lassarina: (Basch: Even Caged Birds Need Wings)
[personal profile] lassarina posting in [community profile] rose_in_winter
Characters: Basch
Rating: G
Contains: Spoilers
Wordcount: 371
Notes: Written for the prompt "return to the place where it all began"
Betas: None
Summary: The fall of Nabudis was the start of everything.

This is where it all began.

Basch knows well enough that it truly began far from here, in council rooms hidden in the Archadian palace or even beyond that, in Emperor Gramis's chambers and the history of perpetual not-quite-war between Archades and Rozarria; he might even say that it began in Landis, when he and Noah fled their homeland, one to the shadow of Empire and one to the sun-blasted desert.

Yet it is Nabudis that tastes of bitter beginnings and ashen endings.

Out of habit, he leads the way out of the Salikawood, his shield raised against any initial guardians, but he halts when he tastes Mist thick and bitter on his tongue, and sickly-sweet like decay in the back of his throat. The death that Archades wrought with deifacted nethicite brushes icy fingers down his spine, and warns him that he treads on unhallowed ground.

He knew this place once, when war had not yet brought it low. He remembers visiting the Verdpale Palace as part of King Raminas's entourage, when the King sought to make a pact for his daughter's hand. The palace had been a glorious jewel box nestled in the center of a shimmering lake. Basch remembers thinking that Her Royal Highness would be enchanted, and perhaps a bit alarmed, at the richness of so much water seething carelessly around the palace—so much water that it could be wasted on the dozens of tiny fountains, streams, and lakes that played their delicate music all day and night.

Ashe never saw the Nabudis that was. Perhaps that is for the better.

Her brisk step behind him jars him back to the present, and he turns to face her. "This is all that remains of Nabudis," he says, and sees recognition in her eyes.

He does not expect her to crumple, but all the same he is surprised—and ashamed that he is—when she straightens her shoulders and marches forward as though this were any other part of Ivalice. He must hurry to put himself before her once again, the shield arm that he failed to be for her, for Rasler.

He will see that it does not end as it began.
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