Disclaimer: I own nothing in this.
A/N: So, this does not mean I'm abandoning my other story, but I've had the idea to do a second story for a while and decided to go forward with it.
Updates will be... less often than ANP, but it won't be abandoned. I hope.
You can find me on Discord at either;
Heart of the Force: discord .gg /UM89QfyQk3
Game of Kingdoms: [Under development]
Shiro's Gaming Omniverse: discord .gg /wd3tUYWVCd
Or on Pa-tre-on: pat re on. com /ussexplorer
'Huh. So this is what awaits us when we die?' I idly thought to myself as I opened my eyes and took in the complete and utter darkness that enveloped me. 'But why the fuck did I have to die that way?'
My thought drifted back to the last thing I remembered, my death.
A lorry had jumped the curb not far from the High Street of my hometown and, thanks to over a decade serving my country and the training that had entailed, I reacted on instinct and moved to pull a young mother and her child in a pushchair out of the way as the Argos lorry careened into the vacant lot where one of the various corner shops that had disappeared over the last few years had been.
The mother had fallen over when I'd pulled her back, and I'd turned to check that she and her child were ok only for someone behind me to scream, "Look out!"
I turned back at the call, only to see a traffic light, One that was smashed by the lorry as it lost control, heading directly for me. Sadly, the moment that I realised what it was and where it was falling was the moment that I was struck face-first by the metal pole.
I vaguely remembered banging my head as I fell backwards, but it was a blur and that was all I could remember.
Part of me was proud to have died saving the lives of others, as it was the whole reason that I'd initially joined the Royal Marines, then transferred to the SBS for eight years of service. However, the greater part of me was furious that after my decade-plus of service, and having survived various hellholes and warzones, I was killed by a mother-fucking traffic light!
I tried to scream at the sheer absurdity of how I'd died, only to discover that wherever I now was, I was in some kind of substance. As I opened my mouth, a strange, flavourless jelly-like substance seeped in. I tried to move my arms but it was as if they were pushing through quicksand, which was weird as the jelly didn't seem that viscous.
'What the fuck is this?'
I kept trying to move, but everything was sluggish and slow, almost as if my limbs were unable to respond to what I wanted them to do.
A gentle shockwave rocked wherever I was, and I stopped moving. I could hear faint, distant sounds, as though someone or something was outside this weird, funky cocoon I was in was speaking. Yet I couldn't make heads or tails of what was being said.
Another vibration hit me through the jelly. It wasn't forceful and, unless I missed my guess, it was as though something was gently rocking my cocoon.
The darkness seemed to lift a touch as I swore that I sensed light from in front of me, but it was so weak that I was unable to tell where it was coming from, never mind what was there.
Strangely, after only a few minutes, my eyes felt heavy, and as I lost a battle to stay conscious one question dominated my thoughts. 'What the fuck is going on?'
Time while floating in this vicious jelly in the darkness that was only punctuated by more faint, vague light from a great distance was hard to keep track of. It was a struggle to stay conscious for more than a few minutes at a time – I'd spent a few cycles of alertness counting and while the time I was awake was increasing, I was barely able to get to six minutes before tiredness overtook me.
Or at least I thought it was six minutes. My memories of previous cycles were… hazy at best. That made no real sense as I could still remember my life before my 'death'. Heck, even things that happened decades ago seemed to come to me clearly, though I felt little to no emotion when my mind drifted back to what had once been. Family, friends, lovers, none of them invoked an emotional response.
Apart from the occasional far-off light, every awake cycle seemed to have shockwaves. Sometimes these were nothing more than a gentle constant vibration that felt as though they were coming from one location while others were a series of predicable shockwaves that made the entire chamber – or whatever this thing I was in – vibrate.
When I wasn't trying to work out how long I was awake for, make my body respond or have my thoughts drift back to previous events in my life, I'd spent time trying to work out just what the fuck was going on and there were a couple of theories that I'd come up with.
Firstly, this might be some sort of weird-as-fuck black-ops R&D project like from a bad sci-fi movie. Or perhaps like the healing tank they'd put Luke in at the end of The Empire Strikes Back.
Secondly, though more as an aside of my first idea, I did wonder if this wasn't some sort of insane way to torture and break someone mentally as there were moments where it felt as though I was going insane from the constant, mind-numbing insanity of what was happening.
