Title: le roi est mort, vive la roi
Fandom: FE10 AU
Day/Theme: November eighth | a history that threatens to repeat itself (late)
Summary: history repeats itself, from one king of Daein to his successor. RD spoilers.
Word count: about 2,700+
A/N: RD Spoilers, a take on a non A support ending for Soren. You could consider this an alternate take to winning a battle, losing the war instead of a benign and willing madness, it's the kind of "I'm taking you all down with me because you're not Ike" madness. Though it's based on a more gen/former friendship aspect than romance.
I'd give this to r amythest, but she already got something. So, Merry Christmas, capella_aurigae Here's hoping you like twisted angst.
The King is dead. Long live the King! (French: Le Roi est mort, vive le Roi!) is a traditional proclamation made following the accession of a new monarch in various countries, such as the United Kingdom, Canada and others. The original phrase was translated from the French Le Roi est mort. Vive le Roi!, which was first declared upon the coronation of Charles VII following the death of his father Charles VI in 1422. In France, the declaration was traditionally made by the Duc d'Uzès, a senior Peer of France, as soon as the coffin containing the remains of the previous king descended into the vault of Saint Denis Basilica. The phrase arose from the law of le mort saisit le vif—that the transfer of sovereignty occurs instantaneously upon the moment of death of the previous monarch.
Another day came to Daein as the indigent people walked down the quartered stone to the work at hand. Winter was not yet in the air, but it was already unbearably cold, the kind of cold that seeped through gloves and into their skin and deep down into their very veins.
Fear and suspicion hung everywhere. Even the sunniest of days were clouded by the bloodslick red road to the main courtyard of the city where the executions were to be held. The new king had little time for the arenas and bloodsport of his father's era, but he too loved to see his subjects bodies line the pikes of the outer walls. It was a practice usually only used for criminals and in times of war, but they were at peace – theoretically even as senators and nobles alike nervously guarded their borders lest any sign of hostility from the new king arise.
Where was their dawn now? An curtain of iron had descended on the people of Daein. All that hope and idealism so lovingly cultivated by their sorrowful former king and his Dawn Maiden, all of it had been mercilessly crushed when the true blood of Ashnard came to power.
As of yet six people had been executed, one for every day of the week passed. Another's blood would surely be spilled tomorrow. It was a daily affair, the reasonless slaughter of his own people.
Their crime? Simply existing. The king despised the people of Daein. They were pathetic insects, hateful and uneducated. They were everything the king despised, and held the face of every oppressor of his childhood.
But most of all, they weren't the one he'd lost.
The king would look over the latest peasant brought to him, his eyes wide, a captured animal realizing that the exits would lead to nowhere and there was no escaping his fate. Sometimes the king had them killed for not having any likenesses. The hair wasn't the same shade of stormy blue, the jaw was not wide enough, an inch too short. Sometimes the king killed them simply for resembling him too much.
This king's madness was far more deadly than his father's had ever been. King Ashnard could find favor, but King Soren was displeased with everything. He worked alone. What little nobles hadn't been rounded up like pigs for slaughter were kept in a constant state of fear. The king held no favorites, he treated everyone equally, with the exact same amount of hatred.
At the brink of other lands and the edges of the consciousness, an empress, a hawk king, a beast king and a queen nervously considered their options. They knew too well that a misstep could mean their kingdoms being devoured by Daein once again. The king was not to be underestimated. Ike had intimated that without his tactician's help, they would have surely lost the war against Ashnard long ago. His tactician had taken guerrilla tactics until their when they had been little more than a backwoods mercenary group. With that tactician's guidance, they had won victory over the largest, more vicious army in all of Tellius.
It was the thing legends were made of, but this tale had a darker end. The hero, gone and his tactician had turned exanimate in his absence. At first he had gone through the motions of a life. He had become a scribe and lived a modest life. But then, he had been found to be off the bloodline. He was chosen over the well-loved and charismatic Dawn Maiden and took the throne.
