Welcome to my GilXHeroine fic. ^-^ I wanted to try something different so here's a fic set in ancient times! I did research to try to make it accurate but I did take some creative liberties as well. Timeline wise, this is before Enkidu's creation. Also, like my other Fate fics, the Heroine's name is Hikaru. Cover art by Sealkittty on DA.
Gilgamesh was bored.
He shifted position on his throne as he listened to another peasant from his kingdom plead his case about how the locusts were eating the crops. He rested his head in his hand as the peasant droned on and on. When he was finally done yapping, the king issued an order that the problem would be dealt with and the peasant should go home and leave it to him. After thanking him profusely the peasant left and Gilgamesh got to his feet before the next one could be brought in.
"Listen to the rest of them for me. I will be in the gardens if I am required to be present," he commanded.
Ekur, his baru and most trusted diviner bowed as low as his old back would allow him. "Yes my king."
Gilgamesh left the audience chamber without another word. He stepped into the inner gardens where he kept all of the lush plants he had collected over the years. There were a couple of pools and fountains scattered here and there in the garden. He had gotten the best crafts smiths to design them to his liking. A couple of slaves were tending to the garden but when they saw their king they scurried away.
He began slowly walking through the garden and slowly took in the sights and smells. Maybe he should get some animals put in here as well. A lion might be too much but maybe some deer? Naw. Then he would need to worry about where he stepped. Better not then.
Reaching the first of many stone seats that were scattered around the gardens, he sat down and closed his eyes. It was a pretty nice day, not blistering hot yet. Maybe the gods were in a good mood today.
He was beginning to doze off when he heard the sound of yelling coming from nearby. He cracked open an eye, now incredibly annoyed. A figure was running in his direction.
Without thinking, he stuck out his foot and the figure tripped over it and fell to the ground.
The king got to his feet and grabbed the person's arm before whoever it was could scurry away again. He paused as the figure turned back to look at him. Or safe to say, when the woman turned back to look at him. She was clad in a ragged simple dress. Her long dark brown hair fell to her mid-back and had definitely seen better days. She was skinny to the point that she was not eating well enough. Her face though was what the King focused on. Dark brown eyes gazed up at him, full of defiance. Her facial structure was odd, nothing like had ever seen before. Where in the land was this woman from?
"So where are you going?" he purred. He could hear the yelling of his guards from behind him.
The woman had none of his teasing. Her leg shot out and connected with Gilgamesh's only weak spot. He released her in surprise and hunched over from the pain. "Well you are feisty," he said through gritted teeth.
He could see the woman scramble to her feet and she began running again. However he had delayed her enough that the guards had been able to catch up and they were able to grab her and pin her to the ground.
"My king," spoke one of the guards when he noticed Gilgamesh hunched over on the ground. "Are you alright?"
"I'm alright," replied Gilgamesh. He recovered enough to stand up. He looked down at the woman who was pinned to the ground. Despite the fact that she probably had realized he was the king, she still glared up at him with those huge brown eyes of hers.
"My king. We found this woman raiding the storehouse and we gave chase when she began running. I am sorry you were injured because of her. We will have her taken to the court to be punished."
Gilgamesh stared down at her and her eyes just stayed focused on him. Still defiant they stared at him. How curious this woman was. "Wait a moment," he ordered as the guards hauled her to her feet. Due to how rough they were with her, she almost fell over again. It was then that he noticed that she wore no sandals on her small feet. "Woman, what is your name?"
She did not reply but instead continued to stare at him with those eyes of hers.
"The king has asked you a question!" A guard shook her roughly and for a few brief seconds Gilgamesh thought she would break apart from the touch.
She turned those eyes of hers to the guard and she blinked slowly before turning them back to Gilgamesh. She opened her mouth and spoke clearly. "Hikaru."
"Hikaru," repeated Gilgamesh. The name was foreign on his tongue. He had never heard of a name like that before. "Where do you hail from Hikaru?"
No response. She had dropped her eyes to the ground.
Narrowing his eyes, he grabbed her chin and forced her to look up at him. "I asked you, where do you hail from?"
Again. Those defiant eyes of hers met his. "I do not know," she said finally. "I was raised on a traveling caravan."
"That's better." He released her and took a step back. He gave her a once over. A girl from somewhere faraway but did not know it herself. A foreign name attached to a mysterious woman. Now this was what he would call interesting.
"My king?" asked a guard.
Gilgamesh smiled. "Do not take her to the court. I would like to keep her instead."
Both the guards and Hikaru looked at the king in surprise and confusion.
"My king? What do you mean by that?"
"Take her to the blacksmith and get a pair of shackles custom fit for her feet. I want her as a slave in the palace."
Those eyes were on him again. Questioning and yet furious eyes. Oh, his intuition was right. This woman was interesting.
One of the guards recovered from Gilgamesh's unusual proclamation and said, "Yes my king. We will have it done right away."
