Fate/Geass: The Eden Vital War
Disclaimer: In this particular universe, I do not own or in any way shape or form hold a claim to the Code Geass, Fate/Stay Night or any other modern works that I may reference in this story.
Long ago, there was a war between Code-bearers and their Geass gifted armies over the power of Eden Vital, a war that destroyed the legendary continent of Atlantis and sent mankind back to the Stone Age. To prevent this, direct confrontations between Code-bearers are now forbidden, with disagreements to be resolved in a ritualized war of champions. But when V.V does the unthinkable and violates this tradition, he will soon learn that he is not the only one able to bend the rules for victory.
" " denotes speech
'bold' denotes location names
'bold italics' denotes emphasis
Atlantis - 9600 BC
Atlantis. A legendary land overflowing with riches, said to blessed by the gods themselves – a land torn asunder by war, wiped from the face of the earth as the result of a Geass War, where rival factions fought to control the power of Eden Vital and stand astride the axis of the world. Millions were killed on the field of battle – millions more driven mad, as masks of persona were stripped away, exposing what lurked within humanity's collective soul:
An unfathomable darkness, a swarm of grain-sized curses that ate into its victims without mercy, tearing into minds, souls, bodies indiscriminately, as hell is loosed upon the world.
'LIES,' the demon screamed, unable to be silenced. 'Traitors to humanity, killers, murderers all. Liar, concealing truth, concealing self, concealing all for VIOLATION VIOLATION VIOLATION. Scorned by friends and scorned by foes, cut apart by bent and broken shards of hope. Submit submit submit, mortals hiding mortal lechery, concealing BASE DESIRE, GREED, AVARICE, seven sins of ENVY, LUST and PRIDE, tortured killings, tortured friends, no chance, no choice, no possibilities for freedom, screaming, raging, trapped in irons, impure impure impure, as failure on the path of SELF-DESTRUCTION. Atone atone atone with death and DIE.'
From the very beginning, there had been no chance of victory. Rioting in the streets, order turned to chaos, ranks of soldiers splintering as desertion and suicide took its toll in the bloody civil war, the incessant whispers of the World of C gnawing at morale and sanity. Perhaps a pure and spotless saint could have tuned out this symphony of destruction, but who in a time of chaos could keep oneself clean, when no one was clean to begin with?
"After all, to be alive is to do evil," muttered the enigmatic warrior known the Wanderer, wrinkling his nose with distaste as he saw what had become of his beloved city. Covering the once pristine buildings and streets of Atlantis was a miasma of human flesh and blood, the red of minced meat squishing squish squelching underfoot. The smells of cooking food, perfumes, and the sea usually present were masked by an ever more overwhelming stench: the putrid scent of mingled sweat, blood, and excrement wafting from the still warm remnants of terror. "Each breath is stolen from the lungs of another, each second of life one snatched away from a foe—as this is how this world is structured, no one can escape from this law. Evil, to be sure, is the truth of this world."
His grey robes and chain mail were stained and shredded by blood and blades and bullets, yet the Wanderer pushed onwards, since as the bearer of a Code, he alone could stop his counterpart from unleashing Eden Vital's "cleansing" upon all of humanity – though it would not be without cost.
"Always doom and gloom, even to the last, Wanderer," remarked a wry, feminine voice from beside him, the voice of his chief lieutenant in the Geass War, the one his foes had called "Reaper in White" – and reasonably so, given that she wore a loose flowing white dress with a blue underskirt, and carried with her a rather deadly looking weapon, a scythe like a demon's claw.
"Speak for yourself, Unyielding Shadow," the Code-bearer sighed, eyes darting hither and fro for any sign of stragglers or enemies waiting in ambush. True, there was a slight chance that that those there would be refugees or civilians, but it was unlikely, and besides... 'I can no longer afford consideration for human life, not when such would prevent me from clearing the required conditions.' "You haven't exactly been a ray of sunlight either…"
Which was true, given that her face had grown paler and more lined these last few months, signs of instability becoming more evident as her Geass had become permanently active.
