Hello again all you happy people!
Well, some of you were probably expecting something along these lines from me at SOME point, given my track record, and truth be told several friends of mine REALLY wanted to see this one come to life, so I figured, what the hell.
And no, before anyone asks, this was NOT inspired by The Infamous Man's own rendition of Fate/Zero. I actually considered writing this after reading Assassin's Requiem by Caphriel, with some notable differences regarding my approach to Assassin's capabilities, though I'll go more into that at a later date.
However, TIM and I HAVE discussed a few ideas together, no spoilers, and I highly recommend anyone who hasn't read 'Fate: Zero Sense' or it's sequel 'Stay Alive' (if such creatures even exist) to do so. Now.
With that said, this one's for you TIM. Keep up the good work.
Fate/Zero Requiem: An Alternate Tale of the Fourth Holy Grail War
Demons Run, when a Good Man Goes to War,
Night Shall Rise and Drown the Sun, When a Good Man Goes to War,
Friendship Dies and True Love Lies,
Night Shall Fall and the Dark Shall Rise,
When a Good Man Goes to War.
When people speak about the occult, or discuss theories on dimensions beyond the scope of mortal comprehension, more often than not it refers to a 'Power' outside the world as we know it. Some called it God, some called it The Truth, and others call it the Akasha Records, the Origin of all things. No matter what title people labelled it with, it was the search for this illusory 'Root of the World' that was the dearest wish and driving force of all magi, the purpose behind their on-going refinement of the art of Thaumaturgy.
However, since the end of the 'Days of The Gods', when Phantasmal Beasts and Demigods walked the earth, Magic has slowly but steadily fallen into decline, a decline that has been advanced thanks in part to the development of Technology and the suppressive activities of The Church. As a result, to date there are only Five 'True' Magics left that defy human comprehension, and of those only One remains active, the other four having fallen into relative extinction due to the inherent nature of Magi of taking their secrets to their graves.
As a result, approximately two-hundred years ago, Three Magi Families convened in a bid to revive the Third of the True Magics: The Heaven's Feel, as a means to finally reach Akasha.
The Einzbern family, an old, respected Magus Family who held the closest ties to the Third Magic, the Makiri and the Tohsaka, one of the few families to ever produce an heir capable of surviving the tutelage of Wizard Marshal Kischur Zelretch Schweinorg.
The Einzberns proposed the reproduction of the 'Holy Grail', an omnipotent container that was the subject of many traditions and could realize any wish made upon it, as a means of manifesting the Heaven's Feel. Enticed at the possibility of summoning such an omnipotent device, the three families, who would go on to become known as the 'Founding Families', offered up their secret arts in order to carry out the Ritual.
The Einzberns would provide the 'Vessel' for the Grail, which would in turn manifest within the barriers of the land owned by the Tohsaka Family, one of the few places capable of supporting a ritual on this scale in the modern age. Upon activation, the Grail would thus select seven magi, or 'Masters' who possessed the power to take it, dividing the phenomenal amount of prana within it among them, allowing them to summon Heroic Spirits called 'Servants', Legendary warriors granted powers by the Throne of Heroes through the fame they acquired in life.
However, the Magi learned far too late that despite being Omnipotent, the Holy Grail could only grant the wish of one person per Heaven's Feel. As a result, the moment this truth was realised, the bonds of cooperation that had been the lifeblood of the ritual were cast aside, the Magi turning on one another in a bloody-free for all, from which only the victor would be allowed the honour of claiming the Grail.
In the room of an elegant villa built atop a small hill in the neatest district in the south of Turin, three men stood facing one another.
"The markings that have appeared on your right hand are called 'Command Seals'." One of them spoke up, his voice smooth and carrying as he addressed the other two, who wore the adornments of the Catholic Church "They are the proof that you have been chosen by the Holy Grail, and the qualifications that grants you the right to control a Servant."
