A/N: Hello, fellows! A lot of time has past since I've written something for FEH, hasn't it? Well, with how much the game has grown over the past year-and-eight months, I'm glad that Flora's finally a member of the ever-growing Order of Heroes! While this fanfiction is without a doubt a guilty pleasure of mine to write, I hope you'll enjoy it even a tiny bit.
Last one to sleep, yet the earliest to rise. A servant's life demanded much of them, but only the best would suffice for their masters. Flora held this ideal for over a decade, and it served her well in the role that she played. Still, that was back when she lived in Nohr, and Askr was vastly different from it in almost every way. Then again, old habits remain the longest, especially when they used to form one's entire life. While sweeping one of the many halls just before sunrise, Flora allowed herself a few minutes to bask in the break of dawn and reflect on the new world she found herself in, as well as her place in it.
The kingdom of Askr had some of the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets she'd ever seen. To be fair, the best Nohr could do compared to the sun was to literally hold a candle. Furthermore, vibrant plains of grass carpeted the path to the horizon, and the air was crisp and clean. In a way, it seemed much like the kingdom of Hoshido, Nohr's far more prosperous neighbor. With such boons just outside her window, she almost couldn't blame Nohr's ruler for wanting it all for himself. Almost.
Muspell, however, was far more like the nation she despised. Much like Nohr, it was filled with barren wasteland, though most of it was scorched in Muspell's case. The nation was led by Sutr, a monarch cherishing nothing but conquest and destruction, and though she never saw the man in person, all the stories she heard about him told her that he shared the same lack of humanity as Nohr's own monarch. Supposedly, in Sutr's last moments, another version of her stood by to guard him. Albeit baffled at first, Flora soon learned of the contracts he used to force Heroes to bend the knee. She detested the mere concept, as it brought back horrible memories of the time Garon visited the Ice Tribe and took two innocent children to work for his own adopted child.
Speaking of Garon, knowing that the king of Nohr that forced her sister and her into servitude was lodged in the same castle as them sent unbearable shivers down her spine. She wanted the Summoner to simply send him back, but they both knew better. Garon was far less of a liability here, where he was the soldier and not the commander.
Nifl, the kingdom of ice, once fell under attack by Muspell, and Askr came to its aid long before she arrived. While the blistering chill felt comfortably familiar to her, Flora dreaded ever coming back. The problem wasn't that it was too different from her home for her to enjoy. Rather, it was the exact opposite. Nifl's mere existance showed her what the Ice Tribe could have achieved if not for its subjugation, and she bore bitter feelings towards the kingdom for showing her that cold truth.
She couldn't hold a grudge against its royals, though. They were too kind for her to hate, yet she envied their titles all the same. The Ice Tribe still held the potential to rise to such greatness, she knew that much. However, Flora wasn't confident that she'd be the one to lead it down that path. If politics ever turned to war, the tribe would find itself dependant on her twin sister Felicia to lead them into battle, while the best she could do was patch up those that came back hurt. Unfortunately for her, Felicia had her heart set on serving their liege Corrin, leaving her alone as the next chieftain.
What could she do for the Ice Tribe? Hell, what could she do for the Order of Heroes?! There were countless heroes of legend present, from the Hero-King to the descendants of the twelve crusaders of Judgral, and yet here she was. What right had she to be standing amongst them?! All of these heroes who've bleed, struggled, and triumphed for the sake of their kingdoms resided in the castle's walls. Perhaps all they needed from her was her servitude, since Felicia proved herself to be a far more talented fighter than her.
Flora sighed, hung her head down in shame, and thought, That's it. They need me to be a maid. I'm here for nothing more, and I will do no less, I suppose.
Suddenly, she heard footsteps and quickly returned to her work as to not appear secretly slothful. From around the corner, a familiar white coat marked with shining golden patterns emerged, and Flora eased up as she recognized the visitor. From across the hallway, the Summoner waved a hand at her.
