Honda's groin. He buckles under the kick and Genghis takes advantage by slashing at Honda's neck himself. He misjudges the strike however and the sword bounces off the shoulder guard and puts him off balance. Seeing yet another chance to fire an arrow Yue Fei sends one arching through the air and it buries itself deep into Genghis' side. Letting out a deep gasp Genghis has a brief lapse in concentration and looks towards Yue Fei. Honda wastes no time and at the second time of asking, separates Genghis' head from his body with one lightning slash.
"Are you going to be firing any more arrows Archer?" Honda asks sarcastically. Yue Fei reaches back for his quiver but his hand clasps on empty air.
"Looks like I'm all out" he replies and draws his Jian. "While I'm glad the barbarian is dead I'd have much rather have killed him myself for the insult to my people. I'm afraid honourable one that I am going to have to kill you for the sake of my country."
"Country? You mean your wish is not for yourself?"
"Of course not. All I want is to put right the betrayal of that coward Qin Hui and restore the true emperor to his throne. I Serve the Country with upmost loyalty after all," Yue Fei says, echoing the tattoo on his back.
"Your loyalty is truly commendable." Honda can't help but smile. "I will not take pleasure in dispatching you but I have my own wish to grant." The two Asian generals look at each other with a new found respect as they clash swords.
Back at the castle entrance Richard calmly readies his crossbow, pulling back the string and slotting the arrow into the groove. Tipping it downwards slightly and satisfied that it will not slip out it is at this moment the door to the castle creaks open. A dark haired man in heavy armour strides through and Richard hoists the crossbow up ready to fire, until he sees the man already has something aimed at him. "Another knight like myself" Gilles says "Unfortunately He has already blessed me with victory of the grail."
"What makes you so sure of that?" Richard retorts. Gilles merely smiles in response and Richard eyes the weapon pointed at him. It appears to be nothing more than a tube on a plank of wood, a strange type of bow perhaps? As he is thinking this the barrel flashes and a terrifying noise crackles across the area, stunning Richard into shock. "What is this weapon that harnesses the sound of lightning" He instinctively looses his crossbow bolt as something tears through his armour, tearing through his body and right into his rib-cage. The crossbow bolt unsurprisingly flies way wide of the mark and embeds itself in the castle door. Richard doubles over in pain, he can feel whatever has hit him moving about inside of the wound. He digs into it with his finger and removes the offending projectile and is surprised to see it is little more than a small iron ball. "How could such a tiny thing cause so much damage" he ponders to himself but has little time to consider the mechanics of such a weapon, what it more important is stopping his opponent from firing it again. He discards his crossbow and draws his sword, charging at Gilles who is trying to reload the hand cannon. Seeing he has little chance of achieving that with Richard bearing down on him he likewise draws his sword, settling into a defensive stance.
Turning away the first swing from Richard, Gilles uses his slightly longer blade to keep Richard from being able to actually hit him with his own sword. The English king's sword swings are slower than they would otherwise be owing to the sharp pain whenever his ribs are jolted by his movement. This is not lost on Gilles who notices him putting less weight on the side of his injured ribs. Pinning Richard's sword to the ground he drives a kick into his side and feels them crumple under his boot, making Richard shout out in agony and drop his sword. Gilles swings his sword down in an arc which clatters off Richard's helmet, disorientating him. Gilles senses the moment is right and moves in for the kill.
Honda is quietly impressed with the warrior before him. His blocks and counterattacks are all carefully measured but not to the point of simply sitting back and waiting for an opportunity. In fact just as he is thinking this the blade of the Jian drives straight for his throat, forcing him into a block. He responds with a flurry of jabs to put his Chinese opponent on the back foot and finishes it off with a arching upwards slash from his left hand side, which Yue Fei just about manages to deflect away. Feeling his hand start to cramp up Honda loosens his hand on the hilt slightly and noticing this, Yue Fei chooses this moment to strike, not aiming for Honda himself but his sword. Honda is caught off guard and as he brings his sword up the downward momentum from the Jian manages to knock the katana out of his hand. Momentarily weaponless Honda is at the mercy of Yue Fei which he takes full advantage of, striking at Honda from all angles. The samurai backpedals furiously as the blade lashes at his armour. "I can't keep this up for long, sooner or later he's going to find a gap" he thinks to himself and just as he does Yue Fei rakes across his sword across his abdomen drawing blood.
Knowing he has to get a hold of his Chigiriki from where it is slung over his back but without leaving himself wide open he waits for Yue Fei to commit himself to a powerful slash attack and leans into it with his shoulder. His shoulder plate cushions the blow and he jerks it up as the blade connects, knocking it back and throwing Yue Fei off guard. This gives him the opportunity to grab hold of his weapon, the weight in his hands comforting. Yue Fei to his credit is not fazed for long and resumes his offence. Now with a something to defend himself with Honda has time to think about his next course of action. Out of the corner of his eye he spots Tonbokiri and an idea forms in his head.
