Disclaimer: I own neither Claymore nor Evangelion. If representatives from either series contact me and request me to pull this down from wherever it's posted, I certainly will. Although I will need verification of identities in triplicate before I do so.
Author's Prescript: Don't know what a yoma is? Have no idea what a Claymore does? Not to worry! We're gonna take this slow, and there will be plenty of exposition in this chapter. Hopefully it will be a thrilling ride for one and for all!
Song of Swords by Nathan Yuen
The dust of battle mingled with the morning mist as the two figures squared off against each other. One silhouette, slender figure belying much speed and strength, stood stoically, a massive sword held easily in a one-handed grip. The other, a hulking mountain of sinew and muscle, bellowed out a challenge to its opponent.
Its opponent remained unfazed.
The hulking figure charged in a desperate attempt to kill or escape, massive form lumbering toward the other. In an instant, the slender one zipped past the monstrous being, finishing a sword slash with a flourish.
The creature fell to the ground bisected.
The battle over, the figure sheathed her blade on her back and continued on.
The corpse lay out in open mockery of the villagers, its shredded flesh and entrails in full view in the middle of the Town Square.
At the chief's request, no one tampered with the corpse. But that did not stop a crowd from gathering around it. People shook their heads, muttering "sixth one this month," "those yoma demons definitely got him," and "poor man…"
Despair broke a woman, and she cried, "It's a sign from God!"
An older man with a weathered face hushed her. "Speak not such blasphemy, woman! Do you wish another Impact upon us?"
At that moment inside the town commons, the grizzled chieftain looked on with pride mingled with annoyance as the council members made a ruckus inside the meeting. The elected council this year consisted of people age sixteen through twenty – men and women who would become the movers and shakers for years to come.
That said, their redundant protests got on his nerves. Cries of "The sixth person killed!" "The yomas are going to eat us all alive if we don't do something!" and "we can't just sit here and wait!" pounded through the air.
A well toned young man with coal-colored hair and stormy eyes slammed his palm on the table, hushing the crowd. "Well, what are we supposed to do?" He countered, "These bastards can take on human form at will. You think we can just round up anyone that looks suspicious?"
The chief looked pointedly at the youth. Though grateful, the chief needed to maintain authority. "That's enough, Ikari," he said.
The youth looked back at him. "Chief?"
In reply, the grizzled man produced a letter, sliding it across the table for all to see. "I've received a reply to our request. We're getting help." His tone turned ominous. "A Claymore is coming."
The room chilled at that announcement. Hushed murmurs flitted about the room. "A Claymore?" "One of them?" "Are they trustworthy?"
Ikari was the first one to speak. "Chief, do you really think – "
"They are the only ones that can detect the demon among us," the Chief interrupted, "It'll cost us a great deal, but it's the difference between being poor, and being dead. I will have no argument over this. She will be here any day now; be sure to offer her any hospitality she requests."
With the meeting over, the council disbanded quietly talking about this new turn of events. Ikari lingered behind the others, looking around warily as he stepped out.
Ikari started at the sound of his given name, then looked around. He relaxed at the sight of a lanky boy, shorter than he was but with the same hair and eye color, walking towards him. "Oy, Shinji!" he called out, "Don't scare me like that again, okay?"
Shinji chuckled. "I couldn't help it. I haven't seen you so pale since you took your first forest hunt last month."
Daichi's smile flattened. "Don't joke about scaring people, Shinji. These are dangerous times we're living in, and pulling a prank on the wrong person could get you hurt."
Shinji cocked his head to the side curiously. "It'll be all right, once this…Claymore comes though, right?"
Daichi whirled on Shinji. "Where did you hear about that?"
"Everyone's talking about it. It's supposed to be some kind of weapon, right? Can it take down a yoma?"
Daichi stopped and turned to face Shinji, crunching loose grave under his feet. "Shinji, recount to me the Story of How Things Came To Be."
Shinji set his shoulders and faced the elder Ikari, speaking in the methodical pace that one always does when reciting information from rote memory. The Story of How Things Came To Be was an essential part of the religion and education to the people in the land, even in a small town such as the one that the Ikaris lived in. Anyone could recite it from age five on up, and at age fifteen Shinji could do it easily.
