Categories > Anime/Manga > Fate/stay night

Invictus

by warrensherman 0 reviews

Iskandar: a Heroic Spirit, a peerless leader, a dauntless fighter, an unparalleled strategist and now a pirate. What? Follow Iskandar's adventures in the One Piece world as he sets sail on the endl...

Category: Fate/stay night - Rating: R - Genres: Crossover - Warnings: [V] [?] - Published: 2016-02-22 - 6585 words

0Unrated
Disclaimer: I don't own anything. Neither Fate/Zero, Nor OP, nor the verses from any sea-shanties used. They belong to their respective creators. Mutual Funds are subject to market risks. Please read your offer documents carefully before investing.

A/N at the end. Gives the background on some stuff, so read it.

'that's a juicy steak' : mental thought

"That steak is juicy!": spoken words

'Weigh, hey and up she rises! Early in the morning!" : Sea shanty or an invocation, chapter quote, footnote

-=Folio Alpha: End of Conquest=-

He stood between Death and Life as between Night and Morning, and thought with a soaring rapture, 'I am not afraid.'

War…War never changes.

Wars have been fought for many reasons; they have ranged from Holy Wars fought in the name of religion like the Crusades to Wars of Ideologies, like the numerous Revolutions. Some have been waged to expand an Empire, while some have been started to retrieve a beloved one. They have been fought with armies, with steel, with iron, with guts and mettle, to more recently, guns, bullets and bombs.

No matter the cause of the conflict, or the means by which it is waged…War never changes.

If one is to put it simply, there are three things which remain eternal in every war: the inordinate bloodshed, the dead and the heroes. There are some whose deeds are so remarkable, so extraordinary, that their names are lauded by everyone who hears of them. They are the heroes.

Since the dawn of time, there have been countless heroes, most of who have been forgotten…but there are a rare few whose deeds are so great that they echo through the centuries…their legends are never forgotten and their ideals and qualities are upheld by the future generations as a milestone. When such a hero is so lauded, the crystallization of his life, his deeds, his legends (whether real or exaggerated), his power and his ideals are recorded in the very heart of Gaia, our Earth and their soul ascends to the Throne of Heroes to become a Heroic Spirit.

Every Heroic Spirit is capable of superhuman feats of strength and agility as well as possesses inhuman intelligence and wields weapons of legend, some of which are capable of laying waste to the entire world. This is what made the periodic wars in Fuyuki City so potentially dangerous.

Under the rules of the Grail War, seven Heroes of legend would be summoned down from the Throne of Heroes to serve their masters, and to fight, fight and fight till just one remains, and only then would blood-stained spirit and its master earn the right to wield the Holy Grail: an absolute wish-granting artifact.

Fuyuki City's Grail Wars might have been fought for control of the said artifact, but the end result was still the same: relentless bloodshed, a gigantic body-count and awe-inspiring heroes.

War. War never changes.

These clashes have occurred thrice before, and the latest in the series of Grail Wars is the Fourth. For many long nights, the battles between these Heroic Spirits had ravaged the city, and now, with only a few of the masters and servants remaining alive…the war seems to be drawing to a close.

Look upon the bridge! On an average day, it's a relentless outpouring of traffic and fumes…one that does not abate even at night. But tonight, the bridge is empty. The noise of the rushing cars, the honking horns, the loud music, is silent. It's as if the people understand the gravity of the situation that is about to unfold. A primal fear, a genetic self-preservation instinct drives people away from approaching cataclysm and wisely so. For the battle about to be fought on the bridge is not one for the average man to witness. The sheer aura of the deadly fight would have been enough to bring an untrained person down to his knees.

There are three that stand upon the bridge. The first is a tall man with windswept red hair, sitting atop a powerful black-colored warhorse. His face is resolute and determined and bears the scars of hundreds of battles and appears to be carved from stone. While right now his expression is serious and grim, the laugh lines on his face attest to his tendency to break out into joyous laughter at any moment.