Kiran shouted, "Good morning, Flora! I see you're up as early as ever!" and walked closer, careful not to undo her hard work.
Hearing their voice soothed her spirits, and she replied, "As is expected of me." Then, her tone became mildly strict as she scolded the Summoner. "You could stand to get some more sleep though! We can't have you falling asleep on the battlefield, Kiran!" It was no secret that the Summoner would stay awake into the dead of night, whether it was by spending time with other Heroes, brushing up on the various worlds' histories in the archive, or staying in their room to work out new strategies and new team compositions. Flora noticed that they spent so much time helping others or improving themself, but rarely took so much as a moment to relax.
They took a step back in embarrassment. "I appreciate the concern, Flora. I really do, but I'm pretty sure a few hours of missed sleep won't be so bad on me." Flora didn't hold her ire for long, as the sweeping distracted her from her fleeting emotions.
She requested, "If it's not too much to ask, could you check up on Felicia? I haven't seen nor heard of her yet." Flora's sister shared her habit of waking up and working early. Normally, they'd come across each other as they tidied up the castle, but Flora didn't notice her presence at all that morning. Thus, either Felicia overslept, which was almost impossible, or… she found trouble.
Kiran rubbed the back of their head as they muttered, "Yeah… Already did that."
Flora raised an eyebrow at their vagueness. "Really? Where is she then? Did she make another mess?!" As she asked the third consecutive question with concern, she set her broom aside so she could prepare to rush over to her sister's side if needed.
"She's stuck in her room. Apparently, she was trying to polish the door handle when it broke, accidentally locking herself inside. I can't blame her, though. This castle's fairly old." They could easily see Flora's eyes widen as she gasped.
"What?! Tell me you're already working to free her!"
"Yeah. I've got Gaius working on the lock as we speak. Had to make a little, uh, sweet deal to get him up this early. I would've gotten a flier to help her out of her room, but unfortunately, most of the fliers and their mounts are still sound asleep, and I can't seem to find the few that aren't."
Flora gave a sigh of relief as a hand went up to touch her blood-red brooch. "That's good to hear. I'm sorry for any trouble she may have caused you!" Her other hand went towards the broom and she returned to sweeping.
The Summoner cracked a smile as they shook their head. "It's no trouble at all. Say, I hear tonight's gonna have a clear sky. How about we go stargazing again?"
She gripped the broom handle just a tad harder at Kiran's suggestion. Sure, it wasn't the first time they've gone stargazing together, but Kiran was spending an awful amount of time just with her recently.
"I'd be glad to," she responded, a cool breeze slipping past her.
"Great! I'll see you tonight at the usual place!" With that, the Summoner walked off, leaving Flora to stew in her thoughts.
She pondered, Kiran, what's the point of all this? What do you plan to get from me being here? Then, she shook the thought away from focus. Jakob's cooking would soon wake the rest of the castle up, and once they got moving, she'd have to look after each and every one of them.
That day was just as busy as any other: making sure that the young dragons did not run amok, stopping the usual tricksters from pulling their pranks, preparing food and clean laundry for everyone, rescuing Setsuna from yet another pitfall trap, and many more miscellaneous missions. After the majority of the Order of Heroes retired for the night, Flora snuck off into the forest, travesting a familiar path until she reached a cliff that overlooked a lake surrounded by cliffsides.
The Summoner called out to her. "Flora! Over here!"
Flora walked over to Kiran, where they sat on a spread blanket. She sat down next to them, resting on her own knees and giving off a cool air of refinement. Together, their heads looked up at the darkened sky and the lights that twinkled from above.
Flora sighed and remarked, "The stars are always so wonderful." Despite the resentment she held for Nohr, one thing that she always enjoyed was looking towards the stars. Time and time again, she would watch them beam with delight, and all of her worries would melt away, if only for a moment.
"Hey, Flora. Mind if I ask you a question?" Kiran had turned to face her, their smile hiding a bit of curiosity behind it.