And that was when everything changed. The freedom that the Dawn Maiden and her boy-king had worked so hard for was put out completely. Micaiah herself had only escaped by the Empress Sanaki's hand. If not then she too might have suffered the same fate as so many of the Daein people.
She was a brave queen, braver than most. Most would have sent a diplomat or a messenger but she would not risk the lives of her people so carelessly. More likely than not their heads would join the wall of carnage that lined the city. The trip took three months of travel, and the fate of Crimea was always in the back of her mind. Geoffrey would watch over it in her absence, but still a nagging worry left her wondering if that would be enough.
They all had begged her not to go. Count Fayre offered to go, with his hired man as a bodyguard. Lucia offered, even Geoffrey but she refused. She wanted to find the root of the problem herself and face it. She would never forgive herself if they had been killed on her watch. She only allowed a small, but appropriate retinue of knights to guide her. Any less would be suicide, any more could be perceived as an act of war. In these fragile times, she did not want to make such a risk.
Nevassa was a boulder in a wasteland. If it was the jewel of Daein, then Daein had little more than tarnished silver and imperfect diamonds in its heritage. She covered her mouth and tried not to gag on the stench of death that permeated the gates. A rotten, bloodied head stared at her with wide open eyes that contained such horror as she had never seen before. Frozen forever in that awful moment, now that man was food for crows.
That image would haunt her dreams for long after.
The streets were quiet. The only noise the sound of the carriage rolling across the streets. There were no noisy bazaars or children playing in these streets. What few peasants she did catch sight of scurried back into the welcome darkness of back allies like some vermin.
And the streets were caked in red, sticky wet blood. It painted over the entire walkway to the castle like a long, royal carpet. It was only marred by the black spirals of flies that descended over it like a design.
When the carriage finally reached the Keep, she felt dizzy. Every breath she took to steady herself brought the stench of death in deeper to her lungs. Panic welled under her skin, a blister of fear, tender against every touch.
As much as she craved their presence, she could not risk taking her guards to the throne room. Doing such could leave her at a grave disadvantage later, but it was a chance she was forced to take.
Queen Elincia was led through the winding, cold walls until she reached the throne room itself. Her steps echoed in the wide hall. There were no courtiers or nobles to fill this room, simply the King seated upon his throne.
Soren had not changed in stature since then. He was still quite thin and pale, the robes draped over him were larger than his body. Queen Elincia looked for the person she had once distantly known but only saw the cold, cruel eyes of a monster. Even when staring down a beast, Queen Elincia did not flinch and stood tall to the latest tyrant to grace Daein's throne.
He regarded her with an unreadable expression. She kept every churning emotion in check, lest she give herself away. She wetted her mouth and began.
"King Soren of Nevassa," she said, quarter bowing. Any more would be a breach of her own status and imply that his station higher than her own. Any less and her head might have joined the rest outside the walls of the castle.
"Get on with it. What do you want? I assume this is no mere pleasure trip."
She expected nothing less.
"King Soren, I have heard many things about your land and now I see them for myself. I implore you to please stop! What would Ike think of this? You know he would never approve of what you're doing."
King Soren's hands clutched at the claw-like sides of his throne. His rage seemed a dark, near visible thing. He rose from his seated position.
"You knew nothing of him. You were a silly shallow headed noble born to everything who fancied herself in love with a hero. You didn't grow up with him and you offered nothing but more of your air-headed empty ideals."
And yet, his voice was the coldest, calmest anger she had ever heard. It was like being caught in a winter chill, and she shuddered involuntarily.
"So don't presume you know anything of what–" the king swallowed and grimaced, as if saying the name physically pained him. "– Of what Ike ever thought because you never knew."
He stepped forward, advancing on her. His red eyes looked malevolent in the dim candlelight, like some nightmare sprung to life.
"Your kingdom is a minuscule thing, almost not worth the effort of crushing. Tell me, Queen Elincia, do you like to watch your people suffer?"
"You wouldn't," she said.
