Shutur Eli Sharri (Gilgamesh)

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Shutur Eli Sharri (Gilgamesh)
Date of Cutscene: 22 October 2018
Location: Copenhagen, Metastasis Denmark
Synopsis: Gilgamesh continues his path through the Epic that is his past and his future as he enacts it in the modern world.
Cast of Characters: Gilgamesh

The King sat down in the conference room. It was disgustingly modern. A slick black table surrounded by heavy black chairs, with the sort of joyless red carpet you find in places that drink the life out of even the most vibrant fabric. Electric lights hummed overhead. The girl at the desk had called them 'fluorescent.' The King called them 'obnoxious.' They cast a glare down across the reflective surface of the table, glinting off bald pates and silver chair arms. Flickering screens filled with black-and-white snow lined the walls. Perfect fingers tapped against perfect cheeks impatiently and irritably. He hated this room. It was in all ways an emblem of what he despised.

The men in this room had crowned him. They sought to make their country strong. A noble gesture that the King could appreciate, no matter how the stink of corruption swelled in his nose. They were the modern elite, nobility in all but name. They were elected, true, but they were rich, and they wore what passed as modern fineries, and they believed themselves masters of their world. They were rich enough to have a mage in attendance, the very mage who had urged them after the Grail Shard that had pulled the King of Heroes out of his own time. That mage was responsible for dragging the King of Heroes into this putrid swamp of human decay, into this maggot-ridden corpse that once had been his garden. That long-fingered mage, with whorls on the back of his hand, with thin glasses perched on a sharp nose and thin lips pursed in a sharp frown, with a gold pocketwatch on a bronze chain tucked into his breast pocket.

Gilgamesh had yet to figure out his angle.

That was never good.

The mage pushed his glasses up on his nose as he met the King's cold red gaze. He drummed those slender fingers against his wrist. "Your Majesty."

"Speak, Isometsa."

"The Association sent a gift to apologize for the recent border affair. It seems some hostiles came after an artifact in one of their secret bases and caused some trouble. While they claim everything was wrapped up neatly, I understand from reliable sources that they are having a bit of trouble." Jeremias removed his hand from his wrist. "I imagine they are hoping to court your aid, your Highness, in capacity as a sovereign rather than a member of the Paladins."

"Den onde lyne mig," the Minister of Foreign Affairs muttered, wiping his brow, "Multi-verses, wizards, heroes...this is too much, Jeremias, too much." He was a heavy-set man with a full head of blonde hair who reminded Gilgamesh entirely too much of a pig. "The Queen's failing health was not an excuse to wrap us up into all this nonsense. For God's sakes, the President of America wears a lion mask!"

"The King of Inventors is a reasonably pleasant man," Gilgamesh observed idly, picking up a pen and fingering it as he pretended to think, "He understands, as you do, what makes a country strong is its people. He's simply wrong about why."

"King of Inventors indeed," Foreign Affairs said. He stuffed his handkerchief back into his pocket and exhaled. "What next? Will we see Hans Christian Andersen walk the streets of Copenhagen anew? This is ridiculous. We sit mere feet from the first king of humanity and pretend as if it is normal. We pretend that Boston was a simple terrorist attack. We all saw the footage. The world saw the footage, man! And then the next day it was gone, and the networks spat out lies about domestic terrorists and hallucinations. How do we live in this world? How do we face this world?"

Gilgamesh said nothing. He simply continued fiddling with the pen. It was black and gold, and terribly sharp. The Minister of Finance spoke up.

"The country's in free-fall, your Majesty. The whole world's been on edge since the attack. We're on the verge of a financial crisis." She slapped her hand on the table. "You're supposed to be the perfect King, aren't you? Do you think we convinced Parliament to give you emergency powers for fun? You're meant to fix this!"

Still, Gilgamesh said nothing. Finance sagged backwards and bit her lip. "I'm sorry. Fear keeps people from investing. They want something they can be certain in, and with the markets spiralling, so is the economy. I know it's not your fault-"

At last, the King held up his hand, silencing them all with a motion. "It is my fault."

They stopped, and stared. The Minister of Defense coughed into her sleeve. "Sir, are you implying that you attacked America…?"

"Hmph. Don't be ludicrous." Gilgamesh levelled the pen like a blade. "It is my fault because I am the King. You are correct. The King is responsible for the health of his country. I, who have been absent these two years, did nothing but lament the state of this world of mine."

Jeremias suddenly looked out the window, as if something very interesting was flying past.

"But thanks to associates in the Paladins," Gilgamesh continued, the pen swinging to the side and spinning between his fingers, "I have been convinced otherwise. I have been convinced to *do* something for my fallen world."

"That's...good?" Defense said hesitantly. The others around the table nodded. Gilgamesh chuckled, and Jeremias stepped back a bit more, against the wall, to check his pocketwatch.

