Post by General Li Xin on Jul 24, 2014 13:19:47 GMT
Two thousand years, eh?
Hmm. What can he say? How should he describe how he feels? Xin titled the cup and drank its sweet liquor empty. Nine cups of the stuff and it was still cold. Guess he had to drink more for all those missing out on it. They would really like some of this.
Two thousand years. It sounded like a really long sigh. No way, right? This was an opportunity of opportunities. If it hadn't fallen to them, they would have remained ignorant while dead. No way would anyone thought there was a prize waiting in death to this level. Xin thought the highest end was to become a legend.
Not that he did in the end.
No...there was no reason to be bitter about it. It had been two thousand years. Two thousand years. Legends were forgotten, legends were rewritten, legends were born.
What did he feel about this?
Xin kept on drinking, thinking. It was pointless mulling over things he could not change. They eat right through him until he's all screwed up. But the darkness exists. At the corner-most, most hidden part of his mind, it lurked. If he could not get it out of the way, then it would grow on its own somehow and slowly cloud his vision like dust. Tonight was a good time for him to sort out his thoughts and feelings so that he could fight all-out in the Holy Grail War starting tomorrow. He was lucky just having this chance. He had better make good use of it.
Two thousand years... At least the liquor was older than him.
Post by Hector of Troy on Jul 24, 2014 15:29:46 GMT
The scent of alcohol was something that Hector could not mistake. Liquor or blood were the surest catalysts to summon him, now that he was actually in the world and could make use of his physical senses again. It was the evening before the war after all, and he was surprised that there was no send-off feast or offerings made to the gods. Drinking would have to do. The last time he had found himself in a similar situation, he and Aeneas had drunk the night away as they watched the lights of the Greek ships draw closer and closer to the shore.
He materialized like a shadow come to life in the dying light, footsteps loud in his approach. The boy before him was garbed in foreign armor, expression markedly gloomy and deep in thought. Hector wondered for a moment that he might not want to be disturbed, though the thought soon passed from his mind because everyone could use a drinking partner the day before a war.
“I hope you are not consumed by doubt on the eve of battle, boy. It is bad luck,” he announced himself, voice echoing. He felt rather informal, but standing around awkwardly seemed unfitting. Without truly being invited, he sat across from the… magus? Spirit? Hector couldn’t quite tell what the other’s true nature was, but it didn’t matter. This was no enemy Servant, and Hector didn’t bother to worry about much else. “I am the Rider of Black. Correct me if I am mistaken, though I do not believe we have met before this day.” He glanced at the drink and smiled slightly. This was not the modern, overly fancy excuse for hard alcohol. “Is there enough for two?”
Post by General Li Xin on Jul 27, 2014 3:51:33 GMT
Xin gulped down the last cup too greedily to savour it tastes. He took the bottle, filled his cup again, and laid his arm down on his thigh where the liquor waited to be consumed. His stare at the distance continued to look in a straight line, not turning to the telltale footsteps nor blinking to the handsome face of the stranger who had welcomed himself before Xin in casual confidence. He looked right into him with eyes that were like that of a dark shadow, scrutinizing. Sizing. And seeing the warrior Hector was even before his "name" had been given.
Xin drank again.
"Heh. I did bring another cup just in case." He reached for a knapsack just beside a meter-long object wrapped in cloth, an exposed handle surely that of a sword's at on end. Xin pulled out another cup just like his - saucer in shape but too small to be for soups. "And who're you calling a boy, you bastard. You're the guy begging to get a drink."
Post by Hector of Troy on Jul 29, 2014 4:15:23 GMT
Hector accepted the offered cup with a courteous smile and nod, noting that it was not so different from the vessels they had used when he was still alive. The liquor was sour smelling when he poured it into the cup
Before he raised it to his lips, he spilled a small amount of the liquid onto the ground, where the earth soaked it up. Neglecting an offering to the gods on the eve of battle would prove a detrimental error for one who relied so heavily on the gods’ favor during his last war, though Hector worried at the lack of a fire to make a proper presentation.
He drank deeply (yet surprisingly daintily) before he spoke, careful not to let a single drop spill by accident. “I do not beg,” he corrected after setting the bowl down on his lap. “It is simply that my Master is incapable of purchasing liquor in this modern age due to his youth, a ridiculous concept. You appear as young as he does, thus your title is ‘boy,’ as mine is apparently ‘bastard.’” The word rolled of his tongue with an odd amount of finesse. These modern insults meant nothing to him.
The taste of alcohol had already relaxed the Heroic Spirit even if its effects were not yet present. He had no real idea of how much the spirit body could take, though he was willing to find out. Hector took another sip. “Everyone is so serious about this War, they will not take the time to have a drink. You are not so concerned about the fighting, are you? It is a boyish act to brood before a battle.”
