Lancelot

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Imperial
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Lancelot

Post by Imperial » Tue Sep 16, 2008 1:33 am

Events discussed herein range from happenings in the first season of Code Geass to the twentieth episode of the second

In other words, you're about to get spoiled.

Lancelot

Suzaku Kururugi took a keen interest in Arthurian legend when the decision came down that he had passed Lloyd Apslund’s test. He was to have the honor of piloting the Empire’s latest, greatest Frame: The Lancelot. Something about the name struck a chord in him. Confusion clucked and clawed about the roost of his brain while his mind scrambled desperately, an answer always out of reach.

It was Cecile, the kind young woman who was a stabilizing presence to off-set Lloyd’s amazingly bizarre one, who illuminated him. If she had known just how much anxiety and reproach her innocuous answer would one day give him, she wouldn’t have told him at all.


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Sir Lancelot of the Lake captured Suzaku’s mind and soul the way policemen or astronauts ensnared young boys. The knight was dashing, brave, strong, and wise. He was second only to King Arthur himself in greatness and goodness. Suzaku considered it a mark of great pride that he could be associated with such a legacy.


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Suzaku tried not to see the ironic part of life. It was so often sad and tragic, the sort of thing that reminded him of how unfair the world around him was. He couldn’t entirely ignore it, though. Instances of tragic fate and brutal twists reminded him of why he was necessary, why he had taken up the Lancelot and the title of Honorary Britannian.

Zero was one such reminder.

The fact that he had stolen the Gawain was almost enough to make him laugh out loud at the mind-bending absurdity of it all. Gawain had come to be Lancelot’s bitterest of rivals, after all.

He grew drunk on promises whispered in the pages of history. In seeing Gawain set against Lancelot, he saw a legacy—more of a prophecy, really—fulfilled. It emboldened him. For all of his valor and prowess, Sir Gawain could never best his friend-turned-enemy. They met on the field of battle many times and no matter how viciously Gawain assailed the other knight, it was he who found himself lying defeated, his sword broken, his vengeance denied, his wrath impotent, his hopes dashed.

He would defeat Zero in due time.


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He couldn’t help bristling upon meeting Anya for the first time.

There was nothing wrong her, not really. Some people found the fishbowls of her eyes to be a bit too vacant for their preference, as if the fish had died, leaving only this sluggish, cadaverous thing. She held little passion or fire. On her own, the Knight of Six was remarkably forgettable.

It was her mount that put him on edge that made him cast suspicious eyes and sidelong glances toward her. He looked for the barest hint of emotion in her. At any moment, she would give herself away with a nod or a smile or a glimmer that would show her for a turncoat.

How could he not expect the person associated with the great usurper Mordred?


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In hindsight, he wondered how he could have been so blind. There had to be a Guinevere to his Lancelot.

They loved each other deeply. No one would ever change that, even when all hands were raised against them. It was indecent, the nobles sniffed into their brandy and through their powdered wigs. A woman of high-breeding shouldn’t carry on with a Knight, especially not a mongrel such as he, the Purists might mutter in passing.

And yet their love flourished, spiting anyone and everyone who would deny, even themselves. Oh, how their love spited them most of all.

He lost her, just as Lancelot before him. That night, his love cut deeper (no longer a serene cloud bearing him higher and higher toward his heaven, but a scythe to rend him) than anything he had ever known.


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He feared for Gino before he ever met him. The Tristan would be his. Poor Tristan. Poor Gino.

The thing that bothered him most about Gino wasn’t simply the name of his Knightmare, but how easily he would fall into its trap. He was young, brash, and loyal, so like his predecessor. It would be all too easy for him to fall in his infinite naiveté, his boundless optimism. He reminded Suzaku of himself not so long ago. It made his heart weep for the other man.

One of the first questions Suzaku asked of his fellow Knight was whether or not he had a girlfriend, a fiancée, a significant other. Gino, young, bright, stupid Gino, had smiled that broad smile and made light of it all. Coming onto me, are you? Oh, hey, don’t get mad. I was only joking. Don’t walk away.

In the end, no, he did not have anyone like that. He quickly segued into some vaguely inappropriate comments about his peers, how Anya was cute as a button or how Monica was really quite striking for someone in the military profession. Suzaku thought to reprimand him, but he didn’t really care at that point. Gino had no Isolde to lead him into temptation, to capture his heart and tear it in two between their love and the oath sworn to his lord.

