Illya stood in a room familiar to her – she was sure it had been hers. Currently, everything was fuzzy. She recalled her name as clear as day, but where she had been and what had happened were things she had trouble focusing on. Illya turned to a mirror and regarded her reflection with intensity. Her body was… different, more grown to that of her actual age. However, these seals that ran down her arms and legs were foreign and stung as shown an angry red. She cupped her breasts finding them heavier, her skin nearly white as porcelain, pubic hair that matched her long snowy hair. Illya’s eyes settled on her own face and immediately saw a face so extraordinarily familiar that it unsettled her – what was she forgetting?
“Glad to see you awake, Illya.” Came a voice from behind.
Illya turned to see an older man standing stoically before her. She eyed him warily before recognition began to form as a smile spread across her face.
“Grandfather!” Illya ran to him and wrapped her arms around his neck.
Jubstacheit von Einzbern held Illya tight in his arms before letting her go. Though technically not her actual grandfather he assumed the role since her birth. He looked at her body, eyeing the red seals that marked her skin. It seemed that Kirei had been successful. He reached out and closed her robe before leading her to take a seat on the bed.
“Kotomine tells me you are having trouble remembering.” He says, regarding her with intrigue.
Illya lowered her eyes. “Yes…” She said, looking out a large window. Snow was falling outside and as she stared at it, a memory began resurfacing. “Though some things come back to me. I… I remember playing in the snow… and a walnut.”
Jubstacheit lips were pressed hard into a line as he watched Illya recall a memory of that failure of a man, Kiristugu Emiya. He looked from the window back to Illya and imagined that her memory could be jogged from various things, but was glad it seemed to be returning sooner rather than later. She would have to remember everything for the Einzberns to finally succeed in the holy grail war.
“I want you to meet with Kotomine,” Jubstacheit said as he rose from his seat. “He will help you remember everything.”
Illya nodded as she watched him take his leave. She stood and went to the dresser, finding a sheer nightgown to put on. Her eyes were drawn to the marks that were still visible under the garmet, finding it unsettling she threw on a coat. She was about to take her leave when a small wooden box atop the dresser grabbed her attention. It was beautiful. Made of dark mahogany and beset with intricate carved designs. She ran her hands along it, finding a small drawer and opened it. The contents were rather perplexing. She pulled a walnut bud from it, regarding it carefully. Unsure of what to make of it, but felt a sudden wetness on her hand then realized it was coming from her eyes. Tears ran down her cheeks though she wasn’t sure why. She quickly rubbed her face on her sleeve before leaving her room.
A car had come to pick her up and take her to the destination. She leaned against the window, watching the scenery blur before her eyelids became heavy and she soon drifted off into sleep.
She was crawling… Reaching for someone, but everything hurt; she was in so much pain. Her hand stretched out toward a large figure that had fallen. She needed to touch him. She needed to say something, but blood was thick in her mouth and the smell filled her nostrils. She called out again though didn’t understand the name or what it meant.
“Ms. Einzbern, we have arrived.”
The driver’s voice roused Illya from her short slumber. She sat up, popping the crick in her neck as the drive got out.
“Berserker…” Illya said to herself. She wasn’t sure what the name meant, but saying it made her feel something lodge in her throat as if her subconscious was having a hard time handling the emotions that name elicited.
The driver opened the door and she stepped out, finding they had arrived at a church. This caused Illya to grimace as she stepped through the gates and made her way to the doors. She hesitated, glancing around only to see that her driver had stayed behind. Great. She was going to have to do this alone. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath before entering the church. It was quiet, eerily so. Dust particles could be seen in the moonlight shining through the stained glass, the air was stagnant and something about it was… wrong. She came to an altar, exploring its contents out of curiosity, but found nothing but a ratted book. She sighed turning toward the benches as she stood alone. Under her feet was a ritual circle with intricacies like the one she awoke in, but altered somehow. She eyed it perplexingly, trying to figure out its purpose.
“You’re here.” The voice came from beside her. She turned to face the man her grandfather had meant for her to meet and who she first saw when she awoke.
“Kirei Kotomine.” She said. “Grandfather said you could help me remember.”
Kirei said nothing as he approached. The resemblance to the woman he killed was remarkable. However, it irritated Kirei as the woman stood staring him dead in the eye with the gaze that reminded him of an owl. He had never imagined the man’s daughter would remind Kirei of him, but her firm and cautious gaze was just like his. He stood just at the edge of a few steps below where she was standing.
“Stand in the middle of that circle and take off your clothes.” He said.