If it was either of those options, then I knew that the moment I was released I was going to fucking kill someone for subjecting me to this mind-numbingly boring tank, preferably as slowly and painfully as I could.
However, if it wasn't one of those options, but instead something else – be it some weird-as-fuck thing that happened to a soul when the body died or a fucked-up part of religion that everyone didn't know about – then I really had no idea how I'd react.
And the less said about the most disturbing idea (one that I refused to contemplate) that drifted around in the darkest, most fucked up parts of my mind, the better.
Hundreds, if not thousands or even tens of thousands, of awake cycles later, I was finally able to move my arms and legs enough that I could touch my body with my fingers. Doing so was the most tiring thing I'd ever done – it made training in the Brecon Beacons look like a walk in the park – but finally being able to move enough to check my body felt worthy of celebration.
Or it would've if things hadn't taken a fucking turn for the strange (or fucked-up depending on how much of my worse fears were true) as I discovered a tube heading into my body. While my touch was… impaired, it felt as though the tube was grafted onto my skin seamlessly and when I'd trying to squeeze the tube, I'd almost blacked out. That tube was likely being used to help me survive in the jelly, but the less said about the location of it, the fucking better.
After discovering this, the horrible, insane, downright terrifying idea that had been drifting at the back of my mind became more prominent in my thoughts, though I did everything I could to not dwell on that; nor compare what I knew of my situation to what it reminded me of.
The cycles seemed to be getting longer – I was now up to about twenty minutes – and I was able to retain more of my memories of what had happened in the previous cycles; not that there was much with remembering. The light outside also became brighter, though since before it had been like a dim light a mile away a night that wasn't saying much, and I'd noticed that it only really appeared every dozen awake cycles or so. The sounds from outside were also coming into focus.
Whereas before it had just sounded like indistinct background noise, now I was able to, just about, make out different voices. One voice, a female's, was always louder – though still incomprehensible – and I felt that whoever this was, they were the one who spent the most time monitoring my situation. Well, that or…
'No. It's not that. It can't be that.'
This had to end soon.
It had to. Otherwise, I was going to go insane as that horrible, downright mad idea was going to become prevalent and I'd …
God, let this be over soon.
A thousand off so cycles later and something unexpected happened.
I discovered that the jelly I was encased in was warm. Now, it might've always been warm and I just hadn't realised it, but the fact I was able to sense the change in the temperature of the jelly was a change. And after thousands of cycles of boring repetitiveness – even the most creative ways to make whoever had stuck me in this hell pay were beginning to lose their appeal – any change was welcomed.
My memories of my life before my accident – or death, but I didn't want to contemplate that as it gave the horrible, insane, downright terrifying idea that continued to bounce around the darkest corners of my mind more strength – were still strong, but any lingering emotional attachment I had to them was gone. Everything from then mow seemed like nothing more than instructional videos or training exercises.
The other thing that had happened was that the cocoon I was in seemed to be getting smaller.
The light sources from outside were growing brighter – though still nowhere near bright enough to see what was outside, while the voices were becoming more distinct. I could place just over a dozen voices now, though I still had no idea what was being said. It was almost as if everyone was speaking a foreign language, which had implications about where I was that I really, really didn't want to contemplate.
Hopefully, it just meant I'd been abducted by some foreign government as the other thing that could mean…
No. That voice, that crazy idea in the darkest depths of my mind had to be wrong.
It just had to.
'My name is Craig Robert McKay. Six-nine-eight-one-zero-seven-three-three-one. Sergeant. Born the sixth of November, nineteen-ninety-one in Blairgowrie, Scotland.'
I repeated the thought to myself once more.
The cycles had grown longer, now reaching around forty minutes, but I'd lost track of how many there had been. Hell, I'd begun to lose track of who I was and where I came from.
'I joined the Marines when I was eighteen, then applied for the SBS when I was twenty-one.'
The only way I could get through the cycles was now to repeat my personal history to myself, over and over.
'I had a sister who lives in Falkirk. My parents died three years ago. I was never married, committing myself to the military.'
Yet, as the cycles continued, and I kept repeating my information, I began to feel as though I was slowly losing my grip on who I was, and I could feel my sanity slowly drifting away.
'My name is Craig Robert McKay. Six-nine-three-eight-zero-one-seven-three- one. Sergeant. Born the sixth of November, nineteen-ninety in Blairgowrie, Scotland.'