"In the beginning, God created man. And with First Impact, He gave man many things – earth to stand on, seeds to grow, animals to hunt and eat. And God loved man, and it was good. There was one tenant that God requested of his greatest creation, and that was to never assume that man was wiser than God.
"But in this paradise, man became restless and bored. He decided to control the world by his will and guile, to improve upon God's work. Man built great machines to control the weather, to breed animals beyond their means, and to grow crops out of season. Man also built great cities, spires, and castles to revel in his own glory, and not God's.
"God saw the machinations of man, and was not pleased. To punish man for his sins, He sent down Second Impact, which destroyed the arrogant workings of man and created the yoma, the man-eating monsters, to keep man in check from becoming too arrogant yet again.
"This is why we do not try to understand the will of God, we simply accept it. It is why we do not take God's name in vain, and why the yoma exist in our world today."
Daichi nodded, satisfied with the incantation. "You have learned the Story well, Shinji. Now I will tell you of a new story, the ones regarding the Claymores."
Shinji leaned in close, eyes shining with excitement and curiosity. Daichi glanced around, licking his lips quickly. Then he leaned in close, to impart the vital story.
"Claymores are mankind's newest sin. Some fool somewhere got it into his head that it was possible to fight the creatures, and so he founded the Claymore organization, which is dedicated to kill the yoma for gold. They're the only ones that have a chance of winning against the monsters."
Shinji's eyes widened at the thought of a man fighting a hulking monster. "Wow… it must be tough. Maybe they receive special training?"
Daichi turned away, and Shinji fell into step behind him. "Not just that… but the Claymores take yoma flesh and blood into their bodies. That is the only way to fight the yoma."
Shinji stopped in his tracks, shocked. "You can't be serious!"
The elder Ikari turned around to nod. "Not just that, but after early tests it was shown that young girls had the best recovery rate. All the boys died a horrible death."
Daichi looked up into the sky, hair rustling in the wind. "Because Claymores are monsters themselves, they can spot the yoma with their eyes, and slay them with the huge swords they are named after." After a sigh, he said "Funny, isn't it…the only way we can resist these beasts is becoming beasts ourselves."
Shinji could only gape at his cousin.
But after a moment anxious shouts and stampeding brought Shinji back to reality. He looked behind him to find a crowd rushing to the town gates. Their cries brought sent an anxious trill down his spine.
"She's here!" "The Claymore's here!" "It's the yoma slayer!"
Heedless of Daichi's cries, Shinji ran after the crowd to get his first look at the Claymore. He wormed his way through the crowd to the front, but all he could see was the dust, kicked up by the wind upon the path and clouding the area in front of him.
He saw her.
Though not much older than him, the Claymore was certainly dressed for battle. Steel pauldrons rested on her shoulders and fastened a grey cape to her back. Her abdomen and chest were covered by a well-shaped breastplate that ended in a segmented armored skirt. Pantaloons and knee-high metal boots covered her legs. Besides that, a huge sword was affixed to her back – the very symbol of a Claymore warrior.
While Shinji could not help but stand in awe, unsettled murmurs came from the crowd.
"So that's the half-breed, huh?"
"Not what I expected…"
"Still, she's terrifying."
The Claymore stood there, as if sizing up the crowd, and almost collectively they shuffled their feet nervously,
"What was the chief thinking, calling her?"
"How do we know that she won't turn on us once she gets the gold?"
"Half a monster could be as dangerous as a full-blooded one…"
A sandy-haired man seemed to speak for most of them as he said, "the chief's really got no choice. We're all going to die out if we don't do something… we just use the monsters to kill each other."
And then the Claymore stepped forward. The group, thoroughly cowed by the movement, parted to let her through the gates, silent witnesses to her passing. After she seemed to be out of earshot, one man berated the last one to speak up, though all the comments said earlier mirrored his sentiment. "You idiot! Why did you have to go and say that? What if she gets insulted and turns on us!"
But Shinji was deaf to all the bickering that now took place amongst the group. All he was aware of was the warrior that passed his way.
