A/N: I think the authors notes on this are going to be long as there is a lot of this fic that a lot of people may not agree with (some may not agree with any of it) You may take it as AU if you want to, or not. The choice is yours. This is just one story about Sparda and the sacrificed woman, just one idea about how it may or may not have happened. As I'm not a writer for Capcom, I take it as AU, as I do all fanfic, it's just an idea. Just for the record, I've not named the woman, as I can't bring myself to do something so presumptuous as name her. I've also placed the whole 'war' with Mundus as taking about 50 years in total to achieve victory against Mundus. The reason for this is because it fits better for how I wanted to write this, but by way of an explanation on how it takes Sparda so long to achieve something his son manages in an afternoon is this: The booklet in DMC one states that there was a war between the human world and the demon world, so I'm working on the premise that Mundus and the demon legions at this point have a firm foothold than he did on Mallet Island, where he was only just starting to make a return (I know that Trish said he'd been planning it for twenty years, but even in human experience, gaining a strong foothold in a foreign land can take a very long time). Also, Sparda had been on the demon side previously, so therefore, Mundus had the initial advantage to gain in power, so it could be seen, that Sparda had much more work, and a more powerful (in some ways) Mundus, than Dante had to face 2000 years later. I know that it also says Sparda faced the demon legions alone, but this is where I incorporate DMC2 into the equation. Matier says that the Vie de Marli clan fought alongside Sparda. Working on that Matier appeared to know Sparda, it could have been a more recent thing, but for the sake of this story and attempting to find my own continuity between the three games, I choose to see this a partnership and allegiance that has been in existence for many centuries. Also, I wanted to explore an origin for Arkham's book.
Just as a minor note about the use of language in this, this story, is set approx. 2000 years before the events of the DMC games, and while I think Sparda would have moved with the times and spoken more like everyone else at a later point in his life, at this point in time, I want to use the use of language to also have a less modern feel to it, so as I have no idea n how anyone would have spoken 2000 years ago in a fictional world, I've gone for a slightly more formal feel to it. But whether you agree with any of my reasoning or not, I hope you enjoy reading this.
Sparda stood on the hill and surveyed what had been a battlefield. The members of the Vie De Marli clan had fought bravely alongside him, and at great personal sacrifice. Though they had the blood of devils, they were mostly human and at a disadvantage from their enemies, but to their credit, the day had been theirs.
As he watched the survivors retrieve their dead and tend to the injured, Sparda quietly mourned the loss of friends and comrades. His eyes moved from the field to the tower in the distance. Mundus had been dealt with, now one last challenge lay before him. As he stared into the distance, he felt a presence approach from behind.
"I will accompany you."
Sparda turned to the voice. "It is too dangerous. I must face this alone." He almost smiled at the sound of the woman's laughter.
"How can this possibly be more dangerous than anything we've faced so far? You show concern where it is not needed, Brother."
They both watched the tower in silence, then she spoke again. "You also lie badly."
Sparda turned his head to look at her as she watched the tower. "Explain."
"Our previous conversation, and again now. You know you cannot do this alone. You need me." She turned to smile at him.
Sparda inwardly cursed. She was right of course, but he had hoped he could find another way.
"You know there is no other way."
Sparda smiled at her. "You seem to have this uncanny ability to read my mind, Sister."
Laughing softly, she replied. "As the spiritual guide of this clan, it is my place to know the hearts and minds of others."
"But I am not one of your flock." He said good-naturedly.
"No, you're not. But you have in the past sought my opinion, so you respect me as an equal, and we have shared many battles. We are brother and sister." She paused. "Besides, a being such as yourself, being spiritual by your very nature; as a spiritual guide, I am compelled to know about you. Just being what you are makes you my business."
Now it was Sparda's turn to laugh. "You tease, Sister. One of these days I will repay you." Then realising what he'd said, he couldn't hide the sadness in his eyes.
"how can you when I never give you an opening?" She teased again.
Sparda appreciated her attempt to alleviate the moment. Taking her hand gently in his, all joking aside. "You are a good friend to me, Sister. This is not how I want it to end."
Bringing a finger to her lips, she shushed him. "It has to be someone. My position in the clan dictates it should be me."
"Your position dictates why it should not be you. You're people need you."
"Can you choose who it should be in my stead then? And that is precisely why it should be me. I serve my people, this is just another way they need me. I know they will be fine. You will watch over them for me, Brother?"
"To the best of my ability."