He is dressed in a bronzed breastplate, carved with exquisite craftsmanship. His forearms are protected by bulky vambraces, while a richly decorated mantle is draped upon his broad shoulders. He appears majestic, kingly and powerful…the very image of an Emperor.

He is Iskandar, a storied name with as many titles in as many languages. Born as Alexander of Macedonia, he quickly rose to prominence and carved out one of the largest empires of the ancient world. By the time of his death at the age of 32, he had amassed for himself the titles of Basileus of Macedon, Shahanshah of Persia, Hegemon of Greece, Pharaoh of Egypt as well as the Lord of Asia. He was a Conqueror, a tyrant who lived life to the hilt but yet, he was beloved by his subjects who added their own hopes and dreams to the dream of their king.

That is the man who is Alexander the Great. Sikandar Mahan.

Standing beside him is a small timid boy, barely entering into his late teens. He is hardly five feet tall, and has a pale thin face framed by a curtain of long black hair. He is dressed in a standard school boy outfit, with a buttoned-up shirt, green sweater and slacks.

He is Waver Velvet, a young boy thirsty to prove himself in the eyes of the world, and he is the Heroic Spirit Iskandar's master. By this time though, he has surrendered his command spells and essentially freed his erstwhile servant, and moments ago he has accepted Iskandar's Kingship and declared himself to be one of his subjects.

He is trying his hardest to not cry, to save face in front of his king…yet unbidden, a few tears fall from the corner of his eyes, and he turns away childishly, making Iskandar smile at his antics.

The last one is slim man, of average height. His most distinguishing feature is the excessive golden sheen to his entire physique. From his golden hair, to his full-bodied plate armor, to the few pieces of jewelry that he wears, all shine brightly even in the dim streetlights. His expression is calm and reserved, though a glimmer of respect and excitement can be seen in his bloodshot eyes. His arms are crossed across his chest as he stands seemingly at ease, though the rippling and the shimmering of the air around him attests to an active offense.

This man is Gilgamesh of Uruk, the oldest king and the owner of all of the world's treasures. Created by the gods themselves, he was the first King to claim his dominion over the existing lands and by virtue of which he is lauded and honored as the foremost of all the heroic spirits, earning the title of King of Heroes.

It is here, that a new history will be forged. It is here that two titans of ancient history will engage in hostilities till one lays dead. It is here that claims of Kingships, hopes and dreams will be tested and twisted. The very reality will be overwritten here as the earth itself bows down against the might of the Conqueror and the Eldest King.

Listen! Listen well, and you can hear the lament of the world.

Iskandar

Fuyuki Bridge

I must admit, I'm not a fan of dying. Then again, who is? But when it comes to ignominious deaths, I take the cake. The first time around, a lowly fever brought me down, weakening me gradually till I breathed my last in Babylon. This time, I was at my lowest physically and I was practically unarmed, while my opponent, the ancient lord of Babylon barely looked ruffled. It's galling to admit that my death looms imminent with nothing to show for myself, and if I'm honest, it hits my pride something fierce.

Well, nothing to do, except making a good show of it. I might lose, but I was going to make damn well sure that the final charge of the Conqueror will be remembered for eons hereafter. With a sanguine grin, I drew my sword and whispered a few words of encouragement to my faithful steed, Bucephalus. The majestic war-horse whinnied softly and tossed his head back, raring to charge. I took a last look backwards towards my master, as if willing him to understand how much I treasured the bond we shared together. He is a good kid, albeit prone to whining and unmanly despair, but he has the gumption to ride in battle next to me, and that is all that matters, and is more than what I can say for many of the masters that I saw in this war.

Though I suppose the kid could stand to add a few inches to his height. It's just odd to take a scrawny, five foot kid seriously.

Chuckling inwardly, I rapped my heels on Bucephalus' flank and pulled on the reins with one hand while raising my sword aloft in the other. With a loud cry, I charged.