The Chief tried not to show his fear or his surprise when the Claymore walked through his door. From the fearsome deeds that he heard, he expected a monster, some hideous half-formed hybrid, a patchwork of human and yoma skin and sinew. But the first thing he saw in front of him was a beautiful young slip of a girl.
But when he saw her eyes…
Those emotionless, piercing eyes…
He knew that he was in the presence of a monster.
The Claymore was silently looking down at him, which made him even more nervous. Then he realized since he was the village elder, he should speak first.
"We've been waiting for you anxiously," he said lamely, but he decided not to dwell on critiquing his dialog. He wanted to get this business over with and be rid of the girl as soon as humanly possible. "Let's get down to it. Akemi, fetch the bag."
As soon as the words left his mouth his wife plopped a large sack on the table, making the gold sticks jingle inside. It was fully half the town fund, maybe more. But the price would be worth it to get rid of the beast plaguing the town. The chief pushed the bag toward the warrior. "Here, you can see for yourself that the payment is there."
"I don't want it."
The toneless voice of the girl chilled the chief's blood a couple degrees. "Eh?"
"Someone will be sent to collect the money later on. You will give it to her then."
A pause, then the Claymore's eyes flashed, nearly causing the Chief's heart to seize in his chest. "If I die here, there would be no reason to give the money now."
A bead of ice cold sweat involuntarily made its way down the Chief's temple. "Ah… I see. So, what will happen now? Will it be easy to find the monster?"
The girl dipped her chin under slightly, like a bull about to charge. "It varies. If the yoma is experienced it will hide it's aura enough so that I will not be able to detect it. But no matter what, I will sniff it out. Then one of us will lie dead in the streets."
The Chief managed to maintain her composure long enough for the Claymore to shut the door behind her, but after that he slouched at his desk in a quivering, boneless heap.
The girl stepped outside the Chief's house and stood in the center of town. The people who lingered there gaped at her for a moment, then hurried along their way. Mothers snatched their children up and carried them inside; neighbors murmured hasty farewells and parted ways.
To the girl, this did not matter.
All that mattered was finding the yoma.
She closed her eyes and extended her senses, trying to find the monster through its energies. Her forehead creased when she strained her mental facilities, but still no sign.
Either he is very experienced at hiding… or he is too weak to be detected.
So she went to more traditional methods, trying to track him literally by his scent. She breathed in deeply –
snatched up her sword at the crunch of a foot on gravel and almost sliced off the head of a boy.
The black-haired boy stumbled back, startled at the sudden sight of the huge sword's edge a hairsbreadth away from his eyes. "What was that for?" he gasped, "I was just following you!"
The girl gave him a brief glare as she sheathed the blade, and began walking away.
The boy scrambled after her. "Hey! You're a Claymore, aren't you?"
"No," came the monotone reply.
"The organization and the warriors that serve it have no name. Your people thrust the name of 'Claymore' upon us."
The boy took a moment to digest the information. "Oh… I see." A half smile crossed his features. "But still, I can't believe it. When I heard what a Claymore was, I was expecting someone who looked like a half-demon. But you… you look like an ordinary girl."
The swordswoman did not gape, but she did stop and glance at the boy, as if scanning to see if he was fully sane. "You're not afraid of me?"
"No! Not at all! In fact," he admitted with a blush, "you're prettier than the girls around here."
The girl began walking again, leaving the boy to catch up.
At the town gates the boy panted out, "Where are you going? That leads outside the town!"
The girl turned to look at him. "This is the edge of the town?"
The boy gave a weary nod. "That leads to the forest where people hunt game."
The girl unlatched her sword and thrust it into the ground upright, then sat down to lean her back against it like one would a tree.
The boy stepped forward, curious. "What are you doing?"
The girl replied with her eyes closed, "this is how I rest. I have been walking for three days now."
The little fact boggled the boy's mind. Three days… at that pace? But once he overcame that knowledge, he whipped his head around to search the area.
At the ssss-thunk of something being staked to the ground, the swordswoman opened her eyes and found herself staring into the blue-grey eyes of her escort. He had picked up a wide wooden plank and thrust it upright into the dirt road, imitating her seating posture.
She asked, "What do you want? Why are you so interested in me?"
The boy looked at her as if she asked whether the sky was blue. "Well, you are a Claymore."