“What?” Illya said rather confused.
Illya suddenly saw her grandfather before her during a blizzard when she was much younger. The cold was ripping at her skin while he was yelling at her to withstand it. A sharp pain in her head pulled her from that memory. She put her fingers to her temple as if trying to massage the pain away. She looked at Kirei with narrowed eyes as she took deep breaths.
“Will they all be painful to remember?” Illya asked.
Illya stood up straighter, staring at him for a moment before she began removing her clothes until she stood naked in the dim light of the church. “Then continue.” She said. Every bone in her body was hesitating, but Illya wanted to remember, she needed to.
“Very well.” Kirei stood with his hands behind his back. “Einzberns. Tosakas. Matous.”
Illya gave Kirei a raised brow before she realized he was saying names to jog her memory.
Ba-bump. Illya felt something stir inside her as the circle she stood in began to faintly glow.
“Assassin. Lancer. Caster. Rider. Berserker.”
Her head felt like it had a crack in it as images began clouding her vision. She was running in snow, there were wolves and she called for someone, summoned them – a servant, Berserker.
Illya gasped as she recalled a woman, a servant, with a powerful sword. A brilliant blonde with a sword that was the definition of light. A glorious woman… a woman she fought?
“Holy Grail. Magi. Angra Mainyu. Gilgamesh.”
Pain erupted through her gut, dropping her to her knees as she let out a cry. Various visions came at once, causing a migraine as she felt like her head was splitting open. Illya remembered. Remembered the feeling of him plunging a sword into her, her grabbing at her abdomen as he sliced her eyes. Each vision forced her to re-experience those emotions, those feelings. She let out a cry of pain as she began to recall everything. The circle around her lit up and the seals on her body burned a bright red.
Mama. A gentle hand that cupped her face, stroked her hair.
Papa… Papa… Illya let out a pained scream through gritted teeth as tears began streaming down her cheeks. The name held such love within her, but something made her feel bitter. He was not here anymore nor was her mother. Why?
Illya snapped her head up as she held herself, wide, tear-filled eyes stared at Kirei or rather passed him. Shirou Emiya. She could see him before her. A red headed boy and beside him stood her father, her papa. Instinctively, Illya reached out a hand. “Papa!” She screamed to the illusions. “Papa don’t leave me.”
Watching this was rather pathetic. Kirei stepped to the side, glancing toward the empty space that the woman was fixated on, calling to no one. His eyes fell to the circle that illuminated with such light that he had to shield his eyes.
Her father vanished, leaving the red-haired boy standing with a smile on his face as Illya began hyperventilating. He was the one, the one her papa had chosen to keep, chosen to be with. Illya screamed as the emotional and physical pain overwhelmed her, but her eyes were open and straining. Suddenly the circle reacted with greater power. Illya pushed herself from the floor, struggling to a standing position as a dark aura erupted all around her.
Kirei’s eyes widened as he saw. Typically, when the grail selected its heroes it wasn’t this reactive, but something about this vessel was catalyzing it with such power. What was happening?
“Kill... them.” Illya said, though her voice sounded as if there was another, darker voice on top of it. “I will devour their souls, feed, and lay waste to this eternal world!”
In a massive blast, the light erupted into the sky causing a gust of wind to blast through the church. Kirei was knocked back into a bench, barely able to see what was happening. Illya stood at the center of the circle, face toward the sky, fists clenched, and mouth open, screaming. The command seals that were on her body were peeled off one-by-one and vanished upward into the sky. Kirei watched as something spread around Illya. He could see the dark aura surround her, no, it was a figure that looked to be converging on her. Was this him? Illya felt something enter her and in that same second the vortex of energy ceased and she fell to the ground.
Kirei got to his feet, approaching Illya. He stood over her body, finding her unconscious. The circle and command seals had vanished. He winced as he felt a sharp pain on his hand. He lifted his sleeve to find a seal and something on his face occurred without his control; he grinned. A twisted grin spread across his face as he began to chuckle. So, it would begin again. Everything, was set in place. His chuckled erupted into mania as he laughed hysterically before he covered his mouth and attempted to calm himself. He cleared his throat and picked up Illya’s body, taking her back to her driver.
“You are to take her back to the estate and tell the head it was successful.” Kirei said while the driver put her in the backseat and put her coat over her naked body. The driver nodded obediently before getting into the car. Kirei watched as they drove off, disappearing behind a bend. “Three years from this day, another Holy Grail War will commence.” He looked up at the sky with a wicked smile. “And this time Angra Mainyu will finally be unleashed.”