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Imperial Privilege

Kiri x Kiritsugu

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Not a dude dating thing, actually

So Arashi posted this cool thing. It's one of those hooks that came to mind that he doesn't seem to have any real intent on writing, but it struck me as soon as I saw it. I've spent a lot of time picking his brain about his discarded concepts and even considered taking a crack at a few of them, with this one being the second most enduring (the first being that pitch for a Third Grail War story but you should know that by now, given my incessant chatter about it).

So one of the driving ideas behind the story I started sketching out was that Kiri doesn't kick Kiritsugu out of the war entirely. Instead, Kiritsugu hears about the Grail War through other channels and goes peddling his services to Zouken. He beats Kariya to the punch and serves as the Matou merc-Master with Medusa.

I wanted to do it this way for a few reasons.

The first is that I wanted to set up a Kiri/Kiritsugu rivalry. Sure, Kirei is still around, but he would take a back seat to Kiritsugu's fear/respect for Kiri Nanaya, who he passingly encountered younger in life. In order to make this story work, I would have to fudge things a bit.

The "nail" of the story is that daddy Tohno has some last-minute misgivings about using Kouma during the raid on the Nanaya compound and hires a fistful of freelancers instead. (If this makes him seem too soft, it's not at all guilt over child soldiering. He's just concerned about keeping Kouma under control and on task.) Kiri kills his way through a dozen of the regular PMC goons Makihisa hired and most of the freelancers while he's at it. Kiritsugu only survives because Kiri gets bored with the whole thing and decides to double back, grab Shiki and kills his way past a few more grunts. By the time Makihisa has an official body count, Kiri and Shiki are long gone.

This conveniently leaves Kiri rudderless and isolated in time for the Einzbern to extend an offer of sanctuary to him in exchange for his skills, and it opens up the compare/contrast of the rivalry. Kiri doesn't give a rip about the Grail and is only using the war to keep a roof over Shiki's head. (He may or may not have conceived Illya as well. On one hand, he already has a kid he's fighting for; on the other, the knowledge of how awful her life will be if he loses could be another strong motivator.) Kiritsugu, meanwhile, cares not at all for what he does and what he loses along the way as long as the Grail is there at the end to justify it.

I also wanted to use Kiritsugu at the top of his game. It's commented upon a few times that Kiritsugu has lost his edge in captivity. Reloading the Contender too slowly, emptying the hotel before the bombing, and so on. I want to see the really nitty gritty Kiritsugu, if only to throw off those readers who misunderstand him as people have been misunderstanding Rorschach for years. Case in point: I want to pair him with Medusa for a scene where he has set up Blood Fort around a hospital and activates it while everyone else is busy hunting Caster. Bounded field, right? Must be a Caster. It's a two-part punch that fans the flames of the Caster hunt to keep the other teams off of him while he powers up Rider for NP abuse later in the game and shows the reader just how far he's willing go. He's not a nice man. He's not a hero to emulate, and I really want people to see that.

Medusa was my fist pick pick for him because a) we know Zouken has the catalyst b) he doesn't have as much reason to torture Kiritsugu to death with a Berserker c) her do-the-bad-thing-for-a-goodish-reason mentality matches Kerry pretty well and d) it's just one big experiment for Zouken. He suspects the Grail is corrupt (even if it's on the books that he didn't figure it out until Caster's killing spree) and uses Kiritsugu as a lab rate to see if the Grail will spit out a Gorgon. After that, he kicks back and has fun watching Kerry piss in everyone's pool. Mostly, though, I want to see someone who's willing to fight dirty with her, unlike Sakura, but poses a genuine threat, unlike Shinji. Medusa is always being held back by something. Let's see them both cut loose.

As I thought about it, it grew pretty quickly into a Want and Need knockoff. If Kiritsugu is on the case and not cloistered away in a castle, he takes a far more proactive approach in trying to undermine the other camps before the war has even begun. To that end, he destroys both Gil and Alex's catalysts en route to Tokiomi and Kayneth, forcing them to rely on backups.