Suzaku silently thanked the gods for it. He had lost his Guinevere. There was no need for Gino to die for an Isolde.


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In time, he grew to pity Mordred.

Rather, he pitied Anya for the great misfortune of being pinned to his name.

He had once reserved a special brand of hatred for that man. He was a killer and a tyrant, a man whose ambition flowed from him in a raging tempest that bathed Britain in blood. It was he who brought the Arthurian age to an end even as he lay dying. The great king of legend passed into the great beyond of Avalon while the Knights of the Round, their kind slain and their fellowship broken, passed into myth.

No, he decided. Anya could not be Mordred. Her machine had simply been the victim of a rather poor name.

There was no schemer in her, not manipulator, no regicide. She couldn’t possibly be the villainous destroyer, the archfiend of Arthurian lore.

That had only ever been Zero.


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When he heard that the Britannian brass has decided to explore the design ethics laid down in the Gawain, he was more than a little concerned. It was a bad name. It was a name that belonged to Lancelot’s great rival.

But then they call it Gareth, brother of Gawain, and he is no longer so concerned. Gareth stood by Arthur in the end. He sleeps easy that night.


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When it came to his attention the First Princess of Britannia is named Guinevere, it took every ounce of will power Suzaku has not to explode in a blind fury. She didn’t deserve that name at all. She was vain, selfish, and a perfect example of the self-assured stagnancy of the aristocracy.

There will only ever be one Guinevere in his legend, and she is six months buried.


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Galahad was what they would call the new Knightmare under development for Bismarck Waldstein, the Knight of One.

He supposed it only fitting. Lancelot was Galahad’s father just as his Lancelot pioneered many of the advancements that will be incorporated into the Galahad. In a way, his machine has fathered Bismarck’s.

He knew it wouldn’t curry favor with the Knight of One, but there was something of a silver lining in it. Lancelot and Galahad were among the few to lay eyes on the Holy Grail.

It is only later, much later; that he remembers Lancelot was not allowed to touch the Grail for the sin of adultery committed with Guinivere. He will look back on this and scowl; doesn’t he deserve every bit as much respect and acknowledgement as his peers, Luciano and Bismarck? But, no, he will be passed over like Lancelot before him, forcing himself to be content in their afterglow.


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After a time, Suzaku comes to resent his shadow. Lancelot, for all his greatness, died a broken man. He lived a life fraught with mistakes and missteps that could have easily been avoided if he remained true to his lord. There was no place for such tender feelings in a cold world. Had he turned his heart away from Guinevere, they would have been spared the sour-sweet taste of love. She would not have strayed and he would not have sullied his honor.

He was a traitor to crown and country.

By the time it is all over, so is Suzaku. He tries not to see the irony.


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Knight of Ten Luciano Bradley is no Sir Percival.

Percival was one of the Knights of the Round who embodied all it was they strove to be. Great men, every last one of them, but Percival stood head and shoulders above the rest, with Galahad and perhaps a scant few others as the sole exceptions. He was brave, noble, and—if a certain account is to be believed—celibate for the entirety of his life.

Luciano is most certainly not, chasing skirts and one night stands like a starving man might pursue a scrap of sustenance. It’s plainly obvious in his own team of subordinates, the Valkyries, chosen for their skills as pilots as much as their knack for filling out revealing flight suits that could pass for risqué bathing suits. His thirst for battle and love of torture only drive the point home. Percival was a man of temperance and healing.

It bothers Suzaku more than he would admit to see Luciano receive the Percival. It bothers him not because he is unworthy of the machine. He is. Luciano, for all his bumps and warts, is an extraordinary pilot of impeccable caliber.

What grates on the Knight of Seven’s nerves is that Percival, alongside Galahad, attained the one and only Holy Grail. Looking at Luciano, with his flat-top hair cut, his swaggering step, and his flashing eyes of bloodlust, he can’t help but think how unfair it is that a man such as him should be promised so much.


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He trades his adoration for contempt, contempt for pity.

Lancelot was a fool, true, but Suzaku can’t hate him too much. He knows how painful it is to love. He knows the burden a Knight must bear, held to the impossible standard of that station. He knows so much of what made Lancelot think and feel and act.

Still, the Japanese Knight can’t bring himself to absolve him of everything his template had done. Lancelot’s greatest failing was not loving Guinevere, but letting her break him. Again, he moves not to judge too harshly. After his pretty, pink person died, he felt the despair welling up within him, pouring from his eyes in a steady, stinging stream.

