II. The Lonely Prince

"But that I would find a seer,

An oracle, a sorceress, keeper of magic,

To grant me strength to blind my foes,

To deceive their eyes and sow discord,

And obey my every utterance unto death,

I would give more than Manfred and Faust,

Pledge my soul to the devil thrice,

All for the Power of the King."

Translated from the German opera, "Der Schwarz Prinz."

Act I. Lines 337-344.

Premiered in New London, September 2094.

In the days following Lelouch's audience with his father the Emperor, events proceeded exactly as he imagined they would; which is to say he and his sister gradually withdrew from the short attention spans of high society and the court. The murder was seldom spoken of, and even then only with the softest whispers and under the strictest of confidences. The initial glee displayed by those who celebrated the Queen's death was quickly tempered by the alarming thought: that if the likes of Marianne—a skilled warrior with a fearsome reputation—was so easily assassinated, what was to prevent their own enemies from plotting their own demise?

Thus, life inside the palace grounds was curiously subdued for a period after the bloody incident. To the outsider this appeared to be an unofficial observance of mourning, but those on the inside knew that people were quiet not out of respect, but fear for their own skins.

As for Lelouch, he spent his time with Nunally, who remained in the palace hospital's intensive care wing, slowly recovering from her wounds in blissful sleep. The young prince watched his sister through the glass enclosure, torn by the sight of wires and tubes stuck into her frail body. He longed for her to open her eyes, but feared that she would remember the incident only as a nightmare, and he would have to break the news to her again. He visited her in the morning, in the afternoon, and sometimes at night after hours for visiting were past, each time staying no more than ten minutes, for it was all he could bear. It broke his heart to see his beloved sister in such a state. He hoped—prayed—that one day he could bring back her smile, the most beautiful sight to behold, and which made all seem right with the world.

In the remainder of his time, he planned his mother's funeral.

By conventional wisdom, such a task was too much for any grieving individual to bear alone, much less a bereaved ten year-old boy. But Lelouch knew that he no longer enjoyed the luxury of children's innocence, and he would not let those who cared not a wit for his loved ones take away his right to bury his mother. In the end, forces larger than him were at work, and the young prince had little say over the details of Marianne's funeral. The queen left no will to dictate such matters, nor instructions regarding her children in the event anything should happen to her. Nor was such precaution considered necessary, for who could imagine the sons and daughters of the Emperor of Britannia ever falling to the fate of orphans?

As it were, Lelouch appealed and was granted the option of choosing his mother's headstone and the epitaph to be inscribed, and was even then dismayed to learn from a court appointed official that no reference was to be made to her attained royal status. Marianne would be buried and remembered by posterity as a commoner, as Marianne Lamperouge. While he no longer held reverence for his royal family name—the name Britannia—that it should be stripped from his mother in death was an insult he found unbearable. But there was nothing to be done.

At the Royal Undertaker's den, located just outside of the walls of the palace compounds, Lelouch browsed through the electronic tome containing centuries of patterns and motifs that have graced memorials and tombstones of great persons past. The royal undertaker—a man who had seen to the needs of many grieving parties—stood beside the prince, wondering why the boy, whose height barely brought his eyes to level with the computer terminal, was left alone to make such a decision, and why the officer of court whose job it was to chaperon bereaved families and provide consul and comfort, was absent. As the minutes dragged on, the sympathetic old man pointed to one pattern featuring cherubic angels, a favorite of his past patrons. "How about this one, your highness? I believe it speaks well for the better place Lady Marianne has gone to."

Lelouch considered the idyllic scene for a minute, then shook his head. "It is too peaceful, and belies the manner in which she died."

His small fingers tapped through several more pages on the touch screen before he found what he want: Pictures of blue irises and moss roses, which her mother liked to put in his and Nunnally's room in spring and summer.

"Mother would have liked these."