I'd tried screaming, vainly hoping that would draw the attention of the voices, but it hadn't happened. Instead, I'd swallowed mouthfuls of the jelly, discovering that it now tasted sickly sweet to the point I almost retched.
'I joined the Marines when I was seventeen, then applied for the SBS when I was twenty-one.'
There didn't seem to be any way out of this hell.
Even as I felt my sense of self drift away, the memories of my life remained strong and clear. It made no sense.
'I had a sister who lives in France. My parents died five years ago. I was never married, committing myself to the military.'
When will this hell end?
What could I do to make it end?
I was awoken abruptly as a massive shockwave, unlike anything I'd felt before, rippled through the jelly.
I blinked and tried my best to look around to see what had caused it, but save for the fact that the background light was stronger than it had ever been, there was no hint as to what had happened, or even where it'd come from.
Before long another shockwave vibrated through the jelly and, unless I missed my guess, it had occurred somewhere below my feet.
I felt a strange heat in the jelly and tilted my head back as much as I could, though that wasn't an easy thing to do when your entire body felt wrong and was encased in jelly.
I gasped as I saw a bright, light far above my head and as I wondered what it meant another shockwave came and I was carried by the force of the wave closer to the light.
A wave of hope-filled me as the light became brighter – though I couldn't make out what was on the other side – and I realised that I was finally about to leave this hellish place.
However, as another shockwave cascaded through the cocoon, and I was pushed closer still to the light, two things happened that had me screaming mentally.
First, that horrible, insane, downright maddening idea that had been floating around the fringes of my mind came to the fore. Second, I swore I saw something waiting outside the light that looked far, far too much like hands for my mind to take.
I screamed mentally as the handlike shapes all but confirmed my worst fears about where I was and I swore I heard my mind snap as I tried to process the impossibility of what was happening.
I was being born again.
Another shockwave came, pushing me closer enough to the light that my head squeezed against the source, cutting off the source of light, and I stopped moving.
However, what happened from then on, I didn't know as I mentally recoiled at the realisation of what was happening and did my absolute best to ignore everything that was happening.
'This isn't real. It's just a nightmare. I'm going to kill everyone for this.'
Something gripped my head.
'No! No! NO! NOOO!'
The things on my head pulled.
'Fuck you, you motherfucking, arsehole. I'm going to fucking kill you then feed you entire fucking shit-brained family to the fishes, you arsehole!'
Another shockwave hit as the things pulled and I closed my eyes as the light became too bright.
I was pulled away from… there and heard something slice through meat or flesh.
It felt strangely hard to think, as though I was dying, only for someone to slap my bare arse.
My eyes popped open and I glared at the upside-down man – at least I think it was a man as my vision was strangely blurry.
'Try that again you mother-fucker?' "Waaa!"
My brain froze as the cry of a baby escaped my lips.
'Wha… No! No! NO! NOOO!' I screamed mentally as I processed that the fear that had been lurking around my mind for several thousand cycles (one I had done my best to ignore and not contemplate) was proven true.
'No, this isn't happening! No! Fucking, stupid fucking insane fucked up fucking nightmare of fuck!' "Wwaaaaaaa!"
Hearing myself wail like a newborn babe – which I now apparently was – was the single most terrifying and unnerving thing I'd ever heard, or likely would ever hear.
My mind was barely able to focus on what I'd just gone through as I tried to comprehend that all those cycles, trapped in the darkness floating in jelly had actually been me growing in a womb.
Whatever fucking bullshit had happened for this to happen could go and fuck a whale sideways! This shite was going to leave so many mental scars I'd need to hire every fucking shrink on the planet to not end up a sociopathic monster who'd be responsible for World War Three. And it likely still wouldn't be enough to contain my anger.
I'd barely begun to vent my anger at this, this… insanity, when I vaguely saw something be placed over, then around, me. Likely it was a blanket as I felt warmer the instant that I was wrapped in it.
The man holding me then turned – the world behind him as blurry as he was – and I felt myself being lowered.
While his features were hard to make out, the man had dark hair, possibly black, and was dressed in robes that for some reason reminded me of a monk.
However, my focus soon shifted as I was turned and handed me off to a woman who, if my blurred vision wasn't tricking me, was lying on a bed. This woman had to be - no matter how bizarre the idea was – my new mother.