Post by General Li Xin on Jul 29, 2014 11:07:30 GMT
Xin filled his cup after Hector, glancing at his spilling of liquor on the dirt. He and Hector looked as close as an apple and a rock, but Xin was able to tell that Hector had done some sort of offering. He thought it was much better to drink on their behalf though; what good was wasted drink but just plain wasted?
Xin burst into laughter, putting his cup down. "KAKAKA. So you're some bastard dependent for a drink from 'boys'?" Xin pulled his cup and swallowed the liquor down in one breath. With an exhilarated sigh, he laughed again. "Haha, Rider, you're a funny guy. But ya got it all wrong. I'm not some brat. I mighta've died tad younger than normal but I had a big family and the most kickass wife. My eldest had a kid coming too. It was coming close, but I didn't make it. He showed a really ugly face cryin'. Hard not to feel bad." Xin was already drinking another cup. "Hey, Rider, ya don't have to answer if you don't want to, but did ya die in battle?"
The liquor burned on the way down in a pleasant, nostalgic sort of way as he took a bigger gulp. Hector almost felt as though he was in one of the bars frequented by soldiers back in Troy. It was not a bad feeling. He found the boy’s half-drunken laughter amusing, almost contagious. Rider himself remained poised for the time being, but a wicked grin lighted his lips nonetheless. “I was not in the habit of fetching my own liquor when I was alive, though I suppose it would be too much to ask for you to pour my drink for me.”
Hector watched with fascination as the other chugged his own drink, wondering how much more he would be able to handle and whether or not he would have to carry the boy back to his quarters if he passed out.
At first glance, Hector would not have pegged the guy for a family man, but the way he spoke was obviously genuine. “So you are a hero!” he yelled out, the comment about death not escaping his notice. “My apologies if I insulted you, boy, though you do not look like a married man. Ha!” Hector drank deeply, washing away whatever negative connotations family brought up. Talk of family was still a sore subject, but Hector put on a brave face and drowned the ache in alcohol.
“As it was with you, my family was big, my wife strong and beautiful, though my son was not yet of the age to give us grandchildren. I probably died younger than you, though it is hard to believe given your boyish manners.” Rider was somewhat troubled, his bowl apparently empty. He reached to refill it, keeping his voice carefully neutral. “You are not wrong; I did fall in battle. Though it was long ago, that is what I am famous for. It is rather humiliating,” he paused, sloshing the newly poured liquid around without drinking.
“I assume you are a warrior who did not die in battle, then? That is an envious fate.”
Xin did not expect Hector to peg him down out of the blue as a 'hero,' to which Xin made a small, confused look for. But he understood then in an instant later that Hector had just confused him for a Servant. Xin had been intending to give his name. He had not exactly thought ahead of precautions to keeping his existence a secret. It probably wouldn't matter in the end, but he wanted things to develop without complications. Xin busied himself with a slow sip of the last drops in his cup, making a mental note to watch what he say from now on.
"Yeah." Xin took the bottle next and filled his cup in silence. He returned to the level of solemnity Rider had found him as. He was quiet, but was clearly readying himself for his next set of words.
Xin stared far at the town sunken at the bottom of the hill. He took a sip, but the alcohol did little to lighten the frown encased above his dark eyes.
"I know it's no good mulling over things right before a battle. Maybe it's childish like what you said. But it's there. I was hoping I can sort it out before it gets in the way. I ain't gonna run. I know I'm gonna fight. I'm..." Xin angrily scratched his hair, pulling messy strands out of its ponytail. "Fighting's been something as natural as breathing to me. I made it to where I wanted. I got Zheng right where I promised he would be. I stopped. To me, it was all over. I moved on to the next life for me. After a phase of doing nothing but taking lives, raising a family was like balancing what I owed. I was lucky I got that far. When I started feeling sick, I sensed that that was probably it."
Xin had abandoned his cup on the ground, which was still full to the brim.
"I imagine you're gonna want to fight for some sort of closure or for that wish that thing can give. But not me. I don't feel the need to make up for anything. I ain't scared of fighting. I'm gonna fight and enjoy kicking butt. But if that's seriously the only reason for me, then I'm not gonna last long. That kind of drive is underestimating war."
When he had first sat down, Hector had known that the boy was somewhat melancholy. But he had not expected to understand or sympathize with the problem he faced. Rider stared thoughtfully into his cup, staying silent as his murky reflection twisted and shifted. “Many warriors fight for the chance you had, to settle down and live out life away from the sword,” he sighed quietly, since that was the sort of life he might have desired if he had the chance to do things over again. War was his calling, but he sorely missed the chance to raise a family alongside Andromache, as they had promised each other in days of peace.