As I charged, the world seemed to fall silent. At that instant, there was nothing in this world to distract me from my target, which gleamed golden further ahead. A red haze settled in my vision, a familiar thrum of anger and determination which would accept nothing but my absolute best. Ahead of me, the air rippled and shone and I felt rather than saw a projectile headed towards me. Instinctively, I slashed and knocked the spear off-course. It fell to the side and exploded, tearing chucks of concrete and rubble from the bridge.

It was then that the barrage started; a remorseless rain of shrapnel and blades, which never let up on its ferocity and intensity. Even with my martial prowess and strength, I was soon hard pressed to defend myself against the attack. A momentary loss in concentration resulted in a sword piercing my side, and just like that, my momentum was lost.

While I flinched from the pain, two more blades embedded themselves in my torso, causing my grip on Bucephalus' rein to slacken. As he slowed, my steed's throat was ripped through by another blade, traveling at high speeds. With a gurgling neigh, Bucephalus collapsed, taking me with him. I cut through the stirrups and leg-straps holding me in place and with another frenzied yell, I kept charging towards the prideful king of Babylon.

Fifty meters. A short sword lodged itself against my shoulder. I ignored it.

Forty meters. A backblast from an exploding projectile nearly tripped me. I kept going.

Thirty meters. Two swords stabbed me through in rapid succession. I gritted my teeth and soldiered on.

Twenty meters. Now I was close enough to see the expression on Gilgamesh's face. To my surprise, there was no disdain, no sneer on his visage. Just cold concentration.

Ten meters. I bared my teeth in a bloody grin and jumped upwards, intent on bringing my sword down upon Gilgamesh in a heavy, overhand strike.

Five meters. I touched lightly upon the ground, both arms holding onto the sword as I began to swing it downwards.

And then nothing. I was face to face with the golden king, yet I seemed to have frozen in place. Turning, I saw two long chains; half emerged from mid-air, wrapped around my arms. No matter what I did, the chains refused to budge even an inch.

"You just keep pulling one oddity after the other, King of Heroes." I laughed, vainly tugging at my restraints.

The cold, red eyes looked impassively at me. "These are the chains of Enkidu, the same chains with which I tied down the Bull of Heaven. These chains can restrain anything with a Divine lineage, effectively. You cannot escape them."

Something snapped within me at that callous statement. All my life I have railed against the trappings of society, norms and accepted beliefs. I have never been content with what I have been told to do by supposedly wiser, older people…and I was not going to start now.

"I am the King of Conquerors! The world was not enough for my ambition! And your pitiful chains won't hold me down!" I declared, and under the immense pressure I was exerting, the chains buckled slightly.

That was all I needed. With a desperate ringing in my ears, and a wild thumping of my heart, I heaved with all the force I had and snapped the chains, bringing down my sword in its long-aborted strike.

Gilgamesh jumped backwards, too late, and managed to avert the worst of my strike, still he received a long slash, starting from his chin and all the way down to his sternum, by the virtue of my blade.

My final effort accomplished, I collapsed down on one knee, smirking in satisfaction at the thin line of blood marring the proud king's face. I was being petty, to be sure, but my bruised pride needed to be assuaged, after all. My final act of defiance done, I waited for the inevitable end. I had wanted to go out with a memorable battle, and this was it.

Ignoring the throbbing pain from my multitude of injuries, I stood up proudly and let my arms fall to the side. The end would likely be swift, though seeing how I had 'dared' to mark the King of Heroes, he might want to make an example of me. He might have wanted to break me, to make me suffer…but little did he know that even when I stood between Life and Death, as between Night and Morning, I could look forward to whatever may come with a song in my ravenous heart and a smile on my face, for I was not afraid.

Gilgamesh seemed to gape at me for a moment, disbelief written clearly in his ruby eyes, before he collapsed in peals of helpless laughter.

What in the name of Hades?

"You were right, King of Conquerors!" He declared imperiously, even as he laughed. To be honest, it was a damned odd sight to see the usually contemptuous monarch to react in such a normal manner. Disconcerting, I tell you.