She pulled me close enough to her face that I was able to focus on her enough to see what she looked like.
Her jet-black hair was matted against her skull – likely from sweat – and she was breathing heavily, but my attention was drawn to her face; well, more specifically, her eyes. They were unlike any eyes I'd seen before; being a magnificent shade of violet – which was an eye colour I'd never heard of occurring naturally – and drew attention to a lightly tanned face that, even soaked in sweat from exertion was unmistakeably beautiful. For the briefest moment, my anger at being reborn was lost as I gazed upon a woman that would put most supermodels to shame and a stray thought had me wondering if I'd be blessed with eyes of violet as well.
She smiled as I focused on her, and in a move that restored some of my anger, lifted a single finger to touch my nose.
Annoyed, I lifted my hand to swat her finger away, only for my hand to close around her finger. Her smile grew, and while I was still annoyed at her actions, I couldn't stay angry at her as her smile was breathtaking.
One day, I hoped, I'd find who had done this to me – who had made this beautiful woman my new mother – then kill them for denying me the chance to at least attempt to woo her.
She shifted my position, and I was both glad and infuriated again as she brought me close to her bosom. While what I could make out of her frame suggested she had a slim build, her breasts were large; insanely so from my new perspective.
"… ... ... ... ... " The woman spoke but whatever she said was incomprehensible. Either my ears were unable to process her words, or she spoke a tongue so foreign that I couldn't decipher any of it, and I was leaning towards the latter as the vague shapes I could make out around the room hinted at a medieval level of technology.
The wall behind my mother's bed appeared to be made of white stone – possibly marble – and while it looked smooth to my blurred vision, I doubted it was. To her left, I could just about make out something that was likely a drape while to her right there appeared to be a painting; or at least I assumed it was one as the edges were dark brown while the rest were a myriad of colours my fucking infant eyes couldn't differentiate.
Something to my left moved, though I wasn't able to see what it was.
"… ... ... ... ... " another voice behind me and to my right spoke, but again whatever was said was unknown to me. I turned to turn my head to see who had spoken (if it was the man who'd birthed me, I wanted to commit his face to memory for future retribution) but I was unable to do so as my mother held me firmly but gently against her breast.
I wished I could understand at least some of what they were saying. No, I knew I wasn't that great at languages, but I spoke basic French, Farsi and bits and pieces of a few others, but whatever they were speaking matched nothing that I had knew or had ever heard. Everything said so far was gobbledygook, which was going to a fucking pain for learning when and where I was.
Even if you cannot speak a language, you can understand what is said.
Be careful as such an ability is rare in any world.
'Wait? WHAT?!' I screamed in my mind – and ignored that my mental scream made me bawl like the baby I appeared to be – at the strange blue text that suddenly came into existence in front of my eyes.
I turned my head, hoping that the text would vanish, but it stayed in the very centre of my vision. I then released my grip on my mother's finger and tried to wave away the floating text, but that did nothing; mainly because my arm was about a responsive as a newly minted officer was useful.
The short, stubby thing that was my arm was next to useless for motor control, which had me cursing even more internally, and made me bawl out even more. 'Stupid, shitty baby fucking arms! And what the fuck is going on?!'
Ignoring how my pathetic actions looked to those around me, I kept trying to make the text disappear. However, no matter what I did, the text wouldn't leave, which only made my anger come flooding back; and my baby screams grow louder.
"[My, you are a vocal one, aren't you?]"
I stopped venting internally (and screaming externally) as I realised that I'd understood what my mother had said and focused on her face.
'What the fuck?!'
"[It appears he recognizes your voice, my lady.]" That came from the male voice I'd hear earlier, and while I tried vainly again to see who had spoken, my mother's grip was too constricting to allow me to do. Though from what little I remembered about babies from my old life – as, no matter how much I didn't want to admit it, this was clearly a new life for me – that was likely for the best as new-borns and young infants had little ability to support themselves and move around independently.
"[He is also curious, Cordin.]" My mother replied. "[He tried to move at hearing your voice.]"
