Disclaimer: All rights to ASoIaF belong to GRRM and all to Fate/Zero to Type-Moon. I'm just borrowing the characters to make everything even more miserable for them.
Now, my initial idea is to finish this story before The Winds of Winter releases and I'm fairly hopeful that I will succeed. It might not become as large a tale as the Einzbern Grail War, but I hope that my second tribute to the Fate franchise will entertain regardless. Enjoy!
Fates of Ice and Fire
Chapter 1 - Arrival
The Holy Grail War. Three years ago, Kirei Kotomine hadn't even heard of that ritual. But it surely sounded like something only Magi were able to think up. A ritual to obtain a single omnipotent wish. A ritual which included the summoning of the ghosts of seven heroes from the past, only to let them slaughter each other in a supernatural battle royale. It was madness. But it was also madness for the Grail to choose him as a participant. Kirei Kotomine wasn't part of this society of modern mages, who hid their talents in the dark, silently looking down onto the ordinary humans with their blissful ignorance. He didn't even have a wish for the Grail in the first place. It was a huge mystery to him why the Grail would choose someone who was so devoid of ambitions. But here he was. Standing in a cellar in front of a blood red magic circle, chanting the words to summon his champion in the clash which was about to come. His tactic was well planned. In order to operate on several fronts and to help his mentor Tokiomi Tohsaka win the Grail, he was trying to summon Hassan-i Sabbah, the leader of the original Arab assassins. He even tweaked the ritual in order to get a champion of many faces. Every single leader of the assassins who ever wore the name of Hassan-i Sabbah should get summoned.
"I hereby propose: Thou shalt come under my command, and my fate shall be thy sword", Kirei declared with his deep voice, controlling the flow of mana with his outstretched hand. "Abiding by the summons of the Holy Grail, if thou dost accede to this will and reason, answer me! I hereby swear, I will be all that is good in the eternal world. And that I shall defeat all evil in the world. You seven heavens, clad in the three great words of power: Come forth of the circle of binding!"
A blinding flash illuminated the room and Kirei had to shield himself from a sudden burst of wind emitted from the magic circle in front of him. When he opened his eyes again, a single silhouette stood amidst the thick clouds of smoke. He was successful in summoning a champion, but Kirei immediately doubted he managed to get the right one. This was not an Arab assassin, especially not an 'Old Man from the Mountain'. It was a girl. A girl in a simple black leather outfit, a slender sword hanging at her belt. Her unkempt hair was a mess and Kirei wouldn't have thought her to be all that remarkable if not for the eyes. The way she stared at him, cold and uncaring. He stared back in confusion, unable to make sense of her. That the Grail would call forth the ghost of a child as a possible sacrifice... It thrilled him for some reason and it disgusted Kirei that it did. The picture of his own daughter flashed up in his mind, even if this girl in front of him was far older. He guessed her age at thirteen, maybe fourteen years.
"Who... who are you?", he asked startled.
She cocked her had slightly and the hint of a smile crept up on her face.
"No one", she replied with surprising sincerity.
Is she trying to trick me?
"You are not Hassan-i Sabbah?", it was more a statement than a question, but he was forced to make it clear from the beginning. Their whole tactic depended on it.
"I never heard that name before, sorry", the girl said indifferently. "Does it cause a problem?"
"Maybe. I've never heard of a little girl assassin who claims to not have a name", Kirei mused.
"Isn't this the point of being an assassin?", she answered, smirking slightly.
"I was told the Holy Grail only summons heroes of great renown. So you must have an identity which is widely known", he guessed.
Her smile widened a bit.
"Identities are like masks. You put them on when you need them and get rid of them when you don't. Perhaps there were people who knew the name I once had, but it doesn't matter. The people who should have called me by it either died or forgot my face. So for the time being, you should just refer to me as Assassin."
Kirei sighed. He participated in this conflict to help his mentor, Tokiomi Tohsaka, win the Grail. They had made a plan to fool the other Masters by sacrificing one of the many faces of Hassan. Now everything was in danger. He didn't know what this girl was capable of yet and she seemed not very inclined to just openly tell him.
"Please wait here, I'll have to discuss it with my ally."
