"Do you know what these are?" Balthier asked casually, leaning against the balcony railing, fingers twisting the rings on his left hand carefully.

"Something you stole no doubt," Basch said with ease, standing a few feet away from the sky pirate, occasionally stealing glances inside the palace sitting room where Ashe, Penelo, Larsa, Vaan, and Fran were.

Balthier smirked, removing the colored rings and holding them up for the captain – or was it judge now? – to see.

"A gift actually," he said casually, "from an old lover. This," he plucked the pink and blue ring from his hand, "was mine and this," here to motioned to the green and yellow ring, "was his."

"A marriage?" Basch asked and Balthier could almost see the judge's shoulders setting and his eyes turning cold.

"Similar," he replied, dropping his own ring back into his hand, "a sky pirate tradition actually. It is a promise of faith and trust, along with a number of other things."

"Why are you showing me this?" Basch asked. "Is it truly my business that you hold onto such a trinket?"

"It should be," Balthier said and he tossed the two rings over his shoulder and down into the palace gardens below. Basch watched this impassively, "Captain."

"I am no longer a captain, but," Basch gazed over Balthier's shoulder, not quite meeting his eyes, "I don't suppose you'll explain your reason for dragging me out here," he said tightly.

Balthier shrugged, straightening up and walking toward Basch. When he was close enough, he smirked, cocking his head slightly to the right and then held out a small yellow and blue ring.

"This could be yours," he said, taking Basch's hand and dropping the ring into it, "If you would take it anyways. And this," next a green and pink one, "could be mine. I leave you with the next move."

Smoothing the sleeves of his shirt and fiddling with loose threads that weren't actually there, Balthier strode purposefully back into the sitting room, joining the rest of the group while Basch remained outside, staring down at the all too colorful pieces of jewelry in his hand. He could hear Vaan and Penelo's excited chatter as Balthier spoke with them. Finally, tossing his head back, he clenched his fist tightly around the rings and joined the others.

Balthier was distracted, answering a few questions from Penelo so Basch took the farthest seat, opening his clenched fist and, upon checking to make sure no one saw, slipping the yellow and blue ring onto his middle finger.