Authorramble: Because Daein honestly fascinates me more than Crimea. Yes, Crimea is considerably less corrupted, but Daein is interesting.

Um, this entire fic is generally focused on the feeling of hopelessness, so for those of you who like to be optimists, this may not be quite your cup of tea.

Warnings: Profanity. And that's about it, unless you count people generally being unhappy.

Disclaimer: Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance belongs to Intelligent Systems and Nintendo, and I'm not making any money off this.


The sweat glistened on the backs of their dirt-covered hands as they strode down the street in the sun.

"I had told you, hadn't I?" Soren said, harshly as usual, eyes skimming over the town. "The provisions won't make a difference. I've heard that a good deal of the citizens rejected them. A waste of resources."

"I had to do something," Ike maintained firmly, walking quickly back towards the camp.

Soren quickened his pace slightly to catch up with the taller man. "Daein isn't changing, Ike. If anything, it's in ruins."

The tactician's bluntness struck a chord in Ike, and he clenched his fists slightly, responding, "It can reconstruct that way."

"With the chaos without its ruler? Admittedly, Ashnard was a poor leader, but at least he was one. Begnion has promised to send governors to look over this region, but the system of order for the everyday people has collapsed."

Ike's left eye twitched slightly, mildly. "Please, Soren."

Soren fell silent, still breathing heavily at the rate at which he jogged to stay beside Ike.

"I have to think about Crimea... it's been ravaged as well. I don't want to make it hard on the good people here, those citizens who did nothing wrong, but..." Ike ran a hand through his sweat-matted hair, slowing down his pace. "I do try to help them in any way we can while pressing on for time."

"The small ways didn't matter in the end. And yet, you wasted our resources to try."

"Soren!" A pause, and then, "Soren... maybe you're right." Perhaps it was only out of guilt that he had given something to the citizens, knowing that it didn't help, but feeling better knowing that he had tried. Yet too busy about his own homeland to truly send aid where it mattered.

It was slightly selfish, but Crimea and especially its residents were dear to Ike – and until it flourished, what could he do about this strange land?

The sweat glistened on the backs of their dirt-covered hands as they strode down the street in the sun.

"Wasted. All wasted."

Haar stopped to look at the remains of the buildings, observing, grimly, the damage that had been done.

"I'm sorry."

"Oh, stop, Jill."

Jill looked away towards the ground. "My father loved this place."

Haar found it, again, difficult to respond to her. He knew Shihiram's thoughts on the matter, he knew that she was right. He wanted to tell her that Shihiram had loved her, too, yet he found no way to plausibly state this without sounding incredibly fake.

So, he let her alone as he saw her shoulders stiffen, ponytail wobbly slightly, and pretended that he couldn't tell that she was crying.

The sweat glistened on the backs of their dirt-covered hands as they strode down the street in the sun.

"Muarim? Isn't it hot under there?"

The tiger shrugged it off. "It's fine, little one." He adjusted his hood nervously. "It's only a small measure for safety."

Tormod nodded, though somewhat still pained at the measures that his adoptive father had to take in this strange, horrible land. "So it hasn't changed." It was stated flatly, knowingly.

"You cannot expect these things to change so quickly..."

"So we fought for nothing?"

"Not nothing," Muarim replied hesitantly. "It will change, but it will yet take time... and generations."

Tormod shook his head, stubbornly resisting the elder individual's optimism. "How long is that? Long enough for plenty of laguz to die! Enough for them to kill you if they found you!"

The land was still the same to him.

The sweat glistened on the backs of their dirt-covered hands as they strode down the street in the sun.

"Them and their fucking sub-humans," the youth muttered, flinging a stone across the street, where it clattered against a loose board before resting on the dirt path. His hand moved to fling another, in boredom and irritation.

Sothe shook his head at him, wanting to say something in their defense, but unable to. He knew of the Crimea Liberation Army's good intentions, but it was his home, after all – but despite their good wishes, it was incredibly difficult for him to see his companions, their life in the same poverty-stricken state that it had been in, but the country ruined.

"What? Wha're you shaking your head at now?" The youth flung another stone across the road. "And why the fuck did you go with 'em?"

"I hoped that I'd find 'im in Begnion," he answered nonchalantly, stowing his thoughts about the army away. "Tried to catch a ship, but they caught me." He shrugged. "Made me fight and all..."

"They're horrible," the youth spat further, not bothering to pick up the next rock and kicking it instead, missing and blasting a hole in the ground next to where the rock laid. "Bastards think they're angels of justice..." He tried again, and the rock flew several feet into the sky before landing.

Sothe wanted to defend them in the logical portion of his mind. But his subconscious stopped him, and recognized that his homeland was in tatters.