Disclaimer valid for all chapters: I do not own or pretend to own anything related to anything Tomb Raider except my own imagination based on the intellectual property of those who do.

Starting with the ending of Tomb Raider. Except in this reality, Lara fought, survived and failed.
I'm not entirely sure yet where this is going to go, but it already turned out a lot darker than I imagined.

Royal Affection

With a clarity that seemed detached even to her overstrung and exhausted mind, she watched the red flowers blossom on Mathias' chest and lower body as the constant fire from the two pistols in her frostbitten hands drove him backwards. The impacts kept him moving while the howling winds kept pushing him upright and drenching Lara in his spattering blood until he almost floated over the edge of the tower and gravity claimed him.

The icy air boiled in fury as the waiting earth stole away its plaything, swallowing the self-styled high priest in the darkest cracks of the mountain's black volcanic rocks. Red water covered the last woman standing in a ghostly sheen, reflecting the hissing white hot fire appearing in her hand as she strode forward, her bruised and battered body slowly moving into the bluish orb of light at the centre of the storm.

She raised the torch like a dagger.

The light vanished in a blink of an eye before her fiery weapon connected with the tinder-dry former body of the Sun Queen, igniting it in a shower of sparks mingling with the swirling snowflakes.

Slowly she turned around, unsteadily walking over to the prone form of her friend, bending down and touching her face in a soft caress. Just as she was about to speak, the figure clad in ceremonial robes slowly opened her eyes, the irises reflecting an unearthly blue from within that faded into obscurity as she watched the warrior standing above her with a strangely soft expression.

Time ground to a halt.

The winds screamed as they blasted the ruins
Himiko howled in triumph as she rose
Lara cried out in despair as she fell to her knees

She covered her dirty, ashen face with her bruised and blood stained hands as the winds slowly died down and a ray of sunlight illuminated the mountain top and glittered on the crown of the Sun queen who stood motionless and with her arms outstretched; the palms of her hands facing upward and with an expression of utter peacefulness on her face.

Lara shivered in the sudden warmth; her quiet sobs the only sound in the sudden stillness of a golden morning. A mild wind dispersed the last of the smoke as the fire died down and the torch sputtered out, ashes carried towards the white clouds forming lazily on the deep blue of the sky.

Slowly, after what might as well have been an eternity, the few remaining stormguard arrived and surrounded the two women in a perfect circle. Each and every one lowering themselves onto their right knee, they drew their weapons and raised them towards the centre of the circle, hailing their queen in complete unison, followed by a slow chant that rose in strength and volume to culminate in a pledge of allegiance shouted like a battle cry.

The Sun Queen waited for her men to fall silent, giving them time to relish the fact that their long vigil had come to a glorious end. When she finally spoke, her voice was coarse and her tongue seemingly unwilling at first to form the syllables. Like the voice of a hermit who had not spoken a word for a long, long time. Yet at the same time it carried the promise of grace and power.

'Take her to my chambers and guard her well. Protect her with your lives and let no harm befall her. '

They hauled the subdued survivor to her feet, forming an honour guard around her as befitting for a worthy foe. They did not bind her nor bodily force her with them. There was no need to anymore.

Himiko watched them go, a soft smile playing over the delicate features of Samantha Nishimura's face.

She had been reborn.