"Heh, about what?" I asked, resolving to get into the bottom of this perversity. Wasn't he supposed to sneer, and proclaim me to be a usurping dog, before killing me swiftly? This bore further investigation, even despite the fact that I was bleeding out, the longer we spoke.

"When we began our long-awaited battle, you had told me that you have never felt more complete before…that I would see the full might of the King of Conquerors. And you were right! But satisfy my curiosity and tell me, why do you fight?"

"Eh? Didn't we cover this already? You know why I fight. I fight, because I want to regain a mortal body…so I can start my conquest once again." There were other reasons too, of course…but he had no need to know of them.

"You lie. I can see it in your eyes. What is it that you want, King of Conquerors? Wealth? Fame? Whores? No. You had all of that in your lifetime. I see no reason why you might want to repeat all that just for material wants."

I stayed silent. For all his inhumanity and aloofness, the golden king was surprisingly insightful.

"Do you wish to hear what I think? I think that your desire is something more…something greater than a mere worldly pursuit." Here, his lips curled into a familiar sneer. "Or do you fight for something even baser? Something as pitiful as a long dead love?" His eyes flicked once towards my master, who was undoubtedly sitting somewhere far behind. "Or maybe a new one?"

I gritted my teeth. "I do not see how my wishes are your business, King of Heroes."

"You are entitled to keep it a secret, if you wish, but the fact still stands. A person with nothing to fight for does not struggle as you do. A person with no desires does not seek to grasp everything in sight, as you do and a person with no burning ambition in his heart, does not succeed in scoring a hit on me…as you have done."

I grumbled quietly to myself, before looking up. If it was an answer that he wished, it would be an answer that he would get, though perhaps it wouldn't be what he was expecting to hear.

"I fight because I cannot rest. I cannot rest because I have heard the cries of the seagulls in the Nile delta. Every time I looked at them, the hunger in my heart grew. I yearn to travel, to seek the ends of the world and the farthest reach of empires." I spoke, my voice growing louder and firmer with every passing word. "I fight because I crave an adventure, worthy of my skills."

Gilgamesh looked bemused at my outburst. "Your whole life was spent in battle, and you had gone on to distant lands where no man had ever gone before. What greater adventure would you have wanted?"

"Had I lived longer, I would have ventured on even further. When I was a mere child, I had heard the wise men philosophize that the earth was round after all, and I wished to see it for myself. All my life, I dreamed of sailing the endless oceans, claiming every land that I touched upon, till I returned triumphant to my home…to glorious Macedonia. Alas, it was not to be. By the time we crossed Hydaspes, my army had lost its will to fight...so I buried my dreams in the snowy riverbanks, and we set back for home. Soon after, I died, and that was the end of it."

I paused for a moment here, willfully tamping down on the familiar feeling of bitter disappointment and helplessness. I loved my comrades, and the bond we shared was dearer to me than any treasure…but it was still difficult not to feel betrayed by their decision to not go on further. Wiping my forehead with the back of my hand, I continued to speak.

"Now when I was brought back in the Grail War, I realized that I was right after all! Had we continued further east, we would have reached the coast, from where I would have launched mighty triremes and biremes, and would have achieved my cherished dream."

When I fell silent, the King of Heroes grunted, looking sharply at me with his half-lidded eyes.

"Interesting. For all your greed and boasts, you are a rather simple man at heart, aren't you?"

Wait a minute. Was I just called a simpleton by the King of Heroes?

"Hey! What's the big idea of mocking a dying man? And was there a reason for all these questions?"

"Yes, to be sure. If I can recollect, I remember telling you that the Grail belongs to me. It's not a boast, but a fact. The Grail, the Horn of Cornucopia, the Tonsured Skull of Dagobert, the Cintamani and so on…all of these are wish-granting devices, and as the rightful king, I possess all of them."

"Yeah, yeah…I have heard you talk of your so-called ownership more than I have cared to hear, Goldie." I taunted. Not my best taunt, if I must admit. Old Aristotle would have been severely disappointed to hear me stoop to such a childish insult, the old bastard.

