The Three Families
Erisviel has compiled notes on each of the three families responsible for the creation of the Holy Grail War. The Einzbern notes are noticeably less detailed however. You aren’t certain if there’s simply less information about them or if she’s holding things back that are considered “proprietary.”
The Einzbern family is based somewhere in Northern Europe and has extensive holdings throughout the continent. They are a major backer of The Mage’s Association and apparently also provide financial indemnation for the Holy Grail Wars, paying for any damages incurred during the fighting. The castle in the forest outside of Fuyuki City was built sometime prior to the start of the Third Grail War and has served as the base of the Einzbern entrant in each war since its construction was completed.
Their magecraft specializes in alchemy and particularly in the creation of homunculi. The Einzberns are regarded as the master craftsmen of this field. Their mages are usually ill-suited for combat due to their specializations, but they are capable of constructing powerful chimeric creatures to release into the battlefield. They also know some healing magecrafts, though these are generally used to ease the pain of a body accepting an alchemical transplant organ, as opposed to curing sickness or mending wounds. The current head of the family is Jubstacheit von Einzbern, also known as Acht. He is the eighth head of the family, and has been alive for the past 200 years due to life prolonging alchemical magic.
Their role in creating the Holy Grail War ritual is noted as “providing the vessel.”
Originally known as Makiri, the Matou family has a lineage dating back 500 years or so. Their original homeland was in Russia, but they were chased out at some point and forced to flee to Japan, where they took the name Matou. Their lineage has been in decline for the past 200 years, and members of each successive generation have been born with fewer and fewer Magic Circuits. Based on the known rate of decline, it is speculated that the current generation has completely lost all of its natural magical talent. To counteract their decline, the Matou family is known to have adopted one of the daughters of the Tohsaka family, Sakura Tohsaka. Her potential as a magus is unknown, but it is speculated that the Matou would use her mainly to breed future heirs that would rekindle their thaumaturgical heritage.
The Matou family magic is known to focus on “absorbing” or “binding to oneself.” It is speculated that instead of learning magecraft through study, their mages somehow directly absorb the knowledge through some form of body augmentation. What form this takes is unknown however. They are also known to make use of Familiars to a greater extent than other mages. Kariya Matou for instance, the Matou Master from the Fourth Grail War, employed a horde of stinging and poisonous insects which would assault his enemies in a vicious swarm.
The contributions of the Matou family to the Holy Grail War ritual were the Master/Servant system and the creation of the Command Spells. Both aspects draw heavily on their expertise in summoning and binding.
The current head of the Matou family is unknown. There is some speculation that Zouken Matou, the family’s original patriarch and the one who helped construct the Holy Grail War, is still alive through some unknown means of life extension. No one has seen him in many years, however.
The Tohsaka lineage is only about 200 years old, dating back to about the time of the creation of the Holy Grail War ritual. Their patriarch, Nagato Tohsaka, was said to be a student of Kischur Zelretch Schweinorg, who is regarded as one of the few living Magicians capable of True Magic. Nagato was considered his least promising student, however, and so little was expected of his lineage. The Tohsaka family is native to Japan and owned much of the land that present day Fuyuki City rests upon. They were also “Kakure Kirishitans,” Christians who worshipped in secret during the Edo period before such was tolerated in Japanese society. As a result, they have ties with The Holy Church, as well as their contacts in The Mage’s Association.
Tohsaka mages are known to be experts in the use of Jewel Magecraft, which involves the storing and transferring of power through specially prepared gemstones. It is also speculated that they have stolen or otherwise incorporated the Thaumaturgical Crest of the Edelfelt family into their own, as they had no knowledge of the Gandr curse prior to the Third Grail War, when twins from the Edelfelt family participated. It is also noted that the level and power of their magecraft has improved rapidly in a relatively short period of time.
Their role in the creation of the Holy Grail War ritual was to provide the land upon which the ritual would take place. If they had any other contribution, it is not directly mentioned.
The current head of the family is Rin Tohsaka, daughter of Tokiomi Tohsaka. Her younger sister Sakura was adopted by the Matou family. She is married to Shirou Emiya, who took the Tohsaka name as part of their marriage arrangements. The two of them have a daughter, Emi. The family has been engaged in a number of charitable works in recent years, and was also involved in attempting to dismantle the Holy Grail War system after the conclusion of the Fifth Grail War.