The person who had spoken was Tohsaka Tokiomi, current head of the Tohsaka family, one of the three Founding Families behind the by now infamous Fuyuki Grail Wars. The other two members consisted of Father Kotomine Risei, an old 'friend' of the Tohsaka family and his son Kirei, to whom Tokiomi's words were directed.
Kirei had to admit, for a friend of his father, a pious man of the cloth who would soon reach eighty, the eccentric Tokiomi was surprisingly young, possibly little older than Kirei himself, though the feeling of composure and confidence he gave off spoke of experience Kirei had only felt from senior members of the Burial Agency.
It was unsurprising really, as even by the standards of Japanese Magi, the Tohsaka were an old, distinguished lineage. What surprised, or rather intrigued Kirei, was that the casual ease by which he'd revealed his identity as a Magus, as one would have to be a fool to so blatantly purchase property within striking distance of the Church, and especially so to declare their status before members of the Burial Division of the 'Holy Church', who followed a doctrine of exterminating the stigma of heresy, such as Mage-Craft, and burying it into oblivion.
Typically, Magi conspired and interacted only with other magi, preferring the safety of the Magus Association to avoid clashing with the enforcers of the Church. Recently both sides agreed to a 'cease-fire' of sorts in order to maintain the peace in the wake of the last World War, but even so it was a rare state of affairs where members of the Holy Church and a Magus would gather in the same building to discuss one of the most 'blasphemous' of rituals without someone losing a limb.
The Tohsaka were an exception, however, having made a point of keeping on good terms with the church, in particular the Kotomine family, a relationship that was maintained through generous donations that went both ways since before the foundation of the Grail Wars.
Risei had known Tokiomi's Grandfather and had overseen the previous Grail War, which had fallen short as was fast becoming a trend. Now, in the waning of his years, he was rather eager to see the ritual to fruition, and couldn't be happier when Kirei had come to him the previous night, revealing the surfacing pattern on the back of his hand which identified him as one of the 'Masters' chosen by the Grail, and had contacted Tokiomi immediately.
"Does the Grail have preferred people to select?" he pondered during a break in Tokiomi's explanation, not liking the way the older man was eyeing him.
"The Three Founding Families: Einzbern, Matou and Tohsaka are always included amongst the participants." Tokiomi confirmed with a nod, raising a hand to reveal a threefold ring pattern "As the current heir to the Tohsaka family, I will participate in the next battle."
Kirei said nothing, but inwardly tensed, eyeing the elder man before him warily. While he doubted his father would have agreed to the meeting if Tokiomi intend foul play, never mind the fact the man would have to be suicidal to attempt anything within spitting distance of the Church, it never paid to be careful "I'm curious about these 'Servants' you mentioned earlier." He muttered at length, eyeing the older man before him carefully "You said they were Heroic Spirits summoned and used as Familiars?"
"I know it may seem hard to believe, considering your upbringing." Tokiomi noted, sighing as if the very idea dumbfounded even HIM "Summoning Seven Warriors from amongst the ranks of Heroic Spirits that existed since the Age of the Gods into the present and pairing them with Seven Masters to battle it out in a bloody battle for supremacy." He nodded "That is very much what the Holy Grail War is."
"And you allow such a monstrosity?" Kirei demanded, addressing not only Tokiomi, but his solemn faced father, who had maintained his silence thus far "In a place where thousands of citizens live?"
It went without saying that, even BEFORE the ceasefire between the church and the Magus Association, all magi carried out their practices in secret in order to avoid drawing attention to themselves. In this modern era, where science and technology were quickly replacing Magecraft as the most prevalent force on the planet, to reveal one's existence as a magus was tantamount to suicide, even without factoring in the edicts of the Holy Church.
"Since the third Heaven's Feel an agreement has been made so that we at the Holy Church would dispatch a supervisor to keep the potential damages from the War to a minimum." Risei spoke up, startling his son "It is our duty to not only conceal all traces of the war's existence, but to ensure that the magi do so as well."