"Then I am satisfied. My confidence in your ability is well founded."
They lapsed into a comfortable silence for a while before returning to the camp to offer what help they could.
Sparda watched the victory celebration held in the camp that evening with a reserved pleasure. He shared their jubilation, but still felt separate from the group. He wasn't one of them, and still didn't totally understand these humans yet. Also, despite all he'd done, some of them were still wary of him because of what he was. He understood and accepted their feelings with good grace. The members of this clan had suffered harshly for many centuries at the hands of demons, such ingrained hurt was hard to overcome.
He watched from his vantage point as the clan gave thanks to their spiritual leader, and watched her face in amusement for he knew how much distaste she had for this side of her role.
Once the formalities had ended and the festivities continued, she broke away from them unnoticed and came towards him.
"Are you ready to leave?"
"You wish to go now, without any goodbyes?" Sparda asked.
"I have left a letter for my daughter. She will continue my work here, and I believe it's better if I leave this way. Less fuss." She walked a few yards to the right and picked a small leather wrapped bundle from the ground."
"Ah, that explains what that is. You've had this planned." Sparda said. It wasn't a question.
"For some time now, I've known what needed to be done."
"Can I ask how?" Sparda had already a good idea how, but thought to let her explain.
"Only if you can walk at the same time."
As they both set off east away from the camp, Sparda asked again.
"Alright, you've caught me out. I confess. That book of yours, I read it that time you left it on the table."
"I thought that was the case." Sparda smiled. "So you decided then that this was the path you were to follow."
She nodded then picked up her step. "Come, Brother. At this rate it will take us weeks to cover what should only be a two day journey!"
Sparda easily fell into the pace that she was comfortable with, but resolved to keep an eye on her for signs of fatigue for she would deny any tiredness later.
They travelled on foot into the early hours of the morning, then rested for a few hours until daybreak so she could keep her strength up. The small leather bundle contained a small supply of food and water for the journey. Sparda declined the food and drink offered. He could go much longer without it and she needed it more.
There was very little cover on the journey between the camp and the tower. The land was mainly flat fields, which was why it was chosen , not just for it's proximity, for the battle site. Finally, at a distance from the tower of half a day, they came to a set of large rocks jutting from the ground that would provide them with some cover.
Sparda made a fire while she took a few sips of water and gained her breath. They could not stop too long, for the tower still needed to be sealed, and though Mundus had been effectively neutralised as a threat, there were always others to rise and take an advantage. The tower had guardians, powerful demons whose sole purpose was to keep out intruders. Sparda could deal with them, without having to fight. Even the mighty Beowulf would begrudgingly yield to him, just as Bolverk and many others had before. But though they respected, or in Beowulf's case, tolerated, greater power, it was never wise to trust that they would sit idly by if an opportunity presented itself. While no real threat to him, even with his presence, they could still pose a threat to the woman in his care. She was right, without her, this journey would be for nought.
He looked in the direction of the now, much closer tower. All it represented to him was death. Demons had spilled out of it, killing everything they could in their path, taking his friends and comrades. And now, it was taking his most beloved friend. He knew he must sacrifice to the tower too, but though it required his blood, it did not require his life. But it did demand hers. The unfairness of it angered him, it was yet another show of demon superiority over humans. He would survive it, she, being the weaker species, would not.
They had a lot in common, he and his human friend. They both had a strong sense of duty to their cause, which was why he hadn't really tried to talk her out of he chosen course. There was little point. But he still found it hard to swallow that he was letting his friend, whom he'd known since she was a child, voluntarily go to her death. He loved and respected her greatly. She had been his emotional guide through humanity these past 30 years. Humanity was easy if you were born human, but as a demon, who had spent millennia thinking as a demon, developing an understanding of humanity was a lot more difficult. He'd wondered at one point if he'd loved her, in a romantic sense, but she had patiently explained that the feelings he had for her were more of friendship and respect, and that , that kind of love would come at a later time when he was ready for it. Personally, he thought that there was a potential for it to be more, but they both were for their own reasons reluctant to walk that path. He may have found love an alien concept throughout most of his existence so far, but not because he was incapable of it, or could not recognise it. He knew she didn't think him incapable, or that naïve, it was just an easier way to deal with it without any offence or misunderstanding on either side.
"You're quiet this evening." Her voice interjected his thoughts. "You looked miles away there."
"There's no need. But I would like to ask you a question."
"That book. When I read it, I noticed that there were many blank pages left. Why?" She asked.