The rain that began the night before Marianne's funeral lasted until morning, so that by the time the burial was to take place, the skies were still gray and filled with a lingering drizzle. Lelouch rose early and breakfasted by himself, as he did every morning in the days since the incident. He dressed in his funeral finery and covered himself with a cape like garb to shield himself from the rain. He rode alone in the back of a black sedan, the only other car in the procession besides the hearse that carried his mother's casket. The two vehicles passed through the streets of the Capital with little fanfare, the morning commuters hurrying through the damp weather never looking up as the cars drove by. The nondescript procession arrived at the driveway of a local county cemetery, where several men waited, ready to unload and bear his mother to her final resting place; her family's plot where Lelouch's grandparents rested, a small fenced off area in the far side of the expansive and well trimmed graveyard, noted for the shade provided by an old walnut tree and the removed privacy.

Once the workers hoisted the casket from the hearse, Lelouch followed them as they trudged through the misty cemetery, their boots grinding against the wet gravel path as they made their way to the walnut tree, under which a bespectacled young vicar waited. This was it. There was to be no memorial service at the national cathedral performed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, no honor guards of foot and horse to lead her final journey, no riderless horse to signify the deceased's service to her country. No gun salute, half-flag, nor dignity of any kind. Marianne the Flash, the extraordinary woman who dazzled all who saw her in action as a knightmare pilot, who had garnered more admiration and envy than any of her peers, would be buried with the fanfare of an ordinary commoner.

His mother had lied in repose for two days in the Aries Palace. No one came to pay their respects. No one cared that Marianne was dead, that he was all alone. Lelouch sat besides his mother's open casket for two days, waiting, hoping for someone, anyone, to walk through their doors, but no one came, and on the last day, before the men came and took her away in preparation for burial, he bent down and kissed his sleeping mother goodnight for the last time. No one came.

As the vicar began reading the rites Lelouch felt his small fists tighten at his side, the raindrops dripping down his face ignored as a cold, consuming fury burned inside him—a numbing hatred more intense than any he had previously felt; towards his father, his mother's murderers, the aristocratic class, Britannia, a cruel and uncaring world. He hated and hated and hated…

Borrowing a heavy shovel from one of the workers, Lelouch tossed the first pile of dirt, moist nearly to the texture of mud, onto Marianne's casket. Minutes later it was finished. His mother was in the ground. He stayed long after the small burial party dispersed, standing before his mother's headstone as he gazed upon the words he had chosen to remember her by:

"Marianne Lamperouge. 1979 – 2010. Taken in her prime, survived by loving daughter and son, never forgotten."

It was as much a reminder to himself as it was a tribute to her. "I will not forget, mother. I will never stop. I'll not rest until everyone who had a hand has breathed their last… I will kill them all."


The boy had been so caught up in pledging his vow of vengeance he failed to notice that someone had intruded upon his solitude. Turning around, he saw a tall young woman dressed for mourning. Through the black veil that shielded her face, Lelouch recognized the shade of brilliant violet which he felt was the prettiest color in the world as a child.

"Sister... Princess Cornelia."

The man behind his elder half sister wore an officer's uniform and followed her with an umbrella. Lelouch recognized him from the scar across his face as one of Cornelia's retainers; a veteran knight renowned for his valor and chivalry. The young woman surveyed the scene before her, focusing on the lone, drenched boy. "Lelouch, why are you here by yourself? Where are the others?"

The deep, dark hate returned. "There are no others. Either they were not told or they did not care. I know not their reasons."

The disbelief on Cornelia's face came as a small surprise to Lelouch—she and Euphemia were closest to him and Nunally out of all his half-siblings, but he did not expect either of them to show up. "Where is Euphemia?"

"She has kept to her room since Queen Marianne passed away. Mother would not let me bring her; she is only nine… Lelouch, are you alright?"

The second princess of the Brittanian royal family sensed that something was terribly amiss with her little brother. No tear streaks, no trembling lips or red-rimmed eyes, only a fearful hardness on his face, the kind of expression no ten year old should have. He was not the clever yet caring child she knew and adored. Death had altered him into something else, someone that ignored their familiarity and kept her from reaching out to him. "Lelouch?"