"Good." Gilgamesh turned away but he thought of something and turned around again. "Also, do not get her branded as a slave." He could see how his guards wanted to protest that wild request but they held their tongue. Good for them. Hikaru was staring at him questionably but she did not speak. "After getting her shackled, take her to Puabi. That is all."
"Yes my king."
While the guards dragged Hikaru away, Gilgamesh returned to the audience chamber.
"What brings you back here so soon?" chuckled Ekur. "Usually you are gone for the whole day my King."
"Do not get too comfortable for my return. I am on my way to speak with Puabi now."
"Puabi? Why is it that you wish to speak with the head of the slaves?" Ekur blinked his tired old eyes. "I thought you detested that woman."
"I do dislike her. She is much too strong-willed for my tastes however I found something quite interesting in the gardens and I need to give Puabi instructions before she is returned."
Ekur continued to stare at his king in confusion. "What have you found?"
"I will tell you the story later," he laughed. Oh what a story it was. "Return to your duties, we will speak of this later."
"Of course my king," spoke Ekur to Gilgamesh's retreating back.
Hikaru did not understand the king of Uruk.
When he had tripped her in the garden and the guards had taken her, she thought it was the end for her. She was a poor girl that lived on a traveling caravan. She had attempted to steal from the palace, steal from the King himself. She thought her life would be over then and there. The deal, she thought, would have been sealed after she had given the King a kick in a certain location…
However, none of that happened. He seemed to have been intrigued by her for some reason. Maybe it had something to do with her foreign looks? Probably.
She looked down at her feet. Metal shackles were cuffed around her ankles with a chain linking the two together. There was enough chain that she was able to walk and if she was careful she could walk briskly. That was it though. Running was out of the question. Why did he bother to have these made for her instead of branding her like one would do to a slave? She might not want a brand but practicality said it would make much more sense to do it that way instead of how he did it.
It seemed like she was really unique in that regard as well. None of the other slaves carried shackles on their feet. Only brands that adorned various parts of their skin gave away the telltale signs of being slaves. Only she was different.
Not like it helped her out any. The head of the slaves, Paubi did not care if she was chained or branded. If she had three heads she didn't think Paubi would blink. All that woman cared about was that the job got down correct and right the first time. And that was why Hikaru was currently crawling on her hands and knees in the gardens, making sure every single weed was plucked before it could spread.
At first when she was assigned to work on the gardens, she was worried about the new dress they had given her. It was much finer than anything she had seen before and she had to crawl in the dirt while wearing it? Her opinion on that matter changed quickly when Paubi threatened violence on her.
Oh how things changed so much. She pulled out another weed and put it into the small basket next to her.
"We're almost done with this section, we can move on soon," spoke up Shub from nearby. The girl was about three years younger than Hikaru but she had been raised as a slave for her whole life. Without Shub's guidance, Hikaru's first couple of days would have been rougher. The girl was glad to help out whenever she saw fit. Thinking about it now, Hikaru realized she had been in this position for almost two weeks now. Odd to think about, she had to admit.
"Maybe once Paubi sees what a good job you've been doing, maybe she will appease to the king and get your shackles removed so you can just be branded instead," Shub said hopefully.
Hikaru sighed. Again Shub has to bring up the shackles. She pulled her dress down self-consciously. The poor girl just did not understand Hikaru's dislike of the concept of the brand. Yes, it would be less annoying that having the shackles but that would mean she would be truly trapped here. Shub did not know life besides being a slave. Hikaru did and that was something she could not just let go.
"The King," squeaked Shub. She scrambled to her feet and grabbed her basket. "Come on Hikaru."
Again with this scurrying. Nowhere else did the slaves have to get out of the sight of the King. The gardens though were the only exception. She followed Shub behind a couple of bushes where they were hidden from the King's sight. She stared at the King through the leaves of the bushes.
His golden hair was shocking as compared to all of the dark haired people of this land. Like all kings, he wore the symbol of it proudly around his neck in the form a necklace with amulets attached to it. The King settled on one of the many seats scattered throughout the garden and leaned back.
Hikaru's eyes bore into the back of his head. What game was this man playing? He had ordered her to be a slave in his palace and yet he had done nothing to her for the past two weeks. In the few times she had passed him in the halls, he had given her a small cocky smile before continuing to do whatever he was doing. Besides these smiles he had done nothing! She thought she was here to be a diversion for him and he would tire of her quickly and possibly either send her on her way or have her killed. Either way, it would mean out of her current circumstances.
"Hikaru!" hissed Shub under her breath. She tugged on her fellow's slave's arm slightly. "Come. We must go. The King is going to be here for a while. We will return later to finish."
Of course. The King needed to be alone to enjoy his flowers and plants. She got to her feet and the chains of her shackles clacked against each other.
"Leaving so soon? Here I thought you were going to stay a while."