"It is," Gilgamesh said, "It is good. One by one, the evils plaguing this country will vanish. And then, that will extend outwards to the world."

"Which evils, your Majesty?" Finance asked. Gilgamesh laughed again.

"All of them."

"I'm afraid I don't understand." Finance leaned forward. Gilgamesh did the same, steepling his fingers in front of his face. His red eyes glinted dangerously, and she swallowed. It was like looking into the eyes of a beast. Something terrible and primordial. For a brief instant, Finance wondered if perhaps they had made a grave mistake.

Then he spoke, and she was certain that they had. Jeremias reached over and spoke a few words against the door handle.

"The first step will be reforming the government. Excising the pointless leeches. Minimizing overhead. Purging the corrupt. Downsizing. Appointing the qualified." Gilgamesh's eyes flashed. "Once that is done, I will begin speaking with my new advisors."

"Your, your Majesty," Finance began. Gilgamesh cut her off with a motion.

"You." He stood, and his black coat rolled off him like a cape, and his eyes became twin red suns. "You have each of you committed crimes against the state." He began walking around the table, his fingers drumming against Defense's chair as he stopped behind the balding man. "You are bought and paid for by merchants from other lands." He moved to Foreign Affairs. "You pay foreign lovers from government coffers." He stopped behind Finance. "You fix the markets to your own favor."

"Y, you have no proof of that," Foreign Affairs spoke, rising from his chair, "You can't simply make accusations and expect us to take them seriously! You can't just-"

The pen tore through his throat and embedded itself in the wall next to Jeremias. The table went silent as Foreign Affairs fell to the ground with a wet, sick thump. Gilgamesh's eyes were completely empty. As if he had simply crushed an annoying bug under his feet.

"I am the King. You cannot hide your wickedness from me."

"Please," Finance murmured, "I have a daughter at home."

"I will ensure that she is well-cared-for," Gilgamesh said.

"You can't do this," she pleaded. It fell upon deaf ears.

Jeremias had to look away. He stared at the door for a solid ten minutes, fervently wishing that the silence spell he had cast on the walls extended to his own ears. Finally, mercifully, it was over. He turned back to the King of Heroes, who stood at the window, hands tucked behind his back, coated in blood. The corpses of the government's highest-ranking administrators littered the field. They, who had built the systems Denmark now ran on, lay dead in their own seats of power at the feet of the most powerful monarch to have ever lived.

And Jeremias had unleashed him on the world.

"Jeremias Isometsa," Gilgamesh said, tilting his head backwards to look the mage in the eye. The King's fingers, slick with blood, ran through his blonde hair. Jeremias pressed his hand against his chest and bowed.

"What would you have me do, great King of Heroes?"

"Conduct divinations to find the most qualified individuals in this country. Put out word that the King of Denmark seeks talent from other countries, too." Gilgamesh's eyes were red glass. "Reform will be swift and bloody. But this country will be strong in the end."

"Yes." Electricity tingled in the ends of Jeremias's fingers.

The King turned and headed for the door. He paused, his hand on the handle, and flicked his eyes at the mage. "And clean up this mess."

And then, like the sun setting behind a mountain, the King's glory surged forth and vanished from the room as he strode forth into the office building. The Gate of Babylon had already cleaned the blood from his body, scarves vanishing back into the ripples. His hands sank into his pockets as he stopped in the elevator. It took him a moment to remember how to work it.

It took him three floors to put a sword in the speaker, showering the other occupants with sparks. What they called music in modernity was simply abhorrent.

In the lobby, the secretary gave him a hopeful smile, and he returned it before glancing at the screens behind her.

"King of Denmark recently pulled out of the European Union-"

"Reclusive King Gil pulling Denmark from NATO and the United Nations has raised tensions in Europe, with some speculating Russian interference-"

"In financial news, the reclusive new King of Denmark sent a press release announcing larger-than-normal tax breaks for companies operating under government subsidization, challenging EU rules on fair business-"

Gilgamesh closed his eyes.

Yes. He would do something about this world of his.

He would right it. Even if he exhausted the country to do it. And then, when the world cried out for reprieve…

...would the gods send him? Would the long-absent gods still be able to reach across the vast gulf of time? Would his mother?

What would he be like? The brother who would calm his stormy heart?

And when Gugalanna came for his kingdom, would it be Ishtar who brought its foot down into the modern age?

And would he have the strength to face his brother's death twice over?

He, Shutur Eli Sharri, Surpassing All Other Kings, walked out of the building, ignoring the flirting eyes and short skirt of the secretary as he entered the streets of Copenhagen. Reform would be swift and bloody. He would exhaust the country of all its strength, and give it riches beyond imagination.

That was what they had asked of him.