|Followed by||Fate/hollow ataraxia|
Fate/stay night (フェイト/ステイナイト Feito/sutei naito?) is a Japanese visual novel developed and published by Type-Moon. It, along with Tsukihime, is a flagship title of the company, kicking off a popular franchise with an international fanbase. Fate/stay night has been followed by the release of a sequel, Fate/hollow ataraxia, and a series of light novels which have acted as a prequel, Fate/Zero, detailing the story of the protagonist's father and the Fourth Holy Grail War. An English patch for Fate/stay night is available here.
Fuyuki City is the setting for a secret and violent war among competing magi. For the past two centuries, seven sorcerers have gathered and engage in a battle royale known as the Holy Grail War, each gambling his or her own life to obtain the Holy Grail, a legendary chalice capable of granting wishes. The past four Holy Grail Wars have typically occurred every sixty years or so. However, the fifth war has started prematurely, with the most recent concluding less than a decade ago.
The seven sorcerers, known as Masters, are aided by seven beings known as Servants, reincarnations of legendary heroes from all time. These resurrected souls possess superhuman characteristics and wield powerful artifacts or abilities called Noble Phantasms, symbols of their heroism during life. Only one Servant can be summoned in each war from one of seven classes: Saber, Archer, Lancer, Berserker, Rider, Assassin, and Caster, each representing their distinctive role in battle. The Servants are summoned by the power of the Grail itself and aid their Masters in doing battle, protecting them from harm and killing other Servants or Masters. In return for their aid, the Servants also seek their own wish from the Holy Grail, should their Master become victorious.
Shirou Emiya is a serious yet helpful, hardworking, and honest teenager and a student at Fuyuki High, whose parents died in a fire years ago, around the time of the conclusion of the Fourth Holy Grail War. He was then adopted by Kiritsugu Emiya. When he was a child, his adoptive father told him how he had failed at his life ambition to become a "Hero of Justice". Shirou affirms to his adoptive father that he intends to devote his life to achieving that distant ideal, much to Kiritsugu's chagrin. To do this, Shirou pleads with a begrudging Kiritsugu to teach him sorcery; but being born without the capabilities of a magus, Shirou proves to be talentless in almost all the fundamental sorcerous disciplines. Kiritsugu dies in Shirou's youth. From then on, he grows up as an orphan in the occasional company of Taiga Fujimura, his English teacher at Fuyuki High, and Sakura Matou, his underclassman.
After cleaning his school's kyuudou dojo late one night, Shirou stumbles upon two Servants, Archer and Lancer, battling in the school courtyard. Upon accidentally revealing himself, Shirou runs away. To avoid compromising the war's secrecy, Lancer hunts down and pierces Shirou's heart with his Noble Phantasm, a long, red spear. Shirou is then discovered in a near-death state by Rin Tohsaka. For the sake of her sister Sakura Matou who has feelings for him, she uses an heirloom filled with concentrated magic to restore his damaged heart and leaves before he awakens. Shaken and dazed, Shirou picks up the heirloom and returns home only to be assaulted a second time by Lancer. Shirou weakly defends himself against Lancer using posters he strengthens with magic, but is soon overwhelmed by the powerful Servant's attack. Before Lancer can inflict another fatal blow, a magical mark on Shirou's hand begins to light up and a magical circle inside the shed begins to glow. A young woman clad in armor with an invisible sword appears in a flash of light and blocks Lancer's attack. After driving Lancer away from Shirou, she introduces herself as "Servant Saber", and formally announces her intention to fight under Shirou for the Holy Grail.
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