READ THESE NOTES BEFORE YOU START ON THE CHAPTER PLEASE
This story is the result of an idea that popped into my mind some time ago after reading a small comic. Then, it suddenly dawned upon me that I've never read many stories centered on Archer Emiya and 'his' Saber (the one he failed during his first Holy Grail War). I've read a lot of stories about Emiya and his tragic situation, but a lot of people seem to forget about the Artoria that's still out there, the one that he failed to free. Thus, the idea for this story was born.
However, just like I did with my other story, I want to warn you about a few things:
1)- For those who don't know me, I want to admit right off the bat that I'm still pretty new to the Fate fandom and its universe, and I still don't know many details and things about the countless characters, laws and rules of the Nasuverse. For this very same reason, this story will focus on an entirely new world, one that's going to be different and unique – but also very similar – compared to the one we saw in the canon Routes of Fate/Stay Night. I already did and I will always do a lot of research to stay true to canon, but given my inexperience, I may make some mistakes along the way. In case, I apologize to you readers in advance.
2)- This story will focus on Heroic Spirit EMIYA and Master Artoria. Emiya is going to be the same character that we all know from the canon universe, and he will also retain some memories from a few other timelines (as we'll see soon enough in some later chapters). Instead, Artoria is inspired by the character of the world of "Capsule Servant". She's gonna be pretty interesting to write for me XD.
3)- Yes, we will also see Saber Artoria Pendragon in the story (the one Archer met in his Holy Grail War when he was a boy, and thus the one that we've never seen in any canon work so far), but I will not say anything about her.
4)- What does Fate/Break Dawn mean? In a literal sense, it means nothing. It's just a word pun inspired by the title "Fate/Stay Night" which also means nothing; even though the common interpretation for "Stay Night" is "Stay For the Night" (which is what the three main heroines do in their respective Routes of the original game). However, there's an actual meaning behind the title of this fic, and it's going to be relevant to the plot itself. It's a word pun between Dawn and Break Down. But that's all I'm gonna say.
Comments and criticisms are always appreciated, especially constructive ones, but please keep in mind the words of these notes. Also, English is not my main language, so please bear with me. I'm confident in my grammar, but if there are mistakes, then let me know and I'll fix them as soon as I can.
And of course, I do not take credit from the Fate universe and its characters. The rights and credits go to the original authors.
Hope you enjoy.
He tries to open his mouth. Air bubbles escape before his own eyes, like little translucent flashes of white. The taste of sea salt blisters his tongue, while the din of turbulent waves rolls over him. Vicious tentacles start to wrap around his neck and throttle. His own grip loosens, and a few flashes of pink are swept away. As the man struggles, he can only see the black expanse of the sea. It's like ink.
Let me tell you the tale of a certain man.
The tale of a man who, more than anyone else, believed in his ideals and was driven to despair by them.
The dream of that man was pure.
His wish was for everyone in the world to be happy.
That was all he asked for.
The water disappears. Dust is now covering his body.
With a strained grunt, he heavily rolls on his back as soon as his limbs regain sensitivity, gulping air with his mouth like a dying animal, even as he keeps coughing to squeeze the non-existent liquid out of his lungs. When his breathing finally subsides, he slowly forces himself off the ground, ignoring the soaring pain in his body.
He takes one step. The rubble crunches under his foot.
His head hurts to the point of blurring his sight, but he still recognizes the place he's standing in. Even with his eyes closed, even if he were to become blind, he would still recognize this place in an instant. He could never forget this smell. He could never forget this feel. He could never forget what this is no matter how hard he tries.
He opens his eyes to stare at the place he's ended up to.
A world of steel and swords greets his vision once again.
There was an ideal. An oath he had to protect.
He did not care what he lost to do so.
For even when he was betrayed, he still believed there would be a next time if he did not betray himself.
He did not show grief or pain.
He was like a cold-blooded machine.
He was a convenient existence, so he was conveniently used.
Just like a tool.
For that is all he was.
The pain in his head is excruciating. And yet, he does not care. His body is already torn apart. His mind is already empty and twisted. The headache is nothing compared to the pain inside his heart. Each breath feels like a scorching fire inside his lungs. Each step feels like a thousand knives stabbing through his legs.
But he does not stop. He can never stop.
He has to persevere. Even if he doesn't know why.
But that machine had an ideal it wanted to protect, so it accepted its role as a convenient tool.
But it was not something to go around proclaiming.
For the more he killed, the more he was unable to save. And the more he was unable to save, the less he could talk about his ideal.
Until the only thing left for him was to obstinately protect his ideal until the very end.
