no_longer_a_king: (Back on the world)
Counter Guardian Arturia @ Tower of Animus ([personal profile] no_longer_a_king) wrote in [community profile] towerofanimus2013-01-06 06:41 pm

ITP: Meandering

Characters: Arturia Pendragon [AU5] and anyone
Setting: Dorms, Floor One, Floor Twenty-threefour, and Floor Thirty-eight.
Format: Prose
Summary: Arturia wakes up in the tower after what must be countless centuries of forced combat.... and has no idea what to do with herself!
Warnings: DEATH! WOOHOO! In the first post, too! \o/



[Room 03-17]
It was with a jolt and a gasp that she finally sat up, hand going to her neck only to find the collar there but all the same she could move. She could move. She could breathe.

"W-what?"

She could speak.

What was this place? Yet another battlefield in which she'd be made to slaughter guilty and innocent alike endlessly, an angel of death garbed in blood-stained white for all to see? It made no sense to her. None whatsoever. She glanced around the room for any sign of what she was meant to do but only found other beds like the one she laid on and a trunk much like the one at the foot of her bed. Her eyes finally fell on the notes and she snatched them up, reading them thoroughly, her heart squeezing with every moment.

The world was.... gone? She was free? Free from her punishment?

Arturia had no idea how to feel about this. On the one hand even she could be grateful of the reprieve, but on the other hand it had been at the cost of who knows how many lives? And what if the world itself was still in tact? Would she go right back to fighting endlessly as soon as she returned? Questions. So many questions she didn't understand, but she balled up her notes and placed them in the trashcan. With barely a thought she summoned what was now her normal attire, sans the collar. Apparently the collar placed on her here superseded it. No matter. It wasn't like she was really attached to anything beyond her sword at this point.

And so Arturia headed out of her dorm, wanting to know just where she'd wound up and where to go from here.

[Floor One]
If there was one indulgence she would allow herself, it was food. Naturally when she'd read she'd have to eat some oatmeal before she could eat anything else she'd been fine with it.

There wasn't much of a spread in the cafeteria, simply eggs for breakfast, and once she was done with her oatmeal she tore into them like a hyena. It wasn't very kingly or knightly or even as lady-like as her appearance would suggest, but it was something. They were not the best made nor would it have been memorable otherwise--but it was food! Real food! And a delicious smell beyond the smell of blood and steal she never knew she'd grow tired of.

Part of her mind went back to those meals in Fuyuki, how warm the house had been, how Shirou had insisted she eat at the table with everyone else despite her and Rin's protests.

How delicious the meals had been, cooked with a care and pride not common in her time. Arturia found her appetite gone, the food tasting like ash, but not wanting to waste it, she forced herself to finish, though she no longer looks happy about it.


[Floor Twenty-Two to Floor Twenty-Four]

Wait, had she lost count of the floors? Arturia thought back for a moment. Twenty, twenty-one, twenty-two, she could have sworn she just went past the twenty-third floor to explore, so why could she not remember it. She turned on the stairs to check again. She needed to be thorough in creating a mental map of this place and the dangers it could present.

Except she bypassed it again! What was wrong with her? Had she been controlled for so long her senses were completely dull?! With a frustrated sigh she turned again to go up the stairs--

--and again she missed the floor entirely! And again! Again again again she kept missing it. This tower would not make a fool of her! She turned yet again, this time counting the number of stairs to make sure she didn't miss the floor, a determined look on her face, and unaware of how her body was slowly becoming vaguely transparent time she passed the twenty-third floor.

[Floor Thirty-Eight]
Her body didn't ache after climbing so many stairs like a normal person would, but Arturia knew there was only so much time in the day. The elevator would be a few flights up and then she could see about returning to her dorm to become further acquainted with her roommates. But for now this room seemed as good enough place as any to rest and gather her thoughts.

The elation of being able to move freely, to speak freely, to make her own choices was starting to lose its novelty. Arturia sank into a bean bag chair, for once in her now-long life not caring how dignified she looked in doing so. If the world had, indeed, ended and she had, somehow, been saved, it left one question on her mind that she couldn't hold back any longer. For so long everything had been clear before her, her path marked with a vivid certainty she could not take her eyes from.

Only now it was gone. Gone not just in the world itself being gone, but her Kingdom, her friends, every last person had been lost to her by coming here; destroyed by her own hand. For so long she had believed there was no escaping her fate, her punishment, and now here she was, completely and utterly alone and lost.

"What do I do now?" she asked aloud both for the novelty and because some part of her mind was beginning to settle into a sort of malaise of "who cares"?
scorchedchivalry: (pic#4711463)

Floor 38

[personal profile] scorchedchivalry 2013-01-07 04:41 am (UTC)(link)
Saber walked into the lounge, looking for someone, and actually walked right past the woman that looked like her, thinking she was the Roman at first. But then she stopped, head coming up.

No, that wasn't the Roman Saber. That was...