Gilgamesh frowned and looked away, arms crossed once more over his chest.

"It seems that you do not fully comprehend what I just said. I own them, so I know that the very concept of an absolute wish-granting device is absolutely ridiculous! Nothing in this world is free, and so, everything has a price. Let me spell it out so even a mongrel like you can understand: The Grail that you fight so desperately for does not exist!"

"Does not exist!" I exclaimed in shock, "What do you mean? Weren't we summoned using the power of the Grail?"

"This…Grail, which they speak of-"

He said 'Grail' with such a disgusted expression, as if it hurt his delicate sensibilities to even let the word fall from his tongue. What a diva.

"-I do not know its true purpose, but I do know that it's likely nothing more than a monkey's paw. The price it will exact in return for the wishes would be something that they would have never expected, or wanted to pay."

"Even if what you say is true, where does this leave me? I am defeated; my master has lost his command spells. For all intents and purposes, my campaign is over. The grail and its trappings are someone else's headache now."

"Indeed. Where does this leave you? Let me elaborate. I wish to…acknowledge your determination, and your dreams. While Saber glows with an inner fire, tormented yet unwavering. If her ideals are the raging fire, then she is the moth, and is doomed to be consumed by it, but despite her martyr's beauty, your own brilliance is no less. There are no doubts within your soul, which shines with your own ideals, bolstered by the hopes and dreams of your comrades…but inside your heart, I can see a raging inferno…one that refuses to die down, no matter what it consumes."

I was officially uncomfortable now. Not from the praise, nor from the fact that it came from a man…but from the fact that the man doing the praising was Gilgamesh. It made my skin crawl something awful. I could see that his acknowledgement was genuine, not to mention more than a little awkward. Somehow, that made it a lot worse.

"I told you earlier, that I only had one friend in my lifetime, and that I do not desire another…but maybe, in a different life…" Here, he trailed off softly. "Nevertheless, I am not so petty as to ignore such bravery and determination…so, let me ask you, Iskandar, son of Felip, how should I treat you?"

Sardonically, I smiled and answered, "Treat me as a King ought."

"For my part," said Gilgamesh, "your request will be granted. But is there not something you would ask of me? Ask it."

"Everything is contained in this one request." I answered back calmly, borrowing the same words that a magnificent King had spoken to me, eons ago.

Gilgamesh laughed heartily once more, satisfied at the success of his little charade, and then walked up to me, looking me in the eye. He reached out with his hand to grasp mine, even as the air around us began to shimmer, characteristic of the activation of the Gate of Babylon, the dimensional repository of Gilgamesh's treasures.

As his palm closed over mine, I felt a weight settle down in the center as he wrapped my fingers around it. Within moments, when he had moved away a few steps, I opened my fist to examine the object nestled within.

It was a simple ring, plainly wrought in red gold, carved with a flowing script all around it. It was designed to resemble a thousand-headed serpent, whose numerous heads held onto a small clear jewel which sparked with a divine light.

"This is the Varmudra." Gilgamesh spoke, "the personal Miracle wrought by the ancient gods of the Hindukush. In the hands of gods, its power is limitless, but in hands of mortals like you and me…it merely grants a single wish, at a price."

"What makes it different from the other objects that you mentioned?" I asked perfunctorily, my mind engrossed by the beauty of the ring lying in my hand.

"It might accept a price, but the wish is granted without any malice. You will get exactly what your heart desired, without extracting too steep a cost. The choice is yours. I have given you the ring; do what you will with it."

It was a big decision, a momentous one to be sure…it was something that had the potential to alter my fate and to change my life in a way that I could have never imagined. Ideally, I should have mulled over that decision, weighing the pros and cons judiciously before arriving at a conclusion, but with me being me, as well as the fact that I was still losing blood at a prodigious rate…it was honestly a no-brainer for me.

