Life 42: Omen Mortis
CHAPTER 1: KINGDOM OF DEATH
The Avatar of Death is reborn. Thrust into the role of a young prince, he now finds himself as Noctis Lucis Caelum, on the eve of a treaty signing between the Kingdom of Lucis and their hated enemy, Niflheim.
A joyous time for many, but something isn't right in the city of Insomnia…
"Prince Noctis!" A strong voice bellowed out, driving the darkness from my mind as I regained feeling once more.
I opened my new eyes to a surprising sight. As usual I awoke in a different world, as Death had said before that my mind adjusted better when I came out of deep sleep, but I had never entered a life from the backseat of a car before.
Well, there was Nancy, but this was a different case all together.
A driver directed the vehicle, and the words he spoke began to come together in my mind, a haze surrounding the memories I had been gifted.
I was a prince.
"That's a big impact, isn't it?" The driver said as he directed me towards the windows, only to see a large city with menacing airships flying overhead.
Least I wasn't in the eighties again…
"I suppose so Cor." I ended up saying, my mind working on autopilot as I assimilated what lay in the abyss that was my new form's life.
Noctis Lucis Caelum, the Crown Prince of a kingdom known as Lucis, and the one-hundred and fourteenth heir to the Lucian Throne.
My father Regis was the ruling monarch as of the moment, and we were involved in a war against the tyrannical Niflheim Empire, who had conquered and put the rest of the kingdoms under their rule already.
Lucis was the last to stand against them, but at great cost to both Kingdoms.
Now, my father was to sign a treaty with the Empire, ensuring that they would retreat and allow time for all of Eos to recover.
Funny thing that as well, I wasn't on Earth, or perhaps a different Earth.
One where magic was as common as technology, and it's grasp had shifted and molded the very planet itself until it had reached its current condition.
Most of it ravaged aside from the glittering kingdom of Lucis, of which I was to inherit.
"You've gone quiet my liege, something troubling you?" The driver, Cor Leonis, as Noctis provided, asked of me, his eyes trailing mine in the overhead mirror.
I merely gazed further on the city, Noctis' memories not doing it any justice as I saw the skies cloud over and the light begin to fade, and yet… the city still glowed majestic and proudly.
"I've a lot on my mind Cor…" I asked blankly, the last vestiges of Noctis drifting back as I felt him relinquish his body to me with no small amount of hesitation, a whisper of good luck fading into my mind as we became one.
"I would imagine. The treaty is all the city's talked about since Niflheim offered it." Cor said with a glance to me, and I saw his eyebrows furrow on his face. It appears I was not alone in believing this to be all one big trick.
However, I awaited the grand reveal.
"Keep on your guard Cor." I said to him with a nod, of which he only smiled at me in response, his eyes once more falling to the road.
"I always do."
The treaty was apparently a grand spectacle, my people and our once enemies happy to see it signed, so much so that my father held a grand gala in celebration, and as his son I was forced to suffer through it.
Wearing a suit barring my nation's coat of arms, a solemn skull, I met and socialized with more nobles and dignitaries than I ever imagined meeting, keeping a small grin on my face at all times.
My attention was drawn aside, however, as an abnormality had occurred.
As Death's Avatar, I naturally was tied into his realm, his Reapers my coworkers in a sense, his domain tied into my consciousness. Normally, my extra sense as it were applied only to the Dead, from seeing spirits to even being able to communicate with them… but this was different.
Every person I encountered, I saw a strand of light billowing off of them, like ribbons in the wind.
Each strand a different shade, and each a degree of hold onto their body. It took some time, but I realized I was seeing their life forces, and getting a sense of how long each and every aristocrat had left in this realm…
However, one person seemed to escape my sight, their life force bundled down within themselves, almost as if in an attempt to hide it.
As I excused myself from a boring exchange about borders, I saw her standing there, a young blonde woman in a pure white dress, her visage in direct contrast to the colors of Lucis' upper class. Her hair bellowed around her as she walked closer to me, skillfully avoiding those that sought her attention, her eyes solely on me in a manner that would arouse my concern in any other circumstance.