Slowly, Saber turned to set her pale eyes on the likeness of what she used to see in the mirror most of her existence. Her nostrils flared once, but she said nothing. Why was this damn Tower insisting on reminding her of that which she had once been?
scorchedchivalry: (pic#4711499)

[personal profile] scorchedchivalry 2013-01-07 04:58 am (UTC)(link)
There was a very long moment where Saber did nothing as she looked down at the one that looked like her. And yes, she did look down at her. She was exactly what Saber wanted to forget - at least she thought so - pathetic child playing at king.

She could see the tenseness in the other Servant's shoulders and her own head raised a bit more. The motion gave the one sitting below the angle to see the scrawling red lines Angra Mainyu's corruption had written across her skin, nor did Saber do anything to contain the presence of her tainted prana.

And then she spoke.

"Why are you wearing that?"
scorchedchivalry: (card)

[personal profile] scorchedchivalry 2013-01-07 05:30 am (UTC)(link)
Saber scoffed at that. "I do not find that to be an acceptable answer. Even if that garment was chosen for you by your Master as mine was for me, you still agreed to wear it. It is not simply 'all' you have," she retorted, knowing full well she agreed with Sakura's choice in black as it reflected her enlightenment far better than the royal blue did.

And then her eyes narrowed at the question she was asked. This woman was so... feminine, but she knew her own face when she saw it. Well, her old face. She was tempted to answer with a heavy implication in it, but chose to keep it simple, just in case. Second Magic wasn't something she understood very well.

"I am called Saber. Are you not also of the Saber Class?"
scorchedchivalry: (pic#4711440)

[personal profile] scorchedchivalry 2013-01-07 05:48 am (UTC)(link)
After my second War. That was all Saber needed to hear to know. Her eyes roamed slowly over the woman before her, taking in the look. She despised it. Female Saber may have been born, but she'd never been a woman. Perhaps this was the Saber that Shirou pined after.

"The Fifth Holy Grail War." The muscle along Saber's jaw twitched. "Did you finally get to sleep, King of Knights? Did you finally free yourself from your foolish ideals? Rid yourself from your delusions of what a hero truly was?"
scorchedchivalry: (pic#4711441)

Alter will kill her until she is dead. DED dead.

[personal profile] scorchedchivalry 2013-01-07 06:35 am (UTC)(link)
...never once in Saber's existence did she ever wonder what it must have been like to be as Lancelot had in the Fourth War. Never once did she even think about how it must feel to have one's reason taken over by the madness the Berserker Class was known for. Never. Though she did think in the back of her mind right then, that that instant of hearing that name being used to address her, might be the closest she would ever get to understanding what her knight may have gone through.

The rage that welled up in her was black and thick, carrying the metallic tang of what had been her first betrayal. That woman, that vile woman that shared her blood, that had used wicked ways to seduce the King of Britain at a most opportune moment to beget a son... To begin the ruin of her reign, of her pride, the first moment of dishonor as she'd been given the gift she had to bed her wife and father a true heir to the throne.

And this woman had dared call her by that name?!

In an instant, blackened jagged armor with red veins running through it materialized upon Saber's body and the pulsing dark sword, Excalibur, was in hand. Grabbing the other woman about the neck, she drove Excalibur at an upward angle into her torso, under her ribcage. Leaving the blade there, she pulled the woman's face close to her own, staring with black hatred into those green eyes she was finding herself hating so much.

"You will never call me by that name again, Arturia Pendragon. I do not care if that woman shares blood with me, such an insult to me, to my honor, can only be paid one way." She twisted the blade. "When you wake, Arturia, we will talk again and you will remember who you are addressing and not that woman."
scorchedchivalry: (pic#4711442)

And just for flavor...

[personal profile] scorchedchivalry 2013-01-07 07:13 am (UTC)(link)
The nod was recognized. In the depth of Saber's rage, she noted the acknowledgement of who she was to this other self. It was then that the anger subsided enough that she withdrew Excalibur from the other woman and let go when the light in those green eyes faded.

Letting the body fall to the floor, blood staining the carpet, Saber flicked the crimson off Excalibur before she lowered the sword. Eyes swept the area for any that might feel the unwise need to interfere only to rest upon the sword.

Caliburn - the Sword of Promised Victory that had sealed her fate. Her birthright. She had not seen it since that day it had shattered in battle, before Vivian had gifted her with Excalibur. Lip sneering a bit, she brought her armored foot down on the blade with every bit of her monstrous strength.

...it faded just before her foot made contact, disappearing as she'd known it would. There was a storm in her eyes as she stalked out of the lounge; she needed to search the dorm floor nameplates to find that woman's room.
scorchedchivalry: (pic#4711428)

[personal profile] scorchedchivalry 2013-01-11 03:54 pm (UTC)(link)
More than long enough for the door to the room to burst open and the blackened knight still in full armor with bared blade in hand to enter. Dark prana swirling about her, Saber stopped to stand over the white version of herself. Staring down at Arturia's paralyzed body, her eyes locked onto the other woman's and she raised Excalibur above her. For a long moment, she seriously thought about cutting the woman down again - long enough for a drop of Arturia's own blood to drip off of the sword to stain that white dress.