"Oi, Goldie! How do you activate this thing anyway?" I yelled out, once again grinning inwardly at the irritated twitch on the golden king's indifferent mien.

"You have to invoke your divinity, mongrel, and then you have to offer your blood as sacrifice when you state your wish. Though seeing your current state, just holding onto the ring would be enough." He retorted.

"Hm." I grunted thoughtfully, and took a moment to phrase my invocation as well as my wish. Clearing my throat, I began to speak.

"I, Alexander the Third, Son of Philip, hereby invoke the name of my divine father, Zeus-Ammon, the Lord of Skies, Thunder and Justice. Upon your name and your authority, I call on the divine spark hidden in me to shine forth and illuminate me."

I was no mage, yet I was familiar enough with the process that I understood that my invocation was similar to an aria, an activation phrase…and sure enough, instead of magical circuits, the divine essence within my legend began to shine forth, casting an eerie glow around my body. Bathed in that glow, the ring in my hand began to resonate, and the jewel set within seemed to glow brighter and brighter. The air began to smell thickly of ozone, and a strange peacefulness set in upon me. Evidently, the invocation was successful.

Clasping the ring against my bloodied chest, I slowly began to articulate my fondest wish.

"By the virtue of the power of the mighty Zeus-Ammon, as well as the power of the pantheon of Aigyptos, grant me this wish: I wish to set sail upon the endless seas, to roam the world with a hungry heart. I wish to embark on adventures untold, the echoes of which will be heard through the ages. I wish once more for the bonds of companionship and for friends that I can rely on. If you can grant me my wish, then I wish to live once again, carefree and cheerful, trampling all who would dare to stand in my way. I wish to be free."

As my voice died down, the heavy atmosphere seemed to coalesce around me, causing me to stumble from the sheer oppressive force. With me at the epicenter, a fierce squall began to blow, howling and raging around me. Above me, the clouds began to darken and rumble, as forks of lightning began to thunder across the overcast skies. Suddenly feeling weaker than ever before, I collapsed down on my knees, holding onto my sword like a lifeline. The shroud of the storm seemed to hem me in ever closer, as I tried to regain my bearing. Without warning, a bright bolt of light slammed down from the heavens upon me, wracking my body with untold pain. I screamed out in pain and anger and a small amount of trepidation even as my frayed nerves overloaded with pain.

The last thing that I saw before me was myself, looking somehow more complete, grinning bemusedly down at me. At this strange sight, my mind finally shut down as I passed into blessed unconsciousness and then I knew more.

Loguetown, the Day of Pirate Rogers' Execution

Strangely enough, it was music that I woke up to. My body was wracked in too much pain for me to do much else, so I let my eyes remain closed and listened.

'Dress me up in me oilskins and jumper, No more on the docks I'll be seen.
Just tell my old shipmates I'm taking a trip mates, I'll see you someday in Fiddler's Green.'

The singer had a rather rough voice, fierce and gravelly, tempered no doubt by extensive time spent with wine cups. As he sang, he was soon joined by other voices…younger, less raspy, but all of them carried the same timbre of melancholy and grief. The context and the meaning of the song was lost on me, even though I could understand the words well enough, as they were rather similar to the language being used during the Fuyuki City Grail War. Slowly, I began to stand up, ignoring the pain erupting in my legs as I devoted all my concentration to the song.

'Oh in Fiddler's Green is a place I've heard tell, where sailormen go if they don't go to hell
Where the weather is fair and the sea-kings do play, and the cold coast of Drum-land is far far away'

Evidently, it was a mourning song that was being sung. In my day, in Macedonia, we had tales of Elysium and of the Isles of the Blest: Rewards that a soldier or a sailor might earn by doing his duty to his best ability. Everytime we set sail in our triremes, we would offer prayers to Poseidon so that he may carry our souls to Hades, if we were to die at sea. Later in Egypt, it was the same…except now the prayers were to Sobek, the God of the Nile, and the reward was ever-lasting life in service to Osiris. This Fiddler's Green could be no less.