Soren's expression was blank and impassive. "Oh wouldn't I?"
"You fought for Crimea. You were one of the reasons I was able to ascend to the throne in the first place. Please King Soren, why are you doing this?"
"I fought for Ike, and no one else. When you were rescued, I voted to let you die."
"But you couldn't have... You were cynical but hardly that– That cruel..."
"Your life was meaningless. I helped because it was Ike's choice. Had he chosen Daein, I might have handed you over to be executed myself."
Soren's voice was monotone, a complete lack of emotion. His eyes were impenetrable, as if they were walled off, they were empty, as if nothing was behind them. She had faced Ashnard and almost died by Daein soldier's lance but she had never felt fear this potent or insistent. Ashnard was kind in comparison to his cold-blooded son. His was far more cruel, ruthless and determined than Ashnard had ever been. King Soren was a deep, black abyss that threatened to destroy everything
Elincia knew that Soren had never been even remotely kind to her, and often he could hardly stoop to mere civility but near Ike, he was different. He was dutiful, and even something nearing nicety. She'd even caught him smile once when talking to Ike. She could not hear what they said, for it was too far away but around Ike Soren seemed a completely changed person.
But in Ike's absence... Soren had imploded into himself, and now a creature that called itself Soren had taken the throne for the sheer point of destruction. Ashera herself was kind compared to this savage king.
"Tell me," King Soren said. "I have heard you were the last one to speak to him."
"No...you're mistaken. I hadn't seen him since Ashera's judgment and defeat. I did not receive word that he had left until weeks after."
King Soren seemed to accept this response and said no more. She mustered every bit of courage, and made her stand.
"King Soren..I know you are hurting in his absence – we all are. But we need to keep living for his sake. I don't know why he chose to leave any more than you do but you can't lose hope like this... Please King Soren, stop this madness."
The king's lip curled in a sneer. "Idealistic as ever. You haven't changed at all, I see."
"If you do not stop, then this will mean war, King Soren."
"If it is to be war, then you have already lost," Soren said scornfully. "I could kill you right now, and add a second victory over Crimea."
She froze, blood pumping faster as he withdrew a wind tome and looked through the pages. She held a sword, but he had the advantage of distance. He could likely get two hits before she struck, and at this distance the injuries would be severe–
He put away the tome, and looked at her with such disgust as she had never witnessed before. To him she was little more than dirt, some bloodsucking insect to be exterminated. She understood now, and the knowledge made her blood run cold.
"But I won't. It would be insulting to kill you in that manner. Leave, before I change my mind."
Queen Elincia quarter bowed and left. She had never felt like running more in her life.
As the day waned the king sat upon his throne. The sunset that fell was the deep red of congealing blood, of war and destruction. It painted light across the cold stony walls of Daein keep. He could conquer them, for what good were these pathetic, worthless lot other than for slaughter? And yet there was still so many of them.
Serenes could burn again and Begnion was not invulnerable. Crimea was a small province at best and even the beasts of Gallia would fall to flames. The Dragons – his own kind were not invulnerable either. They fell to lightning and none of them were fast. A few well equipped quick mages could take down a brigade. And so what if a few of his men were slaughtered in the process? Their lives had no meaning to Soren.
He had no hidden reason such as his father did, he did not crave the powers of a dark god. He had no ambition or call to power. Soren had little idea what he would do with his enslaved countries, it would be enough to conquer them and squeeze that last bit of hope from those arrogant beorcs and laguz alike. The world would fall to this senseless bloodbath. He would own the world and destroy it. And that would be enough to fill the biting, clawing emptiness that ripped inside him. The betrayal the world had given him would be paid back tenfold.
His reason was in some far off land now, traveling with sword in hand. Every trace of belief, light and goodness had gone with it. All that was left was a shell, a husk of a being with little more than hate to sustain itself. And that would be enough to see that the world would atone for every sin, every misdeed committed. Ashera's judgment had returned in human form, and for this there would be no atonement.