Waver winds up stealing the Diarmuid catalyst instead, and Kayneth begrudgingly accepts an offer from Rocco Belfaban to dig up a relic instead as a favor to Sola. He winds up with a splinter from the Argo, and it's still a toss up in my mind as to whether he should get Medea, as Sola's situation calls out to her and would be ripe for opportunities to mine the relationship for inevitable betrayal drama, or Heracles, provided Kayneth takes the proper precautions to rig the summon to zero in on him. If that happened, the dilemma is not when his Servant will betray him but how to micromanage Berserker when he's tearing Sola apart just by taking form. A top-tier magus like Kayneth combined with a monster like Hercserker is the team to beat on paper, but Kayneth is forced to take a light hand out of compassion. At a distant third is Atalanta, who develops a raging hate-on for Tokiomi when she hears about Tokiomi giving Sakura away as a nod to all those fan who think that makes him Satan. I would just have to find a way for this all to come filtered through Kariya, who maybe goes to Kayneth begging him to kill Tokiomi when Zouken turns him away on the grounds he already has Kerry? (There's also a dark horse option of spinning up a Servant from whole cloth like Jason or one of the other Argonauts.)

This, of course, means that Waver is the one having heartburn over Diarmuid's chivalry boner. I considered Waver browbeating/Command Sealing him into using some of the dirtier tactics mentioned in that materials book about the way Team Lancer could have won the war, but I'm not sure it would be organic. Waver doesn't seem that coldly pragmatic or the type to think up those tactics.

On the Tohsaka front, Kirei still gets the Hundred-Faced Hassan because I want to explore the potential of Assassin living long enough to start plotting against Team Tohsaka to seize the Grail for himself. Tokiomi, meanwhile, goes into his family's treasury and pulls out a relic that gives him Dave from Apocrypha. He's around chiefly to have theological discussions with Kirei and lapsed Christian Tokiomi. There would also be a lot of talk of identity, as Kirei is trying to figure out who he is and David just sees himself as a copy of the original and a proxy of God's will. I had considered a sub-plot about David trying to save Gilles from himself and his heresy the same way Alex was all about saving Saber from her misguided kingship. After all, everything is a part of God's plan, so as much as Caster's misdeeds repulse him, he still believes it's part of a higher purpose. Of course, once he sees Caster's workshop up close, he might lose his nerve and call down some divine retribution, which could be another chance to examine his faith as he begins to question for the first time in a very long time. Perhaps Kirei could be the one encouraging David to find himself this time around in what is pretty clearly a vicarious effort to learn more about himself along the way.

There are a lot of stumbling blocks here. Kiri was very zen about his death, so I would really need to stress how much Shiki changed his life and made him decide to fight on for his sake, which may mischaracterize his stoicism. There's also the timeline problem. I'm not as strong on Tsukihime as I am Fate. Do the dates match up for Kiritsugu to have been at the Nanaya massacre, among other things? Of course, if Kerry can trash the catalysts en route, why not just take one for himself? Kerry trying to wrangle Gilgamesh or Alexander could make for an interesting sub-plot in its own right, as they pose similar but different problems than than the one posed by Saber. Sure, I thought about giving him Lancelot Saber, too, based on the snappy, Zero Saber-esque suit he wore during Einzbern Consultation Room and the simple fact that Zouken has him on tap, but Lancelot Saber would just be a gloomier version of vanilla Saber. Perhaps Kerry could try to shame him into falling in line by reminding him of what he did, but I think pretty much any given Knight of the Round would have enough backbone to tell him off.

I'm just partial to Medusa because it would be fun to see her with all the restraining bolts stripped away and freaking out as she slowly slips into her Gorgon form under Kiritsugu's hand. I picture a scene in which she has only one response to Kiritsugu when he asks who that Berserker is. RETREAT IMMEDIATELY. Of course, with that in mind, I also thought about replacing Uryuu with an older, crippled Darnic Preston Yggdramillennia, rather than stealing the Grail in this universe, suffered a horrendous defeat and is back to make up for his loss. But he's around mostly to justify Chiron joining the roster (the BS explanation that Darnic has spent 60 years going over his notes and learning how to game the system) so he can see what has become of Herc in a send up of Seibah/Lancelot with a twist, as Chiron knows who he is from the word go and we get it to see it played out over the war instead of being a last minute revelation. I always felt like it was such a missed opportunity for Medea and Herc to have had zero scenes together in spite of their shared past. Granted, it would have consisted mostly of him trying to eat her face, but I wanted some sense of her mourning what has become of him after he offered her hospitality and tried to help her when everyone else had turned on her. It would have been a wonderfully bittersweet moment.