As I listened, somehow I managed to drag my feet under me, and sat groggily on my knees, fighting off the waves of nausea which threatened to overwhelm. My breath came in short gasps and it seemed as if all the breath had been driven from my lungs. My blood pounded in my ears as I finally gave in to the urge and began to retch, not even seeing where I was emptying my stomach.

'Where the skies are all clear and there's never a gale, and fish jump aboard with a swish of their tail.
Where you lie at your leisure - there's no work to do, and the skipper's belowmaking tea for the crew'

I let out a painful chuckle, wiping my mouth with the back of my hand. Even though the retching felt disgusting, it still relived some of the ache I was feeling, the diminished pain making me confident enough to open my eyes.

The first thing that I saw was the endless blue sea, bringing a tired smile to my lips. Taking stock of my surroundings, I noticed that I was sitting up on a beach. All around me, white sand glittered in the bright sunlight, nearly blinding me and forcing me to close my eyes once again. Seeing that I was in no immediate danger of falling over, I breathed in and listened to the achingly familiar cries of the seagulls and the haunting music being sung by the unknown singer.

"Oh I don't want a harp or a halo, not me, just give me a breeze and a good rolling sea.
And I'll play the fiddle as we sail along, with the wind in the rigging to sing me this song"

All of a sudden, the singer ceased his heartfelt song and cried out, presumably pointing towards me.

"Look here lads! Is that a big brute of a man by the beach or have I drank too much grog already?"

"Oi!" I rasped out, feeling the need to defend myself, "I'm not a brute, and even if I was, at least I am not the one who is drinking while the sun is still up." I pointed out rightfully.

"Bah." He scoffed. "And why wouldn't I be drinking, eh? The marine bastards finally got their hands on Old Roger, and now they will lop his head off. What else can I do, but drink?"

My head buzzed feebly with so many questions. Who were these marine bastards? Who was this Old Roger? And why was he going to be executed? Letting out a painful shudder of breath, I wrenched my eyes open and tried to stagger up.

"Whoa now, you look pretty beat. Had a run-in with some unsavory characters?" The stranger questioned, walking towards me, his steps crushing the sand and shells beneath him, which protested with a pleasant crackle.

I chuckled in spite of myself, thinking back on Gilgamesh, the King of Babylon. "Unsavory Characters? Yeah, you could say that." I remarked, taking in the sight of the stranger.

He was a tall, well-muscled man with broad shoulders and a fierce face, framed with strawberry blonde hair. He wore round, wire-rimmed eyeglasses which did nothing to hide the long scar tracing over his right eye. He was dressed in a simple shirt, albeit with an ornate collar, and in tiger-striped knee-length shorts and sandals. Perhaps the most unusual feature about him was his elaborate beard, dyed black and embattled all over his jaw, lending him an intimidating appearance. While his eyes were kind, if wary, and he appeared to be a pleasant enough, yet I could feel the underlying thrum of the vast power contained within this man.

If I had to compare, his aura was nearly a match for mine if I was relying solely on my physical strength. Though I was not sure if I was even a heroic spirit anymore, the pain in my body felt all too real with no signs of healing, and neither did I have the natural inclination to turn into my spirit form when wounded. It didn't prove anything, but it was a mental checklist for me to test it out, lest I be caught unawares in this new world.

Speaking of which.

"Lend me a hand, will you?" I asked as politely as I could, given the circumstances, setting my jaw firmly against the pain that seemed to rail against the iron walls of my tolerance. "I am Iskandar, the King of Conquerors."

The man laughed as he gripped my shoulders firmly and supported me as I stood up. "Is that so? With such a lofty title, it is surprising that I have never heard of you. Anyway, I am Silvers Rayleigh, First Mate of the Oro Jackson, also called by some as the Dark King."

"So you are a king too, eh?" I remarked, looking askance at him from half-closed eyes, idly noting the presence of two boys closing in behind us, one had distinctive wine-red hair and a pleasant face, while the other had equally unique pale-blue hair and a funny looking round, red nose. "Then treat me as a king deserves. I promise to return the favor."