While it was nice to have a name for the man who'd be my nemesis for the next few years at least, I was more interested in the fact that the floating blue text had slowly dissipated as my mother had spoken. Likely the timing of it vanishing was just coincidence – though if it happened a second and third time I'd be worried – but it was good to know the text, if anymore appeared (and I had a feeling there would be more), would disappear over time. Still, the idea that I'd have random bits of floating text appear in the centre of my vision was not a comforting one.
"[A most encouraging sign, my lady.]" Cordin, replied as my mother smiled down at me and moved her finger around; likely to try and draw my attention. "[It seems he has been blessed by the Gods.]"
If I could've frowned, I would've at hearing Cordin mention Gods plural.
While there were places in my old life that had worshipped multiple gods – Hindus had multiple gods though, if I remembered correctly (and it seemed I still had perfect recall of anything I'd learnt in my old life) they were all just part of a singular greater God – but the major religions were monotheistic; particularly the ones worshipped by Caucasians. And it had been that way for millennia.
Thus, to be sitting in a room with two people that were Caucasian-looking – even if mother had a solid tan – and discover they worshipped a religion with multiple gods was… unsettling for the implications it implied.
"[He is a gift from the Old God, Maester. Just like his father.]" Mother replied, making me even more confused as now there appeared to be two sets of gods existing in the same place. That generally never went well. "[Oh, has something drawn your attention, my child?]"
I blinked wondering what she was talking about only to realise that while I'd been thinking about the issues caused by being in a place that worshipped at least two sets of multiple gods (it sounded like a Roman-Greek situation but that's meant that I was reborn thousands of years in the past, which was not something I really wanted to contemplate when I was still trying to fully wrap my head around being reborn) I'd been staring at the painting to her right.
"[That is one of our ancestors, Samwell Dayne, as he rode to attack Oldtown.]"
Well, that's not a very original name for a place, but it did make sense I guessed. However, I couldn't remember hearing of a place with that name from my old life, yet, I swore I remembered coming across a place by that name at some point. Had it been in a book or a TV show?
Sadly, even with my apparent perfect recall, one random name of a place was insufficient to have me lock on to a specific memory that might contain an answer.
A door creaked open somewhere to my left and I heard footsteps that seemed to be made against stone and the jangling of clothing from a newcomer to the room.
"[Maester Cordin. How do my daughter and the babe fair?]" the newcomer asked.
Vainly, I tried to turn enough to see who it was but was still unable to do so. The next few months and years stuck in the body of a babe were going to royally fucking suck.
"[Both are well, my lord.]" Cordin replied as a new hand, one that belonged to an older woman in simple clothing, reached over and dapped a damp cloth against my forehead. Likely this was the midwife who'd helped with my birth – and the source of the noise I'd heard before Cordin had first spoken, but it wasn't overly important.
What was more so was the fact that I was becoming convinced that I'd never find a shrink (more like a few hundred I felt I'd need) to talk to about my issues with experiencing my 'birth'.
"[The child is alert and aware of your daughter's voice.]" Cordin continued. "[Surprisingly so for a new-born.]"
Huh. So my mother was the daughter of a lord. That was handy as if I was in a more primitive time (something that seemed likely from what little I'd heard and seen with my blurred vision) as from my history classes in secondary school – and boy would those classes be useful for the first time in decades – being born into a lower caste-slash-social status family would've seriously limited my prospects in this new life.
At least that was one good thing, however small, about my rebirth.
Now if I just knew why the fuck this was all happening the better.
The Truth of the Matter
Survive until your 5th nameday.
Answers to how and why you are here.
My anger rapidly grew as I stared at the new floating blue text. If I was reading it right, not only had someone or thing arranged for me to be reborn (with all my memories and consciousness intact) but that they had a reason for doing so. And that this might not be just a time in the past as I had a bad feeling that no-one had ever used the tern name-days for birthdays, at least not on Earth.
However (and also thankfully as that thought was just… mind-numbing) I was able to distract myself as the face of an older man stuck his face directly in front of mine.
"[Father!]" my mother huffed at her father's behaviour, but the old man paid her no mind, preferring to focus on me.
I did my best to lock eyes with him as I examined his features.
Like my mother he had purple eyes, though his were more lilac in shading and his hair while generally black, was greying behind and over his ears. His face was worn, likely from a long life, but not as badly worn as I'd expected from someone living in the technology level this room seemed to hint at. Clearly, being a lord in this timeframe (please, please don't let my concerns about this not being Earth be true) allowed him a level of comfort I hadn't expected. Thank fuck.