"That's because it's not written yet. The information that is recorded in this book is not complete yet."
"Will you write the rest of it?"
"Maybe. I may pass it on to someone else to write."
She stared into the fire, seemingly fascinated by the flames, then made her decision. "Then can I make a request?"
"You know you can ask me anything." Sparda reassured her, she seemed to need it judging by the uncertainty that was there.
"Can I keep a record of my journey through the Temen-ni-gru in it? To add my experiences and knowledge to it."
"By all means. It would make an interesting read." He didn't want to add that it would give him something to keep that was hers. Her experiences, her memories. Instead he just said, "Are you still determined to carry on with this?"
"As determined as ever. Brother, you are not going to sway me. It needs to be done. I have no regrets, I have seen nearly forty five winters which is not a bad age to get to, especially when it's been a life fighting."
Sparda considered her words. "Forty five winters is too short a time. I have faced death many times now, but after a lifetime that has already consisted of millennia. I cannot comprehend seeing forty five winters as a satisfactory length of time to live a life."
"I suppose not." She replied. "But I cannot comprehend what it must be like to face death after such a long time living already. In some ways I would imagine it harder. The longer you have something the harder it is to let go." She looked thoughtful. "But, the passage of time is relative to a person's experience. The longer you have lived, the quicker time seems to pass, so maybe it is no different for either of us."
He wasn't going to ask, but now that their time to talk was running out, he risked offending her. "Do you fear death?"
She smiled. "I suppose this is where I should be brave and say no, but to be truthful, yes. Yes I do fear it, as for all my knowledge of the spiritual, there is so much I don't know, and it is natural to fear the unknown. I would also like to see my daughter married and to see the children she will bear. It makes me sad to know that I will miss that."
Not knowing what to say, and knowing he could offer no real comfort, Sparda rose, walked to the other side of the fire and sat down beside her. "You should sleep my sister." He held out his arms to her.
She shifted and lay back, her head against his chest. "Do you think the stars watch over us?" She whispered.
He brushed a stray lock of dark hair from her face. "They will watch over you and guide you."
"For being here. For being my friend and for holding me when I'm scared."
Sparda tightened his grip on her in way of a response.
His eyes widened in surprise. He couldn't remember a time she'd ever used his name. He'd always been 'Brother', just as, because of her position in the clan, she had always been 'Sister', but all he said was, "What is it?"
"When the time comes, will you be there for me, as you are now? I'm not sure my hand is strong enough and I'm scared I will falter when the time comes."
"You have the strength to do what's necessary, but I will be there to keep you steady. I will not let you suffer." He knew what she was asking. He wondered if he could willingly help her to die. Be the one to use the knife on her when the time came. But he reasoned , if he were a true friend, he would do as she asked. It would be easy enough to do, if he shut out everything he had learnt and felt over the past fifty years, just for a minute, reverted to his former self. Then taking her life would be simple. Going back to that way of thinking would be easy enough too, as fifty years was such a small amount of time to him, it was barely more to him than the passing of a day to a human. But he didn't want his feelings as he took her life to be feelings of pleasure. No, he would take her life feeling the way he did now, he would not dishonour her.
"Then I can sleep. Thank you, Brother." With that she was lulled into a deep sleep by the warmth of his body and the strong rhythmic beating of his heart.
They had rested a few hours then had resumed their journey. They were within a short distance of Temen-ni-gru by daybreak. Approaching the base of the tower, there was very little sign of demons. A few stragglers from the battle returning to the tower were easy despatched by Sparda, others cowered from him in fear, making their way back hastily and causing no trouble, so he left them alone.
The sky was darkened, as it had been since the tower had appeared many years before. At the top of the tower a bright red shaft of light went up into the sky, penetrating the dark clouds above. As she looked up, Sparda asked, "What is it, Sister?"
"I was just thinking of the old stories." She replied. "Of the ones told when the sun shone brightly during the day. The tower is very deceiving to those who would believe the gateway to paradise will be found in the sky."
"Stories, most of which are long since dead. The only thing to be found here is death."
"Then let us go and face it."
The entrance to the tower was a large hole, that had been roughly hewn into the stone. At the threshold the air became chilled. She stood next to Sparda, wrapped her shawl tightly around her. "Well, here goes."
"There is much to face inside. Though I doubt there will be any need to fight, but…" Sparda left the sentence unfinished, but had she have strained to hear, she would have heard the name 'Beowulf' spoken at barely above a whisper. They walked through the entrance.