"Your people picked that name for us," she reminded him.
"Oh, right. But you came to kill the yoma, which means you'll be able to grant my wish…" he trailed off.
"And that is?" she asked, though she could already hazard a guess.
"You'll kill the monster that ate the only family I've ever known."
A silence passed as the boy figured out what to say next.
"When I was but four summers old, my parents had to leave the town for an important journey. My earliest memory of them is of their backs as they left on the very road that we're sitting on. I don't even remember their faces."
The lost expression on his face evaporated as he continued. "But my aunt and uncle were kind enough to take me in, and I was able to grow up in a loving household with my cousin. A few weeks ago, my aunt and uncle were the first ones to be killed by the monster, before my eyes. I don't know why I was spared… my cousin was away at the time. Now, we're staying at a neighbor's house. But I don't know what my future is going to be like…"
He cast a furious glance in her direction – fury not directed at her, but at the monster that plagued his memory. "At least I know that the yoma won't kill anyone else, because you'll kill it for me."
"I am not doing this for your personal revenge," the girl replied coolly, "but because of a request by the village chieftain. If your chief did not have the money, I would not have come."
The boy put his hands behind his head, relaxing. "I know. But still for money or for revenge, dead is dead. And a yoma dead is a good thing."Gong…gong…
The boy looked up, eyes widening in astonishment as he witnessed the setting sun. He got up and dusted his pants off. "Oh man! I didn't realize it was so late. I need to cook dinner for everyone."
He turned to go, but paused and turned around again in an afterthought. "My name's Shinji, by the way. What's yours?"
The girl looked him in the eye and said, "You don't need to know my name. You'll forget me soon enough."
Shinji was puzzled by the statement, but shrugged his shoulders and ran home.
It was dark when Shinji stumbled back to the house where he now lived. Keeping up with the Claymore was one thing, but sprinting halfway across town drained him more. Still, he managed to burst into the house and gasp out, "I'm so sorry! I'll start making dinner right away! It'll be done in just a…"
And then he saw the bodies. Two bodies, a man and woman; they were once both hale and hearty folk, now gutted and left to rot.
Behind him, a guttural voice said, "a wonderful sight, don't you think? Like a banquet at a midsummer's feast they were."
Shinji turned and saw Daichi. But it was not Daichi. It had Daichi's clothes on, and had some resemblance to Shinji's cousin, but this…thing had a hulking mass, mottled grey skin, gaping golden eyes and a grinning mouthful of spearlike teeth. It also had a blue drop shaped mark in the middle of its forehead.
And yet Shinji could not help but call, "Daichi?"
The thing advanced on him, drool dribbling from its mouth with every step. "Heh. Your cousin's gone, boy. Gone for a month, and you didn't even notice. I took him over during that little 'adventure' in the forest, used his flesh as a disguise and his mind to play his part. That's why no one could ever find me."
The yoma drew itself up to its full height, bursting out of Daichi's tunic. "I was thinking that I could stay and have a few more meals, but now you've summoned that witch, and I'll have to move on. She can look all she wants after I'm gone."
It looked hungrily at Shinji's frozen form. "But, I might as well have a small snack before leaving…"
Unexpectedly, tears fell from the yoma's eyes and fell to the floor. The yoma caught them in his palm and looked down to examine the drops. "Well, how touching… what's left of your cousin is shedding tears for you."
Desperation and rage mixed together in Shinji's head, and on impulse he charged at the beast with a yell. The yoma batted him down with a single swipe of his claw, and Shinji ended up on the floor coughing up blood.
The yoma stood back, flexing its fingers, examining them as Shinji dragged himself to his feet. "Honestly, Shinji, did you think you had a chance? You are simply meat. We are the predator, and you are the prey. It goes against natural law – God's law – for prey to fight predator. Although it's good to see them struggle now and again."
The yoma let out a blissful sigh. The monster was so close that Shinji could smell its fetid breath. "And now," it said, "It's time to dine."
And then the roof shattered.
The Claymore slammed between boy and yoma, her sword forming a lethal barrier between the two. Both boy and monster fell back as the sword crushed stone and sent shards flying everywhere.