"Do what you want... I'm just here to claim my wish and be done with it", the girl replied, still staring at him with those empty grey eyes.
The light subsided and the dense smoke slowly drifted away. The man known as the Magus Killer looked in awe at the knight which was brought forth by the silver circle on the ground. Kiritsugu Emiya waited eight years for this moment. And despite him being as close as never before to his lifelong wish for peace, he could not feel happiness. Only dread. Only sorrow on what was about to come. One could have thought that he dedicated those years to his goal, but every time he looked at the woman in white who stood next to him, doubts began to stab at his chest. Because now everything had to end. The day of the summoning had finally come. He had used a catalyst to get the legendary King Arthur, the archetype of the honourable knight, despite his doubts about his ability to work together with him. And his expectations were fully met. The figure in front of him was a tall man in a polished silver plate armor, a white cloak billowing behind him. In his left hand he held a plain shield, polished until it shone brightly, and at his side an ornate red scabbard with an expensive looking golden sword hilt. The man himself was seemingly in his thirties, with long golden hair and a neatly cropped beard of the same colour. His striking features looked like as if he stepped right out of a legend of old.
"You... you must be Arthur", Kiritsugu gasped.
The man raised his eyebrows in visible confusion, then cracked up in laughter and finally presented a knowing smile.
"I'm flattered by your assumption, really. But I'm afraid you didn't get the Sword of the Morning. The one who answered your call is just the terrible, oath-breaking Kingslayer", he was maintaining the smile but had a hint of acid in his voice. "I hope you are not too disappointed to accept me as your champion."
"Kingslayer?", Kiritsugu echoed bewildered.
Was there a mistake? Did they give me the wrong catalyst? Kingslayer... this could get interesting.
The white knight watched his reaction with silent amusement, at least until Kiritsugu's wife Irisviel, who stood next to him during the whole ritual, caught his attention. He wasn't staring at her, but for the blink of an eye, he seemed surprised at seeing the silver-haired woman with her red eyes. Kiritsugu thought it was about her being a homunculus. You don't meet artificial humans all that often, but much to his own surprise, the knight just shook his head and laughed again.
"Oh, it seems I really blew it! The first time I have met someone before my reputation does and of course I have to introduce myself like this."
"There is nothing wrong with your introduction, knight. As long as you know why you are here", Kiritsugu said, still thinking about possible adjustments to his strategy.
"You want me to win this glorified cup of yours?", the knight said, his eyes suddenly glancing down to his right hand. He flexed it as if it was a new experience to him. "I do think this humble knight here can lend a hand."
The force of the shockwave send the young student tumbling to the ground. His summoning was a success. All kinds of feelings went through his head and heart. Joy. Awe. Fear. Fear of what was about to come. Ever since his professor at the university in London had publicly denounced him, ripped his thesis to shreds in front of his class and ever since fate somehow decided to let a piece of cloak of Alexander the Great fall into his hands, he had waited for this moment to come. He would prove them all wrong. He would prove the whole Mage's Association that he, Waver Welvet, a lowly third generation mage, was able to participate in this high-stakes deathmatch and win. Because he had no one else than the greatest conqueror of all time as his partner. A man who went to the end of the known world and beyond. A man known to inspire loyalty even in former enemies. A man who bested the greatest empire of his time.
"A... Alexander?", he croaked.
The place of his summoning was a small clearing in the forest near Fuyuki. But when the soft gusts of wind dispersed the thick clouds of smoke covering his summoned hero, Waver's heart began to plummet down into his guts. This was definitely not Alexander the Great. It was a tall, muscled knight in dull plate mail, a golden shirt with the depiction of a black stag was draped over it and his shield had the same heraldry on it. The most threatening part of him was not the giant warhammer he held in his right hand, but the great antlered helmet that made him look like some terrifying demon. He stepped slowly towards Waver, who crouched backwards to escape him. Every step was accompanied by the rattle of his armor.
No, no, no... it can't be!, he thought aghast. Berserker... don't tell me I somehow drew Berserker... I don't want to die so early in the ritual...
"Huh?", the unknown hero grunted, his voice distorted by his helmet to sound metallic. "What are you doing down there on the ground, boy?"