And as a result… the ideal he dreamed of was never accomplished.
And he found out that it was just nonsense dreamed by a fool who was only a nuisance to others.
No, he knows why. He does not remember who he is, he does not remember his own name. His mind is completely blank, his head filled only with the smell of smoke, and metal and blood. But all he knows is that there's someone, somewhere, calling for him. Forcing him to move, compelling him to obey. And that could only mean one thing.
His "Lord" has found him yet another task. Another job is waiting for him in some faraway timeline and some faraway land. Even without memories, even without feelings, this excruciating sensation compelling him to obey is painfully familiar to him. There's nothing he can do to stop it.
He's got work to do.
The ideals that he once thought were perfect now began to feel like childish hopes. Like illusions. Like a never-ending curse.
A foolish illusion will become a delusion.
It will only last for a little while, until it shatters and disappear, like his projections when they clash against the stone.
Yet, that was his result. That was his inevitable end.
Everything felt like a bad joke.
Blinking, he suddenly comes to a stop. He can actually hear the blood roaring inside his veins. Hundreds, thousands, countless images flash across his eyes in but an instant, flooding his head with memories that he somehow knows are his, and yet aren't. Fire and black. Screams and silence. Swords and blood. The memories are endless, painful, blurred. Too blurred and confused to grasp. His headache is only worsening as his hand reaches for his temple.
He feels like screaming. He wants to scream.
But his mouth only set into a sneer.
Eventually, his mind gave in. He couldn't feel compassion anymore.
What he believed in… he was shown that it was just a fantasy covered in lies.
There was no value in such a life.
There was no value in his own life.
He was a fake that should have never existed.
He was broken as a human being.
Until, it stops. The memories and the pain; all of it. They halt, his eyes still blurred as images of fire and blood and sand and swords― too much. It's too much. Too much for his mind to comprehend. It's like being drowned beneath a tide of endless books: all the information in the world, but unable to make anything of it. He may as well have been left in the dark.
Who is he? What is his name?
Another image appears inside his mind. Three people flash before his eyes. Three faces. Three girls, all of them different from each other and yet all of them so painfully familiar to him for some reason.
His lips blurt out three names without even knowing how.
Tohsaka… Sakura… Sab―
His world becomes pain once again.
He wanted to become a Hero. No, he needed to become one.
Because that was his only emotion. An emotion he could neither betray nor deny.
Even if that wish was not born from within himself.
His ideal was borrowed, his existence just a fluke. Even his own weapons did not belong to him.
But he couldn't realize that until it was too late.
An instant of a few milliseconds. But to him, it feels like an eternity.
A girl with golden air, dressed in silver armor.
He can see her. He does see her, probably not for the first time.
Because every fiber of his being is screaming that girl's name.
Saber. Saber. Saber.
But even if it was borrowed, his ideal was not a fake.
For in his eyes, that ideal had a very specific shape.
The shape of a golden sword, wielded by a girl in armor.
The shape of a golden scabbard, lost by that girl in armor.
The shape of a girl he had met when he was just a broken boy.
The memory of a fateful meeting happening under the moon.
His breathing stops. That memory remains glued into his mind.
Don't, he begs. Don't let me say it.
Don't let me recall it.
If he calls that name out loud, he is surely going to break.
He collapses on his knees, his hands grasping one of the swords scattered throughout this land. The blade glows and the ground turns red just by having him fall on it. He already knows somehow, but it seems that his body is dead. Both inside and outside.
This empty land is his world. A world of metal and stone. A world of sadness and regret. A world of pain.
He is the Lord of Pain. And this is his kingdom.
The wind was strong that day.
The clouds drifted and the moon appeared for a brief moment.
The silver light that shone into the shed lighted up the girl in knightly form.
And the boy was rendered speechless.
Not because of the sudden turn of events, but because of that girl's overwhelming beauty.
Why? Why are you showing me this?
The man wants to scream. He wants to stab himself and scream.
Because no matter how many times he has been deployed before, no matter how many times he has been rendered empty and numb, and no matter what kind of hell he has been forced to experience so far; every time he came back here… he would always see that scene. No matter how many times his memories were taken and washed away by his "Lord"… this one scene could never really leave his mind no matter what.
The scene of a girl in silver armor, staring down at him with jewel-like eyes.
The very same girl who embodied his ideals. Who represented everything he had once loved and strived for.
And the very same girl he had failed to save until the end.
The boy and the girl faced a War together.
They fought and clashed against Heroes of old.
Eventually, they saw to the end of it.
They defeated their enemies, and stood victorious in front of their prize.