The yoma stopped its backward momentum by crouching low and gripping the floor with the talons on its hands and feet. "You!" it gurgled, "how did you find me!"
The Claymore rose, ignoring the dust she threw into the air. "The boy carried the scent of yoma, so pungent that I swung at him before I saw him. I knew after that he was not the one I sought, but someone close to him was. All I needed to do was follow him."
She gripped her sword in one hand and pointed it at the monster across from her. "I have answered your question. Now you must answer mine. You are a fledgling – one of Sachiel's clan," she declared, pointing at the drop-shaped mark, "and you know of his whereabouts. Where is he now?"
The yoma laughed, a low and oily sound, while making gouges in the floor with its claws. "I see no need to answer a frail, pale girl… who's about to DIE!"
It charged headlong at the girl, planning to grab her with its long arms and dash her head on the ground – but the girl was no longer there.
A whisper came behind him. "Too slow."
The monster turned around as the large sword bit deep into his shoulder, and only that turn prevented it from losing its left arm altogether. Now it was the Claymore's chance to barrel in at him. Flummoxed at the turn of events, the yoma lashed out blindly with its right hand, only to have the Claymore drop in behind its back again. Sensing a killing blow, the yoma leapt blindly, turning in mid air to face its attacker –
But already the Claymore ran on the wall behind him and sliced his arm off with a downward stroke.
The yoma gave a startled cry and fell away, landing on its haunches. "It's not possible! A half-breed can't move faster than a yoma!" Instantly it was up again and dashing across the room towards Shinji. The boy had no time to move – the monster snagged him and put a chokehold around his neck. "If you want to get through to me," the yoma cried, "you'll have to stab through him first!"
In a flash the Claymore was upon the pair and with surgical precision she cut off the monster's remaining arm. Shinji fell away. When the arm landed with a meaty thud next to him, he scrambled into a corner and watched the exchange between the girl and what was once his cousin from his huddled position.
Now it was the Claymore that advanced on the yoma. She swung the sword in a downward chop through the air, spattering the ground with thick yoma blood from the sword. "By putting yoma blood into this 'frail' body, we have earned speed you can't match. By adding monster flesh, we've gained strength to wield our claymore swords with one hand."
She gave a lethal glance to the disarmed yoma. "That is two of your questions I have answered. Now you will answer one of mine. Where is Sachiel?"
The yoma sobbed with fright, helpless with only two stumps for arms. "I don't know! He just left me in the forest and I had to fend for myself! I beg you – please let me go!"
The Claymore's gaze was merciless. "You have no information, And I have no use for a yoma with no knowledge."
And then she split him from crotch to crown.
The yoma exploded behind her in a cloud of crimson, blanketing the area with a bloody mist. She looked over in the corner, and with her discerning eye saw that the boy was unharmed. She swung her sword down again to cleanse it of blood, and holstered it on her back.
"This job is finished," she said as she opened the door, "I suggest you find a new home to stay."
Then she pulled the door shut behind her, leaving a shuddering, blank-eyed Shinji in the corner.
Shinji was still that way the next day in the Chief's house, where they had carried the shocked boy so that he wouldn't come to harm. The Chief recounted the whole sordid tale to his closest friend, although discretion wasn't necessary; the entire story had circulated by noontime.
"He's been like this ever since," the Chief concluded.
His friend shook his head. "I certainly don't blame him. I'd have no will to live after what he's been through."
Gently, the Chief put a hand on the boy's shoulder, hoping to reassure him. No reaction. So, the Chief tried with words. "Forget it, Shinji. Forget yesterday and the rest of it."
The words echoed deep into Shinji's mind. They were so similar to the words said yesterday…
"You'll forget me soon enough…"
The Chief's friend turned back to the conversation. "So, what happened to the girl?"
"Oh, she got orders for another job and left for the next village. Personally, I'm glad she's gone. Those Claymores are too much like yoma. And those red eyes…" The Chief repressed a shudder. "I've never seen the like."
So deep was he in memory that it took a few seconds to realize that Shinji was heading out the door.
He got no sleep yesterday. His legs were by turns fatigued from running and aching from cramps. And yet, he still ran like a madman through the streets, dodging around people, the girl's image burned in her mind.