As she came forward, I stepped back from the crowds and their bustle, finding myself drawn towards the observation deck of the tower, the heights and lights of Insomnia meeting my gaze as I looked outward from myself.
"Prince Noctis, you see the light too, right?" She said in a soft voice, akin to an angel's cry as she drew closer to me, my eyes drifting and onto her gaze as she smiled at me in a puzzling way.
Before I could even answer, or ponder if she meant the lights that clung to the party goers, she spoke once more.
"Just like me." She said with a low tone as she looked upon an art piece hanging above us, an ancient depiction of a woman hung there, her gaze cold and empty as she looked down upon us.
Her gaze was extremely similar to the looks I had seen on Death's own face so very often.
"When the goddess Etro opens the gates to welcome the souls of the Fallen, the Land of the Dead will shine up to Heaven." The mysterious woman said once more as I stared ahead, Noctis' memories recalling lessons about Etro. The Forsaken Astral, the Goddess of Death, and the patron of Lucis.
"Sometimes, there are those that can see the Light. These people are gifted with powers from the Land of the Dead, powers bestowed from Death itself." She continued her speech, my eyes leaving the stone gaze of the Goddess as I once more stared my companion, her face and frame tugging at Noctis' memories as I recalled an injury brought about by tragedy, and a young girl with golden hair that provided comfort.
"Did you receive any power, Prince Noctis?" She asked of me as I came to a seat, the city's skyline behind me as I let the cool glass provide me solace as I felt her prying away at the memories of the past.
"I don't even know who you are." I said to her gracefully and respectfully, just in case she was more important than I had originally assumed her to be, only for her to smile in my direction.
"I suppose you don't, but you know of my sister from Tenebrae." She said with a grin, leaving me to solve my own question to her.
My memories compiled and names and places sprung forward as I looked deeper at her, and it all came together.
"Your sister is the Oracle. That makes you Stella." I said to her with a critical eye, one matching the expression she had given me since she approached, but I could tell she appreciated being recognized.
"Stella Nox Fleuret, the overlooked daughter, the forgotten by the Astrals, I have heard the titles far too many times." Stella said then, a minuscule of sadness to her words as I remembered then. Young Noctis recovering in the kingdom of her birth, of her sister that had been showered with care and attention for being chosen, and the older sister that had been left to the dark.
"I remember you…" I said to her as I stood, her gaze warming to me as she almost gave me a genuine smile.
"Few do, but I'm sorry that you'll remember me." She said as I could only stare at her in confusion, as I took a step back from her.
"What do you mean Stella?"
"You have a purpose, Prince Noctis, and I am the instrument of their will." She said to me with a sorrowful smile as the lights suddenly cut out in the tower, the screams of the nobles piercing as the glass of the observation deck shattered, Magitek soldiers pouring into the hall, their rifles primed as guest after guest was mowed down in their fury.
Just as I stepped into cover, I noticed that Stella had disappeared on the spot, and chalked her up as a distraction.
I began to gather energy into my hands then, preparing to cast Bombarda or some other spell, when very similar to the Keyblade, a long metallic sword appeared before me.
Taking the blade in hand, the weight just perfect and precise in my grasp, I stood and meant to advance on the waves of soldiers, only to suddenly find myself directly in front of them.
With powers I swore to examine later on, I began a carnage that Niflheim and even Lucis would be loath to forget.
I would not lose another home.
The Magitek were interesting. A bizarre blend of humanity, machines, and something akin to monsters. They were chimera on two legs, their wings replaced by suits of armor more at home in the Medieval age than in this world of technological fantasy.
And yet, despite their inhumanity, they bled just as swiftly as any mortal man, as my crisp suited discovered when I slain the last of the Magitek that I could only assume were meant to kill or abduct me.
After I cleared out the squad, no further troops had come after me until the doors of the observation deck bust open, admitting a tall and muscular man, his sleeves gone to reveal sleeves of ornate tattoos gracing his arms.
Following behind him was a man of his polar opposite, with a sense of nobility to his dress and significant glasses, he looked more like a butler than one prone to running onto the battlefield.
"Noct, there you are. The treat was-" The well dressed one began, only for him to take notice of my suit covered in crimson, the waves of bodies that I left in my wake behind me.