"[Hmm, yes. He does seem unusually alert. And he has your hair, my dear.]" My grandfather – I really was going to need a way to handle the anger that every little reminder that I'd been reborn was generating – commented as he reached out and touched my forehead.
A small smile crept onto his face as I tried pathetically to slap the finger. "[Heh. This one will be trouble I suspect. Though I do hope he loses the colouring of his father. Provided your claim about his father is true.]"
"[I do not claim father, I know.]" Mother responded and as my grandfather moved his head back, I saw her glaring at him. "[I have lain with just one man, and while I regret that doing so brought some shame upon our house, I do not regret falling for him, nor the blessing the Old Gods have granted me this day.]"
She shifted her gaze to me and while I was still very much uncomfortable about having an adult mind in a baby's body – and doing my absolute fucking best to not think about it too hard – I couldn't deny the love I saw in her eyes; nor feel an urge to, once I was old enough, to do everything I could to protect her.
"[Hmm. It is good to hear you once more speak of the Old Gods, Ashara.]" Grandfather said, drawing my mother's attention from me. I'd have looked at him too, but he was now out of sight, still learning my mother's name was nice, and I felt Ashara was a good name for her; even if it was a touch unusual to my ears. "[However, there may well be… complications to arranging a union between you and the Starks.]"
I felt my heart seize as he said the name 'Stark' as that was something I did know of, though not from my history books.
"[Arthur has sent a rider with a message.]" Grandfather continued, keeping me from focusing on the horrible idea that was brewing in my mind. "[His friend, the harp-player has run off with the Weirwood Knight, and Arthur claims the player's wife is understanding and accepting.]"
"[Gods be good.]" Mother gasped and pulled me closer to her bosom and I added my discomfort at how close I was to her breasts, and my latest burst of anger at the insanity to the pile that I'd have to expunge later (likely in a very violent and explosive way) and focused on the conversation. Something about it felt important; doubly so when added to the strange floating blue text and the hints about where I was (please, please let that be fucking wrong).
"[This knight… it is the same one as from Harrenhal?]" Grandfather asked and I watched mother answer with a nod. "[Gods… This… There will be war if the Starks are not informed quickly.]"
"[Wh, when did Arthur date it?]" Mother asked slowly as she held me tightly.
"[Nearly three weeks ago.]" Grandfather replied with a sigh. "[Maester Cordin, I will need your help to prepare a raven for Winterfell.]"
"[Of course, my lord.]"
"[And to prepare the men. I fear we are already too late, and the Starks will call their banners.]"
"[I… Yes, my lord.]" I heard something that sounded like keys on a chain jingle – I assumed that was Cordin, even as I filled away the new little hint about where I was with his title of Maester – as I felt my eyes grow heavy.
"[F-father, what of Arthur? He needs to know that the father of his nephew is …]
"[Right now, Arthur has other things to concern himself with.]" Grandfather said, cutting off mother. "[Once… once things have calmed down, I will speak with him, Prince Rhaegar, Lord Rickard and his son. Provided we're all still alive after this.]"
Grandfather sighed loudly and mother's grip on me tightened further. However, my focus was on staying awake. I could feel my body beginning to lose its fight with consciousness, but I knew that what was being said here was important to not just the current state of the world (and fuck, did I really, really hope I was wrong about where I was) and my place in it.
"[It appears I've managed to tire out my grandson.]" Grandfather said, somehow having seen my losing battle with sleep. "[Once he has settled, and you are able to move, come and find me and your mother. We have much to discuss.]"
The door to the room opened a third time, but I didn't care because as I began to fall asleep I allowed myself to focus on all the names I'd heard just now.
With those, and my ability to recall, with apparent perfect clarity, events in my old life, I was easily able to confirm my theory about where I was, and likely when.
Somehow, someway, I'd ended up in Westeros at the very beginning of the events that would become known as Robert's Rebellion.
As I finally drifted off to sleep, a single thought dominated my mind.
'This is all kinds of fucked up.'
To be clear, this will be a very, very light Gamer system. More akin to what you'd find in Skyrim than most Gamer stories.
It will also be a more magical world than we've seen in the books.
Also, this story will start at T-Rated but after the Prologue which will cover until the MC gains his system, will move to M-Rated at some point ;)