She looked at them quizzically, but shook her head. "Go ahead. It'd be no problem at all."
"Thanks. Okay, so here it is. What do you think goes in making a great ruler?"
Her eyes widened as she processed the words. "A-a great ruler?" Kiran nodded their head, telling her that she heard correctly.
Flora took a few minutes to mull over her thoughts. True, she had always had fantasies of one day leading the Ice Tribe, but she never stopped to think about what being a leader truly meant. When could she have stopped to think, anyway? With Corrin to take care of and Felicia to look after, she just didn't have the time. It took a few minutes, but the ideals she coveted became finally clear.
Hesitantly, she replied, "I suppose a great ruler has to put their people before them in any case. They must ensure the safety and well-being of everyone, and they must have the strength and willpower to sacrifice even themselves for the sake of their nation."
The Summoner stared at her, eyes wide with interest. "I see. Y'know, you've described a lot of people with that description. There's Marth, Leif, Eliwood, Chrom… "
Flora shook her head with realization. Of course, she thought, of course such famous heroes would have those exact traits. They're the exact opposite of me. I'm, I'm just a coward, only ever thinking of myself and hurting the people I should be-
"Come to think of it, that describes you too, right?" Those words had utterly demolished her train of thought as the Summoner pointed a finger directly at her while keeping a warm smile. The blush that formed on her face seared her skin as she waved frantically in denial.
"E-eh?! N-no, that can't be right! There's no reason I should be grouped with such great people."
"Between the Ice Tribe and your friends, you made a decision that hurt you deeply for the sake of your people. If that's not the sacrifice a true leader would make, then I don't know what is!" She turned away, not wanting to stare them in the eyes.
"That's where you're wrong. A true leader would've stood up to Garon. They would've found a way to free the Ice Tribe from his clutches. Why, if Nohr sent an army, I'm certain she wouldn't have lost-"
"Flora." Kiran's voice made her freeze up. Sure, they could put their foot down whenever somebody was overreaching their bounds, but they'd never had to raise their voice on her. She braced herself for Kiran's ire, but instead, their voice quickly settled down. "Don't think so lowly of yourself. You told me that your father specifically chose you to inherit his role. Why would he have done that if he didn't think that you'd be as great a leader as he was?" Upon hearing that, she allowed herself a tiny grin as she blushed again.
"Now, now. Haven't you forgotten somebody else with those traits? Someone without claims to a throne?"
"Have I? Robin, maybe, but no, they end up royalty too…" Kiran went back to staring off into the sky, searching for answers, when they felt a poke. Turning their head, they saw Flora resting her finger on them.
The Summoner blushed as they hid their head in their hood and muttered, "Okay, okay, you've got me there."
Tensions eased, the two lied down, giving their backs some much needed rest as they continued to stare at the sky. Some time later, Flora's eyes wandered back to them, and she decided to get another thing off her mind.
She spoke, "If it's not too much of a bother, may I ask you something in return?"
"Sure, ask anything you'd like." Kiran wasn't sure what her question would be with that tense expression on her face, but they'd do anything to ease her.
"Well, I heard rumors, about you… trying desperately to summon me?" In an instant, Kiran's face froze, though Flora was sure that she kept her ice powers in control.
Immediately, she shut her eyes and apologized. "I'm sorry to have even doubted you! It's just, well, I heard this from Niles, and despite his… crudeness, the information he gathers is always topnotch."
The Summoner recovered upon hearing the archer's name and thought, Of course he has to be the one to rat it out to her, even after I warned him not to. I suppose that's punishment for not even trying for his daughter.
Kiran ran their fingers against their scalp as they admitted, "Yeah, he's right. I did use up a lot of resources gathering all the orbs needed for you to get here. Had a lot of people here worry if I've gone mad or not."
"You… went through so much trouble just for my sake?" Her heart ached simply being told that Kiran went out of their way for her.