Waver was too scared to say anything. He just lay there, staring up at the knight with wide eyes. He reacted by setting down his warhammer. The ground shook when its head hit the ground and it indeed caused a little crater to appear there. The knight then used his right hand to put off his antlered helmet to carry it under his armpit. Despite Wavers expectation of a face distorted by Mad Enhancement, his features were surprisingly human. A young man in his late twenties with jet-black hair, a shaggy beard and deep blue eyes. And he grinned broadly and warmly, much to Waver's relieve. It seemed he hadn't got Berserker after all.
"Now get up, boy! You are supposed to be my partner in this fun little game you invited me to. Behave like it!", he offered him his left hand, freeing it from under the straps of his shield when he reached out to him.
Hesitatingly, Waver took it with his own. The moment he touched the cold metal gauntlet, the hand of the giant closed to hold him in a tight grip and the very next second he was lifted onto his feet with a force that Waver feared his arm nearly got ripped off. The knight with the stag on his breast seemed not to be aware of it, even when Waver held his shoulder and grimaced in pain.
"What now, boy? Your greeting was a bit underwhelming, to be honest. Your fucking king has arrived! And he is more than ready to bash a few heads in!", his voice was coarse, but cut through the night air like a knife.
"A king... right... sorry", Waver just stuttered, every ounce of enthusiasm he had gained just a few days ago suddenly stripped from him.
The knight now eyed him with the hint of a frown.
"Don't be so shy. Who is it I have pledged my loyalty to? Who is this frail kid here who managed to drag me from my grave?"
"Ah... my... my name is Waver. Waver Velvet."
"Waver, huh? Strange name. And I've never heard of a house Velvet either", he mused more to himself than answering. "Anyway, I have to thank you for this chance here. Hah, what a feeling! I'm young again, I'm strong again! Bloody hells, I think I've gotten even stronger!"
"I'm glad to hear it", was the only thing Waver replied to his sudden outburst of shouting.
"You should be. We'll going to have fun, you and me here. Seven of the greatest heroes from across time and space coming together in a brawl. Whoever thought this whole grail thing up is a fucking genius! And to top it all off, a wish granted to the winner", he sighed, his clear blue eyes focusing on his summoner. "You know what this means?"
"No...", Waver answered truthfully, sounding every bit as stupid as he felt.
He never had that clear a wish to begin with. Waver only wanted to get treated equally by other mages. He never fooled himself to believe that this wish would be fulfilled through only winning, he needed the grail to change a society stuck in centuries of conservatism. But he thought that was nothing he could openly tell anyone without looking like a total idiot.
"Well, then we'll see to change that", the knight declared, before picking up his hammer again and lifting it to the skies. "I swear it by all the seven gods, I will get that wish! You hear me up there, Lyanna? I'll come and get you, this time for sure! This time I will make it right, I will save you! And whoever stands in my way will hear our words like that bastard Rhaegar before them: Ours is the fury!"
Lord Kayneth Archibald El-Melloi was not a man who was fond of surprises. Him participating in the Holy Grail War and winning it should have been the crowning moment of his academic career at the Clock Tower University and the pinnacle of his reputation among the Mage's society. He couldn't expect that his crushing of the delusional dreams of a particularly grating student of his would result in his expensive and difficult to find catalyst getting stolen. He never let that drag him down though. People shouldn't say Lord Archibald El-Melloi wasn't able to adapt to changing situations. He just had to prove that he needn't the piece of cloak of Alexander the Great to win the Grail. So he acquired another artefact. The remains of a spear belonging to Diarmuid ua Duibne, a famous Irish hero. But now, standing there together with his fiancée in front of the person he summoned, he got the feeling that this catalyst was either a fake or didn't work for some reason. Another surprise, sadly. The man in front of him was a spearman, but certainly not a Celtic warrior. It was a tanned man with black hair, wearing a light armor of boiled leather and a polished round shield with the depiction of a red sun pierced by a spear on a golden ground. Gold and red were also the colours he was clad in.
"And who are you supposed to be, Servant?", Kayneth groaned impatiently.
His familiar was seemingly taken aback, looking back at him with raised eyebrows.
"Is this the way you address a Prince of Dorne?", he asked back.
"Never heard of that place", he said with a dismissing hand gesture. "I was expecting Diarmuid O'Dyna. I ask you why you answered my call instead."