Blue hair framed her face as she looked on him. "You're not afraid of me?"
Almost to the village gates now. Though his lungs burned, he needed to see her, if only this one last time.
Crimson eyes looked at him, nearly glowing with conviction. "You don't need to know my name… You'll forget it soon enough."
And then he saw her, a figure in the distance outside the gates. Dashing through them, he bellowed, "HEY! WAIT!"
For a second, he was afraid that somehow the wind carried his voice away. But his heart leapt with joy when she stopped and turned around.
Now that he got her attention, he couldn't falter. He spoke from the bottom of his heart, baring his soul honestly. "I'm sorry. You were right. I was afraid," he yelled across the distance, " It was just like when my aunt and uncle were killed. All that talk about vengeance was just me trying to sound tough, because I was ashamed that I was afraid."
He placed his hand over his heart, gripped the tunic that covered it. "I'll never forget what you did for me, what you did for my family. I'll never forget you, I swear!"
She gazed across the distance, eye to eye, levelly looking him over. And then she turned to leave.
He yelled after her, "My name's Shinji. Please tell me your name!"
Over her shoulder she spared him one last glance of her crimson eye, her cerulean hair blowing in the dusty wind. He thought she didn't hear him, or worse, had thought the request inconsequential. But amidst the clanking of her boots, the wind carried her response back to him:
"My name is Rei."
(Not the end…)
Author's Notes: Whew! I've been writing this on and off – mostly off – for about four months now. But this past weekend I felt the incredible urge to finish this. It probably has to do with the fact that the Claymore anime is now playing in Japan, and has been since April 4th, and the fact that I wanted to be the first one to publish a Claymore x Eva fusion. Which I can say that I've done now.
The fusion shall be interesting, to say the least. I have plans to include almost everyone in here. There will be plenty of opportunities for girls, that's for sure. I may even have to borrow ACCs from other EVA fanfictions to fill the gap. That means Asuka, Misato, Maya, Hikari, and even Mana will be in here. Even Gendo. Not as a Claymore, though. And poor Fuyutsuki. He'll be left in the dust, methinks.
Anywho. The plot will loosely follow Evangelion, and the setting will be the Claymore world, although if you do read the Claymore series there will be major spoilers for later chapters. Think of this as Evangelion with swords, and you'll be fine. By the way, all Claymores are supposed to have blonde hair and silver eyes due to the experiments they've been subjected to, but I thought it would be better for everyone in EVA to keep their hair and eye color, for the sake of easier description.
Several people have brought up points in their reviews that I feel the need to address. Unfortunately, there is currently no way to contact these individuals directly due to the failure of the e-mail alert system, so I will write write my responses here.
The first observation that I will comment on is the statement that "Shinji is too much like Raki (Claymore's male lead)" I suspected that this would be mentioned sooner or later, and it has some validity. However, consider this - I am drawing elements from the Evangelion Manga, and that includes a more assertive and outgoing Shinji. Couple that with the fact that in the Claymore universe he grew up with a loving family and doesn't know the fate of his parents, and you have a Shinji that's more curious than depressed.
It's either that or else you can continue to think that I'm a lazy bastard who's mutilating the characters.
The second observation is that "this story follows too closely to the Claymore storyline." This is true. In fact the first four chapters of this story are going to be almost verbatim from Claymore volume 1, there will be no major deviations from the plot till volume 3, and by volume 7 there will be a total deviation (barring elements that may appear in volume 8, which I may see fit to include.) I really did try to find some way to cirumvent the plot surrounding volumes 6 and 7... but the suspense is just too good for those volumes. So in essence, if you read Claymore you'll have a lot of spoilers for this story, and if you read this first you'll find a lot of spoilers for the original. Sorry. If anyone figures out a better way to merge the two plots together and come up with something innovative, I welcome it.
To SpikeyKun, if you're reading this: I'd welcome your prereading skills. You can find me at either of the 402 sites (Tales of Appartment 402, or Area 402), or you can get ahold of me at the Darkscribes site by clicking on the website link in my profile.
To Dany le Fou: Damn you. You just gave away half the plot!
Not preread… don't know anyone who's read the Claymore series yet… although DarckRedd says that he's read parts.