Crack! Crack! Crack!
—bullets tore through empty space at the Shadow and the Wanderer, as snipers hidden amongst the shattered buildings took aim and fired one after another, trying to buy time for their craven master with ragged volleys of shots—
—that were all stopped in mid-air by a shield of glowing green hexagons, the Shadow's Geass of Absolute Defense. In her case, the power of the king had been literally isolating, giving her what amounted to a portable fortress, shielding her from all destructive interference, protecting her both from physical attack as well as mental assault.
Not seeing the futility of their actions, the geassed troopers continued their ineffectual barrage, only for the Shadow to advance, scythe at the ready, closing the distance little by little—then completely as she vanished into a blur of motion, striking with heretofore unseen speed.
The first blow splits two soldiers in half, weapons and all. A feint from the right. A slash from the left. A vicious kick to the knee, the Shadow's blades strike at again and again, carving slices from the bodies of her foes, killing at the very limit of human ability.
A fast overhead strike to smash the skull, a sideswipe to crush the ribs, spinning, lashing out with feet, sending yet another sprawling, whirling about quickly to slash and hack and twist, blades striking and rebounding, slashing again and again as foes died.
Metallic clanks and bangs rang out, mixed with gargles, death screams, and the pitter-pat of footsteps forward or back as the battle raged on, to the accompaniment of ragged breathing in a syncopated staccato—and then it was silent once more, with the ambushers dead.
The Shadow swallowed once as the Wanderer slowly walked up to her position, a trail of red slowly flowing down from her lips to drip from her chin, splashing with a ripple into the sea of blood around her feet.
"The strain is getting to you, isn't it?" the Wanderer asked quietly, putting a hand on her shoulder reassuringly. Maintaining a barrier against the world was not an easy proposition, while it was better than the alternative (death by war or madness), a physical Geass would lead to death in the end. "Soon…"
He trailed off.
"I know, Wanderer, I know."
Exactly what, they left unspoken, though the truth was that they were both approaching their limits.
As a Code-bearer linked intimately with the World of C, the nightmare of the collective unconscious ate away at what remained of the Wanderer's mind harder than any other, seeping in through all five senses to show him the ugliness in himself and humanity he would not acknowledge, crimes he wanted to run away from, every crime, every evil of all those within the world, condemning him to death from pain and self hatred.
And while immortality offered a limited resistance to the corruption, only the wielder of the Geass of Absolute Defense or one enslaved by the Geass of Absolute Obedience could ignore the eternal terror—and the former, only until the mind and body gave out from strain.
There was a roar like distant thunder, as Atlantis shook and quaked underneath them, threatening to tear itself apart. Once the center of the world, it had been corrupted by the presence of a fell darkness, one that taints the lands and scatters all around a reddish phosphorescence—the color of rust and decay. The stagnant air is filled with the presence of death, floating above a sickly black mud, with a great crimson eye staring down.
A last shared glance passed between the two, as they grimly set off towards their final destination.
"How convenient…," the Wanderer spat, looking towards the temple around which the city of gods had once been built. "It seems that our foe has given us the courtesy of broadcasting his location…the last battle awaits."
"You don't have to do this, Wanderer," the Shadow broke in, swallowing once. "You know as well as I that this is a battle he seeks, since he cannot achieve Ragnarök completely without your Code and his."
"He's already done more than enough, as you can well see from the partial instrumentality around us," the Code-bearer rejoined solemnly. "If we don't stop him now, the world will end in madness, dying with a whimper."
"Damned if we do and damned if we don't, eh?" the Shadow chuckled harshly. "The entire Geass War has been like that, so why not the final battle too? And of course, it will be one where my Geass has absolutely no effect…"
"Heh, you have a point there," the Wanderer acknowledged, tilting his head, as if considering something. Suddenly, he paused in mid-step, looking at his companion with a strangely vulnerable expression on his face. "Say…can you promise me something?"
