The fires raged across the land, the smell of sulphur and death hung ominously in the air, trying to claim as many victims as it could, the trees were charred black, parts began to break apart and burn until nothing but ash and dust remained, the sweltering storm of heat seemed almost alive, as it sought out lie, leaving a trail of destruction and ash in its wake, it's feasting of flesh and peeling of skin seemed to create a cackling sound, deranged and prideful of the destruction it wrought.
The cries of children, mothers, fathers, brother and sisters made faint, silent and wretched screams that fed the malice of the disaster, the armour clad body of the legendary King of Heroes had no problems repelling the heat of the flames that had surrounded him, in the midst of the destruction he had helped create.
Not that he had any real feelings of compassion for the mongrels humanity had become, those who were too weak would die; they were unworthy of his divine rule.
Walking through the almost palatable wall of heat, the legendary king of heroes allowed his eyes to wander the area, searching for anything of interest.
Saber's Master, Emiya Kiritsugu.
The King of Heroes barely kept his name as a vague footnote, being a bit unique, but still nothing that really shone to him, his body was covered in blood and burns; he was hunched over on the ground, moving, Inch by inch, heading forward.
Suddenly, a torrent of flame erupted from a nearby gas pipe, quickly enveloping the man in its soon to be fatal embrace, the man chucked his body downwards and as the fire began to char and rip apart his flesh as he struggled to continue on.
The King watched with only vague interest, after all, the outcome was obvious, this man before him was not going to survive; the only question was how long he could delay the inevitable.
The man opened his arms and forced something past him. A young boy dressed in a dark blue jacket and white undershirt, with red hair; he couldn't have been more than five, maybe six years old.
The blood soaked fire caught up with the aged man, then devoured him whole.
Gilgamesh stepped forward; The Master of Saber was dead.
The boy was just as doomed as the man who had saved him, yet he did not give up; his tiny hands stretched out, reaching for air, finding itself in the bloody, rotten and burnt earth.
His nails dragged across the land. The King watched.
The boy's body was shaking; fear, a very simple thing.
The gluttonous blazes slowly approached its prey, bursting up for a mere moment, before swiftly declining into an eerie malevolent silence, cinders and small flames licked at the boy's wounds as he desperately yearned to live, shred of skin began to crumble, blood slowly poured from his cuts.
It spread across the withered dead grass and was soaked up within moments; it seemed as if the very world, and nature itself, were merely toying with the boy, as if doing something as delinquent as playing with it's food.
The boy grit his teeth; a small instinctive stubborn atmosphere began to surround him. He wanted to cry, yet not a single tear fell; he didn't want to give such an accursed world the satisfaction.
The flames seemed to make playful yet deadly leaps and bounds charring his clothes and what remained of his body, smoke forced its way down his lungs and throat, gripping him with the embraces of death; he coughed for a few seconds and then forced his body to take another degrading step forward with all fours.
This boy had lost everything.
Nothing remained but the primordial bestial instinct that snarled at him to live.
Any normal child would surely be dead by now, any normal human of this day and age would have given up, letting themselves burn into ash, forgotten like a common dog, never leaving a legend in his wake.
His mouth opened for a brief moment, wide it looked like the fangs of a beast as if he had something to say, yet no words came, only small feeble breaths.
The boy could not roar.
Or yell at the heavens that cursed him with this fate.
The King lifted his left foot just above the boy's head; the red haired child mustered as much strength as he could spare, glared at the King for impeding his path, eyes blazing like hot steel.
The boy continued onward, ignoring the King's presence, refusing to beg for his life.
The King was mildly surprised, he would never admit it, but he saw something of himself in the child, something rather similar to his search for immortality, or disregard for the god's and elders.
A man will continue to fight and live, to change his fate; to leave his mark on this world.
This was the first time the King had seen such a person in this new world, [I]Perhaps[/I], the King thought, this child might be worth saving.
The fire leapt forth like to devour the boy; just as it had his would-be saviour, A quick shining blur then swept across the flames, the golden armoured ruler bent down and grabbed the boy; his instincts told him that there was something different with this child, something [I]unique[/I]
The child was almost unconscious. He looked up at the King with silent sincere eyes before he let his mind wander to the land of dreams, [I]Maybe, just maybe...[/I] the King thought back to the lands he owned thousands of years ago. A small voice, that sounded suspiciously like Enkidu, whispered.
"Let us see, if you can live up to my expectation, boy..."
Kotomine Kirei had but the slightest look of intrigue upon his face, he saw Gilgamesh by the door of the Church, holding a young red haired boy within his arms, sleeping without a sound.
"Who is this?" The priests face was dark yet collected as well as his expressions; he was a tall man that looked fairly strong.
"Something interesting I discovered, amongst the corpses." The words left the heroes mouth with little emotion; Kotomine had to raise an eyebrow for a moment. He had not expected such behaviour from the King of Heroes.
"Where did he come from?" Kotomine was the type to ask what was most relevant and important, often getting to the point, yet in a rather concealed way.
"From the fire we caused, the boy was being protected by Saber's Master. The kid looked interesting, so I took him. Is there something wrong with that?" The King's voice and expression contained a dark sense of enjoyment.
Kirei made a small subtle look of confusion for but a mere millisecond; to him it was odd, Gilgamesh wanted to wipe out all humans unworthy of his rule, due to his views of the current state of humanity, So for him to save someone…
As for the heroes question, common sense dictated that it wasn't.
"Well… if you truly wish to have this child, I suppose I should go and adopt him then, having a child unaccounted for appear around here would cause unnecessary trouble. I shall go to settle this."
The priest was still vaguely interested enough to be willing to see how this turned out, maybe it would entertain him or perhaps show him something
The King's arm stretched out and stopped the man in his tracks for a moment.
"Wouldn't it be prudent to learn the boy's name first?" The King questioned, mocking the priest for his oversight, the priest's mind stopped for a second, to let him grasp what the former servant had said.
He then gently shook the boy, who awoke with sleepy eyes.
"Boy, what is your name?"
The boy thought for a second, struggling to recall one of the most basic things about his own existence, and then spoke.
"Shirou… my name is Shirou." His voice was feeble and hoarse.
The King smirked, there was a foundation there, something he could build upon; Kotomine grabbed the boy from the King's hand and let his feet touch the churches ground.
"Come with me. I'll adopt you child." The priest's voice seemed devoid of any real emotion, the child stared at him, no real emotion present in his eyes as he calculated the priests offer.
"Ho? Presumptuous, aren't we? Do not forget, that child is mine to do with as I see fit." The King's cold glare met Kirei's amused eyes, before turning away, to address the child himself.
"Do not forget, [I]boy[/I] I was the one who saved you, and thus, your life belongs to me." The King smirked, provided the boy was given the correct teachings, he could make for a fine subject, and if he impressed him, maybe even a squire.
"Of course." The boy agreed, far more easily then he had to the priest words.
And the story of the boy called Shirou, began anew.