But they weren't able to win.
Because the girl remained chained to her wish, and the boy was unable to free her.
His pain is halted suddenly. The regret is washed away.
The Counter Guardian rises, his face a mask of steel; for his "Lord" has decided that he cannot waste time.
He stands up again, and resumes to walk with empty eyes.
This is his fate. This is his curse.
The broken and twisted end of a boy who should have never existed.
This is the result of his own foolishness.
The girl disappeared from his life, but he was never able to forget her.
For her image would remain engraved into his soul.
Even as he kept chasing that impossible dream.
Even as he got sent into the depths of hell.
He could never truly forget.
The beauty of the girl under the moonlight, and the depths of her jewel-like eyes.
Slowly, he begins to recall.
He has no name. He doesn't even care about that. Not anymore.
For he went through many names throughout his jobs. Counter Guardian. Heroic Spirit. Guardian Spirit. Ally of Justice. Archer. Faker.
In the end, none of them mattered. None of them remained attached to him.
He is nothing but a slave now. A slave whose job is to clean up humanity's mess. A Janitor, at best.
The man nearly scoffs in disdain.
He was never the strongest, he was never the fastest.
Yet, he gathered just enough power to stand a chance.
Not once retreating, not once victorious.
In time, he grew
Stronger... faster... wiser...
And as he forged wisdom upon the hill of swords, he understood.
Filled with utter regret, this was his only path.
Because all that is left in his world…
…is endless blades.
Perhaps that is why he likes to refer to himself as "Nameless" in his head. Nobody else can recall his real name, for he is no ordinary Hero. But perhaps that's part of the appeal. He hasn't been "ordinary" in a long time, anyway.
Not that it matters, of course.
Suddenly, his body begins to disappear in a shower of dust, his heart feeling the call of someone from a faraway distance.
His next assignment is waiting for him.
The dog of Alaya resumes his walk, baring his teeth into an emotionless smile.
So, at least this once… let me tell you about this weird story.
The tale of a man whose hands would never hold anything
And the girl he desperately wanted to save.
The tale of a blade reaching the unreachable king
And a scabbard reuniting with its rightful owner.
The tale of a broken man chasing a Light.
A Light he can't reach anymore.
―or so he thought.
Location: Glastonbury (England)
"…Alright. This should do."
The girl with golden hair stared at the newly done Magic Circle, her hands firmly placed on her hips and a satisfied expression on her face. The ring of purification and the four purging circles glowed under the moonlight, producing a soft, red glow of light on the grass that surrounded her. The light shone in the dark of night, creating a rather suggestive view, and the wind howled softly in the distance. The moon was at its peak in the sky above, and total silence echoed amid the ruins of the ancient Abbey.
She wiped a trickle of sweat from her brow, her emerald eyes glancing to the right. Three unconscious bodies greeted her vision. The three surveillance guards were asleep, their back leaned against the stone wall of the ruin, their breaths even and silent as they remained unconscious. The girl inwardly apologized to them with a silent bow of the head. A single and well-aimed blow on the neck with the hilt of her katana had been more than enough to send them into a deep, deep slumber; even if she wasn't exactly proud of what she did. Luckly for her there were no cameras in this place, or she would have been discovered in an instant. She wouldn't hear the end of it if her Father and Kay found out.
However, she'd had no other choice. At this point it was too late to back down anyway. She had already resolved herself to this, and now she had to go through with it no matter the consequences.
She glanced around, swallowing her growing nervousness as her fists trembled. Glastonbury Abbey was truly a suggestive sight at night, almost too surreal to witness; with its towering, gigantic frame dimly lit by a few external lights and the moon shining above. The girl's eyes wandered to the burial site in front of the Magic Circle, and then to the red mark on her right hand.
Her Command Seals glowed softly in the dark of night.
The girl steeled her resolve with a shaky nod. She couldn't hesitate. It was too late to back down.
All preparations were complete, the time was optimal, the wavelenght ideal. She had no catalyst with her, but that would not be an issue. This place itself would serve as a catalyst for the ritual. By performing the summoning in this place at midnight, when her mana was at its peak, she was surely going to bring forth the Servant of the Saber class without fail. His legend and history were bound to this place. He had to answer her call. She was going to summon that man, and damned be the consequences. Failure was not an option.
She would win this Holy Grail War, no matter what.
The Magic Circle glowed, along with her Command Seals. Midnight had struck.
It was time.
"..." she nodded slightly to herself. "A-Alright... here goes nothing."
Turning back to face the circle, her right hand was outstretched with its palm open. A deep breath was taken, before the girl swallowed her fears and began the incantation.