"The Church is serving as a referee in a conflict between magi?" Kirei repeated, admittedly stunned by the revelation, though naturally he hid it well.
"It is precisely because it IS a conflict between magi that we do so." Risei revealed "As it stands, there is no one in the Magi's Association qualified to act an impartial referee due to the political implications. There simply wasn't any way other than having recourse to an external authority such as the Church." He nodded solemnly "In addition, as I'm sure you're aware we of the Holy Church cannot turn a blind eye to a ritual involving a so called 'Holy Grail' though to tell the truth, we've had conclusive evidence that the Fuyuki Grail differs from the holy relic for some time now."
That certainly explained why the Grail Wars had been allowed to continue unopposed for so long. Normally the church would not have remained idle when faced with such a treasure, and Kirei had little doubt that, Master or not, he would've been deployed to Fuyuki along with several other members of the Assembly of the 8th Sacrament to plunder the Grail out of the hands of the magi, cease fire be damned.
"Still it's not as if we can simply ignore an omnipotent wish-granting device." Risei admitted with a troubled frown "Who knows what disaster could be wrought if it were to fall into the wrong hands?"
"Thus, it is best that we ensure that at the very least the Grail falls into the 'right' hands as a plan B." Tokiomi interposed, and Kirei had no doubt in his mind as to whose hands the Tohsaka head was talking about.
"While the Tohsaka are indeed Magi, they have a long history of friendship with the Church." Risei continued, confirming his son's suspicions "I can also vouch for Tokiomi-kun's character, and moreover, his intentions for the Grail are clear."
"To reach Akasha is the sole desire of the Tohsaka family." Tokiomi verified, as if Kirei hadn't guessed that already "Sadly, the Einzbern and Matou have both forgotten the wish we once shared."
"So I'll be participating in the upcoming Holy Grail War to ensure Tohsaka Tokiomi's victory, then." Kirei deduced, earning a nod from his father and a smile from Tokiomi.
"Of course, on the surface, we will act as enemies fighting over the Grail." The Tohsaka head elaborated, as if Kirei hadn't been able to figure it out on his own "But beneath the surface, we will join forces to defeat the remaining five Masters, and attain certain victory." He smiled as Risei nodded austerely "Kirei-kun, you will be transferred from the Holy Church to the Magus Association, where you will become my apprentice."
"The official orders have already been issued." Risei confirmed, taking out a letter of notification that bore the joint signatures of both the Holy Church and the Magus Association, addressed to his only son.
"You will go to Japan and study magic." Tokiomi continued confidently "There, you will become a Magus strong enough to summon a servant to fight in the Grail War three years from now." He smiled at Kirei "So, do you have other questions?"
"Just one of note;" Kirei admitted, turning to look Tokiomi in the eye for the first time "What exactly is the Grail's will in selecting the Masters?"
Tokiomi blinked, his brow furrowing, the Tohsaka head having not anticipated such a question, and Kirei had to admit he felt a small burst of accomplishment for wiping the smug smile off the man's face. The moment was short lived, however, as Tokiomi soon regained his composure, "The Grail prefers to choose Masters that need it the most." He admitted, smiling calmly at Kirei, who twitched at how close that struck to home.
"Does that mean that all the Masters selected have a reason for coveting the Grail?" the younger Kotomine demanded, trying to keep his voice level, only managing it with the years of practice he'd accumulated as a member of the 8th Sacrament.
"Not necessarily." Tokiomi countered, his tone dismissive "There have been cases in the past where Command Spells have appeared on people you wouldn't expect to be chosen." He glanced at Kirei with a smile "I see. Kirei-kun, are you still baffled that YOU, of all people, were chosen?" he continued at Kirei's nod "Admittedly it is surprising, considering your only link to the Grail would be through your father in his role as Overseer." He smiled confidently "No, perhaps it would be better to say that is the very reason you were selected. Perhaps the Grail anticipated that the Holy Church would support the Tohsaka family. In other words, the Grail is giving me two shares of command Seals, and for that, it chose you as a Master." He smiled arrogantly at the younger Kotomine "Does this explanation satisfy you?"