The stranger, still a bit dumbfounded, tried to gloss over the tone of his Master with an edgy smile. There was a hint of defiance in it that made Kayneth sick.
"You called, I answered. This is all I can say. I don't know this Durmut-guy you are referencing, but I can assure, you won't find this spear of mine lacking. They don't call me the Red Viper for nothing."
"I will hope so", he replied, scrutinizing that weapon of his.
It was a simple spear, looking as sharp as if you could shave yourself with it. But it had an oily glistering to it as if it was drenched in something very unhealthy.
"So, then for whom have I the honor to fight for? And who is this charming lady next to him?", he said, giving his smile now to his fiancée, Sola-ui, who giggled in response.
"You are lucky enough to be in servitude of Lord Kayneth Archibald El-Melloi, head of the long-lasting house Archibald. With your spear and my offensive magic, the other teams will be little competition."
"Then we're two. I never heard of that house as well. And as a piece of advice: Where I come from, it is common courtesy to introduce your consort as well."
Kayneth grunted. Now this was just great. A Servant was supposed to swear undying loyalty to him but for some reason he was blessed to get one who talked back and even dared to admonish his courtesy.
"My name is Sola-ui Nuada-re Sophia-re, Lancer. But you can just call me Sola-ui", she replied in his stead.
"It's a pleasure", the prince of Dorne bowed deeply. "I'm glad that wherever you go, you can find beautiful flowers like you. Even in this strange world that is so different from the Westeros I know. I presume you are the wife of my Master?"
"Not yet", she replied, cocking her head.
"But we are promised to each other", Kayneth interjected.
"Ah, and as it seems, wherever you go, the customs seem the same. Being a third son surely had its merits when it came to being with whom you love", he made a mocking sigh. "But anyways, I've got some bits and pieces about this Earth of yours and am quite thrilled. I've travelled half of my world, living to fullest, learning to fullest, experiencing to the fullest. But I've never visited a country as alien as yours and wouldn't like to miss the chance to see it with my own eyes before the killing starts."
"You are not here for sightseeing...", Kayneth groaned.
It seemed his precious Sola-ui had a different opinion. She was favouring their Servant with a warm smile, before she faced him.
"Don't be so harsh. We are all going to work together, aren't we? Especially with your cunning modification to let me supply Lancer with the mana he needs to exist, we should better learn to know each other. To trust each other. And wouldn't it be just a great start with a little tour through London?"
Kayneth sighed and scratched the back of his head in confusion. He knew she had the right of it. With him not being Diarmuid, he had to adjust his plans somehow. And therefore he should learn what this strange so-called prince was capable of.
The smug smile of that bastard Zouken was the worst of it. Kariya was standing there, deep down in the stony vaults of the Matou residence, barely able to stand on his crippled legs. The summoning had robbed him of all strength he had. He felt the crest worms which infested his body crawling frantically, many of them dying and withering away under his flesh. But it was done. He, who had renounced his family magic a decade ago, was able to summon his own hero to win this Grail War. It was his only chance of redemption for having failed the woman he loved. And to save her daughter from the clutches of that vampire Zouken. One year of preparation. One year of unimaginable agony. But Kariya was not one to give up on a path he has chosen for himself. Zouken was convinced of his certain death, but he was going to prove him wrong. For he could endure it. He had to. For Sakura. For Aoi. And for Rin. There he stood, staring down the monstrosity he called forth from the abyss. He knew it was Berserker. He had used the modified summoning chant that doomed his hero to loose his mind, causing him to be a raging madman. And truly frightening he was.
Berserker was an eight feet tall mass of muscle and steel, covered in layers and layers of chain and plate mail, a thick unadorned helmed obscuring his face. In his left hand he held a giant wooden shield that could have easily been a table. And in his right was an enormous two-handed greatsword he held with one hand like it was a toy. The cloth he wore over his armor was yellow and displayed a column of three black hounds. A mad dog he was, that was something Kariya was able to see. He was not well read in Arthurian myths, but he wasn't quite sure this mountain of a man should have been summoned by the piece of the round table Zouken organised for him. He didn't care either way. He would have to put his trust into this knight no matter who he was. For he was not fighting for his own life, but for those who were dear to him.