"Well, in my defense, most of that was stuff I put off for a rainy day. When I found out that you were one of the new heroes, I started doing everything I neglected so I could collect those orbs." Suddenly, the air grew cold, and clouds started to form on what should've been a clear night sky. "Flor-" Their voice died out and their heart sank as they saw the maid kneeling in front of them, holding back tears with all her might.
"I don't understand! Why me?! The Order of Heroes needs warriors! Not a hostage from a lowly tribe who's been forced into servitude for most of her life?!" They raised a hand to stop her, their pained expression convincing her to halt her spiral into self-scrutiny.
"Easy there, deep breaths." As Flora steadied her breath, Kiran admitted, "I suppose… I wanted to finally meet you in person."
"... Come again?" She wiped her eyes and squinted, trying to see if they were really speaking the truth.
"In my time here, I've learned about many legends, whether from the castle's library, having to fight them, or from people that personally knew them. Felicia, Jakob, Gunther, even the various Corrins spoke highly of you, regardless of which world they came from." Kiran cleared their throat, wanting their next words to come out clearly.
"Flora, I've read about your various roles in the war between Hoshido and Nohr. No matter the circumstances, you put your tribe before your master, your sister, even yourself. I admired that about you, and..." They continued in a dying whisper, "I think you deserve better than the life you were forced into." Though their message was quiet, Flora understood its intent, and she was put at ease yet again.
Kiran commented, "When you think about it, both of us share pretty similar fates. Taken against our will to people we had no clue about, nor of their initial intentions. Luckily, the people we ended up serving turned out to be virtuous."
"But you're the one commanding Alfonse and Sharena!"
"True, but in the end of the day, I'm the one who answers to them." The prince and princess appreciated everything they did for the two, certainly. Still, Kiran made mistakes, mistakes that had led to deaths far more than once.
They admitted, "I can't help but think that the Order of Heroes could've gotten someone better." Baffled, Flora whipped her head back to them.
"Wh-what?! Kiran, what are you saying?"
"It's just… You know how there are countless versions of Askr? Most with their own summoner? There are others with far more luck, far better tactics, far greater motivation!" Flora watched as the Summoner stared into the sky, their eyes having lost the shine they always had.
Kiran continued, "Anna found me in a time of desperation. If she knew how to recreate that process, they could find someone better, and there'd be no point in having me stay." In a reversal of roles, they were the ones stopping themselves from crying now.
Flora knew that she had to be the one to put the Summoner at ease. After all the reassurance they gave her, now was the time to start repaying her debt. Her work as a maid brought her close to Alfonse, Sharena, and Anna time and time again, and each instance was an opportunity she took to learn more about them.
She argued, "They'd never replace you. You mean too much to them." Kiran stopped to wipe their tears as they looked up to her. She moved on, "Sharena loves how you go out of your way to reach heroes that won't let her near, Anna respects you for being able to rein her in from time to time, and Alfonse, though he wouldn't admit it outright, constantly worries if anything were to happen to you or if you wanted to leave. I'll confess that every moment we've spent together has helped me gain confidence in myself." Upon hearing that, Kiran started to smile as they continued to rub their eyes, though the reason for their tears had changed.
"Th-thank you, Flora. I really needed to hear that," they remarked, "There'll always be a need for us, both as leaders and servants. Regardless of our role, we'll always serve our people. They say the brightest stars dissipate the deepest darkness, after all." Surrounding them now was a crisp air, not unbearingly cold, but cool enough to ease the mind and body, and the clouds in the sky disappeared without a trace.
Flora stayed at their side as she closed her eyes with delight and uttered, "I suppose we'll be the stars to show them the way, then," before letting herself take in the entirety of the night's beauty.
Once satisfied, the two folded up the blanket and took one last glimpse at the starry sky above. Just before they could turn around, a glimmer sailed across the sky, leaving a trail behind it. They gasped and turned to each other, hoping that they both saw it. As they locked eyes, Flora and Kiran knew that they both made a wish on the shooting star that night.
I wish only the best for you.