"That was really good Basch," Penelo chirped as she collected bowls to wash in the nearby stream.
"Thank you Penelo," Basch replied with a nod that only made Penelo smile more.
"Same stew nearly every night, but still haven't gotten sick of it," Balthier commented as he stood and stretched. He turned his attention towards Ashe. "Ready for our watch, Princess?" He asked as he adjusted the cuffs of his sleeves.
"Yes," Ashe answered as she rose, pulling her sword with her.
"Up there should suffice just fine," Balthier commanded, pointing to the small cliff that sat above the tents.
"Very well," Ashe answered. "Make sure to get your rest," she told the others sternly. The princess and sky pirate left the campfire to their watch site. This left Vaan and Basch alone while Fran and Penelo cleaned up from dinner.
"Wow, they're sure serious right now," Vaan commented as Basch added some wood to fire. "I mean, with Ashe I expect it, but Balthier?"
Basch sat back down at his spot and watched the fire. "They are both burdened by the turn of events."
"Yeah, I guess it is a lot…" Vaan trailed, recalling the events that just happened a few days prior in Archades.
Penelo quickly skipped around behind Vaan and sat down next to him. Basch smiled as he watched her slip her arms around his and rest her head on his shoulder as she normally did. A few moments later, Fran approached the campsite and stood a few feet back. "You will not stay up late? The monsters here are driven by mist. I suspect we will need to fight some off."
"Okay," Penelo replied with a nod. "I'll go to bed shortly." And with that Fran walked into her tent.
"We will need to rest shortly as well," Basch said.
"Right," Vaan replied. There was silence between all of them, and within moments, Penelo had drifted off on Vaan's shoulder. "She sure falls asleep fast…"
"Better that way," Basch replied. "Besides, we had a difficult day. These woods are not well traveled, and we must be sure we are prepared for anything."
"Do you think our watch will really be that bad?"
"We shall see. We never know what the fates will give us, and we must go from there."
Vaan smiled at Basch's response. Something about his words of wisdom always made him feel more confident in his own abilities. Vaan looked up to see Ashe and Balthier kicking around at the small cliff above them, making sure that it was a suitable spot for watch. By their body language they were probably discussing the pros and cons of their spot, and finally they settled down. "I wonder why he's still here with us…"
Basch looked at Vaan, then looked to where his eyes were to see them set upon Ashe and Balthier. "Why do you say that?"
"Well, he's a sky pirate, and there's no reward doing all of this. Ashe had to give him her ring just to get to Jahara, but then he went to Mt. Bur Omisace and Archades with us…"
Basch smiled, seeing the childlike innocence in Vaan's eyes shine through. "It's gone far beyond that now. We are in over our heads, and we must continue to fight through. When he discovered that his father was involved in all of this, he came to the realization that no matter what we try to run from, we will one day have to face it. Our past will always come and haunt us."
"Kinda like how Ashe sees Rasler all the time."
Basch nodded. "Our family and our past are what keep us who we are, when we lose those, then we are forced to find our own legacy." Basch watched as Vaan continued to look curiously at him, so the knight continued. "For Lady Ashe, her past keeps driving her forward. She must continue on in the name of the fallen. She is far from the young Princess who used to run around the palace without a care in the world."
Vaan attempted to imagine Ashe as a light hearted smiling little girl, but he just couldn't conjure up the image.
"For Balthier, his past caught up to him. He tried to avoid it by becoming a sky pirate, but he is not so disconnected to feel no responsibility to stop his father's madness. If you ask, I am sure he won't tell, but I am sure it is a motivation. But when a man finds something to protect, he will change instantously. "
Penelo stirred suddenly and mumbled, "Can't you two be quiet, I'm trying to sleep…"
Basch and Vaan laughed. "I'll go bring her to her tent," Vaan sighed.
"I think it best we sleep as well. We will need our strength for the day tomorrow," Basch said as he rose from his spot.
Several hours later, Basch and Vaan were settled at the watch spot, Basch with his katana and Vaan with a crossbow. They settled comfortably at their spot, watching over the campsite. Ashe and Balthier had run into a lot of trouble, while Fran and Penelo encounted fewer monsters. Vaan made a comment to Penelo that it probably was their bickering, and she could only giggle.
"So, with everything you were talking about earlier… it's kinda the same for you with your brother, right?" Vaan asked breaking the silence of the watch.
Basch folded his arms and thought for a moment. "Aye, you could say that. My loyalty is to Lady Ashe, everything takes second to that, but I would like to see my brother again."
"So you can get revenge?"
Basch's next answer really surprised Vaan. "No."
"No? But he destroyed your life and set you up and-"
"He did what he believed he had to do. He holds his hatred of me close, but he shares the same values we were raised upon. I am sure of it."
Basch had never seen a more confused look from Vaan, and that was pretty impressive.
"When we were children in Landis, our father was a high ranking knight in the palace. We were raised from the start to fight, and chivalry was pushed into every aspect of our lives. It never really hit us until our younger sister was threatened by sky pirates, and we learned the importance of what our father was teaching us. We both took it to heart for our lives."
"But… then how did you two split like that?" Vaan asked, now completely curious.
"I was in the palace with my father when the Empire invaded. Instead of fighting with him, he insisted that I find my mother and sister and flee to the sands of Dalmasca. However, my brother came upon my father after his death, and he only heard a few people say they saw me run from the castle."
"… You have real bad luck."
Basch couldn't help but throw his head back and laugh at the comment. "I suppose you're right Vaan." He stopped for a moment when he saw out of the corner of his eye that Ashe had risen from her tent and rekindled the dying fire that Balthier was sitting up near. He paid it no mind and turned his attention back to the conversation. "See, Vaan, there's something important that my father taught us. The average person just wants to live in peace. They want to be able to eat, have a place to live, be in good health. They want a fair, just ruler, so they can live without the threat of their everyday lives being destroyed."
Vaan thought about it for a moment. "Yeah, that makes sense…"
"It's the most important thing to remember Vaan," Basch continued, watching Balthier and Ashe having what was probably a heavy conversation due to the exhausted looks on their faces. "It is important to remember that every person we come across is searching for the same in their own way. Some become sky pirates to run from a past, and another may run so she may soon restore her past, but their goals are the same in the end – peace. You wanted to become a sky pirate so you could live a comfortable life, while Penelo wishes to stay in Rabanastre so that she may live a comfortable, peaceful life. Al-Cid and Lord Larsa all fight for the same, but they all must fight for it using different means."
"Different means… it's all the same huh?" Vaan asked, absorbing Basch's words.
"Don't forget it. Don't forget the importance of each life. Don't forget to fight for the everyday people who cannot protect themselves. And that is what will make you into a man, Vaan. When you find a person to protect, you become a better person and find yourself protecting others while protecting that one. Regardless of whether you're a knight or a sky pirate…"
Vaan remained silent as he watched as Balthier rested his hand over Ashe's, reaching out to her. He then looked at Basch and nodded, letting him know that he understood. Basch just smiled and put his hand on Vaan's shoulder.