You may notice that most of this writeup focused on Kiritsugu's circumstances, and that's deliberate. Kiri is largely a blank slate, living only as a sort of caretaker-by-assassination to Shiki and serving as a sort of boogeyman to Kiritsugu in a reversal of Kirei's obsession with Kiritsugu. Of course, this begs the question of what I would do with Mr. Yuetsu. Kiritsugu never slowed down and found the "answer" that Kirei craves. Would Kirei even give him the time of day or write him off as a gun for hire? Would his focus shift to Kiri? I have a lot of things to iron out if I ever did this, but it's fun to think about.


  1. Haseo Nanaya's Avatar
    This sounds interesting. Good Luck. I want to see Illya/shiki interaction. Also FSN is 2004 and Tsuki is 2000. I think.

    when i first read arashi's thing my idea was instently kiri with traits from kirigutsu and illya acting a bit like shiki (with his powers) a scene for her to get the eyes (being "killed" by a servant) and Kiri going insane and starting a killing spree. Otherwise the same to zero but with kiri and how he would do it. No kirigutsu. (Explanation for how it's possible Rin's jewel experiments with Len interference creating a dream that the fate cast experience the zero plot but the character are effected by the personalities and what not of tsuki cast. I.e zouken acts a bit like Roa.
    Updated April 28th, 2015 at 03:31 PM by Haseo Nanaya
  2. Milbunk's Avatar
    This is rather thought out so I have to say I'm impressed at what you've created here.

    Really I don't think the time is much of an issue at the very most the difference between Kiritsugu and Kiri is about ten years I would think.
  3. Huitante's Avatar
    Not a dude dating thing, actually
    stopped reading here
  4. ItsaRandomUsername's Avatar
    ...yeah, I'd read this.

    You'd do well to at least draw attention to the monster in human form angle Rider has going for her, and relate that to Kiri's work as a demon hunter. It's begging for some kind of reference. Doubly so since Kiritsugu's methodology is aesthetically similar to the Tohno's hired guns that were used as part of the assault on the Nanayas (for all the good it did them).
  5. Imperial's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ItsaRandomUsername
    ...yeah, I'd read this.

    You'd do well to at least draw attention to the monster in human form angle Rider has going for her, and relate that to Kiri's work as a demon hunter. It's begging for some kind of reference. Doubly so since Kiritsugu's methodology is aesthetically similar to the Tohno's hired guns that were used as part of the assault on the Nanayas (for all the good it did them).
    Great idea, IRUN

    I had originally thought to play it as completely one-sided. For all of Kiritsugu's obsessing and Kiri realizing Kiritusug was there that night, when the time comes for them to confront each other, Kiri just doesn't care. He has a way of accepting death as a part of life, so he's not particularly torn up over it and sees Kiritsugu as just another body.

    On the flip side, giving Kiri cause to hunt Kiritsugu could really ratchet up the tension. I had already figured that he would throw himself wholeheartedly into the Caster hunt when Gilles's demons get his blood boiling, but once Kiri realizes Rider herself is something other than human, she and her Master shoot up to the top of his kill list. Who knows? I might even be able to wed the two ideas as Kiri begins hunting down Team Rider as a holdover from his demon slaying days and slaps Kiritsugu in the face with an anticlimax when it comes to light that he only cares about Kerry in as much as he's the monster's Master. The whole time Kiritsugu has been sweating bullets and trying to plan for a scenario where Kiri's "vendetta" against him makes him reckless and aggressive enough to fall into a trap, but it all falls apart when Kiri remains his unflappable self.

    On another note, I'm really flattered. I admire you as an author, and I just saw you commenting about how you typically avoid Fourth War stories. Who knew that I could cook up one of the few pitches to break the trend?