Still dedicated to Djibriel, who did an ungodly amount of beautiful fanart for me. Most of which got lost in several sequential computers dying, but ah well.
In any case, here's the first chapter of Angel War, the seventh and second-to-last section. I just hope it's on time. After Angel War comes Angel Duel, and after Angel Duel I have no idea when I'll be getting around to writing for DMC again, even though all this made the Sparda's rebellion fic muses wake up. I have way too many ongoing projects. Which I need to stop stressing out about.
"So, what's with the statue?" Dante asked, leaning against the wall. Checking the supports? Yeah, right. Vergil didn't know people well enough to pick up that Sparda was hiding something, but Dante had.
"Your ability to hide your aura is impressive," Sparda complimented Dante. The admission that he'd been surprised was the only evidence of it, not that Dante had expected to make him jump. Still, he would have thought that Sparda would at least turn around to make sure it was him, perhaps disbelieving that Dante really was that good. "For one so young," Sparda added, and Dante remembered the account of the war Sparda had written down & their mother had read to them. Sparda might have been an honorable dark knight, but devils didn't see anything dishonorable about sneaking around. Sparda had gotten though powerful wards and been disguised as a participant in war meetings with powerful sorcerers and partbloods present.
Was the trick that Dante thought he'd had because he'd spent all that time convinced he was human just something he'd inherited from Sparda? Even Phantom, one of Mundus' officers, hadn't realized he was anything more than an ordinary hunter until it was too late. Hadn't even realized he was a partblood until he devil triggered.
Walking up next to Sparda, Dante saw that he was smiling slightly. Had he known Dante was there all along or was he just appreciating Dante's style?
It was only a slight smile, however. Sparda had shields up, which was why Dante still hadn't dropped the act and let his aura show his real power, and he was looking at the statue with the air of someone sizing up a threat.
Oh? "He looks a lot like you," Dante realized. He'd never really thought about Sparda's family, but he must have had one, hadn't he? Even if he had sprung full-formed from someone's brow or something mythical like that. Now that he thought about it, wouldn't Sparda have had a twin? "You sealed away your twin?"
Because this close, inside the four ornamented pillars around the statue, he could feel that it was somewhere between alive and a devil arm.
"Incorrect on both counts," was Sparda's response, still only paying a sliver of attention to Dante.
"He's not your twin, and you didn't seal him away?"
"I may." Sparda grimaced, beginning to walk around the statue.
Hmm? "Who is he?"
"Look around you."
A puzzle instead of an answer? Well, devils were inclined towards puzzles. Dante examined the statue. Looked vaguely liked Sparda, vaguely Roman clothes but a demonic aura, wielding a trident and a net, one glowing a deep blue and the other red: water and fire? Devil arms, Dante realized, and thought that something was about to come to him until he realized that it was just a bit about gladiators. If they fought with a trident and a net they were called a retarius, or something like that.
Still, Sparda had said 'around,' not at the statue, so Dante did. The walls had all sorts of complicated glyphs, like the ones that had controlled Nightmare: was this the core of the castle? Then he looked down. The foot of the walls had been lined with red orbs: no. They weren't set into the wall, they were under the wall. Holding it up. "Who builds a castle on a foundation of demon blood?" Dante asked, and knew.
"He's been left out of most tellings of the legend for a thousand years now. The hunters hate him, of course. One the one hand, he's proof that a human can attain power equal to a devil. On the other, if he hadn't proved it was possible? Countless people, hunters and sorcerers alike, have tried and failed. Good men gone mad or evil men sacrificing innocent humans and angering neutral devils in a useless quest for power."
Arkham had thought that it was possible to steal a devil's power, for a human to possess a power equal to Sparda's, because, once upon a time, someone had done it. Arius had pissed off the Despair Embodied enough it was willing to attack its worshippers if Dante hadn't beaten it first trying to do what this man had. "Virgilius the Sorcerer." The Warder of Rome. The Prince of Babylon. The human who had eventually become the leader of the sorcerers, partbloods, the armies trying to free the human world from Mundus.
"If he hadn't believed me when I said that I had seen the error of my ways, helped design the seal and found Maria, none of us would be here." Sparda kept pacing, watching the statue like a hawk. "Eventually, he sealed himself away to await the day the seal would break and left me his castle. To you, to this world that has forgotten so much, I am a hero. Back then, I was a monster. He knew the atrocities I committed while I was still loyal to Mundus, and he still took the risk of trusting me. And I am going to have to betray his trust."