It didn't, but Kirei wasn't the sort to voice his opinions on something unless it involved carrying out the doctrine of the Church, in which case he was more than happy to get his 'point' across. Still, from what little he'd managed to gather of the arrogant Tohsaka Head's personality, it was clear to him that he wasn't likely to get a more satisfying answer out of the man for the time being, and so opted to put it on hold in favour of demanding to know when they were to leave so he could make preparations.
"I have a small task to take care of at the Clock Tower that requires me to stop over in Great Britain first." Tokiomi revealed "You will be travelling onto Japan ahead of me, I have already informed my family and they are waiting for you."
"Understood." Kirei acknowledged, wondering precisely what kind of welcome he, a former member of the Executors, was likely to receive in the home of a Magus, nodding in passing at his father before taking his leave, stepping out of the villa and making his way slowly down the winding hilltop path, the wind of the Mediterranean sea rustling his hair as he idly rubbed the back of his hand, the Command Spells shining red as blood in the light.
Britannian Capital, Pendragon...
He gasped slightly as he felt the blade enter his chest, slumping against his killer as the strength left his limbs, unable to help but smile as he envisioned the looks of shock on the faces of the watching crowd, who had fallen silent at this latest turn of events.
'Funny…' he mused, a wan smile adorning his features as he brought his hand up to touch the spreading bloodstain on his robes 'I thought it would've hurt more…'
"Lelouch…" Suzaku grunted, and despite everything they'd been through, done to one another, Lelouch couldn't help but feel touched at how his impending death distressed his best friend turned killer.
"Your punishment shall be thus…" he vowed, smiling as he reached one bloody hand up to cup the helmet that adorned his friend's face "You will live on…always wearing that mask, serving as a knight for justice and truth…you shall sacrifice the ordinary pleasures of your life for the benefit of the world…for eternity."
"This Geass…" Suzaku grit out, the hatred the masked man bore for the word meshing with his distress at the deeds he had just and was yet to perform "I do solemnly accept."
With that said he stepped back, Lelouch letting out a gasp as the blade exited his ruined torso with a sickening noise, the white-clad man staggering forward once, twice, before falling to his knees, tumbling down the slope of his transport, leaving a bloody trail in his wake as he slid down on his back, coming to a halt next to the distressed form of his sister, who reached hesitantly for his bloodied hand with her own.
"Lelouch?" she called out, almost hesitantly, as unable to believe what was happening before her, her violet eyes, which they had both inherited from their father, widening the moment she took his hand in hers "No…you mean everything you did until now…"
'Oh Nunnally…' he marvelled, wishing he could turn his head to gaze upon his beloved sibling one last time, only for his dying body spitefully deny this last request 'You always were sharper than people gave you credit for…myself included.'
"Oh Big brother…" the distraught girl whimpered, holding his hand, the hand that bore the blood of friend and foe alike, up to her face in distress "I love you!"
Those words, those five simple words, carried with them a greater power than if God himself had spoken them. Rallying his waning strength, Lelouch forced his lips to part, a smile adorning them as he gazed blindly up at the peerless blue sky, and at the ever growing light that bore the faces of everyone he'd ever met.
"Yes..." he breathed, accepting his fate, and the damnation that was sure to follow, with all the composure of a man who died fulfilled "I…destroyed the world…and remade it…anew."
And with that, Lelouch vi Britannia, 99th Emperor of the Holy Britannian Empire, passed away beneath the shining sun of his homeland, the light of which grew steadily bright and brighter as he felt the weight of his discarded body fall behind.