Allowing Yue Fei to push him back, he cleverly manoeuvres the pair towards where his spear is lying. As he steps over it he makes a block with the staff of the chigiriki and theatrically reels it away, making it look as though he is vulnerable. Yue Fei takes the bait and goes in with a stab but this is exactly what Honda was expecting. Swinging the chain around he ensnares his opponents hand with it, trapping them and the sword together. Using his foot to lift the spear into his hand he yanks down suddenly to bring Yue Fei to his knees and grasps Tonbokiri with both hands, raising it above his head, bringing it down and...
Richard swings his war axe at Gilles but the desperate attack is easily turned aside. Gilles plunges his longsword right into Richard's chest, straight through the armour and into his heart, tearing it free to draw it across his throat at the same time as...
Honda Tadakatsu cleaves the great Chinese general clean in half. Honda bows respectfully to the body of his opponent, showing honour to a man of great loyalty and conviction. "I can only hope the others are as noble as this Yue Fei" he mummers as he retrieves his Chigiriki and Katana.
The courtyard of the Einzbern Castle is bathed in a golden hue as a small golden goblet floats peacefully above the circular centre. Gilles de Rais kneels before the Holy Grail in awe of it's beauty. "You must be the gift God has bestowed upon me," he mummers. Entranced as he is by the Grail he is not deaf to the sound of crunching footsteps in the gravel. Turning his head slightly he watches as Honda Tadakatsu walks up the pathway before stopping at the entrance to the circle. "At last you have made it" Gilles remarks.
"Are we the last two?" Honda asks.
"I would think so. Assassin and Saber are dead by hand and Berserker's body lies just outside the castle gates. I have yet to see any sign of Lancer, Rider or Archer yet mind you."
"Archer and Rider are dead" Honda says bluntly.
"Ah. Then you must be this Lancer He spoke of. You are the last thing standing between me and my duty." Gilles rises to his feet and strikes a match on his armour, holding it to the touch hole of his Hand Cannon.
"What?! You think you can beat me with that primitive tool" Honda snorts as he looks at the weapon. "Even if it doesn't somehow misfire I can deal with a weak shot like that any day."
"I'll see that smirk wiped off your face" Gilles snarls as the ball is launched through the air at the Japanese general. Honda calmly swings Tonbokiri in an upwards arc, slicing clean through the metal ball and sending the two halves dinking harmlessly to the pathway below. Enraged, Gilles lunges at his opponent in a rage, swinging the Hand Canon as a makeshift club. Honda is unfazed and swings his spear in a circular arc which Gilles narrowly ducks under. Maintaining the momentum he swings it back around again at ankle level to sweep the Frenchman off his feet, following this up by bringing Tonbokiri down vertically. Gilles tries to block it with his Hand Canon and succeeds in diverting the blade away at the cost of badly denting his weapon and rendering it unusable. Getting hurriedly to his feet he draws his Longsword as the spear clips the side of his bacinet to send him stumbling.
Honda has worked up a rhythm with his weapon now and the swings come in fast and furious as Gilles ducks and weaves around waiting for an opening. He soon works out the pattern of the swing and uses this to step forward just as the spear head sails past him. Moving past the bladed tip he grabs the shaft as it comes back around again and steadies it for him to snap it in half with a powerful chop from his sword. Shocked at the destruction of his legendary weapon Honda is distracted long enough for Gilles to twist around and thrust his sword forward, piercing his armour and ripping into his shoulder. He twists the blade to do further damage and Honda yells out, lashing out with his fist and catching Gilles on the side of his helmet, rocking his head back. Yanking the blade out of his shoulder he grasps hold of the helmet and swings his opponent around, releasing him to send him tumbling into the flowers nearby.
Testing his shoulder, Honda draws Nakatsukasa Masamune from its sheath with his uninjured arm. "I must admit I'm impressed you managed to injure me. No other man has ever done that before." Gilles staggers to his feet, his bacinet lying on the ground nearby. "But I can still beat you even with one arm" he continues striding towards his opponent. His strike is blocked and Gilles laughs mockingly.
"God has already blessed me with victory," he retorts lashing out with his sword.
"How can you be sure? How do you not know your God has sent me to defeat you? What if he has already forsaken you?."
"I often wondered that myself actually," Gilles says. "When I was a young man I was a model Christian. Everything I did He smiled down on because of my faith. I fought against the forces of England with honour and bravery." Honda tries to take advantage of his opponents distraction but his attacks are easily batted away. "But something changed on the 30th May 1431 when our beloved Jeanne was executed. How could God possibly allow his most fervent believer to die such a wicked death? Nothing made sense to me any more. I turned to the Devil's dark magic, I took young virgins and did the most despicable things to them. What surprised me the most was how much I enjoyed it. It had been hidden away inside of me for all those years. And when I was caught, put on trial and sentenced to death I was certain that I would face the Fallen Angel himself in unimaginable torture for my actions." The distracted look in Gilles eyes is replaced with childlike wonder and his face twists into a smile.
"But I was not. I was rescued by God. Sent to this place to fight for my deepest desire. That is when I realised it was all in His plan." Honda sneaks a stab past his defences but it deflects off the armour. "Why else would he save me. Sacrificing children. That is what he intended from me. I thought what I was doing was wicked. But then He saved me. And I knew he approved. I knew he understood the beauty, nay the art of ripping the life from his subjects." Honda looks on horrified at the rambling lunatic in front of him.
