lassarina: (Ashe:  Kill It With A Stick)
[personal profile] lassarina posting in [community profile] rose_in_winter
Characters: Ashe
Rating: G
Contains: Substantial spoilers
Wordcount: 586
Notes: Written for 2017 promptfest with [personal profile] seventhe, for the prompt "FF12: Anointed"
Betas: n/a
Summary: She had not envisioned her coronation thus.

Ashe had not envisioned her coronation thus.

As a child, of course, she had envisioned it not at all; she had brothers, who preceded her in line, and so her training was that of a princess not in the line of succession. She knew politics and history and language in addition to the pursuits of a well-bred young lady, because all of those things made her a good candidate for alliance and were skills necessary for a queen-consort or princess-consort.

When the plague came, and her brothers fell one by one, their tutors became her tutors. She learned land management, battle tactics, the intricacies of water rights, and the history and weight of law, as well as dances from a dozen cultures and social niceties. When she protested these, her etiquette tutor told her that she needed to know it so that her insults would be intentional, not unwitting, and so that she would recognize both sorts coming from another.

After that, Princess Ashelia was quick to master even the soft arts.

When she married Rasler, she envisioned their joint coronation as monarchs of Nabradia and Dalmasca, where together they would rule fairly and keep their small kingdoms safe from the predations of Rozarria and Archades. She sometimes drew designs for their joint seal in the margins of her notes at council meetings, as other girls might draw designs for a new ballgown or a ring.

When she fled the palace in Vossler's wake, she was too frightened to think of coronation, and then too exhausted from the brutal work of learning to fight like a soldier and run a war in the shadows with no true army. When sorrow threatened to drown her, she burned it back with fury, with a vision not of a crown and scepter, but of a baptism in Archadian blood. In the world of the resistance, she had no room for law and justice; she must fight the enemy on their terms, and those terms were treason and blood.

When Vossler betrayed her, she thought she would die in the cells of an Archadian battleship, and the dreams of Dalmasca would die with her, strangled and crushed by an Archadian boot.

After that, she was too busy running and fighting to envision it at all.

Yet now she knelt on the steps of her palace, in a gown the likes of which she had not worn in nigh three years, and the Kiltias prayed over her. His fingers touched her brow, smearing oil on her skin, and in it she felt not benediction, but a sentence more absolute than any Judge might mete out. For three years, she had thrown aside all that she had been taught in the driving effort to come to this moment. The weight on her shoulders was not just that of her people and their needs, but also the death of Gran Kiltias Anastasis, and foes too numerous to count, and men who had died in following her orders. The crown rested heavy on her head as the Kiltias pronounced his prayers.

The Occuria, too, had sought to anoint her their champion, and that she had refused. She wondered if that would tip the scales when at last her accounts were tallied.

"Faram," the Kiltias said, and offered a hand to help her to her feet.

"Faram," she replied, and accepted.

The oil itched on her brow as she turned to face Dalmasca as its queen at last.

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The Rose In Winter

September 2017

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