'So this is what happens when one joins the will of C?' he mused, honestly surprised that he could still create, or recognise, cognitive thought, though he supposed he'd have plenty to think about for the rest of eternity, more than likely regarding the countless sins he'd tallied against himself in life.
'I have no regrets.' He declared, and he meant it, for with Nunnally's last act of forgiveness, he could pass on to the whatever awaited him with a clear heart. Be it Heaven or Hell, if such places even existed, he did not care, what mattered was that the world he left behind was a world far better than the one he'd been born into.
"It certainly is." A voice noted, a familiar voice, Lelouch's eyes snapping open, prompting the late emperor to freeze, wondering if someone had actually gotten him medical attention before he could die, only to blink as he found himself standing before the spirally pillar of souls that made up the collective consciousness of mankind.
"What…the hell?" he wondered, blinking in confusion, looking down at his hands to find that yes, he was still dressed in his blood-stained emperor robes, though it appeared the wound that had shunted him off the mortal coil had decided not to tag along "What is this?"
"Surprised?" a voice called out, Lelouch freezing at the sound, his head whipping round to find himself face to face with a woman he'd never expected to see again "I don't blame you, most people are in your circumstances."
"Euphie…?" he breathed, gazing at the pink haired apparition before him in disbelief, for indeed, standing before him was none other than Euphemia li Britannia, his half-sister who had always held a special place in his heart, the self-same sister he'd been forced to gun down after unintentionally using his Geass to force her to carry out a massacre.
"Not exactly," Euphie offered, smiling consolingly at the late emperor "Though for all intents and purposes you could say I AM." She smiled at him teasingly "I guess the saying's true, you never really forget your first love."
"Who are you?" Lelouch demanded, his shock vanishing, replaced with suspicion and slowly mounting ANGER as he glared at the…THING that wore Euphie's face "Why do you look like Euphie?"
"Honestly Lelouch." The Euphie simulacrum huffed, her breasts bouncing perkily as she placed her hands on her hips, the action so eerily reminiscent of Euphie that Lelouch felt his heart clench despite himself "For someone so smart you really are slow on the uptake." She spread her arms wide with a smile "Look around you? Who else could I possibly be?"
Lelouch frowned, violet eyes narrowing as he glared at the being before him. Whoever, WHATEVER it was, it had done a DAMN good job of recreating Euphemia's form, voice and mannerisms. Everything from her brief lecture, the way she stood with her arms outstretched, that expectant smile on her face as she waited for him to figure out her identity, was exactly how Euphemia would have acted given the chance. The only difference was the eyes, for while the colour was right, they were lacklustre, like the eyes of a doll, devoid of the fire, compassion and indomitable spirit that was an inherent part of Euphemia's very being, or indeed any human emotion at all, which made the smile that adorned its face all the more terrifying to behold.
"Stop using Euphie's face." he growled, pointedly avoiding looking the abomination in the eyes "I don't care if you ARE the collective will of Mankind, if you don't stop using Euphie's face I'll finish what my parents started!"
"Oh well done!" another voice applauded, Lelouch tensing as he turned to find Euphemia's form replaced with that of Mao, the telepath clapping his hands in mock approval, his eyes thankfully hidden behind his sunglasses "As always, your amazing intellect shines through, Lelouch."
"It wasn't that hard to figure out." Lelouch deduced, his tone calm, betraying none of his ire as he gazed upon the simulacra of his predecessor "You didn't respond to my orders to identify yourself, which means you're immune to my Geass. Since only Code Bearers and those I've used my Geass on can claim that, and given where we are and your own words, what else could you be?"
"Clever boy…" 'Mao' applauded, the man's mocking tone sending shivers of disgust down the former Emperor's spine "Indeed, I am what you would call the collective will of Mankind. Since that's a bit of a mouthful, however, you can call me Alaya."
"Well then, Alaya or whatever you are…" Lelouch muttered, eyeing the entity before him with barely concealed intrigue "What can I do for you?"