Hikaru jumped. The King was staring right at her! She shot a questioning look at Shub. How was one supposed to respond to this? Shub's eyes were wide. "Respond," she mouthed.
Her eyes flickered up to meet the King's red ones for a few brief seconds before she set them on the ground. "I thought you were going to enjoy the flowers by yourself without…" She mentally gritted her teeth."…slaves around."
"I'm sorry my king," spoke up Shub. She stood next to Hikaru and bowed her head low. "I am still teaching her the ways."
"Oh are you now?" The King grinned. "You may leave us," he directed at Shub. "I would like to speak with Hikaru in private."
"Of course my King," Shub replied quickly. She gave Hikaru a hopeful smile before she scurried away in the manner that all slaves did.
"Come closer Hikaru. There is room on this seat for two."
Hikaru's eyes narrowed as the King turned away from her and got comfortable in his seat again. This was it. It had to be. She had heard stories from the other slave girls how the King sometimes took them to his bed when they took to his fancy. Was that where this was going to end up? She detested the thought of it but if that was the only way out of this then she had no other options.
She walked around the bench and settled on the seat next to him but she kept as much space possible between the two of them.
He did not seem bothered by it as he just crossed his legs. "How has palace life been treating you? Got some more meat on those bones of you I see."
What was he up to? Why was he asking about her appearance? Yes, even the slaves in this palace ate better than she had before and she could tell that she had been gaining some weight as a result but why did that matter to this man, to this king?
"And you are still quiet," he grumbled. He leaned in close to her face and she tilted backwards to try to keep the distance between them. "What are you thinking about, woman?"
She set her eyes against the ground and stared at the chain pooled between her feet. What was up with this King? He was so strange. What did he want from her?
"I asked you a question!" he snapped. "Obey when your King orders something of you!" He grabbed her chin and forced her to look at him. He was grinning as he stared at her face. What was he seeing there that amused him so much? Were her foreign looks really that funny?
She swallowed. "I was wondering why I am here," she murmured.
He released her chin and she focused back on the ground and her chained feet. "I am a King, I like collecting things. I've never seen something like you before."
She curled her hands into fists. So that is what it was? She was just a part of his private collection now? "Then why am I not on display like the other statues here? Why am I crawling on my hands and knees as a slave even though I truly am not?"
"That would not be fun," he laughed. "Plus, a brand on your skin?" He lightly stroked her cheek. "That would mean marring your skin and I would not want that to happen."
She bit her lip and focused all of her attention on her chained feet. She curled her toes in sandals she had been given. Her first real pair of shoes. She had worn hand me downs in her life in the caravans but these were the first pair that she could call her own, even if they were just another reminder of who owned her now.
"Does this mean that I am never leaving this palace?" The words left her mouth before she could stop them.
He removed his hand from her cheek. She glanced over at him from the corner of her eye. If he wanted her way with her then just let him get over and done with it! This waiting around for things to happen was torturous!
No. He did not look furious with her. Or angry in any way. She had seen anger in many forms from the various shopkeepers she had stolen from over the years and even from the people in the caravans themselves. No. He had no expression close to that. In fact, could his expression be bemused?
"I am so happy I ended up pinning you down here," he said at last. "You are the most interesting thing here at the moment."
The most interesting? What was up with this King? He spoke nonsense! Her, interesting? If it was just based on her foreign looks then she could have accepted it but there seemed to be more than that there. What though? What was there?
She opened her mouth to speak but another voice spoke up first.
"My King! I need to speak with you!" An old man hobbled into the gardens. Ekur was his name if Hikaru remembered correctly. The King's baru. He was a nice man. He said big hello and good morning when any slave made eye contact with him. She had also had a couple of quick greetings with him as well. Apparently that was unusual according to Shub. He never talked to any slave like that. Maybe it was because she was unique in that regard.
As soon as the old man got closer to the King, he stopped running. His eyes widen slightly. Under his arm was a tablet in a very odd shape. Hikaru narrowed her eyes as she tried to figure out what it was.
"What is it Ekur?" asked the King.
"I must speak with you in private my King," Ekur replied. He moved his arm slightly and Hikaru got a glimpse of the tablet itself. It seemed to be broken down into multiple sections and in each section was a hole. Wait. Was this one of those liver reading texts that barus used?
"Is this very important?" grumbled the King. "I am a bit busy at the moment."
"Yes my King. I will deem this very important." The old man tapped a section on the tablet. "We need to speak about this now."
The King sighed and got to his feet. "We will continue our conversation later Hikaru."
She lowered her eyes to the ground. Like she had any choice in that matter.
"Bow to the King," snapped Ekur.
Hikaru jumped slightly. The old man's voice was so harsh!
"No, it's alright Ekur. I like her better this way," chuckled the King.
Hikaru got to her feet and bowed slightly. "I need to return to work, my King." She turned and headed for the bushes where she and Shub were hiding to pick up her basket. Behind her she heard the sound of the King's laughter.