It all started so innocently. Her heart was aching with loss and sorrow; mine was hard as stone and filled with thoughts of revenge. Yet, it was her cries, her tears that made me realize there was more to this journey than just toppling the Empire. There was much more to it than that. And she showed me what.
We had returned from the Henne Mines later in the day, the Garif, the tribe's people of Jahara, saw to our return and were a bit surprised.
Ashe had found none but disappointment with herself in the meeting with the Garif Elder. Her hopes of using the Dawn Shard as a weapon against the Empire of Archadia proved to be tall tales. Because the stone had lost its powers destroying the Leviathan it was now rendered useless. Even though she had shown obvious disappointment in front of everyone, that was only a sample of how the Princess really felt. She was beside herself, but as she lay in her tent, the flap open for the moon's rays to come in, she slowly but surely started to fall into a form of despair she had not felt in years. 'My chances for a quick victory once again failed to bore fruit, and now I must start from scratch again..." she whispered to herself, curling under her thick fur blankets, which didn't help that she had cold despite the warmth given to her.
Warmth that she had been denied continually since her kingdom was lost two years ago. First, her new husband Prince Rasler was killed fighting for Dalmasca, then her beloved father the King fell because of by an assassin's blade, and then the hat trick, Dalmasca was conquered and it all happened in less than a week. Since then, Ashe had been fighting against impossible odds against the most powerful Empire Ivalice had ever known, and her only true weapon now was the determination to see it fall, and her anger and wish for revenge had been the fuel for the fire.
But, despite all of her sacrifice, she kept hitting the wall with failure. The assault on her former castle had been the first blow, the second was when her own trusted friend Vossler became a turncoat, believing that to save Ashe he had to side with the Empire. In the end that had cost him his life. The final nail was Ashe's own hope on the Dawn Shard, a stone believed to destroy all of its enemies in a single blow. But now it was almost as useful as a throwing stone.
"Now its useless..." Ashe whispered before adjusting her arm under the pillow she was using. What was she going to do now? That little bit of despair was starting to well up in her as she thought about how she could continue her fight. A fight that was looking more and more vain with each passing day. With everything that has gone on the past few days, was it even worth it trying to fight?
"No...it will not end. Not until this body of mine has breathed its last breath," Ashe said, trying to sound tough, to make herself sound like she was invincible, but it was like trying to toughen a child. She missed her father, her homeland, and she greatly missed her lost love Rasler. She would never show her weakness to her companions, nor anyone else that knew her, but the truth was that the mighty Ashe, fallen Princess of Dalmasca and leader of the Resistance, was afraid. Afraid of being alone, in the dark, surrounded by enemies. Her heart was not totally shattered, still there but pieces were falling. Ashe was no longer a child, but as her tears started to fall, she wished that she could have been one once again.
The Princess' eyes shot open and she sat up, seeing a boy kneeling in the entrance of her tent. Wiping the tears that had fallen from the corners of her eyes away, Ashe regained what composure she had left to answer, "Vaan...?"
"I thought I heard you from outside. Something wrong?"
Ashe took a few seconds to see that Vaan appeared to be genuinely concerned about her. The boy, aged seventeen and two years her junior, crawled on into the tent, closing the flap behind him. Ashe shook her head, "I'm fine, but I appreciate your concern."
"No disrespect, Princess, but you're a horrible liar," he replied.
The Princess rolled back to her side, "Why are you here." And that wasn't a question directed at Vaan either.
"Well, I did say-"
"Never mind. You came here looking to console me, am I right? If that is the case forget it."
Vaan chuckled and despite her harsh words, he sat next to her, her back still to him. "Like I said before, you're a horrible liar."
"You love repeating yourself don't you?"
"Only when necessary. Besides, you're sobbing I heard as I was passing, it was hard to ignore."
I was not sobbing, I'm tougher than that, she wanted to say, but Vaan would have seen through that, so she kept quiet. She tried to keep her legs together for warmth as she shivered from the cold.
Then she felt a blanket go up to her shoulders. She immediately grabbed it out of reflex. "Well, I guess if my company is not needed, then I'll go back to my tent. See you in the morning, Princess." She heard him say as he left her alone in the dark again. Ashe sat up and now felt even worse. He had tried to help her out and she had told him off.
She cursed her insensitiveness, she clutched the blanket tighter. It had been a while since she had been given some sort of consoling, but what little she got, Ashe was grateful for. "It was comforting..." she said a loud, feeling a bit warmer, and more comfortable once again.
She said, just as sleep started to take her, "Thank you, Vaan..."