"Now there's a question…" Alaya-Mao mused, cupping his chin in that childish manner Mao was so fond of doing when he'd been alive "What could I possibly want from the dreaded Devil Emperor Lelouch? The Man who saved the world but will never be thanked for it?"
"I was never in it for the praise." Lelouch countered, his tone clipped "All I cared for was to make the world a better place for Nunnally. If being hated for all eternity is what it took, then so be it."
"So dramatic." Alaya-Mao scoffed, Lelouch's brow twitching as he found himself face to face with Clovis, the first of his siblings to be killed in his Rebellion "Do you honestly believe that?"
"The whole point of Zero Requiem was to unite the world in hatred and fear of the 'Demon Emperor'." Lelouch countered, eyes narrowing "By bearing the worlds hatred I gave them something to resent, something worth working together to ensure it never comes back."
"And you honestly believe that'll be the end of it?" Alaya-Clovis demanded, shaking his head in mocking derision "You underestimate the nature of human beings, Lelouch."
"Maybe, but none of that matters to me anymore." Lelouch admitted solemnly "In the end, I was able to create a world where people like Nunnally could live in peace. I have no regrets."
"A good answer." Alaya noted, and were he not confident that he was already dead, Lelouch could've sworn that his heart skipped a beat at the sound of Shirley's voice, the Emperor glaring at the simulacra as it's dead eyes gazed out of the girl's face above an encouraging smile "Hold onto those beliefs, you'll need them where you're going."
Lelouch opened his mouth, intending to berate the entity for assuming Shirley's form, only to stumble at the feel of a tugging sensation from his navel, his eyes coming up once more to land on the girl's face before he was falling backwards into the light, his eyes snapping shut out of fear of being blinded, only to blink at the feeling of solid floor beneath his feet once again, his eyes widening as he found himself gazing out at the world through the visor of his Zero Mask.
'Is this…a dream?' he wondered, gazing down at his hands to find himself dressed once more in the garb of Zero, his violet eyes widening in amazement as centuries' worth of information proceeded to download itself into his brain.
An alternate timeline? A world where Sakuradite was never discovered? Where the Britannian Empire was never formed? A world where Sorcery existed, and Magi summoned Heroes from the age of legends to waged a secret war over control of an Omnipotent Wish Granting device?
A war, it seemed, which he was meant to participate in.
'Incredible…' he marvelled, mind reeling with the possibilities of his situation as the surge of information continued, revealing not only the laws and ordinances of the ritual into which he had been summoned 'The problem now is how to best plan my approach.'
It seemed he'd been summoned into the Assassin Class, and truth be told he doubted he'd be able to fulfil the perquisites for any of the others with the exception of Rider.
'Suzaku or Jeremiah would have made Saber rank for certain.' He mused, only to blink as he noticed the man standing before him, dressed in the vestments of a Catholic Priest despite the prana flow which connected them together.
"How interesting…" he mused "A priest knowledgeable in the ways of Magecraft?" He chuckled, unable to help the smirk that adorned his features as he eyed the stunned priest "It looks like I got a rather interesting Master."
So yeah, as I said before, Code Geass meets Fate/Zero.
Again, I stress the fact that, while it is certainly Lelouch's BRAIN in control, he was summoned as 'Zero' not Lelouch'. If he had, he'd have been summoned as the Demon Emperor that Conquered the World, complete with White Imperial Regalia and an Agility ranking of -Z.
And yes, that was a teaser for a possible Omake chapter. Two actually. Keep an eye out for them.
Sadly, I don't intend to reveal any of his Noble Phantasms JUST yet. Suffice to say that 'THIS' Assassin isn't so limited as the one from Assassin's Requiem. And Yes, Emperor Lelouch has a different set of NP's to Zero, which will be explained in any Omakes that turn up.
So yeah, expect the first ACTUAL chapter up soon.