"… I'm fine." Lelouch's eyes remained on the ground. He saw the mud that had collected around her black pointed boots. "Thank you for being here; mother would be pleased to know that at least you came."

Cornelia fisted her hands before her chest; there was no trace of warmth or feeling in his voice. Her little brother spoke with the voice of a man dead inside. She became fearful for him. "Why? Why do you speak to me like a stranger?"

For a fleeting moment Lelouch felt a pang of guilt, a weak emotion he quickly suppressed—he could allow himself no weaknesses. "… Your Highness, by being here, you are risking your family's reputation by associating with the fallen name Lamperouge. Those who called themselves friends have distanced or disavowed us. Our only true friend, Reuben Ashford, has been forced to leave the country with his clan. There is nothing left here except infamy, ruin, and death."

He knew he was way out of line. His hatred punctuated each syllable with harshness, which in his heart he knew Cornelia did not deserve. But the voice of cold, calculating reason—the only voice he would heed—told him it was for the best; that if he wanted to protect those he cared about he should push them away. Even if the stunned look on his elder sister's face made him loathe himself now, the pain would only be temporary. Cornelia and Euphie would be safe, far away from him and Nunally, who were now leprous pariahs of the Britannian court.

Hands in his pockets, he started down the grim, narrow path that led to the cemetery exit. Lelouch walked passed his sister, never once looking directly at her. "Your condolences are appreciated, but you should go."

Instead, he felt a strong pair of hands grab him by the shoulders and whirl him around, bringing him face to face with an angry Cornelia, who used to scare him terribly when Euphemia would scrape her knee during one of their games of tag... a life time ago. He expected her to slap him and shut his eyes, waiting for the sting to land.

But the blow never came.

The hands that had gripped his thin shoulders painfully gradually loosened. When he opened his eyes, he saw his sister on her knees, ignoring the ruin to her dress from the mud, and found himself wrapped in Cornelia's arms.

And for the first time in what seemed like a long time, Lelouch was at a loss for what to do.

The princess, praised for her courage and potential as a commander in the Brittanian military, laid her cheek against the side of his face, and he felt moisture run down that was too warm to be rain. His own hands stayed by his side, unable to move freely in the midst of her embrace. When her shoulders began to shake, the young prince felt his walls begin to crumble.

"You are not alone, Lelouch."

He was so used to hearing his sister's voice issuing commands—like a bugle sounding men to arms, clear and strong—the hoarsely whispered plea struck him harder than he could have imagined. He fought the emotions that threatened to unravel him. He resisted the temptation to cry into Cornelia's shoulder, slender yet full of strength. He tried to push her away, but she would not let him go. "It's alright, I will protect you; I'll not let one hair on you or Nunally's head be harmed. Do not push us away. Please."

So for the first time since his mother died, Lelouch let himself cry.

Late that night, after he had visited Nunally at the hospital, he returned home to the Palace Aries and shut himself in the study. Finding the three books he had been reading where he left them—Manfred, Faust, and the Count of Monte Cristo—he climbed into the deep leather chair and turned to the back cover of the last tome and withdrew from the sleeve a hidden piece of paper, completely filled with four columns of densely packed names—of Dukes, Earls, members of the peerage and the royal family and many others. Taking a pen from the ink stand, he found Cornelia and Euphemia's name and crossed them out, filled with a sense of guilt and gratitude as he did so; guilt, for having ever suspected the two and gratitude for their friendship when he was prepared to face a hostile world alone.

There remained on the list nearly every powerful figure in Brittania, a list that would take years to investigate, trim, and execute, but as the young boy stayed up late past midnight, drawing inspiration from the successes and failures of his fictional predecessors who sought power for their own purposes, he was reminded of what had transpired that afternoon, and that he was not alone.

To be Continued

Author's Notes: Revised on May 22, 2010. I spent more time portraying Lelouch's dark mentality, formed in the previous chapter, and how Cornelia's appearance saved him from traveling down a dark path.