The Great Holy Grail War (聖杯大戦, Seihai Taisen?), also called the Great War, is the Holy Grail War of Fate/Apocrypha. It is a conflict based upon those of Fuyuki that takes place in an alternate timeline where the Greater Grail was stolen after the Third Holy Grail War. It takes place in Trifas, a city on the outskirts of the Transylvania region of Romania.
Fuyuki's original Third Holy Grail War took place around the time of the beginning of the Second World War, but the ritual failed due to the Lesser Grail being destroyed. Afterward, Darnic Prestone Yggdmillennia, a magi supporting the Nazis, found the location of the Great Grail in the caverns underneath Mount Enzou, and it was removed using military aid from the Nazis. The Three Families and the Japanese Imperial Army fought to thwart the theft, but they were left in a weak position due to having been weakened by the Holy Grail War. With their opposition defeated, the Greater Grail was successfully taken by the Nazis. Sometime during the events, Amakusa Shirou Tokisada was summoned as Ruler, and later remained materialized to join with the Church.
Nazi Germany had planned to utilize it to allow them to rule the world as they saw fit, but Darnic interfered during its transport and took it for his own Yggdmillennia family. Records of battle for it were only known to magi and its whereabouts thereafter were not known to anybody, leading to speculation that it may have landed in the hands of the Imperial Army or raided by the Soviet forces. It was not allowed to become the symbol of the Third Reich and their dream of world unification, and it vanished without a trace, Darnic having also vanished from the Nazi's side.
Though the theft marked the end of Fuyuki's conflicts and the dreams of the Three Families, the Einzberns did not give up and seemed to be crafting a new Grail. The Tohsakas gave up the Grail. Nothing was heard from the presumably-decayed Matous. It marked the beginning of spreading conflicts worldwide. While attempting to prepare to utilize the Greater Grail for his own purposes, Darnic allowed for the spreading of information pertaining to the ritual, which he considered to be his only misstep. Though the Mage's Association had paid little attention to Fuyuki's ritual, the information behind its system was spread to magi throughout the world, beginning an advent of rituals across each continent.
The ritual was commonplace around the end of the 20th century, but the majority were all small in scale compared to that of Fuyuki. They could only summon five Servants, and even if the ritual were fully established, they could never proceed to the point of it being able to grant a wish. The location of the Greater Grail was revealed at that time due to Yggdmillennia seceding from the Association and using it as the focal point of their own association. They summoned Servants of their own in preparation for conflict, and settled themselves into their new position.
Due to interference from fifty hunters from the Association, the Greater Grail's backup system was activated, allowing for the Association to summon seven Servants of their own to oppose Yggdmillennia. The scale of the Holy Grail War, fourteen Servants being summoned, was the largest ever seen, leading to it being called the Great Holy Grail War. Due to the repeated Holy Grail Wars over time, relics acting as catalysts for powerful heroes like Gilgamesh, King Arthur, and Alexander the Great had been scattered and lost over time. There were still enough left for Yggdmillennia and the Association to properly summon excellent Servants of their choosing.
The Great War makes use of the reserve system set up within the Greater Grail. While it would have likely exhausted the leylines of Fuyuki, Trifas's land is positioned on the best leylines of Romania, and they have been stockpiling magical energy at a higher speed than Fuyuki to the point of calling it an inexhaustible amount. As a highly abnormal situation, it makes for a very different battle than the Fuyuki Wars. Rather than each Servant having to form separate strategies, teams of Servants allow for Servants like Berserker, Assassin, and Caster that would normally have difficulty surviving in single combat to show their full potential.
Due to the unprecedented nature of the Great War, the Holy Grail sees it as an abnormal encroachment of its authority no matter how much the system has been altered. The status of an impartial overseer is only outside interference, so it disregards whether they exist or not and instead uses its own logic to call upon a Servant to act as Ruler of the Holy Grail War. Ruler does not serve one side or the other, but protects the very concept of the Holy Grail War. Both sides believe the monsters gathered would be too much to ignore, so they took the summoning of a Ruler-class Servant as a given.
- ↑ Fate/Apocrypha Volume 1
 Fate/Apocrypha material - Encyclopedia: The Three Families [Others], p.166 [T]
The Three Families [Others]
In “Apocrypha”, the Three Families are the magi who constructed the Fuyuki Holy Grail War… in other words, the Einzberns, Tohsaka and Makiri.
Just as alluded in the light novels, Makiri (Matou) Zouken fought fiercely against Darnic during the Third Holy Grail War, but became practically crippled due to the shock of the Greater Grail being stolen. The family wasn’t blessed with a successor either, so their future as magi has been completely shut.
The Tohsaka gave up on the Greater Grail, and now seek a new path in becoming one with the universe with Chinese Kenpou while learning magecraft. The twin-tail daughter of the family might also end up becoming the founder of a “completely new martial arts that combines magecraft and Chinse Kenpou” by the time she becomes a high school student. However, she never imagined that her younger sister who was adopted by distant relatives would come visit her in Japan after becoming a pro-wrestler with unimaginably nice proportions and forming a tag team with a drill-roll-haired girl…!
The Einzberns are in the midst of struggling to make a new Greater Grail under the excuse “It was stolen, so we’ll just make a new Holy Grail”. Fortunately, in the “Apocrypha” world, a certain dead fish-eyed mercenary won’t end up becoming involved with the Einzberns, so their greatest work Illyasviel will never be born—therefore, as long as she isn’t born, the Einzberns will never despair… Is that really fortunate?
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