“It is childish to sit in silence and worry over your perceived failures. It takes a warrior to recognize them and recover. Or so they say, I am not a good role model for this.” Hector half felt as though he was talking to himself. Perhaps he should have taken his own advice, if it was any good at all. Somehow, he doubted that talking about deep-set emotional problems in past lives would help anyone. At least he had someone to wallow with. Maybe if there was enough liquor involved…
“I do not wish closure for myself; I do not need it. Rather, I want to give my son the opportunity to live the life that was robbed from him. He had not yet learned to walk at the time of his death.” That was a statement worthy of a drink, so he downed one. Too quickly, perhaps, because he half-coughed his next words. “I would not invent a purpose if you do not have one clearly in your head. Fighting for the joy and the glory of it is a purpose in and of itself. Just try to stay alive long enough to fight more battles, and enjoy every one you have. It is not everyone who gets to return from the dead to fight heroes you never knew existed.”
Noting that the other cup had been set on the ground, Hector followed suit. He looked out across the darkened hill, down at the twinkling lights of the town. His words were slow and heavy with alcohol, but not close to slurring yet. “If we were not allies, we could have fought quite a duel. You seem a somewhat worthy opponent. I have fought heroes my entire life, so that is a compliment,” Hector laughed loudly at his own statement, the echo carrying down the hill, but in the end it was half-hearted. He did not easily recover from talk of his perceived failures.
Xin looked in horror at Hector. His kid died as a baby? No, he didn't just die. He was killed. Anger bubbled from within Xin's chest. He'd skewer the guy who hurt Hector's child. Xin suddenly stood up, wobbling once, but didn't seem to notice this. He'd grabbed the clothed sword and raised it, ready to swing.
"I'M SUDDENLY REALLY PISSED OFF. GAH, RIDER. WHY'D YOU HAVE TO TELL ME ABOUT YOUR KID? I CAN'T SKEWER THAT GUY WHO DID IT NOW." Xin stomped the ground furiously, his cup flying to Hector. "THE FUCK ISH WRONG WITH PEOPLE INVOLVING CIVILIANS WHO CAN'T FIGHT BACK. I DON'T KNOW ABOUT YOU BUT I'D WISH THAT GUY HERE AND NOW AND PUNCH HIM SENSELESS. YEAH. THAT'D BE MY WISH."
As he swung a curled fist in the air, Xin's contorted look of drunk anger melted into one profound realization.
"Hey...wait a minute." Xin glared furiously at Hector. "WHY THE HELL WEREN'T YOU ABLE TO PROTECT YOUR OWN BRAT? ARE YOU SOME SORT OF PANSY??? YA THINK I'M SOMEWHAT WORTHY? I THINK YOU'RE CRAP. A REALLY, REALLY BIG AND SMELLY OX SHIT MIXED WITH THE PISS OF THE SHITTIEST RASCAL EVER AND MADE INTO A STEW. YOU CAN KEEP YOUR COMPLIMENTS TO YOURSELF, YA BASTARD."
Hector of Troy (Oh my god. Drunk, angry Xin is a lot like pissed off me.)
Post by Hector of Troy on Aug 5, 2014 22:29:24 GMT
Hector could not do anything but stare, somewhat shocked, at Xin’s loud ranting. He certainly had not expected such an intense reaction to his comments, but he realized then that this man was also a father. Talking about his dead son had probably been the wrong thing to do. He saw that now. “We were talking about purpose and family, and I did not think that you would get so upset,” Hector was attempting to maintain some dignity in their conversation, but the liquor in the knocked cup managed to spill all over him. So much for pride. He laughed anyway. “The punching thing would be good, that is a good idea. I should change my wish!”
Suddenly and almost without warning, the other’s words began to turn accusatory. Hector gritted his teeth and pushed himself to his feet as well. A bout of dizziness made him teeter dangerously to one side, but he soon recovered, standing up to his full height and using the full volume of his voice. He felt fresh rage bubble through his blood, and he glared furiously at Xin.
“YOU DO NOT KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT, YOU FOOLISH BRAT! DO NOT PRESUME TO LECTURE ME ON MY OWN SHORTCOMINGS! DO NOT INSULT ME CHILD! I WAS ALREADY DEAD WHEN THEY KILLED HIM!” And with a roar, he summoned his spear with a flash of prana. With all of the rage he could muster, he swung the butt of his spear so as to swipe the other man across the chest. It wasn’t anywhere close to a killing blow, and perhaps not so well-aimed due to Hector’s own impairment. “YOU FORGET WHO YOU SPEAK TO!
Hector was spent in the blink of an eye. The spear dissipated in his hand and he staggered backwards, groping for some purchase. He found none, and the ground came up to meet him all of a sudden. Somehow, he managed to right himself into a sloppy sitting position. When Rider spoke again, his voice sounded deflated. “We all have things we are not proud of, do we not? Maybe that is what it means to be a hero.”