"You are insane!" he cries out and kicks away the Longsword, bringing his Katana up to draw it across Gilles' throat. Gilles turns his head slightly and the blade scrapes against his neck, breaking the skin but only leaving a shallow scar. He draws his Barquemard and grabs Honda by the antlers on his helmet, using it as leverage to plunge the blade into his stomach. Honda coughs up blood violently from his mouth and Gilles stabs him repeatedly before letting the Samuari drop to his knees. Looking up the last thing he sees is Gilles punch the blade into his mouth, tearing through his throat and exploding out of the other side.
Leaving the body of his opponent haemorrhaging blood on the ground Gilles returns to the Grail. Reaching put to claim his prize a black blob drips over the side of the goblet and onto his hand. Confused he notices the Grail has filled up with a black sludge which is now spilling over the side and dribbling into a puddle below. He recoils away in surprise as the puddle grows bigger and bigger, flowing around his feet. He feels a warmth spreading through his body and his confusion is replaced with elation. No longer fearing the black goo swirling around him he knees down in prayer as it envelops him, burying the Baron de Rais within it's evil.
The stench of death lingers over a dark, damp room, located in a large orphanage in the south of France. Light leaks into the room through a crack in the ancient curtains, barely revealing shapeless figures in the darkness. All of a bright blinding light illuminates the room as the large double doors are thrown open and Gilles de Rais strides into the room, the walls behind him splattered with blood. The figures are revealed to be huddle masses of frightened children, dressed in tattered clothes and clinging onto each other in fear. He surveys the room his eyes taking in the children hungrily. "I knew there were more of you" he says. "I bet you thought you could hide from me in here didn't you?". The orphans just sit there silently. "Well you were wrong!" he giggles. Without warning he grabs the nearest child, a young boy of 10 years old. The poor child tries to struggle free but a a series of vicious slaps to the face stops his meek resistance. "You will make a fine sacrifice for our Lord."
All of a sudden a figure bursts from the group, wrapping itself around the boy protectively. Gilles draws his sword to strike down the foolish child but as he raises it the figure looks up at him and he lets in a gasp of surprise. The figure is a girl, no more than 16 years old, with large blue eyes and long golden blonde hair. Her eyes bore into his very soul and the sword falls from his grip, clattering on the flood loudly. "Could it be?." Gilles heart begins to race. "Lord have you brought her back to me?". "What is your name" he asks his tone softening. The girl looks at him confused at the sudden change.
Winner: Gilles de Rais
7th Place: Rashid ad-Din Sinan, 11 Points.
Sinan came in dead last in this battle royale. His lack of armour and old age gave him a disadvantage against the other warriors right off the bat and left him relying entirely on being stealthy and ambushing his opponents. However even this was difficult because he knows nothing of the battle arena or the other warriors so couldn't plan accordingly. While certainly a skilled assassin and leader the scenario simply worked against Sinan too much for him to achieve anything.
6th Place: Harald Hardrada, 15 Points
Harald came from the earliest time period of any of the warriors and this put him at a disadvantage in terms of technology. He lacked a long range weapon and his armour didn't offer all that much protection and when combined with his aggressive fighting style he struggled against the better armoured and more patient contestants.
5th Place: Genghis Khan, 16 Points
Genghis had a good set of weapons but the problem was he was too used to horseback combat and was unused to fighting in dense forest or indoors. His armour reflects this, being designed for speed and mobility over protection and on foot this left him lacking when compared to the remaining warriors.
3rd Place: Yue Fei, 35 Points & Richard the Lionheart, 35 Points
Unlike the 3 warriors before him Yue Fei didn't have any major disadvantages. His skill as an archer gave him an edge over the other combatants at a range and his Jian and Qiang gave him some solid close quarters options. The only thing he really lacked in was armour which didn't give as much protection as Honda or Gilles. He was a well rounded combatant but just lacked that little bit extra to get him into the top two.
Richard was in a similar position to Yue Fei in that he didn't have any glaring disadvantages. His armour was one of the most protective out of the warriors, his crossbow gave him a deadly ranged option and he also had good melee options with his sword and axe. What kept him from getting any higher was his lack of experience, only having a year fighting in the crusades.
2nd Place: Honda Tadakatsu, 40 points
Honda was the most modern of the warriors and had an impressive set of weapons, including the legendary Tonbokiri spear. He was an skilled and experienced fighter with over 100 battles under his belt which gave him a big edge over some of the other warriors, who were commanders first and warriors second. His lack of a ranged weapon was a problem and while his armour did give good protection it just simply couldn't compare to Gilles.
1st Place: Gilles de Rais, 45 Points
Gilles was overall the most well rounded warrior here without any real disadvantages. Having the only black powder weapon meant he could penetrate the others armour easily and other than Honda none of them had experienced blackpowder weapons so it gave him a psychological edge as well. His armour was the most protective out of anyone's and his 8 years of fighting in the 100 years war gave him a wealth of experience to draw upon.