"A trap, I've kind of figured that out Iggy." I said as my memories provided the details. Gladiolus Amicitia, the son of the King's Shield and loyal protector, and the one sworn to defend me when I would take the throne. The other, Ignis Scientia, an adviser to the Crown of Lucis, and servant to the Crownsguard, and a friend to me since Noctis had been a child.
However, my mind pointed out the missing face.
"Where's Prompto?" I asked as Gladiolus gestured me out of the deck, just in time too as the shattered glass and the impact had extended to the support beams, the glass deck falling down to the city streets below in a dramatic and dangerous fashion.
"We left him in the main hall, he was to oversee the proceedings." Ignis said to me as the two sheltered me from my sides, Gladiolus' long blade cutting down any troopers before they could even hope to reach me, let alone fire a shot in my direction.
"Knowing him, that's a bad idea…" I said aloud as my memories provided plenty of examples, before one aspect of Noctis' childhood was illuminated and brought to my attention. "Ignis, this is about the crystal, isn't it?"
The darkening of his face was evident enough as he threw open a balcony door, the walkway to the outer tower crumbling but stable beneath our feet as my companions ushered me forward, my horror clear to see as I watched the Imperial airships rain fire down on the beautiful city.
The crystal was obviously their goal, as Lucis was the last kingdom to hold a crystal of power, supposedly a direct line to the power of the Astrals, each of the major kingdoms had been given one to protect themselves against divine or demonic attacks.
Over time, some crystals had simply been depleted of their strength, others having lost theirs in conquest.
Lucis remained as the cornerstone of Eos, and we were under attack.
We fought our way through hordes of the Magitek troopers, finding Prompto holding off the masses as best he could and regrouped with him to the great hall, the banners denoting the treaty signing all ripped and torn to the floor, just as the hope for peace had been.
However, we carried onward, only to lay eyes on the throne room… and Noctis' father lying still on the floor, the light having left his eyes utterly and completely.
While the attack carried onward, I took a moment to approach him. I had personally never met Regis, but Noctis held many memories and affection for the man, despite the trials he had undergone as a father and ruler.
However, Noctis' memories did point out a missing detail. The Ring of the Lucii, an artifact bestowed upon Lucian Kings of old that allowed them to channel the power of the Crystal and all those that had come before.
The ring was missing, the imprint on Regis' finger clear to see as reached down to close Regis' eyes, my own falling on his blade. A fine and aged blade, very similar to the blade I carried, but I felt a calm and fierce wisdom emitting from the metal.
Pulling it from Regis grasp, I saw a blue light cover the weapon before it disappeared, a blue mark on my wrist clear to see.
It appeared to be a tattoo of odd design, the skull of Lucis crying below my wrist.
My companions gave me time, but I heard them call out to me as another airship approached the Citadel, and I knew it was time to leave.
With one last gaze to the man I had never gotten the chance to know outside of memories, and the throne that sat empty and cold, I swore to return one day.
I never broke a promise.
With respect to the King, we had made our way beneath the Citadel, finding a private garage awaiting us that Noctis had only seen once before.
Having been told that when the time was right he would enter this room, and he would receive the best gift his father could give, or so he had said.
There, in the center of it all, stood something similar to a sports car, which was odd considering that most automobiles were seemingly stuck in the nineteen-sixties. An ornate bow sat on the hood of the car, and I knew now that Regis had left it to me.
The name came to my head as we all settled inside the car, Ignis designating himself as the driver as he warned us that it would be no lazy drive as we left the city.
He was right, considering the bombardment continued as the Imperial airships seemed determined to destroy every inch of Insomnia…
However, the car performed better than I had expected, managing to turn on the dime to avoid hordes of Magitek troopers, and even managing to ramp over the blockade they had enacted at the edge of the royal district of the city.
The Regalia had to be the most impressive car I had ever ridden in, that was certain.
However, we all remained in silence as Ignis somehow managed to get us free of Niflheim's grasp, Gladiolus only having to block a projectile once with a large shield that had been resting in the passenger seat.
And yet, despite the opposition, we had managed to escape, but where to go now was the question.