"Do you know why a shadow is black, Wanderer?" his companion asked in turn.
"I'm not in the mood for street philosophy at the moment, so why don't you just tell me?"
"It's because it's the only color left after all else has gone away, and the only one that will never fade," she answered him, giving him a faint smile. "I have nothing left, Wanderer, having lost all else these past years. I've followed you this far…what more do you want of me?"
An unexpected reply.
But the warlock said nothing more, heading towards the Thought Elevator once more, and after a moment, his contractor followed.
World of C – Sword of Akasha
Floating in a world of clouds with no land or sky in sight was a structure like temple, the focal point of all consciousnesses that lay within the world of C. It was this place that had given rise to the legends of Olympus, the depictions of Heaven, and all those other conceptions of what a home of the gods was supposed to be.
Yet all was not right with the world, as the helix-like spear stabbing straight for the eye above might seem to prove, not quite piercing as much as scratching the outer membrane, letting the essence of the gods bleed out into the world.
In the center of the temple complex stood a grey haired youth in silver and black robes, robes embroidered with a pattern of seven eyes staring out at the world. His lips were curled upwards, and his teeth were shown, but his expression was no more a smile than a shark would wear before devouring its prey. Alone, he waited for his opponent to arrive, finding himself rewarded as a faint swirl of crimson light shimmered into existence, then faded as quickly as it had appeared, leaving behind two ragged figures ready for the kill.
'Just as planned.'
"So…you have come, Wanderer," the boy spoke by way of welcome, not even bothering to turn and look at the new arrivals. "And you've brought your contractor, I see, she with the power of Absolute Defense. Perfect…two Codes and a fully active Geass, all that is needed to activate the Sword of Akasha and destroy all that holds us back."
'ATONE ATONE ATONE,' the voices of the collective whispered. 'Impure ones who must be cleansed, must atone for ever crime of man, every human treachery. Ruled by the inhuman, no conscience, grudge, fraud, kindness a lie, hope a lie, all things a lie, malignance shines bright, a great evil, the only truth. Atone, in death, ATONE.'
Gritting his teeth, the newly arrived Code-bearer stove to ignore the clamoring of the voices asking for completion of the ritual, voices asking him to end their suffering and his own.
"Don't be absurd…cease this travesty at once, lrais," the Wanderer intoned, drawing a set of knives from his belt. "You have already effectively destroyed civilization for your own ends? What of all the dead? All those you have killed in your path to so-called utopia?"
Irais turned, sneering at the Wanderer, gesturing expansively.
"Travesty, no, the real travesty would be allowing the gods to suffer any longer, Wanderer," he countered, turning his gaze to the Shadow. "The real travesty would be failing to complete this ritual, as to do so would destroy Atlantis, and for what? A restored world? Don't make me laugh…there is no way to restore it without Eden Vital's power."
The Shadow gripped her scythe yet more tightly as she met Irais eye to eye, the crimson sigil of Geass blazing in her pupils adding to the effect.
"Do you really want to condemn this world to millennia upon millennia of desolation, with all of history erased?"Irais continued, arrogantly confident in his righteousness. "Do you—Tch!"
In a flash, the Shadow charged and the Wanderer surged forward, the shock and surprise forcing the other Code bearer to shut up and spring backwards, anger upon his noble features as he drew a set of silver war fans.
Clang! Clang! Clink!
He struck first at the Shadow, aiming to get inside her reach and disable her with nearly inhuman speed. And indeed, had she fought with anything less than her full potential, the Shadow would have quickly been defeated, so she strained herself to the limit, defending against a barrage of thrusts savagely aiming to take her neck with motions that flowed one into the next, giving her all in defense. One-two-three blows she anticipated, one to the ribs, one to the temple, one to the inner thigh—but not a fourth.
