Fate/stay night chronicles a two-week period in the life of Shirō Emiya, an amateur mechanic who attends school called Homurabara Gakuen in Fuyuki City. Ten years ago, Shirō was caught in a massive fire hazard that incinerated his parents and consumed a large portion of the city; as he was dying, an enigmatic man discovers and treats him. This man, Kiritsugu Emiya, decides to adopt him, though the two maintain a distant relationship because of Kiritsugu’s frequent departures from Fuyuki City. One moonlit night, Kiritsugu and Shirō had a discussion outside of their home, and Shirō discovers a fact about his father that Kiritsugu was actually a mage.
Through their conversation, Shirō learns of his foster father’s failed life ambition to become a “Hero of Justice” (正義の味方 Seigi no Mikata?), a guardian of mankind who could protect the weak and innocent. Touched by Kiritsugu’s conviction, Shirō affirms to his foster father that he intends to devote his life to achieving that distant ideal, much to Kiritsugu’s chagrin. To do this, Shirō pleads with a begrudging Kiritsugu to teach him sorcery (魔術 Majutsu?); but Shirō proves to be talentless in almost all the fundamental sorcerous disciplines.
Kiritsugu warns his son that the life of a sorcerer is one that leads to destruction, but if he is truly set on benefiting people, he should apply his knowledge in secret and hone his craft in private. After Kiritsugu dies, Shirō becomes frustrated with his progress, for he feels inadequate about his good deeds through sorcery and is unsure of how to orient his future to contribute more.
Unknown to Shirō, 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, 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, with the most recent concluding a decade ago, but the fifth war has eerily started prematurely.
Each of the sorcerers, better known as Masters, is aided by one of the seven summoned spiritual familiars known as Servants, who are the reincarnations of legendary souls from all across time. These resurrected Epic Spirits (英霊 Eirei?), possess superhuman characteristics and wield powerful artifacts or abilities called Noble Phantasms (宝具 Hōgu?). A Noble Phantasm’s hidden abilities may be released by invoking its true name, but casual brandishing of a Noble Phantasm is best avoided, for symbolic Noble Phantasms usually belie a Servant’s identity, diminishing that Servant’s competitive advantage. Specific legends may be summoned with the aid of catalysts, which are artifacts, ideas, or experiences similar or of value to the desired Servant. Only one Servant can be summoned in each war from one of seven classes: Saber, Archer, Lancer, Berserker, Rider, Assassin, and Caster.
As only astral entities (i.e. Servants) are physically capable of retrieving the Holy Grail, Master and Servant are forced to cooperate. Masters control Servants with three Command Mantra (令呪 Reiju?), which are crystallized miracles issued by the Holy Grail that manifest on a Master’s body. When activated, Command Mantra permit a Servant to accomplish an incredible feat, or alternatively provide Masters with the authority to issue an irrevocable and absolute order to a Servant.
When all three Command Mantras are used up, Servants are no longer obliged to serve their Masters, and as such, may freely choose to turn upon their ex-partner. In the event of a Master’s demise, a Servant may choose to bind him or herself to another Master; if a Servant is slain, a Master may ally with a wayward Servant or pursue sanctuary with the Holy Grail War’s impartial supervisor, who is traditionally a delegate of the Roman Catholic Church.
The Holy Grail materializes fully only when there is one Servant left standing; therefore, it is not necessary to vanquish Masters in order to win the war. However, as many Servants possess powerful Noble Phantasms and are grueling to defeat, many participants have chosen instead to eradicate Masters, who are responsible for maintaining a Servant’s presence through the supplication of Mana.
After cleaning his school’s kyūdō (archery) dojo late one night, Shirō stumbles upon two Servants, Archer and Lancer, battling in the school courtyard. To avoid compromising the war’s secrecy, Lancer hunts down and pierces Shirō’s heart with a spear. For an unknown reason, Shirō’s classmate, Rin Tōsaka, uses an heirloom filled with concentrated magic, Mana (魔力 Maryoku?), to resuscitate him. Shaken and dazed, Shirō returns home only to be assaulted a second time by Lancer. Shirō weakly defends himself against Lancer, but is soon overwhelmed by the powerful Servant’s attack, and is sent flying into his shed’s storage room. Cornered, Shirō prepares for the worst; but before Lancer can inflict another fatal blow, a young woman outfitted in alabaster armor blocks Lancer’s spear. After driving Lancer away from Shiro, she introduces herself as Saber, and greets him with the words:
|“||I ask of you, are you my Master?||”|
1. Emiya Shiro http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shir%C5%_Emiya
3. Rin Tosaka http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rin_T%C5%8Dsaka
5. Illyasviel http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illyasviel_von_Einzbern
7. Sakura Mato ttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sakura_Mat%C5%8D