"Do you think demons exist, kiddo?", Ryouunosuke said with his most charming smile. "All the papers and magazines call me a demon. But wouldn't that be kinda rude if demons really exist? You've gotta be clear about these things."
The apartment was dark and the iron smell of blood was in the stale air. It was a smell he was very familiar with. It smelled like a job well done to him.
"Sup! I'm Ryuunosuke Uryuu, and I'm a demon!", he shouted with a mocking salute.
The little boy who lay in front of him whimpered and cried in panic, his voice muffled by the piece of tape that covered his mouth. With his arms and legs bound like a tiny little package, he had already watched how this stranger, who had suddenly burst into his house, slaughtered his parents to perform this summoning ritual of his with their blood. Ryouunosuke was quite surprised he still had so much struggle left in him as he was squirming on the ground, scraping and cutting himself in his futile attempt to loosen his fixed arms and legs. Most of his other victims gave themselves up at that point, boring him out of his mind.
If this ritual fails again, we're going to have so much fun., he thought happily, his mind racing about where he would begin with his work.
But then he stopped himself abruptly, thinking back on what would happen if he actually did have success. His ancestors were pretty much into this occult stuff and he believed there had to be a reason for it.
"I dunno if that's how I should be introducing myself", he sighed.
A demon could get angry if he presumed so much, or at least that was what he expected. He had to somehow befriend it, that was sure.
"Ya know. If a demon really did come out, it'd be pretty dumb to just chat with it and have nothing to offer him", he mused, walking around the blood splattered circle he painted onto the ground. "If a demon really does show up... Mind if we let it eat you?"
The boy reacted with a desperate shriek, endlessly amusing to Ryuunosuke. He could not help but laugh in glee. This play of hope and despair was the only thing worth living for to him. The press painted him as if he would hate people, but it was much the opposite. He loved them! He loved life itself! He found it fascinating. Especially when it ended with so many emotions.
"I wonder what it's like, being killed by a demon! Not many people get to experience that- huh?", a little, piercing pain went through his right hand.
When he looked at it, a strange red symbol was burning itself into it. Whirling around, he looked at his magic circle and could not help but stare in amazement at what was materializing there.
Is this a demon?
It was a woman. And he found her absolutely beautiful. Clad in a red dress, with long flowing red hair and a necklace with a glowing ruby at her throat. She was not a girl anymore, but her age was difficult to guess. Everything around her was mysterious to him. And there was this aura of hers. Only a moment ago, the room was in complete darkness, but after her arrival, everything seemed to be brightly lit. She was eying her surroundings and while a hint of disgust betrayed her face, Ryuunosuke could only guess she was disappointed with his art.
You can't argue about art, can you?
She then looked at him and spoke:
"Are you the one who called me into this world?"
"Huh... yeah. Kind of...", he said, unsure.
"Who are you?"
"I'm Ryuunosuke Uryuu. I'm currently between jobs... and I like killing people. Very much."
"So this is your work?", she looked at the corpses of the parents he had arranged on the couch, looking as if it was a happy family watching TV. So much of a happy family they even swapped body parts.
Ryuunosuke gave her his most proud smile.
"Of course it is! Well, I'm still experimenting a bit, so I have not a real trademark style yet. But I'm getting better!"
She stared at him with a serious expression. His smile faltered. She didn't look very happy. And then she looked down onto the boy behind him, who still made whimpering sounds. He nearly forgot him.
Where is my courtesy, damnit?
"How about a sacrifice? You wanna eat that kid?", he offered nervously.
The boy screeched pitifully as if to reinforce his nonchalant gesture.
"Do you believe in god?", the red woman finally asked.
"Of course I do!", Ryuunosuke replied happily. "He is the greatest artist of all!"
"At least something...", she stepped closer to him.
Ryuunosuke began to sweat. It was as if the temperature in the room had suddenly gone up several notches. She was the source, he suddenly realized. She was emitting an enormous heat. She even smelled like warm fire when she stood directly in front of him. The red woman then touched his breast, directly over his heart. Her hand was soft and perfect and warm. Warm above everything else. And it became warmer. Hot even. When he looked down, he realized it was glowing brightly. Magic. His body was trembling as the heat poured through every vein of his, suppressing any thought he might have had about it.
