Characters: Balthier, Ashe, Vaan, Gabranth, Ondore
Warning: Minor spoilers for game events. Includes canon character death.
Author's Note: Written for Round 5.06 in ultima_arena over at ff_land.
Title: "Of Candles and Stars"
This hero's journey is folly. Had he the will of a lesser man, he would quit this cause and take to the sky. He would leave the princess to her fate, she who is deemed worthy to stumble in the footsteps of dynastic forebear.
She is a shadow, as the candle is but pale imitation of brighter, burning stars. Her name may yet be writ bold in blood on the sands of her kingdom, but she, as he, is only a hume-child, and she is vulnerable, and venerable as the dawn.
She is the dawn, and he cannot look away.
The boy is vermin. Ratsbane, he's called on the dark streets below the sand. He has the stench of Rabanastre about him, of stagnant water and baking stone. Son of the desert, son of Dalmasca, a waterway wayfarer with his head in the clouds.
Lost child, soft-eyed, hopeful. His body is sharp, hardened by hunger. On his person, quartz and turquoise to mark his low birth. His heart is nourished by the runoff of war. He has no cause, no purpose, only anger, a sun-fed fire and the quick strike of his steel.
He is vermin. He is what remains.
Title: "Best Laid Plans"
Characters: Vaan (Vaan/Penelo)
He doesn't know how this happened. He was careful. Kept her out of it. Now she's snatched by bangaa, holed up in a mine. She's probably hurt, hungry. His guilt mounts by the minute.
She wasn't supposed to get tangled in his mess – not that he'd intended to make a mess, but he's past dwelling on that now. He's up to his ears in traitors and pirates and plots, and all he can think about is Penelo. It's making it hard to keep his head, and he needs his head because even he can see.
Penelo is a trap.
Title: "The Judge Magister"
Characters: Gabranth (Gabranth/Drace)
Gabranth is a man haunted.
Anger is a taint upon his soul, its possession of him as strong as the hold of a demon out of the darkest hell, bloodied claws sunk deep into his heart. He is at the mercy of his memory, and with his own hands, he commits the horrors from which his noble brother turns his head away in sorrow and shame.
There is king's blood on these hands, boy's blood, brother's blood.
And now hers, even hers. He takes his blade to she whom he loves and calls it justice.
Gabranth is a man damned.
Title: "Her Only Wish"
Characters: Marquis Halim Ondore IV, Ashe
Ashelia. Never was there more dutiful of a child, sweet of spirit, wise beyond her years.
This young woman who stands in opposition to him, who is she?
This woman is a stranger, hardened by life underground, bitter by necessity.
He remembers this gentle face, full of hollow and shadow. He knows these grey eyes, knows the burning resolve within them. It fills him with grief.
“Uncle,” she pleads with him.
To steel himself is no easy thing.
To stand aside and let her disappear into the night with the pirate and her knight, this is hardest of all.