"S-Silver and steel for the e-essence.
Stone and the archduke of contracts for t-the foundation."
The incantation started rough and stilted, her inexperience in doing such a thing clearly showing. However, slowly but surely, her voice grew louder and her words more confident, the feeling of something unfathomable guiding her along.
"The ancestor is my great Master, the Pendragon.
The alighted wind shall become a wall."
As if on cue, a soft breeze began to pick up out of nowhere, ruffling her hair slightly. A subtle pressure slowly started to build, like the feeling of an incoming storm. In a place far away, beyond the reaches of time and space, a certain broken soul slowly began to stir.
"Let the four cardinal gates close.
Let the three-forked road from the crown reaching the Kingdom circulate."
Sitting chained upon the greatest of Thrones, a vague interest filled the man, in this War that should not be. Endlessly chasing a futile dream, the soul began to listen to the call, grasping a chance it had always thought impossible.
"Fill. Fill. Fill. Fill. Fill.
Repeat every five times.
But when each is filled, destroy it."
The gust of wind became stronger and stronger. The grass around the circle was stirring, the air moaning all the more.
"Heed my words: my will creates your body and your sword creates my destiny.
Your self shall be under me, and my fate shall be in your sword."
Brought together by forces beyond mortal reckoning, the soul of the teenage girl and that of the man of iron met face-to-face, for the first time. A humble request was made, from a child of duty and honor to a man of tempered steel.
"If you heed the Grail's call and obey my will and reason, then answer me.
An oath shall be sworn here."
The contract was immediately accepted. The World saw no denial.
"I hereby swear: I shall be all the good in this world;
I shall defeat all evil in this world."
Control was suddenly given. The soul began to answer the call.
"From the Seventh Heaven, clad in the three great words of power,
Come forth from the circle of binding, Guardian of the Scales!"
The chant ended, the incantation complete. A brief second of absolute quiet.
Then, a burst of infinite light, briefly bathing the night in a shower of brilliant gold.
Heroic Spirit Emiya kept his eyes closed, already feeling his summoning into the material world reaching its completion.
Then, slowly, he opened his eyes, and he could not remember who he was.
But when his gaze fell on the face of his new Master, he remained stunned, and everything snapped into place once again.
She looked just like her.
Well, that wasn't entirely true. Her hair were a bit messier, but they were still tied in the exact same bun. Her eyes were more shapely and with slightly longer lashes, but they were wrought the same cold, hard jade. She looked a little less muscled, a little more feminine, and she held herself differently; wearing a dark blue school uniform and long black stockings on her legs. She even showed a long, eastern katana strapped to her back. But despite the obvious differences, he could almost imagine how she would have looked, bathed in the moonlight of that fateful night, and it wasn't that different.
She was the spitting image of the girl in armor in his memories.
For a few seconds, he didn't know what to say.
But he didn't have to, for she was the one who broke the silence, just like that girl did during their fateful meeting under the moon.
"I ask of you, Servant…"
She made him feel like he was still that boy lost and paralyzed in the storeroom, all over again.
Even if their roles were now reversed.
Emiya stared with wide eyes.
As the girl in front of him stepped forward with an expectant face, her voice stuttering, her body trembling in excitement, and something akin to hope and admiration shining inside her emerald eyes.
"A-Are you… K-King Arthur?"
The wind howling above the Abbey was her only answer.
Emiya stared in cryptic silence.
Then, as he watched the girl's face twitch with hesitation during that awkward pause... he finally allowed himself to react.
And the girl watched with plain confusion as her newly summoned Servant did the only thing he could.
And thus begins this tale.
The tale of a Nameless Hero, and a girl with a sworn duty.
I got the idea of writing this story after seeing a small comic with Emiya and Master Artoria inside a discord channel. Then, it suddenly dawned upon me that I've never read many stories centered on Archer and 'his' Saber (the one he failed to free during his own Holy Grail War). I mean, I've read a lot of stories about Emiya and his isolation, but a lot of people seem to forget about the Artoria that's still out there, the one that he failed. Thus, the idea for this story was born.
This is my humble attempt to narrate their tale.
"Master Artoria" is a character within the world of "Capsule Servant". You can check it out on the wiki for more info. As I've said on the notes above, this story will merge some canonical stuff with a few others invented by me and some inspired by Capsule Servant. You have been warned.
I sincerely thank all of those who'll have the patience to read this strange story of mine, and please forgive me for any eventual misspellings and grammar mistakes. If you point them out to me, I will gladly correct them as soon as I can.
See you next time.