But no. This other self of hers was completely defenseless. Slaughtering her would be a dishonorable act and, even as corrupt as Saber was, she still held her honor. So, the blade was dismissed and Saber... sat down on the edge of the bed next to her.

"If for some reason, your wits have left you and you still do now know who I am, allow me to remind you. I am Arturia Pendragon, rightful and true heir of Uther Pendragon, and King of the Britons. I am from the end of the Fifth Holy Grail War," she said, eyes still looking over the form of her other self with disdain. She was so girly. "When you can speak, you will answer this question before you ask your own: which War are you from?"

And then Saber sat and waited, never once taking her eyes off the other woman.
scorchedchivalry: (pic#4711463)

[personal profile] scorchedchivalry 2013-01-11 04:38 pm (UTC)(link)
Saber didn't move as Arturia sat up and stretched a little. She watched her carefully, wondering what would have happened has she been seen by her people like that. A white queen. There was no way this Arturia was a king. Not dressed like that.

"I did not ask you which Grail War you were from. I asked you which War you were from," Saber pointed out with a bit of an edge in her voice. "You carry Caliburn. That sword was broken a very long time ago."
scorchedchivalry: (pic#4711469)

[personal profile] scorchedchivalry 2013-01-11 05:10 pm (UTC)(link)
Saber's eyes closed and she bowed her head a little. "Close. His father, King Pellinore."

Had she not forced that fight over that Beast that reflected everything her nightmares were telling her of her son and the unforgivable act of her sister... She'd known she had no right to the Beast and the quest belonged to Pellinore. She should have died then... and would have if Merlin hadn't been there. What would have happened had she perished by her own unchivalrous act? Would Pellinore have taken the throne of Britain and been a better king than she?

"Let me see it. Caliburn will always recognize the true king of Britain."

Though Saber had her doubts if it would accept her touch. Avalon rejected her because of the corruption and she could not even hold it in her hand. Would Caliburn do the same?
scorchedchivalry: (pic#4711494)

[personal profile] scorchedchivalry 2013-01-11 05:35 pm (UTC)(link)
The sword was before her again and she stared at it. Her eyes roamed over every inch, over the gold inlaid into it, the jeweled nature of it. It was inferior to Excalibur as it was a king's sword and not a knight's sword. Should the two blades clash, Excalibur would be the victor as a king's sword was more ceremonial than practical.

And yet, Saber had stared at Caliburn many a time while it was buried in the stone. She'd watched so many try to pull it before the lords and knights had given up on it as being irremovable. It was alone with just the eyes of an old wizard and a few others passing by upon her that she'd taken the hilt and drawn it smoothly from the stone. It was hers by right.

Saber reached her hand out to take it, but stopped. No, it wasn't an aura from the sword preventing her or anything, but her own actions that stopped her. Caliburn would always recognize the true king of Britain, and she...

Seeing that Arturia wasn't even looking at the sword, Saber got to her feet and walked two steps away, turning her back to the woman.

"I cannot take it. It is yours."
scorchedchivalry: (pic#4711473)

[personal profile] scorchedchivalry 2013-01-11 06:03 pm (UTC)(link)
"And when the Holy Grail is mine, I will do the same," Saber pointed out, still not turning around.

So, this Arturia had won the Holy Grail. Which War had it been in? Had Kiritsugu not betrayed her in the Fourth or had Shirou proved to be a competent enough Master in the Fifth? A different possibility crept into her mind then, one that turned her stomach for a moment. The white dress... the way she wore her hair... the sorrow and such femininity... Had this Arturia accepted Gilgamesh's proposal?

If that was the case, it would come out sooner or later. And if it did, Saber would have to-- Actually, she didn't know what she would do if that was true. She couldn't believe her own self, in any timeline, in any life, would have accepted that man's advances, wanting to possess her just to enjoy watching her suffer.

Turning around, Saber's armor dissipated. "You have paid for that mistake in blood. Let it be in the past."
scorchedchivalry: (pic#4711478)

[personal profile] scorchedchivalry 2013-01-11 06:33 pm (UTC)(link)
"Then you phrased your wish poorly," Saber decided.

Even if they were the same person, if this Arturia had stuck to the original reason for that wish, Saber's reasons had changed. She had changed. She didn't care what she wore afterward as long as she was free of the anachronistic fetters.

"And stay here. I shall return in a few minutes. Do not make me hunt you down." And with that, Saber left the room, heading for her own. She would return shortly with a bundle in her hand.
scorchedchivalry: (pic#4711488)

[personal profile] scorchedchivalry 2013-01-11 07:00 pm (UTC)(link)
Drawing next to her other self, Saber set a familiar set of clothes into her lap. She, herself, would never don them again. They ill-suited her and, well, she wasn't fond of her time with Shirou as her Master.

Aside from meal times, that was.

"Something else for you to wear. Keep them if you wish." Saber sat down on the bed again. She gave a light snort. "So much for keeping my identity secret here."

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