Xin made a move backward to dodge, swinging his sheathed sword to push the the lance aside. It had been easier than he thought. He blocked the blow with too much effort on his part but Hector was already falling on his own. Xin cautiously watched Hector. The guy was drunk but that attack was as real as it could get. He didn't want to admit it, but it scared the hell out of him.
He never doubted from the start that Rider was the real thing.
"So that's a taste of how strong a Servant is," Xin thought as he watched Rider sit without the stiff-ass pride of trying to look cool. Good. He was probably some noble or some shit, but obviously no one taught him how to get drunk properly.
Xin swung his shoulder to his shoulder and turned to where the setting sun was once.
"A hero? I guess people like that might really exist... Think you're one of them, Rider?"
Post by Hector of Troy on Aug 21, 2014 5:11:50 GMT
The tense atmosphere dissolved just like that, in a way that only alcohol could manage. The anger that had swelled in Hector’s heart washed away faster than he could keep up with, leaving a hollow moroseness that would take some time to fill.
Glancing at his companion, Hector felt somewhat relieved that he hadn’t actually struck him. This man was a fellow hero; Rider had felt it in the strength of his block. Had they both been sober, Hector might have entertained the idea of testing his comrade’s mettle in a duel. As it was, he was in no mood. Whatever fuel his rage had gifted him, it was all spent.
Hector followed the other’s gaze, watching the darkened horizon with no emotion. “History records me as a hero. A martyr too, perhaps, though sometimes it is hard to know what I truly am. I have the pride of a great hero, yet I failed to save that which I loved. What does that make me?” He didn’t expect or particularly desire an answer.
“Heroes do exist. I fought against them, alongside them.” Hector paused thoughtfully. “You speak as though you do not consider yourself to be one.”
Post by General Li Xin on Aug 21, 2014 7:36:27 GMT
Even if Hector wanted to hear an answer, Xin had none to give but his eyebrows sank an inch lower at something Hector had mentioned.
"...Nah. A hero? I don't think I was anything special like that. I guess I could be. Depends on whose perspective, but not mine. I wasn't aiming to become strong so I could save everyone. That ain't possible, right? Ah - for me, not you. 'Cause the way I see it, Rider, you and I are completely different. Even with the old man I met earlier. A Heroic Spirit and me are different from each other."
How exactly? Xin wondered about that too. It was his gut feeling strongly telling him so and he began to search for the explanation inside his head.
He was a hero of war. Along with Meng Tian, Wang Ben, Qiang Lei and the others, he and many generals were referred to as war heroes. Of course, the most common infantry man was a hero of his own right too. But you know what? The enemy generals were war heroes too. The men he'd sliced and taken off from his path were heroes too. Some son or king out there looked up to them as heroes. Yeah - the king who was the highest person of the state would never achieve the title of a hero. It would always be for the people who risked their own necks in the battlefield.
As a man who lived in war, Xin could say this in absolute confidence. But history only chose a select few. History had to handpick the greatest among the good and great men to stand alongside legendary figures across time as immortals and gods of awe and inspiration. Fear and valiance. They did something completely amazing. Not everyone could get to where they were.
A Great General!
Xin laughed. But it wasn't Tian or Ben who became a Servant, eh? But this was just fine. This was not bad either.
"Haha! That's it then." With a spirited smile, Xin looked up to the heavens. "There are all sorts of heroes, but do you know what they have in common, Rider?"
Xin reached a hand toward the sky where a large bird swept by, flying undaunted by the darkness.
Post by Hector of Troy on Sept 17, 2014 4:14:19 GMT
Cerulean eyes regarded the other man with a brand of thoughtfulness that only alcohol could produce. Talk of dreams caused his muddled mind to race, and he wondered at why this mystery hero had such a sudden revelation. Did it have to do with the deeds of his life? The dream that he once fought for?
Hector had never considered what his dream had been when he was fighting tooth and nail against the Greeks to keep them out of his cities. It had been a war on a day-to-day basis from the start, the tides of battle shifting by the hour based on the whims of the fickle gods and the heroics of both sides. His goal had been to keep Troy’s walls standing, to send the Achaeans home or to slaughter them all. Dreams? His only thoughts had been of saving the city for his wife and son, and for his people. There was no room in for selfish desires of his own, save perhaps the desire to die. Looking back on it, that was probably the most selfish desire of all. At the time, a noble, remarkable death seemed the only thing that he could look forward to as a result of all the fighting.
To have his name remembered by all the ages. It was a foolish desire. Did that make him a hero in this man’s eyes?
“The dream makes the hero,” he repeated the words with his heavy tongue and wondered at them with thoughts that seemed to stick together. “Perhaps it is true. I would not know. I never thought about such things when I fought and killed my enemies.” He glanced at the drunken form of Xin with heavy lidded eyes. “You have the air of someone who fights for something. Someone, perhaps. I know that look upon your face, that light in your eyes. You are fighting for something, or you once did. As you said, that makes you a hero.”