Falling victim to a vicious kick to the knee, the Shadow stumbled as a knife swung for her neck—only for this blow to fall short, as she turns the stumble into a forward roll, evading it and slamming the haft of her scythe into her opponent's face!
The result was a broken nose for Irais, though nothing more serious than that, for the grey-haired boy had taken a step back to minimize the effect. Using that opening, the Shadow lashed out with her foot, hoping to land a blow and disable the opposition, but Irais, anticipating a desperation attack, deflected that as well, backing out of easy striking distance with a slight grunt of surprise.
"I am impressed that you have lasted this long," the foe quipped, seemingly unaffected by the exertion. "But then, what do people value the most? That's right, life! The very same essence that drives you to fight is also the essence that causes you to quake with fear at the potential of losing!"
While Irais spoke, the Shadow lunged—only for her opponent to sidestep, greeting her body with a powerful backhand and a stab wound to the gut.
"No!" the Wanderer cried out, taking advantage of the opportunity won at great cost to seize Irais' arms. "And now…your Code is mine!"
With a thud, the Wanderer was thrown backwards, his vision going white as he was met with kicks to stomach, crotch, and sides, with an uppercut to his forehead knocking him towards the blood-slicked floor. But gritting his teeth, he refused to surrender, getting back into a defensive stance as he eyed his foe warily.
"You're stronger than you look."
"Or perhaps you have become weak, Wan—"
And then the Wanderer struck back, bringing to bear superior strength, speed, skill as he slashes, forcing the elite assassin onto the defensive with a fierce storm of blades. Identical techniques collide opposing one another. Both attacks, both defenses were exactly the same, but unfortunately, one was already weakened from the long journey to this place, while the other was fresh, having waited in a place outside of time. The conditions were unequal, and both immortals knew it.
"Guh!" the Wanderer lets out involuntarily, as a knife finds its way between his ribs, but instead of pulling away, he grabs his assailant's wrist and pulls the boy off balance, sweeping his feet from under him and forcing the enemy Code-bearer to the ground.
Thud! Thud! Thud! Crunch!
He'd always been morbidly curious, wondering just how many times one would have to slam a head into the ground before a person was at the brink of death—but not yet dead. Once? Twice? Three times? Four?
While he was doing this, his accomplice had finally managed to crawl over to him, and in accordance with their plan, signaled for him to let up with a tap on the shoulder, at which point, the Shadow fully activated her Geass and brutally wrenched the Code from Irais' soul with a bloodthirsty smile. The grey-haired boy screamed in agony as his immortality was stolen, the strangled cry cutting off as suddenly as it began, as the violation was complete. In the aftermath, he lay whimpering upon the ground, unable to move, unable to speak.
Then, the Shadow looked at him, and the faces of the World of C dragged the hapless villain to a fate worse than death, trapping him forever in their nightmares.
"It ends, this Geass War."
Victory, perhaps, but all was not quite over…
'Feel the pain, feel the torment, feel the suffering of the masses,' the voices raged on. 'Feel the cancer, feel the seeping of emotion in the heart squeezed by iron fist, eyes gouged out by velvet gloves and popped like grapes between fingers, castration castrati immolation, searing flame emasculation snip snip snip, burn and cackle, crush and crackle sizzle pop of human flesh drip drip dripping vital oils juices internal organs bleeding out charbroiled o'er an open grill of madness and insanity, no choice but to lose control, lose reason, lose hope, to DIE to END THE VIOLATION MAKE IT STOP.'
The helical spear stabbing at the lidless eye remained, and the embodiment of the unconsciousness grew weary of waiting, its voices growing louder, louder, more insistent as it demanded death, demanded atonement.
"The World of C will not be satisfied with this alone," the Wanderer spoke at last, nodding to the bloody patch on the temple floor where the shell of Irais had been taken into hell. "I had hoped…but there's no more time. A penance must be paid, to cease this awful sound…the world's despair."
Relief bled from the Shadow's face as she mulled over the meaning of the Wanderer's words.