Dante hadn't liked his father for as long as he could remember. From a child's point of view he'd betrayed them, by disappearing. By failing to be invincible. Dante was used to hearing devils condemn Sparda as a terrible traitor, and when he was younger he would have smiled and agreed with them, darkly glad that he wasn't the only one who didn't think he was all that great, when Eva had refused to blame him, the world idolized him, and Sparda had become the core of Vergil's obsession with demonic power.
Still, the core of Sparda had always been his mother's stories, the 'hero that fought for justice.' Because that was what he was from a human perspective, and Dante had insisted that he was human.
He'd always seen him from the human perspective, even though he was also a devil. And, from that perspective, Sparda was a traitor.
The carefully constructed rules about who could be trusted when were all that kept the underworld from collapsing into chaos. Without them, devil arms would have to be smashed. No one could trust anyone else. To save the human world, Sparda had attacked the foundation of his own, because if even such an 'honorable' knight, so trusted, could do something like that? Something so reprehensible it bordered on obscene?
"If his spells detect that the war has begun again," the way Sparda fighting a devil so close might have set them off, "he will wake up. He would help defeat Mundus, of course. And then he would kill Eva. And all of you." Sparda turned to Dante. "I killed his wife, you see, and he will not rest until he has vengeance for that, against me and against Mundus, who gave the order."
Dante remembered Mundus, Beowulf, Bolverk: all the devils that hated Sparda, that had carried that grudge for two thousand years. No human could contain a devil's power without starting to think like a devil, even a little.
"He would kill all of you, or worse," Sparda said, and there was an air of finality to it.
After all, from a devil's perspective, and Sparda was a devil, he had no honor left to lose.
To attempt to give you a short version in this 'DVD Commentary,' when I came up with the Angel Saga project I also had a planned Mundus' war fic. In that fic, I planned to use a fairy-tale Roman sorcerer named Virgilius that I'd read about years ago as a main character, because the stories about him just fit so well. Stole power from a devil, invasion of Rome, etc. (Not to mention that I'd obviously prefer using a crossover character to making up an OC capable of fighting against Sparda.) I even did a teaser fic in the form of Et in Terra Pax Hominibus. Unfortunately, I got sick and that project never got started, and I was going to use him to close a plothole in the entire seal setup that appeared in 3 (and has been made worse by 4), so Sparda could fight at full power.
The trouble is that the fairy tales are obscure, Et in Terra Pax was after years of character development that was supposed to take place in tandem with and as a foil for Sparda's, and if I bring him into Angel Saga now, I'd have to try to sum up something novella-length in its own right and keep Virgilius, who was an epic troll as well as vengeance-prone, from stealing the damn show by terrifying the hell out of Vergil (who is still recovering and quite fragile) & triggering his issues (calling him a traitor etc.), which he would do in order to torment Sparda. I can't waste chapters on the equivalent of recap, and when I can't show why he's badass, just saying that he's dangerous enough Sparda would let him get away with doing that to Vergil (at least until Mundus is dealt with, at which point all bets are off) would feel like Shilling the Wesley/Gary Stu.
So explaining what the blank is going on with the guy in this fic just won't work, even if this will be a Missed Moment of Awesome/They Wasted A Perfectly Good Plot if I ever do get around to doing the prequel, so I at least had to establish why Virgilius wasn't going to be around during the second war against Mundus in this fic. I'm going to have to use Sanctus, Matier and a few of the devil arms for what I was going to use him for.
Still, doing it this way helps establish Sparda's character, I think. He's mostly been mild-mannered and apologetic in this fic, because he screwed up and he doesn't want to scare/provoke the humans, but he's still a ruthless devil that makes Vergil in the first novel (forget the third game) look like a total poser. When it's his word to an ally vs. the safety of his family, you'd have to be an idiot to trust someone who's famous for treason.
Of course, Sparda is going to seal him in instead of try to destroy the statue because obviously it's booby trapped in case someone tried that. He wasn't that stupid. Also, it's kind of a hoist by his own petard for him to get sealed away after sealing himself away...