"May the Lord of Light cleanse your soul from the darkness!", she prayed. "May his voice guide you towards the light and shield you from the night. For the night is dark and full of terrors!"
He didn't intend to, but his mouth opened regardless.
"For the night is dark and full of terrors!", he repeated, completely overcome by a sudden sense of joy.
Ryuunosuke felt at peace. For the first time in his life.
It was not a good day for Tokiomi Tohsaka. His apprentice and ally was not a man who openly showed his emotions, but when Kirei entered his office, worry was plainly written across his face. He told him about his botched summoning and how he got a little girl instead of the master of assassins. Tokiomi had no choice but to accept this sudden turn of events and adjust his plans. He was glad that his catalyst, a fossilized snake skin symbolizing the first skin ever shed, had just arrived in time. He would have liked to wait a few more days, at least until his family was able to move out of the house. But just in case anything happened to his summoning as well, he had no choice but to minimize the risks and give himself more time to plan his actions. He summoned the third member of their little alliance, the referee from the church and father of Kirei, Risei Kotomine, and went to the vaults under the Tohsaka residence to perform their ritual. There they stood all together. The two priests, the silent girl Assassin and finally himself, the Magus in his elegant red suite. When he first lay his eyes onto the girl, his first thoughts were about his own daughter. He knew the summoned heroes were nothing more like pawns to be sacrificed, drawn into this ritual by their past regrets. As a Magus he knew he should be indifferent to them, but as a father he could not help but wonder what happened to this girl to find herself in such a situation. And why he had to assume by her appearance that she never reached adulthood in life...
But these were thoughts for another day. This evening, the moment of victory for Tokiomi Tohsaka and the conclusion to the struggle of generations of Tohsakas should be reached. He was going to gain his wish to reach the root to Akasha, the root to all life and the mystery all Magi are aspiring to solve. And for this cause he was going to summon the oldest of all heroes, Gilgamesh, King of Uruk. Predating all their enemies by a large margin, he should find no trouble to obliterate them all. He spoke the chant and indeed, he successfully summoned a spirit who could be the promised hero. The blonde at least wore a richly ornamented gilded armor, had a well crafted crossbow at his side and on his belt hung a red scabbard with rows and rows of golden lion heads with rubies for eyes. But much to Tokiomi's chagrin, this so-called hero was also just a boy only slightly older than the girl. He was just going to address his Servant when he saw in the corner of his eye that Assassin tensed immediately upon the boy's arrival.
"No...", she just gasped.
Tokiomi turned to her, but it was too late. She was already a blur of black, having drawn her sword and jumping at the boy. Despite his knightly appearance, the boy who was likely not Gilgamesh was completely taken by surprise, stumbling backwards and falling. In shock of the sudden attack, he was barely able to defend himself from the first blow by getting his crossbow between himself and the girl. The slender rapier cut its wood deeply and stopped only a tiny inch in front of his wide-eyed face. While Tokiomi just stood there in shock, Kirei had already raised his hand before the girl stabbed at him a second time.
"Don't!", his baritone voice echoed through the caverns and was accompanied by a red magical shockwave.
A command spell. He had to use one of his three command spells to make her stop. Gulping, Tokiomi realized how fast all his carefully laid out plans were crumbling away before his eyes. The girl would have gutted the boy where he stood if the command spell had not frozen her body in place. And she was furious. She desperately fought against the will of her Master, screaming and trembling. But she was unable to make another advance while the shocked boy crawled backwards like a golden bug put on his back. So much for an unbeatable hero...
"I already told you we are allied. You are not supposed to kill him!", Kirei spoke to her, confused himself about her sudden burst of emotion.
"I don't care!", she screeched, her voice full of agony. "Release me! Release me and let me finish him or you will rue it!"
"Why would you do that?", Kirei asked with wide eyes.
She turned to Kirei and Tokiomi saw tears in her eyes when she shot him a murderous look which could have killed every lesser man.
"He murdered my father!", she cried out, still struggling against the invisible shackles of the spell which stayed her hands. And it send a shiver through Tokiomi's spine.
What in the world is happening here?