But that was what set them apart. Lancelot, bereft of Guinevere, sank into that sea of sorrow. He retired to a life of hermitage with Arthur’s death and Guinevere’s decision to shut herself away in a convent, a well-meant but poorly executed act of atonement for her unfaithfulness. Lancelot allowed love to conquer him.

Suzaku would not follow him in that. He would rise above it. Guinevere had broken his sword, stolen his shield. He was no longer a knight without her. Suzaku was much the opposite. Only after losing everything Euphemia was did he find the strength to rise again, rising higher than ever before to reach the hallowed Round Table.

Suzaku looked toward the future with pride swelling in his chest. He had surpassed Lancelot of the Lake.


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It was with great misgivings in mind that he began to see Mordred in a different light.

Anya was his successor no more than Luciano could be called the second coming of Percival. He had cast aside Lancelot’s husk long ago. If all of these things were wrong, maybe other facets of the mythos were too. He didn’t set out to forgive Mordred, of course. He was the villain.

He didn’t care who he hurt or what he smashed so long as he sat upon the throne of Camelot. People were pawns to be discarded and stepping-stones to be crushed under foot in his ascent. He would lie to anyone, cheat at anything, and rob whatever he pleased to suit his rapacious ego. He was the Zero of his age.

And, yet, there were people who would cast a sympathetic eye upon him. Cursed from birth to carry out his allotted task and reared by a scheming shrew of a mother who took every opportunity to make him painfully aware of it, he had precious little choice. It was expected and demanded of him that he take up the slaughtering sword. He was just as much a victim of circumstance as anyone else, a cog in the greater machine.

Suzaku arrived at this opinion of him with a great shock. He didn’t want to like Mordred. He didn’t want to think of him as a man with no control over his own destiny. He didn’t want to think of him as driven into a corner, lashing out desperately for himself. He didn’t want to think of him as a product of his environment.

It happened all the same. In a moment of idle thought, he forgave Mordred for his sins.

He didn’t want to think about what that meant for Lelouch, every bit as selfish and scheming and father-hating as Modred before him. He was Mordred, wasn’t he, the king of carrion who sat upon his corpse-throne? It certainly wasn’t Anya, and this story needed a villain. Lelouch was certainly Mordred. But was he a villain?


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It was in that heated, murderous moment that everything comes into blinding, perfect clarity for Suzaku.

He could already spy Bismarck moving to intercept him in the name and defense of his lord, ever the picture of the perfect knight. His gut twisted in disappointment even as his ears quivered and his bones quaked at the clash of metal on metal. The attempt on the Emperor’s life would end in failure.

But that was the furthest thing from his mind.

He drew his sword against his master. A princess who could have been queen had come to his bed. The kingdom that he once called home now stood as his enemy. The blood of his father stained his hands.

Suzaku had finally found his Mordred.

Mordred
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Dean_the_Young
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Post by Dean_the_Young » Sun Oct 05, 2008 7:22 pm

I spotted this at FFN, but I can't remember if I reviewed it. I should of: it's well written, evenly organized (with no one figure dominating too much), and a good concept with solid execution.
I'm sorry this letter is so long, but I did not have time to make it shorter. -Mark Twain

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Meteoid
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Post by Meteoid » Fri Nov 07, 2008 9:34 pm

I like it, and it's got good knowledge of the King Arthur legends well done.

I think it would have done with a section for Arthur the cat though :D

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Post by Dean_the_Young » Sat Nov 08, 2008 10:30 pm

Meteoid wrote:I like it, and it's got good knowledge of the King Arthur legends well done.

I think it would have done with a section for Arthur the cat though :D
Indeed!

How could you go on a Knights of the Round theme without his Majesty King Arthur?
I'm sorry this letter is so long, but I did not have time to make it shorter. -Mark Twain

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ShadowCell
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Post by ShadowCell » Sat Nov 08, 2008 10:53 pm

Saji's not in Code Geass. =P

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Post by Dean_the_Young » Sat Nov 08, 2008 11:01 pm

ShadowCell wrote:Saji's not in Code Geass. =P
Voice actor joke or something? I don't get the joke between Saji and Arthur the cat.
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Areku
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Post by Areku » Sat Nov 08, 2008 11:07 pm

Dean_the_Young wrote:Voice actor joke or something? I don't get the joke between Saji and Arthur the cat.
It's from the local Gundamn! podcast, where Soul Bro regularly refers to Saji as "King Arthur".

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