The now-named Silvers merely laughed and clapped me on my back, taking a swig from his ale-mug. "Of course! Of course! Though right now, King or no, you need a healer badly. Luckily for you, I know of one who isn't celebrating or mourning Rogers' impending demise. Let's get you checked out and then we can sit down by the fire, and fill our bellies with rum and our minds with stories. Then, you can tell me about yourself."

Having said his piece, he threw my arm over his shoulder and propped my injured side up as we slowly walked towards the doctor of his acquaintance, while the two boys: his erstwhile companions walked close behind, looking curiously at us both.

This was how two kings met, and though neither of us knew it, the world would change irrevocably because of that.

A/N:

So, this story has been in my mind for a while now. I was tired of reading Nasuverse stories starring only Shirou or Ilya or Saber...and to be honest, as badass as Shirou can be, he doesn't compare to the magnificence of a real king, which brings in my favorite character of the series : Iskandar. His death felt too forced to me, and he was underutilized, most likely because Gilgamesh and Arturia HAD to survive till Fate/Stay Night. This story gives me a chance to explore the further growth in power as well as stature in Iskandar, had he lived through Fate/Zero.
This story begins with the death of Gol D Roger, and for a while Iskandar will hang around with Silvers and Shanks and occasionally Buggy, till he learns the ropes of the new world he is in. Then, he will branch off to have his own adventures, some which overlap with other major characters, and some inspired by historical pirates as well as Iskandar's own feats. Hopefully, this is something that you will enjoy.

Character/Object Backgrounds:

1. Iskandar aka Alexander of Macedon aka Alexander the Great: Son of Philip, though he styled himself as the Son of Zeus, yet one of the world's finest military strategists and an inspiring leader. within a few short decades, he carved out an empire which spanned most of the known world at the time. He had a dream to see the end of the world, which remained unfulfilled as his beleaguered and exhausted army rebelled.

2. Gilgamesh aka The King of Heroes aka Divine King of Babylon: The subject of the world's oldest written epic. Semi-divine in stature. Had a companion, Enkidu, who he regarded as a friend and an equal. After many adventures, the two succeeded in angering many gods, and earned the wrath of the goddess Ishtar, who sent the Divine Bull to ravage Babylon. Enkidu and Gilgamesh killed it, but as a punishment, Enkidu was killed in return. This caused Gilgamesh to despair and abandon his kingdom to learn the meaning of life.

3. Cintamani: A wish-granting/magical gemstone mentioned in both, Buddhist as well as Hindu Mythology.

4. Varmudra: a magical ring worn by Gods and Goddesses in Hindu Mythology, most notably Durga.

5. Horn of Cornucopia: a symbol of luck and harvest and plenty in Graeco-Roman Mythology.

6. Holy Grail: a mystical object in the grail romances, possesses similar properties as the Horn of Cornucopia. Later stories claim it to have either been used in the last supper, or by Joseph of Arimathea to collect the blood dripping from the wound caused by the Longinus Spear.

7. Skull of Dagobert: A relic of the ancient Merovingian king. Said to bring luck and prosperity. Subject to many cults and legends.

8. Zeus-Ammon: a blend of the traditional Zeus and Amun-Ra of the Egyptians.

9. Aigyptos: Greek name for Egypt.

10. Trivia: The song being sung by Silver's Rayleigh is called the Fiddler's Green and is a popular sea shanty. The Corries as well as the Dubliners have sung their versions of this folk shanty, to my knowledge.

The words exchanged about how a king should be treated are inspired by an actual exchange that occurred between King Porus and Alexander after the battle of Hydaspes. Porus was a proud king who refused to relinquish his self-respect, despite being defeated. Impressed, Alexander lets him remain king and makes him a greek Satrap (governer).

Well, that's enough chatter. Read and Review, or Zeus will smite you.

Enjoy!
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