"Wait...you mean, even after all this..."
"Yes, my last option. Or perhaps that was all there was from the beginning," replied the other, red eyes looking wearily up at the spear marring the sky. "A wave rushes on, dear contractor, until at last it breaks upon the shore. When two Code-Bearers clash, only one may emerge victorious...and to destroy this Sword of Akasha..."
"No!" the Shadow broke in. But her voice was small and brittle, without power. "No. You can't..."
"This is what it means to bear a Code," the Wanderer mused, as much to himself as to another. "To be truly separate from time, from life, from memory. In the end, all we can do is not run away."
Silence for several moments, then—
"You can't!" his companion said once again, more desperately this time. "Please...if there is a sacrifice to be made, let me make it...I have nothing else—"
"You made me a promise," the weary figure interrupted, kindly but regretfully. "A promise to live. Have you forgotten already, after just having gained eternity?"
She glared at him, furious that he would do this even at the last, but—
"...fine, you win," the Reaper in White sighed, shaking her head. "I will accept that geass."
With that, the Wanderer gave his companion a last squeeze of her hand, then directed his gaze to the sky once more, raising an imploring hand to the heavens. "I who bear the burden of Code, choose continuation, and end. By my will, by the will of the fallen, by the price of existence, dispel this spear and let tomorrow come."
A low rumble, as the symbol of Geass appeared upon the surface of the lidless eye, a wave of crimson pulsing out and down, obliterating the Sword of Akasha...and the physical form of the Code-bearer called the Wanderer.
"One last thing, I ask of you, my Unyielding Shadow: Bar the gate to Eden Vital, and let this temple fall, that this Geass War shall not rise once more."
He looked over to the Shadow, as if to prompt her with his eyes.
The Reaper in White gave a quick nod, speaking only: "So be it…tomorrow will come…the world will begin once more, but Atlantis, temple to Geass,…nevermore."
She didn't trust herself to say anything else.
But as stern as the Wanderer had been, his voice was soft as he spoke his final words to his former contractor, the last one who would remember him.
"They do say that all who die will one day be reborn. Perhaps in time, our souls will meet again."
With that, the man disappeared for good, leaving behind a newly minted Code-bearer with flowing black hair and yellow eyes.
'He has paid his price, then, and so he is gone...but perhaps...'
"...but nothing...that is just a lost young woman's foolishness."
This last survivor of Atlantis remained there for a moment, shedding a single tear that gleamed in the World of C's eternal twilight, then without a sound, vanished from that realm as quietly as she had come, alone.
Outside, the tremors and stresses finally took their toll, tearing the land asunder, and in a single day and night, the once proud land of gods sank beneath the waves.
Shinjuku Ghetto - 2017 ATB
Within the "poison gas container" that served to transport C.C.'s straitjacketed form, the green-haired geass witch was not terribly pleased. For one thing, the immortal had not had a proper pizza in years—not since her stay at Aires Imperial Villa—and even then, pizza was not considered food of the nobility, so more than one chef had considered it beneath his dignity to make such a thing. For another (though perhaps that should be first), she was currently restrained by a straitjacket inside an airtight poison gas container, and though she could very well revive time and time again from death, she found asphyxiation a particularly unpleasant way to go.
'When I disappeared from the Villa after V.V killed Marianne, I never thought the little boy would dare to lay hands on me as well for the sake of our disagreement. After all, since Atlantis fell in a Geass War, it has been a faux pas for one Code-Bearer to directly harm another.'
Instead, disagreements were supposed to be settled by a ritualistic battle of seven champions, the immortals choosing one apiece, with the rest chosen by Eden Vital itself—or such it was supposed to be, until V.V had had dedicated the resources of the Holy Britannian Empire to capture and restrain her, preventing her from choosing a champion of her own.
'Two champions in Area 11: Berserker and Rider. One in Area 18: Lancer. One in Pendragon: Caster. Three in the Chinese Federation: Saber, Archer, and Assassin. Two champions are V.V's…and none are mine.'