Our home had been lost, and we were directionless, driving off into the sunrise in silence as we came to terms with the present and what all it meant.
"We have to regroup, not all the Kingsglaive could have fallen, right?" Gladiolus said in desperation as my memories sprung forward and the image of those talented warriors filled my mind.
Prompto remained silent as Ignis drove, likely having no words to say after the desolation we had witnessed.
"I agree with Gladio, we must assemble our allies if we are to have any chance of fighting back against the Empire." Ignis said in tune as he kept his eyes focused, monstrous beasts similar to Heartless crawling out of the road itself as we traveled under the moonlight.
"But where?" Prompto asked then, finally speaking up Ignis had proposed the course of action, the young man obviously finding comfort with having a guiding hand.
"The... King once traveled with a mechanic in his youth, some thirty years ago. He'll likely shelter us and our allies until such a time that we can fight back. It's not far into the desert, a garage and truck-stop known as Hammerhead Station." Ignis supplied in his most stable voice, but I heard him trip over the mention of the former king. I merely nodded along, my gaze lingering on the streets outside the window.
The streets were aged and weathered as we left the city, not much care was given to this place from what I could see. It appeared that Lucis didn't care much for the world outside its walls.
If I were to take back the throne, I wouldn't ignore the outside world. I had seen what happens when you ignore the world beyond your circle, and I would not allow the destruction of yet another civilization.
"Who is this old friend?" I asked Ignis then, Noctis' memories not having known as much about his father as I would have imagined. Apparently the two shared a fractured bond ever since an accident took Noctis' mother.
Ignis locked eyes with me then, and what passed for a smile crossed his lips.
"You know, I've been wanting to meet you since you was a boy, but this wasn't how I'd imagined it." The old man said in a sorrowful tone as he gestured us into the garage, my companion finding something to occupy themselves as Cid and I talked.
"You look like Reggie a lot, back when I knew him. I can't say I'm surprised how he went out, as he wasn't the type to stand by." Cid said as I nodded along, his words were way too true from what Noctis remembered.
"Insomnia is lost." I said to him in turn then, as he only shook his head at me.
"Nothing's lost until the last brick is torn away. Niflheim may hold the power now, but they'll lose it in time. Insomnia and Lucis will survive whatever they can throw at it, just as it's survived everyone that's tried to destroy it in the past." Cid said in a sageful manner, which I could only agree with. Nothing was truly over so long as there was a shard of memory left behind.
"Thank you Cid." I said to him then, the blood on my suit doing nothing to warrant suspicion from him thankfully, but he did place beside me a worn suitcase.
"You look like you got mauled boy, there's some of Reggie's old clothes, they should fit you well enough." Cid said to me with a nod as he turned back to the truck he had been focused on when we arrived, and I took it gracefully as I walked to the trailer that rested beyond the garage.
With a breath, I looked back out over the distance, the moonlight reflecting on the sands like glass.
I suppose it could become that way, with effort and time, just as all things prospered.
And yet, despite the reality of the situation, the blood on my hands and the sorrow in my heart, none of this felt real to me…
Like, is any of this for real, or not?
I would find out, and I would set this all straight.
I swear it.
"There are forces at work, beyond this land of existence. Destiny has been averted. I trust you to see this course corrected. The light must prevail. The sleeping figure must awaken."
"Of whom do you speak of?"
"The figure that still lies asleep in the fantasy."
Actually been planning this life for a while, but didn't know when to set it until now.
This is a Final Fantasy XV mixed with Versus XIII. So, not strictly XV, not strictly VXIII. It's a blend of the two.
Sadly for some of you, this will not be a slash story. I believe the fandom has quite a bit of that already, and while I've written lesbian relationships, I do not believe I'm talented enough to write on the other side.
As well, this will not be a typical VXIII fic. The pairing will not be Hoctis (Harry + Noctis) and Stella. Stella will play a role, but not as a love interest. Neither will Lunafreya, as she will be much younger than in XV.
The pairing as well, has already been decided on.
I'm just over here trying liven up XV a bit.
Also, a reminder that this is part of the Master of Nothing Series.