There was a loud crash! And then, there was light, the poison gas container opening, dumping the immortal geass witch unceremoniously to the ground.
What a pleasure it was to breathe again—and to be unbound. Granted, C.C. would rather not be in a situation where she could get shot, but…
'A champion, already? And then there's Lelouch. How your son has grown, Marianne…I think he will make an interesting champion in this Eden Vital War.'
Gunshots rang out, and the Eleven she thought a champion crumpled to the floor, fallen, but not dead.
Before the Britannians could do anything more, the truck that had carried the gas container exploded, sending smoke and wreckage everywhere. Not a fool, Lelouch took this as his chance of escape, dragging the green-haired woman behind him into a tunnel nearby—only to emerge upon a Britannian patrol shooting down a group of civilians.
The exiled prince silently swore. Why did he have such rotten luck? Did he exist to be the universe's chew toy? Couldn't something good happen, just for a change? If there was a god—then it was a cruel one, for his cell phone rang.
Lelouch knew of only one person who would call him at a time like this: Shirley. Nobody else had such miserable timing. He managed to silence his phone after but an instant, but it was already too late.
The next few seconds were a blur, as he was slammed against the wall, threatened, accused of being a terrorist—and shot at. "Shot at" would have turned into "shot dead", save for the green-haired woman jumping in the way of the bullet, taking it right between the eyes.
While the Britannians talked amongst themselves, conferring to decide the report they would give, Lelouch was frozen in shock, still reaching for his savior when—
--she grabbed onto his wrist, and the world faded away in light.
"You don't want it to end, do you?" The voice of the mysterious woman, but how would she be…
"It seems you have a reason to live, if only had the strength. Accept my gift of power, and in return, you will serve as my champion, my fate determined by your sword."
Now the prince was confused, but if he could only live…
"If you enter into this contract, you will live as a human, but also as one completely different. Different rules, different time, a different life…the power of the king will make you lonely indeed."
A sudden flood of images: ruins in different parts of the world, his father standing in a grand temple, lines and runes, and a great glowing eye.
" If you are prepared to obey this mind and reason, then answer my call…Avenger!"
There was only one answer he could make.
"I hereby accept this contract."
With those words, he returned to reality, where he stood, facing the Britannian soldiers before him with a smile.
"Say, how should I, a Britannian who hates Britannia live?" the prince asked of the soldiers, covering his left eye with his hand.
"You some kind of philosopher?" the captain of the squad asked snidely, bringing his sidearm to bear. But for some reason, he found he could not move.
"What? Can't shoot?" Lelouch shot back with an evil smirk. "You're up against a student. Or have you finally learned that only those willing to be shot can themselves shoot others?"
Feeling a sensation of warmth in his eye, he removed his hand to gaze upon his foes, revealing his sinister countenance to them.
"Lelouch vi Britannia commands you: look upon your sins and die!!"
The men froze for a second, then started to grin, red rings forming around their irises.
"Yes, Your Highness!" they barked in unison, their guns clattering to the ground as they convulsed in pain, screaming for mercy with none to be found. After all, they had shown none in the completion of their orders, and so they suffered here, trapped in a nightmare in which sweet death was a merciful and longed for end.
The Black Prince looked on as his victims writhed, screamed, cried in anguish--and one by one, perished in a chorus of death rattles that was music to his ears, accompanied by mad laughter from the newly chosen Champion.
From that day on, the Prince would live a lie. His life is a lie, his name is a lie, his career is a lie. All lies...but with this power, perhaps he could face those who opposed him and utterly destroy Britannia. For he was, after all, servant Avenger.
A/N: Lelouch's Geass in this fic is NOT Absolute Obedience, but Absolute Retribution, forcing the victim to suffer all the pain (or wounds or death) they had ever inflicted on anybody else. This ability requires eye contact, but can be used more than once per person.